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Episode 14

 

Release Date:  March 10, 2006

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Following the plane crash, James was taken to the hospital and treated for a massive head trauma.  Alex and Jordan arrived in Santo Domingo and questioned Brooke on what went on between her and Ethan.  Alex learned of James's plane crash and went to the hospital where she learned he had suffered memory loss.  Brett and Miranda were questioned about the night Bailey was pushed out of a window in Vegas.  Brett claimed that he and Miranda were getting married when it happened. Stormy put up the bail money and Brett was released.  Brooke went to the hospital after hearing of the plane crash and learned that Alex signed James out.   After realizing that James believed they were still married, Alex rented a cabana on the beach where she took James to be alone.


 

 Episode 14

"The Happy Couple"

 

Camera flashes blinded Miranda and Brett as they left the police station that night and ran into a troupe of reporters standing outside on the steps.   They immediately began hounding them with questions, snapping pictures right and left.

"Mrs. Armstrong, you're the daughter of famed Hollywood producer James Blackthorne," said one reporter as she held a microphone to Miranda.  "Does your father know about your husband's arrest?  And how do you think he'll react to the murder charges?"

Frowning with irritation, Miranda led Brett down the steps to her red Camaro parked by the curb.   "Leave us alone!" she said, wishing they would all go away.   If there was one drawback to being James Blackthorne's daughter, it was having the press scrutinize her every move.

"Mr. Armstrong, did you do it?" asked another reporter, hot on their heels.

"Oh he did it alright!  I can assure you of that!" Devon called from a distance as she walked down the steps from the police station.

The reporters all turned in her direction, scurrying to write down her every word.

"Who are you?"

Devon smiled and glared at Brett and Miranda.  "I'm a close friend of Mr. Shively. I mean Mr. Armstrong, or whatever he's going by this week."

"You'd better shut your mouth before I shut it for you!" Miranda screeched from her place next to Brett by the car. 

Ignoring her threats, Devon stood amidst the clan of reporters, relishing her time in the spotlight.   "He's not only a gold digging con man, but he's a cold-blooded murderer too."

"Who are your sources?" asked a reporter, thrusting his microphone into her face.

"All right, that does it!" Miranda yelled.  She raced up the steps and punched Devon in the jaw with a white-knuckled fist, sending the girl flying back to the ground.

The crowd gasped in unison, watching as Miranda stood above Devon, breathing heavily and glaring down at her with red hot fury. 

"Did you see what she did?" Devon screamed, climbing to her feet and rubbing her aching jawbone.   "That was an unprovoked attack!   You're all my witnesses!  She's crazy!"

A reporter turned and ran back to the car just as Brett got into the passenger's seat.  "Mr. Armstrong, what are your comments on your wife's violent attack?"

"No comment!" Brett replied and rolled up the window and waited for Miranda to get into the car.  He looked up the steps at Devon soaking up the attention she'd stirred up for herself.  Why did she have to show up and ruin everything?  He had everything and everyone just where he wanted them, and then Devon sauntered into town and blew the whistle on him. 

"Did you marry Miranda Blackthorne so you'd have an alibi?" a reporter from Image magazine asked, shoving her microphone toward the car window.

Groaning miserably, Miranda started the car and peeled off down the street, leaving the reporters in a mass huddle by the curb.   Devon walked down the stairs and approached them with a wicked smile on her face.

"I can tell you that Brett Armstrong is guilty as sin," she announced.

"How do you know that?" a newsman asked, resting pen to paper, preparing to write down her every word.

"Trust me, I know."

Blackthorne Mansion

Winter Austen raced inside the Blackthorne mansion after Leilani opened the door for her.  She glanced around the foyer and looked at the maid with a streak of terror on her face. 

"Is James here?" she asked. 

Leilani shook her head.  "No, ma'am."

Winter looked around again, peering into the dining room and the parlor.  "What about Stormy or Miranda?" she asked.

Stormy appeared from the hall and approached Winter with concern.  "Winter, what's wrong?" he asked, noting the look of desperation on her face.

She grabbed him by the shirt and shook him, a tear trickling down her face.  "Is it true about Ethan?" she asked.  "Is he really dead?"

Closing his eyes with regret, Stormy took in a deep breath and nodded.  “It looks that way.”

She cried out in despair, sobbing hysterically as she clung to Stormy.   He put an arm around her and held her close, wishing that it wasn’t true.   His own cousin was dead and there wasn’t even a body to bury. 

Domi ican Republic

The full moon shined brightly over the island of the Dominican Republic.  A balmy breeze blew through the window of Brooke’s hotel room at the Del Mar as she paced back and forth. She wrung her hands together, trying to decide what to do about James.   How could he have gone off with Alex like that?  Was he still angry with her about hiding her marriage to Philip?   That was the only explanation.  She’d hurt him deeply and he hadn’t forgiven her.   He came to the island for the sole purpose of getting to the bottom of Ethan’s death.  It had nothing to do with her being there, alone and afraid.

There was a knock at the door and she snapped her head around, her heart beating wildly.   Maybe it was him, she thought to herself as she raced across the room and pulled open the door.

Her expression dimmed when she saw Jordan Rydell standing in the hall, his hands dug deeply into the pockets of his khaki pants.   “Oh, it’s you,” she said, not bothering to hide her disappointment.

“I know it’s late,” he said.  “Have you heard from James?”

Brooke frowned, eyeing him skeptically.  “No, why?”

“I just came from the hospital and he’s been released,” Jordan said.  “They wouldn’t tell me who he left with, but I assumed it was you.”

“It wasn’t,” Brooke replied.  “He left with Alex.”

Jordan closed his eyes and slammed his fist against the door as if he were expecting her response.   He didn’t know what Alex was up to but it couldn’t be good.   He considered telling Brooke about James’s amnesia but immediately thought better of it.  If Alex was up to something, telling Brooke could blow it sky high. 

“Didn’t the two of you come here together?” Brooke asked.  “Why would she take off with James without telling you?”

Jordan shook his head in confusion.  “That’s what I’m going to find out,” he said before turning and bolting back down the hallway.

Brooke closed the door and leaned against it.  She had to find them.   For all she knew, Alex could be doing something to him.  She could be poisoning his mind even further against her. 

Dominican Republic Cabana

In the cabana just outside of town, James laid down in bed, wincing slightly from the pain in his head.   Alex walked over in her nightgown, soothing him by stroking his dark hair away from his eyes.

“Does it hurt much?” she asked.

James squinted, his vision blurring slightly.  He focused on her face and a minute later the blurring was gone.   “It’s not bad,” he said.  “The doctor said the headaches would go away in time, didn’t he?”

“Yes, and then you’ll be good as new,” Alex said, kissing him warmly. 

James moved over on the bed and made room for her, patting the sheets next to him and summoning her next to him.  “Come lay down,” he said.

Alex happily obliged.   She put her arm around him and looked into his eyes as they lay up against each other.   She thought about the years they’d spent at each other’s throats and how unhappy it had made her.   She focused all of her time and energy on revenge, convincing herself that she hated him.   The truth was that all along she was hurt and deeply saddened by the fact that he didn’t want her anymore.   Then when she showed up at the hospital earlier and he looked into her eyes, it felt like they’d never been apart.

“I was afraid I’d lost you forever,” she found herself saying dreamily.

James frowned.  “What do you mean?”

She realized that James didn’t know what she was talking about.   As far as he knew, they’d never been estranged.   None of the hateful words happened.   Their bitter divorce wasn’t reality to him.   And she wanted to keep it that way.

“I just mean after your accident,” she said.  “It was touch and go for a while.”

Sitting up, James looked at her with a puzzled expression.  “The doctors told me I was brought to the hospital after a plane crash,” he said.  “What happened?  Why weren’t you hurt?”

“You don’t remember?” Alex asked.

He shook his head.

The wheels in her head turning, Alex put a hand on his chest and tried calming him down.  “You had to fly back to the states.  Something came up with the studio and they needed you. “

“Oh Darling, I’m sorry for leaving you.”

She shook her head.  “You were on your way back when the plane went down,” she said.  “You were very lucky to be alive.  That’s what I meant when I said that I was afraid I’d lost you forever.”

James smiled and pulled her close, embracing her tightly.  “Alex, we’ll never be apart again,” he said, beaming happily.  “I promise you that.”

Sighing with content, Alex kissed him on the lips and felt James sliding her nightgown straps off her shoulders.   With a smile, she slipped the silky garment off and kissed him again as they began to make love.

Blackthorne Mansion

The next morning Miranda woke up, yawning and stretching as the bright California sun filtered in through the bedroom window.  She sat up and noticed Brett walking out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist.

“You’re up early,” she said, stifling another yawn. 

He nodded, dropping the towel and walking to the closet.  “Yeah, I wanted to get an early start this morning,” he explained.  “I’m sure your brother has a million questions for me and I don’t see the point in putting it off.”

Miranda frowned and sat on the edge of the bed.  “What about me?” she asked, admiring his naked body.  “You don’t think I have a million questions for you?”

Brett barely acknowledged her question.   “Well you’re my wife.  It’s sort of expected that you stand by me during all of this.”

His remark sent her into a fit of resentment.  “Is that so?” she asked bitterly, standing up and grabbing her robe.  “Just because I’m your wife I’m supposed to stand back and not ask why my husband is being accused of murder?”

Brett pulled on a pair of flared corduroys and turned back to her.  “Babe, I thought you knew I was innocent,” he said.  “I mean, do you honestly think I could kill someone?”

She threw her arms up in frustration.  “Well I don’t know, Brett!  I didn’t know your name was really Rick Shively!  And I didn’t know that before you came here you were a con man!”

He shot her a cold stare while walking into the bathroom and rolling on a stick of deodorant.  “I explained all of that to you!” he shouted from the bathroom.  “So you think I’m hiding something else now?  You actually think I’m capable of murder?”

“No! I didn’t say that!”

“Well it sure sounds like it,” Brett replied, walking out of the bathroom and going back to the closet to find a shirt.  “I mean, either you’re on my side or you’re not.  Which is it, Miranda?”

She paused, looking into his eyes and trying to decide what she believed.  She hated not having faith in her own husband.   Ever since this whole mess started she had vowed to stand by him.   Why should that change now?

“I’m on your side,” she finally said.  “I just don’t want there to be any more secrets between us.  I don’t want my father to be right about you.”

Brett put his arms around her and pulled her close.  “He isn’t right,” he said, staring past her in deep concentration. I’ll make sure he’s not right.

Good Times Records

Stormy sat in the control booth at Good Times Records with Eddie and their team of engineers.   Behind the glass wall Lauren sang along with the band, recording the next song for her album.

When the song finished, Stormy called through the intercom.  “That was a keeper,” he said.  “Thanks everybody.”

The band started disassembling and Lauren walked into the control booth just as Eddie and the engineer’s left.    She looked at Stormy and smiled awkwardly.

“I think we’ve got a hit on our hands,” Stormy said with a big grin.

Lauren blushed.  “The album’s not even done yet,” she said.

“No, but that song was a sure fire top 40 hit,” Stormy replied, standing up and looking into her dazzling blue eyes.  

Nervously, Lauren turned and watched the band taking their instruments out of the recording booth.   She didn’t know how to act around Stormy anymore.  Ever since their kiss the other day, she hadn’t been able to think about anything else.   The awkward part was that neither of them had brought it up since.

“I’m sorry about the other day,” they both said in unison.

Laughing, Lauren flashed him a smile and shrugged.  ‘You go first.”

Stormy bit his lip and examined her expression.  “I hope you don’t feel weird about what happened,” he began.  “I mean, I think it’s good that it happened.  We sort of got it out of the way, I guess.”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“Anyway, I don’t want there to be any weird vibes going on,” Stormy continued, his sultry eyes burning into her.  “We’re here to make an album, not start world war three.”

“Yeah, I agree,” Lauren said, staring at his full lips and remembering what it was like to kiss them.  She’d never felt so much electricity in her life.   It was like it fit perfectly.

They both turned when the door opened and Brett came inside.  He looked at them inquisically, raising an eyebrow and wondering what he’d interrupted.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Stormy asked casually.  He looked at Brett and then back at Lauren.  The tension was insurmountable.

“I gotta go,” Lauren said, brushing past Brett and giving him a frigid glare as she left the control booth.

After she’d gone, Brett turned back to Stormy and shrugged.  “I wanted to come down to thank you for putting up the money for the bail last night,” he said.  “The bail bondsman said you’ll get it all back when the charges are dropped.”

Stormy raised a curious eyebrow.  “Will the charges be dropped?”

Brett half-expected his reaction.  He knew after everything that had happened lately that his word wouldn’t count for much.  All thanks to Devon.  “Yeah, they will be.  Stormy, you gotta believe me, man.  I didn’t kill anybody.”

Shuffling a stack of music notes and walking to a filing cabinet, Stormy took a deep breath and shook his head.  “I don’t know, Brett.  Something’s going down, man.  First all that stuff that Devon chic said at Lauren’s debut the other night.  Now this murder rap.  It reeks of bad news.”

“That’s what Devon wants!” Brett exclaimed.  “Don’t you see, Stormy?  She’s trying to make me look bad!”

Stormy turned toward him.  “Was she telling the truth about the other stuff?” he asked skeptically.  “About your real name and your past as a crook?”

Realizing it sounded bad, Brett nodded and held his hand up to protest.  “But-“

“So why would she lie about this?” Stormy finished.

“Nobody saw what happened in that hotel room in Vegas,” Brett declared.  “I was in the chapel marrying your sister when he fell or got pushed or jumped out the window.  Devon doesn’t know anything.   She’s trying to send me up the river for something I didn’t do just to get back at me for breaking up with her and leaving town!”

“The police seem to think they have a pretty good case.  Otherwise they wouldn’t have charged you.  If you’re innocent, then who’s guilty?”

Brett folded his arms, frustrated that he had to defend himself to Stormy.   He didn’t want everything getting messed up on account of Bailey and Devon.   He had too much going for him now.

Domi ican Republic

Brooke stood in a small, ramshackle office in Santo Domingo with a surely man in his forties with thinning hair and a beer gut.  She handed him a handful of cash and placed her hands neatly at her sides.   She had never done anything like this before and it felt a little shady.  Hiring a private investigator was something James or Alex did.  Not her. 

“You say you’ve already checked with the airport?” Fred Toony asked, counting the bills in his hand.

Brooke nodded.    “Yes, they haven’t left the island.”

He nodded, counting the money again.  “Okay, well it shouldn’t take long to find them if they’re here.  I’ll call you at the Del Mar if I find anything.”

Brooke thanked him and started out of the office.  Before she left, she turned back and looked at him hopefully.  “Do you think you’ll find them?”

“Probably,” he replied with a toothy grin.

Biting her lip, Brooke left the office and walked outside.   She was beginning to feel like she would never get off that island.  Before she couldn’t bring herself to leave because she felt closer to Ethan.   Now that she was ready to go home she had a new set of problems.  She hoped the private investigator would find James.  She couldn’t leave without him.

Alex Reynolds

James and Alex sat on the veranda outside the cabana, sipping iced tea under an umbrella and watching the ocean waves rolling in.

“Do you miss the kids?” he asked, looking at her from behind a pair of dark sunglasses.

Alex nodded with a smile.  “I do,” she said.  “Who knows what kind of trouble they’re getting themselves into right now.”

James laughed.  “Miranda’s turned out to be hell on wheels,” he joked.  “She’s certainly got your determination.”

“And Stormy has your charm and good looks,” added Alex.  “He’s a killer in the ladies department.”

“Sometimes I worry that they’ll never settle down,” James admitted with a solemn look on his face. “I mean, determination is one thing but I don’t want to see them getting hurt by their own actions.”

Alex looked at him thoughtfully, following him to the end of the veranda where it led off onto the beach.  “I think we’ve done a good job raising them,” she said.  “They’re adults with minds of their own.  What parent could ask for more?”

James took hold of her hand and held it in his as they strolled along the beach, the warm island breeze blowing gently against them.   “You’ve been a wonderful influence on them,” he said.  “I don’tthink there’s ever been a better mother.”

Alex squeezed his hand joyously.  “That’s a lovely thing to say.  Thank you, Darling.”

“I mean it.”

Suddenly Alex stopped and pulled him back, staring into his dark hypnotic eyes.  “Let’s stay here,” she said.  “Let’s not go back to L.A.”

“What?” James asked with surprise.  “Darling, we can’t do that.”

“Why not?’ she pleaded.  She wanted more than anything for things to stay the way they were.    As soon as they went home everything would change.  James would find out she’d been lying to him and he’d throw her out of his life just like he did before.   If they stayed on the island at least she’d have a chance at happiness.  

“What about the children, and Sunset Studios, and your career?” he asked.  “You don’t want to give all of that up, do you?”

She hesitated and they continued walking arm in arm.  “I just don’t want this time to end,” she said.  “The past few days have been so wonderful.  I feel like we’re newlyweds again.”

James laughed.  “We’re getting up there in years to be considered newlyweds, but I think I know what you’re saying.   We’re here, we’re away from the responsibilities, from the chaos, from the real world.    But sooner or later it has to end, Alex.  You have to know that.

We have lives to go back to.   Together.”

She shook her head in despair, staring out at the choppy ocean.    “I wish I could believe you.”

Suddenly James stopped, put his hand on his head and bent over in pain.

“Darling, what is it?” Alex asked, leaning down and looked at the excruciating pain evident on his face. 

“My head,” he grunted.

“Come on, let’s get you back to the house,” Alex said, putting her arm around him and leading him back up the beach to the cabana.  She was torn.  She knew he needed to go back and see the doctor but she was afraid what might happen if he did.   Her fantasy could be wiped away before her very eyes.

Winter's Apartment

Brett knocked on the door to Lauren’s apartment and put his hands in his pockets while he waited for her to answer.   A minute later Winter opened the door dressed in her white nurses uniform.

“Hi,” she said, brushing past him with a grief-stricken expression.

Brett frowned, watching her run down the steps and then proceeded into the apartment where Lauren was sitting watching television.  “What’s with her?” he asked.

Lauren switched off the TV and stood up.  “What are you doing here?” she asked hastily.

“Relax.  I just came to talk to you.  You ran out of the studio earlier and I didn’t get a chance to-“

“To what?” she demanded.  “To tell more lies?   To say that you’re innocent?  That you never killed anyone before?”

Brett nodded and followed her across the room to the window.  ‘”I didn’t kill anyone,” he insisted.  “And I’m not lying.   I wish you would have some faith in me, Lauren.  I’m your manager, remember?   We’re supposed to have a relationship here.”

Lauren curled her lip up at him and folded her arms.  “Look, I don’t know what kind of relationship you think we have, but I don’t usually put a lot of faith in con men.”

Frustrated, Brett ran his fingers through his thick brown hair and tried to think of some way to change her mind about him.  “Lauren, I’m not after anything here.  I just want to see you succeed.”

“And there’s nothing in it for you, right?” she asked doubtfully.  “I’ve known guys like you before, Brett.  You’re just in it for yourself.”

“Of course I want something out of it!” he declared.  ‘If you succeed then so do I.  Is  that so terrible?  Am I a con man for wanting to make something of myself?”

Lauren spun around and met his gaze.  “No, you’re a con man because you use people,” she said.  “I heard the things that girl Devon said to you at the beach club and then at the police station.  She painted quite a picture, Brett.”

“She’s crazy!” he exclaimed, following Lauren back to the sofa.  “Or were you so busy finding reasons to hate me that you missed that part?   Come on, Lauren.  She’s pinning this murder on me when she has absolutely no proof.   To tell you the truth, I’m surprised the police are even listening to a word she says.  She was just as big a con as I was.”

Aggravated by his persistence, Lauren nodded and held her hand up in resignation.  “Fine.  You know what?  I don’t care.  So you’re a changed man.  I get it.   You’re my manager and we have to work together.  But that doesn’t mean I have to be the president of your fan club.”

With a sly grin, Brett nudged her playfully as his eyes traveled down her long luscious legs.   “Well I was hoping for a little more enthusiasm than that.  I mean, we can be friends, can’t we?  You know, the way you and Stormy are friends?”

She rolled her eyes and walked to the door to open it for him.  That wasn’t the first time Brett had made a comment about her relationship with Stormy, and it was beginning to wear on her nerves.  She wondered if he could sense the chemistry between them and this was his way of making a point.  

“You and I are business partners the same way Stormy and I are business partners,” she said.  “That’s all.”

Brett smiled and started to the door.  “Okay, if you say so,” he said, eyeing her again before leaving the apartment.  “I’ll see you tonight at the beach club.  Let’s hope the turnout is as good as your debut the other night.”

“Goodbye,” Lauren said and slammed the door shut.   She sighed with exasperation and walked into her bedroom.  She didn’t know what it was about Brett that made him so persistent.   Something still told her that she should watch her back when he was around.  There was no telling what he might do.

Dominican Republic Cabana

Alex waited until James was asleep and then called L.A. to find out from her maid, Veronique if she’d had any urgent messages since she’d been gone.  After their walk on the beach, and James’s headache, she’d convinced him to lie down in the bedroom for a while.  Before long, he was out like a light.

“Mr. Thomerson has been calling for you, Ms. Reynolds,” Veronique said from her house in Malibu.  “I did as you asked and told him that you couldn’t be reached.”

“That’s fine, thank you Veronqiue,” Alex said and hung up the phone.  She paused for a minute, thinking about Will and then dialed his number at Jaguar Studios.  She had to talk to him sooner or later and now was as good a time as any.   If she had her way, she would never go back to L.A.  She had every intention of forgetting about Will and Jordan now that she and James were together again.

Will answered in his office and smiled at the sound of Alex’s voice.  “I was beginning to think you fell off the face of the earth,” he said with a grin.  “Where are you, my lovely?”

“In the Caribbean,” she replied.  “I’m with James.”

Will raised an eyebrow.  “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?” he asked.  “I like your way of thinking.  As a matter of fact, this may work to our advantage.”

“What do you mean?” Alex asked.  She found him incredibly shallow and self absorbed as to not even ask about the circumstances in which she wound up with James on a tropical island.

“If you can keep him away for a while longer, I can recall the loan from H&Q Consolidated and he’ll be incapable of making good on it,” Will explained.  “By the time you get back to the states, Sunset Studios will be mine.”

“Listen, Will-“ she began. 

“Look, we’ve got to move on this or this deal is going to go out the window,” Will said with a hint of excitement in his voice.  “Now are you in or not?”

“No,” Alex replied, looking into the bedroom at James laying fast asleep.

“What do you mean no?”

Alex shook her head, staring longingly at James.  She couldn’t hurt the man she loved.   Taking his studio would be like taking his soul.   “It’s just not right,” she finally said and hung up.

Will frowned, staring at the phone in his hand.  Right?” he said to himself.  “What the hell does right have to do with anything?”

Stormy Blackthorne

That night, Stormy sat in his office at Good Times Records going over some photographs of Lauren that a photographer had taken for the album cover.  He looked at her picture and bit down on his lip, thinking back to the conversation they’d had earlier that day.

Even thought he said he was sorry for kissing her, he didn’t mean it.  The truth was he had never felt more alive than when they were together.   And the kiss only sealed the deal more so.   Apologizing was solely for her benefit.   He assumed that she would feel bad that it happened since he was married.    He knew Lauren well enough to know she didn’t take things like that lightly.   She was no home wrecker.

He looked at his watch and realized it was getting late.   Lauren’s second performance at the Valley Beach Club was in an hour and he still had to run home to change first.   That of course meant another round of arguments with Heather so he figured he needed to get a move on.

As he stood up, the door opened and Lauren walked inside, stopping in the doorway and staring wordlessly at him.   “I thought I might find you here,” she said.  

“Is everything okay?” Stormy asked, trying to read her expression.

She nodded and moved toward him.   “Second night jitters, I guess,” she joked.

“You don’t have anything to be nervous about,” he said with a smile.  “You’ll knock ‘em dead just like last time.”

“You’re going to be there, aren’t you?” Lauren asked, her eyes traveling up and down his masculine frame.   “I mean, I’d feel better if you were there.”

Stormy approached her and put a hand on her shoulder.  “Of course I’ll be there,” he replied.  “I wouldn’t leave you at a time like this.  You’re my star, Lauren.”

She smiled with relief and looked at his hand resting gently on her shoulder.  She closed her eyes for a second, taking pleasure in the feeling of his warm skin on hers.  Even a simple touch from him sent waves of delight coursing through her entire body.   When she opened her eyes again and looked up, he was biting down hard on his lip and moving inches closer to her.

Before she knew what was happening, she was grabbing him by the arms and pulling him toward her, placing her lips firmly on his and kissing him.  She didn’t care anymore.  She was through trying to deny her feelings for him.  She wanted Stormy Blackthorne and it had to be now.

Beach Club

Brett walked through the Valley Beach Club, filled with anxiety as he searched for any sign of Lauren.   She wasn’t in the back getting ready and she wasn’t at the bar or in the ladies room.   He looked at his watch and let out a groan.  She was supposed to go in forty-five minutes and she was nowhere to be found. 

He asked the bartender for the phone and quickly dialed Lauren’s number.   It rang four times and he hung up with irritation.   How could she be so irresponsible?   He specifically told her to be there an hour before the show started so they could run through her set list.

He found Winter and Miranda talking out in the lobby and approached them in a panic.  “Have either of you seen Lauren yet?”

“She left the apartment before I did,” Winter announced.  “I thought she’d be here by now.”

Brett rubbed his hand over his face and shook his head.  “Well she’s not,” he replied.

“Sweetie, relax,” Miranda said, putting an arm around him.  “She’ll show up.  She’s not going to miss her second performance.  I’m sure she’s with Stormy having some shop talk or something.”

Brett froze, his eyes growing out of focus as he considered the fact that Stormy and Lauren could be together.  

Lauren Spencer

He covered her naked body with his on the sofa in his office.  Moving his hips sensually against hers, Stormy flicked his tongue in and out of her ear and she cried out in rapture.   Lauren dug her fingernails into his back and guided him into her.   A bed of sweat dripped from his flushed face as he thrust back and forth.

She was every bit as exciting as he’d imagined, Stormy thought.  Looking down at her pleased reaction to his lovemaking, he got the impression that she was just as excited.  Being with her was like something he’d never experienced in his life.   And as much as he’d tried to fight his feelings, it was useless.   Their being together was something that was bound to happen sooner or later.

Miranda Blackthorne

A short while later, back at the beach club, Miranda and Winter were seated at a table in the restaurant.  Winter wiped a tear from her eye and took a drink of her vodka and orange juice.

“I just can’t believe he’s gone, Miranda,” she said, fighting back tears.  “We only had a little while together.  It wasn’t enough, ya know?”

Miranda reached across the table and squeezed her hand.  “My father will get to the bottom of it,” she said.  “If anyone can it’s him.”

“I just don’t understand.  Everything was going fine until he ran off to go help Brooke out of one of her jams.  How did Ethan wind up in the Caribbean?”

Miranda looked into her eyes and frowned.  “Brooke was with him in the Caribbean,” she said, feeling badly that the woman didn’t know the whole truth.

Winter’s eyes flashed up to her.  What?”

“She was with him when it happened.  Leilani said she was the one who called the mansion with the news.”

Slowly, Winter’s expression turned to one of contempt.  “They were together?”  She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.  Ethan and Brooke were together on a tropical island before he died.   They were probably lovers and she had been to blind to know it.  James had been right to use her to keep him away from Brooke.   Only it didn’t work quite the way he’d planned because they wound up together anyway.  And now Ethan was gone forever.

They both looked up when Stormy and Lauren walked through the doors of the restaurant, dressed in their evening wear and beaming happily.  Miranda raised an eyebrow, curious as to why they were so late getting there.

“I wonder what’s going on with those two?” she asked, motioning to her brother and Lauren standing in the doorway.  

Suddenly Brett appeared from the back room.  He saw them standing together and looked at his watch.  It was five minutes before show time and Lauren was just getting there.  And Stormy was with her, a devilish grin on his face.  He had a sinking feeling that he knew what they’d been up to.

Domi ican Republic

“You found him?” Brooke asked the private investigator from her hotel room in Santo Domingo.

Fred Toony nodded and handed her a slip of paper.  “A woman going by the name Alex Blackthorne rented a small beach house a few miles out of town,” he said.  “The manager said she was with a man.”

Brooke examined the directions written on the scrap of paper and dashed out of the room in a blind fury.   She had to go there and find James.  She had to find out what was going on once and for all.

When she reached her jeep outside, Jordan spotted her from across the way and called after her.  “Brooke, what’s going on?  What’s wrong?”

“Not now,” she said, grinding the jeep into gear and speeding off down the road.

Jordan stood behind, scratching his head and wondering what had gotten her into such an uproar all of the sudden.

Jasmes Blackthorne

The night air billowed gently inside the cabana where soft music played and moonlight illuminated the room.  Alex handed James a glass of wine and they clinked their glasses together.

“Here’s to the best vacation ever,” James said before taking a drink.

Alex sipped from her glass and set it down.  She moved closer to him on the sofa and kissed him warmly.   “What a perfect evening,” she said with delight.  “I wish this night would go on forever.”

“I do too, Darling,” he replied, placing his hands alongside her face and pulling her into a kiss.

The light, romantic music drifted through the air and Alex smiled fondly.  “I love this song,” she said.  “I think we danced to this at our wedding.”

James stood up and held out his hand to her.  “Then by all means,” he began with a knowing smile. 

Alex knew what he was thinking and she grew weak in the knees.  She put her arms over his shoulders and he positioned his on her waist.   Slowly they began swaying to the music, staring thoughtfully in one another’s eyes.

Alex realized it had been years since they danced together.   When they were first married they used to go out on the town several nights a week.  They were the envy of everyone in Hollywood.  She remembered it just like it was yesterday.  They would walk into the room, dressed to the nines, and all eyes would be on them.    They would take their place on the dance floor and move so gracefully that they seemed to float on air.

“You know what?” James asked, grinning.  “I think we’ve still got it.”

Alex laughed as he spun her around and dipped her.  “I think so too.”

Brooke Taylor

Brooke sped down the dark road that ran parallel to the beach.  Gripping the steering wheel tightly, she tried to imagine what Alex was doing to poor James.   It was no secret that the woman despised him and she’d do anything to spite him.   Going all the way to Phoenix to bring Philip back was a prime example.   She couldn’t stand to see her ex husband happy, and she was sure that whatever was going on now was nothing short of hateful.

She neared the turnoff onto the beach and jerked the steering wheel to the left, barely slowing down as she sped down an access road.  She could see a small cabana nestled at the end of a long driveway.  There were lights on inside and she could hear airy jazz music emanating from the open windows.

When she got to the end of the drive, she stopped the jeep and jumped out onto the pavement.  She walked up to the front door and tried peering in the windows.  It was dimly lit inside and she couldn’t see much.    She tried the doorknob but it was locked.  

Pushing a strand of blond hair from her eyes, she scampered around the side of the small house and walked up the sand to the veranda where the back door was open.  She stepped lightly, approaching the door and peering inside.   The music was louder and she could make out two figures standing in the center of the room, dancing close and slow.

Brooke squinted, her jaw dropping as she realized it was James and Alex dancing together in the romantic setting.   She watched them for a few seconds, recoiling in horror as she saw them kiss passionately, their arms wrapped tightly around one another.

Shaking her head, she backed up off of the veranda and tried to register what she was seeing.   James and Alex together?   It didn’t make sense.  They were bitter enemies.  He threw Alex out of his house and out of his life to make room for her.  Now they were together?  

There was no mistaking what she saw.   She turned and dashed back through the sand to the front of the cabana.   Jumping back in her jeep, she started the engine and backed up all the way to the end of the driveway.    Once she was back on the main road, she pushed the petal all the way to the floor and sped back to town.

The wind whipped through her hair and she felt tears streaming down her face, mortified by what she’d seen.  It must be some kind of payback, she thought to herself.  She got together with Ethan and now James was with Alex again.  She was getting her just desserts. 

 


Next time...

James's headaches grow more severe.  Stormy and Miranda try to trick Devon. Alex has a pang of conscience and vows to save James.  Leilani gets an assignment.

 Read Episode 15

 

 


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