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Episode 104

 

Release Date:  September 20, 2009

 Read the episode Recap 

 

Previously...

Eddie and Quinn hiked to the other side of Storm Lake to find clues to Magnum's disappearance while Miranda stayed behind due to a sprained ankle.  Eddie questioned Quinn's motives when she kept bringing up their past relationship. Benji and Blake went to party at Jeff and Joba Branigan's apartment.  Stormy arrived at the party in search of Finn Lambert, and was surprised to find Magnum in attendance.  After filling Miranda in on the revelation, she hiked up to a cabin where Quinn and Eddie were stranded.  Quinn revealed that she had staged Magnum's disappearance in order to get close to Eddie because her family was broke.  James learned of Alex and Kyle's romantic relationship.  Stormy questioned his mother's behavior and threw her pain killers down the drain.  Kyle showed up at Michael's first day of kindergarten, alarming Brooke. Jordan tried to woo Stephanie with a formal romantic dinner, but took her for hotdogs and a stroll on the beach when she claimed it wasn't her taste.  After dropping her off at home, Stephanie found Kyle at her door.  Kyle was arrested and Stephanie told a devastated Jordan that she couldn't see him anymore. Renee promised Brooke she would handle Jackie for her.  Benji had sex with Summer Solomon, then found out Scott Kelly had given him chlamydia.

 A


 

Episode 104

"Off Broadway"

 

Stephanie drove like a maniac to the police station.  Kyle was behind bars which meant it was safe to approach him.  She wasn’t afraid of him because she could handle herself just fine, but she was afraid of being taken back to that place in her life.  As long as he was behind bars she could walk away when it started getting too real, when she started remembering how she’d let him compromise herself and her career. 

After parking her car, she darted through the night, slipped into the back door of police headquarters, and checked the log to see if he’d been processed.  He was in a holding cell and hadn’t yet made his phone call.  She wondered if he had anyone to call at all.  He hadn’t been in town that long and probably hadn’t made many friends.  His infraction didn’t seem to warrant his calling his father, Don Fenwick, back in New York.  Even if he did, Don would probably leave him hanging.  Disappointment was a huge factor in that father-son relationship. 

“I want to see him,” she said when she approached the night guard on duty. 

“Stephanie, I don’t know if that’s such a-“ the officer began with a shake of his head.

“Look, I want to see him!” she repeated loudly. 

After a brief exchange, the guard hesitantly led her down the hall and through a maze of steel doors.  They followed a line of holding cells until they came to Kyle’s.  The guard offered her a supportive glance before stepping aside and giving them some privacy.

“Well, well, well,” Kyle said after finishing a strenuous set of pushups.  “Didn’t think you’d come so soon.”

“But you knew I’d come?”

“Of course.”  His smile was brimming with arrogance.

“So this doesn’t bother you at all?” Stephanie inquired, determined to maintain her cool.  “Being behind bars again.”

“You learn ways to pass the time.  It’s what got me through the last three years.  Besides, you have nothing to hold me on.  I’ll be out by morning, if not sooner.”

She studied his face carefully.  He hadn’t changed a bit.  “Why are you so sure that David Jennings set you up?”

“Because I know I’m innocent.  I had no part in the cartel and I didn’t blow up that hotel and kill your partner.”

“But how are you so sure that David did?”

“I was a scapegoat,” Kyle maintained tersely.  “He hired me to manage that hotel with the intentions of hanging me out to dry the minute Dugan found out what was going on.  Then he got you to help him.”

“So this is all about you and me and our relationship?” Stephanie asked in a shrill voice.  “You think David set you up because I finally opened my eyes and found out what you were up to?  You are such a tool, Kyle.  Grow up and grow a pair.  I suppose this is why you’ve been stalking Brooke Taylor?  She’s Royce Jennings’s daughter so she’s grandfathered into your revenge scheme?”

“She was engaged to my brother.”

Stephanie stifled a laugh.  “Oh yes.  I heard about your claim that Will Thomerson was your father.  Strange.  I don’t remember that coming up while we were dating.”

“But you knew I was adopted by the Fenwicks.”

”Yes, I knew you were adopted by the Fenwicks, but you never talked about your biological parents.  You said they didn’t want to have anything to do with you.”

“And that’s all you needed to know.”  He turned and stalked across the cell.  “I don’t like talking about that part of my life.  My biological father didn’t want me and at times it felt like my adoptive father didn’t want me either.”

“Poor Kyle,” she said with a chortle.  “You know, they say cowboys all have daddy issues, but they never say that about drug lords.  Sorry, I just don’t buy it.  You were convinced and sentenced to prison.  Lucky for you, you managed to use that clever grin and boyish charm to get paroled, so why don’t you consider yourself lucky and go back to New York.”

“Not until I get what I came for,” he said, gripping the steel bars tightly.

She knew what he meant without even having to ask.  “I didn’t turn you in.  I overlooked so many things that screamed out at me and told me that you were involved in something bad.  I asked my partner to drop his investigation.”

“But he didn’t.”

“And now he’s dead,” Stephanie said, backing away from the bars.  “Maybe if I’d let him do his job and not interfere he’d still be alive.  If I’d opened my eyes to what was going on, I could have helped him take you down instead of protecting you.”

Kyle didn’t reply.  Staring at her, he watched as she turned and walked back down the hallway.  Once she was out of sight, he dropped to the floor and continued his pushups.

David Jenner

When she emerged from the holding cell, Stephanie found David waiting nearby, hands dug anxiously in his pockets.

“How did you know-“

“I called him,” said the guard.  “You said if you ever got in trouble with that guy again to call him so I did.  Sorry, Detective.”

She shook her head and turned to David.   “Hi,” she said. 

“Hi.  So how long is he in for?  Can we hope for another three years?”

“Not likely,” she replied, folding her arms across her chest.  “Chances are he’ll post bail and be out before noon tomorrow.  He really didn’t break any laws this time anyway.  He just wanted to make sure I knew he wasn’t going to back down.” 

“He has to eventually,” David said.

Stephanie sighed.  “I don’t know.  He’s really determined.  He’s convinced you and Royce set him up and he thinks I helped.”

“He’s just reaching.  He’ll go away eventually.”

“Maybe.  But if I know Kyle, he’s going to use everything he has to prove that you crossed him.  And if that doesn’t work, he’ll take you down.”

The Young at Heart was filmed at a studio in Century City.  An easy fifteen minute drive from her apartment in Beverly Hills, it made the five a.m. call a little easier to swallow.  For the first hour, Alex sat in the makeup chair of her dressing room where she was doused with heavy foundation and fitted for the entire week’s costumes in one sitting.  The clothes were acceptable, nothing that she was accustomed to wearing, but the show was on a limited wardrobe budget so she made do with what she was given.  Luckily she could make anything look expensive. 

A few veteran cast members stopped by to offer a cordial welcome, some sincere and some not so sincere, particularly from the diva who had dominated the series for five decades and had been touted as the leading queen of daytime.  Cassidy Solomon was a regal bitch with plenty of attitude and tits to match.  Alex could tell up close that she’d had more work done than the freeway after the earthquake.  Still, she uttered a few pleasantries, her lizard-like tongue slithering from her mouth with each syllable.  

Next was a bouquet of yellow roses from Stormy wishing her luck.  She admired them while getting the finishing touches on her makeup and studying her lines one final time. The story was preposterous, even for daytime.  He character, Faye Summers, had been presumed dead for ten years following an explosion.  With her first scene, it would be revealed that she’d been locked away in an attic by the very evil and very sexy Dr. Michael Crawford while he drugged her into forgetting a murder she’d seen him commit. 

“They’re ready for you, Miss Reynolds,” said a stage hand after opening the door of the dressing room and peering inside. 

“Okay,” she said, removing her smock and giving herself a final look over in the mirror.  Satisfied with what she saw, she stepped out of her dressing room and walked down the hall to the set that had been constructed to look like an attic.  Her scene partner, Max Sullivan, an attractive actor of about fifty with clouds of short dark curls and a dimpled chin, stood by reading over his lines.  Mackenzie was also there, reviewing the day’s scenes on a clipboard with several assistants lingering behind. 

“Alex, welcome,” she said, approaching while removing a pair of glasses from her deep brown eyes.  “All set?”

“I think so,” she replied with a smile.

“Good, because we have a lot of ground to cover.  Alexander Marsh is directing.  He’ll go over the scenes with you.”   She lowered her voice and leaned in close.  “Incidentally, don’t think I didn’t hear about the problems between you and Frank Dunning on the set of Angel Assassin 2.  Let me make myself clear.  I will tolerate none of that here.  Either leave your personal dramas at home or don’t bother coming in.”

Before Alex could reply, Alexander took her aside and gave her instructions on the scene.   She made her way to the set and took her mark.  Max, playing Dr. Crawford, positioned himself on the other side of the door.  When the director called action, Alex turned away from the window and fanned her sheer nightgown behind her. 

“Is someone there?” she asked.  “Dr. Crawford, is that you?”

Benji Rydell

“Back again?” Benji muttered when Jordan stormed into the house.  He hoped the topic of jobs wasn’t on the agenda today because it was the last thing on his mind.

“Tell me you weren’t at that party on Ventura last night,” Jordan demanded. 

Eyes narrowing, Benji slid over to the entry table where he picked up his iPod and headphones.  “Was I not supposed to be?” he countered with a shrug.  The truth was Jeff and Joba Branigan’s party was pretty tame and he and Blake left early.

“Some kid was taken to the hospital for cracking his head open when he dove off a balcony into the pool.  He was wasted, along with everyone else there.  The cops came and arrested half the party.  They found drugs everywhere.” 

“Hmmm.  That must have happened after we left.”  He walked down the hall to the kitchen and pulled a bottle of water from the refrigerator.  “It was relatively tame when we were there.  Nobody getting their head busted open, anyway.”

“You think this is funny?” Jordan berated him.  “I’m starting to get concerned with the people you hang out with.  Ever since you came back from school you’ve gotten into more than your share of trouble.  That incident with the gun at Vanguard ring a bell?”

“Are you ever going to let that go?”  He strapped his iPod onto his arm and adjusted the laces on his running shoes.  “You never had a problem with Blake in the past.  Or is this because you’re feeling guilty for screwing over his father?”

“That’s not what happened and you know it,” Jordan snapped.  “I don’t have a problem with Blake.  It’s the rest of the burnouts around here.  That’s why I think you need a job to occupy yourself with something else.”

“Here we go again,” Benji grumbled. 

“I’m not going to drop it.  You need to learn some responsibility.”

Benji rolled his eyes.  “Just go leave us alone.  Mom and I are fine without you coming around.”

“No, I’m not going to leave you alone.   Not until I see some semblance of a decent human being in you.  Right now all I see is a thug who nearly killed a man with a baseball bat and doesn’t seem to get the seriousness of his actions.”

Benji decided to ignore him.  “I’m out of here.” 

“No you’re not.”

The doorbell rang and Jordan grudgingly tore himself away from the conversation.  Pulling the door open, he found a young man standing on the porch wearing a polite smile and extending an eager hand. 

“Hi Mr. Rydell, I’m Duke Summerfield,” he said.  “I’m a friend of Benji’s from school.”

Before Jordan could reply, Benji appeared from behind.  “Duke?” he asked.  “What are you doing here?”

“I just got to L.A. and decided to look you up.  The butler at your father’s house was kind enough to give me your new address.  I hope it’s okay.  I didn’t want to be rude and not get in touch with you.”

“No, it’s cool,” Benji said and gestured inside. “Come on in.  I think my dad was just leaving.”

Jordan’s eyes narrowed on Duke.  “Not quite yet,” he said, alarmed that Benji would be friends with someone so well-mannered.  “I don’t recall meeting you at Beau Soleil, Duke.  Did you graduate with Benji?”

“The year before, Mr. Rydell,” he replied.  Duke Summerfield was twenty years old, stood six feet three inches tall, and had a row of ultra white chiclet teeth and a thick head of brown hair.  “I was Benji’s math tutor his freshman year.”

“So we have you to thank for getting my son through geometry,” Jordan joked and patted the young man on the shoulder.  “Where are you from, Duke?”

“I grew up all over.  New York, Beverly Hills, Genoeva.  My father is the American Ambassador to Switzerland.  I guess that’s how I wound up at Beau Soleil.”

“Your father is Andrew Summerfield?” Jordan asked.  Maybe this was the type of person who should be influencing Benji.  “I know him well.  Your mother’s done some admirable work with children in Africa thanks to his resources.”

“It’s important to her to have a cause to fight for,” Duke remarked.

“What brings you to L.A.?” Jordan asked.  “Your folks here with you?”

“Mom’s in Malawi helping with an orphanage, and Dad is up to his eyeballs in political stuff back in Switzerland.  I’m staying at our place in Beverly Hills for a few days.  I came to see if Benji wanted to go grab some breakfast.”

“I was just about to go work out,” Benji said.  “But you can come if you want.”

“Benji, I’m sure you could stand to skip the gym on account of your friend coming to town,” Jordan said sternly.  “Tell you what, I’m on my way to brunch with a friend.  Why don’t the two of you tag along?”

“Dad, I don’t know if-“

“Come on,” Jordan interrupted.  “Benji, get changed.  That’s an order.” 

“As long as I’m not in the way,” Duke said sheepishly.   

“No, it’s cool,” Benji said and started for the stairs.  “I’ll be right back.”

Blackthorne Mansion

James was standing in the foyer at the Blackthorne mansion when the door opened and Miranda burst inside, hobbling toward him while balancing herself on crutches. 

“Sweetheart, what the devil happened to you?” he wailed, alarmed by her apparent injury. 

“Not now, Daddy,” she replied, barely making eye contact as she made her way down the hall to the family room. 

“Miranda!” James called after her. 

Behind him, Eddie entered, struggling with an armload of bags from their trip. 

“Mr. Blackthorne,” he said with a cordial smile. 

“Eddie…”

“We’ll talk later,” Eddie cut him off, following Miranda down the hall.  He walked into the family room and saw her struggling with the crutches while trying to sit down on the sofa. 

“What do you want?” she asked, finally sinking onto the cushion and propping her leg up on the coffee table.  “I’ve had more than enough of you for one weekend.”

“Why are you so mad at me?” he demanded.  “You barely said two words the entire drive home.  Is this because of Quinn?”

She shot him an incredulous look before flipping on the television and folding her arms.  “Of course it’s because of Quinn, you butt wipe.  You totally let her try to come between us, Eddie.  She probably would have if Stormy hadn’t called me with the real scoop on that golddigging bitch.”

“Nuh uh,” Eddie insisted.  “I was on to Quinn long before you showed up.”

“Were you?”

“Yes.”

“Were you really?  Because when I got there it didn’t look like it.  It looked like you were falling for her silly little get-rich-quick scheme.”  She twisted uncomfortably and decided to get up again.  Struggling, she climbed to her feet and dropped one of her crutches.

“I was not.”  He bent down to pick it up for her but she slapped his hand away.

“I’ll get it,” she barked.

“Miranda, what has gotten into you?” Eddie exclaimed.  “You know I don’t care about Quinn.  I’ve been chasing you for months.  Do you really think that now that I finally have you I’m going to mess it up with some old girlfriend from high school?”

She sighed and shook her head.  “I guess not.  When she showed up and I saw how pretty she was and Stormy kept talking about how happy you guys were in high school, I just got insecure.  I mean, she’s perfect.”

You’re perfect.”  He approached her and took her hands in his.

“I’m far from perfect.”  She shook her head and sucked back a few biting tears.  “Look at me.  I’m deformed.  Why would you want this when you can have someone like Quinn Rainer?”

“Because I don’t want her.  I want you.  And your scar doesn’t mean a thing to me.  I still think you’re the most bitchin’ girl in all of Hollywood.”

“You’re so sweet,” she said, cocking her head and kissing him softly. 

A knock at the door interrupted them.  When they turned, James entered the room, hands in his pockets and a wary smile on his face.

“Is it safe to come in?” he asked. 

“Yes.  I’m sorry about before, Daddy.  I just want to forget all about his weekend.  How is everything here?”

“It’s been….interesting,” he remarked.  “Actually, I was hoping that I could get Eddie’s help with something.  If you’re able to take on any new cases.”

Considering he didn’t have any cases period, Eddie decided it was not a problem. “What can I help with?”

“I need to find a woman,” James explained.  “An actress named Maureen Adams.  She worked on Broadway in the late seventies.”

“Who is she, Daddy?”

“Supposedly Kyle Fenwick’s biological mother.  She had an affair with Will Thomerson and then gave Fenwick up for adoption.”

“Will Thomerson?” Miranda asked with surprise.  “Oh my God, that means that he’s Ethan’s…”

“Yes, I know.  He’s already approached Brooke with his claim.  David too.  And now your mother is sleeping with him.  I want to make sure he is who he says he is before anyone gets any closer to him.”

“Mom and Kyle Fenwick?” Miranda asked.  What is she doing?”

“I’ll get started on it right away, Mr. Blackthorne,” Eddie said.

Miranda nodded and picked up her crutches.  “I’m coming with you.”

He frowned.  “No, your ankle.”

“If it wasn’t for me, you’d still be letting Quinn Rainer suck your face in Storm Lake.  Face it, you work better with a partner.  Let’s go.”

David Jenner

At home in Malibu, David finished showering after his daily run, slipped into a burgundy cashmere bathrobe, and retreated to the living room where he was startled to find his mother perched in a chair. 

“Jesus, you don’t think much in the way of calling first, do you?” he barked, plucking the mail from the entry table and casually leafing through it.  “I don’t remember giving you a key, Mother.”

“Your maid let me in,” Jackie retorted, a Gucci heel dangling from her delicate foot.  “And is that any way to talk to you mother?  We’ve barely spoken in the last couple of weeks.  I miss our mother-son chats.”

“You never listen to me anyway so I doubt very well you’re missing much,” David said, peeling open an envelope and frowning when a shiny meal key fell onto the floor.  He bent down and picked it up, turning it around in his hands before placing it on the desk.

“What don’t I listen to you about?” Jackie asked, standing up and following him across the room.  “Darling, we used to be close.  What happened?”

“What happened?” he demanded.  “You married Nathan Blackthorne again.  Do you know what I had to do to get him to forget about you in the first place?  He approached me one night before his re-exile to Paris and asked about you and I had to tell him that you were dead.  I knew if he tracked you down that he’d pull you into his sick world again.”

“I married Nathan for what he could offer me,” Jackie reasoned.  “Not because we’re in love.  Be serious, David.”

Temporarily forgetting about the key and the letter, David began pacing the room in frustration.  “Why is getting Sunset Studios so important to you?  It wasn’t important when Granddad died and left it to James.  You were perfectly happy with your life in New York with Royce.  Then he died and suddenly you’re attempting to claim that you were wronged in some way.  I don’t get it.”

"I was willing to let it go, David,” she insisted.  “Until you betrayed me by selling your shares to your sister, your father’s illegitimate daughter.  Do I have to remind you again of the pain it caused me to find out he’d slept with another woman?”

“Is that why you paid Roz Taylor to keep Brooke from seeing him again?  Honestly, that is low even for you.” 

“What was I supposed to do?  Let all my friends, all our contacts and associates learn that your father had a child with another woman?  I was protecting my marriage and my family.  That means you, you know.”

David waived his hands dismissively through the air.  “Fine, I get it.  But now that you’re in Sunset Studios, what are you planning?  I won’t stand for you hurting Brooke in any way.”

“It’s really very touching how protective you are of your little sister.  I almost wish your father and I had had another child together.  Tell me, how is she handling Ethan’s half-brother showing up in town stirring up all kinds of dreaded self-pitying feelings for her?”

“She’ll stay away from Kyle Fenwick if she knows what’s good for her.  He’s using her to get to me.”

“Because of that mess with the hotel?” Jackie asked.  “He still thinks you set him up, doesn’t he?”

David avoided the question.   “My point is, with him causing trouble at every turn, Brooke doesn’t need any other problems, so please don’t shake things up at the studio.  That’s all I’m asking.”

“Brooke is….green,” Jackie said, tracing her finger along the sofa table.  “She needs some schooling in the way of how to operate a business.  Nothing that can’t be learned in time, I suppose.  I only hope you aren’t thinking of giving her a more active role at Moonshadows.  I would hate to see your father’s dream ruined on account of her inexperience.”

“Brooke can be as involved as she wants in Moonshadows,” he remarked, then decided that he’d had enough business talk for one day.   “I’m going to get dressed.  Can I give you a ride back to the hotel?”

She shook her head.  “I have my car.  I’ll see you later, Darling.” 

After he’d disappeared into the next room, Jackie walked over to get her purse, pausing when she saw the key and the letter resting on the desk.  Kyle Fenwick’s name glared out at her and she instinctively picked up the letter and read it quietly to herself. 

David, when you get this you’ll find everything you need to know about Kyle Fenwick. - T.T. 

Hundreds of scenarios swirled about in her mind as she picked up the key and examined it closely.  T.T. Levitt apparently knew something about Kyle and had evidence to back it up.  She knew that regardless of what it was, David finding out about it would mean putting an end to whatever Kyle was planning for Brooke.  That wouldn’t do at all, she decided, stuffing the letter and the key into her purse before exiting through the glass doors onto the terrace. 

Benji Rydell

The friend Jordan was meeting for brunch was Renee Dewitt.  Benji prepared himself for two hours of excruciating adult conversation, fearing that Duke didn’t know what he was getting into by accepting his father’s invitation.  They took a table at the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel and dined on the world-famous brunch.  Jordan had two bloody mary’s and Renee sipped a mimosa.  He and Duke had straight orange juice which didn't sit well after a night of drinking.

“Well, I’m sorry to hear about T.T.,” Jordan was saying.  “When I got that text from Ira I couldn’t believe it.  I wanted to call you but figured I’d wait until you brought it up.” 

“It’s really fine,” Renee replied.  “I think it was all for the best.  Besides, I need to concentrate on my company right now.”

“The economy taking a toll on Merteuil?”

She shrugged and waved French-tipped nails through the air.  “Nobody’s safe these days.” 

"America should take a lesson in economics from the Swiss,” Duke announced suddenly and without provocation.  “Their gross domestic product has dipped less than two and a half percent since 2007.  The country has no national deficit because its trade agreements equal in imports and exports, and their net capitol outflow trails anything they have coming in by a huge margin.  They’ve mastered the balance of trade.  For chrissake, their unemployment rate is less than one percent.  That’s less than any European country or America right now.”

Benji’s jaw dropped, unsure of what Duke was talking about but impressed nonetheless.  He’d forgotten how articulate and intelligent he could sound when he wanted to.  One thing any Beau Soleil alumni took away from their time at the aristocratic institution was the ability to carry on a politic discussion. 

“You seem to have it all figured out,” Renee said with amusement as she and Jordan exchanged glances.

“Not really.  I guess it’s the price I pay for being the son of the Ambassador to Switzerland.  Economy was always a big discussion in our house.”

“What did you say you were doing back in L.A., Duke?” Jordan asked.

“Taking care of some things at our house for my mom and dad.  They couldn’t come so they sent me.”

“They must have a lot of trust in you,” Jordan went on, hoping that Benji would catch on to his not-so-subtle jab.  The more he got to know him, the more he believed Duke Summerfield to be just the kind of influence his son needed.

“Well, when you come from a family like mine, integrity is key.  I learned at a young age that anything I do reflects on my father.”

Benji easily picked up on the looks of approval on both Jordan and Renee’s faces.  He felt like kicking Duke under the table for drawing so much attention to himself.  Just what he needed was a paragon of virtue to be compared to at every turn. 

“How long are you here for?” he suddenly found himself asking.

“I’m not sure yet.  Just until I get some things done.”

A break in the conversation occurred when Marilee Wells-Walker approached, vibrant with freshly highlighted short blond hair and a no-nonsense business suit over a silky peach camisole. 

“Well hello,” she croaked out a joyous greeting.  “Jordan, Renee, so good to see you both.”

“Marilee,” they both said almost in unison.  “How are you?” Jordan continued.

“Very well,” she said, kissing him on the cheek when he stood up.  “And how are you?  I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter.”

“Thank you,” Jordan replied somberly. 

“Tell me, how is that gorgeous son-in-law of yours?  Holding up in the face of such heartache, I hope.”

“He’s doing fine.” 

Benji harrumphed under his breath.  He was still curious as to why Brett and his mother were so chummy lately.  He was all for male-female friendships, but it seemed to border on inappropriate. 

Marilee turned her attention to Renee.  “Darling, Ira told me about T.T.  I hope you’re not too devastated.  You know men.  Pigs.  They’d do it in the mud if they had to.”

“Girl, you know it,” Renee said with a shake of her head. 

Jordan cleared his throat and offered them an incredulous look.  

“Sorry.  Well, I just wanted to pop over and say hello.  Jordan, do give Suzanne my best when you see her.”   She leaned in for another kiss, this time whispering softly in his ear.  "Is that Andrew Summerfield's son having breakfast with you?"

"Yes.  You know him?"

"I know of him," Marilee said ominously.  "Call me later.  We'll talk."

After she left, Renee arched an eyebrow and turned to Jordan. “She was awfully friendly with you.  If I didn’t know better I’d say she had a thing for you.”

Jordan laughed.  “Not my type.”

“And who is your type?” Renee goaded him.  “Lady detectives, maybe?”

Wishing to squelch any talk of Stephanie and her irrational behavior, Jordan expertly changed the subject.  “How’s Sierra?  Everything kosher at Sarah Lawrence?”

“She’s fine,” Renee beamed.  “I think she’s finally over that mess with Malcolm Harris.  She seems happy.”

This information proved to be the bright spot of Benji's week.  He was relieved that Sierra was happy and that the unpleasant incident with Malcolm hadn’t affected her too severely.  He wondered if she’d be coming home soon for fall break and considered asking, but didn’t want to be too obvious.  Renee didn’t know about their night together and he didn’t care to tip her off.

“I’d like to set her up with someone,” Renee went on.  “There’s this brilliant young man whose aunt was a dear friend of my mother’s.  He’d be such a good influence on Sierra.  I really think they’d hit it off.” 

Alarm bells went off in Benji’s head as his eyes shot up from his plate.  What she fucking kidding?  She was trying to set Sierra up with someone?  No, he couldn’t allow this to happen.  He immediately began searching his mind for a way to stop it. 

“Who is it?” Jordan asked.  “Would I know him?  You know I still like to think of her as a daughter.  Can’t help but feel protective.”

“His name is Hunt Roberts,” Renee told him.  “He’s twenty-three, graduated from Yale, impeccably mannered.  My parents and I used to summer on Shelter Island with his aunt when he was just a little boy.  Anyway, I insisted that he take her out the night before last and apparently they had a very nice time.”

Benji felt his entire body tense.  How could he sit there and do nothing while Sierra was very likely falling for another guy?  He wanted to reach across the table and shake Renee senseless, then call her a stupid bitch and tell her to mind her own business.  Not to mention that Sierra and he had spent that fantastic night together at Paradise Cove.  He was her first.  She said she was just trying to sort some things out. How did that evolve into her going out on a date with another guy?

“Sure, Hunt Roberts.  I know him,” Duke piped up. 

“You do?” Benji asked, suddenly feeling relieved.  He could get the scoop on this guy and find out if he was a real threat. 

“We summered at their country house also.  My favorite part was the stables.  They had the most beautiful purebred mare last time I was there.” 

“Allegre?” Renee asked with surprise.   “He’s bound to be a sure win one of these days.  You know he was breach, don’t you?”

“Don’t I?  I was there when he was born.  I got to help the vet guide him out of his mother.  One of the best experiences of my life.”

“Wow, sounds like you have a lot in common,” Jordan announced excitedly.  He decided then that Duke’s showing up at their house was the best thing to happen in a long time, regardless of Marilee's cryptic comments.  Well mannered, connected with all the right people, and took an interest in more than partying.  He would be a great influence on Benji. 

“Duke, I insist that you come by the house tomorrow.  Benji, you come too, of course.  I have a few purebreds myself and I’d love to go riding if you’re game.” 

“I’d love to, Mr. Rydell.  Thank you.” 

Benji sat, arms folded, stewing over the new information.  He didn’t even care that his father had a plutonic crush on Duke.  This Hunt Roberts had to be dealt with immediately before he got any closer to Sierra. 

Brooke Taylor

“He’s in jail?” Brooke asked, sitting behind her desk at Sunset Studios.  “What did he do?”

“That’s not important,” David replied and exchanged glances with James who sat across the room.  “The point is he’s where he belongs.  After smearing my name in the media, stalking Brooke, and making these crazy allegations about his father, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t pack up and head back to New York as soon as he’s released.” 

“So he’s getting out soon?” Brooke wanted to know.

“They don’t have anything to hold him on,” David explained.  “He forced his way into Stephanie Callahan’s house and made all kinds of threats.”

“He threatened her?” James asked.  “Jesus, she’s a cop.  What was he thinking?”

David glanced out the window and dug his hands into his suit pockets.  “They have a past together.  Anyway, I don’t know that they were threats so much as him taunting her about him being out of prison.”

Brooke shook her head in confusion and stood up from her desk.  “So basically he’s in jail just because Detective Callahan doesn’t like him.  He didn’t actually break any laws?”

“The point is that he’s planning something.  He’s going to be trouble, Brooke.”  With a careful look into her eyes, he detected something that rattled him to the core.  “Oh, come on.  Don’t tell me you’re feeling sorry for the guy?  What, he shows up at Michael’s school and suddenly he’s an okay guy?”

“I never said that,” Brooke sighed. 

“Then what is it?”

“Nothing, okay?  He just didn’t seem that bad when I talked to him.”  She wanted to drop it before she mentioned how much he reminded her of Ethan.  His eyes, his voice, his strong physique.  How could any brother of Ethan’s be that bad?

“Okay, just relax, both of you,” James cautioned.  “The first thing we need to worry about is debunking his story about his biological parents.  I have Eddie looking for Maureen Adams as we speak.  If she exists, he’ll find her.”

“See?” Brooke asked, dropping her hands in resignation.  “Why do you assume that he’s lying?  James, you said yourself that you wouldn’t be surprised if Will Thomerson had a dozen kids out there somewhere.  Why is it so hard to believe that he could be who he says he is?  Just because it would make him Ethan’s brother?”

“We just want to tread carefully,” James assured her.  “In the short time Kyle Fenwick’s been in town, he’s made a lot of claims.  After everything you’ve been through, I’d think you’d want to keep your guard up yourself.”

She had to admit he had a point. But even then, why did she feel close to Ethan whenever he was around?

Miranda Blackthorne

The steps creaked beneath their feet as they made their way up to the musty old attic at the Blackthorne mansion.  When they reached the top of the stairs, Miranda glanced around the dimly lit room and searched for another light source.

“There must be a thousand boxes in here,” Eddie remarked, standing next to Stormy and surveying the piles of boxes and old furniture.  “Do you know which ones were Ethan’s?”

“They should be labeled,” Miranda replied, pulling open a set of old curtains to let in the sunlight.  “Leilani is OCD when it comes to storage.  Or have you never noticed the kitchen pantry?”

“What specifically are we looking for?” Stormy asked, running his hand along a box with old toys and books inside.  He smiled, pulling an old storybook from the box and flashing it as his sister.  “Hey, remember this?”

“Daddy used to read it to us all the time,” Miranda recalled fondly.  She shook the memories away, concentrating on their task at hand.  “We’re looking for any of Will’s old stuff that Ethan kept.  I know he took some things from his house after he died.”

“There could be something in there that could lead us to Maureen Adams,” Eddie said, yelping when a spider crossed his hand.  He quickly flung it off and backed away in terror. 

“Easy, big guy,” Stormy said.  “It’s just a spider.”

“Yeah, a big spider,” Eddie corrected him, raising one eyebrow. 

“It was pea-sized.”

“It was as big as a golf ball.  The thing nearly took my hand off.”

“It barely touched your hand, you big idiot.”

Miranda groaned with frustration as she knelt down next to a box and sorted through its contents.  “Will you two stop bickering and help me go through this stuff?” she demanded, pointing to a grouping of boxes next to her.  “These all came from Will’s house.  Start digging.”

Grudgingly, they went to work at sorting through the boxes.  There were old movie scripts, photographs of premiere parties, playbills, and letters.  At first they pored over everything in great detail, hoping for a small clue that would lead them in the right direction.  After the fourth box and still nothing, they picked up their pace, skimming items at breakneck speed. 

“You don’t have to help, Stormy,” Miranda said after a while.  “Eddie an I can handle it if you need to get to work.”

He shook his head while he continued searching.  “I’m just as concerned about this Kyle Fenwick as you are.  Our mother is seeing him and I’m worried about what she’s getting herself into.”

“I wonder how her first day on set is going,” Miranda said thoughtfully. 

“If I know Mom, it’s probably a circus.” 

When Eddie found acopy of an old movie-one sheet , his eyes narrowed on the credits. 

“What is it?” Miranda asked, hovering over his shoulder.

“A one-sheet for a movie starring Maureen Adams,” he replied.

“Are you sure?” Stormy asked.  “I thought she was a Broadway actress.”

“Looks like she did some film too,” Eddie said.  Double Cross.  It came out in 1978.”

“Ever heard of it?” Miranda asked them.

Stormy was already tapping away at his iPhone.  “No, doesn’t look like it’s on video either.”

“Guys, look at this,” Eddie remarked, pointing to the bottom of the page. “Check out the studio that produced it.”

“Sunset Studios!” Stormy exclaimed. 

Alex Reynolds

Lunchtime on the set provided time for Alex to call Veronique and have her bring her something to take the edge off.  Her first couple of scenes had gone swimmingly, but before they called it a day she had to do a love scene with Max and she was quite nervous.  It had been ages since she’d done an actual love scene.  The fact that the evil doctor had been holding her character captive in an attic for ten years, yet she still allowed him to cram his tongue down her throat was hard to swallow, but she didn’t want to cause a ruckus on her first day so she kept her opinions to herself.

“I don’t know if this is such a good idea,” Veronique said when she finally arrived on set and handed Alex a fresh bottle of oxycodone prescribed by her doctor.

“Would you please show a little discretion?” Alex asked and hid the bottle quickly in her palm.  “There’s not enough to share with the entire show.  How many bottles did you get?”

“I could only get one.  That’s all I have left on my prescription.”

“Then you’d better find another doctor,” Alex whispered.  “Or some punk kid who sells the stuff at the Galleria.  Honestly, Veronique, do I have to do everything?”

“No, ma’am,” the maid said dutifully. 

The conversation was interrupted when Mackenzie and Alexander approached.  Mackenzie snapped her fingers at Alex and pointed to the stage.  “Lunch is over.  Time to get back to work.”

“Coming!” Alex singsonged, quickly ushering Veronique to the door before returning to the set. 

Jackie Lamont

For the rest of the day, Jackie contemplated what to do with the key she’d acquired from David’s house.  Calling T.T. Levitt in New York was out of the question because he would wonder how she got the letter in the first place.  And if she was going to use whatever information she found against Brooke Taylor in some way, it could then easily be traced back to her.  She’d have to expose the information herself.  The only problem was she had no idea what the key opened.  So before she did any unnecessary legwork, she decided to go directly to the source.

“What are you doing here?” Kyle asked after he was led to the visiting area at police headquarters.  Between him and Jackie was a clear glass partition and they were instructed to utilize two-way phones to speak to each other.

“I heard about your unfortunate luck and I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to help,” Jackie purred.  She was dressed in a stunning teal dress and wore plenty of diamonds, yet she barely noticed when inmates and visitors stared in wonderment. 

“You want to help me?” Kyle asked with a laugh.  “What’s your angle?”

“No angle.  I’ve been following the media attention you’ve been getting since you came to town and I think you’re getting the raw end of the stick.  It seems to me you’re just trying to clear your name.”

“Are you saying that you believe me that David set me up?  I guess you don’t think much of mother-son loyalty.”

“I didn’t say I believed you about David.  I believe my son when he says he had nothing to do with the cartel.  I’m talking about your claim that Ethan Blackthorne was your brother.  It seems that everyone wants to believe it’s a lie.  Maybe I can help.”

“I don’t care if people believe it or not,” Kyle said, scratching his trademark five o’clock shadow, which was now approaching a twenty-four hour shadow.  “All I wanted to do was let people know who I am and that I’m not a criminal.”

“Particularly Brooke Taylor, correct?”

“What?”

“She’s a very beautiful woman, and she did almost marry your brother.  I’m sure you’ve got to be somewhat curious about her." 

“What are you doing here?” Kyle repeated.  He had met Jackie Lamont a few times back in New York while he worked at the hotel.  She’d come in and swoop past his office on her way to see Royce or David.  Even then he knew she was manipulative and cunning.

“I told you, I want to help.  It seems that you know a lot of people in L.A. but none seem to be reaching out in your time of need.  Alex Reynolds isn’t here and I heard you were romantically linked with her.  Your ex-girlfriend, that detective, put you in here in the first place.  And then T.T. Levitt just up and moved back to New York.”

Kyle regarded her carefully.  “What about Levitt?”

“Oh, you didn’t hear?  He and Renee DeWitt called off their cruise just a couple of days into it.  He’s back in New York.  Of course that may be of some benefit to you, being that he had first hand knowledge of some of your secrets.”

“What are you talking about?”

Jackie leaned closer to the glass, speaking softly into the phone.  “Whatever events transpired before you went to prison, I’m assuming.  I mean, don’t you worry that he might have some kind of proof or evidence to use against you?  That could seriously damage any chance you have of clearing your name now that you’re out of prison.”

“No.”  Kyle shook his head.  “Levitt doesn’t have anything on me.  Nice try though.”

Jackie couldn’t tell if he was lying or if he really had no idea of what T.T. could have on him.  In any case, she wasn’t getting anywhere, other than being convinced he had some kind of feelings for Brooke Taylor.  She could see it in his eyes.  That she could use to her advantage, she was sure. 

“Well, I’m sure you’re right,” she said.  “At any rate, I posted your bail.  You’ll probably be out any minute.  I just hope that you’ll reach out to me if you need anything at all, Kyle.  I know how stubborn my son can be.  Consider me a friend.”

After hanging up the phone, she stood up and winked before turning and walking back through the visitation area. 

Duke Summerfield

Duke’s family’s house was just around the corner from the Beverly Hills Hotel.  Nestled at the top of a hill and shrouded in trees, the enormous mansion was a mix of old world Victorian and contemporary ornate design.  Other than a few servants, the house was uninhabited.  The bar, however, was fully stocked.  On the high-tech sound system played the trippy sounds of Hearts on Fire by Cut/Copy, one of Benji's favorite acts.

“I can’t believe that old douche bag is trying to set Sierra up with some guy,” Benji said angrily as he paced the study on the first floor.  “Maybe she doesn’t want to be set up.  Maybe she’s just happy to be free of Malcolm Harris.”

“Or maybe you’re just pissed because Renee Dewitt is auctioning off your girlfriend to the highest bidder,” Duke countered with a smirk.  “It’s obvious you and this girl have a thing.”

“It’s more than a thing,” Benji said thoughtfully.  “Oh, and don’t you think you’re laying on the good boy routine a little thick?  I thought my dad was about to bend over for you back there at the restaurant.”

Duke grinned maliciously.  “I’ve learned how to deal with parents and the more you feed them what they want to hear the better off you are.  I’m sure you’ve found the same thing since you’ve been back in the states.” 

“You’re still not helping things.  I could tell my dad was all about us becoming attached at the hip.  He’s going to expect me to turn into your clone.”

“So give him what he wants.  Us hanging out could be beneficial to both of us.”

 “How so?”

“I may be in a position to help you with Sierra, but there’s something you’ll have to help me with in return,” Duke said mysteriously, walking to the walnut stained bar across the room. 

“What?” Benji asked, immediately wondering if Duke had ulterior motives for his visit to Los Angeles. 

“I have an enemy who needs to be neutralized by any means necessary.  That nitwit Jeff Branigan who had the party that the cops crashed last night has been making my life a living hell.  It’s time he got what’s coming to him.”

“What do you have against Jeff Branigan?” Benji wanted to know. 

“He stole something from me.  Something of particular value and I want it back.”

“What?”

“That’s not important,” Duke replied, pouring them each a glass of vodka and handing one to Benji.  “Let’s just say that we engaged in a friendly bet while I was home visiting last summer while my mom recuperated from her plastic surgery.  Branigan won the bet and took something that I want back.”

“Well, if he won the bet then it’s only fair.  No offense, but doesn’t sound like you have much to stand on.”

“Nothing about life is fair, Rydell.  Haven’t you learned anything being privileged?”

Benji disregarded the ominous remark.  “So you and Branigan got into it over a bet.  Doesn’t sound like it makes him much of an enemy.”

“That’s only half of it.  I’ve been dating Summer Solomon off and on for the last few months.  Her mother’s Cassidy Solomon, the soap opera star.  She came out to New York last week and told me she got the Clap from somebody.  I happen to know Jeff Branigan was the one who gave it to her.”

“How do you know that?” Benji asked, swallowing nervously when he realized the connection.  He’d been with Summer Solomon in the ally outside Area a few weeks before after he’d found out Scott Kelly gave him the Clap.  Apparently for one reason or another Summer hadn’t revealed this to Duke, and now he thought she got it from Jeff. 

“He’s been after her for months, and she can’t keep her legs closed to save her life.  Someone from L.A. sent me a Sext that clearly showed her going down on him in the back of his car a week before she came out to New York.” 

Benji swallowed his drink nervously.  Obviously telling him that Jeff Branigan wasn’t the one who gave Summer the clap was out of the question.  “So I help you destroy Jeff Branigan and what do I get in return?” he found himself asking.

“You want Hunt Roberts to stay away form your little girlfriend at Sarah Lawrence, don’t you?”

“Yeah.”

“Roberts has a big coke problem.  Spends thousands a week on the nasty little habit.  We went to a party in the Village once and he tried to get me to snort the stuff off some hooker’s tits but personally I don’t touch the stuff.  Coke or hookers.  I’m sure Sierra or her mother wouldn’t find him to be such a worthy candidate for her dance card if they knew about his penchant for nose candy.”

“Not at all,” Benji said with a grin.  “But how do we prove it?”

Duke smiled, digging his hands in his pockets   “I’ll give you one guess on who supplies our friend Hunt Roberts with his drug of choice.”

Benji couldn’t believe it.  “Jeff Branigan?”

“Bingo,” he said.  “Him and his taco slinging brother apparently have the best stuff anywhere and Hunt has it flown in on a regular basis.  One discovery and it could blow their operation wide open, I get my property back, and I get my revenge for him cramming his dick down Summer’s throat.”

“And Hunt stays away from Sierra.”

“So do we have a deal?”

“Deal.”

Eddie Distefano

Miranda led Eddie through the maze of roads at the sprawling Sunset Studios lot.  They passed buildings, sound stages, and camera operators, winding along a path to a door marked Studio Archives.  Eddie tried the door but threw his hands up in frustration when he found it locked. 

“Great, now what?  I knew we should have brought Stormy.  Should we call your dad?”

Miranda swooped into her purse and removed a plastic key card with the Sunset Studios logo emblazoned on one side – rippling ocean waves with a setting sun peeking out from behind.

“I may not work for the studio, but being a Blackthorne does have some perks,” she said with a sly grin, sliding the card in the magnetic slot and winking at Eddie when the light turned green and the door clicked open. 

“You are so hot,” Eddie said, placing his hands on her hips and following her inside the dark building. 

Once inside, they found a set of stairs that led to a lower floor.  Carefully, they crept through the darkness, slightly unnerved by the unknown.  In the distance they could hear the sound of coughing. 

“Ever been down here before?” Eddie asked.

She shook her head.  “No, I don’t think so.”

They arrived at a small room with a desk and the smell of stale cigarettes and burned coffee in the air.  The walls were covered in movie one-sheets and autographed publicity photos of dozens of actors.  Miranda noticed several of her mother.  Among others were Suzanne Rogers, Lola Lamont, Nathan Blackthorne, and Victor Distefano.  It was definitely a who’s who of Sunset Studios.  A woman with lipstick on her teeth and too many gold rings on her fingers sat smoking a cigarette with a two inch ash dangling from the tip.

“Hello,” Miranda said and marched forward.  “I was wondering if you could help us.  We’re looking for any information you have on Maureen Adams.  She was an actress who starred in Double Cross.”

“You don’t sign my paycheck, sweetie.  You want something you go through the proper channels,” the woman snarled. 

“But it’s an emergency,” Eddie declared. 

“So’s my cottage cheese ass,” the woman replied.  “But that don’t mean anything.”

Miranda hadn’t wanted it to come to this, but she had no choice.  “Do you know who I am?” she asked, positioning her hands on her hips.  “I may not sign your paychecks but my father does.  Now are you going to help us or not?”

The woman smiled and stubbed out her cigarette.  “Relax, sweetie, I was just testing you.  I wanted to make sure you still had that fire you did when you were a little girl.”

“Have we met?” Miranda asked. 

Denise Syswicki,” the woman announced.  “I’ve been here since before you were born.  Your father used to bring you to the studio.”  She stopped and laughed loudly.  “You were a spitfire, that’s for sure.  I always thought you’d be up on this wall by now.” 

Miranda shook her head dismissively.  “Not my cup of tea.  So can you help us?”

“Follow me,” Denise said, standing up from her desk and leading them down a hall to a room with rows of metal filing cabinets stacked against the wall.  She went to the first drawer and began thumbing through dozens of files.   “If you’re looking for Maureen Adams, you won’t find much on her.  Double Cross was the only movie she made using her real name.  She started using a stage name shortly after.” 

“How many movies did she make with Sunset Studios?” Eddie asked.

“Just a few,” Denise replied and withdrew a file.  “They were all made in the late seventies when Jonas Lamont owned the studio.  He was getting along in age and wasn’t making the blockbusters like he used to.  Her career never took off.”

Miranda took the file from her and opened it.  On one side was a list of three movies Maureen Adams had made, and the other boasted several publicity photographs taken for the films.

“Oh my God,” she said, showing the pictures to Eddie.  “Do you know who this is?”

Marilee Wells-Walker

You’re Maureen Adams?” Miranda asked incredulously as they stood in the meticulously decorated office at Wells Inc.  Standing to one side was Eddie, and to the other side was James who was all too eager to attend the informative meeting once they’d filled him in on their findings. 

“I haven’t used that name in almost thirty years,” confessed Marilee Wells-Walker, sitting behind her desk with a look of despair on her face.  “I thought I’d left her far behind.”

“So is it true?” James asked her.  “Is Kyle Fenwick your son?”

She stood up and walked to the bar, lighting a cigarette and pouring herself a glass of sherry.  “It’s true,” she said when she turned back to them.

“Marilee,” James began, approaching her quickly.  “We’ve been friends for years.  Why have you never told me any of this?”

“It’s ancient history.  I’m a different person now.”

“And Will Thomerson?” Eddie inquired.  “He’s his father?”

“I met Will in New York City when I was nineteen,” Marilee explained, staring dreamily out the window while she sipped her drink and puffed at her cigarette.  “He was charming and dashing and sophisticated.  I had aspirations of being an actress on Broadway, and him being a fresh young producer, he cast me in one of his productions.”

“You had a relationship?” James asked.  “You never said anything.  Even when he died.”

“I stayed away from him,” Marilee confessed.  “I had no intention of seeing him again.  I’d moved on from those mistakes.  He made me promises and told me he would make me a star.  When the production flopped his interest in me began waning.  Then I found out I was pregnant.”

“What did he do?”

“Sent me away,” she said bitterly, snapping her head toward her.  “Said I was just trying to latch onto him and keep him around.  I was devastated, but the truth was I knew I couldn’t do it alone.   I thought about having an abortion but I couldn’t go through with it.  Finally, I decided to have the baby and give it up for adoption.  I didn’t know who they gave him to but I was assured he would be well taken care of.” 

 “I had no idea you were an actress,” James remarked.

“I wasn’t much of one at that,” Marilee said with a chortle.  “After having the baby I moved to L.A. and met Jonas Lamont at one of his parties.  He cast me in a film that didn’t even make it to the theatres.  I thought maybe if I changed my name it would give me a new outlook and people would take notice.  Maureen Adams became Marilee Anders.  I did two more films that both bombed.  It didn’t take much to realize my career in acting was not meant to be.  Instead I married wealthy and made my way in the business world.” 

James stepped forward, feeling for his old friend who obviously had been through much more than he’d ever realized.  The drama with Congressman Walker, her murderous late husband, almost paled in comparison.   “Did you realize who Kyle was when he showed up in town?”

Marilee nodded.  “I tracked him down ten years ago.  I didn’t want to see him or talk to him, but I just wanted to hear that he was alright, that he was happy and healthy.  So when he showed up here in L.A…. I don’t know…I guess I went into denial.”

“We didn’t mean to stir up any painful memories, Marilee,” James said and took her hand in his.  “We honestly were just trying to find out if Kyle was telling the truth about his father.”

She shook her head with a polite smile.  “I understand.  But you have to promise me that this information never leaves this room.  I don’t want Kyle knowing.  It wouldn’t do any good for him to know who his mother is.”

“Of course,” James said. 

Jackie Lamont

Jackie opened the door of her suite at Moonshadows and leveled a penetrating gaze on Renee who stood in the hall wrapped in a chinchilla coat and clutching a gold Chanel bag in her hands. 

“Well, this is a surprise,” Jackie said.  “To what do I owe this pleasure, Renee?”

“I came to give you fair warning,” Renee said as she breezed into the apartment and turned to face her.  “Leave Brooke Taylor alone or you’ll have me to answer to.”

Jackie stifled a haughty laugh.  “I beg your pardon?  Who are you?  Her personal protector?”

“I get that you have something to prove here, Jackie.  Your father adored you, Nathan adored you, and Royce adored you before he turned to Roz Taylor.  But make no mistake, Brooke is not her mother.  Whatever issues you have with Royce and Roz’s affair, leave her out of it.  That includes giving her a fair shot at Sunset Studios without trying to sabotage everything she does.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  She turned and went to the bar where she poured herself a glass of champagne and nibbled on a carrot stick.  “But the fact that you’re here trying to sing he praises speaks volumes.  Brooke Taylor can’t cut it in the business.  She’s green and she’s inexperienced.  Obviously you know that or you wouldn’t be here.”

“I’ve seen the way you manipulate people, Jackie.  First it was David, then it was James, and now Brooke.  What is it you really want?  Is controlling Sunset Studios that important to you?  Or are you just that lonely that you’ll do anything to get people to pay attention to you?”

“How dare you.”

“I mean, really,” Renee said, stalking casually toward her.  “Why else do you think Royce carried on with Roz for so long?  You wouldn’t even let him see his own daughter because it took the spotlight away from you.  I think I get it now.  You’re not happy unless you’re the center of attention.  And when you’re not, you manipulate everyone around you into being so miserable that you wind up feeling better about yourself.” 

“You think you’ve got it all figured out, don’t you?  Well I’m not the only one who’s driven the men in my life away.  Nathan, Kenny, Jordan, T.T.  You've got quite a list going.” 

“At least I didn’t marry a pervert in his prison cell.”

“No, you just had his bastard daughter and tried to pass her off as adopted.”

Renee drew her hand back and slapped her hard across the face.  Jackie recoiled from the shock, bringing her hand to her cheek instinctively.  Her eyes narrowed angrily on her and she slapped her in return.   Taken by surprise by her sudden retaliation, Renee wasted no time in getting in one final smack.  She hit her so hard that her hand stung.  

Jackie took a step back, the taste of blood evident in her mouth.  Before she could utter another word, Renee brushed past her and headed for the door. 

“Leave Brooke alone or next time I use my fist,” she said, stalking out into the hallway and slamming the door behind. 

After she’d gone, Jackie returned to the bar and finished her glass of champagne while she recovered from Renee’s assault on her.   She reached down to the counter where she’d placed the key that she’d taken from David’s house.   She’d have to step up her efforts.  First on her agenda was to find out what the key unlocked.

Kyle Fenwick

Brooke arrived at police headquarters and spent fifteen minutes sitting in her car wondering what she was doing.  David and James had just got done telling her that Kyle Fenwick was bad news and that she should stay away from him.  But something drew her to him, and it had everything to do with him being Ethan’s brother.  She refused to believe that any brother of Ethan’s could be all bad.  Then again, their father was Will Thomerson, which meant there was a fifty-fifty chance that Kyle could have inherited his evil side. 

Despite her own warnings to herself, she stepped out of her car and proceeded up to the front of the building.  Just as she reached the door, Kyle emerged onto the steps, trademark aviators covering his eyes and sultry bad boy leather jacket covering rippling muscles. 

“Well, this is a surprise,” he said, taking off his sunglasses and leering at her.  “You aren’t here to see me, are you?”

Brooke felt foolish.  She didn’t want to admit to it, but what other excuse could she come up with?  Now that she was there she realized what a bad idea it was. 

“I was…uh….”

He smiled and walked down the steps and stopped inches from her.  “I knew you’d come.”

“What does that mean? “

“I just had a feeling.  You don’t share your brother’s opinions of me.  We should get to know each other.”

“I think I know all I need to know about you,” Brooke said, backing up and pushing her blond hair over her ears.  “You didn’t know Ethan and you don’t know me.  Maybe if you’d handled yourself differently when you came to town I might be okay with getting to know you, but as it is you publicly scrutinized my brother and stalked me at my house and at my son’s school.  I gotta tell you, I’m not real comfortable with your presence in my life.”

“But you heard I was in jail and you came here to see me,” Kyle said with a laugh.  “Man, women are walking contradictions.”

“I didn’t come to see you,” Brooke said, turning and walking back down the steps. 

Kyle ran after her, taking her arm and pulling her back.  “You feel something for me, don’t you?”

“No.”

“You want to know what I’m like in bed.  If I make love the same as Ethan did and if I make you feel the same way he did.”

“You’re disgusting,” she said and pulled away from him.

“I told you you’d come to me and you did.   It’s only a matter of time.”

She closed her eyes and walked back to her car, trembling from the feeling she got when she was around him.  Whether it was that he reminded her so much of Ethan, or she was physically attracted to him, she knew he was off limits. 

She only hoped she could stay away. 


Next time....

Alex unleashes her anger on Kyle.  The premiere of Angel Assassin 2 arrives.  Jackie investigates.  Brooke grows closer to Kyle.

 

Read Episode 105

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