Episode 410

Groaning out Kevin stretched upwards feeling a few snaps come from his back. There was a noise that had awaken him from the sleep as he let out another groan looking around. He never intended on falling asleep. He just wanted to stop by see if he could find Angie and after a while of waiting for her here he must have fallen asleep. With knowing that JT was around with his little annoying girlfriend he decided to stay here as well. And as he saw the sun coming through the blinds he knew that he had fallen asleep longer than he expected to be there for.

“Oh man,” he hissed standing up from the couch damning himself for falling asleep on something so uncomfortable while he pressed his hands in over the small of his back hearing a few more snaps. There was another noise coming from the front door as he ran his palm in over his aching neck. His eyebrow arching up as he reached to open a blind a bit before stepping in toward the front of the house. “Angie? Is that you?"

Moving in closer he heard no answer and once he stepped into the hallway in the front of the house seeing no one in sight. Looking around he knew that he wasn’t imaging things. Or maybe he was, but when another noise pressed in behind him he turned on his heel quickly his fist raising as he watched the person before him fall to the ground in a thud just out of the fear of getting hit with the punch.

“Brant?" Kevin lowered his fist seeing the glare that Brant was giving him from the floor as his hands pressed in behind him trying to push himself up off the ground. Kevin reached down to try and help him get up but only got a shove in return making him move back a step or two from the unexpected movement. “Listen--that was a mistake. I didn’t know it was you in the house. You should have said something when I did. You just don’t walk up on someone like that. I didn’t mean to go to hit you and you can be a little nicer about me trying to help you.”

“Be nicer to you Kevin? Not a chance in hell would that happen from here on out. You know, I thought you were different--thought you got over your past and was willing to take a chance at a new future, but now I know I can’t trust you anymore. You’re not trying to help me, I know exactly what you are trying to do,” Brant pulled himself from the ground brushing his shirt off as he glared out at Kevin seeing the questionable look he was giving him. “You decide to leave in the middle of the night to go find her without us. That was your whole plan this whole time wasn’t it. To wait for us both to fall asleep and then go by yourself to try and manipulate her back into your arms. I know your plan Kevin and it’s not going to work.”

“You must be an idiot if you think that’s my plan Brant,” Kevin felt Brant shove him again and he held his hands up in the air and shook his head over and over. Laughing a bit he realized that he was unintentionally irritating Brant off with his laugh. “Do you remember the club last night? That girl that was with JT stole something very important to me last night. I came here to find her and what she stole from me and I swear I tried to wake you up. I couldn’t sleep, I went for a walk here and I must have fallen asleep. I swear--that’s not my plan. I just came here to try and find JT with his girlfriend. My intentions on helping you find Angie are completely innocent. I swear.”

“Well that’s nice, but I don’t believe you,” Brant watched Kevin closely seeing the frown that pressed in over Kevin’s lips and Brant took in a long breath. “You’ve been following her like a puppy dog and talking about her like you two are soul mates that are…”

“We are soul mates,” Kevin interrupted him holding his hands up in the air before pressing his left hand in over his chest. He could tell his interruption caused a stir of anger inside of Brant and he nodded slowly. “Yes, I was in love with Angie and yes I love her. But we’re both her soul mates--okay? I’m her friend. There is a difference between being the soul mate of someone who is the love of your life and having a soul mate you were meant to have in your life. You’re her true love, I’m the soul mate that was meant to be in her life but not necessarily as a lover. I was her lover in the past and we shared something. Something special, but as the word stands--it was the past Brant. I’m her best friend, we’re friends. I was meant to protect her and…”

“Stop feeding me this bullshit Kevin. I’ve heard exactly how you feel about her and you are ridiculous. You are stupid for even thinking I would believe you,” Brant watched a muscle in Kevin’s jaw tighten as he shook his head slowly, the comment obviously upset Kevin somehow. When he saw Kevin roll his eyes it just made more of a boil in his blood. “I’ve talked to Martha and I knew what was up when she told me about you and Angela. She was stepping off details but I knew she would be the person to ask where I could find her and I figured you would be here when I woke up to find you gone this morning. You think that you can just walk around and say who and who doesn’t belong in her life. Angela doesn’t love you anymore. She doesn’t care about you. You aren’t even a blip in her life Kevin. You’re pathetic.”

“What is it with you? Do you have to make everyone feel like shit to make yourself feel better? Is that what you’re problem is? I know she doesn’t love me. I’ve gotten that so back the hell off Brant. That’s like me finding the one thing in your life that hurts you the most and shoving it in your face over and over again. I get it you don’t like me but you really don’t have to treat me like you are. Does it give you a rise to make someone feel like shit? To make them feel like they are nothing?" Kevin questioned raising his voice a bit seeing the way that Brant’s eyebrows tightened together and soon Kevin was yelling at Brant hating the way that Brant got on his case like he was. There was a point of being upset that he understood, but what Brant was doing wasn’t right. “I know you’re mad at me but honestly--right now you seem like you are jealous of me. What is it about me that makes you so nervous huh? Is it the fact that I shared over seventeen years with her and you hardly even know her? Is it the fact that she has left every single man she has ever been with--to be with me? Does it edge you a little bit to know that she’s cheated on every other guy to be with me? Is that what gets you upset? Because if you really have this strong connection with her that you seem to think you do--why are you acting like a jealous bitch.”

“Screw you Kevin,” Brant spat out bringing his fist as hard as he could into the side of Kevin’s face seeing him turn away from him letting out a small grunt. His voice was filled with rage and as he brought his fist to his side he felt his knuckles tingling with how hard he just hit Kevin. “This isn’t going to be the case again Kevin, she will never leave me for you. Why have the world and drop it for a low life like you. Hired work. When I’ve got all the money in the world I need to make her happy. You have money, but you were her hired help. I’m everything you can’t be.”

“I’m not going to deal with this,” Kevin went to move away feeling like his jaw was on fire as he rubbed at his chin. Holding onto his face he moved for the door and opened it up stepping out on the deck hearing Brant following him. “Just leave me the hell alone right now.”

“But I know what you are. I can’t leave you alone. I know what you’ll do,” Brant moved forward seeing Kevin standing out on the corner of the deck when they had gone out the back door. Kevin was turned away from him with his back facing him. “Even Ria can see what you are. You act like you love her and then turn on her like she is nothing. You’re the person that is nothing Kevin. You’re nothing. You are nothing but a low life piece of trash and everyone can see right through you. Really. Think about why Angela picked me over you. Compare the two differences Kevin. Look at me compared to you. You’re the muscles, maybe some looks--I’m the whole package. Why would Angela pick you over me?"

“I don’t want Angela,” Kevin spat turning to Brant his blood getting more boiled by the moment with everything that Brant was saying to him. Pulling his fingertips away from his jaw he glared out into the raging brown eyes of Brant. “You know it takes a real man to talk about being the whole package when he’s kept how many women in his life so far? If I remember hearing it correctly Heather slept with someone else in your own home. A job was more important to her than you--it hurts when true love in your head turns and kicks you in the nuts so to speak. Doesn’t it? And wait--we can’t stop there. Avery. God, the beautiful Avery. She was your highest pedestal which I do have to admit you do have some issues. You want to talk about low life? Falling in love with someone based off of who they look like is quite ridiculous. Just think of it like this though--you tried so hard with her. I’ve heard the way Avery talks about you--hell, she doesn’t even like you. It must be pretty hard when even a dead man is higher up than you. You were nothing to her and I can tell you right now that you were falling head over heels more for her than Angela from every story I’ve heard. And look what she did to you. You can’t keep a girl. It’s kind of funny too because I gave up on Angie. She’s yours and I have the perfect life. I have a woman who loves me and I love her. Just right now you’re up on your little big man complex and it’s kind of funny. I know I for one know what it’s like to be with some of the women in your life and…”

“Some of them? What the hell does that mean?" Brant saw Kevin crack a smile and he stepped in closer to him. “What does that mean?"

“Well, what do you want it to mean Brant? I mean I could tell you that I slept with another of the women you were with at one point, but then that would really boil your blood wouldn’t it? Shoot,” Kevin bit down on his bottom lip and shrugged his shoulders before laughing seeing the way Brant looked out at him. “How long ago were you with…oh never mind.”

“I don’t know what you are getting at but none of the women I have been with would sink low enough to be with you,” Brant reached forward to shove at Kevin’s chest seeing the way Kevin laughed at him. “Angela was just young and she thought you were her knight and shining armor, but someone else took the spot now.”

“Go ahead, the spot is yours. I have someone better anyways,” Kevin shrugged starting to move down the steps and he turned on his heel and raised his hands up in the air. “I think you need to get over this little jealous act. Angie won’t cheat on you because I’m in love with someone else. I mean yeah, she’s tried…but I haven’t let her do it.”

“You are so full of shit Kevin, even Ria can see your obsession with her,” Brant watched him stop out in the middle of the sand and glance back at him over his shoulder. “You need to stop the hero thing you are feeling before you end up alone because I have a sure shot at happiness in my future. What do you have? I’ll answer that for you--absolutely nothing. Ria knows all about your obsession with Angela and sooner or later she is going to realize she's wasting her time and she will inevitably leave you. I can promise you that.”


“Are you sure that we should be out right now?” Evie questioned stepping into the quiet restaurant bar that JT had brought her to.

“Trust me,” he smiled back at her stepping in to place his hand on her hip in a soft display of affection, “we’ll be okay here. My friend owns this place and she’s really sweet.”

“I just didn’t really feel right about leaving though,” she turned around to face him placing her hand in the center of his chest. She tipped her eyes up to see his hazel colored gaze upon her. “I mean we left our family all alone and…”

“We’re still going to pick them up some food for later, remember? I called to see if I can get the electricity on again for them as well so we can stock up a bit. This is part of the process of getting supplies.” JT pointed out feeling her slide her arms in around his waist. “Then we can go back. Though something tells me that you aren’t all that concerned about only them.”

“Okay, so I’ll admit it I wasn’t in a rush to get out of bed this morning,” she admitted with a small blush feeling the color rise over her features. “I felt like being lazy for a little while.”

“You weren’t being lazy when you woke me up,” he gave her a sideways glance shaking his head at her, “more like frisky would be the right word.”

“You weren’t complaining about it earlier,” she gave him a pointed look before smiling up at him. Teasing her fingers across the center of his chest she arched forward into him, “Admit it you liked waking up with me JT.”

“I love every minute I spend with you,” he revealed leaning down to steal a quick kiss from her, “but next time just give me a little warning with what you have planned before you do it.”

“Had I done that I’m pretty certain you would’ve said no and believe me that was the last thing I wanted to hear from you,” she squeezed at the center of his chest before looking around the restaurant, “though I’m hungry now.”

“I can’t imagine why,” he shook his head at her and laughed. “But since we’re here we’ll see if Martha can whip up something good for us. I hear strawberry pancakes are a specialty around here.”

“Really?” her eyes perked up at the sound of what he was saying to her. “I didn’t imagine that it would be a hot item in these parts.”

“It’s not normally,” he revealed with a small laugh, “but that guy you were ready to take on likes them and places around here keep stocked up on them.”

“Wait,” she frowned remembering her confrontation with Kevin the previous evening, “are you saying that he likes to eat here?”

“In the past he has,” JT nodded in response catching the expression on his face, “but I would doubt that he would be here this early. He’s not really a morning person from what I’ve been told.”

“I don’t know JT,” she frowned knowing full well that Kevin would certainly have plenty of reason to go off on her now that she remembered his wallet’s contents she’d discarded on the beach. “I really don’t want to run into him again. Maybe we should just get a carryout and then leave. That way we won’t chance anything.”

“Hey if he tries to bother you again, then I swear to you that I’ll make sure it’s the last time he does it,” he promised sweeping his finger over the side of her face before kissing her once again.

“Between him and my father I’m not feeling too safe right now. I know it sounds foolish, but they both freak me out,” Evie took in a small breath knowing full well she didn’t want to encounter either man. Looking around wearily she felt her stomach tangled in knots. “Why don’t we just get something to go?”

“We can, but I also figured while I was here that I could call Cameron. I wasn’t going to do it from the place we’re staying out since obviously there isn’t a phone there. I left my cell phone charger at Cameron’s place, so until we can get back there to pick a few things up, I figured that I would just use the phone here,” JT explained thinking about the strange things that were going on during their trip on the island. “I think I need to talk to him.”

“JT I really don’t think that’s a good idea considering,” she started to protest only to feel him lean in and kiss her again quickly in an attempt to alleviate her worries.

“Trust me. My brother isn’t associated with your father even if Angela is. I’ll just tell him what we saw and explain that your father is a monster. I’ve already told him a bit about he situation, so you can rest assured if there was any connection between your father and Cameron, there won’t be much longer,” he explained taking in a breath. “You have to trust me this one. I just think that I should clue Cameron in onto what’s going on in case things go sour. He’s someone who can help us and I trust him.”

“I know you do,” Evie replied reaching out to squeeze his hand gently, “and if you really think your brother can help us, then I’m not going to argue with you. You can call him if you need to.”

“I won’t be long,” he promise cupping her face in his hands and giving her a small kiss. “You can go sit by the bar and wait for me when I make the call. Hell, you can go with me if you’d like. It’s just over there and…”

“No,” she shook her head after a moment, “I think I’ll just take my chances on ordering us some takeout and then by the time you’re finished we can go back home to the babies. We can just stop by the store and get their food and maybe a bed for them.”

“We can do that, but I tend to think that they like ours,” JT laughed lightly thinking about how the kittens spent most of the night with them until they’d gotten up to play.

“I realize that and while I don’t mind sharing there are some moments that we need alone together, kind of like this morning,” she wiggled her brow suggestively before stepping into his welcoming embrace. “I like having them around, but sometimes I like feeling spoiled in having you all to myself.”

“In that case, I’ll see what we can do,” JT promised with a smirk thinking about how much he loved the beautiful woman in his arms. “Then it’s settled I’ll make the call and you get breakfast.”

“Oh believe me I will,” Evie nodded in agreement as they headed over towards the bar area with one another.

“Martha,” JT beckoned the woman behind the bar with a smile.

“Son of a gun. JT?” Martha questioned with a bright smile realizing that he’d arrived in her bar. “Sugar, what are you doing here this early?”

“Someone was in the mood for breakfast and I realized it wasn’t a half bad idea,” JT motioned over to Evie with a playful laugh.

“Wow, you must be someone special,” Martha noted with a chuckle, “considering that lazy here very seldom sees the light of day. You’d be lucky to get dinner into him with his strange sleep habits.”

“I’m not that bad,” JT objected with a tiny frown. “I’ll have you know that I’ve grown up.”

“Oh I know all about you and your growing up,” Martha reached out to embrace him tightly before glancing over at Evie, “which means you have to keep an extra eye on him. He’s a wild one.”

“I’m not that bad,” JT tried to correct before reaching out to slide an arm around Evie. “Martha, I would like you to meet Evie. She’s my fiancée.”

“Fiancée?” Martha repeated practically spitting out the gum that she’d been chewing on. “Holy cow things really have changed for you, haven’t they?”

“You could say that,” JT nodded quickly while squeezing Evie in his arms.

“Well, then let me be the first to say congratulations and shake your hand,” Martha reached out to shake Evie’s hand before thinking twice about it. She threw her arms around Evie and offered up a wide bear hug. “Hell you deserve a whole lot more than a handshake for turning this one around. For a while I thought he was hopeless.”

“Martha,” JT tossed out a disapproving look.

“Well it’s true,” Martha shook her head at him before talking to Evie further. “For a long time I thought he would never settle down. I mean sure all the girls liked him and he’s cute as a button, but someone like JT needs something a lot deeper than just random revolving door relationships…”

“Martha…” JT spoke up again in a warning tone pleading with Martha to just stop before she started.

“I’m just saying that you need a good woman sugar and now you’ve found one,” Martha rubbed her hands together excitedly. “So he said your name is Evie?”

“That’s right,” Evie nodded offering up a polite smile. “And you’re Martha?”

“The one and only,” Martha greeted her brightly before giving Evie a long look, “So tell me where did you two meet?”

“In Coral Valley,” Evie explained warmly opening herself up to a conversation with the woman that JT obviously cared about. “You could say I stole his heart the first night we met.”

“And my wallet,” JT teased drawing Evie into his arms again, “but I knew after that night that if she was going to steal anything else, then I had to keep her around. Otherwise it was going to be one hell of a search to find what she’d taken from me.”

“Oh please,” Evie rolled her eyes at him and swatted at his chest.

“It’s true,” he laughed lightly before looking to Martha again, “I have to make a quick call, so will you treat her right while I’m gone?”

“Honey I’ll more than treat her right,” Martha assured him brightly, “If she’s crazy enough to want to marry you, then she’s more than family around here. Come on sweetheart I’ll hook you up with something incredible. Plus it’ll give us a chance to gossip on how you got this hot rod to finally settle down. I want to hear all the details on how you made an honest man of him.”

“Don’t listen to a word that she has to say about me Evie. It’s pure gossip at best,” JT whispered in her ear leaning down to kiss her once again before stepping back. “I’m not as bad as everyone likes to make me sound.”

“No you were worse, but don’t worry I won’t scare her away just yet since it’s clear she is smart enough to know how to get you to shape up,” Martha hooked her arm in Evie’s and lead her over towards the bar area. “We’re going to have lots to talk about as I can’t wait to hear more about you.”

“Likewise,” Evie replied glancing over at JT one last time before returning to the conversation with Martha in the hopes that she would get an inside look at JT’s friends now that he was open about their relationship and how much they meant to each other. Smiling to herself she realized now that she loved the way that he told everyone that she was his fiancée. That in itself had her on top of the world as it truly meant that they were together and no one would be able to prevent them from having that happiness that they’d talked about ever again.


Pulling off his sunglasses Don stepped into Martha’s bar knowing that this would be the place to go to when he woke up alone this morning. He had searched the house for Brant and Kevin, but both had obviously left earlier leaving him all alone. Of course he was upset and found a letter on the refrigerator telling him that Brant had gone out to go find Angela. Why they put it there--he didn’t know but he figured that Martha would be the first person to ask about this island. And she was also the only person he really knew on the island. Moving into the dark area he smelled one of the most fantastic scents he had ever in a very long time. Someone was cooking something and it smelled fantastic.

“Hey there blue eyes,” Don heard someone move in behind him and he felt a solid grasp over his shoulder and he turned to see that it was Martha. A smile pressed in over his lips as he was glad to see a familiar face. He was starting to feel like he was alone on this big island with no one to guide him and lead him toward the direction he was supposed to head. “What do I owe you for this great visit this morning?"

“Well, I was kind of hoping that maybe you could lead me in the direction of where Brant and Kevin might be,” Don began seeing Martha move behind the bar and he took a seat in front of it. Tapping his fingertips against the wooden bar top he saw Martha disappear into the back and he smiled. “I just thought that I would end up here and they would be here, but I guess I was wrong.”

“Well Brant came here earlier, but Kevin wasn’t with him,” Martha came out seeing the way that Don stared out at her as she brought out a plate of food for him setting it down in front of him. “I figured I would get a visitor this morning--usually it’s Kevin when he’s on the island. It’s something he likes to eat. You’ve got scrambled eggs, two pieces of sausage, two pieces of bacon, a piece of toast topped off with four pancakes.”

“Oh--I know how much Kevin likes his pancakes,” Don laughed remembering some of the stories he heard Ria telling to some of the nurses and he chuckled a bit. He was so hungry that he almost felt like he was about salivate right there at that moment. “You know maybe I shouldn’t…I have a lot of running around to do, but then again…”

“I thought so,” she let out a hearty laugh seeing Don grab a fork and start to dig right into his food. She watched him for a moment grabbing a cloth from the side of the bar wiping off the bar top while watching him eat. “Earlier I did give Brant a list of places to go to. I could tell you the first few and maybe you’ll find him there.”

“I’d really like that,” Don informed her with a nod and a mouth full of food. He picked up a piece of bacon and pointed out at her for a second savoring the juicy bacon in his mouth. “You are a great cook--you know that? God, your food is to die for.”

“Oh she knows it,” a voice pressed in behind Don and Don glanced over his shoulder to see JT entering the bar with a woman at his side. He swallowed down his food and saw JT take a seat one seat away from him at the bar and tip to the side to steal a quick kiss from the woman he was with. JT turned toward him and extended his hand out. “Don Leveski--how are you?"

“Not bad, just enjoying the fantastic food here and then I have to go on the run. My friends and I are looking for someone,” Don informed JT seeing the way he nodded slowly before turning toward Evie. “It’s nice to meet you…”

“Evie,” she extended her hand out to his seeing the goofy grin that Don gave her and she smirked herself. Don shook her hand softly before going back to eating a bit trying not to quickly eat the food as fast now that he had company with him in the bar. “So why are you here all alone?"

“Well get this--my friends and I came here to find someone. They decide we’re going to take a night to sleep. I go to sleep and when I wake up they both left me,” Don rolled his eyes swallowing down his food roughly throwing his hands up in the air. “I mean what kind of friends do that to you? I don’t even know this island very well. I’m so blind when it gets down to it and it can make a person feel very bad to wake up alone.”

“Who are you…,” JT went to ask about Don and who he was looking for only to see Martha place two plates in front of him and Evie for breakfast and he looked to Don shrugging his shoulders. “I guess I’ll be having what you are having for breakfast.”

“Thank you so much Martha,” Evie went to reach for a fork before taking a look down at the breakfast Martha made for her. It was way too big for her but she saw one thing she liked. “Martha, I don’t mean to bother you but--do you have any strawberry syrup?"

“Here? Of course I do. My son loves it--Kevin loves it, it’s a hit I guess you could say,” Martha didn’t even stick around to see the shiver Evie gave at the mention of the name Kevin the man who had been hassling her all this time. “Here you go sweetheart.”

“Speaking of strawberry syrup--no offense against you honey but at where I was at…,” Don turned to Martha swallowing down the rest of the food that was in his mouth before speaking up again. “I wonder if he like drinks that stuff by the bottle or something. Thirsty? Hey, I’ll just go and grab a bottle of strawberry syrup. I guess it’s better than grabbing a bottle of beer but what a sugar rush I tell you. That stuff is real sugary.”

“Well that’s the best part about it. It gives you a kick of fruity with your own little sweet tooth,” Evie pointed out seeing the way Don nodded before she finished up pouring it over her pancakes. “You can’t go wrong with breakfast though. It’s the most important meal of the day.”

“That my new friend,” Don stood up from the chair holding a close out fist to her seeing JT move back a bit glancing over at him while he motioned her to clunk fists with him. A wide smile pressed in over his features as he moved back toward the seat he was at after she did so. “Is the honest to God truth.”


“Nothing like a murder investigation to get you back into the swing of things after a suspension,” Dean grumbled moving into the office he and Shannon had returned to after a long night of field work. He set down the Styrofoam containers of coffee he’d picked up on the walk into the station and handed one over to her. “This is one part of the job I didn’t miss.”

“What are you complaining about?” she questioned glancing up at him from where she sat behind the desk. She felt her neck and shoulders stiff after they’d been following leads and speaking to witnesses the previous evening into the morning hours. “You were undercover for what? Like three years?”

“It wasn’t that long, but it felt like an eternity,” Dean plopped down into one of the chairs on the other side of the office, “and that was very strenuous I’ll have you know.”

“Yeah working in a hospital and building the perfect breast,” Shannon rolled her eyes at him before groaning, “Sounds like a job a man would truly hate.”

“Hey don’t underwrite what I was doing. I’ll have you know I would’ve had a very lucrative career in cosmetic surgery had I not taken to law enforcement,” Dean objected with a small huff before sipping his coffee. “And besides it wasn’t just breasts I worked with. I wasn’t specialized in that area only.”

“Yeah yeah I know,” she shook her head at him before laughing, “but it was a perk though wasn’t it? Admit it?”

“Believe it or not Shannon I’m not a breast man. You of all people should know that,” he tossed a glare out over in her general direction. “It takes a lot more than that to get a rise out of me.”

“Clearly,” she mouthed with the same tension that had been in her neck and shoulders moving in to her temple. “Deidra is proof of that.”

“Okay stop right there. Don’t insult my girlfriend just because you and Don aren’t happy with one another,” Dean warned giving her a look before setting his coffee down. “Misery might love company, but in this instance you’re all on your own.”

“I’m not miserable. Just agitated,” Shannon frowned thinking about the fact that Don had just up and left town on her. “Though maybe if I got the opportunity to stab him like Deidra did with you I might be feeling better about our situation.”

“Shannon stop. That’s not fair and you know it,” he frowned at her again shaking his head. “Those were extenuating circumstances.”

“Even so since she did it you’ve been her little lap dog. It’s kind of pathetic,” Shannon tossed out at him casually before refocusing her attention to the witness statements in front of her. “Damn Dean do you have any idea how many of these aren’t worth the paper they are written on? I mean when it gets down to it we have a whole lot of people who saw absolutely nothing.”

“I know, but there might be a detail in this that could help us find someone who saw something,” Dean took another sip of his coffee again before moving in closer to her. “As it stands there are plenty of people in this town who might have wanted to see Chavez taken out of the picture given her less than savory dealings.”

“Which means our list of suspects are going to be almost as long as our witnesses are if not more,” Shannon noted tipping her head up to look at him. “Her enemies range from politicians, to convicted criminals, to those she worked to set up, people on her staff, those in her inner circle and business owners. There is no way that this is going to be one of those open and shut cases like Callaway is hoping for.”

“Callaway has unrealistic expectations on a lot of things,” Dean explained thinking about their boss, “but when it gets down to it he wants nothing more than the conviction when we find the person who did this. I don’t think we’re dealing with someone sloppy given what we encountered last night.”

“Neither do I,” Shannon replied with a nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach. “To be honest with you I have this hunch that I can’t quite shake.”

“What do you mean?” Dean couldn’t help but ask.

“Well in reading about Chavez and the indictments it got me thinking about how a few years back she was heading a big case against Guerrero--you know the drug lord that was just murdered in Florida?” Shannon paused thinking about the ongoing investigation. “Things were pretty intense in that case and Chavez was just really getting her feet wet with that one. It was a big political number and it looked like she had an air tight case.”

“What’s the catch?” Dean questioned giving her a long look.

“She didn’t make the conviction. It was like she went from being at the top of her game to suddenly taking a major hit. It was something that would’ve undoubtedly killed someone’s professional life as she lost due to some kind of blunder in the collection of evidence. There was an unwarranted search and it gave the defense lawyers something to work with. Then a key piece of evidence disappeared mysteriously,” Shannon recalled remembering the news that surrounded the case.

“A defense lawyer’s dream indeed. So let me guess Guerrero never saw the inside of a jail cell let alone served any time even though he was guilty as sin,” Dean noted contemplating the direction Shannon was headed in with her thoughts.

“Exactly and as I mentioned earlier losing a case that big even if it was because of circumstances beyond your control is something that stays with you the rest of your career. To have such a high profile case like that and wind up having it botched up so badly in a media frenzy is just asking for the end of your blossoming career,” Shannon continued thinking about the situation at hand.

“But she didn’t take a fall in her career to until recently,” Dean noted remembering the drama that surrounded Chavez and her fall from grace.

“Exactly, which leads you to wonder why it was that after she had such a tragic twist in her case that she was promoted and given the power that she’d had as the District Attorney. Something about that never sat right with me, but apparently no one thought to question it. People spoke about how she was truly gifted at what she did, but when it gets down to it when there is that big of a screw up people are always looking for someone to blame.”

“Unless of course that someone was lead to bring the case to that kind of ending,” Dean arched a curious brow. “Do you think it is at all possible that Chavez might’ve had her team throw the case on purpose?”

“Given how she climbed the ladder after that one, I would undoubtedly believe that she was somehow tied to that outcome, but now it seems like someone is bent on making things right,” Shannon blurted out weaving together her own theory.

“You think the two murders are tied together?” he questioned curiously. “Like it’s no coincidence that Guerrero is dead and now so is Chavez?”

“I don’t think anything is a coincidence. I‘m not saying that I believe they are completely related to one another, but I’m not going to take my chances in closing the door on possibilities that are out there. Given the mystery of that case, perhaps we should get down to records and take another look at what exactly went wrong in that situation. It might be a good place to start.”

“I won’t argue that one. It can’t hurt to check out all our outlets,” Dean nodded in agreement before looking to the time once again.

“Exactly. Tell me did you get the medical examiner’s full report yet?” Shannon questioned curiously.

“I was on my way down there in a few and you’re more than welcome to join me unless of course you’d rather stay here and go through those,” he nodded towards the witness statements once again.

“No, this time I think I’m going to go with you,” she pushed the papers aside before standing up, “because sometimes the victim themselves are the most telling of evidence.”

“I can’t argue that point,” Dean replied reaching out to open the office door as he and Shannon prepared to work on uncovering the mystery of who was behind the murder of Isabel Chavez.


Ben stretched out on the sofa thinking about the long night of paperwork he and Alexa had gone over again and again. While he’d hoped that they would somehow catch a break in their case after burning the midnight oil for the last couple of weeks, he knew nothing was going to just pop into their lap after all their leads brought them to dead ends. First their witnesses seemed to keep on dying and then there was one disaster after another. Of course they all paled in comparison to the one that Ben had avoided the other night when Alexa had decided to lay it out on the line by kissing him. Even now he could still sense the tension in the air between them as he heard her getting ready in the other room.

“I told them that we’d be there early this morning,” Alexa’s voice rose through the hallway as Ben looked up to see her shadow against the wall across from the open door to the bathroom. He could see her silhouette as it was clear she was playing with her hair and he couldn’t help but laugh.

“I don’t think we’ll stand a chance of being there early if you keep playing with that wig,” Ben teased watching her pop her head out from the bathroom.

“It’s not my wig,” she glared over at him.

“You could have fooled me,” he laughed kicking his legs over the side of the couch, “Though I’m curious about something with you and the whole wig thing.”

“What’s that?” she questioned stepping out into the hallway, this time surprising him with a much more conservative outfit then what she’d been wearing over the last few weeks.

“Why brunette?” he couldn’t help but ask.

“What do you mean why brunette?” she gave him a strange look. “Why not?”

“Oh I don’t know because maybe the blonde hair you had before growing up was more you,” he shrugged his shoulders before motioning to one of her discarded wigs. “And besides it would’ve saved you money on the undercover work.”

“I put in a voucher for these,” she reached for the wig that lay on the table just beyond where he sat. “So it didn’t cost me anything.”

“Still, it’s just different to see you with the dark hair,” he admitted giving her a long once over. Before he realized what he was doing, he’d caught that she’d noticed. He cleared his throat again. “I mean you know it’s just different…”

“Well I’m different Ben,” she offered up with a small sigh. “I’m not the same person I was a few years ago when you and I really knew one another.”

“I’d like to think that we still know each other,” he frowned over at her. “I mean sure maybe I got stuck working for Chavez in that joke of a career for a while, but…”

“But you chose to take the cushy desk job and forget about risk,” she reminded him pointedly. “You could’ve stayed in the field like you always wanted to do.”

“I guess plans changed,” Ben shrugged his shoulders, “Though even with my complaining I suppose it wasn’t all that bad working where I was.”

“Of course not,” she couldn’t help but roll her eyes. “It gave you the opportunity to shack up with Diane, right?”

“It isn’t as bad as you like to make it sound,” Ben gave her a small glare. “Diane’s a wonderful woman.”

“So you say,” she shook her head and walked into her kitchen to pull herself out some orange juice. “I suppose she must be if she’s got you wrapped around her finger this much.”

“I love her Lex,” Ben stood up and followed her into the kitchen. “I know that isn’t what you wanted to hear, but…”

“Why are you saying things about what I want to hear?” she turned around to discover him standing behind her. A gasp fell from her lips as she found herself looking down at his mouth. Ben watched her eyes travel up once again to meet his as she frowned. “Is there a point to this?”

“About what happened before when we…” Ben’s eyes shifted beyond her. He cleared his throat and forced himself to meet her eyes again.

“Look Ben I already told you it was nothing,” she groaned outwardly as her fingers tightened around the orange juice container. “The job just gets to you and you act crazy sometimes. You know that.”

“Even so I just feel like we’re not…” he waved his hand around between them once again.

“Not what?” she eyed him curiously.

“Cool with each other,” he finished shifting on his feet before her.

“Ben, we’re in Florida and it’s like ninety something outside. Of course we’re not cool,” she rolled her eyes at him.

“Cute, but you know what I’m saying,” he reached out to touch her arm feeling her stiffen beneath his touch.

“Ben, it’s fine,” she insisted, tipping her head up to meet his concerned gaze.

“Are you sure about that?” he asked softening his tone a bit.

“Are you hoping that I’m not so that it’ll feed into your ego somehow?” she tossed back at him with the beginnings of a scowl.

“Well, no but…” he began again only to feel her walk away from him.

“Ben, we’ve got work to do and I really don’t want to waste anymore time. Just let me get ready and then we can go back to headquarters,” she suggested carrying the orange juice container with her back into the bathroom as Ben wondered if things were truly alright with him and Alexa after their awkwardness with one another. Dropping down on the couch again, Ben just hoped that what happened the other night wouldn’t ruin the friendship they’d shared for a lifetime with one another. Sure, maybe he had been giving off signals to her, but that was never his intention. Even now he just prayed that somehow they’d manage to get over the bump in the road of their friendship without any more damage attraction or not. He was committed to Diane and right now that was his top priority. Alexa and the case were secondary to that. That’s all it could be.


Douglas opened his eyes feeling his toes sticking out underneath the satin sheets on his bed now that the morning light filtered into his bedroom through the blinds. He snaked his arm around the soft curves that pressed in against his chest and he let out a sigh. Closing his eyes again he felt the memories of the previous night haunting him taking him from the phone call he’d received to Sarah’s offering upon him. They’d wound up back in the bedroom after their time in the study and they’d spent most of the night with one another lost in each other’s arms making love in the same wild and reckless fashion that had ruled their earlier unions. Now as she nestled in against his chest he couldn’t help but squeeze her in closer to him. Shamefully he found himself appreciating her warmth beside him as a smile teased over the corners of his lips.

“Mmm…” Sarah murmured her long blonde hair sliding over his bare chest in a small movement as she snuggled in against him. She pressed her lips into the center of his chest before speaking up in a small murmur, “Good morning.”

“Morning,” he replied feeling her fingers stretch out over his abdomen, the simple movement reminding him all over again of how wild and untamed she truly was. Even now he could feel the distinct sting of the scratches she’d made in various places when she’d got lost in the primitive desires that seemed to haunt her every time she’d delved into passion’s promise with him.

“What time is it?” Sarah questioned lazily making another small movement over him.

“Early I think,” he replied glancing over at the clock before feeling her stiffen over him. He tilted his head to the side feeling her move again as she pushed her head up enough to stare up at him.

“Douglas?” she replied her eyes widening enough to look out at him. “Hey…”

“Hey yourself,” he reached out to touch her cheek in a soft, tender movement loving the way that she looked above him. This morning she didn’t have the same vile, sharp witted tongue that seemed to guide her throughout life. She looked in a word--beautiful and there was something about holding her that left him feeling much better than he’d had the previous times they’d been in such a position with one another. However, in typical fashion for them the sentiment didn’t last too long.

“What are you doing?” Sarah questioned in a huff pushing away from him and pulling the sheet around her body in a sharp, jerking movement. She looked down at him again before leaning forward and slapping him right square across the face. “How dare you take advantage of me like this!”

“Take advantage of you?” he repeated blankly shooting up to a seated position as well. He blinked back at her in astonishment. “Are you insane? You’re the one that threw yourself at me.”

“I did no such thing,” she argued with him clenching the sheet tighter against her form. “You were the one who brought me back in here and…”

“Sarah, you’re the one who initiated all of this when you took it upon yourself to assault me in my study,” Douglas frowned knowing full well it had been foolish to even indulge the idea of enjoying her company. With a scowl, he pushed his legs over the side of the bed and marched out not bothering to look at her. He walked over to his closet and opened the doors ready to push the night and the moment behind him. “I didn’t ask you to do what you did. In fact it was far from being what I was looking for.”

“Oh please,” she rolled her eyes at him stalking him from the bed as well. She marched up to him and pushed her way into his closet before reaching for his shoulder. Harshly she spun him around to face her again before she shook her head at him. “You’d been begging for my attention all night and I felt sorry for you so that’s why I let you manipulate me into doing that.”

“I didn’t manipulate you into anything,” Douglas snarled at her reaching out to grab a shirt from one of the hangers.

“The hell you didn’t,” she snatched it from his hand before throwing it to the floor and stomping on it. “You knew full well that you were taking advantage of me and I’m not going to let you do it again.”

“Believe me even if I had taken advantage of you, I wouldn’t want to do it again. Last night was more than enough nausea for a lifetime,” he scowled reaching for another shirt only to feel her pry it out of his hand.

“Well you’re never going to get what you had again. I hate you. The very sight of you repulses me and if you think that there is anything more to read out of last night than what you saw, then you’re mistaken. I didn’t want to be with you anymore than you wanted to be with me. The very thought of us, well doing that sickens me…” she scoffed in response tossing her long, blonde hair over her shoulders. Instinctively her eyes dropped down over the lines of his very naked body and she gulped. Meeting his gaze again she glared at him, “I hate you Doug.”

“And I hate you too, so see there is the one thing that we can agree on,” he turned away from her reaching for his third shirt only to feel her throw her fist into his back. He spun around swiftly only to feel her connect with his jaw sending him back onto the ground. He looked up at her in a state of confusion before frowning, “What the hell was that for?”

“For your thinking that you could get away with what you’ve been doing to me. I don’t have to tolerate any of this and I won’t,” she turned on her heel to leave as Douglas sat up just enough to snag her ankle in the movement. She fell face forward into the center of his closet and he let out a laugh.

“Now we’re even,” he replied with an amused smirk seeing her land in a pile of linens that were piled up in the corner of the closet.

“We’re not even remotely close to even you son of a bitch,” Sarah snarled leaping across the floor to attack him. She pounced on his chest scratching and clawing at him while he held his hands up in the air to defend himself. She sent her fist into his abdomen before he reached for her waist and squeezed it. Using the moment to bring about a momentum shift he pushed her off of him and onto the floor. Laughing lightly he shook his head at her before attempting to crawl forward out of his closet.

“You’re truly pathetic,” he mouthed inching towards the doorway only to feel her tackle him to the ground again.

“You’re the pathetic one,” she tugged at his hair pulling his head back ever so slightly before leaning down to bite on his earlobe. He let out a pinched wail before rolling onto his back and pinning her beneath him.

“Damn it Sarah!” he cursed under his breath turning around to face her now that she had a wicked smirk painted on her face. He leaned in over her, offering up a menacing tone as his dark eyes penetrated her. “Don’t make me do something I really don’t want to do to you.”

“Go to hell,” she spit up in his face watching him bring his hand over his cheek after she’d lashed out at him. She saw his face twist with a strange combination of emotions as he shifted over her. He repositioned himself over her, bringing her legs up around his body in a rough, jerking movement.

“Remember you asked for this,” he warned bending in to kiss her as he pushed himself inside of her wanting to lash out at her for what she’d been doing to him since they’d wound up with one another that first night in the hotel room.

“Screw you Doug,” she brought her hand up over his face, her fingers tightening in his hair as she clamped her legs around him encouraging their union. After that they didn’t say much more to one another, but rather rode the endless insanity that they’d awakened in one another until Sarah tipped her head back lost in her desire. Douglas watched her feeling her writhe beneath him before sinking into his own final descent beyond the point of no return. He dropped his head down on her shoulder feeling her shivering beneath him.

Closing his eyes he tried to rationalize what had taken place between them yet again, but he said nothing. Instead he moved off of her and lay beside her on the closet floor wanting to remember and forget what was taking place between them both at the same time. He took in a labored breath feeling hers in unison with his. Finally he forced himself to face her again seeing her features flushed with passion still after they’d surrendered to chaos.

“We really need to start talking about this,” Douglas finally decided against his better thoughts realizing that more was happening then either one of them cared to admit. With a sigh he saw something pass behind her eyes. “We can’t keep ignoring this issue here Sarah.”

“I know,” she finally nodded closing her eyes again. She inhaled slowly before reopening her eyes and focusing on the ceiling.

“When I say we need to talk, I mean more than we’ve been doing,” he admitted unable to believe that the woman beside him could drive him crazy on so many levels, yet left him longing for more with each encounter they’d had with one another. He was certain that his heart would always long for Dorothy, but when he was with Sarah he was young again. He was free from any and all expectations about what he should be. It was the last thing he’d asked for and yet there was something about it that had him longing for more of it.

“I know,” she added with a newfound nervousness in her tone. “I know that this shouldn’t keep happening…”

“And we can’t keep blaming it on alcohol or circumstance considering that…” he began again only to hear the sound of the phone ringing in the other room. He watched her look over at him and saw her lower lip quivering. Instinctively he reached out to her touching her cheek lightly until she turned away.

“That might be important,” she offered up in a small voice turning away from him on the floor.

“I know,” he sighed realizing that the door had been closed on any opportunity for them to further any discussion about what was taking place between them. Wordlessly he pulled himself up off of the floor and reached for his robe. Slipping into it he walked across the bedroom trying to ignore the memory of him and Sarah with one another as he reached for the phone and answered in a neutral tone. “Hello.”

“I sincerely hope you’ve considered my proposal because it’s a one time offer,” the voice on the other end of the line replied alerting him that the caller from the previous evening hadn’t forgotten his attempt at blackmailing Douglas.

Sitting down on the bed Douglas felt all his previous concern returning to him. He glanced over at the closet area watching as Sarah emerged. She gave him one look before disappearing into the bathroom and closing the door behind her. He could hear the distinct sound of the shower running and in that moment he found himself torn on a great many things that hadn’t been even a consideration before.

“Douglas are you listening to me?” the caller questioned in a taunt bringing the focus back to the matter at hand. “Are you ready to give me what I want or do I have to take other actions?”

“No,” Douglas finally sighed resigning himself to his fate, “you don’t have to take other actions. I’ve made my decision and I know what I have to do.”

“Good then it’s time you and I start talking numbers because you can rest assured this one is going to cost you,” the caller promised leaving no mystery about the fact that this was only the beginning of the compromise Douglas would be forced to face at yet another one of his son’s acts of indiscretion. Of course this time Douglas had his doubts about whether or not he could really get JT out of the situation he’d put himself into unscathed.


“You’ve kind of been very quiet this whole ride which is quite surprising. I don’t know whether you are mad at me or you’re amazed with the surrounding with the plane ride. Maybe a little bit of both, but I’d really love to hear that you aren’t mad at me,” Kyle’s voice got Heather out of the daze she was in as she looked out the window of the plane they were in together. Sure, when they had left she was very obvious in not wanting to go. It was something she knew she had to do for Kyle, but it wasn’t something she was looking forward to. “Please tell me you aren’t mad at me.”

“I’m not mad at you,” Heather smirked seeing the way that Kyle smiled before tipping in closer to give her a quick kiss on the lips. His hand pressed in over her thigh feeling her hand pressing in over his before tightening her fingers together with his. “I can promise you that. I am so far from being upset with you.”

“Good because you really had me worried,” he brought her hand to his lips pressing a tender kiss against the back of her hand holding onto it tightly. “I didn’t want you to be mad at me which I’m glad you understand this Heather. It means a lot to me.”

“I know--which is why I did it,” she informed him with a deep sigh knowing that her hate for Avery was strong--pretty strong and it was obvious that she didn’t hide her feelings for Avery. Kyle held onto her hand tightly before closing his eyes and resting his head back. “I know how much you love them as your friends and it’s more important to me to have you happy then to let my hate for someone over power me.”

“I’m glad you feel that way sweetheart. It really means a lot to me,” he turned his head in closer to hers about to kiss her only to have her turn away from him with a small laugh. “What’s so funny?"

“Your stubble tickles sometimes,” she informed him seeing the way he smiled as she pressed her hand in over his rough cheek moving in to kiss him herself. After kissing him she pulled away for a moment to watch the plane land. “You know--I’m really glad you let me have the window seat because I’ve really enjoyed the sights more from here. It was a nicer ride than I thought it would be.”

“And wait until you actually step off the plane. It’s really nice--I loved it. Except for the part of actually having my ribs broken during the time of being here, but still,” Kyle began shrugging his shoulders before standing up once instructed to do so. He remembered his first visit here and the first run in he ever had with Kevin when they attacked each other with all the other one had to give. It was most certainly the single most painful fight he had ever had in his life. “Come on sweetheart.”

Taking Kyle’s hand in hers she felt him lead her off the plane and once they were outside staring out a the world around them she took off her sunglasses to look around.

“Wow, this is better than the plane ride,” she informed him feeling him stepping in behind her wrapping his arms around her waist tightly pulling her in close to him. “This is nicer than I thought it would be. I thought it would be some…”

“Little crappy island that was meant for only tourists? Yeah, that’s what I thought at first too but it’s almost like your own little paradise…yet, not,” he began pressing a soft kiss over the side of her neck only to hear someone call out his name. Turning on his heel he saw Grady approach him and he let go of Heather long enough to get a big bear hug from Grady making him let out a tight groan. Pulling off his sunglasses he stared out at his best friend and shook his head slowly. “Well now--someone is in a good mood.”

“Well--there are some things to be happy about and there are some things not so great,” Grady began looking to Heather as he let out a deep sigh and pulled his sunglasses off himself. Heather looked around the area before them as Grady patted Kyle on the shoulder softly. “Last night Avery got into a fight. We found out that Brant is on the island as well. So that’s one of those things that makes this place not so good right now. Avery is not too happy. She thinks that Brant wants to screw around with her and try to stop her wedding to Russ.”

“Only in her dreams would Brant do something like that,” Heather added her own input seeing the glare she got from both her husband and his best friend. The glare they gave was cold enough to send a chill down her spine as she pulled her sunglasses back on and shrugged her shoulders. “I was just saying…”

“Well don’t. I thought we made an agreement about this Heather,” Kyle went to remind her seeing the way she nodded and he could tell that this just wasn’t going to work. She promised that she would behave but Kyle could tell that she still had some spunk behind her actions. “We don’t need to start more fights with Avery because…”

“I know the reasons Kyle and right now you and Grady can talk,” she held her hand up in the air seeing Grady chewing on his gum while his eyebrow arched up at the actions she was pulling on Kyle. “I’m going to go the hotel bar. You two can take the bags up and talk or something, but I can already tell this is going to be a long week and I’ll need a drink.”

“Gee, she’s usually not that grumpy,” Grady turned to Kyle seeing him pushing back his long blonde hair before letting out a long sigh. “She really hates Avery that much?"

“Yeah…she does,” Kyle picked up his duffle bag and saw Grady pick up the other. Moving toward the hotel he heard Grady let out a small grunt at how much Heather carried and he reached to grab Heather’s bag handing Grady his. “And it’s all over one man that’s in neither one of their lives anymore. Brant Ashford.”


Angela felt a sharp throbbing pain in the center of her forehead as the light in the bedroom began to blind her. She turned away from the sun’s invasive rays feeling the blankets wrapped up around her and she groaned. She could almost feel the weight of the comforter on top of her causing her to feel suffocated as she strained to remember the previous evening. Finally it all returned to her in vivid colors down to the last detail when Craven snagged her on the beach.

“No,” she gasped shooting upright in the center of the bed. She looked around discovering that he’d brought her back to the place he’d been keeping her at before she’d attempted to escape. She moved her hand in over the center of her chest relieved to discover that she had a nightgown on. Of course she couldn’t remember how she’d gotten into that nightgown, but she was guessing that Craven had played a hand into that.

“Oh God,” she mouthed horrified by the idea of him touching her while she was completely unable to defend herself of stop him from whatever plans he had for her. She reached down beneath the blankets finding herself relieved to discover she still had on the same matching bra and panties set she’d had on when she’s left the beach house.

Sinking back onto the bed for a moment she tried to process how Craven got her back to the beach house after he’d drugged her, but she couldn’t recall a thing. That in itself had her terrified. She remembered the lecherous way he was trying to make a play for her and it was enough to make her skin crawl. She thought back to when she was a little girl and how he’d been working for her father pretending to be a devoted worker, but his actions now spoke otherwise.

“You have to get out of here,” she reminded herself in a low whisper hearing a sound rise from across the room. Shuffling up into a seated position she watched the door open as Craven entered he room with a tray in hand.

“I see you’re awake,” Craven cocked his head to the side and offered up a wide toothy grin while carrying the silver tray over to the opposite side of the bed. He watched her closely as he set the tray down. Sensing her uneasiness he stood up straighter and withdrew the gun he’d been carrying on his hip. He pointed it over at her, “You might want to get rid of that whole notion of escaping Angel because you’re not going anywhere just yet.”

“You can’t keep me here,” she scoffed in response her dark eyes fixed on the barrel of the gun in front of her.

“See now that’s where you and I are of a difference of opinion,” he sank down onto the bed keeping his aim on her with the gun. “I can do whatever I want to with you because the way I see it I’m in control of this situation Angel.”

“You only think you’re in control Craven, but you aren’t. You’re a sad, pathetic little man who obviously has a death wish,” Angela reminded him with a defiant tone. “When my brother finds out what you’ve done…”

“Your brother doesn’t scare me,” Craven laughed wildly shaking his head in amusement, “In fact I welcome the challenge as it would be the first time in Cameron’s miserable little life that he’d acted like a man.”

“He’s going to kill you like he almost did before,” Angela cut back sharply ignoring his arrogant boasting. “When he learns what you’ve done to me, you’ll have wished you were never born.”

“Your family can do that to a man since I’ve seen it time and time again,” he mused waving the gun around before pushing the tray in closer to her, “except unlike those that your father buried in the past, I refused to let myself become a casualty. I’ve always been smarter than the rest. I’ve been smarter and stronger and that’s what’s kept me alive.”

“Your arrogance will be the death of you when Cameron learns of your latest act of treachery,” she shot back at him icily her words full of contempt. She motioned to the gun he was holding once again, “You can’t frighten me with that Craven. It doesn’t make you anymore of a man because not even a gun could do that for you.”

“You always were an arrogant little bitch,” he snapped his smile fading as he glared over at her. “Always walking around like you knew everything, but you didn’t know a damn thing Angel. You never knew what potential you could’ve had because you were too busy being the little princess. You didn’t think about what your future could’ve held in store for you because you kept parading around like a dog in heat over Kevin.”

“Kevin,” she repeated giving him long once over. “You keep mentioning Kevin, which leads me to believe you’re envious of what he’s become because from where I stand you haven’t amounted to anything.”

“Oh believe me I have,” he leaned in closer to her, pushing the edge of the gun into her bare shoulder. He teased it along her smooth skin making a crease pattern with the pressure he applied to the movement. His eyes traveled lazily over the low neckline of the nightgown she was wearing before he met her defiant gaze.

“You’re pathetic Craven,” Angela brought her hand up and pushed the gun away from her arm not wanting to give him the satisfaction of letting him see just how truly afraid she really was. She scooted over to the edge of the bed refusing to give him the satisfaction he was seeking out.

“Pathetic is believing that you and your family can keep me from what is mine. I gave my life to your father and he pushed me out when I should’ve been the one to get everything,” Craven explained in a menacing tone. “I devoted my life to him…”

“Whip di do,” she rolled her eyes at him, “What did you expect for it Craven? A medal? In case you didn’t realize it my father wasn’t exactly a saint.”

“No he wasn’t which is all the more reason why he owed me. Do you have any idea what I did for him? Of the things that I put myself on the line for time and time again? He owes me Angel!” Craven snapped at her, his words twisting his features and making him more menacing.

“My father is dead Craven, but you already knew that when you baited me into coming here with you,” Angela spat at him, her eyes narrowing with disgust.

“I take it your amnesia has left you,” he chuckled amused by her tone, “Just as well considering that it would’ve made it far too boring to have you completely unaware of what was happening to you. You have no idea how long I‘ve waited to get you where I wanted you. Cameron might have stopped me once, but nothing‘s going to keep me from what‘s mine this time.”

“You’re sick. I hope you realize that,” Angela grumbled in response pushing the tray of food away from her. “If you think by locking me up here and bullying me around with a gun you’re going to get anything out of me, you’re even stupider than I thought.”

“Don’t act all tough because we both know you’re scared Angel,” he aimed the gun at her once again. “You know full well that your life is in my hands.”

“If I really believed that then I might have reason to worry, but you’re ridiculous Craven. You couldn’t hold your own when you worked for my father and that’s why you never amounted to anything. He discarded you like the trash you are because you couldn’t produce,” she tossed out a haughty laugh. “You still can’t and it’s clear now more than ever.”

“Shut up you bitch!” Craven lashed out at her striking her across the cheek with the butt of the gun he’d been holding. She fell back into the pillows as he crawled in over her placing the barrel into the center of her chest. “Now you shut up and listen to me…”

Angela bit back on the blood she felt in her throat now that the sting of his hitting her vibrated over the side of her face. She was starting to feel numb and her eyes were watering, but she wasn’t about to let Craven get any single ounce of satisfaction out of her. She remained firm in her revolve to put him in his place even as he held the gun into her breastbone.

“What are you going to do Craven?” she questioned in a low, fierce tone. “Are you going to shoot me?”

“Shooting you isn’t the worst thing I could do to you,” he licked his lips, an amused tickle carrying over his tone. He dragged the gun over her abdomen before using it to nudge up the bottom of her nightgown ever so slightly. He pressed it into the side of her thigh before his eyes sought out fear inside of her. “It’s the least of what I’ve done to you already.”

“I see,” she strained to keep her voice cool and even as her worries began to compound. Thinking about her unborn children she knew she had to escape, but she refused to give him any reason to believe that he would be able to break her down. “So tell me Craven. Are you going to rape me? Is that what this is all about? Your being able to finally violate the bosses daughter for your own sick and twisted pleasures?”

“This has nothing to do with rape Angel,” he chuckled down at her finding himself increasingly amused with her. “I’ve already violated you far more than you can even begin to imagine and the best part of it is that you’ve never been able to figure that out. Here you lay here telling me how pathetic I am and how I’ve been the one that was never smart enough to see things as they are, but you…well you’ve been the icing on the cake. In taking everything away from you it’s given me reason and purpose to continue on with my plans.”

“What plans?” she questioned blinking up at him as the gun seemed to dig into her outer thigh.

“Plans that you’re not yet aware of,” he brought the gun up to her again placing it over her bottom lip and watching her exhale in a tentative movement, “but soon, very soon you’ll know everything. I’m sure of that and when the truth comes out, I can promise you that you’ll take back every last negative word you’ve said about me. You’ll give me the respect and prestige that should’ve been mine.”

“Is that what you’re hoping for in doing this Craven? Prestige?” she questioned feeling him relinquish his hold on her. He slid off of the bed taking the gun with him while crossing the room. “Respect?”

“I want retribution and what’s mine,” he informed her bluntly before motioning to the silver tray on the bed. “Now eat up because we have a full day ahead of us and I wouldn’t want you to go without proper nourishment.”

Angela watched him leave the room locking the door behind his exit. Thinking about his condescending tone and the way that he’d managed to try to bully her, she found herself growing more agitated by the moment. She looked to the tray that he’d given her and the food he’d prepared for her as if she was his guest instead of his hostage. That in itself had her more than irritated.

“If he thinks I’m just going to stay here and take this, he’s wrong,” Angela scowled pushing herself up and out of bed. She grabbed the tray in her fingers before launching it across the room in a fury. It slammed against the door before she curled her fingers into fists and shouted out at him. “You won’t get away with this Craven--not any of this. Do you hear me? You’re going down for this! You’ll pay for what you’ve done!”

“He’s going to wish he didn’t do this,” she whispered to herself after her screams died down and he hadn’t made an attempt to return to the room to fight with her. Moving over to the bed she sank onto the blankets and closed her eyes promising herself that Craven would get what he deserved for trying to frighten her. He might’ve had a plan up his sleeve, but she’d be damned if she let it go into fruition. Craven was nothing and she’d prove that to him when she found a way to escape. That much she was sure of.


Ria stood at the doorstep of Marie Hage’s apartment wondering what had possessed her to make a point to go down and look up the dead woman’s address after everything that had taken place. She knew full well that she would be risking her job in being here especially after the circumstances surrounding Marie’s death, but given the last words that Marie had said to her about Kevin needing to know something, Ria couldn’t just let it go.

Looking around the area Ria was surprised to find that Marie’s apartment appeared to be normal and in a decent part of town. While it wasn’t nearly as glamorous as the Ashford estates it did have a charming ring to it in it’s own way. It rivaled Ria’s own apartment complex and had far much nicer landscape that surrounded it. Even if Marie was a junkie of sorts it was clear that she lived in a place that could cater to the finer things in life it would seem.

“It’s now or never,” Ria took in a breath reaching out to ring the bell. She’d briefly skimmed Marie’s file to see if there had been a next of kin, but none were listed. Ria had known from Kevin that Marie was unmarried and it was possible that perhaps there was no one around to keep Marie out of her self destructive path that lead her to the hospital and to her demise. Still Ria hoped she could find someone who would help provide her with the answer she’d been seeking out. She rang the bell again and still there was nothing.

“Please don’t let me do the wrong thing,” she mouthed to herself reaching into her pocket and wondering if perhaps this was the key to the apartment door. Moving forward she slipped the key into the lock and looked around. No one was outside at this time in the morning and she realized that unless there was some kind of security system she may be able to go undetected into the apartment if and only if the key was legit. She slipped it into the lock and found that the lock turned without hesitation.

“Why would you give me your apartment key?” Ria wondered to herself pushing the door open in a tentative motion. She stepped into the apartment half expecting to find the same luxurious surroundings that she’d been met with on the outside, but instead she was greeted by a foul odor she couldn’t quite place. Bringing her hand up over her face to keep the smell from getting to her while she gagged, she thought about turning around.

“No,” she reminded herself taking in the surroundings to discover that other than a small television set up in the far corner of the room and a small couch that there was nothing of substance in the apartment. There were boxes from various take out places on the floor and a bottle of spilled ketchup in the center of the room that caked on to the white carpet. Over near the far end of the room was a trash can overflowing with empty bottles of alcohol. It was clear that no one had tended to the place in a while as there were bugs flying around the apartment. Ria moved forward feeling one of the containers smash under her feet. Looking down she saw a molding substance she couldn’t recognize beneath her and she groaned.

“How in the world did this woman know Kevin?” Ria tried to shake the mashed food remains from her shoe, but it was no use. Frowning she turned in search of the kitchen. Spotting it near the far end of the room, she carefully stepped over more discarded containers only to discover the kitchen in far worse shape than the living room. There were more containers on the countertop, rusted pots and pans in the sink and there on the center of the kitchen table was a vast array of drug paraphernalia.

“How in the hell did you find your way into Kevin’s life?” she shuddered unable to fathom how someone like Marie could’ve connected with Kevin in the first place. Walking over to the sink she reached out to turn it on only to discover what looked like vomit inside of it.

“Oh God,” Ria felt the contents of her stomach coming up in her throat as she stepped back. In doing so she tripped over a broom, that clearly had never been used once in the apartment. It fell over and came crashing into the table, knocking over the various needles Ria had spotted on the way in. She jumped out of the room careful to avoid any of the impending danger in the fall.

“This was ridiculous. I’m out of here,” Ria decided ready to get out of the apartment and give up on the search altogether since it was clear that Marie must’ve been out of her mind long before she’d wound up at the hospital. She spun on her heel ready to put this place and the memory of the disturbed woman out of her mind when something caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. Looking to the floor in front of her Ria noticed a white teddy bear with a pink bow around it’s neck lost in the rubble that surrounded her. It seemed so out of place in the mess and the nightmare that lingered in the apartment, yet as Ria reached for it, she knew full well that the toy couldn’t have been Marie’s.

“Oh my God,” Ria gasped pulling the smiling toy into her arms. Turning around, she could see a room down the hallway, the door open and pink walls capturing her attention. It was then that Ria understood what Marie was trying to tell her. There wasn’t just Marie in this place, but rather there was a child. A child that could very well be fighting for her last breath if Ria walked out of the apartment and left her behind without so much of a second thought. With that thought in mind, Ria headed towards the bedroom ready to seek out any life that could’ve been in the apartment somehow.


“That’s right. You heard me. She already gets upset about you all the time? How many times has she broken up with you already?" Brant moved out into the sand seeing the way that Kevin just froze watching him as he moved out more into the sand. “When is it finally going to be the last one Kevin? When is it finally going to take her to realize what a terrible catch you are and for her to find someone new? I’m going to guess like Angela probably felt at one time--your probably nothing more than a bedmate. Who could love someone like you?”

Moments were silent between the two of them as a smug smirk pressed in over Brant’s features. Just when he was about to open his mouth and dig the knife in deeper he felt a sold impact collide with his chin sending him out into the sand. Groaning out at the impact he looked up to see Kevin’s right fist closed and he turned on his side hissing out. Pressing his finger in over his bottom lip he realized he bit it in the impact and it was now bleeding.

“Oh, I see I hit a soft spot,” Brant laughed sitting up in the sand seeing Kevin roll his eyes and start to move away from him walking in the other direction. Getting up to his feet he ran at Kevin knocking him in the knees making him fall to his knees and when he least expected it nailed him in the back of the neck making Kevin fall out on his stomach. “Let this be a warning to you. Stay away from Angela. I don’t need you anymore. I’ll find her myself and if you even try to do anything I’ll make sure that Ria leaves you for good.”

“You want to play that way?" Kevin bit down on his bottom lip getting to his knees slowly before standing up towering a bit over Brant seeing him gulp down. He tilted his head to side and a loud crack filled the air as Kevin motioned Brant to come and hit him. “Come on Brant--you got a whole lot of rage and anger. You want to take it out on someone? Huh? Come on. Let’s see if you can take it out on the best person it seems to be right now. The man that Angie currently right now thinks she’s in love with.”

Staring out into Kevin’s brown eyes he could see the way Kevin was egging him on motioning him to come in closer. Kevin braced himself and his eyebrow arched up until he stood straight and shrugged his shoulders. He headed back toward the house and when his back was turned Brant went to go take a shot only to have Kevin be ready for it. A hiss filled the air as Kevin’s huge hand grabbed a hold of Brant’s fist squeezing it tightly as Brant cried out.

“You are a pathetic fighter. If you want to take someone down you do it face to face with them,” Kevin saw Brant fall to his knees in pain with the hold that Kevin had on him. Kevin shook his head slowly and watched Brant try to pull his hand out of the grasp. “You don’t wait for someone to turn their back.”

“Yeah, well I’m not a brainless boxer,” Brant brought his other fist right into the center of Kevin’s groin feeling the release of his hand as he fell out on the sand. He heard the sound of Kevin’s body falling in the sand and he turned to see Kevin’s eyes closed and his jaw tightened in pain while his hand was clasped over the front of his pants. “You need to stay the hell away from Angela.”

“You need to grow a damn brain,” Kevin opened his eyes to see Brant lying in the sand next to him on his side and Kevin brought his fist into Brant’s nose hearing him cry out and Kevin slowly started to rise to his feet. He turned around to see Brant getting up wiping at his nose that had some blood dripping from it and he moved quickly toward him wrapping his arm around him spearing him into the water firmly. Raising up from the water he felt it dripping completely down his body and he was soaked. Brant was groaning out as he rose from the water and when Kevin went to move back to the sand he wrapped his arms around Kevin’s neck trying to keep a choke hold of him. “Let go Brant before I make you.”

“Why can’t you just let it be and let her out of your life?” Brant wrapped his arms tighter around Kevin’s massive neck and pulled himself up wrapping his legs around Kevin’s back making him groan out. “Why can’t you just let her go?"

When Brant wouldn’t let go he moved up toward the shore feeling his head starting to go light. Taking a last resort he fell backwards into the sand hearing Brant’s groan filling the air as he let go. Kevin’s weight crushed in over him as Kevin got to his knees and stared out at Brant.

“Why the hell do you want me out of her life so much? I protected her my whole life. I’m her friend, she’s just as much a part of my life that you are and I let her be in your life. Why do I need to kick her out of my life? You are a selfish son of a bitch you know that?" Kevin swiped at the sand with his hand before standing up to his feet staring down at Brant as he looked up at him. “No, I’m not going to kick Angela out of my life just based off of your jealousy. I’m sorry Brant, I’m not in love with her, but I do love her and those children. I’m not going to give up on her now after all these years. I’m sorry, I’m not going to leave someone’s life just because you want me to. I’m here to help the twins and get Angie back to safety Brant. While you were out of her life--I took care of her. I took care of your children while she was pregnant. You could at least be a little grateful that I took care of the woman you loved. Kept her safe…”

“Well you’re done now bodyguard,” Brant mocked him almost seeing the way Kevin shook his head before rubbing at his neck slowly. “You have no excuse to do what you do Kevin.”

“I couldn’t save my own child--I’m just trying to save yours,” Kevin answered truthfully seeing the look in Brant’s eyes change and he nodded slowly. “Yeah, I know you’re mad at me and you hate me but I lost a child. You have no idea how it feels to have that happen. I was a teen. I didn’t know how to handle something like that and I don’t want you or Angie to have to experience that pain. It’s something that you never let go of and it’s something that you won’t be able to get over. I want your children to be safe.”

“Now why do I have trouble believing that?" Brant brought out what he really felt only to feel Kevin punch him right in the nose again sending him down into the sand one more time. Groaning once more he placed his hand in over his nose feeling some blood in his palm. “What’s with the nose?"

Kevin stared down at him and didn’t say a thing as he rolled his eyes and sat up a bit wiping at his nose with the back of his hand before shrugging his shoulders.

“I just think you need to get it in your head before we go anywhere that Angela loves me and not you. Even when she had amnesia she may have thought that she loved you but she didn’t. She loves me Kevin and not you anymore. Maybe she used to, but you no longer have her heart. I do…she even knew she loved me while she had amnesia when she did things with me,” Brant smirked seeing the glance Kevin gave him before rolling his eyes and moved over toward the side of the house. Getting up he followed Kevin seeing him starting up the hose on the side of the house cupping some water in his hands before splashing it against his face. “Don’t believe me?"

“No, forgive me if I don’t considering she tried to blow me a couple of times,” Kevin said blankly with a shrug seeing Brant get angry and he turned the hose toward Brant to squirt him in the face. Obviously the motion made his rage rise and Kevin knew exactly what he was doing. “Chill out puppy--you’re fine. She had amnesia--it was the only reason she tried to sleep with me multiple times.”

Kevin started to walk back toward the house to clean up smugly and Brant eyed him over carefully. Looking to the side of him he saw somewhat of something that seemed to be a rake and he picked it up seeing Kevin heading back for the house.

“What?" Kevin turned hearing Brant call out to him and sudden slam hit him in the stomach once making him stumble back. Then a second strike hit him having something seem to claw somewhat at his stomach tearing his shirt and making him fall right over the railing of the deck into the sand below.

Brant dropped the rake realizing what he did seeing that pieces of Kevin’s shirt were on the metal part at the end and a small gasp escaped his lips. Slowly stepping over toward the edge of the deck he saw Kevin in the sand holding onto his stomach groaning out in pain. He didn’t mean for his rage to effect him that bad as he moved around the deck and down the steps to go help Kevin as he saw Kevin standing up leaning against the deck looking down at his stomach. Pulling his hand away Brant could see that Kevin’s shirt was torn a bit and had some blood on his hand.

“Kevin, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. I swear, I would have never wanted that to happen to you and…,” Brant was shut up my the feeling of Kevin hitting him. The both of them fell to the sand and fists flew over and over again until someone came over and grabbed Kevin pulling him back. “Don?"

“You know what?" Kevin blurted out with anger and rage behind his voice as he stared out at Brant. He could tell that Kevin was pissed off by the way his voice was cracked with anger--a bit rasp as he stared out at him with rage behind his brown eyes. Pulling away from Don he moved away from both of them and shook his head slowly. “I hope that when we find her she does fall for me because you’re an asshole and you don’t deserve her. I‘m her best friend and you are so blinded by her jealousy that you don‘t even care about her and how she feels. I told you I want nothing to do with her with that kind of relationship but you just can‘t stop can you? Huh? I didn‘t mind you at first, but I would rather her be in love with me than you because you are truly a jerk.”

There was a moment of silence between all of them as Brant watched Kevin glare out at him and Don still had his hand firmly placed over Kevin’s muscular chest to keep him back. Brant went to say something and before he could Don cut him off…

“Hey now you two. This isn’t about either of you,” Don’s voice roared as he stared out between the two seeing Kevin pulling his shirt off…well, what was the rest of it. He looked down at the less than flawless rippled skin seeing that there were a few scratches over his stomach and small lines of blood were running down his skin. “This is about us finding Angela and making sure that she is okay. We want to find her…correct? So we all have to agree to work together to make sure that she ends up alright. Understood?"

“Yeah, I understand,” Kevin answered wiping at his stomach again before glancing over in Brant’s direction. A frown pressed in over his lips as he went to move toward Brant and Don tried to hold him back. Kevin pushed him back a bit before rolling his eyes and moving past Brant toward the shore. Picking up a mattered material in his fingers he let out an upset sigh. “That figures.”

“What is that?" Don moved in next to Kevin seeing the way that Kevin rolled his eyes and held up the materials in his hands. “It looks like something that…,”

“It used to be my phone,” Kevin answered seeing the way Don’s blue eyes widened as Kevin moved up in front of Brant glaring him down. The glare was killer itself as Kevin shook his head slowly and moved toward the house. Both of them started to follow him in as Kevin pointed to Brant. “You stay down here--I don’t want to see your face.”

“Well that wasn’t very nice,” Don followed Kevin into the bathroom seeing Kevin starting up the shower reaching for some liquid body wash in the corner. “What are you doing?"

“Cleaning the gash on my stomach--make sense?" Kevin glared over at Don seeing Don nod and looked over his abdomen for a moment as Kevin took off the shower head letting the water run down his stomach a bit. Starting to rub some of the soap against his stomach a bit he winced feeling a stinging sensation before washing it off. Turning off the shower head he dropped it and heard it hit the ceramic tiled wall. He started to wipe at his muscular abdomen before feeling Don pulling at his shoulder. “What are you doing?"

“Have you had a tetanus shot lately?" Don looked up at Kevin seeing him nod slowly and Don opened the medicine cabinet thankful to find some peroxide in there to help clean Kevin’s wounds. “Do me a favor?"

“What?" Kevin questioned seeing the way that Don looked out at him with his blue eyes. Don handed him a clean washcloth seeing the way that Kevin’s eyebrows tightened. “What is this?"

“Bite down on it and then hold onto the sink please,” Don answered seeing Kevin do as he told and he dumped some of the peroxide on Kevin’s rippled abdomen hearing him groan out loudly and he saw the bubbling of the chemical doing it’s work. Kevin spit out the washcloth and started cussing up a storm as Don started to close the bottle back up simply. “Now that that’s over with--we should go looking for Angela again. Do you have a shirt you could use here because I think you could use a new one?"


JT glanced back over by the bar where Martha and Evie were talking with one another. Judging by the smiles on both of their faces JT realized that Evie was in good hands with Martha, which would allow him enough time to talk to his brother and explain the situation at hand. Dialing Cameron’s cell phone number, JT waited hearing his brother pick up after the third ring with a groggy hello.

“Cameron, hey it’s JT,” JT began with a pleasant tone although he was well aware of the seriousness of the conversation he needed to have.

“JT, how is paradise going for you? Better than things are out here I hope,” Cameron replied with what JT suspected was a repressed yawn on the other end of the line.

“It’s not exactly what I planned on it being,” JT confessed with a moment of hesitation.

“Why do you say that?” Cameron questioned.

“Because Evie’s father isn’t as far away as we’d anticipated him being. In fact, he’s here on the island with Angela,” JT divulged glancing over his shoulder at Evie and Martha once again.

“Wait, what?” Cameron’s voice tightened over the other end of the line. “What do you mean he’s there with Angel?”

“Evie and I were on the beach the other day and we saw them together,” JT continued to explain to his brother. “They were going into a beach house together and…”

“And what?” Cameron’s voice grew urgent. “Where exactly did you see them?”

“On the beach not far from where we were sunning, but I don’t understand it one bit,” JT informed Cameron with a frown of his own. “Evie’s father is a horrible, rotten human being, so for Angela to be spending any amount of time with him makes me question her sanity. I told you about some of the things the man has done Cameron and…”

“Angela’s missing JT,” Cameron divulged thinking about his sister’s location. “She disappeared a few days ago and…”

“She’s out here Cameron,” JT repeated looking over to Evie and Martha again. “I told you she’s shacking up with Evie’s father on the beach here and…”

“Where exactly on the beach? What beach house were they at?” Cameron questioned further.

“About half a mile away from yours. Not even,” JT admitted scratching his chin, “but right now I didn’t really want to talk about Angela because I was hoping that you could help me with the situation Evie and I are…”

JT paused hearing a click on the other end of the line. A frown touched over his lips as he realized that Cameron had hung up on him. Shaking his head JT looked at the phone wondering if the connection had gone bad. He hung up and then dialed again hoping to get a hold of his brother, but instead he was met by the sound of Cameron’s voice mail picking up.

“What the heck?” JT muttered under his breath again wondering just what had prompted such a strange reaction out of Cameron after JT had mentioned Angela. Granted JT was well aware of how awful Evie’s father was, but how could Cameron react that way without hearing out everything? Come to think of it, the fact that Angela was with Evie’s father brought up more questions as JT wondered if maybe Evie was right about keeping things between the two of them. Perhaps Cameron was of no help after all.


“So tell me something sweetheart,” Martha leaned over the counter eyeing Evie intently after their conversation fell to silence, “What’s really on your mind?”

“Nothing,” Evie lied as her dark eyes traveled over to where JT was over by the phone, “other than enjoying this beautiful morning of course.”

“I can spot a lie a million miles away and that one was a whopper,” Martha noted suspiciously as she stood up straighter, “So how about we give this another go round and you tell it to me like it really is?”

“JT and I were just trying to get breakfast and,” Evie paused realizing there was no point in trying to decipher what was on her mind. “Have you ever been in a place where you find yourself worried about what tomorrow brings?”

“Welcome to the world,” Martha reached for a hand towel and wiped at the bar top. “I think we’ve all been there at one point or another honey.”

“I think it’s the story of my life,” Evie fidgeted her fingers nervously. “I mean I can’t even remember a morning when I didn’t wake up afraid or guilty about having to hide things from the people I love, but circumstances just haven’t left me with any other alternative.”

“It sounds serious,” Martha’s brow raised.

Evie nodded shamefully, “It’s very serious, but I’m trying to do the right things in my life. That’s why we’re here you know.”

“You and JT?” Martha motioned over to the phones area once again.

Evie nodded again, “He’s such a wonderful man, but sometimes I worry about what his being involved with me will bring his way. He’s incredible, but I’m so afraid that my past might come around and hurt our future together.”

“I’m sure whatever it is that’s going on is something that JT’s prepared for,” Martha replied with a thoughtful expression. “After all you two are engaged sugar and I’m guessing he’s aware of what’s troubling you.”

“He’s the only person I’ve ever really trusted enough to bring on the inside,” Evie explained rubbing her palms together as a chill overtook her. “I mean he doesn’t know every detail, but he’s been so supportive and understanding. I’m just worried that my father will find a way to intervene somehow and…”

“Father huh?” Martha couldn’t help but smirk. “Most father’s aren’t happy about the idea of their daughters being around JT.”

“My father isn’t like most,” Evie wrinkled her nose. “He’s always up to no good, which has put me in a bad place in my life. I tried to rise above it, but most of the time I’ve had no choice in the matter. Truth be told I’ve never really experienced true freedom until I met JT.”

“He’s a wild one,” Martha noted turning her attention to JT once again.

“But he’s my white knight,” Evie’s grin expanded as a warmth carried over her. “He brought me out here to show me a whole new outlook on life and I have to tell you we’re off to a great start thus far. It makes me almost forget about the world I left behind.”

“Sometimes an escape is a good thing, but sooner or later people have to face their troubles and find a way to put them to rest,” Martha explained with a concerned look on her face. “Right now escapism sounds like a wonderful idea, but until you can truly stare down your demons and rise above them, you’ll always have a dark cloud hanging over you. Sure, you can pretend it’s not there, but deep down you’ll know.”

“I can’t see confronting my issues as being a productive idea right now when the past should be irrelevant,” Evie continued to think aloud more than anything else. “I’m not what I was before JT and I met. He’s given me an alternative.”

“An alternative?” Martha repeated giving her a long look. “Is that because you’re trying to run away from something else and he seems like a good place to fall?”

“No, it’s nothing like that at all,” Evie shook her head adamantly. “I love JT and he’s my world, which is why I don’t want my father to hurt him. You see my father’s a very bad man. Come to think of it I can’t believe I’m telling you all of this…”

“Hey, I’m a bartender. What you say is safe with me,” Martha crossed her fingers over her chest. “It’s in our code of ethics.”

“Still I don’t want to be dumping on you,” Evie hesitated once again.

“It sounds like you need someone to talk to,” Martha glanced over at JT, who was dialing on the phone again, “and while he’s good for a lot of things, sometimes a gal pal can help.”

“I suppose, but when it gets down to it the truth is my father is a conman and a really horrible human being,” Evie revealed with a tiny shudder. “He’s only going to miss me when I can’t be there with him running his scams. That’s really all he’s used me for over the years…”

“And you’re afraid one of his cons will hurt JT?” Martha asked.

“No,” Evie shook her head adamantly, “because JT knows all about my father. He knows about what my father is capable of.”

“And it doesn’t matter to him because he loves you and you love him,” Martha realized watching Evie nod.

“He’s incredible and I don’t know what I did to end up with someone as amazing as he is, but I thank my lucky stars each and every day that he came my way,” Evie confessed proudly as she looked over to where JT was again and waved. He smiled and waved back causing her heart to melt.

“He looks very happy,” Martha replied reaching for a glass behind the bar, “and the way I see it anyone that makes JT happy is okay by me.”

“Really?” Evie turned to face her again.

“Sure sugar,” Martha poured her a juice, “so how about we focus on that and we start talking about gossip where he’s concerned? I’m sure after that it’ll perk you up and amuse you.”

“It sounds like a great plan,” Evie decided with a smile hoping that perhaps she would truly find a way to move beyond the concerns her father had given her over the years. Maybe love alone would be enough for her and JT. Everything else was irrelevant.


Heather sat at the bar sipping on the martini she’d ordered herself after she’d decided that she’d had more than enough of the Avery saga upstairs. While she’d promised Kyle that she would behave, she found it increasingly difficult to do so with Avery running around making issues out of each and every twist in her life. It was bad enough that Heather had to deal with Avery before when Heather had a thing for Brant, but now that Heather had found real true love in her life the last thing she wanted to bother with was Avery Morrison and all of her millions of issues. It was enough to want to drive Heather to drinking. Then again, she realized as she raised her martini to her lips, she already had.

“I just need to get Kyle alone for a while,” Heather thought aloud realizing that some time with her husband one on one would make any forced meeting with Avery bearable. Yes, that was certainly what she would do since she’d promised Kyle that she would behave. She gave Kyle her word and while in the past that was something she might’ve gone back on with anyone else, with Kyle she knew better. She loved him enough to try to be nice, but it wasn’t as easy as she’d hoped.

“I can do this,” she tried to give herself a pep talk reminding herself that once this weekend was over she wouldn’t have to bother with Avery.

“I don’t know what it is that you think you can do, but if you need help, I’d love to offer a hand,” a smooth voice suggested rousing Heather from her Avery loathing. She tipped her head up to see a man in a suit standing beside her. He motioned to the bar stool next to where she’d been seated. “Is this seat taken?”

“Well actually,” she began watching him slide onto the stool beside her.

“I was hoping it wouldn’t be,” he grinned over at her offering up his hand, “because you’re far too beautiful of a woman to be drinking here by yourself.”

“Thanks, but I’m not really alone,” she started seeing the way his eyes swept over her. There was something about him that made her uncomfortable as his eyes were eerily familiar, yet she couldn’t quite place his face. Then again as she was staring at her drink, she found herself less interested in really giving him a complete glance.

“Really?” he arched a curious brow. “It doesn’t look like anyone is with you.”

“That’s because he’s not here yet, but he will be,” Heather informed him bluntly finding herself in no mood to tell losers to take a hike now that she had more than enough on her mind. She swirled her drink around in her hand before taking a small sip.

“I’m exactly what you‘re craving and deep down I‘m sure we both know it,” he offered his hand to her again only to discover she wasn’t taking any interest.

“And I’m married,” she informed him with a small scowl not bothering to give him another glance.

“I don’t see a ring,” he tilted his head just enough to lean in closer to her.

“I’m getting it cleaned right now, but rest assured I’m not just telling you this to brush you off, although it would be a nice option,” she spoke up with heavy sarcasm waving her hand at him dismissively. “I’m very married and not at all interested in having a conversation, so back off.”

“Fine, then no conversation. Although I‘m fairly certain that you and I have quite a bit we can talk about with one another,” he suggested with a low breath of a whisper against the side of her neck bringing forth a heightened sense of awareness in the moment.

“I really don’t think that…” Heather shifted on the barstool uncomfortably as her green eyes focused on the drink in the hopes that the man beside her would take a hint at what she was trying to say to him.

“But I can take you to the moon and the stars with a moment inside of heaven,” he goaded her further, this time his fingertips teasing across the bare skin on her arm. “That’s where I’d like to be you know. Inside of heaven.”

She stiffened, recognizing the tone in his voice. While he was speaking in a raspy whisper, she was well aware of the sound that came along with those kind of words. In that moment, she flashed back to the point in her life she’d fought like hell to forget. Clenching her purse from the bar top she cleared her throat again.

“I’m not interested,” she repeated as she closed her eyes.

“Just ignore him and he’ll go away,” she thought to herself knowing only too well that from the timber in his tone that the man beside her had clearly seen the movie she’d fought to bury in her past. She felt his index finger taper off over her shoulder, drawing a lazy circle across her skin and she fought to repress a whimper at the familiarity of the moment.

“Don’t touch me,” Heather snapped pushing away from him as she finally faced him.

“I didn’t mean anything by it,” he relented bringing his hands up in the air.
“The hell you didn’t,” Heather snarled finally taking another look at his cold, dark eyes. While she’d not really paid attention to the muscled man beside her, in that moment she felt an uncanny sensation overtake her. It was a combination of his words and his lecherous tone that took her back transforming him to the man she’d first encountered all those years ago in Los Angeles.

“I’ll take you to heaven and back again baby,” she could hear her mother’s boyfriend’s voice ripple over her in that back alley as he’d had his way with her. Even now as she focused on the man before her, she found herself seeing visions of a man that couldn’t be there. There was something in his eyes that felt cold and twisted like Tony’s were, but she was certain Tony couldn’t be seated beside her. Tony wouldn’t be on the island. Not after she…

“You look a bit flustered,” he smiled over at her, causing her stomach to be tied in knots.

“No, you can’t…” Heather bit back on her words, feeling as if she’d seen a ghost as she leaned back further on the bar stool.

“Can’t what darling?” his grin expanded causing her to stiffen.

She closed her eyes thinking to the last time she saw Tony--to the way his hands were all over her, cajoling her into something she wasn’t ready for and didn’t want until finally she broke free of the ties he’d had over her. She blinked back at the man beside her trying to convince herself that he wasn’t at all a reincarnation of Tony. He couldn’t be there considering that the last time she’d seen him she’d put an end to his hold on her. She’d broken free once and for all. Looking down to her hands Heather could still feel the stickiness of his blood upon them, could almost see the crimson shade staining her flawless skin. Tony was gone. He was long forgotten and this man’s approach was just some way of her mind mixing his words and making her think things that weren’t at all possible.

“I’m not interested in a conversation,” Heather repeated her mantra further as she forced herself to turn away from the man beside her. “I’m married.”

“Who says that we have to make that a problem for us?” he smirked wider than before clearly amused by her response to him. “If I can’t talk you into dinner how about a drink then?”

“Maybe you didn’t hear the lady,” Kyle placed his hand on the man’s shoulder, “but she’s very married.”

“So it would seem,” the man glanced up at Kyle seeing the muscle mass in front of him. He rose up off of the stool and backed off enough to give Kyle some space. “I believe this seat is yours.”

“That it is, so scram,” Kyle snarled at the man seeing him rush off into the distance before he joined Heather. “Please tell me that you’re not so mad at me that you are going to run away with that loser.”

“I wouldn’t be that desperate even if you divorced me,” she informed him point blank her green eyes reaching out into him as she fought to bury the thoughts that had consumed her upon the man‘s arrival at the bar.

It was her past and now was time to focus on her present, she vowed as she let out another breath thinking about what had transpired between her and Kyle, “Of course I hope that’s not where this is headed now that I’ve upset you in not being able to cater to Avery.”

“Of course I’m not going to divorce you for not liking Avery,” Kyle shook his head at her before reaching out to squeeze her hand in his gently, “but I wish you’d try to be civil for the weekend.”

“That’s like asking me to pull out all of my fingernails and my eyelashes one by one in a slow, agonizing torture,” she shuddered at the notion. “Then again that would be more appealing.”

“Heather,” he squeezed her fingers once again, “look I know that I promised you that I wouldn’t ever try to change you or who you are once we were together, but Avery is like family to me.”

“And I’m not telling you that you can’t care for her. Kyle, I know that you have friends and a life that extends well beyond what we have. I don’t fault you for that and I would never, ever ask you to choose between them and me,” Heather sighed knowing full well she’d been giving Kyle a hard time about his friendship with Avery. “I love you and in loving you I love all that you are. I love that you have a good heart and that you care about those around you. I love that you’re loyal and wonderful and that you don’t give up on people who are important in your life.”

“I wouldn’t dream about doing something like that just like I wouldn’t dream about trying to make you someone that you aren’t Heather. When I fell in love with you it was because I love you--all of you and I don’t expect you to become someone that you don’t want to be. Our marriage isn’t about that,” he leaned in closer to her, his lips just a fraction of an inch away from hers. “I hope you know that by now.”

“I just don’t want this to be a problem for us,” Heather sighed tipping her head so that their lips were a mere breath away from one another.

“It’s only a problem if we let it become one and I personally don’t want to see that happen. I know we can make it through this weekend without all hell breaking loose. I have faith in us,” he whispered reaching out to press her long, blonde hair away from her face in a soft, tender movement. “I’ve always had faith in us even when it seemed hopeless.”

“I know,” she nodded in confession tilting her head in closer to his, “I love you Kyle and after everything I don’t want to lose you.”

“Honey, even if you filed a restraining order against me and ran me down with the car you wouldn’t lose me,” Kyle promised dropping his hand down to touch her leg gently. He moved in to press a small kiss over her lips before hearing her faint laughter.

“I sincerely hope it wouldn’t get to that because I would hate to ruin my car like that,” she teased snaking her arm around his shoulders. “It would be far too messy.”

“Knowing you I would imagine you’d use mine,” he joked with her pulling her off of the barstool she was seated on and into his lap. He knew that they’d had a few eyes on them from other bar patrons, but he didn’t care. He felt her snuggle into him and their lips met in another small display of tenderness.

“That’s not a half bad idea,” she wrapped her arms around his shoulders leaning into him. She rubbed her nose in against his before stealing a kiss from his lips. “That’s really pretty good.”

“And if you even tried it I would have to punish you for it,” he joked in response squeezing her in against him.

“How about we skip over the whole running you over and get to that punishment upstairs in our hotel room maybe with you on the bed and…”

“How about we stop before we start,” Kyle suggested sliding his finger over her bottom lip in a slow dragging motion. “I don’t think it’s fair to delve into something that we can’t follow through on.”

“Once I get you upstairs and naked I can promise you I’ll more than follow through,” she wiggled on his lap teasing her tongue past the crease in his lips. She slid her fingers into his long, blonde hair before letting out a small sigh. “Surely you can give your wife a few minutes of your time.”

“Considering how much you sacrificed to be here with me this weekend, I can promise you that I’ll give you a whole hell of a lot more than a few minutes,” he promised sealing his words with another kiss. “I love you Heather Houston.”

“And I love you Kyle Houston and I always will,” she replied finding herself at complete ease in his arms now that it was clear that regardless of the difference of opinion between them one thing would always remain the same when it came to their feelings for one another. Neither one of them intended on letting go of anything that existed between them in terms of their marriage and that in itself was the one thing that would keep them from falling to the other failures that had surrounded their lives before they’d found one another again.


“Why didn’t I think about this before?” Ria mouthed to herself pushing open the door to find a room that was the exact opposite of the rest of the apartment. There were pink frills on the walls and a small twin bed set up near the window. Hanging over the small white dresser there was a pair of tiny ballerina shoes on the wall and a bear similar to the one that Ria held in her arms. She moved forward not really quite sure what to find, but everything was starting to make sense.

“She has a child,” Ria mouthed to herself trying to rationalize what Marie had said to her. At the time Ria hadn’t been sure what to expect, but remembering how Kevin had mentioned casually that he’d dated Marie once, it all was becoming clearer to her. This woman--this woman who had lived in such a vile, unkempt place not only had lost herself in a drug addiction, but she’d also had a daughter that she had to have wanted someone to know about--more specifically Marie had wanted Kevin to know about her.

“Oh God,” Ria blinked back almost dropping the teddy bear in her arms. It all was right in front of Ria this whole time. The way that Marie had beckoned her--the way that Marie kept mentioning Kevin. Marie needed Kevin to know what she had to say because what she had to tell Ria involved Kevin more than he realized. He’d dated Marie in the past and given that Marie had a child, it made sense. Kevin was the child’s father. He had to be because why else would Marie have been so desperate to find Kevin?

“This is crazy,” Ria paused searching around the room for a sign of life. The silence was all that surrounded her. She tried to think straight, but all that came to her mind was the idea that somewhere out there Kevin had a daughter with a woman who had died at her hospital after inflicting pain upon herself. It was clear that Marie had been broken by something, but was it her unrelenting feelings for a man she couldn’t have? For a man who wouldn’t love her back?

“No, you’re reading too much into this,” Ria reminded herself turning around again and noticing for the first time a photograph on the dresser. It was then that Ria found herself met by a pair of familiar eyes. The resemblance was uncanny and in that moment Ria knew that her suspicions had been dead on. Moving forward she reached out to the photo pulling it off of the dresser top as the brown eyes seemed to follow her. The little girl couldn’t have been more than five years old in the photo, yet there was no mistaking her eyes of that smile that carried over her. It was the same smile that Ria had found herself lost in time and time again. It was the same smile that brought her to laughter and to paradise again and again. It was that same smile that Ria knew she wouldn’t be able to live without and yet it was the same smile that the little girl in the photo carried with her in a moment of sheer delight.

“How is this possible?” Ria questioned unable to take her eyes off of the framed photo of the dark haired girl, who was dressed in an old fishing hat with a small fishing pole in her tiny hand. She held up a small fish and smiled for the camera clearly proud of her catch. There was something behind her that appeared to be lake cardinal and a boat in the distance.

“I don’t believe this. He has a daughter,” Ria blurted out feeling a sinking sensation carry over her now that she’d pieced the puzzle together. Marie Hage hadn’t been driven to misery only because of circumstances, but because she’d spent all this time living a horrible secret about the child she’d refused to let Kevin in on.

Thinking about the state of the apartment that surrounded her, Ria realized that Kevin’s child had grown up in a place that was filled with horrors. A life filled with a mother who obviously was too strung out to pay her attention and give her the love and care that she needed. It was a place where life seemed to have reached a new low and any chance for normalcy ceased to exist outside of the room that Ria now stood in.

“Oh God,” Ria felt a sinking feeling carry over in the pit of her stomach. She held onto the photo and turned to search the room again. A child that young couldn’t possibly have gotten too far. There was no way that the little girl could’ve worked her way out of the apartment unnoticed.

Moving over to the closet Ria pulled the door open half expecting to find the small girl hidden inside, but instead she found the closet filled with a few pieces of clothing that clearly couldn’t have belonged to a five year old. There were a few scantly clad pieces that Ria suspected had belonged to Marie. That in itself caused Ria to shudder as she closed the closet once more. Turning her attention to the bed, she wondered if perhaps the little girl could be underneath terrified with the knowledge that her mother had abandoned her and that she was alone in this dark and miserable place. Instinctively Ria rushed over to the bed lifting up the pink frilly bed skirt. She took in a breath before getting down on her knees and looking for the child. Again she found nothing more than a box underneath.

“Where could she be,” Ria questioned sitting up again as she looked to the photo. Suddenly something hit her when she focused on the image in front of her. The little girl still had Kevin’s eyes, but it was the boat behind her that had sparked Ria’s interest. She eyed it for a long moment before bringing it in closer. It was a photo of the Red Raven, a fishing boat that stopped running in Lake Cardinal over a decade ago. There was no way that this photo could’ve been taken recently considering that…

“Oh my God,” Ria gasped setting the photo down and looking under the bed again. She reached for the box and pulled it out from it’s place beneath the blankets. It was a heavy, metal box and Ria noticed that it had a lock on it. She tried to pry it open, but much to her dismay was unable to do so.

“Damn it,” she cursed under her breath looking around for something that could help her open up the lockbox, but there was nothing in the girl’s room to offer any assistance. Frowning she pulled herself up off of the floor and then reached for the box. It was a bit heavier than she’d anticipated, but still she knew she had to find what was inside of it.

Moving out into the apartment again Ria made her way into the kitchen and found herself met by the stench yet again. It had been muted in the girl’s bedroom, but now it was stronger than ever threatening to cause Ria to lose what little food she’d had in her stomach. Still she had to find something to open the box with. She entered the kitchen setting the box down on a tiny bit of free space on the countertop. Moving to the drawers she pulled one open hoping to find a knife or something similar that she could use on the lock, but much to her dismay she found nothing. She turned to look towards the dumped over kitchen table and spotted a piece of fragmented mirror that had shattered in the fall.

“You can do this,” Ria took in a breath pulling off her jacket and using the sleeve to pick the piece of mirror off of the floor. She wiped it off for a moment before wiggling the fragment into the side of the box. After a few minutes of maneuvering she managed to pop the lock and the container opened just a fraction of an inch.

“Thank you,” she whispered taking in a breath as she wearily opened the box not sure she was ready for what was inside. Still she kept focused and dropped the lid back only to discover various documents in front of her.

“What in the…” she pulled out one paper and noticed Kevin’s signature on the bottom. It seemed to be some kind of medical release form dated over sixteen years ago. As Ria looked over the papers in her hand she realized it was a medical report of a shooting that took place involving Kevin. He’d been injured in the shooting from what she could see and there was a diagnosis on his visit to the emergency room. Returning her focus to the box again, she reached for another document discovering a similar document on Angela Stone. It went on to speak about her being brought into the hospital on the same night and spoke of her going into labor leading to a live birth. Ria’s eyes widened as there was yet another piece of paper in front of her that appeared to be a birth certificate.

“What in the…” Ria’s eyes widened as she realized it was the birth certificate that had been printed out when Angela had her baby. She looked over it briefly reading of the little girl that had been born the same night of Kevin’s shooting with Angela listed as the mother and Kevin as the father. Suddenly her thoughts lingered back to the story Kevin had told her about losing his daughter--about how he’d endured hell and more when his world had fallen apart. She then spotted the photograph that lay beside the birth certificate. It was of a much younger Marie, who was holding a small child draped in a pink blanket. The date on the corner of the photo was the same year and month as the birth certificate that Ria held in her hand.

“No,” Ria blurted out reaching into the box again and seeing photo after photo of the little girl that Marie had been holding chronicling her life as she aged from an infant to a toddler much like the photo that Ria had picked up in the bedroom. It was with each photo that Ria recognized the same eyes that had convinced her the child was Kevin’s, but now that Ria looked at the birth certificate, she realized she’d been mistaken. The was no way that Marie could’ve been the mother. Yes, she’d thought that Kevin and Marie may have had a child together, but now as Ria looked between the birth certificate and the photos in front of her, she knew full well that the child before her looked not only like Kevin, but Angela as well. It was then that what Marie was trying to tell her truly hit her. Marie Hage had lived a life of misery and self loathing not because she’d been dumped by Kevin, but rather because she’d stolen the one thing that meant more than anything else in the world to Kevin in taking his daughter. She’d ripped that piece of Kevin’s heart out of his chest and in doing so Marie not only lived an incredible lie all these years of raising the child, but she’d stolen the one thing that would’ve kept Kevin and Angela together through the years--their daughter!


...to be continued...