Episode 385

“Stop!” Kipp blurted out in a firm, determined voice. He placed his hands on Becca’s shoulders and pried her away from him in an attempt to put a distance between them. He felt her inch forward and he in turn moved back reaching out to one of the discarded blankets in the hopes of keeping himself covered from her frenzied eyes. “Becca, I want you to leave.”

“You want me to leave?” she repeated with a small laugh shaking her head at the suggestion, “Oh come on Kipp. You know that’s the last thing you want. Admit it even though you’re feeling guilty about what’s happening with us, you do feel it to.”

“No, I don’t,” Kipp shook his head firmly, “I don’t know where you came up with the idea that I wanted any of this, but I’m going to put an end to that though right now.”

“You were the one that invited me back here with you,” she scoffed in response placing her hands on her hips. “You called me up and asked me to come over. You told me that you needed me for something and when I arrived, you pulled me into a kiss. You told me about how you tried to deny the attraction we’d felt for one another, but you couldn’t hold back on it any longer.”

“No, that’s not right,” Kipp shook his head firmly keeping the blanket secured tightly around his waist. “I know I wouldn’t do that.”

“You did and when you kissed me, I knew you felt it too. You told me that you’ve been playing hard to get in the office because you had Kellen, but that was a thing of the past,” she continued to explain to him seeing his face twist with disbelief.

“No, I wouldn’t do that,” he shook his head further as a dull ache throbbed in his temple, “I know that I wouldn’t do that.”

“Kipp, don’t lie to yourself about who you are. You’re a man with wants and needs and Kellen hasn’t been providing them to you. You’ve been burned by love when Heather rejected you that you reached out for the first thing that came your way. Kellen took advantage of that. He saw when you were vulnerable and he manipulated you. You told me that yourself,” she continued with an impassioned plea, “That’s why you asked me over here. You knew that you only felt alive when we were together--when we were making love.”

“We didn’t make love,” Kipp snapped back at her bringing one hand up into his hair. He closed his eyes for a brief moment and strained to remember how it was that Becca wound up in his bedroom.

“Yes we did,” she stepped forward touching the side of his arm gently, “You told me you loved me and that you wanted to be with me.”

“No,” Kipp backed away from her, “I’m positive that I didn’t do that.”

“Yes you did. We did. Kipp you made love to me and told me that you never felt this way about anyone before,” she continued to press on urging him to meet her gaze. “You said that you felt an instant attraction to me from the moment you hired me--that you knew it was only a matter of time before we wound up with one another.”

“Becca when I hired you it was because I wanted you as my assistant. I didn’t have any thoughts about romance between us and I still don’t,” Kipp stated plainly his jaw flexed with tension that coiled up and over his neck and shoulders. “We are coworkers and that’s it.”

“No, we’re a lot more than coworkers. You love me Kipp. I know you do,” she continued biting down on her lower lip, tears threatening to overtake her. “I knew it when I had you inside of me offering me everything you had. When we were together as one lost in the passion that you said only existed between us.”

“No,” he interrupted again attempting to make sense of his jumbled emotions. “That didn’t happen.”

“The hell it didn’t. Kipp you asked me to make love with you and I did. We did and it was one of the best experiences of my life,” she informed him point blank, “Even if you are going to deny it happened, the fact to the matter is that you gave yourself to me. You wanted me and we did what we were both wanting to do for weeks.”

“I want you to leave,” Kipp gritted his teeth trying to will away the ache inside of him that remained after he’d obviously drank far too much.

“To leave?” her eyes widened in response, “No, I’m not going anywhere. Kipp, you’re confused but I can help you. I can make you see what was happening here--what we have together…”

“We have nothing,” he stepped forward reaching out to touch her shoulder. Gently he nudged her towards the door, “We have less than nothing Becca and I want you out of here.”

“No Kipp. I’m not leaving,” she shook her head firmly planting her feet in the ground. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“We can do this one of two ways. You can leave on your own or I can call the police,” he warned her sharply, his dark eyes filled with a newfound anger. “Becca I want you to go.”

She stood silent for a long moment before glaring over at him. Standing up straighter, she rolled her shoulders back and tossed her long, blonde hair over her spine. “So that’s how it is going to be?”

“Becca please,” he sighed not knowing what to do now that it was clear that his head was killing him and his life was spiraling out of control.

“Please what?” her eyes narrowed in over at him, “You want me to just disappear after I let you make love to me? You want me to just slip out the back door to your life after I let you come inside me?”

“I didn’t do that,” Kipp asserted his position once again finding it hard to believe that he would even think of asking Becca over especially on a night like tonight, “Nothing happened between us.”

“You weren’t saying that when I had you inside of me--when you were loving every second of what I had to give you,” she spat out at him her words full of venom and rage.

“I didn’t do anything to you or with you. Whatever happened here it wasn’t because I wanted it,” he informed her bluntly, hating to be cruel, but with the wild look behind her eyes he could see there was no other way.

“Despite what you wanted or not, you can’t pretend that it didn’t happen--that we didn’t happen Kipp,” she glared at him, her eyes narrowing in on him. She stood still for a long moment before finally breaking away and reaching for the jacket she‘d been wearing on the way over. Sliding into it, she tied it around her waist before meeting his angry eyes again, “This is far from over with us Kipp. You have no idea what you’ve just opened the door up to between us.”

“Go home Becca. Please,” Kipp sighed still trying to make sense of the situation, “Just go home and let this go. Stop chasing something that isn’t going to happen.”

“It happened tonight and even though you’re feeling bad about it now, tomorrow you’ll change your tune. You’ll remember how much you do love me and we’ll be fine,” she flashed him a bright smile before blowing a kiss at him, “I love you Kipp.”

“Go,” he marched past her opening up the front door to his home. He stood still feeling her saunter past him. Her hand eased over his bare chest and he felt an involuntary shudder sweep over his body. He looked out into the yard and saw one of his neighbors standing there on the lawn next door watching Kipp and Becca with obvious interest.

“See you later lover,” Becca paused tipping up on her toes before whispering in his ear. She leaned forward pressing a hot, wet kiss over the side of neck only to feel him lean back and out of her reach. She giggled squeezing his chest again before winking at him, “I just love it when you play hard to get, but rest assured you’ll be very hard the next time I do get you where I want you.”

Kipp shuddered at the suggestion, “Just…just go…”

Becca laughed again giving him one last look over her shoulder before she stepped out onto the lawn. She paused momentarily to wave at the gawking neighbor before Kipp closed the door behind her. He locked it twice over before leaning up against the door and wondering just what the hell happened to him for him to end up in such an unexpected and completely out of character position with a woman he barely knew. Thinking about what she’d said, Kipp felt a sick feeling in the sick of his stomach. Regardless of what Becca was telling him he was convinced that he would never, ever fall into what she was suggesting between them. It could never happen. Not ever or could it?


Kellen sank onto the couch thinking about how he would’ve much rather been at home with Kipp on a night like tonight. Lately they’d had so many problems between them and it was getting hard to deal with each one now that they were compiling exponentially. Closing his blue eyes Kellen thought back to a happier time when he and Kipp were with one another--to a time when things seemed lighter, happier between them.

“Don’t look,” Kellen urged seeing the way that Kipp’s curiosity was overtaking him.

“Kellen, I have to get back to what I was working on,” Kipp started to frown feeling his lover tugging on his hand gently while keeping him blindfolded. “If I don’t get all of those contracts looked over, then Heather’s never going to be in business.”

“She can afford for you to take the time to enjoy yourself a little bit,” Kellen urged him on stepping in behind him. He wrapped his arm around Kipp’s waist and smiled, “Besides there is something to be said about having you this close to me and blindfolded. It’s very sexy.”

“Kellen,” Kipp tipped his head back a tiny smirk carrying out over Kipp’s lips, “why did I know that this was going to be about your wanting to turn this into something sexy?”

“Who said I was going anywhere even remotely sexy with this,” Kellen teased reaching out to drag his index finger over Kipp’s bottom lip. “Just trust me when I tell you that you’re going to love this.”

“Kellen, I really have a lot of work to do…” Kipp sighed again remembering his commitment to Heather and the company.

“Believe me, this will take your mind off of work for a little bit,” Kellen mouthed in response leaning in to stifle his lover’s protests with a quick kiss. He felt Kipp respond to the kiss and before he could say anything further in response Kellen placed his index finger over Kipp’s lips, “Just stay put. I’ve got something for you, but it requires you don’t move.”

“Kellen,” Kipp sighed feeling Kellen move away from him. He waited for a few more moments before sensing that something had changed in the room around them. “Kellen, where did you go?”

“I’m still here, but you’re going to have to just hold on a moment,” Kellen adjusted the things he’d had ready for Kipp. “Just give me one more second and I’m almost ready.”

“That’s it I can’t take it anymore,” Kipp reached up to tug at the blindfold on his eyes, “I’m taking a look whether you’re ready or not.”

“Kipp,” Kellen balked back at him with a huff.

“Kellen, I’m sorry, but…” Kipp stopped himself when he noticed that the lights were all off. Everything in the room was dark except for the small flickering flames on the oversized pink and blue cake that Kellen was holding. Blinking back at the glowing of the flames Kipp couldn’t help but gasp. “Kellen, what is all of this?”

“I did my homework,” Kellen informed him honestly, “I did a little researching and I discovered something that you didn’t want me to find out.”

“You mean…” Kipp started finding himself at a loss when he noticed the writing on the top of the cake.

“You didn’t honestly think that I would be with you and not take the time to learn when it was your birthday,” Kellen teased with a bright grin approaching Kipp. “Sure, I know that you gave up celebrating birthdays around the time you turned eighteen, but I figured that this year you had a lot to celebrate.”

“Kellen, how did you…” Kipp blinked back at him. “I mean I never really even thought about my birthday, but…”

“That’s because you don’t take the time to think about you, but this year I vowed not to let you lose sight of this moment,” Kellen informed him placing the cake down on the countertop in front of Kipp. He reached for his lover’s hand and brought it up to his lips in a chaste kiss, “You do so much for everyone else, that I thought it was time for me to do something for you.”

“Kellen I…” Kipp started unable to repress the smile that carried over him, “but it’s not my birthday yet. It’s…”

“In about twenty seconds,” Kellen corrected noting the time. He reached out to Kipp sliding his arms around his waist, “make that ten…nine…eight…”

Kipp grinned gently reaching out to touch the side of Kellen’s face finding himself touched by the thought and the effort that his lover had put into making this birthday special.

“I just know this year is going to be a better one for both of us,” Kellen mused leaning in to kiss Kipp.

“It already is because I have you,” Kipp responded warmly moving in to kiss his lover with the same tenderness that Kellen had offered up earlier. “Although I have a confession to make about all of this…”

“What’s that?” Kellen questioned lazily his fingers trailing into Kipp’s hair.

“I love the cake, but I don’t think it’s nearly as sweet as you are,” Kipp mouthed bringing his arms around Kellen’s muscled torso.

“Okay stop,” Kellen waved his hand in the air in front of Kipp, “Now you’re just being cheesy.”

“No I’m being honest,” Kipp brushed his fingertips against Kellen’s cheek, “I’ve never known anyone like you Kellen. You’ve turned my life around in so many ways and I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to not have you near me.”

“I’ll always be near you,” Kellen promised with a small shrug of his shoulders. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Kipp whispered seeing Kellen take a step back and reach for the cake again.

“Now blow out the candles silly,” Kellen waved over at Kipp, “so that way you can get around to opening your present.”

“Since you put it that way,” Kipp leaned forward moving in to blow out the candles. He took a moment to collect himself before blowing out all of the candles in one puff. Kellen clapped his hands together after he set the cake down on the counter.

“That’s my man,” Kellen cheered excitedly moving across the kitchen to turn on one of the lights.

“Well what can I say I‘m always excited at the idea of opening presents,” Kipp shrugged his shoulders reaching for one of the candles in the cake and pulling it out of the frosting. He dipped it between his lips and took a taste of the frosting. “What is it by the way?”

“Me,” Kellen replied in a confident tone watching Kipp turn around to discover Kellen clad only in a strategically placed bow. Kellen tipped his head to the side and smiled, “Do you like it?”

“I love it,” Kipp grinned giving him a long once over, “but I’ll enjoy even more taking the time to unwrap it.”

“I thought you might,” Kellen moved forward pulling his lover into an embrace as the two found themselves wrapped up in a celebration of their own.

“Oh Kipp,” Kellen sighed reopening his eyes and wondering how things could go from so good between them, to so frazzled now that Kipp’s new assistant was making their lives a living nightmare. Looking to the clock across the living room Kellen tried to stay focused--to think about anything other than the fact that he was stuck on Heather and Kyle’s couch while Kipp was off somewhere sulking about the way the day had gone. Even now all Kellen wanted to do was find his lover and reach out to him in the hopes of making things right.

“You still awake out here,” Kyle’s voice broke through Kellen’s thoughts as Kellen looked up to see Kyle standing behind the couch with a pillow in hand.

“Yeah,” Kellen paused for a moment, “unless you’re rethinking that whole beating me up thing in which case no I’m sleeping.”

Kyle couldn’t help but laugh at the comment. He saw Kellen’s eyes widened as Kyle lowered the pillow towards him.

“Oh God you’re going suffocate me, aren’t you?” Kellen brought his own hands up over his face to fend off Kyle’s attack.

“Hardly,” Kyle couldn’t help but let out an amused laugh, “Though it would serve you right for the way that you were doing what you were doing with Heather in that movie.”

“It was blocking pure and simple. Believe me the last thing I would want to be doing is sticking any part of myself inside of her and…” Kellen tried to offer up in the hopes Kyle wouldn’t want to kill him all over again.

“Okay stop before you start. That’s way too much information for me,” Kyle groaned inwardly tossing the pillow at Kellen, “Just make sure you don’t ever think about anything like that again.”

“Believe me I wouldn’t,” Kellen shuddered at the thought, “Heather isn’t my type.”

“But Kipp is huh?” Kyle eyed Kellen closely.

Kellen nodded back at him, “Sure you might be nice eye candy, but Kipp’s it for me. I’ve never felt anything for someone like I do for him. I love him Kyle and I can’t stand the thought of losing him.”

“Are you going to tell him about the movie?” Kyle couldn’t help but ask.

“I don’t know,” Kellen sighed closing his eyes for a moment, “I mean how do you bring that up to the person you love? How is there a good time to say, ‘Hey guess what honey? I’m an ex-porn star and I’ve had sex with the mother of your child.’ It just doesn’t feel like a dinner conversation especially now that he’s upset with me.”

“He seems like he’s upset about a lot of things, but it’s not Heather’s fault,” Kyle sat on the back of the couch thinking about everything that had happened in one day, “He said a lot of things he shouldn’t have to her you know.”

“I know,” Kellen nodded in response, “and it’s probably my fault because I got him so worked up earlier when we were fighting. I was just so upset about that twit that he hired to work for him that I really railed into him.”

“It doesn’t matter why he was feeling that way. The important thing is that he stops trying to hurt her. She’s been through enough already and to hear him threaten her with Charles,” Kyle added feeling a tension carry over him.

“He didn’t mean it. He knows Heather is a wonderful mother. He’s not going to take Charles away from her,” Kellen tried to assure Kyle. He tipped his head up to see the thought sweeping in over Kyle. “He loves Heather in his own way and knows that doing something like that to her is unforgivable.”

“It’s beyond unforgivable and maybe when you see him, you should remind him of that because I would hate to have to go to battle with Kipp over this, but I will if he hurts her. If he even thinks about taking out his anger on her with Charles,” Kyle warned sharply making no mistakes about where his loyalty was. “He’s not going to make her think she’s going to lose her son again.”

“He didn’t mean it Kyle. I know in his heart he didn’t,” Kellen offered up with a heavy sigh, “He’ll be fine in the morning.”

“See to it he is because as I said before I’m not going to let him or anyone else hurt Heather. We’re clear on that right?” Kyle eyed him for a long moment before taking a step back.

“Yeah we’re clear,” Kellen nodded seeing Kyle return to the bedroom as Kellen’s thoughts lingered to the man he loved and he found himself wondering if he would ever truly be able to make things right again with Kipp after the fights they’d been having. While Kellen was certain that Kipp would come around to apologize to Heather, Kellen couldn’t help but wonder if Kipp would forgive him for the things he’d done. That in itself was enough to ensure that Kellen had one hell of a night lost in his thoughts now that fear of his relationship coming to an end was looming over his head.


Heather held Charles in her arms thinking about everything that had happened over the last twenty four hours. She’d gone from being on the top of the world to feeling like the walls were closing in on her. She hadn’t felt that way in such a very long time and now that it seemed life was finally on track someone was ready to rip the rug right out from underneath her. Kissing her son’s head gently, she placed him in his crib before looking down at him and thinking about how the news of her past could effect him.

“I’m not going to let someone destroy your future just because your mother made a bad decision in the past,” Heather vowed feeling a hand on her shoulder. She tipped her head back to see Kyle standing behind her. He curled his arm around her waist and squeezed her in closer to him.

“We’ll get to the bottom of this,” he promised feeling her stiffen in his arms. She opened her mouth to say something before opting to just not. Reaching out to skim his fingertips over her soft skin, he couldn’t help but want to erase the pain that he knew she’d carried with her all of these years. “Heather, it’s going to be okay.”

“I know,” she nodded biting down on her lower lip before her green eyes met his again with a newfound mixture of determination and stubbornness that she’d used as a defense mechanism for all of the years she’d been on her own. “This isn’t going to ruin me.”

“No it’s not,” he promised brushing his thumb over the side of her cheek.

“If some jerk thinks that they can take me down by telling the world that I was in a few adult films, then let them try,” she decided puffing out her chest now that a whole new spark of determination carried over her. She met her husband’s eyes seeing the love and support behind them and in that second she felt herself overcome with a new sense of strength. She was no longer Heather the meek and mild. She wasn’t a victim anymore and she was tired of falling into that role again and again. Yes, someone was trying to make her life hell, but they only were able to do so if she allowed it. “I’m not ashamed of who I am or where I’ve come in my life anymore.”

“You shouldn’t have to be,” Kyle nodded surprised to see the shift in Heather after she’d been a nervous wreck moments earlier. He stepped back watching her move around to pull open the blankets on their bed.

“No one is going to bully me around by trying to manipulate me. I’m done with that,” she waved her arms around in the air, a new fury coiling throughout her body now that she pushed one of the decorative pillows off of the bed. “I was young and stupid and I thought I had no other options. If you can accept my mistakes, then I don’t give a damn what anyone else in this world has to say.”

Kyle couldn’t help but smile seeing the same bold determination that had made him fall in love with Heather all those years. Yes, she was stubborn and focused when she put her mind to it, but he also knew how she’d been hurt and upset by the secrets that had been exposed.

“No one else matters Heather. Charles loves you and I love you too which is why none of that is relevant to either one of us,” Kyle continued watching her move over to his side of the bed to pull the sheet down. Still sensing that she was fired up, he walked over to her touching her shoulder gently, “Hey…”

“I just want to know what son of a bitch decided to toy with me,” she admitted turning around to face him again, pushing a pillow into the center of his chest. “Not a lot of people know about what happened back then and those that do, well they had better hope that it’s not them.”

“Who knows?” Kyle couldn’t help but ask before adding, “Besides Kellen and I.”

“Well, there’s Kipp, although he has no idea about Kellen being a part of what’s happened,” she pondered the thought for a long moment, “and Douglas since that creep was trying to throw my past at me when I was pregnant. He kept calling me a whore and trying to buy me out of Kipp’s life.”

“I can see that got him real far,” Kyle couldn’t help but roll his eyes thinking about how Douglas had all but accomplished what he was hoping for in making Heather disappear.

“He wouldn’t be stupid enough to bring this up now even though he hates me,” Heather deduced remembering the wrath of the movie producer who was bent on making her miserable. “He would be stupid to do that considering that the last thing he would want to do is upset Kipp all over again. Sure, this might hurt me, but it would also destroy Kellen and in doing that, Douglas would further alienate himself from Kipp. That’s the last thing he wants now that each and every one of his children hate him.”

“Ok so if we can write out Douglas and Kipp, who is left?” Kyle arched a speculative brow taking a seat on the edge of the bed. She sank down beside him and he placed his hand on her leg gently. “Kellen wouldn’t do anything because he’s already afraid I’m going to kill him.”

“Did you tell him that?” Heather’s eyes widened in response.

“Of course not,” Kyle fought to contain the smile that licked over him, “but I have to tell you I think he’s going to be very careful about walking in on us with one another if you catch my drift.”

“Kyle, you’re enjoying this far too much,” she tipped her head to the side before letting out a small groan, “You can’t terrify Kellen.”

“I’m not terrifying Kellen, well okay, maybe a little, but when it gets down to it, I don’t enjoy anything that upsets you,” he reached out to her seeing her green eyes widen upon the first contact. Tiny impulses seemed to carry over them as her hand gently pressed into his chest, urging him in closer to her. “It kills me when you’re crying.”

“That’s because you’ve got the heart of a hero and you’re always wanting to fix the world,” she confessed in a low whisper, a soft smile touching over the corners of her lips. “You never take the time to relax because you’re always trying to save the world.”

“That’s because the girl of my dreams saved me when my world was falling to pieces. How could I not want to do the same for her?” he questioned lazily, his hazel eyes focusing on the soft fullness of her ever-so-kissable lips. He noted the small, shivering exhale that carried over her, the way that her lips parted in anticipation reminding him all over again just how one look from her could send him to the edge only to come crashing down with nothing, but pure lust and passion guiding his otherwise steady logic.

“You know I never anticipated that I would end up with someone who was so close to being a true Prince Charming who would rush in to save me from the fire breathing dragon, but you are,” she arched her body in closer to him, her green eyes filled with longing and warmth.

“What can I say? I always had you rescuing me when we were kids playing cowboys and Indians, so I figured that I had some making up to do there,” he winked at her before offering the first hints of a sexy smirk.

“I just think you liked the idea of being tied up in those ropes,” she leaned forward, taking in the rugged scent of his cologne. Closing her eyes she tipped her head ever so slightly feeling the warmth of his breath cascading over her like a heavenly waterfall threatening to overtake her into a new world of desire. With his lips a mere breath away, Heather found herself anticipating the next touch, longing to memorize the impending kiss that they had ahead of them when a thought occurred to her. Her eyes snapped open and a gasp carried over her sending her back ever so slightly. “Sarah.”

“Sarah,” Kyle repeated opening his eyes to see her face twisted with a scowl. He tipped his head to the side, his forehead creased with lines of confusion, “Why would you mention her?”

“What if she’s the one who did all of this? I mean it would make sense that she would be out for revenge against me since she lost you, but…” Heather frowned thinking about all that her sister would do to destroy her life. “I don’t know how she could’ve known.”

“Sarah’s resourceful. Not too bright, but resourceful none the less. Do you think it’s possible that she knew about the movies?” Kyle questioned seeing her think back to when Sarah could’ve found out.

“You know when she arrived in town, she did try to threaten me,” Heather remembered thinking back to her sister’s return into her life. “She warned me if I didn’t play by her rules that she was going to expose me for what I really was to my husband--to Cameron. Wait, Cameron knows.”

“Cameron knows about your past?” Kyle’s eyes widened wondering why Heather would share that with Cameron before him.

“He found out on his own,” she explained as if she’d read his thoughts. “He taunted me with it the day he…”

“The day he what,” Kyle watched a darkness cloud over her.

“The day he did what I told you about,” she met his eyes with a knowing gaze. “He was crazy that day--a madman and he threatened me. He told me if I didn’t do what he wanted--if I didn’t follow his rules then he would let everyone know what I did. He talked about William and how William had a whole string of movies set up for me--that if I didn’t listen to what he was telling me to do that he would not only kill Diego, but that he would make sure I went down for what happened to William. He mentioned something about William having a private collection that he kept…”

“What kind of private collection?” Kyle couldn’t help but ask catching the way her eyes fell upon him again. Suddenly he knew he didn’t have to ask again, “Did Cameron have access to this collection of William’s?”

“I don’t know, but he and Thea were so smug,” Heather felt a tiny shudder race over her, “It’s entirely possible that they got their hands on it and planned to hold it over my head. I mean Cameron’s changed now and he doesn’t seem like he’s that guy anymore, but even on the day he attacked me he was on a roller coaster of emotions there. One minute he was hitting me and kicking me, then the next he was telling me how much he loved me. It’s entirely possible that something could’ve snapped in him again, but why?”

“It sounds like he didn’t need a reason why,” Kyle’s jaw flexed with anger remembering the hell that Cameron had put Heather through.

“Even so why would he risk putting his investment in jeopardy,” Heather thought aloud wondering to herself. “I mean it just seems like such a stupid move considering how much media spotlight we’re going to have in a few weeks.”

“Maybe he’s hoping to generate more by getting a scandal going about your life. Plus, I think that Cameron hates that Kipp can pull his strings,” Kyle thought back to what he’d learned about Kipp’s shooting. “Kipp has a lot of power over Cameron and Cameron knows that Kipp is going to protect your best interest.”

“Do you really think Cameron would sink that low again?” she frowned turning to look at her husband.

“I wouldn’t put it past him especially after everything he’s done to hurt you,” Kyle realized thinking about the man he’d longed to teach a lesson to, “Maybe it’s time Cameron and I had another talk with one another.”

“Kyle, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea considering…” she began thinking about the dangerous side of Cameron that she’d witnessed first hand.

“Let’s just put it this way if the man even thinks about trying to intimidate me, I’ll be more than happy to put him in his place and I can assure you he’ll never get up again,” Kyle vowed promising himself that he wouldn’t let the man who once tortured Heather relentlessly get away with hurting her again if he was in fact behind the veiled threats about exposing Heather’s past. If Cameron was responsible, then Kyle vowed that there would be hell to pay!


Diane looked around the house thinking about how empty it truly felt without Ben there with her. Reaching out to turn off the light in the kitchen after she’d gotten herself a bowl of ice-cream she prepared to settle in and watch one of her favorite comedies to keep her from missing Ben. Of course just the idea of spending the time on the couch cuddled up with only a blanket to keep her warm, Diane started to realize just how much the blanket would pale in comparison to what his arms could do for her. Sighing at the thought Diane turned in the direction of the living room. She set her ice-cream down before making her way over to the rack of DVDs hoping to find just the right one.

“This looks good,” she pondered pulling out Pretty Woman before her eyes fell upon the copy of Austin Powers that Ben had bought a short while back. She’d told him that the movie was beyond ridiculous and she never could quite understand why he was so amused by it, yet now that he was gone it served as a strong reminder of him. She slid the first DVD she’d selected back into the rack before pulling out Austin Powers in the hopes of using it to keep her focused on what it felt like to be there with Ben groaning at how amused he was by each and every silly joke that was tossed into it.

“You’d be laughing if you could see me now,” she shook her head opening up the DVD case only to discover a small piece of paper carefully tucked inside just above the DVD itself. Reaching for it, she set the DVD case down on top of the television set. She slowly untucked the paper to see Ben’s writing scrolled on it.

“Diane,” she read aloud her eyes scanning over the page, “I knew you really liked this one or maybe you just like me. Either way I love you and I’ll miss you, but I promise I’ll be home soon. Ben.”

“Oh Ben,” she smiled wondering how he would’ve known that she’d be tempted to pull out his favorite film. It was as if he was there with her now watching her and staying close to her. Brining the paper in over her chest she sighed again before getting ready to put the DVD into the player. She was just about to press the eject button when her doorbell rang catching her off guard.

“What the…” she stood up straighter wondering if there would be another surprise in store for her now that she’d already been rewarded by something Ben had left behind for her. Setting the DVD case down she walked over to the door and opened it half expecting to find herself met by his smiling face. Instead however she saw a bright, red dozen of roses spread out over the doorway.

“Ben,” she squealed excitedly reaching out to the flowers and finding herself thrilled that he was home again. He must have decided that the job wasn’t worth the time away from her after all, so he must have hopped the first flight home, she reasoned. She moved forward ready to embrace him when she heard a small sound from behind the roses.

“Not quite, but I’ll take the hug,” Andy’s voice mouthed from behind the cascade of roses.

Immediately she stepped back her eyes growing wide with suspicion now that he stood before her with a flashy white grin. “What? Aren’t you going to invite me in?”

“What in the hell makes you think that I would?” she stood up taller remembering the way he’d threatened her at the grocery store. “You’re not welcome here.”

“Don’t tell me you’re still upset with me about what happened at the store,” he shook his head clearly disappointed in her, “Diane, you and I both know you were pushing my buttons and asking for me to lash out at you. Top that off with the fact I was having a bad day and…”

“There’s no excuse,” Diane brought her hands up in front of her chest, “No one treats me that way especially not you.”

“Look I’m sorry,” he motioned to the flowers in his hand, “That’s why I brought you these. I thought they were a good step towards our making up with one another.”

“I’m sorry Andy, but I’m not just going to ignore what you did just because you brought me some flowers. That’s a cheap way to say you’re sorry if I do say so myself,” she frowned reaching for the door again to close it on him, but he placed his foot in the way to prevent her from following through.

“Look Diane I said I’m sorry. If you can’t accept that, then it’s your problem,” he frowned back at her, his blue eyes glaring down at her. “Now let me in so that we can talk.”

“I can’t,” she informed him bluntly, “Ben and I are about to watch a movie and we don’t need you bothering us.”

“You are, are you?” Andy arched a curious brow before nudging the door again with his foot. He used his hand to push on it and cause her to stumble back a bit when he entered the room. “Let’s just see about that.”

“Andy you can’t be in here,” she marched after him watching him weave his way through her house against her wishes. She frowned hating that he’d called her bluff, but now as he looked around her living room she vowed to get rid of him one way or the other.

“It doesn’t look like he’s here Diane,” Andy spun around to face her curiously, “In fact the more I look around this place, the more I tend to believe you’re alone.”

“I’m not alone,” she lied again glancing over to the stairs in the hopes that Andy would believe Ben was on the second floor. “Ben will be here any second and when he sees you here, he’s going to be furious with you after what you did to me.”

“You told him?” he replied with an amused laugh giving her a long once over. “I seriously doubt that just like I doubt he’s here with you now.”

“I don’t care what you doubt. I want you gone,” Diane informed him in a harsh, abrasive tone. “You and I have nothing to talk about with one another. The way I see it you’re not going to be my brother-in-law much longer, so we have nothing left to talk about with one another.”

“Ah yes,” he cocked his head to the side and laughed, “you would have to have me as a brother-in-law in order to be turned on by me, right? I mean that’s the only way you get off when you’re in a situation where you’re taking someone else’s man.”

“Get out of here,” she snarled up at him, clenching her fists at her sides, “I don’t know what I ever saw in you. You’re pathetic.”

“Pathetic or not you’re the one to play the moral high ground with me Diane. You loved every single second we were together,” he licked his lips issuing her a very complete once over, “Even now you’re wishing that I would pick up with you where we left off on my wedding night.”

“Hardly,” she rolled her eyes, “I was young and stupid back then and I now have a real man. I’m not blinded by your charms.”

“No I suppose you’re not,” his blue eyes replied with an amused expression, “but that doesn’t mean that you’re still not wanting another taste.”

“As if,” she groaned ready to lash out at him further, but before she could snap at him, she felt him reach for her, his hand coiling around the back of her neck possessively. She saw his smile expand and his blue eyes grow wild with determination. Frowning she felt him leaning in closer to her. “Let go of me Andy.”

“Not until you admit you want me,” he mouthed tipping down to take her lips in a rough, commanding kiss. She felt his palm slide down over her spine, cupping her bottom and pulling her up into his arms. His lips beckoned hers to fall to his bidding, to give onto him what he’d been seeking out since he’d pushed his way into her house.

“Stop,” she finally murmured against his mouth pushing away from the kiss. She wiggled in his arms feeling his iron grip on her, but it was of no use. She felt her gaze drop to his lips, her eyes growing big at the thought of what he was trying to do with her. Finally she let her own instincts take over and she sent her foot sharply into his groin. That did the trick, she realized feeling him release her and buckle over in front of her.

“What the hell was that for…” Andy groaned clasping his hand over the center of his pants in an attempt to get a hold of himself after her assault.

“I told you that I wanted you out,” she started glancing to the side and reaching for a lamp, “and I meant it. Go Andy or else.”

“Or else what?” he questioned behind gritted teeth standing up straighter and glaring at her. He noticed the lamp she’d held in her hands, “What are you going to do with that Diane? Give me another love tap?”

“If you don’t get out of here right now, then so help me…” she mouthed in response, her heart hammering in her chest.

“Do you really think that I’m afraid of a lamp?” he questioned with a shake of his head making a small step towards her. Instinctively she launched the lamp out over at him crushing it over his head. He fell to the ground and she took advantage of the moment hearing him groan. Quickly she scooted off to the library where Ben kept his gun locked away in his drawer. Stumbling she pushed her way into the room and quickly located it. She could hear the sound of Andy’s feet sluggishly moving through the hallway as it was clear by his pants he was now in a full blown rage.

“You’re going to pay for that Diane,” he snarled turning into the room only to find himself facing down the barrel of the gun.

“I told you to get out,” she explained firmly, her eyes glaring up at him, “Don’t make me ask you again.”

“You wouldn’t do it,” Andy focused on the gun in his face trying to act tough, but he took a small step back.

“Watch me,” she spoke in a firm, commanding tone moving in ever so slightly towards him, “I’m going to give you to the count of three until…”

“Fine I’ll go,” he raised his hands in the air retreating with a frown. He saw the fury behind her eyes before he shook his head, “but just know that you made a mistake Diane. It didn’t have to be like this. We could’ve found a way to make things good for the both of us again.”

“The only good thing will be your getting the hell out of here,” she followed him over to the front door doing her best to get him out of her house. Finally when he was on the porch she spoke up in a warning tone, “Don’t come back again.”

“Oh I’ll see you soon, but next time,” his blue eyes returned to the gun in her hand, “I’ll be the one calling all the shots.”

“I would seriously doubt that,” she snarled kicking the door shut and rushing forward to lock it. She couldn’t help but feel her breath caught in the back of her throat now that she imagined him on the other side of the door. She took a step backwards holding the gun out and anticipating him trying to return, but a few minutes later she realized his car had pulled out of the driveway and in that instant she realized that maybe being alone in the house wasn’t a good idea. Maybe it was time to find someone else to keep her company now that Ben was far away and Andy was out for trouble.


“Come on,” Ben hissed aloud resting back in his front seat of the car after sitting out in front of the destination he was told. Not only was nothing happening, but the thoughts of Diane continuously ran through his mind. He hated lying to her, he hated not being able to tell her the truth about what was going on. “I can’t believe I never told her, especially now.”

Reaching for his phone he outlined the buttons wishing to hell that he could call her right now, tell her how much he missed her, but on the job he would know that was a horrible thing to do. It killed him inside for him to actually lie to her about what was going on. If she ever found out, he was sure it would kill her inside. If she didn’t know what he was really doing, what he really was…

“If she knew I was in the CIA like my father, she’d hate me,” he muttered to himself running his fingers through his blonde hair before letting out a long sigh. He had been in it since the first moment he met her, but it was so hard to keep it from her. He was told he could never tell anyone, it was an order from his father. Who also specifically told him to never tell Diane, just for her safety. “I wish I would have told you a long time ago, but now…”

Back when she found out about the DA’s office he was trying to cover himself so she could never really find out about what he did. It was something that was ordered to stay secret and he had to cover everything from her. When she found out about the DA’s office, he was never really specific so she never really got the hint. It was something he hated to do, but he knew he had to.

“This is crazy,” he adjusted the windshield wipers to a higher speed hearing the rain slamming down against his car. The weather was crazy where they had sent him out of Coral Valley. Trying to wipe the inside windows off with his sleeve he rolled his eyes wishing he was home right now. “I’d do anything to be in Coral Valley right now.”

Arching up off the seat, he reached into his back pocket to pull out his wallet, opening it up and staring out at the picture of Diane inside. These were the days he hated, when something happened that caused him to be away from home. Sighing out loud he heard his partner calling him over the walkie talkie and he put the wallet back in quickly.

“Have you come across anything yet?" Ben snapped pushing down the button as he looked across the street to his partners car that was stopped at a corner. “I’m bored out of my mind here and nothing is happening. Nothing at all.”

“I’m bored here too partner, but what can we do? We were ordered to stay here for a couple of hours,” his partner reminded him and Ben let out an exaggerated sigh. “I don’t know what else they expect us to see here.”

“Hey, all I know is that I really didn’t want to be here in the first place,” Ben blurted out resting his head back against the seat before letting out a long sigh. “This is ridiculous, I’m tired of waiting here for nothing.”

“Man, the last thing I want to be doing is sitting here waiting for absolutely nothing to happen,” a groan came from the other side of the walkie talkie and something caught his attention. Sitting up straighter he saw the long pair of legs walking down the street, something that shouldn’t have been there. “Hey look at this, she is kind of hot.”

“She shouldn’t have just come out of there,” Ben sat up more in his seat seeing the woman look over her shoulder and in that moment he felt his heart freeze inside of his chest. “What in the world is she doing here?"

“Who is it?" he could hear his partner question and he pulled his keys out of the ignition. Making sure he had everything, he moved to get out of the car quickly. “Don’t look at something like this Ben, it’s not worth it.”

“Too late, I know her,” Ben threw the walkie talkie to his seat next to him before quickly moving out of the car ready and bound to find out why the woman he knew was at a place like this. “You don’t belong here.”


“So what do you say pizza or Chinese?” Dean questioned holding up two menus one in each hand. He spotted Deidra seated on the center of the couch eyeing him with a tiny laugh that now carried over her.

“Please don’t tell me that we’ve gotten that boring that the highlight of our night is pizza or Chinese and a DVD rental,” she groaned inwardly shaking her head at him, “If anyone knew how unenthusiastic we were about things we’d be dubbed as pathetic.”

“We aren’t unenthusiastic. We just know that we don’t have to go out and run into a bunch of people we don’t like to have a good time,” he confessed moving around to join her on the couch. “Of course we could go dancing if you wanted to.”

“And run the risk of running into Andy,” she wrinkled her nose in response, “It’s bad enough seeing him at the hospital and soon in court when he tries to push our not getting divorced.”

“Hey, it won’t stick,” Dean replied squeezing her leg gently, “And you know if you want I can still bother you at the hospital. I mean it’s not like I have a lot on my plate right now that I’m out on medical leave.”

“How long is that going to be?” she couldn’t help but ask thinking about Dean’s career being in limbo.

“Truth be told I’m starting to wonder if this is their fancy way of telling me that they would really rather me resign from my position with the bureau,” he offered up with a small sigh bringing his fingers through his own dark hair. “Shannon told me that they have this thing about dragging out punishments, but I never thought it was as bad as she made it sound until now.”

“But you saved my life. You were able to save a few lives in the case with Mathis and…” she frowned thinking about all he’d done to help her.

“The fact that I let it get personal and you and I wound up together didn’t sit well with the higher ups,” Dean admitted with a small frown, “When they figured out that we were together I got a major lecture.”

“Because we’re sleeping together,” she replied with a wrinkle in her brow.

“I can handle them and I don’t care if they know we’re in love,” Dean squeezed her leg gently, “I would rather have you in my life over the stupid job anyways. For so very long I let it control me--let it consume me after my sister was murdered by Mathis that I really didn’t give myself chance to enjoy life.”

“I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that,” she frowned thinking about how he’d held back on his demons for so very long. “I wish that you never had to experience any of that.”

“I would’ve loved to have my sister here, but I know now that I can’t bring her back. Even with Mathis being dead it doesn’t change that. All I can do is hold out hope that there is something good in the future for me,” he leaned in closer to her curling his finger underneath her chin, “and with you I believe that. I think we’ve got a lot of happiness ahead for us.”

“I know we do,” she leaned in closer to him ready to give him another kiss when the phone started to ring. Groaning she pulled away and glared over at the phone, “If that’s work, then I swear…”

“You’ll be on your way to the hospital to help,” he finished for her with a small wink, “Your career tends to bring about good things since you see life starting in this world instead of all of it ending.”

“Most of the time, but still…” she paused reaching for the phone and answering it, “Hello.”

“Deidra, oh thank God I found you. I’m scared. Andy just came over and he was acting crazy and…” Diane rambled into the phone catching Deidra off guard.

“Hey, slow down,” Deidra replied worriedly, “Why don’t you start from the beginning?”

“Deidra, I’m alone right now and Ben is out of town. Andy must’ve found out and he came over here to harass me. He pushed his way into my house and wouldn’t leave. I didn’t know what to do so I grabbed Ben’s gun and threatened him,” Diane continued to explain to him.

“You what?” Deidra’s eyes widened in response.

“I think I scared him. Don’t worry I didn’t shoot him or anything, but I really don’t want to be alone tonight. Do you think you could come over for a while or I could come over there? I’m really upset and afraid he’ll be angry and return…” Diane trailed off a shakiness in her tone.

“We’ll be right over to get you,” Deidra decided with a worried expression, “Just stay put and keep the doors locked until we get there.”

“Okay,” Diane replied as the two sisters said their good-byes to one another.

“What’s wrong?” Dean questioned seeing Deidra hang up the phone.

“Diane had a run in with Andy and she‘s in a panic. I’ll tell you about it on the way over there since I don’t think she should be alone tonight,” Deidra explained putting thoughts of delivery dinner on hold now that she found herself worried about her younger sister and the craziness that her husband could bring to anyone’s life especially Diane’s.


Stacy felt an ache inside of her head as she opened her eyes. While she’d tried to stay alert after her talk with Kevin, she couldn’t help but find herself overcome with exhaustion. Now as she felt the bracelet he’d given her around her wrist, she couldn’t help but smile thinking about how it was probably the nicest thing anyone had done for her in a while. She opened her eyes ready to say something to Kevin to apologize for falling asleep, but instead she found herself staring up at a pair of familiar eyes.

“Baby, you’re awake!” Jewel gasped reaching for Stacy’s hand and squeezing it tightly. “Thank heaven.”

“Mom?” Stacy blinked up at her groggily, “Is that you?”

“We’re both here kiddo,” Paul added moving in at Stacy’s side as well. He reached for her other hand and smile down at her, “How’s my favorite girl doing?”

“Daddy,” Stacy squealed with delight thrilled to see her parents standing beside her, “when did you get here?”

“I came in as soon as I saw you were in trouble,” Paul explained with a wide grin, “I told everyone at work that they were just going to have to wait to have me deal with things because my little girl always comes first.”

“Really?” Stacy’s eyes widened in surprise.

“Of course,” Paul squeezed her hand again, “In fact I’m going to do what I can to see that we get you out of here. We can go back to the hotel and get you the best of room service. Maybe some ice-cream and some scary movies.”

“Well, not too scary because we don’t want her to worry,” Jewel corrected throwing a warning look out at her husband before turning her attention to Stacy again. “We just want you to relax honey.”

“I will,” Stacy paused drawing in a breath before looking between her parents. “So did you two come here…together?”

“More or less,” Paul replied quickly before squeezing her hand once more. “We’re going to be here as long as you need us. Isn’t that right Jewel?”

“Of course,” Jewel nodded, “in fact anything you need all you have to do is name it.”

“Will you two both stay with me?” Stacy questioned drawing in a breath. “I mean since you’re obviously both here, I would think that means that you’re both…”

“Here as long as you need us,” Paul touched her cheek lightly. “Just say the word and you’ve got it.”

“How about we just go back to the hotel and be like a real family? You know like it was back when I was like four years old? Remember when we used to just spend our time on the couch eating popcorn and watching cartoons with the volume down? You and mom would make those silly voices and the shows were so much more fun,” Stacy smiled thinking about the way things once were with her parents before they both drifted off into their careers. “Do you think we can do that?”

“We can do anything you want,” Jewel promised leaning forward to kiss Stacy’s forehead as her eyelids grew heavy.

“I’d love for us to be a family again,” Stacy’s words tapered off as she felt her eyelids growing heavy. She let out a small yawn before closing her eyes, “I’m so glad you’re both…both here.”

“We’re not going anywhere kiddo,” Paul’s words whispered reassuringly as Stacy found herself dreaming about what it would be like to have them all together again now that it was clear her parents had made some ground with one another. Seeing them together at her side was enough to show her that they’d pushed their differences aside. She drifted off to sleep knowing that finally they were going to be able to be able to be a family again. Her parents were getting together and there wouldn’t be anymore fighting. She just knew it, she thought to herself as she drifted off to sleep.


Kyle turned to his side looking across the bed to see Heather and Charles beside him. After he and Heather had taken the time to discuss the possibilities of who was behind taunting Heather, Kyle couldn’t help but find his thoughts returning to Cameron. While Heather had wanted to believe that Cameron had somehow turned a new leaf, Kyle knew better. Men like Cameron waited for the right moment to strike before crushing an unsuspecting innocent. It was all too familiar to Kyle and as he turned his attention to his wife and her son, a sudden uneasiness carried over him. He leaned forward to kiss Charles on the forehead before touching Heather’s cheek lightly. They were both lost in their dreams undoubtedly unaware of the inner turmoil Kyle was facing. Carefully Kyle stretched his arm out across his side of the bed to reach for his cell phone.

Looking over at Heather once again, Kyle took in a small breath before pushing number two on his speed dial. After a few rings he heard a groggy voice answer on the other end of the line.

“Did I wake you?” Kyle questioned in a muted tone as his hazel eyes lingered over to Heather and Charles.

“What time is it?” Grady asked clearly still half asleep after his friend’s late night phone call.

“Late, but I couldn’t sleep,” Kyle confessed knowing only too well that his worries about Heather would consume him if he couldn’t speak about them.

“And you didn’t think your wife could help you with that?” Grady questioned behind another yawn. “I mean don’t get me wrong I’m flattered that you would think about me first, but…”

“I don’t want to worry Heather,” Kyle admitted sliding out from beneath the blanket he’d been covered in. He stepped across the room heading towards the closet area before speaking again. “I just had a few things that I wanted to talk with you about.”

“Ok, I’ll bite. What’s on your mind Kyle?” Grady’s voice grew more alert after recognizing Kyle’s tone.

“Cameron Stone,” Kyle admitted honestly feeling a stiffness carry over him at the mention of the man who’d hurt his wife.

“Cameron?” Grady repeated with hesitation in his tone, “Why?”

“Because I don’t trust him,” Kyle divulged with a scowl.

“Well, it’s nice to know that you’ve joined the rest of us on that one, but why are we talking about Cameron at,” there was a pause on Grady’s end, “well, far too late for me to want to bother with worrying about him.”

“I think he’s up to something,” Kyle explained pointedly, “and while Heather doesn’t think that he’s going to cause her trouble, I get the distinct feeling that the man is somehow responsible for the drama that’s been going around with her lately.”

“What kind of drama?” Grady couldn’t help but ask.

“The kind that I really don’t want to get into over the phone, but the fact to the matter is that while Heather thinks working for him is a good idea, I’m starting to have my own reservations about it,” Kyle confessed knowing only too well that Cameron’s generosity would go so far.

“Working for him was undoubtedly the biggest mistake of my life. When I think about how he tormented Jade,” Grady hesitated again, anger vibrating through his tone, “I wish I hadn’t put any of us through that.”

“I know Grady, which is why I know you’re the one person who can help me with this,” Kyle explained lowering his voice a bit as he saw movement on the bed. “I can’t get into too many details right now, but I’ll call you in the morning. Maybe we can meet for coffee or something.”

“Sure, you name it and I’m there,” Grady promised his best friend.

“Thanks I knew I could count on you,” Kyle replied saying his goodbyes before slipping back into bed again.

“Where did you go?” Heather questioned behind a yawn, her eyelashes fluttering until they revealed her tired green eyes.

“I just had to call Grady back,” Kyle offered up thinking about enlisting his friend for help in dealing with Cameron. “Everything’s fine.”

“Ok,” Heather yawned before snuggling in closer to Charles. “I love you.”

“I love you too. Both of you,” Kyle whispered sliding in closer to his family as it was clear to him that nothing could stop him from keeping them safe even if it meant proving that Cameron hadn’t changed his ways. If Cameron was behind trying to destroy Heather, it would be his last attempt at hurting anyone ever. That much Kyle was sure of!


Brant squeezed Angela in his arms, feeling the tentative movement behind her kiss. His fingers eased over her cheek, feeling her opening herself up to the kiss between them. In an instant he’d gone from feeling despair to having her in his arms, feeling the warmth of her soft curves pressed into his, longing to feel the connection he’d been aching to have with her. She nibbled on his lower lip, her fingers sliding through his dark hair and urging him to continue, to explore the moist heat of her ever erotic lips. He sighed, feeling his every impulse ready to delve deeper into what had sparked between them, but remembering her earlier words he pulled back searching her eyes carefully.

“Why are you doing this?” he couldn’t help but ask his own worries mounting over the impending situation between them.

“I don’t know,” she admitted honestly her fingers still curled around his arm after he’d placed a distance between them. Her eyes were glazed over, her lips curled in a questioning moment of contemplation, “It felt right I guess.”

“You guess?” he searched her eyes again attempting to gauge himself for her reaction.

“That sounds stupid doesn’t it,” she sidestepped out of his arms bringing her hand up to her lips in a small attempt to lock the taste of him over her. “You must think I’m a horrible person for doing that. Here I tell you about how much I love Kevin and then I’m standing here begging you to kiss me. You must think I’m a horrible person.”

“No, I don’t think you’re horrible,” he admitted honestly thinking about how strong their connection had been moments earlier. Still given that she hadn’t confessed she’d remembered him, he felt the flicker of hope he’d felt before when they were kissing fading away. “Just confused.”

“I’m very confused,” she admitted taking another step back. She brought her fingers up through her hair and let out an ironic laugh, “I’m making a mess of everything, aren’t I?”

“I don’t know. You tell me,” he searched her features once again. “What’s going through your mind right now?”

“The fact that I would never, ever in a million years be kissing you if I was completely happy with Kevin,” she confessed with a small shiver bringing her hands up over her arms. “He’s been so distanced from me lately that…”

“That what? You wanted to kiss me to get back at him?” he questioned fighting to suppress the urge to shudder that carried over him at the idea.

“No,” she shook her head firmly, “I wouldn’t use you like that. I know that sounds impossible to believe, but I wouldn’t dream of hurting you that way. It’s just…”

“Just what?” he asked again searching her eyes again.

“I don’t know. Brant, I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me,” she blurted out feeling tears threatening, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that and I was out of line. I’m sorry if I made you feel awkward or…”

“Hey, it’s okay,” Brant reached out to her pulling her into his arms. He felt her sobbing into his chest, the dull ache of knowing that she’d done nothing wrong, yet it was clear that she’d felt she betrayed a relationship that wasn’t there in the first place. Instinctively he curled his finger underneath her chin urging her to meet his intense dark gaze. “Angela, I kissed you back. I kissed you because I wanted to--because I’ve been wanting to since you woke up in that hospital room and because I still want to…”

“You mean…” she blinked back at him trying to process what he was saying to her, “Brant are we…are we having some kind of affair…”

“I wouldn’t call it that,” Brant shook his head and sighed, “but there is something between us…”

“Something that…” she stopped herself a sudden thought occurring to her. She closed her eyes remembering the way that he’d been holding her in the game room--the way his eyes had lovingly glazed over at the mention of her baby and in that moment a whole new picture painted itself inside of her mind. “Oh my God.”

“What? Do you remember something?” he questioned worriedly placing his hand on her shoulder, “Do you feel like you could be having a memory?”

“We’ve slept together haven’t we?” her eyes widened in shock, a tiny gasp carrying over her. “That’s why you were so concerned before--that’s why you got so upset when I was talking about the baby because you believe that the baby isn’t Kevin’s. You must think that…”

“They are mine,” he nodded in response hating to deliver her such a shock, but knowing that it was something he couldn’t avoid any longer, “That’s because they are Angela. They are our children, not yours and Kevin’s.”

“No,” she shook her head firmly, “that can’t be possible. I would never, ever do that to Kevin. There is no way I would cheat on him when…”

“Think about it. Really think about it Angela. Deep down you can feel what we have with one another. If you look inside yourself you’ll be able to see that what we have together isn’t just something that either one of us can ignore. I can’t pretend that I don’t care about you,” he continued in a heartfelt plea hoping that she would remember everything they had with one another. He reached out to her feeling her withdraw from his touch.

“Does Ria know? Does she have any idea what you’re saying to me?” she blinked back at him confusion coming crashing down over her.

He nodded, “Yeah Ria knows how I feel about you.”

“And Kevin? Does he have any idea that you--that we…” she blinked back at him, a newfound worry carrying over her. “No wonder he’s been behaving so strangely. If you and I have been sleeping with one another, then he has to be furious with me. He must’ve found out that we…”

“Angela it’s okay,” he reached out to touch her arm gently.

“No, it’s not okay,” she shook her head back at him, “You and I have been hurting people that we love--people that love us and care about us because of…”

“Because we’re in love with one another and we’re not hurting anyone,” Brant continued to explain to her in a suddenly serious tone, “Angela I asked you to marry me and you said yes. You told me that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with me--that we belonged together and…”

“No,” she shook her head firmly, “I wouldn’t have done that to Kevin. I wouldn’t have hurt him when he’s everything to me--when he’s everything I could ever want and…”

“If you really believed that, then you wouldn’t have kissed me tonight. You wouldn’t have felt it too when we were together. Admit it Angela you do love me,” he prodded further knowing full well he was taking a risk, but he couldn’t let the moment pass him by.

“No, that’s not it. Yes, I’m attracted to you, but…” she stopped herself feeling her face flushed with embarrassment or was it desire? She stepped backwards shaking her head once again, “I wouldn’t cheat on Kevin. It’s not like me to…”

“To fall in love with someone? Someone that you yourself know you were meant to be with?” he pushed the issue again feeling her turn away from him.

“Brant, I have to go…” she started towards the door ready to get some air and out of the situation between them.

“Angela wait,” he reached out to her touching her arm before she could rush off. “Angela please.”

“No Brant. You have to let me go. You need to give me room to think about this--to figure things out,” she started to argue with him tugging on her arm gently. When she felt his hold on her constrict further, she spun around to face him, “Brant please…”

“Angela, you have to see the truth. You have to know that what you’re feeling isn’t wrong. It’s something that neither one of us can afford to ignore considering how much is weighing upon your remembering us,” Brant continued with an impassioned plea, “Angela, just look at me. Please.”

“No,” she shook her head turning her gaze to the floor, “I can’t.”

“Yes you can. Please Angela just look at me,” he begged of her seeing the reluctance in her face, “I’m just asking you to see me--to see me as the man you love--the man that you want to share your life with. Please Angela stop hiding from the truth and open your heart up to me again.”

“Brant I…” she tipped her head up seeing the desperateness behind his dark eyes. She shook her head and sucked in a sharp breath, “I can’t. I just can’t.”

“Angela, please just…” he began feeling her pull away from him. He watched her take a small step back and he released her wrist realizing he’d pushed things too far--too fast. Dropping his head down he fought to contain his emotions, “I’m sorry.”

“So am I,” she replied in a faint whisper making her way over towards the door. She realized he’d made no attempt to go after her--no move to reach for her. She moved to open the door and leave, but he stopped her with his words.

“Even if you don’t remember me, I’ll always love you,” he mouthed in a soft, solemn tone. She stood frozen in the moment closing her eyes and remembering what she’d felt when she’d seen him earlier. She could recall the way in which her heart had done flip flops, the tenderness in his voice when he’d spoke about her children and now as she stood in the middle of his kitchen surrounded by darkness, she couldn’t ignore all that being near him had done to her.

“Brant wait,” she turned around to see him making a retreat towards the door, “please.”

“Angela,” he spun around to face her again, his brown eyes filled with remorse and upset. He awaited her words, hoping to hear her say something more, but instead she moved forward reaching out to him.

“Just wait,” she whispered catching him off guard as she wrapped her arms around his neck. He stumbled backwards surprised to feel her holding him after she’d pushed him away.

“I hate that I’ve been hurting you like I obviously have,” she confessed sliding her fingers through his hair. She moved up on her toes to kiss him, her lips tasting like the salt from her tears now that she clung onto him. “I’m so sorry.”

“The only reason I’ve been hurting is because I’ve had to face this world without you,” he explained squeezing her in his arms. “I don’t want to lose you Angela.”

“I don’t want to lose you either,” she admitted realizing that there was more truth to her words than she cared to admit.

Running the underside of her palm against the side of his face, she watched as he closed his eyes and leaned into her touch. She could feel so much desire raging beneath the surface--so many things brewing to life beneath the man in her arms and in that moment she could fully see why she’d been attracted to him. Brant was caring, considerate and sexy as hell. There was no denying the way she’d felt around him and now that she was this close to him, she realized she didn’t want to. Unable to hold back any longer, she leaned up into him kissing him as if she’d never let go and knowing in her heart that she’d never want to.


“Walk with me,” Kevin reached his hand out for Ria’s taking her fingers gently in his once they were dropped off at the mansion. Moving slowly up the driveway he let out a long sigh before moving in closer to press a small kiss against her cheek. “You know, this world scares me sometimes.”

“You still thinking about her parents?" Ria questioned looking up and over at Kevin seeing him nod before letting go of her hand. Wrapping his arm around her tightly, she felt his bicep flex pulling her in closer to him. “Maybe her parents will start to get a clue now.”

“I doubt it,” he shook his head letting out a long sigh once they reached toward the center of the driveway. Turning to face to her he felt her arms slide in around his waist and he reached his palm up to caress her cheek lovingly. Sliding his fingers in through her hair carefully, he felt her right hand press in against the center of his chest. “They seem like the kind of people that take miracles for granted. The kind of people that I never hope to be like.”

“You never will be,” she muttered seeing a look in his chocolate brown eyes as she gently caressed her fingertips in over his chest before sliding her hand up in against his shoulder. “We should feel good knowing one thing though, Stacy will always have Dave. I know he is a great man, he’ll always be there to take care of her.”

“Even at that, you can tell she wants her parents to be there for her. No parent on this Earth should ever treat their child like that,” Kevin let out a long sigh feeling her fingers pressing in through his thick, dark hair tugging at it lightly making him let out a small sigh. “If I was ever like that, I could never live with myself. I would feel like a total failure as a parent. If that happened to my daughter, if my daughter was still alive…,” Kevin took in a long breath thinking back to how many times he wished he could have his daughter with him right now. How much he begged for all of this to be a dream and he really had her with him. “If she was still alive, I would dedicate my whole life to her. Making her happy, be there for her like a real father should. I would want to be the perfect parent, when she needed me I would be there.”

“It’s people like you that would make great parents these days,” she whispered to him tipping up on her toes to press a soft kiss against his lips feeling his breath press in over hers. “Which makes me can’t wait to have a family with you. That’s all I want, you will make a great father.”

“I sure hope so,” he stated with a small sigh knowing that was the one thing he had wanted for so long. To start a family, to be able to be called father. To live happily ever after, if there was such a thing. “That’s the one thing I would wish for the most in my life. I want a child of my own, I want to be able to be considered a good parent. Not like the parents they have these days, I want to be the best father possible.”

“And you will be,” she promised feeling him tip down to kiss her as she let out a tight breath feeling his lips skim in over her jaw line. His tongue gently pressed in over her skin making her eyes close in a moment feeling him move back to cup her face in his hands. “I can’t wait to start my family with you.”

“Hopefully, we are already on the way,” he smirked rubbing his nose in against hers playfully, pressing his fingers in over her stomach gently caressing it. “Our child will be happy, they will never have to live the way Stacy is. We’ll always be there for our kids.”

“I have no doubts about that,” she whispered against his lips feeling him kiss her tenderly as a small sigh escaped her lips. A small gasp escaped her lips as she felt him pull her in closer to his chest. “I can’t wait until that moment in time.”

“Neither can I,” Kevin pressed his index finger in under her chin, arching her eyes to look up at him better. Pushing her long, dark hair behind her ear he let out a long sigh and looked up the driveway. “I have to take care of a few things, but what do you think of me and you spending some time together? We can pretend like we never came home and…”

“Is that something you really want to do?" she questioned seeing the smirk that pressed in over his features before he nodded answering her question. “What about Angela?"

“What about Angie? She isn’t the one I want to be with right now, it’s you,” he answered truthfully tipping down to press a loving kiss against her lips. “Just let me do one thing and then we can spend the next few hours, together. Alone. We can come back later, but right now I just want to spend some time with you.”

“If you say so,” she sighed deeply seeing a wide smile that pressed in over his bright features as she stared out at him. Feeling his hand press in against hers and lead her toward the back of the driveway, she saw a black car in front of her. “Wow, this has to be Brant’s. It’s amazing.”

“It’s mine,” Kevin laughed stepped in behind her nipping at her earlobe softly before moving excitedly forward, holding his hands up in the air. “Brant has been letting me work on some things when I have time here, even if it’s not much. It’s a black 1969 mustang convertible with black leather for the seats. I’ve been fixing him up for quite some time now and I’m just about close to finishing it. I just have to work a bit under the hood and it’ll be good as new. I remember getting this when I was eighteen, it was the best thing ever. It was a classic then and it’s a classic now, I just have to make damn sure I take care of it. I worked on this baby so hard.”

“I can see,” Ria moved forward seeing the proud smile that pressed in over Kevin’s features as he leaned back against the almost perfect car that he had been working on for so long. Pressing her fingers in against the leathers seats she felt him move in behind her. “This is amazing, of course with the added material like the tires and some bonuses, this is an amazing classic Kevin.”

“I know,” he proudly replied moving in behind her as she pressed her hands against the car and he pressed her hair back before pressing small kisses against her neck. “You want to go for a ride in the car?"

“I’d love that,” she watched him move over toward the passenger side to open the door for her and she moved into the car seeing the wide smile that pressed in over his features. Watching him move in toward the front seat and start to pull out of the driveway, she scooted in closer to him feeling his right arm wrap around her shoulders softly. “So, where are we going?"

“I’m not quite sure, I just figured for a little ride since I don’t have it all worked out yet,” he answered only to feel her lips press in against the side of his neck before nipping at his skin heatedly. Letting out a hiss as he drove he felt her fingers pressing small circles in over the inner part of his thigh. “Maybe somewhere private.”

“I might like that,” she muttered hearing him let out a groan as her hand centered in over his jeans nipping at his earlobe before giving it a small tug. “Very private could work.”

“Yeah,” he gulped down feeling her hands pull apart his belt while he drove, her fingertips popping open the button on his jeans and then the zipper. Gulping down he felt her hand dip beneath the denim and he let out a small whimper. “Do you honestly think I can drive like this?"

“You better find that spot you want to be at then quickly,” she whispered feeling him warming up more and more to her touch. Seeing him gulp down hard she smiled moving forward to press her lips against his, gently tugging at his bottom lip with her teeth. “I was thinking that we could help get started on that whole family thing.”

“Ria, honey…” Kevin gulped down feeling her move away a bit from him before tipping down toward the center of his lap and he let out a small gasp. Swerving a bit he tried to keep good posture before letting out a nervous groan. “Ria no, do you want to die? Get back up here, no…”

“Calm down,” she laughed rising back up to press a small nip against his neck hearing his breaths heavy as he tried to keep control of the car. “I know you drive good, it just depends on how long you want to keep driving Kevin.”

“Sounds…fair,” he breathed in deeply feeling her tongue press in over his earlobe before he stopped the car where his original destination was. Turning the car off he turned toward her, cupping her face in his hands tightly pressing a long, heated kiss against her lips. “You are so evil.”

“That’s you honey,” she teased her nails in under his shirt scratching them down the muscular planes of his abdomen, feeling his lips in over the side of her neck. She heard him groan as she pressed her fingers in over his back, scratching at his skin temptingly. Pressing him back, she saw the protest in his dark eyes before she adjusted and moved in over him watching his chocolate eyes stare up at her. “This is a nice place, where are we?"

“It’s that park we used to hang out at with Seth, except up on the hill,” he muttered letting out a long breath feeling her fingers plucking open the buttons on his shirt, her lips pressing in against the skin that soon became exposed. Watching her amused expression, he saw her move up to kiss him while her fingers slid small lines up and over his muscular torso. “So we could have a little privacy.”

“I think I like that,” she whispered feeling his fingers tugging softly at the bottom of her torn shirt, watching her raise her arms enough for him to pull her shirt off her and to the side. “How bad do you want a family?”

“Do you even have to ask?" Kevin muttered seeing the look on her face as he arched up for her enough to pull his pants a bit down his thighs. Her arms wrapped around his neck as he moved up, teasing his lips in over hers while teasing the tip of his tongue against hers. “I think it’s kind of obvious Ria and I can’t wait to share that moment with you. That’s all I’ve ever wanted and it will be my dream come true.”


Moving through the hallways of the hospital, Shannon knocked softly on Don’s door to his office. Knowing that people had told her about him being at the hospital with Stacy, she let out a long sigh before shrugging her shoulders. Don was probably upset about a few things and it would make her look like she was worried about him, it was something he deserved right about now. It wasn’t on the top of her list of things to do, but he deserved to be checked on and made sure he was okay.

“Don?" Shannon whispered knocking softly at the door again hearing a shuffling noise behind the door before he finally opened up the door. His hair was a bit messed when he motioned her to move into the room while he pressed back his hair. “How are you feeling? I heard that there were some problems and…”

“There were quite a few problems around here,” he grumbled shutting the door once she moved into the room and moved over toward his desk. Pushing through a few papers he felt Shannon move in behind him, wrapping her arms around his abdomen tightly and felt her chin rest against his shoulder. “I’m sorry I’m so tense, I’m just having some problems.”

“It’s okay, I understand how you feel,” she pressed a soft kiss against his neck feeling his fingers gripping on to hers softly before straightening up and turning to face her. Feeling his hand press in against her face lovingly and tangle slowly into her hair she turned up toward him, feeling him press a small kiss against her lips. “It’s okay to feel that way sometimes.”

“I just couldn’t believe any parent would not watch their child,” Don whispered resting his chin against the top of her head as she rested her head against the center of his chest. “You should have seen Jewel and Paul while they were here. They were fighting over whose fault it really was that she was hurt, not even caring that their daughter was in the hospital bed, sick. They didn’t care about her, all they cared about was who was right and who was wrong. Some asshole took advantage of that little girl and all they care about is who is right.”

“Don,” Shannon watched him pull away from her and angrily swipe something off his desk and she saw it crash into the wall with a thud. “I know that’s it’s hard to believe, but most of the world is like that. If not, they are sometimes even worse.”

“And that’s what scares the hell out of me,” Don blurted out shaking his head over and over before folding his arms out in front of his firm chest. “I’m having a son growing up in this world and my sister is the same age as Stacy. How can someone take advantage of someone so young? Someone so innocent, I hate what people have become. It’s rare to find someone who cares about themselves, but also cares more about the other people in their life. I respect anyone who can feel for other people, the people in this world today are selfish.”

“Well, at least you don’t have that in your life,” Shannon pointed out seeing the way Don’s blue eyes stared out at her before he laughed and shook his head slowly. Sitting down on the edge of his desk he pressed back a few things before shaking his head slowly. “What is it?"

“I just realize that no one could ever be like me. I’m a person that loves everyone, cares about the people in his life. Is someone around here willing to do things around here? No one seems to impress me other than the ones I love the most,” Don stated firmly before letting out a small sigh and standing up to face Shannon. “Are you like me Shannon? Are you willing to make the sacrifices I’ve made?"

“No one can make the sacrifices you have,” she pointed out seeing the way his blue eyes narrowed out at her and she let out a small sigh. Reaching out to touch his arm, she watched him watching her every move before letting out a small sigh. “You are a good father, you are a good brother and overall a great person Don. No one I have ever met is just like you, you are special. You are someone that stands out in the crowd. You are a great person and that’s all you need to know.”

“I know I’m a great person, it’s the one thing I know about myself. I’ve never doubted that in my whole life,” Don muttered biting down on his bottom lip before seeing the way that Shannon looked at him. Trying to see something in her eyes, he watched her turn away from him and in that moment he realized something he never did before. “I can own up to my life because I know I’m a good brother and a good person, I don’t think it’s me that needs to find myself.”


“What the hell are you doing here?” Cameron snarled walking into his library to find Andy standing over by the bookshelves. “I thought I told you that I would contact you when I was ready to hear about your progress.”

“Yeah about that,” Andy pushed the book back in the shelve that he was tinkering around with earlier. “I thought I might let you know that the situation turned out different than you were hoping for. Diane’s insane and I really don’t think it’s worth pursuing. She pulled a gun on me tonight.”

“I don’t care what she did. I brought you back here to get a job done and I want you to finish what you started,” Cameron warned sharply glaring over at him, “You were paid hefty to take care of the situation.”

“From where I stand it looks like your brother moved on, so why bother with Diane? She’s irrelevant,” Andy shrugged his shoulders once again looking around the library.

“Irrelevant or not, no one messes with my family. She needs to learn that very important lesson,” Cameron paused eyeing Andy closely now that the man moved around his library. “You were paid well to make sure she learned, but if you cannot produce, then perhaps it’s time that you learn that lesson yourself.”

“Look, I’ve done my best, and I just think it’s a lost cause,” Andy frowned over at him rolling his eyes, “but if you’re going to get all snippy about it, then I’ll give it another try, but it’ll take some work. She’s not as easy to manipulate as she was before.”

“I don’t care what you have to do. See to it that you do what you were meant to do,” Cameron reminded him sharply before turning to leave, “Now if we’re done here…”

“Actually, considering what happened tonight with her trying to shoot me, I don’t think it was enough,” Andy explained with a bold determination in his tone. “When you called me in I didn’t expect any attempts on my life and now that there are, it’s going to cost you.”

“Cost me?” Cameron laughed in his face, “I’ve yet to see any kind of results.”

“I’ll give you results, but when I do I want to have another advance. I want you to pay me double what we agreed on because this is going to be a big job,” Andy mouthed with a tight scowl, “You owe me that.”

“I don’t owe you anything,” Cameron remarked sourly, “and if you keep coming around trying to push my buttons you’ll see first hand what it means to experience my wrath. Get the job done and if you do an adequate work with it, then you’ll get a bonus.”

“I want one now,” Andy paused seeing Cameron turn away from him again, “Of course if you aren’t willing to give me one, maybe I’ll get one with your sister.”

Cameron stopped moving long enough to stand up taller. Slowly he spun around to glare over at Andy. “What did you just say?”

“I said I saw that Angela is out of the hospital--that she’s not under the care of CV General any longer. I thought it odd that in her departure, you weren’t one of the ones listed on the need to know basis there. Hell, the more I hear about what happened, the more I’m starting to believe that you and Angela aren’t nearly as close as you’ve lead us all to think you are. If she had any idea what kind of man you are…” Andy offered up in a taunting tone seeing something flash behind Cameron’s eyes.

“Look I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but…” Cameron paused taking a good, hard look at Andy as it dawned in on him what he hadn’t seen before. He stepped forward eyeing Andy intently, “Why do you care about my sister?”

“I don’t, but I know you do and if you don’t pay me, then I’ll tell her what you’ve asked me to do for JT. I’m pretty sure she won’t approve,” Andy taunted further seeing the way that Cameron’s eyes skimmed over him, looking into him as if he’d seen a ghost.

“Listen you. I’ve run an extensive search into your background Dr. Byrne and I know things that could bury you,” Cameron added realizing that while Andy looked very close to the man Angela had once married, there was no way Andy and Cary could be the same. He hadn’t picked up on it at first, but in hearing Andy try to manipulate him, Cameron was reminded of Angela’s ex. Only unlike what he was seeing with Andy now, he’d seen Cary’s cold, lifeless body first hand after his ‘accident’ so he knew full well that Andy couldn’t be the man Cameron had sought out to destroy. Still given the heavy similarities appearance wise Cameron made a mental note to keep Andy away from his sister for her sanity’s sake.

“Not as much as I know about you,” Andy matched his tone his blue eyes narrowing down at Cameron. “Don’t push my buttons.”

“Just do what I paid you to do or else,” Cameron warned once again waving his finger at Andy before retreating to the hallway. “I’ll have the butler show you out.”

“I can find it myself,” Andy huffed watching Cameron leave as he vowed that one way or another Cameron and his family would pay him what he’d rightfully deserved.


Diane sat perched upon the center of the chair, her legs tucked beneath her as she wrapped her arms around them. She closed her eyes and took in a long breath. She tried to dismiss the thought of Andy’s arrival, but it was still clearer than ever. She could see the determination in his eyes, the way his breath fell upon her and it brought shivers to her once again.

“He’s gone,” she tried to remind herself as her eyes snapped open. She found her gaze turning to the gun that she’d set on top of the coffee table after Andy’s departure. While she was certain that she wouldn’t need it, she hadn’t felt secure enough to put it back in the drawer. Even now she felt a shiver race over her at the idea of how close she’d come to shooting Andy. At first she hadn’t believed she was capable, but then when he looked at her with his penetrating blue stare, she found herself wanting more than anything to just put an end to his taunting.

“This is ridiculous,” Diane blurted out with a groan, “You wouldn’t have shot Andy. He got the point. He’s gone and…”

A noise erupted from the other end of the house causing Diane to sit up straighter. She listened for a moment before moving in closer to the coffee table. Reaching for the gun, she contemplating going to investigate when another sound filled the room.

“Diane, are you here?” Deidra questioned popping her head into the room to see her sister in such a frazzled state. Deidra’s eyes widened as she saw the gun in Diane’s hand. Immediately she took a step back, “Diane, what are you doing?”

“Nothing. I just…” Diane found herself at a loss as it occurred to her she was clenching onto Ben’s gun. Immediately she set it back down on the table top before Deidra entered the room with Dean at her side. She brought her own fingers up through her hair before offering up an apologetic expression to Deidra, “I’m sorry. I was just upset because Andy was here earlier and…”

“You mentioned that on the phone,” Deidra nodded toward the table where the gun was located. Dean replied with a nod of his own before making a movement towards the gun to get it out of Diane’s reach now that it was clear she was upset, “Where did you get that?”

“It’s Ben’s,” Diane offered up weakly, “and I really hadn’t intended on taking it out, but then when Andy wouldn’t take a hint.”

“You won’t be needing this anymore,” Dean explained picking up the gun and looking around the room. “Where does Ben keep this locked up?”

“Over there,” Diane motioned towards the drawer that she’d pulled the gun out of earlier. “I wasn’t planning on bringing it out, but then Andy started acting all crazy. He kept saying such vile and disgusting things and when he realized that Ben wasn’t here…”

“It’s okay,” Deidra replied moving in to embrace her sister in the hopes of calming her down. “Andy’s a jerk and I’m sorry that you had to deal with him today.”

“I’m sorry that I ever thought to try to get in the way of your marriage before. I shouldn’t have tried to win him away from you, but rather I should have spent my energies in trying to talk you out of marrying him,” Diane groaned outwardly. “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“We all make mistakes,” Deidra assured her giving her another quick hug.

“And it’s a good thing that you didn’t shoot him because we would have had a hell of a time hiding the body and getting the blood stains out of the white carpet here,” Dean teased with a hint of laughter in his tone only to receive a glare from Deidra, “What? I’m just saying.”

“Putting a bullet in him wouldn’t have done any good,” Diane sighed heavily, “He should be made to suffer after all the years of misery that he’s put us all through.”

“Andy’s only going to wind up making himself miserable with the way he carries on,” Deidra explained with a small frown. “He’s only hurting himself in trying to be a creep. Though I’m sorry that he decided to target you. He shouldn’t have done that.”

“He didn’t intimidate me at first, but then with my being alone in the house while Ben was away…” Diane trailed off fidgeting with her fingers, “well, I just panicked and before I knew it I had the gun and…”

“You handled the situation just fine,” Deidra informed her with a smooth tone, “and calling me was an even better idea. I’m glad that you did because it just shows me that you could use some company. If Andy knows that you’re alone, I don’t want him coming back to bother you. In fact, Dean and I talked about it and we both think it’s a good idea for you to come and stay with me.”

“I can’t do that,” Diane shook her head firmly, “I can’t impose upon you.”

“Sure you can. I mean it’s been a while since I had a roommate and with Dean having a few things planned this week for work, well it only makes sense that we stick together. You know the whole power in numbers situation?” Deidra tossed back at her with a welcoming smile. “We can face whatever Andy is ready to throw at us as a team.”

“We would be pretty unstoppable,” Diane had to admit with a small grin of her own. “Together he would see that he can’t bully us around.”

“Exactly,” Dean agreed adding his opinion. “Plus when you two are there, it’ll give me some time to work some of my charm on the both of you and show you that all men aren’t awful.”

“I know they aren’t all awful,” Diane corrected with a frown, “Just the ones that I used to date. I‘m such an idiot.”

“Technically I married him, so I think that makes me in the same position if not worse,” Deidra added with a frown of her own.

“Neither of you are idiots. Andy is just one of those guys who plays a situation to his advantage. He’s a jerk that makes the rest of us look bad,” Dean offered up his input on the situation. “We’re all not like that though. Some of us actually have hearts and don’t want to bully women around.”

“I know that,” Diane sighed sinking back onto her chair once again. “I just miss Ben.”

“I know you do honey, but don’t worry about it. We’ll keep you so busy that you won’t have time to realize he was gone,” Deidra added brightly hoping that she and Dean would be able to find a way to keep Diane out of harm’s way where Andy was concerned until they could find a way of properly dealing with him and making sure that he wasn’t a problem for any of them again.


“Where did you go?" Ben looked around the area before him in the rain knowing that she had to be around here somewhere. When he ran out of the car, he wasn’t quite sure what would happen. He just knew that he had to find out why she was here, he never thought about thinking it through, he just had to find her. “Come on.”

Moving through the streets he pushed through a few things noticing that his partner was still in his car watching him carefully. Hearing his phone ring he jumped at the sound before turning around and waving his hand in the air.

“I said I’m okay,” Ben snapped opening the phone knowing it was his partner on the other end. “Listen to me when I tell you something because I know this woman. I have to find her and then we can get to what we need, but for right now leave me alone.”

Closing his phone he shoved it back in his pocket before moving forward again trying to find the blonde that he was following earlier. Looking through the alleys he let out an angered groan knowing that there was no way she could have just disappeared out of his sight.

“Where did you…” Ben went to say something more only to feel something strongly hit him in the back sending him to the ground on his hands and knees. Groaning out loudly he felt it hit the back of his head as he collapsed to the ground, rolling over to his back pressing his fingers against the back of his head. “Oh man…”

“Listen, I don’t know who you are, but why are you following me?" the blonde he had been following earlier pressed her foot in over the center of his neck as he coughed at the pressure she was putting on him. “Talk now before you will never able to talk again.”

“I was going to ask you the same thing,” he grumbled seeing her step away from him so that his face was in the light. Getting up to his elbows he rubbed at his throat before shaking his head slowly. “What are you really doing here?"

“Ben?" she questioned finally noticing who it was before her as she pressed her hair back behind her shoulder dropping the object she had to the ground. “Is that really you? Are you really here?"


...to be continued...