Episode 358

“I can’t believe you did that last night,” Heather laughed lightly leaning over her passenger side seat in Kyle’s truck. She glanced into the back to see that Charles was sleeping still worn out from the beach party Kyle had hosted the previous evening as a honeymoon surprise.

“Oh admit it we’ll probably be the talk of the town,” Kyle teased with a wide smirk, “and besides the way I look at it everyone there grew up to be old and boring. We can at least say that we’re still fun and spontaneous.”

“True, but I have to admit that Mrs. Benjamin couldn’t look at you without blushing last night and then that one girl we knew from school practically choked on her appetizer when you walked by,” Heather thought back to the strange celebration they’d had the previous evening.

“That’s because she has been living in a small town and wasn’t aware that there was this much greatness that came out of that place,” Kyle teased with a wink before laughing, “Though you can’t tell me that she didn’t go home to her husband wishing like hell that he was like me. Or hell even Marty for that matter. I saw the way he kept drooling over you and at one point in time I was ready to pop him one for even thinking about you that way.”

“No you weren’t,” she laughed lightly sinking back into her seat, “You’re so full of it.”

“I am not,” he argued with her teasingly, “The way I see it no man is going to drool over my wife like that unless of course that man is me.”

“Hmm, I like the sound of that with you being all possessive, but more so I like hearing that I’m your wife,” Heather decided with a wide smirk, “Say it again. Call me your wife.”

“My wife,” he reached for her hand lacing their fingers in one another before he pulled up to Russ and Avery’s old house, “I know we talked about going back to your place, but with Kellen and all of his questions I thought that we could use a little alone time.”

“That’s probably a good idea considering that he’s going to be furious when he hears we got married, which of course we’ll have to find a way to break it to him gently because he really, really wanted to play a part in all of it,” Heather added thinking about her best friend and how upset he would be to have been left out of the loop.

“You don’t think Kipp would say anything to him, do you?” Kyle couldn’t help but ask glancing over at her once again.

“No, I don’t think he would considering that I asked him to keep it a secret, but I feel bad,” Heather sighed watching Kyle pull up into the driveway, “I mean knowing how important a big wedding is to Kellen I didn’t want to upset him and break his heart by our just going off and doing it.”

“He’ll get over it. He always does and besides we promised that we would let him plan a big, glorified ceremony for us,” Kyle added with a small smirk, “I have no problems with marrying you again in front of everyone we know and love. Hell I’ll marry you anytime and any place if you would like.”

“I may have to take you up on that because I really enjoyed the first time we did it,” she confessed with a warm smile watching him put the truck into park.

“Stay put,” Kyle urged seeing her getting ready to exit the truck, “I’ll be right back.”

“Okay,” Heather nodded watching him reach for Charles and take him out of the car. She followed Kyle with her eyes seeing him enter the house before going in and leaving her outside for a few minutes. She sat in the truck wondering what he had on his mind as she reached for the door handle ready to investigate. She started to push the door open just in time to see Kyle reemerging from the house.

“You stay right there,” Kyle warned sprinting towards her hurriedly. He rushed over to the side of the truck and opened the door for her offering his hand to help her out of this. “You can’t ruin my plans just yet.”

“And just what plans might those be?” she couldn’t help but ask feeling him scoop her up into his arms in one, smooth, solid movement.

“My plans for trying to at least bring a little bit of tradition into all of this,” he admitted carrying her towards the house. He squeezed her closer to him and grinned proudly, “I mean we kind of bypassed everything else with tradition, but right now I thought it might be a good idea for you and I to just give this one a try with me carrying my wife over the threshold like they do in all of the old movies.”

“I never had you pegged for that,” Heather leaned into his shoulder a smile growing over her features, “but I like it.”

“Good because I like it too,” he stopped right in front of the door to kiss her before walking into the house and kicking the door to a close. “I love you Mrs. Houston.”

“And I love you Mr. Houston,” Heather searched the living room for any sign of Charles. “Where’s Charles?”

“In bed which is exactly where I’m going to take you too now that I have you in my home,” Kyle promised leading her down the hallway only to get half way to the bedroom when the doorbell rang. He let out a groan hearing it again, “Not now.”

Heather heard the sound of Charles waking up in the nursery and she let out a sigh her green eyes meeting Kyle’s, “I take it that this shows us the honeymoon is over.”

“I’ll get rid of our company,” Kyle suggested reluctantly setting her down again, “You take care of Charles.”

“It’s a deal,” she shook his hand playfully before going to check in on her son.

Kyle walked down the hallway silently cursing their uninvited guest’s timing, but before he could get to the door and politely get them to leave, he watched Kellen move into the foyer in a huff. Kellen’s eyes scanned the room before they fixed in on Kyle.

“There you are,” Kellen threw his hands up in the air, “The door was unlocked so I figured that you had to be home. I saw the truck in the driveway and you have no idea how relieved I was that you were back home. I tried calling Heather Babes at least a million times but there was nothing. I left at least a dozen voice mails and…”

“We were busy,” Kyle explained behind gritted teeth, his eyes narrowing in at Kellen.

“Not too busy to let a friend know that you were still alive,” Kellen shook his head at Kyle, “You have no idea how worried I was about you and Heather. I went sick thinking about all of the awful possibilities of what might’ve happened. I broke three nails and…Heather Babes…”

“Kellen,” Heather greeted her friend with an awkward smile as she had Charles in her arms. She blinked a few times before forcing a small smile, ‘What are you doing here?”

“Wondering what in the world happened to you,” Kellen rushed over to greet her. He gave Charles a small kiss before shaking his head at her, “You had me worried sick when I couldn’t get a hold of you. Kipp told me not to worry, but he’s beyond wrapped up in that annoying assistant of his. She keeps finding excuses to keep coming around and bothering him and I really don’t like it. It just wasn’t the same at the office yesterday without you to talk to when I just wanted to pull that twit’s hair out and take her eyes and…”

“It’s nice to know you’re doing good Kellen, but we were about to um just…” Kyle searched for the right words as he exchanged glances with Heather.

“Trying to scare the hell out of me and you succeeded,” Kellen chastised them before turning to Heather again, “You have no idea how hard it was for me not being able to get a hold of you. I thought that you’d been hurt in an accident or worse. It was frightening and…”

Kyle held his hand up in the air showing Heather that he still had his wedding ring on while Heather fought to keep hers from showing. She quickly shifted Charles in her arms before meeting Kellen’s blue eyes.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t call you back, but we were a little busy,” Heather offered up apologetically.

“Doing what?” Kellen placed his hands on his hips and looked between the both of them, “I mean yeah I get it that you probably wanted to share some deeply erotic, sensual experience with one another, but honestly you could have at least taken five minutes to call me and…”

“You know I’m really sorry about that, but I think Charles needs me to change his diaper. I’ll be right back,” Heather blurted out as Kyle cast a pleading look with her.

“You know I think I’m going to help,” Kyle added rushing over to Heather’s side.

“Oh no I think I’ve more than got it covered. Why don’t you talk to Kellen,” Heather suggested ducking down the hallway again and leaving Kyle alone to deal with Kellen.

“So um Kellen,” Kyle cleared his throat uneasily pushing his hand into his own pocket so that Kellen wouldn’t see his wedding ring, “How do you feel about football?”

“Well I don’t really think much of it considering that…” Kellen started feeling Kyle pat him on the shoulder.

“Good because I think there’s a game on. Why don’t you take a seat,” Kyle motioned over to the couch before ducking into the kitchen. “I’ll just get us some drinks while we’re watching and I’ll be right back.”

“Well okay but,” Kellen decided looking in both directions to see his friends rushing away. With a curious expression on his face he sank down onto the couch and scratched his chin lightly, “Something strange is certainly going on here. I can feel it.”


“It’s funny, you and that little tyke are the only two people that understand me now,” Nate moved away from Don feeling a bit uncomfortable before moving back and resting against the arm of the couch. “Don, what am I going to do?”

“Make the best of what you can do,” Don suggested seeing Nate’s green eyes staring out into his almost confused, reminding himself of what it was like back in the day when he lost Stephanie. “Never forget them, never let them go. The moment you think they aren’t with you anymore is the moment you start giving up on everything and I think you’re great Nate, don’t let this kill you inside.”

“It broke my heart--I can tell you that,” Nate gulped down shaking his head slowly, trying to block all his emotions from coming out in front of Don. “I shouldn’t even be complaining in front of you, you lost your wife. The love of your life and here I am crying over some other man.”

“You’re best friend, I can’t tell you how broken up I would be if I lost Brant, he is sadly--probably the person I care about the most in this world other than my son,” Don informed Nate with a small nod seeing the way that Don’s blue eyes tried to get him to listen and pay attention. “This may sound weird, but I live to see my son and Brant. Then I get lucky and have things enter my life that mean just as much to me and you are one of them kid. You’re like the little brother I never had.”

“And you’re like my big brother Don, I would love to trade Shannon for you,” Nate let out a long breath seeing the way that Don offered up a small smile. Feeling Don’s hand set in against his shoulder casually Nate shook his head slowly, thinking about his sister and how she would never understand. “I would do anything to have Hunt back, I could care less about her.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way kiddo, it’s not your fault,” Don tried to assure him seeing the way that Nate turned away from Don for a moment, hearing a noise in the back of the room and both turned to see what it was. “Shannon? Matt? What are you two doing in here?”

“Matt wanted to come check on Nate,” Shannon informed them moving forward as Nate stood up from the couch and saw Matt run over toward him. Seeing Matt coming toward him Nate bent down to pick him up in his arms and pull him in closer for a tight hug. “He was worried.”

“I’m okay little guy,” Nate lied seeing the way that Matt’s blue eyes looked into his and he offered up a small smile. Feeling Matt’s hands press in against his cheeks, Nate moved forward to press a small kiss against Matt’s forehead. “There is nothing to worry about with me kiddo.”

“You’re my best friend Nate,” Matt pointed out with a small smile resting his forehead against Nate’s feeling Nate pull him in closer for another tight squeeze. “I’m always going to care about you because I love you and I don’t want to lose you.”

“I love you too Matty,” Nate set him down carefully kneeling down on his knees so that he was Matt’s height. Feeling Don’s hand press in against his shoulder Nate took a small look back at him before looking back to Matt. “Nothing is ever going to take me away from you, I promise.”

“And we’ll never let him go,” Don stated seeing Matt smile when Nate stood up slowly and looked around the room for a minute. Moving forward to pick up his son, he saw Nate step back a few steps. “You need anything?”

“I just think I need some time,” Nate walked toward the hallway to get to his room, seeing the glance from all of their eyes. “I need some time alone to think. I promise I’ll be okay.”

“We’ll be here,” Shannon informed Nate seeing him nod and walk down the hallway and they heard his door shut telling them that Nate was in his room. “I wish I could have done something more, I don’t know what to do for him.”

“Dad, do me a favor and let me down,” Matt begged looking into his dad’s blue eyes giving him a tight hug before feeling Don set him down. Moving back slowly he smoothed out his shirt and let out a small sigh. “You know dad, when people say that they want to be alone, they usually don’t mean it. I’ll go talk to Nate.”

“Um, okay,” Don nodded quickly seeing Matt let out another long breath before walking down the hallway toward Nate’s room, knocking on the door then walking in. Feeling Shannon touch his arm he turned to see her with a slightly worried expression. “What is it?”

“Are you sure sending a little kid in there with Nate is a good idea?” Shannon questioned seeing the way that Don’s eyebrows tensed together when she asked that and he bit down on his bottom lip. “Not that I’m saying anything wrong about your son, I’m just saying. I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.”

“Trust me when I tell you this, it’s fine,” Don hushed her holding his hands up in the air and motioning her to sit down on the couch as he folded his arms in front of his chest. “Not only are they best friends, my son thinks he’s Dr. Phil, so that might help a bit too. If I were you, I would trust my son, he’s smart and knows what he’s doing.”


“Hey Matty,” Nate sat up on the bed pushing at the dampness on his cheek as he saw Matt walk into the room and slowly close the door behind him. “What are you doing in here little guy? You don’t have to come in here and be with me.”

“I think now is the time you need someone the most,” Matt walked over to the bed seeing a small smile break over Nate’s lips. Moving in closer to the bed he felt Nate reach out to grab him and help pull him up on the bed into Nate’s lap. “I think as the duty of your best friend, it’s the right time for me to be here.”

“You know,” Nate half laughed feeling Matt’s head rest in against his chest and Nate rested his head against the top of Matt’s head. Feeling Matt’s fingers grab a hold of his Nate smiled and held onto them tightly. “I think I would totally be lost without you.”

“Truth is,” Matt looked up at Nate for a moment with his blue eyes seeing the way that Nate looked down at him. Shrugging his shoulders Matt let out a small breath before nodding slowly. “The same thing goes for me. I may come off as a prankster Nate, but if I never met you, I would be bored with my life. You’re my best friend and every moment I spend with you is always fun, I’m proud to call you my uncle.”

“And I’m proud to call you my nephew,” Nate agreed seeing Matt smile before resting his head back against Nate’s chest again. Looking down at Matt he squeezed him in for a small hug thinking about how much he had fallen in love with this kid. “You know, if I ever have a child I want them to be exactly like you.”

“Well, that can’t happen right now Nate,” Matt replied seeing the look behind Nate’s green eyes and Matt simply shrugged his shoulders turning more on the bed to face Nate. “Don’t tell anyone, but I tend to have a bit of a jealousy problem and honestly--right now, you’re all mine.”

“You are so cute,” Nate laughed moving forward to tickle at Matt’s stomach hearing him laugh out and throw his hands out in the air to try and get Nate to stop. After a few moments of tickling him Nate moved forward to press a small kiss on top of Matt’s forehead. “Well, you have nothing to worry about because I just want to belong to you little one.”

“Good because you really didn’t have a choice,” Matt moved forward pushing at the center of Nate’s chest roughly making him fall back against the bed and sat on his stomach. “I’m the one who decides if you can have a kid or not.”

“Well, I’ll make sure it’s okay with you first little guy,” Nate chuckled reaching out to play with Matt’s hair messing it up and seeing the wrinkle that developed over Matt’s nose after he did it. “I’m lucky you don’t weight so much, if you weight about twenty more pounds I think I would have been suffocated.”

“No, but you are lucky I don’t weight a lot,” Matt felt Nate pull him down and make him lie next to him on the bed and Matt let out a small laugh. “You know, I know you’re upset Nate, but he’s always going to be with you. They never leave you know, I would be the one to know.”

“Really?” Nate questioned turning to rest against his arm as he saw Matt’s blue eyes looking into his. Closing his eyes, Nate took in a deep breath thinking about his best friend. “How do you know?”

“I’ve seen my mother in my sleep all the time,” Matt informed Nate seeing the look behind Nate’s eyes as he shrugged his shoulders. “I know I’ve never met her, but there have been plenty of times where she has come to me in my sleep. Telling me that she loved me and everything was going to be okay. Even saying that I should take care of my dad and let him know she was okay. My dad has had them too, I know he has. It’s just something that I don’t think he likes talking about you know.”

“Because it hurts,” Nate stated seeing the way that Matt nodded before sitting up and staring out at Nate. Sitting up for a minute Nate pushed back his hair and stood up from the bed. “Do you want to see some pictures of us when we were younger?”

“I’d love to, I’ve never saw what you looked like as a kid,” Matt pondered what Nate would look like as he saw Nate open the top drawer to his dresser before coming back. “I think it’s great that you keep pictures, it’s always a great way to remember the important things.”

“Here is the two of us,” Nate handed Matt over a picture, seeing the way that Matt smiled and nodded slowly. Lying back down Nate set the pictures down in front of Matt, seeing him looking through it slowly. “We met in school when we were younger, which one of us would be the bigger prankster was how we started off. Instead of competing, we just started teaming up together.”

“You know, I think it’s about time you start teaching me some of that stuff,” Matt offered up with a small nod seeing Nate let out a small laugh and Matt laid back again reaching for the remote to Nate’s television. “The two of us can do some serious stuff to my dad in the future.”

“Right now, I think he is amazing so we’ll back off on the tricks,” Nate chuckled looking over to the television seeing the channel that Matt turned on was some cartoons. “But as soon as we get back on the game again, I promise I’ll teach some great ones.”


“Cameron did it ever cross your mind that you want to believe Brant is evil so very much that you’re willing to write off the truth that is right in front of you?” Angela frowned thinking about her brother’s bold statement against the man she loved. “I mean naturally I believed what you were telling me because you are my brother and you love me, but don’t you think you might be wrong?”

“I’m not wrong,” he replied stiffly meeting her desperate brown eyes with a frown of his own, “Brant Ashford is a murderer.”

“Then where is the proof?” she couldn’t help but ask challenging her brother’s views. “Where is the evidence behind the accusation?”

“I told you he did it, isn’t that enough?” Cameron frowned back at her. “That used to be enough for you to hear what I had to say.”

“Cameron this isn’t just about me anymore. This goes beyond you and I,” she placed her hand over her abdomen before taking in a breath, “Whether you want to face it or not, I’m having Brant’s children. We’re about to become parents together and…”

“That’s an unfortunate situation that we’ll have to deal with, but rest assured that I will make sure that he never, ever hurts either of your children,” Cameron explained in a determined tone, “He won’t have the opportunity to get to them like he got to our father.”

“Cam, is it possible that you could be wrong about him? I know that his father wasn’t on the up and up. He told me that from the start, but why do you believe Brant is a part of his father’s madness? Isn’t it possible that…” she started again thinking about the man she’d fallen in love with.

“This conversation is over,” Cameron rolled his eyes at her before walking past.

“No, Cameron it’s not,” she argued further making a step towards him, “Unless you can give me the proof behind your accusations, then I’m not going to believe Brant is a murderer. I don’t think in my heart that he hurt our father and if you can’t show me justifiable reasoning behind what you said, then I’m going to go speak with Brant and see what he has to say about it.”

“The hell you are,” he spun around to face her again with a scowl, “You’re not going anywhere near that man as long as I’m around. In fact I’m going to get you on a flight out of Coral Valley as soon as possible so that you’ll be safe and…”

“You’re not pushing me out of town,” she cut him off with a glare, “Don’t even think that you can bully me around Cam when the fact to the matter is that I deserve the truth about the man I love.”

“I gave you the truth, but you’re too ignorant to face it. It’s clear that you’re not going to help yourself because you’ve been blinded by something beyond your control, so it’s up to me to stop it,” he decided with a huff shaking his head at her, “You leave me no choice in this matter Angel.”

“What are you going to do? Ship me away so that you don’t have to worry about my making my own decisions?” she questioned placing her hands on her hips, “Treat me like a child because I don’t agree with what you’re telling me?”

“You’re behaving like a child right now by refusing to see things as they truly are,” he tossed back at her sharply, his dark eyes narrowing over at her, “You’re being far from rational about this.”

“What’s not rational is my sitting here arguing with you when what I should be doing is speaking with Brant. He’s tried to get me to see the truth about the situation, but I’ve been hiding behind my fears and my worries about everything that could happen instead of thinking about what should be happening. Cam, I know you think he’s the enemy, but I don’t believe that in my heart. In fact, I’m not going to waste another minute fighting over this. I’m going to go see Brant right now.”

“Oh no you’re not,” Cameron reached out to snag her arm with his fingers before she could leave the room. “You’re not going anywhere near him.”

“You can’t stop me Cameron,” her words fell from her lips in a sharp hiss, “so don’t even try.”

“Watch me,” Cameron mouthed under his breath picking her up in his arms and catching her completely off guard. She opened her mouth in protest as he pushed his way down the hallway with her over his shoulder.

“Cameron, what are you doing?” she questioned kicking at his chest as he kept her in his arms, “Cameron, put me down!”

“This is for your own good Angel and you’ll thank me for this sooner or later,” he vowed carrying her to her room and depositing her inside on the bed. “I’m sorry if you hate me, but I refuse to let you ruin your life. You and Brant are never going to be together again and nothing you do or say is going to change that.”

“You can’t control me Cameron. You can’t keep me here prisoner,” she shot back at him icily, her fists balling up at her sides, now that anger overtook her.

“I can do whatever is necessary to protect you and don’t think I won’t,” he warned giving her one last look before stomping out of her bedroom and locking the door behind him.

“Cameron, don’t you dare,” she rushed forward reaching for the door only to discover that he had in fact trapped her in her room much her dismay. She kicked at the door and shouted feeling her anger growing exponentially now that it was clear that her brother was being far more pig headed than she’d ever thought possible about the situation at hand.


Brant walked through the Ashford estate thinking about his plans for Angela. One way or another he was going to get her to talk to him even if it meant pulling one of the craziest moves he’d ever done in his life. Now with a newfound determination Brant approached the front door ready to take whatever was necessary to make things right again.

“Hey Brant,” Ken caught him in the foyer, “Where are you off to?”

“I’m about to take a risk that will either pay off of get me killed,” Brant admitted fishing around in his pocket for his car keys. Frowning when he didn’t find them he wondered if he’d left them upstairs. “Ken you haven’t seen my car keys around have you?”

“Which ones?” Ken couldn’t help but ask sensing the urgency in Brant’s voice, “But before we get to that I have to know what are you doing?”

“I’m going to find a way to fix a mistake that I made, well I didn’t really make it and I’m going to clear my name, but it’ll take a little work,” Brant continued walking over to the front closet and pulling out one of his jackets and discovering a set of keys. “Found them.”

“Why do I get the feeling that you’re about to get in over your head,” Ken frowned back at his brother worriedly, “Brant whatever it is you’re into this time, why don’t you let me help you and…”

“It’s not possible this time. If I’m going to get Angela to believe in me, I have to do it on my own and I know exactly what I need to do,” Brant informed his brother with a firm nod. “She needs to see how things really are and as long as she’s locked up in Cameron’s place she’s never going to find the truth.”

“Wait a second, you’re going to Cameron Stone’s place?” Ken’s eyes widened in surprise, “Why?”

“Because he’s lead her to believe that I’m the second coming of our father and that isn’t going to fly with me. I’m not Nicholas, never was and I refuse to let that man’s legacy keep me from the woman I love any longer. I’m going to get Angela and I’m not returning until she comes home with me,” Brant announced moving over to the door and opening it.

“Wait a second,” Ken chased after his brother out onto the front porch, “Brant that’s suicide. You and I both know full well that Cameron has been trying to bury our family for months now.”

“Even so I’m not going to let him take away the one happiness that I still have in my life Ken. He’s got Angela and my children and I’m not going to let him take that away from me too,” Brant informed his brother point blank before racing off to his car and leaving Ken to wonder just what kind of trouble Brant was truly getting himself into now.


“You sure that you’ll be okay,” Dave questioned looking around the kitchen and taking a moment to enjoy the quiet atmosphere after everyone had taken off earlier leaving him and Carly alone.

“Of course I will,” she nodded shrugging her shoulders simply, “I mean it’s not every day that I actually have time to myself where I can just relax and enjoy some time alone.”

“I realize that, but I was hoping that I could enjoy it with you since we haven’t had much time for that lately,” Dave noted reaching out to pull her into an embrace, “If I wasn’t so backed up at work…”

“Hey, you’re the police chief,” Carly slid her arms around his shoulders and pulled him in closer to her, “I knew exactly what I was getting into when I married you so I know it’s part of the package.”

“Just a small part,” he leaned in to kiss her, a smile touching over his lips, “but maybe if I’m lucky we can have a private dinner just the two of us later.”

“It sounds like heaven,” Carly teased her finger tips over the center of his jacket before issuing a small frown, “but you were supposed to talk with Cori’s therapist remember?”

“I can’t believe I forgot,” Dave frowned again thinking about his younger sister, “It’s still such a blur considering that I never truly believed she would pull something like this.”

“I’m sure she’s getting the help that she needs and soon she’ll be okay again,” Carly spoke up encouragingly, “She just needs to realize that what she did was wrong and that Diego isn’t someone she should have in her life. If someone makes you feel that strongly…”

“It’s either love or pure insanity,” Dave finished thinking about his sister’s erratic behavior. “I don’t know why Cori did what she did, but hopefully she will be getting the kind of help that she wasn’t able to be provided with before.”

“I’m sure she is,” Carly patted his chest gently, “but don’t worry about it. Just try to focus on your day ahead of you and maybe after your meeting I’ll stop on by and visit you if you’re tied up at work.”

“I’ll call you later,” he promised leaning in to kiss her tenderly, “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Carly smiled at him embracing him one last time before watching him leave the kitchen. He threw out one sexy look before waving and heading out to his car.

Carly walked over to the window and waved before turning around to look at her surroundings again. She stepped over to the kitchen table where she’d set down a box of her things earlier. She began to thumb through the pages of her work that she’d had ahead of her. Thinking about Andy’s divorce case, she couldn’t help but realize that her kitchen wasn’t exactly the place for clarity in her career. She had been so used to working in the town offices doing what she could to get the job done that the quiet of her own home seemed foreign to her.

“Maybe I’ll just relocate for a while,” Carly hoisted the box up in her arms and walked out into the living room to find Kayla’s toys scattered over the floor. Setting the box down she moved over to pick up Kayla’s toys before sinking into the sofa and seeing the television was on. She reached for the remote when she spotted a newsflash on a story about corruption in the D.A.’s office. Suddenly her interest was sparked as she turned up the volume and listened to tale about how her old boss was coming up under charges of corruption and bribery. Her eyes widened as she listened to the allegations against her old boss and suddenly she found herself doing anything, but missing the old offices.

“I guess it’s good that I got out when I did,” Carly noted with a shudder remembering her last confrontation with Chavez. However as she turned off the television she realized that she did miss her working with others--her ability to separate home and work and now that she was caught up in the thick of her daughter’s play things she realized that maybe just maybe it was time to find a new way of making her current situation work. Sure, she’d been toying with a few offers, but maybe now was the right time to enter into a private practice. It could prove to be more beneficial than anticipated, she realized tossing the remote control aside and making her way into the bedroom to change her outfit and start putting the wheels in motion for rebuilding her professional life again.


“Are you going to be okay?” Jason questioned running his fingers through Mindy’s long, dark hair as her hands pressed in against his chest when she looked up at him with her light eyes. “You feeling better?”

“It’s just…,” Mindy tried to explain moving back and away from Jason, pulling her knees in close to her chest seeing the way his blue eyes stared out at her. “You won’t know Jason, that one man I always wanted in my life--I’ll never have because I lost him.”

“I can be that one man,” Jason blurted out seeing the glance she gave him as he stuttered to find the right words to explain what he meant, feeling a rush of heat come in against his cheeks. “I mean, I can be the man that makes you feel better. Realize what you have and what’ll you’ll never let go of.”

“If you understood what I was talking about Jason, I’m not so sure you would be so nice to me,” Mindy responded to what he said seeing Jason shake his head quickly and reached out to grab a hold of her hand softly again. “I don’t think you would want to know.”

“Well let me know,” he offered up moving in closer to her nudging her in the ribs softly, seeing the way her light eyes looked into his eyes. “I know, I’m not much, but I can try to be something for you. No matter what I’ll be there.”

“You have no idea how great of a person you really are,” Mindy pointed out hearing him let out a small laugh and shake his head slowly as she squeezed his hand in hers tightly. “I’m not kidding Jason, you are amazing, you should know that.”

“If you knew the first thing about me, you wouldn’t agree,” he stated with a small whisper feeling her lean in against him as he let out a long breath. “I’m basically a screwed up person that doesn’t know what’s happening in his life.”

“I see you as an amazing guy, I don’t think a screwed up person would be here trying to make me feel better when they hardly even know me,” Mindy added seeing the way that Jason glanced over at her before nodding slowly. “I think you’re an extremely nice guy that is willing to do whatever it takes to make someone feel better and to be honest with you--I think you’re a nice guy, I’d be lost without you.”

“Now I wouldn’t go that far,” he turned to look at her with a small smile feeling her reach out to touch his cheek and he gulped down, looking into her blue eyes. “I’m really not that special.”

“Speaking of special,” Guy’s voice interrupted them as Jason quickly moved back to see Guy standing the doorway with a few bowls of something. “I know that the both of you like this ice-cream so I got it for the two of you. You can’t go wrong with ice-cream, it makes everyone feel better.”

“Well, how can I reject ice-cream?” Mindy teased seeing Jason stand up slowly letting out a small noise before reaching for her hand to help her up off the ground. “That’s one thing I know I can never turn down.”

“That’s something we have alike,” Jason stated seeing the way that she smiled back at him when Guy cleared his throat trying to get the attention of them before Jason quickly moved forward grabbing two bowls and handing one to Mindy. “Sorry about that.”

“Hey, it doesn’t bother me,” Guy motioned them back into the house before taking a seat and sitting down in the middle of the couch, so that he would be between Jason and Mindy. “It would have been just you two having liquid ice-cream. I like to eat once I make mine so I was a pig and ate mine already.”

“That’s just like you,” Mindy smiled over in Guy’s direction watching Guy stand up slowly before rubbing his hands together. “Where you going? Aren’t we just going to relax and hang out?”

“I was thinking about some popcorn,” Guy stated with a small nod before taking a few steps back, running his fingers through his hair uneasily. “I’ll be right back.”

“Did I say something?” Jason questioned turning to look over at Mindy seeing her shake her head slowly when she knew it was her that Guy was uncomfortable with right now. “I hope I did nothing to make him not like me.”


“So then she saunters into his office wearing this knock off of one of your designer suits and she’s got her hair all done up like you with her perfume and,” Kellen continued to rant on Becca for what felt like an eternity until Kyle patted him on the back gently.

“You know you should lighten up man,” Kyle mused tapping Kellen’s shoulder again before offering another thick smile, “I mean yeah sure, she sounds a little bit like a fruit there, but the only fruit that Kipp would ever want in his life is the one sitting right here ranting to me.”

“Kyle,” Heather shot him a glare shaking her head at his teasing Kellen.

“Well it’s true,” Kyle shrugged his shoulders before moving over to the chair across the room, “I really can’t see Kipp having any time for any other kind of drama queen in his life when he’s got Kellen, who by the way tops them all.”

“Very funny,” Kellen’s blue eyes narrowed over at Kyle with a glare, “I’m glad you’re making light of my situation here, but in all honesty I really don’t see how either one of you can’t take this seriously. The girl is a complete and total freak and…”

“And I’m sure once she settles into her job, she won’t be bothering you Kellen. She’s just new and trying to fit in,” Heather offered up trying to soothe her friend’s woes. “The fact that she’s appearing clingy with Kipp is simply because he’s the one who hired her and he’s pretty much her only tie to the inside at this point. She probably feels like he’s her friend because he was nice to her and now she’s trying to do everything that she can to make a good impression.”

“Well she’s failing miserably at it. I don’t like her,” Kellen folded his arms in front of his chest stubbornly, “I don’t trust her and I can’t see how any of you can think I’m being irrational when she’s clearly trying to do something here.”

“Oh come on. So what if the girl has a crush on Kipp,” Kyle shrugged his shoulders once again before offering up a yawn, “It’s not like he swings that way anymore anyways. Last time I checked you were his dream girl Kellen, well if you could call yourself a dream girl.”

“Are you always such a pain in the butt,” Kellen huffed over at Kyle, his scowl growing wider by the second, “I mean usually I find you to be quite charming, but with your attitude today…”

“Kyle’s just had a little too much sun,” Heather shot a warning look over at her husband, “He’s feeling the after effects.”

“Too much sun huh?” Kellen raised a curious brow before eyeing Kyle intently, “So you never said, just where were you and Heather yesterday when you weren’t answering your cell phone?”

“Oh you know a little bit of here a little bit of there,” Kyle waved his hand around in the air before meeting Heather’s eyes again, “It’s really nowhere that you would be interested in Kellen.”

“Try me,” Kellen leaned forward catching the glances between Heather and Kyle, “You might be surprised.”

“Well little man how do I put this,” Kyle stood up from where he was seated and walked over to Heather. He slipped his arm around Heather’s waist and pulled her in closer to him while depositing a kiss on her lips, “Some things are just better left unsaid if you catch my drift.”

“I’m sensing where you’re headed, but given what I know about you Kyle, I’m sure I’d be more than interested to hear it,” Kellen fished for more details watching the exchange between Heather and Kyle.

“And as much as I would love to give it, I think I’m going to get cleaned up,” Kyle patted his own shoulder after releasing Heather. “My sunburn is killing me.”

“Kyle,” Heather watched him retreat down the hall before she spun to face Kellen once again with a goofy smile, “He’s such a joker.”

“Sunburn?” Kellen arched a curious brow, “Tell me Heather Babes, were you and Kyle out at the beach while I was here going out of my mind?”

“Actually,” Heather bit down on her lip not wanting to lie to her best friend, but not finding herself wanting to face his wrath either. She nodded, “We were. Kyle planned this whole day at the lake and we kind of took advantage of it.”

“Really,” Kellen’s brow perked up with obvious interest, “What kind of day at the beach?”

“The kind that your dirty little mind would conjure up I’m sure,” she answered honestly seeing his blue eyes widen at the suggestion.

“Really,” Kellen sprung up off of the couch to move over to the arm and take a seat on it, “Do tell.”

“Kellen, sweetheart you know how I feel about issuing details,” Heather reached out to touch his cheek gently.

“But it would help elevate my mood,” Kellen urged her on again with a wide grin.

“Among other things,” Heather noted with a curious expression knowing full well how enthusiastic Kellen was about her and Kyle, “Let’s just say that it was a lot of fun and we needed that time together without interruption.”

“That’s all you’re going to say, isn’t it?” Kellen frowned back at her watching her nod.

“For now, but trust me sweetheart when I tell you that no matter what is bothering you right now it will get better. I mean that’s what you always told me and look how right you were,” Heather squeezed his arm gently seeing the doubt in his eyes, “I know full well that Kipp only has eyes for you. He’s not going to be swayed by Becca or anyone else for that matter. Though if you’re really worried about it I’m sure I can find something for her to do for a while so that it frees Kipp up a little bit.”

“You would really do that?” Kellen’s eyes widened at the suggestion, “Like maybe ship her overseas or something?”

“I wouldn’t go that far, but I can see what I can do,” she decided reaching out to embrace her friend all the while feeling guilty that she couldn’t share with him the biggest news she’d had in her life. However, as she thought to how worked up Kellen was about Becca, she knew full well he would go out of his mind at thinking that he missed out on her big day with Kyle. Right now that was the last thing he needed to know and hopefully once he did learn the truth he wouldn’t go off of the deep end all over again!


“Feeling any better now?” Judy questioned watching Diane finish up the donut that Judy had forced her to eat while they were waiting for Richard and Ben to finish up in the kitchen for their morning meal with one another.

“Yeah,” Diane nodded catching her mother’s disbelieving stare, “What?”

“I know that’s not true,” Judy admitted reaching out to touch Diane’s cheek lightly, “In fact I would even go so far as to guess that you haven’t been sleeping very well or resting like the doctors told you to do, have you?”

“I’ve been trying, but it’s been hard,” Diane paused closing her eyes for a moment and taking in a breath, “I just keep trying to chart the path leading to what happened the night I had the miscarriage. It just doesn’t make sense.”

“Honey, sometimes in life things don’t make sense,” Judy reached for Diane’s hand squeezing it lightly. “All we can do is keep pushing forward and hope that tomorrow brings with it some happiness for all of us.”

“I know and I’m trying to hold onto that. Having Ben here helps,” Diane admitted with a thoughtful expression, “I don’t know how I would have gotten this far without him. He’s been amazingly wonderful.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” Judy replied thinking about the man in her daughter’s life, “I can see he cares about you so much.”

“He really does,” Diane let out an ironic laugh, “and here I used to think that I would be happy with someone like JT or even Andy.”

“Andy,” Judy frowned at the mention of Deidra’s husband, “Why would you even mention him?”

“Mom, it’s no secret I spent like forever trying to get his attention,” Diane noted thinking about how she’d set out to seduce her sister’s husband, “I just got it in my head when I was so young that he was the one for me. I kept thinking that if I could make him love me, that somehow my life would be complete. Of course when I saw him a little while ago I realized just how stupid that was to think that way.”

“A little while ago?” Judy repeated with a look of confusion on her face, “Honey, when have you seen Andy?”

“Deidra didn’t tell you,” Diane half questioned, “Hmm, well maybe she’s got a lot on her mind lately. Andy’s in town again. Apparently he came to finalize the divorce, but along with that he mentioned something about having found a new job here at the hospital.”

“He’s staying in Coral Valley?” Judy’s eyes widened in surprise, “But I thought he was happy in Florida away from any kind of responsibility.”

“You mean you were hoping that he was happy in Florida so that he wouldn’t encounter Deidra again,” Diane noted the expression on her mother’s face. “Mom, I don’t know what his angle is this time around, but I’m pretty sure you don’t have anything to worry about. I mean if you think about it, Deidra is practically living with Dean and Ben and I, well I don’t think I could ever find myself in a position to screw things up again.”

“Diane,” Judy gave her a long look.

“I think I learned my lesson with JT,” Diane paused for a moment closing her eyes and thinking about her former lover. “When I slept with him it was a complete and total mistake. I mean I was so drunk and…”

“And that still doesn’t excuse the fact that somehow you let him back into your life again. You two were a lot of trouble together and I thought you’d outgrown that phase,” Judy expressed her unhappiness about that situation with Diane, “JT Mahoney is no good for you.”

“I realize that and I don’t want him mom,” Diane turned to face her again catching her mother’s doubtful expression, “Honestly he doesn’t do anything for me anymore. What happened was a monumental mistake--one that I wish I could take back because I can promise you if I was sober, I never, ever would’ve wasted my time sleeping with JT. He’s a jackass and I don’t care about him in the least.”

“Does he realize that?” Judy arched a curious brow giving her daughter a long once over.

“I don’t give a damn what JT does or doesn’t realize because he doesn’t even register in my life,” Diane blurted out thinking about the man who’d once been a big part of her life. “JT and Andy are just two mistakes that I’m positive won’t come back to haunt me anymore. Neither one of them are significant in my life anymore and I like it that way.”

“I sincerely hope they leave you alone because you and Ben have something special with one another Diane. He’s a good guy with a wonderful heart,” Judy started hearing someone step out of the kitchen.

“Bragging about me again?” Richard teased catching the last part of the conversation between Judy and Diane.

“Always,” Diane winked up at him with a smile, “My mom can’t seem to get enough of smiling now that you’ve made her this happy.”

“It’s only the beginning of that,” Richard promised moving in beside Judy as she stood up, “She makes me happier than I’ve ever been in my life.”

“You say that now, but I think it’s just flattery to get me to marry you,” Judy teased swatting at his chest lightly before offering up a laugh.

“It’s more than flattery because it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever felt in my life,” Richard assured her with a warm, welcoming expression before turning to Diane and eyeing her intently, “You feeling well enough to make it into the kitchen or should we relocate the party out here?”

“I think I can manage making my way into the kitchen,” Diane offered up with a small smile, “After all Ben did go all out today.”

“He really did,” Richard nodded in agreement. “You’ll be amazed at what you see in there Judy.”

“It sounds promising,” Judy laughed lightly before looking to Diane again, “You need some help getting up?”

“I think I’ve got it covered mom,” Diane replied reaching out to pull herself up off of the couch as she vowed to enjoy the time spent with her mother, Richard and Ben. While there were a lot of things happening outside of where Diane was right now in her life, she vowed to take it moment by moment and enjoy the simple things that life had to offer her on a day like today.


Andy walked over to the nurse’s station whistling a tune to himself as he spotted Zack ogling one of the nurses from afar. Laughing lightly he circled around Zack to comment from behind him.

“You know if you go and talk to her, I’m pretty sure she’ll say yes. Rumor has it she always says yes,” Andy commented tossing a folder onto the desk before catching Zack’s surprised eyes.

“Who said I was interested in asking?” Zack questioned lazily before waving his hand around in the air, “She’s not my type.”

“Trust me when they are that easy, they are everyone’s type,” Andy laughed lightly before circling around the area again. “It’s a sure thing.”

“Maybe I like a bit of a challenge,” Zack eyed Andy closely, “You’re the new guy on staff, aren’t you?”

“That I am,” Andy held his hand out to him, “Andrew Byrne, plastic surgeon.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” Zack glanced down at his hand before looking up again without shaking it, “Doesn’t your wife work here or something?”

“Yes as a matter of fact she does,” Andy nodded proudly before cracking a grin, “Why you try to hit on her too? I’ll warn you now it’s not worth the effort.”

“That’s a very promising review of your wife,” Zack noted giving him a strange look.

“We’re getting divorced and you can guess why,” Andy rolled his eyes and motioned to the blonde nurse once again, “You’d be much better off with someone like her considering that she’s good for what you need and then you can move on. Women like my wife are just a headache waiting to happen.”

“Spoken like a true married man,” Zack noted with a tiny laugh, “I’ve been there myself though and wedded bliss is anything but blissful.”

“Isn’t that the truth,” Andy chuckled in amusement, “With getting married you do what you can to make them happy, but then they go and do something to irritate you and it’s time to call it quits. No matter how great the wedding is or how you try to spoil them, women are all the same. Marriage is the kiss of death and the sooner you get out of it, the better you are.”

“Yeah that’s how it was when Johanna and I split,” Zack nodded in confession, “It just wasn’t worth the effort.”

“It never is and you think I would have learned that the first time around, but no like a moron I had to go for the gusto and give it a second try,” Andy shook his head before letting out a small laugh, “and I can honestly tell you I don’t know which one was worse wife number one or wife number two.”

“At this rate you sound like you’d be better off going for wife number three, then again why bother?” Zack shrugged his shoulders and laughed, “It doesn’t seem to be worth the effort and energy.”

“It is when they have something you need like say a nice bank account, but most of the time that falls short for some reason or another,” Andy added with a tiny chuckle, “You just can’t seem to please the rich ones no matter how much you give and give and give.”

“So I’ve noticed,” Zack frowned thinking about Blake, “They seem to find themselves some low class loser that isn’t even remotely close to being in their league to shack up with.”

“Ah, you must be talking about Blake Ashford,” Andy noted catching Zack’s surprised expression. Before Zack could ask Andy added, “Let’s just say I’ve heard the gossip and I know all about her and Seth Alexander. I’ve caught a glimpse of them here and there and I can understand your frustrations. For some reason women like her seem to go for the working class type just to stick it to their family.”

“Yeah, but it’s guys like us that should be reaping the benefits of women like her,” Zack quipped in response watching Andy laugh.

“Isn’t that the truth,” Andy added before growing suddenly serious, “though if you’re interested in getting back into her good graces maybe I can offer you a tip or two. I mean it’s the least I can do for someone who clearly appreciates the finer things in life like myself.”

“I may take you up on that,” Zack’s gaze swept over the buxom blonde once again, “but right now I think I’m going to go see if she’s interested in lunch.”

“Wise decision,” Andy noted watching Zack walk around to speak with the nurse, “and you might want to go for dinner too at this rate.”

Zack nodded giving Andy one last look while Andy watched Zack go make a move on the nurse. Laughing lightly to himself Andy thought about Zack going after Blake Ashford. Sure, Blake would probably ignore him at every step of the way, but sooner or later the charm of an Alexander wore off. Seth would undoubtedly overrun his welcome and leave Blake wide open for a new man in her life. Hell, if Zack wasn’t up for the job, maybe Andy would have to take a stab at it and give himself the kind of reward that he’d been hoping for after a long time of settling for the substandard way of life. Yes, things were certainly moving along better than he’d anticipated now that he was in Coral Valley again and one step closer to absolutely everything that was rightfully his.


Ken looked around his office thinking about how quiet things had been since Hart left. While he’d wanted to say that he was sure he could hold down the fort on his own, he was starting to wonder if he would be able to pick things up again now that his brother had stolen the one person Ken had been able to work with on a regular basis. Sure, Ken understood why Hart had opted to move up and take Brant’s offer, but still it left quite a few things unsettled in the offices for Ken. Then again Ken’s bout with insanity hadn’t helped either given that he knew full well the town hadn’t forgotten his depression.

“Oh well,” Ken mouthed to himself making his way into his office and thinking about all of the things he’d neglected over the last few months.

His life was getting back on track again and he’d found happiness with Wendy, but it wasn’t enough yet. He had to make up for the things he’d put off. Noticing a message on his desk from Jay Henderson Ken picked it up and thought to the case that had been his fire and his passion before he’d gotten lost inside of himself. He wasn’t quite sure what would happen now that Susan had died. The case would obviously need new council on Stone Corp’s part, but still there was a lot that couldn’t wait starting with Randy and his family.

Sinking into his chair Ken reached for the phone ready to call Jay back when he heard a knock on the door. He looked up from where he was seated and was surprised to see Carly standing in the doorway smiling at him.

“I hope this isn’t a bad time,” she cleared her throat uneasily before taking a tentative step into his office, “I know I should have called first, but…”

“No come on in,” Ken set the phone back down on it’s base again, “I don’t mind the company. In fact I welcome it. It’s rather quiet around here.”

“Yeah I noticed,” Carly nodded fidgeting with her fingers in front of her again, “I almost wondered if you weren’t here because it was kind of dark out in the lobby, but then I heard a noise.”

“I just got here,” Ken confessed smiling back at her surprised at how happy he was to see her after so long, “So what brings you here today?”

“Honestly,” she cleared her throat before taking another small step towards him.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he motioned to one of the chairs across from his desk, “Take a seat.”

“Thanks,” she smiled politely before doing as instructed.

“You’re welcome,” he nodded in response before eyeing her intently, “So Carly, tell me what’s on your mind?”

“The fact that the four walls of my living room don’t hold much of a professional atmosphere,” she admitted in a small voice thinking about all the things that had passed between her and Ken. There was still a certain tension between them, yet she tried to ignore it in the hopes of finishing what she’d come over to start today. “I mean there’s only so much you can do being in the middle of Kayla’s playroom if you will.”

“How is she doing?” Ken questioned with a warm smile thinking about Carly’s daughter.

“She’s doing fantastic,” Carly added quickly, perhaps too quickly as their eyes met once again, “She’s thrilled that Stacy’s in town and she’s beyond elated that she has a cousin around that wants to play with her.”

“Wow, I didn’t know Stacy was back,” Ken replied with a small smile, “the last time I saw her she was about Kayla’s age there. How old is she now?”

“Sixteen,” Carly replied feeling her stomach tied in knots as she continued to talk about Dave’s niece, “Jewel is in town too so it’s pretty much a zoo at our house.”

“That doesn’t surprise me either. Jewel tends to bring drama anywhere she goes. Not that I’m one to talk considering all that I’ve done, but still. Dave must be going out of his mind,” Ken noted thinking about his former best friend.

“He is, but more so about everything that’s gone on with Cori,” Carly noted crossing her legs in the chair and then uncrossing them nervously in an attempt to get comfortable.

“Yeah, I heard about that. I was going to call him and see how he was holding up, but I didn’t really think that it would be what he wanted right now considering that…” Ken trailed off thinking about the tension between him and Dave.

“He might appreciate it,” Carly offered up quickly without hesitation, “He’s been under a lot of stress lately and I know he keeps it all inside. Sure, he’ll act like things don’t get to him, but I know my husband. He’s really got a lot of pride and emotion and this thing with Cori is really killing him. He won’t open up about it, but I know it’s there.”

“Cori was always really important to him,” Ken nodded with complete understanding, “Sure, she was a little trouble when she was younger, but over all she’s a good kid. I hope he’s able to help her.”

“I think he will,” she replied with a small nod of her own, “As long as Cori knows her family is here for her, I think she’ll be okay.”

“I’m sure of it,” he added with another smile, “So what about you? How are you doing?”

“I’m great,” she answered honestly, “I mean sure we’re surrounded by chaos but Dave and I are never better than we are now.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” he offered up a long silence following.

“What about Wendy? How is she doing,” Carly couldn’t help but ask him. “Any progress?”

Ken shook his head, “She’s fighting it with everything she’s got but her treatments make her sick and it’s like each day it’s wearing her out more and more. She tries to pretend that it doesn’t bother her, but like Dave, you just know when something isn’t right. She is a fighter though. I’ll give her that.”

“I won’t argue. She really loves you,” she noted thinking about the last time she’d seen Ken and Wendy together.

“I love her a lot too, which is why it kills me to see her hurting,” he confessed with a pained expression, “I really couldn’t bear the thought of losing her especially considering she’s finally got me grounded again. For so long I felt like my life was out of control, but now it’s finally on track again.”

“As it should be,” she agreed feeling his dark eyes meet hers once more.

“So really Carly,” he couldn’t help but ask in a soft, beckoning tone, “What brings you here today?”

“I guess I was kind of hoping that maybe that proposition you offered me about a job was still out there in the realm of possibility,” she admitted with a small smile knowing how silly she had to look. “Like I said before the living room isn’t really the kind of setting that I’m used to for an office and since I know you have the extra space and the need for a partner now that Hart is gone…” she trailed off fidgeting with her fingers in her lap.

“Of course the offer is still out on the table,” Ken let out a relieved sigh. “You have no idea how many times I’ve wondered what I was going to do around here now that my brother has swiped up the talent from beneath my nose.”

“I can’t promise I’m as ruthless as Hart, but I’m pretty good at what I do,” Carly added brightly thinking about her legal career, “I have a great court record and…”

“And you don’t have to convince me,” Ken shook his head dismissively, “Carly I wouldn’t have asked you in the first place if I didn’t believe in your talents. I know how good you are at everything you do.”

Carly felt a tiny shudder at the sensual undertone in his voice. Her gaze met his for a brief moment before she looked away fighting to keep from remembering that they’d had any kind of romantic history with one another. She heard him let out a small breath before speaking up again.

“I’d love to have you work here with me--that is if Dave is okay with it,” he finally blurted out catching her off guard. “I mean I don’t want this to be a problem for the both of you.”

“It won’t be a problem,” she assured him meeting his gaze again, “I mean Dave and I have a great relationship with one another. He knows how important my career is to me and he’ll support any decision that I make about it. He’s well aware that I’m ready to leap into the thick of things all over again.”

“In that case,” Ken held his hand on across the desk for her, “this is the part where I saw welcome partner. It’s good to have you on board.”

“It’s good to be here,” Carly replied shaking his hand in response thinking about how things were finally getting back in order for her on a professional level. She thought about Dave for a moment knowing he wouldn’t be exactly thrilled that she was working with Ken, but she was positive that after a few quick words he would be okay with the idea after all she was no longer interested in Ken as anything other than a business partner. Sure, they had history, but it was nothing that would get in the way of her future. She was sure of it.


“It’s been a while,” Shannon cleared her throat uneasily looking at the other side of the couch where Don waited, his head resting against his forearm. Letting out a small yawn she stretched out seeing the way that his blue eyes glanced over at her. “You sure Matt is doing the right thing here?”

“If he wasn’t,” Don yawned right after her thinking about his son and how good he was with fixing problems, just like his mother was. “He would have been out of the room two minutes after going in. Don’t worry about Matt, he has good genes and he’s a great kid.”

“I believe that, he had a great mother,” Shannon stated seeing the way that Don’s eyebrows tensed together as he lifted his head looking at her more clearly. “And he has an absolutely amazing father.”

“Shannon, I appreciate you telling me that,” Don rolled his eyes before resting his head back against the curve of his arm, closing his eyes as he talked, “but I think it’s pretty obvious that you are lying to me right now because it’s a rough moment. I know how you feel about me and I’ve learned to live with it, so there is no use in lying.”

“No Don, I’m a bitch,” she blurted out watching Don’s eyes open and glance over at her with a bit of confusion as she stood up from the couch, throwing her hands in the air. “You know it, I know it and Nate sure knows it too. Even your son knows I’m one and I’m starting to realize that it’s getting me nowhere.”

“Right,” Don took in a long, slow breath seeing the way Shannon’s brown eyes stared into his and he shook his head slowly. “I have no idea what it is you really want me to say right now, so I’m going to be silent until you get the point across.”

“Fair enough,” she agreed watching him nod again before resting his head back against the couch to watch her as she paced back and forth in the room, searching for the right words to tell him. “Don, I’ve made mistakes. So many mistakes and because I’m a jerk, you have been hurt by those mistakes. I was to blind to see, but you really are amazing.”

Don just stared up at her with his tired blue eyes before letting out a small yawn leaving her wondering what he was thinking, but she knew that he said he would talk to her when she made her point. That actually made her feel just a bit uncomfortable in that fact because she was never used to having it silent around her.

“I guess I feel like I always have to be in some kind of drama, but I never took the time to realize that life makes its own drama and I should have never caused it in your life when you already had so much of it Don,” she tried to apologize just eyeing Don over, only seeing his eyes following her and it made her a bit uncomfortable. “You are great and I treat you like trash, I honestly don’t deserve you, I don’t deserve the people in my life, I deserve nothing to tell you the truth.”

“No matter how bad someone is,” Don interrupted her knowing that he said he would be quiet for her, but he couldn't help but put his input in right now. “They always deserve to have something in their life to make them better.”

“Even so Don, I don’t deserve any of this. You, Matt and Nate are great together, I could never have that relationship with my brother,” she began thinking about the relationships she blocked out of her life all this time. “Honestly, I know this sounds stupid, but all I want to do is work on my relationship with you. I know I made mistakes, I’m trying to learn from them, but that’s only if you’ll let me. I know I hurt you and I know I’ve made some problems in your life, but I just want to work the rest of my life with you working on it. I was hoping that if you could forgive me, I would do anything for you Don.”

Seeing him go to talk, she moved forward pressing her fingers in over the center of his lips seeing his blue eyes widen for a moment. Shaking her head slowly she didn’t want him to talk and his eyebrows tensed together trying to be quiet for her.

“After all this Don, all this with Nate losing his best friend, it made me think. It made me see that I have people in my life I have to cherish because they can be gone before I know it,” Shannon explained sitting down on the couch, watching Don’s eyes never leave hers. “All I know is that I just don’t want to lose you Don. You’re my everything and I never want to lose the best thing I’ve ever had in my life.”


Brant stepped out of his car not caring about what was at risk now that he stood before the Stone Estate. He’d come here today on a mission and he wasn’t leaving until he’d accomplished it. One way or the other he was going to get Angela to listen to him even if it meant taking on the devil himself to do it. He marched up to the porch and rang the bell knowing full well there would undoubtedly be a fight in front of him, but he knew Angela was worth it.

“May I help you?” Franklin questioned opening the door to see Brant standing in front of him.

“Where’s Angela?” Brant replied looking beyond where Franklin stood blocking his path.

“I’m sorry, but you can’t be here sir,” Franklin started feeling Brant shove him aside as Brant pushed his way into Cameron’s home.

“I’ll find her myself,” Brant snarled looking towards the winding staircase in front of him. “Angela! Angela, where are you?”

“What in the world is going on here?” Cameron stepped out of his study only to discover Brant in his foyer. A snarl passed over his features as he marched forward, “What the hell are you doing here?”

“I’m here to see Angela and you’re not going to stop me,” Brant mouthed making his way over to the stairs only to watch Cameron move in front of him to block him.

“You’ll do no such thing. You’re not going anywhere near my sister,” Cameron shoved Brant in the chest pushing him away from the staircase. Cameron glanced over at Franklin and scowled, “Call security. I want this man taken off of my property.”

“I don’t give a damn what you want. This is about what Angela wants,” Brant moved forward in an attempt to get by Cameron again, but was thwarted once more.

“She doesn’t want to see you. She doesn’t want a thing to do with you Brant. I thought she made that clear the other night,” Cameron’s dark eyes narrowed down at Brant.

“You manipulated her and lied to her,” Brant snapped back at Cameron pushing him in response, “You claim to love her and care about her happiness, yet you tried to rip it from her. You know damn well I had nothing to do with what happened to your father, yet you’re ready to lie and manipulate everyone into believing what simply isn’t true. Your sister loves me and I love her and you can’t take that from us.”

“Love,” Cameron let out a sharp, piercing laugh, “as if you know anything of the notion. Love to you is all about manipulation and destruction. It’s the Ashford way.”

“Not my way,” Brant shook his head adamantly, “Unlike you Cameron I don’t bully people into doing my bidding. I never hurt Angela like you’ve hurt people who cross your path. I would never, ever lie to her and I’m not leaving without her. You can’t stop me from seeing her.”

“Watch me,” Cameron reached out to Brant once again only to feel Brant pull away and punch him right square across the jaw sending him flying backwards.

“It didn’t have to be like this,” Brant warned Cameron shaking his head at Cameron as Cameron fell to the ground, “but you left no other alternative and as I said before I’m not leaving without your sister.”

“Over my dead body,” Cameron snarled springing up off of the ground and chasing Brant up the stairs in an attempt to keep Brant from going near Angela ever again!


“This is unbelievable,” Ria muttered to herself pacing back and forth in the room, reality kicking in when she realized she missed some of the most important conferences that would be taking place today. “I can’t believe I did this, if I was thinking normal this would have never happened.”

Running her hands through her hair shakily she realized that everything was taking place right now, everything that was hectic and made her freak out that was. Knowing that she should let someone know what was going on, she walked over toward the dresser to pick up her cell phone dialing the number she knew would be the right one.

“Hi, this is Ria Merhan,” she spoke up nervously pacing back and forth before realizing that her breath was kicking up and she needed to calm down. Resting her elbows against her knees she let out a long sigh before shutting her eyes tightly. “I just called because I figured I should let you know why I missed today.”

“Don’t worry about it Ria,” the male on the other side let out a small laugh as she let out a hesitant laugh hearing him let out a long sigh. “We’ll just have you catch up some other time, I figured you were sick. I know when I don’t feel good, I never want to get up and do something.”

“Don’t feel good,” she let out a nervous laugh before nodding slowly and reaching out for the pillow beside her after sitting up straight and wrapping her left arm around it tightly. “Like I said, I’m really sorry though. I woke up late, I wasn’t feeling well and…,”

“And you have nothing to worry about,” the man cut her off with a small laugh hearing her let out another long breath and he smiled to himself. “If you aren’t feeling good kiddo, that’s okay. Can we send anything up there for you? We can send you up some room service on me Ria.”

“No, it’s okay,” Ria looked around knowing that there was really nothing else she could want at the moment because she didn’t find herself hungry or thirsty--just worried. “I think I’m going to be fine for the rest of the night.”

“Okay, right well you take care,” they cleared their throat before offering up a small sigh when they started up some soft playing music behind him. “Get some rest and feel better.”

“Thank you,” she smiled to herself hanging up and rolling her eyes once she was done, falling back against the bed and pulling the pillow in over her face as she let out a small scream into the pillow. “This is crazy.”

Throwing the pillow aside she knew what it was that was really bothering her and making her worry--the pregnancy test. That was the only thing that was on her mind and kept making her worry more and more.

“I have to do this,” she tried to strengthen herself up to go look at the test as she stood up walking over toward the table, reaching down to pick up the test letting out a small groan. “Still not done.”

After setting it back down she tapped her foot nervously against the ground, hearing a noise in the back of the room before shaking her head slowly knowing that she was just imaging things right now. Hearing it continue she turned toward the door of the hotel room as the knocking continued over and over.

“I’m coming,” she called out not knowing if she should leave the test right now or not because of what she wanted to know, but at the constant knocking she knew she would never be able to let them just knock until the person went away. Opening up the door she felt someone grab a hold of her tightly as she hit at the center of their chest before feeling their hands cup her face in their fingers softly. “What the?”

She felt their lips press in against hers as she closed her eyes, her arm wrapping in around their neck when they stepped into the hotel room further. Pulling back she saw the same sexy smile she grew to love her whole life and she pressed her hand in over the center of his chest.

“Kevin,” Ria muttered seeing the wide smile that pressed in over his features before she pushed him in against the wall roughly, standing up on her toes to kiss him again, feeling his arm wrap around her lovingly. “I’ve missed you so much.”


...to be continued...