Episode 296

A small yawn escaped Ria’s lips as she slowly got accustomed to the light peeking through the blinds of the window. She reached out next to her thinking that she would be touching her handsome fiancé, but instead she felt a cool bed right next to her.

“Kevin?” Ria called out his name pulling the sheet in closer to her body, listening to see if she could hear any noise to tell her that he was home. “Where did you go?”

Ria got out of bed slowly grabbing her robe from the chair in the corner of the room before taking a small look around the room. She peeked her head inside the bathroom to see no Kevin and a small frown developed over her features.

“He’s not here,” Ria sighed walking back into the bedroom seeing a note set on the pillow Kevin had been laying on earlier. She took a seat on the edge of the bed grabbing the note in her hands and reading the familiar writing that belonged to Kevin in the letter. “I would have woken you, but you looked so beautiful sleeping. I’m going out to finish a couple of things, be back soon. Love Kevin.”

A small smirk appeared over her lips as she folded the letter back up and put it in the pocket of her robe. Maybe he would be back soon and she would just wait for him and make him some lunch for later.

As soon as she walked into the kitchen she heard the noise of the door opening and she got excited thinking it could be Kevin coming home so soon.

“I didn’t think you would be back so soon,” Ria stepped out into the living room, letting out a small frown when she saw not Kevin before her, but her sister instead. “You know, I think we need to teach you how to call.”

“That would take too much time out of my day,” Trisha shrugged with a small smirk, folding her arms out in front of her chest before shrugging her shoulders. “I’m assuming you were waiting for lover boy to be back so soon, sorry to disappoint you. Where did he go? To get some more condoms or something?”

“Trisha,” Ria gasped shaking her head slowly at her sister’s rudeness before walking back into the kitchen hearing Trisha following her not far behind. “You know, that’s not a very nice thing to say.”

“What else could I imagine him doing?” Trisha chuckled going over towards the corner of the cabinets and resting back against the counter. “I mean, every time I walk in on the two of you--you are always in the act. What is that man on anyways? Viagra or something because he is like the energizer bunny. He keeps going and going…well, it seems like the man is never down.”

“No, that’s all Kevin there, he doesn’t need anything to get him going,” Ria replied with a small chuckle before shaking her head slowly, “that’s none of your business anyways. I don’t think Kevin would feel very comfortable with us talking about how he works privately and that’s true--he isn’t always up.”

“Oh, it’s true,” Trisha nodded with a small laugh watching her sister’s dark eyes glance over at her as she continued, “It’s damn true sister. You know you like it too.”

“Okay, enough about how Kevin is with me in the bedroom because you are my younger sister,” Ria pointed out grabbing some orange juice from the refrigerator, “I shouldn’t be talking that kind of stuff with you anyways.”

“It’s not like I haven’t done anything before Ria, I’m not a little girl,” Trisha pointed out seeing Ria look at her with tensed eyebrows before she shook her head slowly. “What? I’m just saying.”

“I don’t need to know that Trisha you are still my little, very little sister and I don’t think you should even come close to doing that yet,” Ria informed Trisha with a small shake of her head before reaching for a glass inside of the cabinet. “At least I can thank god that you haven’t done anything with Chase yet. Considering that you just met the guy.”

Ria looked at Trisha who stared out at her with her big eyes before nodding slowly. Ria saw Trisha walk over towards the cabinet and pull out another glass to pour herself some orange juice too.

“Trisha, please tell me you didn’t,” Ria begged seeing Trisha take a sip of her drink before shrugging her shoulders and looking away from Ria. “You did? Trisha, you shouldn’t have done that yet.”

“I’m not as bad as you and Kevin are,” Trisha defended herself with a small nod seeing Ria roll her eyes at the comment, “You and Kevin were going at it the first day. I at least waited--a little bit.”

“I’ve known Kevin my whole life,” Ria reminded Trisha with a small shake of her head seeing Trisha shrug her shoulders before taking another sip of her juice. “You have known Chase how long?”

“It doesn’t matter because the man is simply irresistible,” Trisha stated with a small shrug setting her drink back down on the counter before looking back up at Ria. “I mean he could be better than Kevin is in bed.”

“I find that very hard to believe,” Ria shook her head slowly seeing Trisha nod slowly before Ria let out a small laugh. “You shouldn’t even know anything like that about Chase yet Trisha. Besides, Kevin is as good as it comes.”

“I don’t know Trisha shrugged pulling herself up to sit on the countertop as a small smile appeared over her lips. “Chase might have bigger parts than Kevin does.”

“That is so not true,” Ria shook her head slowly, glancing back at Trisha before letting out a small laugh. “I think I would never believe that one.”

“Yeah, you really shouldn’t believe me because I know I’m wrong from all the times I’ve walked in on the two of you to actually get to know Kevin more than I want to,” Trisha let out a small laugh shaking her head slowly before seeing Ria nod and let out a small laugh. “Though, Chase isn’t all that bad. He’s up there.”

“I do not need to know that at all,” Ria didn’t want to hear anything like that coming from her younger sister as she let out a small sigh. “How about I hear about that date you had last night and try and leave out all the parts I don’t want to hear.”


“You show me yours and I’ll show you mine,” Chris wiggled his brow at Angela catching the look she was giving him from across the way.

“Now you’re just being silly,” she shot him a small disapproving look, “You’re just trying to bait me into something here admit it.”

“Okay maybe I am a little bit, but trust me it’ll be worth it in the end,” Chris twirled his fingers in the air at her, a grin spreading over his features, “Do it Angel! Be the free spirit I know you to be.”

“Oh alright,” she let out a tiny giggle before reaching to the ties on the robe she was wearing. She saw his gaze follow her movement before she blew a kiss at him, “Wait how about we do this together?”

“Well, I really would much rather you go first,” his own hands moved to his robe tie as well, “but if this is the only way you’re going to do this…”

“It’s absolutely the only way you’re going to get me to do this,” she promised eyeing him with an interest of her own.

“Okay, if that’s how we’re going to play it on the count of three. One…two…three..” Chris blurted out watching her stand before him not making a move, “Hey you promised.”

“I never promised and besides I know you,” she took a step forward, “You are never, ever going to do it without my prodding.”

“I said I would, but I knew you wouldn’t,” he shook his head at her feeling her close the gap between them.

“We both know each other too well,” she replied reaching out to take the ties of his robe between her fingers, “I’ll tell you what. If you let me do yours, I’ll let you do mine.”

“Deal,” he reached out readily for her robe ties, their eyes meeting in a moment of anticipation. He grinned down at her before whispering, “You ready for this?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” she nodded eagerly her hold on the sash of his robe tightening, “One…two…”

“Three,” Chris replied ready to tug on her robe when a noise rumbled through the room.

“If you even think about touching her, I’ll break your fingers,” Kevin warned marching into the room to catch the two of them together.

“Well, it looks like our moment passed us by with an uninvited guest,” Chris spun around to see Kevin glaring at him, “Speaking of which how in the world did you get in here?”

“I walked around back and figured you’d leave the door open and I’m glad that I was right given that you two were just about to,” Kevin’s brow narrowed with agitation.

“To what Kevin?” Angela stepped forward curling her lips in a frown at him, “What business of yours is it what Chris and I were or weren’t about to do?”

“For starters we’ve all been down this road before and it’s not pretty Angie and secondly well the last time I checked when you invited a loser into your bed it only made things even more messy for you,” Kevin sneered in response, his dark eyes fixed on Chris in an angry glare.

“Now wait just a second,” Chris brought his hands up in the air defensively, “I don’t know where you think you’re coming from, but…”

“It’s none of his business,” Angela waved him off before he could say anything further, “just know you don’t owe him any explanations about what we were doing.”

“Don’t start this again Angie because I don’t find it the least bit amusing,” Kevin warned sharply.

“Nor do I because we weren’t doing anything that should be considered horrible. We were just…” Chris began again.

“Save it Foley. I’d like to speak with Angie--alone,” Kevin growled back at him not bothering to redirect his attention to Chris now that he was focused on Angie.

“Angel I…” Chris stammered a bit.

“I’ll call you back in here in a few minutes because this won’t take long,” she promised seeing Chris shuffle out of the room to give her a moment with Kevin. Once Chris had cleared the room she glared up at Kevin, “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Stopping you from making the same mistakes all over again,” he frowned back at her, “Do you have any idea how stupid it’s going to be for the two of you to start sleeping with one another again.”

“We aren’t sleeping with one another,” she protested throwing her hands up in the air, “Tell me something Kevin why does it always fall back to sex with you? I mean really.”

“Oh right and you expect me to believe my walking in on him ready to rip your clothes off and vice versa wasn’t about sex,” he rolled his eyes at her, “Try to feed me another line Angie because I’m not biting.”

“No one asked you too,” she reached for the ties on her robe and pulled them open to reveal the ridiculously bright and polka dot patterned pajamas she was wearing.

“What in the…” Kevin blinked back at her practically blinded by the loud, fluorescent colors that she was wearing.

“Chris and I both bought a set last night because we thought they were cute,” she informed him gruffly pulling her robe together against her chest again, “and what you so poorly took to be some kind of sexual thing, well it couldn’t be farther from it.”

“Even so, I don’t really like you spending all this time with him,” Kevin replied sharply, “It’s not good for you.”

“Given that you’re hardly ever around I was starting to believe that you didn’t care,” she brushed past him to pick up the glass of orange juice she’d been sipping on earlier.

“I’ve been busy,” he replied sharply knowing that this was probably a mistake in coming over to see her.

“Well so have I and clearly our busies haven’t coincided lately,” she waved her hand between the both of them, “So if you only came over here to insult the man who has so graciously put me up in his home and is a dear friend of mine, then you can leave.”

“Believe me there’s nothing I would love more, but right now I want to talk to you. You see I was under this foolish notion that you might be needing a visit from me because all wasn’t well,” he replied taking a step forward, “Like maybe you might need your best friend at a time when you’re in such an emotional upheaval.”

“Emotional upheaval,” she repeated with a frown, “What have you talked to Cameron? Is he trying to push his blessing off on you too like he did with me?”

“His blessing,” Kevin eyed her closely, “What blessing?”

“The one for you and I to finally be together,” she tossed her hands around in the air, “You know now that my father is dead he’s saying that hey it’s okay that you and I settle down and get married. He’s giving us an all access pass to just make it to the altar as husband and wife because he suddenly thinks that’s what would solve all of the issues in my life.”

“Wait a second,” Kevin blinked back at her, “Cameron told you that he will let us get married.”

“He all but offered to pay for it,” she frowned back at him, “but you were there the other day when he started spouting off about it.”

“Well yes, but I thought he was just being hysterical at the time,” he confessed with a small shrug, “I figured he was upset with you and that lead him to saying that. I thought that maybe he was just wound up and…”

“Nope it’s not about him being wound up. It’s about him thinking that you and I are meant to be together. He really, truly believes that we should just throw caution to the wind and get married like we wanted to all those years ago. He thinks that we’re an ideal match and that our lives could somehow be complete by you and I taking the plunge into wedded bliss.”

“Well, he’s right on that,” Kevin replied catching her off guard, “Getting married could be a very good thing. In fact I’m certain it‘s the right thing--for the both of us!”


Russ sat in the kitchen looking out onto the back porch of the Ashford Estate. He could remember the last time he’d been in this place back when Avery was pretending to be engaged to Brant. Back then they had to worry about the world learning the truth that she and Brant weren’t together when everyone thought that Bruce was dead and now that he was it felt like nothing had changed. She was still pretending to be with Brant, yet longing to be with him and…

“Hey man,” Kyle interrupted his thoughts bringing Russ back to the moment, “you look like hell.”

“Yeah well that’s what I think I’m in right now,” Russ admitted freely turning to face his friend, “It’s not every day that you get mistaken for dead, fight to find your way home after getting amnesia and then come home and find that the love of your life is no longer married to you, but your worst enemy.”

“Hey it’ll get better,” Kyle tried to encourage him moving around to the coffee machine and reaching for a coffee mug. “Things will turn around. Brant can’t fake it much longer.”

“I’m not all that sure of it,” Russ admitted with a heavy sigh, “I feel like I’m losing her Kyle and this time I’m afraid I won’t be able to get what we had back again.”

“Don’t say that,” Kyle frowned setting his mug down and watching his friend closely, “When Avery thought you were dead her world came crashing down around her. She was miserable and lost in a place that no one could pull her out of. She wanted to be with you more than anything…”

“And yet here we are back at this place with Brant calling the shots,” Russ spat out in frustration shaking his head again, “Kyle I feel like I’m never going to be able to be free to love her as long as he’s in our lives.”

“I hate to state the obvious man, but it’s going to be a hell of a lot harder to avoid him right now,” Kyle sighed heavily reaching for another mug to pour Russ some coffee. “Whether or not you like it, the man is your family now.”

“Don’t remind me,” Russ shuddered. “Thinking about that only makes it worse. In fact the more I think about that, the more I realize just how screwed up this entire situation is. I mean before I left town my life was finally coming together. I had absolutely everything I had ever wanted and dreamt for. My wife was my wife, my father was my father and the Ashfords were so far from my life that I could finally breathe. I could finally give Avery what I promised her…”

“And you’ll be able to give it to her again,” Kyle decided hating to see his pal so down in the dumps. “In fact, I think I know how we can fix what’s going on right now.”

“Kyle, we already tried to get Brant to fess up that he’s faking,” Russ frowned in response thinking about how Brant had Hart and Don backing him up, “As long as things go like they did yesterday, we’re never going to convince Avery of the truth.”

“Of course we are,” Kyle set his coffee down and motioned for his friend to follow him out of the kitchen, “and I know exactly how we can do it.”


Hart rubbed his neck and shoulders looking at the papers in front of him. While he wanted to find a way to make this plan that he and Don were working on for Brant something that could go off as smoothly as possible, Hart knew full well that they were going to be experiencing some fierce opposition on all fronts. It was that opposition that had Hart up most of the night trying to figure out the best course of action. He closed his eyes for a moment before hearing footsteps in the hallway.

“I thought I heard you up,” Jenna spoke to him from where she was leaning against the wall. Her eyes were filled with worry, “You didn’t come to bed last night, did you?”

“I should have, but no,” he admitted honestly, “I didn’t make my way in there.”

“Why not,” she questioned walking in behind him to slide her arms around his shoulders, “What’s going on?”

“I’ve just been busy working on things. I’ve got this plan I’m tinkering with and I haven’t evened it out completely yet,” he sighed tipping his head back to meet her curious eyes.

“Anything I can help with,” she questioned taking a seat in his lap.

“No, not really,” he shook his head turning his focus to the woman he loved now in his arms, “I’m just being too analytical like always.”

“Sounds like it’s something pretty big,” she noted the expression on his face, “Is this about Sam’s party she’s hosting?”

“No,” he shook his head catching the expectant look on her face, “It’s about a defense I’m working on.”

“Ah, so you’ve been in lawyer mood all night,” she nodded in response reaching out to massage his shoulder, “That’s why you’re all doom and gloom so early.”

“Something like that,” he paused, “but what about you? Why are you up so early on your day off?”

“I missed you,” she smiled at him before laying her head on his shoulder, “and I was feeling a little queasy.”

“Morning sickness already?” he couldn’t help but ask remembering their child growing inside of her. He dropped his hand to her abdomen massaging it gently, “Anything I can do to help?”

“Actually this feels pretty nice,” she replied with a soft sigh closing her eyes. “I really did miss you.”

“I’m sorry,” he bent his head to kiss her forehead gently, “I really should’ve quit hours ago, but the perfectionist in me wouldn’t allow it.”

“Well, I have to say if you’re this devoted to everything in your life, then we’re going to have a good one with one another,” she raised her head to meet his gaze, “Hart, what is it?”

“Nothing,” he shook his head reaching out to touch her cheek gently, “I guess I was just thinking about the future.”

“What about?” she replied curiously.

“Just about how tentative it is. I mean you think you have everything figured out--that somehow everything is secure, but then life finds a way to toss you a curveball.”

“Where’s this coming from,” she couldn’t help but ask as a thought occurred to her, “Hart, did you speak with your father again?”

“No thankfully,” he let out a breath of relief before a groan followed, “That would be all I need right about now. On top of everything else I don’t need him coming around trying to work some kind of scam on everyone.”

“I don’t think he would do that,” Jenna spoke up in his father’s defense catching the disapproving look that came from him.

“Trust me Jen he would if he could,” he sighed again before sweeping his fingers into her hair, “Although I have to admit I am glad that he didn’t have that opportunity to try to weave his way into our lives. If he had, there’s no telling what else could go wrong. I mean just think of how he’d try to manipulate all of us--how he’d move from us to Sam if he knew she was his granddaughter. Ugh even thinking of it now makes me want to shudder.”

“Speaking of Sam have you seen her lately,” Jenna couldn’t help but ask.

“Yeah she called last night,” Hart explained with a small smile, “She and Wayne are taking some kind of trip with one another. He’s got some meeting up at the university in Carlton.”

“And she called to ask you if it was okay if they went?” Jenna arched a curious brow.

“More like she wanted to know if I could recommend a hotel for them, but still,” Hart paused thinking about his relationship with his daughter, “You know it’s just so strange to think that I have a daughter out there who is an adult. I mean I’ve missed most of her childhood and now for us to start right now brand new…”

“I’m just glad it’s been working out for you. I know Sam already thinks the world of you. She’s told me that time an time again,” Jenna added thoughtfully.

“That was before the bombshell was dropped on her, but I’m hoping the trend continues,” Hart paused thinking about his daughter’s well being, “Hey Jen, about Wayne, he’s like um, a guy on the up and up right? I mean he wouldn’t take advantage of her in any way. This trip isn’t going to be some kind of romantic getaway for them, right?”

“Hart, she’s eighteen years old. You can hardly dictate her love life,” Jenna patted his chest gently, “You can’t expect her to stop being who she is simply because…”

“I’m not asking her to stop being who she is, but if she and your brother are sneaking off to,” Hart stopped himself, “Oh God I’m turning into my own worst nightmare. Here I am worried about my daughter’s virtue when I more than lost mine long before the age of eighteen.”

“I’m sure she’s not nearly as wild as you were,” Jenna couldn’t help but offer up a small laugh, “and as for my brother, well I can tell you he doesn’t take relationships lightly. When he’s in love it’s all or nothing. He doesn’t accept anything less or offer the woman he‘s with any less.”

“And you think that’s what it is with them? Love?” Hart questioned curiously.

“I have honestly never seen Wayne so hooked on anyone in his life,” she offered up in explanation, “He’s always been so focused on his studies and I’m positive if he and Sam are this close, it’s something real between them.”

“I know. I mean I don’t know, but I trust you,” he smiled weakly at her, “I just hope that whatever is going on with them that they, well that they are at least careful about it. I don’t exactly welcome the thought of becoming a father and a grandfather all in the same year.”

“I highly doubt that’s going to happen for you Hart,” Jenna patted his shoulder again, “I think you’re going to just worry for nothing.”

“Maybe,” he shrugged before glancing up at her once more, “Hey Jen, let me ask you something.”

“What’s that?” she replied noticing a sudden seriousness behind his eyes.

“What do you think about getting married?” he blurted out in a casual fashion.

She sat silent for a moment before speaking up again, “You mean in general or something a bit more specific?”

“I’m thinking a bit more specific, more like well, specifically our getting married. I mean what do you think about the idea,” he tossed out before her. “Do you think it’s something that you might be maybe interested in thinking about?”

“Because we’re pregnant or because it’s something you want,” she watched his reaction closely.

“Well maybe a bit of both. I mean yes, our getting married because we’re having a baby makes sense, but on the flip side our getting married simply because it’s something I have thought about for our future also makes sense,” he shrugged his shoulders, “I mean I was eventually planning on something like that for us.”

“But I thought you hated marriage,” she replied remembering all their talks, “I thought we both agreed that getting married only caused a rift in a perfectly good relationship.”

“I know what we said, but our relationship is a bit out of the ordinary. I mean we’re not like everyone else,” he paused, “are we?”

“Well no, but I mean I guess we’ve just adjusted to the idea of living together and you haven’t really officially sold your condo yet, so that’s a pretty big adjustment. That’s a life altering move and I think marriage would be another doozy right now.”

“Well I suppose, but I mean they say good stress is well, healthy and I think that might be something for us to consider,” Hart continued to ponder aloud.

“Well I suppose it could be, but as you said you’ve had a lot of stress lately with your father returning, Sam being your daughter and all else,” Jenna offered up after a moment’s contemplation, “I mean I’m not saying that I would be totally against the idea of us getting married, but well I know that what we have right now is good.”

“But do you think our getting married could be something to make it better,” he tossed out on the table, “Like it could enhance what we share?”

“It may but well, I mean I wouldn’t want this to be something we’d enter into lightly or on a whim. I mean my mom and Pres have lived together for years madly in love with one another. They have a child with one another and they never decided to take the plunge,” she offered up to add to the discussion.

“True and my parents had a horrible marriage, so in all theory the statistics would be against our doing it ourselves since it’s never been anything positive in either one of our backgrounds,” he added weighing out the odds.

“Exactly and if there’s really no need for it, then in theory we shouldn’t even consider getting involved in that kind of venture,” she stated plainly, “It would be a huge leap of faith there.”

“But one that I think you’re worth taking,” Hart tipped his head up to gaze into her dark eyes, “Jen, I can honestly tell you that before I met you I never wanted to get married--ever, but now that we’re together all the rules have changed.”

“Are you saying that being with me has made you sentimental,” she teased running her fingers through his dark hair.

“I believe it has and amazingly enough,” Hart couldn’t help but smile, “The more I think about this marriage idea, the more I’m starting to like it.”

“In theory or overall after you’ve thought about the pluses and the minuses,” she searched his eyes.

“Oh I’ve thought about it and I mean if you think about it--really think about it, we have probably one of the most secure relationships of all of our friends,” he added ponderously, “I mean we’ve had a heck of a lot of odds stacked against us, but I don’t think any of them come even close to having what we do.”

“No, I can’t say that I feel that they do, but are you really sure that is really something you want to consider? It would be a legal and binding contract if we decided to go that route with one another,” she confessed approaching the subject on a rational level. “I mean I’m not saying that I’m ready to close the door on the idea of us getting married.”

“So if I wound up going out and getting a ring and going for the gusto, then I might be able to get a yes out of you,” Hart searched her eyes for a long moment.

“Is yes the answer that you want?” she countered in a small breath.

“Only if it’s the answer that you want to give,” he nodded in response, “because you know I think I would really like it if you said yes.”

“In that case, I think I might actually really like it if you asked,” she shrugged her shoulders casually before getting up off of his lap, “that is when you’re ready for it.”

“Hmm, well you know I have a friend who is a judge. We could just go and surprise everyone by taking off to get married today,” he offered up with a small grin.

“Do you want to get married today,” she answered his proposition with a question.

“Well, it would be a nice thought, but how about we settle for a few hours in bed with one another and then we take some time to make things official? Say over a dinner and a romantic evening?” he arched a curious brow. “What do you say to that?”

“It would probably be the same answer to the question you’ll be issuing me on such a night,” she winked at him before blowing a kiss in his general direction. He watched her walk down the hallway towards their bedroom and a smile lifted over his lips.

“Oh yes, I am going to marry you one day Jenna Carpenter. Just you wait and see,” he mused under his breath certain that their getting married would be the best possible thing for the both of them. Sure okay so marriage didn’t seem to work out so smoothly for Brant and Don’s wife was a total witch at times, but Hart knew with Jenna that together they could find a marriage to put all of his friends to shame.


“There you are,” Shannon smiled widely, greeting Don at the door as he walked in slowly. She wrapped her arms around his neck tightly, pulling him in closer to her and feeling the resistance in his body she knew he would most likely be feeling. “What’s wrong sweetheart?”

“You are being very nice,” Don pointed out feeling her tip up on her toes and kiss him slowly, running her hands down his back before cupping his bottom in her hands and giving it a small squeeze. “Hey now.”

“What’s wrong honey, are you okay?” Shannon questioned feeling him pull away from her only to shut the door that was still wide open. “So, how long do I have you for today?”

“What do you mean how long? I’m your husband--you have me for a very long time,” Don pointed out with a small shake of his head, “I mean, I’ll be here for quite a while I hope.”

“No, I mean how long do I have you before you run off to Brant again?” Shannon replied in a small breath, grabbing his hands and pulling him over towards the couch. “I was hoping I could have a lot of time with you today.”

“Well,” Don felt Shannon push him back against the couch and get in over him as Don let out a small gasp. “I don’t know, I just came to check in on things. Obviously, you are in a really good mood though and it’s kind of scaring me.”

“Scaring you? Why would it be scaring you?” Shannon whispered running her hands through his thick, dark hair before leaning down and tugging at his bottom lip with her teeth gently. “Don’t you like things like this Don?”

“Kind of,” Don replied in a tight breath feeling her slide in closer to him and he let out a small groan feeling her fingers slide down over the back of his neck. “I mean it’s nice, but it isn’t you.”

“Is it so bad that I want to be with my husband right now?” she muttered leaning forward to press a small kiss against the side of his neck, hearing him let out a sharp breath. The promise that she made Kyle ran through her mind as she reached her hands up to the top of Don’s shirt, unbuttoning it slowly. “So, what’s new with Brant lately?”

“I don’t know, the same thing,” Don answered feeling her hands slide in over against his bare chest once she finished unbuttoning his shirt. “Are you going to hurt me?”

“Why would I do that?” Shannon laughed pulling his tucked shirt out of his pant before slipping it down to his elbows. “There is nothing I would want to hurt you about Donny.”

“Are you sure about that because you really are seriously scaring me,” he informed her his light blue eyes widened as he spoke to her and felt her hands run in over his chest slowly. “I mean, you really have never been this hands on over me before.”

“I should start doing it more shouldn’t I?” she watched Don as his eyes widened and he cleared his throat before nodding slowly. She leaned forward to kiss his lips again, running her hand through his hair slowly before pulling away from him once more. “So, what do you have planned Don?”

“What are you talking about?” Don felt Shannon’s fingers run in over his belt buckle as he looked down to her hands before looking back up at her. “I don’t think I understand what you mean Shannon.”

“I mean, what’s your plan with Brant?” Shannon restated seeing Don looking at her with his narrowed blue eyes. She pulled apart his belt before seeing him gulp down and shake his head slowly. “I want to help the two of you out.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about Shannon,” Don’s voice came to gasp as he felt her hand slide into his slacks and grip him in her hand tightly. “Shannon, maybe you should…”

“Quiet,” she slid her left hand in over his lips before removing her hand and replacing it with her lips. She felt Don’s hands slide in over the small of her back slowly before pulling her closer to him.

“Oh man, you are so freaking disgusting,” a voice shocked Don from the corner of the room as he pulled Shannon in closer to him so she covered him up from being seen by a stranger. “You are so nasty Shannon, I think I’m going blind.”

“Shannon,” Don gulped looking over towards the younger man in the corner of the room, blocking his eyes from seeing the two of them together. “Why is there a stranger standing in the middle of my living room?”

“That’s no stranger,” Shannon rolled her eyes getting up off of Don and sitting down next to him on the couch. She watched Don quickly buckle his belt back up before she nodded towards Nate who was in the corner of my room. “That’s my brother Nate.”

“Oh,” Don nodded slowly seeing Nate slowly pull his hands down to stop blocking his eyes from seeing the sight before him. Don looked over at Shannon before looking back at Nate. “Hi Nate.”

“Yeah, whatever,” Nate waved the two of them off before walking towards the back of the hallway. “You two can finish up doing the nasty together, I’m just going to sleep for a while. Don’t be too loud because I might puke all over this ugly, expensive carpet.”

“He’s staying here?” Don questioned seeing Shannon nod slowly before he let out a small chuckle. “You have to be kidding me. Someone I don’t even know is staying in my home?”


“I just can’t believe all of this,” Blake blurted out pacing around the living room floor while Seth sat in a chair watching her apprehensively, “I mean first everything is so up in the air when Susan did what she did to Kyle, then there was Kenny and his issues, Brant and his situation now and then to add insult to injury, I learn that Russell Denton is my brother. That this isn’t some sick joke, but rather he and I share a father!”

“Well things could be worse,” Seth offered up watching her knowing that it would probably be another half an hour before he got a word in edgewise. From the moment they had retired to the guesthouse late last night to this morning, Blake had been on a tirade about all the chaos happening in her house within her family.

“And what makes this worse is that my grandfather just stands there and allows all of this to happen. I mean he doesn’t think for a second that maybe just maybe he should put his foot down and do something,” she threw her hands up in the air, “Of course he doesn’t do this because he’d rather watch Russell and his idiot friends trample the estate to the ground.”

“Blake, don’t you think you’re being just a tad bit dramatic there? I mean obviously your grandfather is okay with the idea,” Seth paused catching her look of irritation, “I mean really what can he do?”

“I don’t know,” she marched over to plop down on his lap, “but he could at least think of something. I mean there has to be a way to extract Russ from the house. Knowing the type I’m sure he’s already trying to tap into the family assets and…”

“Blake slow down,” Seth urged her again, “I really don’t think this is worth getting upset over. I’m sure if you just take a step back and push it out of your mind for a little while, you’ll feel relaxed and…”

“Seth, you don’t understand. My family already has enough issues and now for Russ to be lying about my father,” she huffed impatiently, “I mean will it ever end?”

“Blake, I hate to sound insensitive here, but um can we change the subject for a little while? I know that you’re upset, but I really think that maybe we should take a step back from this. Maybe we can focus on something else, something a bit less hostile and upsetting,” he tried to appeal to her, “I mean we are trying to keep you calm and at ease since we’re trying to have a baby and all.”

“A baby,” the words seemed to take her down a few notches towards relaxed, “That’s right. We have so many wonderful things ahead of us that I can’t and won’t let my family spoil it.”

“Good thinking” Seth reached out to kiss her gently, “Now how about some happy news?”

“Like our planning for a future where my insane family doesn’t drive us or our children nuts,” she tossed back at him with a huff.

“More like the secret you’ve been keeping from me,” he saw confusion register behind her eyes, “You know the one about Kevin and Ria?”

“Oh my gosh I take it that they finally told you,” she let out a breath of relief, “Thank God. Ria made me swear not to say anything. She seemed really unsettled about you knowing and I’m not quite sure why she wanted to keep them dating a secret, but…”

“Well now they are engaged,” Seth corrected catching the way her eyes grew wide.

“Engaged? Are you serious? I mean I kind of figured with that pink ring on her finger, but still…” Blake started again in an uproar, “I mean Seth it’s beautiful and…”

“And I still can’t believe you didn’t say anything. It’s not that I’m complaining that you were quiet because it shows you and Ria have bonded and that’s good, but still I can’t believe you didn’t at least drop hints,” he laughed lightly.

“I think we all figured you’d get it when you were ready,” she winked at him teasingly.

“Yeah well ready or not I found out,” Seth replied thinking back to walking in on Kevin and Ria in a most tentative fashion. He shuddered at the memory before directing his attention to Blake, “but seriously I’m happy for them. They are both two very important people in my life and it’s nice to see that on top of all the tragedy that we’ve been dealing with that there is still hope for happiness out there.”

“Oh Seth,” she gasped in response, “I’m so sorry about earlier. Here I am complaining about my siblings when Jade…”

“It’s okay,” he replied touching her face lightly as her words tapered off, “I mean I know it’ll never be okay that she’s gone, but my only comfort is that she’s in a better place with our mother.”

“I know and hey maybe she’s met my mom too,” she offered in response, “which I have to tell you she’s a wonderful person and I’m sure she will look after Jade.”

“I know she will,” Seth nodded squeezing her in his arms, “but right now I just want to think about you--to think about how lucky we are to have one another.”

“I’d like that,” she lay her head on his shoulder just long enough to enjoy a moment of comfort before her cell phone started to ring. Picking her head up she let out a long sigh and reached for her phone, “hello.”

Seth watched her face light up as she rose off of his lap motioning that she’d be right back with her finger. He sank back into the chair closing his eyes and taking a moment to reflect on life. He realized that while a great many things were in turmoil he had to be thankful for what fate had provided him with--what was still in store for him.

“Oh my God Seth you are so not going to believe this!” Blake squealed excitedly rushing back into the room. “That was my contact for the center and she told me that there was a great interest generated within the community and one of those who want to fund the project proposed a fund raiser--a party to honor what we’re trying to do.”

“Really?” Seth opened his eyes to look up at her, “Who was that?”

“I didn’t ask, but I have to tell you from the details my head of PR was running by me it sounds like it’ll be a formal ball with costumes and really filled with an air of romance for the occasion which only adds to the good cause.”

“It sounds wonderful,” he replied with a small smile.

“Seth, you sound like you aren’t happy,” she frowned down at him.

“No I’m happy for you Blake. I really am,” he offered up with a small smile, “It’s just been a long week.”

“I know,” she sank back into his arms, “but hey what do you say we spend the rest of the day relaxing with one another to make up for it?”

“Sure, it sounds like heaven,” he nodded kissing her once again as he thought about everything that had happened over the last few months. Oh how life had changed for everyone!


Sarah looked around the room seeing no sign of Kyle in the bed beside her. The covers were neatly tucked up underneath the pillow and all of his things were still in his suitcase. She reached out to touch where she’d expected to find him beside her, holding her in his arms, but instead she was alone facing the morning without him.

“Oh Kyle,” she sighed pulling herself out of bed and slipping into a robe. She looked at her reflection before groaning at how tired she still looked. Surely the turn of events were finally taking their toll on her. She still had to phone the insurance company and find out what was going to happen with her place now that everything was singed beyond recognition it seemed.

“You’ve got work to do,” she reminded herself quickly getting dressed in a loose fitting pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt before walking out into the hallway searching for Kyle. She rounded the corner ready to go downstairs when she came face to face with Diego. She gasped as she nearly knocked into him.

“Diego, what are you doing here?” she questioned in an accusatory tone.

“I’m here to see Brant,” he explained in a smooth, even tone, “Someone at the hospital explained they wanted me to come over for a consultation and see how he was doing.”

“Not good,” Sarah admitted thinking about what she’d learned over the last day, “He’s still locked inside himself from the sound of things.”

“I’ve heard a bit more about what’s going on and I’ll admit I’m rather worried about him,” Diego admitted with a small frown before giving her a once over, “You look pale. Are you feeling okay?”

“Yeah,” she nodded in response leaning in against the wall, “Why do you ask?”

“Why do you think I’m asking?” he tossed out a small pointed look.

“Everything seems like it’s falling apart, but I’m not,” she mouthed standing up straighter and offering him a nervous smile. “I’m a fighter you know.”

“Yes I’m well aware of that,” he nodded with a thoughtful expression, “and that’s part of what I like about you. You always keep pushing on and making it look easy to the rest of the world.”

“It’s no where near being easy, but I’m happy now,” Sarah added quickly catching the hint of sadness behind his dark eyes, “Kyle and I have finally reconnected and that’s something I’m really grateful for. I was so afraid that we’d never be able to do that with one another after everything Susan did to keep us apart.”

“I knew it was just a matter of time,” Diego nodded turning his attention to the floor. “You two have something that I’m sure will only get stronger with time.”

“I know it will,” Sarah added catching the way his eyes met hers before she looked away, “Well I should really go find Kyle.”

“Yeah that’s probably a good idea,” Diego cleared his throat, “I have some work I need to do and…”

“Right,” she waved at him, “so I guess I’ll see you.”

“Yeah,” he nodded again seeing her move towards the stairs before he couldn’t help himself. He called out to her, “Sarah wait…”

“Yes?” she spun around to face him again.

“Sarah, I know that I said I’d never bring this up again, but…” he began watching her move forward.

“Diego don’t say it. I know what you’re thinking and I’m thinking it too, but we can’t talk about it,” she pleaded with him hoping that he wouldn’t do or say something that could destroy what she had ahead of her.

“I just have to know,” Diego began with a pained expression, “is what we shared something that meant so little to you that you can just forget about it? About us?”


Kipp dragged his feet along the side walk as he reached his front door after being out with his mother all night talking to her about his life and what was planned in the future with her.

“I could use a good rest before starting my day up again,” Kipp yawned pulling his keys out of his pocket and unlocking the door before pushing it open. “What in the world…”

As soon as Kipp opened the door the sound of the song Genii in a bottle was playing on his stereo and he saw Kellen and Heather dancing together in the middle of the room singing the lyrics together.

“That’s right, you shake that booty,” Kellen chuckled wrapping his pink feather boa around his neck tighter. “Your in a bottle and you are coming on up. So shake that booty.”

“How about you do it too,” Heather suggested with a small laugh seeing Kellen shaking his butt back and forth before grabbing her in his arms. “You are so funny Kellen.”

“Oh hey,” Kellen spotted Kipp over in the corner of the room seeing Kipp standing there like they were crazy. Kellen quickly grabbed Kipp’s hands and pulled him over towards the center of the room. “Dance with us Kipp.”

“You have to be kidding me,” Kipp chuckled feeling Kellen wrap his arms around his neck before feeling Heather place her hands on his back gently. “You are being serious? Not to this song, it’s ridiculous.”

“Come on Kipp,” Kellen turned around with his back facing Kipp, “I’m a genii in a bottle and you have to rub me the right way.”

“Okay, if you two are going to be rubbing the right way,” Heather chuckled pushing her boa over the side of her shoulder before walking over towards Charles that was seated on the couch watching her and Kellen. “I don’t want to see this because it isn’t something I think my son should be seeing.”

“Oh you think that’s funny?” Kellen heard Charles let out a small giggle and clap his hands together as Heather picked him up in her arms tightly. “You think it’s funny seeing us dancing around here for you?”

Charles reached out to squeeze Kellen’s finger in his hand tightly before nodding slowly. He reached his arms out towards Kellen, letting out a small squeak begging Heather to let Kellen hold him.

“You want to go with him Charles?” Heather questioned hearing her son let out another small squeal as if he was answering her question. “Well at least he knows what he wants.”

“Who wouldn’t want me,” Kellen winked carefully holding Charles in his arms before letting out a small laugh seeing Charles scrunch his nose when he looked up at Kellen with his big eyes. Charles brought his hands up in against the boa that was around Kellen’s neck as Kellen let out a small laugh and unraveled it from his neck. “Here you go little guy. Is pink your favorite color Charles?”

“I’ll take that as a no,” Kipp pointed out seeing Charles frown after Kellen asked him the question. “Is your favorite color blue Charles?”

“That’s a yes,” Heather pointed out seeing Charles reach out for her and giggle before feeling her pick him up in her arms again holding him in close to her. “My son wouldn’t like any other color. He takes after a lot of people I knew when I was younger. My favorite color is blue, Kyle’s favorite color is blue and Kipp--that’s your favorite color right?”

“Wait a second,” Kellen paused for a second letting out a small laugh as he held his finger up in the air and let out a small laugh. “Did you just say Kyle’s favorite color is blue? As in Kyle Houston, the tall blonde handsome one that always comes over to see you and Charles?”

“Well yeah, his last name is Houston,” she replied with a small nod and a smirk appearing over her features as she took a seat on the couch, holding Charles tightly. “Why do you ask?”

“Well you brought it up,” Kellen pointed out with a small shrug of his shoulders and he let out a small laugh thinking into it further. “Remind me to wear everything blue when he comes over next time.”

“I don’t think it would work with you Kellen,” Kipp chuckled wrapping his arm around Kellen’s shoulders tightly before pressing a small kiss in against Kellen’s lips. “I think the whole blue thing would have to be like something Heather was wearing. I don’t think Kyle swings towards the other side of the swing set if you get my point.”

“Well yeah, but I’m glad you do,” Kellen replied pulling Kipp in closer to him and kissing Kipp slowly before hearing Heather clear her throat to catch their attentions. “Sorry about that Heather. So, Kipp--what have you been up to today?”

“Not much, just kind of shocked to see you and Heather dancing around here,” Kipp informed him with a small laugh before shrugging his shoulders and speaking up once more, “I’m glad that’s the first time I saw you dance because I wouldn’t think you were very good.”

“Hey now,” Kellen hit Kipp in the back of his head, letting out a small laugh knowing that Kipp was just playing with him. Kellen pulled off the sunglasses that were on the top his head and motioned Heather and Kipp to watch something. “My friend Kevin Adonis taught me how to break dance and I know I can do it now. I just hope I don’t come close to breaking my neck again.”

“Kellen, if you are going to get hurt I don’t even want you to attempt it,” Kipp pointed out taking a seat next to Heather and looking out at Kellen who positioned himself in the center of the room.

“If someone as muscular as Kevin can do it,” Kellen began looking down towards the ground before shrugging his shoulders, “I can do it too. Here goes nothing.”


Grady walked into the hospital looking around to see if he could find Deana. Unable to stop thinking about their last encounter Grady had made the decision that now was the time to change the direction of their relationship with one another. Sure maybe he was going out on a limb, but once upon a time he was up for taking a risk and something told him that maybe just maybe this one with Deana might be worth taking. Spotting her over by the end of the hall talking with another nurse, he waited for them to stop talking and then made his move.

“Deana,” he spoke her name in a welcoming tone, making a quick stride over in her general direction. She looked up from where she’d been standing to see him and he couldn’t quite read her features, but was still determined to give it a go with his plans, “hey how are you?”

“Grady,” she replied a bit puzzled to see him standing in front of her, “what are you doing here?”

“I was in the neighborhood and actually,” he held up a gift bag in his hand, “I had something for Zane.”

“What?” she questioned seeing what he was holding out in front of him.

“I got to talking to him yesterday while he was getting stitched up and he was telling me about some of his favorite things,” Grady continued to explain to her with a small smile, “I’m sure he probably has most of these, but I figured if not, well maybe he wouldn’t mind having them. Even if he already does have them having a double couldn’t really hurt either.”

“I can’t believe that you…” Deana glanced down into the bag seeing the toy on the top of the pile. She pulled it out of the bag instinctively, “A Batista action figure?”

“He said that Batista was his favorite when you let him watch wrestling,” Grady paused giving her a long look, “You do let him watch wrestling, don’t you?”

“I don’t so much but his,” she stopped herself before shaking her head and smiling, “Yeah he does like it. Though you really shouldn’t have done this. I mean I didn’t expect you to…”

“I know,” Grady smiled wider than before, “and truth be told I didn’t do this because I thought you wanted me to. I did this because I wanted to--because I felt like I should. Okay, truth be told I did it because I like Zane. There are a few more dolls in there and some crayons and a coloring book and…”

“Grady I can’t accept this,” Deana shook her head moving to hand the bag back to him.

“Yes you can,” he nudged it in closer to her again, “please at the very least let me do this for you. I know that you and I didn’t get off on the right foot with one another, but I would like to change that.”

“So you think buying your way into my son’s good graces is the way to do it?” she arched a skeptic brow.

“No, not really, but I was hoping it would at least land me a dinner date with you,” Grady winked down at her, “That is if you think that you can take more than five minutes out with me to reevaluate what you think of me.”

“I don’t think that will be necessary. Once I make my mind up about someone I pretty much stick to it,” Deana informed him point blank, “I’ve already got you pegged Grady Denton.”

“Fine then have dinner with me to give me the opportunity to prove you wrong. Let me show you I’m better than you think I am,” he wiggled his brow at her suggestively, “You know you want to.”

“You never give up, do you?” she eyed him curiously.

“Not when I see something worth taking a chance on,” he informed her with a small smile, “So what do you say?”

“Well,” her dark eyes fell upon the bag again before she perked her head up and smiled at him, “I think Zane is going to like these. Though to be honest with you, I think you’ve already made an impression on him.”

“A good one I hope,” Grady began seeing her laugh.

“Oh more than a good one,” she nodded in confession, “but he’s easily persuaded.”

“A trait he didn’t pick up from his mother, right?” he couldn’t help but tease her.

“Perhaps,” she shrugged before clenching the gift bag tighter than before. She took a step back before waving at him, “thanks for the toys Grady.”

“It was my pleasure,” he nodded seeing her turn around to leave, “Hey where are you going?”

“I have to get back to work,” she waved managing to duck out of giving him an answer about dinner. Once again she’d shifted the momentum in their conversations and blew his mind without giving him an opportunity to plead his case.

“She’ll come around,” Grady thought aloud realizing that while he had a challenge in front of him, it was one worth all the effort that would go into it. He wasn’t sure how or why, but Deana had managed to perk his interest in ways that he hadn’t been enthusiastic about in years and strangely enough he liked that.


Dean knocked on the door to Deidra’s office hoping that she would be inside after he hadn’t been able to get into contact with her sooner. Hearing her alert him to come inside he was surprised to see her seated at her desk thumbing through a few papers in front of her.

“Hey,” Dean spoke up carefully closing the door behind her, “I’m sorry I wasn’t here sooner.”

Deidra pulled her head up to reveal her bloodshot eyes from crying over the situation. She offered up a weak smile, but rather than say anything, she felt another small sob build in the back of her throat. Immediately Dean rushed over to her pulling her into his arms.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t here sooner,” he replied kissing the top of her head gently, “I came over as soon as I heard the news, but…”

“You’re here now. That’s all that matters,” she hugged him closer to her, “I just felt so helpless--so much like I should’ve been able to do more to help her. She was so upset and…”

“Hey, it’s not your fault,” Dean hugged her tighter to him, “unfortunately things like this happen. It’s not right, but the world works in mysterious ways.”

“Even so,” she shook her head taking a step back and wiping at her tears, “I’ve never seen my sister so upset before. I mean it was like her whole world was falling to pieces around her and there was nothing that anyone could do about it. It was devastating.”

“I know,” he nodded reaching out to touch her face, “and right now we’ll do whatever we can to help your sister through this.”

She offered up a small smile before nodding again, “Thank you for being here Dean. I really missed you.”

“Hey there is no place I’d rather be than with you if I can help it,” he smiled at her gently before looking around her office, “So is there anything I can do to help?”

“Just being here is working great,” she confessed reaching out to embrace him again, “I hate to act like this, but it was so upsetting to see Diane like that. She and I have had our shares of ups and downs with one another, but I would never, ever wish anything like this on her.”

“I know you wouldn’t and I don’t believe she thinks that you do. She knows you love her,” he offered up trying to ease her mind, “I can see how much you love her.”

“Even so I just wish that I could’ve helped find a way to prevent this--that…” she shook her head, “I know that I’m being ridiculous now, but I just wish that…”

Her words were interrupted by the sound of her secretary buzzing for her. She frowned reaching over to her phone and pushing the intercom.

“Yes,” Deidra began.

“Um Dr. Byrne there is a package here for you. The sender insisted that it be delivered to you right away,” her secretary explained.

Deidra exchanged looks with Dean before replying, “Of course send it in.”

“Alright,” the secretary replied before entering the office and handing Deidra an oversized envelope. “Sorry to interrupt…”

“It’s okay,” Deidra replied watching her secretary leave before she tore into the package. It didn’t take long for her to realize who it was from and immediately she felt a shudder overtake her.

“Deidra, what is it?” Dean couldn’t help but ask.

“It’s from my soon to be ex-husband,” she replied her mood suddenly souring even further at the thought of Andy.

“What does he want?” Dean questioned.

“He just thought he’d send me a little letter to let me know he wants to come to town and finish our marriage once and for all,” she blurted out knowing full well if and when Andy returned it wouldn’t be nearly that simple. With Andy it never was!


Carly opened her eyes only to discover daisies right in front of her eyes. She closed her eyes once more before blinking and seeing the daisies had been pulled back to reveal Dave’s dark eyes staring down at her.

“Good morning beautiful,” he mouthed leaning in to give her a quick kiss.

For a moment she resigned herself to the kiss, but after a moment she pulled away with a scowl. “Dave, what do you think you’re going?”

“Spoiling my wife,” he reached out to tuck a strand of her dark hair behind her ear, “is there something wrong with that?”

“It is when I know that you’re only doing it because you know that I’m highly agitated with you right now,” she shook her head at him, “especially after last night.”

“Carly, look about that,” he frowned knowing that their debate on the subject was far from over between them.

“Save it,” she shook her head at him pulling herself up into a seated position on the bed, “I’m really in no mood to hear it Dave. Obviously you needed to be there for your friend and…”

“Her sister lost her baby,” Dave tried to remind her, “that wasn’t something small.”

“I know, but at the same time it feels like every time that she has a problem no matter how small it might be in the grand scheme of things, she comes calling to you and you go running,” she shook her head at him, “It’s like you can’t let go of that fantasy that you had about sharing your life with her.”

“Carly, that’s not it…” Dave tried to explain himself.

“Dave, please if nothing else don’t lie to me. I know how crazy you have been about her and I tried to pretend that it didn’t bother me, but it does. A lot,” she informed him with a huff, “I know that sounds selfish, but you’re my husband and I want you to be here for Kayla and I, not for Deidra and all her hysterical whims.”

“I realize that and with you and Kayla is where I want to be,” Dave promised reaching out for her again, “Carly when I married you it was because I wanted to share my life with you--I wanted to share my years with you and Kayla more than anything.”

“Then why is Deidra always an issue for us,” she sighed heavily, “I mean I’ve tried to be patient and understanding, but it’s just so difficult when she keeps finding reasons to pull you away from me.”

“It’s never going to happen Carly. You and Kayla are my world. You’re my…” Dave started only to hear tiny feet leaping forward onto the bed with them.

“Are you surprised mommy?” Kayla questioned with eager eyes, “Did daddy tell you that we’ve got lots and lots of surprises in store for you today? Not only did daddy pick you flowers, but we have waffles and sausage and bacon and even scrambled eggs. Daddy let me put whipped cream on your waffles and we put them in the shape of a smiley face and I made a nose from a strawberry. You have to come and see. Please mommy!”

“It sounds wonderful honey,” Carly redirected her attention to her daughter, “I would love to see.”

“Then come on. What are you waiting for?” she questioned taking Carly’s hand in hers and leading her towards the door. “Hurry mommy we don’t want them to get cold!”

“Carly,” Dave called out to his wife knowing that they still had a lot to talk about.

“We don’t want to let breakfast get cold,” Carly replied as Dave watched her leave the bedroom. With a frown he followed her out into the kitchen wondering how he was going to convince her that he really, truly was over his obsession with Deidra.

“Come on daddy hurry up,” Kayla waved at her father wanting him to follow her into the kitchen, but before he was in the archway he heard his front door opening. Spinning around he saw Cori standing in his foyer. Kayla spotted her aunt as well and squealed, “Cori!”

“Kayla,” Cori rushed forward picking her niece up in her arms, “hey how’s my favorite niece?”

“I’m your only niece Cori,” Kayla laughed lightly hugging her excitedly, “Daddy and I made waffles for mommy. Do you want to have waffles with us?”

“I’d love to,” Cori kissed her before setting her down and looking to Dave, “Smart man. Keeping your wife happy by pampering her with your culinary talents. Very smooth.”

“Cori, how are you,” Dave paused for a moment, “Come to think of it, how did you get in here?”

“I used the spare key you gave me a while ago,” she shrugged moving past him into the kitchen, “but don’t worry. I didn’t come here to bug you, I decided to stop by and see your wife.”

“Really?” Dave watched her breeze past him into the kitchen before he followed.

“Carly, you are never going to believe this,” Cori began excitedly, “I have the best news.”

“Now that’s good to hear, what is it?” Carly questioned perking up from behind the plate Kayla had set out for her.

“I have a new job,” Cori explained eagerly, “Not only do I have a new job, but life is finally picking up for me after all. I listened to what you said about Diego and I decided to try to find a way to make myself get over him and I did.”

“Really?” Dave questioned folding his arms in front of his chest. “And how is that?”

“Well, I finally decided that he was a loser and it was time for me to move on and boy am I glad that I did because I have found the most perfect, wonderful guy out there. He puts Diego to shame. He tells me I’m beautiful and he is encouraging and everything I ever could’ve asked for.”

“Oh Cori that’s wonderful,” Carly smiled at her.

“I know. I’m so happy,” Cori squealed popping down into a chair.

“Tell me something Cori, when did this new Prince Charming come about?” Dave couldn’t help but ask.

“He’s actually someone I’ve known for a while, but now, well now we’ve decided to move beyond friendship with one another. He hates what Diego did to me and he too wants to see Diego pay for hurting me, but I suppose payment enough is my moving on with my life,” Cori boasted, “and Carly he’s absolutely wonderful. He’s the most wonderful man I’ve ever known.”

“It sounds like it,” Carly smiled in response as the two women began to talk with one another. However despite his sister’s perky mood, Dave couldn’t help but worry about Cori wondering if there was more to the story than met the eye. Unfortunately with Cori there always was.


“Hey there little one,” Gabe took a seat next to Mindy on the couch, seeing her sitting down watching a soap opera on television. “I’m surprised I’m seeing you here today.”

“Why?” Mindy questioned without even bothering to look over at Gabe. Her eyes were still glued to the television that had some guy talking to the woman before him in a very obvious acting way.

“Because,” Gabe nodded slowly reaching out to nudge her in in the arm gently before letting out a small laugh. “You are always somewhere gone with Hunt or the both of you are here together. I mean, I’ll come home and you are off having some hot date with the kid.”

“I’m not always gone,” Mindy replied feeling a small blush creeping in over her face as she turned away from Gabe with a small smile. “I mean, I may be with him a lot, but it doesn’t mean I’m not here.”

“I don’t doubt that,” Gabe winked at her patting her leg gently before shrugging his shoulders, “I just think he sees you more than the people that live with you actually do.”

“Well, I don’t know how to explain it,” Mindy began taking in a deep breath as she thought about all the time she had been spending with Hunt lately. “There is just something about him that makes me…”

“He’s that special huh?” Gabe finished up for her after hearing Mindy’s silence after her last words. “He makes you feel something that a lot of guys can’t. Right?”

“Exactly,” Mindy nodded slowly before shrugging her shoulders and looking up at Gabe with a small smirk. “Even yesterday was great. We went out to the park and ended up running into some of our friends. I thought it was the greatest time I have ever had in a long time. We all went bowling together and it was great just to be with all of them. I never had so much fun in a long time.”

“Well, now that I know bowling is all it takes to make you happy,” Gabe nudged her in the shoulder once more hearing her let out another small laugh before he went on, “I am going to take you bowling all the time, like every day.”

“No, you don’t have to do that, but I wouldn’t mind spending time with you and Guy,” Mindy chuckled before seeing Guy walking down the hallway very slowly and running his hand through his hair. “Speaking of Guy, I don’t think he looks too good today.”

“Hey honey,” Gabe spoke up seeing Guy’s eyes look up into his before he slightly waved and walked over towards the couch. Gabe and Mindy both scooted over so he could sit in the middle of them, having Gabe’s arm wrapped around his shoulders. “How are you feeling today sweetheart?”

“I feel like crap--maybe worse than that,” Guy groaned rubbing at his tired eyes as he felt Mindy squeeze his shoulder gently and lean over to give him a small kiss on the cheek. “I know you guys are going to try and make me feel better, but it isn’t going to work.”

“Well, why not?” Mindy questioned seeing him look over at her before letting out a small sigh and looking back down towards the ground. “We want to make you feel better, so tell us how we can.”

“You really can’t, no matter what you do because my mother has everything to do with every aspect of my life,” Guy pointed out with a small breath before shrugging his shoulders. “I don’t know what I am going to do about everything she did.”


Judy knocked on the hospital door taking in a breath as she anticipated seeing her daughter. Knowing the ordeal that Diane had been through Judy wasn’t quite sure what to say to her, but she knew she had to give it a try somehow. Waiting for a second she opened up the door and walked in to find a very tired looking Ben at Diane’s side.

“Hi Ben,” Judy whispered seeing that Diane was still asleep.

“Hey,” he waved at her a yawn falling from his lips, “how are you?”

“Better than you are by the looks of things,” she whispered in response, “How are you holding up?”

“I’m doing okay,” Ben glanced over at Diane, “She’s who I’m worried about. So far she seems to be taking things pretty well, but…”

“She’s a fighter,” Judy squeezed his shoulder gently, “If nothing else I know that about my daughter. She’s someone who will keep pushing on even when the odds are stacked against her. I’m just sorry that you both have to face this in losing your child.”

Ben seemed to almost flinch upon her words before he quickly recovered, “I appreciate your being here for us right now.”

“Mom,” Diane slurred opening her eyes to discover Judy standing before them.

“Hey sweetheart,” Judy leaned forward to kiss Diane’s forehead gently, “how are you feeling?”

“I’ve been better, been worse,” Diane sighed smiling up at her mom, “I’m so glad to see you though.”

“I wish I could’ve been here sooner,” Judy started with a sigh, “this morning I was ahead of schedule and then…”

“You’re here now,” Diane smiled up at her again, “that’s really what counts.”

“I think I’ll let you two have a few minutes alone,” Ben decided getting up from the chair he was seated in. Despite the fact that he felt his place with Diane, he knew he needed some air--some time to walk around and relax for a while.

“Thanks Ben,” Diane offered up with a soft sigh, “and while you’re at it, why don’t you get yourself something to eat as well? You look like you need it.”

“Diane I really don’t,” he stopped himself before finally nodding, “Alright. I won’t be long.”

“I’ll miss you,” she mouthed kissing him quickly before watching him walk out of the room. Turning her attention to her mother Diane spoke up again, “He’s really taking this bad mom. I’m worried about him.”

“I think you’ve both been through a horrible ordeal,” Judy began taking a seat beside her daughter, “but I promise you that we’ll find a way to pull through this.”

“Ben was looking so forward to having this baby mom. I wanted for us to have a family so much,” Diane sighed fighting to contain her emotions, “I mean at first I was terrified, but then when Ben and I were able to work through everything, well I really got used to the idea of having a family. After Jade died…”

Judy watched her daughter get choked up on her tears.

“It’s just when I lost Jade I started to think that my being pregnant was something that was a sign--that maybe this was God’s way of giving me someone else in my life--someone else who would love me like she did,” Diane broke into tears, “but now that I’ve lost the baby too…”

“Oh Diane,” Judy reached out to embrace her hugging her tightly, “I’m so sorry.”

“I just miss her so much,” Diane sobbed harder than before, “She was the only person in this world that never judged me--never turned on me, but now I’ve lost her and my baby.”

“Diane I know how hard this is, but we all love you,” Judy whispered soothingly, “I know that life hasn’t always been easy, but I can promise you that I’m always going to be here for you. So are Deidra and Ben. We all love you.”

“I just wish that I didn’t let you all down,” Diane cried harder, “that I didn’t let my baby down.”

“Sweetheart I’m sure that your child doesn’t feel that way. He or she is with your father and I’m sure he’s taking good care of his grandchild,” Judy offered up quietly.

“And Jade’s there too,” Diane closed her eyes thinking about her best friend, “I’m sure she’ll take care of my child and be the mom that I couldn’t be.”

“I’m sure she will look out for the little one,” Judy replied holding her daughter and doing her best to soothe her tears as she hoped that her daughter would pull through this latest tragedy.


Thea walked through the doors of Cameron’s home curious to see her employer now that he’d beckoned her over to see him. Of course she hadn’t been surprised given that she had been expecting him to miss her and her services after her absence and this time she’d come fully prepared for the job at hand. Adjusting the ties on her trench coat, she let out a small smile knowing that she would give Cameron a morning delight he’d never forget. Tapping on the door to his study, she waited a moment before walking inside to see him at his desk.

“Good morning Cam,” she slurred ready to lay out her plan for seduction.

“Thea,” he nodded curtly not bothering to look back at her as he stood by the window looking out over the grounds of the estate, “thank you for being quick about coming here.”

“Of course I was quick in getting here, but I’m sure we can take our time with what’s at hand,” she slowly approached him licking her lips in anticipation.

“Actually,” he spun around to face her at long last, “I was hoping this wouldn’t take too long because I need to act fast.”

“Fast, slow,” she reached out to run her fingers over the center of his chest, “I’ll give it to you any way you like it baby.”

He gave her a disapproving look before prying her fingers off of him and he breezed past her, “Thea I’m not in the mood.”

“But Cam I thought…” she frowned realizing this was clearly not a social call. Watching him walk away she adjusted her jacket before standing taller, “Okay what is it you need me to do?”

“I need you to find all that you can on Diane Stevens,” he explained matter of fact, “She’s made a serious mistake and I’d like to see it remedied.”

“Diane Stevens,” she wrinkled her nose at him, “Why would you want to bother with someone like her?”

“Because Thea,” Cameron sank into his seat with a wicked smirk, “it’s personal. No one messes with my family--especially not someone like Diane Stevens.”


...to be continued...