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Episode 127

 

Release Date:  November 19, 2010

 Read the episode Recap 

 

Previously...

 

Upset over Sierra's rejection, Benji took his frustration out on a homeless man at the beach.  Later, Ashton recalled seeing Benji when the man was attacked.  He told Hunt, who used the information to make Benji look bad in front of everyone at Magnum's party.  Miranda set out to stop Eddie from hooking up with Quinn. When she found him, he admitted that he couldn't go through with it.  Just as they were about to reconcile, she told him that she was pregnant and that the baby could be his or David's.  Angrly, Eddie stormed off.  Jane discovered that Stormy is Alex's son, and promptly broke up with him.  Summer told Miranda that Benji tried to rape her.  Miranda told Stormy, who told Eddie, who told Blake, who reacted by punching Benji at Magnums' party.  Worried that Benji would try to get Sierra alone, Summer asked Duke for help.  He suggested she get something from Jeff Branigan that would knock her out for the night.  When Sierra took the drug, she had a reaction and ran into the street.  Summer told Benji that Jeff gave Sierra the drug, prompting Benji to attack him.  When a car careened toward them, Benji pushed Sierra out of the way, and the car struck and killed Jeff.  

 


  

Episode 127

"Beautiful, Dirty, Rich"

 

The dizzying red and blue lights from the ambulances and police cars cut through the night.  Beverly Glen was jammed with throngs of neighbors and bypassers who had heard the commotion and gathered to watch the events unfold.  Most of the party had broken up by the time the first squad car arrived, people fleeing to Mulholland or Sunset before citations could be given.  Duke Summerfield remained, however, positioned on the lawn observing as the paramedics zipped Jeff Branigan’s mangled body into a body bag and loaded him into an ambulance.

“This is awful,” Summer uttered in a daze when he came up behind her.

“Yeah.”  Duke nodded, also stunned by the proceedings.

“Did you see his face?” Summer asked with a grimace as she shivered from the chill in the night air.

All he could manage was the same dismal response.  “Yeah.” 

Down by the street, a paramedic examined Benji, who twisted away in search of Sierra.  When a police officer approached with his partner, he jumped off the back of the ambulance.  Another set of paramedics wheeled an unconscious Sierra across his path. 

“Sierra!” he lamented, rushing toward her.

“Stand back,” the paramedic ordered, moving quickly to load her into the back. 

“Is she going to be okay?” he asked.  “She took something.  I don’t know what it was.”

“She’s unresponsive,” the EMT’s said to one another.  “Pulse is weak.” 

“You’ve got to help her,” Benji said, raking his fingers through his hair with tears in his eyes. 

“We still need to ask you some more questions,” one of the officers said and pulled Benji back.

“I have to go with her!” he insisted and moved toward the ambulance.

“Not until we find out what happened here tonight.”

“I have to go with her!“ Benji argued.

“Fine, we’ll do it as the hospital.” 

When the ambulance pulled away and sped off in the distance, its sirens wailing, he realized he was going to have to wait to see Sierra.  Things had gotten so out of hand.  He glanced back up at the house where Duke and Summer were standing.  Sighing with resignation, he followed the police to the car and got into the back seat.  

“This isn’t his fault,” Summer said and made an attempt to move down to the street.   “I’ve got to do something.” 

“Not so fast,” Duke said and held her back as they watched the police car pull out from the curb.  “The last thing you should do is go running your mouth off.  Come on, we’re going back to my place.” 

Stepping off of the porch, Blake watched her go with her.  Ashton and Magnum fell in line beside him, shaking their heads in disbelief. 

“Nice party, Magnum,” Ashton said.  “Wouldn’t Chuck E. Cheese have been a lot safer of an option?”

Suzanne Rogers

Seated at a secluded table at Spago, Suzanne felt a little guilty enjoying the company of her handsome young professor.  But as she listed to him talk, she decided that guilt was a wasted feeling.  Jordan had washed his hands of her and had already served her with divorce papers.  With the exception of Renee, she’d fallen out of touch with most of her old friends.  Spending thirteen years away had a tendency to do that to a person.  So why shouldn’t she make new friends?  She and Ross shared common interests and enjoyed intelligent conversation.  It was nothing like the physical attraction she’d shared with Brett. 

“I know this sounds cliché, but have you thought about putting these new feelings down on paper?” Ross Fuller asked.  “The custody hearing, your husband’s resentment over your affair, the divorce - this can all be great inspiration for creative writing.  Maybe a new book?  I’d love to see a follow up to Valley of Temptation.”

She shrugged and pushed her long auburn hair over her shoulder.  “I think I’m through writing about personal experiences,” she said with a glimmer in her eye.  Valley of Temptation was therapeutic, but not the type of thing I’d want anyone to read.  Except you, of course.” 

“It was very personal, you’re right.  The mark of a good writer comes from being able to be completely honest with yourself.  You should give it some thought, anyway.  It doesn’t have to be for public consumption.  Write it and delete it like you did Valley of Temptation. It’s the process that counts.” 

She laughed and took a drink from her glass of chardonnay. 

“What’s so funny?” he asked.

“Nothing, you just have a very refreshing outlook on things,” she said.  “You’re very mild mannered.  Do you meditate or something?”

He grinned and pushed his food around his plate with his fork.  “No, I don’t meditate,” he said.  “I’ve just learned a lot about people and the things that they get caught up in.  I guess you could say I’ve learned what’s important in life.” 

“Care to share your secret?”

He looked up and nodded.  “In time.” 

A few moments of intense silence followed, then was interrupted by Suzanne’s phone alerting her to a call.  “Excuse me,” she said and looked at the display.  “It’s Jordan.  I wonder what he wants.” 

Ross went back to his dinner as she answered.  He heard the alarm in her voice and immediately looked back up at her. 

“What is it?” 

“It’s Benji,” she said, rising from the table and swooping for her purse.  “He’s at the hospital.  I have to go.” 

“I’ll drive you,” Ross said, throwing a wad of cash on the table and following her through the restaurant. 

Brooke Taylor

Brooke and Kyle finished making love and collapsed beside one another on the bed.  Drenched in sweat and his chest heaving, he ran his fingers along her arm while staring into her eyes. 

“You are incredible,” he said with a grin while catching his breath.  “It gets better every time.”

She smiled and rolled over onto her side so she could return his lustful gaze.  “I think most of that has to do with you,” she said, running her hand down his chiseled chest.  “You know exactly what spots to hit to make my toes curl.” 

Though still exhausted, Kyle grew aroused again.  He pulled her close and nuzzled himself against her.  They kissed long and hard and eventually he lowered himself on top of her, sliding his hand between her legs. 

The moment, however, was interrupted by screaming from the next room.  In a flash, Kyle was leaping off of the bed.  Brooke sat up with alarm, struggling to get her bearings while the screaming continued.

Michael!” she gasped, twisting off the bed and grabbing her robe.  She tied it securely around her waist while darting down the hall to her son’s room.   Bursting inside, she found him seated upright on his bed. 

“Mommy!” he cried, arms outstretched.

“What is it?” Brooke asked, flipping on the light and rushing over to him. “What happened?”

“Where’s Daddy?  I want Daddy!” 

Brooke sighed, pushing his hair from his sweat soaked face.  “Sweetheart, were you having a dream?”

He nodded, tears staining his cheeks.  “Yes.  I want my Daddy.” 

Feeling helpless, she lifted his chin and looked him in the eyes.  “Michael, you know your Daddy’s in heaven.”

Kyle appeared after pulling on a pair of sweat shorts.  He hovered in the doorway and watched them together. 

“But he’s always watching over you,” Brooke went on, nestling her son back down on the bed.  “Remember I told you that he’ll always been with you?  Well, it’s true. Plus I’m here.  I’m not going to let a bad dream hurt you.  I promise.”

“I won’t either, buddy,” Kyle said with a smile as he walked into the room and knelt down beside the bed.  “You know, I never knew your Daddy even though he was my brother.  You can talk to me about anything you want.”

Michael scowled and pulled the covers up to his chin.  “I don’t want to.  I don’t like you.” 

“Michael, don’t say that,” Brooke snapped.  “Kyle is only trying to be nice.  Now you apologize.” 

“It’s okay,” Kyle said and stood back up.

“No, it isn’t.  Michael, apologize to Kyle right now.”

“I don’t want to,” Michael snapped and rolled over.  “Adam said he’s not my new Daddy.”

Sighing, Brooke stood up and dropped her hands to her sides in exasperation.  She went to the door and followed Kyle into the hallway.  

“I’m sorry,” she said when they went back to her bedroom.  “I don’t know where that came from.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Kyle said and began massaging her shoulders.  “Kids can be a little temperamental.  And Michael’s certainly been through a lot with losing his father and everything.” 

“Yeah, but I thought that telling him you’re Ethan’s brother would make it easier for him to get used to you being around,” she said and turned to face him.  “Maybe I was wrong.”

Kyle pulled her into his arms.  He stared across the room while thinking about the lie he’d perpetrated on her and on everyone else.  It had been easy to fool them all into thinking he was Ethan’s brother, but ironically it was a six-year old who voiced his objection.

James Blackthorne

“Why don’t you stay the night?” James asked as he led Mackenzie down the staircase at the mansion.  “It’s already late.  Besides, I thought we were enjoying ourselves.”

She paused at the bottom of the stairs and flashed him a knowing grin.  “Oh, we were.  But risk your family seeing us together?” she asked.  “No, it’s too soon.” 

Disappointed, James led her to the door.  “Why so secretive?” he asked, then smiled knowingly.  “Do you have a husband or something that I don’t know about?” 

Mackenzie laughed and touched his hand.  “No, nothing like that.  I just don’t take these things lightly.  Relationships to me are dangerous waters.  I’ve been hurt a lot in the past and I don’t open up easily.  Mixing it up with your family this soon just seems premature, that’s all.” 

He pushed a long strand of dark hair from her eyes.  He speculated that her inability to trust had a lot to do with her childhood.  After her parents died and her baby brother was adopted she was left alone.  The unwanted child.  His heart did go out to her, and he desperately wanted to make her feel secure.  Pushing her, however, wasn’t an option.  By reputation he knew she was not to be messed with. 

“Can I see you tomorrow?” he finally asked.

She nodded while wrapping a fur stole over her shoulders.  “Dinner?”

“I’ll pick you up at seven.”  He opened the door, kissed her softly, and sent her out into the night.  No sooner had he turned and started back up the stairs did the door open and Miranda enter the house.

“Daddy, what are you doing up?” she asked, then gestured to the door.  “Did I just see Mackenzie Stone driving away?”

He played dumb for Mackenzie’s benefit.  “I don’t know.  You’re home late.  Were you out with Eddie?”

Sighing, she walked over and embraced him warmly.  “Oh, Daddy, I’ve made a mess of things,” she said.  “When do relationships get easier?”

He smiled.  “I’m afraid they don’t, sweetheart.”  He put an arm around her and led her toward the kitchen.  “How about some milk and cookies?  Cinnamon Raisin.”

She stopped and looked at him in awe.  “Daddy, just like when I was a little girl.”

“Just don’t expect me to carry you around the house on my shoulders,” he joked as they made their way down a service corridor.

When they arrived in the kitchen, Stormy was seated at the service island with a gallon of milk and a plate of cookies sitting in front of him, a miserable look on his face.

“How did you beat me home?” Miranda asked. 

“I avoided that cluster on Mulholland.”  He pulled a stool out for each of them. 

“Did you have a bad night too?” James asked, getting two glasses and filling them with milk. 

“You could say that,” Miranda laughed, breaking a cookie in half and nibbling on one end.  “He’s dating R.J.’s mom.” 

“What?” James exclaimed as he handed a glass to Miranda.  That girl who’s giving her baby to your mother?”

“Miranda!” Stormy said sternly.  “Nice going, big mouth.  You were the one running around all night with a Quinn Rainer Voodoo doll.” 

“What is going on with you two?” James asked and reached for a cookie.  “Your love lives are more complicated than an Ikea instruction booklet.  Do I need to be worried?”

“No, Daddy,” Miranda said, winking at her brother.  “But we love you for it anyway.” 

Stormy stuffed anther cookie into his mouth and stood up.  “Yeah, especially since you’ve got your own love life to worry about,” he said.

“Ha!” James bellowed.  What love life?”

“With Mackenzie Stone,” he said.  “I saw you sneaking her out of the house a few minutes ago.  Reminds me of high school.  I couldn’t get anything by you and mom.” 

“Daddy!” Miranda laughed, pointing at him with one hand and covering her mouth with the other.  “So that was her I saw driving away!  You have a secret girlfriend!”

“Dad the cad is back!” Stormy chimed in. 

James rolled his eyes and held out a hand in protest.  “All right, that’s enough,” he said.  “She’s not my girlfriend.  We’ve just been…enjoying each other’s company.  We’re both mature adults.” 

“So why the walk of shame?” Miranda wanted to know. 

“It wasn’t….” he began, flustered.  “She just doesn’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.  She takes relationships seriously.  Some of us could stand to follow her lead in that department.” 

Miranda threw her head back and laughed.  This was exactly what she needed after the night she’d had.  At least she could forget about the mess she’d made out of her relationship with Eddie for a few minutes. 

Benji Rydell

“I didn’t push him,” Benji said irately as he paced the waited room at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.  “I pushed Sierra out of the way.  Jeff came at me, I defended myself, and the car hit him. Can I see Sierra now?”

“The doctors are still with her,” said the police officer.  “Who started the fight in the first place?”

What?” Benji asked with a frown.

“You or Branigan?  Who threw the first punch?”

“I don’t know!” he yelled.  “I had just found out that he gave Sierra some kind of drug and I wanted to find out what it was.  He started running and I ran after him.”

“Did you strike him?” the officer asked. 

Benji turned in frustration, alarmed to see his parents coming down the hall toward him.  Great, just what he needed.   He threw his hands up in resignation just as Jordan and Suzanne entered the waiting room. 

“What happened?” Jordan asked, then looked at the cop.  “I’m his father.  What’s he being charged with?”

The officer shook his head.  “He isn’t charged with anything yet, Mr. Rydell.  We’re just trying to get to the bottom of what happened tonight.”

“What did happen?” Suzanne asked, devastated.

“There was an altercation and a young man was struck by a car and killed.” 

“Who?” Jordan asked as if he were afraid to ask. 

“Jeff Branigan,” Benji replied.  “He gave Sierra some kind of drug and she had a bad reaction.  She’s in the emergency room right now.”

Suzanne brought her hands to her mouth and gasped.  “Oh my God.  Has anyone called Renee?”

“The girl's mother is on her way,” said the police officer. 

Jordan shook his head in frustration and placed his hands on his hips while staring disapprovingly at his son.  “How were you involved?”

“I wasn’t,” Benji insisted.  “Not that either of you would believe me.” 

They turned when another police officer entered the room.  “His story checks out,” he said.  “Witnesses verified that he didn’t push Branigan.  There was a struggle and the car couldn’t swerve in time.” 

“Who was the driver?” Suzanne asked. 

“Someone cutting through lower Bel Air.  They were treated and released a little while ago.” 

“So there aren’t any charges against my son?” Jordan asked. 

“Not at this time,” the officer replied.

His partner showed him a notepad where he’d scribbled some statements from witnesses, then they both turned to Benji.  “Were you at Paradise Cove night before last?”

Benji bided his time, knowing that someone had opened their mouth yet determined to downplay it. “No.” 

“You didn’t have an altercation with a homeless man around eleven o’clock?”

“No.”

“What is this all about?” Jordan demanded.  “I thought we were talking about an accident.” 

“What about Summer Solomon?” the policeman inquired.  “Did you and her have a little disagreement?”

Benji rolled his eyes and looked away.  The attack on the homeless man was one thing, though he would never admit it.  But the bogus claims that he tried to rape Summer were completely untrue.

“No disagreement,” he said belligerently.

“Would you tell us what’s going on?” Suzanne asked.

The officer looked at them and tucked his notepad in his chest pocket.  “While we were interviewing witnesses at the party we heard some accusations.  Someone said your son attacked a man at the beach and tried to rape Summer Solomon.”

“What?” Suzanne gasped, her eyes darting between the officer and Benji. 

“That’s a lie,” Benji insisted.

“Wait a minute,” Jordan said, his forehead creased into a frown.  “Has someone accused my son of rape?”

“Attempted rape,” the officer corrected him.  “And no, there hasn’t been a formal complaint filed.  Like I said, some kids were talking about it while we were gathering information about the Branigan kid.  It could just be talk.  Hearsay.”

“Of course it is,” Benji said, then looked at his father.  “Can I go see Sierra now?”

Jordan fished his card from his pocket and handed it to the officer.  “Call me if you have any more questions.  I’d like our lawyer to be present.” 

“I don’t need a lawyer,” Benji said with a scowl.

“We’ll be in touch,” the officer said, motioning to his partner.

After they’d gone, Jordan took a step toward Benji, his eyes threatening.  “I’m only going to ask you this once,” he began.  “Did you try to rape that girl?”

“No!” he exclaimed. 

“Benji.”  His voice revealed his skepticism. 

“I didn’t try to rape her,” he said.  “She came to the pool house the other night and we started making out.  I stopped it before it could go any further and she took off.” 

“What about this homeless man?” Jordan went on.  “What are they talking about?”

“I don’t know,” Benji said.  “I haven’t even been down to the beach.  It was Hunt Roberts.  He’s trying to make me look bad.”

“Where do I know that name?” Suzanne asked.

“Sierra’s new boyfriend.  They were at the party tonight.  He didn’t like it that I tried talking her out of snorting coke with him.” 

“Roberts got her on dope?” Jordan asked.

“He’s a tool, Dad.  Now can I go see Sierra?”  He walked off before they could answer.

“What do you think?” Suzanne asked.  “Is he telling the truth?”

Jordan rubbed his eyes with his fingers.  He was tired of having the same conversation.  Somehow he’d begun to question anything his son said. 

“Jordan?” Suzanne repeated.  “Could Benji have done these things?”

“I don’t know.”

“He’s attacked someone before,” she reminded him.  Scott Kelly?  And that girl from his school?  The dean’s daughter?”

Jordan nodded.  “I know.  I just don’t know what to do about it.” 

Renee DeWitt

Renee raced down the hall, knocking into equipment carts and nearly taking a doctor down as he rounded a corner.  Kenny struggled to keep up behind her.  When they reached the nurses station, he tried but failed to calm her down.

“Where’s my daughter?” she lamented in bated breath.  “I need to see my daughter.” 

“What’s your daughter’s na-“

“Sierra Merteuil,” Kenny answered for her as calmly as he could in hopes that they wouldn’t be escorted out by security.

“Yes, Sierra Merteuil,” Renee said, panting.  “Please check.  Hurry.” 

The nurse referred to a patient log.  “Your daughter is still in with the doctor.”  She started to point down the hall.  “The waiting room is just dow-“

Before she could finish, Renee was tearing off down the hallway, her heels clicking along on the tile floor.  When she got to the end of the hall, she glanced to the right and then to the left.  In the distance she saw Benji pacing outside the emergency room, and jetted off to intercept him.

“Where is she?" she screeched.  “Where is Sierra?”

“Still in there,” he said with a nod to the doors.  “I haven’t heard anything.” 

Renee fought back the tears that threatened her eyes.   “What happened?”

Benji shook his head sadly.  “She took something,” he began.  “Some kind of drug.  I don’t know what it was.  Jeff Branigan gave it to her.”  He considered telling her about the cocaine that he’d seen her doing earlier in the night, but thought better of it. 

“Who?” Renee demanded.

“Jeff Branigan,” Benji repeated.  “He’s a dealer.  Or was.  He was the one who got hit by the car.  Sierra had some kind of reaction to the drug and started screaming and acting all crazy.  Then she just collapsed.”

Renee turned away in agony, burying her face in Kenny’s chest. 

“How was she when they brought her in?” Kenny asked. 

Again, Benji shook his head.  “Not good.” 

“Why did I let her stay at that party?” Renee cried.  “The minute I found those drugs in her room I should have drug her home with me!”

“It isn’t your fault,” Kenny said in an effort to calm her down.  “Sierra is not thinking clearly.”

She sobbed miserably as Dr. Farraday emerged from the double doors and addressed her directly. 

“Noel, how is she?” she asked and rushed toward him.  “How is my daughter?”

“We’ve got her stabile for the time being,” he said solemnly.

“For the time being?  What does that mean?  Is she going to be okay or not?”

“Her heart stopped twice,” he explained.  “We got it started again but her pulse is still very weak.  The next few hours are going to be critical.” 

A look of horror spread across Renee’s face.  Instinctively, she brought her hands to her mouth and began trembling. 

“What caused this reaction, Noel?” Kenny asked. 

“We pumped her stomach and found undissolved particles of a very potent drug in her system.  A pill that had traces of several different substances in it.  I’ve sent the samples to the lab but my hunch is that it will come back with positive identification of speed, heroine, and gamma hydroxybutyric acid, or GHB.  That, coupled with the cocaine that was already in her system produced a very toxic reaction.”

Growing weak, Renee fell back into Kenny, who caught her before she could collapse to the floor.  “Oh my Lord,” she murmured under her breath. 

“Renee, you’ve got to prepare yourself for a rough few hours,” Dr. Farraday went on.  “Like I said, she’s stable for the time being.  We’re watching her closely.  That’s about all we can do.” 

She nodded miserably.  “Can I see my daughter?”

He hesitated for a few seconds, then nodded with a sigh.  “Okay, but only for a minute.  And only you.  I’ll take you in now.” 

Benji started to object, but realized it wouldn’t do any good.  Seeing Sierra in this state would only infuriate him more, he decided.  It was best to wait it out until they were sure she was out of the woods. 

Jordan and Suzanne arrived just as Dr. Farraday lead Renee through the doors to the emergency room.  Jordan approached Kenny while Suzanne eyed Benji suspiciously. 

“How is she?” Jordan asked. 

“It’s not good,” Kenny replied. 

While they conferred, Suzanne approached Benji.  “You should go home.  It’s late.” 

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said with a frown and turned away from her. 

Devastated, Suzanne swept her hair from her eyes and watched him pace angrily up and down the hall. 

Duke Summerfield

Duke walked into the ornately decorated parlor room at his family’s estate in Beverly Hills.  With a deep sigh, he dropped his keys into the glass dish that rested on the sofa table.  Behind him, Summer entered and hurdled her purse to a chair across the room.

“Why did you insist that I come here?” she asked.  “I want to go see Benji.” 

“Which is precisely why I insisted you come here,” he said, turning toward her.  “Going to see Benji right now is the worst thing that you could do.”

“Why?  He was almost killed by that car.  Sierra too.  If he hadn’t pushed her out of the way-“

“You’re losing sight of your goal,” he insisted.  “You are still in love with him, aren’t you?”

“Yes.  Of course I am.”

“Then trust me.” He went to the bar and poured a drink.  “If you went over there right now all you’d succeed in doing would be making him hate you.  You just got done announcing to everyone that he tried to rape you.  Drugging his girlfriend and nearly getting her killed doesn’t exactly help your case, either.” 

She glowered angrily at him.  “Drugging Sierra was your idea,” she reminded him.  “So was that ridiculous story about him attacking me.”

“All I did was offer you suggestions on how to keep Benji away from Sierra.”

Screaming, she pulled at her hair and continued pacing the room.  Her heels left marks on the black walnut floors as she pivoted back and forth. 

“I must have been an idiot for listening to you,” she said.  “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you planned this whole thing.  You’ve had a permanent hate on for Jeff Braningan for I don’t know how long.  Maybe you knew that Benji would react the way he did when he learned Jeff had supplied the drug that caused Sierra to almost die.  Maybe it was your way of dealing with him.”  

“You’re being dramatic, Summer,” he said carefully.  “How could I have known that Jeff would wind up Bel Air road kill?”

“It doesn’t matter!  He’s dead!” she exclaimed, stopping long enough to cast an incredulous look in his direction.  “Sierra is in the hospital, and Benji is being accused of all sorts of things he didn’t even do!  How am I being dramatic?”

“Did Benji attack you?  No.  But what’s the harm as long as you don’t press charges?  It’ll keep Sierra from falling into his arms.  That’s what you wanted.  And as far as this beating up of a homeless man goes, that sounds like Benji.  I had nothing to do with that one.” 

She thought hard and finally dropped her hands to her sides.  “I’m going to tell them it was a mistake,” she said.  “That he didn’t attack me.  I can’t live with myself if anything happens to him.”

“Who are you going to tell, Summer?” Duke asked. “Everyone at that party heard Blake.  Are you going to send out a mass text to everyone in Hollywood saying sorry, please disregard my boyfriend’s outburst?  No, it doesn’t work like that.”  

“I don’t know,” she said, retrieving her purse from a leather chair.  “I’ll start by telling Blake.  I’ve just got to do something.” 

Duke walked toward her with a scowl.  “If you try to take it back now, you’ll be labeled a liar.  Benji will for sure hate you.  If you let this ride out, you can at least spin it so that you don’t look like a desperate cunt.”

“Go to hell,” she said and started to the door. 

Quick to stop her, he did an immediate assessment of the risky situation he’d placed himself in.  “It’s a shame that Jeff died before he could be questioned by the police,” he said. 

She stopped in the doorway and turned back to him.  “What do you mean?”

Shrugging, he looked into his drink and watched the ice melt into tiny pieces.  “Well, you went to him for the drug that you gave Sierra.  Now I’m the only one who knows who gave it to her.” 

“It was your idea, Duke.” 

“The best lie is one that is as close to the truth as possible,” he said, a look of warning on his face.  “And if you admit you lied about the attack so that you could keep Benji and Sierra apart, what’s to stop people from believing you thought of drugging her all on your own?”

She knew he was threatening her.  Did she expect anything else from him?  With a roll of her eyes, she turned and stomped to the front doors.   Standing behind, Duke placed a hand in his pocket while he smiled with satisfaction.

Blackthorne mansion

Broken fragments of jagged moonlight cut through the foyer as James and Miranda walked to the staircase together. 

“You sure you’re going to be okay?” he asked her, hugging her close.  “Can you work things out with Eddie?”

“I don’t know,” Miranda replied with a sigh.  She hadn’t told her father everything.  Not about the baby.  Only what he already knew – that she was in love with both of them. 

“That doesn’t sound like my daughter,” he said with a knowing grin.  “The little girl who kissed boys on the playground and threatened them with a sharp pencil if they resisted.” 

She smiled.  “We’ll see.  Thanks, Daddy.” 

“You headed up to bed?”

“In a minute,” she said, then grew very serious as she took a step toward him.  “Daddy, there’s one more thing.  I should have said something sooner but I didn’t know how to bring it up.”

“What is it, sweetheart?” he asked, pausing on the bottom landing. 

“Next time you sneak your girlfriend out of the house, use the tunnels.”   After she said it, a wiseacre smile spread across her face.

“Very funny, smarty pants,” he said with a grin and started up the staircase.

She laughed and turned around just as the doorbell rang.  Frowning, she went to open it, positive that it had to be a mistake.  Who would be coming by this late?

“Hi,” Eddie said from the front porch, his hands dug into his pockets and a sad look on his face.

“Hi,” she said, surprised to find him there.  She’d thought that it would be days before she heard from him. 

“I can’t do this,” he said.  “I’ve been driving around since I left the party.  Look, I don’t know what’s going to happen.  This baby and David and everything else is a pain in the ass, but all I know is I want to be with you.  Can we deal with it as we go?”

She smiled, tears of happiness stinging her eyes as she pulled him into an embrace.   “That sounds perfect,” she said and closed the door behind them.  

Stormy Blackthorne

Stormy steered his Cobra II along Sepulveda and turned into the parking lot of the small apartment building.  When he jumped out, he saw her standing on the second floor of the building gazing up at the moonlight.   When she saw him, she started to turn back around and go inside.

Jane, wait,” he called up to her, sprinting to the stairs and bounding up to the second floor.  When he rounded the corner he saw her standing defensively by her door. 

“What are you doing here?” she asked with a tilt of her head.  “You shouldn’t have come here.”

“I know, but just hear me out,” he said.  He couldn’t let it go.  He barely knew her and they’d only been out on one awkward date, but he couldn’t get her out of his mind.  There was something about her that made him feel better than he had in years. 

“There’s nothing to say,” Jane argued and opened her door.  “Now please just go home.  Go back to your mansion in the hills and leave me alone.” 

“Not until you hear what I have to say.”  He blocked her from going inside, letting his eyes do the pleading.  “Look, I know you don’t know me very well and you think I’m just this spoiled Hollywood brat, but if you give me the chance I’ll show you that you’re wrong.” 

She frowned.  “Don’t you get it?  It’s not who you are that’s the problem, it’s who your mother is.  She’s adopting my son, remember?”  God, she was getting scared by the ease of which the lie rolled trippingly off her tongue. Before moving to L.A. the biggest lie she ever told was to her girlfriends about how many boys she’d kissed.  Now this?  She hated the direction her life was going.

“Okay, so it’s not an idea situation and it’s a little awkward, but-“

“It’s a lot awkward,” she corrected him with a laugh.

“But it doesn’t have to be,” he went on.  “The adoption gets finalized tomorrow, right?  Well, after that we’ll start over.  We’ll take things slow.  I mean, the only person that this really affects is my mom.  Maybe she’ll be cool with having you around.” 

Jane sighed and shook her head.  If she really was giving her baby up for adoption, she could maybe see that happening.  Maybe.  But the fact that it was all a big lie complicated things on so many levels. 

“Look, I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding another girl to rescue when her car breaks down,” she finally said and stepped inside the apartment.  “It’ll be better for everyone.”

“Jane, wait.” 

“Just our dumb luck, I guess,” she said somberly and closed the door.  Inside, she leaned against the door and took a deep breath.  It was a shame, really.  She had grown to like Stormy.  If she hadn’t gotten mixed up with his mother’s schemes, maybe they could have had some fun together. 

Stormy sulked down the stairs to the parking lot and paused to pick up an empty beer bottle on the ground.  Angrily, he threw it as hard as he could, watching the pieces shatter against a dumpster a few yards away. 

Cedars-Sinai

In the waiting room, Jordan and Suzanne sat silently on the benches while Renee paced and Kenny and Benji hung close to the doors of the emergency room.  Suzanne could see the torment in her son’s eyes and she knew that he had feelings for Sierra that he hadn’t previously shown.  Not to her, at least.  It made her wonder how well she knew him at all. 

“You should go home,” Jordan said, leaning in to her.  “I’ll let you know if there’s any change.” 

She nodded.  “I do need to finish some packing.  The movers come tomorrow to take my things back to the house in Sherman Oaks.” 

“I’ve been thinking about that,” Jordan said after a moment of hesitation.  “With all this going on with Benji, maybe you shouldn’t move out right away.  We're getting a divorce, but I think we both have his best interests in mind.” 

“Won’t that be uncomfortable?" she asked.  “Us living in the same house after everything that’s happened?”

“No more uncomfortable than walking in on you and Brett in bed together,” he said bitterly.  “I assume I don’t have to worry about it happening again.  With Brett or anyone else.  The young gentleman who brought you to the hospital, for instance.”

She ignored his biting tone.  She was getting used to it.  “Ross is my writing professor,” she clarified.  “And a friend.  Nothing more.” 

“What makes it okay to bed your son-in-law but not your professor?” he asked meekly. 

Sighing, she grabbed for her purse.  “Jordan, if you’re looking for a punching bag then look somewhere else.  I’m not going to do it anymore.  I'll stay for Benji's sake, but don't expect me to put up with your jabs."

She got up and walked to Benji, who responded by turning away and folding his arms belligerently across his chest.  With a sigh of defeat, she turned and headed for the elevator.

Jordan decided to get up and talk to Kenny.  While he did, Renee approached Benji by the door. 

“If my daughter doesn’t make it, I’m going to put everything I have into destroying Hunt Roberts,” she whispered, a distant look in her eyes.  “I want him to know the pain and the misery that he put her through.  I want him to despise every second of his pathetic life until he begs to be put out of his misery."

He decided that he couldn't agree more.

"Will you help me?”

He looked at her with dark eyes and a furrowed brow.  “Prison’s too good for him.  Leave Hunt to me,” he said.  “He’ll pay for what he’s done.  Don’t worry about that.” 

Hunt Roberts

They took him the next morning from his car while he was parked outside of a Coffee Bean in Century City.   When the car pulled up alongside his, he didn’t immediately see Joba and the rest of them get out and pull him from his seat.

“What the-“ Hunt began, twisting from their grasp.  “What the hell is your problem, Branigan?”

“You snitched on us, Roberts?” he asked.  “Seriously?”

“What?”

“My brother and I supplied you with the best stuff around for years and this is how you repay us?  He’s dead so you call the cops and have them raid our place in the middle of the night?”

“I didn’t call anyone,” Hunt said angrily, trying to pry himself free from his friends.  “You’re crazy, man.” 

Joba motioned to his friends who drug Hunt into the back seat of their Monte Carlo. 

“Let go of me!” he screamed all the way into the back seat. 

Once they were in the car, Hunt started screaming.  The guy on his left grabbed his hand and held it out before him.  The guy on the other side produced a pair of pliers and clamped the teeth around one of his fingers. 

“What the fuck!” he yelled, cringing and blinking and sweating profusely. 

“No one shits on my brother’s memory,” Joba said, giving the guy with the pliers a nod of his head.  

Hunt’s eyes bulged and turned red as the pliers were tightened around his finger and blood began to trickle down his hand.  He screamed at the top of his lungs, so Joba quickly turned on the radio as loud as it would go.  Teenage Dream reverberated through the car, masking the sound of his finger snapping off at the knuckle.  Blood sprayed into his face and into his mouth as he screamed. 

“Now we’re gonna take a little ride,” Joba said from the front seat, motioning to the driver to start the engine.  “Maybe the desert.  No one around to hear you screaming.” 

“Jesus!” Hunt sobbed over the music as the car peeled out and began heading down Santa Monica Boulevard. 

Parked by the curb, Benji watched from his car.  He lowered his sunglasses and smiled as the Monte Carlo disappeared into traffic.  Yes, prison was too good for Hunt Roberts.  After what he did to Sierra, on top of humiliating him at the party, he was getting what he deserved.  So after phoning in an anonymous tip to the police about Jeff and Joba Branigan’s drug operation, he let it slip to an acquaintance that it was Hunt who made the call.  The rest he could just sit back and watch. 

He had a feeling Hunt Roberts wouldn’t be making a return trip to Los Angeles. 

Kyle Fenwick

Kyle showered and dressed at Brooke’s townhouse before making his way downstairs with a certain amount of trepidation.  He still felt uncomfortable after the way things went down with Michael the night before.  Getting close to Brooke would prove difficult if her son wasn’t accepting of him. 

“Morning,” he said, coming up behind Brooke and kissing her on the neck while she poured two cups of steaming coffee in the kitchen.  Michael was playing quietly on the living room floor. 

“Good morning,” she said, shivering from the sensation of his lips on her skin.  He always put her in total ecstasy, even by something as simple as kissing her neck.  “Sleep well?”

“Very well,” he said with a wink and a smile and pulled her into an embrace.

“Who was on the phone so early this morning?” she asked and handed him a cup of coffee. 

“Renee DeWitt,” he replied.  “She sounded kind of panicked.  But it looks like I’m getting that job as general manager of Moonshadows.  She wants me to go in today.”

“That’s great!” Brooke exclaimed.  “I didn’t expect her to make the decision so soon.”

He shrugged.  “She said that she’s got a lot going on and that I was a lifesaver.  I just hope that my working there doesn’t create any conflicts.” 

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you do own ten percent,” he said with a grin.  “I’d hate to think I was getting any special treatment from the boss.” 

Laughing, she kissed him on his full lips.  “It’ll be our secret,” she said.  “Besides, I don’t really have much to do with Moonshadows.  David gave me the ten percent out of obligation because of our father.  I’m just as happy spending my time at home these days so I can keep an eye on Michael.” 

“Did he say anything about last night?” Kyle wanted to know. 

She shook her head.  “I think I’m going to make an appointment at a child psychologist.  This Adam thing is really getting out of hand.”

“Are you that worried?” 

“I’d just rather get it out in the open sooner rather than later.” 

Vibrating from his pocket alerted Kyle to a phone call.  He plucked his cell from his chinos and looked at the display.  Quickly, his face fell.  “I’ll be right back.” 

Brooke nodded as he turned and walked into the dining room.  Once he was alone, he clicked talk and answered.

“Yeah, it’s me,” he said when the caller identified themselves. “I told you not to call me.  It’s too dangerous.  I’ll call you when I-“

The caller cut him off abruptly before he could continue.   Kyle glanced into the kitchen to make sure Brooke didn’t overhear the conversation. 

“I know I haven’t been in touch,” he said quietly into the phone. “I’ve been kind of busy lately, or haven’t you seen the news?  That mess down in Acapulco?  I was nearly killed because of-“

Another interruption.  He peered through the doorway and watched Brooke quietly read the Los Angeles Times.

“I’m working on it,” he said.  “Getting close to her has been a challenge, but that should all change now.  Yes, I know it’s taking a long time but this whole thing could blow up in our faces if I’m not careful.  Trust me.” 

This time Brooke turned and looked directly at him.  He forced a smile on his face for her benefit.  He needed to wrap up the call and quick before she got suspicious.

“I’ll be in touch,” he said.  “I don’t know when.  Soon.” 

With that, he hung up and took a deep breath before returning to the kitchen.

“Who was that?”

“Renee,” he replied.  “She forgot to tell me something earlier.  I should get going.   Don’t want to be late on my first day.” 

“How about dinner tonight?” Brooke asked.

“Sure,” he said and kissed her.  “Make reservations and I’ll see you when I get done.” 

Another kiss goodbye and he was off, starting out into the morning while sliding a pair of mirrored aviators over his nose.

James Blackthorne

James had plans to meet Mackenzie for breakfast but while he took a booth at the Polo Lounge she called and said she couldn’t make it because something had come up.  He was disappointed, of course, but knew that she was busy.  Running a popular daytime soap had to be a demanding career.  He hoped that’s what it was, anyway, and not second thoughts about sleeping with him the night before.  He decided he’d invite her to dinner that night instead and then they could hash out any problems.  Or maybe not.  Being out of the dating scene had him second guessing himself for some reason. 

Resigned to the fact that he would have breakfast alone, he ordered from the menu and then spotted Marilee Wells-Walker enter the restaurant.  She waived to him and he motioned her to the table. 

“James, what a nice surprise,” she said, kissing him on the cheek as he rose to greet her.  “Are you dining alone?  That’s unlike you.”

“My breakfast date canceled,” he said and then gestured to the seat across from him.  “Would you join me?”

“How lovely, thank you,” she said, slipping into the booth.   “Have you already ordered?”

“Yes.”  He called the waitress over and Marilee ordered a grapefruit and two pieces of dry wheat toast. 

“You call that breakfast?” James joked.

“Well, you know I’m not getting any younger.  I have to watch practically every grain of food that enters my mouth.” 

He smiled.  “You look fine, Marilee.  You always do.  Tell me, how have you been?”

“I’m well,” she replied, obsessively touching her pearl stud earrings.  She only wore stud earrings.  She always thought women with short hair shouldn’t wear otherwise.  “It’s terrible about Sierra, isn’t it?”

“It certainly is,” he replied somberly.  “I was going to stop by the hospital after breakfast.  I wonder if there’s been any change.”

“I wouldn’t know.  Renee and I fell out of good graces after I sold my shares of Merteuil to Jackie.  I only wish I’d acted sooner by warning her about that scoundrel Hunt Roberts.” 

James paused while lifting his coffee cup to his lips.  “What do you mean?”

“He was the one who got Sierra onto drugs in the first place.  Can you imagine a young man of his social status throwing his life away with that stuff?  And bringing down an innocent young woman in the process?  It’s unthinkable.”

“It’s sad,” James agreed.  “I’m thankful that my children grew up fairly well adjusted.  I mean, yes, they’ve had their problems, but nothing to the degree of what the Roberts have to deal with.” 

Marilee grew quiet.  She managed a faint smile when the waitress delivered their food and James could immediately tell that something was troubling her.  Something other than Sierra’s situation.

“What is it?” he asked her before digging into his eggs benedict.

“Oh, just thinking about opportunities I’ve missed out on.” 

He nodded.  “You’re talking about Kyle, aren’t you?”

When she looked up again her eyes were red with tears.  “I never even knew him.  I gave him away when he was born and until a few months ago I’ve never laid eyes on him.  I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to raise him.” 

“You did the only thing you could do at the time,” James assured her.  Thomerson had turned his back on you.  You were alone.  Things were different back then.  Raising a child yourself just wasn’t an option.”

“I think about him a lot,” she said, blinking away the tears.  “I know I said I never wanted him to know that I’m his mother, but lately I can’t help but reconsider.”

“Are you thinking of telling him?”

“I don’t know.  I guess I don’t have much to lose if I do tell him.” 

James reached across the table and squeezed her hand.  “If it will bring you some kind of peace then you should.” 

She smiled, wiped the tears away, and picked up her spoon.  “I’d always wondered what happened to the son that I gave away.  I’m just glad that he turned into such a nice young man.” 

Mackenzie Stone

Construction was nearing completion of Moonshadows’ newest establishment, a nightclub called the Cahuenga Room.  As Kyle entered the bright, sunlit tropical themed building, he couldn’t help but recall its origins.  Originally planned as the Admirals Club, the structure had burned down as a result of Don Fenwick’s maniacal attempts at killing Brooke.  It was there that they shared their first kiss.  Despite the prospect of being trapping in the burning building, it still held bittersweet memories.  

With the grand opening still two weeks away, and the construction crew finished with most of their work, it seemed the perfect place for a secret meeting.  No one around to hear anything. 

“This better be important,” Mackenzie said as she walked inside.  Rays of sunlight filtered in through the windows, spotlighting the place where she stopped her manic pace.  “I have work to do today.” 

“I wouldn’t have called you if it wasn’t important,” Kyle replied and went toward her.  “How are you, sis?”

She rolled her eyes.  “Don’t pretend we’re a family.  You forbade me from telling anyone we’re related, remember?”

“With good reason,” he said.

Good reason?  I still don’t know what you’re up to, Kyle.  All I know is you blew into town after prison and started telling people that Will Thomerson was your father.  We both know that isn’t true.” 

“Trust me."

“Why would I do that?” Mackenzie asked, tucking her cutch beneath her arm. 

“Because no matter what, we’re family.  It’s time you stopped punishing me because the Fenwick’s adopted me, and you…”

“Was raised in foster homes?” she finished for him.  “I’m not punishing you.  I just don’t know what you want from me.  One minute you tell me that we can’t risk being seen together and the next thing I know you’re calling me summoning me here.  What is it you want?”

“I’m afraid that people are going to start asking questions,” he said.  “About who I really am.”

“Why?  What’s happened?”

“Nothing.  Yet.”  He ran his fingers over his close cropped hair and took a deep breath.  “But there’s someone who could blow my story out of the water if I don’t do what they want.”

“Who?”

“It doesn’t matter who.  What matters is that I can count on you to keep quiet.”

“I told you I wasn’t going to say anything to anyone.”

He allowed his expression to soften while he walked closer to her.  “Not anyone,” he said.  “It would be very bad for me if anyone found out I lied about my biological parents.” 

She groaned.  “It’s always about you and what’s good for you, isn’t it?  Well let me tell you something, little brother, you were raised with every advantage you could have wanted.  I was raised with nothing and no one.  So forgive me if I don’t give a damn whether one of your schemes pans out or not.  I have myself to worry about.” 

“Mackenzie-“ he said as she turned and walked away.

“I’m not going to tell anyone,” she insisted, pausing before she left the club.

“Thanks,” he said with a smile.

“But Kyle, the next time you summon me like this I will spill your secret.  Just do me a favor and leave me alone.”  

He bit his lip and watched as she turned and left.  He wasn’t worried about her.  They traveled in different circles.  There would be no reason for her to tell anyone that he was living a lie. 

Jane Wheeler

She held the tip of the pen on the dotted line, fully aware that all eyes were on her, but more importantly aware that she was about to commit a crime so big that the repercussions were staggering.  What if someone found out?  What if she was thrown in jail all because she needed money for rent?   She began to wonder if it was all worth it. 

“Is everything okay, Jane?” Kenny asked. 

She looked at him, then at Alex who sat next to her.  Her eyes seemed to prod her forward in the task at hand. 

“Just give her a minute,” Miranda said.  “Maybe everyone just needs to back off.” 

“What for?” Jordan demanded. “If she isn’t sure by now that she wants to give up her baby then what the hell are we even doing here?"

“Would you shut up?” Alex said, craning her neck around and issuing him dagger-like glares.  “Why are you even here, Jordan?  This has nothing to do with you.” 

“I’m protecting your interests,” he said, his hands dug into his pockets.  “If you don’t like it then that’s too damn bad.” 

Sighing, she leaned forward and whispered in Jane’s ear.  “Are you okay?” 

Jane shut her eyes tightly, gripping the pen so hard that her knuckles were white.  Even if she could bring herself to sign the adoption papers, her hand was trembling so much that it would be impossible to do so. 

“Are you sure?” she whispered quietly. 

“Yes.  Sign it, Jane.” 

“What is going on here?” Jordan asked.

“Nothing, I’m just-“ Jane said with much hesitation. 

“If you’re trying to pull something you’d better think again,” he said.  “Be damn sure before you sign that paper.” 

“Jordan, enough!” Miranda exclaimed.  “Jane, do you want to step outside?”

She looked at her and then at Alex.   “No, I’m fine,” she said, pressing the tip of the pen to the contract and scribbling her name so lightly that she could barely read it.  Still, it was done. 

Smiling, Alex took the paper from her.  Kenny promptly snatched it from her and dropped it into his briefcase.

“Very well,” he said.  “I’ll get these filed and everything should be done by tomorrow.  Now I’m sorry to rush off but I need to get to the hospital.” 

“Give Renee and Sierra my love,” Miranda said, placing a hand on his forearm. 

He nodded and  left the office.  After he’d gone, Jane stood up from her chair.  Her legs felt like rubber and like she’d ran ten miles.  She was exhausted.  But it was done.  Now her only hope was that it could be put behind her. 

“Thank you,” Alex said and embraced her warmly.  “I promise you I’ll give R.J. a wonderful home.” 

She nodded, avoiding looks of suspicion from Jordan.

“Congratulations, Mom,” Miranda said and gave Alex a kiss on the cheek.  “We’ll celebrate later, okay?  I have to get home.  I promised Brooke I’d babysit.” 

“Okay, Sweetheart,” Alex said happily.

Miranda led Jane out into the hall and placed a hand on hers.  “Are you okay?  You seemed awfully nervous in there.” 

“I’m fine,” she said.  “Just a lot of emotions I guess.” 

“That’s understandable.  But you did the right thing.  The responsible thing.  You knew you couldn’t raise R.J. yourself so you gave him to someone who could.  There’s no shame in that, Jane.” 

She replied with a nod of her head.  Lying to her was more difficult because of how nice she was to her.  It made her feel like the smallest person in the world.

“So about Stormy,” Miranda began as they walked down the hallway.  “I still can’t believe that you went out with him without realizing-“

“I know.  It’s crazy.  But you don’t have to worry.  I told him that us seeing each other was a bad idea.”

“And what did he say?”

“He showed up last night trying to change my mind.  It’s too weird, Miranda.  Your mother adopted my baby.  How in the world would we ever be able to have a relationship?”

Miranda paused before they reached the door to the office building.  “Well, you and I are friends.  I hope that doesn’t have to change.  Maybe there’s no difference.  Maybe you and Stormy can have a relationship.  I mean, unless you think being around R.J. will make you change your mind about giving him up.”

She shook her head.  “No, it won’t.  But it’s still awkward.” 

“Just give it some time before you make any decisions.  You may be just what my brother needs in his life right now.” 

Renee DeWitt

“How is she?” Renee asked when Dr. Farraday emerged from the emergency room.

“She’s better,” he said with a smile.  “We’re moving her out of the intensive care unit and into her own room.  You’ll be able to see her soon.” 

“Oh, thank God,” Renee said while letting out a sigh of relief.   “Thank you so much, Noel.”

“I’ll check in with you shortly,” he said, leaving the waiting room just as Kenny arrived. 

“Any news?” he asked, kissing her lightly on the cheek. 

“They’re moving her out of the ICU,” she said happily.  “She’s going to be fine.” 

“Thank God,” Kenny said and led her over to a chair.  “When can we see her?”

“Soon.” 

“Well, that’s the best news I’ve heard all day,” Kenny said.  “Sierra will be home in no time.  Then you can continue with the wedding planning.” 

Renee looked at him and shook her head.  “Oh, Kenny, I can’t plan a wedding now,” she said. “When Sierra comes home she’s going to need a lot of attention.  I need to undo what that son of a bitch Hunt Roberts did to her.  Treatment, therapy, whatever it takes.  We’re going to have to postpone the wedding.” 

His face fell.  “Postpone?  Darling, you don’t have to do that.  The wedding is still weeks away.  That’s plenty of time to-“ 

“Kenny, how on earth do you expect me to concentrate on flowers and caterers when my daughter nearly died?  I have to devote all of my attention to her right now.  No, I was an absent mother for most of her life and it’s time I made up for that.  I’m afraid I can’t marry you right now.” 

His heart sinking, he watched as she got up and left the waiting room.

Summer Solomon

Summer called her favorite nail tech to come over and give her a manicure and pedicure.  After the ordeal she’d been through she decided that she deserved it.  So while lounging on a chaise in the grand living room of her house in Palos Verdes Estates, she texted furiously from her iPhone while Mei Lei tended to her feet.

In the middle of a message to her attorney demanding more money be deposited into her account, she received a text from an anonymous source.   When she read it, her face went white with panic.

Who would believe BR would rape you when you give it away for free all the time?

Sick to her stomach, she quickly deleted the hateful message.  It hadn’t been the only backlash she’d received since Magnum’s party.  That afternoon while stopping for a nonfat late at Coffee Bean, she’d received a number of dirty looks from girls who walked by.  Now this anonymous text.  More proof that she’d been stupid to let Duke talk her into anything.   As if drugging and nearly killing Sierra Merteuil wasn’t bad enough. 

The sound of the door opening and closing alerted her to a visitor.  Turning her head, she saw Blake storm into the room, a furious look on his face. 

“What the hell, Summer?” he asked.  “You just move out without a word?  My brother just told me you packed up and left.” 

“That’s all for now, Mei Lei,” she said to the woman furiously buffing her toenails.   She waited for her to vacate the room and then twisted off of the chaise.   “I assumed that after your outburst last night that you were through with me.” 

“My outburst was directed at Benji, not at you.” 

“But you’ve always been jealous of Benji.  You have ever since we started seeing each other.  Then last night-“ 

“I don’t care about that,” Blake insisted and followed her across the room.  “Why have you been avoiding me all day?  I tried catching up to you last night but you disappeared with Duke.  What is going on?” 

“Things got a little out of hand,” she said, her back to him as she poured herself a glass of water.  “Hunt and Sheldon making that big scene.  You coming in and punching Benji.  I can’t take it, Blake.  I just can’t handle it.” 

“I thought I was defending you,” he insisted.  “Why didn’t you tell me what happened?  Why did I have to hear from Eddie that Benji tried to rape you?” 

She wished it would all go away.  The lies, the treachery, her stupid deal with Duke.  She was sure that she’d been right earlier. Duke wanted something to happen to Jeff as a result of everything that went down.  He’d predicted Benji’s reaction.  Duke Summerfield was not to be trusted. 

“The thing is, things got a little misunderstood along the way,” she finally said.  “I mean, Benji did come on to me in his pool house, but it didn’t go down the way you think it did.” 

“So why did Eddie tell me-“

“Miranda Blackthorne and I were talking at the party.  I guess she misunderstood.  I’m not exactly sure how it happened.” 

“So Benji didn’t try to force himself on you?” 

“No,” she said, careful not to look him in the eye.  She knew he’d see right through her.  He’d know that she was lying all along.  “That’s just crazy.  How could you think that about your best friend?” 

Frustrated, Blake raked his fingers through his hair.  “I have no idea what’s going on here, Summer.  I thought we were supposed to be together.  I feel like you’re keeping things from me.”

“I’m sorry,” she said and finally turned around.  She was plagued with the fear that no matter what she did she would never get Benji for herself.  Not like this, anyway.  It would be a mistake to cut Blake loose yet.  With everyone in town turning against her, he may be the only thing she had left. 

“I love you, Summer,” he said and wrapped his arms around her.  “I wish you understood that.” 

“I do,” she said, closing her eyes while he embraced her. 

Benji Rydell

Benji looked through the window into Sierra’s room down the hall.  He watched as she slept, tubes and hoses coming from her nose and mouth, a heart monitor beeping steadily beside her.   Even hooked up to all that equipment, she still looked peaceful.  He couldn’t wait for her to wake up. He had so much to tell her, starting with clearing up the lies that had been exposed at Magnum’s party. 

Renee approached from behind.  She fell in line beside him and quietly looked in at her daughter as the nurses got her settled into her room. 

“She’s going to be fine,” she said.

“I know.” 

“Any developments on Hunt Roberts?” 

Benji nodded.  “He won’t be a problem anymore.” 

She turned to him and let her eyes flicker past his.  “Good,” she said and walked away. 

Suzanne Rogers

The sound of the doorbell ringing alerted Suzanne to a visitor.  She made her way down the stairs and paused on the bottom landing when she saw the flicker of commotion through the windows.  Frowning, she stepped closer to the door and peered out onto the lawn where a throng of reporters had gathered. 

Her first instinct was that they were there because of the events that had transpired at Magnum Rainer’s birthday party.  The car accident, Sierra’s overdose, not to mention the rumors about Benji’s recent activities. 

But upon further inspection, she could see them each holding something.  A book of some kind.  Her curiosity piqued, she threw the door open and was met with microphones being thrust at her. 

 “Miss Rogers, do you have any comment on Valley of Temptation?” one of the reporters asked. 

“Oh what?” she asked, her face turning white as a sheet.

“Why did you decide to publish the book now?” asked someone else.  “Are you worried about the implications it could cause for your husband and his studio?” 

“Is it true that your ex-lover Brett Armstrong now works for your husband’s rival motion picture studio?”

Horrified, Suzanne grabbed the book from one of the reporters.  The front cover was that of a typical romance novel.  A bare-chested man holding a woman in front of a glimmering pool and palm tree backdrop.  The title Valley of Temptation was emblazoned on the front.  And below that was her name. 

“Oh my God,” she whispered, opening to a random chapter and seeing her words typeset on the perfectly bound pages. 

Someone had taken her book – her personal feelings and experiences about her affair – and published them without her knowing.


Next time....

Suspicions about Suzanne's book are cast.  Kyle makes demands of Mackenzie in order to protect his secret.  David asks a favor of Brooke.  Alex is horrified by what's happening in her own family.

 

 

Read Episode 128

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