David told Jackie that he was dying
of a brain tumor and had less than a year to live. After
the initial devastation wore off, Jackie began wondering
what David would do with Royce's assetts. Bryan
agreed to find out if David had updated his will since
learning his fate. Stormy was applauded by James
after Angel Assassin 2 raked in millions in its
opening weekend. The success prompted Mackenzie to offer
Alex her job back, which she declined. Meanwhile,
Cassidy Solomon had been fired from The Young at
Heart. Alex also turned James and Stormy down
to star in House of Palms, claiming her priorities
had changed since she decided to adopt a baby. Stormy
grew wary of his mother's new obsession. Miranda
invited herself along to go skydiving with David, who
was trying to do as many things as he could before
he died. Miranda, however, didn't know that he
was dying. Stephanie told Jordan she was leaving
town. After getting advice from a call-girl, Jordan
realized that he was wasting his time with new women
and decided he belonged with Suzanne for the sake of
their family. Benji nearly caught Brett and Suzanne
having sex at Brett's condo. Renee brawled with
Jackie after learning she'd been the one to take over
her company. In Manhattan, Kelly argued with her
boyfriend/agent about her infant baby, a son she'd named
R.J. after Stormy.
Done is Done"
to the surface of the water, Suzanne exhaled with a gasp. She blinked the water from her eyes and
looked with surprise at Jordan who had just approached through the back
I startle you?” he asked, grinning.
little,” she replied, quickly hoisting herself up on the ladder. “What are you doing here?” She knew she sounded abrasive, but she
couldn’t help herself. His timing was
bad as usual.
need to talk,” he said, hands dug deep in the pockets of his trousers.
Squeezing excess water from her hair, she grabbed a towel from the back
of a lounge chair and headed for the house.
I didn’t interrupt anything?” Jordan followed
her to the door.
I was just about to get out anyway. I
have an online class in a few minutes.”
she could open the sliding glass door and lead him inside, Jordan took a
seat at the patio table. She
panicked. If he knew what she’d been
doing seconds before he showed up, there would be no explanation convincing
purposefully took the chair that blocked his view of the pool. “So what did you want to talk about? If this is about Benji again, then I have to
tell you, Jordan, I really don’t want to hear it.” She poured herself a glass of iced tea and
then shook her head to the side to expel some water remnants.
Twenty feet behind
them, Brett emerged from beneath the still water of the pool where he’d been
holding his breath for what felt like five minutes. He turned his face to the sky and gasped for
air, all the while trying to remain silent and out of sight just below the
ledge of the pool.
it been under different circumstances, it probably wouldn’t have been a big
deal for Jordan
to find them in the pool. But considering
the fact that he was naked, and was seconds away from removing Suzanne’s
swimsuit, he thought it was best to remain hidden from view. Luckily Suzanne had acted quickly. Despite being in spectacular shape, he didn’t
think he could hold his breath for another second.
Trapped with mere
inches of room to breathe freely without fear of being spotted, he had no
choice but to cling to the wall and breathe through is noise. As he did, he listened to Suzanne and
“It’s not about
Benji per se,” Jordan was
saying. “It’s more about our family as a
unit, our future and what’s best for all of us.”
“What are you
talking about?” She couldn’t help but
wonder if Brett was still alive. Jordan was
usually a man of few words, so it would figure he’d choose this moment to blab
incoherently about something she couldn’t follow.
“Since I sent you
away fifteen years ago, all I’ve done is go from one empty relationship to
another. I’m getting damn close to
fifty-years old and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life like some aging
“You’re saying both
of your marriages to Alex were empty?” she asked incredulously. “Nice.
I’d like to hear what you say about our marriage when I’m not around.”
He leaned forward
and took her hand. “That’s just it. We had a real
marriage. We raised our children
together and we supported one another.
Things were good until Sylvie and Troy
“And don’t forget
about Victor.” She wanted to diffuse any
lengthy discussion of her near-affair with Jordan’s
half-brother, Troy. They’d never slept together, but their
feelings were every bit as duplicitous.
She feared her guilt over her affair with Brett would come through in
“If we took the
clock back and wiped out everything before my stupid affair, maybe we’d still
be together,” he told her. “Maybe
Heather wouldn’t be in an institution and maybe Benji wouldn’t be acting out so
“What are saying, Jordan? We alone turned our children into who they
are. We can’t go back. What’s done is done.”
“But we can try to
make it right. We can start over.”
She shook her head,
temporarily forgetting about Brett and the fact that he was still trapped in
the pool. “I already told you I was not
going to move in with you. Benji and I
are fine here. He’s got a job now and
finally some direction.”
“I’m not talking
about moving in with me,” Jordan
said. “Not just that. I think we should get married. Again. Then we can live together as a family.”
Brett nearly came
up out of the water upon hearing Jordan’s proposal. What was he thinking? More importantly, what would Suzanne’s
blessing, Renee began doing some light remodeling to several areas of
Moonshadows. Not that she needed his
permission because he’d sold his interests in the resort to her, but knowing
how important the place was to him, she felt the need to at least run it by
him. The result was plans for a third
restaurant, aptly named the Sierra Room, in lieu of the now charred remnants of
the Admirals Club. Completion was
scheduled for June and she was overseeing its progress personally. In addition, she opted to give the existing
establishments a more grandiose feel in comparison to David’s stark modern
That morning, she
ran into James in the lobby and, after he realized how upset she was, he led
her off to La Mirada Bar so they could talk in private. They sat at a back table while the bartender
prepared to open for the day.
“I knew the minute
that woman came to town she would be bad news,” Renee cried. “I mean, I knew we didn’t get along, but for
her to take it this far? I had no idea
her financial resources were this strong.”
James sighed. “Jackie’s got more money than she knows what
to do with,” he told her. “Jonas left her
everything except the studio and the house.
I used to think those were the only things she cared about. Her taking over Merteuil Industries is a
total shock to me.”
“I feel like I’ve
let everyone down,” she continued. “The
Board of Directors, Kenny, my father…”
“The Board will
always have your back and you know that.
Even if you’re not in charge.”
didn’t have my back when she sold her shares to Jackie. I still don’t know how she got her to do
that. She won’t return any of my phone
calls. She must have had something on
her. That’s the only explanation. Marilee would never have betrayed me
James agreed, and
only just now did he realize what it must have been that Jackie had on
her. Kyle. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to him that
she would sink to that level, but yet it did.
temporary,” he finally said. “We’ll find
a way to get your company back from her.
Kenny and I won’t let her win.”
She finally managed
a vague smile. “Kenny’s been so
wonderful through this whole thing,” she said dreamily. “He’s so caring and protective of me. We’ve actually reconnected as a result of my
problems. I never in a million years
would have predicted I’d overlook his past indiscretions.”
James said, truly happy that his two best friends had found their way back
together. Despite the circumstances, it
was one bright spot in the whole thing.
Staring out the
window of her office at Sunset Studios, Jackie affixed her hands on her hips
and spoke without looking directly at her young personal assistant.
“I trust your legal
problems have been resolved and that you can now direct your full attention to
where it should be,” she was saying, clad in a skin-tight leopard print dress,
accessorized with a red patent leather belt and matching heels.
“There weren’t any
charges against me,” Steven Chandler replied.
He sat across the room in trademark ripped jeans and Zanerobe
t-shirt. “The whole thing with that gun
was a misunderstanding. Benji Rydell and
“I’m not interested
in hearing about the details of your freshman antics,” she cut him off, finally
turning to face him. “Save it for The O.C.
I have a job for you.”
“Sure,” he croaked
eagerly. “Anything you want, Mrs.
“There’s a crew
headed to Acapulco
in two days to start filming House of
Palms,” she informed him while taking a seat behind her desk. “I want you to be my eyes and ears during
production. It’s no secret my partners
are a group of inept morons. Their success
with Angel Assassin 2 was sheer
luck. I don’t intend for my father’s
studio to go down in flames with people like Stormy Blackthorne and Kyle
Fenwick at the helm.”
“You want me to go
to Mexico?” he asked her. “What about
school? I have midterms this week. I need those grades so I can keep my
“Don’t worry about
your grades. I made a call to the dean
of the film department and after a sizeable donation for much-needed camera
equipment, he’s agreed to award you with grades that I think you’ll be happy
constantly surprised him. Shifting in
his seat, he struggled with finding comfort in the arrangement. He was by no means a square, but if he didn’t
earn the grades then what good were they?
“I don’t know if I
like the idea of cheating.”
cheating,” she said with a roll of her eyes.
“Besides, I’m making you an official intern at the studio. Name one other student in your film class who
can say they got an internship at a major motion picture studio this early in
their education. I’m doing you a favor,
Steven. You might want to start acting a
little more appreciative.”
“I do appreciate it. Thank you, Mrs. Blackthorne.” Maybe he was too quick to protest. It did
seem like a pretty sweet deal, and all he’d wanted all along was something
substantial to add to his resume.
Their meeting was
interrupted when the door opened and Bryan Carlson entered. He and Jackie exchanged glances and she
decided to quickly dismiss Steven.
“All right, now run
off and start packing,” she told him.
He got up, nodded
politely at Bryan, and started to leave.
Before he did, Jackie called after him.
“Oh, and Steven,
this isn’t going to be some excuse to get all drunk and crazy at the MTV beach
house or whatever it is you kids do. I
want you to keep your eyes open and your zipper closed. Understood?”
He nodded and
darted off to the elevator. After he’d
gone, Bryan grinned and walked the rest of the way into the office.
“You have such a
way with today’s youth,” he joked.
Smiling, she leaned
back in her chair and playfully poked the tip of a pen between her lips. “So any news on David’s will?”
“Yes,” he replied,
sitting in the spot Steven had vacated.
“He filed a new will with the court two days after he came back from San
“Well what does it
say?” she demanded while leaning forward.
“That I don’t
know. I can’t access it. No one but David and his attorney can.”
“Well who’s his
attorney?” Jackie demanded.
Bryan informed her. “Any relation to
replied, her brain going into overdrive with a way to find out what was in the
will. “He’s her philandering
“Why are you
yelling at me?” Suzanne asked as she darted around the kitchen preparing a
snack for Violet. “I told him he was
talking like a crazy person. What else
was I supposed to say?”
Brett stood before
her, pulling a t-shirt over his head, wet hair tousling about as he did. “I don’t know. I just can’t believe how brazen he is coming
over here informing you that you need to get married. As if you’re his puppet or something. And I’m not yelling. I’m just annoyed.”
“How do you think I feel?” she asked, pouring juice into a
bottle. “He assumes I’m unhappy just
because I don’t have a man in my life.”
A pause while she reconsidered her words. “Well, he
thinks so, anyway. And now that he’s
done making his rounds around town screwing everything in sight, he decides
he’s ready to settle down into something comfortable.”
“You should have told
him that he blew it when he slept with Victor’s wife fifteen years ago,” Brett
argued, glancing down at Violet who sat in a booster seat. “He’s nothing but a cheating-“
A penetrating look
from Suzanne stopped his sentence short.
They looked at each other, both knowing what the other was
thinking. He was no better than Jordan,
he realized, so that argument didn’t exactly hold water.
“I told him to
forget it,” Suzanne said after the awkward moment had passed. “He realizes how stupid an idea it is. No way am I marrying him again. I don’t love him anymore.”
“Are you sure about
that?” he asked flippantly.
dropping her hands to the counter in resignation. “What does that supposed to mean?”
Wanting to diffuse
any heated arguments, he waved his hand dismissively through the air and
changed the tone in his voice. “You know
Jordan. He’s not going to give up on
this idea. He doesn’t take no for an answer.”
“Well he can’t
force me to get married if I don’t want to.”
“He can be
across the room, she set the bottle of juice on the tray before Violet and
folded her arms angrily. “I expect
Jordan to believe I can’t think for myself.
I don’t expect that from
you. You’re really acting no better than
can you say that?” Brett demanded.
you won’t drop it!” she yelled, flinching when the bottle slipped from Violet’s
hands and she started crying. At that
very moment, the phone rang and added to the chaos in the room. Between Brett’s argumentative state, the
baby’s wailing and the phone ringing repeatedly, she nearly lost it. Storming across the room, she pulled the
phone from the counter and answered curtly.
by the interruption, Brett went to tend to Violet. He didn’t know why he was getting so
upset. He had no claim over
Suzanne. All they had were a string of
secret sexual encounters and loads of tension. She was a free agent, perfectly able to do
anything with anyone she wanted. He, on
the other hand, was married, and despite his feelings for Suzanne, he still
loved Heather with all his heart.
his attention back to her, he detected a change in her tone as she spoke to
whoever was on the other end of the phone.
Suddenly he forgot about his own private struggles and attempted to
gauge what was going on with the phone call.
see,” she was saying, face white as a sheet.
“Thank you, Dr. Bouvier. Yes,
I’ll be in touch.”
she hung up, Brett approached her slowly.
“That was Dr. Bouvier?” he asked.
“What’s wrong? Is Heather okay?”
nodded, her hand still resting delicately on the receiver. “No, she’s fine,” she said. “Dr. Bouvier thinks it’s time that I fly up
and see her.”
voice filled with alarm, Brett glanced at Violet and then back at Suzanne. “I thought he said it was going to be a while
before she was ready for that. He didn’t
want to compromise her treatment until she remembered the accident and the
shrugged, happy that she was going to be able to see her daughter for the first
time in months, but also nervous about how she would hide her guilt when she did see her. “I don’t know. Maybe she did
you going to go?”
course I’m going to go,” she replied curtly.
“She’s my daughter.”
was one kind of rush, but jumping off of a helicopter into the unknown waters
below was something else entirely.
Miranda was outfitted with a life vest and the pilot knew the areas of
the waters off Malibu enough to avoid steep ridges and reefs that jutted up
from the ocean floor. Despite those
precautions, plunging into the water instilled panic, causing her to thrash
about, gasping for air. The vest kept
her afloat but she still felt as though she were sinking, never quite capable
of calming down after the initial impact.
Water rushed into her lungs and she coughed and sputtered. She was certain this was the end.
who’d landed a few feet from her, sensed her panic and swam over to her where
he succeeded in calming her down enough to get her breathing normally
again. They floated in the water until
the boat came and picked them up. Once
back at shore, she collapsed onto the sand and held her face in her hands.
breathe,” he told her, kneeling on the sand before her. “You’re okay now.”
shook her head with a mixture of relief and embarrassment. “I can’t believe I freaked out like
that. I was so sure it was going to be a
piece of cake. Just like the
was different,” David reminded her, gently stroking her bare shoulders. “When that water comes rushing up at you it’s
hard to know what to think or what to do.
I shouldn’t have let you come with me.”
wanted to do it,” she informed him, suddenly regaining her confidence. “I told myself I was going to get out there
and live life and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let something scare me
away. So what’s next?”
he positioned himself beside her and put an arm around her shivering body. “I think we’ve had enough thrill-seeking for
come on, David,” she insisted. “I
panicked this time but I won’t again.
I’m having fun. Besides, we’re
partners now. You can’t get rid of me
looked out at the water while he grabbed a fistful of sand. “How does Eddie feel about you being here
with me today?”
shrugged. “You saw him the other day
after we went skydiving. He couldn’t
handle it. I mean, I admit I didn’t
handle today well, but it hasn’t scared me off.
I’m ready for more.”
doesn’t know, does he?”
looked away and sighed. “No. But what’s the big deal? You and I are friends. There’s no harm in that.”
but when you’re hanging out with me looking for quick thrills instead of being
with your boyfriend, then red flags start popping up. Everything okay with you two?”
she replied, squishing sand between her perfectly pedicured feet. “It’s fine.
I mean, why wouldn’t it be?”
didn’t feel like talking to him about it.
Yes, she and Eddie were perfectly fine.
They had a perfectly normal, perfectly uneventful relationship. When he wasn’t on a case they settled down
into daily routines that made her wonder if that was all that there was. She loved Eddie, loved his goofball smile and
toned yet uncoordinated body, and knew no one else had ever loved her as much
as he did. But did that mean she had to
sacrifice some excitement? At least with
Brett he was always keeping her on her toes with some asinine scheme he’d
cooked up. Even when she and David had
their brief fling, their constant bickering kept things interesting. With Eddie she always knew what she was going
I’m sure,” she lied, keeping her thoughts to herself. “You sure you don’t want to go rock climbing
or race cars?”
laughed and pulled her close with his arm around her. “How about we settle for lunch?”
quite what she was expecting, but it would do.
“Okay, but I get to pick the restaurant.”
stood up and offered a hand to help her to her feet. “Somehow I get the feeling we’re about to
dine in a hot air balloon or something equally as ridiculous.”
they walked down the beach to his house, playfully chasing each other as the
waves rolled up and circled their feet.
Sunset Studios, Jackie stepped out of her office and proceeded down the hall to
the conference room where the rest of the crew was already assembled. James, Brooke, Stormy and Kyle were seated
around the mahogany table poring over the chronology section of Eric Autumn’s
shooting script. The director, a
thirty-nine year old man with tousled dishwater blond hair and deeply bronzed
skin made annotations as they went page by page through the Mexico location
Jackie entered, everyone stopped and turned to her. She slid into a seat next to Eric, her eyes
traveling to a woman across the table that she was positive she knew but
couldn’t place from where.
thank you for coming to the meeting,” James said from his seat at the head of
the table. “But you really don’t need to
bother yourself. This is just a
formality to catch everyone up to speed.
It really doesn’t concern you.”
course he would say that, she thought bitterly to herself. They were forever trying to cut her out of
the daily operations. But no, she
wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of excluding her from decisions that had to
be made in regards to House of Palms. She refused.
like to sit in if you don’t mind,” she snapped.
“As part owner of this studio I’d be remiss if I didn’t know what was
going on. Is that okay with you, James?”
smiled politely, inside wanting to walk across the room and throttle her for
what she did to Renee. But this was
studio business and nothing got in the way of that, even Jackie’s
extracurricular acts of terrorism.
course,” he said, acknowledging Brooke’s steely cold stares in Jackie’s
direction. “Now, where were we?”
were discussing the staff required for the first week of shooting,” Stormy
yes,” James said, referring to his script.
“Only essential staff will need to report to the location shoot in
Acapulco tomorrow. I want to keep costs
down as much as possible. That means
only the crew, Stormy, Kyle, Eric, Jack and Cassidy.”
Mexican Film Commission is working on rounding up extras and locals to play the
bit parts,” Kyle chimed in.
will be joining you for the duration of the Mexico shoot,” Jackie informed
James asked with a frown.
personal assistant,” Jackie reminded him.
“I hired him on as a full-time intern.”
whose authority?” Brooke asked crossly.
“I don’t remember being asked if you can hire an intern.” She looked at James. “Do you?”
he replied. “Jackie, I’m sorry, but the
answer is no. We have more than enough
crew flying down where we don’t need an intern.”
she asked, instantly jumping to defend her decision. They didn’t have to know she was only sending
him along to spy for her. Instead, she
came up with a response off the top of her head. “He works for free, he’ll do anything that
the crew can’t do while they’re busy setting up shots, and the studio will
receive a tax credit for employing a student of a state university. So…do we still
not need an intern?”
her point, James conceded with a shrug.
“Fine. I guess it won’t hurt to
have someone on hand in case things get too hectic.”
like getting my coffee in the mornings,” Brooke said snidely.
that that’s settled,” James continued.
“Jack Childer’s agent insists he has plenty of Evian on hand. As a matter of fact, it’s not a bad idea we
stock up. Don’t want anyone getting sick
from the water. Kyle, can you make sure
the jet is stocked up?”
raised a methodic eyebrow, slightly unhappy that he’d been assigned such a
ridiculous duty. He hadn’t signed over
the rights to the script so he could be a water boy for a pompous movie star.
do you have any special requirements?” James asked, directing his attention to
Cassidy Solomon who sat across from Jackie in large round Chanel sunglasses and
thought my agent sent those over,” she responded.
eyes narrowed on her and she gestured across the table. “Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt again, but
who are you?”
beg your pardon?” the woman asked.
this is Cassidy Solomon,” James said.
“She’s going to be our Lana Andrews.
I asked her to come in today to get familiar with the shoot since the
casting decision was made so last minute.”
that soap diva, aren’t you?” Jackie inquired.
“The one with the daughter doing those filthy things on your website.”
gasped, clutching her chest and shooting James a look of horror.
that’s enough,” James cautioned her.
just think I should have been informed of such an important casting decision,”
she said. “Maybe I don’t think some
daytime soap veteran is the caliber of star we want leading this film. I thought we wanted someone with some star
power. My God, even Alex Reynolds would
have been a better choice.”
dare you,” Cassidy seethed from across the conference table as she shot to her
we stop the bickering?” Eric Autumn asked.
“We haven’t even started shooting yet and the diva tantrums are already
starting. James, I told you I wouldn’t
put up with this kind of shit.”
suppose you’re talking about me?”
Cassidy asked defensively.
how’d you guess?” Eric asked with a sarcastic roll of his eyes.
I’m sorry about this,” Jackie said. “I
know I promised you an Oscar-worthy project.
This obviously wasn’t what I had in mind.”
enough!” James shouted. “I made the
decision to hire Cassidy because aside from her role on The Young at Heart, she’s done dozens of television films, she’s
starred on Broadway and she’s won her share of Emmy’s. This movie is about a wealthy oil family and
its matriarch. I can’t think of a better
actress to play that role.”
room grew quiet and Cassidy slowly lowered herself back into her chair. She smiled and took a sip of water from the
crystal goblet in front of her.
can we get through this?” James demanded.
“There’s a lot to do and not much time to do it in.”
returned to their script and listened as he continued listing their priorities
for the upcoming three-month shoot.
went to his usual spot for lunch, a seat at the bar in the open air restaurant
at the Yacht Club. It was near his
office and near his condo, making it a breeze to pop in and out for a delicious
steak and salad.
usual, Mr. DeWitt?” Jared the bartender asked, waiving a menu before him.
thank you, Jared,” Kenny replied, removing a stack of briefs from his case and
beginning to pore over them.
he reviewed his caseload and sipped a martini, Kenny couldn’t help notice the
attractive woman sitting to his left.
She was difficult to miss, that was for sure. Clouds of blond curls framing a porcelain
face, luscious pink frosty lips, skirt slit up to her thigh, and tits that
seemed to beg for escape from a low cut blouse.
Kenny said, unable to help himself.
smiled. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to
stare. I just thought I recognized
you. Are you that actor? The one from the action movies?”
was a first, Kenny thought to himself.
Usually he was the one supplying the lame opening lines. Had he and Renee not recently reunited, he
might have considered using it on her himself.
but I get that a lot,” he replied modestly.
Maybe a little innocent flirting wouldn’t hurt. After all, he was still a man who appreciated
a certain type of woman.
bet. You seem to be well-known around
shrugged. “I guess I’m a regular. I haven’t seen you around before. Let me
guess, you’re new in town, right? An
corrected him. “Well, I hope to be,
“I could tell. You’ve got that look.”
California. I doubt you have any
problems getting jobs.”
She smiled coyly
and turned around in her stool to face him.
“You sound like an agent,” she said.
replied, turning as well. He couldn’t
take his eyes off of her cleavage or her smooth as silk legs. “I’m an attorney.” He extended his hand to her. “Kenny DeWitt.”
she gushed. “So tell me, Kenny DeWitt,
what do you do for fun around here?”
His mouth agape in
awe, Kenny thought of millions of responses to her question, all bordering on
the inappropriate. By the time he
answered her, he knew it was a lost cause.
His willpower was shot.
Minutes later, they
were upstairs in Kenny’s condo, frantically kissing with a hurried sense of
urgency. After undressing him, Veronica
set her enormous purse on the dresser and straddled him on the bed. Kenny watched in amazement as she removed her
blouse, perfect mammoth breasts tumbling out of a lacey pink bra. He buried his face between them, lifting her
skirt and clasping his hands alongside her thighs.
The sex was
incredible, her on top of him with her nipples dancing in his face. When he came, it was so intense that he was
sure she would shoot straight across the room from sheer force.
After thanking him,
she got dressed and collected her purse.
He made sure to give her his card before she left in case she wanted to
get together again. It wasn’t until
after she left that the guilt began to set in.
After just two days since he and Renee reunited, he’d already fallen off
the wagon. Immediately, he began putting
a plan in place to cover his tracks.
Veronica returned to the Yacht Club, she approached a booth in the corner where
Jackie was waiting, cloaked in an oversized wide-brimmed hat and large Jackie O
sunglasses. The blonde reached into her
purse, outfitted with a hole in its side, and removed a small video
really are a pro,” Jackie told her,
rewinding the footage and smiling at the images of the woman bouncing up and
down on Kenny’s dick.
in the business,” Veronica replied with a smile and slid into the booth.
is perfect.” Jackie reached into her
purse and removed a thick envelope full of cash. She slid it across the table and placed the
camera in her purse. “You earned every
penny. Tell your boss I said thank you.”
always happy to help,” Veronica told her, referring to the biggest Hollywood
Madam to come along since Heidi Fleiss.
“Let us know if there’s anything else we can do.”
should do it,” Jackie preened, tapping her purse and smiling with victory.
was on a natural high, thanks to the impeding visit from the court officials
from Malawi. They were to arrive the
following day and she had everything in place for their brief stay in Los
Angeles. She’d had Veronique plant a
phony tip with the paparazzi that she was spending the week in Napa, thereby
reducing chances that they would hound her while she underwent the initial
adoption interview. She made a very
public donation to several children’s charities, and ensured that the records
from her recent hospital stay were sealed.
She wanted nothing to get in the way of this adoption. The only thing that could would be
hearsay. Her spill on the red carpet
would be chalked up to low blood sugar and the excitement over the film’s
premiere. Cassidy Solomon’s claims were
nothing but the raving machinations of a diva scorned.
only thing that could bring down her high was an unexpected visit from Kyle
Fenwick. He showed up at her door
looking sexy as ever in jeans, a gray t-shirt and his signature five o’clock
shadow. Just when she’d nearly managed
to get him out of her head he forced his way back in.
found this behind the dresser at my place,” he told her, dangling a diamond
earring from his thumb and index finger.
“I thought you’d want it back.”
earring,” she exclaimed, snatching it from him and instinctively touching her
earlobe even though she wasn’t wearing the match. “I’d just about given up on this.”
sorry I didn’t find it sooner,” he said, slipping his fingertips into his back
pockets. “I only found it because I was
at home packing.”
looked up, temporarily forgetting about the earring – a gift from James on
their tenth wedding anniversary. “I heard you were working at the
studio. I suppose you’re off to
leave tomorrow for three months.”
I wish you luck.” She made a
concentrated effort to remain civil. No
sense in throwing a big tantrum just because he dumped her. That was old news, anyway. She was on to bigger and better things.
Kyle replied, staring at her thoughtfully.
“You look good, Alex.”
feel good,” she told him. She couldn’t
have asked for a more perfect time for him to drop by. Looking good was the best revenge. Maybe now he
would realize what a mistake he’d made.
“I’m glad,” he
“Well, thank you
for returning this. Goodbye, Kyle.”
After closing the
door, she grew flushed with excitement, the same feeling that she got when they
Yes, she was quite
sure that he now realized how stupid he’d been by breaking it off with
her. It was only a matter of time before
he came back to her. By then she’d be
well on her way to being a mother again.
Maybe she’d have time for him and maybe she wouldn’t. The point was, she hadn’t lost it after
In the corridor
outside Alex’s apartment, Kyle waited for the elevator. When the doors opened and Stormy emerged,
their eyes locked.
“What are you doing
here?” Stormy demanded. “I thought my
mother was through with you.”
something of hers,” Kyle informed him smugly.
Stormy hoped that
was the case and there wasn’t any more to it.
He still believed her to be fragile, and her quest to adopt a baby
proved how desperate she was for love and attention. Despite any proof to the contrary, he still
didn’t trust Kyle Fenwick as far as he could throw him.
Before the elevator
doors closed between them, Stormy waved his hand over the sensor so that they
remained open. “Oh, about our meeting
today, I wouldn’t take too much offense in my father’s orders. But let’s face it, stocking the jet with
water may be the only thing you have to offer to this film production.”
Kyle grinned. He saw right through his attempts to dismiss
him. He’d dealt with punks like Stormy
Blackthorne before and had no problem putting them in their place.
“We’ll see about
that,” he said, slipping on mirrored aviators.
“But you’ve got a lot more riding on this picture than I do. It’s your daddy that it’s all going to fall
on if you screw up. I’d watch yourself
if I were you.”
When the doors
finally closed, Stormy turned and clenched his fists in anger. He realized he should have gotten in another
punch the other day when they were with Brooke in Mexico. One just didn’t seem to do the trick.
Deciding to put
their rivalry aside for the moment, he proceeded down the hall to his mother’s
apartment and knocked firmly on the door.
This would be the last chance he got to talk to her before departing for
Mexico and he wanted to make sure they were okay. Her decision to adopt a baby so suddenly
didn’t settle well with him. He’d never
felt more alienated from his mother.
“Darling, what a
surprise,” Alex said when she pulled the door open.
“Hi mom,” he said
and entered the apartment. “I just saw
Kyle leaving. I hope to God you’re not
thinking of reconnecting with that son of a bitch.”
“It’s sweet of you
to worry, Stormy, but you don’t need to.
I have my hands full with my interview tomorrow. Right now that’s all I can think about.”
Digging his hands
into his pockets, Stormy walked toward her.
“That’s what I really wanted to talk to you about. Are you sure about this? Adopting a baby is a huge step. You already raised two children. Are you ready to do it all over again?”
forward to it,” Alex said, flitting around the apartment banging cushions and
straightening pillows. “I’d forgotten
what a sense of purpose raising children can give you. And let’s face it, I didn’t exactly do many
things right when it came to you and your sister. This is my chance to make up for that.”
He shrugged. “I think we turned okay.”
“You did!” she was
quick to add. “You and Miranda both make
me very proud. I just feel like I’ve
been given another chance to do things right from the beginning. Can you understand that?”
No, he couldn’t,
but what choice did he have? He was
leaving tomorrow for three months and she was going to be off finalizing the
adoption. It was a little late for
trying to talk her out of anything.
“I just want to
make sure we’re still okay,” he finally said, gesturing between them.
“I know I gave you a lot of grief over all the business with Kelly but I
want you to know it doesn’t matter now.
I forgive you.”
Tears welled up in
Alex’s eyes. She raced over and pulled
him into a tight embrace. “You don’t
know how much that means to me, Stormy,” she said, staring over his shoulder.
His emotions got
the best of him too and quickly blinked away the start of a few tears. “Listen, we should both be getting back
around the same time. After the movie’s
in the can I’d like to come around more.
I don’t know, maybe help out with the little tyke. She’s gonna need a male influence, you know.”
grinned and pulled away from the embrace.
“I’d like that,” she said.
her hand in his, Stormy started to the door.
He hated the thought of being thousands of miles away from her when she
obviously needed someone. He’d have to
trust that she would be okay and that this baby was the thing that was going to
make her whole again.
luck with the movie,” Alex said to him as she opened the door. “By the way, I heard that you got Cassidy
Solomon for the role of Lana.” She
screwed up her face and gave him a knowing sigh. “I hope she’s not too much of a nightmare.”
grinned in response to her warning, squeezing her hand again while leaning
forward and kissing her on the cheek.
you in three months,” he said.
baby,” she said, closing the door between them and turning around to her empty
next morning, Jordan’s jet took him, Suzanne and Brett to the institution in
San Francisco where Heather was undergoing treatment. The flight was quiet. Jordan hadn’t brought up his idea of marriage
again to Suzanne, presumably because he was in deep thought about his troubled
daughter. Brett held back, positioning
himself at the rear of the cabin for fear of letting his feelings show. He’d become increasingly possessive of
Suzanne, and he knew it was a problem because she wasn’t his to possess. He was married and was on his way to see his
wife for the first time in weeks.
Suzanne and Jordan, having been the key to many of Heather’s problems,
hadn’t been allowed to see her at all since they brought her there. But now, Dr. Bouvier, her psychiatrist,
believed it was time.
car took them straight to the institution.
Another quiet ride. When they
arrived, Dr. Bouvier met them outside at the front entrance.
glad you all came,” he said as they gathered by the car. “This is an important step in Heather’s
is she, Dr. Bouvier?” Brett asked as they followed him inside the sprawling
facility. “Has she made any progress?”
said the Doctor, a stout middle-aged man with thinning hair and cloaked in an
ill-fitting brown suit. “She still
doesn’t remember trying to drive off the cliff with Violet in the car. She’s still getting the incident confused
with her own accident years ago.”
she has remembered the accident?”
Jordan asked, fully aware that accident
was a sugar-coated way of referring to what happened that rainy night when
Suzanne and Heather went over the cliff.
Victor Distefano had rigged the car with Jordan as his intended
victim. Another example of how his
ill-fated affair with Sylvie Distefano had shaped their lives for years to
come. “What about Troy’s murder?”
remembered during a session a few days ago,” Dr. Bouvier explained, leading
them through a string of secured doors.
“Everything from the car accident to witnessing Suzanne killing Troy
Beauchamp with an ax.”
her eyes, Suzanne willed the faint images away.
She’d been out of her mind at the time – hypnotized by a madman – and
had only vague recollections of that horrible night. The night that she was taken away from her
believe that the key to unlocking her memories is Suzanne,” the doctor went on
as they stopped just outside a secured metal door.
felt like an experiment, all eyes on her as if she was supposed to know what to
do or say. And how was she supposed to
be of any help to her daughter when she’d betrayed her in the worst way? Her affair with Brett now weighed heavily on
her. The guilt almost too much to
Bouvier slid his key card into the reader beside the door and pulled it
ajar. He looked at Suzanne and gestured
am I supposed to say to her?” she asked in a frightened voice. She wasn’t a psychiatrist. She hadn’t seen her daughter in months. How could her seeing her possible help?
talk to her,” the doctor said. “Try not
to give her any information, just talk.”
at Brett and then at Jordan, she bit her lip and hesitantly slipped inside the
room. Hugging the wall, she gazed across
the small bedroom where Heather was sitting in a chair with a rag doll in her
lap. She was pale, her long hair flat
and listless, and her eyes were void of the life that had once inhabited
them. She barely recognized her as her
sweetie,” Suzanne finally said, stepping tentatively into the room.
reaction wasn’t immediate. She glanced
up from the doll, still stroking its yarn hair, and looked at her for a long
time. Finally, she spoke in a soft,
reaction wasn’t what Suzanne had predicted.
Dr. Bouvier had been extremely vague about her state of mind, most
likely for good reasons. She had a
feeling she was only there as a test to see how Heather would react. There were cameras in the corners of the room
and a large mirror that she was sure acted as a window into the room.
are you?” she asked.
was her daughter’s brief reply, although it came with much hesitation. All the while, she compulsively stroked the
doll’s hair. “How are you?”
I miss you,” Suzanne replied, finally reaching the chair and standing over
her. “We all do. Me, your dad, Brett, Benji, Violet.”
last the corners of her mouth hinted at the beginning stages of a smile. She stood up from the chair and walked to the
dresser where she picked up a soft plastic brush. Probably the only kind she was allowed.
nice,” she said, running the teeth of the brush through her hair. She brushed each side four times, counting
out loud with each pass down her limp tresses.
When she was through, she set the brush methodically on the dresser and
set the doll beside it where she could look at it. “That’s really nice.”
studied her carefully. Her smile, which
she’d been so happy to see at first, seemed dark and uninhabited. It sent chills down her spine. Still, she knew she had to try to reach
sorry I couldn’t come until now. Dr.
Bouvier thought it was best this way.”
She took a step forward and reached a hand out to her. “I wanted to come so many times, sweetheart.”
movement toward her was met with a swift step in the other direction. “Brett came
to see me,” Heather said, correcting her for no apparent reason. “He came and showed me pictures of
beautiful, isn’t she?”
“Yes.” She lifted the doll from the dresser and
placed it on the bed. “Yes.”
Bouvier said you’ve started remembering some things in your sessions. That’s good news. That means you’re getting better.”
was determined not to get upset. “He
said you remembered that night we went over the cliff in the car. And your brain surgery.”
was raining,” Heather said.
yes it was raining.” At least that was
encouraging, she thought.
were upset because Daddy had been with another woman.”
looked away instinctively. "He made a
looked at her blankly, tilted her head to the side, and then went back to the
dresser with the doll. Picking up the
brush again, she combed each side of her hair, again counting out four strokes
said that you remembered something else,” Suzanne went on. “Something that I did. Something that caused me to have to go away
for a long time. Do you remember what
that was, sweetheart?”
Brett come with you?” she asked, placing the brush on the dresser again. “He came before, you know. He showed me pictures of my daughter. I thought he would forget about me in here
but he didn’t.”
forgotten about you, baby,” Suzanne assured her. “We think about you every day.” As soon as she said it, she felt the tears
coming on. How could she lie to her
daughter that way? Yes, she thought
about her every day but she was also sleeping with her husband. She was the biggest hypocrite in the world
and she hated herself for it.
was a period of silence. Heather used
her arms to act out a series of movements.
She clasped her hands above her head and brought them down toward the
doll that rested on the dresser.
remembered when you killed that man with the ax,” she said, repeating the
movement a few times. “But I know it wasn’t
your fault. Dr. Bouvier said you were
with remorse, Suzanne began to wonder if her visit was helping her at all. So far it had only succeeded in making her
feel a million times worse about her affair.
Before, it was easy to rationalize it.
Heather was away and she had no idea what her emotional state was. But now she saw how deeply disturbed she
right, I was not in my right mind,” she finally told her, tears streaming down
her face. “Mommy was sick like you are
tilted her head, picked up the doll again and sat down on the bed. With a snap of her head, she looked at her
mother. “Did Brett come with you?”
with the videotape Gemma’s best call girl had acquired for her, Jackie paid a
visit to Kenny that evening. She knocked
on the door to his condo at the marina and flashed him a generous smile when he
opened the door in slacks and a wife beater.
are you doing here?” he demanded.
“Haven’t you done enough already?
If Renee knew that you were here she would-“
what? Jackie finished for him. “She
already kicked me out of my home. What
else can she do to me? Besides, this has
nothing to do with Renee. I’m here about
Kenny inquired, sighing when she swept inside the condo and sniffed around with
an inquisitive nature.
seeing if we were alone,” she said. “I’m
sure you’d rather this not go outside of these walls.”
course I’m alone. Who else would be
indeed?” She sat down on the sofa and
crossed her legs, suddenly all business.
“I understand David had you draw up his new will a few days ago. I’d like to see what’s in it.”
“I can’t do that. It’s confidential.”
his mother, Kenny.”
shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. David specifically wanted his will to remain
top secret until….well, until the end.”
you just tell me what’s in it?” she
asked. “A summary?”
he insisted, walking to the door. “Now
if you don’t mind-“
up from the sofa, Jackie clutched her purse tightly over her shoulder. “I understand you and Renee have recently
reunited,” she said with a smile. “I
think that’s wonderful. She needs a man
in her life.”
that you’ve stolen her father’s company, yes, I think she does need me.”
an eyebrow, she got up in his face and challenged him. “So your days of fraternizing with every
available bimbo in town are over, is that what you’re telling me?”
over,” he said with expert confidence.
Jackie said, swooping into her giant purse and removing the tiny
camcorder. “Then what would you call
watched the display as she cued up the video of him in bed with Veronica
earlier that day. Every thrust, every
moan, every wave of ecstasy was caught on camera. Slowly, he closed his eyes and realized what
had happened. He’d been set up.
bitch,” he murmured under his breath.
Once he’d gotten over the initial shock of the duplicitous Veronica, he
looked back at Jackie. “I suppose you’re
going to show this to Renee.”
if you give me what I want,” she preened.
“David’s will. I’d like a copy.”
had been railroaded big time. When would
he learn to stop thinking with his dick?
Stormy leaving for three months, Miranda had predicted that Eddie would turn to
her to take up the slack in his free time.
It didn’t bother her, she of course loved being with him. He made her laugh and he made her feel
special. Even more than that, he was the
most genuinely sweet guy she’d ever been with.
Like today for instance, when he talked about losing his best friend for
the better part of the summer, he’d gotten relatively choked up.
like….I’m gonna miss him, you know, dude?” Eddie had said, lost puppy dog eyes
staring at her.
I do, sweetie,” she’d replied. “But A, don’t call me dude. And B,
it’s just for a few months. I’ll try to
keep you entertained while he’s gone. I
mean, I know I’m not Stormy but I’d like to think your girlfriend might be better company anyway.”
you are!” he had agreed. “How many times
have I told you how bitchin’ you are?
It’s like I can’t imagine not having you around. Especially now that my best bro is leaving.”
Eddie was sweet and dumb and attentive.
A match so implausible that it actually worked, and had for several
months. But it didn’t change the fact
that she’d had fun with David these past few days, yesterday’s freak-out and
her brother and her boyfriend enjoyed a raucous night out together, she decided
to track David down. He casually invited
her to meet him at Spago for an early dinner.
Together, they agreed that their newly revived friendship was
refreshingly casual, open, and without strings.
really do feel bad about yesterday morning,” he said, gulping down a glass of
pinot noir. “I shouldn’t have let you
jump out of that helicopter. It was much
dangerous for me, but not for you?” she asked with chortle. “David, that’s such a double standard.”
not a double standard.”
serious! You’re saying I couldn’t handle
it because I’m a woman?”
true. I’m saying you couldn’t handle it
because you’re a princess.”
open wide in dismay, she playfully tossed a breadstick at his head, which shot
over him and beamed the back of an uptight woman at the next table. When she turned around and gasped in horror,
they both urgently stifled fits of laughter.
am not a princess,” she whispered defensively.
“Need I remind you I didn’t go to West Beverly with Stormy and Eddie and
pompous. I went to Hollywood High. I was a
rebel. I was never called a princess.”
so sorry. I had no idea you were so
mocking me,” she said, gesturing at him with the teeth of her fork. “All I’m saying is I can do anything you can
do. I’ve kept up pretty well these last
give you that,” David conceded. “Same
goes for the rebel thing. That’s part of
your charm, I guess.”
first I’m a princess and now I’m charming?” she asked. “You’re making me sound like a Disney
movie. Not flattering.”
laughed out loud, picking up his glass and swirling the dark red liquid in a
clockwise motion. “You’re a riot. I’m gonna miss you,” he said offhandedly.
laughed in return. “Why, where are you
going?” At first his off-the-cuff remark
didn’t faze her, but when he didn’t answer right away, she knew something must
be up. “David?”
shook his head, growing suddenly serious.
“Forget it,” he said, folding his napkin onto his plate. “Listen, we should get going. I’m sure you want to see your brother before
he leaves tomorrow.”
she knew there was something he
wasn’t telling her. When he stood up,
she grabbed his hand and pulled him back into his seat. “What’s going on? Why are you getting all serious? And if you aren’t going anywhere, why did you
say you’re going to miss me?”
reason, okay?” He wanted to drop it,
unwilling to tell her the awful truth.
As soon as he did, she would begin to pity him, and that was the last
thing he wanted.
not okay. Tell me right now. If you’re going somewhere and if I’m never
going to see you again then I want to know about it. You can’t just invite me to go skydiving and
have cancer,” he blurted out without thinking.
Anything to shut her up.
announcement made her stop mid-sentence.
The frustration on her face disappeared and was replaced with sudden and
he had to tell her everything now that he’d said that much, David lowered his
voice and spoke quietly across the table at her. “I have an inoperable brain tumor. I’ve seen a couple of doctors and they both
tell me I have less than a year to live.”
quickly turned to despair, followed by a flood of tears that erupted down her
cheeks. She looked down, her hands
resting on the edge of the table. David
reached over and placed a gentle hand on hers.
didn’t want to say anything.” he said.
“No one but my mother knows.”
the news slowly sunk in, Miranda rose to her feet and grabbed her purse from
the next chair. “I have to get out of
here,” she said, tearing through the restaurant as fast as she could.
realizing he could have been a little more tactful in his pronouncement, stood
up with the intentions of stopping her.
Before he could react, however, she’d disappeared through the front
watched Jackie’s expression as she paced the floor of her office at Sunset
Studios, ecru envelope clutched tightly in her hand. A steady glow of moonlight illuminated each
step she took along the luxuriously carpeted floor.
knew there was a possibility this would happen,” he said. “David has no heir. Brooke Taylor was the only option for
not the only option. What about me? I’m his mother. She was a mistake that Royce made with that
drunk, Roz Taylor. I can understand him
selling his shares of Sunset Studios to her.
I can even understand him
giving her part of Moonshadows. But to
hand over Royce’s entire empire to her?
your son and he’s dying,” Bryan said.
“Maybe it’s time to let it go and respect his wishes.”
other option do I have?” she demanded.
“The will is iron clad. Unless I
can contest it.”
can contest it after he dies but I have to caution you, the chances of your
winning are a thousand to one.”
supposed to be helping me, Bryan,” she said, stopping her manic pace and
resisting the urge to cry.
know I would do anything for you,” he said, starting toward her. “I helped you take over Merteuil because it
was possible. There just isn’t any way
to stop him from giving Royce’s estate to Brooke Taylor.”
she sunk onto the sofa in her office.
She refused to let this happen.
She’d already lost so much to Brooke Taylor.
was lost in their own thoughts during the flight home from San Francisco that
evening. Brett wanted to talk to Suzanne
about what happened while she was in with Heather, but he bided his time. Staring out the window of the plane, he grew
wary of intimate conversations between her and Jordan up near the cockpit. Tears were evident on Suzanne’s face and
Jordan did his best to comfort her.
It should be him comforting her, Brett thought in
The limo took them
to Jordan’s house in Beverly Hills where an agency-employed nanny was watching
over Violet. Jordan announced that he
wanted to go up and check on her – obviously emotional after the visit to the
institution. While he was upstairs,
Brett followed Suzanne onto the terrace.
“You have no idea
how this day has been killing me,” he said, staring at her beneath the
moonlight. “Not being able to be with
you or show you how I feel. It’s
torture. Can I stop by your house
“I don’t think so,
“I need to be with
you,” he pleaded, coming up behind and placing a hand on her shoulder. “We’ve both been through a lot today.”
Shaking her head,
she turned to him with tears in her eyes.
“I don’t want you coming over tonight, Brett,” she said as simply as she
He saw the hurt in
her eyes and decided it wasn’t the time to push. “Okay, that’s fine,” he said. “Tomorrow then.”
She hastily jerked
away from his touch. “I don’t want you
coming over at all,” she cried, tears streaming down her face. “I can’t do this anymore.”
Alarm set in and
caused Brett to leap to the defense.
“What are you talking about?” he asked, again trying to reach out to
touch her. “Suzanne, you don’t mean
that. You’re just upset. Seeing Heather like that was a shock, that’s
“A shock?” she
asked amidst her tears. “It was more
than a shock, Brett. My daughter looked
at me like she had no idea who I was.
She looked at me but she didn’t see
me. She was a shell. She’s broken and it’s my fault.”
“It is not.”
“She saw me kill a
man! I drove her over the edge of a
cliff! Are you honestly going to stand
there and tell me that I had nothing to do with what’s happened to her?”
She was more upset
than he realized, Brett decided. Taking
her hand, he attempted to pull her into an embrace. “Look, all I meant was that-“
“Stop it!” she
lamented, pushing him away with all the strength she could afford. “Maybe it’s easier for you. Maybe you can pretend it doesn’t bother you,
but I can’t! I can’t go on the way we
have been knowing I put her in that institution. By sleeping with you I feel like I’m
profiting from her breakdown and I’m sorry but I can’t live with that on my
“You didn’t put her
in that institution. I did. I signed the papers to have her committed,
“I’m talking about
everything I did to make her snap,” she exclaimed, eyes wide with alarm. “I drove my own daughter insane and then I
slept with her husband. Do you have any
idea how that makes me feel?”
“She’ll never know. No one will.”
“I’ll know!” Her tone was laced with hostility and
revulsion over her actions. “I don’t
give a damn what anyone else thinks!
Every time I look at you now I’ll picture her sitting in that room with
that damn doll! Every time you touch me
I remember what a horrible mother I’ve been!”
He was at a loss
for words. He wanted to change her mind
and to make her see that they were good together, but he knew he couldn’t. Not now.
Maybe she needed time to process everything.
“I get it,” he
said. “We’ll cool it for a while. After you work things out, maybe-“
“There’s nothing to
work out,” she told him, forcing herself to appear that she was in control even
though she felt far from it. “What you
and I did can never happen again.”
“I don’t think you
Jordan’s proposal,” she finally revealed.
“We talked about it on the way home.”
Shaking his head in
disbelief, Brett stepped closer. “No,
tell me that’s not true.”
“It is,” she said,
devastated by the hurt look in his eyes.
Tears began flowing again and this time she couldn’t stop them. “We’re going to the Justice of the Peace
tomorrow morning. I’m moving back in
here with him and Benji and we’re going to fix the mess we’ve made out of our
“Please don’t do
this,” he said, chasing after her on her way to the terrace doors.
“I’m sorry, Brett,”
she said, still refusing to look him in the eyes. She hated to say goodbye to the passion
they’d shared but she had no choice.
disappeared inside the house, Brett turned around toward the flowing green
lawns. Tears welling up in his eyes, he
doubled over and braced himself against the railing. He wasn’t ready for it to be over. His stomach was in knots at the idea of never
touching her again.
next morning, the cast and crew of House
of Palms prepared for departure, with of course the expected hiccups along
the way. The film’s main stars, Jack
Childers and Cassidy Solomon, demanded their own personal space on the Sunset
Studios jet, and there was only a certain amount of room. To appease them, and to avoid starting the
production on a sour note, Kyle offered to fly commercial with a few of the
accompanied him to the airport, more than a little sad that he was going away
so soon after they’d started their top secret relationship. What if their feelings fizzled over the
course of three months? What if he
decided not to come back to L.A. after the movie wrapped? Any number of scenarios ran through her mind,
making their goodbye all the more difficult to swallow.
won’t be working every day,” Kyle told her as they charged through the terminal
at LAX. “I can come back and see you on
only an hour flight. Or you can even come to
Acapulco. We had fun the first time,
caught his sly grin and nudged him playfully.
Yes, they had fun, after she
got over the pretense of not wanting anything from him. But now that she had, she wanted it all the
toward the gate, Kyle caught a glimpse of someone familiar out of the corner of
his eye. By the time he realized who it
was, he’d already bumped directly into Bryan Carlson.
he asked, surprised to find his old friend in Los Angeles. “What are you doing here?”
doing a favor for a friend,” he replied with a grin. “I would have looked you up but it was a
quick trip. Where are you off to?”
Kyle replied. “I’m working at Sunset
Studios. We’re going into production on
a new film.”
shook his head with a laugh. “You said
you were going to start over and you did.
I have to give you credit.” He
turned his attention to Brooke.
“Hi. Bryan Carlson.”
Taylor,” she replied, shaking his hand politely.
is my family’s attorney back in New York,” Kyle told her. “We practically grew up together.”
to meet you,” Brooke said.
nice seeing you, Kyle,” Bryan said and patted him on the shoulder. “Maybe we can get together when you get
nodded his vague reply, waving as Bryan headed off to his gate.
guy,” Brooke said. “And very
to make me jealous?” Kyle asked, leaning down and pulling her into a deep
kiss. They’d agreed to keep their
relationship secret for the time being, but no one was around to care, and he
wasn’t about to leave for three months without showing her how much he would
decided to make a grand gesture and meet the court officials from Malawi at the
airport. She located their flight
information and proceeded to the gate where they were flying in to. Going that extra mile to welcome them and
show what a responsible and thoughtful person she was couldn’t hurt, she
plane was late, of course, so she wandered about looking in shops and sipping a
cup of coffee. It wasn’t until she
neared the duty free shop that she spotted them. Kyle and Brooke. They were kissing passionately near the gate,
arms wrapped tightly around one another.
When they broke, they were all smiles, overly friendly and very very
she felt like a fool. When Kyle showed
up at her apartment the day before she had been certain it was because he’d had
second thoughts. She even considered
taking him back after the adoption went through and after he returned from
Mexico. Never in a million years did she
think Brooke was still in the picture.
She’d never been a hundred percent certain she ever was until now.
disappointment and the humiliation got the best of her. She reached into her purse and removed her
standby, a half bottle of oxycodone that she kept with her as a bitter reminder
of what she’d gone through and how far she came to escape it.
times she’d taken that bottle out and looked at it, eager to take just one
pill. Just one small pill to take the
edge off. But each time she thought
about her future and the plans she had.
The baby, the new family she would have, and the envy of her peers. She would put the bottle away and leave it as
just that, a reminder.
time she couldn’t put it away. She
opened the bottle and fished out two pills, swallowing them with her hot
keeps a secret from Eddie. Alex's dreams are shattered
after she hits rock bottom. Brett acts out in
grief. Tensions mount on the set of House of Palms.
Jackie searches for a way to undo David's generosity.
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