Episode 355

Angela stepped out of the cab she’d taken back to Cameron’s place and found herself thinking about the things Kevin had said to her. Sure, maybe she’d done what she had at the restaurant with Russ to get at Kevin, but damn him for getting mad at her when he was the one who had murdered Cary. He was the one who had lied to her all of these years and manipulated her into believing a lie. He was the one who had deceived her time and time again, so how was she in the wrong? How could he tell her how awful she was when he was clearly a murderer? Shouldn’t that be far worse than what Angela was doing? Then again, why had she kissed Russ? She didn’t care about Kevin or Brant for that matter, or did she?

“This is ridiculous,” she threw her hands up in the air and turned her head to the sky where the thunder clouds were still lingering above. It was bad enough that she’d needed to flag down a cab in the rain, but now that she was back at Cameron’s knowing he would be less than thrilled that she snuck out, she knew she was in for some trouble. Still, she braved whatever it was he was going to lecture her on and made her way inside.

“Angel,” she heard Franklin beckon her as she stepped onto the bottom step leading to her room.

“Tell Cameron I’ll hear it in the morning,” she waved her hand dismissively, not wanting to bother with her brother’s lecture, “I know he’s probably ticked, but right now I’m not in the mood for another lecture.”

“Actually someone is here to see you,” Franklin explained in a professional tone, “He’s waiting in the library.”

“What?” Angela spun around to face him again, her thoughts running wild as she wondered if Kevin had decided to come over and apologize or if Brant had braved Cameron’s wrath to visit her regardless. “You mean Cameron’s not waiting for me?”

“Your brother has been otherwise detained at work for now,” Franklin explained a small sense of relief washing over him at that fact, “so he’s unaware of your gallivanting around town.”

“Good,” Angela stood up taller relieved herself that there wouldn’t be a lecture in store for her all over again. “Did you say my company was in the study?”

“That’s right,” he nodded pointing down the hallway, “I’m sure that you won’t have any interruptions this time.”

“Okay,” Angela gave him a strange look before moving down the hallway to investigate just who had come over to see her. Judging by the expression on Franklin’s face something was up--something that Angela clearly wasn’t quite getting a grasp on. She moved down the hallway seeing the way that Franklin was still watching her every movement. She paused and turned to face him again, “Is there something I can help you with?”

“No, but if you need me,” Franklin pointed to the door to the kitchen once again, “I’ll just be…”

“Right,” Angela nodded before shaking her head at Franklin’s odd behavior.

She stepped into the library wondering if Brant had gone for the gusto and come back to see her, but instead she spotted a man standing near the window dressed in a light blue sweater and dark navy colored jeans masked in the shadows of the room. He was sipping a brandy and there was something familiar in the air in his cologne, yet Angela couldn’t help but wonder if she’d lost her mind. There was something very striking about the man’s posture and his hair and as Angela blinked her eyes she felt as if she’d stepped into a haunted house. She moved backward towards the door feeling her heart thrumming in her chest when she knocked into something causing a vase to fall from the ledge she bumped into.

With a gasp Angela looked to the shattered vase and she immediately shuffled to take care of it, not bothering to look at the guest who had come for her. There was no way that she could be seeing what she perceived. It had to be a lie--had to be an illusion because the man she’d known was long gone.

“Let me help you with that,” she heard his voice beckon her and she felt a chill sweep over her. Her brown eyes snapped up and she was met by a familiar pair of blue eyes in front of her. She gulped feeling him move in onto the floor beside her. His hand pressed in over hers and she practically leapt out of her skin at the contact.

“It’s not a problem Angie,” he winked at her reaching for a piece of ceramic that had broken in front of her, “There’s nothing a good broom and dustpan can’t clean up.”

“Angie,” she repeated springing up to her toes again, “Why did you just call me…”

He mirrored her movement and saw the panic over her face. Forcing a suave smile he stepped in closer to her, revealing his face to the light behind her. At first he’d seemed so much like someone she’d known long ago--like someone she’d found herself spending a great many hours with, yet now that she saw him clearly there was a distinct difference in his face. Immediately feeling foolish she tried to recover.

“Your brother said you were named Angela, but that sounded so formal, so I thought that Angie,” he started to apologize before breaking into a grin. He held his hand out to her, “The name is Andy. Andy Byrne and I was hoping I could talk with you Angie.”

The way he said her name caused another shiver to race over her spine, yet as she watched him she tried to tell herself she was imagining it. The man she’d thought him to be was dead and gone. He was out of her life for years and thanks to Kevin he wouldn’t be returning ever again, yet as she stood in front of Andy she found herself seeing her late husband in his eyes--in the same blue color that had haunted her for months after he’d died.


“Helping you out is far from being on the top of my list of priorities,” Cameron divulged his dark eyes perusing over her once again as it was clear her words had marked the first hints of interest behind his silent contemplations, “I owe you nothing Sarah, but given the circumstances...”

“You have no choice but to accept what I’m proposing,” she finished interrupting him. She stepped forward sliding her palm into the center of his chest before a grin expanded over her features, “Face it Cameron the possibilities of what we can achieve with one another are so very irresistible.”

“I’d greatly underestimated your cunningness,” Cameron conceded before giving her another look, “but not enough to not see you as you truly are Sarah. Your kissing up to me doesn’t make me ignorant to your opportunistic ways.”

“All I’m asking is for you to think about what it is that you and I could do with one another. If we were able to overcome the obstacles that were thrown at us,” Sarah began with a newfound determination behind her dark eyes, “The world could be ours for the taking. We could conquer our enemies and…”

“Enemies?” Cameron arched a curious brow before meeting her eyes once again, “As in perhaps your sister?”

“Heather had come to mind,” Sarah nodded in confession, “because I don’t want her having what should rightfully be mine.”

“You gave up on what was yours when you decided it wasn’t enough for you,” Cameron remarked sourly seeing the way she was dissatisfied with his words. He watched her smile shift into a frown before he continued on, “If you’re looking for me to help you bury Heather, I’ve already told you I have no intention of doing so.”

“She could’ve destroyed you Cameron. You married her and saw what she truly was,” Sarah attempted to appeal to him again, “She was a miserable wife and…”

“Perhaps one of the most intriguing women I’ve ever known,” Cameron stepped aside circling around the room before turning to face her again, “Heather was a diamond in the rough that I’d mistaken for something a lot less. I’d known she was beautiful and unique in her own way, especially when she tried to play herself off as being much like you are, yet she had an innocence about her.”

“Oh please,” Sarah rolled her eyes back at him, “Innocence my ass. My sister is a whore.”

“Your sister is my ex-wife and I would strongly suggest that if you even desire my assistance that you redirect your rage away from Heather because if you harm her in any way,” Cameron warned her sharply, his eyes narrowing down at her.

“I can’t believe you’re lecturing me on hurting her, when you used to beat her and treat her like she was less than nothing,” Sarah balked back in response, “She meant nothing to you Cameron.”

“I made a mistake. I don’t admit that freely, but I’m admitting it now,” Cameron explained in a neutral tone, “Heather and I have burned that bridge and are moving forward. I won’t lift a finger to bring harm into her life. However, if you keep contemplating it, you might find that you’ll be on the receiving end of my wrath.”

“I could be pregnant with your child. Is that really the way that you want to speak to me with such a salacious tongue?” she challenged moving in closer to him. “I can offer you so many possibilities for the future Cameron. I can give you vindication for your years of silent torment. Only with me at your side can you feel the rewards at long last in putting Diego in his place.”

“Ironic how quick you are to turn on him once he rejected you,” Cameron scratched his chin lightly, “It makes me wonder if you’ll turn face on me that rapidly as well.”

“I’ll be good to you Cameron as long as you’re good to me,” she purred sauntering over to him. She ran her fingers up over his shoulder and down his arm before gazing up into his eyes again, “I can be real good to you Cameron. You know that.”

“What I know is that you’re a viper Sarah and in a lot of ways you’re poison,” he decided after a moment’s contemplation, “but perhaps you can prove to have some usefulness to you.”

“Then you’re saying that you’ll help me? That we can band together to make things right against those who have wronged us?” she questioned an eagerness in her tone. Her eyes grew wide at the possibilities before she tipped up on her toes moving in towards him in a kiss.

“Not so fast,” Cameron placed his index finger over the center of her lips, “I didn’t say I would accept. I simply said it was a provoking thought. I’m not sure just yet if this is the kind of gamble that I am truly inclined to take for the time being, but when I make my decision I’ll let you know.”

“What do you mean you’ll let me know?” she frowned watching him sidestep around her and make his way towards the door, “Cameron?”

“I’ll call you when I want you, that is if I want you, but until then how about you see to it that you aren’t here unannounced in the future? I sincerely find these kind of visits to be rather exhausting and counterproductive. Good bye Sarah,” he mouthed in response turning his back to her and walking out of the room, “Franklin can see you out now.”


“You do realize that Kellen is so totally going to murder us, right?” Heather questioned turning to look up and over at Kyle as he started to pack a few bags for their trip. She was finishing up in changing Charles when she spotted Kyle going through the top drawer of her dresser. “You’re not going to find anything useful in there.”

“Speak for yourself,” Kyle pulled out a pink and white lacy, barely there nightgown that Heather had tucked inside of it. He held it up over his chest with obvious approval wiggling it in the air while a smile teased over his lips, “I think this is priority number one for after the ceremony.”

“We’ll just have to see about that,” Heather picked Charles up and held him to her shoulder. She moved in closer to Kyle and swiped the nightgown from him, “Something tells me that Charles might have other plans for our after party.”

“Oh that’s okay,” Kyle reached for Charles taking him into his arms, “because I would love to spend each and every day with you and this little guy. You’re everything to me. Of course I guess now is the time that Charles and I should have the talk.”

“The talk,” Heather tipped her head to the side quickly shoving the nightgown Kyle had selected into the bag just in case before she turned her head to see him seated on the edge of the bed with Charles in his lap.

“That’s right,” Kyle nodded his gaze fixed in on Charles, “I mean everything has been happening so fast that I haven’t gone through the proper channels in asking Charles if I can marry his mommy, but now that I have his full attention I think I’ve finally got the chance.”

Charles blinked up at Kyle before smiling and wiggling in his arms. He reached out for Kyle’s nose and laughed wildly as Kyle raised him up in the air.

“So what do you say little buddy?” Kyle questioned seeing Charles reaching for his nose again, “Is it okay if I marry your mommy and become your step-daddy.”

Charles giggled before clapping his hands together. He reached his arms out again and smacked his lips indicating that he wanted a kiss from Kyle. Kyle pulled him in closer to him and kissed him gently.

“I’ll take it that’s a yes,” Kyle teased hugging Charles closer to him before his gaze fell upon Heather again, “I think it’s all settled. We’re going to be a big, happy family. Charles said so himself.”

Heather smiled seeing the way that her son interacted with Kyle. Unable to help herself she moved in to take a seat beside him on the bed. She reached out to touch her son’s leg gently before her green eyes fixed on Kyle again.

“Everyone thought I was going to be a terrible mother and when I think of how Sarah tried to keep me away from Charles,” Heather shuddered at the memory, “I mean I know I made mistakes, but…”

“You’re one of the best mother’s I know and I hope that one day I can show you both that I want to be one of the best father’s to him,” Kyle explained with a thoughtful expression, “I know that he has Kipp and I would never try to replace Kipp, but at the same time I’ve always kind of felt like this little guy and I had a special bond. From the first moment I held him I knew that I was always going to love him. How could I not?”

“And he loves you,” Heather leaned in to rest her head on Kyle’s shoulder as she watched her son with Kyle. “I know that there’s no one else in this world that I would want to share my life with. There’s no one that I would rather have helping me with Charles than you. You’re a dream come true for the both of us Kyle.”

“Gee, and to think a while ago we were both too foolish not to realize that together we’re the best that there is out there,” Kyle winked down at her before grinning again, “Although Charles and I did have a discussion about the arrangement we’ll have to have ahead of us.”

“Arrangement?” Heather arched a curious brow, “And just what might that be?”

“Well, he’s told me that he wants a lot of brothers and sisters, so I assured him that you and I would do everything in our power to make that request come true,” Kyle explained with a tiny laugh winking over at Heather, “I assured him we’d give it our best try at making that happen for him.”

“Yeah, I’m sure we will,” she teased in response, “Although I hope you realize that I’m not always the most pleasant of people to deal with. I get cranky and bossy and…”

“I wouldn’t have you any other way,” Kyle reached out to touch the side of her face, “Heather neither one of us are perfect, but if we were, then we’d be far too boring for each other. I don’t want you to change a thing about who you are and I know that you love me for me. That’s all I need to know.”

“Me too,” she leaned in to press a kiss over the center of his palm, “but you do realize that Kellen is going to murder us not only for getting married on such short notice, but for not letting him go along for the ride.”

“Knowing Kellen he will try to talk us out of doing this until he has it his way and as much as I like the guy,” Kyle paused thinking about Heather’s best friend, “Tonight is for us--only us and if Kellen wants to hate someone, he can go for me in this, not you.”

“You’re his idol. I highly doubt he’d hate you when he’s lusting over you,” Heather couldn’t help but laugh at her best friend’s crush on Kyle.

“Yeah, well he can dream on all he likes as long as I never have to hear about it because it’s never happening,” Kyle shuddered at the thought before standing up and reaching for one of the bags. He tossed it over his shoulder before holding Charles closer to him. “The way I see it tonight you and I are about to have our dream come true and nothing is going to stop us--not even Kellen’s need to take charge of everything.”

“You’re right,” she nodded in agreement looking around the room, “I think we’re ready for this. I just need to grab Charles’s blanket and…”

“Already have it,” Kyle reached into the front pocket of the bag and grinned, “What? You didn’t think I knew my little guy already? I also have his Pookey-bear in there and his formula, bottles pre-packed, diapers and the works. As I said I think I’ve got this covered.”

“In that case,” Heather smiled at him feeling a warmth cover her from the top of her head to the tips of her toes, “I guess this is it. Here goes nothing.”


“I don’t think I like her,” Kellen muttered seeing the look Kipp gave him as he took a sip of his coffee and Kellen shrugged his shoulders. “I’m being honest Kipp, this girl is sending me all the wrong vibes, it’s like she is up to something.”

“Honestly Kellen, what girl does send you the right vibe? Last time I checked, you weren’t the kind of guy that accepted those kinds of things from women,” Kipp pointed out seeing Kellen drop down to the leather couch and roll his eyes and Kipp shrugged his shoulders. “You don’t have to hate her just because she is around me Kellen.”

“No, that’s hardly the point,” Kellen muttered seeing Kipp look at him for a moment and he let out a small squeal. Throwing his hands up in the air he shook his head over and over again. “I love Heather Babes don’t I? She works with you and I don’t hate her?”

“Well you never used to like her if you remember,” Kipp pointed out seeing Kellen’s eyebrows tense together when he shook his head slowly. “Believe it or not you hated Heather.”

“I mean honestly, I don’t know how I could have hated Heather Babes,” Kellen insisted seeing Kipp’s eyebrows arch up and Kellen frowned again. “So we weren’t that fond of each other, but it was something from the past that brought us closer you know. Sometimes things change, but I’m being honest Kippy, something about this girl just doesn’t seem right. She gives me the chills.”

“Again, most women do,” Kipp added seeing the glare he got from Kellen and shrugged his shoulders letting out a small laugh. “If I didn’t hire people because they gave you the chills then I would pass up every women that tried for this position.”

“I know,” Kellen stood up walking over toward Kipp caressing his shoulders in slow squeezes hearing Kipp let out a small groan and Kellen smiled. “I’ve got the perfect plan to fix all of this too and make it better. A very good plan.”

“Oh yeah?” Kipp set down his coffee mug leaning back in his seat and closing his eyes tightly, feeling Kellen’s fingers doing wonders on his knotted muscles. A small breath escaped his lips as he felt Kellen’s chin rest against his shoulder. “What’s your idea?”

“How about you make me your assistant?” Kellen offered up hearing Kipp let out a long laugh and he pulled back resting his hands against his hips tapping his foot against the floor. “What is so funny about that? I happen to think I’m a pretty good worker.”

“Yeah, too good Kellen,” Kipp pointed out spinning around in the chair to look up at him from where he was sitting. “I mean honestly, you’re a physical therapist, you work at the gym, you teach little kids how to swim, you’re a model and you’re Heather’s assistant. I think you have enough on your hands right now and I still don’t know how you have the time to do that still.”

“I find the time, just like I could find time to be yours,” Kellen added seeing Kipp get up and roll his eyes before walking over toward the window. “Hey, you know I can do it. Anyways, you two can share me, I’m sure Heather wouldn’t mind.”

“Well actually, I’m sure she would if you were working for her,” Kipp turned toward Kellen eyeing him over slowly and taking in a long breath. “But when it comes down to you Kellen, I don’t like sharing you with anyone. I just like having you all to myself.”

“Well yeah, but…,” Kellen’s words came to stop as he felt Kipp’s arms wrap around his waist tightly as he pulled Kellen in against him. Letting out a small gasp Kellen pressed his hands in against Kipp’s chest before letting out a small breath. “What are you doing sweetheart?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary Kellen,” Kipp muttered tipping up to press his lips in against Kellen’s seeing Kellen’s blue eyes widen with almost confusion as Kipp nipped at Kellen’s bottom lip softly. “Just what you like.”

“Are you trying to seduce me to get me to stop talking about this and let that girl be your assistant?” Kellen muttered feeling Kipp start to unbutton his navy blue dress shirt slowly, taking the time to press his hands in against Kellen’s abdomen. Gulping down Kellen tried to come up with something to come back at Kipp with before feeling Kipp’s hands pull apart his belt slowly. “Okay, it worked, but I’m telling you now. We’re going to talk about this later.”

“Oh, I’m sure we will,” Kipp nodded slowly feeling Kellen quickly opening up his shirt and Kipp chuckled knowing that this would be the way to get Kellen to shut up. “Just shut up right now.”

“I have no problems with that,” Kellen stated softly pushing Kipp’s back up against the wall before letting out a small laugh of his own. “No problems at all.”


“You know we can’t just leave her in a hospital Dave even if you think that’s what’s good for your career,” Jewel snapped at her brother over the kitchen table as she, Dave and Carly had sat down over coffee. She glared at her brother and continued, “I mean sure it would be no big deal for you to just sweep her under the rug so to speak and forget about her, but really Dave, that is so wrong.”

“She shot someone Jewel with the full intention of killing the man,” Dave blinked back at his sister incredulously, “I know that we tried to ignore the problems Cori had in the past, but right now she needs therapy. She’s lucky that she has the option open to her considering that she could be in jail right now for what she’s done.”

“Yeah, well if you would’ve kept a closer eye on her, then maybe just maybe she would’ve thought twice about trying to put a bullet in her boyfriend,” Jewel frowned over at him shaking her head before sipping her coffee. “I mean common sense would tell you that there’s something clearly not right with Cori and her obvious cries for attention.”

“In case you didn’t notice Cori is a grown woman fully capable of making her own decisions. I can only do so much, unlike you and your situation with Stacy,” Dave finally blurted out in frustration, “I think you’re just about the last person to lecture me Jewel considering your less than stellar parenting skills.”

“Oh you would throw that at me,” Jewel rolled her eyes at him before glaring, “Like you have any idea what it means to be a parent considering that you missed the first three years of your daughter’s life, so don’t you stand there and tell me how to raise mine.”

“Okay everyone, why don’t we just calm down,” Carly suggested standing up from where she’d been seated. “We don’t need to attack one another right now considering that it’s a time for family to stick together.”

“Something my sister knows nothing about since that would involve time and commitment which are two very important things that Jewel would just ignore,” Dave spat out at his sister with heavy agitation ready to say something more when the doorbell rang.

“You two just knock it off right now,” Carly warned shaking her finger at the both of them, “This isn’t helping to hurt one another and when I’m gone you should think about that.”

“I have thought about that, but some people obviously don’t,” Dave quipped in response watching his wife leave the kitchen. He lowered his voice and whispered to his sister, “The problems with Cori weren’t something that I think any of us anticipated or expected and while I’m sure you’re concerned about how this will effect your career, the fact to the matter is that it effects all of us. I had no idea that she would go this far and given her history of mental health issues…”

“I just can’t believe she would be stupid enough to shoot some guy,” Jewel shuddered thinking about her sister’s attack on Diego. She paused for a second before eyeing Dave curiously, “She didn’t shoot him because I slept with him before, did she?”

“Wouldn’t you like to believe that it was all about you,” Dave rolled his eyes at her remark, “Cori was upset with him because he dumped her not because he was with you first, which by the way I did not need to know about.”

“Well, I mean I know she had that little crush on him when we were kids and I thought it was sweet, but I never really put any weight on it since it was a crush. I mean it’s not like Diego and I planned on being together, but there was one night and…” Jewel began to recount her past with Diego.

“Just stop right there,” Dave shuddered at the thought, “That’s the last thing I want to hear right about now Jewel. I could really care less about your sex life and that’s not the issue. Cori is and we need to find a way to help her work through what’s troubling her.”

“Dave, maybe you should just send her to Europe to some kind of finishing school. I’m sure they have something like that for women like her who are a little screwed up in the head,” Jewel circled her finger around her head and crossed her eyes with heavy emphasis.

“She’s not a child anymore. She’s an adult and I think the best way to deal with what’s happening is to take a hand’s on approach to making sure she gets the treatment she needs, not pushing for anything other than that,” Dave suggested in a smooth and even tone seeing Carly returning. “Who was at the door honey?”

“Lindsay came over to see Stacy. She said she heard Stacy was in town and wanted to visit her,” Carly explained moving back to the chair she’d been seated in.

“Oh good maybe when she has a few friends she’ll get too busy to keep on hating me,” Jewel noted with a soft sigh before catching Dave’s disapproving look. “Well it’s true. I mean she’s got nothing better to do than ridicule me because Paul and I aren’t getting back together. It’s not like we planned on getting divorced.”

“No that just came out of nowhere kind of like the wedding,” Dave rolled his eyes at her response.

“I thought we weren’t going to get into my sex life Dave,” she mouthed in response tapping her manicured nails on the table.

“In this particular situation I would like to steer clear of that conversation, but for the record I do think you should call Paul and tell him about Stacy. If nothing else you two should sit down in neutral territory and talk about your daughter’s well being because that’s a little bit more important than the anger you two have between you,” Dave reminded her point blank thinking about his niece.

“We’re not angry anymore, just ready to put an end to a one night stand that lasted far too many years,” she sighed heavily dreading the idea of calling her estranged husband, but as she thought about her daughter’s rage she wondered if calling Paul would really make much of a difference. She seriously doubted it, but if it was going to get Dave to let up on her, she may have to.


Stacy sat in the center of the bed thinking about how much she wanted to strangle her mother for ruining her life. It was bad enough that her mother continued to make a fool of her in front of everyone that surrounded her, but what made matters worse was that her mother had no idea just how completely wrong she was about absolutely everything. When Stacy had run to Coral Valley, she’d hoped that she would find peace and quiet at her Uncle Dave’s, but instead her couldn’t be bothered mother found her way into town to cause her more issues. Stacy was beyond fed up and when she heard a knock at the door, she hugged a pillow to her chest and groaned.

“Go away!” she muttered turning to face the window while putting her back to the door. “I told you to just leave me alone.”

A moment of silence followed before Stacy heard the door opening. In that moment Stacy wished that she’d gone into the room that had a working lock on the door instead of the one she’d been in when she’d arrived. Frowning she spun around preparing to tell her mother where to shove it when she realized Lindsay was standing right in front of her looking concerned.

“I’m sorry Stacy, I don’t mean to bother you, but Don mentioned you were in town and…” Lindsay started in a small voice as Stacy sprung up off of the bed to embrace her friend.

“Lindsay, oh my God. I’ve missed you so much girl,” Stacy replied with the first enthusiasm she’d felt since she came into town, “Boy am I glad you’re here. I’m going crazy in this house with that woman here.”

“Your mom?” Lindsay questioned feeling Stacy pull away and nod.

“She’s ruining my life and it seems like no matter where I go she’s always trying to get me going,” Stacy admitted flopping down on the bed once again, “I just wish for five minutes she would stop being such a self-absorbed jerk and start thinking about what’s best for me and our family.”

“I heard about your mom and dad,” Lindsay replied in a quiet voice taking a seat beside her friend, “and I’m really sorry about that. I know how hard it is when your parents aren’t getting along and…”

“Linds, my parents are more than not getting along. They are getting divorced,” Stacy squeezed the pillow once again, “That’s a whole lot worse than anything you’ve ever had to face considering your family is like the perfect family.”

“No we’re not,” Lindsay shook her head and frowned, “My parents have their fair share of problems.”

“Like what? Your dad not taking out the trash on trash night every twenty years or so?” Stacy rolled her eyes, “That’s nothing to worry about. My parents are just plain brutal. I mean you have my dad and his company working all of the time and my mom flaunting everything she’s got simply because she’s been blessed with a body that most girls our age would kill for. And to make matters worse she’s not even giving my dad a chance. Rather than trying to get back together with him like she should, she’s dating just about anyone and everyone she meets. It’s so embarrassing.”

“I’m sure it’s not that bad,” Lindsay tried to reason with her friend.

“Lindsay, she started sleeping with my Algebra teacher during my first semester last year,” Stacy explained with a groan, “it seemed like it wouldn’t be so bad considering the first semester I got an A, but when he found my mom in bed with some rock star wannabe she picked up, he ended up failing me to spite her.”

“I’m so sorry,” Lindsay replied with a frown, “I had no idea.”

“Yeah, well what made matters worse is she slept with him again so that he wouldn’t fail me, but do you have any idea how humiliating that is? How it feels to have absolutely everyone you know lusting after your mom and telling you how great she is when she doesn’t even have five minutes for you?” Stacy shook her head firmly before tossing the pillow across the room. “I said I was done with her and I mean it. If she and my dad can’t get their act together, then I don’t need either one of them. I’m old enough to take care of myself and that’s what I intend to do.”

“I can’t say I blame you for being upset, but maybe you should just take some time before you make any rash decisions,” Lindsay suggested with another frown before a thought occurred to her, “You know on second thought, I came over here tonight to ask you if you wanted to go out with Jackie and I. We’re going to the movies and it might be good for you to get out and have some fun for a while without worrying about your mom.”

“Oh Linds, I don’t know if…” Stacy hesitated thinking about the fights she’d been having with her mom.

“Come on. It’ll be my treat,” Lindsay suggested brightly offering up a smile, “and maybe after you can spend the night at my house and we’ll have a girl’s night or something. We can eat a lot of ice-cream, watching scary movies and catch up or something. What do you say?”

“Well, it would get me away from her for a while and I do miss you,” Stacy decided with a small smile, “We haven’t seen one another in so long and I really meant to email you back sooner to tell you that I was in town, but…”

“Hey, it’s okay. I know how people get busy, but now that you’re back in town, maybe we can find a way to make up for lost time,” Lindsay suggested watching Stacy nod finally.

“You’re right. You’re absolutely right. I haven’t been around in a long time because my mom can’t stay in one place long enough for me to have a life, but now that I’m here I can do what I want. I can make my own rules and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

“There you go. There’s the spirit, so why don’t you get ready and we’ll go out and have a good time tonight if she doesn’t mind,” Lindsay suggested hoping to cheer her pal up.

“Oh we’ll have a good time and if she doesn’t mind, I don’t really care because she’s held me back far too long already. I’m not letting her keep me from having a life again,” Stacy vowed opting to do something for herself instead of worrying about what her mother would want or say about her going out. Tonight she was going to enjoy life for a little while.


“This has to be the greatest job in the world,” Nate muttered to himself as the cook handed him over all the trays of food for Nate to put them on the cart. Placing them in order Nate held his hands up in the air letting out a long breath. “Is there something I missed before the head doc around here tries to give me shit again?”

“Kid, you can’t let him get to you,” JC who was the cook for the hospital rubbed his hands together after setting down his hand towel. “I mean honestly, after working here this long and being here his first year, I know he is just a kid who is too cocky for his own good.”

“I feel bad for you JC,” Nate leaned back against the counter seeing the way the older man shrugged his shoulders before letting out a small laugh and walked over toward the refrigerator. “I mean honestly I think the two of us should team up and break out of this mental place. What do you think?”

“I would kiddo,” JC chuckled coming back with a plate in his hands before shrugging his shoulders, handing the plate over to Nate seeing him eye it over slowly. “The only thing is my shift ends in about twenty minutes and I’m getting out of here. I saved a piece of that for you, it’s a chocolate crème pie I tried making for my family the other night. I figured you might like a piece of that.”

“Oh JC, does this mean you like me?” Nate played gently nudging the older man’s shoulder before taking off the plastic wrap and reaching for a fork. “So, did you just do this for me or do you do this for the head doc too?”

“Please kiddo, there is no way I would try making something for that jerk, I would end up poisoning the food,” JC teased seeing Nate chuckle before quickly eating what he gave him. “Slow down kid, you’ll have one hell of a stomach ache later if you eat that fast.”

“It’s really good,” Nate paused finishing up the last bite before wiping the back of his mouth with his sleeve. Reaching for the cart he shrugged his shoulders and moved toward the door. “I just know if I don’t finish quick enough I’ll end up getting stuck with more work. Take care tonight JC and be careful going home, take care of your kids buddy.”

Saying goodbye he pushed his way through the hallway slowly handing the things out through the doors before stopping at one of doors he was very familiar with. Looking inside the small window a smile found it’s way over his lips as he saw Cori sitting in the corner with her head down.

“This is going to be good,” Nate pulled out his keys to open her door, seeing the way her dark eyes looked up at him as he brought in her food closing the door behind him. Turning back and meeting her scowl he let out a small laugh before shrugging his shoulders. “You know, if you would have been nice to me, you wouldn’t have been stuck in that jacket.”

“And stay in here any longer, I’ll break out of this thing and really get my hands on you,” Cori blurted out seeing him smile and walk over towards her as she stood up. “I’m being honest, I’m not afraid to.”

“Hey you are doing pretty good for being in that thing, I know I would struggle like hell,” he informed her with a small nod setting her food down for a moment before turning to face her. “But unlike you I am actually nice to people and would have never found my way into a position like this. Just imagine, if you would have showed me some nice improvements I could have gotten you out of this girl. Just now--I can’t. You pushed too far.”

Seeing Cori glaring out at him, her breath increasing as he shrugged his shoulders. Looking over toward the door again Nate let out a small laugh before turning back to Cori seeing the way she charged at him and he let out a small yelp.

“What are you doing?” Nate hissed jumping out of the way seeing Cori run into the wall and land on her butt, her back falling back against the floor. Stepping in over her and kneeling down he reached out to touch her face gently. A sudden pain filled through his hand as he felt her teeth clamp down on his finger and he let out a long hiss. “Get off me, get off me Cori. You’re going to bite it off--get off me now. Cori come on, get off.”


“I hope this works,” Grady muttered to himself pulling into the lot for Deana’s apartment and reaching over to grab the bag of stuff he had gotten for Jason trying to find something that he would like. Looking inside to see the peanut butter chocolate chip ice-cream in one bag he remembered Deana saying this was Jason’s favorite. Reaching for the other bag in the back he got out of his car and walked up the stairs to her apartment, knocking on the door slowly. Seeing Deana open up the door slowly he offered up a small smile holding up the bags. “Hey there.”

“Hey, come in,” Deana motioned him into the house seeing him set down the bags for a moment and look around the room noticing that Jason wasn’t in the room. Frowning he folded his arms out in front of himself seeing her walk over toward the couch to sit down. “I’m glad you could come here.”

“Is he still in the guest room?” Grady eyed the hallway over slowly noticing the door to the room was closed and he looked back to see Deana nod. Letting out a long breath he knew that this would be killing her brother inside. “He’s still hurting pretty bad?”

“He’s having a really bad night,” Deana informed him in a long breath seeing Grady frown and reach for his bags again and she stood up throwing her hands up in the air. “He’s a good guy, nothing like this should have happened to him. It’s killing him inside and I tried to talk to him Grady, but nothing. What if something bad happens to him from the worrying, I feel so bad that this happened to the Hunt guy too. No one that young deserves something like this, but I can’t seem to get Jason to talk to me at all.”

“Just sit down, I’ll try talk to him,” Grady offered up seeing her eye him over slowly knowing that he never really got to talk to Jason considering the way they met. “Don’t worry, I’ll be right back and try to get him to talk a bit.”

“Okay,” she nodded shrugging her shoulders, if she couldn’t get Jason to talk maybe Grady could. Whatever she could do to help her brother, that’s all she really cared about. “I’ll be here.”

Stepping back slowly he nodded and walked to the door knocking lightly hearing nothing from the other side as he slowly pushed the door open looking around the room before his glance stopped on the bed. Seeing a lump in the bed under the sheets he knew where Jason would be.

“Buddy,” Grady set down the stuff closing the door behind him and walking over toward the bed. Seeing Jason not moving Grady moved forward to pull back the sheets seeing Jason lying there with his cowboy hat over his face. “Can Jason come out and talk for a minute?”

“What do you want?” Jason’s muffled voiced questioned as Grady sat down on the edge of the bed watching the way that Jason sat up and pull his hat away from his face. Throwing the hat to the ground he got up and reached for his shirt staring out at Grady. “Can I help you with something?”

“I heard what happened,” Grady gulped down seeing the look behind Jason’s blue eyes as he pulled his shirt on quickly and sat back down on the bed nodding slowly. “That’s a pretty hard thing to go through. I know you don’t know me very well, but I’m a good listener.”

“Listen, I don’t even know your name,” Jason muttered running his fingers through his hair slumping down and letting out a long breath. “I mean honestly, I think I would find it just a little bit weird trying to talk to you about this whole thing. I’m sorry, it’s just hard to talk about something like this when you don’t even know what’s going on or why it’s happening.”


“About what?” Angela questioned hesitantly moving back out into the hallway as Andy seemed to follow her movement. Realizing how ridiculous she was in thinking that he could be her dead husband Angela forced a small laugh, “I mean how do you know me?”

“I’m sorry I didn’t clarify,” Andy apologized offering his hand to her again, “Your brother Cameron called me into town saying that there was a project he thought we could work on with one another. You see I’m a medical researcher as well and…”

“Oh,” she gasped in realization finally nodding, “right. Cameron mentioned he wanted someone to meet with me about his project.”

“I’ve been doing research on it and I think it sounds like a very worthwhile cause,” Andy nodded in response, his blue eyes sweeping in over her before meeting her gaze again, “Are you sure that you’re alright? You look a little pale.”

“Oh no. I mean it’s been a long day,” Angela brought her fingers up through her dark, damp hair, “I got caught in the rain and when I saw you by the window there I thought that you were someone else and…”

“Judging by your reaction it was obviously not a good someone else,” Andy eyed her once again, an appreciative grin on his face, “which is unfortunate because I would hate for you and I to have a sour beginning with one another especially if we’re going to be working in close quarters together.”

“I take it that Cameron has decided to hire you then, eh?” Angela noted taking a small step away from him despite the fact she was certain even with the strong resemblance he couldn’t be Cary. Cary had been murdered all of those years ago and tossed into the Ocean. He had been taken out of this world by someone she’d trusted and.

“I hope that isn’t a problem,” Andy broke through her thoughts, “I mean Cameron explained that he felt I was more than qualified for the job at hand, but if you would rather leave me out of your team I can respectfully decline the offer.”

“No, of course not,” she waved her hand in the air, “Don’t be ridiculous. I mean this is his baby after all and I can’t really call the shots when he’s financing it.”

“I see,” he leaned in against the doorframe and his gaze settled in over her abdomen, “though I realize that’s not the only baby involved in all of this.”

“What?” she blinked back at him before realizing what he’d focused on, “Oh right. Yeah, I’m just a little bit pregnant.”

“I’d say it’s more than a little bit,” he nodded with an appreciative expression, “but it looks incredible on you Angie. You have this certain glow about you.”

“Thank you Andy,” she smiled at him feeling a strange moment pass between them, “though I don’t mean to sound rude, but I would really rather you call me Angela. Angie isn’t, well, it’s just not something that I go by anymore. I haven’t been called Angie in a long time except from one special person and right now we’re not exactly on speaking terms with one another so…”

“Really?” Andy arched a curious brow eyeing her intently, “And just why is that if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Actually I do mind you asking,” she stood up taller than before tossing her hair back over her shoulders, “It’s kind of complicated and considering that neither you nor I know one another all that well it’s not something I would like to get into.”

“Well we could always get into it with one another say perhaps over dinner,” Andy suggested with a confident smirk flashing her another wink, “Unless of course the baby’s father would object.”

“The baby’s father isn’t exactly part of the program right now, but…” Angela stopped herself before saying too much to a complete stranger that she was already more than uncomfortable about. “You know again I’m sorry to be rude, but I’m kind of tired and it’s been a long day. Cameron didn’t warn me at all that you would be stopping by and I really am not up to discuss business right now. Perhaps you can call me later this week and we can set something up for the lab.”

“It sounds like a plan,” Andy nodded in response, another smile revealing his bright, white teeth to her, “I look forward to it.”

“Yeah, me too,” she mouthed in response before turning her head in the direction that Franklin had gone off in. “Though I really do need to get going to clean up. Franklin.”

“Yes Madame?” Franklin popped his head out from where he’d obviously been standing near the door listening to their exchange.

“Can you please escort Mr. Byrne out,” she met Franklin’s knowing eyes as it seemed that her mind was all about playing tricks on her.

“Of course,” Franklin nodded moving towards the direction of the front door.

“Actually I can show myself out,” Andy gave Angela one last look before walking to the door and exiting the estate.

Once he was gone Angela watched Franklin move to lock the door behind him. Unable to refrain from asking, she stepped behind Franklin and spoke up in a low voice.

“You saw it too, didn’t you?” she questioned wearily.

“Say what Madame?” Franklin responded in a smooth and even tone.

“That he looked like Cary. You saw it when he walked into the house tonight, didn’t you? That’s why you were acting so strangely,” Angela shuddered at the memory of seeing Andy in the library.

“I was merely concerned that your brother would come home and find that I had let you sneak out. He would’ve been less than pleased with me if he had learned of my weakness,” Franklin answered in a nonchalant fashion.

“And that’s all? You didn’t see the resemblance between him and Cary what so ever?” she couldn’t help but ask again wondering why she had been struck with such an uncanny feeling. “He said that Cameron had brought him here to town, but why would Cameron do that considering that he seemed so much like Cary and…”

“I really hadn’t noticed,” Franklin shrugged his shoulders before walking past her, “Perhaps you should do as you had suggested earlier and get some rest as it seems the day has taken it’s toll on you.”

“Maybe you’re right,” she finally sighed wondering if her mind was playing tricks on her now that Cameron had opened up the door to the past in telling her about Kevin. Now as she stood in the middle of her brother’s foyer, she wondered if maybe she was at long last losing her mind once and for all!


“Okay, I would say that shut me up for a while,” Kellen smiled looking up at Kipp from the couch as Kipp pulled his shirt together slowly. “I mean, yeah that would probably make me shut up any day.”

“Oh,” Kipp nodded slowly looking over his shoulder and eyeing Kellen over, seeing him laid out against the couch with his arm behind his head. “And why is that baby?”

“Because,” Kellen stood up from the couch moving in behind Kipp feeling Kipp lean back into him when he gave Kipp’s bottom a small squeeze. “You have the cutest little butt that would make anyone go crazy for you.”

“Kellen,” Kipp let out a small laugh only to hear a small knock on his door and he cleared his throat quickly moving away from Kellen, buttoning up the rest of his shirt. Hearing Kellen let out a small laugh Kipp looked back at him before moving his hand in circles. “Kellen you need to get dressed. It could be Heather.”

“Hey, it wouldn’t be the first time she saw me naked,” Kellen blurted out seeing Kipp glare out over at him and Kellen let out a long laugh reaching down for his pants and simply shrugged his shoulders. “I’m just playing with you Kippy, you know that.”

“I know baby,” Kipp moved forward seeing Kellen pull his pants up and looked around for his shirt before letting out a small noise as he got aggravated not being able to find it. “Kellen it’s on the chair, right over there. I’m sorry I’m rushing you sweetheart, but I don’t know who it is.”

“I know, it’s okay,” Kellen assured him pulling his shirt up his arms slowly before buttoning the buttons quickly letting out a long breath before feeling Kipp’s hands move in over the sides of his hips. Turning to face Kipp, he felt Kipp’s fingers slide up against his cheek and Kellen bent down to press a small kiss against Kipp’s lips. “I’ll never be mad at you baby because I absolutely love you.”

“I appreciate that,” Kipp let out a long breath hearing another loud knock at his door and he rolled his eyes before walking to the door opening it to see Daniel walk in through the room quickly. “Danny, hey. What’s your hurry?”

“Well, I was having some--problems,” Daniel informed him in a long breath looking back to see Kellen fixing his hair in the mirror and Daniel let out a small laugh. “Hey pretty boy.”

“Hey little tyke,” Kellen smirked backed at Daniel through the mirror before turning to meet the glance of Kipp’s little brother, shrugging his shoulders as he spoke. “What can we do for you?”

“Well okay, you see there is this girl that I really like,” Daniel sat down seeing Kellen clap his hands together and quickly sit next to him on the leather couch. Seeing Kipp go to do the same and jump up Daniel looked up at him with confusion. “What’s wrong with you?”

“I’m just going to stand up for a while,” Kipp informed him with a small nod before sliding his hands in his pockets hearing Kellen let out a small laugh before he shot him a glare. “So you were saying, you really like this girl. What do you need help from us for?”

“Well, she’s really sweet and she likes little kids,” Daniel replied in a deep breath thinking things over for a moment before shaking his head slowly. “I mean I really like kids too and she has a little nephew and I was wondering if I could borrow my nephew one time. I mean I’m a really good kid and I would take real good care of him. I love Charles and I respect you Kipp so I was wondering if one time I could take him out. Not today, but sometimes soon and maybe I could start hanging out with him more, so you trust me enough to take him out.”

“Well,” Kipp started with a small breath seeing the huge smile that had developed over Kellen’s features as Kipp thought it over for a moment. “I don’t see a problem with that as long as we teach you the things that are necessary, I think that would be a great idea for you to get to know Charles. Don’t you agree Kellen?”

“Oh, I totally agree,” Kellen nodded quickly seeing the way that Daniel smiled as Kellen wrapped his arm around Daniel’s shoulders, gently hitting him in the shoulder. “So tell me more about this girl. Is she sweet and cute or one of those naughty bad girls because honey if that’s the case you totally deserve a sweet girl. So what is it? Is she a total sweetheart? I want all the details.”


“I’ll call Paul when I’m good and ready,” Jewel finally shot back at her brother after listening to Dave’s lecture on what she should and shouldn’t do. “I mean it’s not like I’ll actually get a hold of him anyways since he’s off in his own little world right now.”

“I think you should both start thinking about your daughter instead of looking at this as a situation where it’s revolving around the two of you,” Dave decided thinking about how upset Stacy was when she’d arrived in town.

“We’ve all already got so much happening with Cori and everything else that it would be good for us to band together as a family,” Carly began trying to get the conversation back on track. “We’ve been assured though that she is seeking the best medical treatment for what’s happened and…”

“What about Diego? Is he pressing charges?” Jewel blurted out focusing on Dave again, “Did he say that he wanted to press charges against her?”

“He hasn’t said much of anything at this point,” Dave confessed thinking about the man that Cori had shot. “I haven’t had a chance to speak to him or apologize for what Cori’s done, but…”

“I’ll do it,” Jewel blurted out after a moment’s contemplation, “I’m sure I can convince him to let it go considering that Cori’s always been a bit of a fruit loop there. I’m sure if I sweet talk him a bit, he’ll be willing to go easy on her and…”

“And the last thing we need is you getting involved with him again,” Dave couldn’t help but roll his eyes, “Cori’s already gone off the deep end and if she thinks you’re moving in on Diego…”

“I’d be doing what I needed to do to save her unappreciative skin,” Jewel spat back at him harshly. “You would think she would be a little more grateful for my even offering it.”

“Considering that you probably haven’t seen her in three years, I would highly doubt it,” Dave shook his head at Jewel’s suggestion. “I don’t think she’d be too fond of you being near Diego right now considering how she’s feeling about him.”

“Hey, I’m not the one who tried to shoot him there,” Jewel frowned back at Dave, “and besides it doesn’t hurt to try and smooth the waters somehow.”

“Maybe I should talk to Diego,” Carly suggested breaking up the fight in the making between Dave and Jewel, “He’s a pretty decent guy and I’m sure he wants Cori to get the help she needs as well. I think he’s just as upset about this as we all are considering…”

“Still, he’ll probably be more open to listen to me,” Jewel glanced over at Carly, “No offense, but I have a way with men.”

“Once again can we not go there?” Dave pleaded with his sister watching her wrinkle her nose at him.

“What? Is there something wrong with me just being honest?” Jewel shrugged her shoulders ever so slightly, “Guys tend to gravitate towards me and can I help it if they think I’m wonderful? I just have a natural gift if you will and…”

“And if you say anything else I’m going to puke,” Dave cut her off with a scowl. He brought his fingers up to rub his already tense head feeling the ache that swirled up inside of him.

“Face it Dave. I’ve always been the problem solver and if I can use my charms to help push this situation along, then I’m more than willing to play my part,” Jewel added with a small wink.

“Oh would you just get over yourself already?” Stacy blurted out rolling her eyes as she’d caught the last part of the conversation between the adults. “The last thing Aunt Cori needs is you screwing up her life even more than it already is.”

“Stacy, I didn’t hear you come out,” Jewel rose up from her chair to turn around and face her daughter.

“More like you didn’t care, but that’s fine because I was just coming in here to let Uncle Dave and Aunt Carly know that I’m going to the movies with Linds and then I’m spending the night at her place,” Stacy explained nodding over towards Dave and Carly.

“Don’t you think you should be asking me instead of telling me what you’re doing,” Jewel frowned down at her daughter.

“I think you missed what I just said, but let me clear it up for you. I’m telling them, not you because you’re too wrapped up in you to worry about me,” Stacy wrinkled her nose at her mother before turning to leave with Lindsay, “Let’s go.”

“Stacy Ann, you get your butt back here right now,” Jewel stomped her foot down causing Stacy to pause for a moment before turning back.

“Why?” Stacy questioned with a look full of distain.

“Because I’m your mother and I told you to,” Jewel tossed back at her watching Stacy curl her lip in a pout before offering up a defiant glare.

“That never mattered before, so why would I care now?” Stacy mouthed turning around and walking out of the house without so much as giving her mother a second thought.

“Do you see what I have to put up with?” Jewel questioned hearing the sound of the front door slamming and alerting her that Stacy had walked out on her.

“Well for starters you might have gone after her and told her that you were in charge, not her,” Dave suggested shaking his head at his sister, “but since you didn’t do that, maybe it’s about time that you call Paul and start talking to him. I’m sure Stacy will be fine because Lindsay is a good kid and they won’t get into trouble, but sooner or later she’s going to crack Jewel and you don’t want that.”

“Don’t tell me how to raise my daughter,” Jewel warned again.

“You know Jewel, maybe Dave is right,” Carly mouthed in response wiggling her way into the conversation in an attempt to be a neutral party, “Maybe it’s time you think about what you and Stacy need to fix that’s wrong between you. She’s obviously got a lot of anger right now and I think you both are going to have to work through that somehow before you can even get close to communicating on the same page. I’m not telling you what to do, but if you think that speaking with Paul could help, it might be worth looking into.”

“Nothing about Paul is worth looking into,” Jewel mouthed stubbornly as Dave and Carly exchanged worried glances wondering just how the conflict between Jewel and Stacy would be resolved down the road.


“My finger,” Nate fell back on his butt as soon as Cori let her bite off of him and he held onto his finger tightly glaring over at her as she tried to sit up and he pushed her back down before getting in over her. “I can’t believe you just did that.”

“I thought it would give you a hint,” Cori hissed up at him seeing the way his green eyes glared down at her and she shrugged her shoulders letting out a small laugh. “I mean really Nate, I don’t want you here so why don’t you just leave.”

“Because then I would be acting like a scared little boy,” Nate informed her seeing the way she went to bite him again and he moved back way from her. “I think you better be nice to me or I will get someone to shoot you in the butt with something again. Then you will really know I mean business. So I suggest you start being nice to me right now because I determine if you are going to go to sleep or not.”

“You know,” Cori sat up slowly resting her back against the wall trying to move her arms, but it was no use as she hit the back of her head against the wall seeing him sit down next to her with the food he brought in. “You really are an asshole.”

“I know,” Nate muttered seeing the way she rubbed her chin against her shoulder trying to itch her face and he frowned reaching out to help her before seeing her turn toward him quickly. “I’m just trying to help, please don’t take another finger.”

“I shouldn’t need help,” Cori informed him with a small sigh feeling him itching her chin gently as she let out a long breath and saw him sit back looking over at her with his green eyes. “I’m being honest, I shouldn’t even be here in the first place.”

“I agree,” he stated seeing the way she looked over at him with her dark eyes before he shrugged his shoulders thinking about her story. “Some guy decides to be an asshole and treat you like crap, then leaves you like this. I don’t see how that's fair at all.”

“That’s funny, you’re the only one that agrees with me,” she let out a long breath before closing her eyes feeling the warmth of his body sitting next to her. “Everyone else thinks I’m nuts and thinks that I should be locked up in here. He broke my heart Nate and treated me like crap, but somehow I’m the one that gets punished. I get punished for falling in love with him, I get punished for him cheating on me, and I get punished for him hurting me.”

“And that’s not a very nice feeling, I know,” Nate reached out to push her blonde hair behind her ear seeing the way she looked out at him almost confused as he shrugged his shoulders. “Listen, I know what it’s like to be heart broken because I’ve been there before. You think she’s everything, you’re world and then she turns out to be the person breaking you down piece by piece. I know how you feel and I would never blame you.”

“Wow,” she let out a long sigh seeing the way he looked at her, his eyebrows tensing together as she frowned leaning further back against the wall. “Here I was thinking you were total a asshole when you just as broken as me.”

“Yeah, well I still am part asshole and you still are part crazy,” Nate added with a small laugh seeing her glare over at him as he smirked and she let out a small laugh. “So you know, I brought this food in here for you and I don’t think you’ll easily be able to eat it. So if you want, I’ll feed it to you.”

“To be honest with you,” Cori started seeing him holding up her sandwich and she shook her head slowly, biting down on her bottom lip. “I’m not really interested in eating, I haven’t been hungry for a while. So no thank you.”

“Your loss then,” Nate took a bite of her sandwich hearing her gasp out and he let out a small laugh seeing her let out a tiny laugh of her own, “because I’m hungry as hell.”

“Well if you are going to put it like that at least give me some of it,” she blurted out seeing him hold it in front of her mouth and she took a small bite of it before seeing him smile. “Thanks.”

“No problem,” Nate winked over at her before taking a bite of his own and shrugging his shoulders before reaching for her drink and letting out a small laugh. “I bet that tastes a lot better than my finger did.”

“Yeah and I know where the sandwich is made from a nice guy,” Cori began with a small frown seeing Nate looking over his finger slowly before she shook her head. “I have no idea where your finger has been.”

“Nowhere you have to worry about,” Nate nudged her gently before holding the sandwich up again for her to take another bite. “Now eat some more of this before I eat the whole thing and you get nothing out of the deal and get pissed.”


“I know it’s hard talking to stranger, but sometimes that’s the easiest thing to do,” Grady informed Jason seeing the way that Jason eyed him over slowly and let out a long breath. “I’m being honest Jason, if you tell a stranger your problems, they don’t know you so they really can’t judge you. I’ve known you very long and unfortunately you got to know me in a very--wrong way. My name is Grady by the way.”

“Yeah Jason,” Jason reached out to shake his hand slowly before letting out a long breath leaning back against the headboard and looking over at Grady with his blue eyes. “I’m pretty damn sure though that if I talk to you, you will judge me and probably tell Deana everything. I mean you are her boyfriend.”

“But I’m also a man and I could very well be your best friend if we got to know each other,” Grady offered up seeing Jason bite down on his bottom lip before shrugging his shoulders and nudging Jason in the ribs gently. “So if you talk to me, I promise you now the only thing I’ll tell your sister is that you are going to be fine.”

“Okay, I don’t want her worrying about me, she has too much on her hands right now and I don’t want her hurt,” Jason informed Grady in a long sigh seeing the way Grady nodded slowly, his green eyes watching Jason carefully. “I mean, she has her own problems and I don’t want to make them worse.”

“And that’s just you being a good brother,” Grady patted Jason’s shoulder softly seeing Jason’s eyebrows tense together when he looked in Grady’s direction. “I completely understand that, but I’m here now and I can listen.”

“It’s just like a movie or a dream, you’re waiting for someone to wake you up and say something about you calling out in the night, but then reality comes crashing around you and you realize that the whole time it’s been real,” Jason began in a low muttered voice running his hand over the back of his neck before looking back up at Grady. “You learn that person really died and you didn’t do a thing to save him. You wish that you were strong enough to stop it, brave enough to save them when all the while you were a coward and hid--afraid for you own life when you could have saved someone.”

“You don’t always know that,” Grady pointed out seeing Jason look away from him and reach for his phone, looking at something before closing it again. “You shouldn’t push this out Jason, you could have tried, but you could have been killed too.”

“Well what the hell did I have to live for?” Jason blurted out looking up at Grady seeing the way that Grady stared out at him and he shook his head. “Don’t get me wrong, I love living, I don’t want to die and that’s the last thing I want to happen, but this guy had someone he loved. He was going to propose to her and if I could have saved him, I’m bigger, I have more muscle and if I got shot I may have been able to be saved. He’s small and it was harder for him to fight Grady, do you know what it’s like to be holding someone in your arms as they died?”

“I know what it’s like to lose something so close to you that you always have that feeling about what if,” Grady informed Jason seeing his jaw tighten as he met Grady’s glance again and Grady ran his fingers through his own hair. “I was engaged before your sister and my fiancée was kidnapped by this crazy girl and she was in a building. I don’t know if you’ve met Kyle yet, but he’s my best friend and we tried the best we could to figure out where she was. Kyle risked his life trying to find out while I did the same and finally we found out where she was, but when we got there it was too late. There was a bomb in the building and when we got there, that’s when it went off. So I know what’s its like to lose that one thing in your life that meant everything. To feel like you could have made a difference if you would have just pushed harder and fought to help that thing you wanted to save the most.”

“Grady, I’m sorry,” Jason felt an ache growing in his chest already by seeing the look behind Grady’s green eyes and unsure of what he was about to do Jason moved forward to give Grady a hug knowing that it may seem wrong at first but he did it anyways. Pulling away he saw Grady nod slowly before looking back down and Jason reached for something around his neck. “I think you need this more than me.”

“What’s this?” Grady looked to his hand seeing a stone charm that Jason put in his hand that had a chain around it. Looking at the way the red color reflected onto the ceiling as he moved it under the light he let out a long breath meeting Jason‘s blue eyes again. “Jason?”

“It’s a hope stone,” Jason informed Grady seeing the way that Jason stared out at him and Jason rolled his eyes before moving forward and closing Grady’s fingers around it. “Don’t ask about it, but Deana and I both have one, it’s something that we were very strong believers about. There was a story that our parents once told us about a man who always had pain in his life, but when he found this stone, everything would get better. It wasn’t magic, but the stories he heard made him believe in hope, made him believe in the strength inside him and he became stronger. I think you need this.”

“Jason, I can’t,” Grady went to give it back seeing Jason shrug his shoulders and reach for his cowboy hat again before holding it in front of him to keep Grady from giving it back. Grady nodded slowly before putting it around his neck and seeing Jason nod slowly as Grady gulped down deeply. “Thank you Jason, that means a lot to me. I’ll keep it on for a long time. You know, I actually got you something.”

“You got me something?” Jason’s eyebrow arched up seeing the way that Grady nodded and stood up to go grab the two bags and set it down on the bed. “What in the world could you have gotten me when you hardly even know me?”

“Well, I got you this and I know it’s the last thing you want to see right now, but I went to a lot of places for this so maybe you’ll think about it later,” Grady pulled out the ice-cream he bought for Jason seeing the way Jason half smiled before nodding slowly and Grady set that down before he pulled out some cheese chips and two liter of Pepsi. “I also know that when you are feeling bad, junk food in the best thing to eat.”

“And ruin my great physique,” Jason chuckled seeing Grady shrug before Jason shook his head slowly looking down at the Pepsi reaching for it before nodding slowly. “How about we go into the living room and the three of us can share all of this. I think Deana needs to know I’m alright and she has to hear it from me.”

Slowly getting out of the bed Jason gathered all his things before stopping and looking back at Grady as he picked up the bags and Jason reached for his watch.

“Hey Grady,” Jason called out seeing Grady nod slowly and look back at him. Moving toward the door he opened it slowly before looking back at him, offering up a small shake of his head. “I may have had the worst first time meeting, but you aren’t that bad. Thanks a lot man, it means a lot. You’re a pretty good guy.”


“I thought that we were going to Atlantic City,” Heather gave Kyle a strange look after he’d pulled off of the road to head in the direction of the water.

“Let’s just say I phoned in a favor,” Kyle explained with a small smile seeing the curiosity behind Heather’s eyes. “You’ll have a few minutes to get everything ready once we get there, but you’ll have to trust me on this.”

“I would trust you with anything,” Heather admitted honestly watching him pull the car into a spot near the edge of the road. There in front of her she noticed the moon was hanging over the water as it seemed that they were on the beach.

“Who says you can’t make miracles happen in a short time?” Kyle winked at her before pulling the car to a complete stop.

Heather opened her mouth to say something when her side of the car opened and she found herself met by a hand waving at her to get out of the car.

“We don’t have all night,” the voice explained as Heather pulled her head out to see Mrs. Benjamin, her old neighbor standing in front of her. “We have lots to do in so little time.”

“Mrs. Benjamin?” Heather repeated turning to see Kyle getting out of the driver’s side of the car with Charles in his arms.

“I’ll see you soon sweetheart,” Kyle promised keeping Charles close to him, “We have a few things we need to do before the ceremony.”

“But…” Heather watched him walk away with Charles before turning to see Mrs. Benjamin smiling at her.

“I’m so glad you’re here honey,” Mrs. Benjamin mouthed with a warm and welcoming expression, “When Kyle called us earlier and explained what was going on, we were overjoyed. My husband was just finishing up with a ceremony just north of here, but you know he could never refuse Kyle anything. He’d always loved him like he was one of our own.”

“I remember,” Heather replied thinking about their childhood and of Kyle’s neighbors who were always good to them and the other kids growing up. They were an older couple who hadn’t had any children of their own, so they had seemed like an Aunt and Uncle to a great many of the neighborhood kids. However, as Heather eyed the woman in front of her, she realized that time had done her well. She hadn’t seen the woman in almost fifteen years and yet she was as vibrant and eager as always.

“You look radiant,” Mrs. Benjamin smiled over at Heather reaching out to touch her shoulder gently, “I always knew this day would come for you. In fact when I think about that first wedding that you had with Kyle when you were both so very small--when Karen and I coordinated the flowers and the snacks, I never believed that I would be able to play a hand in the real wedding. Why if Karen was here right now, she would be so proud of you and Kyle. She always hoped her son would find love with someone wonderful and somehow I think she always believed it would be you.”

Heather couldn’t help but smile at Mrs. Benjamin’s words, “I always wanted her to be here for this too. I loved her very much.”

“She would be so very proud of you and Kyle,” Mrs. Benjamin hugged Heather tightly, “and your son he’s beautiful. He looks so much like you both and I’m sure that he’s going to be so very happy that his parents are getting married.”

“Oh Charles is…” Heather stopped herself before smiling, “thank you. He’s just as happy as we are.”

“I have no doubt about it, but as much as I would like to keep talking with you, we have a wedding to get to,” Mrs. Benjamin tugged on Heather’s arm before leading her into a small cabin on the lake. “I know that this is very short notice, but Kyle told me he knew your size and he called me with an idea of what he was looking for in a dress for you.”

Heather watched Mrs. Benjamin step aside to reveal a white, satin gown before her. It was tapered in lace and delicate iridescent pearls with an off the shoulder top to it. It seemed to glow in the light filtering into the room by the small window facing the beach.

“It’s beautiful,” Heather stepped forward touching the material to have it hit her that this was finally it. This was the day that all of her dreams were finally coming true.

“I’ll give you a few minutes to get ready,” Mrs. Benjamin mouthed stepping out of the room as Heather reached for the dress and held it up to her.

“It’s perfect,” she whispered to herself quickly stepping out of the dress she’d pulled together before she and Kyle left. She took the dress off of the hanger and it moved with ease over her curves accenting all of her in such a way that it seemed the dress was made only for her. She twirled around in it before reaching out to the veil that was on the table top beside her. She situated her hair for a moment pinning it up before placing the veil on top of her head and in an instant she felt like she did all those years ago when she and Kyle had their first ‘wedding’ with his mother. It was such an incredible point in her life and now to think that it was really happening, she felt her heart fluttering in her chest in anticipation.

“Are you ready,” she heard Mrs. Benjamin question popping her head back into the room. The woman gasped and clapped her hands together as she looked at Heather, “You look radiant. Kyle is going to love it.”

“I already love it,” Heather confessed reaching out to embrace Mrs. Benjamin, “Thank you so very much.”

“You’re very welcome sweetheart, but it’s not complete yet,” Mrs. Benjamin informed her stepping aside and walking over to a cabinet across the room. She opened the door and pulled out a box. “You have just one more thing that you need…”

Heather watched as Mrs. Benjamin opened up the black satin box to reveal a blue sapphire necklace inside. She lifted it up for Heather’s inspection as it seemed to sparkle in the moonlight with a life force of it own. Heather couldn’t help but gasp as Mrs. Benjamin offered it to her.

“Oh I couldn’t possibly,” Heather shook her head in polite refusal.

“It was Karen’s,” Mrs. Benjamin explained smoothly offering the necklace to Heather again, “Kyle wanted you to wear it because it was what she wore on her wedding day.”

“I…I…I don’t know what to say,” Heather stared at the necklace feeling her heart pounding in her chest at what the necklace represented.

“I know she would want you to wear it too sweetheart,” Mrs. Benjamin informed her with a thoughtful expression reaching out to help Heather put on the necklace.

Chocked up on emotion Heather nodded feeling the cool metal against her skin before she took a long look at her reflection in the mirror. Somehow everything had been falling apart in her life only a few months ago, but now she stood on her wedding night ready to make each and every one of her dreams come true. Placing her finger over the sapphire, she thought back to the first time she and Kyle were together all those years ago pledging forever to one another when neither one of them really had any idea just what forever had meant.

“Are you ready?” Mrs. Benjamin questioned seeing Heather lost in the moment.

Heather nodded, “More than I’ve ever been,” she confessed following Mrs. Benjamin out back onto the beach area where Heather caught the first glimpse of the white flowers scattered over the sand, with a long white tier of satin leading to where Kyle stood near the edge of the water dressed in a tuxedo with Charles in his arms. She found herself breathless at the image of him with her son and immediately she couldn’t help but smile. The music started and Mrs. Benjamin rushed forward to reach for Charles to hold him while Heather moved forward one step closer to destiny. Finally after what felt like an eternity Heather was face to face with Kyle feeling his hand in hers.

“I love you,” he mouthed under his breath as they stood together in front of Mr. Benjamin, who was ready to perform the ceremony.

“I love you too,” Heather whispered under her breath seeing the soft glow of the moonlight shine in Kyle’s face as the sounds of the waves beyond the shore crashed in offering up their own melody to their special moment.

“Shall we begin?” Mr. Benjamin questioned with a thoughtful expression.

“Please,” both Kyle and Heather spoke in unison before letting out small laughs.

“Well since I can see you two aren’t in a hurry here, maybe I should wait a few more minutes,” Mr. Benjamin teased with a tiny chuckle, “Just kidding.”

“I think I’ve waited more than long enough,” Kyle admitted freely squeezing Heather’s hand in his, “We both have.”

“Then let’s begin,” Mr. Benjamin started with the ceremony as Heather found herself lost in Kyle’s eyes. She couldn’t think about anything other than the warmth of his touch over hers, the way his index finger caressed her palm and caused a whole new set of sensations to race over her. The thrumming in her chest was overwhelming, but it wasn’t until she felt Mr. Benjamin turn to Kyle indicating that he was ready to say his vows that she felt a lump form in her throat.

“Heather,” Kyle spoke her name in a low, sensual tone, causing her to remember what it was like when they were alone together, “I have loved you for longer than I can remember. When we were younger you and I stood together in front of my mother and swore to spend the rest of our lives together. We shared something magical back then and even now that bond we have between us is still very much alive. Yes, we had confusion and turmoil, but all the roads we traveled on lead us to this one special place, to this one night and moment for us together. I know that there have been times when you wanted to smack me, when you never wanted to see me again because of the way I made you feel when I was lost in my own confusion, yet you never gave up on me. You never stopped believing in us or in what we have together. And it was when I hit rock bottom that I saw just how much I stood to lose. Here you were right in front of me all of this time when I was holding onto something that was never meant for me in the first place. All the time I spent searching and dreaming about finding true love was pointless because I had it all along with you.”

Kyle paused reaching out to touch her face gently. He stepped in closer to her, sliding his fingers over her cheek and into her soft, blonde hair, “You are the great love of my life that I have been longing to find. I know that we still have so much making up for lost time to do, but I swear to you that I’m going to spend each and every day of my life making you and Charles happy. Sure, I might be silly at times, but when you’re hurting I want to be the man who holds you in his arms and shows you everything is going to be alright. I want to be the one who wakes up to you each and every morning and who shares his life living and loving you and our family. I want to make all of our dreams a reality for us starting tonight with you at my side, as my wife.”

“Oh Kyle,” Heather blurted out unable to repress the tears that carried over her, “I love you so much.”

“I love you and that’s why I pledge my life, my heart, my soul to you and to us,” he leaned forward to kiss her unable to help himself as he was caught up in the moment.

“Um Kyle, we didn’t get there just yet…” Mr. Benjamin couldn’t help but laugh watching Kyle’s face grow red with embarrassment.

“Right,” Kyle stepped back and apologized, “sorry…”

“Heather,” Mr. Benjamin turned to her looking at her expectantly.

“My turn?” she gulped feeling a moment of disorientation overtake her after Kyle’s kiss. “Actually I wasn’t prepared for this at all and I’m nowhere near as poetic as he is, but for what it’s worth I have to say that I love you Kyle Houston and you are the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me other than Charles. When I first met you I knew you were the one and I tried everything I could to get your attention, but when I didn’t succeed in my mission it only made me more determined to win you over. Eventually I broke you down and I thought that we had it all figured out, but I was wrong. I had to make mistakes to realize just how much I had when I was with you. I don’t regret my life, but I do wish that we had more time together in the past--time before now, but as you said earlier there’s no looking back only forward.”

“Always forward,” Kyle nodded encouragingly keeping his hand in hers.

“That’s why I want to tell you that this is absolutely everything I could have ever asked for. Being with you is a dream come true for me and I promise you that I’m going to spend my life, my forever doing all that I can to make you the happiest man alive. I’ve longed to be your wife for what feels like an eternity and now that it’s happening, well I know now that I don’t know what I did to deserve this kind of happiness, but I don’t ever want it to end. I promise to love you and only you, to share everything with you and welcome all that life has to offer us from here on out. Before we found one another again, I was a hopeless wreck, but now…now I know that I found everything I’ve ever wanted and needed in you. You are my destiny Kyle Houston and I know now that as long as we’re together the world is ours for the taking…our dreams are here for us to live out together day by day and I know in my heart that this is everything I’ve ever hoped for. When I married you before when we were four I knew I was in love with you and now I know that I want to share forever with you, loving you and sharing a family with Charles and all his many brothers and sisters in the future. I want it all Kyle and I thank God that he’s giving me a chance to have it with you.”

Heather reached out to touch his face ready to kiss him in response as Mr. Benjamin cleared his throat.

“Perhaps we should get to the rings before that,” Mr. Benjamin suggested watching Heather blush as well.

“That’s a good idea,” she nodded seeing Kyle reach for the gold band beside him that was on a pillow that Charles was now holding.

“Thanks buddy,” Kyle reached out to muss Charles’s dark hair as he looked curious in his tiny tuxedo Kyle had gotten for him. Heather couldn’t help but smile as Charles smacked his lips together and laughed at Kyle. Kyle reached onto the pillow again and handed a ring to Heather as well, “This one is for mommy.”

“Thank you sweetheart,” Heather reached out to kiss her son before taking Kyle’s hand in hers. She inhaled a slow breath hearing the water move in over the shoreline again before she began to place the ring on Kyle’s finger repeating the words that Mr. Benjamin had spoken for her. “I give you this ring as a symbol of our love. With it I wed you, and give you my body, soul, and heart.”

Kyle smiled feeling her slip the ring onto his finger as he reached for her hand and mouthed the same words while sliding the ring onto her long, slender finger and making it official, “I give you this ring as a symbol of our love. With it I wed you, and give you my body, soul, and heart.”

“I now pronounce you man and wife. You may,” Mr. Benjamin began ready to finish when he watched Kyle pull Heather into his arms for a long, and emphatic kiss. “You already know the rest.”

“That I do,” Kyle whispered warmly against Heather’s lips kissing her again in a moment of breathlessness as it seemed that the dark cloud that had been hanging over the both of them was finally lifted at long last leaving only love to remain between them as husband and wife.


...to be continued...