Episode 349

“Kipp, I’m worried,” Kellen walked out to the bathroom and back into the bedroom throwing himself down on the bed before setting his phone back down on the dresser. “I specifically have told the both of them to call me and nothing. Do you think anything is wrong with them? Maybe they got hurt? I can’t get a hold of Kyle or Heather and that just doesn’t seem right.”

“Kellen relax,” Kipp let out a small laugh looking down at Kellen as he threw the pillow in over his head letting out a long groan. Reaching for his watch Kipp shook his head slowly before throwing Kellen’s shirt over at him. “Maybe they just don’t want you to get a hold of them.”

“Why would they do that?” Kellen muttered pulling the pillow away from his face, his blue eyes staring out at Kipp. Sitting up on the bed Kellen shook his head slowly and ran his fingers through his hair slowly. “I’m Heather Babe’s best friend, she would never do something like that and I just did more than enough to help Kyle with the Sarah situation. I almost died because of that and I think he could at least pick up his phone.”

“Kellen,” Kipp sighed trying to find a nice way to explain things to him before sitting down on the edge of the bed, staring out into Kellen’s blue eyes. “Let’s put it this way, if you and me were in a passionate situation would you want to answer your phone?”

“Kipp,” Kellen threw his hands up in the air before shaking his head slowly and seeing Kipp nod. Thinking it over for a moment Kellen thought about all the things he had done in the past and what kind of personality he had. “No, I would answer the phone.”

“Okay, if you were like Heather with Kyle, would you want to answer the phone?” Kipp asked point blank seeing Kellen bite down on his bottom lip for a moment before shaking his head slowly and Kipp stood up. “That’s what I thought Kel.”

“You can’t blame me for being worried,” Kellen got up from the bed lazily and reached out for his gray tank top pulling it on slowly before stretching out the muscles in his back. “I just get to thinking about the bad things and the good things, but sometimes the bad things scare me.”

“I’m sure they do,” Kipp nodded walking out of the bathroom with his phone in his hand before sliding it back into his pocket. “You really can’t expect Heather to be hurt though because I know Kyle loves her obviously and I’m sure they will be safe. You have nothing to worry about.”

“You know, then my mind gets to thinking,” Kellen followed Kipp into the kitchen seeing him go for the refrigerator and pull out some juice. Moving forward Kellen grabbed the glasses before going over to the table to sit down at one of the chairs and leaning back. “I know he was going to propose to her, but I wonder how he did. If he did it sweet or if he did it sexy or what. I don’t think I read Kyle right because he always seems to change to me. Like he has layers that you can’t see very well. You never know his next move.”

“Well, I guess Kyle is different than the rest of us,” Kipp rested back against the counter seeing Kyle step in toward the opening to the kitchen obviously hearing Kellen talking about him as Heather stepped him in behind him. Reaching to wrap his arm around her Kipp smiled and shrugged his shoulders. “What do we know though?”

“I know that if I was Heather I wouldn’t stay away from him for hours,” Kellen informed Kipp with a small nod seeing him bite down on his bottom lip as Kellen shrugged his shoulders putting his feet up on the table. “Knowing the two I’m assuming they will spend hours together.”

“Don’t fall,” Kyle moved in behind Kellen seeing him jump and the chair fell back to the ground making Kellen spill out with it as Kellen looked up to see Kyle and Heather before him. “You fell, I told you not to.”

“Heather Babes,” Kellen quickly got up off the floor like hitting the ground didn’t even effect him at all as he wrapped his arms around her tightly and held onto her like he would never let go. “Oh my God, let me see the ring. I have to see this honey.”

“Kellen,” Heather laughed lightly looking over at Kyle seeing him rest against the wall on his left elbow before offering up a wide smile as Kellen held her hand up toward the light. “Okay, not so rough big guy.”

“Oh my God,” Kellen gasped looking back at Kyle before giving him a small hit to the center of the chest trying to be playful. Seeing Kyle chewing his gum and slowly look down toward his chest Kellen patted Kyle’s chest lightly before moving back toward Heather. “This is absolutely beautiful.”

“Yep, I don’t think he changed at all,” Kyle wrapped his arm around Kellen seeing Kellen’s blue eyes look into his as Kyle shook his head slowly. Biting down on his bottom lip he stared out at Heather, patting Kellen on the shoulder gently. “You’re best friend is just as nosey as he used to be if not more.”


Trisha knocked on Mindy’s bedroom door before opting to just pop her head inside to discover her friend laying face down on top of her pillows. Unable to refrain from the enthusiasm that carried over her, Trisha leapt across the room to land on the far edge of Mindy’s bed nearly knocking down half the pillows in the process. Much to her dismay however, Mindy did not make a move.

“Wow, he really must’ve rocked your world last night,” Trisha noted thinking about what Chase had told her about Hunt and Mindy’s impending proposal. Smiling as Trisha was relieved to discover that Hunt must’ve already left, Trisha reached for Mindy’s hand under the pillow and attempted to wrench it out.

“Go away,” Mindy groaned in a muted tone now that her face was buried in the pillow. She shifted a bit underneath the blankets before taking her hand with her.

“Come on Mindy. I want to see it,” Trisha pleaded reaching out to nudge her friend’s shoulder again, “I want to see the ring. Don’t hold out on me.”

“Go away Trisha,” Mindy muttered with another groan before she felt Trisha pulling at her hand again. Her eyes snapped open and she turned around to see her friend practically on top of her. Frowning Mindy shoved Trisha away and back over to the other side of the bed before she shook her head and yawned. “Trisha what is wrong with you? Can’t you see I’m trying to sleep?”

“I know you’re trying to sleep, but I couldn’t wait to see it. Chase had to go meet with his father for a little while and…” Trisha nodded towards her friend’s arm again, “Quit being a tease and let me see the rock he put on your finger.”

“Rock?” Mindy tipped her head to the side giving Trisha a strange look, “Trisha I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I’m going to give you five minutes until I…”

“I still can’t believe he’s not here. Truth be told I half expected to find him in your room with you naked and spent after a night of intense passion, which you’ll have to tell me all about considering that…” Trisha continued to ramble on waving her hands around in the air.

“Trisha, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but it’s far too early for…” Mindy started again finally realizing that she wasn’t going to be able to sleep in much longer. She sat up and glared at her friend before shaking her head, “You know as much as I like you, you’re a pain in the ass sometimes.”

“Pain in the ass or not I want to see the ring Hunt gave you last night,” Trisha announced impatiently.

“What ring?” Mindy blinked back at her still trying to get back to thinking cohesively now that her dream had been so rudely interrupted.

“Don’t play games with me Mindy. I want to see it,” Trisha announced swatting at her friend once again, “Chase said it was a really nice one, so I want to see if he has good taste because based on what he told me about your ring will indicate what is in store for me in the future. He said it was really nice, so that means if it’s not, well then it shows he has horrible taste, but if he’s right and…well, I mean I’m sure it’s a nice ring but…”

“Trisha you’re not making any sense,” Mindy frowned back at her. “Last night Hunt never came over again. I haven’t seen him and I certainly don’t have a ring from him.”

“Come on quit playing,” Trisha shook her head at her only to discover Mindy holding up her hand to reveal her finger was bare.

“You’ve been greatly misinformed because I never heard from Hunt last night,” Mindy paused thinking about her boyfriend. “It was strange because I could’ve sworn that he said he would be back, yet…”

“I don’t believe this,” Trisha reached out to inspect Mindy’s hand thoroughly. “You’re really serious about this aren’t you?”

“Of course I’m serious,” Mindy paused before a thought occurred to her. “Wait a minute. You said Hunt showed a ring to Chase?”

Trisha nodded eagerly, “He told Chase all about how he was planning to ask you to marry him and… Oh boy, I probably shouldn’t have told you that right now if you don’t know yet and…”

“Hunt’s going to propose?” Mindy’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped in astonishment.

“I can’t believe you didn’t know. I guess he was going to surprise you, which obviously you are surprised, but you won’t be when he gets here now that I kind of blurted out that…” Trisha stopped herself a frown carrying over her lips, “But you can’t tell him that I told you because I’m sure he wanted it to be special and…”

“Hunt wants to marry me,” Mindy mouthed as the thought carried over her. She closed her eyes for a second thinking about the relationship she and Hunt had with one another and she felt her stomach tied in knots. She closed her eyes for a moment thinking about the way that Hunt had seemed a bit off the night before. He’d said he was fine, but as she thought of his newfound nervousness she couldn’t help but piece it together. “I just can’t believe that…”

“That you found a great guy who is going to make all your dreams come true. Mindy, girl you have no idea how lucky you are,” Trisha reached out to embrace her causing Mindy to think a million and one thoughts about the future now that she knew what Hunt was planning.

“I can’t believe this. I mean to think that he wants to marry me,” Mindy paused a silence carrying over her at the idea of Hunt proposing.

“It’s wonderful,” Trisha beamed with enthusiasm before pulling back and watching Mindy’s face closely, “Isn’t it?”

“Of course it is,” Mindy nodded in response forcing a smile, “Hunt is an amazing man and I love him a lot.”

“Exactly and you two are so cute together,” Trisha continued on before pausing for a long second, “Unless of course you have something that might keep you from believing that.”

“No of course not,” Mindy shook her head before moving to get out of the bed. She crossed over to her dresser and opened up the top drawer to pull out a ponytail tie to put her hair back in. She turned around to face Trisha and smiled once again, “I’m really excited that he wants to marry me.”

“But you’re not nearly as thrilled about the idea of being married unless of course it was Guy proposing instead of Hunt,” Trisha noted eyeing her friend closely, “Mindy please don’t tell me that you’re still holding out hope for something that is never going to happen.”

“Of course I’m not,” Mindy shook her head firmly, “Guy and I are just friends. I don’t love him like that considering that…”

“That you are so full of it. Mindy, girl, why can’t you see that you need to get over Guy? He’s not worth your time or your efforts. Besides what he’s looking for in a relationship you can’t give him,” Trisha wrinkled her nose at the thought, “and besides you really wouldn’t want to either since that would be kind of creepy.”

“Trisha please,” Mindy rolled her eyes at her friend’s reaction. “it’s not like that. Guy is my best friend.”

“And the first guy you slept with. He’s the only guy you’ve never been able to get over and you obsess about him on a daily basis. Admit it right now you would much rather my having come in here and told you that Guy was thinking about proposing to you instead of Hunt. Am I right?” Trisha arched a speculative brow as Mindy turned around to face her again.

Mindy opened her mouth to say something in response to her friend’s accusations, but instead she was met by the sound of her cell phone ringing from the dresser. Without a word she turned around to go retrieve it all the while ignoring what Trisha had said.

“Saved by the bell huh?” Trisha noted folding her arms in front of her chest, “Maybe it’s Hunt wanting to see you.”

“Trisha be quiet,” Mindy warned reaching for her phone and answering it, “Hello.”

“Mindy hey it’s Jennifer,” the woman on the other end of the line explained as Mindy sat back down on her bed. “I don’t mean to call you like this, but I thought you should know what happened last night.”

“What do you mean?” Mindy paused a thought occurring to her. “Please don’t tell me that Chris is giving someone else my place on that story I pitched to him. If he’s going to do that, then…”

“It’s not about the story Mindy, but rather it’s about Hunt,” Jennifer explained after a moment of hesitation.

“Hunt?” Mindy frowned at the mention of the man she was dating. “What about him?”

“I wasn’t sure if you knew or not, but…” Jennifer paused again, “Mindy have you seen the television this morning?”

“No I was sleeping until I was rudely awakened,” Mindy glared over at Trisha for a brief moment, “Why?”

“Because it’s been all over the news honey. Mindy, Hunt was in an accident last night and the press is right on top of this one,” Jennifer continued to explain to her.

“An accident,” Mindy felt worry eat at her stomach, “What kind of accident?”

“Mindy, I don’t know if I should do this over the phone. I mean he was taken to the hospital and…” Jennifer trailed off causing Mindy’s worries to mount. She remembered that Hunt hadn’t come over the previous night. Then when she thought of what Trisha had told her about Hunt wanting to propose her worries started to expand.

“Jennifer what is going on? What’s happening with Hunt?” Mindy questioned fearing that there was something far worse going on than she wanted to know about. Suddenly all of her apprehensions about what it would be like to consider marriage were replaced with a worry for the man that she loved. Something by the tone in her friend’s voice had her believing that something was about to be horribly wrong.


“Jason,” Deana ran into the room that they told her Jason would be in, looking around she didn’t see a sign of him as she spun on her heel to try and see where he went. “Jason, come on where are you?”

“I’m right here,” Jason walked out of the bathroom after he pushed himself up off the ground. Walking over toward her he looked down to his shirt seeing the blood that covered himself and the dry blood that was all up his arms and hands. A small gasp escaped his lips as he felt her arms wrap around him tightly and he closed his eyes feeling the warmth of her arms around him. “I’m not the one that’s gone.”

“You scared me so much Jason,” Deana held onto him tightly turning her head a small amount to press a small kiss against his cheek. Feeling his chin rest against her shoulder she caressed his back gently. “I thought you were hurt. I would die without you, I would be absolutely lost.”

“I’m sorry,” Jason wrapped his arms around her tighter before closing his eyes, his memory still flashing back to the event. The robbery that took place in front of him hours earlier. “I just--I can’t believe this happened and you have no idea.”

“We have to get you cleaned up,” a woman walked into the room seeing Jason let go of Deana slowly before nodding and moving over toward her. His shirt still covered in blood as he reached for the bottom of it and she handed him scrubs after he pulled it off. “If you need anything…,”

“I’m fine,” Jason walked into the bathroom closing the door behind him slowly before pulling off his clothes and putting on the scrubs. Closing his eyes he could still imagine the scene, what everything looked like. It was like one of those movies came to life right in front of him. “I’m not fine.”

Moving over toward the sink he started to wash off his arms and hands seeing the red water running down the sink and he closed his eyes tightly hating to have this feeling growing inside of him knowing this really happened.

“You just have to hold on,” Jason tried to beg seeing Hunt’s eyes glaze over with something and Jason pressed his hand in harder against Hunt’s wound hoping to stop the bleeding some. “They are almost here buddy, you have to hold on. You have to stay here for that girl. Just come on, stay with me man.”

Letting out a long breath Jason shook his head slowly knowing that the one moment in time he would have never expected to happen in his life, he would never ever forget. It’s something that people see in the movies for fun and actually to think horror movies were his favorite. This wasn’t some kind of movie though, three people died in front of him today and it wasn’t fake. The people that were gone were really gone and there was no end of the movie with credits where they would all say they were okay. It wasn’t going to happen and he had to live with that rest of his life. Remembering the faces of the people he tried to save and of the man he stopped before he could get killed.

“I should feel a bit happy,” Jason tried to tell himself feeling a lump growing in the back of his throat. This wasn’t something he should take so hard, right? “I mean I came out alive.”

Looking at himself in the mirror he could still imagine the look on Hunt’s face as he laid there dying in his arms. That’s not something to ever be happy about this was real and the memory would never leave his mind. Things were supposed to be looking up for this guy that Jason had met, he had a loved one he had people in his life. This was so wrong.

“I could have saved them,” Jason cussed at himself sliding down to the floor after turning the water off. Running his hands through his short hair, he closed his eyes trying to fight the thought away. “If I wouldn’t have screwed around and let Hunt have the ice-cream he could have been out of there. He could have been with the woman he loved, but since he was having a bad day and fought over it Hunt was hurt. “This is all my fault.”

Wiping at his eyes with the back of his hand he felt a pain in his chest building up that would absolutely not go away after what happened. Hearing a knock on the door he cleared his throat and stood up from the floor.

“Yes?” he tried to speak clearly hearing the raspy sound behind his voice as he spoke up. Reaching open to pull open the door a little he saw Deana before him. “I’ll be right out, okay?”

Closing the door he quickly changed and grabbed a hold of his old clothes, holding it in his hands one last time before shaking his head slowly and walking for the bathroom door.

“Just put them in here,” the woman ordered opening up a bag and seeing Jason drop them in as the woman took a look at Jason seeing the way his cheeks were flushed over with red. “You did a good thing kiddo, don’t think that you didn’t. Try and get some rest, some people will be here to talk to you in a little bit.”

“Okay,” Jason nodded not quite sure what to say as he pinched the bridge of his nose and walked over to the hospital bed in the corner of the room to lie down. Hearing the door close he felt Deana move in next to him and place her hand over his. “This was wrong Deana.”

“Sometimes things like this happen,” she tried to explain seeing the way that Jason’s blue eyes opened and he glanced over at her. His fingers tightening over hers as he bit down on his bottom lip. “I’m just thankful that you’re still alive Jason, I don’t know what I would have done without you my brother. You’re my best friend whether you believe it or not.”

“I would be nothing without you too Deana,” Jason sat up enough to wrap his arms around his sister’s waist and let out a long breath as she hugged him. Feeling her holding onto him tightly he moved back a bit. “But somewhere out there the people I was with had families too and people that they loved. How come I was the only lucky one?”

“You were brave Jason,” she tried to assure him pressing her hand in against the side of his neck as he looked up at her. “I’m just thankful that you are here, but you did try everything you could. You did nothing wrong.”


A small yawn escaped Kevin’s lips as he turned over on the couch he had slept on last night when Avery had offered it up to him and he took the offer. Upon hearing a sound he got up off the couch quickly walking into Erin’s room hearing her cries fill the air.

“Hey little girl it’s okay,” Kevin hushed reaching out to pick her up carefully and pull her in close to him, rocking back and forth slowly trying to get her to calm down. Hearing her cries start to die down he pressed his hand in against her back caressing it gently, feeling her little fingers curl in against his skin. “It’s okay, I’m here. Poor baby.”

Walking over toward the chair he took a seat holding her in his arms carefully seeing the way her big green eyes stared up at him and he felt her fingers curl around his finger. Bending down a bit he pressed a small kiss against her forehead hearing her giggle as a smile spread out over his tired features.

“You just wanted to get out of that thing didn’t you?” Kevin asked with a small smile offering up a goofy face only to hear her laugh in response. Pulling her in closer for a small squeeze he winked down at her before feeling her reaching out to him again. “Lets give your mommy some time to sleep. I bet you’re hungry, lets go find you something to eat.”

Picking her up and holding onto her tightly he felt her little chin rest against his shoulder and he walked toward the door only to hear her let out a little squeal as if she was pointing to something. Moving back he looked to what she was reaching out for and walked over toward her crib.

“Oh, I’m sorry we can’t forget Mr. Bunny,” he reached down to pick up her bunny stuffed animal he had gotten her and a smile spread out over his lips actually proud that she loved it so much. “I think he can join us in making your mommy some breakfast because she has had a hard day.”

Seeing Erin smile back at him in response, he walked back into the living room for a moment to grab his black t-shirt with his free hand before walking into the kitchen and putting Erin in her high chair. Moving over toward the cupboards he pulled out the grill he had seen the other night when he had been playing with Rusty.

“You think your mommy likes pancakes?” Kevin questioned setting the grill down and throwing his shirt in over the side of the chair in the corner. Seeing her smile he let out another laugh not believing how happy she seemed to be this morning. Walking over toward the cupboard he pulled out a few more things before grabbing a big bowl. Setting them down on the table for a moment Kevin, bent down a bit to look at Erin. “Can you say mommy?”

Feeling her reach out to grab his nose he let out another small laugh and leaning forward to press another small kiss against her forehead. If he did ever have a child he wished it would be like her, she was perfect in every way possible.

“Can you say mommy?” Kevin asked again before hearing Erin laugh and shake her head, covering her eyes and he chuckled reaching for the contents on the table pouring them quickly together in the bowl before starting to stir them together. “You want to help me?”

Letting Erin grab a hold of the spoon after she had reached out to him a few times, he felt the contents that were on the spoon fly and hit him in the face as a deep laugh escaped his lips.

“Somehow, I don’t think your mommy would like to have breakfast on me,” Kevin pointed out hearing her let out a small laugh as he softly took back the spoon and stirred everything up before walking over toward the grill setting everything up. While waiting he stared out at Erin seeing her play with her rabbit chewing on it’s ears as he walked over toward the radio. “I think we could use a little music.”

Turning it to a channel with jazz on it Kevin shrugged his shoulders knowing that he wasn't the biggest of jazz music lovers, but he didn’t mind the genre. Moving back toward the grill he checked to see how the food was doing before hearing Erin squeal out again.

“What is it little girl? You want to dance with me?” Kevin questioned with a wide smile seeing her reach out to him as he picked her up in his arms holding her close. Humming the music and feeling her rest her head against his chest as he slowly moved to the music with her in his arms. Seeing her head look up at him he felt her tiny hands reach out to grab at his cheeks and he smiled holding her closer to him. “What is it? Do I look like an old man with this flour in my hair?”

Hearing Erin let out another small laugh he reached up with his free hand to tap her nose gently, his nose wrinkling as he rested his forehead against hers softly. Feeling her give him a small kiss Kevin pulled back staring out at her before smiling.

“You better be careful little one because I’m falling in love with you more by the second,” Kevin smirked lifting her up and gently blowing on her stomach hearing her laugh increase as she tugged at his hair gently. Doing it over and over again he heard her laughing out with delight before he slowly put her back into her high chair. “You want to see something funny? I bet I can make you laugh.”

Walking over toward the radio he turned it to a more upbeat channel before moving in front of her seeing the way she stared out at him as if wondering what he was going to do as he started to dance like what he felt was an idiot, but hearing her laughs fill the air he continued loving the sound of her laughing.

“You think that’s funny?” Kevin started to spin on his heels over and over again before hearing another laugh from the corner and he tripped knocking the flour over on top of his black t-shirt. Looking back he saw Avery standing in the doorway and he cleared his throat uneasily before reaching for his shirt. “How long have you been there?”

“Long enough to see that my daughter loves you,” Avery informed him walking over to Erin and pressing a small kiss against her forehead as she went back to playing with her rabbit. Looking up Avery saw Kevin dusting off his shirt before pulling it on quickly. “Russ was teaching her the whole kissing thing. He thought it was cute.”

“It’s more than cute,” Kevin replied smiling down at Erin before walking back over toward the grill flipping the pancakes and looking back at Erin. “We were making pancakes for breakfast and I guess I took it a little overboard.”

“She loved it,” she nodded with a small smile before stepping in next to him seeing what he was cooking when he reached for the plate and put the done pancakes on top of it. “Though I do have to tell you that she can’t have pancakes.”

“I know that,” Kevin’s nose wrinkled in response and a small chuckle escaped his lips seeing her stare up at him with her dark eyes. “We were making breakfast for the greatest mommy in the whole wide world. Isn’t that right Erin?”

“Thank you,” Avery laughed herself when she heard Erin squeal out in response as if she was answering Kevin and she saw him nod reaching for the bowl again to make some more. “Seriously Kevin, I want to thank you for being here with us. It means a lot to me.”

“You shouldn’t be thanking me,” Kevin frowned seeing Avery look out at him and he shrugged his shoulders thinking about last night and how much it still hurt to think about what happened. “I had no place to go and here you gave me a place to be. I had no one and the two of you have been great to me. I think you’re the one I need to thank.”

“Well lets just say I hate to see a person hurt and you’re a great guy,” Avery replied seeing Kevin set the bowl down before resting back against the counter and she saw the look behind his eyes showing that he was still upset. Moving forward to give him a small hug she felt his arms wrap around her hesitantly. “She’ll come back to you Kevin, trust me.”

“I thought so too, but if she wanted me she would have stayed and not left,” Kevin gulped down letting go of her long enough before pulling back and seeing her looking up at him. Realizing that he still might have had flour in his hair he brushed it out slowly before going back to the pancakes. “Anyways, what about you? Russ is still here and you two still can very much make up.”

“Whatever you say,” she saw him give her a small glance and frown before finishing up with the food and reaching out to pull out the plug. Seeing him motion her to sit down at the table she looked to see him pushing through a few things to find something in the refrigerator. “It’s just hard you know, I just don’t know.”

“Well I do know,” Kevin informed her coming back with the strawberry syrup and the chocolate seeing her look up at him as he set it down. Moving over toward the cabinet he pulled out some of the baby food and grabbed one of Erin’s spoons before coming back to the table. “When I look at you and Russ--I see a couple that’s meant to be. A couple that I wish I could model my relationship after, you two are amazing. When you just watch the two of you together, it’s something you’ve got in your eyes. I can tell when people have this passion--this romance that no one can top and I see it in the two of you.”

“Right,” Avery half laughed seeing Kevin pull the chair in front of Erin and take a seat unscrewing the top of it. Moving forward to feed her, Erin turned away and Kevin let out a small sigh. “She doesn’t like to do this a lot. She’s kind of fussy when it gets down to it, but she loves when people try.”

“Come on Erin, this is good for you,” Kevin did the sound of an airplane and moved it toward her mouth seeing her shake her head again. Looking down toward the food he wrinkled his nose knowing that if he was younger and everything looked like this, he wouldn’t have wanted it either. “What do I do?”

“Maybe you should try it, she might do it after you do,” she muttered seeing his brown eyes meet hers for a moment before he nodded and looked out at Erin. Seeing Kevin eye it over for a moment before taking a small amount of it, trying not to act grossed out as he swallowed it down roughly offering up a wide smile at the end. The sound of Erin giggling filled the room as Avery let out a small laugh of her own. “He is funny Erin, isn’t he?”

“Now come on little girl, let’s try again,” he tried to get her to do it again only to see her shake her head again and he put the spoon back into the container before thinking it over. Lifting it up to her lips again Kevin offered up a wide smile. “Please Erin, for Uncle Kevin?”

“It’s not going to work,” Avery chuckled seeing Erin stare out at him for a moment before opening her mouth and accepting the food he was giving her. “I can’t believe you got her to do that. She hardly ever does that.”

“Good girl,” Kevin chuckled giving Avery a small glance before moving back to continue to feed Erin until the small container was gone. Standing up he bent down and pressed a small kiss against Erin’s head before going to throw the container away. “You did so good baby girl.”

“I still can’t believe you did that,” she shook her head slowly before reaching out to grab her fork after Kevin sat down across from her at the table reaching for the strawberry syrup. Seeing him pour it on she let out another laugh seeing his eyes meet hers. “You got enough pancakes for that syrup?”

“I like the syrup,” he smirked shrugging his shoulders and setting it back down before taking a bite of his food seeing her do the same. “So, what’s the verdict? Am I okay for my first try with this family.”

“Oh yeah,” she nodded noticing that she was more partial to the chocolate chip pancakes, but Kevin’s normal ones seemed to be pretty good too. “So you’re a writer and a cook. Why wouldn’t Ria want to be with you?”

“Well,” Kevin looked down toward the plate before pushing at the pieces of his food between them. Thinking things over for a moment he cleared his throat before shaking his head slowly. “I’m really not that great of a guy. I’m not good enough for her and she deserves someone better.”

“Kevin, I’ve never seen a guy cry like you did,” Avery informed him seeing the way he didn’t dare look at her as if he was embarrassed about that. “Don't be embarrassed, I think it’s hot when a guy shows his emotions. That’s something you hardly see and Ria should see it because that proves you love her. I think you're good enough for her, so why don’t you?”

“That’s a good question, I could answer that if you answered mine though,” Kevin took another bite of his food seeing her do the same before he cleared his throat trying to think of how to word the question right. “Why aren’t you willing to try and set things right when you know that Russ is everything you want and need? I can tell Russ is amazing, so what’s holding you back? I know what it’s like to have your heart broken and I would hate being on that side.”

“Then you would understand how I’m feeling,” Avery blurted out seeing his eyebrows arch up as if he was interested in what she was going to say. Setting her fork down she watched him lean back enough in his chair to give her his full attention. “He just hurt me Kevin and I--I don’t know.”

“I know he hurt you, but don’t you think he is hurting right now too?” he pointed out seeing her eyes look down as he tried to talk some sense into her hoping that maybe he could help a relationship considering his was ruined. “You just have to open your eyes and see how great the thing you have before you is. Once you do that Avery, everything will get better. Don’t let something like Angela get in the way when I know Russ loves you and only you. It’s something you can see Avery, I’m just trying to say don’t let love go. Not now, not after what you two have fought for. You belong together.”


Russ looked around his old bedroom putting together his plans for the day ahead of him. Reaching for one of the photo albums he tucked it into the bag he’d prepared last night when he heard a knock at the door. Looking up he saw his mom looking into the room with a worried expression.

“I thought I heard you moving around in here,” she started stepping into the room and joining him. She looked around to see his old things in a state of disarray before her. She couldn’t help but laugh, “It looks like old times here with your room like this.”

“I’ll clean it up before I leave,” Russ promised reaching for another photo album, “I’m sorry for the mess.”

“Don’t be sorry. It’s nice to have you around again,” Cheryl admitted with a warm, welcoming expression. “Of course I would have hoped it was under better circumstances.”

“You and me both, but Grady said something to me last night that got me thinking,” Russ replied turning around to face his mother. “He told me that I never, ever would’ve thrown in the towel on love like I was doing and he’s right. I’m in no position to give up on Avery and I together especially considering that we have more to lose now than we ever did.”

“I know and I’m sure that once you go back over there you two can talk and work it out,” Cheryl offered up thinking about all her son had been through. “True love finds a way of working itself out even in the darkest of times.”

“Kind of like you and dad when he found out that you were having me,” Russ countered facing his mother fully with a tension sweeping in over his features. He stepped back retreating with his words, “I’m sorry that was out of line.”

“No,” she shook her head firmly taking in a small breath before speaking up again, “You had every right to say something like that and yes it’s true your father and I had difficult times with one another, but we pulled through it and did what was best for everyone.”

“Is that right,” Russ questioned taking a seat on the bed once again. His thoughts were clouded by Avery and her anger, yet as he looked to his mother he felt so many unanswered questioned running through his mind.

“It’s not like I planned on what happened,” Cheryl revealed as if she could read his thoughts. “It was a difficult time for your father and I and…”

“And what?” Russ arched a curious brow, his words coming out more bitter than anticipated, “You figured that rather than work things out, you’d seek comfort in someone else’s arms?”

Cheryl winced for a moment, “I deserve that too,” she paused a new expression creeping in over her. “I owe you the truth and…”

“And I don’t know if now is the time for you to give it,” Russ replied with a small frown, “especially considering that I need to focus on fixing things with my wife--or rather the woman who should’ve been my wife before my biological father thought it best to try to have me killed.”

“Russ you have to understand,” Cheryl pleaded with him making a small step forward. “When I was with Nicholas he wasn’t…”

“Don’t even think about defending him,” Russ warned sharply rising up to his feet again, “because right now that’s the last thing I want to think about. I mean I’ve thought about this a million times in my mind--about what it must’ve been like for dad to look at me day in and day out seeing the results of your time with Nicholas.”

“Elliot never saw anything other than his son. You’ve been his from day one,” Cheryl reminded him with a small sigh, “He never would’ve thought of it any other way and neither would I.”

“But that wasn’t real,” Russ slumped his shoulders feeling a sinking sensation in the pit of his stomach, “I’m just the product of something that was never meant to be.”

“No,” she argued with him reaching out to touch the side of his face, “Russ I know that I made a mistake sleeping with him, but I can’t regret it because I don’t regret you. I have never, ever regretted you for a second.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he shrugged out of her reach turning away before he found himself caught up in the moment of something he’d just as soon forget.

“Russell, I know that it hurts you to think about what happened, but I have loved you with all that I am from day one,” she paused trying to find a way to reach out to him. “Your father has loved you too--he’s been there for you from the start and…”

“And yet it was something that I’m sure caused you both to have stress in the past. Your relationship was put to the test because of me and I’m sure when I was dead it was easier, right? Then you wouldn’t have to face what was right there in front of you day in and day out. Everyone would’ve been much better off without me, right?” Russ snapped at her feeling the venom in his words surprising himself along with her. “I mean if you think about it everyone’s life has gone on, but I’m still in limbo. I’m here not knowing what to do or say anymore. I lost absolutely everything I thought was real in my life and now, well I don’t know if I’ll ever get it back.”

“Russ, you’ve always had us,” Cheryl saw the hurt behind his eyes, “and if I could’ve warned you about Nicholas before now I would have.”

“Would you?” he arched a curious brow, “Would you have ever said anything if he hadn’t tried to murder me? I mean would you have ever thought that it should be something I should know or would we all just live this lie that this family has carried with it? Then again I see why I felt the need to deceive Avery about what I had done because deception is in my blood clearly on both ends of the genetic spectrum.”

“Russ,” she reached for his arm knowing that there was anger burning inside of him that he wasn’t ready to let go of just yet. There were still so many things left unsaid and yet…

“I have to go home,” Russ pulled away from her stiffening at her touch, “I have to go find Avery and talk to her before it’s too late. Unlike the mistakes my parents have made, I’m not going to keep lying about what I’ve done and hopefully after the shock wears down she can forgive me in ways that I’m still not ready to forgive the world around me yet.”

“Russ,” Cheryl reached out to touch his arm once again feeling him pull away.

“I have to go. I’ve already been away from Avery and Erin far too long already,” he mouthed walking out the door determined to find a way to pull together his life again somehow after everything seemed to have fallen to pieces.


Shannon took in a long, slow breath thinking about how hard it would be in coming home after her last confrontation with Don. While she’d tried to get her thoughts together enough to pull together some kind of rational, adult conversation it seemed that nothing short of an apology felt right after her drunken haze. Of course right now even an apology didn’t seem like enough given the way she’d obviously hurt Don. Still she was going to try to find a way to make things work somehow--if for no other reason than her own peace of mind.

Pushing her key in the lock, Shannon entered the foyer listening to hear if Matt was awake and if he and Don were in the kitchen putting together some silly morning breakfast like they often did. However, instead of the usual laughter she’d remembered so well in their home, she was filled with silence. Perhaps it was what she deserved given the emptiness that filled her at the thought of how she’d hurt her husband. She’d said so many horrible things--did so many unforgivable things that…

She stopped when she noticed a bare arm draped over the back of the couch. Recognizing the watch on the hair dusted muscled arm before her, she felt her heart flutter in her chest knowing that it was Don. She stood still for a long moment listening to see if he would react to her presence, but there was nothing. He had to be sleeping, she realized watching the arm flop down onto the couch again. Smiling inwardly she wondered if he too had been haunted by the thought of their being apart.

Could he have slept on the couch because being in their bedroom without her was too painful to deal with? Was he missing her like she was missing him? All these questions and more filled her head making her want to talk with him all the more. Feeling her heart swell with that love she’d avoided for so very long, she circled around the couch to take a look at him when she found the last thing that she’d expected to see in this lifetime.

“What the…?” her muted words fell to silence as she noticed Don sleeping on the couch with his arm draped around Brant’s waist. The two men were snuggled into one another on the couch and immediately warning bells went off in Shannon’s head. Her eyes widened in shock as Don nestled his chin on Brant’s shoulder and hugged him closer right before her. She blinked a couple of times when she realized that Brant seemed to be quite content beside her husband indicating that clearly the two men had found some kind of comfort in being in one another’s arms. Don made a small sound of contentment and hugged Brant again in such a way that it caused Shannon to squeal with disbelief.

“What the hell is this?” she couldn’t help but ask bluntly knowing full well that her husband was whipped by Brant, but to find them in such a position when…

“Shannon,” Don mumbled her name, a yawn spilling from his lips as opened his blue eyes to see her hovering over him with a glare, “hey.”

Don’s eyes closed again and a second passed by before his eyes snapped open in surprise. He shook his head for a moment before focusing more completely on her fully. “Hey…”

“Hey,” Shannon frowned down at him mocking his tone, “I come home and find you sleeping with Brant and hey is all you’re going to offer me.”

“What?” Don questioned blinking back at her before registering his best friend beside him. His eyes grew as wide as saucers as he pushed Brant away from him and onto the floor with a loud thud. He sprang up from the couch with a small leap, his hands pointing to the fact that he and Brant were still fully clothed. “This is not what you think it is.”

“Not what I think it is?” she repeated loudly causing Brant to open his eyes and find her standing over him.

Brant winced before sitting up and scooting out of the way. “God, talk about a rude awakening. What in the hell are you doing here Shannon?”

“I think I should be asking you that since you were in my husband’s arms,” Shannon snapped down at Brant, her eyes shooting him icy glares, “I mean I knew you were out to steal him from me, but this is a whole new low from you.”

“Oh please,” Don rolled his eyes shaking his head at her in disbelief, “Do you really think that Brant and I would sleep together Shannon?”

“You’d give up everything else for him,” she reminded him pointing on her fingers, “You know your home, your career, your family and your marriage…”

“I think the marriage wouldn’t be giving up much,” Brant quipped under his breath shaking his head at Shannon before sinking into the chair behind where he’d been on the floor, “Besides as irresistible as I am, Don’s not my type.”

“That’s right. I’m not his type and he’s not mine,” Don nodded eagerly in agreement remembering how after the disaster with Nate the two of them had camped out on the couch. Don had turned on a Nightmare on Elm Street marathon and before he knew it, the two of them must’ve drifted off to sleep which explained this awkward, altogether impossible scenario that Shannon had walked in on. Looking between Shannon and Brant Don decided to speak up again, “Come on Shannon. Give me some credit here. I’m not screwing around with Brant.”

“No just the bimbos at the hospital, right?” Shannon shook her head at him, “You know here I came over here to apologize, but as usual there you are being supportive to Brant. I mean I’m not surprised to find him here since you threw me out since that’s been a part of his master plan all along.”

“Don’t flatter yourself Shannon,” Brant rolled his eyes opting to stand up after his legs felt stiff and achy, “You don’t rank that high on my level of concern these days. I could care less what you do.”

“As long as it’s along the lines of me staying away from your best friend, right? Face it you’ve hated the fact that Don and I are together from day one,” Shannon stepped towards Brant ready to launch a verbal and physical attack until Don stepped in between them.

“Yeah, I hate the fact that you treat him like dirt and that you hurt him again and again, though I’m not surprised considering I know first hand how cold and vindictive you can be,” Brant spat back at her with a glare.

“Brant come on,” Don threw out a warning look at his friend, “This isn’t really necessary…”

“And neither is your holding his hand at his every twist and turn Don. You sacrificed your neck for him time and time again and for what reward?” Shannon challenged with a huff, “What has he done for you that has really made a difference in your life? What has he given you lately that has been worth what you’re giving up to accommodate him?”

“Shannon, I told you that Brant is my best friend and…” Don tried to reason with her.

“Yeah your best friend that almost cost you your job and your future. You could have lost your job in trying to help him with that paternity test and then with Matt think about what you could’ve done to him if he had to live through that kind of humiliation of your stupidity. This whole town would know that you’re Brant’s flunky and your son would have to face that stigma his whole life.”

“Oh like you cared about Matt when you were bombed off your ass and attacked Don the other night,” Brant spat out back her, his eyes narrowing in anger, his words dripping with sarcasm, “That’s really a classy move there Shannon.”

“Obviously it didn’t knock any sense into him since he’s still spending his free time with the likes of you,” she snubbed her nose at Brant before focusing on Don once again, “but I guess this is your problem, not mine since you threw me out. I can see you have Brant and all his issues to keep you busy these days.”

“Shannon, come on. It’s not like that. It’s just…” Don stammered trying to find the right thing to say to her, though he knew she was too upset to really listen to him.

“Save it,” she raised her hand in the air pushing it in front of his face, “I only came over for a few of my things and I’ll be gone before you know it. You can go back to kissing Brant’s ass when I’m gone.”

Don watched her spin on her heel and stomp down towards their bedroom area. She opened the door, stepped inside and slammed the door behind her causing the walls to vibrate with the impact it made with the door frame.

“Go talk to her,” Brant urged his friend before taking a seat in the chair again.

“Brant I…” Don began finding himself at a loss. He turned to see Brant bringing his fingers through his dark hair as a sigh swept over him.

“She’s a real ball buster, but you love her, so just do it,” Brant waved his hand in the air dismissively, “Go try to reason with her because I know you want to.”

“I don’t think it’ll make a difference,” Don confessed with a poignant sigh thinking about how angry Shannon was with him.

“That’s what I said about Angela last night, but we made progress before she tossed me out of her window,” Brant pointed out with a firm stare, “Go talk to your wife.”

“Okay,” Don decided turning his attention to his bedroom as he wondered if Shannon would be able to talk reasonable with him. Walking towards the bedroom he wondered if it would be possible for the two of them to ever have a civilized conversation again with her so angry. He reached for the door, turning the knob and finding it opening beneath his touch.

“Leave me alone,” he heard Shannon’s muffled voice rise up from where she stood in the middle of the walk in closet collecting her things.

“No,” Don stated firmly closing the door behind him as he made up his mind on what he needed to do, “Shannon I don’t care how upset you are right now you and I need to talk and neither one of us is leaving this room until we do just that.”


Dave entered his house ready to try to find some sense of clarity after being at the hospital all night and trying to deal with his sister’s latest outburst. Thinking about how Cori shot Diego only had his blood pressure at a boiling point and his concerns to a new level of worry where she was concerned. She’d been known to go off the deep end, but never in a million years did he anticipate her doing something like this. Now that he was home, he was hoping to pull together some kind of damage control to keep everything in her life from falling apart now that she’d shot a man.

“Hey,” Carly’s voice roused Dave from his thoughts. She looked up from where she’d been seated on the couch and noticed his arrival. She saw how tired his eyes were and worry poured out over her, “how is she?”

“I’d be lying if I said that she was doing fine because she’s far from fine,” Dave admitted with a heavy sigh bringing his fingers through his own dark hair, “I mean I know that Cori has had tendencies to get obsessed before, but I never anticipated this happening.”

“I’m sorry that it did. If I had any idea, then…” Carly started seeing Dave shake his head at her suggestion.

“The fact to the matter is that I ignored the warning signs,” Dave walked over to the couch and took a seat beside his wife, “I knew for a long time that Cori was getting in over her head, but I thought that she wouldn’t go off the deep end like this.”

“No one would’ve thought that she’d shoot Diego,” Carly replied worry evident behind her dark eyes. “I knew he’d hurt her but…”

“But I still should’ve picked up on it,” Dave slumped back in the seat he was in and tipped his head to the side to look at her, “She was fixated on a camp councilor in junior high and she spent some time in therapy and then with the incident in college…”

“Dave, this isn’t your fault,” Carly patted his leg gently, “You couldn’t have predicted this.”

“Even so I should have been keeping a better eye on her. Cori needed some guidance and…” Dave refused to cut himself any slack.

“Dave you’ve been a great brother. Don’t stop thinking anything differently because it’s simply not true,” Carly leaned in closer to him laying her head on his shoulder. “You’re a good man and I know you’ll do all that you can for Cori.”

“I just don’t think it’ll be enough,” Dave turned his head to look at her seeing that her dark eyes were filled with exhaustion, “What about you? How was your night?”

“I was up with Stacy,” she confessed with a sigh of her own, “I hate to see her so upset, but she refuses to talk about what’s going on with her and Jewel.”

“Whatever it is I’m sure my sister has no intentions of fixing the situation because knowing Jewel in her mind there isn’t anything wrong,” Dave groaned inwardly knowing full well that his niece and her mother had more than one situation with one another in the past. “Though it’s not like Stacy to just up and leave home to come over here. This time it must be something serious.”

“I’m sure whatever it is they can work it out. I called Jewel last night and left a message since I didn’t actually get her on the phone,” Carly further explained, “Granted I tried to get Stacy to talk, but she wasn’t interested in letting me know anything that was going on.”

“She probably won’t give you any clue about it either if she’s like my sister,” Dave replied thinking about his other sister’s issues over the years, “I swear I’m starting to wonder if there is anything even remotely normal about my family anymore.”

“What’s normal these days?” Carly questioned giving him a long look.

“Trust me you won’t find it in this family,” Dave groaned again closing his eyes and thinking about the fact that both of his sisters appeared to be imbalanced.

“Like my family is any better,” Carly noted snuggling into his shoulder, “between my mother and my brother, well I’m lucky I made it this far.”

“Your mom is okay,” Dave picked his head up before thinking it over, “well she hates me, but still overall I think she’s at least sane.”

“That depends on the moment,” she couldn’t help but laugh as she heard the sound of tiny footsteps approaching from down the hall. “Speaking of family…”

“Daddy!” Kayla’s voice boomed through the living room before she bounced into her father’s lap excitedly throwing her arms around him. “I missed you so much!”

“Hey princess,” Dave kissed the top of her head gently before hugging her tightly, “I missed you too. Have you been being a good girl for your mom?”

Kayla nodded excitedly, “Of course I have. I’ve been very, very, very good. I even got to play with my new cousin. You know Stacy, right?”

“Yes I know Stacy,” Dave couldn’t help but laugh at his daughter’s enthusiasm.

“She’s so cool,” Kayla explained with a small giggle, “We played video games and Barbies and…”

“And it sounds like you had a nice night,” Dave added squeezing his daughter in his arms while listening to her tales of fun and excitement with her cousin. Even though he’d come home feeling like the weight of the world was on his shoulders, he knew in holding his daughter that somehow everything would be alright.


“I honestly don’t know what Sarah was thinking,” Blake admitted sliding into the booth with Seth beside her. “I mean how can she take something that meant so much to her once upon a time and turn it to such a nightmare?”

“I really don’t know,” Seth replied remembering the fall out of Kyle and Sarah’s non-wedding.

“I just thought I knew her--that somehow she was a better person than she turned out to be,” Blake shuddered at the thought, “I mean sure she told me about Diego, but she also told me that she’d stopped seeing him--that it was over and that she was completely dedicated to Kyle after her one mistake.”

“I really don’t know what she was thinking, but Blake sometimes we just have friends and we don’t really know who they are until something like this happens,” Seth paused contemplating his words as he reached for one of the menus in front of him, “though I hope you realize that regardless of what happened with her and Kyle, it doesn’t mean that she’s not a friend to you.”

“She lied to me Seth. I flat out asked her if she was still seeing Diego and it turns out that she not only was still seeing him, but half the world as well,” Blake groaned inwardly reaching for her own menu, “I mean what kind of person is that?”

“Someone who is obviously a bit confused where her priorities are concerned,” Seth noted reaching out across the table to take her hand in his, “but just know that you can still be friends with her if when everything is said and done you still want to be.”

“I know,” Blake sighed heavily shaking her head at the memory of the wedding disaster, “I just feel like I don’t know anyone anymore. You know?”

“I completely understand,” Seth nodded in response, “Everyday we open ourselves up for disappointment in our lives, but it’s up to us to try to take that chance in letting other people in. Sometimes it works out and others it doesn’t, but for those times that it does, well anything can happen.”

“Don’t I know it,” Blake squeezed his hand gently thinking about how fortunate she was to have Seth in her life when she heard a pinched squeal rise above the both of them.

“Blake! Hey girl!” she heard the same sound carry over her as she spotted Becca Button approaching her.

“Oh God, just when I thought we’d have a quiet morning,” Blake muttered under her breath a groan spilling from her lips right before Becca sprung to the edge of their table.

“Hey Blake, how’s it going?” Becca waved emphatically in an attempt to get their attention even though she was standing right in front of them.

“Becca,” Blake plastered a fake smile for her old acquaintance while sitting up straighter in her seat, “what are you doing here?”

“Oh I have a job thing this morning and I’m so excited. It‘s really going to solidify my presence here in town. I‘m already looking for a new condo and,” Becca began to explain to Blake.

“You mean you’re staying in town,” Blake practically choked on the glass of water that the waitress had brought for her and Seth earlier.

“That’s right,” Becca nodded proudly, “Tell me it’s not the most exciting news you have ever heard.”

“Oh no I don’t think I could really say that,” Blake mouthed with a thick air of sarcasm in her tone.

“I’m just beyond thrilled. I’m going to be working for this really high fashion company that is going to let me showcase all of my talents. It’s my big break and I can’t wait to see how it turns out,” Becca continued to ramble on before her eyes returned to Seth, “Oh hey, I’m sorry I didn’t say hello to you earlier Seth. I’m sure you must think that I’m horrible for intruding on your little shopping expedition you must be on with Blake.”

“Shopping expedition?” Seth repeated giving her a strange look.

“Oh well no offense,” Becca leaned forward and patting him on the shoulder, “I mean I know how you gay men love to shop.”

“Do you now?” Seth arched a disapproving brow up at her.

“Oh of course. I watch television,” she nodded standing up taller before turning to Blake, “and I hope you two have fun. It’s just so great that Blake can find herself someone fun to hang out with without having to worry about that whole sex thing since it’s not her style.”

Blake opened her mouth to bitch Becca out, but thought twice of it, “You know Becca Seth and I are just about to leave so…”

“Oh really,” Becca frowned down at her, “I just thought that I saw you come in here a few minutes ago.”

“Nope, we’re really on our way out,” Blake slid out from where she’d been seated at the booth. “You know how we love to shop.”

“Shop, yeah right,” Seth replied feeling Blake yank on his arm and pull him out of the seat as well.

“Oh well maybe next time we can do lunch or something,” Becca offered up with a wide grin.

“Right,” Blake nodded briefly before pulling Seth away from the table, “only in her dreams.”

“You know you could have just told her the truth that I’m not your gay pal, but your man,” Seth whispered glancing over his shoulder to see Becca still staring at them.

“The less she knows about my life the better. She’s nuts,” Blake explained quickly rushing out of the restaurant in the hopes that she never had the misfortune of running into Becca Button again.


“Hey, I’m not nosey,” Kellen tried to step in seeing Kyle walk toward the living room with Heather and Kipp and Kellen followed. “I’m not nosey at all in fact, I just like to hear good news. That’s what makes my day you know.”

“Oh right,” Kyle nodded sitting down on the couch before feeling Heather do the same and he wrapped his arm around her shoulders tightly. Looking up to meet Kellen’s blue eyes he offered up a wide smile seeing Kellen fold his arms out in front of his chest. “So when I tell you that we made a tape last night, you wouldn’t be interested at all right.”

“You guys made a tape?” Kellen gasped looking between Kyle and Heather, seeing Kyle laugh before feeling a small hit to the back of his head and he saw Kipp behind him. “That’s crazy, I can’t believe they would actually do something like that.”

“Kellen, Kyle is being stupid,” Kipp pointed out seeing Kellen’s jaw dropped as he turned to a laughing Kyle while Heather hit him in the center of the chest and he shrugged his shoulders. “He was just trying to make a joke.”

“You don’t joke about something like that, it could effect someone big time Kyle,” Kellen tried to explain going over and sitting next to Heather placing his hand over her leg softly. “With a tape, best friends don’t have to tell their friends details, they can just show and when you tease something like that it gets the adrenaline going.”

“Okay, I’ve had enough,” Kyle cleared his throat standing up from the couch and reaching out to grab a hold of Heather’s hand gently and slowly pulling her up to him. Giving a small smirk he leaned forward pressing a small kiss against her lips seeing the way that Kellen’s jaw dropped. “We’re actually just here to get Charles.”

“Oh great, it’s good you two got here when you did,” Kipp led Heather and Kyle into Charles’s room seeing that Charles was already up and holding onto the side of his crib. “I actually have to go meet up with my new assistant so it was great you got here when you did.”

“Well we couldn’t wait to see the little guy,” Kyle smiled walking over to Charles and reaching out to pull him in close to his chest. Seeing Charles’s brown eyes staring into his Kyle shrugged his shoulders feeling Charles rest his head against his chest. “I guess he never really forgot who held him first.”

“In those arms,” Kellen chuckled taking a seat on the chair on the corner seeing everyone turn to look at him and he shrugged his shoulders. “All I’m trying to say is who wouldn’t?”

“Yeah okay,” Heather pushed away the thought of Kellen’s response for a moment before she walked over to Kipp seeing him gather a few things while Kyle played with Charles. “So, about this new assistant, hope everything goes well for you.”

“Trust me it will,” Kipp looked down at his watch for a moment before letting out a small gasp and handing the bag over to Heather seeing her take a moment to grab the other. “I’ll see all of you later.”

“Bye baby,” Kellen stood up for a moment moving forward and wrapping his arms around Kipp tightly, moving forward to press a small kiss against his lips before watching him walk away. “So you two. I would love to hear everything that happened.”

“I know you would,” Heather let out a small laugh looking over at Kyle as Kyle eyed her over slowly seeing the way that Heather shook her head slowly. “But I’m sorry Kellen, this is just something between Kyle and I.”

“What do you mean?” Kellen eyed them over slowly before seeing Kyle roll his eyes and start walking toward the door. “So you mean something other than him asking you to marry him. So what else happened. Did you two…,”

“Never going to find out Kellen,” Kyle pointed out holding onto Charles as he felt Charles cuddled in closer to him before Kyle pressed a small kiss in over Charles’s head. “We had a night together that you are never going to find out about. I know its going to kill you inside Kellen, but I’m sorry. You are never going to find out because we’re never opening our mouths. Well other than to do this.”

“Kyle,” Heather laughed after feeling him move forward to press a small kiss in over her lips before letting out a long breath looking over to see Kellen’s eyebrows arched up and he let out a long laugh. “We have to get going Kellen.”

“But Heather Babes,” Kellen tried to side with her seeing Heather shrug her shoulders before following Kyle toward the door and Kellen nudged her gently. “Maybe some other time then Heather Babes. I’m happy for you girl I guess that’s all that counts.”

“Thanks Kellen,” Heather wrapped her arms around his neck for a moment before following Kyle toward the door. “You’re my best friend and I would be lost without you. You’re the best, don’t forget that.”


“So can you stay for breakfast or do you have to go back to work?” Kayla questioned with big eyes watching her father intently. “I can make us some cereal and grilled cheese for breakfast if you want.”

“Grilled cheese,” Dave tipped his head to the side giving his daughter a strange look.

She nodded proudly, “Stacy taught me how to make it last night and I want to make some especially just for you. Just for my daddy.”

“Well, I can honestly say I’ve never had that one this early,” Dave laughed lightly before casting a glance over at Carly, “but sure if you want to make it, then I would love to eat it.”

“Great!” Kayla sprung up off of the couch tugging on his hand insistently, “Then let’s go get the stuff together!”

“Okay just give me one second,” Dave laughed lightly looking over his shoulder to see Stacy standing in the hallway. “Hey kiddo, I didn’t see you there.”

“That’s because I just got up,” Stacy explained bringing her fingers through her tousled blonde hair. “I heard Kayla laughing and…”

“You can make grilled cheese with us too!” Kayla squealed excitedly rushing over to grab her cousin’s hand. “You can show daddy what you showed me.”

“Well I…” Stacy looked between her cousin and Dave.

“Come on,” Dave smiled down at his niece knowing that she’d had a bad run of luck lately given that she’d wound up on his doorstep. “You could show an old guy like me a thing or two.”

“You’re not old Uncle Dave,” Stacy threw him out a look, “Okay, so maybe you’re a little old, but it’s cool.”

“I’ll show you cool,” Dave reached out to give her a quick hug. “So tell me what brings you all the way from home here?”

“I’m moving out,” Stacy announced firmly a stubborn look on her face. “I’ve decided I’m old enough to take care of my own and I don’t need to be tossed from hotel to hotel while my mother pimps herself out and my father can’t be bothered.”

“I’m sure that’s not the case,” Dave paused his eyes returning to Kayla once again, “Kayla honey why don’t you go help your mommy get the stuff together in the kitchen and Stacy and I will join you both in a few minutes?”

“Okay,” Kayla nodded quickly before motioning for Carly to follow her. Once the two were in the kitchen Dave turned to Stacy once again.

“I’m not in the mood for a lecture,” Stacy warned seeing Dave open his mouth to speak up to her, “so if that’s what I’m about to get, I’ll just tell you now I’m not interested.”

“I wasn’t going to lecture you Stacy. I was merely trying to figure out what it was that is happening with you and your mom,” Dave explained motioning for her to take a seat on the sofa, “It’s not like you to up and leave home…”

“I’m not running away if that’s what you’re thinking,” she pointed out with wide eyes, “I mean the way I see it people like Lindsay Lohan were on their own a long time before I am so…”

“Lindsay Lohan also has a lot of money working on her side,” Dave pointed out with a frown, “and the last time I checked you weren’t making multimillion dollar movies.”

“Not yet, but I will,” Stacy shrugged her shoulders, “besides my mom has given me enough to get by. She’s never there so she finds ways to make up for being the worst mother ever since she started her quest to be the sexiest chef in America.”

“I’m sure she’s wondering where you are right about now,” Dave offered up thinking about his sister’s impulsive ways.

“I highly doubt it. The last time I saw her she was wedged in between planning a book tour and an appearance on the Martha Stewart show, so I highly doubt she’s had five minutes to realize that I’m gone,” Stacy shrugged her shoulders, “Then again even when she’s not busy with that she never sees I’m there anyways.”

“Stacy, I’m sure if you just give her a call…” Dave started hearing the ringing of his doorbell. “Hold that thought.”

“Fine, but I’m not calling her,” Stacy replied stubbornly folding her arms in front of her chest. “Right now she is the last person I want to see.”

“I’m sure that you both can sit down and work things out when the anger dies down,” Dave offered up reaching out to open the door only to discover his sister Jewel on the other side of it.

“Where is my spoiled brat of a daughter?” Jewel demanded seeing Stacy on the couch in front of her. She pushed Dave aside and walked into the room with a fluid stride, “Stacy, what the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“Staying far away from you!” Stacy shouted jumping up off of the couch before turning to Dave. “I can’t believe you called her. I hate her! How could you do this to me?”

Before Dave could answer, Stacy ran back to the guest room and slammed the door behind her causing the painting on the walls to vibrate.

“Well this is just wonderful,” Jewel rolled her eyes before pulling out her vibrating PDA. “I need this like a hole in the head considering that I’ve got about thirty other places that I need to be right about now.”

“Maybe you should forget about those thirty other places and start thinking about your top priority, which should be your daughter,” Dave urged his sister with a clenched jaw realizing that the tension that had been lingering in his neck and shoulders had made it’s way up to his head. As he stared Jewel down he realized that today was going from bad to worse by the second and it didn’t appear that it was going to get any better anytime soon.


“There’s nothing left to say Don. It’s clear you made your choice,” Shannon spoke up in rebuttal seeing Don standing in front of the door to block her exit. “You and Brant seem quite happy together so…”

“Oh would you just lay off of Brant,” Don threw his hands up in the air his frustrations mounting. “You know that this thing that’s happening between us has nothing to do with him and absolutely everything to do with us.”

“That’s right,” she nodded in response, “It’s you who has the problem because you can’t let go of him. You have to follow him around like a little lap dog and let him drag you under time and time again.”

“Brant isn’t doing anything to drag me under,” Don argued with her, a frown creasing over his otherwise kissable lips, “This is about you and I and the obvious misunderstandings happening between us.”

“The only reason we have any misunderstandings to begin with is because you let Brant influence you to be an idiot. It shows more and more each day,” she took a small step towards him trying not to focus on just how sexy he looked with his eyes wild with anger.

“Shannon, come on off it already. I don’t know why you think that I’m suddenly this horrible husband when all I’ve set out to do is love you,” he moved in closer to her, his blue eyes shining with determination, “I’ve been good to you.”

“Only because you’re trying to find someone to fill the void that you have in your life after losing Stephanie,” Shannon spat back at him in a harsh, abrasive tone, “You’re trying to make me a replacement for your dead wife, but it’s never going to happen Don.”

“What?” Don blinked back at her surprised by her tone, “What did you just say?”

“I said I’m not Saint Stephanie and I’m never going to be,” Shannon threw her hands up in the air before turning her back to him.

“Where the hell is that coming from?” Don’s jaw clenched as he fought to contain his reaction to her words.

“Oh come on Don. Let’s face it no one can live up to your expectations that you have after that woman,” Shannon threw her hands up in the air, “You’ve glorified her after she died like she’s something special.”

“She is something special,” Don snapped unable to contain his tone, “She’s a wonderful woman and the mother of my child.”

“Big deal Don. She’s dead,” Shannon rolled her eyes at him, “Get over it already.”

“Get over it?” he repeated blinking his eyes at her, “I can’t believe you’re saying that. I lost the love of my…”

“Of your what? Your life Don?” she arched a curious brow, “Yeah that figures doesn’t it. You can’t let anyone in considering that you’re mourning over a dead woman--over a corpse.”

“Stop Shannon right now!” Don warned sharply, his blood beginning to boil.

“Or what? You’re going to get angry with me?” she laughed in his face shaking her head at him, “You don’t have the balls to show real anger Don because you’re not man enough for that.”

“You’re being ridiculous,” Don threw his hands up in the air, “You shouldn’t be doing this not now…”

“Why because it hurts? Big deal. Let’s face it you can’t love anyone because you’re hung up on a dead woman,” she rolled her eyes at him before shaking her head again, “It’s no use to talk about this so go back to your buddy and leave me alone.”

“No, I’m not going to leave it like this especially considering that you‘re way out of line about…,” Don reached for her arm feeling her spin around to hit him across the face. He bucked back in surprise, “What was that for?”

“Because you’re an idiot,” she slapped him again, her words broken by her emotions, “A huge idiot who doesn’t get anything or anyone around him. You’re so deluded by the fact that you think you have to kiss Brant’s ass all of the time that you can’t stop and see what you have right in front of you. You’re living in the past loving a ghost that is never coming back Don. You are lost in some kind of fairy tale world and since you don’t think I’m cutting it as your wife, you have to find it elsewhere.”

“You’re not making any sense,” Don blinked back at her trying to follow where she was coming from with her words. He paused for a moment giving her a long once over, “Shannon, have you been drinking again?”

“Screw you Don,” she slapped him again, her anger bubbling over with his accusation, “Like I need to be drunk to see what a jerk you are.”

“I’m not the jerk here. You’re the one who attacked me and is attacking me still without provocation. The other night you were clearly drunk and I’m sure if we work through this, we can find a way to work you into some kind of rehab program and…” Don tried to keep his voice even despite his raging emotions.

“Rehab?” she balked back at him shaking her head furiously, “Don I don’t need rehab or anything like it. What I want and need is a divorce and I’m not going to be satisfied until I have that. In fact…”

Shannon looked around at her things scattered around the bedroom, “I’ll just have Nate bring my things later to the hotel I’m staying at.”

“Shannon wait,” Don felt her push him aside as she marched out of the bedroom. He groaned inwardly before chasing after her and meeting her at the front door, “You’re being ridiculous about this.”

“No the only thing I see ridiculous about anything is you,” her eyes narrowed as she glared over at Brant, “and him. You both deserve each other because you’re both hopeless losers who don’t know a good thing when it’s right in front of you.”

Brant looked up watching Shannon slam the door in Don’s face as she marched out of the house. Seeing his friend looking confused and upset Brant spoke up, “I take it that didn’t go well.”

“Not at all,” Don sighed heavily feeling his heart sink. He walked over to the chair to sit across from Brant as he found himself lost in a state of confusion, “I have no idea what’s happening here in my marriage, but something tells me that no matter what I do or say I’m going to be in the wrong with her.”

“Don, I’m really sorry about that. If this is my fault, then…” Brant offered up thinking about what he’d overheard when he’d been waiting for Don.

“I don’t know what this is about, but something tells me with Shannon I’m never going to understand what motivates her,” Don sank back into the chair and wondered if this was really the beginning of the end of his marriage after all.


“You know I think I’m not going to ban you from my kitchen,” Avery laughed lightly looking to the mess that lay out over the countertop of the kitchen. She shook her head before turning her attention to Kevin and seeing that he’d managed to get himself all gooped up in the process of making pancakes earlier. “I thought you said you were an expert at this cooking thing.”

“I am,” Kevin mouthed in response a laugh spilling over his lips as he looked to Erin, “but I guess when I had such messy company with me, it turned into a bit more of a clean up situation then I’d planned.”

“It’s okay,” Avery mused with a tiny chuckle, “I think the last time I tried to cook I almost burnt down the house if you can believe that.”

“You’re kidding, right?” Kevin eyed her for a long moment before grinning at the seriousness in her tone. “Wow, I find that hard to believe. How do you get anything done around here then?”

“I let Russ cook,” Avery paused thinking about the man she’d thrown out the previous evening, “He’s always been the one that’s good at things like that.”

“From what I walked in on between the two of you it’s clear that’s not the only thing you think he’s good at,” Kevin wiggled his brow at her suggestively, “and if you lay a kiss on him that’s half as hot as the one you threw on me last night I think you two will be well on your way to making up with one another.”

“Sex doesn’t equate happily ever after,” Avery frowned over at Kevin, her mood suddenly souring as she stood up from her chair. “You of all people should know that considering that it’s obvious you and Ria didn’t make up with one another.”

“Who said Ria and I have an unhealthy addiction to sex,” Kevin mouthed leaning back in over the chair to eye her curiously.

“You just did with your reaction,” she wiggled her brow at him before moving some of the dishes on the counter into the sink. “Besides I really don’t want to talk about this right now.”

“Maybe that’s half of your problem,” Kevin stood up noticing that Erin had drifted off to sleep in her chair. He stepped in closer to Avery placing his hand on her shoulder, “Maybe if you start talking to him or at least think about listening, you might find that you can reach some middle ground with one another.”

“Kevin, it’s not like I want to stay mad at Russ it’s just,” she spun around with a bowl in her hands, watching the remaining pancake batter splatter over the front of his shirt and pants. She let out a horrified gasp realizing what she’d done, “Kevin I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

“It’s okay,” Kevin reached for a hand towel, pressing it in over the front of his black, form fitting shirt. “I guess I kind of deserved it for butting my head in where it doesn’t belong. It’s just when I see two friends unhappy it makes me want to fix the problem for them. I’m a fixer.”

“Yes, but this situation is beyond your control,” Avery paused for a long moment seeing that he still had a stain over the front of his shirt, “Besides, it’s not like you told him to sleep with this Angela person.”

“No, I didn’t, but maybe you should at least give the guy a chance to explain,” Kevin suggested with an expectant look, “I mean he didn’t know who he was for a while there.”

“Whose friend are you trying to be? His or mine?” she curled her lip in a pout shaking her head at him, “You know that’s not going to come out of your shirt.”

“Probably not,” he shrugged, “but what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t offer up my advice?”

“Kevin, tell me something,” Avery paused biting on her lower lip for a moment as her dark eyes met his, “this Angela person is she…is she someone really special? I mean you almost married her once and from what you told me you really loved her…”

“Not like Russ loves you,” Kevin reached out to touch the side of her face gently, “and trust me Avery, Russ does love you with all of his heart.”

“I know,” she nodded fighting the tears that threatened, “and I love him too Kevin. I know I’m not without blame in all of this, but when I think about him wanting to marry someone else.”

“Tell me something. If he was truly himself and here in Coral Valley, do you think that he would’ve thought twice about being married to anyone other than you?” Kevin issued with an arched brow.

“Well no,” she shook her head.

“And what about you? Would you have married Brant if you knew Russ was still alive and out there fighting to regain his past and return to you?” he tossed back at her further seeing something flicker behind her eyes.

“No, I wouldn’t have thought twice about being with anyone other than Russ,” Avery confessed in a broken tone bringing her hand up to wipe at her face as tears threatened. “I hurt him really bad a long time ago, but I swore after we found our way back to one another that I wouldn’t let anything get between us again.”

“If death couldn’t keep you apart, why let someone like Angela do it,” Kevin leaned in against the countertop thinking about the problems that had come his way after he’d spent a lifetime chasing after Angela. “Believe me when I tell you that she is more trouble than she’s worth. She’s not someone that you’re going to have to worry about.”

“You say that like you believe it when we both know she’s been problems for you,” Avery added pointedly shaking her head at his words, “If she wasn’t then you wouldn’t have Ria gone.”

“Ria left because I wasn’t man enough to stand up for what I wanted. I let her slip away because I was too stupid not to stay focused on what really mattered. Don’t make that mistake Avery,” Kevin urged reaching out and placing his hand on top of hers, “You and Russ have far too much to lose by not trying to work this out.”

“I know,” she nodded glancing over at her sleeping daughter, “I want to give Erin all the happiness in the world with her father. She’s our little miracle you know.”

“She’s beautiful,” Kevin noted with a proud smile, “She’s really something special and you and Russ are so lucky to have her.”

“I know we are,” Avery smiled thoughtfully, “and if it wasn’t for Russ I don’t know what would have happened. When Bruce tried to kill me, I really thought that it was the end of the road. I was so afraid that he’d hurt Erin--that she wouldn’t make it, but then Russ came in and was our hero. He saved us both that day.”

“I guess it’s a good thing he found his way back then huh,” Kevin watched Avery walk over to keep a close eye on her sleeping daughter. Smiling to himself he hoped that his words sank in to Avery a bit since he wanted to see someone happy for a change. Glancing around at the counter again he let out a small laugh, “I’m pretty sure I can clean this up for you if you want to put her down.”

“How about I take her for a nap while you get cleaned up,” Avery suggested reaching for her daughter and pulling a sleeping Erin into her arms. “If you want you can just throw your things into the washing machine and you can use the guest room to take a shower and clean up if you like.”

“Are you sure? I mean I don’t want to impose,” Kevin started giving her a sideways glance.

“I’m sure,” she nodded in response, “I’m sure Russ has something upstairs that you can fit into and you’re more than welcome to take a look. Besides, I’m selfishly trying to keep you around right now.”

“Is that right?” Kevin arched a curious brow, “And why might that be?”

“Because I’m going to take you up on your advice and try to work things out with Russ, which will probably mean my taking a trip to his parents house there. I mean I could take Erin with me, but with you so ready and willing to baby sit…”

“Say no more,” Kevin smiled widely finding himself laughing ever so slightly, “if it means that I get to spend time with my favorite girl while her parents work things out, I’m all for it.”

“Thanks Kevin,” Avery stepped in closer to him placing a small kiss on his cheek when she stood up on her toes. “I knew I could count on you.”

“Just remember that when the wedding rolls along,” Kevin laughed lightly looking to the hallway in front of him. “So where do you want me to go?”

“Our bedroom is near the top of the stairs first door on the right,” Avery explained wiggling her finger as she carried Erin over her shoulder. “Come on I’ll show you and you can get changed up.”

“Okay,” Kevin nodded following her up the stairs. He watched her open up the door to her bedroom and motion for him to go inside.

“Russ has some sweats in the top drawer that I’m sure will fit you. They are way too long for him, but he likes to wear them that way,” Avery shrugged her shoulders in an afterthought, “I don’t get it myself, but whatever makes him happy I suppose. Anyways they should be right about your size there. It’s a black pair in that top right drawer.”

“I’m sure I can find it,” Kevin laughed lightly stepping into her room.

“Good and then when you’re in the shower, just toss your clothes outside the bathroom door and I’ll put them in the washing machine,” Avery suggested snuggling Erin in closer to her as she looked to the nursery.

“I think I can take it from here,” Kevin whispered leaning in to kiss Erin on the top of the head, “See you later sweet thing.”

Erin cuddled into her mother’s shoulder before Avery motioned to the nursery. Kevin watched her walk away before he closed the door to the bedroom. Looking around he pulled out the sweats that Avery had instructed him to take with him and he made his way to the shower. Quickly stripping down he set his clothes outside the door before moving over to hop in the shower.

“Finally something good happens for someone,” Kevin thought to himself feeling the warm water over his knotted muscles as he whistled a tune to himself thinking about the good he was doing in trying to get his friends back together again. Once he was out of the shower he was certain that he could help Avery get her plans of reconciliation in motion while Kevin stayed behind with Erin.

“It’s going to be good,” Kevin mouthed quickly finishing up with his shower. He thought he heard a sound outside of the bathroom door, but listened again and heard nothing. Slowly he reached for the shower door ready to step out when another sound came from within the bathroom keeping him still in the shower. He spoke up uneasily, “Avery I did what you told me. My clothes are out in the bedroom over by the bed and…”

“You son of a bitch,” Russell’s voice roared as he ripped open the shower door and pulled Kevin out into the bathroom slamming him up against the wall in a fit of rage. Seeing the surprise in Kevin’s eyes Russ slammed him up against the wall again before punching him across the face in a fury. “I thought you were my friend! That I could trust you, yet here you are moving in on Avery and now I‘m going to kill you…”

“Russ, what are you doing?” Avery questioned horrified as she entered the room just in time to see Russ ready to pound further on Kevin, who was on the floor in a state of shock.

“I’m going to kill him Avery,” Russ announced punching Kevin once again before Avery leapt forward jumping onto Russell’s back.

“Get off of him,” Avery tugged at Russell’s hair in an attempt to get him to back away from Kevin. She covered his eyes causing him to move unsteadily around the bathroom with her on his back.

“Avery let go of me! Avery…” Russ shouted, his voice growing angrier by the second as Avery squeezed her arms around him furiously.

“No! I’m not going to let you kill Kevin especially since all he’s been doing is trying to get us back together again,” Avery explained feeling Russ wiggling beneath her touch.

“Yeah I can see just how he’s doing it too,” Russ spat out watching Kevin clumsily reach for a towel and pull himself up off of the floor.

“This is not what it looks like,” Kevin tried to explain himself opening his mouth to say something more, but somehow he had the feeling no matter what he said or did it wasn’t going to change the situation that had just arisen between him and Russ. Even if it was just a misunderstanding, there was no denying the fact that if Avery released Russ Kevin would be a dead man no questions asked.


“This isn’t too bad,” Ria let out a long breath after walking into the hotel room and kicking the door closed shut with the heel of her foot before going over and setting her bag down on the bed. Looking over the large bed she remembered putting an order in for this since Kevin was supposed to be coming with her. “Oh well, it’s more space for me anyways. It’s nice here with all the decorations and everything. I guess.”

Pushing her things to the floor she laid back against the bed letting out a long breath before closing her eyes and resting her head back into the pillows. The bed was comfortable she was in a nice place, she had nothing to be worried about. Hearing her cell phone ring again she reached for it seeing that she had two voicemails. Going to erase them she thought twice before shaking her head slowly.

“I’ll just listen to them after I call Trisha,” she decided dialing her little sister’s phone number hearing it ring for a moment before Trisha really answered. “Hey little sis, how are you doing today?”

“Hey Ria,” Trisha let out a long sigh looking back toward the clock and sitting down on the couch as she took the time to relax a bit. “How is everything in the sunshine out there sis? I’m sure you are loving it.”

“It’s great out here, nice and warm,” Ria answered with a half smile before sitting up on the edge of the bed and slumping over. Shaking her head and trying to get her mind clear she looked over at the clock herself. “I just wanted to make sure you knew I got to the hotel safe. How are you doing?”

“I’m fine,” Trisha hesitated before letting out a ragged breath and looking over the television after she turned it on for a while listening to what they were talking about. “Mindy was here and I guess I’m worried.”

“What’s wrong?” Ria questioned her mind getting out of the gutter for a moment as she stood up and walked over toward the window and took in a long breath. “Is she alright? Is Mindy hurt?”

“No, but she got a call,” Trisha explained trying to remember every detail that she had gotten over the time she had spent with Mindy and she shook her head slowly. “All I know is that she left in a hurry. I think Hunt is hurt.”

“Oh no,” Ria gasped placing her hand over her mouth before walking over toward the television to turn it on maybe to see something on the news. Realizing she wasn’t in Coral Valley she turned it off before walking back and sitting down. “I hope he’s okay.”

“Me too,” Trisha sighed lying back against the couch before closing her eyes and remembering that Kevin had came over. “So, how did everything go with you and Kevin?”

“What do you mean?” Ria questioned leaning forward eager to know what her sister was going to tell her and she heard the confusion behind Trisha as she was silent. “Trisha?”

“Wait, what?” Trisha muttered remembering giving Kevin all the information that he needed to catch Ria and from the sound of how she was reacting she could tell something was wrong. “I told Kevin where to find you, he was trying to stop you Ria. He was here on the floor crying and I’m not kidding Mindy was here too. We gave him the information and he tried getting to you.”

“You’re kidding,” Ria gulped down trying to think back before shaking her head and letting out a small laugh knowing that she saw no sign of Kevin. “Well obviously he didn’t try hard enough to stop me.”

“Maybe not,” Trisha shrugged her shoulders closing her eyes and remembering the look on Kevin’s face as he tried to keep his emotions away from her. “If I were you I would have been swept off my feet, he was crying Ria and…,”

“Listen Trisha, I really don’t want to hear about this,” Ria blurted out hearing the awkward silence come from the other end and Ria laid back against the bed. “I just wanted to let you know that I’m at the hotel and I’ll talk to you later. I love you sis.”

After hanging up Ria walked over toward the bathroom to turn on the shower before walking back and seeing that her cell phone was still blinking from the messages that were left. Opening up and seeing that they were from Kevin she closed her eyes and laid back against the bed again before opening her voicemail.

Hearing Kevin’s voice on the other side she listened to the desperate tone he begged her in and she closed her eyes feeling a lump go in the back of her throat. The promises he gave the way he begged her almost made her wish she had answered her phone to just try and make things right with him.

“It was for the best,” she tried to convince herself reaching up to push away the tears that ran past her eyes even though she tried to hold them back. Sitting up she reached to listen for the next message putting it up to her ear. “What else could he have said?”

“I tried to change Ria,” she heard the way his voice was broken and hurt as he spoke up and she heard what sounded like a sniff from crying and she bit down on her bottom lip feeling an ache build up in her chest. “I really did.”

“Kevin,” she gasped placing her hand over her chest hearing what sounded like the phone dropping before it cut off and her heart skipped a beat. “I need to call him back.”

Dialing in his number she went to hit send to call him before thinking about all the times she had forgiven him in the past and she hung up the phone.

“I can’t do this,” Ria shook her head slowly before reaching for her bag and pulling out a few things. Something rough pressed in against her fingertips as she reached for it and pulled it out of the bag. Looking down at the picture in her hands she saw a picture she took with Kevin not long ago. Well, more like he got her to take a picture with him like this. “You have to let go.”

Setting the picture aside she grabbed a hold of the pillow next to her pulling it in close to her chest before taking a long breath. She had to get him out of her head if it was the last thing she did.

“Ria,” Kevin’s voice echoed through her ears as she remembered the morning they took the picture that she had in her bag together. “Baby, come on. You’re the lazy one today.”

“Kevin,” she groaned feeling his hands gently pushing at her arms gently before feeling his chin resting against her shoulder when she looked out from underneath the pillow. “What do you want? We were up late last night and…,”

“I am so up right now,” Kevin replied seeing the way she looked up at him with a questionable look as he jumped up from the bed and let out a long laugh. “Not like that baby, but maybe if you play your cards right.”

“Kevin,” she yawned only to feel him pull her up off the bed and into his arms. Her hands pressed in against his sweaty chest as she let out a small sound of disgust. “Yuck, you’re gross and sweaty. Don’t touch me.”

“Oh come on,” Kevin teased wrapping his arms around her tighter as she pressed harder at the center of his chest and he shook his head slowly. “It can’t be that bad, I just went for two hours at the gym and a run. Come on baby, we should go running or something.”

“No baby, you stink,” she tried pushing him away from her as he let out a small laugh and reached for something from his pocket as she let out a long gasp. “Don’t you try to take a picture of me like this.”

“I ran by a Best Buy on my run and saw they had a great deal on digital cameras so why not start it off with you,” Kevin went to take a picture of her seeing the way she tried to pull away from him and he held onto her tightly. “No, you are not getting out of this Ria. I’m getting a picture of you.”

“Kevin no,” she begged trying to cover her face hearing his deep laugh filling her ears and felt his hands trying to keep hers down while all at the same time holding her from getting away. “I look so bad when I first get up and just no Kevin. This isn’t right.”

“Fine,” Kevin reaching his free hand underneath her chin to bring her lips up to his in a kiss and she calmed down against his touch, while he held the camera out and took a picture of them. “Is that better baby? I look like a sweaty pig and you look beautiful.”

“Kevin,” she frowned seeing him smile before setting his camera down on the dresser before grabbing a hold of her hand and leading her back to the bed. Letting her lie back down he pulled the covers in over her before giving her a small wink. “Where are you going?”

“I’m taking a shower,” he answered her in a small breath before pointing over toward the shower and letting out a long breath. “Then maybe I will join you since I didn’t get much sleep last night. I’ll be right back. I love you so much baby.”

“Okay, I love you too,” she nodded with a smile seeing him walk into the bathroom and leave the door open a bit and she rose up on her elbow reaching out for his camera turning it on to see the picture of them together. Getting up from the bed she walked toward the door to see him standing in front of the mirror reaching for a towel next to it. Taking a quick picture she moved away when she thought Kevin might have heard, but then turned back carefully seeing him grab a hold of his shorts and she took a couple more photos before waiting for him to get in the shower. “Payback Kev.”

Opening the shower door she saw Kevin turn around and she took a quick three shots as he let out a small laugh and stepped out of the shower reaching for the camera.

“Nope, not giving it to you,” Ria shook her head slowly seeing Kevin nod before reaching again for the camera wrapping his arms around her waist to get her to stop. “You did it to me, so I’m doing it to you.”

“Ria, I’m naked in the pictures,” Kevin reached for the camera further his fingers pressing in against her wrist before a small growl escaped his lips. “Give me the camera back Ria.”

“No Kevin,” she shook her head again with a small laugh only to feel his lips press in against her neck and she loosened up a bit feeling his wet hands press in over the bottom of her nightgown. “Kevin, what are you doing.”

“You know that whole up thing,” Kevin nibbled at her earlobe softly feeling her let go of the camera enough for him to set it down on the counter away from getting damaged in any way. Pulling the nightgown up and over her body dropping it to the ground. “I’m kind of there right now.”

“I see that,” she muttered after feeling him turn her to face him and he grabbed a hold of her hands leading her into the shower and closing the door behind him. “What are you planning on doing about it?”

“Well, you want those pictures,” Kevin muttered grabbing a firm hold of her and pressing her against the wall of the shower feeling her legs wrap around his waist firmly and her arms around his neck. “I’m sure I can come up with something.”

Blushing at the thought she walked into the bathroom and turned off the shower realizing there was no way of getting Kevin out of her head. Sitting down on the bed she reached out for the picture again trying to come up with something to say or do.

“How can I let go of something?” she asked herself thinking about Kevin and how much he really meant to her. “When they are the one thing you love in this world the most?”


“Thanks for coming with me Trisha,” Mindy glanced over at Trisha her hands shaking at the thought of why she would be here to see Hunt in the hospital. “I’m glad I came back for you because I think I would be lost without you. You calm me down.”

“Don’t worry,” Trisha hushed pressing her hand in over Mindy’s shoulder and grabbing Mindy’s shaking hand with her other. “You’re my best friend and I’m always going to be here for you. There is nothing to worry about.”

“I hope so,” Mindy muttered looking to the floors almost wishing the elevator wouldn’t move so fast considering what was in her mind. What if he broke his leg or what if he got in a car accident and had a concussion? The possibilities were endless, she just hoped it wasn’t the worst thing possible. “I’m sure he’ll be okay.”

Walking out onto the floor once the elevator stopped Trisha took a look around seeing all the police officers before her as she gulped down almost imagining what could have happened. Knowing what it was like to have your life in danger, she almost felt extremely worried.

“Come over here,” Trisha tried to grab a hold of Mindy pulling her aside for a moment and letting out a long breath seeing the way Mindy’s light eyes stared into hers. “Mindy, I just want to tell you things seem a bit scary here.”

“I know,” Mindy shrugged her shoulders looking around the area before her and shivering at the thought. “I always hated hospitals during my time because I was always afraid to be put in one. I never wanted to come here so they are a bit scary for me too.”

“Mindy,” Trisha frowned reaching out to grab a hold of her shoulders seeing a doctor move up from behind Mindy and Trisha took in a deep breath. “That’s not what I mean.”

“Miss Carmichael?” the doctors voice sounded broken behind her as Mindy turned to face the man and he nodded slowly. Reaching inside his pocket for something. “Are you Hunt’s girlfriend?”

“Yes, I am,” Mindy answered truthfully feeling Trisha’s hands move in over her shoulder and she shook her head slowly. “Is there something wrong? Where is Hunt?”

“Miss, I’m so very sorry,” the doctor took in a long breath before shaking his head slowly and thinking it over slowly trying to find the right words to say to her. “There was too much blood lost and I’m sorry. He’s gone.”

“No, that’s can’t be. I saw him yesterday and he was just fine he had some things he had to do and that was it,” Mindy shook her head over and over again feeling the tears start to overcome her as she tried to hold back her cries. “No, this can’t be real. I saw him yesterday and…,”

“Come here,” Trisha wrapped her arms around her friend’s shoulders feeling her own emotions overcoming her and she squeezed Mindy tighter in her arms. “I’m so sorry. Mindy, I’m here--it’s okay.”

Shutting her eyes tightly Trisha knew that was far from the truth after hearing her friend’s cries filling through her ears and the look on the doctor’s face. After everything that happened this was so far from being okay.


...to be continued...