Episode 423

“Blake you should be resting,” Seth sighed keeping his arms wrapped securely around her despite their surroundings. His brown eyes fell upon the handcuffs around his wrists and in that moment guilt carried over him harder than before. Not only had his past come back to haunt him, but it had hurt the woman he loved leaving her wide open for the misery Valerie had inflicted upon her. By not taking Valerie’s threats as anything serious, Seth had kept the door open to Valerie’s running Blake down and essentially murdering their unborn child. In that moment there were no words that could express all the things he wanted to do and say for Blake, yet as he was fully aware of where they were, he couldn’t help but want to protect her from his situation.

“You should go back to the hospital,” he continued with a painful expression on his face. “Have Sarah take you back and…”

“No,” she shook her head firmly. “I’m not leaving here unless it’s with you by my side.”

“Right now we both know that isn’t happening Blake,” Seth arched his head back as he saw the tears behind her wounded eyes. “I wish more than anything that we could do that, but…”

“Kenny’s working on it right now. With any luck he’ll have you out of here tonight and…” Blake began hopefully.

“Blake, I don’t think it’s going to be that easy,” Seth sighed resigning himself to his situation. “I’m up on murder charges.”

“But you’re innocent. I know that as well as you do,” she appealed to him once again. “Kenny will show everyone that you didn’t do those horrible things to that woman no matter how much you might have wanted to.”

“I hope you’re right Blake, but at the same time I know they won’t let me out on bail considering that…” Seth hesitated finding himself at a loss.

“You’re with me,” she finished with a painful expression. “That’s it, isn’t it?”

“No, that’s not what I was saying,” Seth shook his head firmly.

“Yes you are. You’re saying that they will think you’re a flight risk because of my resources,” Blake continued with a frustrated groan. “The thought hadn’t crossed into my mind, but if you really believe that they are going to try to take you down for this, then maybe we should…”

“Don’t say it,” Seth pleaded leaning forward to silence her with a kiss as his arms were still around her slender curves. “Please Blake, don’t go there.”

“I just want you home,” she sniffled leaning in closer to him and refusing to let go. “Seth we have so many things ahead of us--things that we planned on sharing together…”

“I realize that Blake and somehow we’ll find a way to have all of that together,” he offered up sliding his arms around her until his hands were in his lap again. Slowly he reached out to bring his finger to her cheek where her tears were falling.

“Do you really believe that?” she questioned painfully as her blue eyes sought out the truth behind his words.

“Of course I do,” Seth replied leaning in to kiss her gently as he found himself wondering if they would truly have a chance for their happily ever after now that it seemed that fate had delivered a situation that might wind up being bigger than the both of them in the long run.


“We really should be getting Blake back to the hospital,” Ken groaned turning his attention to Sarah once again with a frown. “You knew better than to bring her here, yet…”

“Ken, we already covered this. What’s done is done,” Sarah muttered in response feeling her patience running thin with Blake’s brother. “She’s going to do what she wants and when she gets it into her head no one is going to stop her.”

“Even so I really don’t think that…” Ken began again.

“In case you haven’t noticed the lady doesn’t care what you have to say and quite frankly neither do I for that matter twinkle toes,” Rex interrupted with a thick air of sarcasm in his tone. “Shouldn’t you be trying to work your magic in getting Seth set up for a bail hearing or perhaps working up a good defense for him?”

“I’m doing the best that I can with what I have at the moment,” Ken glanced over at his uncle.

“Yeah I could see that when you were ready to start duking it out with the police chief,” Rex rolled his eyes in response. “Clearly you’ve just got loads of influence with the police department which makes me question what kind of impact you’ll be making on the legal system in this town. Truth be told I’m not feeling to confident about the results of all that pricey law school you were in for so very long.”

“Look Rex, I don’t need to explain myself to you or anyone for that matter,” Ken glared over at his uncle. “No one asked you to tag along on this trip back to Coral Valley so…”

“Family is important to me and if Blake’s in trouble I’m going to help her unlike half of this family,” Rex stepped forward his movement sparking an unspoken challenge to Ken.

“I’ve done everything I can to protect Blake and I will continue to do that without your trying to get in my way,” Ken seethed before looking to Sarah again. “You need to get Blake out of here and back to the hospital. I’m going to go see what I can do to speed the process along.”

“Just make sure it’s not leading the man she loved to the gas chamber,” Rex called out to Ken before turning to Sarah again. “He sure has his panties in a bunch, doesn’t he?”

“No thanks to you, right?” she eyed him suspiciously.

“What? Are you trying to say that I was pushing his buttons?” Rex feigned innocence.

“More like you were twisting and turning them in the hopes of causing him to break,” she nodded back at him.

“Well, what can I say?” he shrugged his shoulders. “My nephew needs to learn to work fast on his toes especially if he’s hoping to make any kind of impact on a judge.”

“Ken loves Blake and I’m sure he’ll do everything that he can to help Seth,” Sarah offered up in Ken’s defense.

“My nephew’s a spoiled brat and if you don’t light a fire under his butt, well let’s just say you aren’t going to get the results you’re hoping for,” Rex added sourly.

“Ken has a very impressive track record around town,” Sarah piped in.

“Had an impressive record,” Rex frowned, “but I’ve read all the headlines over the last few months. Ken is a far cry from being impressive in my eyes and I’m sure there are others around town who feel the same way.”

“And here I thought everyone in the Ashford family tried to publicly uphold the pretense of loyalty to the public eye,” she noted giving him a long once over.

“I haven’t been a part of the family for a long time sweetheart,” he explained matter of fact before flashing her a bright, white smile, “though something tells me that now is the best time for me to go back to my roots so to speak.”

“Ken has no idea what you have planned for him, does he?” she couldn’t help but ask.

“Who said I have anything planned sweetheart? I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of guy,” he admitted winking down at her before stepping back. “I have to go phone in a few favors, but let me know when Blake returns. I’d like to see her.”

“That all depends,” Sarah eyed him with heavy scrutiny. “Are you going to give her the same tone you had with Ken?”

“I wouldn’t dream of it. I actually like her,” Rex divulged with a wink. A moment later he walked down the hallway leaving Sarah to wonder just what it was that the long lost Ashford was about to bring to the table. Something told her that whatever it was it was going to shake things up in more ways then anyone anticipated. She just hoped it wouldn’t wind up causing any kind of chaos for Blake.


“Do you know how much I love you?” Heather whispered feeling Kyle’s arms wrap around her while they stood outside together watching the rain start to settle down. There was a chill amongst the air, but with the warmth of Kyle’s body next to hers it felt like nothing could go wrong. Sighing to herself, she pressed her arms in over his holding onto them tightly as his chin softly rested on her shoulder. “I mean it. I’m so lucky to have you.”

“I think I have an idea of how much,” Kyle’s breath pressed in over her ear as she leaned in closer to him feeling him press a soft kiss over her temple before taking in a deep breath. “I’m lucky to have you too. Lucky to have found that one person I know I am meant to always be with.”

“You really think that?” she looked over her shoulder seeing him nod and she could see the way that he smiled, his dimples showing clearly and reminding her all over again just what she loved about him. Feeling his head rest against hers, she thought about the idea of losing him and it just killed her to no end to think that there could have been a possibility of her losing him. “I know it sounds selfish, but I’m glad we’re not like other couples. Their lives…are nothing like this. I feel lucky that we are together--happy that you are alright.”

“That’s not selfish,” he whispered squeezing his arms around her tighter knowing that there were so many things that could have happened to their friends, but he was lucky enough to still be standing. To still have the woman he loved in his arms. “We are pretty lucky. We’re healthy. We are together and as long as I’m with you, I feel like the luckiest man alive.”

“How did I ever deserve you,” she looked over back at him long enough to see him frown. Feeling him moving in closer to her, she sighed and felt him move in closer to press a soft kiss over her lips. “I mean it Kyle, you are too good for me.”

“I don’t think that at all. I love you too much to think that I am ever too good for you. You’re everything to me, I thought you could see that by now,” he held her closer knowing that now that he had her in his life, he never wanted to let her go. “I love you Heather, I don’t care what people think…you are everything I want. And the only thing I want.”

“I love you,” she turned in his arms reaching up to caress the side of his rough cheek hearing him take in a deep breath while she stared up at him. Tipping up on her toes, she pressed a loving kiss over his lips while pressing her hand in over his chest. “So much.”

“As I love you,” he rested his forehead against hers feeling her palm caressing over the center of his muscular chest and he took in a long breath. “I could never take seeing you hurt like Ria, Brant or Russ had to do. I couldn’t handle that. I would kill the person who did it.”

“I’m fine Kyle and everyone is going to end up okay too. From what I heard, everyone is going to be fine,” she hushed him seeing the way he bit down on his bottom lip and she reached out to trace the features of his masculine face once more. “I miss our family. I miss Charles. Our home. Since there isn’t going to be a wedding, maybe we should just go home.”

“Actually…” Kyle pulled away from her thinking about that statement as he sighed heavily. Thinking about earlier when Grady called him while Heather was off checking on everyone, Grady had mentioned about the wedding he was having to Deana instead of Russ and Avery having one. “Grady called me earlier and there actually is going to be a wedding.”

“Russ and Avery decided to do it? After everything?” Heather found herself somewhat shocked before shrugging her shoulders and taking in a deep breath. “I can’t say I’m surprised, but…”

“Stop right there. It’s not Russ and Avery,” Kyle informed her as he shrugged his shoulders and took in a deep breath. “It’s Grady’s wedding. Him and Deana are going to be getting married to each other.”

“Oh…how wonderful,” she muttered and it was obvious that Kyle knew that her enthusiasm was more like sarcasm. The look on his face told her that he would actually like her to be nice about this one making her sigh. “Alright, so we can leave after the wedding?”

“I promise, it’s just you know…I’m the best man,” Kyle pointed out and he bit down on his bottom lip seeing the way she was looking at him. It was obvious there was going to be a ‘but’ in the situation, but she wasn’t quite sure if she was prepared for it. “There is also something else I have to ask you. I don’t know how you are going to respond to it.”

“I don’t know whether to be scared or excited about this by the look on your face,” she explained seeing the look on his face and she sighed heavily. “What Kyle?”

“Grady kind of asked me if you would be Deana’s maid of honor. She doesn’t have one and well…she was going to ask Ria, but Ria is really busy with Kevin right now because he is so hurt,” Kyle explained seeing her nod and he shrugged his shoulders while sliding his hands into his pockets nervously. “So I told him you said yes. I figured you wouldn’t mind because of everything that has been going on.” `

“Oh, that’s not that bad I guess…,” she muttered seeing the smirk that pressed in over his lips as she sighed heavily and moved in to hug him again. “It might be nice to find someone who really doesn’t like Avery that much either.”

“Heather,” Kyle frowned pulling away to stare down at her and she seemed to be feigning some kind of innocence in what she just said. “Weren’t you just talking about how glad you were that everyone was okay? Why start again? This is what got us into trouble the last time.”

“I know, I know. I was just saying. I don’t want Avery hurt or anything, but it doesn’t mean I have to like her,” Heather pointed out and she could tell that Kyle was about to debate more with her about it before she placed her fingertips over the center of his lips. “I promise I will try and be good, okay?”

“Please do,” he muttered feeling her palm pressing in over his rough cheek and he sighed heavily. After everything he just somewhat hoped that his wife would finally get along with his lifelong friend, but after the last few weeks it had been more than evident that it wasn’t going to happen! “I just want to be able to be with my wife and my friends, feeling comfortable. Not like it’s going to be another world war going on between you and Avery. It makes things hard.”

“I know Kyle and I’m sorry, it’s just…a girl thing,” she huffed heavily knowing that there wasn’t really another way to explain it, but there was never going to be a way that she was actually going to want to get along with Avery. “I’m sorry about the things I’ve caused, it’s just…”

“The past,” Kyle sighed pressing his index finger in over her lips to silence her so she didn’t focus anymore about the things that happened. “I just want to move forward with life Heather. That’s all, don’t think about the past, just work on the future. I’m always going to love you, no matter what. And that’s a promise.”

Saying nothing more, she lay her head against his chest and let out a long shallow breath knowing that she should try to make him happy. Make life easy with all the things that they had gone through. Life was getting hard enough as it was and she didn’t want him mad at her.

He was perfect all around and she couldn’t let herself ruin what she had with him. He was the best thing that had ever happened to her and she didn’t want to let that go. Not now. Not ever.


“Knock, knock,” Grady moved inside of the hotel room raising his voice a bit as if to alert Deana he was going to be walking into the room, so she could hide anything she didn’t want him to see until the wedding. Watching her step out into the main part of the hotel room, he smiled seeing the expression over her face. She had never looked so happy. “Hey there beautiful.”

“Beautiful, now you are just trying to get into my good graces here,” she saw him take a step forward and she met him half way to wrap her arms around his shoulders hearing him laugh thickly in her ear. “You have no idea how happy I am right now.”

“I do, I can see it in your face,” he whispered leaning back enough for her to stare into his green eyes for a lingering moment. She could feel him brush a piece of hair out of her face tenderly making her sigh realizing this was it. The moments she would have to cherish for the rest of her life. Grady. The one man that had stepped up and become so important to her. “I hope it’s a look I can put on there for the rest of my life because right here with you…that’s where I always want to be.”

“I love you,” she muttered moving forward running her fingers through his thick dark hair while teasing a small kiss over his lips. Smiling widely, she could feel him grab a tighter hold of her making her sigh. “So much.”

“I think that’s one thing I am going to love to hear for the rest of my life,” he squeezed her in his arms once more before pressing a quick kiss over her lips. “So, have you called Jason yet about the wedding?”

“I did,” she stepped away from him moving over toward the bed to look at the things she had just bought downstairs a little while ago. “I let him know about the wedding and he said that he was going to get a few things together before he came out here. He needed to get himself and Zane packed. They will be heading out here later.”

“Good,” Grady sat on the edge of the bed looking at something she had picked up before sighing heavily. “I’m actually surprised he was so good with the news. He used to be so insistent upon how I was too ‘old’ for you.”

“Oh please, Jason fell in love with you the second he got to know you. He just doesn’t have much of a brain sometimes,” Deana pointed out thinking about how different her and her brother truly were. They might have been twins, but mentally she felt like they were years apart. She had more of the logic and well…Jason, he didn’t get much of that. At all. “He loves you in the family. Even if he had a problem, I wouldn’t care.”

“Oh, and why is that?” Grady teased arching his eyebrow up a bit as she leaned over the bed to pressing a lingering kiss over his lips. Pressing his hand over the side of her face, he felt her fall to the bed next to him making a laugh escape his throat. “So…I take it that means you love me lots, huh?”

“More than lots,” she winked moving a few things away from where they were on the bed letting out a heavy sigh. A couple of the items fell out as she tried pushing them back to a place where she knew she could find them. “I have actually met some really nice people in the last few hours.”

“Oh yeah?” Grady watched her carefully running his hand softly over her thigh while she pushed a few more things into the bags she had laid out on the bed. Leaning in closer, he pressed soft kisses over the side of her neck before taking in a deep breath. “Like who?”

“Well, while I was shopping for things quickly there was this woman…,” she closed her eyes feeling his tongue pressing in over her earlobe making her let out a small sigh. “She talked to me about what was going on and how I was getting married. She helped me pick out a few things. Things she thought you would like. The good stuff.”

“The good stuff?” he laughed feeling her hand press in over his where it rest on her hip and he took in a long breath. “I think the good stuff I have right here in my arms.”

“But…,” she got up from the bed seeing the shocked look he gave her as she moved over toward the bathroom. “I’m sure you want this wedding to be as perfect as possible.”

“Just having you is perfect sweetheart,” Grady tried to coax her back toward the bed, but it was evident that she wasn’t eager to get into anything like that as he sighed heavily. Watching her disappear into the bathroom, he heard a few things knock over before she came back out. “We don’t need any extras to be perfect. Perfect is all I have in you.”

“I know, I just want you to like everything. You know?” she whispered spraying some of the perfume she picked up and she looked seeing the way his eyes closed before he stood up quickly. “This is something that she helped me pick out. She said it drove men crazy.”

“You already drive me crazy Deana,” he muttered knowing that it smelled distinctly familiar and he moved in closer to her pressing his hands in over her hips. His eyebrows tightened together, knowing that it smelled exactly like the perfume Jade used to wear. “You said someone helped you picked this perfume out?”

“Yeah, don’t you like it?” she whispered watching him nod and move down to press a quick kiss over her lips before moving over toward the window. “I’m going to put a few things together, okay?”

“Alright…,” he gulped down heavily feeling suddenly very different with the familiar fragrance. Moving over toward the window, he could feel his heart beating rapidly as he sighed and shook his head slowly. “Wow…that’s awkward.”

Things seemed to be going completely fine, but with the scent of something like that…it sent him back in time to the past. When he thought he was happy and he lost everything, but no! He couldn’t think of things like that now.

He should be happy about things, he was getting married after all. But then again, he still found himself intrigued with the way she had gotten help from someone and picked up that very perfume. It brought up an ironic feeling that he would have to put behind him. It wasn’t time for thoughts like this.


Ria sank into the side of the booth unable to keep her thoughts from returning to the way she’d walked out on Kevin upstairs once Angela had arrived. While she knew she should have stayed in the room, she’d found herself in a moment of insecurity. It hadn’t left her especially knowing that Kevin and Angela were going to soon learn that they had one more reason to hold onto their past with one another. Looking down at the cup of coffee in her hand, Ria couldn’t help but sigh.

“You know it’s okay to talk about how you’re feeling,” Avery’s voice roused her from her own self loathing long enough to look across the table at her. Avery offered up a small smile before sipping her own coffee. “Ria, what’s really going on? Is this all about Kevin and Angela?”

“No,” Ria admitted with a sigh setting her coffee mug down and looking around the small cafeteria. “I guess you could say there has been a lot on my mind especially after the time I spent in Coral Valley. I had a patient that came in while Kevin was gone and she was someone Kevin knew.”

“I see,” Avery nodded listening to her tale.

“The woman overdosed and wound up dying,” Ria informed Avery thinking about how something so simply as doing her job had become a nightmare waiting to happen. When Marie had been wheeled into the emergency room she hadn’t thought twice about anything more than doing her work, but Marie had opened up Pandora’s box and it was only a matter of time before the truth ate Ria alive. “It was rather unexpected, but…”

“But you’re worried about Kevin knowing that his friend died,” Avery deducted seeing the expression on Ria’s face.

“Not exactly,” Ria paused contemplating the situation, “It’s just, well a lot of things happened and then with Seth getting into trouble too…”

“Seth got into trouble,” Avery repeated with a curious expression.

“Yeah,” Ria nodded with a small sigh, “It’s not so much that he got into trouble, but rather Blake got hit by a car and…”

“Blake was hit by a car?” Avery’s eyes widened in astonishment, “When?”

“Right before I left. It sounds like Valerie might’ve been responsible for what happened and Seth is really tore up about it,” Ria continued to explain thinking about her friend. “Blake was pregnant and…”

“Oh my God. Is she alright?” Avery questioned worriedly thinking about Blake and Seth.

“She miscarried, but other than that it sounds like she’ll heal physically,” Ria continued to explain thinking about the update she’d gotten right before she’d left town, “They are both obviously hurting right now.”

“And who wouldn’t be? Losing a child is one of the hardest things someone has to face,” Avery continued thinking about her own miscarriage in the past, “It just eats a person alive to lose a child especially when it happens in such a way that it is beyond your control.”

“I realize that,” Ria replied her thoughts lingering to Kevin once again and all the pain he’d endured in believing his daughter had died.

“You know I can see why you might want to speak with Kevin. He obviously should know about what’s going on with his cousin,” Avery blurted out cutting through Ria’s thoughts like a knife. “If you need to tell him about that, then I’m sure you should be able to get a few minutes alone with him without Angela bothering you. I know it might not seem like the right time, but he loves Seth and…”

“I know,” Ria tucked a strand back behind her ear before taking a sip of her coffee, “and I’ll tell him everything after I go back up there. I guess I just needed a few minutes to regroup before telling him everything.”

“He’ll understand,” Avery reached out to squeeze Ria’s hand across the table, “Kevin loves you and I know even though it seems like he’s weak right now, he’ll be strong enough to hear the truth. He should know about what’s going on.”

“Going on with what?” Russ questioned approaching the two of them.

Avery tipped her head up to see him standing beside the table with a bruise forming on his cheek. She noticed that his hair was a bit messed up and it appeared that there was some kind of rip in his shirt. Immediately she stood up and reached out to him.

“Russ, what happened?” Avery questioned with a worried expression.

“I ran into Brant,” Russ replied with a flexed jaw, his eyes narrowing in anger.

“Oh my are you hurt,” Avery touched the side of his face feeling him flinch ever so slightly.

“I’m fine,” he shrugged off the dull ache in his jaw, “It was nothing.”

“Nothing wouldn’t leave a mark like this,” Avery frowned up at him reaching out to inspect his bruise again.

“Look Brant was just being…” Russ paused searching for the right word, “Brant.”

“Why can’t he just leave well enough alone,” Avery frowned watching Ria stand up from where she’d been seated.

“You know I should probably get back upstairs to Kevin,” Ria cleared her throat uneasily. She glanced over at Russ and nodded, “You should learn to stay out of trouble.”

“I am staying out of trouble,” Russ frowned over at her in objection, “Brant started this one.”

“My guess is you both played a hand in it,” Avery noted remembering full well there was no love between Brant and Russ. “He’s always trying to instigate you and you let him.”

“Only because he lied about everything,” Russ blurted out with a huff before turning to Ria, “that son of a bitch kept the truth about Avery and I being married from us. He pretended that his marriage to her was valid when the fact of the matter was that was so far from the truth it wasn’t funny.”

“What?” Ria questioned blinking back at him, “How so?”

“Hart had some fake documents drawn up to cover the fact that Russ and I were still married,” Avery informed her with a heavy sigh, “but Grady talked to the local officials and discovered that Russ and I are still married.”

“Really?” Ria’s eyes widened in surprise, “So this wedding you’re having…”

“We won’t be having anymore because it’s not necessary,” Avery informed her with a smile reaching out to touch Russell’s arm. “The two of us decided that after everything that’s happened a wedding would just add to the stress of the occasion. Plus we would want Kevin in top shape when we got married again--if we got married again since Erin adores him.”

“I still can’t believe Brant pulled all that he did,” Russ found himself still looming in his thoughts about Brant’s actions, “I mean first it was bad enough that he tried to lie about our daughter, but…”

“Russ, that never worked out for him,” Avery touched his chest lightly, “Shannon uncovered his bluff before he could live it out.”

“Even so, what kind of person tries to keep a man’s daughter from him? He was willing to let me believe that my daughter was gone--that I wasn’t able to be her father and he would’ve spent the rest of his life lying about that if he could’ve. It would’ve been like Brant had taken away all my rights to be a part of my own flesh and blood’s life. That is far from being fair. No man deserves to have that taken from him,” Russ continued with an impassioned tone, “If I would’ve had Erin stolen from me and not been able to have her in my life…”

“You know I really should get upstairs,” Ria blurted out interrupting Russ now that his words hit home. She thought about the truth that she’d been withholding from Kevin and she knew full well she couldn’t hesitate any longer. She had to be up front with him about what was going on with his daughter. She couldn’t wait any longer.

“Oh Ria, right,” Avery turned to her again, “listen if you ever need to talk, I’m always here.”

“Thanks I appreciate that but right now I think I really need to talk to Kevin,” Ria offered up a polite smile before turning to Russ, “It was good seeing you again though Russ.”

“Likewise,” Russ nodded watching Ria walk off in a haste to go back to Kevin. After a moment’s contemplation Russ looked to Avery once again, “She alright?”

“I’m not sure,” Avery admitted honestly thinking about the challenges that Ria and Kevin still had ahead of them now that it was clear that Angela was still a part of Kevin’s life.


“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” Angela questioned popping her head into Kevin’s room again and seeing the expression on his face as he sat on his hospital bed waiting patiently for her return.

“Angie if you don’t get in here right now, then so help me,” Kevin warned her watching the door open as Angela stepped inside followed by two nurses, one of each who held a small child in their arms.

“I enlisted a little bit of help on the way since I couldn’t find Brant or Don,” Angela informed Kevin as the nurse’s moved forward with the babies tucked carefully close to them. “Brant was worried about me carrying them around right now considering that…”

“Let me see them,” Kevin’s eyes lit up as he watched the children with a newfound interest. One of the nurses stepped forward and offered up the child in her arms while the other stayed back. He glanced at the nurse before shaking his head, “No I don’t want this half assed. I want the real deal. Give me them both.”

“But…” the second nurse began with a confused expression.

“Look at my arms, there is plenty enough room for two,” Kevin offered up watching Angela nod in agreement. The second nurse moved forward and placed the second child in Kevin’s arms before stepping back.

“I’ll call you when we’re ready to leave,” Angela assured the two nurses before they walked out of the room leaving her and her children alone with Kevin again.

“Wow,” Kevin’s gaze shifted between the twins before he tipped his head up to meet her eyes again, “They are so small.”

“Yeah well you were small once too,” Angela reminded him with a playful laugh making her way over to the bed, “Besides if they were any bigger I might be split in two pieces.”

“Nah, they would never do that to you,” Kevin shook his head and laughed before turning his attention to Alison, “Wow you really are a beautiful little girl, aren’t you? Hard to believe that your daddy is Brant when you’re just too cute for words.”

“Kevin,” Angela tossed out a firm expression before shaking her head at him.

“What it’s true?” Kevin teased with a small wink before turning to Brandon, “and you. Brandon, I have to say that you are by far the most beautiful little boy I’ve ever laid my eyes upon.”

“He’s handsome,” Angela corrected with a curl of her lips, “Boys are handsome, not beautiful.”

“They are both beautiful,” Kevin informed her with a goofy grin, “and absolutely everything I expected them to be from you. Look at how amazing they are.”

“They are perfect,” Angela replied reaching out to touch Alison’s small fingers that now waved around in the air without any real sense of direction, “It’s hard to believe that I was able to help bring all of this into the world.”

“No it’s not,” Kevin shook his head at her and offered up a thoughtful expression, “The way I see it I knew you had it in you all this time, but you were lacking the confidence and the faith in your abilities.”

“I guess I never really thought that I could really have something like this,” Angela revealed her eyes fixed on her children in front of her.

“Yeah well there again you were wrong. I knew you could do it for a long time and these two are proof of just how strong you really are,” Kevin explained with a warm expression, “You fought for them and now they are here to give us all something wonderful.”

“I just love them so much,” she revealed looking over to her son who was focused on Kevin in between lazy yawns.

“And they love you too because you gave up on your fears and made sure that they would make a safe entrance into the world,” Kevin paused thinking about his own child that had died all those years ago. A darkness passed over him before he forced himself to let go of his own grief and focus on the joys in his arms, “You did good kiddo.”

“I did alright,” Angela shrugged her shoulders at him, “They were the ones who really did most of the work.”

“I seriously doubt that,” Kevin watched the twins closely, “but then again they do look exhausted considering I’m sure they had a very big ordeal with their birthday being here. It takes a lot to make your way into this world, doesn’t it?”

Brandon yawned before Alison kicked out her feet from inside the blanket with a tiny shiver. Kevin couldn’t help but laugh.

“Though something tells me that they are only starting to show just how much of their mother’s fighting spirit they have in them,” Kevin noted with a thoughtful expression realizing that after all the years of agony that had plagued Angela she now had two very important living and breathing reasons to stop dwelling on the mistakes of the past and start focusing on the bright future ahead of her. As he noticed the peaceful expression on the twins faces he realized that maybe it was time for him to do the same in his heart.


Evie felt a tiny flutter over the bottom of the bed as Spike jumped off of the comforter to join his brothers and sister near the closet area where they’d congregated with their mother a short while ago. Turning onto her side, she hugged the thick comforter around her watching them frolic and play with one another before she turned her attention to JT again. He lay beside her, his thick eyelashes closed as his arm was draped over his bare chest. A warm smile carried over her as she noticed the way his tousled hair framed around his face and the pillow beneath him. Inching in closer to him, she couldn’t help but pull herself up to admire him more completely. Her dark eyes fixed on his lips, on the perfect curves of his mouth now that he was still lost in his slumber. He was perfect. Every amazing inch of him and as she watched him she felt her heart swell with love for him.

“You know you really shouldn’t stare at people,” he slurred in a quiet tone, his eyes still closed as she hovered over him, “It will give them a complex.”

“I thought you were sleeping,” she blurted out shaking her head at him as his incredible eyes opened and fixed on her.

“How could I be when Happy decided that my toes would make for a good lunch?” JT joked with a small laugh as a sigh escaped his lips, “I was just listening to them play.”

“They found that ball of yarn that you’d pulled out for them earlier,” she informed him glancing over at the kittens who were now bouncing around the room in their own private playtime with the yellow yarn that they’d collected. Spunky and Bradshaw seemed to be fixated on one particular long, golden strand of yarn that they’d both sought out and it had turned into a mini-spat, but not for long once their mother promptly pulled them apart from one another.

“Looks like someone is in trouble,” JT noted with a chuckle seeing Flora scoot the two kittens out of the room while the other’s followed. “I think they are about to have a family meeting.”

“Just as well,” Evie sighed snuggling in closer to him, “because it gives us some much needed overdue alone time.”

“Is that right?” JT snaked his arm around her slender form feeling the soft, blue material of his shirt around her. “You actually think we should be alone together?”

She nodded emphatically, “Now that the storm has eased up, I think it would do us both justice to focus on something far more positive than the way I was feeling before. I was thinking that maybe we should concentrate on us. I know we talked about going home to CV, but…”

“You having second thoughts now?” he arched a lazy brow, his fingers tapering off over her spine gently.

“I’m not sure,” she replied honestly dropping her head down onto his chest for a long moment before closing her eyes and listening to the sounds of his heart beating beneath her. “I mean a part of me thinks that we should run like hell and avoid any possible future storms and my father, yet our day at the beach was nice…”

“When you found a way to take those two children out without lifting a finger?” he eyed her curiously.

“Hey, there were asking for it,” she offered up a wicked smirk. “I mean sure maybe I shouldn’t have kicked the ball at that particular guy, but they won’t ever do something like that again.”

“You’re a brute. You know that, don’t you?” he winked at her

“I’m a little bit evil, but you love me,” she replied with an innocent smile.

“Guilty as charged, yet I know enough to stay on your good side,” he confessed with a shake of his head.

“I can be crabby and miserable especially when we were in Coral Valley,” she sighed. “I know it’s home for us and, all that, yet…”

“You’re not really ready to let go of all of this yet,” he teased motioning to the less than grandiose room that they were in, “I know my apartment isn’t much better than this, but…”

“JT it’s not where we are,” she pulled herself up and shook her head at him, “It’s just that out here even with the threat of the storm and people surrounding us, well it’s just you and me. We don’t have to worry about Valerie coming back to your place and annoying us.”

“We shouldn’t have to worry about that. I threw her out, remember?” JT pointed out with a small frown thinking about his pain in the butt roommate.

“Yes, but how many times has she failed to listen?” she tossed out at him thinking about the ways in which Valerie had tried to make them miserable in the past. “She’s trouble and…”

“And she has nothing on us,” JT reached up to touch her cheek gently. He pushed her long, dark hair away from her face before meeting her eyes again, “I love you and regardless of what Valerie has on her mind, it’s not going to prove to be any kind of problem for us.”

“I know,” she nodded in response before sighing, “It’s just when we talked about coming out here we said we would accomplish so many things. We talked about being lost in paradise, yet here we are kind of forced into seclusion because of the storm and my father…”

“And your aggressive tendencies towards ill placed beach balls, but for what it’s worth I don’t mind the seclusion,” JT revealed with a hint of a smile touching over his lips, “although I wish I could’ve given you more of a taste of paradise on the island. There is still so much that we haven’t seen here together--so many things that I wanted to show you…”

“We still have time,” Evie pondered the thought for a long moment, “I mean we haven’t exactly gone to get our tickets out of town yet. With the storm season easing up maybe just maybe we should consider an extended stay.”

“Really?” JT replied surprise behind his eyes. “I didn’t see that one coming.”

“What? You didn’t think I liked it here?” she tossed out at him with a hint of a smile, “JT, this is probably the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for me. Besides, it’s probably the most exotic of places I’ve been to.”

“What about Mexico and Paris?” he tossed her earlier words out at her remembering what she’d told him when they’d first met one another.

“The only time I’ve been to those places was when I was watching something on the Travel Channel,” she replied feeling a heat rise over her features. “I was just trying to sound impressive since you thought I was nothing more than a pathetic loser.”

“I never said that and I never would say that,” he reminded her reaching out to cup her face in his hands, “I would never think like that where you’re concerned.”

“Yeah, but you really believed I was some charity case when we first met, admit it,” she searched his eyes for the truth feeling the warmth of him beneath her.

“I thought a lot of things about you, but I’ll have you know that you were not my charity case of the year,” JT curled his arm around her waist, gently easing her onto her back beneath him on the mattress. He hovered over her, his finger touching her cheek gently before his eyes met hers with a raw honesty, “besides I don’t do charity. It’s not my thing. In case you haven’t noticed I’m not a very nice guy.”

“Oh please,” she laughed lightly shaking her head at him with an amused tone, “JT you are probably the nicest, most virtuous guy I know.”

Unable to quell his laughter he fell back onto his side of the bed with an amused chuckle. His laughter continued to fill the room before he turned to face her again, “If you believe that then I have completely mislead you about the man that I am. I haven’t been called virtuous since I was about six years old and even then I was probably pushing it with the word.”

“Oh come on,” Evie propped herself up on her side and met his eyes once again, “What other word would you use for someone like you? Time and time again you’ve treated me with nothing but respect. You’ve been good to me and hell, you’ve never even tried to take advantage of me when heaven knows that I’ve been trying to get you to.”

“Maybe I felt some things were worth waiting for,” he shrugged his shoulders, his gaze tapering off to her lips before meeting her eyes again.

“Or maybe it’s because deep down beneath that bad boy exterior, you’re really a good guy with an amazing heart,” she reached out pressing her palm flat against his chest and smiling up at him, “Admit it JT. You’re one of the good guys.”

“I wouldn’t go that far, but in all honesty it does feel good in being with you,” he revealed snaking his arm out to wrap his hand around the back of her neck. He inched in closer to her, his lips hovering in over hers, “very good actually.”

“That’s because you know what’s meant to be when it’s right in front of you,” she sighed feeling his breath skim over her face while her arm dropped beneath the blanket, sliding around his waist and urging him in closer to her, “Though I do have a confession to make.”

“What’s that?” JT questioned with a lazy sigh, his lips tapering off just above hers, teasing her with a hint of completion before drawing back again and keeping a space between them.

“If you don’t kiss me right here and now then I’m going to lose my mind,” she replied delving in for an ending to the longing that filled her up inside. She felt his mouth against hers, lips tasting and teasing her in such a way that she couldn’t help but give herself to the moment. She slid her arms around his shoulders pulling him in closer to her while sinking back onto the bed and taking him in over her.

“I love you,” he whispered against her lips feeling her fingers tease off over his spine, nails scratching lightly against his muscled flesh.

“I love you too,” she replied her dark eyes meeting his again as she curled her leg around his hips longing to feel him closer to her. She felt him resituate himself over her, making room over her between her thighs as their kisses continued to grow in frequency. She dropped her hands down to his bottom feeling the solid strength of him beneath his sweat pants and a sigh carried over her. “JT you have no idea how good it feels to have the storm over with. It’s like I’ve been able to find clarity and focus again.”

“Focus is always a good thing,” he nibbled on her lower lip gingerly before feeling her arch up off of the bed into him. He let out a small groan closing his eyes before his palm tapered off over the lines of his pajama shirt. Their eyes met again and he smiled down at her, “I’ll have you know that I’m very good at focus by the way.”

“Somehow I didn’t doubt that,” she replied taking in a breath of anticipation as he unbuttoned her shirt two or three buttons. He slipped his hand in over her breastbone before his fingers eased underneath the material of the shirt caressing the warm contours of her body. She arched her head back letting out a soft cry as her eyes fell to a close.

“I meant what I said about my not being a nice guy Evie,” he whispered, his words buzzing over the base of her throat as he placed tender kisses over her skin. His fingers continued to pluck open the buttons on her nightshirt before his hungry lips met hers again, “I’ve just been good at hiding the more primitive side of who I am. I’ve been under lock and key for a while because I didn’t want to push things…”

“I never asked you to hide who you are,” she reached out to him, sliding her index finger over the side of his face and urging him to meet her eyes again, “I’ve always wanted you and just you.”

“You’re so different than anyone I’ve ever been with before,” he admitted with a slight hesitation, “I mean I’ve never had any trouble falling into this before, but with you, well I just don’t want anything to spoil what we have. We actually have something together that goes beyond insanity or sex…”

“Sex can’t hurt our relationship,” she pointed out her nails sliding in over his lower back. She licked her lips in anticipation before dipping her fingers in beneath the waistband of his sweatpants half expecting him to offer her up the same thick, aggravating refusal that he’d given her time and time again.

“You’re only saying that because you’ve never experienced it before, but the fact to the matter is that sex complicates things,” JT thought to all of his various one night stands--to the women he’d met in the past who had served as a short term thrill. “It’s not something to be taken lightly.”

“I’m not looking for sex JT,” Evie explained a dark huskiness in her tone. She met his eyes again with a newfound determination, “I want you to make love to me which I’m far certain is something that is new to the both of us.”

“I very seldom found myself making love to anyone,” he confessed cupping her cheek in his hand before smiling, “and certainly not to the right someone because before it was kind of just…well, let’s just say I’ve never had this kind of investment in someone. Even when I thought I was in love in the past, it paled in comparison to the way you make me feel. I just want this to be right for you.”

“What could be wrong about it? It’s you and me,” she paused feeling her breath leaving her lips in a shivering exhale, “together in a way that only you and I can share with one another. We’ve shared so many other things already and I’m tired of hiding from who we are. JT I want this. I want you--all of you.”

“I want you too,” he brushed his thumb over her bottom lip gingerly, “I’m just afraid that once I have you it won’t ever be enough--that this will never be enough for me. If I have one taste of heaven, I’m certain that I won’t be able to walk away ever.”

“Why would you want to walk away?” she questioned blinking up at him with an innocence that made his heart melt.

“I guess you could say I’m just afraid that we’ll wind up turning out like everything else in my life. I’ve messed up so many times that the idea of screwing this up kills me,” he informed her honestly a sigh carrying over his lips, “I don’t want you and I to be like everything else I failed in on with life. I want for us to have something more.”

“Can’t you see we already do?” she challenged meeting his eyes again, “JT you and I belong together and nothing will change my mind about that. You’re all I could’ve asked for and more. I love you.”

“I love you Evie and I want everything to be perfect for you. I want to be the kind of man that you deserve in your life,” he explained feeling a moment of uneasiness carry over him, “I made so many mistakes in the past…”

“Mistakes that aren’t relevant to our future. JT what we have together isn’t about anyone else other than you and I,” she informed him, offering up a small squeeze of his body now that their eyes met again, “It’s just what is right--what should be between two people who are desperately in love with one another. Nothing could ever be wrong about that.”

“You’re right,” he nodded in confession reaching out to part the material of his shirt she was wearing. He inched up ever so slightly to take a long look at her before a smile touched over the corners of his mouth, “There’s no point in trying to run from this any longer. It’s not like we haven’t already shared so much.”

“Exactly,” she nodded in confession hoping to encourage him further, “We’re already friends and…”

“And we have a bond between us that goes above anything else in my life,” JT decided thinking about all his apprehensions about being with her, “Evie, I’ve wanted you for a long time, but I’ve been trying to do the right thing.”

“So stop trying so hard and just do the right thing because I’m certain it involves you and I together with one another just like this,” she blurted out reaching out to pull him in closer to her in a determined kiss wanting nothing more than to share everything with him now that they’d finally had time alone with one another.


“Hey you,” Kellen reached out to tease his index finger in underneath Charles’s chin hearing him let out a small laugh before pushing Kellen away playfully while he sat in the cart they had gotten at the toy store. “I’m sure your daddy doesn’t mind me spoiling you a bit in here because you are so cute.”

Pushing the cart down the isles, he searched for a few things, but when something really caught the attention of Charles, he would let out a small noise that showed it perked his interest.

“Oh nice choice,” Kellen stopped pushing the cart around for a moment to reach out for the over sized panda plus that was on top of the highest shelf. “This one.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Charles nodded a few times, reaching his arms out trying to grab a hold of it as Kellen brought it down closer to him. He could see the way Charles smiled as he brought it in closer to his face.

“The panda bear is going to get you,” Kellen moved the bear forward toward Charles hearing him burst out in laughter as he pulled it away. “Oh no…he’s coming to get you.”

Having the bear press in closer to him and then pull it away multiple times, he could hear Charles bursting out with laughter before he finally gave him the bear.

Watching Charles wrap his arms around the bear that was probably bigger than he was, Kellen knew that it was definitely coming home with them by the way that he was holding onto the stuffed animal.

“Alright, let’s see what else we can find you,” Kellen grabbed a hold of the cart and turned around only to let out a small gasp seeing Michelle standing in front of the cart as he let out a long breath. “Great…where did you come from?”

“I could ask you the same thing, but since this is a store…it’s kind of obvious what I’m doing here,” she saw Kellen move out from behind the cart to approach her and she saw his blue eyes staring down at her. “It’s a free country.”

“I know you're at a store, that’s not what I was asking. I was asking you, what you were doing in my face. Clearly, you were standing at the bottom of my cart for a reason, so what the hell do you want?” Kellen snapped with a bit venom behind his voice as Michelle’s nose wrinkled almost shocked by the way he was talking to her. “I don’t want anything to do with you, no one does. Can’t you see that?”

“What crawled up your ass and died?” she snapped back at him seeing him look back at Charles before shaking his head knowing that she didn’t have any class to swear in front of a child like that. “You act like I actually did something to you.”

“You are followed by negativity. Whenever you are around something bad happens,” Kellen pointed out seeing the way her dark eyes stared into his and if she could she would probably be glaring a hole right through him. “And clearly, I perked your interest for some reason and I don’t know why, but as I told you when you were around my brother, I don’t even want to be by you.”

“Gee, being gay must be really hard these days, huh? Having the whole hate the world theory on your shoulder, right?” she saw him go to walk away from her until she saw him look over his shoulder at her and glare back at her. “You seem like you have really gotten far in life Kellen. You should be oh so proud of yourself.”

“Listen, I didn’t have to sleep my way to become nothing. Which is what you are,” Kellen’s voice rose a bit as he shook his head slowly and stared out at her for a moment. “You are poison Michelle and the faster you learn that, the better the world will be because it will be better without you. Clearly Kevin thought you were poison. The Stone family and my brother did too. So you know what, go make someone else’s life miserable.”

“Listen you,” she started to scream at him hearing the sound of a child crying behind him and she caught the glare he gave her before reaching for the little boy sitting in the cart.

“It’s okay little man,” Kellen tried to hush Charles pulling him in closer to his chest as he tried humming a song to him to get him to calm down. Seeing that Michelle hadn’t left yet, he shot her a glare and let out a tight breath. “Can’t you just leave? You’ve already upset him enough.”

“That’s your son?” Michelle muttered seeing the glare that Kellen gave her before he finally got the little boy to calm down and she gulped down heavily before letting out a tight breath. She watched him press a small kiss over the little boy’s head before he set him back into his seat next to the panda bear. “I’m sorry I worked him up. You seem like a good father.”

“Thanks,” Kellen gulped down not quite sure what else to say as he watched Charles hug the bear closer to him and he took in a deep breath. “So…”

“He’s really cute, I’m sorry I bothered you,” she sighed heavily taking a step back away from him seeing the way his blue eyes watched her carefully and obviously somewhat confused. “He really is cute and you seem really good with him.”

“I know he is and thanks…” Kellen said again not quite how to respond to something like that, but he really didn’t have time to do so if he wanted to because she seemed to take off faster than he could respond. Looking down at Charles, he sighed heavily and shook his head. “Wow, that was awkward. We don’t like having crazy psychos in our life. Now do we Charles?”

“No,” Charles muttered making Kellen smirk knowing that he had no idea what he was saying, just knew by the way that Kellen was shaking his head that he knew to say no.

Instead of worrying, he knew he had a day with Charles and he wasn’t going to waste it!


“It’s time to go Alexander,” the guard explained moving into the visiting room that Seth and Blake were in with one another.

“Already?” Blake questioned with a wounded expression not wanting to let go of Seth just yet. “Please, can’t we just have five more minutes?”

“I’m afraid I already pushed it too far already,” the guard offered up apologetically before turning to Seth, “Come on.”

“Seth wait,” Blake watched him stand up and prepare to be taken back to his cell.

“Blake, I’m sorry,” Seth’s brown eyes were filled with regret and agony as the guard started to pull him away.

“Seth, I love you,” Blake blurted out tears carrying over her as she watched him stop long enough to turn around and face her again.

“I love you too,” he replied before the guard nudged him out of the waiting room leaving Blake alone to her thoughts. Unable to hold back any longer, she burst into tears burying her face in her hands now that the pain of losing everything held it’s weight over her.

“Blake,” Sarah blurted out rushing into the room after she’d seen Seth taken out of it. She spotted her best friend crying near the table and she rushed over to her, “Oh honey…”

“It’s not fair,” Blake sobbed on Sarah’s shoulder feeling as if her world was crashing in on her, “Why did this have to happen to us? Why is this going on with our lives?”

“I wish I had the right answers, but I promise you that we’ll fix this,” Sarah tried to assure Blake not really sure how she could accomplish such a feat, but she was willing to try to help somehow. Right now we need to get you back to the hospital though. You’re not feeling well and…”

“No, I’m not leaving Seth,” Blake refused stubbornly, “I’m not going anywhere until we prove to the world that they are wrong about him. He didn’t do that to that witch.”

“Blake, you need to get back to the hospital,” Ken’s voice entered the room as she looked up to see her brother standing there in front of her, “I don’t know who the hell released you, but you’re not staying here. You need to take care of yourself and…”

“I’m not going anywhere until I can help Seth. I want to find a way to get him out of here and…,” Blake explained in an impassioned tone.

“I’m working on that already, but you need to work on your recovery. You’ve just been through a very traumatic experience and I’m not about to let you kill yourself over…” Ken attempted to reason with her once again.

“Over what? Over the fact that the man I love has been wrongfully accused of killing some bitch that murdered our child and tried to murder me?” Blake’s voice shrieked with horror, “Ken, she could’ve killed me.”

“I know that, but there are things that we need to take into consideration. Look Blake, I promise you that I will do everything in my power to help Seth, but you have to work with me. You have to go back to the hospital,” Ken moved forward reaching out to her, “You’re hurt and…”

“I’m not going back there. I’m not going to have them keep me there when I should be helping free Seth,” Blake decided stubbornly, “I’ll go back to the house for tonight, but I refuse to go back to the hospital.”

“You’re going back there Blake because I’m not going to lose my sister after this. There is no telling what other injuries you might have and…” Ken moved in towards her, his brown eyes narrowing with heavy agitation.

“No, I’m not,” Blake huffed in response glaring up at him, “You can’t make me go back there if I don’t want to.”

“Blake, honey Ken has a point,” Sarah began again hoping to reason with her pal.

“I thought you were on my side,” Blake tossed out a wounded expression over at Sarah, “You said you’d help me.”

“I will help you, but you need treatment,” Sarah thought about it for a long moment, ‘You need to be able to take care of yourself so that you’ll heal and…”

“She can heal at home,” Rex announced entering the room and surprising everyone in it, “I’ll call my own private medical team that I have in to take care of her. I have connections with some of the best specialists out there and…”

“No way,” Ken shook his head firmly, “I won’t allow it.”

“You don’t have a choice,” Blake spat out at him with a glare, “If Uncle Rex wants to help me, then why can’t he? I think being at home is much better than being in a place that I don’t want to be in with a bunch of strangers.”

“I can assure you that the doctors and nurses I have on staff for my team are the best,” Rex boasted with a wide smirk, “They wouldn’t work for me if they weren’t. After all you know that I’ve always prided myself on having the best of the best. Since it’s not football season yet, I’m sure they can spend a few weeks with Blake.”

“Thank you Uncle Rex,” Blake smiled up at him, “You have no idea how much I appreciate that.”

“Trust me honey, it’s my pleasure,” Rex motioned over to Sarah, “My limo is waiting outside if you’d like to take her out there. The chauffer can help you get her into the car, but once you get home Blake I want you to rest. I’ll have my people there for you as soon as you get there.”

“How is that possible?” Ken frowned over at his uncle.

“I worked out a few phone calls before I came in here,” Rex explained proudly, “but Blake honey you need to rest okay?”

“I’ll try,” Blake finally conceded feeling Sarah push her towards the door.

“Sarah, make sure she listens,” Rex offered up as Sarah nodded accordingly.

“Will do,” Sarah replied taking Blake out of the room before Ken glared up at his uncle.

“Okay, I’ll bite, what is your angle now? Why are you doing this?” Ken snarled up at Rex.

“Someone has to have Blake’s best interest at hand and if you can’t do it on your own in getting her to listen, then I don’t mind helping,” Rex shrugged before facing him fully, “Though if I were you I would work on freeing up Seth because if you can’t do the job, I might have to find someone else to step in and do it for you.”

“I can take care of this one,” Ken huffed in response not liking his uncle’s tone.

“Sure you can,” Rex taunted patting Ken on the back before laughing, “Just make it snappy alright.”

“I’ll help Seth,” Ken mouthed in response watching Rex walk out of the room as he vowed to not only help Seth, but to find a way to get his dear old Uncle Rex to stop invading his life time and time again.


“I’m worried about Ria and Kevin,” Avery revealed thinking about what Ria had talked about with her, “I can see Ria’s in a lot of pain right now over the situation with Kevin.”

“They’ll work it out honey,” Russ replied wrapping Avery up in his arms, “When two people love one another like they do, things have a way of working themselves out.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” Avery bit down on her lower lip after a moment’s contemplation, “When I think about what a pain Angela is for them…”

“Hey, we were able to work through the situation with Brant, weren’t we?” Russ offered up touching her face gently and smiling down at her, “Look at how far we’ve come even after all his attempts to keep us apart.”

“I’m well aware of that but,” she paused giving him a strange look, “hey weren’t you the one who was on the Brant rampage earlier?”

“Brant just irritates the hell out of me,” Russ revealed with a shrug of his shoulders, “but after I spend enough time with you I realize that nothing else is worth getting worked up over. I love you.”

“I love you too,” she admitted moving in to steal a kiss from him, “which is why I’m so happy that we’ve got each other right now.”

“When I think about how close I came to losing you, it makes me realize all the more why you and I shouldn’t ever waste a single second we have with one another,” Russ replied sliding his fingers into her dark hair, “You and Erin are my world and I love you both so very much.”

“Speaking of Erin, maybe we should get back to her,” Avery decided thinking about their daughter, “She has been without us for a while already and it looks like Kevin’s more than got his plate full with company right now.”

“That’s probably a good idea,” Russ nodded in response, “Plus I told Grady that I would stop by and see him later since Grady’s got some good news of his own.”

“Dare I ask?” Avery arched a curious brow seeing something behind Russell’s green eyes, “What aren’t you telling me?”

“Grady’s getting married,” Russ blurted out with a small laugh unable to keep the secret from her any longer. “He asked Deana to marry him and she said yes.”

“You’re kidding me,” Avery’s eyes widened in astonishment, “You mean Grady, who is ever the cynic has finally decided to give romance a try again? I thought he said that he’d never end up married after…”

“I know what he said as well as you do, but I guess he changed his mind. Deana’s really special and obviously something caused him to realize that maybe he should stop dwelling on being miserable and start working with the happiness he has in his life,” Russ explained with a proud smirk, “I think it’s a sign that he’s finally growing up.”

“It certainly is,” Avery nodded in agreement, “and judging by the expression on your face I’m guessing this is going to be a short term engagement.”

“They are working on wedding plans as we speak,” Russ informed her with a small laugh, “You know Grady when he does something he goes to extremes.”

“That’s an understatement,” she chuckled before shaking her head, “Still if he’s planning on doing this, then we should show our support for him. I’m really happy that he’s found someone who makes him happy.”

“So am I,” Russ revealed to her. “After he lost Jade I wasn’t sure what would happen to him, but it’s clear that Deana makes him happy. She’s a wonderful person and Grady loves her and Zane a lot.”

“He and Deana are good for one another,” Avery nodded in response thinking about Grady’s relationship with Deana, “Plus he’s always wanted to be a father. Now he is with Zane in his life.”

“I think it’s the best thing he could do for himself,” Russ added thinking about his brother’s sudden decision, “Sure some might feel he’s rushing it, but…”

“I think it’s perfect timing,” Avery decided with a bright grin, “and after we check in on Erin we’ll have to celebrate with them.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Russ wrapped his arm around her again and leaned in to kiss her, “Ready to go back to the hotel?”

“Yeah,” she nodded in response, “Let’s go see our daughter then congratulate her uncle on his good news.”

“It sounds like a wonderful plan,” Russ decided leading her out of the hospital with him now that it seemed that things were finally picking up for his family. With him and Avery back together and Grady finding love it appeared that maybe just maybe the hard times for all of them were on their way to ending sooner rather than later!


“I love you,” JT whispered his lips devouring Evie’s as he moved over her, his hands roaming over her curves while the soft sounds of pleasure rose through her, carrying out over the air and filling him up inside with a newfound sense of purpose and belonging. He met her eyes again watching the way her lips parted in a soft whimper, his hands pressing in over her moving in all the right places to show her just what it was she’d meant to him. He felt her shivering beneath him, trembling with the promise of passion over her body now that her legs were wrapped around him, eyes focused on him and only him. He inched in towards her again stealing another passion filled cry from her lips. Her nails raked into his shoulders, breath coming out in short agonizing gasps as he too found himself lost in the moment, lost in the feel of her against him. He closed his eyes briefly telling himself that this was something that they’d both longed for, both needed with one another for so very long.

“I love you,” she cried out in a broken tone tiny shudders pressing in over her as JT curled his arms around her. He rolled onto his back taking her over him as she pressed her hands in against his chest bracing herself above him. “I love you so much.”

“I just want…” JT found himself at a loss sitting up and claiming her mouth with a newfound hunger that longed to be unleashed. He tangled his fingers through her hair, wrapping his arms around her slender frame while the blankets fell down to the bed around them leaving nothing more than the air surrounding them enveloping them in a thick, cloud of desire.

“I want the same thing,” she mouthed pressing her index finger over his lips to silence him before she reached out over to the nightstand withdrawing the condom he’d left waiting for them. She tore the package open and eased away from him enough to give him a long once over. Moving forward she attempted to sheath him with shaky hands.

“Maybe I should do that,” he suggested catching the expression on her face.

“No,” she shook her head firmly licking her lips in anticipation, “I want to…”

“Evie, I…” he closed his eyes finally nodding and allowing her the control she’d wanted on the situation in hand. He felt her first contact and a groan built in the back of his throat. Instinctively he reached out to snag her wrist raising it to his lips and pressing a kiss against her pulse point before finishing the job for her. Carefully he flipped her onto her back before moving in over her again. He forced himself to open his eyes now lost in a whirlwind of pleasure that coiled over him, “Are you positive that…”

“If you even think about asking me if I’m sure about this, then so help me God,” she started with a small laugh, her face flushed with desire for him while her nails teased over his spine urging them towards completion.

“Fair enough,” he nodded kissing her heatedly before preparing her for an experience that was bound to change their lives from here on out opening them up to the dreams that they‘d both had for a future with one another.


“JT, honey are you home?” Martha’s voice questioned as she held three oversized bags in her arms. She looked down to see the kittens tangled up in the ball of yarn and she laughed lightly. Carefully kicking the door closed behind her, she shook her head, “Somehow I knew you’d be getting yourselves into trouble here. Though it doesn’t surprise me. Kittens are always rambunctious.”

Martha walked across the room knowing full well she should’ve called first, but after JT’s friend had the scare of her life during the storm, she couldn’t help but be worried about the poor girl. Moving over to the small kitchen area, Martha set the bags down on the counter top. She walked over to the refrigerator and opened it up only to discover what little JT had inside. Wrinkling her nose she shook her head at what she saw.

“When are you going to learn that this is not a healthy lifestyle?” Martha frowned to herself pulling out the old unidentifiable containers in front of her and replacing them with what supplies she’d brought for him. After she’d finished with the second bag, she turned to the kittens again, “Don’t think I forgot about you when I was taking care of your daddy. He never takes care of himself, but I’m sure that we can work on making him responsible sooner or later now that he’s got a family in front of him.”

Martha reached for the third bag pulling out the cat toys and food that she’d brought for them. Spotting a small pink bowl over by the far end of the room she went to retrieve it assuming it was their food dish when a sound caught her attention. She stood up straighter listening for a moment and wondering if she’d been imagining things. She heard what sounded like a small whimper from behind her and she stiffened.

“I thought you were alone,” she mouthed to the kittens turning around to spot that there was something broken on the floor down the small hallway. Concerned Martha reached into her purse and pulled out her pepper spray hearing a small knocking sound. Cautiously she stepped forward wondering if one of the vagabonds on the beach had slipped inside the house again like they had the previous summer. Then there was the problem with vandals considering that JT very seldom made his way out to these parts. Martha had agreed to keep an eye on it when JT had left it abandoned, but now that he was here with Evie, she feared that he’d have a run in with one of those vandals that had tried to trash the place the previous summer.

“You’re not going to get away with it this time you little,” Martha mouthed under her breath pushing open the half opened bedroom door only to discover JT and Evie with one another in a ‘very’ intimate position with one another. Her jaw dropped, face grew red with embarrassment before she felt her gum fall forward towards her lips, “Oh shit…”

“Martha,” Evie gasped suddenly aware that she and JT were no longer alone with one another.

“What?” JT questioned seeing his friend’s mother standing in the doorway looking like she was about to choke on what she was seeing.

“I um,” Martha tried to register some kind of practical, logical explanation as to what had prompted her to walk in on JT and Evie together, but she found herself at a loss. She moved her lips in an attempt to say something, but in doing so her gum got caught in the back of her throat causing her to choke on it.

“Oh my God,” Evie’s horrified brown eyes fixed on Martha while she reached for the sheet wrapping herself up in it. She watched Martha cough before she swatted JT on the arm, “JT, she’s choking.”

“Martha hold on,” JT leapt out of bed moving in to step behind her and offer up the Heimlich maneuver in an attempt to dislodged the gum from her throat. She clenched her hands over the base of her throat still coughing wildly until finally the gum flew across the room landing on the top of the blankets beside a now frazzled Evie.

“Are you alright?” JT questioned smoothing his fingers out over her back before leaning down to pull up his sweatpants off of the floor to block himself from her view.

Martha turned around to face him with an apologetic expression before speaking up with a cough, “I am so sorry honey. I just thought that you were gone and that someone had broken in here with the bumping and noises I heard from the hall and…Oh boy I really botched this one up, didn’t I?”

“No, it’s okay,” JT strained to keep his voice cool and collected even though his heart felt like it was ready to explode inside of his chest, “We just were…”

“I know what you were doing,” Martha replied knowingly her eyes dropping to the way that his balled up sweatpants hardly shielded him from her eyes, “Honey I might be old, but I’m not too old to know what that is.”

“I just um…” JT gulped bringing one hand up through his hair before thinking twice about it and keeping the pants in front of his body, “I’m just really sorry about…”

“Don’t apologize to me because I’m the one who should be apologizing to the both of you,” Martha glanced back over at Evie, who still kept the sheet tight around her body, “Look honey I’m so sorry that I interrupted you two when you were…”

“It’s okay,” Evie fought to keep her breathing even now that she was sure she would die of mortification on the spot after Martha had walked in on them. While she’d never been shy, there was something about Martha being there in that particular moment, in that particular point in time that had her on edge.

“Look I’m just going to go…” Martha started motioning towards the door, “I can let myself out and…”

“No,” JT blurted out surprising himself after what had taken place. He glanced over at Evie seeing now that she too was clearly shaken by their interruption and things were going to be awkward now that Martha had spoiled the moment, “why don’t you just go out in the living room and we’ll be out there in a few?”

“Are you sure honey because I can just leave and…” Martha blushed looking over to JT again before glancing at Evie, “I’m really sorry about that considering that…”

“It’s okay,” Evie forced a pinched smile before bringing her hands up through her hair.

“Well then I guess I’ll see you shortly,” Martha replied giving JT one last look before rushing out of the room horrified.

After she walked out, JT closed the door behind her before walking over to the bed and attempted to take a seat beside Evie. He paused just long enough to retrieve a tissue off of the nightstand and collect Martha’s gum. He tossed it in the trash can before moving in beside Evie and reaching out to take her hand in his cautiously.

“Are you…” he paused searching for the right words while thinking about what was taking place when Martha walked in on them, “are you okay?”

She nodded biting down on her lower lip while her eyes fell to the sheet again. Finally she forced herself to meet his dark eyes before exhaling sharply, “I would’ve been a lot better if she would’ve waited a little while longer before walking in like that.”

“That makes two of us,” JT groaned thinking about the way in which having Martha walked in on them killed the mood. He closed his eyes and sank back against the headboard before offering up a sigh, “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” Evie replied quickly looking over to him with a longing behind her eyes, “You didn’t do anything wrong. Hell, I’m pretty sure you were doing absolutely everything right.”

JT couldn’t help but laugh at the thought turning his eyes towards her again, “Gee, you think.”

“Yeah, I do,” Evie revealed a small smile before sliding in closer to him, “Though I have to admit I was kind of hoping that we would be able to enjoy the day in bed together, maybe work up a few different scenarios none of which involved a woman walking in and putting the brakes on what was happening.”

“It’s a bad sign you know,” JT revealed thinking about what had transpired between them, “Here we decide that we’ve picked the right time and…”

“And it is the right time,” Evie replied leaning in closer to him, “JT you have no idea how I feel right now--how you have me thinking about you and wanting you…”

“So then you’re not…” he paused searching her eyes before reaching out to her again, “I didn’t want you hurt in all of this…”

“If you tell me that you’re not going to pick up where we left off when she leaves it’s going to kill me, but other than that,” Evie paused a certain glow carrying over her features, “You’d better not change a damn thing.”

He couldn’t help but laugh, “Here I’m supposed to be giving you the pep talk and you’re the one who is trying to talk me down.”

“Hey, what can I say?” she smiled at him tossing her dark hair behind her shoulders, “I happen to think that this was really bad timing, but maybe…”

“Yes?” he arched a curious brow seeing something flash behind her eyes.

“Maybe we can find a way to put a positive spin on this,” she reached out to touch his thigh gently, “after all I was kind of hoping that we’d be able to spend a lot more time together like this--minus Martha of course.”

“I think I can arrange that,” he leaned in towards her curling his finger underneath her chin and stealing a kiss from her only to hear her groan.

“If you keep doing that I’m not going to care that Martha is here,” Evie sighed dropping her hand down onto the sheet between them, “Right now I still don’t think that I do.”

“Yeah you do,” he whispered, his words buzzing against her lips, “but I promise you that next time, well next time you’re ready we’re going to do things right. I’ll make sure the doors are locked and…”

“JT, all I want is you and me together,” she leaned in to steal a kiss from his lips, “That’s honestly all I could ask for.”

“I just wanted everything to be perfect for you,” he replied kissing her in response.

“You love me and that’s all I need for this to be perfect,” she whispered against his lips trying not to view Martha’s intrusion as anything more than just bad timing on Martha’s end. As she met JT’s eyes again, Evie vowed to find a way for them to be able to share in what they had with one another without any chance of intrusion from here on out. If being as close to JT as she was tonight was an indication of things still ahead of them, then Evie knew full well being with him without interruption would be nothing short of heaven for her.


Ria walked up to Kevin’s hospital room wondering if Angela was still there. Knowing full well she couldn’t wait any longer to be honest with him, Ria took in a long breath hoping that she would get the strength to just tell Kevin the truth, but before she could follow through on her intentions, she spotted Kevin inside through the glass window with Angela and her children.

Standing still Ria kept an eye on Kevin and felt a sigh carry over her knowing full well that Kevin wanted a family more than anything. Seeing him interact with Angela’s children only reaffirmed the fact that knowing his daughter was alive would make his world complete, yet…

“Is there a reason you’re just lurking in the hallway?” Brant questioned breaking Ria’s thoughts. She turned around to see him eyeing her expectantly before smiling over at her.

“What aren’t you allowed to go inside now that he’s awake?” Brant continued to tease before pausing, “Something wrong?”

“No, not exactly,” Ria lied feeling a nervousness settle in the pit of her stomach. “I just got here and…”

“And what?” Brant glanced over her shoulder seeing Angela inside with his children, “Is there a reason why you don’t want to go in there?”

“No, of course not,” Ria shook her head firmly and stood taller. “I don’t mind going in there at all.”

“Great, then after you,” Brant watched her hesitate before she reached for the door.

“You know maybe we should give them a minute to catch up,” Ria decided glancing over at Brant once again, “I mean it’s been a while since they’d talked to one another without one of them thinking something false about the other.”

“And it’s not like you to want to stay out here,” Brant pondered the situation for a moment, “Ria is something going on? Something that maybe you should talk to me about?”

“Why would I have to talk to you about anything,” Ria frowned back at him folding her arms in front of her chest. “I think we can quit pretending to like one another and be dating now that Angela has her memory back.”

“That’s not what I was referring to and you know it,” Brant tossed out a pointed expression in her general direction. “It’s clear that something is up, so why don’t you tell me what’s going on so that we can figure out a way to fix it together?”


“They are kind of doing this really fast, don’t you think?” Heather moved out of the bathroom seeing the way that Kyle had just started to pull together his dress shirt for the suit he would be wearing at the wedding. “It’s so sudden compared to what I thought it would be. I figured it would be a few days, not later in the night.”

“I guess they were just eager to get married to each other,” Kyle shrugged reaching out to tease his arms around her small waist pulling her in closer to him as she smiled widely. “I know the feeling though. I couldn’t wait to be married to you.”

“And now we are husband and wife,” she hooked her hand with his seeing his wedding ring over her finger and she smiled widely. Sliding her hands up his bare chest, she knew he was watching her closely as she started to button up the long white shirt for him. “I couldn’t be any happier.”

“You know how happy I am to hear that?” he leaned down to drink another kiss from her lips feeling her finishing up with the buttons on his shirt before he moved away from her. Looking her over in the dress she was wearing, a smile pressed in over his lips as he shrugged his shoulders. “You look beautiful.”

“You’re just saying that because you’re my husband,” she pressed her hand in over her hip modeling the dress for him as he reached out to pull her in closer to him making her gasp. She could feel him pressing soft kisses in over the side of her neck making her let out a small giggle. “I guess not.”

“You have no idea how incredibly sexy you are,” Kyle growled in her ear feeling her fingers tighten around his while he stood behind her pressing tender kisses over her ear.

“Good to know you think so, I mean I always thought that about you, but now…to know you love me back like that Kyle only makes me feel oh so much better about myself,” a voice pressed in over their ears as Kyle looked to the side to see Grady walking into the room with a smile over his lips. “Though, I’m not even fully dressed yet, you should try and butter me up a bit when I am.”

“Always the joker,” Heather laughed reaching for her purse before hitting Grady on the center of the chest hearing both Kyle and Grady chuckle. “I will see you two boys later, I have to go see the bride.”

“Tell her I love her, okay?” Grady asked of Heather seeing her nod before going to leave. She stopped realizing she must have forgot something before moving back to tip up on her toes to press a kiss over Kyle’s lips. “I’m glad you guys like giving me a show.”

“Keep it up,” Kyle warned him hearing Grady laugh once more before Heather left the room leaving the two of them alone. Reaching out to squeeze Grady’s shoulders beneath his fingers, he heard Grady groan out before sighing. “So are you ready for this big guy?”

“Of course I am,” Grady turned to Kyle seeing him nod and reach for his suit jacket that he had gotten, laying it out on the bed. “I mean, this is everything I’ve ever wanted. A Family, a good wife. It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of. My last wife was a nightmare.”

“And a rapist. Don’t forget that,” Kyle pointed out catching the look that Grady gave him and he held his hands up in the air defensively. “Hey, I’m just saying. At least I have a good attitude about it now.”

“I know and I love you, I’m sorry I brought her into our lives to hurt you like that,” Grady saw the way Kyle frowned and moved over to sit next to him on the bed after he took a seat on the edge of it. “I think Deana is good for me. She’s perfect. She is a mix of everything I need in my life.”

“Well knowing that I’m the person that loves you the most and knows you better than anyone,” Kyle teased wrapping his arm around Grady’s shoulders to pull him in closer to him hearing Grady laugh. “I know you’re happy and I see this being a good thing. After everything that has happened…this is good for you. This is right.”

“And now that I have your approval,” Grady smacked Kyle in the abdomen hearing him groan before laughing when he got up. “I’m glad that I can say that I’m getting married tonight.”

“I’m happy for you man,” he pat his friend on the shoulder standing up from the bed slowly and letting out a heavy sigh. “Okay, I think it’s time to get you ready Mr. Groom. You look like you just walked out of a bachelor party. We need you to look like a million bucks.”

“I thought I always looked like a million bucks to you Kyle,” Grady frowned feeling Kyle shove the jacket into the center of his chest and he laughed. “What?”

“While I think you look like a million bucks any day Grady, some people might mistake you for a bum,” Kyle teased knowing that his fried was happy and that’s all he could ever ask for!


Sitting down on the edge of the bed, Deana let out a heavy sigh looking at the things that surrounded her leading toward her wedding that would be coming up extremely soon. Probably before she even knew it and it almost felt unreal.

This whole thing was a dream she had. The perfect wedding. The perfect groom. God, it never seemed like she would have that in a life time. Until Grady, she felt like the only kind of man she would attract were losers and jerks, but Grady changed all of that for her!

He was everything she ever wanted in a man and she was everything to him as well. What could she ask for other than that? She loved him and he loved her. She couldn’t ask for more when it got down to it.

Now, she still found herself nervous. About a wedding. She never saw herself getting married after she had Zane at such a young age, but now she was.

How could you prepare for something like that? Something you never thought you were going to have. Yet here it was. A dream like reality and she found herself nervous.

She should have been happy, hell she was happy, it was just also scary. What would come next? Would their relationship be the same after everything?

Wasn’t marriage supposed to be easy and happy? Not make you worry?

“Everything is going to be okay Deana, stop worrying yourself with unnecessary thoughts,” she huffed heavily moving off the bed and over toward the balcony to get a breath of fresh air. Maybe that would help her think more clearly.

The closer the time got to the wedding, the more her heart beat rapidly in worry about it. It was like she was a child all over again going out on her first date, but no! This was more than that. So much more than that!

Resting her palms against the railing, she saw the water down below making her let out a small sigh. This was so perfect. The perfect scenery, the perfect night…everything was perfect about tonight. So she really had nothing to worry about.

“It’s going to be okay,” she sighed hearing the sound of something knocking over in the next room and she let out a long breath.

Looking over, she suddenly felt like she was being watched. Looking around, she tried to see if she could find anyone around before gasping when she felt someone reach out to grab her shoulder.

“Hey kiddo, it’s okay,” Heather placed her hand over her own chest hearing the way that Deana had been shocked from her being there. “Nothing to worry about. It’s just the maid of honor…here to help.”

“Sorry, I just…” she looked to see if she could see anyone before shaking her head slowly. “Oh forget it.”

“Everything okay,” Heather questioned seeing her nod before motioning her over toward the bed with the bags she had brought over to help Deana with things. “In that case then…we have some make up to do for you and we need to hurry up. We don’t have that long until the wedding, but don’t worry…I promise I will have you ready!”


...to be continued...