Episode 391

Heather rubbed her neck and shoulders feeling tension coiling throughout her body after the morning she’d had at work. It was bad enough they were dealing with the openings of the company, yet to have to be wrapped up in the thick of the situation between Kipp and Becca was enough to put her on edge. As she made her way into the photo lab, she spotted Seth over in the corner of the room and tried her best to stay focused on the topic at hand.

“Hey Heather,” Seth waved at her looking up from the desk he’d been hovered over now that he heard her heels clicking on the tile flooring. He glanced over at her seeing the lines of tension in her face before his smile faded, “Rough morning?”

“Something like that,” she nodded in response crossing the room to move in closer and inspect the project she’d put him on earlier in the week.

“I kind of heard,” he paused contemplating the words before opening up his mouth again. “Gossip travels fast around here, so I heard about what happened with you and Becca in your letting her go.”

“It was what was best for the company,” Heather admitted with a heavy sigh thinking about how difficult it was to push Becca out of the door, but given what had happened, she had no alternative. Kipp was her rock and her support at the company and if he and Becca couldn’t work with one another, Heather had no other alternative. She had to find some peace within her company.

“That’s too bad. She seemed kind of nice. A little strange, but overall pretty decent,” Seth shrugged his shoulders before refocusing on the project he’d been stewing over all morning.

“Looks can be deceiving. You could spend your whole life with a person and never really know them,” Heather mouthed thinking about all of the things that had happened in her life lately. “Becca will do better in one of the other offices that Cameron has set up. She just didn’t fit in with the environment around here.”

“Okay,” Seth replied catching something behind her eyes before speaking up again, “You sure you’re alright?”

“Yeah,” she nodded bringing her hand up to push a loose strand of blonde hair away from her face. She carefully tucked it behind her ear before smiling at him, “I just hate playing the role of the boss sometimes. It’s no fun to be the one to have to fire someone when they aren’t producing up to speed. It’s not that I don’t have a problem being the bitch, but up until now I haven’t had to enforce it with the company yet.”

“Is this a hint that I should be concerned?” Seth questioned arching a curious brow up at her.

“What?” she blinked back at him suddenly recognizing the look of panic on his face. She waved her hand dismissively, “Oh no. Not at all. Seth you’ve continued to do an amazing job here and I would be a fool to lose you. You’re one part of this company that I hope we have around for a very long time.”

“Thanks, I appreciate that,” Seth offered up a relieved smile before nodding up at her, “I really enjoy working here.”

“I knew you were the best when I hired you,” she admitted proudly thinking about all of the incredible shoots that Seth had put together for her thus far. She motioned to his desk seeing the proofs he’d been working on before she came into the room. “So what do you have to dazzle me with now?”

“Well I put together that shoot you were asking about--you know the one for that car company that you weren’t sure you wanted to take on as a client since automotive really isn’t your specialty, but I have to tell you these turned out pretty hot,” Seth motioned for her to come in closer and take a look at the proofs. “The shoot went off without a hitch and I have to tell you these are some of my better work.”

“Let me see,” Heather moved forward to inspect the proofs in front of her. Seth stepped aside to give her better access to his project and as she leaned forward taking it all in, she couldn’t help but agree with him. “Wow these are really hot. It almost makes me want to go out and buy one myself.”

“Tell me about it,” Seth couldn’t help but laugh, “Of course having one and affording it are still out of my reach at this point, but still I took some great shots of it.”

“Yes, you did,” she stood upright again, her green eyes focused on him once again, “and with the work you’ve done I should think that the company should offer you a perk in giving you one of these babies simply for making it look so good.”

“It’s a nice thought, but it would never happen,” Seth laughed lightly thinking about what it would be like to drive around in one of the cars he’d spent the day photographing on the outskirts of town.

“Sure it will. I’ll call the company today and let them know about all the free advertising they’ll be getting by having one of my top employees driving it,” she waved her hand in a casual motion before standing up taller. “Consider it a perk for a job well done. I’ll arrange for you to have the car by the end of the day if I can.”

“Wow,” Seth’s brown eyes widened in response, “I don’t know what to say. I mean I really wasn’t expecting this and I appreciate the offer, but…”

“No buts,” she waved her hand around in the air once again, “You’ve done one hell of a great job helping me get the company off of the ground, so it’s the least I can do for you. I know it’s not much, but maybe it’s a little something that could help you get back into the swing of things so to speak.”

“I appreciate that, but…” Seth began again thinking about the fact he’d just gotten himself into a new house, “I don’t think I can pay you back for it and…”

“Seeing you drive it will pay me back,” she cut him off abruptly seeing that he was astonished by her generosity. Quickly covering she spoke up in a pinched tone, “I mean it will keep you from driving that old beat up truck to work and it’ll make the company look good. What makes you look good, makes me look good.”

“Right,” Seth nodded not quite sure he bought into her theory, but still thinking about the car he’d spent the day shooting, he couldn’t help but be thrilled about the thought of having one.

“So we should have all of these pretty much put together for marketing later today, yes?” she cut back to the point her focus returning to business. “I have someone in creative upstairs who would love to get their hands on these.”

“I can whip them up in less than an hour when you tell me which shots you feel could be the money making shot. I personally like all of them, so I’m biased,” he admitted with a small laugh motioning to the proofs again. “They all look fantastic from my end.”

“They really do, but if I had to pick one…” she leaned in over the desk again ready to select the few shots that would be needed for the big ad that she was putting together. As she started to decipher which one she was going to use she heard the sound of someone entering the room.

“Ms. Gibbons,” her secretary interrupted approaching the two of them in a small voice, “I don’t mean to bother you, but this just arrived for you and it was pretty important.”

“What is it?” Heather questioned glancing down to the envelope in her secretary’s hand. It was a plain white envelope with no writing on it other than Heather’s name printed on the front.

“I don’t know,” her secretary admitted honestly, “It was on my desk when I got back from my break. I didn’t see who brought it or what it was in regards to, but I figured you might want to have it since it said urgent on the stamp.”

“So it does,” Heather noted seeing the word in red on the top right corner of the envelope, “Thank you for bringing it to me.”

“No problem,” her secretary nodded before walking off and out of the studio.

“Hopefully that’s not the dealership saying that they changed their mind about the ad,” Seth joked watching Heather peel open the envelope to pull a paper out from within. She carefully unfolded it and as Seth eyed her, he realized that the color drained out of her face. “Heather I was joking.”

“What?” she blinked back at him quickly pushing the paper back into the envelope in a haste, “No Seth it’s not that. It’s just…”

“Is something wrong?” he couldn’t help but ask sensing that whatever was on the paper was troubling her.

“I just realized that there was something I needed to do. I’ll be back later,” she offered up forcing an uneasy smile while she clenched the envelope in her hand. “You just pick your top three favorites of the proofs and I will trust your judgment. They are all money shots.”

“Okay,” Seth nodded watching her leave the room in a haste as he realized that whatever was in that envelope could only spell trouble judging by the expression on Heather’s face!


“Kyle, I know you care about me, but this isn’t the way about going around the situation. I’m sure the three of us can come to some reasonable way of dealing with the problem at hand now that it’s clear that you want to patch things up between us,” Sarah stepped forward attempting to intervene as Kyle still had Cameron by the neck of his shirt. “I love you too.”

“Excuse me?” Kyle blinked back at her turning his attention away from Cameron for the first time since their fight had initiated.

“I said that I love you too and even though you think things are one way with Cameron and I right now, well I’m sure that we can find a way to push our problems behind us long enough to…” Sarah offered up with a warm smile feeling as if everything she could have asked for was finally becoming a reality for her when Kyle burst into laughter.

“You think that this is all because of you?” Kyle roared unable to contain the amusement that carried over him. He released Cameron and placed his hand over his own abdomen in an attempt to stifle the uproar that her confusion had brought upon him. “Sarah, have you not been listening to a word that I’ve said since I got here?”

“Kyle, I know that you rushed over here to save me from Cameron and I love you for that, but…” Sarah started making a small movement towards Kyle as Cameron also gave her a strange look. She placed her hand on Kyle’s arm only to feel him recoil with obvious disinterest.

“Sarah, my being here has absolutely nothing to do with you,” Kyle stated plainly, his hazel eyes narrowing down at her. “Even if you were the last woman on the planet, I would never, ever be foolish enough to want a life with you.”

“You don’t mean that,” Sarah curled her lip in protest. “We were happy together once, weren’t we?”

“What we had together was nothing but a lie based on manipulation after manipulation,” Kyle glanced between her and a now coughing Cameron. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you two were working with one another since day one.”

“Kyle, you make it sound like there is some kind of vendetta going on,” she frowned up at him before making a small movement in his direction. “That’s not at all what was happening. I love you and I want a life with you…”

“No Sarah, you only want what you can’t have. That’s what’s killing you,” Kyle spat out at her growing suddenly serious. “If you can’t twist a situation in your favor, then you don’t have any involvement in it. You only take and take and look where it’s lead you to. If you think he’s your ticket to getting your way, you’re sadly mistaken because all your taking company with him proves is that you’re a pathetic, clearly misguided manipulator who is going to have this all blow up in her face sooner or later.”

“That’s not at all how is it,” Cameron finally spoke up in objection, “and if you think you can just burst into my home and attack me unprovoked then…”

“Cameron, I know all of the things that you’ve done to Heather. I haven’t forgotten how you’ve hurt her even if Heather’s willing to give you a second chance,” Kyle rumbled back at him, his rage finally returning to it’s intended target. “You’ve played her so many times in the past and I’m not going to continue to watch you browbeat her simply because she isn’t like the rest of those you tend to manipulate and try to conquer.”

“I would never do that to Heather,” Cameron pledged catching the look of disbelief on Kyle’s features. “Yes, I hurt her and I take full responsibility in my hand in that, but with this--Kyle, I swear to you that I would never, ever go out of my way to see to it that she was put in a position where her future could be compromised. I mean think about it. She’s working for a company that I own and…”

“And I still wouldn’t put it past you to try to get her worked up by drudging up things that you have no business getting into Cameron,” Kyle towered over him before his face darkened, “because if I find out that you’re trying to harm her in any way, you won’t have to worry about my being as civil the next time. Regardless of your power and influence, nothing will stand in my way when it comes to burying you. Do I make myself clear?”

“You’re playing a very dangerous game Houston,” Cameron warned him sharply before matching Kyle’s tone. “I’ve been cordial to a point, but when it gets down to it, I’m still the one calling the shots with Heather’s future. While I would not jeopardize her well being or her career in any way, there is nothing keeping me from having you dealt with. Yes, I might have been more passive over the last few months, but you’d be wise not to cross me.”

“Is that what you told Kipp before you had him shot?” Kyle tossed back at him flippantly. “Because if I do remember right, Kipp could open his mouth at any time and make damn sure that you and your assistant both spend your sexually active years behind bars for attempted murder kind of like you were hoping that you would do to Grady when you set him up for the shooting that you orchestrated.”

“You can’t prove that,” Cameron flashed him a cocky smirk. “If Kipp had any way of manipulating that situation in his favor, he would have leapt at the opportunity to try it long ago.”

“Or maybe he’s just waiting for the right time to bury you like you tried to do to my best friend,” Kyle stepped in closer to him and issued one last warning look. “I didn’t let you destroy Grady’s life and I’ll be damned if you try to do it with the woman I love. I know all about your exploits and how you tried to manipulate Jade into doing your bidding and so help me if I even get wind of your trying to do the same in hurting Heather, then I will be the first one at the D.A.’s office ready to lead the investigation in taking you down once and for all Cameron.”

“You don’t frighten me Kyle. I have nothing to hide,” Cameron forced a poker face as he stood taller.

“Now we both know you’re full of it,” Kyle couldn’t help but laugh, “and if you really aren’t concerned about what I can do to destroy you, then you’re a bigger fool than I realized. Then again given the company that you’re keeping, I suppose that really isn’t a stretch.”

“Kyle,” Sarah opened her mouth to speak up once again.

“Save it,” Kyle held his hand up in the air to dismiss her before he pointed at Cameron in a final warning, “Don’t cross me Cameron because you won’t like the outcome.”

Before Cameron or Sarah could respond with anything further, he marched out of the Stone Estate feeling his blood in a boil. Despite the fact that Sarah was clearly out of her mind and Cameron was obviously oblivious to what was going on, Kyle knew that someone out there was still pulling Heather’s strings. Sure, Kyle had taken great liberties to instill fear in Cameron, but he was starting to doubt that Heather’s ex-husband had anything to do with the messages that were being sent.

As Kyle opened up the driver’s side door on his truck, he heard his cell phone ringing. He pulled it out of the pocket and realized it was Heather. Smiling he took in a breath and answered brightly, “Hey sexy.”

“Kyle, where are you? I need you,” Heather blurted out in a moment of panic.

“What’s wrong?” he questioned worriedly reaching for his keys to start his truck up.

“I’m at work, but I received another message,” she replied lowering her voice a bit as it was clear that she wasn’t completely alone. “I don’t really want to talk about this over the phone, but…”

“Say no more. I’ll be there in ten minutes,” he promised his wife now that it was clear whoever was messing with them was trying to take things to the next level. As Kyle offered up a few assurances and ‘I love yous’ to Heather, he vowed that he would do what was necessary to find out who was harassing her and when he discovered who was behind it, they would have a hefty price to pay in dealing with him!


“I still can’t believe that they didn’t get rid of her Kippy,” Kellen complained seeing the way that Kipp walked into his office and moved toward the desk to look around a few papers. Dropping down to the couch Kellen placed his feet on the coffee table before resting his head back. “In all honesty honey, this woman should even have the cops called on her. I know you don’t want to do it, but I don’t think you should have her around.”

“I know that honey, but as much as I want her gone, you know that I can’t do it,” Kipp pointed out seeing the way that Kellen’s glistening blue eyes stared out at him and he felt a moment frustration pass in over him. The way he felt after she did that to him was anger, hatred and revenge. He wanted to be able to get revenge on her for taking advantage of him when he was at his weakest moments, but he knew his history was bad enough already for him to try and do something against her. “You know that I just don’t have the power to do something like that.”

“Well, I do know someone if you want,” Kellen sat forward seeing Kipp stare out at him confused and Kellen nodded thinking about his past and people he knew. “This guy is very close to me, well okay--not that close, but he’s a friend and I know he’s done stuff like this before for other people he loved. You know, that whole past thing could help.”

“Are you suggesting I send someone to kill her?" Kipp laughed seeing Kellen shrug before leaning back again and Kipp reached for a capped pen and threw at Kellen hitting him in the head. “There is no way I would do something like that. My father maybe, my brother possibly, but not me. I’m not like that.”

“Well sometimes it’s easy to give a fly a warning by swatting it with a newspaper,” Kellen suggested seeing Kipp pick up the newspaper and toss it to the coffee table. Reaching out to pick it up Kellen read over the front page before shrugging his shoulders. “Why did you give me this?"

“Well, you said hit the fly with a newspaper and it was your suggestion,” Kipp moved over toward the desk and took a seat folding his arms out in front of his chest. Whenever Kellen made a stupid suggestion, Kipp would always have a way to make a joke out of it that somehow made it into a cute funny situation. “So if you want to go hit Becca in the head with a newspaper, now is your time. You’re suggestion, you’re doing.”

“Okay, the woman would look at me like she just saw a puppy riding a bicycle,” Kellen saw Kipp’s eyebrows tighten together as he tried to understand what Kellen had just said. “What I mean is she would think I was crazy if I just came and whacked her with a newspaper. You’re right though, maybe I can hide a steel pipe inside it and it would seem like she fell back and hit her head on the desk or something.”

“That’s not at all like I was saying Kellen,” Kipp laughed seeing that Kellen had gotten up and picked up the newspaper. When he stood up he saw that he had a message and motioned Kellen to wait a moment. “Before you go and do anything crazy soldier Kellen, let me check my messages.”

“Sure,” Kellen stopped holding the paper in his fingers tightly as he watched Kipp’s brown eyes widen as he took in a long breath and shrugged his shoulders. Thoughts started to swirl around his head as he saw Kipp smirk before motioning him to wait again, the one thing he hated when someone seemed to be intrigued. He always wanted to the juicy details and when he couldn’t get them he got very, very mad. “Kipp, this isn’t funny. You should be telling me what’s going on. Is that Becca? What did she say? Kipp come on!”

“Here listen before you put the steel pipe into someone’s head,” Kipp set the phone down before putting it on speaker seeing Kellen’s blue eyes intrigued and interested in what was going on. “You’ll like this.”

“Hey Kipp, it’s Heather,” they heard over the speaker as Kipp watched Kellen move back over to the couch to take a seat and he was listening carefully as Heather continued with the recording. “I was just letting you know that I let Becca go earlier today. After what happened, I didn’t want things to get any worse and I told her I would love to get her a job for Cameron so it didn’t seem like something bad was happening. I just don’t think she should be here after what happened. I’ll talk to you later, just thought you should know that information. Bye Kipp.”

“Oh Heather babes,” Kellen jumped up from the couch slapping his hands together and letting out a long laugh. Shaking his head slowly he ran his fingers through his gelled hair moving over toward Kipp. “She always comes up with the right things to do and the right ways to do it. What would we do without her? I knew I loved her for a reason.”


“Can I have a word with you Chris?” Russ questioned popping his head out of his office when he heard the sound of Chris arriving late to work as usual.

“Oh hey Russ, I’m kind of running behind. I had car problems and…” Chris tried to deflect any impending trouble he might be on the receiving end of now that his boss was pulling him aside. Hesitantly he approached Russ doing his best to work over a good reason why he was over an hour late. “You see I was in traffic and I got a flat and…”

“I don’t care about that,” Russ waved his hand dismissively before motioning for Chris to come into his office with him. “I actually wanted to talk to you about the piece you did on the Guerrero murder.”

“Really?” Chris arched a surprised eyebrow making his way into Russell’s office before turning around and facing him again, “because you know everything I put into it was one hundred percent truth. I had a very valid source in all of this and…”

“I kind of figured and truth be told I have a source of my own, which is why I called you in here,” Russ admitted taking a seat on the edge of his desk. He motioned for Chris to sit down in one of the chairs and Chris did so readily. “I was hoping we could touch base with one another and you could clue me in on all that you know.”

“I put most of it into the article,” Chris confessed with a curious expression, “but if you are willing to share with me any other information that has been passed your way, then I am more than willing to listen.”

“I was hoping that we could mesh details with one another since I really believe you’re on to something Chris,” Russ confessed honestly thinking about the strange phone call he had received. “While I wasn’t sure that our newspaper was the place to print such a story, after I got my hands on some information I think you’re really onto something.”

“I think it’s something big,” Chris blurted out enthusiastically sitting up straighter in his chair, “I know that you haven’t exactly been thrilled with some of my creative selections in the past, but this one, well it has it all. It has sex, violence, money, power and chaos. It’s something that I think leads to a bigger story ahead of us in Coral Valley given Guerrero’s ties to the area.”

“As much as I hate to admit it, I have to agree with you which is why I need you to tell me absolutely everything you know about Guerrero and his ties to Coral Valley,” Russ stated plainly thinking about the meeting he had scheduled later for the day.

“Well my source indicated to me that while Guerrero ran business out in Florida that things were undoubtedly central in this area,” Chris blurted out thinking about what he’d been told, “I think it is safe to say that Guerrero was no where near being the mastermind of the organization that he was running. In fact I would go so far to say that the real mastermind was the one that had him eliminated and furthermore I think that mastermind is here in Coral Valley and waiting for the perfect time to claim what he’s been leading the world to believe was Guerrero’s. I think Guerrero’s head got a little too big and this was the man behind the money’s way of making sure that he drilled a point across to those who wanted to challenge him.”

“Any ideas on who the mastermind might be?” Russ questioned wanting to get a grasp on any information that Chris may have pertaining to what was happening in town.

“I have my theories, but so far they aren’t anything concrete,” Chris confessed eyeing Russell intently, “Unless of course there is anything you might want to say to add some light to the situation that is unfolding.”

“Let’s just say that I think that you and I could put our heads together and see what we can come up with,” Russ decided knowing full well that he couldn’t keep quiet about what was about to take place in town. While he never particularly trusted Chris Foley, Chris might’ve been the only person in town who would be able to help him crack the case of what was really going on in their town right underneath their noses!


Tapping her pencil against the top of her desk Mindy let out a long sigh knowing that she was alone in the office right now with really nothing to do. When Russell eventually got in she would get some more work to do, but right now she had nothing to do other than sit here. Reaching for her phone she was prepared to maybe call Jason or possibly call Nate now that she really had nothing to do. Those two always seemed to carry on a conversation that helped the boredom seem to fade away.

That was until the door opened up, a shining beam of light flashing through the darker room as she covered her eyes seeing Trisha walk into the office and take a seat on the edge of her desk.

“Trisha what are you doing?" Mindy couldn’t help but ask seeing Trisha pull her sunglasses off before setting them on top of the desk.

“I’ve come to take you away from this boring place for a while,” Trisha answered motioning Mindy to sit up as she grabbed her glasses in her hand taking in a long breath. “I don’t know what you are doing right now, but you are going to drop it all and…,”

“Well honestly, I have nothing to drop because I have nothing to do currently,” Mindy answered truthfully seeing her friend stand before her shrugging her shoulders at the answer. “I know Russell should be here any minute though so I really shouldn’t be leaving, I don’t need to get in trouble.”

“I doubt you’ll get in trouble Mindy, you need to relax for once,” Trisha reached out to grab her friends hand before motioning her to follow in her own steps. “Now how about a little lunch and then afterwards we can come back to your boring work where I doubt you’ll get in trouble. I have some really important things to talk to you about and I think you want to hear about a few of them.”

“I’m not sure Trisha, like I said Russ should be here anytime soon and…,” Mindy began seeing the displeased look behind Trisha’s dark eyes and she nodded before moving over toward Russ’s office. Knowing that she needed to tell him at least that she would be back, she headed into his office. “I’ll be right there, if he doesn’t know where I am he’ll freak out.”

“Fine, but you really are like tied down I have to say,” Trisha watched from the door seeing Mindy writing a paper on his desk before putting it on the computer. “You really need to break free from all of this you know.”

“As much as I would love that,” Mindy laughed thinking about the laid back, hardly job life that Trisha never had and she shrugged her shoulders. “This is really what a job is all about, that’s why I still have a job, so I have to be careful. I have to be tied down.”

“Well that’s a boring life, but oh well. It’s what you chose,” Trisha motioned her over toward the door to leave before taking one last glance around the office. “All you have to do is come with me and we’ll leave this boring style for a while and have some lunch. Come on Mindy.”


“Kevin, hold on a second,” Angela reached for his hand knowing that he seemed to want to be rushing just to get back to the mansion and she heard him let out a long noise before turning to her. Before they left the house and met up with Brant and Ria, she just wanted to make sure that everything was alright between them. “Kevin, can we talk a second.”

“Well honestly honey,” Kevin began seeing the look behind Angela’s brown eyes and he felt bad instantly knowing that the way he had been acting had obviously made her confused. “Okay sure. What’s wrong Angie?"

“Why don’t you sit down with your leg,” she insisted wanting him to feel better seeing his eyebrows tighten together before nodding and slowly moving over toward the couch to take a seat. Moving in next to him she saw his brown eyes staring out into hers as she reached for his hand placing her fingers in over his palm. Moments passed until he finally curled his fingers around hers and her hand in his tightly. “Is there really something going on between the two of us that I don‘t know about?"

“Honestly?" Kevin went to answer her question to the truest of his heart, but saw the look in her eyes and was suddenly reminded of what it was like for him to be hurting every time she did something to him. One part of him wanted her to hurt so bad just like he did his whole life when she left him and stepped all over him. He wished for once that she would just know what it was like to have her heart broken and to experience all the pain that he ever had to encounter with growing up for the last seventeen years. Then the other part of him knew she was his best friend, the one person who was at his side for those seventeen years no matter how hard times were they were always there for one another and there was not a bone in his body that would want to hurt her. Especially now that she was having the twins, that was the last thing he ever wanted for her. Moving forward he reached out to wrap his arm around her shoulders before taking in a long breath. “No, I’m really sorry I’ve been acting weird. I’ve just had a really long week and everything just keeps piling on sweetheart, I’m sorry.”

“So everything is really okay between the two of us? Nothing is going to tear up the four of us?" she placed her hand in over his thigh seeing him look down at her with some type of expression that she couldn’t read. “Isn’t this what you wanted Kevin. To have a family and to be happy? Am I not making you happy Kevin?"

“It’s everything I’ve ever wanted Angie,” Kevin answered truthfully feeling her fingers holding onto his like she would never let go and he automatically felt a pain in his chest. “I just didn’t know if this was your dream. I really didn’t think it’s what you wanted at all. Me in your life, I don’t think you want it at all.”

“Now why would you say something like that?" Angela watched Kevin get up from the couch and move over toward the window to look out. Carefully getting up she moved to go in toward him as she placed her hand on his shoulder seeing him not even bothering to turn and look at her. Pulling on his arm to make him turn toward her she saw his chocolate eyes avoiding any contact at all as she reached out to touch the side of his rough cheek seeing him staring out at her. “You know I want you in my life.”

“Now you do, but in the future you won’t,” Kevin gulped down before rolling his eyes only to feel her tip up on her toes to kiss him, catching him off guard as he held his hands up in the air somewhat shocked. “Whoa, hold on.”

“Kevin, what is wrong with you?" she frowned seeing him stumble back before rubbing at his bottom lip with his thumb. She saw him close his eyes and walk out of the room and upset she followed him seeing him fumbling through a few things in his bag. “Would you please just talk to me.”

“I’m trying to,” Kevin explained feeling her moving in behind him as he reached inside his bag for a few things before coming up catching her off guard when she stepped back. “I know this is really tacky and I should have waited until they were born, but again it’s really tacky and I can find something better.”

“What is it?" Angela saw Kevin slowly hold a box out for her and she took it slowly seeing the way that he nodded when she opened it. Looking inside she saw two gold bracelets and was half confused about what was inside of it as she picked them up and looked at it. “What is it really?"

“Okay, not that you are going to give it to them anytime soon,” Kevin reached for the bracelets showing her that the charms connected when they were put together and she looked up into his brown eyes. Trying to make up for being such a jerk, he tried to apologize possibly in the worst way he could, but it was the only way to go. “The whole Greek history my grandmother was very proud of which you should know from all the stories I told you before we got together, but it's supposed to represent the hero twins. I know it’s tacky, but long story short it shows an unbreakable bond between two twins and when you put the two charms together it shows that bond. It’s real tacky and obviously they aren’t going to have them for a while because they are gold and have a few diamonds in them, I just thought it would be a decent gift. I might be wrong though.”

“No, it’s a really good gift,” she answered setting it down on the top of the dresser softly before wrapping her arms around his neck kissing him once again still feeling him a little tense against her as she pulled back. “They are going to know that their father gave them a wonderful gift. They will have their own part of their Greek history right here.”

“Yeah, right. When my children are born, they are going to have every piece of their father in every way. And they will be one hundred percent mine,” Kevin breathed in deeply before shaking his head slowly and moving away from Angela hating that everyone got his dream before him, but knew he would have it some day with Ria if he kept trying. “You know Angie, I have to work today, so why don’t we go see Ria and Brant for a few before I have to go.”

“Okay,” Angela nodded still seeing that something was wrong with Kevin as he moved toward the front door and she grabbed the two charm bracelets and put them in her bag. Quickly moving over toward the door she saw Kevin waiting for her and took in a long breath. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Kevin answered with a long breath before motioning her to leave and at this moment he was ready to quit all of this. He was just tired of all this lying and he wanted it all to stop. “Lets go Angie, we have a lot of things to try and do today.”


“Wow all this talk about Heather, I’d think you were falling in love with her,” Kipp teased hitting Kellen in the chest playfully seeing Kellen’s blue eyes widen in surprise as he shook his head slowly. “You know, you’re saying you love her so much, do I really have something to worry about with you two?"

“Oh come on, well no, but if you…,” Kellen thought about his past with Heather and the things they did together and he let out a long breath. Shaking it off, that was not something he wanted to talk about with Kipp and he just let out a hesitant laugh. “Kipp you know I could go through most of the whole male population before going to Heather. Though, that’s never going to happen because you are honestly the only man for me. You know that.”

“And I’m glad you feel that way Kellen because I love you too. I was actually just teasing you,” Kipp smiled sitting on the edge of his desk feeling Kellen moving in closer to him pressing each of his hands against the table on his sides. Kellen’s fingers pressed in through his short hair as Kipp let out a small smile. “You see, Heather I actually feel the same way about her that you do.”

“You want her boyfriend?" Kellen teased feeling Kipp push him in the center of his chest making him move back a bit as he laughed. “No, I’m just kidding I know you love Heather like I do. She is my best friend as well as yours. We’d both be miserable without Heather Babes, for heavens sake she is your son’s mother.”

“And I would never ever want to let him live his life without his mother,” Kipp answered before wrapping his arms around Kellen's neck and pulling him closer to him. Kipp looked down to his phone before laughing again thinking about what Heather said about Becca. “Are you happy about what happened with Becca? Now you don’t have to worry about steel piping her with a newspaper when she’s not looking.”

“Too bad, I was actually looking forward to that,” Kellen teased before dipping down to press a soft kiss against Kipp’s lips hearing Kipp let out a small laugh. “Well, now I know I just have my Kipp all to myself and that makes me a very, very happy man like you should already know.”


Seth reached for his cell phone dialing Blake’s number in the hopes of catching her before he headed on up to creative to talk about the shots he felt most exemplified the theme that Heather was after. He heard her voice mail pick up before he spoke up with a small smile, “Hey honey I was just calling on my break to check in with you. Let me know when you get back so we can talk about what’s going on. I have a really great surprise for you for tonight so be ready when I get home.”

Hanging up the phone Seth couldn’t help but smile imagining the look on Blake’s face when he arrived pulling up in a car that Heather was going to provide him with. Normally he wasn’t the type to want to accept charity, but thinking about how hot the car was that he’d spent the day shooting, he couldn’t help but welcome the idea. Tonight he would take Blake out on the town and they would have a nice evening together driving along the coast for a while.

“It’s perfect just like you are,” Seth mouthed reaching for one of the prints he’d put together. He eyed it intently imagining what it would be to have Blake beside him cruising along the road, but as his eyes fixed on the page, he spotted something he hadn’t noticed before.

“What’s this?” he frowned moving over more into the light to see there was something in the building that was just beyond where he’d been shooting the photos. He moved over to pull the print up in front of the lamp on the desk and that’s when he first spotted it. There in the far corner of the shot appeared to be a man dressed in all black carrying an oversized bag over his shoulder. The man looked as if he wanted to go undetected and if it hadn’t been for Seth gawking over the car he might not have seen him. Setting the print down Seth walked back over to the proofs and started to look them over. The man was in various shots and as they became clearer Seth realized that the bag over his shoulder almost looked like it was holding a body inside.

“No, that can’t be right,” Seth shook his head wondering how he’d conjured up the notion of a black body bag when there was no way that the man would’ve been carrying someone inside of it. Sure, the building was one that had been closed down for years, which was part of the reason why Seth had picked the location. He’d thought the urban ruins and graffiti would only enhance the car’s natural spark and desirability, yet now he found himself wrapped up in trying to decipher what the man was taking into the abandoned building.

“I wonder…” Seth reached for another page of proofs, surveying them closely when suddenly something popped out of the bag that hadn’t been present in earlier shots--a hand!


“So I said that if he had a problem with it, he could take it up with my supervisor,” Ria explained with a half laugh as she, Don and Brant sat around the kitchen table with one another, “and then when he heard it was you…”

“He went running in the other direction,” Don chortled in response with a shake of his head. “I’m so big and bad…”

“Yeah very intimidating,” Brant couldn’t help but roll his eyes at the response. “You’re terrifying Don.”

“Oh would you just shut up?” Don swatted at his best friend’s shoulder. “Just because you’re your own boss doesn’t mean that you have to rub it in.”

“Hey there are days when I want to take issue with myself,” Brant shrugged his shoulders only to hear the sound of a slamming door alerting him that the trio was no longer alone. Brant looked up to see Kevin approaching with a heavy scowl on his face.

“You!” Kevin pointed directly at Brant with a growl, “Your office right now!”

“Something wrong?” Ria questioned worriedly watching the way that Kevin stalked past the trio at the table to make his way into Brant’s office without bothering to offer up any pleasantries. Ria exchanged looks with Don and Brant before frowning.

“That doesn’t look good,” Don blurted out what the group was thinking as Brant reluctantly stood up and glanced over in the general direction that Kevin marched off in.

“If I’m not back in five minutes you both had better come looking for me,” Brant replied feeling an uneasiness carry over him. He headed towards his office ready to see just what had Kevin in an uproar, but before he could question it, he watched Kevin kick the trash can beside his desk across the room in a fury while sending the papers that were in it all over the floor. Frowning Brant cleared his throat and attempted to approach the subject with caution, “Kevin, why don’t you take a seat?”

“I don’t want to take a damn seat!” Kevin threw his hands up in the air with a grumble. “I don’t want to relax. I don’t want to be civil or any other psychology crap you’re about to toss out at me right about now. Brant I’m done! I want out and there’s nothing that you can say to keep me from finishing this!”

“Finishing what?” Brant questioned confusion sweeping over him.

“This situation with Angie sucks,” Kevin announced with a groan. “I can’t take it anymore and I don’t want to be a part of this. I don’t care what Don has said about her needing to find her own pace at remembering. It’s screwing up my life and I can’t take it anymore. I want out.”

“Believe me I’m in the same boat as you, but…” Brant offered up wondering just what had prompted such a rage out of Kevin this morning.

“No, you aren’t in the same boat as me Brant. I have the woman I love sitting around and waiting for me to pull my head out of my ass because the woman I used to love who tossed me to the curb more often than I care to recall is suddenly lost inside of herself believing that we are some hot item,” Kevin threw his hands up in the air and grumbled, “You have no idea how frustrating that is Brant. I want nothing more than to wash my hands of this situation with Angie so that you two can get back to the chaos that you consider a relationship and Ria and I can start our lives together.”

“Don’t you think I want that? Don’t you think that more than anything I want for Angela to remember that she loves me and not you?” Brant’s lips curved downward in a frown as he crossed the room. “Don’t you think it kills me to see her pining away over you when she’s having my children?”

“If you would have just found another more effective way of dealing with Cameron, then maybe just maybe we wouldn’t be standing here right now. Maybe if you would have been more of a man in your approach…” Kevin lashed out at him in frustration.

“More of a man?” Brant repeated feeling his anger mounting. “Kevin, I have done absolutely everything in my power to try to fix this situation. Maybe if you hadn’t gone off the deep end and murdered Angela’s husband and then found yourself in a situation where you allowed Cameron to learn all about it, then maybe just maybe you could have helped me by talking some sense into her before it got to this point. If you wouldn’t have leapt into action without thinking about the consequences, then…”

“You’re the last one to lecture me on consequences considering that you were the one who picked her up on a beach because she looked like Avery and had your way with her, then we wouldn’t be standing here dealing with all of this,” Kevin snarled in response. “If you would have kept your libido in line then…”

“My libido?” Brant repeated with wide eyes, “Um last time I checked Angela and I were in a serious relationship and I wasn’t the one trying to move in on Avery to fulfill some twisted fantasy about the woman that got away.”

“You were the one with the twisted fantasies when you approached Angie to begin with. You didn’t give a damn about who she was as a person and when you left her brokenhearted I was the one who picked up the pieces until you came prancing into her life again when Avery dumped you,” Kevin snarled in response with an angry glare. “Face it Brant, Angie isn’t remembering what you had because somewhere inside of her she knows the relationship is a joke.”

“The only joke I see in front of me is you trying to tell me how things are Kevin. You’ve got your priorities so screwed up right now and the last thing you need to be doing is standing here lecturing me on my past with Avery when you know nothing about it,” Brant’s dark eyes narrowed down at him. “Just because she was using you to get a rise out of Russ doesn’t make you an expert on her. I’ve been there, done that and I can assure you that it’ll leave you disappointed.”

“Hence the real truth behind all of this. Angie has never meant anything to you except a conciliation prize when Russ proved to have Avery’s heart,” Kevin clenched his fists at his sides. “Even now you don’t have the first clue about fixing this situation because you don’t care enough.”

“Kevin, believe me you are the last person I would want around Angela especially now,” Brant marched past him towards the mini bar that was set up in his office. “She needs to be by someone who cares about her, not someone who is looking for his next fix.”

“I wouldn’t have to be around her if you could do your job and be the man she needs,” Kevin paused for a moment thinking about the fight they were having. “Look Brant, I can’t take it anymore. The comment about Avery was out of line, but when it gets down to it, why in the world do we have to keep playing these games? Why can’t we just tell her the truth and get it out there? Sure, she’ll be upset, but she’ll get over it. Angie’s a lot stronger than we’re giving her credit for and…”

“I’m not just thinking about her. I’m thinking about the twins. While I realize that my children are completely irrelevant to you, the fact to the matter is that they mean the world to me,” Brant’s dark eyes narrowed in on Kevin, “and that has absolutely nothing to do with anything I ever had to do with Avery. Avery was one of the biggest mistakes of my life and I regret how things played out. If I had met Angela first, then…”

“Then maybe we wouldn’t be standing here right now like this, but we are Brant. We can’t change what happened, but maybe we can fix this so that we can find a way to deal with the way our futures need to be. I can’t be by her side the rest of my life. I love Ria and I belong with her!” Kevin threw his hands up in the air, his voice raising with obvious emotion as there was a sound behind the both of them.

“What’s going on in here?” Ria questioned curiously as she looked between both men. They fell to silence before she folded her arms in front of her chest, “Don’t you both speak up at once now.”

“Look,” Kevin lowered his tone a bit now that the woman he loved was standing beside him, “I just want out Brant. This needs to end.”

“Kevin, I know it does, but right now we just can’t…” Brant threw a pleading look in Ria’s general direction.

“Honey you and I both know full well what could happen to Angela,” Ria touched his arm gently before drawing in a breath. “As much as I hate what’s going on, we can’t risk her children. I hate this as much as anyone does and believe me if I knew full well that those twins would be alright, then I would be the first one to tell her to steer clear of my man, but…”

“Fine,” Kevin threw his hands up in the air in resignation, “but I need a break. I’m suffocating and I can’t deal with this right now. I need some time out.”

“What kind of time out?” Brant inquired with a worried expression.

“You need to baby-sit her for a while,” Kevin finally decided drawing in a breath. “I need a few hours to clear my head and…”

“I thought that’s what you were doing yesterday,” Brant frowned in response. “If you’d like we can all do something together and…”

“Brant, I need to have a life and be an active participant in my life which means that if I stay at Angela’s side twenty four seven then it’s not going to happen. I need some breathing room because it’s,” Kevin paused closing his eyes and thinking about the assault she’d made on him in the shower before sighing, “too much. I need a break.”

“Fine, but how am I going to explain that?” Brant sipping his drink once again.

“You’re good at making up bullshit, you’ll come up with something,” Kevin replied flippantly as Ria’s cell phone rang. He watched her step out into the hallway before meeting Brant’s gaze again. “Maybe now you’ll take the time to focus your energies in the right place. Today with Angie might motivate you to get your stuff in order and find an innovative way to get her to open her eyes about where it is she really belongs.”

“Believe me there’s nothing I would like better,” Brant informed him bluntly.

“Good because in that respect we’re in the same boat,” Kevin added with a huff as Ria returned to the room looking a bit pale. “Ria, honey everything okay?”

“That was my mom,” Ria groaned inwardly, “She was calling to check in on me and…”

“Obviously that’s not a good thing,” Kevin noted thinking about all the times in the past Ria’s mother had driven her crazy.

“No, not really, but I told her I couldn’t talk right now,” Ria explained clearing her throat, “though that doesn’t mean that it will prevent her from calling again…”

“It doesn’t matter,” Kevin reached out to take her into his arms in an embrace, “We’re leaving, so she’ll just have to catch you later. We have a full day ahead of us.”

“But…” Ria’s eyes swept over towards Brant.

“I’ve got it covered,” Brant assured the both of them with a dismissive way. “I can take care of things with Angela.”

“It’ll be good for the both of you,” Kevin muttered with a roll of his eyes as Ria patted his chest.

“It really will Brant. You’ll see,” Ria offered up with an air of optimism in her tone as Brant hoped and prayed that things would finally return to how they should be. Despite the fact everyone was trying to help, it was clear that this situation was offering up nothing, but problems for every one of them and it something didn’t change soon, Brant feared that they were all going to break especially after Kevin’s outburst!


“I just love Irvan’s,” Trisha confessed reaching out for the bread basket in front of her. She pulled out a breadstick and waved it around in the air before smiling over at Mindy, “I just love lunch breaks.”

“Yeah I’m sure you do especially when you’re making up the time for them all on your own,” Mindy couldn’t help but laugh. “I’m sure Russ won’t appreciate the note.”

“Hey at least you left one,” Trisha shrugged her shoulders simply, “Most people wouldn’t think to do that.”

“Yeah, well Russ isn’t like most bosses. He’s a good guy and I’ve known him for like practically my whole life,” Mindy replied thinking about her relationship with Russ. “He’s actually been more generous since he returned to the office and…”

“Yeah, he’s an interesting case,” Trisha blurted out interrupting Mindy in a moment of speculation, “I mean I don’t really know much about him myself, but Ria’s kind of friends with him I think. I heard all the stories about the man dying, then returning to life all over again after behind held hostage by his father, who didn’t really know that Russ was his son and…”

“Yeah, it’s a regular soap opera,” Mindy nodded in response, “though I have to tell you if you ever want to see how a great relationship should be Russ and Avery are it. They are like Coral Valley’s top super couple that is if super couples existed in the real world.”

“If they did, then Chase and I would be up there giving them a run for their money. I mean we’re a lot younger and far more adventurous,” Trisha boasted proudly in between taking small bites of her breadstick. “Why just the other day he decided that he and I should go out and do something wild and crazy, so we went to this rave where they were doing there Jell-o body shots and…”

“Just stop right there,” Mindy groaned at the thought of her friend’s experience, “No offense, but if you are about to get into another sex story with Chase, then I’m going to have to stop hanging out with you simply based on the principle that too much information is never a good thing.”

“Yeah, well I’m merely tossing it out on the table to give you some ideas,” Trisha suggested waving her breadstick around once again. “The way I see it Hunt would want you out there having a good time and staying at home with two gay guys does not constitute as living it up.”

“I’m not looking to live it up,” Mindy objected with a frown, “but merely I’m keeping myself busy while I deal with losing him. I can’t go into party mode overnight you know.”

“I’m not saying go into party mode, but…” Trisha paused as a thought occurred to her, “You have to at least live it up a little, but I doubt you’re going to find that living with Guy and Gabe. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I can see that you need a change of scenery.”

“I happen to like living with Guy and Gabe,” Mindy objected with a frown, “Plus having Brittany around is a great thing.”

“She’s adorable Mindy, but you’re kind of like the third wheel,” Trisha reminded her with a wrinkled expression. “I mean no offense, but why in the world would you want to stay there with your ex and his new lover? That in itself just seems kind of creepy especially when you should be trying to start fresh.”

“So what do you suggest?” Mindy tossed back at her with a scowl. “I’m not exactly rolling in the riches, so getting an apartment on my own would be a nightmare right about now considering that rent is outrageous.”

“I didn’t say that you should go out and buy a penthouse on the lake, but maybe,” Trisha pondered the thought for a moment. Sitting up straighter she made a small, pinched sound, “I’ve got it. You can move in with me.”

“What?” Mindy’s eyes widened. “At your mom’s place?”

“Oh heaven’s no,” Trisha waved her hand dismissively, “I mean don’t get me wrong I like it there a lot, but my mom has it in her mind that the house is too much for her since she’s never there. She wants to sell it so she can save the world with the money she makes off of it or something, so I need to look elsewhere…”

“And why aren’t you thinking about moving in with Chase?” Mindy couldn’t help but ask. “You two are always together.”

“Of course we are, but right now he’s living with his father and that would be a whole new level of awkward that beats what you’re doing with Guy and Gabe. I mean don’t get me wrong I love his father, but just think about what it would be like if I came home late in the mood for a little action and…” Trisha began with a twisted smirk.

“You’d rather subject me to that kind of torture?” Mindy groaned outwardly. “No thanks. I think I’ll take my chances on Guy and Gabe for a while.”

“Oh come on. It’s not that bad,” Trisha waved her hand dismissively, “Besides I’ll give you plenty of warning before ever doing that.”

“Throwing your clothes at me as you both go at it on the couch is not my idea of a warning Trisha,” Mindy frowned back at her.

“I’ll be more respectful than that,” Trisha fought back with a wounded expression. “Mindy, you’re one of my best friends in town and...”

“I think I’m one of the only friends you haven’t annoyed with your talk of Chase,” Mindy noted finally reaching for a dinner roll herself. She grabbed a small package of butter before looking to Trisha again, “If we do this, we’re going to have rule.”

“I hate rules,” Trisha wrinkled her nose at the suggestion.

“They won’t be like living with your mother, but they will be there nonetheless,” Mindy warned breaking apart her roll.

“Fine,” Trisha folded her arms in front of her chest, “but just because there are rules doesn’t mean that there can’t be any fun. In fact rule number one is that when we live together you’re going to have to start coming out of hiding.”

“I’m not hiding,” Mindy protested once again.

“Yes you are and if Hunt was around, he would tell you to stop pretending that you aren’t still alive. He wants you to be happy Mindy and doing your laundry and spending your time doing crossword puzzles is not an exciting life,” Trisha informed her point blank.

“Hey, I happen to like crossword puzzles,” Mindy objected with a huff.

“So you can do them when you’re in bed with some sexy hunk who wants to stimulate your mind after he’s stimulated your…” Trisha suggested with a wiggle of her brow.

“I’m not listening,” Mindy brought her hands up over her ears to silence her friend’s words. “Trisha right now I just want to get everything else in perspective. I’m not looking for love.”

“Ok, so don’t look for it, but please say you’ll think about us moving in together. We could make great roommates,” Trisha pleaded with her. “I promise not to be too much of a slob and…”

“And if I say no you’re going to hound me still, aren’t you?” Mindy couldn’t help but ask.

“Every single second,” Trisha nodded eagerly, “and I’ll even follow you around at work. I’ll make you miserable until you give in.”

“Gee, when you put it that way it sounds like I have so many options,” Mindy couldn’t help but chuckle.

“So you’re in?” Trisha questioned reaching for her glass of water.

“Yeah I’m in,” Mindy finally decided taking a sip of her drink as well, “but don’t make me regret this.”

“Oh I won’t. Trust me,” Trisha cheered raising her glass to Mindy’s in a toast.

“Famous last words,” Mindy noted with a small laugh wondering if perhaps moving in with her friend was exactly the jump start she needed in putting all of her problems from the past behind her once and for all.


“So what are we doing here exactly?” Angela couldn’t help but ask looking around the laboratory that Brant had taken her to with him. “What’s this all about?”

“This my dear is where I work,” Brant confessed catching the way her eyes grew wide at what he’d said to her, “I mean Angela this is my place where I spend most of my time when I’m not at home.”

“In a lab?” she arched a curious brow eyeing him for a long moment, “I didn’t think you were a researcher.”

“I’m not exactly,” Brant curled his finger at her motioning for her to follow him to where he’d promised to meet Michael near the back of the lab, “I’m merely the one who puts through the funding with the company and I hope that my team of experts can help develop things for me.”

“Such as?” she couldn’t help but ask following him through the lab.

“Mostly medicines and some vitamins,” he explained casually thinking about the day to day grind of his company. “We’ve done rather well over the years and made a lot of ground breaking discoveries, but this new one that I’m working on, well it’s a biggie. This drug will change the face of life as we know it and once I’m able to unlock it’s secrets, well let’s just say the possibilities are endless.”

“For the world around you or for your checkbook?” she couldn’t help but question seeing him stop to turn around and face her again surprise behind his brown eyes.

“Maybe a little bit of both, but for the most part it’s something that I think the world can benefit from,” Brant divulged thinking about the project that had been consuming his time lately, “I’ve been hoping to get this stuff going for years, but in the trials there is always something that keeps it from happening.”

“But we’re hoping to change that,” Michael’s voice explained as he joined the two of them. “Hey Brant.”

“Michael,” Brant turned around to face his associate hoping that Michael’s reaction to Angela wouldn’t bring up another set of issues that Brant was hoping to avoid now that Angela was with him again. He took in a small breath before tossing out a warning look at Michael.

“Brant,” Michael nodded not bothering to address the fact that Angela was with Brant, “Thanks for coming down here. I thought I would show you the progress we’ve been making on this one.”

“Tell me you have good news and that we’re not going to be sideswiped by the competition,” Brant urged him on following Michael over to his lab area.

“I wish I could say that, but I’m still having a hard time with this one,” Michael admitted with a heavy sigh exhaustion carrying over him. “My colleagues and I have been working on this around the clock, but it just feels like something is missing--that something there that is supposed to be is right underneath our noses, but it’s just not there yet.”

“That’s not good enough Michael. I’ve been promising my investors that they would see results soon. With the competition telling the media that they are on the verge of marketing do you have any idea how much pressure that is putting on me?” Brant frowned over at him attempting to be calm about the situation even though he felt the weight of the pressure that had been hanging over him with the situation. “I need to have results.”

“I understand that Brant, but if we go into this without having our facts together, then this can blow up in your face. This could get ugly if we aren’t careful and,” Michael sighed throwing his hands in the air before turning to his computer. “Take a look for yourself. You can see I’m doing the best that I can.”

“I know that,” Brant finally stepped back trying not to let his frustrations get the best of him now that Angela was taking in the scene between them, “It’s just that I promised that I would meet a deadline and…”

“And I’m trying to help you with that, but…” Michael started watching as Angela moved forward to take a look at the computer screen in front of her.

“Well for starters I think you’ve got your figures all wrong here,” Angela blurted out catching them both by surprise. Both men turned to face her again as she pointed to the screen again, “I know it’s none of my business, but I think you’re dealing with the wrong ratio for this particular compound. It actually seems counterproductive to me for you to take this route. If you tweak the numbers a little bit you might find a higher efficiency rate.”

“Tweak the numbers how,” Michael questioned with an air of skepticism before taking a step forward.

“Well right here,” she pointed to the screen at one of the equations, “This right here tells me that your levels are way off and you need to balance it more. I’m not an expert, but I think that this compound is ineffective, but if you replaced it with something like this…”

Brant and Michael watched her move in to change the equation on the screen in front of her. She typed in her own formula before curling her finger at them to take a look. Both men moved forward and she pointed to the screen again.

“You’ll find this might be more what you’re looking for given what I’ve read,” she explained stepping aside to reach out for some of Michael’s notes on what he was working on that were laying on his desk. She tipped her head up to meet his eyes before motioning to the pages again, “May I?”

Michael turned to Brant seeking out his approval before Brant nodded encouragingly.

“Be my guest,” Brant mouthed watching Angela sift through the pages in front of her.

“Okay, for starters this is way wrong,” she held a paper up to offer it to Michael. “I think you’re working in the wrong direction on this one, but if you give it a bit of a shift…”

“Is she for real?” Michael couldn’t help but whisper watching Angela sink in onto his chair and dig through his research as if it was her own. Michael looked to Brant for guidance before Brant spoke up in a small whisper.

“Go with it. Trust me I think she knows what she’s talking about,” Brant mouthed realizing that while Angela may not remember who she was in the here and now, part of her medical training was coming into play. In fact the more Brant watched her, the more it dawned in on him that she’d done something like this before. He saw her and Michael interact with one another over the topic at hand and it hit him. For all the months he’d spent trying to discover who it was that was running the lab for Stone Corporation, the secret was right before his very eyes. It was Angela! It had to be now that she talked about the project and spoke of the drug research as if she herself had gone through the same trial and error process.

“I’ll be right back,” Brant announced his words barely registering to Michael and Angela now that the two were buried in work with one another. It was as if a light had sparked in both of their heads and they were on fire coming together to reach the conclusion that Brant had been hoping for in all of his waiting. Walking out of Michael’s lab, he moved over to the office area and picked up the phone to dial the private investigator that he’d had doing research on the competition. The man picked up after the second ring. “Hey, this is Brant Ashford.”

“Oh Mr. Ashford,” the man spoke his name in response, “I was just about to call you. I just got my hands on that information you‘ve been looking for. It took a hell of a time for me to find it, but after some serious digging I was able to get that name for you that you were looking for.”

“Dr. Meloni,” Brant blurted out glancing back through the glass to see Angela and Michael working with one another, “Dr. Angela Meloni.”

“Yeah, how did you know?” the man couldn’t help but ask surprised to hear Brant already had happened upon the information. “It was hard to track down, but she’s been the head of research for Stone Corp in an overseas office for a while and it sounds like she’s a real smart cookie. She’s got multiple degrees and…”

“And that’s all I needed to know,” Brant mouthed in response hanging up the phone and keeping his eyes on the woman he loved as it dawned in on him that all this time the person who could potentially take his company under was the woman he loved. She was the one he’d been hoping to thwart all this time, but now that she was working with his head of research, he couldn’t help but wonder if he could bring himself to keep her from helping Michael enough to give him what he needed to push his drug onto the market. A part of him wanted nothing more than to make the next step towards the discovery of a lifetime, yet the other knew full well that Angela would be torn had she truly had her memory back. She might not have even contemplated helping Brant, yet with her in the middle of the lab working out the details of the project that would carry BBK into the world as a superpower, he found himself in a moral quandary one that would take him to a fortune or to his demise if he wasn’t careful!


“And I fully expect to see you this time, not just to have some fly by the moment here and there random hello to pacify me now that I’m in town Ria,” Marlene Merhan informed her daughter with a small huff, “I sincerely hope that you take the time to indulge me since I’m spending big money to make my way back to town on my flight.”

“Yes mother,” Ria mouthed in response thinking about how long it had been since she’d had to come face to face with her mom again. Closing her eyes she could just feel the tension pouring out over her body at the weight of her mother’s expectations upon her.

“How are you doing at the hospital? Good I hope because you are a Merhan and we have a reputation to uphold. You know when I started my internship I was at the top of my class and then when I was doing my residency, I was Chief Resident and…” Ria’s mother continued to boast into the phone.

“Yes mother I know,” Ria sighed heavily reopening her eyes to glance over at Kevin, “The whole town remembers all the good you brought back to the hospital.”

“And it’s because of my good name that you have been given so many opportunities. You have a chance to become something Ria. You are a Merhan and unlike your sister you haven’t let us down yet. She blew off a very rewarding and promising career to go chase her impulses, but I know you’re smarter than that. You are bright and beautiful and you’ll make me proud. Why I’m sure if I put in a word with Isaac, then he will keep an eye on you and keep you under his wing,” her mother continued to ramble on causing Ria to let out a small groan.

“I’m doing just fine on my own mom. Work is going well,” Ria blurted out cutting her off abruptly, “In fact I really have to get going because I have a shift at the hospital in less than an hour. As much as I would like to keep speaking with you, I can’t be late.”

“No you can’t because punctuality says so much about a person,” her mother continued to rant on, “I remember what it was like working with slackers and there was this one doctor in question who was notorious for being late and…”

“I’ll talk to you when you get in mom,” Ria explained with a small breath, “I’ll stop by the house or something this weekend.”

“Oh no not this weekend. I have the realtor coming around to help appraise it since your father and I are just going to finally get rid of it. There is no need to keep it since you and your sister need to find your own means of keeping things together. Trisha is old enough to find her own place and I’m not about to hand over the house when it’s worth a small fortune,” her mom continued to rant, “Hell, I haven’t even begun to get in touch with your sister yet, but if she’s partying in the house…”

“I’m sure she’s not mom. I love you and I’ll talk to you later,” Ria added with another breath closing her eyes again, “Goodbye mom.”

“Goodbye sweetheart. I love you too,” Ria’s mother finished as Ria hung up the phone and tossed it across the bed in the Ashford guest room. She lay back allowing her hair to fall around her face and she groaned.

“This isn’t going to be good,” Ria mouthed with a heavy sigh feeling the weight of Kevin moving in to take a seat on the bed beside her.

“I take it things went well,” Kevin teased leaning on his side and propping himself up on his elbow. He reached out to play with a piece of her dark hair as it was clear her talk with her mother left much to be desired.

“I think I’m falling further into hell,” Ria confessed reopening her eyes to see him hovering over her side, “Kevin with her coming to town that opens up a whole new world of complication.”

“It won’t be that bad,” he promised stroking the side of her face gently. He watched her brown eyes narrow with disbelief and he bent forward placing a tentative kiss over her lips, “Trust me it won’t be.”

“Kevin you know how my mother is. She’s always pushing me to be the best--urging me to be as good as she was at everything and constantly throwing it in my face how wonderful she is,” Ria couldn’t help but roll her eyes, “Yeah so maybe she is one of the best doctors out there and maybe she’s accomplished so very much, but I’m not her. I have my own life and my own set of accomplishments.”

“I realize that sweetheart and you should be proud of that. You’re one hell of a great doctor,” Kevin encouraged her, bringing his arm around her waist and pulling her in closer to him, “Your mom should be proud of you.”

“She should be, but she won’t be. When she gets here and sees that I’m not Chief Resident that will be the first moment of disappointment and then when she learns about this,” Ria sighed heavily tipping her head up to look at him again, “Kevin she’s not going to be proud of me for shaking up with someone who is with another woman.”

“But I’m not with another woman,” he frowned sliding his thick fingers into her dark hair and urging her to turn in towards him. He leaned in to kiss her tenderly before speaking up in a warm, loving tone. “I’m with you and only you.”

“Yes, but the fact that we have to pretend for Angela isn’t something that she’s going to believe. She’ll think that you’re with her and…” she started to worry only to feel Kevin press his index finger over the center of her lips to silence her.

“Trust me Ria. Your mom doesn’t intimidate me. She can’t make me feel inferior or you for that matter because you aren’t,” he spoke up encouragingly, “You’re a bright, beautiful woman and she should be proud of you. Besides you aren’t the one dating the stripper.”

Ria couldn’t help but smile, “Sadly I don’t think that would matter given how my mom is. You know what she was like when we were younger.”

“Yeah, the last time I saw her she wasn’t exactly happy with me,” Kevin cleared his throat uneasily remembering his last encounter with Mrs. Merhan.

“That might’ve been because you and I were naked in bed together and you were kind of,” Ria’s eyes widened and she offered up a nod, “I mean she knew we weren’t having sex, but we were…”

“Hey that was a long time ago,” Kevin shook his head determined not to let the past get him down. “I’ve grown up since then and so have you. We’re two very capable, very willing adults and your mother will just have to accept the fact that we’re together now. If anything she should be happy that we stayed true to one another and what we wanted over the years.”

“My mother never sees anything in a positive light, which means I’m in big trouble now that she’s back Kevin,” Ria mouthed closing her eyes and realizing that despite the fact that she felt that she’d hit rock bottom in dealing with Angela, her mother made the situation a million times worse for everyone!


“That son of a bitch!” Heather seethed reaching out to tear up the envelope that had been delivered to her. She thought back to her surprise when she had been speaking with Seth and the note had arrived. Unable to quell the shock that had carried over her, she had made her way to the office to look again at the DVD cover art that was shipped to her office. It was clear that someone was trying to mess with her, but who exactly she wasn’t sure. She started to tear at the envelope, but thought twice of it when she heard a sound at her office door.

“I sincerely hope that you aren’t talking about me,” Kyle’s voice rumbled through the office causing her to look up with a start. She squeezed the paper in her hand before frowning over at him, “Hey, what’s wrong honey?”

“This,” Heather held her hand out to him offering him the disgusting piece of paper. She watched him take it cautiously before she started speaking up again, “I can’t believe that someone wants to sit there and screw with me like this Kyle. It was bad enough when I got the fax the other day, but when this showed up in my office that did it. Kyle I’m tired of this crap.”

“I don’t understand,” he frowned seeing exactly why she was so upset. “I was with Cameron earlier, so I don’t see how he could’ve pulled this one off.”

“I don’t think he was the one that did it Kyle,” Heather admitted with a heavy sigh slumping back down into her chair, “Someone out there wants to hurt me, but I don’t know who.”

“Cameron didn’t seem to have the first clue what I was upset with him about. It’s not that I trust the guy, but something tells me that it wasn’t him especially if you got this,” Kyle crumbled the paper up in his hand before having a second thought. Walking over to the shredder he smoothed the paper out enough to slide it through and tear it into pieces, “Whomever is doing this wants some kind of reaction out of you.”

“Oh they’ll get it alright,” Heather clenched her fists at her sides, “I’m getting seriously upset that someone wants to mess with me like this especially now that I’m getting the company off of the ground.”

“I don’t know who it is yet, but when I find out they will have to deal with me. I promise you that,” Kyle insisted making his way over to her. He knelt down beside her chair and reached out to touch her cheek lightly, “I love you I hope you know.”

“I love you too, which is why I hate that this is happening,” she confessed with a frustrated sigh reaching out to him as well. She slid her fingers through his hair before meeting his hazel eyes with a small frown, “Kyle I’m just at my wit’s end about this one. I mean someone obviously wants to hurt me with this. I’m sure that they are going to try to blackmail me or something since I’m positive they probably believe that you have no idea about any of this.”

“Funny thing though. They would be wrong because I do know and it doesn’t matter to me. You’re my wife and I love you,” Kyle informed her point blank leaning in to steal a quick kiss from her, “Sure last night you had me a little upset when you and Avery decided to attack one another in front of Erin like that, but I still love you.”

“She was asking for it,” Heather frowned back at him.

“Asking for it or not, it was uncalled for from both of you,” he added quickly before shaking his head, “but I don’t want to get into that right now. I think you and I need to sit down and think about who would know about this and furthermore who would want to start causing you problems right now. If we can figure out who has the most to gain by doing this, then we might get to the root of the problem.”

“At this point I think Sarah would stand the most to gain, but I don’t believe that she would take this tactic. She would just get up in your face and give you a copy of the DVD if she could get her hands on it. That’s how much she hates me,” Heather pointed out thinking about her sister’s bitterness towards her.

“Yeah, well if she gave me a copy, I would tell her thanks, but no thanks I have my own private collection of us together and that she doesn’t need to bother showing me what I already experience on a daily basis,” he teased with a wink watching her eyes light up with amusement.

“Kyle don’t make a joke out of this,” she shook her head at him unable to help herself.

“I’m not making a joke of it, but merely stating what is truth to me. I don’t care about what happened in the past. You did what you needed to do during that time and it’s done with. We’re together now and everything is as it should be. Sure, we both made mistakes but we’re better because of it,” he promised bending in to kiss her once again, “Heather I love you and I swear to you that this doesn’t upset me. No, I take that back it upset me, but only because I hate to see someone hurting you. Other than that I realize that the past is the past and I’m not about to hold that against us and interfere with our future. I love you.”

“I love you too,” she admitted feeling more at ease now that he was with her. She reached out to kiss him, pulling him up off of the floor so that he was nearer to her. He wrapped his arms around her pulling her out of her chair and as Heather pondered what was happening in the world around her, she knew that she was safe with Kyle. Everything was going to be okay as long as they had one another to hold onto.


Russ paced around the dark alley taking the time to check his watch again. He’d followed the directions that the caller had given him to the letter and now that he had been standing there waiting for over half an hour he felt his patience tapering away. Of course he knew it wasn’t the brightest of ideas to agree to the meeting, but after his conversation with Chris, Russ found himself even more convinced of the validity of what it was he was doing there. There was a story brewing in town and he needed to know the answers.

“Russ Denton,” a voice called out from the shadows causing Russ to turn around and seek out the source of the sound. A few seconds later a man dressed in all black emerged from the shadows. He had a slight dark colored beard clearly from a few days of not shaving on his face and he was wearing a leather jacket that fit snugly around his muscled torso.

“Yes?” Russ took a small step in closer to him seeing the man’s dark eyes pierce his with a cold, distant stare.

“You never should’ve come here,” the man snarled at him in a harsh, aggressive tone, “You should’ve minded your own business newspaper boy.”

“What?” Russ questioned looking down to see the gun in the man’s hand that had been hidden in the shadows upon his first arrival. Now as the man pointed it at him, Russ realized this meeting wasn’t going to be anywhere near what it had seemed when he’d received the phone call.

“People like you need to mind your own business. You shouldn’t print stories about things you know nothing about unless you have your facts straight,” the man taunted waving the gun around at him, “You stepped into a world that had no place for you in it and now you have to be taught a lesson.”

“Look I don’t mean you any harm,” Russ started raising his hands in the air to fend off an impending attack, “I just wanted to talk with you that’s all. When you called me you said you wanted to speak with me.”

“Actions speak louder than words,” the man snarled aiming the gun over at Russ and slowly drawing back on the trigger.

“Exactly,” another voice sprung through the darkness catching the man off guard as a hand reached for his arm sending it up into the air as the gun went off. The man spun around to face his attacker and felt a fist connect with his face. Seconds later there was another sound and the gun spiraled across the ground over to Russell’s feet.

“Son of a bitch,” the man in black cursed throwing his fist out at his attacker before taking off into the night in a haste. Russ looked to the gun again half tempted to pick it up, but knowing if he did so there may be prints on it. Granted the man had been wearing gloves, but maybe just maybe he hadn’t been safe about the situation before tonight as he hadn’t expected to lose his gun.

“Did you get any information?” the man’s attacker questioned as Chris stood up to eye Russ with obvious concern, “You okay?”

“Yeah,” Russ nodded reaching into his pocket and pulling out a few tissues. He leaned forward to pick the gun up off of the ground carefully before he looked to Chris again, “You were right. This was a setup.”

“I kind of thought so,” Chris noted moving in closer to Russ. He glanced over his shoulder in the direction of where the man had sprinted off before he pulled a plastic bag out of his pocket. “Try this. It might help.”

“Thanks,” Russ deposited the gun into the bag before eyeing the darkness the man had disappeared into. “I’m pretty sure he was alone.”

“Given how fast he took off I think that’s a good guess,” Chris nodded before glancing over at Russ again, “Though I don’t think we should stick around here much longer.”

“I won’t argue that point,” Russ mouthed in response grateful that he’d brought Chris along with him as backup just in case things got ugly.

“This does prove one important point though,” Chris noted as Russ started to walk over to where they had parked the car earlier.

“I know,” Russ nodded in response glancing over his shoulder at Chris, “We’re onto something and from what just happened I think we’re closer to the truth than either one of us thought possible before now.”


...to be continued...