Episode 362

Kevin stepped forward unable to believe what he was seeing as the man in front of him spoke to one of the nurses. He leaned in and let out a small laugh after speaking with the nurse beside him. The nurse offered up a flirty laugh before Kevin watched the man in front of him follow up with his own laughter. Suddenly it was as if all the walls were caving in on Kevin and there was nowhere to escape the twisted version of reality he’d stepped into.

“This can’t be happening,” Kevin mouthed to himself more than anything as a chill crept in over his shoulders. Sure, Kevin believed in chance and coincidence but there was no way in hell his life had taken that bad of a turn to lead him face to face with an old adversary--especially one he knew full well was dead.

“Kevin, what is it?” Brant questioned noticing the color had drained from Kevin’s face. “Kevin…”

“There’s no way he can be here. He’s dead,” Kevin’s jaw flexed with tension as Brant stood up and looked at his friend worriedly.

“Kevin, what are you talking about? Whose dead?” Brant blinked back at him confusion carrying over him.

“He’s dead,” Kevin motioned over to where the nurse was still flirting with his old adversary. “I’m sure of it.”

“Kevin that’s Andy,” Brant gave him a strange look, “He’s an old friend of Ken’s.”

“What?” Kevin turned to face Brant again a stunned expression on his face. His gaze shifted between Brant and the man in front of him and he couldn’t help but frown. “No that’s Cary Meloni.”

“Cary Meloni,” Brant frowned thinking about what Kevin was saying, “Whose Cary Meloni?”

“The jerk Angie was married to until I…” Kevin shuddered at the memory. “That’s the creep that tried to ruin her life.”

“Kevin as much as I would like to not argue this point with you, the fact to the matter is that’s not Cary Meloni,” Brant finally blurted out with a shake of his head, “I know that you have to be mistaken because that is Andrew Byrne. He grew up in Coral Valley and was one of Ken’s friends.”

“I’m telling you he’s…” Kevin paused when Andy spotted the two of them and walked over with a big smile on his face.

“Brant, hey how’s it going?” Andy waved over at Brant and smiled, “What are you doing here?”

“I’m here because the woman I’m engaged to is…” Brant glanced over at Kevin realizing that Kevin’s face was quite pale.

“Are you okay?” Andy questioned tipping his head to the side and looking over at Kevin. “You look like maybe you should sit down or something.”

“No,” Kevin answered quickly, his jaw flexing as he glared at the man in front of him. Instinctively Kevin’s gaze dropped down to Andy’s neck and he felt a tiny shudder race over him.

“Are you sure?” Andy questioned again his blue eyes searching Kevin’s face, “Because I’m a doctor and if something is wrong, then I can…”

“No,” Kevin blurted out quickly, “I’m fine Cary just like I’ve always been.”

“Excuse me,” Andy blinked back at him eyeing Kevin with a strange expression, “My name is Andy and…”

“Kevin’s just having a hard day,” Brant explained moving in between the two of them, “Someone very close to us was brought into the hospital in an accident and…”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Andy offered up apologetically a look of concern washing over him, “and if there’s anything that I can do, just know that I would be more than happy to help.”

“Thanks I appreciate it, but Don’s got it covered,” Brant offered up with a worried expression, “She’s my fiancée and she’s pregnant and…”

“Oh my,” Andy noted with a small nod, “Has she been seeing Deidra, because if she is I can have her paged and…”

“I’m sure if she needs to see Deidra, then Don will call her. Right now it’s just touch and go and…” Brant started to explain before shaking his head, “I guess I’m just anxious.”

“With good reason,” Andy reached out to pat him on the arm, “I’m on a break at the moment, but I’ll keep a listen and see what I can do to keep an eye on things for you.”

“Thanks,” Brant smiled in response watching Andy turn to Kevin again.

“You sure you don’t need anything, Kevin, was it?” Andy offered up seeing Kevin shake his head once again.

“From you, not likely,” Kevin frowned in response his dark eyes still fixed on Andy’s neck as if trying to find some sign of the struggle the two men had with one another back on that cliff all those years ago.

“Okay, well don’t hesitate to ask if you need anything either one of you,” Andy waved his hand around in the air before turning around to return to speaking with the nurse he’d been keeping company with.

“Kevin, hey I told you, that’s not who you think it is,” Brant tried to talk Kevin down from the mood he was suddenly in. “He’s a doctor and…”

“And I don’t think it’s a good idea to have him check in on Angie. I don’t trust him,” Kevin mouthed with a dry tone.

“Don’s taking care of her and I’m sure that…” Brant patted Kevin on the shoulder, “Maybe he’s got more news for us.”

“Hopefully,” Kevin tried to focus on the situation at hand, but as his gaze kept traveling over to Andy he found himself wondering if maybe just maybe the past hadn’t been as much of a distant memory as he’d hoped it would have been. Of course Cary Meloni still being alive made no sense, but then again neither did half of anything that was happening lately. Either way Kevin vowed he would learn more about this Andrew Byrne just to be safe.


“Are you okay?” Mindy questioned seeing Nate gulp down and nod slowly before pulling back and wiping at his eyes, shaking his head slowly and letting out a small laugh. Reaching out to caress his shoulder softly Mindy frowned seeing the way he tried to block out his emotions letting out a long breath. “Nate.”

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be doing this is front of you,” Nate felt Mindy’s fingers press in against his cheek, making him turn to face her, seeing her blue eyes staring into his. Frowning he reached out to gently push at the tears against her cheek before pushing some of her damp hair out of her face. “I’m balling here when I just came here to be there for you.”

“We need to be there for each other,” she tried to assure Nate seeing the way his green eyes stared out at hers for a moment until she tangled her fingers in against his, seeing him meet her glance again. “We have each other now to lean on, Hunt meant for that.”

“Hunt was meant to live,” he muttered seeing her frown and bite down on her bottom lip before Nate closed his eyes tightly trying to get around the pain he was feeling, but there was no escaping what he felt. “He should have been with you, you two should have had a family and more than anything you belonged together.”

“Faith has a way of showing things Nate,” she stated feeling his fingers pressing in against the engagement ring Hunt had bought her that she had wore on her right hand. “I know it’s hard to believe and it hurts so much, but everything happens for a reason and I have been trying to convince myself the same thing.”

“But why? There are so many questions unanswered,” Nate replied with a firm tone, his green eyes staring out into hers, never leaving her stare. “What did he do wrong Mindy? What did he do to make him deserve this?”

“Nothing, no one deserves this and I agree--it’s not fair,” Mindy turned away from him for a moment leaning back against the couch and seeing him looking over at her as she rested her head back against the couch. “It’s like they stole something that was yours, something you wanted so badly and you’d do anything to have it back.”

“Anything,” Nate agreed seeing her eyebrows tighten together and as she shook her head and Nate reached for her hand gently squeezing it in his, feeling her fingers tighten around his. Resting back against the couch he thought about Hunt, wishing that this could all be a dream. “I’m just so ready to wake up now, that I can’t believe this is real.”

“I know,” she sighed turning her head to look into his green eyes she frowned and took in a deep breath. Seeing the way his red, saddened eyes gazed into hers, she squeezed his hand tighter before shaking her head slowly. “You just want to wake up from the nightmare you’ve been having.”

“I’m just waiting for that moment,” he gulped down closing his eyes waiting for the moment when he would wake up with having Matt jumping on him telling him that everything was going to be okay and he was just having a nightmare. Just waiting proved to him, that his wishes would never come true, his friend was gone and gone for good. “But that nightmare is never going to end, is it?”

“No,” Mindy cleared her throat uneasily seeing the way that Nate shook his head before softly letting go of her hand and leaning forward, resting his elbows against his knees. Moving forward she pressed her hand in over the center of his back, seeing the way he ran his hand in over the back of his neck. “Nate, I’m always going to be here for you and you will be here for me. We’ll be what keeps him going on, the memories, the heart, we can do it together.”

“We can’t bring him back though,” Nate glanced over at her before shaking his head slowly, feeling her fingers giving him the chills before he shook it off quickly and her arm wrapped around his shoulders. “That’s the thing that kills me inside.”

“But if we let him go inside here,” Mindy tried to get him to feel better placing her hand over the left of his chest, seeing his green eyes meet hers. “Then what else do we have in letting him go like that? As long as we have him in our heart, he never dies.”

“It’s hard to believe, but I have to trust you,” he grabbed her hand that covered his chest, holding it in his tightly before shrugging his shoulders and letting out a long breath. “I guess I should trust in you though considering you were the thing he loved the most in his life.”

“Yeah,” Mindy looked away from Nate for a minute before letting out a long breath, biting down on her bottom lip hating the feeling that she was having right now about the thought of Hunt. Standing up she gently pulled at his hand seeing his green eyes staring up at her and she pulled at his hand again when he didn’t movie. “I have somewhere I want to take you.”

“Okay,” Nate finally gave in to what she wanted sitting up slowly and feeling the way she tugged at his arm leading him toward the door. Letting out a small breath he paused in the middle of the room seeing her look back at him with a frown. “Where are we going?”

“I just want to show you something, something I think you will appreciate,” she reached out for her keys grabbing them in her hand firmly before seeing Nate arch an eyebrow at her in response. “Please, just trust me. It will mean a lot to me if you did. I’ll even let you drive if you are worried, but I think you really need to see this.”

“Okay,” Nate pulled his jacket in closer around him seeing Mindy walk out into the hallway and he closed the door behind him, making sure that it locked in the process. “Take me wherever you want, I trust you with everything that I am.”


“No fair you cheated!” Zane shouted in protest tossing his controller down onto the floor before moving in to tackle his nephew. “You beat me the bad way.”

“You’ve been beating me bad since we started this. I had to get back up to speed somehow,” Jason laughed as he hugged Zane up in his arms. As Jason lay back on the floor due to Zane’s push, he was able to lift Zane up in his arms and wave him around in the air. “Time for the airplane Zane.”

“Alright,” Zane cheered as the two interacted with one another. Jason pulled himself up off of the floor moving around the room in circles with Zane before heading towards the hallway. He paused for a moment to turn back to Stacy and Lindsay. “I’ll be right back. It’s bed time.”

“No way!” Zane protested curling his lip in a pout. “I want to stay up with the girls.”

“You’ve had a long day buddy and if your mom sees you’re still up, she’ll kick my butt for not following her rules,” Jason explained with a frown of his own.

“Forget her rules. We make our own, remember?” Zane tossed Jason’s earlier words back at him.

“See I told you that was going to come back to haunt you,” Lindsay couldn’t help but add catching the glare that Jason threw out at her.

“Yeah, yeah I know,” Jason shook his head and rolled his eyes before turning to Zane again, “but if you do this for me this time, then I promise I’ll read you a story. Would you like that?”

“Well, okay I guess so, but next time I’m staying up later,” Zane decided scratching his chin lightly.

“It’s a deal,” Jason promised swinging Zane around in his arms again before disappearing down the hallway.

Stacy leaned over the back of the couch to watch him leave. She craned her neck and arched her body in such a way that she almost fell over the back of the couch until Lindsay pulled her back. Shaking her head, she couldn’t help but grin wildly.

“It should be a sin to make someone that hot,” Stacy noted glancing over the back of the couch once again in the hopes of getting a better look at Jason, “and he’s funny too.”

“He’s okay,” Lindsay shrugged thinking about all of the gushing that Stacy had been doing on Jason since they sat down to watch Zane and Jason play their video game.

“He’s more than okay and if you didn’t have the hots for Daniel, you would totally agree with me,” Stacy reached for the nearly empty bowl of popcorn. She pulled a couple of pieces out and popped them into her mouth before laughing, “Jason is exactly the kind of guy that I could be very, very happy with.”

“Oh please,” Lindsay rolled her eyes at the thought, “He still farts like the rest of them and wears stinky socks that make you want to puke when you walk into the room.”

“I don’t care about his socks. Did you see his butt?” Stacy questioned with an exaggerated sigh, “And his arms, oh man does he look fine.”

“That’s it,” Lindsay reached for a toss pillow on the couch and brought it up over her head, “I’m not listening to another word of this.”

“Yes you are and maybe eventually you’ll stop being in denial,” Stacy teased reaching out for the pillow when the bowl of popcorn spilled between them on Stacy’s lap. “Oh no.”

“What?” Lindsay questioned watching her friend spring up off of the sofa.

“I got caramel on my shirt,” Stacy began to paw at her shirt now that there was an obvious stain near her abdomen. “Jason can’t see me like this.”

“Stacy, it’s fine,” Lindsay began watching her friend wipe at the shirt frantically.

“No, I have to wash it before he gets back. I don’t want him to think that I’m a slob,” Stacy looked around the apartment, “Where’s the bathroom?”

“First door on that side,” Lindsay waved her hand around to guide her, “but I’m telling you that he won’t care. He’s the biggest slob I know.”

“I need to fix this,” Stacy blurted out again before rushing into the bathroom to work on her shirt.

“Pathetic,” Lindsay shook her head and laughed. She looked to the popcorn on the sofa and on the floor and realized she should probably pick it up. She leaned forward collecting the pieces from the couch before moving to kneel on the floor. She grabbed the kernels that were still on the ground when she heard a noise behind her.

“There you are,” she heard Jason’s voice catch her off guard causing her to hit her head on the edge of the coffee table.

“Ouch,” she brought her hand up to her head before looking up at him. “Jason, you scared me.”

“You scared me first. I thought maybe you two left because I was boring you,” Jason moved over to offer her his hand. He watched her accept it before she stood up in front of him cupping the bowl close to her chest with her arm. He reached out for it, “I can take that.”

“Thanks,” she replied bringing her full attention to her now aching head.

“Did you hurt yourself?” he questioned moving in to take a look at her forehead. He reached out to swipe his thumb over the corner of her temple before meeting her blue eyes. “You didn’t hit it hard did you?”

“Not as hard as I might have if I wasn’t in your lucky hat,” she admitted reaching out to pull the hat off of her head and give it back to him.

“No, keep it,” Jason refused to take it. Instead he dropped it back down on her head again, “Maybe it’ll bring you some good luck tonight. I think I’m all out of luck right about now.”

Lindsay watched him walk away into the kitchen and she thought about what she’d heard her parents talking with Don about. Remembering that Jason was at the place where the horrible shooting went down, Lindsay couldn’t help but be worried about him. She followed him into the kitchen and found him over by the sink.

“Want to talk about it?” she questioned breaking through his thoughts.

“What?” he asked turning around to face her with a lost expression on his face.

“About what happened at the convenience store?” she propped further moving in closer to him, “I can’t even begin to imagine how you’re feeling right now.”

“Confused,” he admitted with a nervous sigh, “but I don’t want to get into this right now. I don’t want to bother you with what’s going on inside of my crazy head.”

“Jason, someone almost killed you,” Lindsay pointed out thinking about how he’d been the only one to make it out of the store in one piece, “You’re lucky to be alive.”

“I realize that, but at the same time,” he paused shaking his head with obvious frustration, “I was probably the one in that store that had the least going for him when that happened.”

“That’s not true,” Lindsay frowned hearing the change in his voice as he thought about that night of the shooting.

“The man behind the counter had a family, Hunt was about to have a fiancée and me, well I don’t even have a girlfriend. Hell, I don’t have a job anymore for that matter,” Jason threw his hands up in the air, “I came to town to see Deana because I was broke.”

“Broke?” Lindsay repeated with wide eyes.

“Yeah,” he nodded in confession lowering his voice a bit. He rubbed his palms against the side of his jeans before speaking up again, “My last job ended up not working too well for me. I tried to do decent with it, but my boss and I had a difference of opinion.”

“What does that mean?” Lindsay questioned wearily.

“He didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t about to sell some piece of junk to someone off the car lot, so when I told the potential buyers where they could find something that would last, he wasn’t too happy with me,” he let out an ironic laugh, “I should’ve known the whole used car salesman thing wasn’t for me.”

“Somehow I can’t see you doing that,” she admitted honestly.

“Yeah, well now no one in the state of Texas will see me doing that either since I got a little angry when that jerk fired me like he did,” Jason replied sheepishly.

“How angry?” Lindsay questioned almost afraid to ask.

“I sort of, kind of, might have, well…” Jason paused for a long moment, “I had this friend who works for the county and they were doing road repairs with laying the concrete down and…”

“Oh Jason, please don’t tell me that you did something stupid…” Lindsay began with a worried expression.

“I didn’t do anything, but the guy I knew, well he knew a guy who knew a guy who wasn’t exactly on the up and up with things,” Jason made a small coughing sound, “Let’s just say that my former employer probably won’t be driving his Hummer around anytime soon unless of course he’s going to use it as an extremely large piece of concrete landscape.”

“No you didn’t,” Lindsay gasped in surprise before offering up a laugh, “No wonder you were fired.”

“Hey, he was asking for it and I didn’t do it until after her fired me,” Jason replied with a hint of a smirk, “I don’t do anything to anyone who doesn’t deserve it.”

“Well if that’s the case, then maybe you should think that perhaps God felt that there was a reason why you deserved to make it out of that store alive,” Lindsay suggested turning suddenly serious, “Maybe even though you don’t think there is a reason for you to be here, there really is something more that you’re meant for.”

“Giving Deana a major headache?” he teased with a small laugh.

“Not exactly, but I’m sure in time you’ll figure it out,” Lindsay reached out to pat his shoulder gently, “And with the whole job thing, well my dad is always looking for help at the gym.”

“I can’t ask for handouts. Deana would kill me if she knew what happened,” Jason admitted with a small shudder, “I figured I would just tell her I’m visiting for a little while, then find something here on my own without her realizing that it wasn’t because I needed the job.”

“I’m sure she would understand,” Lindsay began again, “and maybe if you talk to Don, he could help you with…”

“No,” Jason shook his head firmly, “Don’s done more than enough for Deana and I. I couldn’t ask him for anything.”

“You’re like family Jason. You know he would help you,” Lindsay paused before reaching into her pocket and pulling out the money she’d made babysitting. She held it out to him before nodding, “Here take this. It isn’t much, but it should help.”

“Lindsay I can’t take your money. I didn’t tell you about my being broke so that you’d give me that,” Jason shook his head in refusal, “I’ll find a job soon.”

“And when you do you can pay me back,” Lindsay reached for his hand and deposited it in his palm. “Like I said it’s not much but it might help.”

“I can’t take this,” he shook his head in refusal attempting to give her the money she’d given him back.

“Look at it as a loan,” Lindsay stepped back to keep him from handing the money to her, “I’ll keep the hat until you pay me back as collateral. Deal?”

“Well,” Jason paused thinking about the situation. Finally he nodded in agreement, “Okay, but I promise you that it won’t be long.”

“I know it won’t be,” Lindsay replied with a warm smile, “and if you really need help finding a job, you should talk to my dad or let me talk to him.”

“Trust me Lindsay I can cover this one, but for what it’s worth,” he paused moving forward to embrace her tightly, “Thanks for caring about me.”

“How could I not?” Lindsay questioned wrapping her arms around him tightly, “Even if you’re a big dork, you’re someone that I really enjoy having in my life. You’ve grown on me.”

“You’ve grown on me too,” Jason replied pulling back ever so slightly to meet her eyes. “More so in the literal sense. When I first met you, you couldn’t have been more than what like five foot even?”

“Shut up,” she swatted at his chest lightly, “I was way taller than that. You make it sound like I was like Zane’s age.”

“Close enough,” Jason teased before growing suddenly serious, “but look at you now. You’re a beautiful, incredible young woman with so much ahead of her.”

“Stop,” she brought her hand up over her face, “You’re embarrassing me.”

“But it’s true,” Jason continued with a thoughtful expression, “I mean look at you here helping me out. I should be the one trying to do something for you, yet you’re the one who is being my shoulder and lending me a hand along with money.”

“It’s because I know you’re worth it and because when you get a big paying job, you’re so going to have to treat me,” she teased with a wink before offering up a laugh, “Don’t think that I’ll let you forget what’s important in the world around you.”

“With you around, I don’t think that would ever be possible,” Jason admitted reaching out to sweep his fingers against her cheek lightly. His blue eyes met hers again and the corners of his lips turned upward in a smile, “You’re an angel Linds.”

“I’m okay,” she smiled in response feeling a blush carry over her when a sound erupted from behind them.

“What did I miss?” Stacy questioned her eyes wide with a surprised curiosity. She looked between Jason and Lindsay then to Jason once more before turning her attention to Lindsay again, “Well?”

“We were just cleaning up the mess in there,” Lindsay replied clearing her throat. “I think everything is pretty much set in there.”

“Is it?” Stacy questioned glancing over at Jason again, “I’m not interrupting am I?”

“No of course not,” Lindsay waved her hand dismissively, “In fact now that Jason’s here and it’s getting late maybe we should head on out.”

“Seriously?” Jason frowned at the thought, “Zane just went to bed and I thought that maybe I’d put on a movie for all of us. You know something that isn’t G rated.”

“I’m so totally in on that,” Stacy beamed with a bright smile, “We don’t have to leave just yet.”

“Well I just…” Lindsay paused thinking about Jason’s earlier mood, “I guess we can stay for a while. A movie sounds fun.”

“Great, want to help me pick it out?” Jason questioned pointing over to the DVDs that Deana had.

“I will,” Stacy volunteered herself quickly.

“Okay, then you’re going to be riding shotgun with me on this one. We’ll surprise Lindsay,” Jason decided walking out of the room with Stacy right behind him.

“I’ll ride anything with you,” Stacy mouthed under her breath as Lindsay rolled her eyes wondering how it was that people her age could be so immature. As she looked at Jason and Stacy trying to pick out a movie, she just hoped that Jason would find a way to turn things around for himself. If he wasn’t able to find a job soon, Lindsay made a vow that she would step in and help him get something going that would bring his life in a more positive direction even if he was convinced he could do it all on his own. After all there was nothing wrong with giving fate a hand every now and then, she decided moving out into the living room to enjoy the evening with Jason and Stacy for now.


Deana stood at the nurse’s station thinking about the hectic pace of her shift already as it seemed that there was so much happening at the hospital--too much to have a moment to take it all in--well, until now. She leaned over the side of the desk thinking about calling to check on Zane when she noticed a flower in front of her. She stood up taller her gaze traveling over the hand that held the red rose in front of her to the man who smiled down at her.

“Hey beautiful,” he reached out to touch the side of her face gently, “It looks like I arrived at the right time.”

“Truth be told it’s the first time I’ve had a chance to take a breather,” she revealed with a small smile of her own before motioning to the flower once more. “That for me?”

He nodded, “Indeed it is. Of course I didn’t think you would mind these either,” he paused pulling out the rest of the dozen he’d gotten for her. “I thought they might brighten the day for you a bit.”

“Grady they are beautiful,” she noticed that they were in a vase and she couldn’t help but smile, “You shouldn’t have.”

“I wanted to,” he confessed with a thoughtful expression motioning to the room across from where they stood, “Want to take a walk with me?”

“Let me just put these in the lounge and I’ll be right back,” she nodded carrying the vase in her hands and disappearing for a moment before returning. With her brown eyes full of enthusiasm and excitement she reached for his hand and squeezed it gently. “I’m officially on break now.”

“Good, that’s just what I was hoping to hear,” he lead her down the hallway and into the lobby area. He stopped long enough to look over at her and smile, “Tell me something, how does a walk outside sound?”

“Right about now very tempting,” Deana revealed with a small smile, “Was that the answer you were hoping for?”

“Any place with you is good enough for me,” he confessed leading her out into the courtyard and making sure that they were alone before he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her.

She responded to the kiss, feeling the warmth of his lips over hers. Tipping up on her toes, she arched into him, allowing her mouth to linger against his for another second or so before she pulled back and smiled up at him.

“I couldn’t resist,” he revealed with a sheepish grin, “I’ve been thinking about doing that ever since I first saw you behind the counter when I got off of the elevators.”

“I’m surprised you could wait so long,” she teased with a small wink before reaching out to him, “So what kind of trouble have you been getting yourself into today?”

“After you left me, hmm, well let’s see,” he couldn’t help but laugh, “I nearly got myself in some trouble for raking Avery through the coals for sleeping with someone.”

“What?” her eyes widened as she saw another laugh erupt from his lips, “Grady, why would you do that?”

“Well I told you about how she and Russ were separated and I guess I just had this feeling where I needed to go over and see what was happening with them. Russ was so miserable and…” he started to explain seeing her look of heavy disapproval.

“And you felt compelled to go over and lecture Avery when you and I both know full well that isn’t going to help anything considering that you and she,” she curled her lip in a frown before shaking her head at him.

“She doesn’t remember that we and for the record I don’t want her to remember that we,” Grady bit down on his lower lip knowing that wasn’t the direction that he’d wanted to take with Deana when he’d arrived at the hospital, “To make a long story short it was pretty obvious that she’d been engaged in some intimate activity with someone when I showed up at the door and she thought I was the delivery guy. I was giving her a lecture on breaking my brother’s heart and lo and behold there he was standing right behind me wrapped up in a sheet. It was completely mortifying considering what an ass of myself I made.”

“Serves you right,” she swatted at his shoulder before letting out a laugh, “you should know to leave well enough alone Grady. I told you people like Russ and Avery finally get the program back on track sooner or later.”

“Yeah, well what can I say? I was trying to help out my little brother considering what a jerk I was for so very long,” he shrugged his shoulders seeing her step towards him to wrap her arms around him.

“Well even if you were a bit misguided with your verbal assault on Avery, I’m sure Russ appreciated the loyalty,” Deana tipped up on her toes to press her lips to his in a quick kiss, “Just like I appreciate all you do for me.”

“Who me?” he feigned innocence before curling his arm around her waist, “Though you know I’m sure after your shift is up I can find a way to do a lot more for you. Maybe take you home and give you a massage and then…”

“I honestly don’t know how Avery could forget being with you,” she admitted her dark eyes meeting his, “but I have to say that I’m a bit glad that she did considering she has no idea what she’s missing.”

“It’s nothing she’ll be missing considering that it wasn’t hers for the taking in the first place. There’s only one woman that I would like to spend my days and especially my nights with and it’s the one right here with me in my arms,” he squeezed her in closer to him.

“Hmm, if you keep this up, all of that sweet talking is sure to get you somewhere later,” she laughed lightly nibbling on his lower lip before letting out a long sigh, “unless Jason’s still upset and feeling like he was before.”

“I take it he’s still taking things hard over what happened,” Grady pondered the thought of what her brother had just endured.

“I hate leaving him alone considering I know that this just destroyed him. To be in that kind of situation, well it does something for a person. In fact he was watching television earlier and that movie Final Destination was on and he was terrified.”

“I’m not familiar with that one,” he confessed seeing the crease in her brow. “What’s it about?”

“It’s about a group of teens who pretty much were in a situation where in all likelihood they should have died, but they didn’t. Throughout the movie they are running from death because they had cheated death earlier in the film by not dying. It’s a really morbid film, but the moral of the story, if you can even call it that is that you can’t cheat death when it gets down to it. Jason is feeling like those teens in that movie where he should’ve been taken in that shooting and he’s terrified. I think he’s just waiting for the other shoe to drop and I’m really concerned about him,” she revealed with a heavy sigh stepping back and out of his arms. She ran her fingers through her blonde hair and shook her head, “Grady, I’ve never seen him like this and I’m really worried about him.”

“I can check in on him if you would like,” Grady suggested feeling a chill sweep over them. “If you really want me to…”

“I couldn’t ask you to do that Grady. I’m sure you have things to do and…” Deana replied with a small frown thinking about the situation her brother was in.

“You didn’t ask. I wanted to. I mean hey the more time I get to spend with him the better,” Grady offered up with a teasing wink, “I think he and I have reached the point that he might not hate me anymore.”

“He doesn’t hate you,” she informed him with a thoughtful expression, “He just didn’t expect to meet you while you and I were in bed with one another. That kind of threw him for a loop considering.”

“Loop or not, I don’t want him to get the wrong idea about where my intentions are with you,” Grady explained sliding his fingers into her soft, blonde hair. “I’m not like all those other guys out there who are looking to take advantage of someone as wonderful as you.”

“Believe me if you were, I would’ve put you in your place long ago,” she laughed lightly shaking her head at the thought of their initial meeting, “Although you were pretty full of yourself that night I met you.”

“Yeah well at least you were smart enough to realize I was better than what you perceived me to be,” Grady replied with a warmth in his tone.

“I guess I just have a thing for charity cases,” Deana teased leaning into his arms again and just enjoying a moment of peace and quiet before she headed back into the hectic place work was turning out to be tonight.


“This is it,” Sarah pulled up to a house that she had been trying to find for the last couple of minutes, forgetting where the house was at that point in time. Putting the car in the park she remembered someone telling her that Kyle had moved into Russ and Avery’s old place and bought it from them. “Please say you are home.”

Looking to the driveway she saw that his truck was in the driveway, but that didn’t exactly mean that he was home. She really had no idea what she was going to be doing at Kyle’s house considering there was probably nothing she could really say to him that he would care about.

“Damn, what could I say to make him listen?” she hit the steering wheel letting out a small hiss running her fingers through her hair slowly before pressing her hand in over her stomach looking toward the house. “I wish so bad that you were the father Kyle, I know you wanted it to be yours too, so much couldn’t have changed.”

Closing her eyes she could remember what it was actually like to be with Kyle when it was just the two of them, when he really did have feelings for her and loved her. Letting out a small hiss she hit her hands on the wheel again realizing why she got with Kyle in the first place.

“I was always his second choice, it was because Heather was in lust with Brant that he picked me. He thought she didn’t care about him anymore,” Sarah threw her keys on the other seat before shaking her head over and over again. “Damn my sister, for having to come back into his life like this. If she wasn’t here, I would have been married to him and had him all to myself.”

Seeing a light flash on, Sarah straightened up in her seat making her realize that Kyle had to be home right now. She hadn’t thought that he would actually be home and she just thought that she would be sitting in front of the house, damning herself for her mistakes--but he was actually home.

“I can talk to him,” Sarah went to grab the handle to the door before shaking her head slowly and resting her head back against the seat. “There is no way that I can talk to him, I have been so stupid. There is no way he is going to listen.”

Against her own warnings she finally got out of the car and started to walk up the driveway, going to go knock on the door before thinking twice and walking over toward the window. Wiping at the window softly she peaked inside to try and see some sign of Kyle, but only saw the light that was filling the room leaving her seeing nothing. When she was about to walk to the door again she saw a glimpse of Kyle coming out of the kitchen in his boxers with a bag of popcorn. Her heart quickened in her chest as she watched him sit down on the couch and reach out to grab the remote to turn the television on. When she was about ready to go to the door and try to courage up to say something, she felt an anger growing inside of her to see Heather walking out of the kitchen with one of Kyle’s shirts on. She saw her sister set two drinks down on the coffee table and saw Kyle’s small smirk before patting the couch next to him.

“She’s sleeping over with him,” Sarah let out a small hiss seeing the way that Kyle fed Heather popcorn with a smug smile before moving forward and kissing her heatedly. Letting out a small hiss she went to slam her hands against the window before slipping on the wet mud and falling flat on her back. “This is ridiculous.”

A squeal escaped her lips as she tried getting up in the mud letting out a long groan, trying to shake some of the mud off of her arms and went to wipe her face getting some in her mouth. Letting out a disgusted squeal she spit some out trying to get back to her feet, grabbing a hold of the tree to brace herself up.

“This is ridiculous,” Sarah finally stood up straight, placing her hand against the window, seeing Heather in over Kyle and his fingers were plucking open her shirt as Sarah turned away from the window feeling her chest rising and falling with anger. “I swear, I will get back what I want if it’s the last thing I do.”


“How is this?” Seth questioned curling his arm around Blake’s waist as the two stood in the center of the dance floor, arms wrapped around each other while the slow, melodic beats of a love song filled the air between them. The club they had gone to had shifted from the fast and frantic pace that had been happening when they’d first arrived and now it was a much quieter, more romantic atmosphere as Seth tried to perk Blake up after having to deal with Sarah.

“Much better,” she sighed leaning into his embrace, a smile touching over her lips. She squeezed her arms around his shoulders before leaning further into him. “I know that I shouldn’t get all worked up like I did with Sarah, but I couldn’t help myself. I mean I just don’t get why she would risk everything like that simply because she is upset with the way things turned out.”

“People deal with their own pain in different ways,” Seth curled his finger underneath her chin to urge her to meet his gaze, “We can only do what we think is right and hope that they do the same, but you can’t always reach everyone.”

“I understand that, but still,” Blake shook her head before letting out a long sigh, “I just don’t understand how the whole world just woke up one morning and decided it was a good time to go to hell so to speak. I mean things used to be normal around here. People actually treated others with respect and…”

“And you just didn’t see the darker side of human nature, but it’s always been there Blake,” Seth replied his dark eyes meeting hers, “It’s just that this town had a way of covering up the secrets and lies so that no one had to be bothered by them. No one had to have their day ruined because of the fact that what was happening didn’t shake up their world.”

“You mean like what happened with Jade,” she half questioned watching him cringe at the mention of his sister’s less than pleasant past.

“My sister endured a lot of grief and it was unfair that her life was stolen from her by a jealous person,” Seth added tightly as the music came to an end. “You know, I don’t really want to talk about this. How about we go order something to eat now?”

“Sure, but…” Blake felt him reach for her hand and guide her off of the dance floor. They returned to the table they’d been at earlier with one another and took a seat in silence.

Blake’s eyes searched his for a long moment hating the uncomfortable silence that existed between them. She reached for his hand offering up a light squeeze before seeing his dark gaze drift upward to hers once again. She felt him squeeze her hand in response before he let out a small sigh.

“Blake, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to get all gloomy, but…” he offered up in apology.

“I hit a sore spot,” she nodded in complete understanding, “and I don’t know what I was thinking in bringing all of that up again.”

“You were just vocalizing what you thought,” he added with a thoughtful expression, “and I can’t blame you for that. Hell, I’ve done it myself a million times over. I just can’t seem to get over the fact that I failed her in so many ways. If Jade was still alive I would do things so differently.”

“Seth, you were a child yourself,” Blake reminded him hating to see him racked with guilt over the direction his sister’s life had taken, “You had no idea what would happen to her when your father betrayed her trust.”

“Even so, my sister deserved better and now,” Seth fought the emotion that built in the back of his throat, “other than Kevin, I don’t have anyone else in this world as a reminder of what my family once was.”

“But you have me,” she squeezed his hand again, “and that should serve as a reminder of what the future has in store for us. I know that Jade is looking down on us from where she’s at and she’s wanting us to find happiness and keep pushing on.”

“I realize that, but damn it I failed her time after time,” Seth replied his voice raw with clear emotion, “Blake, you have no idea how many times I could’ve stopped what happened to her, but I did nothing. I stood back and let her world fall apart.”

“Seth, you didn’t blow that building up. Susan did it and…” she began seeing how upset he was getting.

“I knew from the start that her obsession with Grady would lead her down a road that would mean nothing but trouble. No offense to Grady, but the man was completely wrong for her. I know she loved him, but he was far too old for her and he couldn’t give her what she wanted. Their relationship was tortured at best and,” Seth released her hand and brought his fingers through his own dark hair, “She kept searching for that father figure in her life to try to erase the pain that our own father had caused her. Time and time again she wound up getting with the wrong guy to avoid what had tore her to pieces--to forget about the night those men hurt her. You have no idea what it was she went through after the rape. She had so many things to go through and…”

“Seth, you can’t blame yourself for that,” Blake started again sensing something was still troubling him about the loss of his sister.

“I never told you she was pregnant, did I?” Seth questioned reaching for the glass he’d been drinking out of earlier. He raised it to his lips and took another sip. “I can’t remember if I had said anything or not, but seeing Sarah tonight it got me thinking about Jade--and about what she went through when she was pregnant.”

“Seth I,” Blake’s eyes widened at his admission.

“She was so young and I tried to help her--tried to work through things with her,” Seth shook his head before offering up a pained expression, “She wanted to have the baby even knowing what kind of misery had brought her child into this world. We left town for a while, went away so that she could clear her head, but she was firm in her belief that she wanted to have that child. She was far too young, but still she felt like regardless of what had happened to her, that baby was still a part of her and she fought like hell to bring the baby into the world.”

“Poor Jade,” Blake frowned thinking about all Seth had told her, “Here Sarah caused her own hell and Jade fought to have the baby that would always remind her of that night of terror.”

“She did all that she could, but it wasn’t enough,” Seth revealed with a heavy sigh, “She was almost to term when she lost her son. It devastated her and even now…I never should’ve believed her when she told me she was okay. She came back to town and tried to pretend it never happened. She never told her friends about what had happened to her. She kept it all inside and then she started dating this jerk that got her into trouble…”

“Seth,” Blake listened as he trailed off, his dark eyes narrowing out across the room to some place in the darkness.

“When she hooked up with JT, it was the first sign that she was in trouble, but I didn’t know until later just what kind of trouble she was getting herself into,” Seth paused something catching the corner of his eye. He sat up straighter, his dark eyes widening as if he’d seen some kind of ghost.

“Seth, what it is,” Blake questioned reaching out to touch his hand once again.

“That girl…she looks so much like…” Seth blinked his eyes a couple of times before he noticed the striking gold charm bracelet that she wore on her wrist. He strained to get a better view of the slender, petite, dark haired woman, but it didn’t hit him completely until he saw the man whose arms she was in. “Son of a…”

“Seth, what it is?” Blake watched him get up from his chair and start to move over towards the other area of the club.

“It’s,” Seth paused noticing the familiarity of the stance, the way that she seemed so much like… He blinked again. “It can’t be.”

“Seth, what’s wrong?” Blake asked again stepping in behind him feeling him stiffen against her touch.

“It is,” Seth felt his throat grow dry as his heart hammered in his chest, “It has to be.”

“Has to be what?” Blake felt him slip out of her reach.

“It’s Jade,” he blurted out moving across the room to seek out the woman that had caught his attention from the moment he’d started telling Blake about his sister and what it had been like losing her. Now as his eyes fixed on the man she was with, he was certain he wasn’t imagining it. It had to be Jade!


“I think I should get back in there before someone realizes that I’m gone,” Deana decided tipping her head up to see Grady watching her closely. “What?”

“Nothing,” he shrugged his shoulders simply, a smirk touching over the corners of his lips.

“Don’t tell me what,” she swatted at his chest lightly, “Something was on your mind. I could see it in your eyes, so spill it.”

“I was just thinking about how adorable you look right now,” he confessed squeezing her in his arms once again.

“Adorable?” she repeated wrinkling her nose at him, “In this nurse’s uniform?”

“That’s right,” he nodded in confession, “I think it’s great that I have my own private nurse in my arms like this. It gets me thinking about the bed rest I’m going to need later.”

“I’m sure it does,” she laughed lightly shaking her head at him, “but if I don’t get back in there soon, I’m going to find myself on the receiving end of big trouble if anyone discovers that I left.”

“You mean anyone like Zack?” Grady questioned as they started to head back into the hospital. “He isn’t still bothering you, is he?”

“I’m trying to stay off of his radar, which is easier said than done, but so far it’s been better than it was,” she admitted as they stepped into the hallway leading back to the area she was working in. “Hopefully he’ll grow tired of trying to boss the world around and he’ll just move on to bigger and better things outside of the hospital.”

“You know if he’s still bothering you, I can take care of it,” Grady offered up seeing in something behind her dark eyes.

“Grady, while I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, I’m sure I can handle this one on my own,” she spun around to face him placing her hand on his chest gently, “Men like Zack Vaughn don’t frighten me because I have their number and I’m not afraid to call them on it. Sure, he thinks he can bully me around, but I’m not going to let him make me feel like less of a person simply because he has an overwhelming ego. He’s the one with the problem, not me.”

“Yeah well I know how he was trying to make problems before,” he frowned again remembering the harassment she’d endured.

“I can hold my own,” she smiled up at him confidently, “Trust me on this one.”

“I do trust you, but with a guy like him, let’s just say I’m not that open to suggesting. I don’t like the guy and I think he’s got some major issues happening,” Grady continued in a rant, “the fact that he’s nasty with you makes me very unhappy.”

“I just ignore him. I’ve found I can get through the day much better that way. Besides, my momma told me a long time ago not to let some pinhead get me down. If I let Zack think he’s gotten to me, he wins and we don’t want that,” she shrugged her shoulders simply before turning towards the hall they’d left earlier, “Besides, I know I do a good job and I’m here for the patients, not for the arrogant doctors who think they know it all.”

“Even so be careful. If he bothers you,” he reached out for her hand again.

“You’ll be the first one I call,” she spun around quickly to give him a kiss before stepping back. “Now I have some work to do, but I’ll call you when I get out of here.”

“I’ll be waiting,” he waved watching her move back, “and I’ll try to stop over and check on Jason too and see how he’s holding up. If he’s looking like he needs a friend, I’ll hang around your place for a little while.”

“Thanks, I really appreciate it,” she waved one last time before going back to work.

As she walked away Grady thought about how far his relationship had come with Deana. While he hadn’t been looking for love when they’d first crossed paths, there was certainly something special about her and he wasn’t about to let what they had slip away. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted Zack talking to one of the nurses and Grady contemplated going over to issue Zack another warning, but remembering what Deana had asked of him, Grady decided to let it go for now in the hopes that maybe just maybe Zack would wizen up and leave Deana alone. If he didn’t, well then Grady would make damn sure to pay Dr. Vaughn another visit and this time it would be far less civil than their last encounter. For now however he was off to go check in on Jason in the hopes that Deana’s brother was coping with his grief in a better way than he had been earlier. If not, Grady was sure he could find a way to help Jason out one way or the other.


“So where are you taking me?” Nate questioned with a small laugh feeling Mindy holding onto his hand tightly, leading him up the side of some hill. Finally reaching the top Nate let out a small gasp, seeing the way that the hill overlooked a body of water. “Wow, this is beautiful.”

“It gets even better,” Mindy nudged him forward seeing him stumble trying to stay back as he moved away from the side and she let out a small laugh. “To get on the sand is where we are headed.”

“How am I supposed to do that?” Nate muttered with a hesitant laugh before kicking at a rock and seeing it fall over the steep hill that would have a hard fall if he jumped down from it. “That would seriously kill me right about now.”

“That’s why I think we should take the stairs over there,” she pointed to the area she nudged him towards seeing the way he nodded slowly before letting out a small laugh and followed her down the stairs slowly. “I wasn’t going to push you over if that’s what you thought.”

“You seem too innocent to do something like that,” Nate chuckled looking out at the water as they finally got to the sand and walked half way down the beach before sitting down in the sand. “This is beautiful.”

“This was Hunt’s favorite place,” Mindy informed Nate seeing the way his eyes glanced over at her past the moonlight and she took in a deep breath seeing the stars glistening in his eyes. “He told one time and took me here. I figured I would take you here because he told me that this was the place that always helped him. Whenever he had something on his mind, whenever he needed help to find out what to do with his life he came here. I didn’t see what so special about it, but now I realize.”

“He always loved the beautiful things,” he nodded looking out at the water shaking his legs a bit before letting out a small laugh. Taking off his shoes he pulled off his socks and took his shoe, dumping it upside down letting the sand fall out onto the ground. “He was probably smart enough to wear sandals when he came though.”

“That might have been a good idea,” Mindy chuckled seeing how Nate tried to change the topic a couple of times before taking in a deep breath. “I think this is the place that needs to be remembered from here on out.”

“Yeah, come here,” Nate nodded slowly standing up slowly and reaching out to help her stand up seeing her slide off her sandals before following him along the beach to a large rock that went a bit into the water. Watching Nate roll up his pant legs, a small smile spread in over her features as she did the same, following him into the water and up on the rock before sitting down. “I don’t know if he ever told you, but when Hunt was little--you know like seven years old, he was afraid of the water.”

“Really? He never told me that,” Mindy half laughed seeing the way Nate smirked before resting his arms against his knees and looking down at the water. “I would have never imagined something like that. He always loved to swim.”

“Oh, he was a phenomenal swimmer, probably the best I’ve ever seen,” Nate agreed before taking in a deep breath and pushing back his blonde hair as he thought about his lifetime. “It took me when we were younger, to push him off the deck to get him actually in the water. The first time he was so scared that I had to reach inside the water and pull him out, but after that he was fine. He could get in the water and soon enough he was the one saving me. I fell off a boat one time and hit my head, Hunt saved my life and pulled me out of that water. Now I just keep thinking to myself, if I would have been there, it was my turn. My turn to take the hit for him, I would do anything to have my best friend back.”

“He knows you loved him Nate,” Mindy pointed out seeing the way that Nate looked out toward the water before taking in a deep breath. She watched him rest back against his hands and look at the night sky and let out a long breath and she looked up too. “You know he is up there, watching us right now. Knowing that we loved him, knowing we cared.”

“I sure hope so,” Nate felt an ache in his chest before letting out a long breath glancing over at Mindy quick enough to see her shivering as she looked out at the water. Standing up on the large rock, he slowly pulled off his jacket frowning. “You’re freezing, stand up. Believe me, Matt taught me my manners and if I didn’t do this then I‘m surely going to get punished later.”

“Nate, then you will get cold,” she pointed out with a small laugh seeing him shrug his shoulders before motioning her to stand up again and he held the jacket up for her. Slipping her arms into his jacket, she nodded slowly giving him a small smile before sitting back down still feeling a bit chilly. “Thank you.”

“You’re still cold,” he frowned sitting down on the rock behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist softly to pull her in closer to him, feeling her head rest back against his shoulder. “Let’s see if we can warm you up, it’s always colder by the water.”

“It’s beautiful out here, but being so chilly is the only problem,” Mindy smirked, squeezing his fingers in hers before closing her eyes and thinking about Hunt. “I can see why the two of you were best friends, you both are simply amazing. I don’t know how somebody can’t love you.”

“Well, I’m okay. Hunt was really the saint, but some people just didn’t see us for the good that we were,” Nate informed her with a small sigh seeing her look up at him for a minute, her blue eyes searching his through the dim light as he cleared his throat uneasily. “Maybe we should get you back home, I told Matt that I would be home at a specific time. I think he’s making a cake or something like that.”

“He really does love you doesn’t he?” Mindy asked with a small smile seeing Nate stand up slowly and stretch out his back muscles before nodding proudly. “That really is cute, it’s nice to see two people have such a good relationship together.”

“Well, he’s my best friend now. Only two people in this world understood me and that was Matt and Hunt. Now Matt is all I have,” Nate informed her slowly getting down from the rock and carefully helping Mindy down from the rock. “I know it sounds wrong, but…,”

“Nate,” Mindy gasped seeing Nate’s foot slip against the wet sand and he fell face forward into the water sinking beneath the water’s surface as she started pushing at the water to try and find him in the night waters. “Nate, can you hear me?”

Letting out a small gasp she felt her foot slip against the sand and she fell butt first in the water, letting out a small gasp as she hit the shallow part feeling the sand against her pants. Seeing Nate’s head pop up above the water she let out a small laugh seeing him slowly swimming in closer to her.

“Are you okay?” Nate moved in beside her in the water, sitting back against the ground, only have his chest up out of the water and seeing that she was shoulder up out of the water. Reaching out to push her hair out of her eyes, he frowned letting out a small laugh. “You didn’t get hurt did you?”

“Well, other than the fact I think my butt is stuck firmly in the sand,” she let out a small groan seeing him smile and try to stand up but fell right back into the water, his head sinking below the water again before he quickly came back up. “I think we’re stuck.”

“We can get out of this,” Nate tried to assure here trying to move his feet but fell face forward into the water before moving back up quickly again. Pushing back his wet hair he shook his head slowly before grabbing a hold of her hand. “If we can work together, we can get out of this thing. Just dig at the sand with your hands and wrap your arm around mine.”

“Okay,” Mindy chuckled wrapping her arm around his and feeling him pushing away at the sand that was surrounding her as she worked at the other side until she was free and quickly ran out of the water, seeing him looking out at her with his green eyes. “Give me your hand.”

“Okay,” he nodded reaching his hands out to hers feeling her give him a firm tug before he fell forward into the sand along the shore onto his back, feeling her fall in against his chest and they both let out a loud laugh. “I swear I’ve never been stuck in sand before, especially beach water sand. This was so him playing with me. Thanks Hunt.”

“Maybe he did it to get a laugh up there,” Mindy laughed placing her hand in over Nate’s chest, looking up at the stars feeling his hand move in against the center of her back as she felt a chill rise in over her spine. “Now that we’re out of the water, I finally realize how cold that actually was.”

“Isn’t that the truth?” he smirked slowly standing up and reaching for her hand to quickly lead her back up the steps before opening up the back of his car, pulling out a few blankets seeing the way that Mindy glanced him over. “I’m ready for everything, my trunk is what keeps me going.”

“I see that,” she smiled seeing him hold out the blanket and wrapped her up in it carefully, rubbing at her shoulders before wrapping a blanket around himself getting in the car when she did. When she turned to him, seeing him turning on the heat of the car. “Thank you for everything Nate, this really does mean a lot to me right now. I really hope you know that.”

“Well we both needed a picker upper,” Nate half smiled pulling the blanket around him tighter, still wishing that it could be the two of them plus Hunt hanging out, but he knew that would never happen again. “So I’ll always be a shoulder for you considering you were the one for him and I know he would hope that I took care of you and I plan on it. With all that I am.”


“Oh man, run,” Jason yelled at the television as he heard Stacy scream and Jason looked down at Lindsay who had fallen asleep against him earlier. He had wrapped his arm around her earlier to keep her warm as they watched the movie and he lowered his voice as he spoke up again. “Don’t look back just run.”

“They aren’t going to make it,” Stacy blurted out seeing one of the people trip and the two let out a sound of disgust as the guy got slaughtered in such a way that made both of their stomachs turn. “I think I could have done without seeing that.”

“Yeah, well you picked this movie,” Jason pointed out with a small chuckle watching the television with intense interest, watching as the killer stood up from the ground standing in the middle of the road looking for the woman that had been with the man that got killed. Seeing a car slam into the guy Jason let out a small laugh before looking over at Stacy seeing her eyes widen. “I think that means the good guys won.”

“The good guys never win in a horror movie,” Stacy added seeing his blue eyes glance at her for a moment as the girl started to drive in the movie and it soon turned to morning. “If something good was about to happen, they would have ended the movie on her leaving, not her walking into a gas station.”

“I don’t think that,” he went to finish his sentence seeing the way that when the girl got back in the car and started to drive that the killer moved up from the back seat with a weapon in his hand, making him let out a small gasp. Seeing the car swerve off the road and come to a stop he shook his head slowly, seeing the credits come up making him let out a small chuckle. “That was a horrible movie.”

“I don’t know, I kind of liked it. There is something to be said about a movie that has twists and turns like that,” Stacy whispered moving in closer to Jason, seeing the way his eyebrow arched up in response. “I was sure that after that one couple made love that the both of them would last.”

“Really?” Jason questioned with a small pout before itching his chin slowly letting out a small sigh before shaking his head slowly thinking about the horror movie rules. “It’s always the whore that dies first, the girl that always tries to get something going with the man in the story. It’s always the good girl that lives.”

“Really?” Stacy’s nose wrinkled in response seeing Jason push his hand through his hair lazily and nod making her scoot back to where she was to think about it. Hearing a sound catch her attention she jumped in her seat seeing Jason’s blue eyes eyeing her over carefully. “What was that?”

“That would be the timer going off for when you two were supposed to leave,” Jason informed her with a small smile looking down at Lindsay who snuggled closer into his chest and he pressed his right hand against her hair softly. “Hey, little one. It’s time to get up.”

“I don’t think she wants to get up,” she saw Jason’s thumb press in against her cheek trying to get her to wake up and Stacy pouted seeing Jason laugh at Lindsay in response. “But of course, why would she want to wake up?”

“Hey, pretty girl,” Jason tried to nudge Lindsay a bit seeing her move for a second, but snuggled in closer to him before resting her head more against him and Jason frowned looking over at Stacy. “I’d hate to wake her up right now, maybe I can call her father and let her lie in my bed tonight and I’ll take the couch.”

“No, you don’t have to do that, I can wake her up,” Stacy felt an urge of jealousy shooting in through her body as she watched Jason push back her blonde hair gently and it made her even more angry. Clearing her throat uneasily she stood up from the couch seeing Jason gently nudging her softly. “Lindsay!”

“Yeah?” Lindsay’s head slowly lifted up as she let out a small yawn, her tired over eyes showing Jason that he should have just picked her up and let her sleep in his bedroom and he would have camped out here. Noticing that she was sleeping on Jason, with his arm around her she felt a bit hot in the cheeks sitting up quickly. “I’m so sorry, I must have fallen asleep. I didn’t mean to.”

“Hey kiddo, you only drooled on me a little, but I‘ll just make you get me a new shirt later,” Jason teased seeing the way her blue eyes widened and she couldn’t tell he was teasing with her considering how tired she was. “I’m just playing with you kiddo, you know you have total drooling rights all over me. You’re a great kid, a tired one, but it’s all good. Here, I’ll help you up, I don’t want Rob to get mad at you.”

“It’ll be okay, I think,” Lindsay yawned seeing Jason chuckle and shrug his shoulders before moving forward and embracing her tightly seeing Stacy’s light eyes staring out into his around the darkness. “Thanks for the night Jason, it was fun seeing you again. I’m glad you’re back.”

“I’m glad I had the time to catch up with you little one,” Jason smirked pulling the money out that she had given him, slowly pushing it back into her pocket without her knowing seeing the way that Stacy saw him and he hushed her. “I hope to hang out with you sometime soon kiddo, I had fun. Hey though, you can’t forget the hat, that fell off when you fell asleep.”

“Okay, no problem,” Lindsay pulled the money out surprising Stacy that she actually knew it was there and she slowly put it in Jason’s back pocket without him noticing, only to feel him turn around and place the hat firmly over her head. “I’ll take good care of it.”

“I know you will,” Jason smiled shrugging his shoulders before leading them toward the door opening it up for them, seeing Stacy smile up at him as she left and he just moved forward again to hug Lindsay placing a small kiss against her forehead. “Thanks for everything Linds, you are amazing and you should know that. I’m so glad that I have you in my life, it shows me there are some decent people in this world.”

“Just like you,” Lindsay pressed her hand in against Jason’s chest, stepping back a minute to press a small kiss against his cheek and a smile spread out over his features when he shook his head slowly. “I’ll see you later, but take it easy.”

“I promise,” Jason winked seeing her walk down the stairs with Stacy toward the car and he went to turn around before feeling up his back pockets, feeling the money that she had given him back in his pocket. Frowning, he pulled it out ready to chase back after her to give it back, but watched as the car pulled away and she waved as they passed. “You sure are a stinker. Thank you.”

Seeing her smile before waving out the window, he waved back before making sure they got out okay and walked back into the room closing it behind him. Hearing a small rustling noise he pushed the money back into his pocket before seeing Zane appear out of the corner of his eyes.

“Zane, you’re supposed to be sleeping,” Jason frowned seeing Zane holding his teddy bear in his arms and shook his head slowly. Moving forward Jason picked Zane up in his arms, holding him in his arms tightly and pressing a small kiss against Zane’s forehead. “You can’t sleep, can you kiddo?”

“No I can’t uncle Jay,” Zane muttered with a small yawn seeing Jason frown and hold him in close, rubbing his hand against the small boy’s head and hearing him let out another yawn. “Will you please do that rubber ball thing with me? Please, then maybe I will go to sleep.”

“I don’t have a ball little man,” Jason informed him with a small sigh feeling Zane wiggling out of his arms to get Jason to set him back on the floor. Grabbing a firm hold of his hand, Zane led Jason back into his bedroom and Jason watched as Zane threw a few things around before grabbing a basketball sized rubbed ball from his floor. “Well, since you do have one, I guess I should.”

“Oh please do it,” Zane begged with a laugh handing Jason over the ball before walking back to his bed and getting on top of it and watching his uncle with pure interest. “Please do it uncle Jay.”

“Well, I don’t know if,” Jason started to move his right hand with the ball in it, pretending as if it got stuck to his hand and his eyebrows tightened together as he kept shaking his hand over and over again to get it off. “What did you put on the ball Zane?”

Hearing Zane let out a long laugh Jason grabbed the ball with his other hand, his eyes getting wide as he acted like the ball was stuck on both of his hands. Pulling at it with both of his hands, Jason threw his body all around the room, his face turning red with trying to get it to look real hearing Zane burst out with laughter.

“Zane it won’t get off me, it’s stuck,” Jason blurted out pressing it against his stomach letting out a long breath before starting to tug on it again and again hearing Zane howl out with laughter. “It’s stuck to my stomach, this can’t be happening.”

Tensing his eyebrows together he lifted up his right foot pressing his foot up against the ball, trying to push it away from his body, letting out a few angered noises before falling to the ground. Seeing Zane crawl to the edge of the bed to look down at him Jason rolled around the floor acting like it was stuck to him completely.

“Zane, you’re so strong, help me out kiddo,” Jason begged seeing Zane pull at the ball and drop it to the ground and Jason let out a long breath before reaching out to pick up the ball with his right hand, getting slowly to his knees. Rubbing at his head with the back of his hand he let out a long sigh before shaking his head slowly. “I thought that thing would stick on me forever.”

Pretending to try and move his hand, he acted like the ball got stuck to his head and his face turned red with acting for his nephew as he twisted all over the room. Getting a new idea Jason ran straight into the wall before falling down against the ground as the ball finally fell back to the ground and he heard Zane laugh out again.

“Wake up uncle Jay,” Zane jumped on Jason hearing him groan out and let out a small laugh as his blue eyes opened to stare out at his little nephew. “The ball won’t hurt you anymore, I’m here to save you.”

“Now that’s it’s not here, you will save me,” Jason frowned hearing the way that Zane’s little laugh filled the room and he laughed himself before pressing a small kiss against his head. “After all this excitement, I think it’s time for bed little guy.”

“Can we do I can fly first uncle Jay? I love it when you do that,” Zane chuckled seeing Jason nod slowly and stand up with him in his arms before raising him up above his head carefully. “Sing it uncle Jay, sing it.”

“I can fly, I can fly like a bird in the sky,” Jason smiled hearing Zane laugh out as he held out his arms and Jason moved him up and down like he was flying. “I can sing, I can sing, I can do anything. I can fly into my bed, get a kiss upon my head,” he carefully set Zane back into his bed, covering him up and pressing a small kiss up against the little boy’s forehead before running his fingers through his hair slowly. “I can fly, I can fly, I can fly.”

“Thank you,” Zane smiled widely seeing Jason go to get up when he yawned and Zane called out his name again seeing the way that Jason turned around to look out at him. “Where did you learn that uncle Jay?”

“My mommy used to do that with me and Deana when we were younger,” Jason informed Zane sitting on the edge of his bed seeing the little boy’s dark eyes staring into his. “It was our favorite when we were little just like it is yours.”

“She must have been pretty special,” Zane yawned seeing Jason look down toward the ground before nodding slowly and looking back up to smile at him. “Just like you and mommy are to me, you too are the most specialist people in the whole wide world.”

“Thank you little guy,” Jason smiled getting up and gently running his hand in over Zane’s forehead before pressing another small kiss against it hearing Zane laugh again. “Just do your uncle Jay a favor and try to sleep. I will be out there if you need me, okay?”

Seeing Zane nod he walked back toward the door and turned on Zane’s nightlight before turning off his lights and walking back into the hallway looking into the room as he watched Zane fall back asleep. Resting his arm against the doorframe, he stared out at his nephew, glad to actually be spending time with him.

“I was wrong, I’m here to be there for my sister and that little man right there, that is what I’m meant here to do,” Jason muttered to himself thinking about the grocery store incident with Hunt and he still wished there was something he could have done to save Hunt no matter what it was, but he was glad he still had his life and his family. Closing his eyes, he raised his head up and let out a long breath before opening his eyes back up. “Thank you.”

Hearing a sudden sound erupting through his ears he quickly closed Zane’s bedroom door not wanting to wake him up once he realized that it was his cell phone ringing in the kitchen. Quickly moving over toward the kitchen he answered his phone quickly with a hello checking down the hallway to see if Zane was still asleep.

“Hey Jason,” Mindy’s voice erupted through his ears as Jason’s blue eyes widened and he ran his fingers through his short hair casually before walking back into the living room to sit on the couch. “I know it’s kind of late, but you gave me your number earlier and was hoping, well--I was wondering if you would want to hang out again tomorrow. I want to see you and talk to you, I don’t know why, but I just want to.”

“Well, I’d love to come see you tomorrow,” Jason nodded quickly clearing his throat and looking over at the clock before shrugging his shoulders casually. “Would you like to have breakfast or something? We can do something like that if you would like.”

“That would be great, you can come over here in the morning and we’ll come up with something,” Mindy informed him with a deep sigh sitting down on her couch and reaching for the remote. “Well, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Bye,” Jason sighed hanging up the phone with Mindy before resting back against the couch realizing that he felt bad for her and Hunt and wished there was some way that he could have saved Hunt, but no matter what--he was still happy that he had his life. Reaching for the pillow next to him and holding it in closer to his body before shaking his head slowly. Realizing that Lindsay was right, God must have wanted him for a reason and he was happy that he did choose him to live. “Thank you so much.”


Cameron walked through the hospital corridor feeling his anger mounting as he thought about what was happening with Angela. This was all Brant’s fault and had that idiot not shown up to cause a stir, then Angela would be fine right now. Cameron wouldn’t be worried out of his mind about her and about what could happen if he would’ve only left things alone.

“You’ll pay for this Ashford,” Cameron vowed clenching his fists at his sides a newfound rage carrying over him.

“You know you should really watch what you say to yourself in a public place because if the wrong person heard it they may construe it as a threat,” a voice caught him off guard as he spun around to see Sarah standing behind him.

Frowning he spoke up, “What are you doing here?”

“I saw something on the news about your sister and thought that maybe you could use a friend,” she stepped forward her dark eyes fixed on his.

“A friend,” he arched a curious brow giving her a long look, “Is that what you really believe you and I are? Friends?”

“Probably not, but since half this town hates me and all that plus the other half hates you, I thought maybe you could use someone to talk to,” she continued to explain making another stride towards him, “I’m sorry to hear about your sister Cameron.”

“Are you really?” he mouthed with a doubtful expression giving her a once over.

“Truthfully yes,” she nodded in response, “considering it’s horrible when someone you love is hurting and you can’t do a damn thing to help them.”

“This is all Brant’s fault,” Cameron mouthed sourly thinking about his adversary, “If he would have just backed off like I warned him to…”

“Brant Ashford never backs off when he stakes his claim on something,” she noted giving him a quick once over, “Then again neither do you. In that respect you both are two sides of the same coin.”

“Far from it,” Cameron’s eyes narrowed over at her, “Brant Ashford is out to destroy and I’m merely trying to salvage what’s left of my family after what their family has done to mine.”

“Even so maybe right now you should focus less on Brant and more on your sister. She is after all what’s important, isn’t she?” she moved forward placing her hand on his shoulder tentatively.

“Yes, she is,” Cameron finally decided realizing that while he wanted to destroy Brant right now he had to focus on helping Angela through what had happened to her. Then and only then would he be free to get rid of Brant for once and for all!


“Heather,” Kyle grumbled feeling Heather’s lips pressing in against his neck as he let out a small groan trying to get her to move back a bit while she nipped softly at his skin. Kyle’s eyes narrowed in over at the window as Kyle gently placed his hands over Heather’s shoulders. “Heather, seriously. I think I just saw someone.”

“What?” Heather quickly moved away from Kyle, moving into the other hallway for a moment to button up her shirt real quick before walking out into the living room seeing Kyle staring out the window. “What did you see?”

“Heather,” Kyle gulped down wiping at the mist on the window to try and look outside more clearly before shaking his head slowly seeing a couple of cars driving past. “I think I just saw Sarah, Heather. I think I’m going crazy or I really just saw her.”

“I’m sure she doesn’t have the audacity show up to your house like this Kyle,” Heather placed her hand over his shoulder adding her input as he shrugged his shoulders and let out a long breath. “After what she has done to you and everyone else, I would find it a bit shocking.”

“You obviously don’t remember what your sister is like Heather, honestly,” Kyle took in a deep breath walking out the front door for a moment and letting out a long breath as he stood outside on the porch looking around the front yard. “She is very suspicious, nothing like you.”

“I’d like to think I was a bit suspicious,” Heather teased wrapping her arms around his waist, gently nipping at his shoulder seeing him turn his head to explain as she nodded slowly. “I know, I know. I was just teasing with you.”

“Yeah, well,” Kyle sighed taking in a deep breath turning to face Heather, holding her in his arms and hugging her tightly to him before letting out a long breath. “I just hope you know how much I love you my dear wife.”

“I love you too Kyle,” Heather smiled tipping up to kiss him as she pressed her hand in against the center of his chest seeing the way he smiled down at her. “Though, you know we might want to be in the backyard and hang out back there if you want to stay outside. People might get a bit confused seeing a guy in his boxers standing out on the porch.”

“Good point,” he agreed shutting the door, then following her through the house and out on the deck where they took a seat on the swinging bench. “You know, I think this place fits me perfectly. It’s a great place to live for now, fits my personality nice. It works all around for about all occasions and it can work for when we have our first little one and Charles.”

“Hold on now,” Heather pressed her hand in against the center of Kyle’s chest seeing him frown after he tried to press a small kiss against her lips. “Are you really ready for that considering we just got married.”

“I’m willing to make up all the time I missed out on with you when we should have had it years ago,” he nodded with a wide smile feeling her arms wrap around his neck as he pressed his hand in against her cheek softly. “I’m ready for life to hit me and take me wherever I may go.”

“Well, how about lets enjoy one thing at a time,” Heather offered up seeing the way he looked out at her with his green eyes and she nodded slowly with a small sigh. “You know we should enjoy the whole marriage thing first before thinking about what’s next.”

“With every marriage there is something bound to happen next,” Kyle winked moving closer to her to press a small kiss against her lips before taking in a deep breath resting his forehead against hers before shaking his head slowly. “I only hope to spend the rest of my life showing you that and giving you everything you’ve ever hoped for. That's what I really see in our future Heather and I hope you can see that and be happy with what you have because I absolutely love you.”


“You really did good work with my brother,” Kipp noted with a smile thinking about the way Daniel looked when he left the house. “I think you really did a number in boosting his confidence.”

“Your brother is hot for a teenager and I’m sure that the girl he’s trying to impress will love it,” Kellen rubbed his palms together proudly, “because let’s face it when I get my mind set on something I just prove again and again what a master I truly am.”

“You’re certainly the best at what you do,” Kipp replied with a proud smile thinking about how Kellen had opened up the door to so many new interactions in his life even with his family. “I think it’s great that Daniel felt comfortable enough to come to us here like he did.”

“So do I. He’s a great kid and even though you haven’t known one another for long, I think that there is a lot of potential there for you two to bond with one another,” Kellen explained walking over to the kitchen area and getting himself a drink, “I mean when my brother and I were younger all he wanted to do was make my life miserable. He was nothing, but a huge headache in my opinion. All he did was beat on me or insult me.”

“It sounds like maybe growing up life wasn’t all that wonderful, huh?” Kipp noted taking a seat over at the kitchen table.

“Let’s just say it’s difficult to be the only gay guy in your high school, but when it gets down to it, you learn to get by,” Kellen shrugged his shoulders before turning around to face Kipp again, “It was a time in my life where I let things get to me. I let people saying things take me down and ultimately I let them win. I’m glad that your brother is far more self assured than I ever was.”

“Somehow I can’t ever imagine a point in your life when you weren’t self assured,” Kipp rose to his feet again and walked over to join Kellen. “When I look at you I can’t help but be amazed by how strong you are--by how much life you have inside of you.”

“I learned to be strong after I let life take me to the bottom,” Kellen divulged with a long sigh, “I made a lot of stupid mistakes because I felt like I didn’t have a place in this world. I felt like I had to pretend to be something I wasn’t--to act like something I wasn’t just to fit in. I remember one time I had the biggest crush on the captain of the football team and as it stood we were both in study hall one day. It was just the two of us since there was this food fight during lunch that somehow we both got blamed for. Naturally I was innocent, but when he went down for it, I figured what the hell. I thought that I’d just try to get closer to him by admitting to playing a hand in it so he’d not be punished so bad. At the time I felt like this guy was just everything the perfect man should be: sexy, charming, funny with one hell of a body. Half the girls in school wanted him, so of course I had to fall into that trap as well.”

“So what happened?” Kipp couldn’t help but ask seeing a distance behind Kellen’s eyes.

“We started talking and one thing lead to another,” Kellen paused a warmth covering his cheeks as his blue eyes met Kipp’s. “Turns out that Mr. All American wasn’t as pure as snow as the school thought he was. He and I exchanged a few…for lack of a better word favors with one another.”

“Is that right?” Kipp couldn’t help but laugh, “Now why doesn’t that surprise me?”

“Because it’s totally clichéd,” Kellen groaned inwardly, “Complete with the beating I ended up taking the next time he asked for us to meet after school later that week. Turns out not only did Mr. All American like to play with boys, but he was also a huge gay basher. He and his other football buddies beat the hell out of me and made my life a living hell for the rest of the year after that. I guess that was his way of trying to scare me into keeping his secret, but it was a really shitty lesson to learn. I never thought that he’d do something like that, but then again I guess I just expected too much from someone who clearly should have meant too little. It seems stupid in retrospect, but when it gets down to it high school can be brutal.”

“Tell me about it. I mean I went to a private academy, but being the son of Douglas Mahoney it didn’t exactly make me any real friends,” Kipp sighed thinking back to his youth. “I think the only friends I had were the gardener’s children and even at that I often wondered if they were just nice to me because my father was paying their father to work for him. Still I‘m sorry you had to go through that Kellen. If I was there when you went to school, I wouldn‘t have treated you that way.”

“You’re just saying that because you love me,” Kellen offered up a small smile, “and I’m okay with that. Truth be told the last time I saw Mr. All American his wife threw him out after finding him in bed with her pool boy and he was slumming in one of the not so posh bars just outside of my hometown. I’d like to say that made me feel better in seeing him like that after what he did to me, but it was saddening really. I mean here that guy knew who he was early on, but he pretended to be something he wasn’t simply because it wasn’t the perception the world had of him. On the flip side I stopped hiding who I was and got my ass kicked multiple times for it, but it’s made me stronger. I like who I am and I wouldn’t dream about living in a repressed world like a lot of people do.”

“I happen to like who you are as well. To me you’re pretty wonderful,” Kipp reached out to touch Kellen’s cheek gently, “You’re everything I could have asked for in someone to love.”

“Now I know you’re just trying to stroke my ego,” Kellen felt a blush rising over his features.

“Nah, I’d find easier ways to do that if that was my goal. I mean it Kellen,” Kipp smiled up at him, his brown eyes reaching out to Kellen, “You’re everything that I have been missing from my life and I feel so lucky to have finally found you. I’d be lost without you.”

“I’d be lost without you too Kipp. I love you which is why I go off the deep end sometimes,” Kellen sighed leaning into Kipp’s touch.

“I know, which is why I don’t hold it against you, but rest assured that there will never be anyone who can hold a candle to you,” Kipp promised leaning in to kiss him tenderly now that it was clear that both men found everything they’d ever wanted and needed in each other despite their rocky beginnings.


“So I was thinking that maybe after we get a bite to eat here, we could go to a late show or something,” JT suggested with a wiggle of his brow, “Maybe catch an old black and white at the Cineplex.”

“Blake and white?” Evie arched a curious brow of her own sliding her hand over the center of his chest, “You never struck me as the type.”

“Let’s just say I have an affinity for the classics like Casablanca,” he revealed with a small smile tipping his head in closer to speak with her over the music, “It beats the hell out of the crap that my father produces. If you ever caught one of his films you would see full well why I prefer the classics.”

“I have seen one of his films,” she admitted with a small laugh, “and it wasn’t that bad.”

“Now I know you’re lying,” he laughed lightly picking her up in his arms and kissing her again only to feel a firm clasp of a hand on his shoulder. Before he could respond he felt himself being slammed into a wall and he looked up to see Seth standing in front of him looking beyond furious.

“Get your hands off of her you…” Seth snarled down at JT before Blake rushed forward attempting to pry Seth away from JT.

“Seth, it’s not Jade. She’s not Jade,” Blake tried to reason with him, but he was lost in the moment of anger and confusion slamming JT into the wall again. “Seth, listen to me. She’s not Jade!”

“Who the hell is Jade?” Evie questioned watching Seth snap out of the daze that had seemingly put him into the confrontation with JT. He turned around to look at her, a sudden seriousness in his eyes as he reached out to grab her wrist.

“Where did you get this?” Seth asked lifting her arm to reveal the bracelet on her arm to Blake and JT. “Where did you take this from?”

“It’s mine,” Evie shoved him away from her before bringing her arm up to her chest, “It’s my bracelet.”

“No, that’s Jade’s,” Seth shook his head firmly before turning to Blake, “I’m sure of it. She has my sister’s charm bracelet and that’s why I thought she was Jade.”

“Look you fruit loop I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, but this is mine,” Evie snapped keeping her hand over her bracelet before turning to look at JT for some help.

“Seth, back off,” JT warned before turning to Evie and stepping between Evie and Seth, “I can see you’re upset, but she isn’t Jade and I’m not doing anything wrong.”

“Where did you get that? Did you take it from her?” Seth ignored JT and continued to interrogate Evie, “Did you steal it from her?”

“I didn’t steal anything from anyone,” Evie shot back icily her gaze shifting between Seth and Blake, “I don’t know who you people are, but this is my bracelet. It was a gift from my father.”

“You’re lying. I know you’re lying,” Seth reached out again to grab her arm only to feel JT push him away. “Look at the bracelet JT. It’s the same one that Jade had. It has our family crest on one of the charms and…”

“Back off Seth,” JT shoved Seth in the chest before issuing him a small glare. It soon shifted to sympathy as it was clear that Seth was still upset over losing Jade, “Seth, look man it’s not Jade’s bracelet. I know you think that you saw something here and I can understand why you might’ve believed it was Jade and I together, but…”

“I know what I saw and that’s my sister’s bracelet,” Seth continued to argue with JT as two of the bouncers in the club approached the group.

“Is there a problem here JT?” one of them asked gruffly, his eyes turning to Seth.

“No, no problem. My friend and I were just finishing up this conversation and then he was on his way out,” JT explained in a smooth and even tone watching the bouncer whisper something to the other one. He could still see that Seth was wired up and in that moment JT looked to Blake, “Look, I realize that he’s been going through a lot, but right now you two should probably get going before things get ugly.”

“All I want to do is have my sister’s bracelet back,” Seth pleaded, his voice softening a bit, “Look, maybe it doesn’t mean much to people like you, but that was hers. It was something special that my cousin gave her. It was a gift from our grandmother and…”

“And I’m telling you it’s not Jade’s,” JT interrupted seeing the bouncers looking a bit anxious. “On second thought, why don’t you two go and enjoy your dinner and we’ll leave? And a word of caution, don’t follow us.”

“But…” Seth watched the two weave through the crowd and he couldn’t help but step forward.

“Seth don’t,” Blake caught his arm before he could cause a bigger scene than had already taken place. “Let’s go home.”

“I know that’s Jade’s,” Seth’s jaw clenched as JT tossed one last look in his direction before nudging Evie out of the club with him. “I’m sure of it.”


“What a jerk,” Evie scowled once she and JT exited the club, “I don’t see why we had to leave since that brute attacked you for no apparent reason other than he is a complete and total nutcase.”

“It’s not his fault,” JT shrugged off Seth’s attack before reaching out to take Evie’s hand in his, “It was getting late anyways and…”

“And nothing. He jumped you and yet we’re the ones who had to leave. I don’t see the justice in that,” Evie stomped her foot refusing to leave after they’d made plans to spend a night hanging out and having fun at the club before leaving.

“Trust me Evie. This one isn’t worth getting into a war over,” JT turned his head to meet her disapproving stare, “He lost his sister not too long ago and he’s hurting.”

“Big deal. I can see why she split on him because I wouldn’t want to have him being that way with me either,” she rolled her eyes thinking about Seth’s accusations, “and what a jerk. I mean who the heck did he think he was to stand there and accuse me of stealing this bracelet when it’s been mine since I was born. My father gave me this and only this and maybe it’s not much, but it’s mine.”

“Honestly?” JT searched her eyes for a long moment, “You didn’t just take that from anyone, did you?”

She blinked back at him before frowning, “Wait a second. Are you saying that you think I stole this?”

“It wouldn’t be the first thing that you’ve taken and,” he began an uneasiness settling in over him.

Evie looked down at her bracelet before eyeing JT again and frowning, “Screw you JT.”

“I’m just asking Evie,” he pleaded with her seeing the anger rise in her face. “I just need to know if you lifted that like you tried to lift my wallet before and…”

“You are like everyone else, aren’t you? Here you and I almost make love and I start to believe that I can trust you, then you pull this crap on me,” Evie spat back at him shaking her head at him before rolling her eyes. “On second thought I’m not even going to dignify that with a response. If you can’t trust me, then it’s clear you can’t love me and in that case I’m out of here.”

“Evie wait,” JT started after her watching her race down the side street in a fury. He sped up to catch her as she seemed to be moving at a frantic pace. She was halfway down the block when he snagged her arm in his hand causing her to spin around and glare at him.

“Just leave me alone,” she blurted out unable to contain the frustrated tears that carried over her cheeks. “Obviously you think I’m nothing more than a liar and a thief, so why don’t you just leave me alone?”

“I didn’t mean to hurt you Evie, but you have to think about this one for a second. You and I both know you used to lift things and…” he tried to explain his reasoning to her.

“But I stopped that when you asked me to JT. I know I made mistakes, but you don’t have to constantly rub them in my face. You don’t see me tossing yours at you, do you?” she countered with a sniffle unable to mask her frustrations any longer. “Everyone treats you and me like dirt in this town, but I thought that we had each other. That we could at least trust one another, but obviously not.”

“Evie, it’s just…” he released her feeling her struggle against his hold. He held his hand up in the air seeing her turn around to leave before he spoke up again, “Jade’s dead Evie.”

“What?” she questioned stopping where she stood. She spun around to face him again seeing the pained expression on his face.

“She died a few months ago and it’s killing Seth. He was her only family and they were very close,” JT explained finally as he thought about Jade.

“Why should I care about that?” she replied a bit less abrasiveness in her tone. “What does that mean to me?”

“Nothing, but I think you should know why he reacted that way,” JT took a small step forward hoping to bridge the distance between them, “She was a very special woman and losing her took a chunk out of a great many people.”

“Like you?” she couldn’t help but ask almost fearing his answer as he nodded.

“Yes especially me. She was one of the few people left in this town that didn’t judge me,” he confessed openly thinking about the time he’d spent with Jade.

“Did you…did you love her?” she asked stammering a bit at the thought of JT caring about someone else.

“In my own way, yeah I did,” he revealed honestly a raw emotion in his voice, “but like everything else I blew it. I got her involved in some pretty horrible things and we were both trying to forget our woes together. I screwed up big time with her, but she didn’t hold it against me.”

“Why are you telling me this?” she asked uneasily searching his eyes for a long moment.

“Because the truth to the matter is that regardless of how much I screwed up, Jade was the one person to help me through the hell I put myself into. When I was an addict living on the streets, she was the one that sought me out and forced me into rehab. Not that it was the first time because it was far from it. I did so many stupid things that I guarantee you wouldn’t have looked twice at me. Hell, I couldn’t even bear to look at myself, but Jade, she never gave up on me. Even when I was at my worst she was always a good friend to me,” he confessed with a long sigh finally bridging the distance between them. “She was one of those rare people in the world that always found the best in those around them. It cost her a lot of grief, but she always believed in me and when I heard she’d died, it made me realize that one of the only people in this world that actually gave a damn if I was alive or dead was gone. I saw just how empty my life was, but then…then I met you and I thought that maybe just maybe…”

“Maybe what?” she couldn’t help but ask.

“That maybe that something special could exist in the world still. I saw so much of her spirit in you and I think that’s why you felt so familiar to me. I know it sounds crazy, but I kept trying to figure out what it was about you that felt like we’d known one another forever. Now I know. After Seth nearly decked me, it hit me. You are so much like her,” JT revealed unable to believe he hadn’t made the connection before.

“So you like me because I’m like your dead girlfriend?” she questioned uneasily not sure how to take what he was saying.

“No, I’m saying that I was drawn to you because you have that same spark about you. You have that same spirit that she had and I’m sure that if she were still alive, she would have liked you. She would have been proud of me for getting my head out of my ass and finding the right girl instead of my pining away over the one that never wanted me and would always hurt me,” he added reaching out to touch the side of her face, “When I asked you about the bracelet tonight it wasn’t because I was trying to hurt you. It was because it does look like the one Jade had, but if you say it was yours, then I won’t question it. I know that you probably expected me to launch an attack on Seth, but knowing what he’s going through, I just couldn’t…”

Evie remained silent for a long time before leaning into JT’s touch. She closed her eyes and let out a small breath, “I wouldn’t expect you to either knowing what I do.”

“I’m sorry that I upset you,” JT mouthed cupping her face in his hands.

“Don’t be. I’m the one that acted like a jerk,” she tipped up on her toes to lean in and kiss him gently, “I’m sorry.”

“I love you and I do trust you,” he mouthed as their lips parted and he gazed into her dark eyes.

“I love you too, which is why,” she stepped back reaching to the bracelet on her arm. She unhooked the clasp before offering it out to him, “I want you to give this to Seth.”

“I don’t understand,” he gave her a sideways glance as she dropped the bracelet into his palm.

“My father is a real son of a bitch anyways,” she offered up in response forcing a small smile, “He’s never done anything for me, so the last thing I want is a reminder of all the hell he’d put me through. Give this to Seth because even if it’s not his sister’s bracelet, it might help him with what he’d going through.”

“Evie, I don’t really think that,” JT found himself at a loss as Evie’s eyes brushed past him to over by the club‘s entrance.

“On second thought I’ll do it,” she swiped her bracelet and marched over to the doors where Blake and Seth now stood with one another lost in a conversation. Without warning she approached the two of them and held the bracelet out to Seth.

“It’s not your sister’s, but if it helps, I want you to have it,” Evie stated simply reaching out to grab Seth’s arm. She grasped his hand and found herself dropping the bracelet into his palm before stepping back. “I’m really sorry about what you’re going through and maybe now you’ll find some peace.”

“I…” Seth started to say something as she turned around on her heel and joined JT once again near the end of the block.

“I don’t understand…” JT half questioned feeling Evie wrap her arm around his waist.

“Let’s just go to that movie. Right now I don’t even want to think about it,” Evie confessed glancing over her shoulder at Blake and Seth one again knowing full well that even if she wasn’t in the wrong, she did the right thing. The bracelet was no big deal anyways.


Andy took a look around the hallway before reaching for the chart outside the door. He opened it up to glance over it briefly before returning it to the slot he’d taken it from. Looking around the hallway once more, he paused for a moment before stepping into the room and seeing the woman in the bed before him. She lay silent, her hands at her side as it was clear she was lost in her own dream world oblivious to the world around her now that she’d fallen into an uninvited slumber.

“Angela Meloni,” he mouthed circling around the bed to take a long look at her. Sure, she was pale and clearly bruised up from her fall, but there was no mistaking the beauty that carried over her even now. She was truly a vision and as Andy leaned in to look at her, he couldn’t help but smile at her.

“You know you caused a lot of drama today. You still are considering that you won’t open up those big, brown eyes of yours and grace the world with your presence,” he paused reaching for one of the chairs beside the bed and taking a seat next to her. Tentatively he reached for her hand and offered up a light squeeze. “Of course maybe your timeout will be just what we need to have a heart to heart with one another. After all it’s been a while since we’ve had some alone time, huh Angie? The other night at the house really wasn’t what I would call productive for us, but we can work on that.”

Angela said nothing. She made no movement whatsoever as his finger swept over the top of her hand and his grin expanded.

“I do hope you don’t mind my calling you Angie right about now,” he reached out to lazily tangle a piece of her dark hair between his finger before tucking it behind her ear. “Cameron had no idea what he was getting himself into when he asked me to come back to town and give Diane a shake down. You knew however, didn’t you? You felt it when we were alone together and even that big mound of muscle Kevin feels it too. Do you know he actually had the nerve to call me Cary out in the lobby? In front of everyone he tried to confuse me with the husband that wanted you dead years ago. I mean where does he get off on doing that?”

Angela still lay motionless as Andy released her hand. He leaned forward inching in closer to her with a whisper in her ear.

“My only regret is that I didn’t see to it that he was taken out first,” Andy explained with a small snarl, “That son of a bitch thought he’d pulled a fast one that night, but he was wrong. Dead wrong. Though it worked out in the end for all of us…well, almost everyone. You on the other hand, well you’re still as sexy as you ever were, but I can see you’re letting yourself go.”

Andy stood up reaching out to place his hand over her abdomen tentatively, “I mean there you go all acting like a slut and getting knocked up all over again. You just can’t seem to escape that trend, can you? Of course this time I give you credit for getting along further than you did with Kevin or with me for that matter, but I’m pretty confident that this time you’ll have the same outcome when push comes to shove.”

Andy stepped back walking over to the bed on the other side of the room. He reached for the pillow before moving in over towards Angela and holding it up closer to his chest.

“Of course this time when you disappoint the men in your life, I think it’s fair to let you know that you won’t be disappointing me. I mean from where I stand when it gets down to it, I have a lot to gain from all of this. After all,” Andy’s grin expanded, a sudden sense of entitlement carrying over him, “When you’re gone, I’m going to get one hell of a payoff considering we did cover that whole till death do us part thing in our vows way back when…”

Andy stretched his arm out, placing the pillow just over her head before drawing it back. He watched her for a long moment, feeling a small sense of sentiment carrying over him as he reached out to touch her cheek feeling the warmth of her press onto him. He leaned in closer to her kissing her forehead before pulling back.

“Consider this the most important thing I’ll ever do for us my love,” he whispered just above her ear before reaching for the pillow once again. He leaned in over her ready to push it over her face when a sound erupted from behind him. Immediately he dropped the pillow and spun around just in time to see Kevin standing in the doorway with a snarl on his face.

“Just what the hell do you think you’re doing?” Kevin questioned as Andy found himself trapped into a corner he hadn’t expected five minutes ago when he’d entered the room. Now as Kevin stepped towards him with Brant as his side, Andy realized that some pretty quick thinking would be in order or else…


...to be continued...