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Episode 152

 

Release Date:  September 27, 2011

 Read the episode Recap 

 

Previously...

 

In New Martin, Brad King drugged Farrah to keep her from revealing that he was Hugh Rogers Killer.  A delerious Farrah stabbed Brad with a letter opener and was arrested after Brad led her to believe she killed Hugh.  Keaton Hartley told Nathan that he bought the headshots of the Lamont 3 stars  at a memorabilia store for a scrap book he was working on. Jordan told Detective Rodriguez that he wanted to help find the killer, since he was targeting Lola also.  Lola inferred that Jordan was trying to make up for turning his back on Benji.  Nathan and Victor were shot at before finding a photograph of an actess named Bianca Burnette whom they both once knew.  Lola, Jack, Nathan, Victor, and Vaughan grew suspicious of one another.  While tring to comfort Mackenzie after Elana's murder, Ethan and Mackenzie slept together and later decided to keep sweeing each other secretly.  Miranda told Gemma that she was through with the business.  Later, Ethan revealed to Miranda that he knew her secret but that he wouldn't tell James.  In Monte Carlo, James made amends with his father and grew closer to Brooke in the process.

 


  

Episode 152

"Sabotage"

 

When Stormy and Eddie returned home two days later, they were greeted by Leilani at the door before proceeding through the foyer with their luggage. 

“You’re home!” Miranda exclaimed as she emerged from the hall, Jane padding loosely behind.

Eddie pulled her into a tentative embrace.  “We got a flight out first thing this morning,” he told her.  “How’s Tiger?” 

“She’s good.”  Miranda made a concerted effort to hide her wariness over delivering the paternity test results to him.  She knew she’d have to, but for now she wanted to enjoy his homecoming.

Jane and Stormy hugged as she expressed her bittersweet feelings over the outcome of their trip.  “Have you seen Farrah?” 

Stormy put his arm around her while he addressed the others.  “Not since they arrested her in New Martin,” he explained.  “She’s being extradited to L.A. today where she’ll wait for a hearing.” 

“I guess we were right in trying to protect her,” Miranda said.  “I only wish it would have worked out.”

“Miranda,” Stormy said with a shake of his head.

“What?  I’m sorry, but I’d do it over again if I had to.  There’s no way Farrah should be put in prison for offing that guy.  He deserved what he got.”

“You should have seen her at that restaurant opening,” Eddie told her.  “She was running around like a crazy person.  Blood was everywhere.  She was unhinged.” 

The doorbell rang and Leilani went to open it.  It was Kenny, clad in a business suit and hauling a leather briefcase. 

Stormy approached him swiftly.  “Kenny, what are you doing here?” 

“Is it about the murder charges?” Miranda asked.  “Has the D.A. officially had them dropped?” 

“The murder charges, yes,” Kenny explained.  “But now you’re being charged with abuse of a corpse.”

“What?” Jane asked and flashed a worried look toward Stormy.  “We didn’t kill Hugh Rogers.” 

“No, but you shoved his body in a freezer,” Kenny explained.  “That’s a misdemeanor.  I’ve petitioned the court to have the charges dropped but I don’t know that they’re going to go for it considering how difficult Miranda was during the investigation.  Not to mention the break-in of the rehab facility a few months back.

“We were all guilty of breaking in to that place,” Eddie reminded him.

“But Miranda’s the only one they arrested.” 

Miranda shrugged indifferently.  “So what are we talking?  A fine and some probation time?  A misdemeanor’s not so bad.” 

“Not for you,” Jane said.  “When I decide to look for a new job, this could prevent me from getting hired.  I can’t have this on my record.  It just proves how unfair this whole thing is.  Hugh Rogers was a son-of-a-bitch who terrorized women.  Now my cousin, Farrah is probably going to jail and we get stuck with a record for trying to help her.”

“Maybe there’s something we can do to help Farrah,” Eddie said.  “If her family intervenes, maybe they can get her committed to a mental institution in lieu of prison.”

“It’s probably her only option,” Kenny agreed. 

Jane took her cell phone from her back pocket and hastily dialed.  She looked at the others while waiting for an answer.  When her aunt in Chicago answered, she turned for privacy.

“Aunt Kate, it’s Janey,” she began.  “Look, Farrah’s in trouble.  She needs your help.”

While she made the call, Stormy turned to Kenny.  “Have you heard from my father?”

“He should be on his way back now from Kansas.” 

“Did he go to the funeral alone?” Stormy wanted to know. 

Kenny shook his head.  Your mother is with him.” 

Thirty thousand feet in the air somewhere above Las Vegas, the Sunset Studios jet careened through the clouds as James and Alex sat quietly in the cabin.   He looked over at her a few times as he leafed through a magazine.  Finally, he decided to break the silence. 

“Are you going to tell me what you and my father talked about in Monte Carlo the other day?”

She looked up at him and shrugged indifferently.  “We talked about a lot of things,” she replied.  “Stormy and Miranda, Nathan, and that first time he came to visit you in Hollywood.” 

“And that’s it?”

Alex paused the episode of Police Woman she’d Netflix’d on her iPad.  “Yes, that’s it.  James, what is it you’re trying to ask me?”

“I’ve just never understood the relationship you had with him.  From the first day he showed up in L.A. you were very close.  We weren’t even married yet.  What was it you bonded over?” 

“James, the man had recently lost his daughter,” Alex said.  “You said yourself that Georgie’s death was extremely hard on him.  He felt guilty for years that he couldn’t help her.  Of course he’s going to latch on to another young woman.  I don’t know why it bothered you so much.” 

“It didn’t bother me,” James told her and shifted in his seat.  “I just always got the feeling there was some secret the two of you were hiding from me.” 

Alex sighed and glanced at her iPad screen and the frozen image of Angie Dickinson running from a car explosion.  She remembered arriving in Hollywood in 1978 at the tender age of seventeen, green and penniless and wanting nothing more than to follow in Angie Dickinson’s footsteps.  A television show seemed highly attainable.  But after months of auditions, she’d gotten nowhere.  She remembered the first time she met Suzanne was at the audition for the role of Faye on The Young at Heart.  Little did she know that day that Suzanne would win that role, and that thirty years later, she would spend several months in the role that she ultimately lost out to her…

“If things don’t work out with the soap, you should look up this producer I met at a party last weekend,” Suzanne was saying as they waited for their numbers to be called.  Of the millions of teenage actresses in L.A., half of them had shown up to audition for the role of Faye.  “He mostly produces horror movies.”

Alex smiled and took the card from her.  A horror film wasn’t what she had in mind, but she was beginning to get desperate.  Maybe she would call this Deacon Edgewater guy.  She’d seen in the trade papers that Double Strike Studios was casting for a film called Bad Night.  Maybe she’d be right for the lead.

“Thanks.  What did you say your name was?”

“Suzanne Rogers,” she said and extended her hand to her.  “Yours?” 

“Mary Ann McCormack.”

Suzanne made a face.  “Yeah, you might think about changing that.  Try something that sounds Hollywood.  Something androgynous.  Androgyny is in.  It is the seventies, you know.  You’ve got to move with the times.” 

“Move with the times,” Alex repeated to herself as she looked at the business card.  “Why not?”

Alex did get the part in Bad Night, but the cost had been far too great, and unfortunately had shaped who she was for the rest of her life.  

“Alex” James asked.  “Are you listening to me?” 

She nodded.  “I’m not hiding anything from you, James,” she said, not wanting to discuss it any further.  “Your father and I just understood each other, that’s all.” 

As she went back to her iPad, James sighed and laid his head back against the headrest.   Maybe he was just projecting because of his insecurities about having never been close to his father, while Alex walked in and did it with a smile and a handshake.

Kyle Fenwick

“I was beginning to think you were never coming back,” Kyle said as he pulled the golf car up to the administration building at Moonshadows.  He caught Brooke as she made her way from the parking lot to the door.   “I thought you got back in town a couple of days ago.” 

“I did,” she said, turning to look at him through amber sunglasses.  “I wanted to spend some time with Michael before I got back to the office.  I don’t think my going away for two days helped his insecurities.” 

“Adam again?”

She nodded.  “I think he senses the friction between Ethan and I.  Dr. Podany said he might be afraid one of us is going to leave again.” 

Kyle wrinkled his forehead.  “Well you can’t stay living in that house with him forever.  How is Michael ever going to accept that you and Ethan aren’t together if you don’t start breaking it to him now?”

“It’s just a very difficult situation,” Brooke told him, her keys jangling in her hand while she pushed her sunglasses up on her nose.  “You saw how difficult Michael was last year before Ethan came back.  I don’t want to go through that again.” 

Kyle refrained from pushing it.  He wasn’t about to tell Brooke how to raise her child, but he still felt that she was using her son to keep Ethan close.  “Well, I’m glad to see you,” he said, leaning in and brushing his lips against hers.   “How was Monte Carlo?” 

“I didn’t see much of the city,” she told him as they made their way inside to their offices.  She smiled at Marcia, their secretary, and took a stack of mail from her.  “James went on to Kansas for the funeral.  I should call him today and see how it went.  It was such a difficult time for him.”

“I’m sure it was,” Kyle said dubiously.

“Oh, and I also want to run by the hospital and check on Mr. De La Cruz.  I hope he’s feeling better.  He’s been in the hospital for days.  Have you heard anything?” 

Kyle nodded.  “No change,” he said, then shifted subjects.  “Just as long as you can make some time for me.  I missed you, Brooke.” 

She turned as he pulled her into an embrace.  “I missed you too,” she said.  “And we’ll get together this week.  I promise.” 

“This week?” Kyle asked with disappointment.  “I was thinking dinner tonight at my place.” 

“I can’t,” she said and flipped through the mail.  “I need to spend time with Michael, I have to talk to James, visit Mr. De La Cruz, not to mention the marina expansion and Questicon starting today.  I feel like after just two days away I’m so far behind.” 

Again, Kyle bit his tongue to keep from expressing his disappointment.  Bombarding her with his needs was the last thing he wanted to do.  “Okay.  Well, let me know when you can fit me into your schedule.” 

She sighed as he turned to walk away, pulling him back.  “I’m sorry,” she said and kissed him tenderly.  “You are a priority, no matter what it may seem like.  Just give me a day to get settled back in and I promise I’ll make it worth your while.” 

He grinned mischievously.  “Sounds filthy.” 

“You have no idea,” she replied and kissed him again.  She pulled away, suddenly feeling dizzy. 

“Are you okay?” Kyle asked.  “You look a little pale.” 

Shaking her head, she kissed him again.  “I’m fine.”   She decided that she was probably still jet-lagged from her trip to France.

Jordan Rydell

Jordan followed Lola down the stairs of his house in Beverly Hills, wringing his hands with exasperation. 

“You’re doing what?” he demanded. 

“I’m teaching an acting class,” Lola repeated, pausing in the foyer to give herself a once-over in the mirror.  “And before you say anything smart, I’ve taught acting before.  While Jonas and I were married I ran a class at the playhouse that was quite successful.” 

“That was thirty years ago,” Jordan reminded her.  “Tell me it’s not because you need the money.  You have plenty of that.” 

“Your craft is a muscle that must be flexed if you don’t want to lose it,” Lola said.  “And since nobody is beating down my door wanting to give me parts, I decided this was the next best thing.”

“How did you even get involved in the first place?”

“Suzette over in the wardrobe department at Sunset Studios suggested it to me,” she replied.  “Her daughter used to take classes there and then the instructor skipped out with their money.  The owners of the playhouse were really quite taken with my techniques.” 

“What techniques?” Jordan asked.  “Every part you ever got was given to you by Jonas.”

“Are you saying I’m not an effective actress?  Because if that’s what you’re saying I don’t even know what I’m doing here living in this house.” 

“I didn’t say that,” Jordan said with a sigh.  “I just worry about you going out in public where this madman can try something again.” 

Lola opened the door with a raised eyebrow.  “Don’t worry. I have Kevin Costner here to protect me.” 

“That’s Chad, ma’am,” the bodyguard who stood on the porch told her.  “Are you ready?” 

“Yes,” she said and allowed him to lead her down the steps to the car. 

“Listen,” Jordan said and pulled Chad back.  “If you notice anything out of the ordinary, I want you to get her back here.  She has the tendency to be sneaky, so you have to watch her like a hawk.” 

“I heard that,” Lola called out before climbing into the car.  “Honestly, Jordan, you worry far too much.  I may be in my eighties but I’m not helpless.” 

Jordan watched as the car started and pulled out of the drive.  He hoped he wasn’t wrong by letting her go. 

Nathan Blackthorne

During a break from filming The Benefactor, Nathan made his way across the back lot of Sunset Studios.  He passed by sets being moved back and forth between sound stages, crowds of extras in costume, and an odd replica of Robbie the Robot that was on loan to Questicon for the convention that weekend. 

With his plastic keycard, he accessed the archives building and took the stairs to the lower level where Denise Syswicki was organizing files in a rusty metal filing cabinet. 

“If you’re not a site for sore eyes,” he said to her from behind. 

Denise smiled and turned.  “If they’re sore it’s because you haven’t seen anything this perfect in a long time.”   A laugh while twirled and then approached him, arms outstretched.  “How are you, Nathan?”

“Extraordinary,” he said and kissed her on the cheek.  “You look ravishing as usual, my dear.” 

“Not that anybody would care with me being crammed down here in archives all day,” Denise said and stepped back, a taut expression on her face.   “But I suppose some of us weren’t meant to be in front of the camera.”

“I’m sure you could have been one of the biggest screen sirens of our time,” Nathan said with a wink.  “But no one knows these archives the way you do.  It’s the reason I stopped by today.”

“Flattery will get you everywhere.  What can I do for you?”

He withdrew the photograph that the killer had left after trying to gun him and Victor down. Denise lit a cigarette and took the picture from him. 

“Bianca Burnette,” she said aloud.  “I’d almost forgotten how pretty she was.  This was one of the last photographs taken of her before she died.” 

“It was tragic.” 

“I’ll say,” Denise said and blew a stream of smoke into the air.  “She goes to an A-list party, leaves alone, falls into a coma, and dies two days later. One of the great unsolved mysteries of her time.  When did she die?  Eighty-one, was it?”

“I think so,” Nathan said dismissively.  “So you don’t have any inside information on what happened to her?” 

Denise handed the picture back to him.  “Are you asking me because you want to know what happened to her?  Or do you already know and you’re just fishing to see if anyone else does?” 

He couldn’t help but smile at how quick she was.  “Let’s just say that what happened to Bianca Burnette was a closely guarded secret.  There are only four people who knew the truth, and one of them is dead.” 

“Jonas Lamont,” Denise surmised.  “He did have his secrets, didn’t he?” 

“Who doesn’t?”

Denise leaned forward in her chair and took the photograph from him again.  “Let’s assume that you do know what happened to Bianca,” she began.  “Or that you were involved in some way.  What does this picture have to do with it?”

Nathan didn’t reply.  The less said the better.

“Someone’s using it against you, aren’t they?” Denise asked.  “What do they want?  Money?  Revenge?” 

Again, Nathan avoided her question.  “Who else would Jonas have told about something like this if he had been involved?”

“You mean besides Vaughan Novak, his resident Fixer?  Almost anybody.  Jonas had a tendency to talk a lot, even about things he tried like a dickens to keep to himself.  You were there, Nathan.  There were parties at his mansion almost every night.  The man loved to tell stories.  Stories about the early days with his unscrupulous brothers, stories about his wives, his daughter, and stories about those close to him.  And who was closer to him than the actors who worked for him?”

Nathan considered her theory.  The idea that Jonas, who had been like a father to him, would have told their secrets after working so diligently at covering them up, was hard to fathom.  Lola and Lana, Jack and Natalie Davidson, Elana and the people she’d killed while driving drunk, and finally he and Victor and Bianca Burnette.  Jonas had as much to lose as they all did if the truths had gotten out.  Lamont 3 would have foundered with such scandals hovering over it. 

No, there had to be someone else.  Someone who was there and knew firsthand what secrets they’d tried so hard to rise up from.  Someone who was now taunting them, stalking them, preying on their weaknesses. 

Stormy Blackthorne

After being away for a few days, Stormy wanted to get caught up on the progress with The Benefactor, so he and Keaton went to lunch at The Ivy.  The reports were good.  They were ahead of schedule and under budget.  When that happened, everyone was happy, especially his father.  And when he returned from Kansas, he wanted to have good news to report. 

“I saw the dailies you emailed me while I was in Tennessee,” Stormy said as he looked over a few stills from the set.  “Things are really looking good, Keaton.  I think we’re going to have a blockbuster on our hands.” 

“I’m glad,” Keaton said, pushing his hair away from his forehead.

“What items are left to shoot today?” 

“A few things on the shuttle set,” he told him.  “I’m more concerned with Monday’s shoot in the control tower set with Cecily Davidson.  I’m happy that you gave her the part, but I’m sending her to a few acting classes first.  Regardless, she’s much better casting than your ex-wife, if you don’t mind me saying so.” 

Stormy sipped his drink while laying the photos on the table.  “I don’t mind,” he said, glancing across the room just as Kelly entered.  “Speak of the she-devil.” 

Keaton craned his neck and laughed.  “Too funny,” he said.  “Who’s the guy with her?”

Contempt quickly set in as Stormy realized she was not only with Brett, of all people, but that they looked very comfortable with each other.  A thousand scenarios began playing out in his mind.

After excusing himself from the table, he quickly darted across the room and stepped in front of them before they could make their way to their table. 

“What’s going on here?” he asked.  “Brett, is this is another attempt at putting her in the film, you can forget it.  It’s not going to happen.” 

Kelly glared contemptuously at him while Brett slid an arm around her.  “Nothing like that,” he said.  “Just grabbing some lunch.  Same as you.  I see you’re back in town but haven’t made an effort to check in at the studio.”

“I was just going over the progress with Keaton,” Stormy said and gestured to his table.  “And in case you care, Miranda and Jane are off the hook in Hugh Rogers’ murder.” 

“So they won’t be starring in their own women-in-prison flick?” Kelly asked with a wicked laugh.  “Too bad.  Orange is really Miranda’s color, too.” 

Stormy ignored her jab.  “I guess I don’t have to ask you how R.J. was while I was gone,” he began.  “From the looks of it you’ve been keeping yourself busy.  What did you do?  Leave him for my sister and your mother to take care of?” 

“R.J. was taken care of just fine,” she said. 

“No thanks to his mother,” Stormy sniped.

“Easy, junior,” Brett said.  “I’ve made sure she got home to tuck the little tike in every night.” 

Enraged by his smug expression, Stormy made every attempt at keeping his cool.  “What does that supposed to mean?”

Brett shrugged while playfully running a hand down Kelly’s arm.  “Just that we’ve been enjoying one another’s company.”  He paused for maximum effect.  “That doesn’t bother you, does it?” 

“Actually, the two of you are perfectly suited for each other.  The thing that bothers me is you poisoning my son’s mind with your sorry ethics and sleazy lifestyle.  I don’t want you anywhere near R.J.  Is that understood?” 

“Aren’t you being a little melodramatic?” Brett asked.  “In case you’ve forgotten, I have a daughter and she’s perfectly well adjusted, even with my influence.  So why don’t you just say what’s really on your mind?  That you can’t stand that I’m sleeping with another one of your ex-wives.” 

“I couldn’t care less who she sleeps with.” 

Brett laughed.  “Please.  It’s written all over your face, junior.  First you flipped over me and Heather getting together, and now me and Kelly.  Afraid she’s comparing me in bed to you?” 

“If she’s thinking about other men in bed, I’d be worried if I were you,” Stormy said with a deadpan expression.  “And what does it say about you that you can’t find a woman of your own?  It seems to me you’re always feeding off my leftovers.” 

Brett looked away long enough to reveal that Stormy’s words had gotten the best of him.  “You know what?  The truth is you just don’t know how to please a woman so they always come running to me.  I show them what a real man can do.” 

“Keep telling yourself that,” Stormy said, then looked at Kelly.  “Watch out for this guy.  Like you, he’s never done anything that didn’t serve his own needs.  I won’t let R.J. get caught up in the middle of that.” 

After he’d stormed off, Kelly folded her arms across her chest in aggravation.  “Can you believe him?” 

“Yes,” Brett said, glaring defiantly across the room at him. 

Kelly smiled and ran a hand over his chest.  “All that macho talk about showing me what a real man can do got me turned on,” she said coquettishly.  “How about we skip eating and do lunch at your place?” 

Brett couldn’t think of a better idea.  He put his arm around her and led her out of the restaurant while making sure Stormy saw them. 

Kyle Fenwick

Kyle wanted to survey the progress at the marina expansion, so he drove a golf cart from the administration building to the construction site where he met up with Chip Matthews.  Brooke arrived at the same time and followed them to the site. 

“Things are finally back on track now that we’ve got the power lines fixed,” Chip assured them.  “There shouldn’t be any more setbacks.  We should finish on schedule next month.” 

Even as he said it, he still had no idea what Mason was planning.  Nothing he’d engineered so far had had the financial consequences that he’d predicted for Brooke Taylor and her partners.  He began to think drilling for oil was a pipe dream.

“I have every confidence in you, Chip,” Kyle told him.

“I don’t,” Brooke disagreed.  “What are you doing to ensure the environmental impact to the coastline isn’t compromised?  And what about all the expenses you chalk up to maintenance?  I’ve yet to see an itemized list of costs associated with the project.  I thought it was understood we would reconcile it weekly."

“Brooke, there’s no reason to attack,” Kyle said, smiling in an effort to diffuse the tense situation.  “Chip gave me his report while you were in Monaco.  I meant to go over it with you today.” 

“I’m sorry,” she said.  “It’s just that we’ve got a very busy weekend with the sci-fi convention and I can’t afford any more problems.”

“The convention won’t be affected,” Chip assured her. 

“I hope not.”

The ground foreman interrupted their conversation as he approached and gestured to one of the crew members who was sitting on an overturned bucket.  There were several others gathered around him as he sipped from a plastic cup of water.

“Chip, I’m worried about Meyer,” the foreman said.  “He came in looking pale this morning and it’s been downhill ever since.  Says he’s having trouble breathing.” 

“Send him home,” Chip said.  “The last thing we need is the entire crew getting a bug and being out sick for a few days.” 

“You got it,” he replied.  “But I think one of us should drive him.  Don’t think he’s in any condition to drive himself.” 

Sighing, Chip nodded and slipped off his hard hat.  “You take him, but then get right back here.  I don’t want to fall behind again.” 

He turned as Kyle was grinning, shaking his head in amusement. 

“I think you jinxed it,” Kyle said.

“Don’t even joke about it,” Chip replied with a shake of his head. 

Behind them, the foreman and another crew member helped Meyer away from the job site.  As they did, the man began coughing uncontrollably, collapsing to the ground and turning white as a sheet. 

Immediately, Chip raced toward him and bent down to the ground.  Kyle and Brooke fell in line behind and observed in anticipation. 

“Call an ambulance,” Chip shouted to them.  “He’s burning up.” 

“Oh my God.”  Brooke quickly pulled out her cell to make the call, leaving Kyle standing above watching the man coughing and wheezing on the ground. 

Mason Stone

“Saw you on E.T. the other day,” Mason said as he approached Mackenzie in the Sierra Room on the other side of Moonshadows.  “Quite the impassioned speech about Elana Hendricks’ murder.  For a minute I thought you almost had real human feelings.” 

She shifted her purse to her other hand and took a deep breath.  “What do you want, Mason?  I’m in no mood for you today, especially if this is about my turning you down the other night.” 

“Call it a temporary lapse in good judgment,” he told her in response to his ill advised attempt at getting her into bed the night of the premiere.  “How silly of me to think you would let go of our past together.” 

She regarded him with a snarl.  “You want me to let go of your affairs, your shady business deals, and the constant lies you told me while we were married?  Fine.  It’s forgotten.  And so are you.” 

As she turned to make a grand exit, he pulled her back.  “So who’s my replacement this time?” he asked.  “James Blackthorne kissed you off, that much I already know.  Who’s the warm body you’re sucking the life out of now?” 

Incensed by his smarmy tone, she raised her hand to strike him.  Mason stopped her mid-air, grabbing her wrist and issuing her a look of warning. 

“What the hell’s going on?” Ethan asked when he arrived in the doorway of the restaurant.  He looked at Mason.  “Take your hands off of her.”

Mason grinned defiantly while releasing her.  “I guess this answers my question,” he said to Mackenzie.  “I should have known it would be the nephew that you started shacking up with.  Why not keep it all in the family?” 

“Take a hike,” Ethan said, stepping forward.  “Unless you want my fist in your face again like last time.” 

“Relax, Blackthorne.  You aren’t back in the prison yard.”

Ethan tensed, poising to strike when Mackenzie stopped him.  “Leave him alone, Ethan,” she said.  “He’s just trying to cause trouble.”  She looked at Mason.  “If you’re bored and looking for a fight, go somewhere else.  Or better yet, just leave town already."

“I’m not going anywhere,” he replied.  “I have business to take care of.”

“What business?”

He didn’t answer her.  After issuing Ethan a final look of defiance, he turned to leave.  “See you around, Mac.” 

After he’d gone, she tried to calm herself down.  When Ethan reached out and touched her hand, she started to feel better.  “He just gets to me sometimes,” she said.  “I can’t believe I was ever married to that man.” 

“I can’t either,” he replied.  “Are you ready to go back to the studio?” 

Jane Wheeler

“We got here as soon as we could,” Kate Louis said as she embraced Jane in the bullpen at the police station.  “Thank you so much for calling, Janey.” 

“I didn’t know what else to do,” Jane said, then looked at the man standing with her.  “Hi Uncle Charlie.” 

“Hi sweetheart,” the man said and took her into his arms.  “It’s so good to see you.” 

“How is Farrah?” Kate asked.  “Have you seen her?” 

She shook her head.  “They just flew her back from Tennessee.  I think she’s being processed.” 

Farrah’s mother wrapped her arms around herself and fought back a few tears.  “What was she doing there?” she asked.  “The last we knew she left Illinois to move out here.  She hasn’t even called us in I don’t know how long.  The only thing that gave me any sort of peace of mine was that you were here to look after her.” 

A surge of guilt washed over Jane as she looked at her aunt and uncle.  The truth was she hadn’t looked after her very well at all.  While she’d gotten her off the streets working for Hugh Rogers and into a safer environment with Miranda, she hadn’t been able to keep her from spiraling out of control.  First murdering Hugh, then stabbing Brad King.  It’s like she was a different person. 

“I just think Farrah needs help,” Jane said.  “She’s been so lost for so long.  Everything that she went through back in Marquette Cove.  Faking the pregnancy.  I think those people there really messed her up.” 

“My poor baby,” Kate said and muffled a few whimpers of despair. 

Suddenly, the sound of a woman screaming caused them to turn in search of the commotion.  Through a set of glass doors, two officers emerged, leading Farrah through the bullpen in handcuffs.  She struggled in their grasp, thrashing about and screaming at the top of her lungs. 

“Farrah!” Charlie Louis said when he spotted his delusional daughter.  “My God….” 

The officers stopped and Farrah turned to look at Jane and her parents.  A blank look washed over her face as she stood in handcuffs before them. 

“Farrah, baby,” Kate said, taking a step forward.  “It’s your mom.” 

She looked at them and mumbled incoherently, “I shot him,” she said, then erupted into maniacal laughter until the officers led her off to the holding cell. 

“What’s happened to her?” Kate sobbed into her hands.

“It’ll be okay,” Charlie assured her.  “We’ll get her help.” 

“Did you see the look in her eyes?” Kate exclaimed.  “It’s like she didn’t even recognize us!” 

“I’m sorry,” Jane said.   “I feel like this is my fault.” 

Charlie shook his head and watched as they led his daughter to the detention area.  “No, Janey.  It’s not.  We’re going to get her psychiatric help.  There’s no way I’m going to let them take my daughter to prison in this condition.” 

“Do you think she’ll ever go back to being our Farrah again?”  Kate asked.

“I hope so,” he said and hugged her warmly.

Jane stood by, hating what happened to her cousin, but happy that she was going to get help. 

Eddie Distefano

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Eddie asked his brother as they climbed out of the car.  “We don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.” 

Blake shook his head while staring up at the house they’d grown up in.  The house they lived in when their mother left fifteen years ago.  The house they lived in when their father went insane and died after going overboard a yacht on a dark and foggy night two years before. 

“No, I want to see him,” he finally said, tensing when the door opened and Victor smiled at them from the foyer.  

“My boys,” he said.  “I’m so happy you decided to come.  Please excuse the dust.  Since the house has been uninhabited for two years, I’m afraid it’s gone a bit on the wayside.” 

Eddie ran his finger along the banister, grimacing at the black dust that coated it.  “It’s fine,” he said and wiped it on the back of his jeans.  “When did you move back in?” 

“Just this morning,” Victor said and led them to the parlor room.  “My recovery is complete thanks to Vaughan and Dr. Kanning.  Time to spread my wings and leave the proverbial nest.”  He looked at Blake.  “Your room is much as you left it if you’d like to have a look.” 

Blake looked up the staircase, remaining tight lipped.  Eddie could sense how uncomfortable he was being there so he quickly tried to steer the conversation to a lighter topic. 

“Have you talked to mom to tell her you’re back?”

Victor sighed and shook his head.  “I’m afraid not.  Sylvie stopped caring what happened to me a long time ago.  I’m afraid her dalliance with Jordan Rydell was our ultimate undoing.” 

Blake snorted and shook his head in aggravation.  “No, your undoing was your crazy ass behavior.”

“Blake,” Eddie said, hoping to stave off any conflict.  As much as he hated what their father had done, he wanted to at least hear him out.

“What?” he continued with a frown.  “The only reason mom had that affair with Jordan Rydell was because she couldn’t handle our dad’s whack job antics.” 

“Blake, I’m sorry, but I-“ Victor began. 

“No, I’m sorry.  This reunion is nothing but a load of crap.” 

“I was off my medication,” Victor insisted.  “You have to believe I would have never done those despicable things if I’d been in my right mind.” 

“That’s what you keep saying, but do you have any idea how many people you screwed up after your last stunt?  Benji, Heather, their parents…  Do you have any idea what they’ve been through?”  He took a step closer.  “Benji is dead.  My best friend.  He was so screwed up after what you did to that family that he….”   A pause while he fought back the tears and the dryness in his throat.  “Everyone may be able to forget what you did, but I can’t.  I won’t.” 

“I know I haven’t been a good person, but I-“ 

Blake shook his head adamantly.  “What makes you think you can come back into our lives and act like nothing has happened?” he asked.  We’ve moved on.   We have our own lives now.” 

“And I want to know all about it,” Victor pleaded.  “I want to know everything.” 

“Do you?” Blake asked.  “How about this for starters?  I’m gay.  Didn’t expect to come back from the dead to that, did you?” 

Eddie looked at his brother in surprise.  “Blake…” 

“Still want to know everything?” Blake continued.

“Yes…”  Victor told him.  “Blake, you’re my son.  Regardless of who or what you-“

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Eddie asked.

“It’s doesn’t matter,” Blake said.  “The point is that this is a stupid.  We’re not a big happy family.  He ruined that when he started destroying lives.”

With that, he turned and darted back out of the house, leaving Victor and Eddie standing in awkward silence.   After a few seconds, Eddie cleared his throat and gestured to the door. 

“Look, I’m sure he’ll come around.” 

“No,” Victor said with a shake of his head.  “He won’t.  Blake has your mother’s stubborn streak.” 

Eddie dug his hands into his pockets.  “Look, I’m glad you’re back, dad.  Regardless of what you did, I never wanted you dead.  But it is going to take some time for us to get over what happened.” 

“I understand, Edward,” Victor said. 

After a few more awkward moments, Eddie left the house and closed the door slowly behind.

Ethan Blackthorne

When Ethan left the studio that afternoon, he stopped by the hospital to pick up Miranda’s overnight bag that she’d left after she and Tiger were discharged.   When he entered through the main doors, he saw Kyle standing by the elevators talking on his cell phone.

“What are you doing here?” Kyle asked when he ended the call and pocketed his phone. 

Ethan furrowed his brow.  “What’s it to you?” 

Amused at his hostility, Kyle dug his hands in his pockets.  “You know, Ethan, there was a time we were friends.  We had each other’s backs in prison, remember?” 

“That was before you moved in on Brooke while failing to tell her that I was alive,” Ethan replied, impatiently waiting for the elevator.  He hit the button a few more times and hastily looked at his watch.  

“Come on,” Kyle said with a self serving grin.  “It’s not like it mattered anyway.  The two of you couldn’t get past your own stubbornness long enough to see your way back to each other.” 

“Wasn’t that your plan all along?” Ethan asked, finally turning toward him.  “Keep me away long enough to make her fall in love with you?”

“You could have had her if you wanted.  Instead, you chose to spend weeks punishing her for moving on while you were away.  What did you expect her to do, anyway?  Create a shrine to your memory and join a convent?” 

“You don’t know anything about my relationship with Brooke.” Ethan fired back. 

“I know that she chose me over you,” Kyle said with a smug expression on his face.  “Seems like I’m giving her something that you never could.” 

Ethan resisted the temptation to punch him in the face.  He knew that’s what Kyle wanted.  He was good at pushing his buttons.  “You’ve been together for how long?  A few weeks?  I give it another month tops.” 

Before Ethan could turn to walk away, Kyle called after him.  “We may have officially only been back together for a few weeks, but things were hot and heavy a long time before that.” 

Ethan stopped in his tracks and turned toward him.  “Meaning?” 

“Meaning after she moved back into the mansion with you, she and I were working late one night and wound up getting naked on the sofa in her office.  I did things to her that night that you’ve only fantasized about doing to her.” 

Finally, Ethan had had enough.  Whether Kyle’s story was true or not, he wasn’t about to stand there and bait him.   He drew his fist back and prepared to punch him when James appeared and stopped him mid-air. 

“Ethan, don’t,” he said.   “It’s not worth it.  Just walk away.” 

“Listen to your uncle, Ethan,” Kyle taunted him.

“Shut up,” Ethan lamented, still wanting nothing more than to knock his lights out.

“I must say,” Kyle continued, “it is rather touching that your uncle would come to your defense.  Especially after you’ve been sleeping with my sister.  The same one who he just recently broke it off with.” 

James looked at him and then at Ethan, who closed his eyes with regret.  The last thing he wanted was for James to find out this way.  He looked at his uncle and shook his head dismissively.

“Look, James, it’s not what you think,” he began.  “It’s not like we didn’t care about your feelings.  After we got back from Palm Springs, it just sort of happened.” 

James issued him a look of disapproval.  “We’ll talk about it later.” 

“James, please.  I would never-“

“I said we’ll talk about it later,” James repeated.  “I assume you’re here to pick up Miranda’s bag.” 

“Yes,” Ethan said while running a hand through his hair.

“I’ll do it,” James said.  “And I’ll see you at home later.” 

When he’d gone, Ethan turned to Kyle and issued him a look of warning.  Kyle simply smiled and stepped onto the elevator when the doors opened.   The last thing Ethan saw before the doors closed was the satisfied look on Kyle’s face. 

Stormy Blackthorne

Jane dropped by the The Benefactor production offices that afternoon and caught up with Stormy where she told him about the developments with Farrah and her parents. 

“At least she’ll get help,” Stormy said.  “It’s hard to believe she just snapped like that.  Killing Hugh Rogers and then attacking Brad King with the letter opener.  It’s chilling.” 

“I’m just glad that it’s over,” Jane told him, then grew quiet as she watched him shuffle papers on his desk.   “But are we okay?” 

He looked up and frowned.  “What do you mean?” 

“You were pretty angry with me for not telling you what Miranda was up to,” Jane reminded him.  “Are you still angry?  You shot out of the house so fast this morning.” 

“I’m not angry,” he said and walked toward her.  “I was, but not really at you.  I know you were just trying to be a friend to my sister.  She’s lucky to have you in her life.  We both are.” 

Jane smiled.  “Does that mean we’re on again?” 

“We were never off,” Stormy said and took her hand.  “There’s going to be times when we disagree or we do something that the other doesn’t understand, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love each other.  Jane, I want to make this work.  You’re the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time.” 

Happily, she fell into his arms when he went to embrace her.  “I’m glad,” she said.  “Because I don’t want to mess this up.” 

“I don’t either,” he agreed, pushing her hair from her eyes.  “I promise now that this murder thing is over with, I’ll take more time out for the two of us.”

“You mean it?” Jane asked. 

“Yeah.  I just have a few things to finish up here and I’ll see you at home later.” 

“You mean at my place,” Jane corrected him.  “I moved back in to my apartment.  Since the murder charges were dropped, I don’t have to stay under your father’s roof anymore.” 

“Jane, I don’t want you to move out,” Stormy said.  “I like having you around.” 

“I know, but when and if we live together, I don’t want it to be because it’s been court ordered.  For now I think I should go back to my apartment and the way things were before.” 

He could see her point.  “Okay,” he said and kissed her softly.  “Then I’ll pick you up tonight and we’ll do something.  Just the two of us.” 

She nodded happily. 

Brooke Taylor

The lobby of Moonshadows looked like a casting call for a science fiction movie, Brooke thought as she made her way through a throng of  Questicon attendees who were waiting to check in.   From her vantage point, she surveyed the overzealous fans who were beginning to arrive in droves.  Robots, Wookies, several Captain Spock’s, a few hooded Sith Lords, and countless girls in metal bikini’s were spread out across the terra cotta floor.  A huge banner hung across the ceiling with the words Welcome to Questicon 2011 emblazoned into it. 

She ambled across the lobby toward La Mirada bar, maneuvering around several cloaked figures and authentic looking robots.  One group of rowdy conventioneers seemed to be replicating a scene from the latest remake of The Thing.

Nearly regretting her decision to host the popular science fiction conference, Brooke stopped to remind herself of the money it would bring in.  And with the mounting expenses with the marina expansion, they needed it. 

Stopping in the entrance to the bar, she groaned at a sign propped against an easel.  It was a photograph of Nathan with details of his special speaking engagement the following day.  Another reason to regret hosting the conference. 

“Good afternoon, Brooke,” Yvonne, the hostess said as she entered.  “Are you feeling okay?” 

Brooke nodded.  “Just a little overwhelmed,” she said and motioned to the crowd in the lobby.  “I left my phone in my office and I need to call Kyle.  May I?”

“Of course,” the hostess said and handed her the phone. 

Brooke started to dial, eager to check on the crew member that had become ill.  Kyle said he was going to call her with details but so far she hadn’t heard from him.  When the call went straight to voicemail, she hung up and decided to try again later.

“Hello Brooke,” a voice said from behind. 

Brooke turned and groaned at the sight of Alex approaching from the lobby.  “Alex, you’re back.” 

“James and I flew back from Kansas this morning,” she told her, straightening the collar on her jacket.  “It was a lovely funeral service.  Just a few close friends and family.” 

“That’s nice,” Brooke said. 

“Curious that James didn’t ask you to come to the funeral,” Alex went on.  “Maybe the two days he spent with you in Monte Carlo were all he could take.  You always did have a way of outliving your usefulness.” 

Brooke glared at her.  “You’re one to talk.”   She began to feel light-headed, mostly likely as a result of the exasperation she felt any time she was around Alex.  “If you’ll excuse me.”

“You just never learn, do you?” Alex persisted and followed her.  “It took two marriages and two bitter divorces to realize you’re way out of your league with James.  Even Ethan realized you’re nothing but trash from Phoenix who will never amount to anything.” 

“I beg your pardon?”  She steadied herself against the hostess stand, suddenly feeling warm. 

“I know you think you’ve made something of yourself what with your stake in this resort and with your share of the studio, but you wouldn’t have any of that if it wasn’t for David, would you?  Had he not found out you were his illegitimate sister, you’d probably still be running around with men like that scoundrel ex-husband of yours, Philip Whitacre.  I guess even Kyle Fenwick is a step up from that.” 

“Interesting that you’d feel that way since he dumped you after your brief affair when he first got to town,” Brooke fired back.  “And where is Jordan these days?  Obviously he got tired of your pills and your baby-stealing antics.”

Alex glared menacingly at her.  “There was a time I thought we shared a bond,” she began.  “What with what Nathan did to me all those years ago and what he tried doing to you.  I thought we were kindred spirits.  But since then I’ve come to realize you’re still just the naïve opportunist you were when James threw me aside for you.  I really think that this latest upheaval in your romantic life will be you undoing.” 

“I don’t care what you think,” Brooke said, turning to walk away.  She stopped, swaying on her feet as she broke out into a cold sweat.  She could hear Alex talking to her from behind but the sound of her voice was drowned out by the pounding in her head. 

“Did you hear what I said?” Alex asked.  “Brooke?” 

Staggering back a step, Brooke suddenly felt the room go dark.  She collapsed to the floor with a thud, everything around her fading into the background. 

Blackthorne Mansion

Kenny heard back from the D.A. so he called ahead to let Miranda and Jane know he was on his way over.  They assembled in the family room with Ethan as he and James entered from the hall.  Immediately, Ethan tensed from the look his uncle gave him. 

“The D.A. is willing to go easy on you for moving Hugh Rogers’ body,” Kenny announced.  “You’ll both have a year of probation and fifty hours of community service.” 

“Thank God,” Miranda said and pulled Jane into an embrace.  “Wait, Kenny, what kind of community service?” 

“Whatever the judge decides,” James said curtly.  “You’re lucky you got off this easily.  This could have gone very differently for you, Miranda.  You could start with thanking Kenny for going to bat for you.” 

“Thank you, Kenny,” Miranda said and hugged him.  “I really do appreciate it.” 

“Definitely,” Jane agreed.

“I still want to know what the hell you were doing cavorting with a man like Hugh Rogers,” James said.  “I saw on the news that Farrah Bale girl claimed he was her pimp.  Jane, did you know your cousin was a prostitute?” 

“Yes,” Miranda answered for her.  “That’s why he was after us.  We tried to get Farrah off the streets and he retaliated.  That’s really all there is to it, Daddy.”

Ethan gave Miranda a knowing look, still unsure about keeping her secret from James. 

“No, that’s not all there is to it,” James replied.  “Now I want to know what went on with the two of you and Hugh Rogers and why you were wrapped up in his organization.” 

“Daddy, I just told you,” Miranda said.  “Look, can’t we just forget about it?  Farrah’s going to a mental institution and we get to pick up trash on the side of the highway or something equally as gross.” 

“I really do want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me,” Jane said. 

James decided to shelf the topic for now.  He looked at Ethan and dug his hands into his pockets.  “Ethan, can I speak to you privately for a few minutes?” 

He nodded and followed him to the door. 

“Ethan,” Miranda called after him. 

“Don’t worry,” he said and turned back.  “It’s not about you.  I’ll keep your secret, Miranda.” 

She nodded with appreciation as he turned and walked out of the family room.

Brett Armstrong

After an hour of explosive sex, Brett stood in the shower letting the hot water run over his body.   Kelly climbed in and snuck up behind him, wrapping her arms around him and running her hands down his chiseled torso. 

“You never get enough, do you?” he asked with a grin. 

“Not used to a woman who can keep up with you?” Kelly asked.

Brett instantly grew hard again, turning and pinning her to the shower wall, the curves of her taut body fitting perfectly against him.  He entered her from behind, the water raining relentlessly over their bodies as they found their rhythm and worked slowly toward another explosive climax. 

“Won’t it be something when we turn the tables on this town?” she asked, biting her lip to keep from crying out.   “You and I reigning over Hollywood and knocking Stormy and the rest of the Blackthornes down where they belong.” 

“Is that what turns you on?” Brett asked, nibbling at her ear.  “Revenge?” 

“Don’t tell me it’s not important to you.  I saw you back at the restaurant with Stormy.  You loved how pissed he got when he saw us together.”

“Tell me that I’m better than he is,” Brett said, panting.  “Tell me that I’m a better lover.”  

Kelly grinned.  “You’re better at everything,” she said between squeals of delight.  “You could take Stormy down with one swing and I’m going to help you do it.” 

Brett picked up his pace, pushing her against the shower wall as he frantically brought her to orgasm.  “We could finally put him in his place,” he grunted.  “And take it all.” 

“God, yes,” Kelly said, screaming with excitement. 

“I’ll take it all from him,” Brett continued, growing closer with every vengeful thought that crossed his mind.  “The studio, the respect of his father, and finally his son.” 

“God, you are hot,” Kelly said. 

“He’ll finally be left with nothing,” Brett said, emptying himself inside of her as they screamed out with delight.

James Blackthorne

As they entered the study, Ethan flinched when James turned and latched the door closed.  Waiting for his uncle to speak was like waiting for a bomb to drop.  At least the secret was out, he thought to himself.  At least there was no more wondering how he was going to break the news to him that he was sleeping with Mackenzie. 

“I’m sorry,” Ethan said, deciding to speak first.  “I never meant for this to hurt you.”

James crossed the room.  “It just happened, right?” he said.  “Just like when you and Brooke just happened to fall in love while she was married to me.” 

Ethan shook his head.  “No.  Regardless of how I felt about Mackenzie, I didn’t act on it because I knew how much you cared about her.  But after we got back from Palm Springs, you broke it off with her.”

“So that makes it okay?” James asked.  “My God, did you even wait an hour after we ended things before you jumped into bed with her?” 

“It wasn’t like that,” Ethan said.  “We were both hurt.  Brooke had turned me away for Kyle and you kept putting Mackenzie off.  We acted out of impulse.  Afterwards we swore it wouldn’t happen again, but-“

“But you couldn’t keep your hands off of her?” James asked.  “I cannot believe this is happening again.” 

“It isn’t,” Ethan insisted defensively.  “You’re forgetting that when you and Brooke were married the first time, you were a different person.  You were controlling, you gave your soul to the studio, and you treated Brooke like a possession.  You drove her away, James.” 

“And into your arms?” he asked incredulously.  “If I’d driven Brooke away, I could handle that, but to my own nephew?   I practically raised you, Ethan.  I took you under my wing.  I brought you out here to Hollywood, away from that sink hole in Kansas and I gave you every opportunity.  Then not once but twice you thank me by taking the woman that I loved.”

Ethan grew silent.  There was no denying that James was right.  He’d taken his generosity for granted and stabbed him in the back. 

“So what are you going to do?” he asked.  “Disown me again like you did last time?”

James laughed in spite of the circumstances.  “We all know what happened when I did that,” he said.  “You went to work for my arch rival.  The man who destroyed your mother with his selfishness and his cold heart.” 

Will Thomerson was my father,” Ethan reminded him.  “I went to work for him not knowing what he’d done to my mother.  And why didn’t I know?  Because you kept it from me for my entire life.” 

“You know why I did that,” James said.  “I was protecting you from the truth.”

“And because of that we almost lost Michael.  That bastard kidnapped him to get revenge on you for keeping me from him all those years.” 

“And I nearly killed him for that,” James protested.  “I would have if Heather hadn’t beaten me to it.”    He turned and looked out the window, remaining silent for a few moments.  “I guess this is payback for my taking Alex from Nathan all those years ago.” 

“Let me ask you something,” Ethan began, walking toward him.  “If you cared about Mackenzie so much, why did you end things with her?  Ask yourself, James.  Is she the one?” 

James didn’t know how to answer his question.  The truth was he didn’t know.  “What about you?” he asked in an attempt to avoid answering.  “Is Mackenzie the one for you?  Can you see yourself with her in five years?  In ten?” 

“I don’t know,” Ethan replied. 

After a few minutes of stifling silence, James poured a drink and swallowed it in one gulp.  “You know what’s painfully obviously, Ethan?” 

“What?” he asked.

“That Brooke is the only woman that either of us could see ourselves with,” he replied.  “And she’s with Kyle.” 

Before Ethan could comment on his remark, the door flew open and Leilani came barreling inside.

“Mr. Blackthorne,” she said in a panic.  “Miss Reynolds just called.   It’s Miss Taylor.  She’s been taken to the hospital!” 

Kyle Fenwick

The paramedics burst through the doors of the emergency room, wheeling Brooke on a gurney as Kyle followed in a panic. 

“Is she going to be okay?” he asked, frantic to get answers.  After Brooke collapsed, Yvonne paged him and he arrived just as the paramedics did.  All Alex seemed to know was that they’d been arguing and she fainted dead away.  She hadn’t regained consciousness since. 

“We’ll update you as soon as we can,” Dr. Farraday said as he got the vitals from the EMT’s.  “Can you check in with the nurse?”

Before Kyle could protest, they were taking Brooke down the hall into an exam room.  He ran his fingers through his hair and turned just as Chip approached through a set of glass doors. 

“Kyle, what’s wrong?  I heard that they brought Brooke in.” 

He shrugged.  “She collapsed.  That’s all I know.  The doctor’s in with her right now.”   He looked up as Mason moved toward them.  “Mason, what are you doing here?”

“I went to the bar for a drink and they told me about Brooke,” he said.  “Is everything okay?” 

“I don’t know,” Kyle said with a shake of his head.

“Is there anything I can do?” Mason asked. 

“No, thanks,” he said.  “I won’t know anything until they examine her.  I think I’ll check on Mr. De La Cruz while I wait.  Maybe I can give her some good news when she wakes up.” 

He turned and went to the nurse’s station where a young nurse was finishing up a phone call. 

“Excuse me,” he began.  “Can you tell me if there’s been any improvement with Marco De La Cruz?  He was brought in a few days ago.” 

“Are you a relative?” 

“No, but he was a guest at the resort that I manage.”

“I’m sorry,” the nurse began.  “I can only give information to immediate family.” 

Frustrated, Kyle turned just as Dr. Farraday emerged from the exam room.   “How is Brooke?  Do you know what’s wrong with her?”

“Her vitals are stable but she hasn’t regained consciousness,” Dr. Farraday told him.  “I’m running some more tests.  Hopefully we should know something soon.” 

Kyle ran a hand over his face as Chip and Mason fell in line behind him.  “You have no idea what’s wrong with her?”

He shook his head.   “Has she displayed any unusual symptoms lately?” 

“She looked a little tired and worn down this morning,” Kyle told him.  “She said she felt a little feverish.” 

“A lot like Meyer did before we brought him in,” Chip noted.  “He said he felt dizzy just before he passed out.”

“I’ll let you know as soon as I have any information,” Farraday said. 

“Dr. Farraday.”  Kyle stopped him before he turned back to the exam room.  “I was trying to get some information on Mr. De La Cruz but the nurse wouldn’t tell me anything.  Do you know how he is?  He was staying at Moonshadows when he got sick.” 

Dr. Farraday looked apologetically at him.  “Mr. De La Cruz passed away earlier today,” he told him.  “We weren’t able to get to the bottom of his respiratory problems.  We’ve got a tox screen ordered.” 

“Tox screen?” Kyle asked. 

“Based on his symptoms, we have reason to believe he ingested a poison.” 

As Dr. Farraday turned and walked away, Kyle tried to take in the information.  Brooke was going to be devastated when she heard the news.  She’d grown quite fond of De La Cruz.  He wondered what kind of poison the man would have ingested that killed him.  He spent most of his time at Moonshadows before being hospitalized. 

“Where’d Mason go?” he asked Chip. 

“I don’t know.” 

Around the corner, Mason ducked into an enclave in the wall and struggled to catch his breath.  Panicked, he held his head in his hands and repeated the doctor’s words over in his head.   Mr. De La Cruz passed away.  Tox Screen.  Ingested poison. 

He hadn’t meant for it to go this far.  And now two more people were sick.  What had he done?

Nathan Blackthorne

“I’m sorry things didn’t go better with your boys, Victor,” Nathan said as they gathered at Vaughan’s house that evening.  “Maybe they’ll come around.” 

“Just be thankful Eddie and Blake are healthy,” Jack Childers told them from across the room.  Ashton and I had a good relationship but I’ve been unable to talk to him since he fell into the coma.  I only hope one day I’ll be able to tell him just how much I love him.” 

Vaughan put a hand on his shoulder as he sipped his drink.  “Any more incidents since the other night with Nathan and Victor?”

They all looked at each other and shook their heads.  ‘It would appear even the random stalker takes a day off now and then,” Nathan said. 

“What of that photograph of Bianca Burnette?” Jack asked him and Victor.  “Obviously the two of you were involved in her demise.” 

“That’s speculation,” Victor said and swallowed a pill down with a swig of bourbon. 

“Then why the photograph of her after the other night’s shootout?” Jack asked suspiciously. 

Nathan crossed the room while staring at the floor.  “You’re right, Jack.  Victor and I were indirectly responsible for poor Bianca’s accident.” 

“Accident?” Jack asked with a scoff. 

“We were at an industry party,” Nathan explained.  “Bianca was there.  She was at the top of her career that year.  A true femme fatale.”

“Nathan and I both had a thing for her,” Victor added.  “We had a friendly wager to see who could seduce her into bed that night.  And while Bianca was no prude, it was a bit of a challenge coercing her, so unbeknownst to one another, we both drugged her.” 

“Good Lord,” Jack said with an upturned nose.  “Have you two no shame?” 

“This from the man who got drunk and pushed poor Natalie Davidson off the side of his yacht?” Nathan asked.  

Jack stifled his next comment with a large shot of whiskey.

“Needless to say, neither of us got to enjoy Bianca’s company that night,” Victor went on.  “She left and went home alone where she fell into a coma and died two days later.  A fatal combination of drugs and alcohol.”

“And of course our friend Jonas covered up for you?” Jack asked.

Vaughan stepped forward and finished his drink.  “He paid the coroner to falsify her autopsy, eliminating the suspicion that drugs were involved.  Then he created alibis for Nathan and Victor, eliminating any link to them being at the party.”

“Who’s party was it?” Jack asked. 

Vaughan shrugged and looked at the others.  “I don’t recall.  Some starlet, I believe.” 

“Well who was there?” 

“Anybody and everybody,” Nathan said.  “Drugs were flowing freely that night so it was easy to convince people that we weren’t there.”

“Not everyone,” Jack reminded him.  “Someone knows what went on at that party, and now you’re the fourth and fifth targets of this lunatic.” 

They all looked at one another with dread, silently sipping their cocktails. 

Ethan Blackthorne

James and Ethan raced into the emergency room, approaching the admitting desk when Kyle walked over from the waiting area.

“Where’s Brooke?” Ethan demanded. 

“They’re running tests on her,” he replied.  “They said she’s stable but they don’t know what’s wrong with her.” 

“What do you mean they don’t know?” James bellowed and turned to the nurse’s station.  “I want to see Dr. Farraday.  Tell him James Blackthorne is here.” 

“James,” Farraday said as he emerged from the emergency room.

“How is she?” he asked and rushed over to him.  “What happened to her?” 

Farraday shook his head.  “Her condition is deteriorating.  She seemed to be responding to stimuli for a while but she’s having difficulty breathing.  We have her on a respirator now.”

“A respirator?” Ethan asked.  “What’s wrong with her?”  

“We’ll know more once we get the tox screens back.”  He turned to Kyle.  “Were you with Brooke for most of the day today?”

Kyle nodded.

“I’m going to need a list of everything she ate or drank,” Farraday said.

“What do you think it is, Noel?” James asked. 

“Whatever’s wrong with Brooke, it’s the same thing that killed Marco De La Cruz, and the same thing that affected the construction worker they brought in earlier today.   They all suffered similar symptoms.  Dizziness, hot flashes, difficulty breathing.”  

“I’ll check the restaurants,” Kyle said and pulled his phone from his pocket. 

“Noel, is Brooke going to die?” James asked. 

“I’ll do whatever I can to make sure that doesn’t happen,” he told him before turning and leaving him and Ethan standing behind. 

Miranda Blackthorne

Eddie knocked on Miranda’s bedroom door before entering.  Seated at her vanity, she turned and smiled when he walked in.  

“I tried calling you,” she said and went toward him.

“I was with my father and Blake.” 

“How did it go?”

Eddie sighed.  “Not good.  Blake doesn’t even want to give him a chance to make things up to us.  I guess I can see where he’s coming from, but I wish he’d at least try.” 

“I’m sorry,” Miranda said and pulled him into an embrace. 

“And there’s more,” Eddie continued.  “Blake’s gay.  He blurted it out when he was letting Dad have it. “

Miranda tilted her head and reached out to him.  “He told you?” 

Frowning, Eddie took a step back.  “You knew?” 

She nodded.  “He told me a few months ago.  I tried telling him that he should talk to you but he was afraid of how you’d react.” 

“Wait a minute,” Eddie said, pacing the room.  “Why didn’t you tell me?  How long have you known?” 

Miranda didn’t immediately pick up on the resentment in his voice.  “Since Benji’s funeral,” she said.  “I didn’t say anything because he asked me not to.  It wasn’t my place to say anything to you, Eddie.” 

“He’s my brother,” Eddie protested.  “I worry about him without our parents around, and you decide that keeping me in the dark about something like this was a good idea?  I don’t get you, Miranda.” 

“It wasn’t my place,” she repeated, this time louder.  “Are you really pissed at me for not telling you Blake’s personal business?” 

“It’s just that you have been pretty good lately about keeping secrets.  First that you were a madam, then that you stuffed some guy in a freezer, and now this.  Is there anything else that you haven’t told me?” 

She bit her lip and looked away. 

“There is, isn’t there?” Eddie asked.  “Tell me.  What else are you hiding from me?”

“It’s not like that,” Miranda insisted.  She knew it was time to come clean about Tiger. It would hurt him, but the truth had to be told.   “I got the paternity tests back.” 

Eddie immediately moved toward her.  “You did?” 

She nodded, unable to hide the despair in her eyes. 

“Tiger’s not my daughter, is she?” Eddie asked without even having to hear her say the words.  He knew her well enough to know something wasn’t right.   “David’s her father.” 

Slowly, Miranda nodded in reply.  The hurt look in his eyes tore her apart.   “I’m sorry, Eddie.  I wished the results had been different.  I really did.” 

Fighting back the tears, he took a step back and pushed his fists into his pockets.  “Okay,” he finally said, words failing him.  “So that’s that.” 

Miranda reached a hand out to him.  “It doesn’t mean that you’ll be any less of a father to her,” she insisted.  “She’ll grow up knowing who her biological father was, but you’ll be the one who’s there for her.  You’ll be the only father she knows.”  

“Except that I’m not her father.”  He hooked his hand on the back of his neck as he paced back and forth a few times.  “David is.”

“Only by sheer chance,” Miranda told him.

Eddie frowned and shook his head.  “David’s her father because you slept with him while we were together,” he said.  “You wanted excitement, remember?  We were fine and then all the sudden I wasn’t good enough for you anymore.” 

“That is not true.”  Tears fell down her face as she watched his expression change from hurt to anger.   “I love you, Eddie.” 

“But not enough to stay faithful to me.” 

Miranda looked at him in confusion.  “I thought we’d settled all of this,” she said.  “I admitted that I was wrong for sleeping with David.  I never meant to hurt you.  Why are you bringing it up again?” 

“Because everything you do is for your own selfish reasons,” he snapped.  “To hell with how your actions affect anyone else.  This thing with Hugh Rogers was a perfect example of that.” 

“I was trying to help people.”

“At my expense,” he added.  “And at the expense of everyone else who got railroaded by your little stunt.  Your sleeping with David was the same damn thing and you know it.” 

“Eddie, please,” Miranda said, tears exploding from her eyes.  “I’m sorry that I hurt you.  But you said that it wouldn’t matter if Tiger wasn’t your daughter.  You said you would love her as much as if she were your own.” 

“I do,” he said, shaking his head in misery.  “But I can’t do this.  I can’t raise another man’s child knowing that the only reason we’re in this situation is because you got bored with your life again. I can’t pretend things are fine when the whole time I’ll be wondering what’s next.  What selfish thing are you going to do next?”

“Don’t do this,” Miranda sobbed. 

“I have to go,” he said, turning and storming out of the room. 

Miranda buried her face in her hands and wept.  She couldn’t let him walk out on her.  Desperate, she raced out of the bedroom and down the hall to the staircase.   Stormy was standing outside of his bedroom watching the events unfold but she ignored him. 

“Eddie!” she called as he ran down the stairs.   “Eddie, please!” 

He didn’t look back as he made his way across the foyer to the front door. 

“Eddie!” Miranda cried again, her body jolting when the front door slammed closed. 

Sobbing, she sunk to the top step and buried her face in her hands.  


Next time....

James, Ethan and Kyle sit vigil by Brooke's bedside.  Miranda finds her world crumbling around her.  Stormy takes steps to extradite Brett from Sunset Studios.  Another murder is committed in the case of the Hollywood scandals.

 

 

Read Episode 153

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