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Episode 136


Release Date:  April 5, 2011

 Read the episode Recap




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 from Sierra.  



Episode 136



When 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. 

“Mackenzie,” James 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.” 

“I withheld 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 reach.”

“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 me.” 

James was 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.   

“That doesn’t 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.” 

“I appreciate 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.” 

“Interesting,” Kyle said, wincing from the pain in his back when he moved too suddenly.   “On a nightly basis like at La Mirada?”

Renee hesitated 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 the club. 

“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 to.” 

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.

Renee DeWitt

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 tonight, remember?” 

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.

Blackthorne Mansion

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.

After wrapping 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. 

“Packing your 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 seeing him.” 

“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,” she hissed. 

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 studio.” 

“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 York.”

“Are you 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 suffer.” 


“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 Wheeler

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.”

“G’night,” he replied.  

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 doing here?”

“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-“

Farrah walked around to the passenger’s side door.  “I wish I could stay and talk,” she said anxiously.  “It’s good to see you, Janey.”

“Wait, Farrah!” 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 Angeles.

Sierra Merteuil

Despite 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. 

“This 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 tendencies.” 

“Can I help it if I enjoy the amenities?” he said with a grin as he fell in line beside her.

“You’re not a guest,” she reminded him.  “Do I have to turn you in?  I’m in pretty good with the owner, you know.” 

They 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.” 

“It was a little concerning,” she said, gazing up at the night sky. 

“Look, 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.” 

“Yeah,” she said with a sorrowful shake of her head.   “I don’t think I helped matters, either.” 

“What happened?   Did you confront him about it?”

“No, 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.”

“How did he take that?” Ashton inquired as they rounded a corner near the tennis courts and children’s park. 

“Not well.  He moved in with Blake.” 

Ashton 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.”

They arrived at the cabana and Sierra turned to face him.  “Well, thanks for walking with me.  I’m pretty beat.” 

“It’s late,” he said.  “You should get some sleep.” 

“Thanks, Ashton.  I’m glad we started hanging out.  You’re a good friend.” 

“So 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 too.” 

She 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 sure.” 

“Great,” he said through a dimpled smile that resembled disappointment.   “Well, goodnight, Sierra.” 

“Goodnight, Ashton.” 

After 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. 

“Benji!” she exclaimed, placing a hand on her heaving chest. 

“I’m 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.”

She shook her head miserably.  “There’s nothing to talk about.  I told you how I feel.  I just need time.” 

“How much time?” he demanded. 

“I don’t know.  Benji, please try to understand.”

“I’d 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 told you?”

“Nothing,” she said, stepping back against the door.

“But you talk about us to him, don’t you?” 

“Yeah.  I mean, a little.  I just like hanging out with him.”

Her 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 can’t?”

“Stop it,” she said, pushing him away.  “It’s not like that.” 

“It’s not?  Well tell me how it is.  Is he fucking you?” 

“Benji, 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 her mind.  

“This guy bothering you, Miss Merteuil?” the guard, a burly black man named Leo asked, handling Benji like he was a rag doll. 

“Let go of me!” Benji demanded, twisting in his powerful grasp.  “I wasn’t doing anything. I just wanted to talk to her!”

The 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.

“Sierra, I love you!” Benji called from outside as Leo forced him up the path to the parking area. 

Brooke Taylor

The next morning in New York City, James, Kenny, Brooke, and Mackenzie were gathered outside the courtroom nervously pacing the floor. 

“How much longer do you think the recess will last?” Brooke inquired. 

“Hard 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 this time…”

“Kenny, can I have a word?” James said and motioned for him to follow him across the room. 

After they were out of earshot, Brooke approached Mackenzie with a tentative look in her eyes.  “How is Kyle?  Has there been any improvement?”

She 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.” 

“I don’t blame myself,” she said.  “I blame you.”

“I beg your pardon?” Mackenzie asked with an incredulous frown. 

“You 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.” 

“I 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.” 

“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."

Mackenzie laughed at her.  “You really enjoy this, don’t you?”


“Having 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.”

“I’m not keeping anyone at bay.”

“Oh 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 you.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Brooke seethed.

“Let 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 want?”

“Ethan and I were about to be married when he-“

“And 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.”

“The judge is back,” James said as he approached.  “He’s made a decision.” 

Mackenzie 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. 

After 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. 

“So this is what retirement looks like,” Brett said as he climbed aboard, unable to resist throwing in a jab.

“I’m 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.” 

“Good luck,” Brett said under his breath.  “I didn’t come here to trade insults, anyway.  I saw Suzanne yesterday.” 

“A reunion filled with fireworks, I’m sure,” he said dubiously. 

Alex 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.

“I think she’s in trouble,” Brett informed him. 

“What else is new?” Jordan asked, continuing his practice. 

Brett 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.” 


“So, I think she’s there against her will.  Or at the very least she’s been brainwashed into staying there.” 

“Maybe she’s been hypnotized again,” Jordan laughed.  “Are you sure Victor isn’t involved?  They never did find his body, you know.” 

“This 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.” 

“What people?” Jordan asked, finally putting his club down and looking at him. 

“This 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.”

Alex stood from the chaise and fell in alongside Jordan.   “What are they doing?”

“I 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.” 

Jordan nodded in concentration.  “Well, good luck.” 

Brett raised an eyebrow.  “That’s it?  You’re not going to do anything?  She’s the mother of your children.” 

“I’m sure she’ll be fine.”  He picked up another club and practiced another swing. 

Frustrated 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 a drink. 

“Maybe she is in trouble,” she said.  “She’s not the most mentally stable person, Jordan.  Aren’t you worried?”

“Suzanne 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.” 

Her 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.” 

“Alex, worry about your relationship with your own children,” he snapped.


In 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.

She 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.

“Good morning, Darling!” she waived and called over to her daughter.

“Hi,” Sierra said and went to her.  “You’re here an awful lot lately.  I thought Kyle was in charge.” 

“He is, but I decided I needed to keep myself busy.” 

“You still haven’t spoken to Kenny?” Sierra asked with a wry expression. 

“No,” she said in a tone that signified she wasn’t in the mood to discuss her ex-husband.  “Plans for the day?”

“I’m just going over these course books from Sarah Lawrence,” she said and flashed her the registration packet. 

Renee’s eyes lit up.  “You’re going back to school?  Sweetheart, I think that’s wonderful.” 

“I’m 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.” 

“Well, 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.” 

“Mom,” 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.” 

“I just worry about you,” Renee said.

“Benji will take the hint eventually.  He’s not a menace, Mom, he’s just hurt.  I can’t say that I blame him.”  

“Fine, 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 is.  Hello!”

“Good morning,” Ashton said and flashed Sierra a bright smile as he approached.

Sierra shook her head with a laugh.  “Why does this not surprise me?”

“Ashton, how are you?” Renee asked. 

“Fine, 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.” 

“What a marvelous idea,” Renee said, eyeing him happily.  “Sierra, we can finish this discussion later.  You should go with Ashton.” 

“Mother,” Sierra said and flashed her a look. 

“What?” 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.

“I’m not hungry,” Sierra said. 

“Oh 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 social gatherings.” 

“Yes, 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.” 

“Smart man,” Renee said with a wink.  “Well, I have to get to my office.  I’ll see you both later.” 

“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. 

Brett Armstrong

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. 

Frustrated, he 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 sturdiest competitors.” 

“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 taken.”

“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."  

Brett shrugged.  “It’s funny how there’s always something that keeps you from actually doing any work around here.” 

Laughing, Stormy 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?”

Through arguing 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 challenge. 

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 player who 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.

Miranda Blackthorne

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. 

“A prostitute?” 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 before.” 

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 one.” 

“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 Kelly.”

“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 replied. 

“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?”

“Actually, yes,” 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 bit.” 

“Miranda invited me over.”

“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.”

Miranda 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 here.” 

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.” 

Miranda shrugged 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 yard.

Jordan Rydell

“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 mistakes,” Jordan 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 your mom?”


“She still in Fresno?”

“I guess.” 

“Where’s Benji?”


“I’m worried about him,” Jordan 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-“

“Oh….yeah, the 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.” 

“Blake, you’re 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 what?”

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 you.” 

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 Rydell

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 sight. 

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 sex.” 

“Sorry,” Farrah 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 let you-“

“Get out!” Van shouted.

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?”

“Everything okay?” Benji asked.  “What the hell just happened?”

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 blowjob.” 

“Sorry,” Benji 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 you, bro?”

“He’s trying to,” Benji said.  “He into anything I can use against him?”

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.” 

Van nodded.  "Cool, well let me go grab some trunks and we can go for a swim."  

When Van 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 house. 

When he returned to his car, a shiny red Porsche drove up with Sheldon Novak perched behind the steering wheel.

“What are you doing here, Rydell?” he asked and cut the engine off.  

“None of your fucking business,” Benji said and opened his door. 

Stormy Blackthorne

At the Blackthorne mansion, Stormy and Miranda met up in the corridor outside the family room. 

“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. 

“Finally,” Miranda 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 overturned?” 

“See for yourself,” James said with a smile as Ethan entered through the front door.  

Miranda froze, still unable to believe he was really alive.  After he smiled at her, she quickly leapt forward and threw her arms around him. 

"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 now.” 

“Believe it,” Ethan said and hugged her tightly.  “How are you, Miranda?”

She ran a hand over her pregnant stomach.  “Well…” she said with a laugh.

“You’re pregnant?” 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 you.” 

“I’ve missed you guys too.”

“So how did this happen?” Miranda wanted to know.  “The charges were dropped?”

“Kenny found 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. 

Miranda smiled 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.” 

Ethan nodded 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?” 

He nodded happily.  “I think I remember you, Daddy.”

Everyone laughed 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 stay.”

She shook her head and watched the happy reunion.  “No, tonight is for family.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” 

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 yourselves?”

They looked at each other blankly. 

“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 around here."

Brooke shrugged.  “He 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 town house.”

“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.

She nodded uneasily. “Yeah, okay.  For Michael.  Just for a little while.” 

Sierra Merteuil

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 happy.

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.” 

Renee beamed 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.”


“Renee,” he 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.

Jordan's House

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 undetected.  

Jealousy had 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.

What are you doing?

Nothing. What’s up?


Really?  Should of said something earlier at Van’s.

Yeah, you should meet me. 


At 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.” 

“Yeah, whatever,” 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?”

Sheldon 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.” 

Benji’s heart 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 panic.

“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 wall.

“Okay, whatever,” 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. 


The 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. 

A 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 without protest. 

Standing 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. 

“Why did you come to Los Angeles, Farrah?” he asked, finally turning from the windows, an Old Fashioned gripped in his thick fingers. 

“Huh?” she asked, shifting her weight as he drew closer.

“You 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?”

She shrugged.  “I wanted to be somewhere I could start over.  I wanted the bright lights.” 

He 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. 

“Yeah, sure,” she said, wrapping her arms around herself. 

“You 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.”

She looked away, feeling stupid for not realizing the guy she’d robbed would go straight to Hugh. 

“You 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.” 

“Look, I was just going to-“

“Farrah, 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.”

She swallowed hard as he circled her like prey. 

“What 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.”

“Turning tricks isn’t exactly what I had in mind when I moved out here.” 

“It’s 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 whore.” 

“I 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, you can’t-“

“I've 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 heartbeat.” 

She shivered, disturbed by his ominous threats.  All she could manage was a nod of her head to signify she understood.  

“Good girl,” he said and started back to the window.  “Trevor will take you back to your motel.” 

She turned and followed the tall silent man to the door. 

“Farrah,” Hugh said before she left, gesturing to the windows.  “The lights really are bright up here, aren’t they?”

She managed a faint smile before leaving.

Ethan Blackthorne

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 to.  

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 father. 

“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 believe that.”

“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 of words. 

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 said somberly.

“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 Blackthorne

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.

“Morning,” Ethan said when he saw James enter. 

“Morning,” he said, smiling from ear to ear.  “How is everyone?”

“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 today, Dad?”

“Yes,” he 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, but-“

“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 him.” 

“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 break?”

“Brooke, what’s 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.

“Nothing,” Brooke insisted. 

“Yes, something happened.  You got angry when I said I’d changed.  Well I’m sorry, I have.  I’ve been through a lot.” 

“Yes, 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 something, Ethan.” 

“Okay, 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.” 

“What?” Stormy and Miranda exclaimed in unison. 

“Daddy, you do know what that witch did, don’t you?” Miranda continued.

“Who 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.”

“I did not let him do anything!” Kelly argued.

“Oh 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.” 

“What do you see in that girl, anyway?” Kelly asked with a snarl.

“Enough,” James said. 

“What 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.” 

“I 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?”

“It wasn’t that easy,” he said. 

“Well neither was going on without you,” Brooke shouted.  “Kyle came around when I needed someone.”

“Oh, you always need someone, Brooke,” he snapped. 

“What does that supposed to mean?”

“That’s enough,” James said again, folding his napkin onto his plate. 

“You’ve 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. “

“I doubt that,” Stormy quipped.

“Oh, so you’re saying our marriage wouldn’t have worked out either way?” she asked angrily.  You were the one who pursued me, remember?”

Before 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.

“What is wrong with you people!?” he shouted. 

Silence fell over the table.  Everyone stopped mid-sentence and turned to face him. 

“I 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?”

Miranda looked at Stormy and then at Brooke, who lowered her eyes toward Michael who sat happily eating his cereal. 

“Ethan 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.”

Kelly looked at Miranda and scowled, then quickly turned away. 

“We’re 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.”  

With that, he turned and stormed out of the room, leaving the others to sit in silence. 

Next time....

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.



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