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Episode 107

 

Release Date:  February 26, 2010

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

David rescued Brooke and Kyle from the burning building.  Kyle and David each accused one another of starting the fire. When the rescue team found Steven unconscious, Brooke suspected Jackie, who admitted to trapping them together but insisted she didn't know anything about the fire.  Kyle's father, Don Fenwick, arrived in town and warned Kyle to stay away from Brooke.  Kyle detected the scent of gasoline on Don's jacket.  David and Stephanie turned to each other for comfort. Miranda urged Jordan to go back to Alex, claiming her mother was on a downward spiral, but Jordan refused.  Still jilted over Stephanie's rejection, Jordan asked Mackenzie Stone to accompany him to James's premiere.  To get back at Summer Solomon for cheating on him, Duke got Benji to help him seduce the site administrator of Cassidy Solomon's fan site.  Then, when she wasn't looking, they uploaded the sex video of Summer and Jeff in his car.  When Cassidy learned of the video, she blamed Alex, claiming she was out to get her.  After Don threatened Brooke, Kyle went to confront his father.  In his hotel room at Moonshadows, Don admitted to starting the fire in hopes of killing Brooke.  He also admitted to tampering with the brakes on Royce's car as payback for Royce blowing up the hotel that sent Kyle to prison.  After overhearing the admission, David flew into a rage and attacked Don.  With Brooke and Kyle watching, the two went over the balcony and fell eleven floors to the ground.  

 


 

Episode 107

"Red Carpet Bloodbath"

 

Bystanders assembled at the gruesome scene, pointing and gasping at the spectacle that had taken them away from their activities.  Some pointed to the eleventh story balcony that they had fallen from; others swooped for their cell phones to call for help.  A man coming off of the tennis courts identified himself as a doctor and leaned in to the tangle of bodies that had seemingly dropped from the sky. 

“Did someone call an ambulance?” asked one spectator, eyes darting around the masses.

“Are they dead?” another inquired, cringing while trying to see through the crowd.

The doctor gave a quick visual inspection of the victims.  One man – the younger of the two – had fallen on top of the other and appeared to be breathing.   He stirred and slowly rolled over onto the pavement.

“Holy crap,” someone said when they realized he was alive.

“Are you okay?” the doctor asked.

David Jennings looked at his hands, bloody and embedded with gravel.  He didn’t know how but he had survived.  Don, on the other hand, didn’t appear to have fared as well.  Somehow between falling from the balcony and hitting the pavement below, he’d managed to position himself so that he landed on top of the old man.  The crunch from Don’s bones breaking when they hit the pavement was permanently fixed in his senses. 

“Don’t try to get up,” the doctor cautioned David, steadying him with a hand.

“I’m fine,” David insisted.

Brooke and Kyle emerged through the crowd, amazed to see David alive and standing on his own two feet.  Brooke quickly went to embrace him, backing up at the last minute for fear of causing him any pain.

“Thank God,” she exclaimed, raking a hand through her silky blond tresses. 

“I don’t believe it,” murmured Kyle.

“I’m fine,” repeated David, ignoring the shocked outcries from their audience.

A police cruiser pulled up from the path along the beach and Stephanie jumped out.  She saw Don’s body lying on the cement and then at David, bruised and bloodied from the ordeal.  

“What the hell happened?” she asked, exchanging quick glances with Brooke and Kyle.  “Is that Don Fenwick?”

“Yes,” Kyle said. 

“That bastard killed my father,” David said, not bothering to hide his contempt. 

“And tried to kill Brooke,” Kyle added. 

“He started the fire at the club?” Stephanie asked.

“He hated Royce that much,” Brooke explained.  “All he saw when he looked at me was my father.” 

Stephanie tried to process the information.  The doctor who had appeared on the scene stood up from Don’s broken body and made a pronouncement which instilled further gasps from the throng of onlookers. 

“The old guy’s alive.  I got a pulse.”

David snapped his head back and looked at the man lying in a pool of his own blood.  How could he have survived? 

Stormy Blackthorne

Stormy walked into his father’s office at Sunset Studios where he was staring thoughtfully out the window.  He cleared his throat to announce his presence and proceeded inward as James turned to him.

“I thought you went home to get ready for the premiere,” James said.

“Too much to do,” Stormy replied.  “Have you seen Brooke?”

“I think she went to see David,” James replied.  “Look, son, anything you have on your desk can wait until after tonight.  It’s not like we have anything pressing coming up on the pipeline now that Angel Assassin 2 is about to hit theatres.”

“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about,” Stormy said, handing James an ecru envelope and sitting across from his desk. 

“What’s this?”

“A script.  It’s about a two warring American families.  Kind of an amped up Romeo & Juliet.”

“Have you read it?”

“Several times.  It’s good.  I mean really good.”

“That’s what you said about The Standoff,” James mused.  “Look what happened with that.  We spent all that time chasing a prospect that never panned out.  We’re running out of time to get a viable film into pre-production.”

“It won’t happen again, Dad.  This time I think we really could have something.  There’s just one problem.”

“Why am I not surprised?” James said and sat down behind his desk.  “Okay, let me have it.”

“The script was written by Will Thomerson.”

“Thomerson?” James guffawed.  He reached for the envelope and pulled the script from inside.  He read the title page.  The House of Palms.  “Where’d you get it?”

“When you were looking for Maureen Adams, Eddie, Miranda and I went up to the attic and looked through some of Will’s old things to find some clues.  Well, we obviously found what we needed, but I also found this script.  I don’t know what made me read it, but it was good and I think it could be our next big blockbuster.  We’re talking location shooting, lots of special effects, big name stars…”

“Sounds expensive,” James said. 

“It could make us a lot of money,” Stormy retorted.

“It’s a gamble,” James said.  “Especially if we can’t even secure the rights.”

“But Will’s dead,” Stormy said.

“We need permission from his next-of-kin.”

Ethan’s dead.”

“I’m talking about Kyle,” James replied.  “After the way this family’s treated him, why in the hell would he want to do us this favor?”

Stormy sighed, realizing their new endeavor may also be out of reach.  James was right.  Kyle Fenwick owed them nothing.

Alex Reynolds

The premiere wasn’t for a few more hours, but Alex was eager to get home to start getting ready.  Luckily, Cassidy’s tantrum on the set of The Young at Heart had halted production for the rest of the day, which freed her up to transform herself into a ravishing beauty.

Walking through her door, she was delighted to find the Escada gown she’d picked up from the boutique on Rodeo Drive awaiting her.  The concierge in her building was prompt to deliver it as she’d requested.  Her hair and makeup she preferred to do herself.  She had no intention of walking into Grauman’s Chinese Theatre looking like a clown or like so many prostitutes who walked the streets in Beverly Hills. 

After unsheathing the garment bag from her floor-length black sequin cocktail gown, she scampered back to her bedroom.  She turned on the television to see if there was any advance coverage of the premiere.  What she came across instead was a report from the hotel at Moonshadows.  Quickly, she adjusted the volume.

“Witnesses say the men fell from the eleventh floor of the high rise hotel here at the Moonshadows resort,” said the reporter from the parking lot of the building.  “How they both survived was unclear, but a doctor who was at the scene called it nothing short of a miracle.  Confirmation of the men’s identities was just released.  David Jennings, owner of Moonshadows, suffered superficial injuries during the fall.  The second man, New York shipping magnate Don Fenwick, is currently in critical condition at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.  Fenwick is the father of Kyle Fenwick, who held an impromptu press conference weeks ago claiming his innocence of charges that sent him to prison. He had no comment when asked about his father’s condition.”

Quickly, Alex shut off the television and threw the remote onto her bed.  In a flash, she was flying out to the front door.  She had to get to the hospital.  As usual she was left in the dark where it came to Kyle and his mysterious life. 

Kyle Fenwick

“Brain dead?” Kyle repeated in disbelief.  He knew he and his father had problems and hadn’t always gotten along, but this was happening too fast.   “He’s….”

“His heart is beating but he suffered a severe head trauma during the fall,” Dr. Farraday confirmed.  “I’m afraid he’s not going to come out of it.”

Brooke stood by, alarmed by the news.  Despite the sleazy persona Kyle carried with him everywhere he went, she couldn’t not feel for him.  And despite what a murderous thug his father was, she could tell how much it hurt him to hear the news.

“I’m very sorry,” continued Farraday.  “You don’t have to make any decisions right now, but you should know that the longer you wait, the less of an opportunity we’ll have to donate his working organs.” 

“I just need a little time to process this,” Kyle stammered.  He felt the room spinning.  Slowly, he turned and sat down on a row of benches in the waiting room.  Brooke sat down beside him. 

“Are you okay?” she asked.  “What do you want to do?”

“I should call my mother,” he said, his voice trailing off distantly.  “She’ll want to know that he isn’t coming home.”

Brooke sighed and hung her head low.  “I feel like this is all my fault.”

“Why?”

“Because I set this into motion.  I went to David about Don confronting me today.   You were angry.  I should have just kept out of it.”

Kyle turned to her and took her hand in his.  “You are not to blame for this,” he said very slowly.  “You heard him up in his hotel room.  He killed your father because of some stupid grudge.  He tried to kill you.”

“He was avenging his family,” Brooke reminded him.

Kyle stood up and fished his cell phone from the back pocket of his jeans.  “I better go make this call,” he said.  “Thank you.”

Brooke realized he was in no mood to talk so she decided to let it go.  The moment seemed to call for more, however, so she pulled him into an embrace that lasted a bit longer than she’d meant it to.

As Kyle turned and made his way down the hall, Brooke turned and saw Alex standing in the open elevator, lips pressed into a tight thin line.   Wanting to avoid any confrontation with her, she turned and started to walk away.

“Hold on a minute,” Alex said, rushing toward her.  “Where is Kyle going?”

“He went to call his mother,” Brooke answered.  “His father died.”

Pangs of jealousy made their way through Alex’s body leading her to go on the offense.  “And you were there to comfort him.  How convenient.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“I’m not stupid, Brooke.  I saw the two of you just now.  How typical of you to use this tragedy to get close to him.”

“I was there when it happened, Alex.  Kyle is devastated.  Forgive me for trying to offer up some sympathy for the man.”

“That little display had nothing to do with sympathy,” Alex retorted in a huff.  “I’m getting a little tired of you insinuating yourself into his life every time I turn around.  This is such déjà vu.” 

“Déjà vu?” Brooke asked.  “What on earth are you talking about?”

Alex placed her hands no her hips and glared at her with contempt.  “I’m talking about you taking everything that means anything to me.  First James and now Kyle.”

Stunned by the woman’s overreaction, Brooke held up a hand in hopes of putting an end to her ridiculous accusations.  “I’m not going to go through this again.  James and I fell in love at a time when your marriage was rocky at best.  I’m sorry if you got hurt in all of that.”

“I doubt that,” Alex began.

“And I most certainly am not trying to take Kyle from you.  As I said before, he’s in pain.  I was doing what any decent person would do.”

“There’s nothing decent about you,” Alex seethed. 

Just then, Kyle returned from the hall.  “Alex,” he said, his voice acting as a warning.

When she realized he’d returned, Alex’s expression did a one-eighty.  She raced to him, arms outstretched.  “Darling, I heard about your father.  I’m so sorry.  What can I do?”

Kyle looked at Brooke and then back at Alex.  “We need to talk,” he said, taking her arm and leading her down the hall. 

David Jenner

Elsewhere in the hospital, David was giving a formal statement to Stephanie when James and Jackie arrived, having heard the news on an afternoon bulletin.

“David, are you all right?” James inquired after swooping into the room.

“I’m fine,” he replied, bandages on his hands.  “A little stiff, but-“

“Is it true?  Don Fenwick fingered Royce in the New York hotel explosion?”

“It looks like it,” David replied. 

“I guess it all makes sense now,” James said distantly.

“I can’t believe Royce would have done that,” Jackie said.  Her husband may have been a philandering womanizer at times, but he wasn’t criminal. 

“There’s more,” Stephanie added.  “It appears that Don Fenwick was responsible for Royce’s accident.  He fixed his brakes so that he’d crash that night coming back from Santa Barbara.”

Jackie closed her eyes, placing a hand to her chest.  James drew her close, realizing how hard it was for her to nhear the truth.  They’d suspected Royce’s death wasn’t an accident, but to hear it confirmed was difficult to say the least.

“Damn him,” Jackie whispered, clenching her fist.  She looked up at David, realizing she wasn’t the only one affected by the revelation.  Emotionally, she pulled him into an embrace.  “Darling, I’m so sorry.  Despite the differences in our marriage, your father was a good man.”

“That’s right, David,” James agreed.   He looked up when Brooke entered the room.  “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” she replied, purposefully avoiding eye contact with Jackie. 

“This has to be so hard for you,” James remarked, placing a hand tenderly on her shoulder.  “As if finding out Royce was your father wasn’t enough of a blow.  But to learn of his involvement in all of this, and that he was murdered because of it.”

“It doesn’t change anything,” Brooke said.  “I didn’t even know him.”

“No, you didn’t know him!” Jackie hissed.  “Your father was Mick Taylor.  As far as I’m concerned Royce had one child.  Just having you was enough of a desecration of his memory.”

“Mother-“ David cautioned her.

“I didn’t know him because you wouldn’t allow it,” Brooke snapped.  “You paid my parents off to keep it from me, remember?”

“But you had to go digging until you found the truth,” Jackie continued angrily.  “His precious babydoll.  Well you don’t get to grieve over him.  You have no right.”

With that, she turned and fled from the room.  David shook his head in frustration, offering a look of condolence to Brooke who appeared remarkably poised after the vicious attack. 

“Anyway.”  James decided it best to change the subject.  “I guess this gets Kyle off the hook.  Turns out we branded him as the bad guy for nothing.”

David and Stephanie looked at each other warily.

“Am I wrong?” James asked.  “The two of you were damn near instrumental in labeling him a murderer.  Surely you can’t blame him for his father’s actions.”

David knew his reaction to Kyle’s arrival in town was extreme, but under the circumstances he felt vindicated in doing so.   Besides, Kyle had been gunning for him since he got there.  Using Brooke to prey on his weaknesses, making idle threats, insinuating himself into their lives.

“Stephanie?” James continued, waiting for a response.

“I’ll go file the report,” she said dismissively.  She flashed David one final look before exiting the room.

“Where is Kyle now?” James asked while turning to Brooke.

“With Alex on the terrace.”

Alex Reynolds

“What can I do for you?” Alex asked, reaching a hand out to him.

“Nothing,” Kyle replied, his back toward her.

“How did all of this happen?  I mean, David and your father going over the balcony?  All this business about Royce Jennings blowing up that hotel in New York?”

“It doesn’t matter now.”

“It does matter.  You went to prison for three years for something you didn’t do!”

When he didn’t reply, she walked up behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder. 

“I’m sorry for doubting you,” she said.  “The other night in my apartment I said some things that I didn’t mean.  I was just angry because I thought you were keeping things from me and-“

“Alex, stop,” Kyle cut her off and turned toward her.  “I told you none of that matters now.  We need to talk about us.”

She knew what was coming so she tried to change the subject.  “There’s nothing to talk about.  We’re fine.  You’re still picking me up for the premiere, aren’t you?  Six o’clock sharp.  Wait till you see the gown I picked up.”

Kyle closed his eyes.  All he could think about was Brooke.  What started out as a way to get to David turned into something more.  He hadn’t felt for a woman as he did for Brooke in a very long time. 

“Alex, please-“

Quietly, Alex blinked away tears that threatened to fall from her eyes.  “Please don’t, Kyle.  Don’t say what I think you’re going to say because I don’t think I can handle it.  Not now.  I need you.”

“I care about you very much…”

“Then prove it,” she said, clinging to him for dear life.  She placed a hand alongside his face, pulling him into a deep kiss.  

Kyle, unable to do what he knew was right, kissed her in return, holding her close and giving in to her demands.  Hurting her was the last thing he wanted to do.  He couldn’t walk away now.  No matter how he felt about Brooke.  

Jackie Lamont

When Jackie got back to her office at Sunset Studios, she threw her purse onto a chair and stormed about in a huff.  Not only had she learned that her ex-husband had been murdered, but Brooke Taylor had the nerve to pretend to be damaged as a result.  She had nothing to do with Royce Jennings, and certainly had nothing to do with Sunset Studios.  She didn’t belong there. 

Her thoughts overwhelming her senses, she didn’t realize when the chair behind her desk swiveled around to reveal Renee DeWitt perched across the room.

“Bad day?” Renee asked.

“What the hell are you doing in here?” Jackie asked with a shriek.

“Isn’t this James’s office?”

“You know it’s not.  And to answer your questions, I’ve had better days.”

Renee smiled and stood up from the chair.  “Well, it’s about to get worse,” she said, her stilettos digging into the carpet as she made her way around the desk.  “I warned you not to mess with Brooke, and yet I find out that you were the one who locked her and Kyle Fenwick in the club the other day in an effort to discredit her.  They could have died."

“That’s old news, Renee,” Jackie said, shuffling papers on the credenza.  “You need better spies.”

“What I need is for you to take a hike.  Go back to New York and hole up in your Park Avenue mansion.”

“I’ll do what I please, now get out of my office.” 

“Not until you understand me, Jackie,” Renee said, stopping mere inches from her.  “All you’ve done since you got to Los Angeles is create havoc everywhere you go.  I’m here to tell you that I will not stand for it.”

“And what are you going to do about it?” she asked, her eyes challenging her.

“I’m prepared to wage war against you.  And this time nothing can protect you.  Not even your marriage to Nathan.”

“You came here to tell me that?”

“I came here to give you fair warning.  After I get my company back on track, I’m going to devote every ounce of my energy to destroying you the way you’ve destroyed so many lives.”

“I’m not scared of you,” Jackie said with a roll of her eyes.

“Never underestimate your enemy,” Renee said with a wicked smile before brushing past her and leaving the office.

Once she was gone, Jackie slid into her chair behind her desk.  She placed her face in her hands and took a deep breath.  Her day couldn’t get any worse, she decided. 

Blackthorne Mansion

Meandering down the upstairs hall at the Blackthorne mansion, Miranda stopped at Stormy’s bedroom and noticed the door ajar.  She paused, knocked once, and slid inside where she found him fresh out of the shower, coiffing his hair with a palm full of waxy styling product.

“Oh good, I can finally collect on that bet I’ve got going with Leilani,” she said, leaning against the doorframe.

“What bet?” Stormy asked, frustrated when he couldn’t get his jet black hair to cooperate.

“How much of that grease you use to get your hair to do that,” she replied with a good-natured grin.

“Funny,” Stormy said.  He stood in front of the mirror in black tuxedo trousers and unbuttoned white shirt.  “Why aren’t you getting ready for the premiere?”

“I was about to.  Just thought I’d check in on you.  You’ve seemed kind of on edge lately.  What’s up?”

“I keep forgetting you’ve never worked for Dad.  If you had, you’d know why I’m on edge.  He expects a lot.  This premiere and everything that follows is riding on my shoulders.”

“Well, you are an executive at the studio,” Miranda remarked, flopping stomach down on his bed and swinging her legs in the air.  “He’s put a lot of trust in you.”

“Thanks for the reminder,” Stormy said wryly.  He buttoned his shirt and plucked a bow tie from a hook in the closet.  “Sometimes I think it was easier when I worked for myself.  I had nobody to disappoint when things didn’t go well.”

“That’s your problem, big brother.  You expect things not to go well.  You could do with some positive thinking.”

He shook his head with a chortle.  “Let’s see, both of my marriages ended in disaster, Angel Assassin 2 went way over budget and nearly put us in the hole, and the script option I spent months trying to obtain blew up in my face.  Why would I expect things to turn south?”

Miranda could sense his sarcasm blaring loud and clear.   “So don’t screw up.  There.  Do you want to tackle something bigger now?  How about world hunger?”

He grunted with annoyance, not only over her sarcastic jibes, but over the mess he’d made of his tie.   “That’s easy for you to say.  You did wonders with Hotel Terranova when Dad gave it to you to run.  You never gave him a reason to doubt you.”

“How easily you forget my younger days,” Miranda said, twisting off the bed and attacking his tie with nubile fingers.  “I gave Daddy plenty of reasons to be disappointed in me.  Brett, for one.  He was livid, remember?   I show up married to a stranger that I’d met in Vegas exactly one day earlier.  And let’s not forget about my reaction to Brooke getting pregnant with Michael, or mowing Brooke down with my car, or…”

“Okay, I get it,” Stormy groaned, fidgeting as she worked at his tie.

“Basically anything having to do with Brooke.”

“Enough!” Stormy said, turning and examining his reflection in the mirror.  She’d actually done a decent job.  “Not bad.” 

“Look, brother,” Miranda said seriously.  “Yes, Daddy is hard to please.  Yes, he expects a lot.  But you’re a smart guy most of the time.  Wherever you take Sunset Studios is bound to be an improvement over recent years.  Just trust your own judgment.”

He smiled.  “Thanks.” 

She looked at her watch and gasped.  “I’d better get ready.  Eddie’s going to be here to pick me up in an hour.”

Stormy watched her run to the door, calling after her before she left.  “Miranda?”

“Yeah?”

“You really have changed since those younger days you were talking about.  I’m proud of you.”

She smiled, disappearing into the hall and leaving him to his reflection in the dressing mirror.

Kyle Fenwick

After leaving the hospital, Kyle went home to change into his tuxedo for the premiere.  As much as he didn’t want to go, he’d made a promise to Alex.  With her fragile state, he couldn’t consider disappointing her. 

What started out as a mutual attraction turned into a feeling of obligation where she was concerned.  Starting with their first meeting - finding her unconscious from an overdose on the floor of her empty apartment - he’d come to slowly realize the turmoil she was in.  Her children had all but turned their backs on her, her ex-husbands seemed to rue the day they met her, and even he had done his part in tarnishing her reputation, thanks to his stint in prison.

Somehow he would turn it around, prepare her for facing the world alone, and then delicately let her go.  Whether or not that freed him up to explore any feelings for Brooke Taylor remained to be seen.  His cocky attitude anticipated it, but inside he wanted to tread carefully. 

After he finished getting dressed, he decided to swing back by the hospital to see if there was any change with his father.  He knew what Dr. Farraday said – that there was no hope - but he had to be sure.  And when he told his mother the news, she was characteristically cold and detached.  Rather than offer to fly to L.A. to take care of matters, she informed him that she was sending Bryan Carlson, the family attorney who Kyle had known since his youth.   So much for family togetherness, he decided. 

Much to his surprise, Bryan was already at the hospital waiting when he arrived.  The company jet was always on standby, as evidenced in the stealthy ways his father came and went from Los Angeles over the years. 

“Typical that she’d send you instead of coming herself,” Kyle said, hands slung in the pockets of his tuxedo pants.

“She wanted to but she’s been inconsolable since we got the news,” Bryan replied, stepping away from the bed where Don Fenwick’s lifeless body laid amidst a tangle of machinery. 

“Yes, she sounded like it on the phone,” Kyle remarked with a wry expression.  “How are you, Bryan?  It’s been a few years.” 

“Since before you went to Arthur Kill,” the young attorney replied.  He was a tall, well built man in his early thirties with thick blond hair and a cleft chin.  A permanent smarmy grin was etched on his face at all times.  “Adjusting to life on the outside?”

Kyle roamed into the room, hands still firmly planted in his pockets.  “Let’s cut the idle conversation.  Did you come to tell them to unplug the machines?  I assume that’s what my mother wanted.” 

“Actually I’ve come to take him back to New York.”

“But the doctors say there’s no hope.  He won’t wake up.  He’s brain dead.”

Bryan rubbed his stubbled chin and went to his briefcase that rested on the end of the bed.  “Fenwick Industries has shareholders and those shareholders may get nervous if they learned their leader was dead.  Nervous shareholders mean our stock values take a dive.  As long as he’s hooked up to that machine he’s legally still living.”

Kyle shook his head in disbelief.  “So you’re just going to keep him like this forever?   What happens when someone wants to see him face to face?"

“I’ll let you know when that happens,” Bryan said with a smug grin.  He looked at him with a shrug.  “No one ever wants to see your father in person.  Speaks volumes about his character, doesn’t it?”

“So I’m supposed to stay quiet, is that it?”

“Don wanted you to head up the company in the event of his death or incapacitation.  My hope is that you’ll come back to New York with us and take second chair.”

“Second chair to a man who’s brain dead?” Kyle said with a guffaw. 

“He’s always looked up to you, Kyle.  You’re independent.  You’re hard as hell, but you’re your own man.  It’s a shame you never saw that.”

“He did nothing but tell me what a disappointment I was.  You were always more of a son to him than I was.  You, the blue-eyed Yale graduate.   How many times did I hear why can’t you be more like Bryan?”

“You act like we were enemies growing up. We weren’t.  We were tight, Kyle.”

“We competed on every level imaginable.”

Bryan laughed.  “All boys do.  Sure, maybe we unzipped and pulled out our rulers one too many times.  Well…only once literally."  He laughed again.  "I always thought we both wanted to be accepted by your father.  Don’t make it harder now.”

Kyle dismissed the trip down memory lane.  “What if I don’t want to head up the company?” he asked.  “What if what I want is here in L.A.”

“Get serious.  What are you going to do in L.A.?”

“Anything I set my mind to.”

Grinning, Bryan took a step forward. “Who is she?” he asked. 

“Nobody.  None of your business.” 

“I can’t see you in La La Land for any length of time, bro.  The sun’s going to eat at your brain and turn you into one of these sheep.  Are you sure about this?  Look what you’re giving up.”

Kyle looked at his father and then back at Bryan.  “I’m sure.”

Bryan sighed and turned back to his briefcase.  He withdrew a piece of paper and handed it to him.  “I’ll tell the board.  I guess I’ll have to step in as acting director for the time being.”

“It’s what you’ve always wanted,” Kyle said knowingly. 

Bryan met his gaze, realizing that he saw through him.  “Sure, I want it.  Who wouldn’t?”

Kyle turned to the piece of paper and skimmed through it.  “What is this?”

“A memo I typed up on the flight out here.  It exonerates you from the blast that killed Detective Dugan in New York three years ago, complete with evidence your father had in Royce Jennings’s involvement.  I know your father’s signature better than anyone.  Consider it a consolation for your three years in prison.”

Kyle reviewed the document carefully.  This was what he’d been after since the day he walked out of Arthur Kill.  Retribution.  A clean slate.  It would be so easy to let Bryan send the document out to every media outlet in the country.  Finally he’d have what he longed for.

Then he thought about Brooke and the fact that she was forced into accepting her father was a man she never knew.  Despite all of that, to have his name dragged through the mud was something he didn’t know that he could do to her. 

Shaking his head, he ripped the paper in half and handed it back to him. 

“What are you doing?” Bryan asked. 

“Moving on,” he said.  “And don’t worry.  I’ll keep your secret.  No one will know that Don Fenwick is a vegetable.”

Picking up his briefcase, Bryan stopped and patted him on the shoulder.  “Good to see you again, Kyle.”

He nodded, glancing back at his father as Bryan left the room.  Someone came up behind him as he turned to leave.  Stephanie.

“Hi,” she said, obviously unsure of how to broach the difficult subject of admitting she’d blamed the wrong man for so many years.  “Look, I owe you this so don’t make it hard for me…”

“Forget it,” he said softly, throwing his jacket over his shoulder and heading out of the room. 

Stephanie stood back, amazed at how differently that scenario went in her mind as she’d rehearsed it. 

“All of Hollywood is buzzing today over the long-awaited premiere of Angel Assassin 2: Halo and Goodbye, the follow-up to the blockbuster 1995 Sunset Studios production that raked in hundreds of millions at the box office,” said the entertainment news correspondent from her position beside a giant red column at the Grauman Chinese Theatre.  “Tonight’s guest list is limited to select media outlets, as well as close friends, family and business associates of James Blackthorne, the CEO of Sunset Studios.  Word has already began circulating that the film could be up for a Filmmaker Award this November – the first time in history a sequel has held that distinction.”

The mob of rabid fans circled the theatre, corralled behind barricades that separated Hollywood Boulevard from the red carpet where stars and invited guests arrived in droves. 

James, Stormy and Brooke arrived first, stepping out of the limousine and waving to a blinding flash of camera clicks.  They stopped and gave a reporter from E! a brief interview. 

“Mr. Blackthorne,” he said to James, thrusting a microphone at him.  “What are your thoughts tonight as you unveil the second installment in the Angel series?”

“Relief,” he said with a good-natured smile. 

“I can imagine how difficult production of this film was,” the correspondent continued.  “The tabloids fed on the scandals for months.  Scott Kelly’s horrific beating which sent him into early retirement, your son’s wife’s sudden departure following last year’s earthquake, Alex Reynolds in and out of the lead role in the film, not to mention the psychotic breakdown of Victor Distefano.  Did you ever think this film would get made?”

“The film did get made,” James said, patting Stormy on the back.  “Primarily to due my son’s hard work.” 

“Stormy, how much of the film did you actually produce?”

“Without him the film wouldn’t have gotten made, let’s just say that,” James answered for him.  He gestured to Stormy and Brooke.  “These two are the future of Sunset Studios.”

“Does that mean you’ll be taking a step back from future productions?”

James laughed and shook his head.  “Not at all.  New blood won’t hurt anything, though.  You can expect great things from these two.” 

Brooke grinned, standing between Stormy and James as cameras and videographers continued rolling.

Jackie Lamont

“Look at her standing there like God's gift to the media,” Jackie said bitterly from the chaise lounge in her penthouse at Moonshadows.  “She doesn’t belong there.” 

Steven, her personal nineteen-year-old assistant, nodded along as he knelt shirtless on the floor before her, massaging her feet with scented oils. 

“I should be there with James, not her,” Jackie continued, sipping from a glass of champagne as she glared angrily at the television.  “The only reason I’m not is because I’m too upset about Royce.  But seeing that woman there stealing all the spotlight makes me want to run down there and shake her senseless.” 

Steven refilled her champagne and switched his hands to her other foot. 

“First she steals the spotlight as Royce’s illegitimate daughter, ruins my marriage, and pulls David to her side,” she said, dipping into a box of chocolates and searching for a coconut crème.  “Then she insinuates herself into Sunset Studios, the company my father built from the ground up.”

She switched the stations, finding another angle of the same interview and throwing the remote with contempt across the room. 

“I’ll find a way to take care of her,” she said with determination.  “Sooner or later.”

Steven worked at her feet, the muscles on his finely sculpted arms flexing each time he pressed the palms of his hands into her heels.  She enjoyed having him around.  He was very young and enjoyable to look at, but that was where it ended.  Even she had her limits.

“Now on top of Brooke Taylor, I have Renee DeWitt to worry about.”  She knew it was possible he wasn’t even listening to her rambling, but she proceeded anyway.  “She’s going to be a problem.  However, I think I might just have the perfect way to deal with her meddling.”

Her thoughts were interrupted when the phone rang.  Steven lifted it from the cradle and handed it to her before quickly going back to work at her foot massage.

“Hello?” she answered.   “How are you?  It has been a long time.  Of course, I’d love to meet you for a drink.  The Mediterranean Lounge at Moonshadows.  Seven o’clock.  Yes, I’m looking forward to seeing you too. “

Handing the phone back to Steven, she clasped her hands together and smiled with exhilaration.  “Steven, I have to go.  Why don’t you go play with some people your own age?”

With that, she rose from the chaise lounge and scurried across the room, her nightgown billowing behind her as she disappeared into her bedroom.

Miranda Blackthorne

“I hope that wasn’t too uncomfortable,” Miranda said to Eddie as they entered the theatre.  “When that reporter started talking about Victor.”

He shrugged, pulling at the collar on his tuxedo which he felt as comfortable in as sleeping in a bed of glass.  “Yeah, it’s all right,” he said, sweating profusely as he looked around the threatre.

“Eddie?” Miranda asked, dressed in a simple black mini dress with black beading covering the bodice.  “Are you okay?”

“Fine,” he said, tripping over a stanchion and correcting himself before falling into a waiter carrying a tray of champagne glasses.  “Just fine.”

“Uh, no you’re not.  What’s up?”

“There’s a lot of cameras here.  Cameras and more cameras and people with microphones.”   His eyebrows arched to oblivion, he swallowed hard and grabbed a flute of champagne, downing it in one swallow before coughing it up and spraying the sticky liquid into an old woman walking by obliviously.

“Take it easy,” Miranda said and grabbed the glass from him.  “What are you so nervous about?”

“I hate being on camera,” he said.  “I hate interviews and reporters and having to say….things.”

“Words?” Miranda clarified, amused by the hilarity of his behavior.  “Your father was a mega movie star.  Are you telling me you avoided cameras and interviews for your entire life?”

“Yeah,” he said quickly.  “Never came to one of his premieres.  Couldn’t do it.”  He grabbed another glass of champagne from another waiter and swallowed it quickly, again spewing the liquid when he started coughing uncontrollably. 

“Enough,” she cautioned him, yanking the glass away.  “Look, why don’t we just go inside and find our seats.  At least that way you’ll be able to pull yourself together.”

“Yeah,” Eddie said, nodding repeatedly.  They proceeded to the theatre entrance and he stopped when a waiter passed with more champagne. 

“Don’t even think about it,” Miranda said hastily. 

Just then, a reporter from Entertainment Tonight stopped them, shoving a microphone at them before they could even react.

“We’re here at the premiere of Angel Assassin 2 where I’ve just ran into Miranda Blackthorne,” the perky reporter with ultra long legs said into the camera.

“Are you going to be okay?” Miranda whispered to Eddie.

“Relax,” he replied confidently.  “I got this.”

“Miranda, you look lovely tonight,” the reporter continued.  “Who designed your dress?”

“Thank you, Mary.  It’s Dolce & Gabana,” she replied, flashing white teeth and tossing her mane of black hair for good measure. 

“Well you look radiant,” the reporter continued.  “Miranda, tell us the inside scoop on what it’s like to have James Blackthorne as a father and Alex Reynolds as a mother. You were literally born into Hollywood royalty.”

“My father is amazing,” she said cheerfully.  “Hardest working man in Hollywood and yet he still finds time for his family.”

“Spoken like the only daughter of a movie mogul,” the reporter said.  “And who is your date tonight?  He looks very familiar.”

“This is Eddie Distefano,” Miranda said, hoping Eddie would be able to handle the pressure.

“Of course!  Strangely I haven’t seen you at many of these, Eddie.  Tell us, how are you doing since losing your father so tragically?”

“Hardest working man in Hollywood.” Eddie said in a monotone while staring robotically into the camera.  “Love the movie.  I mean…um….it’s been hard.  Not the movie, the movie’s not hard and loving the movie isn’t hard but losing my tragedy…er…my father was not hard.  Damn.  I mean, it’s hard...but it’s not easy.” 

“Uhhh, I see.  It must be difficult seeing Victor on screen knowing that this is the last picture he appeared in.” 

“Diesel,” Eddie said loudly, eyes wide and unmoving from the camera as he continued to sweat profusely.  “I’m wearing Diesel, Mary.”

“Okaaaay,” the reporter said, signaling to her cameraman to cut.  “Thanks,” she said with a roll of her eyes before jaunting off in search of another subject to interview.

“How did I do?” Eddie asked with a grin, finally breathing once the cameras were gone.

“You’re a natural,” Miranda said, rolling her eyes and pulling him inside the theatre.

Jordan Rydell

Jordan arrived with Mackenzie Stone on his arm.  After picking her up at her place on Mulholland Drive, he quickly surmised that she was no Stephanie.  The comparisons ended at their no-nonsense demeanors.  At least Stephanie was capable of talking about something other than a damn soap opera.

Still, he was determined to get over his feelings for the heartless detective, so he decided to make the best of his night with Mackenzie.  They entered through the grand doors and smiled cordially to an assault of camera flashes.  Several reporters asked Jordan about his sabbatical from Rydell Productions and others asked Mackenzie for a scoop on the storylines coming up on The Young at Heart.   At least she didn’t look down on the industry as Stephanie had.  Sometimes it was a good thing to socialize inside the Hollywood circuit.  Others didn’t understand.

“You look lovely tonight, in case I didn’t already tell you,” Jordan said.

“You told me in the car, but thank you just the same,” was her robotic response. 

Tough sell, Jordan thought to himself as they mingled through the crowd in the theatre lobby.  When the crowd parted and Jordan spotted Stephanie walk in with David Jennings, he felt butterflies trip through is stomach.  And at the same time: Damn, why did she have to come tonight?  Even though she’d made it clear there could be nothing between them, he hated for her to see him with another woman already.  To her it would be further ammunition against his alleged philandering Hollywood persona.

Searching for a quick escape, Jordan glanced around the vicinity.  Nowhere to run.  Besides, they were approaching fast. 

“Hello Jordan,” Stephanie said, somewhat out of place in a long silver gown that didn’t quite fit as it was intended to.  Not her fault.  She was beyond those superficial things, which was part of the intrigue. 

“Detective,” he said, only a little sure that his response was bitter.  “David.  Nice to see you.” 

“You too, Jordan,” David replied, reaching over and shaking his hand.  He turned his attention to Mackenzie and offered her his hand as well.  “I’m David Jennings.”

“Mackenzie Stone,” she replied.  Her cell phone rang inside her purse and she excused herself before walking off to an open area of the theatre lobby. 

“I heard about what happened today,” Jordan said after she’d gone.  “Real unbelievable.  David, I’m glad to see you’re still in one piece.”

“Any accident you can get up and walk away from, right?”

“Yeah,” Jordan said with a nod.  He couldn’t take his eyes off of Stephanie.  She seemed different somehow.  Like she’d had a weight lifted off her shoulders. 

“So you and Mackenzie are here together?” she asked.

Was that a pang of jealousy he detected?  No.  A woman like Stephanie Callahan didn’t get jealous. She’d sooner cut her right arm off than show an ounce of emotion.

“Yes, I asked and she accepted.”

“I’ve seen her around,” David said.  “She’s lovely.”

“Yes, she is,” Jordan agreed, his eyes unmoving from Stephanie.  Of course he was talking about her.  Was that a smile?  She smiled at him?  What the heck was going on anyway? 

“Well, we should get inside,” David said.

“Yes.  Nice to see you Jordan.”  Stephanie turned and followed David toward the threatre. 

After they’d gone, Jordan began to analyze the entire conversation.  Maybe he was imagining things.  Stephanie had told him in no uncertain terms that they couldn’t be together for one reason or another.  Obviously since then she’d decided that David Jennings was a more worthy candidate for her affections.  Strange, because David was just as opulent and womanizing as he was.

Screw it, he thought, turning back to find where Mackenzie had ran off to. 

In her red lace gown, she watched as the limo arrived.  It took several minutes for the driver to get out and open the door.  Tension mounted in the bull pen behind the blockades.  Pandemonium had erupted outside the theater.  She could hear the E! news correspondent’s voice carrying through the crowd….

“With most of the films’ stars missing or deceased, Reynolds is going to be of particular interest at this premiere as all eyes will definitely be on her.” 

All of this for her?   What was so special about Alex Reynolds anyway?  She was a half-talent who’d spent the better part of ten years not even working.  The film was supposedly her big comeback, but she’d heard she only got first billing because she used to be married to the producer. 

After minutes of waiting behind the sidelines, she watched as she finally emerged from the limo.  And when she did, she emerged seemingly carefree, waving to her adoring fans in a black sequin gown and a rugged, handsome man on her arm. 

Alex Reynolds was the center of attention.  And she hated her. 

Alex Reynolds

“This is quite the reception,” Kyle said as he led Alex down the red carpet.  “This must make you feel good.” 

“It’s lovely,” Alex replied with her painted on smile.  She felt good because she was with Kyle.  But where was her family?  Miranda and Stormy?  James and Jordan, despite being her ex-husbands, weren’t even waiting to greet her and show their support.  “Thank God for you,” she said. 

Reporters snapped pictures and shouted questions about the actress’s personal life until she met up with the E! correspondent standing at the doors. 

“Reporting again from the premiere of Angel Assassin 2: Halo and Goodbye,” the reporter began as Alex and Kyle stood alongside her.  “I’m here talking to Alex Reynolds who’s just arrived amidst a clamor from fans and press.  Alex, tell us what it was like making this movie.  Your big return to the silver screen.” 

“It’s been wonderful.  I-“

“Can you confirm or deny the rumors that tension mounted on the set between you and the director, Frank Dunning?”

Either she was out of practice, or Alex hadn’t anticipated the line of questioning.  “Frank was a wonderful director and he’ll be missed in this town,” she replied as amicably as she could. 

“How about your daughter-in-law, Kelly Blackthorne?  Tabloids were buzzing about friction between the two of you.  Was it a matter of her marriage to your son, or that she upstaged you on set?”

“Uh..well…” Alex stammered.  She panicked under the light of the camera.  “Kelly did an amazing job with her role in the film.  I know the audiences will appreciate that.”

“And what about the talk of extramarital affairs between you and your co-star, Scott Kelly?  Neither of you denied those rumors.  Any truth to that?  And if so, was that what led to your divorce form your second marriage to Jordan Rydell?”

“No, that had nothing to do with it,” Alex said, her bubble finally burst.  “There was no affair.  If you’ll excuse me.”

Kyle held his hand up to the reporters in protest, leading Alex inside the theater and to a private corner.  “I’m so sorry.  That woman had no right to badger you like that.”

“Is that the only reason these people even care about me?” she cried.  “Because I make good tabloid headlines?”

“No, of course not.  You’re a star.  Don’t let them get to you, Alex.”

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.  “Thank you, Darling.  Would you get me a drink, please?”

He nodded.  “Champagne?”

“Yes, thank you.”

After he disappeared into the crowd, Alex did a quick scan of the area to ensure no one was watching.  Quickly, she reached into her purse to a bottle of oxycontin and swallowed one swiftly.

The woman in the red dress watched her closely, hidden behind a grove of potted palms across the room. 

Kyle Fenwick

Kyle managed to make his way to the overcrowded bar after having no luck finding a nearby waiter.  Standing in line, he bumped into a woman in front of him and politely excused himself.  When she turned, he realized it was Brooke. 

“Hi,” he said with a perfect smile. 

“Hi.”  Her eyes lit up when she saw him.  Why, she didn’t know, but she suddenly felt foolish.  “I didn’t see you show up.  Are you with Alex?”

“Yes, we just got here.  The press was brutal.”

Brooke pushed a wisp of blond hair from her eyes.  “Tell me about it.  All they seem to want to focus on is how many scandals the movie produced.  Is that what I’m in for in this business?”

Kyle grinned again.  “I have a feeling you’ll be able to hold your own.”  Then without realizing it, he placed a hand on her back for a few too many seconds.  As soon as her eyes made contact with his hand, he realized he was probably making her uncomfortable.

“How are you holding up?” Brooke asked him, disregarding the gesture.  “I can’t imagine you’re that into this whole premiere thing after the day you’ve had.”

“I’ve had better days,” he replied, trying to laugh it off.

“What about your father?  Have you made any decisions?”

“My mother’s having his body flown back to New York.  I guess they don’t want to give up.” 

“Really?”  She was genuinely surprised.  “The way Dr. Farraday made it sound, there was no hope for-“

”Not my call,” he cut her off.

Brooke realized he didn’t want to discuss it.  “Well, what are your plans now?  I imagine you’ll be going back to New York.  I mean, you got what you came here for.  You’ve cleared your name.”

He didn’t tell her that he’d arranged for her father’s name to remain clear.  There was no point in singing his own praises, at least not yet. 

“I was thinking about sticking around for a while.”

“Yeah?  What are you thinking of doing?”

Kyle shrugged. “I don’t know yet.  Maybe something will fall into my lap the way Sunset Studios did for you.” 

“Maybe.”

Brooke Taylor

The premiere less than ten minutes away, Brooke raced into the ladies room for a final check of her makeup before they took their seats.   Miranda was already there, standing at the mirror with a compact in her hand.

“It’s getting less noticeable,” she said when looking at her scar.

“I guess the laser treatments are helping,” Miranda suggested. 

“Before long it’ll be a distant memory.”

Miranda shrugged and popped the compact back into her tiny clutch.  “I barely notice it anymore.  Either I’m not paying attention or I’ve gotten used to looking like a monster.”

“You look beautiful,” Brooke assured her, reaching over and squeezing her hand.

“So I saw you talking to Kyle,” Miranda said, switching subjects completely.  “He seems to be in fair spirits based on everything that’s happened.”

“I’ve really seen a different side of him these past few days,” Brooke said thoughtfully.  “He comes off as this cocky, arrogant son of a bitch, but he’s really not like that at all.  He’s actually very sweet.”

Miranda smiled knowingly and turned to the mirror.  “Sounds like someone is sweet on him.”

“Miranda, please.”

“What?” she said with a chuckle.  “Come on.  I saw you two together.  You lit up when he approached you.”

“I didn’t notice,” Brooke lied. 

“Well I did.  He has Ethan’s eyes, you know?”

After a meaningful pause, Brooke took a deep breath and nodded her head.  “I know.”

Miranda hesitated, hoping she didn’t say anything out of turn.  She knew how much Brooke loved Ethan.  “Look, if that’s what’s bothering you, don’t let it.  Ethan died a year ago.  He would want you to move on.”

“I’m not moving on,” Brooke insisted.  “I mean, I would if there was something to move on to.  But there’s not.  There’s nothing between Kyle and I.”

“So it’s plutonic?”

“Yes, of course it’s plutonic.  Wait, no.  It’s not plutonic because it isn’t even that.  It’s….nothing.”

Miranda shrugged and primped her hair.  “I think you should go for it.”

“Are you serious?  I can’t believe you’re saying this to me.  You’ve been going on and on for weeks about how wrong he is for your mother and now you’re trying to push us together?”

“He’s wrong for my mother.  He’s not wrong for you.”

“Why?”

“Well, his name’s been cleared for one thing,” Miranda said plainly.

“Fine.  So Alex is free and clear to see him.”

Miranda sighed.  “It’s more than that.  If you want the truth, my mother’s making a fool of herself with Kyle.  He’s almost twenty years younger than her.  And with the bad wrap she’s gotten lately, being seen with a younger man is the last thing she needs.  She’s just asking for more humiliation.”

They left the restroom together, the door swinging closed behind.  After they’d disappeared from view, Alex emerged from one of the stalls.  Her face pale and listless, she stood perfectly still, hurt and humiliated.

Jackie Lamont

Jackie walked into the Mediterranean Lounge at Moonshadows and all eyes fell on her.  She walked confidently through the maze of tables and perched herself at the bar next to a well-built man in his early thirties. 

“You look better every time I see you,” she purred as he leaned in for a kiss on the cheek. 

“We haven’t seen each other in years so that’s not saying much,” Bryan Carlson replied with his trademark grin.  “You, on the other hand, look amazing.  Not a day over….forty.”

“Good boy,” she said with a wink, laying a delicate hand on his cheek.  “I was surprised to get your call.  What brings to L.A.?”

“Picking something up for the family,” he replied easily.

“You're not still working for the Fenwicks, are you?”

“I’ve recently secured a slightly more lucrative position with the company, but yes.”

“Can’t say I’m sorry to hear about Don now that certain information has come to light,” she said bitterly. 

Bryan held up his hand and shook his head.  “You know I can’t discuss family business.  That’s not why I called you.”

Jackie sighed.  It didn’t matter anyway.  The truth was out about Don’s involvement with Royce’s death.  Now he was gone and it was a mute point.  “So why did you call me?”

“I heard you were here and thought I’d look you up.  It’s been a while since we had one of our…mutually beneficial encounters.” 

“I’m flattered you remember,” she preened, sipping from a glass of white wine that the bartender placed in front of her.  

“How could I not?” he asked in a low voice, his eyes traveling up her long legs. 

“You do know that I’m a married woman again.”  Her tone was filled with playful innuendo. 

“Your husband’s in prison.  I thought we might keep that in mind.”

“You’re not suggesting we go up to my suite, are you, Bryan?”

“Well,” he began, looking around the lounge, “we could do it here but I’m not sure these people paid for a show.”

Jackie traced her finger along the base of her wine glass.  “Agreed.  Besides, I have something you might be able to help me with.”

“Name it,” he said, placing a hand on her thigh. 

“Another kind of help,” she corrected him.  “There’s somebody that I want to teach a lesson to.  I’m thinking of attacking her where it counts.”

“In the boardroom,” Bryan surmised.  “I could help you that.  It is my specialty.”

“I thought your specialty was in the bedroom?” she joked, taking his hand and standing up from the bar.

“That too.” 

“How about you refresh my memory?”

“Lead the way,” he said, following her out of the lounge.

Alex Reynolds

With the film ready to begin and Alex nowhere to be found, the projectionist was informed to delay the start of the movie.  The audience gathered in the lobby area, most uncertain of what the delay was all about. 

Kyle scouted around the theatre for any sign of his missing date.  When no one had seen her, he decided to hang back.  Sooner or later she would show up.  She wouldn’t leave before her own premiere. 

He’d seen Brooke emerge from the ladies room twenty minutes before and hadn’t taken his eyes off of her since.  Everything about her caused him to pant with desire.  After looking at his watch again, and then finding her alone, decided to go in for another chat. 

Just as he reached her, however, Alex emerged from the ladies room.  She spotted him with Brooke and flew into a rage, stumbling in a drug-induced haze across the carpeted floor of the theatre. 

“Get the hell away from him,” she hissed at Brooke.  “You already stole James from me.  You want to make it two for two?”

“Alex-“ Kyle began, instantly recognizing her impaired senses. 

“Be quiet.  You think you’re doing me a favor by staying with me, don’t you?  Well you’re not.  You’re not doing me any favors.”

The commotion was detected by the rest of the crowd, who began to gather around.   Miranda and Stormy watched their mother stumble about, distraught over seeing her in such a pathetic state.  James, along with Jordan and Mackenzie arrived next, eager to put an end to her rant but unsure of how to do so. 

“Alex, come on,” James said and reached for her.  “Let’s go into the theatre.”

“No!”  She pulled way violently.  “You set it up, that whole affair with Scott Kelly, just to pimp your stupid movie!  Well I did not have an affair with Scott Kelly.”  She pointed her finger through the crowd.  “Do you hear me!?”

“Mom, please don’t do this,” Stormy said. 

She spun toward him, a smile breaking out across her face. “My baby boy,” she said, teetering toward him with her arms outstretched.  “You forgave me for wanting to get rid of Kelly, didn’t you?  I only did it to protect you.  You have to believe that.”

Stormy closed his eyes, fighting the urge to cry.

She turned to Miranda.  “And my sweet Miranda.  You are your father’s daughter.  You put up with me but I know you love him.  And I forgive you for those things you said about me making a fool of myself.  I know you didn’t mean it.”

Miranda suddenly realized she must have heard her and Brooke talking.  Swallowing hard, she turned and looked away.  Did what she said cause this outburst?

“Will somebody get her out of here?” Mackenzie ordered.  “She’s wasted.”

Alex leveled a look of disgust on her.  “You’re a bitch,” she snapped.   “You’re the producer of an stupid daytime soap, not a world leader.  You need to get over yourself, lady.”

Mackenzie looked at Jordan and shook her head in amazement. 

Finally, James, Stormy and Kyle decided to get her out by any means necessary.  They all went for her at once and she reacted by throwing up her arms and twisting violently away.  As she did, she lost her footing and fell into a pack of reporters who snapped away at pictures of her tirade. 

A gasp fell over the crowd as Alex lay sprawled out over the red carpet.  While the reporters continued snapping pictures of her, Cassidy Solomon emerged in a flowing red lace dress.  Finally, she would have her revenge. Nobody could humiliate her or daughter and get away with it.

In a flash, Cassidy raced to the ground and picked up Alex’s purse.  Reaching inside, she removed the bottle of oxycontin and held it up to the audience. 

“Here!  Get a good look!  Your star is a pill popping mess!” she screamed, then handed the bottle to Mackenzie.  She broke down in tears.  "And she....is the worst kind of person.  She preys on the weaknesses of others."  

Miranda and James looked away, unable to watch the spectacle unfold.  It was too painful.  Mackenzie looked at the bottle in her hands and marched toward Alex, still half-laying on the ground.

“You’re fired,” she said before turning and marching off.

Alex took in her surroundings, humiliation mounting.  Her peers and her family each stood above her, casting looks of disapproval as she lay stunned on the ground.


Next time....

Benji reacts to his mother's recent behavior.  James and Stormy have a proposition for Kyle.  Renee finds her company under attack.  Alex tries to pick up the pieces.  

 

 

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