Episode 333

Kyle stood in the doorway seeing Heather in Kevin’s arms and it was enough to send fire rushing through his veins. His blood was boiling at the thought of another man’s arms around her especially after what they’d experienced with one another last night, yet seeing her standing before him with Kevin only prompted him to feel jealous and angry all at once. Taking a step forward, he couldn’t help but glare over at Kevin when he spotted Kevin picking Heather up off of the ground and raising her up over his head in a cheap attempt to flaunt off his muscled body, which was conveniently on display for the time being during the photo shoot.

“Put me down,” Heather laughed wildly kicking her legs out in an attempt to try to get herself back to a standing position.

“Only if you say the magic words,” Kevin teased amused with himself now that Heather had gotten him to open up a bit more about the fact that he was standing in the middle of a studio in boxers that didn’t offer up much more than a means of making him a display for everyone else in the room.

“If you don’t let me down right this instant, then I’m going to have to replace you in the shoot,” Heather warned with mock seriousness.

“Nope, not buying it,” he shook his head laughing again while raising her up over his head, then lowering her down a bit in a teasing motion before raising her up again, “You’ve already spent far too much time using me as a model, so I know you’re not going to replace me.”

“Kevin, put me down,” Heather insisted in an attempt to be firm, but it came out more so in a giggle as she stretched her arm out to reach out and plant her palm firmly over his muscled shoulder.

“Did you not hear the lady jerk off? She said put her down,” Kyle snarled stepping forward, his dark eyes glaring over at Kevin. He wanted to tear him apart piece by piece now that Kevin’s hands were on Heather. If there was ever a moment that Kyle wanted to murder Kevin Adonis, now would be it.

“Kyle,” Heather gasped practically falling out of Kevin’s arms with the way she leapt at the sound of his voice. Her eyes immediately snapped over to his and she saw the anger behind his clenched jaw. She felt Kevin lowering her, but the damage had already been done.

“Relax Houston we were just having a little fun here since I’m the human guinea pig of the day,” Kevin huffed giving Kyle a strange look when it was clear that Kyle was jealous of what he perceived to be going on.

“We were just doing a photo shoot here,” Heather started to explain nervously her gaze never straying from Kyle’s. “Kevin needed to loosen up and…”

“And you’re good at getting people to loosen up in front of the camera, aren’t you?” Kyle scoffed in response feeling the hurt building up in the center of his chest at the thought of Heather in another man’s arms.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Heather placed her hands on her hips, her green eyes glaring up at him.

“I think you know what it means given how good you are at making a guy feel comfortable in front of the camera,” Kyle accused in a low, bitter voice, his dark eyes penetrating hers. “And behind the camera as well.”

“I’m always up front about the way things are. Unlike some people I don’t have to pretend to be one way when my heart leads me in another direction,” Heather blurted out with an icy tone, her voice shrill and high pitched with her growing upset.

“That’s because you’re not in a place where you aren’t allowed to follow your heart. You never had any of the obligations that other people have had holding you back,” Kyle accused taking a small step in towards her.

“Oh I’ve had plenty of them. You like to pretend that I lived some golden life there, but I fought like hell to get where I am. I did what I had to do to get what I wanted. I didn’t run away from it when it was right in front of me,” Heather’s voice grew louder vibrating through the room.

“Um guys,” Kellen began nervously seeing Heather getting up in Kyle’s face. “I think you both should really…”

“Unlike some people I take what I want and I don’t apologize for liking it,” Heather continued in an impassioned tone, “I don’t make excuses for the way I am nor do I pretend to be something I’m not. I am who I am and I sure as hell am not going to sit back and take any crap from you just because you can’t handle that.”

“Can’t handle it? Oh I can more than handle it, but when I see you doing something like this--in a shoot like this and…” Kyle started in response knowing how foolish he’d sounded, but still he couldn’t help that seeing her with someone else had him in a fury especially when things had ended so poorly between them the previous night. He’d wanted to be with her, to spend the night with her in his arms, yet things went so horribly wrong and…

“Oh would you two just shut up and screw already?” Kevin blurted out throwing his hands in the air with a small groan before turning to Kellen, “Are they always like this?”

“More than I care to admit,” Kellen spoke up in a low whisper seeing the stunned expression that swept over both Kyle and Heather’s faces.

“I think I’m um going to get more film,” Seth announced taking a step out of the main room with a worried expression.

“Yeah, um it’s a little chilly in here,” Kevin offered up as well ready to take a step back when Ria walked into the studio and let out a small laugh upon seeing him.

“Oh this is priceless,” Ria brought her hand up over her face unable to stifle her amusement at seeing Kevin in the bright print boxer shorts. “My my this is something I never thought I would see…”

“Ria, what are you doing here?” Kevin practically gulped upon seeing his fiancée in the room.

“Seth called me and…” Ria began to explain while Seth kept moving towards the supply closet.

“Going to get more film,” Seth explained casually making a quick exit while Kyle and Heather continued to stare at one another.

“Kyle, I can explain this. It’s not what you’re thinking. It’s just that…” Heather started softening her tone a bit now that she saw the wounded expression on Kyle’s face.

“Save it. You don’t owe me any answers,” Kyle raised his hand in the air to silence her, “You do what you have to do. I can see you’re busy so I’m not going to stick around. I have work to do.”

“Kyle…” Heather watched him turn on his heel and march out of the studio with a pronounced stomp indicating that he was still far from being calm and rational about everything.

“Damn, what has gotten into him this morning,” Kellen piped in stepping behind Heather while Ria and Kevin started chatting with one another. “Perhaps he’s grumpy because he wasn’t able to get a good release on all of that sexual tension between the both of you last night when I walked in on you. Maybe if I would’ve waited five more minutes, then…”

“Go to hell Kellen,” Heather stomped off herself needing air after the confrontation with Kyle that still had her head spinning.

“Hey, what did I say?” Kellen called out to her realizing that despite his best efforts at playing cupid, Kyle and Heather were still far too screwed up for him to make any major progress between them just yet. Still after last night, he vowed that he wasn’t about to give up on the idea of them being together. The anger and the rage that just transpired between them was a clear sign of the sexual tension that still remained between the two of them. They were like a time bomb waiting to explode and Kellen would be sure to help that one along so that they could find what they really needed in one another--love.


“There he is,” Seth laughed seeing Kevin walking back into the room, buckling his belt back up to his jeans slowly. “I was just telling Ria how great you looked for the whole shoot Kevin.”

“Did you tell her how embarrassed I was?” Kevin chuckled walking over toward Ria to wrap his arms around her waist tightly, leaning down to press a small kiss against her lips. “I felt like I was going to die.”

“You looked like it too,” Seth pointed out seeing Ria’s hand move in over the center of Kevin’s bare chest, watching Kevin press his forehead against hers before smiling. “I’m serious though, you looked like a kid that got lost in the middle of a store.”

“Well now I have been found,” Kevin whispered pressing another kiss against Ria’s lips, pulling her in against him harder and feeling her fingers curl in over his shoulder. Hearing Seth clear his throat Kevin let out a small laugh and pulled away slowly, looking over in Seth's direction wiping his bottom lip with his thumb. “You know what the weirdest part about this whole shoot was?”

“What’s that?” Seth eyed his cousin over slowly seeing Kevin smirk before looking down toward his jeans and Seth shook his head trying to put out a guess. “That you had to be with a nasty looking girl in the beginning?”

“No,” Kevin shook his head slowly while he reached his thumb and index finger into his pants pulling up the waistband of the boxer briefs they had given him. “I never thought I would have my last name on boxers there. It’s kind of creepy if you ask me.”

“Hey, I think it’s hot,” Ria pointed out giving his bottom a small squeeze hearing him let out a small gasp before letting out a small laugh. Feeling his arm wrap around her shoulders, she pressed her hands in over the sides of his hips. “I don’t care if all your boxers have your name on it, they looked hot on you.”

“Is that right?” Kevin eyed her over slowly before placing a tiny nibble over her bottom lip, feeling her fingers running through his thick hair. “I was the one thinking that you always thought I was hot, no matter what.”

“You are hot no matter what,” she teased running her index finger in over the smooth ripple of his abdomen muscles. “This just makes you look even sexier.”

“You know guys, if you are planning on having some type of hardcore thing going on right here in front of me,” Seth cleared his throat once more holding his hands up in the air seeing Ria and Kevin looking over at him. “I am so totally out of here. I’ve seen too much of Kevin today already and that was enough for me.”

“Well, I don’t feel like I have seen enough,” Ria informed Seth with a small nod reaching up to press her hand in over the side of Kevin’s face seeing him smile down at her. “I kind of missed the peak of his photo shoot and I wanted to see more than just the end.”

“Trust me honey,” Kevin chuckled moving forward and pressing his lips in against the side of Ria’s neck, feeling her fingers tangle through his thick, short hair. Moving up a bit he pressed a kiss against her earlobe feeling her left hand move in over the center of his back as he whispered in her ear softly, letting her feel the warmth of his words. “You’ll see a lot more peaks.”

“Okay, that was gross,” Seth wrinkled his nose grabbing his camera and shaking his head slowly. Grabbing his bag, Seth threw it over his shoulder and pointed over towards the corner of the room. “I have work to do and if I don’t do it now, I might start to throw up.”

“Oh come on cuz,” Kevin smirked wrapping his arm around Ria and turning to face Seth with a wide smile. Shrugging his shoulders Kevin leaned down and pressed a small kiss against Ria’s cheek, eyeing over at Seth teasingly. “There is nothing wrong with a healthy relationship.”

“Guys, that’s not a healthy relationship,” Seth cleared his throat grasping onto his bag tighter before shaking his head slowly. Seeing Kevin and Ria both let out a small laugh Seth started walking over towards the front desk. “That’s called a horny relationship and I don’t want to be around that right now. I’ll catch you two later.”

“Well, I have to grab my shirt and then we can hit the road,” Kevin stated with a small nod, motioning over toward the dressing room Kellen had given him. “I forgot to tell you that we had plans tonight.”

“We do?” Ria eyed Kevin over slowly as he led her into the dressing room and she shut the door behind them, locking the door as Kevin walked over toward the couch to pick up his shirt. Moving in behind him she moved her hands in over his chest feeling him straight up and move back into her touch letting out a long breath. “What are we doing tonight?”

“Russ and Avery,” Kevin groaned feeling her fingertips move in over his chest and soon she pinched one of his nipples roughly making him let out a small growl. Realizing what he just said Kevin panicked a moment before shaking his head slowly. “I mean, going over to Russ and Avery’s for dinner. Not do Russ and--you know what I meant.”

“I’m pretty sure,” Ria chuckled stepping up on her toes to take Kevin’s earlobe between her teeth giving it a small nibble hearing him let out a small groan. Moving her hand in over the front of his jeans she caressed his body slowly through the rough material hearing him take in a sharp breath. “I think it’s easy to understand you sometimes.”

“Are you trying to kill me?” Kevin questioned eyeing her over and looking back at her over his shoulder before feeling her fingers pulling apart his belt and then his zipper, making his pants fall and pool around his ankles. “Ria, what are you doing?”

“I just wanted a chance to get to see you in these things,” Ria explained turning him around and pushing him back down to the leather couch. Eyeing him over slowly she nodded in appreciation, smiling widely seeing his confused brown eyes looking into hers. “They look great on you I hope you know.”

“You think so?” Kevin eyed her over carefully seeing her nod slowly before moving in over his lap and settling her hips over his. Before he could say anything else, he felt her grinding into him over and over again. Letting out a small groan Kevin rested his head back against the couch, closing his eyes tightly before sounding as if he was in pain. “Honey, if you don’t get these things off me soon, I think my circulation is going to cut off.”

“You are so weird,” Ria got up to her knees wrapping her arms around Kevin’s neck seeing his brown eyes looking up into hers as she nodded slowly. “What are you waiting for then?”

“Oh, right,” Kevin reached down to pull his boxers off before feeling her hands stop him and she grabbed the waistband of the boxer briefs. Pulling them down slowly she smiled widely seeing him hard and aching before her when she reached out to cup him in her hand. “Ria.”

“What time do we have to be at Russ and Avery’s?” Ria questioned hearing a small whimper escape his lips as he leaned forward to kiss her, but she pulled back. “What time Kevin?”

“In a couple of hours,” Kevin groaned reaching down to the bottom of Ria’s shirt, tugging it up her body slowly before seeing her arms raise for him to throw the shirt aside. “I’m sure we’ll be ready by then.”

“Even if we are a little late,” Ria met Kevin’s lips in a heated kiss feeling his palms press in over the small of her back moving her in over him carefully. “I don’t think they will mind.”


“What’s wrong with you?” Dean half laughed walking into Shannon’s office seeing her brown eyes looking up into his before letting out a small yawn and looking back down toward the papers before her. “You look half dead.”

“I feel half dead,” she declared letting out a small yawn before leaning back in her chair and stretching out her shoulder muscles. “I haven’t been able to get some decent sleep in a while.”

“Why is that?” Dean closed the door behind him walking over towards the corner of the desk, resting back against it before wiggling his eyebrows up and down slowly. “Your husband planning some pretty long nights of love making?”

“Yeah, I wish,” Shannon rolled her eyes thinking about Don and how hard he had tried to have a nice night, but her brother kept ruining that for them. “It’s just Nate, ever since he has came back to town we can’t do anything. He is always fighting with someone and he is so loud.”

“You took your brother in?” Dean eyed her over carefully before standing up and throwing his hands up in the air. Shaking his head slowly he folded his arms out in front of his chest and bit down on his bottom lip. “Seriously, I know you have to be crazy now. Never once back in the day when we were together would you have done that.”

“Well, I’m a nicer person now,” she answered quickly seeing Dean’s dark eyes stare in over at her as she shrugged her shoulders trying to avoid the look. “Okay, so I’m trying to be a nicer person now that I am with Don.”

“That’s what I thought,” he pointed out with a wide smile before walking over towards her desk to pick something up in his hands, eyeing it over slowly. “You know, you don’t have to be someone you aren’t around Don. He obviously loves you for who you are and you should feel lucky about that.”

“Believe me, I feel lucky that I have Don,” Shannon took in a deep breath knowing that Don was great and she loved him very much, but it was just the things that were happening that had her worried. “It’s just Nate and everything he has been doing. It’s like he is ruining my love life with Don, we can’t even have a little bit of intimacy in our lives without having him bursting through the window or the door.”

“Through the window?” Dean wrinkled his nose trying to imagine Nate sneaking through the window to see something like that, but Nate would never want to see his sister in the act. Maybe the next door neighbor, but not Shannon. “I don’t think I am catching on.”

“Cori threw him out of the window naked and he couldn’t get in,” Shannon answered with a deep breath seeing Dean’s dark eyes widen before nodding slowly. “I guess our window was the only one that was open and he figured we were sleeping, but we weren’t.”

“Well, if you are having so much trouble with him right now,” he spoke up in a small whisper before letting his voice grow louder as she looked up at him fully. “Why don’t you just kick him out of the house then?”

“My mother would kill me if I did that,” Shannon tried to explain seeing Dean’s eyebrow arch up in confusion as she shook her head slowly thinking of how to explain it. “Okay, if he went out and got into trouble after I let him out of the house, I know I would get in trouble because of it.”

“So basically if he went out and got hurt you would blame yourself,” he pointed out seeing her look up at him with a pout before looking away over towards the corner of the room. “That’s what I thought Shannon, you love your brother. I’m sure you can come up with something to settle between the two of you so you can get some alone time.”

“I hope so,” Shannon tried to kick back and think of an easy way to talk to Nate before shaking her head slowly. “Sometimes it’s not Nate I’m worried about, it’s more Don. I don’t want him to get mad at me and not want to be with me anymore.”

“Trust me Shannon,” Dean shook his head slowly walking over towards her desk to rest his hands against the top of it. Seeing her staring into his eyes he nodded slowly, nodding over towards the picture of her and Don on the desk. “I’m pretty sure you have nothing to worry about.”


“This game is so boring,” Nate let out a deep breath setting down the cards correctly after playing solitaire for probably the fifth time in in the last thirty minutes and was starting to get to be a pain. There was never anything to do around here and sure, he was supposed to be doing his job right now, but who was there for him actually to do something. “This is just so fun.”

“Hey, can I have a towel?” someone asked from behind Nate and Nate rolled his eyes ignoring the person before stepping away from the table and walking forward slowly. “Hey.”

“You can get one yourself,” Nate snipped before looking back towards Rob’s office seeing Cori storm out after Rob had left earlier. Without even looking Cori nailed right into Nate making the both of them fall to the ground. “Hey, are you alright?”

“Of course I’m alright,” Cori frowned feeling Nate’s fingers press in over her cheek as she pushed up and away from him, getting up to her feet and brushing off her pants. “If you would have been more careful as to where you were looking, we wouldn’t have run into each other.”

“Cori, I was standing still,” Nate pointed out his worried green eyes staring out into hers as she rolled her eyes and folded her arms out in front of her chest. He could tell by the look in her dark eyes that something had to be wrong and he was worried about her. “Seriously, is something really wrong?”

“No, nothing is wrong,” Cori lied seeing his green eyes staring out at her as she shook her head slowly and took in a deep breath. “Seriously Nate, you need to start minding your own business--people actually might start liking you better.”

“Listen, I saw Rob come out of there like he did and I want to know if something happened,” Nate declared moving forward and placing his hand on her shoulder. “Did he do something to you? Is that it?”

“No, he didn’t do anything to me,” Cori took in a deep breath leaning back against the wall before thinking back to what happened. “I tried to kiss him and I did, but that’s when his daughter walked in and she freaked out.”

“Oh god,” he rolled his eyes taking a step back and away from Cori throwing his hands up in the air slightly confused at how dumb she was. “Come on Cori, are you really that stupid to try something like that?”

“Oh yeah, you really have room to talk Nate,” Cori rolled her eyes going to walk away from him before feeling him wrap his fingers around her wrist tightly and pulling her back. “Let me go Nate or else I will scream and make it so you have more hard working months ahead of you.”

“I just want to explain something to you,” Nate let go of her wrist before pushing back his hair and shaking his head slowly trying to come up with something to say to her that didn’t come off completely bad. “I’m being serious when I say this--you need to give up on him Cori. I’m being totally serious and it’s for your best.”

“Don’t tell me what’s for my best,” she snapped seeing a muscle in his jaw tighten when he rolled his eyes at her quick interruption and she reached forward to poke at the center of his chest. “I can’t believe you think you can walk around and run my life. No one makes my choices in my life, just me.”

“Yeah, but what you don’t understand is that you are going to end up hurt in the end,” he tried to explain to her seeing her shake her head over and over again as he let out a small growl. “Seriously, Cori I don’t understand you. Rob is married you can’t do something like that with a married man.”

“Who says?” Cori snapped right back at him throwing her hands up in the air knowing that people around them were watching as if they were a part of the fight themselves. “Other people do it all the time, why can’t I?”

“Because you aren’t other people Cori,” he replied back quickly before shaking his head over and over again. “You just don’t get it Cori, you picked a man with values. A man that loves his family and his wife, you should have picked someone different.”

“I’m not going to just go and pick someone different because you said you want me to,” she moved forward to push at the center of his chest roughly, making him take a small step backwards. “I love Rob and there is nothing you can do about it you loser.”

“Fine you nut,” Nate snarled right back at her resting his hands on his hips as he shook his head slowly. “You are just a psycho waiting to explode and I can’t wait to be there when it happens.”


“This has been great,” Don confessed from where he sat in the plush leather chair in the game room after he, Brant and Angela had finished up a third round of billiards with one another. Despite the fact that he’d only stopped over to vent off some steam, Don had found he’d enjoyed being around his best friend and his latest girlfriend much more than he had when Brant was married to Avery. “Seriously this was fun.”

“What do you mean was?” Angela questioned taking a seat on Brant’s lap and reaching for his glass of orange juice. She took a small sip before looking to Don with curious eyes. “You don’t think you’re ducking out on us this early, do you?”

“Well as much as I would hate to do so, I have to pick up Matt in a little while. My mom took him to his swimming lesson earlier and he’ll be really excited to tell me about it. Today they had an Olympic swimmer coming in to give them all a few pointers. He’s going to be thrilled about it for hours I’m sure.”

“How old is he?” Angela couldn’t help but ask, “Brant has said so much about him, but I never thought to ask.”

“He’s four and let me tell you he’s quite a handful, but one that I certainly wouldn’t want to live without,” Don explained with a proud smile before nodding over at Brant, “though I’m sure that’s something you’re going to know all about soon enough. I mean it was a lot of work having an infant in being a single parent, but to have two at once…”

“I think we can more than handle it,” Brant confessed placing his hand over Angela’s abdomen tenderly, “My little Christmas miracles here are going to keep us very busy, but I can’t wait.”

“Christmas huh,” Don arched a curious brow, “Well hey I think that is certainly a way to spend the holiday and who would’ve thought that you’d wind up with not one, but three incredible gifts at the end of it?”

“Certainly not me,” Brant touched the side of Angela’s face gently, “but I’m glad that I did. Never in my life have I ever felt so many of my dreams coming true as I do right now.”

“Neither have I,” Angela leaned forward to kiss him tenderly, “but with you it seems so natural.”

“Okay I’m feeling left out over here,” Don cleared his throat watching the two of them kissing one another. “I’m feeling like the lonely loser in the corner over here.”

“Oh come on Don,” Brant couldn’t help but laugh extending his arm out towards his friend, “You know you want to come over here and sit on my lap too since you’re so hot for me and all. Did I tell you that he kissed my brother?”

“Really?” Angela’s eyes widened as Brant broke into hysterical laughter.

“I thought we agreed never to bring that up again,” Don’s face grew red with embarrassment. He shook his head and let out a long sigh, “I’m never going to live that one down am I?”

“Not in this lifetime you aren’t,” Brant informed him with a teasing smirk, “but for what it’s worth, I owe you.”

“You’re damn right you do, so how about you send Angela over here and she can kiss me instead?” Don winked over at them patting his leg for Angela to join him.

“Don sweetheart you couldn’t handle me,” Angela teased back with a small laugh, “And secondly we don’t want to give your wife another reason to want to castrate you.”

“It might be worth it given how much you have Brant smiling there,” Don teased with a grin before looking over to Brant, “What do you say? Can I borrow her for a while?”

“Um the phrase hell no seems to come into mind,” Brant curled his arm around Angela protectively feeling her sink in against his chest in a comfortable position.

“Face it Don, you’re too little too late,” she laughed lightly amused by Don’s flirting, “but on the bright side I must admit your wife must be one lucky woman to have you.”

“I’d like to think so, but sometimes with Shannon, well there has to be a reason she puts up with me,” Don shrugged his shoulders and let out a long sigh.

“Yeah she’s insane and doesn’t know better,” Brant teased with a tiny laugh, “but seriously I think you two work well with one another. I never dreamt I’d say that, but for some reason what you have works.”

“Yeah it does,” Don nodded proudly, “and Matt really loves her which is something that was really important to me. I wanted them to be able to love one another because Matt needs someone in his life. After Stephanie died I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to give him what he needed…”

“But you did a great job Don. This man is seriously father of the year,” Brant explained to Angela, “There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for Matt.”

“Any father is that way,” Don shrugged his shoulders modestly.

“No not any father. Take my word on that. Mine was a terror, but I’m not going to follow in his footsteps,” Brant promised hugging Angela in his arms, “My children are going to have the chance to have happiness and everything they ever wanted with us.”

“I know they will,” Angela smiled down at him, “I have no doubt in my mind that you’re going to be an amazing father.”

“What about you Ang? What’s your father like?” Don couldn’t help but ask curiously keeping the conversation going between them.

“He was a tyrant,” Angela admitted honestly a small sigh spilling from her lips. “He had a lot of people who feared him, yet he always treated me like a princess. He had a great many faults, but he loved me and I knew that. It was the one thing about him that made him so very special and I’d give anything to just see him one more time--to let him know how much he meant to me.”

“You mean he’s…” Don stopped himself feeling suddenly foolish. “I’m sorry I didn’t know. I just assumed that…”

“It’s okay,” Angela smiled over at him, “You had no idea and besides I had good times with my father. My mother died when I was born, so he was all that I had--well except for my brother.”

“Brother?” Brant perked up a curious expression sweeping over his face, “You never mentioned that you had a brother.”

“Well I do,” she explained with a soft smile, “and he’s really an amazing man. He’s a lot like my father, but I know that he’s just trying to keep me in line and protect me at times. He’s stubborn and overprotective…”

“And obviously your older brother,” Don noted recognizing the tone in her voice, “My sister Lindsay sounds the same way when she’s talking about me.”

“Yeah well you shouldn’t be offended. I’m sure it just means that she loves you,” Angela added with a thoughtful expression, “I know I love my brother considering how we’ve only had each other for so very long. He comes off abrasive and overbearing, but he’s a good man deep down. In fact I’d love for you to meet him sometime Brant.”

“I’d love to,” Brant decided with a small grin, “pending he doesn’t kick my butt for doing things backwards with you in getting you pregnant before marrying you.”

“I’m sure we can work our way around that,” she shrugged her shoulders simply, “Besides if you work up to that marriage proposal that you promised me, then I’m certain we might not be doing things backwards by the time you meet him.”

“Hmm, well since you put it that way…” Brant pondered the thought.

“Marriage huh?” Don arched a curious brow. “Do I sense wedding bells in the future? Perhaps an invite to be a best man over here?”

“That all depends,” Brant glanced over at Don, “Are you going to try to make out with me to stop the wedding?”

“Only if it’s what you want sweetheart,” Don teased in an exaggerated tone flirting with Brant in such a way that the three of them broke into laughter, “but seriously you just say when and where and I’m so there.”

“That’s great to hear because I’m sure we’d both love that,” Angela added snuggling further into Brant’s arms.

“We most certainly would,” Brant decided after a moment’s contemplation, “In fact, what do you say we discuss things further later on tonight?”

“With the wedding?” Don replied curiously.

“Not necessarily since she and I have a few things to discuss about that first,” Brant exchanged knowing glances with Angela, “but how do you feel about dinner? You could even bring Shannon.”

“I’d love to meet her,” Angela piped in eagerly, “That sounds like fun.”

“You don’t know what a loaded invite that is,” Don confessed honestly, “Shannon’s not exactly thrilled with Brant and I right now, but…hey for what it’s worth, why not? I can see if my parents will watch Matt and…”

“You can bring him with you if you’d like,” Angela cut him off quickly, “I would love to meet him since he sounds incredible. Why not bring him with us? We can go somewhere he might enjoy and make a night of it?”

“That might end up being Pizza Palace at this rate,” Don explained with a tiny laugh.

“Then so be it. Pizza sounds actually kind of good right about now,” Angela decided with a thoughtful expression.

“Okay you’re on,” Don finally decided, “I mean why not? It’ll keep us away from my idiot brother-in-law for a while.”

“There’s the spirit,” Angela cheered him on with a small smile of her own.

“Then Pizza Palace it is,” Brant replied feeling Angela sinking into his arms as it seemed that everything was falling well into place in Coral Valley for them after all.


Deidra finished up with her last patient for the afternoon and realized that she was surprised to find herself way ahead of schedule. That meant she might actually be able to get to return a few phone calls and have enough time to go run in and speak with Dean for a while. Things were certainly looking up, she thought to herself making her way into her office. She thumbed through the messages that her secretary had waiting for her. Plopping down in her chair she reached for the phone ready to make her first call when she heard a knock on the door.

Setting the phone down, she spoke out to her visitor. “It’s open.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” Andy announced stepping into her office and putting her immediately on high alert. Her eyes snapped up at him and she sat up straighter trying to keep herself calm and in control now that her soon-to-be ex was standing right in front of her.

“What are you doing here?” she snapped fighting her instincts to blow up at him. Knowing how bad that would look at work now that she could see her secretary had returned from her break and was clearly watching them with obvious interest, Deidra tried to keep her voice even and professional, “What do you want?”

“Do I really need an excuse to see my favorite wife?” Andy questioned flashing her that bright, white smile that once melted her heart, but now it only brought a moment of rage from within.

“Andy we both know that you don’t do anything without an agenda and given that you and I both would rather be in some other place than in the same room with one another, then how about you cut with the crap and get to the point?” she remarked sourly still keeping her voice sugary sweet.

“Ah now is that really necessary,” Andy shook his head glancing over his shoulder at her secretary who was clearly smitten with him.

“As I said before we really don’t have time to do the fake little chitchat, so why don’t you just tell me what’s going on?” Deidra stood up and brushed past him to close the office door before her secretary could spy on them any longer. She spun around to glare at Andy, “Now seriously, what do you want?”

“I was hoping that we could perhaps have lunch with one another,” he suggested in a low, persuasive tone, “You know maybe take the time to talk about things since you ran out the door on me back in Florida.”

“I left because you made it clear that coming home wasn’t an option since you had plenty of other women to run to,” she folded her arms in front of her chest defiantly, “and besides you’re the one who came to town with your divorce hanging over my head, so why do you suddenly feel so talkative now? I think our lawyers are pretty much working this one out on their own.”

“I was hoping that we could patch things up between us,” Andy admitted taking a small step towards her, “You know there was a point in time when you couldn’t live without me. When we both couldn’t get enough of each other.”

“No, there was a point in time when we were both in love with the same thing and that’s you,” she glared up at him with a huff, “but those days are long gone. I’m not the same stupid girl you married. I see you for the snake you really are and it’s clear that it’s time to stop dwelling on the mistake I made in marrying you.”

“Oh now I know you loved me,” Andy shook his head at her with a small frown, “You still do and that’s why you’ve been so hesitant about giving up on us. That’s why you haven’t completed the paperwork for our divorce yet.”

Deidra broke into an uproar of laughter, “Don’t flatter yourself Andy. I’m so far from being hung up on you that it’s pathetic. The only reason I didn’t get to the paperwork earlier is because life was busy for me. Now you’re in luck that I have some free time coming up ahead of me. I’ll be more than happy to get this over with quick and painlessly.”

“Now is that really how you feel?” he couldn’t help but ask taking another step in closer to her, “You mean to tell me that you aren’t going to try to beg me to come back to you like you did before?”

“Oh please,” she rolled her eyes at him, “I may have been a sap in a great many ways, but I never once begged you to come back to me. Why would I have to when I already have someone who makes you look like the dog you really are?”

“Ah yes the boyfriend,” Andy watched her walk across her office, “This mystery man you almost murdered. It sounds like true love.”

“Dean is twice the man that you are. You couldn’t come close to what he is,” Deidra spun around to glare up at him, “but why don’t we forget about that conversation and get back to the point? If you’re worried that I’m not signing the papers fast enough I’m just having my lawyer look them over and then I’m sure I’ll get them to you as soon as possible.”

“There’s no rush,” he waved his hand in the air. “I just wish that you and I could find a way to be civil with one another again. We were friends once.”

“That was before I knew what you really were,” she informed him point blank, “So why don’t we just cut to the chase and just agree to disagree on the fact that you and I have a different view of you there?”

“You know I was hoping that we could work through our issues, but I guess you leave me no other choice. I’ll just get to the point,” Andy sighed before taking a bold step forward, “The fact to the matter is that I want you and I’m not taking no for an answer.”


Diane sat at her desk thinking about the chilly encounter she had with Andy after he’d surprised her showing up on her doorstep. Even now she couldn’t get the memory of his visit out of her mind. Frowning she sank back in her chair recalling the unpleasant turn of events.

“Why would I be happy to see you?” Diane frowned glaring up at him, feeling her blood boiling after her sister’s soon to be ex was standing at her door eyeing her with that same smirk that he’d carried with him the last time he’d been around.

“Because even though we’ve had our share of problems over the years, we still have our own special bond,” he explained stepping past her to enter the house, “Admit it Diane even though you think you’ve changed some things are very much the same.”

“Not for us they aren’t,” she stood firm clearing her throat uneasily, “What happened with us before was a mistake.”

“Was it?” he arched a speculative brow turning around to face her once again. “Do you really feel that way?”

“What do you think?” she questioned folding her arms out in front of her chest.

“You’re bluffing,” he tossed out at her with an amused smirk. He moved in closer to her, his blue eyes shining with obvious mischief as his hand brushed up against her shoulder. “Even though you would like to tell me how much you hate me, the fact to the matter is that you’ve missed me since I left town.”

“Hardly,” she rolled her eyes in response before pushing his hand away from hers. “Andy I can honestly say you’re one of the last people I’ve missed. I’m not the same pathetic little girl I was when you last saw me. I don’t have to settle for chasing another woman’s man to get attention. I’m better than that.”

“Last time I checked I’m about to be on the market again, which means you won’t be crossing any unsavory lines should we pick up where we left off,” his eyes perused her greedily, “and how much fun it would be to pick up where we were before.”

“I’m afraid you’re too little, too late,” Diane stood taller tossing her long hair over her shoulders. “I wouldn’t sink to that low ever again now that I have a real man in my life.”

“A real man who doesn’t know the half of what you really are,” he noted with an amused chuckle, “Something tells me that he hasn’t been exposed to the real Diane. It’s a pity too because while someone like Ben couldn’t appreciate it, you know I could.”

“This is the real Diane,” she scoffed in response ready to show him to the door in the hopes of pushing him out of her life.

Now as Diane stared at the blank computer monitor in front of her, she realized that thinking about Andy wasn’t going to help anything. She needed to be productive even if it meant focusing on the work that she was really in no mood to keep working on.

“Hey beautiful,” Ben’s voice roused her from her laziness causing her to sit up straighter. She tipped her head to the side seeing him smiling down at her and all thoughts of Andy immediately left her mind.

“Hey you,” she reached out to squeeze his hand gently feeling the warmth behind his touch. She felt him move around her desk to step in closer to her and she sprung out of her seat reaching out to squeeze him tightly in an embrace.

“Well hello to you too,” Ben couldn’t help but laugh at her response to him. He returned the hug offering up a quick kiss before stepping back. “As much as I would love to continue down this route, I think I’m going to have to be careful today.”

“Why?” Diane questioned with a curious expression.

“Please don’t tell me that you haven’t heard the office gossip considering you’re usually the first one in the loop,” Ben eyed her curiously seeing nothing even remotely close to recognition behind her eyes.

“About what?” she questioned reaching out for his hand once again.

“About Brant replacing Avery,” Ben explained seeing her eyes grow wide at his words. “She’s not working here anymore.”

“No way,” Diane’s jaw dropped at what he was saying to her, “Since when?”

“I’m not sure, but all I’ve heard was that it had something to do with their divorce settlement,” Ben confessed lowering his voice a bit before looking around the office.

“But if Avery’s not here, then who are you working for?” Diane couldn’t help but question thinking about Ben’s place in the company.

“Actually,” Ben started to explain only to be interrupted by the sound of someone approaching.

“Good morning you two. I trust you’ll both be getting to work shortly,” Hart interrupted the two of them before looking over at Ben. “I’ll need to touch base with you in a little while about that fax I need sent out.”

“Of course,” Ben nodded in response watching Hart walk off while Diane just shook her head in astonishment.

“No way. I can’t believe it,” Diane replied seeing the new arrival at BBK and wondering just what that would mean for the future of the company now that Avery was out and Hart was in.


Jenna walked off of the BBK Elevators feeling an eerie sense of familiarity sweep over her. Only this time instead of going to see Avery at work to chit-chat she was here to see Hart and check out his office. Walking down the same familiar hallway she thought of the times that she and Avery met for lunch taking the time to gab and enjoy the view from Avery’s oversized office--only it wasn’t Avery’s any longer. Frowning Jenna thought about the clear stress her friend was under and she felt a bit of guilt ride over her at the knowledge that Hart had replaced Avery without much more than a couple of hours passing. Still Jenna had to show her support for the man she loved.

“This will be fine,” she told herself holding the bag of carry out she’d picked up to bring over to him now that he was working on a big case for Brant.

As she approached the office, she noticed that the door was opened a crack. Peering inside she spotted Hart at Avery’s old desk hunched over a pile of papers. She tapped on the door seeing his head pop up before a smile swept over his handsome features.

“Hey babe,” Hart waved at her brightly signaling for her to join him, “there you are. For a while there I figured you were going to back out on me.”

“No, there was just a line up on the way over when I picked up food,” she explained carrying the bags over to his desk. She looked around the office seeing so many of the same things that were there when Avery was, but there was a new feel--one that was entirely due to Hart and his arrival.

“You like?” he couldn’t help but ask rising up to help her with one of the bags. He motioned to a painting on the wall, “I got that to brighten things up in here a bit. It felt far too stuffy for my liking when I first moved in.”

“It’s nice…” Jenna offered up a bit less enthusiastic than she was sure Hart was hoping for.

“Hey,” he frowned, “what’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” she lied shaking her head before turning to see his doubtful eyes, “It’s just…well I don’t know how to put this.”

“Honesty works best,” he offered up with a small encouraging grin, “at least that’s what you always tell me.”

“Well yes, but…” she inhaled slowly, “it’s just that I’m so used to this being Avery’s office and while I’m happy for you, it just…”

“Kind of puts you in an awkward position in having your boyfriend filling your best friend’s shoes professionally,” he finished for her knowing what was on her mind.

She nodded, “You must think I’m horrible for thinking that when I should be excited for you. This is a very big step.”

“Yes it is, but I don’t expect you to ignore what kind of step it was for Avery,” Hart added with a sigh, “Look this was all Brant’s idea and I knew I could always use the extra cash, but I just want you to know I never meant to hurt your friend.”

“I know, but it’s just…” she paused biting back on her words before being honest with him, “when I think about how Brant hurt her, it really irritates me. He was cold and unfeeling and completely inconsiderate to her at a time when her life was in an uproar. I mean she almost died and just had a daughter and then on top of everything else he fires her. It doesn’t get much colder than that.”

“Jen, they are getting divorced. It’s not a good idea to work with your ex especially when circumstances are as tense as they are now,” Hart explained with a frown thinking about Russell’s return, “Brant really loved her and she broke his heart.”

“So he decided to destroy her professionally,” she spat out disgustedly, “Where is the justice in that? I mean my God Hart I saw her the other day and she’s a mess. She’s a nervous wreck and I hate seeing her that way. I’ve never seen her so out of control, but right now I can see that this is taking it’s toll on her.”

“She’s a fighter. I’m sure she’ll bounce back,” Hart offered up realizing how cold that sounded, “Look honey it’s not my place to play shrink for Brant, but he needed this. This was his way of closure.”

“Yeah well I think it’s a pretty lousy means of doing it,” she paused knowing that this was not the time to argue about their best friends, “All I’m saying is he could’ve shown a little tact instead of leading Avery to believe that all she was good for was the sex he’d been begging for since she started here. She believed that she had talent and that she put a lot into this company. Hell, I saw how she practically killed herself time and time again over the years, yet Brant ignores that because they can’t stay married. I think that’s ridiculous.”

“Jen, look I wish that I could say I feel for Avery, but come on. Brant did everything for her. He took her into his home, invited her into his heart and…” Hart defended his friend after a pause.

“And he’ll bounce back just fine. He has his billion dollar empire to keep him busy,” Jenna scowled at Brant’s clear selfishness.

“And Avery has Russ to keep her warm at night. I’m sure she’ll be fine too,” Hart mouthed thinking about what had transpired between their friends, “Look Jen I don’t want to fight about them right now. This really isn’t how I planned for our dinner to go.”

“Neither did I,” she sighed heavily, “but when I think of what I saw… I guess it‘s just another shining example of how marriage can kill a relationship.”

“Brant and Avery didn’t have a typical relationship,” Hart pointed out stating the obvious.

“Even so when I think about how hurt she is,” she shook her head poignantly, “I hate to think that someone that once cared about you could turn on you that fast. It‘s so depressing.”

“Yeah,“ he nodded taking a long look around his office, “Hey, you know what, how about we take this stuff home with us? It’s getting kind of late and I’m eager to get out of the office anyways. What do you say?”

“I think that’s a good idea,” Jenna nodded watching him carry one of the bags over with him to his desk. He set it down before walking to his coat closet and pulling his coat out. Seeing the expression on his face guilt poured over her, “Hart, I really am happy for you.”

“I know,” Hart offered up a half smile, “if circumstances were different it would be easier to accept, but right now all it does is remind you of your friend’s pain and I should’ve thought about that before inviting you over.”

“You’re the man I love. I should be able to see you at work,” she pointed out with a small sigh.

“Even so maybe I need to do a little more work in here before you come back,” he shrugged his shoulders reaching for the bag again, “Maybe next time it’ll feel more like my office than Avery’s. Who knows? Maybe by then Avery and Brant will make amends on some level.”

“I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen, but it’s a nice thought,” Jenna realized wondering if it would be possible for Brant and Avery to become friends again after their marriage had fallen to pieces. Thinking about how ugly things turned out for them only reaffirmed Jenna’s thoughts that marriage was absolutely the last thing she needed in her life right now. There was no way she was ever going to have to go through something like that--not when life was wonderful the way it was right now.


“Unbelievable,” Kyle slammed his office door shut behind him as he paced back and forth between the room, placing his hands over his forehead as he took in a sharp breath. “What would make her want to be with a guy like that? Of all people, him?”

Feeling the rage building up inside of him Kyle swung his hand in the direction of the lamp hitting it straight on and sending it flying across the room to hit the wall, shattering to the ground.

“She’s not worth getting this obsessed over,” Kyle walked over to his desk taking a seat and resting his hands against the table. Resting his head against the top of the table Kyle let out a small hiss and shook his head slowly. “Of course you are going to obsess over this because she is your world.”

Hearing the door open Kyle lifted his head to see Heather standing in the doorway and he rolled his eyes before spinning his chair around towards the window.

“Why don’t you just go away,” Kyle stated with a small frown folding his arms out in front of him. Hearing her close the door, he heard her footsteps moving in closer to him as he let out a long breath. “Listen Heather, you obviously don’t want to talk to me right now and personally--I don’t think I want to talk to you either so let’s just stop before we start.”

“You are a pain in the ass I hope you know,” Heather’s voice echoed through his ears as he looked over in her direction and his hazel eyes met her angered glance. “I don’t know why you get like this, but this is probably one of the worst sides of you.”

“This is the worst side of me?” Kyle stood up slowly before shaking his head slowly and watching her look up at him with her light green eyes. “You haven’t seen the worst side of me, but if you’d like to see it…,”

“Oh shut up,” she rolled her eyes pushing Kyle back roughly into his seat seeing him slide back on the wheels before looking up at her as if he was shocked. “I don’t know what is up with you, but I did nothing with Kevin today. I just learned his name today and if I did something, that’s going to be kind of a triple x rated photo shoot if you get my point.”

“Don’t tell me you weren’t eyeing him over like a piece of meat Heather,” Kyle rolled his eyes placing his hands on his hips as he looked up at her with a small scowl. “You can’t lie to me because I walked in on you doing it. You were all over that guy and quite frankly, I was disgusted.”

“Give me a break Kyle,” Heather rolled her eyes leaning back against the edge of his table before shaking her head slowly. “In all honesty, women would be stupid if they didn’t stop to at least take a look at Kevin Adonis. Also though, they would be very stupid if they didn’t stop to look you over too.”

“Don’t kiss my ass Heather,” he shook his head slowly folding his arms out in front of him again before closing his eyes tightly and thinking things over. “I really don’t care anymore and…,”

“God, you are such a pain,” Heather stated angrily grabbing Kyle by the back of his neck and pulled him forward, meshing her lips in against his feeling him hesitate at first before wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her down into his lap. “I would never go for someone like Kevin when I had someone like you.”

“What makes you think you have me?” Kyle whispered against her lips feeling her fingers scratching up and over his rippled abdomen underneath his shirt as he gently nibbled at the sensitive skin on her neck. “You don’t really know if you have me yet.”

“Trust me Kyle,” Heather took in a deep breath reaching for the bottom on his shirt and pulling it up over his strong arms before dropping the material to the floor. “I think I already know.”

“Oh, you do,” Kyle repeated the same movement with her shirt before pushing a few things off his desk and leaning her back against it. Moving in over her he placed his hands on each side of her on top of the desk, feeling her fingertips graze in over his chest before sliding down his abdomen slowly. “Please tell me that you want me just as much as I want you.”

“I think that’s kind of obvious Kyle,” Heather moved her fingers in over his belt working it open before doing the same with his jeans and pushing them down, hearing them fall to his ankles. Moving forward she reached out to touch him through his navy blue boxers seeing him bite down on his bottom lip before moving forward and pressing his lips in against hers. “I think you should already know that by now.”

“Sometimes my mind gets a little clogged with certain things,” Kyle felt her reach around him to cup his bottom in her hands tightly before her fingers worked into the waistband of his boxers, pushing those down with the jeans. Feeling her fingers wrap around his ache he let out a small groan moving forward to kiss her once more. “It’s when I’m with you when I truly feel like I’m free to spread my wings and know what’s right.”

“Hey Kyle,” Kyle heard Kellen’s voice erupting through his ears as Kyle’s eyes slowly opened showing him that he had gone off day dreaming again about something that would never happen as of right now. “Are you doing, what I think you are doing?”

“Wait, what?” Kyle looked down moving his hand up and smacking it against the desk, letting out a loud wince as he grabbed onto his hand and shook his head slowly. “I’m not doing anything, I’m serious. I’m not.”

“Are you sure because I swear,” Kellen made his way around the desk seeing Kyle flip backwards in his chair and fall out flat onto his back as he pulled up the zipper on his jeans slowly. “My god, you were.”

“I was not,” Kyle tried to defend himself seeing Kellen’s blue eyes narrowing in over at him before offering up a wide smile. Kyle fell back against the ground before letting out a long groan and shaking his head slowly. “At least, I don’t think I was doing that.”

“Sweetheart, whatever you were thinking about must have been something good,” Kellen nodded slowly resting his left hand against his hips before smiling widely. “I just would have wished you wouldn’t have stopped on my account.”

“Kellen, I’m not going to let you see my…well me like that,” Kyle insisted taking in a deep breath before thinking things over slowly and taking time to carefully think things over. “If I do start swinging that way though, you will be the first to know.”

“Now I know you must have hit your head on the fall,” Kellen rolled his blue eyes and reached out to try and help Kyle up from the floor seeing Kyle shake his head wanting to stay on the floor. “Unless you are being serious.”

“No, I’m probably lying,” Kyle answered truthfully thinking things over slowly before looking up at Kellen and shrugging his shoulders. “If I lost my mind and gave up on the whole female persuasion I might go to Grady, Russ, or hell--even the guy that was posing with Heather first before giving you a second thought.”

“Kevin? You hardly even know Kevin. Why would you chose Kevin over me?” Kellen started to flip out seeing Kyle’s hazel eyes staring out into his as Kellen threw his hands up in the air. “This is the kind of problems I had in high school, people didn’t give me a chance and I never got to prove what a person I could truly be and sure, I might pick Kevin as my first choice too. I mean he has a really nice butt and a really big…,”

“Give it up Kellen, that’s kind of sick. I’m not flipping sides in a matter of seconds,” Kyle rolled his eyes taking in a deep breath and looking up towards Kellen with a small frown. “So, how is Heather?”

“I don’t know,” Kellen shrugged his shoulders his anger now filling back up after he thought about his best friend and that fight him and Kevin had just witnessed. “If I was just in a fight like that I might feel a little upset too if you get what I’m saying.”

“About that Kellen,” Kyle took in a deep breath looking over towards the door and placing his hands back against the floor. “There is really something I need to tell you about and I’m not trying to hurt Heather.”

“Are you still engaged to her sister?” Kellen questioned seeing the glare from Kyle in return as Kellen shrugged his shoulders and sat on top of Kyle’s chair. “That right there is going to hurt her.”

“Well, there is something I need to tell you that ties in with this whole situation,” Kyle took in a deep breath before closing his eyes and thinking things over slowly. “Something that’s really important and I think you should know about it just in case.”


“Hey, am I interrupting?” Don questioned popping his head into the office to smile over at Shannon and Dean. He glanced between them before seeing Dean motion him to come on in and see them.

“We were just finishing up in here,” Dean explained glancing over at Shannon before waving. “We can talk later.”

“Okay,” Shannon nodded watching Dean leave before directing her attention to her husband. “So what brings you down here today?”

“You mean other than an insatiable need to have a mid-day quickie with my wife?” Don wiggled his brow suggestively before motioning to the desk she was seated at. “I figured maybe I could pin you over the back of the desk, get in right behind you and…”

“No really Don, what’s up?” Shannon questioned with a hint of laughter in her tone.

“I’m totally serious,” Don moved in closer to her, his grin widening as he looked to her desk. “This looks pretty sturdy and…”

“Don stop,” Shannon shook her head at him once again unable to refrain from rolling her eyes at him.

“I’m serious Shannon. I mean I figure I’ll just have you stand over there kind of like this,” Don planted his hands on the edge of the desk, while leaning forward to push his bottom out. He started to wiggle it ever so slightly seeing Shannon burst into laughter at him. “Then maybe I’ll just move in behind you kind of like this and…”

Don stopped talking opting to wiggle his hips in an absurd motion until Shannon could no longer take it. She watched him raise his hand in the air waving it around like he was smacking at some invisible person in front of him. She snickered once she stepped in beside him slapping him on his shoulder as she could see others peering in at Don from outside the office.

“Don stop,” Shannon warned him sharply, her tone growing suddenly serious. She stepped aside to close the blinds to her office before turning to face him again now that he’d taken a seat on the desk.

“I’m seriously up for it Shannon,” Don sighed placing his hands out on the top of the desk at his sides. “You have no idea how sexually frustrated I am right now considering that your brother keeps walking in on us every time we try to get our freak on.”

“Don you could get your freak on at anytime and I hardly doubt that my brother would pose much of a problem for you,” she approached him moving in to slide her arms around his waist. She winked over at him before licking her lips. Her hand dropped down to the center of his pants, seeing his blue eyes widen as she tugged on the zipper in a painfully slow motion, “but I’m sure we could work out a little deal if you promise to never, ever come in here acting that way again.”

“I’ll do anything you want if you keep doing what I think you’re going to be doing,” Don mouthed in response feeling her hand slide in underneath his boxers to touch him. He closed his eyes for a moment feeling her fingers tease over his body before she leaned forward to nibble on his neck with a low growl.

“So really did you come over here to try to seduce me or was there alternate motive Don,” she questioned taking another nibble on his neck. She felt him grow impatient beneath her urgings, his body tight with clear tension and in that moment she couldn’t help but smile. Reaching out to slide her hand underneath his shirt, she grazed her nails over his chest before pinching at his nipple and watching him grimace with the movement.

“Actually,” Don bit down on his lower lip before speaking up in a low murmur, “tonight we have dinner plans.”

“If you tell me that they include you pinning me over the kitchen table with some whipped cream and chocolate tossed into the mix, I might be interested in leaving work early,” she ran her tongue over his neck before biting down on his earlobe.

“Damn, that sounds good…so good, but…” Don sucked in a sharp breath, “unfortunately I made plans for us. We have to meet up with Brant and Angela. I promised we’d have dinner with them.”

“Who the hell is Angela,” Shannon stopped what she was doing, standing up taller to meet his blue eyes.

“She’s Brant’s, um…” Don began with a frown reaching out to her again, “girlfriend.”

“Wait he’s already got a girlfriend?” Shannon questioned shaking her head and frowning. “Now why doesn’t that surprise me? He’s such a sick bastard. I mean really what kind of man claims to be in love and then less than a week later finds himself with someone else? Only Brant could be so insensitive.”

“Um Shannon,” Don gulped feeling her frustrations mounting as she squeezed on his manhood the pressure going from one that had kept him hot and bothered to something that now started to hurt. He yelped again reaching down to grab her wrist and pull her off of him, “Please…”

“Oh right,” Shannon released him pacing around the room now that she’d taken in Don’s words. “So what kind of slut did he hook up with this time? No don’t tell me because I’m pretty sure I can guess what kind of person she is.”

“Um actually. Damn,” Don looked down to his lap and frowned before adjusting his pants again, “she’s a pretty nice person.”

“I would seriously doubt that since nice people don’t go anywhere near Brant. They are smarter than that unless of course he pulled some kind of manipulation over her, which is completely in Brant’s M.O. there. He’s just the kind of guy to sucker some woman in because he thrives off of it,” she continued to rant clenching her fists at her sides.

“Actually I think they fit well together and I’m happy that he found someone who makes him happy,” Don offered up seeing her face twist with anger.

“I honestly don’t give a damn if Brant is happy or not because I would much rather see him suffer,” Shannon continued to snap as Don started to massage himself through his pants still feeling the sting of his wife’s anger.

“Shannon, I’m sure tonight won’t be so bad. You might find you actually can get over hating Brant considering that you’ve both moved on. Hell, you’re happy with me and he’s happy with Angela, so you know I don’t see any reason for the animosity,” Don explained thinking about their dinner plans. He looked down to his pants again before frowning, “Shannon, do you have any ice around here?”

“Don I’m not going,” Shannon shook her head in refusal. “You can tell Brant to forget it. I’m not going anywhere with him and neither are you.”

“Shannon, he’s my best friend and I promised,” Don frowned back at her. “We can’t just back out on him.”

“We can and we will so he’ll just have to deal with it,” Shannon warned him sharply, “Call him and tell him we won’t be partaking in his mating ritual tonight.”

“Come on Shannon. Don’t you think you’re being a little ridiculous,” he questioned shaking his head and groaning, “It’s just dinner.”

“I don’t care Don. I don’t like Brant and I’m not going to pretend to play nice to make his new playmate think that he’s something special. If you want to go, then go, but I won’t be going with you,” she informed him bluntly meeting his blue eyes with a determined gaze vowing not to give Brant the satisfaction of thinking that he could treat her like dirt and then expect her to cater to him. It wasn’t going to happen no matter how much Don wanted to do it!


“You know you should probably be careful,” Diane mouthed stepping up behind Ben once she spotted him at his desk. She glanced over to the office door seeing Hart and Jenna talking inside with one another and she lowered her tone. “Hart’s got a reputation for being a real jerk and I would hate to see him get rid of you considering that he’s notorious for being a jackass.”

“I think I can hold my own,” Ben explained glancing up at her and smiling, “I mean we both know that this job isn’t forever. Now that Avery isn’t here I wasn’t really expecting to stick around too long…”

“You weren’t?” she frowned down at him moving in closer to where he sat. “Why not?”

“You and I both know that I have other work to do and they could call at any time and have me taken out of here,” he mouthed in a low, quiet tone keeping his words to almost a whisper. “Diane, I knew coming in here that it was only temporary.”

“But I don’t want you to leave. I like having you here and even if someone like Hart can’t appreciate you, well I do. I want you to be with me at work so that we can see each other every day,” she continued to pout curling her lip at him.

“We live together, so I don’t think that will be a problem sweetheart,” he couldn’t help but smile up at her thinking about how adorable she looked even when she was worried. “Everything will be fine.”

“You say that now, but…” Diane paused noticing Hart was approaching them. “I’d better go.”

“Diane, now why am I not surprised to see you here?” Hart laughed lightly at her shaking his head. “Brant said that you weren’t thrilled about working all the time, but I never thought you’d be this social.”

“Well what can I say,” Diane shrugged her shoulders simply, “Happy workers make productive workers and Brant thinks I’m very productive.”

“He thinks you’re something,” Hart teased with another laugh before turning to Ben. “Did you finish what we had talked about?”

“As a matter of fact I did and I have a call waiting for you on line two,” Ben explained with a smile motioning to where Jenna was in the office, “though if you need me to just take a message.”

“No I can take it,” Hart replied with a small nod, “Nice work Ben. You could learn a thing or two from your boyfriend Diane. He’s a hell of a worker.”

“Right,” Diane mouthed in response seeing Hart return to his office while Ben laughed lightly.

“And here you thought I had something to worry about,” Ben teased shaking his head while offering up an amused smirk now that Hart had proven Diane wrong.

“Okay, so I stand corrected, but at least now I know he won’t give me a problem about seeing you, which is a very good thing,” Diane replied leaning down to kiss him tenderly now that it was clear Ben’s new boss may be as every bit agreeable as the last.


“Excuse me,” Deidra blinked back at him, “What did you just say?”

“I said I want you and I’m not taking no for an answer,” Andy replied with a wide grin before pulling a file out from behind his back, “I have a patient that I would like you to see. She’s been with me for a while, but it turns out that she moved to Coral Valley here and is looking for a new OB/GYN. I recommended you to her since I said you are one of the best.”

“I don’t believe this,” Deidra watched him with a doubtful expression, “I don’t buy it.”

“It’s the truth,” he held the folder out towards her, “I told her I’m going to be relocating out here and she mentioned she was as well. That being said I just thought that maybe it might help for her to have a doctor she could trust as well. She’s a really nice woman and…”

“How many times did you sleep with her?” Deidra arched a curious brow.

“It’s not like that,” Andy offered her the file once more.

“With you it’s always like that,” Deidra shook her head and walked back over to her desk, “but whatever. If she’d like to schedule an appointment, then you can give her my number.”

“I already did,” Andy watched her take a seat, “She should be calling you soon.”

“Good, then if that’s all you had to say then you can leave now,” she blurted out with an indifferent tone.

“Oh come on. You can’t keep being so mean to me. Surely, you could at least say thank you for the business I’m bringing you. I figured it was a means of making a peace offering,” Andy frowned over at her.

“Move back to Florida and we’ll call it even,” she suggested with a disapproving look.

“I’d like to say I could, but things are much better here. I have business investments and besides, you and I are from Coral Valley. We both have ties to this town. Surely you can’t expect me to walk away from my family when you know I’m just as entitled to be here as you are,” Andy argued with her realizing that she wasn’t going to bend with him.

“Your parents moved to Nebraska years ago. Your sister is in Denver and all of your former friends can’t stand you, so I don’t really get where the ties are coming in,” she quipped with a heavy air of sarcasm. “There’s no place for you in this town any longer or in my life for that matter.”

“Deidra really if you’d just stop being so angry and start being civil,” Andy tried to appeal to her once more.

“I think she’s been more than civil,” Dean’s voice interjected as Deidra looked up to see him standing in the middle of her office. He walked into the room with an air of confidence and an obvious presence that showed that he wasn’t about to be intimidated by Andy.

“Well, well, well if it isn’t your fling,” Andy chuckled turning to look at Deidra again, “And you get on me about cheating when here is your lover.”

“Why don’t you just back off,” Dean suggested with an icy glare, “She doesn’t need your harassment.”

“She’s a big girl. She doesn’t need you fighting her battles for her,” Andy mouthed sourly, glaring over at Dean, “This doesn’t concern you Romeo.”

“If you’re upsetting her it does concern me,” Dean replied stepping up to Andy as Deidra rose from her seat.

“I’m just about finished here Dean and Andy’s on his way out,” Deidra blurted out reaching for her jacket, “I’m done for the day and we were going to dinner.”

“I’m sure,” Andy snarled down at Dean.

“So back off,” Dean warned Andy feeling Deidra walk around to join them. He curled his arm around Deidra’s waist before looking to her again, “You about ready to go?”

“More than ready,” Deidra nodded before motioning to her office door, “And so are you.”

“Fine, but we will continue this later,” Andy informed her point blank before walking out of her office and leaving her alone with Dean.

“What was that all about?” Dean couldn’t help but ask.

“I’ll explain it later, but right now what do you say we get out of here and try to enjoy the rest of the night?” Deidra suggested throwing her arms around him and giving him a big kiss.

“I thought you’d never ask,” he mouthed kissing her once again as Deidra vowed not to let Andy’s annoyances keep her from enjoying the time she would spend with the man she loved. Tonight was going to be perfect and not even Andy could take that away from her.


Avery took one last look at the table in front of her feeling a nervousness in the pit of her stomach. This would be the first official dinner in their new home and she wanted everything to be perfect. Much to her surprise and delight Russ had already taken the liberty of furnishing most of the rooms in the house and they had been even more beautiful than Avery had anticipated. The dining room was warm and inviting much like the rest of the house, yet the table in front of her was classic and elegant and full of character. It could’ve very well been a place for a simple family meal or for heavy entertaining. However, even though things looked perfect, Avery felt as if things were far from that now that their company could be arriving at any point in time.

“How are we doing in here?” Russ questioned popping his head out of the kitchen to see her standing near the table, “Avery?”

“What do you think?” she stepped aside to show him the place settings, “Does it work?”

“Beautifully,” he nodded encouragingly hearing the sound of the doorbell ringing, “and not a moment too soon. It sounds like they are here. Want me to get that?”

“No, I’ll do it since Erin is in there with you and you’re working on the chicken,” Avery decided forcing a nervous smile, “Besides with you playing chef I can at least attempt being a good hostess.”

“You’ll do fine,” Russ offered up looking at her for a long moment appreciating how beautiful she appeared to be standing before him in a simple black cocktail dress. Her hair was neatly pinned back with a gold and rhinestone barrette and the style of her dress hugged her body in all the right places to show off her returning figure. “You look beautiful.”

“You don’t look too bad yourself,” she nodded towards the blue dress shirt and dark slacks he was wearing, “I always liked that look for you.”

“Oh what this old thing,” he laughed lightly before fingering the area around his neck, “I must admit I almost wore my tie tonight so that it would keep you optimistic. You remember the tie, don’t you?”

Her face grew flushed knowing full well what tie he was thinking about. She nodded quickly sucking in a sharp breath as very erotic memories returned to her, pouring out warmth through her body. Russ was flirting and shamelessly too. She was certain her face had grown red with the heat that pumped through her veins at the oh so delicious memory of what it had been like to make love to him with that tie as an accessory. Oh yes his wearing that would’ve most certainly had her even more on edge thinking about all the things that..

The doorbell rang again snapping her out of her moment.

“I’d better go get that before you get me in trouble,” she winked at him turning on her heel to go down the hallway to the front door.

Once she arrived in the foyer she reached for the door opening it up to see Kevin standing before her with a bottle of champagne in his hand. He smiled at her, his brown eyes filled with a warmth and a comforting look that put her a bit more at ease. He smiled down at her brightly before holding out the bottle to her.

“A housewarming gift,” he explained in a soft, subtle tone, “considering that I thought you might like that.”

She looked at the bottle of champagne inspecting the label thoroughly, “Well, I don’t drink much, but when I did have an occasional glass this was one of my favorites.”

“How did I know?” Kevin couldn’t help but smile giving her a small glance before a sound resonated from beside him. He glanced over to Ria who was gazing up at him expectantly. “Oh Avery, have you met Ria?”

“Not officially, but I’ve heard wonderful things about her,” Avery held her hand out to Ria, “It’s great to finally meet you.”

“Likewise,” Ria couldn’t help but keep her eyes glued to the woman in front of her. It was like having Angela right in front of her and immediately Ria felt on edge especially with the way that Kevin was looking at her, “thanks for inviting us. You have a beautiful home.”

“It was a gift from my husband,” Avery paused thinking about how that in itself wasn’t entirely the truth since she and Russ weren’t legally married, however she didn’t feel like correcting it. “Russ thought it was time for change for all of us.”

“And what a change it is,” Kevin noted stepping further into the foyer, “This place is incredible. It’s really stunning.”

“Of course it is,” Russ called out to the group with Erin in his arms, “Erin helped me pick it out. Once it got her seal of approval I knew it was going to be perfect.”

“Well hello there beautiful,” Kevin greeted Erin with a bright smile immediately gravitating over to where Russ was with her, “how are you tonight?”

“Say we’re doing great,” Russ whispered to his daughter seeing her face light up at Kevin’s arrival. She stretched her arms out towards him curling and uncurling her fingers at him. She started to wiggle in Russell’s arms and made a small noise.

“I think she wants to see Kevin,” Avery pointed out seeing her daughter reach for him.

“Oh, I missed you too pretty lady,” Kevin held his arms out towards her before glancing over at Russ cautiously, “May I?”

“Of course,” Russ nodded offering Erin to Kevin, “I’ve got chicken going in the kitchen and maybe you can help with it since it’s one of the recipes that Martha gave me.”

“Ah, then that could only mean you’re making one chicken dish there and it’s the best,” Kevin grinned widely before turning to look at Ria, “You’re going to think you went to heaven if he cooked it right.”

“I’m sure I cooked it right Adonis,” Russ shook his head at him.

“We’ll just see about that,” Kevin hugged Erin closer to him before looking to Ria, “I’ll be right back.”

“Um…sure,” Ria watched Kevin walk away with Erin and Russ and she felt a moment of helplessness overtake her. She turned to Avery feeling immediately on edge after thinking about Angela and the relationship she had to Kevin. Would Avery have that same effect on Kevin?”

“Can I get you a drink or take your coat?” Avery questioned breaking Ria through her thoughts.

“Oh, um sure,” Ria slid out of her jacket and handed it to Avery, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Avery smiled back at her sensing Ria’s nervousness, “You know you look like you could use that drink.”

“Is it that obvious,” Ria brought her hand up to her face wondering if her inner turmoil had given her away. “It’s just been a very long day.”

“Tell me about it,” Avery replied with a small sigh, “I went from grocery shopping to getting a new house and on top of that my husband has made the kitchen off limits. I can’t cook worth anything and he and Erin both know that.”

“Oh believe me I can understand that,” Ria relaxed a bit in an attempt to start a conversation with Avery, “I can’t cook all that well either, so Kevin likes to do most of the cooking, but I can whip up pancakes pretty well.”

“Russ makes the best chocolate chip pancakes,” Avery thought about Russ for a long moment and feeling a bit more at ease, “The last time I tried cooking I almost burned our old house down so maybe there is a method to his madness in keeping me out of the kitchen. Then again maybe that’s his way of getting Kevin into the kitchen alone to gossip.”

“Kevin’s good at gossiping,” Ria nodded glancing over in the direction where Kevin drifted off to.

“So what about you? Have a knack for gossip?” Avery questioned curiously.

“Not usually considering the hospital keeps me swamped most of the time,” Ria shrugged her shoulders, “It’s a pretty hectic schedule for me on most days.”

“Oh that’s right. Kevin mentioned you were a doctor. That sounds like such a wonderful and rewarding career. I had thought about going into medicine once, but my real passion was the law,” Avery smiled over at her, “I’m more so the pain in the ass that likes to remind people when they aren’t following the rules.”

“If more people followed them, there would be less problems,” Ria laughed lightly.

“Probably, but then I’d be out of work,” Avery paused, “Oh wait I am out of work right now.”

“Given where you were working it is probably a blessing in disguise. No offense, but I’m not a big fan of BBK,” Ria explained with a wrinkled expression, “I never really liked getting into the big corporate places. Don’t get me wrong I think that Brant Ashford is obviously trying to do a noble thing there with his company there, but with some of the stories I’ve heard about the behind the scenes…”

“It was a different place when Brant’s father was in charge,” Avery explained quickly, “Brant runs a pretty good place there. He’s really turned it around.”

“I wasn’t in Coral Valley when his father was running the show,” Ria added making light conversation, “I mean I guess I never paid much attention to BBK before I got into medicine, but I heard stories about what he was like. Fortunately the man was gone before I returned to Coral Valley after college. Though I heard there’s a possibility that he’s still out there.”

“Unfortunately it looks that way,” Avery nodded thinking about what it would mean to the future now that Nicholas Ashford was still out there ready and waiting to pick his moment to attack. A jolt of fear swept over her before she turned to Ria again, “So how about that drink?”


“Okay, so you learn well,” Kevin decided finishing off the sample that Russ had given him of the sauce for the chicken. Depositing the spoon into the sink while Erin looked up at him curiously, Kevin let out a small laugh, “Martha would be proud of you right about now with this.”

“I highly doubt that considering the last time she saw me I was supposed to be at an engagement party,” Russ paused thinking about his abrupt departure from the island. He could remember quite clearly when he’d regained his memory and given Angela very shaky answers before bolting off of the island.

“I think she would understand if she could see all of this,” Kevin’s dark gaze drifted to Erin once again, “It made me see things clearly for the first time in a long time once I met this princess here. Russ, I don’t blame you for any of what happened on the island.”

“I was a jerk,” Russ sighed heavily bringing his fingers up through his own dark hair, “A huge jerk, but I think on some level I thought that…”

“You thought that you’d found your heart and your home again,” Kevin finished for him with a sympathetic expression, “I can see how in the state you were in you found yourself confused. Don’t get me wrong Angie is an amazing woman and I love her, but for you she doesn’t come close to any of this.”

“I never meant to hurt her. If I’d known…” Russ offered up apologetically thinking about his brief relationship with Angela and feeling a new guilt carry over him.

“Funny thing about Angie,” Kevin raised his hand in the air to silence Russ before he started, “She has a tendency to love fast and furious and when it fizzles out she doesn’t stay too lonely for too long. She’s bounced back. I’m not saying that to be cruel, but…”

“But obviously she found what she was looking for now that she’s found Brant again,” Russ finished catching the truth behind Kevin’s eyes, “Somehow I knew that she dreamt about finding the man who had fathered her children.”

“And now that she has she’s pushing forward full force ready to make this the dream come true she’s waited forever to find,” Kevin confessed with a hint of worry behind his voice. “I just don’t know if she’s really thinking this one out.”

“She’s following her heart. Deep down I could see that she still had feelings for him,” Russ let out an ironic laugh, “though I don’t know why I’d want her to be near him given what a snake he is. When I think of what he did to Avery…”

“Avery was just finding a means of coping when she thought she lost you,” Kevin offered up with a small sigh, “Any fool with eyes could see that you are her world and having you home again has given her all that she’s needed to start believing in miracles again.”

“I just wish that I hadn’t been put in a position to fail her like I did,” Russ admitted worriedly looking over towards the doorway before softening his voice, “I know how hurt she has been and…”

“And I already told you I’m not going to say anything about Angie. It’s pretty clear that you haven’t, yet…” Kevin started to explain to him.

“I owe her the truth. She’s never lied to me when it mattered and I can’t lie to her,” Russ insisted feeling an ache inside of him, “She deserves that much from me, but right now with the way she’s been feeling…”

“Russ I wouldn’t expect you to break her heart,” Kevin shook his head adamantly, “She’s too special for you to ever do that to her. She’s already been through enough.”

“That’s what I keep telling myself, but sooner or later she and Angela are going to run into one another especially now that Brant is involved in this and…” Russ began worriedly.

“And we’ll deal with that when the time is right, but right now we’re going to focus on dinner,” Kevin felt Erin’s fingers curl around his, “Right Erin?”

Erin giggled and let out a small squeal.

“So what about you?” Russ couldn’t help but ask, “With Ria? Is this something serious or is this…?”

“My rebound from Angie breaking my heart?” Kevin finished catching the expression on Russell’s face. “In all honesty what you saw on the island was me at my weakest. I’m not going to lie to you. I’ve loved Angie for a long time and a part of me will always love Angie, but we’re not good for each other. It was a one-sided relationship and regardless of how much I could’ve loved her, there would always be something missing--something more that she wanted and I could never compete with that.”

“Brant’s no where near being the kind of guy you are,” Russ informed him point blank, “If that’s what’s holding you back, then…”

“I was the only thing holding me back, but when I see you and Avery and even Erin, well that gave me hope for the future,” Kevin could hear Ria laughing with Avery in the other room, “and that pretty lady out there is my future. I wouldn’t trade what I have with her for anything in the world even another chance with Angie. I’m happy where I am and I’m sure you feel the same way.”

“I am,” Russ nodded in confession, “Avery is my world and I want to do everything I can for her, which is why I was glad you came over tonight.”

“I’m not following,” Kevin gave him a strange look.

“I need to ask you a favor,” Russ started with a heavy sigh lowering his voice a bit.

“Hey I already told you that what was on the island will stay on the island and…” Kevin began again.

“No, it’s not about that,” Russ shook his head adamantly. “It’s about that little incident in my newspaper.”

“You mean with Chris?” Kevin asked.

Russ nodded again, “That man is going to be trouble and as you can see the last thing Avery and I need is trouble. Now I’m not saying that I want anything done that would hurt him, but I need a favor.”

“Look if you want me to have a few words with him, I already told you that I was going to rough him up,” Kevin reminded him point blank.

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that and I think I have one better for you,” Russ divulged with a cryptic expression, “You see when Avery hired Chris, he signed an iron clad contract guaranteeing him his job for the next couple of years. Avery doesn’t want me to try to test the waters in having him fired, which by the way was my first thought on how to deal with what happened. However, since I’m not so inclined to take that route anymore, the fact remains that my job at the paper is still open especially now that I’m very much alive. Of course now that Erin is here, I was hoping to take a more active role at home with her and Avery, but that leaves a huge gap at the paper in where I should be.”

“Hey family should come first. That’s always been my motto,” Kevin explained matter of fact, “The paper can wait.”

“Well, it really can’t because I’m going to need an acting editor in chief to kind of keep an eye on Chris Foley and the more I think about it, the more I think I found a perfect temporary replacement for me. I need someone I can trust, someone who knows how to keep a level of integrity and someone who won’t let Chris get away with murder so to speak. That someone also has to have a knowledge base of writing and a talent themselves. I need someone who is clear and concise and can get the job done,” Russ paused dramatically, “which was why I was hoping I could coax that someone into being you.”

“What?” Kevin’s eyes widened with surprise, “What did you just say?”

“I’m asking you if you’d like to fill my shoe at the paper for a while. If it works out, then maybe we can talk about a more permanent position, but for now I think you’d be the best replacement for me,” Russ explained matter of fact, “I’m sure of it.”

“But I haven’t worked in journalism in years. I mean sure I write the novels and…” Kevin stammered a bit surprised by the job offer on the table.

“I did my homework. I know that you have a very strong history in journalism and that it was your minor in college. I’m sure you didn’t expect me to check, but I saw that you got your degree while you were overseas doing your work with Angela I’m sure,” Russ pointed out giving him a long look, “So what do you say? I’d be willing to offer you a great salary and benefits.”

“I appreciate that, but…” Kevin stammered a bit, “If this is about my keeping my mouth shut, you don’t have to do this to make sure I don’t say anything. I already gave you my word and…”

“This is about the fact that I need someone who can handle pressure and knows how to keep things in order Kevin. This has nothing to do with the island,” Russ assured him matter of fact, “I need someone that I’m sure won’t run my paper into the ground and with your credentials I think you’re more than perfect for the position. So what do you say? Would you consider sticking around Coral Valley and working for me?”

“I had hoped to find a job so that I could be close to Ria,” Kevin admitted freely pondering Russell’s offer. “I mean I’m a bit rusty in working in print with a paper, but…”

“But I’m sure it’ll all come back to you and I’ll be around to help. Plus you get to have complete editorial control over what Chris puts into the paper. You get the final say,” Russ offered in an attempt to coax Kevin into accepting the position.

“Well since you put it that way,” Kevin couldn’t help but crack a small grin, “You’re on.”

“So is that a yes?” Russ watched Kevin stretch his arm out to shake Russell’s hand.

“Oh yeah,” Kevin decided with a tiny laugh as thoughts of just how much fun he could have in being Chris Foley’s boss came to mind. Oh yes this would be the perfect job indeed.


Heather stood outside of Kyle’s office finding herself still wound up after the walk she’d taken outside to get some air. Thinking back to how Kyle had humiliated her in front of everyone by behaving like a caveman got her blood boiling especially when she wasn’t even his girlfriend. She wasn’t the one that he was planning to marry and she sure as hell hadn’t ever cheated on him, yet there he was lashing out at her like she was someone who had broken his heart--like she was someone who would stomp on his emotions and crush him to pieces like Sarah had.

“Sarah,” Heather thought to herself feeling her anger’s mounting at the way her sister had treated Kyle.

There was just something about that woman that had always found a way to kill everything promising that was happening. Sarah had always been able to twist the knife in deeper each time that she reminded Heather that Kyle was with her, not Heather. It was enough to drive Heather mad knowing that everything she’d wanted was so close, yet so far away. Even now with Kyle getting jealous. It wasn’t as if there was something to be jealous about. It wasn’t as if they had anything with one another other than a few moments of insanity every now and then, yet when it came down to it, she found herself drawn to his office. She knew she didn’t owe him any apologies, yet…

“You’re here,” she thought aloud trying to curb her own tangled emotions in her stomach at the idea of coming face to face with Kyle right now when she was in an uproar. He had absolutely no right to blow up at her like he did, yet she wanted him to know that he was wrong--that she wasn’t like Sarah. She didn’t owe him any apologizes, yet…

“Just get it over with,” she coached herself into moving to knock on the door. However she realized it was partially open and she heard the sound of voices from within. She was tempted to turn around, but instead she pushed the door open and spotted Kellen speaking with Kyle.

“Heather,” Kellen called out her name upon seeing her enter the room, “hey.”

“Kellen,” she nodded her gaze still fixed on Kyle now that he sat behind his desk looking grim and agitated still after the time had passed since they’d run into one another in the studio. “I’d like to have a word with Kyle…”

“That’s not a bad idea right now at all considering that,” Kellen started feeling the tension in the air between them even after they had both taken the time to cool down a bit.

“Alone,” Heather informed him point blank making no mistakes about her plans for Kyle now that they were face to face with one another.

“Right,” Kellen practically ran into the corner of the desk before leaping back. His blue eyes shifted between the two of them before he motioned to the door, “I’ll just be um…well I’ll just be on my way out for a while. If you need me…”

“We know where to find you,” Heather assured him walking over to close the door behind Kellen’s exit. Once she was alone with Kyle, she clenched her fists at her side and turned around to glare at him, “Just where the hell do you get off in humiliating me like that in front of my employees?”

“Humiliating you,” he repeated with wide eyes, “Heather if you think that’s what I was…”

“You sat there and practically accused me of being some kind of slut in front of Kevin, Seth and Kellen. You had no right to sit there and say something about me like that especially considering that…” she stepped forward lashing out at him in a very vivid, explicit verbal assault.

“That what? That this week you and I were doing a photo shoot with one another and things seemed intense, yet today I walk in after what I thought was something magical last night and find you with Kevin,” Kyle stood up from behind his desk circling around to confront her with her words. “That doesn’t look right to me.”

“In case you’ve forgotten Kyle I’m not the one you’re engaged to. You aren’t going to marry me, so therefore what I do and who I do it with is none of your business. Just because we let things get out of hand last night doesn’t mean that you own me. It doesn’t mean that you can boss me around or lecture me for doing something wrong when that was so far from what was happening,” Heather continued to snap at him, feeling her fingers dig deeper into her palms. “You don’t own me Kyle.”

“I never claimed to,” he marched out in front of her, “I never said that once…”

“But you acted like it when you walked into the room and that was out of line,” she snapped further seeing a flicker of something behind his dark eyes. “You had no right to do that.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” Kyle mouthed throwing his hands in the air, “Don’t you think that I realize I don’t have a say in what you do?”

“Yet it didn’t stop you from belittling me in front of everyone did it?” she arched a daring brow at him, “And just what was it about the situation that made you feel you had the right to do that to me Kyle? What was it in particular that made it okay for you to hurt me like that when…?”

“I was jealous okay,” he blurted out despite his resolve to keep from being honest with her. He shook his head adamantly, “I saw you in his arms and I hated it. I wanted to tear him apart limb for limb…”

“Because he was doing a shoot with me? Do you have any idea how stupid that sounds?” she blinked up at him trying to curb the rapid pounding of her heart at the nearness of him. The scent of his cologne was driving her mad with desire, longing to pick up right where they’d left off the previous night, but she knew that was impossible. “How dare you do that to me. How dare you think that you can be jealous and keep me at bay?”

“I’m not keeping you at bay, but at the same time I didn’t think that you’d run off to the first good looking guy that paid you attention after last night. I thought that what we had was more special than that. I thought that maybe just maybe you actually gave a damn about me, but then when I saw you with him,” he started in a frustrated tone, “Damn it Heather this is your fault.”

“My fault?” she repeated with a huff, placing her hands on her hips to keep from touching him, “How can this be my fault when you’re the one who made a scene? You were the one that started shooting your mouth off.”

“I only shot my mouth off because I wanted you to know what I was feeling--what I’m still feeling about the situation,” Kyle shook his head feeling his frustrations mounting.

“And what are you feeling Kyle? What is it that you’re not saying?” Heather questioned giving him a very thorough once over.

“Damn it if you even have to ask, then you’re even more blind than I took you for. If you can’t figure it out then,” Kyle stopped himself seeing that he was only further upsetting her with his words. Finally he gave in to insanity and reached for her shoulders drawing her nearer to him, “Oh hell.”

Before either one of them could utter another word, Kyle’s lips came crashing down over hers in an earth shattering display of passion. His arm curled around her waist, pulling her in flush against his muscled torso wanting her to feel the tension that was coiling in over his body, the ache that had ripped insanity out of his mind and pushed him past the point of no control. Having her mouth against his, the taste of her on his lips, it was the only time when things made sense--when he was able to quench that yearning he’d had for her, but it wasn’t enough. It would never be enough.

He let out a small groan feeling her slide her slender arm around his waist, up underneath the back of his shirt while his own fingers slid into her soft blonde tresses loving the silken sensation that pressed in against his touch. Unable to contain himself, he picked her up off of the ground pressing her in against his chest and not giving a damn about how much confusion they brought to one another. Granted he knew what was ahead of him, but what was right there in his arms was everything to him.

“Kyle,” Heather spoke his name, her green eyes fixed on his as their lips parted.

He circled around his office setting her down on top of his desk before he brushed the pad of his thumb over her trembling bottom lip gingerly. He felt the soft, shivering exhale that fell from her lips warming him at the touch. She closed her eyes arching her head back as his hand dropped down to the buttons on the front of her shirt. He deftly opened them with shaky hands knowing full well he had to stop what was happening between them. It was like his fantasy, only it was better, more intense and as he parted the material of her blouse, he dipped down to press a small set of kisses over her collar bones.

“Oh Kyle,” she purred his name dropping her head back as her legs wrapped around his waist drawing him nearer to her. He peeled away at her blouse taking it down over her shoulders, pushing it over her arms until finally she slipped her arms out. She reached out to him using her sculpted nails to reach down and tear his black t-shirt out from where it had been semi-tucked inside his blue jeans. She ripped it up over his head in a lightening quick movement before discarding it to the ground. Their eyes met once more before Kyle leaned in for another kiss longing to drown in her completely.

Everything felt perfect, beyond anything else he’d ever experienced as he moved in over her, using his large hand to knock papers from the top of his desk. He moved in over her feeling her legs wrap snugly around his hips pulling him in against her both of them longing to fill the void that had been left behind after Kellen’s interruption the previous night. Backing up ever so slightly Kyle touched the side of her face wanting to memorize everything about her before he leaned forward kissing her once again fully intending to carry out this impromptu seduction with her. However, fate had other plans.

“Mr. Houston,” his secretary buzzed in over the intercom, “the man from the church is on the phone to finalize the plans for the wedding this weekend.”

“Wedding,” Heather gulped tearing her lips away from his with a choked expression.

“Thanks Hannah,” Kyle mouthed feeling his body grow rigid as Heather pushed him away from her just enough to place a distance between them. “Tell him I’ll call him back in a little while.”

“Of course,” Hannah replied buzzing out on the intercom as Heather watched Kyle with a horrified expression.

“What wedding?” Heather questioned in a low, trembling voice seeing something flash behind his eyes. “What wedding Kyle?”

“Heather, Sarah wanted to get married this weekend and…” Kyle started to explain to her only to feel her shove him away from her with such a force it sent him to the floor on his butt.

“You son of a bitch!” Heather snapped at him leaping up off of the desk and quickly straightening out her shirt. “You’re marrying her this weekend?”

“Heather, I can explain. It’s…” Kyle started feeling a bit flustered as he moved to his feet, “If you’ll just hear me out…”

“Oh I heard more than plenty,” she shook her head at him unable to contain the tears that threatened behind her green eyes, “How could you do this knowing that this weekend you are going to…”

She stopped herself clenching her fists at her sides, “No I swore I wouldn’t do this. I won’t let you get to me Kyle. I’m not going to let you hurt me again. I can’t do this.”

“Heather wait,” he reached for her arm tugging on it gently before she could walk out of his office.

“For what Kyle?” she questioned spinning around to face him, “For something that I’m never going to have happen for me? In case you don’t get it Kyle, I love you. I’ve been in love with you since I’ve been old enough to know what love is and while I might seem desperate right now, I’m not that desperate or pathetic to sit here and give you my body when you’re about to marry my sister this weekend.”

“No Heather you’re not getting it,” Kyle shook his head at her, “There are things that you don’t know--things that I have to tell you--things that…”

“Go to hell Kyle,” Heather lashed out at him slapping him right across the cheek as her tears poured down her cheeks, “because that’s where you should be for playing with my emotions and leading me to believe I was something special. I should’ve known you’re all the same. Every which one of you…”

“No Heather that’s not true. You don’t understand that I’m only doing this because…” Kyle reached out to her again feeling the sting of her anger burning over the side of his face.

“Oh I understand Kyle, but let me just set the record straight. I have far too much respect for myself to be your one last fling before you commit to Sarah,” Heather blurted out shaking her head at him, “And here I thought that maybe you and I had something between us--that maybe you might’ve loved me like I loved you, but once again the joke is obviously on me. Well, ha ha I get it and now I’m gone.”

“Heather wait,” Kyle watched her rush out of his office slamming the door behind her. Fear swept over him and he ran to the door opening it and chasing after her, but she was in the elevators with the doors closing before he could even reach her. Frustration carried over him as he pounded his fist against the wall beside the elevator. With a heavy sigh he pressed his head in against the wall and let out a small groan.

“You just don’t get it Heather,” he muttered under his breath hating that things had taken a horrible turn for the worse between them. Here he was ready to confess everything, to be honest with her about his heart, yet he’d screwed it up once again by acting before he thought things out. Now that he stood alone in the hallway feeling the aftermath of her hurt washing over him, he knew that there would be no turning back. He had to do what he set out to do before it took him under completely. Standing up straighter he let out a heavy sigh thinking about what Heather had said in his office and he spoke up in a small whisper, “I already do love you. I know that I always have which is why I have to do this for us because if I don’t, we’re never going to have a future together and that‘s the one thing I won‘t give up on for us. I need to find a way to fix this and I will one way or the other.”


...to be continued...