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Episode 108

 

Release Date:  March 7, 2010

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

David survived the fall from the balcony.  At the hospital, doctors informed a stunned Kyle that Don was declared brain dead.  The Fenwick family attorney, Bryan Carlson, arrived in town with plans on taking Don's body back to New York, intending to keep his death a secret from stockholders.  When Kyle turned down the opportunity to head up Fenwick Industries, an opportunistic Bryan offered to step in.  Hoping to spare Brooke's feelings, Kyle turned down Bryan's offer to release a statement to the media that Royce was behind the hotel explosion.  Stormy told James about a screenplay that Will Thomerson wrote that he found in the attic.  James informed him they would need Kyle's permission to option it.  Alex warned Brooke against taking Kyle from her the way she took James.   Fearful that Kyle was going to leave her, Alex begged him to give her another chance.  Renee informed Jackie that she was through with her meddling and that she was intending on destroying her.  Later, Jackie met up with Bryan Carlson who turned out to be an old friend from New York. She asked him to help her take Renee down, which he agreed on in exchange for sex.  Jordan escorted Mackenzie Stone to the premiere, but couldn't stop comparing her to Stephanie, who'd told him in no uncertain terms that they could have nothing between them.  Alex was attacked by the media upon arrival at the premiere, prompting her to take an oxycontin. Miranda told Brooke that she should be with Kyle because she'd seen their chemistry.  Alex heard her daughter tell Brooke that she was making a fool of herself with Kyle, prompting her to take more pills and spiral out of control in front of friends, family and media.  

 


 

Episode 108

"Hearts on Fire"

 

The poplar trees that lined the perimeter of the yard swayed back and forth in the morning breeze.  Brett Armstrong shivered, goosebumps breaking out all over his bare skin as ripples of water pushed his raft to the edge of the pool.  Opening his eyes, he noticed Benji watching him from his lounger positioned on the other side.  When he did, Benji immediately looked away. 

Instinctively, he began wondering if there was something behind the nineteen-year-old’s casual glances in his direction.  Was he resentful of him being there while his sister was locked away in an institution?  Did he not care for him bringing Violet around so often?  Other scenarios crossed his mind too.  This wasn’t the first time he’d seen Benji staring at him with the same look in his eyes.  Accidental brushing up against him wasn’t an uncommon occurrence, nor were the occasional suggestive things that came out of his mouth.  It was almost as if….

“Oh great!  What now?”

His thoughts were interrupted by the shouting.  Quickly, he turned his head to where Suzanne was positioned beneath the umbrella at the patio table.  She was hunched over her new laptop and had her head in her hands.  Smiling, he hoisted himself out of the pool and walked across the cement in his red square cut swim trunks.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, first checking on a sleeping Violet in the crib beside her. 

“This damn thing won’t stop updating,” Suzanne complained.  “It’s like every time I start typing another window pops up.  Should it be doing that?  I wonder if it’s got a virus or something?”

“Doubtful,” Brett laughed, leaning over her from behind and tapping at the keyboard.  “I told you you should have gotten a Mac.”

“I didn’t like the salesman at the Apple store,” she said with a shrug. 

The close proximity of his body immediately got her flustered.  She felt him lean in closer, arms outstretched toward the computer as his bare chest brushed against her back.  She could feel his erect nipples ever so lightly dancing across her skin.  It was then she knew she had to get away. 

In one clumsy movement, she shot up from the chair, knocked a glass of iced tea over and took a giant step back.  The amber liquid pooled across the table, inching its way closer to the computer.

“Oh, crap!” Brett shouted, rushing to move the laptop from the table.  He did so just in the nick of time, avoiding an even bigger problem with the new purchase.  “You okay?”

“Yeah,” she said nervously.  “I just thought I saw a bee, that’s all.”

“Good going, Mom,” Benji remarked as he sidled by, his bronzed skin slightly burned from the intense morning sun.  He picked up an apple from a bowl on the table and took a bite.  His eyes flickered past Brett’s and held there for a few seconds.  When he finally looked away, he did it with a quick glance over his torso. 

“I don’t know what happened,” Suzanne replied miserably, dropping her hands to her sides.  Her smooth escape hadn’t exactly gone according to plan.

“It’s okay,” Brett said with a smile, placing a hand on her shoulder.  “No harm done.  Look, it’s fine.”

“Benji, will you go in the house and get a towel?” Suzanne inquired.

“Sure.”  He turned and went in through the sliding patio doors.  As he stepped inside, Jordan was entering through the front door.  “What are you doing here?”

“Nice to see you too,” Jordan replied with a frown and pushed him playfully.  “Just came to see your mom.  She home?”

“In back with Brett.”

“Brett’s here?” Jordan asked.   “What, did he spend the night or something?  It’s barely nine-thirty.”

Benji raised an eyebrow, taking another bite of his apple.  “I don’t know.”  The words were so easy to say, yet he knew they would be filled with plenty of suggestion.  “He was here late last night, I think.”  He handed him the towel.  “Give this to Mom.”

“How’s Duke?” Jordan asked on the way out the back door.  “He still in town?”

“Yeah.  He’s good.”

“Good.  I like that kid.” 

Once outside, Jordan saw Suzanne and Brett laughing and joking with each other, plenty of flirtatious touching.  The fact that they were both next to naked made things seem all the more suspect. 

“Taking the day off?” he asked, announcing his presence.

Brett turned to his direction, surprised to find him standing there.  “My morning meetings all canceled so I stuck around after dropping Violet off this morning.  Don’t worry.  Everything at Rydell is under control.”

“I’m not worried,” Jordan said plainly, reaching down and putting a hand alongside Violet’s face.   “I trust you to take care of my studio, Brett.”

“What brings you by this morning?” Suzanne asked, pulling a button-up shirt over her one-piece swim suit.  “Don’t tell me your tee time got canceled.”   She couldn’t resist the subtle jibe, knowing he was unapologetic about spending his newly freed up time on the golf course. 

“No, it’s not till eleven,” he said, digging his hands in the pockets of his chinos.  “I was curious about if they’ve called you to come back to the show since Alex got canned the other night.”

Mackenzie called but I told her the same thing I told her months ago.  I’m enjoying my time to myself.”

Jordan’s eyes narrowed on her and then on Brett.  “Doesn’t seem like you have much time to yourself,” he said, then gave them a minute to react before continuing.  “You know, since Violet is here every day with you.”

Suzanne smiled.  “Well, she’s not much of a conversationalist yet.  Basically she sits and watches me work.”

“Work?” Jordan asked.  He motioned to the computer that Brett had just returned to the table.  “What’s up?” 

“Nothing,” she said, hiding the screen with her hands and then closing the laptop.  “Just something I’m doing for fun.”

“Don’t tell me you’ve started scrap booking,” Jordan said with a sigh, placing a hand on his forehead. 

She laughed.  “No, I’ve been taking an online course in creative writing.  I’ve learned a lot already, and more than that it’s something fun to pass the time.” 

“Is that what you’ve been doing?” Brett asked her, placing a hand on her shoulder.  “Why didn’t you say anything?”

Jordan witnessed the way she shivered beneath his touch.

“I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure that I would go through with it.”

She looked at Brett, fully aware that she was doing it to distract herself from thinking about him every chance she got.  She’d gotten used to seeing him every morning and evening when he came to drop Violet off or pick her up.  They’d gotten very close and that was only the beginning of the problem.   Her writing class was meant to take her mind off of her schoolgirl fantasies about having wild, amazing sex with him. 

“That’s great,” Brett said enthusiastically.

“Yeah, it really is,” Jordan agreed for good measure.

“Hey, how did the big date go?” Suzanne asked Jordan.  “I can definitely see you with Mackenzie Stone.  She’s beautiful.”

“I think it was a one-time thing,” he admonished.  “We didn’t exactly click.”

“Oh thank God.  I was only being nice before.  I don’t like that woman.  I don’t see why you don’t just make things work with Detective Callahan.”

“Because she’s not interested,” Jordan replied flatly.  “Besides, there’s obvious something going on between her and David Jennings.  They went to the premiere together.”

“I’m sorry,” Suzanne said, tiling her head to the side.

He smiled back, watching as Suzanne continuously looked at Brett.  There was definitely something going on there.  He wondered how far it had gone.

Alex Reynolds

In the days following the premiere of Angel Assassin 2, Alex Reynolds had retreated to her luxury Beverly Hills hi-rise and made every effort to shut the world out completely.  Newspapers piled up outside her door.  She didn’t want to read them.  They would all say the same thing, anyway, with scathing descriptions of her drug-induced breakdown on the red carpet at the Grauman Chinese Theatre.   She would be touted as the latest celebrity to hit rock bottom, taking over the reigns of Britney, Lindsey, and Charlie Sheen.  She could hear the relentless reviews of that night in her mind without even turning a page.  She had no desire to see it in writing. 

Television was off-limits too.  The reports on the news stations would be far more cutting than anything written about her.  With as much will-power as she could rally, she avoided it all costs, instead staying in bed writhing about in despair.  Nightmares that replayed the sordid scene over and over startled her awake on numerous occasions.  She spent her waking hours re-watching her old films on DVD.  Serendipity Express, Elena, and Daylight in St. Thomas were among her favorites, despite the fact that she shared the screen on all three with Nathan and Victor, two men she wished she could forget.  On the other hand, they were the only men from her past who weren’t there to see her spiral into oblivion, so seeing them on screen was almost a comfort. 

She’d taken a few pills, consciously trying to minimize her need for them.  It was a futile effort, however.  They eased her through the tough times before, but now were the only thing getting her through.  Her children hadn’t called her; Vince, her agent hadn’t called to console her on her being fired from The Young at Heart;  her ex-husbands hadn’t reached out in any way; and Kyle, the man she thought would always be there for her, had all but written her off.  And she couldn’t blame any of them after her behavior.  Miranda had been right.  She’d been making a fooling of herself, especially where Kyle was concerned.

On Monday she was confronted with the first attempt anyone had made to see her.  The ringing of her doorbell alerted her to a visitor, so she flew from her bed, checked her appearance in the hallway mirror, and raced to open it.  She hesitated for a second or two, keeping the chain on the door and calling out into the hall. 

“Who is it?”

“It’s me,” was the vague reply. 

Alex couldn’t be sure who it was.  A male, for certain.  Maybe it was James coming to check on her.  Or maybe Stormy had finally felt obliged to console her.  No, it had to be Jordan.  He came to see her on the set the other day.  He didn’t completely despise her, although he did bring Mackenzie to the premiere.

Then an exhilarating thought came to her.  Maybe it was Kyle.  Yes, he’d finally worked through his feelings and came to see her.  Thrilled at the prospect, she quickly removed the chain from the door and pulled it open frantically. 

“Alex, what’s your comment on the events that transpired at the premiere of your new movie?” asked a reporter who stood in the hallway holding a microphone to her face.  Behind him was a cameraman catching every second of the interaction on tape. 

Stunned, she held her hands over her eyes and turned away from the blinding light.  Before she knew what was happening, he had managed to shout several more questions, badgering her for answers about her breakdown. 

Finally getting her wits about her, Alex grabbed hold of the door and forced it closed on him.  “Get out of here!” she screamed, locking the door behind.

“Just one quote?” he called through the door.

“You’re trespassing!  Now get out of here!”  She raced across the room and dialed building security.  “There’s a reporter outside my door.  I don’t know how he got into the building but I’d like him to be escorted out immediately.”

After hanging up, she backed away from the door, cowering in the corner.  She was convinced she’d never be able to leave her apartment again. 

Blackthorne Mansion

“Wait, play it again,” Stormy Blackthorne said amidst a fit of laughter.

“Hold on,” replied Miranda, aiming the remote at the television and rewinding the Tivo.  “Okay…”

Their eyes glued to the television, stifling fits of raucous laughter as a replay from a report on Entertainment Tonight filled the screen.

“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.” 

Stormy and Miranda burst into laughter, doubling over on the sofa in the family room at the Blackthorne mansion as James walked in. 

“What are you two up to?” he asked.  “What’s so funny?  Oh, wait, is that the interview with Eddie?  Rewind it.  I love this part.”

Miranda obliged happily, rewind the scene again and biting her finger to keep from laughing as it played.   When it was over, James joined in, grinning in amusement at the hilarious scene.

“Is that the interview again?” Leilani inquired in her broken English as she strolled into the room with a dust cloth in hand.  “This is my favorite part.  Rewind it Miss Miranda.”

They gathered around the television and watched it again.  Eddie entered the room with a glass of milk and saw the images that played on the screen.  He dropped his free hand to his side and grunted in disapproval.

“Knock it off, you guys,” he said, walking over and snatching the remote from Miranda.  “It’s not funny.”

“You’re right, Eddie, it’s not funny,” James said, barely able to keep from smiling. 

“Are you freakin’ kidding me?  It’s hilarious.”  Stormy grabbed a pillow and pulled it to his chest.  Love the movie,” he mimicked him. 

“You’re an ass,” Eddie said, punching him in the arm and positioning himself between him and Miranda on the sofa.  “So I don’t like to talk on camera, big deal.  I get all nervous and can’t think straight.”

Miranda reached over and pushed his hair from his forehead.  “It’s okay, baby, so you missed out on some of those acting chops.  Maybe Blake will turn out to be the next Distefano to land in front of the camera.  Besides, you have other talents.”

“Ugh,” Stormy groaned.  “I do not want to hear this.”

“I was talking about his private detective skills, dick,” she replied, reaching across the sofa and slapping him on the arm. 

After they’d had a good laugh at Eddie’s expense, James grew more serious, perched on the edge of the sofa.  “Not to bring up a sore subject, but have either of you talked to your mother since Friday night?”

They both looked at each other awkwardly, neither wanting to speak up for risk of being lectured. 

James sighed.  “Look, I know what she did seemed terrible, but I don’t think she’s thinking with a clear head these days.  Someone’s got to level with her and make her get some help.”

“I tried that weeks ago,” Stormy reminded him.  “She said she didn’t have a problem.  I even threw her pills down the sink.  It doesn’t matter what we say to her, Dad, she’s just going to keep taking them.”

“And I kept telling her that Kyle Fenwick wasn’t a smart choice of romantic interests but she kept insisting she knew what she was doing,” Miranda chimed in defensively.  “She won’t listen to us, Daddy.”

He folded his arms.  “So you’re just going to let your own mother spiral out of control?” he asked.  “She’s got no one now.  Mackenzie fired her from the show, Jordan washed his hands of her a long time ago, and I doubt very much that Kyle will want anything to do with her now.”

“So why can’t you do something?” Miranda asked.  “She listens to you.”

“Since when?” he asked incredulously.  “Besides, we haven’t exactly been friendly for a while now.”

“She’s supposed to be the parent,” Stormy said.  “We can’t take care of her.”

“They have a point, James,” Eddie chimed in.  “When my dad started going off the deep end after my mom left, I tried taking care of him for a while.  Making sure he took his medication and saw his shrink on a regular basis and all that junk.  But pretty soon I couldn’t do it anymore.  I hated what he was doing to me and to Blake so I left home.  It shouldn’t be up to the child to take care of the parent.  Not when they’re physically capable of taking care of themselves.” 

James ran a hand through his hair.  Maybe they were right.  Maybe it was up to him to straighten Alex out.  She wasn’t going to like it, so he’d have to sit and make her listen to him.

First, however, there was business to attend to.  “Stormy, are you still meeting me and Kyle at the Yacht Club this afternoon?”

“Yep.”

“Why are you meeting Kyle?” Miranda inquired.

“Studio stuff,” he replied dismissively before grabbing the remote from Eddie and playing his interview again. 

Brooke Taylor

Brooke ambled down the docks at the marina, taking care not to let her heels fall into the cracks between the wooden planks as she made her way to the slip number that Kyle had left on her voicemail.

When she reached her destination, she found a gleaming white Catalina sailboat with red and blue sails.  Kyle was perched on the deck dressed in white shorts and a blue polo shirt, a white cap pulled down tightly over his eyes. 

“Good morning,” she said from the dock, shielding her eyes from the sun with a hand.

“Morning.  So you got my message?  Thanks for coming.”

She looked around, perplexed.  “Where am I exactly?”

“Just wanted to show you my new toy,” he replied, kneeling down so that they were almost at eye level.  “You like?”

“Yeah,” she said, trying to figure out why he’d brought her to the marina to show her a boat.  It seemed like it was out of left field.  “But…”  She decided against being too much of a killjoy.  “So you bought a boat.  That’s great!”

“I was excited.”  He took her hand and pulled her up onto the deck.   “It was kind of a big deal, you know.  Kind of a step toward starting a new life.  I had a boat back in New York before….”  A meaningful pause while he reflected on the three years that he rotted in prison.  “Well, I missed it.”

“Then I’m happy for you,” Brooke said, finally getting some clarification as to his behavior.

“Here, help me celebrate.”  He pulled an open bottle of champagne from an ice bucket on the ledge and poured a glass for her.  “I already did the whole breaking the bottle over the hull thing.  Had an extra one so thought I’d open it up.”

Brooke accepted the glass with a gracious smile.  “Kyle, this is all very nice but your father just died a few days ago.  I was with you in the hospital when you got the news, remember?  I saw the look in your eyes. You were devastated.”

He was determined not to dwell on it.  His relationship with his father was complicated and he didn’t care to hash it out.  He would deal with it in his own way in private.

“I take it you don’t want to talk about it?” Brooke asked.

He shook his head and quickly changed the subject.  “So any idea what your partner wants to meet with me about today?”

She frowned.  “What are you talking about?”

“James,” Kyle explained.  “He said he has something he wanted to discuss with me.”

The notion irked Brooke to no end.  What was James up to?  If this was another attempt at discrediting Kyle then she was going to have to have a word with her nosy ex-husband.  She was an adult and could make her own decisions.  Besides, there was nothing going on with her and Kyle, despite what Miranda predicted at the premiere.

“That’s strange.  He never said anything to me.”

“Well, I guess we’ll find out soon enough.”  He turned out and gazed at the ocean.  “So later on I was thinking maybe we could have dinner.  I could get a caterer and set the whole thing up on the boat.  We could sail out a mile or so and-“

“Kyle, what are you doing?” she cut him off.

“What do you mean?”

She shrugged, setting the glass of champagne on the ledge.  “You’re making dinner plans and inviting me to be the first one to see your new boat like we’re….I don’t know…an item.”

He grinned in the cocky, arrogant way she’d been accustomed to.  “An item?” he asked with a chuckle.  “I didn’t think we were an item.  I just thought we could spend some time together.  You know, now that all that other stuff is behind us.  Is that not what you want?”

The question was very direct and very difficult for her to answer.  Yes, she wanted to spend time with him.  Yes, she found him insanely attractive.  Yes, she wanted to get to know him better.  But there were so many reasons why they shouldn’t.  Alex….Ethan….David.   It was anything but easy. 

“What do you expect to get out of us spending time together?” she finally asked him.  “I mean, where do you see this going?”

He shrugged.  “Hopefully to bed at some point.” 

Her eyes narrowed on him and she folded her arms.  “Kyle…”

“I’m kidding!” he said with a good-natured laugh.  “I mean, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to end up there someday, but I don’t want to rush it.  Look, why does this have to be complicated?  Is it because Ethan was my brother? We didn’t even know each other.  He’s been gone a long time and you have a right to be happy.”

“I know that,” she said, shaking her head.  “What about Alex?  You were all hot and heavy with her one minute and then the next thing you know you’re inviting me out for dinner on your boat.”

“It’s over between Alex and I.  It was before it started.  I felt sorry for her.  Not what every woman wants to hear, but it’s the truth.”

Brooke could appreciate honestly so she decided to let it go.  And as far as David and his feelings about Kyle, that should be a mute point now that they knew the truth about who was responsible for the hotel explosion in New York.  Their feud seemed to have been based on that and that alone.

“I don’t know,” she said, still unsure.  “I’ll get back to you.”

Dumfounded, he watched as she turned and climbed down the ladder to the dock.  “Hey, wait a minute.  What about-“

“I’ve got a lot to think about,” she said, pushing a wisp of platinum hair from her eyes.  She winked before turning.  “Don’t fall overboard.” 

Smiling, he shook his head in frustration as he watched her walk back down the dock.

Kenny DeWitt

Kenny DeWitt had a weakness for white women with blond hair and big tits.  It was that fondness that ended his ten-year marriage to Renee Dewitt, lost him his cushy job as CEO of Merteuil Industries, and ended his coveted post on the California Land Commission.  A big price to pay for a handful of double d’s.   But now that he was swinging single and working as a successful attorney for both his ex-wife and for James Blackthorne, he was unapologetic about it.  The blonder, the bigger, the better. 

Monday morning at ten a.m. seemed like the perfect time to dabble in his favorite fetish.  He phoned up a call girl that he’d been introduced to at the premiere of Angel Assassin 2 the previous Friday and got her in several acrobatic positions in the back of his limo.  Car sex was another obsession that he often enjoyed.  After an hour of raucous sex, he was ready for more.  As he initiated a suggestion that she didn’t so much as blink at, his cell phone began ringing.  The tune was unmistakable.  Gladys Knight.  It was Renee calling and it wouldn’t do to keep her waiting.  God, he felt like they were still married!

“Hello?” he said, out of breath and sweating profusely.  “What’s up, Renee?”

“Get off that hooker and come to my office,” she ordered.  “My company’s in trouble.”

Responding the only way he knew how, Kenny hung up and fished his wallet from his pants.  He flicked a wad of hundred dollar bills at the girl and handed her her clothes.  

“Who was that? Your wife?”

Kenny shook his head while slipping on his underwear.  “Worse.  My ex-wife.”

Rnee DeWitt

Thirty minutes later, Kenny was in Renee’s office downtown at Merteuil.  She paced in front of the floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the sprawling cityscape, nervously biting her nails as Kenny sat reviewing a stack of financial reports. 

“How can something like this happen?” Renee asked. 

“Because you chose to make Merteuil Industries a publicly traded company,” he responded.  His mind was still on the call girl he left in his limo.  She lived up to her reputation and then some.  “It’s nothing to be concerned about, Renee.  Someone has taken a healthy interest in your company.  It means things are improving.”

“But this is a big chunk of stock in just a matter of a few days.”  She walked to the desk and pointed to the figures.

“Your stock’s been at an all time low.  Somebody got a good deal.”

She walked over and poured a fresh cup of steaming hot coffee.  “You’re telling me.  This economy nearly tanked us.”

“But it didn’t,” Kenny corrected her.  “And your stock will bounce back.  It always does.  In the meantime, the fifty thousand shares this person bought is helping you climb out of this mess the economy got you in.”

“You really think there’s nothing to worry about?”

“I wouldn’t lie to you.”  He stood up and adjusted the lapels on his jacket.  “Now I need to get back to work. “

“Kenny, wait,” Renee said, ambling across the room and dabbing her thumb on his jawline where she smeared off a thick coat of some jammy red substance.  “Lipstick.  Interesting color.”

He grinned knowingly and darted out of the office, hoping to schedule another appointment with his favorite new call girl. 

Jackie Lamont

The fax machine beeped as the document landed on the floor below it.  Jackie Blackthorne knelt down to the plush carpet in her suite at Moonshadows, balancing the phone with her shoulder while teetering on six inch heels. 

“Yes, it just came through,” she was saying, grinning from ear to ear as she stood up and reviewed the financial statement.  Bryan, you’re a genius.  I couldn’t have done this without you.”

“You said you wanted to stick it to Renee DeWitt,” he replied from his office in New York City.   “Fifty thousand shares of Merteuil Industries should get her shaking in her shoes.”

“I don’t just want to rattle her,” Jackie said, walking onto the terrace that jutted out from her suite.  She took in a breath of the ocean air.  “I want her company.”

“So you want to take this all the way?”

“You better believe I do.  She’s going to be sorry that she didn’t back off when I told her to.”

“I’ll arrange for another fifty thousand shares to be transferred to your account.”

“It’s going to take a lot more than that!” Jackie exclaimed.

“Yes, but I assume you want to go the route of a sneak attack.  Getting too overzealous could alert her to a takeover.”

Jackie sighed.  “Fine.  I’d like to keep my identify a secret for as long as possible.  I’m working toward a moment here.  Can’t you just see her face when I walk into her office and kick her sorry ass out of her father’s chair?”

“It’ll take some paperwork,” Bryan told her.  “And I’ll have to file for a DBA.  Any idea what you’d like to call yourself?”

She ran a flawlessly manicured French tip over her lips while pondering his question.  What to call herself?  She considered several options before settling on something that seemed to resonate with her. 

JL3 Enterprises,” she said.  The name summed up her plight.  Lamont 3 was her father, Jonas’s original production company that he started with his brothers, which after his death became Sunset Studios.

“I assume there’s a meaning behind that,” Bryan said.

She smiled.  “Do it today.  I want her Monday to be a bitch.”

Benji Rydell

After his father left, Benji watched Brett from his bedroom window, which luckily overlooked the backyard and gave him a clear view of the pool.  Aroused by the all-American, boy-next-door look of his well-sculpted brother-in-law, and realizing nothing would ever come of it, he considered calling someone up to take his aggressions out on.  Sarah, that girl form the coffee shop?  No, that was an event that didn’t bare a repeat performance.  Summer Solomon?  No, he was already in enough trouble if Duke found out it was him who gave her the clap.  He even considered texting Sheldon Novak, his arch-nemesis who gave him a hand-job at Van Edgewater’s place not that long ago. 

Deciding to forgo the effort, he instead lowered his swim trunks and took matters into his own hands.  A bird’s eye view of Brett was motivation enough.  That was until his mother re-entered the picture and started touching him inappropriately and doing her best to appear coy.  The mood was quickly erased. 

No sooner had he pulled his trunks up again, a knock at the door alerted him to a visitor.  Seconds later, Duke entered the room, already talking a mile a minute.

“So I know you’ve been on pins and needles waiting to hear what the outcome was from our mission last week,” he said.

“Sure,” Benji replied obliviously.

“Summer was devastated, of course.  I hear she hasn’t left her house in Palos Verdes since the video hit the net.”

“So you got your revenge on her.  Good for you.”

Duke looked at him suspiciously.  “She cheated on me with that low-rent drug pusher.   Don’t tell me you expected me to just sit back and let her get away with it.”

“I guess not.  What about Branigan?”

“That’s the clincher,” he replied, walking further into the room.  “He doesn’t give a shit about the video.  The douche bag put the thing on YouTube and it got like a billion hits before the sensors took it down.   He’s loving the attention.”

“Are you surprised?” Benji asked, grabbing a t-shirt from his closet and pulling it over his head.   “That video doesn’t exactly put him in a bad light.  Besides, I thought you had other plans for him.  Like exposing him to Sierra as the dealer who supplies her new boyfriend with his drugs of choice.” 

“All in good time,” Duke replied.  “First I have another project I need your help with.”

“What now?” Benji sighed. 

“Remember that bet I told you about?  The one I waged against Branigan and lost?”

“Yeah.  You still haven’t told me what is was that he won in that bet.”

“You’ll find out soon,” Duke told him.  “I’ve got a plan to get it back, and this time it doesn’t involve a three-way with a mousy barista.” 

“So what’s the plan?"

“You’re going to have to take the helm on this one,” Duke remarked, tracing his finger along the top of the desk.  “No one knows it was me who planted that video on the net, but I still have to be careful.  Anything I do now can be traced back to me.  I no longer have the luxury of a surprise attack.” 

“So what do I have to do?” Benji inquired, almost afraid to ask.  He was willing to help Duke in his quest for revenge against Jeff Branigan only because he promised to use it to get Sierra away from Hunt Roberts.  But that seemed far out of reach, and they were most likely running out of time.

“Meet me at The Pit on Venice Beach tomorrow at 11.  I’ll give you the rundown then.  There’s someone else who may be of help to us.”

Benji had no idea what he had in mind, but whatever it was, it was bound to get him in trouble.  He was on probation for another month because of that gun business and had no intention of blowing it. 

Brooke Taylor

After leaving the marina, Brooke drove back to Sunset Studios and spotted James walking to his car in the parking lot.  She pulled her red Mercedes convertible into the space next to him, flagging him down before he got into his car.

“James, hold up,” she called as she scurried out of the driver’s seat.

“Hi.  I was just on my way to a meeting.  What’s up?”

“I know you’re meeting with Kyle,” she revealed.  “What is this all about?  I thought you and everyone else had given up on branding him the Candyman.  He didn’t blow up that hotel in New York.  My father did.  So if you’re going to brow beat anyone then-“

“Relax,” James said amidst a burst of laughter.  “I’m not going to brow beat anyone, let alone Kyle.  This has nothing to do with those phony charges against him.”

“Then why are you meeting with him?”

James’s eyes narrowed on her as he took a step closer.  “First answer me this:  Why are you so protective of him all of the sudden?”

She shook her head to displace a strand of hair that the breeze blew against her face.  “What are you talking about?”

“You’re acting like his PR person,” he said.  “I wasn’t aware you were that close.  When did you see him?”

“Just now at the marina.  And I’m not protecting him.  I just don’t want anyone taking the brunt for what Royce did.”

James knew her all too well.  He smiled, shaking his head with certainty.  “Is there something going on between the two of you?  I mean, the chemistry is there – I’ve seen it.  I just didn’t think you’d take it to the next level.”

Brooke held a hand up in an effort to silence his suspicions.  “There’s nothing to take to the next level.  We’re….friends, and even that is a stretch.”

“If you say so,” James said with a good-natured grin.

Deciding to cut the discussion off before it got too uncomfortable, Brooke tightened her Prada bag over her shoulder and shifted her weight.  “Okay, so if that’s not the reason you’re meeting Kyle, then what is the reason?  And why are you hiding it from me?”

“I’m not hiding anything from you,” James replied.  “I was going to tell you after Stormy and I talked to Kyle.”

“Tell me what?”

“Stormy found a script in the attic at the mansion.  It was in with Ethan’s things which also included some of Will Thomerson’s belongings.  Anyway, we want to use the script but we can’t unless we get permission from Kyle, being that he’s next of kin.”

Brooke looked away uneasily.  Any mention of Will Thomerson still made her sick to her stomach.  After the hell he’d put them through…

“I know how you feel about Thomerson and believe me, I feel the same way, but the script is amazing.”

“You want to produce a movie written by the man who kidnapped my son?” she asked in disbelief.  “Not to mention what he did to your sister and what he did to Heather and just about everyone else in town.  I don’t know if I would want to be associated with it.”

“This is business.  We have to put our personal feelings aside.  It’s simple, Brooke.  We pay Kyle a handsome fee in exchange for the rights to the script, and aside from Will’s name appearing on the credits we never have to think about it again.  Trust me.  You’re going to love it."

Brooke shrugged with defeat.  “Fine.  But I’m going with you to meet Kyle.  I’m just as much a part of this studio as anyone and I want to be there.  Wait, will Jackie be there?”

“No.”

Brooke smiled.  “Good.  You drive.” 

Laughing, James opened the car door for her and then walked around to the other side.  After climbing in and starting the engine, he roared out of the parking space and sped off toward the studio gates.

Brett Armstrong

Pre-production on Ocean Avenue was moving along nicely.  Jordan had voiced his reservations on Rydell Productions doing a movie about drugs, sex and violence in the L.A. surf community, but the grittiness of the subject matter eventually swayed him.  Brett sold him on the vision, insisting it would do for surfers what Kids did for skaters. 

When Jordan walked into his office that afternoon, he assumed it was to voice more concerns.  Concerns, yes.  About Ocean Avenue, no.

“Twice in one day,” Brett said from behind his desk.  “You still going to tell me you trust me to run your studio?”

Jordan put his hands in his pockets as he looked out at the marina.  “I told you I did,” he said carefully.  “It’s everything else I don’t trust.”

Brett frowned.  “What are you talking about?”

“I first noticed it a few weeks ago but I thought I was imagining things.  But this morning when I came by I realized it wasn’t just my imagination.  I only hope that you haven’t invited this kind of obvious flirtation.” 

Speechless, Brett rose from his desk and ran his fingers through his thick blond hair.  “I haven’t, honestly.  I mean, I only noticed it myself this morning.” 

“I thought that might be the case.  You’re sure you haven’t done anything or said anything to warrant this kind of behavior?”

“No, absolutely not,” Brett maintained.  He had no idea that Benji even had those kinds of feelings for any man, let alone him.  But the lingering looks and the flirtatious touching were getting too frequent for him to overlook.  “I had no idea that he was into that.”

“She,” Jordan corrected him.

“She?”

“Suzanne.  You said he.” 

Now Brett was extremely confused.  He thought Jordan had been talking about Benji.  Obviously they were not on the same page.   Either way, maybe he was wrong about Benji after all. 

“Right.  She.  Suzanne,” he said awkwardly. 

“So you haven’t noticed her constantly coming on to you?” Jordan asked him. 

After he’d shifted his concentration to the appropriate individual, Brett shook his head emphatically.  “No, absolutely not.  I don’t even know where you got that idea.”

“Just an observation.”

Brett replayed every minute he’d spent with Suzanne in the past weeks.  Never did he get the impression that she was coming onto him.

“I think you’re way off base here, Jordan,” he said.  “I mean, maybe she’s comfortable with me and relaxed around me, but flirtatious?  No, I don’t see it.”

Sighing, Jordan sat down across from his desk and folded his legs.  “She just seems…different lately.  I’ve never seen her this giddy.”

“Maybe she’s just happy.  She’s made a nice suburban life for herself.  No attachments, no complications.  You should understand that.  Isn’t that why you divorced Alex and stepped down from the studio?  To simply your life?”

Jordan had to admit he had a point.  “I guess so.  After Benji said you were always at the house I guess I just let my imagination run away with me.”

“Benji,” Brett said under his breath.  “He seems to thrive on causing trouble.”

“Undoubtedly.  Luckily he has a new friend from boarding school that I’m hoping will straighten him out.  I was also thinking of giving him a job.  How do you feel about him working at Rydell?”

The prospect got under Brett’s skin.  Benji hadn’t exactly proven himself to be trustworthy.

“I suppose if it came down to it I could find something for him to do,” he said hesitantly. 

“Just a thought,” Jordan said, rising from the chair.  “We’ll see if he starts shaping up his act and then address it again.”

Brett watched him make his way to the door.  “Jordan, about Suzanne…”  He was still flabbergasted that he’d even brought it up.  It seemed so out of left field. 

“Forget it,” Jordan replied.  “I must be projecting my lack of intimacy with anyone onto her.  God knows it’s been months since I got laid, and the women I’ve been choosing to pursue haven’t exactly been forthcoming with romantic feelings, so…  Anyway, sorry I brought it up.”

 “No problem,” Brett said.  He sat down at his desk and tried to think of what Suzanne had done recently to give Jordan the impression that she was into him.  For the life of him, he couldn’t think of anything.  Basically, they helped each other out whenever needed.  She would baby sit Violet, and he would do odd jobs around the house – things the landlord was too lazy to do.  On occasion he’d stay for dinner or go for a dip in the pool.  It was harmless.

Besides, he knew when a woman was coming onto him.  He’d practically made a career out of seduction.  Either he was wearing blinders or Jordan was very wrong.  He decided the next time he saw Suzanne he would pay special attention to these signs that were supposedly so evident.

Kyle Fenwick

House of Palms,” Kyle read aloud as he lifted the script from the table.  “I had no idea Will Thomerson wrote anything.  Of course I barely knew him so that’s no surprise.”

“It’s about two warring families in Mexico,” Stormy told him.  “It’s extremely well done.  The cinematic scope is unparalleled with anything Sunset Studios has done in the past.”

They were seated at a table on the Yacht Club terrace that jutted out over the marina.  Next to Stormy was James, with Brooke to his right.  The waiter brought four tall glasses of iced tea and left them to pore over the menu. 

“What do you think of it?” Kyle asked Brooke. 

She looked around the table and took a sip from her drink.  “I haven’t read it,” she said with a hint of bitterness.  “I only found out it existed twenty minutes ago.”

James tried to sweep his ex-wife’s hostile feelings under the table.  “Kyle, the point is that we need your permission to use it.  Wills’ estate went to Ethan after his death, but since Ethan is gone there’s no one named as executor of his property.  That is, until you came along.”

“Me?” Kyle asked.

“We could produce the movie under the assumption that Ethan’s estate went to Brooke and I, but we want to avoid any lawsuits that might arise from the ownership of the screenplay,” James continued.

“You’re afraid I’ll sue you,” Kyle surmised.   He laughed and stirred a packet of sugar into his tea.

“We’re prepared to offer you six figures in exchange for the rights.”  Stormy slid a contract across the table.

Kyle perused the contract, removing his mirrored aviators and placing them neatly on the table.  “You really want this film made, don’t you?” he asked.  “This is a lot of money for one script.”

“What do you say?” James asked.

“James, maybe Kyle needs time to process this,” Brooke interrupted.  “You can’t just spring this on him and expect him to sign off at the drop of a hat.  You don’t own everybody.”

“Why are you getting so defensive about this?” James demanded.  “Jesus, it’s a script, not a kidney.  We’re just trying to do the right thing where Kyle is concerned.”

“You have no interest in doing the right thing where Kyle is concerned,” she countered. 

“How do you know that?”

“Because I know you and I-“

“Excuse me,” Kyle interrupted.  “Can I say something?”

The bickering stopped long enough for everyone to turn in his direction.

“Go ahead,” James said.

“This is a very generous offer,” Kyle said, closing the contract.  “It’s it was nice of you to come to me with this before you went ahead and did anything.  But I don’t need money.  I have plenty as it is.”

“Everyone can use more money,” James told him.   “You’re willing to sign away the rights to the script for nothing?”

“I didn’t say that,” he replied with a smirk.  “I’m looking for something that will make my freedom worthwhile.  I thought that buying a mansion in Malibu and a luxury sailboat would do that, but like any high it wears off eventually.  I need something to sink my teeth into.  I don’t want money, but I would like to get in on the production of this movie.”

“What would you do?” Stormy asked.  “Have you ever even worked in the business before?”

“No.  I’ve done everything else though.”

Brooke immediately went into panic mode.  Working with Kyle on a daily basis on House of Palms was out of the question.  It was hard enough controlling herself around him during their occasional run-ins.  The simple fact was that she didn’t think getting involved with him was a good idea.  Despite the external circumstances, she’d made a promise to herself after Ethan died that she would remain independent long enough to know that she could make it on her own. 

“I think what Kyle is saying is this is a mere suggestion on an alternative to paying him with a check,” she said.  “Right, Kyle?”

“No,” he said with a shake of his head.  He cast a steady gaze at Brooke, knowing he’d gotten to her.  “I want in.”

Brooke looked away uneasily.  Something told her he wasn’t doing this just to find something to do with his life.  He was trying to keep himself in her life. 

“It’s settled then,” James said, not wanting to drag the negotiations out for any length of time.  “Kyle, your first job is to go with Stormy to scout locations.  I want pre-production to start immediately, and filming to start before summer begins.  We want to get the location shooting done first.  Second unit can come later.”

Brooke sighed with defeat.  She could foresee the complications involved.  Now she’d never be able to get Kyle out of her head.

Suzanne Rogers

Suzanne was going stir-crazy.  After Brett left, she finished the laundry, vacuumed the carpets, fed Violet her lunch, and sat down to catch up on The Young at Heart.  It didn’t seem to have gotten any better since she appeared on it in the nineteen eighties. 

Desperate for some adult conversation, she packed a diaper bag and took Violet with her to have a late lunch with Renee.  When she arrived at Merteuil, Renee had arranged for a catered lunch to be set up on the conference table.  Shrimp cocktail, seared Quail breasts with strawberry chutney, and a delicate spinach salad.

“You look wonderful,” Renee said, drawing her into an embrace after she settled Violet into her bassinette.  “Your new life seems to agree with you.”

“I don’t know,” Suzanne replied as they sat down at the table.  “I feel like I’ve settled into a routine.  I can’t tell you the last time I had a lunch like this.” 

Renee folded her napkin in her lap and poured them each a cup of coffee.  “I thought that’s what you wanted?  A nice, simple, suburban life.  You deserve some normalcy after what you’ve been through.”

“I know, but it’s almost too normal.”  She shook her head, hoping to snap herself out of the funk she was in.  “Nevermind.  There’s nothing worse than a friend complaining about their dull life.  Tell me, how are you doing?  Any new men on the horizon?”

“I don’t have the time,” Renee replied.  “Keeping this company up and running is the only thing on my mind these days.  Particularly now that someone has decided to start taking such an interest in it.”

“What do you mean?”

“Someone bought a huge chuck of my stock.”

“What does Kenny say?”

Renee shrugged.  “He says there’s nothing to worry about.  I just can’t help but worry about anything that affects Merteuil right now.  You know how important this company was to my father.”

“I’m sorry.  How is Sierra?”

“She’s well,” Renee replied.  “Things are advancing nicely with her and Hunt Roberts.  I hope she decides to settle down with him.  He’s such a nice young man.”

“He’s the Ivy League guy you were telling me about, isn’t he?” Suzanne inquired.

“Yes.  At least with him in her life I won’t have to worry about her making any more poor choices in men.  That debacle with Malcolm Harris nearly brought her to pieces again.”

She looked at Suzanne and noticed that she was staring off in a daze.  Raising an eyebrow, she waved her hand in front of her in an effort to get her attention.  “Suzanne?  Are you with me?”

Finally she snapped out of her haze.  “Oh, yes.  I’m sorry, Renee.  What were you saying?”

Smiling, Renee leaned back in her chair.  “Where were you just now?”

“Nowhere.”

“Suzanne, I know you.  There’s obviously something on your mind.  Tell me what it is.”

Reluctantly, she folded her napkin and placed it next to her plate.   “Have you ever had…fantasies about someone that you probably shouldn’t be having fantasies about?”

Intrigued, Renee leaned forward against the conference table.  “What kind of fantasies?”

“You know, sexual fantasies.”

“Suzanne, I’ve never heard you talk this way,” Renee said with a chuckle.  “Who are you having fantasies about?”

“It doesn’t matter who,” she said, blushing.  “Have you ever?”

After hesitating, Renee nodded in reply.  “Yes, I have.”

“Really?  Did you….act on them?”

“No!” Renee shouted.  “I was married to Kenny at the time.  He was the adulterer in our marriage, not me.”

Suzanne sighed and picked at her salad.  “It’s just a little crush, anyway,” she said.  “Obviously I’m not going to act on it.  He’s much younger than me.”

“A younger man?” Renee inquired with delight.  “Well now you’ve got to tell me who it is.”

“No I don’t.  There’s nothing to tell.  Like I said, it’s just a silly crush.  I feel better just talking about it.  It’s made me realize how ridiculous it is.”

“A crush that’s got you this worked up?” Renee said.

“I’m not worked up.  I shouldn’t have even mentioned it.  Just forget it.”

“Who is it?” Renee demanded, barely able to contain her curiosity.

“Renee!”

“Okay, okay,” she sighed with defeat and went back to her lunch.  After a moment of silence, she dropped her fork and looked up at her.  “Oh my God, it’s a friend of Benji’s, isn’t it?”

“No!” Suzanne exclaimed amidst a fit of laughter.

“If you say so.  But seriously, anytime you want to talk about it just call me up.  I may not have time for a romantic life of my own, but I will always make time to hear about yours.”

“Thanks, but now that I think about it this is probably something I need to work out on my own.”

The phone at Renee’s desk rang and she excused herself from the table.  Removing an earring from her right hear, she answered on the third ring.  It was Kenny with bad news.  Renee froze with anxiety as he relayed the latest developments to her. 

“What was that about?” Suzanne asked after she’d hung up. 

“That was Kenny,” Renee said.  “Someone just bought another fifty thousand shares of Merteuil.”

“Oh my God,” Suzanne said and stood up from the conference table.

“I think someone’s trying to take over my company.”

Jackie Lamont

Jackie held the phone to her ear as she waved Steven into her office at Sunset Studios.  He entered, dressed in cargo shorts and a tight-fitting polo, his standard backwards baseball cap pulled down over his head.

“Yes, I’ll expect an update from you by the end of the week,” she said into the phone.  “Goodbye, Bryan.”

When she hung up, she leaned back in her chair and folded her hands neatly together.  “So?  What was the meeting about?  Did you hear anything?”

“I heard all of it,” Steven replied, quite happy with his investigative techniques.  “There’s a script they were trying to buy from Kyle Fenwick.”

“What script?” Jackie asked.

He shrugged.  “One that somebody named Thomerson wrote.  Supposedly really good.  Anyway, he didn’t want money for it.  He said he didn’t need any more.”

Everybody needs more money,” Jackie said with a scoff.  “Did he say what he did want?”

“He wants to work for the studio and be directly involved with the film.”

Jackie slammed her fist on the counter.  “Of course he does.  He’s trying to get Brooke into bed and this is his way of getting close to her.  Damnit, why did he have to be cleared over those charges?  Now I have nothing to use against her.” 

“I don’t know about any of that.  I was just hiding behind the planter next to their table.”

“They actually had the nerve to make this deal without consulting me,” Jackie said as she began pacing the office.  “I own ten percent of this studio.  I suppose they all agreed, so my vote doesn’t count.  Well, I’ll find a way to use this to my advantage.”

“Want me to do anything else?” Steven asked.

“Just go back to Venice and work on your tan or work on one of your silly student films,” Jackie said.  “I’ll be in touch tomorrow.”

“Okay, but I have something to do at 11.  I’m free before then though.”

“Fine,” Jackie said, waiving him out of the office.

After he left, she looked out the window and racked her brain for an idea – anything that could get Brooke Taylor out of her life.

James Blackthorne

James decided to keep his word and go see Alex at her apartment following his meeting with Kyle.  He dreaded doing it, but he knew it had to be done.  Miranda and Stormy were right – their mother’s troubles shouldn’t rest entirely on their shoulders.  He and Alex had been divorced for five years but he still had a certain responsibility toward her, especially since a myriad of her problems stemmed from the production of Angel Assassin 2.

When he arrived, he easily bribed the security guard in the lobby to let him up.  It wasn’t hard to do, which made him wonder if Alex was safe from the paparazzi who were still staked outside the building, cameras in hand as they waited for a clear shot at the fallen actress.

He rang the doorbell and waited for an answer.  When no one came, he rang it again and knocked for good measure.  Moments later, the door opened.  To his surprise, Kenny was the one answering it.

“Kenny, what are you doing here?” James asked as he brushed inside the apartment. 

“Alex called me,” he said.

“Why?”  He scanned the living room and found her perched at the counter by the bar, sipping a martini and smoking a cigarette. 

“Because I need an attorney,” she replied and got up from the stool.  “James, how the hell did you get up here?  I specifically told security that I had to clear all visitors.”

“I was worried about you,” he said.  “No one’s heard from you since the premiere.”

“Well, no one’s bothered to call me since the premiere,” she said bitterly.  “Not you, not Stormy and not Miranda.  If my own family doesn’t care about me then why should I waste the effort?”

“That’s not true, Alex.”  He wasn’t in the mood for her dramatics, which is exactly what he expected to happen when he showed up.  Still, he came.

“Yes it is.”  She stubbed out her cigarette and handed a piece of paper to Kenny.  “Don’t pretend that you care.  You threw me out of your life once before and now you’ve done it again.  Only this time we aren’t married so I think I’ll be quite fine on my own.”

“What is Kenny doing here?” he asked.  “Why do you need an attorney?”

“He’s handling the legal papers for me,” Alex told him.  “I’m adopting a baby.”

James blinked several times, unsure if he heard her correctly.  Had she gone off the deep end?

Suzanne Rogers

When Suzanne got back home, she decided that talking about her feelings for Brett did help to some degree.  It really was ridiculous.  He was her daughter’s husband.  He was over fifteen years younger than her.  He may be drop dead gorgeous, but that was where it ended.

After placing Violet in her crib, she sat down at the desk in the living room with her computer.  She had an assignment to complete for her writing course and decided to work on it while waiting for Brett to pick the baby up.

The assignment, which had fairly firm parameters set by the instructor, didn’t gel right away so she did what the class had already taught her, and that was to write anything to get warmed up. Quickly and without much difficulty, she began writing about Brett and the fantasies she’d been having.  At least that was fresh on her mind.  Before long, she’d written almost an entire page…

She felt small in his arms.  They ensconced her perfectly, every rippling muscle tightening around her.  His lips were salty and she tasted them eagerly when he kissed her, his tongue darting in and out of her mouth.  She could feel the course stubble just above his upper lip.  Her skin was chaffed but she didn’t care.  She wanted more of him.

His hands rose from her waist, up her torso and finally cupped her perfectly shaped breasts.  Eagerly and with uncontrollable desire, he placed one nipple in his mouth, ran his tongue over it, and then moved to the other.  Closing her eyes, she threw her head back and submitted to the pleasure.  When he reached between her legs she cried out in ecstasy.  Waves of intense pleasure washed over her.  She came hard and fast but she wanted him inside of her. 

Her hands moved over every inch of his rigid body as he leaned closer and guided his manhood inside of her.  He held her in his arms while they made love.  She ran her fingers through his thick blond hair.  Their lips didn’t part until she began to climax.  She screamed his name in ecstasy.  “Brett!”

When she came, she could feel him emptying himself inside of her.  In perfect unison, they remained in each other’s arms.  She smiled with content, finally understanding what a man of his youth and exuberance had to offer a woman of her age…

A knock at the door took her out of the moment and she spun around in her chair to see who it was.  Moments later, Brett walked inside.  She knew he could tell that she was flustered so she made an urgent attempt to remain calm.

“What are you doing here so early?” she asked, out of breath.  “It’s barely four o’clock.”

“Wrapped things up early,” he said.  “Hope I’m not interrupting your writing class homework.”

She looked at the screen and quickly minimized the program.  “No, not at all,” she said, jumping up from her seat and darting around the room, collecting Violet’s things.  “I’ll get the baby ready.” 

He watched her carefully, trying to detect any behavior that seemed unusual or that could give Jordan the idea that she was interested in him.  She seemed preoccupied, but that could be for any number of reasons.  As a matter of fact, she’d barely made eye contact with him since he walked in. 

“How was your…uhh….afternoon at work?” she asked, placing things in the diaper bag.

“Good.  It was good.”

“That’s good,” Suzanne said, looking around for something.  “I took Violet to lunch with me today and….oh shoot, I think I left her bathing suit upstairs.  I’ll run up and grab it.  Be right back.”

Brett walked over to the crib and gave Violet a kiss on the cheek.  Maybe Suzanne did seem to be acting kind of strange, he decided.  It was almost as if his being there made her nervous.

Sounds from her laptop interrupted his concentration and he glanced over at the screen.  It seemed to be going through another update.  He sighed and walked over to the desk, tapping at the keys and trying to close out of the annoying Java application.

When the word processing program reappeared on the screen, several words immediately caught Brett’s attention, including his own name written in quotations.  With a certain amount of remorse for invading Suzanne’s privacy, he leaned down and read the words on the screen.  Instantly, he turned red in the face and neck.  The room suddenly felt like it was a thousand degrees and his head was light and stuffy.

Hearing Suzanne coming back down the stairs, he quickly turned away from the desk and went to the center of the room.  As she entered, he couldn’t help but picture the scenario she’d described in her story.  While it was true, he hadn’t noticed her exhibiting any signs of being attracted to him, he was now suddenly aware that he’d been blind to it all along. 

“Found it,” Suzanne said, holding the bathing suit in her hand.

“Great,” Brett replied distantly as he watched her fold it neatly into the bag.  It was almost as if he were seeing her with new eyes.  Suddenly he didn’t see her as Heather’s mother or Violet’s grandmother or his boss’s ex-wife.  He saw her as a passionate woman with desires that surpised him to no end.  

“Are you ready?” she asked him.

He turned to her and saw that she was handing him the bag.  “Yeah, I am,” he replied.


Next time....

Alex is determined to get a fresh start.  Brooke finds herself in an unexpected situation as Kyle and Stormy depart for Mexico City.  Brett suddenly can't get Suzanne off of his mind.  Benji gets involved in a duplicitous scheme.  

  

 

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