Episode 360

“Um excuse me, but are you hearing impaired or just stupid?” Kellen questioned tapping his foot on the floor impatiently before entering Heather’s office. “What are you doing in here?”

“I was just looking for something,” Becca explained setting the photograph down before eyeing Kellen boldly, “I guess I just got a little carried away when I saw this photo and thought about what a cute couple they make.”

“They are an adorable couple,” Kellen quipped in response snatching the photo from where she had set it down on the desk, “and the last thing that they need is you or anyone else bothering them for that matter. Heather doesn’t want you in her office. That much I’m sure of.”

“Like I said I didn’t mean anything by it,” Becca rose up from her chair and held her hands up defensively, “I was just sitting in here and…”

“And nothing. You have no right to be in here especially when Heather is not around. This is her office and not yours,” Kellen continued to rant at her, “I hope you realize that this was a mistakes.”

“I know, but as I said before I was looking for something and,” Becca started feeling the light overhead snap on as she looked around and saw Kipp standing in the doorway.

“What’s going on in here?” Kipp questioned looking between Becca and Kellen.

“That’s what I was trying to figure out,” Kellen frowned down at Kipp’s new assistant, “She was snooping around in Heather’s things and…”

“I wasn’t snooping,” Becca argued defending herself before frowning, “I was just looking for something in here and then I was going to call it quits.”

“What were you looking for?” Kellen questioned disbelieving anything she had to say.

“I lost my earring earlier and I remembered Kipp had me follow him in here to check something out,” Becca informed Kellen with a tight scowl, “I realized there could be a possibility that I lost it here and wouldn’t you know…”

Kellen watched Becca pick the earring off of the floor and hold it up to show both men.

“I found it,” Becca added standing up and turning her attention to Kipp, “I’m sorry for the confusion. I shouldn’t have sat in Heather’s chair, but when I came in here I kind of tripped and then I saw the photo of her and Kyle and I was curious to see what her fiancé looked like.”

“You’re just full of excuses aren’t you,” Kellen folded his arms in front of his chest and glared down at Becca, “Do you really believe that any of us are buying any of this?”

“Of course we are because I’m sure it’s the truth,” Kipp interjected glaring over at Kellen with a warning for him to shut up. He glanced over at Becca once again before tossing out an apologetic expression, “I can lock up here since you’re already here later than planned.”

“Thank you Kipp. I’m sorry for the trouble,” Becca quickly rushed out of Heather’s office while Kellen glared at her every step of the way.

Once she left the office Kipp spun around seeing Kellen ready to lash out at him about Becca.

“Don’t say it,” Kipp warned him sharply, “You were completely out of line with her. I don’t know what it is about her that gets you so worked up, but you need to tone it down. She’s just trying to do her job.”

“Do her job,” Kellen squealed in response, “Oh she’s doing a job already, but it’s a number she’s working over you. I can’t believe you’re so naïve to think that she just lost an earring. She was so completely lying and if you wouldn’t have given her an out, then maybe just maybe you would see that I’m right when I tell you that woman is nothing but trouble!”


“Get away from my sister,” Cameron ordered attempting to push Brant aside after Franklin had heard the commotion and called for help upon Cameron’s urgings. “Get away!”

“You stay away,” Brant growled over at Cameron, his dark eyes narrowing with rage as he glanced over at Angela a horrified expression on his face. “How could you do this to her? To your own sister?”

“I was trying to kill you,” Cameron mouthed honestly worry creasing his brow as he reached for Angela, “Angel, you have to be okay. Can you hear me?”

“Leave her alone,” Brant hovered over Angela protectively, “You’ve done enough.”

“You can’t tell me what to do,” Cameron challenged him with a snarl, his dark eyes full of fury and rage. “It should’ve been you that fell down those stairs not her.”

“If you hurt her, I’ll kill you myself,” Brant promised with a darkness in his tone, “and then you’ll see first hand my murdering debut because I swear to you if she’s not okay…”

“Angel,” Cameron ignored Brant’s threats and turned his attention to his sister. “She’s still breathing, isn’t she?”

Brant nodded keeping his focus on Angela, “Baby, I’m right here. Everything is going to be okay. I’m not leaving you ever again. I swear to you I’m going to be with you and the twins every step of the way.”

“The hell you are,” Cameron hissed in response as two paramedics moved into the foyer area and up the stairs to the landing to check in on Angela.

“You have to let us through,” one of the men explained to Brant and Cameron while the other moved in beside Angela and checked for her pulse. He nodded to the other man before going through the procedures of taking her out of the house and over to the hospital.

“She’s going to be alright, isn’t she? You have to tell me that she is going to be okay,” Cameron commanded of one of the men while the other worked on Angela.

“We’re taking her to the hospital sir. We’re doing all that we can,” the other offered up as they worked to get Angela out of the house and to the ambulance.

“I’m going with her,” Brant shouted out racing after the two men as his thoughts and concerns moved to his children and the woman he loved. “She needs me right now…”

“No, you’re not going anywhere near her. She’s my sister and she wouldn’t want him escorting her. He’s the reason she fell down the stairs,” Cameron shouted out waving his hand around in the air, “He pushed her. Arrest him.”

“The hell I did. You were the one that knocked her down the stairs when you were trying to kill me. He’s the one you need to lock up,” Brant argued seeing them pushing Angela into the ambulance. “I’m going with her.”

“Like hell,” Cameron tugged on his jacket before pushing Brant again.

“Neither one of you are coming with us. I don’t care who you are,” one of the EMT’s informed them bluntly, “This is the last thing she needs. Let the police sort you two out.”

“I’m going with her,” Brant argued further, “She’s having my children and…”

“Back off Ashford,” Cameron decked Brant punching him a couple of times for good measure as the ambulance seemed to speed off and out of the drive way.

“Damn you,” Brant shoved Cameron off of him.

Brant saw that security had settled in around the both of them, but nothing was going to stop him from being with Angela. Quickly rushing to the side Brant hopped into his car and followed the ambulance.

“Please be alright,” Brant mouthed to himself reaching for his cell phone and calling Don on his speed dial.

“Hello,” Don’s tired voice answered on the other end of the line.

“Don it’s me. Look there’s been an accident and Angela’s been hurt. Something could be wrong with her and the babies and I need you,” Brant pleaded with his best friend a desperation in his voice, “I can’t lose her now Don. She told me she loved me and she wants to be with me and now…”

“Brant calm down, where are you?” Don questioned worriedly hearing the tension in his friend’s voice.

“I’m on my way to the hospital. I went over to Cameron’s place to tell Angela that I couldn’t live without her,” Brant informed him in a labored breath.

“You did what?” Don questioned in astonishment thinking about what his friend was saying.

“I didn’t know what else to do, but I wasn’t going to wait for Cameron to completely turn her against me. Cameron and I got into a scuffle and before I knew it Cameron was trying to throw me off of the banister at the top of the stairs. Angela tried to intervene and he knocked her down. Don, she was unconscious and she took a major fall. I’m worried that something’s going to happen to her or the children and…” Brant trailed off his worries consuming him more and more by the moment.

“I’m on my way to the hospital,” Don promised his best friend knowing full well what it felt like to be concerned about the woman he loved and the fear of losing that person. “I’ll meet you there.”

“Don, please hurry,” Brant urged him again because Cameron’s trying to keep me from her and I know right now that you’re the only person who can help her. You’re the one person she trusts and I know you won’t let me lose her.”

“I’ll be there Brant,” Don promised as Brant hung up the phone praying that Cameron hadn’t started a chain reaction that would cost Brant everything he knew and loved!


“Ria,” Kevin breathed against Ria’s lips as he felt her hands move in over his chest as her body pressed against his over and over again, making his heart hammer in his chest. Leaning up a bit he met her lips in a small kiss before moving forward to press his lips in against the side of her neck. Feeling her fingers curl in through his thick hair he pulled back, his eyes gazing into hers and seeing the passion that built up behind her dark eyes. “I love you so much baby.”

“I love you,” Ria replied moving forward to kiss him again, feeling his hands moving in against her hips and aiding the motion of her body against his. Feeling her cry out against his lips, he pressed his hand in over the small of her back arching up into her again and again. “Kevin.”

“I’m sorry,” he muttered pressing another kiss against her lips feeling her tugging at his hair softly and he closed his eyes, knowing that Ria was the woman he loved and it was wrong to try and confuse himself of that. “You’re the only one for me.”

Feeling her lips center in over his again he felt her caressing his muscular chest in small circles while his lips centered in over the base of her neck, gently nipping at her skin. A small groan escaped his lips as he heard her cry out his name and his eyebrows tensed together as he felt her fingers slide in and over his shoulders. Feeling her body move in against his slowly, he glanced up at her with his brown eyes before leaning up to kiss her lips, his tongue pressing in against hers.

“Ria,” he let out a small groan as his body gave into her fully, his body filling up with feelings that he hadn’t experienced in so long, but even more his heart was filled with love for the woman he was with. Feeling her fall in against his chest he rested his chin against the top of her head, letting out a long breath. “I love you so much.”

“Good,” she smiled pressing a small kiss against the center of his chest. Feeling her hand caressing in against the center of his abdomen, Kevin closed his eyes letting out a long sigh trying to catch his breath. “You okay?”

“Not really,” Kevin answered truthfully feeling his heart racing in his chest as he felt her lips press in over the side of his neck and he let out another small groan. “What do you think it would have been like?”

“What are you talking about?” Ria questioned moving up and feeling his arm wrap around her shoulders tightly while she rested her hand in over the center of his chest, her dark eyes staring into his. “Kevin?”

“I just—I just don’t want to lose you Ria,” he muttered closing his eyes tightly feeling her fingers smoothing out and over his chest. Feeling her moving in to kiss him again he kissed her back for a moment, his fingers caressing her cheek softly before moving back and staring into her brown eyes. Reaching out he pushed back her long dark hair and he moved forward to press a kiss up against her cheek. “Ria, I have to tell you, I’m scared. Scared that I’m never going to have you in my life again. Scared that I will make mistake and lose you forever.”

“You’re never going to lose me Kevin,” she tried to promise him as her fingers caressed his abdomen slowly before pressing in against his thigh and caressing his skin in small circles. “I promise you that.”

“You say that now, but when I make my mistakes—you’re hurt,” Kevin pointed out seeing her eyes staring into his and he let out a long breath. “I love you, but when I make a mistake your heart is going to break and we shouldn’t have even done this. I don’t want to hurt you anymore Ria.”

“Kevin, I love you,” she tried to get him to realize how much she really did care for him seeing his saddened chocolate brown eyes staring into hers. “No matter how upset I get with you, I know you love me and I love you so much that I can’t just let you go.”

“You know this whole situation I built up so much that I was so excited and I was so sure that I was going to be a father. I just had it built up into my head so hard that I was sure I was going to have that family I was cheated out of,” Kevin informed her feeling her fingers caressing his inner thigh slowly and he closed his eyes for a moment before letting out a long breath. “When you told me you weren’t pregnant, it was almost like the same feeling of having my daughter ripped right out of my grasp. Just like how she was taken away from me, this whole situation kind of felt like the same thing. It’s not fair.”

“Kevin, we’re going to have a huge family because it’s meant to be,” Ria hushed him tipping up to press a tender kiss against his lips as she smiled giving his bottom lip a gentle tug. “We’re not just luck Kevin, we’re destiny. You’re the romance novelist, I thought you would know this kind of stuff.”

“I’m good with other people’s lives, but when it comes to mine,” Kevin felt his eyebrows tighten feeling her fingers pressing in against his hip and he cleared his throat uneasily. “I’m a horrible mess, I have no idea what to do. It’s like I’m two different people.”

“Well I like both sides of you, but I must admit,” Ria muttered moving up again to kiss him seeing the way he laid beneath her as her left hand moved in over the center of his chest. “I fell in love with the real you first, I think you’re amazing either way, but I loved the first man I ever had a crush on.”

“I have to admit something too, you really need to stop doing that,” Kevin stated with a small groan grabbing her fingers in his and giving them a small squeeze. “If you keep doing that, the part you said I only care about is going to seem like that really is the only thing I care about when it’s not. With you touching me like that it's going to make me seem like a total jerk.”

“There is nothing wrong with it between the two of us Kevin,” she stated with a wide smile seeing his eyebrow perk up when she dipped down to press her lips in against his chest, giving his nipple a small tug with her teeth. “You should know that by now.”

“Are you sure because,” he went to say more before feeling her left hand firmly wrap around his body, stroking him casually as he let out a small hiss. “Okay, yeah--I think you’re sure. I get the point.”

“You get the point?” Ria questioned with a small smile seeing Kevin’s glazed over eyes stare down for a moment before resting his head back against the couch trying to contain himself. “You need to see, the two of us are great together.”

“I agree,” Kevin quickly nodded lifting his head up from the couch, gulping down roughly before feeling her lips softly nipping at his neck while her hand tightened around him making him let out a small whimper. “We make a perfect pair.”

“Agreed,” Ria nodded pressing her lips in over the center of his chest, lowering her kisses down his abdomen as he got up on his elbows watching her press kisses in against his skin. “Rest back Kevin, this is for you.”

“Ria,” he went to protest before feeling her fingers press in against his rippled abdomen and her lips moved in over his outer hip making him let out a small growl as he rested his head back against the couch. “Okay. Whatever you want to do it’s all yours.”

Feeling her lips move from his stomach and to his thighs making him let out a small whimper and arch up into her as she teased him over and over again before he reached down to pull her up to him.

“Never mind,” Kevin moved in over her, pressing his arms on each side of her making sure to keep his weight away from crushing her. “You’re all mine right now because I missed you so much.”

“Sounds good,” she smiled up at her fiancé seeing the way he dipped down pressing his lips against hers, his arms coaxing her leg around his waist as his right hand caressed her cheek softly. Hearing a loud vibrating noise come from the room, she looked to the table to see his cell phone going off and saw Kevin roll his eyes. “You really should get that.”

“Ria,” Kevin closed his eyes tightly feeling her arching up into him and he let out a small groan, feeling her fingers softly scratching down his back. Moving in closer to her he smiled opening his eyes again before going in to kiss her again. “I’m sure it can wait.”

“What if it’s Russ and Avery?” Ria questioned seeing Kevin stop to glance down at her for a moment and she shrugged her shoulders. “I mean I can wait if it’s them calling to say that she is crying and needed to hear your voice or something like that.”

“Make me feel bad, okay I get it,” Kevin chuckled moving back enough to reach out for his phone and he saw her stand up and frown before sitting down on the couch, feeling her take a seat next to him. Looking at the id he felt Ria’s hand wrap around him firmly again and he let out a small groan. Feeling her lips pressing hot wet kisses against his neck he took in a sharp breath closing his eyes tightly. “If you keep doing that there is no way I’m going to be able to answer the phone yet alone even look at who is actually calling me.”

“Okay,” she shrugged her shoulders feeling his mouth meet hers in a heated way, his tongue pressing in against hers as he rose his phone up a bit trying to read the number from a diagonal glance feeling Ria pull away from him seeing it was Brant’s number. “Go ahead.”

“Okay,” Kevin gulped down feeling her lips press in against his neck, her teeth gently nipping at his skin as he answered the phone taking in a sharp breath. “Hello?”

“Kevin?” Brant’s voiced echoed through his ears sounding a bit worried and Kevin’s eyes opened, his body tensing up and Ria could tell too as she backed up to read Kevin’s expressions. “Kevin something really bad happened and I don’t know what to do. I’m stuck at the hospital and I don’t know where to start, I don’t know where to go. Something really bad happened and…,”

“Whoa, slow down,” Kevin tried to mutter hearing the heavy breaths of Brant as Kevin glanced over at Ria worriedly for a moment before rubbing his chin slowly hearing Brant start to breathe heavier. “Brant, tell me what happened, what’s wrong?”

“Angela is in the hospital,” Brant informed Kevin hearing silence on the other end as Kevin’s eyes widened, his heart freezing for a moment as he gulped down the lump growing in his throat. “She got hurt Kevin, real hurt.”

“Wait, what?” Kevin snapped standing up from the couch and walked over toward the window hearing Brant’s nervousness even behind the way he breathed. “Brant, what happened? Is she going to be okay? How are the babies?”

“I don’t know,” Brant tried to explain before shaking his head slowly replaying what happened in his head over and over again. “I need you here, you’re her friend--you’re my friend. I need you here, Cameron and I were fighting, Angela tried to break us up and Cameron elbowed her, knocking her down the stairs. She didn’t wake up Kevin, she’s in the room alone, I need you here.”

“I’m going to kill that son of a bitch,” Kevin snapped hitting the wall with his fist before shaking his head slowly and biting down on his bottom lip. “I’m going to be there okay Brant, I promise. Just calm down, find out what’s going on and I’ll be there I promise.”

Hanging the phone up quickly Kevin turned to see Ria pulling her shirt back on getting fully dressed and Kevin gulped down the feeling to be upset about Angie as he realized what happened between him and Ria.

“What’s wrong?” Ria questioned seeing Kevin holding onto his phone tightly and she saw the upset expression behind his features as she saw him try to avoid the question. “Kevin, I know something is wrong.”

“Angie is in the hospital, Cameron pushed her down the stairs and she‘s in a coma,” Kevin informed Ria seeing her eyes widen and she nodded slowly and he tightened his grip on the phone. “Ria, she’s hurt and I don’t know what to do.”

“What do you want to do Kevin?” Ria muttered seeing the way he struggled to find an answer and looked away from her for a second before feeling her hands press in against his face to make him look at her. “You have to pick Kevin.”


“You okay?” Jason questioned stepping out onto the balcony again seeing Mindy staring out at the sky as he stepped in next to her. Glancing over at her he saw her blue eyes staring into his and he offered up a small smile. “Guy was starting to get worried.”

“Only Guy?” Mindy questioned with a small teasing behind her voice nudging him in the ribs gently before hearing him let out a small laugh. “I know what you’re like, you seem to worry a bit too much. Is there something you have to tell me?”

“I never really had much of something to worry about my whole life,” Jason explained with a half smile trying to play it off as if it wasn’t anything really special. “I’ve had a different kind of life I guess you can say and I just want you to be okay, you know?”

“You can tell me you know,” Mindy pointed out seeing the way that Jason glanced over at her before shaking his head and taking in a deep breath. “You made me talk to you, I think it’s time that you talked to me. Tell me about you.”

“There isn’t much to say, the only thing I have in my life is my sister,” Jason tried to explain seeing the way she frowned over at him and he shrugged his shoulders. “Growing up, I didn’t really have a father you know, he was one of those guys that always worked and never had time for the family. I’m a twin by the way with a sister named Deana and when my father got our mother pregnant, I guess he still had a whole other family. Married to two people, living the high life with one family and having us, in a different state in Texas with the lower kind of life I guess you could say. When my father died, I was old enough to understand, that I had a sister too at least I found out. She died unfortunately and I never really got to meet her, but my mother died not long after. I was about seventeen when my mother died and since then I’ve really had nothing to look forward to and protect. I’m kind of loser if you will.”

“You’re not a loser,” she frowned placing her hand in against his back seeing his eyebrow arch up as she caressed his shoulder casually. “Honestly Jason, you say you don’t have things to care about, but at least you have your sister. You have me now and I’m going to bug the crap out of you.”

“Gee, that sounds horrible,” Jason teased with an enthusiastic tone feeling her softly hit him in the shoulder before he let out a deep sigh. “You know though, I shouldn’t complain because I know I have my sister and her son who I love very much. I actually do have my other sister’s family. She had a son before she died and he‘s really cute, his name is Matt.”

“Matt? As in Matt Leveski?” Mindy questioned seeing the way that Jason smiled widely and nodded slowly and she let out a small laugh. “My friend’s daughter is dating him so to speak. I love that kid, he is the cutest thing ever.”

“The smartest thing too, I think the other week he balanced my check book,” Jason joked seeing the way that she laughed before shaking his head slowly and biting down on his bottom lip. “I’m not kidding, I’m being serious. Honestly, though right there proves I’m just being a big baby because I know I am lucky to have what I do, I know some people don’t even have that.”

“Which is a good thing you realize that,” Mindy pointed out seeing him gulp down before nodding slowly and she took in a deep breath before laughing. “You know we do make a good team though, we both seem to be a bit broken.”

“If you call it that, I think I seem to be more screwed up,” Jason replied seeing the way she glared out at him and he let out a small laugh before shaking his head slowly, his fingers pressing in against the back of his neck. “You know, I like being here with you, but my sister is probably getting worried--I told her I would call her about an hour ago.”

“Well, I should let you go then,” Mindy stated with a small nod watching him look over at her for a moment and go for the door before she called out his name. “Jason hold on, thank you for everything. I appreciate you being here.”

“No problem,” he let out a small gasp feeling her wrap her arms around his waist hugging him tightly and he let out a tight breath before laughing. “I have no where else to be, I’m a bum.”

“You’re just a nice guy,” she pointed out with a small smile gently pushing in against his chest seeing the way that he laughed before waving one last time to her and walking inside. “Bye Jason.”

“Bye,” he waved back to her before turning around and running right into Guy seeing Guy stumble back a bit before fixing his shirt and shaking his head slowly. “Sorry, I was just about to leave.”

“She okay out there?” Guy questioned seeing the way that Jason nodded slowly and glanced back at Mindy to see her looking out again and Jason looked back toward the door. “I’ll see you later Jason, thanks for coming.”

“No problem,” Jason nodded quickly before letting out a small breath and walking for the door, watching Guy look at his every move when he reached for the knob. “I’ll see you later.”

“Yup,” Guy agreed watching Jason leave before he moved back toward the balcony and met Mindy outside, reaching out to squeeze her shoulder softly seeing her blue eyes glance back at him. “What’s up with that Jason guy? He seems a bit…different I guess is the word I’m looking for.”

“Jason? No, he’s a good guy,” she stated firmly seeing Guy’s worried eyes staring into hers when he stepped in next to her, resting his arm against the edge. “I know it sounds ridiculous, but he was the last one to see Hunt alive and it means a lot to me.”

“I understand,” Guy moved forward seeing the upset expression over her face and he reached out to wrap his arm around her neck to pull her into a hug. Realizing that Jason was a complete stranger, he couldn’t help worrying about her leaning on some random guy. “Let’s just hope he’s really a good guy.”


Grady stood outside his brother’s house thinking about how he and Deana had just parted ways once she needed to go in to a late shift at the hospital. Now that Grady was on his own, he decided that maybe it would be a good time to check in with his brother and see how things were going since it was clear Russ and Avery were having problems. Of course Grady wasn’t quite sure what he would find as he stood outside of the house, but as he knocked on the door he vowed to give Avery a piece of his mind if she still has Russ out in the cold. He knocked again and seconds later the door opened and Avery stood before him clad in a navy colored robe that looked like it belonged to Russ.

“Grady,” her eyes widened as she saw him standing in front of her, “hey, what are you doing here? I didn’t think that I’d be seeing you tonight considering that…”

“That what?” he gave her a long once over before nudging the door open a bit further. He spotted the fireplace on in the other room and a bottle of champagne on ice and he frowned, “Were you expecting any other company?”

“Well actually I thought you might be the delivery man since I had some food I ordered, but…” she started to explain as she caught Grady’s glare.

“You know I just don’t get you. One minute I think that you care about my brother and then the next you’re parading around like that,” he waved his hand around in the air glaring down at her. “What gives? You’re given another chance with the man you claim to love and you can finally have something special again--something that you were missing when you thought he was dead, yet here you are tossing him out in the cold and for what? Are you with Brant? Is that who all of this is planned for? You figure that since you’re trying to make Russ suffer that you’ll just hook up with Brant again to stomp on his heart completely?”

“What?” Avery’s eyes widened at his words, “Grady, you don’t understand…”

“Oh I understand perfectly clear,” he pushed his fingers in against the sleeve of her robe, “And let me guess you’re not wearing anything under that and if you are, it’s probably next to nothing, right?”

“That’s none of your business,” she huffed in response pulling the robe tighter around her body, “and I think you should stop right now before you say something that you’re going to live to regret.”

“The only regret I have is that I thought you were decent enough for my brother. To think that I pushed aside what I felt for you just so that he could have his second chance at happiness, but what do you do? You play games like always Avery and reduce him to nothing only to crush him by going out and screwing someone else when…” Grady continued to lash out at her only to hear the sound of footsteps from behind him.

“Um Grady,” Russ tapped his shoulder gently fighting to repress the smirk that tugged at the corners of his lips, “I think you kind of missed your goal here. If you want to beat up on someone, then you should turn around and look at him because I think I’m the cause of all of this confusion.”

“Russ,” Grady spun around to see his brother standing in front of him clad only in a sheet as it was clear that Russ and Avery had been very much occupied in one another before Grady had arrived. “I um…”

“I guess I should’ve called and told everyone that Avery and I sort of made up,” Russ held onto the top of the sheet that hung loosely around his waist before his other hand ran quickly through his tousled dark hair. “We just sort of got caught up in the moment and…”

“Wait, you mean that you two were…and I just…” Grady shifted his gaze between the two of them seeing the amusement that passed over both Russ and Avery’s faces.

“It was sweet that you’re looking out for me Grady, but as you can see,” Russ reached out to Avery curling an arm around her waist possessively, “things are going pretty good right about now.”

“So then you two are back together?” Grady’s green eyes widened as he watched the two of them snuggling up to one another.

“Not as together as we were before you showed up, but things were looking pretty good for us,” Russ teased feeling Avery poke him in the ribs at his bluntness.

“Ignore him. He’s being crude, but rest assured that Russ and I have ironed out the kinks in our relationship,” Avery added seeing Russ opening his mouth to say something more, “Don’t even say it.”

“I was just…” Russ began with a tiny laugh building in the back of his throat.

“Don’t,” Avery warned before turning to look at Grady again. She placed her palm on Russell’s chest before grinning widely at Grady, “Does this mean that you might forgive me now that you know that this incredibly sexy man I’m ravishing right now is Russ?”

“Of course, I mean…” Grady stammered a bit feeling awkward at walking in on the two of them together when they were bonding, “I just kind of thought that you two were split up and when I saw the fire and the champagne, well I started thinking the worst and…”

“And we’re really going to have to start working on your deductive reasoning considering you were way off,” Avery teased again before leaning into Russ, “because A plus B in this scenario did not lead to the possible C conclusion that you were drawing.”

“No it didn’t and again I apologize,” Grady felt his face grow flushed with embarrassment, “You’re absolutely right about me needing to think before I speak. I guess it just proves that I’m the idiot for the night considering that I should’ve realized that…”

“Hey you were looking out for my best interest and I appreciate that,” Russ offered his hand out to his brother, “You’ve always been good to me and I’m glad I have you--even if your timing is a little off.”

“I really am sorry about that,” Grady took a small step back, “and Avery next time I swear I won’t act like a jerk without at least taking in the entire picture.”

“Hopefully next time you’ll have better timing,” Russ teased with a small laugh.

“This is true, but for what it’s worth, you’re forgiven,” Avery offered up with a bright smile of her own, “I know you were just trying to help save what Russ and I have together, but you don’t have to worry. I’m never letting him go again even if we have to spend hours working out our differences with one another.”

“Next time I’ll call first,” Grady promised taking another step back and reaching for the door when the bell rang. He opened the door only to discover a delivery man standing there with a couple of brown bags in hand.

“Delivery for…” the man started to explain as Grady reached into his pocket and pulled out some money.

“Here, this should more than cover it,” Grady slipped the money into the man’s hand before turning around to face Russ and Avery again.

“Thanks,” the man grinned before taking off in a rush back to his still running car.

“Here you are,” Grady handed a bag to each one of them, “I’m sure you’ll be all set now.”

“Let me just get you the money for that and,” Russ motioned to the other room where he’d dropped his wallet with the money for dinner.

“No, this one is on me since I just made an ass of myself,” Grady waved his hand dismissively before looking between the both of them. “Just enjoy dinner and each other.”

“Are you sure,” Avery asked again tipping her head to the side so her dark hair fell across the side of her face.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” Grady nodded in response moving out onto the porch, “I think I’ve been more than enough of a buzz kill tonight, so how about you two just pretend I was never here in the first place since it’s clear you’ve got everything on track again?”

“Grady are you sure because,” Avery began again watching him nod.

“Oh yeah I’m sure and for the record I’m happy for the both of you. This is how it should be, well minus me of course,” Grady added tossing out one last smile before making his way to his car in the hopes of giving his brother and Avery some long overdue time to be alone with one another without any interruptions to further prevent them from returning to where they once were with one another before all hell broke loose in Coral Valley.


“What is wrong with you Kipp? I thought you would be a bit smarter when it came to women like that, I mean honestly,” Kellen pointed out seeing the way that Kipp moved over toward his desk to sit down. “It’s a bit obvious she likes you and she seems to be a bit of a nut. Crazy Becca should be her name.”

“You need to be nice Kellen, you don’t even know her,” Kipp threw his hands up in the air before shaking his head slowly and taking in a deep breath. “I honestly think you just need to calm down sometimes because some of these outbursts you are doing are a bit off and sometimes annoying?”

“Annoying? Annoying for me to be right about something to me is a bit more than annoying. I would think you would understand because I am never wrong about these kinds of things,” Kellen pointed out seeing Kipp’s brown eyes staring into his and Kellen dropped down to the couch letting out an exaggerated sigh. “The only time I was ever wrong about something was Heather and that was because I was just being cranky around the time I saw her again. The only other time was in high school when I thought I was hanging out with a lesbian and when she tried to jump me I realized I was so wrong, but still that’s nothing to add to all the names I’ve been right about.”

“Kellen, you think way too much,” Kipp pointed out seeing the way that Kellen frowned and rolled his eyes before looking toward the window. “I honestly think that you have had some issues about this whole thing just because she is a woman and is going to be around me all the time.”

“That’s not the point Kipp, the point is that she seems like a nut,” Kellen hissed standing up from the couch to see Kipp roll his eyes again making Kellen’s blood boil. “You’re rolling your eyes Kipp because you know I hate it when someone does that, it makes me very pissed off and honey, adding to the anger isn’t going to help anything.”

“You just need to calm down, she is just my assistant, I need help Kellen. I can’t do all of this work, it’s way too hard on me and you don’t understand that,” Kipp snapped seeing the way that Kellen’s blue eyes widened and Kipp folded his hands out in his lap before shaking his head slowly. “Are you in a bad mood just because of Kyle and Heather or something? I mean honestly it’s getting obvious something is bugging you.”

“Why would I be mad about Kyle and Heather?” Kellen questioned going back to sit down on the couch watching Kipp eye him over slowly. “They’ve done nothing wrong to get me mad, they just went off to be with each other for a while and that’s something I could understand. It’s something that Heather has always wanted more than anything and I think she deserves it. It’s not like they are going to do anything that is going to upset me, I’m just pissed that this girl is running around and acting like she is the best girl around you. Honestly though, why would you think it was Kyle and Heather?”

“Let’s just forget about it,” Kipp cleared his throat knowing what was happening and why he mentioned it, realizing that he could have screwed something up there without even trying. Standing up from his desk he reached out to grab his coat before letting out a small sigh. “How about we just go home because I’m really tired.”

“I guess that sounds good,” Kellen decided following Kipp over toward the door and smiling widely, seeing the way that Kipp looked back at him. “Time away from all the crazy girls and time to just spend with my Kippy.”


“Deana, I’m home,” Jason called out shutting the door behind him, looking in the living room to see if he could find any sign of his sister and didn’t, knowing that her car was still there. “Deana, where are you sis?”

Hearing a knocking noise from down the hall he walked down listening to hear if he could hear it again before letting out a small laugh hearing her groan out in anger.

“Deana, I’m…,” Jason walked into the room feeling something hit him on the head and he fell on his butt from the sudden shock of being hit in the head. Reaching out he grabbed a hold of a high heeled shoe that hit him in the head and let out a small laugh. “Home. Nice welcome home sis.”

“This is crazy, I can’t find my wallet,” Deana groaned throwing clothes out of the hamper as she looked through all her stuff, a shirt landing on Jason’s head, covering his eyes as she heard him laugh. “It’s not funny Jason it has all my money in it.”

“Deana, calm down,” Jason chuckled seeing his sister walk over toward the closet and starting throwing clothes out and he picked up her shoe, setting it down on the bed after standing up. “I think you freak out way too much and you are a bit of a blonde sister. I know I’m pretty blonde sometimes, but you are really blonde.”

“Why would you say that when I am looking through,” Deana turned to see the way that Jason was holding her wallet out to her and she frowned reaching out to grab it from his hands tightly. “Where in the world did you find that?”

“It was right on your nightstand, the obvious place to put it,” he informed her before shrugging his shoulders and holding up a white t-shirt she threw on top of it. “Right under the t-shirt you threw over it. You were freaking out way to much little one.”

“One, don’t call me little one. Two, nice thinking,” she replied gently pushing at his shoulder hearing him let out a small laugh before she looked around the room at all the clothes she threw around. “I think it’s time that you helped me do the laundry, this is ridiculous.”

“Ridiculous that you have so many clothes or ridiculous that you just tore your room apart for something that was never really lost?” he muttered feeling her push him back roughly and he let out a small laugh before grabbing her hamper, throwing some stuff into it. “You really are a messy girl Dee, sometimes I wonder how you get by.”

“You’re an ass,” she threw her clothes at him seeing the way he caught it before throwing it in and looking around her room, she threw her hands up in the air. “I’m going to have to clean this up later.”

“I agree,” Jason agreed moving in closer to see the way that Deana glared over at him with her brown eyes and he nodded slowly. “I’ll help you though sis as long as my nephew is in a good place and I’m bored. Which is pretty much a sure shot that I will help you.”

“You better if you plan on living here,” she teased grabbing the hamper from him and dragging it into the laundry room before moving forward and starting to throw some clothes in. “So how was Mindy?”

“Okay, well at least I hope so,” Jason muttered shrugging his shoulders and thinking about his new found friend before letting out a long breath. “I really hope that she does feel better soon though, but she has so many people around her and loving her that I think she’s going to be okay. She seems to be a strong girl, I just hope one day I can be just like her, she is amazing. A strong person at heart and at soul, I wish I had that. She’s really a great girl.”


“So tell me,” Valerie sipped her drink before eyeing Andy curiously, “You claim that you’re a miracle worker, yet I’m still to see you spin something worthwhile out of this meeting we’re having.”

“Meeting,” Andy laughed lightly, his gaze lingering over Valerie’s legs before his eye met hers again, “I was under the impression that we were out for a little fun--perhaps a little misadventure if you will.”

“Misadventure,” she repeated giving him a sideways glance, “interesting that you used that word choice considering the one misadventure I would love to be having is one that involves Blake and Seth presumably with their conclusion in their relationship.”

“You really don’t want them together, do you?” he noted seeing her shift on her chair.

“Why would I,” she shrugged her shoulders before reaching out to claim her drink once again, “He’s my husband and he really shouldn’t be gallivanting around with that slut to begin with.”

“Husband huh,” he nodded his head once again before grinning and reaching for his own glass, “The plot thickens.”

“Indeed it does, but Seth feels that he can ignore the truth that has been right in front of him all this time. He thinks that he can just pretend that we had nothing and go about enjoying life with her, but I’m afraid it’s not that simple,” Valerie leaned in closer to meet Andy’s eyes again, “He married me and I’m not about to let him forget it.”

“Clearly,” Andy sipped his drink once more before questioning lazily, “but tell me, what’s so special about Seth Alexander? From what I’ve heard about him, he’s not financially well off, his looks are average and he’s a nice guy. That to me seems to be kind of a boring companion, wouldn’t you agree?”

“It’s not about the money and besides,” she paused licking her lips at the thought of Seth, “You are way off about the looks thing. Seth is hot and he sizzles far too much for some spoiled brat like Blake. She could never appreciate him like I do.”

“If you appreciated him so much, then why aren’t you two together in happily wedded bliss?” Andy questioned again seeing her look of disapproval, “I’m just asking.”

“Because I was looking for something else when we got married. I thought I would find it in another place, but I was wrong. I’ve recognized the mistake and now I’m here to remedy it,” Valerie informed him her light eyes meeting his with a newfound determination.

“So that’s it huh?” Andy arched a curious brow, “You screwed up and now you’re sorry for it, so you think that Seth should take you back?”

“Basically,” she nodded in response before curling her lip at him, “and I thought that you were going to help me get what I wanted, but it seems like you’re having more fun criticizing me.”

“I’m not criticizing,” he shrugged his shoulders innocently before returning his attention to his drink, “I’m just stating the facts and trying to get you to think of why you’re motivated to take a step backwards.”

“It’s not a step backwards. It’s forward with my goal right in front of me,” she claimed determination filling her tone, “Seth and I are going to have a great future with one another.”

“Let me guess stuck in this little nothing town with a few kids running around,” he finished off his drink and shook his head at her, “Surely, a woman of your means would get bored with something like that. You look like someone who would enjoy the high life. Parties, premieres and the works. That kind of high life seems a little bit far fetched to someone as small town as Seth.”

“He has potential and I’m going to prove that to him once he gets rid of that blonde bi…” Valerie stopped herself as she spotted Seth and Blake entering the restaurant with one another arm in arm. “Speaking of that witch…”

Andy watched Valerie start to rise up before he reached out to her and grabbed her arm in his hand. “I don’t think you want to do that.”

“Why not?” she frowned down at him, “Seth’s been avoiding me lately and this is the perfect time to…”

“Haven’t you learned that a way into a man’s heart is to give him something he can’t have?” Andy tossed back at her in a casual tone, “With you chasing him around, why should he want to fight for you? Why would he want to waste his time when you’re the one begging for him? The key to capturing his heart is to make him see that you’re desired by other men--men who could very well throw him out of your mind and your heart.”

“Seth isn’t the jealous type. He doesn’t really think that way,” she shook her head refusing to accept his words.

“Is that right?” he arched a speculative brow, “Is that what you really believe he’s all about because I’ll be honest with you when I say if a man has any kind of feeling for a woman, he gets upset seeing her in another man’s arms.”

“I would seriously doubt it. Seth doesn’t like games,” she answered stubbornly shaking her head again.

“Shall we place a wager on it?” Andy questioned wiggling his brow at her, “If I’m right, then you come home with me tonight. I take you back to my place where I’ll show you a whole new meaning of the word pleasure. If I’m wrong, you can tell me to go to hell and we’ll call it a day. It’s a win/win situation in my eyes.”

“You think it’s a win/win situation because you’re obviously wanting to get laid,” she spat back at him with heavy sarcasm.

“I could get laid in a heartbeat without effort,” he noted with a smug grin before he cast a once over in her direction, “but I was thinking that I might try something that’s a bit of an upgrade tonight. You seem to fit the bill.”

“You repulse me,” Valerie mouthed icily.

“Do I really?” he reached out to touch her hand in his, “because I really didn’t get that vibe from you. Neither do I get the vibe that you are one to back down from such an erotic challenge. You know you’re dying to see if I’m right.”

“Not really,” she inhaled slowly before meeting his piercing blue eyes, “but since you think you’re so right, it wouldn’t hurt to knock you down a peg.”

“And make your ex-lover jealous,” Andy offered his hand to her, “So what do you say? How about a dance for the hell of it?”

“To proving you wrong,” Valerie accepted his offer all the while glancing over to Seth to see if there was any validity in Andy’s proposition.


“This should be fun. We haven’t taken the time to really enjoy ourselves for a while,” Blake wrapped her arms around Seth’s waist and smiled up at him. “This was a great idea.”

“I thought it might be,” Seth replied leaning down to kiss her gently. As their lips parted he pushed a piece of her long, blonde hair away from her face and smiled, “It gets us out of the house for a while at least.”

“We have been spending a lot of time there lately, haven’t we,” she questioned thinking about their recent quest to start a family.

Seth nodded, “Yeah, we are probably becoming major recluses, but we’re working on it tonight. I think this will be fun. Maybe a few laughs, some dancing…”

“I like dancing,” Blake smiled with a hint of mischief in her tone while her fingers tapered off over the center of his chest, “especially with you.”

“Good because tonight I’m going to show you a whole new meaning of the word fun,” he promised reaching down to pull her up for another kiss as she let out a groan. He backed away seeing her blue eyes narrowing up at him. “Um Blake that was supposed to make you happy and enthusiastic, not make you frown.”

“I’m sorry,” she felt him set her down on the ground again, “I was going to be enthusiastic, but then I saw that.”

“What?” Seth followed her gaze and spotted Valerie on the dance floor with someone else. She was rubbing up against him and doing her best to get the guy all turned on from the looks of things and Seth couldn’t help but frown, “I guess she found her new victim huh?”

“So it would seem,” Blake nodded in response before eyeing the guy Valerie was with. “I know that guy. He’s one of Ken’s friends.”

“Poor idiot,” Seth shook his head before letting out a small laugh, “Though maybe if she strikes his fancy, it’ll be good for all of us. He might convince her that she should bother him instead of me.”

“That would be nice, but I think he’s married,” Blake added after a moment’s contemplation watching Valerie and Andy in a seductive dance with one another.

“He sure doesn’t look like he wants to be married right now,” Seth noted with an air of darkness in his tone, “but I suppose that would make two of us considering where I’m at in my relationship with Valerie.”

“You mean the lack of any relationship whatsoever except for in her mind?” Blake questioned arching a curious brow.

“Yep, that would be right about it,” he added with a tiny laugh curling his arm around her waist again, “Of course now that I know she’s here, we can always go to another club or be reclusive again if you like.”

“Are you kidding,” Blake shook her head at his suggestion, “I’m not going to let her ruin my fun. I don’t let her run my life and I’m not about to start letting her do it. We’re out to have a good time, so I’m just going to ignore her and be happy that I have you and she doesn’t.”

“There’s the spirit,” he laughed lightly squeezing her in his arms, “That’s the Blake I know and love.”

“And besides if she comes over to us, I’ll have no choice, but to kick her ass for trying to meddle with our relationship,” she quipped further holding him in her arms possessively.

“I shudder at the thought,” he frowned glancing over to Valerie and Andy once again, “You know maybe we should just leave. I know this great club down the road just a ways where they have Latin dancing and…”

“It sounds like fun,” Blake finally nodded ready to say something more when she spotted Sarah out of the corner of her eye. “What the hell is she doing?”

“Who?” Seth questioned seeing her point over towards the bar.

“It’s Sarah,” Blake explained with a heavy scowl watching her friend reach for a beer and take a long drink, “She’s pregnant and she shouldn’t be doing that.”

“No she shouldn’t,” Seth started seeing Blake weaving her way through the crowd. Taking in a small breath he started to follow just in time to watch Blake tear the beer away from Sarah’s hand.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Blake scowled at her surprised friend, “You’re pregnant and you should not be doing this.”

“Leave me alone Blake,” Sarah scowled at Blake, shaking her head with no real interest, “Give me back my beer and forget you saw me.”

“No I won’t do that,” Blake shook her head adamantly taking a whiff of Sarah and knowing full well she’d been drinking for a while, “I don’t know why you want to ruin your life, but I’m not going to sit back and let you hurt your child just because things didn’t turn out like you wanted them to.”

“My life is in the dumps Blake. Anyone with eyes can see that,” Sarah argued with her reaching out for the beer again.

“Even so, it’s not the baby’s fault. I’m not giving this back to you and you,” Blake pointed over at the bartender capturing his attention, “You’re not giving her another drink. She’s pregnant and she is not to have any of this.”

“Whatever,” the man shrugged his shoulders and went off to tend to another patron before Blake turned to Sarah again.

“Blake, you’re being unreasonable,” Sarah reached out for her beer again.

“Unreasonable would be walking away and pretending that this doesn’t bother me. Unreasonable would be letting you kill yourself and your child because you’re in a place where things aren’t working out like you planned,” Blake informed her point blank, “Sure, you’ve made mistakes, but you’re still my friend and as unreasonable as you think I am right now, I’m perfectly right to try to save you from yourself, so don’t even think about trying to stop me right now because it won’t work!”


Mindy sank onto the sofa thinking about her exchange with Jason. While there was still so much that was left unsaid about Hunt’s last minutes, she couldn’t help but find herself thinking about the man who had played such an important role in her life over the last few months. Hugging the wrap that she’d had around her shoulders tighter against her shoulders, she leaned back on the sofa closing her eyes and taking in a long sigh.

Never before had she felt as alone as she was in that moment. Sure, Guy was in the other room, but after the way she’d practically leap onto him when he’d offered her comfort, she couldn’t help but feel a bit odd now. She didn’t quite know what had prompted her to lean onto him and push him like she had, yet she could see that it would be a source of tension between them--at least for a little while.

“Green or herbal blend?” Guy questioned popping his head out of the kitchen long enough to hold up two boxes of tea.

“Whichever you prefer,” she shrugged her shoulders before forcing herself to face him again.

“I prefer which ever one is that you’re in the mood for,” he offered up with a sympathetic expression before stepping into the living room with her. “Still thinking about what Jason said to you?”

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t,” she admitted with a heavy sigh. “I mean even now when I think about what Hunt went through in those final minutes…”

“He wouldn’t want you to stress about that. He would want you to focus on the good times you shared Mindy,” Guy mouthed moving in to take a seat beside her. “He would want you to focus on the joy and the love you shared.”

“I know,” she nodded fighting to keep herself together as she looked over at him, “I keep trying to tell myself that, but it’s easier said than done if you know what I mean.”

“I know, but eventually I think you’ll find a way to keep that in your mind and in your heart,” he reached out to touch her arm gently, “I know that is what Hunt would want.”

“Yeah,” she sighed closing her eyes again before clearing her throat, “green tea is fine.”

“Good,” Guy replied with a thoughtful expression, “then I’ll get right on it. Don’t you move.”

“I wasn’t planning on it,” Mindy admitted honestly taking in another breath before sinking back onto the sofa. She prepared to find a way to relax when she heard someone at the door.

“Want me to get that?” Guy questioned from the kitchen.

“No, I have it covered,” she groaned in response, “I’m sure it’s my mother back to agitate me again.”

“All the more reason for me to answer it,” Guy decided breezing back into the living room area and making his way over to the door. He glanced over his shoulder at her before offering up a small smile, “We’ll find a way to get her to behave.”

“I don’t think she knows how to,” Mindy replied with a groan thinking about how her mother loved to push her buttons. She was going to say something more, but opted for silence instead when she watched Guy unlock the door and open it. She half expected to find her mother there ready to throw out some other comment about Guy still being there, but instead she realized it was Gabe in the hallway greeting Guy with a bright smile.

“Hey handsome,” Gabe slurred moving forward to embrace Guy. After a moment of recognition, Guy returned the hug before Gabe pulled him in for a kiss. Mindy felt her heart sink in seeing them together and as if Guy had picked up on what Mindy was feeling, he pulled back and offered up a small smile.

“What are you doing here?” Guy couldn’t help but ask curious to see his lover standing before him. “I thought you wouldn’t be back for a while because you were wrapped up in negotiations and…”

“I was going to stay, but then I realized that I wasn’t about to ignore the fact that a friend of mine was hurting,” Gabe admitted looking past Guy to where Mindy sat on the sofa. He walked past Guy and moved in to take a seat beside her, worry in his eyes. Reaching out to touch her cheek gently, he spoke up in a soothing tone, “How are you holding up sweetheart?”

“Not as good as I would like to,” she admitted feeling a moment of guilt carry over her at the way she’d practically thrown herself on Guy without giving any consideration to the fact that Gabe loved him. She leaned into his touch and felt a lump form in her throat, “It just hurts.”

“Of course it’s going to hurt,” Gabe mouthed moving in to pull her into an embrace, “but just know that you’re not going to have to face this alone. You have your friends with you now and we’re going to do everything in our power to help you. I didn’t bring Brittany with me today because I wasn’t sure how you would be doing, but she’s been asking about you and wanting to see you.”

“She has?” Mindy’s eyes widened in response.

He nodded, “Yeah, I had to break the news to her about Hunt because she had a right to know. She’s still too young to really, fully understand what’s going on, but she knows enough to know that you are sad.”

“She really loved him,” Mindy thought back to the various dates she and Hunt had gone on with Brittany.

“She did,” Gabe nodded in agreement, “and in her own way she’s mourning the loss, but right now she’s concerned about you. In fact she made you something.”

“She did?” Mindy’s eyes widened in response as Gabe reached into his pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper.

“She wanted me to let you know that she didn’t have a lot of time to put it together, but she wanted you to have it,” Gabe explained handing the paper over to her. “She did it all on the ride home.”

“I’m sure I’ll love it,” Mindy replied opening up the page to discover two stick figures on the page, one with dark hair that was taller than the other that had yellow hair and a smile. They were holding hands and printed above it were the words ‘Best Friends Forever‘.

“She said that you were this one and that one was her,” Gabe pointed at the drawing in Mindy’s hand.

“I kind of figured,” Mindy replied with a small smile as her light eyes drifted to the corner of the drawing where there was an angel in the clouds looking down at the two in the picture.

“She said that was Hunt always with the both of you,” Gabe offered up a poignant expression, “She said to tell you that he’ll always be with you even if you both can’t see him right now. She said that nothing can take away from what you shared.”

“She said all of that?” Mindy tipped her head up to look at Gabe again.

He nodded, “Yeah, it’s pretty amazing that my daughter has more of a grasp on the world around us than most adults do. She said that even though it feels like it’s the end, it’s only a temporary good-bye.”

“She’s right,” Mindy nodded in response turning her attention to the drawing in her hands again, “We will see him again.”

“I know you will,” Gabe reached out to embrace her once more as Mindy thought about everything that had happened with Hunt. In that moment she realized that she’d been wrong about what little he’d meant to her because in seeing Brittany’s drawing she was reminded of all that they’d shared--of all the good times and the moments that had stayed with her. While she’d tried to close herself off from what she was feeling, the truth was she’d been pushing aside her emotions for Hunt because she’d felt it was easier. Now that she’d had Brittany’s drawing she knew full well that wasn’t the case.


“What’s this?” Evie questioned as JT stopped the car on the side of the road. She shifted in her seat to look at him and a curious expression crossed over her features, “JT why are we stopping in the middle of the road?”

“Because the rest of our journey is a surprise,” he explained reaching into his pocket and pulling out a red colored scarf. He held it up to show her before curling his finger at her. “Come here.”

“Where?” she watched him pat the seat between them as she cautiously unhooked her seatbelt. “JT, what are you doing?”

“I’m going to surprise you,” he promised seeing her slide in closer to him.

“I remember what you said earlier about going at it in a car and how I said it didn’t matter,” she started uneasily thinking about their earlier conversation with one another about sex, “I know I said it didn’t matter to me at all, but…”

“I’m not going to use this to ravish you,” he promised with an amused chuckle leaning forward to steal a kiss from her lips. Instead he tucked her dark hair behind her ears before holding the silk scarf up in front of her eyes, “I’m just going to keep you from seeing our surprise until I’m ready for you to see it.”

“Oh,” she let out a small breath of relief before smiling, “well that sounds interesting.”

“Uh huh,” he nodded carefully tying the scarf so that it covered her eyes before he laughed lightly, “It looks like I called your bluff about your anytime any place attitude.”

“I meant what I said,” she started to argue with him as a frown touched over the corners of her lips.

“Just not tonight,” he teased with another amused laugh before sliding back into his seat, “Now I promise that you won’t have to wait too much longer.”

“Good because I can’t see a thing,” she replied leaning back in her seat and feeling him pull the car back onto the main road. He was quiet as they continued to drive until finally she felt him pull to a stop again.

“We’re here,” he whispered warmly in her ear sending tiny shivers racing through her as she reached to take off her blindfold only to feel his hand press in over hers. “Not yet…”

“But I thought that you said we were here,” she curled her lip in a small pout.

“We are, but I’m not ready for you to see your surprise,” he confessed pulling his keys out of the ignition and exiting the car.

She placed her hand up over the makeshift blindfold again before he opened up the door next to where she’d been seated. She felt him lean over her and kiss her quickly before helping her out of the car.

“No peeking. Remember,” he warned sliding his arm around her waist while leading her in a direction away from the car.

“JT, you’re being totally unfair,” she frowned in response hearing the sound of something in the distance. She listened closely before forming a theory, “JT are we at the beach?”

“Not exactly,” he whispered again guiding her in a new direction before smiling, “Now you’re going to have to hold onto me a bit because I don’t want you to fall.”

“Why would I fall?” she started to ask only to feel him pick her up in his arms.

“Comfortable,” he questioned feeling her lean into his chest.

“With you holding me always,” she smiled in response feeling them moving in an upward motion. She could hear JT’s breath getting a bit labored after what felt like an eternity of upward motion and she placed her hand against his chest, “You okay?”

“I’ll be fine,” he assured her in a low, quiet tone, “I guess there were just more stairs than I remembered.”

“Stairs,” she repeated with a curious smirk, “So we really aren’t outside anymore.”

“No, we’re not although we will be shortly,” he assured her as he stepped forward into the night. She felt a breeze around them as JT carefully set her down again. He stepped in behind her, fingers on the knot of the blindfold as if he was going to release her, but he hesitated. His lips touched over the side of her neck, whispering heatedly in her ear, “Now this is the surprise and I’m sure you’re going to love it.”

“Take the blindfold off already,” she protested feeling him stalling further until finally he took off the blindfold. Her eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness as she found herself surrounded by night. She spun around to face him with a curious expression, “JT, where are we?”

“Just look,” he pointed out in front of them to the endless sky beyond where they stood.

Evie took a small step forward and looked down to see the lake in front of her. The water was moving in slow ripples as the night seemed to offer up a hint of romance in the air around them. Spinning around to face him again she noticed that they appeared to be at the top of some sort of lighthouse only unlike all those she had seen on television, it wasn’t bright and shining with the blinding light one would come to expect.

“Where are we?” she couldn’t help but ask reaching out to touch him again.

“We’re at the old lighthouse in town,” he explained with a tiny laugh, “It’s not as adventurous as it sounds I know, but still. They closed this place down a few years back when they built a new one just down the shore over there.”

He pointed out into the night where Evie saw a light sweeping onto the water. She felt him curl his arm around her waist, drawing her nearer to him as he continued to explain their location to her.

“This place was the big one back in the days when the ports around here were used for trading, but now, well it’s not nearly as advanced as the new lighthouse down there that the Ashford family had put in a few years back, but to me it has history and culture to it. It’s not perfect, but it is spirited and besides, no one bothers you when you’re up here,” he shrugged his shoulders seeing the way the wind picked up around her face causing her hair to blow with the breeze.

“You come up here a lot?” she couldn’t help but ask feeling him tuck a piece of hair behind her ear.

“Every now and then when I want to be alone,” he reached for her hand taking it in his before guiding her around the area they were standing on. “As I said before no one other than the historical society gives it much thought. They have a caretaker who keeps things in order and I made friends with the guy back when I was a bit of a rebel. His brother got into some trouble with me and I guess he took pity on me. One summer I had to clean this place for my community service work…”

“I see,” she felt him lead her along to the far side of the lighthouse giving them a whole new perspective on the water. “And even in working here, you still feel compelled to spend leisure time here?”

“What can I say? This place sang to me,” he admitted with a sheepish grin before stepping aside and revealing a blanket and a picnic basket that was set up on the stone floor in front of them. “I thought maybe you might like it as well since you seem to like the less than high profile places.”

“It’s beautiful,” she smiled seeing him move forward and reach for a rose handing it to her. “Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me yet,” he shook his head in refusal watching her smell the rose, “because my surprise is only beginning. The second part is about to start.”

“There’s a second part,” she arched a curious brow feeling him reach for her hand and guide her over to the blanket.

“If you sit down, you can fully appreciate it,” he assured her with a cryptic grin watching her do as instructed. Silently he moved in beside her and winked, “You have to lay down to truly appreciate all of it.”

“Sounds very tempting,” she leaned back on the blanket in compliance with his request.

“Wait, you’re missing one thing,” he slid out of his jacket and balled it up for her to lay her head on it. “This beats the hell out of the stone floor.”

“It sure does,” she nodded in confession reaching out to him and drawing him closer to her, “but then again, this is even better.”

Before he could say anything, she lay her head on his chest and offered him the jacket. He smiled at her using it to prop up his head before an explosive sound ripped through the sky followed by multicolor of green, red and yellow.

“Oh JT,” she gasped surprised as the fireworks began to set off above him each one making completely random, colorful designs through the night.

“Now this is your surprise,” he explained seeing the way she was in awe of the display in front of her.

“I love it. It’s beautiful,” she confessed excitedly her brown eyes drawn to the sky above her watching expectantly for the next big show of color.

“I kind of hoped you would,” he offered up wrapping his arm around her and enjoying the show. Sure, he’d hoped to enjoy them as well, but in watching her he found himself enjoying the night more than he ever thought possible when he decided he would take a chance and bring her up to the lighthouse with him.


“Kevin be honest with yourself,” Ria breathed out slowly seeing the way that Kevin stared out at her and bit down on his bottom lip nodding slowly. Looking at the way he thought to himself she knew that he was tied up inside looking for what would be the right thing to do. “Kev, either way it’s okay.”

“I’m worried,” Kevin stuttered seeing the way that she never stopped looking at him and he looked down toward the ground, not wanting to upset her in anyway. “I don’t know what I should do Ria, are you going to be mad at me?”

“I’m honestly going to be furious if you don’t pick and make us sit here for hours,” Ria tried to tease offering up a small smile seeing him half smile and let out a long sigh and she stepped in closer to him. “Plus you might get a bit cold.”

“That’s never going to happen,” Kevin smiled looking down before shaking his head slowly thinking about what would happen if he went to go with Angie. “If I went to go see Angie, I don’t want you mad at me thinking that she is the one I love. She is just my friend and oh god, what have I done? If she dies, the last thing I said to her was so mean. I should have never said all that and if she dies…,”

“Kevin, sweetheart,” Ria stepped forward pressing her hand against his cheek, feeling his hand move in over hers and hold onto it tightly. “I’m sure she is going to be okay, from what you’ve told me Angela is quite a fighter and I’m sure she’ll be okay. I’m not going to be mad if you go, you’re my fiancé and I love you.”

“You still consider me your fiancé?” Kevin questioned grabbing a hold of her hand and saw the pink diamond that he had given her, smiling at the thought of her never taking it off. “You have no idea how happy that makes me.”

“Well you have no idea how happy I am just thinking about you,” Ria replied tipping up to press a small kiss against his lips, brushing back some of his thick hair. “I love you so much, that’s why I’m okay with whatever decision you make.”

“Baby, I’m sorry,” Kevin apologized reaching out to push back her dark hair as he stared out into her eyes, dipping down to press his lips in over hers again. He suckled at her bottom lip, feeling her fingers move in and over his back before he rested his forehead against hers. “I have to back to Coral Valley. I was there for those babies until she found Brant again, I don’t know what I’d do if someone else lost a chance to be a parent.”

“I understand,” Ria decided seeing the look behind Kevin’s eyes as she nodded slowly, wrapping her arms around him and feeling him hug her tightly, pressing a small kiss against her forehead. “What kind of person would I be if I didn’t let you protect your best friend?”

“Are you sure?” he muttered still surprised by her answer and he saw her nod slowly and frowned, his thumb pressing in against her bottom lip before moving in to kiss her again. “Ria, you know I still love you and…,”

“I know Kevin, you showed me that,” she replied seeing his eyes squint down at her when his eyebrows arched up and she caressed his rough cheek slowly seeing him half smirk. “I love you so much and I know, I really do. I’m coming with you though, I don’t need to stay here any longer, I’ve spent enough time away from you.”

“Really?” Kevin smiled widely seeing her nod and he picked her up in his arms spinning her around before pulling her in against his chest tightly to kiss her again. “You don’t know how happy I am to hear you say that baby.”

“You can’t be alone,” she decided with a deep sigh seeing his long eyelashes flutter and she smiled realizing how great of a guy she truly had. Tipping up to kiss him again, she felt him give her one last squeeze before letting her go. Seeing him going to pick up his phone she cleared her throat, seeing him look back at her over his shoulder. Letting out a small laugh she moved forward outlining the large dragon tattoo on his back carefully, feeling him leaning back into her touch. “You might want to get dressed first though before you leave, you might get thrown into jail for going out like that.”

“Good idea,” he felt her press a small kiss against his shoulder before gently smacking his butt making him let out a small yelp and arching forward away from her. “You just did that because you don’t know what it says.”

“Sure I don’t,” Ria laughed seeing the way that Kevin looked over his shoulder at her again before arching his eyebrow up at her. “It’s still cute, but let’s get moving--Angie needs you.”

“I can’t thank you enough for understanding Ria,” Kevin stated with a small gulp as he rubbed at his skin feeling a stinging feeling before shaking his head slowly and reaching down for his jeans. Staring out at her as he pulled up his jeans he shook his head slowly before running his fingers through his messy hair. “You don’t how great it feels for you to tell me you love me again.”

“I’ve always loved you,” she muttered watching him zip up his pants and reach for his shirt off the ground and quickly pull it on before walking in closer to her and wrapping his arms around her tightly. “You ready to leave Kev?”

“Yeah,” Kevin nodded placing a small kiss against her lips before picking up the bag he brought throwing it over his shoulder and wrapped his left arm around her shoulders. “I love you so much Ria.”

“I love you too,” she reached for her bag seeing him shake his head slowly and reach for it himself and grabbing it, throwing it over his other shoulder. “You sure you got it baby?”

“No problem,” Kevin winked seeing the way she smiled out at him as they closed the hotel door and walked out into the hallway. Leaning forward he pressed his lips in against hers feeling her hand caressing his cheek softly. Offering up a small wink Kevin led her to the elevator before getting in it seeing the way that someone walked by and he dropped one of the bags moving forward to press the close button a few times. “Come on, go.”

“Everything okay?” Ria questioned seeing the way that Kevin nodded as she placed her hand in over the center of his chest, tipping up to press a small kiss against his cheek. “If you say so, I’ll trust you.”


“So,” Shannon looked down at Matt as they walked out of Nate’s room for a moment leaving Nate in his room and Shannon shrugged her shoulders. “What’s your plan?”

“Nothing really,” Matt explained with a small sigh seeing the way that Shannon’s dark eyes looked inside of his as Matt offered up a wide smile. “I was just thinking a big pizza might work for him, I know he loves it so why not get him something he loves. It’s all about him right now really, he is the most amazing person I’ve been around other than my father you know. “You are lucky to have a brother like him, even if you don’t realize it.”

“I have had issues realizing that before,” Shannon agreed seeing the way that Matt arched his eyebrows up at her and walked into the kitchen reaching out for the phone. “After someone loses somebody important you realize what you have.”

“So does that mean you are going to treat him like a real person now?” Matt questioned seeing the way that Shannon frowned at his question and he simply shrugged his shoulders grabbing the cordless and walking over toward the drawer to pull out a few coupons. “I have to be honest with you Shannon, you haven’t been a really nice person to my father or your brother and they are my two favorite people. What am I supposed to think of you when you treat the people I love like that?”

“I guess not a whole lot,” Shannon pointed out seeing Matt half nod before letting out a long breath and thinking about all the things that he said to her. “I know I haven’t been the greatest person to your father and my brother. I think Nate is great and I know he is. I know that Don is wonderful too, but I have just been a really big jerk lately and I realized that.”

“And hopefully you will change something too,” Matt added seeing the way she looked down at him and he shrugged his shoulders thinking of something nice and polite to say. “I really have to be honest with you Shannon, someone’s heart can only break until there is no more breaking. My father hasn’t been with you that long, but Nate has had to be around you for twenty-three years, I say now is the time to really try and be there for him.”

“I’ll try,” Shannon agreed seeing the way that Matt looked through the coupons and tried to find something that he thought would work appropriately. “How do you know all this stuff Matt? I mean honestly.”

“I just know not to play around with emotions and someone’s heart, if you love them, you make sure they know you love them,” Matt replied seeing the way that Shannon stared down at him as he started to dial the pizza number and shrugged his shoulders. “If you don’t, you’re a jerk for continuing to break their heart. So what position are you in Shannon? That’s what I think you need to determine.”


Brant rushed into the hospital frantic to know what was happening with Angela. Spotting Barbara up ahead he rushed over to her hoping that she could provide him with some information about what was happening with Angela.

“Barbara, I’m here to see Angela. Angela Meloni,” Brant explained in a quick breath, “She was in an accident and fell down the stairs and…”

“Brant,” he heard Don’s voice call out to him as Don rushed out of the elevators.

“Don, thank God you’re here. Have you heard anything on Angela?” Brant questioned frantic to learn more about the woman he loved.

“I called on my way over and it sounds like Dr. Vaughn is in with her,” Don explained trying to keep his friend from losing his mind with worry. “That’s all I know at this point, but I was just going to check. I’ll see what’s happening and…”

“Don please,” Brant begged of him, fear shining behind his dark eyes, “You have to help her. You have to help her and our children. She took a pretty bad fall and if anything happens to them…”

“I’ll do what I can. Just stay here and try to calm down,” Don offered up knowing how bad it sounded to his pal now that the woman he loved was in danger.

“Easier said than done,” Brant replied reaching out to his friend again, “Don please take care of her. I know that if anyone can help her, it’s you.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Don offered up one last time before motioning to Barbara, “Why don’t you just wait here with Barbara and I’ll let you know when I know something?”

“Okay,” Brant nodded rubbing his palms together as worry crept in over him. He started to pace around the lobby thinking about all of the things that he and Angela had ahead of them. They had so many dreams about their future--about what their life together would be like, but tonight when Cameron had been fighting with him it felt like those dreams were being ripped away. All of the things he’d waited his whole life to have were becoming further and further from where they should be in his life. He clenched his fists at his side, “I can’t lose them. I won’t lose them.”

“It’s going to be okay,” Barbara offered up hoping to keep Brant from going out of his mind even though she knew full well there were no certainties in a situation like this.

“Tonight I never meant for this to happen. I just wanted her to come home with me and see that I wasn’t the bad guy. I wanted her to know that Cameron was lying to her--that I loved her and our children and…” Brant’s words came to an abrupt stop when Cameron walked through the elevators.

All of the emotions Brant had been carrying inside of him on the long ride to the hospital were now built up in his stomach and when he watched Cameron rushing over to where he stood, Brant knew he’d lost all of his patience and self control. He closed his eyes for a moment thinking about the replay of Cameron trying to kill him followed by Angela’s fall down the stairs and suddenly his worries were replaced by an undeniable rage.

“You have no business being here. I want him gone,” Cameron shouted to one of the security officers standing near the door. “I want him out of here now.”

“I’m going to kill you for hurting her you son of a bitch,” Brant snarled unable to contain himself a moment longer as he leapt towards Cameron ready to rip his head off or worse now that Cameron had taken the one true thing in Brant’s life and tried to destroy it. Without thought or reason Brant swung his fist out at Cameron vowing not to stop swinging until the rage that he’d carried inside of him was fully released on the man who had tried to steal everything away from him only to satisfy his own warped sense of taking control of the world around him!


...to be continued...