Episode 331

Deana stretched out underneath the blankets thinking about the sinfully sweet dream she had about her and Grady. They were on a deserted beach with one another wrapped up in the warmth of paradise and making love to one another as they had the previous night. Thinking about what it had been like to share that with him, she couldn’t help but feel a warmth carry over her into the waking hours. She stretched her arm out half expecting to find him sleeping beside her, but much to her dismay he’d vanished. Frowning she looked over to the pillow where she’d expected to find him, but instead realized that she was all alone.

“He must’ve taken me seriously about my not wanting to have a sleepover,” she thought to herself pushing the blankets aside and kicking her feet over the side of the bed. She reached for her robe before wrapping herself up and thinking about the night they’d had with one another. While she’d wanted to keep things from getting out of hand between them, with one kiss from Grady she knew that she was a goner. He had systematically shut down all of her defenses and now that she prepared to start her morning, she couldn’t help but recall the way it had felt to be in his arms. She passed by a mirror in her bedroom and saw the color that was still present in her face after the very hot dream she’d had of him.

“This is ridiculous,” she brought her hand up to the side of her face hoping to keep her thoughts from consuming her now that she had a full day ahead of her. Glancing over at the clock she realized that she was running behind and that she would have to get Zane up and moving for his day. That was something she needed to focus on now that she herself had a full day ahead of her as well.

Opening the door to her bedroom, she prepared to walk down towards Zane’s room when an aroma carried over the hallway. She paused for a moment hearing the sound of laughter fill her ears. She shifted directions and tiptoed over to the kitchen only to discover Grady and Zane with one another standing near the sink. She spotted Zane propped up on one of the chairs while Grady worked on something that appeared to be sausage.

“Now remember this time let’s try to keep the shells out of the eggs,” Grady suggested seeing Zane work his hardest to accomplish the task at hand. “I know mommy likes them crunchy, but let’s not make them extra crunchy.”

“You’re on Grady,” Zane promised doing his best to put together the eggs for his mother. After he’d finished cracking a few he held the bowl up to Grady, “Well what do you think? Did I do good?”

“You did fantastic kiddo,” Grady patted him on the back approvingly before taking the bowl and moving it over to the pan that was waiting for the eggs. He dumped them inside before turning to hand the bowl to Zane again who promptly placed it in the sink, “I’m very proud of you.”

“Thanks,” Zane grinned up at him, “I just want mommy to like it this time. I know she liked it last time, but I want to do better so she can see I’ve gotten smarter at cooking.”

“I think she knows how smart you already are,” Grady motioned over to the toaster on the other side of the counter. “Though if you want you can help me with something else.”

“Heck yeah,” Zane cheered brightly, “what can I do?”

“Want to help me put some toast together?” Grady reached for the bread and moved the toaster over in front of Zane. He carefully plugged it in before untying the bag of bread. He handed a slice to Zane before smiling, “Have you done this before?”

“No,” Zane shook his head firmly, “but I watched my mom do it. Does that count?”

“Sure it does,” Grady smiled encouragingly, “Just drop the bread in the slot and push this button. Once it’s done it will pop up and we can get it out of there.”

“Okay,” Zane nodded following the directions and making a few slices of toast. Before either one of them knew it breakfast had finished cooking and just as they were about to put it on the table Deana let her presence be known.

“What is this?” she questioned with a warm smile looking between the two men in her life.

“Mom,” Zane squealed excitedly rushing over to hug her legs tightly. He squeeze her once more before tipping his small head up to look at her, “Grady was teaching me how to make scrambled eggs, you know the kind that aren’t crunchy and toast.”

“I can see that,” Deana reached out to run her fingers through Zane’s hair for a brief moment before glancing over to Grady.

“I didn’t want to wake you up,” Grady confessed with a sheepish grin, “and when I heard Zane walking around I figured we could surprise you.”

“Yeah mommy, are you surprised?” Zane questioned tugging on her robe to capture her attention. “Do you like it?”

“I love it,” she bent down to scoop her son up in her arms. She kissed him on the cheek before smiling down at him, “I love anything you make for me.”

“But this time it will be good,” he cheered excitedly, “and when I saw you had Grady sleep over to hang out I thought we could have fun today. I saw that you had monopoly out for us to play today and…”

“Yeah, um…” Deana felt a blush fall over her at the memory of the game she and Grady had attempted to begin with one another. Even now she knew full well that what should’ve been a fun, proper night had turned into an evening of fire and passion. In the midst of it all she’d forgotten to clean up after herself, yet thinking about how Zane had called her on Grady sleeping over and on not picking up the board game…

“That’s right kiddo,” Grady spoke up giving her an out. “I was hoping you could teach me how to beat your mom today since she claims that she’s the champ at monopoly.”

“She’s not the champ,” Zane replied wiggling out of his mother’s arms and returning to help Grady put their breakfast on the table, “She loses to me every time.”

“That’s because you’re just so very good,” Deana added with a small laugh seeing how her son had warmed up to Grady.

“In that case I want you on my team,” Grady mouthed in response, his eyes sparkling down at Zane. He glanced over at Deana before the three of them were seated at the table. “So tell me Zane. I saw you had a lot of books about fish in your room.”

“I like fish. I think they are really cool. I went fishing once with mommy and it was so neat,” Zane added brightly, “We had the bestest time together.”

“Is that right?” Grady tipped his head to the side to eye Deana intently. “I didn’t know you liked to fish.”

“I’ve been known to catch a few big ones in my time,” she paused feeling a heat rush over her at the way her words came out.

“Is that right?” Grady grinned a look of pure sin crossing over his features and causing her to look away.

“She’s real good at fishing for a girl,” Zane piped in clearly oblivious to the air between Deana and Grady. “We had a lot of fun together.”

“I’m glad to hear it because I would love to take you and your mommy fishing again,” Grady pointed out with a grin thinking about his motivation for asking about the fish. “My parents have a place just north of here and it’s a lot of fun. I was thinking that you, Zane and I could head on out there before the weather changes and enjoy some fishing and country side.”

“I don’t know,” Deana began feeling a bit nervous about the idea of spending time away from town with Grady on a trip with Zane. While she was just warming up to the idea of being around him, to take her son on what felt like a family vacation was a big step, “I’m really busy at the hospital lately and…”

“Oh come on mom. It would be so cool. You know I love to fish,” Zane added pleading with his mother once again, “You know it would be totally awesome.”

“That’s right mom. It will be totally awesome,” Grady piped in tossing out a mischievous green eyed expression over at her.

“I’ll have to see what my schedule is like at work. They have been keeping me really busy lately and…” Deana attempted to shift gears on the conversation until she felt Zane’s hand over hers.

“Oh mom come on. You know how fun it could be. Can we please go?” Zane batted his eyelashes at her and Deana let out a long sigh.

“We’ll see alright?” she offered up seeing Zane cheer at the thought of their going away on a vacation with Grady. Glancing over at Grady she could see that he too seemed pleased with the turnabout which had her wondering if she was losing her mind as well. Could she really be crazy enough to get involved with someone who held the power to turn her world upside down after all these years she’d fought to play it safe? Was she really falling that hard for the man who had not only won her over, but her son as well?


“What were you thinking last night?” Kyle thought to himself as he took in a slow and steady breath, looking up at the ceiling before him as he thought about everything that had taken place over the last few days. “No, you know what you are doing. This is going to work and you are going to have what you want.”

Looking down he saw her cuddling in against his bare chest and his hazel eyes narrowed down at the same woman he saw with Cameron last night. If he was actually willing to go through with this plan, he had to be crazy.

“You just wait,” Kyle chuckled to himself thinking about what happened last night while he planned out all his moves in the backyard after seeing Sarah with Cameron. “If you thought you saw the real Kyle before, just watch me now. You won’t even know what hit you.”

He could still remember coming home last night, it was like a movie that he kept playing over and over in his head. Sure some people might think he was crazy with this plan, but craziness had to be something he took on if it meant getting the revenge he rightly deserved.

The rain poured hardly down against his body as the lightening flashed above him while Kyle paced back and forth in the backyard thinking about all the possibilities of what he could do next.

“I have the plan set, how do I put it together?” Kyle asked himself before stopping and taking a look around the land before him. Thinking quickly he walked around the house and pulled out his cell phone dialing Sarah’s cell phone number. Waiting a few seconds, he knew what she was doing and why it was taking her a little bit to get to her phone before she finally picked up. “Sarah, honey. I’m locked out of the house--you think you could open the door up for me?”

Hearing her tell him to give her a second, Kyle walked up the sidewalk closing his phone slowly before sliding it back into his pocket. There were shuffling noises behind the door as he heard the door unlock and Sarah held open the door for him.

“Sorry honey, I don’t know where they could have gone,” Kyle began feeling her reach out to grab his hands in hers as she helped him into the house. “It was just raining and I didn’t what else to do.”

“Kyle, you’re drenched,” Sarah frowned urging him toward the bedroom as he stopped in front of the kitchen, noticing that the backdoor was the same way he left it. That meant one thing, that Cameron was still in the house. “Kyle, come on we need to get you into some dry clothes.”

“That sounds like a good idea,” Kyle agreed stopping in the hallway that the closest door wasn’t fully closed, telling him that Cameron had been in there. Looking through the shutters he could almost see Cameron’s dark eyes staring into his as Kyle offered up a small smile. “You know, I’m really cold how about you grab me a towel or something?”

“Okay, honey,” Sarah reached for the bottom of his shirt, pulling it up as Kyle lifted up his arms and helped her take the shirt off of him. “I’ll be right back.”

“I’ll be right here,” Kyle noticed the uneasy way Sarah quickly walked into the bathroom, like she knew Kyle would find something she didn’t want him to. He clenched his fists at his side before cracking each knuckle at a time. Seeing Sarah return with his towel, Kyle accepted it wrapping the towel around his jeans before tugging them down his legs and kicking them to the side. “God, it’s really raining out there.”

“You’re telling me,” Sarah eyed Kyle over slowly seeing him fix the towel he was wearing to make sure it was tightly wrapped around his waist before folding his arms out in front of his chest. “What are you thinking about?”

“I was just thinking about Heather you know, I was thinking about her ex-husband,” Kyle informed Sarah seeing her dark eyes widen as he bit down on his bottom lip and looked over towards the closet quickly before shrugging his shoulders. “I was just thinking about how much that son of a bitch hurt her and if he ever tried to do it again, I would kill him. I don’t care who he is, I would kill him.”

“Let’s not go that far in saying you would actually kill someone,” Sarah frowned sliding her hand in over his muscular shoulder seeing his eyes narrow down at her before shrugging his shoulders. “Cameron wouldn’t even give a case like this the time of day.”

“Well, even if he thought about it,” he began wrapping his arms around Sarah making her back face the wall as he stared out towards the opened shutters. “I would suggest that he leaves before someone decides to show him what being a bad guy is all about.”

“Enough about Heather and enough about Cameron,” Sarah rested her head against Kyle’s muscular chest, feeling his hand caressing the small of her back as his deep breaths filled her ears. “I can’t wait get married to you Kyle. I just, want it to happen so much that I can’t stand to wait anymore.”

“Well then,” Kyle took in a deep breath turning her in his arms and making her face him more clearly. He reached his index finger out to lift her gaze up to his before smiling widely. “Why wait?”

“Why wait?” Sarah looked up at him like she couldn’t quite grasp what he was saying with a comment like that. “What is that supposed to mean? What are you trying to say?”

“I’m saying why anticipate the wait? What wait months for something you want to happen now?” he questioned seeing that she was still having problems following what he was saying when he arched his eyebrows up in response. “Let’s get married on Sunday. I’ll make the plans, I’ll get the people there. All you have to do is trust me, what do you say? I want to make you happy and I want to be the man you are thinking about twenty-four seven. Sarah, would you make me the happiest man alive by marrying me on Sunday. I don’t wait longer than we have to. I want to marry you now and I don’t feel like waiting. So, what do you say?”

“And you’re being serious about this?” Sarah questioned seeing him smile and nod slowly as she let out a small laugh. “Then I would say that I felt like the happiest woman alive getting to marry such a man like you. Yes Kyle, I want to marry you on Sunday. Are you sure we can set up the plans that fast.”

“I’ll do whatever I can to make our wedding a great one,” Kyle winked down at her moving in closer to her to press a small kiss against her lips before holding her tightly to him. Realizing that he could have done this years ago with Heather he knew that now was the time to payback for all the hurt she gave him. “I think I’m going to take a shower. That way what shouldn’t be around me will be gone when I’m done.”

“Alright,” Sarah moved back towards the closet door seeing Kyle smile and walk backwards towards the bathroom. “I’ll be out here when you get back.”

“You know how easy it would be for me to take the easy way out?” Kyle questioned with a small shake of his head turning to face Sarah as he moved his hands forward towards her, motioning as if he would choke her. “You see, this would be Cameron’s way and what kind of man would I be if I made revenge that way. I like the kind that hurts, I like the kind that digs deep and lasts. We’re far from over Sarah, you won’t see what is going to hit you.”

Moving his hands back Kyle looked over Sarah carefully before shaking his head slowly and getting out of bed. Walking over towards the dresser, he pulled out a pair of his pants before pulling them on slowly.

“I’m going to embarrass you Sarah,” Kyle promised quietly folding his arms out in front of his chest before shaking his head slowly. “I’m going to embarrass you just like you did with me and Heather. You are so far from winning this.”

Deciding that he couldn’t take being around Sarah any longer Kyle grabbed a shirt from the top drawer before walking out into the hallway. He needed to call Grady, that was one person that he knew he could trust on and right now he needed someone like that to help him out with everything.


Ria spotted Zack over by the nurse’s station ready to lash out at yet another unfortunate person who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Regardless of what the person had or hadn’t done, she knew full well that Zack would be relentless in finding a way to destroy the person’s good day. Frowning she thought back to the talk she’d had with Blake, Seth and Kevin and she realized that now was as good a time as any to get working on their plans in dealing with Zack.

“What are you grinning about?” Zack scowled over her making his move to approach her as he’d done time and time again in the past. “Shouldn’t you be working?”

“I am working,” Ria wrinkled her nose at him before tipping her head to the side, “though you know it wouldn’t hurt you to be nice for a change.”

“And it wouldn’t hurt you to be productive either,” he frowned over at her his dark eyes reaching out to her, “You don’t get paid to stand around doing nothing.”

“You know Zack, I can see that you’re obviously upset with something, but I’m pretty sure that it’s not my fault. You should try a different approach since it might help you gain some friends around here,” Ria tossed out at him with another smile while suppressing the urge to tell him off.

“I don’t want friends. I just want the jobs done that are supposed to be done,” Zack added with a small glare before eyeing her again, “So really what’s up with you? Why are you in such a good mood?”

“Oh I don’t know,” Ria shrugged her shoulders simply, “maybe because I woke up this morning thinking that it was going to be a better day than it’s been in the past. Maybe because I feel hopeful about the future because I’m not letting the trivial things in life get me down. You should try it sometime.”

“Yeah well I had a bit on my mind after what you did yesterday,” Zack scowled over at her remembering when she’d kneed him in the groin, “You are still going to pay for that Ria.”

“Am I?” she arched a curious brow leaning back ever so slightly to see the rage that twisted over his face. “Tell me something would you still write me up if I agreed to try to help you with Seth?”

“You’re not getting out of being written up for the world considering that…” Zack stopped himself his eyes widening with sudden interest, “What did you just say?”

“I said if I helped you, would you lay off my case?” she wiggled her brow up at him suggestively.

Zack remained silent for a moment before speaking up again, “I might be persuaded to reconsider your punishment if I believed you were interested in helping me. What do you have to offer?”

“For starters I think Blake is a bitch. She uses Seth as her own personal trophy and treats him like the hired help,” Ria lied thinking about the talk that she’d had with Blake, Seth and Kevin. “She doesn’t deserve him and I think he can do better. I don’t know if Valerie is necessarily better, but I don’t want him to get suckered into spending eternity with her. He’s already been through more than enough this past year.”

“I honestly don’t give a damn what he’s been through. Blake is my only concern,” Zack answered flatly, his tone narrowing as his eyes lit up with possibilities. “She belongs with me and he’s been a thorn in my side for far too long already.”

“And just how do you plan on getting rid of him?” Ria arched a curious brow hoping to catch Zack at his own game.

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” he reached out to press his fingers against her shoulder, sliding them over her arm. He stepped in closer to her, a lecherous smile on his face while his voice softened a bit, “Though I suppose if you agree to meet up with me later say at my hotel we can discuss the details among other things.”

“Your hotel?” she repeated with wide eyes feeling as if she was going to throw up at the mere suggestion.

“That’s right,” he nodded his gaze sweeping in over her, “maybe after we get alone with one another preferably naked, then maybe you might see there are plenty of things we can find to like about one another.”

“I don’t know if I would go that far,” Ria scoffed before quickly covering, “I mean you want Blake, don’t you?”

“For the long term, but I’m not against having a little fun along the way,” he explained when his pager went off. He reached for it seeing he was needed in another area before he tucked it back into his pocket. Reaching out to touch the side of her face he winked at her, “Think about it.”

“Not in a million years,” she mouthed in response under her breath after he’d gone off to where he’d been called to. While she was hoping to catch Zack at his own game, she knew full well that she would never, ever give him what he was hoping for. He wasn’t that lucky!


“You know it’s bad enough that I’ve been mooching off of you lately spending a majority of my time at your apartment,” Kevin followed Seth down the hallway to the photo studio area, “but taking me to work with you seems like a bit much.”

“Hey I don’t mind,” Seth shrugged his shoulders simply, “I mean it’s great to have you around and you’re more than welcome to start staying with me at the apartment. I like the company.”

“You have constant company with Blake,” Kevin gave him a curious look, “Or you've already forgotten the sexy, long-legged blonde that you’ve had at your side since I’ve come back to Coral Valley?”

“I haven’t forgotten her, but as I said before we don’t mind having you around,” Seth glanced over at his cousin, “Unless of course this is your way of saying you’d rather stick around Ria twenty four seven there.”

“Well of course I’d like to spend most of my time with Ria, but…” Kevin paused for a moment thinking about the place he’d had back on the island, “If I’m going to be here on a more permanent basis, which I’m planning on doing, I think I’m going to have to start hunting for a place of my own and even a job.”

“I thought you had a job,” Seth gave him a strange look before unlocking the door to the photo studio.

“Well yeah I do, but I like to keep up a front when I’m not writing,” Kevin informed him with a small frown, “I mean don’t get me wrong writing is my passion, but I can’t exactly come out and say, ‘Hey guess what everyone? I’m Donna Nevik.’ It would probably kill the book sales there if everyone knew a man was writing romance.”

“Not when the women got a look at you,” Seth teased his cousin with a small laugh, “Hell the sales might increase and your fan club would double.”

“Yeah well that’s the last thing I need if you’re implying women would be interested because they think I’m hot. Ria’s already worked up enough at the idea of other women flirting with me,” Kevin shook his head again, “No I need something that will keep me out of trouble. She’s already tense about Angie…”

“Do you blame her?” Seth walked around the studio thinking about the photo shoot he had ahead of him. “I mean we all know how it was with the two of you.”

“Yeah it was hot and heavy, wild and chaotic and in the end I got screwed,” Kevin caught the expression on Seth’s face before he added further, “Screwed over Seth. As in it didn’t work out in my favor.”

“If memory serves me right I think you got screwed in a few different ways from what you told me,” Seth noted motioning to the bag by his cousin’s foot. “Can you hand me that?”

“Oh sure,” Kevin reached for it hoisting it up over his shoulder before moving in beside Seth. “But seriously Angie and I didn’t exactly have a happy ending, but it was better than it was with Michelle. That was truly hell on earth.”

“And now you have Ria,” Seth added giving his cousin a serious look, “She’s not one for you to break her heart you know.”

“I’m well aware of that,” Kevin nodded in response, “and I don’t plan on breaking her heart. I love her and I’m sure of that. I’m done with Angie in the romance department and I’m ready to move forward with someone who makes me happy. That someone is Ria.”

“I’m glad to hear it because I’d hate to see you two have things go wrong,” Seth continued to set up for the shoot ahead of him. “You have a lot going for you.”

“And I’m not going to jinx it by talking about what could go wrong,” Kevin announced scratching his chin lightly, “I love Ria and that’s all there is to it. Angie is happy and she’s moved on. She and Blake’s brother should be fine.”

“It depends on who you ask,” Seth noted loading film in his camera before looking to his watch.

“What do you mean by that?” Kevin couldn’t help but frown.

“Brant’s not exactly known for being Mr. Congeniality,” Seth started thinking about how he promised not to get involved with Brant’s love life, but still. “He’s done some good things in his life--one of them saving Jade after those monsters hurt her, but…”

“What do you mean he saved Jade?” Kevin couldn’t help but ask.

“Remember how I told you someone took her to the hospital after those men hurt her,” Seth explained in a quieter voice thinking about his sister, “Brant was the one who took her to the hospital. He found her in the hotel after those monsters left her to die and he made sure that the hospital did everything it could to help her. He could’ve just ignored what happened and let her die there, but he didn’t…”

“So even if he’s an asshole in public, there’s something more happening there,” Kevin pondered the thought, “What’s the story with him and Russ Denton though?”

“It’s long and drawn out, but the gist of it was that they both fell in love with the same woman and only one of them could have her heart,” Seth finished with his camera.

“I’ve heard that one before,” Kevin pondered knowing from his own experiences how tricky love could be.

“Don’t we all,” Seth sighed standing up straighter, “but seriously if you’re worried about Angie, I’m sure she’ll be okay with Brant. If he says he loves her, then I’d take him at face value there.”

“I haven’t really thought much about it, but after something I heard about Brant the other night, well it just got me thinking. I was just curious what everyone else had to say about Brant given that,” Kevin began thinking about the words of hatred Russ had for Brant.

“Brant’s an amazing lover and a true Casanova in bed,” a voice explained as Kevin turned around to see Heather standing in the doorway. She flashed him a smile before entering the room and eyeing him intently. “He has all the knowledge that’s needed to make a woman feel like she’s the most important person in the world. It’s fantastic and I would say when it comes to lovers he ranks right up there on the top.”

“Heather, um really…” Seth turned around to see Heather approaching Kevin.

Her green eyes fixed on him and she flashed him a sultry, sensual smile. Tossing her long hair behind her shoulders, she licked her lips for a moment before placing her hands on her hips in a movement that showed off her flawless curves. She was clad in an anything, but conservative black dress that was topped off by a black and white jacket, that was hanging open around her. Her gaze traveled up over Kevin before their eyes met again.

“Though something tells me that you didn’t come all the way over here to learn about what a master of the arts Brant is in bed,” Heather winked up at Kevin, a playful smile spreading over her beautiful features.

“Last time I checked I didn’t need an up to date rundown of Brant’s sexual abilities, but if I’m ever interested I’ll be the first one to let you know,” Kevin remarked with a teasing grin of his own. His brown eyes cast over Heather appreciatively noting the way her short skirt gave a very flattering view of her long, slender legs.

“That’s good to hear because I’d be worried if someone as hot as you was really interested in knowing more about Brant that way,” she mouthed her grin expanding before Seth stepped up to the both of them.

“Heather, this is my cousin Kevin Adonis. Kevin, this is Heather Gibbons, my boss,” Seth introduced the both of them taking note of the strange interactions between them.

“We’ve met before,” Kevin reached for Heather’s hand bringing it up to his lips in a chaste kiss.

“Ah yes, but until now my hero didn’t have a name,” she mouthed in a sultry tone, giving him another appreciative once over, “and what an Adonis you truly are.”

“I’d like to think so,” Kevin kept her hand in his for a moment longer before taking a small step back, “It’s nice to see you now that you’re feeling better.”

“Better?” Seth gave him a strange look.

“That’s right Seth. Your cousin gave me a pick me up when I was a bit under the weather and I wasn’t able to thank him for that properly. Of course up until now we hadn’t had proper introductions,” she explained in a casual, yet flirty tone.

“Oh we had introductions, but at the time I don’t think it was relevant to what was happening. I think my arms were probably the most important part of the moment in keeping you from going over the balcony,” Kevin added with a thoughtful expression.

“And what strong arms they are,” Heather stepped forward in a bold move reaching out to touch Kevin’s massive bicep. “Ever so impressive I might add.”

“I’d like to think so,” Kevin noted with a nervous laugh seeing the way that she was sizing him up.

“So tell me Seth,” Heather glanced over at him, taking her time in releasing her hold on Kevin’s arm, “Are you all ready for the shoot this morning?”

“I’ve got everything set up and as soon as the model arrives we can get started,” Seth explained proudly ready to take on the latest challenge of the day.

“Well actually we have a little problem with that,” Heather frowned ever so slightly. “I’m afraid that we’re going to have a small delay. I had a couple of models coming in for the shoot but Anton has the flu, so I have to find someone else…”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Seth replied thinking about what Heather had planned for the day.

“So am I,” Heather sighed heavily wondering why it was that she was having trouble with her models this early on.

“But never fear Kellen is here to the rescue,” Kellen announced entering the room with a cheerful tone. He had two cappuccinos in hand and a big grin on his face. “Rest assured Heather Babes I have the start to a good day considering that…well hello Adonis.”

Heather noticed the way Kellen’s blue eyes widened upon seeing Seth’s cousin. Kevin nodded in recognition.

“Kellen,” Kevin spoke his name simply revealing nothing about the relationship they had with one another.

“What are you doing here?” Kellen questioned tilting his head to look at Heather appreciatively. “Did you bring him in for the shoot?”

“Oh no,” Kevin shook his head at Kellen’s words, “I’m not here modeling, but rather…”

“Wait a second,” Heather glanced over at Kevin again, “Do you model?”

“No, nothing like that,” Kevin admitted shaking his head firmly. “It’s not my thing. I’m…”

“More than perfect for it. I mean my God look at you. You’re buff and tough and yet sexy enough to pull all of this together perfectly. You simply must model,” Kellen clasped his hands together excitedly. “Kevin, we need you.”

“I’m just visiting my cousin Seth here and…” Kevin tried to politely duck out of the proposition.

“I’ll pay you,” Heather blurted out quickly smiling up at him, “I mean it’s the least I can do after puking on you the other night. That must’ve been horrible and…”

“It wasn’t really that horrible. Well, it wasn’t pleasant either, but…” Kevin stammered a bit seeing her green eyes pleading with him.

“Kevin, I wouldn’t ask you this if I wasn’t in a bind, but right now you look like you’d be perfect for the job and I’ll pay you very well for the shoot,” Heather urged on again before motioning to Seth, “Your cousin will be the photographer so you won’t have to worry about someone you don’t know taking your pictures. Please, I’d really appreciate it if…”

“Oh Heather Babes don’t beg. Kevin’s a big teddy bear when it gets down to it,” Kellen walked forward bringing his arm around Kevin’s shoulders, “He’ll do it. Won’t you Kevy?”

“Kellen, I…” Kevin started once more with a small sigh.

“Excellent,” Heather blurted out before Kevin could refuse. “I’ll just go see if the other model is here and then we’ll get started.”

“But…” Kevin began watching Heather walk off only to realize that she’d been sizing him up for a job all along. He looked to Seth with a pleading expression before realizing that maybe getting paid was a good thing. He had been talking about a job, but still was modeling really the one he wanted to take on at this point in the game?


“Are you still in a bad mood?” Shannon questioned with a small laugh fixing her shirt as she walked into the kitchen seeing Don picking at the eggs before him on his plate. “Come on, you seriously can’t be grumpy all day long.”

“How am I supposed to not be grumpy?” Don frowned looking up at Shannon with his light blue eyes before shrugging his shoulders and taking in a deep breath. “I plan a nice night with my wife and every time I do that, my plans get ruined.”

“Come on Don, we had a nice night together,” Shannon offered up a happy smile seeing him roll his eyes before going back to picking at the eggs before him on his plate. “In all honesty, we don’t need to make love to have a nice night.”

“It could have helped a little bit,” Don pointed out seeing Shannon arch her eyebrows at him before going to grab the orange juice out of the refrigerator. Taking a bite of his eggs Don let out a long sigh, shrugging his shoulders when he was about to speak out again. “You know, those two fought so much last night that not even the people two blocks away could have had a nice night.”

“We shouldn’t have to blame them for you not being able to--work correctly though,” she pointed out seeing him look up at her with a small frown when she shrugged her shoulders. “All I am saying is that I could have continued even with hearing the doors slam and hearing them fighting. It wouldn’t have bothered me at all.”

“Well, it would have bothered me and it did,” Don clearly stated setting his fork back down on the table before taking in a sharp breath and shaking his head slowly. “They act like children though in all honesty. They yell and slam doors over and over again, I thought your brother said he liked her.”

“I do like her,” Nate’s voice erupted throughout the room as Don turned around in his chair to see Nate walking into the room with his boxers on showing him that Nate just got out of bed. Nate ran his fingers through his messy hair before grabbing the orange juice from Shannon’s hand. “Thanks sis, how did you know I wanted some of that.”

“Just a guess,” Shannon chuckled at her brother looking down at his Scooby-Doo boxers before shaking her head slowly. “Maybe it was because you usually like anything that comes out of the fridge.”

“True, very true,” Nate nodded slowly before shaking his head slowly, taking a big sip of his orange juice after he poured it into a cup. “In all honesty I really don’t like white stuff though. Milk is fine, but other than that, I’m not a big fan of things like that.”

“You could have surprised me,” Don ran into Nate as Nate turned around and Don walked over towards the sink seeing the surprised look that spread out over Nate’s features. “I would happen to think that you would eat anything. You are kind of a disgusting pig.”

“Someone didn’t get laid last night,” Nate let out a long breath seeing Don stop before walking out of the room and Nate shrugged his shoulders. “Seriously, you don’t have to take it out on some of us because you couldn’t get it working man.”

“I got it working fine,” Don snapped seeing Nate hold his hands up in the air defensively before shaking his head slowly. Don stepped forward seeing Nate step more into the corner as Don bit down on his bottom lip. “You see, I didn’t get laid as you put it because someone was busy all night fighting with the girl he claims to like when she hates his guts. A news flash you idiot, you don’t slam doors in someone else’s home and if some girl calls you a loser--she doesn’t like you. Trust me.”

“Gee, he is in a bad mood, I feel bad for anyone who has to work with him today” Nate heard Don stomp out of the room and slam the front door behind him not much after. Shrugging his shoulders Nate poured himself some more orange juice before taking in a deep breath. “Oh well, you want some breakfast sis?”

“You know, you really are kind of a loser,” Shannon pointed out seeing Nate take a sip of his orange juice before nodding slowly and leaning back against the countertop. “You really need to get a life kiddo, like seriously.”

“I know,” Nate smiled widely before finishing off his glass and walking over towards the sink to set down the glass and shrug his shoulders. “It’s just so much easier living off you and Don.”

“You are going to clean that up I hope you know,” Shannon informed Nate seeing him shrug his shoulders as he walked out of the kitchen and Shannon took a look at the glass before putting it away in the dishwasher. “That’s the last time Nate, I swear.”


“Here are your eggs and toast Matt,” Alicia set down Matt’s plate in front of him as Matt flashed her a wide smile before nodding slowly. “I’m glad you are here for breakfast today because I know your father has a hard time feeding you what you need sometimes.”

“You mean what he likes,” Lindsay interrupted seeing Matt look down at a crossword puzzle before him as Lindsay shook her head slowly. “Sometimes I have to wonder if you are a fifty year old stuck in a five year olds body kiddo.”
“I know,” Matt took in a deep breath reaching out to grab his wheat toast before shrugging his shoulders. “I guess it is kind of sad when you see a child like myself acting immature. You would hope that one day they were all like me.”

“If that day ever came I know I would feel really stupid kiddo,” Lindsay replied seeing Matt let out a small laugh and look up at her with his blue eyes. “You are so smart that I think you can probably get an A on all my tests.”

“Well I think you are very smart too Lindsay,” Matt informed her with a wide smile taking another bite of his toast before shrugging his shoulders once more. “Most teenagers are immature and care more about the less important things. You aren’t like that and I look up to you for that.”

“I appreciate that kiddo,” Lindsay smiled brightly reaching out to push back her nephews short hair before looking up at Alicia with a small smirk. “You know about that school trip we were talking about. I was thinking about it and I really do kind of want to go right now.”

“Honey, I don’t know,” Alicia took in a deep breath holding the kitchen towel in her hand tightly before shrugging her shoulders. “I know your father was worried about you going and I would let you go, but I think he would want to talk to you about it first.”

“The money and the permission slip is due today mom,” Lindsay took in a deep breath looking over at the clock knowing that her school had a late start today because of the exams that were going on. “I know I waited until the last second, but I didn’t think any of my friends were going and then I decided that I would go. I didn’t want to go alone if you know what I mean because that would have been horrible. I hate being alone at those type of things and sometimes the kids on those fieldtrips are really mean about certain things.”

“I understand honey,” Alicia took in a deep breath grabbing Matt’s plate as he finished and smiled up at her with the cute grin he always gave everyone. “I have to take Matty here to the dentist right now because I promised Don I would take him to the dentist, but you could always call your father if you need to talk to him. I think I am kind of running late right now, so we need to get our butts in gear.”

“It’s okay,” Lindsay took in a deep breath looking around the kitchen before getting up slowly and seeing Matt do the same thing. “Why don’t you give me a hug little man before you leave?”

“Sounds good Linds,” Matt smiled seeing her bend down to hug him as he wrapped his arms around her tightly. “Good luck with the fieldtrip, I hope that goes well for you.”

“What are you planning to do with that honey?” Alicia questioned cleaning everything up quickly before turning to face her daughter seeing her shrug her shoulders. “Honey, you should probably know what you want to do.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Lindsay assured her mother letting go of Matt and standing up slowly, “I will just go talk to dad and have Jackie drop me off by the gym quickly before we go to the mall.”

“Be careful honey,” Alicia called out seeing Lindsay nod slowly after hearing the horn to Jackie’s car and Lindsay walked out into the living room. “Tell your father I said hello.”

“Will do mom,” Lindsay promised opening the door before taking a small step back. “Be careful with Matt on the way there and I’ll be sure to call later and check up with you two.”


Brant propped himself up on his elbow laying on his side of the bed as Angela slept beside him. She was cuddled up beneath the sheet and he couldn’t help but feel a moment of sentimentality creeping in over him. He knew he should just leave her be and let her sleep after their long, adventurous night, but something inside of him couldn’t refrain from reaching out to her. He gently pushed a strand of her dark hair away from her face to admire her beauty before moving in closer to her.

“I love you,” he whispered his fingers teasing over the sheet until he dipped his hand underneath and placed it over her soft, swelled abdomen, “and you both as well. I hope you’re feeling okay this morning.”

“They’d be feeling better if your hand wasn’t so cold,” Angela teased opening one eye to gaze up at him. A small smile started to build at the corner of her mouth as she watched Brant pull away from her.

“I’m sorry about that,” he rubbed his palms together furiously in the hopes of warming them up. “I didn’t realize that…”

“I was kidding,” she let out a small laugh reaching out for his palm again and placing it back under the sheet before closing her eyes.

“I see,” he massaged her abdomen gently, seeing a look of contentment spill over her face, “so really how are you feeling this morning?”

“Divine,” she whispered letting out a small yawn. “Like I’ve died and gone to heaven only to wake up with the man of my dreams right beside me.”

“Okay where is he,” Brant teased looking around the room, “because he needs to get lost now that I’m here.”

“Ha, ha very funny,” she joked opening her brown eyes fully and turning in towards him.

“I try to be,” he whispered softly sliding his arm around her waist to draw her nearer to him. Once she’d settled in on his pillow, his hand returned to her abdomen once more. “I like seeing you smile.”

“I smile a lot when I’m with you,” she confessed openly bringing her hand up over his and tracing lazy circles over the top of his palm, “though you probably are thinking that I’m the date that never leaves right about now.”

“Why would you say that?” Brant questioned wrinkling his nose at her.

“Well for starters I feel like I’ve already moved in,” she admitted with an ironic laugh, “I mean we still haven’t left your place since our date the other night. We arrived here to continue our date and if we’re technical about it, our date never really ended.”

“Hmm, well I have to tell you that if that’s the case, then this is my very first marathon date,” he pondered the notion for moment.

“Really?” she questioned with a curiosity brewing inside of her, “And how does it rank? In being a first and all?”

“I’d have to say it’s probably one of the best dates I have ever had in my life and it only keeps on getting better,” Brant leaned in over her to kiss her tenderly. He felt her wrap her arm around his shoulders hugging him in over her even more. Their kiss continued for a few moments longer until he rolled back onto the mattress bringing her in over him.

“I’ll say,” she mused in agreement sitting up over his abdomen to gaze down at him. The sheet fell down from her body revealing her soft curves to his eyes. Tracing her nails over the lines of his chest, she watched a tiny shiver race over him and she smiled, “I’ve rather been enjoying myself as well.”

“That’s a good thing,” Brant placed his hands on her hips admiring her beautiful body with a full appreciation, “because I’ve been trying to make damn sure you’re having a good time.”

“So far I am,” Angela scratched her nails over his chest up and over his shoulders until her fingers slid into his soft, dark hair. With a gentle tug she pulled him upward into a seated position and claimed his mouth with an urgent longing.

“I’m so very glad to hear it,” Brant murmured against her mouth loving the warmth of her in his arms when he felt Angela bounce up off of his lap. She had a strange expression on her face and he couldn’t help but be worried at the way she seemed to zone out of the moment. Reaching out to touch the side of her face, he nudged her to look at him again. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” she pinched her face again making another strange expression, “I mean not really.”

“That doesn’t look like not really,” he frowned worriedly feeling her lean back a bit further and place her hand over her abdomen. “What is it? Is something wrong with the babies?”

“No not at all. It’s just that,” Angela couldn’t help but let out a tiny laugh, “I don’t believe this. Brant this is really uncanny timing but…”

“But what?” he asked worriedly watching her reach out for his hand and pull it in over her abdomen.

“Feel this,” she instructed growing quiet as she held his hand over her. “Do you feel it?”

“Right now I don’t feel anything…” he started when he felt a small twitch beneath his palm. “Oh my God is that…”

“I think they are moving around in here,” Angela admitted looking into his eyes for a moment before letting out a small gasp. “Did you feel that?”

“Sort of,” Brant confessed watching the way her face seemed to light up.

“Hold on,” she decided leaning back onto the mattress beside him again. She sought out his hand and placed it over her abdomen. “Just wait for it. You’ll feel it.”

A few seconds passed and it was there again. And again. Before Brant knew it, it felt like there was some major activity taking place inside of her. He couldn’t help but grin.

“That’s them…that’s our…” Brant’s dark eyes clouded over with a newfound emotion. He tipped his head to meet Angela’s gaze and his smile grew exponentially. “Those are our babies in there.”

She nodded biting down on her lip for a moment, “And apparently they take after you because they are active as all hell right now.”

“They just want to say good morning,” Brant blurted out repositioning himself on the bed to where his head was just over her abdomen. He kept his hand placed over her before he lay his ear just above her to listen. Feeling another movement he couldn’t help but let out a giddy laugh. “Those are my babies in there.”

Angela felt a smile press in over her lips as she felt Brant lean forward. He placed a tender kiss over her abdomen before speaking up in a small, loving tone.

“Hey babies,” Brant rubbed her stomach gently, “Daddy’s here. I can see you’re awake now too. How are you?”

She watched him rest his ear to her abdomen again before a smile spread over his lips.

“Really? Well that’s very interesting,” Brant commented before listening again. “Oh I see. Yes, well I’m sure I can work on that. Of course.”

“Brant?” she spoke his name in a curious tone. “What are you doing?”

“I’m having a conversation with our children,” he placed his index finger over his lips to alert her to be quiet for a moment. “Just listen.”

She opened her mouth to speak up again, but stopped amused with what she was seeing. She felt his palm moving ever so slightly over her skin, causing her to relax more and more by the moment. She closed her eyes listening to the muted sounds of Brant’s whispers and in her mind she thought of what it would be like when their children were born--about what it would be like to see him as a father to their children.

“I love you both very much,” Brant promised kissing her abdomen tenderly and smiling, “and I promise you I’ll tell your mother exactly what it is you want right now. Don’t worry you can always count on me because as your father I’m always going to be there for you. You have my word on that. I’m going to love you forever just like I love your mother.”

“I love you too,” Angela teased her fingers lazily through his dark hair, “I really do. I hope you realize that.”

“I think even though we’re anything but conventional, we both realize we have something very special between us,” he slid up beside her over the blanket, “which is why I have to honor our children’s request and get you out of bed.”

“Out of bed?” she repeated with a strange expression.

“That’s right,” he nodded in response, “They are hungry and it’s time we give them the proper nutrition that they need with breakfast.”

“Breakfast,” she repeated with a ponderous expression, “Yeah that does sound kind of good right now.”

“Good then you tell me what you want and anything at all will be yours. My culinary talents are at your complete disposal my dear,” he reached for her hand bringing it to his lips for a tender kiss.

“Oh you have no idea how wonderful that sounds right now,” she mused contemplating what she wanted now that the first hunger pangs were starting to carry over her. She hadn’t felt hungry before Brant had mentioned that their children were in the mood for food, but now she found that she was very hungry as well.

“I think I might have some idea,” Brant replied kissing her one last time before getting up and out of bed. He slipped into his pajama bottoms before reaching out to offer her his pajama top. “Just in case we have a full house.”

“If that’s the case, how about the robe too?” she suggested feeling a little bit chilly as she pulled herself out from underneath the blanket. She got dressed and walked over to him sliding her arms around his waist. “Thank you.”

“For what?” he couldn’t help but ask holding her as well.

“For being so wonderful to me,” she mouthed tipping up on her toes to kiss him when they heard a loud, resonating sound from outside their room.

“Yo Brant, you around?” the voice questioned causing Brant to stand up taller and listen for a moment.

“Were you expecting company?” she asked curiously.

“No, but…” he listened again hearing his name, “that’s my pal Don.”

“Don,” she repeated watching him nod.

“He’s my best friend. You two sort of saw one another at the party when you ran out on me,” he laced his fingers in hers, “Come on you can meet him now properly.”

“Okay,” she replied feeling him lead her out of the room to the hallway where they almost ran directly into Don.

“Man you would not believe the night I had,” Don began with a heavy scowl, “I feel like I’m being sucked right into hell considering that…”

Don’s words stopped when he took a long look at Angela. Immediately his frown faded and it was replaced by a knowing look.

“Well I think it’s safe to say that you’re not feeling my pain since it looks like you’re already having a pretty good morning,” Don noted exchanging a pointed glance with Brant.

“That I am Don,” Brant smiled proudly wrapping his arm around Angela’s waist. “Don I’d like you to meet Angela Meloni. Angela this is my best friend Don Leveski.”

“Well Angela, it’s nice to finally meet the woman that Brant can’t stop talking about,” Don mouthed with a goofy grin reaching for her hand. “You’re even more beautiful than he gushed about.”

“Oh really?” Angela tipped her head up to look over at Brant before turning her attention to Don again. “You wouldn’t just be kissing up because you know I look like his ex-wife there, would you?”

“Are you kidding,” Don waved his hand dismissively offering up a tiny laugh, “She’s got nothing on you. You’re way hotter and Brant‘s been telling me that ever since he met you.”

“Okay I like you,” Angela decided with a tiny laugh shaking Don’s hand, “I’m sure you’re lying through your teeth right now but I can totally respect that.”

“As long as you make my best friend happy, I can totally respect that too,” Don lifted her hand to his lips offering up a chaste kiss, “Welcome to Coral Valley Angela. It‘s great to meet you.”


“Fancy meeting you here,” Kyle announced stepping up behind Grady as he and Zane were walking around the video store looking at the children’s DVDs section. “You picked an interesting place for me to find you.”

“We rented a couple of DVDs for Zane last night, but they were broken,” Grady mouthed turning around to face his best friend, “Besides, what do you care? It’s not like you won’t pick yourself up a game or something since I know you’re addicted to that Xbox you bought yourself for Christmas last year.”

“I’d be even more addicted if I could actually find the time to play with it, but maybe that’ll be my New Year’s resolution when I get my life back together,” Kyle sighed heavily seeing Zane rushing ahead to pull one of the movies off of the shelves. “He’s cute.”

“Yeah he is,” Grady noted glancing over at Zane who held up the DVD to show Grady.

“What about this one?” Zane questioned with a wide grin.

“Your mom will kill me if you get that one. Try again,” Grady suggested seeing Zane grudgingly put it down before spotting another DVD out of the corner of his eye and racing to it.

“I take it things are going better than anticipated with you and Deana if she trusts a goof like you to watch her son,” Kyle couldn’t help but tease his friend, “Even I wouldn’t be that brave.”

“Cute,” Grady rolled his eyes at him, “I’ll have you know that Deana trusts me quite a bit already. We have a great relationship between us and…”

“You’ve slept with her, haven’t you?” Kyle gave him a long look catching the expression on Grady’s face. “Oh my God. I was just kidding, but…”

“Keep it down,” Grady replied in a muted whisper giving his pal a harsh look, “Deana doesn’t have a lot of ‘sleepovers’ there and we’re trying to keep quiet about it.”

“I see,” Kyle nodded taking in the news for a moment, “well if you want my advice don’t screw it up Grady. It’s a whole new ballgame in falling in love with someone who has a child. You know that.”

“I realize that which is why I’m trying to take it step by step,” Grady explained in a hushed tone seeing Zane pick up another movie.

“What about this Grady?” Zane questioned eagerly.

“I don’t think mom’s going to like that one either,” Grady shook his head watching Zane let out an emphatic huff.

“She doesn’t like anything. She’s a wuss,” Zane stomped his foot impatiently. “Can’t we just sneak a movie?”

“If we sneak a movie, then she won’t let me come back over,” Grady informed him watching Zane quickly put the DVD back on the shelf.

“Never mind. I’ll find another one then,” Zane announced sprinting off to another part of the section.

“Wow, that kid would rather have you over than watch a cartoon,” Kyle noted with a small smirk. “Color me impressed. Maybe you are maturing at long last.”

“Bite me,” Grady grumbled in response giving him a look. “I’m responsible.”

“When the mood hits, which isn’t too often,” Kyle jabbed further before clearing his throat, “No seriously though I just hope it works out for you. Deana seems like a great gal and she’s got a fun kid.”

“I know,” Grady nodded watching Zane closely, “They are both pretty special to me. I just…I want to do things right this time you know. I mean yeah ok maybe I’m jumping the gun a little bit with the whole sex thing, but that doesn’t make or break a relationship.”

“It depends on who you ask,” Kyle frowned slightly thinking about his own situation.

“I waited forever with Jade and then with Avery,” Grady shuddered at the memory returning his focus to Zane. “Deana isn’t the past. She’s someone that I find myself wanting to be a better person for and when I’m with her and Zane, it feels right. I can’t explain it but for the first time I feel like there’s something in front of me productive. I don’t need to run to the bottle or start something to sabotage what I have going for me.”

“In other words Deana’s been able to whip you in line,” Kyle joked fingering a couple of the movies on the shelf beside him, “Color me very impressed. I knew there was something I liked about that woman.”

“Yeah well I like a lot of something’s about her, but I don’t think that’s why you called me earlier,” Grady noted glancing over at his friend again, “So what’s up?”

“A lot of things actually,” Kyle sighed thinking about the things he’d learned over the last day. “I really have a lot going on and I needed to get out of the house. I couldn’t be there with Sarah considering that…”

“That what?” Grady questioned giving him a curious look.

“That I’ve got a wedding ahead of me this weekend,” Kyle informed him point blank.

“A wedding,” Grady repeated with a stunned expression, “What wedding?”

“My wedding,” Kyle announced with a neutral expression. “I figured I’d save the news until we were face to face here.”

“Wait a second,” Grady held his hand up in the air, “why in the world would you be getting married this weekend?”

“Because Sarah wants to,” Kyle shrugged his shoulders still playing it neutral.

“But you just told me the other day that you weren’t in love with Sarah…” Grady reminded him confusion spreading over him.

“I’m not,” Kyle confessed in a casual breath.

“So then why are you getting married? I don’t understand…” Grady gave him a strange look. “Kyle, you’re not making sense.”

“Well actually you see what’s going to happen is…” Kyle began to explain when Zane ran over to the both of them with two movies in his hands.

“What about this?” Zane sighed heavily holding one up to show Grady. “I’m sure mom won’t hate this one and if she does, I picked this one out for her. It’s her favorite.”

“Very slick move little buddy,” Kyle couldn’t help but laugh seeing that to counteract the action cartoon Zane had picked up for himself, he’d picked up The Little Mermaid for his mother.

“Thanks,” Zane grinned up at him widely before scratching the side of his head. “I think.”

“I’m pretty sure we can get your mom to agree to this,” Grady handed the movies over to Zane, “Ready to go pay for them?”

Zane nodded excitedly, “I just want to watch them.”

“We can do that as soon as we get out of here. I’ll let you watch part of it in my car,” Grady offered with a small smile.

“His car is so cool. Did you know that he’s got a television in there and a DVD player?” Zane informed Kyle excitedly. “It’s way cool.”

“I know it is little man,” Kyle smiled down at Zane thinking about what a great child he was. One day he hoped he could have the honors of spending time with a little one of his own. That would really be something.

“So are we ready?” Grady questioned again.

Zane nodded, then frowned. “What about Kyle? What is he going to get?”

“Oh I’m not going to get anything,” Kyle shook his head, “I don’t really have time to…”

“You can’t just go to a video store and not get something. It’s wrong,” Zane looked up at him incredulously. “You have to get a movie.”

“Well if I have to,” Kyle replied reaching back behind the beads that hung over the shelf behind him. He kept his eyes on Zane and grabbed a random DVD, “I got one.”

“Awesome,” Zane motioned towards the check out. “You just have to go over there and get it. You just get your video card and…Grady can I have your card?”

“Sure,” Grady handed the card to Zane watching as the small boy reached for Kyle’s hand.

“Come on,” Zane tugged Kyle along guiding him up over to the desk area.

Grady watched them for a moment wondering what was going on with his pal now that Kyle had announced he was getting married. Scratching his chin lightly Grady looked to the shelf behind him as Kyle paid for his rental. Seeing the sign overhead that read ADULT FILMS had Grady gasp. He turned towards Kyle and Zane rushing over to them again just as the clerk placed the DVD to the scanner.

“Um Kyle…” Grady started uneasily causing his friend to turn around and look at him.

“What?” Kyle questioned clearly oblivious to what he’d picked up.

“I really don’t think that you want to…” Grady cleared his throat uneasily trying to warn Kyle without making it obvious to Zane what Kyle had picked up.

“What? What’s wrong?” Kyle gave Grady a look as the clerk rang up the DVD. “Look I know you think my decision is hasty, but trust me on this. I know what I’m doing.”

“Great choice man. This is one of the best we’ve had in here in a while,” the clerk explained enthusiastically dropping the DVD into a bag for Kyle.

“Yeah whatever,” Kyle dismissed the man’s words while noting the expression on Grady’s face, “Look I have a few things I need to do, but do you think you can work on getting Diego out of jail before the weekend? I’d really like to have him there at the wedding…”

“Yeah I can get right on it, but…” Grady started again trying to clue his pal into what he’d picked up, but watching Kyle reach for the bag, he realized there was no point.

“I have to run, but I promise I’ll give you an update later,” Kyle assured his pal before turning to Zane, “I’ll talk to you later little buddy.”

“Okay cool. Later Kyle,” Zane held his DVDs up to the clerk.

“I’ll call you,” Kyle motioned to Grady clutching the DVD in his hand and walking out the video store door ready to put the wheels into motion for the weekend. Oh yes there was a lot to do between then and now and Kyle intended to put his full heart into doing it.


“Okay I’ll bite,” Deana piped up moving in behind Ria after they’d just finished up with a patient. She nodded over towards Zack before looking to Ria again, “What happened to get him to change his tune about you? He’s been singing your praises all day.”

“He thinks he’s going to get lucky, but it’s not happening,” Ria shrugged her shoulders seeing Deana’s brown eyes widen. “Trust me Zack is the last man I would even think twice about. It’s a long story, but when it gets down to it I plan on beating him at his own game.”

“That sounds interesting,” Deana confessed after a moment’s contemplation, “Do you want any help with that?”

“Trust me you don’t want to get involved. The guy is a creep plain and simple,” Ria rolled her eyes before ignoring the fact that Zack was around them. “So how are you holding up? Your day any better today?”

“So far,” she nodded in response before pausing, “though can I ask you a question?”

“Sure you can ask me anything,” Ria nodded in response, “What’s on your mind?”

“I know that you’re friends with Seth and that you were friends with his sister,” Deana hesitated not really knowing how to bring up the subject at hand. “I know it’s probably not really appropriate to ask, but can you tell me what you think about Grady? I mean I know that you were around him when he was dating Jade and…”

“Is something wrong?” Ria questioned curiously seeing something behind Deana’s dark eyes.

“No, not really, but maybe it’s just part of my whole self-defeating side. He’s wonderful--so wonderful in fact that I can’t help but think that something bad is going to happen. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s how my life has gone, so I guess I was just kind of asking if there was anything that I should be prepared for just in case,” Deana played with her fingers nervously before clearing her throat again, “This is stupid, isn’t it?”

“Not really,” Ria shook her head sensing Deana’s nervousness. “I think every woman wants to know about the man she’s dating and even if we act like we’re okay without knowing all there is to know, we’re not.”

“It’s not that Grady hasn’t been wonderful because he is. I mean you should see the way that he is with Zane. Zane just lights up when Grady is around and he’s already grown so attached to Grady. I guess I just never expected to be seeing anyone like this when I moved to town--I mean I knew that there might be a possibility, but I guess I never thought I would end up with a boyfriend and…” Deana stopped herself with a small sigh. “You know I guess maybe I’m all freaked out about it because once you start sleeping with a guy you get used to it and…”

“Okay, hold that thought,” Ria looked around before guiding Deana back into one of the other rooms with her. She urged her to sit down before she looked down at her, “First of all take a breath and realize that you need to relax.”

“I am relaxed, well sort of,” Deana started with a small frown plopping down into one of the seats before looking up at Ria. “I sound pathetic don’t I?”

“No not at all, but I think I can understand why you’re having the feelings that you’re feeling,” Ria explained moving over to a vending machine and getting Deana a bottled water. She carried it over to her before taking a seat beside her, “The relationship is new and you’re experiencing the honeymoon phase of it. Here you are with a guy that you’ve felt comfortable to bring into your life and your son’s life and rather than enjoying it, you’re thinking about how it could fall apart, yes?”

“Something like that,” Deana nodded in confession, “I mean I know it sounds silly but I’m not really an expert in this whole relationship thing. I mean take Zane’s father for example. We dated for a couple of years in high school and he spent most of that time we were together trying to get into my pants. We had sex one time--one really disappointing time and then he split. I found out I was having Zane and I never heard from him again. After that I sort of gave up on men until I met Grady. I know it sounds silly, but other than Zane’s father, I’ve never, well I haven’t been with anyone else and now that Grady and I are together, well I don’t want to sound naïve or immature to him, but I’m having this whole world of issues in dealing with our having an adult relationship with one another. Top that off with the fact that I have a son who can’t afford to let his mother’s hormones get the best of his life and I feel like I’m a wreck.”

“Well for starters it doesn’t make you any less of a mother because you have a boyfriend that you enjoy having sex with,” Ria teased seeing Deana’s face grow red at the very mention of it. “It’s a good thing actually and as for Grady and Zane I have seen them together. They have hit it off really well.”

“I know, which worries me. I mean what if it doesn’t turn out well for the two of us? What if Grady realizes that I’m not up to speed with him and he gets bored? What if he pulls a vanishing act like Zane’s father did and then I have to break it to my son that it didn’t work out this time,” Deana shook her head and frowned, “I’m being ridiculous I know.”

“Not really,” Ria decided thinking about how to approach the subject with her. “Deana, you know not every guy is like your ex was. I mean I’ve dated a bunch of jerks in the past too, but then Kevin and I got together. He’s amazing and I can’t even begin to imagine my life without him. He’s the kind of guy that romance novels are written about. He’s strong and loyal and he knows how to make you feel like the only woman in a room when he’s with you. He’s a good guy and he helped me get over my jaded side.”

“Kevin’s one in a million for sure,” Deana noted with a small smile.

“That he is, but I think Grady’s special too,” Ria informed her honestly thinking about what she knew of Deana’s boyfriend. “When he and Jade were together they had their share of problems, but most of them were caused externally by people who wanted to tear them apart. It was a strain on their relationship but I don’t doubt for a second that Grady would’ve done anything for her. He has been burned by love in the past too from what I’ve heard and I really think that he’s ready to settle down. I think after he lost Jade it got him thinking about how important life was. Sure, there was a point when he hit rock bottom, but when you two met one another I think that changed for him. I can see it in the way he shows up just to give you silly little gifts or to pretend that he’s in the neighborhood when you know full well that he only stopped by to see you.”

“I know,” Deana smiled thinking about Grady’s behaviors, “He really is wonderful Ria and I’m really falling for him. I think I might even be in love with him.”

“Does he know that?” Ria questioned watching her closely.

“Considering that we’ve only known one another for a short time, I don’t want to come off as one of those girls who thinks after she sleeps with a man that they are going to be together forever. You know the type,” she wrinkled her nose at the thought, “I’ve been playing it safe and trying to keep my guard up, but he’s making it difficult for me.”

“Then why keep fighting it so hard? Why not tell him what it is you’re feeling? I mean you already trust him with Zane and you can see that he cares about Zane as well,” Ria spoke up encouragingly, “I think that maybe you might not be alone in what you’re feeling. You might find that Grady’s feeling it too.”

“I don’t know,” Deana sighed sinking back into her chair. “I just don’t want to jinx things because it seems to be going so well.”

“Then don’t jinx it. Just follow your heart because I’m sure it’ll lead you in the right direction,” Ria offered up hoping that one day her friend could feel as surrounded by love as Ria felt that she was each and every time that she was with Kevin. If Ria could find that kind of happiness, then she was sure that Deana could have it as well!


“I can’t believe you just talked her into using me as a model,” Kevin mouthed gruffly pulling Kellen aside in the studio. “You and I both know that I’m not model material, so you get up there and tell Heather I’m not doing it. Let her know that she’ll have to find someone else and…”

“And nothing,” Kellen waved his hand dismissively at Kevin. “You’re hot and you’ll be perfect for the shoot. You can afford to flaunt your good stuff there to the world every now and then. I’m sure it’s not a problem.”

“It is a problem Kellen,” Kevin whispered in a tight voice, “I mean yeah for like a milli-second I thought maybe I could do it, but I can’t. I’m not a model and I’m not going to start pretending to be one now. Heather can find someone else--someone like you. That’s more your thing.”

“Oh no big boy,” Kellen placed his hand on Kevin’s arm, “This shoot is so not my scene, but you, well this one fits you perfectly like that one pair of shorts that you had on the island. You know the navy blue ones that were your favorite and…”

“Just stop there,” Kevin groaned inwardly, “Right now the last thing I want to hear is you flattering me on my physique. Angie isn’t here to keep me from breaking your neck this time if you don’t stop talking right now.”

“What?” Kellen frowned up at him, “Honey it’s the truth. You have a hot body and why not flaunt it? You did on the island with all of those women, so why not give the rest of the women in the world something to lust over?”

“Because I’m not a sex object,” Kevin almost laughed at how silly it sounded especially considering his massive ego. “Seriously I don’t want to do this.”

“I really don’t care. Heather Babes is trying to get her company off the ground and she’s had pitfall after pitfall. I’m not going to let you walk out on her and leave her stranded. She deserves better than that and she’s going to get it from you. You will be her model Kevin,” Kellen snapped back at him in a determined tone. “You’ll smile and flaunt your big sexy muscles for the camera.”

“I am not doing it. I’m engaged now and…” Kevin warned him sharply, “No I’m absolutely not doing it.”

“Of course you are. Look at it this way if you model and become a sex symbol your fiancée will love it. She’ll feel like the luckiest girl alive to have the hottest man out there as hers,” Kellen offered up a pep talk patting his shoulder once more. “She’ll love it knowing that you’re all hers.”

“You don’t know Ria like I do,” Kevin thought about her overwhelming jealousy about Angie and the idea of his posing for something other women would see, “No I can’t do it.”

“Yes you can and you will because if you don’t, then I swear to you Adonis I will tell Ria all about your bachelor party when you and Michelle got married. Then again,” Kellen scratched his chin lightly, “I might feel compelled to put together one for you now like that with you getting married and all…”

“Do it and you die,” Kevin snarled over at him.

“I won’t do it and I won’t tell Ria about it as long as you model,” Kellen wiggled his eyebrow at Kevin teasingly, “What do you say?”

“I hate you Kellen,” Kevin sighed dejectedly taking a step back and looking over at the wardrobe once again. “I really do.”

“Which means that despite the fact that you want to bolt you’ll do the shoot,” Kellen clapped his hands together excitedly. “Good man Kevin. Good man!”

“You’re going to owe me huge,” Kevin warned stalking off towards the changing room reluctantly knowing that at this point in time he was out of options.

“Trust me you’ll love it. It‘s very invigorating,” Kellen called out to him encouragingly knowing full well that Kevin posing for Heather would be a successful shoot that would no doubt put Heather on the map much like the shoot she’d done with Kyle. Oh yes things were looking up.


Heather sat at her desk looking out her office window knowing full well that she should be downstairs in the studio overseeing the shoot, but as much as she tried to ignore it, she couldn’t escape her thoughts of Kyle. Remembering how things had ended last night only made it worse for her now that she found herself back in the same office where they’d started to make love to one another. Looking over to her couch Heather felt a memory rush over her of the two of them together. She closed her eyes feeling the scene play out in her head once more.

“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.”

Opening her eyes again, she willed herself to face the fact that she was still hooked on Kyle. Last night after she’d talked to Kellen she tried to reason with herself--to tell herself that she could be strong and put the whole evening behind her, but the truth was that she couldn’t. Even when she’d been flirting with Kevin in the studio earlier all she could think of was Kyle. She’d tried to pretend that things hadn’t changed, but they had.

“What is wrong with me,” she groaned hating that she couldn’t just play it cool--that she couldn’t just be random and flirty with any hot guy that was in front of her. If it was a year ago she could’ve easily hit on Kevin and probably captured his full attention, but even in doing what she’d done in the lab, it felt hollow and empty. She’d wanted to be doing it with Kyle. She’d wanted it to be his eyes on her with obvious interest--his hands touching her in all the right places.

“Oh hell,” she reached for her phone starting to dial his number knowing that they needed to talk.

She was half way through with dialing when she stopped herself. What would she say? What could she say? Last night had been a surprise to the both of them given that while they’d both wanted it to happen, neither one of them had really thought it would. Or had they? Right now she wasn’t even sure what to say herself, so how could she call him and explain what it was that still wasn’t clear inside her head? Groaning in frustration she hung up the phone and resigned herself to silence.

“Hey babe,” Kellen popped his head into her office, “Kevin’s just about ready.”

“What?” Heather snapped out of the daze she was in looking up to see her best friend standing in front of her. “Oh right. I guess that means I should go down there and take a look at things huh?”

“You could,” he nodded giving her a long look, “unless of course you’d rather call Kyle like I know you wanted to right before I arrived.”

“I didn’t want to call him,” she lied catching the disbelief behind his eyes, “Okay so maybe the thought had crossed my mind, but I’m not going to do it. I can’t do it.”

“Why not?” he frowned stepping further into her office, “What’s holding you back?”

“Everything,” she answered honestly, “I just don’t want this to be it. If I call him and we’re both in agreement that it was a mistake to let things get as far as they did, then I don’t know how I’ll deal with that. Here I kept telling myself that I didn’t want him, but now…”

“Now you’re hooked. Anyone with eyes can see that,” he noted hating to see the sadness behind her eyes, “Admit it Heather you’re in love with the guy and he’s in love with you.”

“I don’t know that for sure,” Heather insisted stubbornly, “and if I go out on a limb and tell him I love him only for him to refuse me like he’s done in the past… Look Kellen I can’t live with that. I can’t live with him running to Sarah again because it’ll only reaffirm to me the way things are and I can’t face that.”

“Heather I don’t think they are like you believe them to be,” Kellen offered up gently, “I think you’re leading yourself in the wrong direction there.”

“No I’m not,” she stood up from behind her chair, “which is why I’m going down to the studio. I’m going to concentrate on work and on business which is something I can control.”

“But Heather Babes,” Kellen started again watching her walk out of her office.

“No buts,” she decided firmly, “I’m going to focus on the one thing that matters the most to me right now other than Charles and that’s my business. Everything else is irrelevant right now. I just have to remember that.”

“You and I both know that’s not the case Heather,” Kellen sighed realizing that as much as his pal tried denying it she had it bad for Kyle Houston and the only way to bring about a remedy to the ache inside of her was to be honest with her heart about the man she loved.


“So what seems to be the problem Don?” Brant questioned from over by the stove where he’d started on breakfast. He looked over to his pal, who was now seated beside Angela at the countertop in one of the bar stool chairs and saw that Don was clearly still fired up about something.

“It’s just been one of these weeks and,” Don paused glancing over at Angela to grin, “He makes the best omelets.”

“I know,” Angela glanced over at Brant appreciatively and grinned wider than before, “He’s good at a lot of things--very good.”

“Don’t I know it,” Don mused with a laugh before realizing what Angela was hinting at, “Well I wouldn’t know it like you know it, but what I meant to say was that Brant’s a man of many talents and a really great guy. You two will have a lot of fun together and…”

“Don, you don’t have to sell me on her,” Brant couldn’t help but laugh at his friend’s encouragements. Brant winked over at Angela, “I think I’ve done a pretty decent job of that myself over the last few days.”

“I’d say so far it’s looking pretty good,” Angela noted with a knowing glance before looking to Don, “but I think that’s more than we can say for your pal here since he’s obviously having a bad week.”

“Try a bad lifetime,” Don groaned inwardly, “Ever since my wife’s brother has come into town it’s been one thing after another and…”

“And you’re sexually frustrated, right?” Angela noted watching Don’s blue eyes practically pop out of his head. “I mean it’s got to be a real buzz kill to have your wife’s brother lurking around the house and making the most inopportune arrivals at a time when you’d rather he get lost.”

“Exactly,” Don nodded eagerly, giving her a long glance, “but how do you know that?”

“Let’s just say it doesn’t take much to figure it out there,” she gave him a long once over, “I’d even be so bold to say that you were trying to get some very recently and you were busted on with him as an audience you weren’t exactly happy to have lurking.”

“How did you know? Are you like psychic?” Don questioned with a small gasp.

“She’s just good,” Brant finished up with the omelet he was working on placing the contents of the pan onto the plates and dividing it up. He slid one over to Don before walking over to hand Angela her breakfast.

“No, I just know what a man is like when he’s not getting any,” Angela teased further unable to repress the laugh that built up inside of her, “and you certainly have the look.”

“You mean a look that we won’t recognize in Brant today,” Don winked over at his pal jokingly.

“If you recognize it in Brant this morning, then that’s not Brant at all, but rather Ken.” Angela added with a small smirk.

“Lucky bastard,” Don shook his head with a small laugh, “and here I thought you two would need a little time to get used to one another again. After the other night when you bolted I figured you were upset with each other.”

“We were upset, but we worked it out,” Angela reached across the counter to take Brant’s hand in hers. “But seriously maybe it’s time you tell your wife’s brother to take a hike. You could do it in such a way that you’re polite about the matter and it doesn’t seem like you’re trying to kick him out. I’m assuming he is an adult, yes?”

“With the mentality of a ten year old,” Don groaned inwardly shaking his head at the thought of Nate. “He’s been in and out of trouble at least a dozen times since he arrived in Coral Valley and it’s a bit much.”

“So tell your wife that while you’re more than happy to help her brother find a place to stay, you really think it’s time for him to find somewhere else to lay his head for a while,” Angela reached for a piece of bacon on her plate and took a small bite, “or you could just take her out for a romantic night at a hotel. That always works.”

“You don’t know Shannon,” Brant rolled his eyes at the mention of Don’s wife. “She’s a real ball buster. Come to think of it, isn’t she still pissed at you?”

“Only because of what you did,” Don gave him a knowing look, “If I didn’t stick my neck out for you, Shannon wouldn’t want to be cutting it off.”

“Be thankful it’s your neck instead of other parts,” Angela quipped taking another bite of her bacon.

“She wouldn’t take off other parts,” Don explained matter of fact to her, “She likes that far too much. Hell, I think she likes it more than she likes me.”

“So then maybe you should keep your scalpel under wraps so that she doesn’t get any funny ideas about keeping the part of you that she enjoys around and tossing the rest of you,” Brant wiggled a teasing brow at his friend only to receive a glare from Don.

“Blow me Brant,” Don growled at his friend before sitting up straighter, “Besides I don’t keep any of my medical equipment out around the house where she could get any crazy ideas.”

“This is Shannon we’re talking about. She thrives off of insanity,” Brant pointed out again watching Don shift uneasily in his chair.

“Just let me enjoy my meal in peace,” Don pleaded taking a bite of breakfast. He swallowed the bite before cutting himself another oversized piece, “Brant this is fantastic. You know you missed your calling in life. You should’ve been a chef.”

“That’s what I was thinking myself,” Angela confessed nibbling away at her food. “He has far too many talents in the kitchen to just let them go to waste.”

“I have far too many talents in the bedroom too, but I don’t hear you crying out for me to get a career in that department,” Brant teased with a small wink leaning over the countertop to kiss her quickly.

“Okay,” Don reached for his plate holding it up close to him. He watched Brant and Angela kiss again before speaking up further, “if you two are going to go at it on the countertop here, at least let me move to the table so that I can get a better view of things while enjoying my breakfast as well.”

“You wish,” Brant rolled his eyes at his friend, “You’re not getting a peep show this morning.”

“Besides it would only make you feel worse since your wife isn’t around,” Angela patted Don on the shoulder, “We’re not trying to rub it in here.”

“Oh no by all means go ahead,” Don motioned to them again while taking a chunk of his food, “It’ll be the most action I’ve been a part of in a while even if only as a spectator. I think I just need a good quick fix to last me for the next few months or years at this rate.”

“You know maybe you could use a little hand in the matter,” Angela suggested watching Don’s blue eyes widened in astonishment.

“Come again,” Don practically choked watching the way her gaze settled in on him. He dropped his breakfast into his lap and Angela let out a tiny laugh.

“Ok your mind is totally in the gutter,” Angela wrinkled her nose at him, laughter bubbling over him. “What I was referring to is maybe you need something to spice up your private life a bit. Maybe a few tips in the romance department.”

“Tips,” Don eyed her closely, “What are you some kind of therapist?”

“No, I’m a doctor,” Angela informed him quickly.

“A sex doctor,” Don couldn’t help but ask hopefully exchanging glances with Brant.

“I’m a neurologist,” Angela broke out into laughter, “but thanks for the vote of confidence there Don.”

“Really?” Don’s eyes widened again. “I’m a doctor too and I’m hoping to be Chief of Staff at this hospital I’m at soon enough. You know we’re short staffed and if you’re looking for a job…”

“I’ve been doing some independent research in genetics for the last few years,” Angela started to explain to him, “but you never know. I may take you up on that especially if I’m going to be around for a while and from the looks of things I could see that happening.”

“That would be great. If you’re interested just let me know and I’ll set something up for you,” Don offered up proudly, “I have connections and I’d be more than happy to help you find an excuse to stay in this town.”

“I think she already has a good one,” Brant motioned to himself, “but if she’d like to check out the hospital I think that might be great.”

“I’ll consider it, but right now I’m going to show you a thing or two about getting closer to your wife,” Angela stood up from where she’d been seated and walked in behind Don. “Just try to relax.”

“What are you,” Don started to ask feeling her palms move in over his shoulders gently kneading and massaging them with her warm touch.

“People tend to forget how important it is to touch one another. They are always thinking about sex and they lose sight of the other great things that take place during an interaction,” Angela explained sliding her fingers up and over his neck and shoulders and into his hair. “Just a small touch can trigger a great many feelings inside of a person.”

“Um yeah…” Don mouthed giving Brant a look, “I won’t argue that.”

“I learned that a while ago when I took a massage therapy class,” she continued to explain sliding her hands over him in a light caress, “It’s not really something that many people really take an opportunity to look into, but they really should. An ex-boyfriend of mine studied the art and I found myself fascinated with it. You have no idea how many erogenous zones the body has until you do.”

“I’ll bet,” Brant leaned back against the counter seeing Don let out a labored breath as Angela’s fingers slid in just beneath his earlobe.

“Take this pressure point for example,” she placed his earlobe between her thumb and index finger, using small, skilled, gentle circles to try to get him to respond to her.

“Oh that feels nice,” Don closed his eyes, letting out a long sigh before feeling her fingers move beneath his earlobe. He cleared his throat and let out a soft moan, “very nice.”

“Imagine what it’ll do to your wife,” she leaned in closer to him, “especially if you take the time to nibble on her right there or even…”

“Okay, I think we’ve had more than enough for today,” Brant tossed down the towel that he’d had over his shoulder, “Don gets the point.”

“No really I’m starting to enjoy this one. Please go on and demonstrate,” Don’s blue eyes snapped open revealing a glazed over expression, “I don’t mind at all.”

“Well I do you horn dog,” Brant tossed the towel over at his friend hitting him right in the center of the face, “quit hitting on my girlfriend.”

“I’m not hitting on her,” Don objected with a frown, “I’m merely taking in all the valuable information that she’s offering me.”

“Actually if you’re interested I have a friend that I can call. She’s great at teaching technique and you might find the class very rewarding,” Angela glanced over at Brant with a sexy smirk, “You both might enjoy it considering the advantages that come along with it.”

“Hell I’m game. Sign me up,” Don blurted out eagerly tipping his head back to look at Angela, “If your friend is half as good at demonstration as you are, then I’m so there.”

“She’s way better than I am,” Angela explained with a tiny laugh, “In fact I might have her card in my purse if you’re interested. I know she does some work around here and…”

“That would be great,” Don answered immediately watching Angela walk around to the other side of him.

“I’ll go get it then,” Angela decided walking over to Brant and kissing him quickly. “I’ll be right back.”

“We’ll be here,” Brant promised watching Angela walk out of the room as Don’s eyes followed as well. Once she exited Brant turned to Don and shook his head at him, “Eyes off. She’s mine.”

“Hey, I’m well aware of that, but I’ve got to say,” Don looked at the food he’d ignored a few minutes earlier that he‘d spilled. He shrugged his shoulders before motioning to what Brant still had in the untouched plate before him. “You going to eat that?”

“No, it’s all yours,” Brant slid the plate over to his best friend. “You were saying?”

“Oh right,” Don took a hearty bite again, “What I was going to tell you is that you’ve finally hit the jackpot because Angela, whoo she’s a hell of a lot hotter than Avery ever could be. You’re a lucky man Brant. A really lucky man.”

“Don’t I know it,” Brant mused proudly thinking about how it seemed his luck was truly changing now that his dream girl was back in his life sharing his days with him. Oh yes life was getting better by the moment indeed.


“So kiddo,” Shannon walked into Nate’s room seeing him pull his shirt on slowly before reaching out onto his dresser to grab a candy bar from the top of it and take a small bite of it. “What are you planning to do today?”

“I’m not quite sure,” Nate swallowed down his candy before going over and sitting down on his bed. Shannon came and sat next to him as he let out a small breath. “I think I am going to work a little bit and get things over with. The faster I get things done, the quicker I can get to my real life and getting a real job.”

“That’s good kid,” Shannon placed her hand over his shoulder gently before letting out a long breath. Seeing her brother’s green eyes look over in her direction, Shannon smiled brightly. “It’s good that you want to move on with all of this.”

“Yeah, Shannon--can I ask you a question?” Nate questioned seeing Shannon nod slowly as he bit down on his bottom lip and shrugged his shoulders. “Did I really ruin the two of yours night? I didn’t mean to, it’s just when she is around me sometimes I blow up and I can’t help it.”

“Don’t worry about it Nate,” Shannon hushed seeing his green eyes look away from her before he shrugged his shoulders and Shannon stood up slowly. “In all honesty, I could have worked fine, it was just Don that was having the problems.”

“Okay yuck, I didn’t need to know how my sister operates,” Nate wrinkled his nose before sticking his tongue out and holding his hands up in the air. “But seriously, I don’t know what it is with her, but I try to be nice and she does all these things that I can’t stand.”

“Are you sure it’s just her?” Shannon watched him look up at her with a confused expression when she shrugged her shoulders and stole his candy from him, taking a small piece for herself before handing it back. “Maybe you are doing something that is making her upset and you just don’t know it.”

“You think?” he watched Shannon shrug her shoulders and he fell back against his bed seeing her step in next to the bed to look down at him. “I really like her a lot Shannon, but sometimes I just don’t know how to handle her blowing up at me like that.”

“Hey, remember,” Shannon held her hands up in the air before taking in a deep breath and swallowing the candy he gave her, “I wasn’t the one mad. It was actually just Don and maybe Cori.”

“Well, I promise I will get everything together with Cori,” Nate inhaled deeply before shaking his head slowly and thinking about everything that had been going on lately with the two of them. “I swear that I will try and stop things like what happened last night. Make sure to tell Don that because I really didn’t mean to ruin his night last night.”

“Don’t worry about it Nate, I have work I have to get to,” Shannon walked over towards his bedroom door before turning around and wrinkling her nose. “That candy isn’t like twenty years old is it?”

“No, I just bought it yesterday,” Nate chuckled seeing her nod slowly before walking out into the hallway and he stood up from his bed. “Be careful sis, I love you.”

“Love you too,” was the only thing he heard before he heard the door shut telling him that he was alone with Cori in the next room as he took in a deep breathing knowing what he had to do next.

“You can do this,” Nate walked out into the hallway and over towards Cori’s room, grabbing onto the door before realizing barging in may not be the best thing to do. Moving forward he knocked gently at her door hearing nothing behind his knock as he knocked once more. “Cori?”

Stepping back he realized that maybe she didn’t want to talk to him, but he wasn’t just going to quit there as he stepped towards her door grabbing a hold of the handle and turning it slowly.

“Listen I know you probably don’t want to talk to me, but I just wanted to say that I was sorry and…,” Nate went to finish his sentence before glancing around the room and he stepped inside. “You’re gone.”


“You wanted to speak with me?” Cori questioned entering Rob’s office to find him seated at his desk. He looked up from the papers in front of him and motioned for her to hold on a second now that he was on the phone.

Closing the door behind her Cori thought about the things that she’d been doing in the morning. While she’d been seated in her office for a while with a ton of work ahead of her, she found herself thinking about Rob and what it would be like to see him again. He’d been so kind and caring to her when the rest of the world was filled with losers like Nate who continually tried to harass her, but Rob, oh was he wonderful. When she heard that he’d wanted to speak with her, she was beyond thrilled and now that she watched him working his professional magic on the phone, she couldn’t help but find herself falling for him even harder than before. He was perfect. Beyond it actually.

“Sorry about that,” Rob apologized after hanging up the phone, “I didn’t mean to keep you waiting like that.”

“It’s okay,” Cori stepped forward moving in over closer to his desk readily, “I don’t mind waiting for you.”

“Even so, I was hoping to be finished with that call before you came in here,” Rob gave her a small once over, “So how are you feeling today?”

“Better than I have in a while and it’s all because of you,” Cori admitted taking a seat in front of his desk area, “I really don’t know what I’d do without you especially considering that everyone else in this town believes that Diego is a great guy. No one even bothers to listen to me about what really happened to me…”

“I listened Cori and I’m worried about you,” Rob stood up and circled around his desk to take a seat on the edge of his desk. “I know how hard this must be on you…”

“It’s been very hard,” Cori confessed feeling herself bring on the tears that worked like a charm in the past. “Everyone thinks that Diego is this mild-mannered psychiatrist, but when I think of how he hurt me…”

“Hey,” Rob started with a pained expression, “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“I know, it’s just…” Cori continued to break into small sobs. “I just…”

“It’s okay,” Rob decided kneeling in front of her. He reached for her hand touching it gently, “We don’t have to talk about this now.”

“I’m so sorry. I don’t mean to fall to pieces like this,” she sniffled again, “I know that you must think I’m foolish--that I’m nothing but a problem and…”

“No, Cori that’s not it at all. I think you’re a very strong, very caring woman,” Rob offered up reaching out to wipe at the side of her face, “I hate to see you hurting like this considering that I’ve always known you to be. You’ve always tried to help those around you and I see that now. You’re great with Lindsay and she really looks up to you.”

“She’s an amazing young woman,” Cori added with a thoughtful expression, “I’ve enjoyed spending time with her. I remember what it was like when I was her age and I know it’s a confusing time.”

“Confusing or not, she speaks very highly of you and I can’t blame her,” Rob smiled at her warmly, “You’ve been doing a wonderful job around the gym lately and I feel like I’d be lost without you. I’m so glad that you decided to work for me.”

“There’s no place else that I’d rather be,” Cori answered in a solemn tone, the corners of her lips turning up in a half smile, “This is very important to me.”

“You do great work and that’s why I called you in here today. I have an assignment that I’d like to put you on because I’m sure you’re the one who can put it together for me perfectly,” Rob informed her standing up and walking over to his desk again, “I have this party that I’m putting together at the club and I’m sure if you get a look at what the general theme is here you can work your magic over it.”

“I always feel inspired to do that when you’re around,” Cori stood up moving in behind him ever so slowly, “I’ve never felt more inspired than when I’m with you. You bring out the best in me.”

“I think you have a hell of a lot of talent Cori and it’s got nothing to do with my part in things,” Rob offered up turning around to show her the papers when he found her standing directly in front of him.

“You don’t give yourself near enough credit. You really are an amazing man and it’s easy to see why people gravitate towards you,” Cori’s brown eyes fixed on his and she softened her tone a bit, “You have this way about you that makes anyone you’re with feel like they are the only person in the world--the only person that matters…”

“Well I wouldn’t say that. I just try to…” Rob stammered a bit uneasily seeing the way that Cori’s gaze dropped down to his lips.

“There you go again trying not to give yourself enough credit, but from where I stand you deserve a lot more credit than you give yourself. You’ve been my hero and my inspiration and I feel like owe you so much,” she inched in closer to him, tossing her long blonde hair back behind her shoulders.

“You don’t owe me anything,” Rob spoke up uneasily backing up into his desk in one small movement, “You’ve done all of this on your own Cori and you should be proud of yourself.”

“I am, but more so I’m thankful that fate has brought us together Rob. You know before you I thought my life was falling apart--when Diego hurt me like he did, you were the only one that cared--the only one who tried to pick me up. You made me realize that I could do better with my life--that I could be someone again and I owe the feelings that I’m having right now about where I am in my life to you,” Cori smiled at him thoughtfully, reaching out to touch his shoulder gently. “Thank you for giving me that Rob.”

“As I said before, you’re the one who has brought yourself this far,” Rob started a bit more uneasy as her hand curved out over his shoulder and started to slide down over his arm. “Cori I…”

“I know I’ve got a lot of work I have to get to, but before I go there’s just one more thing I have to say to you--something that I can’t keep holding back on any longer,” Cori whispered her dark eyes sparkling with a newfound hunger and intensity.

“Cori I really don’t think you need to say anything more. You said more than enough and,” Rob felt her place her index finger over the center of his lips to silence him.

“Yes I do,” she insisted firmly, “Rob Leveski you have helped me in ways that I never thought possible and for that I simply must say thank you and give you something to show my appreciation.”

Before he could say another word he felt her finger glide gently over his top lip in a faint, teasing motion before she leaned forward pressing her lips to his. She wrapped her arms around his neck, squeezing him closer to her as her kiss grew more intense, more urgent and needy. He held his arms out at his sides in a stunned moment before reaching out to place his hands on her hips in the hopes of pushing her away from him, but before he could he heard his office door open.

“Dad I know you’re busy, but I need you to sign this paper and…” Lindsay’s voice came to a pinched gasp as she stood in the center of her father’s office seeing him with his arms around Cori. Her eyes widened and she let out a small sound, “Oh my God.”

“Lindsay,” Rob stepped away from Cori, the color draining form his face as he looked to his daughter, “I can explain.”

“I don’t believe you,” Lindsay confessed horrified as her eyes drifted between her father and Cori, “I don’t believe either one of you. How could you do this to mom?”

“Lindsay I can explain. It’s not what you think it…” Rob started watching tears threaten behind his daughter’s eyes.

“You make me sick dad. Just sick,” Lindsay shouted at him before rushing out of his office and leaving Rob to realize that the whole situation had gone out of hand right before his very eyes. He looked to Cori momentarily before focusing on his daughter again.

“Lindsay wait,” Rob called out after Lindsay hoping that he could explain the situation to his daughter before things got even more out of hand!


...to be continued...