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Episode 102

 

Release Date:  August 25, 2009

 Read the episode Recap 

 

Previously...

Brooke and Jackie clashed over studio business.  Jackie arranged for the script Brooke was rallying for to be delivered to Rydell Productions.  David raced to Brooke's townhouse, fearing that Kyle was there.  When he arrived, Brooke was alone and he realized Kyle was toying with him.  Later, David filled Brooke in on his past with Kyle, claiming he'd worked at one of Royce's hotels and had used it as a front for a drug operation.  When he'd been caught by Stephanie's partner, Dugan, he had the hotel blown up with Dugan inside.  Stephanie told the same story to Jordan, explaining that she and Kyle had been in a relationship, and she'd put her career in jeopardy by asking her partner to drop the case.  Kyle called Stephanie and taunted her.  T.T. bought tickets for him and Renee to go away on a two-week cruise.  Suzanne came to Brett's rescuse and agreed to babysit Violet.  Later, Suzanne turned down an offer to reprise her role on The Young at Heart. Brett turned Marilee down when she attempted to seduce him.  Suzanne told Benji that they were moving to a new house together.  Miranda and Stormy followed Eddie to Quinn Rainer's house, learning that he was helping her find her missing brother.  Kyle convinced Alex to make changes to her life if she wasn't happy with it.  Later, she was surprised when he kissed her.   Kyle dropped by Brooke's house and revealed that Will Thomerson was his father.  

 


 

Episode 102

"Suspicious Minds"

 

Brooke’s eyes were a steely pale blue as she stared Kyle down.  How could he come to her door and say these things?  How could he use Ethan’s memory like this?  So what if his eyes were strikingly similar to his.  So what if they shared the same dirty blond hair color and the same strong jaw line.  This man was not to be trusted.

“Aren’t you going to say anything?” Kyle asked, standing on the porch of her townhouse beneath the moonlight.  “I know it’s unexpected, but I thought you’d at least have a reaction.”

“What do you want?” she asked tersely.  Her hand rested on the door, prepared to slam it closed at a moments notice. 

“Nothing.  I just felt like I should tell you.  David’s probably filled your head with lies about me.  I wanted to tell you my side of the story.”

“David told me you were involved in a drug cartel.  You killed a cop.  You went to prison.  He never said anything about you being Will Thomerson’s son.”

“That’s because David doesn’t know,” Kyle explained.  “I didn’t think it was newsworthy until I came here and learned that his half-sister almost married my brother.”

“I don’t understand,” Brooke said.

“Two years after he left Kansas and went to New York, Will Thomerson had an affair with a woman named Maureen Adams.  An actress who starred in one of his productions on Broadway.  She got pregnant and he paid her off.  Said kids weren’t in his plans for being a Broadway producer.  Then she gave me up for adoption.  I guess I wasn’t in her plans either.”

“Did you ever meet him?  Will, I mean.” 

Kyle nodded.  “I tracked him down when I was twenty-one.  He wanted nothing to do with me.  I didn’t know then that he had another son.”

Brooke looked away.  “That’s because neither of them knew until a few years ago.”  She thought about James and the fact that he’d hid the truth from them for almost thirty years.  Ethan had been destroyed when he found out, and Will kidnapped Michael in retaliation. 

“What about your mother?” she wanted to know.

Kyle looked over her shoulder into the house.  “Can I come in?  This might be easier if I wasn’t standing on the porch.”

“No,” she said succinctly, closing the door half-way in case he tried anything. 

“I couldn’t find her,” Kyle sighed.  “When the Fenwicks told me I was adopted I looked for her.  I wanted answers.  When I didn’t get the ones I wanted, I chalked it up to fate.  Maybe they weren’t meant to be in my life.”

“Will’s dead, you know,” Brooke told him.  “He was murdered.”

He nodded.  “Yes, that girl shot him.  Jordan Rydell’s daughter.  I heard about it.” 

“If she hadn’t, someone else would have.  He was a deviant.  You were better off without him.  Ethan would have been a different person had he been raised by Will.”

“I’d like to hear more about Ethan,” Kyle announced.  “Maybe we can talk sometime.  Without a door between us.”

Why did this man seem so different from the portrait that David painted?  He didn’t seem to want anything.  Circumstances had brought him to L.A. and he just so happened to have shared a father with Ethan. 

“I don’t think so,” she said, thinking better of it.  She trusted David, and if he said Kyle was bad news, then she was inclined to believe him.  “Goodbye.”

And the door closed between them.  Securely fastening the deadbolt, Brooke took a step back and wondered if he was telling the truth.  And if so, was he anything like Ethan? 

Renee Dewitt

Lounging on the sundeck of the Coral Princess as it floated along the French Riviera, Renee Dewitt sipped a coconutty drink and watched the sun as it began to set.  It had been a gloriously lazy day and her mind casually wandered.   A light breeze brought echoes of music.  Wasn’t that an orchestra playing?  Lush strings and mellow horns laced with Latin congas.   They must be rehearsing for tonight’s captain’s ball.  She and T.T. were invited to his table.  She wondered what she would wear and what songs they would dance to.  She wondered if they would return to his cabin or hers when they finally decided to call it a night.  So many things to think of.  He cocktail was too sweet, that was for sure.  But she decided to have another one before she went to get ready.  She felt like she had all the time in the world.  She’d never been more in love in her life…

Shaking her head to dispel the cruel images from the past, Renee rose from her lounger on the pool deck of the Royal Princess.  Clad in a white one-piece custom swim suit and large round sunglasses, she made her way to the pool and slowly lowered herself down the ladder.  She let the cool water invigorate her, wash away the humiliation of that first cruise with T.T. Levitt.  The cruise where they met and spent every night for fourteen days together.  The same cruise where she learned he had a fiancé back in New York City.  Julia Harris was to become the new Mrs. T.T. Levitt, and he had every intention of going through with it.  She’d been nothing more than a distraction.  A plaything while he cruised about the Mediterranean. 

Suddenly, a hand clamped down on her shoulder, and there was T.T., grinning at her surprise.  “Hello beautiful,” he said, pulling her back into the water with him.  “What did I catch you dreaming about?”

“You,” she said dreamily.  “Us.”

“Good things I hope.” 

Some good things.”

Turning her toward him, T.T. brushed his lips against her neck.  “I knew it was a risk bringing you on this cruise because of what happened before.  But nothing has to change between us.  That was a long time ago.”

“I know,” Renee said dismissively.  “I’m trying to let go of the past.  I just need some time, okay?”

“It’s been twenty-five years,” T.T. said sternly.  “Now either you want to be with me or you don’t.  Which is it, Renee?”

She could tell he meant business.  It was time to end her primadonna antics and give in to her feelings.  “I want to be with you,” she finally said with an apologetic pout. 

Grinning, T.T. placed his arms around her and lifted her up out of the pool, laughing while twirling her around in his arms.  Shrieks of delight escaped her throat while other passengers watched in amusement.

Miranda Blackthorne

At six a.m., Miranda was alert and eager to get the road-trip to Storm Lake started.  Something about pitching in and helping Quinn find her missing brother made her feel worthwhile, because since Hotel Terranova burned down, she hadn’t done a single productive thing.  Maybe she was destined to be Eddie’s Gal Friday – helping him with cases and doing good things to help the Quinn Rainer’s of the world.  And with her and Eddie’s new romantic relationship, there would be all kinds of adorable one-liners and sexual undercurrents.  The more she thought about it, the more it sounded like a bad detective show on TV. 

They arrived at Quinn’s house in Bel Air promptly at six.  Miranda volunteered to go up and get her.  While walking to the front door, she observed a shiny blue Mustang in the driveway.  She didn’t take Quinn for a Mustang person. 

She rang the doorbell and offered a chipper smile when Quinn answered.  “Ready to go?” she asked. 

Quinn quickly darted out to the porch and closed the door behind her.  “Yeah, let’s go.”  She wasted no time in taking her hand and leading her off the porch. 

“Wait, I wanted to see your mom before we left,” Miranda said.  “I wanted to apologize for how crazy I acted the other day.  She probably thought I was a lunatic.”

Quinn shrugged and waved a hand through the air.  “She’s fine.  Probably already forgot about it.”

“Are you sure?  Because if she-“

“Miranda, let’s just go!”

Frowning at her persistent behavior, she followed her down to the car where Eddie was waiting with the engine running. 

Suzanne Rogers

The house in Sherman Oaks was typical of most that were built in the Valley in the late seventies.  A two-story structure with a stone façade and a kidney shaped Spanish tile pool in a backyard that overlooked the mountains.  A line of high-reaching poplar trees bordered the property.  It was no Beverly Hills, and certainly no Switzerland, but Benji decided it was livable.

“What do you think?” Suzanne asked, ridiculously elated, hands on hips while they stood in the sunken living room. 

“Which one’s my room?” Benji asked, gazing upstairs. 

“Take your pick.”

While he bolted up to the second floor, Jordan peered out the window.  “You sure about this?” he asked, clad in a navy Gucci tracksuit.  “You can stay at the house, you know.  I never asked you to move out.”

Suzanne laughed while she casually inspected the fireplace.  “Yeah, and how long do you think that arrangement would work?” she asked.  “Sharing a house with your ex-wife?  Definitely would cramp your lifestyle.  No, it’s time I get out on my own.  You’ve protected me for long enough.”

“What lifestyle?” he asked with a deep frown.  What exactly was she implying?

“I’m not blind, Jordan,” she said knowingly.  “I’ve seen the tension between you and Detective Callahan.  There’s obviously something going on there.”

He rolled his eyes with a groan.  “There’s nothing going on, I can assure you of that.”  No, because the woman was a robot and refused to offer up any human emotion. 

“Still,” she continued, measuring out the dining room by stepping heel to toe from one wall to the other.  “You’re a man with needs and I don’t intend on getting in the way.”

“A man with needs?” he asked incredulously.  Now she was making him sound like a dog in heat.  “I don’t know where you got this idea that I’m a horny old man, but-“

“I was gone for thirteen years, Jordan.  I have some idea of what went on during that time.  Alex, Renee, the models, the hookers.  It’s okay.  It was my choice not to come back.”

He wanted desperately to change subjects.  “Anyway, when I said it was your turn to worry about Benji, I didn’t mean you had to move out.  There’s got to be some middle ground.”

At that moment, Benji bounded down the stairs.  “I’m gonna check out the pool,” he said, heading for the sliding doors off the dining room room. 

Jordan and Suzanne exchanged glances and he held his hands up in resignation before following his son into the back yard. 

“Is this all okay with you?” Jordan asked, watching Benji collect bugs from the surface with the net.  “Moving out here with your mom.”

Benji shrugged.  “It’s fine.  It’ll be good to have a mom again.”

Jordan looked at him knowingly.  Something was off.  “This wouldn’t be another one of your schemes to get back at us, would it?”

“Meaning?”

“I know you, Benji, and I know how you operate.  The schemes, the manipulations, it’s par for the course.  I was oblivious for the entire last year.  Meanwhile you were telling Alex that I beat you, aligning yourself with Frank Dunning, and telling Callahan that I beat up Scott Kelly.”

“What’s your point?” Benji asked belligerently. 

“What’s the plan this time?” he asked, hating to be so suspicious of his son, but knowing not to take anything at face value.  “Get close to your mother and then hang her up to dry to get back at her for abandoning you?  Just so you remember, I was the one who took her away.  If you want to blame anyone, blame me.”

“I’m not trying to get back at her,” Benji insisted.  “She’s making an effort, which is a lot more than I can say for you.  I got here and you just ignored me.  Too busy with Heather and Alex and whatever drama you were involved in that week.”

“Don’t do that,” Jordan said, shaking his head.  “That’s bullshit generalization and you know it.”

“And telling me I’m up to my usual schemes isn’t?”  He threw his hands up in resignation.  “Forget it.  Think what you want.” 

Before Jordan could stop him, he darted back inside the house.  Sighing, Jordan turned his gaze to the pool.  True, he expected the worst, but history had taught him well.  This reformed act of Benji’s wouldn’t last forever, and he shuddered to think what would happen then. 

Alex Reynolds

All of Kyle’s talk about starting over and doing things right this time had Alex amped up for action.  She couldn’t very well fix the mistakes she’d made with her three children, and having another child as Kyle had suggested was preposterous, so she decided to focus on what she could change.  Her career. 

“Can I get you anything, Miss Reynolds?” her pretty French housekeeper asked.

“Some tea would be lovely, Veronique,” Alex replied from her relaxed position on the sofa. 

She didn’t care what Miranda said.  Kyle Fenwick was such a positive influence on her.  For starters, he saved her life.  And secondly, he inspired her to change her life.  How on earth could anyone claim he was bad news?  Sadly, it meant her daughter had lost more respect for her.  Miranda probably thought she was a foolish woman who didn’t know what she was doing.  It drove her crazy, so she took another one of Veronique’s oxycontin to make herself feel better.  And she did. 

Stretching languorously on the sofa, she called Bruce Boynton, her agent, and put the phone on speaker. 

“Boynton Talent Management,” the man answering the phone said.  “Bruce’s Boynton’s office.”

“Get him,” Alex barked, taking the cup of tea from Veronique and swallowing another pill. 

“Excuse me?” said the man.

“Get him!” she said, louder this time. 

A few seconds of silence followed before the man continued.  “Alex?  Hi, this is Vince, Bruce’s assistant.”

“Is he there or not?”

“Uh, not exactly.  He’s sort of in jail.”

“Are you serious?” Alex demanded, swinging her legs over the side of the sofa.  “When the hell did that happen?”

“Last week.  Turns out he was bugging client’s phones and selling their conversations to the tabloids.  Paris Hilton caught on and busted him.  He’ll be out in eight months.”

“Great, Vince, what am I supposed to do in the meantime?” she asked angrily, and a little disconnected from the oxycontin.  “I’m an actress.  I have a career to work out.  Can you get me anything?”

“Me?”

“Yes, you.  You’re his assistant.  I assume you know what to do.  I need a part.  Preferably something with a steady income.  I’m thinking of a series.  Or a talk show.  I’d love to host my own talk show.”

“Uh, I guess I could see what I can do,” Vince stammered nervously.  Alex could hear papers shuffling on his desk.  “I’ll get back to you.”

“Fantastic,” Alex said and hung up.  She took another sip of her tea and grimaced.  “Jail?  I don’t believe it.  Veronique, this tea is awful.  Can you make me a bloody mary?”

Moonshadows

Brooke summoned James and David to Moonshadows for lunch.  She had plenty to tell them, starting with Kyle Fenwick’s visit to her house the night before.  Just as she’d expected, they both reacted with hostility, and that was before she got to the good part. 

“Why didn’t you call me?” David demanded.  “I told you he’s a loose canon.  I don’t want you near him, Brooke.  You should have called me the minute he showed up.”

“Did he say what he wanted?” James wanted to know, gulping down a glass of iced tea as they sat on the veranda of the main dining room.  “I can’t imagine why he’d come to your house.  You don’t even know him.”

“No, but he knows who I am,” Brooke reported.  “And he knew Ethan.  Or at least of him.”  

“Ethan?” James asked.

“He’s claiming that he’s Will Thomerson’s son,” Brooke said.

Silence fell on James for a few seconds while he struggled to process the information.  The very mention of his arch enemy’s name was enough to cause his blood to boil, even after all this time.

“How?” he finally uttered.

Brooke shrugged.  “He says that after Will left Kansas and moved to New York, he met a woman – an actress – and she gave birth to his son.  Will wanted nothing to do with him, and the woman gave him up for adoption to the Fenwicks.” 

“He’s lying,” David proclaimed.  “He’s just trying to get close to you because you’re my sister and he knows it would drive me nuts.” 

“I don’t know,” James interrupted with his own take on the situation. “It’s entirely possible that what he’s saying is true.  I mean, what do we know about Will Thomerson’s life in the years between him leaving Kansas and moving out here to L.A.?  He was in New York for decades. Is it so hard to believe that he would have fathered another child?  Hell, there could be a whole gaggle of Thomersons out there somewhere that he never even knew about.  And let’s face it, leaving a woman pregnant and alone was kind of his forte.  Look what he did to my sister Georgie.” 

Brooke knew all too well.  The pain that James still felt over Georgie’s death was very real.  He said she’d died of a broken heart when Will Thomerson abandoned her, alone and pregnant, to start his career as a Broadway producer.  After giving birth to Ethan, she actually died of tuberculosis.  But James had blamed Will, and spent years trying to exact his revenge. 

“It just seems a bit too convenient to me,” David said, angrily. 

“I thought there was something familiar about him the first time I saw him,” James went on.  “Brooke, did you?”

“A little,” she admitted.

“Fine,” David said and rose from the table.  “The two of you can believe this guy if you want, but I’m not going to fall for it.  I know Kyle Fenwick, remember?  I worked with him.  He’s a liar and a manipulator.  If you start believing him, he’ll just worm his way in.”

“David, wait-“ James said, trying to stop him from running off.

“Leave him,” Brooke said with a shake of her head and a wave of her hand.  “David’s going to be angry no matter what you do to change his mind.  I think we should just ignore Kyle Fenwick and maybe he’ll go away.”

“It doesn’t make you wonder?” James asked.

“Wonder what?”

He shrugged.  “Well, if he is Will’s son, then that makes him Ethan’s brother.  I thought that might cause some kind of reaction in you.”

Brooke looked blankly at the ring of liquid her glass left on the table.  Sorrowfully, she turned back to James.  “Ethan was one of a kind.  No matter who this guy is, he’ll never come close to who Ethan was.”

James smiled and tenderly touched her hand.  “Not to change the subject, but did you get a hold of the writer of The Standoff?” he asked.  “I think we should go into pre-production as soon as possible.”

“It’s been so crazy lately that I haven’t,” she admitted.  “But I will.”

“Good.  I think it’s a great project.  Sometimes with scripts like that, someone else can snatch it up right from underneath you when you’re not looking.  I don’t want to lose out on this one.”

“We won’t,” Brooke said with a self-assured smile.

Stormy Blackthorne

Stormy had a craving for a pepperoni pizza from Spago so he arranged his lunch meeting to take place there.  Kill two birds with one stone, he decided.  When the hostess told him his party hadn’t arrived yet, he decided to wait at the bar.  On his way, he passed Brett having lunch with a schleppy looking young man in glasses with thick black frames, an ill-fitting tartan shirt, and faded courduroys .  Against his better judgment, he stopped to offer a cordial hello.

“Brett,” he said, hands in his pockets while he stood at their table.  “Long time no see.”

“Hello Stormy,” Brett said, blond eyebrows arched.  “How’ve you been?”

“Fine.  Listen, I’m glad I ran into you.  I’ve been thinking of going up to San Francisco and seeing Heather at the clinic.  How is she doing?”

“She’s not allowed any visitors yet,” he replied briefly.  “And only family for the first six months.  I’ll be sure to give her your best when I see her.”

Stormy couldn’t be sure that he was telling him the truth.  It sounded like an excuse to rub his nose in the fact that he was nothing to Heather anymore.  An ex-husband.  

Brett realized he’d failed to introduce his lunch companion.  “I’m sorry,” he said and gestured to the man sitting across the table from him.  “This is Finn Lambert.  He’s an up and coming screenwriter.  You’re bound to see his name around before too long.”

“Big deal in the works?” Stormy asked. 

“Very,” Brett said and nodded to Finn.  “We’re just about to sign on the dotted line.” 

As he mouthed the writer’s name over and over in his mind, Stormy couldn’t help but think he had heard of him.   “What’s the screenplay?”

Brett flashed him an incredulous look.  “What do you take me for?  I’m keeping this one safe and sound until the premiere.”  He patted the script that sat in front of him.  On the cover page was the title neatly typed out.  The Standoff. 

“Wait a minute,” Stormy said, reaching for the script.  “I read this.  Sunset Studios is working on securing the rights.”

Brett laughed.  “Maybe you were, but Rydell Productions is about to own the project.” 

Eyes flashing major danger signals, Stormy pulled him up by the arm and led him away from the clueless screenwriter.  “What the hell is your game, Brett?  How did you even get hooked up with this guy?  That script was in my hands less than twenty-four hours ago.”

“It was delivered to my office this morning,” Brett replied innocently.  “The guy obviously knows what a goldmine he’s got on his hands so of course he’s going to get it out to as many eyes as he can.”

“But we were assured we were the only studio in the running.”

Brett shrugged.  “Don’t know what to tell you, junior. You’ve got to act quick.  You know, I always said you didn’t have what it takes to make it in this business and this is a prime example.  You couldn’t even get an option on a script before someone else snatched it out from under you.”

Stormy stood, stewing over the unfortunate events.  The clincher was that it was Brooke who’d dropped the ball.  It was supposed to be her taking care of it. 

David Jenner

David tried calling Kyle several times throughout the day with every intention of getting to the bottom of what he was planning.  First showing up in town and making a false statement to the press, then taunting him with threats toward Brooke, and finally claiming that he was Ethan’s long lost half-brother.  He was after something and he was determined to expose it.  By nightfall, he still hadn’t gotten in touch with him so he gave up for the time being.  At home, he stepped out onto the patio that overlooked the dark Pacific, a beer clutched tensely in his hand. 

“Got your message,” said a voice from the shadows. 

David turned quickly, alarmed to see Kyle standing on the opposite side of the patio.  “So you thought you’d come by unannounced?”   He approached him in the darkness, only the light from the full moon casting a blue glow over top. 

“If it was important enough for you to call five times, I figured it deserved a face to face meeting.  I take it from your sense of urgency that you talked to your sister.” 

“She said you told her that Ethan Blackthorne was your half-brother,” Kyle went on.  “That the Fenwicks adopted you from some Broadway actress.”

“All true.”

“Or just a convenient excuse to get close to Brooke?” David asked, drawing closer.  “Come on, Fenwick.  This is just you trying to get back at because you think I set you up.” 

“You did set me up,” Kyle said.  “You were using that hotel as a front for a drug operation.  You were a cokehead, remember?  You used the stuff like it was candy.  You got caught and you let me take the fall.  Your loyal employee.”

Past drug abuse or not, David refused to be used as a scapegoat.  “You were in charge of that hotel.  You hired the staff.  They were the ones who worked for you and bought and sold the stuff by the ton.  The only reason you didn’t get caught sooner was because of your relationship with Stephanie.  She got Dugan to drop the investigation because you were sleeping together.”

“There was nothing to investigate.  Dugan had nothing. You called in that bomb threat so the hotel would be evacuated.”

“No.”

“I was being booked while the hotel blew up!” Kyle insisted.  “How could I have blown it up if I was getting my mug shots taken?"

“You had one of your people do it for you.  But first you made sure Dugan had left the precinct, got in his car, and went to the hotel to get the evidence he needed to charge you.”

“I couldn’t have known that he would be in the building.  You were there that night.  You saw him go into the hotel and you gave the order for the explosives to be set off.  Then you convinced Stephanie that I was behind it and that I killed her partner.  She thought she’d protected a criminal, so she falsified evidence to save her own ass.” 

David shook his head.  He was done with it.  He’d argued the same thing for months after the incident.  It didn’t matter now anyway.  Kyle had served his time.  The case was closed. 

“What do you want, Fenwick?” he asked tersely. 

Kyle took another step forward.  “Because of you, I lost three years of my life.  All I want now is for you to feel that same loss.”

“You’re going to get me thrown in prison?”

“No, I’m just going to attack every part of your life, starting with the sister that you care so much about.  I saw it the other night when I called you and told you I was outside her house.  How long did it take you to get there?  Five minutes?  You must have ran at least ten stop signs to get there that fast.  She’s your weak spot.”

“Leave Brooke alone.  She has nothing to do with this.”

“Except that she was engaged to my brother,” Kyle said with a smirk. 

“You expect anyone to believe that story?” David asked, gripping the beer bottle tightly in his hand.  “You show up in town and crazily enough you’re related to a dead man who’s not even alive to refute it?”

Kyle shrugged.  “So go find my mother.  My real mother.  Her name’s Maureen Adams.  She’ll be happy to tell you and anyone else who doesn’t believe me that she had an affair with Will Thomerson a year after he left Kansas.”

Glaring heatedly, David came up upon him in a flash.  He smashed the bottle against the patio railing, forming a jagged piece of glass weaponry that he held out next to Kyle’s throat. 

“You leave my sister alone,” he seethed.  “She’s been through enough without having to put up with some long-lost relative who just wants to cause her more pain.”

Unaffected by the prospect of the bottle being so close to his throat, Kyle casually pushed his arm away.  “Brooke will come to me,” he said ominously.  “I won’t have to lift a finger.”

Renee Dewitt

The Reef Dining Room aboard the Coral Princess had been transformed into a Roaring Twenties theme night.  Women were clad in short fringed dresses and cloche hats.  The men sported top hats and pinstriped suits.  To mimic the era, the dining room was uniformed in standard art deco design.  The band played all the hits of the period, blasting horns and cymbals while the guests danced the night away. 

“I’ve never been happier,” Renee said to T.T. while they danced amidst the crowd.  “These past two weeks were exactly what I needed.” 

“It’s been wonderful,” said a dashing young T.T. as he led her off the dance floor and out onto the deck.  “I wish it would never end.”

“Why should it have to?  I can go back to New York with you.  Then I’ll take you to meet my parents in Los Angeles.  We’ll have a cross country adventure!” 

His lips tightened, turning out to the dark water as the boat sailed along the Mediterranean.  “You can’t come back to New York with me, Renee,” he said.

“Why not?”  At twenty-two, her young mind couldn’t find a single reason why things would have to end now.  However, his lack of response clued her in to something deeper that must be going on.  “Is there someone else?”

He nodded.  “A fiancé.  We’re getting married next month in the Hamptons.  I’m sorry I didn’t tell you but I-“

“You’re damn right you’re sorry,” she said.  “I fell in love with you, T.T.  For two weeks you romanced me, you made love to me, you made me feel like the only woman in the world.  How could you have done all that while you had a fiancé?”

“I didn’t know this thing between us would last longer than a night.  I didn’t expect to fall in love with you.  You have to believe that, Renee.”

She jerked away from him.  “I don’t believe anything you tell me.”

“It’s true.” 

Shaking her head, she turned and fled down the deck, disappearing in the night, tears streaming down her face…

When she broke from her meditative state, Renee realized T.T. had appeared behind her, having following her from the ballroom aboard the Royal Princess.  She closed her eyes when his hand touched her shoulder.  His touches were dangerous, she decided.  When he touched her she forgot all about that horrible night twenty-five years ago, and she couldn’t let that happen.  She couldn’t sweep those feelings under the rug as if it never happened.

“I turned around and you were gone,” he said, staring out at the moon that hung above the ocean.  “What gives?”

“Just thinking,” she said sorrowfully.  Taking a deep breath, she turned to him and looked into his eyes.  “I can’t do this, T.T.  Coming here with you was a mistake.”

T.T. knew it was coming.  The entire cruise so far had been guesswork, him wondering what she was thinking and if she was going to break if he touched her.  The situation was fragile. 

“You’re just having second thoughts,” he assured her, taking her hand in his.  “They’ll pass.”

“No they won’t,” she said, shaking her head firmly.  Standing on the deck of the ship, she could envision that despicable night where he’d crushed her spirit.  “I wish I could say the past didn’t matter anymore, but it does.”

“But yesterday you said that you wanted me too.”

“I’m sorry, T.T.  I can’t forget about what happened, especially since the ordeal with Angela back in Los Angeles.  It’s like nothing has changed.”

“We’re older and wiser.  We just need to find our groove and get back into it.  I want to make you happy.  I just need you to let me try.”  

She pulled her hand away and shook her head again.  “You can’t make me happy, T.T.  I don’t want to make the same mistake again.  If we were together, if we got married, if we split our time between New York and L.A., I would never feel at peace.  I have to end this now.”

“I don’t want to lose you again,” T.T. said.

“When we dock in Acapulco tomorrow I’m going to catch a flight home,” she said firmly.  “You should go back to New York.  There’s nothing left for us.  We’ll never get back what we had twenty-five years ago no matter how hard we try.”

Before he could protest, she was fleeing down the deck and disappearing into the darkness.  This time she didn’t cry. 

Alex Reynolds

“A soap opera?” Alex steamed to Vince Campbell, the dashing, handsome thirty-five year old assistant who had assumed Bruce’s responsibilities, albeit unwillingly.  “I told you I wanted to do a talk show.  Like Oprah but without Gail.  Like Ellen but without Portia.  I’m an actress, Vince.  I won’t stoop to doing a soap opera.”

“It’s steady work and you said that’s what you were looking for,” Vince argued.  “There just isn’t a big market for talk show hosts right now.  So many of them fail.  A soap is good, solid work.” 

Alex sighed and looked at the sample script he’d brought along.  They were sitting in a secluded booth at the Polo Lounge, a carafe of vodka and two glasses of ice resting seductively on the table. 

“It’s the longest running soap on television.”  Vince, a quirky, sexy being with dark hair and brilliant blue eyes, looked like an actor himself.  He was, in fact.  Or at least he wanted to be.  He’d taken the job as Bruce Boynton’s assistant a year ago for the paycheck in order to get a score of creditor’s off his back.  He still was no closer to his dream of landing the big role, despite Bruce’s promise to help him.

The crowd across the room parted when Mackenzie Stone swept into the room, black hair straight and shiny, white Fendi jacket, and large white sunglasses covering deep brown eyes.  She snaked her way through the room with determination, stopping at their table and removing her jacket before offering up an all-business greeting.

“Miss Stone, it’s so good to meet you,” Vince said, jumping to his feet and shaking her hand, then gesturing to Alex.  “This is Alex Reynolds.”

“I know Miss Reynolds,” Mackenzie said, looking her up and down. 

Alex frowned.  “Have we met before?”

“No, I just meant I’ve read everything printed about you.  Tabloids mostly.  You must have thick skin.”

Unsure if her remark was meant to be hostile, Alex decided to take it with a grain of salt.  At first glance, the woman seemed very no-nonsense and to-the-point.  She’d worked with a number of women just like her.  It was all in how you perceived them.

“I’m sure half of it is lies,” she said. 

“If you so say,” Mackenzie said dismissively.  “Vince told me you wanted to do a series.  It just so happens that I’m looking for a new actress to portray Faye Summers.”

“Didn’t she die in an explosion?” Alex asked.

“They never found her body.”

“Ah,” Alex said with a nod.  “Wasn’t that the role that Suzanne Rogers played back in the seventies?  I’m surprised you didn’t ask her to resume the role.  She’s come back from the dead herself, you know.”

“I did and she turned me down.  Do you have a problem with that?”

Damn right she had a problem with that.  Alex Reynolds didn’t play second fiddle to anyone, especially to Suzanne Rogers.  If she’d known this she’d never have agreed to the meeting.

“Alex?” Mackenzie repeated.  “Is that a problem?”

She bit her lip and forced herself to relax.  “No, of course not,” she replied with as much sincerity as she could muster.  “I understand.  Of course Suzanne would be your first choice.”

“That being said, I do need to cast the role as soon as possible.  We’re looking for her first airdate to be two weeks from today.  That means we’ve got to get someone in the studio on Friday.” 

“Friday?” Alex asked, looking a Vince.  “Wow, that’s…right after Thursday.”

“Are you interested?”

“I think I’d like to think about it,” Alex said.  This was all moving too fast for her.      

“There’s no time,” Mackenzie told her.  “I’m sorry to rush you, but I need your decision today.  The role’s yours if you want it.  If not, I’ll have to offer it to my next runner-up.”

“Who?”

“Angie Dickinson.”

Alex gasped.  Angie Dickinson was playing second fiddle to her?  This was too delicious.  Finally a chance to one-up her nemesis.  “I’ll do it,” she said. 

“Excellent,” Mackenzie said, standing up and pulling her briefcase off the floor.  “I’ll have the contracts sent over to your office, Vince.”   She started to leave, then paused and turned back.  “Oh, and Alex, I know the tabloids sometimes get it wrong, but I’m telling you right now if that business about you and the pills had any truth to it, you’d better hope it doesn’t affect your work.  I don’t tolerate abusers on my set.”

After she’d gone, Alex turned to and sighed.  She hoped she’d made the right decision. 

Brett Armstrong

The moving truck was parked in the driveway, tons of activity going on as movers hauled in future and boxes to the house in Sherman Oaks.  Suzanne was busy holding Violet who’d been fussing for over an hour.  Bouncing the infant in her arms, she stood inside the front door directing the movers to different rooms. 

“That goes in the dining room,” she said, using a free hand to point when they hauled in a dark walnut stained buffet.  “Against the far wall.”

Casual in shorts and a navy Lacoste polo, Suzanne was burning up from the heat.  Compounded with the ninety-plus degree weather they were experiencing, the air conditioning apparently had quit just after the landlord handed over the keys.  Although he said it would be fixed by that night, it didn’t make moving in any easier. 

“There’s cold Evian in the fridge,” she said to the movers when they returned from the dining room.  “Help yourself.”

They nodded their approval and took a quick break, passing Brett as he emerged from the kitchen, shirtless and sweaty. 

“I can’t get that dang unit to kick on,” he said, wiping his forehead with a greasy towel.  “I think it needs a new coil.”

“Brett, don’t worry about it.  The landlord said he’d get it fixed.  I just appreciate you coming over and helping me change out those light fixtures.”

He winced, looking up at the very seventies style pendant lights that hung from the living and dining room.  “They’re not that bad,” he said with a wiseacre grin.  “They have a certain…charm.  They’re retro.”

“Retro,” Suzanne said, stifling a laugh.  “Is that what you call it?  They probably haven’t been changed since the house was built.  I don’t call that retro, I call it crazy.”

He handed her the towel and stepped up onto the ladder he’d previously been working on.  “How come the landlord didn’t change these out?”

“We compromised.  He said he’d buy them if I put them in.”  She smiled at Violet who reached to her face with ten tiny fingers.  “And since I have no idea what I’m doing, that’s where you come in.  Did I mention that I appreciate it?”

Struggling with a ceiling anchor and screw, Brett grunted hard.  “Yeah, you did.  But I owe you for taking Violet for me while I've been nanny challenged these past few days.”

Realizing that her son-in-law was suddenly very alone, she wondered how he managed.  Raising Violet, running Jordan’s studio while he was off playing golf and gallivanting with Detective Callahan, plus trying to take care of himself.  It was a lot of change in a short amount of time.

“I'll take her anytime," Suzanne said, beaming proudly at her granddaughter.

“Thanks,” he said, climbing down from the ladder and trying the light switch.  When the new, modern fixture glowed brilliantly from the ceiling, he grinned and gestured to his handiwork.  “What do you think?”

“It’s a hundred percent better,” Suzanne decided.

Brett nodded in agreement, turning his attention to Violet who was now nodding off in Suzanne’s arms.  “Looks like she’s ready for a nap.  I should get her home.”

“She’s already out like a light,” Suzanne argued.  “Put her down here.  We’ll take a dip in the pool and cool off and then you can take her home when she wakes up.”

The prospect of a refreshing swim too tempting to pass up, Brett eagerly accepted her offer.  After Suzanne managed to find a swimsuit among her boxes of clothing, and Brett secured Violet in her crib a safe distance from the pool, they dove into the cool water. 

“Where’s Benji?” he asked after doing a few laps.  “I could use another pair of hands to tackle those upstairs lights.”

Suzanne sighed, leaning against the side of the pool.  “He said he had things to do,” she said.  “I was going to make him stay and help, but I figure I needed to pick my battles with him.  One step at a time.  He’ll come around.”

“You sure you know what you’re doing?  He’s a handful.  Lots of anger built up.”

“Who better than to help him through his anger than the person he’s most angry with?” she asked, squeezing water through her thick locks of auburn hair.  “To some degree he has a right to be angry.  I have a lot to make up for.”

“Yeah, but you were a victim.  None of this is your fault.”

Suzanne made a face and watched him pull himself up onto the edge.  For a brief second she caught herself admiring his smooth, chiseled torso.  That was all it took for her to realize that she really was coming to life again.  For thirteen years she didn’t even think about men in that way.  Naturally her son-in-law was off limits, but it felt good to see those feelings awaken in her. 

“Try telling that to a teenager who spent his whole life in a boarding school away from his family,” she said wryly.  “Jordan thinks he’s plotting his next move, but I honestly think he’s changed.  Someone or something is making him reconsider who he is.” 

Benji Rydell

“Have you heard from Sierra?” Blake Distefano wanted to know. 

“Not since the other night when she sent me that text that said she missed me.”

“Did she say it first or did you say it first?”

“I said it first,” Benji replied.  “Why?”

Blake shrugged, sucking down a few gulps of Coke.  “What if she just said it because she didn’t want to be rude?”

They were sitting in a booth by the window at California Taco, a popular Mexican restaurant located in a rundown shack on Oxnard.  The jukebox played The Spill Canvas at an alarmingly loud volume.

“Thanks,” he said sarcastically, throwing a handful of tortilla chips across the table at him.  “That makes me feel a lot better.”

Blake ducked out of the way, retaliating by throwing a handful of lettuce at his face.  “Sorry, I just think if she was into you she’d have stuck around.  You said yourself you thought she was just trying to get back at that douche bag Malcolm for cheating on her.”

Benji picked lettuce off of his Diesel muscle shirt.  He couldn’t help but laugh as he picked up a spoonful of queso and bent it back in sling-shot mode. 

“Don’t you freakin’ dare,” Blake warned him, prepared to dart away at a moments notice.  “I’ll kill you, Rydell.”

Realizing there was no turning back, Benji let the spoon go and watched as the sticky orange substance sprayed Blake in the face.  As soon as he did it, he knew he was in for major retaliation so he jumped up and darted to the soda fountain by the front counter. 

“You prick,” Blake yelled, laughing.  He darted after him, knocking into several patrons on his way to the front.  “You’re gonna pay for that.” 

“Wrong, taco boy,” Benji said, plucking a handful of hot sauce packets from the counter and tearing them open.  He held them out as a makeshift weapon, prepared to squeeze if prompted to.   “You know, next time I want to hang out, remind me not to call you.  I’m covered in lettuce and I feel worse about me and Sierra.”

“Yeah but I got you to laugh,” Blake said, grabbing the soda gun from behind the counter and aiming it at him. 

As both prepared to fire their respective weapons, the front counter clerk snatched the fountain gun away from Blake and gave Benji a shove.

“Take it outside, boys,” said Joba Branigan, an eighteen year old part time drug dealer who’d just graduated from Van Nuys High School.  “I’m not cleaning up after you fags.”

They exchanged glances and cracked up into fits of laughter.  “Joba, take it down a notch,” Blake said.  “You’re taking this job way too seriously.”

“Sorry, I’m not a spoiled daddy’s boy with money to burn,” said Joba.  He had a pudgy face, an upturned nose, and wore cargo shorts that hung off his crack, and a blue t-shirt and sandals.  “I work for a living.”

“You only work here so the police don’t think you and your brother are still dealing,” Benji said with a laugh.  Joba had a twin brother, Jeff, who was his partner in crime and supplied most of the local high schools with the latest party drugs.  He’d had his share of run ins with them since he moved back to town.  For the most part they were friendly, but definitely weren’t his scene. 

“You guys coming to the party this weekend at our place?” Joba asked while taking a customer’s order.  “It’s gonna be crrraaazy.  Last weekend this girl got fucked in the pool by a guy from UCLA while the entire party watched.” 

Benji shrugged.  “I don’t know.  I don’t think I can make it.”

“Why?” Blake demanded. 

“Just don’t think I can, that’s all.”  He wasn’t in the mood for a wild, crazy party.  Maybe his parents were right.  Maybe it was time for him to grow up. 

“You’re going,” Blake insisted.  “I’ll drag you there if I have to.  No more of this sitting around brooding about Sierra.  It’s time you started living again.”

Brooke Taylor

Brooke knocked twice on the door to James’s office, paused, and then strode inside where Stormy and Jackie were gathered around his desk.  She immediately sensed that something was up.  The cat who swallowed the canary look on Jackie’s face was enough of a warning.

“What’s up?” she asked, pale blond hair framing her face while a short skirt and frilly blouse covered her petite figure.  “You said it was important.”

“It is,” James said, unsure of how to approach her with the news.  She was his ex-wife, his friend, and most recently his business partner.  How was he supposed to call her out without sounding patronizing?   “Stormy just told me that we didn’t get the rights to The Standoff.  Rydell Productions beat us to it.”

“That’s impossible,” Brooke said, alarmed.  She stalked across the room and stopped before his desk.  “I spoke to the writer myself.  He said he wanted us to produce his film.”

“When did you talk to him last?” James inquired.

“A few days ago.”

“I saw Finn Lambert having dinner with Brett last night,” Stormy interjected.

Jackie watched with amusement.  Her plan to sabotage Brooke was coming along nicely.  After this incident, James would be on high alert. 

“I thought you were going to secure the script for us right away,” James admonished.  “I told you what a hot property this was going to be.”

Brooke raked her fingers through her hair and placed her hands firmly on her hips.  “I’ve been trying to get a hold of Finn Lambert for the past twenty-four hours.”

“Did you call his agent?” James asked.

“He doesn’t have an agent.  And Lambert hasn’t returned my calls.”

James sighed and rose from his desk.  “That’s because he already sold the script to Brett.  Now we’ve lost out on the deal because you didn’t get it in writing when I told you to.”

Humiliation set in as Brooke stood before him.  She felt like a subordinate.  Her relationship with James had gone through many transformations over the years, but this was by far the most shocking.  What’s worse was that Jackie and Stormy were there to witness it.  They probably had as much confidence in her now as James did.   All she'd wanted was to be part of something important, something for Ethan and for Michael.  

“I can talk to him,” she said, desperate to fix this.  “I can explain to him that I was going to make an offer and-“

“If he’s signed the contract with Rydell Productions, then there’s no turning back,” James said.  “He’d be in violation of his contract.”

“Then I’ll talk to Brett.  He’s reasonable.  Maybe he’ll understand and-“

“You don’t know Brett like I do,” Stormy cut in with a shake of his head.  “This new nice guy act of his doesn’t transfer over in business.  He’s still a creep when it comes to making a deal.”

“Too bad,” Jackie said, perched behind James’s chair by the window.  “I know how much you all wanted to see this project through.”

“Excuse me?” Brooke asked in disbelief of her nerve. 

“Well, I know I wasn’t on board with the script, but I was outvoted.  That’s business.  I moved on and…well, I’m just sorry that it didn’t happen, Brooke.  Maybe you’ll take something away from this experience.  This is a cut-throat business and you have to adapt.  I only hope you can.”

Hearing the woman’s condescending tone was the last thing Brooke needed.  The worst thing was she didn’t even have the energy to argue with her.  She was focused on fixing her mistake. 

“James, I’m sorry,” she said.  “I don’t know what else to say.”

With that, she turned and left the office.  Stormy decided to go after her to make sure she was okay.  He knew first hand what it was like to disappoint James Blackthorne when it came down to business. 

After he’d gone, Jackie placed a hand on James’s shoulder.  “I hate to say I told you so, but-“

“But you will anyway, right?” he finished for her, raising his eyebrows. 

Shrugging, Jackie sat down in his chair and put her Prada heels up on his desk.  “I knew she wouldn’t be able to handle the business world, let alone a movie deal.  It goes a mile a minute, James, you know that.  Face it, Brooke Taylor isn’t cut out for this.  She’s going to take her forty percent of the company and run it into the ground.”

“Not now, Jackie,” James seethed, staring out at the fountain centered in the lake on the studio lot.   “You don’t know how hard that was for me just now.”

“Why?  Because she was your wife?  Or because you know that she isn’t the partner you thought you were getting?”

Stormy Blackthorne

Stormy followed Brooke into her office next door, cringing when she picked up a book from her desk and hurdled it across the room in a rage. 

“Ouch,” he said.  “You okay?”

She folded he arms and paced the room.  “You heard how he talked to me back there, Stormy.  He humiliated me.  I know I screwed up and I have no excuse for that, but did he have to make me feel like a total idiot?  I’m his partner, not some dimwit intern.”

“Don’t take it personally,” Stormy said, watching her move frantically around the room.  “I used to let it get to me too.  Actually, I still do.  It doesn’t get any easier.  It’s just the way he is.  He takes this studio very seriously.”

Brooke could relate.  “Now I understand why he was so devoted to it while we were married.  I used to get so angry with him for obsessing over it.  Now I feel like I’m doing the same thing.  Except the only thing I’ve done so far is screw up.”

“So next time you won’t.”

She locked eyes with him and then glanced at the wall that separated her office from James’s.  “What I don’t understand is how did Brett get hold of that script in the first place?  It had to have been in the last day or so if you saw him last night.”

“Finn probably gave him a copy.”

“Coincidence,” Brooke said thoughtfully.  “You know, I’m going to find out what happened, because Stormy, I had that deal in the bag.”

“What are you thinking?”

“I think someone is out to get me.”

Miranda Blackthorne

After twenty-four hours in Storm Lake, they’d come up with no leads on Magnum’s disappearance.  The camp director let them into his bunk where they looked for clues.  Nothing.  They interviewed some of the kids to see if they knew anything about where he might have gone.  Still nothing.  When they asked around about the strange occurrences in the woods at night, everyone was clueless.  

The next morning, Miranda and Quinn got up early and dressed.  Eddie, who’d taken the cabin next door, was preparing a bag of food and water for their hike to the other side of the lake, which was the last place Magnum had been seen.

“Thanks again for coming along and helping, Miranda,” Quinn said as she finished getting dressed.  “I just hope we find him soon.”

“We will,” Miranda assured her, putting on a small amount of makeup.  She knew they were in the wilderness and nobody cared what she looked like, but she couldn’t leave the cabin without at least some mascara.  She fumbled around for her purse so she could text Stormy and tell him about their progress, or lack thereof.  Picking up Quinn’s purse by mistake – which they’d already joked was identical to hers and laughed about their similar tastes – she fished out her cell phone and saw that a text had just come through.  Only then did she realize it was Quinn’s phone.  Mom wants to know when you’re coming home, the text said. 

“Oh, sorry, wrong purse again,” Miranda said and handed it over to her. 

Quinn quickly snatched it from her and read the text.  “No problem,” she said and casually placed it in her pocket 

Miranda smiled, finished packing her backpack, and tried to overlook the odd text message.  Maybe Quinn had another brother or sister?  Yes, that was probably it.  No reason to think otherwise. 

“Aren’t you going to answer it?” she found herself asking anyway.

Quinn raised an eyebrow.  “Huh?”

“The text.  You’re not going to answer it?”

“No, I don’t know who it was from.  Probably someone with a wrong number.”

“Ah,” Miranda said just as Eddie walked in with their pack of water and granola snacks. 

“Ready to go?” he asked.

“Yep,” Quinn replied, taking a bottle of water and heading outside. 

After she’d gone, Eddie approached Miranda and kissed her softly.  “I missed you last night,” he said.

“Uh huh.”

“Did you miss me?” he asked.

“Yeah.  Listen, do you trust Quinn?  I mean, I know she’s sweet and she’s just concerned about her brother and all, but do you trust her?  Completely?”

“Sure I do.  Why do you ask?”

Miranda considered the questionable things that had gone on since they left Los Angeles.  Something told her Quinn was hiding something.  First the way that she hurried her outside before they left Bel Air, and then the coincidental text message from a wrong number.  Last night she heard her outside the cabin on the phone.  It didn’t add up. 

“Nothing,” she said, realizing she was probably overreacting.  “Come on.” 

Starting outside, she stepped down onto the wooden steps leading down from the cabin.  When her right foot landed on a foreign object resting on the first step, she lost her balance and fell, twisting her ankle and landing in the dirt. 

“Miranda!” Eddie exclaimed and ran after her.  “What happened?”

“Oww!” she screamed, wincing at the pain in her foot and pointing to the bottle of water she’d slipped on.  “Someone left their water on the steps and my foot rolled off of it!”

“Does it hurt?” Eddie asked, kneeling down and inspecting it. 

“Yes it hurts, you idiot!”

Just then, Quinn raced over, her hands plastered over her mouth.  “Oh my God, Miranda, I’m so sorry.  I left my bottle on the steps when I went to the bathroom.  I’m so stupid!”

Gritting her teeth, Miranda tried to overcome the pain in her ankle. 

“Can you walk?” Eddie asked, helping her up. 

“Holy sh…” Miranda screamed out.  “No!  It hurts!”

Quinn watched as she picked up the bottle of water and took a sip. 

Benji Rydell

When Benji got home that night, he noticed a car in the driveway.  The moving truck was gone and things seemed much calmer than that morning when he’d left to hang out with Blake.  He went inside and scouted around for his mother.  It was nice seeing furniture in the house.  Made it feel more like home already.  He decided maybe he would help unpack boxes in the morning.  The more he got used to the idea, the more excited he felt about living with his mom. 

“Hello?” he called out, making his way through the downstairs toward the patio door where he heard music emanating from.  “Mom, I’m home.”  Slowly, he pulled open the sliding door and stepped outside. 

“Hey Benji,” said Suzanne from the patio table where she and Brett were busy talking and laughing.  “You hungry?  Come have some dinner.  We got takeout from California Taco.”

For some reason the sight of his mother hanging out in her bathing suit with Brett, wet and shirtless, was unsettling to him.  He scanned the backyard, noticed the wet towels laying on the ground by the pool, the empty bottles of wine lining the table, and the 80’s pop station playing on the sound system.  Violet was playing in her crib that they’d set up next to the table.  What had gone on since he left that morning?  It was like he’d walked into some alternate universe. 

“No, I’m not hungry,” he said. 

“Benji, you sure?” Brett asked.  “There’s plenty.” 

He shook his head.  “No, I think I’m just gonna go up and unpack my room.”

Suzanne got up and approached him at the door.  “You okay?  What did you do today?”

“Just hung around with Blake,” he said, watching Brett out of the corner of his eye.  “What about you?”

“We got a lot done,” she said happily.  “Brett hung up those new lights.  Oh, and we tried out the pool.  The water’s great.  You sure you don’t want to join us?”

He shook his head.  “No, thanks.  I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Okay” she said and kissed his cheek.  “See you in the morning.”

When he went back inside, Benji turned once more and watched the scene unfolding on the patio.  He didn’t know why he was so freaked out about it.  Brett was family.  He’d come over to help out at the new house.  But somehow they just seemed a little too friendly. 

Kyle Fenwick

Alex prepared dinner for her and Kyle at her apartment.  Roasted quail with blood orange sauce, couscous, and braised baby turnips.  Truthfully, Veronique prepared the dish and then left for the evening, instructed by Alex to go to a movie or something and not come back for four hours. 

Kyle, who’d barely said a word about her culinary triumph, spent most of the evening gazing off of the balcony toward the Los Angeles cityscape.  She knew he was a man of few words, but the awkward silences were getting to her.  She’d already milked the details of her meeting with Mackenzie Stone for all it was worth, so on to other subjects.

“Have you seen David Jennings yet?” she found herself asking.

“Why?”

“Just curious to see if you’ve confronted him about your allegations that he set you up.”

Kyle wiped his mouth with a napkin and stood up.  He leaned over the balcony and shook his head in frustration.  “We spoke briefly last night.  He denies everything, of course.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Go about it a different way,” he told her, thinking about Brooke. 

Alex rose from the table and followed him to the railing.  She wore a flowing gown with a plunging neckline, expertly showing off her ample cleavage.  After days of innocent flirting, she was kicking things into high gear.  Kyle Fenwick was a turn on, and she wanted to pick up where their kiss left off. 

“If I can help, I’d like to,” she said, standing astride him and admiring his strong profile.  “You helped me when I was at my lowest.  It’s the least I could do.”

But Kyle didn’t want to talk.  He pulled her toward him and kissed her hard on the lips, his hands digging into her arms.  Seconds later, he was lowering her sheer wrap from her shoulders, burying his face in her cleavage.  It had been three years since he’d been with a woman and he was about to explode.  Alex Reynolds was beautiful, feminine, and eager, so she was the perfect candidate. 

Hurried kisses and sensual touching led to Alex coaxing him to the lounger across the balcony where she laid down and pulled him on top of her.  Kneeling above her, Kyle stripped her naked and tore off his shirt.  Alex felt a tiny gasp escape her throat, exhilaration coursing through her body.  After removing his pants and boxers, Kyle pulled her legs over his shoulders and entered her slowly.  First teasing her with slow, deep movements, then drilling himself inside of her with feverish intensity, Alex squealed with delight.  She’d been with younger men before, but something about Kyle Fenwick made her toes curl and her eyes roll back in her head.

First a new acting gig, and now this.  She was having the best day of her life.

T.T. Levitt

The Royal Princess docked in Acapulco the following morning at eight a.m.  Renee left the ship without another word to T.T. just as she had the last time.  He decided it was best that way.  Why go through another argument about their future when obviously they didn’t have one.  So from the balcony that jutted out from his state room, he watched her depart the ship, realizing that was probably the last time he’d ever see her. 

A knock at the door alerted him to a visitor.  He opened it and found a uniformed porter standing in the hall.

“I came to collect your bags, Mr. Levitt,” the young man said. 

“Over there,” T.T. said, gesturing to the suitcases by the bed.  “Thank you.”

“Leaving us so soon?” he asked.  “Are you headed back to Los Angeles?”

T.T. shook his head, sitting down at the desk and scribbling a note on a piece of paper.  David, when you get this you’ll find everything you need to know about Kyle Fenwick. 

“No, I’m flying home to New York.”  He took a silver key and dropped it into an envelope with the note.  After sealing it closed, he scribbled out David Jennings’s address in Malibu.  Standing up, he handed the envelope to the porter.  “Can you see that this gets mailed for me?”

“I’ll take care of it personally,” the young man said, placing the envelope in his breast pocket.  “I’ll get these bags downstairs for you.”

“Thank you,” T.T. said, following him to the door and glancing back at the stateroom once more. 


Next time....

Brooke is on to Jackie.  Stephanie lets her guard down with Jordan.  Alex's family questions her decisions when she makes her relationship with Kyle public.  James and David search for Maureen Adams.

  

 

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