Episode 357

“I can’t believe I just did that,” Trisha ran her hands through her hair slowly hating that she just blurted that out when she promised she wouldn’t. Looking up she saw Kevin sitting on the edge of the couch looking out at the floor as she stepped forward. “You know, it really isn’t that bad.”

“I can’t believe she left knowing she was pregnant,” Kevin muttered to himself, his throat dry at the thought of Ria and her being pregnant. He was happy, but also worried about the fact that she didn’t call him or tell him. “Trisha, I love her.”

“I know you do and this dream I had last night proved to me you did,” Trisha started to ramble seeing the way that Kevin looked up slowly at her with his chocolate brown eyes. “It was horrible seeing you two broken up in the dream, it was more horrible to the fact that you were all gray.”

“I don’t want to be without her Trish, you have to…,” Kevin paused after standing up and looking her in the eyes, seeing the way she looked up at him. “Did you just say I was gray?”

“Oh all over the place you looked horrible,” she nodded quickly closing her eyes and remembering the look he had in her dream and she let out a long breath. “You also got fat which made you look really bad and…”

“Trisha, let’s get back to focusing on Ria. Where is she?” Kevin questioned seeing the look in Trisha’s eyes and he could tell that she was uneasy about telling him everything. Reaching out for her hands, he squeezed them lightly and she bit down on her bottom lip. “Trisha please, I have to talk to her. I have to see her, there are so many things I have to tell her. So many things we haven’t settled.”

“Kevin, I can’t let you do that when I know you are going to go right back to Angela,” she insisted pulling her hands away from him watching the anger grow behind his eyes as a muscle in his jaw clenched. “You’re going to get Ria for back up and then when your precious Angie comes calling you are going to be right back on her doorstep leaving your baby and Ria all alone.”

“Trisha, I swear,” Kevin threw his hands up in the air letting out a long, sad sigh that made Trisha take a step forward as he ran his fingers through his hair slowly. “This is the only thing I’ve ever wanted. I’ve made mistakes Trisha, we all have, but I want to spend the rest of my life with Ria. I want to have that baby, I want to be holding her hand in the emergency room. I want to watch my baby grow, I want to be in every part of it’s life and that whole time I want to be holding Ria loving her every minute of every day.”

“Oh no, don’t do the romantic speech here and make me so jealous that my sister has you,” Trisha sighed seeing Kevin stand up and reach out to touch her cheek softly. Seeing his brown eyes begging out to her she shook her head slowly knowing that she made a promise to Ria. “I can’t tell you where she is right now, I promised I wouldn’t Kevin.”

“I know you made a promise Trisha, but think about it. What do you think is going to be good in your sister’s life?” he spoke lightly moving back and casually shrugging his shoulders knowing that Ria probably begged for Trisha to keep him far away from her. “Trisha, I was going to tell your sister I loved her that time you walked in on us. Now I know that hurt you, but I fell in love with her before she even thought about the word love. I’ve always loved your sister from day one even when she beat me up when I was little and you know she took me down all the time. I’m always going to love her and I can’t let her go, not now.”

“Okay, okay,” she took in a long breath nodding slowly as she felt Kevin wrap his arms around her tightly, picking her up in his arms and spinning her around before finally setting her down. “You can’t tell her that I told you though because she’ll kill me Kevin.”

“Trisha, no offense but if you don’t tell me where she is, I’m going to kill you,” Kevin pointed out seeing her dark eyes widen as he stepped forward and she stepped back. Quickly walking into the kitchen she reached for something on the refrigerator and Kevin stepped in behind her. “This isn’t some goose chase like the last time is it? This is where I will find her for sure?”

“I promise,” Trisha saw Chase step inside the kitchen behind him as she handed over the paper to Kevin and saw him look at it before smiling widely and stepping forward to hug her tightly in his arms. “Kevin, as much as I am loving the bear hug right now, if you don’t stop you will kill me and I did give you the information so that really wouldn’t be fair.”

“Sorry, thank you so much Trisha,” Kevin looked over the paper after letting her go and he rubbed his chin slowly, tipping down he pressed a small kiss against her cheek. “I promise, I’m going to make everything right again, I promise. Thank you so much, it means so much to me.”

“Hi Kevin,” Chase saw Kevin turn around to face him before nodding slowly and Chase watched as Kevin ran out the front door and closed the door behind him. “Bye Kevin.”

“I think he is in a hurry,” Trisha stepped in behind Chase seeing the way his blue eyes glanced back at her over his shoulder. Chase turned around to face her folding his arms out in front of his chest like as if he was wondering what she was up to. “When you are trying to win back the woman you love, it must be really important.”

“You’re putting him and Ria back together?” Chase questioned seeing the way that Trisha half nodded before biting down on her bottom lip nervously. “Trisha, I’m so proud of you, that was the greatest thing you could have done. You must have really cared about Ria enough to put them back together.”

“Yeah, now I’m just hoping,” Trisha took in a long breath looking back at the front door knowing that if something wrong was going to happen, Ria would blame her for telling Kevin. “Now I’m just hoping I didn’t make the biggest mistake in doing this.”


Brant walked into the kitchen at the Ashford mansion finding his grandfather seated at the table reading the newspaper and enjoying his morning espresso. Augie looked up from where he’d been seated and nodded towards Brant motioning for Brant to join him.

“You’re running behind this morning, aren’t you?” Augie noted watching Brant walk over to pull a juice out of the refrigerator before taking a seat beside Augie.

“I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and last night I had some trouble sleeping,” Brant admitted dropping down into a seat across from his grandfather, “I was thinking about Angela.”

“I take it the two of you are still having issues between you,” Augie noted setting his newspaper aside to focus on his grandson.

Brant nodded, “She’s still doubting me because of what Cameron told her. He has her convinced that I helped Nicholas murder her father. I didn’t, but she’s still so unsure and…”

“And you’re trying to prove your innocence, yes?” Augie arched a curious brow.

Brant nodded once more, “I want her to see that I’m not the monster that Nicholas is. I could never, ever do the things that he’s done even if half this town thinks that I’m capable of it. I’ve tried to break out of his hold on this family and…”

“And you have Brant,” Augie placed his hand on top of Brant’s, “You’ve grown up to be a fine young man and anyone who knows you knows that you and your father are like night and day. You made your own path and I’m certain that you wouldn’t fall victim to his demons.”

“That’s what people would have said about Ken not so long ago,” Brant shuddered thinking about his brother’s demise, “When he snapped like he did…”

“Brant, you aren’t your brother. You and Ken are both different personalities and you always have been. He has chosen to go one way with his life, while you, well you’ve always been a bit of a rebel. Ken kept himself out of the loop and yes, he tried to believe that he could ignore that part of him that was like your father, but the more he suppressed it, the more it fought to surface,” Augustus informed him with a poignant sigh, “I wish I had been here earlier to help him break those chains, but in losing Caitlin like he did, it triggered that part of him that he’d kept buried inside.”

“Which has me worried about what happens when he loses Wendy,” Brant revealed thinking about his brother’s ill-fated romances, “When he lost her the first time, that side of him first came out, but he didn’t go as far as he did when Caitlin died. Now if Wendy dies…”

“That’s something we will have to deal with in time,” Augustus interrupted with a small frown, “but right now before you go about fixing your brother’s issues, let’s talk about you and Angela.”

“What can I say? She thinks I’m a murderer and the fact that her brother is the one feeding all of this false information to her isn’t making it any easier on me,” Brant ran his fingers through his dark hair, “I’ve tried to talk to her and get her to see that I’m not the man that Cameron made me out to be. I’ve seen her a couple of times, but it seems like every time I make some kind of progress, Cameron does or says something to stir up all of the doubts inside of her all over again.”

“Tell me something Brant,” Augustus gave him a long look before leaning forward over the table, “Do you love her?”

Brant answered without hesitation, “More than I think I’ve ever loved anyone before. I know that sounds crazy considering how obsessive I was with Avery, but with Angela well I never had to pretend with her. I didn’t try to make things work like I had dreamt about because it came naturally. She knew I wasn’t perfect and she didn’t expect me to measure up to someone else that she was lusting over. On top of that when she’s with me, I know it’s me and only me she’s thinking about. Plus with the twins on the way, how could I not want to share the rest of my life with her? She’s everything to me.”

“And you believe she feels this way about you?” Augustus noted watching Brant nod again.

“She’s just confused right now, but if I could get her alone and away from Cameron. If I could just get her to see the truth, then I’m certain that she and I can find a way to work things out with one another. She fights me at times, but when she’s in my arms kissing me and holding onto me, I know there’s a part of her that isn’t convinced that Cameron is being honest with her. I think deep down she wants to believe that I’m not the bad guy he makes me out to be.” Brant explained with a frown, “It’s just the getting her alone part that I am having a little trouble with considering.”

“Then maybe it’s time you come up with a plan,” Augustus suggested seeing the determination behind his grandson’s eyes, “If there’s anything I can do to help, you know that I’m more than willing to do so. Just say the word and I’ll offer you anything that you need for this one Brant.”

“Right now I think I’m going to need nothing short of a miracle to get her back, but I’m hoping I’ll find one,” Brant admitted with a long sigh wondering if he and Angela would truly find a way back to one another again once the weight of Cameron’s words wore down. He just prayed that when everything was said and done that she didn’t believe the lies she’d been told because in losing her, he knew it would hurt far worse than it ever had in ending a relationship before and unlike the last time, he knew full well that he wouldn’t ever be able to recover from this loss!


Angela entered the dining room only to discover her brother seated at the table with a mug of coffee in one hand while he was scanning over a folded newspaper in the other. She watched him raise his mug to his lips to take a small sip of coffee before she cleared her throat alerting him to her presence in the room.

“Angel,” he set his mug down as his dark eyes fell upon her again, “I would’ve thought you’d be resting right about now.”

“I can’t sleep,” she admitted moving over to take a seat in one of the chairs beside him at the table, “I’ve had a lot on my mind lately.”

“As have I,” he nodded appropriately before motioning to the untouched plate of food in front of him, “Why don’t you eat that? I can have the cook whip up something else for me, but you look like you could use your strength.”

“I’m not hungry Cameron,” she frowned over at him thinking about the thoughts that had haunted her all night long. “I want to talk about Kevin and Brant.”

“And I would really rather you eat,” Cameron tossed back at her with a frown of his own, “You are pregnant after all and it isn’t healthy for you to not be taking care of yourself. If you expect for the little ones to have a fighting chance at a normal life, it is best to bring them up with a healthy start.”

“One that has honesty attached to it,” she piped in thinking about her memories of Brant and Kevin. “Cam, I want to know how you know that Brant and Kevin did those things you accused them of doing. How can you be sure?”

“Angel, you know how Cary died. It all makes sense that Kevin was the one behind it,” Cameron pointed out with a frown, “he was the last one to see Cary and given that Kevin was in love with you…”

“Cameron, I’m not so sure that Kevin killed him,” Angela admitted remembering her awkward meeting with Andy the night before. “There is something about Kevin that…”

“He didn’t even try to deny it Angel,” Cameron stated the obvious before discarding his newspaper. “You saw that yourself when he tried to explain himself…”

“But I didn’t give him that chance. He wanted me to hear his side of the story and I ran away from him,” she shuddered remembering the chill that she’d been unable to erase when she’d run into Andy the night before. “Tell me something Cam, who is that Dr. Byrne that you want to have working on your project with me?”

“He’s just some doctor,” Cameron shrugged his shoulders in response, “I called him into town for a favor, but he really hasn’t been doing all that much for me.”

“I don’t think that you should bring him in onto your project,” Angela blurted out her thoughts getting the best of her, “I don’t trust him. There is something about him that…”

“That what?” Cameron arched a curious brow.

“Can’t you see it?” she questioned thinking about her memories of Cary. “Do you not see what I have?”

“I haven’t really paid much attention to Dr. Byrne,” he admitted honestly knowing full well the only reason he’d brought Andy back was to make sure that Diane paid for what she’d done to destroy JT. “He’s not relevant to me in the grand scheme of things.”

“Well maybe you should rethink that because last night he creeped me out. He reminded me a lot of…” she started to explain to him only to feel him cut her off.

“He creeps you out, yet you have some kind of inner conflict about the fact that Kevin and Brant are murderers,” Cameron couldn’t help but shake his head at her, “Angel I think that you’ve got your priorities all out of order here. You are losing your sense of reasoning.”

“All of my reasoning and logic tells me that I’m missing a key piece of the puzzle where Brant and Kevin are concerned,” Angela divulged thinking about the men she’d written out of her life. “Cam, I know you think that they are monsters, but I know better.”

“Kevin killed Cary. He didn’t even bother to deny it,” he pointed out once again, “and don’t get me started on Brant.”

“Brant’s not who you think he is,” Angela blurted out surprising herself with the conviction in her tone. “He’s not the kind of man who could murder our father. I’m certain of it.”

“Why? Because you slept with him? Do you really think that qualifies you as some kind of expert?” he questioned harshly, a scowl tightening over his lips, “Angel, you need to be smart about things. You need to realize that Brant was using you to get to me.”

“He couldn’t have faked everything we shared--everything we still share,” she replied dropping her hand down to her abdomen and thinking about their children growing inside of her, “Whether you like it or not Cameron, he’s the father of my children.”

“Only because he manipulated the situation in his favor and worked to prey on your emotions. The man never loved you Angel. He’s only out for revenge and…” Cameron explained matter of fact hating to hear her defending her lover.

“No, Cam that’s not how it is,” she refused to accept that answer from him, “Brant loves me and I love him. I know that I was quick to think the worst of him, but there’s more to this than anyone is telling me. There has to be some other explanation.”

“You mean other than you turned your back on your family by bedding the enemy?” he arched a speculative brow. “Is that what you’re bringing this to Angel?”

“I don’t believe Brant is the enemy. I still think that,” Angela offered up watching Cameron rise up to stand before her.

“He’s not your Prince Charming and he’s not going to bring you happiness. Angel, the best thing that you can do is never look back on what it was you thought you had with him because when it gets down to it, it was nothing more than a lie,” Cameron blurted out knowing full well that he wasn’t about to let his sister wind up in the arms of his enemy. There was no way he would allow that to happen ever again!


Russ finished with Erin setting her down for her nap with her favorite stuffed toy that Kevin had picked up for her the other day. After she snuggled into her crib, Russ thought he’d heard Avery get out of the shower. Thinking about how they would spend their time with one another now that they finally had a moment of peace and quiet, Russ moved into their bedroom to open the lines of communication when he realized that Avery wasn’t in the bedroom. Looking around he deduced that she must still be in the bathroom getting ready as he sank onto the edge of the bed sitting down and letting out a long sigh. He fell back onto the blankets and closed his eyes when he heard the sound of Avery clearing her throat.

“You don’t sound very enthusiastic, which is truly a pity,” Avery spoke up in a low, sultry tone as Russell’s eyes sprung open

He turned his head in the direction of the sound seeing her standing in the doorway between the bedroom and the bathroom wearing his navy colored bathrobe. Her long, dark hair was still damp as she had it tied up loosely in a clip that sat on the crown of her head. She tipped her head to the side and smiled at him, kicking one curvy leg out from underneath the oversized robe before letting one of the sleeves fall off of her shoulder indicating that she hadn’t bothered to get dressed before he’d walked into the room. Turning onto his side he smiled at her before speaking up.

“I think I just felt a sudden burst of energy,” Russ confessed watching her slow and sexy stride into their bedroom to stand at the foot of the bed. He forced himself to sit up at full attention while she eyed him with sinful intent.

“Why that’s good to know considering that I was thinking that our daughter might’ve wore you out after all of our morning’s activities,” she stretched her arms out, running her finger tips over his shoulders as she leaned in closer to him. Her chocolate colored eyes met his with a fiery intent as she licked her lips.

“She’s exhausted, but I’m suddenly feeling that second wind I’d mentioned earlier,” Russ felt the warmth of her over him as he tipped his head up anticipating a kiss from her.

“Good because I have a few things I’d like from you right about now,” Avery stepped back abruptly before pointing to the opposite side of the room, “There’s a bulb that burnt out in the closet and I can’t see a thing in there without the light. I need you to grab the ladder out of the garage and bring it in to change it considering that…”

“You want me to change a light bulb,” Russ blinked back at her unable to keep his eyes off of the increasing part in his robe that now confirmed that she wasn’t wearing anything underneath. Sure, he had no problem being a handyman when necessary, but with Avery standing in front of him fresh out of a shower and naked, he couldn’t help but find himself distracted.

“That’s right,” she nodded catching his gaze dropping to her chest. She reached out to curl her finger underneath his chin and urged him to meet her eyes again, “Russ, I’m talking to you up here, not down there.”

“I’m sorry,” Russ gulped feeling her thigh brush against his. It sent a jolt of electricity running to his groin as her nail scratched lightly over the side of his face in an attempt to keep his full attention.

“We can’t be letting things go around the house considering that it’s still very new and we really have to get things in order,” she continued leaning in over him and giving him a less than innocent view of her soft, seductive curves again. “I mean we don’t want to be the house in the neighborhood that falls to pieces and gets the neighbors talking, now do we?”

“Of course we don’t,” Russ nodded in agreement seeing his robe fall further down her shoulder before the other seemed to taper off as well freeing up more of her to his hungry gaze.

“So, what are we going to do to keep it from happening Russ,” Avery climbed onto his lap straddling him while the robe fell from her shoulders, down her arms and sank near her wrists. She sat on his lap watching him expectantly as he tried to stay focused. She shimmied out of his robe letting it drop around her waist before she wrapped her arms around his strong, smooth shoulders, “I guess what I’m trying to say is what are you going to do about it?”

“Anything you want,” he mouthed feeling a lump in the back of his throat as his mouth grew dry. He tried to stay focused, but as he felt Avery wiggle over his lap again, he knew it was a lost cause. He leaned forward moving in to kiss her neck only to feel her hands press in against his shoulders, planting her fingers roughly into him before shaking her head.

“No Russ, I don’t think you’re listening,” she spoke in a stern voice knowing full well that she had his complete attention, however his thoughts were lingering to a much more sinful direction than the simple conversation she’d initiated with him. “I really want you to change that light bulb.”

“I’ll go get the ladder,” Russ promised her his green eyes shooting up towards her once again meeting her dark, sultry stare, “In fact I can go and get it right now if you want me to.”

“That’s exactly what I want,” Avery nodded biting down on her lower lip and feeling him lean forward to comply to her request. Before he could get up, she pushed him back ever so slightly onto the bed, “On second thought, perhaps we should discuss everything else that needs to be fixed around here before you do that.”

“I’m all ears,” Russ bit back on his words feeling her shifting over his lap.

She teased her fingers in over his chest, trailing down over his abdomen before settling her hand in his lap between them. She massaged her fingers over him and watched him repress a small groan that built up in the back of his throat before she leaned forward and nibbled on his ear, whispering heated words to him.

“I think you’re more than just ears right about now,” she murmured dipping her fingers in beneath the waistband on his sweatpants to feel him pulsing beneath her touch. She grinned wickedly before nibbling on his ear again, “So much more.”

“What about the light bulb,” he questioned lazily meeting her eyes again.

“I’m not interested in the light bulb anymore,” she informed him bluntly shoving him in over the bed before unknotting the tie on the robe she’d been wearing.

Russ lay back on the bed watching her drop his robe onto his legs and she knelt before him completely naked and bringing out a great many erotic fantasies he’d had of the two of them together. He leaned forward reaching out to touch her only to feel her smack at his hand.

“Oh no, you’re not going to get too much of a good thing just yet,” she shook her head at him reaching for his robe and pulling the tie out from around the material. She watched his eyes widen as she tested it’s strength between her hands, rolling one end around her palm before doing the same with the other. She yanked on it a couple of times before grinning in approval. “Oh yes, this will work for what I have in mind.”

“And just what is it that’s on your mind,” Russ questioned lazily watching her lean forward over him.

She climbed up over his body reaching for one of his hands. Bringing it up to her mouth, she placed kiss after damp kiss over each of his fingers before she raised it over his head and slid the robe tie around his wrist. Satisfied with the sound that escaped between his now parted lips, she felt a moment of empowerment settle in over her. Smiling to herself she tied his wrist to the headboard before grazing her nails over the center of his chest. She watched him shudder in response before she clasped his other hand in hers.

“Avery, how am I going to help you with anything if you take that from me,” he questioned feigning resistance with her as she dropped kisses over his fingers again.

“Believe me, you’ll be helping me with exactly what I need,” she breathed taking his index finger between her lips and suckling on it gently, feeling him shudder beneath her and let out a small groan in watching her. Smiling she released his hand before bringing it up over his head to join the other at the headboard. She quickly secured his wrist before sliding back to sit on his abdomen and watching him wiggle beneath her.

“Now that you have me where you want me,” Russ motioned to his wrists before meeting her scorching gaze once again, “What ever are you going to do to me?”

“I’m going to leave you here to suffer all day long while Erin and I go shopping,” she informed him with a wicked smirk sliding down over his body. She knelt at the foot of the bed, a wicked chuckle carrying over her as she leaned forward. “Except I forgot one thing.”

“What’s that?” Russ questioned pulling his head up to see her reaching for the waistband on his pants and yanking it from his body in one, clean sweep. She held his sweatpants up in the air before waving them around in front of him.

“Now I think I’ve got everything I need here to motivate me to finish with my wicked plan,” she explained twirling his pants around her head once again before tossing them across the room. Her gaze swept over his aroused form greedily before she stepped back, “Hopefully you won’t catch a chill while I’m gone.”

“Very funny,” Russ offered up a dry laugh watching her walk towards the bathroom again, “Avery, come on. Quit joking.”

“I’m not joking,” Avery sashayed over to the bathroom door before tipping her head back to give him a long once over, “I’m really taking Erin shopping and leaving you here to think about things for a while.”

“Avery, I’m thinking about things and right now I’m pretty sure you can guess where my mind is,” he motioned to his lap again half worried that she was going to follow through on her threats to leave him this way.

“Why Russell Denton, you are quite the dirty thinking man aren’t you,” Avery licked her lips unable to keep from watching him looking sexy and naked before her on the bed, “Though I don’t see you really putting up much of a fight for someone who had no intentions of being tied down today.”

“Is that what you want?” Russ questioned fighting to suppress the smirk that spilled over him. “Do you want me to beg you to release me?”

“Maybe,” she took a small step towards him. Her eyes sparkled with mischief as she moved forward reaching out to scratch her nails over the center of his chest, “In fact, why don’t you beg for me Russ?”

“Avery, will you please release me,” Russ played along in a less than enthusiastic tone.

“That’s not begging Russ,” she swatted at his chest with a bit more emphasis, “I want to hear you begging me to let you go and until I hear it, you’re not going to get what you want.”

“Fine, Avery will you please let me go,” he writhed beneath her watching a smirk tease over the corners of her mouth.

“No,” she replied viciously taking a seat beside him on the bed, “I’m not letting you go anywhere when right now I want to see you prove to me how much you need me.”

“If you take this off of me I’ll more than show you,” Russ confessed feeling her reach out to touch him for the briefest of seconds before drawing back. “I know how much you love my hands Avery.”

“Your hands do serve a good purpose when time permits, but the truth to the matter is that you and I have some unfinished business Russ,” Avery explained standing up again and circling around the bed to take a look at him from another view, “You see you haven’t been mine for a very long time and when I have you I want to make sure that you’re mine completely.”

“Sweetheart, you had me the other night,” Russ followed her movement with his curious green eyes, “You’ve had me from day one.”

“Well today I want you like I’ve never wanted you before,” she explained dropping down on the bed to lean over him and place a kiss over the center of his abdomen, “Russ, when we’re together there are things that I wouldn’t do…things that I wouldn’t even think of doing to please a man other than you, but you have to make me believe that you’re worthy of them.”

“Untie me and I’ll convince you,” Russ shifted this time with less playfulness behind it as it was replaced by a sudden eagerness.

“Nope, I’m afraid that’s not how it works,” she turned on the bed bringing her palms flat out over his muscled thighs before hovering in over his lap, her breath hot and intoxicating over his skin. He closed his eyes and sucked in a sharp breath wanting nothing more than to hold her and make love to her like he’d dreamt about since they’d been separated.

“Avery untie me now,” Russ growled his voice thrumming with lust as she inched in over his body licking her lips in anticipation of him.

“I’ve never done special little things for anyone other than you Russ,” she explained circling him with her palm and stroking him watching his hips involuntarily arch up towards her. Grinning proudly she continued to whisper over his skin, “There’s just something about seeing you beg for mercy, wanting me to the point it hurts that gets me hot and…”

“Untie me now Avery!” Russ commanded feeling her lips envelope him. His head tipped back and he let out a stifled groan tugging at his wrist while she inflicted a whole new meaning of the word torture on him. He found himself appreciating all of her efforts finding himself more turned on than ever, yet when he thought about everything that he and Avery had gone through lately, her pleasing him wouldn’t fill the void that he’d had inside of him. The other night they’d made a quick run for things, but now he wanted it all.

Wrenching his wrist out from one of the knots she’d tied him in, Russ let out a pinched groan. He felt her continuing her own brand of torture on him, but it was too much--too strong for him to let her continue as he reached out to her yanking her up onto the bed beside him.

“I warned you to let me go,” Russ pressed her onto her back before rolling over her haphazardly. He lay over her, his green eyes filled with a sudden, impenetrable lust as he moved between her thighs, passion pulsating over him, “and now you’re going to pay for not listening.”

“Bring it on Russ,” Avery teased wrapping her legs around him and knowing full well she’d accomplished her mission of driving him crazy as it seemed they were about to embark upon a wild and frantic love making session that would leave her with plenty to be thrilled about when everything was said and done.


“I just can’t believe all of that happened,” Blake admitted thinking about what she’d watched on the news about Hunt’s murder. It was a terrible and shocking robbery gone wrong that had hurt so many people and caused so many senseless endings that Blake couldn’t help but feel a chill creep in over her, “Coral Valley used to be a quiet place where people could feel safe leaving their homes, but now…”

“It’s still a good place Blake,” Seth wrapped his arm around her shoulders pulling her in closer to him as they sat on the center of his sofa in his apartment. “Just because one sociopath caused so much misery doesn’t mean the whole world is bad.”

“You say that like you actually believe it, but considering all that’s happened to our families alone,” she tipped her head up to meet his concerned brown eyes, “I mean how can you think that this place is safe for anyone anymore?”

“I guess I’m just trying to keep the faith,” he replied touching her cheek gently, “Jade always tried to find the positive when surrounded by nothing, but negativity and for the longest time I thought that it was pointless, but she believed it would help turn things around.”

“I wish I had that kind of optimism, but given what has happened I find it hard to think about the sunny side of things lately,” she revealed shaking her head at the foolishness of it, “That sounds stupid to say, doesn’t it?”

“Not really,” Seth shook his head in response, “because I can honestly say I know how those people are feeling right now that lost their loved ones. It’s an ache that no one can ever truly recover from and I sympathize with what they are feeling especially Mindy.”

“I didn’t realize you and she were friends,” Blake noted giving him a curious look.

“I met her when you and I split up and even though we haven’t talked much, she’s a really sweet person,” Seth informed her with a small shake of his head, “I hate to think of her hurting right now or anyone else who lost someone in the shooting.”

“That’s what I love about you. You’re such a good soul Seth,” Blake leaned into his chest snuggling into him on the couch.

“You make me sound like I’m old and boring,” Seth couldn’t help but tease running his fingers through her blonde hair lazily. He pressed a kiss on the top of her head before resting his chin there.

“You’re not old and boring, but rather wise and inspirational,” Blake couldn’t help but laugh at her words, “Okay so that sounded cheesy for sure.”

“Just a little,” he nodded in agreement, “but I appreciate the sentiment and the love that I have in you.”

“You’re going to have a lot more of it each and every day,” Blake tipped her head up to steal a kiss from him.

“I realize that, but I’m not worthy of it,” Seth admitted pulling away from her and meeting her confused eyes. He touched her cheek gently before offering up a small sigh, “At least not yet. You deserve so much more than what I’ve been giving you and I’m sorry that I haven’t done right by you Blake.”

“What are you talking about?” she frowned back at him, “Seth, you’re incredible and…”

“And I’ve been dragging my feet about this whole divorce thing. I mean it’s not that I haven’t wanted to end things with Valerie since there was really nothing there to begin with, but time and time again I kept saying that things were coming up, but nothing is more important than you. I know I talked to Grady a few times, but I need to do more than talking. I need to just get this over as soon as possible,” Seth continued thinking about the situation that had kept them from getting married when they’d wanted to before.

“I know you spoke with him and he told you it takes time,” Blake mouthed seeing the tension in his eyes. “It’s something that we have to wait out.”

“I’m tired of waiting and I know you are too. If I have to I’ll talk to Valerie up close and personal and tell her that this can’t keep dragging on,” Seth decided firm in his realization that he couldn’t keep waiting for a change to happen when it was in his hands. “I’m never going to be with her and the fact that I was with her in the first place was a mistake. Surely if she stopped trying to be impossible she would see that.”

“She doesn’t see it,” Blake frowned thinking about Valerie, “Just like Zack doesn’t have the first clue what is real and what’s not. I mean when he left town with Johanna I was really relieved that part of my life was over, but now…I just don’t know.”

“I don’t like that he’s bothering you,” Seth’s jaw flexed with tension, “He should leave you alone.”

“Just like Valerie should leave you alone, but it’s not happening, is it?” she frowned tipping her head up to meet his dark eyes, “And don’t get any funny ideas about confronting him because it’s not worth the time or energy. He’s going to bury himself sooner or later and when that happens I don’t want either one of us near any of it. Hey maybe with a little luck Zack and Valerie will cross paths, fall in love and run off together.”

“That would be nice,” Seth laughed lightly curling his arm around her once again, “but something tells me that we’re not that lucky.”

“It would be nice,” she replied with a small smile of her own sinking into his arms as she wondered if their problems with their respective ex-lovers would ever have any kind of desirable conclusion for them considering that it felt like neither Valerie nor Zack would ever go away!


Valerie pushed open the door to JT’s apartment shuffling with the bags in her arms while attempting to pull her keys out of the door. She shifted out of the way before kicking the door to a close and dropping her keys to the floor. Feeling her hair in her face, she blew it upward in the hopes of keeping it from blocking her vision as she tried to shuffle to her bedroom. She was near the hallway when she heard a giggle and it stopped her right in her tracks. Standing taller, she tossed her bags down and spun around to see JT and Evie with one another on the couch snuggled up to one another.

“Well isn’t this a surprise,” Valerie tossed the last one of her bags down the hall before spinning around and glaring at the both of them with heavy sarcasm in her tone. She approached them, her eyes narrowing in on the little twit in JT’s arms as a scowl touched over her features, “So what? Do you like not have a home now or something?”

“I could ask you the same question considering JT told you to leave,” Evie shot back at Valerie with an equally icy glare. “I would have thought you’d packed and left by now, not brought more in.”

“Listen you little…” Valerie stomped forward ready to launch a verbal attack on Evie until JT sprung up and leapt off of the couch.

“Back up Val!” JT warned sharply holding his hands out between the two women. His gaze shifted to Valerie again as he frowned, “Evie is staying here with me as long as she likes because I invited her.”

“Well obviously, but JT I’ve got news for you the whole point of a one night stand is that they go away the next morning not stick around and never leave,” Valerie wrinkled her nose in response before shooting Evie another look, “If you think he cares, he doesn’t. He’s had plenty of other women around some a whole hell of a lot prettier than you are…”

“Jealous much?” Evie questioned bringing her hand up over the center of JT’s chest possessively. “I mean really is it irritating you that he wants me around and not you?”

“Oh please,” Valerie balked back in response, “Like I would waste my time on a classless jerk like JT when there are real men out there who have a lot more to offer a girl like me.”

“Since you put it that way, why don’t you move in with one of them?” JT suggested with a frown motioning to Valerie’s bags, “It looks like you’ve already got enough with you today that you don’t need to pack anything else for a while. I can have the rest of your stuff shipped over to a forwarding address.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Valerie stomped her foot impatiently, “and just because you bring some girl home and think that you can keep her here is ridiculous considering that…”

“Valerie it’s my place. I’m the one who pays rent and I’m the one on the lease. I never invited you here and I don’t intend to keep having you around,” JT explained pointedly his eyes narrowing down at her, “I know that I let it drag on more than long enough already, but I’m finished Valerie. I’m not going to just sit back and continue to let you shake up my life like you’re doing. It just isn’t happening anymore.”

“Fine,” Valerie frowned back at him folding her arms in front of her chest again, “but you’re going to live to regret this. Mark my words.”

“Believe me I’m already feeling it,” JT answered flatly watching her take a small step towards him, her eyes narrowing as she curled her lips in a tight scowl.

“This situation with her is going to ruin you JT and when it does, I’m going to say I told you so,” Valerie warned shooting Evie another glare before marching in the direction of her room and slamming the door behind her. She didn’t bother to pick up her things as she left them in the hallway where she’d set them earlier.

“Well isn’t she pleasant,” Evie rolled her eyes thinking about Valerie’s words, “I’ll bet you’re going to be happy to get rid of her.”

“We’ll see if she really goes,” JT spun around to face Evie, taking her hand in his, “but right now I really don’t want to think about her. In fact, what do you say you and I get out of here maybe go out for a while and do something?”

“What about her,” Evie motioned to the door, “Do you think she’s going to start something or…”

“She’ll be fine,” JT shrugged his shoulders at her, “Besides if she breaks or steals something I’ll just call the cops. I’m not really worried since I don’t have anything really worth while in this dump.”

“Are you sure,” Evie searched his eyes for a long moment.

He nodded squeezing her hand in his before lifting it up to his lips in a kiss, “I’m positive. I think the best place for us is somewhere far from Valerie on her warpath.”

“I couldn’t agree more then,” she nodded in response feeling him lead her out of his apartment and onto their next big adventure.


“Good morning sweetheart,” Carly greeted Dave with a smile and a wave while reaching for a mug and pouring him some coffee. She handed it to him hearing the sound of Stacy and Jewel fighting from the other end of the house.

“So much for quiet, family breakfasts, huh?” Dave frowned thinking about how his sister and his niece had been fighting since Stacy had come in an hour earlier wanting to get a few things before she went out again.

“I’m sure it will get better,” Carly cringed hearing what sounded like something breaking in the other room. She shuddered before forcing a small, pained smile, “I’m sure that wasn’t anything to worry about.”

“Right,” Dave frowned disbelieving as Kayla walked into the kitchen holding her hands over her ears and frowning.

“They are way too loud. I can’t hear the television this morning,” Kayla announced with a huff before turning to look at her father, “Do you think you can make them quiet down? Like maybe shoot them with one of those guns they use at the circus when the animals act wild and crazy?”

“Honey,” Carly’s eyes widened at her daughter’s question, “don’t say that.”

“It works,” Kayla informed her mother pulling her hands off of her ears and explaining, “I saw it on the Discovery Channel where this one lion was out of control and they shot him right in the butt. He went to sleep like a baby and there was no more growling.”

“I don’t think I can shoot them like that, but I can give you kisses,” Dave explained pulling his daughter into his arms and grinning, “What do you say? Want a kiss from daddy?”

“Daddy,” she laughed lightly feeling him place tiny kisses over her cheek before ticking her stomach. She wiggled in his arms, “Daddy stop.”

“Only if you say the magic words,” Dave continued to tickle her feeling Kayla snuggle into him.

“Please daddy I’m going to miss my show,” Kayla’s brown eyes met his again and he smiled.

“Okay, but why don’t you watch it in here,” he suggested pointing to the small television on the counter top. “You can sit at the bar area and have your cereal there.”

“Okay,” Kayla decided happily allowing her father to carry her over to the bar stool to enjoy the rest of her breakfast.

“I hate you,” Stacy’s voice shouted and a sound of a slamming door followed from down the hall.

“Oh brother,” Kayla shook her head raising her spoon in the air, “It’s going to be a long morning.”

“You aren’t kidding,” Dave couldn’t help but agree watching Kayla drop her spoon into the bowl again and take a heaping bite of her cereal as Jewel entered the room.

“Good morning family,” Jewel waved adjusting her low cut black blouse before stepping into the kitchen, “Sorry about the commotion, but I think we’ve got it covered right about now.”

“Yeah it shows,” Dave rolled his eyes sipping his coffee again before exchanging glances with Carly.

“It is,” Jewel stressed her words before turning to wave at Kayla, “Hey sweetheart, how are you?”

“I have a headache,” Kayla shrugged her shoulders before curling her lip in a frown, “probably because someone was yelling all morning.”

“I’m sorry about that cutie pie,” Jewel walked over to muss her fingers through Kayla’s hair before leaning in to kiss her on the cheek, “I didn’t mean to give you a headache, but maybe later I can make up for it. How would you like to take a trip with me to the toy store tomorrow after I get finished with a meeting I have? We can go and you can pick out any toy you want on me.”

“Hmm, well since you put it that way,” Kayla scratched her own chin lightly, “I feel my headache slowly fading away here…”

“In that case, I’ll buy you two toys,” Jewel gave her another kiss on the cheek before looking to Carly. “Wow, you really look great in the morning. I don’t know how you do it.”

“What in this old thing?” Carly picked at the blue sweater she was wearing.

“Yeah, I mean you just have this way about you,” Jewel continued walking around the counter to pour herself a cup of coffee, “I mean it takes me hours to get where I can look presentable, but you wake up beautiful. I’m so jealous.”

“I wouldn’t go that far,” Carly tucked a piece of her dark hair behind her ear.

“Are you kidding? You’re a knock out and it’s all natural,” Jewel continued to gush on Carly before taking a sip of the coffee she’d poured for herself. “I’m beyond envious.”

“You shouldn’t be envious. It’s a sin,” Kayla noted dropping another spoonful of cereal into her mouth.

“Okay, so maybe I wouldn’t go that far, but your mom is very pretty,” Jewel corrected before tipping her head to look at her brother, “much prettier than anything we ever thought your daddy would end up considering he used to have bad taste in women growing up. That Deidra was so homely and…”

“Enough Jewel,” Dave placed his hand down on the tabletop and frowned, “Let it go.”

“I’m just offering your wife a complement,” Jewel waved her hand around in the air dismissively, “The least you can do is agree with me instead of making her feel inadequate.”

“Carly is beautiful, but you just don’t know when to quit,” Dave frowned feeling the tension in the air building between them.

“She’s notorious for that,” Stacy mouthed joining the group in the kitchen.

“Stacy,” Jewel frowned at her daughter, “honestly you should watch what you say.”

“Why?” Stacy shrugged her shoulders crossing the room to reach for her knapsack. “It’s the truth you know. You always put your foot in your mouth, yet you’re too blonde to see that people think it’s rude and ignorant.”

“Stacy that’s enough,” Jewel snapped at her daughter and frowned, “I already thought we talked about your attitude and how it was in need of changing.”

“Yeah just like your outfit,” Stacy rolled her eyes at her mother before motioning to Kayla, “You ready to get going kiddo?”

“Yeah, I just have to put my dish in the dishwasher,” Kayla nodded quickly shuffling to get down from the barstool. She stretched her arms out to try to reach her bowl off of the counter, but it was taller than her. “A little help here might be nice.”

“I’ll get it honey,” Carly moved over to take the bowl before Kayla hurt herself trying to pull it down.

“Just where do you think you’re going?” Jewel questioned with a scowl watching her daughter pull on a jacket.

“Uncle Dave knows and we’ll be fine. Not like you’ll care or be worried about me,” Stacy snubbed her mother before taking Kayla’s hand in hers. “Come on let’s get going.”

“Bye Aunt Jewel,” Kayla waved with a wide grin before trotting out with Stacy.

“Did you tell her that she could leave?” Jewel scoffed turning to glare at Dave.

“You two wouldn’t stop fighting and she asked me when she came in if she could take Kayla to the mall so I didn’t see the harm in it,” Dave shrugged his shoulders before taking another drink of his coffee, “You two wouldn’t stop fighting so I figured maybe a break from one another couldn’t hurt.”

“Dave, she’s been very disrespectful to me and I don’t think you should undermine my authority with my daughter,” Jewel huffed placing her hands on her hips, “How is she ever going to listen when you are teaching her that it’s okay to ignore me?”

“What have you told her? Did you say she was grounded?” Dave questioned arching his brow curiously.

“No,” Jewel shook her head.

“Did you tell her that she had to stay here today so you could work things out?” he asked further.

“Of course not. I have meetings all day and the last thing I need to deal with is her hormonal outbursts,” Jewel snapped in response before taking a look at the clock on the wall, “Speaking of which I’m going to be late after what she pulled this morning. I need to get a move on it.”

“Of course you do,” Dave sighed heavily focusing on his coffee once again as Jewel scurried out of the room.

“You okay,” Carly questioned moving in to join Dave at the table now that they were surrounded by silence.

“I’ll be fine, but with them,” Dave waved his hand around in the air dismissively before looking at his wife, “I don’t think they will ever get along with one another. At this rate maybe we should move before they get back home.”

“Considering that Stacy’s with Kayla, I think we have to say,” Carly laughed lightly reaching out to squeeze his hand in hers, “I’m sure it’ll get better.”

“I hope you’re right because otherwise I think I’ll be joining our daughter with daily morning headaches,” Dave sighed wondering how life went from simple and quiet to full blown drama and chaos in his house.


“Hey you,” Jenna stood in the doorway of the living room seeing Hart seated on the couch staring blankly at the television while a news story played on about what had happened to Hunt. Worried, she reached for a throw blanket and wrapped it around his shoulders before joining him on the couch. “I was worried about you when I woke up and you weren’t in bed.”

“I had a lot on my mind,” Hart revealed tipping his head up to meet Jenna’s concerned gaze, “After the talk I had last night with Sam it got me thinking.”

“I kind of figured,” Jenna nodded leaning into him, “I just wish you would have talked to me about it instead of running out here.”

“I didn’t want to wake you up,” he confessed tipping his head to the side and catching her worried expression, “You have enough on your mind and you need your rest. I can’t keep you up all night like I did to myself last night.”

“Hart, I love you and if something is bothering you, then it’s bothering me too,” she squeezed his hand in hers gently, “I know that you’re afraid something will happen to Sam and I can understand that emotion especially now.”

“She’s just so young and to think of her up and leaving to a place where I may never see her again,” Hart shuddered at the thought tension creasing over his brow, “I was cheated out of so many years with her and now…”

“You feel like they are being stolen from you all over again,” she nodded understanding his concerns, “I know it’s hard to let someone you love leave when it’s the last thing that you want.”

“She just has her whole life ahead of her and for her to up and leave what she has here behind to begin anew,” Hart shuddered at the thought, “That’s taking a huge leap considering that she has no idea what’s out there. None of us do.”

“No we don’t,” Jenna nodded in agreement, “and it’s hard to think about someone especially your son or daughter being out there in the world and at risk. Though with Hunt we saw that it doesn’t have to be somewhere far from home when disaster strikes.”

“I know,” Hart nodded in response, “and you have no idea how much it killed me to call his parents and talk to them after he was gone. I mean I’ve been friends with his family for so very long and I can still remember when they adopted Hunt. He had just lost his entire family in that horrible crash and everyone said he had been lucky to still be alive. He went through so much and I guess I just thought that there would be some kind of happiness for him. I never expected that it would all come to an end in the blink of an eye like it did. It’s just not fair.”

“No it’s not,” Jenna nodded in agreement lacing her fingers in his, “and I hate that it happened to such a young man with so much life ahead of him. It really makes you think about things…”

“That’s all I’ve been doing lately,” Hart sighed in confession, “On the one hand I don’t want to hold Sam back from where it is she wants to be, yet the idea of losing her this early on, it just doesn’t sit well with me. I mean I’m just now getting to know her as my daughter.”

“I know honey, but at the same time this is her passion, her love and if you dig your heels in and fight her each step of the way it could only drive a further wedge between you,” Jenna offered up knowing that this situation would be a difficult for Hart regardless, “I’m not telling you what to do, but think about what you would do at her age.”

“I got the hell out of town and away from my father as soon as I could,” Hart admitted with a frown, “I was so ready to escape the misery that he put me through once we moved away from Coral Valley. I hated him so much for all he’d done that when I finally was able to get back to the life I wanted it was a huge relief.”

“And now,” she half asked seeing something cross over his features.

“I don’t want Sam to think of me that way if I tell her I don’t want to see her go, yet…” Hart turned to face her forcing a pained smile, “I guess I’ve just got to think this one out on my own. Selfishly I want to keep her here with us so that I can learn all the things about her that Beth denied me all of those years.”

“I know you do,” she squeezed his hand gently, “and I think wherever Sam is she’s going to want that kind of relationship with you.”

“I hope so,” Hart paused his gaze dropping to Jenna’s soft swelled abdomen, “Although she’s not the only family I’ve been thinking about lately.”

“No?” she questioned feeling him move his palm over her abdomen to feel her stomach.

“I mean the world is so full of surprises and in a way we found our own,” Hart mused thinking about her surprise pregnancy, “Here we were just enjoying one another and now we’ve got a lot ahead of us.”

“We sure do,” she nodded in response seeing something flicker behind his eyes.

“Jen, I know what you said about marriage and how we didn’t need it,” Hart hesitated for a moment before his gaze fixed on hers again, “but after everything I started thinking about this and maybe we should reconsider the situation. I mean if something happened, not that I want it to, I think our options are limited if we’re not married.”

“Options about what,” she gave him a strange sideways glance.

“Jen, if anything should happen to you or to the baby, well, at this point I can’t do anything to help you. It would be in your mother’s hands because all I am is a live in boyfriend and legally I’m not next of kin,” Hart paused trying to read her expression, “Your mother hates me Jen and when you were hurt before she wasn’t happy about my being around you. If anything should ever happen again…”

“You think she’ll shut you out completely,” she finished for him watching him nod.

“It’s no secret that she despises me Jen and I know that if she had her chance she’d keep us apart,” Hart added with a frown, “I know that you didn’t want to be pushed, but given everything that’s happened, I want some reassurances. I want something more.”

“So you want to get married so that you have some kind of legal right to me?” Jenna arched a curious brow, “This is for legal reasons.”

“Well, if something happened to me I would have Walt and Sam. If Sam moves to London and if it came down to Walt, well they would just pull the plug and he’d hope that there would be a way to get his hands on my finances,” he squeezed her hand in his, “Jenna, I know that we aren’t like everyone else and never have been, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I want to marry you. I want to have you as my wife…”

“Hart, we’ve seen first hand what marriage does to people,” she shifted uncomfortably beside him on the couch, “It’s only brought misery and disaster and…”

“Not in every situation. I mean look at Don’s parents. They have been married forever and they love one another now more than ever,” Hart continued to plead his case with her, “They have had ups and downs, but through it all they have remained this solid force with one another.”

“That’s one couple Hart,” she answered stubbornly, “One out of everyone we know is not a good sign. I mean look at our friends. Look at Don and Shannon. They are completely miserable together.”

“In their own way they are, but they love one another and they have something special between them. It’s twisted, but it’s still there,” Hart added pointedly.

“And what about Brant? Or Avery? Or even Avery and Russ?” Jenna challenged with a frown, “That’s one nightmare after another and you know it.”

“Brant is always over the top and I know Avery’s your friend, but she seems to thrive on drama too. We aren’t anything like any of them so it’s really unfair to lump us into that,” Hart argued further squeezing her hand in his, “and yes my parents were miserable but that was because my father was a son of a bitch who never deserved my mother. Now I know Dorothy would argue the same thing about me with you, but I love you. I want for us to have something secure and stable and I want something that helps me know that no one can get in the way of us.”

“I love you, isn’t that enough?” Jenna questioned her gaze locking over his. “Shouldn’t that be enough?”

“In my heart yes, but in the eyes of the law, no,” Hart sighed heavily bringing her hand over his chest, “Jenna I want to marry you and while I know you have your reservations, I promise if you agree to it, I will spend all of my days making you the happiest woman alive. I swear it will only make things better for us. I’m sure of it.”


“I hope I didn’t interrupt something,” Jason slid his hands in his pockets once they stepped out onto the balcony and he moved in closer to Mindy. Seeing her light eyes meet his he offered up a small smile, “I was just worried about you and I wanted to see you.”

“You don’t know how much I appreciate that,” she cleared her throat uneasily thinking about what she just pulled on Guy and she covered her eyes thinking about all the things she was hoping in happening during the time. “It’s a good thing you showed up.”

“Really?” Jason half smiled moving in closer to her again seeing her hands press in against the balcony and he reached out to touch her cheek softly. “I just, I don’t know why, but you were on my mind and I worried. I didn’t think you should be alone, but obviously I was wrong. You are far from being alone.”

“Actually, I pretty much am alone Jason,” she turned away from him staring out at the trees as she let out a long breath trying to get things off her mind. “I always lose the things that mean the most to me Jason and it never stops happening to me. I always lose the things I care about and are close to.”

“I’m so sorry Mindy,” Jason muttered not quite knowing what to say as he stepped in closer to her thinking about reaching out to her again, but thought twice about it and moved back. “If there was something that I could have done, I wish I could have.”

“No one can stop it from happening Jason,” she insisted feeling her eyes tear over as she spoke, a lump forming in the back of her throat. “The first time it was something so big, something that meant the world to me and hell it probably still does, but it was always a joke. A lie that I wish could be fake, but now know I can never get the thing I loved the most back. In wanting to prove to the person I loved, I hurt so many others and lived a lie trying to get by with the second, but…,”

“Hey,” Jason grabbed a hold of her arm, turning to face her gently as his index fingers slid in underneath her chin to get her to look at him. “Stop being so hard on yourself, this isn’t at all what Hunt would have wanted for you. You are such a brave girl, he would want you to know that he loved you and doesn’t blame any of this on yourself.”

“Jason,” she bit down on her bottom lip closing her eyes and feeling an ache inside of he at the very mention of Hunt’s name. Feeling Jason’s thumb pressing in against her cheek to brush away the tears she opened her eyes meeting his glance again. “You just don’t understand.”

“Then let me understand,” he offered up watching her frown and pull away from him softly and he let her move away from him. Watching her sit down, he did the same taking a seat next to her reaching out to grab her hand in his tightly. “I know that I’m new here, but I’ll be there. Whenever you need someone, I’ll be here.”

“Jason,” she thought of so many things she wanted to say to him, but so little came to mind when she stared into his worried blue eyes. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

“Why thank me?” he squeezed her fingers tighter in his moving forward to press a small kiss against her cheek before hugging her friendly. “I was meant to be here, you’re amazing and you need to know that. Nothing you could have done would have made you a bad person in Hunt’s eyes.”

“You obviously don’t know me too well,” she felt him move back a bit and reach out to caress her cheek softly, seeing the worry behind his features. “You have no idea about the feelings I hold deep down inside of me and I know that Hunt would have hated them.”

“I highly doubt that,” he whispered feeling her hand press in against his cheek and he leaned into her touch before offering up a small smile. “You’re amazing Mindy, you have a heart made out of gold. You’re brave, so brave. I don’t think I would have the courage to do anything you have, you’re one person I look up to and you are so beautiful Mindy. There isn’t anything to hate about you.”

“Thank you so much Jason,” Mindy half smiled sniffing as she felt a whirl of wind press in against their skin as she moved in closer to him. “You are such a sweet guy and I’m lucky to have someone like you with me here.”

“It’s no problem,” Jason gulped down feeling her move in closer to him as he took in a deep breath nudging her nose with his lightly before moving in closer. Letting out a small sigh he felt her head press in against his chest as he heard her tears return as she cried against his chest. “It’ll be okay Mindy, I promise.”

“I just can’t believe I’m all alone,” she cried feeling his hand pressing in against her hair and she felt him press a small kiss in against her forehead. “I never thought that would happen, but after what I’ve done, it’s true. I really am alone.”

“No, no you’re not,” Jason insisted seeing her teary blue eyes stare up into his as he shook his head slowly. “I promise to you with everything that I am, I will never let you be alone again. You are always going to have someone there for you, no matter what.”


“Where did Uncle Jay go?” Zane questioned walking into the room with his stuffed animal that Jason bought for him and a frown developed over his features as he just saw Grady and Deana sitting in the room. “I looked everywhere for him, but I didn’t find him.”

“He just went out for a little while baby,” Deana motioned her son in closer to her and Grady on the couch and she picked him up and placed him on her lap. “He’ll be back soon.”

“When? I hope sooner than soon,” Zane stated hearing Grady let out a small laugh and moved in closer to him as Zane looked out at Grady. “There was this video game that I really wanted to play with him because he is amazing at the game. I love playing with uncle Jay, he’s so funny. Though he doesn’t have very much luck around rubber balls.”

“What?” Grady questioned with a small chuckle seeing Deana cover her eyes and let out a small laugh as Grady’s eyebrows tensed together and he saw Zane laughing. “Is there something I should know about Jason?”

“Not really,” Deana replied running her fingers through her son’s blonde hair and she glanced over at Grady seeing the way he looked out at her. “There is this thing that he does with the kids that they all love, it’s really cute. You should see it.”

“I’m sure I will soon,” Grady nodded slowly smiling as he spoke and moved in closer to gently play hit Zane’s shoulder hearing the way that Zane laughed. “I know that Uncle Jay is so much cooler than me, but is this game one that I could play with you?”

“Well not the game I want to play, but…,” Zane took a moment to think it over before itching at his chin lightly letting out a long laugh as he saw Grady chuckle at him. “The three of us can play…we can play MarioKart racing. That is always a fun game, you and mommy can race each other first.”

“Oh, that sounds like a good match,” Grady quickly nodding standing up and grabbing a hold of Zane from Deana and letting out a small laugh as he pulled Zane in closer to him. “Come on mom, let’s play this game so I can beat your butt.”

“Oh you are so on,” Deana stated with a shake of her head as they moved toward the television and sat down on the ground. Seeing Zane crawl across the ground a few inches to grab the two controllers and come back Grady let out a small laugh. “I am so going to kick your butt Grady.”

“I doubt it,” Grady waited for the game to load feeling Zane sit between them and stare out at the screen. Grady played with Zane’s hair a bit before letting out a small laugh. “Who do you think is going to win little man? Me or your mommy?”

“I say mommy,” Zane let out a small chuckle hearing Grady laugh and he felt Deana’s arms wrap around him tightly and she pressed a small kiss against his forehead. “She is really strong and good, I think you are in trouble Grady.”

“I thought we had that male to male bond going on here,” Grady frowned before shrugging his shoulders and picked his character seeing Deana pick the princess and he let out small laugh. “There is no way a girl is going to beat my Mario.”

“Just watch Grady,” Deana wiggled her eyebrows up and slowly before shaking her head slowly when the countdown began. “You are so going down Grady, I swear this is your last chance to back down before you get embarrassed.”

“I’m not backing out and the only embarrassed person will be you honey,” Grady insisted hearing Deana laugh along with Zane as he shrugged his shoulders. “When I cross the finish line before you that is.”

“Well if that’s going to happen, you might want to start,” Zane nodded toward the screen to show that everyone had already gone and Grady was still at the starting line. “You’re already behind.”

“Oh, that was a cheap shot,” Grady frowned starting the car up and going hearing Deana let out a small laugh as he caught up a bit, soon becoming second. Biting down on his bottom lip he saw that he was in second place and kept moving forward until Deana’s character threw out a banana hitting his car and making him get hit by the train which led to him being last place. “Oh that was so not fair.”

“Obviously, you just don’t know what you’re doing,” Deana pointed out as Grady frowned and shrugged his shoulders setting it up so they had to play again. “You want to get your butt kicked again?”

“I’m ready this time honey,” Grady muttered getting ready for the count down as he looked down at Zane before looking back at the screen. “I’m so taking you out this time, easily.”


“Do you need any help in there?” Diane questioned stepping around the side of the kitchen’s entrance only to discover Ben working away at the stove finishing up for their breakfast with her mother and Richard.

“Nope, not at all,” he replied pulling the muffins he’d made out of the oven. He carefully set them down before pulling off his oven mitt and turning towards her, “I thought I told you to relax and that I had this covered.”

“I know what you said, but I hate sitting back and feeling useless like there isn’t anything I can do to participate in the life that is going on around me,” she explained with a frustrated groan feeling a bit lightheaded as she stepped forward, “I don’t want to be babied Ben. I want to help out.”

“You are helping out by taking care of yourself,” he explained pushing his thoughts of breakfast aside long enough to move in closer to her. He eased his arms around her waist before drawing her into his chest, “I want you to relax Diane and let me take care of everything.”

“Ben, you’ve been doing that for a while now,” she started to protest again when the sound of the doorbell ringing captured her attention, “They are here.”

“I’ll get it,” he leaned forward kissing the top of her head before issuing a firm warning look, “Just wait here okay?”

“Ben,” she opened her mouth in protest before finally nodding, “fine, but don’t think you can keep me in a chair the whole time they are here because I can’t sit still you know that.”

“You will when I pull out my handcuffs and make you sit still,” he warned with a mock menace in his tone.

“I might enjoy that too much and with my mom around that might not be a good idea,” she teased back blowing a kiss at him before watching him leave the kitchen to answer the door. A few seconds later she heard the sound of her mother and Richard entering their home and she smiled. While she hadn’t thought that she was completely up for company just yet, she wasn’t about to refuse the first sign of life outside of the house from those who loved her. Having people around was something she was readily open to experiencing again after her time in the hospital.

Moving forward Diane walked out to discover her mother exchanging laughs and a box of donuts with Ben. He accepted it before leaning forward to offer up a small kiss on Judy’s cheek.

“I know you said that we didn’t need to bring anything, but I never go anywhere empty handed,” Judy informed him with a bright grin before leaning into Richard. “I hope you don’t mind.”

“Not at all. In my house growing up we were always bringing in enough food for an army, so today it won’t feel any different and I like that,” Ben replied with a grin of his own, “It’s a wonder I never got really fat considering that I was an only child in all of that.”

“An only child?” Richard repeated with a curious expression, “Somehow I never pegged you for that.”

“It’s not that my parents didn’t want other children, but rather they couldn’t,” Ben informed him honestly, “They were upset at first, but then after they just spent their time spoiling me rotten which made me the man I am today.”

“I highly doubt that,” Judy replied with a small laugh, “You don’t seem spoiled in the slightest bit.”

“Only by me,” Diane added moving in to circle her arms around Ben’s torso before turning to her mother, “Mom, how are you?”

“Good, how are you doing honey?” Judy questioned noticing the color hadn’t fully returned to Diane’s features after her time at the hospital.

“I’m fine,” Diane forced a smile before reaching out to embrace her mother, “Better than fine now that you are here. I’m so glad to see you.”

“It’s good to be here,” Judy squeezed Diane in her arms before pulling back. “I was hoping that we would be able to get into talking with one another since we have a lot ahead of us.”

“Really?” Diane arched a curious brow. “How so?”

“Rick and I were talking about our upcoming wedding and we‘d like you to stand up in it,” Judy explained with a warmth carrying over her tone, “That is when you’re feeling up to it.”

“When is the big day?” Diane questioned curiously thinking about her mother’s new chance at happiness.

“We haven’t worked out all the details of that just yet, but we aren’t going to keep stalling like we did the last time we tried to do this,” Richard added brightly wrapping his arm around Judy’s shoulders. “We’re going to do things right this time around.”

“Good for you,” Ben piped in with a smile, “I’m glad to hear that you’re both going to be doing this. I can see how happy you are together and it’s always wonderful to see two people in love find their way to happiness.”

“It’s been a long time in the making, but even against the odds we were able to make our way to one another again,” Judy beamed with enthusiasm turning to the man she loved and thinking about how much they had gone through with one another.

“I think it’s wonderful and horribly romantic that time has made it easy for you both to find your way back to one another again,” Diane added ready to say something more when she felt a moment of dizziness overtake her. She stepped forward just a fraction of a movement before her legs grew shaky. She started to stumble as Ben reached out to collect her in his arms.

“Hey are you okay,” he questioned touching her cheek lightly as his eyes searched hers, “Diane, maybe you should lay down.”

“No, I’m fine,” Diane waved her hand dismissively over at him. “Really.”

“Diane, you look pale honey,” Judy reached out to touch Diane’s forehead gently, “You don’t have a fever or anything, do you?”

“Mom, I’m fine,” Diane tried to recover, but it was obvious that she’d revealed to everyone just how far from honest she was really being to everyone including herself. “I guess I’m just a bit lightheaded. I took some of my pills right before you came in, yet I haven’t eaten or drank anything at this point. I’m sure that’s all it is.”

“Why don’t you sit down in here with your mom and I’ll finish up with breakfast,” Ben handed the box of donuts over to Richard once again, “Maybe you can coax her into taking one of these while we’re waiting for things to be finished.”

“Sure, that sounds like a great idea,” Richard nodded watching Judy help her daughter over to the couch. He opened up the box as Diane settled in on the sofa.

“Mom, I’m fine really,” Diane started with a heavy sigh as her mother began to dote on her, “seriously.”

“And you’ll be even better after you have one of these,” Judy decided standing up and selecting a donut from the box that Richard was holding. She held it in her hand before offering it to Diane, “Try this one. These were your favorite when you were younger.”

“Mom, I’m really not in the mood for a donut,” Diane began with a small smile, “seriously.”

“It’ll be good for you,” Judy prompted once again.

“You know I think I’ll just go in and see if Ben needs any help,” Richard decided giving the two women a few minutes to speak with one another alone.

“Honey, don’t lie to me,” Judy finally blurted out once she and Diane were alone with one another, “If something is wrong, then you need to tell me. You and I both know that what you went through was a very traumatic experience and…”

“And I’ll be fine,” Diane frowned thinking about what she’d endured, “I’m still here even if my baby isn’t.”

“Oh honey,” Judy touched her cheek gently, “I’m so sorry that you had to go through all of that. I wish there was something that I could do.”

“You’re doing it by being here,” Diane offered up with a small smile, “It means so much to me that you and Richard came out here to have breakfast with us--that you want to include me in your wedding. That means everything to me.”

“You mean everything to me and I just want to be able to help you honey,” Judy confessed embracing her daughter in her arms, “I worry about you.”

“You wouldn’t be you if you didn’t, but I can assure you that I’m fine,” Diane promised her mother with a weak smile, “I know that right now it hurts and I’ve had a lot that I’ve been thinking about, but when it gets down to it I know that I will be stronger after experiencing this. I can keep pushing on.”

“That’s my girl, but in the mean time if you need someone to talk to--someone that you just want to bounce your thoughts off with,” Judy pushed Diane’s hair away from her face in a tender movement.

“I know that I have you to count on,” Diane nodded in response before offering up another smile, “I love you mom.”

“I love you too honey,” Judy whispered hoping that one day her daughter would be able to have the kind of happiness that Judy had prayed for in Diane’s life. While things had gone down a long, dark road Judy hoped that Diane would be able to pick up the pieces after the latest tragedy in her life and truly become stronger because of it. While Judy was well aware that Diane was on the road to recovery, she just hoped that somewhere along the line that her daughter would be able to have the kind of chance again at real happiness that was taken from her once before.


“A break for once,” Deidra let out a long sigh walking into her office and falling down to the couch, resting her head against the arm letting out a long sigh. “We never seem to get breaks anymore, whether we’re at home or we are here.”

“I know, it’s always long days,” he motioned her to move up her feet as he sat down and put her feet back in over his legs. “I know that we haven’t gotten a lot of alone time together at home because of all the stuff that has been going on.”

“Stuff,” she laughed thinking about what had happened over the last few weeks and she closed her eyes covering her eyes with her arms slowly. “I can’t stand staying at home considering that stuff is always going to be there complaining about an amazing man.”

“I know Shannon can get a bit over the top sometimes,” Dean groaned resting his head back against the couch and closing his eyes tightly. “Okay, so sometimes she can really be over the top. She just, she just doesn’t understand.”

“You’re damn right she doesn’t understand,” she muttered resting up on her elbows looking out at Dean as he turned to look toward her with his dark eyes. “She is just an absolute idiot, she has probably one of the nicest guys I have ever met totally in love with her.”

“She is a totally blind, I agree,” Dean agreed before taking in a deep breath thinking about the issues that had been going on in his friend’s life knowing that he used to date Shannon and she was even horrible at feelings back then. “She is just an idiot when it comes down to caring for someone. She never was able to see someone when they were upset, she just focuses on herself.”

“And she is insane for doing that,” Deidra blurted out dropping her head back down against the arm of the couch and letting out a small groan. “You see, I’ve talked to Don, I know he loves her and his wife died. She has no respect for his wife, she has no respect for even his son and there is something really weird with that.”

“That is pretty screwed up,” he agreed letting out a long breath and moving her legs away from him, falling down to the floor stretching out. Letting out a long yawn he rested his head against his arm before shaking his head slowly. “Shannon is a person that sees nothing because it doesn’t bother her, if something bothers her, she is never to be at fault even when it is her fault. If she trips, she blames the carpet you know.”

“That seems just like her,” she pointed out with a small laugh thinking about the way Dean’s friend acted all the time and she didn’t like her at all. “I just can’t stand her and you better make sure she isn’t around me when she comes over because knowing me I will take her down. I can’t stand people that only care about what they want because she is a total ass. Don deserves so much better because she is trash.”

“You should be nice you know,” Dean lifted his head from the floor seeing the way that her dark eyes looked down at him for a moment and he shrugged his shoulders. “I know, why be nice when she is a bitch or whatever you are going to call her. There are a million names to call her in the book because she is an absolute disaster when it gets down to love.”

“And hopefully Don gets smart,” Deidra muttered resting back against the couch, letting out a hesitant breath shaking her head as she spoke, “and he’ll leave her realizing what kind of person she really is.”


“What did Hunt do now?” Nate questioned with a small laugh seeing Don gulp down and look toward Shannon who just seemed to try avoiding all eye contact. “Did he get arrested? Does he need money or something because if he does, I don’t make money, but I can ask your dad to help me out and I know he will.”

“Nate, it’s not that,” Don muttered looking into the green eyes he didn’t want to look into right now, but knew he had to do it. Moving in closer to Nate he looked down toward the ground. “He got hurt really bad Nate.”

“Well, why are you waiting for me to just find out he got hurt?” Nate reached for his coat pulling it on quickly and searching his coat for his keys. After finding them he walked toward the door quickly looking back at Don. “If he is at the hospital, I should go see him. What did he do, break his leg or something? He’ll probably hate being off his feet for a while he is a very action type of guy if you know what I mean. He’ll need a picker upper and I’ll be there to give that to him.” “He’s dead Nate,” Don called out seeing Nate stop at the door, his keys dropping from his hands as he pushed his blonde hair back before turning to see the look in Don’s blue eyes. “I’m so sorry kiddo, I didn’t know how to tell you.”

“What is this, some kind of joke?” Nate half laughed before reaching out to smack Don on the shoulder. “I get this, it’s payback right for what I did back in the day to you. I’m sorry I ate your animal crackers, okay?”

“He’s not lying,” Shannon stood up from the couch seeing Nate look out at her as she stepped forward reaching out to touch him as he pulled away from her. “Nate, I know I’m not the greatest of sister’s, but did you hear about the accident that happened at the store? He was one of the two that died.”

“I’m not going to believe that,” Nate shook his head slowly seeing Shannon nod toward the television and he looked at the television seeing Hunt’s photo pop up on the screen. Feeling Shannon reach out to touch him he pulled away from her roughly. “Get the hell way from me, don’t’ touch me.”

“Nate, I’m so sorry,” Shannon tried to apologize seeing the way her brother glared back at her before dropping down to the couch and running his hands through his hair shakily. “Nate, I swear, I know how you feel.”

“You have no idea how I feel right now, you don’t care about anyone,” Nate snapped seeing the way his sister’s brown eyes stared into his and he bit down on his bottom lip reaching for the newspaper on the table, feeling it shake in his hands as he read it. “You have no feelings for anyone, I’m surprised you’re even here. My family in this town is Matt and Don. You could care less.”

“Nate,” Don moved in closer to him watching as Nate’s head dropped into his hands and Don sat down on the couch wrapping his arm around Nate’s shoulders. “She’s just trying to help out, that’s all.”

“Don’t worry, I lost her a long time ago and she’s sadly trying to come back when the one person other than you and Matty that cared about me the most is never coming back,” Nate grumbled looking up at Shannon before letting out a small hiss. “I’d do anything to have him back.”

“You know what?” Shannon walked toward the other hallway before letting out a long sigh. “I think I am going to go and talk to Matt or something. I’ll give the two of you some space.”

“She never understands anything, she doesn’t care,” Nate muttered seeing Don’s blue eyes look over in his direction as Nate shook his head slowly. “She always was my mother’s favorite you know, the one she loved the most. Shannon was always a jerk to her, still is and I took care of my mother when she was sick with cancer--Shannon was nowhere to be found.”

“She’s a bit rough,” Don agreed seeing Nate bite down on his bottom lip before turning away, trying to bite back his emotions as Don saw Nate’s eyes start to water over. “Nate talk to me.”

“I can’t talk if I don’t know how I’m feeling,” Nate muttered wiping at his eyes before letting out a broken breath. Shaking his head slowly he hated when people could see he was vulnerable. “If I don’t know how I’m feeling, I can’t tell you what’s going through my head. He was my best friend Don, everyone treated me like crap--he was my only friend. I have no one but you and Matty, I’m a loner. He was the one friend that liked me for me, no matter what.”

“I know how you feel,” Don pointed out seeing Nate turn to look at him with his reddened, teary green eyes that made him feel an ache for the man that reminded him of his younger brother. “When I lost Stephanie I felt like I had no one, she was my world. She was everything to me and then she was ripped away like I didn’t even have her to begin with.”

“I don’t know what to think,” Nate felt his eyes start to tear over as he bit roughly down on his bottom lip and thought about what was going on. “I didn’t even get to say goodbye, I should have spent more time with him. The last time I talked to him I was so busy with trying to meet a girl that I totally walked away from him. I should have talked to him, I should have tried to be there to say goodbye.”

“He knows kiddo,” Don tried to assure Nate seeing the way Nate looked out at him and moved forward letting out a hesitant breath when he wrapped his arms around his brother-in-law tightly. “I know it hurts. I’m so sorry, he knows you cared. He’ll always be with you, always. Just never let him out of your heart and you’ll always remember him. I’m here Nate, I’m here.”


“See it wasn’t so bad,” Kyle whispered teasing his fingers through Heather’s damp hair as they lay together on the hammock tied up on the beach after an intense lovemaking session. “I told you sex on the beach had it’s perks.”

“Yeah,” she laughed lightly into his chest tipping her eyes up to meet his proud gaze, “I’m going to have a major sunburn tomorrow morning. I can feel my skin getting tight right now from it.”

“Where?” Kyle dropped his hand down to her bottom and offered up a small squeeze, “Right here?”

“Kyle,” she squealed his name, wiggling in his arms as his palm settled in on the back of her upper thighs. She swatted at his chest playfully before laying her head down on it again, “Who would have thought that it would take this long to unleash the animal inside of you? Or better yet who would’ve imagined that once it was uncaged that you’d be so insatiable?”

“If you would’ve told me that you were the woman I was sharing all of this energy with, then I would’ve said it was possible,” he stroked her back lazily, the corners of his mouth upturning in a wide grin, “especially when I know full well that I have married the sexiest woman alive today.”

“Is that right,” she propped herself up on her elbows to eye him suspiciously, “Are you saying that to butter me up for the fact that I’m going to have a major burn on my butt tomorrow?”

“I’m saying it because it’s the truth,” Kyle patted her nose lightly before curling his arm around her waist and pulling her flush against him, his lips plummeting against hers in a ravenous kiss, “You are the most beautiful woman to me.”

“Flattery will get you everywhere,” she laughed lightly in response feeling his body respond to her over him again. She couldn’t help but laugh lightly while leaning up and tossing her long hair back over her shoulders. She grazed her nails lightly over his chest before inching up a bit to look down at him, “You don’t need much down time do you?”

“Would you believe that your sister beg to differ with you on that one,” Kyle shuddered thinking about his ex-fiancée for a moment.

“That’s because she couldn’t rouse your interest,” Heather purred leaning forward to place kisses over the center of his chest heatedly. “She had no idea just how much she had in you, but I’m damn sure I have everything in the world beneath me.”

“Everything in the world huh,” Kyle grinned proudly wiggling his hips up against hers, “Yeah, I’d say it’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?”

“Oh please,” she rolled her eyes at him swatting at his chest once again, “It’s impressive, but don’t flatter yourself. It’s not that impressive.”

“Not that impressive,” Kyle wiggled his brow at her before seizing her in his arms and flipping her onto the hammock beside him so that they were laying face to face. His hazel eyes penetrated hers as his fingers dipped over her hip leisurely, “That’s not what you were saying earlier when I had you begging for more…”

“I never beg,” Heather wrinkled her nose at him pressing her fingers in against his smooth shoulder. She teased her finger tips over his muscled arm before licking her lips. “You should know by now I plan everything when I decide what it is that I want. I’m completely in control.”

“Control eh?” Kyle felt a breeze pass over him as his palm curled around her thigh urging her leg over his hip, “Somehow I believe I had you losing every inkling of control with my very impressive...”

“Oh boy, here we go again,” Heather rolled her eyes shaking her head at her husband, “It always returns to that doesn’t it? Men are always so consumed with size and how bigger is better, aren’t they?”

“Aren’t women?” Kyle countered searching her eyes, “because if you tell me that they don’t think about it, then I know you’re lying. Time and time again I’ve heard women go on and on about how this guy has the perfect butt, how this one does this or that or how awesome it is that the guy they are with are hung like a stallion, so don’t even try to deny it.”

“Just like men don’t obsess over breasts,” Heather rolled her eyes at his remark before waving her hand around in the air, “I mean I haven’t met a man in this lifetime who isn’t salivating over someone who walks by with breasts out to here.”

“I’m not like that,” Kyle defended himself catching her look before lowering his voice a bit, “anymore.”

“Oh right,” she shook her head at him, “So you’re telling me that if I didn’t have super huge breasts you wouldn’t find me even more attractive since that seems to be every man’s fantasy.”

“Not mine,” he mouthed sliding his hand up her rib cage to capture her breast in his hand. He shaped it with his fingers before winking at her suggestively, “because this is a perfect fit to me.”

“You’re only saying that because it’s an obligation now that we’re married,” she tossed out at him pointedly, “If you say anything else you’ll think the honeymoon will be over before it starts.”

“Heather, I’ve always liked your breasts,” Kyle blurted out bluntly, “they have never been anything but exciting to me. Sure, yeah I might’ve looked at a woman who had a lot on top, but damn regardless of how interesting it looked at the time, nothing felt so good or right as yours when I’m holding them like this or when I’m…”

“Okay I get the point,” she clasped her hand over his mouth to silence anything further that fell from his lips, “I was just saying.”

“Well don’t presume to make assumptions about how I feel when I’ll tell you straight up what it is you do for me,” he whispered, the heat of his breath buzzing against her skin as she slid her fingers away from his lips and down his chest.

“Fair enough and for the record, not every woman is obsessed with sizing up a man,” Heather offered up in confession before licking her lips, “Though I would have to say that if I was that kind of woman, which I’m totally not and never will be, well I would be, well I mean I’m just saying that I would like what I saw and I would find it very impressive if of course I was that kind of woman.”

“Which you’re not,” Kyle tossed back at her with a doubtful expression.

“Exactly,” she nodded in response seeing the sly grin that swept over his features, “and truth be told I would say if I was as vain as some of those women well if I were to size you up there I would have to say that over all you’re undoubtedly at the top of the list there.”

“Top of the list you say,” Kyle arched a curious brow. “A long list?”

“You tell me Mr. ’I used to look for those things in a woman’,” she wiggled her brow back at him.

“The numbers don’t matter because when it gets down to it there’s only been one woman I’ve been totally in love with and she’s right here in my arms,” Kyle confessed pulling her in closer to him again.

“Very good answer,” she purred moving in over him and kissing him like she’d never stop. She curled her arms around his shoulders, feeling him sending tiny sensations rippling over her with his hands caressing the contours of her body. She was about to say something more when she heard a sound from behind them.

“Freeze,” a voice shouted out as Heather gasped, popping her head up to see a man with a gun standing beside the hammock. She gasped in surprise as the barrel of the gun was pointed directly in front of her nose. “This beach isn’t big enough for perverts like you on it.”

“Get that thing out of her face,” Kyle snarled reaching out to push the gun away from Heather before he rolled out from beneath her on the hammock. He stood up and faced down the much shorter man with an icy glare. “Who the hell do you think you are?”

“I’m security. The shores security and,” the man gulped seeing a completely naked Kyle in front of him.

“And what?” Kyle placed his hands on his hips not caring about his own nakedness as he stood in front of Heather to shield her from the man’s eyes.

“And this place isn’t one for people to…” the man stopped his eyes fixed on Kyle again as he blinked a few times. “Kyle Houston? Is that you?”

“That’s right,” Kyle nodded seeing the way the man looked past him to eye Heather curiously. Kyle snapped his fingers in the air before stepping to the side a bit to block the man’s view of Heather.

“Heather Marx,” the man’s eyes widened in realization as he lowered the gun and put it back into his holster at his hip. “I never thought I would see you two here again. Well, okay so maybe we all kind of figured that you’d get together, but still I never imagined that I’d be the one to see it confirmed. It’s me. Marty. Marty Simms, from high school. Remember we played football together Kyle?”

“Oh right,” Kyle scratched his own chin lightly, “Marty, yeah man I remember you. I haven’t seen you in a long time. How’s it hanging?”

Marty’s face grew flushed with embarrassment as he turned away from Kyle and Heather to give them a moment of privacy, “Apparently not as good as it is for you. Wow, who knew that after all these years you two would wind up here?”

“Who would think,” Heather frowned reaching down for the beach towel and using it to cover herself. She picked up Kyle’s bathing suit trunks and held them out to him.

“That’s okay honey,” Kyle handed them back to her before he bent down and picked up her bikini top from the sand. He shook it out before holding it out to her, “Why don’t you put those on and I’ll take the towel considering that I think we lost the other half of your bathing suit.”

“We didn’t lose it. You just,” Heather paused realizing what she was about to admit in front of Marty. Finally she nodded and shifted around on the hammock in a clumsy attempt to get herself covered. When she was satisfied that she did a sufficient job, she held out one of the towels to Kyle.

“Thanks babe,” Kyle smiled at her before redirecting his attention to Marty, “So you get a lot of disturbances out here on the beach? A lot of folks breaking the law?”

“No not really, but someone called about a couple of kids going at it and I saw you two so naturally,” Marty began apologetically noticing the ring on Kyle’s finger.

“Well, you know it’s our honeymoon,” Kyle secured the towel loosely around his waist, “and our son was out for a little while, so were taking advantage of some alone time if you catch my drift.”

“Loud and clear,” Marty lowered his voice before leaning in towards Kyle, “and you should enjoy it while you can because once the reality of married life sinks in, you’ll find this happens less and less. All of the fire seems to be sucked out with bills and day to day activities.”

“I shudder at the thought,” Kyle feigned concern before standing tall and motioning to Heather again, “Though as you can see we’re not trying to cause any trouble. We’re just sort of enjoying the environment and spending time together after the wedding…”

“Well, I don’t really see any harm in that especially since the sun’s about to set,” Marty waved his hand in the air dismissively, “I’m sure that sooner or later people will be too busy to be looking out their windows at what’s going on out here. I mean it’s not like there is really anyone out on the beach and…”

“We’re back,” Mrs. Benjamin announced walking out onto the beach with Charles in her arms, “and we’ve got everything in order for the celebration starting now.”

“Celebration,” Heather’s eyes widened as a group of people followed Mrs. Benjamin and Charles onto the beach. Suddenly their private day of lovemaking was filled with faces of strangers and people she hadn’t seen for years.

“Did I um, mention that I was throwing us a little surprise party tonight,” Kyle cleared his throat uneasily, “Mrs. Benjamin told a few people about the wedding and word got going around town and before you know it half of the people we grew up with wanted to come over and wish us good luck.”

“You don’t say,” Heather felt her face grow red with embarrassment as she struggled to tie Kyle’s bathing trunks around her slender form. Reaching out to tug on his towel gently, she yanked him back to the hammock with her before whispering in his ear harshly, “Kyle if you knew all of these people were coming over here, why did you tear apart my bathing suit and…?”

“I lost track of time,” he whispered before waving to the crowd, “Hey everyone. We’ll be with you in a few minutes, so bear with us.”

A laugh rippled through the observers before Kyle leaned in over Heather again catching the blush that rose over her features.

“I’m sorry I didn’t realize what time it was,” he mouthed in a short, tight whisper watching Marty go to talk with a few other people on the beach.

“Even so you should have told me,” Heather insisted with a small frown, “These are way too big on me and you’ve only got that towel and…”

“We can go into the cabin and get dressed,” Kyle promised seeing her shifting uncomfortably on the hammock.

“Not without exposing my naked ass to everyone on the beach,” Heather motioned to his shorts she was wearing, “No matter how hard I try they aren’t going to fit Kyle.”

“Fine, then have this,” Kyle decided throwing caution to the wind and handing her the towel he’d been covered in. A hush fell through the crowd as stunned eyes swept over Kyle. He forced a nervous smile watching Heather wrap the towel around herself swiftly while she nearly toppled over getting off of the hammock in a hurry. “It’s our honeymoon. You all understand.”

“Here,” Heather handed the shorts that she’d been wearing to Kyle as he stood before all of their guests completely naked.

“Oh thanks,” Kyle pushed the trunks in front of his exposed manhood and forced another dry laugh, “We wouldn’t want to poke anyone’s eye out with any of this here.”

Heather slapped his shoulder before hiding behind him as he held his swimsuit up over his body in an attempt to be cool and low key about the situation that he’d put upon them.

“We’ll be right back,” Kyle promised taking small steps towards the cabin with Heather behind him every single step of the way. He used his free hand to open the door before Heather ran inside and dragged him in with her. Swiftly she kicked the door shut before meeting his amused eyes.

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” Heather placed her hands on her hips careful not to lose the towel around her waist.

“Aren’t you?” he chuckled glancing out onto the beach where it was clear their guests were talking about what they saw. “I’ll bet right now they are all sizing up what they saw a few minutes ago and from the looks on their faces I’m guessing their pretty impressed.”

“Kyle, that’s so not funny,” Heather swatted at his arm again and watching him chuckle with delight.

“I’m just saying. I mean look at that woman over there. She looked like she was about to pass out when she saw me standing there naked and…” Kyle laughed harder than before. He tipped his head to the side seeing Heather plop down on the couch folding her arms in front of her chest.

“I’m not going back out there. We’ve already humiliated ourselves enough tonight. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to go out there again,” Heather shook her head defiantly.

“Oh I don’t know. I think it would be rather amusing,” Kyle teased unable to repress his amusement, “though I don’t think anyone would argue with us when we tell them we would like to cut the night’s festivities short for some alone time. I think they would be eager to give us that unless of course they are hoping for another show.”

“How can you make such a joke of this?” Heather scowled up at him, “That was embarrassing.”

“Maybe,” he shrugged moving in to take a seat beside her. He placed his hand on her leg and squeezed it gently, “But it is fitting if you think about it. Neither one of us has been shy so who cares if people we are never going to see again caught us in the act? I mean really, I don’t give a damn about what they think, so why should you?”

“Because it just looks so…” Heather stopped herself before shaking her head, “I sound ridiculous, don’t I?”

“Maybe a little,” he laughed lightly bringing his arm around her shoulders, “but if you’re really uncomfortable I can call this all off and you won’t have to go back out there. We can just forget about the party and go back home.”

“No,” she shook her head after a moment’s contemplation, “I don’t want that either. I just wasn’t expecting to have half the world show up like that when we were alone together.”

“Neither was I, but I have no doubt in my mind that right now our old pal Marty is wishing like hell that he would’ve paid more attention to you in high school because you are as hot as it gets,” Kyle leaned in to kiss her heatedly, “Though I have to admit I’m glad he didn’t pay you attention because selfishly I’m happy that I was lucky enough to marry you.”

“Because you think I’m hot?” she arched a curious brow.

“Inside and out baby,” Kyle nodded in confession, “and I have to say I’m going to be the envy of absolutely everyone out there because I have the most incredible wife in the world. No one out there can even come close to where you are in my eyes.”

“I love you,” she smiled at him touching his cheek gently, “and I love everything that you’ve done for me. This is all just so incredible--even if I was on display for all our old friends from childhood.”

“Hey it just gives them more to be jealous of,” Kyle shrugged leaning in to kiss her once again, “but for now let’s not worry about that. Let’s just think about the celebration that’s waiting for us because I promise you it’s going to be a big one.”

“Since you put it that way I’m in,” Heather finally decided, “but next time at least give me a little warning.”

“Will do,” he assured her taking her into his arms and kissing her once again as he thought of the celebration waiting outside for them on their first night together as husband and wife. Yes, things were certainly looking up indeed!


...to be continued...