Episode 300

Sarah quickly closed the bedroom door behind herself after running away from Diego before he could follow her back to the room. Being around him made her feel so uncomfortable right now and it was like he knew it.

“I can’t believe this,” Sarah leaned back against the door closing her eyes as she thought about everything that had been going on recently. What had just happened with Diego was a mistake. A very big mistake that should have never happened between the two of them again. “It’s never going to happen.”

Sarah continued to tell herself this, but every time she did she found herself believing everything she told herself less and less. There wasn’t a day where she couldn’t think about what had happened between her and Diego. What just happened with them in Brant’s room made everything worse to what was going on right now. Closing her eyes she could still feel his lips against hers.

“I want you like nothing you can imagine,” she revealed her gaze dropping to his lips longing to kiss them again, “I want to make love to you again and again and share what we did before, but Kyle…”

“Sarah if you really love Kyle then you and I wouldn’t be drawn to one another like this,” his arm slipped around her waist pulling her in to him, “If we weren’t meant to happen, then neither one of us would be feeling this way…neither one of us would be wanting one another like this…”

“I can’t want you,” she blurted out between small sobs, “I can’t love you because Kyle and I…we’re supposed to have happily ever after…we’re supposed to…”

“I love you Sarah,” Diego mouthed unable to refrain from kissing her a moment longer. His lips plunged in over hers tasting the saltiness of her tears burning deep down to his heart. Her fingers bit into his shoulders and before he knew it, her arms were wrapped around him needy and hungry for his touch.

“Diego,” she breathed his name tearing her lips away from his. Their eyes connected in a moment of understanding and fear, but the passion between them was far too strong to walk away from it, “I shouldn’t be doing this. I shouldn’t be kissing you and wanting you…I shouldn’t be…”

“But do you want to be,” he couldn’t help but ask feeling her arm slide around his waist squeezing him closer to her.

“I can’t be thinking about him like this,” Sarah scolded herself knowing that she wanted to be with Diego, but there was only one problem about that. She also wanted to be with Kyle too, he was just as desirable. “Kyle is such a good guy.”

Sarah walked over and laid down on the bed grabbing a pillow from Kyle’s side and holding it in her arms tightly. Kyle and Diego were both really good guys, but Kyle had to be the better one. She never should have cheated on Kyle, but why was Diego constantly on her mind?

“I have to stop this,” Sarah sighed turning on her side and looking over towards the corner of the room seeing Kyle’s packing bag with all his drawing utensils that he usually played around with when he was bored. Just seeing them brought back an old memory of Kyle when he was playing around at her old house with his drawing.

“Are you almost done yet?” Sarah laughed seeing Kyle itch his chin as he looked over the drawing he was making. He pressed one of his hands back against the grass before looking out towards her while she laid on the hammock outside. “Kyle, I’m tired of sitting here.”

“Sarah,” Kyle laughed going to erase something before shrugging his shoulders. He reached up to unbutton the top button of his shirt feeling the heat rising outside as they sat together. “The whole thing about drawing a portrait of you--I need you to sit still. I can’t draw your mouth moving. I swear it’s almost done.”

“It better be,” she warned in a small laugh seeing his hazel eyes glance her over before he shook his head slowly. She watched as he played around with his pencil a few more times before standing up. “Are you done?”

“I might be,” he nodded turning around the picture so she could now see it. He heard the small gasp that escaped her lips as he looked down at it and frowned. “I could have changed the coloring around a bit, I know it’s bad and I could have done better but…”

“Kyle be quiet,” Sarah laughed seeing him look up at her with a small smile as she reached out to snatch the drawing paper away from his hands before looking down at the drawing. “Kyle this is so good--how did you become such a good drawer like this?”

“I thought you knew I could draw--you always hung out with me when we were…” Kyle paused for a moment, the color fading from his face as he thought things over. “Never mind--that wasn’t you.”

“Even so,” Sarah looked the picture over carefully before letting out a small laugh and ripping the one page out of his book holding the picture close to her, “Can I keep it?”

“You sure can,” Kyle nodded unbuttoning the rest of his shirt before sliding it down his arms slowly. He let out a small breath before wiping at his forehead gently. “It sure is hot.”

“Yeah, really hot,” Sarah agreed looking over his chiseled abdomen as he threw his shirt to the side and onto the ground. She watched him walk around the deck as she stood up and set her picture on the table before walking back to go find out where he went. “Kyle, where did you go?”

“Right here,” Kyle’s voice beckoned hers as she turned around to only feel water spray right in her face making her fall to the ground as Kyle let out a out a small laugh when she looked up at him. He held the hose in his hand continuing to squirt it at her as she looked out at him. “Hey, what can I say? You said you were hot.”

“Give me that thing,” Sarah stood up quickly running over to try and grab the hose from his hands as he shook his head slowly and held it out of reach. “Give me it now Kyle Houston.”

“Make me,” Kyle mouthed feeling jumping up to try and get the hose only to knock the both of them down in the process. He let out a small groan after hitting the hard ground. “Okay, you made me.”

“Are you okay?” Sarah laughed getting in over him seeing him look up at her before leaning up to kiss her gently, his fingertips tracing over the side of her face slowly.

“I love you Sarah,” Kyle whispered backing away slowly, closing his fingers in with hers. “Don’t ever let go of what we have because if you do that--it leaves me one choice I don’t want to make. Everyone I‘ve loved has left my life in the past--please don’t be another to that list.”

Sarah reopened her eyes realizing she did break what they had together and Kyle could never find out because he would leave her without even thinking twice about it. Kyle was everything she wanted and needed in life, but Diego…

“Ouch,” Sarah winced feeling a tight pain in her stomach before running her hand in over the front of belly, feeling it tighten underneath her touch. “What is going on?”

Sarah heard a knock at the door before she let out a long groan figuring that it was probably Diego coming back to beg for her love again.

“You are getting so pathetic,” Sarah rolled her eyes getting out of bed slowly before walking over towards the door and opening it slowly. “I thought I told you to leave me alone.”

“Aren’t you a happy princess today,” Blake frowned folding her arms out in front of her chest seeing Sarah look up at her as Sarah’s eyes grew wide. “You look horrible Sarah.”


“Angel, what aren’t you telling me? How can you know Brant when…” Chris started again wanting to know more about Angela’s reaction to Heather’s accusations.

“Who was that woman?” she cut him off abruptly feeling her heart hammering in her chest, “And more so why did she say those things to me? I have never seen her in my life and…”

“She’s the one I told you about,” Chris explained quickly, “You know the one I told you I was interested in, but that loser keeps getting in the way.”

“Wait a second,” Angela’s jaw practically dropped, “Chris are you telling me that she’s someone that you actually give a damn about? Someone that you would want to spend your life with?”

“Well, I don’t know if I’d go that far, but she’s pretty fun and well when I’m with her I find her a bit infuriating like I do with you at times and…” he paused realizing what she’d done, “Oh no we’re not going to go through this one. We’re going to get back to the topic at hand with Brant. Why did you say something about Brant? Do you know Brant?”

“Well, um, what Brant is she referring to,” she replied quickly not really sure if it could be the same man she’d been dreaming about--the same man that had rocked her world on the beach and then done it again after he left when she’d discovered she was pregnant. Surely she couldn’t have flown all this way to have come across the man she thought she’d never see again, yet given that woman’s reaction to seeing her sitting at the table with Chris…

“She was talking about Brant Ashford,” Chris explained searching her features for any kind of recognition or response behind her eyes. Once he was certain that there wasn’t any he let out a breath of relief, “Oh thank God you don’t know him. For a second there I was afraid that you might have actually crossed paths with the creep considering that…”

“That what?” she watched him closely not really sure what to say as her thoughts were racing about the man she’d met on the beach.

“That you might’ve been unfortunate enough to have to deal with him. He’s a real creep, a liar, a cheat and a man who hasn’t been able to follow through on anything that even resembles being a human being. He’s ruthless and selfish and he prides himself on making the world around him miserable. He runs this pharmaceutical empire and thinks that he’s God’s gift to women because of it. And strangely enough they all fall at his feet. Heather was his ex-fiancée for a while there and she saw first hand what an asshole he was. He’s a real creep and anyone who crosses paths with him is in big trouble because he lives to destroy others.”

“He does huh,” she paused thinking about the Brant she’d met on the island. He was kind and gentle and one of the most dedicated lovers she’d ever met. Surely, the man that Chris was describing was the opposite of the man she’d given herself to for that brief period in her life. He was charming and gallant and romantic in a small degree. And very married you idiot, she heard a voice in the back of her head snap her back to the moment with a furious jolt.

“Hey Angel, are you okay,” Chris caught her before she stumbled forward.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she brought her hand up over her forehead, “I guess I just let the moment get the best of me. With her saying those things…”

“Heather is a bit of a drama queen, but it’s part of her charm. She was upset that Brant treated her like dirt and she thought that you were someone else that you were…” Chris paused thinking about how he too had seen the similarities between Angela and Avery.

“That I was what?” Angela’s eyes widened with curiosity.

“Never mind,” Chris sighed heavily realizing that now wasn’t in the time to get into it with Angela about the trials and tribulations of his life around Heather Gibbons and his hatred for Brant Ashford. She’d already been subjected to it far too many times for his liking and tonight he’d promised her a fun day. This certainly wasn’t anywhere near fun and he realized it. Heather may hate him, but there was no need to drag Angela down into his sour mood, “What do you say we just forget it? We’ll just go back to my place, play some video games and call it a night of platonic fun. What do you say?”

“Well, you know I was eager to get out and about, but maybe that might not be so bad. I really don’t want to have any run ins with any delirious love struck gals you hang out with,” she rolled her eyes at the thought, “because I swear I almost decked her.”

“She was just being rude because she likes me,” Chris grinned brightly, “I can see that now.”

“Yeah well you’re insane if you like her because I think she’s psychotic,” she shook at him thinking about what he’d said about Brant Ashford. While the name Brant seemed a bit rare to her, the thought of the man she’d shared her time with being all those things that Chris spouted off about felt so far from the man she’d been dreaming about. Surely there was no way that Brant Ashford and her mystery lover were one in the same. It just couldn’t be because the Brant she knew was the extreme opposite of the man that Chris obviously despised. She was sure of it!


“What’s wrong honey?” Kellen watched Heather fall back onto the couch and let out an exaggerated sigh as he walked over towards the couch and motioned her to lift up her head for a moment. He sat down before feeling her rest her head in his lap while her green eyes looked up into his. “What has you in an attitude twist?”

“I swear Kellen, I am just mad as hell,” Heather groaned feeling Kellen’s fingers running through her hair slowly before feeling him push a piece of her hair behind her ear. “I don’t understand things sometimes.”

“Who got you ticked today?” Kellen questioned with a small smile seeing her roll her eyes thinking back to all the things that had been happening lately. “It’s that bad?”

“Really bad,” she nodded slowly seeing his blue eyes watching her closely waiting to find out what was going on with her lately. She felt him play with her hair a little bit more before she let out an aggravated groan. “I swear Kellen--all men suck.”

“Well of course honey,” Kellen chuckled holding his hands in the air and wiggling his eyebrows up and down slowly before itching his chin. “You can’t be mad at that though because that’s the fun part.”

“Oh, you are so disgusting,” Heather gasped sitting up from his lap and hitting him in the chest lightly as she leaned back into the couch. “You are one nasty little man. I’m not in the mood for any of your joking Kellen.”

“I never said I was joking,” Kellen wiggled his eyebrows up and down before shrugging his shoulders and letting out a small sigh. The way that Heather had just glared at him told him everything and that was telling him he had to be serious right now. “Alright sweetheart--what’s on your mind right now?”

“I don’t know,” Heather let out a small breath falling back down into his lap again feeling his fingers playing with her hair again. His blue eyes met hers as she tried to explain the things she was feeling. “It’s with everybody--like Diego and Cameron, big time when it comes to Cameron.”

“Yeah, he does seem to be a bit different these days. I don’t know whether to believe him or wonder if tomorrow he is going to have his panties in such a bunch. He seemed to be sincere though.”

“All men do when they tell you something,” she pointed out playing with her fingers out in front of her before shrugging her shoulders and watching Kellen reach down for her purse to pull her wallet out of it. “What are you doing?”

“I’m showing you something,” Kellen opened her wallet showing Heather what was inside as she looked up at him slightly confused. “Take a look what is in this honey. Do you see everything that is here, specifically tuning in on the money.”

“Well, yeah,” Heather gazed up at Kellen clueless before shrugging her shoulders and letting out a small laugh. She smacked him in the abdomen gently before shaking her head. “It’s my own wallet. I think I would at least know what is in it.”

“Of course you could,” Kellen agreed before flipping through her wallet slowly and licking his lips as he thought about the future ahead of Heather. “With this company though sweetheart, do you know how great it is going to be. All the hunks standing around and I will be your personal assistant, so of course every man we hire is going to be drop dead gorgeous.”

“You might be getting a little ahead of yourself honey,” Heather pointed out looking up into Kellen’s blue eyes, seeing that one of them had a small bruise underneath it from when he pulled out all his moves that turned out being horrible on his end. “I don’t know if I am going to find any of them hunks. There is only a certain crowd I could even begin to consider a hunk.”

“Please honey, there has to be someone out there that you like,” Kellen watched her cheeks turn a light shade of red as she thought about someone before shaking her head slowly. “Oh, I know that face. You like someone. Is it Diego?”

“Him?” she gasped letting out a small sigh of disgust before shaking her head slowly and looking up at Kellen with a small smile. “Yeah, like that will happen.”

“Kipp?” Kellen saw the look she gave him telling him that the answer was automatically no before he shrugged his shoulders and went back to looking through her pictures slowly. He saw one picture of him and Heather together when they had gone to the mall and took pictures in the booth. There was another picture of Kipp and Kellen together followed by one of just Charles. Kellen turned to the last picture seeing it was the one he had taken the other day of Kyle and Heather sitting on the couch together while Kyle held Charles in his arms tightly. “Speaking of men I wished sucked.”

“Oh my…” Heather rolled her eyes watching Kellen practically drool over the picture he had taken of her and Kyle the other day. Thinking it over for a minute she decided that now would be a great time to start playing around with Kellen’s mind. “Didn’t you know that he does already?”

“He does?” Kellen gasped his blue eyes growing wide as he looked up at Heather before gulping down deeply. He clapped his hands together before patting on his left knee as she sat up slowly. “Who has he been with? Grady or Russ? He has always been hanging out with those two. Or how about Don? Those two are always fighting with each other, just like him and Kevin. Oh, is it Kevin? Has he been with Kevin? I have to know this Heather--tell me.”

“What?” Heather started laughing so hard that she fell down on the ground rolling around as Kellen folded his arms out in front of his chest angrily. “You are so funny Kellen. I don’t even know this Kevin guy and how would you think Kyle is gay?”

“I was just hoping,” Kellen let out a small laugh trying to keep his seriousness going, but it was stopped by the way Heather continued to laugh. He got down on the ground and reached down to tickle at her sides hearing her let out a small squeak. “You are going to pay for that Heather babes. You are going to pay good for getting me all worked up about that.”


“You’re fighting for all the right things Brant,” Don tried to assure his best friend walking up and wrapping his arm around Brant’s shoulders seeing Brant’s dark eyes glance over at him. “You are fighting for the love of your life. The one you love and you know deep down she loves you too.”

“Does she really?” Brant questioned sitting down on the edge of the bed slowly before slumping down and letting out a long breath. “I have to wonder if I am really making a mistake.”

“Brant,” Don frowned walking over to Brant and sitting down next to him, wrapping his right arm around Brant’s shoulder tightly. “Come on buddy, if you love her how is a mistake?”

“From what I just saw Don,” Brant pointed out looking up into his best friend’s blue eyes before pointing over towards the spot Sarah and Diego had been not over an hour ago. “I’m stunned see people in the world do things like this, they are insane. They tell one person they love them and lead them on like it’s really the best thing in the world.”

“I don’t think I’m following you,” Don replied watching Brant stand up slowly and shake his head as he thought about things that were going on. “Brant you know that this is the perfect time to get what you need. What you love.”

“I love it Don, but I can’t do that,” Brant tried to reason with himself thinking about the look on Sarah’s face when Kyle had walked into the room. “When I looked at Sarah and Diego I had to think about Kyle. About how he would have felt to be in my position seeing everything where I was at.”

“He might actually deserve it after pulling that out on you,” Don blurted out seeing Brant turn towards him and shoot him a glare. Don shrugged his shoulders before sliding off the bed and sitting down in Brant’s wheelchair. “I was just saying.”

“Well don’t,” Brant warned thinking about everything Kyle would have done if he only walked in two minutes earlier. “I don’t understand it Don, Kyle was so very much in love with her. Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t my best friend, but he isn’t a bad guy. All he wants to do is protect people--he protected Avery once and I gained so much respect for the guy. Granted it was my brother he basically beat to the ground, Ken deserved it. Kyle has a way of showing his love and truthfully, I really don’t think Kyle would have hurt me Don.”

“Are you kidding me?” Don chuckled starting to play around with the wheelchair before shaking his head slowly and thinking back to Kyle Houston and all the fights they have been in together. “That guy is a real brute. He won’t be afraid to do that to you Brant.”

“Believe it or not there was a day we got along Don,” Brant replied with a small frown leaning back against the wall as he thought things over to himself. “His whole life was revolved around Sarah and she did that to him. If I’m stuck in the same position and that continues to happen, I'll break worse than Kyle would.”

“You don’t have to worry about that,” Don played around with the wheel chair again leaning back with the front two wheels in the air before spinning them around slowly. “Me and Hart came up with a plan to help you get through this.”

“Don, you might want to stop that…” Brant warned but it was too late because Don fell backwards out of the wheel chair rolling out onto his back before shooting back up to his feet. Brant let out a small laugh seeing Don straightening out his shirt slowly. “I was about to warn you man. Good job.”

“I did that on purpose,” Don lied clearing his throat before he started to speak up again, fixing the wheelchair before walking over to the bed and sitting back slowly feeling a pain start to build up in the back of his neck. “Anyways, the two of us were talking and we realized that with time occurring like it is--now would be a great time to break out the new ideas.”

“Somehow, no matter how good your plan is,” Brant paused for a second picturing what he saw with Avery and Russell in the hallway when him and Don were spying on the two of them. “I don’t think it will ever be good enough to break up the two of them. It won’t work--nothing is going to work.”

“Don’t break yet,” Don make a tsking sound before standing up and walking over to Brant, wrapping his arm around Brant’s shoulder. Don slapped Brant’s face seeing the way that Brant turned to his face before looking back at Don with a shocked expression. “You have to be strong.”

“You just slapped me,” Brant pointed out with a small frown reaching out to slap Don right across the face in return the same way Don had done it to him. “I can’t believe you hit me.”

“What was that for?” Don questioned touching the side of his burning cheek gently before staring out at Brant with a small frown reaching out to smack him again only to feel Brant smack him right back. They did it a couple more times before Don held his hand up in the air motioning for them to stop. Sure, they weren’t hitting each other hard, but it still stung a little bit after the tenth. “Alright, I don’t know where that came from.”

“Me neither,” Brant touched the side of his cheek before letting out a small frown. “Why were we just hitting each other again?”

“Because you hit me first,” Don stated with a small nod seeing Brant shake his head slowly. “Yes you did.”

“No I didn’t,” Brant shot right back seeing Don nod slowly before Brant rolled his eyes realizing it would be no use to argue with Don about who smacked the other first. Brant let out a small laugh realizing some of the things that happened between the two of them were so random. “Anyways, what was your plan?”

“Well, as you know Blake is throwing a party for that charity,” Don reminded Brant seeing him nod slowly and sit on the edge of the dresser watching Don carefully. “This my friend would be the perfect time to make Avery realize she still wants to be your wife and your wife only.”

“How are we going to make her do that?” Brant questioned in a sarcastic tone before rolling his eyes, realizing that no matter what he tried somehow Russ and Avery would always find a way back to each other. “Smart one.”

“Well my sarcastic friend,” Don took out a small pad of paper from his pocket before throwing it over to Brant, watching as Brant lazily caught it. “If you will look at the ideas we sketched out, I will try and explain it to you very slowly so you can understand.”


“Russ, what is it? You’re scaring me,” Avery frowned feeling him guide her over to the sofa to sit beside him. The lines in his face were obviously creased with tension that was clearly coursing through him. That in itself was evident when she noticed the hint of darkness behind his otherwise sparkling green eyes. Reaching out to stroke the side of his face gently, she spoke up again, “Russ…”

“Avery, it’s just…” Russell found himself at a loss not knowing how to bring up this subject. Yes, he knew that he’d have to tell her about his time as Nick Smith, but he’d never imagined that it would fall on his lap--on the both of them this quickly especially after all hell had broken loose around them since his return. Of course given that Kevin wasn’t a man to be taken lightly, Russ was well aware of the fact that he had to be upfront about his time on the island to her before someone else learned the truth and used it to tear them apart forever.

“Just what,” she questioned her brown eyes full of concern for him. She scooted in closer to him, her fingers weaving tentatively into his dark hair, “Russ, honey what’s going on? Why do you look like you’re ready to crawl out of your skin?”

“Probably because that’s the way I feel right now,” he explained with a nervous sigh reaching out to touch her cheek lightly, to memorize her beautiful face before she hated him forever, “I love you so very much Avery and I know things haven’t been easy between us lately…”

“I know,” she nodded poignantly a breath spilling beyond her now parted lips, “and I realize that it’s partially my fault given that I’ve ignored us in the hopes of helping Brant regain himself again. If I had known that you were still alive…”

“Avery, I know this is unfair of me to ask especially now, but I need to know,” he hesitated realizing that while this should be about his time on the island there was something else weighing on his mind, “Do you love him?”

“Brant,” she replied surprised by his question, “Russ, I thought that we already discussed this and…”

“I know what we said in the past, but when you thought I was dead--when you believed that there would never be any hope for us, did you ever…I mean were you able to find it in your heart to love him? To want to be with him for the rest of your life?” he couldn’t help but ask part of him wanting to know the answer, the other part wishing he’d never heard the truth.

“I can’t believe you want to get into this now,” she answered with a pale expression before rising to her feet. Tension laced over her and as she took a step towards the mantle she tried to come up with an answer to his question--an answer that they both could live with.

“Avery, I realize that you thought I was dead--that you believed I would never, ever be coming home again and even now I can’t even begin to tell you how much it kills me to think of how this all killed you,” he continued sensing her uneasiness over what had transpired, “I’m sure that this was a difficult decision for you to try to move on with your life beyond me, but…”

“You have no idea,” she closed her eyes thinking back to her time without him, “It was like everywhere I went, every moment without you was torture. You haunted my dreams, burned at my soul and I knew in my heart that I could never love again like I loved you. You are the man I’ve waited a lifetime to be with…”

“And you are the one woman that I know I was destined to be with, yet when we were apart, somehow you found your way to Brant,” he began again.

“Yes,” she spun around to face him, her fingers balled up at her sides, “but I told you about the circumstances of our marriage. I told you why I married him and how…”

He placed a finger over her lips to silence her words, “Yes, I know. I’ve heard all of that, but what I haven’t heard is how you felt before I returned--how you still feel…”

“Russ I,” she opened her mouth to speak, but found no words fitting at the moment.

“Avery be honest with me,” he spoke up in a small whisper, “That’s all I’ve ever asked from you and if we have that with one another, then I’m certain we can get through whatever challenges are ahead of us.”

“Russ, I’m not going to lie to you,” she dropped her gaze to the floor, “but it’s complicated.”

“That I believe,” he nodded pulling away from her, his hands falling into his own pockets, “but I think we need to work through the complications to have a chance.”

“Even so what does the way I felt about Brant have to do about the here and now?” she questioned biting back on her tears.

“You love him, don’t you,” Russ felt the words slip past his lips without hesitation. He saw her flinch at the sound before her dark eyes met his once more.

“Yes,” she nodded unable to hide the truth from him, “I do love him Russ. I didn’t plan on it happening, but when you were gone he was good to me. He gave me so many things that I knew I would never have with you gone…”

“I see,” he took a step back trying to ignore the ache in his chest upon hearing what he’d feared the most. He sank back onto the couch trying to keep his inner thoughts from surfacing as the reality of the situation came crashing down upon him.

“Russ, you don’t,” she explained moving over to him. She knelt down on the floor in front of him, her hands reaching for his, “Russ look at me.”

“Avery, I…” he started in a shaky voice feeling her place his hand over the side of her face.

“You wanted the truth and I’m trying to give you that,” she continued fighting to keep her tone strong and even despite the fact that her heart was doing flip-flops.

“I know,” he nodded dropping his head down, “and I owe you the truth as well, but I guess in my own way I wasn’t fully prepared for it even now.”

“I don’t think either one of us are,” she replied honestly squeezing his hand in hers, “but Russ there is one truth between us that we can’t ignore and that’s how much we love one another. That’s what this is really about.”

“Avery it’s just that…” he started flustered by the idea of her falling in love with Brant, “I mean here we were finally right on track. We had our whole lives ahead of us. We were married, in love and we were about to have Erin. Everything was perfect, but then I wanted to protect you. I wanted to keep us safe because I knew Bruce was out there, but then, well then we lost everything because I’d left you out of the loop…”

“But we have a second chance to get it back,” she replied rising up on her knees to lean in over him, “Russ, I know that we have a lot happening around us, but even after I’d married Brant, he never, ever took your place. He never became that part of my heart that you are--that you’ve always been. Russ, for the longest time I kept wishing and praying that you would return to me. That has never changed…”

“It’s never changed for me either Avery, but for a period of time I had no idea who I was. I lost everything on every level imaginable and my life was so very different…” he started to explain guilt riding over him after what he’d been doing on the island with Angela.

“Russ, I understand that,” she nodded quickly, “but at the same time I look at what miracles we do have here. Life may have been different, but as always when I needed you the most there you were. You saved me…you saved Erin and we have our beautiful little girl because you came back to us…”

“Yes, but…” Russ touched her cheek gently, “When I came home I never thought that I would lose you again--that you wouldn’t be my wife and…”

“In my heart you have always been my husband,” she placed his hand over her chest lightly, “You’ve always been the only man for me and even with what I feel for Brant…”

“That’s just it though Avery,” he sighed heavily slumping back onto the couch, “You still feel something for him…”

“I’ll always feel something for him. He helped me through some dark spots in my life,” she continued to explain to him, “and for that I will be forever grateful, but with Brant our relationship has been destined to fail. Our marriage was headed towards disaster long before you returned…”

“Why?” he couldn’t help but ask, “After everything he did to have you--to pursue you and make you his, why would it have fallen apart?”

“Because no matter how much I wanted to love him completely a small part of me has always been lost with you--a part of me has never been able to shake what it is that we’ve had going on in each other,” she explained moving up in closer to him, “I have never loved another man like I love you Russell Denton.”

“And I have never loved another woman like I have love you,” he replied pulling her up into his lap and kissing her as if he’d never let go. His arm coiled around her waist, his right hand reaching out to caress the side of her face gently as their kiss intensified.

“Oh Russ,” she sighed as they parted. She felt his forehead against hers and a tiny shiver raced over her, “You have no idea how long I’ve waited for this--how I dreamt about your arms around me like this.”

“Probably as long as I dreamt about holding you just like this,” he replied seeing the exhaustion burning behind her eyes, “Come here.”

“Right here,” she questioned settling into his arms more completely. She sank into his chest leaning her head back and closing her eyes for a brief moment, “I can’t believe that this is really happening.”

“It is,” he couldn’t help but smile at her noticing how pale she still seemed, “though I have to tell you I think you’re working yourself too hard Avery. I know you’re trying to make everything right for Brant and right for us and Erin, but you’re wearing yourself thin. You‘ve only been out of the hospital a short time and…”

“And our daughter is two weeks old today,” she replied with a bright smile her dark eyes reopening to see his jade colored stare over her, “We’ve had her in our lives for two whole weeks and she’s healthy and wonderful thanks to you…”

“To both of us,” he leaned down to kiss her forehead gently before snuggling back into the couch with her in his arms, “though I have to tell you that you scared the hell out of me when you left the mansion. You really shouldn’t be driving around now considering that…”

“I had a car bring us over and I bundled Erin up good so she wouldn’t get a chill,” she explained curling into him, “I was very careful with her so that she would be protected.”

“And that’s all I want to do Avery. I just want to protect our family and make sure that we have the kind of future we hoped for with one another. That’s really what matters to me the most,” he confessed pushing a dark strand of hair from her eyes as she lay her hand over the center of his chest.

“I feel safe with you Russ. I always have,” she sighed her eyelids falling to a close again and within a matter of moments exhaustion settled in over her.

“I always want you to feel that way,” he mouthed kissing the top of her head now listening to the soft snoring sound she made as fatigue had claimed her at long last. He gently massaged her spine as he tried to find a way to make sure that whatever was ahead of them wouldn’t take that feeling of safety and security away from them. He had to find a way to be one step ahead of Kevin Adonis or anyone else that threatened to tear them apart. If he was going to be able to hold onto his family, he had to find a way to overcome the odds once again.


“So what’s up Grady?” Kyle questioned sinking onto the barstool beside his friend, “It sounded pretty urgent on the phone when you called me.”

“Yeah, well you know how overly dramatic I can be,” Grady reached for the glass in his hand ready to lift the drink to his lips after a long time of contemplating whether or not to drink it.

“Which is why I’m certain you don’t need this,” Kyle snatched the glass away from him. Grady’s eyes filled with protest, but Kyle shook his head and pushed the shot glass down the bar towards another patron that was there. The man looked at Kyle with a strange expression before Kyle stood up and nodded, “It’s a drink on the house enjoy it.”

The man shrugged before accepting the glass and drinking it.

“You’re coming with me,” Kyle motioned to Grady practically pulling him off of the barstool before motioning to the bartender. “We’ll both have two sprites and a round of orange juice for the both of us.”

“Um, okay sure I guess,” the bartender gave them a strange look as Kyle gently shoved Grady into one of the booths away from the temptation of the bar.

Once settled in on his side of the table Kyle met Grady’s conflicted gaze once again. “Okay, so tell me what’s going on Grady. Why are you here especially knowing what these kind of places can do to someone like you?”

“You mean to a drunk like me,” Grady let out a half-hearted laugh before looking to the mirrored wall and seeing his own reflection. “Maybe I’m just looking for an escape.”

“Yeah, well the last escape you had in a place like this landed us both behind bars,” Kyle reminded him with a small cringe, “So why don’t we skip over the drama and you tell me what’s really going on?”

“Because if I told you, you’d never believe it,” Grady let out an ironic laugh, his sullen eyes meeting his friend’s worried gaze once again, “Hell I lived it and I still wouldn’t believe it if I said it.”

“Okay, well try me,” Kyle leaned back in his seat stretching his arms out over the back of the booth, “I’ve pretty much seen and heard it all, so lay it on me man. I’m sure I can take it.”

“You say that now,” Grady paused as a waitress brought over their drinks and set them down on the table. He reached for the glass of orange juice taking a sip before setting it down again, “but I’m promising you that you’ll wish you never heard the news once I tell you.”

“Yeah well that’s the story of my life,” Kyle let out an ironic smile, “So what else is new?”

“This is,” Grady sighed heavily closing his eyes as memory of the time he’d spent with Avery came back to haunt him. “I mean you know when you do something stupid--something really, really stupid and you can’t just take it back? It’s like you wish like hell you could’ve changed things, but…”

“Hey if this is about us--about what happened,” Kyle sat up straighter waving his hand between the both of them, “Grady it’s water under the bridge. I know we did a lot of horrible things to one another, but…”

“No it’s not that,” Grady paused, “Well I mean that’s part of it, but still. You see that was probably the darkest point in my life…”

“Mine too,” Kyle nodded trying not to dwell on all that had happened to spin his life out of control. “I don’t ever want to revisit that time again…”

“Neither do I, but…” Grady trailed off taking in a breath in the hopes of mustering up some courage before he spoke again, “After you and I wound up in jail, I decided to take action. I figured that there was no point in trying to stick it out and hold onto the fight when I’d lost everything. Losing Jade it did something to me--it made me start down this path and…”

“We were all there Grady,” Kyle offered up supportively, “It was a hell of a tragedy to lose her given how much life and spirit she had. She was something special and we all loved her.”

“Which is why I took it all so hard,” Grady shook his head before bringing his fingers up through his dark hair, “Shortly after we were at our worst point, I decided it was time to give everyone an opportunity to cut their losses. I’d written you and Avery those good-bye letters and then I set up north to this place I used to camp at as a child. The place was closed, but I made a few phone calls and decided that the camp was the place where my fondest memories were at. I also realized that it was in that place that I wanted to die…”

“What?” Kyle’s jaw practically dropped, “Grady, what are you saying?”

“I’m saying that I went up there to kill myself. I was seconds away from doing it with the gun to my head,” Grady’s voice trembled at the memory, “and I was so damned drunk that I know I would’ve done it. I would’ve blown it all away without an afterthought and I almost did until Avery showed up.”

Kyle sat in silence not really sure what to say as Grady continued his tale.

“She stopped me from doing myself in and I thought she was nuts at the time for giving a damn about me,” Grady revealed his voice trembling as he fought to keep his hands from shaking. He reached for the orange juice again and took another sip, “I was really plastered that night and I don’t think I wanted to be anything but out of the world around me. I didn’t want to see the reality because I wanted the pain to end…”

“So you tried to blow your brains out,” Kyle frowned shaking his head at him, “Grady, I know we were upset with one another, but why would you think to do something so stupid and…?”

“I was drunk and I know it’s not an excuse, but it was my way of trying to find a reason to end the madness my life had become,” Grady hesitated his gaze tapering off across the bar uneasily, “but that night everything changed. Avery saved me and she gave me another chance to redeem myself. She stayed with me and pulled me through the stupidity I lowered myself to staying in. She gave me a new hope and a reason…”

“And I think we’re all grateful for her because in doing that she kept one of my best friends from making the worst mistake of his life. I know I said some horrible things to you Grady, but I never meant them. I thought I did, but…” Kyle started remorsefully.

“I deserved each and every one of them. I was being a complete jackass and I should’ve given you more consideration than I did. You deserved better and I was wrong. It took a long time for me to see that, but…” Grady offered up apologetically.

“But nothing,” Kyle shook his head at him, “It’s in the past. It’s not what we are now and I’m willing to move forward and not look back.”

“I wish it were that easy, but for me,” Grady sipped the juice once more letting the tartness of it bring a bittersweet sting over his tongue, “I can’t help but dwell upon that night or rather that morning…when Avery was with me and…”

“And what?” Kyle questioned reaching for his own glass and lifting it to his lips.

“When Avery and I made love,” Grady confessed watching Kyle spit out his orange juice upon Grady’s confession sending it flying all over the table.

Kyle gulped again before wiping at his face in a quick, sloppy movement, “What did you just say?”

“I’m saying that Avery and I slept together,” Grady revealed leaning in over the table, “It wasn’t something we planned on, but one thing lead to another and we started comforting one another and…”

“And you made love to her?” Kyle’s eyes widened before he lowered his voice upon the realization of what his friend was telling him, “You mean you and she?”

Grady nodded, “A few times and it was amazing. It was better than amazing and even now, I can’t get her out of my mind. I can’t stop thinking about how right it felt to be with her--for us to be together when the rest of the world had fallen to pieces around us.”

“But she and Brant…” Kyle’s jaw dropped again thinking about the whole picture, “What about Russ? Does he have any idea that you two…?”

“God no,” Grady shook his head hurriedly, “He would murder me in a heartbeat if he ever found out that Avery and I were with one another. She’s his world and he has enough problems going on with Brant that this would only shatter him. He would feel like it was the ultimate act of betrayal and…”

“And what about Avery? What does she have to say about all of this?” Kyle couldn’t help but ask. “I mean when you were with her, obviously something was happening there, but…”

“She doesn’t remember it,” Grady revealed with a heavy sigh, “When Bruce drugged her, it must’ve made that time frame hazy for her. She vaguely remembers our delivering Erin and everything happened so fast for all of us. One minute Avery and I were in one another’s arms, then I was trying to protect her from Bruce and then you and Russ were there and I learned Russ was alive again…”

“Thus bringing the end to whatever it was you two had going on,” Kyle absorbed the news shocked beyond belief, “Grady, if she doesn’t remember, then maybe that’s a sign in itself.”

“I know,” Grady nodded bringing his hands up over his hair again, “but at the same time even though she’s forgotten I haven’t. I swore to myself if she pulled through what Bruce did to her--if she made it somehow to be with Erin that I would walk away and never look back. I said I would stop pressuring her and I would let her and Russ be happy together, but…”

“But what? I think that’s a great idea,” Kyle added quickly knowing only too well what kind of damage this knowledge would have on Russ and Avery’s future, “I think that maybe it would be best if we all forget it…”

“I wish it were that easy, but when I think about what Brant is doing to them…” Grady shook his head again, “I know how he is about women and how he feels about those that are unfaithful. With this crap that he’s pulling on Russ and Avery if he somehow knew about Avery and I, then maybe he would let her go. Maybe he would set her free and they could be happy together without Brant’s intrusions…”

“Do you honestly believe a man like Brant Ashford is going to take the news about your having an affair with his wife lightly? Do you really believe after having been in the position of the jilted husband that he’s going to just toss her aside and let her be with Russ?” Kyle questioned thinking about how ridiculous his friend’s line of thinking was, “If anything it’ll only infuriate him and he’ll use it to tear you and Russ apart forever. If Russ thinks for a second that you and Avery were together like that, God, Grady it would kill him. She’s his world…”

“Don’t you think I know that?” Grady replied in frustration, “Don’t you think I’ve been worried about that? I didn’t know that my brother was alive and if I had known, I never, ever would’ve touched her no matter how much I wanted to. I never would’ve given in to impulse, but I thought he was dead and I wanted her…hell, I needed her Kyle and maybe on some level I still do.”

“No, you don’t,” Kyle warned him sharply before taking another small sip of his drink in the hopes of keeping it down, “You don’t need her. If she doesn’t remember and Russ doesn’t know about it, then I see no reason to bring this up. You don’t need to give anyone ammunition to spin this out of control. Hell, I can’t believe you even told me.”

“I had to talk to someone. Kyle, I wish I could forget it, but…” Grady trailed off darkness creeping in over his eyes.

“Well let me ask you something is what you shared with Avery worth tearing your brother to pieces and shattering any hope he has left about reclaiming his life? Is all of that worth the relationship you fought to build with him?” Kyle questioned in all seriousness.

“No, I know it’s not,” Grady revealed with a heaviness in his voice, “which is why I need you to help me. I need you to help me find a way to forget about Avery forever before it eats me alive. I need to stop anything further from happening before it gets out of control. I need to find a way to get her out of my heart and soul from here on out and Kyle, I need for you to help me make that happen somehow. You’re my only hope for making all of that possible.”


Avery snuggled into the warmth beside her fully expecting to feel Russell’s arms wrapped cozily around her, but much to her dismay all she felt was the couch cushion beneath her. Her dark eyes snapped open and she found herself staring at the soft blue and beige pattern before her. Stretching her legs out over the side of the couch, Avery sat up and stretched taking a look around. She tried to remember how she’d dozed off so easily, but all that clouded her mind were thoughts of Russ and him holding her.

“It was nice,” the voice in the back of her head registered as she wondered where he’d drifted off to. Getting up off of the couch she headed towards the kitchen wondering if he had gone for some food, but halfway to the destination, she heard a tiny sound coming from the other end of the hallway.

She shifted directions and made her way to the nursery where Russell sat in the rocking chair holding Erin in his arms. She was wrapped up in a pink blanket and judging by the empty bottle on the tabletop beside him, she’d just received her meal for the moment. However, food or anything related to it was clearly out of Erin’s mind now that her father dangled a teddy bear toy in front of her. She made a small sound as he very faintly tickled her tiny stomach with it before making a silly face at her. While she wasn’t quite laughing, she seemed to be cooing at him in the hopes of encouraging whatever it was that he was doing with her.

“Well, I see you found your way to amuse our daughter,” Avery heard the soft sounds coming from Erin and she smiled, “If I didn’t know better, I would think that she’s wanting to laugh at you right now.”

“She’ll be laughing at me soon enough,” Russ promised feeling Erin hold his finger, “because I’m a silly guy.”

“One that she loves very much,” Avery confessed seeing the expression on Erin’s face as her eyes were fixed on her father. She seemed to be in a trancelike state, completely content in his arms and Avery couldn’t help but melt at the picture before her, “She feels at ease with you like I always have. She knows what a wonderful father you are.”

“Well we’ve been talking for a while,” Russ admitted with a small smile tilting his head up to gaze at Avery briefly before refocusing on Erin, “She’s had a lot to tell me and I figured I may as well listen to it all since I don’t want to miss a moment of this. You were sleeping and we decided to let you rest.”

“I wish you would’ve waken me for this,” Avery stepped in closer to the two of them, “because I love what I’m seeing here.”

“So do I,” Russell confessed reaching out to draw her nearer to him and Erin. He situated his daughter on his lap carefully before making a spot for Avery to sit on his other leg. “See now we’re perfect.”

“Getting there,” Avery replied teasing her fingers into Russell’s dark hair before turning to Erin, “Hey princess, is daddy showing you a good time?”

Erin smacked her gums together another sound falling from her lips before she made a small frown. She began to fidget in her father’s arms and it didn’t take long for her to let out a small cry.

“Uh oh, that’s not the response I was looking for,” Russell frowned keeping his daughter close to him, “You were supposed to tell mommy how much fun we were having.”

“I saw that, but right now,” Avery took in a small breath, “I think she’s trying to tell us it’s time for a new diaper.”

“Oh,” he replied realization dawning in over him, “well if we move around a bit, we can get up and…”

“I can do it,” Avery stood up and reached for Erin, “You gave her dinner and I can, well I can clean up the mess for the moment. Next time you’re on diaper duty.”

“Fair enough,” Russ nodded watching Avery walk over to the changing table to change Erin. He sat back seeing Erin was not happy about what was in her diaper. She kicked a bit unhappily until Avery started to hum a song to her. Immediately it put Erin’s mind at ease and she lay before her mother completely entranced by her.

“All better,” Avery promised scooping Erin up in her arms and returning to Russell. “She’s ready for her daddy’s embrace.”

“Good because I’m ready for the both of you,” he replied reaching out for Erin when he heard the sound of Avery’s phone ringing in her pocket. Both he and Avery frowned as she handed Erin to him.

“This won’t be long,” she promised answering the phone, but it didn’t take long for Russ to realize that it had to be someone from the mansion. He waited for her to return, but he could tell by the muffled sounds of her voice in the hall that family time was almost over. A few seconds later she returned with a frown.

“Brant’s beckoning again, huh?” he tried not to let his irritation show about the situation.

“They want me to come back to the mansion for a while. There hasn’t been a change, but…” Avery started with an apologetic expression.

“You’ve been gone too long enjoying your own life for a while. Yeah, I know how that’s not allowed,” he sighed heavily feeling her lean in to pick Erin up and out of his arms.

“I’m going to get her ready for the ride over to the mansion,” Avery explained trying to forget about the upset she saw in his eyes.

“She shouldn’t have to ride over to the mansion when her home is here--when our home is here,” Russell replied with a heaviness in his tone.

“Russ, you know we have to be there,” she started before stopping herself with a sigh, “Her coat is out in the living room I’ll get her changed in there.”

Before he could argue any further Avery slipped out of the room leaving Russ to think about all the frustrations that awaited him at the hands of his ’new family’. How he’d give anything to erase that simple fact that he was an Ashford, but now, well maybe now it was time to forget about that problem and focus on what he’d tried to discuss with Avery earlier. He knew there would be no easy way to tell her about what had happened, but he would have to try. Though maybe a little help and advice would help give him clarity.

Reaching for his phone, Russell dialed the familiar number and waited for the voice on the other end of the line, “Hey it’s Russ. Listen I was wondering if you were going to be around later. I’d really like to talk with you about something that’s been on my mind. Great…I’ll see you then.”

Russell hung up the phone and looked to Erin’s bed, to the nursery that he and Avery had planned raising her in, but now it felt like they were so close yet so far away from where they’d wanted to be. Somehow he’d have to find a way to fix it. He’d have to find some clarity and hopefully he’d find a way to tell Avery about the last few months of his life without losing her forever.


“So what do you say?” Chris questioned walking up to his house with a couple of bags in hand, “Shall we hit the x-box, the DVD player or should we just see what’s on Tivo?”

“They all sound pretty tempting right about now,” Angela replied with a small smile enjoying the idea of being lazy for a while. They were halfway up to Chris’s front porch when they spotted the dark, shadowy figure seated on the porch.

“Or we can just skip all that and go for a dose of Kevin,” Chris mouthed under his breath seeing Kevin approaching them. He forced a fake smile and a wave, “Hey big guy come over here to play nice? To maybe apologize for kicking me out of my home to talk to Angel here or maybe…?”

“Piss off Chris,” Kevin’s dark eyes were fixed on Angela, unrelenting in the gaze he held over her, “I want to speak to Angie alone.”

“Why am I not surprised,” Chris half groaned before motioning to Angela, “I’ll be inside if you need me.”

“Alright,” she nodded keeping her eyes fixed on Kevin. Once Chris had gone inside leaving the screen door open, she addressed Kevin, “What are you doing here?”

“I came here to talk to you,” he replied in a tight voice, his eyes clouded with something she couldn’t quite read, “I thought we should talk.”

“So talk,” she shrugged, “say what you want to say since last time you weren’t too thrilled with me.”

“Look about that,” Kevin fought for the right words, finding it hard to think of what he’d come over here to say to her. At first he’d thought that this visit was prompted by seeing Russ again, that he would talk to her about the man she’d almost married, but now that she stood before him all he could think about was what he saw with Erin and Avery. His thoughts were consumed by the little girl he’d been holding. “I just have to know…”

“Know what?” she questioned curiously, her eyelashes fluttering up at him, “Kevin, what’s going on?”

“Do you…do you miss her,” Kevin asked in a shaky tone, his voice wavering with emotion, “I mean does she ever cross your mind like she crosses mine?”

“Kevin, what are you talking about? What’s going on,” she couldn’t help but ask seeing how he was shaking as he stood before her. Forgetting about their earlier disagreement, she reached for his arm touching it gently, “Kevin, what’s going on?”

“Our daughter,” he blurted out broken by emotion, “Does she ever cross your mind Angie? Do you ever wonder what she would’ve looked like? What she would’ve enjoyed and who she would be? Do you ever wonder what it would’ve been like to have her here with us now? About what would have happened to us if she’d survived?”

Her face grew pale at the mention of their child and in that moment she realized that Kevin had more on his mind then she’d ever imagined, “Kevin, hey, it’s okay.”

“No,” he shook his head, his voice trembling with emotion as she pulled him over to the porch, “It’s not okay. It never was okay Angie and even now, I have to tell you I’m not okay with this. When I saw her today…”

“Saw who,” she questioned taking a seat beside him on the front swing. She placed her hand on his leg tentatively seeing the shiver that raced over him, “Kevin, what is it?”

“I just…” his brown eyes met hers solemnly, “I just got to thinking about our daughter--about how many dreams we had for her and how much we wanted that life together.”

“It was a long time ago,” she sighed sinking back into the seat beside him, “It feels like it was someone else’s life.”

“But it wasn’t anyone else’s life,” he turned to face her more completely, “It was ours Angie and it should’ve been ours. We should’ve been the ones with the ultimate dream. We should’ve had the house, the children and the love that we both fought to have with one another. We should’ve been able to hold onto our dream.”

“I wish that we had,” she sighed rubbing her hand over his arm gently, “but Kevin fate had other plans for us. Losing our daughter was one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced in my life and to answer your question there isn’t a day that I don’t think about her. There isn’t a moment when I don’t wonder what would’ve happened for us should she have lived. I think about what I did wrong over and over again…”

“That’s just it,” he turned to face her fully his hand touching the side of her face, “you didn’t do anything wrong. You never did Angie and when we lost her it was so unexpected so…”

“Wrong,” she blurted out tears building behind her eyes as she leaned into his touch, “I can still remember how hard I tried to stop that from happening--how I fought like hell to keep her alive and even now with the twins…”

“We’re not going to let that happen to them,” Kevin promised her straining to keep his own emotions under control, “What happened to our little girl was a tragedy and when I think about it…”

“Kevin, why haven’t you said anything? Why haven’t we talked about this sooner?” she questioned feeling a tear slip down the side of her face.

“Because I’d thought you’d stopped caring about it--that you’d stopped wanting to remember,” he replied skimming his thumb against her damp cheek, “I just thought that…”

“You thought wrong,” she cut him off abruptly pain registering behind her eyes, “because I never forgot. I’ll never forget and I’ll never stop wondering what my life would’ve been like if our little girl would’ve lived.”

“It would’ve been incredible,” he replied with a half smile, “I saw that today and it made me realize just how much we lost--how much we’ll never get back.”

“Kevin, I…” she began hearing the door swing open on the front porch as Chris stepped out.

“I’m sorry to interrupt, but I just got a call from a friend of mine. It seems that you and I were invited to the party of the century,” Chris explained clearly oblivious to the seriousness of the conversation that Kevin and Angela were having with one another, “And when I say the party of the century, I mean the party of the century. It’s at that place I took you to the other night and…”

“What?” she replied with wide eyes, “Chris I thought you said that place was shut down.”

“It was, but well it looks like it’s back in business for what is ahead of us. I thought that maybe you’d like to go with me and experience the nostalgia of the place so that it could give you a further glimpse into what once was,” Chris added with a pointed expression before he finally noticed the somber mood hanging over Kevin. “Oh yeah and don’t worry big guy you can come with us. Maybe we’ll find you a friend to take with you before the party and…”

“That won’t be necessary,” Kevin answered in a gruff voice, “I’ve already been invited.”

“You have?” Angela’s eyes widened with obvious interest, “When?”

“Well, I wasn’t officially invited, but Ria was and I said I’d go with her,” Kevin answered feeling completely out of place in having this conversation with Angela when so many things were still left unsaid about their daughter and the painful memories that we shared.

“Really? Well that’s wonderful news. I mean to think that we’ll all get to spend time together and…” Chris started to ramble on to him.

“Ria,” Angela repeated with a strange expression, “Kevin, whose Ria? Is she the woman you’ve been seeing in town here?”

“She’s more than that Angie,” Kevin inhaled a long, slow breath before blurting out the news he was certain would change his relationship with Angela forever, “She’s my fiancée.”


“Get off me Kellen,” Heather warned pushing at Kellen’s chest as he tickled at her sides slowly. She pounded her fists lightly into Kellen’s chest before letting out a long laugh. “I give, I swear I give. Let me go please.”

“I give isn’t going to work this time,” Kellen warned tickling at her sides harder before feeling her push him back roughly making him fall to the ground next to her. “Damn Heather babes, you sure have a good push.”

“Yeah, well it’s my turn now,” Heather got in over Kellen tickling at his sides now hearing him start crying out with laughter. “How does it feel now to have it happening to you?”

“Heather babes this is so not fair,” Kellen started to feel tears coming out of the corners of his eyes because he was laughing so hard. He tried grabbing her hands in his, but it was no use because somehow she always got around his grasp. “You know I am ticklish everywhere.”

“You can’t fight me Kellen,” Heather warned grabbing Kellen’s wrists in her hands and lifting them over his head, pressing them against the ground. “I have you trapped now.”

“What in the world are you two doing?” Kipp questioned walking into the room to see Heather in over Kellen, holding him down to the ground. Maybe his eyes were seeing something else, but the way they were close to each other like this had him worrying. “Are you two…”

“Oh hell no,” Kellen quickly got up from under Heather, wiping off his shirt as he shuddered at the thought. “Me and Heather have never…well, she doesn’t have the parts that I like if you get my point.”

“Kellen is far from being my type,” Heather chuckled feeling Kipp reach out for her hands and help her up off the ground slowly. “Believe me, Kellen is just my best friend and that’s all. I think he is more of girl than I am.”

“Just because I like to take care of myself doesn’t mean you have to diss,” Kellen held his hand up in the air in a girl like manner before wiggling his eyebrows up and down slowly. “But I am beautiful aren’t I?”

“So far from it,” Heather chuckled hearing him gasp out and push at her shoulder in a shocked like manner. A small laugh escaped her lips as she looked out at Kellen who had his jaw dropped. “What was that for?”

“You bitch,” Kellen poked her in the ribs before letting out a small laugh. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders before leading her back towards the bathroom. “Just for that--you are going to let me give you a makeover.”

“This is the point time where I say--I’m going to go sit down on the couch,” Kipp informed them with a small laugh before shaking his head slowly. He caught the way Kellen and Heather looked back at him as he shrugged his shoulders pointing back towards the television. “To watch the game or something.”

“Right,” Heather laughed feeling Kellen pull her into the bathroom and make her sit down on the side of the bathtub. “Don’t give me a clown face please.”

“Please honey, I take the make up totally serious,” Kellen grabbed a bag from under the bottom of the sink and poured all the contents out of it and onto the counter. “I would never use this in a bad way like that. Let’s see what can we start you off with? Oh, how about the nails? Strawberry electric or cherries in the snow?”

“Definitely the cherries in the snow,” Heather replied seeing him sit down on the closed toilet and reach out to grab her hand in his before starting to do her fingernails slowly. “I love having a friend like you Kellen. You know fashion more than me--surprisingly.”

“I’ve been living and breathing fashion since I was born sweetheart,” Kellen replied with a small frown before shrugging his shoulders and thinking things over for a moment. “Though you are a couple of months older than me. You might know more about it.”

“No, not me,” Heather shook her head slowly before turning a small shade of red. She shrugged her shoulders looking down to her left hand that Kellen had just finished before he went onto her right hand. “I was a tomboy for a while. If you tell anyone--I’ll kill.”

“Oh, that’s so cute,” Kellen grinned widely looking up at Heather before continuing his work with her nails. “Tell me more about this whole tomboy thing.”

“Well, there was this boy that I really liked when I was younger. When I say liked I was head over heels for the kid,” Heather thought back to her childhood before shrugging her shoulders. “He was a baseball, football, soccer, and every kind of sports lover. He had these eyes that you could just fall into every time you stared into them.”

“Sounds like my kind of hunk,” Kellen looked up at her with his blue eyes before letting out a wide smile and shrugging his shoulders. “Go on. Tell me about this boy.”

“Well, he lived kind of close to me and he was my first for a couple of things,” Heather informed Kellen seeing him tense his eyebrows and look up at her with a small frown.

“Your first--I thought that…” Kellen went to say something before Heather put her left hand over his lips to quiet him down. Kellen’s blue eyes widened as he watched her slowly pull her hand away from his lips.

“Not that first,” Heather replied with a small roll of her eyes before going on and continuing to tell Kellen what had happened with her in the past. “He was my first kiss and my first other things…”

“I think I can take a guess on these other things,” Kellen chuckled finishing up with her nails before reaching back to grab some blush and open it up slowly. “Do I know this boy?”

“No, well--maybe. I don’t know,” Heather shrugged her shoulders thinking of a way to try and explain her answer to Kellen. “You may have met him once in your life, but he isn’t what he used to be. I remember this one time he made the two us put our initials in this tree and it was so cute.”

“What happened with you and this boy?” Kellen started working with Heather’s cheeks before grabbing her chin in his hand lightly. “Where is the boy now? Did he leave the country or something?”

“No, he’s very much alive,” Heather answered in a small whisper thinking back to her past and how much things had screwed up for her back then. “He just didn’t catch me when I fell and needed him the most. The one I knew left and never came after me when I thought he would.”

“Sounds like a romance novel,” Kellen pointed out with a tiny chuckle before shrugging his shoulders and thinking things over for a moment. “Kind of like a Donna Nevik novel. She thinks he was dead--he comes back and she is there and they start crying and get back together. Have the best love scene I have ever read and then they get married and live happily ever after.”

“Yeah, well none of that is going to happen to me,” Heather pointed out with a small laugh feeling Kellen now putting the lipstick on her lips as she stayed quiet until he was done. “Anyways--the guy isn’t dead. He is very much alive and walking around.”

“Have you seen him recently?” Kellen wondered looking up at Heather as she fought for an answer to give him. “What? What is it? Have you or haven’t you?”

“I have,” Heather nodded slowly before gulping down and shrugging her shoulders, “but that doesn’t matter anyways. I don’t love him anymore, so it didn’t hurt me.”

“You are such a bad liar,” Kellen stated with a small frown before reaching out to push a piece of hair behind her ear. “I know for a fact that this guy is probably the one you want, but you just don’t have the balls to go and find him. Hopefully he’s hot.”

“Believe me,” Heather began with a small chuckle taking a small glance at Kellen before smiling to herself. “I think you would think this guy is hotter than hot.”

“Well then, sounds like a perfect guy,” Kellen agreed before hearing Heather’s cell phone start to go off and Heather reached out to grab it before he smacked her hand away. “Your nails are still wet--I’ll get it for you.”

“Fine, go ahead,” Heather watched Kellen reach into her jacket and pull out her cell phone before putting it next to her ear and turning it on. “Hello.”

“Heather,” Cameron’s voice echoed through her head as she let out a small breath looking up at Kellen with her green eyes as he asked her who it was under his breath. “Heather are you there?”

“Yeah Cameron, I’m here,” Heather answered hearing him let out a sigh of relief on the other side of the phone. She watched Kellen look down at her with a small bit of confusion as she shrugged her shoulders and didn’t know what to say. “What can I help you with today?”

“You will probably end up saying no,” Cameron began in a small breath, trying to come out and ask her what he wanted. Cameron stuttered for a minute before continuing on with his sentence. “I was actually hoping that you may want to go out with me to this big party that’s happening soon. You can say no if you want.”

“You want me to go to a party with you,” Heather repeated his words seeing Kellen’s blue eyes widen as she shrugged her shoulders not quite sure where this was going. “Not to be rude, but why?”

“Well, I thought it could be good business because we could go together as partners for your new company,” Cameron explained in a small whisper before raising his voice a bit louder. “You know, you can bring Kipp and Kellen too if you would like. They can watch you if that makes you feel more comfortable. It’s not a date, but it’s more like a business kind of thing. So, what do you say?”

“Sure,” Heather answered quickly seeing the color fade from Kellen’s face as she kept a close watch on Kellen who seemed to be just as shocked as she was with the answer. “It’s for business right?”

“You’ll go with me?” Cameron sounded a bit shocked at her answer before smiling widely to himself. He let out a small laugh before pulling a paper out of his pocket. “Of course it’s for business, I will call you later to give you the details, okay?”

“Alright,” Heather nodded slowly before standing up and feeling Kellen continue to hold the phone to her ear. “I’ll talk to you later then. Bye Cameron.”

“What in the world was that?” Kellen questioned with a small frown closing the phone and sliding it into the pocket of his black shorts. “You just said yes.”

“I know,” Heather turned around to hear a knock at the door as she looked back to see Kipp standing in the doorway with an angered expression over his features. “Hey Kipp.”

“Don’t hey me,” Kipp snapped taking a step forward seeing Kellen slightly step between him and Heather as Kellen glanced back at Heather. “Why in the world would you be so stupid and accept from Cameron Stone like that?”


“That has to be the worst ideas I have ever heard,” Brant pointed out throwing the black notepad to the side before rolling his eyes and standing up. “Don you have to be the dumbest plan maker I’ve ever seen.”

“Excuse me,” Don gasped picking up his notepad and looking through the details him and Hart had worked out. “Of course we could have some details here and there, but it might be stupid enough just to work. Russ doesn’t seem to me like the smartest person in the whole world.”

“And neither do you,” Brant stated with a small shake of his head before looking out the window at the day before him before letting out a long sigh. “How you even became a doctor, I don’t know. It still amazes me that you are.”

“Hey now, I’m just trying to help you--don’t start throwing bad comments about me,” Don warned taking a step forward and placing his hand on Brant’s shoulder to turn him around slowly. “Why are you acting like this Brant?”

“Because you think you have it and then you don’t,” Brant tried to explain to Don before shaking his head slowly and running his hand through his messy hair. “I’ve known Sarah a long time Don and never once did I think she would pull something like this.”

“People change,” Don replied seeing Brant nod slowly as Don shrugged his shoulders feeling Brant pull away from him and walk over towards the mirror to touch the screwdriver Kyle was holding earlier. “So what?”

“That’s exactly my point Don,” Brant held his arms up in the air looking back at his best friend with a small frown. The way Don was acting made him look like a little child right now that didn’t understand the meaning of no. “Don, if you would have told me a couple of months ago that Sarah Marx would be the one to cheat on Kyle I would have laughed in your face.”

“I don’t get where you are coming from,” Don’s blue eyes widened as he saw Brant throw his hands up in the air angrily before walking off only to feel Don pull him back. “I don’t understand which means make me understand.”

“Okay Don,” Brant thought of a way to explain everything before pausing and thinking back to everything he saw in the past with Kyle and Sarah. “Sarah had it all. Kyle is a considerably nice guy, devoted to everyone he loves. The only way you get that guy to be pissed is to get him drugged or to hurt him. Now, sure you could say she loves him, but she never would have cheated on him when he was drugged. When I looked at Sarah when Kyle was hurt, all I could see was worry. Now if I couldn’t read Sarah’s true colors and I’ve known her probably longer than I have Avery--what makes you think I can read Avery? She could end up turning out just like Sarah and I don’t want to live the lies that Kyle is going to have to live through. I can’t continue to go through something like that Don.”

“Brant, you have to fight for this,” Don explained resting his hands on his hips before thinking things over for a moment. “If you fight hard enough, you can get back everything and get what you need and what you love.”

“Kyle did that--Kyle was drugged and he fought to find himself again,” Brant informed Don with a small shake of his head. “I tried talking to Kyle because he was just like you when you lost Stephanie Don. Do you remember what that was like? He lost his child and you know what’s it’s like to lose a life you wanted to have in your life. Do you remember how I had to talk to you and get out of that?”

“Of course, I felt like my life was ending,” Don explained feeling his throat go dry at the thought of what he was like when his late wife had died in his arms. “Everywhere I turned it was a dark and stormy corner. You were the only one that helped me--not even my family could pull me out of the storm I was stuck in.”

“Exactly Don,” Brant pointed out with a small shake of his head thinking back to how hard it was for him in the past to watch his best friend suffer. “Don, Kyle did this alone. He fought harder to get Sarah back than I would ever have to do to get Avery back. You would think Sarah would at least love Kyle a little bit for what he did. If Sarah can’t appreciate an accomplishment that big--I know Avery won’t. You end fighting harder and all you get is sadness and your heart broken. We’ve all had it happen and we don’t want it to continue. I know I can’t live like that.”

“I know, but you have to fight,” Don tried to move his friend along and look towards a brighter light as he saw Brant shake his head slowly and fall down to the bed. “Brant don’t give up, not like this.”

“Don sometimes the only way out of a broken heart,” Brant began taking in a deep breath and thinking things over. “Is to pull out before it happens. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”


“Boy, you look excited,” Gabe chuckled walking into the bathroom seeing Mindy fixing her hair in the mirror before smiling back at him. He saw her turn around and play with her dress for a minute modeling it off to him.

“How does it look?” Mindy questioned with a small frown, looking at herself in the mirror before running her hand over her stomach. “It doesn’t make me look fat does it? Maybe black isn’t the color I should wear.”

“Honey, the dress looks perfect on you,” Gabe explained reaching out to finish pulling up her zipper on the back of her dress for her. “You look beautiful for Hunt today and I’m sure he is going to love what you are wearing. If he didn’t he would be crazy.”

“You are just saying that because I’m living with you,” Mindy pointed out with a small laugh seeing him frown as she hit him in the shoulder gently. “I appreciate the comment though.”

“Well you look beautiful tonight,” Gabe reached out for her brush, playing with her hair for a moment before putting a barrette in the front and looking at her in the mirror. “I hope Brittany is as happy as you are in the future. Just seeing you smiling like this lightens the whole room.”

“I just care about Hunt so much,” Mindy whispered turning around to hug Gabe in her arms tightly before letting out a small sigh. “I don’t ever want to let him go.”

“Well, if you hug him like you are hugging me right now he might just suffocate,” Gabe joked with a small smirk feeling her let go of him and he wrapped his arm around her shoulders hearing the doorbell ring. “There is prince charming right now.”

“Gabe,” Mindy laughed feeling him lead her towards the door before opening it up and seeing Hunt standing before them in black slacks and a white dress shirt.

“Hey,” Hunt smiled seeing Gabe step back allowing him to enter the apartment before Hunt looked over at Mindy slowly. “You look beautiful Mindy.”

“Thank you,” Mindy felt a small blush rise over her cheeks as she looked back at Gabe who had a wide smirk over his features. Mindy looked back to Hunt feeling him reach out to grab her hand in his tightly. “You look very handsome tonight.”

“Thanks,” Hunt smirked feeling her step in closer to him as he leaned forward to kiss her cheek gently. “Are you ready to go?”

“Of course,” Mindy followed him towards the door looking back at Gabe and stopping before she left. “Thanks for everything Gabe, I’m glad I have you here for the support.”

“No problem kiddo,” Gabe winked before letting out a tiny laugh and pointing over towards Hunt. “You bring her in later than two in the morning and I’ll kill you? Got it?”

“I got it sir,” Hunt chuckled hearing the playfulness behind Gabe’s voice. “No later than two and that’s the latest. I promise.”

“Good, you two have fun now,” Gabe let them out the door and shut it behind them slowly before walking back into the living room. He heard the door open up hardly even a minute later as he walked back over towards the door with a smile. “Boy that was a fast date.”

“Far from fast,” Guy’s saddened face met his as Gabe frowned reaching out to wrap his arms around Guy’s shoulders and holding him close. “I’ve had a very long day.”

“I’m sorry honey,” Gabe led Guy over towards the couch sitting down and bringing Guy to sit down next to him. “Maybe we could talk about it and try to help things out. What’s going on baby?”


Grady walked down the hallway at the Ashford mansion hoping to check in on his brother and his niece. He’d heard that they were on their way over, but more so after Grady’s confession to Kyle, he wanted to find a way to make up for the guilt he’d felt inside of him. His brother was going through hell right now and it was his place to find a way to make things better for him. As Russell’s older brother it was his duty to help Russ get the pieces of his life together again. Moving down the hallway he decided to see if Russ was in Erin’s nursery.

Knocking on the door Grady waited for a moment before pushing it open to discover Avery inside. She’d just set Erin down in her crib and Grady couldn’t help but watch her in silence. She stood before him in a red sweater, her hair neatly pinned up in some sort of barrette and she looked simply beautiful--something he was certain he shouldn’t have picked up on. Even though it was clear that she was tired, she still had that glow about her--that warmth that caused his breath to catch in his throat. He knew he shouldn’t be staring, but he’d been unable to refrain from doing so until he found her face to face with him.

“Grady,” she gasped his name in a low whisper, “What are you doing here?”

“I came over to talk to Russ,” Grady confessed with a small whisper, “I know I haven’t been around in a while and…”

“He went to meet with Kyle,” Avery revealed motioning for him to follow her out of the nursery so that Erin could rest in peace. “I would’ve thought you would’ve called first so that you didn’t waste the trip.”

“It isn’t a wasted trip,” he replied watching her close the door to the nursery carefully, “considering that you’re here.”

“Ah I see so you’re going to use Russ as an excuse to come on over and talk to me,” she winked at him a smile touching over the corners of her lips, “Am I to assume this is the time when you’re going to deliver some half-assed apology for acting like a jerk two weeks ago when I was in labor?”

“Two weeks,” Grady’s eyes widened in surprise, “You mean it’s been only two weeks?”

“Only,” she laughed lightly, “Grady it feels like it’s been two of the most grueling weeks of my life.”

He paused thinking about what she’d said. He remembered full well how a few of weeks ago things had escalated to the two of them becoming lovers, but now, well now he was the only one who had that memory and he had to keep focused on that.

“I suppose it would feel that way given all that Brant is putting you through right about now,” Grady noted seeing her eyes divide with apprehension, “Avery, please tell me that you’re using your head about this one--that you see what Brant’s doing.”

“Grady you of all people know what Brant has done for me,” she sighed heavily bringing her fingers up to the side of her face. She fingered a loose piece of her dark hair before lowering her hand to her side, “He’s been a good husband to me and he deserves more than me just walking out the door especially now.”

“Avery, have you forgotten that you don’t love him?” he questioned in a small frustrated voice, “You two lost whatever it is that you thought you had long before Russ returned.”

“Grady, we were just under stress because of Bruce and…” Avery tried to defend Brant to him.

“He left you Avery,” Grady reminded her bluntly, a frown spilling over his features, “Don’t you remember how he walked out on you when you weren’t complying to what he wanted? He left you behind and you were miserable.”

“He was just protecting Ken,” she argued pulling him down the hallway into another one of the empty rooms, “He was being a good brother and I can’t fault him that.”

“Avery, you and I both know that you don’t love him. If you had then you never would have…” he stopped himself just short of saying what had been on his mind for the last few days.

“Would have what?” she questioned eyeing him expectantly, “Grady, what is it you really came over here to talk to me about today? You seem perplexed.”

“I am perplexed,” he groaned in frustration reaching out to touch her face, but stopping himself short, “but it’s only because I wish you could see what this is doing to you and Russ. You two have a family now and a chance at a real future.”

“I know that and we’re working on it,” Avery explained with a huff, “I’ve been trying…”

“But obviously not hard enough. Avery you should be at home with Russ in the home you two have with one another and not here with Brant. You should be thinking about how you two are going to work on raising Erin and on how happy you are now that you still have one another and a family…” he explained trying to remind himself of those things.

“Oh Grady,” her jaw dropped as her eyes widened with sympathy, “I know what this is about now.”

“You do?” he asked uneasily.

“Yes, of course I do. Now that Russ is alive you’re thinking about Jade and about how you two lost all of this,” she reached out to touch his shoulder gently, “Grady I know how much you love her and I wish that she could be here too. I wish that somehow she could walk through those doors like Russ did and you could be together again. You have no idea how much I want that for you.”

“I know,” he nodded his eyes looking to the floor, “but we both know that’s never going to happen.”

“That doesn’t mean we can’t still want it,” she offered up sympathetically, “I want you to be happy Grady.”

“I want that for you too,” he promised from his heart. Finding the strength to meet her dark eyes he thought of all the things that he’d swore he’d never look back on. There was so much he wanted to say to her--too many things that he’d wished he’d have a few more minutes left to share with her, but instead he did all that he could think of. He reached out to touch the side of her face in a simple movement before speaking up again, “I want you and Russ to have the kind of life with one another that I’ll never be able to have. I want you to live life to the fullest and experience every joy with one another just like I would’ve wanted to be able to do.”

“Grady, I promise you that I won’t break his heart. If that’s what you’re worried about, then I can assure you that I’ve always loved Russ and I always will,” she replied feeling tears threatening as a lump formed in the back of her throat, “He’s my heart and after losing him once, I don’t ever want to let go.”

“I know,” he nodded unable to refrain from pulling her into an embrace, “and that’s all I’ve ever wanted for the both of you. I want you to be happy Avery. Oh God how I want that…”

“I want that for you too,” she whispered hugging him in response as Grady squeezed her closer to him vowing that after he left the mansion he’d never look back. He wouldn’t think about what had transpired between the two of them--he’d just focus on turning his life around and helping Russell reclaim what had been taken from him. It was the right thing to do. It was the only thing!


Kyle walked into the recreation room of the Ashford mansion finding Russell standing behind the bar pouring himself a drink. While Russ had been rather vague about what was happening with him, one thing had been clear to Kyle and that was that his friend was in a bad place. Surely Brant must be getting to Russ right about now.

“Fancy meeting you here,” Kyle offered up letting Russ know that he’d arrived. He walked over to the bar and nodded to the bottle that Russ was pouring himself a glass from, “What’s this? I thought you didn’t drink.”

“I decided one wouldn’t hurt me,” Russell topped off his glass, “Want one?”

“Normally I’d say no, but after the day I’ve had,” Kyle paused thinking about Grady’s confession and he felt suddenly guilty being in the same room with Russ, “yeah I think I’ll take one.”

“Okay, but remember I didn’t force this on you Kyle,” Russ poured Kyle a drink before downing his own. He set the bottle aside on the bar just out of his reach before temptation set in again.

“So what’s on your mind Russ? What’s going on? Brant giving you shit again,” Kyle couldn’t help but ask knowing that Russ was obviously not taking whatever was bothering him lightly if he opted to take a drink. Kyle lifted his own glass to his lips and took a sip of the burning liquid.

“No more than before, but…” Russ stopped himself a coldness sweeping over him, “I guess you could say that I realized he could give me more if I’m not careful.”

“What do you mean?” Kyle questioned watching Russell’s face drain of all color.

“I guess you could say my own past is coming back to haunt me,” Russ reached for the bottle again. He hesitated before pouring himself another half full drink, “I ran into a man today that I’m sure Brant would find an asset if need be.”

“How so?” Kyle searched Russell’s eyes sensing the hesitation behind them.

“Well, you know how I was away for a while--you know when everyone thought I was dead,” Russell paused worry shining behind his green eyes.

“What about it? We know what Nicholas did and how that man is going to pay if we ever find him,” Kyle promised him firmly, his fingers curling around the glass in his hand.

“I won’t argue that point, but Kyle when I was gone I washed up on an island. I was saved by this woman and she…” Russell bit down on his lip nervously, “She was a doctor and she revived me after I’d nearly drown in the ocean.”

“Okay, so you were in a hospital,” Kyle nodded, “That makes sense.”

“No Kyle, that’s not what I’m telling you. You see when I woke up I had amnesia. I didn’t know who I was, but when I saw this woman, well there was just something about her that felt so familiar--so welcoming to me…” Russell hesitated again.

“Um, why do I suddenly get the feeling that this is going to be something I probably don’t want to be hearing,” Kyle replied uneasily.

“Because I’m sure you won’t want to be, but I don’t know who else to talk to. You see while I was living on the island I didn’t know who I was, but there was a piece of paper that had washed up in my pocket. It had the name Nick on it and I believed that was my name. I believed I was a man named Nick Smith and the doctor that had helped me, well I really, truly thought that she was the one woman I was meant to spend the rest of my life with.”

“Come again,” Kyle’s eyes widened, “Russ are you saying that you fell in love with someone else?”

Russell nodded shamefully, “I thought I did and I was going to marry her.”

Upon that announcement the glass Kyle was holding shattered in his hand, “What do you mean marry her? How in the hell could you do that when…?”

“Kyle, she looked just like Avery,” Russell explained quickly seeing the glass pieces all over the bar top, “Are you alright?”

Kyle looked to his hand, “I’ll be fine, but you…how in the world…”

“I don’t know, but I think my mind must’ve thought she was Avery. I think my heart wanted to believe that she was Avery, but she wasn’t. Her name was…” Russell started to inform him.

“Stop right there. I don’t want to know her name. I don’t want to know more than I have to other than the one question that I need to know the answer to,” Kyle paused finding himself increasingly uneasy, “Did you two…I mean did you two decide to get married and go through with…”

“No. God no,” Russ shook his head in a moment of relief, “We went to the castle that I married Avery at and we were going to have an engagement party, but then I got my memory back. I remembered everything and I rushed home and…”

“So you’re telling me you’ve got some woman out there who thinks you’re going to marry her? Some Avery look alike that…” Kyle blurted out unable to process the information fast enough.

“No Kyle I…” Russell started to explain again.

“Hold that thought,” Kyle held his hand up in the air, “Let’s get someone to clean this up in here and you and I are going to find our way to the liquor cabinet because I have a feeling we’re going to need something a hell of a lot harder than that to make sense of this.”

“Yeah sure,” Russell nodded with a shrug knowing that he would have to explain everything to his best friend, which he was seeing would be difficult, but no where near as difficult as it would be when he told Avery about Angela. That in itself had him terrified beyond belief.


“I’m sorry Blake,” Sarah apologized opening the door up a little bit for Blake to walk into the room slowly. Sarah shut the door quickly before locking it after Blake walked in. “I thought you were someone else--I didn’t mean to snap at you like that.”

“I figured you weren’t talking to me like that,” Blake laughed going over to the bed and sitting down on it slowly before letting out a long sigh. “So, what’s wrong with you? Who are you hiding from.”

“It’s complicated,” Sarah answered quickly seeing Blake’s eyes widen as she looked up at Sarah with a confused expression. “Well, actually it was Diego.”

“Diego? Why are you hiding from Diego?” Blake questioned watching Sarah carefully before eyeing her over and letting out a small gasp. “Please tell me you didn’t do anything with him.”

“It wasn’t my fault,” Sarah frowned pacing back and forth between the room. She thought back to the way that Diego kissed her and admitted things to her like that--it was almost unbearable not to kiss Diego. “He was saying he loved me and I lost control.”

“Are you stupid?” Blake shot back standing up from the bed and looking out at Sarah with a small frown. Blake rested her hands on her hips before shaking her head slowly. “You’re sleeping with Kyle and you are making out with Diego?”

“No, I haven’t slept with Kyle before Susan died,” Sarah informed Blake seeing Blake roll her eyes before shaking her head slowly. “What was the roll of the eyes for just then?”

“You think it makes it right that you haven’t slept with your boyfriend for a couple of months and you still make out with Diego?” Blake saw Sarah shake her head quickly before Blake shrugged her shoulders and nodded slowly. “That’s what you are making it sound like.”

“Believe me, when I try things with Kyle I’m the one who is always trying to start something,” Sarah stated seeing Blake’s eyes watching her carefully. Blake frowned hearing Sarah stutter to say something else as Blake waited for an answer. “With Diego he is always the one kissing me.”

“You think that makes it any better?” Blake gasped with a small groan of frustration at her friends choices. “You are still going through with this whole Diego thing Sarah. I swear I should just smack you right now for breaking your promise. I know you are my friend Sarah, but you and Kyle are both like family to be. I know Kyle would never do this to you, so why are you doing this to him Sarah? It’s like you are only thinking about yourself and…”

“Blake, please just..” Sarah whispered before feeling a bit lightheaded and taking a step forward losing her balance only to feel Blake catch her in her arms.

“Sarah,” Blake tapped at the side of Sarah’s face seeing Sarah’s eyes a bit glazed over as Blake pulled her into the bathroom and sat her down on the edge of the bathtub. “Sarah, come on girl--talk to me. What’s going on with you?”

“I’m okay,” Sarah tried to explain herself taking in a deep breath as she ran her hand over the front of her head. “I have been feeling this way a lot lately.”

“Tell me what has been happening right now Sarah,” Blake ordered seeing Sarah gulp down before shrugging her shoulders and watching Blake carefully. “How have you been getting sick?”

“Well,” Sarah took in a deep breath before shrugging her shoulders and leaning back feeling Blake holding onto her tightly. “I have been getting really bad stomach aches and I’ve been getting dizzy a lot lately. I got sick this morning and it was probably the third time this week.”

“Oh my god,” Blake gasped placing her hand over mouth for a moment before reaching out to squeeze Sarah’s shoulder in her hand tightly. “Sarah, those are all the symptoms of being pregnant.”

“What?” Sarah looked up at Blake seeing Blake nod slowly as Sarah shook her head slowly and watched Blake nod.

“I’ve been reading up about it a lot lately because I want to get pregnant with Seth’s baby,” Blake explained seeing Sarah’s dark eyes widen as Blake spoke of everything that was happening with Sarah. “All these symptoms are the beginning sign of being pregnant for a couple of months. I have a test and we are going to take it right away to find out if you are pregnant or not.”


...to be continued...