Episode 316

The sun’s blinding rays pushed their way through the morning as Heather rolled over onto her stomach letting out a groan. She reached for her pillow placing it over her head in an attempt to keep the light from getting to her, but it was already too late. She was already awake and trying to hide from that fact any longer would be almost as futile as ignoring the pounding headache that was threatening to cause her head to explode. Okay, so maybe her head wouldn’t really explode, but it sure felt close.

“Ugh,” she groaned rolling to her side on the bed. She stretched out uncurling her fingers to find the strength to hold onto the side of the bed long enough to pull the rest of her toward the edge. She looked down to the floor for a brief moment before groaning. Plopping her head forward she mouthed a few small curses into the blankets before pulling forward. She finally pulled on the mattress sending herself forward in a quick movement that landed her flat out on the floor. She groaned loudly feeling her elbow bump the end table. She heard the door open and she looked up to see Kellen standing before her with a tiny smile.

“I should have known that you were awake,” Kellen shook his head at her. He moved forward reaching out to help her up off of the floor. “I thought I heard the dead arise in here.”

“I feel like I’m still half dead,” she groaned inwardly feeling him guiding her out into the kitchen. “Ugh, what time is it?”

“Early enough for you to see you haven’t missed breakfast yet,” he explained proudly guiding her into one of the chairs at the table. “I hope you’re hungry.”

“If I even look at food I’m going to throw up,” she admitted with a heavy sigh slumping her head forward on the kitchen table top. “I feel like hell.”

“Well that’s what happens when you drink too much,” Kellen piped in moving back over to the stove, “Although I do have to tell you that you did probably have a cold hanging over you or maybe even the flu since you were with Charles when he had that fever.”

“Ugh, maybe,” Heather kept her head down on the table before popping her head up to look at Kellen seriously, “Speaking of Charles, he’s not hear is he? I mean I don’t want him to get sick around me if I do have the flu.”

“Relax we kept you under quarantine last night and besides,” Kellen handed her a steaming mug, “I think the worst of it is over. Though just to be safe Kipp is out running errands with Charles right now.”

“Well that’s a plus,” she sighed picking her head up just enough to eye the mug suspiciously, “What is this Kellen?”

“That my dear is going to be your saving grace,” Kellen continued to encourage her to try the drink before she shoved it away, “Trust me you’ll like it.”

“I seriously doubt it,” she wrinkled her nose before taking the mug in hand. She sniffed it realizing it didn’t smell too nasty, so she lifted it to her lips and offered up a pained smile, “Bottoms up.”

Heather quickly sipped the drink practically spitting it out after the first taste. She gagged on it before eyeing Kellen suspiciously, “What the hell is this? It tastes like you soaked your gym shorts in it after a vigorous workout.”

“Trust me it’s not about taste. It’s about dealing with the little demons having a duel in your head,” he motioned to her forehead where she now had a red spot from falling to the ground earlier.

“Fine, but I’m warning you if I get even more sick,” she held her finger up in the air.

“You won’t sweetheart. Once it goes down you’ll start feeling much better. It’s a trick that’s been in my family for years. I mean you’d kind of have to know how to nurse a hangover with mom owning a bar and all,” he laughed lightly waving his spatula in the air, “She would always say you should never drink more than your fill and if you did you’d better make damned sure that you have a buffer for the next morning.”

“Some buffer,” Heather finished off the drink before setting the mug on the table, “It still tastes horrible.”

“But you will be feeling fine soon,” Kellen placed his omelet into a plate before moving in to sit beside her, “You sure you don’t want some.”

She shook her head decidedly, “No way.”

“Okay your loss,” he shrugged moving in to take a bite before eyeing her just as she put her hands over her head again, “So tell me, did you have anymore sweet dreams of Kyle?”

“What?” she questioned lifting her head up to see the smirk on his face like the cat who ate the canary. “What’s that look for Kellen?”

“Oh you know what that look is for,” he winked at her knowingly, “Although I wish I would’ve had a camera last night when you tried tonguing the pillow there.”

“Oh you are so full of shi…” Heather snarled up at him.

“Girlfriend believe me if I lied I would make it a hell of a lot more juicy than you getting to second base with the pillow,” Kellen quipped getting up from his seat to go get some orange juice. He opened the refrigerator door and popped his head inside, “Though I’m sure it was a poor substitute for Kyle there wasn’t it?”

“What?” she gave him a strange look seeing the crooked smirk that overtook him.

“Oh that’s right. I know all about your hot and horny dreams of Kyle and hell if I would’ve had him over me like that using my mouth for his own personal pleasure like he did to you last night, honey I’d be having erotic dreams of him for years to come,” Kellen sat back down beside her, “He is as sexy as they can be if not more.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Heather frowned bringing her hand up over her forehead.

“The hell you don’t,” he shook his head at her reaching out to place his hand over her right hand that was still on the table top, “Honey you told me all about you and Kyle last night from your sexy drink, to you two winding up on the floor with one another talking about what it would be like to make love to one another.”

“What?” her eyes widened before she shook her head, “No that’s not right. That would so never happen.”

“It did and I saw it,” he boasted proudly, “I could feel the sexual heat burning between the both of you in that room even if you were a little tipsy. Then when you came home and told me about your marrying him and how you were still in love with him…”

“I so did not say that,” Heather shook her head adamantly. “There is no way that I would do that.”

“You did and you do,” Kellen piped in bluntly, “Face it girlfriend you have it bad for Kyle Houston and it’s so obvious that he’s hot for you too.”

“No he’s not,” Heather closed her eyes momentarily, “Didn’t I hear something last night about him and Sarah?”

“That’s irrelevant,” Kellen waved his hand at her dismissively, “Besides you told me about all of the firsts you and Kyle shared with one another. It seems like Sarah hasn’t been the only girl on his mind there, now has she?”

“What?” Heather’s jaw dropped a sudden rush of color moving to her face, “I so didn’t tell you anything about any of that. That much I’m sure of.”

“You can’t lie to your best friend,” he offered up a small squeeze on her hand before releasing it with a wink, “especially not when that best friend is me.”

“Wait a second,” she paused giving him a long look, “How did you suddenly become my best friend? A few months ago you wanted to murder me because you thought I was a bitch and…”

“And I was being jealous. I thought that you were trying to move in on Kipp and clearly I was mistaken,” he paused his blue eyes fixed on hers, “Besides I think you and I know one another far too well to hate one another.”

“That’s debatable,” she curled her lip in a pout, “If you keep giving me drinks like the one you gave me earlier that might change.”

“Oh honey you know you’re feeling better and besides, I don’t want to talk about your hang over. Right now I want to talk about you and Kyle and what it is that we’re going to do to ensure that you two wind up with one another in the long run,” Kellen announced bound and determined to find a way to get Heather to fall into the arms of the man that Kellen believed without a shadow of a doubt was perfect for her. Sure, it might take a little work, but Kellen was determined to make it happen for them even if it was the last thing he did!


“So basically, this whole time you have been having second thoughts?” Augustus questioned seeing Kyle nod slowly as they walked through the garden in the backyard. “I know what that’s like kiddo, you see--I was a lot like that too.”

“You were?” Kyle looked over at Augustus as if he was shocked what he was hearing. Augustus nodded as Kyle blocked his eyes from the sun that was slowly starting to rise. It almost shocked him how long the two of them had actually been talking. “I can’t believe that, I mean you two sounded so happy together. I mean look at all the kids you had and…”

“I love her Kyle,” Augustus hushed Kyle turning to face him so they would stop walking. Augustus looked Kyle in the eyes carefully before shaking his head slowly. “There isn’t a day in my life that I don't miss her. That shows me I was wrong. I had second thoughts, but everything I took a hold of gave me everything I have now. I had four beautiful children and I’m lucky enough to at least still have three of them. It showed me that my second thoughts were wrong.”

“So are you saying that the feelings I am having are probably wrong?” Kyle questioned in a small breath folding his arms out in front of his chest. There were so many feelings he was having right now, he just didn’t know if it was his heart playing with him again or just his mind being cluttered with the thought of being married. “I know that sometimes my thoughts can take me to a place where…”

“I never said that kiddo,” Augustus interrupted Kyle once more before shaking his head slowly. “Though, I didn’t have someone else I was in love with. I was in love with one person and one person only. Now you on the other hand…”

“What makes you think I love someone else?” Kyle eyed over Augustus slowly before pushing his hair back and letting out a hesitant laugh. “I mean really Augie, how can you get an assumption like that when you hardly even know me?”

“Maybe because when I first met you all you kept talking about was Sarah,” Augustus informed Kyle with a small nod seeing Kyle turn away from his gaze slowly. “Now there is something different about you and I don’t know what it is.”

“Maybe you don’t understand,” Kyle shrugged his shoulders before shaking his head slowly and biting down on his bottom lip. “Maybe I don’t even understand what is going on. I mean, I thought I loved Sarah, but…”

“You don’t?” Augustus spoke up seeing Kyle search for the right words before offering up a simple shrug. Augustus nodded for Kyle to follow him back towards the house as they walked side to side. “So you do love her? You have to know boy.”

“That’s the thing,” Kyle paused looking over at Augustus with a small frown before shaking his head slowly. Kyle slid his hands into his pockets before taking a deep breath, not wanting to give too much away. “I don’t really know.”

“You have to know who you love,” Augustus replied arching his eyebrow at Kyle before shaking his head slowly and walking up the steps to the deck. “It’s just either you're too stubborn to realize who it is you love or really, you are just blind.”

“Gee, thanks,” Kyle let out a small laugh following Augustus in the house and into the library where Augustus started going through a few things. “What are you looking for there Augie?”

“I was looking for something for you,” Augustus informed Kyle with a small sigh pushing a few things out of the way before offering up a small smile. He picked up the paper before shaking his head slowly. “Now, I don’t know if this is going to help you any, but I’m sure it might.”

“What is this?” Kyle grabbed onto the paper that Augustus handed him and eyed it over slowly. There was a pretty decent looking picture of a house printed on it and a few details. “It’s a really nice house, yours?”

“Maybe,” Augustus answered seeing Kyle look up at him a bit confused before Augustus grabbed the sheet back in his hands and took a long look at it. “You see, I own this house and I could let you rent it from me if you’d like. You and Sarah could have your very own house.”

“I couldn’t do that Augie,” Kyle shook his head automatically, not even thinking twice about the offer that was placed on the table before him. “I can’t even think about doing something like that. I appreciate the offer but…”

“But nothing,” Augustus cut him off quickly seeing Kyle’s hazel eyes meet his dark gaze. Augustus took a step forward wrapping his arm around Kyle’s big shoulders before patting him on the shoulder. “You’re getting married kiddo, you need something like this.”

“I’ll tell you what,” Kyle began patting Augustus on the shoulder lightly before moving away from his grasp. Kyle shrugged his shoulders before rubbing his shoulders feeling a small chill enter the room. He had been shirtless all night, that might be why he was feeling so cold right now. “I can think about your offer and give you an answer later. How does that sound?”

“I guess it sounds okay, but right now my mind is in a different place,” Augustus informed Kyle with a tight breath before shaking his head slowly. “The only thing I have on mind is breakfast. What about you?”

“Sounds great Augie,” Kyle decided with a bright smile before following Augustus into the kitchen as he grabbed a few oranges and shrugged his shoulders. “I would love to cook with you, I’m just not sure you could keep up with me.”

“Keep up with you,” Augustus let out a deep laugh before shaking his head slowly, pulling a few things out of the refrigerator. “I’ve got more years on you little boy, let’s see if you can keep up with me.”

“Hey,” Kyle laughed catching a package of bacon that Augustus threw at him before shrugging his shoulders. “Alright Augie, you are so on.”


Angela lay on the center of her hotel room bed thinking about the last twenty four hours of her life. She went from being determined to find the truth about her mother, to having found passion with Brant, to a state of confusion and chaos. Of course things had only gotten worse after Brant had shown up at her hotel room ready to speak with her. She’d made things worse by getting Kevin involved. Closing her eyes she thought back to the turn of events.

“What do you mean it’s finished Kevin?” Angela repeated her eyes wide with worry and confusion. Boldly she took a step towards the hotel room door wanting to know what had happened in the hallway, “What did you do?”

“Let’s just say that he’s not going to be bothering you anymore--at least not if he knows what’s good for him,” Kevin replied hearing Brant shuffling around outside in the hallway.

A moment later he was pounding away at the door again.

Kevin groaned.

“What the hell is wrong with that man? Does he have a death wish?” Kevin remarked moving towards the door right before Angela could answer it. He hoisted her up into his arms and carried her towards the bedroom.

“Kevin put me down! I mean it,” she shouted feeling him hoist her further over his shoulder. He set her down on the bed waving his finger at her in a warning fashion.

“You stay put. I’m taking care of this,” Kevin explained with a solid sigh before turning around to deal with Brant.

That was the last time Angela had seen Kevin considering that not only did he place her in the bedroom, but he’d taken the liberty of locking her inside so that she couldn’t get involved in what was going on. She’d tried to break out, but it had been no use. Then she’d tried listening, but it wasn’t much that she could make out from behind the closed door. There was a bit of arguing with muffled voices and crashing sounds, but then what worried her more was the silence that followed.

It was that silence that had kept her up all night wondering how things had transpired between the two men. Kevin had never returned to break her out of the room and Brant hadn’t found his way in either. It was as if both men were no where to be found and she was trapped in this high level hotel room with no one to give her any indication what was going on outside the bedroom.

“Damn you Kevin,” she’d repeated a few times before she’d finally sat on the bed to wait for him to let her out, but he hadn’t returned. Now after a night of sleeplessness she felt her anger and frustration mounting. It was bad enough that he’d taken it upon himself to deal with Brant, but now that he’d shut her out of her own life no less, it had her infuriated. Why right now she wanted to…

Her thoughts came to an abrupt halt when she heard the sound of the door clicking open. Her dark eyes snapped to the direction of the movement. Seconds later Kevin pushed the door open giving her a once over while carrying a tray in his hands.

“Breakfast is here,” Kevin announced moving the tray over to the edge of the bed where she now sat glaring at him.

“Breakfast,” she repeated with a scowl, “Kevin, where have you been and why didn‘t you let me out of here last night?”

“Because I can’t trust you,” he answered not bothering to meet her eyes, “You can’t trust yourself right now and the last thing I wanted was for you to do something that you’ll regret later. I’m done trying to talk reason into you. Now I’m just going to have to drill it into your head.”

“What about Brant? What did you do to him?” she questioned trying to mask the worry in her voice.

“I thought you didn’t give a damn about him,” Kevin noted arching a curious brow. “Why does it matter?”

“It doesn’t matter,” she paused still feeling a nagging sensation carrying over her, “but I just want to know.”

“Because you think you might still want to spend some time with him?” Kevin questioned searching her dark eyes for any sign of truth behind them, “Because maybe you are hoping to fall into bed with him yet again.”

“Kevin, it’s not like that,” Angela started to argue, “He’s just…”

“Just what? A fling that won’t go away? A man who managed not only to tangle up your emotions, but to get you pregnant along the way?” Kevin questioned blankly shaking his head at her, “Angie, do you have any idea who he is?”

“I don’t care who he is. I just don’t want you hurting him,” she revealed surprising herself at the way those words came out of her mouth. She turned her attention away from him and looked to the floor.

“Yeah, well for what it’s worth I didn’t kill him,” Kevin offered up with a heavy sigh, “though I should’ve for what he did.”

“Yeah well I’m glad that you didn’t,” she replied without hesitation finally tipping her head up to look at him, “I mean I wouldn’t want you to go down for doing that because of me.”

“Is that really the case or are you saying that because you care about Brant maybe a little bit more than you want me to believe that you do?” he searched her eyes for a long minute, “Angie, you just don’t keep falling into bed with a guy that you’re not interested in.”

“Oh come on. You and I both know that it happens all the time,” she waved her hand at him trying to dismiss the genuine concern that she had about Brant’s well being.

“Right,” Kevin added doubtful, “and the fact that you felt compelled to tell him that he was the father of the twins, was that all about sex too?”

“Look Kevin, you don’t understand,” she pulled herself up off of the bed and started pacing around the room. “It’s just…”

“Just what?” Kevin eyed her curiously seeing her pace the room again and again. “Either you feel something or you don’t. So what is it?”

“It’s complicated. Kevin, I hardly know him and…” she began trying to negate the thoughts that were rushing through her own mind.

“You’ve totally fallen for him,” Kevin finished for her already knowing the truth without having said a word, “and as unfortunate as it is, I think he’s fallen for you too.”

“What do you mean he’s fallen for me too?” Angela searched his eyes long and hard, “Kevin, what did he say to you? What happened last night?”

“That’s exactly what I’d like to know,” Ria’s voice filled the room around them causing both Angela and Kevin to fall to a surprised silence.

Ria stomped further into the room an accusatory tone in her voice and a fire raging behind her eyes. She glared at Angela then back to Kevin. “Well, I’m waiting. Does anyone want to tell me what the hell is going on here and why you didn‘t even bother to come back to my place last night like you promised?”


Brant sat at the kitchen counter, bringing the icepack up to his face to nurse the black eye that he’d gotten on the previous evening. Even now he hurt like hell thinking about the impact of the punch that Kevin Adonis had given him, yet in a great many ways it had been a wake up call. When he’d returned to the hotel room still armed with the intentions of being with Angela, he could remember quite clearly the way in which Kevin had stepped out into the hallway again to pound him into oblivion and yeah for a while it was happening, but then they’d both come to a strange realization.

“This isn’t going to solve anything,” Kevin decided bringing their scuffle to a stop. The two men had stood at a standstill for a long time before Kevin had motioned to the elevators. “Let’s go down to the bar and get a drink. I could use some ice on my hand.”

“Fair enough,” Brant had readily agreed surprising himself even after Kevin had pretty much kicked his ass literally. The two men were soon seated at the bar, both nursing bruises and a couple of beers with one another. Of course the tension was still in the air, the mood hanging thickly between them.

“So this thing with you and Angie,” Kevin finally broke the painful silence between them, “Where’s this headed?”

“You mean other than your trying to take me out for talking to her,” Brant perked up a curious, yet pained brow. He rubbed at his jaw, “Damn you put out one hell of a right hook.”

“Yeah well I use to be a boxer,” Kevin confessed taking a long swig of his beer.

“No kidding. Really?” Brant thought back to his time on the island with Angela, worry washing over him, “You wouldn’t happen to by chance be Angela’s ex-boyfriend, would you?”

“Yeah, actually I am,” Kevin snarled down at him, “What of it?”

“Nothing,” Brant quickly shrugged a gulp forming in the back of his throat, “I mean I just…”

“Yeah you just,” Kevin shook his head at him before taking another sip of his beer, “Do you have any idea how much trouble you’ve caused her?”

“Honestly,” Brant ran his fingers through his hair, “No I didn’t have any idea until tonight.”

“I still don’t think you get it though rich boy,” Kevin spat out icily, “She’s not just something that you can play with when the mood strikes and then you just spit her out until you get bored again.”

“Hey she tossed me out,” Brant defended himself sitting up straighter, “I wasn’t the one who did the discarding there. I tried to reason with her…”

“Really and just how reasonable can a married man be to his mistress when he’s feeding her bull?” Kevin countered with a heavy scowl.

“I wasn’t married when I met her,” Brant took a painful drink of his beer, “and I’m not really married now--at least not much longer.”

“Why your wife find out you’re a lying, cheating dog and get rid of you?” Kevin gave him a once over.

“Actually, she’s the one that decided to be with someone else,” Brant revealed thinking about his relationship with Avery, “It wasn’t a typical marriage. She was in love with someone else--always had been and our marriage was a marriage of convenience.”

“Gee, kind of like what you had with Angie. You got conveniently horny and she just looked like something good to mess with huh?” Kevin shook his head at him, “You know I hate men like you. You think because you own half of this country that you own everyone in it and that’s simply not that case. In fact if you weren’t Blake’s brother, then I swear I’d still be upstairs pounding on your ass, but since I respect Blake, I’m giving you this one chance to plead your case.”

“Does this mean that you’re done beating me up?” Brant questioned worriedly.

“It all depends on your answers,” Kevin warned him sharply, “So talk. What are you intentions with Angie? What do you think you’re going to get out of her this time?”

“Honestly,” Brant paused wondering how to answer the question that he wasn’t really sure how to answer himself, “I don’t know. I mean I think that she and I have a lot to talk about. There is a lot happening between us that’s still been happening between us even though we haven’t been together before tonight.”

“I won’t argue that, but at the same time, what makes you think that you have a right to charge into her life again after what you did?” Kevin challenged, “What makes you think you have a place in her life at all?”

“She’s having my children, isn’t she?” Brant replied feeling a bit bolder than he knew he should have at that point in time.

“How can you be so sure that they are yours?” Kevin countered searching Brant’s face for any doubt or suspicion about Angela’s confession.

“Because I know they are. I knew it in the way that she told me. In the way that she looked at me when she was telling me about them,” Brant replied his thoughts returning to Angela again, “She’s having my babies Kevin and I don’t doubt that. Hell, I don’t want to doubt that. Right now the only thing I want is a chance to talk to her-- a chance to be able to see her and maybe find a way to fix all of this.”

“So you see her as a problem in need of a solution then, huh?” Kevin frowned not liking Brant’s words.

“Honestly it’s not like that at all. You’re twisting my words,” Brant corrected with a heavy sigh looking to his beer again, but opting to push it aside. “To be honest with you it’s like this. I spent a lot of my life avoiding the one thing in this world that mattered the most. I’m probably one of the biggest assholes you’ll ever meet and I won’t lie about that. I have a reputation and it more than speaks for itself, but that all changed when I met Angela. I mean yeah, okay I was pushing for this dream--for this perfect dream of what I wanted for so very long. I thought I had it all set in my mind wishing for a future. Hell, I’d even convinced myself that I’d found it with someone else--with the woman I married, but it wasn’t until I met Angela that the dream changed for me.”

“And why is that?” Kevin questioned in a neutral tone trying to size Brant up.

“For starters I thought I knew what love was all about before I met her. I’d spent a long time wishing like hell that the woman I wound up marrying would fall in love with me. When I met her I thought she was the perfect dream--that she was going to be the one to change my life--that if I tried hard enough I could make her love me like I thought I loved her. Time and time again I found myself longing for this sense of completion--for this ridiculous notion of romance but it was wrong. It was completely wrong for me. I just didn’t see it until I met Angela.”

“Yeah and then what? You decide to be a born again romantic?” Kevin rolled his eyes at him. “Right.”

“Okay, so maybe things weren’t exactly perfect, but there was something about her,” Brant started again, “I tried to say I was drawn to her simply because of the idea of what I wanted in my mind when it came to my dream girl--at least the one that I thought was my dream girl. However, the more time I spent with her, the more I found myself falling for her. I know it sounds crazy and yeah you have every reason in the world to think that I was just some sex-starved pervert who humped and dumped her, but that wasn’t the case. Even now when I think about what it felt like waking up with her in my arms…I can’t even begin to explain to you what that did to me…”

“Maybe you should,” Kevin replied uneasily contemplating how to respond to that comment. Sure he didn’t trust Brant as far as he could throw him. Okay, maybe less than that since he was pretty sure he could throw Brant across the bar and then some, but still he was willing to try to listen.

“It’s like this. All my life I’ve been being what everyone else wanted me to be. I was expected to be a certain way, but then when I was with Angela, well she didn’t look at me like the rest of the world did. She didn’t think of me as the man I was forced to become, but rather she saw me for me,” Brant explained honestly reflecting back on the first few days he’d spent with Angela. “All of my life everyone has looked at me in the way that they were supposed to--the way that my father lead them to see me, but with Angela, she saw me not as the monster this damned family made me out to be, but as a man who was capable of more.”

“Yeah and I’m Santa Claus,” Kevin started to get up from the bar stool, “Spare me the bull Brant. I’m already up to my eyeballs in it.”

“Look I’m not lying. I know it sounds cheesy and pathetic, but once she threw me out, I wasn’t able to stop thinking about her. I tried to convince myself that I could move past what happened with us, but I couldn’t. Hell I even tried to find her. I hired the best private investigators out there to find her. I spent a while searching for her, but it wasn’t until tonight when I was with her again that I realized just how much I need her. I don’t want her to walk away again.”

“You don’t even know her. All that you two have shared equates to nothing in my book,” Kevin frowned down at him, “You just had sex with her, but that is no where near making you an expert on what she needs.”

“Maybe not, but I’d like the chance to get to know all there is to know about her. I’d like to learn what it is that she loves and more about who she is,” Brant tried to appeal to him seeing the way Kevin was about to shut him out of the conversation completely, “I’d like the opportunity to know my children. To play an active role in their lives.”

“Why? So you can break their hearts like you broke hers?” Kevin shook his head at him, “No way man. I can’t let you destroy her again. She’s already been through too much at this point. I can’t let you risk destroying her.”

“All I want to do is love her--to have the chance to see if we can make something more from what it is we have between us. You can’t blame me for wanting to try…” Brant pleaded with him, “Kevin, you can’t just shut me out of the future that I could have with her and my children.”

“You don’t have a future with her. You never did and the fact that you two found one another tonight means nothing more than a really strange sense of serendipity. It was an accident that never should have…” Kevin offered up in consolation.

“No it wasn’t an accident. I refuse to believe that my finding her was an accident,” Brant stood up from where he sat, “I don’t think for a second that my children are an accident nor do I believe my finding her tonight is anything less than fate. I realize that you have no reason to believe that I would be good for her or that I can offer her anything like maybe someone like you could, but I’m going to find a way to prove myself to her. I want to be involved in her life--in my children’s lives.”

“And what if that isn’t what she wants? What if she wants you to leave her alone and stop hassling her? What if she’s decided that she doesn’t want you involved in their lives? Then what?” Kevin challenged back at him.

“Then I want her to tell me that because tonight I wasn’t feeling that at all when I was with her. When I was holding her we both felt that something was there--something that’s far from being over and I can’t walk away from that just yet,” Brant mouthed with a small frown, “I have to believe that there’s something more and until I see it in her eyes that she doesn’t feel it too then I’m not about to give up on trying to reach her.”

“And what if I tell you I’m not going to let that one happen? What if I say that I’m going to make sure that you stay far away from her because that’s what she wants?” Kevin challenged testing the waters of Brant’s determination.

“Then I’m going to say I’m going to probably get the beating of my life, but it’ll be worth it if it gives me the opportunity to speak with her again. I’m not giving up on her Kevin,” Brant announced feigning a courage that Kevin knew full well would be his downfall in the long run.

“Yeah well if you really care about her, you’ll give her some space for tonight. You’ll let her figure out what it is that she wants and if she wants you, she’ll be back. If she doesn’t, then maybe you should leave well enough alone,” Kevin suggested sipping his beer again.

“I’ll give her some space tonight, but I’m not going to walk away. To take no action would be a big mistake on my end and we both know that. I’ll let her think about things tonight, but rest assured I will be back again and next time I’m not backing down,” Brant decided a newfound determination filling him inside.

“Fine, but just know I won’t hesitate in killing you if she wants you gone from her life. Just because we shared a drink doesn’t make us friends because my loyalty is to the woman upstairs whose heart you’ve broken again and again,” Kevin explained clearly to him setting out the rules of what would follow in the future. “I respect your sister, but that respect won’t keep me from burying you should you destroy Angie again.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything less from someone who clearly cares about her like you do,” Brant nodded in understanding, “but know that regardless of what you think of me, I do care about her. I do have very strong feelings for her.”

“As I said before, you don’t know her…” Kevin mumbled with a scowl.

“Maybe not like you do, but I do know her in a way that I don’t even know myself. She’s something special and I don’t intend to let her walk out of my life without a fight,” Brant promised giving Kevin one last thing to think about before their drinks came to an end and he returned home to regroup.

Now that Brant sat in the kitchen reflecting on his talk with Kevin he wondered how in the world he was going to be able to prove himself to Angela. He knew that he had his work cut out ahead of him, but he was determined never to give up. He hadn’t done that before and now wasn’t the time for backing down especially when his heart was on the line. Turning his attention to the ice bag in his hand Brant vowed that one way or another he would find a way to win Angela over again. He would show her that he was capable of being what she needed and more than worthy of having a chance of being the man she needed--the father to their children that he found himself wanting to be. One way or another he would find a way to make this work. He had to. His future was depending on it.


“Is that good?” Deana heard a voice as her eyes slowly opened and adjusted to the light around her. She sat up slowly, stretching out her arms and letting out a small yawn as she heard her son let out a small laugh.

“What’s going on?” Deana asked herself as she slowly got out of bed and walked into the hallway, following the sounds of pans banging together in the kitchen. “Zane what are you…”

“Oh no,” Zane gasped tugging on Grady’s pant leg before pointing back in the direction of Deana. “She’s up Grady. She should be sleeping and we woke her up before our surprise.”

“Don’t worry little man,” Grady smiled looking back at Deana and giving her a small wink before leaning down and picking Zane up in his arms. “I think the surprise will still be okay even if she did wake up.”

“Surprise,” Deana took a step into the kitchen already seeing a few plates set out on the table before her. Her son and Grady had obviously been making her breakfast for her big surprise and she couldn’t be happier with it. “I can’t believe you guys have been doing all this just for me.”

“Well mommy,” Zane struggled to get out of Grady’s arms as Grady let out a small laugh and set him down carefully. Zane walked over to Deana, holding his arms up to her as she picked him up and he wrapped his arms around her neck. “You are the best mommy in the world and we did all this for you.”

“Thank you so much honey,” she gave her son a small kiss before running her hand through his short blonde hair. “I’m so glad that you two did this, but you really didn’t have to?”

“We didn’t?” Zane itched his forehead for a minute as if he was confused at what she told him. He looked back at Grady before shaking his head slowly. “She said that we shouldn’t have done this.”

“What she meant by that is that she likes it so much, but we didn’t need to waste our time on her,” Grady informed Zane as Zane’s features brightened up now that he understood. Grady set the last plate on the table before stepping in behind Zane and playing with is hair. “Though, we loved doing it for her because you love your mommy don’t you?”

“Uh huh,” Zane nodded proudly holding onto his mother tightly before looking over to the table. “I love you so much mommy and we made that breakfast just for you--which is done now. So we should eat it.”

“I think that’s a good idea buddy,” Grady grabbed Zane from Deana’s arms before walking over to the table and setting him down in his chair carefully. Grady pulled out a chair for Deana and motioned her to sit down. “After you.”

“Thanks,” Deana felt Grady place his hand on her back to help her settle down into the chair before helping her scoot in slowly. “This all looks great you guys. It looks very good.”

“I know it does,” Zane proudly agreed grabbing a few pieces of sausage links from the plate before him, shoving one of them into his mouth and hearing Deana and Grady laughing. Grady grabbed a few more things for him filling up the rest of his plate before Zane smiled widely. “I also made something too.”

“Oh really? What’s that?” she questioned taking a bite of her eggs and feeling it crunch in her mouth. She looked forward seeing the same expression as he swallowed down the eggs and reached for the water before him. “You made the eggs didn’t you kiddo?”

“Yeah,” Zane nodded proudly before grabbing another sausage link from his plate and taking a hearty bite. “I thought I should do something, how are they?”

“They are great little man,” Grady assured him quickly after taking another big gulp of the water before him. “They were absolutely great.”


Avery stood in the middle of the bathroom bringing the bristles of the brush through her long, dark hair. She stared at her reflection seeing that she appeared to be tired after the previous night’s activities, yet the warm shower she’d taken had provided her with enough relief for her aching muscles while Russ was with Erin giving her the morning bottle she’d been more than ready for. She let out a small sigh setting the brush down on the countertop before leaning forward and taking a long look at herself. Okay, so maybe it she was moving a little slower these days, but overall she seemed to be still pushing on better than anticipated.

“So I’m about to be divorced and I’m unemployed, but hey I’ve still got some of my figure left,” she offered up to her less than thrilled reflection knowing full well it would be a while before everything would be normal in that arena as well.

Sure, she’d lost a lot of the weight she’d gained, but there were still some changes taking place with her. Bringing her fingers over the sides of the white robe she was wearing, she took in a breath and pulled it apart to take a look at the after effects that having Erin had put upon her body. Some things were slowly getting back to where they should be while other spots were increasingly larger than she’d remembered. Dropping the robe down to her waist, she assessed herself trying to point out the positive while ignoring the places she’d need to work on down the line. She rolled her shoulders back, tipped her head to the side and let her long, damp hair fall onto her back, feeling the tips cause a few droplets of water to tickle over the bare skin of her spine.

Okay, so maybe with a little practice she would still be able to pull off sexy, she thought her gaze dropping down to her breasts wondering if Russ would still think she was as beautiful as she’d been before their separation. She began to wonder about the way things had been for them before he’d been taken from her and now, well when the time was right for them, how would they respond to being together again? Would he still find her irresistible? Still want her like he once did? So many things had happened, yet even with his declarations of love, she still had to wonder if he’d be disappointed with the changes in her.

“I hope you left enough hot water for me in here,” Russell blurted out walking into the bathroom causing her to leap up in a startled jump. She spotted him in the corner of her eye tugging his t-shirt over his head before moving in towards the shower to play with the water dials. “Erin’s sleeping now and I’m sure she’ll be ready for round two in no time. With this last bottle though, I have to tell you that I’m in need of a cleaning after I wound up wearing half of it.”

Avery quickly shuffled with her robe trying to get it up over her shoulders before Russ spotted her critiquing herself in the mirror trying to assess her level of sensuality mentally. Of course despite her efforts to hide what she was doing he‘d noticed. She realized this as she watched him turn to gaze at her in the mirror from behind her indicating that he’d seen her. He took a small step forward noticing that she began to pull the material of her robe in over her chest tightly to cover herself before he could see the flaws she‘d been dwelling on.

“No,” he shook his head reaching out around her waist and bringing his hands up over to the cottony material of her robe. He took the two sides between his fingers and gently eased them open again before placing small kisses over the side of her neck, “Don’t cover yourself up because I’m here.”

“Russ, I was just…” she bit back watching him over her shoulder through the mirror, “I was finishing up and…”

“I want to look at you,” he mouthed nibbling on her earlobe before sliding the robe down over her shoulders. His fingers traced over her arms, urging her to pull them out of the material that now clung to her body loosely at the tie around her waist. She let out a small sigh and freed her hands from the robe before dropping them down beside her hips.

“Look at you,” Russ murmured his palms sliding in over her ribcage, moving up over the warmth of her soft skin until he cupped her breasts in his large, powerful hands. He placed another tempting kiss on her shoulder before whispering, “You’re beautiful.”

“Russ I,” she closed her eyes feeling his fingers work their magic over her body, bringing a soft sense of comfort and relief to her. She arched back into him feeling the warmth of his touch spreading out over her until she tipped her head back feeling his lips descending in over hers.

“You feel so good,” he murmured turning her in his arms so that they were face to face, his chest pressing in against hers. She reopened her eyes seeing him looking at her with the same love and adoration that had been there long before he’d disappeared from her life. Her he was holding her, making her feel like the most beautiful woman alive and it was perfect.

“I love you,” she confessed tipping up on her toes to kiss him. She felt his arm sweep in beneath her pulling her up onto the countertop. Her breath escaped from her lips as his kisses dropped down over her soft curves. She tangled her fingers through his hair feeling his tender kisses over her breasts causing an ache to swell up inside of her. She dropped one hand down over his shoulders scratching her nails lightly over his back, “Russ, we shouldn’t be doing this right now. We shouldn’t start something we can’t finish…”

“We’re just warming up,” he replied feeling her leg curl around him instinctively drawing him in nearer to her. She dropped her hand underneath his chin, bringing his eyes up to hers again and she let out a frustrated breath.

“Russ, we both know that we can’t, well, we can’t get back into the swing of things for a little while longer no matter how badly we want to,” she groaned in frustration feeling her body begging for more of his attentions. Seeing him half dressed in front of her, looking absolutely delicious only intensified the ache that swelled up inside of her, yet…

“We can take our time starting all over again,” he suggested brushing his thumb over her bottom lip, “Kind of like when we were in high school and we knew we were moving into dangerous territory with one another.”

“Those were the days,” she couldn’t help but smile remembering their wild and reckless past with one another. “I remember what it was like to have you near me back then--the way I couldn’t wait to get you home alone so that I could find a way to tease you relentlessly until you had no choice but to give in to me.”

“I think it worked both ways for us even then because I happen to remember a certain someone wanting me with an insatiable hunger,” he mouthed sliding his fingers through her wet hair.

“I still do,” she confessed in a labored whisper, her hands dropping down to the drawstring of his jogging pants, “and from where I stand, there’s nothing from stopping me in having my way with you.”

“Avery, you just said that we have to stick to the plan--to hold off and…” he felt her slide off of the countertop, her dark eyes fueled with a sudden fire.

“I said that we can’t go exactly where we want to go just yet, but there are alternatives,” she explained in a sultry tone, her fingers tugging on the knot on his pants just enough to send them down over his hips. She leaned forward placing a kiss over the center of his chest before smiling, “It’s been too long for us Russ.”

“Avery,” he spoke her name taking in a breath as she shoved him near the countertop. He watched her kisses travel over his chest, moving in over his abdomen until she took his fullness in her hand, stroking him firmly.

“Oh how I’ve missed you,” she confessed positioning herself between his knees before dipping down to kiss him. A smile teased over her lips before she let out a warm breath and started to taste him slowly. He let out a small groan watching her turn him into her very willing experiment as her mouth tempted him in ways he’d never truly forgotten. He reached out to her running his fingers through her hair, knowing that it was almost unfair for him to be experiencing all of her attentions when they both had been longing for some kind of release with one another.

A small groan slipped past his lips as his hips arched up towards her, “Avery, I love you…”

“I love you,” her words buzzed over him, driving him mad with desire leaving the moment to engulf them when there was a small sound from the baby monitor Avery had brought into the bathroom with her earlier. He dropped his fingers to the countertop letting out a long sigh before clearing his throat.

“Erin’s awake,” Russ groaned fighting to suppress the tension that coursed through him. He reached out to her offering her a hand as she moved to her feet again, “I thought she’d be asleep for a while, but…”

“I’ll go check on her,” Avery decided with a heavy sigh knowing that this was a sign that they were pushing the envelope far too soon with one another. She touched his cheek gently before offering a small smile, “You take your shower and I’ll see what our little girl needs.”

“Okay,” he nodded realizing a cold shower would be exactly what the doctor ordered right about now given that his body was racked with tension. He closed his eyes and made a mental note to relax, but the scent of Avery’s shampoo in the air only made him want her all the more. Forcing himself to stay focused he looked to her again, “I promise I won’t be long in here.”

“Take all the time you need,” she decided giving him one last longing look taking him in from head to toe before reluctantly leaving the bathroom to check in on Erin. While she knew that now wasn’t the time to start jumping the gun on things with Russ. She needed to stay focused on their daughter and she couldn’t let her eagerness to jump back into the swing of things prevent her from staying on top of things with Erin. Given the preview they’d shared with one another in the bathroom moments earlier, she was convinced that eventually everything would fall back into place again. At least she hoped so.


“That was so great,” Blake boasted stepping in behind Seth as he opened the door to his apartment and let her step in before him. They had spent all night helping at cleaning up the place and to tell you the truth, she couldn’t have been happier with the way things went last night. “I just can’t believe how great the party was last night Seth, I mean it was perfect.”

“It was beyond perfect,” Seth agreed walking towards the bedroom with her following him. He quickly shed his shirt before taking in a deep breath. “I just can’t wait to get out of these clothes and get into something more comfortable.”

“Even if the clothes weren’t comfortable,” Blake fell back against the bed seeing Seth walk into the closet and disappearing for a moment as she let out a small sigh. “Everything was so perfect and I still can’t believe this all happened. It just didn’t seem real.”

“Well it was real honey,” Seth stepped out of the closet and pulled his shirt over his head slowly, tugging it down his abdomen and straightening if out before sitting down on the edge of the bed. “It was very real and it happened all because of you.”

“And Cameron,” Blake’s nose wrinkled in disgust as she looked up at Seth seeing him shrug his shoulders and look down towards the ground. “Can you believe that he was the one that did this last night?”

“I figured he might have something up his sleeve, I just wish I could have known what he was up to,” Seth took in a deep breath still having that thought lingering around in his head as he remembered Cameron stepping up onto that stage. “I don’t know what he was up to, but he wasn’t the worst part about last night.”

“Oh, I know,” Blake stood up from the bed seeing his gaze follow her every move as she walked over to the dresser and pulling out a few pieces of clothing. “In all honesty, I can’t believe I saw Zack there today. My day was leading towards being perfect until he showed up last night.”

“I wonder what he came back for,” he frowned pushing back his dark hair before falling back against the bed and resting his head against the pillow. “I don’t understand how he could come back without Johanna and the baby. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

“Oh, it makes perfect sense to me,” Blake replied seeing him lift his head off the bed to stare out at her as she shrugged her shoulders. “And I’ll tell you why it makes perfect sense. It’s because he is such a pain in the a…”

“Honey,” Seth cut her off before she could finish the rest of her sentence. A small laugh escaped his lips as he folded his arms behind his head. “I could have told you that months ago, but that still doesn’t explain it.”

“I can tell you what probably happened,” Blake informed Seth seeing him close his eyes, but still made sure to listen to her as she spoke. “Johanna probably found out what a jerk he was and she didn’t want to be with him anymore. She probably figured that if she stayed with him, her son might end up like him and that killed her. So she probably left the loser and now he has come back to try and ruin all of us.”

“Which won’t happened,” he pointed out his eyes reopening to see her standing at the bottom of the bed and he rose to his elbows looking her over before she pulled her shirt on. “Zack can try all he wants, but the fact of the matter is--he can’t hurt me or you. We moved right around that part of our lives and all it will ever be is dust in our memories.”

“He wasn’t anything big and he thinks he is the best thing that walked the planet,” she sat down on the edge of the bed and let out a disgusted noise. “In all honesty, I don’t know what any woman would see in him. Truthfully…”

“Honey,” Seth got up on his knees and got in behind her, pushing her hair away from her back gently. There was nothing he could do to show her that Zack didn’t bother him, but he was going to try and convince her in other ways that Zack couldn’t hurt them. “I really think it’s going to be okay.”

“Really?” she questioned with a tight breath as she felt his lips press in against her neck gently. A small sigh escaped her parted lips as she felt his hands working out the knots in her muscles while he caressed her shoulders. There was a loud noise that made them both jump before she realized it was the telephone. “I’ll be right back.”

“Alright,” Seth fell back against the bed watching her rush over to the phone to answer it. So his plan didn’t get to fully work out, but he would show her how much he loved her later. By the look on her face he could tell that she was really excited about something. Someone on the other line must have told her something she liked. “Who was that honey?”

“It was another contributor,” Blake informed him grabbing her coat from the chair from where she had thrown it earlier. When she had told him that he quickly got up from the bed and walked over towards her. “There is one more check I have to pick up and then I swear we can have some alone time.”

“Alright,” Seth agreed to letting her go before smiling widely and resting his hands against her hips. There was no need to show her how much he loved her because he knew that she already knew how much he loved her. “Have fun sweetheart.”

“I’ll be back,” Blake promised leaning up on her toes and giving him a small kiss before running over towards the door and grabbing her purse as she passed it. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Seth whispered as she ran out before he could even say it to her back. Sure, Zack had given him a pretty big scare at the party, but there was nothing that Zack could do to take Blake away from him. “Not a damn thing.”


“Kellen we are not doing this,” Heather walked out of the kitchen after listening to Kellen lay out his plans for a reunion between her and Kyle. Sure she couldn’t really say that there was anything for them to reunite with given that she and Kyle were never truly an official couple, but Kellen was convinced. His very vocal determination had proved that he wasn’t about to let up on the cause either.

“Yes we so are,” Kellen marched out of the kitchen right on her heels waving his arms around in the air, “Besides, you know I’m right on this one and you don’t want Kyle with your sister as much as I know he shouldn’t be with her.”

“Yes, but if Kyle proposed to her, then he’s happy. She’s something he’s always wanted and I think it’s important for him to have someone who can give him what he needs,” she pointed out with a frown, “Sure she might not be my first choice, but she is his so that is really all that any of us need to know there. This is what he’s waited forever for…”

“For what Heather? To be tied down to a life that isn’t what he needs? To be with a woman who is so fickle it makes my skin want to crawl anytime she’s around?” Kellen replied with a scowl, “No he needs to find someone who can bring out the best in him--someone who lights his fire and that someone is you. You both have a thing for one another and anyone with eyes can see it.”

“Just a few weeks ago you were telling me that for me to get a man I have to change just about everything about me,” she placed her hands on her hips turning around to face him again. “What gives Kellen?”

“Well for starters you were going after Diego,” he raised his finger in the air, “and sure he might be a nice guy and all, but you need something more. You’re not all about the stuffy suit and tie type. He’s too dark and contemplative for someone like you. You need fun and excitement and…”

“And you think I should find it by going after my sister’s fiancé and wrecking Kyle’s dream of happily ever after,” she let out a long breath shaking her head again, “He’s wanted this for too long for me to cause him any heartbreak Kellen. I care about him too much to see anyone hurt him.”

“So you’re going to let him hurt himself by being tied down to Sarah?” Kellen yelped throwing his hands in the air, “Heather, she is all wrong for him.”

“You keep saying that, but why?” Heather demanded an answer, “What has she done to make you realize that? Has she said or done something that you can take back to Kyle?”

“Well no not really, but I just have this vibe about her,” he explained reaching out to her, “I can’t explain it, but deep down I can see she’s got bad karma.”

“Well bad karma isn’t going to be enough Kellen,” she argued with him moving over to the sofa, “He’s going to need real proof that Sarah is no good and considering that Kyle has built her up all of his life to be his dream girl, I really don’t see the walls crashing down around him where she’s concerned. She’s been this thing for him that’s always been so out of reach…”

“Yet you’ve always been right there,” Kellen took a seat beside her on the couch, “Face it Heather. You have the hots for Kyle and he wants you too.”

“Kellen, I really don’t know what you think you saw, but..” Heather closed her eyes having a faint flash of her and Kyle together tangled in a kiss. She banished the image from her mind, “Look, I’ll always love Kyle, but it’s not…”

“Not what? Not passionate? Not clearly something you both want? Heather look in the mirror. You’re flustered and you’re blushing and…”

“I’m not blushing,” she stood up pacing around the room, “I mean so what if I was kissing Kyle. I kiss a lot of men.”

“Not like that you don’t,” he frowned watching her in a complete state of denial. “It was hot and…”

“You keep saying that, but he’s marrying my sister. Don’t you think that if Kyle wanted something with me then he might not have proposed,” Heather tossed out at him pointedly, “I mean yeah I really want to think that there’s this chance that Kyle might be interested, but only because my ego could use a good lift not because I have any feelings for him or…”

“Why don’t you tell me again about the first time he kissed you underneath the moonlight or about the times you wound up in his bed when you were younger? When your mother was reminding you of all the reasons why you were always second rate to Sarah?” Kellen challenged causing her to cease movement, “Or about how when you ran away from home leaving Kyle was your one regret.”

“How do you know about that?” Heather questioned spinning around to face him.

“Because you told me last night. You said a lot of things when I went in to check in on you,” Kellen stood up to step in closer to her, “Besides I know you Heather. I know how you are when you feel very passionate about something.”

“Kellen stop,” she raised her hand in the air, “Even if I was interested and I’m not saying that I am, I really don’t think that I’m the kind of woman for Kyle. If he had any idea of what I was like when I ran away from home…”

“You were a frightened kid,” Kellen added with a small frown, “You weren’t sure if you were coming or going and you did what you needed to do to survive.”

“Someone like Kyle deserve better than that,” she replied tightly not wanting to dwell on her past, “He needs someone who can’t find a way to bring him more misery. If he had any idea what I was like out in Los Angeles, then I can promise you kissing me would be the last thing on his mind.”

“Heather, you’re being far too hard on yourself. You didn’t do anything wrong. You were just…” Kellen’s voice was interrupted by the sound of her cell phone ringing on the coffee table.

Without a word Heather walked over to it picking her phone up and answering quickly without hesitation, “Hello.”

Kellen watched her barely paying attention to what she was saying as he pondered how someone like Heather who seemingly had overcome so much could stand there being this insecure about the world around her. He’d seen Heather in some high points and in some low points there, but right now he could tell she was holding back purely out of fear. Her thoughts about Kyle were leading her to doubt herself which was rare for her. Kellen would have to find a way to stop that.

“I have to go,” Heather blurted out after she hung up her phone. “I forgot that I told my assistant that I’d be coming in to the offices today and scoping things out a little bit. I also promised that I would run over a few interviews with potential employees since there were a few more positions that needed to be filled.”

“Heather, you can’t go. We still have a lot to talk about and…” Kellen frowned back at her.

“We can still talk and you’re more than welcome to come in to work with me since I’m not really doing anything substantial today, but only under one condition,” she lifted her finger in the air warning him.

“What’s that?” he raised a curious brow.

“That you drive me there and you don’t talk about Kyle the rest of the day. I don’t want you mentioning it because right now I need to focus on getting this business going,” she replied walking to the guest room to get cleaned up.

“I’m sorry Heather, but I can’t let this go with Kyle,” Kellen pondered to himself, “though maybe I can make it through the day and get you thinking about him without my actually saying anything. Yes, that’s it. I’ll find a way to get you thinking about Kyle all on your own until you have no choice but to realize that I’m right about this. You two do belong together and once you stop denying that, we’re going to have a great project in front of us. Operation romance here we come.”


“Old man,” Kyle let out a small breath before shaking his head slowly and rubbing the back of his neck slowly. “I can’t believe we just cooked all of this food to show who the better man is at cooking. We could feed twelve people with this.”

“That’s okay,” Augustus assured Kyle throwing his hand towel onto the counter before pressing his palm in over the counter, resting his weight against it. “Brant will probably have his friend over later like always and he will eat all of it. Your fiancée might need to eat more too now that she is pregnant with your baby. If it’s your baby, it’s probably going to be very big, so it will need its strength.”

“What about you?” Kyle turned around to see Brant looking up at him as Brant shrugged his shoulders not bothering to give Kyle an answer. Kyle held out the plate of bacon in front of Brant seeing Brant’s dark eyes glare out at him. “Come on tough guy, you need to eat something you know.”

“I don’t feel like eating,” Brant pushed the plate out of his face before seeing Kyle frown and reach for the icepack pulling it away from Brant’s face. “What did you do that for.”

“It’s water now,” Kyle pointed out before dumping the water in the sink and going over to the freezer moving around Augustus to grab some ice. “If you want to make it feel better, you should have ice.”

“I think my face is already numb enough,” Brant scowled in response as Kyle handed the icepack back to him and he placed it back where he had it before. “I’m going to be leaving soon anyways, I have to meet Don.”

“You mean he isn’t coming here?” Augustus questioned seeing Brant shake his head slowly as Augustus took in a deep breath before shrugging his shoulders. “I guess that means we have to eat this all by ourselves.”

“I’m going,” Brant got up from his seat before walking over towards the door, but stopped before walking away. He took a look back at the bacon Kyle had offered up and quickly stole a piece before leaving.

“Something tells me he got into some trouble last night,” Kyle pointed out seeing Augustus nod as Kyle shook his head slowly. “I was trying to be nice when I shouldn’t have, but I guess that got me no where.”

“Don’t ask,” Augustus frowned stepping back for a moment and hearing the front door shut and then close loudly. “I’ve found out that if you don’t ask, it usually won’t get the other person mad.”

“Right,” Kyle offered up a half smile before grabbing a piece of the bacon he had cooked. He took a small bite before shrugging his shoulders and smiling widely. “I think I totally beat you though, I am the greatest cook you will ever find.”

“Oh no, I still think I have you beat kiddo,” Augustus stated with a small nod offering Kyle a waffle, seeing Kyle take a small bite out of it before nodding. “I told you I was a good cook.”

“Try my pancakes,” Kyle threw a pancake onto a plate before grabbing the maple syrup and throwing it up in the air before catching it. “I’m sure these will get you going.”

“Right,” Augustus laughed seeing Kyle pour some maple syrup on the pancake before sliding it over to Augustus. Augustus took a bite before nodding slowly and grabbing his napkin to wipe at his mouth. “Actually, you really aren’t bad.”

“Neither are you,” Kyle replied taking a deep breath before finishing off the waffle Augustus had tossed over to him. Kyle reached his hand out to Augustus and offered up a wide smile. “How about we both agree that we are both great?”

“Sounds good kid,” Augustus assured Kyle with a firm shake before letting out a small laugh, grabbing the bowl full of eggs. He offered it up to Kyle seeing him turn away from the bowl wrinkling his nose in response. “You don’t want any scrambled eggs?”

“Oh no way,” Kyle shook his head before taking in a deep breath and rubbing his bare abdomen slowly. “If I hate some of those, I would be big time sick later. I’m lactose intolerant and me and this friend of mine--we could never have something like that. We used to get sick all the time when we were younger and now I know to stay away from that stuff.”

“I understand, it’s surprising how many people have that,” Augustus pointed out before eyeing Kyle over slowly. He grabbed a piece of bacon from the plate before shrugging his shoulders. “My wife was that way and I have a couple of friends that are like that. Oh, that one girl that Brant used to date too. What was her name? Heather, right?”

“Heather,” Kyle choked swallowing his bite wrong before patting his own chest, trying to breathe as Augustus patted him on the back. He reached for his bottle of water before taking a long sip of it. “Yeah, I know she had it. Well, at least I heard that.”

“Heard it,” Augustus repeated arching his eyebrow up at Kyle in response before shaking his head slowly and taking in a deep breath. “So, you have some pretty good moves in the kitchen kiddo. You have any other special talents I should know about?”

“Uh, let me see,” Kyle looked around the room before nodding slowly and motioning Augustus to wait. He grabbed three oranges from the bowl in the middle of the counter and then walked over towards the open part of the kitchen. “I can juggle, really good. Just watch.”

“I’m watching,” Augustus replied seeing Kyle start to juggle the oranges quickly and then slowed down to show off doing a few different moves here and there. “Not bad kiddo, that’s pretty cool.”

“Kyle?” Sarah’s voice erupted through the kitchen as Kyle jumped and lost his grip on the oranges making them all fall to the kitchen floor. “Where have you been all night?”

“I was,” Kyle tried to speak up feeling his throat grow tight as he bent down to pick up the oranges only to feel that Augustus had already done it for him. “I’m sorry about that, I just…”

“Don’t worry kiddo, I could use some orange juice,” Augustus offered up a small laugh seeing Kyle smile as he walked over towards the juicer. “Or in this case squashed, but I really see no difference.”

“Kyle?” Sarah spoke up against in an angered tone seeing Kyle before in just his shorts. She rested her hands on her hips before staring out at him. “What are you doing?”

“I’ll be right back Augie,” Kyle stated seeing him nod slowly before he grabbed onto her wrist and led her outside onto the deck. “Don’t act like that around him.”

“Why not?” Sarah questioned angrily feeling him let go of her as she stared up at him with her dark eyes. She folded her arms out in front of her chest seeing him fall back against the hammock as she frowned. “Kyle?”

“Because he is a nice guy that shouldn’t be snubbed like that,” Kyle informed her shaking his head slowly before taking in a deep breath. “I think you should sit down, there is something I need to talk to you about.”


“Hey little man,” Don smiled pulling his fists together as he pulled at the weights at his father’s gym, seeing Brant walk up to him. They had promised to meet up here this morning because Don felt that he needed to work out a bit so he didn’t lose his shape. “I didn’t think you would be here so soon.”

“Well, I really need to talk to you,” Brant replied seeing Don’s face turn red as he did a few more before stopping. Brant reached down and grabbed Don’s water before handing it to him seeing Don take a sip. “About last night…”

“Oh wow,” Don frowned finally noticing Brant’s face, taking in a deep breath as he rubbed at his own face. “You look like hell and then some.”

“Gee, thanks,” Brant muttered touching his bruised cheek before taking in a deep breath. “Something big really showed up that I didn’t expect to happen.”

“What’s that?” Don questioned with a small laugh before grabbing his towel and throwing it over his bare shoulder. “Did King Kong come and attack you?”

“No, this was worse than King Kong,” Brant stated taking a deep sigh before stepping forward to look at the machine that Don had been using. “You know Seth Alexander’s cousin?”

“The ex-boxer?” Don questioned seeing Brant nod as Don shrugged his shoulders and took a small sip of his water. “I really don’t know him, but yeah--what about him?”

“He’s her best friend and I basically became his punching bag last night,” Brant heard Don let out a small laugh as if he didn’t believe what Brant said. “You should have been in my shoes last night.”

“Alright, enough about last night. What do you want to do about everything? I’m up for helping you no matter what big guy,” Don promised seeing Brant go to use the same machine Don had been using earlier. “Hey Brant, you might want to…”

“Help,” Brant gasped getting tied up in the wires as he tried to get out the trap the machine had put on him. People stared at him as they walked by while Don tried to get him out of it. “I look like an idiot, get me out of here.”

“Hold on,” Don finally got Brant out of the wires seeing him fall back to the ground as Don reached down to help Brant back up. “I was about to say don’t use so much weight.”

“Thanks, I think,” Brant straightened out his shirt before looking up at Don and nodding over towards the smoothie stand. Don nodded to show him that he thought it was good idea to just relax for a minute. “My mind is just so…”

“Cluttered?” Don finished Brant’s sentence seeing him nod slowly before Don patted Brant on his the back gently. “I know what you mean man, love can get to you like that. Well, at least I think it’s love, right?”

“Don, you should have been there when she told me she was pregnant with my children,” Brant took in a deep breath still overwhelmed with the fact, but overwhelmed in a good way. “I’ve never felt this way about someone, only Angela. Just when I’m around her, I just can’t think about anything else. I just want to think about her and I can’t lose her like this Don. I was away from her for so long and now that she is having my babies, I can’t help but think how horrible it will be if I lose her again. The first time was hard enough, I can’t do this a second time.”

“What do you have planned?” Don stopped walking knowing by the way that Brant was talking, everything he had just told him was one hundred percent truthful. “I’m here for you no matter what. So, what can I do to help you out?”

“I don’t know,” Brant sighed walking over to one of the tables before dropping down in the seat, seeing Don take a seat across from him. “All I know is that I have to find a way to talk to Angela again. She’s too important for me to do that to her, especially now that she is having my children. I know I said some stupid things that I know she didn’t like and I know I may have came off as a total asshole, but I have to talk to her again. I just have to.”

“I understand,” Don listened carefully to Brant, trying to take in everything that Brant was telling him to see if he could offer up any advice. “I would totally want to do the same thing, but what you really need to worry about right now is your company. That’s really screwed up right now.”

“You know what?” Brant took in a deep breath before standing up slowly and nodding over towards the door. “You are totally right and after I am done with that, I’m going to fix things with Angela because I’m not letting her go just like that.”


“Come in,” Rob pushed a few papers around his desk at the gym after hearing a knock at his door. He heard the door open and then shut as he quickly glanced up to see the light blonde hair of Cori, but she was turned away from him. “Hey, Cori. I didn’t know if I would see you today.”

“I’m sorry,” Cori turned around to face Rob seeing his blue eyes widen as she took a step in closer to his desk. Rob quickly got to his feet before moving away from his desk. “I didn’t mean to be late, I’m sorry.”

“Cori, what happened to you?” Rob reached out to touch her face gently seeing that she had a few bruises over her cheek and a split lip. “What happened? How did you get all of this Cori?”

“It’s nothing,” Cori tried to further Rob’s worries as he caressed her cheek gently, pushing back her blonde hair as his gaze became more worried. “I mean, it’s really nothing to worry about.”

“How can I not worry about you?” Rob questioned with a small frown before reaching down to her hand, giving it a small squeeze. “Cori, honey--you have to tell me who did this to you. What happened?”

“Well,” Cori took in a deep breath and felt her eyes begin to water over as she looked up into Rob’s blue eyes. “Last night after the party I went home and waiting for me was…”

“Was who sweetheart?” Rob questioned feeling Cori break down in his arms as she rested her head against his chest. Rob ran his fingers through her blonde hair slowly as he motioned her to look back up at him. “Honey, you’re like a daughter to me. You have to tell me who did this to you. Who was waiting for you?”

“My ex-boyfriend,” she answered with a small cry feeling him push away her tears slowly as he watched her fall apart in his arms. “He came back and said some really mean things. I tried to get him to leave, but…”

“He hit you?” Rob questioned feeling his face grow red from rage as he heard what she was telling him about her old boyfriend. “Cori, you have to tell me. Was he the one that did this to you? Did he hit you like this?”

“Yes,” she shivered in his arms feeling him lead her over towards the leather couch to sit down as he wrapped his arms around her shoulders tightly. “He came back and he was angry. Angry because the woman he dumped me for had dumped him. He was mad at me and said he wanted to show me a lesson.”


“Ria, what are you doing here?” Kevin questioned with wide eyes, shock evident in his face. He stood up and walked over to his fiancée seeing the anger that threatened to overtake her otherwise calm and collected demeanor.

“That’s something I think you’d better answer me with first, or do I not have to ask since it’s plainly obvious,” her eyes darted over towards Angela with jealousy and loathing. “I take it you decided to go back to your old ways with her, right?”

“No that’s not it at all,” Kevin shook his head adamantly, “I called and left you a message when I got back into the hotel room, but you were already in bed I figured and…”

“That’s right Kevin,” Ria swatted at his arm, fury spilling from her now parted lips, “I was in bed waiting for you to come home. I was waiting up for you to join me, but instead you were with her--in her hotel room…”

“Look Ria, I know that you and I got off on a bad start, but I can assure you that absolutely nothing shady is going on here,” Angela piped in hoping to help out the situation.

“You shut up and you,” she waved her finger in Kevin’s face, “I expected a lot of things out of being with you Kevin, but never in my wildest dreams did they include you running off with your ex-lover and leaving me thinking that we had some kind of a future ahead of us. If you were still in love with her, why did you ask me to marry you?”

“Ria, I asked you to marry me because I love you,” Kevin reached out to her feeling her pull away from him, “I’m not in love with her.”

“Really?” Ria arched a doubtful brow.

Angela’s eyes widened at his admission. She tried to cover her reaction by staying silent and taking a step back from the situation.

“Yes really,” he nodded glancing over at Angela briefly, “I mean yeah I thought for the longest time that I was still in love with Angie. I thought that I would always be still in love with her and maybe a part of me always will be, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it’s something of the past. She and I have a lot of history with one another and I’m not going to pretend that we don’t, but when it gets down to it, she’s my past, you’re my future.”

“Right and you expect me to just take that at face value given that you just spent the night with her,” Ria snapped bitterly, her eyes clouding over with pained tears.

“It’s the truth Ria. I love you. I want to be with you and only you,” Kevin reached out for her again feeling her still refusing to believe what he was telling her.

“It’s true Ria,” Angela finally broke her long silence, “Kevin and I didn’t sleep together if that’s what you’re thinking. He just drove me home and…”

“And in case you didn’t get it before, I don’t care what you have to say. You said more than enough the first time I met you and…” Ria snarled in response, “I know how women like you think. You can’t have the attention of just one man, so you have to have them all falling at your feet and it’s all the more thrilling when one of them has someone else who loves them.”

“Ria listen,” Kevin cut her off bringing his hands up in the air, “I didn’t sleep with Angie. I didn’t even want to sleep with her last night. Quite honestly I would’ve rather have been home with you, but things didn’t work out that way. Angie got herself into a little situation and…”

“And she’s always got situations Kevin. She’s always asking you to run after her and you do. You’re so damn loyal to her and look how she treats you,” Ria glanced over at Angela shaking her head, “Do you even care that he is happy? That he has a life that goes on beyond your world? Do you even think about what’s best for him? No of course you don’t because you’d rather have him play second fiddle to whatever drama you have going on in your life. And why one might ask? Well, it’s quite simple because you are a spoiled brat who takes great pleasures in playing with people and their emotions. You get off on it.”

“Ria, that’s enough,” Kevin touched her arm hoping to get her to calm down.

“No, it’s not enough,” Ria shook her head angrily, “I’m not even warming up here.”

“You’re upset with me, not Angie. This was my fault, not hers. She told me to leave, but I was trying to help and…” Kevin began again with a heavy sigh.

“No Kevin,” Angela interrupted taking a small step forward, “Ria’s right. This is entirely my fault because I’m all those things that she accused me of being. I’m really a horrible friend and I’ll admit to that, but I’m not going to stand here and let that ruin your chance at happiness with one another.”


“Seth,” Heather stood up from where she was sitting after sending Kellen off to go get her something so he would stop talking. She had called Seth earlier to get him to the studio so they could have a chat. “I didn’t expect you to be here so early.”

“Isn’t this the time that you said you wanted me here?” Seth looked down at his watch, looking at what time it was before offering up a small shrug. “I can come back later if you want, if you are too busy is what I mean.”

“No,” Heather quickly blurted out worrying that he might leave her alone with Kellen. If he did leave that meant she would be with Kellen alone, hearing him telling her stories that kept leading her to think about Kyle. “I think we can talk now.”

“Alright then,” Seth nodded placing his hands against her desk before taking a step back. “So, you said that you needed my help on something with the company?”

“Yes,” Heather stood up grabbing a folder from her table and handing it over to Seth seeing him accept it before opening it up. “You see, we are having this really big photo shoot coming up and everyone I have looked at isn’t anywhere near what I have in you. I would really like it if you let me hire you as one of my top photographers.”

“You have to be kidding me,” Seth let out a small laugh looking up to see Kellen returning with two coffees in his hand. “You can’t be serious, right? Just look at this place, it really…”

“Fits your work perfectly,” Kellen handed Heather her coffee before shaking his head slowly. He handed the coffee he had gotten for himself over to Seth before offering up a wide smile. “I have been looking at everything with Heather Babes and I must say to you that you really are amazing. I have not seen one person that could bring out so much…what’s the word I am looking for?”

“You bring out so much personality in a picture,” Heather explained seeing Seth’s dark eyes look up into hers as she nodded slowly. “Just looking at your work, the pictures tell you stories. You bring out the best in everything. So, what do you say? Will you do me the honors of letting me hire you? You will be my main photographer.”

“If you’re being serious,” Seth took in a deep breath looking over at Kellen, seeing Kellen’s blue eyes widen as he nodded slowly. “Then, yeah. I mean, I would totally love that. That’s if you are being serious though.”

“I’m being more than serious,” Heather promised him grabbing onto another folder pulling out some papers before handing it over to Seth. “I’ll just have you sign some of the these to make if finalized.”

“Alright,” Seth signed all the papers for her before she handed him another folder. “What’s this one?”

“The details on the shoot I want you to work on first,” Heather replied seeing him nod and look the folder slowly. Kellen wrapped his arm around Heather shoulders as a bright smile appeared over his features. “Then I guess it’s set, we have our new top photographer for the business then.”


Blake stepped out of her car looking to the building before her with a smile. It was almost fitting that she meet up with her latest contributor in the place that would soon bring a great many wonderful things to Coral Valley. Things were finally picking up and she could feel that change was in the air. The party had only been phase one, but now, well now was about moving forward and getting everything going in the direction she was hoping for.

“Today we start this and soon it’ll be exactly what I’d planned on,” Blake boasted proudly making her way up the stairs to open the door in front of her.

Entering the large lobby, she felt a smile tug at her lips before she noticed music playing from over where she’d expected it to be the gym areas. It sounded like classical music, far from being what she’s anticipated when she agreed to meet up to discuss finances, yet there was something else in the air that puzzled her. Taking a slow step forward she felt the music grow louder until she stood outside the oversized double doors. Hesitation poured over her, but finally she pushed open the door only to discover the darkness that surrounded her.

“Hello,” she spoke out, her voice echoing in the gym as it was clear the music had ended.

She took a small step forward wondering if she’d imagined it when suddenly the lights snapped on and she found herself standing in front of a small table for two. There were roses scattered over the gym floor and the mood was clearly set for romance. She approached the table seeing that a lot of thought had gone into this surprise and a smile touched over her lips.

“Seth,” she mouthed his name, a warmth filling her up inside now that she realized this meeting hadn’t been about anything at all other than his trying to be romantic and surprise her. Well lucky for him it worked. She was about to reach for one of the roses on the table when she felt one appear in front of her face.

“Oh you,” she grinned reaching for it brightly, “It’s beautiful.”

“Not nearly as beautiful as you are,” a voice whispered at the back of her ear.

“Oh stop,” she laughed lightly spinning around to get ready to kiss him when her eyes fell upon the man who had set this all up for her. Much to her dismay it wasn’t Seth at all, but rather it was Zack grinning brightly.

“Zack, what are you doing here?” her smile faded and she took a step back.

“Surprising you and I could see that it worked when you came here,” he explained still holding the rose out to her, “So surprise Blake. I set this all up for you knowing that you would come here and that you would love it just as much as I love you. So what do you say? How about a good morning kiss, shall we?”

“Are you delusional,” Blake questioned giving him a strange look, “I mean what’s this all about Zack?”

“I want you back Blake and I think this speaks for itself,” he reached for her hand taking it in his, “I know that I screwed up with you, but I promise you that I’m a changed man. I love you and deep down it’s always only been you. I know that you feel it too which is why I was sure that you would come here today.”

“I came here because I thought I was meeting with someone else. I had no idea that you were going to set me up like this Zack,” she pulled her hand away from his a discomfort settling in over her.

“It doesn’t matter how you decided to be here, but rather it’s important to me that you are here. That’s what counts,” he stepped in closer to her, reaching out to kiss her.

She placed her hand firmly in the center of his chest a scowl spreading over her flushed face, “Look Zack, I’m flattered, but I’m not interested. Seth and I are together now and nothing’s going to change that. Not even you.”

“Blake wait,” he felt her push him away before he watched her rush out of the gym leaving him to the breakfast he’d set up for the both of them. Oh sure now she was singing the praises of Seth, but soon he would find a way to remind her of the magic they had with one another and when he did, nothing would stop them from sharing a future together. Nothing at all.


...to be continued...