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Episode 128

 

Release Date:  November 26, 2010

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

 

Sierra was rushed to the hospital after she had a violent reaction to the drug Summer had put in her drink.  Renee told Benji she wanted Hunt Roberts to pay for getting Sierra hooked on drugs.  Benji phoned in an anonymous tip to the police about Jeff and Joba's drug operation, then framed Hunt.  Joba and his friends retailiated by dragging Hunt to the desert. Benji was questioned by the police about the attempted rape on Summer, and the beating of the homeless man.  Despite the lack of evidence, Jordan and Suzanne assumed his guilt.  Summer threatened to come clean that Duke was the one who suggested she drug Sierra, but he threatened to expose her if she did.  Summer moved back into her mother's house, angering Blake.  She claimed that she never told anyone that Benji tried to rape her.  Blake told Summer that he loved her.  Suzanne was alarmed to find that her manuscript had been published without her knowledge.  Michael acted out against Kyle, which concerned Brooke.  Kyle received a mysterious phone call, prompting him to seek reassurance from Mackenzie that she wouldn't reveal that they are related.  Marilee confided in James that she wanted to tell Kyle that she is his natural mother, unaware that he lied about being Will Thomerson's son.  Eddie told Miranda he wanted to try to work withings out despite her being pregnant with a child that could be David's.  Jane turned Stormy down when he asked her if she would reconsider their relationship.  Later, Jane signed adoption papers making Alex's adoption of R.J. legal.  Miranda told Jane she should reconsider her decision to end things with Stormy.  

 


  

Episode 128

"Shake the Disease"

 

There was no impressing Mackenzie Stone.  She was a self-made woman and had her own Hollywood success story to boast about.  James knew this and yet he still made a point of waving a brief hello to the chef at Cut when they were being escorted to their table.  The mere idea that he felt the need to impress her made him second guess the entire evening.  She obviously enjoyed spending time with him so why was he so insecure around her?  Was it because of her age?  She was over ten years his junior, but that wasn’t exactly new territory. Brooke had been far younger than even she was. 

With a firm decision to relax and just enjoy her company, he placed a hand on her waist while he escorted her into her seat.

“Thank you,” Mackenzie said and took the menu from the hostess.  “This is a great table, James.  Last time I ate here we were in the party room.  I guess it wasn’t available tonight?” 

“I guess not,” he said, although he was unsure if it was or not because it hadn’t been offered to him.  Was he losing his touch?  “You look very pretty tonight.” 

“And you look very handsome,” she said, flipping her long black hair over her shoulder.  “I’m sorry for having to cancel breakfast this morning.  I had a meeting that couldn’t be pushed off.”

“About the show?”

“No, a personal matter,” she said, thinking about Kyle and his tendencies to drag her into his various dramas.

James raised a curious eyebrow.  “Oh?  I hope you got everything worked out.”  He wondered if the personal matter was another man.  True, they’d only just begun seeing each other and were still free to date others, but he secretly hoped that she didn’t want to.  Especially after he found out how much chemistry they had in bed. 

“Let’s just say it was a problem that kept popping up.  It’s been handled.  So, what are you ordering?”

“I always have the filet,” he replied, eyeing her skeptically. 

A voice came from above.  “Excellent choice.” 

They both looked up to see who was speaking to them.  To James’s surprise, and Mackenzie’s outrage, it was Brooke and Kyle. 

“Well, hello there,” James said, rising from the table and kissing Brooke on the cheek.  “Looks like we had the same idea.  Kyle, how are you?”

“Fine.  Good to see you, James.”  He shook his hand while eyeing Mackenzie out of the corner of his eye.  What was she doing there with him?  He hoped it was merely a business dinner and nothing more. 

“You didn’t get the party room, James?” Brooke asked.  “I called this morning and they have it ready for us.”

“Oh...no,” he began, slightly embarrassed.  “You must have got it before I did.”  He quickly went to change the subject, gesturing to Mackenzie.  “Do you both know Mackenzie Stone?” 

“We met at the premiere of Angel Assassin 2,” Brooke said and politely shook her hand.

“Mackenzie, this is Kyle Fenwick,” James said.  “He consulted at Sunset Studios for a while.”

“How do you do?” Mackenzie said, cautiously taking his hand when he extended it to her.  Better to go along with the charade than risk attracting suspicion.  She felt bad for lying to James.  Little did he know she and Kyle were actually brother and sister. 

“Nice to meet you,” Kyle replied, then quickly looked away.  “Well, we should get to our table.” 

“Do you want to join us?” Brooke asked James and gesturing to the back of the room.

He looked at Mackenzie and shrugged.  “What do you say?”

Her eyes darted nervously between them.  “You know, we’re already here and I’d hate to put the hostess through any more effort.  Maybe next time, though.” 

“Are you sure?” Brooke asked.  “I’m sure it’s no problem.”

“Brooke, I think they want to be alone,” Kyle said, taking her arm and attempting to lead her away.  The last thing he wanted to do was spend an entire meal pretending he didn’t know Mackenzie.  “Enjoy your dinner.” 

“You too,” James said with a polite smile as they departed. 

After they’d gone, James sat back down and smiled at his companion.  “Thank you,” he said.  “Brooke and I used to be married.  I’d hate to make anyone feel uncomfortable.” 

She returned the smile and took a sip of her water.  She could feel Kyle staring at her from across the room and it almost made her uncomfortable enough to ask James if they could go somewhere else.  She resisted, however, not wanting to attract any attention to the matter.   Instead, she was determined to put the run-in out of her mind.

Suzanne Rogers

A few blocks down on Wilshire, Suzanne entered a deserted building at Westwood College.  She checked the directory because she wasn’t exactly sure where she was going.  She took all of her classes online.  Her writing professor, Ross Fuller taught night classes there on Tuesdays and Thursdays, however, so she decided to corner him there before he could avoid her.  

Climbing up two sets of stairs in a tan trench coat, she came to room 304 and paused at the door when she saw him standing in the empty classroom talking to a young woman.  She held back, deciding it would be better if she approached him alone. 

“You’ll love it,” Ross was saying to the wispy brunette.  “A bunch of us are taking a bus out there on Friday.  We can pick you up here at the school if you want.” 

“Sure,” the girl said awkwardly.  “That sounds great, Professor Fuller.” 

“Call me Ross,” he said, leading her to the door and smiling when he finally noticing Suzanne standing there.   “See you at class on Thursday.”  

“Bye,” the girl said and left.  

When she’d gone, Ross looked at Suzanne and smiled.  “This is a surprise,” he said.  “What are you doing here?  How are your son and your friend’s daughter?  I’ve been so worried.”

“How could you do it?” she asked, her eyes red and watery.  “I trusted you.” 

His smile faded.  “What are you talking about?” 

She shook her head.  “Don’t try to deny it.  You expect me to believe the manuscript just appeared on their desks?”

“Wait, Suzanne, you’re not making any sense.”  He reached a hand out to her but she pushed it away.  “Calm down and tell me what it is you think I’ve done.” 

“Does this ring a bell?” she asked, swooping into her purse and removing the published copy of Valley of Temptation.  She thrust the book at him, tears staining her cheeks.  “If you thought you were doing me a favor you should have asked me first.  I would have never given the okay to publish this.” 

Ross’s eyes bulged out of his head as he took the book from her.  “Oh my God,” he gasped.  “Suzanne, I had nothing to do with this.  You have to believe me.” 

“Do you think I’m stupid?” she lamented.  “You were the only one I showed it to!  I can’t believe this.  As if telling the whole sordid story to everyone at the custody hearing wasn’t bad enough, now the entire world is going to read about it.  What if my daughter sees this?  Or someone reads it and tells her about it?  Don’t you see what you’ve done?”

“I told you I had nothing to do with this.  Suzanne, you let me read that manuscript in total confidence.  I would have never done something like this. And compromise my career?  I promise you.” 

“Then who else could have done it?” she demanded.  “I deleted it from my computer months ago.” 

“Well someone must have recovered it,” he said. 

She took the book back from him and stared at the cover.  Crying, she raked her fingers through her long auburn hair and turned away.  “This book is in every bookstore in the country.  Reporters are staked outside my house.  It's all over the television.  Jordan’s going to blow a fuse when he finds out, if he hasn’t already.” 

“Unless he was the one who leaked the manuscript,” Ross suggested. 

She considered his theory for a brief second, and then shook her head in response.   “No, he wouldn’t have done that.”  But even as she said it, she knew that she couldn’t be certain.  He did make threats after the hearing alluding to the fact that he would tell Heather about her affair with Brett.  She never expected him to go through with it.  And to take it this far? 

Sierra Merteuil

When Sierra awoke that night, Benji was sitting beside her hospital bed with her hand in his.  He looked into her eyes and whispered for her to take it easy.  She still needed her rest. 

“What happened?” she asked, her voice hoarse.  

“You’re in the hospital,” he told her softly.  “You had a reaction to a drug.  You were at Magnum’s party.  Do you remember?” 

She concentrated for a few seconds and then nodded her head weakly.  “You pushed me out of the way,” she said.  “Are you hurt?”

He shook his head.  “No.” 

Struggling to remember more details, she began squirming on the bed.  “I remember running out into the street.  You were fighting with someone.  Hunt was there.  And Jeff…” 

“Shhh,” he said quietly.  “You’re okay now.  You’re safe.” 

The longer she was awake the more memories came back to her.  That girl,” she began, pulling her hand away.  “They said you attacked her.” 

“No,” Benji said, shaking his head.  “They were lying, Sierra.  I never hurt anyone.” 

“And that homeless man…” she said, growing more upset by the second.  “Hunt said you beat him.” 

“He was trying to turn you against me,” Benji insisted.  “But none of that matters now.  You’re safe and no one can hurt you.” 

“Where’s Hunt?”  she asked, looking around the room. 

“You need your rest.” 

“Where is he?” she demanded, louder this time.  “Where’s my mother?” 

“She’s here.  I’ll go get her.”  He stood up.  “Sierra, you have to know that I never did those things those people said.  They were playing games.  They were trying to turn you against me.”   He didn’t know how else he could make her understand.

“Just go,” she said groggily, turning her head. 

Defeated, he turned and left the room.  Once he was in the hall, he took a deep breath and set off to find Renee. 

Eddie Distefano

Eddie sprawled out on the sofa in the family room at the Blackthorne mansion, cueing up a movie as Miranda entered with a big bowl of popcorn.   She handed it to him over the back of the couch. 

“Extra salty, just the way you like it,” she said and nestled down beside him.

“Is that bad for the baby?” he asked.  “I heard salt was bad for babies.  Or maybe it’s just bad for everyone.  I’m not sure.  Maybe you should throw it out and make more.” 

You make more,” she snapped, shoving a handful into her mouth.  “I want to watch the movie.  Michael and Adam finally went to sleep so we can have some peace and quiet.” 

He decided she probably knew what was best so he nestled back against the cushion and started the movie.  As the title card flashed on the screen and they sat in silence, he continuously looked at her. 

“What?” she asked. 

“Are you comfortable?  Do you need another pillow?”

“I’m fine,” she said, slightly annoyed. 

He’d never been an expectant father before.  Or a potential expectant father.  He wanted to make sure he did everything right. 

“Do you want to put your feet up?” he asked, turning to her again. 

“No.  Watch the movie.” 

Sighing, he tried to do just that, but found it nearly impossible to think of anything else.  “I saw some pickles in the-“

“Oh my God, you are driving me crazy!” Miranda screamed.  “Eddie, I’m fine.  Dr. Mitchell said the baby is healthy and that there’s nothing to worry about.  So would just be quiet and watch the movie?”

“Geez,” he murmured, turning back to the television. 

They sat in silence for a few minutes until Miranda sighed and dropped her hands to the sofa in resignation.  “I need to talk to David,” she said.

“Huh?  I thought you wanted to watch the movie.” 

“I don’t mean right now,” she said with a groan.  “But soon.  I still haven’t told him about the baby.”

Eddie sat up and scowled at her.  “Why are we talking about David?  I thought tonight was about us?”

“It is, but I can’t help worrying.  It isn’t fair that he doesn’t know I could be carrying his baby.  He’s been so distant since you guys got back from Acapulco.  I wonder if he’s feeling okay.” 

Eddie shook his head in frustration.  “Okay, I’m not allowed to ask if you’re comfortable, but you can talk about David and how worried you are about him?  I see how it is.” 

“Would you stop?" she asked.  “It’s only right that I tell him.  I think I’m going to see him tomorrow.” 

“Alone?”

“Yes, alone.  I can’t tell him with you around.  Please try and understand.” 

He mouthed the word fine and turned back to the movie.  Folding his arms, he pouted and ignored the way she stared at him. 

“Are you mad?” she asked.

“No.  Watch the movie.” 

Mackenzie Stone

Meet me by the lounge

The text came in the middle of James telling her about a new movie Stormy was optioning for Sunset Studios.  She casually turned in the direction of the bar and saw Kyle standing belligerently in the corner.  His demands were half-expected.  The look on his face when he saw her with James was unmistakable. 

“Would you excuse me for a minute?” Mackenzie asked.  “I need to visit the ladies room.” 

“Of course,” James said, standing up when she did. 

She wove her way through the maze of tables and when she neared the lounge Kyle followed her out into the waiting area.  Once he was sure they were alone, he turned to her and glared heatedly.

“What are you doing with James Blackthorne?” he demanded.

“Excuse me?” she asked, though she knew why he was asking. 

“Is this business or pleasure?” Kyle asked. 

“Why does it matter?”

“Because there are only about a thousand connections between him and I.  I’m seeing his ex-wife, I worked for him for a time, and most importantly, he thinks I’m his dead nephew’s half-brother.  You don’t see any conflict of interest there?”

Glancing around to make sure they weren’t being overheard, Mackenzie took a step closer to him.  “Why is any of this my problem?”

“Because if you’re here for the reasons I think you are, then how are you going to be able to keep this secret from him?” Kyle asked.

She rolled her eyes.  “I don’t even want to know what reasons you think I have for being here.  I happen to like James Blackthorne.  We enjoy each other’s company.”

“Oh my God, you’re dating the man,” he said, running a hand over his face.  “I cannot believe you’re this dense.”

“Excuse me?” she fired back.

“What happens if things get serious between the two of you?” Kyle asked.  “I’ll tell you what will happen, Mackenzie.  You’ll feel guilty about lying to him and you’ll wind up telling him the truth that we’re related.  Then my entire cover will be blown.”

“You’re being paranoid.” 

“The first person he’ll tell is Brooke,” he insisted.  “How can you now see the problem here?  You have to stop seeing him.  That’s all there is to it.” 

Mackenzie’s eyes flashed angrily at him.  “You don’t tell me who I can and can’t see,” she said.

“I can in this instance.  You promised you wouldn’t blow my cover.” 

“And I meant it,” she said, lowering her voice.  “I won’t tell James.  But if you continue to think you can order me around,  then maybe I will tell him.”

“Don’t threaten me, Mackenzie.” 

“Don’t test me,” she countered, issuing one final look of warning before tearing off back to her table.  

When she’d gone, Kyle’s eyes followed her.  He saw the way James greeted her with a kiss when she returned.  Yes, there was going to be conflict if they continued seeing each other.  He wouldn’t let it happen.  He had too much to lose.

Jordan

When Suzanne arrived home it was late and the reporters that had been staked out on the lawn earlier in the day were now gone.  Relieved, she fled inside the house, her hair tousled wildly and her eyes red from tears.  On the table in the foyer was the copy of Valley of Temptation.

Jordan was pacing the drawing room and he bounded into the entryway when he heard her enter. 

“Where have you been?  I’ve been trying to call your cell for hours.” 

“I forgot it,” she said, wriggling out of her trench coat, unable to look him in the eyes.

He positioned his hands on his hips and shook his head in irritation.  “I needed to reach you, Suzanne.  What the hell have you done?”

“What have I done?  What have I done?”   She rushed toward him in a blind rage.  She raised her fists and hit him repeatedly against the chest, knocking him back against the wall.  “Did you need to humiliate me that badly?  Did you?  I hate you!  I hate you!  Do you hear me?“ 

“Suzanne!” he screamed, grabbing her wrists and shaking her forcefully.  “Stop it!” 

She resisted, overpowering him and slapping him twice on the face.  Jordan struggled to restrain her, finally succeeding in turning and pinning her against the wall.  “You think I published that book?”

“Yes!” she screamed, breaking free and grabbing the book off the table.  As she turned, she threw it at him and he blocked it with his hands.  “Dragging me to court and making me look like a slut in front of our friends wasn’t enough!  You had to show it to the entire world!  Every detail, every private thought is on those pages!” 

“I didn’t do it!” he screamed.  “I thought you did.”

“Why would I?” she cried.  Why would I have done that?” 

And just as she said it, the reality of what had happened suddenly hit her.  She’d blindly accused the wrong people of the treachery.  Her heart began beating wildly and the color drained from her face. 

“Oh my God,” she whispered, turning to Jordan.  “It was Benji.” 

He looked at her at first with a doubtful expression.  The more he thought about it, however, the more he began to realize that she was right. 

Brett Armstrong

By the time Brett got to his office at Sunset Studios the next morning, he’d successfully managed to avoid the onslaught of reporters who hounded him along the way.  He parked in the private-access garage and went directly to his office where he tried for the third time to reach Suzanne.  Her phone went directly to voice mail.  When he called the house phone, the butler, Gordon, told him that Miss Rogers was unavailable.  He knew she was avoiding his phone calls. 

Slamming the phone down on his desk, he pushed the sleeves up on his black Armani dress shirt, ran a hand over his face, and turned to look out the window.  How could she have done this without so much as giving him a warning?  Their private lives were plastered across the pages of her book for all the world to see.  What if Heather saw it?  What if Jordan used it as leverage to try for custody of Violet again?  The implications were staggering. 

Further aggravation arrived when Stormy burst into his office in one of his usual tirades. 

“Not now, junior,” Brett said, shaking his head.  “I’d love to go another round with you but I’ve kind of got a lot on my mind right now.”

Stormy folded his arms.  “I’m sure you do, but your personal life has caused our phones to blow up all morning.  Reporters have been calling wanting a statement.”

“And what did you say?” Brett demanded.

“I said that Sunset Studios is a family business, and that we have no comment on your personal life.” 

Brett rolled his eyes and turned back to the window.  “Great.” 

“What were you thinking, anyway?” Stormy asked as he moved across the office.  “You’re supposed to be married to Heather.  How do you think it would make her feel if she found out about you and her mother?  You know, you’ve claimed to have changed but I don’t see it.  You’re still the same con who swindled his way into my family.” 

“You have a hell of a lot of nerve,” Brett said irately, veins throbbing in his face and neck.  “You weren’t exactly a devoted husband to Heather either, or are you forgetting about the time you left town with Lauren Spencer?”

“You slept with her mother.  That’s a little different.  I knew you were going to hurt her.  I warned her about getting involved with you but she didn’t listen.”

“Because you’re always right, aren’t you?” Brett asked bitterly.  He went to grab his jacket from his chair.  “You know what?  I don’t have time for this.”

He started to the door just as Jane Wheeler appeared with a seemingly lost look on her face.  She looked at Brett and smiled apologetically.

“I was looking for Stormy’s office,” she said. 

He took a brief moment to size her up and down.  He was still a man, after all.  But remembering that he was in a hurry, he gestured inside the office with his jacket.  “He’s all yours.” 

Standing aside as Brett darted past her, she cautiously turned back to Stormy and managed a faint smile.   “Hi," she said.  “I hope I didn’t interrupt anything.”

“You didn’t,” he said, more than a little surprised to see her.  “What are you doing here?”

She opened her mouth to reply but stopped when she couldn’t find the words.  “I don’t know,” she said with a shrug.  “I just didn’t like the way we left things the other night at my place.  I think I was just surprised when you came by.  It was really very sweet of you.” 

“Yeah?” he asked, moving toward the doorway where she was positioned.  He forgot all about his argument with Brett for the time being.  “I thought you said this would be too awkward.”

Yes, it was awkward, but for reasons other than what he thought they were.  Maybe if they didn’t bring up his mother or R.J. then she could overlook it and not have to feel guilty about lying.  Miranda had given her a lot to think about when she told her that she was rushing into hasty decisions.  So for two days it had been all she’d thought about.

“It doesn’t seem so awkward right now,” she said with a faint smile.  “I don’t know, I just really enjoyed being with you the other night.  Maybe we can take things slow and see how it goes.” 

“Wow, that’s great,” he said, running his fingers through his spiky black hair.  “Are you sure?  I don’t want to put you in a difficult position.  I mean, because of my mom and your baby and all.”

“Well, the adoption is final.  What’s done is done.  It’s time I moved on.  Maybe you can help me.”

“I’d like that,” he said, beaming.  “Do you want to go out tonight?  Or if that’s too soon then maybe tomorrow, or this weekend…”

She cut him off with a smile.  “Tonight sounds perfect.”

James Blackthorne

“He’s perfect,” James said when Alex placed R.J. in his arms.  “If I didn’t know better I’d swear he was biologically yours.”

Alex tried to maintain an even expression as he said it.  She’d heard it from various other people already, Stormy included, and was getting used to passing it off as an off-the-cuff remark. 

“Isn’t it uncanny?” she asked, gazing at the baby over his shoulder.  “But then again all babies look alike, don’t they?”

James laughed while rocking the infant in his arms.  “Stormy didn’t.  Don’t you remember?  He had the same shock of black hair that R.J. does.  His eyes are different though.  Does he have any other ethnicity?  Who was his father?”

The ethnic part came from Kelly and her Hawaiian heritage, Alex thought to herself.  She tried to brush his question off accordingly.  “I think his father was part American Indian or something like that.  Anyway, I just wanted you to give you the official first peak at the newest member of the family.” 

“I’m glad you did,” James said and handed R.J. back to her.  “You know, Alex, I have to admit I’m very impressed with how well you’ve adjusted since you left treatment.  Whatever they did there obviously worked.  You look positively radiant.” 

She smiled and placed the baby in his crib.  “Well, it’s thanks to this little one,” she said.  “I finally feel like I have something to look forward to.  All that pain and misery is behind me now.” 

“Good,” he said, then decided to change the subject to a slightly more personal, and self-serving one.  “So I had dinner with Mackenzie Stone last night.”

“You did?” Alex asked, craning her neck toward him in surprise.  “How did that come about?” 

He shrugged.  “We’ve been seeing each other for a couple of weeks.  I hope that doesn’t make you uncomfortable.  I know you and her butted heads a lot on the set of The Young at Heart.”

“It doesn’t make me uncomfortable,” Alex said.  “I mean, we haven’t been married for a long time, James.  You’re free to date whomever you want.” 

He frowned.  “That’s not what you said when I was with Brooke.” 

“That’s because you threw me aside for her,” she said with a good-natured scowl.  “Truthfully, I don’t have a problem with Mackenzie.  She’s been very mellow lately.  Not at all the robo-bitch she used to be.  I’m actually looking forward to getting back on the set for the Cassidy Solomon memorial episode.”

“That’s good to hear,” he said, giving R.J. one final look before heading for the door.  “Thanks for having me over.  I really am happy for you, Alex.  I hope you can find some happiness in your life now.” 

“You too,” she said thoughtfully, then stopped him before he left.  “James, Mackenzie really is very pretty.  I hope she knows how lucky she is.” 

He winked and ducked out of the apartment.  Maybe all of his worrying about Alex was for nothing.  She seemed to be very happy. 

David Jenner

Dizziness, nausea, double vision, ringing in the ears.  They were also symptoms that the specialist in San Francisco told David Jennings he could experience in the coming months.  His condition was deteriorating at a faster rate than even he or Dr. Farraday had predicted.  He hadn’t left his house in three days. 

Lying on the sofa, his skin was pale and clammy, dark circles surrounded his eyes, and he could barely stand without vomiting.  The good news, if there was any, was his symptoms would come and go without warning.  Tomorrow he could be up and walking around like any healthy person who wasn’t suffering from an inoperable brain tumor.

The ringing grew louder, causing him to groan in misery until he realized it was the doorbell.  Maybe if he laid there quietly they would go away.  He prayed for the ringing to stop. 

“David, it’s Miranda,” called a voice from outside the door.

Miranda.  No, he couldn’t deal with her today.  He couldn’t let her see him like this.  He laid very still, cringing when she continued to ring the bell. 

“David, I know you’re home,” she said through the door.  “I see your cars in the garage.  All six of them.  Open up.  I need to talk to you.”

He realized she wasn’t going away.  Slowly, he pulled himself to his feet and staggered to the door.  He paused at the mirror that hung to the left and wiped his eyes, took a deep breath, and opened the door. 

“Finally,” she said and breezed past him.  “What were you doing?”

“I was just taking a nap,” he said and closed the door behind him. 

She looked him and up and down.  “You look thin.”  Before he could react, she rushed toward him and placed a hand on his forehead.  “Are you feeling okay?  My God, you’re burning up.” 

“I’m fine,” he said.  “I just got done working out.”

She frowned. “I thought you said you were napping.” 

He desperately tried shifting the subject away from how terrible he looked and felt.  “What’s up?” he asked with an air of nonchalance.  “How are you?”

“I’m good,” she said and set her purse on the sofa while she took her jacket off.  “I’m not going to beat around the bush.  I came here to tell you something and I know it won’t be easy but you’ve got to hear this.” 

“Yeah, sure.  What is it?”  He sat down on the edge of the sofa when he started feeling dizzy again. 

With a deep breath, she sat next to him and placed a hand on his knee.  “Eddie and I are back together,” she said as fast as she could.

“Oh,” was his brief reply.

“I know,” she said, wincing.  “Shocker, huh?  Look, I didn’t mean to string you along, David.  When you got back from Acapulco and you got off that plane and told me that you loved me, I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do.  I care for you very much, and I guess in a lot of ways I do love you.  I always have.  But Eddie is my soul mate.”

All he could do was nod.  Yes, when he returned from Mexico he had every intention of trying to woo Miranda until she jumped into his arms.  But then his condition began deteriorating, and continuing their romance became the last thing he wanted to think about.  The truth was, she was better off without him.

“I’m happy for you,” he said with a smile.

“Really?” she asked, tilting her head as she looked at him.  “You’re not just saying that?”

“No, I just really want you to be happy,” he said.  Besides, he thought, he knew this would happen way back in the summer when they first got together.  He would eventually get sick and would have to leave her.  Better that it never got that far. 

“There’s more,” she went on.  “I’m pregnant.”

He froze, staring blankly at her.  “And the father?”

She shook her head.  “It could be you or Eddie.” 

Slowly, David rose to his feet.  He didn’t know what to say or how to react.  This was what he always wanted.  A baby of his own to carry on his name.  His father was gone, Brooke never really considered herself a Jennings, and Jackie was married to a Blackthorne.  This was his only chance at having a child of his own. 

The only problem was he wouldn’t be around to raise it. 

“There’s a test we can take to determine the paternity,” Miranda said.  “But it’s risky and I don’t know that I want to do it until after he’s born.” 

“He?” David asked. 

She shrugged.  “Just a guess.”

He felt disappointed.  A son to carry on his name.  His father’s name.  It was probably too much to ask for. 

“Look, I don’t expect you to say anything,” she said.  “I know this sucks and I’m sorry that it’s happening.  I’m a selfish bitch, I know.  But if this baby does turn out to be yours, he’ll always know who his father was, even if Eddie is the one who raises him.” 

The prospect made David sick.  Did he want Miranda telling his son that his last days were filled with sickness and vomit and misery?  Was that the image of his father he wanted him growing up with?  He couldn’t let it happen. 

After a warm embrace and a brief goodbye, Miranda left.  David went straight for the phone and called Dr. Farraday. 

“It’s David Jennings,” he said.  “I need to talk to you.” 

Benji Rydell

Benji got home that morning after spending a long night in the hospital.  Not that he could do much good there, but just being close to Sierra made him feel better.  If all went as planned, she would be going home that evening.  Then he’d concentrate on fixing the damage that Hunt, Summer and everyone had done to poison her mind against him. 

“I’ve been trying to call you,” Suzanne said when he walked in the door. 

“Congratulations,” he snapped and headed for the staircase.

“Stop,” she said firmly.  “Don’t walk away from me.”

Sighing, he turned and rolled his eyes at her.  “Don’t tell me what to do.  I’m going to my room.” 

“Come into the drawing room now,” she demanded.  “I’m not going to ask you again.” 

Annoyed, he drug himself off the bottom stair and followed her into the drawing room.  When they entered, he saw his father standing across the room by the fireplace.

“What is this all about?” he asked.  His first instinct was that someone had fingered him in the beating of the homeless guy.  His mind began racing with a way to get out of it.  The guy had it coming anyway. 

“Thomas Manzer called this morning,” Suzanne said.

Benji swallowed hard.  The book.  In the craziness of the past couple of days he’d forgotten that it was set to be released.  Obviously his mother had already seen it. 

“He wanted to congratulate me on the first day’s book sales of Valley of Temptation,” she went on.  “He said that my agent had quite an eye for what the public wanted to read.” 

“There’s no accounting for taste,” he said with a shrug. 

“My agent?” Suzanne asked with a hint of sarcasm in her voice.  “Did you think I wouldn’t find out?”

He stood defiantly silent, hands clasped behind his back while he stared at her.

She walked toward him, the book gripped tightly between her fingers.  “You’ve done some nasty things in your life, but this by far-“

“Spare me the lecture,” he cut her off with a snarl. “I’ve heard it all before.  I’m a disappointment, I’m cruel and I’m unkind and I’m a spoiled brat.  I’ll give you one guess who I learned those things from.” 

“That’s enough, Benji,” Jordan said, finally coming away from the wall.

Suzanne quieted him with a wave of her hand.  “No, let him finish.  I’d like to hear exactly what we did to turn you into this person.  We gave you everything you could ever want.  An education, cars, clothes, money to spend any way you pleased.”

“Yeah, throw money at me to shut me up.  That’s true parenting at its best.”

“If you hate me that much then I can learn to deal with that.  But do you realize what you’ve done by publishing that book?  You’ve hurt your father’s reputation, Brett’s reputation, and could very well send your sister into another psychotic episode.  Does any of that mean anything to you?”

He didn’t care about any of that.  He was sick to death of them telling him what a nightmare he was.  All the while they ran around ruining lives and not accepting the consequences. 

“I’ve said it before, you’re a fucking hypocrite,” he said.  “You slept with your daughter’s husband.  If you hadn’t done that then none of this would be happening.” 

“I made a mistake,” she said.  Never had she felt so betrayed.  “What you did was to deliberately destroy me.  How can you do that to someone?  To your own mother?”

“What about the trail of destruction you two have left?  Blake’s mother and father?  Uncle Troy?  Alex?   Frank Dunning?   Heather?  I could keep going.” 

“Those people were victims of circumstance,” Suzanne said.  “It’s totally different.  You, Benji, are a sociopath.”

“The police dropped the investigation into the beating of that homeless man,” Jordan spoke up.  “They don’t have any evidence and your buddy Ashton Childers couldn’t positively identify you being at the scene.  But you did it, Benji.  The same way you attacked Scott Kelly last year.  We know you.  Why don’t you admit it?”  

“That’s such bullshit,” Benji said, shaking his head.  Something was different about the tone in his parent’s voice this time.  They’d threatened him and made promises to teach him a lesson before, but this time it was different.  It felt like they were giving up on him. 

“And I don’t know where you learned to treat women the way you do, but it’s sick,” Suzanne said.  “You can deny it all you want, but something happened with those girls.  The dean’s daughter at your school and Summer Solomon.  Do you have a problem with women?  Do you have anger issues because of me?  Is that it?  You’re angry because I wasn’t around for most of your life?”

“Even when you came back you weren’t really here,” he said in a disaffected tone. 

“How can you say that?” she asked in a shrill voice. “A year ago I stood here and told you that I wasn’t going to stop until I turned you into a better person.  I tried, Benji, but you did as you pleased anyway.” 

“Tried how?” he asked.  “We moved to the valley and you started playing house with Brett.  I was as invisible to you then as I was when I was in boarding school.” 

Frustrated, she looked down at the book.  “The fact that you did this makes me realize that no matter what I do, you’ll always be the dark and angry young man that you are right now.  I don’t think there’s anything we can do to save you from that.”

“Fine.  So are we done here?” 

Slowly, she looked up into his eyes.  It was the hardest thing she’d ever had to do, but she kept herself from crying.  “I want you out of this house.” 

“What?” he asked, startled by the harshness of her words and the look in her eyes. 

“You’re not welcome here anymore,” she said.  “You have until tonight to get some things together and leave.” 

Refusing to listen to her, he looked over at his father.  When he didn’t react, he looked back at his mother.   “You can’t do that.  You can’t just throw me out.  You’re getting divorced.  You’re moving out anyway.” 

She shook her head.  “Not right away.” 

“But this is Dad’s house.  You were here for a few months.  You can’t throw me out.”  He looked at Jordan again.  “Dad-“

He replied with a simple shake of his head. 

Alarmed by their reaction, he backed up to the doorway.  “Fine.  I don’t care.  I don’t want to be around you two anyway.  You’re totally fucked up.”

With that, he turned and bound out of the room and up the stairs.  When he’d gone, Suzanne allowed a few tears to fall down her face.  She turned to Jordan, who she knew was taking it harder than she was. 

“We had to do it,” she said. 

He nodded in agreement.  “It doesn’t make it any easier.” 

Marilee Wells-Walker

Marilee stopped by the hospital to check on Sierra and hopefully give her best to Renee, whom she knew still hadn’t totally forgiven her for the deal she’d made with Jackie.  At the time she had no other choice.  Jackie had learned that Kyle was her son and blackmailed her into selling her her shares of Merteuil.  She decided it was time to tell her everything. 

Will Thomerson?” Renee gasped.  They were seated in the waiting room with two hot steaming cups of coffee.  She looked at her friend and placed a hand on hers.  “I had no idea.” 

Marilee nodded, tears forming in her eyes.  “I was young and foolish.  Being an actress was all I cared about at the time.  Being a mother…”  She paused while collecting her thoughts.  “I wasn’t ready.  I gave him up for adoption.  I never even looked back.  Until Kyle came to town and revealed who he was.” 

“I’m so sorry, Marilee,” Renee said.  “And Jackie found out and used it against you?  How typical of that bitch.” 

“I would have never given her those shares of your father’s company if she wasn’t holding this over my head, Renee, you have to believe that.” 

Renee nodded and pulled her into an embrace.  “Of course you wouldn’t have.  But Marilee, why didn’t you tell me this sooner?  The other night at dinner when you told me about Hunt Roberts you could have said something.  I was positively cold to you and you were trying to be a friend.”

“It wasn’t about me,” she said.

Renee smiled.  “Still, I appreciate it so much.”

“How is Sierra?”

“Better.  Dr. Farraday is letting her come home later today.  I have a lot of work ahead of me to get her back on the straight and narrow.”

“I’d hope that after this scare she’s already realized how dangerous drugs are,” Marilee said.  “I’m sure Kenny will be there for you both.  He loves Sierra as if she were his own daughter.”

“Yes, but I’m not sure he’s very happy with me right now.  I postponed the wedding until I’m sure this ordeal with Sierra is over.” 

Marilee gasped.  “Renee, you can’t do that,” she exclaimed.  “I appreciate that you’re concerned for your daughter, but don’t let it come between you and Kenny.  Let him be there for you.” 

“Do you think?”

“I do,” Marilee said and rose from the chair.  “Now I have to go.  Please give Sierra a kiss for me.” 

“I will,” Renee replied with a smile. 

And in a flurry, Marilee was off through the corridors of the hospital.  Her beige pumps tapped along the floor as she made her way to the elevator.  When the doors opened, Kyle was standing on the inside. 

“Hello,” she said, caught off guard by his sudden appearance. 

“Hi,” he said.  “Marilee Wells, right?”

She nodded.  “Yes, that's right.  What are you doing here?”

“Checkup from when I got shot,” he said and gestured to his side.  “You?”

“Visiting a friend.  But since I ran into you, I was wondering if you’d care to have some coffee.  I need to tell you something.” 

“You need to tell me something?” he asked curiously.  Strange.  He barely knew the woman.  He wondered if she had the right guy. 

“Yes.  Please.  It would mean a lot to me.” 

Nodding, he stood clear of the doors and gestured for her to join him in the elevator.

As the doors closed, Marilee took a deep breath.  She hoped she was making the right decision.  It was better to have it all out in the open, wasn’t it?  Lies had a tendency to fester and contaminate everyone they touched.

Brett Armstrong

Gordon answered the door and informed Brett that Suzanne was not accepting any visitors.  He responded by pushing him aside and forcing his way into the house. 

“Suzanne!” he yelled, searching the rooms on the lower level.  “Suzanne!”

“Miss Rogers is not accepting-“ the butler protested.

“I know what you said and I don’t give a damn what she’s accepting,” he said and bulldozed his way into the drawing room.  Inside, he found Jordan and Suzanne standing silently, the air thick with tension. 

“Brett-“ she said, turning away from the window.  She looked at Jordan to gauge his reaction and then turned back to Brett.  “It’s not a good time.”

“Too bad,” he said and stepped forward.  “Do you care to explain why my name is all over the pages of today’s newest best seller?”

She closed her eyes and sighed with regret.  “I’m sorry.  I never meant for anyone to read that book.”

“Then how did it get published?”  He glared at Jordan.  “I suppose you’re to blame for this.  More revenge against us for our affair?  You couldn’t take my daughter from me so you decided to trash my name to the entire world?”

“You’ll know when I’ve gotten my revenge on you, Brett,” Jordan said with a sneer.  “And need I remind you that none of this would have happened if you’d just kept your hands off my wife?”

He chuckled and folded his arms.  “You’re unbelievable.”

“Jordan didn’t publish the book,” Suzanne announced.  “Benji did.” 

“Benji?  I don’t understand.” 

“Another attack against me,” she clarified somberly.  “He found the manuscript on my computer and sent it to a publisher in New York City.  Jordan’s attorney is working on getting an injunction against them.  With any luck the book will be pulled off the shelves by tomorrow.” 

“How can a nineteen year old kid publish a book that wasn’t his to begin with?” Brett demanded. 

“It’s the subject matter that sealed the deal, I’m sure,” Jordan said with a cocky grin.  “Who wouldn’t want to read about the sexual exploits of an aging actress and her much younger son-in-law?  Gee, Suzanne, maybe you can play yourself in the movie and Brett can be played by….well, himself.  It should give you the chance to go at it like animals again.  I’m sure that’s what you both want.” 

“Go to hell,” Brett fired back.  “And while you’re at it, get over your precious, damaged ego.  The jilted husband routine is getting old.”

“Stop it,” Suzanne ordered them both.  “This isn’t helping anything.  We’ve got to do some damage control.” 

“The damage has been done!” Jordan exclaimed.  “What part of that don’t you understand?  How stupid are you, anyway?  Your actions started all of this, Suzanne.  If you can’t handle that then you shouldn’t have set it into motion!”

With that, he stormed out of the room and left them alone together.  Suzanne lowered her head and resisted the urge to cry again.  Brett walked toward her, reaching a hand out to comfort her but she jerked away from him. 

“Don’t,” she said.  “Please just go.” 

“Suzanne, you don’t have to face this alone,” he said.  “Screw Jordan.  Move out of this house and let me help you get through this.”

She shook her head.  “You can’t help,” she said, brushing past him and flying out into the foyer. 

He watched her go, disappointed.  While she hadn't been his priority lately, he hadn't gotten over his feelings for her.  He hated seeing her in such turmoil.  

Brooke Taylor

That evening, David summoned Brooke to his house in Malibu.  The secretiveness of his request got the better of her curiosity so she made the trip in record time.   When she arrived at his door, she could tell there was something very wrong. 

“You look terrible,” she said and ushered him back to the sofa.  “David, you’re burning up.  You need to get to the hospital.” 

“I’ve seen Dr. Farraday,” he said.  “It’ll pass.  The symptoms come and go.” 

Seeing her brother this way caused her eyes to burn with tears.  “I’m worried about you,” she said softly.  “Isn’t there anything they can do?” 

He shook his head.  “No.  I’m going to die, Brooke.  It’s only a matter of time.”

“Stop saying that,” she said, leaping off the sofa and walking across the room to the floor-to-ceiling windows.  “They said you have six months left.  There’s still plenty of time to-“

He replied with another shake of his head.  “If today gives you any indication, the next six months are going to be hell,” he told her. 

“Then I’ll be with you,” she said and walked back and sat down beside him.  “I’ll get child care for Michael and I’ll move in here with you.  Or you can move in with me in the town house.” 

“We never did have the chance to grow up like a normal brother and sister,” he said with a smile.  “Might be a little late in the game to make up for that.” 

She wiped her eyes and took his hand in hers.  “I just found you.  I’m not ready to say goodbye.” 

“The most important thing is that I don’t want you to see me die,” he said.  “Not like this.  I won’t put you or anything else through that.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m going to the clinic in San Francisco,” he said.  “The specialist that’s been consulting on my case has a program for patients like me.  For terminal patients.” 

“You can’t just go away to die,” Brooke said.  “David, no.  You should be with your family and friends.” 

“Brooke, it’s not going to be pretty,” he said.  “Please understand.  I can’t die with people looking at me the way you’re looking at me right now.” 

“But-“

He placed a hand on hers.  “Listen to me,” he said.  “Miranda is pregnant.  The baby may or may not be mine.   I don’t want the only stories she has to tell him about me are from when I was like this.”

The temporary shock of the news wore off quickly.  “They won’t be,” she assured him.  “There are plenty of things she can tell your baby about you that have nothing to do with your illness.” 

He smiled.  “But this is what she’ll remember.  Please help me make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Torn, Brooke knotted her hands together and stared somberly at the floor.  She wasn’t ready for this.  She hated the thought of him going away to die alone.  But what choice did she have?

Sierra Merteuil

The door opened and Sierra entered the penthouse with Renee and Kenny a couple of steps behind. She looked around and turned to them with a disaffected look in her eyes. 

“Has Hunt called?” she asked. 

Renee did her best to hide her guilt.  She couldn’t have her daughter constantly waiting for him to call or come by.  Truthfully, she didn’t know exactly what had happened to Hunt Roberts.  She didn’t want details.  All she knew was that he was out of the picture.  Hopefully for good. 

“Sweetheart, Hunt is gone,” she said.

“What?  Did he go back to New York?”

“I assume so,” Renee said and dropped her purse on the credenza in the dining room.  “He told me to tell you that he was sorry and that he was going to leave you alone.”

Sierra glared at her.  “You blackmailed him into leaving, didn’t you?” she asked.  “Just like you did Malcolm.  When are you going to let me live my own life?” 

“I tried that, remember?” Renee snapped.  She hated being firm with her daughter but it was necessary.  “You wound up nearly dying on a crash cart because I tried to leave you alone.” 

Pouting, she turned and walked down to the sunken living room.  “I’m going to call him,” she said as some sort of warning.  “You can’t stop me from calling him, you know.” 

“Fine,” Renee said with an indifferent shrug.  “Oh, I had all your favorites delivered.  The kitchen is stocked.” 

“I’m going out,” she said. 

“You want to make a bet?” Renee said and blocked her path.  “The only way you’re leaving this house is over my dead body.” 

Glowering angrily, Sierra brushed past her, cast a dirty look at Kenny, and raced into her bedroom.  When the door slammed they both jumped. 

“Are you sure you can handle this?” Kenny asked her. 

“Of course.  She’s my daughter.  I have to.” 

He took her hand and led her to the sofa.  “Do you think she’ll snap out of this?” he asked her.  “I mean, we have no idea how involved she was in drugs.  What if she needs treatment?  You can’t provide her that yourself, Renee.” 

“I can and I will,” she maintained.  “My daughter is not a junkie.  She’s going to come through this and be the same girl that she always was.  I’m more persuasive than you give me credit for, Kenny.”

He smiled.  “I know that.” 

Her expression softening, she placed a hand on his.  “I’ve been thinking about the wedding.  I may have been a little premature calling it off.”

“Does that mean you still want to go ahead with our original plans?”

“I do,” she said.  “I’m already practically done with the major stuff anyway.  In three weeks I expect us to be walking down the aisle.” 

“I love you,” he said and drew her into an embrace.  “You are quite a woman, Renee DeWitt.” 

Benji Rydell

Outside the hotel, Benji sat in his car watching the penthouse.  From the street below, he could see directly into Sierra’s bedroom window.  It was too high to make out anything specific, but her shadow pacing back and forth across the drawn blinds was unmistakable. 

He had to get to her and make her see that he wasn’t the monster she thought he was.  He’d been there for her when Hunt wasn’t.  He set him up to get rid of him for her.  Soon she would realize that. 

Laying his head back against the headrest, he took a deep breath.  It was getting late and he needed to find somewhere to crash.  But at this moment, sitting guard outside Sierra’s hotel seemed more important than anything. 

Suzanne Rogers

Sitting in a coffee shop in Hollywood with Ross, Suzanne stared distantly out the window.  The slice of cherry pie that sat on the table in front of her went uneaten, her cup of berry tea now cold.  When he said her name she didn’t hear him.  Her mind was too filled with preoccupation.

“Suzanne?” Ross said again.  “Where did you go?”

She finally turned back to him and managed a vague smile.  “I’m sorry.  I’m not very good company tonight.” 

“No apologies are necessary,” he said.  “After the day you’ve had, it’s no wonder you’re distant.  I’m just glad you called me.  Sitting at home worrying is the last thing you should be doing.” 

“Yeah, but at least I wouldn’t be bringing you down,” she said.  “I just didn’t know who else to call.  Everything is such a mess.  Everything going on with Benji, Jordan blaming me for the book, it’s too much.”

“You did the only thing you could do,” he assured her.  “Making your son stand on his own two feet and accept responsibility for his actions is what good parenting is all about.” 

“You don’t have kids, do you?” she asked with a wry smile. 

“No.  And my parents weren’t gems, either.”

“So how did you turn out so well?”

He looked down at his plate and shrugged.  “It wasn’t always the case,” he revealed.  “I had my share of problems.  Until I met Warren.” 

“Warren?” she asked curiously. 

“Warren Abbott.  He’s kind of a motivational speaker.  Have you heard of him?”

She shook her head.  “No.” 

Ross folded his hands on the table.  “He teaches people about self acceptance and allowing oneself to forgive their mistakes.  His teachings tell us it’s okay to be happy even under extreme circumstances.” 

She raised an eyebrow.  “Does he have a book or something?  Sounds like something I could get into.” 

“No.  Warren selects the people he helps.  Not just anybody can benefit from his teachings.  You happen to be in a very good position to be one of those people if you want.”

“Why me?” she asked.

He grinned.  “Because you’re my friend.” 

She returned the smile.  Gathering her purse and coat, she slid out from the booth.  “I may just take you up on that sometime,” she said.  “But for now, I have to get going.  I’m sure Jordan is wondering where I am.” 

“Suzanne,” he said, stopping her.  “If things get too bad at home, call me.  I’m always here for you.” 

She responded with another smile before leaving the shop and heading out into the night.   When she approached her car parked on the street, she immediately noticed something laying on her windshield. 

As she drew near, she plucked it from beneath the windshield wiper.  A single red rose.  Curiously, she glanced around her surroundings.  No one walking along the busy street seemed to stand out.  Her first thought was that it was from Ross, but she’d arrived at the coffee shop after he did, and he hadn’t been out of her sight all night.  It seemed ridiculous to think it was Jordan’s doing considering the contempt with which he spoke to her lately. 

Bringing the rose to her nostrils and taking a deep breath, she realized it must be a random act of kindness or possibly a mistake on someone’s part.  Her beige Mercedes was a fairly popular model of car.  So with a shrug, she got into the car and placed the rose on the passenger’s seat.  Putting the car into drive, she pulled out from the street and proceeded home.

Lon Christensen was twenty-eight and lonely.  Since his girlfriend, Amy, told him he was a loser for not being able to keep a job and for a few random occurrences of impotence, his confidence had dwindled.  She moved out of his studio apartment in West Hollywood on Friday and had been ignoring his calls ever since.   She was a bitch anyway and if it wasn’t for the lack of confidence, he was sure he could do better.

For several days he holed up in his dirty apartment, jacking off to internet porn and ejaculating on pictures of Amy.  It soon became clear that any problems in the bedroom had more to do with her.  On his own, he was just fine. 

That morning, he saw a news story on television and it caught his interest.  A book had been written by an actress named Suzanne Rogers.  He was sure he recognized the name.  They showed her picture and a clip from a movie she was in and he grew intrigued, so he looked up her StarLog bio and went out and rented some of her movies.  The most recent things he could find were from the eighties.  Kidding and The Ressurectionist were good, and she looked similar to how she looked today.  Tall and pretty with long luxurious hair.  He loved long hair.  Amy had cut hers off into a short pixie cut and he hated it.  She’d responded by telling him his dick was too small.

After watching the movies, he ran out and bought her book.  He read it in a few hours and had an erection the entire time.  What surprised him was how detailed she’d been about her sexual experiences with a younger man, her son-in-law apparently.  It occurred to him that she must be into younger men, and therefore could very well appreciate him even though Amy didn’t.  He did some research and found out where she lived, then followed her to a coffee shop on Melrose.  Hiding in the bushes, he watched her meet up with another man who was also young. He bought a rose from a vendor and placed it on her car, then watched from the shadows when she left the coffee shop and placed it gently under her nose.  

He closed his eyes, aroused by her close proximity to him. He unbuttoned his jeans and closed his fist around his erect penis, watching her with desire as she drove away.  Then a stupid woman saw him and started calling for the police so he buttoned up and took off on foot to his apartment located a few blocks away. 

He couldn’t wait to show Suzanne Rogers how good he was.

Alex Reynolds

Leaving R.J. with Veronique for the evening was nerve-wracking for Alex.  She’d just become his legal mother and couldn’t bare the thought of being without him.  She quickly rushed through dinner at Cut with Marilee and told her she needed to get home.

“I understand,” Marilee said.  “I just thought you should know what was going on with Kyle.”

“I appreciate that, Marilee,” she said.  “But honestly, I haven’t thought about Kyle in months.  I think our relationship was one-sided.  I was a project for him.” 

“Oh my Lord,” Marilee gasped, pointing across the room. 

“What?” Alex asked with exasperation.  It seemed her friend was never going to let her leave. 

“Isn’t that the woman who….” she began.  “Isn’t that R.J.’s mother?”

Alex craned her neck around and saw Jane walking into the restaurant.  Behind her, with his hands on her waist, was her son.  Her eyes flew open in surprise when she saw him pull her chair out for her and then kiss her on the cheek.  

"What is Stormy doing with her?” she asked in a panic. 

James Blackthorne

To avoid any more embarrassing situations like the previous morning, James agreed to spend the evening at Mackenzie’s place, a mid-century minimalist house built mostly of glass that was situated over a deep canyon in the Hollywood Hills.  The decor was cold and detached much like her outward façade, but he actually knew her to be warm and caring person inside.  He felt it as soon as he entered through the front door. 

“Your home is lovely,” he said while looking around its sparse décor.  “Very simplistic, yet inviting.”

“A while back I decided to cut out any unnecessary frills in my life,” she said while leading him into the living room, her heels clicking on the tile floor.  “It seemed natural to carry that theme over to my home.” 

“When do I find out if I’m an unnecessary frill?” he asked, half-joking.

“I guess when you wind up at a consignment store with my old lamps,” she said, smiling while handing him a glass of boubon and water.  “Kidding.  You know I enjoy having you around.” 

“Likewise,” he said. 

Ringing alerted her to a call on her cell, so she excused herself and walked across the room to her purse.  The display revealed that it was Kyle.  Quickly, she pressed the ignore button. 

“Anybody important?” James asked as she returned. 

“Not at all,” she said and leaned in when he went to kiss her.   Seconds later, her phone began ringing again.  With a sigh, she broke from the kiss.  “I’m sorry.  Apparently it must be important.  Would you mind?”

“Not at all,” he said, and went to admire a few enormous art pieces that hung on the walls. 

Quickly, Mackenzie grabbed her phone and retreated to the back of the house so that she could talk in private.  “Can’t you take a hint?” she hissed, her tone screaming with resentment.  “We have nothing to talk about, Kyle, now stop calling me or I’ll-“

“I know he’s at your house,” Kyle cut her off.  “I can see him right now.”

What?” she asked with a frown. 

“He’s holding a drink and looking at the Mira Satryan painting you bought in Soho,” he said. 

“Are you spying on me?” Mackenzie asked, racing to the glass wall and peering out into the night.  Her house was shrouded in trees but part of the street was visible from her vantage point.  She could see the faint glimmer coming from the hood of his black Porsche. 

“I’m not spying,” he maintained, seated in his car parked on the street a few yards away.  “I’m just wondering why you’re still seeing James Blackthorne when we agreed that it wasn’t a good idea.” 

“We didn’t agree on anything,” she snapped, pacing the room.   “You told me what to do, and if you’ll remember, I told you to go to hell.”

“Of all the men in Los Angeles to sleep with, you had to pick the one who used to be married to Brooke Taylor.  Mackenzie, all I’m asking you to do is throw me a bone here.  It’s too risky.” 

“All you’ve done is tell me how important it is that you keep your identify a secret from these people,” she said.  “I still don’t know why.  Why the charade, Kyle?  If you want to keep quiet then you need to tell me what’s going on.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. 

“Goodbye, Kyle,” she said and began to hang up.

“Okay, okay,” he said urgently.  “I’ll tell you.”

She leaned against a counter and listened. 

“I met a guy in prison-”

“What guy?” she asked immediately.  She wanted all the details. 

“A man named Dan Cody.  He was in for manslaughter or something.  He had connections.  Connections on the outside.  He found out that Brooke was going to be inheriting a lot of money.  He said if I didn’t come here and find a way to get it that he’d have me killed.” 

“So you pretended to be Ethan Blackthorne’s half-brother to get close to her?”

“Yes, and it’s worked so far.  But if James finds out the truth?  My cover will be blown and I’ll be dead.  Is that what you want?”

“Who is this Dan Cody anyway?”

“He’s got mob connections,” Kyle said with exasperation.  “I don’t know what all he’s capable of.  He could have people watching me right now.” 

She rolled her eyes.  “So get the money and then get out of town.  But do it fast because I’m not going to put my life on hold for you.” 

“Mackenzie, if you don’t stop seeing James-“

“Kyle, don’t call me again,” she said.  “I don’t appreciate ultimatums and I don’t take orders from you.” 

She hung up before he could respond.  After trying to erase anything from her face that could tip James off to her state of mind, she calmly walked back out to the living room. 

“Everything okay?” he asked. 

“Everything’s fine,” she said and walked toward him.  She placed her arms around his neck and pulled him into a passionate kiss.  To hell with Kyle if he didn’t like it.  He was the one with something to lose, not her. 

Kyle Fenwick

Outside in his car, Kyle beat his hands on the steering wheel in frustration.  Why didn’t she understand how bad it was for her to be seeing him?  If she told him the truth Brooke would never speak to him again. 

On top of everything, Marilee Wells-Walker now had it in her mind that she was his biological mother.  By sheer coincidence, she’d had an affair with Will Thomerson the same year he was born.  What were the odds of that?  He didn’t have the heart to tell her that her son was still out there somewhere, and that he wasn’t the long lost child she thought he was. 

But to keep up his story, he greeted her with the expected animosity.

“How could you throw me away like that?” he’d said.  “I grew up thinking I’d done something wrong to make my real mother not want me.” 

“I’m so sorry,” she’d said in a fit of tears.  “I thought I was doing the right thing.  Can’t we try to get to know each other?  To start over?”

“I don’t know,” he’d said with as much credibility as he could muster.  With that, he raced out of the room and left her sobbing. 

It was nasty business, but it had to be done.  In a few days she’d probably look him up again and beg for his forgiveness.  He hadn’t decided yet what he’d do then.  It might be beneficial to have her on his side. 

With one final glance through the car window to Mackenzie’s house, he started the engine and peeled off down Mulholland.


Next time....

Suzanne fears she's being followed.  Benji makes a plea to his father.  Mackenzie checks up on Kyle's past.  Alex takes drastic action to keep Stormy and Jane apart.  

 

 

Read Episode 129

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