Episode 402

Sarah pushed her way through the doors to Douglas’s bedroom knowing full well she was about to make her ‘husband’ suffer for the way in which he’d screwed up her perfectly on track life that she’d fought to reclaim again after Kyle had left her high and dry on her wedding day. That wedding had been one that she’d anticipated. Hell, she’d even longed for the day that she and Cameron would just go through with the wedding they had planned with one another. Sure it wasn’t romantic or traditional, but damn it the very idea had opened her up to a great many positions she wouldn’t have been in before. Cameron would’ve helped her extract her revenge on those who had wronged her, but now she was stuck in hell signed and delivered there personally by Douglas Mahoney.

Moving forward into the room she prepared herself to issue one of the greatest verbal assaults of her life to her new husband, yet he was nowhere to be found. The exotic flavor of his bedroom with the plush oversized pillows and animal print comforter caused her to stop where she stood surveying her surroundings. There were various prints in tan and browns with hints of black all around the room adding to the animalistic feel of the jungle that went well beyond the world she was used to. All of the furnishings were bizarre indeed clearly trinkets he’d acquired in his many travels around the world--some that in fact rivaled Cameron’s prized possessions.

She stepped forward noting a much younger looking photo of Douglas and a dark skinned woman on the night stand. Unable to quell her curiosity she picked up the photograph and traced the lines of the image with her eyes contemplating why he would have such a photo beside his bed. She scrutinized it for a long moment thinking of how clearly Douglas reminded her of one of those men in a cartoon who were in Africa chasing off after the great illusive animal for sport, yet always failed in their quest due to the fact that they weren’t nearly capable of the cerebral capacity that such an adventure would require. The woman at his side seemed strangely familiar, yet there was something that she didn’t place at first. Given the way that they had their arms wrapped around one another, Sarah realized it was clearly someone that meant something to Douglas--something that even after all this time ranked highly in his life to obtain the coveted spot in his life beside his bed. It was something that he had clearly derived pleasure from as it was obvious it was the last thing he’d seen at night and the first thing he would awaken to in the morning.

“That was from the Amazon,” Douglas roused her from her snooping causing her to stand up straighter, her skin prickling with sudden surprise.

She quickly set the photo down and spun around to face him hoping to mask her being startled and get to the point in lashing out at him. She could hear him stepping in closer to her and she took in a breath ready to give to him the kind of hell that he’d inflicted upon her. She was ready to wage war on him and when her eyes met his she prepared to make him miserable. Instead she stood silence and listened to him continue to speak to her.

“It was one of my first trips out there,” he explained with an amused smirk walking past her to retrieve the photo off of the night stand. He eyed it for a long moment before holding it up to show it to her again, “Though I’m certain you’ve figured that one out since there are far less wrinkles in this one.”

“I don’t care about the stupid photo,” she regained her bearings and huffed at him. “I came over here to speak with you about what you did to me. You have no right to step into my life like you did and cause me problems with Cameron.”

“Cameron,” he repeated his grin expanding as he set the photo down again on another dresser. It was clear that the image he’d been toting with him became secondary to his curiosity over the subject at hand. He crossed the room and took a seat on the edge of the bed, stretching his arms out to make himself comfortable. “Do tell how did the fine young lad take it?”

“You know full well this would make him furious,” she tipped her head to the side, her eyes narrowing with a distinct rage that tripled upon seeing his delight. “You did this to set me up--to twist the knife in deeper with him admit it.”

“I do admit that I have derived a great deal of pleasure from these most unfortunate circumstances, but I will not concede to the fact that last night was something I certainly did not plan on,” he answered honestly his eyes twinkling with possibilities over what had taken place. “Tell me did he run off to pout and sulk as he’s been known to fall into that or did he start stomping around like a spoiled child who was unable to have his way?”

“You’re such a bastard!” she snapped at him moving forward to lash out at him. She leaned in closer to him, her words full of venom as she hovered over him. “Do you have any idea what you’ve cost me today? Of what you’ve stolen from me by not allowing me the freedom that I’ve asked of you?”

“Believe me I am weighed down by this ball and chains as well and as unpleasureable as it has been for me, I welcome the idea of Cameron scurrying around in a tizzy for a while,” he eyed her intently as if trying to read the expression on her face. “Though for him to have tossed you aside as swiftly as he has perhaps I overestimated your worth to him. I would’ve thought he might’ve put up a fight of sorts.”

“Oh he’ll be fighting you soon enough and he’ll be victorious,” she snapped at him, raising her hand to wave it in his face. “Cameron will find a way to get me out of this situation and when he does you’ll wish you would’ve listened to me sooner. You’ll have wished that you would’ve compromised somehow and given me what I wanted.”

“I thought we covered that one last night,” he taunted with an air of amusement in his tone that went well beyond the contempt and repulsion that had carried over him in the hotel room. His eyes surveyed every inch of her for a moment before giving her a look that caused her to shudder.

“In your dreams,” she rolled her eyes at his comment, “Nothing you have to offer could’ve given me any inkling of pleasure. I was just far too inebriated to see what a horrible situation I was in and I do mean horrible.”

“Horrible was waking up to have you in my bed,” his smile faded and was replaced with a contemptuous glare. “It was as if my own worst nightmares were personified and brought to life with the feel of your body wrapped up next to mine. To think that I have sunk this low in my life when I always prided myself on having taste.”

“You wouldn’t know taste if it came up and beat you in the ass, although right now I would hope that it would kick you in a more distinct place,” she spat out at him, her daze narrowing over his groin that was centered in front of her. “Not that it would cause you any real pain since you don’t really have anything to offer.”

“That’s not what you were saying last night,” he frowned over at her before shaking his head. He stood up from the bed and shook his head at her, “Speaking of which what the hell kind of lipstick did you have on last night? Nothing works in getting it off of skin.”

“Eew gross,” she brought her hands up over her ears to shield herself from any further reminiscing of last night that he’d been prepared to toss out at her. “Don’t talk like that. I don’t even want to think of you in that fashion because you are undoubtedly the biggest mistake of my life.”

“The feeling is mutual,” he confessed with a small frown of his own.

“Then do us both a favor and divorce me,” she turned to see him walking towards the doors she’d entered through moments earlier.

“Cameron still wouldn’t dream of accepting you back into his life if I did in fact grant you the divorce,” he pointed out with a knowing smirk. “He would consider it beneath him to do such a foolish thing.”

“So don’t do it for Cameron. Do it because you know full well that our union is the last thing you would ever want for yourself--because the idea of rehashing what we did last night makes your stomach crawl just like it does mine--because you know this is the worst possible scenario for the both of us.”

“I can’t argue that, but then again if I granted you what you wanted it would undoubtedly make things easier for you, so no. I don’t think I’m inclined to give you what you want,” Douglas shrugged his shoulders before walking out of the room and leaving Sarah without time for a rebuttal.

“If you don’t give me what I want, then I’ll make you give me what I want you son of a bitch!” Sarah shouted stomping out of the room after him. He was halfway down the hallway when she charged over at him jumping on his back and shoulders. She threw her fists into his chest dropping her arms over his body before leaning in to bite down on his ear.

“What the hell are you doing?” Douglas squealed in agony feeling her teeth clamp down on his earlobe. He tried to shake her off, but instead she raked her nails over his chest, her intensity expanding by the second.

“Divorce me you son of a bitch!” she snapped at him again and again, wrapping her legs around his waist and clamping down on him tightly while she rode his back attempting to bully him into giving her what she wanted.

“Get off of me you lunatic!” Douglas circled around the hallway clumsily attempting to shake her off again and again, but instead all he could do was wince when she scratched her nails over the side of his face clawing at his skin. “You’re insane you harlot!”

“I’ll show you insane,” she mouthed using her heel to dig into his abdomen with a fierce kick right before he dropped back just enough to finally get her to fall from his shoulders. She landed on the floor on her butt, glaring up at him with a sudden rage. He jumped a few feet in front of her bringing his hand up to his face while he glared down at her.

“You’re psychotic,” he spat out at her his eyes narrowing with fury. He pulled his fingers away from his cheek to see the droplets of crimson colored skin that remained over him. Wiping his hand on the side of his shirt he glared over at her. “Do you honestly think this will get you what you want?”

“I’m not going to give up until you grant me what it is I need,” she recovered managing to pull herself off of the ground. She stomped towards him venom pumping through her veins as her dark eyes pressed into his. She felt him match her movement taking a small stride towards her.

“Go to hell Sarah,” he warned her sharply, his tone low, yet menacing enough to indicate that he wasn’t about to bend on the offer she was laying out for him. “Back off!”

“I’m already stuck there with you,” she seethed, her words dripping with rage when he turned away from her. Watching him take a step towards the living room area she reached out to him piercing her nails into his shoulder and yanking him back towards her.

“I told you to back off,” he snarled spinning around and shoving her into the wall that caged them in the hallway. He saw her breath escape from her lips, her eyelashes blinking up at him now that her lips parted enough to reveal her ragged breath. He pushed in closer to her, his eyes darting down over her lips, to their crimson fire as she dared to challenge him.

“Screw you,” she spat up at him bringing her hand up enough to slap him across the face before she tangled her fingers into his hair. She pulled on it tightly causing him to wince when she wrenched his head down enough to bring his lips to hers in a violent, thrashing movement. He pushed himself in against her feeling her peel his jacket from his shoulders, ripping his shirt from his chest before curling her leg around his torso.

“You’re not going to bribe me into getting what you want,” he warned her in a terse tone while his hands dropped down to her waist, pushing in underneath her shirt to drag it up over her body. “I’m not going to change my mind.”

“The hell you aren’t,” she mouthed peeling at the layers of clothing between them knowing full well that she would get what she wanted one way or the other from the husband she never wanted.


“Why don’t you tell me again Lieutenant Sharpe why you felt compelled to bypass giving any thought to doing your job over by the electronics store?” Dave questioned glaring over across his desk at Patrick after he’d been notified of yet another situation that had arisen with the unruly police detective. “What could possibly override your doing your job?”

“I was doing my job,” Patrick started to argue with Dave. “I just didn’t feel that it was needed to be handled in any other way than a warning. The owner is a friend of mine and…”

“I’m sorry Patrick, but this is the third time this week that ‘a friend’ of yours has been pushed under the table to your own brand of justice. Just because someone gives you a break on a meal or offers you a discount on your toys does not entitle them to a get out of jail free card. You were running this investigation because we had something solid and I believed that you had turned a new leaf and become a team player, but for you to give up your integrity for a twenty percent discount is shameless,” Dave continued to snap at his employee with a frown, “and there is no excuse for it.”

“Oh come on Chief,” Patrick moaned in response, “It’s not like the other guys don’t do it too. Everyone around here is taking favors--not just me.”

“If that’s true, then I’ll be having a talk with everyone when I see it, but right now my issue is with you,” Dave explained in an agitated tone from behind his desk. “I asked you to do your job and not play around with my investigation. If you can’t carry yourself with proper conduct then perhaps it’s time for you to go under review.”

“You have nothing to go on. I did nothing wrong Dave,” Patrick murmured with a small glare. “I am doing my job…”

“By overlooking the fact that our primary suspect happens to be a friend of yours whom you feel shouldn’t be entered into the equation,” Dave shook his head at him. “I don’t feel that was the proper course of action, which is why I’m reassigning you to another case.”

“You can’t do that Dave,” Patrick groaned in response, “I’ve already put in so many hours on this and…”

“And as much as I’m sure they were important to you, it’s going to take just as many hours to put someone else into the situation that can conduct things as you should’ve from day one,” Dave mouthed in response seeing another officer standing outside of his door. “Have I made myself clear?”

“Crystal, but you’re making a mistake,” Patrick warned him sharply before standing up and heading towards the door. “A big one.”

“And if you keep up like you’ve been doing you’ll see that you are doing that as well,” Dave tossed back at him seeing that Patrick muttered something under his breath before leaving the office. He heard Patrick slam the door before Dave looked to the complaints that were on his desk. Time and time again he’d had problems with Patrick, but it had been difficult to prove any of the suspicions that were surrounding his work ethic.

“Chief Warner,” he heard a voice speak up after a knock followed. He saw his secretary standing outside of his door with a perplexed expression. “I hate to bother you but…”

“Get out of my way,” Cameron snapped at her before pushing his way into the office. “Chief Warner I want you to go and arrest Brant Ashford for kidnapping.”

“Excuse me,” Dave blinked back at Cameron, his eyes widening with curiosity and amusement. Leaning back in his chair Dave saw the worried expression on his secretary’s face. “It’s okay Amy I have it covered.”

“Alright,” she nodded slipping out of the office to leave Cameron and Dave to talk.

“So what seems to be your problem with Brant this time Cameron,” Dave questioned in a casual display. “He foil a blackmailing scheme you were working on or perhaps he exposed one of your underhanded corporate tactics which include poisoning an innocent child?”

“Look I don’t expect you to listen to me, but he has taken my sister and the last time I checked that was a criminal action. He’s taken her against her will and I need you to go and arrest him. You have to make him confess to what he’s done and…” Cameron snapped at Dave finding himself increasingly irritated with the police chief.

“Just like you’ve confessed to all of your sins,” Dave tossed out at him with a frown. “Come on Cameron. We both know you’re far from being a victim. Besides the last time I checked your sister was dating Brant. I don’t see her as being someone who needs your help unless of course you’ve come to own up to your part in her accident. Maybe that is why you’re upset. She realized you pushed her down the stairs and now she won’t deal with you.”

“Listen you jackass I came here today to have you help me find where he took my sister. I could’ve done this my own way, but I thought I might go by the book this time, which is something that you were notorious for doing. However if you don’t want to help me, then I’ll just go over to the Ashford mansion and beat the truth out of Brant myself,” Cameron snapped over at him again finding himself increasingly agitated.

“Is that a threat Cameron?” Dave arched a curious brow at Cameron’s tone.

“No that’s a promise--a promise that you’ll have to live with if you don’t get off your ass and help me find my sister,” Cameron demanded wanting nothing more than to make the police chief take action upon his request.



Moving out into the living room Nate heard some shuffling around in the kitchen and since there had been so much on his mind lately, he was hoping that he could possibly talk to someone about things that were going on. Possibly get another opinion on something to get an option of what he should really be doing with the situations in his life. Running his hand through his messy hair he stepped into the kitchen hoping to find possibly Don or Matt, but was met by Shannon instead. Letting out an exaggerated sight kind of hoping it wasn’t his older sister. She wasn’t always the best people to talk to, but she’d have to do. He had to talk to someone and she was the only one he could actually talk to at the moment where something was bothering him that much.

“You look not like yourself,” Shannon pointed out seeing him plop down to one of the chairs at the table and reach out for one a piece of M&M’s that was in the bowl in the center of the table. Plopping it into his mouth he saw his sister’s dark eyes staring out at him as he shrugged his shoulders and looked out at her. “What’s wrong?"

“Nothing,” Nate simply shrugged his shoulders reaching out for more of the sugary sweet candy, hearing them crunching between his teeth as he looked to her seeing the glance she was giving him. Simply pushing his hair back he knew that he couldn’t lie to her and if he did--she always freaked him out about things and that’s one thing he hated the most about her. She was a shitty sister half the time--okay, most of the time and maybe that’s why she was good at reading lies. She was one of the biggest liars he knew. “Okay, so maybe a little something, but it’s nothing to get worried about.”

“Uh huh and that’s why you are moping around like a wounded dog. I know you look like a dog most days, but you don’t just walk around like you just got shot in the ass. I know someone who was shot in the ass and you look worse than they did,” Shannon added catching the glare that Nate gave her as she smirked shrugging her shoulders when she spoke. “I’m just saying Nate, you look like shit.”

“Like you always do,” he snapped right back seeing her reach inside the bowl for the candies as he blocked his face feeling them slam up against his arm. Laughing, he knew that she would do that and reached for the floor for one of them that fell and plopped it into his mouth. Hearing her sound of disgust he laughed and shrugged chewing down on the candy. “Fifteen second rule. Anyways, what’s your lazy ass doing home?"

“Gee, I could ask you the same thing, but then I would actually be referring to the fact that you actually do something with your life,” Shannon pointed out feeling a candy hit her right between the eyes as she let out an angered breath. “The next candy or bad comment, I’m going to shove that whole bowl up your ass.”

“And if you ever go near my ass, I’m going to pull out a flame thrower and shove it up your,” before he could even finish his sentence Shannon threw a candy in his mouth causing him to start choking. Finally getting it cleared he shrugged one more time and took another piece of candy. “I think you know where I was going with that one.”

“And it’s a good thing you choked on that you sicko,” she shuddered in disgust grabbing a couple of pieces of the candy herself before staring out at her brother seeing his green eyes wander off around the kitchen. “Are you going to tell me what’s on your mind or are we going to do this whole I’m going to shove things up the opening in your bodies of kind deals?"

“I never started that, you did,” Nate’s nose wrinkled seeing the glare she gave him as he chuckled thinking about the original reason he came in here. While he loved to fight and tease his sister, he was really here to just talk about everyday life situations. “I think I’m going to get some cereal.”

“Okay, while you do that think of what you want to tell me because I’m sitting here and I’m not leaving until you say something,” she simply stated knowing when her little brother was lying, he was the worst liar she knew. She watched him poor the milk into the lucky charms before sitting down in the seat. “So?"

“It’s just stupid things that come to me in the middle of the night,” he gave it some time eating some of cereal before taking in a long breath. Seeing the way she kind of gave up he finally got the nerve to ask her the question he was thinking of. “What’s it like to be a parent? I mean, I know you’re just a step parent. But what is it like and everything?"

“What? You have to be kidding,” she muttered seeing him shrug and take another bite of his cereal. Leaning back in her chair she knew that her and Matt didn’t have the best relationship, but then again Nate should have known that. Matt was his best friend to a point and he always was spending his free time with the kid. “Why?"

“I don’t know. I mean has it been like hard?" Nate muttered seeing the look she gave him as he nodded. There were so many things going through his head about Cori and her baby with him offering to be the father of her child. He just wanted direction in his life, he wanted to know what to do. Have some type of force into going toward the right way to make sure he was doing the right thing with Cori. The plan was his from the start, but now he was starting to have second thoughts. He loved Matt and Matt was the only little one for him, yet the thought of being a father scared the shit out of him at one time while on the other it excited him like no other. “You know, it would probably be easier if the child was a baby from the start.”

“I would guess so, why?" Shannon pondered her brother’s question wondering if there was some kind of relevance to it all and if he actually had a meaning behind it or it was just some stupid idea coming to him in the middle of the night. “What’s going on with you Nathan?"

“Oh never mind, I have to go anyways,” Nate finished up his cereal and cleaned his bowl before putting it in the dishwasher. “I don’t need to bother you with your time while you are here. Have fun on your day off.”

“Nate hold on,” she went to catch her brother only to see him walk off and leave her in the kitchen alone. Moving out into the hallway she heard him close his door and lock it knowing that she was probably going to follow him. Sighing she leaned against the door frame of the kitchen and shook her head slowly. “What are you getting yourself into now Nate?”


Carly heard the deep, pounding sounds of music filtering through the corner of the kitchen where she’d set up her temporary office at home. While she’d convinced Dave that she could handle the idea of working at home, at the time she hadn’t really anticipated that she and Dave would be housing so much of his family. While Dave had a moderate sized home, it became increasingly smaller when everyone decided to stick around and never leave.

Yes, Carly hadn’t minded at first, but as the music grew louder, she half anticipated finding Stacy in front of the television, but instead when she stood up and walked into the living room she spotted Kayla and Matt watching some kind of aerobics program. Frowning Carly gave the two children another look wondering what had prompted the change in them. She opened her mouth to speak when another sound captured her attention from down the hallway.

“I hope I didn’t miss too much,” Jewel announced emerging from the smaller bathroom at the house wearing a ridiculously slinky hot pink workout outfit. She stepped in front of the television and began to unfold a pad on the floor as Matt and Kayla exchanged whispers with one another.

“You didn’t miss anything,” Kayla explained as Carly noticed the crayons that Kayla had laid out on the floor before her. Kayla and Matt began to scoop them up and put them back into the bucket Kayla had kept them in before Matt spoke up.

“Other than some guys on steroids sweating,” Matt groaned standing up and offering his hand out to Kayla to help her. “Want to go finish the project in your room?”

“Sure,” Kayla nodded eagerly as she held out the crayon bucket to Matt. He accepted it before taking her hand and puling up off of the floor just in time for Kayla to see her mother, “Hi mommy. Matt and I are going to my room to finish coloring.”

“Sure honey,” Carly smiled at the two of them before turning her attention to Jewel who had just finished laying out the workout pad on the floor.

“You’re more than welcome to join us Mrs. Warner,” Matt added with a quick roll of his eyes. “I’m sure you’ll like coloring better than babysitting.”

“Babysitting?” Kayla gave him a strange look.

“I’ll explain in the room,” Matt sighed lacing Kayla’s fingers in his and leading her to her bedroom down the hall to finish working on their coloring photos.

Once they left the room, Carly refocused her attention on Jewel, who had suddenly began mimicking the movements of the over tanned, muscled bodies on the television set. She started with a vigorous round of crunches as Carly attempted to circle around Jewel in the hopes of finding the best possible way to capture the woman’s attention. Clearing her throat, Carly hoped to get Jewel to notice her, but she was absorbed in the program on television. Carly opened her mouth once again, but then spotted the tiny headphones that were connected to an IPOD at Jewel’s side.

“Jewel,” Carly spoke her name politely while waving her hand in front of Jewel’s face. When that didn’t work, Carly spoke up in a louder tone, “Jewel hey!”

“Huh?” Jewel gasped suddenly aware of Carly’s presence as she pulled the headphone speakers out of her ears, “Oh hey Carly, I didn’t realize you were here.”

“Yeah, I am,” Carly tipped her head to the side, “but I figured you would have assumed that in seeing Matt and Kayla here together.”

“Yeah, I guess that might’ve made sense, but I wasn’t really paying much attention to them either,” Jewel confessed with a sheepish grin, “I was sort of in a bind and I figured you wouldn’t mind my stopping by.”

“Normally I would say it isn’t a problem, but with this,” Carly walked over to the television set and pushed the volume button, “It’s a little loud and I’m working on a few things for a potential client. You understand.”

“Oh sure,” Jewel nodded curling herself upward into a seated position, “like I said I was in a bind. You see last night I wasn’t at my hotel considering that I met this really hunky, really beefy guy at the bar, who looked a little something like the blonde one over there although I’m pretty sure the guy I was with last night was bigger in the biceps and in his…”

“Jewel,” Carly snapped her fingers over at Jewel to capture her attention once again, “I don’t need to hear about your night last night.”

“Actually you kind of do,” Jewel opened her mouth to speak again before rethinking it, “but I’ll give you an abridged version. The truth is I went home with him, had a little fun, then decided to get a cab and get out of there before he woke up and started talking about another night out together. I mean yeah, he was pretty hot in bed, but then after he started this whole crying thing and got really clingy and…”

“And what? You thought you’d hide out here from him or have Dave arrest him?” Carly half joked catching the expression on Jewel’s face.

“Hey, that’s not such a bad idea,” Jewel snorted in response, “but seriously after I left his place, well I realized that I’d forgotten my purse over there, which not only contained my membership card to the gym, but also had my hotel room key that was a replacement for a replacement, so naturally you can see my problem I’m having here.”

“You need to pick up your purse,” Carly deducted as Jewel lay back down to continue her round of crunches.

“Something like that, but I really didn’t want to just hop on over to him because he seemed like he had some emotional issues going on, so rather than being stuck on the street, I knew that Dave would keep me busy here for a while until I could sneak on over to the guy’s place and charm his superintendent into letting me into his apartment.”

“Why don’t you just go over there and ask him for your purse yourself?” Carly couldn’t help but question.

“Because I told you he’s an emotional mess,” Jewel reached for the television remote and turned up the volume before turning to Carly again. “I’m talking tears and everything which leads me to believe his earth hasn’t moved in a long time and…”

“Ok, I’ve heard enough,” Carly decided reaching for the remote from Jewel’s hand. She pointed it at the television and muted it before attempting to speak up in a smooth and even tone, “Look Jewel, I don’t mind you sticking around for a while, but you see right now my office is well, in the kitchen and I really need some clarity to focus.”

“Oh right,” Jewel waved her hand dismissively, “I won’t be a bother. In fact I don’t really need to do this right now.”

“Thanks for understanding,” Carly smiled over at Jewel. “I appreciate it.”

“No problem,” Jewel waved as Carly decided to return to the work that was waiting for her in the kitchen. She settled into her seat once again and focused on the papers when another sound captured her attention.

“Don’t mind me,” Jewel smiled as Carly watched Jewel cross the room to reach for the refrigerator door. Without bothering to look back at Carly, Jewel opened the door up and popped her head inside to see what was available to her, “I just forgot to have breakfast this morning in my escape and then when I was working out, well I just worked up an appetite and figured I might as well cook because it calms my nerves.”

“Actually,” Carly started fighting the urge to let her agitation reveal itself to Jewel, “I don’t know if…”

“Trust me it won’t be a problem,” Jewel smiled back at her, “I’ll keep the noise level to a minimum and…”

“Alright,” Carly decided knowing full well she needed to get focused on her work. She looked to the pages in front of her again ready to bury herself in them when a buzzing sound exploded through the kitchen. She tipped her head up to see Jewel using the blender. She would stop it, then start it, then stop it and start it all over again until finally Carly stood up when she couldn’t hold back any longer, “Jewel!”

“What?” Jewel questioned spinning on her heel to face Carly. She caught the expression on Carly’s face and frowned, “Too loud?”

“Just a bit,” Carly nodded in response.

“Sorry,” Jewel offered up apologetically. “I didn’t mean to be so loud when…”

“It’s alright,” Carly forced a smile, “I just need a little quiet for a while that’s all.”

“You’ve got it. In fact I’ll go pull Stacy out of bed as I’m sure she and I could use some bonding time,” Jewel turned towards the door she’d just entered in when Carly sighed knowing full well that she wasn’t going to be returning to work as soon as she’d hoped for.

“Stacy’s not here,” Carly informed Dave’s sister with a sigh, “She’s out with Lindsay shopping--at least that’s what she said the last time I talked to her.”

“Gee that’s nice of her to tell me where she’s at,” Jewel rolled her eyes at the thought. “You would think that with my being her mother and all that she would kind of think it important to clue me in on what’s going on with her life.”

“She said she tried calling you last night, but didn’t get an answer on your cell phone,” Carly explained returning to the table once again and sitting down.

“Well I turned it off when I was with Mr. Emotional and all, but…” Jewel frowned walking over to the table to join Carly. She pushed a few papers aside before slumping down onto one of the chairs across from Carly. “I think she seriously despises me.”

“I don’t believe that,” Carly replied watching Jewel’s brow crease at the thought. “You’re her mother.”

“All the more reason for her to hate me,” Jewel added with a dry laugh. “I think from the time she’s been out of diapers she’s been looking for a reason to make me miserable.”

“I don’t believe that,” Carly paused thinking about her niece, “although I will say that Stacy’s at an age when she could probably use her mother more than anything. These are very hard years for teens and…”

“I blame Paul for this mostly,” Jewel interrupted not really paying attention to Carly’s words. “He spoiled the hell out of her and has used all of his gifts as tools of turning her against me. I know he and I haven’t seen eye to eye in a while, but with his attitudes and his behavior lately I’m positive that he’s poisoning her mind.”

“I don’t believe that,” Carly offered up as Jewel let out an emphatic sigh. “I don’t think Paul’s even been around much lately, so I can’t see how he would find a way to do that. Stacy loves you.”

“No she hates me. I’m convinced of that,” Jewel brought on crocodile tears, “and after all the years of trying to be a good mother to her, this is what I get. She can’t even talk to me. She won’t even pretend to want me in her life and…”

“It’s probably for her own good that she steers clear of you because hell I’m hardly around you and I hate your guts,” Cori spat out surprising both Carly and Jewel with her arrival. She walked into the kitchen with her brown eyes narrowing down at Jewel. “She probably sees what a bitch you truly are and she’s hoping that she can ignore her parentage long enough to enjoy life.”

“Well what do we have here?” Jewel slurred with an air of venom in her tone. “They decide to let you out of the loony bin, huh? What was there a shortage of assholes around town so they thought they’d give you a reprieve to fill the void.”

“I’ll show you as…” Cori stepped in closer to Jewel just as Carly sprung out of her seat in order to keep a distance between the two sisters.

“You know now is probably not a good time to get into this with one another. Stacy could be home at any time and Matt and Kayla are in the bedroom. This is highly inappropriate,” Carly eyed the both of them closely, “so why don’t you let whatever it is that’s bothering you both go and we’ll talk with one another calmly?”

“Yeah sure,” Jewel rolled her eyes and turned her attention to her freshly manicured nails.

“Whatever,” Cori shrugged as Carly lowered the arms she’d held up to keep the two sisters a safe distance away from one another. Carly took a step back and contemplated her next move as Jewel muttered under her breath once again.

“Bitch,” Jewel spat out as Cori charged forward, releasing a small growl as she sent Jewel onto the table top taking with her all the papers Carly had been working on before Jewel’s arrival. A moment later the table went crashing down to the ground as Cori and Jewel were engaged with a hair pulling, fist throwing, all around physical fight with one another leaving Carly with no other option, but to go to the extreme. Marching across the kitchen Carly walked over to the sink and reached for the sink hose. She grabbed the hose in the corner of the sink and turned the water on before pushing button to send a spray shooting across the kitchen at the two women. Once they were blasted with cold water, both squealed and parted from one another.

“Are you finished yet?” Carly questioned taking a moment to squirt the both of them once again. She held her nozzle up in warning and glared at the both of them. “Well?”

“I take it this is a bad time,” Nate’s voice carried over the room catching all of the women off guard as it was clear that whatever he’d walked in on couldn’t be good. In fact, judging by the expression on all of their faces Nate found himself wondering if perhaps he’d made a very bad move in coming over after all.


“Can I talk to you a second?" Wendy looked to Ken once Rex had excused himself from the table long enough to talk to the person on the other side of the phone call he had just gotten while the two of them were out for food. They were just catching up with Rex a bit and when they were in the middle of talking, Wendy started to notice the attitude that Ken had developed. It was something that struck an interest in her while they were hanging out with him. Rex had been nothing but friendly the whole time they were together, yet Ken had been so negative toward his uncle and so snippy that she knew something was on his mind. “He’s done nothing to you to have to be treated that way Ken.”

“He’s part of my family Wendy, I didn’t expect him here. How weird is it that the one day I leave, he is here too?" Ken questioned seeing the way her dark eyes looked him over and he took in a long breath shaking his head slowly. It was a little weird that of all the places he chose to go that Rex would be in the same area at the same exact time. How in the world does something like that happened unplanned? It was hard to believe that his annoying big mouthed uncle was the one who had booked himself for some kind of business that was taking place for him. It was hard to think that the man that once rebelled against the rest of his family was now excited about the meeting of running into Ken instantly like this. “I have to wonder if my family sent him to watch me.”

“Now why would your family do that?" Wendy laughed thinking about how ridiculous Ken sounded right now about his uncle. Why would someone happen to think that their uncle randomly showing up meant something more than just luck. “You do know that you are family and maybe you both were thinking the same things this week.”

“Yeah, I highly doubt that. There is no way that people usually have the same exact idea to go to the same exact country the same week,” Ken frowned seeing the glare he got from Wendy as he shrugged and took in a long shallow breath. “Come on, what do you think I should expect? When a family member I haven’t seen in years all of a sudden pops up in the same exact place that I’m at? It just seems weird.”

“Weird or not, I think it’s a great thing that we ran into him today. It gives you some time to get closer to your family. I know you don’t like the idea, but maybe this is a good thing for you. To get close to someone in your family,” she could see the wrinkle in his nose developing showing her that he didn’t like the idea she was coming up with. Sighing she knew she fighting a losing battle to try and help her boyfriend get closer to some of the blood in his family. “There is no use in not trying Ken.”

“Well, what am I supposed to do with the guy? I haven’t seen him in years. We have nothing to talk about, he’s someone who made money on his own by stocking up on oil and sports teams. What can I talk to him about Wendy?" Ken questioned seeing the look that Wendy gave him as he shook his head slowly knowing that his uncle was complete sarcasm. He was someone that never took anything serious. He always pushed things too far and never too them serious. He’d make jokes of the smallest things while the smallest things were something important to him. “We have two total complete different personalities. How do you expect me to try and get alone with someone like him.”

“I don’t know, but I expect you to or else Ken,” she muttered in a whisper as she saw Rex turn toward them tipping down his cream colored cowboy hat before hanging up the phone. Smiling she nodded at him and saw Ken rest his head down toward the table letting out a small groan. “Ken, you have to do this for me.”

“Wendy, I just don’t think it’s the best idea,” Ken stated quickly in one breath as Rex moved back toward the table at the diner as he straightened up in his chair. “Oh hey--uncle Rex.”

“What’s not the best of ideas?" Rex questioned in his thick southern accent seeing the way that Ken gulped down and played with his fingers as Rex took a seat across from him. “What’s up between the two of you youngsters?"

“We were just talking about our plans for later,” Ken cleared his throat looking to Wendy and the look she was giving him with her dark eyes said it all. It was almost an angry upset look. If that was even possible to pull off at the same time. It was insane for her to think that him and his uncle Rex would ever have something in common. “So what was the phone call about?”


Blake turned the key in the lock hearing the familiar creak that always followed her opening the front door to the house. While most people would find it bothersome, she found it homey. It was something significant about the front door--about her front door and it always felt like an invitation to relax and enjoy the life that she’d made for herself. Smiling to herself she felt the comforting air of her foyer press in against her embracing her with it’s welcome and suddenly her day of frustrations seemed to fade away only to be replaced with the warmth of home.

“Seth, are you here?” Blake questioned searching around the living room area in the hopes that she would encounter the man she loved now that she was ready to push the day behind her. She turned her attention to the kitchen, but found it empty. With a small frown, she slipped out of her jacket and set her purse on the kitchen table before turning around to investigate the rest of the house. The hallway smelled like jasmine and vanilla which undoubtedly was the new plug in air freshener that she’d bought the week before coming into play, yet it was comforting and gave her positive thoughts about the night ahead of her--that was if she could find Seth.

“Seth are you in here?” Blake questioned popping her head into their bedroom to find it in the same way that their kitchen had been being spotless and empty. She shook her head wondering if Seth was running late at work when she thought she heard footsteps behind her. Turning on her heel she stretched her arms out half anticipating to hug her handsome fiancé, but instead she was met by the emptiness of the hallway.

“That’s strange,” she frowned preparing to make her way back into the kitchen again when a sound she hadn’t thought to listen for prompted her to stillness.

Turning around once more, she looked inside the bedroom and noticed the half open door to the master bathroom that was calling out to her. Smiling to herself Blake slid out of the suit jacket she’d put on when she’d had a meeting with one of the community center investors later in the day. She eased it onto the bed before pulling open the buttons on her blouse and setting it carefully onto the bed as well. Kicking off her heels, she found that she was a bit less concerned with being neat and tidy with her clothes while her thoughts lingered to what was waiting for her inside of the bathroom. She shimmied out of her skirt until she was down to her undergarments.

“Oh Seth,” she whispered under her breath, her fingers moving to the clasp on her bra while she stepped into the bathroom to find him in the shower, rinsing off his hair through the frosted glass door. Smiling at seeing his bronzed skin through the glass was a sight for sore eyes, she found herself empowered by a whole new motivation. She finished discarding the rest of her clothing and moved forward to slide the door open enough for her to step in behind him.

“I wondered why you were ignoring me,” she mouthed easing her pale arms over his sun kissed abdomen, feeling the corded muscle beneath her touch. Her fingers fanned out over the center of his chest before she stepped forward, her breasts skimming over his back while her lips placed a well thought out kiss over his muscled arm.

“Ignoring you especially with a greeting like this would be the furthest from my mind,” he grinned his dark eyes dripping with lust as he turned around to face her. The movement cause the dark ends of his damp hair to sent droplets against the shower wall and the steady spray of the water to break up now that he was partially under the stream. His arms snaked around her slender waist pulling her into him in a crashing movement that made her all the more thankful she hadn’t given up on her search for him.

“Being home is better than I’d anticipated,” she mouthed leaning up on her toes to steal a kiss from him. Her hands traced over the lines of his body, moving up over his chest to his shoulders and down over his arms before settling in upon his hips. “I missed you.”

“I missed you too,” he confessed tipping down to ease his soft, ever so kissable lips to hers, taking the time to taste the sweetness that her lip gloss had to offer. As they parted ways he angled his head to the side and let out a small laugh. “Admittedly I was thinking about what a fantasy scenario like this would be for us, but I never anticipated that you’d be joining me. I thought you were staying at the center later than usual.”

“I gave up on working since I had a bad day,” she sighed attempting not to let the earlier hours cloud how incredible it felt to be wrapped up against him anticipating an even closer union between them.

“Why is that?” he questioned teasing his damp fingertips through her long blonde tresses. “What happened?”

“I ran into Zack,” she scowled recalling the frustrating encounters she’d had with the man she’d once dated. “He just gets more impossible each time I see him. It’s like he’s an entirely different person than he was before when I first knew him. He’s such a jackass.”

“He’s always been a jackass,” Seth corrected with a hint of displeasure in his tone, “It’s just too bad it took you this long to realize it.”

“You’re telling me,” she groaned inwardly, “but seriously he just likes to bother me now I think.”

“He’s still not letting up on the idea that he’s not going to stand a chance at a reunion with you?” he half questioned leaning down to press a tiny kiss over her shoulder.

“He’s completely clueless about anything logical,” she sighed lost in the soft touch of his fingertips massaging small circles into her skin. She closed her blue eyes for a moment dropping her head back with a sigh while his kisses tapered off over the base of her throat. Curling her fingers into his shoulders and taking the time to knead the muscle she spoke up again, “I don’t know why he just doesn’t take a hint and bother someone else who might buy into his bullshi…”

Her words were cut off by his lips returning to hers. She parted her lips further and felt his tongue tease hers attempting to bring about a more savory use for her mouth now that they were joined in an erotic display. She reached out to thread her fingers through his hair, stepping up on her toes to attempt to bridge the height distance between them. Sensing her intentions, Seth dropped his arm down beneath her bottom and pulled her up to him assisting her in her mission.

“He just realizes what he lost and it kills him that he can’t have it back,” Seth noted once they’d finally party, both of them gasping for breath after the kiss. His dark eyes penetrated hers and he continued to talk to her in a muted tone. “What man wouldn’t be condemning himself for letting you go?”

“I let him go,” Blake corrected with a tiny sigh, “and besides I don’t want to dwell on Zack right now. He’s wasted far too much time of mine already. How was your day?”

“Interesting,” he confessed still keeping her in his arms. “I mean I would like to say it was uneventful, but that isn’t entirely true. I spoke with Kevin since he came over.”

“Was something wrong?” she questioned with a genuine concern behind her eyes.

Seth nodded, “Angela is missing.”

“Angela,” she repeated with a frown thinking about what he’d said, “as in Brant’s Angela.”

“Yeah,” Seth nodded in response, “and it’s really bothering Kevin because he felt like he should’ve been there keeping an eye on her when she disappeared. He told me that he and Brant are searching for her, but it’s just killing him that she went missing like that.”

“How is Brant doing? Did he say?” Blake questioned concerned for her brother. “Did Kevin have any ideas of where Angela would be?”

Seth shook his head, “Not right now, but knowing Angela she will pop up sooner or later. She’s a bit of a drama queen from what I’ve heard.”

“That doesn’t surprise me,” Blake curled her lip in a frown, “considering that she’s dating my brother and that she looks like Avery I think it’s safe to say that something isn’t right with her. You know I don’t understand what it is with Brant and these women he picks up…”

“I don’t know, but given that Brant’s in love with her, I’m sure she can’t be all that bad,” Seth started seeing the look of confusion on her face.

“But you just said that…” she began to point out.

“She probably isn’t all that bad for Brant, but for Kevin, well let’s just say that they are better off without each other,” Seth revealed thinking about his cousin’s troubled history with Angela. “They bring out the worst in one another and it somehow gets them both down when they think about what they lost.”

“That’s awfully cryptic,” Blake gave him a strange look, “What does that mean?”

“Kevin and Angela had a child together,” Seth paused remembering his cousin’s pain in the past. “The baby died at birth, but it was something that bothered Kevin for a long time.”

“Oh my God,” Blake gasped horrified. “I can’t even begin to imagine how much that would hurt him. To think that someone would have to endure something like that--especially someone like Kevin. I mean why would that happen?”

“I don’t know,” he confessed with a heavy sigh, “but I don’t think I helped the situation today either. Remember that bracelet that girl with JT gave me?”

“Yeah what about it?” Blake questioned seeing something flash behind his eyes.

“That’s where things get tricky. I mean here I thought it was Jade’s, but then it wasn’t and there was that whole situation with that girl,” he hesitated before continuing. “I showed it to Kevin and he flipped out on me talking about how it was his daughter’s.”

“His daughter’s,” she repeated blinking up at him, “but you said that the baby died.”

“I know, but apparently he bought that before she was born and…” he shook his head trying to banish the thought. “I didn’t expect that. He was really upset and I didn’t know what to say to him. He’s already so worked up about losing Angela…”

“So what happened after he saw the bracelet?” she couldn’t help but ask.

“I let him have it and figured if it gave him peace, then it was a good thing. Still I can’t understand why that girl would have it if it belonged to Kevin,” he frowned hating to see his cousin upset. His dark eyes met Blake’s again and he sighed. “It’s just been one hell of a year for my family I mean first with Jade and now Kevin…”

“Hey,” she roused his attention to her again while her fingers pressed in over his chest, “Seth, things are going to get better.”

“I keep telling myself that, but…” he paused with a distance between his eyes, “I just keep wondering when the other shoe will drop. I mean everyone else has been so unlucky, yet I’ve been blessed with what we have and…”

“And nothing is going to steal that from us again,” she promised urging him in closer to her. She wrapped her arms securely around his shoulders and coaxed him into a kiss. “Seth I love you and we deserve this happiness.”

“Sometimes I feel like I’ve taken for granted just how lucky we are,” he admitted with a small sigh. “I just don’t want us to lose what we have since it’s so important.”

“We’re not going to lose it,” she assured him hugging him in closer to her. “Seth we have the whole world ahead of us and I can’t see that changing.”

“I know, but I’m sure Jade felt that way with Grady too and…” he started to explain only to feel her press her index finger in against his lips.

“Seth trust me. We deserve the happiness that we have together,” she whispered tracing the outline of his lips with her finger tips. “We deserve the world together.”

“I want to give you that Blake,” he mouthed pressing a kiss against the pad of her index finger.

“I have it when I’m with you,” she assured him drawing him in nearer to her as they held onto one another taking the time to appreciate all the blessings that they had been given in their lives together.


Kevin stood on the front porch of Russ and Avery’s house knowing that he should probably head elsewhere, but when he was in trouble often at times he found himself in a similar position wanting to have the advice of his friends. Thinking about how he blew up at Seth he realized that maybe it would help to have an objective opinion that either Russ or Avery could provide him with. Either way he knew that he needed to calm down before he went over to see Ria again. His being wound up about his lost child wasn’t going to help anything. He reached for the bell again only to discover the door opening.

“Hey Kevin,” Russ greeted him with a half smile, “how’s it going?”

“Not so great,” Kevin revealed with a heavy sigh. “I was just in the neighborhood and thought maybe I would stop by and talk to you guys for a few considering that…”

“Kevin, I don’t know if now is a good time considering that…” Russ hesitated hearing the sounds of Avery’s ranting in the background.

Kevin noticed the sound himself and his eyes perked up with concern, “What’s going on?”

“Well…” Russ started ready to say something more when Avery marched over to the door opening it further to join them.

“I’ll tell you what’s going on,” Avery huffed with heavy agitation in her tone. “The idiots in the law enforcement world are nothing but dirty scoundrels who are out solely for themselves and nothing more. To think about all of the stunts that they have pulled through the years and now this. I swear to God it makes me want to scream! In fact I think I will.”

“It’s been a very tense day,” Russ replied watching Avery march across the room to let out a small, pinched scream. She fell face forward onto the couch and buried her head into the pillow and screamed again causing both men to cringe.

“Okay I know I’ll regret this later, but I’ll bite. What’s going on?” Kevin couldn’t help but ask seeing Avery throw her fists into the sofa in an attempt to deal with her unchanneled rage.

“She just got word that her mother struck a deal with the FBI,” Russ explained with a heavy scowl. “After everything Brooke has done to try to hurt her and Erin, well that didn’t sit too well with any of us.”

“We weren’t the only ones she tried to destroy,” Avery plopped her head up from the sofa to join the conversation again, “She worked with Nicholas to try to kill you Russ. She drugged you and put you in bed with Heather, then helped a man try to kill you not to mention that she murdered our baby the first time around.”

“I know sweetheart, but I promise you that she won’t be given that chance to get near you again,” Russ moved in over to join her hoping to help alleviate her concerns before she dropped her head into the sofa again and let out another scream.

“I’m sure that the police will give you a restraining order,” Kevin piped in trying to process what they were telling him. “I mean if she did all of those things I don’t see why the FBI would want to deal with her, but…”

“I’ll tell you why they will deal with her,” Avery resurfaced again her eyes filled with irritation, “because Brooke is small potatoes to them. They are looking for the bigger score with the better bust. Sure, she’s high profile in being a mogul in the cosmetics world, but it goes beyond that. They aren’t looking to get a quick bust with a woman who makes Medea look like a purely justifiable saint. They would much rather go after a man like Nicholas Ashford because busting someone of his caliber would mean a lot more in terms of when they are handing out promotions. Never mind the fact that she’s every bit as vicious as he is or the fact that she is a child murderer because that’s irrelevant in the corporate ladder. When it comes to doing what’s right or doing what’s the sensational show stopper, you can guess what wins and the rest of us get screwed in the process.”

“Now why would they want to let her go to get someone like Nicholas? Wouldn’t someone like that eventually screw up and get themselves caught somehow?” Kevin questioned not really knowing all that much about Nicholas other than the few tales he’d been told since his arrival in Coral Valley.

“They are looking for someone to do their jobs for them and they think that Brooke can do that, but what they don’t realize is that she is a self-serving manipulative destroyer who is only going to pretend to cooperate long enough for them to give her the freedom and control she craves. She’s been that way all her life and this isn’t going to change her,” Avery threw her hands up in the air before looking to Erin. “She tried to kill Erin when I was pregnant and erase all of what I had with Russ in my life.”

“But that won’t happen,” Russ assured her reaching out to bring his arm around her shoulders, “and besides if anyone could’ve found Nicholas they would’ve done it by now. I came back with plenty of information on how I wound up on that island and no one listened.”

“That’s right. He was there trying to hurt you, but you don’t see the FBI bending over backwards to get you to rat out your own father,” Avery added seeing Russ wince at the reference to Nicholas being his father. “Sorry…”

“No it’s okay,” Russ replied after a small breath, “I don’t take offense to that. I had a father growing up and it wasn’t him.”

“I wish that I could say the same about my relationship with Brooke,” Avery groaned before turning to Kevin. “I’m sorry I know you probably don’t want to hear me rant about this…”

“No it’s okay. I can see that the subject of your mother upsets you and if you need to talk about it. Go for it,” Kevin waved his hand around in the air dismissively. “Please by all means.”

“It’s just that I get so angry sometimes. She and Nicholas have done so much to us,” Avery glanced over at Russ attempting to read his expression while Kevin walked over to the playpen to pick Erin up and pull her into his arms.

“I can understand that given what you’re saying,” Kevin looked over at Russ, “And Nicholas…he’s really alive and out there huh?”

Russ nodded, “It’s ironic that he and Brooke spent so much time trying to destroy what we have when our being together was something that they always wanted in terms of where they were headed in their schemes.”

“Nicholas is probably kicking himself in the ass that he wound up trying to kill you. If he would’ve known the truth, then there isn’t a doubt in my mind that things would’ve been different. Our first child might still be alive and…” Avery burst into tears unable to take the stress of the situation much longer.

“Hey, we’ll get through this,” Russ wrapped his arm around her squeezing her in his arms while she vented her frustrations. Russ looked over to Kevin seeing Erin playing with the button on Kevin’s shirt and he sighed. “It’s just been a strange day for us.”

“I can see that,” Kevin paused glancing over at Avery once again, “Though you know now that you’re telling me this it makes me wonder. When was your mother released?”

“I don’t know if she’s been released or not, but Russ had his friend call to warn us about the deal she made,” Avery answered seeing the expression on his face. “Why?”

“Well not that this is the best time to bring it up, but Angie has disappeared,” Kevin explained with a frown.

“What do you mean she’s disappeared?” Russell’s eyes widened with worry.

“I don’t know. I mean, well she was staying at the mansion with Brant and I, but then she up and disappeared. We thought that maybe Cameron had her, but then when we saw him he knew about as much as we did.”

“So what are you saying?” Russ replied sensing something behind Kevin’s eyes.

“That maybe this is no coincidence with everything that’s been happening. I mean you said it yourself that Nicholas and Brooke have been after something right,” Kevin deducted thinking about Brant’s father and the madness that surrounded him.

“Yes and I’m pretty sure they aren’t finished with what they were plotting,” Avery offered up with a tiny shiver, “If Nicholas thinks he can get his hands on that money Augustus refused him, then he won’t stop until he has it.”

“What about with Angie? Do you think it’s possible that he might’ve found a way to manipulate her into being around him? I mean if you think about it, Brant is obviously not going to side with someone like that, yet if his children are in some kind of danger,” Kevin started grasping for any possible theory on what might’ve happened to Angela. “She came to town searching for her mother and maybe if Brooke got wind of it…”

“Her mother,” Avery sat up straighter upon hearing his words. “What mother?”

“Her mother died when she was born,” Kevin explained with a heavy sigh. “Cyrus was married at the time that he hooked up with Angie’s mom. The two had an affair and she was the result of it. Her mother died in childbirth, but the circumstances were really mysterious surrounding it. She’s been obsessing over it lately in knowing the truth about what happened because she’s pregnant herself.”

“And what? She’s thinking that if she comes to Coral Valley that she’ll learn something she didn’t know before?” Russ reasoned with what Kevin was saying.

“I’m saying that’s part of why she was here,” Kevin nodded in agreement wondering if Angela‘s search for the past was part of why she had vanished. “It’s why she arrived in the first place because she had teamed up with a friend to learn more about her mother. All Cyrus would tell her was that her mother was the great love of his life and he would’ve given anything to be with her. He gave Angie this locket with her photo in it when she was a teenager, but all it did was open the door to her curiosity even more.”

“She had a photo,” Avery repeated thinking about the situation. “Did she have a name?”

“No,” Kevin shook his head remembering. “Her father had terms of endearment for her, but no name.”

“And yet Cameron is trying to tell me that Angela is my sister--that Cyrus could be my…” Avery’s jaw dropped as a thought occurred to her. “Is it possible that the reason Cyrus told Angela that her mother was dead was because her mother was Brooke? That Cameron could be telling the truth and Angela really is my sister?”

“Avery I don’t know…” Kevin began seeing something flash behind Avery’s eyes.

“My mother is a bitch and that goes without saying. She’s never had a loyal bone in her body, so I wouldn’t doubt that she could’ve cheated on my father. I mean hell he was in love with someone else when she got pregnant with me,” Avery reasoned remembering the rumors that had haunted her most of her childhood about her parents. “Is it at all possible that she lied about my dad to…”

“Don’t go there Avery,” Russ cut her off almost immediately remembering what he’d learned on the island about Brooke and her drugging Richard to get him into bed. “It’s not the case…”

“Russ we don’t know that. Cameron was so convinced that I was his sister and…” Avery turned to Kevin again, “Did you see the photo of Angela’s mother?”

“A long time ago,” Kevin nodded in response, “It was an old black and white but…”

“If you saw her again would you remember her? Would you remember her face?” Avery questioned sitting up straighter. “Would you be able to say if you saw her now?”

“I think so, but…” Kevin saw her spring up off of the couch. “Avery, I don’t think that now is the time to get into it considering that…”

“That what?” she blinked back at him. “Angela is missing and Brooke is about to get out of jail. There might be more to it than that. Now if I can just find a photo of Brooke, then maybe we can piece together the mystery that’s right in front of us.”

“Avery, I really don’t think…” Kevin started watching Avery move down the hallway towards the bedroom to search for a photo she’d had tucked away in the closet of her mother.

“For Avery’s sake I hope that this isn’t going where I’m afraid it will,” Russ revealed thinking about what it might do to his wife if Kevin in fact identified Brooke as Angela’s mother.


“Oh, it was just work calling. Just a minor incident they wanted to tell me about. Nothing big,” Rex moved in closer to the table after sitting down searching the dark eyes of his nephew for a moment. Leaning forward in his seat he took in a deep breath and looked between the two of them. “So, I have an offer for you. How about I take you two out for a really great dinner tonight. I know we’re had a snack and some nice coffee here, but I think I’d like to maybe take the two of you out for something great. Something that you two might really like for dinner while you’re here. I can promise you it will be the top class best of food you can find around. So what do you say you two? You up for spending a little bit more time with good old uncle Rex?"

“Well actually, we have other plans,” Ken blurted out not wanting to spend another hour with his uncle let alone a full dinner that was at the top of it’s league. This was all a ridiculous factor. Gasping, he felt Mindy’s hard elbow come right back into his stomach making him groan out as he glanced over at her. She nodded slowly as Rex offered up a small laugh himself at the movement. “Well, I guess…”

“We can certainly make some time for dinner with you Rex. We would love to go somewhere with you. It could really be a good time and I know that Ken himself would love to go. We’d both really love to go,” Wendy wrapped her arm around his resting her arm on his shoulder smiling widely. “We’d both love to spend some time with you while you are here Rex. It’s something we are both looking forward to I hope you know. I know we haven’t seen you in a while and this would be a great way to catch up with you.”

“If I was able to blush sweetheart, you’d be making me. Unfortunately I’ve spent too many years being an asshole to my business associates that I’ve learned to stop getting the red effect,” Rex laughed looking to the confused look on Ken’s face and heard Wendy laughing in the background. After his laughing started to die down he took off his cowboy hat and inhaled deeply. “Okay, not as funny as I thought it was.”

“It was funny, wasn’t it Ken?" Wendy’s elbow dug into the side of his ribs hearing him groan out and shoot her a look. He rubbed at his side before taking in a long breath and laughing sarcastically.

“Yeah, it was funny. I was just off in my own world when you said it. Sorry,” Ken apologized, his eyebrows clenching together as he thought about the time he would have to be spending with his uncle. The uncle he hardly even liked his whole life. The guy was always gone, never around. Why would he even think about liking the guy? There was no reason to. And now Wendy was ordering him to get along with him. Why in the world would she even care about his family. She knew just as well as him that they were all screwed up. “Sorry Rex, it jus totally slipped my head.”

“You know honey, it’s okay if he doesn’t think I’m funny,” Rex reached out to squeeze Wendy’s hand seeing the smile she gave him and the glare he got from Ken. “If the whole world thought my jokes were funny, then I’d seriously think they were screwed up in the head. That’s the only title I’d like to give myself.”

“You can say that again,” Ken muttered under his breath feeling Wendy’s hard elbow dig into his side again making him let out a tight breath edging away from her. Shaking his head slowly he ran his fingers through his hair and tried to come up with something to say to make things less uptight. “So, what do you have in mind?"

“I think you two should get ready and then I’ll meet you at the place your staying at. Set up the perfect things for someone beautiful like yourself,” Rex stood up reaching out for Wendy’s hand feeling her fingers wrap around his as he helped her up, his hand pressing in over the small of her back leading her out once he paid for the bill. “I’ll get someone to set up a nice dress for you sweetheart and then I’ll take the both of you to one of the best restaurants out in the beauty of the night.”

“That sounds fantastic,” Ken could hear Wendy from afar as he finally stood up from the table taking the last sip of his drink getting the ice in his mouth. Crunching down on it roughly he knew that he would have to deal with his uncle today and he absolutely hated it. Why he charmed Wendy like that, he didn’t know. But he knew that after today, even if Rex was in town for as long as they were there this was the last time they would spend time with him. He didn’t want to do it now. So there was no point to try and lie to himself that he would want to do it again.

Moving out of the restaurant he noticed his uncle and Wendy standing at the side of the street glancing out at the Eiffel tower as Rex pointed out a few random boring facts to Wendy that she seemed overly enthused with. Rolling his eyes he moved toward them deciding in his head already that he just wanted to get this day over with. He was already getting sick of Paris and it was supposed to be his freedom. So much for freedom. Freedom now seemed like a cage. Like a prison with his family and he hated it.


“What do you think of this Matt?" Lindsay questioned seeing her nephew looking over a few random things on the shelf before him at the toy store. She pulled out a John Cena doll seeing the way that he wrinkled his nose and shook his head slowly. “I figured you might want a new baseball. Take the action figure out of the case and then get a few rounds out with some baseball practice hits. What do you say?"

“Please Lindsay, you think I want to sink eight dollars of very nice money into that man’s wallet. I don’t like him, but me doing something like that makes his name rise in the stocks and makes people believe that we like him. As you can see with all the dolls here, that’s clearly not how people feel because there are plenty of John Cena,” Matt scowled looking at the dolls grabbing the one from Lindsay’s hand and putting it back. Pushing through a few things he smiled before turning to her with a new one. “But I do notice they only have one classic Rock doll here. And The Rock is by far so much better than John Cena. When he threw that diss out at John Cena, he became my favorite of all time. Not that I already didn’t like him, but this is the one I want.”

“Well, he is a hottie,” Stacy put her input seeing the way that Matt let out an exaggerated sigh and rolled his eyes before turning to Kayla. His small hand reaching out to hers to hold it in his as they moved toward the front of the toy store. “Why don’t you ever take them out of the boxes Matt? I mean, don’t you like to play with them.”

“No, no, no,” Matt shook his head turning around to grab the doll from Lindsay before holding onto it tightly. “They are going to be worth something one day and there is no point to take them out. They are all collectables and I would be nothing without them. They are my favorite things to collect most of the time.”

“You should see his closet, he’s not kidding,” Lindsay smirked seeing the way Matt nodded before reaching out for the money that his father had given him for a toy. Lindsay handed it over seeing him going to the front desk placing the item up on the counter before motioning her to wait. Moving over toward the posters he fumbled through a few things before pulling out one and putting it on the counter as well. “What was that?"

“I got a poster,” Matt answered pocketing the rest of the money before handing the bag over to Lindsay to carry it. He shrugged his shoulders seeing the way that Lindsay noticed it was of the woman wrestler Lita. “I got it for Nate, I know he loves her and it will be a present from me.”

“But it's from Don’s money,” Lindsay laughed seeing Matt shrug and smile before turning to Kayla again going to point out to her some kind of new moon bounce shoes. Lindsay looked to see Stacy looking at the doll that was a cooking doll. She saw her looking at the box and knew it was making her disgusted to look at it because it was the Barbie doll her mother had posed for with her show. “Maybe it’s better to be leaving.”

“Look at how this doll looks like a whore. It’s sad isn’t it? That my mom looks naturally twenty times worse than this,” Stacy scowled seeing the way that Lindsay took the box in her hands and motioned for her to set it down. “Why do you think she’s like that? I mean she’s in her thirties now and so is my father. How come they are acting their age?"

“I’d say they are having a midlife crisis, just are seriously stuck in it. It seems that they never grew out of the teenager age and still feel that they are there,” Matt offered up his advice once he moved back by their sides with Kayla at his. “I know that you are upset with your mother, but where you are lacking with your parents, your uncle is really trying. You parents will grow up eventually and they will realize what they lost with you during your years Stacy.”

“I know that Matt, but I just hate it,” Stacy whispered seeing the way that he looked up at her with his big blue eyes. His little frown expanded as she looked to the doll again. Her parents were never very good with her. It was always her other family taking care of her and she always ended up liking her parent’s friend more than them. The counts were endless between Kyle and Don, those were two she wished she could be closer to than her parents. It would have great to know that one of those two were her father over Paul, but now she was stuck with both Paul and Jewel. “It just doesn’t feel so great to be stuck feeling like no one wants you.”

“That’s not true. We all want you in our lives Stacy. Dave loves you,” Matt’s pout curled further as he tugged on her arm and noticed her kneeling down to his height. Wrapping his arms around her neck he hugged her tightly before looking to Kayla motioning her in on the hug. “We want you Stacy. We think your great.”

“He’s honest you know,” Lindsay moved forward to hug her friend before smiling knowing that Matt had the cure to always making a person feel better and smile. “We really are glad to have you in our lives. Life wouldn’t be the same without you girl.”

“Thanks guys,” Stacy inhaled deeply knowing that she appreciated to feel like someone loved her at points. With her parents always acting the way she did, it was good to have someone telling her that her thoughts were wrong and people actually did care. “I’d be lost without all of you.”


“The door was open when I knocked, so I decided to let myself in,” Nate offered up apologetically watching as Cori and Jewel fought to dry themselves off with the hand towels that Carly had tossed at them seconds after Nate had witnessed the trio engaged in some strange behavior with one another. “I just thought that I would check in on Matt and…”

“He’s coloring with Kayla,” Carly explained walking over to the remains of the kitchen table that Jewel and Cori had managed to destroy. She had no idea how she was going to explain the situation to Dave, but as her attention turned to the mess of papers on the floor that she’d been going through, her anger boiled. The sheets of papers were either soaked or torn to shreds and in that moment, she found herself ready to kick both of Dave’s sisters out of the house.

“Can I help you with some of this?” Nate questioned stepping forward and bending down to pick up a waterlogged piece of paper. He sensed Carly’s agitation and offered up a small nod, “If you want me to get a mop or something…”

“I don’t think a mop is going to fix this,” Carly sighed taking the time to do a mental count of ten before looking at Cori and Jewel once again. “I hope you two are happy.”

“This was not my fault,” Cori objected with a huff.

“Of course it was your fault. You just don’t know when to leave well enough alone and…” Jewel began to argue with her younger sister, but thought twice of it given the death glare that Carly was issuing the both of them. Clearing her throat, Jewel stood taller and tossed her long, damp, blonde hair over her shoulders before sauntering over towards Nate, “Although I’m sure now really isn’t the time to get into that considering that we’ve got company.”

“Actually I was really here to see Matt and…” Nate began his eyes drifting towards Cori, who looked like she was fit to be tied herself.

“And you figured that you and I could go out to dinner and maybe settle in for dessert later,” Jewel slurred with seductive undertones as she brushed her fingers in against his chest. She winked up at him before giggling, “I accept.”

“Well actually…” Nate started uneasily as the front door opened and Stacy walked inside catching the group before her in the middle of the disastrous looking kitchen.

“What happened in here?” Stacy couldn’t help but ask giving everyone a once over. “Matt and Kayla get too worked up about something?”

“No, not at all,” Carly shook her head ready to say something more when she changed her mind. “We were just having a talk in here…”

“About what? Not having a kitchen table around because it’s too much of a clutter?” Stacy questioned with an air of sarcasm in her tone before her eyes fell upon her mother with heavy distain. “Why do I suddenly get the feeling that you’re behind this one?”

“Stacy honey, it’s not that way at all. Nate and I were just…” Jewel began with a warm, welcoming smile, but her daughter wasn’t buying it.

“Just what?” Stacy folded her arms in front of her chest before spotting Cori in the corner of the room. Suddenly Stacy forgot all about her mother and beamed excitedly at Nate, “I hear congratulations are in order.”

“Huh?” Jewel blinked back at her daughter watching as Stacy rushed over to hug Nate eagerly.

“I never really did get a chance to welcome you to the family,” Stacy explained squeezing her arms around Nate’s neck tightly as he stood straighter attempting to come up with something to say.

“Honey, I realize that Nate and I have been spending time with one another, but I honestly don’t think that now is the right time for you to welcome him to our family considering that…” Jewel started uneasily thinking about the man she’d been having fun with on the side since her arrival in town. While it was exciting and interesting, she hadn’t really thought about long term with Nate. Even if Stacy clearly had the wrong idea about what was happening, Jewel didn’t want her daughter getting her hopes up when…

“Oh of course I can welcome him to the family considering that he and Aunt Cori are having a baby with one another,” Stacy squealed with delight releasing Nate and rushing over to Cori. “I’m so excited for the both of you and I can’t wait to have another cousin running around here.”

“Wait a second you mean that,” Jewel’s eyes widened as she looked between Nate and Cori.

“They’re having a baby together. Isn’t it the greatest?” Stacy announced embracing Cori as Jewel found herself going from calm and collected to suddenly furious at the news that had fallen onto her lap.

“Tell me this is some kind of joke,” Jewel hissed spinning on her heel to face Nate once again. “She’s kidding right?”

“Not in the least,” Nate shook his head and took in a deep breath before speaking up again, “Cori and I are having a baby. It’s true.”


“Do you honestly expect me to believe that Brant Ashford would have anything to do with some kind of kidnapping of your sister. Last time I checked the two were in love with each other and that you were the one that had problems with it,” Dave snapped never liking to be threatened by someone like Cameron. There was no way he was going to stand back and let him threaten him. Not at all. Standing up he moved in closer to Cameron, clearing his throat and dropped the papers down on the desk before shaking his head slowly. “And you will never--ever, threaten me again. You have no idea what I’m capable of if you do.”

“Oh, so you’re going to start breaking the rules of the book now too Dave? I didn’t think you were that type of man, but I can tell you one thing, my sister is missing. Ask Kevin Adonis, the man that was supposed to take care of her. Probably the man keeping her beyond her will with Brant Ashford and you are just sitting here doing nothing. I thought this was your job,” Cameron snarled seeing the way Dave laughed before looking away from him and Cameron stepped in closer pissed off to the biggest degree. “Come on Dave. I didn’t know you didn’t play by the book anymore. Just pick and choose on the cases you want now, huh? I guess that means if I’m about to get shot I might as well say screw calling the police because you’re not a man of your word. You don’t play by the law, you play by your liking.”

“I play by what I know is right and I know you have no right coming in here and telling me what I’m doing wrong,” Dave snapped back in response hearing a door opening and saw Shannon step into the room. Her dark eyes wide as she saw Cameron and Dave both glance over at her. She heard Dave all the way out in the hallway and wondered what in the world was going on. Turning back to Cameron he shook his head slowly. “You can’t tell me the difference between right and wrong Cameron. Look at yourself. You have no right to tell me what I should and should not do. I know you're full of it and there is no way I’m going to fall for some type of stunt I know you're playing.”

“This isn’t a stunt,” Cameron yelled back in response more aggravated that he was the moment Dave first told him off. Slamming his palms into Dave’s chest he felt Shannon shove him back in response before he smirked and looked to Dave. “What’s wrong now? You can’t fight your own battles and have to have a woman fight them for you?"

“Dave, Dave. Stop,” Shannon pressed her hand in over the center of Dave’s chest seeing his jaw tightening in anger before she smirked and looked to Cameron finally getting him to calm down. “So what is Cameron here trying to say?"

“I’m trying to say that Brant Ashford has taken my sister against what she wants and he’s keeping her away from me against her word. He kidnapped her and I want him arrested,” Cameron restated why he was here hearing the laugh of Shannon follow his last statement. “You think this is funny that I can’t find my sister? That he did something to her and I don’t know where she is? You think that’s funny?"

“No, I think it’s funny that you are blaming people of things when you have quite the dirt sheet yourself Cameron. Let’s just think of a few,” Shannon moved away from Dave walking over to Cameron sliding her fingers in over his shoulders feeling him swipe her hand away before scowling. “All the plenty of things I know you’ve done. Let’s see. You’ve terrorized plenty of people in Coral Valley. You set up Kipp getting murdered and set up Grady to go to jail for killing Kipp when you knew well enough that Kipp was alive. You even hurt your own sister to hurt your enemy when she loved Brant. You terrorized Grady plenty of times and obviously had a lot to do with plenty of people in this town getting hurt.”

“And you can’t prove any of it,” Cameron scowled right back turning to face her feeling her tap at his face in a demeaning manner as he hissed and clenched his fists at his sides. “Are you going to do something about my sister or not? If you’re not going to do something about it, I am and I sure as hell know you won’t like it. So make up your mind.”

“Well,” Dave began to answer seeing the way that Cameron stared out at him as he held the door open and motioned him to walk out the door. “I suggest you leave because I’m not going to do a damn thing.”

“Fine, I’m fed up with all of this anyways,” Cameron stated firmly before walking away from them and out the door. Fixing his jacket he knew that now he was going to have to take things into his own hands which made it harder, but now he knew exactly what he had to do. “I’m taking you down Ashford if it’s the last thing I do.”


Douglas stared up at the ceiling in his bedroom trying to recount the moments that lead up to where he was now that Sarah lay over him struggling for a breath after their fight had transformed into something that went well beyond the realm of insanity. Here he’d planned on basking in the sheer knowledge that he’d irritated Cameron and nothing more, yet when she’d pushed him as she had--when she’d tested his limits, he found himself more compelled and driven towards madness than he’d ever experienced before. Now sobriety wasn’t an issue as her damp skin pressed in against his reminding him full well of what they’d entered into with one another. It was sheer madness, yet there were no words for it.

“Don’t think you’re going to get away with what you did to ruin me,” she warned dragging her lips over the center of his chest. He felt a small shiver carry over him now that they were lost in the thick blankets of his bed, dealing with the aftermath of what had become of their debate.

“I don’t plan on giving you what you want,” Douglas informed her point blank keeping his eyes still on the ceiling and vowing not to give her a second look. If he just pretended that he hadn’t stripped down to enter into sheer madness with her, then perhaps the nauseating factor of the situation would just disappear as well. It would be like a bad dream that simply could be banished from his subconscious--at least in theory.

“What the hell do you mean you don’t plan on giving me what I want?” she snarled sitting up and sliding off of him. She reached for the blanket bringing it up over her body while he continued to keep his eyes on the ceiling. “Douglas.”

“I told you I wasn’t changing my mind,” he answered in a monotone response finally forcing himself to look at her. He kept his face neutral before he spoke up again, “Sleeping with me didn’t buy you any ground. I‘m not going to bend to seductions--poorly planned out ones that aren‘t worth my time at any rate.”

“Aren’t worth your time,” she huffed at him feeling her face twist with rage. “That’s not what you were saying a few minutes ago.”

“I was in a state of confusion after you assaulted me. When you threw yourself on me like that I was helpless to get away from the situation,” he feigned innocence sitting up on the bed as well and scooting away from her. “This was all your doing and I wanted no hand in it.”

“You had a whole hell of a lot more than your hands in it Doug and I want my divorce,” she snarled over at him, her dark eyes filled with venom. “You owe me that much.”

“I don’t owe you anything considering that it seems you live to take and take,” he shuddered at the nearness of her pulling himself out of the bed and taking the blanket she had wrapped around her with him. He secured it around his waist and turned around to address her again.

“Now wait a minute,” Sarah reached for a pillow bringing it up over her torso to shield herself form his eyes now that the moment had passed between them. “I told you what I wanted…”

“Yes you did, which unfortunately is what brought us to this and a few other nauseating moments a few minutes ago,” he wrinkled his nose at the memory of being with her. “That was something I should’ve ignored.”

“Given your misdirection I think it’s safe to say that you did,” she huffed in response glaring up at him with her eyes full of contempt.

“Considering half of my staff undoubtedly heard you squealing in delight like a pig, I would beg to differ with you,” he quipped in response a smug expression carrying over him.

“I would never beg you for anything,” Sarah scoffed in response sliding off of the bed and keeping the pillow close to her body. She stepped around the side hoping to find her clothing--at least what was left of it in the room surrounding her.

“Again another lie that extends beyond your attempts at making love,” he shot back at her with a shake of his head, “especially considering that you keep trying your damnedest to get me to grant you a release from this arrangement we entered into.”

“I won’t ever beg you for anything again. I would rather die than have you touch me like you just did when you took advantage of me. You were manipulating me and leading me to believe you would give me the divorce,” she snapped in accusation keeping the king sized pillow pressed in over her curves.

“You chose to barter yourself for a deal that I did not under any circumstances accept. I told you full well that I wasn’t interested,” he glanced over at her before rolling his eyes, “and I’m no where nearer to being interested now that I’ve wasted my precious time with you. Get dressed.”

“Where are you going?” Sarah questioned watching him turn to leave the room making his way over to an attached room leading to somewhere she hadn’t been yet. She anticipated that it was a bathroom of sorts, but instead it appeared to be a closet.

“I’m getting dressed and you should do the same. We have an appearance to attend to,” he replied not bothering to look back at her while he surveyed his belongings.

“I’m not going anywhere with you. I would never, ever come to you for anything,” she marched over to where he’d disappeared to only to discover a closet that was about the size of her old apartment. Her eyes widened, but instead of acting impressed she played it cool. “The only reason that I’m here is because Cameron still has my purse and I can’t go anywhere. He has all of my things and…”

“I’m sure that’s what prompted you to pounce onto me and into my bed,” he shook his head at her finding what he was looking for. Once he’d pulled the suit off of the rack he looked to her again, “In all honesty I don’t believe that is the case, but if you’d like to live in denial that is perfectly suitable for the moment. Hell it’s the story of your life.”

“I just want to marry Cameron and he wants to marry me,” she stomped her foot down like a stubborn child and almost lost her pillow in the process. Reclaiming it with a quick movement she stood up straighter once again. “You’re going to divorce me.”

“Not now I’m not,” he brushed off her bristling comments before looking to her. “Do you mind?”

“I’m not letting you out of here until you give me the divorce,” she stepped in front of the closet’s exit and glared over at him. “You’re not leaving until I’m finished with you.”

“In case you haven’t noticed I don’t give a damn what Cameron wants or what you want for that matter in this particular moment in time,” he sighed realizing that she was going to play stubborn. Opting to give up on the moment of privacy he dropped the sheet he’d kept around his waist and stood stark naked in front of her. She opened her mouth to yell at him, but he’d spotted the reaction his movement had awakened in her. Yeah, sure she wasn’t interested, he mused with a small laugh moving to start dressing as if she wasn’t a few feet away from him.

Shaking her head Sarah quickly recovered. “Douglas I want my divorce.”

“And I want to get through tonight and this party. It’s vital that you behave, which I’m certain you won’t do because you’re being impossible,” he added with the first hints of a smirk, “but the car will be here soon and I would prefer you have something suitable on rather than going naked. It may raise a few heads.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you,” she repeated firmly watching him move in closer to her. She prepared to continue to barricade him in the closet, but instead he gently nudged her out of his way and went into the master bathroom leaving her with nothing more than her pillow. Frowning as she looked down to the poor attempt at shielding her body it did, she tossed it and swiped one of his robes instead.

Wrapping the robe around herself she decided it was time to lay more pressure on Douglas. However when she stepped out of the closet she found a wide eyed woman with thick glasses standing in the room with a garment bag in hand. Frowning Sarah glared over at her, tossing her long blonde hair over her shoulder before speaking up. “Who the hell are you?”

“I was just bringing your gown up for you Mrs. Mahoney,” the woman replied timidly holding her arm out to extend the bag over to Sarah.

“I don’t want it,” Sarah snarled at the unassuming woman, who simply nodded.

“As you wish,” the woman turned to leave and it was then that Sarah reconsidered.

“Wait,” she stepped forward, “On second thought just lay it on the bed.”

“Of course,” the woman replied doing as instructed as swiftly as possible before disappearing through the bedroom door.

Once she left Sarah walked over to the bed and eyed the garment bag with interest. She leaned forward to zip it open and found a crimson colored gown inside with sparkling rhinestones over the front of it. It was stunning--something that she always might’ve wanted, but never was going to buy herself before now. Reaching for the dress, she pulled it carefully out of the garment bag to discover that it was the right size for her form. Holding it up to her body, Sarah walked over to the mirror and took a long look at her reflection now that she held the fabric close to her.

“I thought it would be fitting with your complexion,” Douglas mouthed from the doorway to the bathroom. Sarah could see him out of the corner of her eye watching her with amusement.

“It’s alright,” she feigned displeasure with it before turning to face him, “but don’t think it’s going to buy my compliance. I don’t want to go with you to the party.”

“But you will, won’t you?” he smirked knowing full well he’d already had his answer from the moment she’d picked up the gown.

“Just this once, but after tonight all rules are off,” she vowed setting the gown back down on the bed again. She reached for the knotted sash on her robe and allowed the material to fall to the floor leaving her fully unclothed before her husband. She paid close attention to his eyes and the way in which he was straining to pretend that he wasn’t taking in her every curve. Smiling inwardly she reached for the gown again and tossed a casual glance over at him, “I wouldn’t suppose you have any underwear for me to put underneath this.”

“Why would you want it?” he questioned leaning in against the doorframe and eyeing her with sudden interest. “You didn’t have any earlier when you arrived.”

“Let’s just say I might be compelled to be in the mood for a change tonight,” she mouthed pursing her lips over at him in a small curl. “The dress is sexy, but lingerie often adds the much needed touch.”

“In that case you’re in luck,” he nodded towards the nightstand beside the bed. “Check out the top drawer.”

She did as instructed moving over in a saunter to where he’d told her to look. Pulling the drawer open she spotted a small bag from one of the elite boutiques in Coral Valley. Reaching for it she peered inside to discover scantly clad black lace panties and a matching bra from within. She plucked it out with her finger tip and nodded approvingly before discarding the bag. Turning to face Douglas again, she took great lengths to take her time in getting dressed in front of him, watching the way that his pulse seemed to quicken despite his casual stance.

“You’re missing something,” Douglas explained stepping forward and moving in towards her once she’d finished getting her undergarments on. He inched in closer to her leading her to believe that he would try to touch her or even kiss her, but instead he directed his attention to the drawer and pulled out a jewelry box that she’d overlooked in her search. “I believe you will need a finishing touch.”

“And just what kind of finishing touch do you have in mind?” she questioned lazily seeing him open the box to reveal a thick oversized ruby necklace trimmed in white diamonds. Her breath caught in the back of her throat and her eyes widened in astonishment.

“One that conveys the message of elegance and grace as opposed to your usual cheap and classless look,” he explained pulling the necklace from the box and circling around to step in behind her. Carefully pushing her blonde hair aside, he reached around her shoulders to bring the thick jewel in over her neck. She let out a soft sigh and when he clasped it to secure it, she felt an incredible thrill rush over her.

“It looks right,” Douglas nodded approvingly before taking a step back. “Once you’re dressed we can be on our way.”

“This is…” Sarah brought her hand up over the cool stone feeling an empowerment carry over her.

“On loan tonight only until the party concludes,” he warned placing his finger in the air to silence her. “All our issues can return once we make our public debut, but until it’s over I anticipate you’ll be doing your best to pretend that things aren’t nearly as off as they seem.”

“I don’t know if I’m capable of that kind of acting,” she frowned over at him feeling her stomach tied in knots.

“Given that I’m certain you’ll bait Cameron further with leading him to believe you’ve accepted your fate, I’m convinced you’ll play along,” he smirked giving her one last glance before stepping aside. “I’ll be waiting for you downstairs when you’re ready.”

“Whatever,” she blurted out in a cool distain seeing him not give her response a second thought. Once he left the bedroom she returned to the mirror again taking in the looks of the jewel that sat proudly upon her skin. Yes, it was nicer than anything else that Douglas had offered her in their relationship, but it would undoubtedly be something that wouldn’t hold any weight after tonight. It wouldn’t give him any leeway with her when she knew full well what she wanted out of their marriage and that was simply put--a divorce!


“This was a good idea,” Blake admitted looking around the small Italian restaurant that she and Seth had frequented with one another in the past. After they’d gotten out of their shower at home, she’d found that their passion had prompted a new hunger for something that went well beyond each other. While both had flirted around with the idea of takeout, they finally opted on something that would mean no hassle and no mess, which made this restaurant perfect. It wasn’t far from home, yet it gave them a casual air to surround them while they continued to catch up with one another about their days.

“I’m glad you liked it,” Seth smiled over at her from where he sat at the table. He reached out across the table to squeeze her hand in his. “Although I would’ve been more than happy to pick something up and bring it home since you didn’t seem like you were interested in leaving.”

“I wasn’t until you said you would go and then it hit me that I didn’t like the idea of not being around you that long,” she admitted with a sheepish grin, “So I compromised.”

“Compromise is always good,” he nodded in agreement seeing the way her blue eyes sparkled with mischief.

“It’ll be even better when we get back home and I show you what else I have planned for us,” she replied in a sinfully wicked tone, her hand pressing in over his thigh underneath the red and white checkered table cloth. She licked her lips and her grin expanded to a flirty smirk. “Trust me tonight will be a night you won’t forget.”

“This afternoon tends to stick out rather well in my mind,” he mouthed in response squeezing her hand lightly at the reference of their time alone together.

“It was pretty wonderful, wasn’t it?” she boasted tossing her long, blonde hair over her shoulders confidently, “Although I wasn’t sure that the shower door was going to survive the experience when I almost tripped.”

“You recovered rather gracefully,” he laughed lightly thinking about their almost mishap.

“Even so whomever thought making love in that kind of environment was easy was clearly out of their mind,” she wrinkled her nose ever so slightly, “With the slippery surfaces and…”

“We survived though didn’t we?” he pointed out watching her face grow flushed at the thought.

“Well yes, but I think we did even better when we were on the counter and…” she paused letting out a nervous laugh. “I can’t believe that we’re talking about this here.”

“Hey you’re the one who brought it up,” he pointed out with a smirk, “I’m just indulging you.”

“You always do that rather well,” she divulged with a proud smile remembering why she had always enjoyed their private time alone with one another.

“I’m just getting started on that,” he whispered leaning in closer to her, “because there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you.”

“Is that right?” she inched in over the table, her blue eyes sparkling with a sudden thought. “Tell me Seth. Just how far would you be willing to go for me right now?”

“As far as you want me to,” he explained feeling her hand sliding up over his thigh. His dark eyes widened before he gave her a sideways glance. “Blake, what are you doing?”

“Testing a theory,” she replied matter of fact sliding her chair over to the side of the table in order to get in closer to him. She saw the strange expression on his face when her palm pressed in against his lap moving in to massage him through his slacks.

“Blake, I really don’t think that…” he gulped looking around the small restaurant at the few patrons that were away from them eating their dinners and enjoying casual conversation with one another.

“You said that you would be willing to go as far as I wanted you to go with me,” she tossed his words out at him licking her lips seductively while her fingers found their way to the zipper on his pants.

“Well yes but…” Seth cleared his throat again feeling a heat moving in over his entire body at her caress. He brought his hand up and placed it down on the table top a bit harder than he’d expected to when she dipped her fingers in beneath his boxer shorts.

“But nothing,” she shook her head firmly while extending her hand out to caress the side of his face lovingly. “This is part of our compromise.”

“No this is part of the torture you had planned for me when I brought up the idea of our eating here,” he shook his head at her thinking about how she’d given up her earlier protests about going out faster than he’d anticipated.

“Guilty as charged,” she explained with a wicked smirk stroking his body leisurely as their waiter returned to take their orders.

“So what can I get for you tonight?” the man asked in a thick accent his dark eyes glancing between the two of them.

“What are your specials?” Blake questioned casually, bringing her free hand up underneath her chin and resting her head on it. She smiled up at the man as if he had her full attention--as if she was pure as snow and not the woman who was burning Seth alive with her caress under the table.

“We have a great many of them tonight,” the waiter replied ready to shoot off his display he’d clearly practiced for the night’s customers.

Seth tipped his head up to look at the man, but found he couldn’t retain a damn thing the man said now that Blake’s grip on him tightened just enough for him to realize she commanded his complete attention. He tipped his head to the side seeing the hints of a smirk that carried over her while he was in agony. He bit down on his lower lip trying to stifle the reaction that she’d build up inside of him. Granted he wasn’t one to just lose all control, but with Blake practically daring him to give in to what she’d been offering him he knew he was in trouble.

“And for you sir?” the waiter questioned expectantly, his penetrating eyes fixed on Seth.

“Um, what?” Seth coughed straining to keep his tone neutral while Blake refused to let up on what she was doing.

“I asked what it was that you would like since the lady has already ordered,” the man replied impatiently as Seth found himself at a loss.

Quickly Seth pushed his hand under the table in an attempt to keep Blake from causing him any further embarrassment. He snagged her fingers in his only to feel her pinch at the skin between his thumb and index finger causing him to wince. His hand popped up and hit the bottom of the table causing glass of water in front of him to shake and bounce with the movement.

“Um, I’m sorry,” Seth tried to cover, but he could see by the expression on that man’s face that Seth had already gotten on the waiter’s last nerve. “I um…”

“You know on second thought,” Blake interrupted in a smooth and even tone urging the waiter to return his attention to her again, “I just read something in the newspapers about your having some kind of Chicago style pizza. I know that isn’t what you’re known for, but I’ve heard that the pizza is award winning in other areas.”

“It’s one of the finest pizzas in Coral Valley. Not like the cheap stuff at these fast food places,” the man boasted completely oblivious to what Blake was doing with Seth. “It’s not one of those thrown together quick sloppy pizzas that taste like cardboard. Everything is fresh and exciting and well worth the wait.”

“How long of a wait,” Blake arched a speculative brow keeping a bit of her attention on Seth from the corner of her blue eyes.

“About forty five minutes, but I can assure you that it’s the finest pizza known to this area,” the waiter explained brightly, “and if you are interested in it, well I can get you an appetizer while you’re waiting.”

“Actually the bread and the water is fine,” Blake motioned to the bread basket on the center of the table. “Though I really wanted what I’d ordered before, but you’ve convinced me to change my mind. We’ll have a large pizza with pepperoni.”

“Excellent choice,” the waiter nodded before tossing out a look of disgust over at Seth. “If you need anything don’t hesitate to ask.”

“I’m sure we’ll be just fine while we wait,” Blake assured the waiter before he drifted off to put their order in.

“What are you doing?” Seth questioned in a small whisper unable to believe the surprise attack she’d launched on him.

“Giving you a healthy dose of excitement,” Blake informed him with a wide grin. “You’ve said it yourself that you don’t feel like we’re spontaneous enough, so I figured we could work on changing that.”

“Um Blake, I’ve never said that,” Seth corrected giving her a strange look, his hand returning to underneath the table again to touch hers. “I’ve never complained about what we have.”

“No, you’re right. You haven’t, but I think it’s time for us to spice things up a bit,” she replied with a casual sigh releasing him enough for her to reach for her glass of water with her left hand. She raised it to her lips and took a sip of it before setting it back down on the table top again. “Although we do have some time on our hands with the pizza taking a while to get to us and all…”

“Yeah, about that,” Seth started eyeing her suspiciously. “Considering that you were promising thrills at home, I was surprised that you ordered it.”

“Don’t be,” Blake giggled before sliding her chair away from the table a few inches. She winked over at him before reaching for her napkin. “I know what I’m doing.”

“Is that right?” he replied seeing her extend her arm out while holding her napkin. She pinched it between her thumb and index finger before carefully depositing it on the floor.

“Oh would you look at that,” she feigned upset before shrugging her shoulders. “I should probably pick that up.”

“Blake,” Seth watched her slide out of her chair in a nonchalant fashion. He looked down to the spot where she’d discarded her napkin, but rather than seeing her pick it up and return to her seat, he watched her crawl underneath the table. Worriedly he let out a small pinched sound. “Blake, what are you doing?”

There was no answer as she vanished completely underneath the table cloth sending his heart to racing in his chest. His eyes grew wide and he took a look around the restaurant to see if anyone had noticed her disappearance, but everyone seemed to be as oblivious to what was going on as they were before.

“Blake,” he whispered her name again reaching to see what was going on underneath the table by lifting the table cloth when he felt her hand in his lap again. Immediately his body tensed up and he felt a lump forming in the back of his throat.

“What are you doing?” he questioned in a voice low enough to keep the words between the two of them, yet as he looked around the restaurant he suddenly had a sinking suspicion of exactly what she had on her mind.

“If you have to ask, then it proves you’ve been depraved,” her words vibrated over his thigh as Seth felt her reach for him again. She used her slender fingers to peel open his pants enough to give her complete access to him. He could feel the heat of her breath over him before she wrapped her lips around him offering up exactly the kind of spontaneity that would most likely get them thrown in jail by the end of the night.

“Blake, I really don’t think that,” he started feeling a low groan build up in the back of his throat. He slid his hand underneath the table to urge her to stop what she was doing, but she swatted at him and pinched at his leg in warning causing him to flinch.

“Damn it,” he cursed under his breath feeling the words escape from his lips a bit louder than he’d anticipated. He glanced over at the people across the room and noticed they were staring at him. He offered up an apologetic smile before reaching for his glass of water and taking a sip. However once he felt her sudden brand of temptation he choked on the liquid and couldn’t help but spit out the sip he’d just taken.

“Well isn’t this a sight for sore eyes,” a voice mouthed as Seth looked up to see Zack standing beside the table glaring down at him. “Let me guess. Blake finally came to her senses and told you where to stick it.”

Seth fought to suppress the laugh that built up in his throat at that comment. He could see the arrogance behind Zack’s eyes and the animosity that echoed from his words. He opened his mouth to say something, but realized that Zack’s arrival hadn’t deterred Blake. She was clearly in her own world and determined to make Seth succumb to her completely.

“What’s wrong Seth?” Zack questioned with a snarl, his eyes narrowing down at Seth. “Cat got your tongue?”

“More like Blake has hers running over my…” Seth thought to himself realizing that opening up that kind of loaded statement was probably not something he should do in a public restaurant. Instead he clenched onto the napkin that he’d had on the table top and forced himself to offer up a pinched expression over at Zack.

“Oh I see how it is,” Zack rolled his eyes at Seth. “Here you figure you can intimidate me by going through the whole silent act. You think that you can make me angry and agitated by pretending that you’re taking the moral high ground and saying nothing. I get your game Alexander and I’m not falling for it.”

“Oh,” Seth replied unable to say anything more as his hand dropped down underneath the table. He ran his fingers through Blake’s hair as she continued with her game. He squeezed the napkin with the other hand before forcing a tight grimace towards Zack hoping it would be enough.

“Listen to me Alexander. You might think that you’ve won this one, but you haven’t. I know you’re no good for Blake. She deserves better than someone like you--someone who is obviously stringing her along while he stays married to another woman. It’s been clear since day one that you’ve been after something with Blake and I’m about to expose you as the fraud you really are. Soon everyone will see the raw naked truth about you,” Zack continued to threaten him with a sneer.

“Sooner than you might think if Blake doesn‘t…,” Seth thought aloud realizing that he’d failed to stay silent. His tone came out in broken words and he noticed the puzzled expression on Zack’s face and attempted to recover. “Just let it go Zack. Move on.”

“I will not move on when I know that Blake and I should be together. I might’ve screwed it up once, but I know she loves me. She waited to be with me for so very long that I’m not about to let some punk like you come on in and pervert her mind. She’s a woman that should be loved and cherished and…” Zack continued to rant causing Seth to tune out on what he was saying. Normally Seth would’ve gotten worked up--would’ve fought him tooth and nail to get him to just go away, but in the particular situation it was obvious that wouldn’t be happening when all Seth could focus on was Blake and her surprisingly erotic brand of torture. He massaged his fingers through her scalp knowing that at any second Zack could completely blow things out of the water--that is if Seth didn’t reveal himself first.

“Listen Seth don’t think that you can ignore me,” Zack stepped forward his tone firm and commanding, “because I’m not about to let this go.”

“I don’t expect you to, but I…” Seth bit down on his lip unable to hold back any longer as he reached for the glass. “Damn it.”

“Look Seth…” Zack snarled at him watching Seth raised the glass from the table top.

“No you look Zack!” Seth snapped back at him with a glare ready to say something more to just get him to go away when he found himself unable to stay focused a second longer. “Just…just…hold on…not now…just…not so…not so…oh hell…”

Seth clamped his fingers around the glass trying to steady his reaction, but it was no use. Closing his eyes, he cursed under his breath before looking away from Zack and squeezing the glass until it practically exploded in his hand.

“What the hell?” Zack questioned blinking back at Seth with obvious confusion now that Seth sat at the table, head dropped down ever so slightly while he held the fragmented glass. “What’s wrong with you?”

“I think what he’s trying to say is that neither one of us are in the mood for any of your crap tonight,” Blake explained sliding out from underneath the table to look up at Zack. She dropped her napkin in front of her on the table before looking to Seth. She noticed the glass in his hand and worried that he might’ve hurt himself. “Seth are you…”

“I’m fine,” Seth let out a labored breath, his dark eyes meeting hers again. “I’m just fine…”

“Is there a problem here?” the waiter questioned rushing over to the table to see the shattered glass.

“No, there aren’t any problems,” Blake shook her head quickly reaching out to make sure that Seth hadn’t cut himself on the glass. “It was just a misunderstanding and…”

“I’ll get someone over here to clean this right away,” the waiter explained apologetically looking at the glass on the table top. “It must’ve come out of the dishwasher too soon after drying and…”

“We’re fine. Take your time,” Blake waved her hand dismissively before turning to Seth again, “Right baby?”

“Yeah fine. Just fine,” Seth nodded with a small breath, turning his eyes upward to look at Zack again as it was clear what Zack had walked in on with them. “Now Zack if you don’t mind, she and I were about to have dinner and…”

“You mean she was…” Zack’s stunned expression shifted to Blake, “You were…”

“Enjoying the perks of having a real man in my life,” she nodded with a wide smirk licking her lips for a moment before glaring up at him, “Something that any woman with you knows nothing about.”

“Oh that’s just…just wrong!” Zack blurted out with an air of disgust before looking between the two of them. “Blake, how in the hell could you let yourself go like this? Like that…just then…just now…”

“What can I say,” she shrugged her shoulders and offered up a small giggle. “Seth inspires me.”

“More like warps your mind,” Zack frowned down at her shaking his head in heavy disappointment. “Since you got back together with him he’s turned you into nothing more than a common whore.”

“Okay that’s it,” Seth snarled getting up from the chair he’d been seated in. After he’d readjusted himself he stood up to Zack getting in his face with a glare. “Blake told you to just go away. You’d be best suited to just listen and leave before things get ugly.”

“Is that a threat Alexander?” Zack challenged not backing away from Seth.

“No Zack that’s a promise,” Seth stepped forward with a sharp warning his dark eyes narrowing at his old adversary.

“I’m not afraid of you Alexander,” Zack quipped with a sarcastic smirk, “Trash like you very seldom makes an impact on people like Blake and I. Sure, you might have her doing parlor tricks and cheap thrills for you now, but sooner or later she’ll wake up and see that she belongs with a real man of society instead of some second rate citizen who isn’t the right color for the country club. Then again it‘s not really uncommon for women like Blake to take to the hired help since every woman feels the need to hit the slums every now and then to fulfill a superiority complex by dabbling with the lower class.”

“You son of a,” Seth found himself unable to repress the sudden rage that Zack had stirred up inside of him.

He threw his fist into Zack’s jaw and sent him flying back into the table where Seth had just shattered his glass. The table overturned and a great many people gasped watching Zack go crashing down to the floor. Blake stepped away from the table watching in horror as the entire contents of the table came piling down over Zack.

“You’re so going to regret that Alexander,” Zack snarled up at him, blood coming from the corner of his mouth before he lunged forward ready to unleash a full blown attack on Seth now that they’d waged war upon one another.


“I don’t really like this idea,” Russ revealed wondering what was taking Avery so long in the bedroom. He turned to Kevin again seeing that Erin was relaxing in Kevin’s arms while Avery was searching in a frenzy. “Brooke has already caused so much trouble and I would hate to think that you reaffirm what Cameron thinks to be true.”

“Russ I’m not here to upset Avery, but if Brooke is the same woman that was in Angie’s photo, then Avery has a right to know,” Kevin explained thinking about Avery’s quest for the truth.

“Kevin there are a lot of things about Brooke that Avery doesn’t know. Avery’s father is her world and for her to think that she could lose him…” Russ started opening his mouth to say something more when Avery returned with a photo in hand.

“I found one. Now it’s not any more than a few years old, but it might work,” Avery circled around the couch to join the men again. “It’s kind of dusty since I had it buried in the closet but…”

“Avery, it’s not really anything to worry about right now,” Russ started again throwing a pleading look out over at Kevin.

“I’m sure that Brooke doesn’t have Angie,” Kevin added sensing Russell’s apprehension. He wasn’t quite sure why Russ was so worried, but he wasn’t about to push the issue.

“No Kevin you have to look at this. I need to know,” Avery explained holding the photo out to him. “You need to tell me the truth.”

“Avery, I…” Kevin looked to the photo in front of him not really sure how to respond as Brooke’s smiling face was in front of him. He stared at it for a long time before remembering Russell’s warning. He looked up at Avery again seeing the questions behind her eyes and he sighed. “I don’t remember.”

Russ let out a breath of relief and sank back on the sofa again.

“No Kevin you said you would probably remember a person if you saw their face again especially hers,” Avery pushed the photo out to him again, “I know you’d remember if you saw her. Tell me.”

“Avery if he doesn’t remember, then he probably never saw her before,” Russ piped in wishing she would let the issue go before it wound up getting her even more upset.

“No Russ I need to know,” she insisted with a huff looking between the two men and noticing the looks exchanged between them. “Wait a second. Russ did you tell Kevin to lie to me?”

“No,” Russ shook his head firmly, “I didn’t say that.”

“He didn’t tell me to lie Avery,” Kevin added quickly sensing that a fight would begin brewing between his two friends if he didn’t say something.

“I think he did,” Avery replied glancing over at Russ again to see the guilty expression on his face. “You did, didn’t you?”

“No, but I told him that you’re under enough stress. We don’t need anymore of it now that Brooke is going to be released. I’m worried about you,” Russ continued to explain himself to her.

“And I’m worried about our future Russ. If she is teamed up with Nicholas and she thinks that they can work an angle with us or with Angela, then we should know what they are up to,” Avery argued with him feeling a huff press over her lips. “We need to know what we are up against so that way we can put a stop to it. Kevin is obviously upset about where his friend is and if we can help…”

“Avery, I just don’t think it’s a good idea to…” Russ explained with a frown opening himself up to his concerns for her.

“Russ if what happened to Angela is tied into us, then we can’t not know. We need to see what’s going on and maybe we can help Kevin in the process,” Avery turned around to face Kevin again extending the photo to him. “Tell me Kevin is my mother the same woman that was in the photo that Cyrus gave Angela?”

“Avery…” Kevin opened his mouth not sure what to say to her. He looked to the photo one more time before turning away and finally nodding, “Yeah. It’s her Avery.”


...to be continued...