After Michael began talking about
his imaginary friend, Adam again, Brooke and Ethan argued
about their son's well-being. Brooke told Kyle she could
not give him an answer to his proposal, and asked if
they could take things slow. James learned that
his father was dying, so he made plans to fly to Monte
Carlo to visit him. Brooke, wanting to get away
from the pressures of Ethan and Kyle, volunteered to
go with him. Miranda brought Tiger home from the
hospital and worried about what would happen if she
was found guilty of murdering Hugh. Stormy and
Eddie arrived in New Martin and made plans to confront
Brad at the opening of his new restaurant, ironically
named Heather's. Jordan discovered that
the attacks on Jack and Elana were related to those
against Lola. Vaughan cautioned Jordan against
involving the police, as their investigation might reveal
Lola's past with Lana. Elana was lured to The
Young at Heart studios. Mackenzie screamed
when she later walked in and found Elana dead. Nathan
suspected Keaton when he found him with headshots of
the actors who had been threatened.
Kneeling on the
floor beside their table at the restaurant, Nathan looked at the photographs
that had spilled out of the young man’s arms.
Several copies of headshots and publicity stills had scattered across
the floor. Some were of him, and others
were of Jack and Lola. There may have
been one of Victor as well but he couldn’t confirm before Keaton snatched the
pictures from him and shoved them back into the folder.
“Keaton,” Nathan said slowly as he
rose to his feet. “Is there something
you want to tell me?”
The director shook his head in
“What are you doing with those
photographs?” Nathan asked and made a grab for the stack that Keaton held close
to his chest. “They’re publicity photos,
aren’t they? Where did you get them?”
“From that Hollywood memorabilia
place on Santa Monica,”
Keaton told him, adjusting his glasses.
Nathan found it suspicious that the
young director was in possession of publicity stills while a madman was running
around leaving photographs after making attempts on several of their
“Why do you have them?” he asked.
“I told you, I’ve been a big fan of
yours ever since I can remember. Of anyone from the golden days of Lamont
3. You, Jack Childers, Victor
Distefano. It’s because of all of you
that I went to film school.”
“Are you being straight with me?”
Nathan asked him. He could see the sweat
beading off of his forehead and collecting around the collar of his checkered
“Why else would I be carrying these
pictures around?” Keaton asked. “I know
it’s geeky, but I can't help it. I was
late meeting you today because I was getting caught up in that memorabilia
store. I wanted them for my
“Your scrapbook?” Nathan asked,
leveling another suspicious gaze at him.
“Here,” Keaton said and handed him a
leather-bound book with black pages covered in photos, newspaper clippings, and
playbills. “I told you. Geeky.”
Nathan smiled while flipping through
the pages. “No, it’s not. It’s actually quite well done. You even have the production of Macbeth I did
at the Hollywood Theatre. I didn’t think anyone saw that.”
“I found a copy of the playbill at
an old antique store,” Keaton told him.
He turned a few pages and pointed to another relic. “Did you know Jonas Lamont starred in the
same play in the 40’s?”
Nathan raised an eyebrow and looked
at him in admiration. “I didn’t,” he
said. “My, this is quite a thorough
account of the Lamont 3 players, Keaton.
You’re quite a historian. I doubt
Denise in archives even knows half of what you do.”
Keaton smiled bashfully. “Like I said, I can get kind of geeky about
Nathan gestured to the table. “Why don’t we have that drink now? Maybe I can tell you about some of the old
days. The things you can’t find in junk
stores in Hollywood.”
“I’d love that,” Keaton said. “I really appreciate that, Mr.
“Not at all, son,” Nathan said,
flattered that there were still such devoted fans out there.
All attempts at keeping his and
Mackenzie’s relationship strictly professional were dashed when Ethan comforted
her after their horrific discovery at the Young
at Heart studios. With an arm
tenderly encircling her small frame, he couldn’t help but grow flushed by the
close proximity of their bodies. The
fact that she had shown him a vulnerable side of herself made him desire her
“I don’t know anything about an
advanced copy of the script,” Mackenzie was saying to Detective Rodriguez,
pulling Ethan’s blazer over her shoulders to keep warm. “We have the scripts messengered to the cast
at their homes. She wouldn’t have had to
come here to pick it up. It wouldn’t
even be permitted.”
“Yet she told the security guard
that that’s what she was doing,” Rodriguez said. “Why would she lie?”
Mackenzie shook her head. “I don’t know.”
“What about this?” he asked and
showed her a photograph of Cheri Montessori.
“We found it next to Miss Hendrick’s body. Do you have any idea who this woman is? Or why the killer would leave it after
Mackenzie looked at the photo and
shook her head. “No. But someone gave her a picture of a young man
just before the incident at the film premiere the other night. It seemed to upset her a great deal.”
Rodriguez handed the photograph back
to his partner. “Could she have been
meeting someone here?”
“I told you I don’t know,” Mackenzie
snapped. “Look, Detective, shouldn’t
this be up to you to figure out? One of
the biggest stars in daytime television has just been strangled to death. I have my own job to do. You’ll forgive me if I don’t have time to do
“I’ll take you home,” Ethan said,
leading her away.
“Ms. Stone,” the detective called
after her. “If you can think of anything
else please give me a call.”
Without looking back, she allowed
Ethan to lead her from the studio. Once
they were outside in the car, she handed his jacket back to him. “Thanks for sticking around,” she said. “I couldn’t have dealt with that
“What can I do?”
Overwhelmed, she sunk back into the
seat. “I have to call a staff meeting,”
she began. “We’re going to have to
figure out what to do with the character and how to break it to the fans. That is if the media hasn’t already gotten hold
of the story.”
“You’re in no condition to do any of
that now,” Ethan told her. “Let me take
you home. It’s getting late and you need
to get some sleep. It’s been a long
She nodded with a meek smile. “Thank you,” she said.
Gently touching her hand with his,
he started the engine and sped off through the parking lot toward the Hollywood
Hills. When they arrived at her modern
glass and steel home just off Mulholland, he led her inside and to the sofa in
the sparsely decorated living room.
“Drink?” he asked, going to the bar.
“Thank you,” she said, nodding and
wrapping her arms around herself. “It’s freezing.”
When he returned with a glass of
brandy, he handed it to her and sat down beside her. “Drink this.
It’ll warm up you.”
Slowly sipping the amber liquid, she
shook her head to dispel the horrific images of finding Elana’s cold body
slumped to the floor. “This all just
seems like a bad dream,” she said. “Make
that a nightmare.”
“Do you want me to call anyone for
you before I go?” Ethan asked.
She looked at him with doe-like
eyes. “You’re leaving?”
“I should,” he said, staring at her
lips and wondering if she wanted him to kiss her as much as he did. “Michael’s at home and I guess Brooke took
off with James to-“
His sentence was cut short when she
leaned forward and brushed her lips against his. “I want you to stay with me,” she said. “I can’t handle being alone tonight,
Ethan.” A pause while she looked down at
her hands. “God, I hate how that
sounds. What happened to the independent
woman I used to be?”
“You had a shock tonight,” Ethan
told her. “It’s normal for you to feel
the way you do.”
She set her drink on the coffee
table and pulled him close. “Then make
love to me,” she whispered. “Please,
Ethan. Don’t make me beg. I need you inside me tonight.”
Without hesitation, he pressed his
lips firmly against hers. Their bodies
snaking around one another, he lifted her into his arms and carried her up the
stairs to the bedroom.
There was a nine-hour time
difference between L.A. and Monaco, which put James and Brooke at
the Hotel de Paris shortly after seven in the morning. They followed the bellman through the
luxurious lobby and checked in with little difficulty.
“You must be tired after the flight,”
James said to her. “Would you like to
get a nap before we go see my father?”
She nodded her head and marveled at
their spectacular surroundings. “If you
don’t mind,” she said, peering through to the terrace that overlooked the
bustling streets of Monte Carlo. “Although I hate to waste a minute of our
“It’s your first time here, isn’t
it?” James asked with a twinkle in his eye.
She suddenly regretted her
remark. “I don’t mean to minimize what
you must be going through,” she said.
“Obviously we’re here for your father.
I just can’t help but be amazed at how beautiful it is here.”
“We’re in the south of France. You should
Brooke smiled, still feeling foolish
for acting like a typical tourist. When
commotion from across the lobby caught her attention, she moved away from the
desk and tried to get a closer look.
“Must be a celebrity or something,”
James guessed as he watched a crowd of hotel guests flocking around someone
across the lobby. “They do tend to pop
up here on a regular basis.”
Brooke was about to turn to follow
the bellman to the elevator when the crowd parted and she saw the object of
their hysteria. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
James turned in the direction of her
gaze and cursed silently to himself.
The celebrity was none other than….
“Alex, what the hell are you doing
here?” he demanded as she approached in a flowing linen gown, a pile of Louis
Vutton luggage trailing behind her on a cart that a muscled bellman
pushed. “I thought I made it clear that
you weren’t wanted here.”
“I stopped taking orders from you
the day you threw me out of our house,” Alex said and removed her wide-brimmed
hat. Her eyes landed on Brooke and she
glared with contempt. “But I see that
it’s fine that Brooke came along. She
didn’t even know Marcus
James sighed and ran a hand over his
face. “Brooke is here as a friend,” he
said. “She volunteered her emotional
support and I accepted.”
“But when I said I wanted to come, you flat out told me no,” Alex said with resentment. “Do you mind explaining that to me?”
“For starters, Brooke didn’t blow up
at me and make irrational demands,” he told her. “And
secondly, she’s much more impartial.”
“Impartial to what?”
“The feud between my father and
I. The whole time you and I were
married, you never let a day go by without insinuating it was my fault. Marcus Blackthorne hung the moon, according
“And he was very special to me,”
Alex insisted. “Why is why I have every
right to be here. A hell of a lot more
than she does.”
“James, she should stay,” Brooke
said, wishing to diffuse any further argument on the issue.
He sighed and dropped his hands to his
sides in resignation. “Fine. We’re going to our rooms to freshen up and
then we’ll be back down. You can ride to
the hospital with us.
“Marcus isn’t at the hospital,” Alex
said. “I called ahead while I was in the
air. He’s at his estate fifty miles up
the coast. It were his wishes to die
there as opposed to a sterile hospital room.”
James looked at Brooke and then at
the floor. “Fine. We’ll meet up here in an hour and go
The next morning in New Martin, Tennessee, Stormy and
Eddie met for breakfast in the restaurant of Colt Suites. Stormy noted the forlorn look on his friend’s
face and immediately knew what was on his mind.
“You talk to Miranda last night?” he
Eddie nodded. “She and Tiger went home from the hospital
yesterday. I wish I was there with
them. The waiting around to find out if
I’m the father is killing me.”
“I know it is. I’m sure by the time we get back to L.A. the DNA test results
will be ready. I’m sorry you’re going
through this, buddy. As if your dad
turning up alive isn’t bad enough.”
“Tell me about it,” Eddie said with
a sigh. “You know, I tried to come to
terms with what he’d done after he died.” He used his hands to form quotation marks in
the air as he said it. “Everything he
did to Heather and Suzanne. You were
right about what you said at Benji’s funeral.
It was because of him that they had so many problems. How can I look at him knowing he put so many
people through so much pain?”
“You won’t know until you see
him. You are going to see him, aren’t
Eddie looked at him and
“You have to. Otherwise you’ll never be able to stop
“I just don’t want him to hurt
anyone else. What if he goes off his
medication again and reverts to the psychopath he used to be?”
Stormy didn’t have an answer for
him. The subject of Eddie’s father had
always been one he tip-toed around. “Are
you ready for this party tonight? The
opening of Heather’s should be the perfect opportunity to expose Brad for what
“I only hope we can get him to
confess,” Eddie agreed. “If not, Miranda
and Jane could be found guilty of murder.”
Miranda hated leaving Tiger so soon
after bringing her home, but she had something to do, and waiting was not an
option. After ensuring Jane was fully capable of caring for her, she dressed in
loose fitting flared jeans and a sweatshirt and drove down to the prison. She was still sore, but her determination
drove her forward.
“Well, well, well,” Gemma Sanders
said from the other side of the glass partition. “Checking out the accommodations before you
move in? I’d skip dinner on Tuesdays if
I were you. The meatloaf is like a
“I didn’t kill Hugh Rogers,” Miranda
maintained, clutching the phone receiver in her hand.
“Then what are you doing here?”
“I came to tell you I quit,” Miranda
Gemma asked, leaning forward.
“Sweetheart, you can’t quit.”
“I can and I am. I should have never agreed to take over for
your operation. All it’s done is cause
problems. My best friend is facing
murder charges. My brother and my
boyfriend are risking their lives to help me.
A man is dead because of what I’ve
“A man is dead because you went up
against him, thinking you were the invincible daughter of James Blackthorne and
Alex Reynolds. Well maybe now you’ll
realize you’re not. Everyone’s expendable. Even you.”
She ignored her. “I called the girls and gave them each the
contact information for their clients.
They’re working for themselves now.
With Hugh Rogers gone, they won’t have to be scared.”
“What happened to your big plan to
set them free?” Gemma sneered. “You told
me you were going to turn them from hookers to doctors with nothing but sheer
Miranda looked down and knotted her
fingers together. “I have my daughter to
think about now,” she said. “The girls
will be fine. They have dreams. They
won’t be call girls forever.”
“For a smart girl, you’re very
naïve. This is Hollywood.
They’ll be eaten alive and they’ll go right back to sleeping with men
“That’s the beauty of you being
locked up in here,” Miranda said. “You
can’t poison their minds with your lies anymore. They can be anything they want.” She stood up and hooked her purse over her
shoulder. “It’s sad, really. I just realized that you probably were just
like them at one time. Who was it that
told you you couldn’t be whatever you wanted?”
Gemma’s self satisfied grin faded
and she looked at her with barren eyes.
“Goodbye, Gemma,” Miranda said
before hanging up the phone and walking down the corridor.
“Hollywood is reeling today from news of the
murder of veteran actress and daytime soap queen Elana Hendericks,” the
reporter said from the lot in front of the Young
at Heart studios. “Hendricks had
only recently completed shooting Extreme
News, an action film produced by Double Strike Studios. A freak accident at the industry premiere of Extreme News mere days ago already left
the film with a tainted reputation. No
word yet from Deacon Edgewater, CEO of Double Strike, on whether the film’s
worldwide release will be delayed due to Hendricks’ murder. Police aren’t saying if a suspect has been
identified, but sources close to the set indicate Hendericks’ husband and
co-star on the soap, Max Howell, is being questioned.”
Jordan turned off the television
and picked up the phone in his study.
“Detective Rodriguez, please.” he said after dialing the police station. “It’s Jordan Rydell calling.”
When Lola entered the room, he
turned in a futile effort to keep his conversation from her. But when the operator informed him the detective
was unavailable, he hastily hung up, deciding it was better to see him in
“A shame about dear Elana,” Lola
said, smoking a cigarette in the doorway.
“I had nothing but respect for her.
Until she joined that silly soap opera, that is.”
“You heard?” Jordan asked,
running a hand through his hair.
“It’s all over the news,” she
replied. “Of course I heard. Who is this
Jordan deflected her question by
snatching the cigarette from her mouth and stubbing it out in a crystal bowl on
his desk. “You shouldn’t be smoking,” he
She shrugged and walked into the
room. “Odds are I’ll be snuffed out by
whomever’s doing this long before a few cigarettes can kill me.”
“You don’t know that Elana’s death
is related to those pictures of Lana and the attacks on you. It could just be a coincidence. Elana was a diva. Half the people on that show probably wanted
her dead, her husband included.”
“I heard you talking to Alex the
other day,” Lola confessed. “I know that
Elana and Jack both found photographs.
Someone is trying to kill us, Jordan, my dear.”
He had to assume that she was
right. The odds of it being a
coincidence were too great. “I don’t
want you leaving the house until this thing is over. They’ll probably find the killer soon, but
until then, I want you here. I’m also
hiring additional security.”
“Whatever you have to do,” Lola said
and lit another cigarette. “But don’t
you think it’s time you dealt with your life instead of using mine to distract you?”
“What do you mean?” he asked,
flashing her a look.
Lola displayed a rare look of
sympathy as she padded toward him. “You
think I’m all you have left,” she said.
I’m afraid you have to accept what’s happened to your family and find a way to
deal with it before-“
“You’re wrong,” he interrupted
curtly. “Believe it or not, I care about
what happens to you, regardless of what a poor excuse for a mother you’ve been
With that, he stormed out of the
room, leaving Lola alone with a thick cloud of smoke enveloping her.
“Are you okay?” Ethan asked as he
maneuvered his car onto the secured lot at the Young at Heart studios. On all sides, crowds of reporters were
gathered, each clamoring for a quote or a piece of new information in the
murder of Elana Hendricks.
“I feel better than I did last
night,” Mackenzie said from the passenger’s seat. “Thank you for staying with me, Ethan.”
He smiled and placed a hand on
hers. It didn’t seem like the time to
bring it up, but he couldn’t help himself.
He hadn’t been able to read her emotions at all. While he had been a warm body to comfort her
the night before, he wondered if that’s all it was to her.
“So where does that leave us?” he
“What do you mean?”
He steered the car into her parking
space and cut the engine off. “After we
slept together the first time, we both decided it was a mistake. We didn’t want to hurt anyone. But after last night-“
“Last night you made me feel safe,”
she interrupted. “And
it was very nice.”
He nodded. “That’s what I thought,” he said softly.
starting to care about you very much. I can no
longer pretend that I don't. I want to see you
again, but we have to tread carefully. The last
thing I want to do is hurt anyone."
“You’re right,” he said, despite the
fact that all he could think about was making love to her again. “Look, I need to pick Michael up at school. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
She nodded and put her hand on the door
handle. “I really do appreciate you
staying with me last night.”
“Sure,” he said and watched as she
got out of the car and let the security officer lead her up to the entrance.
Marcus Blackthorne’s home was a
sprawling estate in the the outskirts of Monte
Carlo, bordered on all sides by thick lush lawns and
dense clusters of trees. The marble
entrance of the home was bordered by tall iron gates and the interior was warm
and comfortable and decidedly European.
Alex and Brooke sat quietly in the
anteroom of the master suite. They
didn’t speak or acknowledge one another while they were alone. When James emerged from the bedroom, they
both looked up inquisitively.
“How is he?” Alex asked, rising to
“Has there been any change?” Brooke
wanted to know.
James shook his head dismally. “No, I’m afraid not. He’s only in and out of consciousness. The nurse thinks he could go at any time.”
“I’m sorry, James,” Brooke said and
placed a hand on his arm.
“You should go back to the hotel,”
he said. “Both of you. It’s very late and we’ve been here for
hours. You must be tired.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Alex said,
stepping forward. “I’ll sleep here if I
Before James could protest, Brooke
spoke up in agreement. “I’m not leaving,
either. If and when he does wake up
you’ll need someone here. Honestly,
James. I don’t mind.”
He smiled and retreated back into
the bedroom. Once they were alone again,
Alex glared contemptuously at Brooke.
“What are you even doing here?” she
demanded. “You didn’t know Marcus. I was married to James for twenty-four
years. I met him on many occasions. You were a blip on the radar for him. Just do yourself a favor and go home,
“James asked me to come,” she
replied. “Which is a lot more than I can
say for you. You weren’t invited here so
why don’t you leave?”
“I don’t have to be invited,” Alex
said primly and adjusted her bosom in her low-cut blouse. “Now why don’t you admit what this is really
about? The only reason you came to Monte Carlo was because
you saw another way to sink your claws into James. As if your previous two disastrous marriages
to him weren’t enough.”
Brooke couldn’t believe her
nerve. She never let go of the
past. “I’m here as a friend,” she
said. “I have no romantic interest in
James. Maybe you should admit the real reason you came here. Things didn’t
work out with Jordan
again so you decided to try your luck again with James.”
“Leave Jordan and I out of this,”
Alex snapped. “Or should I bring up
your failed reunion with Ethan?
Honestly, Brooke, you can’t even get it right with the supposed love of
your life. The man came back from the
dead for you and you tossed him aside to be with Kyle Fenwick.”
The remark managed to get the best
of Brooke, so she turned and walked across the room. “I’m not interested in your opinions on my
life,” she said. “So why don’t you keep
them to yourself and stay on your side of the room. I’ll stay on mine.”
Smiling with satisfaction after realizing
she’d gotten to her, Alex opened a copy of the latest French Vogue and began
leafing through the pages. Across the
room, Brooke stewed over the remark about Ethan. Was she really as horrible as Alex made her
That night in New Martin, Stormy and
Eddie arrived at Heather’s and
quickly slipped into the crowd in hopes of remaining inconspicuous. The last thing they needed was Brad spotting
them and getting suspicious enough to flee.
“Nice place,” Eddie said while
looking around and sipping an Old Fashioned.
“Brad King certainly has his hands in a lot of different projects. Recording studios, restaurants, crime
“Yeah, and he could very well have killed the crime boss,” Stormy said,
glancing around for anything that looked out of place. “Him or Farrah Bale. But either way, he knows something. I know he does.”
Suddenly, Eddie pulled at Stormy’s
sleeve and led him to the back of a crowd of restaurant patrons. “There he is,” he indicated, pointing across
the room. “And look who he’s with. Farrah and Tyler Rogers. What are they doing here?”
“I don’t know, but now’s our chance
to find out,” Stormy said as he noticed Brad and Farrah walking away
together. Once the coast was clear, he
started over to Tyler
with Eddie fast on his heels.
“Rogers,” Stormy said when he drew near. “What are you doing here?”
Tyler looked at them smugly. “I could ask you the same thing. You dickheads following me?”
“No,” Eddie said with a frown. “We’re following Brad King.”
“Shhh,” Stormy said and slapped his
chest. “Good going.”
“What do you want with King?” Tyler wanted to
know. “Still convinced that girlfriend
of yours didn’t do my father in?”
“She didn’t,” Eddie told him. “We think Brad King had something to do with your
father’s murder. Stormy overheard him
talking to Trevor, some associate of Hugh’s.
Brad was hired by your father to go to L.A. and kill Miranda.”
“It’s no coincidence that my sister
lived but Brad King didn’t,” Stormy went on.
“Yeah, your sister killed him.”
“She did not,” Stormy insisted. “She
disposed of the body to protect Farrah.
Only I’m not so sure that Farrah did it.”
Tyler concentrated hard while scouting the
room for any sign of his hooker companion.
“She claims she can’t remember that night,” he explained. “She says she argued with him and got knocked
out. When she woke up he was dead and
she took off.”
“Which explains how Brad could be
the culprit,” Eddie insisted. “We’re
going to try to get him to confess.”
“How?” Tyler wanted to know.
“Play our hand,” Stormy
explained. “Make him think we know more
than we do and he’ll have no choice but to confess.”
Tyler looked at them warily. “You better not screw this up,” he
“Just keep an eye on Brad and Farrah,”
Stormy said. “We don’t want either one
of them getting away until we confront them.”
Farrah twisted in Brad’s grasp as he
led her to the back of the restaurant and inside the confines of his private
office. Once they were alone, he
closed the door and turned to face her.
“I don’t appreciate being
man-handled,” Farrah said, rubbing her wrists.
“Just what the hell do you think you’re doing, anyway?”
“What are you doing in New Martin?” he demanded. “And at my restaurant?”
“I’m seeing some old friends,” she
replied dismissively. “Now if you’ll
excuse me, I’d like to get back to the party.”
“Old friends? Tyler Rogers is an old friend? What’s really going on, Farrah?”
“Nothing,” she said, unnerved when
he went to block the door. “He’s helping
me figure some stuff out, that’s all.”
“What stuff?” He reached into his pocket and felt around
for the pills he’d stashed there earlier.
Getting her to take them was going to be difficult, especially now that
she was on to him. He could tell by the
look in her eyes that she was suspicious of him. She knew he’d killed Hugh. That’s why she was there.
“About that night,” she
explained. “Miranda Blackthorne and my
cousin Jane are going to trial for killing Hugh Rogers but I know they didn’t
do it. They were just trying to protect
me. That’s why they got rid of the
Brad looked at her with sinister
eyes and moved toward her. “They were
trying to protect you because you killed him, Farrah,” he said. “You were at the house that night. You confronted him. You grabbed the gun from him and you
She shook her head, fuzzy images
from that night flashing through her mind in broken pieces. “No,” she said. “The gun went off and I fell. I hit my head and was knocked
unconscious. When I woke up he was
“You killed him, Farrah,” Brad
said. “It’s time you admitted it.”
Struggling to recall the moments
before she lost consciousness, she closed her eyes tightly. She remembered struggling with the gun, she
remembered it going off, then stumbling backwards and hitting her head. But the last thing she remembered before her
eyes closed was the image of someone else approach. She squinted hard, trying to make out his
“It was you,” she said with a
gasp. “You were there after I blacked
out. You killed him. When I woke up he was dead.”
Brad laughed. “You’re imagining things,” he said. “Your memory is clouded because you hit your
“No,” she said, shaking her head.
Brad grew into a daze, recalling the
events of that evening. He hadn’t
counted on her having seen him there….
Farrah backed up, her eyes narrowing on the
gun. “One of these days somebody’s going
to turn the lights out on you,” she
said. “Your days of terrorizing people
“Is that so?” Hugh asked, grinning
as he came up on her.
And just like that, she made a move
for his gun. If she could get it from
him, she could turn the tables on him once and for all. She and Miranda and everyone else he’d tortured
would finally be free of his threats.
They struggled over the gun, but
Farrah found it difficult to overpower him.
He was much larger than she was.
For a minute she had her hand around the handle. It took all of her strength but she managed
to turn the barrel toward him.
Cringing, she pulled the trigger.
The gunshot echoed through the house and she staggered back a few steps,
falling and landing on the floor, her head making a sickening sounding thud
when it hit the ground.
Hugh recovered from the struggle,
relieved that the bullet had missed him.
He took a step forward and saw that Farrah was out cold. He had half a mind to end her right then and
“What have you done?” a voice said
When Hugh turned, he saw Brad
standing there. “She’ll be fine,” he
said. “I’m surprised that you had the
guts to come here after flaking on our deal.
I want my money back.”
“Forget it,” Brad told him. “Consider it payment for all the times I had
your back in Atlantic City.”
“You were doing a job,” Hugh said
with a sinister look in his eyes. “Just
like the job I hired you to do tonight.
Kill Miranda Blackthorne - that was all you had to do. I should have known I couldn’t trust
you. You’ve turned into a pussy,
“Go to hell,” Brad told him. “I’m not a killer. Not anymore.”
“You’re a fool. People don’t change overnight. Just because you couldn’t pull the trigger
doesn’t mean you’re not a killer.”
“Killing a pregnant woman isn’t
“That’s why I came to do it myself,”
Hugh informed him, picking up the gun from the floor. “As soon as Miss Blackthorne walks through
those doors, she’ll regret ever crossing paths with me.”
“I won’t let you do that.”
“You know better than to argue with
a gun,” Hugh said.
Quickly, Brad raced toward him and
knocked the gun out of his hand. They
watched as it slid across the floor, then both scurried to retrieve it. Hugh grabbed for it first, firing a shot at
Brad but missing him by inches. Using
his elbow to deliver a crushing blow into his face, Brad immobilized him
momentarily, quickly grabbing the gun from him and firing it directly into his
Panicked, he scurried to his
feet. He’d killed him. Voices at the door sent alarm running through
his body and he quickly darted from the room, intent on disposing of the
gun. Behind him, Farrah slowly began to
“You killed him and you let me think
I might have done it,” Farrah said, ignoring the far-away look in his
eyes. “You let innocent people take the
rap for something you did!”
need to be quiet so I can think,” Brad said, looking around the office.
I’m going to go find Tyler
and tell him that you killed his father,” Farrah insisted, racing to the door
and grabbing for the handle.
and without hesitation, Brad picked up a heavy metal stapler from the desk and
slammed it down over her head. Not
knowing what hit her, Farrah dropped to the floor of the office. Panicked, Brad looked around and tried to
think of what he was going to do next.
There was a crowd of people just outside celebrating the opening of his
restaurant. They were going to start
wondering where he was.
Farrah unconscious, he slipped out of the office and locked the door securely
behind him. A plan began formulating in
his mind as he headed off through the crowd.
the Blackthorne mansion, Michael ran down the upstairs hallway in his Buzz
Lightyear pajamas, swishing a toy spaceship in the air as he darted into
Tiger’s nursery where Miranda sat trying to get the tiny infant to sleep.
goes up to the moon and back again and round and round and
round!” Michael yelled, jumping onto the window seat and pointing up at the
sky. “Ahhhh! Spaceman!”
Miranda said in a whisper. “Keep it
down. I just got your cousin to
jumped off the ledge and walked over to her.
“Daddy said Tiger’s my second cousin.
What does that mean?”
had to concentrate hard in order to sort out their complicated family
tree. “Well, it means that your daddy is
my cousin, so Tiger is your second cousin.
like R.J. is my second cousin too, probably, huh?”
smiled and got up to put her daughter in the crib. “That’s right. You’re a pretty smart guy, you know
grinned while flying the spaceship through the air again. “Uh-huh.
Not as smart as Adam is though.”
she’d gotten Tiger settled, Miranda turned and knelt down next to him. “Adam?
Your imaginary friend, Adam?”
shook his head. “He’s not
imaginary. He’s real. He’s a spaceman.”
spaceman?” Miranda said, nodding her head up and down. “I see.
Well, that’s a pretty important job.”
Michael said and ran to the door. “I’m
gonna go see if I can see his spaceship with the telescope grandpa gave
entered just as Michael tore off.
“You’ve got fifteen minutes and then it’s bed time,” he called after
way!” Michael yelled as he rounded the corner at the end of the hall.
Ethan entered the room as Miranda rose to her feet. “See what you have to look forward to?” he
asked with a shake of his head.
think girls are a little different,” Miranda said and turned back to look at
Tiger once more. “Have you heard from
Daddy since they left?”
sighed and shook his head. “Yeah, he
called earlier today. They’re just
waiting now. Apparently Marcus doesn’t
have that much time.”
wish I would have known him,” Miranda said.
“I mean, I guess he was around for a while when I was very young, but I
don’t remember him. I’m surprised you
didn’t want to go with them. He
practically raised you before you moved out here from Kansas.”
said our goodbyes a long time ago,” Ethan told her. “Marcus Blackthorne wasn’t the easiest man to
get along with. He harbored a lot of
mother,” Ethan explained. “The way she
died right after I was born. I think he
blamed me in way.”
folded her arms. “Ethan, that’s
ridiculous. You were an innocent
baby. How could he blame you for
I said, he wasn’t an easy man to get along with.”
placed a comforting hand on his arm. “Do
you want to talk about it? We could go
down to the kitchen and raid the ice cream stash. We haven’t done that since we were
laughed. “Actually, there is something I
wanted to talk to you about, but it’s not about Marcus or my mother. It’s about you.”
she asked. “What about me?”
dug his hands into his pockets and looked around awkwardly. “I just want to know how long you’re going to
go on acting like nothing’s happened.”
Miranda studied his expression. “Ethan,
what are you talking about?”
decided the only way to say it was just to come out with it. “I was going over some expenses for the show
the other day,” he explained. “We’re trying
to keep a strict budget. Apparently the
old show-runners allotted funds for…entertainment.”
slowly began to realize what he was talking about. “Okay.” Words failed her.
found a line item with a phone number attached to it,” Ethan went on. “When I called it, I got an answering
service. She said if I wanted to make an
appointment I had to talk to you personally.”
look, I can explain-“
running a call girl operation?” he asked incredulously. “Miranda, what are you thinking?”
“Was,” she corrected him. “I was
running a call girl operation. I’m not
anymore. After this whole mess with me
and Jane and Hugh Rogers, I quit.”
placed a hand on his forehead as he paced the room. “What would have possessed you to get
involved with something like this to begin with?” A pause while he considered something he
hadn’t before. “Did you….you know….?”
she said emphatically. “I did not sleep
with any of those men. All I did was
oversee the operation.”
does now. He was furious when he found
out. I’m still not sure she’s forgive
me, or that he can trust me again. I’m
surprised he bothered going with Stormy to try and clear my name.”
had to have known how he would react,” Ethan reasoned.
shook her head solemnly. “I didn’t think
I would be hurting anyone. I thought I
could help those girls make something better of their lives. But then everything went haywire. I started getting these threats and then Hugh
Rogers turned up dead.”
you ditched him in a freezer,” Ethan surmised with a shake of his head. “If any of this comes out at your trial, the
jury will find you guilty without a doubt.
I just hope it doesn’t go that far.
Maybe Stormy and Eddie will have some luck in New Martin.”
bit the tip of her finger while looking at him warily. “Ethan, you’re not going to say anything to
my father, are you?” she asked. “Please
tell me you won’t. I can’t bear the
thought of him looking at me with that disappointed look on his face. You know how he gets.”
took a deep breath and shook his head.
“I’m not going to say anything to him, but I hope you start to think
about your actions from now on, Miranda.
You’re a mother now. Being a
parent means the time for screw-ups is over.
I’m still learning that with Michael.”
daughter is all I care about now,” Miranda said, walking back to the crib where
Tiger was fast asleep. “I never thought
I would care this much about another human being.”
no more hookers?”
see what I can do,” Miranda said, then cracked a smile.
After a full day of filming The Benefactor, Nathan dropped by Vaughan’s house where he
found him, Victor and Jack talking over drinks in the library. He poured one for himself and joined them in
the sitting area.
“Jordan is investigating these
incidents?” Nathan asked after Victor filled him in on the conversation he’d overheard
the day before. “That couldn’t bode well
for the secrets we’re trying to keep under wraps.”
“What secrets do you have?” Jack asked and looked between
him and Victor. “I mean, everyone knows
about your penchant for underage girls, and Victor’s multiple
personalities. Unless there are other
things you haven’t told us about.”
Nathan and Victor exchanged knowing
glances as Vaughan
entered. “I don’t think Jordan will be
a problem,” he announced. “I reminded
him that bringing these events to the police could expose Lola’s past with her
“I think Nathan and Victor are more
concerned with their own pasts coming back to haunt them,” said a voice from
across the room.
They all turned to see Lola enter
the room dressed in a flowing pantsuit and a strand of pearls encircling her
“My past is an open book,” Nathan
admonished. “How lovely to see you,
Lola. Recovered from your spill the
other day, I see.”
“I have indeed,” she said, glaring
menacingly at the four men. “Sorry to
put the kibosh on your plot.”
plot?” Victor asked. “Surely you can’t
think we had anything to do with the attacks against you. We’re old friends, after all.”
“Horse crap,” she said. “I’m no dummy.”
“Why that would mean one of us would
have strangled the life out of dear Elana.
And attempted to run our dear friend Jack down in that parking garage,”
Nathan said. “That’s preposterous.”
Vaughan stood by watching them bicker,
tight-lipped as he remained impartial to the accusations.
Lola pulled a long cigarette from a
leather case and lit it with a crystal lighter on the desk. With the cigarette clamped between her teeth,
she used her hands to form quotation marks in the air. “Aaaand scene,”
she said. “Bravo. You’re nothing if not convincing.”
“I’m telling the truth,” Nathan
said. “What possible reason could we
have for wanting the two of you dead? Not to mention dear sweet Elana.”
“The police haven’t made it public,
but I happen to know another photograph was found at the scene of Elana’s
death,” Lola said, glancing between Nathan and Victor. “I’d wager one of the two of you might know
something about that.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Victor said and
crossed the room.
“These attacks did just begin shortly before you went public with your return,”
Jack said, looking at Victor from across the room. He then looked at Nathan. “And not long after your release from
Victor laughed. “I’ve been relegated to the basement quarters
for the past two years,” he said. “And
any misdeeds I may have done in the past such as influencing others to do my
bidding were a result of not taking my medication.”
“Then why are you the only two who
haven’t been targeted?” Jack asked. “I
mean, it’s obvious this lunatic is targeting the top stars of Lamont 3 and
Sunset Studios. You would both fall well
into that category.”
“That’s enough,” Vaughan said, finally speaking up “Throwing accusations at one another isn’t
going to help anything. I think it’s
time we looked outside of our circle and into the annals of the studio. There’s only one person who knows more than
we do about what has gone on on that studio lot.”
“Denise Syswicki,” Nathan indicated
with a knowing nod of his head. “Our
fair lady who works in the archives.”
“Precisely,” Vaughan agreed.
“Well, I’ll have to do some checking
while I’m on the lot tomorrow,” Nathan said. “By the way, did you hear that I’ve been asked
to speak at Questicon this weekend?”
“Questicon?” Lola asked with a
“The science fiction convention at
Moonshadows. Stop by and see me, won’t
you? I’m sure the fans will love the
nostalgia of seeing you there, Lola. You
know how the public loves a good film relic.”
She scoffed and noticed Vaughan crossing the
“Who’s the hired gun?” he asked as
he peered through the window.
“Jordan has insisted I have a
bodyguard with me at all times,” Lola indicated, blowing a stream of smoke into
the air. “So if any of you have any
“I’m leaving,” Jack said and set his
drink down. “Are we all in agreement
that no matter what happens, our secrets stay buried with Jonas?”
They all looked at one another,
silence permeating the room.
“I’ll walk you out,” Vaughan said and guided
Jack to the door.
Lola took one final look at Nathan
and Victor before moving across the room.
“Not without me,” she said.
After they’d gone, Nathan looked at
Victor and shrugged, pouring another glass for each of them.
“I’m so happy that you came,” Marcus
Blackthorne said in a raspy voice.
“You’re still as beautiful as you were the day I met you.”
Seated on the edge of the man’s bed,
Alex held his hand in hers while fighting the urge to cry. “And you’re just as handsome,” she
replied. “Can I get you anything? Water?”
“Gin,” he said with a smile. He was a weathered man in his eighties with
gray hair and a frail body. “You know
what I like, Mary Ann.”
“Somehow I don’t think the doctor
would approve of that,” she said, fluffing his pillow. “You know, James is outside the room. He does
want to see you, Marcus.”
“All in good time,” he said,
coughing. “I’m enjoying our time
together. It’s been a long time. Do you remember the first time I came to Hollywood to see
James? He was so in love with you. He always did want what my brother Nathan
had. It’s no wonder he followed in his
Alex smiled. “I looked up to you,” she said. “When James and I married and we hit rocky
times, you were the only one I could count on.”
She got up and walked across the bedroom, her arms wrapped around
herself. “Everyone else turned their
backs on me. Everyone but you.”
“I think we connected right from the
get go,” Marcus told her weakly. “And
then later….when you told me what happened that horrible night….”
She nodded, tears forming in her
eyes. “The night Nathan raped me.”
Marcus shook his head. “No, not that night. You know what I’m talking about, Alex.”
A look of terror crossed her face as
she muffled the cries from her throat.
“I never told anyone else about that.
You were the only one I trusted.
And then you went away. Why?”
“Things got too complicated when
Maddie died,” Marcus told her. “After
his mother died, James and I stopped communicating. Nathan was on the lamb. I had no reason to return to California.”
“What about me?” Alex asked
tearfully. “We were friends. I looked up
“I’m sorry, my dear. I have so many regrets. Regrets about Georgie, Ethan, James, and of
course you. I always told James how
lucky he was to have you in his life.”
“Do you really think so?”
“I do,” Marcus said, grabbing her
hand as she returned to the bed. "Now
come sit down and tell me about my grandchildren. How
are Ryan and Miranda?"
Outside the room, Brooke sat beside
James on the sofa while he told her stories about his father. She smiled, poured them each another glass of
wine, and settled back against the cushions.
“You loved him very much,” she said,
her eyes beaming. “I can tell just by
the way you talk to him.”
“I did,” James said with a
smile. “Hell, I still do. Just because the old man and I stopped
talking doesn’t mean I stopped loving him or caring what happened to him. There’s just so much resentment and
“Was it always that way?”
He shook his head. “No.
No, it wasn’t. Growing up we had
a wonderful relationship. It wasn’t
until my mother died that things turned sour.
I don’t know. It hardened
him. He brought up everything from the
past, almost as if he couldn’t let it go.”
“What kind of things?”
“Georgie, Ethan, my failing marriage
to Alex. They grew quiet close. I think he looked at her like the daughter he
lost in Georgie.”
Brooke tilted her head and looked at
him in sympathy as he got up and crossed the room.
“When he dies I’ll be an orphan,” he
said, then laughed. “Isn’t that
something? Fifty years old and I still
consider myself an orphan. There’ll be
nobody to be proud of me. After
everything I’ve worked for since I left Kansas.
“He had to have been proud of you,”
Brooke said. “Look at the man you’ve
Leaning against the dresser, James
turned to her and shook his head in resignation. “Thank you for being here. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to
“I’m happy to be here,” she said and
walked toward him, pulling him into an embrace.
“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
promise I don't just call you when I need someone to
make me feel better,” Mackenzie said as she and Ethan strolled along the beach that
He smiled, letting the waves snake
around his feet as they sunk into the sand. "
I know. And I know you’ve had a rough couple of days. Do the police have any leads on Elana’s death?”
She shook her head. “No, but the good news is our ratings
skyrocketed today. Plus they’ve ruled
out Elana’s husband Max as a suspect because he had an alibi, so at least I
won’t be losing two cast members in the same week. Makes
my job a little easier.”
“I’m glad you called,” Ethan told
Letting the salty ocean breeze wash
over her, she looked up at him thoughtfully. “Is
this just a rebound thing for you? All I heard about while you were gone was how
the two of you belonged together. I’m
not interested in stepping in for a woman that you’ll probably wind up with
“Brooke is with Kyle.”
“All the more reason to believe
you’ll end up together again. My brother
isn’t the most trustworthy person in the world and sooner or later Brooke is
going to realize that and come running back to you.”
“And what makes you think I’m going
to wait around for that to happen when there’s a beautiful woman standing right
in front of me?”
She smiled in spite of the
circumstances. “So what do you suggest
we do? I can’t will myself not to have
feelings for you, Ethan. You have a
tendency to draw women in. I heard about
Sophie. She must have loved you a great
deal if she was willing to keep the truth from you about who you were. the whole
time you were gone.”
Ethan hadn’t thought about Sophie in
some time. Her death still plagued his
nightmares, but when he awoke, it was as if it had never happened. He could still see her face that day, the
guilt he felt when she died at his hands.
not a rebound," he assured her. "Can't
we just enjoy being together and not worry about anyone
you saying you don't care about hurting them?"
Mackenzie asked him. "You've gone through
this with James before, you know."
Ethan cut her off with a passionate
lost a year and a half of his life and when he returned
everything and everyone was different. He deserved
something for himself. He deserved to be happy,
and maybe Macknezie was the person to do it for him.
After a quick spin around the dance
floor with Duke, Akilah spotted Chelsea
flagging her down so she excused herself and went to intercept her.
“Having fun?” she asked.
“I was,” Chelsea told her. “But look who’s here.”
Akilah glanced in the direction she
pointed to and gasped with surprise.
“What are they doing here?”
she asked, quickly racing across the room where Stormy, Eddie and Tyler were standing. “What’s going on? Are you here to see me? Is this about my record?”
Stormy shook his head slowly while
glancing between Eddie and Tyler. “No,
Akilah, it’s not. We’re here to find
“Brad?” Chelsea asked when she approached. “You came all the way to Tennessee to see Brad? Why?”
“Because they think he killed Hugh
chimed in. “Personally, I still think it
was either that bitch Miranda Blackthorne or that ho Farrah Bale.”
“You think Brad killed Hugh?” Akilah
“I heard him on the phone with one
of Hugh’s henchman. Brad only went to L.A. to kill my
sister. We think he killed Hugh
instead. The only question is why. Farrah says…”
“Farrah?” Akilah demanded. “Don’t listen to anything that lying,
scheming cunt has to say. This is
probably another one of her schemes anyway.
Look, we thought it was Brad too, but then Miranda was arrested. She admitted to disposing of the body.”
“Because she thought she was
protecting Farrah,” Eddie explained.
“But Farrah didn’t do it. Brad
did. We’re sure of it.”
“This can’t be happening,” Chelsea said, looking
around the club for Brad. “I’m not going
to let you pin something on him that he didn’t do. I have to find him.”
With that, she darted off through
the club, leaving the others standing behind in a huddle.
Brad knew that a mixture of
painkillers and alcohol could be a lethal cocktail when combined appropriately,
so rather than risk Farrah blowing the lid off his crime, he decided to play
Standing at the bar of Heather’s, he
dissolved the pills he’d taken from Carly and waited for the evidence to
disappear. Once Farrah drank it, she
was as good as gone, and the fact that he killed Hugh Rogers would remain a
“Brad!” Chelsea called as she approached, a panicked
look on her face. “Thank God. You’re not going to believe what’s going
on. Everything thinks you killed Hugh
Rogers. That Blackthorne guy and hishot
dorky friend are here from L.A.
with Tyler Rogers and they plan on pinning this whole thing on you!”
“Where are they?” Brad asked,
glancing around the crowded restaurant.
“It doesn’t matter,” Chelsea said. “Brad, just come with me. Let’s just get out of here and go somewhere
together. I’ll help you.”
Running was not what he had in
mind. He had to make sure no one
suspected him. For now, he had to get
rid of Chelsea
and take care of Farrah permanently.
“Look, I can’t talk about this right
now,” Brad said. “We’ll talk later,
“Brad, you don’t understand-“
“Chelsea, later,” he said sternly.
Frustrated, she turned and walked
away. Once she was gone, Brad turned
back to the bar to get the drink and force it down Farrah’s throat. But there was only one problem.
The drink was gone.
After Jack and Lola left, Nathan
received a phone call from James updating him on his brother’s condition. He had no interest in seeing Marcus. He’d been one of the biggest reasons he’d
at such a young age. Stifling and
controlling, he had that fatal combination of ignorance and arrogance. He’d allowed his precious niece Georgie to be
seduced by Will Thomerson, ultimately leading to her tragic death weeks after
giving birth to Ethan. He appreciated
that James had gone to be with Marcus in the end, but he wanted no part in
“That’s wonderful news about
Questicon, Nathan,” Vaughan said as he and Victor escorted him out to his car.
“How the fans will eat up your speaking about the return
to the very role that made you a household name.”
“I agree,” Nathan said, approaching
his Bentley parked in the driveway. “I think it’s fantastic that young people are
so interested still. As a matter of
fact, I had a peculiar run-in with Keaton, our director last night.”
“It seems he has a keen interest in
the vets of Lamont 3. For a minute I
thought he was the person doing these despicable things. But as it turns out, he’s nothing but an
“I’ll take credit for that,” Vaughan said with a
good-natured grin. “That means I put you in the right films to
They all erupted into robust
laughter as they exchanged goodnights and Nathan went to open his door. Shots
ringing out in the night suddenly stopped him dead in
his tracks. Ducking to the ground, he hid behind
the car. Victor and Vaughan followed suit, dodging
out of the way as gunshots pelted the doors. Moments
later, they heard tires squealing out on the main road
and a car disappearing over the hill.
lord!" Victor bellowed, rising once the coast was
clear. "Are you boys all right?"
fine," Nathan said. "Luckily whoever
it was wasn't a good shot."
on earth?" Vaughan chimed in as he inspected the
car. He gasped when he saw a photograph tucked
beneath the windshield wiper of Nathan's car. "Gentlemen?"
approached. “Looks like we’re targets after
all," he said while taking the photograph - another headshow of a young
actress - and showing it to Victor. “This maniac
knows all of our secrets.”
Vaughan ran a hand over his face as he turned
in frustration. “Bianca Burnette,” he
said aloud. “I should have known this
would come up.”
“But Victor and I were both
responsible for what happened to her,” Nathan said. “This gun incident wasn’t a direct
could have been aiming at either one
of you,” Vaughan
“He’s watching us,” Victor
said, wide-eyed as he looked around the dark grounds of the estate. “We were all here
earlier tonight. The three of us and
Lola and Jack. I don’t think he’s going
to rest until we all suffer the same fate as Elana.”
Vaughan and Nathan looked at one
another warily, realizing that he was right.
Detective Rodriguez was working
late. Since the Hendricks murder, he’d
been with investigators at the studio trying to piece together what
happened. Security footage provided no
help, so he was back at square one. He
tried to catch up on paperwork in his office but was interrupted when Jordan appeared
in the doorway.
“It’s late, Mr. Rydell,” he said
without looking up from his desk. “Come
back tomorrow when I’m not a walking zombie.”
“I was hoping I wouldn’t find you
“Yes, because if you’re here that
means you aren’t trying to find out who’s trying to kill my mother.”
Rodriguez groaned and slid his chair
out from his desk. “The unique attacks
against your mother aren’t my biggest priority right now, Mr. Rydell. In case you’ve been living on an island for
the past twenty-four hours, a soap queen has been murdered. Soap
fans don’t like it when the people they see
on television everyday suddenly stop breathing.”
“And the fact that she was killed by
the same person who’s been stalking Lola isn’t of concern to you?”
The detective looked at him. “What makes you think it’s the same
“I know about the picture,” Jordan told
him. “They left one when that
scaffolding fell at the premiere of Elana's film, and I have a pretty good guess
you found one at the murder scene.”
Rodriguez rose to his feet and adjusted
his trousers. “Who was the woman in the
“I haven’t seen it.”
He plucked a copy of Cheri
Montessori’s photograph from his desk and handed it to him.
Jordan shook his head. “I don’t know,” he said, concentrating on the
woman’s face. “A bit player judging from
the amateur photography. Natalie
Davidson, on the other hand, was big.
Everyone knew her.”
“The woman in the photograph left at
the scene when Jack Childers was nearly run down in parking garage the other
Rodriguez frowned. “What is going on here, Mr. Rydell? I’ve got one dead actress and murder
attempts made on your mother and Jack Childers.
Each time he leaves a photograph of someone. Why?”
“I don’t know, but I’ll help you
“Are you sure you want to do that?”
Rodriguez asked, holding up the photograph.
“These people obviously have secrets that they’re being killed for. Aren’t you afraid I’ll find out what your
mother’s secret is?”
Jordan didn’t care. He’d deal with that when the time came. For now, he had to make sure Lola wasn’t the
next person who wound up dead. He’d lost
enough already because of his refusal to help those close to him. He wouldn’t make that mistake again.
Marcus’s condition was deteriorating
rapidly. James knew he had to make peace
with him before he took his final breath, so he pulled a chair up to his bed
and watched as he struggled to breathe.
“You must love this,” Marcus said,
holding an oxygen mask to his face.
“Seeing me suffer like this.”
“You know that’s not true.” Despite everything, he didn’t want to see him
“You couldn’t wait to get away from
me,” the old man went on. “The day you
turned eighteen you took off for Hollywood
and never looked back. Just like Nathan
did, and Ethan did.”
“I left Kansas so that I could make something of
myself,” James said. “Was it wrong of me
to want something better? Look at how
poor we were. The house we lived in was
a shack. We had no money. We couldn’t even help Georgie when she was
“You’ve never forgiven me about what
happened to your sister,” Marcus said, moving the mask from his mouth so he
could look at him unobstructed. “I did
the best I could. I provided for my
family the only way I knew how.”
“I know you did, but we should have
been able to do more. That’s why I left Kansas. That’s why I couldn’t stay there another
minute. I had to make something of
myself. I never understood why you
couldn’t just be proud of me for that.”
“You want me to be proud of you, do
you?” He coughed and put the mask back
to his face so he could take a few deep breaths.
“Yes, you’re damn right I do,” James
said and stood up. He wanted to look
down on his father. He wanted to make
him feel as small and insignificant as he’d made him feel for so many
years. “I did what I set out to do. I became successful. I raised a family. I avenged Georgie’s death. Nathan and I both did. We ruined Will Thomerson’s career on
Broadway. Everything he worked for and
hoped for was destroyed. His leaving Windsor and leaving
Georgie to die of a broken heart was in vain.
I made sure of that.”
“So with money and power comes
“In this case, yes,” James
said. “But you…all you did was sit back
there in Windsor
blaming everyone else. Blaming me for
leaving, blaming Ethan because Georgie died after childbirth. But what about you? What about the blame that you should be taking for all of this?”
“I don’t have to listen to his,”
Marcus said, reaching for the call button to alert the nurse that he needed
“You’re going to listen to it,” James said and snatched the remote away
The heart monitor began beeping,
alarming James and sending him flying toward the bed.
“What is it?” he asked. “Dad, are you okay?”
Wincing in pain, Marcus took a few
deep breaths. “Yes, I’m fine. Not that that should make you happy.”
“How many times do I have to tell
you I’m not happy that you’re dying?”
“Why did you come here?” his father
asked. “We haven’t spoken in twenty-five
years. Why does it matter now?”
James ran his fingers through his
hair. “It matters because I want us to come to some kind of peace with each
Marcus laughed and coughed at the
same time. The heart machine continued
beeping furiously. “You’re looking to
soothe your guilt.”
“No, that’s not it,” James
snapped. “I don’t have anything to feel
guilty about. I just don’t want…I don’t
want you to die having any regrets.”
Marcus looked at him for a few moments
without say anything. When he opened his
mouth, he coughed repeatedly. “So
dramatic,” he said. “What makes you
think I have any regrets?”
“Because in spite of everything,
you’re still a good man and you know that it’s because of you that your family
was driven away. Now’s the time to make
up for it. Please don’t let me walk out of here wishing this had gone
Marcus leaned his head against his
pillow and sighed. “I don’t know,
son. I think too much time has
passed. It’s too late for some father
son reunion.” He winced again,
clutching his chest.
James listened to the heart monitor
speed to a feverish pitch. He knew it
was time for him to go. A tear formed in
his eye as he reached out for his hand.
“It’s not too late,” he said. He
knew what too late was. With Jordan and
Benji it was too late. With Renee and
Sierra it was too late. But there he was
- at his father’s side - wanting to make amends. Wanting to find some semblance of peace
before it happened.
“I drove you away,” Marcus said
between fits of pain. “Nathan too. I should have expected Ethan to go too.”
“You didn’t drive us away,” James
wasn't fair of me to say that. We just couldn’t stay there.”
“You had to avenge Georgie,” Marcus
said, tears welling up in his eyes. “I know
you did. You did what I couldn’t
do. That’s why I turned away from you,
James. I failed to do what my own son
could. I’m so sorry for that.”
“It’s okay, dad,” James said,
looking down on him with compassion.
Brooke and Alex rose from their
chairs when James emerged from the bedroom some time later. Alex could tell by the look on his face that
it was over. She turned her head and
“I’m sorry,” Brooke said and
approached him. She pulled him into an
embrace, running her hand down his back.
“I’ll make some calls for you.”
“Thank you,” James said.
He went to Alex and placed a hand on
hers. “My father cared for you very
much,” he said. “I’m sorry that I tried
to keep you from coming.”
Her eyes flooding with tears, she
nodded before turning and leaving the room.
Once they were alone, James turned
back to Brooke and took a deep breath.
“I think I’ll have him buried in Kansas. He always loved it there.
This place isn't him."
“Do you want me to go with you?”
Brooke asked, reaching for his hand.
James shook his head. “No, I need to
do this alone. You’ve done enough for
me, Brooke. I can’t tell you how happy I
am that we’ve stayed close after everything that’s happened.”
“We shared a great deal
together. We’ll always be close,
He managed a smile, hugging her
again while wondering how things would have turned out differently if they’d
Spotting a missing drink in a
crowded bar was next to impossible, so Brad had no alternative but to crush the
remaining pills into a fresh glass before making his way back to his
office. He couldn’t risk Stormy
Blackthorne and Tyler Rogers talking to Farrah.
She remembered seeing him before Hugh Rogers was killed, which meant she
could blab to everyone.
First checking to make sure no one
was around, he unlocked his office door and quickly slipped inside. It wasn’t until he turned around that he
realized Farrah wasn’t on the floor where he’d left her.
“Farrah?” he called, eyes darting
nervously around the room.
Moments later, she came charging out
of the supply closet, a letter-opener poised in the air as she came at him
“You son of a bitch!” she screamed,
swiping the letter opener at him.
“Farrah, stop it!” he yelled, trying
desperately to restrain her. He pushed
her away and she went sailing over the desk, scattering papers in every
“You had me thinking I killed Hugh
Rogers!” she screamed, coming at him again.
“When all this time it was you!”
“You don’t know what you’re talking
about!” he yelled, darting away from her while looking for something to defend
himself with. He was able to push her
away again, this time running back to the door to escape.
Feeling her coming up from behind,
he turned, met with the gleaming blade of the letter opener as it sunk into his
chest. Eyes wide, he saw the blood ebb
from the wound, then fell to the floor, gasping for air.
from Kansas and learns of the attacks on the stars of
Sunset Studios. Brooke gets devastating news just
as Questicon opens at Moonshadows. Brooke and
Ethan grow more concerned about Michael, and Mackenzie
is on to Kyle. Plus, the exciting conclusion to Girls
plays out on Nightingales
our Forum to Leave your Comments and Feedback
about this episode in this week's BLOG