Episode 411

“You shouldn’t have stopped me from going over there and beating the life out of him,” Hart frowned turning around to face Jenna after he’d spent the night fuming over his father’s duplicity in helping to rush Sam out of the country before Hart could talk her out of it. “He would’ve deserved absolutely everything I would’ve given him even if he tried to play the I’m dying trump card on you.”

“Hart, I don’t think he was lying about that,” Jenna offered up with a small frown. “He seemed sincere when he told me that…”

“My father has mastered the art of feigning sincerity when it fits his purposes,” Hart glanced over at her once again before pacing around the room. “The fact of the matter is that he knows how to play the part and do it well. You should’ve seen him after he drove my mother to her death. He was sweet as sugar, but all the while you knew full well that he was a son of a bitch.”

“Even so I do think he cares about Sam,” Jenna started once again.

“Of course he does,” Hart let out a pinched laugh, “because he knows full well that it drives me crazy in allowing him to be a part of Sam’s life. He knows that she isn’t at all aware of what a manipulative son of a bitch he truly is and because of that he’s bilking this situation for all it’s worth.”

“Even so right now you and your father getting into a fist fight isn’t going to help anything,” she frowned back at him.

“It might make me feel better,” he shrugged his shoulders before bringing his fingers through his dark hair. “Jenna, you have no idea how upset I am right now.”

“Oh I’m pretty sure that I’ve got a good indication of just how upset you are,” she noted watching him closely, “but you need to channel all of that on a more positive level so to speak.”

“Positive,” Hart repeated with an uneasiness in his tone, “Jen I can’t think of anything positive about my daughter being half a world away from us.”

“It’s not as far as it seems and Hart if nothing else at least she’s happy,” Jenna reminded him thinking about Sam’s position in all of what was happening.

“Sam doesn’t know what she wants at this point,” Hart decided returning to the closet as Jenna watched him from the bed area. A moment later he exited the closet with a suitcase in hand, “which is why I’m going to have to show her what it is that’s best for her.”

“Hart, what are you doing?” Jenna questioned worriedly watching him throw the suitcase down on the bottom of the bed.

“Talking sense back into my daughter again and if that doesn’t work, then I’m going to pull her back home whether she likes it or not,” Hart announced with a newfound determination his tone.

“Hart, you can’t do that. Sam would be horrified to see you show up and rip her out of her place in London,” Jenna stood up and walked over to where he was. She reached out to him, placing her hand on his arm gently. “You can’t go sweeping in there like a madman telling her she can’t follow her dreams Hart. Even if you don’t like what’s happening, if you go in there with guns blazing then she’s going to hate you forever.”

“I really don’t care at this point Jenna because I’m not about to just sit idle and lose my daughter when I’ve already missed out on so very much of her life,” Hart informed her with a heavy scowl creasing over his features.

“If you go over to London with this madman routine, you’re only going to push her away further,” Jenna explained worriedly. “This isn’t going to accomplish anything more than heartache for both of you.”

“I’m doing what I have to do in order to see to it that I don’t lose her Jen,” Hart’s dark eyes pleaded with her again, “I know that you might not understand that, but I don’t have a choice in the matter. I’m going to London to bring my daughter back to me whether anyone likes it or not. Nothing’s going to stop me!”


Ria stumbled backwards still trying to process what she’d just uncovered when she’d stepped into Marie’s apartment. While she wasn’t quite sure what she would find never in a million years did she imagine that it would be not only proof that Kevin had a child in the world, but rather that it was his daughter with Angela. That idea in itself hadn’t even factored into the equation but as Ria looked at the various photos of the little girl in front of her it all made sense. Marie Hage had been taken down a suicidal path because she’d traveled into nefarious territory--the same kind of territory that had caused a permanent wedge between Kevin and Angela severing their relationship. It was the death of their daughter that had split them and now…

“Kevin’s daughter is still alive,” Ria realized turning her attention to the box again. She searched the rest of the papers in the hopes of finding an image that would show her what the girl had grown into, but there was nothing. The most recent photo that she’d found was the one that had been in the bedroom and that was at least a decade old at best.

Suddenly Ria felt the combination of the smell in the apartment and the knowledge that she’d walked in upon causing her breath to get caught in her throat. Her lungs felt heavy and her pulse was racing. It felt as if the room was closing in on her and she knew that she needed to get out of there right away. Everything from Marie’s arrival at the hospital to this shocking discovery had been too much.

Quickly Ria shuffled with the papers in the box putting them all inside as her stomach started to turn. Once she was certain she’d had everything, she closed the lid and headed towards the front door hoping to make it out before her emotions got the best of her. She was one foot outside of the door when suddenly she couldn’t hold back any longer. Desperately searching for something, anything to keep her from going under Ria spotted a potted plant beside her. It was clear that the plant had seen better days now that it was lifeless inside of the pot. Swiftly she dumped it over before finding her resolve slipping away. In an agonizing breath she couldn’t help but lose that snack bar that was threatening to leave her stomach. She bit back on her gag reflex the best she could as she shamelessly found herself throwing up on Marie Hage’s front porch with the box of Kevin’s daughter’s existence beside her. Just when she’d thought she was ready to pull herself together another wave of nausea carried over her and Ria sank to the porch outside the apartment clinging to the pot as if her life depended on it.

“Get yourself together,” she muttered under her breath wondering why she’d had such a violent reaction to the news she’d uncovered. Yes, it was shocking. Yes, it was unexpected, but she could handle this. She could face this truth and face Kevin and…

“Kevin,” she mouthed to herself realizing that this changed everything. She’d been concerned about Kevin before when Angela had her amnesia, but now knowing that there was a tie that bound Kevin and Angela together--a very real, very living tie that wasn’t about to disappear, it put a whole new spin on things.

“They have a daughter,” Ria actualized in her head. “She’s alive and out there. Kevin’s daughter didn’t die…”

Ria felt a shiver carry over again and her stomach did flip flops. She glanced into the pot she’d been using as a safety net and she groaned. She discarded it shoving it to the far end of the porch as she sank back against the apartment door. Right now she didn’t give a damn who saw her since it was all too much. It was all so overwhelming and as she looked to the box in front of her, she couldn’t help but reach for it. She pulled open the lid and extracted the photo of the little girl with the fisherman’s hat on.

“You’re still here,” Ria whispered knowing full well that the news about Kevin’s daughter would be something that would turn his life around. This was what he’d dreamt about--what he’d longed for more than anything in his life and as Ria looked into the eyes of the child that Kevin had fathered, she knew in an instant that this was his greatest dream come true.

“He has to know about her. I have to tell him,” Ria decided reaching into her pocket and pulling out her cell phone. She started to dial him, but then thought twice knowing full well this wasn’t the kind of news that she could give him over the phone especially when he was miles away. This wasn’t something she could just blurt out and expect him to deal with when she was away from him. This was something they had to face together--something that he would have to deal with having her at his side. He would need her to get through this--to deal with this and accept this. He would need her to…”

“Angela,” Ria gasped horrified as she realized that the woman she’d despised would have to play a role in this as well. It was Angela that had mothered his child--Angela that Kevin had loved during the time that their daughter was conceived and ultimately Angela that would be the one who would also have to deal with the emotional circumstances of this revelation. It would be Kevin and Angela who would be greeted with the news that their daughter was still very much a part of this world--that their one bond that was stronger than anything in this world was still right there waiting for them to find her so that they could be…

“Be what?” she heard an inner voice in the back of her mind question. “Be a family Ria. That’s what. This is what Kevin’s always wanted and now that he has it, why does he need you?”

“Kevin loves me,” she whispered under her breath feeling as if her worst fears were coming to life all over again.

“Why would Kevin want to be with someone like you when you’re not that special Ria?” she could almost hear her mother’s condescending tone. “Men like Kevin very seldom find themselves satisfied with women like you especially when women like Angela can give them what they need.”

“What they need…” Ria felt those words echo in her mind. More than anything Kevin wanted to be a father--to have a child to love and to raise and now Ria had that very thing in the palm of her hands. She had proof that Kevin was in fact a father and had a daughter who desperately needed him. He could have all of his dreams with Angela and nothing would stop that from happening once they found their daughter. Once Kevin learned the truth there would be no more reason for him to hold onto Ria. Angela would have given him everything he ever could’ve asked for.

“And you’ll be nothing more than a bad memory,” she could hear her mother warning her. She looked to her phone again thinking about how easily it would be for someone to make all the information she’d found at Marie’s place disappear. Someone could’ve just tossed it and no one would’ve ever known about Kevin’s daughter or about Marie’s horrible secret. Ria had been the only person that Marie had confided in and in doing so she’d put a great deal of power in Ria’s hands. It was the power to replenish a faded dream or to make the past disappear forever. Looking to her phone again Ria felt an uneasiness carry over her.

“Damn it I have to tell him. He needs to know and I can’t keep this from him,” she mouthed to herself knowing full well she was risking everything she had with Kevin, but she had to do what was right or else she’d never be able to have anything with Kevin. She wouldn’t be able to live with herself if she kept this news to herself. He had to know about his daughter. It was the key to his heart and even if it wound up costing her all that she knew and loved, she couldn’t let him believe a lie any longer. Dialing his number she waited for him to pick up, but she was met by the sound of his voice mail. With a heavy sigh, she contemplated her words.

“Kevin, it’s Ria. Listen when you get this message, please call me. There’s something we need to talk about. It’s pretty important,” she paused feeling an ache inside of her. “Kevin, I love you.”

Hanging up the phone she wondered if perhaps this was the beginning of the end for her and Kevin. Still she didn’t want to wait on being honest with him. She had to tell him the truth before she lost her nerve. Taking in another breath she reached for her phone again and dialed Brant’s number. Much to her dismay she got his voicemail as well. Hanging up the phone, Ria realized she had only one alternative alone. She had to go to the island as soon as possible and tell Kevin about her discovery thus leaving the cards to fall as they may now that it was clear that Kevin and Angela would come together again if for no other reason than to seek out the daughter that their love had created all those years ago. Whether Ria liked it or not Kevin and Angela would be forever bound to one another and there was nothing that Ria could do to change it now that the truth was in front of her ready to reveal itself to the rest of the world!


Moving up the stairs Brant heard both Kevin and Don talking about something--he couldn’t hear what exactly but he could take a guess about it being about him. When he hit Kevin with a rake he never intended to hurt him like he did and when he had done it he automatically felt bad for the move he pulled. When he got closer to the bathroom door he could hear Kevin cussing up a storm and Don saying something to him and Brant automatically started feeling bad for what he did.

“You could have warned me,” Kevin’s voice blurted out from the bathroom a loud groan filling the air of pain as Brant stepped in closer to the bathroom to look between the crack. With the small amount of space he could see Kevin looking at his body in the mirror. “That stung so bad.”

“Well what in the world did you think I was going to do with you? Tickle you and make the pain go away? I don’t think so,” Don chuckled from behind Kevin seeing the glare that Kevin shot back at him over his shoulder and Don held his hands up in the air protectively. “Hey--don’t take it out on the doctor. I’m not the one who did it to you. I was just trying to make sure it didn’t get infected or anything.”

Brant stepped in closer toward the bathroom pressing the door open seeing the way that both Kevin and Don glanced over at him. Kevin’s glare roughened as he turned away from Brant and continued to look at himself in the mirror.

“I’m going to give the two of you a minute--if I hear any fighting…,” Don began to warn the both of them seeing the way they turned to look at him and he held his hands up in the air. “I’m going to come in here and…I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but I’m going to do something really bad. So be nice to each other.”

“Keep my kitchen clean,” Kevin warned seeing Don smirk and nod slowly and Kevin started to dry off his hands after washing them in the sink. Don left the room and Kevin gave Brant a quick glance before rolling his eyes. “What do you want?"

“I didn’t mean to hit you like that,” Brant eyed over Kevin’s stomach again watching him do the same before turning away and reaching for something from the medicine cabinet. “It was just something that boiled inside of me and I know I shouldn’t have done it.”

“So that’s why you hit me twice right? After the first hit you realized that it wasn’t good enough for you, so you felt bad so you just had to make it an even number right?" Kevin smirked with sarcasm layered thick behind his voice as he pressed his hand in over Brant’s shoulder and motioned him to step aside. When he walked into the hallway he could hear Brant following him and he shook his head slowly. “Don’t even follow me. I get it. You were pissed at me and wanted to take it out on me because I had a past with Angie and refuse to give it up. I understand why you did it.”

“That wasn’t the point Kevin. I know I told you to give up Angela and to let her out of your life. To get out of it, but I don’t want that. I know you make her happy--she loves you,” Brant saw Kevin stop walking and turn on his heel to look back at him. “I know she loves you. I know that and yes--I have a jealous approach sometimes because of your past with her, but I don’t want you out of her life. You are her best friend and I know that. I should have never hit you with that rake.”

“Yeah,” Kevin totally ignored Brant’s words and moved into a room down the hallway on the right. Brant followed him in and looked around to see Kevin moving toward the closet in the corner of the room. He opened it up and reached for a shirt inside of it and a lump grew in the back of Brant’s throat as he saw in the closet what seemed to be Kevin clothes and clothes he had seen Angela wear before. This was exactly what he was talking about with hating somewhat having Kevin in Angela’s life. “What’s wrong with you?"

“Was this your room or something?" Brant looked in the closet seeing Kevin close it back up and start to pull his shirt on a bit weakly feeling his wounds stretching a bit making him wince. There was still a bit of boiling rising inside of his body as Brant thought about Kevin and Angela. “What kind of friends have you been for the last few years?"

“Friends,” Kevin simply answered hearing the over exaggerated angered noise that Brant made with his answer. Moving toward the top of the bed he sat down on the edge of it and went to open the drawer of the night stand pulling something out of while Brant glared out at him. “What are you staring at?"

“This is what I mean Kevin. You two are like part of the complete life of the other and I don’t want that anymore between you two. I don’t mind you two being friends because you both deserve at least that. It’s just look at this--you guys weren’t even dating and you two shared a room together,” Brant saw Kevin glance back at him over his shoulder and Kevin stood up from the bed watching Brant carefully. “What did you stop manipulating her into bed with you after she found me and broke your heart?"

“Manipulating her into my bed?" Kevin laughed staring out at Brant knowing that his expression had changed completely and it kind of amused him right now. Folding his arms out in front of his chest he eyed Brant over carefully and laughed. “You know Brant--for someone who is trying to apologize…you are just digging yourself a bigger hole. And if you actually knew history Brant--you’d know that Angela chased after me. Even she would tell you that.”

“Right and just because you two were friends didn’t mean you couldn’t stop sleeping with her, right?" Brant felt a rage building up inside of him and he tore the top drawer open and saw the condoms in it and he saw Kevin glare over at him. “This is what I’m talking about.”

“Okay, if you trust Angela so much then why are you having a fit? Yes, I used to have sex with Angie. Yes, I used to live with Angela. Hell, I lived with her even after she met you. And yes, I did make out with Angela after she met you, but I haven’t slept with Angela in a very long time,” Kevin moved forward pushing the drawer shut roughly seeing the glare that Brant was giving him. “Trust her--trust me. Nothing is going on and I promise you that. This whole little jealous fit you are getting into is pathetic.”

Watching Kevin smirk and shake his head slowly Brant lunged forward toward him knocking Kevin into the wall. His attack didn’t last long as he felt Kevin turn toward him and grab him by the shirt pressing him into the hallway slamming him up against one of the bedroom doors. A groan escaped his lips as he felt Kevin shove him up against it not only once but at least a good four or five times.

“Hey,” Don’s voice erupted from the stairs as Kevin dropped Brant to the ground hearing him groan out. Kevin held his hands up in the air as he saw Don with a piece of crispy bacon in his hands as he looked to Brant on the floor. “Kevin, I told you that you two needed to work things out and…”

“Oh, don’t even yell at me. He tried to attack me first,” Kevin laughed staring down at Brant as he bit down on his bottom lip. Running his fingers through his short spiked up hair he smirked and looked to Don again. “I’m sick of you Brant. To me--you’re nothing but an asshole.”

“Join the club yourself asshole because I think the same exact way about you,” Brant saw Kevin move back into the bathroom and he went to get up again feeling Don press him back again to keep the two from fighting. “You think you are so great Kevin, but as I told you…”

“Yeah…yeah…I know. We‘ve gone there already. We know what you think about me,” Kevin pointed out while holding up the broken pieces of his phone his lower lip curling into a sarcastic pout as Don held Brant back from going at Kevin again. “It’s not going to work this time, but I will tell you this Brant--you owe me a new phone.”

“Oh you have money, buy yourself a new one you jackass,” Brant snapped seeing Kevin frown and pretend to wipe at the fake tears on his eyes. Brant went to go at him again as Kevin laughed and shrugged his shoulders. “Buy yourself a new phone. It broke because you anyways.”

“Well Brant--you jumped me first and like you said, I’m just hired help,” Kevin smirked moving away from the bathroom and toward the stairs. “You were so right Mr. I’m Angela’s dream come true and yet I have to question everything she does.”

“Brant,” Don squealed seeing the way that Brant lunged forward at Kevin again when Kevin’s back was turned to them and he felt a cramp building up in his side from Brant breaking out of his grasp. The sounds of something falling down the stairs caught his attention as he quickly ran to the stairs seeing both Kevin and Brant at the bottom of the stairs throwing fists at each other again. Rolling his eyes Don moved down the stairs as quick as he could sliding to his knees trying to get Kevin off of Brant again. “Let it go Kevin. Let it go.”

“He’s the one that keeps jumping me,” Kevin blurted out seeing the way that Brant went to go for him again and Don let go of him long enough to push Brant back. “Tell him to stay off of me and I won’t touch him because I’m through with this. The next time he touches me I’ll kill him.”

“Brant, Brant,” Don snapped with a bit of venom behind his voice as he stared in the dark eyes of his best friend seeing Brant nod and step back unhappily. “Listen you two--Brant, you are my best friend. And Kevin, I consider you to be one of my very good friends. I like the both of you and I think if we work together we could get things done so much better around here. Kevin--just keep your mouth shut please and Brant--Kevin is bigger than you. Do you have a death wish? Did you hit your head too hard or something?"

“Just because he’s big doesn’t mean anything,” Brant growled in return seeing the way Kevin laughed and it just made his rage boil more. He hated when Kevin laughed, it was almost like a mocking movement he took on himself.

“Listen, I’m done with fighting with him. I’m going to go right out on the deck and chill for a little bit. For some reason my ass hurts and I’m going to guess its from someone tackling me down the stairs. So I’m going to rest on the deck,” Kevin saw the way Brant was looking at him and he pointed in Brant’s direction shaking his head slowly. “I’ll tell you this now though Brant--you can either work with me or against me, but I say screw you. Screw what you think because you’ve been nothing but a jerk. So if you don’t want to work together to find her then go screw yourself because I’m sick of this.”

“Are you on his side now or something?" Brant turned to Don seeing the way that Don held him back long enough for Kevin to get outside by himself and Don glanced back at his best friend. “He can’t go around disrespecting me like that.”

“Brant--you are my best friend in the whole world and I would do anything for you,” Don began seeing his friend turning to look at him and Don’s blue eyes stared into his fiercely with no lying behind them. “But what you did today was kind of harsh. Like really harsh. You are my best friend and I would have never seen you saying something like that Brant. It’s not you to act like this. When I woke up and went in the kitchen this morning. I saw those alcohol bottles there and I figured it was Kevin, but it was you wasn’t it? Don’t lie to me.”

“Okay. After Kevin and I had this chat I was worried and I don’t know what I was thinking and yes it was me. I had a drink to loosen up and…” Brant paused for a moment folding his arms out in front of his chest seeing the way his best friend stared out at him with his blue eyes. “Then I had this dream about Angela and Kevin. A life that they were living without me and when I woke up he was gone and I know I over reacted and I feel bad about it. Okay? I’m very hung over. I have a headache you can’t even begin to imagine and…”

“And what do you think you should do about that?" Don questioned looking over his shoulder nodding toward Kevin who they could see lying out on the deck hammock he was on. Don nodded toward outside he saw Brant staring out at him as if it was the wrong thing to do. “Brant what you said is not you. You’re not like that.”

“I know I’m not and I never meant to say those things. I let the alcohol and the dream get to me,” Brant informed him one more time seeing Don nod and Brant sighed moving out toward the deck. Stepping out onto the deck he saw Kevin’s brown eyes glance over at him before letting out a small sigh. “We need to talk.”

“Talk or fight? Because I really don’t feel like getting up right now,” Kevin stated with a sigh seeing Don watching them from inside the house and he looked to Brant seeing Brant pulling up a chair next to the hammock. There was a moment of silence between them as Brant’s brown eyes watched him. “What do you want?"

“The things I said to you…,” Brant began seeing Kevin go to roll his eyes and turn on his side as Brant caught Kevin’s wrist and shook his head slowly seeing Kevin look down to the grasp he had on him. “You need to hear this Kevin. I like you. Okay. You are a great guy and I’m a very jealous person. Right now we’re both not liking each other I understand that. Really. But what I said--I was drinking last night and I had this terrible dream. Which if you really tried to wake me up I was probably so out of it because of the alcohol and I’m sorry. You are someone. You are a great someone. Okay? I don’t think you’re nothing. I respect that you care about Angela and I can’t thank you more for doing what you do and I’m so very sorry I said what I said. I know it’s like a whole one-eighty here in less than like ten minutes but really. I wasn’t thinking. You’re very intimidating.”

“Okay,” Kevin wasn’t quite sure what to say after the apology he got as he sat up in the hammock looking out at Brant as he held his hands up in the air. “I don’t think I’m very intimidating at all. You’re the one Angie loves. That is clear as day. There is nothing to be intimidated over.”

“Come on Kevin, look at yourself,” Brant began seeing him rubbing at the back of his neck and he got up from the seat taking a seat on the hammock next to Kevin. “You are like the biggest competition I would have had back in the day. Girls like you. But right now what I wasn’t thinking of was that the both of us have two fantastic girls that we love. I was letting my jealous side get the better half of me and I should have never done that to you. I’m sorry.”

“That’s…,” Kevin heard a sound pressing in through his ears as he turned to the left seeing the hammock starting to rip with the both of them on it and in a matter of seconds it ripped. Both of them were laid out on the deck and obviously the sound caused Don to think they were fighting again as he ran out to come separate them. “Ouch.”

“Before you even go there,” Brant tossed the fragment of the hammock that fell on him to the side and groaning. “This stupid hammock broke because my fat butt sat on it.”

“How much are you packing? Do you weigh more than you look or something because damn…,” Kevin groaned placing his hand over his stomach after he collided with the floor pretty hard and he saw Brant out on the floor as well. “Ouch.”

There was a moment of silence between the three of them as Kevin got up to his knees and then to his feet. His left hand pressed in over his lower back while he reached his hand out to Brant’s. Taking it in his he pulled Brant up to his feet and patted on his shoulder before moving away from Don and Brant.

“I’m going upstairs,” Kevin moved toward the door hearing Brant call out his name as he turned on his heel. “Yeah?"

“Does that mean you forgive me?" Brant questioned seeing the look in Kevin’s eyes and after the way he treated him he knew that it would take a long time to get over something he said like that.

“I don’t know what it means,” Kevin answered with a small shrug seeing the way that Brant looked out at him and he took in a deep breath. “We’ll see.”

“I’m proud of you,” Don stepped in next to Brant placing his hand on his shoulder as they watched Kevin move into the house. “You did a good job Brant. I think you two should start to get along much better from here on out.”


“So how did it go?” Evie questioned smiling up at JT after she spotted him approaching her again. She patted on the barstool beside her motioning for him to join her while she waited for the rest of their order to come up. “What did Cameron have to say?”

“Honestly it was strange,” JT revealed thinking about the fact that his brother hung up on him.

“Strange how?” she couldn’t help but ask noticing the crease in his brow.

“Cameron was upset,” JT offered up with a shake of his head trying to explain his brother’s odd demeanor. “He was worried about Angela after what I told him about your father. He said she was missing and…”

“And what?” she questioned seeing something flash behind his eyes.

“It was just strange,” JT shrugged his shoulders before meeting her eyes again, “There really isn’t any other word that fits really.”

“You know maybe our being on the island here isn’t really a smart idea after all. Something tells me that there is a lot more happening here than you and I,” Evie couldn’t help but suggest knowing full well that if her father had someone like Cameron shaken, then there was plenty of reason to be concerned. Sure, she knew what her father was capable of, but now that it seemed that JT’s family was unsettled about it too, she was more convinced that she needed to get away from the man who had made her life miserable.

“I won’t argue that one. In fact I was thinking about making a few phone calls about our taking a flight out of here. I‘m sure we can go somewhere just as nice and not have to worry about all the happenings around us.,” JT explained knowing full well if Cameron was worked up about something, then there was plenty of reason to be concerned.

“I hope you don’t plan on leaving anytime soon,” Martha’s voice interrupted as she returned with their carry out bags in her hands. “I just heard that there is a big storm brewing on the water and all flights for the next few days are going to be delayed out here. No one is going to be coming or going.”

“What kind of storm?” Evie questioned with a gulp feeling a nervousness in the pit of her stomach.

“Don’t worry honey they sound a lot worse than they are,” Martha offered with a small wave before smiling, “They sound like the world is ripping apart, but when it gets down to it everything kind of evens itself out around here.”

“JT I don’t want to be stuck in a storm,” she replied worriedly as she thought she saw a dark cloud in a distance. “I don’t do well in storms.”

“I know, but if they shut down the airport, we’re going to have to be stuck here,” he paused searching her eyes for a moment, “If you’re worried about being here, we can go back to Cameron’s place for a while. I know it’s a lot bigger than the other place we’ve been at and…”

“No,” Evie shook her head firmly, clenching her fingers into tiny fists. “I just want to go back to the kittens and just stay with them. They probably won’t like a storm either.”

“Did you say kittens?” Martha replied with a curious expression.

“Yeah, we kind of stumbled upon a family,” JT added glancing over at Martha in between keeping an eye on Evie. “We were on our way to go pick up a few things for them after we left here.”

“Well hell let me get you some milk or something. I have plenty of supplies around here that you can take with you for both you and Evie and the kittens,” Martha assured him with a small wave.

“You keep kitten food in the bar now?” JT couldn’t help but give her a strange look.

“Don’t you dare read anything into it,” Martha warned him circling around the bar and motioning for JT and Evie to follow her into the back area where the supplies were. “We’ve had a few strays lingering around in the area and you know how I feel about charity cases.”

“You can’t turn anyone away,” JT nodded in understanding reaching for Evie’s hand and lacing their fingers with one another while they followed Martha into the stock room. She pointed to an entire rack of shelves that she had filled with various cat foods, toys, bedding and more.

“I’d say you were doing a bit more than feeding them,” JT couldn’t help but laugh realizing that the back room looked more like a pet store than anything else.

“Yeah well I did the same thing for you when you were down and out too, so I don’t want to hear it,” Martha glanced over at Evie once again after she’d turned abnormally silent. “You okay sugar?”

“I just really, really don’t like storms,” Evie explained in a tense tone, her fingers squeezing JT’s hand harder than before when a thunder cloud sounded overhead.

“It’s okay. We won’t be in it long,” JT promised turning to cup her face in his hands. “I’ll just go out and bring the Jeep around back. We can load up from that door over there and then get on our way back to the beach house. Okay?”

Evie nodded, “Sure. I’d like that.”

“Then I’ll get right on it,” JT assured her before turning to Martha. “What do I owe you for all of this?”

“Nothing,” Martha waved her hand dismissively. “Just seeing you two kids happy is all the payment I need. Hell, I’ll even whip up a few more meals for the two of you since I’m pretty sure you won’t be getting out much over the next few days.”

“I’m staying at Todd’s old place, so if you have a few candles around or some firewood that would be great too. I can pay you for that,” JT whispered taking a step in closer to her.

“You can have all the firewood and candles you need kiddo. That’s all over there,” Martha motioned towards the door. “Take whatever you want and we’ll just talk about the details later.”

“Thanks Martha,” JT reached out to give her a hug before looking over his shoulder at a now visibly upset Evie. “Will you keep an eye on her while I go get the Jeep?”

“Sure honey,” Martha nodded watching JT return to Evie and give her one last kiss.

“I’ll be right back,” he promised before leaving the stock room to go get the Jeep for loading.

“Come on,” Martha decided reaching out to drag Evie with her back towards the bar area. “Let’s get you two hooked up with some groceries and then you can get on your way.”

“Okay I…” Evie stiffened hearing a sound of thunder overhead.

“It’ll pass honey. Trust me,” Martha tried to coax Evie into relaxing, but judging by the expression on the girl’s face she was pretty sure it was going to take a lot of work. If Evie’s eyes were any indication about her fears surrounding storms, then Martha had a feeling that JT was in for a long night. Still refusing to let Evie get lost in her worries, Martha tugged on her arm again. “Come on honey. Let’s pack you up some food.”

“Okay,” Evie decided reluctantly following Martha, while silently praying that the storm wouldn’t rage out of control leaving her feeling helpless all over again. Closing her eyes she took in a breath and resolved to get things together to take back to the beach house now that she was pretty sure that she and JT would be stuck in there for a while with one another whether they wanted to be or not at this point.


“Now are you sure you can behave?” Kyle questioned pausing in the hallway outside of Russ and Avery’s hotel room door. He turned to face his wife and eyed her intently before reaching for her hand and raising it to his lips. “For me?”

“I already told you that I would try,” Heather groaned outwardly feeling her frustrations mounting.

“I realize that, but I just wanted to double check,” Kyle explained with a hint of warning in his tone.

“I promise I won’t try to kill her or anything,” Heather watched Kyle knock at the hotel room door before she spoke up underneath her breath, “unprovoked.”

“Heather,” Kyle frowned turning around to face her again as the hotel room door opened and Russ stood on the other side.

“Kyle,” Russ greeted his friend with a hearty grin and a hug, “glad you could make it.”

“Do you honestly think I would miss out on being the best man this time around? Not on your life,” Kyle replied returning the embrace before his hazel eyes darted off towards where Avery was over by the window. With a smile Kyle stepped away from Russell and walked over to Avery, picking her up in his arms without hesitation, “Hey beautiful. How’s the bride to be doing?”

“Kyle,” Avery smiled brightly, squeezing her arms around him as he kept her up in the air, “it’s so good to see you here.”

“I wouldn’t miss this for the world sweetheart,” Kyle confessed kissing her cheek lightly. “I figure this time I’ll not only be the best man, but the annoying guy who keeps whipping out his camera phone to take video during the ceremony.”

“You’d better not,” Avery warned as he set her down on her feet again, “because we’ve paid more than enough for a videographer to cover that much of the wedding.”

“Fair enough,” Kyle shrugged, “but you can’t keep me from snapping at least a few photos.”

“I suppose not,” Avery patted his chest lightly, feeling her smile expand before she spotted Heather at the far end of the room over by Russ. Immediately Avery’s smile faded and she tipped her head up towards Kyle again with a frown. “I see you didn’t take the trip without excess baggage.”

“Be nice,” Kyle warned simply as he patted Avery’s nose with his index finger, “You have far more important things to be focusing on.”

“You’re right,” Avery nodded, “like making sure that Brant doesn’t ruin the big day.”

“Grady told me that he was here,” Kyle replied thinking about the conversation he’d had with his friend.

“But he’s not going to be a problem,” Russ interrupted moving towards Kyle and Avery. “We’ve got everything covered so if Brant decides to pop on by during our ceremony, he’ll be escorted out of the area.”

“I’ll personally escort him out if need be,” Kyle promised glancing over at Avery once again.

“I know you would,” Avery rubbed her palms together nervously. “I just feel like everything that could go wrong will at this point.”

“Russ hasn’t walked out on you yet, so that’s one thing you should be happy about,” Heather quipped from where she’d been standing near the far end of the room, “for now anyways.”

“You know what,” Avery scowled over at Heather, “I don’t really need your input.”

“I was just saying that you should be grateful for one thing at least,” Heather shrugged simply as Avery continued to glare at her.

“Look I don’t want your commentary,” Avery warned her with a hint of a frown teasing over the corners of her mouth.

“And I don’t really care what you’re interested in hearing out of me. I just call it like I see it,” Heather placed her hands on her hips impatiently.

“Hmm, well then I should probably start by stating a fact in telling you that you weren’t invited to be here,” Avery glared over at Heather fully.

“Yeah, well newsflash for you Avery. I don’t want to be here in the first place,” Heather hissed in response, clenching her fists at her sides.

“Heather,” Kyle spoke her name in a warning tone.

“Well it’s the truth,” Heather frowned. “Come to think of it maybe I’ll just go take my chances down by the bar again.”

“It sounds like the perfect place for you,” Avery replied with an icy smirk.

“Heather come on,” Russ turned to Kyle’s wife before looking to Avery, “Avery, honey I’m sure that we can have a simple, quiet morning here with the four of us.”

“Not with her around since she thinks we all give a damn about her opinions,” Avery replied with another glare over at Heather.

“At least mine don’t center around delusions of grandeur considering that Brant would never, ever crash your wedding when he’s so over his ridiculous obsession he had with you,” Heather stated plainly with a bored expression on her face. “He’s so not interested in what you do anymore Avery.”

“Hmm, well I suppose you’d be the expert on what it’s like to have Brant completely write you off since he did it so readily after he found you in bed with that movie producer,” Avery shot back at her icily.

“At least I had a good reason for what I did. What was your excuse for the way that you hopped into bed with…?” Heather started only to feel Kyle curl his fingers around Heather’s arm to place a distance between her and Avery.

“Let’s put a lid on it,” Kyle warned meeting Heather’s spiteful green eyes. “Right now I want to focus on the plans for the wedding that’s going to happen. Everything else is irrelevant to the moment.”

“I’ll second that opinion,” another voice blurted out as Kyle spotted Cheryl over at the door with Erin in her arms. “Someone else would like to say her hellos.”

“Now that’s the kind of entrance I like to see,” Kyle smiled walking over towards Cheryl and Erin. “May I?”

“Of course,” Cheryl nodded handing Erin over to Kyle. “She’s been bustling with energy all morning.”

“That’s because she knows that good things are right around the corner for her mommy and daddy,” Kyle replied kissing the top of Erin’s tiny head. “Hey beautiful, how are you?”

Erin smiled up at him and let out a tiny giggle.

“It’s so good to see you princess. You are getting more beautiful each day,” Kyle hugged Erin closer to him before turning to Russ. “It’s a good thing she takes after Avery there in the looks department.”

“Hey,” Avery curled her lip over at Kyle.

“I’m just saying,” Kyle teased further, “can you imagine her walking around built like Russ?”

“I certainly hope that never happens,” Russ laughed lightly, “even if you were trying to insult me.”

“Not really much of an insult I’m afraid,” Kyle decided as he focused on Erin again. “She’s beautiful any which way you look around it.”

“She really is,” Heather’s voice softened as she focused on Erin in Kyle’s arms.

“I’m so lucky to have this little one in my arms,” Kyle smiled as he glanced over at Avery and Russ. “We fought long and hard to be able to share this moment with her.”

“We sure did,” Russ agreed wrapping his arm around Avery’s shoulders and hugging her closer to him. “Even with the ups and downs though it’s worth it to be in this moment right now.”

“It really is,” Avery decided opting to let go of the anger for Heather in the moment that Kyle was holding Erin. Although there were a great many uncertainties about what could happen when the wedding was finally there, the most important part of it all was that they were all together enjoying the prospect of all the good things right around the corner.


“Honey?" Chase yawned moving out from the bedroom after lying down for a few hours. When he woke up he expected to find Trisha sleeping next to him, but there was no one. It wasn’t what he was hoping to wake up to considering the way he knew she felt last night. He felt like a jerk when he told her not to worry by the fear in her face, but he tried to convince her that everything would be fine. He himself didn’t know that, but it was promising when he told her something like that because then she would no longer have to worry. When he saw her sitting on balcony staring out at the cars passing by he felt worse about the situation as he moved toward the outside. “Honey? What are you doing up?"

“I didn’t feel like sleeping,” Trisha explained looking to the right to see Chase standing in the doorway to the balcony watching her carefully as she stared out at the city below. He rubbed at his naked chest before moving in closer to her and reached out to place his hand in over her shoulder supportively. “I have a lot on my mind.”

“I know sweetheart,” he sighed seeing the look in her eyes and he no longer saw that happy, perky look that came from her beautiful brown eyes but more so the worry of her possibly being pregnant. “You know, it’s just a thought that is going through your head. You may not even be pregnant.”

“Right, but I don’t know how I could let that happen,” Trisha began seeing his blue eyes staring into hers as she tried to play out what happened in her mind. Well--she knew what happened, but she was always being so careful with Chase because this relationship took off so fast, but she never was not careful. To have something like this happen to her just proved you could never be too careful because she knew this was always something that she wanted to avoid. Sure, she didn’t take it into consideration each and every day, but it came to thought when need be. “My family is going to kill me if I’m right Chase. I’m too young for this, we’re not married--I don’t even think my mom knows what kind of person I am.”

“What kind of person are you talking about?" he questioned thinking things over with the glance she gave him as his jaw dropped a little and his right eyebrow raised up in curiosity. “Oh, that kind of person. Well--I don’t think it would bother her. Maybe a little bit but…I mean--you are with a good guy who cares for you and doesn’t plan on letting go of you ever. So what’s the deal? I can’t see a pregnancy being that bad. I’d kind of like being a father. The idea always intrigued me.”

“It always intrigued you--sure, but think about it this way. I have a part time job at the paper, you are a stripper. We don’t have that much of an income coming in between the two of us already and if we have a baby that will cost twice as much as the two of us put together--there will be no way that we can make it Chase. It’s just impossible. I can’t be at home alone while you are off stripping every night--I’m too young. I just can’t handle that,” she pointed out thinking of a future with this kind of thing but every idea she came up with always ended up with her alone with the child. “I’m just not finding any positive way with this ending Chase. I don’t see it happening.”

“But we can make it happen and honey--honey, we don’t even know if your thoughts are true,” he turned her in his arms making her face him more as his right hand pressed in under his chin making her look into his blue eyes. “We will make this work if it’s true Trisha because we can do it. I promise I will find a new job--I’m not going to be a stripper forever.”

“That doesn’t really make me feel better Chase,” she silenced him seeing the way that he stared out at her as she patted him on the bare chest and then moved behind him back into the apartment after feeling a cool brisk of air pressing in over her. She heard him following her into the apartment as she turned on her heel to see his worried eyes watching her while he ran his fingers through his short spiked up blonde hair. “We’re still kids so to speak Chase--we can’t take care of one ourselves. My mom is going to kill me.”

“It’s your body and your life and why am I the only one that seems to believe that I could make a good father? It seems scary now because it’s a change, but maybe we could make a good family. I think it would be good for us,” he heard a knock at the door as he moved for it stopping midway to talk to her for a moment. “Really--this might not be as bad for us as you think.”

“Well give me the positives of this relationship,” she moved forward watching him open the door and watch her over his shoulder as she talked. “We have no right being parents right now and if anyone finds out that we are might be having a--mom?"

“What’s going on here?" Marlene Merhan questioned from the door as Trisha looked to Chase seeing his blue eyes widening as he stepped in behind her. Her mother moved into the apartment and she could feel every muscle in her body tightening up when she saw her mother’s dark eyes watching her carefully. This was like the worst possible nightmare she could have ever hoped for. The one person she was the most worried about finding out about this could quite possibly be the first person that found out about her being pregnant--if she was pregnant. This was a terrible nightmare--she wished it was. The longer she waited and the more she heard the silence she knew that this wasn’t a dream and she wasn’t going to be waking up anytime soon. This was a nightmare come to life and she wished it would be over soon, but this was something she was going to have to face sooner or later. Whether she liked it or not. “Honey--is there something you want to tell me?"


Stretching out and letting out a small groan Mindy started to stir on the couch she was sleeping on. Turning on her side she let out a small yawn and blocked her eyes from the light that was pressing in over her face. Everything was comfortable making her want to sleep in more as she snuggled the blanket she had over her in closer to her body before smiling to herself. The only thing that kept her from falling asleep again was the intoxicating smell of something cooking that made her mouth water. She hadn’t eaten in quite a while and whatever it was made her want to get up and have some.

“Jason?" Mindy sat up on the couch realizing that she was alone on the couch and she swung her legs over onto the floor. Stretching out her back she looked around the room to see that she was completely alone. She wondered how long he had been gone. She never meant to fall asleep like she did yesterday. Sitting still for a moment she heard someone coming out of the kitchen and she turned to see Jason moving toward the dining room table with a few plates in his hands and over his arms. “Hey.”

“Good morning,” Jason smiled over at her with a wide grin as he set down the plates and was careful in not dropping any of them. Motioning her over toward him he pulled out a chair and saw her slowly stand up. “How was your sleep?"

“Good. Something smells fantastic,” she eyed over the food seeing him smile as she tipped up to press a kiss on his cheek feeling him do the same before moving back into the kitchen after helping her into her chair. “I mean it Jason.”

“Oh, it’s this new cologne I got at the store…,” he began with a teasing smile before putting on a fake shocked face as he saw her crack a laugh while he came back into the room with plates. “Mindy, I thought you were complementing me not being a pig.”

“You are a butthead,” she reached out to smack him on his hip seeing him jump at her touch before laughing. He went back into the kitchen for something more before coming back with two glasses of juice. “Have you been up making breakfast this whole time?"

“Well someone had to make it,” he smirked taking a seat right across from her seeing the way she looked at him as he motioned her to eat some of her food. “Zane had a nightmare last night and I went in there with him. I hope you don’t mind, but I kind of woke up early because his bear sort of knocked me out of the bed and I figured you might be hungry. I hope you don’t mind.”

“With food in front me--I’m perfectly happy,” she laughed reaching for the fork beside her plate taking a bite of her food. Swallowing it down she smirked and saw him staring out at her to make sure she liked what he gave her. “It’s very good. I didn’t know you cooked.”

“There are a lot of things you don’t know about me,” he went to say more when he took a bite of his food and thought about the very statement he just said. Clearing his throat he thought about what happened last night and how everything went down between the two of them. It wasn’t something that he expected to happen and he didn’t think he was the one that ended up anticipating it. “Some things that you probably should know.”

“If it’s as good as you being a great cook is--then I must know,” she replied with a wide smile seeing him smirk a bit and nod. Taking another bite of his food he breathed in deeply and she reached out to place her hand in over his other hand. “Thanks for this Jason. I appreciate it.”

“Sure,” he was silent for a few moments not sure what else he could say. He loved having her there with him. It was nice to feel not alone anymore considering his life. It was nice to walk into the living room to see someone there and he appreciated having her there, but after everything happened he found himself a bit confused. Somewhat guilty for what he had done to her by lying. He was sick of lying to her and he thought about the situation closely. There were so many ways of approaching the situation and he still couldn’t get his mind around it. How to tell her. How to bring it up. Setting his fork down after he was about half way through his plate he stared out at her and let out a small sigh. “We should talk about something.”

“I agree. We have a lot to talk about,” she agreed taking one more bite of her food and she could see the look on his face not knowing if he was mad or what. That was the last thing she wanted. One of her best friends not wanting to have her around in their life after a stupid mistake. “I know you are probably mad at me, but…”

“Mad at you? No, no. I would never be mad at you. Ever,” he quickly interrupted her not wanting her to think something that was so far from the truth. He saw her light eyes staring out into his as he shook his head slowly. “No Mindy I would never ever be mad at you. You’ve done nothing wrong.”

“I’ve done a lot I shouldn’t have,” she saw him go to talk and she placed her hand over the back of his hand to keep him silent for a moment. “What I did last night was wrong and you know it.”

“It takes two to do something like that Mindy. Don’t blame yourself because I was just as much a part of it. I did it too and yeah--it wasn’t the best thing to do. We both agreed on that,” Jason pointed out seeing the way she nodded and pushed at her food on the plate. Standing up he felt his jaw tightening as he thought of a way to place it all out in front of her without her getting mad at him. “Maybe I’m not who you think I am. Maybe this whole male thing just isn’t my thing.”

“Don’t change your mind now. I’m not trying to make you change who you are and I should have never done that,” she went to get up as Jason blocked her from moving and shook his head slowly. “Jason, you know…”

“Whatever you are about to say--no, I don’t know it because I did something I wanted to yesterday. Stop blaming yourself for something that wasn’t bad,” he reached out for her hands holding them in his before sighing and shaking his head slowly. “I promise everything is okay. I still love you like one of my best friends Mindy. That won’t change, but like we both said--this will never happen again and you know it. So it was like a one hit wonder that I won’t forget.”

“You are too nice Jason. Really, you are,” Mindy sighed seeing the way that Jason shook his head staring out at her with his blue eyes while she caressed his face tenderly. “I take that for granted sometimes and this is one of those Jason.”

“No Mindy, you have to listen to me it’s not one of those times,” he hushed her placing his finger over the center of her lips before shaking his head slowly. “There is no way this is you and no I’m really not all that nice because I have been ly…”

“Uncle Jay?" Zane stepped out into the hallway as Jason turned to see his nephew standing in the hallway. Glancing at Mindy once more he realized that he would not be able to admit anything right now. Standing up from the table he moved over toward the hallway and picked Zane up in his arms letting out a small sound before carrying him over toward the table. “Have you heard from mommy?"

“I did and she said she would be calling you later to check in with you. It was a promise,” Jason reached up to tap at Zane’s nose seeing him smile and he looked to Mindy who had done the same at that point. “How about some breakfast and then maybe a trip to the park?”

“I’d like that,” Zane smiled hugging his arms around Jason’s neck before staring out at Mindy and waving over at her. Pulling back a minute he whispered something in Jason’s ear seeing him shrug before looking to Mindy. “Will you come with us to the park?"

“I’d love to Zane,” Mindy watched Jason smile himself and maybe spending the time she had been with him wasn’t so bad after all. They were just friends anyways and that’s all they were ever going to be. She could deal with that--she’d have to.


“Hart you can’t just chase after Sam and drag her back home like his,” Jenna followed him into the room seeing his anger still ruling over his actions. She watched him reach for a suitcase and haphazardly toss things into it. Frowning she marched over to him and pulled a shirt out of his hand before looking up at him. “Hart, are you listening to me?”

“I hear you Jen, but I can’t just let her walk out of my life like this,” Hart reached into his pocket and pulled out the letter that Sam wrote him. “I mean sure I know that I haven’t been in her life for long, but damn it I want more than just a good-bye letter. I want a chance at being a father to my daughter. I want to be able to share my life with her.”

“And you will,” Jenna brought her hand down in over Hart’s, “but you have to understand that she has to live her life as well. She’s following her dreams…”

“She’s too young to know what her dreams are at this point,” Hart frowned at the implication of what Jenna was saying, “Who is to say she couldn’t find her dreams here?”

“Hart, this is what she wanted,” Jenna pointed out with a frown knowing full well that Hart wasn’t about to back down from his determination to find his daughter again.

“No Jen, this wasn’t her decision. I mean sure maybe she thought about what she was doing and thought it was what she wanted, but she had help in pushing it along,” Hart snarled thinking about his father’s meddling in the situation. “Walt only helped to make this happen because he wanted to rip the only family I still have away from me just like he did with everything else. He wanted to make damn sure that I couldn’t be her father by helping her run away.”

“Hart she’s not running away from you. She’s going off to find herself and…” Jenna started again feeling his rage controlling him now that he moved across the room to get something else to slam into the bag.

“No Jen, she only thinks that’s what she’s doing, but there’s more to it than what you see. Walt knew full well that Sam was important to me, so he fed into her suggestion and helped to make it something she couldn’t live without. He provided her with all the tools to disappear from my life forever just to spite me for telling him to go to hell,” he concluded with a huff. He turned around to face her with a heavy scowl. “He hates me and won’t be pleased until I’m just as miserable as he is.”

“You won’t be though Hart. You have a lot in your life that you love and care about,” Jenna stepped forward taking his hands in hers. “Contrary to what you’re feeling right now Sam leaving isn’t the end. She loves you and wants you to be a part of her life. Her going to London isn’t going to change that. We can still see her.”

“But not as often as we could’ve if she was here in Coral Valley. Jen, I’ve already missed out on so much with her. I don’t want to continue down that path. I want to have a chance at being her father. I deserve that chance,” Hart sighed dropping his head as his frustrations mounted. “She’s my little girl and I don’t want to lose her.”

“You won’t lose her Hart, but if you go out there with the big guns in an uproar all it is going to do is push her away,” Jenna reminded him knowing full well how stubborn Sam could be. “Trust me Hart. You have to let her try this.”

“I just don’t want…” he stopped himself moving over to the bed and taking a seat. Bringing his fingers up through his hair he eyed Jenna once again. “I just hate that she ran off without consulting me. Hell, Jenna she was so afraid of being honest with me that I got a Dear John letter from my daughter. What the hell kind of message is that?”

“It just means that she was uncertain about what course of action to chart with you,” Jenna lowered her voice and stepped in over to the bed beside him. Taking a seat she placed her hand on top of his, “but that doesn’t mean that this is the end.”

“Doesn’t it?” he questioned with a pained expression, his dark eyes full of sadness.

“No not at all,” she shook her head and squeezed his hand again. “Hart, maybe you should go to London.”

“I thought you were trying to talk me out of it,” he mouthed giving her a strange look.

“I was, but it was only because you were going for all the wrong reasons. With your going because you were furious with Walt, it was only going to complicate the situation, but if this is about you and Sam, then I think you both should talk,” she paused sensing the confusion behind his eyes. “I’m not telling you to go over there and rail into her about how wrong this decision was, but rather I want you to keep an open mind about the situation. I think you should see what it is that has called out to her over there and see if maybe this dream is one that you should let her pursue.”

“In other words you want me to tell her I’m okay with things even though I’m not,” he blurted out with a small frown.

“No Hart,” she reached out to touch his cheek, “I’m telling you that I want you to go over there so that you can find peace with yourself. I want you and Sam to repair the wedge that was put between the both of you without your rage at Walt getting in the way. Yes, maybe he overstepped a boundary, but right now you need to think about your daughter--about what’s best for her.”

“But what if I can’t let her go? What if I get out there and I realize that I’m going to be lost without her?” Hart choked back on his words.

“Then I’m going to be right there with you every step of the way,” she embraced him feeling his worries mounting. “We’ll be there together and I’ll help you through it.”

“Jen, I can’t ask you to just up and leave…” he replied surprised by her suggestion.

“You didn’t ask,” she touched the side of his face lightly before smiling. “I offered and I want to be there for you. I want to help you get that time you need with your daughter.”

“I can’t promise you that I won’t try to bring her back once I’m there. I’m not going to tell you that I’m okay with things and that I can just say goodbye to her,” Hart warned her simply knowing full well he had a great many thoughts weighing on his mind about the situation.

“I wouldn’t expect you to make promises that you can’t keep, but just know that I’m here for you. I’m always here for you,” Jenna assured him with a soft smile sliding her fingers into his hair. “You aren’t alone in this Hart.”

“I know and I love you for that,” he moved in to kiss her tenderly, “I’d be lost without you.”

“You’re damn right you would, so don’t you ever forget it,” she teased with a playful smirk. “Now how about we get back to packing and this time we’ll do it with a little less aggression?”

“Okay,” he nodded watching her rise up off of the bed. Extending his fingers he captured her hand again and pulled her into him, “and Jen?”

“Yes?” she questioned feeling his arms slide around her waist lovingly.

“Thank you for putting up with me. I know I can be downright miserable at times, but somehow you ignore that and stick around. Not many people would do that,” he leaned forward placing a kiss on her abdomen as he thought about their child growing inside of her.

“Well, what can I say,” she offered up running her fingers through his dark hair lazily, “I’m a saint. I have no shame in admitting it.”

“And here I thought I was the only one with an ego,” he laughed lightly pulling her more completely into his arms now that he knew that he didn’t have to go through things alone. Jenna was at his side and she was there to ground him when he went off the deep end. She was his heart, his soul and the one woman he could honestly say had turned his world around in all the right ways. Sure, things might be going in an opposite direction of what he‘d hoped for with Sam, but with Jenna at his side he felt that maybe just maybe there was light at the end of the dark tunnel he’d entered into after he’d received Sam’s letter. With Jenna in his arms he believed that maybe just maybe things would turn around for the better after all.


“I can’t believe this is happening,” Deana gushed snuggling into Grady’s chest and letting out a long sigh. She placed her arm underneath her chin to prop herself up while his fingers tapered off lazily over her back, his green eyes following the movement before meeting her gaze again. “It just feels so surreal.”

“Why thank you,” Grady grinned brightly before letting out a small laugh, “I do aim to please in the bedroom and I think that was pretty stellar here with us.”

“I wasn’t talking about that,” she frowned up at him. Shaking her head she couldn’t help but laugh, “I mean yeah the sex was nice, but I’m talking about this.”

Grady couldn’t help but laugh seeing her hold her finger up to reveal the ring he’d slipped on it the previous night. Even now he couldn’t help but feel a warmth carry over him now that he had the woman who had taught him how to love again in his arms. When he’d lost all hope she’d found a way to give him a new reason to believe and now he wanted to hold onto it forever. Lacing his fingers in hers, he raised her hand to his lips and kissed her tenderly.

“I didn’t realize you were of the belief of diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” he laughed lightly shaking his head at her. He pulled her in closer to him and kissed the top of her head again.

“Grady, I’m serious,” she explained with a sudden seriousness. She dropped her hand to the center of his chest and sighed, “This is a big step for us Grady. I mean I know that it’s all happened so soon, but…”

“But it wasn’t soon enough in my finding you,” Grady teased his fingers into her wavy blonde hair, “I’ve waited my whole life to find someone like you who made me feel the way that you do.”

She smiled at him feeling giddy from the top of her head, to the tips of her toes. Wiggling ever so slightly she laughed again, “I still can’t believe we’re getting married. I mean yes I suppose I can since I accepted, but never in a million dreams did I anticipate that you’d go for the gusto like you did last night and ask me to be your wife.”

“And why is that?” he questioned arching a curious brow. “Did you think that I was just playing this by the moment? That I was just looking for a good time?”

“Well no, but…” she paused searching for the right words, “I guess I just figured given all you’ve been through over the last year that you might not be ready for this step anytime soon--maybe ever.”

“Then I proved you wrong, didn’t I?” he questioned urging her up over him. He pulled her in closer before turning her onto her side and laying face to face with her beneath the blankets. Bringing his hand up over the side of her face, he searched her dark eyes for a long moment, “Deana I love you and I never knew what I was missing out on in this world until the first day I met you. When you told me to take a long hike off a short pier I knew it was love.”

She laughed, “You’re just an idiot who thrives on punishment.”

“If spending the rest of my life with you is punishment, then I say give me your best shot because you’re the best kind of torture,” he inched in towards her ready to steal a kiss. He was thwarted however as she dug her palms into his shoulders and looked up at him.

“That’s hardly romantic Grady,” she frowned at his words, “I don’t really think that spending the rest of your life with someone should be perceived as torture.”

“Deana I didn’t say that being with you was torture. I was merely adding to what you were saying by…” he began fearing that he’d upset her. He was ready to retract his statement and explain himself when she let out a small giggle.

“Gotcha,” she snapped her fingers together wiggling beneath the blanket when he curled his arm around her.

“Oh you,” he moved in over her stealing a quick kiss from her lips before tickling at her side. “I swear I’m going to…”

“Grady stop,” she squealed with delight feeling his fingers dancing over her, unrelenting in their quest to make her squirm. She writhed beneath him feeling his hands moving over hers in a teasing sweep and instinctively she brought her knee up underneath him striking him right in the groin. It was then that his green eyes widened with shock and he buckled over on the bed beside her letting out an agonized groan.

“Oh Grady, God I’m sorry,” she gasped horrified as the man she was going to marry was now doubled over in agony. She felt him turn onto his side away from her and she silently cursed her reflexes. Sitting up straighter on the bed, she touched his shoulder as he let out another pained groan. “I’m so, so sorry. You know that I’m just really ticklish and…”

“It’s okay,” he whispered in a tight, pinched tone. “I’ll be just…fine…”

“No, Grady you’re not fine. I’m really, really sorry,” she began again thinking about how her movement had spoiled the morning. Without a second thought she curled her arm around his waist and her fingers tapered off beneath the sheet. “Look maybe I can do something to make it better…”

“Deana I…” he started feeling her fingers make contact with his male form. He bit back on a gulp as she started to massage his body in the hopes of erasing the pain her knee jerk movement had caused.

“I just want to make it better. I’m really sorry,” she glided her fingers over his taut form again in the simplest of movements and it was then that Grady knew that pain was secondary to the new feelings she’d inspired inside of him.

“Deana…” he began again feeling his body rigid and tight now that she’d awakened something inside of him that he’d forgotten about momentarily. She continued to stroke his body, a soft ease to her movements as he realized that while she’d truly felt awful about hurting him, she’d managed to get him in a new frame of mind altogether.

“Does that feel any better?” she questioned in a low, concerned tone. She leaned in over his shoulder, resting her chin down just beneath his ear. “Is this helping at all?”

“It’s more than helping,” he nodded eagerly wondering if she was being coy about the situation she’d started or if she really had that kind of innocence about her that she didn’t see what she was doing. He was going to guess the first option when she whispered hotly in his ear.

“Maybe I should look at it and see what kind of damage I inflicted upon you,” she suggested nudging him back onto the mattress again. Sitting up straighter she pushed the blankets back to reveal his very naked form to her curious eyes. Reaching out to touch him again, she fought to suppress her grin. “Oh my…”

“It looks that bad?” he questioned feeling her soft caress over him.

“It’s far worse than I’d anticipated,” she nodded in confession leaning over him to reach out to the nightstand. “I think I’m going to have to get in closer for a better diagnosis of the problem.”

“I’ll trust your judgment since you’re my own private nurse,” Grady teased watching her extract a condom from the top of the dresser. She tore the package open and started to slide it over his aroused form when he reached for her hand.

“You know exactly what you’re doing, don’t you?” he couldn’t help but ask thinking about the vixen he’d just proposed to.

“Just like you did when you pretended that I nailed you where it hurts the most,” she tossed her long, blonde hair back over her shoulders, “Admit it Grady Denton. You were scamming me considering that my knee grazed your thigh at most.”

“It still hurt,” Grady curled his lip in a pout seeing something behind her dark eyes. “A lot.”

“Yeah, well wait until you see what I’ve got in store for you now that I’ve called you on your bluff,” she moved in over him straddling his body before sliding her palms in over his chest, “but I hope you realize that if we do this…is we really, really do this you’d better be good to me.”

“Trust me I’ll make it more than worth your while,” he assured her moving in to wrap his palms around her hips and guide her in over him.

“Grady I’m not talking about this,” she pushed her hands onto his chest in a firm, commanding movement. “I’m talking about our being married. I said that I only wanted to do this one time in my life and while I know full well I did things backwards in having Zane first, when it comes to this I want to do this the right way.”

“Of course we’ll do it the right way,” he leaned up to collect her in his arms, his lips pressing in over her collar bone in an alluring movement. “I swear to you that I’ll be the best husband in the world if you let me. Granted I know I’m not perfect, but…”

“You’re perfect to me,” she confessed cupping his face in her hands and urging him to meet her eyes again. “Grady I love you more than I ever thought I would be able to love another man in my life, well other than Zane. You make me feel things that I told myself were never going to be a part of my life ever again and…”

“And the very idea of having this terrifies you. It scares the hell out of you because you realize how important it’s become after all those years of believing that it was something that wouldn’t ever factor into your life again,” Grady finished for her seeing something behind her eyes. She brought her hand up over her chest and nodded unable to repress the tears that threatened to overtake her.

“Grady I’m…” she paused feeling a shift in her emotions. Unable to hold back, she rolled off of him and moved back onto her side of the bed. Bringing her arms up over her chest she struggled to keep it together now that a new wave of emotion carried over her.

“Deana?” Grady questioned worriedly turning on his side to look at her. He propped himself up on his elbow seeing the tears that fell from her eyes.

“I swore to myself that I wouldn’t do this--that I wouldn’t act like a ridiculous, blubbering idiot, yet here I am…” she sniffled wiping at her face before letting out a nervous laugh. “You must think that I’m a complete and total nutcase right now.”

“No I don’t,” he shook his head dropping his arm down over her abdomen. His touched skimmed the surface of her body, tracing a circle over her stomach before reaching out to wipe at her tears. “Not at all.”

“I’m sorry,” she began again forcing herself to face him, “It’s just that after I had Zane, I never really gave myself the chance to find love in my life. Hell, I convinced myself that I didn’t want or need it since Zane’s father turned out to be a world class jerk. I didn’t want to think about letting someone else in because the only thing that came out of having someone in your life was misery. I’d been burned one time and I swore I’d never go down that route again.”

“Deana, we both know it’s not that easy,” he inched in closer to her, “especially when love finds you. Believe me I know. After I was divorced I gave up on love altogether. I didn’t want to let anyone in because in doing so it made me vulnerable and weak. I ran from any possibility of anything that could matter in my life and I told myself that being lonely was just something I could get over. I tried to tell myself that sooner or later I would just get used to the idea of not having anyone in my life. After a while I started to believe all of the hype that I’d built up around myself since it was easier than admitting that I’d married the wrong person.”

“But then it changed for you when you met Jade, right?” she questioned thinking about the stories she’d heard of Grady’s lost love.

He paused before finally nodding, “She taught me how to get past all the roadblocks that I put up around myself after Susan. She made me see that life isn’t about sitting back in a corner waiting for things to happen. You have to make things happen and that a life isn’t worth living without someone to love beside you.”

“I’m sure you miss her a great deal,” she wiped at her face again thinking about the woman she’d heard so much about.

“I do. I miss her each and every day of my life, but that doesn’t mean that I have to stop living with love,” he whispered bending down to press a kiss over her damp cheek. “It doesn’t mean that I can’t take another chance on someone special in my life again because I could get hurt. Sure, I could’ve given up on everything and I almost did once, but right after I hit rock bottom something happened that turned my world around for me.”

“What’s that?” she questioned in a shivering exhale feeling his thumb press in over her bottom lip gingerly.

“I met you,” he whispered with a raw honesty, “and everything changed for me after that. When I met you I thought that you were by far the most beautiful woman I’d ever met in my life. You had this way about you that I just couldn’t ignore. You called me on my shit when I dished it out to you, yet you were there to help me through the darkness that surrounded me.”

“You make me sound like a saint,” she wrinkled her nose at his statement.

“In a lot of ways you are, but that’s not what it was about you that made me know that you were the one. Beyond your being incredibly sexy, stubborn and beautiful, you also had something in you that made me love you all the more. When I met Zane I knew that you were both two people in this world that I couldn’t live without. Deana I love him just as much as I love you and I want to find a place in his life trying to help him have the kind of father figure you’ve always wanted him to have. I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes over the years, but it will help me in keeping Zane’s head above water. I can be there for him and for you anytime you need me. I’ll always be there to listen and support you while loving the both of you with all that I am.”

“Oh Grady,” she sighed reaching out to him, “There is no other man in this world that I would want to share my life and my son’s life with than you. You make us both so very happy.”

“And I want to keep doing that for as long as we both have together in this world,” he dropped his hand down to her waist, arching her up off of the mattress and into his arms with one swift movement. “Deana I love you and nothing’s going to change that for me. You’re wonderful and always keep me on my toes and I need that in my life. You have this way about you when you’re with Zane and when we’re all together it’s the happiest times of my life. I love the both of you so very much and I can’t wait to marry you and show you that this time it’s forever.”

“Forever is a mighty long time,” she spoke up in a soft slur, her accent present in her words. “Are you sure you’re ready for that?”

“I’m ready for that and more,” he promised moving in over her and kissing her with all the love that was inside of his heart.

“Grady,” she finally pulled away from him breathless from his kisses. “What about brunch with Russ and Avery? Shouldn’t we be getting ready to meet with them?”

“Brunch with them can wait, but being with you and holding you in my arms like this can’t,” he assured her diving in for another passion filled kiss. He felt her wrap her arms around his shoulders reciprocating the intensity behind his kisses and opening the door to all that would be ahead of them once they’d become husband and wife.


“I love going to the park,” Zane squeezed harder at Jason and Mindy’s hands as he walked between the two of them toward the park. He looked up at Mindy and smiled widely. “My favorite part is the monkey bars. I never used to be able to use them until uncle Jay taught me how. Do you like the monkey bars?"

“I haven’t done them in a very long time,” Mindy answered thinking back to the last time as she looked down at Zane. “The last time I can remember doing them, I think I used to like it. I thought I was pretty good.”

“Uncle Jay is awesome at it--aren’t you uncle Jay?" Zane tugged on Jason’s hand a bit hearing Jason laugh before nodding. Zane stopped when he saw the monkey bars and motioned them to wait. “Sit right here and watch. I can do them awesome. So sit there.”

“Here?" Mindy pointed to the grass seeing him shake his head and motion for them to sit right in the grass in the middle of the section where the monkey bars were. “Okay, right here.”

“We’ll stay right here,” Jason motioned seeing Zane smile and nod before running off to the monkey bars. Taking a seat on the grass next to Mindy slowly he let out a small groan before stretching his legs out and pressing his hands in behind him on the grass. “As you can see he likes to show off a bit. He‘s proud of what he can do.”

“I wonder who he got that from,” Mindy teased elbowing him in the side a bit watching the smile that pressed in over his lips. Zane was clapping for them to watch before he started to do the monkey bars for them. “I’d imagine you and Deana did a great job taking care of him his whole life.”

“I’m glad I did. So he will probably have a lot of me in him. He was the best thing that happened to my life and he’s not even mine,” Jason informed her glancing over at her with his blue eyes before smiling and looking back to Zane as he dropped down once he was done. He did a playful curtsey before moving back toward the monkey bars to do it again. “There are a few people in this world that can actually make you feel like you’re a real person. A person with emotions. I’ve been taking care of him since he was born and even if I was young--he’s perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing that happened because every moment I’ve spent with him has been a moment worth living for.”

“You really a perfect guy--you know that?" Mindy looked him over seeing the look that Jason gave her before shrugging his shoulders. Looking up he saw Zane moving over toward him running toward the two. “What’s up little guy?"

“I want uncle Jay to show you how he does it. He’s really really fast and if you thought I was good you’d see how fantastically awesome he is. You really have to see it,” Zane tugged on Jason’s large hands hearing his uncle’s laugh fill the air and he tugged on them hard. “Come on uncle Jay. I want you to do it and then I want to see how Mindy does it because that would be so cool. You’d do that, right?"

“Of course I would,” Mindy stood up from the grass after Zane finally got Jason to get up to his feet and move over toward the monkey bars. Zane motioned Jason to get up on the other side while he stood next to Mindy reaching for her hand.

“You’ll like this,” Zane watched Jason moved his hands reaching up for them. “You’ll like this a lot.”

Staring down at Zane Mindy realized how much of a good guy Jason was whether he believed it or not. There was no reason that he couldn’t be a good guy because Zane was so in love with him which meant he had to be doing something right. While Jason was doing the monkey bars she could see that Zane was just so excited with the things his uncle did. He was one of Zane’s hero and she thought it was the cutest thing ever. Even if he didn’t think he was a good guy she knew better. He was a great guy and the people in his life showed that through their eyes when they looked at him.

“Your turn,” Zane tugged on Mindy’s hands when Jason finally returned and wiped his hands off. Jason felt Mindy pat him on the shoulder before moving over to do it herself. Zane tugged a bit on Jason’s gray shirt before smiling widely. “I like her uncle Jay.”

“Me too Zane,” Jason smiled watching Mindy as she started to work her way across the large set of monkey bars. “Me too.”


“Mom, hey,” Trisha felt her heart race as she stared out at the very woman that she was very much afraid of even being around right now. It was not a good moment for her and she wished so bad that this was a nightmare, but it wasn’t. That was the worst part about being stuck in this situation. How in the world did the woman she feared the most end up right on her doorstep. It amazed her that right now the world seemed to be working against her. “What are you doing here?"

“I just figured I would drop by and see my daughter,” Marlene looked between the two faces of her daughter and the boyfriend that she had heard so much about. They both seemed to have somewhat nervous expression over their features as she moved in closer to her daughter placing her hand over her shoulder. “Trisha, is something wrong?"

“Mrs. Merhan,” Chase spoke up moving toward the two women as he extended his hand out to her press a quick kiss against the back of her hand before looking to Trisha. There was something he had to say. Something to get his girlfriend out of this situation--out of this big fear she was speaking of before everything happened. He could see that in Trisha’s eyes she was full of fear and that was the last thing he wanted right now. There had to be some kind of lie that he could come up with and when he looked to the television he saw the opening in his mind. “I’m Chase Hastings and I’m your daughter’s boyfriend. You see, we were watching this soap opera since the two of us are really big fans of it and really--we were both kind of upset with one of our favorite characters. If you have ever been a fan of one of these you should understand how upsetting they could get. I can only imagine what it would be like watching a night one because sometimes they get my blood pressure so high that I can hardly sleep. We’re sorry it took us a minute, but you got us right in the middle of our show where things were starting to get hectic about one of those storylines. One of the pregnancy storylines and it was something that just had our thoughts in a ball of anger kind of thing.”

“That’s exactly it,” Trisha looked to Chase surprised with what he could come up with in that short of amount of time that they had before talking. There was no way that she could have come up with something like that especially with how she was feeling right now. She was scared and she knew that if she talked too much that it would show. Her mother always knew those kinds of things. It was something that was a pain growing up with because she could never hide anything. “John here was just getting us all tied up with our thoughts.”

Trying to hide her worry and panic she stepped forward and out toward her mother to wrap her arms around her. This was not something at the time she was looking forward too. Okay, she was probably never looking forward to it, but that wasn’t the point. Hugging her mother tightly she pulled away and took in a deep breath.

“So can I get you anything Mrs. Merhan?" Chase spoke up seeing her mother staring out at him as he offered up a friendly smile. Motioning her toward the kitchen he could see that Trisha wasn’t big on the idea of having her mother there much longer, but he knew how to talk and he would take care of it all. “I can set you up with some hot tea or some coffee. Whichever you prefer.”

“Tea sounds fantastic,” Marlene answered before turning toward her daughter and reaching out for her hands. “You did a good job for once honey. I like this one, he seems to be a very nice young man. Not like your normal choices.”

Letting out a hesitant laugh she knew that this wasn’t going to be the brighter of her weeks now that she had her mother in here telling her what choice was good and bad. This wasn’t going to be good at all.


Ria entered the Ashford mansion knowing that what she had ahead of her was undoubtedly nothing more than a long shot, but she had to try. She had to find a way to get to Kevin before the truth that she’d uncovered ate her alive. She knew that this was something that would undoubtedly come back to haunt her, but she had to make her move.

“Ria?” Augustus questioned stepping out into the foyer and greeting her with a surprised expression. “I wasn’t expecting to see you here this evening. I would’ve thought that you’d be off with Kevin and Brant…”

“I got held up at the hospital, but I need to get out there,” Ria paused biting down on her lower lip in a moment of contemplation before continuing, “which is why I came over here to see you.”

“I don’t understand,” Augustus blinked back at her curiously. He moved forward with a robust smile and sensed something was troubling her.

“Well, you see I went to the airport and apparently there is a storm delay on all flights to the island they are on. They have some kind of tropical storm happening right now and no one will listen to me when I tell them that it’s imperative that I get out there to see Kevin,” Ria sighed thinking about the headache she’d gotten in dealing with the people at the airport. “They refuse to see the importance of my needing to get out there…”

“Ria if there’s a tropical storm, then I can understand why they might not want to take a plane out in that. It could be dangerous,” Augustus noted motioning for her to join him. “Why don’t you come inside and we’ll get a drink or something? You can tell me what’s troubling you and…”

“Augustus I came over here because I know you can call and have the Ashford jet take me out there. Brant would certainly approve of it, but I can’t get a hold of him. Believe me I’ve tried, but I know that you’ve got the authority to put the wheels in motion on this one,” she blurted out her true intentions for stopping by the Ashford mansion. “I need your help.”

“Ria, while I would love to be of assistance the fact to the matter is that if the airports are refusing to take flight, then there must undoubtedly be a good reason for it. If you were to try to brave that kind of weather in the jet, then there is no telling what could happen to you. It’s dangerous and quite a gamble,” he explained with a small frown. “I don’t think Brant or Kevin would want you to put yourself at risk like that.”

“Augustus, I can’t just sit here idle when I need to speak with Kevin. Things have happened over the last day and it’s vital that I get in touch with him,” she insisted moving forward with a pleading look.

“Then why don’t you try calling him? I’m sure if you do that, then…” Augustus began again with a simple sigh.

“Look I don’t have time to argue this one. Are you going to help me or not?” she questioned bluntly knowing full well she was out of line with her rudeness, yet she realized she had to get to Kevin. She couldn’t sit on this truth any longer than she had already.

“Ria if I agreed to let you take the jet out, it would be as if I was signing your death warrant. I don’t want that on my shoulders and I certainly don’t think you want that on yours either. Face it if the airports aren’t allowing it, then I certainly don’t believe that I should either,” Augustus explained catching the frustrations that carried over her.

“Look I don’t have a choice. I need to see Kevin. I need to speak with him and…” Ria paused eyeing Augustus for a long moment, “You aren’t going to help me, are you?”

“I would like to, but you have to ask yourself if what you have to tell Kevin is worth getting yourself killed. Somehow I believe the answer to that question would be a no, which leads me to lean towards telling you that now is simply not the time for you to go out there. I’m sure that you can wait for the storm to pass,” Augustus explained in a reasonable tone.

“I don’t want to wait. I can’t wait. You don’t understand Augustus I need to see him and I’m asking you to help me,” she paused feeling an ache inside of her causing her stomach to tangle in knots all over again. “Please I can’t wait on this one.”

“I’m afraid you’re going to have to because I refuse to let you kill yourself,” Augustus informed her simply, “Now why don’t you just sit down and try to relax? You can tell me what’s bothering you and…”

“No, I don’t have time for that,” Ria clenched her purse over her shoulder, “and if you’re not going to help me get out to Kevin, then I’ll have to find another way. I just hoped that you would be able to put the wheels into motion for me.”

“I would like to help you Ria, but my hands are tied,” Augustus replied glancing at her for a long moment. “Though if you need someone to talk to…”

“I don’t need anyone to talk to. I just need to see Kevin,” she stomped her foot down feeling as if the forces of nature were aligning against her now that it seemed impossible to find her way out to the man she loved.


“So how are you feeling this morning mommy?” Cheryl questioned offering a very happy Erin over to Avery’s arms. Erin started to wiggle excited to see her mother after spending the night with her grandparents.

“Much better now that I have you here,” Avery whispered leaning in to kiss Erin’s chubby cheek as Erin let out an excited shriek. She wiggled in Avery’s arms getting even more enthusiastic about being with her mother while Russ joined Cheryl, Avery and now Elliot.

“What did you two give to my daughter?” Russ couldn’t help but ask hearing Erin going on and on in her own baby language talking to Avery like she couldn’t stop sharing what was on her mind.

“We just gave her grandparent time, which by the way we’re hoping to get more of not only on the island, but when we’re at home too,” Elliot piped in with a laugh seeing the way his granddaughter just bubbled over with giddiness.

“She really has a lot on her mind this morning,” Cheryl couldn’t help but laugh seeing how happy Erin was to be reunited with her parents. Erin’s hands moved around in the air excitedly while Russ joined Avery.

“She gets that from her mother, who always has a lot on her mind,” Kyle’s voice piped in as he and Heather appeared at the open door to the room. He moved inside keeping Heather’s hand in his as he looked to his friends. “I hope we’re not too late to join the party.”

“It’s never too late to join the party Kyle,” Elliot greeted him with a warm, welcoming smile. “How are you doing son?”

“Never better,” Kyle confessed throwing a knowing look over at Heather before turning to face Elliot again. “How have you been?”

“Oh you know it’s always business as usual,” Elliot replied with a small shrug of his shoulders, “though I have to tell you my granddaughter has a lot to say this morning.”

“That’s because she knows we’re having a crowd today and she wants to be right in the center of everything,” Russ beamed reaching out to touch his daughter’s tiny head. Her soft, dark curls bounced against his touch and she let out another giggle before smacking her lips up at him.

“That’s because she knows that Kevin is coming over to see her,” Avery added thinking about Erin’s attachment to their friend. She glanced over at Kyle, Elliot and Cheryl explaining. “I don’t know what it is about Kevin, but Erin just adores him.”

“That’s because he’s a hunk,” Heather blurted out surprising everyone in the room. They all looked over at her before Heather shrugged her shoulders, “Well it’s the truth and anyone who argues that point is simply in denial.”

“Gee thanks I think I’m insulted,” Kyle curled his lip in a pout. “Here you are with me and you’re calling some other guy a hunk.”

“That’s because I can say it and you won’t feel threatened because as hot as Kevin is, I would only want you,” Heather promised patting her fingers over the center of his chest and smiling.

“Sure, sure. You’re just kissing up to me because I called you on it,” Kyle curled his lip in a pout shaking his head at her. “I see how it is.”

“You know I’ve been hearing an awful lot about this Kevin lately, yet I haven’t met him,” Cheryl noted thinking about the person that had been spending a lot of time with her son and his family.

“You’ll meet him soon and trust me you’ll love him too,” Avery added brightly thinking about Kevin and his arrival in their lives.

“Not too soon though,” Russ cleared his throat thinking about what happened with Angela.

“What do you mean?” Avery questioned looking over at Russ again, “I thought he said he was going to try to make it for the brunch.”

“I had a few words with him and he left me this message,” Russ explained thinking about the confrontation they’d had with Brant at the club. “He’s here with Brant because…”

“Wait Brant’s here,” Heather’s eyes widened at the possibility of a scandal on hand. “On the island?”

“That’s right,” Russ nodded beginning to explain as Kyle piped in as well.

“What for?” Kyle questioned with a frown thinking about all the trouble Brant had caused for his friends in the past.

“Angela’s missing,” Russ explained finally telling Avery of what he’d learned. “They suspect she either ran off or that someone has her and Kevin believes that maybe she flew out here to get in touch with her roots somehow.”

“Wait that woman is here,” Avery scowled at the very mention of Angela. “So not only do we have Brant to contend with, but that witch as well…”

“Hmm, I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Angela yet, but she can’t be all that bad,” Heather added catching the glare Avery shot at her. “I mean hey she has to have something going for her…”

“I’ll give you something,” Avery stepped forward then remembered that she had Erin in her arms. She squeezed her daughter closer to her before taking in a breath, “Well this is just wonderful.”

“Kevin said they are getting it under control,” Russ offered up taking in a breath in knowing that he’d opened up the door to something that would cause tension in the room. He looked over at his father hoping to have a little help now that they were on a sticky subject.

“So has anyone heard from Grady this morning?” Elliot cleared his throat doing his best to help Russ.

“I think he’s going to be running a little late today,” Kyle noted with a cryptic smirk.

“Undoubtedly more than a little late,” Heather added with a playful laugh. “I think he and Deana are a bit busy…”

“Busy?” Cheryl repeated arching a curious brow.

“Oh yeah in terms of getting very busy,” Heather couldn’t help but laugh thinking about what she’d heard earlier, “Let’s just say with their room being next to ours and the hotel walls being paper thin that there isn’t a doubt in my mind that they were…”

Kyle nudged Heather in the ribs in a silent attempt to remind her that they were in the room with Grady’s parents. He offered up an apologetic smile over at Cheryl and Elliot, “He’ll probably be here later than expected.”

“I see,” Elliot noted not even bothering to touch on the subject as his eyes traveled to the opposite side of the room where Russ and Avery were by the window speaking with one another in small whispers. It was clear that she’d been upset by the mention of Angela and her arrival, yet there was still so much they all had in front of them for the day. “Well we can’t let Grady’s tardiness keep us delayed for whatever reason.”

“Come to think of it,” Heather paused remembering where the rooms were in terms of location, “Isn’t his room right next to this one as well?”

Kyle nudged her again and curled his arm around her waist, “Sweetheart you aren’t helping.”

“I know, but if you just listen I’m sure that…” Kyle pressed his fingers in over Heather’s mouth and smiled again at the Dentons. “You know maybe we should head down to brunch. We can just get a start on breakfast and…”

“That sounds like a good idea,” Cheryl rubbed her hands together before turning to Russ and Avery, “What do you say? Time to go eat?”

“What?” Russ questioned glancing over at his mother before nodding, “Oh yeah sure that sounds like a good idea.”

“I just need to get Erin a bottle first,” Avery added still looking beyond stressed out over the news that Angela was around.

“I have a few prepared in our room if you want me to go get them,” Cheryl suggested quickly. “I can just get them on the way downstairs…”

“Are you sure that wouldn’t be too much trouble?” Avery asked squeezing Erin in closer to her.

“No not at all,” Cheryl assured her with a smile. “It’s on the way to the restaurant…”

“The restaurant isn’t attached to the bar, is it?” Heather couldn’t help but ask thinking about her trip down to the bar the previous night.

“I don’t think so, why?” Russ questioned rejoining the conversation after he’d grabbed Erin’s diaper bag to take with them.

“Well, I was just down there last night and this creep named Raven or Craven walked over to me and was trying to run a number on me. He was a real jerk…” Heather started to rehash her story about meeting Craven in an attempt to turn the conversation away from all else they were talking about.

“Wait did you say Craven?” Avery questioned giving her a strange look.

“Yeah something like that,” Heather waved her hand dismissively before looking to Cheryl, “and he offered to buy me a drink, but wouldn’t take a hint when…”

“To make a long story short the guy didn’t get a chance to get anywhere with Heather because I quickly put him in his place,” Kyle interrupted with a proud smirk remembering the man’s attempt at hitting on Heather.

“Are you sure it was Craven?” Avery asked again ignoring the rest of the story.

“Yeah I think so, why? Did you date him too?” Heather wrinkled her nose over at Avery.

“No, but that’s just a strange name and Kevin…” Avery glanced over at Russ. “Kevin knew a guy named Craven.”

“And I met one too, your point,” Heather tossed out at her with a roll of her eyes.

“My point is if Kevin is here because Angela has gone missing and there is some jerk named Craven around, maybe he’s the Craven that Kevin knew. I know it’s a long shot, but it seems strange that all of these things are happening,” Avery continued to explain before turning to Heather. “What did he look like? Did he have a woman with him that looked kind of like me?”

“If he did, then that would explain why he was so quick to hit on me at the bar. I mean who could blame him under those circumstances,” Heather tossed back at her flippantly.

“Heather,” Kyle warned with a frown.

“I’m just saying,” Heather held her hands up in the air. “Like I said I really didn’t pay much attention to him, but with people like that in the bar area, I would just as soon not go back there for a while.”

“Still it seems strange that you would meet someone with that name when…” Avery turned to Russ again, “You said that Kevin thought maybe someone had taken Angela.”

“He said it might be a possibility, but…” Russ paused for a moment, “You don’t think that.”

“If the guy Heather met is the same guy that Kevin knew, then as much as I hate to say it Angela might be in big trouble,” Avery blurted out thinking about the story Kevin had told her. “The guy was bad news and he hurt Kevin a long time ago…”

“I can call him if you’d like,” Russ suggested seeing her nod.

“It can’t hurt anything,” she urged him once again. “That way if it is something he needs to know…”

“Alright,” Russ pulled his cell phone out of his pocket. “Mom, dad this will just be a minute.”

“Take your time,” Elliot waved over at him. “It’s not a problem.”

“I hope he’s there,” Avery whispered squeezing Erin in closer to her. She watched Russ dial and then wait before he hung up the phone. “What’s wrong?”

“It says it’s out of service,” Russ shrugged his shoulders before looking over to his parents and Kyle with Heather. “Maybe I should try later.”

“Yeah,” Avery finally decided hoping that the two men weren’t one in the same considering what Kevin had told her.

“Why don’t we go to brunch and then we’ll call again,” Russ suggested slipping his arm around Avery’s waist while she wondered if there was in fact more trouble on the island than anyone had realized.


Brant paced around Cameron’s beach house wondering why in the hell he was standing in the home of his enemy when he should be out looking for the woman he loved. Of course at this point the sad truth to the matter was that he was stuck in this position because the reality of the situation was that he didn’t have the first clue where to look. He didn’t know how to find Angela and bring her home. Whether he liked it or not, he knew he needed Kevin and his assistance if he’d hoped on locating Angela.

“I just wish that…” Brant started thinking aloud when his cell phone started to ring. Reaching into his pocket he pulled it out only to discover it was rather abused from the fist fight he and Kevin had gotten into with one another. It had sand in the speaker and as he felt it open up in a far too loose movement for his liking he carefully shifted it up to his ear. “Talk to me…”

“Brant, oh thank God,” he heard Angela’s voice gasp in relief. “I was so afraid I wouldn’t get you…”

“Angela,” he replied feeling his heart hammering in his chest. Immediately the exhaustion that he’d felt inside of him vanished and he stood up straighter feeling a renewed sense of hope carry over him. “Where are you?”

“I…I don’t know,” Angela blurted out a tiny shiver in her tone. “There’s a man…his name is…”

“Angela you’re breaking up,” Brant felt a static overtake the line. He moved around the room feeling the static pick up more than it was earlier. He moved back slowly hoping to neutralize what was happening. “Angela can you hear me?”

“Brant? Brant!” she shouted his name, terror vibrating in her tone. “Can you hear me?”

“I’m here. Oh God Angela I’m here. Where are you? Talk to me…” he pleaded a raw, desperation in his tone.

“I don’t know. I’m on the island…the island that I lived on…the one where we met…” she explained in a rushed tone. “Brant, there is a man here…his name is…his name is Craven and he’s…”

“Angela. Angela!” Brant shouted into the phone hearing another round of static carry over the line.

“Please…hurry…” her voice slurred as the line went dead.

“Shit!” Brant cursed realizing that the call had come to an abrupt ending. He looked to the number in front of him on his caller ID and immediately he rushed over to the house phone. He picked it up and called a friend who owed him a favor.

“Look I don’t have a lot of time here. You have to locate a number for me. Just run a reverse lookup and get me an address. I don’t have a computer around me at the moment and…” Brant began reciting the number to his friend on the line. Within a matter of seconds he not only had a number but an address.

“Listen Ashford I’m tired of this crap you keep pulling,” Kevin announced having had enough of his war against Brant to last him a lifetime. He was about to lay down the ground rules when he spotted Brant jotting something down on a piece of paper. Brant hung up the phone and tucked the paper into his pocket.

“I need your truck,” Brant announced marching over to Kevin, “and I’m not taking no for an answer. I don’t have time to argue with you anymore.”

“Who were you talking to?” Kevin couldn’t help but ask as Don entered the room as well.

“Angela called me. She’s on the island and a man named Craven has her,” Brant explained taking in a quick breath. “I just got the address of the place she called from and…”

“Craven,” Kevin repeated his dark eyes growing wide with horror and astonishment. “no that’s not possible.”

“Look that’s what she told me when she called. She sounded like she was in trouble and…” Brant further explained before throwing his hands in the air, “Look Kevin I need to go to her. I need to help her and if you don’t want to be a part of it…”

“No I do. I mean, I just…” Kevin stammered finding himself at a loss after what Brant had said. “Damn, let’s go. You’re sure on the address.”

“Positive,” Brant replied as the trio of men left the beach house ready to find Angela. While Kevin had heard what Brant had said, Kevin just prayed that somehow Brant was wrong about the situation because if Craven had Angela, then she was undoubtedly in trouble that went well beyond being kidnapped. If Craven had her, then the only thing that could follow would be disaster!


...to be continued...