Jordan witnessed Suzanne's flirtatious
behavior with Brett. Oblivious, Brett discounted
his father-in-law's theories. Later, after reading
a writing assignment of Suzanne's in which she explicitly
detailed her fantasies of having sex with him, Brett
realized that Suzanne was attracted to him and suddenly
saw her in a new light. Alex hid away in her apartment.
Later, she told James that she was going to adopt
a baby. Despite her attraction to him, Brooke
informed Kyle that they would never wind up in bed together.
She was later furious with James for giving Kyle
a position with Sunset Studios and the new film they
were working on. Renee was devastated to learn
someone was buying up large chunks of stock in Merteuil
Industries. Meanwhile, with the help of the Fenwick
family attorney, Bryan Carlson, Jackie was slowly gaining
more shares in her enemies company. Stormy revealed
to Miranda that he feared he would never make James
proud of him. Duke told Benji he would help him get
Sierra back if he helped him get something back from
Jeff Branigan that he lost in a bet.
or The Pit as it was sometimes
referred to, was a testosterone-laden playground for those serious about weight
lifting. A gated outdoor gym surrounded
by a myriad of fitness related games encompassed the popular stretch of Venice
Beach. For those less enthusiastic about
bodybuilding, or those unable to keep up with the powerhouse athletes who
frequented the gym, it was not the place to be.
however, decided he fit somewhere in between.
While artistically and professionally his goal was to finish his
education at UCLA’s film school, he often surprised even those who knew him by
his physical prowess. He spent every
morning at the gym at Muscle Beach
before checking in with Jackie Blackthorne to see if she had any work for
him. It helped pay his school loans, at
least. It also helped to know he was
doing something that may pay off later in his career. Being a personal gofer who was often asked to
do things and not ask questions wasn’t exactly resume-worthy, but his hopes
were that it would lead to something bigger and better. Certain experiences
that had little to do with his career as a director, like being clobbered over
the head by an arsonist at Moonshadows, however, he could do without.
was always looking for something to advance his career. Sometimes he’d take his video camera out and
shoot random footage, then take it back to school and practice editing. That’s how he came to get the sordid images
of Jeff Branigan getting head from some girl in his car a few weeks ago. They were parked on an access road at Redondo Beach where he
happened to be walking by. When he took
the footage back to the lab and began editing it, he realized the girl was
Summer Solomon, who had been dating Duke Summerfield. He felt obliged to let him know. Not that they were particularly good friends,
but he felt he had a duty to look out for anyone in that position.
appreciation for his diligence, Duke had offered Steven a nice bundle of cash
in exchange for a small favor. He told
him to meet him at the beach at eleven o’clock on Tuesday. Steven was just finishing up his daily
workout when Duke arrived with Benji Rydell.
up?” Steven asked as he set the barbell down and slurped from a bottle of
lukewarm water. He bumped fists with
Duke and then with Benji, whom he knew by association but couldn’t remember
ever been formally introduced to.
man, this place is like a stockyard,” Duke said, looking around at the enormous
bodybuilders waddling this way and that.
He shifted a black leather backpack from one shoulder to the other. “You’re kind of the little man around here,
aren’t you, Chandler?”
shrugged, nodding to a couple of gargantuan guys in stringy tank-tops as they
walked by. “I can still run circles
around these guys,” he said with a smirk, arm and shoulder muscles bulging with
each movement he made. He went to shake
Benji’s hand. “Steven Chandler.”
Rydell,” he replied, although he already knew who he was. Freshman year he was home on a break from
school and he and Blake and Steven hung out a couple of times. Five years was a long time and had done
wonders for Steven’s appearance. They both
had changed a lot physically since then.
“So what’s this
plan of yours?” Steven asked after turning to Duke.
“Yeah, you said you
were going to tell me what you lost in that bet with Jeff Branigan. Are you finally going to tell me what it
Duke reached behind
and pulled a picture from the back pocket of his jeans, handing it to Benji
with pride. “This is my baby. That punk swindled it from me last summer.”
Benji looked at him
incredulously and then back at the picture.
“An old motorcycle?” he asked with a hint of disappointment, inspecting
the photo of a green motorcross bike.
“It’s not just a
motorcycle,” Duke said defensively.
“That’s a 1993 deluxe edition Kawasaki
with a liquid cooled, two stroke, single cylinder engine with KIPS. Original paint job and decals in tact. You can’t find this thing anywhere.”
Benji had forgotten
about Duke’s hard-on for everything motorcross.
He’d gotten in trouble on more than one occasion back at Beau Soleil for
tearing up the soccer field during one of his practice runs. The bike didn’t seem quite remarkable enough
to warrant this kind of attention to detail in getting it back, however.
“I raced that punk
ass Branigan last summer at the Coal Bowl and he won using every dirty trick in
the book. The price was my bike. The smug piece of shit has had it tucked away
in his garage in Van Nuys ever since.”
“So how are you
going to get it back?” Steven asked.
“And how am I going to help?”
Duke took the
backpack from his shoulder and handed it to him. “It’s a two person job, and like I told
Rydell, I can’t be involved or my little revenge tactic against Summer Solomon
could be traced back to me.” He looked
at Benji. “Oh, by the way, Steven was
the one who sent me the sext of Summer and Jeff.”
It now made sense
to Benji why Duke had involved him. He
watched as Steven unzipped the backpack and looked inside.
“Oh boy,” he said
with a chortle. Inside the backpack were
stacks of hundred dollar bills. “How
much money is in here?”
grand,” Duke replied. “I got my trust
fund stipend early this month.”
Rifling through the
stacks of money, Benji came to an object he was all too familiar with. He stood back, positive that whatever Duke
had planned was going to land him in trouble.
“What’s the gun
for?” he asked.
“Don’t worry. No one’s going to get hurt.” He zipped the bag up so that no one around
them could see.
“I guess we have to
take your word for that,” Benji said.
“So what exactly are we doing? I
don’t see how money and a gun are going to get your bike back unless you’re
planning on buying it back or holding him hostage.”
“I tried buying it
back and he wouldn’t bite,” Duke said.
“Just listen up. This is going to
be quick and easy.”
Benji had heard
that before. Nothing with Duke was ever
quick and easy.
“I loved it,” Jackie said as she handed the
script back to James. “I can see why
you’re so eager to start production.”
narrowed his eyes suspiciously on her.
“What’s your game?”
game,” she replied with a shrug while sitting down on the sofa in his
office. “House of Palms is a blockbuster.
I think it’s exactly what Sunset Studios needs. Especially if Angel Assassin 2 flops when it goes worldwide this Friday thanks to
your ex-wife’s antics.”
laughed and leaned back in his chair.
“Forgive me, I’m just not used to you being so agreeable. Or is that just because Brooke didn’t have a
say in the selection of the script?”
know, I do have the best interest of this studio at heart,” Jackie reminded
him. “It used to be my father’s,
sighed. “Yes, how could I forget? Anyway, Stormy and Kyle left for Acapulco this morning to
start scouting locations. I have
meetings all day with the financial backers, and Brooke is having lunch with
the Eric Autumn. I’m hoping to get him
leaving such an important job in her hands?” Jackie inquired. “Eric is the best in the business.”
Brooke is very capable.” He stood up
from his desk and slipped into his navy suit jacket. “I’m going to be unreachable for a few hours
so I need you to pass along to Brooke the name of the restaurant Eric is
meeting her at.”
took a slip of paper from him and rolled her eyes. “I’m honored to be such an integral part of
the process,” she said sarcastically.
“I’d like to actually be of some value, James, and not just by giving
out phone messages.”
try to stay out of trouble,” he said on his way out the door.
rose from the sofa in one graceful movement, glancing at the slip of paper
containing the information on Brooke’s lunch with the director. Smiling, she crumbled it in her hand as she
made her way out into the hall.
I thought James wanted me to have
lunch with Eric Autumn?” Brooke asked half an hour later when Jackie entered
in plans,” Jackie indicated. “James is
doing lunch and he’s sending me to meet with the backers instead. He wants you to go down to Acapulco and help Stormy and Kyle with the
didn’t trust her. She’d been far too
mischievous since she manipulated herself into the company to take anything she
said at face value. “That doesn’t make
sense. Why would he need me to help with
the location scout?”
he trusts you,” Jackie replied. She was
quite pleased with herself, knowing exactly the buttons to push to make Brooke
fall right into her trap. “Let’s face
it, Kyle has never worked in the business, and Stormy hasn’t exactly proven
himself to his father. Take it as a
regarded her carefully, picking up the phone and calling James’s cell.
are you doing?” Jackie asked.
James. I’d like to hear this from him if
you don’t mind.”
shrugged. “Be my guest, but the jet is
waiting at the airfield. It’s an hour
and twenty minute flight. If you-“
Brooke said and hung up the phone in aggravation. “It’s going straight to voicemail.”
shrugged. “The negotiations with Eric
Autumn are probably very intense. I’m
sure he doesn’t want to be disturbed.
But if you want to wait and clear it with him-“
Brooke said, rising from her desk and snatching her purse from the
credenza. “Do you know where they’re
staying in Acapulco?”
Continental,” Jackie replied as she watched her storm out of the office.
walked down to the elevator, pushing the button and sweeping a spray of
platinum hair from her eyes. She hated
when James did this to her. No notice
and she was supposed to be off on a flight to Mexico.
luck,” Jackie murmured to herself from the doorway.
She clasped her
hands together, grinning at her knack for manipulating people the way she
needed to. When James learned Brooke didn’t make it to the lunch with Eric
Autumn, he’d be furious with her, and hopefully another step closer to
banishing her from Sunset Studios.
hadn’t been to Jeff Branigan’s apartment in the Valley since the party where
someone jumped off the balcony into the pool and cracked their head open. The courtyard building was much calmer today;
no drunken frat guys spilling out of the pool or bikini-clad girls doing shots
and cheering when someone in their group threw up.
and Steven parked on the street outside the gate. They walked around the pool, spotting Duke’s
dirt bike by the stairs and exchanging quick glances at one another. They took the steps up to the second floor,
knocked, and waited for what seemed like an eternity for someone to
answer. When the door opened, it was
Jeff’s twin brother Joba who worked at California Taco in between drug deals. Joba, a pudgier version of Jeff, grinned
through a haze of pot that clouded the room.
Rydell, what’s up man?” he asked, attempting to perform a complicated handshake
and failing miserably due to his drug-induced lack of coordination. He looked over his shoulder where Jeff was
slouched on the sofa in a wife beater and extremely baggy shorts. “Yo, Rydell’s here man.”
rose from the beat up old sofa, turned the volume down on the over-done home
theatre system that blasted through the apartment, and approached the
slumnin’ it today, Rydell?” he asked, giving him a pat on the shoulder. “Haven’t seen you since my party. Who’s your friend?”
is Steven,” Benji replied as he followed them into the sparsely furnished
living room. He couldn’t understand why
two guys who made such a killing on selling drugs lived in such a ratty
apartment. But judging from the cars
they drove and the expensive electronics he saw in the living room, they had
followed Duke’s instructions and did his best to maintain the pissy look on his
face. His role was to play the quiet but
big guy,” Jeff said and shook his hand.
“What can I do for you boys?”
looking for some blow,” Benji said, squinting through the smoky room. “I told him you got the best in town.”
anywhere,” Jeff corrected him. He looked at Steven and studied him
carefully. “You a cop?”
he replied simply.
haven’t I seen you around?”
keeps to himself,” Benji answered for him.
“Works out all the time. Too busy
to hang around with you jack-offs.”
nodded. “Gym guys are always my best
customers,” he said. He turned to
Benji. “Hey man, we should hang out
more. Duke still in town? We should go to Vanguard Friday night. I hear they got a killer DJ from Chicago coming in.”
awesome,” Benji said, wanting nothing more than to get out of there. He tried to speed things along. “So how much you got?”
avoided his question by pulling a keyboard from the top of the big screen
television and tapping at the keys.
“Shit, did you guys see my video?
They took it off YouTube but I got it on another site now. It is some kick-ass shit. Check it out, this bitch from Palos Verdes
came on to me at the beach one night and begged me to let her slob on my dick.”
watched the video with moderate interest.
Steven spent the five minutes critiquing his own editing work.
out this part,” Jeff said, beaming proudly while pointing at the screen. “Just about gagged her there.”
great,” Benji said. “So anyway. About that coke?”
pulled a kitchen chair from the table and positioned it in the corner of the
room. “How much you want, big guy?”
pulled a stack of money from the duffel bag.
“I got twenty-five grand.”
raised an eyebrow and exchanged looks of excitement with Joba. “You’re serious about your stuff, aren’t
you?” he asked, climbing onto the chair and sliding open an air vent on the
ceiling. He reached up and removed a bag
of cocaine the size of a sack of flour.
“I like that.”
handed him the money from the bag and took the cocaine from him. “This the good stuff?” he asked, placing it
in the duffel bag.
I said, the best anywhere. My suppliers
know their stuff. You’re lucky I just got
a delivery in yesterday.”
thanks,” Benji said, eager to get the transaction over with. He motioned to Steven and walked to the door.
Jeff replied with a grin. “Hey man, let
me know about Vanguard on Friday. You
and Duke are fun to party with.” He
looked at Steven and added, “I’d invite you, big guy, but you’ll probably be at
Steven said. “Nice bike, by the way.”
Jeff said, following them onto the balcony and glancing down at the Kawasaki near the
stairs. “Won her in a race last year.”
started down the stairs. “Later, Jeff,”
they got back to the car, Steven let out a deep breath. “That guy is a punk,” he said. “I suddenly don’t mind what we’re about to do
laughed and pulled the car onto the street.
“Let’s just hope nothing goes wrong.”
meeting with the financial backers for House
of Palms went better than James could have expected. They, unlike others, were optimistic of the
interest over Alex’s breakdown would have on ticket sales for Angel Assassin 2. The hardest part was now over and he could
take a deep breath. As long as Brooke’s
meeting with Eric Autumn went well, they’d be sitting pretty.
decided to swing by Kenny’s office at the marina and talk to him about Alex and
her ridiculous quest to adopt a baby.
When he arrived, Renee was there and he could sense the tension in the
room. After she filled him in on the
stock purchases that were lowering her share in Merteuil Industries, he offered
a sympathetic ear.
Enterprises,” James said with a frown.
“I’ve never heard of them.”
because they just filed for a DBA last week,” Kenny informed him.
can find out but the discovery period takes thirty days.”
by that time it may be too late,” Renee said.
She was dressed in an emerald green dress with plenty of darling
cleavage. In her right hand was her
cream colored mink stole that she dragged along the floor as she paced the
office. “My father’s company could be in
the hands of someone else. How could I
let this happen?”
haven’t done anything,” James assured
should have kept Kenny on board as CEO,” she said. “Why I thought I could run a company of this
size myself is beyond comprehension.
Kenny, please tell me you’ll step in and help me through this.”
course I will,” he said, hugging her tightly.
“I’ll stick around for how ever long it takes. I can still handle my cases from the offices
you,” she said, wiping a tear from her eye.
there’s anything I can do, Renee…” James offered.
there is,” Renee said. “I need to fight
tooth and nail to stop this person from gaining majority share in the
company. That means buying as much stock
as I can and keeping the shareholders from selling theirs.”
have no intention of selling my shares in Marteuil,” James informed her. “The stock price has been low lately and I’ve
taken a hit, but I don’t plan on selling.
you,” Renee said. “At least this way we
can stop them from getting our shares.”
haven’t you made contact with? Maybe I
can make some calls to get the word out.”
far only Jack and Marilee. Jack
would sooner lie down and die than sell his shares to anyone because of his
relationship with my father, so I’m not worried about him.”
away on business. I can’t reach
her. If her hundred thousand shares got
into the wrong hands…”
wouldn’t worry too much,” James told her.
“Marilee wouldn’t do that to you.”
felt a little better. “I hope you’re
to change the subject,” James began.
“But Kenny, what in the hell is going on with Alex? How could you in good conscience help her try
to adopt a baby? You know as well as I
do how implausible the idea is. With her
not telling me anything I don’t already know,” Kenny told him. “But you should have heard her, James. She begged me. She thinks this baby is her only chance. I figure if I at least try to help her it’s
better than nothing.”
just don’t want her to get her hopes up,” James said. “She’s been through enough. She needs rehab,
not a baby.”
Continental Hotel was located on the west end of Acapulco Bay
and offered meager accommodations at best.
Miranda had stayed there when she came to Acapulco to get a quickie divorce from Brett,
and James had recommended it since it fell in line with the chain of hotels
owned by Leigh Purcell. Several
crew members had stayed there some ten years ago while
filming Elena. Since Leigh's death
the new owners had taken it to new lows, but Stormy decided it was acceptable
for the short time he and Kyle were going to be there.
plan was to meet up in the lobby and head out by jeep with Alejandro, a member
of Comefilm, the Mexican Film
Commission. He didn’t know what help
Kyle was going to be considering he’d never done anything like this
before. But his father wanted him in,
and since it was Kyle’s father’s script they were shooting, he agreed without
unpacking his suitcase, he changed into lightweight shorts and a polo, then
pulled on a pair of comfortable tennis shoes.
They were going to be doing a lot of walking so he wanted to be
Kyle finished a drink at the bar and, through his mirrored aviator sunglasses,
glanced around the lobby that was decorated in rattan furniture and lush
tropical plants. From above he could
feel the cool breeze from the ceiling fans.
It had to be ninety degrees outside and he was already sweating through
his clothes. Mexico was not one of his favorite
location scout promised to be interesting.
They were touring an old factory outside of town and then a couple of
estates supposedly once owned by a famous Mexican singer in the early
Before they headed
out, he decided to have a drink in the lobby.
To his surprise, stepping out of a taxi outside under the porte-cochere,
he saw a vision that he wasn’t expecting.
Standing up from the bar stool, he charged through the lobby and met up
with her at the door.
away, huh?” he asked with a sexy grin.
Brooke ignored the
comment, removing her sunglasses and checking to make sure the driver had her
bags. “I had nothing to do with it. James wanted me to come down and help.”
“He did?” Kyle
inquired, taking her cue and removing his sunglasses. “That’s interesting.”
“Why is that
interesting?” she asked in irritation, fanning her hot, damp skin with a
“I don’t know, I
guess because he sent you down at the last minute. Stormy and I can handle it just fine.”
“Great,” she said,
dropping her hands to her sides in frustration.
“So I wasted a trip down here.”
Kyle suddenly got
an idea. Maybe he could use this
development to his advantage. “Not
necessarily. There’s a pool and a hot
tub and a bar. What more do we need?”
She cast him a look
of warning. “I’m just going to see if my
“I’ll do it,” Kyle
said, quickly racing up to the front desk.
“Do you have a room for Miss Taylor yet?” He casually slid a hundred dollar bill across
the counter to the clerk while discretely prompting him with a shake of his
“Uh, no Senor, not
yet,” the man replied and pocketed the cash.
“Try back later.”
Kyle winked and
turned back to Brooke. “Nothing
available yet. You can go up and freshen
up in my room. I’ll meet you up there in
a little while and then we can find Stormy and head out.”
his offer, wanting nothing more than to cool off in the air conditioning. She motioned to the bellboy and offered a
gracious smile at Kyle after he handed her his key. “Thanks.
I won’t be long.”
He grinned as he
watched her disappear around the corners to the elevator. After she’d gone, he waited a few minutes
until Stormy appeared in the lobby, ready for their expedition.
“All set?” Stormy
“Actually I have a
better idea. There’s no sense in wasting
time here. Why don’t you go with the guy
from Comefilm and I’ll check out some
other spots. Then we’ll meet up here
tonight and compare notes.”
“What spots are you
going to check out?” Stormy asked with a frown.
“We need the film commission to approve-“
“If we had the film
commission give us the whole tour this thing could take a week. So we split up and get it done in a fraction
of that time. What’s the problem?”
not wanting to argue over it. “No
problem. See you tonight then.”
watching as he left the hotel and climbed into the jeep with Alejandro. Happily, he’d bought himself some alone time
with Brooke. Downing the rest of his
drink, he made his way to the elevators and headed back up to his room.
From her office at
Sunset Studios, Jackie could hear James shouting and throwing things two doors
down. With an amused raise of her
eyebrows, she walked down the hall to his door.
“Is there a
problem?” she asked, peeping through the doorway.
James slammed the
phone onto the desk and jumped up from his seat. With a hand over his mouth to keep from
screaming, he began pacing the room in frustration. “That was Eric Autumn on the phone. He reamed me a new asshole because nobody was
there to meet him at lunch today. He’s
threatening to never work with Sunset Studios again.”
“But I thought
Brooke was meeting Eric Autumn for lunch,” Jackie said, pleased that his reaction
was as she’d expected.
“I did too, but the
pilot told me he flew her down to Acapulco
this morning,” James said. “So Eric was
sitting in the restaurant for an hour before he left a message with my service
saying he didn’t appreciate being stood up.”
“I’m sure we can
reschedule. It’s probably not as big a
deal as you think it is, James,” she told him.
She went for the phone and started dialing. “I know Eric fairly well. His father and Jonas had parties all the time
back in the day. I’ll just call him
“That’s not the
point, Jackie,” James said angrily. “I
trusted Brooke with this and she deliberately went against my wishes.”
please,” Jackie said into the receiver.
“It’s Jackie Lamont calling.”
around the room, rubbing his face and trying to calm down before he called
Brooke. He didn’t want to confront her
in this state of mind. He had to
remember they were married once. She was
practically Ethan’s widow, and she deserved a chance to make a name for herself
in the business. By the time he’d
finished his train of thought, Jackie was hanging up the phone.
“Done,” she said
with a smile. “Eric and I are meeting
for dinner. I guess I am good for
something after all.”
Jackie,” James said. “I just wish I knew
what was going on in Brooke’s head. You
gave her the message about the restaurant, didn’t you?”
“Of course,” she
lied. “But if you want my opinion, she’s
putting her obvious feelings for Kyle Fenwick ahead of anything else. Why else would she have jumped on the jet and
flew down there?”
“You don’t think I
should have let Kyle join the team?”
“I don’t think Kyle
is the problem. Brooke has been the one
messing up right and left. She just has
no head for business, James. Makeup is her forte.”
James groaned with
irritation. “Don’t start. Brooke may have messed up, but I’m not going
to let you trash talk her again.” He
paused, finally realizing that Jackie had resorted to another one of her
lows. “Wait a minute. This was your doing, wasn’t it?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean this
wouldn’t be the first time you sabotaged Brooke. You already admitted that you lured her to
the club at Moonshadows hoping to get her and Kyle together so you could
discredit her.” He took a step
forward. “You didn’t give her the
message about lunch today, did you? You
sent her to Mexico
Jackie backed up a
step, tracing a finger delicately along his desk. “That’s ridiculous,” she said, although not
very convincingly. She couldn’t hide
anything from James. He saw right
through her. Instead, she tried to
appear coy. “Why would I want to
sabotage the studio?”
“Because you knew
you’d be able to save the day with one phone call,” James replied. “Jackie, I don’t know what your problem
is. You have to stop this obsessive need
to challenge Brooke. You can’t honestly
blame her for what Royce and Roz did.”
She looked away,
suddenly dropping her coy act in exchange for one of hostility. How dare he tell her how she should
feel? “I had a happy marriage until she
“So blame Royce, or
blame Roz. I won’t stand for another one
of your attempts at trying to ridicule Brooke.
I mean it, Jackie.”
She turned and
glared angrily at him. “You’re such a
fool. Still protecting her even after
she slept with your nephew and had his baby.
If you want to talk about letting things go, why don’t you look in the
mirror and realize that you’re still in love with her.”
James shook his
head, about to protest before she turned and darted out of the room. It was suddenly apparent to him that he did
jump to Brooke’s defense quite often.
And yes, before Brooke and Ethan reunited, he did go through a period
where he thought he wanted her back. But
that was over. He had let her go. And if she wanted Kyle, then he wouldn’t
stand in her way.
After a quick
shower, Brooke felt much better. She
wrapped a towel around her torso and stepped outside the bathroom where Kyle
was seated on the edge of the bed.
Immediately, she grew tense, checking to ensure she was properly
“If you don’t
mind…” she said, gesturing to the door.
innocently, his hands hung between his legs.
“Sorry, is my being here making you uncomfortable?”
She rolled her
eyes. “No. I just like privacy when I’m getting dressed. Please leave.”
“You’re not a good
traveler, are you?” he asked, jumping up and walking across the room. “Grumpy, irritable, standoffish. You should think about taking a valium next
“If I’m grumpy and
irritable it’s because I don’t even know what I’m doing here,” she said. “Where’s Stormy? I thought we were meeting up with him.”
“Oh, right,” Kyle
began, breathing heavy as she looked at her damp bronzed skin beneath her
towel. “He decided to go out on his own
with the guy from the film commission.
Guess that means we have the rest of the afternoon to ourselves.”
Brooke leveled a
suspicious look in his direction. “Oh
really? Stormy just happened to decide that he was going out on his own? Give me a break. You planned this so we would be alone
“Somebody’s ego is
“Admit it. The minute I walked in the door you’ve been
thinking of ways to get me alone and into bed.”
She sighed in aggravation, walking past him and snatching her cell phone
from her purse. “I’m calling James.”
“You don’t have to
do that,” Kyle said. “So I wanted to be
alone with you, what’s the big deal?”
“I have a
voicemail,” Brooke said, ignoring him.
“What did he say?”
After listening to
the message, she clicked the phone off and threw it angrily across the
room. “That bitch,” she hissed under her
breath. “Looks like you’re not the only
one trying to pull the wool over my eyes.
Turns out Jackie’s up to her usual pranks.”
“What did she do?”
“Forget it,” she
replied in a huff. She walked to her
suitcase and started throwing things into it.
“I’m getting out of here.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I’m going
back to Los Angeles. This whole trip was a setup. First Jackie wanting me out of the way and
then you using it to satisfy your sexual appetite. You know, when is she going to learn that I’m
not going to stand for being manipulated?
And when are you going to
learn that I’m not some pathetic love-starved bimbo who’s going to fall into
bed with you just because you give me those do
He folded his arm,
smiling in amusement at her tirade.
“What’s so funny?”
she demanded angrily.
“You just broke
your phone and I don’t have the pilot’s number stored in mine,” Kyle told
her. “Looks like we’re stuck here until
Stormy gets back.”
She ran her fingers
through her wet hair and examined her phone, now in pieces from being hurdled
across the room.
could tell himself that he had no intention of going through with it, but deep
down he knew that he would. Once he set
his mind to something, it was difficult – if not possible – to let it go. By faking himself out into thinking it was
unexpected and unplanned, he could avoid some of the guilt, and it worked every
morning he’d dropped Violet off at Suzanne’s as he always did, taking care to
leave his briefcase behind, of course with tons of paperwork he couldn’t get
through the day without. It didn’t take
Suzanne long to find it and call him asking if he wanted her to drop it
by. It worked perfectly, and gave him
an opportunity to see her again.
Violet?” he asked as she entered his office in a strapless lavender dress.
with the receptionists,” she answered with a smile, setting then briefcase on
his desk. “They’re in love with
her. You should bring her by more
often. I think she likes the extra
smiled and walked across the room to where she was standing. His tie was loosened and his sleeves rolled
up to his elbows, perhaps in an effort to lighten the mood.
look lovely,” he said. He’d thought of
nothing else since he read her story on her computer. The erotic thoughts she had written out were
etched into his mind and had kept him awake all night. Two cold showers and an extra long workout in
the gym did nothing to stop his mind from racing at the thought.
thank you,” she said cheerfully, tugging at the sides of the dress and giving
herself a once-over. “You don’t think
it’s too….I don’t know…bright? I
normally go for darker colors. I guess
I’m trying to brighten my outlook on life.”
couldn’t take his eyes off of her. “I
don’t think you need to change anything,” he said. “You’re perfect.”
smiled awkwardly and tried to change the subject. “I hope you didn’t need anything in your
briefcase this morning,” she said. “I
got here as fast as I could.”
briefcase.” She pointed to his
desk. “You said you needed some
paperwork from it.”
one fluid motion, she brushed past him and made her way to the desk. As she did, Brett stopped her by placing his
hands on her waist. She turned and
looked up at him, recognizing the look in his eyes from her fantasies.
remained silent for several moments, eyes unmoving from one another. Brett leaned in close, his lips brushing
against hers. Suzanne froze, paralyzed
in ecstasy. How was this happening? She closed her eyes as he gently kissed her. The salty taste of his tongue sent ripples of
pleasure washing over her.
she opened her eyes and pulled away ever so slightly. She thought he was oblivious to her
fantasies. So far they had been a secret
she kept buried deep inside, and truthfully she liked it that way. It was something of her own that she could
wrap herself in when life got too mundane or she lost hope that she would find
some kind of passion in her life again.
How did everything change virtually overnight?
what are you doing?” she asked.
thought this is what you wanted,” he said in a low voice, brushing his lips
across her cheek.
how…” she began, then quickly put the pieces together. “You read my story, didn’t you?”
took her hand and kept her from pulling away.
“It made me realize I felt the same way,” he said. “It was right in front of me for so long but
I never put it together until I read what you wrote about us. Now I can’t stop thinking about you.”
is wrong,” she said softly, desperately trying to avoid eye contact. “You’re my daughter’s husband. She’s off fighting for her sanity and I’m
having these fantasies that I shouldn’t be having.”
think about it,” he said, coaxing her back to him and wrapping his arms tightly
around her. “I want you more than I’ve
wanted anyone in a long time. I know you
do too. Just forget about everything
else and let me make our fantasies happen.”
closed her eyes as he kissed her neck.
As much as she wanted to do what he suggested, it wasn’t that
simple. There were consequences. Finally, she pushed him away and raced to
can’t do this, Brett,” she said, her hand on the handle. “No matter how much we may want it.”
he could protest, she was flying out the door.
When she’d gone, he sat down on the edge of his desk and let out a deep
breath. Burying his face in his hands,
he decided that she was probably right.
He had fought to keep his family together and he wasn’t going to blow it
by sleeping with Suzanne, no matter how much he wanted it.
Duke dumped the
white powder into a bowl, emptying the bag nearly all the way before picking up a box of baking
powder. Benji and Steven stood by
shaking their heads doubtfully.
you sure this is going to work?” Benji inquired.
you kidding?” Duke asked, replacing the cocaine with the baking powder. “They’re never going to know the difference,
which is exactly the point. All you guys
have to do is go back and express your displeasure with the merchandise you
paid very handsomely for.”
it be easier just to buy another bike?” Benji asked. “You just dropped twenty-five grand on
coke. I doubt that green machine of
yours costs nearly that much.”
not the point,” Duke insisted. “I spent
painstaking hours modifying that bike to precise
specifications. I won countless trophies
on that bike. I nailed my first girlfriend
on that bike.”
did?” Steven asked with an incredulous frown.
so lay off my bike. I’m getting it back
if it’s the last thing I do.”
handed the bag, now filled with baking powder, back to Benji who placed it in
the duffel bag.
forget this,” Duke said, handing him the gun.
“Just in case it becomes necessary.”
looked at Steven and motioned for the door.
He hoped this was worth it and Duke kept his promise to break up Sierra
and Hunt Roberts. He was the only one
who knew the guy and knew that he was a user.
If it wasn’t for that, he would have never agreed to this plan,
especially when he was so close to getting off probation for his last
nothing would go wrong with this plan. They’d
just walk in there, strike up a deal, and walk out with the bike. The gun wouldn’t even come into play.
left Michael in Miranda’s care while she was in Mexico, which Miranda was happy
to do, but also slightly nervous. She’d
never really had to care for a child on her own before. She kept thinking that if she hadn’t had her
miscarriage, her and Brett’s baby would be about three years old by now. The thought of being a mother was so foreign
to her that she could hardly grasp the concept.
she managed to do quite well, entertaining him with toys, loads of candy and a
trip to the pier. On the way home she
decided to make a quick stop. One that
she had been dreading, but knew she had to eventually.
what a surprise,” Alex said as she opened the door to her apartment. When she saw Michael standing beside Miranda
she raised a curious eyebrow. “This is a
sight I never thought I’d see.”
I never thought I’d see my mother take a spill on the red carpet either,”
Miranda said, marching into the apartment and sitting Michael on the sofa with
his stuffed pig. “And yet it happened.”
that,” Alex said offhandedly. “I was
lightheaded. I hadn’t eaten all day and
I had one little glass of champagne and-“
stop it, Mother,” Miranda snapped. “You
were high as a kite. Your co-star
exposed your little secret in front of the whole world, remember? Seriously, you’re not still taking those
pills, are you? Daddy says you have a
problem but I guess I just don’t want to believe it.”
do not have a problem,” she said. “So I
took a few pills, big deal.”
same pills that you nearly overdosed on a few months ago and wound up in the
hospital. Now they’ve cost you your job
and everyone close to you. Has Kyle been
in contact since the premiere?”
looked away defensively. “No, but I
blame that on your father’s second ex-wife.
Honestly, if there’s a man that I’m interested in, you can bet Brooke
Taylor is going to be right there waiting to snatch him away. I’m surprised she hasn’t sunk her claws into
is not the issue, Mother,” Miranda said and walked across the room. “You need help. Why don’t you let us help you?”
only one who’s even expressed one ounce of concern or desire to help me is your
father, and he wasn’t exactly forthcoming with emotion. Our relationship has been quite strained
since the earthquake.”
told me that you were planning to adopt a baby,” Miranda said.
remark caught Alex off guard. She wasn’t
prepared to discuss her plans with anyone, especially her children. But since she brought it up, she decided
there was no use in hiding it.
I am. Kenny is exploring options for
me. There’s an adorable baby in Malawi
that he’s looking at. She’s been in an
orphanage since she was born. Her mother
and father were killed.”
serious about this?” Miranda asked.
Why does this sound like a good idea to you?”
are a lot of babies out there who need a loving home, Miranda,” Alex said
firmly. “Why shouldn’t I give one of
them a life that has some advantages?”
looked at her suspiciously. “You’re not
doing this for the good of humanity. Who are you kidding? You're
not Madonna. You’re doing this because you’re alone.”
ridiculous,” Alex said.
tending to Michael who was starting to grow restless and asking a million
questions in rapid succession, exhaled with frustration. “Is it ridiculous?”
sighed. “Fine, you’re right. I’m alone and I don’t want to be alone.”
get help. Check yourself into rehab.”
don’t need rehab,” Alex spat. “I need my
family to accept me instead of pushing me away.”
haven’t pushed you away.”
and your brother haven’t exactly been by my side lately,” Alex told her. “Stormy still hasn’t forgiven me for driving
Kelly away, and you all but turned your back on me after you were burned in the
earthquake. I was too superficial, you told me.
I didn’t understand. I’d ruined
your life by teaching you beauty secrets instead of real values.”
were Daddy’s words, not mine,” Miranda said.
you agreed with him. I’ve been a
failure as a mother. This is my chance
to correct that.”
grew more frustrated. “Why don’t you try
to work on your relationship with me and Stormy instead of bringing another kid
you mean another kid to screw up?” Alex asked sorrowfully.
Miranda shook her head. “That’s not what
it’s what you think. Admit it. Well I guess we’ll see what happens. Maybe you’ll all be surprised when I actually
find the happiness that I deserve.”
there was no getting through to her, Miranda took Michael by the hand and
started to the door. “I’ve got to go,”
she said, turning back before leaving.
“Just promise me one thing, Mother.
If you have the chance to raise another child, teach her that beauty
starts on the inside. That’s one area
this family is seriously lacking in.”
watched as she left, walking to the counter and picking up the information
Kenny had delivered on the baby from Malawi.
She didn’t care what anybody said, she was going to clean up her act and
make it a reality, and this time she would do it right.
see you finally decided to get out of the hotel room,” Kyle said when he found
Brooke lounging poolside in a tiny yellow bikini. He stood above her, grinning as she sunned
herself on a lounge chair.
might as well do something while I’m waiting,” she replied, shielding her eyes
from the sun as she gazed up at him. For
a brief moment, she found herself ogling him, his finely sculpted body
glistening in the sun and dirty blond hair slightly tousled. Any woman would be insane not to take
notice. But just as quickly she looked
away and turned back to the sun. She
still hadn’t forgiven him for sending Stormy off on his own so he could be
alone with her. Obviously he was not to
be trusted, no matter how differently she felt mere days ago.
if I join you?” he asked, gesturing to the chair beside her.
leaned across and folded the chair up.
“It’s broken,” she said, unable to resist being a little childish. He deserved at least that much.
quietly to himself, he knelt down next to her and picked up her bottle of
suntail oil. “You know, this would be a
lot easier if you weren’t so damn stubborn.
So I screwed up, big deal. Like I
said, is my wanting to spend time with you so bad?”
it’s your methods.”
was the one who sent you down here under false pretenses,” Kyle said. “You can’t blame me for that. All I did was
tell a little white lie so we could stay behind from the location scout.”
little white lie makes it sound cute,” Brooke snapped. “Your actions are no better than Jackie’s.”
a little harsh.”
know, people like you and her think I’m this dumb, naïve girl from Phoenix who
doesn’t have a voice of her own,” she said irately. “Maybe I was at one time, but a lot’s
changed. The sooner you realize that the
better off you’ll be.”
grinned and looked out at the pool.
is so funny?” she demanded.
“Nothing. I just can’t imagine anyone thinking you’re
naïve.” He unfolded the chair and sat in
the center. “You seem like an
intelligent woman who knows what she wants.”
rolled over onto her stomach. “And of
course you think it’s you that I
laid down and slid on a pair of sunglasses.
“I didn’t say that.”
she said, turning her head to avoid looking at him. But as hard as she tried, she couldn’t keep
from looking back at his body as he lay in the sun.
around Acapulco all day, Stormy was hot and tired. Alejandro had shown him several possible
filming locations, all of which seemed perfect for House of Palms. Just before
sunset, his guide cautioned that they should head back to the hotel before
dark. Stormy agreed, anxious to see what
progress Kyle had made in his own search.
He had major reservations about his involvement in the film and in
Sunset Studios. He knew nothing about
the industry, and even though he’d been cleared of charges that sent him to
prison, he still seemed untrustworthy.
He decided to be on guard through every step of the film’s production.
Twenty miles from the hotel, the jeep blew
a tire on a road that intersected seemingly through the middle of nowhere. The long, exhausting day seemed like it would
While Alejandro changed the tire, Stormy
scouted around the area, gazing out at a highway that ran parallel to the road
they were traveling on. He could see construction
equipment parked next to it and the smell of tar was thick in the air.
“What’s that over there?” he asked as
Alejandro lifted the new tire onto the wheel.
“A new highway construction,” he
“Where does it lead to?”
Stormy raised an eyebrow, grabbing his
pair of binoculars from the jeep and inspecting the progress on the new
highway. “So it’s not in use yet?”
“Not for a while,” Alejandro said.
“I’m just thinking that’s the perfect
solution to some of the scenes in the movie that require shutting down of roads
for filming. You said that was not
usually something the government allows, so this could be the answer. If the highway’s not in use yet-“
“Not a good idea, hombre,” Alejandro cut
him off abruptly as he tightened the lug nuts.
“What do you mean? They wouldn’t even have to shut the road down
You don’t want anything to do with that highway. The word on the street is it’s being built
for the cartels to transport their drugs to and from the shipping ports on the
“The government knows this?” Stormy asked
“This area is overrun with the
cartels. The government depends on their
business. It’s a sad truth, my friend.”
Stormy looked around, suddenly faced with
a difficult reality. “Is it safe? I mean, we’re going to be here for three
months. I don’t want to step on the toes
of any locals, especially of the drug cartel variety. I hear about the wars going on between them
around here and it’s not pretty.”
“You should see it from our side,” Alejandro
said as he finished the project. “Okay,
let’s go. It’ll be dark soon and we have
a ways to go.”
Stormy climbed into the jeep and settled
back as they continued down the road. He
wondered if filming in Acapulco was the best idea he’d had. He certainly didn’t want to give his father
any reason to doubt him. But then again,
they were on a time schedule and James had stressed the importance of getting
the film into production on time. He
decided there wouldn’t be time to explore other options. Sure, they could go to safer parts of
the country to film - areas without the drug problems the city faced - but the majority of the leg work was already done.
Besides, as long as they kept to
themselves during filming they wouldn’t have any problems. And no problems meant that his father would
be a very happy man.
When Benji arrived back at Jeff’s
apartment, he secured the loaded gun beneath the waistband of his jeans and
hoisted the backpack of fake cocaine over his shoulder. This was where the wished he would have taken
after his mother’s talent for acting.
Without it he didn’t know if he could pull it off. Still, he took a breath and decided to power
“Rydell, twice in one day,” Jeff said when
he opened the door of his apartment.
Benji walked in, distracted by the blaring
music and haze of marijuana smoke that filled the room. On the sofa was a girl slouched against the
dirty cushions, stoned out of her mind.
On the coffee table were a smoldering pipe and six-pack of empty beer
“Yeah, there’s a problem with the stuff
you sold my buddy,” Benji said.
“What kind of problem?” Jeff asked. He was shirtless, slouchy jean shorts falling
well below the waistband of his underwear.
“That junk was primo.”
“Yeah, well, it’s cut with enough baking
powder to qualify it as an ingredient for your mom’s cookies,” Benji said and
thrust the bag at him.
Jeff frowned, dropping the white substance
on the coffee table and tearing it open with a pocketknife that he withdrew
from beneath the sofa cushion. He licked
his finger and dipped it into the substance, giving it a quick taste test.
“Holy shit,” Jeff said. “It’s pure baking powder. I can’t believe it.”
“You can imagine how embarrassed I was
when he told me. I mean, after I talked
you up and said you had the best stuff out there. Well, he’s pretty pissed.”
“I don’t know how this happened,” Jeff
said. “Tell your buddy I’ll give him his
money back. You better believe I’m going
to talk to me suppliers and find out what the hell happened.”
“That’s all well and good, but like I
said, he’s pretty pissed. No one’s ever
sold him this low quality stuff before.
He was taking it out on his punching bag when I left him. As you can imagine, he’d mess somebody up
pretty bad if they crossed him.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Jeff agreed, going back to
the hidden compartment in the ceiling and withdrawing the cash they’d provided
him earlier that day. He handed the
bundles of money back to Benji and held up his hands in protest. “Here’s the twenty-five grand back. Tell your buddy I’ll get him the real
thing. I just need a few
days to figure it out.”
Benji counted the money and stuffed it
back into the bag. He pulled out his
cell and dialed a number. Jeff waited
while he conferred.
“Yeah, it’s me,” he said into the
phone. “I got your money. He said he’ll find you some real stuff in a
day or two.”
Jeff nodded along, shifting his weight as
he struggled to stay upright while taking a hit from his marijuana pipe.
Okay. Fine. I’ll tell him.” Benji lowered the phone and looked at him
with a shrug. “He said it’s gonna cost
you. He doesn’t want anymore blow.”
“So what’s he want?”
“My bike?” Jeff asked amidst a cloud of
smoke. “My Kawasaki? No freakin’ way.”
Benjj raised the phone back to his ear.
“He said forget it. Yeah. Okay.”
He lowered the phone again. “He
said it’s the only way. Give him your
bike and he’ll forget the whole thing.”
“What if I don’t?” Jeff asked, panicked.
Benji chortled. “Then I’d hate to be your face come this time
Jeff laughed and shook his head. “No, he won’t touch me. He got his money back. Tell him that’s all he’s getting. No way am I giving up that bike. Do you know what I had to do to get that
thing? Forget it.”
Benji clicked off the phone and dropped it
into his pocket. “I’ll tell him,” he
said and headed for the door. “But he’s
not gonna be happy.”
“Wait, wait, wait,” Jeff said. He dropped his hands to his sides and shook
his head in frustration. “Fine. Tell your buddy I’ll give him the bike if he
drops it. Have him come by tomorrow.”
Benji shook his head. “Now.
You follow me with the bike or no deal.
He doesn’t want you messing it up before he gets it.”
Jeff kicked the edge of the sofa,
startling the stoned girl into an upright position. “Yeah, whatever. Fine.
Smiling, Benji waited until he got his
things and followed him to the door.
Brett drove white-knuckled all the way to
Suzanne’s that evening. If he didn’t
have to pick Violet up he probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere near her for at
least a few days. Sometimes he didn’t
even recognize himself and his actions seemed like those of a different
person. It was the same with so many of
the women he’d seduced into bed. The
difference was he didn’t care about any of them outside of the sheets. With Suzanne, he felt something for her and
it frightened him.
He sat in the driveway for almost five
minutes, rallying his nerve to face her after the humiliation in his office
that day. His actions hadn’t been
particularly smooth or well thought out.
He simply knew he had to see her.
After she’d left, he’d thought of nothing else all day.
Finally, he forced himself to go inside. He was early, so she probably wasn’t
expecting him. As he entered the house,
he didn’t immediately find her or Violet.
After checking the backyard, he went to the stairs and called up to the
He slowly climbed
the stairs, taking each step with incredible trepidation. After a quick peek into the guestroom, he saw
Violet quietly playing in her crib, the baby monitor hung over the edge.
He called Suzanne’s
name again as he walked into her bedroom.
The bathroom door was open and he could hear the sounds of the shower
running. The drapes were drawn and the
room was dark with the exception of one ray of filtered afternoon sun pouring
A trail of clothes
were strewn across the thick rust-colored carpet. Standing in the bathroom doorway, steam
enveloping him all around, he saw the outline of Suzanne’s body through the
shower curtain, her every curve accentuated with the heart-pounding tenseness
of the moment. She hummed quietly to
herself, raising her hands to rinse the shampoo from her hair.
Brett found himself
growing increasingly aroused. He
struggled with his thoughts, telling himself he should turn around, grab
Violet, and get out of there. Another
part of him told him that he should stay.
When the shower
turned off he made the only decision he could.
Benji steered his BMW along Lauren Canyon
Road, glancing into the rearview mirror every few seconds to ensure Jeff was
still behind him on the motorcycle. He
glanced at the seat next to him where the gun was resting inside the
backpack. He hoped that when they got to
the rendezvous point it wouldn’t be necessary to use it. The last thing he needed was another charge
for being in possession of an illegal firearm.
When they came to the turnout from the
road, he pulled the car onto the gravel inlet and checked to make sure Jeff was
following him. Once he was stopped, he
grabbed the gun, climbed out of the car, and stuffed it behind his jeans.
Steven was waiting next to the
lookout. He approached when Jeff jumped
off the bike, inspecting it carefully from one end to the other.
“Glad you came to your senses,” Steven
said, taking the helmet and keys from him.
“I’m sure Benji will be happy to give you a ride back to the valley.”
“Not so fast,” Duke said as he emerged
from Steven’s car. He approached
quickly, grinning at Jeff who stood by, dumbfounded.
“What the fuck’s going on?” he asked.
“Let’s just say you’ve been shafted just
like you shafted me when you took the bike from me,” Duke said, grabbing the
keys from Steven. “I told you I’d get
her back one way or another.”
Jeff shook his head with aggravation,
looking up at Benji. “You set me up,
Rydell? Dude, I thought we were tight.”
ever gave you that idea?"
“Leave Benji out of this,” Duke said.
“This is me getting back what’s rightfully mine. And I’m not talking about that whore Summer
Solomon. She can suck your cock all she
wants, Branigan. I just want my bike
“It was you who put that video out, wasn’t
it?” Jeff asked. “I should have
known. You came back to town just when
everything went down. I’m
impressed. Not as impressed as she was,
of course. I mean, let’s face it, after
you she wasn’t used to a guy with….girth.”
“You’re a douchebag,” Duke said.
“A douchebag who your girlfriend went
down on,” Jeff said with a grin. “And no
way are you getting my bike, Summerfield.
I won it fair and square.”
“The hell you did.”
Benji watched with irritation. Why had Duke changed the plan at the last
minute? They were home free until he
decided to show up and rub Jeff’s nose in it.
Now things were getting out of hand.
“Yeah, well you’ve already screwed with me
once, and I’m not letting you get away with it again." Jeff went
to get the keys from him. "I’m taking my bike back home and there’s
nothing you can do about it.”
“Is that so?” Duke asked. He laughed casually, then reached over and
grabbed the gun from Benji’s waistband.
“Duke, what the-“ Benji began.
“Not so cocky with a gun to your face?”
Duke asked, pointing the gun directly at Jeff.
it back,” Benji cautioned him. It wasn’t that long ago that he was gunning
for Sheldon Novak, which ended in him accidentally shooting Blake and getting
himself on probation for two years. Now
Duke was in a similar situation and he was certain it wasn’t going to end well
for anyone. “Come on, man, let it go.”
“Yeah, let it go, Summerfield,” Jeff said,
arrogance spilling over.
“Not until he admits he won that bike by
cheating his ass off,” Duke said.
“Think what you want,” Jeff said with a
I’m going to take it back and then get you and your taco-slinging brother
thrown in jail for drug dealing, you donkey dick piece of shit.”
Jeff approached him steadfastly,
unwavering even with a gun pointed at him.
“Take your best shot,” he said.
Benji, recognizing the look in Duke’s
eyes, realized he had to do something or the game would go too far. He quickly raced toward him, hands
outstretched in an attempt to grab the gun from him. In one, swift movement, he managed to get
the gun from him, succeeding in firing it into the sky as he did. The shot echoed through the canyons just as a
police car drove by.
Eyes flashing open wide, Benji turned,
intent on disposing of the gun before the police could identify who was holding
it when it fired. As he swiveled around,
he bumped directly into the motorcycle and pushed it forward.
All at once, the cops pulled into the
turnout, the bike sailed toward the cliff, and Benji scrambled to throw the gun
over the edge.
Time stood still for what seemed like
eternity. Benji closed his eyes, and
when he opened them, he saw the bike crashing down the rocky cliff to the road
below, bursting into flames. The cop had
approached him from behind and secured the gun from his grasp. Struggling, he twisted this way and that as he
was forced to the ground, face down with his arms pulled behind him and placed
in handcuffs. The second cop was
standing above him, gun drawn directly at him.
Yes, things had definitely taken a
and Brooke return from Mexico. Jordan asks a favor
of Stephanie. Renee and Jackie continue their
battle for oneupmanship. David fills his mother
in on his recent trip.