Episode 336

“You’ve got to be kidding me, right?” Chris gulped realizing that there was no way in hell he’d be working for Kevin Adonis. Just the idea that Kevin would step in and start calling the shots around the paper was beyond mere comprehension, but as he looked at the way Kevin and Russ exchanged looks, he had to wonder if there was more to this story than meets the eye. “No offense, but Kevin is not at all anywhere near having the journalistic credibility that I have.”

“Actually Kevin’s had some experience in the field and while Avery made her choice about who she would like to fill my shoes, I felt that there was a little extra something needed that Kevin could offer to the Courier,” Russ explained matter of fact standing up straighter and fighting the urge to laugh at the way Chris started to squirm. “Granted Mr. Adonis has come in today with a bit of a chip on his shoulder given that there was a recent article printed up on him that he believes is pure slander. He and I have discussed this event in great length and I decided the best way to keep such an occurrence from happening again was simply to let him work for me. It saves the paper a lawsuit and gives us a great new asset in the process.”

“Yes but…” Chris stammered a bit glancing over at Kevin again.

“I’ll let you two talk. I have a few things I want to take care of in my office,” Russ interrupted looking between the two of them before walking off to give the two men a moment to talk to one another alone.

“So,” Kevin cleared his throat seeing the obvious upset that carried over Chris, “I guess this means we’re going to be closer than we’ve been in a while.”

“Look Kevy, about that article, I was just…” Chris stammered a bit taking a clumsy step backwards in the hopes of avoiding too close of a contact with Kevin now that he was certain Kevin was less than thrilled with him.

“Hey, it’s water under the bridge,” Kevin raised his hand in the air to silence Chris before he started saying anything more. “I like pretty much everyone else realized that article was written in a moment of rage now that you know Angie just isn’t going to give you the time of day. That was your adolescent attempt at trying to offer up some kind of backlash for her not running away with you like you were hoping. However, I’m sure that there will be a small public apology issued for your hasty, rash decision. You can put it in another article that retracts your previous statements and we’ll call it even.”

“Even,” Chris repeated with a doubtful expression noticing the smirk on Kevin’s face.

“Sure, why not,” Kevin shrugged offering up an amused laugh, “I mean what are friends for?”

“Friends,” Chris replied watching Kevin walk over to him as if he was going to reach out and attack him, but instead Kevin wrapped his arm around Chris’s shoulders and offered a tight squeeze.

“That’s right pal,” Kevin spoke up in a warning tone, “I’m going to keep a real close eye on you. You’re going to almost wish you could get rid of me, but sooner or later you’ll learn to back off or else…”

“Or else what?” worry poured out from Chris’s lips.

“Let’s just say we won’t have to get to that if you play your cards right--at least I hope not,” Kevin noted stepping away from him and making his way to the office to speak with Russ all the while leaving Chris to wonder just what the future at the paper had in store for him.


“So how are you doing really?” Grady questioned reaching out to pull Deana into his arms after Avery and Erin left his office. They had stayed a few minutes longer to chit chat, but then Avery decided that maybe it was time to go pay Russ a visit at work since Erin was yet to see her where her father worked.

“I was just coming over to get a pep talk before heading into work since I know you’re good at that, but it looks like maybe you were already busy with another pep talk of your own if you will,” Deana eyed him suspiciously, not really sure how to vocalize what was going through her mind at the moment.

“What do you mean?” Grady couldn’t help but ask feeling her take a step back over towards the door.

“Oh I don’t know,” she shrugged folding her arms in front of her chest, “You and Avery just looked a bit…oh what’s the word? Cozy perhaps?”

“Cozy,” Grady repeated with a small nervous laugh, “Nah, we were just joking around. She was upset about a few things that were going on now after the madness that surrounded her life has finally slowed down a bit. She and Russ are just adjusting to the start of a normal life and she wanted to talk.”

“I see,” she nodded her face revealing that more was happening behind her eyes than she was saying.

“What?” Grady tipped his head to the side noting her posture, “What’s up Deana? What’s really on your mind here? You look like you’re not believing what I’m saying.”

“It’s just that I…” she stopped herself biting on her lower lip before running her fingers through her long blonde hair for a moment, “It’s just that, well when I walked in the two of you just seemed very…”

“Very what?” he questioned seeing her hesitate once again, “Deana what’s really on your mind?”

“I just have to know,” she paused momentarily waving her hand around in the air in front of her, “I know it’s really none of my business, but I was just wondering when did you two sleep together?”

“Excuse me,” Grady blinked back at her stunned by her outright bluntness. He offered up a nervous laugh before pushing his hands into his pants pockets, “What would make you ask that?”

“Oh come on Grady,” she rolled her eyes and shook her head, “I’m not stupid. While I realize that you might think I’m slower because I’m from some little nowhere town down south, I have eyes. Anyone with any inkling of common sense could see that you two had something together.”

“Now just wait a minute,” Grady took a step towards her ready to defend himself, “First of all I don’t think you’re stupid--far from it. I think that you’re a bright, beautiful and intelligent woman.”

“Then how about you stop insulting my intelligence and tell me what’s really going on with you and Avery?” she demanded her brown eyes searching for the truth behind his.

“Alright,” he finally sighed realizing there was no point in denying what she’d already picked up on, “yes there was a point in time when Avery and I sort of had something going…”

“Define sort of,” she stated plainly waiting to hear the truth about where his heart and motivations really were.

He let out a long sigh bringing his own hand through his dark hair in an attempt to quell the uneasy feeling that settled in the pit of his stomach. His green eyes focused on her once again before he decided to just come clean about the one thing that had been eating away at him from the moment his brother had returned from the dead.

“When Russ was gone Avery and I bonded,” Grady explained in a distant tone, “She saved my life when I was up on those murder charges and things happened…”

“What kind of things,” she questioned in a shaky tone not really sure she wanted the answer, but knowing that whether or not she could continue to see Grady would depend on his answer.

“It wasn’t like we planned on it, but one thing lead to another and I started to believe that I was in love with her,” he explained with a raw honesty behind his voice. “You see we’ve known one another almost all of our lives and there were a few moments when I thought that something would happen, but she always wanted Russ. He was the one that she was in love with and…”

“When he was gone you figured it was your chance to see what was there?” she arched a speculative brow seeing the answer behind his green eyes, “So what? Are you in love with her?”

“No,” Grady replied immediately shaking his head with a newfound determination, “Avery and I were both down and out when it happened. We were both at our wit’s end and when I was at my lowest point she saved me. When Kyle and I were fighting I started drinking again--I acted like a real ass and I did some really stupid things--things that I would’ve lived to regret if Avery wasn’t there. After that we were together yes, but it was just one time…it was one night…”

“And now?” she questioned with an uneasiness in her tone thinking about the man she was falling for being in love with someone else.

“Russ is back and things just weren’t meant to be,” he answered with a sad smile.

“But that doesn’t change how you feel, does it? You still care about her, don’t you?” she replied feeling a sinking sensation carry over her. Once again she’d found someone in her life--someone who was completely wrong for her, yet she’d taken the chance and fallen only to end up…

“Yes, I care about her. I’m always going to care about her, but it’s not the way you’re thinking. I’ll admit I love Avery and I always have, but not in the way that you’re worried about. After we slept together we both realized it was a mistake. She knew it right away and I didn’t want to believe that, but then when my brother came back I knew how I’d screwed up. I never should’ve crossed that line with her and now,” he stopped himself thinking about what could happen if Russ ever found out about what he’d done, “now I just want to see that she and Russ find a way to make it with one another.”

“And Avery? How does she feel about you?” she felt a lump forming in the back of her throat. Unable to allow Grady to see what was happening inside of her, she turned away from him focusing on the day coming alive outside of his offices.

“She probably feels the same way she did before we slept together,” he admitted rubbing his hands together and clearing his throat again, “She doesn’t remember it happened.”

“What?” she spun around to face him once again. “What do you mean?”

“It happened around the time that Bruce had come back. When he drugged her, she lost any and all memory of our being together, which is really for the best because I can’t let Russ find out about what happened,” Grady revealed in a guilty tone. His eyes fell to the floor and he felt a heaviness in his chest, “If my brother had any idea what I did--well, it would break his heart. He’d be destroyed if he knew what had happened…”

“I don’t understand,” Deana replied watching Grady’s expression shift entirely, “but I thought that…”

“Deana, right now you and Kyle are the only other people who know what happened and as much as I hated to admit to the truth, when you asked me for it, I couldn’t lie to you,” Grady raised his head his green eyes fixed on hers once again, “I’m not going to pretend to be something I’m not and say things that aren’t true because I owe you more than that.”

“Yes, you do,” she nodded wrapping her arms around her body tightly, “and while I like you Grady maybe you and I should just call it quits now considering that…”

“Wait a second,” he blurted out with a stunned expression, “Deana please don’t tell me that you’re breaking up with me because of what happened with Avery…”

“Grady it’s clear that something is still going on there and I don’t want to get caught up in the middle of something where I’m going to end up losing out. I can’t set myself up for that kind of heartbreak. More importantly I can’t get Zane wrapped up in that. He’s already so fond of you and…” she started fighting the tears that threatened at the idea of what she had to do.

“I love him and I love you,” Grady rushed forward reaching out to her before she could walk away and out of his life. “I know that I’m not perfect and yes I’ve made a lot of mistakes--one of the biggest ones in my being with Avery, but I swear to you it’s over. It’s the past and I honestly don’t feel what you think I do about her. She’s my sister-in-law and she loves Russ. I’m happy for them and I want to see them stay happy with one another. They have Erin and…”

“Grady I can’t be the default girl,” she shrugged out of his embrace, “I really thought that I could be casual about things, but now that my son is involved, I just don‘t think it‘s a good idea for us to keep traveling down this road with one another when it‘s clear that neither one of us are really ready for it. I knew that you just lost someone you loved very much and it‘s clear that you‘ve still got some feelings to work through with Avery, so...”

“I don’t want you to walk away from me,” Grady pleaded with her watching her move towards the door, “Deana I’m not in love with Avery. At one point in time I thought that I was, but that was before I met you. I realize that I’m probably not what you had in mind when you first came to Coral Valley, but meeting you and Zane has changed my life in so many ways. When I’m with the both of you I want to be a better man--I want to have another shot at happiness and I know that you’re it for me. I know that we can make this work.”

“Grady I just don’t think that,” Deana prepared to say something more, but her cell phone started to ring. With a long sigh she answered it and turned away from him, “hello.”

Grady watched her retreat thinking about what she was saying to him. While he’d known that there was still something there for Avery, he hadn’t put much thought to it since the day that Russ returned. Yes, he’d felt a great many conflicting emotions about what had happened, but nothing hurt worse than this moment where it felt like he was about to lose the one good thing that had walked into his life since everything had fallen apart months ago.

“I’m sorry,” Deana apologized turning around to face him again, “I forgot to give Zane money for a field trip they are going to today. I have to go run it over to his school and…”

“Deana we need to really talk about this,” Grady tried to appeal to her, “Why don’t I go over there with you? I’m not really doing anything productive here and…”

“No,” she shook her head firmly, “I have to get to work after that and I really don’t think that now is the time for us to start getting into a serious conversation. I don’t want to be upset in front of Zane and…”

“I don’t want you to end things with us. I love having you in my life and…” Grady started hoping to find a way to make her see where his heart really was.

“I have to go,” she cut him off abruptly hoping to avoid anything that would upset either one of them. She gave him one quick look before walking out of his office before he could stop her.

“Deana wait,” he started after her, but she was already gone. Letting out a long sigh, Grady moved back into his office and took a seat on his couch wondering how in the world he kept managing to sabotage each and every thing that ever walked into his life.


“Can you believe the nerve of her?” Sarah questioned in a low, pinched squeal using the paper towels in the ladies room to wipe off her face. She squealed again at her reflection in the mirror, now that her hair was tangled and mussed around her head. She reached for a piece of her hair and pulled out what looked like a piece of chewing gum that someone had discarded in the water fountain. “Who does she think she is?”

“Sarah, you were kind of nasty with her,” Blake couldn’t help but point out, while doing her best to straighten her own hair out. “I understand that you and Heather don’t get along, but you shouldn’t have said what you did about Kipp.”

“Oh like you care about him,” Sarah rolled her eyes, “That little worm tried to cause problems for you and Seth if I do recall.”

“That was a long time ago back when he was working for Cameron and besides,” Blake paused thinking about the way things had changed over the last year, “He’s my cousin now Sarah. He’s my Aunt Zoë’s son and…”

“Blake you and I both know that biology means nothing. My sister is a shining example of that,” Sarah sneered clenching her fists at her sides, “and when Kyle hears about how she attacked me and our baby…”

“Sarah just let it go,” Blake tried to warn her feeling a sigh spill over her own lips, “Heather isn’t worth getting this upset over. If you two hate one another so much the best thing to do is just stay away from one another.”

“She’s not going to let that happen now that she’s become obsessed with making me miserable. She wants to see me lose everything like she has. I know what a bitch she is, but it’s not happening,” Sarah slammed the paper towels she’d been using into the trash can emphatically, “I won’t let her destroy my life.”

“Just keep cool Sarah,” Blake tried to talk her friend down now that they were getting stares from women in the ladies room, “Just let it go.”

“I’m not going to let it go, but right now,” Sarah paused realizing that the best course of action would be to channel her energies elsewhere, “You’re right. I shouldn’t let her win. I won’t let her win--not after everything I’ve done to get where I am today.”

“What do you mean?” Blake couldn’t help but ask puzzled by Sarah’s tone.

“Nothing,” Sarah’s gaze dropped to the ring on her finger, a newfound determination sweeping over her, “Let’s get out of here. I have far too many things to do today to be standing around like a wet poodle. I need to get changed and get fitted for the dress like we planned and…”

“See there’s the spirit,” Blake tossed her own paper towel before following Sarah out of the bathroom. The two of them were in the food court area making their way over towards the exit when Blake felt something from over her shoulder. She stopped to look around the mall, but found nothing.

“What is it?” Sarah questioned sensing her pal’s unrest.

“I just thought that someone was,” she paused shaking her head and shrugging, “I don’t know I felt like someone was watching us.”

“Um Blake we were both in the fountain. We’re soaked. Surely we’ve got some attention,” Sarah scowled wanting to murder Heather all over again for trying to humiliate her.

“I realize that, but,” Blake paused again spotting something out of the corner of her eye. “Over there.”

“Where?” Sarah questioned following Blake’s line of vision to see someone ducking behind the Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream stand.

“Right there!” Blake pointed out with a tiny shiver, “I feel like all day someone has been watching me Sarah and for the longest time I thought that it was just my mind playing tricks on me.”

Sarah spotted the same man she’s noticed nearly knock a woman over in his attempt to get out of their sight, but instead he’d only stumbled further revealing himself to them. At first look Sarah wasn’t sure who he was, but after a moment she realized she knew the face.

“I don’t believe this,” Blake’s jaw dropped upon spotting Zack in front of her. She blinked twice before a small sound rose from behind her lips. “What is he doing here?”

“Spying on you obviously, but that’s going to stop,” Sarah decided having had enough of people bothering them. She marched over to Zack, who was doing his best to get to his feet again. “Just what the hell is your problem?”

“Excuse me?” Zack blinked back at Sarah trying to cover for what he‘d just been caught doing.

“Look buddy while I realize that you don’t get it where Blake is concerned the truth to the matter is she’s not interested, so why don’t you just go home and answer the clue phone since it’s obvious that she doesn’t want you?” Sarah suggested in a harsh, abrasive tone, “I realize that maybe where you’re from it’s okay to stalk, but in the real world it’s not, so back off.”

“Hold up one minute. I wasn’t stalking anyone. I just spotted the two of you a second ago and,” Zack tried to cover surprised by her words.

“Right and I’m the Easter Bunny,” Sarah rolled her eyes at him before wiggling her finger in his face.

“Hey it’s a mall people shop here,” Zack frowned back at her, “I was just getting a few things for my new place and…”

“Yeah whatever. The point is Denial Boy just stay away from Blake. She’s engaged and in love with a man who shows everyone else in this town what a pathetic little boy you are, so quit while you’re ahead. Blake’s never going to give you the time of day so deal with it,” Sarah huffed stomping off to rejoin Blake and leaving a stunned looking Zack behind her.

“What did you just say to him?” Blake couldn’t help but ask surprised at her pal’s boldness in her approach.

“Trust me on this one,” Sarah assured her. “He won’t be a problem anymore and with that thought in mind let’s go get something dry on so that we don’t have to look like drowned rats any more. Deal?”

“Deal,” Blake decided glancing over her shoulder at Zack one last time all the while wondering if he would get a clue from Sarah’s not so subtle verbal attack. She was hoping he’d back off, but given his history she was starting to think that just wasn’t in the program for her at this point in time.


Moving forward toward the doors of Heather’s business, Kyle took in an uneasy breath walking up the stairs once he was in. Sure, every time a person says that it will be easy to face the person you love, but with the anticipation and the worry behind everything--it’s not as easy as it sounds.

“Sometimes, I just wish I could say things right for once,” Kyle muttered to himself walking up the steps slowly before getting upstairs and making his way over toward the right where he knew the front desk was. “Hopefully no one is here yet so I can talk to her.”

Moving toward the front desk he saw that in fact, no one was there, but that’s when he heard some noise toward the room where he had once had the shoot with Heather. Walking in closer to the noise, Kyle noticed Seth packing things up in the corner of the room and he cleared his throat uneasily seeing Seth look back at him.

“Oh hey Kyle,” Seth grabbed his bag zipping it up slowly before picking it up and throwing it over his shoulder. “What’s up man? I didn’t expect to see you here today.”

“Why wouldn’t I be here?” Kyle questioned with a small frown folding his arms out in front of his chest and watching Seth come in closer toward him. Seeing Seth stop and think things over for a moment showed him that Seth was somehow confused with what he was saying. “I mean, I do work here. What’s on the agenda today Seth?”

“Well, we had something on the agenda,” Seth answered truthfully before reaching up to push back his dark hair. Looking back behind him he noticed that there was hardly anyone here, just a few small people that were probably doing some paperwork for the company. “That was until Heather called and cancelled the shoot--she’s not coming in today Kyle.”

“Wait, what?” Kyle snapped feeling his arms fall to his sides and he looked around the room and down at his watch. Not believing what he heard Kyle let out a disgusted sound and rolled his eyes. “You have to be kidding me.”

“Man, I would have figured if she called me,” Seth cleared his throat seeing the way that Kyle was flipping out and it made him realize that something had to be going on between Heather and Kyle. “If she called me I figured she would have called you first since you two have been so close lately.”

“Well obviously not close enough,” Kyle stated in a small scowl moving his hand in over his pocket where he had pushed in the jewelry box which contained what he bought with Ria. “I was hoping to talk to her today and I had something for her. I can’t believe she would just cancel like that. Did she give you a reason as to why?”

“I’m sorry Kyle,” Seth shrugged his shoulders watching the way that Kyle seemed to be upset, sliding his hand in over his forehead letting out a long breath. Moving forward, Seth placed his hand on Kyle’s shoulder, nodding slowly. “I’m sure it was important though if that’s what you were worried about.”

“No, I’m just worried about not seeing her,” Kyle decided clenching his fists at his side before letting out a long breath. Shaking his head slowly he tried to put together as why she would just cancel like that. Most likely because she couldn’t face him today and that was his fault. His fault that he couldn’t play things out better with her and let her know just how much he loved her and how much he cared. “I need to see her. I have to talk to her.”

“Is there anything I can do for you man?” Seth questioned flipping the bag over his other shoulder before taking in a tight breath. Walking over toward the door Seth pointed back seeing Kyle’s hazel eyes glancing back over at him. “I can give you a ride somewhere or something if you would like.”

“No, it’s okay--I drove here,” Kyle answered walking over toward the front desk and stepping in behind it before taking a seat at the computer. Looking up at Seth one last time, Kyle offered up a half smile seeing Seth nod slowly. “Thanks a bunch though Seth, I appreciate that.”

Watching Seth walk out the door, Kyle turned the screen on to the computer to try and look through the files to see if there was something he could read. Maybe Heather had a meeting that she planned and didn’t remember about until today, but as he looked through her planner on the computer, he realized that it was far from the truth.

“She couldn’t face me,” Kyle closed his eyes tightly and took in a deep breath reaching out to turn off the computer before resting his head against the desk. “I did this to her and now she can’t even face me. Great job Kyle.”

Inhaling deeply Kyle felt his pocket start to vibrate as his phone started going off and slowly he leaned back in his chair sliding his hand into his pocket to answer the phone.

“Who is it?” Kyle growled looking at the number on the caller ID and looked it over carefully before realizing that the number belonged to Grady. “Yeah?”

“Hey Kyle,” Grady took in a deep breath moving some papers around slowly before speaking up against in a tight breath. “I don’t know what you are doing right now, but I figured you might want to hear some news.”

“Some news?” Kyle repeated to himself taking in a deep breath before nodding slowly and raising his feet up on the desk before him. “If it’s news, I hope to god that it will be good news. I think that’s the only kind I can handle as of right now.”

“Well, I’m pretty sure this is good,” Grady thought over to himself thinking about what he had learned before speaking up again in a harsh breath. “You see Diego was finally able to get that bail hearing he has been delayed of. Obviously because Cori was Dave’s sister, but I figured I should let you know.”

“Yes, I’m glad that you let me know that,” Kyle whispered setting his feet down and standing up slowly, feeling a smile spread out over his features as he spoke up again. “Thanks a bunch Grady, I appreciate you calling me. I have a few things I know I would like to talk to Diego about.”


“Honey are you okay?” Carly questioned placing her hand on Dave’s shoulder gently.

“No, I wish I was, but I can’t stop thinking about this situation with Cori,” Dave admitted with a heavy sigh. “I mean while I would like to say that this is something that will just go away I know better. I know Cori better than that…”

“Dave, I’m sure that this situation with Diego will pan out in time. I know she’s been through a lot and,” Carly began trying to ease her husband’s mind.

“No, you don’t understand,” Dave paused straining to find the right words to explain to his wife about what was going on. “You see with Cori, she’s always been one to get attached. I don’t know if it’s because our father died when she was so very young or if it was driven from some other compulsion but…”

“But what honey?” Carly touched his shoulder gently, “What’s wrong?”

“She just gets like this,” Dave groaned unable to sit still. He stood up and started to pace around the room nervously. “She just gets this compulsive side to her and before I know it she’s wrapped up in a world of trouble. She’s doing and saying things that she wouldn’t normally do and…”

“Hey, it’s okay,” Carly reached out to him moving in to wrap her arms around him. “What ever is going on with Cori, we can get through this together as a family.”

“I wish you didn’t have to see this though,” Dave explained thinking about his sister once again, “I mean the last time we went through this I thought she’d finally pushed this part of her life behind her yet…”

“Dave hey,” Carly started seeing her husband closing himself off from her. She touched the side of his face urging him to meet her eyes again before she spoke up in a smooth and even tone. “You can tell me. Whatever it is that’s troubling you about Cori, you know that you can share that with me. I’m here to help.”

“I realize that, but I just don’t know how much help we can be with her. You see when she gets her mind fixed on something, she just starts to obsess and,” Dave paused hearing the sound of the doorbell ringing. A relieved breath escaped his lips as he looked towards the sound. “That must be Cori.”

“Why don’t you go answer it?” Carly suggested knowing full well that Dave was eager to speak with his sister.

“Okay,” he nodded stepping away from her and finding himself ready to have a long talk with his sister. While he’d heard what she was saying about Diego, something was making him wonder if she was truly telling the truth about the situation that she was in. While he wanted to trust in her, there were so many things in Cori’s past that caused him to doubt the situation. Knowing in his heart that his sister had a problem, he hoped that today he could find a way to help her heal and put that part of her history behind her. Today we would cover that ground with one another.

Taking in a breath Dave opened up the front door ready to do what was necessary to help his sister out, but much to his surprise and dismay she wasn’t there. Instead he spotted a single, pink suitcase on his front porch. Tipping his head to the side he leaned forward wondering how it got there, but before he could question it further he heard the sound of a car speeding out of his driveway. Looking up he saw a taxi cab peeling down the street away from the house.

“What the…?” Dave began with a confused look ready to investigate further when he noticed his niece Stacy walking up the drive. Standing up taller he moved out onto the porch to greet her.

“Stacy, what are you doing here?” Dave couldn’t help but ask realizing that Stacy must’ve been the owner of the pink suitcase now that she was carrying similar bags in her arms.

“Moving in with you,” Stacy announced shaking her head, to push her long blonde hair away from her eyes. Dave could see that she was dressed all in black wearing a red shade of lipstick that was far too mature for her sixteen years of age, but rather than saying something about what she looked like, he reached for her bag picking it up off of the porch.

“Moving in?” he repeated eyeing her curiously before looking around the yard to see where his sister was. “Where’s your mother? Is she on her way too?”

“Hell no,” Stacy blurted out shaking her head firmly, “To be honest with you Uncle Dave if I never see her again it’ll be too soon. I left her to live her life and I’m living mine. I just hope you’ll let me crash here for a little while before I figure things out.”

“Of course, but…” Dave opened his mouth to say something more, yet he hesitated. Seeing the same stubborn look behind Stacy’s eyes that he saw in Cori time and time again he knew that something big was brewing with his niece. Sighing to himself he moved aside and nodded to inside of his house. “Of course you can stay here, but I want to know what’s going on.”

“I don’t want to talk about it and if you’re going to harass me I’ll find another place to stay,” Stacy paused realizing that maybe she hadn’t come to the right place after all.

“No, you can stay here. I promise I won’t harass you if you come inside,” Dave urged her on again watching Stacy decide to enter his home as he wondered what in the world his sister had done now to have his niece wind up on his doorstep. Seeing Stacy carry her bags into the house caused Dave to realize that maybe just maybe Cori wasn’t the only family disaster in the making!


Opening the door to the gym Rob took in a deep breath thinking about everything that had been taking place in the last few hours making him worry about everything once again. Sure, everything had smoothed out clearly with Lindsay, but she was still on the off even side with him. What Cori had done caused a mistrust between him and his daughter and that wasn’t something he would have liked to remember.

“Everything will settle nicely,” Rob tried to assure himself taking in a sharp breath before shaking his head slowly and looking over the area before him and all the people that were working out. “I just hope Lindsay is truthful when she believes me because if she doesn’t, I don’t want her to think I’m always going to be turning my back on her mother.”

Knowing that his life had always been dedicated to his family and the woman he loved, it was for sure known that he would never hurt his family in any way. Of course he would have known that, but Lindsay was still young and capable of feeling hurt. She might be not old enough to take the subject in, even if she said she believed him--he still felt a little worried about everything.

“I need to talk to Cori,” Rob decided to himself looking around the area before him seeing a lot of women and men, just not seeing Cori yet. There was a hope that maybe she didn’t come to work today, but he knew that he would have to talk to her some day. Whenever that day might have come. Noticing her in the corner of the room Rob let out a long breath before nodding slowly and walking over toward the corner of the room she was in. “I guess this is it.”

Stopping himself before going any further Rob took in a deep breath thinking of what he would say to Cori and if it would come off as being rude or portray him as a jerk. Whatever he had to say, he had to say it now because it would be on his chest forever if he didn’t tell her what was on his mind. His family was the most important thing to him and that was Alicia, Don and Lindsay. There was nothing more important than his family and Cori was like a daughter to him, but obviously her feelings were mixed with other thoughts. Showing him that she felt differently toward him than he hoped.

“I need to tell her that things need to be kept straight,” Rob muttered to himself before moving forward and placing his hand on Cori’s shoulder while she talked to Nate. Seeing her turn around, he saw the smile that developed over her features when he looked out at her. “Can I talk to you alone in my office real quick?”

“Oh yeah sure,” Cori smiled widely seeing him nod and walk over toward his office and Cori took a look back at Nate blowing him a kiss and winking over at him. “I told you nothing would be wrong.”

“Yeah, right,” Nate rolled his eyes looking out at her, knowing that she was going to be hurt after this whether she believed it or not. Watching her walk to Rob’s office and seeing the door shut Nate knew that it was on right now. “You are just going to crash and burn Cori before you ever know what hits you.”


“How are you feeling?” Kipp glanced over at Heather who was playing with the napkin in front of her. It was obvious that something was bugging her considering that he had already finished his food and she ate nothing so far. She also said nothing which was something different for Heather, he always knew her as being a very verbal person whether she was angry or sad. “This isn’t like you to just be quiet the whole time. Want to talk about it?”

“Want to talk about what?” Heather questioned with a small frown shrugging her shoulders not wanting to really talk about anything right now. Seeing the look in Kipp’s dark eyes, she tried to avoid his question reaching out for the fork next to her and started picking at her food with it. “This place has some great food, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah it does, but I don’t know how you would know something like that,” Kipp pointed out moving forward in his chair, looking to the side to see his son sleeping in the chair next to them before looking back toward Heather. “You haven’t eaten a thing while we have been here so how could you possibly know?”

“I’ve eaten something,” she replied with a small shake of her head taking a small bite of her salad before shrugging her shoulders and setting the fork back down next to her. “You don’t know what you are talking about Kipp.”

“Fine,” Kipp reached for a piece of bread from the center of the table and shrugged his shoulders, leaning back in the chair even more before taking in a deep breath. Breaking off a piece he popped the bread in his mouth and looking Heather over carefully. “I know you have something stuck in your mind and sooner or later you will need to talk about it. So until then, I will just sit here and eat more food.”

“Seriously Kipp, you will be eating forever then,” Heather whispered seeing him look over at her with his dark eyes as if he was trying to read something from her. Folding her arms out in front of her chest she took in a deep breath and rolled her eyes after seeing that gaze he continued to give her. “Seriously Kipp, I hate how you and Kellen know me.”

“I wouldn’t be a real friend if I didn’t know you Heather,” he smiled proudly knowing that he was going to be able to get her to open up to him about what was bothering her. “So, what’s up? What’s on your mind beautiful?”

“I don’t know,” Heather took in a deep breath looking up at Kipp with her light green eyes before throwing her hands up in the air not knowing what to say. “I mean--I know what’s on my mind and that’s what is bugging me. That I can’t get him out of my mind.”

“Oh my,” Kipp nodded knowing where this was going and he moved in closer to the table placing his right hand on top of the table getting ready to hear what she wanted to talk about. “This is about Kyle, isn’t it?”

“It seems to always be about Kyle after what he has done to me,” Heather replied taking in a sharp breath thinking about all the things that had been bothering her lately. “He did something to me. Something that makes me always think about him and I can’t stop.”

“Honey, I believe that’s called love,” he pointed out seeing the frown that developed over her features when he mentioned the word, moving forward he placed his hand over hers. “That’s not a bad thing Heather, I don’t understand why this is such a bad thing.”

“It’s a bad thing because before he came to Coral Valley, I was living my life fine without him and then he had to show up again screwing up my whole life,” she closed her eyes shut tightly moving her hand out from underneath Kipp’s, thinking about all the times she dreamt of being with Kyle--all the moments she longed to be with him after seeing him again. “It’s not fair that he thinks he can just walk in here and…,”

“Don’t lie to me Heather,” Kipp snapped seeing the way that she looked up at him with a frown as Kipp looked over at Charles. “I haven’t seen you look at anyone like the way you look at Kyle--not even Brant. You look at Kyle the way I used to wish you would have looked at me. You love him more than any man other than our son. He is your everything, how is that screwing up your life?”

“It’s screwing up my life because I know I can never have him,” she blurted out seeing his eyes looking out at her worriedly as he moved in closer to her. Looking away from Kipp she bit down on her bottom lip trying to get her emotions out of the way. “He’s Sarah’s and he could never be mine, that’s what gets me the most Kipp. I love him so much and yet I can never have him in my life. Sarah is having his baby and they are going to be getting married. There is no more space in Kyle’s life for me. That’s what gets me the most.”

“How do you know that?” Kipp eyed her over slowly seeing her roll her eyes at him before covering them from his sight. “I mean seriously Heather, how do you know he doesn’t love you like you say you love him Heather?”

“Who is he with right now Kipp?” she questioned angrily looking up at him with her fierce green eyes. “I mean honestly, who is he with right now? I’m not the one who is pregnant with his child. I’m not the one he is getting married to on Sunday. Sarah is the one he is going to be with, not me.”

“Heather…,” Kipp was about to say something more before getting cut off when a pair of hands slammed down on the table making him and Heather both jump. Looking up Kipp saw his father before him and he let out a small scowl. “What the hell are you doing Douglas?”

“What is this?” Douglas snapped looking down at Heather who seemed to be a little bit worried as she looked across the table at Kipp who let out a deep sigh and shot out an apologetic look. “What do you think you are doing Heather?”

“Listen,” Heather went to stand up motioning Kipp to get up too so they could leave and not have to deal with Douglas causing them any more trouble. “I don’t want to get into any fights today…,”

“Whatever Heather,” Douglas stepped in closer to Heather seeing her fall back into the chair as she gazed up at him angrily. “Are you trying to kiss up to my son and get his money again?”


“I can’t believe this. I mean where do they get off trying to intimidate me like this by hiring him on when I’m completely capable of running the show?” Chris huffed glaring over at Russ and Kevin now that they talked with one another behind the closed door to Russell’s office. Frowning Chris leaned in closer attempting to decipher what Kevin and Russ were speaking about with one another when Mindy glanced up at him seeing that he looked like he was going to fall over.

“You know I’m sure it’s not that bad,” Mindy suggested watching Chris trip at the sound of her voice. He attempted to recover, but wound up knocking down a pile up of papers in the process. Clearing his throat uneasily he stood up straighter trying to pretend that he was playing things cool, but it was clear that he was far from being cool about the situation.

“Trust me he’s worse than being that bad. That man is a monster and he is no where near being qualified to be working here at the paper,” Chris wrinkled his nose with heavy disapproval. “He wouldn’t know the alphabet if his life depended on it. He doesn’t know his p’s from his q’s and there is no practical purpose in having that muscle work at the newspaper at my side.”

“If Russ hired him, then I’m sure that he’s more than qualified,” Mindy offered up with a bright smile, “Russ is after all the one who runs things around here. He usually does what’s best for the paper since it’s his baby and…”

“Hiring Adonis is not what’s best. That man is far too dense to be working here. He was working persuasion for the mob so I highly doubt that he can be here telling us civilized people how to run this place,” Chris folded his arms in front of his chest while leaning back in an attempt to sit on the edge of the desk. He missed the corner of the desk and wound up falling flat on his butt on the floor.

“Are you alright?” Mindy questioned getting up from her chair and rushing over to him. She saw that he’d taken down half the things on the desk with him in his fall.

“I’d be better if he wasn’t here,” Chris pouted pointing over towards Kevin with a huff. “I mean where do they get off…”

“I’m sorry that it bothers you so much Chris, but Russ is in charge,” Mindy offered up her hand to try to help Chris. “If he thinks having Kevin here is what’s best for the newspaper, then I really can’t argue with him. He’s done great things with the paper and since he owns it I think we should really trust his judgment.”

“What I trust is that Adonis is going to give me nothing but a headache,” Chris scoffed in response seeing Kevin and Russ laughing with one another inside of Russell’s office, “and I don’t like it one bit.”

“I’m sure it won’t be that bad,” Mindy began again hoping to help but Chris’ worries at ease, but before she could get through to him he was off stomping towards his office. She watched him slam his door shut before Mindy looked to Russ and Kevin again with a small shrug.

“Well he might hate it, but I personally don’t see a problem with it,” Mindy noted with a small laugh knowing full well that the addition to Kevin Adonis in the news offices was enough to give her plenty of eye candy for a while even if she already had the perfect boyfriend. Sure, maybe Kevin didn’t seem to fit the part of the newspaper boy, but given that he seemed really friendly and open to what the job had at hand, Mindy was more than willing to see what her new boss had to offer to the table along with everything else.


“Hey handsome,” Angela greeted Brant in the kitchen after finishing getting ready for the day. She spotted him over by the counter working on making them something for lunch after their breakfast has been ignored. She walked over to the countertop reaching for one of the cherry tomatoes in the salad bowl in front of her. She popped it into her mouth before looking up at him, “For a minute there I thought you vanished on me.”

“I figured you could use the time to get ready while I worked on getting some fuel into us,” Brant motioned to the things in front of him. He glanced over at Angela seeing her steal another tomato before smiling up at him approvingly.

“It looks divine,” Angela circled around the counter to wrap her arms around his waist and hug him to her.

“I was thinking the same thing about you. I think that shirt looks better on you than it ever did on me,” Brant noted loving the way his blue button down shirt seemed to hang over her curves, yet offered enough of a shadow to remind him of just what was waiting underneath it.

“I happen to like this a lot,” she motioned tipping up on her toes to steal a kiss from him again, “but not nearly as much as I like you.”

“After this morning there isn’t a doubt in my mind about how much you like me,” Brant teased patting her on the nose before turning his attention to the dinner he’d had on the stove, “I hope you don’t mind Chicken and Pasta.”

“Hmm, you read my mind,” Angela glanced over to the stove where he was finishing with the food in front of him. She pointed to one of the pans, “What’s that?”

“It’s a homemade Alfredo sauce,” he explained curling his arm around her waist and drawing her in to stand in front of him. He handed her the spoon he’d been stirring it with and lifted it to her lips. “You’re going to love it.”

She leaned forward taking the sample he offered her and she nodded approvingly, “Just like everything else you make, it’s incredible.”

“Why thank you,” Brant kept one arm around her waist while stirring the sauce again, “You work wonders on my ego you know.”

“And you mine,” she swiped the spoon from him doing her part in helping him before she looked back over her shoulder, “Mind if I help?”

“By all means,” he nodded resting his chin on her shoulder, “So how was the shower?”

“Lonely,” she confessed with a small smirk, “It wasn’t anything like what I’d experienced this morning.”

“I don’t think there is anything out there that comes remotely close to what we experienced earlier,” he grinned proudly, “You have so many ways to inspire me.”

“All good I hope,” she focused on the pan in front of her again.

“Of course,” he squeezed her in his arms enjoying how at ease they were with one another, “though unfortunately not everyone has our luck.”

“You mean Don?” she questioned looking over her shoulder at him.

He nodded, “It doesn’t sound like things are going well with him and Shannon and all. It’s obviously a worse day for him than we thought. His sister was missing earlier and then…”

“Oh my gosh. Did they find her?” she couldn’t help but ask.

“Yeah, but he wasn’t too happy because Shannon is still upset with him about what happened last night,” Brant sighed heavily thinking about the troubles his friend was getting into.

“I wish she’d just cut him a break there,” Angela groaned inwardly, “Don wasn’t doing anything wrong. He just hurt his back and…”

“Yeah well it doesn’t matter to Shannon. She was already ticked at him for going to have dinner with us in the first place,” Brant stepped aside moving to get some plates for them. “She hates me and as long as Don and I are friends she’s always going to give him hell for that.”

“I don’t understand that,” Angela stirred the sauce again, “I mean why would she care if you two were friends?”

“I think she’s just upset about the way things ended with her and I since that seems to be why she hates me so much,” Brant noted thinking about the animosity Shannon carried for him.

“Why would she care if she’s married to Don? I mean no offense, but just because you used to be sleeping with someone and it didn’t work out doesn’t mean you can’t be friends,” Angela thought aloud finishing up with the stirring. She reached out to turn off the burner and looked to Brant. “I think it’s done.”

“Okay,” he walked over to take it up off of the stove and get everything situated for dinner, “With Shannon, I just don’t think she’s someone who can be civil after a break up.”

“Which means that you broke up with her,” Angela noted watching him finish with their plates and carry them over to the table.

“I did,” he nodded in response curling his finger and motioning for her to follow him over to the table. “Can you bring the salad with you?”

“Of course,” she scooped it up following him along before setting the bowl on the center of the table. He held the chair out for her and she took a seat, “The question is why?”

“Why what?” he couldn’t help but ask.

“Why did you break up with her? Just because the fun had died off or was there someone else?” she glanced over at him trying to read his expression for a long moment.

“Honestly,” he tipped his head up to meet her curious eyes.

“Always,” she nodded in response.

“She and I really didn’t have what you could call a real relationship. We just got together when we were both kind of feeling…energetic if you will…” Brant started to explain to her uneasily.

“Ah, so it was a booty call situation,” Angela noted reaching out to pull another tomato from his salad bowl. “It was fun while it lasted, but then time to move on.”

“You say that like it’s no big deal,” he couldn’t help but wonder aloud, “Like you’re a pro at that kind of thing.”

“Is that a statement or a question,” she countered giving him a strange look.

“You tell me,” he leaned in across the table watching her with a newfound curiosity.

“It’s your ex that is giving your best friend hell, not mine,” she wiggled her brow at him before sticking her tongue out stubbornly. She reached for another tomato from his bowl and deposited it into her mouth.

“Yes, but you were the one who brought up with great ease the familiarity of no strings sex there,” he reminded her reaching out to grab his fork and swirl some pasta onto it before offering her the bite. “So tell me is that from experience?”

“My one experience with no strings sex wound up with me getting pregnant with twins,” she leaned in to accept the bite he offered her. She made a small sound while savoring what he’d offered her. “Oh that’s good.”

“Yeah it is,” he replied feeling a breath of relief at her response.

“Were you expecting another answer?” she asked reaching for the drink she’d had in front of her.

“About what?” he feigned innocence.

“About me? What were you expecting a trail of broken hearts and a lot of men left in the wings after a one night fling?” she questioned glancing over at him again.

“Of course not, but…” he stopped himself feeling suddenly guilty for his earlier days.

“Let me guess you aren’t that innocent. The word one-night stand did factor into your vocabulary more often than not before you met me, right?” she took another bite of her own food this time.

“Well I wouldn’t go that far, but I’m no stranger to the term,” he paused considering how to answer her. “Shannon wasn’t a one-night stand, but if we were smart it should’ve been. She was fun for the moment, but I knew that it wasn’t going to lead to anything substantial. She knew it too and we both kind of agreed to call it quits. I’m just the one who mentioned it first.”

“So why is she so sour about the situation?” she questioned further.

“I ended up getting engaged a little while after she and I called it quits. That relationship didn’t work either, but I don’t think Shannon’s ever fully forgiven me for it. Still that’s no reason to take it out on Don,” he frowned hating to think of his friend having to deal with Shannon’s misplaced anger.

“True,” she sipped her drink again, “but I have to admit I’ve never had to deal with that one before.”

“No?” he glanced over at her once again.

“Nope never. I’ve always remained friends with my ex’s even after a breakup. Other than Cary, I’ve had great relationships with every guy I’ve ever dated. Some of them are still on my calling list and I’ve even stood up in a couple of their weddings,” she explained with a proud smile, “So I think I’ve done well.”

“Cary,” he repeated giving her a look, “your husband?”

“Late husband,” she nodded back at him, “He wasn’t exactly what you could call a congenial person if you will. He was a boxer and a hothead. I thought it was love, but it was lust and it was a mess. We stayed together for a while because I was too stupid to call it quits, but our marriage turned really rocky. I loved him and unfortunately he loved himself too. That doesn’t make for a very balanced relationship.”

“No, I wouldn’t think it did,” Brant listened to her talk about her past while eating lunch.

“To make a long story short we were headed towards a split with one another, but fate had other plans,” she sighed thinking about the past, “the night of his final boxing match, he went missing. A few days later they found pieces of him in the river. Needless to say it wasn’t one of the highlights of my life there.”

“I guess we both had our share of bad relationships that didn’t work especially with marriage,” Brant placed his hand on top of hers, “but I’m glad that you don’t believe that’s going to jinx us for the future.”

“Did I imply that I felt that way?” she questioned turning to face him again.

“Well no, but given that we kind of started off on a different foot there,” he shook his head, “Never mind.”

“No it’s okay,” she leaned in closer to him, “because if I have to clarify how I feel about us, then I suppose I can do that. The truth is that when we met you and I both told ourselves that it was just a fling, but there was something there between us.”

“There sure was,” Brant reached out to touch her arm. His fingers tapered off over the side of her arm until his palm rested on her abdomen, “Something very special.”

“You’re right about that,” she placed her hand on top of his, “and I just hope that we’re really ready for what’s ahead of us because truth be told the idea of being a parent scares the hell out of me.”

“It’s something I’ve waited for my whole life,” Brant confessed with a sheepish expression, “I know that sounds crazy, but I always thought that when I had my own children life would turn around for me. Everything has been so crazy that I was hoping for a chance to start again--for a family that I never had…”

“Me too,” Angela smiled up at him pondering what the future held in store for them, “So what do you think? Are we going to have boys or girls or one of each?”

“I’ll be happy with whatever God brings us considering that I’m certain our children will be the best part of both of us,” Brant leaned forward to kiss her tenderly.

“Me too,” she sighed against his lips, “although I would love to have a son like Matt. He’s such a great kid isn’t he?”

“Of course he is,” Brant boasted back at her, “He is my godson after all.”

“I can see how much he loves you. Both him and Don,” Angela noted thinking about Don again, “You know maybe there’s something we can do to help him. I mean he’s been so great and welcoming with me that I hate to think that I caused him grief with Shannon. Perhaps there is a way that we can make up for what happened last night.”

“I already told you that Shannon was stubborn,” Brant began feeling her place her finger over his lips to silence him.

“She may be stubborn, but I am also very stubborn and when I have something in mind, I don’t stop until I get it,” Angela informed him with a determined smirk, “I think I know a way that we can help Don after all and maybe just maybe everything can work out for everyone at the end of this.”


Russ sat at his desk looking at all of the things that had to be taken care of at the paper. While he’d offered Kevin the position of active Editor in Chief, there was something to be said about being in the old office again. It brought back inspiration and a feeling of home that Russ had missed out on during the time he’d been away from Coral Valley. Now it felt like things were finally falling back into place and it was something that Russ wanted to get used to a little bit longer before walking away from it.

“Well, what do we have here?” a voice prompted him from his thoughts. “It looks like daddy is already ready to bury himself in work.”

Russ looked up to see Avery and Erin in the doorway to his office smiling at him. Standing up from his chair he walked over to join them.

“Well this is a very nice surprise,” Russ noted reaching out to kiss her on the cheek.

“I thought you could use one on your first day back,” Avery explained with a thoughtful expression.

“Having you around is always the best surprise,” Russ reached for the carrier in Avery’s arms and pulled it up to kiss Erin’s tiny head. She gazed up at him with her big eyes, curiosity surrounding her expression , “How was the trip to Uncle Grady’s office?”

“It was good,” Avery replied watching him walk over to the other side of his office with Erin in his arms. He set her carrier down on the desk before looking to Avery again.

“So tell me are you already ready to get back into action yourself?” Russ questioned with a knowing glance.

“I’ll admit there was something to be said about being there today. I found myself wanting to dive into my work, but at the same time Grady got me thinking about how lucky I truly am,” Avery explained walking over to join him at his desk. “I think I’m going to like taking the time to spend with you and Erin over the next few weeks. It’s something we all need.”

“Yes it is,” Russ nodded in agreement curling his finger for her to move in closer to him. “I missed you both so very much.”

“We missed you too,” Avery leaned in to kiss him tenderly, “but rest assured we came with gifts.”

“Gifts?” Russ arched a curious brow seeing her hold up a bag in one hand.

“That’s right. I remember a time not so long ago when you were bound and determined to make me fat with sweets, so now it’s my turn to do the same to you,” she handed him the bag giving him a chance to peruse it’s contents. “I think you’ll find some of our favorites that you were convinced I would need on a daily basis until I saw things your way.”

“Hmm, well if memory serves me correctly it didn’t take long for me to persuade you to listening to me,” he reached inside of the bag pulling out a pastry he knew was one of her favorites.

“These did help,” she laughed lightly reaching out to steal a bite from it when Kevin walked into the room.

“Ah I see someone brought goodies,” Kevin blurted out walking over to join the trio, “and a pretty little princess as well from the looks of things.”

“Hey Kevin,” Avery waved over at him before motioning to the bag, “Care for a pastry?”

“Maybe later,” Kevin circled around to gaze down at Erin, “How’s my little buddy going?”

“She just woke up from her nap not so long ago,” Avery informed him watching Erin wiggle in her carrier, “The new car has worked wonders on her. It’s very calming for her and I think she likes it a lot.”

“As long as her mother feels the same way, then we’re doing great,” Russ wrapped his arm around Avery, “How’s it driving?”

“Really great,” she confessed with a smile, “I never thought I’d be one for the big SUV’s but I like it. It’s a good change.”

“That’s what I’m all about these days--making things pleasant for you,” Russ added glancing over at their daughter who now sprung to life around Kevin.

“That’s right Erin. It’s a very good day now that you’re here,” Kevin reached out to pull her out of her carrier before stopping himself. He eyed Avery for a moment before speaking up again, “You don’t mind if I hold her, do you?”

“She’s going to feel like being held all of the time you’re around if you keep spoiling her,” Avery noted before finally nodding, “She enjoys the attention.”

“And I love giving it,” Kevin pulled Erin into his arms cradling her close to him. “That’s right Erin. I love seeing you. How are you feeling today?”

Erin sounded out and the group let out a laugh.

“So how has your first day been Kevin?” Avery questioned curiously.

“It’s been interesting,” Kevin looked up at Avery before redirecting his focus to the newsroom. “I think Chris is hiding in a corner fearing that I’m going to attack him or something. The last time I saw him he was over by the coffee machine, but when he noticed I was in the room, he ran in the other direction.”

“Serves him right,” Russ let out a small laugh, “He should’ve known not to print something like he did out of spite.”

“Oh come on. You both should cut him a little slack,” Avery blurted out catching the way they turned to her with surprised faces. “Sure, he shouldn’t have said what he did, but he thought he was doing his job.”

“Slandering someone’s name is not a part of the business--at least not here,” Russ reminded her with a small sigh.

“I know, but even so, he thought he was doing the right thing. However misguided and inappropriate that may be, it was what he thought he needed to do,” Avery added further with a shake of her heat, “but you two are enjoying making him paranoid aren’t you?”

“It serves him right. This isn’t the first time that he’s caused problems for people close to me. Why I remember one time when he and Angie were together that…” Kevin stopped himself a blush creeping in over his face, “I mean…”

“Whose Angie?” Avery caught his expression.

“She’s um…” Kevin stammered a bit realizing he’d messed up in bringing up the one subject that he’d promised Russ he would keep to himself.

“She’s someone that Kevin and…” Russ started with a worried expression.

“I was engaged to her once upon a time,” Kevin answered abruptly, “She and I were going to get married, but we called it quits. Chris was someone she dated for a while during one of the times we broke up. He never really liked me when Angie and I got back together, but hey that’s just how it goes sometimes. In the end neither one of us ended up with her, so really there shouldn’t be any bad blood between us.”

“I see,” Avery nodded before noticing that Erin had fallen back to sleep in Kevin’s arms, “I don’t believe this.”

“What?” Russ questioned before watching Avery nod.

“She was just sleeping and now, well I think Kevin just puts her at ease,” Avery confessed leaning into Russ. She felt his arm around her and she placed her hand on his chest before speaking up in a small whisper, “You might be hired if we ever need a babysitter Kevin since she has really taken to you.”

“I’ve taken to her as well,” Kevin confessed tipping his head to look down at Erin, “She’s beautiful.”

“She sure is. Just like her mother,” Russ added with a proud smile.

“Oh I don’t know. I think she’s got a lot of her father in her as well,” Avery tilted her head to gaze up in his green eyes, “I see more of you in her each and every day.”

“I don’t know about that considering that she looks so much like you did when you were younger,” Russ pulled her into his arms, reaching out to touch her cheek gently.

“So tell me when are you two going to make this little one even happier and tie the knot again?” Kevin questioned catching them both off guard. They looked over to him and saw him shrug, “Hey what can I say? I have a nose for the news and I caught the rumors about the way things turned out. The way I see it your divorce should be finalized any day now from Brant and then you two can finally get things back to the way they are.”

“Well we were hoping to get to that soon and…” Russ started to explain surprised by Kevin’s question.

“And as soon as I get those papers filed completely Russ and I are going to run to the chapel and make it official,” Avery turned to look up at him again, “that is if he’s still willing to do that with me.”

“Avery, I would marry you in a heartbeat all over again,” Russ explained squeezing her in his arms. “Though to me we’ve always been married.”

“Me too,” she placed her hand on the center of his chest.

“So then it’s settled,” Kevin decided with a small smirk, “As soon as those papers are finished being filed, you tell me and I’ll arrange to have the wedding of the century put on for the two of you.”

“Kevin, we can’t ask you to…” Avery started a bit surprised by his offer.

“Trust me I plan on being the one to cover the wedding,” Kevin informed her with a small wink, “and besides it wasn’t my idea. It was Erin’s. She told me nothing would make her happier than to have her parents have another wedding so that she can take me as her date.”

“Now that I would believe,” Avery let out a small laugh realizing that right now another wedding would be absolutely everything she and Russ needed. Grady had suggested that she focus on the positive and her and Russ getting married again was positively the best thing for everyone!


Deana stood at the nurse’s station having a free moment after the busy morning she’d put behind her. Closing her eyes she thought back to her visit with Grady and wondered if maybe she’d jumped the gun with him. She’d hated to walk out like she did, but when she’d seen him and Avery she had a million thoughts that overtook her. Sure, maybe it wasn’t his fault that she had a hard time trusting men especially after Zane’s father had proven himself not only useless but a liar, yet she could even admit she’d kind of jumped the gun in ending things.

“But did you really end them?” she felt a voice in the back of her head question as she decided maybe she should call Grady. Perhaps if they took the time to talk to one another they could work things out and…

“And of course as usual here we have Nurse Sherman wasting time when she should be working,” Zack snapped walking up from behind her and surprising her. “I don’t think this hospital pays you to sit idle and do nothing.”

“Look Dr. Vaughn I’m really not in the mood for you to be…” she retorted deciding that today was not going to be the day that she tolerated his rudeness.

“I don’t really care what you are or aren’t in the mood for. The way I see it you should be doing your job not just standing here wasting time,” Zack shook his head at her disapprovingly, “There are people who need you to help them and I would strongly suggest you get to it…”

“Fine,” she started to walk off only to feel him reach out and grab her arm.

“On second thought I’d like to have a word with you in my office,” Zack suggested in a tone that caused her skin to crawl.

“I’d rather not,” Deana mouthed tightly, tilting her head to the side to see the way he was looking at her.

“I know we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot, but I’m sure if you and I can take some time to talk to one another, maybe we can turn that around,” Zack replied reaching out to touch the back of her hair in a far too intimate movement for her liking. She bolted out of his hold on her.

“I really don’t think that you’re going to start getting in my good graces this way,” Deana glared down at his hand before throwing a warning look out at him, “Look Dr. Vaughn let’s not skirt around the issue, you don’t really like me and I don’t really like you, so how about we just agree to disagree on the subject?”

“Better yet, how about you come with me into my office and we bury the hatchet?” his gaze swept over her ravenously.

“On second thought, I can tell you where I’d like to bury the hatchet,” she started to curse at him, but stopped herself when her pager went off alerting her that she was needed elsewhere. “Well I guess that means I’ve got to go.”

Zack watched her go and frowned realizing that he’d dealt with more than one impossible moment for the day.

“Oh you’ll go alright,” he mouthed to himself vowing that one way or another he would deal with Deana. Either she would get along with him or else he would find a way to get her out of his hospital. That much he was sure of.


“So everything’s in order,” Grady informed Diego with a smile, “You’re a free man.”

“Really?” Diego’s eyes widened with the first sense of hopefulness that carried over him. He stood up from the table he’d been seated at and a sense of relief poured over him.

“It’s not forever, but you did make bail and that’s a good start. By the time you have to go back to court I’m sure we can get this whole mess straightened out so that you don’t have to be stuck in this anymore,” Grady explained as Kyle joined the two of them.

“See I told you we’d come through for you man,” Kyle noted seeing the way that Diego’s expression changed when Kyle arrived.

“Look Kyle, about that…” Diego started uneasily, “I realize that I owe you a lot for what you did. I heard that you were the one that pushed for the early bail hearing and…”

“I just phoned in a few favors. I’m just sorry that you were stuck here as long as you were,” Kyle held his hand out to Diego, “but hey for what it’s worth I hope that things work out for you.”

Diego looked down to Kyle’s hand before taking it uneasily, “Thank you Kyle. I know I owe you a lot more than that, but…”

“Hey, just promise me one thing,” Kyle gripped on Diego’s hand harder while they were still shaking. He noticed the worried expression on Diego’s face and he flashed him a small smile.

“What’s that?” Diego questioned worriedly.

“Just promise me that you’ll be there on Sunday when I get married. I know Sarah would never forgive me if we didn’t have you there,” Kyle explained with a wide grin, “It’s something that I wouldn’t want anyone to miss.”

“Um, okay,” Diego replied with a strange look before spotting Barbara out in the lobby. “My ride is here.”

“Okay, well good luck man and don’t forget. It’ll be an early wedding so don’t be late,” Kyle waved watching Diego rush off in a bit of a panic.

Grady stepped in beside Kyle and gave him a curious look, “Okay man are you going to tell me what’s really going on here?”

“All in good time my friend, but how about I buy you a drink?” Kyle suggested turning his attention to his best friend.

“A drink sounds good, though I would highly suggest you don’t take me anywhere that they would be serving alcohol because I don’t know what will happen,” Grady revealed thinking about his last encounter with Deana.

“Why what’s going on?” Kyle asked seeing something was bothering his friend.

“Let’s just say that love isn’t too promising on my end. I think Deana just broke up with me today,” Grady sighed heavily remembering the way she’d walked out on him.

“She what?” Kyle’s eyes widened. “Why?”

“She figured that something went on with Avery and I when she saw Avery and I in my office together. Naturally I wanted to deny it, but I told her the truth. I figured she deserved as much,” Grady sighed heavily, “and while I explained that it was over, she wouldn’t hear it. She was really upset and…”

“And it looks like it’s a case for Kyle Houston to work on,” Kyle patted Grady on the back, “especially now. Don’t worry though we’ll go get that drink. I’ll fill you in on all the details of my plan for Sunday and maybe we’ll be able to help you and your love life out in the process. What do you say?”

“I say lead the way,” Grady decided just wondering what it was that Kyle had up his sleeve.


“You didn’t answer me,” Douglas snapped at Heather seeing the way she tried to avoid eye contact with him at all costs. Moving in closer to her he took in a sharp breath seeing her reaching out to touch Charles. “What is you problem Heather? I mean my son, dumped you once--what makes you think he wants you back?”

“I never thought that Douglas,” Heather replied softly seeing the way that Kipp looked over at her with a worried glance as Douglas glared down at her. “We were just eating and having a nice night--that was until you came over here and had to ruin it like you tend to ruin things for everyone.”

“I ruin things? You’re saying I ruin things?” Douglas sarcastically laughed looking into Heather’s green eyes and he tilted his head down at her knowing that she could go on for hours with fighting with him, but he didn’t care. “You can walk into the room and ruin five people’s lives just by doing that. You know why Heather? Because you are a bitch that cares about no one but yourself.”

“That’s what you think?” Heather muttered nodding slowly before shrugging her shoulders not really knowing how to reply to that as she thought about everything that was going on. “Honestly though, that shows you really don’t know me Douglas.”

“I know you better than you think Heather,” Douglas stated firmly seeing the way that Heather nodded slowly almost being sarcastic with him on how he was doing all of this. She was almost trying to embarrass him and down talk him, make him look like an idiot and he wasn’t going to sit around and listen to it anymore. “Listen you whore…,”

“You stop right there,” Kipp snapped getting up from his seat and moving forward toward his father, pushing into his shoulder so that Douglas would look into his dark and angry eyes. “Heather is the most amazing woman that I have ever met in my life and if you can’t see her for what she truly is--you have to be an idiot. She is a beautiful, smart, and truly amazing woman that doesn’t deserve to be treated like you are treating her.”

“God Heather, I guess I wrong about Kipp,” Douglas took in a deep breath looking between his son and Heather before shaking his head slowly. “He is stupider that I thought he was if he truly likes a slut like you.”

“Douglas, Heather is the most important woman in my life and if you can’t handle it too bad,” Kipp snapped reaching out to grab Heather’s hand as he helped her stand up from the seat she was in and out of the way of Douglas. “This is my life and last time I checked you don’t get to run everything I do. I make my own choices whether you like it or not and if I want to hang out with Heather, it doesn’t matter what the hell you think. She means more to me than you ever will Douglas. Goodbye.”

“She’ll tear you limb from limb Kipp,” Douglas warned his son seeing Heather shoot him a dark glance before shaking her head slowly. “If you are with her that long and you have to get married to her, I won’t stand for it.”

“Well,” Kipp held onto Charles tightly before looking back at Heather. Giving her a small nod he looked back toward his father with a small smile, wrapping his other arm around Heather’s waist. “Good thing you are too late because we already are married dad. So stay out my life.”

Hold on a second,” Heather began in a questionable tone as she thought about everything that was going on and it made her think about just what Kipp had said to Douglas. “Why did you tell him that Kipp? Kellen would kill you if he heard that.”

“No he wouldn’t because I did it for the right reason,” Kipp answered looking back at her with small smile and shrugging his shoulders. “This way he will leave you alone and he might have a heart attack over it. That is only if we are lucky, just don’t worry about it. He won’t bother you again--I promise.”


“Have a seat Cori,” Rob motioned Cori into his office as she hesitated and slowly closed the door behind herself as she walked into his office to see him already sitting at his desk. “We need to have a small chat about a few things that have been happening.”

“Right,” Cori took in a deep breath hesitating to actually go and sit down before listening to what he told her to do and walking over toward the corner of the room to sit down on his black, leather couch. “So, what is it you want to talk about.”

“Listen Cori, you were like a daughter to me and I really wanted to talk to you about what went on with us,” Rob tried to explain how he was feeling seeing the way her dark eyes stared into his. “I’ve got to tell you Cori, whatever you think is going on with us--just isn’t really happening.”

“I know what you mean Rob,” Cori took in a sharp breath trying to think of something to say that would try and make things right between what was going on with them. She couldn’t have him mad at her, that would ruin everything and it would turn out horrible on her end. “And I just want to say…,”

“Just give me a second to talk sweetheart,” Rob spoke up lightly not wanting to forget everything he wanted to say because if it ever came out wrong he might have some problems trying to explain what was going on. “Cori, I want to be your friend and I would love to be a father figure to you, but nothing more than that. That’s all I want to be Cori and if anything more were to occur with you--it wouldn’t be with me because I have a family I love. I’m a married man with children that need me, you need to realize that.”

“Even with that, I need to explain,” Cori tried to speak up normally knowing that if she showed the pain that she was feeling from his words spoken, it would make the subject worse between them. Deep down, she wanted him more than anything, but she couldn’t let him know that after everything that had been taking place. “I guess you could say that I was just a little overwhelmed with everything that was going on in my life and I’m so sorry.”

A long silence broke between the two of them and it made both of them feel uncomfortable around each other because of how she had acted the previous day. It was obvious that she had to say more to get on his good side because it showed he was still uneasy with this silence between them.

“I hate that I could have upset Lindsay in any way because I never planned on having her see that and I just wasn’t thinking,” Cori explained fast seeing the way Rob’s blue eyes looked away from her as he got up and moved over toward the door. “If it was possible I would like to apologize because I feel bad about everything that happened.”

“No Cori, it might be for the best if you just stay away,” Rob shook his head slowly knowing that would make things worse if she even tried because even if she tried to do something like that it wouldn’t help in her case with his wife or with Lindsay. “In fact, I think you should take a few days off to cool down a bit.”

“Fine,” Cori bit down on her bottom lip hating the very thought of even doing something like that because she knew it would kill her inside. “Just call me I guess when you think it’s the right time for me to come back.”

“I will do Cori,” Rob promised opening the door for her and nodding over toward it to motion her to leave right away. “Now I think is the right time for you to leave.”

Nodding slowly Cori walked out of the office and soon as she was out the door closed right away leaving her alone out with all the other people and she turned to see Nate staring out at her.

“Somehow, I think it is time to say,” Nate took in a deep breath seeing how upset she seemed to be as he rested his head back against the wall, “I told you so.”

“Just you watch Nate,” Cori began taking in a deep breath knowing that he would be listening to her and if he heard her, no one would believe anything coming from him. “I will get the revenge I rightfully deserve.”

“Wait, what?” Nate questioned with a small frown as she just walked away and out the front door leaving him full of questions as he stepped forward and took in a deep breath. “Whatever she does, I hope she doesn’t hurt anyone.”


...to be continued...