Episode 419

“My aren’t you the talkative one today?” Alexa mused as she gave the man she and Ben had collected back at the abandoned building a long once over. He had a bruise forming across the center of his forehead and his eyes were still glossy, yet full of rage after Ben had inadvertently knocked him out with the door. Still as she saw him fidgeting on his seat, she knew he wasn’t about to offer up any kind of information without provocation. “You know we don’t really have to hear it from you to know what you’ve done, but it’ll be easier if you start talking.”

“I’m not saying a word until my lawyer arrives,” the man shot an icy glare up at her. “You can’t intimidate me into telling you something to incriminate myself. I know that much.”

“Ah, so you think you’re a pretty smart guy,” Alexa leaned in closer to him, “but I have news for you. Smart men don’t put themselves into the situations that you’ve been in Mr. Spade.”

“Again, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he shrugged his shoulders before glaring up at Ben, “though when my lawyer gets here we will start talking about the brutality and excessive force that you used to bring me in today.”

“What brutality?” Ben shrugged his shoulders. “The way I saw it you were running in the dark and you slipped. You’re lucky that Agent Ashford and I found you when we did otherwise who knows what would’ve happened in that abandoned building? I mean with the rats and the reputation of that area it’s a good thing we found you when we did.”

“I didn’t trip,” the man snarled up at Ben.

“Of course you did,” Alexa snapped her fingers in front of his face to command his attention once again, “and you’re going to start telling us exactly what you were doing there before I lose my cool.”

“Taking a walk,” the man snarled up at her, “that’s not against the law these days now is it?”

“Walking might not be, but we’ve got your prints at the scene of a crime,” Ben explained no longer in the mood to deal with the man’s sour disposition. “Your prints not only place you at the scene of an arson, but it also puts you as the one who started the fire in the first place.”

“You don’t have anything on me,” the man grumbled back at Ben. He leaned back in his chair a bit further and laughed. “I didn’t start any fires. I don’t even like the stuff. Too hot if you ask me.”

“Interesting you say that because this here tells a very different story,” Alexa slapped a page down in front of him and pointed. “According to your arrest record you’ve had three prior offenses dealing with arson.”

“And none of the charges stuck because I was innocent,” the man pushed the paper away from her. “The police were trying to pin something on me then and now they’re looking for a fall guy once again.”

“Your ex-girlfriend painted a very different tale when she told the district attorney that you tried to set her car on fire with her in it,” Alexa added bluntly.

“She was exaggerating and besides she changed her tune when court came around,” the man’s grin expanded, “considering that she was lying.”

“Or that you bullied her into keeping her mouth shut about your actions,” Alexa snapped in response, “which leads me to the company you keep. It says here that you’ve been quite involved in Miami’s underworld scene working for Guerrero for quite some time.”

“If I was working for Guerrero or anyone above him, then I certainly wouldn’t be seated here talking to you,” the man laughed up at her. “If this is the best you have, then you have nothing. I’ll just wait for my lawyer to arrive now.”

“You do that, but your finger prints prove that you started that fire,” Ben explained breaking his silence. “Not to mention your DNA was found on one of the victims at the club. From where I stand you’re not going to be able to walk away from this situation as easily as you have in the past.”

“We’ll just see about that,” the man laughed back at the both of them, “because while you two might live on fingerprints and DNA it’s small potatoes in the real world. You’ll see that soon enough.”

“No, you’ll see when you go down for murder,” Alexa in formed him bluntly. “You won’t be walking away from that one.”

“We’ll see,” the man repeated his grin widening as he tipped his head up towards her. “I’d like to go back to my cell now.”

“Get used to it because you’re going to be in one of those for a very long time,” Ben assured him smugly. “Not even your lawyer will be able to fix that. I can promise you that.”

“You might be surprised with that outcome,” the man laughed as the guard arrived to take him back to his cell. “Everything’s not black and white like you believe it to be.”

“For you it’s going to be if you don’t start talking,” Alexa warned him one last time as he was escorted towards the door of the interrogation room.

“I’m going to lay odds that this will work out in my favor. You’ll see,” he repeated his mantra cryptically before leaving the room with the guard.

“What is that all about?” Ben questioned glancing over at Alexa. “Is he working on an insanity defense or just playing games to stall?”

“I’m not sure, but if he thinks this is going to get him out of telling the truth, he’s sadly mistaken,” Alexa promised knowing full well that the man who had blown up the club right before she and Ben had arrived was going to pay for his crime whether he believed it or not.


Diane stretched out on the blankets of the guest bed in Deidra’s apartment. While she knew full well that she should get up and enjoy the morning alone without Deidra to lecture her as Deidra had stayed over at Dean’s place, Diane couldn’t find it in her to get out of bed--especially not after the dreams she‘d been having. She tossed onto her side and squeezed the sheet around her as her eyelashes fluttered open. Her lips parted in a sigh and in that moment, she felt the familiar scent of Shane’s cologne carry over her.

“Sleep well darling?” Shane questioned curling his arm around her slender waist and pulling her in closer to the warmth of him beside her.

“Never better,” she confessed snuggling into him as she felt his lips tease over the side of her neck. She let out an involuntary purr as Shane’s fingers fanned out over her hip.

“I couldn’t agree more, but we both know that had everything to do with you love,” Shane slurred gently nibbling on her earlobe before coaxing her around to face him fully.

“And why might that be?” she smiled up at him, feeling the warmth of his bare chest against her touch as her fingers tapered off against his muscled spine, leading down over his sexy bottom.

“If you even have to question the experience then it proves we were doing everything completely wrong last night,” he joked arching into her for a hungry kiss.

“I think you answered any lingering inquiries I might have had before,” she admitted sliding her fingers up over his shoulders into his hair, “although I do have to say I have one nagging request of you this morning.”

“What might that be love?” he questioned lazily as he fell back onto his side of the bed, taking her with him.

She felt the first spark of electricity between them as their naked bodies pressed against one another, leaving no mistaking over the undeniable spark that had dominated their experiences with one another. She smiled down at him, pressing her hips over his as she felt his hunger for her burning beneath the sheets all over again.

“Make love to me Shane or lose me forever,” she ordered as he offered up a wicked smirk. A moment later he pulled her to him in a ravenous display leading them one step closer to another round of fantasies together until Diane found herself distracted by the thunderous roar of the alarm clock on the nightstand beside the bed.

“What the…?” Diane gasped springing up into a seated position on the bed.

She stretched her fingers out to slam the button to off on the alarm clock before dropping down to the bed again with a frustrated groan. Reaching out to the sheet beside her, she realized her morning with Shane had been nothing more than a very vivid fantasy kick started by her overactive imagination. His kisses and their love making were nothing more than her imagination messing around with her all over again.

“Damn it,” she cursed trying to still the racing of her pulse as she fought to ignore the images that had carried over her in the sleeping hours. Yes, she’d certainly felt them, but only her mind had taken her to the point of no return after she’d finished her picnic with Shane.

Even now as Diane thought about the awkward exchanges they’d suffered through during their picnic, she wondered why she continued to endure this kind of torture. Deep down she knew that despite all of her protests over the situation Deidra was right. She was going to screw everything up because of the undeniable lust Shane had evoked inside of her without even trying. Okay, so maybe he had played a hand in helping inspire her hidden fantasies, but she still had to stay in control of them. She wanted to be friends and friends was what she would work towards.

“You can do this,” she mouthed to herself as she pushed the sheet off of her legs. She stepped out of bed and realized that perhaps a cold shower would be just the kind of jolt she would need to snap out of the crush she was developing on Shane Slater.

Yes, a shower would be good, she thought to herself as she entered the bathroom only to take a long, hard look at her reflection. Although she’d opted to change for bed once she and Shane had separated from one another, she hadn’t been able to let go of the moment just yet. This morning was living proof of that as she took in a good view of Shane’s black polo shirt still wrapped around her petite frame hugging her curves in each and every way that she’d hoped to have Shane’s touch upon her.

“This is insane,” she stepped forward shaking her head at all of her wayward thoughts. She reached down to the bottom of the shirt ready to pull it off and discard it along with the notions of crossing the line of Shane, but in that moment she hesitated. She looked at her reflection again and imagined what Shane’s reaction to seeing her clad only in his shirt would be.

“Well if you insist upon removing it,” she could hear his thick, sexy accent teasing her as she imagined him leaning up against the counter anticipating her next move. His strong arms would be folded over his chest as his smiling eyes were upon her, “be my guest.”

“With pleasure,” Diane slurred taking her time to strip out of his shirt seductively as she could almost feel his insatiable eyes upon her teasing her in ways that she was certain his hands and lips would do somewhere down the line.

Just the thought of it all had her burning with desire, but then she snapped back into reality realizing that Shane was nowhere around. She was stuck in Deidra’s apartment all by her lonesome finding ways to mentally sabotage herself more than loafing around on the sofa and watching television would have done. Frowning, she walked over to the shower and turned the water on hoping to banish the sinful notions from her memory when she heard the sound of someone at the door.

“Of course it figures,” Diane groaned realizing she should ignore the unwanted guest, but knowing her luck Dean and Deidra were there without a key and were about to be furious with her. After that an impending lecture would follow and considering Diane’s mood she wouldn’t want to be the recipient of such a fate.

“Maybe the company will do you some good,” she decided turning off the water and reaching for the robe Deidra had hanging in the bathroom. Sure, Deidra might be mad Diane borrowed it, but she’d get over it eventually.

“Tell me you brought something good with you,” Diane joked opening the door in anticipation of her sister, but instead she discovered Shane standing there before her.

“I suppose if you like donuts we’ve got it made otherwise we might have to go out somewhere together and risk being publicly chastised for daring to be with one another,” he teased with a playful wink as Diane opened the door further.

“We can’t have that now can we,” she laughed inviting him into the apartment. She watched him step forward before she placed her arm out in front of him to prevent his entry, “although you had better brought something really wonderful in that box.”

“Just wait until you see all the delicious treats I have in store for you,” he promised. He ducked under her arm and entered the apartment with that loaded statement as Diane found herself wondering if perhaps her dreams were any indication of the trouble she might find herself in. Taking in a breath she closed the door to the apartment and vowed she would keep things in control now that Shane was with her. She was strong enough to keep things platonic. It was just donuts after all. Nothing more even if her mind was trying to push her limits beyond the point of no return. Dreams were just that and reality, well that would be something that Diane would keep at her side to prevent her from making a big mistake all over again.


“You hear that?" Dean heard Deidra gasp as he moved in behind her wrapping his arms around her waist tightly as she stood in his closet searching for something she'd stored away at his place to wear. Smiling to himself, he pressed a kiss against her neck before resting his chin on her shoulder. “Do you?"

“Is there something else I’m supposed to be hearing other than you?" she turned in his arms to look at him and stare into his brown eyes. There was a look of amusement behind his dark eyes while he smiled out at her and she shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know what you are wanting me to listen to.”

“Just be quiet for one second,” he pressed his index finger over her lips and still saw her confused before throwing her hands slightly up. Chuckling to himself, he wrapped his arms around her tighter before taking in a long shallow breath. “The sound of silence sweetheart. No one is here with their problems and we have time all to ourselves. Time to be with one another and time to work on…us.”

“Do we need to be working on us?" she laughed feeling his lips pressing in over her jaw line and she closed her eyes tilting her head up a bit as she felt him holding onto her tighter. “I would love to finish on working on our situation, but your place might burn down.”

“What do you mean?" he pulled back curling his lip into a pout as she placed her hand over the center of his chest to distance him a small amount.

“I mean that I already started to cook breakfast and if we start working on ourselves and our relationship now…,” she began moving forward only to press a few pecks against his lips hearing his protest in the growl he gave her making her laugh. “I promise, we can finish this after we eat. I swear.”

“You better keep that promise honey or I’m seriously going to punish you later,” Dean picked her up over his shoulder and felt her playfully hitting at his back as he carried her down the stairs and toward the kitchen. When he finally stepped into the kitchen he set her down carefully feeling her shove him a bit making him laugh. “Hey, what?"

“You act like I’m just a toy,” she frowned moving over toward the pan where she was cooking things and he moved in behind her to press another kiss against her neck.

“You are so much more than that honey,” he nibbled at her earlobe before softly squeezing her bottom hearing her let out a tight gasp making him laugh while she swatted him away with the spatula she was holding. “Careful honey, that could be very dangerous when used the wrong way.”

“Well, I won’t be going crazy with any cooking utensils as long as you keep your hands to yourself during a designated period,” she ordered with a small laugh seeing him smile and move over toward the refrigerator to pull out some milk for them to have with their meal. “I mean it.”

“I got it, but wow--I’ve never seen you so serious about cooking something before. Other than that time you got completely upset about burning our meal and practically setting the entire kitchen on fire,” he reached for a glass and poured himself a cup before taking a small sip and laughing. “I guess you just don’t want a repeat performance, huh? No encores?"

“That wasn’t even funny, that was a perfectly good turkey I ruined and here you are laughing. I could have killed us because I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing,” she flipped her spatula at him before shaking her head slowly hearing him laugh once he got splattered with some of the pancake mix. “It was your fault too.”

“Hey, nothing is ever my fault. I’m innocent,” he finished off his glass before pouring himself another. He caught the glare she was giving him and he shrugged his shoulders while moving over toward the table to set his stuff down. Once he moved over toward the cabinets again, he still caught the glare and let out a small laugh. “Come on honey. Don’t blame other people for your misfortunes. Excuses won’t take away the fact that you almost burned the townhouse down. Which, thinking back…wasn’t I the one that put the flames out before anything bad really happened?"

“You think you’re so funny don’t you?" she rolled her eyes seeing the wide smile he shot her as he set up the table and she nodded for a moment before taking in a long breath. “I’ll remember that for later when you want to work on us and this…relationship especially when we get back to that part about your wanting us to move in here together. I may just have to reconsider that notion down the road.”

“Oh come on,” he frowned seeing her move toward the table with the pancakes and he let out a tight breath. “You act like you don’t even tease me about things when I know you do sweetheart.”

“You’re just saying that,” she hit him with her hip slightly to get him away from her as they both shared a laugh and he held her chair out for her letting her take a seat first before following the movement next to her. “At least I didn’t burn down the house this time.”

“No, this time honey you did a wonderful job,” he smiled moving forward to press a soft, loving kiss against her cheek before reaching down to give her hand a small squeeze. “I mean it.”

“Now you are just saying that to get what you want,” she teased seeing the way he smirked and nodded before moving in to eat his food and she reached across to place her hand on his thigh under the table. “And after dinner, certainly we can work on…us.”

“I thought you might like that,” he went to kiss her only to see the front door fly open and he stood up from where he was sitting at the table and heard Deidra let out an angered breath. “Shannon, what are you doing here…now?"

“I wanted to talk,” Shannon looked over the kitchen table to see the food that was over the table and she cleared her throat and took a seat at one of the chairs. “Clearly, you aren’t busy either and I just need to talk to someone before I go insane.”

“Let me guess….,” Deidra held onto the fork tightly almost imaging that it was possible to lung forward and attack her with the dinner fork that she had been using. There was a glance that Dean gave her and she knew she had to be good. Setting down the fork she rested back in her chair and saw Dean nod before clearing her throat. “Don…”

“Yeah, he calls me finally for the first time a couple of hours ago and I’m giving him a piece of my mind about not getting a single call,” she began to rant as Dean sank back into his seat and pushed away his plate knowing that he lost his appetite. “So then, he hangs up on me and tells me to call back when I have things figured out and he turned his phone off.”

“Maybe he didn’t want to hear everything he has been doing wrong,” Dean heard Shannon let out a disgusted noise and he sighed deeply knowing that this was now going to be a hard night. A very hard night indeed. “Or not. It was just a suggestion.”

As Shannon continued to rant, Dean shot Deidra an apologetic glance and he knew by the expression on her face that she was just about as happy about this as he was.


“What the hell are you doing here?” Augustus demanded glaring up at his son Rex now that Rex stood beside him in the middle of the hospital awaiting word on Blake’s condition after her long night in the hospital. As Augustus turned to his son his frown intensified, “Well?”

“What can I say?” Rex shrugged his shoulders before flashing his father an icy smirk, “I was at the right place in the right time I guess since I heard Blake was in a bind.”

“Like you care,” Augustus rolled his eyes at his son before stepping aside, “Face it Rex the only reason you’re here is because you think there is something in it for you. What is it this time that’s brought you back?”

“Believe it or not it’s that little girl that is in that hospital room that has me here,” Rex raised his voice with heavy agitation, “When I heard that someone hurt her, I couldn’t stay away.”

“Yet you’ve been away long enough not to realize that she’s a grown woman now,” Augustus rolled his eyes again attempting to keep his agitation under control, but as he thought of his billionaire, playboy son who was notorious for changing brides like most people changed their clothing, he knew full well that there had to be more going on than Rex was offering up.

“I’m well aware of how Blake has grown up just as much as I am that you have little to no room to talk about my being here when you haven’t been involved in her life either up until now,” Rex tossed back at him with a glare, “then again that’s typical for you. You want to pretend that you’re the one who keeps the family together, but let’s face it old man, you’ve been vital to destroying it.”

“No one asked you to be here Rex,” Augustus shot back at him icily ready to say something more when Annie intervened.

“I don’t think this is the time of the place,” Annie announced in a firm, warning tone, “I don’t believe Blake would want to see either one of you carrying on like this especially after she’s been hurt.”

“No, I don’t suppose she would,” Rex stepped down issuing one more glare over at his father before taking in a breath, “As fun as it’s been, I don’t think I’m going to stick around here and fight anymore. I came here with one purpose in mind and this wasn’t it.”

“Rex,” Annie opened her mouth again to say something, but stopped herself.

“It’s good to see you again Annie,” Rex offered up a small hug before walking off in the opposite direction of the lobby.

“He’s the same pain in the ass as always,” Augustus frowned thinking about the surprise twist that had come to light in Rex being around. “Doesn’t he have enough to keep him entertained with his own children? He has no business coming into town and causing Blake more of an upheaval than he already has.”

“Blake loves him. It’ll be good for her spirits to have her uncle here,” Annie offered up glancing over in the direction Rex had taken off in.

“The best thing he could’ve done for her and the rest of this family is stayed in Texas to do his own thing because staying away was the one thing he was good at,” Augustus huffed before turning in the other direction and leaving Annie to her thoughts about the tortured father and son pairing. While she’d hoped that there would be peace now that the family was coming together again, it seemed that there would be nothing but chaos surrounding the Ashfords at this rate if something didn’t change for the better soon.


Seth stepped through the doors to the hospital making his way wordlessly back to Blake’s room where he’d left her a long while ago. He’d hoped that he would’ve been able to return sooner, but after he’d awakened in a frazzled state not quite clear on what had gone down around him, he knew that he couldn’t stay away from the hospital much longer. He’d taken a cab over to the hospital and now as he approached Blake’s room he vowed to do everything in his power to make sure that she would pull through everything untouched by anymore misery. He looked to the flowers and the teddy bear that he held in his arms that he’d picked up on the way over while trying to clear his head.

Deep down he knew that it would be the hardest thing for them to face what had happened, but he needed to be there for her. He knew full well in losing their child and almost losing her everything had changed, but he vowed to be there for her--to make up for what he hadn’t been able to give her when Valerie tried to rip their world away from him. Closing his eyes he took in a small breath before moving through the doors to her hospital room.

“Seth,” he heard her weakened voice call out to him. He reopened his brown eyes to see her laying before him on the bed. Her face was bruised up and down the side and her left eye was still very swollen--so much so that it appeared that it was still half shut. Her fingers revealed matching bruises and her blonde hair still had traces of blood in it after the collision, but that was irrelevant to Seth. All that mattered was being near her--being able to see her again.

“Hey beautiful,” he offered up a small whisper moving in to take a seat beside her. He set the flowers down on the nightstand beside her bed and held the teddy bear out in front of him, “I thought you might want someone to snuggle up with.”

“I’d much rather you,” Blake confessed in a pained whisper as her blue eyes fell upon the teddy bear in front of her. She reached for it, her fingertips brushing over the softness of the toy before tears swelled up in her eyes. She bit down on her lip and felt a whimper rise in the back of her throat alerting her that she couldn’t repress her tears any longer.

“Blake,” Seth leaned in closer to her feeling her pain vibrate through him and eat away at his core. He reached out to her carefully touching the side of her face in the hopes of helping her through what was happening.

“Our baby would’ve loved this bear,” she blurted out her thoughts unable to hold back on the tears that carried over her causing her to tremble.

Without hesitation Seth moved in beside her on the bed, bringing her carefully into his arms as a shower of misery swept over the both of them. He stroked her hair gently unable to hold back on his own sorrow as his brown eyes clouded over with tears. He felt a lump forming in the back of his throat as Blake buried her head in his chest.

“Why did this have to happen to our baby?” she questioned in a low, mournful tone, her words coming out in broken sobs. “Why did we have to lose our baby Seth?”

“I…I don’t know…” was all he could muster up as he held her feeling her fall to pieces in his arms. What she was experiencing went well beyond the physical pain of the accident, beyond the knowledge that Valerie had tried to kill her. He couldn’t help but feel guilt eating away at him now that she lingered in his arms clinging onto him as if her every breath counted on him being beside her. “I wish I could’ve been there…that I could’ve changed things…”

“I just don’t understand how someone could do this,” she blurted out painfully, “We tried so long to get pregnant and…”

“I’m so sorry Blake,” Seth replied unable to put to words the right thing to do or say now that fate had ripped away their happiness from them. “So sorry…”

“Seth I just…” Blake found herself at a loss, unable to say anything more now that her tears consumed her. She sank into Seth needing him now more than ever as it hit her that everything that they’d hoped for with one another was just within their reach only to have it snatched away by a horrible twist of fate.


“I don’t know how she will react to seeing me here like this,” Hart worried as he climbed up the stairs to his daughter’s place knowing they were doing this on just a hunch that Hart wanted to follow. Seeing Jenna looking back at him with a smile while glancing over her shoulder, he shrugged and let out a tight breath. “You know me, I just worry about her and how she is going to feel about this since I showed up so unexpectedly.”

“I’m sure she will be fine,” Jenna assured him knowing that not only were they seeing his daughter, but they were also seeing her younger brother. Finally reaching the level, she waited for Hart feeling his arm hook around her waist while they walked down the hallway toward the door. “I’m sure she will be happy to see you. You’re her father.”

“Yeah, but when it comes to some teens, they want to totally slaughter you when you come in and step in on their personal space,” Hart reminded Jenna with a sigh almost dreading the situation, but also glad to finally see her since he didn’t get to say goodbye to her at her party. When he found out that his father set this whole thing up for her, he was furious and didn’t even want her to be here. Although it was her dream, he was still worried about her being so far away.

As they moved in closer to her room he felt a bit of worry overtake him as Jenna reached out to knock on the door with a laugh knowing he was having second thoughts about everything.

“Can I help you?" Sam came to the door opening it up as if she was busy until she saw Hart before her and she let out a small gasp jumping forward into Hart’s arms hearing him laugh while she hugged him. “Dad, I can’t believe you’re actually here. I’m so glad to see you, unless…unless you are here to yell at me about this whole thing. If that’s the case, this was totally…”

“Don’t worry about it. If I was going to yell at you that’s what phones are for,” Hart cut his daughter off with a smile after hearing her ramble for a moment while he shook his head slowly and hugged her in closer to him. “I’m just glad to see you, I missed not having you tell me goodbye. I just wanted to see you.”

“I’m glad you came out here, I wanted to actually have you come out here, so…,” Sam moved back motioning Hart to come in before shrugging her shoulders and moving forward to give Jenna a quick hug. “I guess it beats asking you to come all the way out here. You just did…”

“Yeah, I was worried about that,” he sighed turning toward her and rubbing his hands together as Jenna stood behind Sam and stared out at him. “I was very worried. I’m just glad to see that you are safe. Next time you want to run off and do something, would make sure to tell me first. And now that you are here, I would appreciate some calls to let me know you are doing good. I can’t stand being too far from people I love.”

“Then you should move out here,” Wayne suggested seeing the glare that Jenna gave him as he moved out into the room and shook Hart’s hand before moving over to hug his sister. “Hey, it was just a suggestion.”

“Well, we will be staying here for a while,” Hart sighed with a shrug as he informed him of their plans while hugging Sam once more. “We’ll stay here for a while, so I can check out the place and get a feel for it. Just so I know if it’s safe for you or not.”


“Come here,” Kipp pulled Kellen aside after their little fight they shared with Sarah and while Kellen glared out at the spot they were once fighting, he grabbed a hold of Kellen’s face and forced him to look at him. Kellen’s blue eyes stared out into his as Kipp had a firm grip on his chin and he took in a long shallow breath. “Can’t you ever stop fighting? You know she wants to start things with you and you take the bait all the time.”

“As you even said, she started it,” Kellen pointed out at Sarah seeing the glare that Kipp gave him and he took in a long breath before frowning. “You can’t blame me for something like this because you know that she started it again. I just stood up for us because she was being a total bitch.”

“But you can never just let things go Kellen,” Kipp stated with a firm tone while Kellen frowned and stepped away for a moment placing his hand on his hips before shaking his head. “You can’t let things go, you always have to have the last word and we are in a hospital. You should at least try to calm down when it comes to a hospital Kellen.”

“I know what this is Kipp, I’m not stupid,” Kellen snapped hating the way that his boyfriend was yelling at him as Kellen shook his head and took in along shallow breath. “You can’t act like this is actually affecting you badly. She called you terrible things too and I’m not going to sit back and let someone diss me like that.”

“Well you need to learn when it’s the right time to bite back and when it’s the wrong time,” Kipp insisted seeing the glare that Kellen was giving him while his jaw tightened in anger making Kipp laugh. “And that Kellen was the wrong time.”

“Can I ever do anything right as of late? I mean it, can I?" Kellen snapped right back as Kipp smirked and Kellen folded his arms over his chest certainly not amused. “I’m not kidding Kipp. It’s like everything I do right now is bad as of late and I don’t see myself doing anything wrong. I’m Seth and Blake’s friend as well and I was only trying to make myself clear. You would have done the same thing in my position, but right now I just think you need to feel like you need to fight with someone too, but I’m not up for it with you Kipp. I’m here because of my friend, I’m not here to having a therapy session with you over Sarah. Over Sarah of all people.”

“You act like I’m wrong about the situation,” Kipp shook his head while Kellen nodded and rubbed his palm over his face as if he was stressed about the situation they were in right now. “I know that it was the wrong time to do something like that.”

“Then your opinion and my opinion are way separate and we can agree too disagree,” Kellen stated firmly before shaking his head slowly and letting out a tight breath. Placing his hand on Kipp’s shoulder, his eyebrow arched up as he shook his head slowly. “Which I know you can’t handle someone else being right in the situation so no matter what I say won’t work right. So, if you please--I’d like to take a seat and wait for any kind of results that I could get regarding Blake. Thank you.”

“Wait…,” Kipp called out to him seeing how upset that Kellen had got over this and Kellen threw his hand up in the air to silence him.

“Trust me, I won’t say anything to embarrass you again. I promise,” he snarled as Kipp frowned and moved toward him and Kellen shook his head slowly. “I know how you feel about things and I know how you think I’m wrong for standing up for myself, but I’m not. Maybe you just need to learn to care for yourself more than you do. Right now, I just want to worry about Blake though and I still think Sarah is a bitch. I just don’t want to have this conversation with you.”

“Fine,” Kipp simply watched Kellen move over toward the chairs in the corner and lean forward wrapping his palms around his stressed neck caressing it slowly. There was something more he should have said, but as he saw Kellen’s blue eyes glare up at him from where he was sitting he knew that it would be no point.

The best thing to do would be just wait and sit to see if any news came up. Other than that, he figured it would be a while before either one of them said something again.


Sarah stood in the hallway trying to pull herself together after the confrontation she’d had with Kellen. While he hadn’t nearly annoyed her as much as usual last night, there was no mistaking the old familiar throbbing headache that she could feel building in the back of her temple after she’d had to deal with him. It was bad enough that he’d felt compelled to lead the campaign to destroy her on her wedding day when Kyle hadn’t shown up at the church, but now to have to see him like this again and again it was enough to do her in. He was one pain in the ass that she would’ve loved to get rid of, except that in doing so she knew full well she’d wind up breaking a few laws and she’d end up losing more than just what was left of her reputation.

Oh hell, who was she kidding? She knew full well that no one in town liked her and not fighting with Kellen wasn’t going to change that one. Maybe next time she would just deck him like she’d wanted to since she still owed him a few for how he’d humiliated her during her wedding. Oh yes, payback would be all the more rewarding once she took that final shot at dealing with Kellen in her own way. It would be all the more exciting to see him fall to pieces when she gave him back what he deserved, but…

“Now is not the time to think about Kellen,” an inner voice in the back of her mind reminded her now that she spotted one of the doctors that had worked on Blake down the hallway. She’d come to the hospital to be there for her best friend and now that was what was important. She wasn’t about to let herself be distracted by the thought of Kellen or anyone else for that matter. Right now she would help Blake and then…

“Dr. Vaughn, what are you doing here?” she heard a voice beckon her from her thoughts. She looked up to see Zack a few feet in front of her speaking with one of the nurses. “I thought you had the day off.”

“I’d been planning on taking the day off, but I thought I would rethink that idea. I realized a half a day wouldn’t be so bad especially when a friend of mine is in the hospital,” Zack continued to explain to the nurse, “Have you heard anything more on Blake Ashford?”

“Not this morning, but I’m sure she would love to see you,” the nurse replied with a wide grin, “After the delivery you had sent here for her last night I can’t imagine why she wouldn’t want to see you today.”

“I was just doing my part for those in need,” he flirted back with the woman in front of him before Sarah marched forward tapping him on the shoulder.

“Which hopefully includes your staying the hell away from Blake,” Sarah warned him sharply causing him to spin around and eye her with a surprised expression, “She doesn’t need you hassling her especially now.”

“Sarah, what a surprise,” Zack glanced over at the nurse and tossed out a small smile, “Would you excuse us?”

“Of course Dr. Vaughn,” the nurse nodded moving off in the other direction before Zack turned to Sarah again.

“Listen you,” Sarah wasted no time laying into Zack, her dark eyes narrowing in at him with agitation, “I don’t know what trick you think you have up your sleeve right now, but Blake doesn’t need it. I don’t know how many times she has to spell it out for you before you finally get the hint that she’s so totally over you.”

“That’s funny coming from someone like yourself,” Zack scratched his chin lightly, “especially considering the last time I looked into the rumor mill you were still obsessing over the man that left you at the altar.”

“Only pathetic lowlifes listen to the rumor mill and besides, you’re in the wrong circle because as it stands I’m married,” Sarah shot back at him icily. She stood taller and glared up at him, “which is exactly what Blake is planning on doing without your hassling her.”

“Hey, you don’t need to lecture me. I’m not the one that hurt her,” Zack replied raising his hands in the air defensively, “If she was with me, then this never, ever would’ve happened because I would’ve kept her safe. I would’ve protected her from this situation and…”

“The only thing you’ve given Blake is one headache after another which is why I am warning you now to stay away from her. She doesn’t need you harassing her on top of everything else,” Sarah cut him off sharply, “Let her have some peace Zack.”

“I love her Sarah,” Zack responded with an unyielding tone, “I’ve loved her for years and…”

“And I know you and your type,” Sarah stepped in closer to him thinking about all those years ago when she’d first become friends with Blake. “You only want her because she dumped you. Unlike all of those other women that you dated when you were younger, Blake was smart enough to let you go before you could use her up like every other woman that crossed paths with you.”

“Is that jealousy talking perhaps?” Zack arched an interested brow over at her, “Maybe sour grapes because I never found my way over to where you were?”

“Contrary to what the rumor mill is telling you Zack, I might get around, but I would never sink that low,” Sarah snapped in response wrinkling her nose at him, “Even someone like myself has standards which is why I don’t want you bothering my best friend.”

“I’m not bothering her Sarah. Seth is with his past and all of those unsavory reminders of it coming back to destroy her. I knew from day one that he was never good enough for her and this only further proves that the man doesn’t belong near her. If he would’ve kept that trash he hangs out with away from Blake, then…”

“Look Zack,” she stepped forward shoving her finger in a jab into his shoulder again, “you don’t know the first thing about Seth, but I will tell you straight up he is twice the man that you are. He’s got a good heart and he loves her. He makes her happy and they need each other right now without your causing them issues.”

“I’m not going to turn my back on Blake,” Zack argued further with her.

“I don’t see why you feel compelled to stay around her when you obviously were able to turn your back on your family,” Sarah tossed out at him sharply, “In fact maybe you could call your wife and try to do the right thing for a change by her instead of hurting someone else.”

“What is it about me that you hate so much? Can’t you see that Blake is important to me? It kills me that someone hurt her and just because Seth isn’t man enough to give her what she needs doesn’t mean that I’m not. I would do absolutely anything to free her of the misery that he’s brought into her life,” Zack replied with a flash of darkness behind his eyes, “That man has no business being near her.”

“I’m warning you now Zack if you hurt her in any way, shape or form, then you’ll regret it,” Sarah waved her finger around in the air before glaring up at him.

“Is that a threat Sarah?” he couldn’t help but arch an amused brow.

“No Zack. That’s a promise--one I intend to keep if you bother Blake,” she informed him point blank knowing full well that the last thing she wanted for her friend was to have another person attempt to shake up her world more than it already had been the previous night by Valerie.


“This is the part of this job that I hate the most,” Shannon groaned sinking back into the chair she’d been perched on for the last couple of hours. “There is nothing more pointless than being stuck in the office doing nothing.”

“We’re not doing nothing. We’ve followed up on leads and…” Dean glanced over at her seeing the bored expression on her face. He set the papers down he’d been looking through and leaned back in his chair. Eyeing her curiously he brought his arms up behind his head and leaned back further in his chair, “Let me guess this is the part where you think we should be out there beating up potential suspects and shaking down witnesses for the truth.”

“It’s a hell of a lot more entertaining than a desk job,” Shannon frowned shaking her head at him, “I still think we’re being punished for the way things went with the Mathis investigation.”

“The Mathis investigation was a nightmare,” Dean groaned inwardly thinking about how much his job had almost cost him when it came to taking down Bruce Mathis. “The man had a lot of friends on the outside and…”

“And we’ve never looked into who those friends were. He had financial ties that kept him under our radar and when I think about his murders, then this one…” Shannon paused reaching out to retrieve one of the crime scene photos.

“You know Shannon while you might be on to something, I think that what all this tension really is about has nothing to do with work and everything to do with Don,” Dean couldn’t help but point out remembering full well how Shannon arrived at his place earlier to yet again go on a tirade about her husband. “Maybe if you two worked out your issues, then you wouldn’t be so wound up.”

“Dean, a woman was just murdered and we’re thick in this investigation that is going nowhere,” she curled her lip in a scowl at him, “How in the hell does that have anything to do with Don? I mean honestly?”

“For starters, you’ve been driving me crazy ever since he left with Brant to the island,” Dean noted eyeing her curiously, “which in itself tells me that’s where your hostility is coming from.”

“No Dean it’s from the fact that we’re sitting in an office on our asses doing nothing while there is a murderer out there who is laughing at us,” she snapped rising up from where she’d been seated to pace around the room again. She glanced over her shoulder at him before offering up a small huff, “and I hate the fact that Don is off with Brant once again doing whatever it is that Brant wants.”

“And therein lies the truth over the situation,” Dean eyed her suspiciously, “Why don’t you just up and admit you’re jealous of his relationship with Brant and get it over with?”

“I’m not jealous of his relationship with Brant,” she blurted out catching the doubtful expression on Dean’s face, “I’m not. It’s just I hate that jerk and…”

“And it’s always going to nag you on the inside that your husband is best friends with the one man that dumped you,” he pointed out with a knowing expression, “You aren’t used to being dumped, so naturally…”

“Brant wasn’t worth my time,” Shannon wrinkled her nose at him before frowning, “Sex with Brant was mediocre at best.”

“Sure and that’s why you wound up taking as many lengthy vacations as you could during that time period you two were together just because you weren’t having fun in the relationship,” he rolled his eyes at her before shaking his head, “Face it you were extremely hot on Brant when he dumped you and that’s kind of always stayed with you since you’re the one who is usually doing the dumping.”

“I was the best Brant ever had,” she tossed out at him before returning to her seat and slumping down in it again with a stubborn expression, “his five minute relationship with Heather Gibbons wasn’t worth giving up what we had.”

“And just what was that?” Dean inquired arching a curious brow. “You just said yourself that…”

“I know what I said, but…” Shannon paused shaking her head firmly before taking in a breath, “It doesn’t matter what I had with Brant. I’m married to Don now and the man is a moron when it comes to Brant.”

“Apparently he’s not the only one,” Dean quipped reaching for one of the crime scene photos and fighting to repress the grin that teased at the corners of his lips, “Though you know maybe if Don could work out an arrangement of bringing Brant into the bedroom with the both of you, then perhaps you’d both be happier.”

“Screw you Dean,” she rolled her eyes at him with an angry glare.

“I’m just saying,” Dean shrugged his shoulders before laughing again, “I mean clearly you’re so far from being over the relationship with Brant…”

“I’m over it. It’s just…” she paused struggling for the right word before turning to Dean, “my past with Brant hasn’t done a thing to upset my sex life.”

“Yeah well it seems to be getting in the way of mine more often than not,” Dean scoffed in response wrinkling his nose at her, “I can’t even begin to tell you how many times Deidra has flipped because you keep showing up unattended like that and…”

“Deidra is a flake and if you’d open up your eyes you’d see that you can do better,” she mouthed with a dry sarcastic tone, “I’m surprised you can still get it up after she tried to gut you with that letter opener.”

“I’ll have you know that I have no problems getting it up thank you very much,” he set the crime scene photo down on the desktop again before sitting up straighter, “and I’m sure that’s in part due to the fact that unlike you I don’t hold a grudge against people who make mistakes.”

“I don’t hold grudges,” she argued with him before huffing again, “I don’t.”

“Oh right I’m sorry. You don’t hold grudges against the dead, but the living is another matter,” Dean shook his head at her and laughed, “Face it Shannon as long as you’re set on hating Brant, you’re never going to be happy with Don. Maybe it’s time you let the past be the past and you just focus on your future instead. You’re married to a good guy and you need to stop holding his friend’s sins against him.”

“I’m not holding Brant’s sins against Don, it’s just…” Shannon threw her hands up in the air, “Never mind. We’re finished with this discussion. I don’t want to talk about it. We have work to do and being cramped up in this office isn’t helping anything.”

“Fine, then let’s work on changing that,” Dean decided rising up from his chair and stretching out. He reached for his jacket and slipped into it before eyeing her with an amused expression, “Come on. We have bad guys to chase and bring to justice.”

“Don’t mock me,” she grumbled in response.

“Hey, this is what you wanted, so by all means let’s go do some investigating,” Dean suggested ready to see what the day had in store for them now that they had a few more leads to look into concerning Chavez’s murder. Plus now that he’d spent far too much time locked up in an office with a miserable Shannon, he realized that any break at this point would do them both good since the last thing he wanted to do was dwell on her love life yet again.


Deidra checked the time thinking about whether or not she would be able to fit in a phone call to Dean after the way that she’d left his apartment in a tizzy. While she’d hoped they could spend a few minutes with one another uninterrupted before they headed off to work it seemed that Shannon had other plans for the two of them. Frowning, Deidra tried not to let her agitation with Shannon get the best of her, but she couldn’t help it. It seemed that at every twist and turn there Shannon was ready to make a mockery of everything that Dean and Deidra had with one another.

“Oh who am I kidding,” Deidra threw her hands up in the air and moved away from her desk, “Shannon is just so miserable with herself that she doesn’t know what it is that she wants out of life. Dean and I are just caught in the crossfire.”

Deidra paused for a long moment a thought occurring to her, “Of course we might not be if we take a little vacation.”

Smiling Deidra reached for her phone again thinking about what it would be like to get Dean alone in paradise with her for a while. She was certain that she would be able to arrange something even on short notice and with that thought in mind she opted to call a friend she had at one of the local travel agencies to set something up.

“A vacation would be nice indeed,” she mouthed to herself dialing the number when a voice roused her from her thoughts.

“Not one that is too far away I would hope,” Andy blurted out catching her off guard. She tipped her head up to see her soon-to-be-ex-husband standing in front of her with a wide grin. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

“I sincerely doubt that’s how you truly feel,” Deidra glared up at him opting to set the phone down before he could have his way of interfering with her plans again. She gave him a long look before shaking her head at him, “What do you want Andy? Not enough nurses to annoy today?”

“Why would I want to waste my time annoying them when I would much rather spend time with my wife,” he held up two Styrofoam cups in his hand. Moving forward he set one down in front of her on her desk, “It’s a double mocha cappuccino just like you like it.”

“I gave those up a long time ago,” she pushed the cup away from her with a frown refusing to bend even the slightest bit with her soon to be ex, “I’m more of a tea person these days.”

“Fine, then we can take a walk down to the cafeteria together. I checked with your secretary and she mentioned that you weren’t busy today so…” he began flashing her a bright, white grin.

“So what? You thought that I would just jump at the opportunity to spend time with you?” she frowned at him once again before shaking her head and laughing, “Your ego really has you thinking highly of yourself now doesn’t it?”

“I’m just trying to be civil. I don’t see any reason why we have to be bitter enemies with one another considering that everything that’s happened is water under the bridge,” he explained taking a seat across from her at her desk, “wouldn’t you agree?”

“Andy, I don’t want anything to do with you,” she explained point blank her dark eyes fixed on his, “I gave up wanting to be around you the moment I found you in bed with our co-worker down in Florida.”

“What you walked in on was a misunderstanding,” he offered up in his own defense, his blue eyes sparked with a sudden determination.

“Having sex with another woman in our bedroom leaves little to no room for a misunderstanding,” she rolled her eyes at his comment, “I don’t think that you would actually presume that I am naïve enough to accept that she was naked, then I was naked and I tripped on her routine. That’s insulting to the both of us to go there.”

“I wasn’t going to,” he paused with a moment of contemplation, “I made a mistake and words can’t even begin to express how sorry I am for it.”

“If you really mean that, then do us both a favor and quit fighting the divorce,” she suggested thinking about the trouble he was giving her, “You and I both know that we aren’t supposed to be together and let’s face it you don’t need a wife holding you down in your quest to become the next poster child for a walking STD.”

“I’ll have you know I play it safe each and every time,” he scoffed in response a frown touching over the corner of his lips.

“And I couldn’t care less,” she tossed back at him with a roll of her eyes, “now if you’ll excuse me…”

“What happened to us?” he questioned watching her move across her office to open the door for him to leave. “Weren’t we friends once?”

“We were, but that was before you decided that our marriage vows meant nothing,” she glanced over her shoulder at him feeling tension coil over her body. “You lead me to believe that whole till death to us part and forsaking all others business might have been true, but then again deep down you never meant it did you? From that first night you slept with Diane on our honeymoon…”

“Diane was coming on to me,” he stood up approaching her with a frown, “That was not my fault. You know how she had that crush on me and…”

“And you couldn’t turn her away, could you? The very thought of saying no just didn’t factor into your vocabulary, did it?” she tossed back at him, “I mean it was bad enough that you cheated on me, but with my own sister.”

“Again I made a mistake,” he started with a heavy sigh bringing his fingers up through his hair.

“That’s just it Andy. You keep making a lot of mistakes, but the fact to the matter is that I don’t have room in my life for anymore ‘mistakes’ as you put it. You see I gave up on being second best in your life a long time ago. I told myself that I would start over--that I would find happiness and guess what? I have. I found someone who makes me feel everything that you didn’t and in that sense I’ve been very fortunate. Dean is everything that you never were.”

“But does he give you what you need? Can you honestly say that he’s really the one?” Andy questioned making a small movement towards her, “Deidra I know that you’ve never gotten over me and…”

“Don’t flatter yourself. The tears stopped falling the moment I left our house and our joke of a marriage behind. You were never worth my tears and while it took me a while to realize that, I know the truth now and I refuse to go back to what we had,” she pulled her door open further and stepped aside, “I trust that is the answer you came here looking for.”

“I wish you wouldn’t hate me,” he paused moving over towards the door just enough to stand face to face with her. Instinctively he reached out to touch her cheek despite her flinching against his contact with her, “You were always special--so different than the others…”

“Different didn’t keep you from cheating, now did it?” she challenged feeling his finger press in against her cheek bone while she fought to repress the gagging reflex that built up inside of her. She opened her mouth to say something more in throwing out another insult at him when a voice interrupted.

“Andy there you are,” Michelle blurted out rushing forward to join them, “I’ve been looking for you all over…”

“Your entourage awaits,” Deidra rolled her eyes stepping back and glaring at him one last time before shoving him out of her office. She slammed her office door in his face before Andy turned around and glared at Michelle.

“What?” he questioned in a terse tone silently cursing her under his breath for undermining any opportunity for progress in his quest to get close to Deidra.

“Andy…” she paused an uneasiness in her tone at calling him that, “we need to talk. There’s something I need to speak with you about and it can’t wait.”

“Well it’s going to have to,” he scoffed back at her ready to push past her in an attempt to get on to his other plans for Blake.

“It can’t and I’m afraid I can’t let you walk away without my saying this to you,” Michelle declared refusing to allow Andy the opportunity to walk away from her again before she told him what it was she mustered up the courage to come over to the hospital and share with him. It was now or never.


“So what do you think?” Shane questioned lazily as he stretched out across the sofa with Diane on the opposite end. Her legs were curled underneath her as she took another bite of the pastry he’d included with the donuts. “How does it measure up?”

“Somewhere between sinful and orgasmic,” she confessed wiping at her chin where traces of chocolate lingered on her lower lip.

“Orgasmic eh?” Shane couldn’t help but laugh as he leaned forward to wipe at the corner of her mouth, “My I am making an impact on you, aren’t I?”

“More than you can imagine,” she admitted with a gulp as she found herself suddenly aware of the way his fingertip felt against her skin. Reluctantly she pulled away from him as her gaze fell to the floor. “Actually I should probably get dressed.”

“Yeah, I was going to ask you about the robe,” Shane admitted as she sprung to her feet and turned away from him in a haste. “You didn’t exactly strike me as the flying cows kind of gal.”

“I’m not,” she blurted out as she faced him again, this time bringing her hands up over the front of her robe to tighten it around her chest, “It’s Deidra’s. I was contemplating a shower before you arrived and then I heard the door and grabbed the first thing I saw, so…”

“Now that I could believe,” he laughed lightly, amusement carrying over in his tone as he gave her a complete once over, “though variation is always good.”

“Trust me if I was going for variation, I don’t think I would start with this old thing,” Diane dropped her hands and fumbled with the tie on the robe. “It’s a little too comfortable even for me.”

“I don’t know,” Shane leaned back on the couch and gave her another long, sensual once over, “I kind of like it. It’s simple, yet you bring a whole new level of sex appeal to it somehow.”

“Because of the hilarity behind the print?” she wrinkled her nose as she poked at the material once again.

“That and perhaps there’s something shamefully erotic about the notion of you naked underneath that robe,” Shane admitted shamelessly as his smirk expanded. “You are naked, yes?”

“I never said that,” she replied with a curl of her lip as she felt her face grow red with embarrassment.

“But you never denied it either,” he winked up at her with a laugh as he took note of her rosy cheeks. He sat up straighter and waved his shoulders in a casual shrug, “Relax Diane, I was just teasing you.”

“You do enjoy getting a rise out of me, don’t you?” she shook her head at him in mock furiousness.

“Guilty as charged,” he brought his hand up over his chest, “but can you blame me when you stand there looking like a centerfold after a morning of carnal evening pleasures.”

“You get all of that from a cow print robe?” Diane fought to make a joke of the comment. “Wow, you really are hard up for attention, aren’t you?”

“I’m not hard up for attention by any means, unless of course you’re considering the tone of our relationship. There is something to be said about the lack of clarity and focus you bring about to me when we’re together like this,” Shane admitted as he rose to his feet and stepped in closer to her. “Can I help it if you bring out the devilish aspects of my personality?”

“I thought we agreed to keep things under wraps between us,” Diane bit down on her lower lip as she fought to contain the way her pulse caught in the back of her throat. She tossed her long hair back over her shoulders as she gulped down on her words, “Friends first, remember?”

“Friends for always,” he agreed as he stood before her, his brown eyes revealing all types of temptation that Diane’s dreams hadn’t even come close to earlier in the morning. There was just something so persuasive about his lips and the way his eyes dared her to lose control long enough to follow her instincts.

“I really should get dressed,” Diane spun on her heel, determined to leave and regain the clarity she’d lost in the moment, but she felt his hand upon her wrist preventing her from doing just that.

“Wait,” Shane half pleaded as she felt herself frozen in the moment, “we still have breakfast.”

“The sugar content in all of that is far from being breakfast,” Diane fought to sound light and casual, but as she glanced over her shoulder to feel his eyes penetrating hers, she knew there was nothing to put her at ease over the situation.

“That’s part of the fun,” he teased again, “just because you know it isn’t good for you doesn’t mean that you can’t find it in your heart to enjoy it even a little bit.”

“I’ve been notorious for allowing my sweet tooth to control my appetites,” she whispered in a heated breath as his lips descended towards hers.

“There’s nothing wrong with indulging every now and then when the mood strikes,” Shane dipped down to steal a slow, lingering kiss from her now parted lips.

At first Diane found herself surprised by the boldness of the kiss he’d initiated, but soon she lost herself to the sweet combination of sugar, chocolate and Shane. Slowly she felt her resolve slipping away from her as she turned in his arms, tipping up on her toes to slide her arms around his shoulders to coax him closer to where she’d anticipated them being.

“You taste delicious,” Shane slurred in his sensual tone, as his palms flattened out over her spine, sliding down to her bottom and offering up a soft squeeze.

Diane leaned forward against him, feeling her heart hammering in her chest. Her lips parted further, feeling the sensual sweep of his soft nibbling on her lips, the taste of him driving forward a hunger that she had fought to suppress. Before she knew it, she felt his fingers working over the knot on the robe until finally the warmth of his touch spread out over her abdomen, stealing their first greedy taste of her skin.

“Maybe you were on to something about the robe,” Shane slurred stepping forward and dragging her with him in the movement. He hoisted her up in his arms and moved haphazardly across Deidra’s living room in a ravenous movement. Diane’s nails splashed out over the back of Shane’s shirt tugging on it furiously as she worked to pull it up over his torso.

“Where’s your room?” he asked in a labored breath as he fell back against the wall with her sliding in further against his chest.

“Second door on the right,” Diane answered breathlessly as she yanked at his shirt, pushing it up over his abdomen until he maneuvered his arms to help her work him out of the material.

“Thanks,” Shane finally blurted out moving in for another desperate kiss as he carried her to the bedroom. He kicked the door shut behind them and stammered over towards the edge of the bed before whispering in her ear. “Let’s take a chance and see if the cows can really take flight.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” she nodded in agreement feeling him set her on her toes again as he took a seat on the bed.

She felt his eyes upon her, her stomach tangled in knots as her shaky fingers eased over the sides of the robe. His eyes followed her every movement and she inhaled slowly as she allowed the material to fall over her shoulders, down her arms until finally the robe dropped to a mound at her feet. She stepped forward kicking it aside as she smiled down at him.

“Better?” she questioned drawing in a breath as she tossed her hair over her shoulders and puffed out her chest, giving him exactly everything he’d requested of her when he’d initiated the kiss between them.

“We’re getting there,” he divulged curling his arm around her possessively as his lips found their way to her abdomen. His tongue tapered off over her skin as her fingers found their way into his dark hair, guiding his movements.

“Shane,” she whispered his name tightly, feeling him pull her in closer towards the bed, between his now parted thighs as his thick hands pressed over her hips encouraging her to bend to his urgings.

“You’re beautiful,” his words buzzed over her skin as he tipped his head up to search her dark eyes. She felt a shiver carry over her as he slid back further onto the bed carrying her with him until she was over him fully, exploring the sparks between them with the first touch of their skin to skin connection.

“I’m alright,” Diane attempted to be modest as her fingers pressed in over the loophole on his belt, imagining all the mysterious perfections she had yet to learn about Shane Slater.

“You’re more than alright,” he laughed in amusement taking the opportunity to roll her onto her back as he leaned over her, his palm pressing in over her ribcage until he finally collected her breast in his hand. She shuddered arching up to him as their mouths met in another heated display.

“You’re right,” she finally offered up in a sultry smirk as they parted, “I’m as close to perfection as you’ve ever been.”

“I won’t argue that Diane,” he divulged surprising her with his words as his lips teased over her collar bone, tongue sweeping across her heated flesh until he collected the tip of her breast between his lips carrying her over to a whole new world of ecstasy.

“Please don’t,” she arched up into him while sliding her arms out across the bed to collect the sheet with her fingers squeezing and releasing with his movements.

“I’ve learned it would be foolish to even try,” he admitted hovering over her once again as their eyes met in a thick moment of silence.

“But maybe you should,” she bit back on her words, feeling every fiber of her being ready to know what it was like to be one breath, one body, one soul with Shane Slater, yet as he was so very close to her, she felt everything that was right in her life slipping so very far away. “Perhaps you should deny me this.”

“Because that’s what you want or because that’s what you believe the world expects of you?” he inquired catching the confusion behind her eyes. “Diane, is this what you want?”

She nodded, fighting to clear her head as she confessed in a barely audible whisper, “More than anything, but we both know we can’t do this.”

“Why?” he questioned painfully.

“Because we’re friends,” she forced herself to turn her head away from him, only to feel his finger curl underneath her chin to urge her to look at him once more.

“Is that the only reason?” he searched her eyes again.

“No,” she spat out finding herself remembering all that she and Ben had shared with one another. “Shane, I love Ben.”

“You keep saying that, yet here we are together,” he motioned to their surroundings. “We keep crossing into this territory with one another and yet…”

“He’s been gone so very long that it only makes this easier for me,” Diane sighed as she pulled herself into a seated position. She turned away from him and kicked her legs over the side of the bed, “but not easy enough.”

“Is he worth it?” Shane questioned in frustration as he sank back onto the opposite side of the bed.

She nodded, “More than worth it. He’s absolutely everything that someone like me always dreamt of, but could never have.”

“Dreams aren’t always what they are cracked up to be Diane,” Shane glanced over at her and sighed, “That’s why they are dreams.”

“I know that,” she turned towards him again, “but Ben and I have a reality together. We have love and commitment and…”

“He’s miles away from you Diane. He doesn’t even think about how good he has it, yet…” he protested as she leaned forward pressing her finger in against his lips to silence him.

“Shane, I won’t argue the point that I want you, but if Ben was here, we wouldn’t be,” her dark eyes found their way to the sheets again, “here.”

“I understand,” he answered stiffly as he sat up on the bed, “So I guess this is where I thank you for an enjoyably pleasant breakfast and be on my way.”

“No,” Diane shook her head as she watched him attempt to get up on his feet. Without hesitation she leapt onto his shoulders and pulled him back onto the bed with her again. “Shane, don’t go.”

“Diane, what are you doing?” he questioned feeling her wrangle him down above her once again.

“I don’t want us to end on bad terms. In fact, I don’t want us to end at all,” Diane pleaded with him, keeping her arms around his shoulders and her legs around his muscular torso. “Stay here. Have a few laughs with me and breakfast. We can watch old movies and…”

“Diane, I really don’t think that,” he felt her arm start to choke around his neck. “Diane…could you…ease up a bit…”

“Only if you promise me that you’ll stay. We don’t have to stay in here, but we can still share breakfast together. I can whip up a real meal in the kitchen and…” she began desperately before releasing him.

“Why is this so important to you?” he asked as she wiggled out underneath him.

“Because you’re one of the few people in Coral Valley who accepts me as I am,” Diane informed him honestly as she reached for the sheet to draw it up over her slender frame. “You don’t judge me and we have fun together.”

“That leads us to this,” Shane reminded her with a shake of his head.

“I realize that and we can work on changing this part of our friendship, but the rest, well Shane, I don’t want to lose that,” she pushed her hair out of her eyes and sighed. “I haven’t really had anyone to talk to since Jade died.”

“What about Ben?” his voice softened as she hugged the sheet tighter to her.

“He’s good with me, but it’s not the same,” she confessed with tears burning behind her eyes. “Jade and I were soul sisters. She and I were so very close for most of our lives, but then we both kind of got caught up in other things and then…well, then she was gone. She just disappeared and I was still here.”

“Diane,” Shane watched her close up in the memory as she wiped at her face.

“There were so many things that she and I should’ve had together--so many moments we should still be sharing,” Diane bit back on her words. “I loved her so much Shane. She was my only friend in this world and without her, well…I just don’t know how to keep faking it. It’s just not the same without her…”

“Hey,” Shane reached out to her half expecting to have her turn away from him, but instead she leaned forward cuddling into his chest and welcoming the embrace.

“I don’t have a lot of people who understand anymore Shane. I mean sure I can be civil with those around me, but no one gets me like Jade did,” she continued lost in her own memory. “She knew I made plenty of mistakes, but she still loved me regardless. She still supported me and even when the chips were down we still could take comfort in knowing that even when life sucked we had each other. Since she’s been gone, I’ve been more alone than I ever was before.”

“But with Ben…” Shane smoothed his fingers through her hair as he held her closer to him.

“Ben loves me and I love him, but…” she stopped herself as if the uncertainty of her words could make or break everything that happened from that moment on. “What we have is special Shane. I know it sounds crazy, but you’re the best friend I have right now and if I lost you…”

“You won’t Diane,” Shane promised kissing the top of her head gently. “I swear to you that you won’t.”

“Say we can stay friends. That no matter how hard we want to give into temptation that we will still be able to have the bond between us at the end of the day,” she pleaded squeezing her arm around his leg as she settled in over his lap.

“It’s only morning Diane,” he joked with an air of lightness in his tone.

“You know what I mean Shane,” she turned her head up to give him a mock glare.

“You don’t have to worry about me breaking your heart Diane,” he assured her as he wiped at her tears. “I only want to give you what it is you want.”

“I believe you,” she nodded before settling in against him once again, “I know you won’t hurt me Shane.”

“Of course not,” Shane agreed as he felt a buzzing in his pocket where his cell phone was. Carefully maneuvering his hand around Diane, he pulled his phone out and noticed the restricted number. Even with the caller id blocking it, he was well aware what time it was. Here he’d come to make progress with Diane, but there was a change of plans. Even now in holding her he was well aware of the complications that were taking place right before his very eyes. Frowning he pushed the button to silence the call as he pushed his phone into his pocket once again. Wrapping her up in his arms, he smoothed his fingers through his hair and spoke up in a quiet whisper, “I would never dream of hurting you Diane not now or ever if I can help it.”


“I can’t believe that we have to sit and wait for this lawyer to arrive when it’s clear nothing the lawyer says is going to change Spade’s fate. He’s going to jail,” Alexa tapped her nails on top of the table she sat at as her frustrations mounted. “How long will depend on what information he gives up, but at this point…”

“He’s not going to be forthcoming in offering information,” Ben finished for her with a sigh, “which makes me wonder who he is afraid of.”

“He’s not afraid of anything,” Alexa insisted shaking her head. “You saw how cocky he was Ben. He’s not giving up information because in his mind he believes he’s above the law, but he’s not.”

“Or perhaps he’s hoping that whomever he works for will find a way to help him out of the predicament he’s found himself in,” Ben tossed back at her. “Face it Lex while that man has a predisposition towards lighting fires he’s not what you would call a criminal mastermind. Stubborn yes, but he’s no where near what you and I have been investigating.”

“Even so he’s still the one who blew up that club,” Alexa pointed out, “and knowing that he should be dependant on what he knows.”

“If he knows that those who hired him are going to kill him, he’s not going to say anything,” Ben walked over to one of the chairs, turned it around backwards and took a seat in it. “Trust me Lex. If he’s afraid for his life, he’s not going to spill anything. He’s probably waiting for a mob lawyer to work out some kind of arrangement for him.”

“Like what?” she questioned curiously.

“Like perhaps he will cop a plea due to the fact that his history has him inclined towards being a pyromaniac,” he suggested with a frown of his own. “If he claims it has something to do with his pyromania then perhaps he feels that no one would question the reasoning behind the fire.”

“Other than the club was the target of an FBI investigation,” she reminded him.

“But he could say it was a random, spontaneous moment of impulse,” Ben nodded towards the papers that she had been sifting through earlier. “His previous encounters with arson were clearly random at best and built on the spur of the moment.”

“So you’re saying that we’re just supposed to accept the theory that this guy was walking by the club, felt compelled to see it light up in flames and then made it happen,” she wrinkled her nose at the thought. “Ben, you’re sounding more like a defense attorney than someone who is investigating this case.”

“Maybe I’m just preparing us for whatever happens when the lawyer gets here,” he admitted honestly. “I have a feeling that this guy isn’t going to give up anything Lex. I really believe he’ll just take the jail time when it gets down to it.”

“Ben, were you even in the same room as me before? The man is cocky and arrogant and clearly believes he’s above the law. There’s no way he’s going to want to spend any time in jail even if he’s trying to cover for someone else. He’s going to try to work a deal when he realizes that he has no way out,” she continued thinking about the man they had in custody.

“I’m not so sure. I think we were seeing an act. No one is that self assured after you present them with DNA evidence. He’s probably shuffling to find a way out of this situation in such a fashion that it doesn’t cost him his future,” Ben offered up once again. “He was probably stalling for time to think this through before his lawyer arrived.”

“No way,” she stood up. “Ben, he’s totally playing this to the fullest but when it comes time, he’ll talk. They always do.”

“I really don’t believe he will Lex. You said it yourself that the connections these people have run deep and for him to start telling us who hired him to set that club on fire is only going to cause him to wind up dead,” Ben reasoned with her. “He’ll take the truth to his jail cell if it means getting a few more years without going to an early grave.”

“I don’t buy it,” Alexa glanced up at the clock overhead, “but if there’s some inkling of logic to your reasoning, then perhaps we should go take another look at our suspect.”

“His lawyer should be here shortly,” Ben replied.

“I’m not waiting for the lawyer. We‘ve waited more than enough,” she announced walking over to the interrogation room door and throwing it open.

“Lexie,” Ben frowned standing up and chasing after her once it was clear she’d lost all her patience. While he couldn’t argue with her reasoning, he knew full well if she ended up doing or saying something inappropriate before Spade’s lawyer arrived they could wind up taking more heat than anticipated. He sped up at the thought.

“Lexie wait,” Ben called out to her as she’d approached the holding area. “Just think about this one.”

“I have Ben and I want answers now,” Alexa informed him while signaling for the guard to open up the door in front of them.

“I understand that, but at least with his lawyer here we can do this by the book and not have to worry about…” Ben began to remind her as the door swung open.

“I’m not worried,” Alexa blurted out brushing past him and making her way towards where Slade was being held.

“You can’t go into this one with guns blazing Lex because it’s not…” Ben’s words came to a screeching halt when he spotted a pool of blood on the floor beyond where they stood with one another. He moved forward feeling confusion carry over him until the moment when he discovered Slade laying face down on the floor of his cell with his face buried in his own blood.

“Remind me again why you thought it was best to be waiting,” Alexa groaned from behind Ben as it was clear that they’d hit yet another roadblock in their case that would undoubtedly put them further behind than they already were.


“You know Sarah I really don’t think it’s wise for someone in your position to be issuing threats to anyone especially me,” Zack stepped forward his dark eyes narrowing in on her. He flashed her an icy smirk before continuing to speak to her, “Someone in your position wouldn’t be very missed if she just suddenly up and disappeared.”

“Are you threatening me?” she questioned with wide eyes surprised by his tone. She watched his grin expand before he spoke up again.

“I’m just saying that you’ve burned more than enough bridges in this town and you’re not exactly the kind of person that people would miss having around,” he continued to inform her with a sudden darkness in his tone, “You see the way I look at it I heard all of the rumors about what you did to Kyle and how you single-handedly destroyed Diego Hernandez and his career not to mention that it seems you’ve found a new enemy in Cameron Stone, whom I have heard is quite powerful by your latest actions. Marrying Douglas Mahoney might’ve proved to be a smart financial move, but it won’t keep you safe if you start to upset the wrong people. You might find yourself on the receiving end of some bad luck if you aren’t careful Sarah.”

“You know Zack, I really don’t like your tone and I certainly don’t want you going anywhere near my best friend,” Sarah tossed back at him standing up taller and refusing to buckle to the intimidations that he was trying to toss out at her. “If you think for a second that you’re scaring me with any of this…”

“My intention is not to frighten you, but to merely offer you a little friendly advice,” he explained in a tight, neutral tone, “The fact to the matter is that you don’t know the half of my relationship with Blake and if you had, then I am certain that you wouldn’t be so quick to judge my emotions and feelings towards her. She and I would’ve been together had I not put the brakes on the relationship and…”

“And the past is the past, which means it’s time for you to let go of whatever notion you have of a reunion between the two of you. Even if you were the one who initially ended things, I think it’s more than clear that Blake has made her choice about the man she loves and I don’t see you or anyone else for that matter changing that,” Sarah warned him in a sharp, taunting tone.

“Looks like Valerie was hoping to put a crimp in that notion when she ran Blake down,” Zack mouthed dryly his jaw flexing with anger, “Clearly she was one person who felt that she could accomplish what you believe to be impossible.”

“Valerie was a lunatic and like any other lunatic that tries to screw with my friend, they eventually get what’s coming to them,” Sarah warned him sharply seeing Zack gear up to say something more to her, but before he had the chance his dark eyes focused on something just beyond where they stood with one another.

“Look as much as I would like to see this continue, I have a few things to take care of,” Zack cut her off abruptly before pushing past her and walking down the hall in the opposite direction.

“That’s right. You run away,” Sarah taunted ready to say something more when she noticed what he’d been looking at earlier. She spotted a few uniformed officers in front of her and suddenly she felt an uneasiness carry over her wondering if they had in fact caught the person who had been responsible for what had happened to Blake. Taking in a breath, she watched them move down the hallway towards Blake’s room and contemplated if perhaps this was the beginning of the end of the nightmare Valerie had pushed upon her friends and their lives.


“I just wish things were different,” Blake confessed burying her head in Seth’s chest long after her tears had died down. He’d slid onto the bed beside her holding her in his arms after they’d shared their grief with one another. Keeping his arm around her slender frame, he was careful not to hurt her as he was well aware of the injuries that still carried over her.

“So do I,” he revealed smoothing his fingers through her long, blonde hair now that she lay over him so broken emotionally in ways that went beyond her physical injuries. “If I could go back in time and change what happened, I would…”

“It’s just when I think about how last night we were supposed to be married…” she felt her eyes fill with tears again. Slowly she arched her head up just enough to see his own dark eyes gazing down at her, “Seth, we would’ve been husband and wife and we would’ve had a child on the way…”

“I know Blake,” Seth replied in a low, broken tone, his words a hollow shell compared to the raw emotions that were tearing him apart inside. He smoothed his fingers over her hair again feeling her head sink in over his muscled chest, “if I could make this right, you know I would. If there was something I could do to take away the pain…”

“Just having you hold me is all that I need,” Blake revealed in a low whisper, her voice small and fragile against him, “As long as we have each other then I’m sure that we can pull through this…”

“I’m never going to let you go Blake,” he promised kissing the top of her head, “I’m here for you for always.”

“It’s just…” she paused closing her eyes and thinking to their unborn child that had been taken from them, “Do you think our baby is okay? That he or she is already in heaven with Jade?”

Seth felt a lump form in his throat. Closing his eyes he tried to find an answer to give her--one that would provide them both with the comfort and relief he was certain they would never find.

“I’m sure if my mom knows about what happened she would be there,” Blake tried to reason hoping to find some kind of solace in her pain, “Maybe your mom and my mom are together with Jade and our baby…”

“They would undoubtedly be there for our child Blake,” Seth whispered with raw emotion touching her cheek gently, “They’ll keep our baby safe.”

“It should’ve been us Seth,” Blake confessed with a pained cry breaking down into tears all over again, “We should’ve been the one to have that opportunity together. We should’ve been able to see our child live out his or her life with all the dreams we had for the baby.”

“I know sweetheart,” Seth whispered in response keeping her closer to him when a sound erupted from the opposite side of the room. He looked up to see a taller man in a white, cowboy hat standing in front of them.

“When that son of a bitch gets what’s coming to them, I can promise you that I’ll make sure that justice is served,” Rex explained causing Blake’s blue eyes to open as she saw her uncle before her. He moved in beside the bed and reached out to take her hand in his. “Hey sweetheart, how are you feeling?”

“Uncle Rex,” Blake’s eyes widened in surprise feeling her uncle reach for her hand, “What are you doing here?”

“You didn’t think I would let my favorite niece go through this alone, did you?” Rex questioned with a warm smile leaning down to kiss Blake’s hand gently. He stood up again and took off his hat before eyeing Seth intently, “though I can see that you’re not alone right now, are you? You must be Seth.”

“That’s right,” Seth nodded eyeing the man in front of him intently. He saw Rex offer up his hand and Seth did likewise giving him a small shake.

“I’m Rex,” Rex explained glancing over at Blake again, “and I’m sorry that this happened to the both of you. Blake, honey if I would’ve known about this trouble the person was giving you…”

“None of us knew what was coming,” Blake offered up weakly feeling an ache running over her side after she attempted to resituated herself, “I just wish…”

“I know,” Rex reached out to squeeze her non-bruised hand once again, “It’s never easy when something like this happens, but I want you to know that we’re all here for you--for both of you.”

“Thank you,” she replied with a weak smile before letting out a small breath, “but I still can’t believe you’re here. I would’ve thought that you’d be busy with work…”

“I’m never too busy for you,” Rex offered up before motioning to Seth, “Can I get you anything? Maybe some coffee or something?”

“No, I’m okay,” Seth replied keeping Blake close to him as he attempted to be pleasant. While he had no problems with meeting Blake’s uncle, right about now he found himself on edge about not being able to spend some time alone with her. After everything that had happened Seth found himself wanting to have some time for the both of them uninterrupted, “but thank you…”

“Are you sure?” Rex questioned again before giving Seth a strange look. He moved forward reaching out to touch Blake’s shoulder gently, “Blake, honey maybe we should call a nurse in here.”

“What?” Blake blinked up at her uncle noticing the way he was watching her with a worried expression.

“I think you’re bleeding,” Rex noted motioning to the crimson stain over the center of Seth’s white t-shirt. He leaned forward inspecting the bandages on Blake’s arm attempting to find the source of the confusion.

“I don’t feel like I’m…” Blake began pulling back ever so slightly to see the stain beneath her, “Oh my God. I am…I must be…”

“It’s okay,” Seth replied carefully repositioning her beside him. He eased himself off of the bed and eyed her intently hoping to help her now that it was clear that she’d upset her wounds, “I’ll just call for the nurse and…”

“Seth, I don’t think…” Blake touched the side of her face half expecting to feel blood on her cheek, but instead she felt nothing. Reaching out to touch Seth again, she couldn’t help but frown, “Seth, it’s dry. I must’ve been bleeding earlier and…”

“Seth Alexander,” a voice rose from behind them causing Blake’s words to come to an ending.

“Yes?” Seth turned around to see a uniformed officer standing behind him with a neutral expression.

“You’re coming with us,” another office explained moving forward to grab Seth without hesitation.

“What?” Seth questioned his dark eyes widening as he looked to the first officer.

“I’m sorry to have to do this now,” the officer explained glancing over at Blake apologetically, “but we need to take you to the station.”

“But I…” Seth began feeling the second officer reach for his arm and pull on it roughly.

“What’s going on here?” Blake questioned confusion carrying in over her while she watched the two officers struggle with Seth.

“Let go of me,” Seth attempted to shrug them off, but as they slapped handcuffs on his wrists they caught him by surprise, “What are you doing?”

“I’m sorry to have to do this, but I’m afraid we’re just following orders,” one officer explained attempting to lead Seth towards the door.

“Now wait just a damn minute,” Rex moved forward blocking their apparent exit, “What are you two doing? Some monster just ran my niece over, so why in the hell are you cuffing him?”

“Look sir, we apologize for the bad timing but…” one explained again.

“But nothing. Get those handcuffs off of him and pull your head out of your asses,” Rex snapped at the both of them with a glare, “The real monster is out there and getting away while you play baby games.”

“He’s right. I called you last night about Valerie Madison. I told someone at the station where they could find her and…” Seth began attempting to shake off the hold they had on him.

“Oh we found her alright and that’s why you’re coming with us,” the second officer snarled at Seth pushing him towards the door again.

“Good, then take these off of me and we can make sure that she pays for what she’s done,” Seth continued to explain to the man at his left.

“I think she’s more than paid for what has happened,” the second man offered up with a tiny shudder.

“What does that mean?” Blake questioned worriedly attempting to sit up straighter in her bed. “Where is she?”

“She’s dead,” the first officer explained before turning to Seth with a solemn expression, “and you’re under arrest for the murder of Valerie Madison.”


...to be continued...