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Episode 155

 

Release Date:  October 28, 2011

 Read the episode Recap 

 

Previously...

 

Rodriguez questioned Jordan, claiming he could be the murderer.  James learned of Jack's murder and joined the investigation.  Nathan questioned Keaton, claiming he was the killer.  James and Rodriguez questioned Denise, who promptly quit.  Nathan and Victor hired Eddie to do his own investigation.  A camera crane toppled on top of Nathan. Moonshadows was closed due to the arsenic poisoning. Mackenzie questioned Kyle when she saw Mason talking to Chip Matthews.  Mason convinced Marco De La Cruz's daughter to file a lawsuit against Moonshadows hoping to bankrupt them. Kyle ran into Marilee, who was still angry that he'd lied about being the son she gave up for adoption.  Miranda punched Kelly after she taunted her about Eddie leaving her.  Ethan blew Mackenzie off to spend time with Brooke at the hospital. Brett got Van arrested in order to make Deacon fall off the wagon and drop the lawsuit against Sunset Studios.  Later, Stormy told Brett that Deacon had killed himself. Alex recalled Deacon Edgewater humiliating her at an industry party shortly after she arrived in Hollywood.  

 


  

Episode 155

"Haunted Hollywood"

 

When the camera crane came toppling down on top of him, Nathan Blackthorne’s life flashed before his eyes.  He suddenly became aware of the many blessings he’d been given.  A bourgeoning film career and more money than he could ever spend.  But those blessings were clouded with regret.  The last thing he thought of before he lost consciousness was that he deserved to die.  The killer wasn’t just punishing him for what he and Victor had done to Bianca Burnette.  He was being punished for everyone he’d hurt.  For Debralee Scott, for Sheila Buffamonteezi, for Alex Reynolds, Brooke Taylor, Renee DeWitt, and of course for his daughter, Sierra.  He knew he’d been tested and failed.  At least he would die knowing his death wasn’t in vain.

But when he heard the voice of his nephew, James, he realized he hadn’t passed on to the other side.  He was still breathing, still fighting.  He didn’t pretend that he would awaken and set out on a mission to make up for his sins.  He knew that was impossible.  But when he opened his eyes, he did decide to make a change.   He would stop pretending he hadn’t done so many despicable things. 

“Somebody call 911!” James was shouting, kneeling over him while inspecting him for injuries.   There was a cut on his forehead, blood trickling down his face as he lay on the back lot of Sunset Studios.  “Nathan, can you hear me?” 

Through the ringing in his ears, Nathan could still hear his nephew, so he nodded with exaggerated movements.  “Just a little stunned,” he said and slowly tried to sit up.

“Hold on,” James said as a crowd gathered around him.  “Don’t move.  You could be hurt.” 

Nathan shook his head and sat up anyway.  “I’m fine, James,” he said.  “It just grazed me.”

“Are you sure?” James asked and helped him to his feet.

“Quite sure.”  He turned just as Eddie arrived on the scene. 

“What happened?” Eddie asked. 

“The killer tried making me his next target,” Nathan said.

James handed him a handkerchief for his cut.  “We don’t know that.  The crane fell.  It could have been an accident.” 

Eddie surveyed the scene.  My dad asked me to help out in the investigation.  I thought I’d start at the studio with Denise."

“Do you really think she could be behind this?” Nathan inquired.   “I just don’t see her as a homicidal maniac.” 

“She’s definitely holding a grudge against the studio,” James said with a shake of his head.

“Oh my God,” Keaton Hartley said as he ran up to the scene.  “I just heard about what happened.  Mr. Blackthorne, are you okay?” 

Nathan looked at him suspiciously.  “I’m fine,” he replied curtly.  “Does that disappoint you, Keaton?” 

He stepped back and glanced among the others.  “Of course not.” 

“Where were you just now?” Nathan continued.  “Rigging the camera equipment to crush me?” 

“No!” Keaton exclaimed.  “I wasn’t!” 

Eddie watched him closely, using his investigative skills to analyze the young director’s body movements and the defensive tone in his voice.  “I’m going to have a look around,” he said.   “The killer always leaves a picture, right?” 

James nodded.  “Yes, and there’s not one this time, which is why I think this was probably just an accident.” 

Buzzing alerted Keaton to a message on his phone.  He plucked it from his pocket and shook his head dismissively.  “It’s just my new app telling me there’s a fax waiting in the production office.” 

Eddie frowned and turned back.  “Who’s the fax from?” 

Keaton shrugged.  “The number’s blocked.” 

Minutes later, they were down the street inside the production offices for The Benefactor.  Keaton went to the fax machine and plucked a page from the fax machine.  He looked at it and then exchanged glances with the others. 

“Let me see,” Eddie said and took it from him.  It was a photograph of Bianca Burnette.  He showed it to Nathan and James.   “Looks like it wasn’t an accident.” 

James sighed and rubbed his eyes with his thumb and index finger.  “Jesus, who is doing this?” he asked.

Alex Reynolds

“Dead?” Alex gasped as she lounged on the plush peach colored sofa in her penthouse in Beverly Hills.   “Oh my Lord.”  

“Why would he kill himself?” Miranda asked, her feet curled up beneath her in an oversized chair.

Stormy was standing before them, his hands in the pockets of his lightweight jacket.  He shook his head somberly.  “I don’t know.” 

He still couldn’t figure out if Deacon Edgewater’s suicide had anything to do with the lawsuit or whatever means Brett had gone about getting it dropped.  The whole thing seemed highly suspicious.  And while he knew his former brother-in-law had never been one to play by the rules, he knew there was a limit to what he was capable of. 

“Mom, you knew Deacon pretty well, didn’t you?” Miranda asked. 

Alex nodded distantly.  She couldn’t believe he was gone.  The strange part about it was that she’d been thinking about him a lot recently.  He’d been a big part of her getting her start in Hollywood.  And while it hadn’t been the most pleasant journey, it was now part of who she was….

“I’m sorry about what happened the other night,” Deacon said from his office at Double Strike Studios.

Alex looked at him and his smug expression, his eclectic office, the line of horror movie one-sheets that lined the far wall.  He seemed to be a man who no one said no to.  A man who possessed a lethal combination of ignorance and arrogance.  That in itself made her feel empowered. 

“You’re sorry?” she asked incredulously. 

“For my behavior,” he said.  “And for Robert and George’s.  But mostly mine.  I had no right to humiliate you the way that I did.” 

In an act of indifference, Alex put her nose in the air.  “I wasn’t humiliated,” she said. 

“I made you feel like one of those common starlets who constantly beat down my door for a role in one of my films,” Deacon went on.  “Clearly you’re in a different league.” 

She had difficulty telling whether he was being genuine or not.  Something told her he was, but she still didn’t want to assume his intentions were good.  He had humiliated her at his party, and she wouldn’t let it happen again. 

“I’d like you to come by my house tonight to discuss a part that I think you’re right for,” he said.  “I’m casting for the second lead in Bad Night.  It’s a gritty horror flick that we’re rushing into production.  Nothing that will win you an Oscar, but it might get you noticed.” 

“Is this a trick?” she asked, studying his pudgy face carefully. 

Deacon laughed and shook his head.  “No, it’s not a trick.  The truth is, you impressed me with the way you carried yourself the other night.  It’s not often that a seventeen year old girl impresses me.  So can you be there at eight?”  

“Yes,” she replied almost too quickly.  “I can be there at eight.” 

“Good,” he said and didn’t make an attempt at moving from his chair. 

Alex stood quietly for a few moments until she realized that the conversation was over.  Awkwardly, she backed up to the giant carved wood double doors and pulled the left side open.  Before she left, she turned back to him. 

“Why me?” she asked. 

Deacon looked up from his desk.  “You’re vulnerable but you don’t show it.  It’s what every actress works her whole life to achieve, and you do it with a smile and a shrug of your shoulders.”  

Alex pressed her lips together to keep from gushing over his words.  Quickly, she made her way out of the office and let the giant door slowly close behind her…

“I just don’t understand what would have made him want to kill himself,” Miranda repeated as she gathered Tiger’s things into a Chanel diaper bag.  “I mean, what could be that bad?” 

“I don’t know,” Alex murmured softly.  She broke from the daze and looked up at Stormy.  “Did he leave a note?”

Stormy nodded in reply.  “From what I hear, yes.  I’m sure the police aren’t going to reveal what it said.  I guess he was just a very unhappy man.” 

Alex finally rose from the sofa and went across the room.  “Thank you for telling me, Stormy,” she said and gave him a quick squeeze.  She turned to Miranda who lifted Tiger as she slept in her car seat.   “And thank you for bringing the baby over tonight.  It really means the world to me, Miranda.” 

“You’re welcome,” she said and kissed her mother on the cheek.  “It’s not like I have anything keeping me at home these days.” 

“Eddie will come to his senses,” Alex said and placed a hand on her arm.  “He has to.” 

“I don’t know,” she replied somberly. 

“Then you’ll just have to make him,” Alex told her.  “Sometimes you have to make things happen.” 

Miranda had to agree with her.  She couldn’t just sit around waiting for Eddie to come back to her.  She had to take action if she wanted to undo the mistakes she’d made. 

“Ready?” Stormy asked and guided his sister to the door. 

Once they were outside in the hall, Miranda followed him to the elevator.  “What do you think?” she asked.  “Do I still have a shot with Eddie?” 

He shrugged and took the car seat from her.  “You might,” he said.  “But it might be hard getting hold of him.  He’s investigating the murders, and you know how seriously he takes his cases.”  

Miranda knew this to be true, so she decided she’d have to be creative.  If Eddie wasn’t going to come to her, she would go to him, case or no case.

Brett Armstrong

Brett paced the living room of his condo at the marina.  While Violet slept in the next room, he busied himself with a glass of scotch and a million regrets that plagued his mind. 

Never in any of the cons he’d perpetrated over the years had the outcome been this severe, this final.  When Stormy delivered the startling news, he’d taken a long time to process it. 

“He couldn’t have killed himself,” Brett had told him.  “I was just there a couple of hours ago.” 

“Why?” Stormy had asked him.  “What did you do, Brett?” 

Turning, he’d ran his fingers through his hair.  “Nothing,” he'd exclaimed.  “Nothing that would make him do something like this.”  He paused, not even sure that that was an accurate statement.  He’d ruined the man’s life.  Not only had he got his son arrested, possibly ruining his medical career, but he’d put the man’s job in jeopardy and made him fall off the wagon.  How was he to know what kind of affect that would have on him?  He was playing with lives.  Just like he always had.  It actually surprised him that this was the first time something like this had happened as a result. 

“You said that you got him to drop the lawsuit,” Stormy had continued.  “Now all of the sudden he’s dead? “ 

“I didn’t mean for-“ Brett had told him, then stumbled over his words.  How could this be happening?  “Look, Stormy, I can’t do this right now.  I need to be alone.” 

“That’s just great,” Stormy had said with a shake of his head.  “Well, you’d better hope this doesn’t come back to bite us in the ass, because if you did something to make him kill himself and it’s connected to the studio, we’re all going down.”  

After he’d left, Brett poured himself another drink and paced the room.  He began to wonder if Stormy had been right about him all this time.  Maybe he was nothing more than a con man with a track record of leaving disaster in his wake. 

When Kelly came by for their nightly round of athletic lovemaking, he looked at her in disgust. 

“I can’t tonight,” he said.

“What do you mean you can’t?” she asked, unbuttoning his shirt.  “I’ve seen what you can do, Brett, and believe me, you have no problems in that department.” 

He moved her hands away from him.  “I mean I can’t,” he repeated. 

Irritated by his foul mood, Kelly folded her arms across her chest.  “Okay, fine.  But what about our plan to take over the studio?  What about the look of satisfaction on Stormy’s face when we become the most powerful couple in Hollywood and that you’re raising his son?” 

Brett finished his drink and went to the bar to pour another.  “Things change,” he said.  “People change.” 

“People like us don’t change,” she corrected him.  “What’s gotten into you?” 

He slammed the glass down and looked up at the ceiling.  “I just changed my mind, that’s all.” 

“You can’t just change your mind,” Kelly insisted.  “We were going to be a force to be reckoned with.  I was going to get my revenge on the Blackthornes and you were going to put Stormy in his place once and for all.” 

“There’s more to life than revenge and scheming and plotting to take people down,” he insisted.  “Maybe it’s time you realized that too.” 

She frowned.  “You’re a chump,” she said, walking toward him.  “You could have had it all, Brett.  The family, the money, the power, the sex.  Now what do you have?  A job as a yes-man for James and Stormy?  After all you’ve worked for, that’s what you’re going to settle for?” 

“I’m not settling,” Brett told her.

“Yes, you are.  You’re going to let them win.  You’re going to let them walk all over you like they have since the day you walked in with Miranda on your arm.  You were never good enough for that family.  The only difference if you’re proving it this time.” 

With that, she turned and stormed out of the apartment.  Brett stood behind, raking his fingers through his hair as he slammed the glass on the bar in frustration. 

Kelly Blackthorne

By the time Kelly got home from Brett’s, her anger had multiplied.  Irritated that he’d suddenly gained a conscience, she was left wondering where she fit into his plans, or lack thereof.  She now not only had no job and no money, but she was without the prospect of either.  Brett had been her ticket to something bigger.  Now she didn’t know what she was going to do. 

Her cell phone rang as she went to open the front door.  Balancing her purse in one hand, her phone in the other, and her keys dangling from a fingertip, she was somehow able to answer the call. 

“Hello?” she said, half expecting it to be Brett calling to apologize. Instead, only the sound of static and obscure background noises could be heard over the broken connection.  “Hello?  Who is this?  Brett?” 

Frowning, she looked at the display to see who the call was from.  The number was one she didn’t recognize.  Annoyed as she walked into the foyer of the mansion, she spoke again. 

“Is anybody there?” she asked, then shook her head in frustration.  “Fine.  Go to hell.” 

She dropped her phone back into her purse and started up the stairs when Miranda appeared outside Tiger’s bedroom.   

“Do you mind keeping it down?” Miranda asked.   “The kids just got to sleep.  And in case you were wondering, R.J.’s finally over his cold.” 

“Cold?” she asked.  “What cold?” 

Miranda sighed and folded her arms across her chest.  “The cold he’s had for the last week,” she told her.  “Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed your own son has been sick.”

Kelly attempted to brush past her.  “Of course I noticed.”

Miranda turned and watched her make her way down the hall.  “You had no idea, did you?” she asked in disbelief.  “The gardener knows more about R.J. than you do.  I guess it’s difficult to balance being a mother with….wait….what is it you do all day again?” 

“For your information, I’ve been trying to find a job so I can move out of this house and take my son away from you and the rest of your blood sucking family.” 

Miranda glared angrily at her.  “You wouldn’t dare,” she said.  “After all my father has done for you?  After Stormy let you stay here even after the disgusting things you did?” 

“You’re one to talk,” Kelly fired back.  “Little Miss Hollywood Madam.  And what exactly has your father done for me?  He graciously let me stay under his roof.  My son lives here.  He had no choice.  Either I stayed or I’d take R.J. with me.  Which is exactly what I plan to do as soon as I figure some things out.” 

“What makes you think Stormy’s going to let you take his son anywhere?” Miranda asked, moving dangerously close to her.  “You already tried selling him once.  What’s next?  Putting him to work in a sweatshop?” 

Kelly tossed her mane of black hair over her shoulder.  “Stormy doesn’t have a say in it.  R.J. is mine and I’ll take him wherever I want whenever I want.  And unless you want it to be sooner rather than later, I’d start treating me with a little more respect.”

“How about I clock you in the jaw again like I did the other day in the garden?”

“Just watch yourself and tell Stormy to do the same.  Otherwise he may just find me and his son gone one day very soon.” 

With that, she marched down the hall to her bedroom.  Miranda stood behind, worried that she would follow through on her threats.

James Blackthorne

The next morning, James and Kyle stood in Brooke’s hospital room while Dr. Farraday checked her vital signs.

“Your arsenic levels have dropped another thousand points,” he said and scribbled a few notes on her chart.  “If this keeps up you’ll be out of here by the end of the day.” 

“That’s great news,” James said with relief. 

“I’ll say,” Brooke remarked with a grin.  “I promised Michael I’d be home in time to take him trick-or-treating.  He’s been dragging Ethan to every Halloween store in the city until he found the perfect astronaut costume.” 

“You might want to take it easy for a few days,” the doctor cautioned her.  “Arsenic poisoning can take a lot out of a person.  You’ll feel tired for a few days, but that’s normal.” 

“What about the construction worker on Chip’s crew?” Kyle asked. 

“He’s being released this morning.” 

“So maybe this whole nightmare will be over soon,” Brooke said with a sigh of relief. 

“I wish that was the case,” said a voice from across the room.

They all turned to see Kenny walk inside, his briefcase clutched tightly in his hand. 

“What now?” James asked. 

With a firm shake of his head, Kenny opened the case and removed a stack of court documents.  “Jessica De La Cruz is suing Moonshadows,” he began.  “She’s claiming negligence in her father’s death.   She wants a hundred and twenty million dollars.” 

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Kyle said in dismay.  “I knew she was upset but I didn’t think she would go this far.  A hundred and twenty million dollars?  That’s insane.” 

“Wrongful death suits have been filed for a lot more than that,” Kenny informed them.  “Look, I’m sorry.  I know this isn’t what you want to hear today, but it’s happening and we need to deal with it.” 

Brooke shifted in her bed.  “Maybe if I talk to her,” she suggested.  “Surely she’s a reasonable woman.” 

“I don’t know that that’s a good idea,” Kenny said.  “It’s best to leave any communication with her to me.  Maybe we can settle out of court.  The publicity from a trial alone could destroy the resort’s reputation more than it already has been.”  

“Settle?” Kyle demanded.  “But this wasn’t our fault.” 

“Her lawyers will find a way to make it look like it was,” Kenny said matter-of-factly.  “Trust me.  I’ve had enough experience in cases like this to know that fighting it won’t get you anywhere.” 

“So they should settle and admit that they were negligent?” James asked.  “That hardly seems fair.” 

Brooke sighed and looked down at her hands.  “How are we going to be able to pay her a settlement?  Even if we pay her half of what’s she suing us for, it’ll still bankrupt us.  Plus not knowing when or if we’ll be able to reopen…” 

“I can help,” Kyle said.  “I’ve got money.  That’ll get us at least partially there.” 

“And I’ll pitch in too,” James offered.  “There’s no reason you should take the brunt of this, Brooke.  I’m sure once Renee learns what’s happened she’ll come up with the rest of the money.” 

Brooke shook her head.  “No.  I refuse to make this Renee’s problem.  She lost her daughter a few months ago.  She’s trying to put her life back together.  This is the last thing she needs.  And I won’t have the two of you bailing me out, either.” 

“What else can we do?” Kyle asked. 

She shrugged.  “We’ll have to sell. Take the money from the sale, pay Jessica De La Cruz her settlement, and use the rest to pay off our debts.” 

“Brooke, are you sure?” James asked.

“We have no choice,” she maintained.  “Kenny?” 

He closed his briefcase.  “I’ll get it listed.”  He made his way to the door.  “I’ll let you know what I hear from Jessica’s attorney.” 

After he’d left, Brooke laid her head back and sighed with exasperation.  In a way she felt relieved after making the decision.  At least the whole ordeal would be over.  Now the only thing left to do was to call Renee.  She just hated the thought of disappointing her after she’d left her in charge. 

Mackenzie Stone

Mackenzie was surprised when Ethan called her and asked her to meet him for breakfast at the Polo Lounge.  After blowing her off for two days, this had been the first attempt he’d made to see her.  She’d driven down to the Beverly Hills Hotel with every intention of telling him where to put his breakfast invitation.  But when she saw him standing beneath the porte-cochere, she caved. 

“Hi,” he said and kissed her lightly on the cheek while guiding her inside the hotel.  “Thanks for coming on such short notice.  How are things on the show?” 

Small talk, she thought bitterly to herself.  That was fine.  She would wait for him to apologize.  “Good, but that seems to change on a daily basis.” 

“What do you mean?”  He motioned to the hostess who led them through the restaurant and to their table. 

“The budget we came up with?” she began.  “The network wants it slashed again.  Max’s role has been cut to one episode a week.  I asked what we were supposed to do since he’s in a front burner storyline, but they don’t care.  I’m afraid the show doesn’t have much time left.” 

“I’m sorry,” Ethan said and pulled her chair out for her.  “Do you think you should start looking for a job on another show?"

She shrugged.  “I’ve considered it.” 

“Then again I guess it would just be putting off the inevitable,” Ethan told her.  “The medium has run its course.  People just aren’t watching daytime like they used to.” 

She scoffed and folded her napkin in her lap.  “That’s a typical response from someone who doesn’t watch.  Don’t the viewers count for anything anymore?” 

“I’m sorry,” he said and looked away as the waitress poured them two cups of strong hot coffee. 

“How is Brooke?”  She decided to get to the real purpose of their meeting.  She fully expected him to tell her he was going back to Brooke, which was precisely what she anticipated would happen all along. 

“Much better.  Once they found out they were dealing with arsenic poisoning, it was relatively easy to treat.  I’m sorry I’ve been so unreachable lately.  I hope you understand why I had to stay with her.” 

“You mean other than the fact that you’re still in love with her?” 

Disarmed by the remark, Ethan quietly leaned forward and spoke to her slowly while annunciating each syllable.  “I am not still in love with Brooke.   How many times do I have to tell you that?” 

“Come on, Ethan.  You spent the night at the hospital with her.  Forget that Kyle and James were both there doting over her.  You did it because you still care about her.” 

“Or course I do,” he insisted. “She’s the mother of my son.” 

Mackenzie rolled her eyes.  “I’m getting sick of hearing that,” she said. “A lot of single parents find it possible to raise their children without making sacrifices to their own personal life.”

“Michael is a special case.” 

“Why?  Because he has an imaginary friend?  No, I don’t buy that.  Have you ever considered that he’s invented this Adam boy because you and Brooke won’t stop coddling him?  My God, he’s six years old.  If you can’t trust him with the fact that his parents aren’t together, then how is he ever going to learn how to deal with the other hundred million catastrophe’s life is going to throw at him?”

Ethan waived his hand dismissively.  “I’m not going to argue with you about how I’m raising my son,” he said.  “I’m doing what I think it best.  I just wish you could understand that.” 

She had no intention of telling him how to raise his son.  She wanted to make a point and she made it.  “So where do we go from here?” 

“Where do we go?” Ethan asked.  “Mackenzie, things seem fine between us from where I’m sitting.   I’m sorry that I had other things to tend to for a few days, but believe me when I tell you I enjoy being with you.”

Either she was getting soft, or he was a very good manipulator.  She managed a faint smile and picked up her menu.  Maybe he was being sincere.  Maybe if she could overlook his devotion to Brooke, all would be as it should be.  Something, however, told her there was only so much she could overlook. 

They made plans to see each other that night after Michael went trick-or-treating.  After breakfast, they kissed and went their separate ways.  Mackenzie decided to stop by Mason’s room to try to get to the bottom of what he was up to in L.A.  Ethan didn’t trust him and she didn’t either. 

Standing outside the door to his suite, she began to knock but stopped when she heard voices from inside.  When it became evident that the door was about to open, she quickly backed up and ducked behind a palm tree.  All she could see next was Chip Matthews leaving the room and stopping in the hall when Mason emerged, shirtless and with his trousers unbuttoned. 

“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Chip was saying with a grin.

“Yeah, sure,” Mason mumbled. 

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you enjoyed yourself,” Chip went on.  “You have to admit men do know what other men like in the bedroom.” 

Mackenzie’s mouth dropped open wide.  She couldn’t believe her ears.  Mason and Chip? 

“I’m only going along with it because you’re blackmailing me,” Mason said with a frown.  “If you want to believe I enjoy getting head from another guy, then go ahead and think what you want.  Just remember our deal.  Not a word to anyone.” 

Chip nodded.  “No problem,” he said.  “See you tonight?” 

Mason closed the door without another word.  As Chip made his way down the hall to the elevator, Mackenzie considered the implications of what she’d witnessed.  What was Chip holding over Mason that would make him pimp himself out? 

Eddie Distefano

“The victims are connected,” Eddie said when he bound into Detective Rodriguez’s office where James and Jordan were gathered.

“We know that,” Jordan said with a frown.  “They all worked for Sunset Studios and they all had secrets that Jonas Lamont covered up for them.” 

Eddie shook his head and went to the marker board with the victim’s names written on it.  “Yes, but they were all involved in the original release of The Benefactor.”

Rodriguez shook his head.  “Nathan and Lola starred in the movie, but what about Elana, Jack and Victor?  How are they connected to the film?”

James began pacing the room, glancing up at the names as realization slowly dawned.  He didn’t know why he hadn’t thought of it before. 

“Jack was originally up for the role of Norton but he lost it to Nathan,” he surmised.  “From what I hear it caused quite a bit of tension in their friendship.” 

“What about Victor and Elana?”  Jordan inquired. 

When James failed to come up with an answer, Eddie explained his findings.  “Elana Hendricks was married to the director, Robert Wylan at the time.  She and my father had an affair.  Wylan was so distraught he nearly walked off the set on more than one occasion.” 

“So somebody is killing anyone connected to the original?” Rodriguez asked with doubt in his voice.  “Why?” 

“Maybe someone thought the movie was garbage,” Jordan said with a laugh.  “Come on, this isn’t evidence.”

“Keaton,” James said softly.

“What?” Rodriguez asked. 

James shrugged. “Nathan thinks the director is hiding something.  Eddie, you saw him last night after that crane almost crushed Nathan to death.  What did you think?”

“I thought he was hiding something too,” he told them and walked to the wall where Rodriguez had taped the photograph that had been faxed to the studio.  He studied it carefully.  There appeared to be a flaw in the photo on the top right hand corner.  It looked like part of the original picture had been photo burned.  Without the original picture, however, it was impossible to tell.

“So let’s get him in here and make him confess,” Jordan said.   “This isn’t rocket science, people.” 

“There’s no evidence,” Rodriguez said.

“Nathan did say that the glasses you found at Moonshadows looked just like Keaton’s,” James said. 

“Circumstantial,” he said with a shake of his head.  “Even if we got a match to say the glasses were his, there were hundreds of other people there that night.”

“And if you question him he could run,” Eddie confirmed.  “Let me handle it.” 

“The LAPD doesn’t work with amateur sleuths,” the detective said.  “You could get hurt.  It’s best to leave this to the professionals.”

“I won’t interfere in your investigation, Detective,” Eddie told him as he headed for the door.  “I’m just going to do some checking up on the illustrious Keaton Hartley.” 

Miranda Blackthorne

When Eddie left the station, he made his way to his car and grabbed for the door handle.  When a hand reached out and closed the door from behind, he spun around in a panic.

“Miranda,” he said, his heart beating wildly.  “What are you doing?” 

“Following you,” she said, her arms folded tightly across her chest.  “We need to talk, Eddie.” 

“You’re following me?” he asked incredulously.  “Why?” 

“Because you may be ready to give up on our relationship, but I’m not.  So if the only way I can get you to talk to me is tracking you down at the police station then that’s what I’m going to do.”  

He shook his head dismissively. “I can’t talk to you about this right now.  I’m on a case.” 

“Too bad,” she said, blocking his way of the car door.

“Miranda, move,” he said.  When she didn’t budge, he took her by the waist and physically moved her.

“Hey!” she screamed as he got into the car.  “You can’t just manhandle me!  Get back here so we can talk!” 

But he was already speeding off through the parking lot.  Standing behind, Miranda huffed angrily and decided the only way to get him to talk to her was to go everywhere he went.  From now on, they were stuck like glue.  Quickly, she got into her car and peeled out after him. 

Stormy Blackthorne

With filming well underway for the day, Stormy went back to the Sunset Studios offices where he found Brett sitting quietly behind his desk.  He pushed the door open and peered inside. 

“Were you just going to sit around the office all day or actually come down to the set and help?” he asked.  “Tomorrow’s our last day of filming and we have a lot to do in case you haven’t looked at the call sheets yet.” 

“I’m sure you can handle it,” Brett said and rubbed his eyes with his thumb and index finger. 

Frowning, Stormy walked into the office and stood before him.  “Brett Armstrong not taking the opportunity to make me look bad in front of my father?” he asked.  “I was sure you’d be doing everything you could to look like the hero when we finished on time.” 

“Guess I’m just not really interested in one-upping you today, junior.”  He leaned back in his chair and tapped a pencil on his knee. 

“What’s got into you?” Stormy asked.  “I can buy you taking a day off from manipulating petty dramas, but you seem…off.  Is this about Deacon Edgewater?” 

Brett shook his head.  “It’s not about anything,” he said.  “Just go back to the set and call if you need any help.” 

“You did do something to him, didn’t you?  However you got him to drop the lawsuit, it caused him to kill himself.”

“Don’t be stupid.  The man obviously had issues.” 

“Yeah, but you’re not even gloating about how you saved the day.  That’s not like you.  And last night was the first night in I don’t know how long that Kelly got home before dark.  Something happen with your little union of doom?” 

“Kelly and I didn’t see eye to eye on a few things,” Brett said.  “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got work to do.” 

Stormy realized something was eating away at Brett, and he knew it had to do with Deacon’s suicide.  But for now he decided to leave it alone.  He was sure it would only be a matter of time before he’d use the whole situation to his advantage anyway.  It was par for the course with Brett.

As he turned to go back down the hall, he ran into Jane who was just coming off the elevator.   Surprised, he dug his hands in his pockets and regarded her anxiously.

“Hi,” she said.

“Hi,” he replied.  “I’m glad to see you.” 

She drew near, looking at him with sullen eyes.  “I’m glad to see you too.” 

Stormy placed a hand on her arm and looked down at her.  “Are you still mad at me?” 

She shook her head.  “No.” 

“I’m really sorry for the way I acted the day.  I never meant to insinuate that you were my property.  I know you’re very independent.  I just can’t help it sometimes.  Anytime Brett gets near someone I care about things turn out very badly.” 

“I know, but we were just talking.  I know how you feel about him.   I wouldn’t ever do anything to make you doubt my loyalty to you.”  

Smiling, he kissed her softly.  “God, I’ve missed you.” 

“Me too,” she said.  “Can we do something tonight?” 

He grinned. “It’s Halloween.  What do you say we stay in, pop some popcorn and watch scary movies?” 

“That sounds perfect,” Jane said. 

James Blackthorne

It had been too long since James caught up with Marilee, so he invited her to lunch at Cut that afternoon.  The first half hour was spent talking about Renee and how they hoped she was getting the rest she needed. 

“I know the south of France is exotic and exciting, but I would have at least thought she would call and check in,” Marilee was saying, stirring an ice cube into her chardonnay.

“Unfortunately some developments with Moonshadows will force her to check in.  It looks like the place is going up for sale to avoid any financial downfall as a result of this arsenic business.” 

“It’s horrible,” Marilee replied.  “I saw Brooke at the hospital the other day.  I hope she’s feeling better.” 

“She is,” James confirmed.  “As a matter of fact, they’re letting her go home today.” 

Marilee grew quiet while she stared into her glass.  “I ran into Kyle too,” she revealed.

“How was that?” James asked, already knowing how hard she’d taken the news that he’d lied about being her son.   “Stupid question.  It couldn’t have been easy.”

She sighed.  “I’m dealing.  There are worse things than learning the man you thought was your son was an imposter.  He duped the rest of you just as badly as he duped me.” 

“He’s really not a bad person.  I know it may seem like it, but I believe his has good intentions where Brooke is concerned.  He’s trying to make up for his mistakes.” 

Marilee looked up at him and grew into a daze.  “I know all about mistakes,” she said.  “Marrying Seth, that was a mistake.  Selling my shares of Merteuil to Jackie, that was another mistake.  And of course giving my son up for adoption.  I still think about him every day.” 

“I know how hard it must have been for you,” James said sympathetically. “But there are things you can do to find him if you really want to.  Eddie’s helping with the murder investigation.  Maybe he can help track down the son you gave up.” 

Marilee smiled.  “I’ve already tried.”  She quickly changed the subject to something less personal.  “Have there been any leads on Elana and Jack’s murders?” 

James shook his head.  “Nothing concrete,” he said.  “Whoever it is seems to think the victims deserve it."

“What do you mean?”

“Jack was responsible for the death of Natalie Davdison,” he explained.  “And Elana apparently killed two people while drinking and driving.  Greg Bender and Cheri Montessori.” 

Marilee looked away sadly.  As much as she fought it, everything made her think of the regrets she had over giving her baby up for adoption. If only Will Thomerson hadn’t turned his back on her things might have turned out differently.  “Haven’t we all lost enough as it is?” 

They were interrupted when Mackenzie approached.  She walked tentatively to the table and regarded James with a smile. 

“I just wanted to say hello,” she said.  “James, how are you?” 

Still quick to hide his disappointment over their failed relationship, James offered a pleasant smile in return.  “Mackenzie.  Do you know Marilee Wells-Walker?”

“We’ve met,” Mackenzie said and shook her hand.  “A pleasure.” 

“Likewise.”  Marilee glanced across the room and noticed Jim Nordquist enter from the street.  “Would you both excuse me?  I see someone I’d like to say hello to.” 

James stood while she departed.  After she’d gone, he shifted awkwardly.

“I’ve been hoping to run into you,” Mackenzie said.  “Are you really doing okay?”

“I’m fine,” he said.  “Really, you don’t have to walk on eggshells around me.  I’m a big boy.” 

“I know that.  I just know that the way Ethan and I got together wasn’t probably what you were expecting.  I want you to know that I never meant for you to get hurt.” 

“Mackenzie,” he interrupted and repeated himself.  “I’m fine.  It turns out you were right about me.  I tend to spend too much time and energy worrying about everyone else’s problems.  As it is right now, I’ve got about four crises that I’m working on.” 

She caught his attempt at humor and smiled, grateful that they could move on from any feelings of resentment.  “Who is that man Marilee is talking to?”

James followed her gaze.  “Senator Nordquist.  He’s the head of the California Coastal Commission.  Do you know him?” 

She thought she might, but now that he told her who he was, she decided she didn’t.  “He seems very shady.”  

“That’s an understatement,” James said.  “He got caught with a prostitute in a hotel room a few months ago.  Let’s just say his wife wasn’t too happy about that little discovery."

"And you said he's on the Coastal Commission?" she clarified.  That was awfully convenient, she thought as she watched the man from across the room.

Alex Reynolds

Alex hadn’t had a cigarette in two years, but since learning of Deacon’s death, she’d bought a pack and chain smoked while watching a marathon of Angie Dickinson TV movie thrillers.  When Jordan showed up, she quickly tried to fan the smoke out of the open window. 

“I thought you gave that up,” he said when he entered.

She realized hiding it was futile.  “I did.  What are you doing here?  Has there been another attempt on Lola’s life?”  

“No.  I’ve relegated her to home and the acting studio, and Chad doesn’t leave her side.  She doesn’t like it, but it’s got to be done.  Nathan, on the other hand, was nearly turned into Swiss cheese last night.” 

“Oh my God,” she whispered and sunk into the cushions of her sofa.

“I heard about Deacon and thought I’d stop by and see how you were,” Jordan told her and took a seat beside her.  “You’ve got to have some feelings about his suicide being that he was the one who got you your start in the business.” 

Alex grew distant as she stared at the television screen.  She went for a fresh pack of cigarettes but Jordan moved it out of her reach.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” she said.

“What was it with you and him anyway?  Come to think of it, you avoided him like the plague ever since I can remember.” 

She got up and floated across the room.  The sound of a knock at the door saved her from having to answer.  Quickly, she went to open it, taken aback when she realized it was Nathan.

“I’m sorry for just stopping by,” he said from the hall.  When he looked up and saw Jordan inside the apartment, he acknowledged him with a nod of his head.  “Jordan, I didn’t realize you were here.”

“Nathan, is everything okay?” he asked. 

“Yes.”  He walked in when Alex stood clear of the door.  “I just wanted to talk to Alex but it can wait.” 

“What did you want to talk to me about?”

Recalling his near-death experience from the night before, Nathan had made a promise to himself to attempt to make amends with those he’d hurt.  While he was sure the effort would be futile, he at least had to try. 

“It really can wait,” he said.  “For now just know that I know who I am and what I’ve done.” 

Alex regarded him carefully.  She had no idea what he was talking about, but whatever it was, he sounded oddly sincere.  The sound in his voice was strangely unfamiliar. 

Jordan decided to break the awkward silence with news.  “Eddie thinks that the killer is targeting the people who were involved in the original version of The Benefactor.  He’s tailing Keaton Hartley as we speak.” 

“The director of the remake?” Alex asked.  “You think he’s the killer?” 

“There have been oddities with his behavior as of late,” Nathan reported.  “At any rate, I hope Edward is careful.  We don’t know what kind of a man we’re dealing with.”

Eddie Distefano

As the sun went down, Eddie followed Keaton from the production offices at Sunset Studios to his apartment in West Hollywood.  He maneuvered past a group of trick-or-treaters while pulling up to the curb in front of the building.  With a driving cap pulled down over his face, he watched the man get out of his car and proceed up to the door.   There he waited, unbeknownst that behind him, Miranda pulled up in her car and watched him. 

He watched the man’s shadow through the closed sheers on the windows as he moved about the apartment.  Settling back in his seat, he waited for him to leave again. He adjusted the rearview mirror and surveyed his surroundings.  The one thing he’d learned as a private detective was to constantly be aware of your surroundings.  Notice everything that didn’t belong.  A shiny red Porsche with a pretty brunette behind the wheel didn’t immediately strike him as out of place, but after getting a closer look, he realized he was wrong. 

With a firm grasp on the door, he pushed it open and darted back to the Porsche where Miranda sat inconspicuously reading a magazine from behind large Chanel sunglasses. 

“What are you doing?” he demanded. 

She looked up and feigned surprise. “Oh, hi,” she said and looked around the street.  “How funny.  What are you doing here, Eddie?” 

“Don’t play dumb,” he told her.  “Are you following me again?  Look, I told you I’m on a case.” 

Before he could walk back to his car, she quickly jumped out of her seat and went after him.  “And I told you I’m not ready to give up on us!” she exclaimed.   “I don’t believe that you are either!”

“You slept with someone else,” he protested angrily.  “You had a child with David Jennings.  What am I supposed to do?” 

“I made a mistake and I’m sorry!” Miranda exclaimed, ripping off her sunglasses.  “I don’t know how else to prove that to you!” 

“There’s nothing you can do.  What’s done is done.”

“I don’t believe that.  Look at everything we’ve been through.  Eddie, you were so excited about Tiger when I was pregnant with her.  You can’t tell me that you don’t feel anything for her.” 

“I never said I didn’t feel anything for her,” he replied.  “I love that little girl as if she were my own.  That hasn’t changed.”  

“Then what is it?  If you’re pissed at me then yell at me! Scream at me!  Hit me!  Something!” 

“Do you know who long I’ve been in love with you?” he suddenly shouted.  “Since I was about six years old.  We kissed on the swing set in your back yard after school one day and I never forgot it.  Then we got older and you got all rebellious and went to a different school and all I did was think about you.  But you didn’t notice.  To you I was always Stormy’s geeky friend.  But then two years ago we spent the night together and I thought I’d won the jackpot.  I couldn’t believe that the beautiful, popular Miranda Blackthorne was interested in me.  I would have done anything for you but you broke my heart!”  

She looked at the passion in his eyes and started to cry.  “I’m sorry,” she whispered again.

“If you had been any other girl and cheated on me, I might not have cared,” Eddie continued.  “But with you,  I was already so self conscious.” 

“Why?”

He laughed in spite of the circumstances.  “Look at you!  You’re gorgeous.  Everyone knows we’re a total mismatch.  And when you slept with David, it only proved to me that I wasn’t good enough for you.”

“That is not true!”

“Oh yeah?” Eddie asked.  “Go home and look at your daughter and tell me it’s not true.” 

Silence followed while Miranda searched for something to say.  When Eddie noticed Keaton emerge from his apartment, he threw his hands up in resignation.  On top of everything else, his cover was about to get blown.  

“What is it?” Miranda asked. 

“Hide,” he told her, tackling her down onto the grass in the darkness. 

Keaton climbed back into his convertible Mercedes and tucked his wallet and cell phone into the center console.   Miranda decided to take matters into her own hands and help in some way.  It was the least she could do.  Before Keaton could start the engine, she popped up out of the grass and surprised him so much that he screamed.  On the ground, Eddie groaned in frustration over her.

“Jesus, you scared me,” Keaton said. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Keaton Hartley, right?” Miranda asked. 

“Yeah.”

“Miranda Blackthorne,” she said and extended her hand. 

‘Yeah, I know.”  He climbed back out of the car.   “I’m sorry, did you come here to see me?” 

“No, my friend Susie lives over there.”  She pointed for clarification.  “I was on my way there.  I saw you and thought I’d say hi.”

“Oh, okay.”

Behind them, Eddie suddenly became aware of what she was doing.  As crazy as she was, she proved to be a suitable distraction.  Quickly, he jumped to his feet and reached into the car for Keaton’s phone.  He activated the blue tooth and held his phone up to it, waiting for the information to transfer. 

“So my father and my brother can’t stop talking about what a gem you are,” Miranda went on, tossing her hair over her shoulders and offering him a toothy smile.  “It’s like, God, just do him all ready.”  She laughed.  “Kidding.  So what are you up to tonight?  Big Halloween plans?” 

“Not really.” 

“Plan on killing anybody?” 

What?” Keaton asked in surprise. 

Eddie rolled his eyes, positive that she was going to blow it before he got the information from his phone.

Miranda laughed again and pointed.  "God, I’m totally kidding.  The house where they filmed Halloween is just a block over on Orange Grove. Loosen up.  It’s Halloween.”

Keaton managed a smile and started to turn back to his car.  Quickly, Miranda went to block his view. 

“So anyway, my friend Suz is having a party if you want to stop by,” she said.

“Suz?”

“Yeah, Susie.  Suz.” 

“I can’t,” he said.  “I was just going out for some pizza and then I have to make it an early night.  Last day of filming tomorrow.” 

“Okay,” Miranda said.  “Well, if you change your mind-“

A sound caught Keaton’s attention and he quickly spun around.  Miranda cringed.  To her relief, Eddie was nowhere in sight, and Keaton’s phone was back where he’d left it. 

“I should go,” Keaton said.  “Nice to see you, Miranda.”

“You too,” she said and waived as he got in his car and started the engine.  “Watch out for psycho’s in Halloween masks.”

He nodded uneasily and backed up out of the drive.  After he sped off down the street, Eddie emerged from behind a bush.  

“That was dangerous,” he said. 

Miranda smiled.  “But you got what you needed, right?”

He nodded and held up his phone.  “Yeah.” 

“See?  We’re a pretty good team.” 

"That still doesn't change anything," Eddie said and stalked back to his car.

Stormy Blackthorne

Stormy walked into the family room at the Blackthorne mansion with a bowl of popcorn and positioned himself next to Jane on the sofa.  He kissed her softly while slipping his arm around her shoulder. 

“Okay, what are we going to watch?” he asked, picking up the remote and flipping through the horror section on Netflix.  “Slasher?  Supernatural?  Zombies?”

“Just nothing too gross,” Jane said. “I can handle scary but I can’t handle gross.” 

“Then you should return those hideous shoes,” said a voice from behind.  “They’re scary and gross.” 

They turned to see Kelly sashay into the room.  Groaning, Stormy put the popcorn bowl on the table and rose from the sofa. 

“We’re trying to have an evening to ourselves,” he said.  “So if you don’t mind, go scare up trouble somewhere else.”  

Kelly rolled her eyes.  “You’re both so lame.  Like I want to hang around here with a bunch of losers anyway.” 

Stormy began to get aggravated when Jane reached her hand out to him.  “Just let her be,” she said.  “She’s not worth it.” 

While she was right about that, he did want to talk to Kelly about something, and it might as well happen sooner rather than later.  “Miranda told me what you said to her last night,” he began.  “That you’re planning on taking R.J. and leaving.  I’d strongly suggest you stop making threats like that unless you want to be without parental rights altogether.” 

“What are you going to do about it?” Kelly asked.  “I could still get your sister in a lot of trouble for playing lady pimp to half the men in this town.  You wouldn’t want to be the cause for her going to jail, would you?” 

“You have no proof,” Stormy told her.  “So go ahead and try.” 

“Don’t push me,” Kelly cautioned him.  “It’ll take one phone call to blow her little secret out of the water.”

“The point is you’re not taking R.J. anywhere,” Stormy argued.  “He’s my son and this is his home.  If you even think about trying to run off with him I’ll have you arrested so fast-“

“He’s my son too!” Kelly shouted.  “And I can take him if I please!"

With that, she turned and raced out of the room.   Stormy considered going after her but decided to let her be for the time being. 

“I’m sorry,” he said to Jane and sat back down beside her.  “I’d hoped we could have a quiet evening together.” 

She shook her head dismissively.  “Aren’t you worried that she’s going to take R.J?” she asked.  “Stormy, you should do something.” 

“She can’t leave yet,” he said.  “She has no money.” 

“That could change before you know it.  What about her threatening to turn Miranda in?  You don’t think she really would, do you?”

He laughed.  “I know she would,” he said.  “And to tell you the truth, all she’d have to do is suggest it to the police and they’d have enough to start an investigation.  For now it seems like Kelly’s got me right where she wants me.” 

Jane took his hand in hers and looked into his eyes. She knew he was worried.  She only wished there was something she could do to stop Kelly from causing any more damage than she already had.

Out in the hallway, Kelly answered her phone when she felt it vibrating in the back pocket of her jeans.  She recognized the number as the same one that had called earlier. 

“Hello?” she answered irately. 

A pause while she listened to the caller talk. 

“How did you get this number?” she shrieked.  “Don’t ever call me again!” 

With that, she clicked off the call and looked around in a panic.  Quickly, she darted down the hall and up the stairs to her room, slamming the door closed behind her. 

Brooke Taylor

When James and Ethan brought Brooke home from the hospital, Michael came racing down the stairs toward her dressed in an astronaut Halloween costume. 

“Mommy!” he yelled and attempted to jump into her arms.

“Easy, buddy,” Ethan said and stopped him.  “Mommy’s still not feeling a hundred percent so you have to take it easy on her, okay?” 

Brooke smiled and bent down to hug her son.  “I’m happy to see you too, baby,” she said and kissed the top of his head.  “And I love your costume!  You look like a real space man!” 

“I know, huh?” Michael said and tugged at her arm.  “You’re still gonna take me trick-or-treating right?” 

She shook her head apologetically.  “Your daddy’s going to take you, sweetheart.  But guess what?  I heard the house up the street has a haunted house you can go through when you get there.”

“Sounds scary,” James said with a good-natured nudge. 

“I’m not scared, grandpa,” Michael said.  “It’s just make believe.  Like in your movies.” 

“Are you ready to go, champ?” Ethan asked him.

“Uh-oh, I forgot my glow stick!” 

“Well go get it,” Ethan said and ushered him to the stairs.

And just like that, Michael was flying up to his room.

“Where’s Kyle?” James asked.  “I thought he would want to be here when you came home.  He wasn’t even at the hospital when you were discharged.” 

Brooke shook her head dismissively.  “Mackenzie’s having some crisis he had to help her with,” she revealed.  “He said he’d stop by later.”   She looked at Ethan.  “Thank you for taking Michael out tonight.  He’s been talking about trick-or-treating for weeks.” 

“No problem,” he said.  “What crisis?  Mackenzie never said anything to me.” 

“I don’t know,” Brooke replied. 

Ethan couldn’t help but find it strange that she didn’t mention it.  “I’m seeing her later tonight.  I guess I’ll find out then.”  

The doorbell rang and James went to open it.  “Kenny,” he said and gestured inside.  “What brings you by?  Not out haunting your usual places?” 

He smiled.  “I wanted to tell you the good news first.  We got a potential offer on Moonshadows.” 

Already?” Brooke asked.  “From who?” 

“An investor from New York.  Loomis Enterprises.  They’ve got plenty of capital and they plan on working with the EPA to get the water cleaned up.  It’s still in the early stages but at least we’ve opened up discussions.” 

Brooke shook her head miserably.  “This is all happening so fast,” she said.  “Am I doing the right thing?” 

“The lawsuit will bankrupt the resort,” Ethan reminded her.  “On top of that you’ve got the bad publicity from De La Cruz’s death.  Let it be someone else’s problem now.  You’re doing the right thing, Brooke.” 

She sighed.  “I guess.  I just can’t help but feel like I’m….”

“What?” James asked her. 

“Moonshadows was David’s dream,” she explained.  “And my father’s before he died.  I just hate seeing it sold off to strangers.”

Mason Stone

“Boo,” Chip said from behind a Halloween mask. 

Mason leveled an dubious look at him when he opened the door to his room at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  “Aren’t you a little old to be trick-or-treating?” he said and stood clear of the door.

“Not when your treats are so mouth watering,” Chip replied with a wink as he entered the room.  “Ready for some adult entertainment?” 

Resigned to the fact that he was being blackmailed into having gay sex, Mason retreated to the sofa where he’d been working.  On the coffee table were papers arranged in neat piles. 

“What’s all this?” Chip inquired, taking the mask off and sitting down. 

“The phase of our plan we’ve been waiting for,” he answered.  “I made an offer on Moonshadows a little while ago.  A ridiculously low offer, but one that Brooke Taylor would be stupid to pass up considering the legal problems they’re facing.” 

“Loomis Enterprises,” Chip read aloud from one of the documents.  “How’d you come up with that name?” 

Mason grinned and gestured to the television.  “There’s been a Halloween marathon on TV all day.  He was the doctor."

Chip laughed, sinking to his knees on the floor in front of him.

Kyle Fenwick

A strip of torn orange crepe paper blew across the road and stopped when it got snagged against a piece of brush on the lookout.  Kyle kicked it loose when he stepped out of his car and approached Mackenzie at the side of the road. 

“What’s with the clandestine meeting, sis?” he asked.  “We couldn’t meet somewhere a little more convenient?” 

“I thought you’d appreciate it if no one was around to overhear,” she told him. 

“Overhear what?”

“That I’m on to you,” she said.  “I know everything you’ve been up to with Mason.” 

Kyle felt genuinely confused.  “What are you talking about?  I told you Mason and I are just friends.” 

“Mason is in cahoots with your contractor, Chip Matthews,” she said.  “I overheard them talking.” 

The information blew Kyle’s mind.  “Are you serious?  What does this have to do with me?” 

“The minute Mason came to town I knew he was up to something.  After being privy to his shady deals and cheating ways while we were married, I’ve become something of an expert.  The way he attached himself to your marina project was deja vu all over again.”

Kyle shook his head.  “Mac, you’re going to have to fill me in here.” 

“I know you blackmailed Senator Nordquist into granting Moonshadows the variances,” she continued.   “His call-girl scandal was just the ammunition you needed.  The Coastal Commission would have never granted them on their own.” 

Now Kyle was really confused.  Mason told him he called in a favor, plain and simple.  He knew nothing about blackmailing a Senator.  “Mason got me the variance, but-“ 

“So now I have to ask myself if this whole arsenic scare was really just more of the same,” she said.  “Another plot that the two of you cooked up to defraud Brooke out of her property.” 

“Are you crazy?” Kyle demanded.

“And let’s not forget about Chip.  He found out what you were doing and is now blackmailing Mason for sex.”  She laughed wickedly.  “Isn’t that ironic?  The man was such a pig to me when we were married.  I can’t pretend I’m not happy to see him in such a squeamish position.” 

Kyle placed a hand on his forehead.  She had it all wrong.  If Mason had been up to anything suspicious, he had nothing to do with it.  But convincing his sister of that was going to be next to impossible.  She’d always thought the worst of him. 

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.  “Mackenzie, I had no idea that Mason was up to anything.  You have to believe me.” 

She glared angrily at him.  “I’ve been saying all along that you were up to no good,” she began.  “That you were just as underhanded as you were when you first came to town pretending to be someone else.  You haven’t changed a bit, baby brother.”

“Look, Mason came to me and offered to help with the variance.”  Even as he said it, he suddenly became aware of how suspicious it sounded.  Why had Mason offered to help?  What was in it for him?   “Let me just talk to him.  I’ll get it sorted out.” 

“You mean so you can put your heads together and find a way to cover your tracks?” she asked.  “No, I’m going to Brooke with this.  Wait until she finds out that the man she put her trust hasn’t stopped conning her since the day he showed up on her doorstep.” 

He couldn’t let her do that.  Despite the fact that he was innocent in all of her allegations, Brooke wouldn’t see it that way.  He had to do something.  “If you go to Brooke, she’ll turn against me,” he began.  “And then who do you think will be there to pick up the pieces?   Say goodbye to your relationship with Ethan because he’s the one she’ll turn to.”

Mackenzie shook her head in dismay.  “You never stop manipulating people, do you?”  

Kyle knew that threatening her with Ethan was a mistake.  It only made him look guilty.  “Just don’t go to Brooke.  I’ll prove to you that whatever Mason is up to, he’s acting alone.” 

“You’re lying,’ she said and attempted to skirt past him.

“Mackenzie, don’t!” he shouted, grabbing her by the arm. 

During the struggle, she lost her footing.  The rocks beneath her feet gave way and she slid to the edge of the cliff.  Her arms flailed, desperately trying to grab something to support herself with.  Kyle reached out to pull her back but it was too late.  She slipped onto the rocks and fell down the side of the cliff, rolling down the hill and coming to a crashing halt a hundred yards away. 

Kyle panicked, the sound of coyotes in the distance breaking the unbearable silence.  He waited for her to get up but she didn’t.  A trickle of blood ebbed down her forehead as she remained unconscious.  He backed up a step, unsure of what to do.  His mind spun out of control.   Without wasting another second, he turned and raced back to his car, disappearing into the night and leaving Mackenzie unconscious at the bottom of the cliff.

Blackthorne Mansion

When they got home from trick-or-treating, Ethan left to meet Mackenzie and Michael grudgingly got ready for bed.  A while later, Brooke went to his room to check on him and paused outside his door when she heard him talking to himself. When she went inside, she saw him holding a toy walkie talkie, still in his astronaut costume as he lay in bed. 

“Who are you talking to, sweetheart?” she asked and began straightening things in his room. 

“Adam,” he said and pushed the walkie under the covers.

Brooke remained tight lipped about his imaginary friend.  She knew he’d had a blast trick-or-treating with his father and didn’t want to open up a difficult discussion when it was getting so late. 

“Tell Adam that you’ll talk to him tomorrow,” she said.  “It’s bedtime.  Aren’t you going to put on your pajamas?” 

He shook his head and climbed under the covers.   “I want to wear my astronaut costume, mommy.  Can’t I, please?”  

“Okay,” she said with a shake of her head.  “Now say goodnight to Adam and go to sleep.” 

Michael pushed the talk button and spoke into the speaker.  “Adam, I gotta go to bed now.  Talk to you tomorrow.  Over and out.” 

Smiling, Brooke placed the walkie talkie on the bedside table and kissed the little boy on the forehead.  “Goodnight.” 

“Night, mommy,” he said. 

Walking to the door, she turned off the light and started to leave.  A sound coming from the walkie talkie caught her attention and she stopped.  It crackled and sputtered, and then she distinctly heard the sound of faint whispering coming through the speaker. 

Her heart pounding inside her chest, she stared at the object and listened.  After a full two minutes of silence, she realized she must have been hearing things.  That or there was some kind of interference in the radio transmission.  There were enough devices around that could easily be picked up by the toy.  

Shaking her head at her own ridiculous behavior, she walked out of the room and closed the door.

Miranda Blackthorne

Miranda pulled her car up to the house and started up to the front door.  While she paused to fish her keys from her purse, she heard a car approaching from behind.  Quickly, she turned and smiled when she saw that it was Eddie. 

“Hi,” she said, walking back down the steps.  

“Hi,” he said, smiling in return.  “So listen, thanks for your help tonight.”

“Sure,” Miranda replied. She wondered if his coming there so late was a sign that he didn’t hate her as much as he made it sound.  Maybe there was hope after all.  “Anytime.”

“I guess we are a good team,” he added. 

“Do you want to come in?” 

He shook his head.  “I can’t.”

Disappointed, she turned and started back up the stairs to the door.

“I found some stuff on Keaton’s phone that I’m going to check out tomorrow,” Eddie called after her.  “I could really use some help.  Are you free?” 

Her face lit up as she turned to him.  “I could probably get Leilani to look after Tiger again.  What time?”  

“I”ll pick you up at ten.” 

“Okay,” she said.   “Goodnight.” 

“Goodnight, Miranda.”   He put the car in gear and dove off beneath the porte-cochere. 

Miranda watched him go, knowing that things were going to be all right.  It may not happen overnight, but it would happen.

Brett Armstrong

Slivers of bluish-green moonlight filtered through the blinds in Brett’s condo.  The room was dark except for the light from the television.  He laid on the sofa, dressed only in a pair of grey sweatshorts, the TV remote clutched tightly in his hand.   He couldn’t stop thinking about the last moments he’d spent with Deacon Edgewater.  Guilt plagued him.  It changed the way he thought about everything.  Everyone.  He only now realized that everything he did affected people in ways he could never imagine.  The sad thing was, none of it seemed worth it to him. 

The phone rang and he ignored it for as long as he could.  When it passed the twentieth ring, he reached to the floor and lifted the receiver to his ear.  It was Jordan calling. 

“What is it, Jordan?” he asked curtly.

A knock at the door alerted him to a visitor so he told Jordan to hold on while he got up to see who it was. 

“Who’s there?” he called, but there was no answer. “Hello?”

A look through the peep hole proved futile, so he unlocked the dead bolt and opened the door with the chain still attached.   Peering into the hall, he tried to see who was there. 

“Hello Brett,” a woman’s voice came through the small opening between the door and the doorframe. 

Eyes wide, he watched as she came into view.  He wouldn’t have believed it if he didn’t see her with his own eyes.  But there she was, standing outside his door in the flesh.  

“Heather,” he said, blinking a few times to make sure he wasn’t imagining things.


Next time....

Brett worries about Heather.  Miranda and Eddie look into Keaton's activities.  Leilani can't stand by Kelly's side.  A man from Brooke's past reappears.  

 

 

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