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Episode 11

 

Release Date:  February 17, 2006

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Heather grew increasingly jealous of Stormy's involvement with Lauren Spencer.Alex gave Jordan back his engagement ring. Winter continued to feel angry about Ethan going after Brooke.  James got a visit from a man offering a high risk loan to save Sunset Studios.  Philip tried to force himself on Alex and Jordan showed up, saving Alex by throwing Philip out. After Ethan and Brooke made love in Santo Domingo, the jeep Ethan was riding in was bombed by loyalists.  Brooke flew into hysterics when she was told that he couldn't have survived.  


 

  Episode 11

"High School Confidential"

 

Beside herself with anxiety, Brooke paced back and forth in her hotel room in Santo Domingo while she waited for word about Ethan.  The U.S. had arrived to intervene in the constant barrage of assaults among the Dominican Republic government.   When they learned of the jeep bombing, they began a search and recovery mission.

Brooke wrapped her arms around herself as she paused and sat down on the edge of the bed.  She reached down and picked up the T-shirt Ethan had been wearing the day before.  Smiling, she brought it to her face and smelled, relishing the musky scent that reminded her so much of him. 

She refused to believe that he was dead.   Juan and the others said that the jeep took a direct hit and that anyone or anything inside of it would be unrecognizable.   She begged them to accept the possibility that his body could have been thrown from the jeep.   Though filled with doubt, the troops began searching the area for any sign of Ethan.

But it had been an entire day since the explosion and there hadn't been any indication that he'd survived.   Determined to hold on to hope, she decided to stay on the island and not return home without him.

There was a knock at the door and she raced across the room to open it.  A U.S. soldier entered the room, followed by Juan.  Their solemn expressions of gloom told her the news wasn't good.  She looked at them, frozen in fear as Juan held out his hand and offered her the proof she needed.

Slowly, Brooke took Ethan's wallet from him, then the thin gold chain he wore in memory of his mother.   She burst into tears, sobbing uncontrollably as she examined the items in her hands.   It was almost too much to bear.   She couldn't believe that he was gone.

Juan and the soldier watched sympathetically as Brooke sunk to her knees and buried her face in her hands.    She didn't think there was anything harder than losing someone you love.   It wasn't fair.  No sooner had they finally realized their true feelings for one another than tragedy struck.  

Blackthorne Mansion

Meanwhile, James was on the phone in his study trying to track down Brooke.  He called Bianca, Deb, and some of her friends she worked with at the Galleria.  No one had heard anything from her.    He was beginning to fear that something awful had happened.

On top of everything else, Ethan was nowhere to be found either.   Winter hadn't heard from him yet and he hadn't been to the mansion for days.   It wasn't like Ethan to disappear like that.   He was sure that they were together somewhere.   Maybe they were off at some romantic setting and he was the last thing on their minds.   The thought sent him into a panic.  He hated being powerless to stop it from happening.   Granted, it was his own fault for yelling at her like that before she left the other night.   Maybe he'd overreacted to her marriage to Philip.   She claimed it was an honest mistake.    But the fact remained that because of her negligence, they weren't legally married.  

He looked up when Miranda walked into the room.  "Good morning, Sweetheart," he said.

"Hi Daddy," Miranda said, yawning and stretching.   "Any word from Brooke or Ethan?"

James shook his head solemnly.  "No, none at all."

Miranda tried desperately to hide her enjoyment.  She knew her father wouldn't understand, but she was thrilled that Brooke was out of their lives.   She was trouble from the start, just like she'd predicted.

"I hate to say I told you so, but…"

"But you will anyway, right?" James interrupted, staring crossly at his daughter.  "If you've come in here to gloat, do me a favor and don’t."

Miranda shook her head and followed her father around the room.  "Daddy, I'm not gloating," she insisted.  "If you think I like seeing you miserable, you're wrong.  I just want you to be happy.    Is it my fault that Brooke didn't turn out to be the woman you thought she was?"

James rolled his eyes.  He loved his daughter but he couldn't stand her incessant pushing and badgering.  Sometimes she didn’t know when to leave things alone. 

Brett entered the study and approached Miranda with a kiss.  "Good morning," he said, then looked up at James.  "Mr. Blackthorne, has there been any word on your wife?"

James sighed and shook his head.   He didn't think he could handle Brett this morning.  He had too many other things on his mind to worry about the slouch his daughter married.  

"You'll let me know if there's anything I can do to help, won't you?" Brett asked, his arm around Miranda.

"Thank you," James replied offhandedly.  He realized Brett was trying to be helpful, but nonetheless it didn’t go without suspicion.  He didn't trust the man and the only reason he was still in his house was because he hadn't had time to deal with him yet.   So many other things took precedence lately.   Luckily he had confidence in his spirited daughter to be able to hold her own.

"Well I've got to get going," Brett said, kissing Miranda again.  "I'm meeting some musicians at the beach club to audition them.   Lauren starts singing there tomorrow night."

Miranda scowled, seeing red at the sound of Lauren's name.

"Incidentally, thank you for speaking to Renee DeWitt for us," Brett said to James.

But James barely heard him.  He was at the window gazing outside in a blank stare.  Miranda shrugged and led Brett out into the foyer.  "Do you have to go?" she asked.  "I thought I'd ditch classes today and we could spend the day together."

Brett sighed and put his arms around her.  "Babe, I can't," he said.  "There's so much to get done before Lauren's premier tomorrow night."

Miranda rolled her eyes and pulled away from him.  "Whatever.  I guess I'll just spend the day by myself again."

"Miranda, wait!" Brett called after her as she raced up the stairs.   Letting out a deep, exasperated breath, he jogged after her and found her in their bedroom about to slam the door shut.

"What?" she asked defensively.

He pushed the door open and walked into the room.  "I hate when you get upset with me," he said.  "I love you, Babe.  I hope you realize that."

Miranda shrugged and looked at him with a pout.  "Then how come Lauren Spencer is more important to you than I am?" she asked.  "Hell, even Stormy is more important to you than I am."

"That's not true," Brett said, using his best seductive voice and eyes as he ran his hands down her back.   "You're the most important thing in the world to me.  You've changed my life, Miranda.   Can't you see that?  Because of you I'm a better man."

She laughed and turned away.  "I haven't done anything."

Pulling her back, he lifted her head and leaned in closely.  "You have too.  You stood up to your family for me.  That's a big deal in my book."

Miranda closed her eyes as he kissed her warmly.   She wrapped her arms around him and they fell down onto the bed.   Brett unbuttoned her blouse and kissed her soft skin.  She ran her fingers through his hair and pulled him closer.   Moments later, they were peeling off their clothes and rolling around on the bed in a heated frenzy.  

Stormy Blackthorne

Stormy and Lauren were seated in the living room of his house in the Valley, surrounded by stacks of CD's and sipping iced tea on the floor.   He flashed her a Barbra Streisand CD and grinned mischievously.

"How about covering one of hers?" he said.

Lauren rolled her eyes and laughed in hysterics.  "You've got to be kidding!" she exclaimed, rolling over onto the floor.  "Can you see me singing a Barbra Streisand song?"

He looked at the album again and shrugged.  "Hmm, I guess not," he joked.  "But we're running out of options.   I don't know.  Maybe doing a cover on the album isn't such a good idea."

Lauren sat up just as Heather walked inside from the pool and made her way to the kitchen, scowling at them with every step.  Lauren quickly jumped to her feet and ran over to her.  "Hi, you must be Heather.  I'm Lauren Spencer."

"I know," Heather replied coldly as she poured herself a glass of iced tea at the bar.

Lauren looked around awkwardly.   She immediately got the impression that Heather didn't like her and they'd only just met.  "I've heard all about you from Stormy.  I'm glad we finally got a chance to meet."

Heather gave her a snide grin and tossed back her long brown hair.  "Okay, that's great," she said, adjusting the strap on her bathing suit and brushing past her.   Pushing open the sliding glass door, she barely looked at Stormy as she returned to the back yard and took her place beside the pool.

"Did I say something wrong?" Lauren asked.

Stormy stood up and shook his head.  "She's just been a little high strung lately," he explained, digging his hands into the pockets of his shorts.  "Don't worry about her.  She'll warm up to you.   She's going to have to. I plan on keeping you around for a long, long time."

"How did you two meet anyway?" Lauren asked, taking a sip from her glass of tea.

"We went to West Beverly High together," Stormy replied.  "We dated since the ninth grade.  Broke up for a while after high school, then got back together and got married."

"Typical high school sweethearts," Lauren remarked with a knowing grin.

He laughed, staring into her blue eyes and then at her glossy wet lips.   Everything about her drove him crazy.  He couldn't help himself when he was around her.   If it had been a couple of years ago, Lauren Spencer would be a conquest that he wouldn't rest until he'd had.  But now he was married and his days of screwing around were over.    In the words of his father, he had to keep it in his pants and start getting serious.

"How about we head over to the studio and work on that track we laid down yesterday?" Stormy asked, hoping to break the awkward silence.

She nodded in agreement.   "Sure, let's do it."  She couldn't help but feel like Stormy was holding something back everytime they were together.  She wondered what it was that he wanted to say to her, but never could.

Domi ican Republic

Juan handed Brooke a glass of water and removed a cold cloth from her forehead as she laid restlessly on the bed in her hotel room.

“Here, take this,” Juan said, giving her a small white pill.  “It’ll help you sleep.”

“I don’t want to sleep,” Brooke replied, pushing his hand away in a fit of hysteria.   “I have to figure out what to do.   I have to tell James about Ethan….”

“Shhh,” Juan soothed her, holding her head up as she took a sip of water.  “You need to rest for a while.  You’ve had a big shock.  There’ll be plenty of time for that later.”

Reluctantly, Brooke swallowed the sleeping pill and took another sip of water.  She laid back down and shook her head in despair.   “I can’t do it alone,” she whispered.  “I have to call somebody.”

“Just rest now,” Juan said, feeling awful for the young woman’s ordeal.  He knew that if she didn’t get rest she would wear herself down and then she wouldn’t be any good to anybody.   “When you wake up we’ll call whoever you need to.”

Brooke nodded, trailing off into a fitful sleep and dreaming of her last night with Ethan.

Beach Club

Brett sat at the bar at the beach club, squinting through the bright morning sun that streamed in through the windows as he jotted some notes down on a piece of paper.  He picked up the phone on the countertop and dialed the number for Rolling Stone magazine. 

"Marjorie Stahl, please," he said, tapping his pen on the bar and looking around the empty restaurant while he waited.   He'd had a successful morning of interviewing musicians for Lauren's opening night.   Everything was lined up so far.   His next order of business was making sure all the important people in the music business were there.  Lauren's success depended on it.  And his success depended on Lauren.

Finally the editor-in-chief of Rolling Stone came onto the line.  He'd never met her personally but he knew the type.  All he had to do was act like he was her biggest fan and he'd have her wrapped around her finger.

"Marjorie, it's Brett Armstrong representing Lauren Spencer," he said.  "Just wanted to check in and make sure you got your tickets for the big opening at the Valley Beach Club tomorrow."

"Lauren who?"

"Lauren Spencer," Brett replied, leaning back in the barstool.   "She was just signed to Good Times Records.  Maybe you caught her on The View the other day."

"I think I missed it."

"Oh really?  She's the hottest thing going right now.   I'm surprised you haven't-"

"Oh right, Lauren Spencer," Marjorie interrupted.  "What time is the show?"

"Eight o'clock," he replied with a confident smile.  "I'll have a couple of tickets waiting for you at the door.   See you then Marjorie."

He hung up and smiled with exuberance.  Sometimes he was so good he surprised even himself.

"Well look at you, Mr. Big Shot," said a voice from behind.

The voice triggered alarms inside his head.  Quickly he spun around and his jaw dropped to the floor.   "Devon?" he said with wide eyes.  Suddenly his heart began racing and he almost fell off the stool.

"What the hell are you doing, Rick?" asked Devon Graham, a petite young girl with feathered short brown hair.

Nervously, Brett shuffled the papers in front of him and stood up.  He couldn't believe she found him.  She could ruin everything.  "Devon, I was just going to call you."

"You were not," she replied with a frown.  "I bet you ten thousand dollars you were hoping you'd never run into me again.    And don't tell me you don't have ten thousand dollars, because I know damn well you do.  Unless you’ve pissed it away on one of your get rich schemes."

Brett backed away from her.  "Listen, Devon.  I was going to come see you before I left Vegas but I sort of got sidetracked."

Devon squinted at him, pointing a thick finger in his direction.  "You mean you got sidetracked running from the cops after Bailey took a fall out of a ten story window?"

He shook his head adamantly.  "Listen, I was shocked as anyone to find out about Bailey," he said.  "But I had to get out of there.  If I stuck around, people would start asking questions and then our phony tour guide business would have been exposed.   You didn't want the authorities knowing about that, did you?   I did us a favor by taking off."

"News flash, Rick," Devon began.  "The police have been asking about you.  They questioned me, thinking I had something to do with Bailey's death."

Brett appeared alarmed.  "You didn't tell them anything about me did you?"

"You didn't do anything to Bailey, did you?" Devon asked, ignoring his question.

"No!  Of course not!  Why would you even ask me that?  I was his partner.  We were friends.  We were all friends."

“Yeah, friends who conned people out of money for a living,” Devon said, eyeing him carefully.  “Until one of those friends got greedy and took off with all the earnings.  And another friend wound up with his head splattered all over the street.”

Brett continued backing up away from her.   If Stormy or Miranda or anyone else walked in and saw him talking to her they’d surely start to ask questions.   Questions that he wasn’t prepared to answer about his past.

“What are you doing in L.A. anyway?” he asked her.

Devon hesitated, biting the tip of her finger with a smile.  “What if I said that I missed you?” she asked coyly.

He shook his head.  “No, I don’t buy that.  What we had…whatever we had was over a long time before I split.   You seemed to be more into Bailey than me anyway.”

Smiling with a vixenish pout, Devon traced her fingers down the front of his tight Lacoste polo.  “You know you were the one I always like the best,” she said.  “But you know, things were getting so complicated.  I began to feel like we were in a three way relationship.”

“That’s real funny,” Brett said.  “But it doesn’t matter now because I’ve moved on, and so should you.  We’ve been hanging around together since high school.  That’s too long.”

“Moved on huh?” she asked.  “So who is she?   Another rich heiress you’re trying to con out of her trust fund?”

“No, I’ve gone straight now,” Brett insisted.  “No more cons.   I’m trying to earn my own living and make it on my own.  All on the level.”

“Yeah right,” Devon said, shaking her head doubtfully.  “This isn’t senior year, Rick. You’re into something up to your eyeballs, I know it.   I saw an ad in the paper for musicians.  Contact Brett Armstrong, it said.   Brett Armstrong?   That was the name on a credit card Bailey stole to get us hotel rooms.”

“So?” he said defensively.  “I can’t use my real name here.  I’m trying to start a new life, Devon.  Rick Shively doesn’t exist anymore.”

Devon cornered him against the doors that led outside onto the terrace.  “Once a con, always a con,” she said, standing on her toes to gain height so she could look him in the eyes.  “I want my share of that money, Rick.  And I’m not leaving L.A. until I get it.”

“Devon, I was going to give you your share-“

“Save it!” she spat angrily.  “I’m staying at the Sunset Strip Motel.  Be there tonight at ten with five thousand in cash.”

“Devon, look-“

“Unless you’d rather I call the police and tell them where they can find you.  I’m sure they have plenty of questions to ask you about Bailey’s death and the vanishing tour guides.”

Brett stared at her with wide eyes, swallowing hard.    He wondered if she would carry through with her threats.   It was a risky call, but he hated the thought of parting with one dime of that money.

Jordan Rydell

Later that afternoon, Alex and Jordan went to the Valley Beach Club for lunch.  He escorted her to the table and pulled the chair out for her.

“Such a gentleman,” Alex cooed, batting her eyelashes as the hostess handed them each a menu.   “You saved me from that vile Philip Whitacre the other night, and now I’m getting the royal treatment.  When did you become so charming, Mr. Rydell?”

Jordan smiled devilishly as she sat down across from her.  “I’ve always been so,” he replied.  “You were just too preoccupied with James Blackthorne to notice.”

Alex glanced across the room and saw James enter with Marilee Wells.  She rolled her eyes and slapped her menu onto the table with a loud smack.  “Speak of the devil.”

Jordan turned in the direction she was looking in.  “Ah, looks like your ex’s taste in women has changed since Brooke ran out on him.  I never thought Marilee to be his type.”

“They’ve been friends for years,” Alex said bitterly.  “I always thought she had a secret thing for him.  All those times she came over to the mansion and sat in on James’s screening parties.  She was always the only woman in a room full of rich and powerful men.   It’s no wonder she landed herself two husbands and wound up with a bank account the size of China. I think she's secretly a psychotic serial killer."

Jordan smiled in amusement.  “Why do I get the feeling that you disapproved of any woman who came within ten feet of James?”

She raised an eyebrow and smiled.  “You catch on quick.”

“So why should I be any different toward you?”

“What do you mean?” Alex asked.

“Well, we’ve gotten close these last few weeks,” Jordan explained, looking across the table into her eyes.  “Why shouldn’t I be jealous of the fact that you see other men?   Will Thomerson for one.    Philip Whitacre to name another.”

“Philip Whitacre was a costly mistake,” Alex said.  “And as for Will, I enjoy his company. What’s the matter?  You can’t handle a challenge?  You’re not man enough to stick it out and let the best man win?”

“It’s not that,” Jordan replied.  “I just want to make sure I’m ahead in the race.  What it is that has you so captivated by Will Thomerson?”

“He’s very rich and powerful and successful,” Alex started.

“And he has an enormous vendetta against James,” Jordan finished for her.  “Isn’t that the real reason you’re so attracted to him?   You want a piece of the action.  You want a starring role in the downfall of James Blackthorne.”

“That has an appeal, yes.”

“I can help you with that too, you know.”

Alex rolled her eyes.  “Oh really?  How?  By starring in your movie?  Come on, Jordan, that’s child’s play.   Will and James have almost thirty years of animosity between them.   Can you imagine the scene that will unfold when Will triumphs over his mortal enemy?  Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?”

Jordan nodded.  “Okay, but how far can you take a relationship with a man whose only passion in life is revenge?” he asked.  “A few months maybe?  Then what are you left with?  An empty bed and an empty heart, that’s what.”

“Oh Jordan, stop it.”

“I mean it.  You deserve a lot more than that, Alex.  You deserve a man who sweeps you off your feet and stands by you, not because of some vendetta, but because he adores you.   Admit it, that’s what you really want.”

Alex looked at him in shock.  She’d never heard Jordan talk so passionately about anything.   Maybe he was on to something.  Maybe she was wasting so much energy on revenge that she wasn’t taking time out to make herself happy.

Jasmes Blackthorne

“I’m sorry, James, I can’t help you,” Marilee said to James as they sat at their table in the corner of the restaurant.   “I can’t just loan out millions of dollars without some kind of security.  Think about it.  You’re struggling to pay Jack the money he loaded you.  If I loan you the money to pay him, you’ll be in the same position with me.”

James sighed and shook his head.  “I’m running out of options, Marilee,” he said, slamming his fist on the table.

“Put your house up as collateral,” Marilee suggested.   “Or your studio.  I’d love to help you, James, but I can’t.”

“I understand,” James said, racking his brain to try to come up with something.

Stormy Blackthorne

Stormy and Lauren raced out of the water at the beach, laughing and chasing each other up to her apartment building.    She stopped on the steps and tried to catch her breath before handing him a towel to dry off with.

“That was not fair!” she yelled between hurried breaths.  “You had a head start!”

“Sure, sure,” Stormy replied, playfully pushing her away.  “You’re just a sore loser.”

“I’m not a sore loser!” Lauren insisted, sticking her foot out and tripping him as she laughed hysterically.

“Oh yeah?” Stormy asked, laying on the hot sand in his red swim trunks.  “What do you call that?”

Just then, Brett walked out from inside the apartment building, digging his hands into the pockets of his jeans and watching them suspiciously.  “What’s going on, guys?” he asked, seeing the way they were laughing and joking together, frolicking on the beach like they were young sweethearts in love.

“Hey Brett, what are you doing here?” Stormy asked, climbing to his feet.

“I went by the studio and Eddie said you guys took off a while ago, so I stopped by to see if you were here,” Brett explained.  “I thought we were going to spend the afternoon in the studio.”

“Yeah, but who can work inside on such a beautiful day?” Lauren asked, drying her hair with a towel.  “Why don’t you join us, Brett?”

“Sure, why not.”  He didn’t take his eyes off of them.

“I think I have an extra suit in my car,” Stormy said.  “I’ll be right back.”

He ran off to the parking lot and left Brett and Lauren standing on the steps.   After a minute of awkward silence, he turned to her and smiled.

“Looks like you and Stormy are getting pretty tight,” he said.

“Yeah,” Lauren said with a smile.  “He’s great.  I can talk to him about anything.”

Brett pressed his lips together tightly, fidgeting anxiously with his hands.  After another minute, he looked back at her and shrugged.  “Is that all it is?” he asked.  “I mean, is there anything else going on with you two?”

His remark took her by surprise.  “What do you mean?” she asked.

“It just seems like you two are getting along really well, that’s all.”

Lauren shrugged.  She wasn’t sure what he was getting at, but from his tone she could tell he was accusing them of something.  “Yeah, but that’s all.  Stormy’s my producer, Brett.”

He took a step closer to her.  “Yeah, and I’m your manager.  I just worry that any decisions you make about your personal life might affect your career.  I’m trying to look out for your best interests, Lauren.”

She smiled and patted him on the shoulder.  “I appreciate that.  I’m glad I have someone like you on my side.  But I don’t think that my friendship with Stormy is going to jeopardize my career.  Nobody even knows who I am yet.   I’m a nobody.  I don’t think the press is going to be lining up at my door anytime soon.”

Brett smiled back at her.  “With me as your manager they will be before you know it.”

Stormy returned to the beach with a pair of red swim trunks and handed them to Brett.  “Here ya go,” he said.  “You can change inside.  Don’t worry, Winter’s at work.”

Nodding, Brett gave Lauren a final glance before turning and walking up the steps to the building.  He walked up the two flights of stairs and went inside the apartment.    Closing the door, he leaned against it and shut his eyes.   He didn’t know why he was so unnerved all of the sudden about how close Stormy and Lauren had become.   Why did he have a reason to be jealous?  He was married.  Stormy was married too.  Lauren was off limits to both of them.

Heather Blackthorne

The next morning, Heather went to the Blackthorne mansion and found Miranda in the game room playing X Box.   She took a deep breath and walked over to the sitting area.

“Hey, what’s up?” Miranda asked, barely looking up at her sister-in-law.

“What are you going to do about Brett?” Heather asked, her tone demanding as she placed her hands on her hips.

Miranda frowned.  “What about him?  He’s upstairs taking a shower.”

Heather rolled her eyes and grabbed the remote control, hastily switching off the television so she could have Miranda’s full attention.  “I’m talking about Lauren.  Brett and Stormy are obsessed with her!  Doesn’t that bother you?”

Sitting up on the sofa, Miranda looked at her with annoyance evident on her face.  “I don’t know about you, Heather, but my marriage is rock solid.  I don’t have to wonder what Brett is doing every minute of the day.   If that’s the way you and Stormy’s marriage is, then I’d consider seeing a therapist.”

She got up to walk out of the room when Heather pulled her back.   “It doesn’t bother you at all that our husbands spend every minute of the day with her?” she asked, shaking her head in dismay.   “My marriage is secure too, but I still think it’s suspicious.  I would think you of all people would see right through it. You don’t trust anybody.  I mean, look at the way you warned everyone against Brooke.   And you were right.  She took off and left your father.”

“Yes, I was right about Brooke,” Miranda beamed proudly.  “But you’re dead wrong about Brett.  He loves me and he would never do anything to hurt me.   Stormy, on the other hand, has always been a playboy.   I don’t know how your marriage has survived this long.  So if anyone has anything to worry about, it’s you.”

With that, she turned and stormed out of the room, leaving Heather alone with a look of frustration on her face.   Why was Miranda turning a blind eye to what was going on?  Lauren Spencer was trying to steal their husbands away from them and she couldn’t care less.

She bounded out of the room and down the hallway to the foyer.   Before she could open the front door to leave, Brett came down the stairs and called after her.  She turned and stopped in her tracks, eager to confront him.

“What’s going on with you and Lauren?” she insisted, her eyes menacing.

Brett frowned as he came off the last stair and stopped before her.  “What do mean?” he asked.  “Nothing’s going on with me and Lauren.”

“All Stormy ever talks about is Lauren.  Lauren this and Lauren that. “  She threw her arms up in resignation.  “Well I’m sick of it!”

Folding his arms across his chest, Brett looked down at the pretty girl.  “I’m Lauren’s manager,” he said.  “So obviously I have to spend time with her.  But that’s the extent of our relationship.”

“Oh please!” Heather exclaimed.

Suddenly an idea occurred to Brett.    He realized that if he fueled Heather’s suspicions, maybe she would confront Stormy about it and he would have to reassure her by spending less time with Lauren.   If that happened, his problems would be over.  The jealousy he felt over their closeness would be a dead issue.

“Whatever is going on with Stormy and Lauren is something else all together,” he continued.  “I know they spend a lot of time together when I’m not around, but I guess you’ll have to ask him about that yourself.”

He turned and started down the hall, smiling wickedly.   After just a few steps he heard Heather race out of the house and slam the door shut behind her.

Mission accomplished.

Beach Club

That night at the Valley Beach Club, the restaurant was quickly filling with customers in anticipation of Lauren’s debut.    Brett was rushing around the dining room, ensuring that every last detail was taken care of.   When Marjorie Stahl arrived with several other reporters from Rolling Stone and other big industry magazines, he spent a few minutes telling them how lucky they were to have received tickets for such a highly anticipated event.

“Lauren’s going to be a star!” he said repeatedly to reporters from Image and Feature magazines.   He figured if he was going to make a go of living life on the straight and narrow, he might as well put all he had into it.    There was definitely money to be made with Lauren Spencer.

Walking across the room, he felt someone grab his arm and he spun around with a toothy smile, prepared for anything.    Except for….

“You didn’t show up last night,” Devon Graham hissed, glaring at him and pointing her finger inches from his eyes. 

Her sudden appearance threw him into a panic.   That night was much too important to have her ruin it for him.   “What are you doing here?” he whispered, grabbing her arm and pulling her out into the lobby of the restaurant.

“I told you that if you didn’t come to my motel room last night with the money, I was going to make you very sorry!" Devon shrieked.  “I swear I’ll tell the police where to find you, Rick.   You’ll go to jail and whatever life you’ve assumed this time will be over.”

“Would you keep your voice down,” Brett demanded, gripping her arm tightly.

Neither of them noticed Lauren watching them from behind a pillar in the lobby, dressed for her performance in a blue sequined gown and hearing every word they said.

“I’ll get you your money.  I’ve kind of had my hands full.  Now go back to your motel room and wait for me there.   I’ll bring it by tonight after the show.”

Devon shook her head in frustration.  “What show?” she asked, looking in at the crowd of people gathered into the restaurant.  “What exactly are you doing here, anyway?”

“I told you, I’m starting a new life here,” Brett insisted.   “Now leave before you ruin it for me.”

Devon shrugged his hand off of her arm and pulled away.  “Leave you alone so you can get away with murder?” she asked in disbelief.  “I don’t think so.  I’m going in there and telling everyone what a fraud and phony you really are.”

She turned and started back into the dining room.  Brett watched her with wide eyes, sweat pouring from his forehead.

Blackthorne Mansion

Meanwhile, at the Blackthorne mansion, James was sitting in his study when Leilani entered and got his attention. 

“There’s a Mr. Sallis here to see you,” she said.

“Thank you, Leilani,” James replied, standing up as Cutty Sallis walked into the study, briefcase in hand.

James walked around his desk and shook the man’s hand.   “Thank you for coming so quickly, Mr. Sallis,” he said.   “I realize it’s a bit unorthodox to hold a business meeting this late, but I understand you’re leaving for the east coast in the morning.”

“I take it your calling me has something to do with the offer I made you the other day in your office,” Sallis said.

Hesitating for a minute, James finally nodded and walked over to his desk.   “I’ve decided to take you up on your offer, ” he said.  “That is, if H&Q Consolidated is still willing to loan me the money.”

“The terms of the loan will remain as we discussed,” Sallis replied.  “I cannot alter them, Mr. Blackthorne.”

James nodded regretfully.  “Twenty percent interest, and Sunset Studios as collateral.”  The high interest rate he could deal with, but putting his studio up as loan security made his stomach turn flips.    It was a risky endeavor, but he had no choice.  He had to get that money to pay Jack Fallmont back.

Sallis opened his briefcase and removed a set of contracts.  He handed them to James and them showed him the check.   “Sign on the places indicated,” he said, pointing to several pages of the document. 

James took a deep breath, picking up a pen and watching his hand trembling uncontrollably as he brought it down to the paper.   Closing his eyes, he tried to think of the bind he was in.  He had no other alternative but to go with H&Q Consolidated’s offer.

Deciding he couldn’t put it off any longer, he pressed down with the pen and quickly signed his name on all three pages.   Slamming the pen onto the desk, he grabbed the check from Sallis and looked at it, somewhat relieved.   He had to keep telling himself that it didn’t have to be a big deal.  He would simply pay it back and everything would work out fine.   His studio would never feel the brunt of it.

“It’s been a pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Blackthorne,” Sallis said, shaking his hand and starting to the door.

“Same to you,” James replied.  “Leilani will show you out, Mr. Sallis.”

After he’d left, James walked to the window and stared outside at the night sky.   With a sense of relief, he picked up the phone on his desk and dialed Jack Fallmont.

“Jack, it’s James,” he said into the receiver.  “I’ve got your money.”

Will Thomerson

Will Thomerson sat behind his desk at Jaguar Studios, swiveling back and forth in his chair as he gulped down a scotch neat.   He looked up when the door opened and Cutty Sallis walked inside, handing him a few pieces of paper.

“He signed it?” Will asked, smiling with exhilaration as he leafed through the contract.

“I just came from his house,” Sallis replied.

Will stood up, staring at the contract baring James’s signature.   “Poor James,” he began.  “If he only knew who he was actually borrowing this money from.”

“Where did you come up with the name H&Q Consolidated, anyway?” Sallis asked, pouring himself a drink. 

Will snatched the glass away from him.  “The phonebook,” he replied.   “You can go now.  I didn’t hire you to drink my booze.  I hired you because I needed an actor to play a part.”

The actor shrugged and left the office, leaving Will behind with a triumphant look on his face.   Finally he would get his ultimate revenge on James Blackthorne.   It was only a matter of time now.   Soon he would have control of his beloved Sunset Studios.

 


Next time...

Brett tries to keep Devon from exposing him.  Alex and Will celebrate James's impending downfall.  James learns of Ethan's fate.  Heather issues a warning to Lauren.  Despite his best efforts, Stormy gives in to an intimate moment with Lauren.    

 Read Episode 12

 

 


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