Episode 328

“Thanks man,” Nate sat down at one of the tables at the smoothie bar after being helped over towards the table by one of the people who saw him get hit. Nate grabbed his smoothie from the table and placed it between his legs, letting out a small hiss before resting his head back slowly. “That stupid little…,”

“Stupid little what?” Cori stepped in next to the table seeing Nate sit up straight and glance over at her with a half frown. Cori took a seat across the table from him seeing his green eyes staring out to her. “What were you going to call me Nate?”

“I wasn’t going to call you anything,” Nate replied standing up from the table slowly and letting out a small hiss. He held his smoothie up before shaking his head. “I was going to call it a stupid little drink. It tastes funky.”

Cori watched Nate throw his drink away before walking away from her and she rolled her eyes knowing that Nate was up to something today. She didn’t know what it was, but it must have been something important enough with him recording her like that.

“Hey Nate,” Cori got up from her seat slowly seeing him resting against the counter trying to hold himself up from the pain he was still obviously feeling. Grabbing his shoulder and turning him around, she saw him reach for the clipboard next to him placing it in front of his groin to try and block her from hitting him. “What are you doing?”

“Protecting myself from you,” he answered tightly taking a step back slowly making sure he was father away from her than a kicking distance. “I’ve already lost the feeling for probably a week, I don’t want to make it a month.”

“You over exaggerate I hope you know,” Cori rolled her eyes seeing Nate shake his head slowly before gulping down when she rested her hands on her hips. “I just want to know what you were doing? So, what were you doing with that tape recorder?”

“I wasn’t doing anything,” Nate lied thinking about the pain he was feeling right now and it made him let out a small groan just thinking about. “Damn, can you kick. Did you play soccer or something?”

“For about two years, yeah,” she smiled widely seeing him close his eyes in pain before she became serious realizing that she had to go through with all of this. “I don’t recall you telling me about that tape recorder yet.”

“Maybe that’s because I haven’t told you,” Nate informed her with a small nod reaching out to the water bottle sitting out on the table. Loosening the cap he sniffed the water for a moment before shrugging his shoulders and taking a small gulp of it before putting it back. “I don’t understand you though. I don’t think you should lie about Diego honey.”

“And I don’t think you should drink from someone else’s bottle,” Cori replied in return seeing him nod slowly before shrugging his shoulders and back away from her slowly. “So what’s your point? We both don’t think we should do stuff.”

“I just think you should move on Cori, Diego isn’t worth it anymore,” Nate pointed out shaking his head slowly at the thought of Cori being with Diego and chasing after someone she could never have again. “You are hot enough to get any guy’s attention without stooping to that kind of moronic stuff. So why bother?”

“What do you mean by that?” Cori brought her hands out pressing them into the center of Nate’s chest as he fell back into the wall letting out a small laugh. “What are you laughing at?”

“You got mad, which means deep down you agree with me don’t you?” Nate questioned feeling her push him against as he let out a small chuckle. “Come on Cori, sooner or later you are going to have to realize--he isn’t the guy for you. You are perfect and he isn’t. Just let the person go because he doesn’t need the attention from you. You are way too good for him to even think about giving him this kind of attention.”

“You think I’m perfect?” Cori took a step back folding her arms out in front of her chest before shaking her head slowly. “No one has ever thought I was perfect, that’s where I know you are lying now.”

“No Cori, open your eyes,” Nate muttered seeing her look up at him with her dark brown eyes. Nate reached out to squeeze her shoulder friendly before offering up a small smile. “I kind of think it’s obvious I think you’re perfect if you actually think about it.”


“What’s going on Kyle?” Sarah asked again her dark eyes fixed on his naked upper half. A frown touched over her lips as she took a bold step forward, “Why are you shirtless?”

“If you must know the reason I’m shirtless is because,” Kyle stood taller opting to just go for the gusto and set the record straight once and for all where his relationship with Sarah had turned after all of the things that had taken place.

“He’s modeling,” Kellen piped in walking in over towards Kyle, “He’s doing this shoot for me, well filling in for me anyways because he’s just got a really nice as…abs. He’s got great abs. Don’t you think?”

Kellen waved his arm out in front of Kyle wiggling his brow at him before he saw the look of irritation over Kyle’s features. Kellen ignored it and smiled over at Sarah, grinning wider than before.

“You have no idea just how lucky any woman would be to have such a hot hunk like him at her side,” Kellen boasted thinking about just how hot things had been between Heather and Kyle seconds before Sarah had arrived. If she had any idea just how sexy Kyle truly was in his wild and primal mode, then she’d really be envious of what Heather had no doubt been experiencing.

“Modeling?” Sarah repeated looking over to Kellen with a small laugh, “Um no offense, but why would anyone want to see Kyle modeling considering that he’s not exactly your idea of Mr. GQ pretty boy there. No offense honey, but you’re a little too rough and dangerous to be any kind of perfume or underwear model.”

“Oh I think he can more than fill out underwear or less,” Kellen mouthed bending down to pick up one of the buttons that had fallen to the floor in Kyle and Heather’s moment of wild, frantic desire with one another. He shook it in his palm catching another look from Kyle alerting him that maybe it was time to just stop.

“All I’m saying is that modeling is the last thing I could see someone like Kyle doing,” Sarah wrinkled her nose at the thought before moving forward to place her arms around Kyle’s waist, “Even if you have pretty decent abs.”

“Actually I don’t mind modeling,” Kyle replied tightly fighting the urge to flinch at her hold on him. “It’s given me a real hands on approach in some situations and I think I rather enjoy it.”

“Oh I’ll bet,” Kellen quipped under his breath ready to say something more when he heard Blake approaching.

“There you two are. I can’t believe I lost you. One minute you were there and then the next,” Blake stopped as she spotted a shirtless Kyle, “Wow, you look hot. Let me guess Kellen talked you into modeling, right? I mean hey who wouldn‘t want to see you without your shirt on like that. No offense Sarah.”

“None taken, but I was actually telling Kyle that…” Sarah began again with a small frown as she felt Kyle pull away from her. He pulled his shirt over his head and set it right again before looking to Blake.

“Thank you. I appreciate the praise,” Kyle nodded in her direction before looking over to the door that Heather had disappeared behind.

“I just hope that Heather is treating you right,” Blake mouthed causing Kyle to practically jump out of his skin.

“Why would you say that?” Kyle questioned giving her a strange look wondering if Blake had figured out the way he’d felt for Heather.

“Well, she has a reputation of being a bitch and I would hate to think that she’s mistreating you now that you’re working for her,” Blake added hearing the sound of the door opening.

“Kyle is anything, but mistreated,” Heather replied stepping out into the studio wearing a navy colored jumpsuit that she’d pulled off one of the racks inside the changing area of the bathroom. She stepped towards the group trying to play it cool and casual even though her heart was hammering in her chest at the memory of being as close to Kyle as she had been moments earlier. “I treat him very well.”

“Almost too good,” Kyle explained a moment of lust burning behind his eyes. Seeing Heather standing before him only made him want to finish what they’d started with one another earlier. He wanted to hold her, to take her into his arms and kiss her like he’d never stop. Except there was one problem--Sarah.

“I highly doubt that,” Sarah muttered under her breath, “You know I still don’t understand why you let her talk you into doing what she wants Kyle. It’s not like she couldn’t find another model to use for her little shoot.”

“Maybe Kyle is happy modeling. He’s very good at it,” Heather folded her arms in front of her chest refusing to look at Kyle as she feared one look would give her away about her feelings for him.

“Yes, very, very good,” Kellen nodded stepping in beside Heather, “I’d even go out on a limb and say he was probably one of the best.”

Heather heard the hint of teasing behind his tone and she stomped on Kellen’s foot to get him to shut up. He winced and she waved her hand in the air, “There’s no need to brag Kellen. Kyle knows just how good he is at this modeling thing.”

“Better than I thought,” Kyle turned his attention to Sarah once again, “but seriously what are you doing here?”

“I was hoping that you’d cut your day short and spend some time with me,” Sarah leaned up on her toes to kiss him. “I missed you.”

“Sarah,” Kyle started to detangle himself from her arms, “I don’t really think that now is…”

“Oh Heather won’t mind if I take you back for a while. It’s not like she can’t find someone else to irritate,” Sarah wrinkled her nose at her sister, “Besides you’re mine and she’s just going to have to get used to the fact that she can’t have you as she pleases.”

“Maybe Kyle isn’t looking for someone to claim ownership Sarah,” Heather fought to repress the irritation in her voice at her sister’s icy glare. “Besides he’s on my time now since he’s still on the clock.”

“As far as I’m concerned you can take your clock and stick it up your…” Sarah directed her attention to Heather ready to launch an attack.

“Sarah stop,” Kyle warned sharply feeling Sarah reach out to embrace him again.

“You’re right, she’s so not worth it,” Sarah snuggled into his chest, “It’s just that I missed you so much baby and when I got to thinking about the man I’m going to marry, well I couldn’t help but pay you a visit. I just love you so much.”

“You know on second thought, I just remembered that I left something in the other room,” Heather blurted out feeling as if the wind was kicked out of her in seeing Kyle and Sarah with one another. It was almost too much to bear.

“Heather wait,” Kyle started seeing her retreat and feeling an ache swell up inside of him.

“Forget about her,” Sarah waved her hand dismissively, “We have other more important things to attend to with one another.”

“You’re right,” Kyle nodded a newfound determination pressing in over him, “You’re absolutely right Sarah. We need to talk right now.”

“Now that’s what I was hoping for,” Sarah squeezed him once again.

“Would you excuse us?” Kyle glanced over at Blake and Kellen before guiding Sarah out into the hallway with him ready to give her a talk she’d never forget.

“You know, I think I’m going to check on Heather,” Kellen held his finger up in the air knowing full well that Heather had to be in a state of turmoil right now.

“Um okay,” Blake shrugged her shoulders seeing Kellen rush off towards the changing area as Blake wondered what in the world was going on with everyone now that they’d all made a quick retreat. No matter, she decided taking a seat in one of the chairs in the hopes that maybe Seth would return to the studio area and she’d get a word in with her fiancé as well.


“So tell me why are you wasting your time and your talents in a place like this?” Sarah questioned with a huff turning around to face Kyle after he’d lead her out of the studio. “I mean honestly what the hell could you benefit from in having Heather around you all of the time? She’s a pain in the ass and…”

“And I like what I do here Sarah. I like being around Heather,” he admitted honestly thinking about just how much he enjoyed being around Heather. Even now he could still taste her lips over his, feel her kiss on his lips and his blood boiled at the way it felt to touch her--to be holding her with the promise of passion on his lips threatening to take him to the edge and beyond.

“Now I know you’ve lost your damn mind,” she wrinkled her nose at him before shaking her head, “I mean really, did the drugs Susan gave you make you stupid or something? My sister is a bitch and anything she does causes some kind of issues, yet you’re being sucked right into it when you should be helping me help our friend.”

“Excuse me,” he blinked back at her trying to contain his surprise at the sharpness in her tone.

“Diego,” she stomped her foot down before placing her hands on her hips impatiently, “or have you forgotten your obligation to the man who helped you when Susan almost killed you? He risked himself to save you and even talked me into giving you another chance after you blew it by abandoning me. If it wasn’t for Diego then you would be out on your own and you wouldn’t have what we have together anymore.”

“Gee, I never thought about it that way,” Kyle muttered under his breath, thick sarcasm in his tone at the way his situation had gone from bad to worse with Sarah.

“Yeah well maybe you should because he’s a real friend Kyle. You on the other hand think that you can have something playing dress up with my sister, but face the fact Kyle, you aren’t going to be on the cover of GQ and women aren’t going to buy into Heather’s vision of you and sexy,” she rolled her eyes back at him before letting out a small huff. She shook her head before stepping forward and tracing her fingers over the center of his chest, “I mean naturally I think you’re sexy because you’re my man and I know just what you’re capable of when it comes to passion, but most women wouldn’t even bother to give you another look at first glance. You know that as well as I do.”

“You’d be surprised at how many women would want me Sarah,” Kyle stiffened beneath her touch feeling her fingers tracing over his abdomen and sending a moment of repulsion carrying over him.

“Yeah, they might think that you’re a stallion baby, but when it comes down to it right now you’re broken and that would be something most women wouldn’t tolerate,” she glanced down to the center of his slacks before licking her lips ever so slightly, “I do miss that part of our relationship baby, but rest assured I’m patient enough to wait for it to happen again. I’m sure if you seek some therapy and maybe get on some medication we can get it working for you again. You might be as good as new and…”

“I’m just fine Sarah,” he pushed her hand away from him and frowned, “and I can’t believe I’m hearing you talk this way.”

“Well it’s true Kyle. I mean really what kind of relationship could you give someone when you can’t even get it up,” she let out a small, dry laugh, “Baby I love you and that’s why I’m still with you, but most women wouldn’t tolerate something like that. They couldn’t take not being able to share intimacy with the man they loved. It’s really hard on a person.”

“And what you’ve done to me isn’t?” he folded his arms in front of his chest, “You know Sarah I really think that there is a lot you and I need to still talk about.”

“I know we do, but maybe we should do this somewhere else. You are supposed to pay Diego a visit later and then maybe we could take a trip out of town. Maybe we can go to that little place you bought and try to get reacquainted with one another. You never know what might happen should we get away from all the pressures and the chaos. We might even find that you and I have something to bond about,” she stepped forward curling her arms around his waist and smiling, “We might even be able to get you thinking about what it was like when we were together before. You might feel inspired if you catch my drift.”

“I don’t think so,” Kyle shook his head firmly, his thoughts lingering to how inspired he was around Heather. Knowing full well how much being around Heather had impacted him, Kyle prepared to tell Sarah like it was, “Actually Sarah there is something I need to tell you. I know that you and I have had a lot happen between us…”

“And we’re stronger because of it,” she squeezed him in her arms tightly, “You and I can have that family and future we’ve always dreamt about. When we have our baby we can finally be free to love one another like we always talked about. You can be a father and this time it’s with someone you love instead of someone who never deserved you in the first place.”

“You know what…” he started ready to say something more when he spotted the man he’d hired in to help with the security system approaching the two of them.

“Kyle, I’ve been looking all over for you man. We’re having a problem downstairs with the new camera system and…” he explained clearing his throat uneasily, “I don’t mean to interrupt, but I’ve been trying to catch you all day and…”

“Say no more. I’m on it,” Kyle promised worming his way out of Sarah’s arms. He tipped his head to the side to look at her before offering up a polite, yet forced smile, “I have to get back to work.”

“You need to get back to us,” she frowned up at him, “Forget about Heather and all of this playtime she’s having on Cameron’s money. You need to be with me and start doing what you were meant to do with us.”

“Sarah I’m working,” he informed her point blank, “and whether you like it or not this is my job and I’m not leaving.”

“Fine, then when are you coming home,” she frowned folding her arms in front of her chest and glaring at him.

“When I get home,” he tossed back at her before turning to the man at his side and taking off with him in the hopes of getting some much needed space now that Sarah had managed to get him worked up all over again. Top that off with the fact he’d almost made love to Heather only to have it come to an abrupt ending and that made him more than uneasy about the situation surrounding him. One thing he realized however was that the situation would have to change because there was only so much he could take of what he was in!


“Brant are you there?” Michael questioned after the line seemed to have gone dead. “Brant?”

“I’m here,” Brant answered tightly, his voice tight and agitated now that he’d read the headline slandering him far more than he’d thought possible even from someone like Chris Foley. “Look I’ll call you back in a few minutes. There’s something I need to do.”

“Brant I…” Michael’s words were cut off by the slamming of the telephone back down on the base.

Despite the fact that Brant had kept his cool on the phone with Michael seeing the article in front of him had him more than upset. He started to crumble the newspaper wishing more than anything that it was Chris Foley he was tearing down to pieces after this slanderous assault not only on Brant’s company, but on his character. It was as if history was repeating itself once again with the journalist that simply didn’t get a clue on when to back off. Of course for the life of him Brant couldn’t figure what had prompted this latest attack. Sure, he and Chris had exchanged words recently, yet…

“I’m going to kill him,” Brant mouthed standing up from his chair filled with a sudden rage now that his thoughts turned towards lashing out at Chris.

“Murder isn’t becoming of you,” Kevin noted stepping into Brant’s study and catching him off guard, “especially when you mention the word him. It implies that you’re unhappy with someone of the male persuasion and since I’ve stepped in on your romantic morning with Angie…”

“Believe it or not you’re not on my hit list,” Brant sighed in an almost groan wanting more than anything to strangle Chris for what he’d done. “This is personal. Come to think of it, how did you get in here?”

“Angie was getting a little cold, so she suggested we come back inside. I told her I’d go find you since she was getting dressed,” Kevin shrugged his shoulders simply, “I guess I just got to taking a look around the house and here you are. So tell me, what seems to be the problem?”

“The problem is that I’m going to murder a trash tabloid reporter who hides behind the rouse of being a journalist,” Brant’s voice rose with obvious anger. “For some reason this man refuses to just let the past be the past and he’s working like crazy not only to bury me professionally, but personally as well. Needless to say it’s not exactly what I need right now considering that my company is on the threshold of…”

“Let me guess,” Kevin took a small step forward noting the crumpled newspaper in his hand, “his name is Chris Foley, right?”

“He’s just a…” Brant paused giving him a strange look, “How did you know that?”

“Let’s just say I make it my job to know where a potential problem is,” Kevin offered up not wanting to get too detailed with Brant about the problems Chris presented for him just yet. “Care to show me what it is that he’s done now?”

“Well, since this does in part involved you,” Brant groaned inwardly holding the newspaper out to Kevin. “It seems we were being watched the other night when we were fighting. It was one of those moments where the paparazzi clearly had nothing better to do with their time then take photos of us together.”

“Wait a second,” Kevin started to take the newspaper from him, “Are you saying that I’m somehow involved in this?”

“Take a good look at the photo on the front page,” Brant motioned for Kevin to unfold the newspaper he’d just crumpled. “And while you’re at it read the caption underneath it. Apparently not only did Chris have no problems trying to trash my name and my reputation, but he felt the need to drag you into it too.”

“What do you…” Kevin stopped himself seeing a photo of him and Brant splashed on the center of the page. It appeared to be from when they were in the hallway fighting outside of Angela’s hotel room and in the corner there was another photo of them talking by the bar with one another. It wouldn’t have been so bad except for the words underneath.

“Do you see it?” Brant asked catching the way Kevin’s jaw tightened as his dark eyes skimmed the page.

“I don’t believe this,” Kevin scowled in a low growl, “Has he completely lost his mind?”

“I don’t think he had one to begin with considering while he might think he can challenge me, if I were him I don’t think I’d be going up against a big guy like you there,” Brant added knowing full well that he had the power and influence to bury Chris himself, but Kevin, well he was just about the size of a titan and could easily crush Chris with one sweeping blow if need be.

“Son of a bitch!” Kevin snapped crumpling up the page once again and shaking his head. “I knew he was a snake, but I had no idea that he’d go this far.”

“Yeah well take a number because you aren’t the only one who is surprised considering that Chris not only slandered my business ethics, but now he’s telling the world that I switched teams and am now seeing you,” Brant recoiled at the headline reaching for the paper again. “Here I am trying to move on with my life with Angela and I get this. Brant Ashford not only is unscrupulous with his business, but it would seem that his taste for the ladies has diminished now that there are no more ‘single, nitwit, nothing inside their head but plenty inside their breasts’ women in this town. Why he has even surprised us here by proving that he’s moved on from stupid women to increasingly larger muscle-bound idiot men with his latest conquest Mr. Kevin Adonis, a former bodyguard with mob ties and a taste for rich, eccentrics like Brant has been known to be. Sources say that these two not only shared drinks at the bar at the Coral Valley hotel, but later sauntered up to a secluded penthouse room for the rest of the evening to settle into passion with one another after spending hours flirting at the bar. While we can’t confirm or deny what went on in that room between them, one of the hotel occupants has noted that their ‘experience’ with one another was ‘very loud and filled with passionate cries for most of the evening’ which could mark the beginning of the end of Brant’s taste for the female persuasion….”

“Okay just stop,” Kevin pulled the newspaper away from Brant again with an exaggerated huff. “You don’t have to worry about this one because I’m going to kill him myself. I’ll handle this.”

“No, you’re going to have to stand in line because I’m going to kill him,” Brant decided ready to rip Chris’s fingers off one by one so that he could never write another outright lie again.

“No, you stay here. If you go after Chris then Angie is going to be upset with you,” Kevin started to explain to him, “He’s sort of the reason why I came over here earlier to talk to the both of you.”

“I don’t understand,” Brant frowned up at him.

“Let’s just say I had an encounter with him earlier and I know he’s trouble. He’s tried to get Angie into trouble in the past and while she’s too good hearted to see what he’s about, I’m well aware of what kind of a nightmare he can give the both of you,” Kevin crumpled the paper up tighter than before. “Let me handle this. You just stay here with Angie and make sure that she doesn’t hear anything about what he’s done. Right now the last thing she needs is to be getting upset considering that…”

“That she’s got enough on her mind,” Brant finished for him with a nod. “I’ll do my best, but…”

“Trust me I’ll take care of this. In fact I’ll go get started on it now,” Kevin tucked the newspaper into his jacket pocket. “If Angie asks where I went, just tell her I’ll be back later--that something came up.”

“Kevin, this guy is a snake and while I’m sure you could very easily break his neck, I don’t want you to sink to his level,” Brant offered up grateful that Angela’s best friend wanted to help him out, yet the last thing he wanted was to get Kevin in over his head.

“Trust me Brant. I’ll make sure this doesn’t happen again. You have my word on that,” Kevin promised leaving the study in the hopes of finding a way to put an end to the trouble that Chris was trying to stir up in Angela’s life. If nothing else Kevin was convinced he would find a way to keep Chris quiet long enough for Angela to have a happy life without his lies only adding fuel to the fire that seemed to surround Angela’s life lately.


Russ stood in the living room thinking about the way things had started off for him and Avery leading to this moment in time. Things had been quieter now that the day had settled down a bit after Gabe and Guy had left and now that he heard Avery with Erin, he hoped that she would be more at ease than she’d been lately. Worried about her, Russ listened to her on the baby monitor for a moment hearing her humming to Erin before he smiled.

“That’s right Erin. Let mommy know how much we love her,” Russ mouthed to himself thinking about all the ways that he would try to help Avery keep her mind off of the things that she couldn’t change in her life--the things that were clearly weighing her down.

“A day of romance and quiet will be good for us,” Russ decided thinking about what he had in store for Avery. He was certain it would be enough to lift her spirits and as he moved over to his desk, he picked up the newspaper to kill some time while she was with Erin. After that he would find a way to give her a day she’d never forget.

“You’re going to love it,” Russ mused to himself walking over to the couch and taking a seat ready to relax with the newspaper and read the headlines when one in particular caught his attention. He practically choked on the headline when his eyes fell upon it. “What in the…”

“Hey honey,” Avery stepped out into the living room to see Russ in a state of shock. She frowned, “What is it?”

“Have you seen this yet?” Russ questioned with a gulp unable to repress the reaction that the headline had stirred up inside of him. “Avery, have you seen my newspaper lately?”

“Of course I have,” she nodded moving in beside him, “Although I haven’t read it in the last couple of weeks considering that…”

“That we’ve just been put into a situation that’s going to cost me my paper,” Russ frowned knowing full well that Brant would be on the attack after the slanderous report on him soon enough.

“What are you talking about?” Avery reached for the paper snatching it out from his hand. She skimmed over the page and let out a gasp of her own, “Oh my God. I don’t believe this. How in the world can he do this?”

“That’s what I’d like to know,” Russ shook his head thinking about how Chris’s latest article went against everything he’d founded his newspaper on. It wasn’t that Chris had launched a personal attack on Brant but rather that he’d used the one thing that Russ had kept pure and untainted by the rest of Coral Valley life to do it. “Avery, I don’t understand how this could happen. You assured me that he was a man of integrity and someone that you felt comfortable handing my paper to…”

“He had all the qualifications,” Avery started seeing the anger burning behind Russell’s green eyes. “Your father and I both agreed that he was someone who could give the paper what you wanted it to have…”

“This isn’t what I wanted,” Russell motioned to the paper in her hand. “This was the last thing I wanted for my newspaper--the last thing that I wanted for us. You know this is going to fall back on you and me. Brant is going to see it and think this is our way of attacking him for all he’s done.”

“But that’s not true. You and I both know that…” Avery began in a worried tone, hating to see him so upset.

“That what? That Brant will just blow it off?” he shook his head before letting out a long groan, “Avery you and I both know that’s not how it works. Right now he’s going to be furious with me because he’s already jealous that you and I are together…”

“Russ, I’m sure that if we just explain to him,” Avery started uneasily.

“Explain what? That Chris ran this all on his own? He’s never going to buy it,” Russ remarked sourly, “Hell I wouldn’t even buy it if I were him and that’s saying something.”

“So what are you going to do?” Avery couldn’t help but ask.

“I’m going to go to the source Avery. I need to stop this before it escalates into something,” Russell motioned to the newspaper again, “Did you catch the bit on the both of us?”

“No,” she shook her head, “I didn’t get that far.”

“Yeah well let’s just say he made a point to not only slam Brant, but mention that I’m a part of that family--that the whole nonsense with the DNA testing went on at the hospital and he told the world that Erin is an Ashford,” Russell explained worriedly, “and we both know if Nicholas sees that…”

“Oh my God,” Avery gasped horrified, “You don’t think that he’ll come after Erin, do you?”

“All I know is that man wasn’t supposed to print something like that ever at my paper,” Russell marched across the room to reach for his jacket, “but now that he has it’s going to have to be up to me to put an end to this.”

“Russ, where are you going?” Avery asked worriedly. “I thought that we were going to stay here and…”

“I just need to go to the office and,” he paused giving her a long look, “Avery, look I don’t mean to run out on you like this, but if I don’t work some major damage control right now…”

“It’s okay,” she sighed heavily hating to see him go, “It’s just that we had a lot to talk about and…”

“Can you call Jenna or something,” he questioned moving in towards her, “Maybe invite her over for a little while?”

“That’s not really necessary,” she shook her head, “I mean I can just rest here while Erin is sleeping and…”

“Avery, I really think that you should call Jenna,” he suggested once again remembering her earlier outburst. “It might be good for you two to catch up with one another.”

“You mean it might be good for me to have a babysitter right?” she frowned up at him. “What? Do you think I can’t be trusted with our daughter?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying at all,” he promised moving in beside her. “I just thought that maybe after this article has been printed it’s not smart for you and Erin to be alone. Come to think of it, why don’t you both just go with me to the office? I can get her dressed and…”

“No, that doesn’t make any sense,” she shook her head in refusal, “She just fell asleep and you’re right. I haven’t seen Jenna in a long time. I’ll call her and invite her over. We can catch up with one another. Did you know she’s pregnant?”

“Really,” Russell’s eyes widened with surprise.

She nodded again, “Yeah she and Hart are pretty serious and while they didn’t want to let anyone know about it, Brant and I kind of figured it out…”

Russ watched her stop herself at the mention of Brant’s name. Still he tried to ignore the uncomfortable moment that was hanging over him at the thought of the man who’d caused them more problems than he could ask for. “Well I’m happy for them. It sounds like they have a lot ahead of them.”

“They really do,” Avery nodded looking up at him lovingly, “Just like we do.”

“They’d be very lucky if they have half of what we do with one another,” he mouthed leaning down to kiss her tenderly.

“I love you so much,” she murmured curling her arm around his neck and pulling him in closer to her. “I hate to see you go.”

“I won’t be long,” he promised kissing her once again and feeling a lingering need to stay with her. “When I get back I promise you we’re going to have a romantic night together.”

“I’d like that,” she smiled up at him, “It’s been too long for us Russ.”

“I know it has,” he nodded in response kissing her again, “but I swear to you when I get this mess cleaned up at the newspaper, then you and I are going to spend our time focusing on each other and Erin like we’ve wanted to do since I’ve been back.”

“I can’t wait,” Avery confessed squeezing him closer to her in the hopes that his dealings at the paper would go as smoothly as he made it sound so that they could truly focus on one another all over again.


“Hey doctor,” Shannon smiled stepping in behind Don and placing her hand on his shoulder gently seeing his blue eyes looking over his shoulder at her. “I’m feeling a little sick, you think you could give me a check up?”

“Now that you mention it,” Don turned to face Shannon rubbing his hands together slowly, biting down on his bottom lip as he moved in closer to her. “I am on break right now, so maybe I can do whatever I can to help you feel better sweetheart.”

“You’re such a dork,” Shannon laughed reaching up to wrap her arms around Don’s neck to hug him tightly, hearing his deep laugh in her ear. Moving back she pressed a quick kiss against his lips before settling her right hand in over the side of his neck. “How has your day been honey?”

“Kind of interesting,” Don informed her with a small nod thinking about everything that had been going on lately as he shrugged his shoulders and reached out to push a piece of Shannon’s blonde hair behind her ear. “How about yours?”

“It has been one hell of a day actually. I’m telling you, I might be able to make a great book with everything that I have been witnessing today,” Shannon inhaled deeply reaching down with her left hand to lace their fingers together. “You think we can go to the lounge or something to chat about it because I think I really need to get this off my chest.”

“Alright, no problem honey,” Don led her over towards the corner of the hallway and into the lounge so he could give her some time to talk to him while he was on break. Taking a seat at one the tables he motioned her to go on when he held her hands in his tightly. “What’s on your mind?”

“Well,” Shannon went to go say something when a doctor brought two coffees over for the both of them and Don offered up a wide smile before nodding to them in a thanks. “Wow, that was kind of weird.”

“It’s okay,” Don chuckled reaching out with his left hand to grab the coffee and take a small sip of it. “What’s wrong honey, go on. I want to hear what’s going on.”

“I went to go see Diego and what I heard was unbelievable,” Shannon declared reaching for her own coffee and taking a small sip of it before shrugging her shoulders. “I guess what led Cori to all of this with him was that he left her for another woman. That woman being Sarah Marx in fact…”

“Sarah,” Don spat out some of his coffee before nodding slowly and wiping at his mouth with the back of his hand. “To tell you the truth honey, I think I kind of already know about that. Sarah kind of seems like a slut if you ask me.”

“Yeah, I kind of figured that out for myself,” Shannon cleared her throat uneasily before shaking her head slowly and thinking about everything that had been happening with Diego knowing that this was all caused because of his relationship with Sarah. “Which actually makes me kind of worried knowing what she is like.”

“Why is that?” he pondered her answer squeezing her right hand in his tighter before shrugging his shoulders. “I mean in all honesty, I guess it doesn’t matter as long as she doesn’t get in your business right?”

“Not right, she is going to hurt a lot of people--not only Diego, but,” Shannon paused pulling her hands away from Don before shaking her head slowly. “She’ll be hurting Kyle and Kyle is one of my good friends too. God Don, I have to let him know this. I have to let him know what she is doing behind his back. I can’t let him get hurt.”


Kellen knocked onto the door in the dressing room that Heather had disappeared into knowing full well that she could hear him inside. Reaching for the knob, he turned it finding himself delighted that it was unlocked. He spotted Heather over by the far end of the room leaning forward to look in the mirror, with her blonde hair hiding her face from his eyes.

“Kellen, I want to be left alone,” she explained in a tight, numb tone. “Just get back to work.”

“My work is in here,” he closed the door behind him catching that she appeared to be upset with what had just happened outside.

“I thought I told you to get that damn lock fixed on the door,” she cursed at him under her breath hating the idea of having him seeing her so wound up after the confrontation with Sarah.

“I’ll get right on it,” Kellen waved his hand dismissively before moving in closer to her, “but right now I want to talk about you and about what’s going on.”

“Nothing’s going on,” she lied standing up straighter and trying to shield the obvious frustration and disappointment that had carried over her. She pulled open one of the drawers in the vanity and sought out some makeup to cover up the few moments of tears that had carried over her when Sarah had come in staking her claim on Kyle.

“You’re horrible at telling stories,” Kellen stepped in behind her placing his hands on her shoulders, “which is why you could never be a writer dear. You just can’t bluff.”

“I can bluff with the best of them,” she huffed her green eyes meeting his in the mirror with his reflection. “I’m fine Kellen.”

“No you aren’t, but hell I wouldn’t have been either after having a man that fine with me like you did,” Kellen added with the beginnings of a smirk, “He does happen to have one of the best behinds I have ever seen in my life.”

“You weren’t supposed to see that Kellen,” she scoffed in response shaking her head at him.

“I don’t care. I did and I liked it probably almost as much as you did holding it,” he wiggled his brow at her suggestively, “So I can see what I said before about you and Kyle being meant for one another is dead on. You do like him like he likes you.”

“What you walked in on was a mistake,” Heather shook her head adamantly trying to dismiss her feelings for Kyle. “You never should’ve seen that because it never should’ve happened.”

“Oh it should’ve happened and it shouldn’t have had to end like that,” he urged her to turn around and face him again, “Heather admit it you feel something for him.”

“It doesn’t matter what I feel,” she pushed away from him crossing the room to find something else to put on, “He’s engaged to Sarah and he wants to be with her. I’m not part of that plan Kellen.”

“Maybe that plan was never meant to be,” Kellen scratched his chin lightly before leaning back on the counter, “Besides from what I saw it looked like Kyle has other more important plans with you.”

“Sarah’s pregnant with his baby. That in itself should tell you how ridiculous it is for you to even suggest that Kyle and I belong together,” she shook her head firmly before glaring over at him, “You shouldn’t encourage something that shouldn’t be happening.”

“You keep tossing shouldn’t out at me, but I don’t really believe that’s the way you see it,” he informed her point blank. “Come to think of it I would say it’s safe to admit that this is something you want more than anything.”

“What I want is to get back to work and stop having you put ridiculous ideas into my head,” Heather scoffed back at him marching over to the door and pulling it open with a huff. She stepped out into the studio only to discover Sarah and Blake over at the far end of the room talking to one another.

“So Kyle told me after he gets off of work he’s going to go with me to look at things for the nursery,” Sarah boasted to Blake, a wide grin carrying over her, “He said he hates to be stuck here all day when he would rather be with me, but unfortunately Heather has him here doing all her dirty work.”

“Kyle’s here because he wants to be,” Heather mouthed bitterly making a move over towards Sarah, “He’s here because this is where he belongs.”

“He belongs at home with me planning for our baby Heather. When he‘s done with that trivial b.s. that you have him doing downstairs he‘s leaving with me,” Sarah replied with heavy emphasis placing her hand over her abdomen, “You know as well as I do that a family is everything Kyle has ever wanted and for you to distract him from what is important is a sin.”

“I’m not doing anything wrong Sarah,” Heather frowned back at her sister fighting to contain her emotions over the situation. She glanced down at Sarah’s abdomen and felt her body stiffen at the thought of Sarah and Kyle having a future with one another.

“Heather, the mere fact that you have put Kyle into a position where he took pity upon you and your little company only proves that you’re bilking the situation in your favor when you know full well Kyle should be dedicating himself to his child,” Sarah rolled her eyes back at her before glaring, “Of course as always it has to be all about you, doesn’t it?”

“You know what Sarah…” Heather started before stopping herself and taking a step back in not wanting to lose her control completely.

“What Heather?” Sarah challenged with an icy smirk, “What could you possibly have to say to me? That your little company is important? That Cameron gave you something to play with to shut you up because we both know that there isn’t anything else in this world that you’re good at? Hell, you aren’t even good at being a mother after everything is said and done. The fact to the matter is that you wouldn’t have any of this if it wasn’t for Kipp pampering you and again it’s out of pity.”

“Just…go to hell Sarah,” Heather mouthed in response not bothering to dignify Sarah’s taunting with anything further. She spun on her heel before marching out of the studio in an attempt to get away from her sister before she killed her.

“I think you’re just about finished here and you can show yourselves out,” Kellen added after having taken in the situation between the two sisters.

“Of course,” Blake nodded unable to believe what had just happened in front of her. Once Sarah and Blake were alone again, Blake couldn’t help but speak up, “What was that all about?”

“My sister can’t make it anywhere on her own. She always has to sucker in a man to get what she wants. This isn’t any different,” Sarah frowned over at Blake, “but I’m not going to let her take Kyle down in the process. He feels sorry for her because no one wanted her around her whole life, but that isn’t an excuse to keep him away from his family. She just wants to try to make me and Kyle miserable.”

“Kyle didn’t look miserable,” Blake noted thinking about how much fun it appeared that Kyle had been having earlier, “I think modeling is good for him.”

“Kyle wouldn’t know what was good for him if it bit him in the butt, but fortunately for him he has me and I can guide him in the right direction,” Sarah boasted placing her hand over her abdomen again and vowing that she would do anything and everything in her power to keep Kyle away from Heather at any cost!


“I’m going to kill that son of a bitch,” Kevin declared to himself walking through the hallways towards the front door to let himself out. Just imaging the words that Chris had wrote in that paper made him cringe. Him and Brant? “That’s just disgusting and I swear--he’s so dead.”

“Uh oh,” Angela’s voice echoed through his ears making him stop before reaching the door. Angela stepped in behind him placing her hand on his shoulder as his brown eyes eyed her over slowly. “Who are you going to kill now?”

“No one,” Kevin smiled widely turning to face her placing his hand over hers and nodding slowly. Kevin noticed Brant stepping out of the room to look out at them as Kevin shrugged his shoulders. “I was just thinking about a baseball team that totally screwed me today. You know how that goes.”

“Yeah right Kevin,” Angela shook her head slowly reaching out to touch the side of his face wanting him to look at her and not towards any other part of the room. “I can tell when you are lying, what’s going on Kevin? I want to know the truth.”

“Angie,” Kevin stuttered trying to close his eyes and not look at her as he let out a long breath, shrugging his shoulders. “I guess there isn’t a whole lot I can tell you.”

“So I will fill you in on the details,” Brant walked into the room seeing Kevin’s light brown eyes look up towards him as Brant shrugged his shoulders. “You see, today in the paper. This one news reporter made me look like a total ass and Kevin didn’t appreciate it. You see, me and Kevin have been really getting along since the first night we met. Isn’t that right Kevin?”

“Yeah Brant,” Kevin gritted his teeth feeling Brant’s arm wrap around his shoulders and Kevin did the same and gave him a small squeeze. “This is my good little friend over here. I couldn’t have a better guy friend.”

“It’s nice that you two are getting along,” Angela paused seeing Kevin and Brant turn to look at each other slowly before both of them offered up weird looking smiles. “Something is obviously weird in the story you are telling me though because it doesn’t seem right.”

“I don’t know what to tell you Angie, just a lot of people see as us being close,” Kevin bit down on his bottom lip giving Brant another squeeze seeing Brant groan out at the force behind his squeeze. “Like some guy thought we were closer than we should be. Isn’t that right?”

“Of course,” Brant slipped out from under Kevin’s arm seeing Kevin’s brown eyes following his every movement. “They thought Kevin was my best friend and everyone knows it’s Don Leveski. Kevin was just mad about a comment that they had made about you and me in the paper so he was going to go check what was up right?”

“Right,” Kevin nodded walking over towards the doors and holding his hands up in the air. “In all honesty, I should really get going though. I promised to do something for Ria.”

“Oh Really?” Angela moved in closer to Kevin making sure he didn’t leave just yet. “What are you doing for her Kevin? Anything special?”

“Uh, yeah,” Kevin reached out to give Angela a small hug before pressing a small kiss against her cheek. “You know me--Mr. Romantic. Everything is really special. It was nice talking to you guys, but I am going to hit the road. Nice seeing you, love you, bye.”

“Kevin,” Angela called out to him only to see him slip out the front door quickly as she frowned. “What in the world was that all about?”


Jenna sat in the living room thinking about ways to keep herself busy now that Hart was spending some time with Sam. He’d mentioned it earlier in the week and while she’d been okay with it at the time, she hadn’t realized that he’d planned a father/daughter day was on her day off. Still she had her own identity and own things to do. The question was, where did she want to start?

“I could always organize my photos again,” she thought aloud looking to the scrap booking project that she’d started months ago. There were photos upon cluttered photos in front of her and at the moment she found herself really dreading the thought of going through everything that she’d been stalling with. She’d never really been the arts and crafty kind of gal, so to start now would kind of go against who she was.

“Okay this is pathetic. You can’t really be that bored with yourself that you’re going to waste your day away,” she groaned outwardly ready to force herself into doing something productive when the phone rang. She looked over at it issuing it a small sigh of relief. Walking over to the phone she picked it up eagerly, “Hello.”

“Jen, hey,” Avery’s voice called her from her boredom. “How are you?”

“Better now,” Jenna greeted her brightly, “What’s going on Av? You up to anything?”

“Actually I was just going to ask you if maybe you’d like to come on over for a while. Russ is at work and Erin and I are here at home by ourselves and…” Avery informed her quickly.

“Say no more. I’ll be right over,” Jenna replied quickly knowing that this was truly pathetic to be so bored by herself. Of course it had been a while since she’d seen Avery, so the opportunity would be a great one for her. “Do you need me to bring over anything for you? Anything at all?”

“Just you would be great,” Avery answered with a small breath of relief. “I’ll put some tea on or something.”

“I’ll be there soon,” Jenna promised saying her good-byes and finding herself ready to meet up with her best friend. It had been far too long since they’d had a good girl’s day out bonding, so maybe this was exactly what they both could use. On top of that it was also Jenna’s one way ticket out of boredom. What could be better?


“I mean look at yourself Cori,” Nate held his hands up in the air pushing back his blonde hair with his right hand before going on with his speech. “In all honesty you are beautiful, spunky, and you are probably really smart when you use your brain. I see you as being the prettiest girl I have ever seen.”

“Well, it’s not your opinion that counts Nate,” Cori rolled her eyes pouting as she thought about all the people in her life, realizing that Nate was the last person she wanted to hear saying this. “You are really nothing to me when it gets down to it.”

“Why not make me something?” Nate questioned with a small frown folding his arms out in front of his muscular chest. “I think you are beautiful and I would do anything for you. So why would you go for someone who doesn’t give a shit about you over someone who would do anything for you?”

“You would really do anything for me?” Cori muttered seeing Nate nod slowly before taking in a sharp breath. Cori pondered his answer before shrugging her shoulders. “Anything at all?”

“Absolutely,” Nate quickly nodded before thinking about his answer and shrugging his shoulders partially. There were some crazy things that she might ask him to do, so he might no necessarily do everything she wanted, but pretty much a lot of it. “Within good reasoning--probably about ninety-five percent of it.”

“That’s really sweet of you,” Cori went quiet for a minute thinking about everything Nate had said before shrugging her shoulders. “I don’t think I have ever heard someone say that to me before. Most people wouldn’t even give a second look towards me.”

“Which makes them idiots,” Nate informed her reaching out to caress her cheek gently seeing the hesitance behind her eyes. Nate smiled setting the clipboard on the counter before shaking his head slowly. “You’re beautiful, that’s why I don’t understand why you have to lie about this whole thing. Just tell me what happened that night, for real because if Diego really did hurt you then I swear to go I will kill him myself.”

“No, don’t do that,” Cori whispered seeing Nate’s green eyes widen when she said that and she pulled away from him carefully. “I can’t tell you what happened Nate. I can’t tell anyone the whole truth other than what I have said.”

“Cori, don’t lie to me,” Nate cupped her face in his hands gently arching his eyebrows up at her in response, taking in a deep breath. “Please don’t lie to me when I care this much about you.”

“Okay,” Cori began moving backwards resting her hands on the desk before looking over towards the clock in the corner of the room. “What really happened was…,”

Cori saw someone out of the corner of her eyes as she stopped all together and ran off without even telling Nate to hold on or wait up for her to tell him what happened.

“Cori, Cori where are you going?” Nate called out to her seeing her run out towards Rob and he let out a small groan reaching into his pocket to pull out the tape recorder and pushing stop. He pulled the tape out before shoving it into his pocket. “That worked about as well as…,”

Nate would have said something more until he wrinkled his nose in disgust at the way she was talking to Rob like she was the most injured and upset person in the world.

“She is such an idiot,” Nate grumbled pushing the tape player back into his pocket before falling back against the wall and biting down on his bottom lip. “He’s never going to give her what she wants. She has to learn that sooner or later. Diego and Rob will never be the ones for her.”


“Whoa,” Don reached out to grab Shannon’s cell phone after she had pulled it out and started to dial Kyle’s phone number. “I don’t know if you think you are doing something smart, but you aren’t you know. There is no way I am going to let you call Kyle and tell him what’s going on?”

“Well why the hell not?” Shannon snapped reaching for her phone again only to see Don’s blue eyes widen and he pulled the cell phone out of reach slipping it back into his pocket. “Don, he is one of my friends--there is no way I can’t tell him. You would do the same if it was Brant.”

“There is a difference Shannon,” Don began setting his hands on the table before taking in a slow breath. Don bit down on his bottom lip thinking of a way to explain it, only to realize it probably wouldn’t come out right any way he said it. “Brant wouldn’t go out and kill someone if he found out. Kyle could easily kill someone.”

“He still deserves to know,” Shannon explained seeing Don shake his head slowly before actually centering his blue eyes in on hers giving her his full attention. “I need to let him know about the whore he is dating. This can’t go on anymore Don, I can’t let my friend get hurt.”

“I know honey, but don’t you think he will be even more hurt if he finds out?” he whispered seeing her look at him curiously as if she didn’t know what he meant. “Kyle Houston loves Sarah with everything he is. Now what if when the time comes he ends up going crazy like he did that one time with that Susan girl. Who will be the one to blame?”

“Sarah,” Shannon blurted out seeing Don shake his head slowly and she placed her hand over her chest. “Don, I wouldn’t be at fault for telling him something he should very well know. I don’t think he should be hurt later on in the future.”

“He needs to find out himself Shannon,” Don stated seeing her dark eyes glare at him, shaking her shoulders when she truly thought about it. “If he is meant to find out about this whole thing with Diego, he’ll find out. That’s all I can say about the subject Shannon, you can’t call him now. I wouldn’t want to know if you were cheating on me with someone else because it might as well break my heart right there.”

“I get what you are trying to say, but…,” Shannon went to say more only to feel Don hush her by placing his index finger over her lips, moving in over the table to press a small kiss up against her lips. “Okay, I think I get the point.”

“I thought you might,” Don smiled widely getting up from the seat and reaching out to her hand, taking her hand in his and helping her up a bit. “I love you honey, my break is almost over.”

With close to a final goodbye for a while Don wrapped his arm around his wife’s waist, moving in to kiss her lovingly until feeling a shoulder slam into his.

“This isn’t a place to make out Don,” the very sound of Zack’s voice made Don’s blood boil as he moved away from Shannon and turned to face Zack. “You really aren’t supposed to screw on company time Leveski. That’s a bad record you might get if you continue this whole thing.”

“Do you have a problem with me kissing my wife goodbye Zack?” Don questioned feeling his head go hot at the thought of Zack trying to make an ass out of himself again. “If you do, I think you should let me know right now, right here and we can handle this ourselves.”


Kyle knocked on Heather’s office door knowing full well that this was probably the last place in the world where he needed to be, yet he couldn’t just walk away from what happened in the photo studio earlier. There was so much that was still on his mind about what had transpired between them, yet he couldn’t quite put it all to words. Right now he knew the best thing he could do was go back to his office and lock himself away for a while, yet the more he thought about Heather, the harder it was to stay away.

Feeling a brave moment coming over him he knocked on the door to her office again before opening it up to discover her seated at her desk. She had a variety of papers spread out before her and while he was certain she had to have heard the knock on the door, she never looked up from where she’d been seated. He stepped into the room not saying a word, yet as he watched her seated at her desk wearing a pair of glasses, which was something he hadn’t witnessed from her since they were children, he couldn’t help but smile. Here she was in the sanctity of her office looking absorbed in her work and sexier than ever now that she wasn’t all dressed up and playing the part of the glamour girl that she’d tried to convey to the world.

“You can just set my coffee on the desk top and let me get back to work Kellen because right now the last thing I want from you is a lecture,” Heather’s voice broke through his thoughts as she kept her eyes glued to the page in front of her.

“I didn’t come in here to lecture you,” Kyle’s voice caused her to practically jump out of her chair. Her eyes snapped up from what she’d been focused on and a gasp spilled from her lips.

“Kyle,” she cleared her throat uneasily, “What are you…what are you doing here? I would have thought that you’d left with Sarah. She said you were going home with her.”

“Yeah well guess what. She lied,” Kyle stepped in closer to her desk watching her tap the pen she’d been writing with on the desktop. “She does that a lot lately.”

“I wouldn’t know,” Heather shifted in her seat uneasily, her eyes watching him with that same hungry intent he’d experienced earlier when they were in the studio touching one another. Still she was holding back and trying to be professional. “I don’t see Sarah much lately with all that she’s been busy with and all. You know with your wedding plans and…”

“Heather, I have to be honest with you. About Sarah and I…” he cleared his throat uneasily.

“Look, I really don’t want to get into your happily ever after with her,” she waved her hand up in the air dismissively, “It’s none of my business. Hell, I don’t want it to be my business considering that I know you’ve waited forever to be with her. You now have your dream and…”

“Heather it’s not that…” Kyle started again watching her sliding her chair out from behind her desk.

“Look, you don’t have to explain anything to me,” she stood up surprised to find him moving in to step in front of her. “Kyle, look about before…”

“Yeah, um that’s kind of why I came up here,” Kyle cleared his throat uneasily, “I think we should talk about that.”

“That’s not really necessary. It kind of speaks for itself,” she inched back ever so slightly, her green eyes fixed on him. “You were obviously having one of those moments where the whole marriage and monogamy thing was getting to you and like most men you were thinking about that one last fling. Hell, I practically dared you into doing what you did, so I mean it was just one of those spur of the moment, not really thinking about anything more than throwing caution to the wind…”

“Heather, I think Sarah’s cheating on me,” Kyle blurted out much to his own surprise.

“What?” Heather’s eyes widened in response. “You have to be kidding me. Right?”

“I’m afraid not,” he shook his head at her before letting out a long sigh. “I think deep down I’ve known it for a while, but I’ve been too busy playing the loving and nurturing boyfriend and yet I think I’m just being deceived. She’s sleeping with someone else. I’m sure of it.”

“Who?” Heather couldn’t help but ask. She thought it over for a moment, “I mean if you don’t want to tell me, you don’t have to but…”

“No it’s okay,” he insisted reaching out to her, but stopping himself before he could touch her. He knew in doing that it would only make him want to keep touching her and soon after that, he was certain he wouldn’t be able to stop. That’s probably what he feared the most considering it was exactly what he wanted the most at this point in time. “I think she’s sleeping with Diego.”

“Diego?” Heather’s jaw practically dropped. She shook her head. “There’s no way. I mean he wouldn’t…he couldn’t…”

“Think about it Heather. The guy was hot and heavy for you for like ever, yet suddenly he drops you like a hot potato. That in itself says that the man is an idiot or he’s got someone else,” Kyle informed her bluntly thinking about what he believed to be true about Sarah and Diego.

“No, Diego might be a lot of things, but he wouldn’t go out of his way to hurt you like that. He’s a caring and decent man Kyle,” Heather started suddenly having her own doubts when she thought of how Sarah had constantly tried to sabotage any chance Heather had with Diego.

“He’s always been interested in Sarah. I tried to pretend I never noticed, but I did. Beyond that though even if he didn’t intend to hurt me, I’m sure Sarah did,” Kyle paused fighting to hold back what he was feeling about the situation. “She’s been doing that to me for a long time Heather and I’ll be honest with you even before this Diego thing she was already tearing my heart out.”

“She liked doing that Kyle. You just loved her so much you didn’t see it,” Heather sighed thinking about Kyle’s unyielding faith in her sister. “You were always too good for her.”

“Yeah well when Susan died Sarah showed her true colors. When I thought that Susan was having my baby, she tore into me. She told me how she’d never be able to accept my child and in her own way she let me know how relieved she was at the thought that my son or daughter had died,” Kyle explained with a heavy heart. “She flat out told me she wouldn’t have accepted my flesh and blood and when that happened it just killed something inside of me…”

“Oh Kyle,” Heather reached out to touch his shoulder gently. She thought about it for a moment, but still kept her hand on him. “I’m so sorry. I know how she was upset that Susan hurt you and…”

“Sarah was upset because the situation caused her to have an imbalance. It wasn’t about Susan. It was about Sarah. It’s always about Sarah,” Kyle informed her bluntly, distain running in his tone. “She’s just the kind of person who needs to have her way about things or else there’s drama.”

“If you feel that way about her, why are you marrying her?” Heather couldn’t help but ask. “How can you spend the rest of your life with someone that makes you feel the way you do?”

“Because I guess I’m just too stupid to reach out to the one thing that makes me feel better about myself,” Kyle touched her cheek gently, “I guess I waited too long to find myself in a position that I really wanted to be in.”

“Kyle don’t,” Heather turned away and out of his touch. “Don’t do this.”

“Why not?” he asked feeling her pull away from him.

“You know why not,” she brought her arms up across the center of her chest. Closing her eyes she spoke up once again, “I’ll be honest with you, if you were anyone else I’d do everything in my power to make sure that you never married Sarah, but because I know you love her, I won’t stand in the way of your happiness. If you were any other man I’d plot and I’d scheme to make you mine--to have my way with you, but…”

“Heather if you’d just…” Kyle stepped towards her wanting to reach out to her.

“Don’t,” she shook her head firmly, “Kyle right now you’re hurting because you think that Sarah’s betrayed you. You’re wanting to lash out at her for what she’s done to you and I’m just the right person to do it with. You believe she’s with Diego, so naturally you’re turning to me to make her feel the way that you feel and…”

“No, that’s not it. Heather that’s never been what this is about,” Kyle insisted seeing her distancing herself from him and the situation they were in. “Heather please…”

“Kyle, don’t do this to me,” Heather spun around to face him tears burning behind her eyes. She bit down on her bottom lip fighting the overflow of emotions that carried over her. “Don’t make this a game where you and Sarah run off to have happily ever after and I’m the one standing out in the cold again wanting you and watching you run away.”

“Heather that’s not what I’m…” Kyle tried to reason with her hating to see her cry.

“Kyle, I know how this goes,” she wiped at her face trying to rid herself of her tears before she let out an ironic laugh. “I mean my God I told myself that I wouldn’t do this again--that I wouldn’t let that stupid crush I had on you when I was a kid get in the way of what I am now. I’m not that same little girl anymore. I’m not the one who follows you hoping above hope each day that you’ll notice her. I’m not that stupid little second string person that I was back then. I’m not a replacement for Sarah and I’m most certainly not going to stand here and let you use me to get to her.”

“Heather that’s not at all what I’m…” Kyle insisted further stretching his hand out towards her. “If you’d just listen.”

“No Kyle,” she shook her head raising her hands in the air to silence him, “I may be a bitch, but I’m not that big of a bitch to try to get in the middle of this one. I’m not going to open myself up to being hurt by this because as crazy as it sounds, I really believed that I was in love with you once and what’s even more pathetic is that I find myself believing in it all over again. I want to be with you--I want to have all of those things that you only have reserved for Sarah, which is all the more reason why you need to just leave. You need to go.”

“But Heather I…” he watched her move forward to shove him in the center of the chest.

“Leave Kyle!” Heather snapped at him shoving at him once again, “Go home to Sarah and be happy. Go do whatever it is that you want to do with her, but leave me out of it.”

“Heather please…” he began painfully feeling her push him away from her.

“Just go Kyle!” she snapped at him hitting him one last time before turning away. She walked over to the window refusing to look at him, “I’m not going to be your last fling before you go off and have everything you’ve always wanted in your life with your happily ever after. Please…just go.”

Kyle watched her for a long moment feeling an ache inside of him at her refusal. He stood in the center of her office realizing how unfair he’d been to her since this flirtation with them had started again. All those years ago things had been so different for them--circumstances had been far from what they were now, yet one thing remained the same. All of this time he’d had it in his mind that things would go one way, but the reality was what he wanted--what he knew he needed was the woman over by the window crying her eyes out. He hated that.

“Heather,” he spoke her name gently hating that he’d caused her to feel that kind of pain.

“Please just go,” she kept her eyes shut tightly wishing to alleviate the way she felt about the situation. It was crazy to want him, to need him like she was starting to. If Kellen hadn’t planted all of those stupid ideas inside her head about them, then maybe she wouldn’t be standing in her office feeling like an idiot for falling for someone who was never meant to love her. She could be her own carefree self doing what she always did to survive. She could be damning love and focusing on work instead of mourning the loss of something she never had.

“Heather please,” she felt Kyle’s hand on her shoulder. His fingers curled over her in a gentle, soothing motion. He tipped his head in towards her, his words a warm whisper against the back of her neck, “don’t cry.”

“Do you think I want to do this?” she questioned wiping at her face again, “Do you think that I want to be standing here being the epitome of absolutely everything I hate in a woman? With men my life has been simple. They serve a purpose and a reason, but you, well you have screwed that all up for me.”

“I’m sorry,” Kyle reached out to curl his finger underneath her chin urging her to meet his worried gaze, “Heather please…”

“You’re right you’re sorry,” she forced herself to open her eyes and look up at him. “You’re a sorry excuse for a friend and if you wouldn’t keep confusing me…”

“That’s just it,” Kyle spoke up in a small whisper his hand pressing in against her waist. He offered up a tiny nudge urging her to face him more completely. “When I’m with you it’s the only time in my life that I’m not confused--when I’m not trying to be something I’m not. You just have this way about you that makes me want to be what I’ve always been meant to be Heather. You tell it like it is. You see it as it is and you don’t judge me.”

“Oh like I have room to,” she mouthed in response shaking her head at him, “You’re practically a saint Kyle.”

“No, I’m far from being a saint Heather. The beauty in that is that you’re well aware of that, but you still want me in spite of that,” Kyle curled his fingers in over her hip urging her into his embrace. He wrapped his arm around her waist pulling her to him even though he’d heard her ask him to walk away.

“I’ve always wanted you,” Heather replied tears on her damp lashes as she looked up at him, “Even when you were just the nerdy guy next door you were always someone special to me.”

“And even when you were the scared little girl who liked to crawl in my window when you were left home alone, you were always someone special to me,” he brushed the pad of his thumb against her cheek wiping at her tears. “You still are Heather.”

“Then why are you bringing me into this with you and Sarah? Why are you making me fall for you all over again when you and I both know it’s never going to happen for us Kyle? Why are you making me love you when it’s not supposed to be happening?” she questioned biting back on her emotions.

“Because maybe we’re both perceiving this one wrong. Maybe this isn’t about what isn’t supposed to be happening and more so about what should be happening for us Heather,” he whispered warmly, his breath skimming down over her lips.

His dark eyes searched hers, and he felt her shiver in his embrace. Inching in towards her, his lips found hers in a soft, subtle sweep. Her lips tasted salty from her tears, yet the kiss they shared was no less heavenly than the frantic one that they’d shared in the studio except this time he could take all the seconds in the world to savor it.

“Kyle,” Heather breathed his name in a shivering exhale as they parted. Her green eyes tipped up towards his, a great many questions burning behind their depths, yet when she wrapped her arms around his shoulders, he knew that she understood the meaning behind the kiss.

“Right now the only place in the world I want to be is with you,” he mouthed scooping her up into his arms longing to feel her close to him.

He carried her carefully over to the leather couch at the far end of her office not wanting to let go of her as her lips sought out his. He eased her down onto the sofa, moving in over her with a smooth fluidity even though he was convinced he would’ve dropped her in the movement if he made one false move.

“This is crazy,” Heather whispered her words buzzing against his lips now that he lay over her, hand pressing in up over her side.

“You do have a tendency to make me a little crazy,” Kyle flashed a sexy smile at her, his fingers pressing in underneath her blouse to caress her warm, inviting skin, “but I think I like that kind of crazy you bring into my life.”

“Don’t hurt me Kyle,” Heather pleaded with him, her words holding a deeper meaning than what was happening between them. She teased her nails over his back gingerly, taking the time to appreciate the warmth and musculature of his body beneath his shirt.

“That’s the last thing I want to do Heather,” he promised in between tiny kisses, sliding his fingers between the fold of her blouse and taking the time to open it in a slow, determined fashion.

“Kyle I…” Heather reached out to him catching the material of his t-shirt with her fingers and drawing it up over his muscle corded abdomen.

“I promise you Heather,” Kyle pulled back enough to discard his t-shirt over his head before returning to her, his touch sweeping in over her soft curves longing to learn everything that he’d denied himself about her for years. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

“You’re lying,” she flashed him a small smile, a certain sadness behind her eyes, “but I’m willing to take what I can get right now.”

“In that case, how about I just offer everything,” Kyle suggested watched her breath escape from her lips, the longing burning behind her eyes and in that moment, he swore to himself that he’d move heaven and earth to keep from hurting her even if it meant letting go of the life that he’d tried to push on himself without her. Sure, he’d pushed a great many obligations on himself, but as he lay over Heather, feeling her in his arms, he realized that nothing in the world was more important than being with her and sharing something with her that he’d never truly been able give her all those years ago--his love.


“Come on in,” Avery invited Jenna inside the house greeting her with a warm smile.

“Hey girl it’s so good to see you,” Jenna embraced her best friend, “How are you feeling?”

“I’m hanging in there,” Avery confessed stepping aside and closing the front door. “I think that’s what we all have to do right?”

“So they keep telling me,” Jenna laughed lightly moving into the living room. “So where’s the little princess?”

“Erin’s still napping so we have to be quiet,” Avery replied with a small smile, “It’s not that I want her to get too much sleep, but she’s up a lot at night.”

“She takes after her mother and father then,” Jenna mouthed thinking about the way Russ and Avery were.

“Funny thing about it is that I’d kill for an early night once in a while,” Avery sighed reaching for the baby monitor and carrying it with her into the kitchen as Jenna followed. “Well no not really, but still it would be nice to have a full night’s sleep.”

“So Erin keeps you both busy, huh?” Jenna questioned watching Avery move over to get the tea that she’d put on.

“Well yes and no. I mean Erin is a wonderful baby and Russ,” Avery tipped her head to the side thinking about how much help he’d been to her lately, “He’s amazing with her. He’s just got this way with Erin and when they are together, well you can just see how much she loves her father. They have this special bond between them.”

“That’s wonderful,” Jenna smiled in response, “I know how much you wished they could have that together and now that he’s home…”

“It’s like I’m finally getting that happily ever after that I’d been hoping for,” Avery paused thinking about the way she’d been feeling lately, “With Russ at least…”

“That sounds like something’s wrong,” Jenna gave her a long look, “Av, what’s going on?”

“Nothing really,” Avery shook her head biting down on her lower lip in an attempt to keep herself together in front of her friend. “I mean I guess it’s just been so long since I’ve actually had it where nothing horrible was hanging over my head that I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

“Oh honey, it’s okay,” Jenna reached out to embrace her seeing the tears behind Avery’s eyes. “Russ is home now and this is everything you two have been hoping for. I mean Erin’s healthy and happy right?”

“Well yes, but…” Avery shook her head doing her best to repress her tears, “I guess I just kind of pictured myself more together when I became a mother. I didn’t anticipate being in a position where my whole life is up in the air and there’s nothing I can do to keep it from crashing down around me.”

“I don’t understand,” Jenna gave her a long look, “What’s going on?”

“Everything. Nothing. I don’t know,” Avery threw her hands up in the air. “I feel like I’m on this emotional roller coaster and the ride just keeps getting bumpier as I go. First Bruce tried to kill Erin and I, then Russ came home and Brant hates me and…”

“Ah Brant,” Jenna mouthed in response, “I should have known. What’s he done now?”

“You mean other than humiliating me by firing me,” Avery shook her head, “I knew it was a mistake to get involved with him, but I just couldn’t help myself because he seemed so kind and…”

“And he’s just hurting Avery. He’s lashing out at you like most men do. He’s being unfair and a jerk, but you can’t let him bring you down especially now that you have Russ home,” Jenna paused for a long moment, “Unless things aren’t going as you hoped for in that area either.”

“Are you kidding me?” Avery replied almost immediately. “Russ being alive is like the greatest miracle in the world. Just being near him again makes me think about how truly blessed I am. For so long I thought I’d lost him--that I’d never be able to hold him and be with him again, yet…”

“What?” Jenna watched Avery cross over the kitchen to pull out a few mugs for them.

“I just know that when it gets down to it, I’m not good enough for him anymore,” Avery shrugged her shoulders and sighed, “Maybe I never was to begin with.”

“Avery, how can you say that? You and Russ have loved one another your whole lives,” Jenna stated the obvious.

“And what has it gotten for us? He was almost murdered because of my mother--because she’s a greedy, manipulative witch and then when he was gone I married Brant and gave myself to him,” Avery fought her tears. “I gave my heart to the one person in the world he hated the most and then when I think about everything else…”

“Avery you have to stop torturing yourself. We all make mistakes. It’s in the past and right now it’s irrelevant since you have a chance at a new start. You and Russ can finally break free of the chains of the past and just be with one another. No one can keep that from happening now.”

“You’re right,” Avery wiped at her face, “I know that you’re right and Russ keeps telling me that too. I think I’m worrying him. I just burst into tears at the worst moment and I think he believes I’m crazy now.”

“He doesn’t think you’re crazy,” Jenna dismissed the thought, “Probably just overwhelmed.”

“Maybe I am,” Avery thought about it for a moment, “but enough about me and my ridiculous outbursts. What about you? How are you doing?”

“I’m okay I suppose, but if you would rather we talk about what’s going on with you,” Jenna offered up worriedly.

“No,” Avery waved her hand dismissively, “I’ve already wasted too much time on dwelling on my made up problems. Tell me about you and how pregnancy is treating you. Things are good with Hart, yes?”

“Yeah,” Jenna smiled warmly thinking about the man she loved, “They are wonderful. He’s really excited about being a father and he’s been doing all these special little things, buying just about every book there is to get on parenting and it’s really a sight to see. Why the other day I went to see him at the office and he was in the midst of work with baby books piled up on each side of him. Here Brant had him working on this big project and yet…”

Avery watched Jenna stop herself after realizing what she’d said.

“Oh Avery, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to,” Jenna started to apologize.

“So I take it Hart is working out fine for Brant,” Avery nodded turning away from Jenna in an attempt to keep her own feelings under control. “Well it’s good that he found someone who could replace me so fast and do it without it being a major transition. I’m sure right now he’s feeling like he’s better off with Hart. It’s a great job and…”

“Avery, I didn’t mean to bring it up. I’m really sorry that,” Jenna felt an awkward moment pass between them.

“Hey, it’s a good job,” Avery tried to be supportive of Jenna and the man she loved. “The pay is fantastic and the benefits are incredible. I’m sure that you won’t have any problems once the little one is born. You’ll be set for life once you and Hart get married.”

“Actually,” Jenna bit down on her lower lip, “I don’t know if that’s going to be in the cards for us. I mean sure the benefits sound nice, but we aren’t really planning on getting married at this point.”

“Not getting married?” Avery repeated with wide eyes, “Why not?”

“Because there really isn’t a need for it,” Jenna further added seeing the surprise behind Avery’s eyes. “Hart’s got his life and I’ve got mine and what we have together just kind of falls into place for us. We like how things are now and we don’t see the need to go and put a title on what we have.”

“But you’re about to have a baby,” Avery replied puzzled, “Surely that has to have you thinking about the place Hart will hold in your child’s life. If you’re not married and he decides to…”

“We’re not thinking that far ahead,” Jenna interrupted quickly, “and I’m sure that whatever I need Hart will be there for me every step of the way. We don’t have to get married for me to know that he loves me.”

“Yes, but what about your child? What are you going to tell the little one?” Avery couldn’t help but ask.

“Hey my parents aren’t married. There are plenty of people who don’t go through that kind of ceremonial procedure and they are just fine. Take my mom and Preston for example. They’ve been together for as long as I can remember and they both love one another so very much. Neither one of them needed any kind of legal affirmation of that and I think Hart and I are the same way,” Jenna continued to explain to her, “Besides, we have enough going on with Hart getting to know Sam and with his father coming back to town. That in itself has had him in an uproar over the way things have been going. It‘s had him very stressed.”

“I take it that they don’t exactly see eye to eye,” Avery noted thinking about what Brant had told her about the infamous Walt Steiner.

“Not at all, but what makes matters worse is that I think Walt is really here to start trying with Hart. He came back to mend fences because,” Jenna hesitated for a long moment, “If I tell you something, can you promise to keep it between just us?”

“Of course Jen,” Avery nodded, “Don’t you know by now anything that you tell me is strictly confidential.”

“Okay,” Jenna decided letting out a long sigh, “It’s like this. Walt came back to town to make amends with Hart because he found out that he’s only got a short time left to live. He’s been diagnosed as terminal and he realizes he’s made some mistakes with Hart, but he’s hoping that Hart will find a way to forgive him before he’s gone.”

“I see,” Avery listened to her, “and you know this how?”

“I guessed, but Walt made me promise not to tell Hart. It’s killing me not to say anything, but I swore I wouldn’t. Furthermore, I know Hart is so angry with him. He’s got so many things going on right now that I’m really worried about him. I’m afraid if he doesn’t let go of his anger, it’s going to eat him alive. Yet I can’t tell him what to do given that he and Walt have a lot of history between them that he can’t seem to move beyond.”

“If you want my advice, the best thing you can do is stay out of it. While you might feel like you should push them towards one another, I’ve seen in my own experience that sometimes things just can’t be fixed. Sometimes people just can’t move beyond what’s happened to them. Take Brooke for example,” Avery tossed out at her, “She and I have had a hell of a lot of things happen to us and I can honestly tell you that if she came to me tomorrow and told me she was terminal it wouldn’t change the way I felt about the situation. I still don’t think I could forgive her for murdering my child and trying to take Erin.”

“And I can understand that, but with Walt it seems like he wants to change--like he’s really trying to become a better person,” Jenna thought about her conversations with Walt.

“That’s what they all say when they know they are backed into a corner,” Avery informed her point blank hearing the doorbell ring. Picking her head up slightly she listened and heard it ring again. “I wonder who that could be.”

“Are you expecting anyone?” Jenna questioned hearing Erin over the baby monitor alerting them that she was awake.

“No, I mean no one other than you,” Avery added hearing her daughter cry out again. “Actually I should…”

“Go get Erin,” Jenna decided with a small smile, “I’ll see who is here.”

“Thanks Jenna,” Avery smiled taking off to go collect Erin as Jenna made her way to the door.

Opening it Jenna found a delivery man standing before her with an oversized bouquet or flowers and a stuffed teddy bear tucked under his arm. He smiled at Jenna brightly and greeted her with a warm tone.

“Good afternoon. Are you Avery Morrison?” he asked shuffling a clipboard out towards her.

“No, but I can take that for her,” Jenna replied signing for the delivery and accepting the oversized bouquet of flowers and the toy. “Thank you.”

“No thank you,” he smiled walking off as Avery reentered the living room with Erin in her arms.

“Tell Jenna hello princess,” Avery spoke up keeping Erin in her arms. She noticed the flowers Jenna was holding. “What’s that?”

“If I had to guess I would say that someone was thinking about the both of you,” Jenna confessed showing Erin the teddy bear.

“Oh my,” Avery gasped moving in towards her friend, “Russ said that he had something special in store for tonight, but I didn’t think that he would do something like this. It’s so beautiful and…”

“He must’ve wanted to see you smile. He’ll be disappointed that he wasn’t here to see it,” Jenna watched Erin’s gaze fix on the teddy bear she was holding. Jenna waved it around in the air causing Erin to stretch her arms out towards it while making a small sound.

“I think your daddy picked the right one out, didn’t he?” Avery laughed lightly seeing how excited Erin got at the notion of getting closer to the bear.

“Let me see her. You can read the card and Erin and I can play with this big old bear that her daddy got for her,” Jenna suggested reaching out for Erin and shuffling the flowers into Avery’s arms.

Once Jenna had Erin securely in her arms, she sat down on the couch with her while Avery took a long look at the bouquet before her. She touched one of the pink flowers, a smile lifting over her lips at the thought of just how far Russ had gone to cheer her up. Even if she’d been feeling down earlier, this seemed to do the trick in perking her up.

“They really are beautiful,” Jenna noted watching Avery open the card.

“Yes the are,” Avery nodded before skimming over the card and reading it aloud, “To two of the most special women out there. Thank you for being the brave, beautiful woman that you are love….”

“Love?” Jenna watched Avery’s face drain of all color. “Avery what is it?”

“They aren’t from Russ,” Avery’s hand grew shaky before she dropped the card.

“Wait, but I thought that…” Jenna saw the horrified expression on Avery’s face. “Avery what is it?”

“They’re from Brooke,” Avery mouthed feeling sick to her stomach as she thought of all the horrible things her mother had done to her. To send such a gift only made Avery realize all the more how sick her mother truly was. “I can’t believe that she did this.”

“Maybe she is trying to apologize. I’m not saying you should forgive her, but…” Jenna offered up seeing Avery break into a frenzy.

“No, if she did this, she did this because she is up to something. She’s got something up her sleeve and I can’t let her get to me,” Avery announced reaching for the bouquet.

Before Jenna could say another word, she watched Avery move into the kitchen turning the garbage disposal on before pushing flower after flower into the sink and watching it be shredded. She opened her mouth to say something, but as Avery broke into tears screaming at her mother for her actions, Jenna realized that maybe now would be a good time to find out where Russ was right about now.


Russ walked into the newspaper offices feeling a strong sense of familiarity press in over him. While he hadn’t been in here long before he’d faded away from Coral Valley, there was something about this place that remained the same. It was as if the whole world had shifted right before his very eyes, but the newspaper offices were still very much the same. This was the same place that he’d put together his hopes and dreams for building on that hope for a paper that would be unlike anything else Coral Valley had ever seen. He could still remember the day he’d gotten the money together to get the place going. At the time he’d taken out a loan from his father and it was one of those turning points in his life that he was sure to never forget.

“You’ve never let me down even if I may have failed you,” Russ thought to himself glancing across the empty newsroom and remembering all of the heart and soul that he’d put into taking his paper from square one and making it into something he could be proud of--something that would hold true to his integrity and journalistic views. The Courier had been his baby and it was something he could always say was honest and pure. Something he was proud to be a part of--until today.

Of course today Chris Foley had made a mockery of that and thinking about the trash that Chris had put out only made Russ further believe that it was time to set things right. He may have been gone from the paper for months, but he was far from being out. He wasn’t about to let his hard work and dedication fall to pieces after one person took everything that he’d held true with his paper and transformed it into something that compromised all that Russ stood for.

“No more,” Russ announced decidedly making his way through the newsroom over to where the offices were. He spotted his own office and felt a breath of relief that things appeared to be as he’d left it. He was even more relieved to see another office with Chris’s name on it, thus reaffirming the fact that Avery hadn’t been ready to let go of what Russ had fought like hell to hold onto.

Flexing his jaw Russ marched towards Chris Foley’s office ready to take a stand for his paper. He knocked on the door seeing a light on behind the closed door. He waited a couple moments for a response before finally turning the knob and walking in to discover that it was empty. The desk light was on and there were various clippings spread out over the top of the desk.

“What in the…?” Russ stepped forward realizing that each one of them was somehow linked to Brant Ashford. Chris must’ve been going through the archives, Russ realized remembering how he’d once been driven by the need to destroy Brant, but unlike what Chris had done, Russ had taken a more direct, more private approach.

“Just what are you up to…” Russ questioned wondering what Chris had against Brant, but upon hearing footsteps behind him, he realized that he wouldn’t be left wondering for too much longer. He spun around ready to lash out at Chris for his lack of ethics and integrity, but instead he found himself face to face with a big surprise.

“I warned you to back off, but now you’re going to pay for not listening to me. I told you to butt out of Angie’s life,” Kevin roared marching into the room with one swift, commanding motion, “and now you’re going to have to answer to me for not backing off!”


...to be continued...