Episode 401

“Your father?” JT repeated processing the information that had fallen onto his lap with Evie's confession. He turned his attention to the man who now stood across the sand near the house with Angela. JT felt his own body tense up, his mind racing with all the fury and rage that the thought of the man who had hurt Evie had brought to him. He could recall how terrified she was when she had encountered her father at JT's apartment--when the man had hurt her and suddenly JT found himself wanting nothing more than to murder the man who was almost within his reach.

“That’s right and I can’t let him see me. I told you what he’s capable of,” Evie explained in a pleading tone. “JT I can’t let him see me here. We came all this way to get as far as possible from him and now…”

“It’s okay,” JT began cupping her face in his hands. He urged her to meet his dark eyes as he spoke his solemn promise. “He isn’t going to hurt you. I swear to you that I’m never going to let him hurt you again.”

“You say that now, but you don’t know him,” Evie started feeling her pulse racing with fear inside of her. She refused to look over in the direction she’d spotted her father in earlier perhaps for fear that he would make eye contact with her and the dream she’d been hoping to live out with JT would be over. Holding him tighter than she’d been earlier, she let out a small, pinched breath, “JT he’s not the kind of person that you want to come face to face with.”

“He doesn’t scare me Evie,” JT smoothed his fingers out over her spine knowing full well that while he might not be worried about facing down her father, she was beyond terrified. Kissing the top of her head JT made a mental note to remember just what beach house he’d witnessed her father stepping into with Angela.

He was still puzzled by what Angela would be doing with a man who had worked so very hard to create a terror inside of his daughter--one that time clearly could not erase. The memory of the night JT had found Evie in his apartment carried over him, and instantly his thoughts lingered back to finding a way to take care of the problem that Evie’s father had presented her with. It wasn’t that JT was thinking about homicide, however justifiable it might be in this scenario, but rather he was hoping to find a way to ensure that the woman in his arms--the woman that he loved more than he’d ever thought possible--would never have to feel this kind of hurt in her life again.

“Please JT let’s just get out of here,” Evie reached out to him squeezing her arms around him tightly. “Let’s just go back to the beach house--anywhere, but here. Please…”

“Evie, I…” he stopped himself knowing that if he’d revealed his thoughts to her about where her father ranked in JT’s opinion that it would only worry her and cause her more upset. He secured her in his arms and turned her away from where the man had been standing so that he provided a barrier between her and the man who’d harmed her. He stroked his fingers through her long, dark hair before leaning down to whisper in her ear. “Okay. We’ll get out of here and I promise you that you’ll never have to see him. He won’t ever bother you again.”

“JT considering he’s here on the island I know that isn’t true no matter how much you mean it,” she revealed fighting the tears that clouded her otherwise perfect brown eyes. She took in a small breath, her lower lip trembling with the movement and she spoke up again, “He’s smarter than you think he is.”

“He might be smart, but he’s never tried to step up to me before,” JT warned sharply knowing full well that if Evie’s father ever crossed paths with them again his days would be soon numbered. However, now that Evie was obviously hurting he knew better than to push the issue. Brushing the pad of his thumb against her damp cheek he offered up a small supportive glance wanting her to see just how much protecting her meant to him. “He’s not going to get the best of us and he certainly isn’t going to get to you. I swear that much.”

“I just want to get out of here,” Evie sighed noticing that her father had slipped into the house just beyond where they were thus giving them a small window of opportunity for retreat.

“Okay,” he nodded in response taking her hand in his and moving to collect their things before he took the time to regroup and figure out a way to get rid of her father from here on out.


“Kevin first off I think you should just sit down and try to relax,” Seth began with a worried expression thinking about how worked up his cousin was after Seth had presented him with the bracelet that JT’s girlfriend had given to him. “I know that it’s yours, but…”

“But nothing,” Kevin spun around on his heel and faced Seth with a snarl. “I had this custom made for my daughter. I wanted her to have it when she was older--just like the one I had made for Jade. The women in our family have always had a special something handed down to them through the generation lines and when your father didn’t do it for Jade, I decided to do it for her and for my little girl.”

“I realize that Kevin, which is why when I saw it on her wrist, I started thinking about Jade and…” Seth began thinking about the moment in the bar when he’d mistaken JT’s companion for Jade.

“And I’m certain that this is mine,” Kevin pointed to the tiny inscription on the back. “I had this done specifically when Angie was near the end of her pregnancy. It was right before I came to Coral Valley to see Jade and…”

“I remember when you bought them Kevin, which is why I was just as confused about it as you are. I didn’t know why someone I didn’t know would have that on her wrist, but…” Seth began with a frown.

“But she was with JT, right?” Kevin paused for a moment and let out a sharp hiss. “That little son of a bitch must’ve stolen it from me. After all those years that I’ve known him, he must’ve come in and pulled it out of my things when he was searching for drug money. I’ll just bet he pawned it off and…”

“Then what?” Seth pointed out with a frown, “Just handed it over to his girlfriend years later after selling it? Kevin, as much as I’d like to say that sounds like something JT would do, well I doubt it.”

“You’re right,” Kevin’s jaw clenched with anger as he looked to the bracelet again. “He must’ve kept it in hiding somewhere when he realized that he wasn’t going to get anything for it. Come to think of it after how good I was with that little shit after all these years, I think I’m going to kill him. I let him live after he broke Jade’s heart simply because I watched him grow up, but now…”

“Kevin, I just don’t know if JT would take it. I mean he seemed just as confused about what was going on as Blake was about the situation when I railed into his girlfriend. If he would’ve given it to her, he would’ve been a hell of a lot more smug about it considering that’s the way he is about things. Plus despite the fact that JT is a little creep, you and I both know that he’s not about to cross his brother on things especially when Cameron has always found a way to make it clear that no one gets to hurt his sister.”

“JT’s a self absorbed twit who has gotten by on his looks and his father’s money all these years,” Kevin couldn’t help but roll his eyes, “If it wasn’t for me, he would’ve been laid out in the morgue by now after all the times Cameron sent me off to bail him out of trouble. That boy has caused more trouble than anyone else I know and…”

“And I’m not about to argue that point Kevin, but at the same time I don’t think he’d want to incur the wrath of his brother. Do you think it’s possible that maybe Angela had the bracelet and while she was around Cameron, he might’ve kept it for her?” Seth suggested hoping to calm his cousin down as Kevin’s eyes flashed with anger.

“No, I kept it all this time and Angie probably doesn’t even remember that I had it made. I never was able to give it to our daughter, so I don’t see why she would keep it with her. I’m the one that was far more sentimental about things and,” Kevin paused thinking about what his cousin had said, “besides even if Cameron had it, it still wouldn’t explain how it ended up on that skank that JT has been spending time with.”

“Maybe she stole it from Cameron’s place when JT took her there,” Seth shrugged his shoulders flippantly, “I mean it’s not like JT has been known to hang out with very upstanding women. Diane and Jade were the best things that ever happened to him and look what he did to them.”

“JT is a little twerp,” Kevin focused on the bracelet once again, “and with Cameron…”

“I don’t trust the guy Kevin,” Seth explained with a small frown. “I never have and I can’t see how you could work for someone like that when…”

“Don’t start,” Kevin warned sensing something behind his cousin’s eyes.

“Of course not. I mean why in the hell would I have a right to say anything about a man who systematically tortured my sister and threatened her time and time again? I mean it’s no big deal that he blackmailed Jade and threatened to expose her rape and humiliate her beyond anything she’s ever known,” Seth rolled his eyes as he stood up and made his way towards the kitchen with a stomp. “I mean hey, it’s all forgivable because you took their blood money all of those years ago.”

“And you were on the payroll as well dear cousin from what I remember,” Kevin frowned going after Seth now that it was clear that the old dispute the two had shared with one another was resurfacing. “I told you why I took the job in the first place Seth.”

“And what the hell did it get you Kevin?” Seth spun around to glare up at his cousin. “Yeah, so you fell in love with Angie and thought that you could tear her out of the life, but where is she now? Where is your daughter or Jade for that matter?”

“That’s not fair Seth and you know it,” Kevin warned him, his jaw flexing with tension. “I protected Angie and…”

“And the night she went into labor someone else on the Stone payroll shot you. They tried to kill you Kevin and then with our family, do you have any idea what Cameron did to Jade?” Seth’s voice rose with anger. “Of course you don’t because you weren’t here. You were too busy protecting Angela and in doing so you forgot all about how important family was. You lost sight of what mattered.”

“I was there for you and Jade,” Kevin argued with Seth as the old wounds began to resurface between them. While they‘d never taken the time to talk about the tension that existed before Jade disappeared it seemed that the past would no longer staying buried between them. “When she was raped I dropped absolutely everything to make sure that she was alright. I tried to help you two, but you sent each and every check that I mailed out to you back.”

“Because I didn’t want your blood money, just like I didn’t want to work for that son of a bitch. When he hired me to spy on the Ashford family, I hated it with every fiber of my being, but he had photos of what happened to Jade. He had images of those monsters attacking her and intentions of twisting the story so that it made her look like she was some kind of…” Seth’s dark eyes clouded with emotion as he choked on his words. “I didn’t have a choice Kevin. I had to go against everything I’ve ever known because the Stone family was once again calling the shots and manipulating the rest of us.”

“Cameron is a harmless little piece of shi…” Kevin waved his hand dismissively.

“Tell that to Jade. Why don’t you explain that to her after he terrorized her for months and made sure that the man she loved was put behind bars in order for Cameron to manipulate her? Oh wait, you can’t because she, like your daughter is dead…” Seth sighed biting back on his words. He leaned in against the counter and placed his hands through his own dark hair before shaking his head. “You think you might’ve really accomplished something Kevin, but let’s face it the longer that you keep holding onto your role in Angela’s life, the harder it’s going to be for you to move on.”

“This has nothing to do with my daughter’s bracelet,” Kevin looked down to the golden crest on the bracelet.

“Being involved with that family has taken away more than you’ll ever gain Kevin,” Seth sighed feeling his frustrations mounting. “The fact to the matter is that I don’t know how that girl JT is dating wound up with your daughter’s bracelet, but you know as well as I do that anything associated with Cameron is trouble.”

“Angela isn’t Cameron,” Kevin objected with a scowl of his own. “She’s not like the rest of them.”

“No Kevin, she’s worse because she’s got you believing that she’s some kind of angel in disguise and because of that you’re never going to find happiness in your life,” Seth reminded him pointedly. “Your daughter is gone and that’s one of the worst things that you’ll ever have to endure. I don’t fault you for feeling pain over the situation. Hell, I have no idea how you’ve been able to keep it together this long, but I’m telling you now that the longer you get sucked into the drama with that family, the harder it’s going to be for all of us. First they stole your happiness and the opportunity to be a father to your little girl and then they took Jade. When is it going to end?”

“Seth,” Kevin found himself at a loss as Seth walked past Kevin out into the other room. Turning around Kevin thought about what to respond with when a thought occurred to him. Saying nothing, Kevin walked out into the living room and spotted Seth over by the window. Finally he spoke up, “Look I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault Kevin. I’m just upset because…” Seth stopped himself as he pressed his forehead into the window in front of him.

“Because today’s the anniversary of the day that Jade lost her son,” Kevin noted watching Seth tense up at the thought.

“I didn’t think you’d remember something like that,” Seth replied turning around to face his cousin.

“I could never forget that kind of misery and thinking about what she went through,” Kevin approached his cousin, “it only makes me wish all the more that I would’ve been here to keep her safe all those years ago. Maybe if I had then right now we’d have her here with us.”

“If things would’ve been different, then maybe they would’ve both been here,” Seth replied motioning to the bracelet that Kevin was holding. “Look, I didn’t mean to start a debate with you but…”

“But right now it doesn’t matter how that girl found this. What’s important is that it’s back where it should’ve been with me,” Kevin finished for him before pushing the bracelet carefully in his pocket. “Seth, I know I’ve been a horrible cousin, but…”

“But you’re all that I have now Kevin and I just don’t want to have to bury another family member at the hand of the Stone Empire. Is that so wrong?” Seth questioned with worry evident behind his eyes. “After you tell me about what happened with Angela vanishing and your car…”

“Trust me I can take care of myself,” Kevin attempted to reassure him. “I’m a pretty tough guy.”

“And what about Ria?” Seth couldn’t help but ask. “How is she going to feel when you go off chasing after Angela this time?”

“She understands,” Kevin explained tightly wondering if he was merely speaking the words in an attempt to assure himself.

“Are you certain about that?” Seth challenged with a shake of his head. “She loves you more than anything and I would hate to see her lose you over something that Angela initiated.”

“Trust me I won’t let that happen. Not this time,” Kevin promised realizing that Seth was right. Time had been unkind to Kevin after all the years of servitude to the Stone family. He just hoped and prayed that this time around finding Angela wouldn’t cause him to suffer the same consequences as it was clear now that trouble was evident.


“Good morning beautiful,” Russ mused with a small slur leaning down to kiss his daughter on the top of her tiny head now that she was perched in her high chair in the kitchen. She giggled and wiggled into his kiss, moving her chubby little fingers out to pull at his nose before he stepped back. Her big eyes were wide with delight as he kissed her once more enjoying her enthusiasm. He winked at her watching her clap her hands together until her interest turned to Rusty who was moving across the floor in a cool, fluid movement towards the bowl of food that Avery had just filled for him.

“Someone had a good start to their day I can tell,” Avery noted with a cryptic smirk thinking about the night she and Russ had shared with one another. While neither one of them had much sleep before Erin had decided to make her entrance to the morning, Avery had to admit to herself that last night had been worth losing sleep over.

She glanced over at Russ noting his dark hair was still damp from the shower he’d just finished up with. She spotted his shirt hanging over the back of one of the kitchen chairs now that he doted on Erin and she couldn’t help but admire the view thankful that he hadn’t gotten fully dressed upon leaving the shower. His sun kissed torso was exposed to her hungry eyes reminding her all over again about just how enthusiastic she’d been about their impromptu bout of insomnia. Yes, he was in fact the one man that could very easily prompt a reaction out of her--one that she was convinced that he knew nothing about. Sure, he was well aware of their obvious attraction to one another, but there was just something about the muscled contours of his body that made her very thankful to be a woman--more specifically his woman.

Laughing lightly Avery tossed her long hair over her shoulder thinking about how primal and archaic her thoughts truly were when she was alone with him. Granted there had to be something more than eating, sleeping, Erin and sex, but with Russ around he made it rather difficult to concentrate on the other tedious, more secondary aspects of living. Even now she found herself wanting to go over to him and trace her tongue over that spot on his neck that she knew drove him wild--that little place that only she knew how to get to inside of him that turned him on like nothing she’d ever known before.

“What’s that look for?” Russ questioned reaching out to retrieve his discarded shirt from the back of the chair. He walked over to Avery seeing that she looked like the cat who ate the canary and he couldn’t help but smile. He leaned in closer to her, the scent of his aftershave capturing her full attention now that his green eyes penetrated hers much like they had last night when they’d been alone together giving into passion with one another.

“There’s no look,” she lied trying to reclaim her focus while clearing her throat. She licked her lips involuntarily before turning towards the stove, “I was just getting breakfast rolling for us. You mentioned that Grady might stop by and…”

“I know what I said,” Russ stepped in behind her bridging the distance between them. He curled his arm around her waist listening as her lips parted and a small gasp escaped from her mouth. It was clear she hadn’t meant to release it, yet there was something sinfully sexy about it--something that had Russ wishing he hadn’t told his brother that it was alright to come over for breakfast. Tipping down to whisper into the back of her ear, Russ teased his fingers down over her hip cupping her in against the hardened lines of his body, “but I wish I had rethought it before offering up the invitation especially considering you and I have unfinished business with one another.”

“I thought we pretty much covered all our ground with one another last night and this morning,” she mouthed in response pretending that she could focus on the meal she’d been working on in front of her. However, she arched back ever so slightly, her bottom pressing in against him sliding into his thigh in a subtle movement.

“We’ve only opened up the discussion with one another,” he mouthed in response leaning in to press a faint kiss over the side of her neck while his fingers trailed up over her abdomen. He squeezed her in against him in a possessive movement alerting her to the fact that his thoughts had ventured into very naughty territory as well. She felt her lips open again curving in the shape of an ’O’ but before she could get anything out the doorbell rang.

“Company,” she sighed feeling his hand leave her body and an emptiness replace the warmth that had carried over her.

“We’ll do what we can to keep this from being too long,” Russ assured her with a hint of temptation in his tone. He stepped away from her and refocused his energies on his daughter. Smiling to himself, he bent down to pick Erin up and cradle her over his shoulder. “Come on Erin. Let’s go find a way to get rid of Uncle Grady so that your mom and I can have some mommy daddy time together.”

“It’s never going to happen Russ,” Avery murmured under her breath listening to the sound of Russ and Erin opening the door for Grady and Deana to join them. While she knew that she and Russ were craving some alone time with one another, she knew full well that once Russ and Grady got to talking it would be a long morning.

“Which means you need to get your mind back on track,” she mouthed turning her attention to the food she’d been preparing for their guests. She was almost finished when Grady’s voice roared through the room in a jabbing tone.

“Oh God. Russ you never mentioned that she would be the one doing the cooking,” Grady teased with a hint of laughter in his tone. “Had I known that I would’ve just skipped breakfast and made my way to the emergency room.”

“Very funny,” Avery glared over at him before watching Deana poke Grady in the ribs and issuing a small glare.

“Be nice,” Deana warned sharply, her thick accent carrying over in her tone just enough to let Grady know she meant business.

“What,” Grady shrugged his shoulders, “It’s not like I don’t know that she can’t cook. Let’s just say that is not one of the reasons Russ likes keeping her around. There hasn’t been a meal that she’s really been able to master unless take out counts.”

“Screw you Grady,” Avery tossed out a mock glare over at him watching him cross the room to step beside Russ who placed his hands over Erin’s tiny ears.

“You shouldn’t be hearing this,” Russ warned his daughter with a hint of laughter overtaking him. “I don’t want you to see your Uncle Grady bringing out the worst in your mother.”

“I’m just stating a mere fact,” Grady piped in once more before stepping in closer to the stove for inspection. “Unless of course things are being misrepresented and Russ really made all of this.”

“I’ll have you all know that I was the one who did this from start to finish,” Avery boasted proudly pulling the last pan off of the stove and putting it’s contents into a serving platter. She carried it over to the table where Russ was now returning Erin to her high chair for her continued spying on Rusty.

“If that’s the case, then I would love to know where these newfound culinary talents of yours came from unless of course you poisoned it,” Grady noted unable to deny that things looked and smelled very good.

“I only poisoned yours,” Avery flashed him a sarcastic smile before looking to Deana, “Please sit down. I can assure you I am not nearly as awful at cooking as he likes to lead the world to believe I am.”

“She’s really not. Actually she’s gotten really good,” Russ boasted taking a seat beside Erin’s high chair. “Over the last few months she has really climbed the ranks beyond beginner to intermediate culinary artist.”

“I’ll believe that when I…” Grady stopped when he took the first bite of the food that was on his plate. “Wow this is good.”

“See I told you,” Avery wrinkled her nose at him before smiling proudly.

“It really is,” Deana piped in with a smile. “I don’t know why Grady is being so hard on you because this is incredible.”

“Thank you,” Avery ate up the praise before offering up the secret to her cooking skills survival, “Actually Kevin’s the one who taught me how to make this, so you should really be praising him. Grady isn’t totally lying about how I used to be a mess in the kitchen, but hey Kevin taught me a few things over the last few weeks.”

“I’ll bet,” Grady mouthed glancing over at Russ to see his reaction to Avery’s sudden praise of the new guy in their lives.

“Kevin’s pretty good at cooking. I think it’s a hobby of his,” Russ noted thinking about the time Kevin had spent around their house with them.

“You mean he actually has time for them beyond being with Ria,” Deana teased thinking about what she’d seen between Kevin and her friend.

“He’s a man of many talents,” Avery continued to praise Kevin. “Erin’s absolutely in love with him.”

“Clearly she’s not the only one,” Grady piped in catching a few stares from everyone at the table. “I mean it’s just interesting that he’s gotten so close to you all so fast after we all really didn’t know him that well.”

“He’s a good guy,” Russ finally spoke up answering his brother’s unspoken question about Kevin’s character. “I trust him with a lot of things and besides, if he screws up I’m still his boss and I can fire him.”

“Gee that sounds familiar,” Deana couldn’t help but roll her eyes. “I hear that on a daily basis with Dr. Vaughn. I swear you think he would wake up and realize that while his ego has him as the second coming of the Lord Almighty, he is so far from being there.”

“He’s still hassling you,” Russ frowned remembering what Grady had mentioned about Zack’s harassment of Deana.

“Not as much as he usually does, but I’m sure something will be right around the corner,” Deana added with a small frown, “Though I have his number.”

“Do I want to know?” Grady couldn’t help but ask sipping on his juice.

“No, not really,” Deana shook her head and offered up a cryptic smirk, “but for what it’s worth I do think that he won’t be bothering me for a while--at least not while we’re gone. Being around him makes the whole idea of a vacation sound even better.”

“Trust me when you get to the island you’re going to love it,” Avery added encouragingly, “It’s like you step out of the real world for a while to this fantasy land and it’s something you’ll never forget. It’s so beautiful and it stays with you even after you leave.”

“It sounds nice,” Deana noted with a smile of her own.

“So I take it things are in order with the wedding then, yes?” Grady arched a speculative brow looking between Russ and Avery.

“We’ve got things on the right track,” Russ admitted thinking about how the planning he and Avery had contemplated getting into last night was sidelined by their need for some intense personal bonding with one another. “There are a few random items here and there that we need to take care of, but we’ve got it all covered.”

“I have the tux ready for the big day and the bachelor party on the wings since that is the job I’ve done rather well the last few times I’ve been the best man,” Grady boasted proudly thinking about the upcoming wedding.

“Actually,” Russ cleared his throat uneasily looking over to Avery before speaking to Grady again, “About that…”

“Don’t tell me that you’re not going to have a bachelor party now that you’ve already been down this road again. You missed out on that once before and…” Grady started to protest to the expression on Russell’s face.

“No, it’s not that. It’s just, well,” Russ shifted uneasily in his chair not really knowing how to say what was on his mind. “I guess with so many weddings, well I know how much you hated being in the role of best man, so I guess I just kind of improvised this time around.”

“Improvised,” Grady repeated with a strange expression watching Russ nod.

“Yeah, I mean I figured we already bothered you about it so many times already, so I thought I would ask Kyle,” Russ blurted out the news before he chickened out. He cleared his throat again before continuing, “Actually I did ask Kyle and he accepted.”

“Oh, well,” Grady reached for his juice attempting to find a way to recover from the error he’d made in just assuming Russ would have him as the best man. He took a small sip of his juice before forcing a small laugh, “I guess that the pressure is off me now. I mean hell once you’ve planned one bachelor party you’ve planned them all right.”

“You can still help out with that, but this time I’m telling you if you hire strippers like you did before I’ll personally kick your butt,” Avery offered up with a small grin hoping to make light of the situation.

“You got strippers for a bachelor party?” Deana’s eyes widened in response as she turned to Grady.

“Not like it did any good. Russ wouldn’t even look at them. He sent them away before the act began,” Grady recounted the party he’d put together. “I tried to get him to lighten up, but he wound up going over to Avery’s to spend the night with her.”

“That’s because he knows a good thing when he sees it,” Avery placed her hand on Russell’s thigh feeling an unspoken reaction out of him. He looked over to her briefly before addressing his brother again.

“Well what can I say? Maybe I’m not the bachelor party kind of guy,” Russ shrugged his shoulders and forced an uneasy smile, “But seriously you’re okay with this, right?”

“Hey as long as you’re happy, I’m more than okay with things,” Grady nodded offering up another smile before picking up a piece of bacon and taking a bite of it. “I mean that’s what really counts, right?”

“Absolutely,” Russ nodded feeling a relief carry over him now that it seemed Grady wasn’t upset with him.

“In fact I think a toast is in order since soon everything will be official,” Grady held up his glass of juice to toast them. “To Russ and Avery. May they have absolutely everything they have ever wanted out of life and should their big day be the best one ever.”

“I’ll drink to that,” Avery held up her glass as well watching as Erin clapped her hands together excitedly.

“Looks like you’re not the only one,” Deana noted with a tiny laugh seeing Erin bubble over with enthusiasm.

“Like her father she knows a good thing when she sees it,” Russ added brightly happy that things were finally on track again in all of their lives now that he and Avery would soon be making things official between them once and for all.


“Well that was something I wasn’t expecting to see anytime soon,” Kyle announced finally breaking the silence that filled the air after they had witnessed Kipp’s father telling the reporter on the news that he was married to Sarah. Clearing his throat he dug his toes into Kellen’s side hearing a sudden squeal fill the air. “Get off the floor. I don’t need you drooling on it.”

“Please tell me I was just having a bad dream kind of like the time I had the dream that I was trapped in an elevator with Harrison Ford and I was really excited about it because we were the last two people alive, but then all of a sudden Harrison turned into Sarah Silverman and I wanted to kill myself or claw my way out of the elevator,” Kellen got to his bottom sitting on the soft carpet wiping at his mouth with the back of his hand before taking in a deep breath. Resting his back firmly against the couch he looked to the screen and saw that the news story was still going on. His breathing intensified as he saw Kipp staring out at him with his dark eyes. “Oh God, I wasn’t dreaming.”

“No, you weren’t,” Kipp answered seeing Kellen becoming a light shade of pale crimson as he gasped for breath and Kipp saw Heather move away from Kyle and head into the kitchen. The sound of Kellen’s head falling flat against the wooden coffee table before him. “I can’t believe he went on the news and announced it to everyone. I don’t know what he’s trying to do.”

“He’s trying to piss someone off,” Kyle moved forward in his seat staring out at the television before leaning back into the leather couch and resting his feet up on the coffee table that Kellen was resting his head on. “That’s the most effective and overzealous way to get someone to notice you. To have the whole world know the gossip makes it all the more better for the classic drama queen so to speak.”

“And you’re supposed to be the nice guy--and yet you know that,” Kellen lifted his head up noticing that Kyle’s feet were right next to him as Kellen frowned and looked back into Kyle’s amused hazel eyes. “Did Heather fall in love with a fake nice guy?"

“I’m just one mean son of a bitch when someone pisses me off,” Kyle reached out to tap Kellen on the head mockingly before smirking and sitting back reaching for the remote. “Other than that, if the person doesn’t piss me off constantly--they have nothing to worry about because I’ll be the nicest guy alive.”

“Here, take this,” Heather handed Kellen a brown paper bag seeing him snatch it from her fingers before opening it up while he was starting to hyperventilate. “Any ideas as to why your father did something like this Kipp?"

“I don’t know, he’s always embraced the notion of being an eccentric for all it's worth. I can never predict something my father does, but I can surely tell you that I’m not surprised by this,” Kipp answered with a small sigh leaning forward in the chair before resting his elbows on his knees. “My father has done far worse through the years I suppose. I can’t really say something about the shock value associated with this because I’m used to it. I would have preferred to not say that Sarah was my step-mother, but hey the world leads to crazy things. Even so, yeah. Sarah is my his new bride and that’s very weird.”

“Well hey, it’s not that bad. I mean your dad married the biggest bitch I know and she’s a couple of years older than you. Probably could have been a nice age for your own lover if you were getting married and into well, women instead of drama queens like Kellen,” Kyle teased feeling a firm slap over the center of his chest making him clear his throat before rubbing at his chin softly. “I mean that’s not funny. That’s not cool at all, why would he do something like that?"

“Maybe there is a valid reason for all of this, I mean there is no reason to go into freak out mode. How many women has your father been with? If you really think about it--they won’t last long,” Heather pointed out seeing Kipp’s eyebrows arch up as he clasped his fingers together and leaned in closer to them before nodding. Looking to Kellen she could still see his face a light shade of pink showing her that he was still freaking out. “Kellen, calm down. You really need to stop freaking out about this. You might be the last person this effects the most out of all of us.”

“I can still be upset you know. I freak out much more than you do because I’m different than all of you when I hate someone and I have this strong passion toward hating them--I freak when I have to face them like the time when I was in a spelling bee in fifth grade and I was up against Suzie Snotface Richardson. She was so smug and nasty because her father owned a used car dealership and she bragged all the time about being better than everyone. I swear I could've just punched that bitchy smirk off of her face, but instead when it was her turn to do her word, I decided to trip her and I laughed my butt off when she fell off the stage and needed stitches. It served her right, but that's beside the point. When people annoy me I react,” Kellen gasped for air slamming the bag to the ground before plopping his head down against the table top over and over again hearing Kyle laugh. “Oh, I’m sure you are getting a real kick out of this--aren’t you?"

“No, not really because if you haven’t realized that just about means I’m stuck with Sarah all the time constantly if it’s true. That means that Sarah would be Charles’ grandma to a degree,” Kyle explained seeing Kellen’s blue eyes staring into his as he shrugged his shoulders and thought about things and how this situation could ruin his future if he let them. “That means that everywhere I go Sarah could be watching me and my wi…future wife constantly. Which means she’ll never leave me alone. How do you think that one feels Kellen? Did you date her or almost get married to her? The answer is no so I think you are the one that should be the least worried about it considering it’s Kipp’s and Heather’s child she is now the grandmother of.”

“I guess we all kind of have a right to freak out,” Heather muttered catching Kyle almost calling her his wife in front of Kellen as she slid her hand in over Kyle’s thigh patting on it softly before taking in a long shallow breath. “We all do kind of hate her and it’s just news that we all weren’t expecting.”

“It will be last week's news when my father dumps her off as well,” Kipp announced stepping up from where he was seated and moved toward Kellen to pat him on the head for a moment before sliding his hands into his pockets and thinking about the situation. “Trust me. My father has been with women younger than me before and they have come and gone that I don’t think it really matters to even worry about this. He will go through her like nothing and she will be no worry by the end of the week. Trust me on that guys. My father's reputation for monogamy and marriage lasts about as long as the initial week's worth of headlines surrounding the marriage. Sarah's just another irrelevant face in the mix.”

“Hopefully that's true because she is the last one that any of us are going to need in our life right now,” Kyle thought about how he was married to Heather and didn’t need anything interrupting that. Or Kipp with his son and Charles just in general. Charles didn’t need to be caught in between all of this chaos that Sarah liked to bring with her while he was growing up. “She’s really the last thing any of us has to deal with right now, so I guess we’ll just have to come to tolerate it until she is drop kicked to the side street.”


“Cameron I’m sorry I’m late, but you have no idea what kind of morning I’ve had,” Sarah began apologetically seeing the frustration that poured out over Cameron’s dark eyes. “I tried to get back as soon as possible like I told you I would but…”

“But nothing,” he frowned over at her shaking his head with obvious irritation. “Have you not been listening to a word I’ve said since you arrived? I’m having a major crisis on my hands thanks to Ashford and here you are making feeble excuses for your tardiness. Face it Sarah my sister going missing is something that should take top priority right now.”

“I’m not arguing with that, but Cameron there is something I need to tell you,” she began nervously fidgeting with her fingers as she remembered her confrontation with Douglas before she’d left the hotel. “There are things that aren’t something that can really wait. I realize that not knowing where Angela is could clearly be upsetting, but…”

“Upsetting,” Cameron spun around to face her with an incredulous expression on his face. “Sarah, learning that the stock market took a nose dive or that my new sports car was hit by a teenager on her cell phone is upsetting, but learning that my sister is nowhere to be found is something of great concern to me. Ashford has been trying to manipulate her for weeks and…”

“I’m sure that Brant wouldn’t hurt her,” she offered up watching him make his way over to the recreation room over near where the bar was. Moving in behind him she fought to find the right words to tell him what had been troubling her ever since she’d awakened in Douglas’s hotel room earlier in the morning lost in a haze of confusion. Still knowing how wound up he was she tried to stay on focus. “She is having his children and I’m sure that he wouldn’t jeopardize them. That isn’t like Brant.”

“How the hell would you know that isn’t like Brant?” he snapped at her spinning around to glare over at her with his dark, upset eyes. “Hell, you’re the last person to talk about putting a child in jeopardy. I mean look at you--look what you’ve been doing to yourself ever since that loser psychiatrist wanted to leave town and Kyle stopped speaking to you. You’ve been drinking like a fish and having no regard for that child you’re carrying.”

“That’s different,” she frowned over at him with a heavy sigh now that her entire body seemed to be stiff from the previous evening’s actions that she fought to suppress in the back of her mind. “I’m through with drinking now Cameron. I learned my lesson.”

“Have you?” he arched a doubtful brow stopping what he was doing long enough to move in closer to her. He searched her eyes for a long moment before speaking up again, “Have you really learned your lesson Sarah?”

“Believe me I have,” she nodded quickly taking in a breath and knowing full well what drinking lead her to the night before. If there hadn’t been that wake up call with Douglas in her bed, then she might not have been able to tell Cameron she had learned with full meaning behind her words, but now, well with last night still carrying over her, she meant every word of it. “I’ll never touch that stuff again. It was stupid to think that I could carry on that way.”

Cameron stood silent for a long moment searching her eyes with an unreadable expression that caused Sarah to feel chills racing over her. She took in a small breath hoping that he wasn’t upset by her proclamation, but rather than snapping at her like he had been doing most of the morning, he reached out to touch her cheek gently. A small smirk now carried over him when he leaned in closer to her.

“I believe you,” he confessed in a tiny whisper, his grin expanding over his face, “which surprises me since I very seldom hold any validity in what you tell me.”

“You’d be surprised in just how brutally honest I can be when the mood strikes me,” she admitted with a relieved expression feeling his lips descending towards hers.

She arched her head upward into the kiss feeling something behind his lips to hers. He had a certain neediness that hadn’t been present in the past, but now with the threat of his sister disappearing behind his thoughts, she had a feeling they had made some kind of breakthrough with one another. Reaching out to wrap her arms around his shoulders, she coaxed him into expanding the kiss--into helping her erase the night she’d shared with Douglas at any cost. Last night had been disastrous but perhaps this morning would be a step up from where she’d been.

“I missed you,” Cameron revealed in a lazy tone, his thumb brushing over her bottom lip gingerly. He still wore the same grin that had been present since he’d admitted he believed in her only now he seemed more focused on her and less on the tension that carried over him. He shook his head as if he couldn’t believe what he was saying to her, “I can’t believe that I’m admitting it, but it was lonely without you here with me last night.”

“I missed you too,” she mouthed in response sliding her fingers up into his dark hair. “I know that we don’t exactly touch base on what we’re feeling, but I think this is a nice start.”

“Yes, it is, isn’t it?” he reached out to coil his arm around her waist. “I mean I don’t want you to think I’m getting soft on you here, but…”

“Believe me,” she smiled up at him licking her lips in anticipation before dropping her hand down to the center of his pants to feel him through his slacks. “Nothing about you ever comes off as being soft to me.”

He closed his eyes and sighed allowing her a moment to entice him before he spoke up again. “As thrilling as where we’re headed together could be I have to find out where Angela is.”

“I’m sure she’ll resurface soon enough,” Sarah curled her fingers tightly around his shirt while urging him to meet her dark eyes again. “Knowing what you’ve told me about her, she might just have needed time--time to clear her thoughts until she realized you were right.”

“My sister is incredibly impossible,” he shook his head in refusal knowing he wouldn’t be able to accept that answer. “If she’s doing soul searching, then she’s undoubtedly doing it in the place where she shouldn’t be. She tends to react before thinking things through.”

“That isn’t always bad,” Sarah felt him pull away from her walking across the room again.

“In her case I think it is. It’s what got her into this situation to begin with when Brant moved in on her,” Cameron’s jaw flexed with tension. He glanced over his shoulder at Sarah before speaking up again, “I have to find her before she entangles herself further in a situation that is beyond her control.”

“You speak of her as if she’s a child,” Sarah noted with a frown.

“In some ways she’s very much a child,” Cameron revealed thinking about his sister’s need to dive into the unknown with such a ferocity that it usually wound up hurting her more often than not. “She thinks she knows what’s best for her, but when it gets down to it she is clueless. Brant Ashford is the absolute last person that I would want her to waste herself with, yet she keeps rushing to him because she doesn’t know any better. Even now with whatever he is doing with her, she will undoubtedly be enchanted by it because it’s in her nature to reach for that which can destroy her.”

“You know you might want to give her some credit,” Sarah offered up playing Devil’s advocate. “Just because someone makes a bad judgment call does not mean that they are only capable of making mistakes. Sometimes it is just a simple misdirection that caused problems to arise.”

“You say it like I should be convinced,” Cameron shook his head firmly, “Yet nothing will convince me of any reasoning or logic as to why my sister should be surrounded by the madness that the Ashfords bring into the world. I have to find her and when I do I will do what I have to in order to ensure that she is never touched by their evil again.”

“Cameron, I don’t really think,” she paused watching him reach for the television remote control. He snapped the television on before turning to her again.

“Perhaps this is a subject that we shouldn’t debate,” he suggested with a small sigh, “as it’s clear we aren’t in agreement on the matter.”

“It’s not that. It’s just…” Sarah started looking beyond Cameron to the television where her face was now plastered on the screen with Douglas at her side. In a panic she rushed forward just as Cameron was going to turn around and placed her hand on his shoulder to stop him. “Cameron wait.”

“What?” he questioned turning around to face her again.

“Look I’m sorry. It’s just that…well,” she could faintly hear the news report while she reached for the remote control attempting to take it from Cameron’s hand. “I’m just wound up and I need you.”

“Sarah right now I just need to get things in order for Angela and…” he began attempting to explain himself once again only to feel her step up on her toes to claim his mouth in a desperate kiss. She caught him off guard with the movement and the remote control fell to the floor.

“Sarah, what are you doing?” he questioned inching away from her after the crash roused him from the kiss she’d laid on him. He attempted to bend down and pick up the remote control that was now on the ground in two piece, but before he could collect the fragments she reached for him again tugging on his arm.

“Forget about that. Let’s go upstairs for a while,” she pleaded with him desperate to get him away from the television long enough to be able to share the horrible news about Douglas herself.

“Sarah I have work to do. I can’t just…” he started again thinking about his sister only to feel her come on strong once again.

“Cameron don’t argue with me on this one. I want to be alone with you. I’ve missed you and I know you’ve missed me,” she nibbled on his lower lip in an attempt at enticing him. “Let’s just go to bed for a little while, maybe share a little catch up time with one another and then I swear to you I’ll do what I can to help you. Maybe I can call Blake up and see if she has heard anything on Angela.”

“You would do that?” his eyes widened with sudden interest.

“Of course I would, but first I want to get you out of these clothes and…” she started to play with his tie, undoing the knot in the hopes that he would be persuaded by her offer in enough time to get them away from the television before her world erupted all over again.

“My you are feeling good this morning, aren’t you?” Cameron couldn’t help but smile at her enthusiasm. He wrapped his arm around her waist drawing her in closer to him for an intoxicating kiss that made Sarah feel as if she was home free, but before they made it to the doors she heard the sound of heels clicking on the marble flooring.

“Well isn’t this nauseating,” Thea’s voice scowled in a tight, agitated piercing screech. Sarah felt her skin crawl as Cameron’s assistant entered the room causing their attempt at a private retreat to be put to an end. “Honestly Cam I can see now why you’re too distracted at work.”

“Thea,” Cameron pulled away from Sarah enough to address his assistant with a tight expression, “I thought I told you to look into our investigators.”

“You did but,” Thea paused her gaze sweeping across the room to the television screen where the story of Douglas and Sarah’s elopement played out onscreen. Thea's dark eyes widened with a sudden horror before she looked to Sarah again after a second to regroup. There was a bitterness and a clear contempt behind her eyes at the knowledge that had just fallen upon her into her lap, but before she could truly reveal her thoughts on the subject, she pulled out the proverbial dagger and nodded to the screen with a wicked smirk. “My Cameron I can see she gets around very well especially when it comes to sleeping with the enemy.”

“What?” Cameron blinked back at Thea confused by her statement until Thea nodded to the screen once again.

“Cameron wait,” Sarah reached out to him attempting to shield him from the truth that flashed before the three of them, but it was too late. She saw the look on his face when he finally spotted what was on television and she knew full well that the damage had been done!


“These days are the ones that make me enjoy life so much more than I already do,” Douglas wiped at his sports jacket making it sure it was wrinkle free before letting out a deep laugh from the bottom of his throat. Days were getting great and to know what the reaction of Cameron was going to be having with the news of his and Sarah’s marriage was all the encouragement he needed to enjoy life. “Today is most certainly looking up.”

Moving up the stairs to the apartment building he decided to take a stop at before going home and finding out what the damage was with Cameron and Sarah, he knew he had to keep things simple. It was time to tell more people about his marriage and he knew who he was going to tell next whether she liked it or not. Taking in a deep breath he reached out to gently knock on the door knowing that he was going to spread the news around everywhere showing that he was going to make this last. If not for a few months to drive Cameron mad with whatever plans he had involving Sarah.

“Jenna honey,” Douglas smiled widely with open arms as Jenna opened the door seeming somewhat surprised that he was just showing up like this. Wrapping his arms around her he held onto her in a tight hug hearing the way she let out a hesitant noise pondering why he was acting this way. “I have some great news sweetheart and I wanted to let you know. I had to come straight here and tell you it’s that fantastic.”

"Is that right?" she questioned with an air of skepticism in her tone.

"Absolutely and if you give me five minutes, I can assure you that I'll explain everything," he flashed her yet another confident smirk.

“Fine. You've got five minutes so come on in,” Jenna pushed the door open a bit catching Hart off guard when he walked into the living room with them as Douglas rubbed his hands together and smiled widely. “What’s got you in such a good mood.”

“Well, I’m glad the both of you are in here because I’m excited to tell you that I’ve gotten married,” Douglas explained seeing the way his daughter’s jaw seemed to fall a bit as he moved in closer to her and placed his hand in over her shoulder. “I think you might know her. Her name is Sarah Marx.”

“Whoa, hold on. What did you just say?" Jenna questioned turning to see the look on Hart’s face showing that he heard the same exact name. Letting out a small laugh she pulled away from her father holding her hands up in the air not wanting to believe that she just heard correctly about who her father was talking about. There was no way that he just said Sarah and to know that he got married--this had to be some joke. “You know--I get the point. You want to come with some big joke to shock a reaction out of me because we haven’t talked in a while. Okay, you got me. I’ll be sure to talk to you more about what's on my mind, now stop playing around and tell me what’s really up. What’s going on?"

“I’m not playing around with you. I got married to her last night and lets just say it came up suddenly,” Douglas explained seeing the look that his daughter gave him as he smiled widely and shrugged his shoulders. “It was unexpected I know, but I was coming to let you know that I’m going to be having a party to celebrate this wonderful marriage. I want you two to be there.”

“You want us to be there?" Hart stepped forward to see the way Douglas smiled and Hart held onto the cloth he had in his hand tightly, twisting it with his fingers slowly. Looking to Jenna, Hart could see that she wasn’t happy the by the idea and he let out a small laugh. “You really have to be kidding about all of this.”

“Now why would I waste time that is so precious to in joking about something like this? I’d understand certain things, but this is one hundred percent real,” Douglas informed the both of them reaching out to press back a loose strand of his daughter’s hair--a smile pressing in over lips. “Honey, you were so worried with what I was doing with Thea and being involved with her--this is exactly what you wanted for me. I’m a married man with some great goals.”

“When I said I wanted you to boot Thea to the corner I meant I wanted you to go and find someone nice, not some other psycho that half the town hates--if not the whole town,” Jenna blurted out throwing her hands out in the air angrily running her fingers in over her head slowly taking in a long shallow breath. Pressing her hand in over stomach she knew she didn’t want to get itoo worked up over it as she mentally counted to ten. “I don’t like the idea of this Doug.”

“Honey, it’s okay. Just stop worrying about me and know that I’m a man that can take care of his own actions,” Douglas smirked before looking down at his watch making a noise of surprise to see what time it was. “Just know that I really would like to have you there at the celebration when it goes on, but right now I must leave because I have some interesting events taking place anytime now and I must be there to see what’s going to be done about them. Enjoy the rest of your day.”

“Doug,” Jenna went to talk to him more seeing him hush her before opening the door letting himself out. Resting her hands on her hips she gave Hart a glance seeing him moving over toward the door to watch her father leave. “What in the world is wrong with him?”


“Then it sounds like you really do have everything in order,” Grady noted seeing the way that Russ and Avery just appeared to melt into one another now that they sat with Erin on Russell’s lap on the sofa. After breakfast the group had turned to the living room to discuss the details of the impending ceremony ahead of Russ and Avery and it seemed that things were truly on track for them.

“I told you we did,” Russ shook his head and laughed, “Never doubt my word on things.”

“It’s not your word I doubt, but rather the chaos that I know that follows you two,” Grady laughed lightly turning to face Deana, as his hand was atop of hers on his leg. “These two are so much trouble that the first time they tried to get married they almost wound up in jail.”

“Now that wasn’t the first time,” Avery corrected before turning to Deana, “and that was not my fault. Grady and Russ thought it would be fun to go on this road trip and naturally Kyle was game for it as well. We wound up in this biker bar where everyone almost beat the life out of Grady…”

“I held my own,” Grady objected with a hint of laughter in his tone, “The point was by the time we left the bar we wound up getting pulled over by the local police since the bike rentals we had were stolen property.”

“It should’ve been a clue when we went to that place and the man behind the counter looked like he’d just busted out of the slammer,” Russ piped in remembering their misadventure. “Something about that place wasn’t right and I told you that.”

“Look just because you had your own bike that you wanted to take didn’t mean that I was going to let you wind up crashing it out on the road. I knew it would be better to just rent the cycles and that way if anything happened…” Grady explained his reasoning all over again to his brother.

“Again I wasn’t against having a rental, but we should’ve had a reputable one considering that it took a hell of a lot for us to convince the sheriff that we weren’t the ones that had stolen the property,” Russ laughed lightly recalling the wilder times in their lives, “though I still maintain that the only reason we got out of that without any charges filed against us was because the deputy had a thing for Kyle. Do you remember her flirting with him all night when we were locked up?”

“Do I ever,” Avery groaned inwardly, “I thought she was going to jump him right then and there, but then again wasn’t he flirting back?”

Grady nodded and chuckled, “Yeah, he got her number and then they went out a couple of times after we were locked up. He mentioned something about her handcuffs a time or two, but…”

“Okay, we so don’t need to go there,” Avery held her hands up in the air before nodding to Erin, “My daughter is way too young to hear all of your and Kyle’s sleazy sex stories.”

“Mine weren’t sleazy,” Grady paused for a moment, “At least not as sleazy as Kyle’s.”

“Should I be afraid?” Deana broke her silence long enough to eye him with a sudden interest.

“Not at all. I don’t do sleazy anymore,” Grady leaned down to kiss her quickly before whispering in her ear, “Unless of course it’s by special request from you.”

“Okay, it’s official. I’m going to barf,” Avery rolled her eyes and turned to Russ. “Maybe we should give them some time alone before he breaks into his cheap attempts at proving his worth to her.”

“Oh come on. It’s not that bad,” Russ couldn’t help but laugh over at his brother, “He’s improved his technique over the years.”

“Hey now. I happen to be a very smooth man with the ladies, right?” Grady coiled his arm around Deana’s shoulders only to watch her retract from him and wrinkle her nose up at him.

“It depends on the day,” Deana blurted out with a tiny laugh before looking to Avery again, “I take it he has a lot of skeletons in his closet, eh?”

“Not nearly as many as they are making it sound like,” Grady tossed a glare out over at his brother and Avery.

“We’re just kidding,” Russ piped in quickly worried that Deana was getting the wrong idea. “This is just how we are when we’re all together. We tend to resort to childhood and that teasing that was always around us when the mood strikes.”

“I see,” Deana nodded briefly, “Well I guess I can understand that. My brother and I are the same way. He would always get into trouble and I wouldn’t have any problems rubbing it in his nose growing up. Of course anytime I made a mistake he was the first one to step up and protect me, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t in line for a great many years of torment.”

“See that’s what little brothers do. They make you miserable in their own way,” Grady laughed lightly listening as the phone rang.

“I happen to be a great brother. Don’t listen to him,” Russ assured Deana before reaching out to collect the receiver of the phone from it’s base. He held it up to his ear before speaking to the caller on the line.

“Really he isn’t so bad,” Avery finally added in a muted tone speaking directly to Deana. “He used to tease the hell out of Russ and I when we first started dating doing all sorts of embarrassing things, so it’s kind of our own payback if you will.”

“I see,” Deana laughed lightly before patting Grady on the leg gently. “Don’t worry though they haven’t scared me off yet.”

“That’s a good thing,” Grady smiled pleased with her answer before leaning in to kiss her again. He felt her lips brush up against his in a brief, chase kiss that made him feel all the more secure about the way the morning had gone with Russ and Avery. Things seemed to be getting better after the shocker Russ had delivered about Kyle being the best man. Still Grady wasn’t about to complain.

“Russ, what is it?” Avery questioned interrupting Russell’s thoughts.

“That was my friend from the FBI,” Russ admitted in an uneven tone. He glanced over at Avery before taking in a breath. “He called because he had some information that he wanted to pass on to me.”

“Information,” Avery repeated with a worried expression sensing something behind his eyes. “Russ, what’s wrong? Is it about Nicholas?”

“No,” he shook his head adamantly. “Not exactly.”

“I don’t understand,” Avery blinked back at him feeling him move in closer to her on the couch. He reached for her hand and took in a small breath.

“Avery there is no easy way to put this. Somehow Callaway made his mind up that he was going to find a way to get to Nicholas and to do so he wound up cutting a deal that he orchestrated single-handedly,” Russ paused for a moment seeing confusion behind her eyes. Squeezing her hand gently he blurted out the truth that she needed to know. “Avery, they cut a deal with Brooke. She’s agreed to turn evidence over on Nicholas in exchange for her freedom. I’m sorry.”

“No that can’t be possible,” Avery shook her head firmly. “That can’t happen considering all she’s done.”

“I wish that were the case, but that’s why he called--to let us know that Brooke will no doubt be out of jail in the next few weeks,” Russ explained knowing full well that this knowledge that he was giving Avery would be something that would put a crimp in all the easygoing feelings they’d had about the future now that a demon from their past would return to their lives all over again at a time when neither one of them wanted anything to be wrong.


“Oh man,” Ria rested her elbows against the top of the counter of the front desk. She had to deal with so much in one day and that’s why work was so stress filled for her. It was like one thing after another kept piling on in front of her and that was what it was like on a normal day. Most say the body should be used to something like that for now considering she had been doing it for so long, but the body just has so many problems dealing with the wear and tear that its put through. Dropping her head on the counter top, she felt a pair of large hands move in over her shoulders tenderly making her jump a bit figuring it was someone telling her to get a move on with the job again. Turning to meet the beautiful brown eyes of Kevin, she smiled for the first time in a while reaching out to wrap her arms around his torso feeling him hugging her back tightly. “Hey you.”

“Are you alright?" Kevin questioned feeling her head resting against his chest as he took in a long shallow breath thinking things over letting out a long sigh. Ria’s dark eyes met his as she lifted her head from his chest, her right hand sliding in over his cheek making him lean into the warmth of her touch. “You seem worn out.”

“I’ll be fine, but what about you?" she whispered seeing the way his face looked tired and pale as she reached for his hand feeling his fingers wrap around hers tightly. Tugging him down the hallway she led him into the on call room seeing his brown eyes searching hers for a moment. “I’m ready to take a break and this time I really don’t care if someone walks in. We’re going to have a chat.”

“Uh okay,” Kevin nodded feeling her tug him down to the couch softly before moving in closer to him as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and she leaned in closer to his chest. Sighing he felt her hand tenderly running in over his abdomen tracing the lines of his muscled body slowly through the material of his tight t-shirt. “I’ve had an extremely long day that I don’t even think I can begin to sort out in my head.”

“Other than Angie?" she questioned looking up to see the one nod he gave as she ran her fingers up over his chest and then pressed in over the side of his cheek. Feeling him move in closer to her and press a tender kiss against her lips for a quick moment she could tell by the expression that something was really bothering him. “What else?"

“Have you talked to Seth today?" he eyed her over a moment noticing the way she glanced at him before shaking her head to answer his question. Gulping down he remembered the verbal fight him and his cousin shared for a couple of minutes and let out a deep sigh. There were a lot of things Seth was right about and he honestly felt bad about everything that went on between the two of them. Squeezing his arm around Ria tightly he thought of what to tell her deciding that it would be best to be straight up with her. “I guess today would be the anniversary of when Jade lost her child. He’s been really upset and I’m kind of worried about him. Ever since Jade died he seems to always dwell on the fact and blame himself for a lot of things. I worry about him.”

“I can check on him later, it’s days like this that make the world around you close in and seem like everyone is trying to go against you,” Ria added seeing Kevin nod before arching his eyebrows up, his forehead resting against hers and she could tell by the look he was giving her that something else was wrong. “What else happened with Seth? Did you two get into a really big fight or something?"

“Well we did, but after something kind of big happened,” Kevin explained licking his lips after feeling the dryness that had occurred ever since he had gotten a hold of the bracelet Seth had given him. “Seth was talking about running into JT and his girlfriend. He ended up mistaking her for Jade and he found this.”

“What’s this?" Ria eyed over the bracelet that Kevin pulled out of his pocket and held up for her to look over. Carefully taking it from his rough fingers she read over the inscription and saw the pain that seemed to linger behind his brown eyes. “Kevin, what is this?"

“I got that made sixteen years ago for my daughter when I found out that Angela was pregnant with her. I had it at my place on the island tucked away for a while and somehow JT’s girlfriend ends up with it,” Kevin explained seeing the way Ria’s brown eyes searched his as he bit down on his lip feeling that lingering pain still there in his chest from the loss of his daughter. “I don’t understand how someone could have ended up with it. I always carried it with me before she was born. I even had it the day I got shot by Craven and I swear I put it in my bedroom at the place on the island. Next thing I know Seth is handing it back to me and I know it’s the one I bought for my baby girl. You know that’s my family crest and that’s exactly what I had inscribed on the bracelet.”

“Do you think this girl stole it?" Ria muttered seeing Kevin shrug his shoulders taking in a long breath before taking the bracelet back into his palm. Squeezing his fingers tightly around it before putting it back in his pocket, she reached out to run her fingers through his silky short hair. Feeling him turn toward her she reached out to trace the masculine lines in his face before pushing her fingertips through his hair again. “How could she do that?"

“That’s what I’m wondering, but it got me thinking about my daughter and no one should ever be wearing this but her. It belonged to her, my flesh and blood--not some bitch that JT is dating,” Kevin growled thinking about the woman that he once met at the restaurant. “I can tell you the first time I met her she tried to steal my wallet until I caught her and then when she thought I wasn’t looking she tossed it. I wouldn’t doubt that she stole this from me, but it was kind of ironic when I crossed paths with her. The first moment I met her I kind of gave her a break because she reminded me of myself when I was younger. Troubled. But now if I see her, I’ll give her no damn sympathy about her situation because this belongs around my daughter’s wrist. Not hers.”

“Well you have it back now Kevin. Why would you want to try to do something to this girl when it’s back in your possession?" Ria pondered the thought herself seeing his jaw tighten in anger making her move up to press a soft kiss against his lips trying to get him to calm down a bit. “You have it now. You have nothing to worry about, okay? It will only be with you now. I promise.”

“I love you,” Kevin whispered cupping Ria’s face in his hands tenderly before tipping forward to kiss her lovingly knowing that these days with everything going on, she was the only one that could keep him calm and happy. “So much.”


“I don’t understand why he could be here. I mean I thought we were careful, yet he found us,” Evie mouthed pacing around the living room that overlooked the water now that she and JT were back at Cameron’s beach estate. She turned to see JT seated behind her with a rather perplexed expression on his face. “I really believed that he wouldn’t be right onto us like this. I thought we were careful…”

“We were careful and something tells me that while you’re upset, I don’t believe he was here for us. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been so obvious and out in the open,” JT pointed out scratching his chin lightly before meeting her worried gaze. “He would’ve gone after us if he’d seen us.”

“No,” she shook her head in refusal to accept that answer, “he’s more subtle than that. He would find another way around toying with us. He wants to strike when the blade is the sharpest and…”

“Evie, honey you need to relax,” JT stood up and walked over to her. He placed his hands on both sides of her arms and urged her to meet his concerned gaze. “You have to trust me when I tell you that your father isn’t going to be a problem for us. I mean yes I know he’s done a lot of horrible things, but you’re with me now…”

“JT I realize that, but at the same time I know how his mind works. If he saw where we are, he’ll be out there waiting and anticipating when to make his move,” she explained with a small breath feeling her pulse racing with the fear that ate away at her. “If he can find us on the island, then he will do what he can to hurt you.”

“I can hold my own in a fight,” he curled his finger underneath her chin urging her to meet his eyes again. “Besides he can’t hurt me. The only way he could do anything to me is if he tried to take you away from me. That is the only real pain in all of this.”

“JT you don’t understand,” she began in a desperate tone unable to bring sound to the words that swirled in the back of her mind. “There are things you don’t know--thing about me--about him and…”

“Hey, I know all I need to know in knowing that I love you,” he cupped her face in his oversized hands drawing her in nearer to him. “I swore to you that I would show you a life unlike the one you were trapped in before and I haven’t gone back on my promise Evie. We’re together now and your father won’t hurt you. I swear to it.”

“I just don’t want him going after you,” she placed her palm over the center of his chest savoring the warmth that carried through his t-shirt. She tipped her head up enough to meet his chocolate colored eyes and remembered what it felt like to spend her time lost in them--buried in his arms and feeling his love wrap her up like a blanket. To think that all of it could disappear in the blink of an eye had her worried beyond belief, yet…

“I promise you that he won’t be able to get in between us. As I said before I don’t think he noticed us, but rather he was preoccupied with Angela,” JT paused contemplating what they had actually seen. “Something about that isn’t right though because I wouldn’t think she would just up and leave to go with him. If he’s anything like what you said I can’t see her keeping company with him.”

“He’s a charmer when you don’t know him. That’s how he works his con,” she explained thinking about her father’s methods of madness. “He worms his way into your life and then rips everything away from you tearing at the jugular. He’s like acid and it just eats away at all of you.”

“Which begs the question of what he’s doing with Angela,” JT considered what he’d seen earlier. “I should call Cameron and have a talk with him. I’m sure that he would like to know that Angela is out here with your father. It doesn’t sound like something he would approve of considering that…”

“JT I told you my father had a ring like Cameron’s ring. What if somehow they know one another? What if my father managed to sweet talk Cameron into believing his lies and Cameron sent him out here to find us?” she questioned her voice rising with her compounding concerns. “What if this is all a trap and we’re only being baited into disaster?”

“First of all while my brother doesn’t exactly do things on the up and up all the time, I’m pretty sure that he wouldn’t be involved with someone like your father,” JT explained with a small sigh sensing her apprehension about everything, “and secondly the man would be a fool to try to get at either one of us. It would be like signing his own death warrant. Cameron wouldn’t let anything happen to either one of us. Trust me.”

“I do, but I just can’t believe that he’s here. I mean we left to find freedom and yet…” she shuddered once again feeling a chill in the air. She brought her hands up over her arms and closed her eyes. “I just feel like I’m trapped in a nightmare somehow.”

“No you’re not. Not with me you’re not. I’ll fix this,” JT promised hugging her in his arms while he vowed to get to the bottom of what it was Evie’s father was doing on the island with Angela. Once he found out what was going on, he vowed to put an end to the terror the man brought into Evie’s life once and for all.


Angela’s gaze swept out over the water her thoughts lingering to better days now that she stood in the center of a strange place with Craven. This had been the last thing that was on her mind a few days ago when she was dealing with her conflicting thoughts and feelings for Kevin and Brant, yet now she realized time hadn’t made things any clearer. She’d fought to escape, but instead she found herself trapped inside her mind recounting everything that had happened since she’d awakened in the hospital.

“Here you are,” Craven’s voice roused her from her contemplations. She turned to find him standing behind her with a mug of steaming tea in hand. “You looked like you could use this.”

“Thank you,” she smiled politely accepting the mug and wrapping it in her palm. She lifted it to her lips and took a small sip before turning to him again, “How much longer until my father arrives?”

“He said he should be here shortly, but you know how business is,” Craven issued a small smile motioning for her to take a seat on one of the sofas. “He is hoping that this deal will go through for him since it is a big one.”

“It must be if he has to go on it by himself,” she noted opting to take Craven’s lead and take a seat on the sofa. She cast a look out over the beach again before sighing. “Usually he reserves that for the more important of situations.”

“This one was a dire situation indeed,” he noted catching the way her dark eyes filled with a sudden sadness. It was as it was when he’d last seen her all those years ago, yet. His gaze dropped down to her abdomen and he smiled thoughtfully. “So tell me what are you hoping for a boy or a girl?”

“What?” she questioned blinking out of her daze.

“Are you hoping for a son or a daughter,” he questioned moving in to take a seat beside her. He reached out to touch her shoulder gently in a move that made her uneasy. “I know your father would love to let his legacy live on with a grandson, yet there is something to be said about his granddaughter as well.”

“I guess I…” Angela paused sliding back ever so slightly on the couch, “well I guess I hadn’t given much thought to what my father would want down the line.”

“What about you?” Craven questioned with a wide smirk. “Do you want a son who will drive you crazy with all of his schemes and machinations like Cameron did?”

“I would hope my son would be smarter than my brother is,” Angela offered up a nervous laugh thinking about the trouble that her brother had gotten into over the years with her.

“Yes, he still has a lot to learn about using the brains that the good lord has given him. Although he hasn’t gotten into too much hot water thus far I suppose,” Craven eyed her curiously seeing that she was clearly unsettled. “What about a girl? How would you feel about having a daughter?”

“I would love that,” Angela admitted honestly bringing her hand up over her abdomen protectively, “I would love any child that I was blessed with.”

“Yes, but there is something to be said about a little girl, don’t you think,” Craven mused reaching out to bring his fingers up over the back of the couch where she was seated. “If she had your beauty and your spirit, I would imagine that she would be something special.”

“Oh I don’t know,” Angela cleared her throat anxiously, “Where did you say my father was again?”

“Dealing with an important matter just like we are right now,” Craven’s eyes narrowed in on her. He leaned in closer to her, his hot breath carrying in over her once he spoke up again. “It’s been far too long since you and I had a good conversation with one another.”

“Yes it has,” she nodded politely thinking about all the years of loyal service that Craven had put in with her father. While she was often uneasy around him, she knew that he was someone that her father depended on for most everything.

“I wish we hadn’t taken so much time away from all of that,” he waved his hand around in the air lazily before touching a piece of her dark hair. His gaze dropped down to her lips before he smiled again in a cryptic smirk. “You’ve grown up so very much over the years from a young girl to a sultry woman. Your father had always tried to keep you caged away from the world, yet you blossomed into something that any man could easily desire.”

“You know Craven I…” she started feeling him reach out to stroke her cheek lightly.

“Pregnancy suits you well Angel,” he whispered inching in closer to her, his breath skimming in over her lips. “It’s given you a glow about you--one that only makes you all the more radiant. I’m sure that you don’t hear it often, but it is something that is worth appreciating.”

“I’m really tired,” she blurted out unable to give him the response he was hoping for. “I think I’d like to get some rest.”

“Of course,” Craven nodded in response releasing her and standing up. “I can take you to your room if you would like.”

“I think I can find my way to it myself,” she answered swiftly getting up on her feet again. She felt her head swimming with the movement she’d made and a dizziness creep in over her.

“Careful,” Craven reached out to her collecting her in his arms. He felt her knees buckle and she dropped her mug onto the carpeting.

“Oh my,” she gasped trying to regain her composure, but she was struck with a sudden overwhelming exhaustion that hadn’t been there before.

“You’ve had a long day and it’s catching up to you,” he explained bringing his arm around her waist. He squeezed her in closer to him and noticed that her gaze had lingered to the spill on the floor. “Don’t worry about that. I’ll clean it up later. Let’s just get you to your room.”

“Okay,” Angela nodded giving in to his offer to help her even though she wasn’t exactly comfortable being alone with him. Still as he guided her through the house to her room, she made a note to just remember that her father would be there soon and she would finally be able to say all the things that she wanted to say to him now that she’d been haunted by the secrets she’d been keeping about her pregnancy. Yes, seeing her father again would be a good thing. A very good thing.


“You know that the idea of that is a horrible one Kyle,” Kellen began standing up from the ground feeling his knees a bit weak beneath him as he placed his hands over his thighs to try and still them. Taking in a long exaggerated breath he took a couple of seconds to himself before starting to pace slowly back and forth in the room while holding the paper bag in his hand. “Kyle, you hate Sarah. Everyone here hates Sarah. What kind of good would it do pretending that something like this isn’t going to effect us? All of us are going to be effected by this and how do you think we aren’t going to be? This is Sarah Marx we’re talking about. Not a sweet little angel.”

“You know--yeah to say it doesn’t bother us isn’t a good thing, but to stand there and constantly dwell on it making ourselves sick is the last thing we need. If we keep dwelling on the fact of how screwed up the news is, it’s not going to help us at all because that isn’t the type of thing we need in our lives right now,” Kyle blurted out standing up from the couch seeing the way that Kellen’s blue eyes stared out at him as he threw his hands up in the air angrily. “So why don’t you stop worrying because I know I certainly don’t want to see you getting worked up and I certainly don’t want to hear you bitching about the subject. Got it.”

“Well I just can’t blow things off like you can Kyle, I’m the…,” Kellen began seeing Kyle step in closer to him angrily making him feel quite uncomfortable feeling his long legs go out from underneath him making him fall to the couch beneath him. “I’m chilling out--I got the point.”

“Kellen has the right to worry, but Kyle's right. You need to do it in a way where you don’t make all of us physically worried. That’s not going to work in anyway possible because the more you freak out the more it stresses us out and we don’t need that kind of stress Kellen,” Heather explained placing her hand in over Kellen’s shoulder pulling Kyle down to the couch roughly with the other hand seeing the look he gave her when she did that. She wasn’t exactly happy with the way that Kyle was treating Kellen even if he was getting a bit annoying. Kyle honestly looked like he was ready to punch Kellen’s lights out and she knew that by the certain expression he always gave when someone was pissing him off. “You just need to be quiet because Charles is sleeping as well and we don’t need him getting worked up.”

“She’s right,” Kipp tried to make the situation a bit lighter before clearing his throat and leaning back in the chair to think things over. While yeah, this was a big subject and he couldn’t really stand Sarah either--he wasn’t as upset as the others about this situation. Maybe it was because his father had done things like this in the past, but it never really bothered him in the long run because the women in his father's life all left and went away. It was something that no longer phased Kipp and caused no speed bumps on the road to happiness--it was just something he was used to in life with his father. “You really shouldn’t get worked up over this. We don’t need Charles to hear us all getting worried in here and wake up. It’s been hard to try and get him to sleep lately. I want to make sure he has a good sleep that’s not bothered by any of us.”

“Well, I’m just trying to ponder the thought of why Sarah would do something like this,” Kellen began seeing the way that everyone’s attention was on him as he lowered his voice knowing that all of them told him to calm down. Taking in a long breath he shrugged his shoulders playing out the thoughts in his mind before saying the first thing that came out. “If you think about it, Sarah wanted you Kyle for a very long time. She couldn’t have you and you made that very clear in obvious ways to hint constantly to her. Now I think she is doing something like this to find a way back into our lives. Well a way back into your life Kyle because she’ll do anything to get close to you and try to win you back.”

“Kellen, right now I’m not being mean here because I’m really trying to reasonable with you, but I for one can tell you in that area she isn’t a bother to me if she is married to Douglas,” Kyle announced thinking about what Kellen was saying and it actually sounded half smart for the man he knew and how he often thought. Wrapping his arm around Heather slowly he shrugged and thought it over carefully. “I could really care less about her as long as she isn’t my problem anymore. If that‘s what Sarah is really doing Kipp, I‘m so sorry I started this thing because I don‘t want you to go through something like this. I kind of feel the worst about the situation for you and what you might think about this whole thing.”

“Kyle this really doesn’t bother me and I honestly don’t really care,” Kipp blurted out bluntly seeing the look that both Kellen and Heather gave him as he raised his shoulders and thought things over. Sure, he could have lied and agreed with Kellen, but things like this happened all the time. None of the past marriages seemed to bother him so this one was no different. “I may not like Sarah, but I do know that my dad has been married like eight times and this will just be another one to the list that has ended. Constantly things like this have taken place and we don’t need to worry about number nine because I’m sure there will be at least ten by the time he dies if not more.”

“How could you not care about something like this though? Maybe it’s just because I never grew up with a father, but I know that I would be severely pissed off if I were you,” Kellen stated his opinion before folding his arms out in front of his chest wanting to complain further about the subject knowing that it was the last thing he should really do. “You know maybe she just did this because she wants to get a chance at getting between you two Heather. Maybe she thinks that by marrying Douglas it will get her closer to get between you and Kyle. She wants to stop the two of you from getting married.”

“Yeah…,” Kyle began taking in a long breath looking to Heather seeing the glare she shot him and looked to Kipp knowing that Kipp was one of the only people that knew as well. They were both giving him a look to try and keep him from saying anything else as he uneasily cleared his throat. “I don’t think you have to worry about that Kellen.”


“I wonder if something happened to him to make him act like this,” Jenna pondered her father’s actions knowing that while he made some pretty ridiculous choices, this had to be one of his worst. Especially with who it was and the time period she was in right now knowing that Sarah was pregnant. Pacing a bit she felt Hart take her into her arms, resting his chin against the top of her head. “I don’t know what is going through his mind right now. I’m worried about him.”

“Don’t worry about Douglas, you know the type of man he is. Whether he makes bad mistakes or not--I, for one, know that he can always pull himself out of them and make the situation better,” Hart tried to help her stop worrying about her father even though he still thought about the choice her father made as well knowing that it was a pretty terrible one. He had known a lot about Sarah in the last few months being involved around the house while she was with Kyle. “I know that Sarah is one vicious girl, but I think your father can handle her. It’s not something to worry about Jen.”

“I know I shouldn’t be worrying, but I just can’t help it. Why would he come here just to tell me that and then end it like he did? I don’t get why he would only come here to say something like that?" Jenna pondered the question herself before throwing her hands up in the air after pulling away from Hart and moving toward the window to look out. “And why did he have to pick Sarah? Her of all people?"

“Tell me about it. Of all the people in Coral Valley I think she would be one of the last people I would even think about going to even hang out with for an hour. She’s a psycho,” Hart added seeing the look that Jenna gave him as he just fed more into what she felt about in worrying about her father. “Though as I said you father has dealt with worse.”

“Even so, I know that she isn’t good enough for Douglas. Do you know what kind of person Sarah is? I’ll tell you what kind of person she is,” Jenna tried to stay calm seeing the way that Hart’s eyes widened as she continued getting angrier by the second with each thoughts they had on her father being with Sarah. “She’s a whore. That’s what kind of person she is.”

“Well if you think about it--your father is that much of a saint either so I’m sure he could take her on if someone bad ever happened,” Hart tried to lighten the subject feeling her light pinch his chest making him let out a small laugh. Knowing that if he didn’t get her off the subject she would continue to worry about he tried to look to something brighter. “Well here is one thing we should really start thinking about. Let’s forget about your father for a moment and think about the party were going to have for Sam with everything that’s been going on that might be our break free moment. That may be the closet thing to sane we have in this town.”

“Trust me, that party I’m looking forward to. Douglas and his new wife,” Jenna made a sound of disgust before shaking her head slowly thinking about all the things that had taken place in her father’s life. This was something she had to push aside for a moment and maybe they needed to spend more time thinking about Sam’s party. “Maybe we can call Rob and plan out a few more things for her. I need to stop thinking about my father for once and think about something better. He’ll make his own choices, I’m just his daughter--I can’t get him to change his thoughts.”


Sarah felt a shiver carry over her, a newfound sense of panic as time seemed to play out in slow motion. All she could recall was the expression on Thea’s face when she’d encountered the truth. It was clear that Cameron’s sidekick was completely and thoroughly loving the misery that Sarah’s drunken blunder was about to bring into her life. Even though Thea was unaware of the damage that last night was going to cause, it was quite obvious that she had taken this piece of news that fate had dropped onto her lap and made sure that it was worked over to her advantage. Sarah glanced over at Thea, who now stood folding her arms in front of her chest and glaring over at Sarah. Oh yes, Thea was loving every second of what was undoubtedly going to happen next.

The story had sent a rift into the situation that was clearly about to send things into an uproar and Sarah was well aware of that. Even now as Cameron stared at the television set long after the story had come and gone, Sarah was well aware that things would never be the same again. He hadn’t said anything, yet Sarah felt compelled to try to reach out to him. Taking a small step forward Sarah snaked her fingers around his arm to draw him away from the piece of gossip that had been shoved onto his lap like a ton of bricks and back to what they’d had going on before.

“Is it true,” Cameron’s voice finally questioned in a sharp, cutthroat tone that caused Sarah to release him. She wasn’t sure if it was rage or disappointment that carried over him, but when he turned around to face her again, his features were completely unreadable. That was something that now worried Sarah.

“Cameron, I can explain,” she started opening her mouth to say something more when Thea stepped forward.

“Oh this should be good,” Thea mocked Sarah’s desperation with a bitter laugh.

“Thea,” Cameron’s dark eyes shifted over to his assistant before he spoke up in a firm, commanding tone. “Leave Sarah and I alone for a few minutes.”

“But Cameron…” Thea’s wicked smirk transformed to a full blown pout at his dismissal when she was clearly anticipating the attack.

“Leave,” Cameron repeated in a loud, vibrating tone that caused Sarah to shiver from head to toe.

“Fine,” Thea whined taking a small step in retreat, “but I’ll be out back when you’re ready to finish what it was we started on the phone.”

Cameron hadn’t bothered to respond to Thea. Instead his dark eyes fixed on Sarah again, burning with so many unanswered questions and obvious turmoil. Once Thea’s clicking heels became a faint echo in the distance Cameron shook his head and walked over to the windows to look outside. Sarah wasn’t sure how to react and while her every instinct told her to keep a distance she moved forward approaching him.

“Cameron I can explain all of this,” she began clearing her throat uneasily.

“Explain,” he repeated in a tone that indicated his anger was surfacing. He spun around to face her again, his dark eyes wild with accusations. “Sarah it’s a simple question that deserves a simple answer. Is it true or isn’t it?”

“Well, yes, but you see I wasn’t myself at the time it happened and,” Sarah fumbled with her fingers attempting to find the words that would pass off the lack of seriousness in the situation. Surely had she been sober she never, ever would’ve married Douglas Mahoney let alone went to bed with him. He was one of the last men on the planet that she would’ve paid attention to even in a drunken spell. Yes this morning she’d been given a whole new look on the man, but it wasn’t one that she’d openly welcomed into her life. In fact, the more she thought about it, the more she’d realized that it was the last thing she’d wanted--absolutely nothing that she needed and yet she was unable to convey that to Cameron fast enough.

“You weren’t yourself?” Cameron repeated in a tight, forced pinch of a laugh. “Sarah, you married a man who is set on destroying me--a man who has made my entire adult life a living hell after he worked to destroy my childhood. How in the hell can you pass that off as something so random?”

“Well you see I went to see Diego and then he was gone,” she blurted out the truth feeling as if there were no other options. “I was upset that he’d left town and…”

“Why?” Cameron questioned harshly making a small step towards her, “Why would you care if that man was gone? I thought you’d asked me to help you make him disappear.”

“I did, but I felt guilty and…” she fumbled with her fingers once again.

“You felt guilty,” Cameron repeated shouting back at her. “Guilty for all that we did to make things work for you? Have I not done everything you’ve asked of me?”

“Of course you have, but…” she stammered taking a small step back and away from him.

“Have I not done everything that you’ve requested of me? Have I not given you the world that you wanted simply because you’d asked me to do it?” his voice roared with contempt. “Sarah, when you questioned me on my abilities to help you, I offered you just about each and every possibility in the world to have what you wanted, yet you repay me with this.”

“Cameron this wasn’t my intention, but…” she started again knowing now that he was beyond the point of reason and control.

“Your intention. Your intention!” he repeated snapping back at her harshly. “Sarah, just what was your intention? To make a fool of me and a mockery of everything I’ve done in my life? Tell me were you in on this with him all along? Did you two plot all of this to get the last laugh on me?”

“No, Cameron that’s not how it is at all. I was drunk and…” Sarah started in a stammer feeling tension leap between them. He moved towards her once again causing her to practically jump out of her skin. She watched him raise his hand and she braced herself for him to hit her, but much to her surprise and relief he reached for her arm instead opting to drag her out of the room.

“I have given you everything. Absolutely everything Sarah and this is how you repay me,” he shouted a painful undertone in his words. He guided her through the house heading towards the front door with her. “I knew that you were trouble--that you weren’t to be trusted and I prepared for that, but this, well this was the last thing I’d ever envisioned when we spoke of a life together. Tell me how much did he pay you to do this? How much did he promise you?”

“Cameron he didn’t promise me anything. I didn’t plan this. I want to be with you. I want to marry you and share my life with you. What we talked about together is what I was hoping for,” she explained unable to refrain from revealing the tears of frustration that carried over her. “I know how much you sacrificed for me and I want you to know that I would never, ever betray you.”

“Hollow words aren’t they Sarah when we both know them not to be true?” he questioned stopping long enough to turn around and face her. “I would’ve given you the world. When I think of all I did to ensure that you would have the life you wanted--that we could have the life that we both needed…”

“Cameron I still want that life. I want…” she paused feeling a low whimper build up in the back of her throat, “you.”

His jaw flexed with tension, the muscles clearly strained with the tensile movement that vibrated over him. He stood taller, his fingers still curled around her wrist as if he was fighting with himself to find the right answers to what was going on inside of him. He opened his mouth, then stopped for a moment. He opened his mouth again still at a loss it seemed until his dark eyes pierced right through her.

“It’s too late for that now,” he mouthed in an icy tone releasing her long enough to open up the front door and shove her out onto the porch with a sharp thud.

“Cameron wait,” she called out to him watching him move to shut the door.

“Don’t come back Sarah,” he warned sharply slamming the door in her face and leaving her out on the porch all alone.

“Damn it!” She cursed stomping her foot down on the pavement now that it was clear that Cameron wasn’t about to go back to what they had. While she was convinced that Cameron was her alternative to the mess she’d made in her life with Kyle and Diego, she was now wondering if there had in fact been something more. He’d seemed genuinely wounded by what he’d seen on the television and yet there was nothing she could do about it.

Feeling a wind rise up around her now that she stood in a thin, sleeveless blouse--the same blouse that she’d been in the previous evening, she contemplated her next move. Looking to the oversized wooden door before her she half considered ringing the bell and pleading her case with Cameron, but remembering the rage in his eyes she knew better. Rubbing her hands over her arms she prepared to find another place for herself just until Cameron cooled down long enough to speak with her again. Sure, he was angry, but he hadn’t given her that cold glare like Kyle had the last time he’d seen her. Kyle had made it clear that she was dead to him just as Diego had, but with Cameron perhaps there was still hope.

“He’ll change his mind,” Sarah reasoned with herself turning around to descend over the stone steps leading up to the estate when she spotted a limo parked in the circular drive over by the water fountain. Frowning she watched a man step out of the limo dressed in all black. He circled around the car enough to reveal to her that he was the driver. Without a word, he opened up the door closest to her and nodded to the inside.

“Who the hell are you?” Sarah asked wearily giving the man a long once over.

“Mr. Mahoney wants to see you,” the man explained in a neutral, monotone voice. “He would like you to get inside.”

“I don’t give a damn what he would like. You can tell him to go to hell and quote me on that,” she spat out marching beyond the limo only to rethink her statement. She spun on her heel only to discover that the man was still where she’d brushed past him extending the open door invitation to her. Holding her head up higher than before she stepped forward clearing her throat once more. Moving in towards the driver once again, she glared at him just enough to let him know she meant business. Wrinkling her nose, she scowled and spoke up once again her words full of venom. “On second thought I’ll tell him myself.”

“Yes madam,” the driver nodded helping her inside to reveal an empty limo.

As Sarah settled into the seat noting the bottle of champagne that was on ice in front of her, she used it as a chilling reminder that it was time to stay sober. She frowned when she heard the driver get back into the limo and start it up again.

“Where are you taking me?” she questioned unable to quell the curiosity brewing inside of her.

“To your husband,” the man explained before raising the glass partition between her and him.

“Good,” Sarah blurted out settling into the seat and glaring out at the world beyond where she sat now that she vowed to murder Douglas Mahoney for daring to upset the balance she’d reclaimed in her life!


Douglas poured himself a very dry martini after he’d found himself more entertained than he’d thought possible. Yes, waking up next to Sarah Marx and learning that she was his wife had been a nightmare come to life, yet despite the fact he loathed the woman he’d been unfortunately tied to, there was a certain thrill that could be derived from making Cameron miserable. Of course Douglas wasn’t bitter about all the misery that Cameron had attempted to put him through. He hadn’t really paid much attention to Cameron’s many attempts at pouting like the spoiled brat Douglas had always known him to be. Douglas had learned to ignore the insufferable whining that Cameron had used as his personal mantra over the years. It had become nothing more than a nuisance that Douglas attempted to keep from the mainstream part of his life even after Cameron’s many attempts to take Douglas down a few notches. Sure, Douglas could certainly think that what he was feeling in this moment was some kind of twisted payback for all of those irritating tantrums Cameron had over the years, but at the moment his thoughts were less about revenge than savoring the moment. Douglas found himself rather amused that Cameron would undoubtedly be steaming over the fact that Cameron’s latest plaything had yet again found her way to Douglas.

“Only unlike before this one had Cameron’s ring on her finger before she discarded it for mine,” Douglas chuckled to himself thinking about the plans he’d had for Sarah Marx. Yes, it was true that the first time he’d met her he found her just about as insufferable as Cameron was, but that was a long time ago. Back when she’d first arrived in town, she appeared to be one of the boring, moral and upstanding citizens that had believed that they were a step above the rest of the world except in Sarah’s case that misguided belief hadn’t lasted too long. As of the last couple of months Sarah had found herself near rock bottom and Douglas would reveal in watching her squirm now that he was holding all of the cards.

“And all the begging and pleading you to won’t save you in Cameron’s eyes,” Douglas sipped his drink and laughed to himself as he thought about his less than blushing bride. Sure, the nightmare had initially repulsed him as well, but now he’d learned how to spin the situation in his favor. It was truly a gift that he’d carried with him and was rather proud of especially now.

Hearing a knock at the door, Douglas grinned knowing full well that his bride was undoubtedly on her way back to grovel and whine after Cameron had tossed her out on her butt. That thought in itself motivated Douglas to set his glass down and rush over to the door to hear all the details of Cameron’s latest disappointment. He reached for the doorknob and thought twice of it waiting for her to knock again before opening the door with a bright, wide grin.

“Darling, I’ve been so looking forward to your return,” he mouthed with an air of thick sarcasm ready to savor these few moments of victory with Sarah, but much to his dismay he found himself facing a wild eyed Thea.

“Tell me that it’s not true,” Thea demanded pushing her way into Douglas’s penthouse with a scowl. “Please tell me that the tabloids have everything all wrong and that you haven’t done the worst possible thing imaginable.”

“I haven’t taken it upon myself to forgive and forget Cameron, so you can rest assured that I’m no where near the worst possible thing,” Douglas explained shutting the door behind her and returning to his drink.

“Is that what this is about?” Thea’s eyes widened as she watched him fingering the ring on his hand. Her scowl intensified as she marched over towards him. “Why in the world would you think this could be a good idea?”

“I never said that it was,” he shrugged his shoulders. Reaching for his glass he took a sip before wiggling his brow at Thea suggestively, “Although Cameron’s probably not too happy right about now, is he?”

“Because you married that woman?” Thea frowned up at him. “Cameron never cared about her. She was means to an end just like they all are…”

“Then you’re saying that he’s not even the slightest bit upset that his fiancée is now my bride?” he gave her a long once over while paying special attention to her uncharacteristic silence. “I didn’t think so. I know full well that he’s probably having a fit right about now.”

“Which is one more mess that I have to deal with,” she complained as he moved to take a seat in one of his chairs near the oversized door to the balcony. “Doug, do you have any idea what this will do to everything?”

“Yes, yes I do and I must admit I’m loving every, single second of it,” he chuckled as he took another sip of his drink. “It’s almost poetic in it’s own way.”

“It’s crazy Doug. That woman is just as much trouble as her sister was and for you to even think that getting involved with her is a smart idea, well it just proves that you need some guidance. You need to get on the phone with your lawyers right away and dissolve this ridiculous notion that you‘ve got going about staying married to her,” she circled around the chair to step in front of him. “Are you listening to me?”

“Not really,” he admitted with a goofy grin, “but judging by the expression on your face I’m guessing that this visit isn’t about congratulating me.”

“Doug, you can’t be serious,” she blinked back at him. “You can’t for one second expect me to believe that Sarah Marx holds any other interest to you than making Cameron squirm.”

“That is one of the bonus perks of the marriage,” he laughed lightly, “as I’m sure Cameron won’t be able to deal with this sting as well as he’s done with our relationship we’ve had with one another.”

“Our relationship,” she repeated folding her arms in front of her chest, “is one that won’t be able to continue with you having a wife. Think about that Doug. If you’re married, then that woman will interfere with what we have and…”

“And I’ve been married before. So has Cameron,” Douglas glanced at her dismissively, “Has that ever stopped you before? Besides I would’ve thought you’d be thanking me since I’m quite certain that you’ve been plotting all the ways to prevent Cameron from marrying her.”

“That’s beside the point,” she huffed coiling around him to the back of his chair. She teased her fingers over his shoulder before touching the side of his neck lightly. She grazed her nail over his skin before her teeth moved in over his earlobe. She tugged on it momentarily before her lips skimmed over the side of his neck, “I don’t want to spend my time sharing you when we have something incredible between us.”

“We certainly do,” he nodded closing his eyes for a moment contemplating her words. He felt her palms flatten out over his chest, reminding him of all the times they’d shared with one another in the past. However, as delicious as his association with Thea had been, he’d needed something more. Without warning he reached for her wrists and pulled her hands from his chest, “but as you so eloquently put it my having a wife certainly complicates things for us.”

“What?” she blinked back at him seeing him rise from the chair.

“I think it’s best if you leave,” he explained moving over to the door and opening it. “I’m sure you’ll understand that I’m going to need some time alone with my wife when she returns.”

“I don’t believe this,” Thea frowned over at him. “You couldn’t possibly be enjoying the thought of being bogged down by her the rest of your life. She’s nothing, but misery and…”

“Isn’t that what marriage is supposed to be?” Douglas couldn’t help but laugh remembering only too well how easy it was to annoy Sarah. It was something that gave him a new reason in the world to twist the knife even deeper with the ungrateful former stepson who believed in tormenting him through the years. Yes, being married to Sarah would be a good thing for him indeed.

“You’re so going to regret this,” Thea scoffed pushing her purse over her shoulder as she stomped out of Douglas’s hotel room in a fury.

“We’ll see about that,” Douglas muttered to himself knowing only too well that this time things were about to get interesting indeed.


...to be continued...