Episode 418

Heather paced around the hotel room knowing full well that she should be taking advantage of the silence that had been suffocating her most of the day, but with Kyle still out searching with Russ, she couldn’t help but find herself on edge. She’d tried distracting herself with Grady and Deana, but after a while even that hadn’t done the trick in making her worry any less about her husband. She was beyond terrified about what Kyle could encounter and she just wished he would check in.

“He’ll be alright. He’s always going to find his way back to you,” she heard an inner voice remind her although it was hard to be convincing. Sure, maybe Kyle had always come out on top of things in the past, but if he was in any kind of danger Heather wouldn’t be able to live with herself. He was so insistent upon helping his friends, yet none of them truly understood what they could be up against.

“And your spending all this time stewing over the issue is only going to make matters worse,” she reminded herself as she walked over to the bed again. She took a seat contemplating sleep, but she knew better. It simply wasn’t happening. Still, perhaps she could keep busy another way.

“Kellen,” Heather blurted out before reaching for the phone and dialing her friend’s number. If anyone out there could find a way to distract Heather it was Kellen. Surely he would tell her some story about Charles missing her like crazy or about some outrageous antic Kellen pulled in the name of getting Kipp to be more easygoing.

“I’ll just talk to Kellen and…” Heather stopped herself when she heard the sound of Kellen’s peppy voice on the other end of the line. However, just as she was going to greet him, she realized it was his voice mail. Frowning she hung up the phone and huffed, “Voice mail.”

Shaking her head Heather dialed again and sat up straighter than before. “I’m sure he just left his cell phone on the nightstand or perhaps he didn’t charge it enough.”

Still just as Heather found herself anticipating getting Kellen on the line, she was greeted by the sound of the answering machine. Groaning to herself Heather listened to the recording before leaving a message of her own.

“Kellen, it’s me. I was just checking in on you, Kipp and Charles. Give me a call when you have a moment,” she finished recording her message before looking around the walls of the hotel room once again.

“That’s it,” Heather threw her hands up, “I need some air. Yes, air is a good thing.”

Grabbing her purse and making sure her card key was inside of it, Heather exited the hotel room and made her way to the elevators eager to find something to keep her busy. Perhaps a trip to the hotel’s spa would do the trick, or maybe getting a massage would ease some of the tension coursing through her veins.

“Anything has to be better than this,” Heather decided as she stepped off of the elevator and found herself face to face with Deana.

“Where’s the fire?” Deana questioned after Heather had practically knocked her over. “Did you hear something from Kyle?”

“Not yet, but I have to tell you if I stay in that room a moment longer, I’m going to lose my mind,” Heather groaned outwardly. “I need some kind of means of unwinding.”

“I wouldn’t suggest the bar,” Deana wrinkled her nose at the thought. “It looks like they are having some kind of convention happening here and when I walked by there were a bunch of sleaze bags ogling me.”

“What is it with men?” Heather rolled her eyes. “Doesn’t it ever get old for them?”

“If it did, well I think they would be dead,” Deana admitted with a shake of her head.

“Still we could always go in there and snag a few free drinks,” Heather linked her arm in Deana’s.

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” Deana began to protest as Heather lead her towards the bar area.

“Trust me it’s almost completely painless in this situation when…” Heather stopped mid-movement as her green eyes fell upon the doors in front of her. “On second thought I have a better plan.”

“Heather where are you….” Deana questioned as she looked up to see the hotel’s spa in front of them.

“This is exactly what we need,” Heather announced eagerly.

“Well actually, I was on my way up to check in on Grady and…” Deana started with an uneasiness in her tone.

“Grady can wait, but this can’t,” Heather waved her hand dismissively. “It’s my treat.”

“Well I don’t know…I mean…” Deana began again with an uncertainty carrying over her.

“Trust me. You haven’t lived unless you’ve tried a day at the spa,” Heather insisted as she dragged Deana through the oversized doors in the hopes of forgetting about what was happening out beyond the hotel walls.

Of course what Heather didn’t know is that with the new pair of eyes upon the two women as they entered the spa, it only further proved the point that you didn’t have to go very far to find trouble. In fact, even though both women were in need of a distraction, it was clear that danger was closer than either anticipated. It was only a matter of time until everything came crashing down around them.


“It just doesn’t feel real,” Sarah sighed snuggling into Douglas’s chest as they lay together caught up in the thick mountain of blankets that surrounded them. She felt his arm wrapped securely around her as she rested her head on the center of his chest. Closing her eyes she could hear his heart beating beneath her and she felt a sense of warmth carrying over her in knowing that she wasn’t alone at a time when she was dealing with the thought of almost losing the best friend she’d ever known. She’d stayed at the hospital until visiting hours were over, long beyond what she’d anticipated, yet it didn’t feel like it was enough. Douglas had coaxed her into coming home and resting despite the fact that she knew that she wouldn’t be able to think about anything other than what Valerie did to her friend.

“It just feels so wrong,” she continued to explain reopening her eyes and staring out towards the window now that an ache filled her inside. She felt Douglas brush his fingertips over her spine gently before he kissed the top of her head in a tender moment.

“From what I’ve seen with your friend, she’s a fighter,” Douglas offered up with a supportive squeeze keeping his arm around her waist as she lay over him. “They’ll find that woman that did this to her and then she will be punished for what she’s done.”

“It’s just…” Sarah sighed feeling herself at a loss. She pulled herself up on her elbows enough to glance up at him, a frustration carrying over her, “I don’t understand. Why would she do something so horrible to Blake? Blake is such a good person and she doesn’t deserve this.”

“Things happen that we simply cannot explain and this was one of those instances,” he confessed reaching out to touch her cheek gently, urging her to meet his eyes, “You have to have faith that your friend will pull through this.”

“I know she will, but she won’t have her child,” Sarah felt an uneasiness as she sank back over to her side of the bed. Resting her head on her pillow, she placed her hand over her own abdomen, “She wanted to be a mother more than anything and last night that was stolen from her.”

“All you can do is be there for her and support her Sarah. I’m sure that with your concern and with Seth’s love, she’ll be able to move past this tragedy,” Douglas turned on his side seeing the upset carry over her features. Silently he traced his index finger over her cheek before leaning forward to offer up a small kiss on her lips. “Sweetheart I know if anyone can help her, it’s you.”

“It’s just…” she paused searching for the right words. Reopening her eyes she gazed up at him again, “I mean look at me. I’ve done so many miserable things. I’ve hurt so many people and I don’t even want to be pregnant. It was just some fluke that I wish wouldn’t have complicated my life. I’m not mother material, yet…”

“Yet here you are with child and Blake has lost hers,” he finished for her seeing the guilt rush in over her features. “Sarah, just because you’ve been blessed with a miracle doesn’t mean that you should feel guilty for what you have. What happened to Blake was a horrible tragedy, but you shouldn’t blame yourself for it.”

“I should’ve stopped her. It just isn’t fair,” she replied with a small scowl thinking about the scene that had haunted her all night long. “Doug you have no idea what it was like watching that car plow her down. I can still see it in my head like it’s nothing…like she was…like…”

“It’s alright,” he reached out to her feeling her break into tears. He sat up straighter pulling her in towards him and hugging her close to him, “Sarah, it’s going to be alright.”

“No it’s not Doug because she lost her dream last night,” she sniffled fighting to keep her emotions under control as she leaned on her husband for support. “She had everything she wanted well within her reach, but that bitch stole it from her.”

“And she’ll pay. I’m certain of it,” Douglas paused thinking about Blake’s situation, “She’s an Ashford which means that this won’t go ignored. No one crosses an Ashford and lives to tell the tale.”

“You did,” she blurted out catching the expression on his face. She sat up straighter and eyed him intently, “You stole Kipp from Zoë and were able to walk away from the situation unscathed.”

“I made a deal with the devil to get my son and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Douglas continued with a hollow tone, his eyes clouded over with a distance that hadn’t been there earlier. “Nicholas proposed the deal to me in his quest to uncomplicate things and I took it.”

“But you knew full well it was the last thing Zoë wanted for her child,” Sarah couldn’t help but add thinking about the rumors she’d heard about her husband.

“I did what I had to because opportunity presented itself,” Douglas tossed back at her in a cool tone. “I’m not going to praise my methods, but at the same time I wasn’t about to let complete strangers have my son simply because Zoë couldn’t handle the fact that our relationship wasn’t able to provide her with what she needed the most.”

“You mean you weren’t going to let the fact that you were married get in the way of what you wanted,” Sarah sat up straighter bringing her fingers through her long, blonde hair before reaching for the blankets. She brought them up over her bare skin before meeting his eyes again.

“Nothing keeps me from what I want,” he explained casting a glance in her direction, “which is one way in which we are the same Sarah. You knew what you wanted and you went for it.”

“But I wouldn’t cross the line into homicide to make it happen. When I felt my grip on Kyle slipping out of my reach I would have never killed Heather. I mean yeah okay so I would’ve liked to, but the worst I wanted for her was for Cameron to make her go away--as in out of town go away,” Sarah added with a small frown bringing her legs up beneath her. She hugged the sheet to her body and offered up a tiny shiver, “Valerie crossed a line that I wouldn’t even cross for a man who didn’t love her.”

“Valerie is ignorant and her actions only reaffirm that position,” Douglas shrugged his shoulders before glancing over at her again, “She made a fatal mistake in crossing an Ashford…”

“You keep saying that, but you never explained how you got out of your situation,” Sarah replied giving him a curious look. “I don’t see how you were able to be unscathed by what happened with Kipp.”

“If you must know, I suppose the best answer I could provide you with is that Nicholas didn’t make a move without some kind of back up,” Douglas paused before taking on a cryptic tone, “Do you really believe that Augustus wouldn’t be aware of his children’s doings? That he would be oblivious to the fact that his daughter was with child?”

“Are you saying that…” Sarah’s eyes widened at his suggestion.

“Augustus isn’t the innocent he likes to portray himself as being. The old fool might pretend that he’s turned over a new leaf, but the fact to the matter remains that an old leopard will never truly change his spots,” he confessed reaching out to touch her cheek gently, “The fact to the matter is that when he found out that Zoë was about to tarnish his reputation and name by being an unwed mother, well let’s just say that he wanted to make sure that the problem disappeared. He just didn’t want to get his hands dirty, which is where Nicholas stepped in.”

“Oh my…” Sarah couldn’t help but gasp thinking about Blake’s grandfather.

“All in all it wound up working out for the best. Kipp had a good life and I had my son,” Douglas informed her with a proud smirk, “That’s what really matters because when it gets down to it my family is everything to me.”

“Now that’s something I never thought I would hear you say,” she couldn’t help but blurt out thoughtlessly. “I just mean that…”

“That what? That because my children loathe me it means that I don’t care about them?” he couldn’t help but ask arching a curious brow. “What kind of monster do you take me for?”

“I don’t. I mean it’s just…” she stammered a bit only to feel him press his index finger over her lips to silence her.

“When I take to loving something I give it my all and nothing keeps me from delivering on my promises,” he whispered in a reassuring tone removing his finger and leaning in to kiss her. “I just expect the same in return.”

“Are you saying that you’d like me to…” she couldn’t help but ask seeing something behind his eyes threatening to emerge from beneath the surface.

“I’d like you to do what it is you would prefer to be doing Sarah,” he whispered in response, his dark gaze dropping down to her kiss swelled lips again.

“I’m insane for wanting what I want,” she confessed in a shaky tone attempting to quell the nervousness in the pit of her stomach. Still as he sat beside her, his arms wrapped around her, she couldn’t help but arch up into him.

“I always knew you were insane, so what’s changed?” he questioned with a small amused smile.

“This has,” Sarah offered up sliding her fingers through his hair and claiming his lips in a hungry kiss. She stroked the side of his face before running her palm over his shoulder and pressing him back onto the blankets again. She pulled back ever so slightly seeing the way that he was watching her as she settled in over him. She reached for his hand bringing it to her lips offering a series of erotic kisses over each digit before leaning forward to capture his lips again.

“Sarah,” he spoke her name in a small whisper, something shifting behind his eyes before he stiffened beneath her. He opened his mouth to say something, to convey the thought in his head, but before he could follow through on it the phone rang snapping him out of the moment. “Perhaps we should get that…”

“Right now,” she half questioned disappointment in her features.

“It could be the hospital,” he replied carefully sliding out from beneath her off of the bed. He stepped across the room pulling the phone from it’s base while thinking about the strange effect his wife was having on him. “Hello.”

“Douglas, good to know you’re still alive because we have unfinished business to take care of,” the caller snarled into the phone causing Douglas to feel a bout of agitation carry over him. “I sincerely hope that you’re not trying to blow me off.”

“No, not at all. Would you hold for a second?” he questioned setting the phone on the table top and muting it before turning to Sarah. “This is a business call, but perhaps you should get ready. I can arrange for a limo to take you over to the hospital to be with Blake if you would like.”

Sarah nodded sliding out from underneath the sheet she was in, “Yeah, maybe that’s a good idea.”

“I can make the call for you after this,” he assured her giving her one last look before turning away in fear that he’d offered up any kind of longing behind his eyes. While he’d been in all of this for the game, for the sheer thrill of driving Cameron crazy, after last night at the hospital he was seeing a softer side of his wife--one that he hadn’t anticipated ever finding in someone so very cold hearted. He paused for a moment hearing Sarah go into the bathroom and turn on the shower before he reached for the phone again.

“What do you want?” Douglas questioned tightly thinking about the veiled threats behind the beginning of the phone call.

“My aren’t you in a good mood this morning,” the caller chuckled with amusement, “I trust you’ve given my offer some thought and you’re ready to cooperate.”

“On the contrary, you and your offer can go straight to hell because I’m not going to take part in any of this,” Douglas replied in a strained tone, his thoughts lingering to the gamble he was about to take. “If you even think about going after my son, consider it the last move you make.”

“You have no idea how foolish that position will be. I can destroy the both of you and…” the caller lashed out at Douglas once again, “Do you have any idea what something like this will do to your son or to you? The humiliation you will endure and when he winds up in jail…”

“He’ll never see a day of jail time,” Douglas replied in a bold countermove. “If you even think about pursuing it further, you’ll be the one in need of saving.”

Before the caller could reply Douglas hung up the phone determined to find a way to fix the situation at hand before the man attempting to blackmail him would do any kind of damage. Yes, Douglas had heard the story, thought about what was on the table, but he refused to take part in something on this level. JT had always managed to pull himself out of the water in the past and given this current predicament Douglas was certain that JT would prosper as well. Plus there was no proof in the validity of the caller’s claims. Douglas hadn’t heard anything about the situation that was presented to him before recently. It could be an outrageous lie spun to take a chunk of the fortune he’d worked so very hard to acquire. However, if there was some reason why the caller’s claim had any real substantiated evidence backing it up, then Douglas would see full well that he took care of the situation himself with JT one on one. That much he was certain of.


Seth sat in the driver’s seat of his car knowing full well that he should be somewhere else--that he should be back at the hospital beside Blake, but as he kept his eyes glued on the bar in front of him, he couldn’t help but wonder why it was that no one had taken the time to answer the call he’d made to the police station from the payphone outside the bar. He’d practically handed them Valerie, yet he hadn’t seen any signs of anyone coming to collect her after what she’d done. It was if what she’d done didn’t matter--as if his child’s life didn’t matter and it was in that moment that Seth found himself thinking about the misery she’d brought into his life.

“No more,” Seth replied leaning over to open up the glove compartment. His dark eyes glanced inside to discover the gun he’d bought for Jade after her attack. He’d told her to keep it with her when it seemed that she needed protecting even when he wasn’t around, yet she’d refused to do anything with it. She’d kept it locked up in a small, metal safe refusing to give a second thought and there it sat until tonight. It wasn’t until Seth pulled out the safe and opened it up that he felt that he couldn’t leave without it.

“She’s going to pay for what she’s done,” Seth vowed as he glanced over at the door to the bar once again awaiting Valerie’s exit. He stayed there for a long while before he spotted a cab waiting near the back of the club. A few seconds later the bartender walked out with Valerie. He whispered something in her ear before Valerie nodded and embraced him. She soon slid into the backseat of the cab while the bartender circled around to give the driver instructions. He pulled a few dollars out of his pocket before stepping back while the cab took off.

Seth watched the bartender move back inside the bar before he started his car up again. With his eyes glued on the cab as it took off, Seth vowed that he’d find a way for justice to finally find it’s way to seeing the light of day. Valerie would pay for her crimes, he thought to himself. Putting the car into gear he drove behind the cab tailing it to where it would leave with Valerie. Then once she was away from the cab driver’s protective watch, he knew that he would make his move.

Seth stayed far enough behind the cab making sure that the driver didn’t realize that he was being followed. While he wasn’t quite sure what he was going to do, Seth knew he couldn’t let Valerie get away. He couldn’t just let her walk out of town as if she’d done nothing wrong when she’d murdered his child. He felt his fingers grip over the steering wheel, his frustrations mounting as he watched the cab pull into the back lot leading to the Cardinal hotel. He watched Valerie go inside before the cab drove off leaving her to alone to go inside. Pulling his car to the side, Seth parked it again and pulled open the glove box again thinking about what was inside. Reaching for the gun he took in a breath knowing full well that he would make sure that Valerie would never forget the price she had to pay for what she’d done to his family!


“Are you sure you want to be seen with me after the stunt I pulled last night?” Evie questioned with wide eyes as she and JT strolled along the beach with one another, taking in the coolness that had remained after the previous evening’s storm. “I was pretty crazy in the mist of the storm so I can understand if you want to pretend you don’t know me.”

“So far the weather report looks good, so I think we’re in luck,” he teased reaching out to drape his arm around her waist and bring them to a stop. He turned her towards him and pulled her in against his chest for a kiss. “So far so good, right?”

“You aren’t kidding,” she slurred easing her arms around his strong shoulders as he pulled her up off of her toes.

“I could get very used to this,” he sighed keeping her against him.

“It might put a strain on you,” she joked as he kept her in the air.

“Not this,” he laughed lightly before leaning forward to drop a tiny kiss upon the tip of her nose. “I mean the whole loafing around and living the life of pure indulgence.”

“The last time I checked you weren’t lavishing upon yourself too much considering we don’t even have Tivo at the beach house,” she wrinkled her nose at him.

“Or a television,” he reminded her with a sexy smirk, “but who needs those kind of trivial distractions when we have the sand and the sun to explore?”

“And just what are we exploring today,” she couldn’t help but question.

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” he winked at her before maneuvering her in his arms. A moment later he set her down on the ground. As she opened her mouth to question him again, he bent down to hoist her up onto his back.

“Where are we going?” she asked keeping her arms around him as he pretended to gallop across the sand.

“In time you shall see,” he mouthed cryptically as they moved along the sand towards the main road.

“Come on. Give me a hint,” she pleaded bringing her chin on his shoulder when she suddenly noticed the flashing lights ahead of them. Frowning she felt JT stop moving and she questioned in a whisper, “What’s going on?”

“I don’t know,” he admitted as he looked at the scene before them, “but it doesn’t appear to be a good thing.”

“It looks like there was an accident,” she noted as she spotted a car in an embankment. “I wonder if that was from the storm.”

“I’m not sure,” JT felt her slide down off of his back, “but with these roads not all being paved I suppose anything is possible…”

“Maybe we should rethink being out here,” Evie suggested as she watched the island police setting up the yellow tape around the crime scene area.

“We’ll just take a detour,” JT promised her as he turned around to face her fully. “Plans can change for the better.”

“I don’t think it was for the better for that person,” she motioned to the area beyond where they stood.

“I’d like to think that things aren’t as bad as they seem,” JT offered up before taking her hand in his, “but right now I don’t want to think about that. Come on. Let’s go get something to eat.”

“Sure,” she nodded as Evie gave the overturned car one last look. Although she had no idea what had happened, she realized that perhaps her worries about the storm weren’t at all that foolish after all.


“Kevin. Kevin, can you hear me?” Ria’s voice beckoned him from the darkness that surrounded him. He opened his dark eyes and found himself searching for her voice, for the sound of her that carried over him.

“Kevin, I’m here,” he felt the warmth of her palm press up against his cheek gently, “I’m going to help you.”

“Ria,” he stretched his arm out weakly needing to feel her beside him. Turning his head ever so slightly he couldn’t help but smile up at her, “Ria I’m so sorry.”

“Kevin, you have nothing to be sorry for,” she offered up with that same warm, welcoming smile that always made him feel as though he was at home in her arms. He leaned into her touch losing sight of the pain that carried over him. Instead he focused on the way her fingers softly caressed his rough cheek reminding him all over again of all the reasons why being alive mattered. Closing his eyes for a brief moment he let out a long sigh, “I should have listened to you…should have…”

“Shh,” he felt her place her index finger over his lips to silence his apology, “Kevin, it’s okay. You’re safe now and we’re going to get you home.”

“Ria I love you,” Kevin mouthed looking up at her once again, “I love you so much and I don’t ever want to lose you. You’re everything to me. You have my heart and I know that I don’t deserve you, but baby I promise I’ll be better. I swear that I’ll stop being so weak if you just promise you’ll never leave me.”

“I’m not going anywhere Kevin. I swear to you that isn’t going to happen. We can be together now and have a family just like we talked about before,” she leaned forward her dark hair sweeping in over the side of his face before her lips brushed up against his in the faintest of movements. He closed his eyes again feeling a ripple of warmth beside him until it abruptly faded out. He reopened his eyes again only to discover that he was still in the darkness, still lost in the cavern without Ria--without hope.

“Ria,” he cried out in a low, pained tone. He felt a numbness carry over him beyond the ache while he found himself freezing.

“Kevin,” Avery snapped out of the daze she’d been in long enough to see that he’d awakened. She moved in closer to him bringing her hand over his forehead, “Can you hear me?”

“Where’s Ria?” he questioned with a groan, “Why did she leave me? Why isn’t she here?”

“Kevin, she never was here,” Avery offered up seeing the agony that swept over him. She ran her fingers through his thick, dark hair hating to see him so very upset over the situation at hand. “Kevin, you need to focus…”

“I want Ria,” he admitted in a pained tone unable to take the weight that was carrying over him any longer. He bit back on his words, but there were no hiding the tears that followed his declaration, “I need to be with her. I need her to know that I’m sorry…”

“Kevin, she knows…” Avery whispered soothingly stroking his face in a feathery light movement while reaching out to his head again. She’d used a piece of her fragmented t-shirt in an attempt to cool him down after she’d dipped it in the small water pool, but he was still burning up. Even now she couldn’t get over how hot he truly was. His fever had to be above the charts in terms of what was happening with him.

Avery glanced over at his leg thinking about how she’d tended to that as well, but it still looked horrible. She didn’t believe that he’d been injured in a place that would be an immediate threat to his life, but the longer he lay in this musty place unattended to, the more she knew his chances for a full recovery would go downhill. She could see his eyes clouded over with regret and pain, but she refused to let him give up.

“I should’ve stayed with her--should’ve let the police take care of finding Angie. I should’ve let her know how much she means to me. Should have…” Kevin stammered his words escaping from his lips in a low, whimpering exhale. His eyes clouded over and a groan swept over him, “I should have let her know how much I love her.”

“You still will be able to do that Kevin,” Avery promised seeing the despair behind his eyes. “Trust me when I tell you that we’re going to get out of this.”

“I’m not so sure anymore Avery,” Kevin admitted weakly thinking about the ache that had carried over him, “and maybe that’s my fault. I’ve done so many horrible things that maybe this is karma coming back to get me. I never, ever should’ve behaved the way that I did and…”

“Kevin stop,” Avery cut him off abruptly bringing her finger over his lips to silence him, “We’re going to get out of here.”

“I’m so sorry Avery,” his words buzzed against her lips as his dark eyes met hers again, “for every complication I brought into your life…for taking you away from Russ and Erin when we started this and…”

“And we’re going to get out of here Kevin. We will find a way,” she promised hoping like hell that was the truth now that it seemed that they’d found themselves caught up in a position that neither one of them anticipated being in. Her dark eyes fell upon the closed entrance to the cavern again and she just prayed that she would be able to find a way to make it out of there before it was too late for Kevin.


“Honey, may I speak with you a second?" Chase moved out of the bathroom and toward his father and his girlfriend that were sitting on the couch together talking about something. “This is really important.”

“Really? Can’t think of what can be this important,” Trisha bit down on her words seeing the way that Chase’s blue eyes widened before nodding slowly. “Your father just got here though.”

“I’m sure he doesn’t mind,” Chase spoke up seeing the way that his father stared out at him almost knowing that something was wrong while he talked to his girlfriend trying to hide something. “This is kind of important.”

“Again, I think it could wait,” Trisha almost hissed back watching Chase shrug his shoulders and nod his head toward the bathroom. The truth was, she didn’t want to know what the test said. The answer feared her and she wasn’t ready for it. Even if Chase was ready for the answer, she wasn’t. This was her body, not his and she wanted to wait for the answer. Looking on the expression he had, she knew that he didn’t want to wait any longer. She had to get this done. For him and for her. More than anything, she wanted this out of the way. Something had a fear in her though that maybe this wasn’t out of the way and it wouldn’t be good news. “I guess we’ll be back in a minute Joseph. We have something we have to check.”

“Is everything okay?" Joseph questioned looking to his son seeing him nod slowly as he felt Trisha press a kiss against his cheek and he nodded slowly. “I’ll just wait here for the both of you. If you need me for…anything, just let me know.”

“We’ll be right back dad, don’t worry,” Chase wrapped his arm around Trisha’s shoulders and led her toward the back near the bathroom. There was a noticing glare that she was giving him and he shrugged his shoulders before taking in a deep breath. “I think it’s necessary that we find out quicker rather than later.”

“I know, but you are acting kind of obvious and…,” she paused knowing that he was waiting impatiently for her to tell him what she started. Kicking at the floor a bit, she looked to the bathroom and shook her head slowly. “I really don’t want to find out Chase. I’m scared.”

“Scared for what?" he seemed to be confused with any reason as to why she might be scared about something like this. To him, this was something beautiful and natural so he couldn’t quite seem to see where she was coming from. “Why honey?"

“Because, I’m not ready for this Chase,” she informed him with a sigh knowing that now was not the time to be talking about this. If she was pregnant, this should be what she deserved and what she got. It was her that made the decisions she did and if she was pregnant she wasn’t going to blame the child. “Alright, let’s just get this done with.”

“Alright,” he nodded following her into the bathroom to see that the test was waiting to be read and he looked around for the box seeing her dark eyes looking back at him. “What does it say?"

“I don’t know, I need the box to tell,” she answered seeing him pushing a few things around before finding it underneath one of the towels and he handed it to her. Looking it over carefully she gulped down reading it over. “So, what does the test say?"

“The digital thing has a plus,” Chase explained squinting his eyes to try and read what the little black line was and he showed her to make sure that it was what he said. “So…what does that mean.”

“Well…,” she read the box over carefully and took in a shallow breath before dropping the box and moving over toward the bathtub to sit down on the edge of it. “I’m…pregnant.”

“Seriously?" Chase moved for the box seeing her hand him over the test and he looked down to see that’s exactly how the test had come out in the end. Gulping down, a smirk pressed in over his lips and he shrugged his shoulders. “Honey, this is absolutely great. You are pregnant. This is amazing.”

“Yeah, amazing,” Trisha simply sighed before shaking her head slowly. Chase seemed to be excited, but right now she didn’t know how to react or feel. Right now, it was a bad feeling so she had to think things over. Maybe. “I guess so.”


Pacing for a moment, Don walked back and forth knowing that now as he was looking down at his phone in the hospital, Shannon had called him over at least fifty times. That was only what his visual memory was showing him too. It could have been more and he was almost afraid to listen to his messages from Shannon. In fact, he wasn’t going to listen to his messages. He as just going to call her and hope for the best. It was evident that she would be pissed off at him, but he never figured this much along the way. What he was doing seemed kind of like it would be expected from any good friend even if Shannon hated Brant.

“Come on Don, just call her and tell her everything that’s been going on,” he sighed looking down the hallway to find something maybe to distract him for just a couple of more minutes. When all he came across was the woman passing out food from the cart, he knew that he had to call her. Eventually he had to get it done anyways. Even though he wanted to somehow drift it out until he got home, but then he knew the first thing he would be receiving was a swift kick to the groin. So instead of that kind of pain, he could use just a headache for now. If maybe he explained to her everything that happened, she would understand. “Come on Don. Be a man.”

Whispering a few words of insurance to himself that everything that was going to be okay when he called Shannon. That somehow this would work out just fine and he was hoping that would be the case. Sighing to himself he dialed her number and waited as the call tone continued. The song felt like it went on forever before she actually answered.

“Shannon! Honey, how are you doing today?" Don bit down on his bottom lip getting ready for the screaming of a lifetime, but moments passed where there was just silence. Opening his eyes, he felt less tense as he sighed in deeply. “Honey?"

“Why the hell are you calling me now? After this long,” she blurted out and he knew that his hopes on her actually being sweet and having her missing him was now over. She was pissed and that was what the silence was about. “Do you know how many times I’ve called you? That makes it worse considering I didn’t even want you to go on this little escapade of yours with Brant. I’m sure it went just as well as the two of you assumed, right?"

“Honey, some things have happened in the time of me being here and they are kind of big,” Don explained knowing that by the sigh that was over the phone, she wasn’t going to listen to him no matter what he said. “Shannon, we found Angie and a lot of bad things have happened so I would appreciate it if you would listen to me and not bitch me out for something.”

“Bitch you out? I’ve tried calling you multiple times. You never answered, not once,” she blurted out knowing that he even answered for Nate and Matt during the time period, but never her. “You are full of shit if you say you can’t answer your phone once for me.”

“To be serious with you honey, I’ve slept maybe a good hour since being here and I’ve really done nothing that is in a normal day for me. I’ve been in a car that blew up, I was covered in disgust muck because of it. Angie was kid knapped and we had to save her, plus--now Kevin is missing and Kevin is one of my good friends too and I have a friend that’s been gone for quite some time,” Don hissed hearing silence on the other end as he ran his fingers over his forehead and he shook his head slowly at the thoughts escaping his mind. “I’ve been in some kind of crazy, real life reality action movie and I’m sick of it. I don’t know where my friend is, I just got one back, my best friend almost died and I had to help Angela give birth to her babies so if you could back the hell off I would surely appreciate it. My life has been a lot more hectic than yours and I can tell you that’s for damn sure right now.”

“Well how the hell am I supposed to know that. It all sounds bogus to me,” Shannon insisted hearing Don groan on the other end and she tossed her hands up in the air while speaking with him. “What am I supposed to think Don, you’ve been gone for a long time.”

“You are supposed to trust me, that’s what you are supposed to do,” Don hissed over the phone before smirking to himself knowing that Shannon would be just like this right now and he wasn’t ready to take it. “I’m sorry I pissed you off, but honestly we have a mad man running outside somewhere and he could hurt someone and I shouldn’t even be caring enough to call you because my friend is missing, but I am. My friends are in the hospital and yet I decided to call you. Call me later if you even get the brains to be nice and want to be caring.”

Hanging up the phone he almost couldn’t believe he spoke to her like that, but it was good for once for him to do that. Right now he was going to go check on the twins since he promised Brant and Angela that he would do that and that’s what he was planning.

Turning off his cell phone, he knew that nothing good would come from Shannon trying to call him right now other than her wanting to fight and he wasn’t going to take that right now. Not at all. This was about helping his friends and if his wife had a problem with it, then she was going to have to wait because his life with her in it was on hold right now. There was nothing more he could do to make her less upset. She was just going to have to live with it…for now.


“Oh God,” Ken muttered to himself after standing in the hallway alone by himself for a few moments. Everything was settling in, the thoughts and memories of seeing his sister like this and it was tearing away more at him. The more time he spent by himself, the more he realized that this was the last possible thing he ever wanted for his sister and the moment that she needed him the most, he was gone. He was gone because he was ‘fed up’ with his family and left her. She wasn’t one of the people in his life that was hurting him, but he left her anyways. Not caring. “What were you thinking?"

He had sunk low in his life before, but never like this. Never to the point where he couldn’t be there for his little sister in the time she needed him the most. Not only was he not there for her, but he was In a complete other country wanting nothing to do with his family.

“Kenneth?" Ken looked up to see his grandfather standing over him and looking down at him from where he sat on the floor after thinking his life over. Augustus’s eyes seemed to drift over him as Ken looked back down toward the floor letting out a tight breath. “What’s wrong?"

“Everything. Blake is in there hurt and this could have been prevented. This wouldn’t have happened if our family would have just stood together better,” Ken answered seeing the way that Augustus gave him a sideways glance and he nodded slowly. There was no way from hiding the truth, their family was terrible and it was obvious from the very beginning. “Our family is weak. This would have never happened to her if we could have just been there for her. I should have never left. I should have never left the house when she needed me.”

“You couldn’t have known something like this was going to happen Kenneth. It’s not your fault,” Augustus tried to push the topic seeing the way that Ken shook his head and he knew that his grandson was being a little hard on himself. “The best way to look at it is to see that Blake is going to be alright. Even if our family isn’t strongly bonded, we always come back from the things that knock us down. We can’t sit down and let the little things knock us back, we always bounce back. Through history, that has been proven.”

“This isn’t history, this is something that could tear this family apart. Blake is hurt in there and hardly any of us can come together to actually care for her like she needs to be,” Ken stated in response moving toward the door of the room to look inside. Shaking his head he knew that this was part his family’s fault for anything that happened to her. Maybe it was karma on the receiving end of the wrong person. That had to be it. “This isn’t the strength of a family. It’s just going to tear everything apart.”

“It will only happen if you suggest such a thing, if you let your mind at ease it won’t go that far. You have to think that your heart is strong enough to move past a situation like this,” Augustus suggested placing his hand over his grandson’s shoulder hearing his deep breaths fill the air and he knew that it wasn’t working. “I told myself a long time ago that I would keep this family together once something bad happened. It tore the family apart in so many ways, but I vowed I would never let it happen again.”

“Well it’s happening again,” Ken turned on his heel to stare out at Augustus and he threw his hands up in the air not caring about anything other than his sister behind hurt right now. “Plus, I bet how you took care of it then, won’t work so much now.”

“You could say that again,” Ken turned to see Rex standing next to him in the hallway as he pulled his hat off his head and Ken gulped down. Looking to Augustus he could see that he had some kind of questionable look behind his eyes and Ken knew something was up. “His way of handling things isn’t all that good at all. Isn‘t that right daddy?"

As Augustus stared between both Ken and Rex he knew that possibly his pep talk wouldn’t work after all. Now that things were changing when Rex showed up. That wasn't something he was expecting to happen. At all. Now the things on the plate were up for grabs as to whether his idea would work out for good or not.


“I don’t mean to sound like a downer here Chase, but how the hell is this a good thing?" Trisha blurted out seeing the look in Chase’s eyes as the blue in his eyes almost made him look innocent while he stared at her blankly. While she wanted to be excited about the situation, she couldn’t find herself happy about it at all. This wasn’t right, the situation and timing was all wrong. “I’m too young and so are you. The timing on this was horrible.”

“How do you figure? People are having babies all the time at our age,” he moved forward to wrap his arms around her spinning her around before letting out a tight laugh. “We’re going to have a baby Trisha. Be happy about it.”

“But I can’t be Chase, there are so many things that are keeping me from being happy. We both don’t make enough money to take care of a baby, I’m hardly even an adult and we can hardly take care of ourselves let alone a baby,” she pointed knowing that maybe she was thinking too much about the situation, but a baby was the last thing they needed right now. The idea sent chills up her body knowing that she was pregnant and she once figured something like this was going to happen. If she kept screwing around with no worries and now her worries ended because she screwed around too much. “I’m so not ready for this Chase.”

“We have months to get ready for this. I’ll get a new job and we can work on everything, I promise you,” he tried to whisper promises only to see that she was still very unsure of everything and he let out a tight breath. “Come on Trisha, we can change. People have changed in worse situations. This can work, we can make it work. You and I. We’re a great couple and we can get around something like this. It’s a part of me and you. How can that be bad?"

“Honey, I love you so much, but this is insane,” she informed him biting down on her bottom lip knowing that he seemed happier than ever and the idea for her made her depressed as can be. “I’m sorry, but I don’t even want to think about how this is going to effect our lives. My mother still thinks I’m a virgin you know.”

“We can work on our relationship skills later,” he hushed her placing his index finger over her lips while her brown eyes eyed him over carefully. A smile pressed in over his lips as he rubbed his nose against hers while cupping her face in his hands. “I love you Trisha Merhan and with love you can do anything. We’ll work it out.”

“Alright,” was all she could simply say while nodding and reaching to trace his masculine features tenderly. He was happy and that’s what mattered to her. Over a period of time, she would be happy too. Well, at least she hoped so. “Well, we will work with it over time, but you have to promise me that you will try and keep this secret. We can’t go around telling everyone yet, we need to work things out first. Try and learn more about the situation we are in instead of jumping right into it. Okay?"

“Okay,” Chase simply answered before grabbing a hold of her hand pulling her back out into the living room with his father knowing that he was trying to make the best of the situation with what the had. His face felt it was like about the burst with the information he was holding within and he looked over at her. He knew that she didn’t want him to say a word, but it was just too good to pass up. There was no helping it. “Hey dad.”

“Are the two of you alright?" Joseph stood up from where he was seeing the look that seemed to press in over Trisha’s face, but the look on Chase’s looked to be even better. “Are you two okay?"

“You’re going to be a grandfather!” Chase boasted seeing the look that pressed in over his father’s face as he jumped forward to hug his father in his arms hearing him laugh with happiness behind his voice. “Isn’t that great?"

“I’m going to be a grandfather? Congratulations you two,” Joseph moved forward to hug Trisha who seemed a bit hesitant before hugging him in her arms tightly and he pressed a loving kiss against her cheek. “Do you know what the gender is going to be yet?"

“No, we just found out,” Trisha somewhat nudged Chase in the ribs hearing him yelp a bit, but tried to hide it from his father who almost seemed like he could tell that something was going on and something was up. “I think it’s a bit too early to tell.”

“But once we find out, you will be the first one to know,” Chase reached out to snake his arm around Trisha’s shoulders to hug her in closer to him with a smile. Pressing a kiss against her temple he shrugged his shoulders and spoke up once again. “Well, besides the two of us of course.”

“This is perfect news,” Joseph smiled looking between his son and his girlfriend before boasting proudly. “I think this sounds like it could be up for a great celebration.”

Trisha glared up at Chase who seemed to just not care. He wasn’t upset about any of this and in fact she realized that this was never going to stay ‘secret’. He was too excited.

What made things worse was that she wasn’t. Was she supposed to be acting like this? Over exaggerative? This wasn’t how she felt and it caused a bit of guilt in her beyond the rage. Chase was excited and she was left being worried and depressed about the issue. This wasn’t going to be at all what she thought it would have been.”


Moving out into the hospital waiting room after a very long time, Sarah stretched out and looked over toward the waiting area of grouped together people. Spotting Kellen and Kipp still in the crowd, she moved forward and stood before them folding her arms out in front of her.

“Hey, how is Blake doing?" Kipped looked up nudging Kellen somewhat awake after he had drifted off for a moment and he suddenly awoke. For the longest time he was muttering about how much he was worried about Blake and how he wished someone would give him some kind of information. Now he could get it and maybe by the time he wanted to rest, he could have Kellen calmer about the situation at hand. Though, Sarah seemed to be silent and glaring somewhat down at Kellen. “Sarah?"

“I can’t believe the both of you are still here,” Sarah snarled seeing Kellen’s blue eyes glare up at her while his jaw tightened and he noticed the venom behind her voice when she spoke to him. “I thought you two would be seeing that you are overstaying your welcome by now.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Kellen snarled standing up and he felt Kipp tugging on his pants a bit to get him to calm down as he moved in closer to Sarah noticing the snarl she gave right back. “Why are you being a bitch here, of all places?"

“I called you to be nice, I didn’t think you would be this pathetic and camp out right in the hospital here,” she snickered seeing Kellen gulp down and she saw the anger behind his eyes as he stared down at her. “You should go home before you look any more pathetic Kellen. It’s people like you that made this happen to Blake anyways.”

“One, I can’t believe you are pulling something like this on me when Blake is back there hurt,” Kellen grabbed a firm hold of Sarah’s shoulder pulling her back to him once she tried to walk away and he growled behind each word he spoke. “I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but what is that supposed to mean? I love Blake, she’s one of my good friends.”

“Oh yeah?" she arched her eyebrow up pushing into his chest seeing the way that Kellen glared down at her as she moved in closer to him and shrugged her shoulders. “Valerie was a jealous bitch just like you are Kellen. She’s just like you and she’s the one that hurt Blake. So in my eyes…”

“Don’t even start to say something like that you bitch,” Kellen moved forward to only feel Kipp push him back and he gulped down pointing out at Sarah seeing her roll her eyes. “Don’t you and your husband have someone to torture today or something because I’m sure there are plenty of people you would like to do that too. I would suggest Kyle, but I know he left the area with his wife. You know, your sister. The one he really loves.”

“Screw off Kellen,” she went to turn away from him before thinking twice and turning toward him. “The only reason you are here right now is for some type of credit so you can go around whining to everyone about how your friend is hurt and we know Seth nor Blake means nothing to you.”

“Now that’s enough,” Kipp hissed seeing the smirk that pressed in over Sarah’s lips after her comment toward Kellen. Kellen tried to move forward and Kipp knew that Kellen wasn’t afraid to attack a woman and by the look in his eyes he was just about there. “You really need to stop because you know just as well as I do that we are friends with the both of them. You don’t need to be acting like this when our friend is hurt.”

“She is my best friend and you can’t be lecturing me right now because you have no say in anything Kipp,” she shot right back looking forward to see Kellen try to move in closer to her while Kipp held him back and she smirked. “You and your lapdog just need to head on home before something bad happens.”

“You want to see something bad happen?" Kellen snapped seeing her chuckle before him and he tried moving around Kipp motioning her to step in closer. “Come in closer bitch and I’ll show you something bad.”

Trying his hardest to keep the two apart, Kipp knew that this was just like every time before. Sarah would never get along with someone because she had to the be the downer in the group. This was just utterly pathetic and wrong with her best friend in the hospital, but no matter what was happening this would never end. Ever.


“You have to admit this was even better than you’d anticipated,” JT reclined back on the beach, bringing his sunglasses over the bridge of his nose to look over at Evie.

“I suppose the morning has had it’s perks,” she shrugged before stretching out across the beach blanket. “Although I never thought we’d have a picnic on the beach followed by sun and the sand.”

“Is that a complaint I’m hearing because if it is,” he wiggled his eyebrows at her.

“Oh I don’t know,” she stretched her legs out further. “I mean you kept talking about wonderful, yet here we are laying around in the sun when…”

“That’s it,” JT announced kicking his legs off of the blanket. He pulled himself to his feet and bent down to hoist her up in the air as he marched towards the beach. “You’ve asked for it now.”

“JT, what are you doing?” she questioned in mock panic.

“You’re going down,” he explained rushing into the tide and taking her down with him in a crashing wave of eagerness.

Evie felt the water splashing over her, bringing about the cold, wash of reality, but it was the warmth of JT’s arms that kept her grounded as his lips found hers beneath the tide. As they began to surface, she felt the warmth of the sun upon her now that her damp hair clung to her face and shoulders.

“You creep,” she finally blurted out pushing him back under again. She turned to run away, but felt his hand around her ankle tugging her back underneath the water again. Opening her eyes she sought him out, but discovered he’d swam off.

“You’re so going to pay for that,” Evie roared as she swam after him in the hopes of catching up to him and dunking him all over again. “You’re in for it now JT.”

“Am I?” he stopped moving long enough to pop up out of the water and stick his tongue out at her. He dove under again leaving her to wonder where he’d drifted off to.

Frowning Evie surveyed the area realizing that he would have to come up for air eventually. Although he thought he had the advantage, she’d learned that JT wouldn’t be far from her even if he wanted to lead her to believe otherwise. Going underneath the water’s surface she opened her eyes again and discovered him beside her ready to tug at her leg again. This time she blocked the movement and twisted around until she seized him in her arms, wrapping herself around his torso as her fingers found their way into his dark hair.

“I got you,” she announced as they sprung out from the water again, this time holding onto one another as she realized his eyes sparked with mischief.

“Maybe I got you,” he wiggled his brow suggestively. “Did you ever think of that?”

“Maybe I wanted you to believe that you’d gotten me when all of this time I was the one who had you all along,” she tossed back at him with a sudden seriousness.

“Is that right?” he eyed her suspiciously.

“Hey, what can I say?” she shrugged. “When you’re good, you’re good.”

“And you’re very good,” he murmured as his lips came crashing down upon hers once again.

“I pride myself on that,” she whispered tightening her grip on his short, dark hair as they rode the waves surrounding them.

“You’re trouble,” he mouthed before nibbling on her lower lip with a growl, “You do realize that, don’t you?”

“Every bit as much as you realize that you have a very unhealthy obsession with my kind of trouble,” she smiled at him eagerly.

“It’s not unhealthy,” he protested. “I happen to think it’s good for me.”

“It would be even better for you if we got back to the beach house and we continued this in a more private setting,” she hinted at seduction. “What do you say?”

“And miss out on the sun,” he shook his head. “We’re not done with our picnic yet.”

“We can have plenty of picnics JT,” she slid her arms leisurely around his shoulders, “but not as many days as perfect as this one.”

“We’re only getting started,” he assured her as their lips met in another hungry union. “Have a little faith in me.”

“Faith isn’t what I’m lacking right about now,” she murmured easing in for another kiss when she felt a crash against the back of her head sending her forward into JT. The two smacked noses before she heard a wild laugh from by the beach.

“What the…?” JT attempted to recover as his eyes found their way to where the two children were pointing and laughing at them near the shoreline.

“I think this belongs to them,” Evie caught the beach ball that had slammed her in the head. She raised it up in the air and snarled over at the children on the beach, “and they’re about to know what it feels like to have this spiked in their faces.”

“Whoa, hold up killer,” JT reached out to prevent her from launching the ball back at the two chortling children.

“They are so asking for it JT,” Evie started to wind up her arm to toss the beach ball.

“Even so the last thing you want to deal with is angry parents,” JT pointed down the beach to where there were two adults clearly not paying attention to their children. “Trust me as rewarding as it would feel to return the favor, it would only come back to haunt you.”

“You can’t tell me it didn’t annoy you that they hit you,” she protested.

“Not enough to cause a scene,” JT took the ball from her hands and threw it back to the children on the beach.

“They aren’t going to stop. You do realize that don’t you,” she stood up in the water and gave him a disapproving look.

“Sure they will. They’re kids and they were just playing around when…” his words came to an abrupt ending when the beach ball slammed into his face again.

“Take that loser,” one of the two boys hissed at him.

“Yeah dork,” the older red headed one snorted as well.

“See I told you,” Evie folded her hands in front of her chest.

“We’ll just take this back to the beach and get going,” JT decided tucking the ball underneath his arm as they moved towards the shore.

“Let me take care of it,” Evie suggested reaching for the ball again.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” he frowned back at her.

“Neither was their hitting us,” she swiped the ball from JT and swam to the shore. Once she emerged she walked over to the two boys and glared at them. “Which one of you threw this?”

Both boys eyed her in silence before bursting into laughter.

“This isn’t funny,” she snarled down at them. “Who threw this?”

“We don’t have to tell you anything loser,” the red headed boy taunted.

“Yeah loser, so why don’t you go drown yourself?” the other boy stuck his tongue out at her.

“How about I just bury you in the sand?” Evie lunged forward only to feel JT’s arm around her waist as he hoisted her up in the air.

“We’re done here. Drop the ball,” JT ordered as Evie kicked her legs around in the air.

“Just give me five minutes JT. Five minutes and I swear they’ll never throw a beach ball at anyone again,” Evie writhed in his arms, twisting with fury.

“It’s not worth it,” JT carried her along over to their blanket away from the two children. He set her down carefully before moving in beside her. “Just ignore them.”

“How can you ignore them when the are clearly up to no good?” she gritted her teeth as the two boys whispered to one another. “I swear if I had a child like that, I’d shoot them or myself.”

“You don’t mean that,” JT gave her a long look.

“No, I don’t, but at the same time look at them. They are behaving like little monsters,” she wiped at the sand that had collected on her feet. “They don’t have any manners.”

“That’s because their parents didn’t teach them any better,” JT pointed out the two adults on the beach. “They are too absorbed in their PDA to notice where their children are.”

“Of course they are,” Evie rolled her eyes. “I don’t understand why people don’t at least try to keep their children on some kind of leash.”

“Gee, you sound like an advocate for children’s rights,” he joked as she glared up at him.

“JT, as much as you are poking fun at me, you have to admit you wouldn’t want your son or daughter behaving like that,” she curled her lip in a pout.

“No I wouldn’t, but then again maybe there’s a reason why I wasn’t meant to be a parent,” his words tapered off as a darkness crept in over him.

“JT,” her voice softened as she realized she’d struck a nerve. “Look I’m sorry. I was just…”

“It’s okay,” he shook it off, “I know you didn’t mean anything. I mean hey those two were kind of ridiculous.”

“They were, but still,” she touched his cheek, “I didn’t mean to spark a bad memory when…”

“Right now I think I’m just happy to focus on what I do have in front of me,” he eased his fingers into her long, dark hair. “What do you say you and I head on back to the beach house?”

“I think that sounds like a plan,” she nodded as her fingers fanned out across his cheek. “I love you.”

“I love you too, which is why I think we should get back to the beach house before I have to bail you out for assault,” he half teased. He stood up and collected their picnic basket and blanket before turning to her again. “Ready to go?”

“Almost,” Evie nodded as she felt the distinct slam of the beach ball into her thigh. It fell to the ground and she bent down to pick it up with an exaggerated movement.

“Evie,” JT gave her a look.

“I’ll be right there,” she promised watching him move ahead as she turned to face the two children again.

“Give that back!” one of the boys shouted at her.

“Yeah give it back loser!” the other snapped out in an order.

“You want this?” she looked between them before stepping back. “Fine then go get it.”

Before either boy could respond, she dropped the ball to the sand and kicked it with all she had in her. It went flying across the beach towards another one of the sunbathers who looked like he’d stepped out of a muscle magazine. Immediately the man leapt off of his towel after the beach ball nailed him in the face.

“Who did that?” the man snarled in a roar.

“Have fun,” Evie waved as the man’s eyes narrowed in on the children and she followed after JT away from the beach.

“You just couldn’t resist misbehaving, could you?” he shook his head at her as he glanced over his shoulder to see the man chasing after the children, who were now crying for their parents.

“Not on your life,” she admitted with a proud smirk knowing that at least for a small moment of the day she had found her own way to ensure that justice was served--if only for a little while.


Angela opened her eyes feeling a gasp escape her lips after a nightmare about Craven carried over her. She could still feel his menacing presence surrounding her, but when she felt the warmth of a hand pressed in against her cheek, she was taken in by a familiar scent. She turned to face the man beside her immediately recognizing him by his cologne and as his dark eyes fixed on hers, she couldn’t help but smile. Letting out a breath of relief she felt his fingers intertwine with hers.

“You’re really here,” she smiled closing her eyes again for a brief moment before taking in another breath.

“I haven’t left your side since I found you,” Brant admitted bringing her fingers up his lips and kissing them leisurely. “Although I did step out in the hall with Don to make sure that our children were okay when they were taken down to the nursery.”

“Is something wrong?” Angela couldn’t help but ask worriedly.

“Not at all,” Brant assured her with a warm smile, “Don’s down there making sure that nothing is going to happen to them. He’s their own guardian angel so to speak.”

“I think he’s ours too,” she replied with a thoughtful expression remembering how Don had helped Brant find her when she needed him the most. She glanced down at the bandage on his arm and frowned, “How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine,” he replied with a small smile catching her look of disbelief. “Okay, so maybe I’m hurting a little, but you won’t hear me complaining anytime soon considering that you’re the one who went into labor and had two little miracles today.”

“Being shot isn’t something to downplay Brant. You should get that checked out while we’re here,” she noted thinking about how out of it he had been when she’d gone into labor, “I’m worried about you.”

“There’s nothing to worry about where I’m concerned,” he assured her with a soft smile. He ran his fingers over her short, dark hair, his eyes memorizing every line of her face as his grin expanded. “The way I see it I’m the luckiest man in the world to have you and the twins.”

“I love you Brant and I’m so sorry for all of this,” she confessed with a pained expression, “I never should’ve let things get to this point.”

“We’re together now and that’s what is important,” he leaned forward to offer up a tender kiss, “We’re a family and nothing can steal that from us not even a monster like Craven.”

“Craven,” she repeated with a tiny shiver thinking about the man that had horrified her time and time again, “Brant, have they found him?”

“Not yet, but they will,” he assured her reaching out to squeeze her hand firmly, “I won’t let him hurt you or our family.”

“What about Kevin?” she couldn’t help but ask remembering what she’d seen when Craven had her hostage, “Is he…?”

“They are still looking for him,” Brant explained sensing her worries about her friend. “Kyle and Russ went out to search for him after the police told them what you had seen.”

“It’s all so hazy,” Angela closed her eyes remembering when Kevin had been in her view. “I know it was by the beach, but after everything…I think Craven was drugging me.”

“He was,” Brant explained seeing the expression on her face, “It wasn’t anything lethal, but after they ran a few tests, they noticed that you’d had some sedatives in your system, which undoubtedly played a hand in his ability to keep you at bay for so long.”

“I went to him willingly like a fool. When I couldn’t remember who I was, I bought into his lies,” she thought aloud remembering her foolishness, “I just thought that he would take me back to my father and…”

“I’m so sorry,” he squeezed her hand again, “I wish you’d never felt you had to be in that position. If things hadn’t happened like they did at Cameron’s place, then we never, ever would’ve had to go through this. We never would have…”

“Brant, I believe you,” she blurted out without hesitation, “I know that you love me and that you would never hurt me. Cameron was wrong about you--about us and now that we have the twins…”

“It’s okay,” Brant pressed his index finger over the center of her lips to silence her now that it was clear that she was upset. “It’s all in the past and now we need to focus on the future with our family.”

“Our family,” she replied thinking about their children, “Brant I can’t believe that this is real--that I’m a mother and that we’re parents…”

“It’s real sweetheart,” he offered up proudly thinking about everything that had transpired between them.

“I know, but it just feels so surreal,” she paused her thoughts lingering to her children, “I want to see them Brant. I want them in here with us.”

“I’m sure Don can arrange that,” Brant nodded in agreement ready to offer her anything she wanted now that she was with him again.

“And hopefully soon Kevin can be a part of this as well. He’d be so proud of me--proud of the twins and…” she stopped herself feeling a lump forming in the back of her throat, “Oh God, what if they never find him again? What if he’s dead and…?”

“He’s not dead,” Brant assured her not really clear on what had happened to Kevin. “They will find him.”

“Craven intended on hurting him--on stealing his life away from him just like he did when he took Kevin out the night our daughter died,” Angela thought back a sudden memory occurring to her, “Oh my God, Brant I know where he is. I know where he went when Craven set off that explosion in the cave.”

“You do?” he questioned seeing her nod emphatically.

“You have to call Russ and tell him. They have to find Kevin,” Angela decided praying that it wasn’t too late for her best friend now that Craven had taken it upon himself to unleash his latest act of terror upon her and Kevin all over again. Hopefully this time Craven wouldn’t be victorious in tearing Kevin from this world as he’d tried to do the first time around.


“Kevin, can you hear me? Kevin,” Avery called out to her friend realizing that he’d slipped into an unconscious state again. Feeling a fear rush over her, she knew that there would be no more waiting. She had to find a way to get them out of the cavern or else Kevin wouldn’t make it. Looking to the water again, she thought about the tunnel that she’d attempted to go through. There was no real out and if she’d tried again to go under the water’s surface she might not make it either. Contemplating her options Avery glanced over at the rocks at the cavern’s entrance once again.

“Kevin, I’m going to get us out of here. I promise you,” she whispered reaching out to touch his forehead gently. She felt him burning up beneath her and a new surge of fear washed over her. “Please just hold on.”

Taking in a breath Avery pushed herself forward reaching out for the rocks again. She began to try shuffling between them feeling their rough edges cut at her fingers, but it was irrelevant now that Kevin was fighting desperately for his life. She knew that the longer they were away from civilization the worse shape he would be in and she couldn’t let him slip away.

“Please help us,” Avery begged to the heavens above hoping that they would find some kind of miracle before it was too late. She glanced over at Kevin, who had gone into a series of tremors again and she found herself terrified. Rushing over to him, she fought to get him to regain consciousness, but it was no use. His fever was too strong, too grueling over him. She wondered if she would lose him in this place and be trapped for all eternity without anyone knowing where they were. Closing her eyes for a brief moment she fought to repress the tears that burned behind her eyes, but before she could lose herself to her worries she heard a sound from outside the cavern that beckoned her.

“Could it be…” she thought wondering if the storm had picked up again, but after a moment of listening she realized the sound appeared to be coming from the cavern’s entrance. Holding Kevin close to her she shouted out in a pleading gasp, “Help! Is anyone out there? We’re trapped in here and my friend is hurt! I need to get him out of here! Please anyone!”

Avery heard another rustling sound before a voice carried over the cavern catching her completely off guard.

“Avery, hold on. We’re going to get you out of there,” she heard Russ call out to her causing her to break into full blown tears. She rushed over to the side of the cavern reaching out to touch the solid rock formation between them.

“Russ please hurry,” Avery blurted out her words broken by emotion. She turned to see Kevin again and raised her voice again, “Kevin’s hurt. He needs medical attention and…”

Before she could finish her statement the rocks over near the cavern’s entrance seemed to rumble and shake now that a new sound carried over the small space. She stepped back hearing a mechanical sound vibrating over the cavern walls. Moving over to Kevin again she knelt beside him not quite sure what was happening. She was starting to think she was losing her mind when the first hints of light filled through the cavern.

“Avery listen to me we’re going to get you out of there,” Russell’s voice filled the cavern reaching out over her like a warm security blanket. She wanted to rush over to him, to run into his arms and push away all of the remaining rocks herself, but she knew that Kevin needed her. “We’re going to clear these out of the way and…”

“Russ, you have to hurry. Kevin is hurt. He was injured in the cave in and he’s in bad shape,” Avery revealed keeping Kevin in her arms. She felt his forehead like fire against her touch and her eyes fixed on the small hint of light again. “Russ you have to help me get him to a hospital.”

“We’ll get you out of there right away,” Russ replied after a moment’s hesitation, “just stay back.”

“Please just hurry…” Avery cried out again hearing the mechanical sound carry over the walls of the cavern again until the rocks seemed to split apart in a quick, explosive movement. Seconds later she felt the blinding light from the world beyond the darkness carry over her. She squinted her eyes feeling her pulse racing as a shadow stepped into the cavern revealing the man she loved before her.

“Russ,” she spoke his name feeling her heart leap into her throat as he maneuvered himself through the cavern to get to her.

“You’re safe now,” he promised reaching out to her before noticing Kevin in her arms. His green eyes widened with worry before he turned to her again. “What happened to him?”

“There was the explosion and…” Avery found herself at a loss as Kyle followed Russ into the cavern. Seconds later Ria was moving in close behind Kyle. “Ria, you have to help me help him. He got something in his leg earlier and he’s lost a lot of blood. We have to get him to the hospital.”

“Kevin,” Ria rushed forward ignoring Kyle’s earlier warnings about being careful inside the cavern. She slid in beside him reaching out to touch his cheek only to feel him burning up. Worry washed over her when her eyes fell upon the wound on his thigh. Immediately she turned to Kyle again, a sharpness in her tone, “We have to get him out of here like now.”

“Okay, let me give it a try,” Kyle bent down attempting to pull Kevin off of the ground. With a few movements, he was able to manipulate a now unconscious Kevin into his arms while Russ tended to Avery.

“Let’s get him in the car,” Ria suggested as the two moved to the front of the cavern ready to do what was necessary to help Kevin.

“Avery,” Russ reached for her hand pulling her up off of the ground and into his arms. He kissed her frantically unable to hold back on all the emotions that carried over him. As he pulled back he searched her eyes, “Are you hurt?”

She shook her head, “I’m fine, but Kevin…”

“We’re going to help him,” Russ explained cupping her face in his hands for a moment before pulling her into his arms and carrying her towards the front of the cavern in the hopes that their rescue came at the right time to help Kevin as well.


“This place is a dump,” Valerie wrinkled her nose feeling a tiny shudder carry over her. While she’d been hoping to get out of the eye of the spotlight, she never anticipated that she would wind up in such a dump. She glanced over at the walls that surrounded her feeling a chill in the air in knowing that this was pretty close to hitting rock bottom. Reaching into her purse she eyed the vial she’d had with her thinking about what little comfort the drugs she’d picked up offered her.

Granted it was a bit clichéd for someone in her position to turn to this point, but she couldn’t help herself. When she’d moved out of JT’s apartment, she’d expected life to turn around, but unfortunately it wasn’t for the better. Her agent had called to inform her that she was no longer needed in the deal that they’d worked out with a fashion company in Milan. While she’d been anticipating to grace a great many covers with her career, she learned that the snake she’d hired to help her make it to the top disappeared taking with him her last chance at being able to reclaim her career. He’d rushed off and left her without a job, without the bonus she’d been promised and with a lot of hassle from the world around her.

Then to make matters worse Seth pushed for the divorce, which was something she was against for a long while. She’d refused to let him and Blake find that happiness with one another especially now that Valerie had nothing more than the marriage left to hold onto, but even that hadn’t worked out. She’d had no choice, but to agree to the divorce once she’d hit rock bottom, yet she’d hoped that she’d have something else to go on. She’d called Cameron hoping he would see her, but he couldn’t be bothered after repeated attempts to reach him.

“Now you just need to take care of yourself,” she reminded herself taking in a breath as she blotted on the remains of the expensive European moisturizer she‘d carried with her all of the time. Maybe her life was falling apart, but as she smoothed the lotion into her face, she vowed to hold onto her good looks even if it killed her. It might be the only thing she had going for her, but she would be damned if she let that fall away from her as well. Bitterly she tucked a strand of her hair behind her eyes remembering the rage she’d felt when she’d launched her attack on Blake knowing full well if she was meant to be miserable, then Blake should be as well.

“She can’t have everything that should’ve been mine,” Valerie vowed walking past the dirty mirror to the bathroom. She eyed the shower with an air of heavy skepticism before turning on the water. Right now the hot water would do her aching muscles good and help soothe her nerves before she split town for good. Once her friend at the bar finished his shift, he promised he would help her get out of town and once she did, she would never look back.

“To hell with Coral Valley,” she blurted out watching the steam rise from the shower walls. A smile touched over her lips as she slipped out of her things, “Well at least there is hot water in this dump.”

Once she’d finished undressing she stepped into the shower feeling the warmth of the water offer up it’s silent comfort to her. She closed her eyes allowing her body to slide beneath the spray taking her to a new heaven as she blocked out the rest of the world. She ran her fingers up to her neck feeling the tension in her shoulders. It was too much to deal with being in Coral Valley, but soon she would be on a beach somewhere on some exotic island enjoying life away from all of the trivial people who had taken up far too much of her time already. Turning around she reached for the small bottle of shampoo she’d brought with her only to discover it wasn’t in the shower.

“Damn it,” she cursed under her breath wiping at her eyes before pushing open the glass shower door. She stepped out into the bathroom spotting the bottle on the counter top. She moved forward ready to reach for it when a noise captured her attention. Looking up, she noticed the familiar form in the mirror in front of her.

“Well, well…” she couldn’t help but offer up a smile as her fingers curled around the shampoo bottle. She tossed her damp hair over her shoulders before licking her lips, “now isn’t this a surprise. I wasn’t expecting you to show up to see me tonight.”

Her unexpected guest said nothing as he moved forward. He placed his gloved hand on her shoulder and watched her grin expand.

“One might say that you’re stalking me,” she spun around to face him, her bright eyes filled with a hint of seduction. She ran her damp fingers over the center of his chest and grinned wider than before, “Though now that you are here do you care to join me in the shower?”

“I think we have other things to talk about,” he mouthed in a stiff tone his eyes reaching out into hers.

“I was hoping that given the week we’ve both had that we could skip on the small talk and cut to the chase considering that this is something that I know deep down we’ve both wanted for a while. I know you’ve fought me on the issue, but when it gets down to it I’m in your system. Admit it, that’s the only reason you followed me here,” she stepped up on her toes nibbling on his lower lip with a low growl before moving back ever so slightly, “You might have tried to pretend that you could forget me, but I’m always in your blood--in your system and you’ll never get rid of me.”

“See now that’s where you and I are of a difference of opinion Valerie,” the gloved fingers moved up to her neck pressing in against the base of her throat, “because tonight I came here to do just that.”

“What?” she blinked back feeling the hold on her throat constrict. She brought her hands up over his thick, covered fingers and let out a whimper.

“Getting rid of you,” he clarified for her pushing her back towards the shower again, “because that’s exactly what I’ve set out to do once and for all.”

“But…” Valerie squealed in a pained whisper as she felt the sharp sting surround her throat, the dull ache that pounded in her head, but before she could get out another word of protest she felt him leaning in whisper just above her lips.

“Tonight is the end of your run here in Coral Valley. The show’s over for you. Now it‘s time to pay the price for your crimes,” he explained to her in a hollow tone crushing her neck without hesitation until she passed out before watching her fall to the wet bathroom floor in front of him. As he stepped back he took a long, hard look at her body and knew full well that this certainly wasn’t the send out that Valerie deserved. Tonight he would give her the appropriate kind of exit fitting of her crimes now that he was certain she would get nothing less than what she deserved!


...to be continued...