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Episode 132

 

Release Date:  February 25, 2011

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

 

Stormy, Eddie and Miranda broke Jane out of the drug treatment facility, but before they escaped, Miranda was detained and arrested.  Stormy went to Alex to ask why she'd had Jane committed, and a broken Alex revelead that she'd gotten R.J. from Kelly, and that R.J. was his son.  Brett rescued Suzanne from Lon's apartment, but Jordan reacted to her ordeal with contempt.  Devastated by the direction her life was going, Suzanne went with Ross Fuller to see his self-help guru in Death Valley.  A smug Brett revealed to Jordan that he'd secured ownership of Rydell Productions for Sunset Studios. After realizing Duke had manipulated his emotions for Sierra, Benji went to Sierra and asked her to go away with him and get married.  Gemma Sanders, the Hollywood madam, on a mission for Jackie, presented Renee with evidence that Kenny had cheated on her with one of her call girls.  Renee promptly called off the wedding minutes before it was to take place. Mackenzie flew to New York to check up on Kyle's story that Dan Cody was a man blackmailing him into taking Brooke's money.  Meanwhile, Brook heard voice messages someone left on Kyle's cell phone and thought she recognized the man's voice.  Mackenzie revealed to Brooke that Dan Cody was really Ethan, and that Kyle had been lying to her about who he was.  Angrily, Brooke attacked Kyle and he fell, impaling himself on a broken lamp.  A frantic Brooke told James about Mackenzie's claims, so James went to New York to see if it was true.  While James came face to face with Ethan in prison, Brooke was being arrested for the attempted murder of Kyle.

 

Read the full season five recap here

 


  

Episode 132

"Take Me Over"

 

The dogs led them through the night, flashlights cutting through darkness and their boots trampling piles of wet leaves. They searched the perimeter of the property, then the rusted shed near the compost heap, and then under the old pickup truck parked to the side of the house.  The old man stood behind, his face painted with agony while he held a broken porcelain doll that had aquamarine eyes that seemed to stare up at the stars in the night sky.

“Over here,” the leader said when the hounds picked up the scent from a wooden door in the ground. 

The others followed, the dogs barking wildly and pulling on the leashes that bound them.  The leader knelt down and lifted the door.  Wind scattered leaves about their feet and swirled around the entrance to the underground bunker. 

Slowly, he climbed down the makeshift steps and into a dark cavernous room.   Guided by his flashlight, he saw three beds, stacks of old magazines and books, and a dusty transistor radio.  When he heard the faint sounds of whimpering in the darkness, his hand instinctively went for his gun. 

“We’re not going to hurt you,” he said, scanning the room with his light.  “I’m the sheriff.  Why don’t you come out and tell us what happened?”

Silence followed while the sheriff continued to search the bunker.  He could still hear the wind scattering leaves around up on the surface, the old man and his deputies with their dogs standing by at the door.

“You hear me?” the sheriff repeated.  Suddenly, he heard movement from behind and quickly spun around.  His flashlight seemingly paralyzed the one they’d been pursuing. 

“Please….”  Ethan Blackthorne said, shielding his eyes from the light with blood-soaked hands.  “It was an accident.  You have to believe me.” 

The sheriff whistled to his deputies.  “Got him,” he called up to them. 

As the men descended the stairs, Ethan backed his way into the corner, cringing when they came at him…

James Blackthorne

When James Blackthorne entered a room, everyone noticed.  Not only was he over six feet tall, handsomely aged at forty-nine, and exceptionally well-groomed, he exuded power and confidence.  With a thick shock of brown hair, intense dark eyes, and a strong nose, he would be noticed either way.  But add a multi-billion dollar Hollywood film studio, two infamous ex-wives, and a personal life worthy of Bravo to the mix and everyone paid attention, even in prison. 

As he sat staring through the glass window of the visitation area at the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility, the stares and the whispers from onlookers faded into the background.

“I don’t understand,” he said with wide eyes.  “You’re alive?  How?”

“It’s a long story,” replied his nephew.  “How did you find me?  Did Kyle tell you I was here?”

James struggled with the rapid fire succession of events that had transpired over the past few hours.  “Sort of,” he said, rubbing his eyes.  “Look, Ethan, what are you doing in prison?  And why didn’t you tell us you were alive?”

His question was answered with a question.  “Does Brooke know?”

“What?”

Ethan sighed.  “Does Brooke know that I’m alive?”

James nodded.  “Yes.  She found out when I did.  Neither of us could believe it.  That’s why I came here.”

“That woman that was here,” Ethan began.  “She told you?” 

James realized he must be referring to Mackenzie.  “Yes.  She told Brooke and then Brooke told me.  Look, I’m still trying to wrap my head around this.  Do you know how much your leaving hurt us?   We thought we’d lost you forever.”

“It was no picnic for me either,” said Ethan.  He was thirty-four years old with a defined physique and pale skin, a five o’clock shadow framing his strong jaw line.  “I didn’t want you to find out this way.  You were supposed to find out months ago, but in my way.  Not from some nosy broad who shows up here staring at me like she’s seen a ghost.”

“She probably thought she had,” James said wryly.  “Ethan, talk to me.  Tell me what’s going on.  Brooke is at home waiting for me to call her with news, and I don’t want to do that until I know everything.” 

“It wasn’t supposed to happen this way,” Ethan said adamantly.  “I thought I could trust Kyle.” 

“What does Kyle Fenwick have to do with this?” James wanted to know.

“I saw them on the news,” Ethan said, again ignoring his question.  “When you were coming back from Mexico.  He had his arm around her.  Did she fall in love with him?”

James looked down instinctively.  “Ethan, just start at the beginning and-“

“Did Brooke fall in love with Kyle?” Ethan repeated, this time slowly and more insistently. 

James, unable to look him in the eyes and lie, could only nod his head. 

Angrily, Ethan slammed the phone back on the cradle and jumped up from the window.  He went to the door and called for the guard. 

“Ethan!” James shouted as he rose to his feet.  “Ethan don’t walk away from me!  She thought you were dead!  We all thought you were dead!” 

But Ethan was already gone, the heavy door in the visitation room slamming closed behind.  Defeated, James slammed the phone down and turned in frustration. 

Stormy Blackthorne

Winds traveled through the canyons surrounding the meandering streets of the Hollywood Hills as Stormy Blackthorne steered his Cobra II down the long driveway home.  He parked his car under the porte-cochere and dashed inside, scouting the first floor and calling out for their dutiful housekeeper. 

Leilani!” he bellowed, going from room to room with determination.  “Leilani!”

Behind him, the front door opened again and Jane Wheeler entered, rushing down the hall and intercepting him.

“Stormy, you need to calm down,” she insisted.

“Don’t tell me to calm down!” he shouted.  “I need to find my son!”

“We will, you just have to let me explain why I did what I did,“ she pleaded with him. 

Stormy stopped long enough to catch his breath.  The oldest offspring of James Blackthorne and Alex Reynolds, he was twenty-eight, had short dark hair, a true baby face, and intricate tattoos covering much of his arms.  After several misguided ventures of his own accord, he was now a top executive at his father’s studio. 

“Do you know where R.J. is?” he asked Jane, all business.

“No,” she replied, long, wispy blond hair framing her narrow face.  She was a twenty-five year-old struggling actress from Illinois who’d unwittingly become immersed in the complicated lives of Stormy and his family. 

“Then I’m not interested in what you have to say,” he told her.  “You helped my mother lie about where she got R.J. from.  You went along with it!  You’re just as bad as she is.” 

“I didn’t know he was your son!” Jane insisted, on the verge of tears.  “Do you honestly think I would have gone along with her charade if I’d known that?  Much less gotten involved with you?”

Stormy didn’t have time to argue.  He turned in search of Leilani.  Just as he started down the hall, she was coming out of the family room. 

“What’s wrong?” asked the portly Hawaiian maid.  “Did something happen?”

“When was the last time you talked to Kelly?” he asked her. 

Leilani shook her head in confusion. “Kelly?  Not for long time.  Months maybe.”

“You’re sure she hasn’t contacted you recently? Leilani, it’s very important that I find her.” 

“No, she told me not to call her.  She said she too busy and that she call me when she has time.” 

“Do you have a number?  Her cell phone number?”

Nodding, Leilani stared with worrisome eyes. 

“Well get it!” Stormy yelled. 

Without wasting another second, the maid scurried down the hall and to the mud room behind the kitchen where she kept her coat and her purse on a row of silver hooks.

“She said use this in emergency,” Leilani said and handed him her cell phone with Kelly’s number on the display. 

Gruffly, he took the phone and pressed talk.  “I’d say this was an emergency,” he said aloud and waited for an answer.  While he listened to it ring, he shook his head in disbelief.  “I can’t understand how my own mother could keep my son from me.   And how you could help her do it.” 

Jane saw him staring directly at her.  “I told you that I didn’t know he was-“

He cut her off by turning away.  When a voice came over the line he swallowed hard. 

“This isn’t a good time, mama,” Kelly said when she answered.

Stormy gripped the phone tightly in his hand.  “Where are you, you stupid bitch?”

A moment of silence was followed by a tentative reply.  “Stormy?”

“Yes, it’s Stormy,” he said and walked through the kitchen.  “I know you were at my mother’s apartment today.  Where did you take him?  Where did you take my son?”

“I don’t believe it,” Kelly said with a demure laugh.  “She actually told you the truth?”

“You disappeared with the baby she was passing off as her own,” Stormy said.  “What did you expect her to do?”

“To come up with the money,” Kelly said easily.  “Two million in cash and the baby was hers again.”

“Two mill-“  Stormy repeated, then stopped before he began yelling again.  “What the hell kind of a mother are you?  Selling your own son to the highest bidder?” 

Leilani covered her mouth with her hands and began shaking her head repeatedly when she heard the one-sided conversation.

“That kid is a goldmine for me,” Kelly told him.  “I was stupid to let your mother get off so cheap to begin with.” 

Stormy gave a heavy sigh and turned around.  “Unbelievable.  I want my son, Kelly.  Where are you?”

“I’m not telling you where I am,” she said.  “Not until I know you’re not going to do anything stupid.  You’re not the only one who thinks he knows someone.” 

“I’ll give you the money,” Stormy said.  “Two million, you said?  Tell me when and where and I’ll be there.” 

After a few moments of silence, Kelly finally reacted.  “I’ll call you back,” she said and hung up. 

Gritting his teeth, he called the number again but it went straight to voicemail.  Angily, he turned and leaned against the kitchen island, pacing his erratic breathing. 

“What now?” Jane asked.  “Should we call your father?”

Stormy shook his head.  “No, I’m going to get my son back myself.” 

Miranda Blackthorne

Being Miranda Blackthorne wasn’t as easy as most people would believe it to be.  Yes, she was young and beautiful and rich.  Yes, she had men who adored her and women who wanted to be like her.  Her parents were legendary.  James Blackthorne, the suave, sophisticated mega-millionaire in charge of Sunset Studios.  And Alex  Reynolds, the beautiful movie star with the tendency of ending up on the front page news. 

At twenty-five, Miranda was exceptionally beautiful with long dark hair and mesmerizing eyes.  Her body was a playing field of delights, and her style always up to the latest trend.  Scars that once marred her face as a result of the earthquake a year and a half ago were now subtle and, more importantly, immaterial to her.  

But with all of her good fortune, there were also the bad.  She was pregnant.  Four months to be exact.  The father undetermined.  Possibly Eddie Distefano, her doting boyfriend and son of the late resident Hollywood psychopath Victor Distefano.  Or David Jennings, whom she’d had an ill-conceived dalliance with in a few moments of weakness, who had since left to succumb to his terminal brain cancer in a San Francisco clinic. 

Unwed and pregnant, unsure of the identity of the father, and also currently residing in the Los Angeles county jail as a result of a madcap plan her brother and Eddie came up with to break Jane Wheeler out of a rehab facility.  This was definitely not one of the finest times in her life. 

“I thought you’d be out of here by now,” said her neighbor as she was led back into the cell next to her.  “Daddy hasn’t gotten his lawyers to spring you yet, sweetie?”

“I’m sure he’s working on it,” Miranda said with a scowl. 

“If I know your daddy, you’ll be out in no time,” Gemma Sanders quipped with all the confidence one would expect from a legendary Hollywood madam.  The Hollywood madam, in her case. 

“Don’t act like you know my father,” Miranda said, folding her arms and crossing her legs with a pout.  “James Blackthorne has class, which is a lot more than I can say for you and the men you entertain.” 

Gemma, a heavily botoxed blond woman of about fifty, shook her head and approached the bars that separated them..  “I’m used to women looking down on me the way you do,” she said.  “I’ve put up with it for years.  I can deal with the looks.  What I can’t deal with are the unfair judgments.” 

“You run a call girl operation,” Miranda said incredulously.  “You set girls up with men for sex.  I think in this case the judgments are accurate.” 

“I provide a service,” Gemma said, perfectly manicured nails clutching the cold steel bars.  “To a select group of men whom I personally screen.  They have a lot of money and they’re very generous.  Some men in the business don’t have time for the phonies and the game players.  They want a sure thing.”

“Nice,” Miranda said with a grimace. 

“Your step-father has certainly found the arrangement fitting from time to time,” Gemma said proudly. 

Miranda shot her a scowl.  She didn’t know that she wanted to know about Jordan’s activities in the bedroom.  Only that she hoped it hadn’t been either time he was married to her mother. 

“And the girls that I employ are the best in the business.  They don’t do anything they don’t want to do.  They may not be CEO’s or lawyers, but they are smart enough to know they can make in one night working for me what they would normally make in two months waitressing.” 

Tired of hearing her cell-mate’s justification for her career, Miranda shot to her feet and went to the other side of the cell.  Had Eddie gotten in touch with her father?  What was going on with Stormy and Jane?  There were so many unknowns and she was going crazy sitting there. 

Finally, the sound of doors opening and keys clanging against metal alerted her that someone was coming.  Peering through the bars, she stood on her toes and gazed down the corridor.  Finally, salvation came in the form of Kenny DeWitt. 

“Kenny, thank God,” Miranda said.   “You have to get me out of here!”

Before he approached her, he paused at Gemma’s cell.  “Hello Gemma.”

“Well, well, well,” the woman replied coyly.  “If it isn’t one of my best customers.” 

“How could you do it?” Kenny asked her.  He was a tall, forty-eight year old African American man with close cropped hair and weathered skin.  He’d not only been friends with the Blackthornes for years, he was also James’s private retainer attorney. 

“I was only delivering a message,” Gemma replied. 

“You not only succeeded in destroying my life with that videotape, but you also destroyed an innocent woman.” 

Renee will pull herself together.  She always does.  Besides, don’t expect me to shed a tear for her.  Don’t think I don’t know it was her who pulled the strings to get me thrown in here.” 

His words were slow and halting.   “I’m going to do one better on her.  I’m going to destroy you the way you destroyed me.  Only you’re not going to have a damn thing left to cling to.”

Marred by his biting words, she slunk back to the corner of her cell and sat down. 

When Kenny approached Miranda, she was looking at him with concern.  “Is everything okay?” she asked.  “What happened at the wedding?”

“It’s not important,” Kenny said.  He’d deal with his broken engagement to Renee soon enough.  For right now, it seemed everyone needed him.  “Eddie called me and filled me in on what happened at the treatment center.” 

“Is it bad?” Miranda asked with a cringe.  “Can you get me out?”

“Your bail has been posted.  They’re working on the paperwork,” Kenny told her. 

“Thank God,” she said with a sigh.  “When can I leave?”

“Soon.  But you’ll still have to answer to the court. I expect a hearing to be set within a few weeks.” 

“Great,” she said sarcastically and flipped her long dark hair over her shoulder.

“Listen, I’ve got to go,” Kenny said.  “I’ve got to go upstairs and see Brooke.”

“Brooke?”

“She’s been arrested for attempted murder.”

Renee DeWitt

Descending the spiral staircase of her penthouse at Moonshadows, Renee DeWitt clung to the banister while teetering on impossibly high heels.  When she reached the plush carpeting of the living room, she marched toward the television and turned on the news, fully expecting there to be a scathing report on her disaster of a wedding day.  Luckily, news of Kyle Fenwick’s stabbing still eclipsed anything that may have transpired between her and Kenny.

Clad in a lime green satin robe, she poured herself another glass of vodka and sipped it slowly by the bar.  At forty-eight, Renee DeWitt was a classically beautiful and elegant black woman who’d had just the right amount of nips and tucks along the way.  She’d refused to fall into the same trap that so many women in L.A. did.  Many of her peers were now barely recognizable after so many age-defying surgeries.  But then again, most of them probably didn’t get jilted on their wedding day. 

Kenny, her former groom-to-be, was simply not to be trusted.  She’d made that mistake once before and the fact that she nearly did it again caused her a great deal of embarrassment.  She’d actually believed he’d changed, that the slutty nurses and two-bit hookers were a thing of the past.

“Never again,” she whispered to herself after taking another sip. 

Commotion at the door caused her to turn on her heels. 

“I guess just put those over there,” Marilee Wells-Walker said as she led the wedding planner inside with an armload of discarded presents.  “On the table.”  She pointed for further clarification. 

The sight of the wedding gifts arriving brought tears to Renee’s eyes.  Quickly, she turned away. 

“I wasn’t sure what to do with these,” Marilee said and took a few steps toward her.  “The police just gave permission for the club to be reopened and I didn’t want anything to happen to the gifts, so-“

“Damn, damn, damn,” Renee sobbed into her hands.

Marilee stopped in her tracks, turned to the wedding planner and motioned to the door.  Maybe bringing the gifts to her so soon was a mistake.  Quickly, the planner did as she instructed and ducked back out of the penthouse.

“I’m sorry,” Marilee said and continued toward her.  “Are you all right?  This has got to be awful for you.” 

Renee shook her head while drying her eyes.  “I’ll get over it.  I’ve done it before and I can do it again.  I’m just glad I found out now as opposed to after we got married.” 

Marilee led her to the sofa and sat down beside her.  “I thought Kenny had changed,” she said.  “That that gigolo you were married to years ago was a thing of the past.  I guess he fooled everyone.” 

“Well, he won’t fool me again,” Renee insisted while taking a deep breath.  No man will make a fool of Renee Merteuil again.  I guarantee you that.” 

“Do you need anything?” asked Marilee, pushing her fingers through her short blond hair.  She was in her fifties and had an amazingly athletic body, an asset each of her four husbands had appreciated to no end.  She and Renee had been friends for years, had entered into countless business deals together, and weathered many heated arguments.  Today, however, none of that mattered. 

“No, I just really want to be alone.”

“Are you sure?  Where is Sierra?”

“I asked her to leave,” Renee explained.  “I mean, don’t get me wrong, she was of great comfort, but I just needed some space.  I think she’s with some girlfriends.” 

“I don’t like leaving you alone,” Marilee said and grabbed her hand as they rose from the sofa. 

“You’re a dear friend,” Renee said and led her to the door.  “But this is really what I need right now.  Besides, you should be at the hospital checking on Kyle.  Has there been any word on his condition?”

“He’s critical,” Marilee said with a sigh.  “I just can’t believe this happened.  I was talking to him minutes before he got hurt.  We argued.  I was so horrible to him.  My own son!  Now all I can think about is if he doesn’t make it-“

“He will,” Renee said.  She had to be positive, if only for her own selfish reasons.  Without Kyle she had no one to manage Moonshadows for her, and she definitely didn’t have the motivation to do it herself right now.

“I’ll talk to you soon,” Marilee said, kissing her before ducking back out into the hallway. 

After she’d gone, Renee turned back and looked at the empty apartment.  Sinking to the stair leading into the sunken living room, she hugged her knees to her chest and stared at the floor in a daze.

Brooke Taylor

After Kenny had secured Miranda’s release, she met up with him in a private visitation room upstairs.  When the door opened and the guard led Brooke inside, they both raced toward her. 

“Oh my God,” Miranda said and drew her into an embrace.  “Are you okay?”

She responded with a nod.  “Has there been any word on Kyle?”

Miranda looked at her in confusion, and then turned to Kenny.  She still had no idea what was going on. 

“He’s critical,” Kenny replied.  “The hospital knows to call me when there’s a change.” 

“What happened?” Miranda asked and led her to a small table in the center of the room. 

“Everything’s such a mess,” Brooke Taylor sobbed.  Her usually vibrant blue eyes and shiny blond hair were dull and listless.  Her happy existence had once again been shattered.  But in her thirty-one short years, she’d come to expect nothing less.  With money and power came problems that she’d never dreamed would be an issue back when she was merely a sales girl at the makeup counter in a Phoenix shopping mall.

“They’re claiming that you tried to kill Kyle in a fit of rage,” Kenny said after referring to the notes from his meeting with the D.A.  “Can you tell me what happened?”

Brooke squeezed a few tears from her eyes as Miranda clutched her hand comfortingly.   “Kyle had been getting these phone calls from an old prison mate named Dan Cody. Mackenzie went to see him in New York to find out who he was.” 

“Mackenzie Stone?” Miranda asked.  “What does she have to with it?”

“She and Kyle are brother and sister,” Brooke explained.  “He lied about being Will Thomerson’s son.  She said he only said that to get close to me.” 

“Get close to you why?” Kenny inquired. 

She shook her head.  “I don’t know.”

“So what happened after Mackenzie went to see Dan Cody?”

“She saw a man but his name wasn’t Dan Cody,” Brooke explained with great difficulty.  Desperate to control her quavering voice, she squeezed Miranda’s hand tighter.  “She told met he man she saw in prison was Ethan.” 

Eyes wide, Miranda looked at Kenny and then back at Brooke.  “Ethan?” she exclaimed.  “I don’t understand.  Ethan’s alive?”

Brooke nodded in a fit of tears.  “So I went to confront Kyle about what she told me and he confirmed it.  He said he’d been lying about who he was and that he knew that Ethan was alive.” 

“What did you do?” Miranda asked in a whisper. 

Gesturing with her hands, she replayed their argument for them.  “I started screaming at him.  He was backing away and putting his hands up in front of him as I hit him.  I pushed him like this and he slipped.  The floors were slick.  When he fell he landed on one of the lamp centerpieces that had been knocked on the floor.” 

“Great, so it was an accident,” Miranda said simply.  “Kenny will explain it to the D.A. and they’ll drop the charges.” 

“It may not be that simple,” Kenny cautioned her.  “Mackenzie already filled the police in on her side of the story.  They know about Kyle keeping Ethan’s resurrection a secret.  They’re using it as your motive for the attempted murder.” 

“That’s insane,” Miranda said.  “Brooke wouldn’t intentionally hurt anyone.”

“The only one who can corroborate that is Kyle, and so far he hasn’t woken up.  No one knows if he even will.” 

Sighing with defeat, Miranda went for her cell.  “I’m calling Daddy.  I can’t believe he’s not here.” 

“He went to New York,” Brooke said.  “To see Ethan.  To see if it was true.” 

“He hasn’t been answering my calls,” Kenny confirmed.  “We’re going to have to handle this on our own.” 

Miranda looked at Brooke and squeezed her hand again.  “He’s alive?”

Despite the circumstances, Brooke managed a smile behind the tears. 

Jordan

Nobody’s life ever turned out the way they planned it, and that was especially true for Jordan Rydell.  In the past few months, he’d lost more than he ever thought possible.  His second marriage to Suzanne had ended bitterly, he lost a custody suit over his granddaughter, his daughter was locked away at a mental institution, and his son was estranged – a painful maneuver designed with the hopes of teaching him responsibility.  To make matters worse, he’d just learned that financial troubles had cost him his studio to his biggest rival, Sunset Studios, now at the helm of his conniving son-in-law. 

So when Alex Reynolds, another ex-wife, called him for help, he was tempted to tell her to find another sucker.  He’d had enough, and after two failed marriages to her he knew well enough to know she was in some kind of trouble.  But the distraction got the better of him, so he drove over to her apartment in Beverly Hills and waived to the door man on his way up the elevator. 

At forty-nine, Jordan was sexy and fit.  He had a stocky build, dirty blond hair and a deep suntan.  Removing his blackout Porsche sunglasses, he knocked on Alex’s door and waited for her to answer. 

“Jordan, thank God,” she said, drawing him into an embrace.  “I didn’t know who else to call.”

Walking into the apartment, he immediately led her to the sofa.  “Alex, I’m not in a great mood today.  Brett stole my company, Suzanne up and took off again, and I still don’t know what the hell I’m going to do about Benji, so-“

“You were right about R.J.,” she blurted out in an effort to get him to realize how serious it was.  “When you were suspicious of where I got him.  You were right.” 

“What are you talking about?”  He looked into her eyes and could see the seldom-displayed vulnerability in them.  Despite her sadness, she was beautiful.  Perfect, some would say.  Clouds of auburn hair that fell just below the shoulders, flawless skin, and a body that defied her true age of forty-eight.  Her beauty made her sadness even more heartbreaking to him. 

“I didn’t get him from Jane Wheeler,” she admitted.  “Jane was an actress that I met and paid to play a role for me.” 

Closing his eyes in despair, Jordan sat down on the ottoman across from her.  “Tell me you didn’t steal that baby, Alex.” 

She shook her head.  “I didn’t.  I mean, not exactly.  I bought him.” 

“On the black market?”  It was worse than he thought.  His instincts told him to get up and leave.  He had enough of his own problems to worry about.  But Alex was a person he could never turn his back on no matter how hard he tried. 

“No,” she said, tears running down her face.  “From Kelly.” 

“Kelly?”

“She had Stormy’s baby and never told anyone.  She showed up here wanting James to give her money for him, but I intercepted her.”

Jordan’s eyes widened.  “And Stormy?”

She shook her head.  “I never told him.”

“Oh Alex,” he said with a defeated sigh and stood up again. 

“It was when he was in Mexico and we thought he was dead!” she insisted.  “I didn’t think it would hurt anybody.  But then he came home and-“

“And you couldn’t give R.J. up,” Jordan finished for her.

She nodded.  “But now he knows the truth.  Jane told him we lied about her being the mother and he confronted me.”

“You told him R.J. is his son?”

“I had to.  Kelly arrived just before he did.  She wanted more money.  Two million dollars.  When I wouldn’t give it to her she took him and left.  But I knew if I gave her the money she would come back for more.  It would never end.  I couldn’t live that way so I told him the truth.” 

Jordan pulled her up by the arms.  “You did the right thing,” he said, calming her hysterics.

They were interrupted by the sound of pounding on the door.  Exchanging glances with Jordan, she floated across the room and opened the door.  Stormy nearly knocked her over on his way in. 

”Stormy, I’m so glad you came back,” Alex said with relief.  “I know you hate me right now but if you just let me explain-“

“I don’t care what your explanation is,” he cut her off bitterly.  “I told you before you are not my mother.  You’re dead to me.”

“Why don’t you take it easy, Junior?” Jordan said, coming to Alex’s defense.

“Go to hell, Jordan,” Stormy said dismissively, then looked at Alex again.  “I only came here because I need to find Kelly.  She won’t tell me where she is or where she’s keeping R.J.”

Alex shook her head slowly. “I don’t know, I-“

“She had to have told you where she was staying,” Stormy said.  “How else were you going to get her the money if you decided to pay her?”

“She just said she’d call me.  I-“

“For once why don’t you do the right thing?” Stormy interrupted again.  “Tell me where she is and maybe all your lying and scheming, committing Jane to a sanitarium and everything else you’ve done wouldn’t have been for nothing.” 

“I told you I don’t know!” Alex cried.  She stopped, placed her hands on her mouth and looked at him again.  “The last time she was here she was at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  She stayed there.  There’s where I ran into her and found out about R.J.”

Without wasting a second, he turned and headed for the door.  Alex dashed after him.

“Let me try to help!” she screeched, latching onto his arm.  “I can try to fix this!”

“How?” he demanded and shoved her away.  “Everything you touch you ruin!  Everything you do is for your own selfish reasons!  Why would you do anything to help me?”

“Because I love you!  Because you’re my son!”

He glared hatefully at her while pulling the door open.  “You kept my son from me.  For that I will never forgive you.  Never.” 

After he’d gone, Alex collapsed into Jordan’s arms, burying her face in his chest and crying hysterically.

Jordan comforted her as best he could.  He was fully aware of the maniacal way he bounced between women, and Alex’s breakdown was a prime example.  First Suzanne, then back to Alex, then back to Suzanne.  The only difference was Alex had never hurt him the way Suzanne had.  No woman had. 

Suzanne Rogers

On the drive to Death Valley, Suzanne Rogers thought of nothing but the horrific days she’d spent in Lon Christensen’s filthy apartment, tied and gagged to the bed.  The fact that her attacker was now in jail was of little comfort to her.  Jordan’s reaction to her ordeal, or lack thereof, had been nearly as horrifying.  How someone she once loved and shared children with could be so cold was beyond comprehension.  It was clear her reckless affair with Brett did more damage to their lives than she’d originally thought. 

Suzanne was forty-seven, tall and statuesque with long locks of golden chestnut hair and emerald green eyes.  An ethereal beauty, as she’d often been called in her acting days by producers who wanted her for her body and not for her talents. 

The one man who hadn’t disappointed her and seemed to want nothing from her was Ross Fuller, her creative writing professor.  He was young – twenty eight or so – and very handsome.  Her interest in him was based on something far different, however.  Young and handsome aside, he was a genuine friend and one who cared a great deal about her well being.  So much so that he recommended she visit Warren Abbott, the self help guru who he’d studied with.  After finally having enough, she joined him on the trip. 

It was dark when they arrived at the compound.  At first look, it appeared that the small community was made up of several ramshackle cabins and tents.  In the center was a bonfire ablaze with a few people gathered around, some seated on folding chairs and some on blankets in the dirt.

“Told you Warren was into roughing it,” Ross joked when they got out of the car and started down the path to the clearing. 

“Yeah, you weren’t lying,” Suzanne replied, slightly nervous as she followed him on the rough terrain.  The setup wasn’t what she’d expected at all.  When Ross said compound, she pictured the Kennedy’s.  Roughing it could have meant they frequently ran out of ice.  How was she to know they lived like hippies? 

Detecting her trepidation, he placed a comforting hand on her arm.  “Don’t worry,” he said.  “Just clear your mind.  Nobody here will judge you if you don’t judge either.” 

She took comfort in his words and before she knew it they were standing before the bonfire, several people falling into formation before them.  Smoke filled the clearing, and when it dissipated she could see a man coming toward her from behind the fire. 

He made bowing gesturing to those beside him and then turned forward.  “Hello Suzanne,” he said in a soft and soothing voice.  “We’ve been expecting you.  I am Warren Abbott, the leader of New Abbott.”

“New Abbott?” Suzanne asked, studying the faces that stared back at her.  They were young and old, male and female, and many different races.  Their eyes were kind and calming, as were Warren’s. 

“New Abbott is the ground you’re standing on,” he said and gestured with his hands.   “The community of empowerment that I’ve created for people like you.  For people who need guidance and reassurance.” 

Warren was younger than she’d expected.  Mid-thirties perhaps, with longish brown hair and deep inset eyes.  He had sharp features and a lanky body sheathed in some kind of ceremonial robe.  But despite his appearance, he seemed to have a great deal of charisma.  She immediately felt drawn to him. 

“Suzanne joins us after a great deal of personal strife,” Ross finally spoke up.  “She needs our knowledge and our support.” 

“Then knowledge and support are what she shall have,” Warren said, suddenly taking her hands and leading her to the fire. 

Before she knew it, the group of twenty or so had encircled her, joining hands and falling into some kind of meditation.  She felt slightly awkward standing among them, all eyes on her.  Moments later, they were coming toward her. 

“Triumph in the inner power,” Warren said, embracing her gently.

Once he’d moved aside, the others took turns embracing her, each repeating the same mantra.  Triumph in the inner power.  It became ingrained in her mind within minutes, and she couldn’t help but smile and feel that she was where she needed to be.

Mackenzie Stone

When the nurse inquired if she was related to the patient, Mackenzie Stone found it difficult to break the habit of lying.  But then she reminded herself that the secret was out.  She’d told Brooke the truth that she and Kyle were brother and sister.  His story about being Will Thomerson’s son was a carefully executed lie to get close to her.  Now after months of pretending her little brother was a stranger to her, she could finally stop lying. 

“Yes, I am,” she said and walked into the room filled with the sounds of heart monitors and beeping machines.  The sterile hospital smell was thick in the air.  Kyle was on the bed, eyes closed, his face pale and there were dark circles surrounding his eyes.

Telling herself he deserved what he got was harsh, but true nonetheless.  The lying, the pretending, the threatening.  It was par for the course with Kyle, and part of the reason she’d allowed them to drift apart over the years.  What he did to Brooke Taylor wasn’t her concern, but jeopardizing her relationship with James was something completely different.  James was the first man she’d cared about in a very long time and she hated lying to him.  For Kyle’s sake, she hoped that James would forgive her.  But he was still in New York so it was impossible to gauge his state of mind. 

Chances are he would never forgive her, and her leap of faith in attempting an actual adult relationship would have been in vain.  She’d had men who were interested in her before, and why wouldn’t they?  She was exotically beautiful with long silky black hair, cat eyes, and a body that rivaled many women in Hollywood, despite the fact that she was thirty-eight – over the hill by some standards.  She could have any man she wanted.

The problem was she didn’t want them.  James was the first man to interest her in years and she could very well have blown it. 

When the door behind her opened, she turned and saw Marilee Wells-Walker coming inside.

“I’m sorry,” Marilee said.  “I didn’t know anyone was in here.” 

“That’s all right,” Mackenzie replied.  She knew who she was.  The woman Kyle allowed to believe was his mother.  She had a mind to tell her she was being lied to, but realized it wasn’t her place.  Who would want to deliver that kind of news?  She may be a cold bitch at times, but that was extreme even for her 

“How is he?”

“No change,” Mackenzie told her while looking at her brother. 

“The doctors said they’re hopeful that he’ll recover,” Marilee said.  “That’s good news.  I’m sorry, how do you know Kyle?”

Desperate to leave, she looked at her watch.  “You know, I have to go.  I’m late for an appointment.”  On her way to the door, she placed a hand on her shoulder.  “I hope he does recover.” 

Quickly, she opened the door and started down the hall, her heels tapping loudly on the tile floor.  If and when Kyle did wake up, she wanted to take comfort in the fact that she’d made peace with their past.  Because she planned on cutting him out of her life permanently. 

Eddie Distefano

Eddie and Miranda met up with Stormy at the Beverly Hills Hotel a little after nine o’clock that night.  After Miranda filled him in on the developments with Brooke, Kyle, and Ethan’s apparent resurrection, he took a minute to process the information. 

“I don’t believe it,” he said, standing in the lobby with a dazed look on his face.  “How can Ethan be alive?”

Miranda shook her head.  “We don’t know anything yet.  It may not even be true.  Nobody can get a hold of Daddy.  Brooke said he would call when he knew something but so far he hasn’t.” 

“How is Brooke?” Stormy asked.  “Can Kenny get her released?”

She shook her head.  “Not until after the arraignment, and that’s not until tomorrow morning.  Unless Kyle wakes up and is able to say what happened, she could be in a lot of trouble.”

Stormy ran a hand over his face, frustrated that everything was going to hell and that he couldn’t devote his full attention to his family’s problems.  He had his own to worry about right now.  Namely finding his son.

“So what are we doing here, anyway?” Eddie asked.  Tall and with a solid build, he was a twenty-eight year old self-proclaimed goofball who had been best friends with Stormy since the first grade.

“Looking for Kelly,” he said and led them to the front desk. 

“Kelly?” Miranda asked.  “She’s here?”

“She’s in L.A., anyway.  And she has my son.” 

“Your son?” they both asked in unison, jaws agape at the startling revelation.

“Can you ring Kelly Blackthorne’s room, please?” he asked the front desk agent before turning back to his sister and Eddie.  “She gave him to Alex and she tried passing him off as Jane’s.” 

“Mom has known R.J. is your son all this time and she never said anything?” Miranda asked in a shrill voice.  “I can’t believe this.” 

“You can’t?” Stormy asked her incredulously as the agent returned to the desk.   “Try Kahoano,” he said, already knowing what she was going to say.  He then began to spell it for her. 

“Okay, maybe I can,” Miranda continued.  “But it doesn’t make sense that Jane would not tell you R.J. was your son.” 

“It’s probably why she resisted our getting together in the first place,” Stormy said as the agent handed him the phone.  “She knew I’d pick up on her guilt.”

Miranda shook her head.  “No, Jane wouldn’t have done that.  I know she wouldn’t have.” 

He handed the phone to Eddie who quickly picked up on his plan. 

“Miss Kahoano, this is Yorik from the front desk,” Eddie said into the phone in a phony accent.  “There’s a problem with your credit card.  We’ll need you to come down to the lobby and straighten it out immediately.  Thank you.” 

With that, he hung up and smiled.  The desk clerk gave them a look of disapproval while taking the phone back. 

Jordan

After Alex fell asleep, Jordan left her apartment to go to his office at Rydell Productions.  He wanted to remove some of his personal belongings before Brett had a chance to have the place locked down. 

Pulling through the gate in his Mercedes, he was overwhelmed with feelings of regret and disappointment.  He’d spent years building the studio into what it was today.  Or what it was before his life was turned upside down and he let it slowly deteriorate into bankruptcy.  Unlike James, he hadn’t had the financial backing of Jonas Lamont, the main reason Sunset Studios rocketed to the same ranks as Universal and Paramount.  Always the little engine that could, Rydell had been a distant follower to the big studios, but always produced top quality films.  The latest, Ocean Avenue, would sadly never make it to the screen.

He made his way through the dark reception area outside his office and paused at the door, fully aware this was the last time he would ever walk through it.  He heard voices and laughter coming from inside.  Quickly, he turned the knob and rushed inside. 

“What the hell is going on here?” he demanded.

Across the room, Brett was standing shirtless and dressed only in a pair of trousers with the top button undone.  In his hand was a bottle of champagne and a half empty glass.  Lying on the sofa was a woman he didn’t recognize, but was stretching languorously in a skimpy pair of pink panties and matching bra.

“This is a private party, Jordan,” Brett Armstrong said, facing him to reveal a tight, sculpted body and six pack abs.  He was thirty-two and boyishly good looking with thick blond hair, blue eyes, and a permanent suntan.

“This is my office,” Jordan lamented.  “And do I have to remind you you’re still a married man?  Or are you forgetting about Heather?  My daughter?”

“Brianna and I were just celebrating,” Brett said, slightly drunk.  “Nothing inappropriate, I assure you.” 

Bridgette,” the young woman corrected him with a playful grin. 

“Right, Bridgette,” Brett said, filling her glass with more champagne.  “Oh, and this is not your office.  This studio now belongs to Sunset Studios, remember?  Your flagrant mismanagement of your assets left it ripe for the taking.” 

“You son of a bitch,” Jordan said and rushed toward him.  He took the bottle from him and threw it across the room, watching as the pieces of glass broke into shards.  “You think you can get away with taking my company from me and treating my daughter this way?  I was right about you all along.  You’re nothing but a conniving playboy out for his own well being.  Did you ever love Heather?”

The words cut deep and Brett quickly changed his dismissive attitude.  “You don’t know what you’re talking about, so why don’t you get the hell out of here and accept that you’ve lost!”

Jordan glared menacingly at him.  “I’ll leave,” he said.  “Just know that I’m waiting for the day that my daughter comes home and finds out what kind of a man you really are.  And when that happens, I’ll only be too happy to help her take everything that’s ever meant anything to you, starting with Violet.” 

With that, he turned and stormed out of the office.  After he’d gone, Bridgette got up from the sofa and sidled up beside Brett.  She kissed his neck and worked her way up to his mouth, allowing her tongue to massage his while unzipping his pants.

“Who was that guy?” she asked, her speech slurred. 

“Nobody,” Brett said, determined not to let Jordan ruin his good mood. 

Alex Reynolds

When Jordan returned to Alex’s apartment, she was awake and staring at a bottle of vodka on the bar top. 

“Sorry I left,” he said.  “I had something to take care of.  How are you feeling?”

A tear fell down her cheek as he approached.  “I don’t have anybody left,” she said softly.

“You have me,” Jordan said, taking the bottle and dumping its contents into the sink.  “And you don’t need this to get through it.” 

She opened her hand and revealed two pills nestled in her palm.  Her lip quivering, she began sobbing.  “I didn’t take them,” she said.  “I wanted to but I didn’t.” 

“You’re going to be fine,” Jordan said, taking the pills and washing them down the drain.  “I’ll help you get through this.”

She shook her head in despair. “No, I can’t.  I can’t do it, Jordan.” 

“Listen to me,” he said and grabbed her by the shoulders.  “I will not let you fall apart again, do you hear me?”

Hysterically, she fell into his arms and sobbed against his chest.  Jordan closed his eyes and let out a deep breath, hoping he had the strength to do as he promised.  With everything going wrong with his own life, he didn’t know how much more he had for Alex.

Kelly Kahoano

Kelly Blackthorne had the it factor and she knew it.  After a role in the highly successful film, Angel Assassin 2, she became a hot commodity.  Long black hair, olive skin and big brown eyes, not to mention a curvaceous figure that turned heads everywhere she went all got her a long way.  She was only twenty-four and had a whole lifetime of success ahead of her, which was why raising a son at this point in her life was not an option. 

Then came Neil Winslow, the agent she’d met in New York who promised her fame and stardom.  While Neil was great in bed and had an enormous dick that never failed to put a smile on her face, he lacked as an agent.  On top of that, he had an ex-wife who had taken everything but his girthy member.  With no money to speak of, she had no choice but to renegotiate the deal she’d made with Alex Reynolds.  The paltry sum of money she’d paid her for R.J. was long gone.  She needed more.  What she didn’t expect was for Alex to turn her down flat and reveal the truth to Stormy, R.J.’s father. 

So when the front desk called her about a problem with her credit card, she wasn’t surprised.  Most of her accounts were maxed out or over the limit.  Suddenly staying at the most expensive hotel in L.A. didn’t seem like such a good idea.

When she got down to the lobby, she went straight to the desk and waited for the agent to acknowledge her. 

“I had a call from Yorik,” she said impatiently.

Before she knew what was happening, she was being pulled aside and led into the front of the Polo Lounge.  Standing there was Stormy, with Miranda and Eddie flanking him on either side.   Without wasting a second, she turned and attempted to run. 

“Don’t even try it,” Miranda said, blocking her path. 

Irritated that she’d let herself be set up, Kelly turned and scowled at Stormy.  “If you try anything I swear I’ll scream.” 

“Go ahead,” he said, daring her.  “Where is R.J.?”

“You’re not getting your hands on my son,” she said defiantly.  “So whatever you have in mind, you can forget it.” 

“He’s my son too,” Stormy argued, taking care not to draw too much attention to their conversation. 

“Says who?” she asked, folding her arms.  “Maybe he’s not yours.  You’re not the only man I was with, you know.  Remember Jared?  The photographer I worked for when I first got to New York?”

“You wouldn’t have slept with that guy,” Stormy said.  “I know you, Kelly.  You don’t put out unless it’s for someone that can get you exactly what you want, and a spread in a dirty magazine isn’t your thing.  Besides, you told my mother he was mine.”

“I could have been lying,” she said belligerently. 

“Don’t make me freak out on you, bitch,” Miranda said, stepping toward her and clenching her fists.  “I will take you down.”

“Try it,” Kelly said and then eyed her sister-in-law’s pregnant stomach.  “Don’t tell me someone knocked you up?”  She looked at Eddie.  “I’d be careful.  Just because she says it’s yours doesn’t mean it is.” 

Eddie knew there was a chance Miranda’s baby wasn’t his, but he still found himself brooding over the remark.  While forgiving Miranda was easy, forgetting that she slept with David Jennings wasn’t. 

“I’ve seen R.J.,” Stormy said.  “I know he’s my son.  Now where is he?”

“He’s safe,” she said.  “And if you try to take him from me, I’ll call the police and have your ass arrested.” 

“I’m his father.”

“Not according to his birth certificate.  I had them mark it unknown.  You have no legal rights to that baby.  Your mother has more rights to him than you do.” 

“You mean the little scheme you cooked up so that she could adopt him?” he asked with a laugh.  “That whole thing reeks of fraud.  It’ll never hold up in court.  I’ll get a DNA test if I have to, Kelly.” 

“That will take days,” she said.  “By then R.J. and I will be long gone.” 

“What is you want, Kelly?” Eddie asked.  “Money?”

She shrugged and looked at Stormy.  “You said you’d give me two million dollars.  That’s the price.  And if you keep arguing with me and trying to intimidate me, the price will go up.” 

“You’re unbelievable,” he said with disgust. 

“Is that the going rate for babies, Kelly?” Miranda asked.

“Not for yours, I can tell you that,” she snapped. 

Stormy held his sister back before she could retaliate.  “I’ll need some time to pull it together.” 

“You have until tomorrow morning.  Otherwise we’re on a plane back to New York.”  

“And then what are you going to do with him?” Stormy wanted to know.  “Give him up for adoption?  Sell him on the black market?  I guarantee you won’t get two mil that way.” 

“I’ll sure as hell try,” she said.  “Tomorrow morning.  Be here at nine o’clock with the money.”

Stormy looked at Miranda and Eddie, realizing he had no alternative. 

Renee DeWitt

“I don’t want to see you,” Renee said through the partially open door the next morning in her penthouse at Moonshadows.  “Please leave.”

“Renee, don’t do this,” Kenny pleaded with her.  “Can we please just talk?  Give me a chance to explain.”

“Explain what?” she hissed.  “I know everything I need to know.  You’re still a philandering scoundrel who can’t be trusted.  Now leave before I call security and have you escorted off the premises.” 

Sighing with defeat, Kenny turned and retreated down the hallway.   Inside, Renee leaned against the door and closed her eyes, fighting the tears.  She’d cried herself to sleep the night before and woke up promising herself she wouldn’t waste the effort.  Kenny DeWitt simply wasn’t worth it. 

She started to the breakfast bar to pour herself another cup of coffee when she heard someone at the door.  With a sigh, she stalked across the room.

“Kenny, I told you-“ she began. 

But when the door opened and Sierra entered, her face relaxed. 

“Hi,” Sierra said.  “Everything okay?”

Smiling, Renee pulled her into an embrace.  “Everything’s fine,” she said.  “How are you, baby?  Listen, I’m so sorry that I sort of forced you out of here last night.  This is your home.  I shouldn’t have done that.” 

“It’s okay,” Sierra said.  She was a young African American woman of twenty-one with jet black hair and a light skin.  Dressed in designer jeans and a black blazer over a low cut white blouse, she hovered by the doorway and gave her mother a squeeze.  “I know you needed some time.”

“Thank you, Sweetheart.  Tell me, what did you do last night?  Did you get together with some girlfriends?”

Sierra shook her head, smiling crookedly while resting her fingertips in her back pockets.  “Not exactly,” she said.  “I went to Vegas.”

“Vegas?” Renee asked in shock.  “My Goodness!  Well who did you go with?  Not by yourself, I hope.  Sierra, I know you’ve spent much of your life on your own, but-“

“Mom, I didn’t go by myself,” she said, pulling the door open and standing clear as Benji walked inside.   “I had company.”

Renee’s smile faded and she leveled her eyes on Benji Rydell.   “I see,” she said, her tone dripping with disapproval.  “Well, how did this little adventure come about?”

“It was my idea,” Benji spoke up.  The youngest child of Jordan Rydell, he was twenty years old, stood over six feet tall, and had a lean body.  Brown hair that fell lazily into his dark, brooding eyes, and a mesmerizing grin lent themselves to his charismatic presence. 

“Well, it was both of our idea,” Sierra said, unable to control her excitement.  “We wanted you to be the first to know.  We got married last night.” 

Renee’s expression darkened further.  She looked on as Benji put his arm around her daughter and stood boldly before her. 

“You got married?” she finally asked in disbelief. 

“Yes,” Sierra said.  “I know it’s sudden, but it just felt right.  After everything that’s happened-“

“You mean after you spent months using drugs and cavorting with that unsavory Hunt Roberts?” Renee interrupted.  “Do you think getting married is the wisest decision you could have made?  Particularly to someone that you barely know.”

“We’ve been close for some time,” Benji said.  “Since I came back from boarding school.  We just haven’t really been open about it.”

“Apparently not because this is the first I’ve heard of it.  I knew you were acquaintances, but exactly how close have you been?”

“Benji and I have a mutual respect for one another,” Sierra confirmed.  She had predicted that her mother wouldn’t be thrilled about the news, but to stand there and humiliate her was extreme, even for her.   “He was there for me through the whole disaster with Hunt.”

“I’m aware of that,” Renee said behind pursed lips.  She knew all too well what Benji had done to ensure Hunt was out of the picture.  “I’m just not sure you’re aware that you’ve jumped from the frying pan into the fire.”

“Mother, please-“

Renee tried to control her erratic breathing.  Taking a deep breath, she gestured into the living room.  “Okay, let’s just take a minute and regroup.  Where did this wedding take place?”

“At a chapel on the strip,” Benji said, smiling down at Sierra who stood at his side.  “It wasn’t elaborate, but we had everything we needed.” 

“Mom, I know you’re upset about Kenny and that your wedding didn’t happen, but please try to be happy for me.  This is exactly the direction my life needs right now.” 

“And what about school?” Renee asked, her arms folded primly.  “How can you go back to school when you’re married?”

She shrugged.  “I don’t know that I’m going back to school.  At least not to Sarah Lawrence.  Maybe this summer I’ll take classes at UCLA.” 

“UCLA?” Renee scoffed.  “Tell me, what vocal program does UCLA offer, Sierra?  Have you even thought about your future?  What you’re going to do with your life?  Where you’re going to live?” 

Tears began forming in her eyes.  “No, I haven’t.  I haven’t thought about any of those things because you’ve always thought of them for me.  You decided to leave me with friends and with nannies my entire childhood.  You decided that I would go to prep school in Paris and college at Oxford.  You decided I wasn’t fit to know the truth about my real parents.  So forgive me if I don’t have all the answers right now.  The only thing I know is that Benji is the only person who is always there for me and doesn’t ask anything in return.” 

Startled by her words, Renee fought the tears that threatened her eyes.  Swallowing hard, she decided she needed to choose her next words carefully.  If she said the wrong thing or did anything to hurt her daughter, she knew the risk of losing her. 

“You’re right,” she said.  “We have time to figure all of that out.”

“We have everything we need,” Benji said, pulling Sierra close. 

“You’ll need somewhere to live,” Renee said, deciding that keeping her daughter close was the only chance she had of rectifying her mistake.  “I assume you’ll want privacy, and since Benji isn’t welcome at his father’s house anymore, I’ll arrange for you to stay in the suite downstairs.” 

“That’s very generous,” Benji said.  “But you don’t have to-“

“I don’t think you’re in any position to argue.” 

“We’d rather have one of the cabanas,” Sierra said.  “No offense, mother, but how can we relax if you’re right upstairs all the time?”

Pursing her lips, Renee smiled in spite of herself.  “Of course.  I’ll arrange for it right away.” 

She turned and went to the phone across the room.  She knew she was a hypocrite, but if she didn’t try to keep the peace with her daughter, she’d never be able to get her to see what a mistake she was making. 

There was no way she was going to allow her to stay married to Benji Rydell. 

Kelly Kahoano

Kelly stretched out on the bed in her room at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  She got up, and after tying a robe around her petite waist, went to check on R.J. who slept peacefully in his crib. 

The sound of the shower cutting off brought her attention across the room where Neil Winslow was emerging from the bathroom.  She rolled her eyes, knowing by the look in his eyes that he had sex on his mind.  When didn’t he? 

“Don’t wake him up,” Neil said and led her to the bed.  “That kid’s been screaming his head off since last night.  I got no sleep and we haven’t had sex in two days.  I gotta get it while I can.” 

“Put a sock on that thing,” she said with a grimace and pushed him away.  “I’ve only got a few minutes to spend with him and I want to take advantage of it.”

“Why?” Neil asked crossly.  He was a balding man of forty-seven with a perverted smile and an inflated ego. Getting involved with Kelly Blackthorne had been the best and worst thing to happen to him in years.  “You don’t care about that kid.  I thought money was what you were after.”

“I can still feel something when I’m about to walk away from him,” she snapped. 

“That kid’s gotta be worth more than two million dollars,” Neil said and flopped naked onto the bed.  “These are Hollywood people.  They make two million dollars off of one theatre’s ticket sales.  I say we go for at least double that.” 

“Who’s we?” she demanded crossly.  “You were the one who couldn’t get me a single job.  Then you had to go and let your ex take everything you had, which wasn’t much to begin with.  You want more money, go get your own kid and try to sell him.”

“You’re a pain in the ass,” Neil said, grabbing her arm and pulling her on top of him.  “Now take this robe off and give me a good morning.”

“Give yourself a good morning,” she said, twisting off of him and storming into the bathroom.

Brooke Taylor

Brooke’s arraignment took less than five minutes.  After Kenny presented her case to the judge, he deemed her fit to be released on bail, with a strong word of caution that things could have been simplified had she not ran from the scene.  The D.A. refused to drop the charge of attempted murder and a preliminary hearing was set for the following week. 

“What happens now?” Brooke asked when Kenny and Miranda led her out of the courtroom. 

“Now you go home and hope that Kyle makes it through another day,” Kenny said, his mind still back on his failed attempt at talking to Renee.  It was a wonder he was able to function as a lawyer at all.  “And that if he wakes up he’ll corroborate your story that he fell during your struggle.” 

“What if he doesn’t wake up?” Miranda asked. 

Kenny sighed.  “Then we go to trial and it’s up to a jury to decide.” 

Brooke ran her fingers through her hair.  “I can’t think about that right now.  I need to call James.  I need to know what he’s found out about Ethan.” 

“Use my cell,” Miranda said and handed her Droid to her.  She waited nervously while she made the call. 

After a few rings, Brooke’s face lit up.  “James?  It’s me.  What’s going on?  Are you still in New York?”

Miranda clung to Kenny, anxiously gauging Brooke’s facial expressions as she spoke to her father.  The mere thought of Ethan being alive and well was enough to make all of their problems seem non-existent. 

A minute later, she hung up, tears streaming down her face. 

“What did he say?” Miranda asked.  “Brooke?”

She nodded, placing her hands over her mouth.  “He’s alive,” she said.  “James saw him.  Ethan is alive.” 

Overjoyed, Miranda pulled her into an embrace and they laughed happily.

James Blackthorne

When James hung up his cell phone, he went back inside the office of the public defender who stood impatiently waiting.  “Sorry, I had to take that.”

“Look, Mr. Blackthorne,” the man said, shuffling papers on his desk and filing them into a worn leather attaché case.  “I told you I’m due in court in five minutes.  I don’t know what else I can tell you.”

“You can tell me what my nephew is doing in prison,” James said.  “It’s that simple.” 

“Why don’t you ask your nephew?”

“He won’t talk to me.  All I know is a year and a half ago we thought he died in an earthquake.  Now I find out he’s been here in New York this whole time.  All I need from you is to fill in the blanks for me.  Do you even remember him?”

“Vaguely,” the man said.  When he saw the exasperated look on James’s face, he sighed and went to a file cabinet across the room.  “You said your nephew’s name was Blackthorne?”

“Yes.  Ethan Blackthorne.” 

We knew him as Dan Cody.  That’s the name he was using when they brought him in.” 

“I assure you that is not his name,” James said.

“That may be, but he had identification stating it is.” 

The remark made no sense to James.  “How long has he been at the prison?” he demanded.

“Eight months.  He’s serving a sentence of three to five years.” 

James raked his fingers through his hair and paced the office.  “Three to five years for what?  My nephew is the most morally centered person I’ve ever known.  I doubt very much that whatever he did to get himself thrown in prison was that serious.”

“Tell that to his wife,” the public defender said and handed James a picture of a young woman.

“His wife?” James asked with a frown, staring with confusion at the photograph.

Stormy Blackthorne

Stormy brought Eddie with him to meet Kelly at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  He needed all the backup he could get, and he trusted Eddie with anything.  If Kelly tried to pull a fast one on him, they’d be one step ahead of her. 

He’d managed to get a million from his accounts.  The other million was going to take a day or so.  He’d forgotten how hard it was to get your hands on that much money.  The last time he had the occasion to do so was years ago when he started Good Times Records and needed an overflow of capitol. 

“What if she won’t go for half?” Eddie asked as they waited on a bench in the lounge with a clear view of the elevator.

“She doesn’t have a choice,” Stormy said.  “It’s half now and half later or she walks away with no money and a baby she doesn’t want.” 

Minutes later, they saw the elevator doors open and Kelly emerge alone.  R.J. was nowhere in sight.   Quickly, they got up and intercepted her a few feet away. 

“Where is he?” Stormy demanded with hostility.

“Relax.  He’s upstairs in the room.  I’m not going to bring him down here and let you run off with him before paying me.” 

“I’ve got the money,” Stormy said and lifted a small duffel bag.  “Now go get my son or the deal is off.” 

“Let me see,” she said insistently.

Sighing, Stormy opened the bag and showed her the bundles of cash. 

“Looks kind of light for two million.” 

“This is half,” he said.  “The other half will take a day or so.” 

She looked at him with sudden alarm.  “Forget it.  The deal was two million up front or I leave with R.J.”   She began to turn and walk away when Stormy ran and grabbed her arm. 

“If you leave now you get nothing,” he said.  “And I drag your ass to court to prove he’s my son and that you’re a unfit mother.  So what’s it going to be, Kelly?  Half or nothing?”

Glaring angrily at him, she realized she had no choice but to go along with his terms.   “Come on,” she said and led them to the elevator. 

The ride up to her small room was enveloped in silence.  Once when Kelly looked at Stormy he reacted by rolling his eyes with disgust and looking away.  When they reached the door she removed a key card from her back pocket and opened it slowly. 

“Give me the money,” she said before they went inside. 

“You are such a whore,” Stormy groaned, thrusting the bag at her.  “I hate to say it, but my family was right about you.” 

Ignoring his comment, she took the bag and led them inside.  “We’re here,” she called out, making her way into the living area. 

“Who are you talking to?” Stormy asked.  “Are you not alone?”

“My agent came with me,” she said. 

“Your agent?” he asked with a roll of his eyes.  “I’ve heard that before.” 

“Neil?” she called out, ducking into the bedroom and scouting about. 

“Where is he?” Stormy demanded.  “Where is R.J.?”

“Oh my God,” Kelly said, emerging from the bedroom with a piece of paper clutched in her hand.   “He took him.” 

“What?”  He snatched the note from her and read it aloud.  The price went up.  I’ll be in touch.” 

“That bastard,” Kelly hissed. 

Eyes flaring, Stormy grabbed the bag of money from her and pulled her into the bedroom, throwing her onto the unmade bed.  Eddie went back into the hall to see if the agent or R.J. were still nearby.

“Where did he take him?” Stormy demanded. 

“I don’t know!”

“Don’t fucking lie to me, Kelly!  I know you’re in on this!  Now tell me where he took my son!” 

“I told you I don’t know!” she screamed.

Clenching his fists in anger, Stormy turned and tried to get control of his emotions.  “If you’re lying to me, I swear to God I’ll-“

“There’s no sign of them,” Eddie said when he returned to the room.  “R.J.’s gone.” 

Stormy screamed in anger and punched a hole in the bedroom door.  How could this have happened?  How could he have lost his son again?


Next time....

James tries to get to the bottom of Ethan's prison sentence.  Kyle's fate is revealed.  Mackenzie hopes for another chance with James.  

 

 

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