Episode 383

“Seriously Paul, what the hell do you mean?” Kellen edged up on his sleeping bag seeing the way that Paul was facing away from him and Kellen reached out to nudge him in the back over and over. “Come on, you did this to me--what the hell do you mean by that?”

“I was just saying,” Paul glanced over his shoulder at Kellen seeing the way that Kellen’s blue eyes stared out at him as Paul shook his head slowly. “You have a face like I’ve seen before on a specific video or something, it’s nothing really big.”

“Nothing really big?” Kellen paused thinking about the threatening phone calls that Heather had been getting and he let out a small growl realizing that this guy knew way too much than he really should know. “Are you the one that has been making the harassing phone calls? Listen buddy, if you think that playing this sick phone game is going to…”

“Say what?” Paul’s nose wrinkled in confusion as he sat up on the couch staring out at Kellen as he held his hands up in the air innocently. “One, I have no idea what you are talking about, but slow it down spanky because I never made any threatening phone calls. Let me make this clear to, I have no idea what the hell you are talking about.”

“But you did see the tape,” Kellen began seeing the smirk that pressed in over Paul’s lips before letting out a long laugh making Kellen’s chest tighten up. Knowing that the man that was Kyle’s friend knew exactly what was up with his secret past made him worry even more at the thoughts of what could occur. “Didn’t you?”

“Well, officially no,” Paul began seeing the way that Kellen arched his eyebrow up in response and he could see Kellen’s blue eyes widening in astonishment. Shrugging his shoulders Paul moved forward to push at Kellen’s shoulder, winking down at Kellen before nodding slowly. “But unofficially yes and you are one lucky son of a bitch. Heather is so hot.”

“Oh shit,” Kellen groaned falling back against the sleeping bag, covering his eyes and hitting his head against the ground constantly. “Where did you end up seeing it?”

“That really doesn’t matter son, but tell me…,” Paul pondered the thought resting back and folding his arms behind his head letting out a long sigh hearing Kellen fidgeting on the floor. “How did you decide to get in to a career like that in the first place? Did you find it was a competitive market?”

“Say what?” Kellen sat up again seeing Paul nodding as Kellen let out an unbelievable laugh seeing the way Paul arched his eyebrow up at him. “You have to be kidding, right? Are you serious?”

“Fine, if you are going to have your panties in a bunch and don’t want to answer that,” Paul hissed before shrugging his shoulders and taking in a long breath. “I was just wondering if you were ever up for doing something like that again?”

“Uh, are you gay or something?” Kellen muttered seeing Paul place his hand over his chest and Kellen nodded slowly as Paul let out a hearty laugh. “If you are gay, I’m sorry but I’m already taken. Don’t get me wrong, you are an…interesting looking guy, you have really nice eyes, but I’m in love with Kipp. We may have been having some issues, but I still love him and…”

“Slow down killer,” Paul reached out to pat Kellen on the cheek softly before letting out a long laugh and resting back against the couch again. “I’m not gay, nor do I want a piece of you. I can just see someone with talent by looking at the, which Heather had it, but she wouldn’t do what I’m asking of you. So, I guess I’m just going with the second best thing.”

“Uh, thanks…I think,” Kellen itched his chin at the thought before seeing Paul readjust on the couch before sitting up and moving in closer to him. “At least I think that was supposed to be a good thing.”

“Well, it would be a very good thing if you would tell me yes to what I’m about to ask you to do,” Paul cleared his throat before eying Kellen over slowly seeing Kellen’s nose wrinkle in response. “You see I run my own adult video games software company and I think you would be a perfect model for it. You have a great body, the muscles and everything, hell Heather would have been great for it too, but if I suggested it to Kyle he would have ripped my balls off if you know what I mean.”

“And you think I wouldn’t?” Kellen stood up from the floor and rested his hands against his hips seeing Paul staring up at him with his blue eyes before shrugging his shoulders. “I’m a human being too you know and…”

“Oh my, that is the perfect form,” Paul stood up from the couch quickly moving in behind Kellen making him straighten up his back before titling his head to the side. “You would make a perfect model just like that. If you took off your shirt and then…”

“Oh dear lord,” Kellen felt Paul’s hand move in over his shirt and he let out a small gasp wondering how he would be able to make it through the day after all of this.


“I can’t believe this is happening. I mean could this day get any worse?” Heather blurted out overcome with a great many emotions now that she’d had a full blow out with Kipp on top of everything else. “On second thought don’t answer that because I know full well that it can.”

“Heather hey,” Kyle began stepping in closer to her with Charles in his arms, “I know Kipp is upset but he’ll get over this. He just needs some time to cool down and…”

“Dada,” Charles squealed excitedly kicking his legs out before leaning forward to bury his head in Kyle’s muscled chest. Charles pulled back again, his big brown eyes met Kyle’s again and he giggled over and over again, “dadadadadada…”

“I know Charles and I appreciate that little man, but right now I think we need to hold off on the dada business for a little while,” Kyle explained kissing Charles on the top of the head before looking to a now crying Heather.

Kyle watched her sink onto the edge of the bed and his heart ached for her. Squeezing Charles in his arms, he decided that he needed to try to help Heather for a few moments before returning to Charles. He carefully set Charles in his crib offering a toy to Charles that seemed to do the trick. Charles reached for it laughing wildly and shaking the rattle in his fingers before leaning out to take another toy that was in his crib.

“I’ll be right back little man,” Kyle promised smiling down at Charles and realizing that no matter how innocent things were with Charles, everyone was going to feel the ripple effect of Charles calling Kyle dada instead of Kipp. Kyle knew he was in a whole new world of trouble when Kipp’s face transformed from the joy of seeing his son speak to the rage when Charles reached out to Kyle wanting his attention. Sure, at Charles age it was more than likely that he just put the sounds together and it meant nothing, but to an already worked up father it was enough to send him over the edge.

“Heather,” Kyle spoke out to his wife seeing her trembling on the bed as she fought to keep control of her emotions.

“I didn’t do anything wrong. I know Kipp was upset, but I’m not a bad mother. You said that Paul had a daughter and…” Heather sniffled wiping at her face in an attempt to banish the tears that overtook her.

“Hey, I take full responsibility for tonight. I’m the one who put their faith in Paul and it’s my fault. If Kipp wants to be angry with someone, then he can be angry with me. This had nothing to do with you. It was all me,” Kyle informed her point blank moving in to take a seat beside her. He reached out to her touching her knee gently, “Heather whatever happens we’re in this together. If someone hurts you, then they hurt me and we deal with that together. Kipp‘s just blowing off some steam right now since it‘s clear he and Kellen have been having some major issues with one another lately. Seeing Paul with Charles was probably just the breaking point for some other obviously big issues he‘s dealing with.”

“It’s not just Kipp,” Heather threw her hands in the air, “I mean just when I start getting my life on track for the first time in like ever, something has to happen to turn it all around and make me feel like I’m going to lose it all over again.”

“Kipp’s not going to do anything to you where Charles is concerned. If he even tries, I’ll knock him on his ass Heather,” Kyle informed her with a solemn vow, “You have my word on that.”

“You don’t understand,” she turned away from him unable to meet his eyes, “Kyle you say that now, but if you knew what was really bothering me--what I’m really all about, then you’d be just as upset as Kipp. You would hate me like he did and we’d be over. I’m sure of it.”

“Now I seriously doubt that one,” Kyle frowned watching her push off of the bed and start to pace around the room. His worries mounted as he saw her mentally beating herself up like she’d been doing earlier in the evening. He could clearly see that something was bothering her when they were leaving the restaurant, but they’d never touched upon it until now. Taking in a small breath he spoke up again, “Heather, what’s going on? If it’s not Kipp, then what is it that has you crying?”

“You wouldn’t understand,” she shook her head firmly, bringing her hands up around her arms in an attempt to get warm. She felt a chill carry over her as she focused on the wall behind Kyle, “No one would understand.”

“I would. I’m your husband remember,” he stood up approaching her with a newfound determination. He touched the side of her face coaxing her green eyes to meet his again, “Heather you should know by now that you could tell me anything--that you could say anything and it wouldn’t change how I feel about you. I love you.”

“You wouldn’t if you knew what kind of person I really was,” she turned away forcing herself to hide the hurt inside of her. She looked out to the window and felt her heart thrumming nervously in her chest, “No one could understand or even love me after what I’ve done.”

“Heather you’re not making any sense,” he frowned sensing that she was trying to shut him out of her life and it frightened him. In all the years he’d known Heather, he’d never seen her shut herself down like she appeared to be doing in this moment in time and he was beyond concerned. Moving in closer to her, he touched her shoulder gently, “Please talk to me Heather.”

“Kyle, it’s just…when I was at work today I got a fax,” she blurted out knowing that she couldn’t hide the truth about the past any longer. “Someone called me at work and then they…”

“They what?” he urged her to turn around and face him again. He now saw the tears that poured down her face, the worry evident behind her otherwise beautiful green eyes and as her lower lip trembled he feared for what would happen next.

“They are trying to screw with my head. Someone found out that I…” she bit down on her lip fighting to suppress a whimper. Reaching up she pushed the hot tears off of her face and shook her head, “I swore that I wouldn’t cry--that I wouldn’t act so damned whiney about all of this. The past is the past and what you do back then isn’t who you are now.”

“I know,” he nodded feeling her reach for his hand again.

“No Kyle, you don’t know,” she shook her head poignantly before raising his hand to her cheek again. She pressed the warmth of his palm against the side of her face savoring the contact between them for a brief moment before she prepared to do what she had held off on doing for so very long, “but you need to know. I can’t keep lying to you about any of this.”

“Lying to me,” he repeated a sudden nervousness carrying over him. She reopened her eyes dropping his hand and then motioned to the bed.

“You should probably sit down,” she instructed seeing him do as she’d asked of him. Once he was seated she took in a long breath and spoke up again, “Kyle, you see I haven’t been completely honest with you about who I am--about what I am.”

“You’re the woman I love. I don’t need to know anything else,” he started to offer only to feel her press her index finger over his lips to silence him.

“No, I’m not that. I’m someone who lied to you and hid some horrible things from you Kyle. I know when we were together before--when I ran away from home you knew who I was, but then when I left town--when I ran away it changed,” she bit down on her lower lip before forcing herself to face the horrible past she’d fought to leave behind her. “Do you remember my mom’s boyfriend Tony.”

“The asshole she was seeing before you left,” Kyle nodded feeling his jaw flex at the memory of the drunken man who had taken a few pot shots as Kyle in the past. “Yeah I remember that jerk. He was one of the worst men your mother picked up over the years.”

“I won’t argue that, but when I left town I wanted for you to go with me. I got two tickets to Los Angeles for the both of us. I was so sure that we could start our new life over there. You would work as a bouncer for a while until I got the role of the lifetime and we’d make it rich. I had so many dreams for what our lives would be like when the Hollywood lights sent their promise in our direction,” she explained with a heavy sigh mustering the strength to be honest with him about the direction her life had taken. “When you didn’t show up, I knew that I had to put that part of my life behind me. I had to start over again and make new dreams for myself.”

“Heather, if I would’ve seen your letter--if I would’ve been able to find you, then I would’ve been on the first flight out there bringing you back home with me,” he reminded her thinking of how Sarah had manipulated the situation to keep them away from one another.

“I know that Kyle and I’m not holding you responsible for my actions at all,” she stepped forward pushing her fingers into his long, blonde hair as her eyes searched his features remembering how much she loved him. She knew that Kyle was the greatest thing to happen to her other than Charles and the idea of giving him up was enough to do her in. However, at the same time she knew that for them to have any chance at a future now that someone was trying to bring her past back to haunt her, she had to be honest with him even if it meant putting their future together at risk in the process. “You see when I went out there I had about two hundred dollars to my name after I bought the train tickets. I was just this stupid kid who just thought that everything would fall into her lap. I tried to convince myself that I was leaping into the land of opportunity, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.”

“Heather…” Kyle started again attempting to get a word in edgewise.

“Kyle please just let me say this,” she continued refusing to allow him the chance to keep her courage from fading away with kind words, “I was in a bad place Kyle. I didn’t have anywhere to live--didn’t have any money to take care of myself, let alone eat. I wound up sleeping in this abandoned building in one of the places where Hollywood’s promise no longer remained. I knew I should’ve gone home, but I had far too much pride to return to the life that never wanted me in the first place. Once I figured that you weren’t going to come after me, I knew that there was no reason to go back. I did what I could to try to get a job, but time after time the doors were closed in my face. I went to fast food places, to anyone who would give me a chance, but without a home no one was interested. It wasn’t until I ran into Tony that things seemed to pick up for me. He wound up running into me when I was on an interview to work at a laundry. It wasn’t my finest moment, but he offered me a meal and a hot shower, which I probably hadn’t had in a couple of weeks. It was the first familiar face I’d seen in a long time and I leapt at the offer. It was the first time since I went out there that anyone was nice to me.”

Kyle listened wanting to say so much, but Heather kept her finger pressed over his lips to allow herself time to continue.

“He took me back to his place and let me get cleaned up. He told me all about home and how things didn’t work out with my mother--how she broke up with him and you and Sarah were seeing one another. He said that you’d gotten some scholarship to some big school and you were leaving the last time he’d seen you. It made me so homesick, but I knew that you were off to a better life. I wanted that for you. I always wanted you to be happy and he made it sound like you were well on your way to that,” she paused fighting to keep from crying. She lowered her head closing her eyes as she continued to speak to him, “After I took a shower and had dinner with Tony, he told me that he had a friend who had connections--a friend that knew a potential start when he saw one. He told me this guy was someone he went to school with and he was an agent to some of the top names in Hollywood. He told me if I stayed with him for a while that he could help me turn my life around. He promised me that he would help me show my mother and Sarah that I was better than they always believed me to be. He filled my head with so many dreams that I started to believe them. I started to think that all of the misery I’d gone through was going to pay off for me. It sounded so good and it was so much better than sleeping in a cold, dark alley so I said yes.”

Heather stopped herself feeling a shiver carry over her. She released Kyle, her voice continuing in a broken tone when the memories of the life she’d shut out started to overtake her. “A few days later he came home from work--from the bar that he spent his time arranging deals with his friend and he told me that his friend would see me. He took me out that night, bought me a flirty red dress--something that would surely get me noticed and we went to dinner. It was this real high class joint--you know the kind you would see in the old time movies where glamour and style ruled? I felt like a princess that night and when he introduced me to William Steed I thought I’d made it big. William was in fact an agent with all the right words--all the promises that made me believe that I was finally going to hit it big. He told me how beautiful I was and how I was destined to be a star. He said he had so much faith in me that he was going to get me an audition set up for the next morning and I was ecstatic. It was my dream come true. I mean to actually be in a movie was my ultimate dream, so how could it get any better than that? I spent the rest of the night on top of the world thinking that I was finally going to have something--to be someone and it was wonderful. It felt so damn good to finally have my dreams right in front of me ready to be taken and lived to the fullest.”

Heather turned away from him, closing her eyes as the memory of that first audition carried over her. “Only William and Tony weren’t on the up and up Kyle. The part that they had set up for me wasn’t something I’m proud of. They took me to this hole in the wall studio--to this place that I wouldn’t send anyone to. There were people all around getting ready for their next scene and that’s when I saw that…”

“Heather,” Kyle broke his silence seeing her break into full blown tears.

“I didn’t want to do it Kyle, but Tony got so mad at me when I walked out of the studio. He followed me out telling me how stupid I was--that I was a nothing like my mother believed me to be. He went on and on about what a disappointment I was and how I would die on the streets if I didn’t get my ass back inside to do what it was I was meant to do. He said I had to take a few small parts before the big ones came my way--that I had to pay my dues in the business somehow. I told him that I didn’t want to--that I couldn’t do something like that--that it wasn’t the kind of movie I was interested in being a part of and then…”

“Heather, hey…” Kyle started reaching out to her only to feel her trembling in his arms.

“Kyle, he terrified me. When he was threatening me, he had me so afraid that I…that I couldn’t just…” she burst into tears unable to hold back on it any longer. “I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to be there, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He didn’t take no for an answer even after I told him that I’d never…”

“Hey,” Kyle cupped her face in his hands, “Heather look at me.”

“Kyle, I just…I make myself sick,” she sobbed hating that she’d fallen to tears all over again, “Tony did something to me…he drugged me and then he…he…”

“Hey,” Kyle curled his finger underneath her chin, “Heather listen to me. It’s okay. You don’t have to say anything else.”

“Yes I do. You need to know what I’ve done…you need to hear the truth about what I…” she stammered trying to gain control of her emotions. “He didn’t believe me when I told him that I’d never…that I didn’t want to…”

“Heather look at me. Please,” Kyle pleaded with her hating to see her so upset over something that clearly was so long ago.

“He raped me Kyle,” Heather blurted out with a sarcastic, hollow laugh, “He told me that my virgin ass would make him a lot of money, but not if I didn’t know what I was doing. He decided to show me how to do things right before he pushed me onto the set for my big debut. It was the worst two minutes of my life when he took me in that alley and…”

She stopped feeling a shudder overtake her. “It wasn’t until he was finished that I’d realized what a mistake I’d made. He took me back into the studio and told me that I had no other choice. He had this scene set up where there were all these men and…and…”

“Heather please,” Kyle’s voice tightened with rage seeing the way that she’d fallen to pieces.

“Kyle I have to tell you the truth. You have to know,” she threw her hands in the air pushing herself away from him in an attempt to get it all out in the open. She tipped her head up to see the anger behind his hazel eyes and she continued. “He and William had me set up for this big gang bang movie--where I was going to be the girl that…well, let’s just say that I’d be the life of the party. I didn’t want to do it, but they’d already worked out the arrangement with the director. He was all set to do the scene with me, but some other actress stepped in at the last minute. I thought I was saved, but then they wanted to put me in another part of the movie. They had this place they wanted to put me in with this son of a bitch that was friends with Tony, but that’s when Kellen…”

“When Kellen what?” Kyle questioned already knowing the answer.

“He and I met at Tony’s. Tony had him living at the apartment when I was there. Apparently he’d lied to Kellen too and told him stories about how he would help Kellen have a big career as well. Kellen was the only person that was nice to me and even though he was ready to walk out on that situation at the set, he stepped up and did what he could to save me. He was young and scared like I was, but we…he and I…we were just trying to protect one another and we…” she trailed off overcome with her emotions.

“I know,” Kyle finally sighed remembering the movie he’d seen earlier.

“No you don’t Kyle. You don’t have the first idea about how I…” she began her voice shaking more than it had been earlier.

“Were in a movie with Kellen. Yeah, Heather I do know,” Kyle finally blurted out catching her completely off guard with his words. “You don’t have to fill in the blanks because I already know the rest of the story. I know all about the movie Heather.”


“Charles is mine, no one is going to take him from me,” Kipp decided after a long time of thinking about everything that had occurred and chose to go back to take Charles back home with him. It was his son and no one had the right to take his son away from him like that. Pulling into the driveway to Kyle’s house, he knew that they would have a fit with his decision, but it was something that he knew he was going to do. “I don’t care what they think.”

Knocking open the door he saw it push open instantly upon the impact showing that the door was open. Seeing no one in the living room, he stepped forward into the house shutting the door behind him hearing someone in the kitchen. Moving into the kitchen he saw a shirtless Kyle holding Charles while waiting for a bottle in the microwave.

“I’m here for my son,” Kipp spoke up seeing Kyle eye him over looking back at him over his shoulder before letting out a small laugh when the timer went off on the microwave. “I’m not kidding Kyle, I’m not leaving here without my son.”

“Yeah, fat chance Kipp,” Kyle growled in response pulling Charles closer into him before giving him the bottle of milk, letting Charles suck it down slowly. “You have no idea what you want to do with your life. You are a jerk, a loser and a pathetic little dweeb. He’s staying here tonight.”

“He’s coming with me Kyle,” Kipp moved forward to grab Charles hearing Charles let out an abrupt crying dropping his bottle to the ground as Kyle pulled him away from Kipp. “Give him to me Kyle.”

“Dada,” Charles cried roughly against Kyle’s chest as he turned his head away from Kipp trying to curl into Kyle as much as possible to get away from Kipp. Kipp reached out for him again and Charles howled out with screaming before shaking his head over and over again. “Dada.”

“He doesn’t want to go with you,” Kyle snapped in response holding Charles in closer to his chest as he hushed Charles down feeling him calming down in his arms. Pressing a kiss against Charles’s head Kyle dipped down carefully to pick up the bottle and clean the top off before giving it back to Charles. “What are you trying to pull Kipp?”

“This isn’t right Kyle,” Kipp moved forward seeing Kyle glare down at him with his hazel eyes basically laughing in Kipp’s face about the whole situation. “He’s my son Kyle, not yours.”

“By the he has been calling me his father, you would be surprised,” Kyle shot back seeing Heather step into the kitchen with her robe on as Kyle arched his eyebrow up in response. “I’m going to put our son to sleep baby, he‘s tired. I’ll be right back.”

“How dare he call Charles his son,” Kipp stepped forward hearing Heather laugh in response once Kyle disappeared out of the kitchen and into the hallway. “That is my son Heather and I have just as much rights to him as you do. You know that, I should have more than you in fact.”

“I beg to differ Kipp, think about it,” Heather stepped forward moving over toward the counter to rest back against it, staring out at him with her light green eyes. “Who in this town likes you better than Kyle? There is no one around here willing to stick up for you, you have an army of one. Kyle has an army the size of basically this whole town, I’d like to see you try and do something Kipp.”

“Don’t you dare temp me Heather because I will take you down like no other,” Kipp warned seeing the smirk that pressed in over her features as he stepped forward. “Don’t tempt me woman.”

“You know, I should have known way back in the day you were pathetic. I knew that I needed a quick escape gate, but I should have picked someone not so pathetic,” she let out a long sigh moving back toward the window to look out at the scenery feeling him moving in behind her. “You were an obsessed little puppy dog and had to latch onto anything that would pay you attention. No one liked you then, no one likes you now. Hell, your own son doesn’t even like you. You are a pathetic attempt at a human being if people would even consider you that.”

“Listen, you…,” Kipp went to say more pointing out at Heather feeling a firm hand grab his finger and push it back firmly and he turned to see the blue eyes of Kellen. They were fierce and angered, something that was surely different for Kellen and he threw his hands up in the air. “Can you believe what’s going on Kellen? Come on, I know you back me.”

“I don’t back you at all you pathetic piece of…,” Kellen began before shaking his head slowly and letting out a small laugh, running his hands over his face to calm himself down. Shaking his head he moved over toward Heather wrapping his arm around her shoulders tightly. “You think I’m going to stand up for you over Heather and Kyle?”

“You’re supposed to be my partner, I would kind of expect you to,” Kipp retorted seeing Kellen glance over at Heather for a moment before letting out a hearty laugh and shook his head slowly. “Or not.”

“Come on Kipp, you were the one person close enough to Heather to get me closer to her and Kyle,” Kellen explained seeing Kyle walk back into the kitchen with his pajama pants still on. “They are the two most important people in my life. Well, them and their son.”

“It’s not their son,” Kipp blurted out seeing Kyle move over toward Kellen and rest his arm on Kellen’s strong shoulder, leaning in against him. “You three think you are so great, you really do. If Kyle is the deity you all want, then you can all have him, but I’m taking my son.”

“Listen to me you stupid son of a bitch,” Kyle grabbed a tight hold of Kipp when he went to turn away from him and Kyle pushed him roughly back against the wall in a moment of anger. “Why do you think I came and saved your ass from that island? No one was looking for you, no one cared about you. They all thought you were dead and they might as well thought that because you are a pathetic soul that people could care less about if you were here or not. The only reason I saved your ass was to save Grady, you were his escape. If I would have known their was an easier way, I would have never wasted my time on a pathetic loser like you. I would have let you rot in that hospital that way we would have never had to deal with you.”

“So the real colors come out now Kyle,” Kipp felt Kyle let go of him and take a step back as Kipp brushed off his jacket and watched as Kellen stepped in next to Kyle. “This is what you want in your life Kellen.”

“Who doesn’t Kipp? This is Kyle Houston, everyone in the town loves him. Your son loves him, Heather loves him and I love him,” Kellen replied with a wicked smirk staring into Kipp’s brown eyes for a moment before tipping to the side to press his hand in against Kyle’s cheek pulling him in closer to him. Pressing his lips in against Kyle’s he felt Kyle kiss him back, Kyle’s hand pressing in against the small of his back. “We all love him Kipp…”

Letting out a panicked gasp Kipp shook his head after waking up from the bad dream that he had been experiencing and saw the darkness surrounding him. Pushing back his sweaty hair he looked over at the clock to see the time and pressed his hand in over his chest.

“That’s where I knew it was a dream, Kyle isn’t like that all,” Kipp let out a small laugh realizing how ridiculously he must have been thinking right now before resting back against the bed. “Just get some sleep, you really need it.”

Pulling the blankets up in over his body he felt a bit cool at the thought of maybe someone was around before shaking off the feeling and resting his head back against the pillows. His head was on overload and it was something he would have to deal with in the morning. Everyone loved Kyle, it was obvious, but he wasn’t about to let that ruin his life, at least not his dreams.


“Over there,” Kevin motioned to the person in front of one of the doors. The man stood with his arms folded in front of his chest trying to convey the appearance that the room behind him was off limits to the rest of the partying group around them. “I’ll bet whatever is going on in there is where we want to be.”

“I’m not going to argue that point. That’s certainly somewhere that something is going on that no one wants anyone to bust in on,” Don noted with a nod seeing Kevin head over directly towards the man in front of the door.

Before the man could react Kevin punched him across the jaw sending him to the floor. The man started to give up and protest, but Kevin kicked at the center of his chest and growled down at him.

“If you know what’s smart for you, you’ll disappear,” Kevin warned nudging him in the ribs with his foot before reaching to the door. “Let’s see what’s inside.”

“After you,” Don moved out of the way to see Kevin open the door to reveal two people on an oversized bed in front of them.

“No, I don’t feel good,” Don heard Stacy’s voice blurt out as Don spotted a man on top of her. That was all the motivation he needed to spring forward and rip the guy off of her.

“What the…” the guy slammed into the wall, his stunned eyes filled with a sudden fear as Don hovered over him.

“If you even think about getting up again, I’ll knock your ass out. Are we clear,” Don snarled down at the man who’d been on top of Stacy. The man nodded bringing his hands up over his head with a whimper.

“Whatever you say man. Just don’t hit me again…” the man pleaded as Kevin and Ria rushed over to Stacy’s side.

“Where am I?” Stacy blinked up at Ria, confusion carrying over her.

“What the hell did they do to her?” Kevin questioned his anger bubbling over him when he realized that her blouse was opened up revealing her bra underneath. He took a look at the discarded glass on the floor and it didn’t take long for him to figure out what was going on. He turned his attention to the guy who was pleading for his life with Don and he marched over to him. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? What kind of pervert are you taking advantage of a fifteen year old like this?”

“I didn’t know she was fifteen,” the man replied with a gulp feeling Kevin bend down to pick him up by the collar and shake him in the air.

“You know now don’t you jackass?” Kevin slammed the guy into the wall a couple of times before dropping him on the floor again. “So help me God if you even look at her again, let alone come near her my kicking your ass will be the last thing you ever worry about. Do you understand me?”

“Yes sir,” the man began to cry, fear plummeting over him when Ria let out a gasp.

“What did you give to her?” Ria questioned eyeing the man on the floor with obvious interest. “What did you slip her in her drink?”

“I didn’t give her the drink. She didn’t come here with me. She was with some other guy when she asked me to come in here with her. I swear…” the guy gulped glancing up at Kevin again, “Please don’t hit me. I swear I didn’t give her anything.”

“We need to get her to the hospital Don. She doesn’t look right,” Ria replied motioning to where Stacy was now shivering on the bed, her face turning a pale shade of green.

“I’m going to be sick,” Stacy groaned closing her eyes and taking in a breath.

“We’re going to get you out of here sweetheart. You have my word on that,” Don mouthed scooping her up in his arms before motioning to Kevin, who was still standing over the man who’d been ready to take advantage of Stacy. “Adonis can you get us out of here?”

“Yeah,” Kevin nodded glaring down at the man in front of him, “but I’m warning this loser over here if anything happens to Stacy, then I’m coming after him personally.”

“I’m sorry sir. I’m so sorry,” the guy burst into full blown tears attempting to crawl around on the ground to get away from Kevin.

“Don’t even think about moving,” Kevin warned taking a step back. He looked over to Don and Ria before nodding. “Let’s get out of here.”

“I’m so hot. My stomach feels strange and…” Stacy groaned again her head flopping into Don’s chest.

“It’s okay sweetheart I’m going to get you to the hospital and we’re going to call your mother,” Don promised stepping out into the center of the party. All eyes were on them as Kevin weaved them towards the front door.

“Get her in the car,” Kevin instructed allowing Don and Ria to exit first before he turned around to address the party with a snarl. “By the way tell whomever is responsible for what happened to her, that they’ve made my hit list and they had better run.”

A hushed whisper fell over the group as Kevin followed Ria and Don down to the car. He saw that Ria was sliding into the backseat with Stacy keeping a close eye on her. Don popped his head out of the backseat and moved around to the front.

“We need to get her to the hospital. Something tells me whatever they gave her will need to be flushed out of her system. I have to call her mother and…” Don began in a frenzy thinking about what could’ve happened had they been a few minutes later.

“You call her mother. I’ll drive,” Kevin instructed circling around the car to get into the driver’s seat. Once inside he spotted Don sliding into the passenger seat and dialing Jewel on his cell phone.

“Damn it answer,” Don cursed under his breath waiting to hear Jewel pick up, but it was her voice mail instead. Frowning he spoke up into the phone leaving a firm message, “Jewel I’ve been trying to reach you for the last half hour. I don’t care where you are or what you’re doing. You had better make damned sure that you get yourself down to the hospital now because your daughter needs you.”

“No response?” Kevin half questioned watching Don slam his phone shut. “You know it’s not the phone’s fault.”

“I realize that, but what kind of parent lets their fifteen year old end up in a situation like that?” Don cursed under his breath turning around to look at Stacy, “It’ll be okay Stacy. We’re going to be at the hospital in just a minute.”

“I want to go home. I just want to go home,” Stacy started to sob in the backseat, her head dropping onto Ria’s shoulder.

“It’s going to be okay honey,” Don reached out to touch her leg gently hoping to alleviate her tears. “We’ll be safe soon enough.”

“I want my mom and my dad. Where are they?” Stacy began to cry harder than before, “Where are you taking me?”

“We’re going to take you to them Stacy. I promise you that we’ll find them,” Don assured her hoping like hell that Jewel would take responsibility for just once in her life and do the right thing for her daughter especially now that it was clear that her daughter needed her more than anything at this point in time.


“Yours?” Angela blinked back at Brant confusion setting in over her features. “Brant, why would you say that my having twins would change your life?”

“Because Angela there are things that you don’t know--things that I need to tell you,” he began in strained tone thinking about how he couldn’t hide from the truth any longer. “You see there are things that you need to know--things that I haven’t said before, but now…”

“Brant? Brant are you in here?” Blake’s voice beckoned him from where he’d been headed with Angela. “Brant, Annie said that I might be able to find you in here and…oh there you are.”

“Blake,” Brant immediately sprung up from the floor where he and Angela had been seated with one another. He stepped around the couch to greet his sister and found himself surprised to see her with Seth at her side. “Seth, what are you two doing here?”

“Looking for you considering that I haven’t heard from you in a while now. I wanted to talk to you about the new house and…” Blake paused taking note of the overturned sofa. Eyeing him curiously she spoke up again, “What’s that all about? You have some kind of tornado come through here?”

“We were actually,” Brant started unsure on what to say when Angela pulled herself up off of the floor.

“We were playing a game and got carried away,” Angela announced making her presence known as she eyed Blake and Seth with obvious interest. She stepped around the pillow that had fallen to the floor when she and Brant had tipped the couch over and she smiled.

“What the…” Blake blinked back at Angela trying to process what she was seeing. Turning to face Brant, Blake met his gaze with questioning eyes, “Um Brant, what’s going on here? I thought that you…”

“Need to talk to you out in the hallway,” Brant grabbed his sister’s arm gently nudging her towards the door, “Angela this is Seth. He’s Blake’s fiancé and Blake here is my sister, but she came over to talk to me about something important. Seth, I’m sure that you can talk to Angela for a minute while I’m with Blake considering that Angela has had a long week. She was in the hospital and well, when she woke up she thought she and Kevin were engaged and…”

“Huh?” Seth blinked back at Brant confusion settling in over him.

“Kevin and Angela are going to get married. She’s just dealing with the after effects of her accident, but she’s doing just fine. If you two just talk about a video game or something--you know nothing really too stressful then…” Brant tossed out a pleading look over at Seth before turning to Blake, “Don’t worry honey we can talk outside. Just give me a second.”

“Okay,” Seth eyed Brant suspiciously before looking to Angela again. He heard Brant pull Blake out of the room before he smiled at her, “So…”

“So,” Angela shifted on her feet uneasily wondering what in the world had just taken place with Brant. One second he was making complete sense and seeming rather rational, but the next, well nothing about him seemed to fit right at all.


Jenna set her bags on the counter top wondering where in the world she was going to find the energy to actually put everything away after the day that she’d had. While she’d been eager to stop off at the store and pick up a few things that she knew they needed at the apartment, she hadn’t planned on running into the big crowd that she’d got caught up in. Now all she wanted was to simply spend the rest of the evening being lazy and relaxing on the couch.

“I thought I heard you come in,” Hart popped his head in through the archway to smile at her, “I was starting to worry.”

“It’s a zoo out there,” Jenna replied reaching for one of the bags before a thought occurred to her. She set the bag down before turning to Hart once again, “and since I braved the crowds out there, how about you put these away?”

“Hmm, well I suppose it’s the least that I can do for you,” he smirked reaching out to pull her into his arms. He bent down to offer up a brief kiss before drawing back just enough to search her eyes, “I’ve missed you.”

“Clearly with that kind of reception,” she mouthed in response sliding her fingers over his shoulders and around his torso, “Obviously your day was much better than you’d anticipated.”

“Actually my day was a nightmare, but having you home makes up for it,” he explained kissing her quickly before tending to the groceries that she’d brought in.

“So tell me,” she leaned up against the counter watching him putting things away, “Did you go and see Beth?”

Hart stiffened at her question and Jenna let out a small groan.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” she couldn’t help but find herself anything, but thrilled with the notion of him going to Beth, yet she was still Sam’s mother. “And how did that work out for you?”

“I’d be lying if I said it was of any use,” Hart revealed with a heavy sigh, “Truth be told I don’t think there is any reasoning or getting through to that woman.”

“That bad huh?” Jenna couldn’t help but notice the crease in his forehead with the obvious tension he was experiencing at the memory.

“She wanted to fight about what I did to prove that I was a failure as a father,” Hart explained standing up straighter and facing her once again. “While we’d both agreed that we didn’t want Sam going to London, neither one of us could come up with anything that sounded remotely worthwhile in the hopes of keeping her here.”

“So you find yourself regretting your impulsive move to pay her a visit then, yes?” she inquired seeing him moving in closer to her.

“More than I thought I would, but I suppose this is the point in time where you tell me that you told me so because you were right. Going to Beth wasn’t a smart idea,” Hart relented reaching out to draw her in his arms again. “I was not thinking things through and it ended sourly.”

“You were just trying to do what a normal parent would do where their child was concerned. I’m not going to rub it in your face that Beth couldn’t be civil,” she pressed her index finger over his lips to silence him briefly, “although I would suggest that rather than trying to come up with some crazy scheme to keep Sam here, why don’t you just talk with her?”

“Jen, you saw how she feels about going to London,” Hart pointed out with a frown. “She’s not really going to take to the idea of my telling her that I don’t want her to leave.”

“She might not give you the answer that you’re hoping for, but on the other hand don’t you think it’s important for you to at least tell her how you feel about things?” she wiggled her brow at him suggestively, “I mean don’t you think it’s only fair to let her know what she means to you?”

“She knows I love her. I tell her that every time I see her,” he added in his own defense with a frown.

“I know that honey, but at the same time if you’re honest about your concerns with her without making it sound like you are stomping your foot down and telling her what to do, she might be more open to suggestion. I’m not saying that will keep her from wanting to follow her dreams out to London, but maybe it will give the both of you some very needed perspective on one another,” she shrugged her shoulders simply before meeting his gaze again, “It can’t hurt, right?”

“Jen, I wish it were that simple, but…” he began only to feel her press her finger against his lips once again.

“It’s as simple or as hard as you make it Hart. The choice is yours, but since you’ve seen that trying to bring Beth into your quest isn’t going to be beneficial, then maybe it’s time you rethink another route at reaching out to your daughter. I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but she is an adult--a very young adult and I would imagine if you communicated with her as if she were someone who was on the level with you, then she might be more open to hearing what you have to say.”

“And if she isn’t?” Hart questioned worriedly feeling his heart sink at the thought of losing his daughter after he’d just found her.

“Then we get through this together,” Jenna promised patting him on the chest gently. “Everything will work out as it should in the end. You just have to have faith in that.”

“I’m trying,” he confessed honestly while pulling her into his arms. He kissed the top of Jenna’s head as he found himself wondering if she was in fact right. He wondered if he would be able to lay it out on the line and be honest with Sam or rather if she would be able to see what he was saying and understand that he would be lost without the chance to be near her. He just hoped that she was as open to suggestion as Jenna was hinting at.


Diane bounced over to the phone answering it on the second ring before plopping down on the couch with a wide grin, “Tell me that you miss me already.”

“I more than miss you. I wish I was right there with you at this moment instead of this hotel,” Ben confessed brightly as Diane melted at the sound of his voice. “This place is rainy and miserable and I can’t help but wonder why in the hell I just didn’t quit my job in the first place.”

“Because we have mortgage payments,” Diane informed him with a hint of a frown. “While I’d love to be able to live on love alone we both know that’s not going to happen. Besides, even though I keep trying to talk Brant into giving me a raise, he’s not biting just yet.”

“He will,” Ben assured her brightly, “and when he does maybe I’ll change careers. Although I have to tell you right now would be a great time to start for me since the pay isn’t nearly what it should be for what I have to put up with.”

“Oh my poor baby,” Diane closed her eyes imagining Ben being cramped up in a tiny hotel room in the middle of nowhere being completely miserable. “I wish it didn’t have to be like that for you. Though you know if you go over to your suitcase, you might find something that could help you.”

“Is that right?” Ben questioned curiously as Diane heard him shuffling around his room.

“That’s right,” she teased with a hint of laughter in her tone, “I think it’ll be enough to keep you from feeling completely miserable and lonely.”

“Tell me is it anything like those photos you were trying to email me back when I worked at the office with you? You know the ones that you sent Barry by mistake,” Ben couldn’t help but joke with her.

“Ugh, don’t bring that up,” Diane groaned with a wrinkled expression, “I don’t even want to go down that road again. The last thing I need is to think that he’s gotten any bright ideas about being even remotely close to having a chance with me.”

“Hey, you were the one who sent him the emails. I was merely reminding you of that considering that…” he paused silence carrying over the line as Diane knew full well that he’d caught her surprise for him. “I don’t believe this. Diane, why would you pack your favorite stuffed animal? I thought you needed him to sleep.”

“I told you I was thinking about kicking the habit now that I have you,” Diane smiled brightly thinking about the tiny stuffed tiger that she’d tucked into Ben’s suitcase when he wasn’t looking.

“I told you that you didn’t have to do that. It’s ok that you love your tiger,” Ben reached for it before letting out a small laugh, “He’s cute and cuddly.”

“Much like you are which is why I’m sure I would be fine knowing that you two are together,” Diane informed him with a smile. “It makes me sleep better to know that you are out there with a part of me beside you.”

“I would have thought you’d want him closer to you now more than ever with me gone,” Ben teased in response squeezing the tiger to his chest.

“I figured you could use the company,” Diane explained sitting up again and looking around the living room. “Don’t get me wrong I fully expect you to take care of him while you’re away, but for now I’ll make due with what I have.”

“Which would be what exactly?” he inquired.

“I talked to my mom earlier and she found a box of my old things from when I was younger. She said she was going to stop by and drop them off later,” Diane replied with a small laugh. “She found my favorite doll that I carried with me absolutely everywhere, so I thought I would keep her with me while my two favorite guys were so far away.”

“I wish I didn’t have to be,” Ben sighed as Diane heard a rustling on his end of the line. “Look, Diane I don’t mean to cut this short, but I have to go meet with my contact out here. I’m sorry to rush like this, but…”

“Duty calls,” Diane finished for him knowingly. “I realize that Ben and for what it’s worth, I just want to say that I love you.”

“I love you and miss you like crazy,” Ben confessed in a loving tone. “I’ll call you later tonight.”

“I’ll be waiting,” she promised listening to the sound of his final breath before he hung up the phone. Closing her eyes she tried to convince herself that this would be over soon. Ben would be back and then she would be able to pick up where they left off before he’d been pulled away for work.

Now as she sat in the middle of their living room she pondered how she was going to keep busy. Opening her eyes again scanned the room wondering if perhaps she could attempt cleaning things for the millionth time since he’d left. Sure, she was a bit obsessive about it, but with Ben gone there really wasn’t much else to do. Deidra was busy for the day and with her mother on the way over, she couldn’t very well take off and explore other options.

“Maybe I’ll bake something,” Diane thought aloud realizing that would be a change for her since she wasn’t one to really enjoy all the perks of cooking. Still it would keep her occupied until her mother arrived. She started towards the kitchen, but was thwarted by the sound of the doorbell. Smiling to herself she turned around to go answer it, “You have perfect timing mom.”

Opening the door Diane prepared to invite her mom in for an afternoon of gossip, but instead she found herself face to face with one of the last people she wanted to see.

“Barry,” she frowned not happy to see him standing in front of her with a cool and confident grin on his face.

“Hey Di,” he winked down at her, “have a minute?”

“For you,” she reached for the door in an attempt to close it in his face, “never.”

“Wait,” he pleaded pushing his foot in to block her from closing it on him, “because I’ve got a few things I want to get off of my chest.”

“Go away!” she stated firmly attempting to shove the door closed on him once again.

“Diane, as much as you’d like to see that happen, well I’ve got news for you,” he blurted surprising her with his tone. She relented and opened the door a bit to see him holding a purse of hers in his hands. He held it out to her and offered up a smile, “You should really be more careful about what you leave in your office. I caught one of the guys from maintenance going through your desk and they had this on them at the time.”

“Really?” she replied worried as she began to search through her purse to make sure everything was still where she’d left it inside.

“Yeah,” he nodded before offering up a snort of a laugh, “but don’t worry I found a way to make sure you got it back before anything happened to it.”

“Thanks,” she answered politely seeing him push his glasses up over the bridge of his nose before looking beyond her into her home.

“You’ve got a nice place,” Barry noted as if awaiting an invitation to speak with her further. “I heard that Ben might be out of town, so I thought that…”

“You thought wrong,” she reached for the door once again, “Look Barry as much as I appreciate you bringing my purse over the fact to the matter is that I’ve got a lot of things to do today since it’s my day off. You understand.”

“Of course,” he replied with a simple nod, “but if you have a few minutes, then…”

“I really don’t,” she forced a polite smile, “My mom is coming over to pick me up and…”

“I understand,” he finally relented taking a step back. “I just wanted to make sure that you had that since you never know what could happen at the office.”

“I appreciate that Barry. I really do,” Diane watched him step back onto the porch before she moved to close the door. “Thanks again.”

“Sure,” he waved at her opening his mouth to say something more as Diane closed the door behind his exit. While she didn’t want to be rude, the last thing that she wanted to do was encourage anything between them considering how she’d managed to embarrass herself around him. Thinking about how Ben had reminded her of that, she couldn’t help but wonder if he had some kind of psychic ability and was trying to warn her about Barry’s impending arrival. Shrugging her shoulders she opted to return to the kitchen again knowing that a day of baking would be far more entertaining than having Barry try to capture her attention. Right now all she wanted to do was find a way not to focus on the fact that Ben was gone without being annoyed in the process. Yes, baking was good.


“So wait, you’re not only dating an Avery look alike, but she’s pregnant with your baby and she’s got some kind of injury that makes her have amnesia,” Blake eyed her brother suspiciously as she tried to process what he was saying to her, “Now she thinking that she and Kevin are engaged to one another and that she‘s having his baby.”

“That’s about it in a nutshell,” Brant nodded in confession seeing his sister throw her hands up in the air and groan.

“Damn it Brant can’t you have any normal relationships? I mean honestly this one sounds even far fetched for our family,” she shook her head before looking at him again, “Granted it’s kind of creepy in the first place that you’re dating someone who looks like the woman who stomped on your heart in the first place, but…”

“She might look like Avery, but she’s nothing like her. Angela is the woman I’ve waited to find in my life. She’s everything that I’ve ever wanted and…” Brant tried to reason with his sister seeing the doubt behind her eyes.

“And she just so happens to be an almost identical match for Avery,” Blake couldn’t help but laugh, “You know Brant I’ve heard about trying to reclaim what you lost, but generally when you do that with a person you try to get back together with them, not go out and find someone who looks like them to try to rebuild on the relationship you had before.”

“It’s not like that Blake,” Brant frowned fumbling with his fingers. He felt his frustrations mounting as he cleared his throat again, “It’s just that, well I met Angela a while ago when I was kind of sort of causing trouble for Russ and Avery…”

“You mean when you were lying to everyone and saying that you were Erin’s father?” she replied with a less than impressed expression. “I still can’t believe you lied to me of all people about that Brant.”

“Blake, I’m sorry. It was a stupid, stupid thing to do, but I wanted to be Erin’s father. I wanted to have that family and then when Avery was leaving me I was desperate. I did a lot of horrible things to everyone around me,” he continued to explain himself, “but I’ve changed.”

“Oh I can see that now that you’ve got Avery part two in the game room,” she rolled her eyes at him, “Honestly Brant I think this is a new low for you.”

“Look Blake I don’t expect you to understand any of it, but I love her. I love Angela and she’s having my babies. Like I said before we met up around Christmas and, well one thing lead to another and…” Brant tried to recount his history with Angela.

“Okay, that’s too much information for me already,” Blake wrinkled her nose in response, “So you’re pretty much telling me that you met up with some woman who for some strange reason looked like Avery and you decided to just go for it and somehow you also ended up fathering a baby.”

“Two babies,” Brant corrected her, “We’re having twins.”

“How the hell did you manage that one?” Blake frowned back at him feeling her frustrations mounting, “What? Did you just go and have unprotected sex with a stranger or something? On second thought, no don’t answer that.”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but we played it safe since we didn’t know each other and…” Brant stopped himself a frown carrying over him, “I’m not going to talk about this with you. You’re my little sister and…”

“And you’re telling me that you hooked up with some woman on a whim, you both used protection and now she’s pregnant with not one, but two babies,” Blake threw her hands up in the air a pinched squeal carrying over her. “What the hell is this all about?”

“Look Blake, I know I sound like a dog in all of this, but if you got to know Angela--if you really got to see what she was like when she has her memory back, then…” Brant tried to reason with his younger sister hating to see her disappointed with him.

“I’m not talking about your sex life or your girlfriend of the week,” she rolled her eyes facing him once again, “I’m done trying to figure that out, but what I don’t get is that she’s pregnant with your children and you two were careful. I’ve been trying for months and there hasn’t been so much as a tease at my being pregnant.”

“Wait what?” Brant’s eyes widened in surprise, “Blake, are you saying that…”

“I want to have a baby. I want Seth’s baby and we’ve been trying like crazy to make that happen,” she informed him with a huff placing her hands on her hips, “but nothing’s been happening for us. Then you just pick up some random girl and it just falls into place for you. Why is that?”

“I…I don’t know…” Brant stammered trying to process what she was saying to him, “but Blake, why are you so dead set on the idea of having a baby? Why are you even stressing out about it?”

“Because I want a family Brant. I want to give Seth what neither one of us had growing up,” she explained with tears behind her eyes, “We’ve both talked about it and it’s what is right for us.”

“Blake, you have your whole life to make a decision like that. Last time I checked Seth was still married and the last thing you two need to do is bring a baby into that confusion,” he frowned hating to see his sister getting into something over her head.

“Last time I checked you were still married to Avery,” she folded her arms in front of her chest stubbornly, “and Angela looks very pregnant in there.”

“That’s beside the point,” he stepped forward reaching out to push a piece of blonde hair from her face, “Blake you’re so young and you have your whole life ahead of you. Why would you want to do something like this now when it’s obviously not the right time?”

“Who are you to tell me it’s not the right time?” she pushed away from him glaring up at him. “Seth and I are ready for a family and I want to have a baby.”

“A baby is a whole world of responsibility Blake. It’s not just some toy that you can play with for a while and then put up on a shelf,” he informed her with a sudden seriousness.

“Don’t you think I know that Brant? I’m not some infant myself you know. I am a fully capable, rational adult and I can take care of a baby,” she huffed in response unable to believe his hypocrisy. “At least the man I love has been with me more than a few weeks.”

“That’s not fair,” he raised his finger to silence her, “You don’t understand the situation with Angela and I.”

“Maybe not, but I know enough to know that you’re in no position to judge me Brant. I know what I want,” she remarked stubbornly glaring up at him.

“And what about Seth? Does he want this too? Is he any closer to getting a divorce? What about a job? Is he going to be able to provide for you and the baby?” he questioned worry creeping in over him. “Where are you going to live?”

“Um, hello we just got a new house,” Blake informed him with a small frown, “Have you not been paying attention to anything I’ve been saying to you?”

“I have, but I also know full well that things like a family take time and planning and two stable parents,” he tried to reason with her thinking about everything that having a child would bring to her life.

“Brant, I’m not going to argue this one with you because I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to get pregnant even if it kills me,” she announced with a huff folding her arms in front of her chest, “And don’t try to talk me out of this one.”

“Fine, but at least take one word of advice,” he offered up with a small sigh, “Blake when things are ready to happen they will, but until then don’t push yourself into something you’re not ready for.”

“Brant, I want to have a family and a future with Seth,” she curled her lip in a pout. “I’m sure of that.”

“Okay, but don’t kill yourself in the process trying to make everything happen before it’s time,” he reached out to embrace her. He squeezed her in his arms tightly, “because whether you believe it or not you’ve got a lot ahead of you in terms of what’s next. It’ll all happen when it’s right.”

“I know, but I just want it to be right now like it is for you and Angela,” she mouthed in response wondering if she’d ever be fortunate enough to have the dream she’d always longed for with a family now that it seemed everyone else was having that opportunity in their lives, but her.


“So,” Seth repeated once again feeling suddenly foolish as he cleared his throat with a small laugh, “I guess we already covered that one huh?”

“Yeah, we did,” Angela nodded in response before giving him a long once over, “Seth, right?”

“Yeah,” he smiled down at her catching the way that she watched him intently, “actually…”

“You’re Kevin’s cousin,” Angela blurted out surprising him with her declaration, “Aren’t you?”

“Yeah I am,” Seth replied with a small nod, “At least that’s what they’ve told me since I was old enough to remember the family saying it.”

“I thought so,” she laughed lightly catching the humor in his tone, “I remembered a picture he had of you and your sister. Jade, wasn’t it?”

“That’s right,” he replied watching her take a seat and motioning for him to join her.

“I knew I remembered your face from somewhere. Kevin always talks so much about you,” Angela explained proudly, “He thinks the world of you and your sister and I’m so glad I finally got to meet you in person.”

“Yeah, right,” Seth cleared his throat uneasily before forcing himself to go with the flow. “We’ve heard a lot about you as well.”

“Really?” Angela’s eyes lit up at the prospect of the news. “All good things, yes?”

“Only the best,” Seth flashed her another smile before looking around the room for a moment.

“I’m glad to hear it, though I will tell you it’s the same way with you and Jade. Why Kevin always talks about what it was like with you two growing up together,” she paused for a moment as her dark eyes swept over him, “Of course you really have grown up since the last time I saw that photo of you. You’ve been working out and taking after Kevin clearly.”

“I’d like to think I surpassed Kevin in a lot of ways,” he teased with a small wink.

“Oh yeah, you’ve certainly got his ego alright,” she shook her head before motioning to the game system that she and Brant had been playing with earlier before Blake and Seth had arrived. “Tell me do you have his competitive side as well?”

“Is that a challenge that you’re issuing me Angela?” Seth wiggled his brow at her playfully.

“Only if you think you’re man enough to take me on,” she taunted further before moving to set up the game system for the both of them. “Brant’s been having fun with this one all day and I think I’m becoming an addict.”

“Brant’s a pretty good guy,” Seth noted moving in beside her. “You two must have a lot of fun together.”

“Oh we do, but it’s not like it is with Kevin. I mean sure Brant is a wonderful friend and I feel very fortunate that Kevin and I have him, but it’s not the same as being with the person I love. Surely you of all people would understand that,” she tipped her head to the side to look at him, “Kevin’s an absolute dream and I feel really lucky that you and I have a few minutes to catch up with one another since we’ll be family very soon.”

“Right,” Seth couldn’t help but nod not knowing what else to say to her.

“I’m sure Kevin will probably be asking you to be his best man and with your sister, well I would love to have her stand up in the wedding as well. I think it would be wonderful to have you both there,” Angela continued to ramble on her plans for her future with Kevin. “We want to do it before the baby is born and…”

“I’m sure you do, but I really don’t think that…” he cleared his throat uneasily as she handed him a controller.

“You think your sister will do it, yes? I mean I know that she and I haven’t met yet, but I can’t wait to actually get the chance to have a conversation with her. Kevin’s said so much about the both of you that I feel like I already know so much about your lives. I feel like we’re already family and…” Angela continued to ramble on.

“Actually,” he paused unclear on how to approach the situation with her, “I’d love to be there for that Angela.”

“Jade too?” she asked again catching the strange expression on his face. “What? Did I say something wrong? Please don’t tell me that she doesn’t approve of all of this. I know she’s young and all, but Kevin and I have something special and…”

“No, it’s not that,” Seth choked up at the thought of his sister, “It’s just that well, Jade isn’t with us right now.”

“Why? Did she go off on a trip?” Angela blinked back at him, “Is that why Kevin’s been acting so strangely? Because she’s away and he was hoping to see her?”

“No, it’s not like that at all,” Seth felt an uneasiness carry over him at the thought of explaining his sister’s death to a clearly confused Angela. Instead he forced a small smile and tried his best to keep his voice even and controlled, “Even if she’s not here in person I would imagine she would be here in spirit for Kevin’s wedding.”

“I hope that’s true because I wouldn’t want there to be any misconceptions from the beginning,” she continued to talk on as Seth watched her closely trying to decipher if she really was serious or if this was some kind of twisted act she had going on in the hopes of keeping Kevin’s attention. The longer he listened to her, the more he was convinced that she really, truly believed that she was in love with his cousin which made for a very unsettling situation especially where Kevin and Ria were concerned. As Seth thought about his best friend’s relationship with Kevin, he just hoped that whatever was going on with Angela that it didn’t hinder Kevin’s future with the woman he loved.

“For what it’s worth I think that everything has a way of working itself out in the end as it should be,” Seth offered up simply before motioning to the game system in front of them, “Just like it will be when you’re at my mercy in this game.”

“Keep dreaming Seth!” Angela teased ready to focus in some good clean competition between them as Seth wondered just what Angela’s apparent memory loss was doing not only to Kevin and Ria, but to Brant as well. Clearly this situation had to be horrible for all involved even to Angela herself.


“I can’t believe how someone would do something like this to a young girl,” Kevin gulped down looking back at Stacy who had fallen asleep on the hospital bed as Don’s worried blue eyes stared over at the bed where Stacy was. “What kind of parents would let this happen to their child?”

“No parent should ever let this happen,” Don replied feeling Ria place her hand in over his shoulder and give it a small rub as he nodded slowly. “I can’t believe that her mother hasn’t even called yet to see what was wrong. I’ll be right back, I’m going to check the lobby. Maybe she will surprise me and be there. You think you can handle staying with her?”

“Sure, no problem,” Ria nodded slowly as Don took another worried glance over at Stacy before letting out a long sigh and moving toward the door. “We’ll be here if you need us, neither one of us are leaving.”

“I really appreciate this, you really have no idea,” Don thought about what was going with Stacy and knew that he would never let this happen to any of his children. If this ever happened to Lindsay, he may just have been her brother, but he would have been ready to slaughter any man that would have touched her like that. “I’ll be right back.”

Watching Don leave the room, Ria glanced over at Kevin seeing his eyebrows tightened together in a moment of discomfort and she could see that something was shadowing over his mind. Reaching out to grab his hand she saw him grasp it in his fingers tightly before bringing it up to his lips to dispose a kiss on the back of her hand. A groan alerted them as they moved over toward Stacy’s bed when she started to stir in her sleep slightly confused by the people before her.

“Ria?” Stacy questioned in a small slur seeing the familiar face of her uncle’s old friend before her, glancing over at the male and letting out a small sigh. “What is going on? Who is he?”

“This is Kevin, he’s my fiancée,” Ria whispered seeing Stacy nod before letting out another pained sigh and Ria reached out to grab Stacy’s hand softly. “Do you remember what happened Stacy?”

“I…I remember being with Caleb and he was taking me to this big party. Then he gave me this drink and all I remember is feeling really sick,” Stacy felt a pain in her stomach letting out a long groan before feeling small tears pressing in against her cheeks. “I don’t know what happened, one moment I was having fun and then next he was on top of me and…”

“Sweetheart, it’s okay,” Kevin hushed seeing the way that Stacy stared over at him and he pressed her blonde hair back behind her ear carefully before grabbing her other hand in his tightly. “You don’t have to worry about it right now, let’s just focus on you getting better.”

“Did you save me?” Stacy muttered seeing the way Kevin nodded and she moved up the best she could to wrap her arms around Kevin’s neck hugging him tightly before letting out a small cry. “Thank you so much, I don’t know what would have happened if he would have continued…”

“It’s okay sweetheart, he’s never going to hurt you again,” Kevin closed his eyes tightly realizing that he would do anything to be a father and to have Stacy’s parents neglect her like this just broke his heart. “Don and Ria helped, they took care of you. You’re going to be okay, I promise Caleb is never going to touch you again.”

“Thank you so much,” Stacy muttered again seeing Kevin nod as she pulled back and he pressed her hair out of her face reaching out to push a tear away from her cheek. Seeing Stacy look back at Ria and move quickly to hug her as well, Kevin pondered the thought of the face that he saw earlier with Stacy. If he ever saw that face again, the guy would never be able to walk the Earth again. “Thank you so much Ria, I can’t thank either one of you enough.”

“Just get better for us kiddo,” Ria hushed seeing the way that Stacy nodded before letting out a small sigh resting back in her bed seeing Kevin staring down at her. “Don will be back in a few if you would like to see him.”

“I would really like that, but what about my mom and dad? Are they here?” Stacy questioned looking over at Kevin seeing the look in his brown eyes before she let out a small laugh seeing the way that Ria frowned at the question. “I knew they wouldn’t be, they are never here for anything and…”

“Honey what’s wrong?” Kevin asked quickly standing up from his seat as he heard her cry out grabbing a hold of her stomach as she started to cry. Moving to sit on the edge of the bed next to her he wrapped his arm around her shoulder pulling her in closer to him. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

“I just feel so bad,” she cried out feeling a pain in her stomach as Ria moved in next to her placing her hand in over Stacy’s as she let out a small cry. “My parents are never going to be here for me, they never are.”

“They care for you sweetheart,” Kevin hushed feeling her crying against his chest, feeling the dampness soaking through his shirt. Looking up at Ria he saw the worry behind her dark eyes and let out a sigh himself before tipping his finger in under Stacy’s chin. “Listen to me honey, they care about you. I know they do.”

“They love you Stacy,” Ria began seeing the way that Stacy looked up from Kevin’s shoulder before sniffing in deeply and Ria reached for a Kleenex for her. “They just have a hard time showing it.”

“The only thing close to the parents I have had in a long time is my uncle Dave,” she explained staring out at Kevin and Ria for a moment before shrugging her shoulders again. “Now it’s you two and Don. They never do anything to act like parents with me, all they do is care about themselves.”

“Well, let me ask of you to do something for me,” Kevin saw Stacy’s blue eyes stare up at him for a minute as he took in a long breath and nodded slowly. “Know this, no boy is ever cute enough to be worth all of that. You have to promise me that you are going to never let some boy pull you into something like that again.”

“I promise,” Stacy nodded realizing that by letting someone get to her like this and she knew that Kevin was right, she should never let some boy get her to react in such a way. “I will never let someone get to me like that again.”


“Don, I’m so glad that you called me. I was just on my way out to the airport to New York, but I figured I would stop in and see what’s up,” Jewel explained in an exasperated breath as she stepped off of the elevators. “I figured if you paged me that many times it had to be good. So tell me, would you like to take a trip with me to the Big Apple long enough to see some fireworks?”

“What I’d like is for you to stop being so self absorbed and start thinking about the daughter that you repeatedly ignore,” Don snapped at her not bothering with pleasantries. He marched towards her, his blue eyes shining with obvious rage, “Do you have any idea where she was tonight?”

“With Dave,” Jewel shrugged her shoulders simply before tossing her furry pink and white purse over her shoulder, “Look Don I don’t have time to play twenty questions about Stacy. Why don’t you just tell me what it was that you wanted so that I can get going. Or better yet, why don’t you just tell me all about what’s on your mind when we get on the plane? I’ll have them set up some champagne for us and…”

“No,” Don snarled in response glaring down at her with even more irritation than before, “we’re not going anywhere. I’m not leaving this hospital and neither are you.”

“Don, look I realize that you and I have a lot of catching up to do with one another, but…” she stepped in towards him sliding her index finger in along his shoulder. She arched her head up towards him and offered a small, seductive wink, “you can’t tell me that you’d wouldn’t rather be having this discussion in the air on our way to one of the greatest places in the United States today.”

“Right now I want you to stop thinking about the party life that you’ve been living in and start acting like the mother that you should have been,” Don pushed her hand away from him before lashing out at her. “Your daughter was in a place she shouldn’t have been tonight. If I hadn’t found out where she was, then there’s no telling where she might have wound up. Do you have any idea what kind of people she was around?”

“What?” Jewel blinked up at him confusion carrying over her. “She’s with my brother and…”

“Are you sure of that? Did you take the time to check in on her?” Don forced a dry, hollow breath. “I would guess you wouldn’t know where Stacy was if your life depended on it. Well, guess what Jewel I have news for you. Her life depends on you being a mother to her, so it’s time to grow up and stop acting like you’re a teenager. Your daughter needs you.”

“I’m there for my daughter,” Jewel objected with a frown. “She’s a teenager. It’s not like I can keep tabs on her all of the time.”

“Of course you can’t,” Don rolled his eyes at her. “You’re just going to fly off to New York and Paul’s doing whatever the hell it is that he does while your daughter was drugged and who knows what else they had planned for her at that party she went to with some guy who was far too old for her. The place we found her in was sleazy and…”

“And you’re always my hero,” Jewel reached out for him again, “You’ve always been there for me when I needed you and I’m glad you found my daughter. If I can repay you in any way…”

“Cut the lines Jewel,” Don huffed in response glaring down at her, “This isn’t about you. This is about Stacy.”

“Don, the last time I saw her she told me to go to hell. I haven’t been around her,” she explained to him with a scowl.

“That’s exactly my point. If you were around and keeping an eye on her, then she wouldn’t be roaming about putting herself on the line Jewel. She needs a mother who isn’t going to ignore her or push her to the side because it doesn’t fit into her plans,” Don continued to rant down at her. “She needs someone to look after her and protect her.”

“She’s almost a grown up Don. I can’t tell her what to do,” Jewel cursed in response stomping her foot stubbornly.

“Yeah, you can because the key word in all of that is almost Jewel,” he leaned in closer to her hearing her cell phone ringing in her purse. “If that’s the pilot you need to tell him that you’re canceling the flight because your daughter needs you.”

“But Don you don’t understand what’s going on in New York,” Jewel curled her lip in protest, “I’m meeting with my agent out there and…”

“And if you don’t show me that you’re going to step up to the plate and be a mother to your daughter, then so help me Jewel,” Don warned before shaking his head at her, “It’s time you grow up and if you can’t do that for your daughter, then maybe she would be better off without you. Maybe she should be with Dave because at least with him I know she’d be loved and cared for.”

“I love my daughter,” Jewel objected reaching into her purse and pulling out her cell phone.

“Then prove it,” Don swiped the phone from her hand opening it up only to tear the top off it off and toss it across the hallway. “Your daughter’s going to need you when she wakes up, so make sure you’re there.”

“Don,” Jewel began her eyes widening in astonishment as Don stomped off down the hallway in a rage. She looked to the pieces of her phone seeing them scattered on the floor. She contemplated picking them up, but instead opted to chase after Don hoping that she could find a way to make him see that she wasn’t a bad person even if it meant staying around to see what kind of trouble Stacy wound up in this time!


“You know,” Heather repeated it suddenly dawning in on her as she looked to Kyle. She saw something behind his hazel eyes and suddenly she’d felt as if she’d fall to pieces. That look of love he’d given her was now replaced with what she perceived as disappointment and anger. Turning away from him she fought to control herself, but it was no use. She knew he would never see her in the same light again. “How long have you…”

“Not as long as you might think, but I don’t care,” he blurted out reaching out to her and touching her shoulder, “Heather none of that matters to me.”

“You’re just saying that because you’re trying to calm me down. I know you can’t mean that. I know you have to hate me Kyle. If you’ve seen the movie, then…” she turned around to face him again, her blood-shot green eyes meeting his again, “You’ve seen the movie haven’t you?”

“Heather, it’s not something that I want to…” he began shifting on his feet clearly uncomfortable with the conversation.

“Oh my God you have,” she brought her hand up over her mouth to stifle the surprised shock that carried over her. “That person who sent me the fax must’ve told you--they had to have found a way to make sure that you would see it and…”

“It was just an accident,” Kyle began seeing her starting to panic, “It was just by chance that I saw it and…”

“Nothing happens by chance. I get that fax today and then you see the movie and…” she shook her head before sinking back onto the bed, “No wonder you were on edge tonight. Kyle you must hate me. You must think that I’m this horrible person that…”

“No, I don’t think that at all,” he cut her off abruptly refusing to allow herself the opportunity to beat herself up all over again, “Granted I didn’t really welcome the idea of seeing Kellen in that way ever in this lifetime, but it’s okay. It isn’t going to change anything between us.”

“Oh come on Kyle. Your wife was an ex-adult film actress,” Heather mouthed with disgust in her tone, “I was in the kind of movies that make me sick…”

“Hey, you did what you had to do to survive. I don’t care about anything other than the fact that it hurt you,” Kyle reached out to her sliding his thick fingers into her long blonde hair, “I hate that this hurt you and I wish I could’ve saved you from all of this pain.”

“I just wish that I wouldn’t have waited--that we wouldn’t have put off making love to one another like we did. If I would’ve been with you instead of having Tony…” she closed her eyes and let out a shivering exhale, “things would’ve been so different for us. You wouldn’t be with someone who is damaged goods and…”

“You’re not damaged goods,” he frowned at her words, “and you need to stop thinking that way. You’re my wife and I don’t let anyone hurt my wife.”

“Kyle come on. You can see what a slut I am. That may have been the first time, but there were a couple other movies. That wasn’t the only time that I…” Heather bit down on her lower lip and swallowed down on the lump that formed in the back of her throat, “Kellen and I were there for a while--we both didn’t have anywhere else to go and after Tony threatened me…”

“You don’t have to explain yourself Heather. I know whatever you did that you did it to survive. You were trying to protect yourself and I don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks about the situation. You are a strong, beautiful woman and I know that you did what you had to in order to keep pushing on. I would never hold that against you,” Kyle informed her honestly, the raw emotion behind his voice. “It was something you endured and pushed your way past.”

“Kyle you say that like I’m some great person or something. You’re acting as if I cheated on a test or something,” she frowned back at him unable to believe how lightly he was taking the situation. “I was an adult film actress Kyle.”

“Yeah and I was arrested for having sex with a corpse in public,” Kyle offered up seeing the confusion that settled in over her face. “Don’t ask…”

“No, you can’t just open a loaded statement like that and leave it that way,” Heather couldn’t help but reply caught completely off guard by his statement.

“Look Grady was doing some film for his film class in college and he volunteered me to play the psycho killer in that movie. It was very degrading to say the least, but at the end my character was supposed to have been obsessed with some woman in the film. The final scene was in a mortuary where there was this coffin and…” Kyle shuddered at the memory before shaking his head, “Needless to say Grady didn’t get the proper authorization to clear the scene and the day we shot it, there was a funeral in the next room. One of the people attending the funeral walked by and entered the room we were in by mistake. The person thought that I was really having sex with a corpse and called the police. I spent the next thirteen hours trying to explain myself to the moron deputy that stopped by to bust me. I tried to tell him that even though my pants were down, it wasn’t a real person and I wasn’t really having sex with her, but rather it was just a movie. Grady and I spent the night in jail after that until the man Grady had set things up with at the funeral home came in a day early from his vacation to clear our story to the authorities. Up until that point they thought we were some group of sick college kids who got their kicks out of having sadistic sex rituals in strange places. Plus add to the fact that I refused to let Grady hire an actress for the role since I didn’t want to be going through the motions faking on an actress only made it worse. He was being a smart ass and went to one of those sex shops and bought a blow up doll, so you can see why the cops thought it was some kind of kinky perverted situation.”

Heather watched him with astonished eyes straining to refrain from breaking out into laughter, “You’re making this all up, aren’t you?”

“Unfortunately no,” Kyle shook his head in response. “If you don’t believe me I can call Grady up and have him bring the film over. He got an A on it, but I never lived it down after having to endure the night in jail. I’m being totally serious about this one. I mean seriously do you have any idea what it was like having two deputies drag you off into jail with your pants around your ankles when you’re wearing nothing more than some little flesh colored thong? It was humiliating.”

Heather finally broke into a small laugh, “That is too outlandish to be true.”

“Outlandish or not, it’s true and I could’ve killed him,” Kyle felt a moment of relief carry over him at the smile that touched over her lips. Casually he brushed the backside of his hand across her cheek feeling her lean into his touch. “Though this proves a very relevant point here. If you can get over the fact that your husband was caught fornicating in a public place with a blow up doll, then I’m pretty sure I can overlook the fact that you and Kellen, well…you know.”

“Kyle it’s not something that you can just overlook,” she frowned back at him thinking about the subject at hand.

“Why not?” he questioned curiously seeing her ready to go on the attack with herself again, “Heather you did what you had to do in order to survive. No one could fault you that and yes, while I hate like hell what Tony did to you, I won’t let you take the blame for this. If you do, then I’m every bit as much to blame.”

“How can you say that?” she frowned over at him.

“For starters I was stupid enough not to push the situation further and find you even if Sarah did try to keep us away from one another. I should’ve felt you and figured out where you were. I should‘ve been there to protect you--to keep you safe,” he continued reaching out to her and pulling her into his arms before she could protest.

“You couldn’t have known. I should’ve just come home and…” she felt him brush his thumb over her bottom lip gingerly.

“I should’ve been there to bring you home and I wish I could erase all of the pain that you’ve been through over the years Heather. You never deserved any of that,” he explained leaning in to kiss her forehead gently. “Heather I love you and I hate that you’ve been hurt.”

“You couldn’t have stopped it because I was too damned stubborn,” she added with a sigh closing her eyes and leaning into his touch, “I was just so afraid that you would hate me and…”

“How could I hate you?” he questioned lazily holding her on his lap, his hazel eyes reaching out into hers, “As far as I can see you’re everything I’ve ever wanted. The past is irrelevant.”

“You say that now Kyle, but I know that this isn’t over. Someone wants to bring that part of my life up again and…” she explained feeling a moment of panic overtaking her.

“And if they try, the world is going to see how some jerk took advantage of you and hurt you. If anything maybe it’ll motivate other girls in your position to speak up and stop someone from hurting them,” he suggested sensing all of the guilt she’d carried with her over the years, “Heather this wasn’t your fault and I swear if I ever see Tony again, he’s a dead man.”

“I thought I saw him tonight,” she blurted out catching him by surprise with her words, “I thought I saw him and the man who was directing those films when we were at dinner. I wasn’t sure if my mind was just playing tricks on me because of the fax, but…”

“Why didn’t you say anything? Why didn’t you tell me?” Kyle questioned blinking back at her in confusion.

“Because I was afraid that you would have to hear about what I did. I didn’t want to tell you about what a moron I was when I left town and secondly because I was afraid. Even after all these years, I can’t stop but think about Tony and what he did to me that day on the studio set. When I think about the way he got on me and…” she shook her head firmly clenching her fingers into her fists, “I can’t go there again. I just can’t do it.”

“You won’t have to,” Kyle cupped her face in his hands, “because Heather you’re not that same scared little girl anymore. You’re a strong, beautiful woman who is intimidated by no man. You’re an incredible mother and the woman I love.”

“Kipp won’t see it that way when he finds out about Kellen and I together,” Heather sighed returning to her latest worry. “If he realizes that Kellen was the man that I was with, then he’s going to be furious. He already threatened to take Charles away from me once before and…”

“And if he even tries, we’re going to put up one hell of a fight. You’re a fantastic mother and Charles belongs with you,” Kyle informed her point blank, his hazel eyes filled with a newfound determination, “Kipp knows that. Even if he’s having a temper tantrum, he knows that you’re an amazing mother to Charles and what you did a decade ago doesn’t define that.”

“I’m just so afraid that…that he’s going to find out about this the wrong way--that he’ll learn about Kellen and I and…” Heather closed her eyes and exhaled, “I’m just afraid of what this will do to the future Kyle. If word gets out about those movies…”

“Then we set the record straight,” Kyle suggested urging her to meet his eyes again, “Heather I love you and I’m going to protect you. I may have failed you once, but…”

“No Kyle, I failed myself,” she shook her head refusing to allow him the chance to carry any of the burden she’s held over herself all of the years she’d been away from him. “I can’t blame you for what I’ve done.”

“This wasn’t your fault. None of it was and I’m not going to let you sit back and destroy yourself for what some monster did to you. In fact if I find your manager…” Kyle started again his teeth gritting with a jolt of rage.

“William’s dead. Someone killed him a while ago and I don’t know who did it, but he’s not a part of my life any longer. When Kipp found me, I ditched William. I refused to let him bully me any longer and I was done with him. I hadn’t seen him for a few months before he died. I refused to fall back into that life again…” she explained sitting up straighter.

“There’s the fighting spirit I know about you,” Kyle nodded in response squeezing her in closer to him, “though William got off easy if you ask me because I would’ve loved to meet both him and Tony in a dark alley.”

“Kyle don’t say that,” she frowned down at him, “Don’t you even think it.”

“No one messes with my girl and lives to talk about it,” Kyle explained matter of fact curling his arm around her possessively, “My wife will not be treated like dirt by anyone. If anyone even tries to hurt you again…”

“As long as I have you and Charles I have all that I need,” she confessed glancing over to the crib where her son had drifted off to sleep. She couldn’t help but smile watching him holding his teddy bear. “I just love him so very much.”

“And he loves you too which is why I swear to you that I’m not going to let anyone keep him away from you. Heather, you are a good mother and anyone who knows you can see that,” he whispered warmly over the side of her neck. She turned her head to meet his hazel eyes again and he couldn’t help but smile, “You’re everything a man could’ve asked for and I love you more and more with each passing second.”

“Flaws and all?” she questioned in a nervous tone, her voice small and awkward.

“Life just gave us both a few more bumps in the road than either one of us expected, but we’re stronger because of it. We’re both fighters Heather and that’s something that this world can’t take away from either one of us,” he mouthed sliding his fingers into her hair once again and beckoning her in closer to him. “I love you so much.”

“I love you too Kyle,” she whispered in response feeling his lips easing in against hers in a tender, display of the emotion he’d carried for her.

She sighed against his lips, her mouth parting in delicious invitation as Kyle wrapped his arm around her waist. He squeezed her in against him, his tongue darting between her soft, swollen lips before he turned her in his arms. They fell back onto the pillows and he pulled back ever so slightly, taking the time to trace his index finger over the lines of her face. She closed her eyes trembling at his touch. His fingers pressed in over her cheek coaxing her into another heavenly kiss now that they lay side by side with one another.

“I have spent my whole life loving you Heather and nothing is going to change that for me,” he assured her, whispering warmly against her mouth. His words buzzed over her causing her to shiver in anticipation when his palm fanned out over her hip urging her thigh around his waist. Their eyes connected again and she pressed her hand in flat against his chest.

“I was just so afraid that you would stop seeing me Kyle for who I am and start seeing the person I became,” she admitted peeling open his shirt longing to feel the warmth of his body beside hers.

“I see the person you became over the years and I love her more than I ever thought possible,” he replied delving in for another kiss as she pushed his shirt from his shoulders sliding it down his arms. He backed up just enough to comply with her request before leaning forward to bunch up the fabric of her blouse in his large palm, pulling it out from where it was carefully tucked in her slacks.

“How did I get so lucky to have a man like you in my life,” she couldn’t help but ask feeling him fall back onto the mattress, his hands roaming over her body as she unbuttoned her blouse. She shrugged out of it before leaning down to kiss him again with a newfound tenacity.

“I guess fate had bigger plans for us,” he mouthed in response reaching around to unhook her bra when a loud, pinched wail cut through the moment. Both froze in place when the sound of Kellen’s voice filtered through their room followed by the sound of Kellen banging on the door in a frenzy.

“Please Kyle, Heather just open up! Please just open the door,” Kellen bellowed frantically causing Kyle and Heather to exchange glances with one another. “He’s scaring the hell out of me!”

“Paul,” Kyle and Heather blurted out in unison realizing that their alone time with one another would have to be put on hold long enough for both of them to take care of the obvious situation arising between their friends.


“Well, now that I have the room to myself,” Paul sighed lifting his feet up from the ground and setting them against the coffee table, he reached for the remote to turn something new on. “Maybe I can have a room to myself watching some good tunes….”

Hearing his cell phone ringing he reached into his pockets to see if he could find it but realized he must have been have dropped it in the process. Standing up from the couch he threw the cushions off the seat, digging deep inside the couch to finally grab a hold of it.

“Here we are, that’s what I like,” Paul grabbed his cell phone from the back of couch, finally pushing the button and pulling the phone to his ear. “Now that you got me, what’s up.”

“Mr. Flare?” the voice on the other side muttered as Paul’s joking mood turned to a sudden still, knowing that something was wrong just by the other side of the phone. “Something happened to your daughter Stacy.”

“Something happened to Stacy?” Paul stood up from the couch grabbing a hold of the keys from his coffee table letting out a small breath before looking back at the clock. “Where is she? What’s wrong?”

“She’s at the hospital right now, just ask for her when you get here,” the nurse informed him as she took in a long breath. “There was an accident she was in, but she was okay enough to give one of my coworkers your number and…”

“Say no more, I’ll be right there,” Paul hung up his phone quickly attaching it back on his belt before moving toward the door. Not even bothering to tell Kyle and Heather what happened he knew that his little girl was hurt and he didn’t care what happened. He was going to be there as soon as possible. Getting in the car quickly he realized that he should have made contact with her sooner than he did. “I’m coming little one, I’m coming.”


Becca stepped out of the shadows watching Kipp as it was clear he was lost in some kind of nightmare. Seeing how intense his response seemed to be to whatever was troubling him, she moved forward sliding into bed beside him.

“It’s okay Kipp,” she whispered in a low, breath of a tone, running her fingers over his spine and feeling him stiffen beneath her touch. He shifted on the blankets turning in towards her and she smiled bringing her fingers up through his dark hair lazily. “Everything will be okay.”

“Heather,” he mouthed her name, his eyes still closed as she leaned in closer to him knowing full well even in his slumber he must’ve caught the whiff of the perfume she’d been wearing. Smiling inwardly she inched in closer to him knowing full well that this was the opportunity that she had been waiting for.

“I’m right here,” she whispered massaging the lines of his bare chest thinking about how she’d managed to get him out of his clothes earlier when he’d passed out. It had taken some work, but now that she was beside him feeling the warmth of him so very close to her, she knew that she’d made the right decision in waiting for him. She tapered her fingers off into his hair, her arm curling around his shoulders as she continued to speak to him. “I’m here for you Kipp.”

“I missed you,” he mouthed under his breath turning to his side and dropping his arm around her waist instinctively. “I’m sorry…so sorry.”

“It’s okay,” she whispered bringing her lips to his neck while her hands traveled beneath the blankets ready to bring her seduction into full effect now that she had Kipp where she wanted him. Smiling to herself she vowed to make tonight special because tonight would be the night that they would all be sorry. Tonight she would be one step closer to making everything she’d been hoping for a reality and nothing would be able to stop her from here on out!


...to be continued...