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Episode 129

 

Release Date:  December 3, 2010

 Read the episode Recap 

 

Previously...

 

James introduced Kyle and Mackenzie, unaware that they were related.  Kyle asked Mackenzie to stop seeing James for fear that if they got too close, she would reveal his identity.  When Mackenzie refused, Kyle told her that he met a man in prison named Dan Cody who was threatening to kill him if he didn't get access to Brooke's inheritance.  Suzanne and a reluctant Jordan threw Benji out of the house when they determined he was the one who published her book.  Brett pleaded with Suzanne to let him help her.  Sierra awoke in the hospital and told Benji to leave her alone.  Later, Renee vowed to do whatever it took to keep her daughter off drugs.  Renee later told Kenny their wedding was back on.  When Miranda told David that she might be carrying his child, he decided to go to the clinic in San Francisco to die, rather than have her see him in his final days.  Ross told Suzanne about a man named Warren Abbott who could help her come to an enlightenment about her problems.  A man named Lon Christensen began following Suzanne after reading her book. Alex told everyone that R.J.'s biological mother, Jane, was an addict she met in rehab.  Jane told Stormy she wanted to continue seeing him.  Alex became alarmed when she learned that Stormy and Jane were dating.  

 


  

Episode 129

"Jane's Addiction"

 

Walking down the steps of the courthouse felt like déjà vu to Suzanne.  It was only two weeks ago that they’d been there for Violet’s custody hearing.  The humiliation Jordan had inflicted on her while on the witness stand was still fresh in her mind.  Now that seemed to pale in comparison to what was happening.

A slew of cameras and reporters met them on the stairs.  She, Jordan, and their attorney John Berry did their best to avoid their questions. 

“No comment,” John said as they avoided the mob scene. 

Once they were in the clear, Suzanne glanced back over her shoulder.  “They’re like vultures.  When is this going to die down?”

“With any luck it’ll be soon,” John said.  “The federal judge said the injunction should be coming through today.  The book will be off the shelves by tonight.  Try not to worry.” 

“Not like it’ll make a difference,” Jordan said bitterly.  “The book sold over a hundred thousand copies in a matter of days.  The damage has been done.” 

Suzanne looked away, uncomfortable with the harshness of his voice.  Yes, she shouldn’t have written the book in the first place.  But how was she to know that Benji would send it to a publisher? 

“You don’t have any more manuscripts laying around for someone to happen by, do you?” Jordan went on, flashing her angry looks of resentment.

“Do you have to be so hateful?” she asked, her optimism fading fast.  What he said was true.  The damage was done.  But that didn’t mean he had to treat her like a second class citizen. 

Rolling his eyes, Jordan motioned to John.  “Are you ready?  I have to get to my office.  All this bad publicity is reeking chaos on Rydell Productions.  I’ve got actors backing out of movies, directors quitting, and financial backers reneging on deals.  Apparently I can’t control my personal life so my business life has to suffer as well.” 

“I’m sorry,” was all Suzanne could manage. 

“Are you coming?” he snapped at her. 

She shook her head.  “No, I have a meeting.” 

“With who?  Your hunky professor again?  Just please do me a favor and don’t let the media get any pictures.  The last thing we want to do is give them more ammunition.”  He started off the last step.  “Come on, John.”

When they left, Suzanne felt like she could breathe again.  It was getting too much for her to handle.  Even staying at the house was unbearable.  With Benji gone there didn’t seem to be a reason to stay.  She decided she’d think about moving again. 

As she made her way to her car, she was stopped by a man whom she didn’t know.  He was tall, nicely built, blonde, and looked very friendly.  Still, he startled her so much that she dropped her keys.

“Miss Rogers, I’m such a big fan,” Lon Christensen said.  “I’ve seen all your movies.”

“Oh, thank you,” she said.  This was a welcome change.  Just what she needed today.  Actual appreciation for her former career.

“I even looked up your appearances you did on Love Voyage on YouTube.  Far as I’m concerned, you should have guest starred every week.” 

She laughed.  “That’s very sweet of you.”   She retrieved her keys and began opening the door. 

“Can you sign this for me?” Lon asked, producing a copy of Valley of Temptation and offering her a pen. 

Her heart sank when she looked at the book.  Of course.  Why else would someone take an interest in her career?  She wondered if she’d ever be rid of her new claim to fame.   The sight of the book made her stomach turn.  Still, it wasn’t the young man’s fault that her life was in shambles.  She graciously took the pen from him and scribbled her name inside the front cover.

“Make it out to Lon,” he said eagerly.  “Can you sign it All my Love?”

Suzanne regarded him carefully for a second, then smiled and signed it the way he’d requested.  It was actually not the strangest request she’d had from a fan.   “There you go,” she said and handed the pen back to him. 

“Thanks,” he said, looking at the inscription.  She got into the car but he continued talking.  “I thought the book was very tasteful, by the way.  The media is making it out to be some kind of pornography but I think it’s beautiful.” 

Now he was beginning to bug her.  She smiled again, closed the car door, and started the engine.  He remained just out the window, staring in at her as she shifted gears and drove away. 

Standing behind, Lon gazed down at the book and smiled.  Being close to her was every bit as exhilarating as he’d predicted.  She smelled soft and pretty.  He wondered how she would taste when he made love to her.

Jane Wheeler

Jane Wheeler was on top of the world.  She had a few dollars in her bank account thanks to the ill conceived deal she’d made with Alex Reynolds, her rent was paid for the next month, her car was actually working, and she had enough money left over to buy the boots she’d been eying at Bloomingdales.  On top of all of that, she’d had an amazing time with Stormy at dinner the night before.  He was so sweet and charming.  Completely different from her first impression of him.  They had plans to go to lunch later and she couldn’t wait. 

A knock at the door didn’t immediately register as a buzz kill, but she soon found that her good mood wasn’t meant to last. 

“Hello Jane,” Alex said when she opened the door.   “May I come in?”

“Yeah, sure,” Jane said and stood clear of the door.  “Is everything okay?”

Alex turned and removed her driving gloves.  “What do you think?”

Confused, Jane shrugged while slipping her fingers in the back pockets of her Seven jeans.  “I don’t know. Is something wrong?”

“I saw you with Stormy last night,” Alex said and waited for a response.  When one didn’t come immediately, she shifted her weight and placed her hands on her hips.  “What kind of game are you playing, anyway?”

Jane looked at her with surprise.  “I’m not playing a game.  I just-“

“You just thought that you could date my son and try to bleed more money out of me,” Alex finished for her.

“What?”

“Don’t act stupid,” Alex said and stepped forward.  “I see right through you.  You got yourself involved with Stormy so that you could stay close to me.  Threaten to tell him that R.J. isn’t your son and blow my whole life to pieces, right?”

“No,” she said, shaking her head emphatically. 

“Then casually infer that you’d be happy to keep quiet as long as I kept writing you checks.  Very clever.  I must admit, it didn’t take you long to lure him into your scheme.” 

“It’s not a scheme!” Jane insisted.  “He asked me out a couple of times.  I like him.  I know I should have talked to you first, but-“

“Yes, you should have,” Alex said.  She glared menacingly at her.

“Look, I’m not after any more money,” Jane insisted.  “I swear to you.  I’m just glad this whole thing is behind me.  I want to forget it ever happened.” 

“How can you when you’re dating the baby’s-“ Alex began, then stopped herself before she revealed the truth, that R.J. was Stormy’s son.  “It’s not going to happen.  I forbid you to see him again.  Do I make myself clear?” 

Jane was speechless.  She watched her go to the door and open it again. 

“I mean it,” Alex continued before leaving the apartment.  “If you try to see Stormy again, you’ll regret it.” 

After she’d gone, Jane turned and resisted the temptation to cry.  She knew it would be awkward dating Alex’s son, but she had no idea it would cause this reaction in her. 

Brett Armstrong

In the five years he’d been in Los Angeles, Brett Armstrong had made many valuable contacts.  Everything from studio heads to mailroom assistants, from politicians to their horny wives.  He’d had to call in favors on a few occasions, and he wasn’t shy about doing so.  Especially when it meant putting Jordan Rydell in his place after the hell he’d put him through lately, and for the nasty way he’d been treating Suzanne.

“So City Financial backed out of the Ocean Avenue project?” he said into the phone while perched in his chair at Sunset Studios.  “Are they going to be able to finish production?”

As he spoke, Stormy walked inside and laid a stack of papers on his desk.  He waited for him to finish, digging his hands in the pockets of his trousers while standing across the desk from him.

“Chapter eleven?” Brett asked with a grin.  “You’re kidding.  That’s priceless.  When are the papers being filed?   Oh, that soon?”

Stormy sighed with irritation and looked at his watch.

Brett sat forward.  “Okay, thanks for the info, Bob.  Yeah, I’ll be in touch.  We need to golf soon.”  He hung up and rose from his chair.  “Morning, junior.”

“What are you up to?” Stormy asked.

“Why do you ask?” Brett wanted to know. 

“Because I know that look.  Anytime that douche bag smirk of yours crosses your face it means you’re up to something that could only benefit you.  Now I’m not going to ask you again.  What are you up to?”

“Trust me, Stormy,” Brett said, slipping into a gray suit jacket.  “If all goes as planned, you’ll be thanking me.”

“For what?”  His eyes followed him across the room to the door. 

“I told you to trust me.  Sunset Studios is about to become a force to be reckoned with.” 

With that, he snaked out of the office and down the hall to the elevators.  Stormy groaned in frustration.  He had a feeling whatever Brett was up to would only succeed in making him look even better to his father.  And when that happened, he usually wound up looking bad for some reason.  

Brooke Taylor

Brooke watched Michael topple a stack of blocks on the floor of the playroom.  Anyone unfamiliar with what had been going on lately would look at the same thing and see nothing out of the ordinary.  She, however, knew that he was not playing by himself. 

“Michael is a very bright boy,” said Dr. Podany, the child psychologist someone had recommended to her.  He was in his fifties with grayish hair and an extra wide nose.  His demeanor was pleasant enough.  She could see why children opened up to him. 

“Are you just telling me what you think I want to hear?” Brooke asked.  They were sitting in a room that was separated from the play room by a two-way mirror.

He smiled.  “Not at all.  In all of the aptitude tests I performed, Michael scored very well.  Above the average boy of his age.  How is his behavior in school?”

She shrugged.  “It’s been fine.  He’s a bit of a loner.  His teacher says he doesn’t interact a lot with the other kids.  But she says he’s curious and interested in learning, so I haven’t been too worried about it.”

“And there’s no reason to be,” Dr. Podany said.  “Not yet, anyway.  The only time I would say you should begin to grow concerned is if Adam doesn’t go away.” 

“How long?”

“Hard to say,” he replied.  “Imaginary friends at this stage of development are perfectly natural.  Children use them to cope with loneliness and with having difficulty making friends. It often coincides with starting school. They use these friends as scapegoats when they’ve misbehaved.  They also use them to mask feelings that they don’t know how to deal with yet.  Miss Taylor, I haven’t heard you mention Michael’s father.  Is your husband still in the picture?”

She looked through the glass wall at her son and then down at her lap.  “Michael’s father died a year and a half ago,” she said.

“I’m sorry,” he said softly.  “Obviously Michael was very young when it happened so he probably didn’t have a full understanding of what happened.  Have you talked to him?”

“Yes.  I tell him that Ethan’s in heaven and that he watches over him.”  A pause while she thought about how corny that sounded.  “I read a lot of books that had a lot of different suggestions.  It was really overwhelming.” 

“Death is a hard thing to explain to a child,” the doctor agreed.  “And even though they may not show signs of it, a lot of children can develop abandonment issues as a result.  That would explain why Adam has come into the picture.  Have you been away for any significant amount of time?”

She shook her head.  “I traveled to Mexico a few times over the summer.  I was gone for a while.”  She paused again.  “And come to think of it, it was while I was away that Michael started talking about Adam.  But why would he still be holding on to this imaginary friend if I’m back and have been for a while?”

“The unknown can be worse for a child than adults sometimes.  He lost his father and you were away for a time.  He may be expecting to be left again.”

“What should I do?”

“Be there for him as much as you can.  Don’t smother him or he’ll grow up with even bigger issues.  But try to make him feel secure.   In time, he’ll need Adam less and less.” 

Brooke nodded and looked through the glass again.  She could see Michael talking to someone in the room.  The room was of course empty, which only caused her to worry more. 

Renee DeWitt

“I like the spray of berries, but I’d rather have them in red,” Renee was saying.  “It fits in with the whole holiday season.  What do you think, sweetheart?  Or maybe I should go with red orchids and white berries.  Or green.  Oh, I don’t know.  It’s impossible to decide!  I should have hired a wedding planner!” 

Sierra rolled her eyes and watched her mother stress over a stack of photographs the florist had dropped off.  She wasn’t exactly into being her little wedding helper.  She hadn’t heard from Hunt and he hadn’t returned any of her calls.  Her mother had told her that he had asked her to extend his goodbyes.  But she couldn’t believe that he would leave it like that.  On top of that, she hadn’t had a bump in three days. 

Suddenly, she remembered that Hunt had mentioned stashing a near-empty gram bag in the downstairs powder room.  He’d said that the maid nearly walked in on him so he hid it in the first place he could think of.  Tucked between the wall and a candle sconce over the sink.   Quickly, she shot to her feet.

“I have to go to bathroom,” she announced, trotting across the room in her pink slippers.  She hadn’t dressed in days. What was the point?  Her mother wouldn’t even let her leave the house.

Inside, she closed the door and dropped her hands to her sides when she realized it didn’t lock.  She’d have to be quick.  Turning around, she went for the wall sconce and tried wiggling it loose from the wall.  Despite her best efforts, it wouldn’t budge.  She tried again, this time succeeding in moving it to the side.  Once she did, however, she was disappointed to find nothing there.   Maybe he’d put it somewhere else. 

Quickly, she went to work at searching every possible place within the confines of the small powder room.  As she did, the door opened and startled her.  Backing up against the sink, she saw her mother standing there with a disapproving look on her face. 

“I already found it and flushed it,” Renee said simply and then walked away. 

Sighing, Sierra lowered her head and tried to shake the feeling of humiliation.  What was she doing?  Searching the bathroom for a few stray traces of blow? 

She closed the door again and turned to look at her reflection in the mirror.  The young woman staring back at her was someone she didn’t recognize.  She’d let Hunt Roberts turn her into a depraved drug fiend.  Her mother didn’t trust her and the whole town was talking about her behavior at that party. 

How had she let it go this far? 

Benji Rydell

Benji had slept in his car outside the hotel at Moonshadows.  He could have crashed at any number of places but wound up falling asleep while watching Sierra’s bedroom window.   When he awoke in the morning, he began to realize the implication of what went down with his parents the day before. 

Everything had been put on the table.  Not just about the book that he stole from his mother and had published without her knowledge.  He felt sick to his stomach when he thought about the contemptuous way they looked at him.  It was as if they didn’t care.  They were washing their hands of him, just as they had when he was five years old and they sent him away.  Good kids got to stay with their families.  Bad kids didn’t.  The thought rang through his mind while he drove across town to his father’s office at Rydell Productions.  They’d been through a lot together.  His father would understand.  It was easier to talk to him there than risk seeing her.

He stopped at Starbucks on his way and tried buying a latte, but his credit card was declined.  He tried another card and it too as declined.  Panicked, he scraped together enough cash from his pocket and from the console in his car to pay for the beverage.  His instinct told him they’d canceled his credit cards.  Further proof that they were done with him.   But part of him didn’t want to believe it.   Luckily, he had the check for the advance the publisher had given him for Valley of Temptation.  It would be more than enough to live on for a while.

When he got to his father’s office, Jordan was pacing behind his desk while on the phone with someone.  The conversation sounded heated.  He wondered if this was the best time to approach him.   His question was answered when Jordan hung up and flashed him a steely cold look.

“It’s not a good time, Benji,” he said, then quickly looked at his cluttered desk. 

“It won’t take long,” he replied, walking into the room.  “Something’s wrong with my credit cards.  Can you call-“

“I canceled them,” Jordan said.  He sounded braver than he felt. 

“Well…how am I supposed to live?”

“I guess you’ll have to get a job,” Jordan replied with a certain amount of satisfaction.  His son had worked for all of about 2 weeks throughout his entire nineteen plus years on this earth.  It would do him well to know what it was like.   "And the advance you got from Holt Publishing has been canceled seeing as how I had the booked pulled."

His father wouldn’t even look him in eyes.  It was the furthest from him he’d ever felt, even when he was thousands of miles away at boarding school. 

“Dad, can I just talk to you about this?” he said.

“I told you it’s not a good time.  Thanks to the book that you published, I’m up to my eyeballs with problems with the studio.”

Benji frowned.  “What do you mean?”

He sighed and ran a hand over his face.  “To be fair, it was in trouble before the book, but it hasn’t helped.  I’m filing a chapter 11.” 

“Well maybe I can help,” Benji said hopefully.  “You told me to get a job.  I can work here.  I can do whatever needs done to help out.” 

“So now you want to work for the studio?” Jordan snapped, then shook his head.  “No, it’s too late. You’re not getting any more handouts, Benji.  You’re on your own.  You’ve made your bed and now you have to lie in it.” 

“You can’t do this,” Benji insisted.  “Yeah, I made some bad decisions but you can’t just cut me out of your life.  I’m your son.” 

Jordan finally stopped shuffling papers long enough to look up at him.  “And the only way you’re going to learn right from wrong is if you’re forced to.  I’m sorry, Benji, but you’ve gone through all your chances with me.  You’re going to have to figure this out on your own.” 

He glared angrily at him.  “This is because of her, isn’t it?” he asked.  “This was her idea.  I know you.  You wouldn’t have kicked me out on your own.” 

“That’s not true.”   Yes, it was.  If Suzanne hadn’t brought it up, he wouldn’t have even contemplated it.  “It was my idea,” he lied. 

Tears threatening his eyes, Benji took a step forward.  “Do you hate me that much?”

“I don’t hate you, Benjji,” Jordan said with exasperation.  “I pity you.  I pity you because you’re going to have a very rude awakening.  Life isn’t always fast cars and all night parties. You’re going to have to learn to live with the mistakes you’ve made.” 

He realized there was no changing his mind.  Slowly, he backed up to the door.  “I can’t believe you’re doing this,” he said.  “I knew you never wanted me around, but-“

“Stop,” Jordan interrupted.  “That excuse doesn’t hold water anymore.”

Before he could see him cry, Benji turned and raced out of the office.  Jordan took a deep breath and sat down in his chair, his head in his trembling hands.  He couldn’t remember ever having to do something so nauseatingly difficult.  Turning his back on his son was the hardest thing he’d ever done. 

“Mr. Rydell?” a voice called from the door.  “I’m heading downtown if you want me to drop off those papers to your lawyer.” 

He looked up to see his attractive young intern standing there.  “Great, thanks Celia,” he said, grabbing an ecru envelope from the desk and handing it to her.  “Make sure they get delivered to John Berry personally.” 

“No problem,” she said, taking the envelope and leaving the office. 

Brett Armstrong

Celia left the Rydell Productions offices and headed out onto the studio lot.  With the envelope clutched in one hand and her car keys in the other, she made her way to her car. 

“Excuse me,” a voice called from behind. 

She turned, her eyes falling on a handsome blonde man who flashed her a brilliant white smile.   “Hello,” she said, stopping her harried pace.  “Do you need help?”

“That’s a loaded question,” Brett replied, digging his hands in his pockets and issuing her a steamy look.  “God, you’re beautiful.” 

She grinned.  “Thank you.  So, can I help you with something?  You look lost.” 

“Yeah, I was looking for a good place to eat lunch.” 

“Oh, well there are plenty of good places around here.” 

“Good,” he said.  “Maybe you can show me.” 

She couldn’t help but smile at his boyish charm and good looks.  It made it nearly impossible to say no.

Alex Reynolds

Alex was promised that her guest stint on The Young at Heart wouldn’t take more than two days to film.  She could also bring R.J. to the set with her, which made the gig all the more appealing.  And to further entice her, Vince had assured her the gesture would go a long way in re-establishing her name in the business.  A memorial episode for Cassidy Solomon was good PR, especially considering the animosity the two women had shared during their time on the show together.

She was getting her makeup done in her dressing room when she heard voices in the hall.  Loud voices.  Frowning, she strained to hear what they were saying.   Whoever it was seemed very upset.

When the makeup girl was finished, she stood up from the chair and went to the door.  Slowly opening it, she peered outside and saw Mackenzie and Kyle.   The odd pairing sparked her curiosity and she attempted to stay hidden while she listened.  In that instant, however, Mackenzie spotted her. 

“Alex, everything okay?” she asked.

She nodded and attempted a smile.  “Yes, everything’s fine.”  She let her eyes travel toward Kyle.  “Hello Kyle.” 

“Alex,” he said, obviously disturbed about something.  “How are you?  You look well.” 

“I am well, thank you.  Well, I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“No worries,” Mackenzie said.  “We’ll call you when we need you on set.”

She smiled and closed the door.  The strange circumstances got her wondering what Mackenzie and Kyle could be arguing about.  Resigned to the fact that she may never know, she went to the bassinette where R.J. was sleeping. 

Kyle Fenwick

“I only came here to apologize,” Kyle said to Mackenzie after leading her to a secluded part of the soundstage.  “For last night.  I had no right to spy on you and James.” 

“I’m glad you finally realize that,” she said, still angry that she bothered to show up there at all.  “But I have to tell you, Kyle, you’re not making things easy on yourself by coming here today.  Alex Reynolds is nobody, but what if someone else saw us together?  James is supposed to be meeting me for lunch.” 

“I’d hoped you’d reconsidered getting involved with him,” he said.

“I haven’t.” 

His cell phone rang and he fished it from his pocket.  Glancing at the display, he flashed her a worrisome look.  “I have to take this.” 

She sighed and looked away while he spoke.

“I told you not to call me,” Kyle was saying.  “I told you it was going to take time.” 

Mackenzie craned her neck toward him and listened intently.  Obviously she wasn’t the only one getting him riled up today.  

“I’ll call you when I can,” he said and hung up the phone.  “Sorry,” he said to Mackenzie. 

“Who was that?” she asked, folding her arms.  “Was that him?  This Dan Cody person?”

He nodded somberly.   “Yes.  I told you he won’t let it go.  If I don’t get access to Brooke’s money then I’m afraid of what he might do.  And I know you hate hearing it, but if James finds out I’m not who I say I am, it’ll be the end of line for me.” 

She spied him suspiciously.  “Have you ever thought of going to the authorities?” she asked.  “I mean, this Dan Cody is in prison.  What can he do to you?”

“I told you, he has people following me.  Brooke too.  I’d probably be dead before I got off the phone.” 

“And you said he has mob connections?”

“I think so,” he said.  “Look, sis, I’m scared.  Please don’t do anything to make this any worse.  Don’t say a word to Blackthorne.” 

She wondered how much of what he said was the truth.  Her gut told her he had an agenda that he hadn’t revealed to her.  But as untrustworthy as Kyle was, she had no way of finding out for sure. 

Unless she tracked down this Dan Cody character herself. 

James Blackthorne

“This is a déjà vu,” James said as he greeted Alex with a kiss in her dressing room .  “How does it feel being back on the set?”

“A little strange, but I’m glad to be working again.  Even if it’s just for a few days.” 

“How’s the little guy doing?” James asked, peeking over her shoulder at the bassinette where R.J. slept. 

She turned and smiled in the direction of her new son.  “He’s wonderful.”

“You know, maybe after the whole new mother thing has settled in you should start thinking about going back to work full time,” James suggested.  “Either on the show or another movie.  We’ve got some great things in the pipeline that I know you’d be interested in.” 

“I’ll think about it,” she said.  “Right now I just want to concentrate on R.J.” 

“Understood,” said James. 

“Speaking of R.J.,” Alex began.  “Were you aware that Stormy has been seeing Jane Wheeler?”

He sighed.  Miranda mentioned something about that the other night.  I thought they had called it off though.”

“Apparently not because I saw them at Cut last night while I was having dinner with Marilee,” Alex told him.  “I can’t believe he would put me in this position.  I just adopted her baby.  There’s such a conflict of interest.” 

“I can understand that,” James agreed.  “But it may only be an issue for you, Alex.  It was Jane’s decision to give R.J. up.  If she wasn’t sure then I’m sure she wouldn’t have gone through with it.” 

She shook her head in protest.  “But what if they hit it off and become serious?” she reasoned.  “How is she going to feel coming around R.J. all the time?  She’ll be forced to see the baby that she gave up.  The whole thing just reeks of complication.” 

“Again, I understand your point of view.  But how much do we know about Jane?  She could very well be fine with this.  And if she is, what’s the harm in her and Stormy spending time together?  It could fizzle in a few weeks and then it won’t be an issue.” 

She still refused to let it go.  If Jane was smart, she’d take her heed and cut ties with Stormy before they got too involved.  Talking to Stormy about it was not an option.  She’d only recently been forgiven for trying to break him and Kelly up.  Besides, it could raise flags if she objected too much. 

“Anyway, I just wanted to stop by and wish you luck,” James said.  “I’m actually here to take Mackenzie to lunch.”

“I hope she’s in a better mood than she was a little bit ago,” Alex said.

“What do you mean?”

“She was arguing with Kyle.  It sounded like they were going to rip each other’s heads off.”

“Kyle Fenwick?” James asked.  “Are you sure?  They barely know each other.  As a matter of fact, I just introduced them the other night.  We ran into Kyle and Brooke at dinner.” 

Alex shrugged.  “Well, they were yelling so loud I had to come out here to the hallway to see what was going on.”

“Strange,” he said, then said goodbye and set off to Mackenzie’s office.  When he arrived, she was seated behind her desk tapping away at the computer.   “Ready to go?”

She nodded and finished typing before she stood up.  “Yep,” she said, walking around the desk and kissing him softly.   “Boy, you smell good today.” 

“Why thank you,” he replied.  “Everything okay?”

“Yeah.  Why do you ask?”

“Well, I just ran into Alex.  She said she heard you and Kyle Fenwick arguing out in the hall.  Did something happen between you two?  I thought you’d only met the other night at dinner.”

Irritated by Alex’s penchant for eavesdropping, Mackenzie went for her purse and led him to the door.  “Oh, that,” she said.  “You’ll find I’m a stickler for security around here.  He didn’t have a badge to be on set and I insisted that he leave.  You can’t be too careful with gossip magazines and spoiler sites popping up all over the place. It wasn’t until Alex said something that I remembered meeting him the other night.  I feel so silly.” 

“The busy life of a daytime producer,” James said with a grin.  “What was he doing here?"

"Hmmm, I don't know."  

James got the feeling that she wasn't being honest with him.  If she was worried about security, the first thing she would have done was ask why he was on set.  Still, he decided to let it go for the time being.   "Think you can make time to go with me to Renee and Kenny DeWitt’s wedding this weekend?”

“You want me to be your date?” she asked.

“Yeah.  Is that okay?”

“Of course,” she said, wrapping her arms around him and pulling him close.  “I would love to.  Oh, and I’m afraid I won’t be around for a couple of days.  I’ll be back by the weekend.” 

“Where are you going?”

“New York,” she replied.  She was determined to get to the bottom of Kyle and his shady secrets.  After googling Dan Cody, she came up with nothing but the character from The Great Gatsby.  For someone involved in the mob, you’d think there would be something about him floating around out there.  So flying to Arthur Kill Penitentiary seemed the only recourse for getting her estranged brother out of her life. 

“Oh?  Well maybe I can join you?” he suggested.  “We could make a pre-weekend trip out of it.  Stormy and Brett have things handled at the studio.  I can manage a couple of days away.” 

She quickly sought to come up with a reason why he couldn’t come.  “It’s a casting call,” she said with a frown.  “I’m going to be in front of a thousand actors day and night.  Honestly, I won’t have time to breathe let alone enjoy your company.  We’ll do it soon, though.” 

Suzanne Rogers

Suzanne stayed home for the rest of the afternoon.  There were still too many reporters nosing around, and until the next big scandal hit the papers it probably wouldn’t be changing.  

She brooded over the situation with Benji and tried to reassure herself that she was doing the right thing by making him stand on his own.  Deep down she knew it affected Jordan more than it did her.  Not that she loved their son any less than he did, but she’d been away from him for so long.  It was implied that father and son would have formed a more unbreakable bond. 

The doorbell rang and interrupted her train of thought.  Moments later, Gordon entered the room with Ross Fuller, whom she’d instructed the dutiful butler to accept phone calls and visits from.  Most others were off limits for the time being.  She couldn’t bare to face anyone.

“Sorry for stopping by unannounced,” he said with a smile as he strode into the living room.  “I was in the area and thought I’d stop by and see how you were.”

“That’s sweet,” she said and twisted off the sofa.  “I’m managing.” 

“You’re a brave woman,” he said fondly.

“I don’t feel very brave.”  She wrapped her arms around herself and turned away.  “I feel like a terrible mother.  And an even worse wife.” 

“Suzanne, you’re so wrong about that,” Ross insisted and followed her across the room.  “Listen, I’m going away for the weekend.  I’m taking some students from one of my classes to the compound.”

“Compound?” she asked with a frown.

“Well, that’s what we call it.  It’s where Warren Abbott lives.  It’s in Death Valley.  Why don’t you come along?”

She shook her head.  “No, I can’t go away this weekend.  I'm maid of honor at my best friend's wedding.  I appreciate you thinking of me, though.” 

She felt a little strange about him asking her to take a weekend trip.  For a second she wondered if he had ulterior motives.  She’d made sure all along not to give off any signals that could be misconstrued as romantic.   But he did say it was a group of them, so maybe she was reading into things too much. 

“It’ll be very good for you,” Ross assured her.  “Time away in the peace and quiet.  Motivation flourishes at the compound.  Besides, you said yourself you felt like you were walking on eggshells around here.”

She decided he may have a point.  At least if she went she’d be able to avoid the paparazzi constantly hounding her every move.  Renee would understand.  And by the time the weekend was over, the book would have been pulled from the shelves and the scandal would begin its descent into irrelevance. 

“Sure,” she said. “Why not?”

He smiled and took her hand.  “I’m so glad.  We’re meeting at the school tonight at six o’clock.” 

“Should I bring anything?” she asked.

“Just an open mind,” he replied with a twinkle in his eye. 

. . . . . .

Lon watched them from outside the terrace doors.  The way he took her hand made him jealous and resentful that it wasn’t him.  He couldn’t hear everything they said, but it seemed rather intense.  He was the same man he'd seen her with at the coffee shop.  Whoever he was, he was a friend because he’d been permitted beyond the giant iron gates that held out the reporters.  He'd had to scale a wall to get on the grounds.

When the man left, he stayed in his spot and watched her flit about the living room.  She seemed sad.  He bided his time, anticipating the moment when he could make her forget about her troubles. 

Soon, he decided.

Brett Armstrong

Stormy had told him that he hadn’t changed.  He was still the same con man who he’d always been.  As much as he knew it to be untrue, Brett couldn’t help but stop and consider the accusation, especially while having hot, dirty sex with Celia, the lovely intern from Jordan’s office. 

He brought her to several feverish climaxes in a relatively short amount of time.  By the time he exploded inside of her, they were both exhausted and panting.  He rolled off of her and lay on the bed in his condo. 

“That was insane,” Celia said breathlessly, turning to him.  “I’m so glad I ran into you.” 

Brett stared at the ceiling, contemplating what he’d done.  It felt different than his affair with Suzanne.  It was still enjoyable, but the difference was he had been in love with Suzanne.  With Celia, it was a chess move.  A necessary step in his attack on Jordan.  He tried to take his daughter, so he would take something just as precious to him.  His company.

“I should get going,” Celia said as she twisted off the bed and collected her things.  “I have to get some paperwork downtown and then get back to the office.  Can I use your bathroom?”

Brett pointed out to the hallway while he pulled on his underwear.  “Go ahead.” 

While she was gone, he quickly went to work.  Locating the ecru envelope she’d come in with, he pulled the papers from inside and spread them out on the bed.  Just as he’d predicted, it was the chapter 11 agreement that his lawyer would be filing.  Listed inside was every one of Rydell’s creditors and the amount that was owed them. 

Working quickly, he took his iPhone from the floor where it had fallen during their frantic undressing and took pictures of each page.  Once he’d completed the task, he shoved the papers back into the envelope and bent to pick up his pants just as Celia returned. 

“All freshened up,” she said with a sheepish grin. 

“I’ll drive you,” he said, remembering she’d left her car at the studio. 

Slipping into her shoes and collecting her things, she shook her head.  “It’s okay.  I can take a cab.  Thanks for everything.” 

“My pleasure,” he said with a forced smile. 

Stormy Blackthorne

When Stormy stopped by unexpectedly, Jane barely had a chance to say a word before they wound up making out on the worn wicker sofa.  She let her mind temporarily forget about the order Alex had issued to her.  Who did she think she was anyway?  She put herself under intense scrutiny to help her, and for a measly few thousand bucks.  If anyone should be calling the shots, it was her.  She had grown to like Stormy quite a bit.  He was charming and thoughtful, besides the fact that he was an amazing kisser.  And while they hadn’t had sex yet, they’d come close in the hot tub at that party he brought her to the other night.  Based on that alone she could tell they would have fantastic chemistry together. 

Screw it, she thought.  She wasn’t going to break up with him just because their seeing each other made Alex nervous.  She’d met nothing but losers and players since she moved to L.A.  And didn’t she deserve to be happy?

Before long, their clothes were flying off.  Her roommate was at work so they had the place to themselves.  Or so she thought.  A knock at the door interrupted them and Stormy jumped off of her in a lightning flash. 

“I’ll get rid of whoever it is,” Jane said, slipping back into her top and heading for the door.  When she pulled it open, Miranda was standing outside.  “Miranda,” she said, surprised. 

“Hi.  Just came by to see if you wanted to go shopping.”  She walked inside while naming a few stores that were on her hit list for the day.  “I heard Chloe has some fantastic maternity wear so I thought-“

She stopped mid sentence when she spotted Stormy frantically buttoning his jeans, his shirt pulled on half-way.  

“Oh, sorry,” she said, wincing.  “I seem to keep doing this to you guys.” 

“Have you ever heard of calling first, Miranda?” Stormy asked, finally finishing putting his clothes back on. 

“Sorry!  How was I supposed to know you two would be going at it in the middle of the day?”

Jane smiled.  “It’s okay.  I’d love to go shopping, Miranda.  But can we do it tomorrow?”

“No problem,” she said. 

“And what are you shopping for maternity clothes for?” he continued, looking quickly at his sister.  “Are you and Eddie…?”

She sighed.  She wasn’t ready to announce it to everyone yet, but seeing as how she had a knack for bad timing, she realized there was no going back.  “Yeah.  Well, sort of.” 

“Sort of?”

“I’m sure Eddie will fill you in,” she said, going back to the door.  “Jane, call me tomorrow.  Stormy, you missed a button.”

He frowned, looked down at his fly and realized it was still open.  Jane and Miranda laughed as he hurriedly re-buttoned them. 

Jordan

“I’m so happy for you,” Jordan said as he kissed Renee on the cheek.  “I always knew you and Kenny were destined to be together.  True love still exists, I guess.” 

“It will for you too,” she replied.  They were standing in her penthouse at Moonshadows.  She led him into the sunken living room and handed him a cup of coffee.  “You just have to give it time.” 

He sighed.  “Well, Lord knows I’m about to have plenty of that.” 

“What do you mean?  That book?  I’m sorry I haven’t called.  It’s been so crazy with the wedding and with everything going on with Sierra that I haven’t had time.  How is Suzanne?”

He laughed, half-crossing his legs and balanced the cup on his knee.  “Playing the victim as usual.” 

“Jordan…” she said with a shake of her head.

“I’m sorry.  I don’t want to force you into choosing sides.  I know you and Suzanne are very close.”

“She’s one of my dearest friends,” Renee told him.  “I know her.  I can’t believe she would have done any of this intentionally.  How did that book get published in the first place?  I mean, what happened?”

A thoughtful pause.  “Benji happened.  He gave the manuscript to the publishers.  Another of his attempts at lashing out at us.” 

Her thoughts immediately went to Benji’s assistance in getting Hunt Roberts out of Sierra’s life.  She didn’t know what had happened to him, and she didn’t care to.  But she assumed it was something unspeakable.  For that, however, she couldn’t begrudge Benji. 

“I’m just sorry that it’s destroying yours and Suzanne’s lives.”

“It’s like watching a pot boiler,” Jordan said.  “Especially now that he’s out there on his own.”

“What do you mean?”

“Suzanne threw him out.  Well, we both did.  He came to my office today begging me to reconsider.  I tell you, Renee, this was harder than anything I ever had to go through with Heather.  Despite all of her mental problems.” 

“I hope that it will teach him a lesson,” she said.  “Meanwhile, I’m here trying everything I can to keep Sierra in.  Until I’m sure she’s not going to go out and get high, I’m not letting her out of my sight.”

“How is she?”

“Better today,” she replied.  “I don’t know.  Maybe all my maternal instincts are finally kicking in.  I have such high hopes for her.  I just want her to be everything she can be.” 

“She will,” he said.  “You may not have been around her entire life, but she’s more like you than your realize.”

“Is everything else okay?” Renee asked.  “There’s something in your voice.  Other than everything going on with Suzanne and Benji.  As if that wasn’t enough.”

He sighed and leaned forward.  “Problems at the studio,” he said.

“What kind of problems?”

He shook his head and walked across the room.  “My inability to focus on work this past year has finally started catching up to me.  We’ve released very few films and the ones we have have tanked.  Now with this latest scandal, people are starting to wonder if I’m a has-been.  Creditors are calling, backers are pulling out.  I’m filing chapter eleven.” 

“Oh Jordan, I’m sorry,” Renee said.  “Can I help?  Most of my money is tied up in Merteuil and Moonshadows, but I want to do what I can.” 

He shook his head.  “No, but I love you for offering.  No, the chapter eleven will reorganize Rydell Productions.  As long as my creditors don’t catch wind before then, I’ll be protected by the government.  Then hopefully I can start 2011 with a fresh slate.” 

“I hope so too,” Renee said. 

Sierra Merteuil

In the downstairs bedroom, Sierra laid silently on her bed, headphones on as she listened to recordings of her vocals that she’d done back in New York.  It seemed so long ago.  Since meeting Hunt all of her passions had fallen by the wayside.  Her love of singing, her adoration of the arts in general, and most of all wanting to better herself, to show the world that she wasn’t just Nathan Blackthorne’s daughter. 

But the past few months had been about nothing but getting high.  Everyone had tried to snap her out of it.  Benji, her mother, even a few people back at school whom she’d fallen out of touch with as a result.

But how could she go back to being that person?  The sweet, straight-laced Sierra that everyone thought she was?   Inside she didn’t feel the same.  Inside she felt like a damaged soul.  She was reminded of a conversation she’d had with Benji not long ago.  He’d told her they were contemporaries, struggling with life-long issues that were very similar in nature.  Maybe he’d been right. 

Sighing, she drug herself off the bed and went into the bathroom where she splashed some cold water on her face and got a drink of water.  She looked at her reflection in the mirror.  No, she wasn’t the same person as she used to be.  Even if she never touched another drug in her life, she was changed.

Noises from out in her bedroom caught her attention and she assumed it was her mother checking up on her again.  She sighed in aggravation and walked out into the room.  To her surprise, Benji was standing by the open window, the curtains billowing inward from a gentle breeze.  His arms were wrapped around his body and he was staring miserably at the floor in a daze.   Slowly, she stepped toward him.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, looking at the window again.  “Did you climb up from the balcony?”

When he didn’t answer, she took another step forward.  The look on his face and the disengaged position of his body told her something was very wrong.  She’d never seen him like this.  The look of despair on his face at that moment made her look at him differently.  He was like a different person.   The cocky, arrogant, cold as steel young man she knew had for a fleeting moment disappeared. In its place was a sad little boy, vulnerable and confused.

“Benji-“ she said, concerned. 

He began to cry, arms still wrapped around himself and his head hanging low.  Whimpers escaped his throat as he body trembled, tears streaming down his cheeks.  Still, he didn’t look her in the eyes. 

Sierra went to him, pulling him into an embrace and letting him cry on her shoulder.  His sobs grew louder and more frenzied.  She wondered what had happened.  It was as if his whole world had crashed around him. 

Miranda Blackthorne

Miranda went to her mother’s apartment to check in on her and the new addition to the family.  She offered to hold R.J. and when she did he began screaming his head off.  With horror, she began to dread the day when she became a mother.  In six short months she would have a tiny infant of her own, and the thought scared her to death. 

“Here,” she said, devastated as she handed him back to Alex.

“Babies cry, sweetheart,” Alex said and attempted to sooth her son’s temperament by bouncing him gently in her arms.  “What’s wrong?”

Tears began filling her eyes as she stared at R.J. in a panic.  “I’m pregnant!” she blurted out.

“What?” Alex gasped.  “Pregnant?  Are you sure?”

She nodded.  “Yes.  Twelve weeks.” 

Alex placed R.J. in his bassinette and went to her daughter.  “Sweetheart, that’s wonderful.  How long have you known?  What does Eddie say?”

Miranda shook her head, tears still falling.  “Not long.  He’s happy, I guess.” 

Confused, Alex lifted her chin.  “So why are you crying?”

“Because what if he or she hates me?” she cried.

“She’s not going to hate you, Miranda.” 

“Whatever, you saw R.J. just now.  He was perfectly fine until I picked him up and then he started screaming his head off.  What if my baby does the same thing?”

Smiling, Alex hugged her warmly.  “Miranda, your baby is not going to hate you.  R.J. cries with me all the time.  Besides, you’ve been around children lately.  Michael and Violet.  You’re going to be a wonderful mother.” 

“You think so?” Miranda asked, wiping her eyes.  She looked over at R.J. who had settled down and was cooing happily in his bassinette.  

“I know so,” Alex said and led her to the sofa.  “Sweetheart, this is such an exciting time for you.  I can’t wait to share every minute with you.” 

She began to feel a little better.  “But you know what this means?” she began, unable to resist adding a little good-natured jab.  “Alex Reynolds is going to be a grandmother.” 

It took a second but Alex responded by smiling.  If only Miranda knew the truth.  That she already was a grandmother, and that R.J. was her grandson. 

“A mother and a grandmother all in the same year,” Miranda said with a laugh.  “How often does that happen?  Only in our family, right?”

Alex nodded distantly.  “Yes.” 

“I saw Stormy at Jane’s today,” Miranda said, deciding a change of subjects was in order.  “I think it’s good that she decided to give it another chance.  You’re not worried about it, are you?”

When today?” Alex asked quickly, alarms going off in her head. 

“Today,” she repeated with a shrug.  “Just before I came here.  As usual, my timing was bad.  Let’s just say there were frantic attempts at getting dressed.” 

“I see,” Alex said, glaring angrily to no one in particular.  She’d specifically told Jane that she was not to see her son again.  Now she finds out she completely ignored her.

Things were about to get very ugly.

Alex Reynolds

After stopping at her apartment and finding no one home, Alex went to the restaurant where Jane waitressed.  She took a booth by herself and sipped a cup of coffee until the young woman approached. 

“Do you have any questions on the menu?” she asked, pulling an order pad from her apron.  “Our soup today is pancetta pear.” 

“Did we have a miscommunication this morning?” Alex asked, lowering the menu as she cast a heated gaze at her.

“Alex,” Jane said, instinctively taking a step back.  “What are you-“

“You must have taken what I said as a suggestion,” Alex told her.  “Let me be clear, Jane.  It wasn’t a suggestion.  It was an order.  I do not want you seeing Stormy.” 

“I don’t understand why,” she said.  “You know I’m not going to tell him anything.  He’ll never know that R.J. isn’t my son.” 

“He’s not your son,” Alex said.  “He’s my son.  And you need to go away.  The longer you hang around and associate with me and my family, the harder it’s going to be for you to keep quiet.  That includes your friendship with my daughter.”

“Miranda and I are friends,” Jane said, looking around to make sure they weren’t overheard.  “You can’t tell me who I-“

“Your job was very simple,” Alex cut her off.  “Play a part for me and get paid very well for it.  Well now your part is over.  You’re not needed anymore.  So do yourself a favor and severe these ties with my family.” 

“I can’t believe you would do this to your own son,” Jane said heatedly.  “Stormy and I have a good thing going.  Doesn’t that matter to you?”

Alex laughed and stared at the steam rising from her cup.  “Another shake down for more money.”

“What?” Jane asked.  “No.  I told you I don’t want more money.  I just want to forget I ever agreed to this scheme of yours.” 

“Well, it’s a little late for that now, isn’t it?  Your signature is on those adoption papers.  If you decide to start growing a conscience now, you’ll be in as much trouble as I am.  Don’t forget that.” 

“I know.  I-“

“So do yourself a favor and go back to Illinois or Nebraska or wherever it is you came from.   Leave my family alone.” 

“I can’t do that,” Jane said.  “And you can’t just get rid of me, Alex.  I care about Stormy.  Can’t you just be happy?  You have what you wanted.  You have a son.  Let me have something for myself.” 

Alex looked at her blankly.  Getting rid of her was exactly what she planned on doing. 

“I’ll send another waitress over to take your order,” Jane said briskly before turning and darting through the restaurant. 

Alex opened her purse and fished a few dollars to pay for her coffee.  As she did, she saw something that sparked an idea.  A plastic bag with several pills inside.  The last few pain killers that she had remaining from before she went to rehab.  A bitter reminder every day of everything she’d nearly lost as a result of her drug habit.  They served as a daily test, proving that her will was stronger than any of her urges. 

Holding the bag of pills, she began formulating a way that she could indeed get rid of Jane Wheeler.

James Blackthorne

“So this is what you’re doing with your time off,” James said with a smile as he walked into Brooke’s townhouse that evening.  “Taking time off of work has been productive I see.” 

Brooke smiled and looked at the living room floor where she’d spread out a number of boxes.   In stacks lined up among them were receipts, forms, documents, and other items she’d been putting off trying to organize. 

“You don’t realize how much time you have on your hands until you start a project like this,” she said, dropping her hands to her sides.  “I think I got a little overzealous.” 

He laughed.  “It looks that way.   How was the appointment with the child psychologist?”

“Enlightening,” she told him, leading him to the sofa.  “He said that this Adam manifestation probably has a lot to do with Ethan’s death.  He said Michael’s compensating from the loss of his father, and for his fear of losing me.” 

“It’s a lot for a kid his age to deal with,” James said somberly.  “Did he have any suggestions?”

“Just ride it out.  He said once Michael feels more secure, he won’t need Adam around anymore.” 

“Let’s hope that’s soon,” James said, crossing his legs.

She nodded and flopped beside him.  “It was fun running into you and Mackenzie the other night,” she said.  “I had no idea there was romance in your life again.”

He laughed again.  “It took me by surprise, that’s for sure,” he said.  “But Mackenzie is….well, she’s a lovely woman.” 

“I’m happy for you,” Brooke said.

The reason for his coming by came back into focus and James shifted his weight before bringing it up.  “Brooke, has Kyle ever mentioned Mackenzie to you?” 

She frowned.  “What do you mean?  Didn’t they just meet the other night?”

“I thought so,” he replied.  “But I stopped by to see Alex today at Mackenzie’s studio and she said she overheard them arguing.” 

“Kyle and Mackenzie were arguing?” Brooke asked incredulously.  “That’s kind of random.”

“I know.  So when I asked her about it, she told me some story about mistaking Kyle for the media.”

“And you don’t believe her?”

He shrugged.  “I don’t know.  She has no reason to lie to me.  The whole thing just seemed very strange.  Alex said they were really going at it.   The argument got so loud that she heard it all the way in her dressing room.” 

“Strange.” 

“I thought so too.  I mean, if you found someone lurking around that shouldn’t be there, you’d call security.  You wouldn’t stand there arguing about it.  Right?”

“Right,” she said with a shrug.  “Do you want me to ask Kyle?  He’s coming by in a little while.”

James considered her request, and then shook his head. “No, I don’t want to seem like I’m checking up on her.  When she gets back I’m sure things will be fine.” 

“Where is she?”

“New York.  Auditions for the show.” 

Mackenzie Stone

When she landed at LaGuardia, Mackenzie took a ferry straight to Staten Island and went through the long process of being granted admittance to the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility.  It wasn’t until she reached the visitation area that she was told visiting hours were over. 

“They couldn’t have told me that when I got patted down at the gate?” she demanded angrily.  “I’ve been here for half an hour.”

“Come back tomorrow,” the guard told her. 

She dropped her hands to her sides and turned in frustration.  She hadn’t planned on being there that long.  Her intention was to get the first flight back to L.A. in the morning.  She wanted to be back in plenty of time to attend the wedding with James.  Now she’d have to spend the night in a hotel, take the ferry back to the prison when visitation started, and hope to get a flight back in the afternoon. 

Still, it would be worth it to finally get to the bottom of what her dear brother Kyle was up to.  She felt that Dan Cody was the key. 

Suzanne Rogers

Suzanne didn’t tell Jordan she was going away for the weekend.  She knew what he’d say, especially since she was going with Ross.  Knowing Jordan, he would insinuate something dirty was going on, and she couldn’t deal with any more of his hatefulness.  With everything going on, she had doubts that he'd realize she wasn't around anyway.

It was dark out when she arrived at the school.  There were a few cars in the parking lot but there was no one around.  Ross and the others must be inside, she decided.   She grabbed her purse and got out of the car.  Opening the back door, she lifted the overnight bag she’d packed.

She had to admit, she was a little hesitant about meeting this Warren character.  Motivational speakers were always full of a lot of malarkey, she’d found.  But at this point in her life, she wouldn’t turn down any kind of help.  She needed to reorganize her life. 

She closed the door and locked it.  With her hands full, she clumsily dropped her keys to the ground.  As she bent down to retrieve them, she felt a hand clasp around her mouth from behind.   Her eyes widened in terror, muffled screams pressing against his hand.  

Sierra Merteuil

“I’m fine, Mom,” Sierra said as she stood in the doorway of her bedroom.  “Just tired.  I’m going to go to sleep.  Tomorrow’s a busy day.” 

“Yes, it is,” Renee said with a smile.  “Are you feeling okay, sweetheart?”

She nodded.  “I’m fine.  Goodnight, Mom.” 

“Goodnight, Baby,” Renee said, drawing her into a quick embrace before leaving. 

Quickly, Sierra closed the door, locked it, and went across the room to the closet.  Benji emerged once the coast was clear.  She took his hand and led him back over to the bed. 

“Thank you for not giving me up,” he said.  “I don’t know where else to go.” 

“It’s okay,” she said, her hand resting on his leg.  “I’m glad you came.” 

They looked into each other’s eyes for a few moments.  Before she knew it, he was kissing her softly on the lips.  Resistance didn’t enter her mind.  Since he’d showed up in her room, she’d begun to understand him.  The falling out with his family – although he didn’t reveal what had sparked it – affected him greatly.  There was a soft side of him that she knew he didn’t display very often.  He almost always had with her.  It was part of the reason she gave herself to him last summer.  She understood him more than anyone else did. 

They began undressing, kissing tenderly until they were naked and in each other’s arms.  They made love slowly, carefully, and held each other for hours. 

Jane Wheeler

With his hands on her waist, Stormy pulled Jane into a kiss.  His fingers went to the buttons on her blouse and she teasingly pushed them away.

“You’re insatiable,” she said with a laugh.  “We’re never going to make it to the movie if you keep this up.” 

“I can’t help it,” he said with a growl.  “You drive me crazy.  Those four hours you were at work were torture.  All I could think about was ripping your clothes off and having my way with you.” 

“It was only four hours,” she said, growing aroused by the way he touched her and the feeling of his lips on hers.  “I thought you wanted to see Cher.” 

“She’ll be around another seventy years,” he said, beginning to push her back toward the bedroom.

A knock at the door interrupted them and she laughed.  “This is beginning to become a thing with us,” she said. 

Stormy sighed.  “If it’s Miranda, slam the door in her face.” 

Laughing, Jane went to the door and opened it.  Her face fell when she saw that it was Alex. 

“Mom,” Stormy said in surprise.  “What are you doing here?”

“May I come in?” Alex asked. 

“What do you want?” Jane asked in a low voice.  She knew she wouldn’t go into another tirade in front of Stormy, so she couldn’t understand what she could possibly be doing there. 

“Mom, I’m sorry,” Stormy said with a wince.  “I know this is probably a shock seeing me here.  The truth is, Jane and I have been seeing each other.  I hope that doesn’t-“

“I’m not here about that,” Alex said, offering her son a sympathetic look before turning toward Jane.  “I’m here as a friend to Jane.”

“What do you mean?” she asked, confused.

“I’m worried about you,” she said.  “You’ve made so much progress over the past few months.  I hate seeing you spiral back into that dark place again.”

Stormy looked at her and then at Jane.  “What is she talking about?” 

Jane simply shook her head.  “I have no idea.”

“Jane, I’m your friend,” Alex said.  “I was your friend before I adopted R.J. and I always will be.  It hurts me that you didn’t come to me.  I would have helped you.  That’s what we’re supposed to do.  We help each other.” 

“Are you delusional?” Jane asked.

Alex took a deep breath.  “Show me your purse,” she said. 

“What?”

“Mom, I don't understand.”

Alex continued looking at the young woman.  “Your purse.  Let me see.” 

“I’m not showing you my purse,” Jane insisted.  “I don’t know what’s gotten into you but I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” 

Stormy stood by, puzzled.  “Mom, you’re not making any sense.  Why do you want to look at Jane’s purse?”

“Jane-“ Alex went on.  “I’m here to help you.  That’s all.” 

Jane shook her head in aggravation and looked at Stormy.  When he didn’t react, she dropped her hands to her side and retrieved her purse from the kitchen table.  She honestly had no idea what the woman was going on about, but if it shut her up then she’d do anything. 

“Here,” she said, thrusting it at her. 

Alex opened the Gucci knock off and rifled through the inside.  Moments later, she withdrew a plastic bag of pills.  She held them up and displayed them to her. 

“What are those?” Stormy asked.

“I have no idea,” she maintained.  “Those aren’t mine.” 

“They don’t look like vitamins,” Alex said with a look of disappointment on her face.  She looked at Stormy.  “I’m sorry, Stormy.  Addicts have a tendency to hide things very well from those close to them.  You remember how I was when I was at my worst.” 

You put those there,” Jane insisted.  She looked at Stormy.  “Those aren’t mine.  I swear to you.  She put them there.”  Closing her eyes, she realized when it must have happened.  When Alex came to the restaurant that day.  She must have gone into the employee break room and planted them.  But why?  Was she that desperate to end her relationship with her son?

“They also refuse to take responsibility for their addiction,” Alex went on, shaking her head.  “It’s sad, really.  I thought you were going to be all right.”

“You’re crazy,” Jane exclaimed, enraged. 

Alex went to the door and opened it, gesturing into the hallway.  Moments later, two men in white coats entered the apartment.  She handed them the bag of pills and pretended to look distraught.  

“This is for your own good, Jane,” she said.

Backing up away from them, she shook her head in terror.  “What the hell is going on?” she asked, fighting them off as they took her by the arms.  “Take your hands off of me!” 

“Mom-“ Stormy said, sick over the developments. 

“It’s okay, sweetheart,” she said.  “They’re going to take Jane back to treatment.  They’ll make sure that she gets the best care possible.” 

“I’m not an addict!” she screamed, desperately trying to break free from their grasp.  She looked at Stormy with frightened eyes.  “Please don’t let them do this!  I’m not an addict!” 

Swallowing hard, Stormy watched as they slipped her into restraints.  He hadn’t thought of the possibility that she could revert back to her drug usage.  His mother had sailed through recovery, so he’d assumed she had too.   Now it didn’t seem that that was the case.

“It’ll be okay, Jane,” Alex said as the men carried her to the door.  “Everything will be okay.” 

Frantic, Jane continued screaming, twisting this way and that in a futile effort to escape.

Suzanne Rogers

Suzanne awoke strapped to a bed in a tiny studio apartment.  Her hands and feet were bound with something to each bedpost, a cloth that tasted bitter pulled tightly over her mouth.  Her eyes darted back and forth, unsure of where she was or how she’d gotten there.  The last thing she remembered was someone grabbing her in the parking lot at Westwood where she was going to meet Ross.  

There was a window in the apartment and she tried to see outside to get some indication of where she was.  Nothing seemed to stand out.  Her body shook violently from fear, sweat dripping profusely off of her face and neck despite that she was freezing cold.

Suddenly a figure came into view.  A tall blonde man whom looked strangely familiar to her.  She squinted hard, trying to make out the details of his face as he drew near. 

“I’m sorry about having to tie you up,” said Lon Christensen.  “I wasn’t sure if you would try to escape so I thought I’d better be safe than sorry.” 

When she heard his voice, she instantly recognized him.  He’d stopped her at the courthouse and asked for her autograph.  She thought he seemed peculiar at the time, but never thought he was a danger.  

He sat down on the edge of the bed.  In response, she tried shifting away from him.   He ran his hand along her arm causing her to cringe and her eyes to flash open in horror.  

“Don’t be scared,” he said.  “I’m not going to hurt you.  I’m going to make you feel very good.  Just like those other men did.” 

She shook her head adamantly, tears forming in her eyes.  


Next time....

Benji gets a taste of his own medicine when Duke exacts his revenge.  Ross searches for Suzanne.  Brett plans an attack.  Mackenzie races back to Los Angeles after talking to Dan Cody.  Brooke begins to grow suspicious of Kyle.

  

 

Read Episode 130

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