Episode 302

“Sarah, sweetheart open your eyes and look at me,” Kyle whispered to Sarah as he ran his hand through her hair slowly, pressing a small kiss in against her forehead before letting out a small frown. Kyle looked up to Blake seeing Blake’s blue eyes widen as he looked up at her. “What’s going on with her?”

“I don’t know,” Blake lied to Kyle, hating that she had to be like this with him. Kyle was such a good boyfriend and the way that Sarah was doing things like this to him was ridiculous. Sarah was going to screw up big time if Kyle ever caught Sarah lying to him like she was now. “She was just feeling sick and…”

“Here you go,” Russell quickly ran over to Kyle leaning down to give Kyle the wet cloth. “Do you want me to go call the hospital or go pull the car around?”

“I don’t know,” Kyle muttered not knowing what to say because all he felt was worry. He didn’t know whether to move her or just let her lay in his arms. “Blake, what should we do?”

“I…I don’t know,” Blake fought to find words to say to Kyle before shrugging her shoulders and watching Kyle gently dab the wet cloth against Sarah’s forehead gently. “I don’t think she needs to go to the hospital.”

“Are you sure?” Russell sat down next to Kyle and reaching out to feel her pulse against his fingertips. “Her pulse seems fine, I don’t think it has anything to do with her heart.”

“Maybe she has food poisoning,” Blake offered up thinking of one of the things that could work for Sarah’s fake sickness. “This happens sometimes when you get food poisoning.”

“Would somebody please just tell me what I should do,” Kyle begged looking between Blake and Russell, feeling her slightly move in his arms as he touched the side of her face seeing her eyes flutter open slowly. “Hey brown eyes. Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” Sarah whispered in a raspy voice acting as if she had just woken up from a hang over. She reached up to touch the side of Kyle’s rough face, seeing the way his frown grew deeper. “I feel fine, but what happened?”

“You said you felt sick and then you fainted,” Kyle explained to her, giving Russell a small glance as Russ pointed over towards the phone to see if he needed to call for help. “Do you think you need to go to the hospital?”

“I’ll be fine,” Sarah tried to assure him seeing Kyle look back at Russ who shrugged his shoulders before Kyle felt Sarah’s forehead gently. “I probably just have food poisoning.”

“Does she have a fever?” Russell asked seeing Kyle shake his head slowly as Russ stood up and folded his arms in front of his chest. “I never saw you eat while the party was going on, when did you eat something here?”

“It was when we went to the guest house,” Blake lied for Sarah after seeing Sarah stare blankly out at Russell who asked a very good question considering the fact that everybody hadn’t eaten for a while. “It might have been some bad milk I gave her. I have to remember to throw that out later.”

“Okay, I get that it might be food poisoning, but are you going to be okay baby?” Kyle questioned softly running his fingertips in over the side of her face before kissing her forehead gently. “I don’t want to not take you to the doctors and then later you get even worse.”

“Something tells me that I am going to be okay,” Sarah tried getting up feeling Kyle help her up, holding her hands in his to make sure she didn’t fall. “You think I’ll be okay, right Blake?”

“Of course you will be,” Blake frowned seeing the way that Sarah was just eating up the attention Kyle was giving her. She shook her head thinking to herself that maybe she should just tell Kyle right now before he got anymore hurt without knowing what was really going on. “You will be bad if you continue to lie to him though.”

“What was that?” Kyle questioned hearing Blake whisper something under her breath, but he couldn’t catch what it was. “What did you just say?”

“Nothing, I was just trying to tell myself that I need to throw that milk out,” Blake replied quickly seeing Kyle’s hazel eyes looking into hers before he nodded slowly and looked over at Russ.

“I’m going to get going,” Russell walked towards the kitchen door before holding his hand up in the air, “if you need me, call for me. I’ll be around here somewhere.”

“Thanks Russ, I appreciate that. I’ll see you later for that thing,” Kyle waved goodbye to his friend before turning his attention back to Sarah, squeezing her hand tighter in his. “Where does it hurt honey?”

“Just my stomach and my head,” Sarah answered truthfully knowing that Kyle would never be able to guess that she was pregnant right now. “That’s all.”

“Does this feel better?” Kyle rubbed her stomach gently leaning forward and pressing a kiss against her temple. He leaned back staring into her brown eyes before letting out a small frown. “You scared me badly Sarah.”

“I didn’t mean to,” Sarah took her left hand and reached back to motion for Blake to hand her the pregnancy test while Kyle was paying attention to something else and looking away. Blake caught the gesture and slowly handed it to Sarah, but Sarah lost her grasp on the box and dropped it to the ground catching Kyle’s attention. “Oh no.”

“What’s that?” Kyle let Sarah out of his grasp as he looked behind her seeing the pregnancy test on the kitchen floor in front of him. He kneeled down to the ground to pick up the box before staring up at Sarah with his intense eyes. “Sarah, why do you have a pregnancy test?”

“Well,” Sarah gulped down looking into Kyle’s hazel eyes before he took another glance down at the box before looking back up at her. There were so many answers she could give him right now, but she found herself at a loss as his eyes stared into hers. “I was…”

“Holding it for me,” Blake reached out to grab the box from Kyle’s hands gently before shrugging her shoulders and holding the box up in the air. Blake saw Kyle slowly stand back up before looking between her and Sarah. “You see Seth and I are really trying to get me pregnant. We’re trying day and night to…”

“Okay,” Kyle held his hands up in the air letting out a small laugh and shaking his head slowly, “I think that is a little too much information for me already there. I think what you and Seth want to do is for you and Seth only.”

“Okay,” Blake laughed seeing Kyle take a step back before shrugging his shoulders and watching her carefully. Blake nodded once more before biting down on her bottom lip. “What can I say? We’re trying really hard.”

“I think that’s all the information I need,” Kyle smirked folding his arms out in front of his strong chest before shrugging his shoulders. “Well, good luck with that sweetheart. I’m sure you two will get what you want and eventually I might be lucky enough to have a baby sooner or later too.”

“Maybe sooner than later,” Blake mumbled seeing that Sarah heard her, but not Kyle because he heard a noise in the living room and looked back trying to see what it was. When he turned back to look at them she pointed back towards the door. “I have to go.”

“Well, I’ll see you later,” Kyle took a step forward hugging her in his arms before giving her a small kiss on the cheek. “If you ending up being blessed with the little one, I want to be one of the first to know. Okay?”

“Alright,” Blake smiled feeling a bit guilty as Kyle let go of her and took a step back. Kyle was such a nice guy that would be willing to do anything for anyone else to be happy when in return she was helping lying to him about Diego and Sarah. There were so many reasons she should tell him because he deserved to know, but it wasn’t her place. “I guess I should be getting back to Seth now, I’ll see the two of you later. Bye Sarah, bye Kyle.”

“Talk to you later Blake,” Kyle waved wrapping his arm around Sarah’s shoulders tightly before pressing a small kiss in against her cheek. “Wouldn’t that be so cool if she got pregnant? I could kind of be like Uncle Kyle with their baby too. That would be great having two babies in my life you know--Erin and their baby.”

“Right, you really love Erin don’t you?” Sarah looked over at him seeing him look at her with a slightly shocked expression. “What?”

“Of course I love Erin, she is the most important little girl in my life,” Kyle pointed out with a small smirk, seeing the way her dark eyes looked up at him. “Anyways, what’s up with Blake? She seemed really uncomfortable around me.”

“I don’t know what’s wrong,” Sarah answered quickly before shrugging her shoulders and resting her head against his chest. Kyle didn’t need to know the truth about what happened and if she was pregnant, there was no other choice to tell Kyle that this was his baby. He was never going find out about her and Diego as long as she could keep it a secret. “Maybe she isn’t feeling too good either. You never know.”


“Be careful,” Ben whispered holding onto Diane’s hand tightly as he helped her up the stairs to the house. She had been really weak lately and he didn’t want her to fall and hurt herself even more. “We’re almost there sweetheart.”

“Ben,” Diane whispered as they entered the house and he closed the door before leading her up the stairs slowly. She stopped when she saw what was supposed to be the nursery and she pulled away from him. “Ben, stop for a minute.”

“Diane,” he frowned watching her walk into the nursery and take a look around the room before running both her hands through her hair shakily. “This isn’t where you should be right now.”

“Ben, this isn’t right,” Diane muttered walking over to the crib they had put together a few weeks back because they were so excited to see how it fit into the room. She reached out to grab the teddy bear and pull it in against her chest tightly before walking over towards the corner of the bedroom and sitting down slowly. “We were supposed to have that life Ben, the baby was supposed to be ours.”

“It’s not our fault honey,” Ben walked over towards Diane slowly getting on his knees and reaching out for her left hand holding it in his hand tightly. “You couldn’t have stopped it from happening.”

“Somehow I feel like I could have,” she whispered seeing him watching her carefully as she shrugged shoulders pulling her hand away from his and snuggling the bear in closer to her. “If I could have been a better person, maybe I wouldn’t have been punished.”

“This isn’t a punishment honey,” he tried to explain reaching out to caress her shoulder gently, seeing the way that her eyes never seemed to look into his. He slid his finger in underneath her chin to make her look at him as a small frown appeared over his lips. “Honey, there was nothing we could have done to stop this. Everything happens for a reason and no matter how hard it hits us and hurts us--we have to keep trying to move on.”

“But it is my fault Ben, if I would have done this differently I would have been able to change destiny,” she explained seeing his blue eyes staring into hers as she tried to look away from him, but he didn’t let her. “Maybe if I was a better person my whole life I could have had happiness, but after what I have done my whole life it just continues to add all up. If I could have just stopped doing all the wrong things, I could have been happy.”

“Honey, you were never evil or in the wrong. We all make mistakes,” Ben whispered feeling his own heart aching from the pain of losing what he felt was going to be the key to a new brighter life. “I know it hurts and it feels like you can’t move on, but we are going to work on this together. We are going to make sure that we have another one together and we are going to give it the life it rightly deserves. You just have to keep living on and believing--if not for me or you, go on for what the baby could have been.”

“I want to so bad Ben, but it’s never going to fill in for what I lost,” Diane felt her eyes begin to burn as tears started to slip down her cheeks. “I was looking forward to this new life so much Ben that it hurts to think about what we lost. About what we could have had.”

“I know baby,” Ben reached out to her and pulling her into his arms tightly, feeling her tears against his shirt. “We’re going to have that life and you are going to love every minute of it. It’s not happening right now, but it will come later and I promise you that honey. I promise with all my heart we are going to move on and be happy.”


“So what do you say Andy?” Cameron questioned holding out a box of cigars to his guest. Andy leaned forward and plucked one from the box readily before reclining in his chair again.

“It’s a tempting proposal,” Andy brought the cigar to his mouth seeing Cameron hold out a light for him. He leaned forward to light it before relaxing in the chair, “I mean I did always enjoy this town. Granted it’s no where near as exciting as it is down south, but there is a lot to be said about returning to your roots so to speak.”

“I thought you might be tempted,” Cameron’s lips curled upward like the Cheshire cat, “I can pull a few strings and make anything you want is yours if you agree to my terms.”

“With Diane?” Andy arched a curious brow thinking about Deidra’s younger sister that had followed him like a lost puppy dog for years.

“You two had something together, yes,” Cameron repeated the information that had been fed to him not so long ago.

Andy nodded, “I’m not exactly sure how you would define that something, but there was.”

“Well, I’d like for you to rekindle that something again,” Cameron leaned forward over the desk, “as it turns out that Ms. Stevens has a nasty little habit of toying with the wrong men.”

“And what?” Andy questioned with a twisted smirk, “You’re wanting me to lead her to fire again?”

“Something like that,” Cameron shrugged with a nod of his head, “From what I hear you’re quite good at your powers of persuasion where Diane is concerned.”

“I’ve been known to be,” Andy boasted proudly with a tiny laugh, “and she’s no where near being the cold fish that her sister is.”

“Well, then it should be easy for you. All I want is for Diane’s life to take a drastic turn like my brother’s did when she toyed with his emotions,” Cameron decided firmly, “and I trust you’re the man to make it happen.”

“Maybe, maybe not,” Andy shrugged playing hardball, “Before I agree to anything, I want to know that this will be worth my while to get invested in this.”

“Trust me if you agree to this, then you won’t ever have to want for anything ever again Dr. Byrne,” Cameron promised ready to lay out an offer to Andy he was certain someone even as greedy and narcissistic as Andrew Byrne would be a fool to ignore.


“Well, well, well here we are again with you playing the role of the good bartender while I’m ready to have a really good Cosmopolitan on the house,” Valerie sauntered onto the barstool taking a seat in front of JT as he wiped at the countertop with a white cloth. “So what do you say JT? Care to hook your roommate up?”

“Sure,” he muttered not even bothering to look up at her, “How about you go to Skinner’s down the street? I’m sure that they’d be more than happy to give you a free drink or whatever else it is you’re looking for? I hear the average customer at that place is in his mid-to-late forties so you should have no trouble getting a few drinks on the house when you flash around your cleavage.”

She frowned seeing his lack of interest as he stood up and walked over to the other end of the bar. He tossed the cloth into a bucket before moving back over to look at her with agitated eyes.

“Seriously what gives Val? What do you want from me?” he frowned down at her not really wanting to deal with his roommate's tedious drama when he was less than eager to be out and working himself.

“I was just coming over to check in on you,” she replied with a tiny scowl of her own, “Is it so wrong for your roommate to want to know how you’re doing?”

“If it was a normal roommate, then no, but with you there’s always an angle,” he replied with a grumble, his eyes penetrating hers, “So what gives?”

“Okay,” she frowned slightly tapping her nails on the countertop once again, “I need to borrow some cash for the next few days. Something important came up and I can’t really foot the bill at the moment given that the shoot I just did hasn’t sent the check in just yet. I mean it will probably be here by the weekend, but…”

“I can’t do it,” he shook his head at her with a frown, “The rent comes out in a few days and…”

“I swear to you when I get the money I will pay you back,” she batted her eyelashes at him pleadingly, “JT I promise you won’t regret it.”

“Val, we both know how this works. You take advantage of the fact that you’ve been living in my home against my wishes and mooching off of me for months, so now you’re going to try to push the envelope a bit further and screw me over yet again,” he shook his head at her placing his hands firmly on the edge of the bar, “I’m not going to cave in this time Val. I’m not loaning you any money.”

“I promise it won’t be much,” she reached out to place her hand on top of his, “Just a few hundred dollars and then I promise you I’ll pay you back with interest after I get it back.”

“Just how few hundred,” he arched a doubtful brow before shaking his head at her, “No really Val, how much are you hoping for?”

“I need six fifty for this thing I have going on,” she saw the no forming on his lips before adding, “but I’ll take what you can give me. I mean maybe you can ask your brother for a loan or…”

“No way,” JT shook his head at her, “Don’t you go and bother Cameron. If you’re smart you’ll just stay away from him. He doesn’t need your drama right now.”

“Jealous that he enjoyed spending time with me,” she couldn’t help but ask leaning further in over the bar suggestively, “Afraid he’s getting all the attention that you might be able to have if you play nice with me?”

“On the contrary,” he shook his head at her with an irritated look, “I just don’t want my brother contracting some kind of venereal disease since you’re taking advantage and he’s hard up to get laid these days.”

“Hmm, well I’ll have you know that Cameron enjoys my company. He finds me fascinating and,” she started to spout off all the reasons why she was well worth Cameron’s time and efforts.

“Spare me,” he held his hand up in front of her face, “I’m not in the mood to hear it Val. Look I can spot you two fifty right now, but that’s it.”

“Two fifty will work,” she replied watching him dig into his pocket to pull out his wallet, “I really will pay you back.”

“Right,” he mouthed doubtful as he handed over the cash to her.

“Tell me something,” she held his hand for a moment, “Do I still get a free drink?”

“Don’t push your luck,” he warned sharply moving to tend to another customer.

“Well thanks anyways. I do appreciate it,” she waved sliding off of the barstool with an exaggerated motion in the hopes of getting some attention from a few of the male patrons. She succeeded and was out the door flaunting off the fact she’d rubbed her perfect body in the faces of men who didn’t stand a chance.

“I don’t know why I bother,” JT groaned under his breath wondering why he didn’t just assert himself enough to toss Valerie out of his home when he heard a sound coming from the other end of the bar.

“Hey sexy, how about a dance,” one of the men in the bar slurred as JT spotted a slender, dark haired woman being cornered by an oversized, husky man near the darts. “I’d be more than happy to have you pay up with a dance and then maybe a trip to my hotel room since you owe me.”

“Get away,” the woman shoved him back, her dark hair falling around her shoulders in a small sweep. She stood taller puffing out her chest in an attempt to seem braver than she appeared to be. Still as JT watched the man reach for her again, he could see the horror building behind her dark eyes.

“Damn it,” JT frowned realizing that things were going to get out of hand if he didn’t intervene since it was obvious no one else in the bar was paying much attention.

“Listen little girl you owe me and I’ll get it out of you one way or another,” the guy grumbled down at her clutching her arm again.

“Let go of me!” she raised her voice again in a warning tone, “or else I promise you that you’re not going to be happy with what happens next.”

“Is that right?” the man laughed in her face, his leering stance closing in upon her.

“That’s right,” she nodded defiantly, her brown eyes narrowing up at him, “I’m going to give you until the count of three before I make you regret pawing at me.”

“Did you hear that boys,” he chuckled amused by her threats, “She’s going to make me regret trying to get what’s mine.”

“One,” she started in a shaky tone.

“Oh I’m so scared,” the man waved his other hand around in the air before pinning her against the wall, “Time to pay up princess.”

“Two…” she warned before her knee shot up into his groin. He doubled over as she crawled out from underneath his hold making a rush towards the exit only to feel an iron grip upon her yanking her back to the wall again.

“Listen you little bitch,” the man sneered now enraged at her for hurting him. “You’re going to pay up one way or another!”

Before she could say another word, the man reached for her neck in an attempt to pin her in place while his other hand moved in over her side reaching out towards her chest in a lecherous pawing motion.

“The lady doesn’t owe you anything,” JT cut in stepping in front of the crowd to face down the oversized man, “I think you should let her go.”

“Mind your own business bartender,” one of the man’s friends sneered at him, “This doesn’t concern you.”

“Yes, it does,” JT continued surveying the environment. There were four guys and one of him. He may need a little bit of help, “So why don’t you let go of her buddy?”

“I’ll let go of her when I’m good and ready to,” the man snarled barely looking over at JT while his hold on her tightened.

“I was afraid you were going to say that,” JT shrugged his shoulders stepping in front of the pool table that sat near where the thugs were located, “Well, then I’m going to have to give you one last chance to see it my way or else…”

“Or else what?” one of the men with him asked.

“Or else it’s going to get ugly,” JT replied matter of fact seeing one of the larger guys in the group approach him.

Reaching for one of the billiard balls behind him, he threw it dead center in the man’s face in front of him catching him off guard. Grabbing for a cue stick, he rammed it into the same guy’s chest before another approached. JT spiraled around ducking before the second man could hit him. When the man bent down to hit him, JT slammed the cue stick over his shoulder and the back of his neck sending the man to the ground with a thud. The third charged forward and JT kicked his foot out tripping him before he could finish his attack. The man fell forward and JT broke the cue stick over his back before holding the two pieces.

He glared over at the man who had once been holding the girl. The man had seen the work JT had done on his buddies and it was obvious he was roaring mad.

“You just made a big mistake,” the man warned seeing JT step on one of the guys on the ground in an attempt to get closer to him.

“No, you’re the one who made a mistake,” JT replied spinning the two halves of the cue stick around using some of the few skills he’d carried with him from karate class to intimidate the brute before him. He wasn’t sure if it was working or not, but as the man got closer, JT could see that the man was going to punch him.

“You’re so going to pay,” the man slurred alerting JT to his drunkenness.

“Hmm, try me, but first,” JT threw one of the halves of the stick at him, “Catch.”

The man was surprised by the flying stick at him that he couldn’t help but reach for it. JT took advantage of the moment throwing his fist out in the air and making contact between the man’s eyes. The man stumbled backwards knocking down a table in the process. The sound of the impact finally sent the bouncers running over to the fight.

“Everything okay JT?” one of the bouncers asked in a gruff tone.

“I think it’s just time to take out the trash,” JT explained dropping the other half of the cue stick he was holding in order to turn and face the woman before him.

“Are you okay,” JT questioned taking a small step towards her. Despite the fact that she had heavy makeup on, he could see that she was rather beautiful beneath the surface she’d painted on her face to try to look older. From what he could see, she was clearly shaken as her lips parted in the shape of an oh taking it all in.

JT took another step forward reaching out to touch her shoulder gently. The move startled her and she leapt back, her brown eyes darting up at him. He held his hands up in the air to alert her that he meant her no harm.

“It’s okay, they won’t bother you again,” JT promised half expecting her to thank him for his help, but instead her eyes narrowed at him darkly.

“I could’ve handled it on my own,” she snapped at him, her face defiant and angry as she clenched her hands at her sides.

“Oh yeah you were doing real well on your own,” he rolled his eyes at her put off by the reaction she’d delivered him.

“I would’ve managed,” she snapped shaking her head at him, “I had the situation under control.”

“Right,” he stated disbelieving, “It shows.”

“Well it’s true and besides I didn’t ask you to do me any favors,” she watched the men being pulled up off of the floor and kicked out of the bar.

“Fine, then don’t consider it a favor. Think of it as my way of providing you with great service at this fine establishment,” he replied a tone of sarcasm in his voice.

“Whatever,” she grumbled in response, her dark eyes taking him in from head to toe. In that moment it was almost as if she’d realized just who was standing before her and how easy on the eyes he was.

“Look, I was just trying to help,” JT started to walk away from her, “but if you didn’t want it, next time I’ll do nothing.”

“Wait,” she replied reaching out to touch his arm and pull him back to her, “Don’t go. Not yet.”

He turned around to see her dark eyes fixed upon him, the flecks of amber burning behind them took his breath away. There was something familiar about her, yet she seemed so exotic and closed off. He felt her fingers curl in over his arm, before she moved in closer to him.

“I was being rude,” she replied her eyelashes fluttering up at him, “You really did save my life there.”

“I was trying to,” JT explained with a clenched jaw feeling her fingers curl around his bicep, tightening over his muscled form.

“Well, then let me be the first to properly thank you,” she mouthed tipping up on his toes and brushing her lips against his in a heated flicker of a kiss.

JT stumbled backwards, a bit caught off guard by the taste of her strawberry lip gloss against his lips. She ran her fingers over his chest, her other hand teasing into his hair as he instinctively curled his arm around her waist hugging her closer to him. When he’d thought she’d thank him, he hadn’t expected a kiss, yet now that she was kissing him, he wasn’t about to complain. Her tongue teased it’s way over the crease between his lips, dipping inside in the most erotic, tempting kiss he’d experienced in quite some time. Mechanically his fingers tapered off over her spine, pulling her up and against him closer than he’d intended, yet with their mouths meshed to one another, he couldn’t help but feel an electricity bounce between them singeing him to the core.

“Thank you,” she murmured into his mouth with a soft sigh.

“You’re very welcome,” JT breathed against her lips as they parted from the kiss and he found himself staring into the most stunning eyes he’d ever happened across. Releasing her much to his dismay he took a step back and tried to stay focused on his surroundings. He knew that he shouldn’t be taken by the woman before him, yet there was something about her and the way she’d kissed him that had kept him anything, but grounded. He staggered off a bit before offering up a goofy grin at her.

“Can I um, get you a drink,” he motioned to the bar, his grin widening. “It’s on the house.”

“Sure, I’d like that,” she nodded watching him turn around and step towards the counter.

“Great, what can I get for you?” JT asked glancing over his shoulder at her only to discover the most exciting woman to ever walk into this bar was suddenly nowhere in sight. He looked around the bar for a moment realizing that she must’ve slipped out of the exit.

“Damn,” JT mouthed bringing his hand up to his mouth still tasting her on his lips, “Just when the night was getting better, she had to leave.”

He looked to the exit once again letting out a heavy sigh and realizing it was just as well considering that now wasn’t the time to fall for the first sexy, young thing that walked into his life. He already had enough going that he wasn’t even ready to think about romance for a while. Although there was something about that kiss…

“Forget her JT. It’s only going to end up being a dead end situation,” he thought to himself before finding the strength to get behind the bar again and focus on work even though his thoughts were lingering to the enigmatic woman who caused him to take out four guys who could’ve very easily snapped his neck. Maybe his luck was changing after all.


“I think you got him hooked,” Deana pointed out with a small laugh seeing her son looking down at the ground to try and pick out the best rock. “So, how did you learn how to do that anyways? You’re going to have him doing it every time he comes here now.”

“My younger brother taught me,” Grady explained with a small smile seeing her nod slowly as he told her the story of what had happened and how he learned. “He always knew how to do it and I was kind of jealous of that like any other kid would be. So, being the good brother that he was--he showed me how to do it, so that way I could show off in front of all my other friends. I’m actually shocked though, Zane learned faster than I did. It took him ten minutes what took me two months.”

“Hey,” she laughed seeing her son throwing some of them and making it skip a few times before going back to get some more rocks to do it again. “We all move at different paces, you should know that.”

“Oh, I know that alright,” Grady whispered realizing that what he said may have sounded a little bit wrong. He cleared his throat before leaning back more on his elbow against the blanket she had out on the grass. “It was actually just called I sucked at it. I’m still not good and I think Zane over there is going to be able to be better than me in a few days.”

“Probably,” she agreed with a small laugh seeing him smile, realizing that when he smiled he looked really cute. The Grady that she found to be annoying and weird was actually looking kind of sweet and cute right now. Maybe it was the fact that he just spent about thirty minutes teaching her son how to skip rocks, whatever it was--it made her look at him in what you might call a different light. “Though, it was really sweet of you to teach him.”

“Well, what can I say?” he shrugged letting out a small chuckle remembering how he had run into them in the first place. He ran his hand over the back of his calf before letting out a small wince. “I didn’t want him to end up hitting someone in the head one day and giving them a shiner like the one he gave me on my leg.”

“I’m sorry about that,” Deana apologized feeling a bit embarrassed as she watched Grady let out another small laugh. “Though, if you didn’t want to teach him properly you could have told him to aim at your leg and it might have gone into the water--you never know.”

“No,” Grady shook his head letting out a small hiss before running his fingers in over the front of his forehead. “I did that to one of my friends back in the day in a game of baseball and his aim was horrible. I ended up getting hit right between the eyes. Oh, it still hurts to this day and you should see this guy he was like big, but dang--you would think you had better aim than that.”

“Is that your friend I stitched up?” she questioned seeing Grady’s green eyes narrow at her before he shook his head slowly. “What’s his name again?”

“Kyle,” Grady offered up the name seeing her nod slowly before he shook his head and thought about college. “Kyle is a better baseball player than me. He played right outfield and he was an all American before getting hurt in football. When he healed it was too late to get into the majors. I only wish I had the arm he had. Then I could take anyone out.”

“Maybe you should just work out,” she stated with a small shrug seeing his eyes widen as he looked over at her. “If you grow some muscles you might be able to actually take on people his size you know.”

“Are you saying I have no muscles?” Grady sat up flexing his arm as he ran his fingers in over his muscle slowly. He shook his head before leaning back on the blanket again. “I have muscles, I’m just not as in love with myself as he is.”

“Oh give me a break,” Deana hit him in the shoulder gently before hearing him laugh out and shrug his shoulders as she hit him again. “You seem like the type of guy that would stare at yourself for hours in the mirror if you could.”

“Not me, him yes, but not me,” Grady tried to tell her knowing that she wouldn’t believe him anyways as he simply shrugged his shoulders and spoke up in a small voice. “Okay, so maybe I was like that back in the day before I grew up. And so what if I grew up about a year ago, it’s always nice to take good care of yourself.”

“Right,” Deana nodded slowly sitting back up as she saw Zane running over to her with something in his hands as she got to her knees. “What do you have Zane?”

“It’s a turtle shell,” Zane held up the shell seeing his mother slide back as if she were afraid of it. “I looked, but there is no turtle. My teacher said that if you have a shell--there has to be a turtle.”

“Come here,” Grady let Zane sit between him and Deana as he took the shell and gently set it down on the grass. “Be very quiet and watch carefully.”

“Okay,” Zane whispered holding onto both Deana and Grady’s hand as he watched the turtle slowly pop out of it’s shell and start to slowly walk away. “That is so cool. How did you know that was going to happen? You are so smart.”

“Well, I’m okay,” Grady patted Zane on the head gently before playing with the little boy’s hair. “You are very smart too. I think you are already better at that rock skipping than I am.”

“Really?” Zane gasped quickly standing up from the blanket and reaching out to tug on Grady’s hand roughly. “I want to see if I am…come on, come on.”

“Okay,” Grady nodded slowly standing up before turning around to take a glance back at Deana and shrugging his shoulders. “I guess I’ll be back in a little bit.”


“So, how do you like swim class?” Shannon questioned looking over at Matt who was eating an apple in the passenger seat as he shrugged his shoulders. “Do you like it or do you hate it?”

“I like to work out as much as possible,” Matt replied seeing that he caught her off guard with his comment once again. He shrugged his shoulders before holding his apple up in the air. “Swimming is very healthy for you and after all the ice-cream you adults try to give me, I need to swim a lot.”

“So, you are a very good swimmer then?” Shannon watched Matt nod slowly as she thought back to her little brother. When Nate was Matt’s age, he was afraid to even put a foot in the water. “You know your uncle Nate?”

“Yeah,” Matt nodded seeing her let out a small laugh as he finished up with his apple, grabbing a napkin and wrapping the garbage up to hold onto it. “What about him?”

“Well, he was always afraid of water. Even now he still is,” Shannon explained to Matt seeing that his blue eyes were watching her intensely as she continued on with her story. “The funny thing about your uncle is that two years ago we took him to a pool that had a diving board and everything. One of my older brothers pushed him in and he started begging for someone to come save him because he couldn’t swim.”

“Oh my gosh, your older brother is such a jerk,” Matt frowned seeing Shannon let out a small chuckle. Matt sat the garbage down next to him as he folded his arms out in front of him angrily. “What’s so funny about someone about to drown. We all aren’t capable of being so talented like me and my father. It’s not funny letting someone almost die.”

“Would you let me finish my story before you start yelling at me?” Shannon questioned with a small laugh seeing him shrug his shoulders and nod to motion her to go on. “Alright, well anyways--when he is screaming his lungs out I yell to him all he had to do was stand up. He was in the four feet deep side and he wasn’t in the deep water. Your uncle Nate is six foot five and he could have easily stood up. He was just freaking out.”

“That’s not funny,” Matt bit down on his bottom lip trying not to imagine the picture in his head, but it was too late because he started to chuckle about it thinking about what kind of person Nate was. “How juvenile is that. How dumb can you be?”

“You have only heard one of his dumb stories,” she explained seeing Matt’s blue eyes widen as she nodded slowly, tapping her fingers in against the wheel. “What else can I tell you? Oh, when we were kids we were big baseball players. We were in the backyard of my aunt’s house playing and then we got called in the house. Nate must have been really hungry because he booked and my aunt must have just cleaned the glass sliding door because Nate ran right into the door and he hit it so hard that he rolled back down the steps. The funny thing is that he didn’t even care because he must have been too hungry because he got right back up and ran inside. It only hit him how embarrassing it was when he saw that we caught it on videotape.”

“He really is like a little kid isn’t he?” Matt whispered seeing her nod slowly as they pulled into the driving lot and he pulled his seat belt off slowly, grabbing his garbage before getting out of the car. “I don’t understand how someone his age could act that juvenile.”

“Your guess is as good as mine little buddy,” Shannon replied opening the door to the house as Matt quickly walked in and she noticed Don standing in the middle of the living room.

“Dad,” Matt ran over to Don feeling Don hug him in his arms tightly before picking Matt up off the floor. Matt’s arms wrapped around Don’s neck as Don pressed a kiss against his son’s forehead. “My teacher told me today that I am the best swimmer in my class, she said that I was so good--I could even go higher up in the class.”

“That is so great son,” Don smiled kissing Matt on the cheek before leading him into the kitchen and having Shannon follow him close behind. “I got me and Shannon some shakes and I got you some apple juice and grape juice Matt. What kind do you want right now?”

“Grape juice, I think I full up off apples right now,” Matt replied feeling Don hold onto him tighter before reaching out to grab a plastic glass from the cupboard with his left hand. Don finished pouring some of the juice before handing it over to Matt. “Thanks daddy.”

“Anything for my little boy,” Don smirked looking over at Shannon with his blue eyes before reaching for the milkshake he got for Shannon and handing it over to her still having Matt in his arms. “I thought you might like chocolate.”

“Thanks,” Shannon smiled taking the drink from Don before watching him walk into the family room with Matt still in his arms talking about the swimming class. Sure, she had planned on trying to get him to talk about Brant, but she would be nice to him now that Matt was around. Later, she would get out of him what she really wanted.


Avery stepped into the nursery seeing Erin laying before her in the crib. Smiling to herself as she decided to put Don’s rudeness out of her mind, Avery moved forward to look at her daughter discovering that while Erin was rather quiet and content, she was also wide awake and gazing up at her mother.

“Well hello princess,” Avery smiled down at Erin leaning forward to scoop Erin up into her arms. She felt Erin readily cuddle into her embrace and a smile touched over her lips, “How are you doing?”

Erin let out a tiny yawn as Avery moved over to the rocking chair with her. Taking a seat, Avery found herself lost in the quiet contemplations that filled her inside. There were so many chaotic things happening out of the room she was in, but with Erin in her arms, none of that seemed to matter. Don’s insults and everyone’s criticisms were irrelevant to the perfectness of her daughter in her arms.

“Hey there beautiful,” Russell popped his head into the nursery to see his two favorite women in the world seated in front of him. He carefully stepped inside before closing the door behind him, “Got room for three in here?”

Avery tipped her head up and smiled at him brightly, “Of course we do. Russ, I was wondering where you drifted off to.”

“Well Kyle and I had something we needed to do,” he confessed with a hint of a smile, “I hope you didn’t mind.”

“Russ, I don’t have to keep you on a leash,” she paused throwing him a small teasing grin, “or do I?”

“That all depends,” he stepped up beside her leaning down to tease his lips against hers in a small, barely there kiss before pulling back with a cryptic expression. He held his finger up in the air before winking down at her, “Hold that thought.”

“But…” Avery watched him move over to the doorway once again. He reached out for the light switch turning the lights off and surrounding her and Erin with darkness.

“Um Russ,” Avery began unsure on what he was doing when she heard the sound of the door opening and a faint flickering flame filled the room.

“You didn’t think you were going to get this party started without me, did you,” Kyle’s voice filled the shadows that surrounded them.

Avery saw Kyle’s face come clearer into view as he held an oversized pink frosted cake in the shape of a rattle with two tiny pink and white candles on it. A goofy grin filled his otherwise rough features and he motioned for Avery to look at what was beside him. Her brown eyes widened upon seeing an oversized stuffed pink poodle moving beside him.

“Hello Erin,” Russell spoke up in a pinched voice, taking his normal tone up an octave or two in order to bring to life the stuffed poodle before his daughter, “I’m Pricilla Puppy and I’m here with your Uncle Kyle to celebrate your two week old birthday. Your uncle has been telling me you’ve been a very special little girl for the last two weeks giving your mommy and daddy more happiness than they ever could’ve imagined possible, which is why we decided to give you a very special birthday party.”

“Oh Russ,” Avery couldn’t help but smile feeling her heart full of love as Erin’s eyes were fixed on the candles in front of her, mesmerized by their glowing in front of her, “I can’t believe that you did this…that you two would…”

“Nothing is out of the question when it comes to our daughter,” Russell lowered the stuffed animal down before wrapping his arm around Avery and turning to Kyle, “So what do you say mom? Want to help our little Erin blow out the candles?”

“Make a big wish,” Kyle knelt down in front of Avery and Erin to display the cake he was holding.

“Where did you two find the time to get this?” Avery couldn’t help but ask seeing all the detail and thought that went into the painted on bows and ribbons in the frosting.

“Oh you know, I have my magic moments,” Kyle winked up at her, “and with your husband’s help…”

“Kyle,” Avery went to correct him about Russ before stopping herself.

“As far as I’m concerned you two have always been married,” Kyle replied warmly before looking to Russ again, “and we’ll just have to work harder to make it official sooner or later.”

“You can bank on that,” Russell promised leaning down to kiss Avery’s cheek lightly, “So what do you say? Ready to make a wish for our daughter?”

“I think I can do that,” Avery nodded turning her attention to the candles and blowing them out as she thought of all the many things they still had ahead of them with their little girl. This was a pleasant surprise that Russ and Kyle had cooked up and yet it was completely perfect in it’s own special way.


Kevin knocked on Ria’s apartment door feeling a heavy heart still carrying over him after his bittersweet good-bye where Angela was concerned. While he’d wanted to say so much more, Chris had given him an easy out on a difficult situation and like a coward he’d taken it. There was too much that had happened, too much water under that bridge and he wasn’t about to return down that road again especially now that his future was so bright and promising. Reaching out to knock on the door again Kevin felt it open and Ria greeted him with a smile.

“Hey sexy,” she beamed with excitement throwing her arms around him and giving him a great big bear hug. She leapt up into his arms, legs wrapped around his waist as she planted an enthusiastic kiss on his lips.

“Ria,” he couldn’t help but smile at her energy. He kept his arms around her, holding her close to him while he entered her apartment. He kicked the door to a close behind them and let out a tiny laugh, “I can see you didn’t miss me today, did you?”

“Baby, I always miss you while you’re gone,” she confessed with a sly expression, her mouth seeking his lips once again, “especially on a day like today.”

“Well, you know I thought you’d be busy at work being an important doctor and all,” he mouthed with a subtle hint of desire in his voice.

“Oh well, it was a big day, but what kept me going was the idea of coming home and making a whole new set of rounds with you,” she confessed nibbling on his lower lip, “Have I ever mentioned how sexy you are when we play doctor together?”

“Ria,” he felt his cheeks grow flushed at images his mind conjured up about doing just that, but given the mood he’d been in all day, he needed to put the brakes on the moment, “actually I think I’m going to have to pass on playing patient for a little while.”

“Why? What’s wrong?” she frowned up at him searching his eyes, “Kevin, what’s going on?”

“I went over to see Angie,” he confessed feeling a moment of guilt creep in over him. He didn’t have to see Ria to feel the disappointment in her eyes threatening.

“I see,” she replied in an attempt to keep her voice neutral, but Kevin knew better than to believe she truly felt that way.

“I ran into Nick today,” he paused a frown touching over his lips, “the man that she was going to marry…”

“I know who Nick is Kevin. You don’t have to give me a play by play. I kind of figured it all out early on that he’s obviously Russell Denton,” Ria replied matter of fact, bringing her hands to her side as she took a step away from him. “So tell me were you looking for him or was it just a chance meeting like you said it was?”

“Okay, I went over to his house to kick his ass, but then the most amazing thing happened,” Kevin couldn’t help but smile, “I met the most amazing little girl in the world. I met his daughter Erin.”

“Erin?” she repeated giving him a strange glance.

“Yeah,” Kevin nodded with a smile, “She’s two weeks old today and she’s beautiful. When I saw her I knew I had to see Angie.”

“Um okay, there’s where you lost me,” Ria couldn’t help but admit, “I mean you’re saying you went over to beat up Russ, fell in love with his daughter and then saw Angela. Why did you do that? To tell her that Russ has a family?”

“No,” he shook his head his brown eyes meeting hers again, “I went over there to talk to Angie about our daughter.”

“Whoa wait a second,” Ria’s jaw practically dropped, “Back up. Did you just say your daughter? As in you have a daughter with Angela?”

“I did,” Kevin nodded before letting out a long sigh, “We did, but she died shortly after she was born. It was a rough time for the both of us because we lost her within minutes of having her.”

“Oh Kevin,” Ria’s voice softened a bit as she stepped in closer to him, “I’m so sorry. I had no idea.”

“I know,” he replied weakly, “I’m not really one to talk about it given that it’s still a sore spot for us both. You see she went into labor on Christmas Eve back when I was still working for her father and before I made it to the hospital, well our daughter had come into this world, but by the time I went upstairs to see her, she was gone.”

“Kevin, I’m so sorry,” she reached out to touch his arm gently.

“I just wish that…” Kevin shook his head, “It was a long time ago, but when I saw Erin it felt like only yesterday. I can still remember her asking me not to go out that night--not to go on that stupid assignment that Craven had for me.”

“Craven,” she repeated with a strange expression.

He nodded, “He was her father’s right hand man. The two of us were wrapped up pretty heavily in business and we had to go out to meet with this guy Angie’s dad was heavily involved with. He wasn’t exactly a nice guy, but then again neither was Angie’s dad. The deal between them had gone sour and Angie knew that there was going to be trouble. She wound up going into labor while I was gone. I’d been in the middle of the hell that followed the deal going sour and she was at the hospital having my daughter. To make a long story short, I got shot that night and I was rushed to the hospital only to discover that Angie had gone into labor early. We’d been trying to keep everything a secret from her father given that he never approved of us together, but…”

“But what?” Ria’s fingers smoothed over his shoulder.

“It just didn’t end the way we’d hoped for,” Kevin confessed with tears burning behind his eyes, “Life hasn’t been the same since and when I saw Erin today I thought about my daughter--about what she’d be like now--about all the birthdays I missed out on with her and the experiences I’ll never have. Hell, every Christmas I find myself buying these presents and sticking them under the tree for her hoping that she’ll walk through my front door and this will all be some kind of mistake--that she is still here.”

“Kevin, I’m sorry I was acting like a jerk before. If I knew about this, then…” Ria embraced him tightly wishing she could take away his pain, “I’m so sorry.”

“So am I,” he replied closing his eyes tightly to fight his tears, “I just couldn’t let it go. I couldn’t not see Angie after I met Erin. I just had to talk to her--I had to think about things and…”

“It’s okay,” Ria whispered warmly in his ear bringing her fingers through his dark hair, “You don’t have to explain yourself to me. I understand and I’m sorry I couldn’t be here for you sooner.”

“You’re here now and that’s what’s important,” he tipped his head up to smile at her poignantly before pulling her into an embrace in the hopes that thoughts of his future could soothe the hurts of the past he was still experiencing to this day.


Angela pushed forward through the water, her thoughts consuming her with each move she made. Stretching her hand out, she felt the edge of the pool before bouncing back and spinning to race off to the other side again. She’d lost track of how many times she’d done laps through Chris’s indoor pool, but at this point in time it didn’t really matter. She was tense and the water was helping ease some of that tension. Well almost. She reached the other side of the pool ready to spin off again when she saw someone approaching.

“Hey speedy,” Chris knelt down by the side of the pool rousing her up from underneath the water, “how about a brief intermission here?”

“Not now,” she shook her head at him moving in beneath the water again as a rapid pace.

She continued to press forward thinking about the fact that Kevin was getting married. Here he was upset with her because she’d gone off and gotten engaged, yet there he was with some woman that he obviously hadn’t known that long and he was ready to leap into a lifelong commitment--a commitment that was obviously going to stick around the rest of his life. One day he was carefree and seemingly stuck in love with her, yet now he was going to get married to some woman Angela didn’t even know. It made no sense. Feeling the edge of the pool she pushed off again, shooting towards the opposite end.

“That’s it,” Chris sighed looking at the clothes he’d been dressed in. While he wasn’t one to make a big splash seeing Angela working herself that hard was unsettling. Taking in a breath he bounced into the water, feeling it soak through his overpriced khakis and t-shirt. He felt her breeze past him in a lightening quick motion, but he vowed that the next time she came around, he was going to snag her. He felt her whoosh by once more, but this time he’d caught her with his right arm. Mission accomplished. Her head popped out of the water with an angry scowl.

“What are you doing?” she snapped at him bitterly, “Chris, you’re ruining my stride.”

“No, I’m keeping you from overdoing it. This is the last thing you should be working like mad on with being pregnant and all,” he replied with a small warning look.

“Chris, I can swim while I’m pregnant. I know full well that I’m fine with it. I have been swimming almost every day of my life and this isn’t a change from,” she started to argue with him only to feel him place his hand over her mouth to silence her.

“There’s nothing wrong with swimming yes, but you’re going off like a cannon. Angel you need to slow down here. You’re not helping the situation by having a fit in my pool,” Chris shook his head at her, “So how about you just take a break and we talk about what’s bothering you.”

“Nothing’s bothering me,” she lied knowing full well he doubted her words.

“Fine, then I’ll pick the subject that I think might be one worth getting into. How about we discuss oh I don’t know, say Kevin?” he suggested catching her angry scowl. He felt her push off the center of his chest before shooting down underneath the water. “Yep, I think that’s the subject we’re going to need to discuss indeed.”

Chris kept his eyes on her seeing her swim another lap around his pool, this time carefully avoiding him. Still he wasn’t about to give up on speaking with her. He thumped forward feeling the weight of water on his fully dressed legs, but one way or another, he was going to get Angela to talk. He felt her breeze on by underneath the water just out of his reach, but this time he’d seized the tie on her bikini top and seconds later he found it surfacing to the top of the water.

“Mission accomplished,” he grinned proudly waving her bikini top around in the air as she sprung up to glare at him profoundly.

“What the hell did you do that for?” her voice rumbled with anger as she stomped towards him, “Chris, give me that back!”

“No,” he shook his head at her noticing the way she stayed carefully beneath the water’s surface, “not until you stop acting like a baby and start talking to me about what’s bothering you.”

“Nothing is bothering me other than the fact that you’re harassing me by trying to strip me naked,” she sneered at him holding her arm out from underneath the water, “Give me my top.”

“Eventually I will,” Chris swam over to the shallow end of the water daring her to follow, “but right now let’s talk about Kevin.”

“I don’t want to talk about Kevin,” she replied stubbornly. “There’s nothing to say about Kevin.”

“There’s plenty to say about Kevin,” he argued with her, “I think that it’s clear that your visit with him was rather unsettling, so how about we talk it over and get to the heart of the problem?”

“The problem is that you’re seriously annoying the hell out of me Chris and I’m warning you,” she inched further just a bit.

“Warn me all you like, but let’s talk about what’s bothering you. Let’s talk about Kevin,” he suggested trying to read her expression, “Are you this upset because he’s getting married? Is that what’s bothering you?”

“What’s bothering me is the fact that you really believe I’m so embarrassed by your holding my bikini top there that you really believe I won’t walk over there and take it back from you,” she glared at him, her brown eyes narrowing at him.

“I dare you to try,” he winked at her with playful intent, but instead he got a death glare from her, “Hey come on I’m trying here.”

“And failing,” she sneered at him swimming over to the edge of the pool and pulling herself out without bothering to look back at him. She felt the water roll off of her body knowing full well Chris was watching her every move as she leaned down to collect the towel she’d brought with her. Wrapping herself up she spun around to face him noticing the stunned expression on his face, “Get the cheap thrill you were hoping for Chris?”

“I, um,” Chris shook his head trying to ignore the vision before him. He stood up straighter clearing his throat uneasily, “No, I wasn’t looking for a cheap thrill. I was looking to get you to talk.”

“Well I’m not in the mood,” she frowned seeing him swish out of the pool soaked from head to toe, “Have I told you what an idiot you are Chris?”

“Many a times, but right now I want to talk about,” he watched her lower her towel to bare her breasts to him. He felt himself losing his train of thought very quickly before he recovered, “Kevin.”

“Kevin?” she repeated stepping towards him with determined brown eyes, “You want to talk about Kevin?”

“Yes,” he nodded trying to keep his gaze on her beautiful brown eyes and not her… “Angel, um maybe we should get changed and then…”

“Then what?” she dared him to try to carry on any kind of conversation with her.

“We should talk about what’s bothering you…about what’s…” he gulped feeling her stand directly in front of him. She tipped up on her toes pushing her body into his chest before her hands curled out around his back, fingers fanning out over his body.

“What’s bothering me right now is the fact that I’m here in a state of undress while you’re completely clothed,” she explained batting her eyelashes at him before offering up a coy smile, “Chris, if you really want to get through to me, how about we even the score?”

“Even the score,” he replied watching her closely. He felt her squeeze his bottom before she stepped back to look him over from head to toe.

“Yeah,” she licked her lips, her gaze settling in over his chest, “I say if you want to carry on this way, then I think it’s only fair that you give me your shirt since you stole mine.”

“Angel I’m not going to give you my…” he started seeing the frown that spilled over her lips.

“If you don’t, then I’m out of here,” she dropped her arms down to her side revealing her almost completely naked form, “What do you say Chris?”

“Fine, but don’t think this changes the subject because I still want to talk about what’s bothering you and,” he continued peeling his soaked t-shirt from his body and hoisting it up over his head. His eyes met hers again, “Satisfied now?”

“Not yet,” she shook her head, “Toss it Chris.”

“Toss it?” he repeated with wide eyes.

“That’s right,” she nodded motioning to the pool again, “Toss it. If you want me to keep talking, then you have to give me reason to want to open up.”

“By taking my shirt off?” he gave her a strange look before finally conceding to her wishes.

“Good, now what about the pants?” she motioned to his khakis. “I think they need to go to.”

“Angel, this isn’t helping the situation considering that…” he frowned back at her, “I’m not taking off my pants.”

“Then I’m not talking,” she reached for the towel again starting to cover herself up.

“Okay, fine,” he sighed not really sure why he was giving in, but watching her lower her towel again got him thinking about all the things he’d been wanting to do with her since she came over to stay with him. He unzipped his pants before his eyes met hers again, “Are you sure you want me to do this?”

“Oh yeah,” she nodded licking her lips with a sexy smirk.

“Fine, but we’re talking after this,” Chris shook his head at her letting his pants fall to his feet. “Happy now?”

“Almost,” she nodded taking a small step towards him, “In the pool.”

“What?” he replied with wide eyes.

“Toss them in the pool Chris,” she ordered him firmly making a small movement. “The boxers too.”

“Now wait a second. You’re still half dressed and…” he watched her thumbs hook underneath her bikini bottom and she began to shimmy the material off of her hips.

“Take the boxers off Chris,” she stopped what she was doing long enough to let him know she meant business.

“I don’t think that we should really be crossing that line with one another given that you’re all about having a no sex policy and,” he watched her start to pull her bikini bottoms back up. “Okay, okay. I’ll do it just give me a second.”

“You’ve got one second and no more,” she explained seeing him take in a nervous breath before pulling at the elastic waistband on his boxers and taking the plunge into baring all. Unable to repress the smile that swept over her, she took in the lines of his body appreciatively. “Very nice.”

“Did you really think you’d be disappointed after all this time,” Chris questioned with a confident grin watching the way she took him all in. Noticing that she still had her bikini bottoms on, he frowned, “Hey I thought this was supposed to be fair play.”

“It is fair play,” she moved forward her eyes filled with devilish intent. She bridged the distance between them, her fingers fanning out over his shoulders causing him to tremble beneath her touch, “but rather than take them off myself, I thought that maybe you’d like to do the honors maybe with your teeth.”

“Come again,” Chris gulped in response, but he didn’t have to be told twice. He took a step back preparing to move down and honor her request when he felt her foot shoot suddenly into his abdomen sending him flying back into the pool with the clothes she’d urged him to discard. He disappeared beneath the surface taking in a swallow of water in the movement.

“What the…” Chris resurfaced finding her clad in the robe she’d carried with her out to the pool area. He frowned up at her, “What the hell was that all about?”

“That was a reminder from me to you that if I’m not in the mood to talk about something I’m not going to talk about something. Being manipulated isn‘t fun Chris and I don‘t like it one bit,” she snapped at him angrily, “I don’t want to discuss Kevin and beyond that I don’t like being worked over by anyone Chris. If you think that you can just sway me with a few words into opening up, think again. I’m not that easy even if you are.”

“But…” he started with a strangled expression watching her stomp out of the pool area in a huff. Oh yeah she was roaring mad alright and her little tantrum showed it, but beyond that Chris had to wonder if she was upset with him for prying or more upset that her first love had finally let go of their past with one another. Either way, Chris realized that living with Angela for the next few days was going to be nothing short of miserable.


“What do you expect me to say Kellen? That is was alright for her to go out with Cameron to this party that is a business date?” Kipp questioned seeing Kellen’s blue eyes narrowing in at him. “I’m not going to say that if that’s what you want me to say.”

“What I think you should have done is said you would appreciate it if she didn’t,” Kellen whispered in an angered tone seeing Kipp’s brown eyes watching him carefully. “You had no right to stand right here in front of her and call her a money loving whore. I for one thought that was very wrong.”

“Well, you just didn’t know her back in the day Kellen,” Kipp raised his voice a bit as Kellen pushed Kipp against the wall and covered Kipp’s mouth with his hand roughly.

“Listen to me carefully Kipp,” Kellen began calmly, but you could just see the anger that was building up behind his blue eyes as he spoke to Kipp slowly. “Heather is my best friend and I don’t care what she did in the past because all I care about right now is that she is my Heather Babes. I gave her a chance and I suggest you get the stick out of you butt before you ruin a perfectly good relationship.”

Kellen went to uncover Kipp’s mouth before shaking his head and keeping his hand over Kipp’s mouth, so he could keep Kipp quiet while he talked to him.

“Another thing, let Heather go with Cameron because it is for business,” Kellen pointed out in a small voice seeing Kipp’s dark eyes widen, showing Kellen that he was going to argue the topic. “I think I love Heather just as much as you do, probably more than you do because I would have never hurt her feelings like that. So, what I am trying to say is that Heather should be able to go because he invited us with them. I would never let Heather get hurt and if Cameron did hurt her, I would kill him.”

Kipp saw the look in Kellen’s eyes telling Kipp that Kellen was very serious by the way his eyes narrowed and the way his voice deepened.

“This is the last and final thing I am going to say to you,” Kellen whispered, his blue eyes looking into Kipp dark eyes before he shook his head slowly. “Don’t you ever call Heather that again because I might just hurt you like I could hurt Cameron. I love you Kipp, but with how you were just acting you aren’t the Kipp that I love. I want the Kipp I love back.”

“Are you done now?” Kipp questioned quietly as Kellen moved his hand and took a step back from Kipp. Kipp smoothed out his shirt before taking a step forward and nodding slowly. “I understand that I acted a little to quickly and…”

“A little?” Kellen chuckled looking in the mirror and fixing his gelled up hair before looking back at Kipp with a small frown. “You were a real asshole just a few moments ago.”

“And I’m sorry, but I don’t understand what would make her want to go out with the guy again,” Kipp let out a deep breath before thinking of something else to say. “She was hurt by him so badly and he is so evil…”

“But he is her partner whether we like it or not,” Kellen added seeing Kipp nod slowly as he began to speak up again. “Heather has a business and she is trying to be professional and it is my duty to protect her and help her. If you can’t handle that then…”

“Would you two just stop fighting,” Heather begged walking into the bathroom with a small frown as she walked over to grab Charles’s blanket from the corner of the bathroom. “It’s not worth it for a couple as good as the two of you to start fighting over something so stupid. Forgive each other and go out for the night. I have some work to get done today and the library looks really good for me tonight.”

“Maybe that is a good idea,” Kipp agreed looking at Kellen as Kellen fixed his light blue shirt before looking over at Heather with a worried expression.

“What about little Charles?” Kellen saw Heather hold the blanket up before shrugging her shoulders and walking towards the door. “He’s sleeping?”

“Yeah, and don’t wait here any longer,” Heather moved them along with a small sigh before shrugging her shoulders. “Go out and have some fun. The two of you deserve it.”


“I hope you don’t mind the delay in getting out here,” Rob began apologetically once he and Cori were seated at a table at Pavilion. “I didn’t mean for things to get so wrapped up there at the gym like that, but one thing lead to another and…”

“I don’t mind,” Cori flashed him a bright smile reaching out across the table to touch his hand briefly, “I’m just happy that you wanted for us to have this meal together.”

“I thought it was the least I could do for all the work you’ve been doing for me lately,” he replied with a smile of his own, “Plus Alicia was working late tonight with her parent/teacher conferences so it would’ve just been a night of microwave meals for me.”

“That’s too bad,” Cori pulled her hand away from his reluctantly, “You shouldn’t have to be stuck with such bland meals after a long day of work.”

“I don’t mind the microwave every now and then,” he replied with a small smile, “It keeps me in touch with how good I have it with Alicia.”

“Uh huh,” Cori nodded not really caring to hear about Alicia right about now when this was there lunch.

“So what about you?” Rob questioned curiously, “I hope I’m not keeping you from anything like a date or something…”

“Nope,” she shook her head, “No date. My ex hasn’t exactly been picking up the phone to call my number now that he’s sleeping with someone else, so it’s been a slow week there.”

“Cori, please don’t tell me you’re pining away over that man that hurt you,” Rob frowned back at her, his blue eyes shining with concern, “because I told you he wasn’t worth it.”

“I know, but at the same time he was a good man. He’s someone that everyone in town respects and they think he’s so wonderful,” she started to sigh thinking about how Diego had tossed her to the curb after having his way with her.

“He’s obviously not good enough,” Rob placed his hand on top of hers, “because if he was, then he never would’ve treated you so horrible.”

“Maybe I deserved it,” she replied with a shrug of her shoulders, “Maybe I just wasn’t good enough for him.”

“Hey,” Rob reached out to curl his finger underneath her chin to get her to meet his concerned eyes, “Don’t ever say that. You’re plenty good enough Cori and one day you’re going to find a man who can see just how wonderful you are.”

“You say that like it could really happen,” she leaned into his touch, her brown eyes fixed on his.

“It can and it will,” he smiled over at her, “I’m sure of it.”

“I wish I had that kind of confidence about the situation,” she reached up brushing her fingers over his and holding his gaze for a long moment.

“Um, maybe we should get back to ordering,” Rob suggested releasing her as he reached for his menu. He began to shuffle through it when music began to play.

“Oh my God,” Cori gasped with a tiny giggle, “Wow.”

“What?” Rob questioned from over the top of his menu.

“It’s this song,” she replied with a small grin, “I haven’t heard it in years and it’s one of my favorites.”

“Hmm, well maybe that’s a sign,” Rob smiled politely back at her before seeing her stand up from her chair.

“It’s most certainly a sign,” Cori explained reaching for his arm, “It means that we need to dance.”

“What?” he questioned with a strange expression, “Cori, I really don’t think that we should…”

“Oh come on. If Lindsay asked you to dance you would, so what’s the harm in dancing with me? You danced with me once at the basketball banquet in high school, remember?” she prompted further her grin expanding.

“Well yes, but that was a long time ago and there was a group of us and…” he replied feeling her tug him out of his chair.

“Trust me it’ll be fun,” she promised pulling him towards the dance floor. “Come on. Just one dance.”

“Well, okay I guess one dance can’t hurt,” he replied feeling the fast beat of the music strumming over him. He saw her start to bounce around and laugh and he tried to find it in him to relax enough for her to have a nice time.

“See this isn’t so bad,” she added watching him start to move around to the music, “You’re good at this.”

“I’m okay,” he shrugged feeling her slide her fingers over his shoulders until her body pressed in very close to his.

“You’re better than okay at this Rob,” she replied, her hips bumping into his as the music grew far more sensual, far more frantic. He felt her spin around in his arms, her arms moving in the space around her until she backed up into him, her bottom brushing in against the front of his pants in an explicit movement.

Rob opened his mouth to say something, only to feel her reach for his hands placing them on her hips while she continued to bump and grind into him unrelenting in her movements. He looked around the crowded dance floor feeling his pulse quickening a bit as he attempted to back off. He felt her release him and she spun around to wrap her arms around his neck once again her brown eyes full of enthusiasm.

“Maybe we’d better sit down again,” Rob suggested hearing the song come to an end. “I’m kind of hungry.”

“So am I,” she replied in a low, sultry voice following him off of the dance floor until they came face to face with Preston and Dorothy.

“Well Rob,” Preston began with a strange expression, “Fancy seeing you here.”

“Pres hey,” Rob nodded greeting his friend with a smile, “Dorothy you look fantastic.”

“Thank you,” she smiled at him before her eyes narrowed at Cori with heavy disapproval.

“Oh Pres, Dottie, this is Cori Warner. She’s working for me at the gym and the club doing PR for the company,” Rob introduced the woman at his side.

“I see,” Dorothy nodded eyeing Cori wearily, distrust burning behind her eyes.

“It’s nice to meet you Cori,” Preston offered his hand to her. “Warner huh? Any relation to the police chief?”

Cori nodded proudly, “He’s my brother.”

“He’s a good man,” Preston smiled at her politely.

“Where’s Alicia,” Dorothy questioned surveying the room, “Surely she must be around somewhere.”

“Actually she’s got conferences tonight,” Rob explained quickly, “But you should come by the house sometime. I’m sure that she’d love to see you. It’s been far too long since we’ve gotten together. Hey maybe we can get together for your son’s birthday party.”

“Birthday party,” Dorothy replied with a curious expression.

“That’s right,” Rob nodded eagerly, “His girlfriend is an amazing young woman and she’s got so many great things planned for the big event. I think he’s going to love it.”

“I’m sure he will,” Dorothy replied trying not to show that she was oblivious to what he was saying to her.

“Well we’d better get going,” Rob decided checking his watch, “I promised Cori dinner and then I have to go over to Don’s and pay Matt a visit. I bought him this new video game he’s been hoping for and I want to make sure that Don hasn’t already bought it for him.”

“Send them our hellos,” Preston replied with a wave saying a few more words to his friend before watching Rob and Cori return to the table.

“Don’t you find that um, odd,” Dorothy frowned seeing Cori seated across from Rob.

“Oh you know how Rob is. He’s always looking out for his employees,” Preston waved off her worries.

“Even so, did you see the way that they were dancing?” Dorothy turned her attention to Preston, “I highly doubt Alicia would appreciate her husband doing that with some pretty young thing.”

“Oh Dorothy,” Preston shook his head at her wrapping her up in his arms, “You and I both know that Alicia is Rob’s life. There isn’t any chance that he’d risk what they have for anything. He’s completely in love with her.”

“That’s what I thought, but I don’t know…” she replied doubtfully.

“Trust me, there isn’t anything to worry about,” Pres tried to convince her before sliding his arm around her waist, “Now about that dance?”

“After you,” she replied allowing him to lead her out onto the dance floor before she gave Rob and Cori one last look all the while wondering if Alicia had any idea what she might be up against with Rob’s pretty young employee. For Alicia’s sake she hoped that Pres was right that Alicia didn’t have a thing to worry about, but knowing full well how men could be Dorothy had her doubts.


Jenna sat down at her desk fumbling through the papers in front of her. It had been an extremely busy few hours today and she found relief at long last in the comfort of her chair. Knowing that she should be taking it easy, Jenna made a vow to take more breaks tomorrow before she overdid it. Her feet were killing her right about now and all she could think about was going home and sleeping.

“But not for another half an hour,” she replied reaching for an envelope on her desk. Peeling it open, she looked inside to find a party invitation in gold trim within. “What’s this?”

She read over the details of the party being held in honor of Blake’s new project and curiosity poured over her. It sounded like a nice enough thing to do for Coral Valley and somehow the fact that it was being held at a place that had been closed off to the public for years made it all the more intriguing.

“Knock, knock,” Hart popped his head into her office holding a bag with him, “Got a minute?”

“For you I might even have two,” she replied her eyes twinkling with delight, “Come on in.”

“I thought you might be hungry, so I brought dinner,” he explained setting the brown paper bag down on top of her desk.

“For both of our sakes I hope it isn’t Chinese,” she teased with a small wink. “I don’t think I could do another hospital run after the day I’ve had.

“Long day, huh?” he watched her closely, “You know you should probably take it easy.”

“I am taking it easy. As busy as it was, it was a slow day here,” she replied with a small smile, “but I am pretty hungry. What did you get?”

“Italian,” Hart revealed with a small smile, “I figured we’d save the emergency room visits for another less exhausting day.”

“How very thoughtful of you,” she smiled back at him seeing the glimmer of teasing behind his eyes.

“So really how are you feeling,” he questioned moving in to stand behind her, his fingers kneading over her shoulders, “You seem tense.”

“No more than you and Don did when you two were plotting in our living room the other day,” she tipped her head back to eye him curiously, “Care to tell me about it?”

“No, not really,” he shook his head before offering up a cryptic smile, “because right now I don’t want to think about anyone other than you.”

“You’re deflecting here,” she shook her head at him.

“Just trust me enough to know that what Don is all in an uproar about isn’t something you want to know about,” he promised her with a small kiss.

“That’s all I’m going to get huh?” she frowned back at him.

“Well maybe when we get home I’ll give you something else to think about. Maybe a sensual massage and then,” he leaned down to whisper in her ear causing tiny thrills to rush over her. “You’re trouble, you know that don’t you?”

“Yes, but you love my kind of trouble,” he replied with a sexy grin stealing a small kiss from her before sliding onto one of the chairs across from her, “So how about we push everything out of mind for now and focus on feeding you here and building your strength since you’re a mommy in training?”

“Well since you put it that way, we can do that now, but later I will expect you to tell me what’s really going on with you and Don,” she warned deciding to let the issue go for the moment, but sooner or later she would find the truth about what was going on even if Hart was going to be tight lipped about sharing it with her.


“Hey gramps,” Ken knocked on the door to Augustus’s library seeing Augustus look up from the papers he was reading over before taking his glasses off slowly. “Can I talk to you for a minute?”

“Sure Kenneth, come on in,” Augustus set his papers down before leaning forward and resting his elbows against the desk. Ken took a seat on the couch in the corner of the room before staring out at his grandfather. “Is something on your mind?”

“I just have nothing else to do,” Ken informed Augustus with a small frown leaning forward in his seat. “Wendy is at a treatment and I’m just trying to wait here for her to return. I didn’t interrupt something did I? I saw you looking at the papers and…”

“Don’t worry about it,” Augustus hushed Ken with a small shake of his head before looking over the papers before him. He pushed them into a neater pile and then stuck them in a drawer carefully. “That can wait, but what’s on your mind kiddo?”

“Well, I know this is going to sound dumb because I am an adult now and I should probably be doing this by myself, but you always have the best advice,” Ken paused for a moment realizing that this might be a bit dumb asking for his grandfather’s help on this certain subject. “You see, I need to ask you a question about love.”

“Sure,” Augustus leaned back in his seat and folded his hands in his lap as he shrugged his shoulders. “You can ask me anything about love because it was true love for me with your grandmother.”

“Which is why I came to you because I heard you really loved her and you were great with her,” Ken explained remembering all the stories he heard about his grandfather and his grandmother. “You see, I need to know how long it can last?”

“How long it can last?” Augustus chuckled reaching up to grab the picture of his wife from the table before running his fingertips over the picture slowly. “It can last for a long time kiddo. With your grandmother it lasted forever for me. We had Nick, Zoë, Rex, and Bradley and somehow we still were able to love and be with each other. Why do you ask that?”

“I’m worried about Wendy,” Ken answered with a deep sigh reaching out to grab the small squish football that Augustus had sitting on his window cell. “Who does this belong too?”

“That belongs to the younger man that is living here right now,” Augustus tried to think of his name knowing that he just talked to him a few minutes ago. He snapped his fingers trying to think of the name before nodding slowly. “Kyle’s, that belongs to him.”

“It’s cool, I think I’ll keep it,” Ken decided with a small smile throwing it up in the air before catching it and thinking about the original reason he came in here. “Well anyways, I was having trouble with seeing if Wendy saw how much I truly did love her. It’s like she loves me, but sometimes I don’t think she will let me get in. Probably because of the sickness, but I just wish that I could be…”

“In the circle sometimes, knowing what’s going on?” Augustus offered up seeing Ken nod slowly as Augustus leaned forward before standing up from the chair and going over to sit next to Ken on the chair. “You see Ken, love works in mysterious ways. Wendy is probably keeping you out because she doesn’t want you getting hurt in all of this. That’s probably the only reason she is doing it son. When you love someone, you want to avoid them pain in all possible ways.”

“I know gramps, I just wish I could help her out more,” Ken informed Augustus with a small sigh just thinking about holding her in his arms tightly. “I just want to be there for her and I want to know what is going on. I don’t want to be left questioning everything every day of my life and I hope one day she will let me in on everything. That’s all.”


Diego closed the door to his office gently walking over to his desk and plopping down in the leather desk chair before resting his feet up on the tabletop. Right now his mind was so mixed and confused with anger and love that he couldn’t work right now. Everything was just too hectic for him.

“What is wrong with her?” Diego whispered to himself thinking back to holding Sarah and kissing her in ways he knew she wanted him to be doing.

It was like one minute she wanted nothing other than to be with him, but when it got down to it she couldn’t stand the thought of leaving her boyfriend that didn’t seem to be caring too much anyways. Sarah acted like he was the biggest thing in her life, but then Kyle walks in and he is obviously the biggest thing. There were so many signs that they could have been together, but when Kyle walked back into her life he knew it wasn’t going to happen. Kyle was like an automatic problem for his relationship with Sarah.

“Come in,” Diego heard someone knock at his door as he saw Wendy walk into the room and he quickly sat up from the desk chair and walked over towards her after she shut the door. Diego wrapped his arms around her before letting out a small laugh. “What are you doing here Wendy?”

“I’m staying with Ken,” Wendy informed him watching the way he looked at her as she told him where she had been living. He let go of her slowly before folding his arms out in front of his chest. “I came here for an appointment and I figured I would come and talk to you today.”

“I appreciate the thought,” Diego motioned Wendy to sit down as he continued to stand and look her over carefully. “What do you mean you are with Ken again?”

“I mean I’m still in love with him Diego,” she informed him with a small shake of her head before a smile appeared over the corner of her lips. “When I found out I was dying, I never thought I would get love back in my life again when I came to terms with the death I know is planned for my future.”

“Wendy,” Diego went to say something more as she held her hands up in the air and cut him off knowing that he felt bad about the situation--that there was nothing he could do.

“Don’t worry Diego,” Wendy hushed him standing up from the couch and placing her finger over his lips to hush him before he spoke up again. “I have already accepted what is to happen in the future and I realize that I can’t spend my life wasting it away on nothing. I have a possibility at having love for a while and I am going to take it. Do you know what it’s like to lose the love and have a chance to grab them back up, but you are worried to do it?”

“Big time,” Diego answered with a small nod thinking about the situation he was having with Sarah. He watched her carefully before seeing her smile and reach out for his hands.

“Then I suggest you go for that person Diego,” Wendy whispered holding his hand tighter in hers before leaning forward to press a kiss against his cheek. She let go of his hands before walking over towards the door. “I have to go, but I will be back later. Just remember what I said, if you have a possibility don’t let go of it because it could be the worst thing you could ever do.”

“Okay,” Diego nodded slowly seeing her leave and close the door behind her.

Thinking carefully, Diego sat down on the black leather couch and put his feet up on the coffee table remembering the words that Wendy whispered to him. She was right, he was going to take her advice and use it towards Sarah. No matter what he did, he wasn’t going to lose her. Not now.


...to be continued...