Episode 297

“How can you ask me something like that?” Sarah snapped at Diego taking a step closer to him. She lowered her voice to a hushed whisper before shaking her head at him, “Are you out of your mind?”

“Sarah, you can’t deny what happened between us even if you are trying to forget,” he groaned in frustration, “I know you are with Kyle now, but…”

“But nothing,” she scowled up at him, “Diego I made my choice and I chose Kyle. He’s the man I worked very hard to spend my life with and I can’t let this get in the way of my plans for my future.”

“I’m not trying to get in the way Sarah, but the more I think about that night…” Diego began clear conflict burning behind his eyes, “I’ve tried to forget but…”

“But nothing,” she hissed in response dropping her hands to her side, “Diego what we had with one another was a mistake. It never should have happened in the first place, but neither one of us was thinking clearly. We were both caught up in the moment and…”

“And I don’t regret it,” Diego confessed immediately regretting the words as soon as they came out. He looked away from her feeling his stomach tied in knots, “I don’t regret a second of what we shared even though I know it was wrong.”

“It is wrong. It’s very wrong Diego and you have to forget about it,” she pleaded with him, her heart hammering in her chest, “I have a new life now. Kyle and I are together again. Susan can’t keep him from me. No one can keep us apart and as long as I think about the future and not the past…”

“Sarah, I didn’t mean to bring this up, but when I see you…” he began again a sad expression sweeping over him.

“You can’t think about it. You can’t dwell on the past. It’s the past and that’s all there is to it,” she paused biting on her lower lip as she found herself lost in contemplation. “In fact, maybe it’s best if we don’t see one another. We should spend some time away from each other--that way we can take the time to let these feelings between us fade away. We can just get on with our lives and never look back.”

“Sarah, I don’t think I can do that. I can’t ignore the way I feel,” Diego pleaded with her in a low, yearning tone, “Sarah, I can’t help but remember what it was like to hold you, to touch you.”

“Diego stop,” she pleaded with him taking a step forward, “Don’t do this to yourself because you and I both know that this can’t go anywhere. For you to think like that is just counterproductive and it’s going to end up leading you to a dead end road.”

“Don’t you think I’m well aware of that? Sarah don’t you realize I know full well that this is a mistake,” he ran his fingers through his dark hair, “I never planned on this and I hate the idea of what I’m thinking--what I’m feeling…”

“So stop,” she urged him on with a frown, “Stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about what’s best for everyone. What’s best for me--for Kyle…”

“What about Kyle?” Kyle questioned walking up to the two of them and causing Sarah to jump up in the air. His hazel eyes swept over her curiously, “Sarah, what about me? What’s going on here?”


“Oh man,” Kellen leaned back against the arm of the black leather couch before letting out a small groan. He let out a small wince as he felt Heather put an ice pack on his head. “I don’t know what went wrong, I did it right before.”

“Before you were at a club,” Kipp pointed out seeing Kellen’s light blue eyes looking up into his as he sat on the edge of the couch, running his fingertips along the Kellen’s cheek gently. “Now you are just at my home where if you bump things, they will fall on you.”

“Well, how was I supposed to know that?” Kellen groaned arching his back up on the couch before letting out a small sigh. He looked up at Heather, noticing the small smirk that was still over her features as he frowned. “How was I supposed to know that he had a candle that is in a very dangerous glass jar on his desk?”

“You’re also forgetting the fifty CD’s that fell on your head too,” Kipp pointed out with a small chuckle feeling Kellen push at his shoulder, making him laugh out even more. “Kellen come on--it was kind of funny. Be thankful that the jar didn’t break over your head.”

“Be thankful that I was nice enough to pick up all those CD’s too Kellen,” Heather chuckled from the corner of the room walking over towards the couch and grabbing the icepack away from his eyes--seeing the red mark that spread over the side of his face. “I was nice enough to do that for you.”

“Gee, you were nice enough to pick up CD’s for me and I am your best friend. I would hate to see what the nicest thing you would do for me was,” Kellen joked feeling her push at his shoulder when he let out a small yelp since that was the spot he hit on the corner of the desk. “Ouch.”

“Oh, I am so sorry,” Heather felt a bit guilty--getting down on her knees to gently rub at his shoulder hearing him let out a few fake cries. “Come on Kellen--I didn’t mean to.”

“I know, I just don’t want to imagine what is going to happen to my face,” Kellen frowned fixing the icepack so it was more over the sore spot on his face. He couldn’t figure out what he did wrong, he did everything that Kevin had told him to do at one point in time so how come it didn’t work. “I can’t think for the life of me what I did wrong, Kevin can do it perfect. I know I can do it just as good as him.”

“Well, here is a little guess,” Heather thought for a moment before letting out a small laugh, “maybe Kevin is just simply better than you Kellen. You know--that happens sometimes.”

“But he is so much bigger than me,” Kellen pointed out seeing them nod slowly, “I don’t mean he is fat or anything, but he is so muscular. How can a man like that--do something better than me?”

“Well, one--he’s probably been doing it longer than you,” Heather added to Kellen’s thoughts seeing him nod slowly before she continued to go on. “The big thing though--I would imagine when he does it though, he doesn’t do it on carpet. I would think that he himself would be more professional than that and when he does it--I would assume his legs don’t fly everywhere and kick over a table in the opposite corner of the room he started in.”

“Stop making fun of me,” Kellen chuckled seeing Heather shrug her shoulder before her green eyes widened. Okay, so maybe he thought he was a lot better than he really was, but it was still the thought that counts. “At least I know I am better than you.”

“Who said that?” Heather shook her head slowly and let out a small laugh. “I think if I did it, I would be smart enough to know not to leave a shiner right on the center of my face.”

“Hey, I can do a back flip--I know you can’t do that,” Kellen pushed the point farther seeing her nod slowly. Kellen sat up slowly letting out a small groan as he leaned his back against the arm of the couch. “Prove to me you can do it right here and right now.”

“In these clothes?” Heather chuckled at the thought before shaking her head slowly. Heather stood up off the couch showing off her clothes before shaking her head slowly. “I don’t think so.”

“Good, point. That is such a cute shirt by the way--where did you get that?” Kellen patted the couch next to him to get Heather to sit down next to him. He looked at her shirt before clapping his hands together, “I hope they have this in pink.”

“Well, they did, but I thought the blue looked better,” Heather pointed out hearing the doorbell ring as both her and Kellen looked over at Kipp who seemed to be just staring out in space. “Aren’t you going to get that?”

“Oh, yeah of course. I mean, since the two of you are here too and had no sleep today--I don’t mind,” Kipp shook his head slowly letting out another small laugh as he got up from the couch and shrugged his shoulders. “I wouldn’t want to you know--just interrupt the conversation the two of you are having.”

“Neither would I sweetheart,” Kellen waved off Kipp before looking back at the shirt Heather was wearing. “Heather babes, we so have to go to the store and go shopping together. You have the best taste and…”

The sound of Kipp’s voice yelling erupted through their ears as Kellen and Heather both got up quickly walking over towards the door to see Kipp standing in front of Cameron who was trying to talk peacefully with Kipp.

“What’s going on here?” Kellen questioned limping over towards the two of them feeling Heather wrap her arm around his shoulder as they approached the door. “Why are the two of you fighting?”

“I’m not fighting with him,” Cameron tried to stand up for himself giving Heather a small glance, “I was just coming to talk to her because I wanted to set some things straight between the two of us. I swear I’m going to be peaceful and he just started yelling at me.”

“She has enough shit in her life already Cameron and she doesn’t need you making it worse,” Kipp pushed Cameron back as Cameron held his hands up in the air. “Just go away.”

“Please, I just want to talk to her,” Cameron replied with a small frown shrugging his shoulders as he spoke up, “You and Kellen can stand out here and watch the two of us for all I care--I‘m not going to do anything bad I promise.”

“Kipp,” Heather grabbed Kipp’s shoulder before he could fight any further with Cameron. She gently pushed him back towards Kellen before nodding slowly. “It’s okay--you two just go inside for a minute and I will talk to him alone.”

“Are you sure?” Kellen questioned his worried blue eyes looking into hers. “I mean--my eyes are always going to be on him, but are you sure you want to be alone?”

“Yeah,” Heather watched Kellen nod slowly before pulling Kipp back into the house and shutting the door slowly behind him. Heather turned back around to see Cameron standing before her, his dark eyes looking into hers. “What do you want Cameron?”

“Look, I have been thinking about a lot of things lately,” Cameron cleared his throat uneasily before reaching out to touch her shoulder feeling her pull away from him. “Right, you don’t trust me yet. Listen, I know I was a real jerk to you and I just wanted to say that I was sorry.”

“You think I am just going to forgive with sorry?” Heather muttered with a small laugh shaking her head slowly and folding her arms out in front of her chest boldly. “I don’t think so Cameron--you were more than a jerk to me and I will never forget the things you did to me.”

“I know that and I am really sorry Heather,” Cameron tried to find ways inside of him to apologize to her before he shrugged his shoulders and spoke up again in a small whisper. “I keep thinking about what I did to you and it was wrong. So very wrong and I finally realize what I did hurt you and I can’t stop thinking about it. Heather--I want to make things right between us. I once promised you that you could have the full reign of the cosmetics company I created for you and I still want you to have that now. Even if you aren’t married to me anymore I still want you to have that. So, what do you say Heather? You still interested?”


“You think our getting married is the best thing for both of us?” Angela’s eyes widened in astonishment fully grasping what Kevin said to her once the initial shock wore off.

“Yeah, I do,” he nodded in confessing seeing the way she was staring at him in astonishment. “Oh wait a second. Did you think I was trying to say that I think you and I getting married to one another is the best thing for both of us?”

“Well isn’t that essentially what you just said?” she blinked up at him confusion sweeping in over her.

“God no,” Kevin blurted out in a grumble, “I’m not that stupid to think that would be a good idea anymore.”

“You’re not?” she blinked back at him a bit offended by his tone.

“Are you kidding me,” he chuckled with mild amusement, “Our getting married would be a complete and total disaster especially considering that I’m in love with someone else. Speaking of which…”

“Wait a second,” she frowned up at him, “So you’re saying if you married me it would be a nightmare.”

“Um yeah,” Kevin nodded in response before offering up a small laugh, “Neither one of us are that naïve or stupid to believe we’d make a good match with one another especially now that we’re older and wiser.”

“Well yes, but,” she paused giving him a long look, “Did you just come over here to insult me today?”

“Actually no,” Kevin placed his hands in his pockets, “I came over here to tell you that it’s clear you have gotten back into old habits by making life for those around you complicated.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” she frowned up at him.

“It means that if you would learn to keep your mouth shut, we wouldn’t get into so many problems with one another,” he waved his hand between them a frustrated sigh spilling from his lips, “Angie you are my best friend yes, but in my being around you I seem to find myself in a whole world of trouble--trouble that I would really rather not get into if you catch my drift.”

“You lost me,” Angela shook her head at him, “If this is about Cameron saying we can get married…”

“No it’s not about that, though to set the record straight, I wouldn’t want to get married to you--not when I found someone who loves me for me and doesn’t give me so many situations to deal with. I have someone that sees just what she has in front of her--who recognizes love right in front of her face.”

“And just what is that supposed to mean?” she huffed back at him stomping her foot impatiently.

“It means,” Kevin paused realizing that talking with Angela was never going to make a difference because she would always stay the same, “never mind. It’s not worth getting into this right now. The fact to the matter is that you’re an idiot and you’re always going to be clueless if you don’t start using your head.”

“Using my head?” she replied with a tight scowl, “Kevin you’re the one who came in here tonight causing a scene. All I did was…”

“Create more drama than either one of us needed,” Kevin’s frown intensified, “You have no idea what the last few days have been like for me all because of you.”

“Because of me? Ha, you always find yourself in trouble Kevin and that rarely has anything to do with me. You’re the one who puts yourself into a situation and…” she shot back at him with a glare.

“I’m the one,” he laughed lightly, “Angie, you may as well change your name to trouble because you’re the one who is always in it.”

“Now come on you two,” Chris intervened making his way to step between the both of them, “Is this really necessary? I mean really why do we need to argue? It’s clear that neither one of you is getting married and certainly not to one another.”

“Thank God,” Kevin scoffed catching the way Angela glared at him.

“Oh like I would want to marry you now,” she added with a hiss.

“Believe me sweetheart it wouldn’t matter how much you wanted it because it would never, ever happen,” Kevin threw his hands up in the air before letting out a long breath, “On second thought to hell with this. I’m not even going to bother to touch this one. Chris, I hope you enjoy having her around because she’s your problem now, not mine and Angie, well don’t call me, if I feel compelled I’ll call you.”

“Yeah like I’ll answer,” Angela snapped seeing him stomp out of the area while Chris looked between the two of them.

“What just happened here?” he couldn’t help but ask confusion pouring out over him.

“I don’t know,” Angela admitted with a small shrug folding her arms in front of her chest, “but if he thinks I’m going to chase after him or go apologize for something that I didn’t even do, then he’s got another thing coming.”

“Um okay,” Chris replied not really sure what had transpired between the two of them, but on the bright side it left him the opportunity to be alone with Angela for a while and that was something that he was truly looking forward to.


“I was going to call you earlier and tell you about it,” Shannon tried to explain what was happening with Nate as Don gently moved her off of him and stood up slowly. “I just figured I would explain it to you when you got home.”

“Well, why is he here?” Don questioned zipping his pants back up before beginning to button his shirt back up. He watched Shannon stand up slowly as he took another step back. “Shannon, what is that kid really doing here?”

“Well, he just got in some trouble and I am the only one that can help him out around here,” Shannon tried to explain following Don into the kitchen as he pulled some milk out of the refrigerator. “I didn’t think you would mind.”

“As long as he doesn’t steal anything, I will be okay with it,” Don informed her with a small smile seeing the way that she looked back at him and his smile soon turned into a frown. “He isn’t known for stealing is he?”

“Well, there was one occasion when he was in high school, but that’s when he was a freshman. We all do stupid things when we are younger,” Shannon replied with a small shrug seeing Don’s eyes widen in disbelief before he let out a small sigh. “You can trust him now though, it has been a long time since he is gotten into trouble. Other than just now, it has been about six months.”

“Six months?” Don blurted out seeing her shrug her shoulders at his response. Don reached out to grab her shoulder before looking down the hallway. “If he has killed someone in the past--I need to know.”

“Please, my brother is just a little booger,” Shannon chuckled seeing Don look out at her, his eyebrows tensing as he continued to watch her try to explain her way out of the matter. “Don--don’t worry about it. He is more afraid of a spider than you will be of him. The only thing the idiot has done is get in some accidents with his car and he tried stealing stupid stuff. Like some gum and what do you know? He just happened to get caught.”

“I don’t care if he really stole some gum or whatever it was he did, but I just have to say--I just have to say…” Don fell short for words as he thought of something to tell her. He snapped his fingers a couple of times and pointed towards the bedroom before holding his hands out in the air. “I don’t know what I have to say, but you better take good care of that kid because if he steals something--I swear to you…I swear I’ll…”

“You swear, what?” Shannon questioned moving her hand in a circular motion seeing Don walk away from her and pour himself a glass of milk. “You never finished your sentence.”

“I don’t know what I will do, but it will be real bad,” Don warned taking a sip from his milk before setting it down. He turned around to face Shannon, seeing her start to chuckle as he folded his arms out in front of his chest. “What are you laughing at?”

“Nothing,” Shannon let out another small laugh seeing the milk mustache Don had over his top lip as he looked out at her with his light blue eyes. “Nate won’t do anything, don’t worry about it.”

“I’m just a big ball of worry Shannon,” Don replied throwing his hands up in the air before letting out a small groan hearing her laughing at him again. “Shannon--please what are you laughing at? I really hate when someone keeps me out of the loop.”

“Hey, that’s exactly how I feel,” Shannon pointed out with a small nod, reaching out to squeeze Don’s shoulders in her hands tightly feeling him move out from her grasp. “I like to be in the loop too, which is why I want to know what you are doing with Brant.”

“Shannon, I swear--I don’t know what you are talking about,” Don lied once more going to take another sip of his milk before finishing the last of his glass off. He turned to face Shannon once more hearing her let out an even louder laugh as now his milk mustache was twice as visible. “What?”

“Listen,” Nate’s voice echoed through the kitchen as he walked in seeing Don glance over at him with a small frown. Nate let out a long yawn stretching out his arm as he spoke up again. “I heard you guys talking about me and you have nothing to worry about Don, everything here is too ridiculous to steal. Other than that big screen TV over there, nothing really catches my interest, but I don’t see myself walking out the door with that my friend.”

“You know, you seem really comfortable in my home,” Don emphasized his words seeing Nate walking through his kitchen in only his smiley face boxers. “Really, really comfortable that is.”

“Yeah man,” Nate walked over towards the refrigerator grabbing the milk that Don had pulled out earlier. He took off the cap before shrugging his shoulders and drinking some of it straight from the bottle. He heard Don gasp out as he finished of the last of it and glanced over at Don who seemed to be staring out at him. Nate let out a long belch before patting his ripped stomach gently. “You know, it seems to amaze me how I can keep such a good perfection with my body. I’m only ten percent body fat you know and I can’t eat anything and never gain a pound. Speaking of eating--do you have anything good to eat around here?”

“Yeah, things I like,” Don shook his head slowly before patting Nate on the back, “just try not to eat everything I own. I tend to like my milk, but you already took care of that one. Just stay away from my animal crackers. I have to go--I’ll be back.”

“Don hold on,” Shannon called out to Don seeing him walking over towards the door before opening it up quickly and walking out as fast as he could. “Don come on…”

“Looks like he didn’t want to be around you today,” Nate stepped in beside her at the door wrapping his arm around her shoulders gently before giving her a small squeeze. He watched Don pull away before taking a bite out of his apple. “Well, you got what you always wanted. A true man that is afraid of you Shannon.”

“Very funny Nate, speaking of which,” Shannon turned to face Nate seeing him look out at her with a small smile. “Get dressed and get dressed now because you have a big day ahead of yourself.”


Avery felt a hand on her shoulder as she opened her eyes and let out a small gasp. Looking up she saw Augustus standing over her with a worried expression. She wiped at her cheek before sitting upright after realizing she must’ve fallen asleep at Brant’s bedside.

“You should be resting,” he noted catching her tired eyes, “Were you in here all night?”

“I was trying to be here if he needed anything. After what happened yesterday I was worried about him,” Avery’s eyes fell over Brant again, “I still am.”

“Avery, sweetheart, I think that maybe you should take a step back from all of this,” Augustus decided with a heavy sigh, “I mean I’m sure that Brant appreciates all of your concerns but he wouldn’t want you running yourself thin like this. You should go get a bite to eat, maybe spend some time with Erin and let Brant rest on his own for a while. I’m sure that nothing will happen to him.”

“Well that does sound like a good idea, but…” she paused with a small frown, “I’m not sure I should really leave him now.”

“Avery, he’ll be alright,” Augustus offered up a small smile, “I’ll be around if you would like. I can sit with my grandson for a while. Perhaps that will help.”

“He would like that,” Avery smiled back at him, “Brant really looks up to you.”

“I highly doubt that, but I appreciate your trying to make me feel better about all of this,” Augustus replied his eyes casting over Brant again, “In a great many ways I feel as if I’ve failed each and every member of my family, but I’m hoping one day I can remedy that.”

“This isn’t your fault Augustus,” Avery offered up with a small sigh, “None of this was your fault. If anything I’m the one who has turned Brant into this. I’m the one who brought all of these complications into his life and Russell’s as well.”

“No,” Augustus shook his head at her, “unfortunately their father was the one who really caused all of this chaos. My son is a very cruel soul and if he is still out there, I’m afraid he won’t stop until he gets what he wants from his children.”

“What does he want,” she couldn’t help but ask.

“To bring misery to those around him so that he can feel as if he isn’t the only one trapped inside his misery,” he explained with a poignant expression reaching out to take her hand in his, “I’m going to try and stop that though. I’m hoping that perhaps Russell and I can speak with one another later because there is something important that I need to share with him--something I feel he deserves to know about our situations.”

“I’m sure he’s around,” she replied guiltily thinking about how she’d neglected Russ after everything went crazy with Brant. Knowing full well that Russ wouldn’t be happy about her spending all this time with Brant, she realized maybe she should go look for him herself.

“Why don’t you go find him,” Augie suggested reaching out to touch her shoulder once more, “Things will be okay in here for a while.”

“Alright,” she finally decided giving Brant one last look before making her way out of the room in the hopes of finding Russ and spending a little time with him before returning to check on Brant.


“So, how are the two of you doing?” Blake sat down next to Seth on the leather couch in the library, looking out at Ken and Wendy as she spoke. Since everything had been so hectic lately, she hadn’t found time to herself to get to talk to her brother and her old friend. Everything seemed to have her out of loop lately and she wanted to know how everyone was doing. “How are you feeling Wendy, I haven’t talked to you in a long time.”

“Well,” Wendy thought about telling Blake the truth before shrugging her shoulders and deciding to leave the hard news out of the whole conversation. “I’m doing pretty good, but I was talking to Ken and I heard you were putting some big plans together about making a house for the children. Tell me more about this.”

“Well, I was just thinking of it as a group you know,” Blake looked up at Seth, seeing his dark eyes looking into hers before she glanced back over at Wendy, “I have talked about it a couple of times with him in the past.”

“More than just a couple of times,” Seth pointed out with a small laugh feeling her gently elbow him in the ribs as he let out a chuckle. “She is very excited about the idea and thinks it’s a very good thing.”

“So, what are you planning on doing to make it work?” Wendy found herself getting more interested as she leaned forward in her seat, feeling Ken lean forward with her and wrap his arm around her shoulders gently. “I mean--what are you planning on doing to make it work?”

“Well, nothing is final, but I was thinking of having a party for starters,” Blake began to explain leaning back in her seat before holding her hands out in the air. “It could be a charity where we could get all the community in on it. You never know what a real community can do until they come together.”

“Which could be hard sister considering people aren’t that nice anymore,” Ken pointed out with a small shake of his head before looking out at her with a small frown. “I wish someone would just up and call to make everything possible, but a lot of people are selfish these days.”

“Now that’s no way to go,” Wendy pointed out with a small frown shaking her head slowly at the last comment. She looked across at Blake before offering up a small nod, “You should believe in it because someone could actually change for once. You never know what could happen.”

“Right,” Blake was about to say something else before she felt her cell phone begin to go off and she motioned everyone to give her a second. She took a minute to look at the number before letting out a small frown. “Well, that’s odd.”

“What?” Seth looked down at the number as she looked up at him with her blue eyes. “What is it sweetheart? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing is wrong, I’ve just never seen that number before,” Blake shrugged before answering her phone, taking the chance at not knowing who was on the other end. “Hello?”

“Must be someone important,” Ken listened to the beginning of Blake’s conversation before seeing her face drop like something big had just happened. “What? What is it? Who is it Blake?”

“Can you give me a minute please?” Blake asked the person over the phone before resting the phone against her chest before letting out a small laugh. “You will never believe who it is.”

“That’s why I was asking,” Ken pointed out with a tiny chuckle shaking his head slowly, “I have no clue who is on the other side of the phone and by your reaction I wouldn’t be able to find out that easily.”

“Well,” Blake took in a deep breath holding it out to the very end before letting out a small laugh, “it’s an investor and he is interested in my idea.”


Richard stood at the door seeing Judy seated beside Diane’s hospital bed now. Carefully he opened the door in an attempt to be quiet now that Diane was clearly sleeping and at ease for the time being. Gently he pushed the door to a close before seeing Judy’s head pop up to make eye contact with him.

“Richard,” she smiled offering up a small wave and motioning for him to join her. She stood up from the chair she’d been seated in and met him half way, “I wasn’t expecting to see you here today.”

“I was hoping I could have a word with you,” he paused glancing over her shoulder at Diane, “You know maybe we should go out in the hall to talk so we don’t wake her.”

“That’s probably a good idea,” Judy nodded in agreement following his lead back into the hallway. She watched him close the door to her daughter’s hospital room before he turned to face her again. Unable to repress the urge she reached out to touch the side of his face seeing how tired he looked, “How are you feeling?”

“I’ve had better days,” he admitted with a heavy sigh bringing his hand up over hers, “Though in some ways today has been a day of awakenings. The past few months have been for me actually. It’s caused me to take the time to really sit back and reevaluate the way that my life has been. I’ll admit that I’ve been in a state of turmoil for a while, but now I finally have clarity.”

“I don’t understand,” Judy began not really sure where Richard was headed when he released her hand and reached into his pocket.

“After all the things that Brooke has done to my family, to my children it only reaffirms what I knew in my heart to be all these years,” he confessed with a pained expression, “Back when I married her I knew that I had married the wrong woman and while I don’t regret the fact that I have Avery or Guy there has always been something in my life that has eaten away at me year after year. It’s always been that one mistake that has haunted me, but I’m hoping that after today it will haunt me no more.”

“Rick?” Judy tipped her head to the side seeing him pull a small, black box out of his pocket.

“I’m divorcing Brooke. I’ve already started with the paper work and nothing can keep me with her. I’ve already got plenty reason for this divorce to go through with or without her approval as there isn’t a judge in the world that would force me to stay with her. In my being without her, it clears the way for me to be with the one woman I have longed to share my life with--the woman that I had dreamt of having a future with,” he reached for her hand taking it in his gently. He lowered himself to his knee in the middle of the hospital with all eyes on him, “Judy you are the only woman I have ever truly loved in my life and it would be my greatest dream come true if we could finally share our lives together.”

“Rick I…” she blinked down at him surprised by his sudden declaration.

“You know that my heart is true--that my feelings for you are real,” he opened up the box to reveal a diamond ring from within, “I’ve had this for you for a long time now and nothing would make me happier than to be able to put this on your finger and call you mine. Judy, what I’m trying to say is that I want you--as my partner, my best friend and my soul mate. You are indeed the great love of my life and you will always be. We’ve been through so much with one another over the years and I know that as long as we are together things can only get better. I love you unlike any other woman I have loved and I want to spend the rest of my time on this planet showing you just how much you mean to me. I don’t want to live in a world of regret any longer. I want you for always, which is why I am asking you--no begging you to say yes--that you’ll be my wife.”

“Rick I…” Judy stammered feeling tears burning behind her eyes before she nodded eagerly, “Yes oh yes.”

“Really?” a smile spread across his face as he pulled the ring from the box and slipped it onto her finger.

“Yes, yes, yes,” she nodded reaching out to him and pulling him into an embrace as it seemed that their dreams of happiness with one another were finally becoming a reality after a lifetime of being apart. Nothing could stop them now!


“So really what are you doing here Diego?” Kyle questioned his dark eyes filled with a sudden curiosity at seeing Diego at the Ashford Estate of all places.

“The hospital thought it might be a good idea for me to come over and check in on Brant,” Diego explained in a cool and even tone despite the fact that he was still very wired after he and Sarah had started their conversation with one another. There was still so much to say, so much to discuss.

“Wow, well that’s really nice of you,” Kyle replied bringing his arm around Sarah’s shoulders for a small hug, “although I have to tell you I don’t know how much good it’s going to do given that Russ and I are kind of working on the theory that Brant is faking all of this. Although you know maybe you can help. We’re trying to prove that he is faking and with you being a psychiatrist and all maybe you can call him at his own game.”

“I’m not so sure that,” Diego started uneasily.

“Diego’s not really in a position to pass judgment on Brant. I saw him before Kyle and he’s really looking like he’s in bad shape,” Sarah offered up interrupting the conversation at hand.

“Even so it wouldn’t hurt for Diego to take a look at him and see what’s going on. I mean you could do that, right?” Kyle questioned with an eager expression.

“Sure, I‘ll see what I can do,” Diego nodded before casting a dark glance over at Sarah, “I’ll talk to you later.”

“Yeah,” she replied looking away as Diego walked off in the direction of Brant’s room leaving her alone with Kyle again.

“Hopefully he’ll find the proof that we need to get Brant to stop faking it,” Kyle noted glancing over at Sarah once more, “you know for a while I wasn’t sure about him, but he’s a pretty good guy.”

“Brant?” she questioned giving him a strange sideways glance.

“No Diego,” he replied with a small smile, “I mean I wasn’t really sure about him with his being a head doctor and all, but he has turned out to be a really good friend. I’m sure that he and Heather will find a way to find happiness with one another soon. He’s exactly what she needs right now to help with this new start she’s making.”

“She’s the last thing that he needs,” Sarah blurted out with a tight scowl, “Diego deserves a lot better than that conniving witch.”

“Whoa, back up,” Kyle’s eyes widened in surprise at her sharpness, “That’s your sister you’re talking about there.”

“I’m well aware of who it is,” she scowled up at him, “and trust me she’s the last thing that Diego needs in his life. She’s cold and manipulative and…”

“And I think you’re being a bit harsh there Sarah,” he frowned down at her, “Heather is really making some attempts to turn her life around and you can’t condemn her for that.”

“Of course I can because it’s all an act to bait everyone in,” she shook her head at him thinking about her sister’s ploys at getting Diego to pay her attention, “Heather is like a chameleon. She changes to fit the mood of the moment, but when it gets down to it, she can’t hide from her true colors.”

“Sarah, I think you’re being too hard on her. She’s had a rough year,” he tried to reason with her knowing that Heather had endured a great deal of torment over the last year.

“I’m not nearly hard enough. Trust me Kyle I know my sister,” she warned him with uneasy eyes.

“And so do I which is why I think you should cut her some slack,” he defended Heather once again, “She might have gone down a different path for a while, but she’s getting her priorities in order. She’s a good mother to Charles and…”

“Like she gives a damn about him. I mean really, where was she when he really needed her? She was off tending to her own issues,” she informed him bluntly thinking back to the time she’d arrived in Coral Valley, “The only reason Heather even fakes caring about Charles is simply because it gets her attention from the men around her. I mean even look at you. You’re obviously fooled by the wool she’d pulled over your eyes. A few sweet words and a flirty smile and everyone around her turns into an idiot, even you.”

“Wait a second,” Kyle’s eyes widened, “Are you calling me an idiot now for wanting to give your sister a chance?”

“I’m just saying that Heather leads people to believe one thing, but when it gets down to it, she’s as cold and heartless as ever. Diego’s had enough misery in his life. He deserves a woman of good character--someone who can love him like he needs in his life. He needs someone who can put him first and with Heather, there isn’t room for anyone else in her life beyond her ego.”

“Come on Sarah. Is that really necessary,” he frowned again wondering what had sparked such a passionately angry response from her.

“Unfortunately with Heather it is and the further she stays away from Diego the better,” she paused realizing she was starting to sound catty, “but right now I don’t want to talk about her. I just want to focus on getting things back in order in my life. I have to make calls to the insurance company about my place and…”

“I’m here if you need me,” he squeezed her hand gently in his writing off her crabbiness simply as stress over having lost almost everything in her home, “I’ll be here every step of the way for you. I hope you know that.”

“I do and I’m so glad I have you here,” she reached out to embrace him hugging him tightly as she tried not to focus on the idea of Diego and Heather finding something with one another. While she had no reason to care about them finding something with one another, the more the idea haunted her, the more she hated the thought of her sister getting close to Diego especially now more than ever!


Don stood outside Jenna’s place ringing the bell in the hopes that he’d get a few words in with Hart before they had to go back to the mansion and work on helping Brant in his current situation. He rang it once more and was greeted by Jenna.

“Don, hey,” she waved at him lazily clearly a bit tired, “how are you? Come on in.”

“Is Hart around,” he looked around her place realizing that this was the first time he’d really taken in the time to visit his friend’s new home. This place was completely unlike the condo, yet he could see how Hart would find himself at ease there with Jenna.

“He’s still sleeping, but I can get him if you’d like. Just give me a minute,” she held her finger up before disappearing down the hallway.

Don walked over to one of the tables and noticed a photo album on top of it. Unable to contain himself or his curiosities, he opened it up and skimmed through a few pages seeing Jenna and her family over the years. He flipped to another page seeing a photo of her with Avery and Russell and he let out a small groan.

“Don hey,” Hart walked out into the living room shirtless and in a pair of gray sweatpants. He ran his fingers through his dark, messy hair before pulling a white t-shirt up over his chest, “what’s up?”

“I was wondering if you were ready to get moving on that little project of ours,” Don began giving him a knowing look. “I was curious to see if you made any progress on it.”

“Project,” Hart repeated still a bit tired as Don nodded again.

“Yeah you know the one about,” Don leaned in closer to him and whispered, “Brant and getting rid of this.”

“Rid of pictures?” Hart watched Don tapping on the photo album.

“No this,” Don showed Hart the picture of Russ and Avery with Jenna, “Did you figure out what we’re going to do about it?”

“About what?” Jenna questioned walking out to see the two men huddled over in the corner of the room with her album, “Hey, is something up?”

“No,” Hart lied shaking his head and stealing the album from Don, “I was just showing Don how cute you were in some of these. You know how I can’t resist the urge to brag about you at every given moment.”

“Right,” Jenna nodded with a disbelieving expression before walking over to take the photo album out of his hands, “So what’s really going on?”

“Nothing,” Don gulped motioning to the book in her hands, “there are some great photos in there.”

“Thanks,” she replied eyeing the both of them carefully, “So what gives? What’s the meeting about this morning?”

“Don came over to discuss that case I was telling you about earlier,” Hart blurted out throwing Don a warning look, “He’s the one who brought it to my attention and he was seeing if I’d been able to come up with anything to help out the situation.”

“It sounds serious,” she noted turning her attention to Don, “Is it one of your patients in some kind of trouble?”

“Something like that,” Don nodded back at her, “and I was hoping to steal your husband for a bit and poke at his brain since he’s far more into the legal jargon than I am. You know medical school only does so much.”

“So I keep hearing,” Hart interrupted clearing his throat quickly, “but really Don I was working hard on it for a while, but I finally gave it a rest for now.”

“A rest,” Don repeated looking a bit surprised, “are you sure that’s a good idea? I mean this is something that really shouldn’t have a delay on it and…”

“And I’m doing my best to iron out all of the details, but given the sensitivity of the situation, well that’s going to take some time,” Hart continued glancing over at Jenna, “It’s boring stuff really.”

“Boring stuff or stuff you just don’t want me to listen to,” she threw out at the both of them not pretending that she wasn’t aware of their need to be alone. “I’ll be in the kitchen in case either one of you need me or want to fess up about something?”

They watched her walk away before Don spoke up surprised.

“How does she know? I mean seriously what is it with women? Do they just have this sixth sense about them that makes them ultimately know when we’re up to something?” Don couldn’t help but ask.

“No it’s just with you Don you’re beyond obvious about everything,” Hart shook his head at his friend, “I’m honestly surprised that Shannon hasn’t blurted out what’s going on yet and blown us all out of the water given you’re horrible at this secret thing.”

“I’m not horrible,” Don frowned back at him, “I mean okay maybe sometimes I’m not the best, but with Shannon, well you’d be amazed at how easy it was to keep this one from her.”

“Fear of bodily hurt enough to make you keep your lips shut,” Hart arched a speculative brow.

“Something like that,” Don shrugged, “but seriously I know she hated Brant and I’m sure that she’s not happy about my being there for him, but it’s just part of who I am.”

“And you really think she’ll just accept that answer?” Hart chuckled shaking his head at Don, “You really don’t know your wife all that well then, do you?”

“Hey, just because she and I don’t always see eye to eye on things doesn’t mean that we’re not close,” Don objected with a frown, “I mean sure she spends most of the time complaining or yelling at me or threatening to kick my ass somehow, but it’s meant in a loving fashion I’m sure.”

“If you say so,” Hart laughed lightly, “I’ll never understand the demented side of that relationship. You two have issues.”

“Yeah and we’re going to have even more issues between us if you and I can’t help find a way for Brant to fix this situation before it spins out of control. Granted we both know he’s done an amazing job acting here, but sooner or later he’s going to have to take things to the next level.”

“Which means eliminating Russell Denton’s constant lurking,” Hart noted with a nod.

“Hey you know maybe Jenna might be able to help with that,” Don thought aloud, “I mean she knows a lot about Russell, right?”

“We’re not getting her involved with this. You and I both know that she’d never go for this considering that Avery is her best friend and I would never, ever ask her to turn on Avery. You know full well if we asked her to help, she’d be like Shannon in making sure this was over before it began to turn in our favor,” Hart grumbled in response.

“I’m not suggesting that we let her in fully Hart, but more so that maybe we fish around for some details--maybe see if there’s a chance that she might slip up and offer any kind of information that might prove to be useful in tipping the scales our way. I mean maybe she knows something about Russ that we can use against him and…” Don thought further.

“No,” Hart shook his head insistently, “We’re not bringing her into this. If we’re going to help Brant, then we’re going to have to use our own resourcefulness and not rely on anyone else. We’ll need to be able to pull this off all between the three of us without leaving any trail of evidence.”

“Think we can pull that one off,” Don questioned with a worried expression, “You said it yourself that it’s like a ticking time bomb we’re dealing with here.”

“I know, but we’ll figure out something,” Hart tried to assure him as he too wondered if Brant would truly be able to pull off the biggest gamble of his life!


“Is this some kind of sick joke,” Heather couldn’t help but ask looking at Cameron as if he’d completely lost his mind. In all of the time she’d spent with her ex-husband, she hadn’t known him to be even remotely gracious or showing any signs of humility yet now that he stood before her offering her the world that he once did, she couldn’t help but feel a warning flag coming up.

“Heather look I realize that I’ve hurt you and even in doing this--in letting you have total control of the company, I know it’s not enough to make up for how I treated you,” he took a step forward watching her move back wearily, “Heather, I’m sorry I hurt you.”

“Sorry isn’t going to make it go away Cameron,” she replied bringing her hand up over her chest as a chill passed over her.

“Maybe not but by telling you that I’m giving you free run of the finances for your company all coming out of my pocket, well maybe that might be a good starting ground for us. I know Kipp worked out a deal for you, but it wasn’t nearly enough. I see that now,” Cameron sighed reaching out for her, but then thinking twice of it before dipping his hand into his pocket, “Heather I realize that I have a long way to go before regaining your trust, but I would hope that somehow we could find our way to being friends.”

“What’s it going to cost me?” she couldn’t help but ask, “I mean really what is it that you want from me?”

“Nothing other than to see you happy and successful,” Cameron smiled down at her, “That in itself would be the greatest victory for me.”

“Right,” she rolled her eyes at his comment, “Pardon me if I’m not exactly thrilled about any of this or about the idea of our being involved with one another again even if only on a professional level.”

“Heather listen to me,” Cameron took a small step forward, his voice strained and broken a bit, “I know I was horrible to you. I know how much I hurt you and I was wrong to do what I did. I treated you as if you were property--a pawn in my game and quest for revenge and that was wrong of me. I never, ever should’ve dragged you into my war against Douglas.”

“No you shouldn’t have,” she nodded watching him wearily, “You were wrong for that.”

“Yes, yes I was,” he sighed dropping his head down a bit, “but I was dealing with a lot of rage and anger there. I shouldn’t have pulled that into what we had, but I can’t take that back.”

“Cameron, do you really expect me to believe any of this? Do you expect me to take this at face value and accept your apology and your business you’re claiming to want to hand over to me?” she watched him closely.

“Well I was kind of hoping that you would. I mean the way I see it, we would only have a win/win situation on our hands,” he flashed her a small smile, “We were always good together on that level.”

“We didn’t get a chance to really explore that level with one another given that you took to berating me and hurting me,” she mouthed sourly.

“Well, what if I told you I want to find a way to make the hurt end? That I wanted to find a way for you to stand on your own and prove to this world that you’re a fighter?” he urged her again, “Heather, I realize that the world has given you a raw deal, myself included, but I want that to change. I’m trying to make up for my mistakes and I was hoping that you and I could find a way to remedy the ill feelings between us.”

“Cameron, I don’t know…” she paused biting on her lower lip nervously as she weighed out her options. If Cameron truly offered her the business, it was the beginning of fame and fortune at long last, but if there were strings attached.

“I won’t ask anything of you in return, well other than you do what you’re good at in terms of business and you make us both a fortune. Think you can handle that?” he questioned with a small, apologetic smile.

“Well, I suppose if you’re really being honest about this, then…” she started to accept his proposal, but before she could finish Kipp marched out onto the back porch.

“She’s not agreeing to anything until we get it in writing,” Kipp moved in between the two of them not trusting Cameron’s intentions at all, “Heather’s not going to agree to it until you put your money where your mouth is.”

“Kipp, Kipp,” Cameron shook his head at him, “I thought you of all people would know where I stand on business issues.”

“I’m well aware of where you stand and as your corporate attorney, I feel that it’s my business to make a say in all of this,” Kipp stood taller knowing that he was standing up to Cameron even though they’d been on shaky ground with one another in the past. The mere fact that Kipp still worked for Stone Corp came solely from his own instincts to keep Cameron and Thea at bay, “I’m also representing Heather’s best interests and…”

“And if you want it in writing, consider it done,” Cameron waved his hand at Kipp, “Hell, I’ll even let you handle the legal aspect of the affairs since you’ll be on hand for both of us. You are after all one of the best and I’m certain given your history with Heather, you’ll be able to keep a good eye on the progress the company makes.”

“Seriously?” Heather watched him closely.

“Of course,” Cameron nodded. “You and Kipp work out the details and it’s yours under your terms. No lies or gimmicks with this one. Whatever you want, consider it yours.”


“Wow, I can’t believe you actually decided to be nice to me today,” Nate let out a small smile as he took another bite of his breakfast seeing Shannon watch him eat. “I mean, when was the last time we actually had breakfast together?”

“A very long time ago,” Shannon answered with a small nod taking a small sip of her water before leaning back further in her seat. “It would have been longer too if I could have made it happen that way.”

“Shannon come on, you know you don’t hate me,” he pointed out with a small frown holding his piece of French toast in the air as he spoke before taking another bite of it, “I mean, you love your little brother and you always have.”

“Right,” Shannon watched him with a disgusted look on her face as he finished off the last of his food and took down a big gulp of orange juice. “You really do eat a lot.”

“What can I say? I was raised that way,” he pointed out seeing her nod slowly before reaching for the bill and looking it over. “It is so nice that you were polite enough to buy me breakfast. Maybe in about three years I can return the favor and buy you an ice-cream or something.”

“Don’t worry about it little brother,” Shannon whispered a small smile appearing over her features as she looked out across the table at him. “I don’t want you to be late for you first day of community service.”

“Oh,” Nate groaned throwing his napkin down on the table before shaking his head slowly. “Please don’t remind me about this now I was actually thinking we were having a good brother and sister moment. Didn’t you? I thought I felt the good vibe there.”

“Nate, I’m being serious here,” Shannon frowned seeing her brother watch her carefully as she shrugged her shoulders and looked over towards the cashier. “You really do have a bad attitude and you will have to serve more time of community service if you are bad and you know what that means?”

“More time with having to deal with all the idiots in this town?” Nate offered up with a small laugh before seeing Shannon frown at his comment. “I was just pointing out the obvious because truth be told sis, the only person I like in this town so far is that kid Matt. Other than that everyone has been just…”

“Just what?” Shannon questioned seeing Nate’s eyes get wide as he stared out in front of him and let out a small smile as he stood up from his booth. “Where are you going?”

“My list just went from one to two,” Nate informed Shannon walking away from the table and over towards a woman that had just entered the building and was turned towards the other direction. He stepped in behind her before letting out a small smile. “Boy miss, are you hurt?”

“Excuse me?” the woman turned around seeing Nate standing behind her as she took a step back and his smile widened. “No, why?”

“Well you look like an angel right before me,” Nate stated with a small grin placing his hand over his chest before looking up towards the ceiling. “Which means you must have fallen from heaven because God was trying to find my life an angel.”

“Trisha,” a man walked up from behind the woman, wrapping his arm around her protectively before taking off his sunglasses. “Is this guy bothering you right now?”

“Chase, don’t worry about it,” Trisha placed her hand over the center of Chase’s chest to hold him back gently. “He’s just someone new here obviously.”

“Sorry Chase,” Nate apologized taking a step back before shrugging his shoulders and smiling widely, “I was just trying to beat you to the chase and have your girlfriend go out with me for one night."

“Well, why would she want to chase someone like you when she has someone perfect like me?” Chase replied with a small smirk, wrapping his arm more securely around Trisha's waist. "Now why don't you just get over it and leave before I have to chase you out of here."


“So what’s going on with you and the big man lately?” Chris couldn’t help but ask Angela after Kevin’s departure from his home. “He seemed a bit hostile this morning.”

“Oh no he’s not hostile,” she rolled her eyes, “he’s in love.”

“Love eh?” Chris paused eyeing her for a long moment, “Um, does this mean that you two…”

“No,” she cut him off abruptly, “Kevin would be absolutely the last man that I would be involved with right about now. I think I’ve screwed up his life enough over the years and I meant what I said about not wanting anymore romantic disasters. I think I’ve messed up enough lately.”

“That doesn’t sound too reassuring,” Chris stepped in closer to her, “want to talk about it?”

“No, not really,” she decided taking in a long slow breath, “right now I don’t even want to worry about Kevin or all the issues we’ve had with one another. I just want to focus on something else like what’s going on with you…”

“You know I’m not an expert on relationships--far from it, but if you and Kevy are having some problems, you might want to fix them. I know you’re good friends and…” he began again.

“Trust me. This will blow over eventually,” she sighed looking up at him, “but what about you? How did the pajamas work out for you?”

“Hideous as ever,” he displayed them proudly, “Just like yours.”

“Good I’m glad to hear it,” she laughed lightly, “It is nice to see that even when the world is twisted and chaotic we have color and originality around us given that I don’t think anyone else in the world would’ve bought these.”

“Probably not, but hey at least we were doing our part to help out the designer,” he winked at her, “but seriously hey I hate to see you so unhappy. I know how important Kevin is to you and…”

“Trust me Chris, it’s so not worth getting into. I mean with relationships, you and I know how complicated they can be,” she stepped in closer to him, “You know full well what a headache they are.”

“Actually now that you mention it, there’s this guy,” he groaned inwardly, “I don’t know what it is about him, but…”

“Wait a second,” she paused giving him a strange look, “Chris don’t tell me there’s a guy you’re interested in.”

“No, no nothing like that,” he shook his head readily, “but rather there’s this woman and she’s stunning. Breathtaking really and there’s just something about her, but every time I get close to her it’s like I’m taking one step forward only to be twenty steps behind. She’s obsessed with this jackass and no matter how many times I try to get her to see that he’s stuffy and would suffocate her entirely, she still goes running to him.”

“Hmm, well it sounds like it’s her problem, not yours. If she can’t see how great you are, then clearly she’s not worth the effort,” she offered up patting his arm lightly, “Besides it can’t be true love given that you keep trying to get into my pants.”

“Angel I would continue to try to get into your pants until the end of time there if I could,” he reached out to curl his arm around her, “because nothing beats being with you.”

“Oh God,” she rolled her eyes, “Now you’re doing it again.”

“What? Can I help it if I think you’re incredibly sexy and well worth the effort,” he tipped his head down to kiss her neck in a feathery light motion.

“Chris, maybe this is your problem,” she curled her finger underneath his chin to lift his face up enough for her to see his eyes, “You’re quite raunchy in your approach and no woman wants that. They want to be romanced and seduced, not to feel like another notch on the belt there. They want dinner and romance and beautiful words…”

“If I recall correctly all it took in the past was take out and a trip to that little spot on the mountain where we would…” he began feeling her place her hand over his mouth to silence his words.

“Trust me you were far smoother back then,” she replied with a pointed expression, “and if you stop trying to be a comedian all of the time, someone might actually take you seriously.”

“Why?” he pulled her hand off of his lips, “You don’t.”

“Chris, look I could give you what you’re looking for, but would a day of completely mindless, no strings sex really be what you need right about now?” she tossed out with a disapproving stare.

“Well, it couldn’t hurt,” he felt her poke him in the ribs, “Okay, okay so maybe it’s not what you’re looking for, but I wouldn’t mind it.”

“Chris, it’s been ages since we’ve slept together. I can assure you it wouldn’t be as thrilling as you remember it being,” she shook her head at him.

“You never know, it might be more exciting than before,” his fingers tapered off over the back of her spine. He wiggled his brow at her, “What do you say? Want to try to find out and see how it measures up?”

“Weren’t you supposed to be trying to cheer me up here?” she questioned lazily feeling his finger slip in underneath the back of her pajama shirt. The first touch of his cool finger against her spine caused her to jump forward into his chest more completely.

“I thought that this might be a nice start,” he mouthed leaning down to brush his lips to hers in a faint, casual caress. She tipped her head up further her fingers curling over his shoulder as his palm flattened out over the small of her back. As their lips parted he rubbed his nose against hers in a subtle movement, “See that wasn’t so bad.”

“That was no where near where you’re wanting this to go,” she mouthed feeling his hand fall down to her pajama bottoms. He squeezed her lower half in against his before diving in for another kiss. This unlike the last time was a bit more urgent, a bit more demanding and she knew if she didn’t put an end to it soon, he’d coax her into falling back into old habits. Placing her hand against the center of his chest, she pulled back ever so slightly, “Chris, I can’t do this.”

“Are you sure?” he searched her eyes, “Really really sure?”

“Yeah,” she nodded taking a small step back and detangling herself from his arms, “I’m sure. I think maybe it’s time for me to find a place of my own to stay at from here on out.”

“Angel wait,” he reached out to take her arm before she could walk away from him, “Look I’m sorry. I was completely out of line and…”

“No this was my fault. I was flirting and leading you on,” she let out a long sigh, “I’m notorious for doing that and I only wind up hurting people I care about that way. I’m sorry I gave you mixed signals.”

“Well I’m sorry that I acted like a classless jackass. Look, maybe we can just put this past us. I mean I really like having you around because hey if you’re not here, who is going to help me evolve from a low life pervert to a romantic chick magnet,” he pleaded with his blue eyes, “Angel please stay. I swear I won’t joke about sex or anything even close to it if you give me another chance.”

“Chris, now I know you’re lying. You won’t be able to resist,” she tossed out a pointed look.

“Okay so maybe I’ll joke, but I swear I will hold true to a hands off policy if that’s what you want,” he held his fingers up over the center of his chest to swear to her, “so what do you say?”

“I say that I still think it’s dangerous for me to stay here because if this comes up again,” she started still unsure about how to deal with the matter at hand.

“If it does, I’ll move myself out and let you stay here,” he replied with a tiny grin, “I swear I’ll be a perfect gentleman.”

“I seriously doubt it,” she smiled back at him, “but maybe with a little work we can make that happen.”

“Who knows? I might even become one of the moral elite,” he tugged at the collar on his pajamas a bit before standing up taller.

“I wouldn’t go that far Chris,” she couldn’t help but laugh at the idea of him being respectable at long last, “but it’s a fun thought.”

“Fun enough for you to consider giving me one more shot at being a gracious host?” he arched a hopeful brow.

“For now,” she nodded after a moment’s contemplation, “but you’ll have to make me something for lunch to make up for it.”

“I’ll do even better. I’ll take you out to one of Coral Valley’s finest dining establishments tonight to prove to you that I meant what I said. I’ll be on my best behavior from here on out,” he promised leaving her to wonder if he could really hold true to the promise. Still with her and Cameron being so strained lately she didn’t want to go rush to his place and with Kevin, well right now they seemed further apart than they’d ever been, so she wasn’t going to go crawling to him either. Chris was the best option she had and as she thought of his promise she realized that maybe they could find a way to make it work after all. Stranger things had happened!


“Is there anything I can do for you,” Kyle questioned as he and Sarah walked over to the area they were staying at during their visit to the Ashford mansion, “Maybe I can make a few calls and…”

“No Kyle, really it’s okay,” Sarah began her thoughts lingering to Diego still being in the mansion. Worry pumped through her blood and she started to think up ways that she could spot Diego again and get him to leave before he and Kyle crossed paths again. Fear washed over as she felt Kyle touch her shoulder again.

“You sure everything’s okay,” he couldn’t help but ask his dark eyes fixed on hers.

“Yeah, I just really need to do this on my own. I need to fix this so that I can pick up the pieces again,” she replied hating to lie to him, but given what had happened, she didn’t think that now was a good starting point with the truth. Technically they were apart when she’d slept with Diego, but now…

“Hey you two,” Russell’s voice called out to them catching Sarah off guard, yet his presence offered her a moment or relief.

“Russ, hey man, how’s it going?” Kyle greeted him with a small smile, “Having a better morning than yesterday?”

“I’d be lying if I said I was,” Russell frowned again thinking about what was troubling him, “Last night Avery went in to see Brant, but then she never came back to the room. I was with Erin and, well, this morning I went down to Brant’s room to check on her, but she’s not there. Someone mentioned that she might be in the kitchen having breakfast, but when I looked she wasn’t in the dining area either.”

“Maybe she needed some air,” Kyle suggested, “Did you try out back?”

“I looked, but no one has seen her or Erin,” Russ explained in a panicked tone, “She’s not in the nursery and…”

“Hey, we’ll find her,” Kyle promised thinking about his friend’s worries, “This is a big place. I’m sure she’s around here somewhere. She wouldn’t just up and vanish with Erin especially not now.”

“Then why haven’t I been able to find them,” Russ questioned fear sweeping over him as he thought of all that had happened over the last few months, “Kyle I’m worried. If something happened to them…”

“It hasn’t,” Kyle assured him before turning to Sarah, “I’m going to help him look.”

“I’ll look too,” she promised feeling him squeeze her hand before Augustus walked into the hallway.

“What’s this?” Augustus questioned with a small smile, “A town meeting on perhaps another party tonight?”

“Actually we’re looking for Avery,” Kyle explained to the older Ashford, “She’s missing and we can’t find her or Erin..”

“Oh well, I think I can help you all out with that one,” Augustus turned his attention to Russ, “I’m pretty sure I know where she is and I’d be more than happy to tell you.”


Avery looked around the living room wrinkling her nose in disgust as she saw the remains of the wreckage that had clearly taken over her and Russell’s home. Whatever Kyle was doing had made a profound impact on the house and not in a good way. Bending down she picked up a photograph that had been knocked off one of the tables in whatever hurricane had passed through the Denton home.

“I am so going to kill you Kyle,” Avery mouthed shaking her head at the mess, “You’re such a slob.”

She continued to walk through the house making her way into the master bedroom now that Erin had taken to napping in the nursery. Originally she’d come over to pick up a few things, but now, well now she couldn’t help but find herself swept up in the memories that this house held for her. Walking over to the window she closed her eyes and thought back to another time and place.

“Get that sexy butt of yours back in bed Denton before you find yourself on the receiving end of some serious backlash,” Avery’s voice rose through the haze that surrounded her thoughts.

“And just what are you going to do to make me,” Russell challenged spinning around to look at her after he’d spent long moments of contemplation near the window.

“You don’t want to know,” she sat up straighter keeping the white bed sheet wrapped around her body. She curled her index finger over at him encouragingly, “Now be a good boy and get over here.”

“Say please,” he taunted the corners of his mouth tipping up in a small smirk.

“I’m not going to beg you to get back into bed,” she curled her lip in a pout, “I’m telling you Russ. This isn’t a request, but merely an order.”

“And what if I refuse,” he wiggled his brow at her being surprisingly stubborn as she bunched up the sheet and stepped out of bed.

“Then you’re going to have to answer to me,” she announced standing in front of him. Their eyes met as she saw the playful defiance burning behind his green eyes. She thought of a verbal lashing she’d issue him, but instead she reached for him tangling her fingers through his dark hair and pulling him roughly towards her for a kiss. She felt his fingers reach for the sheet pulling it away from her soft curves and she broke the kiss off swatting at his hand, “Oh no you don’t get the opportunity to kiss up now.”

“And just why not?” he leaned in attempting to kiss her again, “You know you couldn’t resist moving over here to see me.”

“That’s where you’re wrong Russ. I’m not wanting to see you, but rather I’m highly agitated that you don’t listen,” she scowled up at him, “I had plans for us, but alas you waited and the moment is gone.”

“The moment is never gone,” he curled his arm around her pulling her in against him in one solid sweep, “Besides, the way I see it, your coming over here reminds me of how I’ve decided to devote the rest of my day to you…”

“Again kissing up,” she shook her head at him wrinkling her nose.

“On the contrary,” his lips dropped down over her neck in a hot, smoldering breath, “I intend to spend the day kissing you all over.”

“Russ,” she purred his name feeling him pull her off of the ground and depositing the sheet before they made their trip back to bed where he’d followed through on his promise again and again.

Turning around Avery’s eyes fell to the bed remembering all the special moments she and Russ had with one another. Yes, they had a fire about them--a passion that neither one had been able to resist, yet there had been so much time that they’d spent apart--there were still so many things that were uncertain even after his return. Closing her eyes she took in a small breath wondering if the tension would ever leave their lives completely. As each day went on she was starting to wonder if they were really ever going to be able to hold onto that happiness that always seemed to be one step out of their reach.


Kevin sat in his rental car staring at the house ahead of him. While he’d vowed not to get swept up in all of Angie’s little dramatic moments, he knew there was still something unfinished that he himself felt he had to take care of. When he’d first pulled up to the house he was convinced of it, but now, well now he was determining the best course of action.

He’d spotted a car in the driveway so he knew someone was there and that someone was undoubtedly going to be the man that he’d come to call out. Sure, he’d promised Angie that he’d let things go, but given what he’d done to upset the balance in all of their life, Kevin realized he wasn’t going to let Nick Smith or rather Russell Denton get away with what he’d done. Kevin had been convinced from day one that his amnesia line was a bunch of bull and now he was going to call him on it. If things got ugly, then so be it.

“You’re going down Denton,” Kevin mouthed stepping out of his car and marching up across the lawn. He’d been here once before so he knew full well what to expect inside. Even if that Kyle guy was still around, it wouldn’t stop Kevin from doing what he’d set out to do. Russ was about to pay and see first hand what it was like to have his life uprooted and ripped to shreds. If nothing else Kevin owed Angie that much.

Standing on the porch Kevin reached out to the doorbell waiting a moment as he tried his best to look casual and unthreatening. That would come later of course and maybe if Russ begged for mercy, Kevin might be willing to show him a little bit of it, but he seriously doubted it. No one screwed with his friends or even his life and got away with it. Russell would certainly be no exception. He reached for the bell again ready to keep ringing until the little man answered, but before he could press the button fully, the door started to open.

“I said I was coming,” Avery groaned opening the door to come face to face with a surprised Kevin. “Oh, hello can I help you?”

“I…um…” Kevin’s eyes practically popped out of his head as he could’ve sworn that it was Angela standing in front of him except she had longer hair and…oh there was no and. Give or take a hairstyle and it was an exact replica for the woman he’d spent most of his life in love with.

“Can I help you?” she asked wearily, her hand curled protectively around the door as if she was going to close it in his face.

“Actually,” Kevin tried to regain his bearings, “um I have a question for you. Are you…?”

“Am I what? Look if you’re trying to sell something now really isn’t a good time and,” she started to close the door on him.

“No wait,” he put his foot in between the door and the frame to keep her from closing it on him, “Look I’m looking for Mrs. Denton. Mrs. Russell Denton. Is that you?”

Avery stood silent for a long moment before finally speaking up, “Yes, yes I am. What is it you need?”

“I need to speak with you,” Kevin blurted out without a moment’s contemplation still trying to recover from what his eyes were now fixed upon--to ignore the fact that the face in front of him was exactly like Angela‘s. That her eyes had that same sparkle about them and… He stood up taller attempting to remember his objective, “I flew a long way to find you and I’m not leaving until I do just that. I have something to tell you about your husband and I’m afraid it can’t wait.”


...to be continued...