Episode 305

“What are the two of you up to?” Kyle questioned folding his arms out in front of his chest and eyeing Blake and Sarah over carefully. He felt Seth move in behind him as he gave Seth a small glance before looking back at the two girls. “We both think the two of you have been acting really weird and we want to know what’s up.”

“Just kind of gossiping if you will,” Blake offered up seeing Kyle arch his eyebrow at her and Seth gave her a sideways glance. “You know, girl talk and all that.”

“Girl talk?” Seth repeated seeing Kyle look back at him with a not so convinced expression as Seth nodded slowly and let out a small chuckle. “Okay, what are you really up to?”

“We were talking about the party,” Sarah answered quickly seeing Kyle’s eyes narrow in over at her as she hid the strip behind her and watched Kyle’s hazel eyes glance down towards her arms. “You know, what we were going to do there and maybe what we were going to do after.”

“Really, what are you planning on doing after the party?” Kyle stepped forward stepping around Blake and walking over towards Sarah. He reached his index finger out and slid it down her arm gently before quickly grabbing the strip from her hands, hearing her gasp out as he held it up in the air to show Seth. “Let’s see what we’ve got here.”

“Kyle, I can explain all of this,” Sarah tried to explain seeing him pull out the box from the top of the garbage before glancing over it carefully. He took a look back at Seth before motioning Seth to walk in closer to him. “Kyle…”

“Be quiet for a minute,” Kyle hushed her holding his hand up in the air before motioning Seth to come over towards him. “So, let’s see if your Blake is pregnant or not.”

“It’s green,” Seth stared at the test before him blankly taking a look at the colors that were possible before him, taking a look over at Blake. “What does green mean? There is no green.”

“It means I’m not,” Blake quickly got out seeing Seth nod slowly, biting down on his bottom lip as he saw Kyle continue to read the box over. “Kyle can even prove it, read the directions.”

“Okay, you have to…” Kyle paused reading the directions a bit before throwing it back in the garbage and giving a small shudder. “I think I get the point.”

“So, you two thought that finding out if Blake was pregnant or not should be kept a secret?” Seth whispered seeing Blake’s blue eyes staring up into his. “I don’t know why anything like a pregnancy should be kept a secret. It’s one of the best things about life.”

“Sometimes,” Sarah blurted out seeing Blake glance over at her and give her a small frown. “When a girl may be pregnant there might be some obvious reasons to keep it a secret.”

“Well, I think that idea is completely asinine,” Kyle protested shaking his head slowly at Sarah’s comment. He leaned back against the counter before gently elbowing Seth in the ribs. “I don’t know about Seth over here, but I would want to know if the woman I loved was pregnant or not. I mean, we both worked to bring the baby into the world so I would deserve to know first--you know? If the girl has a habit of lying to a guy, how can she grow up raising the baby with him.”

“Good point,” Seth agreed nodding at Kyle before looking between Saran and Blake before frowning. He itched his chin looking slightly confused before offering up a small shrug. “The two of you have already told us what is wrong, so why are the both of you still pale as ghosts?”

“I’m still feeling a little sick,” Sarah replied walking around the two men having Blake follow her out into the living room, hearing the men follow them not far behind. “We were actually talking about the party and going to go get some new dresses.”

“Sweetheart, you look beautiful in everything you have already,” Seth offered up seeing Blake smile and step forward to give Seth a loving kiss before pushing at the center of his chest and making him fall back against the couch. “Or not?”

“I appreciate that, but every girl loves a new dress,” Blake insisted looking over at Kyle who was staring over at her with a blank expression, his eyebrow arched as if he didn’t believe her. “Isn’t that right Sarah?”

“Absolutely,” Sarah agreed tipping up pressing a kiss against Kyle’s lips feeling him solid against her, his eyes still staring out into hers. “I’ll be back honey.”

Seth let out a small laugh as Sarah pushed Kyle back to the couch too and the two women quickly ran to the door with Sarah running out first.

“And boys,” Blake began taking the door in her hand and giving them a small glance over, “just watch the football game or something. I’m sure you will have fun together.”

“What do you think they are really up to?” Seth glanced over at Kyle after seeing Blake quickly shut the door behind her. Kyle shrugged his shoulders before taking a glance over towards the bathroom. “I don’t think they were telling the full truth.”

“I don’t think they are going to be telling us anything right now,” Kyle pointed out seeing Seth’s dark eyes glancing over at him as Kyle shrugged his shoulders leaning further back into the couch. “Sarah has been acting really weird lately.”

“Really?” Seth put his feet up on the coffee table seeing Kyle nod slowly as Seth reached for the remote turning the television on before glancing over at Kyle. “How so?”

“Believe me,” Kyle chuckled seeing Seth turn on the Red Sox game before giving Kyle his full attention. Kyle watched the play made on television before offering up a small laugh. “It’s a long story.”

“Well, since the girls are going to be gone for quite some time I think we have a lot of time to talk about this long story,” Seth added seeing Kyle nod in a agreement before thinking things over a moment. “So why don’t you tell me what’s up with the two of you.”


“You will never guess what I just bought,” Valerie gasped walking into the room with JT seeing him lying down on his couch, flipping through the channels on the television. She set her bag down before clapping her hands together. “Guess what I bought.”

“Hopefully superglue,” JT whispered seeing the look of confusion spread throughout her features as he set the remote down and let out a long sigh. “So it could keep your mouth shut to keep me from going insane with all your talking.”

“Boy, someone really woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning,” she frowned pulling the bag up from the ground and setting it on the edge of the couch before reaching inside of the bag. “I actually got a new outfit. See?”

“How wonderful,” JT frowned not even bothering to look at the outfit she was showing off as he glanced over at the television hearing her let out a small squeal. “What is it now? Was that answer not good enough for you?”

“You didn’t even look at the it,” Valerie pointed out hearing him let out a small groan before angrily sitting up on the couch and looking at the clothes she was holding up. “Don’t they look nice?”

“It looks like something a prostitute would wear,” he pointed out with a small frown, thinking things over for a moment before a small smile developed over his features. “So yeah, the new outfit looks perfect for you.”

“You are such a jerk sometimes,” she let out a small scowl before setting the bag down and coming over to sit on the couch next to him. “Scoot over so we can talk.”

“Great, you are going to talk to me more,” he rolled his eyes scooting over on the couch and resting his head against the back of it. His mind was elsewhere before she came in, he was thinking about Diane and about the baby. It was hard for him not to think about all that stuff because it was always going to be stuck inside his mind now. “What do you want now? And what in the world are you so cheerful about? There is nothing in the world that special.”

“Of course there is,” Valerie shot JT a frown before rubbing her hands together, a wide smile spread throughout her features as JT watched her carefully. “People like Seth are worth the cheer and that’s why I am so happy. I have a new plan to get him back in my life.”

“Oh great,” he groaned standing up from the couch and grabbing his jacket from the chair before pulling it on quickly. “I don’t want to hear about this anymore Valerie. I’m leaving.”

“Wait, I didn’t even tell you my plan yet,” she whined seeing him walk over towards the door before turning around to face her once more. “You didn’t even let me start.”

“That’s the point Val,” JT grabbed onto the door handle before throwing his free hand up in the air. “I don’t want to know anything about it because I am not in the mood at all.”

JT quickly opened the door to find himself face to face with a blonde woman as he opened the door and Valerie clapped her hands together.

“I think your street partner just showed up,” JT looked over Michelle once before walking off and leaving Valerie and Michelle staring at him as he got on the elevator.

“What crawled up his butt?” Michelle questioned feeling Valerie pull her into the room and motioned Michelle to come and sit down on the couch. “Okay, so I have been thinking…”

“Good things I hope,” Valerie smiled widely thinking about all the information her and Michelle had shared earlier at the store. Michelle was going to help Valerie out with Seth and in return Valerie was going to help Michelle out right back. Their plans just had to work because this might be one of the last chances she got.


“Obviously Diane doesn’t want you here, so why don’t you leave right now,” Ben suggested seeing Andy let out a small laugh before patting Ben’s shoulder gently seeing Ben push his hand off of him angrily. “I said get out of here.”

“Hey buddy, don’t get all grumpy with me here,” Andy frowned letting out a small chuckle as he saw the seriousness behind Ben’s features. He took a step back holding his hands up in the air before letting out a small sigh. “She never said anything about me leaving, isn’t that right Diane?”

“Well I want you out of here,” Ben snapped pushing at the center of Andy’s chest seeing him fall back slightly before catching his balance and holding his hands up in the air. “I don’t want to hear another word. I know who you are, I know what you’ve done and I don’t care if I don’t know you because I don’t like you. Now get out of my house before I make you get out of my house.”

“I don’t want to start any trouble, so sure--I’ll leave,” Andy nodded slowly, his smile growing wider if that was even possible. Andy pointed over at Diane before winking at her. “I’ll see you soon Diane, very soon.”

“Get out of here,” Ben snapped hearing the front door close as he watched Andy get in his car and leave before he walked back into the living room to see a shaken up Diane sitting on the couch with her knees to her chest.

“Is he gone?” Diane spoke up in a small whisper seeing Ben quickly rush over to her side, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and she let out a scared breath. “I don’t know what he was doing here Ben.”

“It’s okay honey, he’s gone now,” Ben hushed rubbing at her shoulders gently before letting out a small frown and glaring back up towards the door. “What did he say to you anyways?”

“It doesn’t matter,” she began taking in a deep breath and thinking about all the things that had been said between the two of them earlier. “All that matters is that you are home and got him to leave. He isn’t here anymore and that’s all that matters.”

“Honey, you know you can tell me what happened,” Ben pointed out seeing her shrug her shoulders before her eyes grew wide and she stood up from the couch. “What’s wrong? What are you doing?”

“I have to tell Deidra he is back in town,” Diane quickly rushed over to the phone, picking it up and feeling Ben step in behind her and resting his hand against her hip. “She needs to know that he is here before he can be able to scare her like he scared me. I have to let her know.”

“Go ahead honey,” Ben motioned for her to go on watching her nervously dial in her sister’s cell number and pulling the phone up to her ear. “Is she answering?”

“Damn,” Diane hung up the phone and placed her hand over her heart seeing Ben’s blue eyes watching her carefully as she bit down into her bottom lip. “She isn’t picking up, hopefully everything is okay.”


“Did you hear something?” Deidra paused the videogame that her and Dean had been playing in the living room all afternoon as he let out a small groan and rolled his eyes at her. “I thought I heard something just a second ago.”

“Stop trying to confuse me,” Dean chuckled seeing her start the game back up before searching around the place in the game. He had just bought the James Bond game and he was desperately trying to beat her at the game because every time they had gone up against each other he had always lost. “Come on, you have to find me to win again.”

“Are you sure you want to keep playing this?” she questioned looking over at him as his nose wrinkled when he pushed a couple of buttons on the controller and she let out a small laugh. “You are never going to beat me at this game. Who knew? You are a cop and you are horrible at this game.”

“I am not horrible,” Dean protested seeing Deidra’s character out of the corner of his eyes in the video game as he quickly reached out for her covering her eyes with his right hand and shooting his gun off in the game to beat her. “Ah, I got you.”

“You little cheater,” she gasped punching him in the shoulder gently before letting out a small scowl. “I can’t believe you just cheated and stole the win like that.”

“Well think of it this way honey,” Dean whispered looking out at her with a wide smile before wiggling his eyebrows up and down slowly. “I stole the win like I stole your heart.”

“By cheating?” she snapped hitting him in the side hearing him let out a little laugh as he fell back against the floor as she let out a small gasp. “That’s it you are so dead.”

“Hey,” Dean laughed feeling her get in over him and start to tickle at his sides as he started to cough and tried to push her off of him. “I told you, I don’t have any tickle spots. You can’t win that one there Deidra.”

“I know I can because everyone has a tickle spot,” she began to tickle towards the bottom of his back, hearing him let out a small chuckle as she continued to tickle him there. She felt his hands try to push her off of him as she started to laugh seeing him struggling underneath her. “Looks like you do have a tickle spot, admit it. You have a ticklish spot.”

“Okay, okay,” Dean let out a deep breath feeling her get up and off of him as he pulled her into his arms and looked over at the game. “We both cheated to win something, so how about we do this game one more time and see who the real winner is.”

“And if I win?” she questioned seeing him shrug his shoulders before she offered up a tiny smile. “If you win what do you get?”

“I’m not sure, but I know I can come up with a lot of good things,” Dean promised giving her a small wink before grabbing his controller back up and nodding towards the game. “Let’s play and think about what it is we both want.”


Avery paced around the room doing her best to stop Erin from crying, but with every movement it seemed that her daughter’s tears only to grow exponentially. She tried to hum a song in the hopes of soothing her, but it was no use. Nothing seemed to be working since Erin had started sobbing over half an hour ago. Worry and desperation were starting to settle in as Russell returned to the room with a diaper bag over his shoulder.

“I was afraid I’d lost you,” Avery replied worry flashing over her features as Erin’s cries continued.

“No, far from it,” he shook his head at her making his way over to the top drawer and pulling out Erin’s coat, “We’re going to take her to the hospital and find out what’s going on here.”

“Russ, I’m sure that she’ll be okay, she’s just…” Avery tried to come up with some explanation for her daughter’s tears, but at that moment she felt completely helpless wishing like crazy that she could make Erin feel at peace in her arms.

“I’m not taking any chances with our daughter,” Russ announced moving across the room to pull Erin out of Avery’s arms, “I’m taking her in for a checkup given what Bruce did to the both of you. I refuse to gamble on her life Avery.”

“I don’t want to gamble on her life either, but Russ, don’t you think that we’re…” she stopped herself before she could finish feeling a sudden sinking feeling inside of her. She watched Russell begin to put Erin in her jacket and she let out a small breath, “I’ll grab my purse and then we can be on our way.”

“Smart mommy,” Russell replied watching Avery make a dash for the door to open it only to discover Augustus standing on the other side of the door.

“May I come in,” Augustus questioned curiously popping his head in to see Erin in a state of discontent.

“We don’t have time to chat Augustus,” Russell explained finishing up with Erin’s coat before scooping her into his arms, “We’re taking our daughter to a doctor.”

“Actually, I know that you both are upset, but might I make a suggestion,” Augustus stepped further into the room gently urging Avery aside. His eyes fixed on Russell and Erin and he stretched his arms out, “May I?”

“I really don’t think that now is the time to…” Russ started to argue with him, his frustrations mounting.

“Trust me,” Augustus offered up with a small smile seeing Russell’s hesitance, “If something seems like it’s going wrong within a minute, then I promise you that I won’t prevent you from taking Erin for help.”

“Russ please,” Avery watched him closely seeing the distrust and uneasiness in Russell’s eyes. Still hearing Erin crying was enough to allow Augustus this one moment to try to help Erin.

“Be careful with her,” Russell warned feeling Augustus carefully place Erin in his arms.

“What’s the matter sweetheart,” Augustus questioned in a low and soothing voice causing Erin’s cries to momentarily stop.

Avery moved in beside Russell placing her hand on his shoulder as Augustus walked over to the rocking chair. He took a seat in it still keeping Erin in his arms. She seemed to be still upset and uncomfortable, but when Augustus started to rock the chair gently, her cries seemed to soften. He touched her stomach gently, running his fingers over abdomen in small, circular movements and within a matter of seconds she went from miserable to a being rather content in her great-grandfather’s arms.

“How did you…?” Russell watched him with surprised eyes unable to decipher just what it was that Augustus had done to make Erin melt in his arms.

“I would guess that she’s got gas on her stomach,” Augustus explained simply wrinkling his nose down at Erin, “as unpleasant as that sounds, it’s a curse in this family especially for the little ones. I’m not sure how you were as an infant, but my children had a very sensitive stomach when it came down to certain formulas or when they gulped down a bottle…”

“Erin did gulp down her bottle,” Avery thought about it remembering how Erin had seemed quite hungry in her earlier feeding.

“Which is why she’s feeling less than comfortable right now. Isn’t that right Erin?” Augustus questioned in a slow, soothing tone as Erin let out a tiny sound. Her stomach made a noise and Augustus tipped his head up to focus on Russ and Avery, “That’s exactly what this sounds like.”

“I thought that maybe it could be her stomach, but then when she kept crying,” Avery began her worries starting to melt away.

“I’m the one who overreacted,” Russell turned to her apologetically, “I guess I was just worried about what happened with Bruce and…”

“Hey, I can’t blame either one of you for wanting to get this checked out,” Augustus added seeing the lingering traces of concern behind both of their eyes, “but the way I see it, I’m glad I can be here to help. If you’d like I can have someone sent over just to make sure all is well and give her a checkup.”

“That won’t really be necessary since we have it covered with her own pediatrician,” Russell politely declined his offer.

“Russ, maybe that might be a good idea just in case,” Avery touched his arm lightly once again, “I mean it wouldn’t hurt to have a second opinion.”

“Avery, I don’t think that…” he stopped himself realizing if he argued it would become another battle for them. “If that would make you feel better.”

“Russ, I realize that you’re weary of me and my family, but I just want you to know that what’s mine is yours and Erin’s,” Augustus motioned to the small child in his arms, “She’s very important to this family and…”

“And as much as I appreciate what you’re doing for her right now, I’d really rather not have my daughter exposed to all of this,” Russell confessed with a small scowl, “Being associated with the Ashfords has been nothing but trouble for everyone I’ve ever known and I don’t want my daughter to have to live with that.”

“But you don’t understand Russell. Your daughter is vital to the future of this family and…” Augustus started with a solemn expression.

“No, I’m not going to let her be exposed to what your family has put me through. I’m sorry but after having almost been murdered by your son and tortured until I escaped and nearly drowned, I can’t say that I’m too thrilled about the idea of embracing just what being an Ashford entails,” Russell informed him feeling Avery’s fingers curl around his bicep but he was in no mood to sugar coat his feelings about his history with the Ashford family, “I lost time with Avery and I’m not about to open us up for that kind of devastation again.”

“Well then maybe you’ll at least listen to me when I tell you that I know why he did what he did and as long as you give me five minutes to explain myself, then I promise you I’ll leave it up to you whether or not you decide to leave, but until then you owe it to Erin to listen to what I have to say,” Augustus began feeling an unsettling moment upon him, but as he looked to Erin in his arms, he knew he couldn’t avoid the truth any longer.


“What are you doing,” Chris frowned standing in the doorway to the guest room Angela had been staying in. He saw her shoving her things into her suitcase before walking over to the closet and pulling her outfits from the hangers, “Angel come on.”

“Chris, I have to pack,” she explained not bothering to look at him, “I have to go home and stop pretending that I can do whatever it is that I think I’m doing in here. I don’t belong here.”

“Of course you do,” he moved into the room stopping her from returning to the closet to grab more of her things. He placed his hands on her shoulders firmly leaving her no more room to avoid him, “Angel stop. I realize that you’re upset, but we need to talk about this. You can’t just start running away from everything that’s bothering you.”

“Of course I can,” she replied stubbornly, “I can just go home and get back to my work and…”

“And pretend that you’re not upset about the way things are going,” he raised a doubtful brow, “No offense Angie, but you’re a mess. You can keep trying to convince the world around you that you’re going to be fine, but let’s face it you’re far from fine.”

“Chris I already told you I’m in no mood to open up about this,” she glared up at him being as defiant as possible.

“Yeah well this time I’m not leaving you room to walk away,” he warned her sharply not willing to let her back away from talking to him, “and this time you’re not getting me out of my pants either.”

“Gee and here I thought we had fun the other night,” she flashed him an icy smile.

“You were being cruel and that was not nice,” he shook his head at her before letting out a sigh, “I wouldn’t be nearly as miserable to you, but hey okay I’ll be willing to let that slide.”

“Smart man,” she tried to push past him feeling his hold on her shoulders tighten.

“But not this,” he gently guided her over to the bed forcing her to take a seat, “So spill it. Is this because of Kevin? Because he’s getting married?”

“No Chris of course it’s not. It’s just…” she groaned finally throwing her hands up in the air, “Okay honestly what does he see in that woman? Did you see the way she was glaring at me? The way she had to be all touchy and groping on him like she was trying to keep me far away from him? I mean really what did she think I was going to do? Throw down on the table and jump him right then and there?”

“I was starting to wonder that thing myself the other night,” he replied honestly giving her a long look, “I saw you two kissing Angel.”

“We were talking about our daughter--about the baby we lost,” she shook her head at him, “That’s upsetting Chris and we were just comforting one another.”

“Yeah and I’m sure if Ria knew about that comforting she’d be trying to strangle you instead of glaring at you,” Chris placed his hand on her leg gently, “How many times do I have to tell you that you and Adonis together are trouble? You fall into one another’s arms think it’s going to last and then you break each other’s hearts to pieces.”

“I’m not trying to fall into his arms,” she replied stubbornly with a huff. “I’m trying to do the right thing.”

“By making out with him on my porch?” he gave her a pointed look.

“Chris, that’s not what I was doing. It was complicated and,” she stopped herself feeling a sting all over her at the thought of Kevin. “It’s just when I think about everything--when I think about our daughter it just reminds me of the old times…of what we had together. I mean we had so many hopes for the future, yet…”

“Life ripped you apart,” Chris nodded remembering all that Angela had been through with Kevin. He put his arm around her shoulders supportively, “You never told him why you ended it that time, did you?”

“Are you kidding,” she questioned with tear-filled eyes, “How do you think he would’ve taken learning that my father’s men threatened to kill him if we were together? I was frightened when I lost our baby, but then when I learned that they’d shot Kevin…I knew it was a sign.”

“Angel, it was just an accident,” Chris hugged her further into his arms, “That’s all that it was. It wasn’t your father trying to tell you something.”

“It wasn’t my father that terrified me,” she explained hugging him in response, “It was Craven. That man was pure evil and he had no problems letting everyone know it. He threatened me that night--right after Kevin left, he showed up and said those awful things…”

“It’s okay,” Chris smoothed his fingers through her hair, “it’s in the past. You can’t go back to that place. It’s something that…”

“Haunts me still,” she blurted out painfully, “When I think about what Craven said he would do to Kevin…when I think about the life I was living--about what happened to Cary after we were together…”

“Hey, stop,” Chris shook his head at her urging her to sit up straighter, “You can’t dwell in that moment in time. There are plenty of other moments to look forward to like when you give birth to these two little babies who are going to keep you more than busy.”

“I have thought about that, which is why I have to go back to the island. It’s safer for them there and being away, well maybe it’ll give Kevin a chance at a better life. Obviously he loves Ria and they could be happy together…”

“They could, but will you be happy?” Chris searched her dark eyes, “Will that be what you feel in your heart is best for you?”

“Chris everyone I have ever loved has been put in danger,” she sighed heavily thinking about her failed relationships, “It’s almost a good thing that I found a way to stop anything from happening with anyone else. I mean look at how miserable Kevin was, then I hurt you and Cary died…”

“Um hello, I’m still here ready to take on the world,” Chris pointed out with a frown, “Kevin’s a strong guy. He can hold his own and Cary, well I don’t know what you ever saw in that jackass. He was a horrible person and you deserved better.”

“I deserve to be alone,” she rose up to her feet wiping at her face, “I mean even with the twins, their father is a married man for heaven’s sake. I had an affair with a married man that I knew for only a few days and they are going to have to face that the rest of their lives.”

“Hey, you and I both know that there are plenty of single parents out there in the world,” Chris watched her pace around the room, “It’s not uncommon…”

“Yes, but what if one day they find out about me? About how they came to be? They are going to hate me too,” Angela blurted out tearfully, “Oh God and now look at me I’m a whining, whimpering ball of emotions. I swear this whole being pregnant thing is going to drive me insane…”

“Well you’re in luck,” Chris sprung up off of the bed to move in beside her, “because I’m certifiable and I think we make a great pair. So much so that I think you should stop worrying for tonight and place your thoughts on the other things going on like this party you’re going to with me. We are going to have the time of our lives as we dance the night away and uncover the mystery that building has to offer.”

“Chris, I really don’t think that…” she started feeling him wrap his arm around her and start spinning her around in a small waltz to silent music that apparently only he could hear. She saw him smile and she couldn’t help but let out a small laugh, “You’re crazy.”

“See, so there you go. We’re a perfect set,” he winked down at her dipping her for a moment before pulling her into his arms, “Trust me when I tell you that this party is going to change both of our lives forever and hey, if by the end of it you want to return to the island and leave Coral Valley behind, then I will pack up with you and write underneath a coconut tree penning local weather reports.”

“Chris, you know I couldn’t ask you to that,” she shook her head at him.

“You didn’t ask. I’m offering and besides,” he teased further with a bright grin, “I could always work on my tan. Heaven knows I have horrible tan lines which you saw the other night…”

“Yeah, um about the other night,” she cleared her throat nervously thinking about how cruel she’d been to him.

“Next time I’ll just make sure you’re the one that gets naked first,” he assured her leaning down to offer a playful kiss before spinning her around the room again in the hopes of perking up her spirits after it was clear that she had been feeling rather down about the world around her. The party would change that. Yes, the party would make things better indeed. He was sure of it.


“What do you think they are doing right now?” Don questioned walking back into his home, seeing the video game system open when he thought he would see Nate and Matt playing games together. He heard a noise in Matt’s room as he followed the noise and watched them carefully. “Come here.”

“Alright,” Shannon followed him standing in the doorway seeing Nate sitting on the floor as Matt searched through his drawers and found a few things and shoving them in his pocket. “What is he doing?”

“Hey, guys come in,” Matt motioned Shannon and Don to come and take a seat on his bed before sitting down in front of Matt. “I’m sure you will get a kick out of being in here.”

“I’m betting I will,” Don chuckled walking over towards Matt’s bed with Shannon at his side and they took a seat on the edge looking out at Nate and Matt. Don saw Matt pull out some gum and hand it over towards Nate offering it up to Nate with a small grin. Don leaned in closer to Shannon before offering up a small whisper. “Watch this, you are going to get a kick out of it. It‘s the new tricks I just got him the other day.”

“Want a piece of gum?” Matt offered up seeing Nate shrug his shoulders and take a piece before shoving it into his mouth and start chewing. Matt looked over at Don and offered up a small chuckle before seeing Don motion for him to stay silent. Matt looked to Nate who was now chewing on the gum roughly and had a disgusted look over his features. “It’s a brand new flavor.”

“It’s kind of hot and makes your mouth burn a bit,” Nate opened his mouth as Shannon let out a small laugh seeing her brother’s mouth now covered in black and his lips a light shade of black from the gum. “Cinnamon flavored or something?”

“Pretty much,” Matt nodded seeing Shannon let out a small laugh before trying to get her brother’s attention. “Hey, Nate--your sister wants you.”

“What’s up my darling older sister?” Nate looked back at his sister offering up a small smile only to see her laugh in response. “What is it?”

“You have a little something on your mouth,” she motioned him to wipe it towards the right, seeing the ink spread out onto his right cheek. “No more down on your chin.”

“Did I get it?” Nate questioned spreading the ink down his chin before seeing her nod and bite down on her bottom lip. He offered up a wide smile, his teeth now lightly covered in black. “Thanks sis. Do I look better kiddo?”

“You can say that,” Matt nodded seeing Nate watch him carefully as he pulled out a toy flower and motioned Nate to take it in his hands. “All you do is push the button and it plays music.”

“What kind of music does it play?” Nate pushed the button feeling silly string come up and spray him in the face as he let out a long laugh wiping it away from his eyes before doing it again and spraying himself in the face. “I like this, this thing is cool.”

“You are so weird,” Shannon pointed out seeing him spray himself in the face again giving himself a pink and blue covered face. “That may not come out of your hair.”

“Oh well,” Nate shot the silly string at both Don and Shannon seeing Don block himself with the pillow, but let Shannon get hit with it. Shannon wiped her face off before throwing the pillow Don was holding in his hands at Nate. “He did it.”

“What?” Don chuckled to himself pulling a piece of silly string out of her hair and offering up a small smile before kissing her on the cheek gently. “I think pink really looks good on you there.”

“Gee, thanks,” Shannon laughed pushing him back roughly hearing him let out a small chuckle as his back hit the bed. “You are so dumb Nate.”

“I know,” Nate proudly smiled before running his hands together and wiping at his face pulling off some of the silly string. “Thank you for noticing.”

“Hey Nate, you want this dollar?” Matt questioned seeing Nate reach for a dollar that was inside of a package, only to feel something come down on his fingers like a mouse trap as he let out a small gasp. “Got you big man. Okay seriously, I’m done now.”

“Okay, little man,” Nate saw Matt reach his hand out to him as he accepted the shake and felt a sharp pain through his hand and let out a small yelp. “Ouch.”

“The shocker,” Don hissed watching Matt let out a small chuckle as Nate looked down at his hand puzzled before shaking Matt’s hand over and over again. Feeling the shock going through is body, but it no longer hurt him--it actually looked like he was laughing over it. “Your brother has some serious issues.”

“Don’t I know it,” Shannon chuckled watching Matt and Nate play together as her cell phone started to go off and she got off the bed walking in the hallway with Don following her. She stopped to look back at Don and motioned him to wait as he followed her into the living room. “Hello.”

Don watched Shannon’s face drop as she talked to the person on the other line and worry began to overcome him. Don reached out to touch her shoulder gently only to see her motion him to hold on another second.

“Okay,” Shannon nodded walking over to the table and writing something down on a piece of paper before letting out a long sigh. “We will be right over there.”

“Who was it Shannon?” Don questioned seeing her put her cell phone away, looking back at him as if she was searching for words to tell him about what was going on. “Shannon, what’s wrong?”

“It’s Lindsay, she was in accident,” Shannon informed Don carefully seeing the color fade away from his face as he gulped down, his blue eyes worried with fear of how bad his younger sister could be hurt. “She’s not hurt really bad, but she is in the hospital.”

“But how?” Don let a worried breath before quickly running over to grab his coat and throw it on quickly, grabbing his keys from the pocket of his coat. He ran over towards the door before yelling out to Nate. “Nate, watch Matt for a little bit.”

“No problem,” Nate yelled back as Don quickly ran out the door, seeing Shannon following him as he got into the car and turned it on quickly.

“Come on, I can’t leave her alone while my parents are out of town,” Don felt worry overcome him as Shannon buckled up and he pulled out of the driveway. How hurt is a little hurt? A lot of doctors don't classify things appropriately and hopefully his little sister wasn’t hurt because if she was--he was going to kill whoever hurt her.


Sarah walked out of the hospital lab area thinking about what the woman had told her. She would have to wait to find out the results. As if she had the patience to stick around and wait to uncover the truth about whether or not she was pregnant. Just having made it over to the hospital to take the test had been grueling enough, but now to have to wait to learn to know the truth was going to drive her out of her mind.

“You can do this,” she tried to convince herself feeling her stomach tied in anticipatory knots as she rounded the corner of the hallway. Upon doing so she found herself face to face with one of the two people that she was hoping to avoid right now--Diego.

“Sarah,” Diego gasped in surprised reaching out to grab her arm before she stumbled backwards upon the impact of their collision. He saw her steady herself on her legs before he smiled at her, “Hey, how are you?”

“I’ve been um…” she paused not sure how to response to him as her pulse began to quicken, “okay.”

He searched her eyes, “Are you sure, you look a little pale?”

“I’m fine,” she lied knowing that she was going to burn for this one, but still she couldn’t reveal her fears just yet, “You?”

“I’m horrible,” he confessed lowering his voice to a darker, more desperate tone. His eyes burned through hers causing her breath to catch in the back of her throat, “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you since we last saw one another.”

“Diego please,” Sarah spoke up in a tight whisper, “Don’t do this now.”

“I’m not doing anything other than being honest with you,” he replied leaning in closer to her. She sank back into the wall behind them, her eyes still focused entirely on his, “I’m sorry if that upsets you, but I can’t get you out of my mind Sarah.”

“Well you should start,” she curled her lips in a scowl up at him, “because I’m not worth your time. You should be focusing on something else--on someone else…”

“That’s just it though. There isn’t anyone else that does to me what you do,” he revealed with a heavy sigh taking a step back, “Heather came over to see me and I…”

“Heather,” her eyes widened jealousy flickering behind them, “Diego, when I say someone else I mean anyone but her…”

“She asked me to go with her to that party Blake is hosting, but I told her I couldn’t do it,” he replied watching her closely knowing that he was putting her on the spot, but he couldn’t deny his heart.

“Well good because you can do so much better. You deserve someone who has a heart and can love you like you deserve to be loved,” she replied instinctively, “My sister is cold and cruel and…”

“She’s a wonderful woman, but when it gets down to it Sarah,” he reached out to touch a loose strand of her blonde hair that curled around her face, “She’s not you.”

“Diego I…” Sarah felt the pad of his thumb brush against her cheek. She closed her eyes remembering how it had felt when they’d made love, how her body burned to be to his again and feel him over her, inside of her in the most intimate of desires. She opened her eyes again seeing her thoughts reflected behind his eyes, “I have to go.”

“Sarah, we need to talk. We can’t keep avoiding each other like this especially when we both know how we feel,” he pleaded with her, a heavy emotion in his voice, “I love you.”

“And I love Kyle,” she cut him off hoping to end this madness before it ate her alive, “He’s loved me his whole life and I intend to give him what he’s wanted from me. I want to make him happy because he deserves that.”

“And what about you? What do you deserve Sarah? I thought it was important for you to be happy too,” he pointed out watching her lower lip tremble, “Tell me Sarah, does Kyle make you happy?”

“He used to,” she replied without thinking knowing that she’d made a mistake with her words, “and we will be happy again.”

“How can you be happy when you know that a part of you wants to be with me,” he challenged taking a bold step towards her. His gaze dropped to her lips daring her to deny the attraction between them.

“Diego I shouldn’t be having this conversation with you. I shouldn’t be standing here like this with you and I most certainly shouldn’t be wanting to kiss you like I want to,” she replied feeling the wall behind her fall back and she tumbled into darkness.

“Sarah,” Diego called her name seeing her fall backwards into the supply closet landing on a pile of neatly folded sheets. “Are you alright?”

She looked at his outstretched hand hesitant to take it, but eventually she pulled herself up and stood before him in the center of the closet, “This is a mistake.”

“Is that really how you feel?” he watched her, seeing the divided emotions behind her eyes.

“It’s how I should feel,” she replied completely aware of the way his fingers lingered over her wrist causing her skin to heat up like a hot fire.

“But is it how you feel? How you want to be feeling?” he took a small step towards her, close enough to let her know that he was interested in kissing her, but far back enough to give her the opportunity to refuse or deny the union between them.

“What I want…what I need is…” she dropped her gaze to his lips unable to repress the urge a moment longer. She tipped up on her toes, pressing her lips to his in a heated display. Her fingers tangled in his dark hair nudging him in closer to her as they stumbled further into the closet. She felt his hands around her waist, dropping down to her hips and she let out a soft sigh. Curling her leg around him, she thought about how much she’d wanted him, how easily it could be to give into her instincts right then and there, but before she could let that part of her take over she heard the sound of her cell phone going off alerting her that Blake was calling.

“Stop,” she motioned to Diego tearing away from the kiss long enough to answer her phone breathlessly, “Hello.”

“Sarah, are you okay?” Blake questioned worry evident in her tone, “You told me you would be down here in five minutes and it’s been almost half an hour.”

“Things were running behind in the lab, but I’m on my way. I promise,” Sarah answered quickly before hanging up the phone and looking to Diego with a pained expression, “Diego we can’t keep letting this happen. I can’t keep doing this…”

“But Sarah,” he watched her rush out of the supply closet leaving him alone in darkness. Sinking back into the racks behind him he started to wonder if maybe she was right. Maybe they were pushing the envelope on something that was never meant to be. Perhaps he should do the right thing and bow out to let her and Kyle be happy together. That would be the best thing to do except when she’d kissed him like she had, he had this gut feeling that wasn’t what she wanted him to do. However, maybe it was time he pushed his own feelings aside and let her have happiness with Kyle if that was really, truly what she wanted.


“Well, I don’t know what to say,” Kyle muttered holding his hands up in the air and turning on the couch, leaning back against the arm of the couch. “She has just been trying to jump me left and right.”

“And that’s a bad thing?” Seth questioned seeing Kyle look away from him and it made Seth feel like he said something wrong. “Hey look, if that was offensive…”

“No, I guess I’m just not ready for that getting back in the relationship so soon,” Kyle informed Seth seeing him nod slowly and reach for the remote to turn off the television so he could give Kyle his full attention. “And this morning she was talking about having a baby and how she wanted to start having one now.”

“Maybe she wants one because of all this stuff with Blake,” Seth offered up seeing Kyle shrug as Kyle rested his head against the side of the couch as Seth spoke up again. “I mean, maybe that has her interested. She could want to have a baby--I thought that’s what you always wanted.”

“Well yeah, but not with her,” Kyle blurted out seeing Seth’s eyes widen as Kyle shook his head realizing he talked too quickly. He thought of something else to say before letting out an exhausted groan. “That’s not what I meant, but she just isn’t acting like the Sarah I love.”

“What do you mean?” Seth saw Kyle’s features change as Seth leaned forward in the seat and watched Kyle carefully. “I mean, you love her don’t you?”

“I think so,” Kyle whispered looking up at Seth before letting out a hesitant laugh seeing Seth arch his eyebrow up in curiosity. “You see, there is this one problem I am having with sleeping with Sarah.”

“She too jumpy for you?” Seth asked carefully before seeing Kyle shrug and slightly turn a light shade of red. Seth let out a small laugh before holding his hands up in the air. “Do I even want to know this?”

“I don’t know man, I just can’t,” Kyle shrugged his shoulders and let out a small sigh of frustration, holding his fist up in the air and moving it forward. “You know what I mean?”

“I don’t think I’m catching what you are saying man,” Seth stated with a small shake of his head seeing Kyle roll his eyes and Seth tried to put what Kyle was saying together. “You had a headache?”

“No, not quite,” Kyle chuckled to himself, not knowing how to put the words without being a little bit embarrassed with what he was about to say. “You know how you like cock a gun and then it’s fully locked and loaded? Well, I can’t even reaching the cocking part.”

“Oh,” Seth let out a small laugh before shrugging his shoulders and biting down on his bottom lip. He thought things over for a minute before nodding slowly. “I don’t think I am having that problem.”

“Yeah, well I am and I have never been like that,” Kyle informed Seth seeing Seth’s dark eyes glance over at him as Kyle shook his head in return. “I mean, I don’t know what it is. Since I got in the fight and almost died--I just can’t seem to…”

“Well you were stabbed in the thigh,” Seth tried to offer up seeing Kyle lean back in his seat and seemed to be a little bit uncomfortable with what they were talking about. “That could be partly it.”

“I don’t know, let’s just get off this topic. For some reason it feels kind of weird talking about my…” Kyle looked down towards the center of his lap before leaning forward and resting his elbows against his knees. “Just never mind. What about you and Blake? You really trying hard to get that baby?”

“She is,” Seth let out an exhausted sigh folding his arms out in front of his chest and thinking back to the events that continued to happen for what seemed like every day this week. “She is going to make me run out of energy so fast.”

“Well, just a little thing before you two continue to have a royal rumble in the bed,” Kyle chuckled to himself seeing the color that rose over Seth’s features when Kyle spoke up once again, “you might want to get divorced first. You know, I do recall you are still married to that snotty little princess.”

“Oh yeah,” Seth thought about what Kyle said as he got up from the couch and walked over towards the phone, looking through his contacts list on his cell phone. “Maybe I should call Grady about that or something to see if he could help out.”

“Sounds like a good idea, good luck with that buddy,” Kyle got up and walked over towards the door, snapping his fingers as he opened the door. “I’ll catch you later--I have some thinking to do.”

“Alright Kyle,” Seth rested the phone against his chest for a moment before waving, “if you need anything at all, I’ll be here for advice or stuff like that.”

“Thanks Seth,” Kyle sighed closing the door behind him and looking around the Ashford Mansion’s backyard. He walked over to the deck and took a seat on one of the steps. “Could Sarah be having a…no, that’s not possible.”


JT wiped at the bar thinking about how horrible his week had turned out to be. First he’d had to deal with the fact that he’d lost his child, which he’d still never fully recovered from, then Valerie had ‘borrowed’ money which meant that he’d never see it again and then in the midst of his stopping that bar fight, he’d wound up being pick pocketed by the beautiful woman he’d fought to save. It just figured though, he thought to himself realizing that life was once again going downhill and now he was working a double shift at the bar instead of joining his friends at the hockey game that they’d gotten tickets to.

“Hey man, how about another round?” the guy seated at the bar pounded on the top of it glaring over at JT, “We’ve been waiting for over ten minutes.”

“Yeah sure thing,” JT nodded catching a familiar glimpse of something out of the corner of his eye.

Turning to reaffirm that his mind wasn’t playing tricks on him, he spotted the same woman he’d helped out over by the pool tables clearly trying to work her charms on another unknowing victim. JT popped the top off of the beer bottle and passed it quickly to the man at the counter before circling around the bar. Sure, the woman looked a bit different than she did the other night, this time wearing a super short black mini skirt and black stilettos topped off with a crimson colored half top that showed off her very sexy figure and perfect midriff area. With the way she was leaning on the guy beside her, JT could see her going in for the kill--her hand was dipping into the obviously drunken man’s pocket and she was going to go for it when JT walked up behind her touching her back and causing her to jump with a gasp.

“I believe you dropped this sir,” JT explained holding the man’s wallet out to him that she’d just swiped. The man looked to JT with a glossy-eyed daze before nodding and reaching for his wallet.

“Thanks son,” he mouthed dropping it into his pocket before eyeing his companion with lecherous intent, “You ready for the next round?”

“Actually,” she scowled, her bright red painted lips curling in anger at being caught by JT, “I have to call it a night. Maybe another time.”

“Suit yourself,” the man shrugged turning his attention to a busty blonde that had sauntered into the bar.

“Not so fast,” JT reached for her arm before she could split again.

“Hey let go of me jerk,” she glared up at him, her dark eyes filled with agitation and upset.

“Not until we have a talk,” he replied with a scowl puling her out into the alley behind the sport’s bar. He felt her protest, but she did as he requested and the two of them stood underneath the neon light glaring at one another.

“What do you want?” she grumbled feeling him release her. She folded her arms in front of her chest defiantly before letting out an impatient huff, “Well?”

“For starters I’d like my wallet back,” he held his hand out in front of her while tapping his foot, “that was a nice trick you pulled there the other night and you almost had me fooled, but then when I realized what your game was, I knew I’d bust you sooner or later.”

“Oh please,” she rolled her eyes at him, “Like you had any clue what was going on. You were too busy thinking about your erection to give a damn about your wallet.”

“Really? Is that right,” he reached forward leaving her to believe he was going to tug on her arm again, but instead he swiped her small red snakeskin purse and started to look inside of it.

“Hey jerk that’s mine,” she reached for it feeling him pull it out of her reach.

“Well, what do we have in here?” he pulled out wallet after wallet she’d had within the small purse, “It looks like you have been a busy girl tonight haven’t you?”

“Give me those,” she snarled up at him, her eyes full of spite and rage.

“No, I don’t think I will because I’m guessing that not a one of these belong to you,” he spotted his own wallet and extracted it from the bunch, “and I’m sure the police would love to hear all about your hidden talents.”

“No wait,” she gasped a horrified expression on her face, “You can’t call the police.”

“I can and I will,” he tucked her purse under his arm before searching through his own wallet to discover all the cash and credit cards were missing, “and boy are they going to love to hear all about this.”

“Look, I’ll pay you back,” she watched him turn back towards the bar with the evidence of her pick pocketing in her hand. “I’ll give you your money back.”

He stopped moving and glanced over his shoulder at her. “What did you just say?”

“I said I’ll give you your money back,” she replied taking a bold step towards him. She dipped her fingers into the top of her shirt and seconds later pulled out what appeared to be his charge card. “Here take it. I couldn’t use it anyways. You had it all maxed out.”

“One of the few things I’m grateful for with Valerie,” he sighed snatching it from her hand and dropping it into his pocket, “What about the other one?”

“I have it in the purse. If you look in the back pocket, it’s in there. I didn’t try that one yet, but…” she offered up in explanation seeing that he was rummaging through her purse not taking any chances.

“But nothing. You broke the law and believe me the police would love to take a hot young thing like you down to jail and let you show the other women they have locked up a good time,” JT replied with a wicked smirk, “and trust me you’d be very popular down there.”

“I said I would pay you back,” she argued with him further, “I’ll just go home and get the money and…”

“No way,” he cut her off abruptly with a small frown, “If I let you do that, then you’ll disappear and I’m afraid I can’t let that happen seeing as it’s my duty as an employee here to report any and all crimes that take place on the premises. If I let you go, I’d be an idiot and I have to tell you I’m not an idiot. Unlike most men I can think while holding an erection.”

She curled her lips at him again in an angry scowl not liking having her words tossed back out at her, “Fine, then how about we strike a deal? I’ll pay you double what I stole from you and you give me my purse back.”

“I’ll tell you what,” JT took a small step towards her, “You can pay me back what you owe me plus interest by working it off.”

“What?” her eyes widened in horror fearing what he was about to suggest to her.

“I’ll keep the wallets and you can have the purse back, but only after you find a way to make it up to me with manual labor,” JT took a bold step towards her seeing the flicker of fear shining behind her dark eyes, “You seem to have a tendency to want to work a number over on men using that pretty little body of yours, so I think it’s only fair that I take the time to work a number on you.”

“Just what do you have in mind,” she gulped up at him.

“For starters, what’s your name?” he questioned his eyes perusing over her and the sexy outfit she’d worn for tonight’s con job. While it seemed to fit well for what she’d had in mind, it didn’t fit her. Sure, she was beautiful, but sleazy and cheap didn’t seem to factor into the equation even if she was trying to attract a drunken audience who would be more than willing to pay her attention with her killer body on display.

“Why do you care?” she cut back sharply.

“Okay, we can play it your way. I’ll just pull out my cell phone and talk to the boys in blue,” he suggested reaching for his phone again.

“It’s Lola,” she blurted out catching his look of disbelief.

“Your real name,” he mouthed narrowing his eyes at her.

“How do you know my name isn’t Lola?” she challenged folding her arms in front of her chest defiantly.

“Because I know you enough already to know that everything that comes out of your mouth is a lie, but we’re going to work on changing that,” he issued her another glare, “Now again, what is your name? Your real name?”

“Eve,” she finally relented, “Evie, okay?”

“Well Evie, it looks like tonight you’re mine,” he cast his eyes over her again noticing that she still seemed to be trying to play hard upon being caught by him.

“Oh yeah,” she took a small step towards him attempting to be bold, but the shakiness of her legs gave her away. She was terrified and it showed as she reached out to tease her nails over his chest lightly. “Just what is it you think you’re going to do to me?”

“Well for starters, I’m going to get you out of those clothes,” he explained feeling her fingers tease over his chest, down his abdomen before offering up a moment of hesitation.

“And then? What will you do with me then?” she questioned batting her eyelashes at him before her hand touched over the top of his belt altering him that she’d been paying attention to what had turned him on in the past.

“And then,” he reached for her wrist pulling it up and away from his body, “I’m going to get you back in the kitchen because I have a sink full of dishes that aren’t going to wash themselves there and since you owe me, you’re going to fill in for my regular dishwasher tonight. He’s got the flu.”

“What?” her eyes widened before she shook her head at him adamantly taking a step back, “No way. I’m not a damn dishwasher. You can find your own way into the kitchen to wash dishes.”

“Fine, then have it your way. I have the police on speed dial anyways,” he pulled out his cell phone ready to make that call.

“No wait,” she pleaded with him.

“Yes?” he moved to press the button to make the call.

“I’ll do it,” she blurted out desperately, “but you can’t call the cops okay. I mean I can’t go to jail. Right now I…”

“If you do a good job tonight I might reconsider calling pending that you don’t try to steal from me or anyone else inside,” he closed his cell phone before eyeing her intently. “Do we have a deal?”

“Are we going to call it even then?” she couldn’t help but ask unsure of what was going to happen next.

“We’ll talk about terms after tonight and I see what you’ve done in the kitchen,” he replied with a quick glance before motioning to the purse he’d had tucked under his arm, “And I’ll just hold onto these until the end of the night. I mean you never know. They may find their way to their rightful owners while you’re working.”

“Hey, I worked hard to get those,” she snapped reaching for her purse again.

“And we’ll work just as hard if not more to return them to who they belong to. Now get inside. You have work to do,” he opened the door to the bar seeing her reluctance as she stomped inside clearly agitated with him.

“One of the waitresses will get you something more appropriate to wear so that you don’t break your neck,” he offered up seeing her nearly trip in that neck-breaking shoe she was wearing.

“I hate you. I hope you realize that I think you’re an asshole,” she spun around to glare at him watching him snap his fingers and one of the waitresses approached him.

“Get Evie something to wear for her shift tonight,” JT explained not even batting an eyelash at Evie in her rage, “She’ll be our new dishwasher and I don’t want her to ruin her outfit by the sink.”

“Sure, no problem boss,” the woman rushed off to get something for Evie to wear.

“Why don’t you just go and wait inside the kitchen? When Shelby returns you can get changed and get to work. You’ve got five minutes to do it because if you’re not there in five minutes, I will call the police,” he promised her with a hint of a smile.

“I really hate you. You’re a jerk and don’t think that you’re going to get away with bossing me around for long after tonight,” she warned him with a spiteful glance.

“We’ll just see about that,” he breezed past her hearing her mutter a curse at him again under her breath. He stopped moving to spin around and look at her once again, “Oh and yeah by the way the name is JT, not asshole. See to it that you remember it.”

“Ugh!” she groaned under her breath as JT chuckled and walked away realizing that maybe just maybe the night was perking up after all.


“Where is she Barbara?” Don questioned worry practically eating him alive after he’d sped over to the hospital only to get pulled over for speeding on the way there. Top that off with the fact that Shannon and the officer got into a shouting match before the officer finally decided to let go of the ticket and it was enough to make Don beyond tense. The idea of his sister in an accident had him more than upset to put it mildly.

“She’s in the exam room over there.,” Barbara explained placing her hand on his shoulder, “but Don before you go in there, I think I should warn you to play it cool.”

“Play it cool?” he repeated his voice raising with worry, “Barbara, my sister was just in an accident tonight. There’s no way in hell that I can play it cool.”

“Don, she’s already scared enough. If you go in there and lose your temper with her, she’s only going to start crying again. She broke her wrist and she was in a lot of pain,” Barbara informed him with a warning look, “Don, you know what it’s like to be her age and upset.”

“Of course I do, but if she was taking some kind of joyride here…” Don started thinking about his own troubled youth. “I just want to see my sister, okay?”

“Fine, but don’t be brutal with her Don because you and I both know that you’ve been a lot more chaotic than she would ever be,” Barbara smiled at him offering up a knowing look that had him believing that it wasn’t always the best to live in the same small town with people who knew you your whole life. Oh the stories Barbara could tell.

“I’ll be right back,” Don turned to Shannon giving her a quick kiss before disappearing into the room to check in on his sister.

“I take it you and Don know one another pretty well,” Shannon couldn’t help but comment catching the unspoken familiarity between Barbara and Shannon.

“Of course I do,” Barbara laughed lightly, “He was one of the first guys to drive me crazy in junior high school.”

“How so?” Shannon couldn’t help but ask jealousy worming it’s way in over her.

“He, Brant and Hart thought it would be funny to lead a rendition of Blue Moon at my fourteenth birthday party kind of like they did in the movie Grease,” Barbara groaned shaking her head at the memory, “I was completely mortified, but they thought that was brilliant.”

“Why am I not surprised,” Shannon groaned herself thinking about her husband’s pull with his friends, “He’s always been nutty, hasn’t he?”

“The only time I saw him straighten out his act was when he was with Stephanie and even then he never lost his clown side,” Barbara admitted ready to say something more when a new arrival walked through the doors with the EMT’s, “I have to go.”

“Of course,” Shannon nodded thinking about what Barbara said. Here she’d gone through her marriage to Don taking so much for granted yet there was so much about him that she still had yet to discover--so much she needed to know. The question was, would she ever really be able to find a way to bridge the gap between their future and his past?

“Hey Shannon, I didn’t think I’d see you here,” the officer from the station waved at her, “I heard about your husband’s sister. Good thing she’s okay given that accident.”

“Yeah about that,” Shannon stepped towards him, “Were you the officer on duty?”

He nodded, “Yeah and the strangest thing. Most of the damage was on the driver’s side of the car and I can’t for the life of me figure out how Cori could’ve gotten out of there without a scratch, yet Lindsay was the one with the injuries.”

“What do you mean?” Shannon couldn’t help but ask.

“Well they said they were just driving home when they hit the tree, but poor Lindsay took most of the damage there. She’s going to be fine though from what I heard. That hasn’t changed, right?” he couldn’t help but ask.

“Oh no it hasn’t,” Shannon waved her hand to alleviate his worries, “Though I would like to have a look at that accident report later if you don’t mind.”

“Why? Is something wrong,” the officer frowned.

“No, but I figure maybe I can help explain things to Don’s parents just in case they ask,” she flashed the man a smile, “and knowing Rob and Alicia they will have plenty of questions.”

“Oh sure, no problem,” he nodded with a smile, “Anything you need.”

“Thanks,” Shannon watched him walk away as she thought about what he was saying. Despite the fact no one had said anything to the contrary where the accident was involved she had to wonder if perhaps maybe there was more to the story than anyone was seeing. Maybe it was time for her to find out.


Don pulled the curtain aside seeing his sister seated on the exam table looking at the blue colored cast that she’d just gotten on her arm. She seemed a little bruised and scratched, but overall she looked okay. Of course he could tell that she was still very shaken up over things, but when her blue eyes lifted to meet his, he did the first thing that he could think of. He rushed over to hug her in a bear hug.

“Don,” she muttered his name against his chest as he held her.

“You scared the hell out of me kiddo,” Don explained squeezing her tighter, “When I heard you were in an accident it damn near gave me a heart attack.

“Don, I’m okay,” she pulled her head out from his massive chest and groaned, “That is if you don’t squeeze me to death.”

“Oh right,” he stepped back taking a long look at Lindsay, “I just can’t believe this. How did this happen? Lindsay where were you? What was going on? How could something like this…”

“That was my fault,” Cori announced from the corner of the room she’d been seated in, “Your father asked me to keep an eye on Lindsay while he and your mom were out of town, so I took her shopping. There was this dog that ran out in the middle of the road when I was taking her home and I swerved and we hit a tree.”

“Is that true?” Don turned his attention to Lindsay once again.

Her blue eyes shone with fear and worry as she looked to Cori, who nodded from her position behind Don, “Yeah it is, but this really wasn’t Cori’s fault. Like she said something ran out in front of the car and…”

“It’s okay,” Don decided embracing her once again, “All that matters is that you’re okay and mom and dad will understand.”

“Dad is so going to kill me,” Lindsay blurted out with a nervous tone.

“No, he isn’t,” Don shook his head at her, “It was an accident and you did nothing wrong. Though you may have to put off your gym class for a while there since obviously you don’t be doing much with that wrist.”

“I guess that means I’m off the swim team this year, huh,” she sighed heavily disappointment burning behind her eyes.

“Hey, you can always get on it again next year. Who knows? Maybe we can talk to the coach and see if we can work something out,” Don suggested glancing over at Cori with curious eyes, “So what about you? Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” Cori nodded before letting out a long sigh, “I feel terrible about all of this though. I wish that there was something more I could do here.”

“Well, you could start by telling us what really happened,” Shannon announced making her way into the room, “I mean an accident like this seems pretty intense there.”

“It wasn’t that bad, well other than Lindsay hurting her wrist,” Cori spun around to face Shannon seeing the distrust burning behind her eyes.

“Right,” Shannon nodded, “although I have to tell you I looked at the reports and I think it’s amazing that you didn’t get any damage considering that most of the collision’s impact was on your side of the car when you were driving.”

“Well, I guess I’m just lucky,” Cori replied without a moment’s hesitation.

“Very lucky indeed,” Shannon’s eyes darted over to Lindsay, “and you, well that’s an unusual break there with the wrist.”

“I was just…” Lindsay started with a helpless expression.

“Reaching out to turn on the radio when everything went crazy,” Cori stepped in between them blocking Shannon’s speculative eyes from Lindsay, “She was embarrassed about that, but I told her it was okay that she was playing with the radio. None of us expected the dog.”

“I’ll bet,” Shannon nodded still not convinced.

“Don, I just want to go home,” Lindsay hugged her brother again, “I just want to rest and…”

“And I’ll take you home and I promise I’ll help you break this to mom and dad, but I’m pretty sure that they’ll just be happy to have you okay,” Don promised hugging his sister and trying to soothe her worries while Shannon took in the situation wondering if there was more to Cori Warner than met the eye. Soon she’d find out.


“I hate that guy,” Kevin frowned sitting down on the swinging bench Ria had on her balcony as he rested his head back against the swing, still feeling his hair damp from the water Chris dumped on his head. “He is such a baby that is never going to grow up.”

“I still don’t understand why he would do something like that to you,” Ria sighed sitting down on the swing next to Kevin and looking out at the sky before her. She slipped her hand over his as he looked at her with his chocolate brown eyes. “What does he have against you because from what you are saying it sounds pretty big.”

“You seriously want to know?” Kevin questioned watching her nod slowly as he let out a small sigh and ran his fingers through his dark hair. “His girlfriend slept with me and wanted to be with me, so he is kind of ticked.”

“That’s kind of harsh Kevin,” Ria pointed out seeing him nod slowly before shrugging his shoulders and looking out into the day before them. “I mean, the past is the past though. Who was the girl that you guys fought over?”

“No one really,” Kevin gulped down seeing her nod slowly as he fumbled with his fingers, nervously letting out a small laugh. “No one really that important that is.”

“That’s good,” she let out a sigh of relief, moving her hand from Kevin and placing it over her heart. “I thought you were about to say you two fought over Angela.”

“I never said that,” Kevin gulped down seeing her eyes widen as she stood up from the swing and stared down at him. He offered up a small smile before shrugging his shoulders. “What’s wrong honey?”

“It was Angela wasn’t it?” Ria angrily questioned seeing Kevin hesitate like he was going to give her the answer she wanted, not the truth. “Tell me right now Kevin Brandon Adonis. It was Angela, wasn’t it?”

“Honey, it was a long time ago,” Kevin explained seeing her angrily throw her hands up in the air and walking back towards the back door. Kevin quickly stood up from the swinging bench and called out to her. “Honey, come on.”

“I can’t win can I?” Ria turned to face Kevin seeing the saddened expression over his features as he reached out to touch her, but she pulled away from him quickly. “Everything in your life has to do with her. I’m never going to be number one am I?”

“Ria, please,” Kevin begged grabbing her hand in his and raising it to show her the ring on her finger. “Who is wearing my engagement ring? You.”

“That doesn’t mean that I was the one you wanted it to be,” Ria pointed out, pulling her hand away from Kevin and letting out a small scowl. She pushed him back seeing the way his dark eyes looked down towards the ground. “You want to have Angela back right, Kevin?”

“In case you haven’t noticed, Angela is single right now,” he added seeing her watching him carefully as he threw his hands up in the air seeing the way she watched him. “I’m not with her right now, I’m with you. If I wanted her, I could have her back just like that, but I don’t love her. I love you and only you Ria.”

“I don’t believe you,” Ria snapped seeing a muscle in his jaw tighten as he folded his arms out in front of his chest. “You want to be with her, but you just haven’t made the right move.”

“Jealousy is not a good thing to have Ria,” Kevin pointed out seeing her eyes fill with anger as she reached for the glass next to her and threw at him and thankfully he caught it because it was glass. “Ria, I didn’t mean to say that.”

“Screw you Kevin,” Ria spat going to grab the door as he pulled her back around, pulling her into his arms and holding onto her tightly so she couldn’t get out of his strong grasp. “Kevin, let me go now or I swear…”

“Listen to me,” Kevin raised his voice a bit to get her to listen to him as she continued to struggle in his arms. He held her tighter before yelling out, not being able to get her under control calmly. “Listen to me for just a damn minute Ria.”

“You have two minutes,” Ria replied angrily feeling him let her go as he nodded slowly. She watched him pace back and forth on the balcony before holding his hands up in the air. “Spit it out Kevin--you’re on one minute now.”

“Ria, Angela means nothing to me,” he explained seeing her roll her eyes as he let out a small sigh. He rested his back against the gate surrounding the balcony. “She is my best friend, but that’s all she is ever going to be to me.”

“Oh right, friends with benefits right Kevin?” Ria growled out in frustration seeing his expression change as she said that to him. She threw her hands up in the air thinking back to what Angela had told her about Kevin. “I mean yeah, you two are good friends that know how to get each other happy. A little screw here, a little screw there. She really sounds like she likes a part of you Kevin, just not all of you. When was the last time you two were together? Was it like the last time I went to work or something?”

“What are you talking about?” Kevin asked in a confused tone as he watched her roll her eyes again. He let out a small laugh thinking about Angela and how this would always happen to him when it came to her. He always ended up getting screwed the bad way with the people he loved. “Ria, I love you. I would never, ever cheat on you like that. I want to have a family with you and I want to be able to marry you without you having to worry about Angie.”

“She’s pregnant you know Kevin,” Ria pointed out seeing him nod slowly and arch his eyebrow at her in confusion. She shook her head in disbelief at the way he was acting before she held her hands up in the air. “It means it could very well be your babies Kevin. You know, they probably are because the sounds of things you two were like jackrabbits.”

“How would you know that?” Kevin wondered before shaking his head slowly and let out a small frown, running his hand up through his hair angrily before shaking his head. “The babies are not mine, I know that for sure.”

“Right Kevin, like I am supposed to believe that,” Ria snapped right back at him seeing him take a step forward towards her. She stepped back and away from him, pushing him away from her as he let out a small breath. “When was the last time you slept with her Kevin? When was it?”

“Ria,” Kevin tried pleading with her as he shook his head slowly and felt her push him back once again. He let out a small frown before shrugging his shoulders. “It was months before I came back to Coral Valley Ria.”

“Just leave me alone Kevin,” Ria turned around to grab the door feeling him reach out to her again as she quickly turned around and brought her hand right across the side of his face the hardest she could. She watched him turn away from her as he touched his cheek and let out a small groan. “I said leave me alone Kevin.”

“She got pregnant on Christmas Ria,” Kevin hissed grabbing the side of his face and turning his dark glance back up at her. “She got pregnant on Christmas.”

“Oh wow, Christmas,” Ria said sarcastically holding her hands up in the air before rolling her eyes and turning away from him. “It must have been such a joy filled occasion for the both of you.”

“Ria, I slept with her a couple of months before Christmas,” Kevin informed her seeing her reach for the door as he tried to get her to listen to him just for a little longer. “Ria, I wasn’t there on Christmas. I was at…”

“You were what Kevin?” Ria snapped turning around and seeing his brown eyes filled with some kind of emotion as he rubbed the side of his cheek that was now a dark shade of red. “Where were you Kevin?”

“I was at my daughter’s grave,” Kevin snapped letting out small shake of his head before turning away from her and resting his arms against the fence. “Not that it bothers you any right now.”

“What do you mean?” Ria watched him carefully seeing him shrug his shoulders, not even looking out at her as he walked over to the swinging bench and sitting down. “Kevin?”

“It’s was my daughter’s birthday on Christmas. I didn’t want to go home,” Kevin whispered seeing her take a seat next to him on the bench. “Can you believe it? Of all days she decides to go screw some guy on our daughter’s birthday. I’ve never heard of something so low.”

“What happened?” Ria reached out to place her hand over his, feeling a bit guilty after saying all those things to him. She watched him look down towards the ground before letting out a hesitant laugh. “Kevin talk to me.”

“I just wanted have her back so much Ria, my daughter,” Kevin looked up at her with eyes starting to turn a light shade of red. He stood up from the bench before shaking his head slowly. “Is it wrong for me to continually want that piece of me that should have been mine? Obviously it doesn’t even matter to Angie what I lost. Everything inside of me died when my daughter died. When I came home after basically crying over my daughter’s grave, I found out what she had done. She was dead to me at that point Ria, dead to me.”

“Calm down Kevin,” Ria saw the way his body was shaking and saw the way his eyes were starting to glaze over as he shook his head slowly. “Your daughter would want you…”

“My daughter didn’t even know me Ria, I was off trying to save her again and make it so I wouldn’t have to do any kind of work like that again. That way my daughter would be safe, great person I was,” Kevin muttered before letting out a small laugh and rolling his eyes when he thought about Angela. “I eventually had to forgive her somewhere inside of me because deep down I know I’m the only one she has that knows her for her. And truthfully, until I came back to Coral Valley and found you, I had close to nothing. I had what I felt left with Angie and the memory of my daughter. I just want her back so bad Ria, every day I wonder what she would have been like and I damn the world everyday for taking her away from me.”

“Kevin,” Ria got up from the swing seeing a few tears slide down the side of his face. She tried to reach out to him seeing him turn away from her before walking over to the other side of the balcony.

“I just start thinking,” Kevin wiped at his eyes before shaking his head slowly and biting down on his bottom lip. “Maybe if I had never been such a bad person this would have never happened to my daughter. Maybe if I would have been a better person I wouldn’t be stuck on this Earth without her thinking every day how I could have stopped it from happening. Thinking about all the things I have done and what I could have done to fix them. I beg God every day to please not make this real, but every morning I wake up with the pain and it’s a pain like no other Ria.”

“I understand Kevin,” Ria tried to hush him running her hand in over his shoulder gently feeling him tense up underneath her touch. “Everything is going to be okay.”

“Everything would be okay if I had my daughter, I don’t care about Angie and you need to know that,” Kevin informed her sliding down to the ground and resting his hands against the back of his neck. “I think someone is just up there trying to punish me and make me stay here, hating myself everyday for not being a good person. Everyone gets a chance at being happy, but why am I stuck here feeling empty every day? I was a horrible person Ria and this is why it happened to my daughter, she should have never left this world. It’s all my fault and no matter how much I beg and wish--she is never going to come back to me.”

“Kevin, she is right here and that’s what you have to believe,” Ria slid her hand in over his chest seeing the way his saddened dark eyes stared up at her. “Your daughter lives on throughout you and she would want you to be happy. Not hating yourself everyday of your life. She would want you to live on for what you are Kevin and that’s what you to do is move on for her. If not for you then for her and show her that you love her.”

“I just wanted a family so bad and everything I have ever wanted has been ripped away from me like I can’t even be happy,” Kevin whispered letting out a small cough from being so worked up. “First my daughter and now everyone is trying to take you away from me. They want me to be alone in life because I was a bad person Ria and that’s not going to change. What I’ve done is coming back to me and you are going to leave me like everyone else has.”

“I’m not going to leave you Kevin, I promise,” Ria whispered sliding her fingers in against his cheek, seeing his beautiful eyes staring into hers. She leaned forward kissing him lovingly before feeling him grab her in his arms and slowly get up holding onto her tightly.

“I don’t ever want to lose you Ria,” Kevin kissed her again carrying her into the house and walking into the bedroom, setting her down on the bed carefully before getting in over her. He caressed her cheek lovingly before letting out a small frown. “You’re all I have left.”

“I promise Kevin, nothing is going to take me away from you,” Ria whispered leaning up to kiss him again, running her hands down his muscular back and reaching for the bottom of his shirt and pulling it off slowly. “I promise, you are going to have me with you until the end of time.”


“Right now I don’t want to talk about this. I don’t want to talk about anything in regards to this family,” Russell confessed stubbornly unwilling to give an inch where Augustus was concerned. “All I see is disaster waiting to happen and I can’t just pretend that I’m okay with any of this. You people have this way about you, but I’m not a part of that. I’m Russell Denton and regardless of what everyone has told me here, Elliot Denton will always be my one and only father…”

“As it should be,” Augustus continued with a worried expression, “but Russ there are things that you need to know about this family--about Nicholas…”

“That man tried to destroy my life. He and Brooke did what they could to tear Avery and I apart and now Brant is doing his best to finish the job,” Russell’s words fell from his lips sharply.

“Russ please…” Avery tugged on his arm gently hating to see him get so worked up.

“Avery, I can’t keep walking on eggshells around here. No one else would expect me to have to tolerate all of the things that have happened to me if I were truly an Ashford like they all try to claim I am,” Russell continued indignantly, “They wouldn’t be asking me to step aside and give Brant what he wants if I was truly one of them. I never would’ve wound up damn near losing my life if that was the way it was around here…”

“Russ, I know you’re upset, but you have to believe me when I tell you that none of this was about you,” Augustus explained with a long sigh, his gaze traveling over to Avery, “It wasn’t about Avery either. What it was about is something that has been building for a very long time within my family. If Nicholas hadn’t gone after you, he would’ve found someone else because he wants something--something that only one of his children could give him and now that the world knows you are his son, you must understand how important it is that I speak with you about this situation. You need to see that now that you know you’re an Ashford that you need to protect Erin. You need to keep her safe…”

“I know what a monster your son is,” Russell scowled over at Augustus, “and how duplicitous your grandson is in faking an injury.”

“Look Russ, I can’t speak for Brant, but I can speak for myself when I tell you that if you walk out of that door without listening, then Erin’s going to be in harm’s way,” Augustus explained with a heavy sigh.

“Is that some kind of threat?” Russell’s jaw flexed with anger.

“No, it’s merely a warning. I’m concerned for her future--for the both of you given that this thing my son has going with me involves Erin,” Augustus continued with worry evident in his features.

“I don’t understand,” Avery stepped forward, “How can anything that happened with Nicholas and you involve Erin?”

“A long time ago my son and I had a dispute,” Augustus revealed with a somber expression, “Back when my father passed on, he’d left a great deal of his fortune to me. He’d been the one who had originally worked to build the Ashford Empire from the ground on up and by the time he’d passed on, he’d done rather well for himself.”

“And what does this have to do with Erin exactly?” Russell questioned impatiently his green eyes full of agitation.

“I’d set aside the inheritance money and put them into three individual trust funds,” Augustus explained simply reflecting on his decision, “I’d had three children and even though my son Bradley had died as a small child, I’d made sure that I kept part of that trust in his name. It was my way of remembering him and one day I’d intended to split that share with my grandchildren. With the other two shares, I’d had one drawn up in Zoë’s name to do with as she pleased and the other was to go to Nicholas. However, before it was time for him to receive his trust, I’d uncovered he’d been involved with inappropriate activities and I refused to hand over the money. I’d had his name stripped from the account and he went into a fury knowing that money was sitting there, but would go untouched by his hands.”

“So you two were at odds with one another over this trust,” Avery questioned thinking about the last time she’d seen Augustus.

Augustus nodded, “He was furious that I’d cut him off and when he approached me about my decision he went into an uproar. I know that he was unhappy, but still I refused to cave on the issue after seeing how irresponsible he was with the other finances he’d had. After a great many hours of debate, I finally decided to add a spin on things to make sure that he would see that I was serious.”

“What did you do?” Avery couldn’t help but ask seeing something troubling him.

“I told him that while that third share of the money would be spread evenly among my grandchildren, he would not see a dime of it. As for his share which also included full reign of some of the businesses my father had run, well,” Augustus paused a moment of heavy contemplation running over him, “I’d let the lawyers keep an eye on the account and run the businesses until the day when there was an heir that could step up to the plate and take responsibility for what all that would entail. Zoë had her portion of it, but I vowed that Nicholas would never get his hands on a cent. However, in all fairness I set up the account and access to it in such a way that the person who would eventually gain access to it would be an heir of mine and his, but one that he couldn’t readily take from. I knew if I’d left it to Brant, Ken or Blake that he would’ve drained the account long before anyone could find any good use of it. It was too dangerous to leave it to the hands of fate, so in that respect I had my lawyers draw up papers stating that the account and all of the businesses contained within it would go to my first great-grandchild from Nicholas.”

“What?” Avery’s eyes widened in shock, “Augustus are you saying that…”

“Erin is the one who has access to that account and as her parents that money is in your hands,” Augustus explained solemnly shaking his head, “The only person who knew about the account had been my lawyers and Nicholas and for some reason he and your mother must’ve used that knowledge to try to set up a situation so that…”

“That Brant and Avery would give Nicholas that first grandchild,” Russell realized shocked by what Augustus was telling him, “They were pushing for Brant and Avery together so that they could get their hands on that money.”

Augustus nodded, “Only in doing so they failed to realize that they already had the key to getting it in their hands. By trying to murder you, they had no idea what they were tampering with. When I heard about Brooke’s hand in Avery’s first miscarriage recently I then understood what was happening. It all fell into place when you let the world know that Nicholas was alive. He had to have faked his death thinking that I would let my guard down long enough to come in and share the news with those who had brought my first great-grandchild into the world…”

“But why would Nicholas and Brooke believe that Brant and Avery would…” Russell tried to make sense of what was happening.”

“Because my mother saw this as a get rich quick scheme,” Avery explained horrified, “When you and I split up the first time she pretended to be supportive after I lost my child, but then…”

“Avery, she was the one who brought Bruce into our lives,” Russell turned to face her touching her shoulders gently, “That’s what I uncovered before the explosion. She had contacted Bruce to get her hands on that drug that murdered our child. She had paid him off before joining forces with Nicholas. She wanted us apart and…”

“She almost succeeded,” Avery gasped horrified really feeling the weight of everything over her, “Oh God, how could they do this? How could they behave so awful and destroy our baby?”

“I don’t know but I promise you that neither one of them is going to get their hands on Erin,” Russell pulled her into his arms seeing Augustus holding Erin close to him.

“They won’t have the opportunity to,” Augustus assured them hoping that his words would be enough.

“But why Brant?” Avery couldn’t help but ask looking over to Augustus with a confused expression.

“Because he believed that I was stupid enough to play into his games. He didn’t think that Ken would dare offer him up a piece of anything because I was always the one who cleaned up his messes along the way. Ken would never compromise with his morals to take hand in any of this, but I was the one who was always on the fence. I was the one always out to impress him and he was well aware of the lengths I would go to in order to protect our family name. He destroyed your life because he believed that I would help him get what he wanted by being with you. He thought that I would be able to tempt you into a family and then he’d have everything he wanted. Well no more. I’m not going to play into his hands any longer,” Brant’s voice revealed as he stepped into the room causing everyone in it to spin around in shock to see him standing there. He looked to Avery with sad eyes, “I’m sorry that my father did this to you--to both of you, but it ends now. It ends here.”

“Brant, how in the…” Avery gasped struggling to come to terms with her husband standing before her.

“I told you the son of a bitch was faking,” Russell’s jaw flexed with anger as he stepped forward ready to attack Brant. Avery tugged on his arm however and held him back.

“He’s right Avery. I was faking,” Brant revealed with guilt pouring out over him, “I thought that if I could buy us some more time that I could find a way to make you love me--to make you believe that we were the ones who were fated together, but all I was doing was fooling myself and stealing more time from the two of you. I was playing right into my father’s hand and hearing it from my grandfather makes sense. Every bit of this makes complete sense and I’m not going to take part in destroying someone else’s happiness, which is why I’m doing this.”

Avery watched Brant raise his hand in the air motioning to someone who was standing near the doorway. Her gaze shifted to the door just in time to see Hart stepping into the room and standing behind his friend. He handed an envelope to Brant before taking a small step back.

Brant spun around again to face Avery and opened his mouth to speak once more. “I know that I’ve made things difficult for the both of you lately and a simple I’m sorry won’t ever be able to make up for that, but hopefully this will be a step towards one day having your forgiveness for my sins.”

He held the envelope out and placed it into Avery’s hand before offering up a sad smile, “I don’t want to be responsible for hurting you or your family any longer. I don’t want to ruin Erin’s life by holding onto something that we weren’t ever meant to have together Avery, which is why I’m offering you your freedom.”

“I…I don’t understand,” she looked down to the envelope in her hands.

“They’re legal papers Avery. I’m giving you what you’ve wanted and needed since you learned that Russ was alive,” Brant glanced over at Russ for a brief moment, “I’m giving you the divorce.”


...to be continued...