Episode 293

“Wait a minute,” Blake’s blue eyes practically popped out of her head at what her friend was saying to her. She took a step forward before looking to make sure the doors behind her were sealed. She took in a small breath before facing Sarah again, “Did I just hear you right? Did you just say you slept with Diego Hernandez?”

“Blake, can you quiet down,” Sarah pleaded with her, a shaky tone knowing that she shouldn’t have said anything to her friend, even if the pressure was getting to her. Bringing her hands up over her arms, Sarah felt another tremor race over her.

“I’m sorry,” Blake’s voice muted as she moved forward, “It’s just that…well, that I never thought that a couple as solid as you and Kyle would find themselves in a position like that. I mean how? Why?”

“You know how things were for us during that time after Susan attacked him,” Sarah explained tears burning behind her dark eyes, “Kyle and I were like strangers with one another and he pushed me so far away from him that I never thought I’d get him back. I really believed that I’d lost him forever, so I turned to Diego. He was there for me and he’s been really good to me…”

“Um, isn’t he like dating your sister,” Blake couldn’t help ask catching Sarah’s less than thrilled glare. Blake raised her hands up in the air defensively, “I was just asking.”

“Yeah, well don’t. I think things are already screwed up enough now,” Sarah ran her fingers through her long hair, “It wasn’t like it was something either one of us planned on. It just kind of happened.”

“Wait a second. You’re telling me that you’ve spent your whole life in love with Kyle in a round about way, yet with one night something like that just happened,” Blake shook her head at her, “Sarah things like that just don’t happen.”

“Well it did for me,” Sarah blurted out exasperated, “and what’s worse is right after it did that’s when Kyle and I found our way back to one another. The day after I slept with Diego, Kyle apologized and said he wanted for us to have another try at happiness together.”

“Oh Sarah,” Blake reached out to hug her, “I’m so sorry.”

“You must think I’m a horrible person,” Sarah cried on her friend’s shoulder, “because I do. I feel like everything that’s been happening is my fault--like my place going up in flames is only the beginning of the punishment I deserve for all of this.”

“Sarah, no I don’t think that way. You’re being too hard on yourself,” Blake replied pulling back enough to see her friend’s sad eyes, “I mean sure what happened to your place might seem like bad karma, but it was just an accident. That’s all it was.”

“You don’t understand. Kyle wanted to make love. He wanted to be with me and when we went into my room all I could think about was being with Diego--about the night he and I spent there,” Sarah blurted out shamefully bringing her hands up over her face, her tears now overtaking her. “I tried to keep Kyle from going in there, but the more I tried to avoid it, the harder it was and then before I knew it everything was up in flames.”

“Okay, honey I can see how you might feel like you jinxed the situation, but really, did you want to make love to Kyle in the same bed you were with Diego in,” Blake tossed out with a pointed expression catching yet another glare from Sarah, “I mean seriously. Maybe it was a way of telling you that you need to push the past behind you and move forward without looking back.”

“Blake, you’re not getting it. You have no idea how horrible I feel about all of this,” Sarah continued in a huff, “When I’m with Kyle all I can think about is what happened with Diego, yet…”

“Do you love Diego?” Blake couldn’t help but ask.

“What?” Sarah blinked back at her.

“Do you love him? Is Diego the man you want to be with? I mean that’s really what this amounts to,” Blake continued to explain further, “If you’re feeling guilty about being with Kyle because Diego is what you want…”

“No, it’s not like that at all. I love Kyle. I’ve always loved Kyle and I only want to love Kyle,” Sarah paused her heart sinking a bit, “At least I think I do. I mean I couldn’t love Diego, could I?”

“You slept with him,” Blake stated the obvious preparing herself for another glare, “so that has to mean something.”

“He’s my friend. He’s just a wonderful man and…” Sarah trailed off lost in a whirlwind of emotions, “Blake I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

“Nothing’s wrong with you,” Blake explained with a small sigh before taking a seat beside Sarah, “this happens to the best of us you know.”

“Oh right,” Sarah groaned, “Like you ever went out of your way to hurt Seth like I did Kyle.”

“There was a point in time when I was a real bitch to Seth if you want my honest opinion,” Blake confessed remembering the brief time that she and Seth were separated, “It was a situation where we had a miscommunication like you and Kyle had. Granted it was a different set of circumstances, but the same outcome. I went running into the arms of a guy that was there for me--a friend that had supported me through some rough times. He and I kind of fell into a relationship with one another while I was trying to forget Seth.”

“And what happened?” Sarah couldn’t help but ask.

“I realized that no matter how good I thought I had it with Zack, I always wanted to be with Seth and only Seth. I tried to convince myself for a while that Zack and I could have something like Seth and I had with one another, but it didn’t even come close to what I felt for Seth. I made myself miserable and in the long run it was another setback for Seth and I--one that we were able to get over, but one that I wish we could’ve gone without.”

“I know what you mean,” Sarah sighed tilting her head to the side, “I wish I would’ve stopped myself from letting things get out of hand like that.”

“Because you love Kyle, right?” Blake prompted her.

“Yes,” Sarah nodded, “because I love Kyle and he deserves so much more than that.”

“Then give him more than that Sarah. Forget about Diego. Forget everything about what happened with him and chalk it up as a bad memory,” Blake suggested to her, “I mean if you’re not in love with the guy, then don’t look back. Don’t dwell on what happened while you and Kyle were apart. Focus on the future and how it’s going to be now that you’re together again and stronger than ever. That shouldn’t be so hard to do, right?”

“Right,” Sarah nodded half listening as her mind returned to the things leading up to her time with Diego. Sure, she knew better and she realized now she should’ve held out hope that she and Kyle were going to reunite. Yet…

“Sarah? Sarah, are you listening to me?” Blake waved her hand in front of Sarah’s face, “Hey Sarah!”

“What?” Sarah blinked back at her, a lost expression on her face.

“Sarah, what’s really going on? Honestly, is this something you’re going to be able to put behind you in order to have a future with Kyle or are you really falling for Diego?” Blake couldn’t help but ask the question that Sarah had on her mind from the moment that she and Diego had slept together. Now that her friend threw it out on the table Sarah feared that regardless of what the answer to that question was life would never be the same ever again from here on out.


“Hey,” Ben heard a voice from the corner of the hospital room where the door was as he lifted his head up to see Seth walking into the room and closing the door gently behind him because Diane was sleeping softly right now. “How are you doing?”

“I’m doing okay,” Ben replied leaning forward in his seat, watching Seth grab a seat from the corner of the room and pull it up next to him. Ben thought about his answer for a moment before shaking his head and letting out a deep breath. “Actually, I have been better. A lot better.”

“I’m sorry about everything Ben,” Seth looked at his friend with a worried expression over his features, he handed Ben the coffee that he had brought for Ben before letting out a small sigh. “I can’t believe this happened.”

“That makes the two of us there,” Ben stated with a small shake of his head, leaning back in his seat as he watched Diane move slowly while she slept. “We were trying to make our lives better, you see where that got us.”

“You aren’t going to stop making your life good, this is something that you couldn’t have stopped from happening,” Seth explained giving Ben some encouragement, hating to see the way that Ben seemed to be lower than low. “You need to make sure that this doesn’t hold you back. It’s sad that the little one died, but there wasn’t anything you could have done to stop this Ben. You have to make sure that you go on with your lives and have other children. The baby would have wanted you and Diane to be happy. If not for yourselves, you have to make your life happy for the little one.”

“It would have been a whole lot better if the little one fought to stay with us,” Ben pointed out with a half hearted smile, seeing the way that Seth’s dark eyes watched him. “I’m trying to step up and go on, but if we just had the chance to have that baby--I know I could have made it work. Maybe this is payback for me…”

“Don’t blame yourself for this, don’t you ever blame yourself for this,” Seth hushed Ben holding his hand up in the air as he spoke, “I don’t think you realize it, but you are the person that keeps Diane moving every day. You made her as happy as ever and people lose their babies all the time. Just be thankful that you didn’t have to lose her when she was born. Kevin went through that and it’s horrible. You wait nine months for something perfect, something beautiful and then you are cheated out of the life you deserve. You were still cheated, but look at this fact--you still have a chance to go on with your lives. Don’t let this hold you back.”

“I know,” Ben frowned thinking about everything that had been happening lately. There were so many horrible things that were going on right now, there had to be some point in time when things got better. Hopefully things would get a lot better for everybody in this town. “Thanks for being here Seth, I don’t know what I would do without you.”

“Well, luckily for me I’m always going to have a good friend like you to be around,” Seth smirked patting Ben on the back lightly and leaning forward in his chair, “I mean, I will always be here for you and that is never going to change between us. If you need me, I will always be here.”

“Thanks Seth,” Ben let out a small smile before shaking his head slowly, “I know I can always count on you. You and Ria have been the only friends that have ever been for me throughout everything and for that--I thank you. I know I can always count on you.”


Tiny electric impulses singed Avery’s mouth as she felt Russell’s arms firmly planted around her waist. While she’d first initiated the contact between them, there was something about the direction of where this kiss was headed that left her feeling anything, but in control with each passing second. Her fingers fanned out over his broad chest loving the warmth and feel of his body burning at her touch. Never had he felt more alive than he did right here and now so openly available to her caress. Knowing that she should repress the urge to delve into relearning his responses to her until a time when they could both experience the pleasures that they’d been denied for all the months they’d been separated, Avery made a mental note to bring the kiss to an end--to tear her lips away from his and forget about the sweet saltiness of his lingering kiss. However, regardless of the mental notes striking a chorus inside of her, Avery’s hand tapered off over his abdomen up underneath his shirt.

Russell let out a hard, masculine groan at the first contact of their skin against skin. With her fingers weaving their magical spell over his muscle corded abdomen, he felt himself ready to melt into her touch--into the passion that was ever present between them. He closed his eyes thinking about how he’d fought like hell to return to this--to return to her and the love that they shared.

“I’ve missed you,” her words buzzed against the side of his neck after she’d ripped her mouth from his in an attempt to torture him mercilessly. He felt the heat of her breath strike against his skin in a sinfully delicious fashion. His pulse quickened, his body growing rigid with desire for a woman that had haunted his dreams for as long as he could remember. He felt her lick a hot, wet line over the side of his neck before her lips closed in over his ear nibbling on it with a low growl.

“Avery,” he spoke her name, his green eyes opening to see the hunger burning behind her eyes. Damn how he wanted her. How he wanted to delve into the madness that surrounded them each and every time they were alone with one another. Forget about waiting it out like they were supposed to. He wanted his wife. Now and preferable naked and horizontal, although that was strictly an option given that vertical had it’s distinct possibilities as well. However, reality came crashing down upon him like a ton of bricks. The fact remained that Avery wasn’t his wife--not anymore. Frowning he pulled back ever so slightly, “Avery wait this has to cool down…”

“Russ, I’m not going to let things get out of hand,” she mouthed gently biting down on his earlobe before her touch traveled down to his belt, “More specifically I’m not going to let you get out of my hands right now.”

“Avery, I um…” he bit down on the groan that had spilled out from the back of his throat. His skin was on fire, his heart doing flip flops in his chest and as Avery dipped her hands down the front of his pants seeking out the source of tension now flooding over him, he let out another gulp.

“You um,” Avery laughed lightly, her voice coming out in wicked amusement. She batted her eyelashes at him seeing the considerable strain in his eyes as she took her time torturing his growing manhood, “Russ, I have never known you to be at a loss for words around me. This is a change…”

“I’ve never known you to be so um…brazen about things,” he confessed tipping his head to the side. His arm curled her in closer to him in the hopes of keeping anyone else from the party downstairs from witnessing what was going on between them. He’d come upstairs fully prepared to pull out all the strings in reminding her of how right they were together, yet he felt himself being the one who was being confirmed of that belief again and again. His green eyes met hers taking note of the nefarious intent burning beneath the chocolate pools before him. She knew full well what she was doing and damn it, even with all of his good intentions, she’d still managed to one up him in this situation. Although with the party still booming out of control downstairs, he really didn’t give a damn about who was the one calling all the shots between them. All he really was concerned about was keeping her close to him--keeping her at his side when everything else was spiraling out of control.

“I want to be with you,” she whispered intensely over and over again in between placing tiny kisses over his neck, her touch causing his anger to melt away into white, hot desire. “Only you…”

“Avery, I just love you so much. I want to be with you and Erin and…” he closed his eyes thinking about all that had driven him to return to Coral Valley--to be back with this amazingly incredible woman at his side. Just being close to her, holding her and being near him brought him back to life in ways he never thought possible. His arm dropped down to her bottom giving it a small squeeze as their mouths met in another fiery kiss.

“I want you so bad,” she murmured biting down on his lip and leaving a sharp sting.

“Don’t tease me Avery,” he growled hugging her closer to him, “not when you know that we can’t finish what we’re starting here.”

“Oh I’ll finish what I started for you and I can promise you that you won’t forget it. It‘ll be an amazing start to what you can look forward to in weeks to come,” she assured him, bringing her left hand up to caress the side of his face while her touch caused his thoughts to grow far more jumbled, his mind to go on autopilot causing him to leap towards pleasure right before a sound sprung him back to reality. He felt Avery’s touch slip away and as he tilted his head to the side he spotted someone out of the corner of his eye rounding the corner of the hallway.

“There you are,” Annie smiled pleasantly at the both of them clearly oblivious to the exchange that had been taking place between the two of them right before her arrival. “I was hoping I would find you.”

Avery spun around to face Annette and she stepped forward directly in front of Russell in her best attempt to hide what was happening from Annie. She waved with a weak smile before clearing her throat uneasily, “Annie, hey is something wrong?”

“No, nothing is wrong,” Annie eyed the both of them suspiciously. “Erin is just awake and she would like to see her mother and father.”

“We’re more than happy to see her too,” Avery smiled casting a glance over her shoulder and spotting the pained expression on Russell’s face, “We’ll be right there to see her in the nursery in a minute. We were just having a small discussion out here…”

“Discussion,” Annie replied with a curt tone, her face mirroring what thoughts were going on behind her eyes, “right. Well when you’re done ‘discussing’ Erin would be more than thrilled to see the both of you.”

“We’ll be there,” Russell waved at her watching her retreat before frowning, “I think she hates me Avery.”

“She doesn’t know you,” Avery twirled around to face him again, “but that will change.”

“It might, but I still think she’s going to hate me especially since you and I were just…” he cleared his throat uneasily motioning to his zipper he was working to pull up.

“Getting reacquainted,” Avery patted her hand over his chest while noticing the color that grew over his face, “and we’ll continue to do that each day until we can finally take things to where we left off between us.”

“You have no idea how much I want that Avery,” he sighed in relief leaning in to kiss her, “but I want you to know that what it is I’m feeling for you goes beyond a really enormous case of lust.”

“Enormous indeed,” her gaze traveled over him appreciatively as she involuntarily licked her lips.

“Let’s go check on Erin because if you keep looking at me like that I’m going to break all of the rules and cause a major scene,” Russ suggested clearing his throat all the while mustering up enough strength to go pay attention to their daughter. He reached for Avery’s hand lacing their fingers in one another before leading her down the hallway to their daughter’s nursery. Standing outside the door he glanced over at her with an appreciative glance, “I love you Avery.”

“I love you too Russ. I always have and always will,” she assured him as they walked into the nursery to be with Erin now that she’d awakened. Maybe just maybe things would turn out for the best after all.


“Oh my God. Did you see that? She practically threw down on him right then and there?” Don’s blue eyes widened in shock and astonishment after he’d watched Brant’s wife with her former husband. “I mean she like really went to town on him Brant. Here I thought she was going to bust his balls and then…”

“I know,” Brant snapped rolling his eyes as he paced around the room trying to remind himself that he couldn’t blow his cover. Even though he’d walked away from the door to refrain from going out into the hallway and choking the life out of Russell Denton, he couldn’t help but feel his anger mounting. Don’s play by play of the situation didn’t help much either.

“Look man I don’t mean to burst your bubble there, but those two reminded me of that movie we rented back in college. You know the one about the guy in prison and that female guard and…” Don continue to ramble on.

“Enough already!” Brant snapped raising his hands in the air, “Don I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to talk about it or even register that it just happened.”

“Oh it happened,” Don gulped closing the door behind him, “and I’ve got to tell you we’re going to have to amp up the game plan because from what little I saw there, you’re going to have something big to worry about from him and I do mean big.”

“Don please,” Brant groaned again, “This isn’t helping.”

“Oh right,” Don nodded pacing around the room as well, “Though I have to give you points for not walking out there and killing him given that if I was watching Shannon with someone else and they were doing that I would’ve probably slit his throat and then asked questions later…”

“Don stop!” Brant snapped at him, his words growing more agitated by the moment, “I really don’t want to be listening to this right now especially when we have to come up with a game plan here. We can’t just sit idle and let things like that keep happening. I mean I know we have a little time to work on this given that Avery won’t seal the deal with him just yet…”

“She looked pretty damn close,” Don noted catching Brant’s icy glare, “I mean hey maybe we can throw him off of the balcony and make it look like an accident. People would believe that, right?”

“Don, I can’t do that,” Brant muttered under his breath, “not that I don’t want to, but still I don’t think that I could get away with that considering that Avery would never buy into it.”

“Why not? I mean she did the same thing to her own mother and we made sure everyone believed that wasn’t the case, right?” Don caught the look of contempt coming from his best friend, “Okay look I’m sorry, but we have to think up something.”

“Well throwing him out the balcony isn’t going to cut it,” Brant grumbled further, “Besides, knowing my luck he would only wind up getting injured and Avery would go pamper him and then he’d find a way to beat me with his crutches. You know the more I think about this, the more I’m starting to realize that I’m going about this the wrong way. I mean if Avery knew I was lying to her, she’d not only want to strangle me, but chances are she’d probably hurt me--I mean like really, really hurt me.”

“It might be fun,” Don tossed out offhandedly, “It could be the thrill you both need to get back into the swing of things.”

“Sorry Don, but that sadomasochism thing might work for you and Shannon, but it’s not the area of expertise for Avery and I. She needs to be able to trust in me--to have faith that she’d making the right decision to be with me--to believe that I am the better man.”

“But you are the better man,” Don added further, “We both know that.”

“Even so, I have to find a way to prove it to my wife in such a way that it’s not going to blow up in my face. In a fashion that…” Brant paused hearing the sound of the doorknob. His dark eyes darted over across the room in time to see the handle moving. Someone was coming inside the room and in a frenzy he sprinted over to the wheelchair hoping to return to the position he’d spent most of his time in lately before his farce was found out, but when the door opened he realized it was too late!


“A picnic,” Trisha smiled out across at Chase as he sat down on the ground in front of her. Knowing he would be easy to worry, she thought of the best thing to say. “Very original.”

“Original?” Chase questioned knowing she was trying to play with him as he came right back at her with something else to play right back. “Then it must fit you very well.”

“Hey,” Trisha reached out to poke him roughly in the shoulder, hitting him so hard that he fell back against his back. “That serves you right Chase Hastings.”

“Serves me?” he reached out to grab her hand and pull her in over him, making her fall against his chest and letting out a small laugh. “I think I know what you could pay me back with for being such a good boyfriend.”

“Boyfriend? What makes you think you’re my boyfriend?” Trisha couldn’t help but ask seeing him shrug his shoulders, reaching out to push a piece of her dark hair behind her ear. “We’ve only gone out on a couple of dates.”

“Right, so if I’m not your boyfriend--I would really love to be,” Chase leaned up giving her a small peck on the lips as she let out a small laugh and shook her head slowly. “What?”

“Chase Hastings, if you want to win a woman over with a kiss--you have to do better than that,” she replied with a small shake of her head seeing his blue eyes widen after her comment. “Something kind of like this.”

Trisha pulled Chase forward and pressed her lips against his, knowing that she caught him off guard as she felt his hand slide in over the small of her back slowly.

“So,” Chase backed away from her slowly, ending the kiss and looking up at her with his blue eyes, “does that mean you want me to be your boyfriend now?”

“It’s looking pretty good for you,” she winked feeling him sit up and she sat next to him on the blanket they were on. His hand slipped into hers as she looked out at the people around them. “Actually a picnic really is a good idea, you thought of a good thing to do Chase.”

“I figured you might like it,” Chase leaned forward and pressed a small kiss on her cheek, noticing she was watching certain people pass them. Chase looked over to see a few women smiling at them and pointing over towards them as he looked over to see Trisha seeming to be a little nervous. “What’s wrong?”

“I think they think I’m a little strange,” Trisha informed Chase with a small shake of her head, “because I’m one of those victims of Bruce.”

“No, it’s not you,” Chase recognized the faces of the women as he cleared his throat and shook his head slowly, “It’s probably because of my sister. She was a nut.”

“Bruce and Susan were a lot alike there,” Trisha pointed out, wondering who the women were really paying attention to. “Are you okay about your sister? You don’t seem to be feeling really bad emotions.”

“I don’t know what to say,” Chase shrugged realizing that he never really thought about what he was feeling. There was the feeling knowing that his sister was a nut, but there was something inside of him that was kind of upset about everything. “You know, while my sister did a lot of evil things, when it comes down to it she still was my sister and part of me will always love her.”

“I would think you were weird if you didn’t,” Trisha replied resting her head against his shoulder as he rested his chin on her head gently. “I’m sorry about your sister Chase, but I’m glad you still are okay.”

“I’m glad I’m okay too,” he winked seeing her look up at him with her beautiful dark eyes. “If I wasn’t here--then I would have never met you. That would have been a very horrible thing.”

“It would have been,” she agreed nodding slowly and seeing the way he let out a small frown. She reached out and settled her hand against the side of his neck gently, making him turn to look at her. “Even though you sister was different, doesn’t make it change that I want to get to know you a lot better.”

“Well, I’m…” Chase was cut off with a gasp as a dog ran right into him, making him fall back against the ground as the dog got in above him. Chase tried to block the young Dalmatian from his face, making him turn towards Trisha. “Trisha, a little help please.”

“Spot, get off of him,” a male voice came up from behind Trisha as she turned around to see Michael. Michael grabbed the dog and pulled it back slowly before shaking his head slowly. “I am so sorry, he just likes to play. He wasn’t trying to hurt you.”

“Don’t worry about,” Chase wiped off his pants and his shirt lightly after sitting back up. He looked up at Michael seeing the dog now sitting down on the ground. “I love dogs.”

The dog tried to get out of Michael’s grip again as Chase jumped back and scooted behind Trisha, hearing Trisha let out a small laugh.

“Sure you do,” Trisha looked back behind her shoulder to see Chase shrug his shoulders. Letting out a small laugh, she looked up at Michael seeing him now holding the puppy in his arms. “So Michael, what brings you here today?”


“So, do you think this is going to be a good idea?” Cori asked Rob, sitting on the edge of his desk, watching him nod in approval slowly. “I wanted to help them out. They sounded like they could use another hand.”

“I’m very proud of you Cori,” Rob replied with a small smirk, seeing the way her dark eyes looked out at him. He reached out to straighten some of the papers they had put together before picking them up and looking them over. “Most people wouldn’t just jump in and help like that, I’m proud of you. You’re a really great kid.”

“Well, you’re not too bad yourself Rob,” Cori winked seeing him stand up from his chair and walk over towards the corner of the room to his filing cabinet. She watched him start to put the things away as she got up and walked in from behind him. “You were the one to originally do this right?”

“Well, yeah,” Rob nodded to himself, flipping through the folders to find the right spot before stopping to think a second. “I know Sam appreciates the help though, she is a really sweet girl. You two would probably be very good friends, you both are really great kids. It will be a good encouragement boost for Sam anyways.”

“Right,” Cori nodded seeing him push in the drawer before turning around and jumping back when he saw her there in front of him. “Is everything okay?”

“Wow, you moved,” Rob walked around her before shrugging his shoulders and watching her follow him until he sat down in his desk chair. “Since you offered up being the party planner for Sam so quickly--I got to thinking.”

“About what?” Cori questioned folding her arms out in front of her chest seeing Rob look down towards some papers again as she rolled her eyes. “Rob?”

“Sorry,” he apologized looking back up at her with his blue eyes before shrugging his shoulders. “I was actually willing to hire you on as a gym member if you are interested. I could really use someone that has your work ability here. So, are you interested in working here with me and my staff.”

“Rob,” Cori clapped her hands before walking over towards the side of the desk he was on and wrapping her arms around his shoulders tightly. “I would absolutely love to work here. Thank you so much for even thinking about hiring me.”

“Why wouldn’t I think about it?” Rob questioned slowly standing up and hugging her in his arms tightly. “I mean, I have known you forever. I want to help you succeed in life Cori.”

“Thank you so much Rob,” Cori kissed his cheek gently as he pulled back and away from her hearing his door open slowly. He turned to face his wife before letting go of Cori.


“Hey big guy,” Kyle knocked lightly on the doorframe to the library that Augustus was in as Kyle noticed he was talking to Candy. “Sorry to interrupt you man, but can I talk to you for a minute--just the two of us?”

“Sure, no problem,” Augustus nodded seeing Candy stand up from the seat walking over towards the door as he called out to her. “It was nice talking to you Candy.”

“You too Augie,” she winked before stopping in front of Kyle and smiling widely. She ran her finger down the front of his hard chest slowly as she saw the smirk that appeared over his lips. “I’ll see you later Kyle.”

Augustus watched as she leaned up to kiss him on the cheek slowly, running her fingers down his arm slowly before walking off and closing the doors behind her.

“I take it she likes you,” Augustus pointed out seeing Kyle take a seat on the edge of his desk as Kyle let out a small laugh.

“You think so?” Kyle questioned with a small laugh, looking over at Augie who was sitting in a chair across the room from him.

“Do I think Kyle? It looks like I know so,” Augustus added with a small nod seeing Kyle’s smile widen before shrugging his shoulders. “I take it you had her once upon a time there son?”

“Well, kind of yeah--I guess you could say that,” Kyle nodded shrugging his shoulders as he spoke. He thought about his past as he shook his head slowly, letting out a small laugh as he remembered all the things he did as a teenager. “If you would have seen me in my college days, I wasn’t the best of guys.”

“You were with her in your college years?” Augustus watched Kyle as he stood up and let out a small laugh before shrugging his shoulders. “That’s a no, how recent? How recent is it--it had to be a couple of months ago. Maybe at the most, I’m a man too you know. I can tell it wasn’t years ago. So, when was it?”

“I think I should keep that to myself there, I may find myself in trouble,” Kyle chuckled shaking his head slowly as he spoke up once again, “the past is the past and when it comes down to it--I only love one woman.”

“You sound like me when I was younger,” Augustus stood up from where he was sitting, walking over towards his desk and reaching out for a picture, “I loved the ladies, but I was only in love with one amazing woman and from there on out I was with no one else after her. I loved her and I still do.”

“Yeah, well unfortunately--mine went the other way around,” Kyle replied with a small shrug before speaking up again in a loud whisper, “I was in love from the age of eight to eighteen, but she left me earlier than I was ready for her to be gone. She just picked up and left, leaving me alone to wonder what happened. What I did wrong, I don’t know. So, I really can’t love anyone like I loved her.”

“That sounds rough for someone that age, it’s hard to move on,” Augustus pointed out seeing Kyle uneasily turn away from him as Augustus let out a deep breath. “I know from experience, I could never let go of my wife.”

“What happened?” Kyle cleared his throat seeing Augustus pick up a picture and look it over slowly. “It was something bad, wasn’t it? How did she die?”

“Well, she had been pregnant with our last child and it was kind of funny because Brant was born before Bradley was,” Augustus chuckled to himself thinking about his son that had been born and taken away from him so quickly. “How old are you Kyle?”

“I’m thirty-two,” Kyle answered with a small nod seeing Augustus take another small nod before shrugging his shoulders, “I’m an old fart, I know.”

“No you aren’t, my son would have been around your age and Brant’s,” Augustus informed Kyle with a small nod seeing Kyle take a step in closer towards him, “My wife passed away a couple years after Bradley did, she couldn’t live with losing our son so quickly. My son Bradley passed away after a week of being born and my wife just got really depressed and it killed her inside. She was dead before she really was gone from this world.”

“I’m sorry,” Kyle frowned seeing Augustus hold a picture out towards him as Kyle accepted it, looking at the blonde woman before him. “She’s a beautiful woman Augustus, you should be proud.”

“I am, I always will be proud,” Augustus replied with a small nod seeing Kyle watch him slowly as Kyle handed the picture back to Augustus. “It just killed the both of us when Bradley died.”

“What happened to your son?” Kyle couldn’t help but question seeing Augustus pull out a book and chuckle to himself when he looked at the papers before him.

“I don’t know, he was a big baby--taking after her family obviously,” Augustus couldn’t help but smile to himself seeing the way that Kyle watched him as he looked back down and turned another page. “He was the one that we felt was going to look the most like her. There was Nicholas, Zoë, Rex--who had looked the most like his mother, but we thought Bradley would look the most like her. He had this birthmark on his upper right shoulder that she had and Nick had it too, but I felt he would resemble her the most. He was born at the end of July and he died unexpectedly. There was nothing wrong with him when he was born, except he did give himself a small cut on his outer hip from being a real wiggler. It was really nothing that could have gotten him hurt or made him die--they never really never said what killed him, but he must have been ill.”

“I’m sorry Augie,” Kyle frowned reaching out to touch Augustus on the shoulder gently, seeing Augustus lean back against the desk and something started to slide off Augustus’s desk. “Oh no…”

Kyle dove to catch the picture of the Augustus’s wife knowing that the picture obviously meant everything to Augustus as he dove and caught the picture before it hit the ground and shattered, but he slammed his shoulder into the sharp corner of the desk making him groan out in pain.

“Are you okay?” Augustus helped Kyle back up to his feet as Kyle let out a small groan, handing Augustus the picture back watching him set it back down on the desk. “I would have put it in another frame.”

“I didn’t want it to break,” Kyle frowned grabbing onto his shoulder as he pulled his shirt off so that he was only in his gray tank top. He looked to his right shoulder that was now bleeding from the impact from the corner of the desk. “Ouch.”

“Come here,” Augustus motioned to follow him towards the desk as he grabbed something from the drawer and squirted it on Kyle’s shoulder seeing Kyle growl out in pain.

“Ouch,” Kyle snapped looking down at his shoulder with a small frown before looking up at Augustus, “Are you trying to kill me there? Do you really hate me that much?”

“You are so funny, you are acting like a baby I hope you know,” Augustus pointed out handing Kyle a cloth that had ice inside of it from the ice bucket. “Put that on it, it should stop the swelling of the bruise.”

“Thanks,” Kyle let out a small frown putting the ice on his shoulder, biting down on his bottom lip as he felt the cold impact against his skin. He shook it off before letting out a deep breath getting back to why he originally came in the room. “Listen, I need to talk to you about something.”

“What’s that?” Augustus looked up at Kyle seeing him shrug his shoulders and take a seat on the leather couch in the corner. “What’s on your mind big guy?”

“Look, I realize already that you are not as insane as your whack job twins you call your grandsons, so why don’t we just get some things straight between us,” Kyle began in a tight breath, moving his shoulder to the side as he let out a small hiss. “I like you Augie, I really do--you seem like one of the only people I may like in the Ashford family.”

“Well, you’re not too bad yourself kiddo,” Augustus nodded seeing Kyle let out a small smirk, pressing the ice harder against his shoulder. Augustus watched Kyle for a moment, folding his hands out in front of him before shrugging his shoulders. “So, what’s on your mind?”

“I know you like Ken and Brant, but I think it’s time that you should cut your other grandson some slack and give him a break,” Kyle offered up seeing Augustus’s eyes narrow in over at him as he shrugged his shoulders. “I just think you need to realize that Brant needs to grow up and the only way he will is if you actually tell him to stop--so we can all pack up and go home. To get on with our lives without his little fake problems.”

“Now wait one second, what makes you think that Brant is lying about this?” Augustus couldn’t help but question, seeing the expression that pressed over Kyle’s features. “You have no idea what he is feeling right now…”

“I have no idea what he is feeling,” Kyle muttered sitting forward in his seat as he shook his head slowly. “I know what he is feeling and I have felt even worse in my lifetime.”

“But you aren’t Brant,” Augustus pointed out seeing Kyle’s hazel eyes staring out into his. “Brant could fully be as sick as everyone believes. You can’t just jump his case like this Kyle.”

“He wants something Augustus, you need to realize that,” Kyle retorted with a small frown, looking down towards the ground as he spoke. “You don’t realize that he is trying to ruin everyone’s life just so he can get what he want. That’s not right--all he is doing is looking for attention.”

“This kind of thing happens all the time,” Augustus tried to stand up for Brant, thinking of an explanation to come up with to convince Kyle of believing Brant. “His father has been betraying him for years and Avery…”

“It’s bull Augustus, I know it’s bull. I came home to find my parent’s slaughtered out before me--right before my eyes and I know I was in a worse condition than Brant ever was,” Kyle explained as his voice cracked at the thought of what happened to his parents. “I felt my life slip away from me when I thought the woman that was carrying my child, died right in my arms. Out of Brant and me, I would say I would be the likely candidate to have this, not Brant. He has had everything he ever wanted on a silver platter served to him and now that Avery doesn’t want to be with him--he is going to do whatever he can to make her miserable.”

“Kyle I understand that you have gone through a lot, but Brant is very much telling the truth,” Augustus explained in a low tone seeing Kyle get up from the couch as he also stood up. “You need to believe him…”

“How in the world am I supposed to believe anyone in this damn family? It’s like a blood disease or something because everyone in this family is purely insane or crazy. There are a few people I can live with and that’s Russ and Blake. Other than that, I can’t stand any of you Ashford people. I would kill myself if I was part of this family because I couldn’t stand living with the thought that everyone in my family was a cold hearted son of a bitch,” Kyle snapped looking down to his arm that a few drops of blood slipping down the side of it. “I don’t think you see it clearly, but Russ is a great guy and he deserves to be with Avery. They are like the storybook romance that you can’t take away. No one is better for Avery than Russ is and people are just going to have to face that fact. No matter how hard Brant tries, he knows that deep down he himself can not step between what Russ and Avery have. Russ is a better man than Brant and that’ll show every day and any day. No one is a better man than Russell Denton and you are going to have to learn that Augie.”

“Kyle,” Augustus stepped up and grabbed the ice pack out of Kyle’s hand, picking up a bandage before feeling Kyle rip it from his hands. Augustus ripped it right back, grabbing a hold onto Kyle’s arm hearing Kyle let out a small groan. “Let me help you for a second, don’t be a jerk. I know that’s not like you.”

“What’s wrong?” Kyle noticed the way that Augustus stared down at his arm as Kyle looked down at his still bleeding arm. The look on Augustus’s face made him worry as he tried to see what Augustus was staring at. “Is it like gushing, do you think I am going to need stitches or something?”

“No, it will be fine,” Augustus assured him with a small smirk before shrugging his shoulders and putting the bandage on Kyle’s upper arm. “You are all set kiddo.”

“Thanks,” Kyle reached for his shirt, holding it in his hands as he became silent for a moment. He thought about everything he was talking about for a moment before shrugging his shoulders. “Do you even understand what I am talking about with Russ and Brant there? All you have to do is look at the amazing little girl and Erin is proof that Russ and Avery are meant to be together. Being her uncle, I need to do what is right for her and make sure that Russ ends up with Avery. She needs her parents together and safe. You see, I don’t know about you Augustus, but I am a big believer in having two parents together for their child and that is something big for me. Unless the person is like Brant and there is another better person out there, but other than that--I am a firm believer in having the parents together.”

“You see, you don’t realize how important she really is Kyle,” Augustus pulled something out of his desk slowly and looked it over slowly. “Only if you knew how important that little girl really is.”

“What is that?” Kyle asked seeing the dark and mysterious look that Augustus was giving the paper as Kyle shrugged his shoulders and shook his head slowly. “I don’t care, I just want you to lighten up on him. I have to go Augie.”

“See you later kid,” Augustus nodded flipping through the papers he had in front of him. Leaning back, he let out a deep sigh thinking to what Kyle said about Erin. “Erin truthfully is very important, if only people knew why Nick was willing to go those lengths to have her gone. She may just be the most important thing around here.”


“Cameron I don’t know what to say,” Angela began finding herself at a loss after her brother had gone above and beyond himself in extending his blessing to her about marrying Kevin. Now that they sat together in Cameron’s home at his dining room table, she couldn’t help but feel a bit of apprehension sweep over her. She inhaled slowly before finally speaking up again, “other than while hearing you tell me that I have your blessing to marry Kevin, it’s not needed.”

“Angel I know you’re stubborn, but I just wanted you to see that I’m not against this. I don’t think there is a problem with you two finally being together given how much you care for one another. Surely the fact you’re having children together only solidifies how important it is for you two to be together,” Cameron picked at the salad in front of him, “I think we can find a way to put together a nice, private, yet personal wedding for you.”

“Cameron, you’re not getting it,” Angela set her fork down knowing that she wouldn’t be able to avoid the issue much longer, “I’m not marrying Kevin.”

“Why not?” Cameron frowned at her reaction to his blessing, “Angel I would’ve thought that you of all people would want to find a way to make things official between the two of you.”

“Cameron, it’s just…” she strained to find the right words, her nerves tangling in the pit of her stomach, “It’s just not what I want right now.”

“Why not? I mean I can remember a time when you were willing to put it all at risk to be with him. You were ready to let go of our family and of our legacy in the name of being with him. You fought nose to nose in countless battles about how much Kevin meant to you…” Cameron frowned back at her, “I remember them quite clearly.”

“I realize that and while I’m not denying that I love Kevin--that a part of me will always love Kevin, this isn’t what I need right now. Cam, things are complicated and…well, I really think we need to talk about things.”

“We can talk all you like, but the way I see it the only solution to this situation is for you and Kevin to do the right thing and get married. I don’t want my nieces or nephews to be born into this world with any sense of illegitimacy attached to them. You know yourself how hard that was for you growing up and even though times have changed, we’ve always held a traditional sense in the Stone family and…”

“And that’s why our father had an affair when he was married to your mother,” she frowned at her brother’s insinuations, “Face it Cameron. Our family is anything, but traditional. If you really think about it, what we have is so obviously messed up that my not being married when I have my children is so far from being the cause of issues here Cam.”

“Even so Angel I know that you’ve always strived for what you couldn’t have. I know that you have always had it in your head that you’d settle down and marry someone who could provide you and your children with a stable environment where you have a mother and father working together to raise their children and…” he recounted his sister’s many dreams of happiness to her.

“I know what I once said Cam, but things have changed,” she snapped back at him. Bringing her hands up to her face she took in a long, slow breath, “Look, what I’m trying to say is that I have other priorities in order right now. There are some topics that I’d really like to discuss with you starting with dad.”

“What about dad,” Cameron asked eyeing her suspiciously knowing that there was something far less trivial about to come from her lips, “Angel what is it?”

“I want to know about my mother. I want to know what it is that he wouldn’t tell me about her. I want to know all the things surrounding their relationship and ultimately her death,” she blurted out vocalizing the thoughts that had haunted her since Nick had left the island. Sure, maybe she was finding something else to focus on now that her love life had soured, but it was something important to her.

“Why would you want to do something like that?” he frowned back at her, “You know all you need to know about that particular subject.”

“No, I know all that our father would let me know about that,” she argued with him, “and it’s not enough Cameron. I need to know more.”

“Sometimes too much knowledge can be disappointing,” he decided rising up from his chair and walking away from the table.

“You’ve always said that knowledge is power Cameron,” she followed him hoping to keep him from avoiding the answers she needed to her questions, “You know something more than I do, don’t you.”

“I don’t know nearly enough and honestly,” he spun around to face her again, “I don’t want to. Angel while you think you want to open up that door to the past, the truth is that you don’t want that. You don’t need that and given your condition, I don’t think you should be delving into something that could only upset you.”

“You say that like you know something--like you have the answers I’m seeking out,” she continued to prompt him further for information, “Cameron please. If you can help me, then I’m begging you…”

“I think you and Kevin need to clear the air with one another. Whatever it is that you two are fighting about needs to be resolved so that you two can make a life for those babies together. Angel you have a real chance at happiness, so why in the world would you want to lose that now?” he stepped in closer to her placing his hands on both sides of her shoulders, “I know that you think this is what you want, but right now you need to think about the future, not dwell on the past.”

“Why won’t you help me with this Cameron? I thought that you loved me--that you were always honest and open with me,” she searched his dark eyes, “I thought we always had that.”

“We do have that, but right now there are so many other things that I need to concentrate on…” Cameron started hearing a sound at the doorway. He looked up to see JT staggering through the halls now completely hung over.

“Hey,” JT slurred with a small wave, “I thought I heard voices in here. I should’ve known that you two would be going at it.”

“JT,” Angela replied curtly her eyes narrowing at Cameron’s brother now fully seeing his disheveled state, “how are you?”

JT chortled his laughter vibrating through the room in a hollow, sullen noise, “I’m in hell. Yourself?”

“JT, why don’t you go speak with cook and we’ll get you something to eat?” Cameron suggested taking a step towards his brother, “Maybe cook can get you a couple of aspirin to help with that headache as well.”

“Or a gun to just put me out of my misery,” JT replied with ironic sarcasm making his way back into the hallway again.

“Let me guess. He’s back to using again, right?” Angela noted her eyes fixed on Cameron, “Drugs perhaps? Maybe gambling debts?”

“I need to check on him,” Cameron threw out an apologetic look in her general direction, “but this conversation will be continued. We need to finish this.”

“That we do,” she nodded watching her brother leave. Reaching into her purse she’d left near the table, she pulled out her cell phone and dialed Chris’s number. Hearing his cheerful message on the other end of the line she spoke up in a muted voice, “Hey Chris, it’s Angel. I was just calling about that situation that we spoke about earlier. You know the favor that I asked of you? Well if you have the time I’d really appreciate it if you could help me find out more about the situation at hand. I know it’s kind of short notice, but I know that you’re the only one who is going to help me do this. You’re the only one I’m certain is on my side. Listen when you get this message call me back and we’ll work out something. Talk to you soon.”

Hanging up her cell phone, Angela tucked it back into her pocket before eyeing the door and listening to the muffled sounds of JT and Cameron arguing in the hallway. So maybe her brother had a situation on his hands at the moment with JT, but that wasn’t about to stop her from learning the truth about what had happened in the past with her mother. One way or another she would find out!


“Alicia,” Rob smiled widely walking over towards his wife and holding her tightly in his arms, giving her a small peck on the lips. “You look beautiful this morning.”

“Thank you,” Alicia chuckled feeling him kiss her again before pushing him back gently. She held his hand in hers as he kissed her cheek gently before pointing towards Cori. “So, who is this we have here with us?”

“This is Cori honey,” Rob replied with a small smirk, wrapping his arms around his wife’s waist as he stood in behind her. “You remember when I coached back in the day? This is one of my star players. Remember, she used to watch Lindsay for us.”

“Oh, Cori,” Alicia smiled widely, walking forward feeling Rob not letting go of her. She let out a small laugh as she felt him kiss her cheek once again. “Let me go talk to her for a second honey.”

“I don’t want to let you go,” he replied with a small laugh as he felt her elbow him in the ribs lightly. He let her go before giving her a small kiss on the lips. “If you want to let me go now, I will just hold onto you longer later.”

“It’s a deal,” Alicia winked back at Rob before walking over to Cori and hugging her in her arms tightly. “It’s been so long since I have seen you sweetheart, how are you doing?”

“I’m doing fine,” Cori answered with a fake smile seeing Rob smiling over in the corner of the room as he watched them. “It’s really nice to see you after all these years.”

“Same goes for you,” Alicia let go of Cori, taking a step back as she folded her arms out in front of her gently. “So, what’s been going on with you lately?”

“Well,” Rob came up from behind Alicia, wrapping his arms around her waist tightly and rested his chin on her shoulder gently. “Cori is actually having some real problems with her ex-boyfriend. He has been a real jerk lately with her. Treating her really badly and everything.”

“Well, that’s not good,” Alicia frowned looking out at Cori as she shook her head slowly and let out a small sigh. “If he ever hurts you again, just tell me because I will go beat him up for you. If you don’t believe me, I could. Trust me.”

“I appreciate that very much,” Cori chuckled seeing Alicia looking back at Rob with a small smile, “I don’t think I will need it though.”

“Our son called me today,” Alicia informed him with a small shake of her head, “Matt is with me today while Donny is checking in on Brant.”

“Where is Matt?” Rob questioned holding her in his arms tighter as she looked back towards the door seeing him in the gym with one of the staff members.

“You know he is always with the tall Greek guy. He likes the fact that he is bigger than Don,” Alicia informed Rob with a small chuckle seeing Rob roll his eyes and then laugh.

“He’s with Jacobs?” Rob chuckled shaking his head slowly before letting out a small laugh. “He is going to be just like our Donny boy some day. Big and very intelligent.”

Cori let out a deep breath as she fell down to the couch and watched Rob and Alicia talk. She couldn’t find herself getting any less bored as they spoke. Watching them right now made her wish that Alicia wasn’t here right now because she was changing everything Cori had planned.


“I was just walking my dog, that’s all,” Michael cleared his throat, setting his dog back down on the ground. Michael looked up to see Chase jump up to his feet as he let out a small laugh. “He won’t hurt you.”

“I knew that,” Chase nodded slowly, looking down at Trisha as he pointed back behind them, “I am going to go buy us some ice cream, I’ll be right back. Stay here.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Trisha promised with a small laugh watching Chase walk away before she looked back up at Michael. “So, how are things going for you?”

“They are doing pretty good, I have been really busy with work,” Michael informed her with a small nod before shrugging his shoulders, “so, is that your boyfriend?”

“Chase?” Trisha looked back at Chase who was now paying for the ice cream. “I guess you could say that, yeah.”

“That’s cool, he seems like a real--funny guy,” Michael felt his dog jump out of his arms again as he rolled his eyes, “I’ll see you later, I have to get him again.”

“Bye Michael,” Trisha called out watching him run after his dog again, trying to make sure it didn’t take out someone like it took out Chase. She felt someone behind her as she let out a small smile, “hey you.”

“Hey you,” Chase smiled sitting down next to her slowly before handing over her ice cream and smiling widely. “I think you may want this right now before it melts.”

“Thank you,” she took it from him slowly, feeling his free hand slip in over hers gently. “You are getting to know me very well because you already know my favorite ice cream.”

“It’s because I’m the king of that kind of things,” Chase winked at Trisha seeing Michael off in the distance with his dog again before letting out a small laugh. “So tell me, do I have something to worry about with good old Mikey?”

“Michael? No, you are my one and only right now,” Trisha promised with a small smile seeing him look over at her with his light blue eyes. “I have the best set of blue eyes to look into, I’m not going to give that up.”

“That’s good,” Chase nodded slowly, letting out a small smile as he looked out at her, “because I’m never letting you go.”


“What the hell is this?” the voice sounded as Brant found himself at a loss. He glanced over at Don helplessly knowing full well that he’d just been found out and this price of his deception was going to cost him big time. “I asked you a question Brant.”

“I can explain. I…” Brant stammered finding himself at a loss.

“This was my idea,” Don blurted out in his best friend’s defense. “I came up with this whole scenario and…”

“And all I want to know is why in the hell didn’t you two bring me in on this one,” Hart shook his head at his two pals. He shut the door behind him and carefully locked it, “I mean really did you two think you could really pull something of this caliber off without my area of expertise? I mean sure okay Brant you had me almost completely convinced that you’d had a breakdown at the hospital, but there was that moment that I…”

“Oh please,” Don rolled his eyes at Hart, “You were so buying into the whole Brant is catatonic theme we’d started.”

“Almost, but not quite. I had a feeling and you know I should just tell everyone what you’re both up to considering that you left me out of the loop,” Hart shook his head at the both of them, “but in it’s own way I should’ve been banking on this. So what’s the game plan?”

“We’re not telling you Hart,” Brant frowned at this latest turnabout.

“And just why not?” Hart grumbled making his way further into the room, “Have I not been able to pull a few magic tricks out of my hat as of lately for you Brant?”

“That’s irrelevant considering that you’re involved with Jenna. If she caught wind of any of this…” Brant reminded him bluntly.

“She’s not going to catch wind of this given that she’d murder me on the spot for even considering helping you along with this one,” Hart revealed with a tiny shudder, “but what Jenna doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

“But it might hurt you and I’m not about to let you screw up the best relationship you’ve ever had simply because my wife and I are having issues with her ex,” Brant scowled thinking about the display he’d witnessed between Russ and Avery earlier in the hallway.

“Oh boy are there issues. They were out there yelling at one another and a few minutes later she had her hand down his pants and…” Don piped in rehashing the details that Brant was hoping to ignore.

“I don’t think he needs to hear it Don,” Brant’s agitated voice broke through Don’s summary, “the point is that Russell Denton is a problem and I need to have it solved.”

“So bring me in on this one and we’ll find the miracle solution,” Hart decided taking a step forward, “I mean look at what we all did for Ken when we stopped him from making the biggest mistake of his life with Michelle. You thought we might not be able to pull that off, but look how that spun around in our favor.”

“You bet it did,” Don added with a grin, “That one turned out fantastic.”

“Yeah and I’m sure that Ken is thinking that every night when he goes to bed at night and dreams about that kiss you laid on him,” Hart chortled catching Don’s glare. “Seriously though we can pull this one off. I could get a restraining order against him. I mean that might buy us some time. I could say something like his being here is counterproductive to your recovery.”

“And I could back that up with some medical jargon,” Don threw out on the table as well.

“And the moment that we did that, it would be when Russell comes back in here and demands a second opinion. That would get another doctor involved and let’s face it, all the money in the world won’t be able to make this situation right. I wish it could, but the truth to the matter is if we’re going to one up Russ, then we’re going to have to think like him. We’re going to have to find a way to turn his nature against him in the most inopportune way,” Brant concluded his mind reeling with possibilities of what he could lay out before the man who stood between him and his happiness with Avery.

“I don’t know what you have in mind, but judging by the expression on your face, it looks good,” Hart took another step forward, “and I’m in.”

“So am I,” Don added with a grin, “Whatever we do, we do this together like we always have done.”

“Like we’ll always continue to do,” Brant piped in gleefully knowing that now that his two best friends were working with him, there wasn’t anything that he couldn’t accomplish. It was only a matter of time!


“I never said I was falling for Diego,” Sarah tried to explain seeing Blake’s blue eyes staring out at her like she was crazy, “Why are you looking at me like that?”

“I just can’t believe what I am hearing from you,” Blake threw her hands up in the air not knowing what she should be saying to what Sarah had just told her. “I mean a couple months ago you were telling me that Kyle was your everything and then it’s like you transformed and now you cheated on Kyle.”

“I didn’t cheat on Kyle,” Sarah firmly replied seeing Blake look down at her with her blue eyes showing that they didn’t believe what she was saying. “At that point, I didn’t think I was cheating on Kyle.”

“Which means you did cheat on him Sarah, Kyle was the best boyfriend you could have ever gotten,” Blake pointed out shaking her head in disgust, not believing what her best friend was telling her. It was like her best friend was a stranger now to her. “I thought Kyle was the one you loved.”

“Well, he was--he is,” Sarah thought quickly before shrugging her shoulders and thinking about what happened between her and Diego. “It was like I wanted Kyle to walk in, I wanted him to see what happened?”

“What? So you could never get back with him again?” Blake blurted out seeing Sarah glare up at her with her dark eyes. “I’m being serious Sarah, do you not realize how important he is to you? Kyle is the key to your future.”

“I don’t know what I was thinking Blake,” Sarah replied in a small whisper, thinking about both men and making love to the both of them. “I feel things much deeper with Kyle--a lot deeper, but I wanted him to hurt that night.”

“You wanted him to hurt?” Blake repeated Sarah’s words, shaking her head slowly before letting out a small laugh and walking over towards the window. “Yeah, you wanted him to walk in and see you with Diego. So Kyle could say, hey Sarah I saw you…”

“Saw you what?” Kyle walked in and closed the bedroom door before him as he saw Blake turn around and away from him as he looked down at Sarah who looked just as scared as Blake. “What did you want me to say Sarah?”

“How long have you been there Kyle?” Sarah questioned worriedly, seeing Kyle fold his large arms out in front of him and look down at her with a frown.

“Long enough,” Kyle grunted shaking his head slowly, seeing her eyes get wide as he watched her glance back at Blake. “Don’t look at Blake, tell me what you were going to continue to tell Blake. You better do it now.”


Ben sat beside Diane’s hospital bed watching her as she slept. She looked so calm and peaceful almost as if she was at complete ease laying before him. It was almost as if the last day hadn’t come back to haunt them--like she’d never had to endure the ordeal of losing the baby like she had, yet deep down Ben knew that nothing would ever be the same.

“Oh Diane,” he spoke her name in a soft whisper, his fingers teasing through her long hair. How he wished that he could turn back the clock--that somehow he could turn back the hands of time and make all of this just fade away, but he knew that was impossible. He just wasn’t sure what came next. Diane had been so strong and she’d fought to keep it together, but deep down Ben knew how much this was hurting her.

Hearing a knock on the door, he looked up to see Valerie standing outside the room waving at him. He glanced back over at Diane knowing full well that with the sedative she’d been given she wouldn’t be up anytime soon, yet he hated to leave her. Leaning forward he kissed her forehead before rising up to speak with Valerie. He tiptoed over to the door and carefully closed it behind him before turning to his friend.

“Hey,” she greeted him with a small smile before reaching out to embrace him, “Ben, how are you?”

“I’d be lying if I said I was alright,” he confessed returning the embrace, “but for what it’s worth, I have to admit it’s nice to have someone here right now.”

“I’m sure you must be going through hell right now,” Valerie began sympathetically shaking her head at him, “When I heard the news I had to come on over and check on you.”

“Honestly I’m surprised that you did given that you and I haven’t exactly seen eye to eye on things lately,” he replied with a somber expression. He ran his fingers through his hair momentarily, “Not that I don’t appreciate your being here because I do, but…”

“Ben, I know how hard you must be taking all of this and I knew that you couldn’t go through it alone,” she added seeing the sadness behind his eyes, “I mean it was bad enough to discover that Diane had cheated on you before, but then for you to have to be here staying strong for her when she lost JT’s baby, well I knew that would be more than even someone as tenderhearted as yourself could take. I knew that you might need someone…”

“Wait a second,” Ben frowned back at her, “What did you just say?”

“I said I understood how you must be hurting,” she wrinkled her nose at him, “When JT told me about him and Diane I was shocked and astonished, but I didn’t know how to tell you the news about their affair until it was too late. I just didn’t want to hurt you with what I knew. I mean I know friends tell friends about things like that, yet I know what a great guy you are and…”

“And you knew about Diane and JT?” his eyes widened in surprise, “Yet you never felt compelled to say anything?”

“Well like I said I knew you loved her and how important she was. I tried not to be discouraging since you’ve always been honest with me, but then when JT told me tonight about her losing the baby and how it was his child, well I just knew it was too much for you to have to deal with on your own,” she continued to explain seeing the hurt that registered in his features, but the more she talked, the more she realized she was about to save her friend from making a huge mistake in spending his life with Diane.

“That baby wasn’t JT’s. It was my son or daughter,” Ben argued with a frown, “I know that it was our child that Diane lost…”

“Ben,” she reached for his shoulder, a sad expression on her face, “sweetie, I don’t know how to tell you this, but after Diane had the miscarriage JT had DNA tests confirm what he already knew to be true. He’s the one who fathered that baby and if Diane had come to term, those two would’ve shared a child, not the two of you. She stepped out on you and expected you to foot the bill from her one wild night because she knew you were a stand up guy that is going to make a wonderful father.”

“No,” Ben shook his head refusing to accept what she told him, “That’s not possible. That can’t be true.”

“Ben, I wish it wasn’t, but…” she watched him back away from her. “Ben, where are you going?”

“Diane needs me. Val, I need to go. I need to…” he trailed off shaking his head at her one last time before disappearing into Diane’s hospital room again.

Valerie watched his retreat and felt a faint flicker of guilt sweep over her. Okay, so maybe she’d been a tad bit harsh with him, but after working JT’s shift at the bar, she wasn’t in the mood to feign politeness. Ben deserved the truth and she delivered it to him. There was no way in hell that she was about to let her friend be saddled with such a shameless, reckless slut and while this might have hurt him now, in the long run she had done him a true favor. He’d see Diane as she truly was and then, well then he’d be so grateful to her--to his only real friend that he would find a way to help her get back what she’d lost with Seth. Yes, that was how it was going to work out for her indeed. It would be happily ever after for all of them and neither Ben nor Seth would have to worry about the trivial Diane and Blake’s of the world. It would be like the good old days all over again and she couldn’t wait!


Seth walked up to Ria’s apartment knowing full well that he should’ve called first, but right about now he needed to talk. He wanted to ask her about what they could do for Ben and Diane and even though he knew that he could’ve easily gone to Blake, he’d promised to give her a little time alone with her family and the craziness taking place at the mansion. He wasn’t sure what was happening around there right about now, but he figured it wasn’t something that would be resolved in a matter of minutes, which is why he’d opted to talk to Ria for a bit and catch up.

Of course given how strangely she’d been acting lately, he was wondering if that would really even be in the cards for them. Something was off--something Seth couldn’t quite explain, yet he had no doubt in his mind that whatever it was that was happening had to be in part due to the man that she was seeing on the side. Frowning as he remembered meeting up with Ria at that seedy hotel not so long ago, Seth vowed to bring up that little tidbit of the past to her as well in the hopes that maybe just maybe he could talk her out of whatever dead end relationship she was getting herself into with her mystery lover. Maybe not right away, but sooner or later he would find a way to bring it up during the course of the conversation.

“And maybe she’ll listen,” he mouthed to himself reaching out to knock on her door when he noticed it was slightly ajar. Stepping forward Seth listened for a moment hearing nothing on the other side of the door. He tapped on the door lightly before a strange feeling settled in over him. Worry crept in over his body, an icy chill pressing in over his veins as he pushed the door open further and popped his head inside her apartment to peer in only to discover the place a mess.

“Ria?” he questioned moving inside and stepping on a broken CD case on the ground beneath him. His eyes surveyed his surroundings and he noticed broken pieces of plastic and some kind of paper spread all around the room. This was completely unlike Ria to have the place this messy and as he bent down to reach for one of the pages he heard a sound coming from the other end of the hallway.

Immediately Seth sprung up searching for some kind of weapon to bludgeon the intruder, but before he could find anything to fend off the intruder, Seth’s eyes fell upon an even more horrifying sight! There before him with damp hair and clad only in a navy blue towel that hung loosely around his waist was his cousin Kevin with a bottle of strawberry syrup in hand. His lips were pursed in a whistle and it was obvious Kevin was in an elated mood by the song he was humming to himself. Kevin had just rounded the corner, toting the bottle in one hand while another bottle of champagne was in the other. He was halfway into the living room when his eyes connected with Seth’s and he let out a pinched gulp.

“Seth, what are you doing here?” Kevin gasped clearly horrified by Seth’s arrival.

“That’s what I was about to ask you Kevin,” Seth managed to spit out his eyes practically popping out of his head at the sight of his cousin looking so casual and relaxed in Ria’s disheveled apartment, but nothing prepared him for what came next when Seth heard Ria’s voice coming out from her bedroom area.

“Kevin Adonis, I told you that you had five seconds to get your sexy butt back into bed before I came out there and dragged you back in here for some serious punishment,” Ria’s voice chastised as Seth spun around to see her standing before him dressed in a towel that was clearly an identical match to Kevin’s. Her long, dark hair was wet and hung over her shoulders and her flushed face only further intensified the moment as Seth realized the color in her cheeks had absolutely nothing to do with embarrassment and everything in that moment to do with his almost completely naked cousin standing behind him.

“Ria?” Seth tipped his head to the side ever so slightly. He looked to Kevin again, “Kev? What’s going on?”

“Seth, we can explain. We really can. I mean we…” Kevin stammered knowing by his cousin’s expression that this was only the beginning of a long, torturous night one that obviously neither he nor Ria could avoid any longer now that Seth had stumbled in upon their little secret!


...to be continued...