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Episode 131

 

Release Date:  December 17, 2010

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

 

Benji was overjoyed after spending the night with Sierra, who later asked him to go to her mother's wedding with her. Duke played on Benji's past so that he would doubt himself and his relationship with Sierra.  As a result, Benji stood Sierra up. Brett seduced Jordan's intern to gain access to confidential Rydell Productions documents.  Ross told Suzanne about Warren Abbot, a motivational speaker whom he was a follower of.  Waking up in Lon's apartment, Suzanne was horrified when he revealed his obsession with her.  Meanwhile, Ross went to Jordan when he realized Suzanne was missing. Jordan dismissed his concerns.  Later, Ross went to Brett who punched Jordan for being flippant about his wife.  Gemma, the infamous Hollywood madam, delivered a video of Kenny with one of her call girls to Renee and claimed it was a present from Jackie.  Stormy learned that Jane had been taken to a state drug rehabilitation facility.  After she called him for help, he, Eddie, and Miranda decided to break her out of the facility. Mackenzie met Dan Cody at Kyle's former prison, resulting in her dashing back to L.A. to tell James what she'd learned about Kyle.  After meeting him in the club at Moonshadows, she told him that she knew he'd been lying about being after Brooke for her money.  They had a heated argument.  Meanwhile, Brooke heard a voicemail on Kyle's phone from Dan Cody and thougth she recognized his voice. On her way to the club, she ran into Mackenzie.  Minutes later, James walked into the club and found Brooke kneeling over Kyle, who had been stabbed and was bleeding all over the floor.  

 


  

Episode 131

Season Finale

"The Night Before the Funeral"

 

Two hundred guests waited outside in the courtyard for the wedding to start as James entered the Cahuenga Room at Moonshadows and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the gruesome sight before him.

Brooke was crying softly while crouched down next to Kyle, her hands covered in blood.  On the floor, Kyle writhed in agony, one of the Tiffany lamp centerpieces broken and embedded deep into his back, his shirt soaked in blood.  

“Brooke!” James exclaimed and rushed toward her.  He pulled her to her feet and tried to snap her out of her blind hysteria.  “Brooke!  Look at me!”

“Oh my God,” she cried, unable to take her eyes off of Kyle who gasped for air on the tiled floor.  “Is he dead?”

It didn’t appear so, but James knelt down to make sure.  His chest was rising and falling slowly, which seemed to be a good sign.  He grimaced at the bloody wound.  The stained-glass lampshade was broken in half, its jagged edge protruding from the center of his back.  Blood soaked his crisp white shirt and seeped onto the floor. 

“He lied about everything,” Brooke cried, holding up her scarlet-stained hands.  “Oh my God, James, you have no idea…”

“Calm down,” he told her, grabbing a napkin from one of the tables and using it to wipe her hands. 

He didn’t know what had happened before he walked in, and she appeared to be in no condition to tell him.  She was hysterical.   It appeared to him that there had been a struggle or an argument.  Broken dishes were scattered across the floor.  One thing was for certain; if anyone saw her like this she could be in a lot of trouble.

Looking at Kyle again, he realized he needed to get help.  Quickly, he went to the phone on the bar and called 911.  Giving as little information as he could, he stressed the urgency of the situation and quickly hung up. 

“Listen to me,” he said, taking Brooke by the shoulders.  “I want you to go home.  Go home and stay there.” 

“I can’t,“ Brooke said, shaking her head.  "James, I have to tell you what-"

“You need to go home.  Don’t talk to anyone and don’t go anywhere.  Just stay there until I get there.” 

Nodding deliriously, she allowed him to lead her to the back door.  With one final look of misery, she turned and left the building.  James turned and went back to where Kyle was laying, shaking violently as he slowly lost consciousness.  

Kenny DeWitt

Kenny tried the door to the cabana again, then pounded with his fists in hopes of forcing Renee to open the door.  He couldn’t imagine what had happened.  Minutes from walking down the aisle she decided to lock herself inside.  It didn’t make any sense.

“Are you sure she’s in there?” Sierra asked when she came up behind him. 

“She’s got to be,” Kenny said.  “Where else would she have gone?” 

Sierra sighed and moved past him, knocking on the door with closed fists.  “Mother!  Open the door!  People are wondering what’s going on!” 

Still no response.  Kenny threw his hands up in resignation and turned to walk down the path to the courtyard.  As he did, he witnessed a brawl beginning at the back of the garden with Jordan and Brett.  

“You need to get your ego in check,” Brett said to Jordan.  Suzanne cheated on you so you’ve decided to wash your hands of her?  She’s been missing since last night.  She could be in trouble.” 

“The only trouble Suzanne gets in is brought on by herself,” Jordan spat, then gestured to Ross.  “Now take the professor and leave.” 

Brett shook his head and chuckled in spite of his aggravation.  “You know, I’m so looking forward to the day you get knocked off your pedestal.  I know you think no one is as perfect as Jordan Rydell, but just wait.  Your time is coming.” 

With that, he turned and left through the crowd.

“Now what?” Ross asked. 

“I’ve got an idea,” Brett said with a look of determination.  “Suzanne’s car has a navigation system.  We can track her with GPS.” 

Suzanne Rogers

In the hour Lon had been gone from the apartment, Suzanne had managed to free one of her feet from its restraints by pulling as hard as she could.  Exhausted, she lay on the bed and attempted to conserve her energy.  She knew she would need it if she was going to get out of there.  

Keys rattling in the door alerted her that Lon was back.  Maybe this was her opportunity to reason with him.  She’d heard that if you bonded with your captor they were less likely to do harm to you.

“I’m glad you came back,” she said. 

“Did you miss me?” he asked with a hint of a smile.  “I’m sorry about running out like that.  Amy used to hate it too, but when I get upset I need to be alone.” 

“Who’s Amy?”  She had to keep him talking.  She had to connect with him. 

“My girlfriend.  My ex-girlfriend.” 

Suzanne looked across the room to a picture on the side table that she’d noticed earlier.  “Is that her?”

He nodded briefly.  

“She’s pretty.” 

“She’s a bitch,” Lon said.  “She couldn’t appreciate me for who I was.” 

As much as it pained her to play along, Suzanne smiled.  “I can’t believe that,” she said.  “A handsome strong man like you?”

Tension returned to his face as he began pacing the small apartment.  “Nothing was ever good enough for her.  She said I was a loser.  She said I was lousy in bed.” 

“Maybe she just wasn’t the right girl,” Suzanne said.  Immediately, she regretted saying it. He could take it as an invitation.

“No, she wasn’t,” he said and went to his jacket to retrieve something from the pocket.  A small bottle of blue pills.  You are.  I’ve seen all of your movies.  I read your book.  I know everything about you.” 

“You don’t know everything,” she said.  “Why don’t we talk and get to know each other better?   You can tell me more about Amy.”

“I don’t want to talk about her.” 

“Then tell me about you.  Your family, your job, your friends.”

He turned to her with a scowl.  “Amy used to talk so she didn’t have to have sex with me,” he said.  “Is that what you’re doing?”

“No,” she insisted, cowering as he drew near.   “I want to get to know you.” 

Lon shook his head.  “I don’t want to talk.  I got some of those pills. I’m going to prove that I’m not lousy in bed.” 

Panic set in.  Time to act.  When he came close, she lifted her leg and kicked him in his face.  Stumbling backward, he became stunned for a minute. Immediately, Suzanne started desperately trying to free her hands from their restraints.  

He came at her quickly, grasping at her as she fought him off by bringing her knee up in his groin.  Finally, he succeeded in restraining her and pinning her to the bed.  She screamed, spat in his face, and cowered away when he slapped her across the face. 

“Please don’t hurt me,” she said in a terrified whisper. 

Renee DeWitt

The sound of an ambulance outside the cabana drew Renee out into the courtyard.  Still in her wedding gown, tears staining her cheeks, she slowly stepped into the sunlight.  Commotion had erupted at the entrance of the Cahuenga Room.  Two paramedics were wheeling a stretcher through the maze of guests, most of whom were gathered around while watching the events unfold.

“What’s going on?” she called to nobody in particular. 

Kenny, Jordan and Sierra were standing nearby.  When they saw her emerge, they raced over to her. 

“Renee-“ Kenny said and hurried over to her.  

“Don’t,” she said and held up a hand to silence him.  “Don’t you dare say a word to me.”

“What?” he asked in bewilderment.  “What’s wrong?”

“You said you’d changed,” she said and shook her head in misery.  “You promised me you were a different man than before.”

“I am,” he insisted.  He ignored the looks he got from the few curious observers who had gathered around. 

“Liar,” she said, struggling to maintain her composure.  “You ran around on me the first time we were married and it appears you’ve fallen back into the same habit.  We haven’t even exchanged vows and I’m already finding out what a bastard you are.” 

Jordan could tell something had happened.  “Renee, come on, let’s just go.” 

She jerked her arm away, tears now returning to her eyes.  “The whole time you were helping me fight Jackie from taking over my father’s company, you swore that you would always be there for me.”

“I meant it.  Renee, what did I do?”

“I know about the prostitute!” she screamed.  “The one Jackie hired to get you into bed so she could blackmail you!” 

Realization finally dawning, Kenny reached his hand out to her but she met it with a slap.  “You don’t understand,” he pleaded with her.  “Jackie tricked me.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Renee insisted.  “You still went to bed with another woman after you swore your love to me.  But that was all just a bunch of lies, wasn’t it?”

“No!  Renee, please don’t do this,” Kenny said. 

“Kenny, I think you should go,” Jordan suggested.   “Don’t make this worse than it is.” 

Frustrated, he watched as Sierra led Renee back into the cabana.   He turned and dropped his hands to his sides.  He knew Jackie had it out for Renee, but to intentionally ruin her wedding day was low even for her. 

Kyle Fenwick

The paramedics instructed someone to go around to the other side of the Cahuenga Room and open the French doors.  Once they entered the restaurant, they wove their way through the tables until they found Kyle laying motionless and bleeding on the floor.  Immediately, they went to work at checking his vitals. 

“His pulse is weak,” one of them said.   “He’s lost a lot of blood.” 

They attached an oxygen mask to his mouth and loaded him on the stretcher. 

“Is he dead?” Marilee asked when she walked in and fell in line behind Kenny.

“I don’t think so,” he replied.  What else could happen to ruin his wedding day?

A police detective arrived on the scene and looked around the room.  “Does anyone know who he is?”

“He’s the general manager,” said Jordan, grimacing at the sickening sound of Kyle’s bloody body being lifted from the tile floor.  “His name’s Kyle Fenwick.” 

“How many entrances to the building?”

“Three,” the wedding planner said.  “These two were locked.  Mrs. DeWitt wanted it that way until the reception started.” 

“I want a list of everyone who had access to this restaurant today.”

“Who found him?” Marilee asked, sick to her stomach over the argument they'd had that afternoon.  If anything happened to her son she'd never forgive herself.

“A 911 call was made from inside the club,” Detective Rodriguez replied.  “Anybody here make that call?”

When nobody spoke, he bent down to examine the remnants of the Tiffany lamp that had been sunk into Kyle’s back.  He noted the broken plates and ruffled table cloths and jotted a few things down on a note pad. 

“Looks like there was a struggle,” he said. 

“You think someone tried to kill him?” Kenny asked.

Rodriguez shrugged.  “We won’t know until he wakes up.  If he wakes up.” 

James Blackthorne

When James pulled up in Brooke’s driveway, she was sitting on the porch.  She barely acknowledged him as he approached and knelt down beside her. 

“Where’s Michael?” he asked.

“Inside with the sitter,” she told him, calmer now but her face still panicked.

“What happened with Kyle?” he asked her. 

She shook her head, tears collecting around her eyelids.  “I heard this voicemail on his phone, and then I talked to Mackenzie-“

“Mackenzie?” James asked.  “She was there?”

“Outside the club,” Brooke said.  “Oh my God, James, he lied to me.  He lied to all of us.  He told me that-"

At that moment, the door opened and Michael came running outside.  He threw his arms around Brooke and pulled her close. “Mommy!  Mommy!”

“Hi sweetie,” she said, trying desperately not to show her emotional state.  

“Hey Michael,” James said.  “Say, can you do your uncle James a favor and give you mommy and I a few minutes to talk?”

“Why?” the boy asked.

When the sitter appeared in the doorway, James flashed her a look which she promptly understood. 

“Hey Michael, come inside and show me those new toys Mommy got you,” the young woman said. 

James smiled and ruffled the boys’ hair.  “Yeah, go inside and show Barbara your new toys,” he said, trying to coax him inside.  “We’ll be in in a few minutes.” 

Once they’d gone back in, Brooke stood up and wiped her eyes.  James pulled her into an embrace and slowly led her off the porch.  He didn’t want to risk Michael overhearing anything, so they started down the tree-lined street.

"Tell me what Mackenzie said to you," James said.

"She's his sister!" she said, pushing her hair from her eyes.  "He isn't Will Thomerson's son.  He used that as a way to get close to me."  

Stunned, James wiped his hand over his face.  "Why?"

"Because of a man named Dan Cody," Brooke said.  "They were in prison together."

"Who is Dan Cody?"

"Kyle told her he was a mobster or something, but that was a lie.  Mackenzie went to see him.  She didn't go to New York for auditions..."  

When Brooke finished telling him what happened,  he staggered back a step and tried to process the information.  Brooke continued crying.  He pulled her toward him to calm her down, insisting that he would take care of everything. 

Jordan

“I’ll take you home,” Jordan said to Renee after she’d changed out of her wedding dress.  He watched her roam aimlessly around the cabana, obviously trying to grasp what had happened.  One minute she thought she was going to be spending the rest of her life with her soul mate, and the next she was going home alone.  

“Thank you,” she said somberly, wrapping a scarf around her neck and picking up her makeup bag.  A final glance to her wedding dress that hung across the room caused her to blink away a few tears.  "Has everyone left?"

He nodded.  "Yes.  I made an announcement.  Don't worry.  I didn't get into details."  

When they walked out of the cabana, Sierra was there waiting.  “Are we leaving?” she asked. 

“Yes, baby.”

“I’ll meet you at the car,” Sierra said. “I need to run to the ladies room.” 

“Don’t be long,” Renee said, kissing her daughter before letting Jordan lead her down the path to the limo. 

Sierra turned and trotted up to the Cahuenga Room.  The dining room was sectioned off with crime scene tape.  She grimaced at the tell-tale blood stain that smeared the tiled floor before veering off to the bathrooms. 

After finishing in one of the stalls, she went to the sink and began washing her hands.  The reflection in the mirror of someone walking out of another stall startled her momentarily.

“Hello,” Summer Solomon said, going to the sink beside her.  

“Hello,” Sierra replied.  

“It’s tragic what happened,” Summer said after a few moments of silence.  This was the closest she’d been to her before.  They’d never even met or exchanged words.  It was funny, really.  She was battling for Benji’s affections over a woman she knew next to nothing about.  “You’re Sierra, aren’t you?”   She already knew she so didn’t know why she asked.

“Yes.  I’m sorry, do I know you?” 

“No.  But I wanted to tell you how sorry I am about your mother's wedding.  I can only imagine how she feels."

“Yes, she’s very upset.”  

“Love is dangerous emotion,” Summer said.

“Yeah.”  Sierra went to take a few towels from the dispenser.   She got the feeling the young woman wanted to talk.  There was something sad about her. 

“I know what it’s like,” Summer went on.  “To love someone so completely that nothing else matters.  Have you ever felt like that?”

Sierra looked at her and smiled politely.  “I guess not.” 

“That’s too bad,” Summer said.  “Maybe you just haven’t met the right person yet.” 

“Maybe.”  She made a move to the door.  “If you’ll excuse me.” 

“Maybe he didn’t love her as much as she loved him,” Summer called after her before she left. 

“I’m sorry?”  Sierra turned back around.

“Your mother’s fiancé,” she clarified.  “Maybe he realized it before it was too late.  Maybe he told her that there was someone out there for her but it wasn’t him.” 

Sierra realized it wasn’t common knowledge that Kenny had cheated on her mother, so she simply agreed with a nod of her head.  

“If you think about it, he did the right thing,” Summer went on.  “He saved her from years of unhappiness by ending it now.  I know I’d want the same courtesy if I was in that situation.” 

“I guess anybody would,” Sierra said.  

Summer looked her in the eyes, wondering if she understood what she was talking about.  She just got through admitting that she's never really loved anyonel.  Poor Benji was setting himself up for heartache.  To her, that meant there was still a chance. 

“The biggest kindness you can do to a person sometimes is to set them free,” she continued.   With a smile, she made her way to the door.  “Well, I’ll let you get back to your family.” 

“Goodbye,” Sierra said. 

Renee DeWitt

By the time they arrived at the penthouse, Renee had grown quiet and somber.  She floated through the living room in a daze, ignoring the looks of concern from Jordan and Sierra. 

“Can I get you anything, Mother?” Sierra asked. 

Renee went to a photograph of her and Kenny on the mantle and stared at it with sad eyes.  She slowly brought it face down as if to symbolize her hands being washed of him once and for all.   She had no use for men who lied to her.  Every one of her relationships had followed the same pattern.  Kenny, Nathan, T.T., all of them. 

Jordan’s phone rang and he fished it from his pocket with every intention of ignoring the call.  When he saw that it was his attorney, however, he answered hastily. 

“John?  What did you find out?”

Before he could finish, Jordan knew it was bad news.  Despite all of their efforts, he’d lost his studio.

“And there’s nothing else we can do?”

Renee turned to him inquisitively, fully aware that something was wrong.  “What is it?” she asked when he hung up.

“It’s nothing,” he said.  The last thing Renee needed was to hear about his professional problems. 

Brett Armstrong

Suzanne’s GPS tracking system led them to a four-story apartment building a few blocks off Melrose.  Brett got out of the car and gazed up at the structure.  After a quick glance behind to make sure Ross was coming, he proceeded through the parking lot in search of Suzanne’s car.  

“Are you sure this is where she is?” Ross asked.  “I don’t see her car.”

“It’s got to be,” Brett insisted.  He led them around to the back of the building where there was more outdoor parking and what appeared to be an entrance to an underground garage.   “Maybe it’s inside.” 

Ross inspected the card reader that seemed to provide admittance to the garage.  “How do we get in?  Wait until someone leaves?”

Brett hesitated for a minute before motioning for him to follow.  “I’ve got a better idea,” he said. 

They headed around to the front door of the building. As they did, Ross inspected the cars in the lot.  “Did she ever mention knowing anyone here?” he asked.

Making his way to the keypad beside the door, Brett shook his head.  “No, and that’s what worries me.” 

“There’s over twenty apartments in this building,” Ross said while reading through the names listed by the keypad.  “How are we going to find out where she is?”

Brett sighed with defeat, but refused to give up.  Instead, he took his index finger and ran it down the entire length of buzzers.  Shrugging, he looked at Ross and waited for a response.   Seconds later, a barrage of voices came through the intercom. 

“UPS,” he said, calling out the first thing he could think of. 

Instantly, they heard the door buzz open.  Brett smiled and walked arrogantly inside the small vestibule.

“Clever,” Ross said meekly. 

Suzanne Rogers

Suzanne could tell that Lon’s confidence had grown.  Whether it was the Viagra or the fact that she managed to keep him talking, thus giving him a false sense of security, she couldn’t be sure.  She began to question her decision to connect on a personal level.  He seemed to think she was willing to go along with his sordid plans. 

“Did you know that I have children?” she blurted out.  “They’re probably wondering where I am.” 

“I doubt it,” Lon said.  Your daughter’s in the loony bin and your son is one of those spoiled Hollywood brats.  Trust me, we have all the time in the world.” 

“I have a husband too,” Suzanne said.  She watched him light candles around the room and turn on some music.  Some slow rock ballad, she decided.  “He’s probably looking for me.”

“The one you cheated on with your son-in-law?” Lon asked and took off his shirt. 

She realized her pleas were losing their credibility.  Who would have ever thought that her mistakes would cost her in this way?  She began to get desperate. 

“Okay,” she said.  “But listen, if we’re going to do this, I want it to be special.  I want to be able to touch you and feel you next to me.” 

He thought for a moment and shook his head.  “No.  You tried getting away once.  I can’t risk it.” 

“Where am I going to go?” she asked.  “Besides, you’re much stronger than me.  I won’t be able to fight you off.  Lon, please.  I want to make this special for both of us.” 

Whatever she said seemed to do the trick because he began to relax.  He went to the bed and brushed his lips against her face while he loosened the straps on her wrists. 

Ross Fuller

Downstairs in the garage, Brett and Ross searched every row, inspecting each car closely. 

“So how did you find out she was missing, anyway?” Brett asked. 

Ross waited a beat before answering.  “She was going away with me for the weekend.” 

Stopping in his tracks, Brett turned to look at him.  “You’re lying.”  

“Why would I lie about that?” he asked.

Because I know she's still in love with me, he wanted to say.  Rage built up inside and made him want to punch the professor’s lights out.  A glimpse of something in the distance, however, made him temporarily forget about his jealousies.  

“There it is,” he said and dashed over to Suzanne’s car.  

“Are you sure?” Ross asked, following him.

“Of course I’m sure,” he said, raking his fingers through his thick blond hair.  He gazed in through the windows, spotted her overnight bag in the back seat, and flashed Ross a worried look.  “Her things are still in the car.” 

“So how do we find what apartment she’s in?”

Brett peered inside the car again and spotted something on the passenger’s seat.  A small white card of some kind.  He took off his jacket and wrapped it around his closed fist, then punched through the window while turning away from the debris.  The car alarm immediately sounded, echoing through the garage.

Ross watched as he opened the door and climbed inside to retrieve the card.  When he emerged, he looked at it hopefully.

“It’s a key card to the garage,” Brett indicated, turning the plastic object around in his hand.  On the back was an adhesive label that read Christensen – 402.  “This must be where she is.” 

Quickly, they darted off to the stairs. 

Suzanne Rogers

Suzanne closed her eyes and bided her time.  She had to be very careful if she was going to pull off the impossible.  What she’d told Lon was true, he was much bigger and stronger than she was.  He could easily immobilize her.  Or worse.  

Once her hands and feet were free, she allowed him to sidle up beside her and place an arm around her.  

“This is like a dream come true for me,” he said. 

She forced a smile and did something that made her sick with disgust.  Lowering her hand, she placed it around the rigidness of his chemically enhanced member and watched him smile with satisfaction.  When she thought the time was right, she bent it downward, hard, with all her strength, and could have sworn she heard a snap. 

His screams were louder and more horrifying than she could have predicted.  His face, contorted in horrific configurations, turned red and then white as a sheet.  As quickly as she could, she leapt off of the bed in her bra and underwear and raced for the door. 

“Stupid bitch!” Lon screamed in agony.  “You fucking broke it!”

As she hurriedly unlatched the door, he was already coming at her, pulling her back to the bed and throwing her with brute force. 

“No!” she screamed, twisting off the bed and attempting to run away again.  But she was weak – sore from being strapped in the same position, and having barely ate or drank in the past twenty four hours.  

“I’m gonna fucking kill you!” Lon screamed, grabbing her by the arm and pulling her toward him.

“Please, no!” she cried.  “Just let me go!” 

In an instant, she brought her knee up and slammed it into his crotch.  He howled in pain again and released her.  This time, she made it back to the door and pulled it open swiftly.  As she did, Brett and Ross appeared just outside in the hall. 

“Suzanne!” Brett said with relief and pulled her toward him. 

“Oh thank God!” she cried, clinging to him with all her strength. 

“What happened?”  Just as he asked the question, he spotted Lon attempting to flee through the window.   In a flash, he was barreling toward the man, pulling him inside and punching him in the jaw with a closed fist. 

As they struggled, Ross took his jacket and instructed Suzanne to cover herself with it.  “Are you okay?” he asked.  “Did he hurt you?”

She shook her head, tears in her eyes as she watched Brett attack Lon. 

“Call the police,” Brett instructed them after getting Lon pinned to the ground, his foot pressed dangerously close to his windpipe.  "Tell them to get here before I kill this son of a bitch."

Eddie Distefano

The Linen Source.  The logo was emblazoned on the side of the van as it pulled up to the delivery entrance of the treatment facility in Costa Mesa.  A man wearing a baseball hat pulled tightly over his face lowered his window and spoke into the intercom. 

“Yeah, I got some linens coming in,” he said, checking a manifest that his co-driver handed him from the passenger’s seat.  “Three bins of sheets and two bins of towels.”

“Our linens get delivered on Tuesdays,” came a crackling voice through the intercom.  “You sure you got the right facility?”

The delivery man rattled off the address.  “This the right place?” he asked.  “Says it’s supplemental supply going up to the third floor.” 

After a few moments of silence, the voice came through the speaker box again.  “Sorry.  I don’t show it on my delivery log.” 

“So what do you want us to do?  Take this stuff back to the warehouse? “

“I don’t care what you do with it.”

“Merchandise has already been paid for,” the driver said.  “But if you don’t want it, we’ll take it back.  No problemo.” 

“Hold on,” came the voice from the box.  After a few seconds, he continued with an exasperated tone.  “Okay, park in dock five.  We’ll find a place for it.” 

“Roger that.”  He put the van in gear and waited for the dock door to open.   With a smile, he turned to his partner.  “Told you it would work.” 

In the passenger’s seat, Stormy let out a deep breath.  “That was close.”  

“You need to have more faith in me,” Eddie replied and adjusted his baseball cap with the Linen Source logo embroidered across the front.

“You still haven’t told me where you got this van and these uniforms from,” Stormy said.  “And please don’t tell me you stole them.”

“Stole is a harsh word,” Eddie said as they maneuvered into the stall.  “Borrowed is more like it.” 

Miranda popped up from the back seat.  “Stop bickering and focus.  We need to get in and out with Jane before anyone figures out what we’re up to.”

Alex Reynolds

“Can I help you?” Alex asked as she opened the door of her apartment.  Two men stood in the hall, one brandishing a gun from a holster on his belt.   She swallowed hard.  Had they found out what she’d done to Jane?  Or about the illegal adoption she’d arranged?   Sweat began collecting on her brow when they flashed her their detective badges. 

“Alex Reynolds?” the dark completed man asked. 

“Yes.”  She saw her son being taken away from her.  The vision was impossible to ignore, and caused her to grow sick with worry. 

“I’m Detective Rodriguez.  This is my partner, Detective Rahm.  We’d like to ask you a few questions about Kyle Fenwick.” 

“Kyle?” she asked, relieved.  Her panic had been for nothing.  Concern for Kyle didn’t cross her mind.  “What about him?”

“We’re interviewing anyone who knew him,” Detective Rodriguez said.  “Is it true you used to be involved with him?”

She nodded.  “Yes, but that was a long time ago.  Has something happened?”

“Mr. Fenwick was stabbed earlier this afternoon.”

“Stabbed?” she gasped.  “Is he…”

“He’s alive and in critical condition.  We have reason to believe that it was an attempted homicide.  Do you know anyone who would want to kill Mr. Fenwick?”

With wide eyes, Alex shook her head.  “No, I…”  She thought about David but that didn’t seem possible.  Murder wasn’t his style, despite the animosity between them.  “I don’t think so.” 

“How has your relationship been with Fenwick?  Any hostility?”

“No.  I’ve barely seen him since we ended things.” 

“When was the last time you did see him?” the other detective asked. 

“The day before yesterday,” she replied, then suddenly remembered something that still struck her as odd.  “It was at the studio where I was taping an episode of The Young at Heart.  I thought it was strange at the time, but now that you mention it…”

“You thought what was strange?”

“He was arguing with someone,” she said.  “And I don’t mean just a disagreement, either.  They were screaming bloody murder.  I had to come out of my dressing room to see what was wrong.” 

“Who was he arguing with?” Rodriguez asked, jotting something on a pad of paper. 

“Mackenzie Stone,” she said.  “She’s the producer of the show.”

“Got it,” said the detective while writing the name down.  “Anything else you can think of?”

She shook her head as R.J. began to cry in the other room.  “No.  I’ll call you if I think of anything.” 

“Please do,” he said and handed her his card. 

Alex took the card from him and closed the door.  She thought briefly about Kyle and how awful it was that someone would want to hurt him.  She wondered if it was Mackenzie.  She’d sounded like she wanted to kill him that day at the studio.  But why?

R.J.’s wailing brought her attention back to the present.  She darted back to the bedroom and lifted him from his crib.  As she tended to him, the doorbell rang again.  She sighed with exasperation and traipsed across the room.  Maybe the detectives thought of something else, she decided, pulling the door open. 

“Hello Alex,” Kelly Blackthorne said from the hall.

Duke Summerfield

Trunks of clothing were spread out across the floor of the parlor room.  A driver came in and loaded one onto a dolly as Duke supervised, multitasking while also on the phone with his mother in New York. 

“The bags by the stairs, too,” he directed the driver, gesturing to three suitcases positioned by the bottom landing.   Once he was sure the man had taken note, he returned to his call.   “I can’t wait to see you either, mother.  I’ve really missed you and dad these past few months.”   Even as he said it, he could barely keep a straight face. 

The second driver came in and loaded another trunk.  He hauled it to the door and nearly pinned Summer against the doorframe as she snuck inside.  With a quick glance to make sure Duke didn’t see her, she darted up the stairs as quietly as she could. 

“I can’t wait for Christmas either,” Duke continued.  “Family pictures?  Aces.” 

Once she was at the top of the stairs, Summer checked a few bedrooms until she came across one with the door slightly ajar.  She peered inside and saw Benji lying on the bed.   Slowly, she crept inside.  He saw her right away and sat up. 

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

“Duke let me in,” she said.  "I wanted to see you."

Benji got off the bed and went toward her.  “Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast or something?  What makes you think I want to have anything to do with you after what you did to me?”

“I’m sorry about that,” she said.  “It was Duke’s idea to tell everyone that you tried to rape me.” 

“Duke’s idea?”

“I wanted to tell you but I knew you’d freak.”  

He snorted and turned to face her.  “What do you know about anything?  Does Blake know you’re here?”

“Blake’s not the one that I love,” she said coyly.  “It’s you, Benji.  We belong together.  I’ve known it since that day at Malaga Cove when you stopped me from jumping.” 

“Yeah, and I’ve learned to regret that decision,” he said wryly.  “Look, we fucked on the hood of my car in an alley last summer.  I treated you like shit.  Do you get off on that or something?” 

“You stayed with me that night at my house,” she insisted.  “When you and Miranda came to tell me about my mom.  You care about me.  I know you do.” 

“No, I don’t,” he said.  “I care about Sierra.  I love her.” 

“Then why aren’t you with her?”

He looked away in hopes of evading the question. 

“I saw her today,” Summer went on.  “At the wedding.  I asked her if she’d met her one true love and she said she hadn’t.  She didn’t even hesitate before answering.  She doesn’t love you the way you should be loved.  Not the way I would.” 

“You talked to Sierra?”

“Why are you wasting your time with some girl who won’t give you everything you want?”  Slowly, she drew closer, her hand reaching out to his.  “Forget her and be with me.” 

He shook his head.  “You need to get over it.  This connection you think we have is in your head.  You were a piece of ass.  A piece of fucked up anorexic ass.” 

Tears threatened her eyes until they were rolling down her cheeks.  “That night at the pool house we almost made love again.  You-“

“I was thinking about Sierra,” he said, his tone biting.

She looked away, sobbing silently.  “She won’t make you happy.” 

“And you will?” Benji said wryly and went to the door.  “Get the fuck out.” 

Wiping her eyes, she realized she had nothing to lose.  “There’s something else you should know about Duke,” she admitted.  “It was his idea to give that drug to Sierra.  The one Jeff gave her that nearly killed her.  He’s been out to get you, Benji.  Because of that night we got together.”

He tried to not appear phased by the revelation as she turned and left the room.  When she got outside, her phone rang.  It was Blake wondering where she was. 

“It’s over,” she said, sobbing into the phone.

“What’s over?” he asked. 

“You and me,” Summer replied.  “I don’t love you, Blake.  I was just using you to get close to Benji.”

“Summer-“

She shook her head in despair as she climbed into her car.  “Don’t,” she said. “Just leave me alone.  I don’t ever want to see you again.”

Mackenzie Stone

Mackenzie wrung her hands together as she paced back and forth in the sprawling living room of her house on Mulholland.  She couldn’t get the images of her last argument with Kyle out of her mind.  On top of that, she hadn’t been able to contact James at all.  By now, Brooke had probably told him everything.  Suddenly coming clean about her relationship with Kyle didn't seem like such a good idea.  What if James held it against her?  Just when she'd begun to care for him.

A knock at the door sent her heart pounding.  James.  She raced over to answer it.  When she opened the door, she saw two men who looked like cops.  Immediately, she went into panic mode. 

“Miss Stone, we’d like to talk to you about Kyle Fenwick,” said Detective Rodriguez while showing his badge. 

She swallowed hard and led them into the living room where they proceeded to ask her how she knew Kyle and about the argument they’d had at the studio the other day.  She deflected their questions as best as she could.  She felt as though the walls were closing in on her.

“So the argument overheard between you and Kyle Fenwick happened because he didn’t have a pass to be on set?” Rodriguez asked.

“Yes.  You can’t be too careful in my business.”

“That's all that happened?”

Mackenzie frowned and folded her arms.  “Detective Rodriguez, I don’t understand why I’m being interrogated.  I didn’t realize there was a law against having an argument with a trespasser.” 

“We’re just talking to anyone who may have had reason to harm Mr. Fenwick,” said Rodriguez.  “He’s in the hospital from a stab wound.” 

Mackenzie barely reacted.  “When did it happen?”

“Around three o’clock this afternoon.”

“Where?”

“The Cahuenga Room at Moonshadows.” 

She folded her hands in concentration.  “Then I suggest you talk to Brooke Taylor.  She’s his girlfriend.  I saw her going into the Cahuenga Room just before three.”

“What were you doing there?” Detective Raum asked. 

“I was going to the wedding,” she replied.  “Now if there’s nothing else…”

“Thank you,” the detective said.  “We’ll talk to Miss Taylor.” 

After they left, Mackenzie went to her purse and pulled her cell from inside.  She quickly dialed James’s number and got his voicemail again.  “James, I need to talk to you.  Where are you?"

The Sunset Studios jet careened through the cloudy sky.  James sat in the rear cabin gazing out the window.  He’d brought magazines, paperwork, and of course his blackberry to keep him occupied during the long flight, but couldn’t concentrate on any of it.  His mind was filled with anxiety.  The day’s events began to weight heavily on him.  First walking in and finding Kyle nearly dead from a puncture wound while Brooke hovered above him.  Then learning the truth about Kyle and what he’d done.    He wasn’t Will Thomerson’s son.  It had been a lie perpetrated to serve his own needs.  More surprising that that was that Mackenzie knew and hadn't told him the truth.

But the worst thing of all was that Brooke was caught right in the middle of it.  And if what they'd learned was true, he didn't think she'd ever be the same again.

The crackling sound from the speaker told him the pilot was about to make an announcement.  “Mr. Blackthorne, we’ll be landing at LaGuardia in about an hour.  Let me know if there’s anything we can get you in the meantime.”

He settled back against the seat and tried to rest.  The effort proved futile.  He wouldn’t rest until he got to the prison. 

Kelly Kahoano

“He’s turned out to be a beautiful boy,” Kelly said as she admired R.J. who fidgeted in Alex’s arms.  “I can’t believe how much he looks like Stormy.  Three months ago he looked just like any other baby.  But now…”

“What are you doing here, Kelly?” Alex demanded.  “I thought we agreed that you were going to stay away for good.” 

She picked up an apple from a bowl of fruit and polished it on her blouse.  “Things have changed,” she began.  “For starters, Stormy is alive.  Nice of you to tell me, by the way. I had to hear it on the news after that whole Mexico situation unfolded.”

“Would it have made a difference?” Alex hissed and placed the baby in his crib.  “You didn’t want R.J., remember?  He didn’t fit in with your movie star lifestyle. That’s why you came here.  To dump him on someone else.” 

“I came here to give him to James,” Kelly corrected her.  “To the only person who could be trusted with him.  You happened to see me, cornered me, and paid me to give you my son.”

“I didn’t see you complaining,” Alex said.  “You even tried to bargain to get more money for him.  Typical.  I always knew you were trash.” 

She decided to take off the gloves.  If Alex was going to be snarky, she saw no reason to hold back.  “So explain this to me,” she began.  “If Stormy is alive, why do you still have R.J.?”

Swallowing hard, Alex fidgeted with a baby blanket that she picked up from the sofa.  “You have no right to ask me questions about R.J.  You gave up that right when you took the hundred thousand dollars I gave you.” 

Kelly shook her head with contempt as realization slowly began to dawn.  “You haven’t told him, have you?”

“Of course I have.”  She felt her heart racing.  She became panicked. 

“Stormy has no idea that R.J. is his son, does he?  You’ve let him believe that he’s someone else’s baby?  But whose?”

Desperate and on the verge of hysterics, Alex rushed toward her. “I’ll give you more money,” she said.  “Whatever you want.  Just please don’t ruin this for me.”

Smiling wickedly, Kelly walked over to the crib and gazed down at her son.  “I wonder how much James and Stormy would pay if they knew there was a Blackthorne heir that nobody knew about.” 

“Don’t,” Alex pleaded, her eyes stinging with tears.  “I’m begging you.” 

Kelly turned to her and saw the desperation in the woman’s eyes.  “Quite the predicament I’m in, wouldn’t you say?”

Stormy Blackthorne

A flurry of activity bustled across the third floor of the drug and alcohol treatment facility in Cosa Mesa.  When the elevator doors opened and Stormy and Eddie emerged, each pushing a linen cart, they weren’t given a second glance.  Stormy began to realize that Eddie’s plan may just work after all.  All they had to do was find Jane’s room and get her out without arousing suspicion.  He kept a watchful eye on everyone they passed as a precaution. 

Rolling the carts down the corridor, they studied the placards positioned on the wall beside the doors, each one listing the patient’s name.  The fourth room down was Jane’s.  Simultaneously, they gave each other a nod.

They passed a nurse’s station centralized in the hall and took careful note of everything going on.  Stormy observed a woman in a white lab coat approach the desk with a clipboard and a set of keys bound with a rubber cord. 

“I’m going on break,” the woman said to the desk attendant.  “Page me if Mr. Robinson gives you any trouble.” 

Stormy gave Eddie the signal and Eddie pulled the fire alarm.  Within seconds, pandemonium erupted in the corridor.  Doctors, orderlies, and counselors began what appeared to be a well-organized evacuation plan. 

“Round up the patients,” the woman at the desk shouted to the attendant.  “I’ll get to the fire panel.” 

She dropped her clipboard and her keys on the counter before turning and racing down the corridor.  Stormy sidled over to the counter and quickly took the keys.  He held them behind his back while he watched the events unfold.   Once he was sure no one was watching, he pulled the cart over to Jane’s room.  

The key card opened the door without a problem.  With one final scan of the floor, he went into the room and turned to see Jane sitting fitfully on the bed in a hospital gown. 

“Is there a fire?” she asked before she realized who it was.

“No,” Stormy replied and removed his hat. 

Her eyes lit up and she shot to her feet.  “Stormy!” she exclaimed, throwing her arms around him.   “I can’t believe it!  How did you…”

“We don’t have much time,” he said, lifting the cover from the linen cart to allow Miranda to emerge from inside.  “Get in.”

“Miranda?” Jane said, tears forming in her eyes. “I can’t believe you’re doing this for me.” 

“We’re not letting you stay here another day,” Miranda said as she climbed out of the cart and gave her a squeeze.

Jane covered her mouth with her hands.  “I’m so sorry I had to drag you all into this,” she said.  “I should have never agreed to the stupid plan in the first place.”

“What plan?” Stormy asked. 

A moment of hesitation followed before she answered.  Alex was their mother so it was going to be hard for them to hear, but after everything that had happened, she had no choice.  And if it mean she lost Stormy for good as a result of her involvement, then so be it. 

“R.J. isn’t my son,” Jane said.  She ignored the blaring sound of the fire alarms ringing overhead.  This couldn’t wait.  “Alex found me at an audition and paid me to say we met in rehab.  She wanted me to say that I’d given birth to R.J.” 

“My mother did that?” Stormy clarified.  He couldn’t believe his ears.  He glanced at Miranda with a look of disbelief, then back at Jane.  “You were never in rehab?”

Jane shook her head.  “She got angry when we started seeing each other and had me admitted to this place to keep us apart.” 

“I can’t believe this,” Miranda murmured under her breath.

“I’m sorry I lied to you both.  I needed money and she said it would be easy.  But then your step-father started asking all those questions and we had to sign papers and….”  A pause while she cried.  “It got so out of hand.” 

“If R.J. isn’t your son, then where did our mother get him from?” Miranda asked. 

Jane shook her head.  “I don’t know.” 

A knock at the door told them they were running out of time.  They all turned in the direction of the door, panicked. 

“Guys, let’s go,” Eddie called from the hall.  “People are wondering what I'm doing out here.” 

Stormy gesturing to the linen cart and looked at Jane.  “Get in.” 

“What about Miranda?” Jane asked as she climbed inside.  “There’s not room for both of us.” 

“I’ll go with Eddie,” Miranda said as she covered Jane with the canvas lid.  Outside, Eddie continued banging on the door. 

“What’s going on here?” asked Walter Clements, the hospital administrator, when he approached Eddie in the corridor.   “Is anyone in this room?”

“Uh, I was just trying to find out,” Eddie replied.

“Who are you?” he asked, studying him closely.  “I’ve seen you before.” 

“Uh, have you?  No, I don’t think so.  I’m delivering linens.  First time here.”

Walter looked at the linen cart suspiciously.  “Open the lid.” 

“Huh?” Eddie asked, alarmed. 

“Let me see inside,” Water said, then took it upon himself to pull the tarp from the top of the cart.  Inside there were stacksof neatly pressed and folded sheets.  He looked back at Eddie, convinced that he was up to something.  “You need to come with me.”

Just then, the door opened and Stormy emerged with the cart, Jane safely hidden inside.   “This room’s clear,” he said.  “We’ll be going now.” 

“Yeah, we’ll be going now,” Eddie said to Walter.  “Hope everything works out with the fire and all that. Remember to stop, drop and roll.”

“Just a minute,” Walter said, finally recalling where he remembered seeing the two from.  “You were in here the other day.  You’re going to have to come with me.” 

“Uh, sorry, can’t,” Eddie said.  “I have an aversion to fire.” 

“I’m calling security,” Walter said and dashed over to the nurse’s station.  “Don’t even think about going anywhere.” 

While he was on the phone, Stormy opened the cart and lifted Jane from inside.  Sneaking her out inside of it was no longer an option.  There was no time.  

“Come on!” he said, taking her hand.  He called back into the room where his sister was hiding.  “Miranda, let’s go!” 

She raced out from behind the door and out into the hall.  Stormy and Jane fled to the stairs with Eddie right behind.  Starting after them, Miranda had a clear path to the stairwell.  A security guard suddenly appeared in her path and blocked her from reaching the door.  She turned to run the other way but two more security guards prevented her from moving.   Cringing, she squeezed her eyes shut when they took her by the arm and restrained her. 

“Miranda!” Eddie called from the stairs. 

“Just go!” she screamed after them.  Better to have Jane freed than worry about what would happen to her. 

Reluctantly, Eddie ducked back into the stairwell and raced after Stormy and Jane who were already nearing the ground floor. 

Benji Rydell

Benji went downstairs and found Duke gathering the remainder of his things from the parlor.  Hands in his pockets, he circled him like prey.  

“Something wrong?” Duke asked.  “I know you’re going to miss me and all, but let’s not kid ourselves, we both knew I was here for a reason.” 

“To destroy Jeff Branigan,” Benji told him with a scoff.  “That’s what you told me, anyway.  You left out the part about paying me back for sleeping with Summer last year.” 

Duke realized it was only a matter of time before he found out.  “You know me.  I don’t like being upstaged.  Fucking another guy’s girlfriend is definitely not okay.” 

“But drugging another guy’s girlfriend and nearly killing her is?” Benji inquired.   “Sierra could have died.” 

Duke rolled his eyes.  “Let’s not get overly dramatic, shall we?  I merely suggested Summer get Sierra out of the way temporarily so she could have her way with you.  Branigan gave her the drug and Summer administered it.” 

“It wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t suggested it.” 

Duke folded his arms and looked at him.  “So what are you going to do, Rydell?  Clobber me with a baseball bat?  Kick my ribs in?  Or better yet, publish a book about me without my knowing.  That’ll teach me.”  He laughed.  “Get serious.  You can’t touch me.” 

Benji ran his finger along the table behind the leather sofa.  “Actually, I can.  I called your parents while I was upstairs.”

Duke’s eyes flashed open.  “What did you tell them?”

“Just a recap of everything you’ve been up to since you showed up in L.A,” he said.  “That incident with the gun when Steven and I helped you get your bike from Jeff.  Posting that video of Summer on her mother’s website.  Oh, and of course nearly getting Sierra killed.”

Duke swallowed hard, careful not to show his panic.  “That’s all circumstantial,” he said.  “You took the fall for the gun incident, remember?  And there’s no way to prove those other things.” 

“No, but your shiny, clean reputation with your parents is definitely in question,” Benji went on.  “I think you’ll find your return to New York less liberating than you’d planned.” 

Smiling, Duke clapped his hands a few times.  “Well played, Benji.  I should have expected this from you.” 

“Have a good flight,” Benji said, casting him one final glower before turning to leave. 

“Oh Benji,” Duke called after him.  “There’s just one more thing.”

He stopped and turned back to him.  “What?”

“I assume you ended things with Sierra after our talk this morning,” he said with a smirk.  “You didn’t go to the wedding and I don’t see her anywhere.” 

Benji folded his arms belligerently.  “It was for the best.”

Smiling, Duke took a step forward.  “You’re a bigger idiot than I thought.  You ratted me out to get back at me for what I did to you.  For labeling you a rapist and for having Summer drug your precious Sierra.  But don’t you get it?  My revenge on you wasn’t accomplished by any of those things.  It was accomplished by destroying the one thing that you claimed mattered more than anything in the world.  Sierra.” 

Benji watched him angrily, sick from having allowed himself to be made to feel like he did.

“I made you doubt yourself, and in response, you blew the best chance you have at a normal, healthy relationship.”   He dug his hands in his pockets and sighed.  “Poor Benji has no one.  Mommy and Daddy threw him out, he’s alienated his friends, and now he lost the one thing that made him whole.” 

Eyes watery, Benji stared at the floor and cursed himself for letting Duke manipulate him the way he had.   Now he really did have nothing.  He turned and left the house, leaving Duke behind.

"Goodbye, Benji," Duke said with a smile.

Jordan

With a drink in hand, Jordan paced the drawing room at his house in Beverly Hills.  He heard the front door open and close, promptly spinning around to see who was there.   He laughed when he saw that it was Suzanne, Brett following close behind.  

“Well, well, well,” Jordan said, slightly intoxicated after his fourth scotch.  “I guess old habits die hard.  I see you’ve found her.  You had people quite worried about you, my darling wife.  Tell me, where have you been?  Trolling the boardwalk for skaters?”

“Why don’t you shut the hell up for once?” Brett demanded.  “Do you have any idea what she’s been through since she disappeared?”

“She has a habit of disappearing,” Jordan replied.  “Last time she was gone for thirteen years.” 

“You smug son of a bitch,” Brett said with gnashed teeth. 

“Brett, no-“ Suzanne said, exhausted and listless after her ordeal.  The whole time she was giving her statement at the police station, she couldn't wait to get home.  Now she realized she had nothing to come home to.

Realizing that something must have happened, Jordan set his drink down and walked toward them.  “What is it?”

“Some lunatic kidnapped her,” Brett said.  “He took her from a parking lot and had her tied up for over a day.  He was about to rape her.  He would have if Ross and I hadn’t showed up when we did.” 

Jordan frowned and grew quiet for several moments.  He noted the misery in Suzanne’s eyes and the seriousness on Brett’s face.  “How old was he?” he asked with a deadpan expression.

Suzanne felt sickened by his bitter response.  She turned away, unable to look her husband in the eyes.  He’d turned into a hateful man that she barely recognized as someone she’d once been so in love with. 

“I’m only asking because you seem to attract the younger ones,” Jordan said. 

“Got to hell,” Suzanne finally said before turning and leaving the room.  Brett went after her but she stopped him from following her to the stairs.  “Don’t,” she said.  “I just want to be alone.” 

Regretfully, Brett did as she asked.  He watched her flee up the stairs before turning back and approaching Jordan.    

“Spare me the lectures on how to treat women,” Jordan said and went back to his drink.  “I’m not interested, especially from someone with your track record with relationships.” 

“Then maybe you’ll be interested in this,” Brett told him with a certain amount of satisfaction.  “I contacted your creditors and filled them in on your plans to file chapter 11.  You really need to get more reliable interns."

You?” Jordan demanded angrily. 

“I also struck a deal with them,” Brett went on.  “We took on those debts at a substantial discount.  That means when you were foreclosed on earlier today, Rydell Productions became part of Sunset Studios.”

“You son of a bitch,” Jordan seethed.  “You took my studio from me?  First you took my wife, and now this?” 

“Hurts, doesn’t it?” was Brett’s reply before turning and leaving the house. 

Standing behind, Jordan took a drink from his glass and then threw it across the room. 

Suzanne Rogers

Upstairs in her room, Suzanne sat on the edge of her bed in tears.  She was tired of feeling this way.  Tired of being treated like a second class citizen just for having made a few mistakes.  Tired of being victimized by men like Lon and Victor and Jordan.  Her marriage was over, her children were out of her life, and she had nowhere to go.  She knew Brett loved her but too much had happened.  There was too much at stake.

Yes, she had to make a change.  She closed her suitcase and zipped it shut.

Picking up the phone, she called Ross who answered immediately.

“How are you?” he asked. 

“I want to go with you to see Warren Abbot,” she said quickly.  “I want to go right away.  There’s nothing for me here.” 

Sierra Merteuil

Benji knocked on the door of Renee’s penthouse.  When Sierra opened the door and saw him standing in the hall, she immediately closed it again. 

“Sierra, don’t do that,” he said, pounding on the door.  “Please talk to me.  Let me explain what happened.” 

“Explain what?” she asked.  “What possible reason could you have for standing me up at my mother’s wedding?” 

“I…” he began, unable to form the words to explain that he’d let Duke manipulate his feelings for her.  “I just…”

“Just what I thought,” she said through the door.  “I must have been crazy to think you could be mature enough to have a real relationship.  Jacking around town with girls and with your friends is too important to you to bother with anything else.”

“That’s not true,” he said.  “Look, please just open the door.  I want to talk to you face to face.” 

A few moments passed and then he heard the door unlock.  When she opened it again he could tell that she’d been crying. 

“What do you want, Benji?” she asked without looking him in the eyes.

“I want to get married,” he said. 

What?  Are you crazy?”

He shook his head, unable to keep from smiling.  “No, I’m very sane.  And I want to prove to you that I’m serious and I’m through being that spoiled kid running around town and not caring about anything but himself.”

“Married?” she asked.  “You and me?”

“Tonight,” he confirmed.  “We’ll drive to Vegas.  Sierra, I love you.  Please say yes.”  

Miranda Blackthorne

One phone call to a judge was all it took.  A bribe or a favor, no doubt called in by Renee DeWitt, and there was squad car pulling her over on Sunset.  Gemma Sanders decided this was the last time she would mix someone’s personal vendettas with her highly successful call girl business.  She blamed Jackie for involving her. 

After she’d been processed, the officer escorted her to a cell and ushered her inside.  She smiled as he locked the door and offered a reluctant shrug of his shoulders.  She smiled because he’d been a very good client for many years.  It took all kinds to make a call girl business flourish in Hollywood.  No one was exempt. 

“Well, well, well,” she said when she noticed the woman in the cell next to hers.  “Miranda Blackthorne.  What a surprise running into you here of all places.  Tell me, does your Daddy know where you are?"

Miranda looked up from the bench and rolled her eyes.  Everyone knew Gemma Sanders and she was no exception.  “Don’t talk to me, trash,” she quipped. 

Standing up, she walked to the bars and clung to the cold steel.  She had to keep reminding herself that spending a few hours in jail was worth it.  At least they’d gotten Jane out of that hell hole. 

She had to laugh in spite of the circumstances.  Here she was, four months pregnant and sitting in jail for a list of charges associated with breaking into a drug rehabilitation center.  No doubt it would be a humorous story to tell her baby one day when he or she was old enough.  She wondered if Eddie would still be in the picture then.  David obviously wouldn’t be.  His condition was worsening every day.  And if it did turn out to be his child, she would make sure he or she knew who their father was.  

David Jenner

Staring out the window of his room at the clinic in San Francisco, David Jennings couldn’t help but feel remorseful.  He’d avoided saying any goodbyes to the friends and acquaintances he’d acquired in Los Angeles.  To James, who had been by his side since his father died.  To Renee, who had been involved in his life one way or another ever since their father’s did business together.  And to Miranda especially, whose spirit and zest for life had invigorated him – and sometimes frustrated him.  The fact that she may be carrying his child was a wake up call.  Plagued with an incurable disease, he’d resigned to the fact that he would never know what it was like to have a child of his own. 

A voice across the room reminded him that he wasn’t alone.   He turned slowly and looked at the doctor. 

“Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow morning,” the doctor said.  “David, I would be remiss if I didn’t caution you once again about the risks involved.  This is a very new development in brain cancer treatment.  The success rate’s only been…”

“Twenty-five percent,” David finished for him.  “I know.  You don’t have to tell me the odds, Dr. Fitzsimmons.  But when you look at the alternative, I don’t see much of a choice.” 

“You do have a choice,” he replied.  “You can live out the rest of your months.  Make the most of them.  Spend them with your loved ones.” 

David smiled.  “I don’t want them to see me die.  It’s just not an option.”

“Which is why you didn’t tell them about the surgery,” the doctor surmised. 

“I’d rather they think I went away to die.  At least then if it doesn’t work I wouldn’t have gotten their hopes up.”

“Recovery could be a long road.”

David nodded and looked back out the window.  “I’ve got plenty of time.” 

Alex Reynolds

Sobbing on the sofa, Alex barely acknowledged when someone began pounding on the door of the apartment.  She refused to get up, to acknowledge that her life was over.  But when she heard her son’s voice in the hall, she realized she wouldn’t be able to hide forever.  She had to face reality.  If there was one thing she’d learned in rehab, it was that. 

Slowly, she made her way across the room and opened the door.  Seeing Stormy in the hallway with Jane at his side further cemented the fact that she was out of options. 

“I’m going to ask you something and I want a straight answer,” Stormy said after rushing inside.  “Did you bribe someone at the treatment center to have Jane committed?”

With a glazed over look in her eyes, Alex nodded her head.   “I’m sorry.”  There was no sense in denying it.  Everything she'd done to keep R.J. had been for nothing.

“You’re sorry?” Stormy exclaimed.  “What the hell is wrong with you?  What could have possibly made you do something like that?  Please help me understand what’s going on in your head.” 

“I told him about our plan,” Jane said.  “That you paid me to pretend I was R.J.’s mother.  He knows everything.” 

Alex wiped her eyes.  “Not everything.” 

Stormy frowned.  “What do you mean?  What is there to know?”

She turned around and placed a hand on her forehead.  “I don’t know how to tell you this, Stormy.  I swear I never meant to hurt you.  I thought you were dead.  The news reports all said so.  I thought I was doing the right thing.”

Stormy walked toward her and spun her back around to face him.  “What are you saying?”

She looked at the empty bassinette that sat across the room.  “I wanted to give him a good home.” 

“Mother,” Stormy began, his eyes flaring.  An unsettled feeling in the pit of his stomach told him that he already knew the answer to his next question.  “Who is R.J.?”

She closed her eyes briefly.  “He’s your son,” she said. 

Jane covered her mouth with her hands and gasped with surprise. 

My son?” Stormy asked, bewildered.  “But how…”  He paused and thought back as far as he could remember.  “Kelly.”

Alex nodded, tears rolling down her cheeks.  

“I had a baby and you never told me!?” Stormy lamented, grabbing her by the shoulders and shaking her.

“I thought you were dead!” she cried.  “I just wanted to hold on to a piece of you for myself.  I’d made so many mistakes with you and your sister that I-“

“Enough!” he screamed.  “I’m done hearing about your mistakes and how you want to make everything right!  You can’t make this right, mother!  You can’t take back any of it!  You’ve made everything worse, can’t you see that?”

Sobbing, she sunk to her knees.  “Stormy, please-“

“No, I will never forgive you for this,” he said angrily.  “You are not my mother.” 

“Don’t say that!" Alex wailed.

“Where is R.J.?” Stormy demanded.  “Where is my son?”

“He’s gone,” she replied through a fit of tears.

“Gone?  Where is he?”

“Kelly took him,” she said, burying her face in her hands.  “I tried to stop her but I couldn’t.  They’re gone.”  

Horrified, Stormy turned and looked at Jane.  How could he have found his son and lost him again all in the same day?

Brooke Taylor

Staring through the window into Kyle’s hospital room, Brooke thought about their argument at Moonshadows.  Every second played over and over in her mind as she felt her eyes welling up with tears….

“How could you?” she screamed after walking into the club. 

“Jesus, not you too,” Kyle said with a sigh.  He looked at the wake of destruction that Mackenzie had left.  Remains from a few pieces of broken china and a few of the Tiffany lamp centerpieces were scattered across the floor.  “Is everyone pissed off at me today?”

“Who is Dan Cody?" Brooke demanded.  “Tell me the truth!”

“Dan Cody-“

“Your old prison mate.  Mackenzie told me she went to see him.  I also know she’s not an old girlfriend.  She’s your sister!”

“Brooke, I can explain-“ 

“Explain what?  That you lied about being Will Thomerson’s son?  That you aren’t Ethan’s half-brother?  How could you tell me those lies and still claim that you love me?”

“I do love you,” he insisted.  “You have to believe that!”

“I can’t believe anything you tell me,” Brooke lamented.  “Everything you’ve told me is a lie!  Now tell me who Dan Cody is!”

“Why?” Kyle demanded.  “What difference could it make?”

“Mackenzie told me to ask you who Dan Cody is.  Now tell me.  Because if you don’t I swear to God I’ll make sure you regret it.” 

Kyle looked at her and realized he had no choice.  He was backed into a corner….

“Miss Taylor?” asked Detective Rodriguez when he came up behind her at the hospital.  “We need to ask you some questions about Kyle Fenwick.  We understand you were seen with him minutes before he was stabbed.” 

Brooke turned and looked at them in panic.  “I…” 

“Did you and Mr. Fenwick have an argument?” Detective Raub asked.  

She nodded, tears forming in her eyes again.  “Yes, we argued.”

“About what?”

She couldn’t formulate the words.  “He’d…been lying to me.  To everyone.  He wasn’t who he claimed to be.”

“Miss Taylor, did you strike Kyle Fenwick with the broken lamp?” Rodriguez asked. 

Brooke wiped her eyes, too paralyzed to speak.  “You don’t understand.  He’s alive…” 

“Yes, we know he’s alive,” Rodriguez said.  “But attempted murder is still a crime.  I’m afraid we’re going to have to take you downtown for questioning.  You may want to call your lawyer.” 

“No, I’m not talking about Kyle,” Brooke said through a haze.

“Then who?” Detective Raub asked.  “Who’s alive?” 

Brooke tried pulling herself together but it was impossible.  She needed to talk to James.  Why hadn’t he called with news?

James Blackthorne

James was led down a corridor at the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility, then instructed to sit in a chair in the visitation area and wait. 

“You’re the second one to come visit this guy in the last two days,” the guard said.  “He doesn’t get a single visitor in months and suddenly two in the same week.  Last one was a woman.  Real pretty."

“How well do you know Dan Cody?” James asked. 

The guard, a burly black man with a handlebar mustache, shook his head.  “He doesn't talk much.  Barely talks to anyone since his old cell mate left.  Matter of fact, nobody really calls him Dan Cody anymore.  Not since they found out his real name.” 

James turned back around just as a man was led into the room and seated on the opposite side of the glass.  After an initial blur of orange from his jumpsuit, the man’s face came into focus.  James’s mouth opened in shock as he tried to wrap his head around what he was seeing.  It suddenly became evident that what Kyle told Brooke that afternoon back in L.A. was the truth. 

“Ethan,” James said and picked up the phone connecting the two sides. 

“Hello Uncle James,” Ethan Blackthorne said. 

Kyle Fenwick

“Dan Cody is Ethan,” Kyle said reluctantly to Brooke. 

“Ethan?” she asked, confused. 

“Michael’s father,” he explained.  “We were in prison together.” 

Shaking her head, Brooke backed up a step.  “No, Ethan’s dead…he died in the earthquake.” 

“He’s alive,” Kyle said.

“You’re lying,” she insisted, then repeated herself.  “You’re lying.  You wouldn’t have kept that from me.  If he’s alive you would have told me months ago.”   Suddenly she began to realize why the voice on the phone sounded so familiar.

He closed his eyes with regret.  “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry?” she exclaimed, rushing toward him and beating him with her fists.  “Sorry?  God damn you!” 

In a fit of anger, she pushed him hard.  Before he could regain his balance, he fell on his back and let out a loud gasp.  Blood ebbed from his mouth as he writhed in agony.  Quickly, Brooke rushed forward to see if he was okay.   As he rolled over, she saw the blood seeping onto the floor, the Tiffany lamp embedded deep in his back...

Brooke snapped out of the daze when the cell doors slammed behind her.  She turned, wrapping her arms around herself as she shivered from the cold.  She grabbed the bars and tried to hold herself together.  She had to Ethan's sake. If what Kyle said was true, he was alive.  How she couldn't even fathom.  She'd seen the ashes from his car after the earthquake. Everyone told her he was dead.  She'd accepted it.

Filled with anxiety, she slid down onto a cold steel bench across the cell.  Now James wouldn't be able to contact her when he got to New York.  How would she be able to think of anything else until he confirmed it?  

The waiting would kill her.


 

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