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Episode 101

 

Release Date:  August 17, 2009

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Jackie announced to a stunned crowd that she'd married Nathan Blackthorne, thus giving her his ten percent share of Sunset Studios.  Brett resisted Marilee's seduction, vowing his commitment to Heather.  He later dropped Violet off at Suzanne's.  Suzanne assisted Renee in hiding her pregnancy from Nathan, arranging for her to give birth to Sierra in Europe and faking an adoption.  Suzanne met with Mackenzie Stone, the producer of the daytime soap The Young at Heart, and turned down her offer to reprise her role as Faye Richards.  Benji brooded over Sierra's leaving after they made love on the beach. Miranda urged Stormy to help her get to the bottom of Eddie's apparent fling with Quinn Rainer.  Jordan hid away on his yacht, tired of the drama in his life.  He called Stephanie and asked her to dinner, which she refuted. Knowing Kyle Fenwick was back in town, Stephanie went on the defense.  A forlorned Alex studied a picture of a three day old baby before swallowing several muscle relaxers.  Kyle rescued Alex from her near overdose, initially refusing to go public as her white knight.  After reconsidering, he gave his name to the media.  When a reporter learned he had been in prison for a drug trafficking operation, he cast the blame onto David.  Later, Kyle called David and asked where Stephanie was.  When David said he didn't know, Kyle threatened Brooke, claiming he was standing outside her house.

 


 

Episode 101

"Blackthornes 101"

 

Traffic on Vine was at a deadlock.  There was a sea of cars ahead, taillights streaming as far as the eye could see from Santa Monica Boulevard all the way to Hollywood Boulevard.    David Jennings fidgeted in his seat, twisting this way and that and gritting his teeth in frustration.  

His heart had stopped momentarily after getting the ominous phone call from Kyle Fenwick.  For three long years he’d been rid of the man’s dangerous presence, comforted in the fact that he was locked up in prison on Staten Island.  Now it appeared he was out and looking for Detective Callahan.  He had no doubt he’d come after him too.  But for now, he was making threats.  Threats that put Brooke in danger, despite the fact that she had nothing to do with any of it.

Crammed in the midst of the traffic jam, he grew more aggravated by the second, laying on his horn and honking to no one in particular.  He knew it was futile, but it made him feel better. 

Finally, he decided to take action.  Turning the wheel sharply to the right, he pulled out onto the shoulder.  With two wheels up on the curb, he flew past the traffic jam at breakneck speed, the engine on his Ferrari Enzo thundering by like a series of small explosions.  If he hurried, he could be in Glendale in minutes. 

Brooke Taylor

Standing in the shower at her townhouse in Glendale, Brooke Taylor washed the day’s events away.  The news that Jackie Lamont had married Nathan the perv Blackthorne in order to gain his shares of Sunset Studios was enough to make her want to throw in the towel.  All she’d wanted was to be part of something important, something that Ethan would be proud of.  She didn’t care about taking anything from anyone.  But Jackie – who blamed her as the product of Royce’s infidelity – took it to another level.  With her as another partner in the studio, she felt that she was in a losing battle. 

After rinsing shampoo from her mane of blond hair, she heard noises coming from outside the bathroom.  Was it Michael waking up and moving about the house?  He always slept through the night.  Quickly, she finished rinsing off and bent down to turn off the faucet.  As the last traces of water spiraled down the drain, she listened for a repeat of the noise.

When she didn’t hear anything, she grabbed a towel and dabbed her wet skin.  After she was dry, she pulled on her bathrobe and opened the door, peering out into the hallway. 

“Michael?” she called to out to the darkness.  “You awake?”

No response.  Only the sound of glass breaking.

She stepped out into the hallway, her heart thudding inside her chest.   After checking the bedrooms and making sure Michael was safely sleeping, she proceeded down the stairs to the first floor.  Slowly, she crept toward the front door.  When the doorknob began turning, her heart jumped into her throat and she cowered away in fear.  Grabbing for the first thing that she could find to protect herself – a fireplace poker – she waited, prepared to attack. 

Slowly, the door opened and a dark figure entered.  Brooke raised the poker high above her head.  Closing her eyes, she brought it down in one swift movement.  She heard a crash, opened her eyes, and saw that the intruder had ducked out of the way, the poker smashing against an oriental vase positioned by the door.   Shards of broken porcelain exploded onto the floor. 

“What the-“ David exclaimed, panting heavily as he stared wildly at the makeshift weapon gripped tightly in her hand.   

“David?” she sighed.  “What the hell are you doing?”

“Is somebody else in the house?’ he asked.

“What?”

With no time to explain, he tore off throughout the small townhouse, inspecting each room, in every closet and behind every door for any sign of Kyle Fenwick.  He’d already scoped out the yard and found no one lurking about.

“David, tell me what’s going on right now,” Brooke insisted when he returned to the living room.  “You’re scaring me.  I heard something break.”

Breathing hard, he placed a hand on her shoulder.  “It was me.  I kicked a pot over outside.”

“What’s going on?” 

He couldn’t tell her.  Not yet.  Not until he knew there was reason to panic.  “I’m sorry for scaring you,” he said, going to the door.  “I just wanted to check on you.  You left the party in such a hurry.  Just please lock the door after I leave and don’t open it for anyone.” 

She could see that he meant business.  She didn’t know what had gotten him so upset but she decided to take his word for it.  Maybe it was his mother he was scared of.  But Jackie wouldn’t show up at her door looking for trouble, would she?

Once he was outside, David pulled out his cell and dialed he number Kyle had called him from.  The phone barely rang before he answered with a cackling laugh.

“You’re such a sucker,” he said.  “Did you really think I was there?”

“What do you want?” David asked, starting back to his car. 

“Where is Callahan?” Kyle asked again. 

“How the hell should I know?  Try her office.  She’s a big detective with the LAPD now.  I’m sure they’d love to have an ex-con show up.   Where are you, Fenwick?”

“In L.A.  You’ll be seeing me soon enough.  Make sure you check the morning news tomorrow.  There’ll be a nice little impromptu interview that you might be interested in.”

David sighed, clicked of his phone and got inside his car.  If Fenwick was back in town, he’d have to be on guard.  The jerk probably still thought he’d set him up in the drug bust back in New York.  And if that was the case, he knew he’d be after revenge.

James Blackthorne

There was an expansive wall of windows in James Blackthorne’s office on the top floor of Sunset Studios that provided a bird’s eye view of the lake and grassy park on the back lot.  In the distance was the sprawling cityscape of downtown Los Angeles.  The perfect epicenter of Hollywood, he wouldn’t trade his private quarters for the world.  It was there that he made his most daring business deals, signed paychecks, and came up with the next project in his long line of blockbusters.  Now, he was faced with a predator.  One who would stop at nothing to stake her claim on what he’d spent decades building. 

“You may have finagled your measly ten percent of the company from my uncle, but that doesn’t mean you get to call the shots,” he was saying to the predator early that morning.  “Brooke has already taken the office next door.”

“Then I want the office across the hall,” Jackie Blackthorne insisted. 

“That’s Stormy’s office.” 

“Stormy is a junior executive.  I’m part-owner.  Put him downstairs.” 

Unwilling to listen to any more bickering, Stormy chimed in.  “Dad, it’s fine.  I’ll move downstairs.  I’m usually on set anyway.”

James sighed with defeat.  He supposed they did have to give in and pick their battles where Jackie was concerned.  “Fine,” he said, turning his penetrating gaze at her.  “Satisfied?” 

“Never,” she mused. 

When Brooke entered, she fixed her sights on Jackie and did her best to ignore her.  “Sorry I’m late,” she said to James while handing him an ecru envelope.  “I finished making notes on that script we were talking about.  I think it’s brilliant.  Definitely should be our next project.”

“I agree, Dad,” Stormy said. 

“What script?” Jackie asked, perched on the edge of James’s desk. 

“Don’t concern yourself,” Brooke snapped.  She still wasn’t sure what went on last night, and why David was so freaked out when he came over to her house, but she was sure it had something to do with his mother. 

“If it’s about Sunset Studios business, then it does concern me,” Jackie countered, snatching the envelope from James and pulling the clasp open.  “Is it any good?”

“It’s very good,” Stormy said.  “It’s an action/adventure piece about nuclear threats and human trafficking in North Korea.”

Jackie made a face while reviewing the title page.  The Standoff,” she read aloud.  “Okay title but the premise sounds positively drab.  Whose idea was this?”

“Brooke selected the script,” James told her.  “We’re all in agreement.”

“Well I’m not,” Jackie said, dropping it on the desk.  “This is not the kind of film my father would have produced.  We need something current.  Something that the younger generation will be interested in.”

“This is very current,” Brooke said in defense of her decision.  “But of course how would you know that?  You don’t read anything that isn’t about you.”

“And I believe Jonas would have been behind this film all the way,” James added.  “Just look at some of his films that your husband starred in.  Many of them were about current political events.  Besides, you haven’t even read the script.  How do you know it isn’t any good?”

“Need I remind you that I own ten percent of-“

“No, you don’t,” Brooke groaned.  “But James and I are both in agreement, which means we outvote you.” 

"Brooke, make sure you get the rights secured as soon as possible," James said.  "We don't want this one to slip through our fingers."

Fixing her eyes angrily on them, Jackie took a step forward.  “You’re loving this, aren’t you?” she asked Brooke.  “You have your alliance with James and I’m the outsider.  Well get this straight, I have more right to be here than you do.  I’m a Blackthorne now.  You aren’t.  Don’t ever forget that.”

Silence permeated the room after Jackie’s dramatic exit.  Vibrating alerted Stormy to a text message, which he read via his iPhone.  The distraction was welcomed.

Miranda said to turn on the news,” he announced, yanking the remote from a table and pointing it at the giant hi-def flat screen.  Scrolling to E!, he watched as a replay of Alex’s hospital release the night before was aired. 

“Who set you up?” a reporter was asking. 

“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?”

“I’m not a murderer.  David Jennings killed that cop.”

“Oh my God,” Brooke gasped and flashed her eyes toward James.  “What is he talking about?”

“I don’t know,” James answered, quite sure that it was some kind of smear campaign against David.  He looked at Stormy.  “This is the guy that found your mother?”

Stormy shrugged.  “News to me.”

“He looks so much like…”  James began.

Brooke raked her fingers through her silky blond hair.  “I’ve gotta go see David,” she said, racing for the door without letting James finish his sentence. 

Jordan Rydell

After waking up in the state room on his yacht, Jordan Rydell showered and dressed, eager for a late breakfast at the Yacht Club’s dining room.  Sporting khaki shorts, a blue t-shirt, and a white baseball cap, he felt comfortable.  No more stuffy business suits and wing tipped shoes.  For the foreseeable future and until he decided what to do with the rest of his life, this was his uniform. 

He took a seat at a booth overlooking the marina, gulped down a cup of strong black coffee, and threw a discarded newspaper onto the next table so it was out of sight.  He didn’t care what was going on in the world.  He didn’t care what his stocks were doing and he didn’t care what mega blockbuster Sunset Studios was launching next. 

When he spotted Stephanie Callahan at a counter seat across the room, his interest piqued.  Finally something to care about.  He didn’t know why.  She was brash, condescending, and a know-it-all.  She thought she had everyone figured out.  All annoying qualities, but he couldn’t help but find himself attracted to her.  Before he knew it he was sauntering over and sitting down beside her. 

“So you do eat,” he joked. 

“Occasionally,” was her standoffish reply.  “Why?”

“Every time I ask you to go out with me you turn me down.”

“That has more to do with you than the actual act of eating,” she replied with a smirk.  “You’re awfully casual today.  Taking the day off?”

“More like taking the year off,” Jordan quipped. 

Stephanie considered a crude remark but thought better of it.  She supposed he needed a break after everything he’d been through.  It wasn’t his fault that his family was a wreck. 

“Well, nice seeing you, Mr. Rydell,” she said, wiping her mouth with a napkin and slapping a twenty dollar bill on the table.  “Duty calls.”

“Wait,” Jordan said, taking her arm to stop her.  “Don’t you think it’s time you went out with me?”

“No,” she answered on automatic pilot.

“Why no?

“Why yes?”

“Here she goes again with the shifty answers,” he said, rolling his eyes. 

“My answers are not shifty.  I told you up front I do not believe in mixing business and pleasure.” 

“What business?  You closed Troy’s murder case, and you closed the Scott Kelly case.  Unless I’m suspected in another crime I’m not aware of.”

“I closed the Scott Kelly case because there was no evidence.”

“Either way, I don’t see any business going on here.  Just pleasure.”

“God!” she gasped.  “You’re so persistent.”

“I like you.  Is that a crime?”

“Is that a line from one of your movies?”   She raised an eyebrow, standing up from the counter and pausing when she saw a news report flash across the television screen. 

“What the hell-“ Jordan said, wondering why Alex was the subject of such a fuss at the hospital.  He felt really out of it.  He had no idea what was going on. 

Stephanie stared at the report, blood draining from her face.  Seeing Kyle Fenwick standing in front of news cameras in Los Angeles was like something out of a bad dream.  She strained to hear what he was saying. 

“You okay?” Jordan asked.

No, she wasn’t okay.  The man who had killed her partner was out of prison and in Los Angeles.  Painful feelings quickly returned.  She’d left New York to get away from them, but they had followed her.

David Jenner

Since Kyle Fenwick’s statement to the media the night before, several news vans were already strewn about the fifty acre area at Moonshadows, awaiting their opportunity to interview David Jennings regarding Kyle’s implications.  Channel 4 was positioned near the golf course by the cabins, Channel 7 was staked out by the south pool, and Channel 11 took to patrolling the parking lot near the administrative building where David’s office was situated.  An expert at avoiding the paparazzi, David decided to busy himself with overseeing construction of the resort’s newest restaurant, the jet set-inspired Admirals Club which was located further inland.

“No, I want the Mahogany panels,” he was saying to the construction foreman, pointing to the far wall.  “With the dark blue paint trim we talked about.”

“You got it, Mr. Jennings,” the foreman said before returning to his crew. 

David turned back to a drafting table with a set of blueprints spread across it.  He took a pencil and scratched his forehead beneath the hard hat he was instructed to wear upon entering.  His gaze traveled up when he heard someone enter through the half-completed structure. 

“They told me you were hiding out here,” Brooke said, also wearing a red hard hat upon entering the construction zone.  “I had to practically give my name, age and serial number to prove I wasn’t a reporter.”

“I’ll talk to them,” he snapped, throwing the pencil onto the table.  “You’re part owner now.  You shouldn’t have to prove that you have a right to be here.”

Brooke could see he was on edge.  “It’s no big deal, David.  I was just worried about you after last night.  Then I saw the news with that man saying those things about you.  Who is he?”

“Trouble,” David told her in anger.  It would get out eventually, and he’d rather have his own sister hear his version of what happened.  The real version.

“Tell me.”

“Kyle Fenwick was the general manager of one of Royce’s hotels in upstate New York.  His family was filthy rich – made their money in shipping - but he said he was trying to make his own way.  Every employee he hired to work at the hotel had a criminal background.  He claimed he was big into second chances.  Come to find out he was using them to start up a drug operation using the hotel as a front.” 

“Did you and Royce know what was going on?”

“Not until it was too late.  I worked with a detective on the police force and set up a sting operation.  Fenwick was arrested, but while he was being booked he had his goons call in a bomb threat and evacuate the hotel.  The entire building blew up and all the evidence along with it.  The detective was still in the building when it blew up.  They couldn’t prove he had anything to do with the explosion, but one of his employees testified in exchange for a lighter sentence.  He got seven years but apparently just got out on good behavior.”

“He seems really intent on proving his innocence.  Why would he say you set him up?”

“What else is he going to say?  He’s trying to blame it on anyone but himself.”

Brooke sighed, placing a gentle hand on his.  “Do you think he’d do anything crazy?”

“Count on it.”

“Does he have anything to do with you coming over and acting like a madman last night?”

He knew he had to level with her, but at the same time he didn’t want to scare her, so he told the nearest thing to the truth that he could.  “I was just overreacting to hearing he was in town.  I’m sorry for scaring you.  Just make sure you’re careful.  Kyle Fenwick is a loose cannon.”

Stephanie Callahan

“What’s got you so scared about this guy?” Jordan asked as he and Stephanie strolled out of the Yacht Club.  They started down the boardwalk, passing by bikers and joggers making their way along the water. 

“I’m not scared,” she replied stiffly.  “I’m a cop.  I don’t get scared.”

“Everyone gets scared,” Jordan said, squinting through the sun. 

“Not me.  I just don’t trust people.” 

“Is that why you don’t get involved?”

“Yup,” she said.  “Not worth the risk.”

“Could make for a lot of lonely nights.  How old are you?”

She shot him a ferocious scowl.  “Never ask a woman her age,” she said irritably. 

“Okay, okay,” Jordan said, shaking his head.  “What the hell turned you into this cold shell of a woman?”

She paused thoughtfully and turned to him.  “My last partner was killed in that drug sting operation.  He was blown to pieces inside that hotel.  This was after I made him promise he would take himself off the case.  I have trust issues, okay? So sue me.”

“Why did you want him off the case?”

“Because Fenwick and I were involved,” she explained.  “Romantically.”

“Talk about conflict of interests.”

She shook her head.  “I was blind to the whole thing.  I was so wrapped up in my relationship with the guy that I refused to see what was going on.  I even begged my partner to drop the case.  I put my career in jeopardy because of my feelings for a man.”

“So what’s he doing here?” Jordan asked.

She glanced out at the water.  “He thinks I was setting him up all along.  He’s here to settle a score.”

Blackthorne Mansion

“I’m so glad we’re finally catching up,” Renee said over coffee with Suzanne in the solarium at the Blackthorne mansion. She reached across the table and touched her hand gently.  “You look wonderful.  So rested.”

“Probably because resting is all I’ve done for the past thirteen years,” Suzanne quipped. 

Renee smiled brilliant white teeth.  “I can’t tell you how many times I prayed that you were alright.  That you were safe and that you just couldn’t come home.  I never believed the worst.  Never.” 

“You were always a good friend,” Suzanne said, blinking away tears. 

“We went through a lot together,” recalled Renee.  “Like my affair with Nathan and your help getting me out of the country so I could have Sierra away from the media.  You were the only one I could trust.”

“Well, I had my own bout with Nathan when we did that movie together.”

“Yeah, but you stood up to him.  I was weak.  I fell in love with him and let him manipulate me.  The worst mistake of my life.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve never regretted having Sierra, I just hate who her father is.”

“And now he’s married to Jackie Lamont,” Suzanne remarked, pouring them each another cup of steaming hot coffee.  “Did you know her before she moved away?”

Renee shook her head. “No, but my father was friends with Royce Jennings and I used to go on trips with him to New York.  I must have met her there at some point.” 

Settling back against the back of her chair, Suzanne tapped her fingernails on the glass table.  “How is your relationship with Sierra?  I mean, was it strained after she found out you were her mother?”

“It was,” Renee answered quickly.  “But we worked through it.  She is a very forgiving young woman, which at times gets her heart broken.” 

Staring thoughtfully while stirring a cube of sugar into her coffee, Suzanne let out a heavy sigh.  “I worry that Benji will never forgive me for leaving.  He has so much anger built up because of it.”  For a brief second she considered confiding in her friend about his latest stunt, but quickly thought better of it.  Best to keep his attack on Scott Kelly to themselves.

“You said you might have had a breakthrough with him though.”

“Possibly.  He’s been different the past few days.  I think something’s troubling him.  Something other than Jordan and I.  Once and a while I see glimmers of that five-year old boy that he was when I left.” 

“You might be exactly what he needs,” Renee suggested. 

“We’ll see,” Suzanne smiled hopefully, deciding to change the subject.  “So what’s going on with you?  I’m detecting something going on between you and T.T. Levitt.  Would this be the same T.T. that you told me about all those years ago?  The one from the cruise?”

“One in the same.  And we’re not together.  I never make the same mistakes twice.”

Suzanne grinned.  “Is that why you started glowing when I mentioned his name?” she asked, needling her. 

“You’re imagining things,” Renee said, guardedly. 

Leilani, James’s faithful Polynesian housekeeper, appeared in the doorway, a brilliant smile on her chubby face.  “Mrs. DeWitt, there’s a delivery for you in the foyer,” she announced in her broken English.  “You won’t believe it with your eyes.” 

“I wonder what it could be,” Renee wondered, leading Suzanne out of the room and out to the foyer where two sturdy deliverymen were hauling in dozens of big black heavy duty cases, each emblazoned with a different designer’s logo.

“What on earth-“ Suzanne gasped.

“Please sign,” one of the deliverymen said to Renee, handing her a clipboard and pen. 

After she scribbled her signature, he handed her a small envelope, which she tore open and scanned quickly. 

“What does it say?” asked a bewildered Suzanne.

“Couldn’t decide what you preferred, so I got one of everything,” she read aloud.  “Ticket enclosed.  Ship leaves port at six o’clock.”

“A cruise?”

“It would appear so,” Renee said, looking at the tickets to the Royal Princess that departed from San Pedro and traveled down the Mexican Riviera.  “And this season’s latest in cruise wear to boot.” 

“There must be a hundred outfits here,” Suzanne said, admiring the designer labels on the cases.  “How long is the cruise?”

“Two weeks,” Renee said, wondering how T.T. could have the nerve to make such assumptions.  “He’s trying to recreate our first meeting.”

“How romantic.”

But Renee wasn’t so sure.  Was going off on a week-long cruise with T.T. such a good idea?  She didn’t even know if she’d forgiven him. 

But it did sound romantic.

Miranda Blackthorne

When Eddie canceled their second date that week, Miranda decided to take matters into her own hands.  Hideous scar or not, she was Miranda Blackthorne, and she didn’t get stood up by anyone, let alone a bumbling dork like Eddie Distefano.  She pulled Stormy from a meeting at Sunset Studios and commissioned him into helping her get to the bottom of Eddie’s strange behavior.  After grumbling and moaning, he finally agreed, knowing it was never a good idea to say no to his sister. 

They followed him in one of their father’s spare cars into Bel Air so as not to attract any attention.  A surprise attack was best.  When they followed him past the giant iron gates of a palatial house at the top of a hill, Stormy pulled to the curb and watched his best friend make his way up to the house 

“This is Quinn Rainer’s house,” he said.

“Are you sure?”

He nodded.  “I’m sure.  Her mother’s lived here forever.  She and Quinn’s father are divorced.  He lives in Europe now.”

“He blew me off to see that floozy,” Miranda said, irritated.  “I can’ t believe he would do that.  Stormy, I know you think I’m wrong but doesn’t this prove my theory?  That Eddie is a two-timing son-of-a-bitch?”

He had to agree with her this time.  He never thought it could be true, but here they were, staked outside of a mansion in Bel Air where something very scandalous was obviously going on. 

“Come on,” he said, getting out of the car and starting up to the gate.  Miranda followed fast on his heels.  They made their way to the enormous front door and rang the bell.  Moments later, the housekeeper appeared.

“Can I help you?” she asked.

Miranda pushed her way inside, following the sound of voices into the parlor off to the left.  Upon entering, she gasped at the awful sight before her.  Eddie was standing with his arms around Quinn Rainer, a woman perched nearby with a cup of tea. 

“A-ha!” she yelled, pointing an accusatory finger.  “I knew it!  You lying piece of crap!  How could you do this to me?”

“Miranda?” Eddie Distefano asked, raising his cartoonish eyebrows in surprise.  “Stormy?  What are you doing here?  How did you find me?”

“We followed you,” Stormy replied, glowering at his best friend.  “Miranda was worried when you canceled another date.”

“And turns out I was right to be worried.  What are you doing with this bimbo?  You begged me to go out with you, and against my better judgment I said yes.  Now you’re moving on to…her?   Is this just a conquest thing with you?”

Quinn looked at her and then at Eddie, tears staining her cheeks.  She was a sweetly pretty young woman of twenty-six with long dark hair and a round face.  Standing five feet one inches, she was dwarfed next to Eddie’s tall frame.

“Miranda, you don’t understand,” Eddie began, flustered. 

“Who are these people?” the woman with the tea asked disapprovingly.

“I’m Eddie’s girlfriend and this is his best-friend,” Miranda replied, full of hostility.  “Who are you?”

“Quinn’s mother,” Eddie said with a sigh.

Miranda looked at him in disbelief.  “So you’ve already been welcomed into the family?  How cozy.”  She turned to Stormy.  “Come on, let’s go.”

“Wait, Miranda,” Eddie said, running after her.  “Let me explain.”

“Explain what?” she demanded, pulling away.  “I know what’s going on here.  You were holding her in your arms when we walked in.  Just like the other day on Rodeo Drive, and then again in your office.  I’m not blind, Eddie.  I saw you with her.  You’re obsessed with her, and you’re obsessed with her mother!”

“Easy Geraldo,” Stormy said, holding his sister back. 

“Quinn is a client,” Eddie explained.  “I’m helping her find her brother.  He’s missing.”

Magnum?” Stormy asked, stepping forward with an alarmed expression.

“Since last week,” Quinn said sorrowfully.

When Miranda finally realized what was going on, she flushed with embarrassment.  Of course Quinn was a client.  Why hadn’t she thought of that in the first place?

Because you’re insecure, she thought, groping for a tissue in her purse and handing it to Quinn.  You used to be confident and self-assured, especially when it came to men.  Now, just because of a little scar on your face, you think you’re not good enough. God!  She hated what this was doing to her! 

“I’m sorry,” she said to the pretty young girl. 

“How old is Magnum now?” Stormy asked, breaking the tension.  “He’s got to at least be a sophomore.”

“He graduated this year,” Mrs. Rainer said.

“What?” Stormy exclaimed.  “Wow, I can’t believe it.  He was just a little rug rat back when we were in school.  Now he’s a high school graduate?”

“He’s supposed to start UCLA in a couple of weeks,” Quinn said, smiling graciously at Miranda while dabbing her tears with the tissue.  She sat down on the sofa and offered her a cup of tea.

“Thanks,” Miranda said, sitting across from her.  “What was Magnum doing this summer?”  Magnum?  Their parents must have been cornly 80's detective show fans.

“Volunteering at a summer camp up in Storm Lake,” she said.  “The camp director called last week and said he’d gone missing.  They haven’t heard from him since.”

“And he hasn’t been in contact?” Stormy asked. 

“No,” Eddie replied, sitting instinctively next to Quinn.  When he realized the implications of the innocent gesture, he shot back up and darted over to Miranda’s side. 

After discussing the details, Miranda and Stormy apologized to Mrs. Rainer and walked into the foyer with Eddie. 

“Look, I’m sorry about freaking you out,” he said, taking her hand in his. 

“Why couldn’t you have just told me what was going on?” Miranda asked, looking into Eddie’s expressive brown eyes.  “Instead of making me crazy every time you canceled a date with me.  You made me feel like I was some ridiculous love-starved sad sack.” 

Damn!  Why’d she go and tell him that?  Too much information!

“I never wanted you to feel that way,” Eddie said, pushing her hair over her shoulder and kissing her softly.  “You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

His words gave her comfort, but also made her hate who she was becoming.  Why did she need his validation to make herself feel better?  

“Okay, get a room you two,” Stormy interrupted, pulling his sister to the door. 

“I’ll call you tonight,” Eddie said to Miranda, kissing her one last time before she and Stormy left the house.

Alex's Condo

Alex spent the entire day arranging for her furnishings to be moved from storage into her new apartment.  It had only been a year since she sold her house in Malibu, but everything seemed so dusty to her.  Still, seeing her original Coco Chanel sofa and pair of custom damask chairs with hand-carved legs was comforting and made her feel grounded. 

True to her word, Ivana had had the smoke damage from the electrical fire taken care of.  A fresh coat of paint and some odor neutralizers and the opulent space was like new again. 

She fluttered about, arranging bouquets of African roses and fluffing pillows that lined the sofa.  Reporters were still staked out downstairs at the entrance to the building.  With any luck the condo association wouldn’t vote to evict her because of all the trouble she’d already caused in her few days of living there.  The views from her floor to ceiling windows were too spectacular to give up. 

At exactly one o’clock, the doorbell rang.  Right on time, she thought to herself as she primped her hair in the hall mirror and pulled the door open with a flourish. 

“How did you know how to get in touch with me?” Kyle asked from the hall, looking quite sexy in mirrored aviator sunglasses and a two-day stubble. 

“I have my sources,” Alex said coyly, gesturing for him to come inside.  The truth was, she coaxed Ivana into giving up his number.  He’d already come forward as her rescuer, so what was the harm in sealing the deal with one little phone number?   She approached the counter overlooking the kitchen.  “Caviar?  Champagne?”

“No,” he said, looking around the spacious living area.  “I don’t like being summoned, and I don’t like people butting into my business.  If I’d wanted you to have my phone number, I would have given it to you.”

“I told you I wanted to thank you,” Alex said, scooping a heaping spoonful of caviar onto a plate and handing it to him.  “So let me thank you.”

Kyle removed his sunglasses, approaching her quickly.  “What is your deal, lady?  Last night when you found out I was in prison you acted like I was some kind of monster.  Now you’re inviting me over for snacks?  I don’t get it.”

“Nothing to get,” Alex said and poured two glasses of champagne.  “I believe your story that you were set up.  Besides, you saved my life.  To me that excuses any indiscretions from your past.”

“So…” he began, deciding to let it rest.  “The place looks nice.  More put together than the last time I saw it.”

“I’d only just moved in when you saw it last.  Today I was able to get settled.” 

“What were you doing taking all those pills?  And don’t tell me you lost track of how many you took because I know a line when I hear one.” 

“I beg your pardon?” Alex asked, insulted.  “It’s true.” 

He looked into her intoxicating green eyes.  “You were in pain, hurt by your loved ones or someone close to you.  You felt alone.  You thought if one pill made you feel good, then one more might make you feel even better, and one more would make you forget all about that pain.  Am I right?”

She looked away, frightened that he could read her so well. 

“The thing I don’t understand is why a beautiful woman like you would ever feel that alone.”  He approached her again, placing a hand on her back and pulling her toward him. 

“Don’t,” Alex said, pushing him away.

He studied her reaction carefully, decided she really didn’t want him to stop, and pulled her into a long, deep kiss.  When they finally broke, he grinned and slid his sunglasses back on.

“I’ll pick you up tonight for dinner,” he said, heading for the door.  “Seven o’clock.”

After he’d gone, Alex braced herself against the counter.  That kiss was out of this world, she decided.  Something about Kyle Fenwick had her interested and she couldn’t wait to get to know him better.

The more she thought about it, however, the more he seemed oddly familiar.  His eyes.  Those expressive green eyes that he hid behind the sunglasses.  She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but she’d seen those eyes somewhere before.

Suzanne Rogers

Suzanne drove home fast, listening to an old Pat Benatar CD.  She was in the mood for some nostalgic sounds, and Pat Benatar always got it right.  She often thought if she could go back she’d do so many things differently.  She wouldn’t have tried to leave Jordan, which meant she wouldn’t have gotten behind the wheel of the car that took her and Heather over that cliff.  So many things would be different today.  They may still be a family. 

But they weren’t a family.  Heather was in an institution, Benji spent his whole life at boarding school, and her marriage to Jordan was over.  It was time for change.  She wasn’t going to spend the rest of her life focusing on her regrets.  She couldn’t turn the clock back, but she could try to mould her future.

Benji was washing his car in the driveway when she pulled up in her Cadillac, Pat Benatar blaring on the radio. 

“You’re not having Gordon do that?” she asked, needling him.  “This is a first.”

He shrugged indifferently. “I don’t mind.”  Sweating in the blazing sun, he paused to wipe his brow with the bottom of his tank top.  “Where’ve you been?’

“I went to see Renee.”

“You did?” he asked, on immediate alert.  “What’d she say?”  The first thing on his mind was Sierra and how she was doing.  “I mean, what did you talk about?”  He realized he sounded too eager for his own good. 

“Everything,” she said happily.  “And actually, she helped me realize something.” 

“What’s that?” he asked, turning on the hose again.  He didn’t want to make it too obvious that he was all hung up on Renee’s daughter.  Besides, the more he thought about her the more he would continue to miss her.  Maybe he needed to occupy his mind with something else. 

“We need a fresh start,” Suzanne announced.  “We’re moving.”

“Huh?” he asked, dropping the hose and jumping out of the way when water sprayed up in every direction.  “Moving?  Who?  Where?”

“You and me.  I rented a house.  It’s time we got out from under your father’s roof.”

“Really,” Benji said thoughtfully.  “What brought this on?”

“I just can’t stay here in this house forever.  Your father and I aren’t married anymore.  I’d like to get close to you again.  That’s why I think this is the perfect solution.”

He couldn’t blame her for wanting out of Jordan’s house, but he didn’t know how he would ever get used to it.  He’d come to expect some of the luxuries involved with living in a mansion in Beverly Hills.  A dutiful butler to cater to his needs, a cook to make his meals, a full gym at his disposal, and a state of the art theatre system with loads of hi-def speakers.   He knew his mother didn’t have the resources for a place like that.

“Benji?” Suzanne asked when he didn’t say anything. 

“Yeah, sure,” he replied.  “Where’s it at?”

“Sherman Oaks.  It looks just like the house I grew up in.”

Again the hose went off and he flashed her an incredulous look.  “The Valley?  Are you serious?”

“Very serious.  You’ll like it.  It’s a huge house.  Not huge compared to Beverly Hills standards, but it’s got five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a pool, and a game room.”

He supposed it didn’t sound too bad.  He’d still be close to his best friend Blake now that he was living with Eddie in Burbank.  It was better than sticking around here with his father, who since their last blowup hadn’t given him the time of day. 

“Sure,” he said, pointing the hose at his car and rinsing the soap to the driveway. 

Suzanne smiled with elation while making her way up to the porch.  She stopped and looked back at him.  “Would you mind doing mine too?” 

He rolled his eyes, throwing a sudsy sponge at her car and watching as it stuck to the windshield. 

Quinn Rainer

Miranda met up with Stormy, Eddie and Quinn at The Ivy for an early dinner.  They got a booth in the corner so they could talk without being overheard.  It seemed there had been further developments in the case of Magnum’s disappearance. 

“According to the camp director at Storm Lake, Magnum was investigating some cult-type activity going on at the camp,” Eddie was saying.  “He’s known about it for some time.  Lots of weird things going on around that place.”

“What kind of weird things?” Miranda asked, glancing back and forth between Eddie and Quinn. 

“Ritualistic type occurrences,” Eddie explained.  “He wasn’t exactly sure what, but he thinks Magnum stumbled on something and that’s when he went missing.”

“Magnum is very outspoken,” Quinn said sorrowfully.  “When he thinks something is potentially dangerous or harmful, he’ll do something about it.  He isn’t the type to sit back and claim it’s not his problem.”

“So what are you going to do?” Miranda asked. 

“Quinn and I are going to drive up to Storm Lake tomorrow,” Eddie announced.  “If we can figure out what’s going on, then maybe it will lead us to Magnum.”

“It sounds dangerous,” Stormy remarked. 

“Yeah,” Miranda agreed.  She was more concerned with Eddie and Quinn being alone together.  She knew it was ridiculous because Quinn did seem like a very sweet girl, but who could blame her?  She hated the idea of them going off together while she was back in L.A.

“I have to find my brother,” Quinn admonished.  “I’ll do anything it takes to make sure he gets back safely.”

Before she knew what she was saying, Miranda blurted out, “I’ll come too.” 

“You will?” Eddie and Stormy both asked in unison. 

“Yeah.  Why does that surprise you?”

“Well, it’s just that they’ll be going to a camp,” Stormy said slowly.  “Like in the wilderness.  Like with no boutiques or nail salons.”

Miranda rolled her eyes.  “Big deal.  I don’t need that stuff to get by.  Besides, I want to help Quinn.”

“Thanks, Babe,” Eddie said, leaning over and kissing her warmly.  

“Yeah, that’s so generous, Miranda,” Stormy remarked dryly.  She may want to help Quinn, but that wasn’t her primary reason for volunteering her assistance.  He could see right through her.  She was jealous. 

“Okay, so what time do we leave?” Miranda wanted to know. 

“Six a.m.” Eddie said, excited.

Six a.m.? Miranda thought to herself.  Jeez, this better be worth the effort. 

Alex Reynolds

“Enough about me,” Alex said, leaning across the table in the dimly lit Ivy, giving Kyle a long, lingering look.   “Tell me more about you.”

Kyle shrugged.  “What’s to tell?”

“All your hidden secrets,” she said coyly.  She had to admit that after the kiss they shared at her apartment, she’d become quite entranced.  Kyle Fenwick was mysterious, handsome, chivalrous, not to mention sixteen years her junior.  Suddenly she was painfully aware that she was one of those women.  What do they call them?  Oh yes, cougars. 

“Don’t have any,” he quipped.  “And any that I have you already know about.”

“David Jennings setting you up in that drug cartel operation,” Alex recalled.  “It must have been awful spending all that time in prison for something you didn’t even do.”

“Let’s get back to you,” he said, quickly changing the subject.  “You never did tell me how a woman with your charm and beauty could wind up alone in her half-furnished apartment downing a bottle of muscle relaxers.”

Alex sighed heavily, realizing there was no easy answer.  She’d brought most of it on herself.  Her meddling, her snarking, her inability to think before speaking.  It all caught up to her and turned her into a lonely person.  Until Kyle arrived, that is. 

“Well, my marriage ended, my children got fed up with my parenting style, and I stopped hoping for a fresh start.” 

Kyle looked into her eyes, sensing her sadness.  “What about now?  Today?  How does that fresh start look to you now?”

“It’d love it, but I don’t even know where to begin.” 

“You mentioned you had problems with your children.  Maybe work on mending those relationships.”

“How?  The damage is done.  Their father accused me of being the reason they turned out the way they did.  Not that they’re bad people.  But it’s true, I did everything wrong where they were concerned.”

“So have another one,” Kyle suggested.

“Another what?”

“Another kid.  Do it right this time.  Learn from your mistakes.”

She laughed.  “More children?  Kyle, I’m a woman of forty-“  A quick pause while she reconsidered revealing her actual age to him.  She already felt foolish enough having dinner with someone so young.  “-one.  Forty-one. I’m much too old to have a baby.” 

“So adopt.  Plenty of kids out there who need good homes.  Think about it.  You could get your fresh start.”

“Adoption?  I don’t know.”

“Why not?  I was adopted and I turned out fine.”

“You were adopted?  So you’re not a Fenwick by blood?”

He shook his head, ordering two more martini’s from a passing waiter.  “My real parents gave me up for adoption.  The Fenwick’s wanted another child and they couldn’t have one so they adopted me.”

“You lucked out there,” Alex mused.  “No offense, but you could have done a lot worse than getting adopted by a family in the shipping business.  They’re worth billions.  Do you know who your real parents are?”

“Yes, I do,” he said mysteriously. 

“Ever met them?”

“My mother was an actress and my father was a producer.  They had me very young.  I guess I was a mistake in their eyes.”

“You?” Alex asked, smiling.  “They obviously didn’t know what a fine son they had on their hands.”

His eyes bore into hers for a few lingering seconds.  When her cell phone rang, she made an apologetic face and plucked it from her purse.    It was Miranda calling.

“Hello Darling,” she said, beaming.

“What the hell are you doing, Mother?” Miranda asked.

“Having dinner.”

“I can see that, but why does it have to be with that man?”

Alarmed, Alex scanned the dining room until she spotted her daughter standing by the hostess station, eyes wide with surprise. 

“Would you excuse me for a minute?” she said to Kyle before floating across the room, ignoring a string of stares and whispers. 

When she met up with Miranda, she went in for a quick hug but was met with a hand in her face. 

“I cannot believe you’re socializing with him,” Miranda whispered, pulling her mother to the side.  “He’s an ex-convict.”

“Falsely accused,” Alex corrected her.  “What are you doing here?”

“Having dinner with Eddie,” she said dismissively.  “Now what has gotten into you?  You heard all those horrible things he said about David.”

“Why do you care what anybody says about David?  He dumped you, or have you forgotten that?”

“Just because he dumped me doesn’t mean he’s guilty of the things Kyle Fenmore says he did.”

“Fenwick,” Alex corrected her again.  “And I’d thank you to let me make my own decisions.  I am a grown woman, you know.”

“Like you let Stormy and I make our own decisions?  Get serious.  You’re on the rebound because Jordan divorced you.  But mark my words, you’re going to get hurt.  I honestly don’t know what’s gotten into you.  First this thing with the pills, and now you’re making googly eyes at some hunk who’s been out of prison for all of a week?”

“We’ll talk about this later,” Alex huffed before turning and marching back to her table.  Before she arrived, she reached into her purse and removed an oxycontin she’d lifted from Veronique’s bathroom. 

“Everything okay?” Kyle asked, standing as she approached. 

“Fine,” she said, downing the rest of her martini and washing down her pill.  “You know, I was just thinking about that fresh start.  Seems like now’s a good a time as any.”

“What’d you have in mind?”

“I’m not sure.  But I’ll let you know as soon as I decide.” 

Jackie Lamont

Jackie loved having her own personal gofer.  She’d had one in New York.  Several, actually.  The last one cracked under the pressure, unable or unwilling to do what was necessary to get the job done.  Amateurs!  Why was it so impossible for some people to check their conscience at the door?

Steven, on the other hand, was a form ready to be molded.  He was young – nineteen to be exact – and eager.  Tall, muscled and tan with an adorable face, he lived in a rundown beach shack in Venice and attended film school at UCLA.  She suspected that he was into her, which did wonders for her ego, but also made her cringe at the very thought of them together.  She appreciated younger men, but nineteen?  Not in this lifetime.

Steven swept onto the terrace the jutted off the main dining room at Moonshadows in torn, faded jeans, flip flops, and a UCLA t-shirt.  “I got here as fast as I could,” he said with a grin.  “What can I do?”

Legs crossed while sipping a glass of pinot, Jackie looked at the title page of the script she’d taken from Brooke’s office.  The Standoff.  She still thought it was drab, but it appeared to be something of a personal favorite of James and Brooke’s.  She wondered how James would react if the deal to secure the rights didn’t go through.  He might even blame poor Brooke for failing to act quickly enough. 

“Deliver this first thing in the morning,” she said, dropping it into an ecru envelope addressed to Brett Armstrong at Rydell Productions.

“I get up every day at six to go work out,” Steven said, taking the envelope from her.  “I’ll drop it off on my way.”

When he hovered above her for several awkward moments, Jackie finally realized she needed to verbally dismiss him or this could go on all night.  “You may go,” she said succinctly. 

“Yeah, ok, great,” he said, turning and running down the steps of the terrace toward the sandy beach.

Jackie smiled to herself, drinking her wine and wondering how long it would take to discredit Brooke enough to cause concern with James. 

Stephanie Callahan

When she got home from a seventeen hour day it was almost eleven o’clock, but Stephanie wasn’t tired.  Too wound up to go to bed.  She poured herself a glass of red wine and popped some microwave popcorn and settled down on the sofa in front of a scary movie.

Not that she needed any more thrills.  Her life was like a scary movie.  Her ex-boyfriend was sent to prison for drug trafficking and murder, and was now free, probably trying to find her to get back at her for her part in it.  Or worse.  Whatever.  Let him try.  She had a collection of Smith & Wessons locked in a safe in her bedroom closet just waiting to be used.  On top of that, she had the whole police force behind her.  If Kyle Fenwick tried to so much as come fifty feet near her, he’d be back in jail so fast he’d wish it was yesterday. 

Her cell phone rang and she sighed impatiently.  Always at the good part.  She reached to the table and picked it up with disinterest.  She couldn’t have a single minute to herself without the precinct calling her.  Good to be wanted, she supposed. 

“Callahan,” she answered.

“Hello.”

“Hello?”

“Long time no talk,” said a deep voice through the phone.

It took a few seconds, but Stephanie finally recognized the voice.  She sprung to an upright position.  “What do you want?  How did you get my phone number?”

“It’s amazing what you can find on the internet,” Kyle said from his car.  “Phone numbers come easily.  Addresses not so much.  Tell me where you are, Stephanie.  I’d love to drop by and play catch up.”

“Catch up with yourself,” she snarled, standing and pacing the room. 

“Now, now, is that anyway to talk to your former boyfriend?  We had such good times together.  Remember that weekend we spent in the Catskills?”

“Sorry, not into reliving my mistakes.  Now what do you want?”

“To see you,” he said.  “Is that a crime?”

Compulsively running her fingers through her ponytail, she walked to the window and peered outside into the darkness.  He said he didn’t know where she lived but she didn’t believe him.  It would be just like Kyle to be staked outside her house, toying with her.  He always was a cocky smartass. 

“Go to hell,” she said, hanging up. 

She pulled the drapes closed, peering outside and surveying the street.  No sign of suspicious cars or activity.  Darting across the room, she looked out the dining room window, drawing those drapes as well. 

 The phone rang again.  She looked at the caller ID, saw that it was the same number, and reluctantly answered it.  If she didn’t, this could go on all night.

“Look, you fucker, if you don’t stop calling me I’m going to have your ass hauled to jail so fast that-“

“No, you look,” Kyle snapped.  “I know you were behind that sting operation.  Jennings set me up and he got you to do the rest.  I lost three years because of you and that pompous mama’s boy.”

“No, you lost three years because you thought you could get away with running a drug operation in one of Royce Jennings’s hotels.  The fact that Dugan busted you is no one’s fault but yours.  Why don’t you take some responsibility for once and accept that?”

“Well, we all know what happened to Dugan, don’t we?”

The remark sent chills up Stephanie’s spine.  “You’re a cretin,” she whispered.

He laughed.  “Don’t worry, Detective.  I’m not here to hurt you.”

“Couldn't if you wanted to.  But why are you here?”

“To prove my innocence.  What else?”

“How do you intend to do that?  Even if David Jennings set you up, which he didn’t, he’d never admit it.  You’re wasting your time.  Go back to New York.”

“Jennings won’t help me, but someone here will.”

“Who?”

“I have family in L.A.  They don’t know it yet, but after some convincing, I’m sure they’ll help me.” 

“What family?” Stephanie asked, glancing at the safe where her guns were stored.   “What are you up to, Kyle?”

“Just don’t get in my way,” he said quickly.  “We’ll see each other soon enough.”

He hung up.  Stephanie peered outside again, still convinced he was watching her.  Making a beeline to the bedroom, she opened her safe and removed a 9 caliber shotgun.  After settled back onto the sofa, she placed it neatly in her lap, not believing for a minute that he had no intention of hurting her.  He was vindictive and dangerous.  If he did have family in L.A., they were in for some difficult times ahead.

Brooke Taylor

The doorbell rang as Brooke made her way down the stairs to lock up for the night.  She wondered who could be coming by so late.  Maybe it was David.  He did seem unraveled when she saw him earlier that day.  Whatever was going on with him and this Kyle Fenwick character, it had him more worried than he let on.  For a brief moment she wondered if he was involved somehow with the setup.

When she pulled the door open and found a tall man with dirty blond hair and two-day stubble, she quickly decided David could no way be involved.  Kyle Fenwick looked like a criminal. 

“What are you doing here?” she asked, wondering why he would be coming to her door.  She didn’t even know him. 

“I thought it was time we met,” Kyle said, looking pleased while standing on the porch under the moonlight.  “I’m Kyle Fenwick.”

“I know who you are,” Brooke said suspiciously.  “But what I don’t know is why you’re at my house.”

“Wanted to meet you in person.”

“Why me?”  She couldn’t help but wonder why he looked familiar to him. 

“I read a lot about you,” Kyle explained.  “Sister of David Jennings, broken-hearted fiancé of Ethan Blackthorne.”

“I’m going to call David,” Brooke said, holding the door so that she could close it in a hurry if she had to.  She didn’t trust this man. 

“Why?  I’m not doing anything wrong.”

“You’re here.  At my door.”  She studied his face carefully. 

He smiled, digging his hands into his pockets.  “You think I look like him, don’t you?”

“Who?”

“Ethan.”

She frowned.  “No, I….”

“I never realized it until I got here.  Then people started noticing the similarities.”

“Similarities?” Brooke asked, confused.

Will Thomerson was my father too,” Kyle said.  “I’m Ethan’s brother.”

The blood drained from Brooke’s face.


Next time....

Miranda, Eddie and Quinn arrive at Storm Lake.  Renee wonders if she's made the right decision.  David faces off with Kyle.  James believes Kyle's story.  

 

 

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