Episode 413

“Oh my God,” Angela cried out immediately dropping the oversized vase that she’d captured a few seconds before she’d heard the sound of glass breaking in the kitchen. She’d managed to use her wit and skills enough to break the lock on the door to the bedroom after she’d found the phone that Craven had so foolishly left behind the nightstand. She’d attempted to get the call out before Craven had returned threatening her. He’d caught his error and wound up ripping the cord out of the wall before locking her up again. Shortly after she’d thought she heard him leave, which lead her to picking the lock and getting out of the bedroom. She was on her way to leave when she thought she’d heard him and she vowed that no longer would she be a victim. She’d fully intended on taking him out, but when she’d made her move, she realized it had been the wrong one! Now as she looked to the man on the ground in front of her, she realized it wasn’t Craven, but rather it was Brant!

“Brant oh my…” Angela dropped down to the floor beside him. She reached out to touch his shoulder regretting what she’d done to him. He didn’t make a move upon contact between them. Worry poured over her as Angela gently turned him in her arms. When she did so, she noticed the thin line of blood over the front of his forehead. Horrified she wiped at his face, using her shirt to treat the wound she’d placed upon him. “Brant…honey can you hear me? Brant?”

There was no reaction as he lay in her lap completely helpless. Here she’d called him hoping that he would be able to find her--that he would be able to rescue her from the danger she’d unwittingly put herself into, yet when he’d done as she requested, she’d wound up putting him in danger. She searched for a pulse finding herself relieved to discover it was still there strong and solid. He was still breathing, yet…

“Oh Brant I’m so sorry,” Angela gulped biting down on her words as her fingers teased through his dark hair. She noticed that his face wasn’t as smooth as she’d remembered it being the last time she touched him. It was clear that he hadn’t taken the time to shave over the last couple of days now that stubble ruled over his features and the dark circles under his eyes spoke volumes about the sleep he’d been missing. He had to have been going out of his mind crazy without her and suddenly she felt her heart sink.

“Brant, baby you need to wake up,” she nudged his shoulder gently remembering only too well where they were. Suddenly thoughts of Craven consumed her and she reached out to him again, “Brant please wake up. Brant!”

He remained motionless in front of her leaving her to wonder just how hard she’d actually hit him. The moment flew by in the blink of an eye, yet….

“We have to get out of here,” she mouthed her breath coming out in a short, ragged gasp. She moved up, crouching over him as she attempted to pull him off of the floor. Much to her dismay he was like a dead weight and she had to release him.

“No, please no…” she blurted out feeling her worries mounting now that he lay before her passed out cold. She grew desperate, frantic to get away from the situation that she’d put them into, yet it seemed as though the odds were stacked against her. Eyeing him intently another idea sparked into her head. She stepped forward and reached out for his foot lifting it up off of the ground.

“Please forgive me for this one,” she begged tipping her head up to the heavens in the hopes that there would be a bit of divine intervention that would guide her out of Craven’s madness and into freedom with Brant once again. She pulled once, then felt the solid thump of a wall behind her. Only this wall wasn’t one of drywall, but rather a wall of muscle and warmth.

“Going somewhere?” Craven’s voice slurred as his arm curled around her waist. He squeezed her in against him with a wicked laugh. He brought his other arm around her, pressing the tip of the knife he’d had with him against the base of her throat.

“Craven,” she gasped a panic carrying in over her now that he’d kept the blade close to her. She could feel the sharp sting of it biting into her skin and she found herself afraid to breathe. If she made one wrong move it would all be over sooner than she’d hoped for and she couldn’t live with that. She fought to suppress the worries that were mounting inside of her now that he’d found her again.

“Well, it looks like we’ve got some company,” Craven noted Brant on the floor and laughed. “You sure do know how to pick them, don’t you Angel?”

“Leave him alone,” Angela pleaded feeling Craven push her forward with him so that he could get a closer look. Craven kicked at Brant’s stilled form on the ground and he laughed.

“Though I suppose this saves me the trouble of doing away with him later,” Craven kept the knife to her throat while releasing his arm around her waist. He pushed his hand into his pocket and withdrew a gun--the same gun he’d threatened her with the previous evening. Narrowing his eyes over at Brant, he aimed at the unconscious man before him ready to follow through on eliminating the threat that Brant possessed to him.

“Craven please,” Angela begged in a slow whimper unable to quell the sob that built up in the back of her throat. She could feel a small drop of blood upon her skin as the knife penetrated her just enough to leave a superficial wound, yet as he kept his gun directed at Brant, she began to panic. Closing her eyes and taking in a breath once more, Angela knew she had to think fast. “Craven don’t…”

“Oh Angel, now you and I both know you’ll be better off without this problem weighing you down,” he taunted an amused chuckle carrying over him. “I’m doing you a favor in the long run by killing him. Besides your father would never approve of this relationship.”

“Please don’t. Craven…please,” Angela boldly reached out to bring her hand over his wrist that he was holding the gun with. She felt him press the blade against her throat in a more commanding movement as he feared she’d try to overtake him somehow. She closed her eyes and took in another ragged breath, “Don’t kill him Craven. Please…he doesn’t concern you…”

“As long as he’s of interest to you, then he’s a problem to me,” Craven raised his hand ever so slightly to perfect the possible shot he was planning on taking.

“No Craven don’t,” Angela whimpered tears falling freely from her eyes. She glanced down at Brant thinking about all of the things that had happened between them. He’d been the man she’d loved, then loathed, then longed for all over again for months now and in seeing him before her in such a vulnerable state, she knew full well she would never be able to recover in losing him. She needed him like the air she breathed and she couldn’t let Craven take him away from her. She had to save him…had to fight for what she needed in her life. “Craven please…”

“Angel, trust me on this one. It’ll be over in the blink of an eye,” he promised ready to pull back the trigger only to feel her place her hand back in against his thigh.

“Craven don’t,” she spoke up in a low, broken tone. “Please Craven if you don’t kill him, then I swear to you I’ll give you anything you want. I’ll let you have whatever it is that you’ve come here for.”

“Is that right?” he questioned amusement carrying over him at her willingness to comply with his requests of her.

“That’s right,” she nodded in response feeling another sob inside of her, “Just leave him be Craven and I promise I’ll do whatever you ask of me. I won’t put up a fight anymore.”

“Really,” he smiled his hold on her easing up a bit. He nudged her forward again, pushing her up against the wall face forward. Keeping the knife at her throat, he dropped the gun down enough to slide it in over her ribs, a twisted smirk building up inside of him. “Are you saying that you would be willing to sacrifice yourself for this greedy son of a bitch? That you would go against that fighting spirit you have in order to save his worthless skin?”

“That’s right,” she nodded feeling her lips press in against the wall. Closing her eyes she felt the tip of the gun taper off against the side of her thigh while Craven pushed himself in against her, leaving no mistaking about his intentions for Angela should she give him what he was seeking out.

He laughed wildly, “You would’ve died for Kevin once, yet here you stand ready to do the same for him--for a man you know nothing about other than he’s the last person that your family would’ve wanted for you. Your father would turn in his grave if he knew you’d been bedding the enemy Angel.”

“Craven please,” she sucked in a sharp breath fighting to suppress the shudder that carried over her. She felt him ease up on the blade against her skin and she took a moment to pull herself together. Slowly, she felt him brush his hips in against her spine and she knew that she had to do something. She had to shift the momentum before Craven decided to kill Brant for the sheer thrill of it.

“I think I like the sound of you begging Angel,” Craven smiled down at her, drawing the blade away from her throat. He stepped back enough to allow her enough movement to turn in his arms.

“I’ll do whatever you want if you leave him alone,” Angela pleaded pressing her palms into the center of his chest. “Craven please…”

“I don’t think you’ve convinced me of that yet. Somehow I get the feeling you’re just trying to buy yourself some time to find a way out of this,” Craven called her bluff arching a skeptic brow.

“I mean it Craven. I don’t care what it is you want. You can have it, just please don’t hurt Brant,” she reached out to pull on the lapels of his jacket. Out of the corner of her eyes she spotted Brant starting to move on the ground. She inhaled slowly realizing that Craven was turning his attention to Brant again. Quickly she touched the side of his face urging him to meet her eyes, “Craven I’ll give you what you’ve always wanted.”

“You have no idea what I’ve wanted Angel--of what is rightfully mine,” he sneered over at her searching her dark eyes, “but you will soon enough. Soon my plans for the future will become painfully clear. You’ll learn what it is that I’m ready to claim in my life.”

“I think I know where to start,” she forced in a sultry tone, hearing the small sounds of Brant coming to on the floor. Boldly she dropped her hand down to the center of his pants and did one of the most repulsive things she’d ever done in her life by teasing him. She leaned forward, her lips hovering in closer to his neck while she touched him.

“Do you really think that’s what I want from you Angel? A little parlor trick to get my guard down?” he mouthed in a pinched tone keeping the gun between them. He’d discarded the knife for the time being and Angela felt a moment of control overtake her.

“I’m not offering up a parlor trick, but something much more worthwhile,” she glanced over to the spot on the floor where Brant had been laying moments earlier. He was no where in sight and while his blood still stained the ground, she knew he’d awakened. Shuffling to keep Craven from noticing, she dropped down to her knees and pushed her hands over his thighs.

“Angel, what are you…” he asked surprised by her movement. He dropped his head down to see her reaching out to unhook his belt buckle.

“Giving you part of the fantasy you’ve been waiting for all these years,” she promised in a low, heated whisper moving into part his slacks and press her fingers inside. She felt him stiffen upon the contact and he lowered the gun to his side, still keeping it on her haphazardly.

“Who said this was my fantasy,” he questioned in a small breath sliding his fingers into her hair now that he’d released the knife. She felt his hand thread through her short, dark tresses guiding her lips in closer to him--to the most despicable task she would ever get this close to doing. She took in a breath hoping that it wouldn’t get to that when she noticed he no longer paid attention to the gun, but rather was entirely focused on her.

“I’m every man’s fantasy,” Angela slurred closing her eyes and saying a silent prayer that she wouldn’t have to follow through on giving him the kind of sexual favor he’d been expecting.

“But she’s going to be my wife and you can’t have her,” Brant’s voice roared as he sent a frying pan crashing down over Craven’s head causing him to fall to the side. Craven dropped the gun, causing it to slide across the floor in the movement while he groaned in agony.

“Brant,” Angela reached out to him feeling him pull her up off of the ground. She instinctively wrapped her arms around his shoulders and pulled him in for a quick kiss. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” he assured her squeezing her in closer to him and kissing her again, “Let’s get out of here.”

“Not so fast,” Craven snarled staggering to his feet again in what seemed like a superhuman movement after the hit he’d taken. He waved the gun around in the air at Brant and Angela, his furies guiding his actions now that they’d played him. He’d made the mistake in falling for her bluff, but not this time. “Now it’s time to die--both of you!”


“You sure this is the place?” Don questioned looking to the beach house in front of him. He followed Kevin up the back stairway and was going to say something more when he heard the sound of a gunshot firing.

“Son of a…” Kevin rushed forward pushing his way into the house just in time to discover the front door slapping to a close. There was another round of gunshots through the sound of the storm. “Damn it”

“Kevin what is it? What’s…” Don raced into the house behind him only to discover Brant laying face down on the kitchen floor. “No, oh God no. Kevin…”

Kevin kept pushing forward, running out of the beach house just in time to discover the black Hummer swerving out of the drive. Instinctively Kevin leapt over the railing ready to chase after the Hummer, but it had picked up too much speed for Kevin to follow on foot. He moved over to the car ready to chase the Hummer when he noticed that the tires were flat. Suddenly it dawned in on him that Craven must’ve shot out the tires to keep from being followed. Tipping his head up again Kevin realized that they were getting away--Craven was slipping faster out of his reach and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it.

“Kevin get in here!” Don shouted from inside the house rousing Kevin from his moment of defeat. “It’s Brant. He’s been shot. We need to get him to a hospital.”

“What?” Kevin replied blinking back to the moment. Immediately he thought to his worries about Brant--to how he’d known what kind of trouble Brant was going to get into, yet he’d still pushed on to do things his way. All of his arguments with Brant flashed before his eyes and in that moment he felt the anguish that came along with failing the people around him. He eyed the road that Craven had taken knowing full well he wanted to chase Craven, to go after him and save Angela, yet with Brant being shot…

“Kevin we need to get him out of here,” Don blurted out in a worried voice causing Kevin to turn to the house again. He spotted Don over by the door carrying Brant on his arm.

“Craven just took off with Angie,” Kevin explained feeling helpless as Don pushed past him onto the front deck.

“I need to get him to the hospital,” Don continued to argue with Kevin. “I need to see what kind of damage we have here and…”

“He shot out the tires,” Kevin explained moving towards the edge of the deck and contemplating whether or not he could still drive the car to the hospital.

“Angela…” Brant slurred picking his head up enough to see Don with his arm wrapped around him, “Don she’s…he’s got her and…”

“You’re hurt Brant,” Don explained with a worry behind his blue eyes. In an instant he noticed another thick pooling of blood over the front of Brant’s shirt as well. “Someone shot you and…”

“I’m fine,” Brant shook his head furiously ignoring Don‘s questions as a sharp sting carried over his arm more than anything else, “It’s just my arm and maybe my…”

“What about your head?” Don questioned noticing the blood that continued to flow from the center of Brant’s forehead.

“Angela,” Brant mouthed with a sideways smile, “She did this…she loves me and…”

“And what?” Kevin questioned ready to say something more when an explosion carried over the three of them. Turning to see his Jeep shatter into pieces, Kevin spun around and dropped him, Don and Brant onto the ground of the deck hoping like hell it would be enough to buffer them from the fallout of the Jeep’s unexpected ending!


“This is getting ridiculous,” Blake frowned erasing the messages on the voice mail after she’d gotten half a dozen hang ups from the time she and Sarah had left the offices at the community center. She glanced over at her friend thinking about the call she’d just rushed to answer only to have another round of breathing before nothing. “I don’t understand why someone keeps calling like this.”

“It’s because we’re validating them with an answer,” Sarah decided with a frown of her own. “I figured the voice mail would deter them from actually continuing with this juvenile behavior, but clearly not.”

“I just don’t understand,” Blake shrugged her shoulders again. “I mean it’s a new number, so you would think that it has been out of service for a while. You wouldn’t think that anyone could have had the number recently, right?”

“Even if they did Blake, I would imagine any normal person would realize when someone picked up that the voice on the other end of the line was different,” Sarah added ready to say something more when the phone rang again. Frowning Sarah reached for the phone and picked it up off of the base. “I’ll handle this.”

“Okay,” Blake nodded as Sarah brought the phone up to her ear.

“Listen jackass if you call one more time, I’m going to hunt you down and rip your head off just for all the aggravation you’ve been causing us over the last half an hour,” Sarah snapped into the phone, “and don’t think I won’t do it because I’m more than capable of locating you and your miserable little existence and I’ll have no problems spreading your remains across the country if you keep on provoking me.”

“Wow, obviously I picked the wrong time to call Blake,” Seth’s surprised voice carried over the other end of the line.

“Seth, is that you?” Sarah’s voice softened a bit.

“I’m almost afraid to say yes given your tone,” Seth couldn’t help but laugh as Sarah glanced over at Blake again.

“I’m sorry about that. We’ve just had some prank caller for most of the time we’ve been in here, so naturally I just assumed that…” she began apologetically.

“Whomever was calling was picking up where they left off,” Seth finished for her.

“Precisely,” Sarah nodded, “although I suppose I probably should’ve toned that down just a little bit.”

“I don’t know,” Seth teased again, “If you were going for intimidation I think that one would work. Hell, I almost hung up because you scared me.”

“I seriously doubt that one,” Sarah replied glancing over at Blake again, “but for what it’s worth I can make it up to you by finding your fiancée for you since she’s seated right beside me.”

“Thanks Sarah. That would be great,” Seth offered up with a hint of laughter in his tone, “and next time I might advise you to keep from threatening to spread someone’s remains. The wrong caller might take you seriously in that threat and you could end up in some serious trouble.”

“Point taken,” she replied as she held the phone out for Blake. “It’s your one and only.”

“Seth,” Blake smiled brightly practically ripping the phone out of Sarah’s hand as Sarah watched her friend bounce up off of the chair she’d been seated in.

As Sarah sank back into her seat, she quietly observed Seth and Blake’s conversation, seeing the way that Blake just seemed to light up at Seth’s every word. Even when she was speaking, the love was evident in Blake’s words and her posture. Seth Alexander had more than done the trick in bringing happiness into Blake’s life. It was clear that regardless of what fate had in store for them, Blake and Seth were one of those horribly happy duos who were lost in love with one another.

“I love you more. No I love you more,” Sarah could hear Blake gushing into the phone as Sarah thought about her own relationship.

“What relationship?” she heard a voice in the back of her mind question as she thought back to the last time she’d seen Douglas. Their initial union was far beyond anything that Sarah would’ve wanted in her life, yet there was something about him that kept her coming back for more in the cheap thrills department.

Sure, she’d been mortified when she’d discovered she was Douglas Mahoney’s wife, yet something had changed last night. Even now as she thought of the things that appeared to be weighing upon his mind, she couldn’t help but be worried for him. She had no idea why, but seeing him unhappy bothered her. Even if she pretended to despise her husband completely, there was something about his misery that left her unsettled unless of course she was the one bringing the misery to him.

“Sarah hey,” Blake waved her hand around in the air in front of Sarah’s face, “Are you hearing a word I’m saying to you?”

“Honestly I tuned out after the contest of who loves the other person more,” Sarah feigned nausea. “That was enough to make anyone lose their lunch.”

“Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it,” Blake winked over at Sarah. “It’s kind of fun.”

“I’ll take your word for that because trust me in my marriage that won’t ever happen,” Sarah blurted out with a small groan.

“Famous last words,” Blake laughed lightly as Sarah wondered what it would be like to truly be in a relationship where two people actually cared about one another and were in love. Somehow the concept seemed more than foreign especially with a man like Douglas Mahoney.


“You don’t think Russ and Avery are going to be upset that we’re late, do you?” Deana questioned wiping at the thick layer of steam that covered the mirror in front of her after she’d stepped out of the shower to finish getting ready. She glanced over her shoulder towards the frosted glass of the shower door to notice Grady taking his time within the confines of the shower and she frowned. “I don’t want them to start hating me now that I’m about to join the family so to speak.”

“They won’t hate you,” Grady’s voice vibrated as she heard the sound of him shutting the water off. “They love you.”

“I don’t know about that,” she leaned up against the bathroom countertop bringing her fingers through her wet hair.

“Trust me,” Grady pushed the door open and reached for the towel to the left of the shower. He wrapped it around his waist securely before stepping out to join her, “they love you. Me, on the other hand, well it’s a toss up about whether or not they can take me half the time.”

“I sincerely doubt that,” she groaned as he reached out to drape his arms around her slender waist.

“No, they really get frustrated with me at times, but for some reason they keep putting up with me,” Grady leaned forward to steal a kiss from her only to feel her push him back slightly.

“That’s because you’re blood and you can’t turn your back on blood,” she wrinkled her nose up at him. “I’m not in the position to afford that kind of luxury especially now that it’s going to appear that I have bad manners.”

“Trust me Deana my parents are probably eating up all this one on one alone time with Russ and Avery,” Grady shrugged his shoulders as he moved forward again. His lips skimmed over the side of her neck as she sighed.

“Yes, but we promised we would join them and…” she gave him a stern look.

“Trust me it’s going to be fine,” he explained pushing his fingers through her hair. “What’s really going on?”

“We’re late Grady. It’s not exactly a good way to start the day,” Deana began again turning away from him and focusing on wiping the mirror once again.

“My parents aren’t going to be concerned about our punctuality or anything even remotely close to that topic when they are undoubtedly soaking up the rays of the sun here themselves. Come to think of it, I don’t even remember the last time they were really out of Coral Valley with one another. They have always been so focused on all of us and our troubles that they weren’t really going off and spoiling themselves,” he pondered aloud.

“Even so I want to make a good impression,” Deana pushed her hair out of her face. “I want them to like me.”

“They already do like you,” Grady stepped in behind her and eased his arms around her waist lovingly. “They have from the moment they first met you.”

“When I was someone you were dating that was one thing, but now that I’m going to be your wife, well that puts me on a whole new level altogether,” she explained worriedly. “That means that they are going to have a new set of expectations and thoughts about the kind of woman I am and…”

“You’re worrying for nothing,” Grady tried to assure her as he pressed his chin on her shoulder. “They love you and Zane. They think you both are incredible.”

“But are we incredible enough for their son?” she frowned feeling her worries mounting.

“Listen to me,” he urged as he coaxed her to face him once again. He raised his palm to her cheek pressing it lightly against her skin, “Deana, you are everything they could have asked for in a daughter-in-law and more. Even with Zane, they’ve already taken to him as one of their grandchildren. My parents think the world of him.”

“He loves them too,” Deana admitted with a smile. “He’s never really had any of that in his life. I mean my mom was a part of his world for a while, but with my father having two families and being deceptive like he was, well, it didn‘t make for the picture perfect scene. Family gatherings were kind of lonely.”

“I’m sorry you had to go through that,” Grady’s green eyes focused on her.

“Jason and I had each other and our mother,” Deana forced a small smile, “which I guess made up for some of that emptiness we felt in not having our father around, but at the same time it wasn’t normal. Zane’s never really had that before now, which is why I don’t want to blow it with your family Grady…”

“Deana, my family adores you,” Grady cupped her face in his hands. “Just the other day my father was telling me how you were the best thing that ever happened to me and how I would be a fool if I even thought about letting you go.”

“He said that?” Deana’s eyes widened.

Grady nodded, “And my mother told me that it was clear I was making smarter choices in life now that you were with me.”

“So you wanted to marry me because you had their approval?” she gave him a sideways glance.

“No, more like I wanted to marry you because you’re perfect in every way imaginable,” Grady swept her up into his arms, “Even if you’re feeling a little insecure about breakfast with my family.”

“I’m not insecure I’m just…” she bit down on her lower lip and groaned outwardly. “Okay, so maybe I’m feeling a little insecure.”

“Well don’t be because you can rest assured that you and Zane are the best things that ever happened to me,” he promised with a warm smile, “and from here on out I can assure you that everything is going to be better than you thought possible. We’re a family now you know.”

“I like the sound of that and for what it’s worth,” she smiled back at him finally, “I really believe that things are getting better for us Grady. You make Zane and I so very happy.”

“And I’m going to spend the rest of my life doing just that,” Grady kissed her again tenderly. “This is forever Deana.”

“I like the sound of that,” she smiled throwing her arms around his shoulders and kissing him again.”

“So do I,” she replied knowing that even with her worries things were finally falling into place as they should be. Becoming Mrs. Grady Denton was going to be a dream come true for her in every way imaginable.


“Remind me why we are doing this again,” Kyle looked around the house seeing Russ trying to move through the pitch black house they had made their way into. He could hear the sound of thunder filling his ears as he felt around on the wall and flicked the light on. “This might help a bit.”

“Thanks,” Russ looked around the house downstairs seeing that their was a blanket folded up and placed on the couch. Running up the stairs he looked around and called out Kevin’s name a few times before moving back toward the stairs seeing Kyle waiting for him at the bottom. “Did you see him?"

“The man is a beast Russ, I think both of us would have seen him if he was here,” Kyle pointed out looking around the house seeing how neat it seemed except for a few out of place things here and there. “You know, everything looks pretty normal and if you think about what I said the guy is a beast Russ. If someone came after him, you know he would put up a good fight. Nothing is out of place, I’m sure he’s fine.”

“Right, but he’s my friend Kyle and I’m worried. Avery won’t accept me just saying that he wasn’t home. His phone is off and he’s not home. It’s pouring out and we are having a tropical storm out there. This isn’t a time to go for a joy walk you know,” Russ saw Kyle nod and move toward the kitchen to look at the pad of paper on the refrigerator to see if there were any notes he would have taken before he left. “Maybe he’s at Cameron’s place. It’s not far from here, we can just go see if he’s there. Maybe while Angela was out of it, she would have thought that would have been the place to go.”

“Do you really think that he would end up there?" Kyle questioned seeing Russ nod and he took in a long breath before nodding. They moved toward the front door and once they took a step out into the night, the rain started to pour in over them soaking them within a matter of seconds. Quickly getting into the car he glanced over at Russ who just got in the driver’s seat. There were several cracks of lightening that filled the sky as he took in a long shallow breath. “Remind me why we are doing this again?"

“You know why I’m doing this Kyle,” Russ started to back out of the driveway trying to remember which way to go thinking things over for a moment before the memory came back to him. He started to go down the road before glancing over at his friend. “He’s our friend.”

“Your friend,” Kyle saw the glare that Russ gave him as he threw his hands up in the air and went silent for a moment. “Okay, he’s not my friend, but I know why we are doing this. I would never want something bad to happen to someone and everything that has been going on has been real suspicious.”

“That’s what I thought Kyle. I don’t want anything bad to happen to Kevin, he’s one of my best friends. I can’t let something happen to him after he protected me,” Russ explained seeing the hazel eyes stare over at him as he shrugged his shoulders and thought about the words he chose to say. “Kevin did a lot for me and I just want to make sure he’s alright.”

“I think we’re doing all we can do…out in this tropical weather. I’m not one for storms myself, so I’m glad you are currently doing the driving,” Kyle looked out the window watching the mess that took place around them. It had been a very long time since he had been in a storm this bad and the fact that he was stuck on an island scared him half to death. He was never big on the idea of living on an island and this was the reason right now. “Are we almost there?"

“It’s right up here,” Russ nodded pulling into a driveway seeing Kyle glance over at him and they moved out of the car and toward the house. After taking a glance around Russ saw that the door was pushed open and he gulped down moving further into the house. “The door was open.”

“I saw that,” Kyle moved in front of Russ seeing the glare he got for a moment and he gave it back. Right now things weren’t looking on the up and up, so he wanted to make sure that Russ had protection from anything that might be lurking. “Do you hear anything?"

“Beyond the storm? No,” Russell answered looking around the house seeing a few things knocked over and he moved away from Kyle. Looking at the bottom of the stairs he saw a few drops of blood making his heart quicken. “Kyle, I see blood.”

“Yeah, I have a trail of it,” Kyle followed it out toward the kitchen to the deck before he thought twice about going outside to see if it would still be visible. “Maybe someone had a nose bleed or something in the past and forgot to clean it up.”

“Why is everything knocked over then?" Russ picked up a piece of a broken vase before glancing back at Kyle who seemed to be just as stumped as he was. “I have no idea what’s going on here, but it really isn’t looking good and I think you could agree with me on that one.”

“I agree with you, but I don’t know what to do. What else can we do to find Kevin? His phone isn’t working. He’s not home. He’s not at Cameron’s place. Anymore ideas?" Kyle watched Russ pace back and forth amongst the room before turning to him and throwing his hands up in the air. “I’ll do anything.”

“I can’t think of anything Kyle. I know Kevin, I know he’s a strong guy, but I don’t know much about this Craven guy and what he’s capable of. I know my way around the island, but I don’t know if that will help us at all in finding him,” Russ explained in a panic seeing Kyle nod and go to move outside again to possibly help find Kevin in anyway he could. “Maybe we can find Kevin and he’ll be okay. Just take a ride around the island going to places we went when I was here.”

“You two really got close didn’t you?" Kyle watched Russ get in the car and he did the same looking over at his soaked friend. There was an obvious worry in his eyes as he took in a long breath and shook his head slowly. “We’ll find him Russ. He’ll be okay. I promise you that.”


“This waiting is ridiculous,” Heather threw her hands up in the air, starting to really worry now that she hadn’t heard from Kyle. She glanced over at the clock that Avery’s eyes seemed to be glued on and she couldn’t help but feel her own concerns mounting. “They should’ve been back by now.”

“Yes they should have,” Avery nodded in agreement hoping that Russ hadn’t done anything to get in over his head. Guilt ate away at her now that she knew full well she’d been the one that had pushed him into searching for Kevin. Why she’d felt that was a task for him and Kyle, she had no idea, but now she found herself wishing more than anything that she would’ve just left the job to the police.

“I wish Kyle would’ve called and checked in with me,” Heather whispered in a worried tone forgetting about her hatred for Avery long enough to think about her husband.

“Maybe you should try calling him. I mean if he’s out there with Russ and he has his cell phone on him,” Avery suggested feeling a moment of hope carry in over her.

“It couldn’t hurt,” Heather moved over to the hotel phone before pausing. “Damn that’s no good.”

“Why not?” Avery questioned confused as Heather set the phone back down on it’s base.

“Kyle doesn’t have his cell phone on him. He’s got some temporary phone because his phone broke,” Heather explained thinking about her husband’s phone situation. “He took the temporary until they could order another one like he had, but this one didn’t have the same charger and he wound up leaving it in the hotel room when it died.”

“That’s okay,” Avery decided wondering why she hadn’t thought of it before, “I’ll just call Russ. He has to have his cell on him and…”

“Good idea. Do that and hurry,” Heather waved her on wanting to know that Kyle was okay.

“I’m working on it,” Avery picked up the hotel phone and started to dial only to hear the sound of ringing just beyond where she stood. Turning to spot Heather moving towards the sound, Avery felt a worry carry over her.

“This wouldn’t be his cell phone, would it?” Heather questioned extracting a phone from between the couch cushions she’d been seated on earlier.

“Damn,” Avery hung up the phone worries now consuming her after it dawned in on her that neither she nor Heather had any way of communicating with Kyle or Russ. “You know maybe we should just call the police.”

“Good idea,” Heather nodded in agreement watching Avery pick up the phone when there was a sound at the door. Immediately Heather felt a breath of relief carry over her. She rushed over to the door ready to throw her arms around Kyle and lecture him on never scaring her like that again, but instead she found herself face to face with Don.

“Don?” Heather questioned with a frown feeling him push his way into the room without a word.

“Avery, we need your help,” Don explained in a breathless tone moving in to stand in front of her.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Avery frowned over at Don unable to comprehend why he would show up at her hotel after the scene he and Brant caused the other night at the club.

“We didn’t have anywhere else to go considering that…” Don began thinking about what they’d just endured at Craven’s place. He was covered in dirt and soot and his face was smeared with a black film.

“That it’s not safe anywhere else,” Kevin explained pushing his way into the room with Brant in his arms. Without another word, he moved over to the couch and set Brant down without hesitation. Tipping his head up he looked to Don, “Don do what you do.”

“Right,” Don nodded turning to Heather breathlessly. “I’m going to need you to get me a first aid kit and there should be medical supplies downstairs…”

“I don’t understand,” Heather blurted out realizing that all three men were covered in soot. She glanced over at Brant, who was unconscious and sprawled out over the couch. Her eyes widened when she realized there was blood all over his face and chest. “Oh my God. What happened to him?”

“Craven happened to him,” Kevin informed them as Avery rushed forward to look at Brant.

“Oh my God,” Avery moved in beside him on the couch. She touched his face lightly before speaking up, “Brant, hey can you hear me? Brant?”

“He’s out cold,” Kevin explained as Don instructed to Heather again. He whispered something and Heather nodded before rushing out of the room. Don pushed his way forward moving in over Brant. He ripped at Brant’s shirt opening it up to reveal Brant’s blood smeared chest.

“Kevin, what happened to him?” Avery questioned horrified by what she was seeing. She realized that there was so much blood--too much for her to handle as she turned away. “Kevin, what’s going on? What didn’t you take him to the hospital?”

“I don’t think he’ll be safe there, but I know he’ll be safe with you,” Kevin answered honestly remembering that Craven knew his way around the island. If Craven had intended on killing Brant, he would undoubtedly make sure he’d finished the job at the hospital since Craven wouldn’t be foolish enough to repeat the same mistake twice in a lifetime.

“Wait, are you saying that…” Avery glanced over her shoulder at Brant once again, “Did Craven do this to all of you?”

“He blew up my Jeep and then with Brant,” Kevin’s dark eyes drifted over to the man that Angela had fallen for. He couldn’t help but feel his breath catch in the back of his throat. Closing his eyes momentarily Kevin found himself back in that night that Craven had lead him astray. He’d taken him to that place--to that alley and then Kevin had been shot and…

“Kevin,” Avery snapped him out of his daze long enough to recapture his attention. “Brant needs to go to a hospital. If he’s been hurt…”

“That son of a bitch shot him. I looked at his arm and then there‘s this,” Don explained with a snarl pushing his hands over his friend’s abdomen, “but I think it’s only a surface wound.”

“What?” Kevin questioned moving forward to take a look at Brant.

“It’s not deep even if it’s bleeding and while I should still get him to x-ray somehow. The bullet must‘ve grazed him over the abdomen and his arm when he tried to dodge it,” Don informed Kevin as Heather hurried back into the room to give Don what he’d asked for, “Fortunately it looks like it’s not as bad as we thought. I can fix this.”

“Thank God,” Kevin let out a breath remembering full well that Angela was still out there with Craven. Knowing that caused his blood to run ice cold through his veins. Undoubtedly Craven would be agitated, beyond furious with what was happening and Kevin knew full well he couldn’t just do nothing. “Don, I need you to run with this one. I need you to take care of Brant while I go after them…”

“Now wait just a second,” Avery tugged on his arm gently, “Kevin you can’t go after that guy on your own. He’s dangerous.”

“But if I don’t do something he’ll kill Angie. He’ll hurt her and…” Kevin refused to follow through with his statement not wanting to think the worst about what could happen. “I have to find her.”

“Then I’m going with you,” Avery blurted out surprising everyone in the room.

“What?” Kevin blinked back at her before shaking his head. “No, I’m not going to allow you to do that. I brought Brant back here so that you could keep an eye on him and help Don if he needed it. I know you’ll make sure he’s safe and…”

“Heather can do that,” Avery insisted making a small movement towards him, “because I’m not letting you leave here without me Kevin.”

“It’s too dangerous,” Kevin shook his head furiously, “No there’s no way that you’re going out there with me. Craven’s insane and he’s going to hurt someone if he gets the opportunity…”

“And Russ is out there looking for him. He’s looking for you. He and Kyle are both out there,” Avery informed him point blank, “and there is no way in hell that I’m going to let him take Russ away from me if he gets caught in the crossfire.”

“If you go with me, then you might get caught in that position and I won’t allow it,” Kevin argued with her thinking about the time he was wasting in standing there speaking with her. “Avery, look I don’t want to fight about this. You’re going to take care of Brant.”

“No I’m going with you,” Avery stomped her foot down and glared up at him, “and that’s the final answer.”

“Avery, listen to me,” Kevin spoke up in a muted tone pulling her aside from the group, “Erin would never forgive me if anything happened to her mother.”

“And Erin would never forgive me if I let some monster take her father away from her again,” Avery shot back at him with a newfound determination.

“I promise I won’t let that happen,” Kevin explained taking in a small breath. “I won’t let him get wrapped up in this anymore than he already has.”

“It’s too late for that Kevin. I’m the one who sent him out to look for you and I’m not going to sit idle while the man I love is in danger. It’s not going to happen,” Avery informed him bluntly, “so you can tell me that you’re not taking me, but I’ll still follow you out there. You can either take me along with you or I’ll do it my way.”

“Avery, I’ve never known you to be a pain in the ass like this,” he snapped back at her with a shake of his head, “Why can’t you just listen?”

“Because I’m not about to lose the man I love all over again because of something that Angela is wrapped up in. I’m going to find Russ and that’s final,” Avery yelled at him tossing her head back just a bit to dare him to argue that point with her.

“Fine, but if there’s any sign of danger, you are getting the hell away from it,” Kevin relented turning to Don again now that Don worked on Brant. He felt a tiny shudder carry over him at the sight of Brant and the blood that covered his chest. He moved forward stepping in beside Brant and touching his head gently. “I swear to you Brant. I’m going to bring her home in one piece.”

“Kevin, you need to call the police,” Don added with a frown thinking about the close call they’d gotten now that he was working on his best friend and his wounds.

“Heather can do it when we leave,” Kevin tipped his head to the side motioning to Heather. “Think you can handle that?”

“To hell with that. I’m going with you. If Kyle is out there, then there is no way that I’m sitting here,” Heather began again before she heard Brant let out a sputtering cough. She dropped down to her knees again and touched his face before sighing. “Just promise me that you won’t let Kyle get hurt.”

“I swear to you that I’ll bring him back as soon as I find him,” Kevin assured her before turning to Avery. “You sure about this?”

“I’ve never been more sure about anything in my life. I want to bring Russ back,” Avery decided as the two left the hotel with one another determined to put an end to the nightmare that hung over them once and for all.


“Tell me he’s going to be alright Don,” Heather began worriedly as she moved in closer to where Don was stitching up his friend. Her green eyes swept over Brant and she felt her heart sink at the thought of what might have been.

“He almost wasn’t,” Don shuddered at the memory of what had transpired on their search for Angela. “When I think about how close we all came to losing everything…”

“But you didn’t…” Heather offered up as she noticed Don reaching for one of the medical supplies she’d retrieved for him. She stretched her hand out and offered it to him in the hopes of lending a helping hand.

“But we were so close Heather,” Don sighed as he focused on Brant again. “Today my son almost became an orphan because of our quest to take on that bastard who has Angela. We could have lost everything.”

“It didn’t come to that though Don,” Heather offered up placing her hand on his shoulder before rethinking the movement. She released him as she walked around to take a closer look at Brant. Frowning she noticed the blood had dried on Brant’s face as her heart sank.

“It could have. Someone would have had to tell my son and my wife that I wouldn‘t be there for them any longer. I wouldn‘t have seen Matt grow up,” Don frowned feeling a chill overtake him.

“Don, that wasn’t going to happen,” Heather replied in a supportive tone. “It wasn’t what was meant to be.”

“Neither was what happened to Angela, but we weren’t able to prevent that either. We were so close and then…” Don’s blue eyes fell upon Brant all over again. “Brant could have died as well. We all could have all died because some madman decided to tamper with everyone’s lives. We should‘ve been able to stop him, but instead he took off with even more ammunition behind his actions. At least before he was isolated with Angela, but now that he knows we‘re on to him…”

“This might give him an edge temporarily, but they will find him,” Heather paused letting Don‘s words sink in, “I just hope Kyle doesn’t cross paths with him before Kevin can take care of this.”

“I’m starting to think that Kevin isn’t as much of a match for this guy as we initially believed,” Don admitted glancing up at her once again. “Kevin seemed to know about this guy, but none of us were prepared for the way that he blindsided us today.”

“What about Angela?” Heather questioned with concern evident in her tone.

“Brant saw her, but only for a moment or so,” Don divulged as he finished up with Brant. “Though I can’t really say for sure what happened given that Kevin and I weren’t there when they had a confrontation with Craven.”

“And then somehow this happened huh?” Heather bent down to run her fingers through Brant’s hair lightly. “He wound up anywhere, but where he wanted to be with the woman he loves.”

“He does love her you know Heather,” Don noted as he shot her a warning look.

“I realize that,” Heather curled her lip back at him. “You don’t have to give me that glare.”

“I’m not glaring at you Heather, but at the same time I just don’t want you thinking that…” Don started clearing his throat again.

“That what? That I am concerned about Brant?” Heather frowned over at him.

“It’s not your being concerned that troubles me, but rather that look you get when…” Don began with a shake of his head.

“I can’t believe we are having this conversation,” she rolled her eyes at him. “I’ve been here with you for less than half an hour and you’re going to lecture me on Brant?”

“You did make his life absolutely miserable,” Don reminded her sharply.

“That was a lifetime ago,” she waved her hand back at him dismissively.

“Yeah, for Brant. He’s moved on, but with you,” Don gave her a once over causing her to step away from Brant.

“I’ll have you know that I’m very happily married to a wonderful man who loves me for me,” Heather folded her arms in front of her chest, “so whatever you’re implying, you need to stop before you start Don because it’s going to get old very fast if…”

“Just stop,” Don finally relented bringing his hand up over his head. “I don’t want to hear it. I’m sorry I even brought it up.”

“Well you should be because whatever you were thinking before it’s so far from the truth it isn’t funny,” she informed him with a huff. “Kyle is the most wonderful, amazing man I’ve ever known and I couldn’t be happier than I am at this point in my life. The things I did when I wanted Brant, well they were childish and immature and…”

“You aren’t kidding,” Don muttered under his breath. “Honestly I thought he was going to have to get a restraining order against you because you most certainly leapt over the boundary between sane and crazy.”

“I wasn’t that bad,” she pouted.

“Yes you were,” Don informed her bluntly as he rose to his feet. He stepped back giving Brant a once over before turning to Heather again. “I have to clean up. Think you can be alone with him for five minutes without trying to molest him or anything like that?”

“Oh please,” she rolled her eyes at him once more. “You’re pathetic.”

“I used to think the same thing about you,” Don admitted pulling up the supplies he had with him. He took a step towards the bathroom before pausing to glance over at Heather briefly. “Remember. Hands to yourself.”

“Piss off Don,” Heather shot an icy glare in his general direction. Once he left, she turned to Brant again and sighed. “I’m not that woman anymore. I’m so far from it it’s not funny. I just wish everyone can see that.”

She paused watching him lay still on the couch before her.

“You see it though, don’t you?” she questioned with an uncertainty in her voice. She bent down to touch his cheek lightly as she felt the warmth of him beneath her fingertip. “Yeah, I’m sure you do. You know I‘m better than I was even if Don can‘t see it. You always could Brant.”

“You know we’ve changed, but he hasn’t,” Heather whispered as a wicked smirk carried over her lips, “Don’s still a dipstick.”

“I heard that,” Don’s voice carried over the room.

“Well it’s true,” Heather huffed as she smiled to herself realizing just how far she’d come from where she once was. So what if Don couldn’t realize that she wasn’t at all the same woman she had been when she and Brant were together. Don’s opinion simply didn’t count. Kyle’s did and so did Brant’s. As long as Heather had that under her belt then Don and all his sarcasm could take a flying leap for all she cared.


“I can see you are having a fantastic day,” Dean took a seat at Shannon’s desk seeing her tossing around a few papers here and there. Most of them ending up on the floor from her obvious irritation. “So…should I even ask you what’s wrong or should I just leave it be? Leave and not come back for a while.”

“You want to know what’s wrong?" Shannon huffed seeing the dark eyes of Dean before her stare out at her before he simply shrugged. Obviously he was somewhat worried about what her answer would be as she slammed her hands down over the center of the desk. His eyes widened a bit as he leaned back in her chair a bit more ready for whatever it was she had to say. “I’ve been trying constantly to call my husband and nothing. He hasn’t answered and he won’t answer. I’ve called him multiple times and still nothing.”

“Maybe he’s busy,” Dean suggested seeing the look in her eyes showing him that he could have possibly said the wrong thing there and he simply shrugged. What else was he supposed to do in a situation like this? He tried all his good lines on Shannon before with Don, but none of them worked in the past so it would be no use now. Every time she showed up at his place randomly he knew she was pissed, but right now she seemed much more upset than he had seen her in days. Okay, probably not. She was always upset. “I’m sure he’s not trying to ignore you Shannon. There is probably something going on.”

“What are cell phones for anyways? They are meant for people to be reached and when they don’t even answer it makes you think things over. I mean why the hell have a cell phone when you can’t even answer it?" she totally ignored Dean’s words as he rolled his eyes and rested back in the chair watching her carefully. She continued on with her complaining as he took in a long sigh and sat back knowing there was no way he was going to get out soon now that he got her started on her rant. “He’s a doctor for heaven’s sake. I mean come on, what if someone was dying and needed his help? It’s totally irresponsible of him to go around like this not answering his phone. I don’t respect it at all.”

“Speaking of irresponsible,” Dean was ready to talk to her about the way she had been acting lately and he watched her eyes look to the door as it opened and he turned in the chair to see Nate before him with Matt in his arms. “Oh hey Nate. How’s it going?"

“Why do I feel like I walked into the pits of hell?" Nate questioned staring out at the glare his sister was currently giving him as Matt let out a small laugh while Nate held him in his arms. Smirking he let Matt get down and Dean turned in his chair holding his hand up for a high five as Matt gave him a sideways glance before giving him a high five. “Something wrong?"

“We were just talking about your brother-in-law,” Dean explained standing up from where he was thankful that Nate came in when he did because he was worried he was going to be in the middle of something he wasn’t prepared for today. Dean sighed folding his arms out in front of his chest as he saw Matt crawl up into his chair and stare out at Shannon. “And his lack of being able to call or answer his phone.”

“Really? He called me a while ago just to tell me he loved me,” Matt boomed happily seeing the glance that Nate gave him as Nate chuckled and moved forward to place his hand over the center of Matt’s head playing with his hair. “He said he’s doing just fine and that he loves me very, very much.”

“All of us love you very much kiddo, how can we not?" Nate smirked picking Matt up from where he was sitting in front of the desk and lifted him up on his shoulders. “So what are you up to sis? Since I was babysitting him, I figured we would drop in and see how you were doing.”

“So you mean by you are babysitting him, he’s babysitting you?" Dean teased from the corner of the room seeing the way that Nate smirked back at him. Matt just simply nodded as Dean moved in closer to Nate and then looked up at Matt. “In fact all of us seem to have Matt watching over us right now.”

“Well to be fair I am on Nate’s shoulders which gives me a bigger advantage than the rest of you,” Matt played with Nate’s hair pushing it around before letting out a small laugh seeing Nate’s green eyes look up at him. “So I guess I am watching over all of you.”

“You always protect me little guy. You’ve got my back so I don’t mind if you are watching over me,” Nate smirked staring out at Shannon who seemed to be not amused at all even after the news of Don being okay. It looked like it actually pissed her off more to know that Don called in with Matt, but wouldn’t even answer her calls or pick up his phone for her. “So why are you upset? You like some free time here and there. I know you do.”

“I would actually like to get my phone calls returned though,” she pointed out seeing Nate smirk before grabbing a hold of Matt twirling him in his arm before he took a seat in front of her desk with Matt in his lap. “So what are you really doing here today? You do something to get yourself in trouble again?"

“No, I’m not in trouble--I just have a few questions for you,” Nate moved uneasily as Matt moved away toward Dean seeming to play with him for a moment while Nate stared his sister straight in the eyes. “I was wondering if maybe--maybe you knew something. You see, I have had a lot of stuff on my mind and stuff like changing a diaper--is it hard? I mean, I know it’s disgusting, but can you do it easily?"

“Nate, I don’t wear a diaper,” Matt turned on his heel seeing the way that Nate smirked and looked a bit nervous as Matt stepped in closer to him. Shannon was staring out at Nate like he just blurted out the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard from him. Probably because it was. “So why do you need to know about diapers?"

“Just forget about it. How about we go check out the vending machine,” he went to get up seeing Dean motion him to take a seat before he took Matt with him. “You sure you go it?"

“Yeah…I’ll give the two of you some time. Anyways…I owe Matt something from the vending machine,” Dean lied trying to come up with some room knowing that he could get away from Shannon for a few. Also, whatever Nate was up to seemed to be something big and he wanted to make sure he kept his nose out of it. The two probably needed some space alone and he was ready to get out of the moment the fastest he could.

“So what in the world are you asking me about children for?" Shannon leaned forward in her chair seeing the way Nate pushed back his long hair not really wanting to look her in the eyes. It was obvious he was avoiding her question as much as possible which made her wonder what in the world he was up to. “What did you do Nate?"

“I didn’t do anything,” Nate blurted out with a bit of venom behind his voice as he stared out at his sister. Sure, he was lying a little bit, but really he wasn’t the one lying. All he did was make a promise to someone and wanted to see if he could really stick up for the promises he made. It was a huge fear for him being a father and he wanted to stand up for Cori--he just didn’t know if he could do it good. Let alone make a good father without having any practice at all. Well, except for Matt that was. “Just drop it Shannon. I don’t want to talk about it right now. I was just pondering the thought. That was all. I don’t care anymore.”

“Fine, you really need to pull the stick out of your ass because I’m having just as bad of a day as you are obviously,” Shannon rolled her eyes and stood up from her desk chair pulling out her cell phone trying to call Don once more only to get his voice mail again. Letting out a long hiss she tossed her phone aside and realized that this wasn’t going to be a good day at all.


Pushing through a few things Cori realized that this boredom she had thrust upon her seemed like it never was going to leave. She had nothing to do, no one to talk to and she couldn’t seem to find something that would keep her attention. Soap operas most people suggested, but after watching four different ones she could tell them apart. That was a big no. Writing? Nope, not even close. One word in and her mind went blank. What was she supposed to even write about in the first place? She could never understand how writer’s got their ideas. Even with that--reading a book bored the hell out of her. So nothing really seemed to work right at all. Everything bored her to tears and for once in her life she wished for a bit of action. Damning herself quite often for the ways she got in trouble over the last few days because if she would have never gotten in trouble she would have never been in this kind of a state.

A knock at her door sent her to toss all the celebrity news magazines off her bed with one shove hoping that it was someone that would give her some type of excitement. Some type of gossip maybe. Rather than someone who is just walking in to check on her. Resting on her shoulder she turned her television back on and cleared her throat beckoning the person on the other side to come in.

“Aunt Cori?" Cori soon saw her niece Stacy slowly open the door, moving partially into the room as Cori sat up on the center of the bed motioning her to come in and talk to her. “Can I talk to you a minute? I was kind of a bored and I thought I would ask you about something.”

“Please do. I mean it--really, please come in here and talk to me. I’m so bored that I feel like I’m going out of my mind,” Cori saw Stacy crack a smile before she came over to the edge of the bed and took a seat on the corner of it. “So what’s on your mind? Whatever it is--let’s stretch out the conversation as much as possible because it feels nice to have someone talking to me.”

“Wow, you really are bored,” Stacy let out a small laugh before turning toward her aunt more seeing her nod. Rubbing her hands together she remembered what she heard earlier and was interested to know the truth. “I want to know--I heard that you threatened my mom earlier. Like pretty hardcore and I want to know if that was really true?"

“If I say it’s true--will you be upset with me?" Cori questioned seeing her niece’s light eyes staring out at her while a smirk pressed in over her lips. Stacy simply shook her head and Cori took in a long breath before nodding. “Yeah, I threatened to beat her ass basically.”

“You are so cool,” Stacy blurted out knowing that she probably shocked her aunt with the way she responded to what she told her, but most people would know it’s obvious how she felt about her mother. Jewel was never much to look up to and what was even worse is that she would rather be with her dad. That was saying a lot considering how bad she thought both of her parents were. Raising her palm she high fived her aunt knowing that she was still partially shocked. It should be no surprise that she loved her aunts and uncles more than she actually loved her real mother and father. She loved them like they treated her. Which was completely terrible. Okay, maybe that wasn’t true. She loved her father and cared about her mother. She just liked to hear it when they got put in their place. “It’s about time someone knocked her down a few steps. I’m proud of you.”

“You know, for some reason that wasn’t the answer I was expecting from you, but I like it,” Stacy laughed leaning back in her bed before reaching for one of the magazines she tossed aside flipping through the pages before sighing tossing it aside. “So, how is life going for you? Eventful?"

“Not really, there is always boys in my life that are cute, but other than that--I don’t know what else to say,” Stacy took in a long breath before snapping her fingers and pointing out at Cori. “So about Nate. How do you feel about him? He’s kind of cute…”

“He’s cute, yeah…,” Cori wasn’t sure what else to really say about him considering that they really weren’t together and most of the time she found him to be quite annoying. A nagging thorn in her side, but with his recent urge to help her kind of struck a match in her. Well, not a big one, but she saw him in somewhat of a different light. Kind of. “He’s very caring.”

“I can tell--he seems to really care about you,” Stacy agreed thinking about her aunt’s past shaking her head at the thought. “Well, we all know that he is a lot better than the ass you shot in the ass.”

“You put that together to make it sound quite…awkward,” Cori chuckled at the idea before biting down on her bottom lip knowing that Diego really wasn’t that bad of a guy. He wasn’t fantastic, but she knew what she did to him wasn’t the best of ideas and he made up for all the things in he did in the past before leaving. “It is a nice change for once though. Nate is someone who genuinely seems to care about me and it’s nice to feel that way.”

“I hope one day someone will be there for me like Nate has been there for you. He seems to be so much in love with you and I want someone like that,” the words seemed to hit the heart as Cori thought about what her niece said. Nate loved her. That was something worth thinking about. Did Nate really love her or was he doing this to better himself? What the answer was she didn’t really know. She never really gave Nate the chance to make a decision upon why he was doing what he was. She didn’t know if he loved her, but the idea seemed to scare her. “I’d want that in life one day.”

“And you will. You know how I know that?" Cori questioned reaching out to grab Stacy’s hands in hers squeezing them softly. “Someone will see how perfect you are and will want to be with you and only you. You are a great girl and that’s how I know you will get someone just as great.”

“That’s really great you feel that way. I hope I get someone like Nate, someone that doesn’t care about the whores so to speak,” Stacy spoke out thinking about her mother and just exactly how she was like. She was insane and it was obvious she was just like that with men. “I’m glad you found someone who wouldn’t fall for that and loves you for just you.”

While she agreed with Stacy that her mother was what she was, she often had to wonder what Nate really was all about. She never gave him much of a chance and maybe now was the chance to start doing so. Maybe.


“Is there anything I can get for you?" Chase questioned nervously staring out at Trisha’s mother knowing that at any moment their little secret that they had about Trisha possibly being pregnant might have gotten out with her. Staring Marlene Merhan in the face was quite a shock to start with since he knew that meeting Trisha’s mother in such a fashion was quite out there. He saw her shake her head making things much more tight and things were quiet. Quiet to him was not good. Too much tension to be honest. There was a knock at the door and he was thanking God. It broke the tension. Well, at least for him. “I’ll be right back ladies. Let me get the door.”

Running to the door once he was behind Trisha’s mother far enough he opened the door hoping it was someone that could save them from this type of silence because it was honestly killing him. Staring out at the face before him he wrapped his arms around them letting out a tight sigh.”

“Okay, wasn’t expecting that,” Ria’s voice replied in return patting Chase on the back before letting out a tight breath seeing that her mother turned to look at her as she felt her chest tighten. Great. This was the last person she wanted to see today especially with the news she was coming to give her sister. “I’m sorry to interrupt the little gathering you have going on here, but can I speak to you a second Trisha?"

“Wait, don’t you want to share whatever it is with all of us?" Chase nearly begged seeing the way that Ria stared out at him because he knew that if both Trisha and Ria left he would be left alone with Marlene and he didn’t want to feel that kind of awkwardness just yet. It was kind of weird and he wasn’t ready for it. “Please?"

“It will only be a minute,” Trisha hushed him with a silent chuckle moving out to place her hands over the center of his shoulders pushing him back toward the chair in the corner of the apartment’s living room. “We’ll be right back mother.”

“It’s nice to see you Ria,” Marlene muttered and Ria could almost feel the venom in her voice like it was almost mocking because she wanted to just talk to her sister. Looking out at her mother she waved for a second before moving into the kitchen with her sister.

“What’s wrong?" Trisha saw Ria look back over her shoulder to make sure no one else was coming and they could still hear Chase trying to start up some kind of conversation with their mother. She could tell it was hard for him to do something like that right off the bat. “Also…after you are done I kind of have to tell you something as well.”

“Well I’m going to be leaving for a while because…,” Ria went to explain something more before catching the look in her sister’s dark eyes. Taking in a long breath she shook her head before nodding slowly. “So what’s on your mind? What’s bothering you? You can finish first?"

“Not that I’m one hundred percent sure, but I think I’m in trouble,” Trisha began watching Ria nod not quite sure where she was going with what she was saying. Trisha folded her arms out in front of her chest trying to tell someone to get this off her chest and she thought about it. What the heck? Ria wouldn’t be the one to judge her. “I think I might be pregnant.”

There was a silence as Ria stepped back and let out a small laugh before looking to the living room hearing Chase continuously trying to talk to their mother and she wasn’t quite sure how to answer back to something like that.

“Well good luck telling mom about that. Mom is probably going to kill you if she finds out,” Ria reached out to pat her younger sister on the shoulder before chuckling a bit. Placing her hand over her lips she tried to silence herself a bit before clearing her throat and getting back to the obvious reason she came here. “Putting all that behind us though for a couple of seconds. I have to go find Kevin. I’m not getting a hold of him and I really need to tell him something very important. He’s out on the island somewhere and I’m going out there to find him. I have to tell him something. Something he needs to hear face to face. It’s quite important that he finds out about this.”

“Well what are you…,” Trisha was about to ask her sister about her actions, but paused when she saw their mother standing in the doorway of the kitchen and she paused nodding back behind Ria making her look over her shoulder at their mother. “Mom…”

“Did I just hear you correctly? You are taking off of work to go for a man that isn’t even worth your time? You are being so irresponsible for this Kevin Adonis. You are putting your job on backburner for this man,” Marlene began seeing Ria tense up with her words as she turned to face her mother more clearly. “This man is a pathetic nothing that you should have never wasted your time with. I told from the very beginning that he was no good for you and I still think that…”

“You’re wrong mother and because of you in the past I missed out on all the life I could have shared with Kevin,” Ria blurted out seeing the way her mother stepped back almost appalled by what she was saying. “I love Kevin and there is nothing you could do or say that would change that for me. He’s everything I want and need in my life and I’ll do whatever I have to do to make sure he’s safe. I love him with everything that I am and if that means I have to put my job on the line for him, then so be it because he’s worth it and then some. You have no idea what kind of man he is and I think he’s the best thing that ever happened to me. So I really don’t care what you have to say about him because your input means nothing to me.”

“Well I never…,” Marlene went to say something again and Ria threw her hands up in the air and saw Chase move into the kitchen after hearing her so called rant about Kevin. Ria turned to her sister and hugged her before doing the same with Chase. “You can’t just leave like this.”

“Watch me,” Ria’s last words echoed through the kitchen as they watched Ria leave the kitchen and the sound of the front door closing filled the air and they watched Marlene as she stood before them.

“Well, I heard it was going to be hailing today…,” Chase wasn’t quite sure how to break the silence as he heard Trisha laugh and it may have worked for her, but her mother walked right out of the kitchen. “Great…not working at all.”

With her mother here he felt like quite the loser. He was quite the charmer and he kept trying to be the charmer that he usually was, but with the way things were ending up he realized that he was stuck in a stand still and didn’t know how to get her mother to like him. Let alone be happy. After the event that just took place he realized that it probably wasn’t going to be very easy anyways.


“I don’t know where else to look Kyle,” Russ pulled up in front of a building knowing that they drove around the island multiple times looking for possible places that Kevin could have been. All the obvious places were out and even the places he didn’t even know about they looked. “I have no idea where Kevin could be. I want to find him and have some kind of information with him being alright, but all I can come up with is nothing.”

“Maybe they finally found Kevin and he showed up at the hotel?" Kyle suggested seeing Russ bit down on his lip obviously not happy about the outcome. He could tell that by the third time they made it around certain places that Russ was trying so hard to find Kevin and yet they got nothing. “We could go back and check things out. See if everything is alright.”

“Okay, but we can go back and check in with everyone,” Russ began watching his friend nod before looking around the storm that seemed to be getting worse around them if that was even possible. Kyle nodded once more pulling out his cell phone seeing that the signal was weak and it was most likely because of the storm. “After we make sure everyone is okay--we’re coming back out here to look for him. Understand?"

“I’m completely okay with that, but I’m sure everyone is wondering how we are,” Kyle agreed looking to this watch knowing that they had been gone for quite sometime and if it was him waiting he knew that he would have been having a panic attack by now. Reaching out to pat Russ on the shoulder, he shook his head slowly and took in a long shallow breath. “I want nothing more than to know that your friend is okay. I don’t want him hurt, but the fact of the matter is that we have a family too. We have to let them know that we are okay and that nothing is wrong with us.”

“You’re right, you are absolutely right and I know that Kevin will be okay. I can just feel it,” Russ gulped down knowing that the feeling he was having wasn’t good, but it was just a natural feeling he got a lot. It was always how he was to worry and every time he worried it ended up being okay. Somewhat okay. Kevin was strong and probably knew this island better than anyone else did. There was no way that Kevin would be in any true serious trouble. Yet. Turning the car back around he hoped that maybe on the way back he would spot Kevin. Tell him that he was scaring the life out of his wife and that they were all worried about him. Avery was scared that their new found friend was hurt and he was just as worried. Kevin was one of his best friends, there was no way he wanted to lose him now, but his hopes came to an end when they pulled into the hotel parking lot and he saw absolutely no sign of Kevin at all. Even though it was somewhat of a short walk to the entrance of the hotel, it was raining so bad that he knew they would be soaked even by the time they got inside. “You ready for this?"

“There is no other way to get there and hey--what’s getting wet going to do to us? Not that much unless I get struck by lightening and by now--it just might be possible,” Kyle pointed out seeing the way Russ cracked a smile and they got out of the car running up the steps to the room knocking on the door over and over again. Finally the door opened and they rushed inside completely soaked like they had imagined. A groan escaped his lips as he felt a slamming into him and Kyle looked to see Heather holding onto him like she would never let go. His breath was escaping his lungs as he laughed and squeezed her tightly before looking around seeing no sign of Avery. When his eyes finally met the couch he gasped and moved forward. “What the hell? What the hell happened?"

“Long story,” Don answered entering the room with a few things in his hands as Russ closed the door and looked around the room. Don was almost shocked to see the two of them here right now considering that Kevin and Avery just left moments before. Of course this was going to be a never ending cycle and it would end up bad. “Very long.”

“Well I think we should know,” Russ explained moving through the room looking in the separate rooms looking to find Avery. He was expecting to find his soon to be wife, but came up short as he stepped forward in the room. Looking down at Brant he felt his chest tighten as he looked back to Don again. “What the hell happened to him and where is Avery?"

“She’s with Kevin,” Don explained seeing the way that both Kyle and Russ seemed to be confused as Kyle pulled away from Heather long enough to drop down to his knees where Brant was passed out on the couch. Reaching out to press his hand over Brant’s forehead he looked back at Don seeing Don move in beside him. “Craven shot him. He shot him and he blew up Kevin’s jeep. It’s not a bad wound, it was just enough to make him bleed pretty good.”

“Is he going to be okay?" Kyle questioned noticing the blood that was still over Brant’s body and he felt a bit of worry kick up inside of him. He knew that him and Brant had their tiffs in the past, but this was something he never wanted for anyone. Brant looked pale as can be and as he felt Heather place her hand over his shoulder he stood up wrapping his arms around her. “They were right. This Craven guy was as bad as we thought.”

“But Kevin is okay? And Avery is with him?" Russ snapped seeing Don nod and Russ ran his fingers through his hair worriedly as he moved to the window to look out into the storm hardly being able to see anything. “What is going on here Don? Why is Avery with Kevin and where did they go?"

“They went out to find you and he was out to find Craven and Angela. Avery was determined to find you and she wouldn’t take no for answer in going with him,” Heather explained as Russ turned to look back at her with his green eyes and Kyle squeezed her shoulder softly before taking in a long breath. “The two of you were gone so long that we started to worry.”

“Well, you know how long it took us to look for Kevin,” Kyle tried to make better of the subject as Russ began to pace amongst the room and Kyle moved out in front of him. “Maybe all we have to do is wait and they’ll show up like we did. We should just wait.”

Waiting never worked really well in the past, but right now with how everything was going on--it was the best idea for anyone to do. He wanted to make sure that everyone was okay, but they should be able to show up like they did. Well--at least he hoped so.


“So this is where he does all of his plotting and planning, huh?” Avery questioned looking around Cameron’s beach house and feeling a small shudder building up inside of her. She’d never really paid much attention to Cameron’s place back in Coral Valley, but here, well it went without saying that she felt uncomfortable. Bringing her hands up over her arms and taking a long look around, she couldn’t help but feel totally out of place. “It’s amazing to think that this could be where he spent his time coming up with ways to make people miserable.”

“Cameron’s not as bad as he seems,” Kevin offered up catching the glare that she shot at him. He raised his hands up before taking in a breath, “Okay, so maybe he’s a pain in the ass, but he’s a pussy cat compared to the man his father was.”

“You mean compared to the man that Cameron’s tried to convince me is my father?” Avery challenged arching a curious brow. She stepped across the room over by Cameron’s desk. Spotting a photograph of Cameron and Angela that had been taken a few years back she started at it.

“It doesn’t matter what he wants you to believe,” Kevin paused sensing her uneasiness with the situation. He moved over to her and retrieved the photo. “Your family is in your heart and that’s all that matters.”

“Is it?” she couldn’t help but ask tipping her head up to look over at him. Letting out an ironic laugh she shook her head, “You know here I am freaking out about the idea of possibly being related to Cameron and Angela when Russ has had to deal with a lot worse. He found out that Nicholas Ashford is his father and there is no refuting that one. There is no question about it, yet here I am getting all worked up about something that may or may not be true.”

“Hey, I can’t blame you for at least having some kind of opinion on it given the way Cameron tossed that at you,” Kevin reminded her thinking of the way that Cameron seemed hell bent on upsetting Avery. “Cyrus was the kind of man that people didn’t want to mess with. Of course there were those who challenged him, but most of the time they usually wound up disappearing from the world.”

“Sounds like a real humanitarian,” Avery glanced over at the photo again, “I can see where his son gets it from.”

“Sadly in Cameron’s own way he believes he’s out for justice,” Kevin further explained thinking about the years he’d spent with the Stone family. “Cameron was raised to protect family at all costs even if it means crossing a few lines along the way.”

“But Brant didn’t have anything to do with what happened to Cyrus. I can assure you that even if Nicholas played a hand in his death, Brant wouldn’t have had any part of it. Sure, he’s a jerk, but he’s not that kind of jerk,” Avery added thinking about her ex-husband. “He’s less than truthful at times, but he’s not malicious and vindictive that way.”

“No, I never imagined he would be,” Kevin sighed thinking about the bullet Brant had taken earlier. “He’s a good guy when it gets down to it.”

“Well I wouldn’t go that far,” Avery paused remembering all the grief Brant had given her, “but he’s no where near being a cold blooded murderer.”

“You know Avery, I know it isn’t the time to get into this, but Brant wasn’t here to upset the weekend. He was here because Angie is missing and…” Kevin started hoping to alleviate some of Avery’s concerns.

“I know that now,” Avery nodded swiftly, “but at the same time I need to keep my guard up. Given our history…”

“History,” Kevin repeated with a small laugh. He moved across the room hoping to find any sign of anyone being there before he and Avery had arrived, “It’s funny that you mention it considering the irony behind it.”

“What do you mean?” she questioned seeing him stiffen as he stood beside the chair near the far end of the room. She watched him reach for it, curling his fingers around the back of it before taking in a breath.

“The last time I saw Craven he put a bullet in my chest,” Kevin confessed turning around to face her again, his dark eyes filled with an overwhelming guilt and sadness. “He duped me into going out with him the night I lost my daughter and even though I could never prove he was the one that shot me, in the back of my mind I always knew it was him. He always hated that Angie and I were close. He’d threatened her a few times about it too since it wasn’t allowed.”

“So he knew that you two were together when he began all of this?” Avery questioned moving in closer to him.

Kevin nodded once more, “Craven did everything in his power to find a way to frighten her. Once she was pregnant we decided we couldn’t keep our relationship a secret much longer. We were going to get married and go to Europe for a while…”

“But that never happened,” Avery noted seeing something flicker behind his eyes.

“No, it never did,” Kevin replied in a numb tone, his jaw flexing with tension. “Angie lost our daughter and the whole truth of us never came into light. Cyrus was never aware of the fact that I was the father of his grandchild. It was like everything that Angie and I had never was real--like it didn’t exist and our family wasn’t anything more than a dream I’d held onto.”

“Kevin, I’m sorry,” Avery began again thinking about what he must’ve gone through, “I know what it’s like to lose your child. I know how it feels to think that you have something to look forward to only to have fate take it away from you.”

“It’s just that…” Kevin fought for the right words, “I feel like something is happening--like somehow history has a way of coming full circle and repeating itself.”

“You mean with Angela being pregnant?” she couldn’t help but ask.

“I have this nagging feeling that Cyrus did something to her that night--that he’s the reason she lost our daughter,” Kevin blurted out something that had haunted him for a very long time. “I think he made sure that she would have the baby when I wasn’t around and that he would destroy her. I always suspected he had a thing for Angie, but given that he and I both had a code that meant keep away…”

“But you didn’t follow it,” Avery reminded him simply.

“It wasn’t my fault. I couldn’t help but love her and because of that…” Kevin shook his head refusing to go down that road again. He stood up straighter and fought like hell to banish the thoughts of his former life with Angela. “Right now we just need to find her.”

“And Russ and Kyle,” Avery added thinking about all she was hearing about Craven, “though Kevin if he’s this dangerous, then maybe we should stop doing this on our own. We should get the police involved and…”

“I’m sure Heather called them,” Kevin cleared his throat again before turning to her, “I’m sure that she wound up telling them what was happening and…”

“It wouldn’t hurt to get some more backup,” Avery added with a small frown.

“No, this is something that Craven wants me to take care of on my own,” Kevin mused knowing full well that he and Craven clearly had a score to settle with one another. “If I bring the police into this completely, he’ll disappear and I’ll never see Angie again.”

“If you don’t bring the police into this, then the same thing that happened to Brant could happen to you, Kyle, or even Russ,” she stepped forward disapproval heavy in her dark eyes. “Kevin you have to call for help.”

“Avery, I’m sure Russ and Kyle will be over here soon since he knows about this place and…” Kevin paused spotting an envelope taped to the television set that he hadn’t noticed when they’d walked in. Pausing he moved forward brushing past Avery to go look at it.

“Kevin, you need help,” Avery explained puzzled by his sudden movement. She spun around to see him peeling the envelope off of the front of the television screen. “What is that?”

“I don’t know,” Kevin confessed seeing his name printed out over the front of it. Hurriedly he pulled the envelope open and realized there was a note for him inside.

“What does it say?” Avery asked worriedly moving in for a closer look.

Kevin tipped his head up again and met her curious eyes. He quickly slipped the note back into the envelope feeling a newfound determination carry over him, “I know where to find her. I know where he has Angie.”

“Kevin, we have to call the police,” Avery stated once again.

“You can stay here and call the police or even wait for Russ, but I have to go,” Kevin mouthed feeling his pulse racing as he knew full well that this was a deadly game Craven was playing with him. “I have to help her.”

“Fine, then I’m going with you,” Avery declared boldly. “Chances are Russ and Kyle were here as well and if they saw the note, then they undoubtedly went searching for Angela. Neither one of them would leave someone in danger.”

“But it was still taped to the television,” Kevin tried to reason with her. “If they saw it you would think they would’ve taken it with them.”

“Maybe there wasn’t time,” Avery tossed out at him knowing full well what kind of man Russ was. “They would’ve tried to rescue her.”

“If that’s the case, then they are in big trouble,” Kevin turned to the door only to feel Avery follow him. Stopping in the doorway, he spun around to face her again, “Avery you need to stay here.”

“Considering that Craven’s been here, not to mention that it’s Cameron’s house,” she wrinkled her nose at the suggestion, “Not a chance. I’m going with you, so don’t even try to talk me out of it.”

“You’re starting to sound like a broken record,” Kevin frowned at her shaking his head at her stubbornness.

“And I’m the one with the rental car since yours blew up,” she pointed out reaching into his pocket and pulling out the car keys he’d had. She waved them around in the air before marching out of the house, “Now come on Kevin. We don’t have time to waste.”

“Damn it. You’re going to get yourself killed if you’re not careful Avery,” he called out to her, but it was no use now that she’d made up her mind that she wasn’t about to walk away from the possibility of finding Russ and Kyle before it was too late. Resigning himself to his fate, he rushed after her hoping like hell that she wouldn’t wind up in a bad situation for thinking that tagging along with him was the right thing to do. For both of their sakes he hoped that he could find a way to take care of Craven and save Angela as quickly and painlessly as possible.


“Alexander, what’s the rush?” Bryce Jameson questioned rushing over to Seth before Seth could exit through the elevators taking him down to the parking garage.

As Seth turned around he spotted one of Heather’s many assistants approaching at a rapid pace. Of course in his haste Bryce completely overlooked a trash can and came crashing down upon the oversized bin causing it to fall with him. Frowning Seth returned to where he’d just been in the hallway and reached out to help the smaller man up.

“I guess I must’ve missed that,” Bryce wrinkled his nose at the trash beneath him. “I’ll just have a janitor come out here and sweep this up.”

“You should really be more careful,” Seth noted while suppressing the urge to smirk at the way Bryce had gone down.

“Oh believe me I will be, but that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about,” Bryce explained bending forward to extract a discarded envelope he’d been carrying with him. “These are for you.”

“What are they?” Seth questioned curiously.

“Proofs that you said you would go over before the reshoot,” Bryce explained in a pinched tone causing Seth to frown.

“There is no need for the reshoot,” Seth replied with a scowl of his own. “Everything turned out beautifully from what I saw and I really don’t think that…”

“Darling, you weren’t the photographer,” Bryce waved his hand around in the air dismissively, “so of course Heather immediately demanded a reshoot given the nature of the subject.”

“I hardly consider it a priority especially when I’m off the clock,” Seth frowned thinking about the long day he’d put in at the office. While he’d spent most of his time absorbed in a simple shoot, he’d found his thoughts returning to the moment that he’d have Blake in his arms again, holding her close to him.

“You’re never off the clock here or have you not seen that yet?” Bryce questioned eyeing him suspiciously. “In fact you clocked out five minutes early.”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but I’m on my way home,” Seth informed Bryce firmly. “I promised my fiancée a nice, relaxing evening for just the two of us and I’m fairly certain that Heather won’t argue that point.”

“I just know she wants this reshoot taken care of and…” Bryce opened his mouth in protest.

“Heather is just being stubborn. Just fax her the shots I suggested we go with and tell her that those are more than adequate for what she needs,” Seth let out a long sigh, “because right now the last thing I feel like doing is spending my time going over something that’s already solid on it’s own.”

“She’s not going to be happy about this one,” Bryce reminded Seth with a hollow tone.

“Then tell her it was my decision because I’m leaving,” Seth turned towards the elevators again.

“Wait,” Bryce chased after Seth once again, “there’s more.”

“I’m on my way out the door,” Seth replied not bothering to turn around as he pushed the button to the elevator and waited.

“You were stuck in the studio today so while you were gone I took the liberty of putting your messages together,” Bryce handed Seth a stack of soup can labels he’d put together after peeling them off of the cans they‘d been on. “I ran out of notepads, so I thought that would do.”

“It’s certainly a novel idea,” Seth gave him a strange sideways glance as Seth’s eyes perused the various labels in his hand. “I’ll get back to them later because tonight’s all about my fiancée.”

“Just take a look at them,” Bryce encouraged him further as Seth stepped onto the elevator ready to put the day behind him long enough to savor the night with Blake

“He needs to switch to decaf,” Seth laughed lightly looking to the first message that Heather had left about the reshoot. Curling the paper up into a ball Seth discarded it onto the floor before looking at the other, which was a reminder from Blake to pick up some milk on the way home. He smiled at the thought, tucking the message into his pocket.

“Everything’s going to be perfect,” Seth smiled turning his attention to the last message in his hand. This one was written on a piece of paper, which seemed oddly out of place with the other messages. In fact after a further glance he realized the writing was different than Bryce’s.

“Guess someone else knew where to find the paper,” he muttered under his breath as he read the message out loud. “Tonight everything changes forever.”

Seth paused thinking about the message for a moment as his thoughts drifted to Blake. Even though there was nothing indicating who had left the message, he knew full well that Blake had to be the one responsible after their talk about starting over again. Tonight was about new beginnings and he was going to savor every last one of them with the woman he loved one way or another.

“To happily ever afters,” he smiled thoughtfully ready to begin the next phase of his life with Blake once and for all.


“You’d better not be late tonight,” Blake warned collecting the box in her arms and looking over to Sarah, “because so help me God if you’re not there when Seth and I are ready to go, I’m going to be really upset with you.”

“I was there for you the last time, wasn’t I?” Sarah laughed lightly looking around the community center offices. “Though are you sure that you’re really ready for this?”

“Considering that this is something that I’ve always wanted,” Blake grinned widely squeezing the box closer into her chest, “You’re damn right I’m ready for this. I can’t wait to be Mrs. Seth Alexander.”

“Blake, I don’t want to burst your bubble, but married life isn’t what it’s always cracked up to be. Trust me I’m an expert on this one,” Sarah groaned inwardly thinking about the husband she’d never wanted, yet suddenly had now that she and Douglas had mysteriously tied the knot with one another.

“You know you keep talking about how awful being married is Sarah, but part of me thinks that you like it,” Blake couldn’t help but tease her, “I spotted you playing with your ring earlier and when you were talking about Douglas, you had this gleam in your eyes.”

“It was probably dust because I can promise you that I’m not happy about this situation at all. The sooner we wind up divorced, the better it’ll be,” Sarah blurted out her assurances of how she’d felt. “This was a huge mistake.”

“Mistake or not it might be good for you,” Blake wiggled her brow suggestively, “He might be the first guy in Coral Valley to make an honest woman of you even if he’s a little old.”

“Trust me I wouldn’t give him the honors,” Sarah waved her hand dismissively, “Now why don’t you forget about me and just get back to you and your blissful night ahead of you? I’m sure you have a few things to pack before you and Seth take it to the next level.”

“I do, but I just thought I might offer up some advice to you just in case,” Blake winked at her again. “You never know Sarah. You might have real happiness this time if you stop thinking about all the other things that aren’t important in your life.”

“Trust me Doug is not the real deal for me. He’s not…” Sarah sighed shaking her head again, “Just trust me on this one. He and I have the kind of marriage that you’ll never hope to have.”

“Right now all I want is to be with Seth. That’s all I’ve wanted since I met him and tonight, well it’s going to be a reality,” Blake shrugged her shoulders with a playful giggle before nodding to the box Sarah was finishing up with, “Are you sure you can take care of that?”

“Of course,” Sarah nodded in response reaching for the roll of tape. “I’ll just put this one together and then turn all the lights off. I can lock up for you too like I said before, so that way you have more time to get ready tonight.”

“Thanks Sarah,” Blake replied glowing with enthusiasm, “I’ll owe you one.”

“I may take you up on that one day, but for now get out of here. Get moving or else I’ll be behind and then we’ll have real problems tonight,” Sarah teased with a laugh of her own, “My best friend wouldn’t appreciate that so go.”

“I’m going. I’m going,” Blake promised with a wide grin moving over to the door. She stopped long enough to turn around and smile at Sarah again, “And Sarah?”

“Yes?” Sarah tipped her head up to see Blake looking happier than she’d been in a very long time.

“Thanks…for everything. I know I’m not exactly big in the whole friends department, but you’ve always been good to me. Even if things have been complicated for you, well, you’ve just been…” Blake paused feeling a heat rise over her features.

“Yeah, you’re my best friend too Blake. Even if you weren’t my only friend right about now, I would have to say that you’re the one person in my life that hasn’t thought that I was completely beyond redemption,” Sarah admitted thinking about how she’d become the town pariah after the truth came out about her manipulations.

“Everyone deserves a second chance at happiness Sarah and maybe fate is trying to offer you one with Doug even if you aren’t ready to face that,” Blake tossed back at her catching the glare that Sarah gave her. “Just food for thought.”

“I’ll pass. Now get out of here,” Sarah warned her with a shake of her hand in the air.

“Alright I’m really leaving now, but remember don’t be late,” Blake tossed back at her once more before exiting the community center.

“I won’t be,” Sarah called out to Blake before turning her attention to the box. She started to tape it up while considering what Blake had said to her. While Sarah wanted nothing more than the divorce that she’d been begging for, there was a certain something about Douglas. Yes, she hated his guts and couldn’t stand him, yet when they were alone together--when they gave into madness with one another, it just showed that…

“That what?” Sarah thought to herself wondering what it was that kept pulling her in closer to Douglas. She despised him and who wouldn’t? He was a miserable, horrible man who had a heart of glass and wasn’t capable of caring about another human being. He would save his own skin in a heartbeat even if it meant turning on the world around him. Then again hadn’t everyone been saying the same thing about Sarah lately? Hadn’t she been subject to those same criticisms after she’d destroyed any and all chance at having happiness by thinking about her own desires?

“This is ridiculous,” Sarah threw her hands up in the air and groaned, “I’m not supposed to be anywhere even remotely close to being with Douglas. It was just a case of bad judgment after I’d had too much to drink. If I would’ve been sober I would still be with Cameron and…”

Her thoughts came to an abrupt ending when the sound of screeching tires rose through the office. She looked up seeing Blake through the window leading to the back parking lot. Before she could react she watched the car rush forward, accelerating with no clear intention of stopping. Blake hadn’t been prepared for it now that she’d been leaning in over the side of her car trying to shuffle between the box and the keys in her hands. She was moving to open her trunk when the lights flashed upon her and Sarah felt her stomach drop in horror.

“Blake!” Sarah cried out watching the car zip forward and connect with Blake sending her flying across the parking lot upon impact, though it never slowed down. The car sped off as Blake fell to the ground and a horrified Sarah dropped the tape in her hand while running out to find Blake.

“Blake, oh God no,” Sarah gasped as she spotted Blake laying on the ground just a few feet away from where Sarah had watched the car run her down. She rushed over to her friend’s side, moving in on the ground to search for a pulse while her eyes roamed over the parking lot. She could see the taillights of the car as it turned around the corner. It was clear whomever had hit Blake had no intentions of stopping and now as Sarah discovered her friend on the cold concrete twisted in a painful position, Sarah couldn’t help but panic. Reaching into her phone she dialed 911.

“There’s been an accident. Someone just hit my friend with a car,” was all that Sarah remembered saying to the operator on the other end of the line before Sarah’s worries shifted to Blake. She clenched the phone in one hand while touching Blake’s shoulder and sobbing. “Blake, please just hold on. Blake it’s going to be okay. I’m going to help you. It’s going to be okay. Please just don’t die on me…”


...to be continued...