Neil was killed in the car accident
but R.J. survived unharmed. Kelly announced to
a surprised Stormy that she was giving up her career
in New York to stay in Los Angeles and be a mother to
R.J. Stormy forgave Jane and asked if they could
start over, but still refused to speak to Alex. Kelly
and Jane had words with each other. Farrah Bale
left Marquette Cove after failing to trick Alec into
believing she was pregnant. Before she left, Tyler Rogers
gave her his father's business card. Suzanne drained
her bank account and gave the money to Warren, but he
said they needed more to keep New Abbott alive. Brett
learned of the compound in Death Valley and went there
hoping to reason with Suzanne. She refused to
go with him. Benji asked Jordan for money to start
up a club with Blake, but Jordan turned him away. Later,
Jordan's house was robbed and he blamed Benji, threatening
to call the police if he didn't return the missing items.
Angry, Benji mailed a copy of Suzanne's book to
Heather. In Death Valley, Suzanne, Ross, and a
girl named Linda returned with the possessions they'd
taken from the house. Sierra spent time with Ashton.
Sierra and Benji learned their marriage wasn't
legal. But after hearing more about Benji's recent
misdeeds, Sierra told him she thought getting married
was a mistake. Benji was devastated and grabbed
Sierra, but left before it could get physical. Later,
Benji issued Renee a warning if she tried to keep him
the elevator doors slid open, Mackenzie Stone began strutting down the corridor
of the luxury hotel. A black trench coat
cinched at the waist covered her low-cut designer dress. Red-soled black pumps dug into the freshly laid
carpet on her path to room 3405. She
paused at the door and knocked delicately.
The time was now. She’d had
enough of waiting around for the ball to drop.
Knots in her stomach that had plagued her for the entire flight to New York were now at
their worst. But never one to let nerves
come between her and anything, she proceeded forth in her endeavor.
said with surprise when he opened the door in gray slacks and a white
undershirt. “What are you doing here?”
“Finding out where we
stand,” she said and marched inside the luxurious suite. “I realize you’ve been busy, James, but you
haven’t returned any of my phone calls.
I’d at least like the courtesy of a response.”
He rubbed his tired
eyes and looked at the clock after closing the door. It was after midnight, and a late-night
visitor was the last thing he expected.
Particularly from her.
“I don’t think
you’re in any position to make demands,” he said. “You lied to me.”
information that I didn’t feel was important to what was going on between the
two of us,” she corrected him.
James raised an
eyebrow and followed her inside the room.
“You didn’t think it was important that I know Kyle was your
brother? That he was lying about being
Will Thomerson’s son?”
She knew exactly
what he was going to say and had prepared for each and every argument to her
defense. In college she’d been a master
debater, after all.
“Again, it had
nothing to do with you and I,” she said, long black hair pulled into a tight
ponytail. “If it had an adverse affect
on your ex-wife, then that’s another matter, but honestly I think that’s a
“An adverse affect? Brooke has spent the last year and a half
mourning the death of her soul mate.”
“Yes, and the
minute I learned that Ethan was alive, I flew back to L.A. and I told her as much.” Case proven, she thought. He had no right to be angry with her. “Now why don’t you be honest with yourself
and admit that you still feel protective of Brooke.
You always have. You’re upset
that Kyle pulled one over on her, and instead of blaming him, you’re blaming
speechless. He knew she was ballsy and
no-nonsense, but to shuck any of the blame and insist it was the end of the
story was truly unbelievable.
change the fact that you kept the truth from me.”
“So I should have
told you that Kyle was my brother?” she asked.
“And then what would have happened?
You would have still been pissed at me.
But none of this is my fault, James.
Kyle does what Kyle wants to do.
I’ve learned that the hard way.”
He was floored that
she’d flown all the way to New York
to confront him. In a way it flattered
him. And while yes, he did blame her for
keeping Kyle’s secret, this side of her personality was what drew him to her in
the first place.
“So what are we
going to do?” Mackenzie asked while untying her coat and throwing it over the
back of a chair. Her dress was sheer in
all the right places and showed off her legs, which were two of her best assets. “Are you going to keep punishing me or are
we going to see where this thing goes?”
By the time he
thought of a response, she was inches away.
He grew aroused by her domineering nature. Before he knew what was happening, he was
kissing her hard on the lips. All reason
flew out the window.
Pushing him on the
bed, Mackenzie pulled her dress over her head to reveal a black corset
beneath. Her breasts bursted from their
confines, tumbling out into his face as she straddled him and ran her tongue
across his eager lips.
The dinner crowd at
the Cahuenga Room was beginning to thin out.
From the DJ booth came the sounds of Latin congas and sweeping
orchestras. A few tables were scattered
with patrons while others enjoyed the balmy evening air on the outdoor patio. Kyle
was standing at the bar talking to a bartender and a cocktail server about a
customer complaint when Renee approached from behind.
“Kyle, so glad
you’re feeling better,” she said. “I
didn’t expect you to be up and around so soon.”
He turned to her
and smiled. “The doctor said I can work
as long as I take it easy for a while. I
know how stressed you’ve been so I wanted to do what I can to help out.”
that,” Renee replied. “While I have you
here, I wanted to talk to you about a new idea I had for evening
entertainment. I think we should start
featuring live music in addition to the DJ.”
said, wincing from the pain in his back when he moved too suddenly. “On a nightly basis like at La Mirada?”
while she pondered his question. “No, I
think just a couple of nights a week for now.”
“Okay. Do you have anyone in mind?”
“Sierra. She’s a fantastic singer and I think she
could draw in the younger crowd we’re going for. Plus I think the distraction could be good
for her. Please see to it that we have a
piano placed over there.” She pointed for clarification. “And hire that accompaniment player listed on
that flier I sent to your office.”
“Will do,” Kyle
said and turned to make a few notes on his notepad before starting off through
“Oh, and one more
thing, Kyle,” Renee called after him.
She waited until he turned to her before continuing. “Don’t think that just because you still have
a job here at Moonshadows that I’ve forgotten about the underhanded things
you’ve done to the people I care about.”
Kyle knew it had to
come sooner or later. “Look, Renee, I-“
She cut him off
with a penetrating glare. “Whatever you
may have done up until today is of no concern to me. What I will
tell you is that if you do anything to hurt Brooke, James, or anyone I care
about again, you’ll have me to answer
With that, she
turned and wove her way toward the French doors that led outside into the night. Kyle sighed and made a face when the
bartender flashed him a sympathetic look.
Proving himself to not be a complete dirt bag was going to be a
challenge, he decided.
When Renee emerged
from the club, she started across the parking lot toward the hotel. The short walk home along the dimly lit path
was brisk. As she neared the building,
she spotted someone emerge from the shadows near a utility shed. Stopping her manic pace, she peered through
the night and tried to determine who was there.
When Benji stepped into the light, a tiny gasp escaped her throat.
“What are you doing
here?” she asked.
“Waiting for you,”
he told her and stepped closer. “I have
to talk to you about Sierra.”
“I think you’ve
said everything you need to,” she replied.
“You did threaten me earlier
He took another
step toward her. “I’m just
frustrated. Look, I can work this out
with Sierra if you just help me talk to her.”
Renee frowned. “I’m not helping you do anything where my
daughter is concerned,” she said in astonishment. “Now please leave before I have you escorted
off the property.”
“You’re making a
mistake,” Benji called after her.
“Sierra and I belong together.”
She ignored him,
turning and continuing along her way.
Just a few more steps and she’d be at the hotel and her penthouse. And not a moment too soon. Since this whole thing started, she’d begun
to feel nervous any time Benji was around.
“You’ll be sorry,”
Benji said before he turned and walked to his car in the parking lot.
Of the twenty
bedrooms at the Blackthorne mansion, Kelly decided to move into the one
directly beside the nursery. Stormy’s
room was two doors down, a fact that she was all too aware of. Late that night, after everyone had gone to
bed, she retired to her room and showered, allowing the hot water to rain over
her. Hot water was a luxury, as her tiny
apartment in Manhattan
had constant problems with the furnace.
As a matter of act, everything about her new living arrangement was a
luxury. She’d almost forgotten what it
was like to live in such lavish surroundings.
She was going to enjoy every second of it.
herself in a plush yellow towel, her tan skin glistening with water, she
stepped out of the bathroom.
Immediately, her eyes landed on an open suitcase positioned on her bed,
clothes thrown haphazardly inside and Stormy rifling through her closet.
“What do you think
you’re doing?” she demanded.
stuff,” he said, returning to the bed and throwing a stack of blouses into the
suitcase. He paused long enough to cast an
ice cold glare in her direction. “You
didn’t really think I was going to let you just move into my house, did you?”
“Put that back!”
she lamented, racing toward him and grabbing the garments from his hands. “You can’t just throw me out!”
“The hell I can’t,”
Stormy returned, pushing her down onto the bed and going to the dresser. He pulled the top door open and began
grabbing handfuls of lingerie. “You
didn’t think enough of our marriage to stay the first time, so why the hell
would you want to come back?”
“I’m not here for you this time!” she shouted, holding the
towel closed over her breasts as she climbed off the bed. “I’m here for R.J. I’m his mother and you can’t stop me from
“I could get your
rights taken away before your fucking hair dries,” he said, shoving the
underwear into a Gucci carry-on. “After
everything you put our son through, there’s not a judge in the world who
wouldn’t give me full custody.”
“You wouldn’t,” she
said, taking her lingerie and carrying them back to the dresser.
“Then you don’t
know me very well.” He grabbed her by
the arm to stop her, then went across the room and picked up a pair of jeans
and a halter top. “Now get dressed and
get out,” he said, throwing the clothes at her.
“You’re a bastard,”
He headed for the
door. “And don’t even think about trying
to contest the divorce. You’ll be
getting papers tomorrow. It’s time I
ended this sham of a marriage once and for all.”
“You mean so you can
be free to carry on with Janet or whatever her name is?” she asked spitefully.
“I’ll do whatever
the hell I want with Jane,” he said
and turned toward her. “Marriage or not,
we’ve been over since the day I found you naked in Jared Honeywell’s modeling
“You’ve gotten so
bitter and resentful,” she said, folding her arms. “What happened to you, Stormy? You used to be fun and driven. Now you’re just another trust fund kind
trying to act like he’s doing something.”
“I am doing something!” he yelled. “I’m raising my son and getting him the hell
away from you!”
With a clever grin,
she took a few steps toward him. “You’re
using R.J. as a way to punish me,” she said.
“For leaving you and for refusing to come back here to your Hollywood Hills
mansion that time you tracked me down in New
serious? I’m using R.J? You tried selling him, you crazy bitch.”
She shrugged and
went to hang her clothes back in the closet.
“Still, the fact is that you’re in a position to keep me away from
R.J. But if you do, if you make me leave
this house, you’ll be the one to
“Meaning I’ll go to
the police and tell them about Alex and Jane’s little phony adoption scheme,”
Kelly went on. “Let’s see, forging
official documents, lying to the state adoption board, faking blood tests. I think your girlfriend and your mother may
be looking at some jail time.”
He glared angrily
at her from the doorway.
“All because you
wanted to punish me,” she continued.
Realizing she had
him, Stormy decided he had no choice but to give in. He hated the thought of her living under the
same roof, but what choice did he have?
“Fine, you can
stay,” he said. “But only
until I find a way to get rid of you."
After he’d stormed
out of the room, she turned and flopped onto the bed. With a smile, she reveled in the fact that Stormy
could be so easily manipulated. A luxurious place to live wasn’t all she had
going for her it seemed.
Jane worked the dinner shift at the
restaurant, and by the time she’d finished her cleaning duties, it was after
one o’clock in the morning. Exhausted, she
walked outside with the shift manager and waited for him to lock the doors.
“You want me to
walk you to your car?” he asked.
She smiled and
pointed to the street. “No, I’m just
over there. Goodnight Jimmy.”
Jane turned and
walked to the sidewalk. She didn’t work
in the best neighborhood in town, but for the most part people left her
alone. Prostitutes often brazenly hung
out nearby and there was the occasional fight that broke out on the street, but
it was nothing she hadn’t seen back in Illinois
on weekend trips to Chicago.
As she neared her
car, she spotted a blond woman standing on the curb talking to a man in a
car. She seemed too pretty to be a
hooker, Jane thought to herself. Flashes
of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman ran
through her mind and made her laugh a little.
But as the hooker turned her head briefly in her direction, she
immediately stopped laughing.
“Farrah?” she asked
in disbelief. “Oh my God, what are you
“Jane,” the girl
said. She was a feisty five and a half
feet with milky white skin and full red lips.
Her blue eyes darted nervously to Jane and then back at the man in the
car. “I was just…uh…”
“Are we gonna do
this or what?” the guy in the car shouted through the window. He was clean cut with a neatly trimmed goatee
and dark sunglasses on even though it was pitch black outside.
“Jane, I gotta go,”
Farrah said. “I’m sorry.”
But Jane stopped
her. “Wait, go where? Farrah, who is this guy? Are you-“
“You want the money
or not? I don’t have all day,” said the
man with the goatee.
Jane’s eyes flashed
open wide. “Jane, are you prostituting
yourself?” she uttered with a whisper.
“Look, if you need money-“
around to the passenger’s side door. “I
wish I could stay and talk,” she said anxiously. “It’s good to see you, Janey.”
Jane called after her. But in a flash,
the car sped away.
Standing on the
curb, perplexed, Jane tried to come up with some explanation of why her cousin
Farrah Bale was working as a hooker in Los
her mother’s urging, Sierra had decided to stay living at the cabana rather
than move back into the penthouse. If
she was going to get her life together, she needed space and privacy. With her mother constantly on her heels,
she’d never have a minute to think. The
hotel was just up the path, so it wasn’t like they were far. Reluctantly, Renee had agreed.
is beginning to be a habit,” Sierra said when she ran into Ashton as she took
her evening walk around the resort. “Now
I’m beginning to think you’re the one with stalker
I help it if I enjoy the amenities?” he said with a grin as he fell in line
not a guest,” she reminded him. “Do I
have to turn you in? I’m in pretty good
with the owner, you know.”
followed the path along the cliffs that jutted out over the ocean. “I was actually hoping I’d run into you. You seemed a little freaked the other night
when I told you about seeing Benji beat up that homeless guy.”
was a little concerning,” she said, gazing up at the night sky.
I don’t know for sure if it was him. I probably
shouldn’t have said anything. Hunt and
Sheldon were egging me on to join their smear campaign. It seems Benji’s made a few enemies.”
she said with a sorrowful shake of her head.
“I don’t think I helped matters, either.”
happened? Did you confront him about
but I told him I couldn’t see him anymore,” she explained. “We found out our marriage wasn’t legal and I
just couldn’t bring myself to do it again.
I think we rushed into things.”
did he take that?” Ashton inquired as they rounded a corner near the tennis
courts and children’s park.
well. He moved in with Blake.”
put a comforting hand on her arm and then quickly moved it away. “Benji’s always been able to bounce back,” he
said. “I’ve known him since we were like
five years old.”
arrived at the cabana and Sierra turned to face him. “Well, thanks for walking with me. I’m pretty beat.”
late,” he said. “You should get some
Ashton. I’m glad we started hanging
out. You’re a good friend.”
listen, I was thinking,” he said before departing. “Since you’re technically single again, would
you be interested in going out sometime?
I mean, nothing too heavy. Dinner
or a movie or whatever. Or just another
walk. I like spending time with you
smiled. Getting involved with someone so
soon wasn’t something she’d thought about.
It definitely didn’t go along with her plans for self-healing. “If we can keep it as friends, then
he said through a dimpled smile that resembled disappointment. “Well, goodnight, Sierra.”
he’d gone, she turned and went to unlock the door. Before she did, the sound of someone rushing
up behind her startled her and caused her to shriek with surprise.
she exclaimed, placing a hand on her heaving chest.
sorry for scaring you,” he said. “I came
to talk to you but you weren’t here so I decided to wait. Please Sierra, I just want to talk. Nothing else.”
shook her head miserably. “There’s
nothing to talk about. I told you how I
feel. I just need time.”
much time?” he demanded.
don’t know. Benji, please try to
like to but you won’t talk to me,” he said.
“Your mom’s acting like she’s your bodyguard, and meanwhile you’re
hanging out with Ashton Childers of all people.
He hates me, Sierra. What has he
she said, stepping back against the door.
you talk about us to him, don’t you?”
“Yeah. I mean, a
little. I just like hanging out with him.”
remark sent Benji’s mind racing. “What
does he have that I don’t?” he asked, moving closer to her. “What the hell can Ashton do for you that I
it,” she said, pushing him away. “It’s
not like that.”
not? Well tell me how it is. Is he fucking you?”
stop!” she cried, twisting this way and that as he closed his hands around her
wrists. Suddenly, a Moonshadows security
guard appeared and restrained Benji. The
bewildered and confused look on his face sent pangs of guilt shooting through
guy bothering you, Miss Merteuil?” the guard, a burly black man named Leo
asked, handling Benji like he was a rag doll.
go of me!” Benji demanded, twisting in his powerful grasp. “I wasn’t doing anything. I just wanted to
talk to her!”
fact that her mother was having her watched, and that she felt she needed to
protect her from Benji, brought tears to Sierra’s eyes. She turned and raced inside the cabana,
locking the door and leaning her back against it.
I love you!” Benji called from outside as Leo forced him up the path to the
next morning in New York City,
James, Kenny, Brooke, and Mackenzie were gathered outside the courtroom
nervously pacing the floor.
much longer do you think the recess will last?” Brooke inquired.
to tell,” was Kenny’s vague reply. “The
arresting officer made quite a case for himself. I’m usually good at reading the judge, but
can I have a word?” James said and motioned for him to follow him across the
they were out of earshot, Brooke approached Mackenzie with a tentative look in
her eyes. “How is Kyle? Has there been any improvement?”
nodded. “He was released from the
hospital this morning. Brooke, I
hope you aren’t beating yourself up too badly about what happened. Kyle’s accident was just that. An
accident. No one would blame you for
reacting the way you did.”
don’t blame myself,” she said. “I blame
beg your pardon?” Mackenzie asked with an incredulous frown.
knew the truth all along and you never said anything. All of this could have been prevented if
you’d just admitted that Kyle is your brother.”
didn’t know about Ethan,” she said,
tired of defending herself. “And when I
found out I flew back to L.A.
and told you.”
still let me believe that Kyle was Ethan’s brother,” Brooke said. “And meanwhile you’ve managed to rope James
into your web of lies. I don’t know what
you did to get him to forgive you, but James is no fool."
laughed at her. “You really enjoy this,
all these men vying for your attention.
James, Ethan, Kyle. You don’t
exist unless it’s when you’re calling the shots and keeping everyone at bay.”
not keeping anyone at bay.”
please,” Mackenzie said. She’d fully
intended to treat Brooke with the decency she thought she’d deserved, but if
she was going to attack, she’d attack back. It was in her nature. “Just the fact that you still feel the need
to protect James is sad. He’s over
you. He and I are together. For how long, I don’t know. But I do know that it’s got to be killing you
that for once he’s doing his own thing and not cleaning up your messes for
don’t know what you’re talking about,” Brooke seethed.
me ask you something, Brooke. If Ethan’s
sentence is overturned on this technicality, how long are you going to string
him along while you decide if it’s Kyle or James or someone else that you really
and I were about to be married when he-“
James and I had a good thing going before you sucked him back into your petty
little dramas,” she cut her off. “It’s
par for the course with you, Brooke.
It’s always got to be about you.”
judge is back,” James said as he approached.
“He’s made a decision.”
decided to table the rest of their discussion.
Flashing Brooke one final glare, she turned and made her way into the
courtroom on James’s arm.
the butler told him that Jordan
was spending time on his yacht, Brett proceeded to the marina where he found
his father-in-law practicing his golf swing on the deck of his fifty foot
vessel. Alex was sunning herself nearby
on a lounger.
this is what retirement looks like,” Brett said as he climbed aboard, unable to
resist throwing in a jab.
not retired,” Jordan
said, barely reacting to his presence.
“Just planning my next move.” His
eyes flickered toward him mid-swing. “When
I take you down once and for all.”
luck,” Brett said under his breath. “I
didn’t come here to trade insults, anyway.
I saw Suzanne yesterday.”
reunion filled with fireworks, I’m sure,” he said dubiously.
couldn’t help listen in even though the conversation had nothing to do with
her. She set her magazine down and
lowered her Chanel sunglasses.
think she’s in trouble,” Brett informed him.
else is new?” Jordan
asked, continuing his practice.
disregarded his nonchalant attitude and stepped closer. “I found her at some campsite in Death Valley.
She’s there with Fuller. And some
guy named Warren Abbott.”
I think she’s there against her will. Or
at the very least she’s been brainwashed into staying there.”
she’s been hypnotized again,” Jordan
laughed. “Are you sure Victor isn’t
involved? They never did find his body,
isn’t funny,” Brett said. “You didn’t
see the way she acted toward me. It’s
like she’s given up on her life and adopted these people as her new family.”
asked, finally putting his club down and looking at him.
group of people she was with,” he said.
“They live in tents and sheds out in the middle of the desert. As soon as I showed up they were acting like
I was a threat to whatever they’re doing out there.”
stood from the chaise and fell in alongside Jordan. “What are they doing?”
don’t know,” Brett replied. “I got the
feeling that she’s in trouble, that’s all.
I’m going to see what I can find out about Warren Abbott. I swear I’ve seen him somewhere before.”
nodded in concentration. “Well, good
raised an eyebrow. “That’s it? You’re not going to do anything? She’s the mother of your children.”
sure she’ll be fine.” He picked up
another club and practiced another swing.
by his lack of concern, Brett threw his hands up in resignation and climbed
back down off the boat. After he’d gone,
Alex handed Jordan
she is in trouble,” she said. “She’s not the most mentally stable person,
Jordan. Aren’t you worried?”
is more stable than people give her credit for,” he replied. “This is just another in a long line of cries
for attention. Once she gets what she
needs from these people, she’ll come back.”
heart going out to him, she placed a hand on his shoulder. “And Benji?
I know it’s tearing you apart what’s happened to your relationship with
him. You need to talk to him.”
worry about your relationship with your own children,” he snapped.
her golf cart, Renee rolled through the intersecting paths that surrounded the
buildings at Moonshadows. Making her way
from the hotel to the administrative buildings, to the tennis courts, riding
yards, and pools was a long haul so transportation was vital.
spotted Sierra reading on a park bench near the recreation building. Waiving a hand through the air to catch her
attention, she veered to the side of the access road and removed her large
round Chanel sunglasses.
morning, Darling!” she waived and called over to her daughter.
Sierra said and went to her. “You’re
here an awful lot lately. I thought Kyle
was in charge.”
is, but I decided I needed to keep myself busy.”
still haven’t spoken to Kenny?” Sierra asked with a wry expression.
she said in a tone that signified she wasn’t in the mood to discuss her
ex-husband. “Plans for the day?”
just going over these course books from Sarah Lawrence,” she said and flashed
her the registration packet.
eyes lit up. “You’re going back to
school? Sweetheart, I think that’s
not sure yet,” she said. “I’m thinking
about it. Not right away, anyway. I’d still like to stay here and do some
thinking for a while.”
of course. You need time, baby. And speaking of that, why don’t you move back
into the penthouse with me? There’s
plenty of room. You can have the entire
downstairs suite if you want.”
Sierra began with exasperation. “We’ve
been over this. I like having my privacy
at the cabana. And Lord knows I’m never alone since you’ve decided it’s
necessary to have me watched by Leo everywhere I go.”
just worry about you,” Renee said.
will take the hint eventually. He’s not
a menace, Mom, he’s just hurt. I can’t
say that I blame him.”
but I don’t think you should go blaming yourself for-“ She paused when she spotted Ashton come up
the hill from the gym. “Oh look who it
morning,” Ashton said and flashed Sierra a bright smile as he approached.
shook her head with a laugh. “Why does
this not surprise me?”
how are you?” Renee asked.
Mrs. DeWitt. I was just enjoying your
beautiful resort. I’d actually hoped
that I’d run into your daughter. I was
going to see if she wanted to join me for breakfast.”
a marvelous idea,” Renee said, eyeing him happily. “Sierra, we can finish this discussion
later. You should go with Ashton.”
Sierra said and flashed her a look.
she asked with a shrug. Secretly, she
was thrilled that Sierra was spending time with someone as upstanding as Ashton
Childers. A far cry from the emotionally
crippled Benji Rydell.
not hungry,” Sierra said.
Darling, you should go,” Renee insisted.
“By the way, Ashton, is your father still in Greece? I haven’t seen him at any of our normal
ma’am,” he replied. “I get the feeling
he’s not particularly eager to come back and face the Blackthornes after
leaving them high and dry in Acapulco.”
Renee said with a wink. “Well, I have to
get to my office. I’ll see you both
“Bye mom,” Sierra
said with a roll of her eyes. As she
turned, Ashton was grinning maliciously at her.
She didn’t seem to have much of a choice in the matter. Breakfast with Ashton it was.
In his office that
overlooked the sprawling Sunset Studios lot, Brett tapped away at his
computer. He googled Warren Abbott’s
name and waited for the screen to load.
Seconds later, several pages of results appeared. The first was a podiatrist in Kansas, the next a 1992 alumni from a high school in Montana, and then
several other hits that didn’t appear to be of any use.
clicked on a few user profiles with the name Warren Abbot and finally came to
one bearing the man’s photograph. Below
was an arrest record depicting two instances where the man had been charged
with fraud and grand larceny. He’d
served six months in a prison in San
Francisco in 2006.
“I knew it,” Brett
mumbled as he searched for more information.
He was certain he’d come in contact with Warren before, but he couldn’t place
where. One thing he did know was that
the man was obviously not everything he claimed to be.
His search was
halted when the door opened and Stormy burst inside. Quickly minimizing the screen, he stood up
and dug his hands into his pockets.
“Stormy, I’m kind
of in the middle of something, so-“
“I bet you are,”
Stormy said. “You’ve been very busy
while the rest of us have been preoccupied.
Just what the hell were you thinking using Sunset Studios funds to buy
out Rydell Productions?”
“I was thinking that we’d double our resources
and have twice as much production value,” Brett replied matter-of-factly. “Not to mention eliminating one of our
“Without so much as
running it by my father or me first?” Stormy asked. His father had told him that he would handle
Brett, but he couldn’t wait. He had to
let his former brother-in-law know that he was on to him. “Where the hell do you get off making
decisions like this?”
“Well, you were
busy chasing your wife around and trying to find your son,” Brett said, walking
across the room and pouring himself a drink.
“Don’t get me wrong, Junior, I’m glad you got him back, but business
doesn’t stop just because you’re having another personal crisis.”
“One phone call to
my father. That’s all it would have
“In case you’ve
forgotten, I do have proxy over Nathan’s ten percent of the studio. Jackie gave them to me when she left for
D.C. The last time I checked, you don’t
have any shares in the studio. You’re an employee.”
“I’ve been an
executive here for a lot longer than you have.
I make real decisions that affect us every day. You came in to sharpen the pencils while the
rest of us were kidnapped by a drug cartel. And besides that, I'm a Blackthorne."
shrugged. “It’s funny how there’s always
something that keeps you from actually doing any work around here.”
folded his arms. “This smug attitude of
yours isn’t going to get you anywhere, Brett.
When my father gets back he’ll deal with you. My guess is you’ll be out on the street
again. And as far as I know, Jordan
blackballed you from any other studio in town, so you’ll be lucky to get a job
as a script boy.”
“We’ll see what
your father says when he gets back today,” Brett said.
“What? He’s coming back today?”
“He didn’t tell
you?” Brett said with a satisfied grin.
“He called me this morning and said they’re flying back on the jet. Hmmm, I guess he forgot?”
with him, Stormy turned and darted out of the office. Brett rolled up his sleeves and sat back down
at the desk to finish his research. After
winning another argument with Stormy, he felt like he could conquer any
In the weeks since
she’d been in L.A.,
Farrah Bale had realized that life was not much different there than it had
been in Marquette Cove. People were
still only out to serve their own needs and most couldn’t care less what
happened to you. After a string of
laughable acting auditions, she began to feel hopeless. The only acting credits to her name, after
all, were of the x-rated variety.
One way or another,
she wound up on the streets working for a man who had his hands in more than it
was safe for her to know about.
Prostitution was just the tip of the iceberg. Pornography, racketeering, and organized
crime seemed to be among the worst of his deeds.
Running into her
cousin Jane the night before had been a wake up call and quickly made her
reconsider her new profession. She’d
considered calling her, but to risk her family learning that she’d resorted to
prostitution was too big a gamble.
The guy she’d
picked up the night before had a gun on a holster over his clothes, so he was
either a cop looking for a good time or some kind of nut. Either way, after he had his way with her, he
quickly fell asleep. She took the
opportunity to take what money he had in his wallet. Four hundred dollars and some change. She also took his gun.
Standing in the
dark motel room with a vacancy sign flashing through the window, she looked at
the gun and dropped it into her purse. Her
plan was simple. Meet some rich Hollywood
thought he was just picking up a whore, and take him for everything. No one would argue with a gun. With any luck, she’d get enough cash to start
a real life in L.A.
One of the
downfalls of being pregnant was the things Miranda was prohibited from
doing. Having a cocktail before dinner
was one, that extra jolt of caffeine she needed every morning was another, and
taking a leisurely ride on one of her father’s prized thoroughbreds was
another. Still, she loved being around horses,
so she walked along the riding yard near the stables while Jane trotted along
atop one of the mares.
Miranda asked, plucking a weed from the ground and tearing bits of it off.
Jane nodded as the
horse carried her along the grassy riding yard near the stables. “It looks that way. I didn’t even know my cousin Farrah was in L.A.”
“You want me to see
if Eddie can find her for you?” Miranda asked her. She stopped and looked down at her
stomach. “Oh my God!”
“What is it? Are you okay?”
She smiled. “The baby’s kicking like crazy. I guess that’s what I get for skipping
breakfast. She’s never kicked like this
“She?” Jane asked with a grin. “You’re sure it’s a girl, are you? I thought you wanted to be surprised.”
“I do, but I just
have a feeling. Same way I knew Biff was
going to be a boy before I miscarried.”
Jane pulled at the
reigns on the saddle so Miranda could keep up as they walked. “This house is going to be full of kids in no
time. First R.J. and now your little
“Yeah, I’m glad me
and Stormy’s kids can grow up together.”
Jane grew quiet
while she considered Stormy’s new living arrangement. “Miranda, do you think I have anything to
worry about with Kelly being in the house?
I mean, she and Stormy are still married, after all.”
“Yeah, but not for
long,” she replied. “He filed
papers. Now it’s just a matter of making
it official. Besides, he can’t stand
“Yeah, but they’re
living in the same house, raising their son together. I trust Stormy but…”
“But you don’t
trust Kelly,” Miranda finished for her.
“Look, I know Kelly. She’s not
going to be around for long. She’ll
probably get bored and take off again. I
can’t see her as a stay at home mom doting over R.J. all day. Trust me, she’s not a threat to your
relationship with Stormy.”
“I hope not,” she
“Speak of the
devil,” Miranda said as Kelly emerged from the stables, Chip the stable hand
leading another horse out into the riding yard. “Take a wrong turn at the front gate on your
way out?” she called over to her.
“Nope, I’m right
where I want to be,” Kelly replied, clad in jeans, boots and a form-fitting
lavender blouse. “You girls don’t mind
if I ride along with you, do you?”
Miranda spat. “You may be staying here
temporarily, but you don’t have the run of the place. My father doesn’t let just anybody ride his horses.”
“I’m the mother of
his grandson,” Kelly said and allowed the hand to hoist her up onto the
saddle. “I think he’ll make an exception
for me. Jane, so nice to see you
again. You seem to be here quite a
“Miranda invited me
“Have a day off
from the Greasy Spoon?” Kelly mocked.
“Well, I guess even waitresses have to have a life. You did
get your Hepatitis A shots, didn’t you?
I’d hate for anything you pick up at that place to get near R.J.”
groaned. “Kelly, why don’t you-“
Jane stopped her
with a waive of her hand. “No, it’s
okay. I’m used to pests bothering me at
the restaurant. I can handle it
Kelly glowered at
her and snapped the reigns of the saddle.
“Just don’t ride
him too hard,” Miranda warned her.
“That’s Miso. He’s a little rough
around the edges.”
“I can handle myself
on a horse, Miranda,” Kelly snapped. “I
used to ride them all the time at Ke Liu’s family’s ranch in Honolulu.”
indifferently and made a face at Jane. As
she did, Miso trotted off through the riding yard, almost immediately bucking
Kelly off and sending her falling to the ground.
“Son of a-“ Kelly
began, jumping to her feet in a huff.
Miranda and Jane
laughed, continuing along their way as they walked leisurely around the riding
“Benji here?” Jordan
asked when Blake opened the door to the apartment.
“No,” he replied
and quickly tried closing the door on him.
Jordan pushed it open
again. “Not so fast. Look, I know you’re
still pissed at me for what went on with me and your mom, but-“
“You were the
reason she left us,” Blake interrupted.
He stood in the doorway in gym shorts and no shirt, the sound of
videogames blaring from behind him in the living room. “And the reason my dad flipped out.”
"I’ve made a lot of
admitted. “I could never have predicted
what was going to happen to your family.
My family suffered too, you know.
Look at Heather. Benji is still suffering.”
“At least his
parents are still around,” Blake said flippantly.
“You heard from
“She still in Fresno?”
“I’m worried about
said. “He robbed my house so he could
sell the stuff and get money so you could open your club.”
“What club?” Blake
asked with a frown.
Jordan’s eyes narrowed on
him. “He said you were opening a club
together. He needed money and I wouldn’t
give it to him so-“
club,” Blake said. “I forgot. Yeah, I
think we decided against it since he couldn’t come up with his money. I don’t think he robbed you, though.”
covering for him,” Jordan
said from the hall. “There never was a
club, was there? So what did Benji need
the money for?”
“I don’t know. Look, do you want me to give him a message or
Jordan shook his head,
hands dug deep in his pockets. “No, no
message. Just….watch out for him, will
you? He’s always thought so much of
Blake nodded and
closed the door. Jordan stood behind, not at all
surprised that Benji had lied to him. He
obviously just wanted to get his hands on money so he could continue living
freely like he always had. But to out
and out lie to him, then steal from him was beyond comprehension. He didn’t want to do it, but he realized he’d
have to make good on his threats. He
would have to call the police.
Benji dropped by
Van Edgewater’s bungalow in Studio
City that afternoon
because he knew he could trust him with anything. Anything other than administering stitches,
of course. Passing through the gate into
the back yard, he scanned the pool area because that was usually where Van spent
his time. There were drinks on the patio
table, a radio playing Lust to Love
by the Go-Go’s, and a bright orange raft floating vacantly over the cloudy
water. Van, however, wasn’t anywhere in
Proceeding to the
back door, he pulled the bead curtain aside and slid the glass door open.
“Van?” he called
out. “You around?”
Laughter from the
back bedroom told him he was, and probably not alone. He dug his hands into his pockets and
waited. Suddenly, the laughter turned to
arguing and then commotion of some kind.
Moments later, a pretty blond girl dressed in nothing but her bra and
panties came running from the bedroom.
She looked at Benji but didn’t react.
“What the fuck is
this?” Van asked as he emerged from the bedroom in the nude, a gun dangling
from his fingers. “You were going to rob
me? I thought we were just going to have
said and slipped into her wrap dress. “I
wouldn’t have shot you. I just…I need money.
And you were driving around in a Ferrari and talking about how your
dad’s a movie producer so I-“
“So you thought
you’d hold me up at gunpoint?” Van asked with no regard to his visitor or the
fact that he had no clothes on. “Jesus,
you’re wacked. Get the fuck out.”
Farrah held her
hand out. “Fine, then just give me the
hundred bucks you owe me.”
“No fucking way!”
he said and pointed to the door.
“You shit,” she
said, glaring contemptuously. “I just
“Get out!” Van
Farrah groaned and
stormed out of the house through the sliding door. Once she’d gone, Van finally acknowledged
Benji. “Hey Rydell, what’s up man?”
Benji asked. “What the hell just
He sighed, threw
the gun on the sofa and lit a joint. “I
swear, that’s the last time I pick up a hooker at eleven o’clock in the
morning. Bitch had a gun and tried
robbing me. Jesus, all I wanted was a
said. “Look, I guess you’re busy so I’ll
come back later and-“
“Nah, it’s cool,
man,” Van said and offered him a hit of the joint. “What can Van do you for?”
“You’re not tight
with Ashton Childers, are you?”
Van made an exaggerated
gag-me take. “He’s a total pussy.”
“Yeah, well I need
to get something on him and was hoping you’d have dirt I can use.”
“He sticking it to
“He’s trying to,”
Benji said. “He into anything I can use
Van turned on the
stereo and hit the joint again. “Not
that I can think of. He’s squeaky clean,
that one. His daddy’s got a lot of
skeletons in his closet, that much I know.
He and Blake’s dad and Nathan Blackthorne used to hit the town hard. What’d he do to you, anyway?”
Benji shook his
head. “Doesn’t matter. I’ll think of something.”
"Cool, well let me go grab some trunks and
we can go for a swim."
disappeared into the bedroom, Benji turned in frustration. He should have known his permanently stoned
friend wouldn’t be any help. Headed to
the door, he slid it open and paused before leaving. He eyed the gun the hooker had
brought that Van tossed onto the sofa.
Quickly, he grabbed it and checked it for bullets. It was loaded. With a glance to make sure Van hadn’t come
back into the room, he shoved it into the back of his jeans and left the
When he returned to
his car, a shiny red Porsche drove up with Sheldon Novak perched behind the
“What are you doing
here, Rydell?” he asked and cut the engine off.
“None of your
fucking business,” Benji said and opened his door.
At the Blackthorne
mansion, Stormy and Miranda met up in the corridor outside the family
“Did you know Dad
was coming home today?” he asked.
“Yeah, he called
this morning,” she told him and started down the hall. “He should be here any minute.”
“He never told me,” Stormy complained.
“Well I’m sure he
just assumed I would tell you,” Miranda said as they walked together. “I’m sure he didn’t intentionally keep it
from you, Stormy.”
Commotion in the
foyer prompted them to flash each other a hopeful look. They hurried down the hall and emerged just
as James, Brooke, Kenny, and Mackenzie were filing inside. Leilani fawned over them, taking bags and
jackets and placing them to the side before disappearing upstairs.
said and gave James and Brooke each a quick squeeze. “I was beginning to think you were never
coming back. What happened with Ethan’s
case? Did Kenny get his sentence
“See for yourself,”
James said with a smile as Ethan entered through the front door.
still unable to believe he was really alive.
After he smiled at her, she quickly leapt forward and threw her arms
"I can’t believe
it,” she said, tears flooding her eyes.
“I mean, everyone said it was true but I didn’t believe it until
“Believe it,” Ethan
said and hugged her tightly. “How are
She ran a hand over
her pregnant stomach. “Well…” she said
with a laugh.
he asked. “That’s wonderful. When are you due?’
“Four months,” she
told him. “Eddie wanted to be here but
he’s on a case.”
“I’m so happy for
you,” Ethan said, kissing her on the cheek.
He turned his attention to Stormy who hovered behind. “Hi,” he said.
“Ethan, I’m so glad
you’re home,” Stormy said and hugged him warmly. “I can’t tell you how much we’ve missed
“I’ve missed you
“So how did this
happen?” Miranda wanted to know. “The
charges were dropped?”
a loophole in Ethan's arrest,” James
explained. “A small technicality, but it
worked to our benefit.”
“Thank God the
legal system in the country is far from perfect,” Kenny quipped.
while Brooke placed a hand on her shoulder.
“I’m sure you regret what happened to that girl, Ethan. But we’re just glad to have you home.”
somberly before Leilani returned from upstairs with Michael, his tiny hand in
hers. Eyes wide in wonderment, he
stumbled forward toward his father.
Ethan quickly knelt down and looked in awe at how big he’d gotten. Tears dancing in his eyes, he pulled the six
year old into his arms and held him tightly.
“Hi, Michael,” he
said, running his hand down the back of the boy’s head. “Do you remember me?”
happily. “I think I remember you, Daddy.”
and watched the tender scene unfold. Meanwhile,
Mackenzie motioned to James and led him toward the door.
“I think I’m going
to take off,” she said.
“Don’t,” he told
her, taking her hand. “I want you to
She shook her head
and watched the happy reunion. “No,
tonight is for family. I’ll talk to you
James nodded and
kissed her on the cheek. “Okay. The driver will take you home. Thank you, Mackenzie, for everything.”
She ducked outside
and closed the door behind. After she’d gone,
James turned and walked back to the others.
“So, seems like I’ve missed quite a bit since I’ve been gone.” He looked at Stormy and Miranda with a scowl. “Do the two of you have anything to say for
They looked at each
“That break-in at
the treatment center in Costa Mesa?”
James clarified. “Kenny said Miranda
could be in some serious trouble when her court date comes.”
“Daddy, don’t get
yourself worked up,” Miranda said and clung to his side. “This is a celebration. Ethan is home, R.J. is home where he belongs,
and my baby is kicking up a storm. I say
we break out the champagne. Although I am going to miss having Michael
can stay with Ethan for a little while.” She looked at Ethan briefly,
still unnerved that they’d barely spoken since their argument at the court
house days before. Even on the plane
ride home he’d sat in quiet solitude. The
silence frustrated her. “I know they
both want to spend time together.”
“Why don’t you stay
too?” James said to her.
Brooke shook her
head. “No, I’m fine going back to my
“Well, it couldn’t
hurt to help whatever’s been bothering the boy,” James went on. “Having his mother and father in the same
house for at least a little while
might be just what he needs.”
“Come on, Brooke,
what do you say?” Miranda chimed in hopefully.
uneasily. “Yeah, okay. For Michael. Just for a little while.”
Dressed in a
flowing black gown, her hair pinned up with pearl hairpins, Sierra performed
her first number next to the piano at the Cahuenga Room. Patrons filled the dining room and bar,
mesmerized by her soothing voice and the lush musical arrangement.
It felt good to be
performing again, she thought to herself.
Since she’d left school she’d barely thought about the joy it brought to
her. And while school was important to
her and she thought she’d like to go back one day, her life in L.A. finally felt like it
could go somewhere. She finally felt
Kyle worked the
room while Renee stood close by watching her daughter proudly. When Ashton came in through the open French
doors she noticed him right away and casually strolled toward him.
“She’s very good,”
Ashton said quietly when he saw her approach.
“I had no idea.”
happily. “Sierra is a very special young
woman. There’s probably a lot you don’t
know about her.”
Ashton found the
remark odd, so he simply smiled and continuing watching her perform.
“You should spend
more time with Sierra,” Renee went on, intent on her daughter staying happy,
and hopefully under the influence of someone above the ranks of the Hunt’s and
Benji’s of the world.
“I’d like that,”
Ashton said, unable to take his eyes off of her performance.
“It would make me
very happy to see her happy,” Renee continued, placing a hand on his arm. “Do you understand what I’m saying, Ashton?”
He looked at her
and nodded. “I appreciate you giving me
your blessing, Mrs. DeWitt.”
continued. “And you can count on
me. I will be there for Sierra.”
“Good,” Renee said
with a smile and walked back through the dining room where she watched her
daughter and prayed that her life could finally get back on track.
Glimmering shadows from the swimming pool
rippled across the side of the pool house.
Benji knew his father seldom kept it locked, and the staff rarely
ventured onto the grounds at night, so he was able to gain access
plagued him since seeing Sierra with Ashton the night before. He would close his eyes and see them
together, see her going down on him and spreading her legs for him. The thoughts and images wouldn’t go away. Ashton Childers didn’t know who he was dealing
with. He could easily destroy him just
like he did Hunt Roberts.
Knowing that sex would make himself feel
better as it usually did, he texted Sheldon Novak.
are you doing?
Should of said something earlier at
you should meet me.
my dad’s pool house.
And within twenty
minutes, Sheldon had arrived, stepping tentatively inside the moonlit room
where Benji was waiting. They didn’t
speak. Sheldon hurriedly unbuttoned
Benji’s jeans and sunk to his knees.
Five minutes later, Benji was grabbing him by the hair and unloaded
inside of his mouth.
“Thanks for the
warning,” Sheldon said crossly, spitting onto the floor and making a face.
Benji grinned and
buttoned up again. “Sorry.”
“You are so fucking
hot,” Sheldon said. “Is it bad that I’m
glad you’re not with Sierra anymore? We
can totally make this a regular thing if you want. Text me anytime.”
Benji said, going to his shirt and jacket that were crumpled on the floor, the
gun he’d stolen from Van’s hiding beneath.
“Thanks for coming by.”
“Sure. So you gotta be pretty glad that your
marriage turned out to be fake.”
“Why?” Benji asked with a frown.
He shrugged. “I
don’t know. I mean, like the world needs another married closeted gay guy.”
“I’m not a fag,”
Benji said belligerently as he pulled his shirt over his head. “Who the fuck told you that?”
“No one, I just
assumed,” Sheldon replied. “I mean,
we’ve done this before and I saw you that time with Scott Kelly. So are you bi?”
“I’m not anything,”
Benji said, growing angrier, particularly after being reminded of the video
Sheldon took of him giving head to Scott.
It was the reason he’d went after him with a gun at Vanguard and
accidentally shot Blake. “I like getting
my dick sucked. Is that a problem?”
shrugged. “No, sorry, man. You’ve got a great cock, I don’t blame you
for wanting to share it. Childers is
probably freaking out having to follow your act.”
“What?” Benji asked.
“Well, I mean I
heard he’s been hanging out with Sierra since you two broke up. It’s a compliment, man. Take it easy.”
“What did you hear
about Sierra and Childers?” Benji demanded, eyes flaring, stepping closer.
“Just what I
said. That they were hanging out. He told Blake that he was going to try to get
in her pants.”
pounded inside his chest. Angrily, he
bent down and grabbed the gun resting beneath his jacket. As soon as Sheldon saw it, he backed up in a
“Jesus, what the
fuck is wrong with you?” he asked, eyes wide.
“Why do you have a gun?”
“Sierra is not
fucking Ashton,” he said through clenched teeth and pushed Sheldon toward the
Sheldon said, trembling in fear. “Sorry
I said anything.”
“The next time you
go around starting rumors you’d better think again you little piece of
shit.” He held the gun dangerously
close to his head, watching as Sheldon winced in terror. Once he was sure he’d gotten his point
across, he stood back and lowered the gun.
“Man, you are
fucked up,” Sheldon said and opened the door.
“Seriously, there is something wrong with you, dude.”
Benji went toward
him but Sheldon was already out the door and sprinting up the lawn. More frustrated than before, he slammed the
door shut and leaned against the wall. He
breathed heavily, willing himself to calm down.
But after hearing that people were talking about Sierra and Ashton, he
grew hard again and began crying while sinking to the floor in a ball.
man’s house loomed atop a hill on Torreyson
Drive just south of Mulholland. Octagonal in shape and ultra modern in
appearance, it was the type of house that people knew someone important lived
in. This was that first thing Farrah thought
the first time she’d been there some time ago.
Tonight, however, it just seemed intimidating.
tall man who barely spoke led her up the stairs and into the stark living
room. There were always people around
Hugh. Well-dressed men with expensive
watches and clip expressions on their faces whom she could only assume were his
associates. He’d picked her up at her
motel in a limousine and simply informed her that she’d been summoned. She’d learned not to argue, so she went along
in the room, she waited for Hugh to turn away from the wall of windows that
offered a complete view of the city.
Sparkling lights from as far as the eye could see propelled her into a
dream word where she was anywhere else but here.
did you come to Los Angeles,
Farrah?” he asked, finally turning from the windows, an Old Fashioned gripped
in his thick fingers.
she asked, shifting her weight as he drew closer.
said you came here for a reason.” Hugh
Rogers was an intimidating man in his fifties with a shock of gunmetal grey
hair, a neatly trimmed mustache, and a six thousand dollar suit. Everything about him oozed power and
corruption. “So why did you come here?”
shrugged. “I wanted to be somewhere I
could start over. I wanted the bright
raised an eyebrow. “Bright lights?” He chuckled.
“These are the brightest lights in the city, no?” He gestured to the windows and the view of
the city at night.
sure,” she said, wrapping her arms around herself.
can have all of it, Farrah,” he said.
“Everything you dreamed of when you left Marquette Cove is in your
reach. I will help you take it
all.” An ominous pause while he leveled
a penetrating gaze at her. “But not if
you pull another stunt like the one you did today.”
looked away, feeling stupid for not realizing the guy she’d robbed would go
straight to Hugh.
see, Farrah, I don’t like it when people that I do business with come to me and
tell me things about my girls. It makes
me feel like I’m not in control. And not
being in control means I can’t be accountable for my actions.”
I was just going to-“
please,” he interrupted her, now mere inches from where she stood. “You can entertain me with excuses and
reasons why you did what you did, but the simple fact is that you came to me, remember? My son, Tyler, told you to come to me if you
needed help. And low and behold, one day
I pick up the phone and there you are.”
swallowed hard as he circled her like prey.
I’m not understanding is why you would deliberately try to destroy everything
I’ve established for you. It’s almost
like you’re not grateful for my assistance.”
tricks isn’t exactly what I had in mind when I moved out here.”
not what most girls have in mind when they move out here,” Hugh told her and
stopped to pour more whiskey in his glass.
“But once they start, they realize the benefits of my services. I would hate for you to back out on that now. Imagine how Alec and the others back in
Marquette Cove would react if they found out you were a common street
don’t want them finding out,” she said in a panic. After faking a pregnancy and tricking Alec
into marriage, the last thing she needed was for them to find out she’d left
only to wind up a common whore. “Please,
left that place behind as well. I
have no intention of saying anything to them,” he interrupted. “As long as you remember that as bright as
those lights are that you’re looking for, I can turn them out in a
shivered, disturbed by his ominous threats.
All she could manage was a nod of her head to signify she
girl,” he said and started back to the window.
“Trevor will take you back to your motel.”
turned and followed the tall silent man to the door.
Hugh said before she left, gesturing to the windows. “The lights really are bright up here, aren’t
managed a faint smile before leaving.
At four a.m., Ethan
awoke in his room at the mansion and couldn’t go back to sleep. It felt strange waking up in a comfortable
bed without bars surrounding him on all sides.
There was no guard posted outside his room and he didn’t fall asleep
knowing he’d been awoken at five o’clock in the morning by a bullhorn. Freedom was going to take some getting used
He went to Michael’s
room down the hall and crept inside, the blue glow of the moonlight guiding his
way. Seeing his son sleeping peacefully
made everything that had happened fade into the back of his mind. Nothing else mattered but being a
“Couldn’t sleep?” a
voice called from behind.
He turned and saw
Brooke standing there in a short baby blue nightgown, her blond hair cascading
gently over her shoulders and her blue eyes sparkling in the moonlight. She was just as he’d remembered her.
“No,” he replied
and turned back to Michael. “I still
can’t believe I’m back here.”
“He’s really missed
you,” she said and fell in line beside him.
“He hasn’t dealt with your going away.”
“I’m not going
anywhere this time,” he told her, crossing his arms over his bare chest.
“I wish I could
“What do you mean?”
he asked her.
She shrugged. “You just seem very distant. Since that day we were reunited at the
courthouse in New York,
I feel like I don’t know you anymore.”
“I’m a different
person than I was.”
“What does that
supposed to mean?” she asked, trying to hide her disappointment over his choice
He turned to
her. “I lost a year and a half of my
life, Brooke. Twelve months not knowing
who I was and six more locked up in that hell hole.”
“But you’re back
now,” she said, wanting to reach out and touch him. She wanted to feel his muscular body on hers,
to allow him to wrap his strong arms around her. “Isn’t that all that matters?”
“I don’t know,” he
“Let me remind
you,” she said. “We were going to get
married. We were going to go away
together. Why does any of that have to
change? Why can’t we pick up where we
left off before that damned earthquake?”
He shook his
head. “We just can’t.”
“Why?” A tear trickled
down her face.
With a final glance
toward his son, he shook his head and turned back to her and repeated himself. “We just can’t.”
When he left, she
buried her face in her hands, wanting to cry out in frustration. It was slowly becoming clear that while Ethan
was back amongst the living, in that house with their family, he had become a
stranger to her.
James entered the
breakfast room the next morning and paused to survey the welcome sight before
him. It had been a long time since he
had his entire family in the same room.
Stormy, Miranda, Ethan, Brooke, Michael.
It felt like the old days to him, before everything began to go awry.
said when he saw James enter.
“Morning,” he said,
smiling from ear to ear. “How is
“Good,” Stormy said
as he stuffed a forkful of eggs into his mouth.
Across the table, Kelly glared at
him. “You going to the studio with me
replied. “We have a lot of work to catch
up on. Ethan, care to join us? I know you need time to get settled back in,
“That’s a great
idea,” Brooke chimed in, secretly hoping getting back to a normal routine would
make him more like his old self again.
“I’ll bring Michael in to the office at lunch so you can spend time with
“I don’t know,”
Ethan said without looking at her. “I’m
just not sure what’s going to happen.”
“What do you mean?”
Brooke asked, alarmed by the severity of his words.
He shrugged. “Just what it sounds like. Everything’s different now. No offense, James, but going to work at the
studio just doesn’t seem all that important to me.”
“It’s okay,” James
said. “All in your own time.”
Brooke flashed him
a scowl. “No, not in all your own time,” she insisted. “Why is everyone acting like he’s going to
wrong?” Miranda asked.
She looked at Ethan
and when he didn’t acknowledge her, she shook her head dismissively. “Nothing, forget it.”
Ethan sighed and
dropped his fork onto his plate. “Is
this about last night?”
“What happened last
night?” Stormy inquired.
something happened. You got angry when I
said I’d changed. Well I’m sorry, I
have. I’ve been through a lot.”
you’ve been through a lot. I understand
that. But we’ve all been through a
lot. You’re not the only one who lost
let’s all just relax and take a deep breath,” James said. He tried desperately to change the subject by
directing his attention to the end of the table. “Kelly, do you have everything you need? You know you can make yourself at home here
for as long as you want.”
Stormy and Miranda exclaimed in unison.
you do know what that witch did,
don’t you?” Miranda continued.
are you calling a witch?” Kelly admonished.
“You, witch.” She looked back at James. “She tried selling your grandson to mom, then she let her psycho boyfriend run
off with him and almost get him killed.”
did not let him do anything!” Kelly
right, you were totally innocent,” Stormy said with a groan. “Come off it, Kelly. The only reason you’re here is because if I
kick you out you’ll hold it over my head for the rest of my life what my mother
and Jane did.”
do you see in that girl, anyway?” Kelly asked with a snarl.
exactly did you lose, Brooke?” Ethan asked, returning to their earlier
conversation. “You didn’t waste any time
jumping into bed with my brother. Oh wait, he isn’t my brother. You just took his word for it.”
grieved over you for a year!” Brooke insisted.
“And need I remind you that things could have gone a lot differently if
you’d just picked up the phone and called us to tell us you were alive?”
wasn’t that easy,” he said.
neither was going on without you,” Brooke shouted. “Kyle came around when I needed someone.”
you always need someone, Brooke,” he snapped.
does that supposed to mean?”
enough,” James said again, folding his napkin onto his plate.
got a lot of nerve calling me a witch,” Kelly said to Miranda. “If it wasn’t for you and your mother,
Cruella Deville, Stormy and I would still be happily married. “
doubt that,” Stormy quipped.
so you’re saying our marriage wouldn’t have worked out either way?” she asked
angrily. “You were the one who pursued me,
long, everyone at the table was arguing, shouting over one another as several
arguments played out simultaneously.
After a minute or so, James rose from his chair and hollered at the top
of his lungs.
is wrong with you people!?” he shouted.
fell over the table. Everyone stopped
mid-sentence and turned to face him.
am shocked by how you’re all behaving,” he said, desperately trying to control
his temper. “How stupid was I to think
that we could all sit down and have a simple meal together without all the
bickering? Do you realize how much we
have to be grateful for?”
looked at Stormy and then at Brooke, who lowered her eyes toward Michael who
sat happily eating his cereal.
is home after being away for far too long,” James went on. “It’s a miracle that he’s here at all. Stormy has a son we never knew about, and
Miranda is going to be a mother for the first time. Kelly, you’ve been given a second chance with
this family. I highly suggest that you
don’t blow it, because unlike my children, I forgive once, but never twice.”
looked at Miranda and scowled, then quickly turned away.
very lucky,” James continued. “But all
you can do is find things to argue about.
It makes me sad, it really does.
And for the first time, I’m ashamed of you all.”
that, he turned and stormed out of the room, leaving the others to sit in
Sierra grows closer to Ashton,
Benji reaches out to his father, T.T. returns to make Stormy
an offer, Ethan has words with Kyle, and Farrah goes
to Jane and Miranda for help.
our Forum to Leave your Comments and Feedback
about this episode in this week's BLOG