Episode 327

“Excuse me,” Heather blinked up at Kyle unable to believe what she was hearing out of his mouth. “Kyle, I think I can handle this one on my own.”

“No you can’t when it comes to him so I’m saving you the trouble of telling him no for you,” Kyle directed his attention fully to Cameron, a scowl pressing in over his flexed jaw. “Heather isn’t interested in what you’re selling so you may as well save the lines for someone else. She’s not one of the pawns in your games Cameron. She’s not interested.”

“My my,” Cameron felt a laugh bubble over him. He looked to Heather curiously, “And what was that you were saying about not mixing business and pleasure? It would seem that your plaything here needs to be on a tighter leash.”

“Look I’m head of security here and while I realize that you think you’re calling all the shots Cameron I’m on to you,” Kyle took a firm, intimidating step towards Cameron. His eyes narrowed down at him in a menacing warning motion, “Clearly I thought I’d explained that to you the other night, but if I was at all ambiguous about where I felt you should be around Heather, I can already restate my opinion here.”

“Kyle, I really don’t think that,” Heather stepped in between the two men, her eyes shifting between the both of them. “What I’m trying to say is that Cameron asked me to dinner and I am perfectly capable of telling him for myself what it is I want to do in that situation. And Cameron, while I appreciate the offer, tonight really isn’t a good night. Perhaps if you call me during the week we can chat some more about it and I might be able to help.”

“You’re not having dinner with him,” Kyle restated his voice growing darker by the moment. “That man can find plenty of willing women to share a meal with and I’m sure they will be more than adequate for whatever plan it is he has ready to set into motion for them. You’re not going to be joining him tonight or any other night this week.”

“Kyle, I’m an adult. I can answer for myself,” Heather frowned over at him, placing her hands on her hips. “I don’t need you to screen my dates.”

“Well maybe if you had me doing that you wouldn’t be in over your head like you’ve been especially with this idiot,” Kyle waved his hand out in the air over towards Cameron. “We both know that he’s trouble and if you just let yourself get sucked into it again, then you’re just asking for it…”

“Asking for it?” Heather repeated with a huff. “So now that’s what it is when I’m just minding my own business and trying to live my life? Here I am trying to do something--to be something and you think it’s alright for you to come in here and undermine my decisions?”

“When they are bad ones you’re damn right I do,” Kyle nodded emphatically. “I’m not going to let you set yourself up for trouble Heather. I’m not going to let him hurt you again.”

“Well I can see that you are in good hands Heather,” Cameron adjusted his tie sensing the tension in the room between the both of them. He cleared his throat quickly, “I have a few meetings today that I have to attend, so I’ll just call you later.”

“Yeah you do that,” Kyle sneered over at Cameron tossing out another icy glare.

“I’ll talk to you later,” Heather offered up with an apologetic expression watching as Cameron ducked out of the room. She refocused on Kyle, who now stood before her with a smug expression on his face. “Just who the hell do you think you are to come in here and start barking out orders at me?”

“Someone who is smart enough to know that Cameron is trouble and you’re not dating him again. It was bad enough that you thought marrying him was a smart idea, but I’m not about to let you sit back and throw yourself into the wolves den. It’s not going to happen,” Kyle announced firmly planting his feet on the ground in front of her.

“It’s not for you to decide,” Heather huffed impatiently taking a small step towards him, “It’s my life and you can’t tell me who I can and cannot date. Besides, why do you care Kyle? It’s not like it makes a difference to you and your oh so perfect life.”

“If you even have to ask why I care, then you’re even more clueless than I thought,” he inched in towards her shaking his head at her stubbornness, “Heather I care about you and if you can’t see that he’s only going to hurt you, then you’re even more in need of my help than I thought.”

“Kyle I don’t want your help. I don’t need it especially considering that I want from you is…” she stopped herself before she said anything she would regret. Placing her arms in front of her chest she folded them tightly against her body in an attempt to hide her true emotions from him. “You just had no right to come in here and tell him that I said no when I didn’t have an opportunity to think this one out for my own.”

“You couldn’t possibly have wanted to say yes,” Kyle’s eyes widened with agitation. “Heather the man is a monster and…”

“And what? Just because he made a mistake I should write him off?” she challenged back at him, “Kyle we all have made mistakes and at least he’s man enough to admit to them.”

“He’s only admitting to them because he wants to manipulate you again. I can’t put my finger on what it is he wants, but he wants something. I can feel it,” he tried to reason with her hating to see her fall prey to Cameron, or really any other man at this point in time especially after the way that she’d been flirting with him. Just seeing her green eyes sparkling with anger, her lips curved in a scowl sent his blood boiling in ways that he hadn’t anticipated when he’d stepped into the room.

“Kyle I can’t let your instincts prohibit me from having a love life. In case you haven’t noticed it’s been a while for me and I’d like to find someone that I can have a little fun with,” Heather snapped back at him, clearly agitated with his words.

“Heather, I’m not saying you can’t have fun, but my God would you at least try to think before you do something that you can’t take back? Cameron isn’t the kind of guy you should be having fun with. He isn’t even remotely close to what you need and we both know that,” Kyle snapped in a low growl moving in over her in a more protective stance. Sure maybe it was a bit caveman, but he couldn’t help himself when she was around. There was just something about her that…

“What I know is that you have your life and I have mine. I’m not running from who I am or what I want. I know what I need and I’m going to get it one way or the other whether you’re happy about it or not,” Heather shouted, her voice laced with a strange mixture of emotions. “I don’t hide when I want something.”

“And I don’t either Heather,” Kyle matched her tone, moving in closer to her still. “I don’t run from what it is that I want.”

“I beg to differ on that one considering that last night you bolted out of here when things got too hot for you,” Heather challenged, her eyes laced with a wicked intent. “What’s wrong? Open the door on something that was just too hot to handle so you had to back off before you got burned by the fire?”

“Oh I can more than take the heat baby, but I think you’re the one that’s not ready for what’s waiting for her,” Kyle answered with a sharp, determined tone. “You’re the one who isn’t up to face what’s really there which is why you’re wasting your time on a man like Cameron.”

“Maybe I wouldn’t waste my time if someone wasn’t too chicken shit to admit to what it is that he really wants--what he really needs,” her gaze dropped down to his lips daring him to deny what it was that they both knew to be true about his interest in her speaking with Cameron. “Maybe the idea of having dinner with Cameron isn’t so bad because he’s a man who sees what he wants and he makes it his no questions asked. He doesn’t hide behind moral obligations and thoughts of doing the right thing. He just goes for the gusto and he takes what he wants.”

“Yeah well maybe he does that because he doesn’t care enough to do the right thing. Maybe he does it because he doesn’t see that there are so many things that could happen once he just takes what he wants. Maybe he wants it so badly that he sabotages himself by rushing it,” Kyle tossed back at her feeling his blood boiling, his heart pounding in his chest.

“Maybe if he was to stop and hesitate he’d see that the best thing that ever walked into his life is about to walk out the door and he won’t be able to stop it,” Heather snapped back at him throwing her hands up in the air with a groan. “I’m so finished with this conversation.”

Kyle watched her walk past him and without turning he reached for her arm catching her when she moved beside him. He curled his fingers around her wrist pulling her back to him with one swift tug. His dark eyes met hers and he spoke in a low, determined tone.

“Well maybe I’m not finished with you,” Kyle blurted out sliding an arm around her waist and pressing her back into the studio wall in one firm, reckless movement. He pushed his body in against hers before his lips came crashing down over hers in an attempt to prove to her that he wasn’t afraid of anything other than letting her go.


“Something is seriously up that man’s butt,” Kellen walked back towards the desk throwing his hands up in the air seeing Seth’s dark eyes staring up into him. “You know, I try to be friendly, but all Kyle ever does is blow me off. I mean, what did I ever do to him?”

“Maybe you are a little too friendly?” Seth offered up seeing the frown that developed over his features. In the time Seth had been there he had realized that Kellen was very friendly and he was very talkative, so it was quite possible that Kellen might be just a little too friendly with Kyle and everyone. “I’m just saying, sometimes Kyle gets a little aggravated at times.”

“But I’m being nice to him,” Kellen grumbled pulling himself up on the counter and resting his legs out before him, wrapping his arms around his knees. “Don’t get me wrong, I like the whole bad boy act--it makes him hotter, but sometimes that could hurt a person’s feelings.”

“Could we stop talking about one of my best friends being hot?” Seth begged with a half frown seeing Kellen’s blue eyes staring into his before offering up a small shrug. “It’s just kind of weird, Kyle’s like my best friend--I don’t want to think of him like that.”

“Alright then,” Kellen shrugged his shoulders reaching out to grab the photos from the desk taking a long look at them before smiling widely. “These are really great you know. You really have a talent Seth.”

“I’d like to think so,” Seth reached for one of the photos he had laid out before taking in a deep breath, thinking of all the photos he had taken in his life. “I hope I can better though, there are a few mistakes and…”

“Honey, you’re working here. You don’t make mistakes,” Kellen assured Seth reaching for his cappuccino after he had set the photographs back into Seth’s hands. “You wouldn’t be in a place like this if you did make mistakes. You are good at what you do. Be proud of it.”

“Kellen,” Seth reached out for the coffee seeing Kellen guzzle some of it down and Seth pulled it away slowly. Kellen’s shocked blue eyes stared into his as Seth held the cup up. “Is this decaf?”

“Why would it be decaf? If I drank decaf it would like be a nightmare. I would look behind me and like see a monster. Kind of like,” Kellen felt someone tap him on the shoulder as he turned to see Sarah standing behind him and he let out a small gasp falling off the counter and hitting the ground in a loud thud. “Kind of like that.”

“What’s that all about?” Blake chuckled seeing Seth reach down to try and help Kellen up from the floor as Kellen stumbled a few times before standing up straightly. “Are you okay Kel?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Kellen fixed his gelled up hair before offering up a wide smile. Kellen moved forward wrapping his arms around Blake and squeezing her tightly when he let out a small laugh. “Blake honey, you look great. I hope you know that.”

“Thanks Kellen,” Blake whispered feeling him give her a small squeeze once more before moving back and stepping over towards the desk once more. “Kellen you have to remember Sarah.”

“Of course,” Kellen wrinkled his nose at the sight of Sarah before shaking his head slowly and reaching out to grab his clipboard, searching through the papers. “We are actually really busy and…”

“Oh, don’t worry,” Sarah urged Kellen to continue with his work as something had caught Kellen’s blue eyes and Sarah saw Cameron leaving. “I’m just here to see Kyle, I won’t bother you anymore.”

“Wait,” Kellen snapped knowing that if Cameron was leaving, that meant one thing--Heather and Kyle were alone together. The one thing he had been trying to get them to be all week and now that Sarah was here, it was close to having that planned be ruined. Kellen turned back towards Sarah seeing her dark eyes glaring out at him as if he was stupid and he couldn’t help but want to smack that look right off her face, but he decided to be nice anyways. “I think I should really give you two a tour of the place.”

“That would be great Kellen,” Blake decided interested in seeing what the rest of the building looked like as she nudged Sarah in the shoulder. “She’ll come too, Kyle isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.”

“Well,” Seth rubbed his hands together standing up from his chair and reaching for another folder. “I think I’m actually going to…”

“Come with us,” Kellen grabbed Seth’s hand tugging him towards the corner of the lobby with Sarah and Blake behind them. “We’re just going to show you how great this place truly is.”

“Alright,” Sarah breathed in deeply wanting to get this over soon so she could go see Kyle, but she knew with Kellen’s talking that was going to be too easy. “Let’s just try and hurry this up a bit.”

“Don’t worry Sarah, I won’t take long,” Kellen promised knowing that deep down he was going to try and hold her back as long as possible now that Kyle and Heather were with each other alone. “It won’t be any longer than ten minutes. I promise.”


“What’s on your mind Kevin?” Angela questioned worriedly puzzled by the tone in her best friend’s voice. She saw him sit up straighter than he had been before, yet there was something about his posture that had her worried about what was on his mind.

“Look I don’t mean to be the party pooper here since it’s clear you two had a good night with one another, but we really need to talk about something,” Kevin glanced over at Brant once again. “I realize that you and I don’t really know a lot about one another, so with this coming from me, well I’m not sure how you’ll take it.”

“Kevin, I don’t like the sound of this,” Angela frowned sensing something was troubling her best friend.

“It’s okay,” Brant nodded encouragingly, “Kevin, if you have something on your mind, then please feel free to say it. I realize that you’re Angela’s best friend and I value your opinion.”

“I appreciate that,” Kevin replied with the beginnings of a smile, “which is more than I can say about the other boyfriends Angie’s had over the years.”

“Other boyfriends, eh?” Brant arched a curious brow. “Really? I’d love to hear about them.”

“No you wouldn’t,” Angela shook her head shooting a glare at Kevin.

“No really I would,” Brant prompted further, “So what were they like?”

“All losers, well excluding me of course,” Kevin boasted proudly, “I mean I was the best of the best and all…”

“With the biggest ego,” Angela groaned rolling her eyes at his comment.

“Oh it wasn’t my ego that you were interested in and judging by her interest in you, it’s not your ego she’s enjoying either,” Kevin jabbed with a tiny laugh.

“I think Angela and I happen to make a great match,” Brant reached for her hand taking it in his. “We click well with one another.”

“I’m sure that you do, but we’ll just skip over all of the details since your sex life is your business, not mine.”

“It’s nice to know that you feel that way Kevin which is why we really don’t have to get on the subject of my ex-boyfriends,” Angela issued him another warning look.

“Fine, fine,” Kevin shrugged his shoulders, “but remember that when you start asking me about his ex-wife.”

“You know his ex-wife?” Angela’s eyes widened curiously.

“Yeah I met Avery a short while ago,” Kevin looked over to Brant and smiled, “She’s a real looker isn’t she?”

“She’s…” Brant shifted on his chair uneasily not really sure how to respond to that one, but Angela spoke up instead.

“I know she looks like me Kevin so if you came here to try to drop that bombshell it’s too late,” she frowned over at Kevin disapprovingly, “Brant already told me.”

“Well contrary to what you believe, I didn’t come over here to start trouble. I actually came over to talk to you about someone else who has been a real pain in the ass--someone who…” Kevin confessed with a heavy sigh ready to tell Brant and Angela all about Chris and what he was up to when someone walked out onto the deck.

“Brant, you have a phone call,” Annie explained taking a look at Angela and Kevin. She eyed them both curiously before Brant spoke up to clear up any impending confusion.

“Annie, this is Angela,” Brant motioned over to her, “She’s someone very special to me. Angela this is Annie, who is also someone very special to me.”

“Oh hello,” Angela moved up from the chair she’d been seated in taking the time to straighten herself out. She placed her hand up over her abdomen before smiling at Annie. “Sorry about the delay. I feel like I’m just getting slower and slower each day that I get rounder and rounder.”

“Rounder,” Annette’s gaze dropped down to where Angela’s hand was placed over the soft swell of her abdomen.

“Angela’s having my babies,” Brant boasted proudly bringing his arm around Angela, “We’re having twins.”

“Twins? Really?” Annette’s eyes widened a bit surprised at seeing Brant with someone other than Avery who looked just like Avery. While Ken had mentioned something briefly in passing by, Annette realized she had to see it to truly believe it.

“Yeah that’s the thing about our boy Brant,” Kevin leaned in across the table to swipe what was left of Angela’s omelet, “He doesn’t shoot blanks there does he?”

“Well I um,” Annie gave Kevin a second look.

“Oh and that’s Kevin,” Brant frowned over at Kevin watching him gulp down the rest of Angela’s food. “He’s Angela’s…”

“Personal bodyguard,” Kevin stood up as if perfectly on cue, “and her best friend. And you must be…what? Brant’s younger sister?”

“Oh he is a keeper,” Annie couldn’t help but laugh lightly watching Kevin reach out to kiss her hand in a gentlemanly fashion. “Too bad all of Brant’s friends don’t have as many manners.”

“My friends have manners,” Brant objected with a simple shake of his head, “Besides it’s just an act. He is just kissing up after being crude.”

“I apologize for my rudeness,” Kevin nodded again, “but Brant brings out the best in me you see.”

“I can tell,” Annie looked over at Angela once again, “well Angela, if you’re having two little ones then I’m assuming that we’re going to be fast friends. I raised Brant and his brother Ken through the years and Blake as well.”

“Annette was our nanny if you will,” Brant explained with a warm expression on his face.

“Annie the nanny,” Kevin mouthed to himself feeling a slight chuckle over him, “I like the sound of that. Although I still maintain this lovely lady is far too beautiful and too young to be your nanny.”

“You know you can have him over any day,” Annette flirted back doting extra attention to Kevin as he towered over her.

“I’m glad to hear it,” Kevin mouthed with a bright grin.

“So you said that I had a phone call,” Brant cut in thinking about Annie walking out onto the deck in the first place.

“That’s right,” she nodded quickly, “It’s Michael. He said it was important and…”

“I’ll go take the call,” Brant decided turning to face Angela once again, “I’ll be right back. This won’t take long.”

“Take your time,” Angela squeezed his hand gently before watching him walk back into the house.

“I should get going too. I have a brunch date that I’m running behind on,” Annie began with an apologetic tone.

“Say it isn’t so,” Kevin placed his hand over the center of his chest, “please don’t tell me that you’re already spoken for.”

“Trust me sweetheart I’m way out of your league, but you can feel free to flirt anytime you wish,” Annie waved at him before smiling at Angela, “It was nice to meet you. We can catch up with one another more later I hope.”

“I’d like that. You can tell me all the old stories about Brant growing up,” Angela offered up in the hopes of opening up a line of communication between her and the woman who played a hand in making Brant the man he was today.

“You can count on that,” Annie promised before walking off to leave Kevin and Angela alone with one another.

“Funny how well you’re already fitting in especially considering that you look just like his former wife,” Kevin couldn’t help but quip catching the icy glare that she directed at him.

“Look Kevin there are a lot of things that you don’t understand, so before you lecture me on Brant,” she warned him sharply not in the mood to start fighting with him.

“As I said before I’m not here to fight or cause trouble,” Kevin held his hand up in the air. “Angie, the reason I’m here is because we need to talk about Chris.”

“Chris?” she gave him a strange look, “Why would be need to talk about Chris?”

“Because if we don’t I can promise you that he’s going to find a way to steal your happiness from you and I’m pretty sure we both know that’s the last thing you want to have happen,” Kevin began in a warning tone ready to let his friend know about the forces working against her relationship with Brant.


“This is a wonderful morning,” Chris held the papers to his most recent story in his hand tightly. A wide smile spread out over his features as he looked over the pictures spread out over the work he had from what he was planning to show everyone. “You know, working at the paper is truly amazing Mindy.”

“Right,” Mindy rolled her chair back a bit as Chris handed her the papers and she looked them over slowly. “Mr. Foley, are you sure that this is what you want?”

“You can check it over for me if you would like to,” Chris offered up seeing Mindy nod slowly before looking through the main story as she took in a deep breath. Seeing pictures that were supposed to lead you to believe something most people would never imagine. “How does it look Mindy?”

“It looks like a bunch of shi…,” she cut herself off quickly looking up into Chris’ dark eyes before shrugging her shoulders. Setting the papers down, she reached over towards the corner of her desk grabbing a pen. “Are you absolutely sure this is true?”

“Honey, you need to learn something about this business,” Chris began thinking of all the hard work he had put into the article before him. Shrugging his shoulders he couldn’t help but play along with this story more as he reached out to give her shoulder a small squeeze. “You don’t always have to tell the truth, but why wouldn’t you believe it? Because the people look incapable of actually doing that?”

“I don’t know,” Mindy took in a deep breath looking at one of the pictures before biting down on her bottom lip. Pressing her thumb over the picture a small smile appeared over her lips. “He’s kind of cute, so it would figure knowing my taste.”

“Well, your taste in my opinion with that man is horrible,” Chris grumbled before shaking his head slowly and reaching for the papers once more. “This is one hundred percent true and I want this printed out.”

“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea,” she added her input seeing Chris’s eyes staring into hers making her look away from him uneasily. “I mean really, it’s kind of mean. We are usually pretty much a nice paper, ones that like to keep up with the news and the truth behind things.”

“Honey, this is the truth,” Chris patted the paper before him thinking of another way to convince her more of going on with the subject. “I mean Russ owns this paper which is a plus in our favor. Russ hates Brant too doesn’t he?”

“Well, yeah,” Mindy thought things over slowly knowing that something had to be up with Chris to make him want to write such a piece. Maybe it was true, but if it really was there was no reason it should be going out in the public eyes at all. “But…,”

“Not buts Mindy,” Chris cut her off moving in closer to her placing both his hands on the desk before her. Chris smirked seeing her dark eyes looking up into his when he pushed the paper forward. “I want this to happen. I want it done.”

“Alright,” Mindy wasn’t so convinced but stood up from her chair and reached out to grab the paper Chris had worked out. Holding it closely to her, she stepped back and walked over towards the corner. Something told her that this might be a bad idea by the look on Chris’s face. Whatever happened after this moment was his fault not hers because she just had to do her job. “I’ll hand it into the printers right now.”

“That’s a good girl,” Chris chuckled folding his arms out in front of him with a proud smile while thinking about the results of what will happen when the paper gets out. “This is going to be perfect. Everyone must know and then everything will turn back to normal.”


Cheryl sat in her car thinking about everything that had happened over the last few months. She’d gone from having her worst fears confirmed when she’d learned that Russ had died in that explosion, but when she’d learned he was alive it was as if this great veil of terror had been lifted from her. To have her son back was the ultimate dream come true. Only her son was back and hating her and that was something she knew wouldn’t change. Thinking about the look on Russell’s face when she was around him now, she couldn’t help but wish that things could be like they were before--that she could make up for the lies that she had given him over the years. Even now as she sat outside his home, she couldn’t help but find herself wishing that she could take all of the deceptions back from his life.

“Just stop!” Russ ordered bringing his hands up to his ears, “This isn’t happening. This is not the truth!”

“Russ, son please,” Elliot reached out to him feeling Russ flinch at his attempt to reach out to him.

“If you’re trying to tell me that any of this is true, then I’m not your son,” Russell blurted out with a pained expression, “I never was…”

“You were always my boy. Do you hear me?” Elliot reached out to him refusing to let Russ walk away, “In this case biology means nothing. Your mother and Nicholas never had the love that we have--the love that we’ll always have…”

“But how?” Russ questioned tearfully, “Mom how could you…”

“I wish I knew Russ. I wish I could say why I did it, but even though I regret what happened with him--with the affair, I’ve never, ever regretted you. I love you Russ. We both love you,” Cheryl stepped in towards him wanting to reach out to embrace him as well.

“No,” Russ moved backwards, “don’t touch me.”

“Son,” Elliot spoke up once more.

“You lied to me,” Russ looked between the both of them, “My whole life has been nothing but a lie. All this time you raised me to hate the Ashfords--to despise what they are, yet you stand here before me and tell me that I’m one of them--that my father is the worst one of them all…”

“It’s only biology,” Elliot repeated once more his heart aching with each passing second, “Russ you have always been my son. You and Grady will always be my sons…”

“Except for the fact that bastard fathered me,” Russ shifted his head to look at Cheryl, “That man tried to murder me. He tried to kill me, yet knowing I was his son…”

“He doesn’t know,” Cheryl explained tearfully shaking her head as her hands reached out to hold him. She dropped them at her sides before further confessing, “When I found out I was pregnant I was terrified. I’d hoped above hope that Elliot was your father, but when it got down to it, it didn’t matter. We’d patched things up with one another and I quit working for Nicholas. I knew I was wrong…”

“Then you’re saying that what? That you found out when I was born and you decided it was something I didn’t need to know? That no one needed to know?” Russell’s eyes widened with shock and confusion.

“We didn’t ever want anyone to know Russ. It wasn’t important because the moment you were born, there was no doubt in my mind about where you belonged. Nicholas has no right to lay any claim on you. You were and are a part of this family and while Nicholas may be your biological father, you are a Denton in every sense of the word. You are absolutely everything that I wanted in a son--everything I needed and you and Grady are my world. I’ve done all that I could to protect you from this--from everything…”

“And look where it got us,” Russ shook his head mournfully overcome with a great many emotions. He looked to his mother with a pained expression, “Tell me that he took advantage of you--that this was something that you never wanted--that it was something that…”

“I’m sorry Russ,” Cheryl dropped her head, “I wish I could say what you want to hear, but you need to know that when it happened--when I was with him, it was something random--something that I wish I could take back, but I can’t. I can’t take it back and on some level I don’t want to because out of that came you. You are so very special and I love you. We love you so much…”

“Dad,” Russ called out to Elliot tears overtaking him.

“It’s going to be okay son,” Elliot promised reaching out to embrace him despite Russell’s hesitations, “You are my son. Do you hear me? This changes nothing! Nothing!”

“That’s where you’re wrong dad. This changes everything,” Russell replied embracing his father as he knew that life would never be the same for him ever again.

Now as Cheryl sat outside Russ and Avery’s place she found herself attempting to muster up the strength to pay her son a visit without Elliot at her side. The last time she’d been over things were tense, but right now what she wanted was a chance to have things like they once were. She could still remember what it was like when Russ was younger and looking up to her. He had so many things ahead of him and he’d always turned to her for guidance, but now it just showed what an awful role model she’d become.

“You can do this,” she mouthed curling her fingers around the steering wheel and taking in a deep breath. She tried to talk herself into getting out of the car offering up a mental pep talk when she heard a sound to the left of her. Gasping she turned her head to the side to see Augustus staring in at her through the window. She brought her hand up over her chest and tried to keep her racing pulse from getting the best of her as she rolled down the window.

“Coming or going?” Augustus questioned eyeing her curiously. He glanced over at the house thinking about his own impending visit to Russ and Avery, but instead he’d found himself in a curious position with Cheryl.

“I’m not really sure,” she admitted honestly her worries mounting as she glanced over at the house once again.

“In that case, let’s just play it safe and say that you’re going for the moment,” he suggested his dark eyes reaching out into her. “I believe you and I have a few things we need to discuss with one another about my grandson. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Cheryl nodded finally realizing dealing with Augustus was easier than facing Russ now that she feared she‘d let him down in the worst possible way, “Where do you want to go?”

“Follow me,” Augustus suggested opening up the door to further conversation between the two of them now that Cheryl found herself facing the demons of the past all over again!


“Are you done yet?” Nate mocked Kyle’s voice as he stood in front of his locker and shook his head slowly. He reached out to grab a shirt from the locker before throwing his hands up in the air. “Just because he is bigger and intimidating doesn’t mean he can tell me what to do.”

Nate thought about his remark before shaking his head slowly and realizing that yeah, Kyle could really tell him what to do because he really was that intimidating.

“He’s scary,” Nate frowned realizing that in boxing he was pretty good, but because Kyle had beaten him he knew he had to train harder. Knowing that he still had work to do, Nate dropped down to the bench pulling his shirt on slowly. “This is going to suck, like seriously. What am I doing?”

Nate reached into the locker pulling out a tape recorder before shrugging his shoulders knowing what it was he had to do to get around this whole thing and that was to get Cori to confess.

“Sorry honey,” Nate took in a deep breath sliding the tape recorder into his pocket pressing the record button before shutting the locker before him carefully. Pressing his head against the cool locker he realized that maybe this would make a bad turn for him getting a better relationship with Cori, but it was one risk he was willing to take. “This is about me, but she’ll forgive me.”

Nate quickly grabbed his bag before throwing it over his shoulder and walking out of the male locker room, looking around the area before him seeing Cori in the corner of the room on a bike. Thinking quickly he threw his bag down and pulled off his new shirt, throwing it back with his bag.

“Hey there,” Nate sat down on the bench in front of the bike that Cori was on, seeing Cori’s dark eyes glare at him for a moment before she rolled her eyes and looked away. “You know, you really do that like a girl. You’re doing it slow and you aren’t going to burn any calories like that.”

“Don’t tell me how to work out,” Cori scowled seeing Nate stand up and hold his arms up defensively. “I’m doing just fine the way I am doing it right now. I’ll do it the way I want to, so why don’t you just go away.”

“I don’t need to go away,” Nate grabbed the handlebars as she glared up at him still going as he smiled widely. Nate looked down to his watch knowing that he only had about thirty minutes on the tape so he had to do this quickly. “I bet you couldn’t go faster anyways because you seem like you don’t push yourself. Like you don’t go to further limits.”

“Go screw yourself Nate,” Cori bit her bottom lip, holding back the urge to choke the life out of him as his cocky green eyes stared into hers. “Though, I’m sure you already did today so there is no need.”

“Right, you do notice because I pissed you off you are going faster,” Nate pointed out seeing the way the bike wheel moved around and around quickly making him smile. There were more words that were about to come out of his mouth before she brought her foot into the center of his stomach, making him fall back onto the bench behind him. “You might be careful with that Cori, I might beat myself up like you did. Except this time people actually saw you kick me. Isn’t that right?”

“Whatever Nate,” Cori held her hand up in the air before shaking her head slowly. “I don’t even want to talk about this right now, leave me alone or I will make you leave me alone.”


“Hey kiddo,” Rob greeted Hart with a bright smile stepping aside to let Hart into his office, “Come on in. I’m sorry I’m running behind. I got your message earlier, but I was tied up with this new company that is trying to sell us some kind of protein drink for the smoothie bar. It’s some company called Strawberry Dream. Ever heard of it?”

“No I can’t say I have,” Hart admitted with a shrug of his shoulders before looking around Rob’s office, “Though I could see why they might want in on this place considering that you’ve done very well with it.”

“I’ve been getting more calls than you can imagine with people wanting to push their products either here at the gym or at the club. It’s been sheer craziness,” Rob rubbed his palms together before walking around to take a seat in his chair, “but it doesn’t mean I don’t have time for friends and family. Sit down. Let’s talk.”

“Thanks,” Hart smiled back at him, “I guess I was kind of checking in on the plans for the party Sam is hosting. I know you two were talking about it and…”

“And she called earlier,” Rob admitted brightly, “I gave her a big word of encouragement about how everything is going as planned. Though like you she has an eye for details. She’s very persuasive too.”

“I guess it’s good to know that she picked up on my finer traits rather than my less than savory ones,” Hart admitted with a laugh, his thoughts lingering to his daughter. “She can be pretty pushy.”

“Which again comes from you,” Rob noted sensing something behind Hart’s eyes, “So how is that going for you?”

“What do you mean?” Hart snapped out of his daze to meet Rob’s concerned blue eyes.

“Don told me that you’ve had a lot on your plate in finding out that Sam was your daughter. He mentioned that her mother wasn’t exactly the most civil of people in dealing with,” Rob noted opening up the floor for conversation between them.

“It isn’t so much Beth that I’ve been having a problem with, but rather Sam’s enthusiasm itself,” Hart confessed after a moment’s hesitation, “I mean we’re just getting to know one another after she and I found out that I’m her father, but now she’s talking about running away to London. She’s talking about how she wants to go study overseas there and…”

“You’re not too happy about the idea, right?” Rob replied with a knowing look.

“I know it sounds incredibly selfish but I’ve missed out on so much of her life already that I’m not sure I can face the idea of losing her so soon,” Hart continued to explain what was weighing on his mind, “On the one hand it’s a great opportunity for her to explore her career options and it would give her a taste of the culture and something that could only benefit her in the long run. On the other hand when I think about the idea of losing her so soon, well that just doesn’t sit well with me. I mean I want her to be happy, but selfishly I want the chance to get to know her.”

“I can understand your position Hart. I know Lindsay has already been researching different colleges since her school has them planning for their careers already and when she started pulling up things for UCLA I knew that I was in trouble,” Rob admitted with a sympathetic smile, “It’s hard to let go of someone you love especially when they are still very much your little girl.”

“Exactly,” Hart nodded in agreement as another thought struck him, “though on the one hand if she was in London it might spare her the grief of dealing with Walt now that he’s back in town again.”

“He giving you problems again?” Rob frowned thinking about Hart’s long and tortured history with his father.

“When does he not give me problems?” Hart shook his head and frowned, “The man is a walking time bomb and anyone he crosses paths with is in trouble.”

“Tell me about it,” Rob sighed in response. “I mean don’t get me wrong I know he’s your father, but he can be a miserable son of a bitch.”

“You don’t have to tell me twice,” Hart noted in response thinking about all the trouble his father had caused, “He isn’t bothering you again, is he?”

“No,” Rob shook his head, “but I just can’t help but shake this feeling that I get when he’s around. I know that he’s trouble in his own way and I can’t help but worry about him when he starts sniffing around.”

“That’s kind of my thoughts and I would hate to see him bothering you and Alicia like he did before,” Hart added with a small frown, “I hated that he messed with you like that.”

“I can hold my own against your father. It’s you that I’m concerned about. I don’t want to see him take you down again Hart. You know that you’re better than the chaos he brings into your life,” Rob offered him supportively, “You have enough on your plate without having to deal with him like that.”

“I know,” Hart nodded in response. “It just drives me nuts as times.”

“Yeah, well I say ignore whatever Walt is doing and think about Sam. My best advice is for you to follow your heart with her and the rest will follow. If she thinks London is a good idea, then maybe you two should sit down and talk about things. You can explain to her what you’re feeling and maybe show her why you might be hesitant to let her leave just yet,” Rob suggested with a supportive nod, “It might help the both of you if you can open the lines of communication early on. I try to do that with my children and it works very well. Sometimes too well with Don because he tells me far more than I think I need to know.”

“Don’s always been good at confessions,” Hart couldn’t help but laugh thinking about his friend’s crazy stories.

“That he has, but seriously Hart it’s really a good way to go. It helps as a parent to be able to be in touch with your child and all that’s happening with them,” Rob pointed out with a thoughtful expression hoping to help his son’s friend find peace with the things happening in his life now that Hart’s impossible father was back in town no doubt bringing trouble with him!


Alicia found her way down to the staff lounge as her thoughts lingered to the situation taking place within their home. She thought about her husband’s sudden desire to get closer to Cori and she found herself wondering if her husband wouldn’t be able to see the truth behind Cori’s motivations. While Rob meant well with a great many things she was starting to wonder if Cori was less than honest about what it was that was motivating her to cling to Rob. While Rob thought Alicia was being paranoid, Alicia couldn’t help but wonder if there was in fact something for her to be concerned about. The question was how did she make Rob see that?

“Well hello beautiful,” a voice whispered breaking through her thoughts. Smiling she thought about her husband and when she spotted a bouquet of flowers in front of her face she couldn’t help but feel elated at the thought that he’d come to work to surprise her. However, when she reached for the flowers she realized that it was Walt and not Rob on the other end of them. “How are you?”

“Walt,” Alicia gasped unable to mask her surprise at seeing him before her, “what are you doing here?”

“I thought I might take you out for lunch,” he explained with a bright, white grin, “You think you can make the time?”

“Well I don’t have a lot of time actually, but…” she paused thinking about their last encounter. Greeting him warmly with a smile she nodded, “They have a new place next door that does soup and sandwiches if that sounds like something of interest to you.”

“It sounds fantastic,” he nodded motioning to the door beside them. He reached for it opening it to allow her to take the first step outdoors, “After you.”

“Thank you,” she smiled stepping out to feel the fresh, crisp air of the afternoon surrounding them. Turning to look over at Walt again, she couldn’t help but smile, “So how are you feeling?”

“Like a million bucks,” he replied brightly as they made their way down the sidewalk heading over in the direction of the restaurant. “Can’t you see it?”

“You’re a horrible liar,” she shook her head at him and forced a small laugh, “In other words you’re not feeling good at all, but you’re going to fake it in order to make me believe you’re at the top of your game.”

“Something like that,” he confessed reaching for the door to the restaurant and opening it for her. After a few minutes they were seated at their table in a quiet, intimate corner of the restaurant away from the general lunch crowd. Opening up again he spoke to her, “Do I really look like I’m that miserable?”

“No not at all,” she admitted in a bright tone, “You actually look very well all things considered.”

“Then see I still have something to look forward to if you think I’m still looking good,” he winked at her in a flirty fashion before reaching across the table to take her hand in his, “I appreciate the fact that you are still here to build me up.”

“What a friends for,” she smiled back at him glancing down at his fingers laced with hers before she met his dark eyes again, “So really how are you holding up?”

“Better than expected,” he admitted with a small sigh, “I begin new treatments in a week or so and that should take me down a notch, but I’m still hanging in there. You know how I am.”

“A fighter to the end,” she paused realizing the words she’d said, “I meant to say that…”

He held his hand up in the air to silence her with a soft smile, “I know what you meant. It’s okay.”

“So have you told Hart,” she couldn’t help but ask the question lingering on her lips.

“And make him feel on top of the world now that his old man is kicking the bucket,” he shook his head at her letting out an ironic laugh, “I wouldn’t allow him the pleasure. He might find himself enjoying it far too much.”

“I think you underestimate the power of your son’s love. He might be bitter Walt, but you’re still his father,” she pointed out stating the obvious with a frown. “I think that you two should find a way to mend fences with one another before…”

“I think that ship sailed a long time ago Alicia. I don’t believe that it will be making a return and I’ve learned to accept that,” he sighed heavily trying to focus on the lunch between them. “Besides, maybe it is better for Hart this way. If I go out with him hating me, then he’ll always have that and it would be better than the alternative, right?”

“Not making peace with your son is far from being the right alternative. Walt you need to be honest with him. He has a right to know,” she pointed out with another frown, “You can’t carry the burden of this all on your own.”

“I’m not. I have accepted the way my life is Alicia and I’ve dealt with it in my own way,” he reached for her hand and offered up a small squeeze, “Besides I’m not alone. I have you here, don’t I?”

“Well yes, but…” she shook her head releasing his hand when the waiter approached them to take their orders. When the waiter walked away she turned to him again, “You shouldn’t be so stubborn Walt. It’s very unflattering.”

“I thought you always enjoyed trying to break my impossible side,” he winked back at her with a playful expression, “It was part of the thrill wasn’t it?”

“You were always a headache, but one that I didn’t mind,” she smiled over at him trying to keep things light between them, “Still you should listen to me every now and then. I do know what I’m talking about.”

“If you really knew what you were talking about you would’ve married me instead of Rob there. We could’ve been good together you know,” he wiggled his brow at her suggestively, “and then maybe my son would actually like me instead of hate me.”

“You and I never really had a chance. We both know that,” she shook her head at the suggestion, “Besides you had a good life with Hart’s mother, just like I’ve had a good one with Rob.”

“Had?” he arched a curious brow catching her wording, “Does that mean that there is trouble in paradise?”

“No not at all,” she shook her head firmly, “Things are fine.”

“Fine,” he noted her tone, “That’s never a good work. Fine is often the kiss of death, which means something is going on. It wouldn’t happen to have to do with that little problem you were having before, would it? The one with the little blonde that was following him around?”

“That was nothing,” she shook the thought quickly, “It was a misunderstanding.”

“Why do I seriously doubt that one?” he arched a curious brow.

“Because you always want to be right and that ties back into your stubbornness,” she informed him with another frown, “but right now we’re not going to get into that. Right now we’re going to enjoy our lunch and then I’m going to talk you into making things right with your son.”

“As much as I would like to, I think it’s impossible,” Walt sighed watching as Alicia flashed him a confident grin.

“When I set out to make things happen, they are never impossible. It’s not in my vocabulary,” she informed him point blank hoping to find a way to help Walt regain that part of his life he’d missed out on with his son before it was too late!


“So, honey,” Grady stepped in behind Deana wrapping his arms around her waist tightly before pressing a small kiss against her cheek, feeling her fingers moving in over his. “How has work been all day for you? Anything good happen?”

“Not really,” Deana bit down on her bottom lip thinking about her day and how it seemed that Ria was having a worse day than her. “I was just worried about Ria so we were having a chat. She was really upset about a few things.”

“She will be okay,” Grady tried to assure her before taking in a deep breath, the thoughts of last night returning to him as he held her tighter. “So, about last night--I really can’t get all of that out of my head. I loved holding you in my arms last night. It was something I was glad I got to do.”

“Of course you were happy, all men are happy when that happens,” Deana blurted out angling her head up to look into his green eyes before she shrugging her shoulders. “But of course I guess you could say some men can’t just get happy at all which is sometimes really depressing for the women because the men can’t talk the talk and walk the walk. It’s sad how that works you know. Some guys…”

“I think I know what goes on,” Grady chuckled turning her to face him as he reached his hand out to brush his thumb in against her cheek, feeling her soft skin underneath his touch. “It’s kind of obvious what it is if you get my point.”

“Well last night you didn’t know how things like that went because you seemed fine to me. In all honesty, I don’t see you as the type of guy that would be like that. It’s kind of like a personality,” she began taking in a deep breath grabbing his fingers in hers before she squeezed them tightly. “Did you ever have that problem because you really don’t seem like that type of guy, but who am I kidding? Everyone could be that type of guy and you would never know. Unless of course he tried to get it up around you and it didn’t work, leaving you upset because you were ready for more when in reality they weren’t ready for anything--just led you to believe they were. So really, did you have that problem?”

“Deana, are you nervous or something?” Grady mumbled noticing how much she was talking as he let out a small laugh and shook his head slowly not wanting to talk about this subject anymore. “Though you know, I would love to have a night like we had again.”

“You’re right,” Deana stepped up on her toes leaning in to kiss Grady softly feeling his hand settle in over the small of her back. “I would love to do that too.”

“This isn’t a motel,” Zack’s voice erupted through her ears making her jump back seeing him standing next to her as she fixed her posture. “Aren’t you working right now? Answer me.”

“Well yeah,” Deana answered seeing Zack’s angry eyes staring into hers as she took another small step back away from Grady. “I’m actually on break right now though.”

“The break is over, get back to work,” Zack demanded seeing her look to Grady as he got angered and snapped his fingers at her. “I said get back to work, now!”

“I guess I will talk to you later,” Deana quickly rushed off not wanting to lose her job this early in being in the new town.

“I suggest you go home because you aren’t going to get laid here,” Zack scowled at Grady seeing the way that Grady glared at him before walking off leaving Grady alone.

“I’m so tired of that SOB,” Don’s voice declared as Grady turned his head to the side seeing Don step in next to him, looking about as happy as Grady had been right now. “He thinks he can go around talking to girls like that. There is something wrong with a man when he talks to a woman like that. He needs to get taken care of.”

“I agree,” Grady folded his arms out in front of his hard chest before shaking his head slowly. “That guy is a jerk and he needs to be taken care of sooner than later.”


Augustus sat across from Cheryl in the small café watching her playing with the mug of coffee in front of her. He spotted her taking a look around the nearly empty place before her gaze fixed on his again. She offered up a weak smile, but he could sense that there was a lot more happening behind her eyes.

“Thank you for this,” she motioned to the mug in her hand before forcing herself to pick it up and take a sip.

“It’s the least I could do,” he nodded in response eyeing her intently before speaking up again, “So would you care to talk about things or shall I?”

“I don’t really know what to say Augustus,” she admitted with a heavy sigh thinking about the long history she had with the Ashford family, “This isn’t exactly something I hoped you and I would be speaking to one another about after all these years. I kind of hoped that I would never be having this conversation with anyone.”

“Especially me,” he noted seeing something flash behind her eyes, “because the last thing you wanted to do was drudge up old memories of your time with my son.”

“It’s not exactly the kind of memory that awakens the brightest point in my life,” she sighed heavily setting the mug back down on the table again, “Other than my having Russ, I really pushed it all behind me until now.”

“Understandable,” he nodded revealing nothing about his emotions, “My son was quite the tyrant and I could see why you wanted to protect your son by sparing him the truth about his background.”

“You say that like you understand, but we both know how you feel about family Augustus,” she challenged meeting his dark eyes, “You hate the fact that I kept Russ from the empire admit it.”

“I had a right to be a part of his life,” Augustus mouthed in response, his jaw flexing at the thought, “I asked you point blank all those years ago if there was any possibility that he was an heir.”

“And I told you what I needed to in order to make sure that my son was safe. Nicholas never challenged or asked about it, so there was no need to drag his father into it,” Cheryl sat up straighter feeling a bit more defensive as he stared her down. “I told you back then that my husband and Grady were the world to me. I wasn’t about to risk that just so that you could embrace an Ashford heir.”

“Even so you should’ve…” he started again a frown touching over his lips.

“Should’ve what? Lost my husband and my family just so that you could have another piece of yours?” she shook her head adamantly, “No thank you. Nicholas would’ve destroyed Russ just like he has Brant and Ken and I refuse to allow my son to go down that path.”

“But when you think of all the things Russell would’ve been spared,” Augustus reminded her sharply shaking his head at her, “You were the one thing that my son was truly honest about in his life. You were the one person who could’ve gotten through to him.”

“He never loved me,” Cheryl argued with a small scowl, “Nicholas was lost in his own contemplations. Our time together was a passing phase and that was shown when he and Victoria started a family with one another.”

“He wanted a family with you. He wanted that life with you that you should’ve had together. He loved you Cheryl,” Augustus frowned back at her thinking about his son and the man he’d become. “If he would’ve had the life he wanted with you, then he might not have…”

“What? Changed?” she arched a doubtful brow, “Augustus I was never his to have in the first place. I loved my husband. I still do and what I had with Nicholas was just wrong. We never should’ve been in the first place.”

“I would imagine Russ would beg to differ with that one considering that your time with Nicholas gave Russ life,” Augustus added tightly thinking about the sins of the past, “My son loved you.”

“Your son loved power. He loved the seduction that it brought into his life and when he and I were over he never looked back. He entered a world of recklessness and there was no way in hell I would have allowed my son to grow up in that. I may have lied, but in doing so I saved his life. I gave Russ the chance he never, ever would’ve had with Nicholas,” she stated bluntly, her green eyes narrowing back at him, “I made a choice that was right for my son and I stand by it.”

“And he almost lost his life because of it,” Augustus frowned back at her reaching for his own coffee. He took a slow sip before facing her down again, “If Nicholas is still alive, then there would’ve been no way that he would’ve hurt Russ like that. He would’ve found a way to…”

“To what? To mold him into the next Brant? The next Kenneth?” Cheryl shook her head firmly, “My son deserved better than that. He deserved a chance at a real life with real happiness and that is something he never would’ve had with his father. Nicholas would’ve used Russ as a tool to manipulate the world around him--to manipulate me. He never could’ve loved Russ like Elliot does.”

“He never had the chance. You never gave him the opportunity,” Augustus found himself defending his son’s lack of position in Russell’s life.

“He had plenty of chances and opportunity with Victoria, but look what he did with that one,” Cheryl tossed back at out her son’s grandfather. “He destroyed her Augustus and I refused to let that happen to me and my family.”

“From where I stand it looks like it already has,” he noted catching her icy glare, “Russ has a lot of anger and bitterness inside of him.”

“Even so, he isn’t a part of you. He isn’t a part of your legacy and the very thing that has been the downfall of your family. He has everything he wouldn’t have as an Ashford. He has something much better,” Cheryl informed him point blank thinking about the life Russ had with her and Elliot. “He is free of everything that your family would hold over him.”

“Do you honestly believe that? Do you honestly think that he can escape who he is because you wish it so?” Augustus arched a curious brow. “No matter how many times you’ve tried to keep him from what he was, the fact to the matter is that he has Ashford blood running through his veins and he always will.”

“My son is a Denton. He was raised by a good man with a kind heart and I won’t let you or anyone hurt him. Nicholas may have tried to destroy him but I would rather die than see that happen. If he ever returns…” she warned sharply, her green eyes narrowing back at him and watching him hold his hand up in the air.

“If Nicholas reemerges, then you can rest assured that I will be the one dealing with him,” he explained matter of fact, “however, should he discover that Russ is his son…”

“You should be advising him to stay away. Isn’t it enough that he and Brooke Morrison teamed up to murder your great-granddaughter for the money that you refused to give him,” she spat out at him with heavy sarcasm, “You speak of the love your son was capable of, but what kind of man tries to have an innocent child murdered in the name of making a fortune. That is no father to me.”

“My son isn’t without fault, but neither are you. You should’ve given him an option,” Augustus informed her with a simple shake of his head, “because now we’re all out of options. Russ has a tremendous amount of stress to hold onto in his life. He and Brant are archrivals and there is no middle ground for our family…”

“And there won’t ever be one because Russ isn’t one of you. If you love him Augustus--if you truly care about him, then you need to stay away,” she warned him sharply, her words growing more passionate by the second, “You need to see to it that he is free to live his life without harm following him--without Nicholas returning to destroy him.”

“Russell is my blood and he shall never be touched by evil again,” Augustus assured her in a firm, commanding tone, “My grandson and his family will be free of the sins of the past. They will have that opportunity to have a happy life, but don’t expect that life to be without my taking part in it Cheryl. While you may have denied my son the one chance at happiness he could’ve claimed in his life, I hope you aren’t naïve enough to believe that I will allow yourself to deny me the same. I will include Russ into my life and there isn’t anything that you can do to change that.”

“If you even think about hurting him, then so help me god Augustus, you’ll discover a whole new meaning of a mother’s protective instincts with her child,” she warned him sharply before sliding out of the booth she had been seated in. She glared down at him before placing the strap of her purse over her shoulder, “Now that we have that out of the way I trust you understand where I stand on this position and that you won’t make an issue out of something that isn’t there or else we may find ourselves at a very tense, very unnecessary place with one another. I will not allow the curse your family has hanging over it‘s head find it‘s way into my son‘s life to destroy him.”

Augustus watched her turn away and walk out of the café leaving him to his coffee. He reached for the mug lifting it to his lips in her exit before he spoke up under his breath, “Oh I understand your position loud and clear Cheryl. Let’s just hope that you understand mine.”


“Why don’t you want to talk?” Nate popped his head behind the punching bag that Cori went to as he grabbed it holding it still for her. “I mean seriously, the only way you wouldn’t want to talk about this is if you were guilty. “So, are you guilty with this whole thing? Are you or aren’t you?”

“Why are you so interested?” Cori whispered taking another punch at the bag before her before aiming for his head seeing him pull back away from her fist. The way he was wiggling his eyebrows up and down at her in a tease made her want to rip his head off right now. “You don’t know anything about the situation so it doesn’t matter.”

“Let me know more about the situation,” Nate begged his green eyes staring out to her as she hit the bag again making him take in a deep breath at the force it came into his stomach. “What happened? Did he piss you off or something? So you wanted to get revenge?”

“You think that’s what happened?” Cori looked to Nate seeing his dimples big before he nodded his head cockily. Cori took another punch at the bag before her before shrugging her shoulders. “You have an idea to how this story went? Well let me hear it.”

“You want to hear my side of what happened?” he questioned seeing her nod and he nodded too knowing that he could say exactly what he wanted because he knew he was right. “You picked the perfect time and the perfect moment. Picking a time when you knew Diego would be alone so he wouldn’t have someone to say they were with him.”

“Oh, I’m very clever. No proof,” Cori motioned him to go on seeing the way his green eyes were staring at her making her wonder if he was truly worried about her or something else. “Go ahead, don’t you have more to the story? Tell me what you think of me Nate.”

“Okay, I think you were never really with Diego that night,” Nate informed her with a confident nod knowing she was hating every word he was saying before he moved in closer to her. “You beat yourself up when you were alone and lied just to get the attention you wanted. Well now you got it, but you are trying to ruin a life in return. Isn’t that right Cori? He turned his back on you so you are making sure he pays for it the rest of his life. That’s how it’s going to be right? The truth is though, it’s not going to get better because you have so many troubles moving on.”

“You are very smart Nate,” Cori nodded slowly pulling her gloves off slowly before resting her hands against her hips. “So, did you just make it out of high school with just a barely passing grade or what?”

“Actually,” Nate went to answer her until he saw her kick the punching bag before her so hard that it brought it into the center of his chest and he was unprepared for the blow so it made him fall back. Catching his balance Nate looked up at her only to see Cori staring out towards the ground and that’s when he knew what was wrong. The tape player had fell out of his pocket in the time he had caught his balance making everything more obvious to her. “I can explain all of this Cori, really. It’s simple and…,”

“You ass,” Cori couldn’t handle her anger anymore as she moved forward knowing that Nate would be unprepared for any blow as she brought her knee up into his groin hearing him squeal out before falling to the ground. “That should teach you a lesson for trying to do something like that.”

“Baby, that hurt,” Nate grumbled, his hands settling in over the front of his slacks as he let out a small groan crossing his eyes before closing them tightly. The sound of the tape player rewinding was heard as he opened his eyes to see her pull out the tape and drop it to the floor, stomping on it before she dropped the tape player back on him. “Don’t worry, I still love you.”

Nate watched Cori shake her head before walking off in the other direction as he tried to withstand the pain that was transferring over his body at the moment. There was no other choice for him, he knew that he had to continue to try and get her to confess or he was never going to get out of this community service. Sooner or later he knew that she would confess to him, it was just a matter of time before she did and when she did--he would be ready.


“I don’t understand,” Angela frowned upon hearing Kevin’s words, “What does Chris have to do with my happiness with Brant? He doesn’t even know about us finding one another again.”

“Yes he does Angie,” Kevin confessed with a heavy sigh, “and I have to be honest when I tell you he’s less than thrilled about it happening.”

“But how?” Angela questioned blankly confused by his words. “I mean yeah I know I haven’t been back to his place, but I told him I was going to leave after the party. Things with Chris and I weren’t exactly working out like I was hoping.”

“Which means you started sleeping with him again, right?” Kevin arched a knowing brow.

“For your information I was most certainly not sleeping with Chris,” she brought her arms in front of her chest protectively, “Not that it’s any of your business.”

“Look Angie, I realize that you’re kind of clueless when it comes to Chris, but the man has it bad for you. He always has and he’s looking for any and every excuse to find a way back into your life,” Kevin informed her point blank. “When you came to Coral Valley I’m sure he felt like this was his big chance to change the way your story ended. Knowing Chris he’s already planning that walk down the isle that you didn’t take with him the first time around.”

“Kevin it’s not like that,” Angela frowned in response, “He and I were just working together to…”

“To what Angie? What could you possibly have going on with Chris?” he couldn’t help but ask wondering why she’d been so stupid to bring back an old trouble spot again.

“He was trying to help me find out about my mother. I tried talking to Cameron, but I got nowhere. Chris promised me more answers and I had to go with that,” she informed him with a frustrated groan. “That’s why I contacted Chris in the first place.”

“And what did he find for you exactly? Anything worthwhile or was it just another wild goose chase as always?” he couldn’t help but ask her.

“He saw that my mom was here in Coral Valley with my father. They found one another at that place the party was held at--that’s where they fell in love and where I came into this world in a round about way,” she informed him with a dramatic huff. “From what I’ve learned they had a magical romance that started in that very place, which is why my father never let that building go. It held something special to him--something that’s a part of my past--a part of me even.”

“Okay, I can understand you wanting to find that Angie, but…” Kevin began again worried about what Chris had in mind for her now.

“But nothing. Kevin can’t you see that if I hadn’t contacted Chris, then I never would have come to town? I wouldn’t have gone to that party and I most certainly never would have found Brant again. It was fate that we ran into one another like we did--in that secret room of all places where I have no doubt my parents found one another that night they conceived me,” Angela continued thinking about her father. “Chris was trying to give me back a part of who I am and where I came from.”

“But at what price?” he took a small step towards her, “Angie I have to be honest with you when I tell you I ran into Chris earlier and he was fired up. He approached me and tried to talk to me about Brant. He warned me that Brant was completely wrong for you and…”

“And what?” Angela paused remembering an earlier conversation with Chris, “Oh my God.”

“What? What is it?” he asked with a worried expression on his face. “Angie?”

“Chris does know Brant,” Angela’s eyes widened at the memory of Chris’s words. “He hates Brant. I mean at the time when he told me about Brant, I didn’t really think that the Brant he was obsessing over was my Brant, but he must be. Chris has spent all these years hating Brant, yet he has to be wrong. He has no idea just what kind of man Brant really is. He doesn’t know the man I fell in love with--the man that fathered my children and…”

“Look I don’t care which Brant he does or doesn’t know. The point to the matter is that he’s upset and when Chris is upset you know trouble will follow,” Kevin shook his head remembering all of the things that Angela and Chris had gotten into with one another.

“I’ll just call him and tell him that it’s okay. If he sees how happy I am, then I’m sure he’ll back off. Maybe I can even find a way to mend fences between him and Brant somehow. In fact now that I think about it, I’ll just call him right now and…” she started towards the house only to feel Kevin catch her arm before she could go inside.

“No Angie, if you’re smart you’ll just stay far away from Chris before you wind up losing more than you’ll ever get back. Something about him isn’t right at the moment and the last thing I want to see happen is you putting yourself in jeopardy because you’re worried about his feelings. Right now the best thing you can do is stop making contact and just let it go. Then and only then will you be able to have what you’re hoping for with Brant,” Kevin warned fearing what wheels Chris had already put into motion to sabotage Angela’s newfound happiness.


“So what’s up Michael?” Brant questioned after closing the door to his study and taking a seat behind his desk. “What’s going on?”

“Have you seen today’s Coral Courier headline?” Michael questioned worriedly.

“No, why? Should I?” Brant asked curiously leaning back in his chair. He looked out the window to his study wondering if Angela and Kevin were still outside talking to Annie.

A smile swept over his lips at the thought of Angela. While he wasn’t sure what to expect with her, he knew that this was one ride that he could very easily spend the rest of his life enjoying figuring out. He loved her--as crazy as it sounded waking up with her in his arms in the morning had been perfect. Everything about having her with him seemed to make life so much easier--so much more fulfilling than the rouse he’d tried to convince himself was happiness with Avery. When Angela looked at him, she didn’t see a man who was trying to use to replace an old love, but rather her beautiful brown eyes found their way to reach the heart of him and made him want to fall even more in love with her than he already was. It sounded completely insane, yet Brant found himself hooked on the idea of what the future had in store for the both of them.

“Did you hear me?” Michael cut through Brant’s thoughts of how good life was starting to be for him.

“No, I’m sorry. I guess I was off in my own world for a second there considering that…” Brant offered up apologetically silently cursing himself for letting his thoughts get the best of him. He would really have to stop doing that if he was going to get anywhere with his business. “Now what was on your mind again?”

“Do you get the paper?” Michael questioned in an agitated tone. “Because if you don’t, I should strongly suggest you get one--or better yet take a look at what’s running on the Courier website.”

“Fine, but I’m telling you now that I really don’t care one way or the other about what that paper has to…” Brant stopped himself when he noticed the newspaper sitting on the edge of his desk. “Okay I have it right here.”

“Take a good hard look at the headline Brant,” Michael warned him as Brant did as instructed only to catch the headline in big, bold, black letters in front of him.

“BBK Miracle Drug a Fraud just like the man who runs the company,” Brant read aloud seeing a photo of himself splashed across the front page of the newspaper from when he’d been at the hotel to see Angela. He and Kevin were with one another clearly in the midst of a fist fight in the hallway outside Angela’s hotel room. Immediately Brant’s blood started to boil at what he was reading, but it wasn’t until he caught the name underneath the headline that the realization of just how ambushed he’d been in that moment in time. The author was none other than Chris Foley and in that instant everything suddenly made sense. “Son of a bitch!”


Heather felt her pulse leaping up into her throat, her head swirling with a combination of anger and lust now that Kyle’s lips devoured hers. She’d been ready to walk out of the lab--to walk out on their conversation when he’d stopped her pulling her back into his arms. There wasn’t much she could say about the situation because before she knew it all of her daring had pushed him beyond his limits. He’d been a man possessed and determined by his anger and now that his hands roamed greedily over her body, she couldn’t help but bask in the aftermath of his rage.

“Kyle,” Heather whimpered curling her arm around his torso and feeling him hard and throbbing against her. His body was shaking with the anticipation and hunger that their words had stirred up inside of him, yet she knew she should stop this. She should break away from the kiss, but instead she felt her leg curling around him squeezing him in closer to her--longing to feel more of him.

“I’m not finished with you,” Kyle muttered again and again placing tiny bites over her bottom lip before his mouth moved in over her neck to repeat the motion with delicate nips at her skin. She felt his hand slide up under her shirt cupping her breast in his oversized hand and she let out a small whimper.

“Kyle,” she cried out his name, bringing her hand up through his long, blonde hair that he’d had tied up in a ponytail.

She quickly tugged at the tie on his hair wanting it to be as unrestrained as his hunger for her was now that he had her trapped against the studio room wall. His fingers pressed in over the buttons of her blouse craving a connection with her skin. It didn’t seem fast enough for him when the top button popped open. He need more--needed to be reckless--to be daring and all of the things that she’d taunted him about being. He pulled back ever so slightly, his dark, hungry eyes meeting hers.

“I’m not a chicken Heather,” he announced ripping open the front of her shirt with such force that buttons flew over the studio causing a breath to catch in the back of her throat. He slid his thumbs up over her rib cage, tracing the line of the under wire of her bra. Their eyes connected once again. “I’m far from being a chicken.”

“Is that right?” Heather questioned in breathless anticipation licking her lips as he palmed her breast. She arched back into the wall crying out with sheer delight feeling his fingers make a more intimate contact with her skin.

“I’ve wanted you for a long time,” Kyle confessed in a raw, pained tone, pushing the material of her bra down over her soft flesh revealing her to his hungry gaze. He remembered holding her last night, touching her and stroking her with an uncomfortable intent hoping not to give himself away, but now in seeing her yearning for him he found all self-control slipping out of the window. Dipping down, he pressed a kiss against her soft skin, feeling her cry out as his tongue teased over her tip.

“Kyle,” she repeated his name knowing that she sounded like a broken record, but feeling his skilled tongue over her, it sent a thousand impulses over her, causing her to shake and writhe against him knowing that he would be her undoing if they let things continue at this pace. She placed her hand on his shoulder fully intending to slow things down, but found herself raking her nails down his back, over his muscled torso until she reached down to tug his shirt out of the top of his pants.

“Allow me,” Kyle mouthed stepping back enough to help her yank his shirt over his head before her returned to her pressing his body against her soft curves. His lips returned to hers again, while his hand worked magic over her exposed breast. “You’re even more beautiful than I remembered.”

“I never stopped thinking about this--about you and how intense you are,” Heather confessed feeling his hand press in over her thigh.

“I tried to forget--tried to pretend that you weren’t in my system, but I was wrong,” he admitted freely not caring about the risks involved in being honest with her. He massaged her soft skin, inching his hand up underneath her skirt until he had it up over her hips revealing the tiny blue thong she was wearing. He stopped kissing her long enough to admire it, “Blue. My favorite color.”

“I thought you liked this one,” she confessed feeling a blush rise over her at the way he was looking at her.

“I’ll like it even better when I get it on the floor and have your thighs around me instead,” he explained in a raw, sensual tone that Heather felt her body grow flushed from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.

She placed her hand over his belt working with it furiously, finding that dream of completion between them growing from a yearning to a need--one that wouldn’t be fulfilled until she had herself wrapped around Kyle, feeling the power of his body over hers, inside of her showing her again and again just how intense their union could truly be. It was like a dream she’d had over and over again, only this time it was really happening. He was here saying what he wanted her--kissing her like she was the only woman in the world.

“Keep talking that way and you’re going to get what you’re asking for,” she mouthed popping open the button on his pants, working down the zipper just enough to place her hand inside to touch him, to feel the massive force behind his passion. How she longed to hold him, to remind him of the desire that they’d only awakened in one another, to feel him move freely inside of her with that same unrestrained, uncontrolled yearning that had guided him thus far to be bold and uninhibited.

“Heather,” he groaned as she watched him close his eyes, whispering her name in such a way that it made her feel like the sexiest woman alive. She touched him again, feeling him grow rigid beneath her caress. It was too perfect, too powerful…too…

“Heather babe we’ve got problems!” Kellen’s voice explained over the moment causing both Heather and Kyle to snap out of the situation they’d put themselves into. Kellen spotted them over by the corner, seeing Kyle’s pants hanging just below his hips and he let out a gasp realizing what was going on between them. “Oh my God. I didn’t know that you two were…that this was…”

“Kellen I,” Heather tried to say something that came out cohesive, something that made sense, but as she looked to the hold she and Kyle had on one another, she knew that she’d been pushing it. They were moving into a dangerous place and it was something that neither one of them could afford to go into with one another.

She saw something flash over Kyle’s face. Something that could’ve been embarrassment or regret and suddenly she felt like she was ready to crawl out of her skin. That hit her like a ton of bricks. Suddenly all of the things that she’d been hoping for, the things she’d been longing for with Kyle felt even more out of her reach when reality hit. He was marrying her sister, not her and even if they’d had sex with one another that fact wouldn’t change. Abruptly feeling as if she’d done something horrible, Heather slid out from Kyle’s hold over her and rushed over to the bathroom at the far end of the studio.

“Look I had no idea that,” Kellen watched Heather’s retreat hearing the door slam shut. His blue eyes returned to Kyle seeing him fixing his pants before turning around to face him.

“You could have at least knocked,” Kyle growled in frustration, a heavy ache pressing in over him.

“And you could have at least closed the door but that’s the least of your problems right now considering that,” Kellen started to explain to Kyle when Sarah walked through the studio doors.

“There you are,” Sarah explained with a bright smile, “I’ve been looking for you all over.”

“Sarah, what are you…” Kyle’s jaw dropped when he realized just how close he’d come to making love to Heather and having Sarah walk in on them. Still holding his t-shirt in his hand, he felt his heart leap up into his throat, but what was worse was even though Sarah was standing in the room with him, his head and his heart were in that bathroom longing to go after the woman who had to be even more confused about what was happening than he was.

“Kyle,” Sarah gave him a long look eyeing him curiously, “What are you doing here and furthermore why are you shirtless? What’s going on?”


...to be continued...