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Episode 111

 

Release Date:  April 10, 2010

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Renee kicked Jackie out of Moonshadows after David sold it to her.  In retaliation, Jackie stepped up her efforts to take over Merteuil Industires.  After learning that Marilee had the last remaining shares, she blackmailed her into selling them to her, threatening to tell Kyle that she was his mother if she didn't.  Brett and Suzanne consumated their attraction to one another.  Immediately after, Suzanne learned that Benji had been arrested.  Jordan blasted Suzanne for not watching out for their son.  She later regretted sleeping with Brett.  At his urging, however, she fell back into bed with him.  As a favor to Jordan, Stephanie arranged for the charges against Benji to be dropped.  Jordan became frustrated in Benji's behavior, insisting that he start working at Rydell Productions, and contemplating having him and Suzanne move back in with him. A belligerant Benji vowed to make hiim sorry for treating him like a child.  Alex appeared to be on the straight and narrow, cleaning up her act in preparation for adopting the baby in Malawi.  In Acapulco, Stormy cautioned Kyle to remain on his best behavior.  That night, Brooke gave in to her desires and slept with Kyle.  David became sentimental when talking to Miranda about the baby she lost.  When Jackie confronted David about why he sold Moonshadows, he told her that he was dying.  


 

Episode 111

"S.U.C.C.E.S.S."

 

“It was after Don Fenwick and I fell from the balcony.  Dr. Farraday wanted to make sure I didn’t have any internal injuries so he did a bunch of tests. He found something and sent me to a specialist in San Francisco.   An MRI revealed a brain tumor.”

There was an eerie silence. 

“I haven’t told anyone else,” David went on.  “Don’t know that I will.  Despite our arguments, you’re still my mother and I wanted you to know.”

Jackie stared at him in disbelief.  What was he saying?  What was he talking about?  Was she dreaming?  Better yet, was she having a nightmare?

“Mother, aren’t you going to say something?”

“Surgery,” she said at last.  “You’ll just have surgery.  An operation.  Doctors can do anything nowadays.  We’ll simply find the best in the world.”

“I wish it were that simple.”

“It is that simple,” she insisted, taking the chair beside his.  They were in her room at the Yacht Club, each nursing a drink.  Jackie decided she needed a refill, grabbing his glass too and heading for the bar.  She couldn’t sit still.

“It’s inoperable,” he told her. 

With her back to him, Jackie clumsily poured them two glasses of bourbon, the amber liquid splashing about in her trembling hands.  The words rang out in her head but she tried to block them out by squeezing her eyes closed. 

Her son.  The alpha male who’d succeeded beyond her wildest imagination.  The child that she wanted desperately.  Nathan Blackthorne had refused her a child, but Royce Jennings had been all too willing to produce an heir.  She was suddenly filled with regrets.  She let her only child be raised by a series of disinterested nannies while she flitted about New York socializing with so-called important people.  She’d handed him a bunch of credit cards and awarded him with a Porsche on his sixteenth birthday.  Anything to keep him happy so she could do what she did best. 

So there he was, a popular boy, a rich boy, a spoiled boy, with nobody around to stop him from doing anything he wanted.  Royce was always traveling, sleeping with women like Roz Taylor and building a fortune.  Even when David announced he wasn’t going to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, the late great producer Jonas Lamont, she barely reacted.  It wasn’t until Royce died that he stepped up and took over the reigns over running their enormous hotel empire.  She hadn’t been much of a role model.  Still, he turned out to be a good, upstanding man. 

David.  Her only child.  And she’d never even get the chance to really know him.

“How long?” she said, still facing the bar.

“Six months.  Maybe a year.”

She took a deep breath and turned with their drinks in her hands.  She wouldn’t let herself fall apart.  Jackie Blackthorne didn’t do emotions.  She started toward him, her trembling hands shaking so violently that the glasses fell to the floor and crashed into a thousand shards.  Immediately, David jumped up from his chair. 

“Mother-“ he began, leading her away from the jagged pieces.

“It’s not fair,” she said, tears trickling down her porcelain face.  “Damnit, it’s not fair!”

And just like that, she broke down in front of him.  He went to comfort her but she instead wrapped her arms tightly around his torso and kissed his face. 

Miranda Blackthorne

“Is Mommy home yet?” Michael asked as Miranda led him down an upstairs hall at the Blackthorne mansion. 

“Any minute,” Miranda replied, his tiny hand in hers as she led him to the staircase.  “Do you have the picture you made for her?”

“Uh uh,” he sniffed, waving a crayon drawing clutched in his other hand.

James was waiting in the foyer when they reached the bottom landing.   “There you are,” he said, ruffling the shock of blond hair on the five-year-old’s head.  “Excited to see your mom?”

“Yeah!” he yelled, jumping up and down on the marble floor. 

“You’re really good with him,” James said to his daughter as he watched her adjusting the collar on Michael’s Lacoste polo.  “He seems to really have taken to you these past couple of days.”

“Don’t start on me about having a baby,” Miranda said, rolling her eyes.  “I got the same thing from David earlier this morning.  I barely know what I’m doing with my life.  Kids?  Forget about it.”

James laughed and put and arm around her as the door opened and Brooke and Stormy entered, the limo driver hauling in an armload of bags behind them.

“Mommy!” Michael yelled and raced over to Brooke.  He thrust the picture at her and giggled when she swept him up in her arms.

“I missed you,” she said, kissing his face.  “Did you miss me?”

“Yeah.”  He pointed at Miranda.  “But Miranda did okay.”

Everyone laughed and Brooke set him down again.   “What did you and Miranda do?”

“We went to the San Diego Zoo, then we had some snacks, then we rode horseys, then we got in the car, then we saw a dead bird, then we laughed at Eddie, then we….”

“He’ll probably go on like this for a while,” Brooke said, expertly letting his voice fade to the background.  He had an ability to entertain himself for hours.   “Miranda, thank you for watching him.  I hope he wasn’t too much trouble.”

“Not at all,” she said, giving her a quick squeeze.  

“How did the trip go?” James asked, patting Stormy on the shoulder and giving Brooke a peck on the cheek.  “Where’s Kyle?”

“He went home,” Stormy snorted.  “Like, the minute we got off the jet.”

James raised an eyebrow.    “I take it from your tone things didn’t go well?”

Brooke intended to deflect any of Stormy’s tirades over Kyle’s involvement in House of Palms, so she quickly went to his defense yet again.  “There just wasn’t much of a need for all three of us to go to Acapulco this trip.  But I guess we know who we have to blame for that, don’t we?”

“Jackie’s kept a relatively low profile at the studio since I called her out on her little setup,” James said with a wry expression.  “But she did manage to secure Eric Autumn as director, so she hasn’t been totally useless.”

Stormy nodded in approval.  “I found some great locations in Acapulco.  The Mexican Film Commission was very cooperative so I don’t think we’ll have any problems.”

"Good to hear,” James said.  “I trust your judgment, son.”

“So what about casting?” Brooke inquired.  “How is that coming?”

“Very well,” James replied.  “Everyone we need for the Mexico shoot has been cast except for the role of Lana.”

“That’s the biggest part,” Stormy said with alarm.  “Who are we going to get?  We have to start filming in less than two weeks.”

“Don’t worry,” James said confidently.  He glanced to the hall where Leiliani was standing with a knowing look on her face.  “Uh, I have a little surprise for everyone if you’d like to follow me into the family room.”

“Oh no,” Miranda said, nudging Brooke with her elbow as they followed him down the mahogany-paneled foyer.  “Daddy’s surprises always seem to instill panic. “

Brooke laughed and turned to check on Michael, who was still going a mile a minute about every detail of his two days with Miranda.  

When they entered the family room, a giant cake lit with sparklers was spread out on a table.  Scrawled out in frosting was a giant #1.

“What’s this?” Stormy asked.  “Number one?”

“The box office numbers came in from the weekend,” James proudly announced.  Angel Assassin 2 debuted in the number one spot. It took in sixty-five million dollars in three days.”

“What?!” Stormy exclaimed happily.

They erupted into a raucous cheer, hugs were exchanged, and congratulations were issued.  Leilani frantically tried to keep Michael from taking off with one of the sparklers while she poured glasses of champagne.

“That’s fantastic news,” Brooke said happily.  “You guys deserve this.  It was a difficult road, I know.”

“Hey, you’re part of the team too,” James said.  He turned and accepted a glass of champagne, ensuring everyone else had one.

“I didn’t do anything,” Brooke maintained.  “I didn’t come on board until after.  When House of Palms makes that much opening weekend, then you can give me credit.”

“Well, truth be told, the real reason this movie turned into the success it is has everything to do with Stormy.”  James raised his glass to his son.  “You worked your ass off and you produced a fantastic movie, son.  I couldn’t be more proud of you.”

“Thanks,” Stormy said modestly, grinning when Brooke and Miranda fell alongside him and gave him a squeeze. 

“What about me?!” Michael yelled, stomping up and down on the floor. 

“You?” Brooke grinned and swept him up in her arms.  You?”

Stormy used the distraction to duck across the room and quietly reflect while staring outside the terrace doors.  He sipped his champagne with one hand, the other resting in his pocket.  Before he knew it, Miranda was standing behind him. 

“You don’t look too happy,” she noted.  “I thought this was what you wanted all along.  Daddy’s approval.  I’d think you’d be jumping up and down like Michael about now.”

“No, I’m happy,” he said thoughtfully, walking out onto the terrace and taking in the warm Hollywood air. 

She leveled a look of suspicion on him and followed him outside.  “I know you better than that, big brother.  What’s up?”  She waited only a beat before continuing in a knowing tone.  “You’re thinking about Kelly, aren’t you?”

“How could I not?  She had a big part in this movie.  She should be here celebrating with us right now.”

“God, no,” Miranda murmured.  “Look, Kelly left.  It was her choice.  Just keep reminding yourself of that.”

“Yeah, but you should have seen her at that seedy modeling studio in New York when I found her.  She deserves better than that.” 

“She’ll probably get her fifteen minutes of fame now that her face is going to be instantly recognizable.  But like any opportunist she’ll wind up back on the street before long.  She’s not your responsibility, Stormy.”

He sighed and turned back to the family room.  “You’re right,” he said.  “I just hope she uses this as an advantage.  She went right from Ke Liu to me and then to some photographer in New York.  I don’t think she knows how to make it on her own without a man.”

“There’s a word for that kind of woman,” Miranda said and flashed him a knowing look before walking back inside. 

Kelly Kahoano

Flitting about her Manhattan apartment in a pale pink silk robe that fell just below the thighs, Kelly Blackthorne yanked a blouse from her closet and laid it out onto the sofa to examine.  Champagne viscose with a row of ruffles, paired with skin tight designer jeans and beige pumps.  She stood back and smiled in approval, jamming to a tune through her headphones, iPod blasting the latest tune from Christina Aguilera. 

Satisfied that she’d chosen an appropriate outfit for the day, she turned and took in her surroundings.  She’d finally begun moving up in the world, and things would only get better now that her movie was a smash.  Her cozy one-bedroom apartment was a huge step up from her last place, a ramshackle walk-up in Brooklyn which neighbored the modeling studio she worked at.  Jared Honeywell, the ultra disgusting photographer and owner of the agency was now history, fed up when she stopped putting out between shoots.  Nothing came of her time there anyway.  She soon realized Jared was in it for one thing, a piece of ass.  Plus he didn’t care for her so-called baggage, so she moved on. 

Along the way there were many other men, all claiming to be modeling scouts or talent agents with loads of connections.  Some stuck around, some didn’t.  Some she actually liked for reasons that had nothing to do with what they could do for her career.

The most recent was Neil Winsow, a married, middle-aged man with a rock hard body and an even harder dick.  She loved the sex, she loved the Manhattan apartment he set her up in, and she loved the fact that he did have connections.  Weeks before Angel Assassin 2 turned into a huge international hit, he seemed to already be making things happen.  He wasn’t easy to get along with – in fact he was sometimes rude and abrasive – but she liked what he could do for her.   Not enough to put aside all of her other prospects, however.  After all, a girl had to look out for herself first and foremost. 

Through the stomping sounds from her iPod, she thought she heard a knock at the door.  Removing her ear buds, she listened and confirmed that someone was outside the door.

She went to retrieve it, her long black hair cascading down her shoulders as she walked.  When she opened it, Neil entered, taut face and all.  He was medium height, moderately hairy, and had a receding hairline that most women, including his wife, found very sexy.

“Why didn’t you use your key?” she asked him.

“I left it in my pants the other day,” he told her, scouting around the small living room.  “I hope to God Lucy doesn’t find it or we’ll both be in a world of hurt.  Is he here?”

“Who?” she asked coyly. 

“R.J.”  He was in no mood for her games.

“Of course.  He’s in the bedroom.”  She liked pushing his buttons.  It was good for him to feel that he wasn’t the only one in her life.  She went back to her outfit on the sofa.  “What do you expect me to do, Neil?”

“I thought we talked about him is all.  You need to unload that dead weight.  I thought you and I were on the same page.”

“I thought so too,” she responded, then continued with an acerbic, “by the way, how is your wife Lucy?”

“Listen, baby, you’re a star,” he said, grabbing her by the arms.  “Your name is all over the place thanks to that little movie you did last year.  I told you if you stuck with me I’d take you to places you only dreamed you could go.”

She wanted to test him.  After all, he had nothing to do with that little movie she did last year.  That was all her own doing.  “Maybe I’ll do fine on my own,” she said brazenly.

Neil threw his hands up and chuckled.  “Hey, be my guest.  Go out there and see what it’s like for an actress without an agent.  Blockbuster or not, sweetheart, you’ll be back nude modeling in Brooklyn before the month is out.”

“So do something already.  I’m sick of sitting around this apartment.  If I’m so hot right now then why aren’t there any calls coming in?  I thought you were going to help me.” 

“Not as long as he’s around.  You need to choose.  R.J. or me.”

Kelly snapped her head toward him, her eyes flashing danger signals.  “What about you?  You still haven’t left your wife! “

“I told you, I will in time.”

“When?”

“Don’t pressure me!” he yelled angrily.

She folded her arms in a childish pout.  “Then don’t expect me to give up R.J.”

His tone changed, calming down so as not to cause a scene, especially when they weren’t alone.  “This is your career we’re talking about.  All you need is me.”  He stepped forward, looking into her expressive brown eyes.  “And by the way, that means you need to finally divorce your husband out there in Hollywood.”

“Stormy?  Why?”

“It’s not good for your image.  You’ve got one too many men in your life, sweetheart, and I’m the only one who can help you make it to the top.  The sooner you realize that the better off you’ll be.” 

“I’m sick of you trying to run my life,” she hissed.  All he’d done since their brief relationship started was make promises and demands.   “I’m beginning to think you just want to control me.  Maybe you’re just another has-been agent looking for a piece of ass.”

Pushed to the limit, he drew his arm back and hit her in the face with the ball of his hand.  The force knocked her ten feet across the room and she crashed into the console table by the window, knocking it to the floor as she fell. 

“You need to start listening to my advice, sweetheart,” he groaned.  “I’ve been in the business a hell of a lot longer than you or your golden boy back in Hollywood.  You might try remembering that next time I offer to help you.” 

“Get out!” she lamented from the floor, her hand instinctively going to the bruise that formed on her cheekbone.  “I don’t need you!   I can do this on my own!”

Shaking his head in disgust, Neil turned and went back to the door.  He didn’t look back, too pissed and too eager to leave her ungrateful ass before he really wailed on her.  Besides, he wasn’t into vying for the affection of a dumb starlet.  There were plenty more when Kelly Blackthorne came from.

Jordan Rydell

Jordan hadn’t seen Stephanie since she arranged for Benji’s release from jail.  She hadn’t returned his phone calls and he was getting worried.  Partly that she’d have second thoughts on her good deed, and partly that the gap was closing in on the last time they were in a near-coital situation.  Never let them forget how much they wanted it, he always said. 

So deciding it was time to refresh her memory, he dropped by the police station at lunchtime with a bag of hotdogs from the beach vendor they’d patroned on their first disastrous date.   A catered dinner hadn’t worked, a three-piece orchestra hadn’t impressed her, and a four-hundred bottle of Dom went straight over her head.  Hotdogs from a cart in Venice Beach, however, were apparently her thing. 

Making his way to her office, he paused at the window when he spotted her placing items into a cardboard box on her desk.  His heart sank, already dreading the response he would get from his inevitable question.

“Going somewhere?” he asked, lingering in the doorway.

She turned, alarmed by his presence, and suddenly filled with regret over how this was going to go down.

“I was going to see you before I left,” she said, long chestnut hair swept back in her trademark ponytail.  She carefully placed a framed picture in the box in an effort to avoid eye contact. 

“Left?”  Hot dogs suddenly didn’t seem as cute of an idea.

“Back to New York,” she said.

“But I thought you…”   He was dumfounded.  Nothing she was saying made sense to him. 

“Part of the reason I came to L.A. was to get a fresh start after that whole business with Kyle and my partner Dugan went down.  I needed a place to hide away from everything.”

Nobody comes to L.A. to hide,” Jordan said bitterly. 

She seceded with a shrug.  “Now that I know the truth I have no reason to stay here.  New York is my home.”

A long period of silence followed as he watched her hands linger above the box.  He thought if she placed one more thing inside of it he would take it and throw it across the room.

“What about us?” he finally asked, sounding miserable. 

“I tried, Jordan, I really did.  I warned you that I wasn’t in any condition to start anything.  I have too much baggage.  It’s impossible for me to open up to someone.”

“That’s a shitty excuse,” he snapped.  “I know you felt something for me.”

“I did,” she said sadly.  “I still do.   Despite my first impressions of you, I think you’re an incredible man and I envy you more than you’ll ever know.”

“Envy me?”

“You’re so willing to open up.  You’ve been dealt your fair share of blows and yet you don’t hesitate to put yourself out there and expose yourself like a raw nerve.  I could never do that.” 

“Or is it just that you don’t want to?”

She sighed.  “Look, I compromised myself and my career for a man before.  I can’t let that happen again.”

“What makes you think it will?” he demanded.

“It already has.  I looked the other way and got your son off because of the way I feel about you.  Something like that could trip me up one of these days and I’d wind up making a mistake like I did in New York.  A mistake that could cost someone their life.” 

“Maybe you don’t belong in Hollywood,” he said bitterly.  “Those lines are fifty years old.” 

She managed a meek smile, running her hand along his face and kissing him softly on the cheek.  “I’m sorry.  I wish things could be different.” 

Shaking his head despondently, he held up the bag of hotdogs and offered a look of surrender.  “I brought lunch.  I’ll just leave it here.”

She opened the bag and smiled.  “Hot dogs.  Thank you.  You can stay and join me if you…”

“No,” he said and backed to the door.  “I have to get going.  Take care of yourself, Stephanie.”

With that, he turned and left the office, resisting the sensation as his eyes began burning. Maybe Stephanie had a point.  Maybe he did put himself out there, exposed, a little too freely.

He’d make sure he didn’t make that mistake again.

Benji Rydell

So far, Benji’s first day working for Rydell Productions had been a major snooze fest.  He’d ran some errands for Brett in the morning, copied twenty-five second draft scripts in the very noisy copy room, texted Duke about his plan to help him win back Sierra, sifted through the archive basement for stock footage they needed for Ocean Avenue, and then got a blowjob in the prop room from Derek, the fill-in receptionist an agency had sent over while Cheryl was out sick.

“So you’ll talk to your dad about getting me an audition?” Derek asked.

“Oh, definitely,” Benji replied, zipping up.  Derek was of course a wannabe actor fresh out of Nebraska or Kansas or some other square state.  He’d studied him all morning, and even though he realized the kid wasn’t even a little gay, he promised to get him an audition in exchange for a quickie.  Despite being extremely satisfied with the result, he had no intention of talking to Jordan about him.

“I better get back to work,” Derek said and started to leave the prop room.  He paused in the doorway.  “Oh shit!”

“What?” Benji asked, sweeping his hair from his eyes. 

“I forgot to get something signed by Mr. Armstrong,” he said, panicked.  “The messenger’s going to be here any minute to pick it up.  He’s going to tell the agency and then they’ll fire me.”

Benji rolled his eyes.  “For Pete’s sake.  Give me the document.  I’ll track him down and get his signature.”

“Thanks Benji,” Derek said and hurried down the hall to his desk.  “I owe you big time.”

“Don’t worry,” Benji replied with a wink.  He took the envelope from him and started to the door.  “You can repay me later.”

Alex Reynolds

Alex Reynolds walked through the lobby of the Beverly Hills Hotel with every eye upon her.  She was confident, clad in a peach pantsuit and large white Chanel sunglasses covering her eyes. 

“Hello, Alex,” called a tanned stud dressed in tennis whites and a sporting a two-day stubble. 

She smiled her confident smile, nodding graciously as several others offered up the same type of greeting.  She didn’t stop until she reached her destination, a private table at the front of the Polo Lounge. 

Mackenzie Stone was already there, rising with a duplicitous smile and offering her well-manicured hand.  “Hello, Alex.  Thank you so much for agreeing to meet with me.”

She took her seat and bared a row of perfectly straight teeth.  “Of course.  I must admit I was surprised to get your phone call.  We haven’t spoken since….”  A brief pause while she reflected on her low point.  “Well, since the premiere.”

“Who even remembers that anymore?” Mackenzie said with a laugh and motioned for their staff of waiters.  “You know how it is in this town.  One day you’re the front page headline and the next they’re on to someone else.  Only this time you’re back on the front page labeled a superstar.   Congratulations on the success of the film.  You must be thrilled with the reception it’s getting.”

“I hadn’t really noticed,” she replied and ordered a bottle of sparkling water.  She could see right through her.  Mackenzie Stone didn’t do congratulations.

“Don’t be so modest.  Word has it you are the hot property in town.  I’m sure Vince is having a field day sorting through offers.”

Alex decided to cut through the bull so she leaned forward and placed her hands neatly on the table.  “Mackenzie, you didn’t call me here to this very public place to stroke my ego.  You want something.  Now we’re both intelligent women.  Why don’t you not bullshit me and I won’t bullshit you, okay?”

Pursing her lips, Mackenzie pushed herself back from the table.  “Very well.  The network wants you back on the show.  The overnight success of the film has made them see they were wrong to let you go.”

“The network didn’t let me go.  You did.”

“Let’s not split hairs, I-“

“My guess is that your job is on the line, am I right?” Alex continued.  “You made the call to get rid of me so they’ve put it on you to remedy that.  Well, I can save you some time, Mackenzie.  I wouldn’t come back to your show for all the money in the world.”

“We’re prepared to double your salary.”

“No,” Alex replied, unaroused by the dollar figure.  “I have new priorities.”

Before Mackenzie could react, Cassidy Solomon had spotted them and swiftly approached.  Alex could tell immediately that she’d been drinking. 

“Isn’t this quaint?” Cassidy asked with a smile.  “Let me guess, you’re begging Alex to come back to the show?”

“This doesn’t concern you, Cassidy,” Mackenzie insisted. 

She laughed and hiccupped, blond hair teezed to oblivion.  “Alex, I never got a chance to apologize for outing you on television.  How embarrassing it must have been for you to have the whole world find out about your sordid drug problem.”

“No worries,” Alex said with a forced smile.  “It was a wake up call.  In a way I owe you a debt of gratitude, Cassidy.”

“Good, then you can get the hell off my show.”

“I have no intention of going back to your show, so you don’t have to worry, your reign over daytime will remain intact.” 

“That’s what you think,” Cassidy scoffed and ordered another drink from the waiter.  She looked at Mackenzie.  “Do you want to tell her or should I?”

“Tell me what?” Alex inquired.

Before Mackenzie could interject, Cassidy burst into story.  “The bitch fired me from the show.  Said I was too expensive and they needed to make room for new talent.  Can you believe that?”

Smiling, Alex rose from the table.  “Quite the predicament you’ve gotten yourself into, Mackenzie,” she said, looking down at the ball-busting woman.  “You fired your biggest star in hopes that I would come back after your pathetic little apology, despite the fact that I never actually heard an apology.  Well what is the network going to say when they learn you don’t have either of us anymore?”

Sulking miserably, Mackenzie drummed her fingernails on the table and looked away.   Alex shrugged and turned to leave, happy that she had other priorities in her life.  She didn’t need some stupid soap or a film career.  She would have all she needed once her adoption had gone through. 

Suzanne Rogers

The warm water felt good on Suzanne’s skin as she let the shower wash over her.  She closed her eyes, relishing the afterglow of a glorious half hour in bed with a man who made her feel alive for the first time in fifteen years.   Despite how guilty she often felt, she couldn’t fault herself for wanting something of her own.  Some happiness after being locked away for all those years, her very femininity a mere ghost of her former self.  She was only forty-six years old; young by today’s standards, and the sex was like she was a teenager again, urgent and necessary, frantic and explosive. 

Her thoughts were interrupted, happily so, by Brett as he stepped into the shower and stood naked before her.  Smiling, she pulled him toward her, water showering over their bodies.  His lips touched hers and moments alter they were kissing passionately. 

They were in Brett’s condo, having arranged to meet there over lunch while Violet was at a play date back in the Valley.  It made more sense for them to meet there.  It was private, close to work for Brett, and he didn’t have to go all the way through the mountains and then back again. 

“Jordan wants Benji and I to move back into the house in Beverly Hills,” Suzanne said as Brett came up behind her and kissed her neck.  “He thinks I need help looking after him.”

“What did you say?”  The remark pulled him quickly out of the mood.

“I told him to forget it.  Benji will be fine.  Now that he’s working he’ll have something to occupy his time with and will hopefully keep him out of trouble.” 

“I kept him busy this morning, that’s for sure,” Brett told her, then hesitated before continuing.  “Do you think Jordan suspects something?  About us?”

“I don’t think so.  Why?”

He shrugged, lathering her back with soap.  “Just the way he went off on us the other day at the police station.  I think we need to be very careful.”

Suzanne agreed.  Turning, she kissed him again, running her hands down his shoulders and over his chest.  She pulled him extremely close, adrenaline running through her body as she felt him growing hard again.  She wanted him more than she’d ever wanted anything. 

Knocking at the door outside in the living room pulled them out of the moment.  Brett sighed heavily, wanting nothing more than to make love to her in the shower.  But the prospect of someone standing on the other side of the front door was enough to make him heart-poundingly nervous.

“They’ll go away,” Suzanne whispered, massaging him with her hands.

Brett willed himself to stay focused on her, but the knocking persisted, growing louder and louder by the minute.  What followed was a familiar voice from the hall. 

“Who’s here?” Suzanne whispered.

Brett shook his head, deciding he didn’t want to risk it.  He’d locked the door to the condo, hadn’t he?  Now more worried than ever, he stepped out of the shower and grabbed a towel which he wrapped tightly around his waist.  Motioning for Suzanne to turn off the water and stay put, he made his way out to the living room where he was startled to find Benji. 

“How did you get in?” he demanded, water splashing from his wet body. 

Benji pointed at the door.  “It was open.  What are you doing?”

Brett searched for a plausible excuse for showering in the middle of the day.  “I worked out at lunch and the showers at the gym were broken so I ran up here.  What’s up?”

Trying desperately to avoid staring at his chiseled body, Benji held up the envelope with the documents inside.  “Derek forgot to have you sign this.  We need to messenger it over to the editing studio by this afternoon.” 

“Yeah, no problem.”  Brett didn’t waste time arguing over why it hadn’t been done before.  He grabbed the paper from him, leaned over the breakfast bar, and scribbled his signature.

As he waited, Benji’s eyes traveled from his brother-in-law’s muscled back to a pair of women’s shoes resting beside the door. They could be Heather’s he decided, but it seemed implausible that they’d still be sitting out.  It had been months since she went to the institution.  He began to wonder if Brett was hiding something. 

“Are you coming back to the studio soon, or-“

“I’ll be right behind you,” Brett replied and led him quickly back to the door.  “Just need to get changed.  Thanks for bringing this by.”

“No problem,” he said, intentionally pushing against him as he followed. 

Brett felt his towel about to fall, quickly securing it with his hands before it did.  He smiled, more than little sure that Benji had acted deliberately.  What impressed him was the boldness of how he went about it. 

“See you back at the office,” he told him, closing the door and locking it after he’d left.  He laughed to himself, realizing that he and Suzanne had to be more careful.  If Benji had came in and saw them together, there would be hell to pay.

Eddie Distefano

“Why do we have to go to the airfield?” Eddie complained.  “I thought we were going to relax at the pool?”

“We will.  I promised my father I’d get some papers Stormy left on the jet.”

They were in Miranda’s candy apple red Porsche speeding towards the private airstrip at the Van Nuys Airport.  Running a simple errand for her father actually made her feel important.  The same went for babysitting Michael.  It gave her something to do that made her feel like she was contributing.  Since Hotel Terranova was destroyed in the earthquake, she’d had little to do that felt productive.

“Why can’t Stormy do it?” asked Eddie. 

“He’s busy,” she snapped.  “Are you going to complain the whole way there?”

He sighed and sunk back in the leather seat.  When they arrived minutes later, Miranda pulled up near the Sunset Studios jet and scouted around for the pilot.  Peering in the distance, she scanned the hanger and was surprised to find David standing next to his private plane.  She waived and started over to him.  Eddie followed.

“Going somewhere?” she asked, entering the hanger.

“You could say that,” David replied.  He reached over and shook Eddie’s hand.  “What are you two up to?”

“And errand for Daddy,” Miranda told him.  “So listen, about that talk we had earlier.  You seemed kind of off, David.  Is everything okay?”

“Sure.  Why wouldn’t it be?”  He lifted his arms and stood rigidly as a man began strapping him into a harness fitted with a strange-looking backpack. 

Miranda shrugged.  “I don’t know.  I just got the feeling that you….”  She paused, inspecting the contraption that David was being hooked up to.  “Wait, what are you doing?”

“Skydiving,” he told her, relaxing as the man checked the latch points.

“Are you serious?” she gasped.  “Why?  Do you have a death wish or something?”

“That’s pretty awesome, David,” Eddie said with a chortle.  “I love skydiving.  It’s a rush.”

“When have you gone skydiving?” Miranda asked, flashing him an incredulous look.

He shrugged, playing the indifferent jock role he’d acquired in high school.  “Lots of times.  You know, before we started seeing each other.”

She rolled her eyes and turned back to David.  “I can’t believe you’re going to jump out of an airplane!  What brought this on?”

“You only live once,” David said and nodded to the pilot after he’d finished with his harness.  “I don’t want to look back one day and have any regrets.”

Miranda laughed with excitement.  The prospect thrilled her beyond belief.  She looked around and after finding the pilot, she pointed to the plane.  “Is there room for one more?” she asked. 

“Huh?” Eddie exclaimed and leapt forward.  “Miranda, I don’t think-“

“Sure is,” the pilot replied.  “You wanna jump?”

She nodded eagerly, lifting her arms in preparation to be fitted with the parachute.  “Eddie, you in?”

He looked around nervously, then casually dug his hands into his back pockets.  “Uh, yeah, I mean, it’s all good.  I’ve done this a hundred times, so…”

“Let’s get you a chute, too,” the pilot said, grabbing his arm and turning him around.

Eddie reluctantly lifted his arms.  He flinched when the harness went over his arms and strapped through his legs.   What the hell was Miranda getting them into?

“You sure about this?” David asked her.

“Positive,” she replied.  He made it sound so tantalizing, how could she not be sure?  This was just the kind of excitement she’d been missing.  She didn’t want to have any regrets, either.

Brooke Taylor

After they’d made love in Acapulco, the flight back to Los Angeles was overflowing with tension between Brooke and Kyle.  She didn’t regret her decision to sleep with him.  The sex was fantastic, as she knew it would be.  He was gentle and went easy on her, but at the same time made her eyes roll back in her head and squeal with delight.  Until they dropped him off at his place in Malibu, she couldn’t stop reliving it in her mind.

Hoping to stave off a long, drawn-out awkward period, she deposited Michael at afternoon kindergarten and proceeded to his house.  She spent the drive replaying every second of their night together, so by the time she arrived at his door, she was flushed beyond belief.

The grin on Kyle’s face told her he was just as happy to see her as she was him.  Not that she doubted he would be, but it reaffirmed her realization that he wasn’t just toying with her.

“Great news about the opening weekend of the film,” he said after pouring them each a glass of iced tea.  “James and Stormy must be thrilled.”

“They are,” she replied.  They were seated outside on his terrace that overlooked the roaring pacific.  “By the way, James called a meeting for tomorrow and he wants you and I to be there.  We’re to discuss the plans for the location shoot in Acapulco and some casting decisions still need to be made.”

“There’s a lot to do.  I hope I can keep up.”

Brooke smiled.  “Now’s not the time to announce that you doubt your abilities.”

He shook his head.  “No, I mean I hope I can concentrate with you around.”  He leaned forward and brushed his lips against hers.  “I wouldn’t want to spend every minute of the production of this movie wanting to rip your clothes off.” 

She giggled and leaned back against the wicker sofa.  Running her fingers through his super short hair, she pulled him into a hot, wet kiss.  It was true, working closely together would make it difficult to stay on track, but she was sure that they could manage in one way or another.   Still, she didn’t want to give anyone reason to doubt her abilities.  She could see Jackie using her romance with Kyle against her.

“Maybe we should keep this under wraps for a while,” she said between long, deep kisses.  “Besides, we don’t know where this is even going.  Why alarm anybody if we don’t have to.”

“I’m detecting some pessimism in your voice,” he said, unbuttoning her blouse. 

“I’m not being pessimistic, I’m being realistic.  I don’t intent on being hurt.”

“I don’t intend on hurting you,” Kyle said with his usual cocky grin.  “I went easy on you last night, didn’t I?”

She slapped him playfully on the shoulder.  “You know what I mean.  Let’s just take this one day at a time.  No sense in getting all overzealous right away.”

He unfastened her bra and went in with his tongue.  “A secret romance?” he asked when he came up for air.  “I can live with that.”

She closed her eyes and breathed a sigh of relief as he kissed every inch of her body. 

David Jenner

David landed on the ground first, followed by Miranda.  She did just as the instructor had told them: tuck and roll.  Landing was easy and she felt a rush that she’d never felt before in her life. 

“What’d you think?” David asked as he made his way over to her. 

“Amazing!” she screamed, barreling toward him and squeezing him tightly.  “I mean, the rush was intense!  I’ve never felt so scared and so terrified and so excited in my entire life!  It was totally liberating!”

David laughed and peeled her off of him.  “I couldn’t believe the view from up there.”

“It was just amazing,” Miranda repeated.  “Better than sex.”

He regarded her with a sly grin.  “I wouldn’t go that far.” 

Miranda laughed, taking full advantage of the light, airy feeling in her head and the tingling in her legs and feet.  She’d never been much into drugs, but if this was anything like it, she knew she’d been missing out. 

Suddenly, she remembered one of them hadn’t landed yet.  Looking up to the sky, she spotted Eddie falling amidst a grove of trees a hundred yards away.  The sound of his screaming and cursing carried through the air.  For a minute it looked like his chute would get caught up in the tree branches, but one by one they snapped in half and sent him slowly to the ground. 

“Son of bitch!” he yelled from the trees.

Quickly, Miranda shed her harness and raced over to him.  David followed.  When they arrived, Eddie was struggling to remove the parachute from over top of him but he’d become entwined in the nylon and thick string that bound it together.  

“Eddie, are you okay?” she asked, aiding in getting the parachute off of him.

“Okay?” he asked, finally seeing the light of day.  Okay?”

“Did you like it?” she asked with excitement. 

“Did I like it?” he repeated, eyes wide and bulging.  “No I didn’t freakin’ like it!  It was a nightmare!  Who in the hell jumps out of an airplane?”

“I’m sorry, babe, I-“

He shrugged her hand away, struggling with his harness for several minutes until he finally managed to get it off.  Heart pounding and skin white as a sheet, he began marching off toward the jeep awaiting their return. 

“Eddie!” Miranda called after him. 

“No!  This was the dumbest idea you’ve ever had!  I’m going home and going to the pool like we’d planned!”

Miranda looked at David and stifled a laugh. 

Jackie Lamont

Jackie drifted through her day in a fog, still reeling from the news that her only son had less than a year to live.  The prospect was far too alien for her to process.  How could this be happening?  When she awoke this morning, she was on top of the world.  She had Renee right where she wanted her, had control of her company, and was working toward finally reclaiming her father’s studio.  Now her hopes and dreams were crashing around her and nothing seemed as important. 

She decided to stop by Merteuil Industries.  Maybe relishing in her triumph over Renee DeWitt would snap her out of her funk, even though the victory now had a bittersweet feel to it.  Still, she had to proceed as normally as possible. 

Perched in the chair behind Renee’s giant mahogany desk, she put her feet up and swiveled back and forth.  Now that she had acquired the company, she planned on allowing its current directors to continue as normal.  With her input, of course.  She was no stranger to the business world.  While Royce handled most of their hotel empire, she still considered herself to be very business-savvy.  However, her number one priority was, and always would be Sunset Studios.  The main thrill in taking over the company was sticking it to her nemesis, the brash, nosy, know-it-all Renee Merteuil-DeWitt.

“I might have expected to find you here.” 

The voice interrupted her train of thought and spurred her to pivot in the chair.  She raised a perfectly waxed eyebrow and leveled her penetrating gaze on Renee who stood in the doorway.

“Not now, Renee,” Jackie said, realizing the irony involved.  What should have been her big triumphant reveal was shrouded by David’s pronouncement.  Bad timing all around, she decided.   “Unfortunately I’m not in the mood to do this now.”

“That’s too damn bad,” Renee said and strode into the room, her heels digging into the carpet as she proceeded toward the desk.  “I can’t believe you took it this far.  You know how important Merteuil was to my father.  He worked his entire life to make it what it is today and he entrusted it with me.”

“Charles was never a very good judge of character,” Jackie said with an indifferent sigh. 

“What is this about?” Renee continued.  “Because I kicked you out of Moonshadows?  Because I cautioned you to steer clear of Brooke Taylor?  What could possibly make you this vindictive?” 

“Honestly?” Jackie asked and rose to her feet.  True, she wasn’t in the mood to spar with her, but she decided it was time to lay it all out on the table.  “It entertains me.”

“I beg your pardon?” Renee asked with a chuckle.

“You have been a thorn in my side since the day I came to town, with your quasi deep threats and your sanctimonious attitude.  The way you have Kenny wrapped around your finger, insisting he’s on hand to come to your aid event though you dropped him years ago.  The self-pitying way you labeled yourself a martyr during both of Nathan’s trials.  Too worried that you precious reputation would get tarnished if anyone found out you had a daughter with him.”

“Leave my daughter out of this,” Renee hissed, taking a step toward her.

“I’m not claiming to have been the best mother in the world, but at least I didn’t ship my son off and pretend he wasn’t mine just to save face with the paparazzi. You think you’re so damn noble, don’t you?  Acting as the personal protector of the entire Blackthorne clan.  Well guess what?  You’re a hypocrite.”

Growing angrier by the minute, Renee clenched her fists at her sides.  “At least I didn’t marry a child molester….twice.” 

“No, you just slept with him and had his bastard baby like a common whore.”

The remark sent Renee into a fury.  Unable to control her rage, she lunged forward and tackled Jackie to the floor.  She screamed at the top of her lungs, struggling to keep her pinned down while she slapped her across the face.

Jackie, quickly switching to defense mode, pushed Renee off of her and sent her crashing into the coffee table a few feet away.  The legs buckled and the top crashed to the floor, narrowly missing Renee while she rolled out of the way.

“You bitch!” Jackie shouted, crawling across the room and grabbing Renee by the hair.

They struggled around the room, desperately clawing at one another amidst a shower of debris.  Renee climbed to her feet and pulled Jackie up by the arm, throwing her onto the sofa and causing it to tip onto its back.  She raced over and straddled her, slapping her across the face with mind shattering strength.  Jackie tried desperately to push her off, picking up a pillow and swatting it against her head.

Renee jumped off, grabbed a vase from the console table and hurdled it across the room.  Jackie ducked just in time, the vase hitting the wall, glass shattering in every direction.  Breathing heavily, she charged forward, grabbing Renee by the arms and throwing her against the far wall.

“Get off of me!” Renee squealed and tried to escape her firm grasp.   Seconds later, her knees buckled and she pulled Jackie down with her.  They rolled on top of broken glass and wood splinters.

Moments later, the door to the office opened and Kenny walked inside, followed by Ira.  They surveyed the disaster in the room and Kenny immediately raced over to stop the two women from beating each other to a pulp.

“That’s enough!” he yelled, pulling Jackie up by the arm and separating the two.  “What is going on here?”

“That lunatic came over here and accosted me!” Jackie shrieked, panting with exhaustion while brushing a few stray feathers from her hair.  “She’s crazy!”

Renee shook her head in anger.  “You know damn well why I came here,” she exclaimed.  “Kenny, she’s the one who launched the takeover of Merteuil!  She did it just to spite me!”

“Is that true?” Kenny asked.

“Yes, and if your ex-wife isn’t careful the next thing I’ll launch will be a lawsuit for assault!” Jackie warned him before grabbing her purse and heading for the door.  She looked back and issued Renee a warning through bared teeth.  “Clear your things out by tonight.  You’re history.”

After she’d gone, Renee fell into Kenny’s arms, sobbing against his chest over the loss of her father’s company. 

James Blackthorne

After serious discussions between themselves and Eric Autumn, the legend they’d hired to direct House of Palms, James and Stormy decided to swallow their pride and go to Alex with an offer.  The buzz over Angel Assassin 2 had multiplied by the minute and the main stars were quickly sprouting up on every entertainment magazine program on television.  They were certain that print media would soon follow.  By the end of the week, People, Entertainment Weekly, US Weekly, and Variety would all feature spotlights of Alex, Kelly, Scott and Victor.  It made sense to them to try to recreate history, and since Kelly was in New York, Victor was dead, and Scott was retired due to his injuries, that left Alex.  They decided to pay a visit to her Beverly Hills high rise. 

“This day is turning out to be full of surprises,” Alex said arrogantly, sipping from a bottle of water as she sat cross-legged on the plush cream sofa.   “First Mackenzie Stone begs me to come back to The Young at Heart, and then you two show up here wanting me to star in your new film.  What happened to me being an addict who was overcompensating for her unhappiness?”

James knew she was being facetious so he played into her hand.  “I’m sorry I said those things, Alex.  I can see you’re pulling yourself together.  That’s why I thought of you for this role.  Lana Andrews is the powerful patriarch of an oil-rich family. She exudes confidence, much like yourself.”

“You’re sucking up to me and it isn’t working,” Alex said. 

“Mom, would you just listen to us?” Stormy asked.  “I think you need this right now.”

Alex stood up and approached him with a smile.  “I appreciate that, Darling, I do, and it means the world to me that you think enough of me to come here today and offer this opportunity to me.”   She placed loving hand along his face and kissed his cheek.  “But I’m afraid I can’t.”

“Why not?” James demanded.  “Damnit, Alex, this is no time to be stubborn.”

“I’m not being stubborn,” she said.  “I simply don’t have the time.  While you’re all filming in Mexico, I’ll be in Malawi awaiting the adoption of my son.”

“You’re going to Malawi?” Stormy asked.  He hadn’t realized how serious she was about her plans to adopt a baby. 

“I’ll be there for three months,” she replied.  “The Malawi court requires that anyone planning an adoption spend at least that much time there.”

“This is happening so fast,” Stormy continued, unsure what to think of his mother’s plans.  Their relationship had been so strained lately but he always assumed it would get back on track.  Her bringing another child into her life made him feel like she was giving up on him.

“Next week two court officials will be here to interview me,” she continued, gesturing to a stack of information on the bar top.  “They need to see that I’ve pulled my life together and can care for a child.  As soon as that process is over, I’ll leave for Malwawi.  I’m sorry, I just can’t do your film.”

James dropped his hands to his sides in resignation.  “All right, we tried,” he said and headed for the door. 

Before they left, Stormy approached Alex and hugged her warmly.  He could feel the resistance in her touch.  Had their relationship really been that damaged?  Maybe if he’d been there more for her during her time of need things would be different.  He still wasn’t quite sure that she was as transformed as she claimed.  This baby situation was possibly a replacement for the pills. 

The notion brought up the question of what would happen to her if the adoption didn’t go through?  He shuddered to think.

“I love you,” he told her before turning and leaving with James. 

Jordan Rydell

Jordan was fit to be tied after his bitter goodbye to Stephanie.  Months of courting her, bending to her expectations, and pledging his independence from Hollywood’s trappings had been futile.  His failures made him realize that dating outside of his element was virtually impossible.  With a string of actresses, models, Alex’s, Suzanne’s, and Renee’s under his belt, he was in a rut and he began to think that’s where he belonged.  Stick with what you know, he decided. 

So, in his anger and resentment, frustration and indignity, he phoned up a very sexy and very high-priced Russian call-girl he’d relied on from time to time over the years.  She came to his mansion in Beverly Hills that evening and they spent an hour in bed.  Jordan worked out his aggressions on her.  She liked it a little rough, or at least tolerated it if the price was right. 

“You seem tense,” Anya said, stroking his chest as they lay in bed afterwards.  “Anya not make happy?”

Jordan didn’t bother to forge a smile.  “Yes, Anya make me very happy,” he said, unable to resist poking fun at her broken English.

She responded by climbing on top of him and straddling him in the nude.  “Then I make happy again,” she said, tossing her long straight hair over her shoulders as she began gyrating into his groin. 

It didn’t take Jordan much convincing to get into it again, but he resisted, pushing her off of him and sitting up on the edge of the bed.   “How about you just spend the night?” he asked.

“No fuck?” she asked as if the concept was incredibly foreign to her.

“No.”

She shrugged and flopped down onto the bed.  “Okay, but it still cost you much money.”

“That’s fine,” he replied.  He didn’t care.  He didn’t want to be alone tonight and he didn’t want to bother with any of the Hollywood bimbos who filled up three address books in his night stand, all who would drop any plans they had to spend the night with him.  Too much baggage.  He wanted a warm body and nothing else. 

“You want to talk?” she asked, again as if it was a brand new notion to her.   “You seem sad.”

Leaning back and placing his head in her lap, he stared at the ceiling.  “A little,” he said, then proceeded to tell her about Stephanie and how their relationship ended before it ever got started. 

They talked about Benji and his problems and how he’d asked Suzanne to move in with him so they could look after him together.  Anya was quite taken by his and Suzanne’s story, or at least the toned down version that he told her.  She leaned down and stroked his tanned face before saying something so logical and so perfect that Jordan wanted to kiss her (a big no-no with most Beverly Hills call girls).

“Maybe you and her should get back together,” she said simply.  “You are lonely, she is lonely, you have son and daughter.  I say you get married again.”

“What?” Jordan asked, eyes brightening.

“You and this woman.  You should just be together.” 

Jordan responded by sitting up and turning toward her.  He didn’t know why he hadn’t thought of it before.  Their relationship had evened out since Suzanne returned from the hospital.  They still cared about one another immensely.  He was through with aimless relationships that didn’t go anywhere, and as much as she denied it, she had to be getting lonely out there by herself in her little house in the Valley. 

“Anya, you’re a genius!” he said, jumping off the bed and pacing the room. 

“I do have doctorate in Russia,” she remarked. 

A million thoughts ran through Jordan’s mind while he pulled on his clothes.  The answer was simple.  It wasn’t so much a marriage of convenience as it was two people comfortable enough with each other reuniting to better their lives.  Suzanne had to agree.  Besides, what else did she have going on?

Bryan Carlson

Jackie stretched languorously in bed that night as Bryan kissed her arm from her fingers to her shoulder.  He worked his way up to her neck while tracing a hand down her firm thighs.

“Thank you for flying out on such short notice,” she said, enjoying the feel of his naked body next to hers.  “I really needed this after the day I’ve had.”

“I know I promised you a celebration after your takeover of Merteuil, but I guess now’s not a good time.  I’m sorry about David,” he told her.  “I only met him a few times back in New York but he seems like a great guy.”

“He is,” she said, eyes tearing up.  “You have no idea.”

Bryan continued massaging her supple skin, brushing his lips against her as he made his way around her body.  “Anything I can do?” he asked. 

She sighed and shook her head.  “No, it’s inoperable.  I think he’s already starting to simply his life.  He sold Moonshadows to that viper.  What’s next?  Is he going to sell off the rest of the hotel portfolio?  It’s worth billions.”

“I can’t see him doing that,” Bryan said, reaching over and handing her a glass of champagne.  “Royce built that empire himself.  He wouldn’t sell it all to an outsider like Renee DeWitt.”

“I sincerely hope not,” she replied and took a sip of champagne.  “But I wonder what he will do.”

“You and Royce were already divorced when he died, right?”

“Yes," she replied, already knowing what he was thinking.  "He left it all to David.  Everything."

“Which means he can sell it if he wants,” Bryan finished for her.

She shook her head in frustration.  “With my luck he’d give it all to that nitwit half-sister of his.”

“Brooke Taylor?” Bryan asked inquisically.  “He could, you know.  She is Royce’s daughter.”

The prospect made Jackie see red.  She sat up, holding the sheet over her chest and stared angrily across the room.  “What recourse would I have if he did that?”

“None,” Bryan replied, drawing on his vast legal experience as attorney for the Fenwick family.  “Unfortunately he has total control over what happens to the assets.”

Jackie thought hard.  “I wonder if he’s changed his will since he returned from San Francisco.” 

“I can find out,” Bryan said.

That much at least was of relief to Jackie.  She’d know what hair-brained plan David had in store for all of Royce’s hard work.   At least then she’d know what she was up against.

“Now,” Bryan said, setting their glasses down and climbing on top of her.  “I believe we were doing something else before all this unpleasant talk came up.”

She grinned, wrapping her arms around his body and pulling him down over her.

David Jenner

Alone at his house in Malibu, David poured himself a bourbon and walked across the living area.  He gazed out the floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the ocean, reflecting with difficulty over the road that lied ahead.  Six to twelve months was not a long time to accomplish everything he’d neglected to do so far in his life, but that was his goal.  As corny as it was, he didn’t want to go without experiencing everything life had to offer.

A knock at the door brought him out of his thoughts and he strolled over to open it.  To his surprise, Miranda stood on the porch, a bright smile on her bronzed face. 

“Miranda-“ he began.  “What are you doing here?”

“I couldn’t sit still so I got in the car and just started driving,” she said, bulldozing herself inside.  “Before I knew it I was three-quarters of the way to Malibu so I decided to stop.  Wasn’t that a total trip today?  I mean, can you believe we jumped out of a friggin’ airplane?”

David smiled and closed the door.  “It was amazing, that’s for sure,” he agreed.  “Eddie didn’t seem to enjoy it so much.”

She waved a hand through the air and plopped down on the sofa.  “Eddie’s all talk,” she said.  “He’ll be fine once he stops puking.”

“Well, I’m glad you got something out of it.”

“It was more than that!” Miranda exclaimed, jumping up again.  “It was like the most freeing, liberating feeling ever.  What made you decide to do it, anyway?”

He shrugged and looked down at his drink.  “Like I said, I just don’t want to have any regrets,” he said as simply as he could.  “I’m thirty-eight and there’s so much I haven’t done.”

“I know, right?” Miranda said and turned away from the windows.  “I don’t want to have any regrets, either.  I’ve felt like that for a while now.  I don’t know, I guess probably since the earthquake.  One minute my life is perfect and the next I have this hideous scar on my face and everything that used to be important suddenly wasn’t anymore.  For months I’ve been walking around wondering who I am and what I’m doing here.  There’s got to be more to life than looking perfect, right?  Do you know what I mean, David?”

“No,” he said, shaking his head.  Was she for real?

“It’s like that earthquake was a wake-up call for me.  I want to live life, you know?  I want to experience everything there is to experience.  We can do it together.  So what’s next?  Bungee jumping?  Cliff diving?”

Slamming his drink on the table, David approached her angrily.  “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” he shouted.  “You think you’re missing out on something because you’ve been privileged for your entire life?  Because you were scarred for about five minutes?  Do you know how lucky you were to make it out of that earthquake alive?  Are you forgetting about your cousin, Ethan and the fact that he wasn’t as lucky as you?”

Miranda jumped backwards, surprised by his reaction.  “David, I-“

“Your life is far from imperfect, Miranda.  You have no idea.”

‘Look, all I meant was that-“

“I don’t want to hear it,” he said, walking to the door and pulling it open.  He was dying and that was unfair.  Nothing Miranda was feeling could compare to that.  “You’re a spoiled brat who has no idea what real life is.  Now get out of here.”

Humiliated and confused by his actions, Miranda reluctantly walked outside, flinching when he slammed the door behind her. 

Inside, David paced around, running his hand over his face while trying to regain his composure.  It wasn’t her fault that she wasn’t dying, any more than it was his fault that he was.  Life was just unfair.  Slowly, he began to regret going off on her.  He went back to the door and pulled it open, happy to see that she was still standing on the porch, dumbfounded.

“There’s a place up the beach that takes you out on helicopter,” he began.  “You dive from some absurd number of feet in the air.  You game?”

“I’ll be here first thing in the morning,” she said, her enthused expression returning just like that.

Kelly Kahoano

Kelly had spent the rest of the day storming around her Manhattan apartment.  She never put on the outfit that she’d picked out because she had nowhere to go.  Neil made sure of that.  He was supposed to set her up on an audition but because of their fight it never happened.  Big surprise.  All because she refused to do what he told her to.  She was nobody’s puppet, after all.  She was in charge of her own life, and if he couldn’t accept that then she’d make it on her own. 

The fact that he hadn’t left his wife she could handle.  Their marriage was nearly over anyway, or so he told her.  She’d never demanded that he leave her, nor would she ever.  But by the same token, he had no right to tell her to divorce Stormy, or to give up R.J. to some strangers.

Walking back to the bedroom, she approached a bassinette where a three-month old baby cooed and wiggled about.  With a smile, she lifted him into her arms and bounced him against her chest. 

No matter what Neil said, she wasn’t about to part with her son.  She could be an actress and a mother.  No way was she giving him up.

“You’re sticking with me, little Ryan.” she said, stroking his shock of black hair with her fingers.  “It’s just you and me.  If those horrible Blackthornes back in L.A. had treated me with a little respect, maybe they’d have gotten to know you.  Especially your daddy.  But they don’t know what they’re missing.  And then never will.”


Next time....

Miranda and David continue their thrill-seeking mission.  Jackie schemes to get her hands on David's will.  Suzanne is shocked by Jordan's idea.  Brett receives word from Heather.  Cast and crew depart for Acapulco.  

 

 

Read Episode 112

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