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Episode 12

 

Release Date:  February 24, 2006

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Brooke emotinally shut down after news of Ethan's death.  Brett's former girlfriend and business partner, Devon Graham, arrived in town and threatened to expose him as a con man if he didn't give her half the money he took from Bailey in Las Vegas.  A nervous Brett insisted that he had nothing to do with Bailey's fall from the hotel window.  After Alex and Jordan made up, Alex began questioning her motives for considering Will's marriage proposal.  Brett became suspicious of Stormy and Lauren's relationship so he steered Heather to believe that there might be something going on between them.  James was forced to accept the high risk loan from Cutty Sallis at H&Q Consolidated.  Later, Will paid Sallis, who was an actor he'd hired as a front.  


 

Episode 12

"Search and Destroy"

 

Brett grabbed Devon’s arm and pulled her back into the lobby at the club, covering her mouth with his hand to keep her from screaming.  She struggled to get free of his grasp as he carried her across the lobby and threw her into a utility closet.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she screaming, pounding on the door.

“I’m sorry to have to do this to you, Devon,” Brett said, looking around for something to brace the door with.   He grabbed a chair and propped it underneath the doorknob.  “But I can’t have you ruining my big night.”

“You can’t leave me in here, you bastard!” Devon shrieked.  “I swear to God I’ll scream my head off until someone lets me out!”

Brett sighed with frustration and rushed to the DJ booth in the restaurant, turning the volume up on the music that was being piped through the sound system.    Hopefully no one would be able to hear her yelling from the closet.   As soon as the night was over, he’d let her out and deal with her then.

He turned around just as Stormy and Heather approached him, dressed in their best evening attire.

“Everything looks great so far,” Stormy said, looking around happily at the crowd who had gathered to hear Lauren’s debut.   “You really outdid yourself, Brett.   Did you know there’s a reporter here from Rolling Stone magazine?”

Brett gave him a cocky smile.  “Of course.  I told you I’d make sure all the right people were here to see Lauren.”

“I have to give you credit,” Stormy said, shaking his hand.  “You’ve earned your mark as Lauren’s manager.”

Heather rolled her eyes and broke away from his side.  She didn’t even know why she came tonight.   She was miserable.  Everywhere she turned people were talking about Lauren and what a great discovery she was.  They made it sound like she was the atom.

She turned and saw Lauren making a b-line across the room to where Stormy was standing.    She looked upset, and of course Stormy was all too happy to console her with an arm around her shoulder and his usual seductive bedroom eyes transfixed on her.  He didn’t know when to turn it off, she thought to herself.

“I need to talk to you,” Lauren whispered to Stormy, watching Brett out of the corner of her eyes.  She didn’t know what was going on with him and the girl he’d been arguing with in the lobby, but something was up.  She knew it. 

“You’re not getting nervous, are you?” Stormy asked.

Lauren shook her head.  “No, it’s about Brett.”   She always knew there was something fishy about her manager, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it.  Then yesterday he started asking questions about her relationship with Stormy.   Now she just saw him turn pale as a ghost when that girl showed up.   It all seemed suspect to her.

“He’s done a great job tonight, don’t you think?” Stormy asked, looking around at the restaurant buzzing with activity.  “Can you believe he put this whole thing together himself?  Lauren, there are reporters here from every industry magazine.  Your name is going to be on everyone’s lips come tomorrow.”

She managed a smile, realizing that she did have a lot to look forward to.  And as suspicious as she was about Brett, she did owe a lot of it to him.  Maybe she was being a little too judgmental about his shady personality. 

“So what about Brett?” Stormy asked.  “Is everything okay?”

Lauren nodded and smiled.  “Yeah.  I just wanted to thank you both for everything you’ve done for me.”

Stormy pulled her into a friendly embrace.  “I’m just happy that your dreams are going to come true,” he said.

Across the room, Heather glared at them, balling her fists so hard that her knuckles turned white.   After what Brett said to her earlier that day, she was more suspicious about Stormy and Lauren’s relationship than ever.    She’d held her tongue so far, but she could only hold it in so long before she burst.

Peninsula Hotel

Their champagne glasses clinked together as Alex and Will sat on the sofa in his hotel suite at the Peninsula.    Alex put her feet up on his lap and he massaged them seductively.

“You are a genius, Will Thomerson,” she said joyously, then sipped her champagne. 

“Well thank you.”

“What do you think James will do when he finds out you were the one who lent him that money?” Alex asked, taking a deep breath and smiling.

“He’ll be powerless,” Will replied.  “All I have to do is call in that loan early, when he’s incapable of paying it back, and then I’ll become owner of Sunset Studios.  He can say goodbye to his reputation and his power in Hollywood. There’s not a thing he can do to retaliate.”

“Are you sure about that?  James is a very resourceful man.  Revenge is one of his specialties.”

Will laughed and shook his head.  “Let him try.  I’ll be the leading producer in Hollywood.  I’ll have his studio, and I’ll have his lovely ex-wife.”

Alex smiled coyly.  “We’re very sure of ourselves, aren’t we?”

“You can’t tell me after I pull off this coup that you’ll be able to turn my proposal for marriage down,” Will said.  “I’ll be irresistible to you.”

Drifting off into a daze, Alex thought back to her lunch with Jordan.  He’d made a very valid point, and one that she couldn’t seem to overlook.  After Will’s revenge on James was complete, what would be left of their relationship?   The only reason she was so turned on by him was because he had the same passions that she had.   Revenge against the man who exiled her from her own home.   Beyond that, she had no real feelings for Will.

She definitely had a tough choice to make.   Ideally she could continue seeing them both.  Then once Will’s plot had run its course, she would gently but quickly let him down and devote her full attention to Jordan.   Then and only then would she deliver her final blow to James by telling Will that Ethan was his son.

Domi ican Republic

Meanwhile, in Santo Domingo, Brooke sat on the bed in her hotel room, holding the phone in her hands and staring at it blankly.   She knew she had to call James and tell him about Ethan.   As much as she hated to call him under those circumstances, she knew he had a right to know.

She realized she should forget about everything that had happened lately and do what was right.  Nothing else mattered now.  Not her marriage to Philip and not the way James turned on her after he found out about it.   Ethan was gone and that was all that mattered.

Taking a deep breath, she dialed the number to the Blackthorne mansion.  After a few rings, Leilani answered and Brooke let out a sigh of relief.

“Leilani, it’s Brooke,” she said breathlessly.  “Is James home?”

“He went out for a while, Miss Taylor,” Leilani replied.

Brooke started to cry.  “Leilani, I have terrible news,” she sobbed.  “It’s about Ethan.”

Stormy Blackthorne

Stormy approached the microphone at the club and the room grew quiet as all of the guests looked at him in anticipation.

“I’d like to thank everyone for coming out tonight,” he began.  “This a very special night for Good Times Records.  We’ve been lucky enough to have found a talent that is without a doubt going to be the voice of the new decade.  Ladies and gentlemen, It’s my pleasure to introduce Lauren Spencer.”

The crowd applauded as Lauren came out onto the stage and the band began playing a jazzy number.   Stormy kissed Lauren’s hand and she took her position at the microphone and started singing.

Brett watched from the first table, seated between Miranda and Heather who stared with contempt at Lauren as she sang her heart out.

Out in the lobby, Devon yelled hoarsely and banged her fists on the door to the utility closet, hoping someone passing by would hear her.   She heard live music playing from the dining room and sighed in frustration.   Now no one was going to find her.

“Damn you, Rick,” she mumbled to herself.  “I’m going to get you for this.”

Blackthorne Mansion

James arrived home from meeting Jack and started upstairs to his bedroom.  It was late and he wanted to go to sleep and forget about his troubles.   He felt a sense of relief after paying Jack his money.  At least that was one thing he could take comfort in.   His business relationship with the Fallmonts was very important and jeopardizing that was something he refused to let happen.

As he reached the top of the staircase, Leilani came running down the hall toward him, her arms flailing and her voice trembling.

“Mr. Blackthorne, I have terrible news,” she exclaimed.

James frowned.  “What is it Leilani?”  He’d never seen her so worked up in the fifteen years she’d worked for him. 

“Miss Taylor called from Santo Domingo,” she explained.  “She was there with your nephew and there was an accident….an explosion of some kind.”

What?” James asked with wide eyes.  He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“Your nephew is dead, Mr. Blackthorne,” Leilani finished, her face horror-stricken.

“No!” James shouted, taking a step back.   “That can’t be!”

Leilani nodded her head.  “It’s true, Mr. Blackthorne.  Miss Taylor seemed very upset."

James brought his hands to his mouth and slowly sat down on the top stair as he tried to comprehend the news.   A million questions filled his mind.  What were Brooke and Ethan doing in the Dominican Republic together?  What kind of explosion?  Was Brooke hurt as well?

Staring at the floor in a daze, he tried to figure out what he was going to do.  He had to do something.  Ethan was his nephew.  His own flesh and blood.   He owed it to his sister Georgie to get to the bottom of what had happened.

Lauren Spencer

Lauren sat in her dressing room after the performance, dabbing sweat from her forehead with a towel when the door opened and Heather came barging in.

“You’ve got a lot of nerve!” she yelled at Lauren, her eyes flaring.

Frowning, Lauren stood up and backed away from her.  “What are you talking about?”

“Don’t think I don’t see the way you flirt with my husband,” Heather continued, standing only inches away from her.  “The way you bat your eyelashes at him.  The way your face lights up when he’s in the room.   The way you secretly love it when he hugs you or touches you.”

“You’ve got it all wrong!” Lauren insisted.  “I’m not interested in your husband.  We work together.  That’s all.”

“Don’t try to act innocent with me!” Heather continued.  “I know girls like you.  You think because you have pretty blond hair and a figure that you can have any man you want.  Well I’ve got news for you, you can’t have mine!”

“You act like he’s a piece of property,” Lauren said, shaking her head.  She was beginning to regret feeling sorry for Heather.  It was becoming clear to her that this girl was nothing but a spoiled rich brat.   “He’s not a prize, Heather.  He has a mind of his own.”

“He’s my husband.  I think I know better than anyone what he wants.”

Standing her ground, Lauren refused to back down from her.  She wasn’t going to let her bully her and make her feel bad about something she hadn’t even done.  “What about love and trust?” she asked.  “Doesn’t that factor into your marriage?  Or are you so consumed with jealousy that you just see him as a possession that you can control?”

“I have no interest in controlling him,” Heather replied.  “Besides, it’s not him I don’t trust.  It’s you.”

Lauren folded her arms and stared at her suspiciously.  “Let’s cut to the chase, Heather,” she began.  “It’s not that you don’t trust me, it’s that you’re jealous that Stormy is helping me with my career, while he ignores yours.”

Filled with rage, Heather had to restrain herself from physically attacking the girl.  “I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.”

“Don’t I?” Lauren asked, her eyes challenging her.  “Just admit that that’s the reason you hated me from the get go.  It has nothing to do with me or my relationship with Stormy.  It’s that you think that should have been you up there tonight, isn’t it?”

Heather was through listening to her.  She wasn’t going to let her turn everything around on her and make her look like the bad guy.  “I’m warning you,” she hissed.  ‘If you don’t keep it professional with my husband, I will make you sorry.”

Slightly unnerved by her tone, Lauren watched as Heather turned and raced out of the dressing room.  She didn’t know what to do about her.  It was obvious they would never be friends.   She had too much rage and resentment built up.

The door opened again and Stormy and Brett entered the room, cheering and hollering with excitement as they handed Lauren a glass of champagne.

“You were fantastic!” Stormy said, picking her up and twirling her around as she laughed.  “Everyone out there is saying how outstanding you are.   You’ve done it, Lauren.  You’ve officially launched your career tonight.”

We did it, “Lauren corrected him, smiling happily.  “You really think they liked me?”

“Liked you?” he asked.  “They loved you!”

“I can’t believe this,” Lauren exclaimed as she threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly.

Brett stood by, watching with a forced smile on his face.  Obviously the suspicions he’d relayed to Heather hadn’t done much to tame Stormy and Lauren’s connection.  He would have to work a little harder to make sure that nothing progressed between them.

Suddenly he remembered Devon.  She was still in the utility closet and people would be leaving the restaurant soon.  Someone was bound to hear her yelling her head off and then he’d have a lot of explaining to do.

He quickly excused himself and raced out to the dining room, then proceeded out into the waiting area.   The sound of fists hitting the inside of the door triggered alarms in his head and he looked around to see if anyone had noticed.  Just then, a waiter brushed past him and approached the door.

“Is someone in here?” he asked, moving the chair away from the door.

“Wait!” Brett exclaimed, trying to stop him.

But his plea was no use.  The door quickly flew open and Devon came charging out of the closet in a panic.   Wheezing and trying to catch her breath, she pointed at Brett and gritted her teeth.

“Someone better do something about this guy!” she yelled.  “He locked me in that damn closet for over an hour!”

“Miss, are you alright?” asked the waiter.

“She’s fine,” Brett interrupted, grabbed Devon by the arm and attempting to lead her out the front doors.

“No I’m not fine!” Devon insisted, pulling away from him.

Just then, Miranda appeared in the lobby.  Brett turned to her with wide eyes, realizing he was in trouble.  Of all people to show up at that minute…

“Brett, who is this woman?” she asked, walking over and stopping at his side.

“She’s no one,” Brett replied quickly, trying to get Miranda back into the restaurant.

“No one?” Devon asked.  “I slept with you for two years and now all the sudden I’m no one?”

“Brett?” Miranda began in confusion.

“His name isn’t Brett, honey,” Devon announced as a crowd of onlookers assembled around them.  “It’s Rick Shively.  And I’m sure his name isn’t the only thing he’s lied to you about.”

“Rick Shively?” Miranda asked, more confused than ever.  She put her arm around him and looked into his eyes.  “What is she talking about?”

“Oh no, don’t tell me you fell for his lies and got involved with him too,” Devon continued with a smirk.  “Honey, you’ve screwed yourself.  What are you?  Some rich debutante that fell for his charms and good looks?   Did you sign over your trust fund to him too?”

“I’m his wife,” Miranda replied evenly.

Devon laughed out loud and covered her mouth.   “Oh my God, you are one dumb girl,” she said, then looked at Brett.  “How did you get her to marry you?  Did you tell that you were dying?  Or that you’re the successor to the throne?  Which con was it this time, Rick?”

“Devon, I think you’d better leave now,” Brett said anxiously. 

Stormy arrived on the scene with Heather, both wondering what all the yelling and commotion was about.  Lauren followed seconds later.   She recognized the girl from earlier.  She knew something was up, and now she’d find out exactly what.

“Let me tell you something else, Sweetie,” Devon said, moving toward Miranda.  “I wouldn’t just be afraid of losing my money.  People have lost their lives because of this guy.”

“That’s enough,” Brett said, grabbing hold of Devon’s arm.

“Let go!” she shrieked.  “I warned you, Rick.  I gave you a chance to make things right and you chose to ignore me.  You locked me in a closet to shut me up.  But there’s nothing you can do to shut me up now.   You’re going to be very sorry you crossed me.”

She turned and stormed out of the restaurant, leaving Brett and Miranda standing behind with blank expressionless faces.   Brett looked around the room, realizing everyone was staring at him as if waiting for an explanation. 

Brett Armstrong

“I told you!” Brett said a while later as he and Miranda paced around their bedroom at the Blackthorne mansion.  “Devon and I met in high school.  We used to be involved.  I broke it off and she isn’t taking it very well.”

“Well what was all that about people losing their lives?” Miranda asked, her hands on her hips and she stared at him.  “What did she mean by that?”

Brett shrugged and stammered out a reply.  “She’s exaggerating, of course,” he said with a casual laugh.

“She made you out to sound like some kind of con artist!”

“Look,” Brett began, taking her hand and sitting her down on the bed.  “I’m not proud of it, but I’ve done things that I probably shouldn’t have.   I wasn’t always so career-oriented, Miranda.   Devon and I used to come up with schemes to get rich.   None of them really worked and so I got out of that whole scene.   That’s when I told her it was over.  Naturally, she was upset.  She didn’t think she could pull them off by herself.”

“And what about your name?” Miranda demanded, standing up again.  “She said Brett Armstrong isn’t your name.  Is that true?”

Brett realized there was no getting around the issue.   He already told her about his past as a con artist so telling her that he changed his name wasn’t going to matter much.

“Yes, my real name is Rick Shively,” he admitted.  “I gained a few enemies because of my past and I had to be careful.   I had to change my name so they wouldn’t catch up with me.”

“Oh, this is just great!” Miranda exclaimed, pacing the room again.  “I don’t even know the man I married!  This is unbelievable!  My father was right all along!”

“No!” Brett insisted, standing up and pulling her toward him.  “He wasn’t.  I’ve done some things I’m not proud of, but that’s all in the past.  I’m a changed man, Miranda.  I told you that a long time ago.   I’m not into all that stuff anymore.”

“Is that where all that money came from?” she asked.  “From you conning people?”

He nodded reluctantly.  “Yes.”

“Great, so I’m harboring a criminal,” Miranda said, slapping her hands to her sides.

“No, you’re not!” Brett replied.  “I’m not a criminal, Miranda.  I’m on the level and working for an honest living now.   And all that stuff that Devon said about your trust fund is bogus.  You know I’ve never asked you for any money.  I want to provide for us myself.  And pretty soon I want to move us out of your father’s house and into our own.   It’s about time we started our own life.”

Miranda couldn’t help but smile.   She loved it that he was planning for their future together.

“So can we please just drop all of this?” he asked, putting his arms around her.  “I don’t want to hear the name Devon Graham or Rick Shively ever again.  That part of my life is over.  My life is here with you now.”

Overwhelmed by his poetic words, Miranda kissed him passionately and held him close.  She knew that Brett wasn’t the sleazy louse that girl made him out to be.  She would know if she’d married someone like that.

Blackthorne Mansion

The next morning, Stormy arrived at the Blackthorne mansion to see Brett and find out what the hell happened last night.   When he started through the foyer, her saw his father coming down the stairs with a suitcase in hand.

“Dad, are you going somewhere?” he asked.

James stopped beside him and put a hand on his shoulder.  “Stormy, I got some bad news last night.”

“What is it?”

“Ethan’s dead.”

Stormy’s eyes widened.  “What?  Dad, what-“

James put his hand up.  “I don’t know many details,” he said.  “Apparently he and Brooke were in the Dominican Republic and there was some sort of accident and….and Ethan was killed.  I’m going there now to see what I can find out.”

Stormy was devastated.   This had all come as such a shock and without any warning.  “Do you want me to go with you, Dad?” he asked, his heart sinking at the thought of his cousin Ethan not being around anymore.  It was almost too much to take in.  His eyes stung and he stomach churned uneasily.

“No, you stay here,” James replied.  “I’ll phone you the minute I hear anything.”

Stormy nodded and gave his dad a hug.  “Give my love to Brooke,” he said.

“I will,” James said as he picked up his suitcase and headed for the door.

Stormy tried shaking off the morbid feeling he had in the pit of his stomach.  He turned to Leilani as she entered the foyer from the dining room.

“Leilani, have you seen Brett this morning?”

“He’s in the gym, Mr. Blackthorne,” Leilani replied.

Stormy headed down the hallway and walked into the gym, spotting Brett at the bench press as music blared from the stereo.

Brett looked up at him and set the weights down.  “Look, if you’re here to fire me then just do it,” he said.  “I don’t need any lectures.”

Stormy shrugged.  “Lauren’s the only one who can fire you.  Personally I don’t care what you did with your life before you came here.   The only things I care about are that you make my sister happy, and that you do right by me and my record company.”

“That’s all I want to do,” Brett insisted, breathing heavily as he moved across the room to the leg press.

“Then we have no problem,” Stormy said.

Brett looked at him and bit down on his lip.  “What about Lauren?  What does she say?”

“Lauren will be fine,” he replied.  “She knows you were the reason that last night was a success and she’s not about to forget about that.”

Brett positioned his feet on the pedals and began pushing the weights with his legs.  “Good, then we’re all set.”

“Not quite,” Stormy replied, a solemn look on his face.

Frowning, Brett stopped and looked at him curiously.

“First I need to get changed and then beat your ass on the racquetball court,” Stormy continued, then broke into a devilish grin.

Laughing, Brett got up and followed him out of the gym.  “You’re on.  But I have to warn you, I’ve been known to clean up on the court.”

“Yeah, we’ll see,” Stormy replied, playfully punching his arm as they walked down the hall.

Devon Graham

A warm breeze blew through the windows of the dining room at the Blackthorne mansion.   The window slowly opened and Devon Graham climbed inside, crouching to the floor as she scanned the room to see if she was alone.

She ran to the door and peered out into the foyer, gawking at the amazing luxury that Rick was living in.  The ornate mansion was so old Hollywood it was almost a cliché.  She’d read about places like this in the magazines but never thought she’d see one up close.

Making sure the coast was clear, she dashed across the foyer and ran up the staircase.   Racing down the hall, she ducked into one of the bedrooms while the maid passed by.    Her heart thudding inside her chest, she peeked out into the hall saw that it was empty again.

After checking several of the bedrooms, she finally went into the one that she was sure belonged to Rick and that wife of his.   The room was like something out of a home and garden magazine.  Everything was pristine and perfect, just the opposite of what she was used to. 

Closing the door quietly behind her, she began searching through dresser drawers and under the bed.   When she came up with nothing, she stood and looked around the meticulously decorated bedroom. 

“If I were ten thousand dollars, where would I hide?” she said to herself.

Darting across the room to the closet, she threw open the doors and gazed in at the amazing wardrobe the girl owned.   It was enough to make her green with envy.   Designer labels literally lined the walls of the huge walk in.

“What the hell are you doing here?” asked a voice from behind.

Devon spun around and came face to face with Miranda.   She pressed her lips together and tried to think of what to say.  “I’m just getting something that belongs to me and then I’ll be out of here.”

Miranda walked up and shut her closet doors.  “There’s nothing here that belongs to you,” she replied.  “Now why don’t you give me one reason why I shouldn’t call the police right now?”

“I don’t think you’d do that,” Devon said smugly.

“You don’t think so?”

“No,” Devon replied.  “And I’ll tell you why.   Because if the police get involved, then I guarantee your husband will go to jail.   Do you have any idea how many laws he’s broken in the past few years?  There’s probably a list of warrants out for his arrest.”

“That’s what you say,” Miranda spat.

“No, that’s a fact, Sweetheart.  You’d better wise up or you’ll be sorry you ever heard the name Brett Armstrong.”

Miranda folded her arms and smiled wickedly.  “I really do have to offer my apologies,” she said.  “It must be so hard seeing the man you loved since high school married to someone else.   But trust me, it gets easier in time.   Before you know it you’ll be back out there dating again.  I’m sure of it.  A girl with your spunk and all.”

Devon could see right through her sarcastic jibes.   “Believe me, there’s nothing about Rick that I miss,” she said.  “You can have him.   I’m sure the two of you will be perfect together.  Just remember what I said.  Watch your back.”

She brushed past Miranda and started out of the bedroom and down the hall.

“By the way,” Miranda called after her, following her to the staircase.  “The next time you break into my house, I’ll break your nose.”

Devon didn’t look back.  She ran down the stairs and out the front door.   Outside on the porch, she wrung her hands together anxiously.

“Okay Rick, you asked for it,” she murmured quietly to herself.  “Nobody treats me this way.  I’m going to pull the rug out from under your happy little life here in sunny California.”

Jordan's House

That afternoon, Alex showed up at Jordan’s house in Beverly Hills.  She felt guilty after having lied to him the night before about why she couldn’t see him that night, when in reality she spent the night celebrating with Will Thomerson.  Perhaps a mid afternoon rendezvous would smooth things over.  She had to be careful not to alienate him.  She was playing a dangerous game with the two men in her life.   One wrong move and she could send them running in the opposite direction.   She was having too much fun to let that happen.

When the butler showed her into the drawing room Jordan was just finishing up a phone call.  A disturbed look covered his face and Alex could tell right away that something was troubling him.

"What is it?" she asked, walking toward him.

Jordan moved away from the desk and took hold of her hand.  "That was Heather," he began.  "Apparently Ethan was caught in an explosion down in the Dominican Republic."

"Explosion?" Alex asked in shock.

"Heather didn't know too many details yet, but James is on his way down there right now," Jordan continued.  "They do know that he's dead."

"Dead?" Alex whispered under her breath.  "That's awful."

Her thoughts immediately turned to Will.  He was Ethan's father.  He should know what was going on with his own son.    He had a right to know.  Damn James for keeping it from him all these years.   He was playing God.

But telling Will now would only complicate matters.

"Are they sure he's dead?" Alex asked.

Jordan shrugged. "They haven't found a body yet, but then again there might not be anything left of it.   It's a tough call, but apparently they've called off the search."

"What was he doing there?" Alex asked.

"I don't know, but Brooke was with him."

Her eyes shot in his direction.  "Brooke?" she asked.  "What were they doing in the Caribbean together?"

"I don't know."

After thinking for a minute, Alex grabbed her purse and started to the door.  "I have to go there," she said.

"What?" Jordan asked.  "Alex, this has nothing to do with you.  Besides, it's dangerous.  There's a war going on there."

"I don't care," she replied willfully.  "I can't explain why, but I know that I have to go there.   I have to find out if Ethan is alive or dead.   So much depends on it, Jordan."

He could sense the seriousness in her tone.  He didn't know what she thought she could do to aid in the situation, but he trusted her instincts.

"I'm going with you," he said, starting toward her.

Alex looked at him in awe.  "I can't ask you to do that," she said.

"I’m not letting you go alone," Jordan insisted, grabbing her arms and looking deep into her eyes.

She finally agreed, seeing another side of Jordan that surprised her.  Every day he became more and more appealing to her  "Thank you, Jordan."

"I'll just call my pilot and have him prepare the jet," Jordan said, running over and dialing the phone.

Good Times Records

Stormy and Lauren sat alone in the control booth at Good Times Records.  They listened to the playback of a song they'd recorded several days earlier, and Stormy jotted notes down as the track played.

"I think that part needs work," Lauren suggested.  "Too much reverb, I think."

Nodding, Stormy backed the tape up and listened to the segment again.  "Yeah, I think you're right," he said, then looked at her with a smile.  "How do you know so much about all this technical stuff?  I thought that was my job."

"I like to stay informed," she said with a smile.

Stormy couldn’t take his eyes off her.   "You're amazing," he said, his eyelids growing heavy as he felt butterflies trip through his stomach. 

"Stop it!" she joked, hitting him and turning away bashfully.

"No, I mean it," Stormy said.  "I've never met anyone like you."

Lauren's gaze met with his and her smile faded.   She hated herself for thinking it, but she was falling for him fast.   Every minute they spent together was a joy. 

Suddenly she felt like a hypocrite for swearing to Heather last night that there was nothing going on between them.   Truthfully there wasn't.   So what if they had feelings for each other?   That was normal for people who worked so closely together.   Sure, Stormy was funny, smart and devastatingly handsome, but that didn't mean she would act on her feelings.   They had a professional relationship and that was all.

"You're pretty far out yourself," she finally said to him, then looked away nervously.

Stormy turned back to the mixing board and laughed.  "I'm sorry."

"No, you don't have anything to be sorry about," she replied.

"No, I mean I'm sorry for this," Stormy began, then leaned in and kissed her full on the lips.   At first he felt her pull away, but something must have eased her mind because a second later she was returning the kiss.

Stormy put his hands on her waist and savored the sweet taste of her lips.  It felt so right that he didn't want to stop.  To his surprise, the guilt that he expected to feel wasn't there.   He didn't think about Heather at all.   His full attention was on Lauren and her soft kisses.

Blackthorne Mansion

Meanwhile, Brett and Miranda started down the staircase at the Blackthorne mansion, their tennis rackets in hand as they prepared to leave for the Valley Beach Club.

"You're going to kill me out there," he said and gave her a playful nudge.  "Stormy just kicked my butt at racquetball this morning.  I'm going to be worn out by the end of the day."

Miranda laughed and kissed him lightly.  "Don't get too worn out," she said seductively.  "You'll need some energy for tonight."

A grin broke out across Brett's face and he chased her the rest of the way down the stairs just as the doorbell rang.   Leilani appeared from another room and ambled over to answer the door.

A police officer and a plain clothed detective entered the foyer and showed Leilani their badges.   "Excuse us, Ma'am, is there a Rick Shively residing at this address?  He might also be using the alias Brett Armstrong."

Brett and Miranda both snapped to attention, their eyes riveted to the police officers standing in the foyer.

"I'm Brett Armstrong," Brett said with a frown.  His heart began beating wildly and he could feel Miranda's eyes burning into him.   This definitely didn't look good for him.

The detective removed a pair of handcuffs and took Brett by the arm.  "Mr. Armstrong, we're placing you under arrest for the murder of Bailey Freeborn," he said, twisting his arms behind his back and latching the cuffs around his wrists.

Brett rolled his eyes, knowing immediately that Devon's name was written all over this.   She said she would call the police and tell them where to find him, and she followed through with her promise.

He looked at Miranda who stood, perplexed at the sight of her husband being arrested for murder.

James sat in the back of his jet on the way to the Dominican Republic.  He tapped his foot nervously on the floor and repeatedly looked at his watch.  He didn't think he'd be able to keep his sanity for much longer.  Glancing out the window, he saw the welcome sight of land in the not far off distance.

Hitting the call button on the PA system, he called to the cockpit and spoke to the pilot.  "Jake, how much longer?"

A few seconds later, the pilot's crackling voice sounded over the intercom.  "We're coming up on the island now, Mr. Blackthorne," he said.  "I'm going to start our landing now."

Sighing with relief, James leaned back in his seat and tried thumbing through a magazine to keep his mind off of Ethan.   The attempt was futile, as his mind continuously raced in a hundred different directions.  Questions nagged at him relentlessly.   What were Brooke and Ethan doing on the island together?   Were they having an affair?   And what led to the explosion that took his nephews life?

A violent bump in the cabin caused him to jolt back to reality.  He looked out the window and wondered what was going on.   They must have hit some turbulence.  But from the looks of things, it was a relatively calm day.

Shrugging it off, James laid his head back and tried to focus on the task that lied ahead of him.  Seeing Brooke after the way he treated her several days ago was going to be difficult.   Her state of mind was a mystery.  He didn't know what to expect.  All he wanted was to get her back home with him so they could start over again.   He loved her more than anything.   He would do anything to get her back.

Another violent jolt caused him to sit up with a start.  Within seconds the small jet was rocking back and forth with such intensity that he felt his stomach doing flips.   A loud explosion in the back of the jet sent alarms off in his head and he quickly called up to the cockpit.

"Jake!  What's going on up there?" he asked in a panic.

The speaker popped and sparked as the pilot's voice came out in broken syllables.  He could barely make out what Jake was saying. 

"….engine blew….." said the pilot, yelling over the sound of the thundering noise that erupted from the craft.  "….tail breaking apart…..malfunction….hold on."

The severity of the problem sunk in and James quickly fastened his seat belt.   He couldn't make out what the pilot was saying but it didn't sound good.    He felt the plane spiraling downward, aimlessly and out of control.   Closing his eyes, he braced himself for the worst.    They were going down and would surely wind up in a fiery ball of twisted metal.

Thoughts of Brooke flashed through his mind.  He feared the finality of it.  He would never have the chance to make it up to her.  To make her his wife again and live the life that they'd dreamed about.

Domi ican Republic

Meanwhile, Brooke was standing on the terrace at her hotel room in Santo Domingo, staringout at the blue ocean in a daze.  She felt a tear trickle down her cheek as she thought about the mess her life had become.   Just a few weeks ago she was so blissfully happy at the prospect of being married to James for the rest of her life.  Then Philip showed up and put a stop to that.    In a weak moment she ran to Ethan and they discovered the love that they'd been denying for so long.   Then tragedy struck and she lost him forever. 

The traumatic turn of events was enough to send her into a deep depression.  She should have left the island days ago but she couldn't bring herself to.   She couldn't face anyone back home.   What was more, she couldn't leave because it would mean she had accepted that Ethan was gone forever.   She wasn't prepared to do that.   She couldn't leave him behind.

Jasmes Blackthorne

The jet quickly descended toward the island, rocking back and forth as the pilot tried desperately to level it out.   He had to find a way to bring the jet down as safely as he could, but it seemed like an impossible task.  They were going too fast and he struggled to bring the nose up.

In the rear, James gripped the sides of his seat and prayed for a miracle.   He looked out the window and a saw the tops of palms trees.  He closed his eyes and seconds later he felt the jet hitting the trees, snapping them like toothpicks as it barreled through a vast jungle.

The jet broke apart quickly and minutes later it finally came to its resting place amidst a grove of trees.   The pilot was slumped over the steering wheel, crushed between the collapsed cockpit.

The entire side of the plane had been ripped off like a sardine can.  James lay in his seat on its side, unconscious and bleeding from a ghastly wound on his forehead.

 


Next time...

Alex and Jordan arrive in Santo Domingo in time to learn of the plane crash.   Alex demands answers from Brooke.  Miranda is Brett's alibi.  Miranda attacks Devon.  Brooke desperately searches for answers for about James.  

 Read Episode 13

 

 


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