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Episode 100

 

Release Date:  August 09, 2009

 Read the episode Recap 

 

Previously...

Jordan found himself attracted to Detective Stephanie Callahan, the LAPD cop assigned to Troy's murder and Scott Kelly's beating.  Stephanie, hiding a secret from her past in New York City, gave him the cold shoulder.  An ex-con named Kyle Fenwick arrived in town, secretly meeting with T.T. and alerting him to the fact that he was planning revenge against David Jennings for setting him up, and Stephanie for sending him to prison.  Stephanie panicked when she learned Kyle had been parolled from prison.  Stormy flew to New York to try to get Kelly to come back, but she refused.  Benji and Sierra made love on the beach after she found Malcolm in bed with Angela Warner.  Later, Sierra told him it was a mistake and went back to school in New York.  Fed up with Benji's troublemaking, Suzanne vowed that she would turn him into a decent human being.  Brett was devastated after signing the papers to have Heather committed to an instution in San Francisco. Miranda spotted Eddie with Quinn Rainer, an old girlfriend from high school, and became immediately jealous.  David sold his forty percent of Sunset Studios to Brooke.  When Jackie found out, she flew to Paris and married Nathan in prison in order to get his ten percent shares in the company.  Alex, upset that she'd alienated her family, began taking pills to mask her emotional pain.  After moving into a new apartment, she took too many pills and fell unconscious.  

 

Read the full season four recap here

 


 

Episode 100

"Money, Power, Revenge, Murder"

 

Feeling her way through the dark, she stumbled from room to room.   A single beam of light cut through the blackness, guiding her way.  When she finally came to the fuse box, she pried it open with perfectly manicured hands.  As if she had any mechanical knowledge at all, she pointed the flashlight at the rows of switches and levers and inspected them carefully.

“Do you know what you’re doing?” asked her client. 

“Of course,” she lied, turning a few switches and cringing when nothing happened.  This was the last time she conducted business at night.   Being a realtor in L.A. was hard enough without the occasional power outage.  She could sense her client losing confidence. 

“It doesn’t look like a blackout,” her client, Kyle Fenwick said when he glanced through the floor to ceiling windows and saw that the rest of the city had power.  “Besides, I smell smoke.” 

Ivana Austin-Brown swallowed hard, snaking her light across the expansive living room.  This was by far the worst showing she’d had all month.  It beat the barking Dobermans at the house in Brentwood, and the dead seal that washed up on the shore of the house in Malibu.  She'd only made commission twice this month, and this latest fiasco wasn’t going to push her to her goal. 

“Relax, I know you’re going to love this place,” she said, all business, sniffing out the source of the burning smell.   “It’s the most luxurious high-rise in Beverly Hills.  Just look at the square footage.”

“I would if I could see it,” Kyle said succinctly.  “But I told you I wanted a place on the beach.  I’m not interested in living in a high-rise in Beverly Hills.”

Ivana refused to let his complaining stop her from making the sale.  She’d sold the place next door just days ago and it was the easiest sale of her career.  If she could sell to an actress of her legendary status then she could certainly sell to this guy.

“What’s that?” Kyle asked, taking the flashlight from her and aiming it at the wall outlet across the room.  “There’s smoking coming through there.  This place is on fire,” he added grimly.

“What? Are you sure?”

“Yes, and it’s coming from the unit next door.” He took her by the arm and led her through the darkness to the door.   

Alex Reynolds

Sitting alone in the dark on the floor in her half-furnished apartment in a Beverly Hills high-rise, Alex Reynolds hugged her knees to her chest, sipping from a glass of vodka.  In her hand was a picture of a young Stormy and Miranda; another of a baby only days old.  Beside her, her trusty bottle of muscle relaxers which was now empty.  They were the only things that were getting her through the last few days.   She’d lost track of how many she’d taken that day.  When they ran out, she substituted with Vicodin, which seemed to do the trick, but only for a few fleeting hours.  Once they wore off, she was back to feeling like the lowest person on earth.

Her eyes felt droopy and her limbs felt like they weighed a thousand pounds each.  She craved sleep.  Slowly, she faded in and out of consciousness.  Maybe she’d taken too many pills?  Maybe the vodka wasn’t helping.  What if she didn’t wake up?  Who would find her in the morning?  No one even knew where her new apartment was.  Not Miranda, not Jordan.  No one.  

Unable to fight it any longer, she closed her eyes.  Moments later, she slumped to the floor on her side.  Beside her, the spilled glass of vodka seeped into the carpet, spread to the wall behind her, and sparked an electrical surge inside the wall outlet.  The lights flickered on and off.  Smoke began seeping from the wall into the apartment. 

Kyle and the realtor stood outside in the hall, pounding on the door in hopes of finding someone home.  If there was, they’d have to be warned.

“I sold this place a couple of days ago,” Ivana said, looking panicked.  “I might still have a key.”  With that, she pulled a mammoth key ring from her purse and fumbled through dozens of identical keys.

Kyle flashed her an incredulous look before standing back and kicking the door wide open.  Once inside, he could see the haze of smoke in the air, and the crumpled body of a woman lying across the room. 

Quickly, he darted over and knelt down beside Alex, searching for a pulse in her wrist. It was very weak.  “Call an ambulance,” he said to Ivana before racing back into the hall and pulling a fire extinguisher from the wall.  Aiming it at the wall outlet, he pulled the handle and got the fire out before it spread further. 

After making the call, Ivana looked at him and said very seriously, “so, what do you think of the apartment?”

David Jenner

At six a.m., David Jennings was already nearing the end of his daily five-mile run up and down Malibu Beach.  He loved keeping in shape and it showed.  Strong calf muscles, rock hard abs, and a defined upper torso.   He was thirty-seven, movie-star handsome, with jet-black hair, rugged features, and majorly wealthy.  Inherited from his father was a portfolio of luxurious hotels, casinos, and resorts.  His newest, a mega-resort called Moonshadows, had opened less than a year ago just a few miles down the coast.

David lived in an ultra-modern house in Malibu complete with a glimmering swimming pool, a fully loaded gym, a state-of-the art theatre, and a six car garage which housed several expensive foreign sports cars.  When he reached the end of his run, he jogged up to the patio and grabbed a bottle of water from his outdoor kitchen.  After swallowing half in several eager gulps, his attention turned to the sound of his cell phone ringing.  It was his mother calling from her suite at Moonshadows.

“Finally,” he said after answering, still in bated breath.  “Care to tell me where you’ve been?”

“I had to take care of some business,” Jacqueline - or Jackie as she was better known – Lamont replied from the expansive terrace that jutted out from her room.  “Don’t tell me you were worried about your mother.”

“After that blowup the other day at Sunset Studios I wasn’t sure what you might do.  You have to admit you can be kind of impetuous, Mother.”   He knew she wasn’t pleased that he’d sold his forty percent of the studio to Brooke, his half-sister, the product of his father’s affair with Roz Taylor.  That, coupled with Jackie’s belief that she was the rightful owner of the studio, hadn’t sat well with her.

“Me?” she asked coyly.  “Never.”

David rolled his eyes.  “So where were you?  What kind of business?”

“You’ll find out,” she said secretively.  “I’m sure I’ll talk to you later.”

“Are you dismissing me?” he asked, purposely needling her.

“Yes, David, I am,” she said and clicked off her phone. 

Laughing, David snapped his phone shut and turned to the door.  It was good to know that at her age, his mother hadn’t lost her penchant for the dramatics.  He supposed it was part of her charm. 

Attached to the patio door with a thin strip of tape was a small white envelope, his name inscribed beautifully on the front.  Inside he found a small Cartier card with one simple word scrawled on the front.  Money.  On the back the mysterious invitation continued.  Tonight.  Eight o’clock.  Blackthorne mansion. 

Was it an invitation to James’ special screening of Angel Assassin 2 at his house tonight?  He’d already gotten the verbal invite.  Maybe this was a formality.  Whatever.  He’d already told James he’d be there.  He walked inside and threw it on the counter with his phone.

James Blackthorne

The restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire was known for its world famous breakfast, so James Blackthorne frequented it often.  The hostess led him to a private booth, poured two steaming cups of hot coffee, and asked if he’d like to order.  He told her he’d wait until his guest returned from the powder room.   While he waited, he studied the menu carefully, although he already knew what he was going to order.  Eggs Benedict.  He always ordered eggs Benedict at the Beverly Wilshire.  It was the best in town. 

At forty-eight, James was a distinguished looking man with a shock of thick brown hair and coal eyes.  Tall and statuesque, he oozed Hollywood power and influence.  As part owner of Sunset Studios, he was recognized everywhere he went by the most prominent people in the business. 

Part owner.  The phrase had a particularly bitter feel to it.  Until recently, he’d been sole owner, having shaped the studio over the decades into what it now was.  Not that sharing control with his ex-wife was a terrible thing  - he’d rather it be her than any stranger with ulterior motives.  Brooke had its best interests at heart.  Once she was up to snuff on some specifics, she’d be a powerful partner.  Still, he couldn’t help but feel like a failure for letting total control slip through his fingers in the first place.

Heads turned when Renee DeWitt walked in, clad in a lime green Versace creation with plenty of daring cleavage.  James stood up respectfully as she approached.  Conversations stopped as people observed this vibrant black woman with stunning good looks.   Renee was not a movie star but she looked every bit the part.  She was forty-seven, classically beautiful with clouds of black curls framing her face. 

“Sorry, had to powder my nose,” she said and took her seat across from him. 

“Understood.  Do you know what you’d like to order?"

“Eggs Benedict, of course,” she said when the waiter approached. 

“Two,” James said and handed their menus to him.   “Are you coming to the screening at the house tonight?” he asked once they were alone. 

“Of course,” she singsonged.  “I live there, remember?  No excuse not to.”

“Just checking.”

The subject caused Renee to teeter off in another direction.  “If I’m in the way there, you can always say so.  Don’t worry about hurting my feelings.  I can always call Ivana and have her find me a house.  I was going to eventually anyway.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” James admonished.  “You’re one of my best friends.  I love having you at the mansion.  Besides, we’re not exactly cramped for space as you may have noticed.”

“If you say so.  But the earthquake was months ago.  It’s time I should find my own place.  I don’t want to overstay my welcome.”

“Enough,” James huffed.  Truthfully, since his divorce from Alex, and then from Brooke, he welcomed another adult in the house.  It balanced the occasional childish antics from Stormy and Miranda, his spirited children.   Speaking of children, “how is Sierra?  All settled back into school?”

“Yes she is,” she replied, sipping her coffee.  “And I already miss her.  I worry about her so much.  I didn’t realize how impressionable she was until this last visit.  I hate seeing her hurt.  I just want to protect her all the time.”

“But you can’t.  I go through the same thing with Stormy and Miranda and they’re halfway to thirty.”

“Great,” she said, rolling her expressive brown eyes in an exaggerated fashion.

The hostess appeared again, this time handing James a small white envelope.  “This was just left for you, Mr. Blackthorne.”

“Thank you.”  He smiled cordially and glanced curiously at Renee.  “I wonder what it is.” 

“Looks like an invitation,” Renee observed.

He slid out a small white card and read the single word printed on the front.  Power.  On the back was Tonight.  Eight o’clock.  Blackthorne mansion.

“Odd,” he said, turning the card over in his hand a few times.  “An invitation to my own house?  What’s this supposed to mean?”

“Does it say who it’s from?”

“No,” James replied, all casual.  He stuffed it in his pocket and grinned as their food came.

“Well aren’t you curious?”  Renee asked, folding her napkin in her lap.

“Not especially,” he said, shoving a forkful of eggs Benedict in his mouth.  “Probably from one of the people involved with the film.  Dig in.  They’ve outdone themselves this time.”

Jackie Lamont

Stepping inside from the terrace, Jackie Blackthorne fanned her skin with a envelope.  It was mid-August in Southern California and they were experiencing something of a heat wave.  She slid out of her robe, revealing a stunning two-piece bikini underneath.  If anyone had told her that at sixty years old she’d still be able to pull off a two-piece bathing suit she’d have thought they were crazy.  But with help from her favorite plastic surgeon, a great trainer, and a steady diet of no carbs and no fat, she looked better than she had at forty.

The doorbell caught her attention and she stalked across the room, her high-heeled Jimmy Choo’s digging into the thick pile carpet.  She pulled the door open with a flourish, smiling at the young man standing in the hall.

“All taken care of,” he said, unable to take his eyes off of her firm and toned body.  He couldn’t believe his luck landing a job as her gofer.  “Anything else?”

“Yes, Steven.  I have one more delivery for you to make,” Jackie said and handed him the white envelope.  “This one is very important.  It must get there without fail.”

"You got it, Mrs. Blackthorne,” Steven, the eager, energetic young man said, taking the envelope from her and turning back down the hallway. 

Closing the door, Jackie clamped down on one long shiny fingernail as she strolled across the room.  She was positively giddy with excitement.  In just a few short hours she would finally be on her way to getting everything she wanted.

Alex Reynolds

After being admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center the night before, Alex was taken to intensive care where her stomach was pumped and she’d been put on a breathing apparatus.  Dr. Noel Farraday, a longtime friend and personal physician of Alex’s, had done his best to keep the star’s hospitalization from the media.  So far it had worked.  The young man who had brought her in deposited her to the emergency room and then vanished.  A call came in later inquiring about her condition.  Dr. Farraday assumed it was the young man.

When the actress awoke early in the morning, they asked her if there was anyone she wanted them to contact.  In her disconnected state, she muttered a soft “No,” and then fell back asleep. 

By sunrise, she was still groggy, but could finally keep her eyelids open.  The nurse brought her a tray of egg whites, dry toast, and a cup of fruit.  After taking her vitals, she left her to her breakfast.

Alex Reynolds.  Revered actress, wife, and mother.  She was a dazzling glamour queen with massive lashes, resplendent auburn hair, and taut, toned skin.   She held on to the belief that forty was the new twenty, and at forty-seven, she rivaled many of the young bombshells who traveled to Hollywood in search of stardom.  Even with her washed out, makeup-free face and flattered hair as she lay in her hospital bed, she put others to shame.

Yet despite her appearance, she had never felt more alone in her life.  No amount of beauty could change that.  Her children, both in their mid twenties, wanted nothing to do with her.  Her first husband, once a valued confidant, had renewed his detest for her.  And most recently, her current husband had served her with divorce papers.

So what was a woman in her position to do but turn to medicating herself?  It was perfectly harmless.  She didn’t even remember how many pills she’d taken the night before, or how much alcohol she’d washed them down with.  Now she felt foolish.  She refused to let anyone know what she’d done. 

Much to her surprise, Ivana Austin-Brown paid her a visit while she attempted to swallow a piece of wheat toast.  How did her realtor know she was in the hospital?

“You gave us quite a scare last night,” Ivana said, setting her purse on the chair.  “I’m so glad you’re okay.  I want you to know that I took care of the smoke damage in your apartment.  And I’m having an electrician take a look at the wiring.”  She flashed a guilty smile.  “I should have probably known that it needed electrical work before I sold it to you.”

“Smoke damage?” Alex asked.  She was beyond confused.

“Last night.  Water or something came in contact with some faulty wiring and starting an electrical fire in your apartment.  Luckily I was showing the place next door when it happened and we smelled the smoke.  I hate to think what would have happened if no one had been there.”

This was all news to Alex, but she was grateful.  “Well, thank you, Ivana.  If there’s anything I can do to repay you-“

“It wasn’t just me,” she said expressively.  “My client broke down the door and gave you CPR until the paramedics arrived.  He was the true hero.”

“I’d like to thank him.  Who is he?”

The realtor winced with a shrug.  “He prefers anonymity.  But I’ll tell him for you.”

Alex sighed and leaned back against her pillow.  She felt ridiculous for having caused such a stir.  “I don’t even remember what happened.”

“We found the empty bottles of pills,” Ivana told her.  “Alex, is everything okay?”

She could read the look in the woman’s eyes and it infuriated her.  “I know what you’re thinking, but I did not take those pills on purpose.  I just lost track of how many I’d taken.”

“Oh, of course,” Ivana claimed unconvincingly.  “That’s exactly what I thought.”

But Alex knew she didn’t believe her.  “Just please don’t tell anyone about this,” she told her.  “I just want to forget it ever happened.”

Covering her mouth with her hands, Ivana winced again.  “Oh, was I not supposed to tell anyone?”

Jordan Rydell

Sitting on the deck of his forty foot yacht while docked at the marina, Jordan Rydell felt completely at ease.  The sun was shining, the seagulls were flying about, and he had a cooler of his favorite beer at his side.  What more could anyone want?  Dressed in shorts, a t-shirt, and a Lakers cap, he sunned himself on the deck while closing his eyes from behind Dolce & Gabbana blackout shades.  He had a stocky build, dirty blond hair and a deep suntan.  Once a favorite with hookers and Hollywood hopefuls, he’d spent the last four years in and out of marriage to Alex Reynolds. 

Jordan, movie producer and CEO of Rydell Productions, had spent the better part of the last year in constant turmoil, starting with his daughter, Heather, suffering a mental breakdown and being shipped off to an institution.  Being faced with the return of his ex-wife, and the disillusion of his marriage to his current wife, he barely had enough energy left for his son, who was nineteen and had plenty of attitude, who appeared to have been on a mission to destroy him for a clouded view of his mother’s disappearance.

With all of that behind him, and now in his late forties, Jordan was tired.  Tired of trying to hold his family together, tired of trying to compete with studios mega times the size of his, and tired of trying to please everyone.  What he wanted now was to sit, relax, and enjoy himself.

He removed his sunglasses when a shadow loomed above, shielding his eyes from the sun and gazed at Suzanne Rogers, his ex-wife, as she boarded the deck of the yacht.

"Thought you might have gone missing," she said.  "You didn't come back to the house last night after we got home from San Francisco." 

San Francisco.  Where his daughter now resided in said mental institution.  He hadn't felt like going home.  Instead he spent the night on his yacht, the only place he felt like he could get away from the madness. 

"Sorry, I needed to be alone.  Besides, it seemed like you had your hands full with Benji," he said.  "Nice outburst, by the way.  Was it for real?"

"Yes it was for real,” Suzanne admonished.  “I have every intention of turning him into a decent human being, but I can’t do it alone.  I need your help, Jordan, and I can’t do that when you’re off in your man cave.”

He slipped his shades back on and laid back onto his lounger.  “Sorry, you’re going to have to.” 

“Excuse me?” she exclaimed.

Suzanne Rogers was forty-six with long locks of chestnut hair that framed her narrow face.  Jordan remembered why he’d fallen in love with her as a teenager.  Her tall frame and athletic figure were enough of a turn on, but she still exhibited enough femininity to challenge even the most willful of men.  Ethereal and soft spoken, she was a sharp contrast to many Hollywood stars. 

“I’ve spent the last year dealing with Benji and his antics.  Now that you’re back I figure it’s your turn.”

My turn?  This isn’t charades, Jordan, this is our son we’re talking about.  He needs both of his parents to teach him right from wrong.  He nearly killed a man with a baseball bat.  I can’t take that on myself.  Don’t turn your back on him, or on me.”

“I’m not turning my back on either of you.  I’ll be here just like I always have.  Good ol’ Jordan to the rescue.  But I haven’t been able to get through to him.  The first time I saw a glimpse of humanity in him was the other day when you went off on him.  I’m saying maybe you should keep trying.  You may be exactly what he needs to snap out of this rage he’s in.”

Suzanne threw her hands up in resignation.  “Meanwhile you’re spending all day on your yacht getting hammered.”

He shook his head stubbornly.  “No, I’m also golfing later.” 

Miranda Blackthorne

“Where’ve you been?” Miranda Blackthorne demanded, stony-faced.  “I waited at home for you all morning.  I thought you were coming straight there from the airport.”

“Sorry,” her brother, Stormy replied as he hovered over Brooke Taylor’s shoulder in her new office at Sunset Studios.  “I was anxious to get back to work so I came straight here.”

Miranda pursed her lips into a pout.  “Well I needed to talk to you,” she said.  “It’s important.  It’s about Eddie.”

“Tell you what.  Let me help Brooke get her computer situated and then we’ll talk.  Okay?”

“All right,” she said, still uptight. 

Miranda Blackthorne was a feisty young woman of twenty-four who sometimes acted her age and sometimes didn’t.  Her father, James, would still refer to her as his baby.  Other men, like David Jennings and Brett Armstrong, who knew her intimately, would see her as a grown woman – with the occasional bout of bratty selfishness.  But who didn’t have days like that?  A rare beauty, Miranda had a well-toned body, long black hair, high cheekbones and stood five feet six inches tall.  A scar on her left cheek served as a bitter reminder of the earthquake that had burned her severely.  James had of course flown in the best plastic surgeon in the country, who did a miraculous job of repairing the damage.  Within a few months, and after multiple laser treatments, she was promised that the scar would be barely visible. 

“Then you press update and it sends everything to the server,” Stormy was saying, still hovering behind Brooke at her desk.  “Got it?”

“Piece of cake,” she said with a smile as she swiveled around in her chair.  She fixed her aquamarine eyes on her surroundings, quite pleased with herself for diving head first into her new venture.  Six months ago she would have never thought she’d be co-owner of a major motion picture studio.  She’d gone from selling lipstick and foundation in a department store, to doing stage makeup for Sunset Studios, to being a full time mom.  Now, with money left to her from Ethan’s estate, she could do so much more.  And did she ever have plans.  She was smart, savvy, drop dead beautiful with long blond hair and luscious lips.  At only thirty years old, she had her whole life in front of her.

“Daddy told me you bought David’s shares,” Miranda spoke up.  “I think that’s great, Brooke.  Ethan would have been happy.”

“I think so too,” she said, beaming.  “I’m counting on Stormy here to catch me up to speed on everything.  I don’t want James to think I’m deadweight.”  

“Stick with me and you’ll be fine,” Ryan "Stormy" Blackthorne joked.  He was broodingly handsome; jet black hair, dark eyes, and a strong jaw line.  A tight, fit body that was stamped with multiple tattoos lent him a kind of rebellious nature.  Those who knew him best, however, knew he was nothing if not caring and considerate. 

“So what’s going on with you and Eddie?” Brooke asked Miranda, gulping down her second cup of strong black coffee.  “He is such a sweetheart.  I hope this thing works out between you.”

“It might if he wasn’t already playing around on me.”

“Seriously?” Stormy inquired, his eyes wide.  Quinn Rainer?”

“Sure looks that way.” 

“Wait a minute,” Brooke asked, hoping to get caught up to date.  “Who’s Quinn Rainer?”

“A girl we went to high school with,” Stormy answered.  “She and Eddie dated for a while.  Apparently they’ve been seeing each other.”

Brooke’s mouth gaped open in shock.  “No!  That doesn’t seem possible.  Eddie isn’t a two-timer.”

Stormy chuckled.  “You don’t know Eddie,” he said.

Miranda shot him a cool stare and folded her arms angrily.  “It’s true, Brooke.  I saw them outside a store on Rodeo Drive, and then again in Eddie’s office.  They were drinking wine and everything.”

After considering the possibilities, Stormy decided there had to be more to it.  “No, Eddie may have been a ladies man in the past, but I know how he feels about you, little sister.  And Quinn Rainer is no home wrecker.  There’s got to be something else going on.”

“Like what?” Miranda demanded. 

Before either one could offer up another scenario, James swooped into the office and spotted them all gathered around Brooke’s desk.  “Good morning everyone,” he said, kissing Miranda on the forehead and giving Stormy a firm pat on the shoulder.  “Welcome back, son.  How was New York?”

“Noisy.”

“And Kelly?”

“Don’t ask,” Stormy quipped.

Point taken.  James swiftly changed subjects while handing Brooke a small white envelope.   “This was left for you at the reception desk.  You can open it but I have a feeling I already know what it is.”

“What is it?” Brooke asked, opening the envelope and inspecting the cryptic inscription on the front.  Revenge.   She turned it over to the opposite side.  “I don’t get it.  It’s an invitation to your house tonight.  Does this have to do with the private screening?”

“I’m beginning to think it does,” James groaned.  “I got one of these myself.”

“But why?”

“Someone obviously wants to get our attention,” James decided, “and they plan on revealing themselves tonight.”

Brett Armstrong

For the second day Brett Armstrong was running late, and late was not an option because his father-in-law, whom he also worked for, was taking a leave of absence, leaving him in charge of Rydell Productions. 

Violet, his nine month old baby, had fussed and cried all morning, refused to take her bottle, spit up on his cashmere blazer, and turned the small kitchen in his marina condo into a disaster area.  On top of that, the nanny he’d just hired through a service didn’t show up.   Finally, after getting his infant daughter to eat something, she fell asleep in his arms.  Brett walked slowly to the bassinette in the next room and placed her gently inside. 

Staring down at her tuft of blond hair and tiny fingers, he became quite relaxed again.  All the trouble, all the late starts, and all the spit up in the world was worth it to him when he looked at his baby girl.  His baby girl.  He’d never had anyone count on him before, and he liked it.  Anyone except for Heather, that is.  In their two year marriage they’d weathered many storms, culminating with her eventual breakdown.  After being programmed for over a year by Victor Distefano, madman, she’d finally snapped.  The truth about Suzanne and about Heather’s accident and operation were out, but the damage had taken its toll.  She would be locked up in an institution in San Francisco for the next eighteen months.  It had only been two days and he was already ready for her to come back.  Violet needed her.  He needed her. 

The replacement nanny was supposedly on her way, so Brett quickly went to change out of his soiled clothes.  Standing in his closet, he stripped off his shirt to reveal a tight, sculpted body and six pack abs.  He was thirty-one and boy-next-door handsome with thick blond hair, blue eyes, and a deep suntan.  He was next-in-charge of Rydell Productions, Jordan’s struggling movie studio. 

When the doorbell rang, he uttered a sigh of relief and swooped into the next room.  As he pulled open the door, he was startled to find Marilee Wells-Walker standing in the hall, a wickedly seductive smile on her full, jammy red lips. 

“I came to see if there’s anything you need,” said the fifty-year old business dynamo.  She was in spectacular shape for her age, stunning in her own right, with short blond hair and ample cleavage.  Despite the trouble her late-husband, Congressman Walker, had caused, she kept his name because of the connections it provided her. 

“Excuse me?” he asked incredulously, then shook his head.  “Marilee, I was expecting the nanny.  I’m major late.”

She gestured down the hallway and offered an unapologetic giggle.  “She was just here.  I sent her away.”

“You what?” Brett exclaimed, dashing into the hallway to see if he could catch replacement nanny.  When he saw that the elevator doors were closed and the hall was empty, he sighed and leaned against the wall.  “Why would you do that?”

“Because I’m here to offer my assistance,” Marilee told him, tugging at the straps on her beige custom camisole.  “I happen to be a whiz with kids.  True, I don’t have any of my own, but trust me, kids adore me.” 

“For crissake!” he said, frustrated and angry.  “I’m not playing around here.  I have to go to work and I’m not leaving my daughter with….you.”

“Don’t be like that.”  She followed him back inside the condo.  Her eyes traveled up and down his bare torso.  “I want to help.”

“Really,” he said dismissively, wondering if the service would even consider sending a third replacement nanny after he’d inadvertently wasted their time.  He was stuck. 

He and Marilee had had plenty of hot, steamy sex while she was married to Seth.  It was the only reason Seth hired him to work for him – to keep his wife occupied while he robbed her blind.  It hadn’t taken long for her to learn that Heather was temporarily out of the picture.  He could tell by the hungry look in her eyes that she was after more than a babysitting gig.

She came up behind him and began massaging his shoulders.  “Poor man all alone with a baby to look after.  It’s going to be nothing but bottle feedings and diaper changes for some time to come.  Why don’t you let me relieve some of that pressure?”

He closed his eyes, unable to deny how good her hands felt on his stiff neck and shoulders.  No way would he let it go further.  He was still married, and he loved his wife.  Eighteen months would fly by.  The old Brett would have jumped at the chance to reconnect with a hot piece of ass like Marilee, but not the new Brett. 

“This is a bad idea,” he finally said, turning to face her. 

She licked her lips and stripped off her camisole.  “I can’t think of a better idea,” she purred, leading him to the sofa and straddling him.  “I can’t send you off to work in this state.”

“No, really, I’m fine.”  Despite his best efforts, he instantly grew hard. 

Ignoring his protests, she reached behind her and undid a clasp, her mammoth breasts tumbling out of her white satin bra.  “You keep saying that but I don’t believe you,” she whispered in his ear, teasing him by allowing her erect nipples to dance across his bare chest. 

Instinctively, his hands went to cup her breasts.  No sooner had they made contact did he quickly lift her off of him and expertly slid out from beneath her. 

“I can’t, I’m sorry,” he said, perspiring from the temptation.  “I’m married and I love my wife.”

“But we always had such a great time-“ Marilee began, slipping her bra back on. 

“Yes, and I’ll cherish them always.”  He shoved her camisole over to her and ushered her to the door.  “But you’re going to have to go, Marilee.  I’m sorry.”

“What about your babysitter?”

“I’ll think of something,” he said, quickly closing the door between them. 

That was a close call, he thought, leaning against the door and struggling to catch his breath.

Cedars-Sinai

Thanks to Ivana, news of Alex’s alleged attempted suicide hit the media at noon that day.  Every news station broke into programming with special bulletins.  A throng of reporters gathered on the grounds of Cedars-Sinai.  When James, Stormy and Miranda arrived, they were chased all the way to the doors, microphones thrust at them from every direction. 

“Did you know your ex-wife was suicidal?”

“Does Miss Reynolds’ suicide attempt have anything to do with alleged hostility on the set of Angel Assassin 2?”

“Will this development push back next months’ release of the film?”

Expertly avoiding their questions, James led his children inside and up the elevator to the intensive care unit.  Once there, they gathered outside Alex’s private room. 

“Your mother is probably feeling very insecure right now,” James explained.  “Try not to say anything that might set her off.  We don’t want another repeat of last night.”

“I can’t believe she resorted to this,” Miranda said thoughtfully.  “When I think of the last conversation I had with her...  I just feel awful.”

“Me too,” Stormy agreed.  “I’ve been so busy blaming her for my failed marriage to Kelly that I didn’t bother to stop and see how it affected her.” 

“We’ve all been dismissive with her lately,” James grumbled.  “But we can’t hold onto our anger.  Not now.  One wrong word and it might prompt her to try this again.” 

Alex Reynolds

“Ivana, call me as soon as you get this,” Alex said form her hospital bed.  She held the phone receiver to her ear, suddenly overcome with the need to know more information about the night before.  “I have to know who your client is.  The man who saved my life.  I know he wants to remain anonymous so I won’t say anything to him, but I have to know for my own peace of mind.  Please call me.”

She hung up the phone and turned on the television, appalled by the coverage of her near death experience.  She didn’t even blame Ivana for gossiping.  She blamed herself for setting this whole thing into motion.  The worst part was that people actually believed she wanted to die.  It was an accident, didn’t they see that?

Kyle Fenwick

“Someone wants to thank you in person,” Ivana chirped, quite proud of herself.  She finished listening to her voice messages before re-joining Kyle Fenwick inside the empty living room of a sprawling house on the market in Malibu.

“This is more like it,” he said, taking in the breathtaking views from the one-hundred and eighty degree floor to ceiling windows.  “This is where I need to be living.  Who are the neighbors?”

“The Cox-Arquette’s live to your right.  Behind you is that high-pitched talking actress from that NBC comedy, and two houses to the left is David Jennings.”  A pause while she waived a hand dismissively through the air.  “I know, not a celebrity, but he is filthy rich and owns a mega resort down the beach.”

Kyle removed his black Porsche sunglasses to reveal dark, foreboding green eyes.  He was thirty-two years old and had closely cropped dirty blond hair, bulging arm muscles beneath his simple grey t-shirt, and a trademark two-day stubble. 

“Jennings,” he murmured.  The man who was responsible for sending him to prison for three long, miserable years.   The same man who, along with his father, tried to destroy him.  Them and that bitch cop.  Well now it was his turn.   Maybe shacking up in the house two doors down wasn’t the best approach, however. 

“What do you think?” Ivana asked, standing back and surveying the space. 

“Maybe we should keep looking.”

Stephanie Callahan

Stephanie Callahan lived in a modest bungalow tucked away in Burbank.  Nothing special to it.  Two small bedrooms, a tiny kitchen, a cramped living room, and a miniscule yard with a spool.  It suited her fine and provided much more living space than her confined four hundred square foot apartment in New York.  

It was her afternoon off and she planned on using it to run errands, phone her sister in Rochester, and clean her Smith & Wesson collection.  Quite a life for a thirty-seven year old woman.  While her five sisters back in New York were all getting married and spitting out children, she was working seventy hours a week as the newest detective with the LAPD.  No time for hookups or marriage, and certainly not children.  Not that she couldn’t if she wanted to.  She was beautiful in her own right.  An athletic body with an oval face, big brown eyes and long dark hair that she often tied back in a no-nonsense ponytail.   She was married to her career and that was that. 

After collecting her purse, car keys, and a roll of transparent tape from the kitchen drawer, she headed outside.  Her cell phone rang and she answered it while setting the alarm. 

“Working on a big case?’ said Jordan from his golf cart.

As much as she resisted, a smile spread across her face.  “No, I’m actually off today.”

“You?  A day off?”

“Crazy, huh?” she asked, playing along. 

“You got that right.   We should meet.  I’m thinking dinner at Spago.”

“I’m thinking not a chance,” Stephanie replied, locking the three deadbolts.

“Why not?”  He arrived at his next flagstick and jumped out of the cart.  “You need to loosen up a little.”

“Which is exactly why I won’t have dinner with you.  I don’t need someone telling me I need to loosen up, thank you.  Besides, the last time we talked you called me a ball busting bitch.” 

Silence while he considered his approach.  “You didn’t take that as a compliment?  Because that's how I meant it."

“Goodbye, Mr. Rydell.”  She shook her head with a good-natured laugh and dropped her cell phone into her purse.  Jordan Rydell was attractive, sexy, smart, funny, and had every other quality that any woman would kill for.  She, however, was not any woman, and she wasn’t on the market for a relationship.  Relationships, especially in her line of work, had a way of putting people in danger.  She’d never make that mistake again.

She tore two pieces of invisible tape from the dispenser, securing them discreetly across the seam between the door and the frame.   She was in full defense mode, on high alert since learning of Kyle Fenwick’s release from prison.  She wasn’t about to take any chances. 

Slipping on a pair of shades, she scanned the street and walked down the steps to her detached garage.

Miranda Blackthorne

“Why didn’t you call us?” Miranda wanted to know.

“I didn’t want to bother anyone.”

“Bother?  You’re our mother.  You could have died.  I would never forgive myself if anything had happened and the last time we talked, we-“

“I’m fine,” Alex maintained, perched against a cushion of pillows.  “It was just an accident.  I had a headache and I took too many painkillers, that’s all.   Really.  The media is turning this into far more serious of an issue than it needs to be.”

Stormy hung back silently.  His mother had infuriated him over her refusal to accept Kelly into his life, but he was relieved that she was okay.  Like Miranda, he would have never been able to forgive himself if she hadn’t pulled through. 

“Dr. Farraday said you had muscle relaxers and vicodin in your system,” Miranda said sharply.   "Plus alcohol.  Mother, what were you thinking?”

“I wasn’t thinking, Sweetheart,” she said, squeezing her hand in hers.  “It’s been difficult lately, what with the drama surrounding the movie and my marriage ending.  I got stressed.  And when I get stressed I get headaches that won’t go away.  It was a mistake, honestly.”

Miranda and Stormy exchanged worried glances.  It didn’t seem possible that their mother would simply forget how many pills she’d taken.  Their perception of her account was different than hers.

“You don’t believe me,” Alex said on automatic pilot.  She’d gotten used to the suspicious looks from the doctors and nurses filing in and out of her room over the past day.  “You think I took all those pills on purpose, don’t you?”

“Well, mom, you have been kind of dealt with a lot lately,” Stormy spoke up, moving toward the hospital bed.  “It didn’t help that I turned my back on you.”

“And it didn’t help that I did either,” Miranda said, nodding. 

Alex laughed.  “I did not try to kill myself.  I didn’t have any dinner, I had a drink, and I took a few pills to get rid of my headache.  You have to believe me.”

Miranda could see that she was getting upset so she squeezed her hand in hers.  “Okay, okay.  We believe you.  We’re just glad that you’re okay.”

She smiled, relieved that she didn’t have to explain herself anymore.  “Where’s your father?  Did he come?”

“Outside,” Stormy told her, nodding toward the door.

“Ah,” she sighed, realizing it was to be expected.  The last few verbal exchanges with James had been bitter.  She didn’t know that she wanted to speak to him again.  “What about Jordan?”

Miranda looked at her brother, searching for an appropriate response. “We didn’t think to call him,” she said apologetically.  “I don’t even know where he is.  Brett said he was taking some time off since the whole thing with Heather.”

“Of course, and he should,” Alex said, admittedly a little sad that her husband didn’t even care that she nearly died.  Granted, they wouldn’t be married for much longer, but even still…

“You sure you’re okay?” Stormy asked, digging his hands in his pockets.

She nodded in response.  “Has there been anyone else here?  A man?”   She wanted to know if Ivana’s client had returned to check on her.  He must be wondering how she was doing after saving her life.  She desperately wanted to thank him.

“Man?” Miranda asked.  “What man?”

Alex shook her head with a sigh.  “Nevermind.  I’m just glad to see you both.”

Benji Rydell

Perched on a mound of sand at Paradise Cove, Benji Rydell stared blankly at the roaring waves that rolled in as the sun began to set.  Seagulls flocked about the water, voices carried from the distance, and the tinny sounds of The Script played on a radio a ways down the beach. 

It had been two days since Sierra left and returned to New York.  Two days that he’d been moping about in misery, his heart aching for the first time over another human being.  Two days since he’d held her in his arms on that very spot of Paradise Cove, kissed her soft lips, and made love to her next to a blazing fire.  She was all he thought about.  Her smile, her warm sense of humor, her calming voice.  Never in his nineteen years had he experienced these feelings. 

The problem was she didn’t feel the same way.  She’d been in love with Malcolm, who hurt her terribly, so she turned to Benji.  For him it was real, but for Sierra, she was seeking comfort in someone’s arms.  Even still, he was convinced she had to have some feelings for him in order to give him her virginity. 

Standing over six feet two inches tall, Benji had golden bronzed skin, short brown hair, and a cut, lean body.  He’d weathered many upsets in the past year, mostly dealing with his mother whom he thought his father had murdered, then with her returning, very much alive, culminating with the realization that both of his parents had lied to him for his entire life about what had happened that night when he was five years old.

None of that seemed to matter now.  How was he supposed to get through the last few weeks of summer?  He could see himself compulsively driving to Paradise Cove and mourning the loss of someone who he desperately wanted in his life.  He would relive every moment of his night with Sierra, every word they spoke, and every gentle touch of her skin against his.  He could see himself jumping every time the phone rang or he got a text message, wondering if it would be her.  She couldn’t cut him out of her life, could she? 

Before he knew it, he was texting her.  I miss you, he typed into the keypad of his blackberry.  An eternity later, she finally replied.  Me too. 

This got Benji’s hopes up, so his fingers flew into action, typing out another message to her.  Please come back.  After several excruciating minutes, the text alert sent his heart thudding inside his chest.  Not now.  Maybe soon.  Please understand? 

Groaning, he slid the cover over his phone and lowered his head.  He didn’t understand.  Did she or didn’t she feel something for him?  Fifty times in the last two days he’d contemplated flying to New York and surprising her, but his head told him it wasn’t the right time.  She needed to work things out, and he intended to let her.

For Sierra, he would wait.

Suzanne Rogers

Suzanne got a call from Mackenzie Stone, the new producer of The Young at Heart, television’s hottest and longest-running daytime-soap.  She’d appeared on the show for two years in the late seventies and hadn’t thought about it much since.  Her interest piqued, she put on the best outfit she owned and went to meet her for lunch at BOA.  However, she wasn’t alone.  In his desperation over childcare issues, Brett had dropped Violet off to a more-than-willing Suzanne.  Any chance to get to know her granddaughter.  As far as her meeting, she’d have to make the best of it.

Mackenzie Stone was far different than the producer Suzanne had worked with thirty years before, Joshua E. Reddy, who ran the show into the ground and had a reputation for choosing his stars based on what happened on the couch in his office.  Mackenzie was smart, vibrant, and loaded with plenty of sex appeal.  She appeared to be about thirty-six or thirty-seven, beautiful dark hair that fell like silk down her back, short Cleopatra bangs, and high cheekbones.  Brash and to-the-point, Mackenzie was nearly all business. 

“I’m trying to make some changes on the show,” she was saying over a dry dirty martini.  “Bringing back old cast members, fan favorites, cutting out all the dead weight and model-actors.  I hate models.  I want actors.  Actors who can act and nobody gives a crud what they look like.  If I see one more dimwit cardboard cutout who acts like they’re reading a cue cards on daytime I swear to God I’ll scratch someone’s eyes out.” 

“I’ve kind of lost touch with the medium since I’ve been away,” Suzanne replied, blinking fiercely while shifting a fussy Violet from one arm to the other.  She used her free hand to cut into her steak – the best in town from what she’d heard – but found the process extremely difficult to manage.  She'd have to take their word for it.

“It hasn’t changed,” Mackenzie said sharply.  “It’s just gotten more ridiculous.  I got the gig as producer six months ago and I warned the network that once we ran the course of current storylines and carried out a few contracts, I was going to make some major changes.”

Suzanne tried to ignore the baby spit-up on her arm.  “You seem very motivated.  I’m just not sure what all this has to do with me.”

“I want you back on the show,” she replied matter-of-factly.  “I was watching some old tapes.  You were wonderful as Faye Richards number two.   By far the best of any of them.  And let’s be honest, Suzanne, your recent personal crises aren’t going to hurt our ratings.  You’re the hot news story of the moment.”

Suzanne opened her mouth to respond but found herself dumbfounded.  “I thought Faye Richards was killed off.  She died in an explosion.”

“They never found her body,” she said, tapping her glossy nails on the table.  “It’s a given that she’d be back.”

“Oh.”

“So listen, here’s what I’m about to offer you.”  Mackenzie wrote a number down on a napkin and slid it across the table.  “That’s per episode.  You’ll be guaranteed four episodes a week.  You’ll have two weeks off in the summer, one that you can float, and I don’t want that baby on the set.  No offense.  I’m sure she’s adorable but kids seem to make people lose their train of thought, which goes back to my whole dumb model philosophy.”

“This is very generous,” Suzanne said, staring at the figure on the napkin.  “And I appreciate the offer, but I don’t really want to go back to acting.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes.  I’ve thought about it and I’m done with all of that.  I want to spend time with my granddaughter.”  She looked at Violet and bounced her happily in her arms.  “I want to get to know my son again, and I want to be there for my daughter during her recovery.  Memorizing sixty pages of dialog a day just doesn’t fit into any of that.”

“If this is a tactic to get me to up the offer…”

“It’s not.”

“Okay, I’m leaving this offer on the table for exactly five seconds.  If you don’t bite then I’m going to take it off the table and that’ll be that.”

“It really is generous,” Suzanne said gently.  “But I have to say no.”

“Very well,” Mackenzie sighed.  “But I sure hope you know what you’re doing.  Family may be important to you now, but trust me, actresses never turn their back on their craft for good.  Sooner or later you’re going to get that itch, and by that time it might just be too late.”

Suzanne wasn’t worried.  Working was the furthest thing from her mind.  All she cared about now was catching up on lost time.

Blackthorne Mansion

Twenty minutes into James’s party, T.T. Levitt arrived, sophisticated as ever in a silk Armani suit with matching coat and top hat.  He was an African-American man of fifty-five and quite dapper.  Owner of Titan Records, with offices in New York and L.A., he was wealthy beyond comprehension. 

“Think I wasn’t showing up?” he asked after snaking his way through the foyer in Renee’s direction.

“Actually I hadn’t noticed,” she said, mildly joking with him.  “I didn’t know you would be here.”

“Oh really?  And the fact that my record company supplied most of the music for the film doesn’t warrant an invitation in your opinion?”

“Oh that,” she said, still toying with him.

“Yes, that.”  He placed a hand along the back of her waist.  “Mind if I sit next to you?”

“Just keep your hands to yourself.”

“You’re not playing fair,” T.T. said, leading her to the door to the basement where James’s newly redesigned state-of-the-art movie theatre was located.

They passed by James who stood with Kenny DeWitt in the richly paneled foyer. 

“Shame so many people involved with the film aren’t here to celebrate this,” Kenny was saying to his best-friend.  Now James’s private retainer attorney, they’d met in college and had been friends ever since.  Kenny was a forty-seven year old black man with a closely cropped afro and a solid, sturdy frame. 

“Kelly, Victor, Frank, Scott.”  The names rolled bitterly off of James’s tongue.  “Then there’s Alex, who won’t be here for other reasons.  Not that she probably would have anyway.  She’s too interested in herself to bother.” 

“Is it true she tried to kill herself?”

He shook his head.  “There’s no telling with Alex.”

Stormy approached and patted his father firmly on the shoulder.  “Should we get started, Dad?”

“Good idea,” he said, beginning to gather the guests’ attention.  “Please make your way down to the theatre and we’ll get the screening started.  Don’t forget to refresh your drinks first.”

Everyone began filing into the basement.  Marilee Wells-Walker stopped on her way and brushed a hand along James’s shoulder.  “I’m really looking forward to this, James.  I know it’s going to be as good as the first.”

“Thank you, Marilee,” he said, then smiled when Brooke and David appeared.  “Well, this is the moment.  Brooke, you’re about to see what your shares in the studio are going to be supporting.”

“Let’s hope it makes us a lot of money,” Brooke said with a wink as she followed him and David down the stairs. 

Once they were gathered in the private screening room with comfortable reclining theatre seating and music surrounding them with tons of hi-def speakers, James realized that they had an uninvited guest in their midst.

“What the devil are you doing here?” he demanded.

“I’m assuming my invitation got lost in the mail,” Jackie purred, standing before the screen, clad in a startling red Versace gown.  “Now, now, James, we’re family.”

“Not exactly,” James murmured under his breath.  He ushered everyone into their seats, hoping to avoid any unpleasant confrontations that may embarrass him in front of his guests. 

“Mother, what are you doing here?” David asked, his eyes flashing major danger signals.  “I think you should leave.”

“And miss all the fun?  Not a chance.  Sit down, David, you’re about to get a lesson in how your father used to operate.”

Brooke watched the woman with contempt.  Everything about her made her blood boil.  The way she spoke to her with such condescension, the way she blamed her for Royce’s affair, and the disturbing way she manipulated David.  It was all very unnatural.

“Some of you may have received my invitations today,” Jackie went on.  “I know they were a bit cryptic, but I’ve never pretended to be anything but pure drama.  And I’m not even an actress.” 

“What’s this all about, Jackie?” James demanded.  “You sent those invitations?”

“Yes.  Naturally I forgot this was the night you were giving your big screening of Angel Assassin 2 and you’d all be here anyway.  Can’t be too careful though.  I want you all to hear this at the same time.”

“Hear what?” Stormy piped in.

“That I’m now in control of ten percent of Sunset Studios,” Jackie revealed.  “I’ll be taking the office next to James's.”

“What?” Brooke asked.  “How?”

“Easy.  I married Nathan yesterday.”

James’s eyes shot open wide.  “That’s not true.”

“Oh it is.  I flew to Paris and arranged for a private ceremony at the prison.”  She reached into her purse and revealed a stack of photographs.  “I have pictures.  You’ll have to excuse the grey jumpsuit.  Not exactly the Gucci tux Nathan wore at our first wedding, but under the circumstances…”

“You married Nathan Blackthorne?” David asked in disbelief.

“Again,” Jackie corrected him.  “And since Nathan held ten percent of the voting shares, they now revert to me being as he’s incapacitated.”

James flipped through the pictures of Jackie standing arm in arm with the man he once looked up to as an idol.  “Even if this is all true, ten percent isn’t going to get you anywhere.  Brooke and I each own forty percent.  You have no power.”

Jackie laughed wickedly.  “Except for one thing.  Nathan’s shares are proxy votes, which means I get to be the tie breaker between you and Brooke.  If you think about it that way, I have just as much power as either of you do.”

Brooke shot up from her seat, walked up to Jackie and glared at her.  “You did this just to stick it to me, didn’t you?”

Feigning innocence, Jackie folded her gloved hands.  “I just want what’s mine, and this is the first step in claiming it.”

Shaking her head, Brooke looked the woman up and down in disgust.  “You married a rapist and child molester just so you could get your hands on James and my company?  You’re sick.”

Her words stung undeniably, but Jackie chose to ignore them.  She’d made her point.  She’d delivered her news.  She was in the door.  Now she would take action.  The entire studio would soon be hers. 

Alex Reynolds

Alex’s release from the hospital happened that night, per her request.  Less chance the media would be swirling.  Miranda, and no one else, dutifully came to escort her home. When they emerged from the building, nightime or not, a group of grazing reporters flocked to the front steps, cameras and microphones ready for action.  They shouted questions at Alex, demanding answers pertaining to her alleged suicide attempt. 

Parting the crowd, Kyle Fenwick approached and stopped a few steps down from them.  “Miss Reynolds, I’m Kyle Fenwick. I believe you’ve been looking for me.”

Miranda looked quizzically at her mother, wondering who this stranger was.

“Are you him?” Alex asked.  “The man who saved my life?”

He smiled sheepishly and looked bashfully at the ground.  A lie.  He wasn’t the bashful type.  He knew the media would be there upon the woman’s release, and what better way to get his story out.  “Yes, although I wouldn’t say I saved your life.  I was just in the right place at the right time.”

Suddenly the reporters turned their cameras, jamming their microphones at him.  “You said Fenwick?  How do you spell that?” several asked. 

“How did you come upon Miss Reynolds at that precise moment?”

“Is it true?  Did she try to kill herself?”

“Are you looking for compensation?  Is that why you’ve come forward now?”

Kyle ignored the reporters and looked straight at Alex.  “I only did what any decent human being would do.”

Alex and Miranda followed him down the steps to the car.  “I really do want to thank you, Mr. Fenwick,” Alex told him.  “Is there any way I can repay you?”

“Not necessary.”

“I want to.  How can I get a hold of you?”

He smiled.  “You’ll see me around.”

A reporter from Image magazine, quick on the take, clicked off her cell phone after getting the skinny on Kyle Fenwick.  Her sources were always lightening fast. 

“Are you the same Kyle Fenwick who was fingered in the New York drug cartel three years ago?” she asked.

Kyle was surprised at how quickly his past caught up to him.  “Allegedly, yes.”

“When did you get out of prison?”

“A few days ago, and I’m innocent of any charges.  I was set up.”

Alex regarded him carefully.  She was floored that the man who had saved her life appeared to be a convict with drug ties.  Suddenly her zeal to locate him seemed like a bad idea. 

“Who set you up?” the reporter inquired.

“David Jennings,” Kyle announced before the entire crowd.  “He used me as a scapegoat to cover up his own involvement with the cartel.”

“Why are you in Los Angeles?  Is it because David Jennings lives here?”

“No.  I’m just trying to start over.”

“What about the other charges?  That you killed a police officer?”

Kyle looked into a camera that was thrust into his face.  “I’m not a murderer.  David Jennings killed that cop.”

The crowd went ballistic, shouting more questions at Kyle as Alex and Miranda watched in dismay. 

After leaving the mansion, David couldn't stop thinking about his mother's melodramatic pronouncement before the screening of Angel Assassin 2.  The fact that she'd married Nathan just to get her hands on ten percent of the studio was drastic, even for her.  She knew what he was.  Granted, he didn't turn into the monster he was today until long after they were married the first time, but she kept up with the latest.  She must be desperate, he thought.  Her announcement sent several guests home early, including Brooke, who refused to spend another minute in the same room with her.  

Speeding down Sunset in his black Ferrari Enzo, he came to a traffic jam.  Halted behind a sea of taillights, his cell phone rang and he fished it from the seat beside him.  

"Jennings," he answered, wondering if it was his mother asking about how the rest of the evening went and did anyone say anything about her.  They said plenty, he thought to himself.  

To his surprise, it was not his mother, but a voice from the past.  One he'd hoped he'd never hear from again.

"Hello David," Kyle Fenwick said in a low voice.

David didn't answer, instead spent several seconds trying to pull his thoughts together.  What did he want?  Was he out of prison?

"Cat got your tongue?" Kyle asked.  

"Why are you calling me?"

"Because I want to know where she is."

"Where who is?"

"Stephanie Callahan, that's who.  Tell me where she is or your pretty blond sister will pay the price."  

"What are you talking about?  Where are you?"

"Standing outside Brooke Taylor's townhouse."

Brooke Taylor

After putting Michael down for the night, Brooke slipped into a thick white robe and made her way down the hall to the bathroom.  She turned on the shower, adjusting the temperature until it was nice and hot, and walked to the mirror where she removed her jewelry and dropped her robe to the floor.  She stepped inside the shower, closing the glass door securely behind.  

The phone in the bedroom started ringing, but the sound of the water running prevented her from hearing it.  If she had, she would have known it was David calling to warn her of the danger she was in.    


Next time....

David races to Brooke's rescue.  Stephanie fills Jordan in on her past.  Suzanne has plans for her and Benji.  Miranda tails Eddie to a secret rendezvous with Quinn Rainer.  

 

 

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