Brett reflected on his past as a
con man in the wake of Deacon's suicide. He later
told Kelly that he was no longer interested in their
alliance against Stormy. Kelly taunted Stormy with threats
to take R.J. and leave town. Kelly received several
phone calls from an threatening source. Heather
arrived at Brett's door. Alex recalled Deacon
inviting her to his house to discuss a movie role. Brooke
decided to put Moonshadows up for sale when Jessica
De La Cruz filed a substantial lawsuit. Mason
secretly formed a corporation, Loomis Enterprises, and
put a bid in on the resort. Mackenzie learned
that Senator Nordquist was bribed into granting the
variances, and accused Kyle of being in on it with Mason.
During the argument, Mackenzie slipped and fell down
a cliff. Panicked, Kyle took off. James
counseled Marilee regarding the son she gave up
for adoption. Nathan survived the killer's latest
attack. A photograph of Bianca Burnett was faxed
to Sunset Studios with a flaw in the photograph, prompting
Eddie to think it might be a clue. Eddie refused
to forgive Miranda for her betrayals. Miranda
distracted Keaton while Eddie transferred information
from his cell phone. Later, Eddie asked Miranda
to help him in the investigation. After being suspected
of the murders, Denise quit her job in the Sunset Studios
Brett stood clear
of the door as Heather walked inside the condo.
He studied her carefully, unsure of what led to her showing up at his
door. Had she been released from the mental
institution? Jordan hadn’t told him as
much, but then again he didn’t share details with him since the divorce. However she happened to be there, she seemed
surprisingly lucid. Much more so than
she had been the last few times he’d seen her.
“Heather, what are you doing here?”
he asked. “When did you get home?”
She was busy looking around the
small condo, letting her eyes fall on toys, clothes and other various items
that belonged to Violet. When she broke
from a daze, she looked at him and smiled.
“I’m sorry for just showing up like
this,” she said. Her trademark
waist-length locks of dark blond hair were now cut to her shoulders. Other than that, she looked very much like
she did a year and a half ago. Her eyes
seemed different, though. They were more
focused than in the last days before he’d had her committed.
“I’m glad to see you,” Brett told
her. He suddenly remembered that Jordan
was on the phone. Quickly, he went to
retrieve the receiver from the floor. "Wait
right here." As
he spoke to Jordan, Heather continued looking around the apartment, picking up pictures
of Violet and smiling adoringly at them.
“Jordan?” Brett said into the
receiver. “You’re not going to believe
“Brett, listen to me,” Jordan
interrupted him. He was calling from his
car, weaving through traffic on Sunset.
“I just talked to Dr. Bouvier.
Heather’s escaped from the institution.
He thinks she might be on her way to see Violet.”
Brett’s eyes widened in surprise as
he turned and looked at Heather. She
smiled at him, continuing to walk tentatively around the apartment.
After he got home
from taking Michael trick-or-treating, Ethan drove up Mulholland and rang the
doorbell of Mackenzie’s starkly modern house that overlooked the canyons. He stood on the porch waiting for her to
answer, glanced at his watch to confirm the time, and rang the bell again. After a few minutes of waiting, he took out
his cell and called her. To his
frustration, it went straight to voicemail.
Maybe she’d decided against spending
time with him, he decided. She had been very angry at breakfast that
morning. Not that he could blame
her. While he was genuine in his
feelings for her, he didn’t expect her to have sat by patiently waiting while
he doted over Brooke in the hospital.
Realizing she must have let her
frustrations get the better of her, he turned and retreated back to his
car. Maybe she’d cool off by
morning. He didn’t want to force the
issue tonight. It was better to leave it
alone for now.
He drove back down the road in the
darkness, unaware that half a mile away just off the meandering road, Mackenzie
lay unconscious at the bottom of a cliff.
Kyle sped down Mulholland, staring
in a daze at the blinding headlights as cars whizzed past him. He closed his eyes briefly, trying to get Mackenzie
out of his mind. It was an
accident. She fell. She slid on the rocks and toppled down the
hill. He most definitely did not push
her. But getting anyone to believe that
was going to be difficult, so he had no choice but to run. She could have told someone about her
suspicions. If he was placed at the
scene, he could be blamed for her fall.
The fact was he wasn’t working with Mason on whatever plan he was
cooking up. All he did was accept a
favor from a friend.
He teetered back and forth deciding
what to do next. She was his
sister. He couldn’t just leave her
there. If she was still alive, she
wouldn’t be for long if she didn’t get help.
And no matter what differences they had in their pasts, he didn’t want
to see harm come to her.
When he neared
the entrance to
the Ventura Freeway, he pulled into a gas station and found a payphone. Using a handkerchief from the glove
compartment, he picked up the receiver and called 911.
“There’s a woman lying at the bottom
of a cliff off Mulholland and I don’t know if she’s alive or dead,” he said when the
dispatcher answered. “It’s about half a
mile after the turnoff onto Deep Canyon Drive. Please hurry.”
With that, he hung up and went back
to his car. Sitting behind the wheel, he
wondered what he should do next. He had
to act normal, he decided. The
paramedics would find her and she would be fine. Meanwhile, he’d get the proof that Mason was
behind blackmailing Senator Nordquist.
Mackenzie would have no choice but to believe him.
“Brett?” Jordan asked from his
car. “Did you hear what I said?”
“Heather’s here,” he told him.
“Jesus,” Jordan said, raking his
fingers through his hair as he honked at a sea of cars that lied ahead of
him. “How is she? Is she okay?”
“She seems fine.” He watched her carefully.
“I’m a couple of minutes away,”
Jordan said. “Dr. Bouvier is
“Jordan, I’ll handle it,” Brett said
and hung up the phone. When he turned
back to Heather, she was standing across the room looking at him.
“That was my father,” she
surmised. “I should have known he would
be worried about me.”
“We all are,” Brett said. “He said you escaped from the hospital. Is that true?”
Sorrowfully, she looked away. “I had to,” she said. “I mean, you have no idea what it’s been
like. My little girl is growing up and
I’m missing it. She’s not going to even
know me the next time I see her.”
“She’s asleep in the bedroom,” Brett
told her. “You could look in on her if
you want to.”
“No, I don’t want to wake her
up. She’d be confused. I just need to know that she’s okay.”
“She’s good,” he assured her. “She’s very good. She’s a very happy little girl. We went trick-or-treating tonight.”
Heather’s face lit up. “You did?”
“She dressed up as a bumble
bee. You should have seen her,
Heather. She was so cute.” He pulled out his phone and showed her
A tear formed in Heather’s eye as
she smiled so big that her cheeks hurt.
“My little girl,” she whispered.
“She’s so beautiful.”
“Just like her mother.”
Wiping her hands on her slacks, she
walked to the sofa and sat down. “My
father told me you didn’t fight the divorce.
Brett knew it would come up. He supposed it was better to get it over with
now rather than later. He owed her an
explanation, after all.
“I know that I hurt you,” he
said. “How you must have felt when you
read that book-“
She flew to her feet and stopped him
from finishing his sentence. “I’m glad
that Violet is here with you,” she said.
“She should be with her father. I
know that you love her. I don’t expect
to be a mother so soon after what I nearly did to her.”
Brett closed his eyes as he thought
about the incident. Heather, suffering
from a psychotic break, tried driving off a cliff with Violet in the car. Jordan stopped her, thankfully. He shuddered to think of what their lives
would be like if things had gone differently.
“You’ll be a good mother to her one
day,” he assured her.
They were interrupted when the door
flew open and Jordan raced inside, followed by Dr. Bouvier from the institution
in San Francisco.
“Heather!” Jordan exclaimed and
raced to his daughter.
She smiled happily as he wrapped his
arms around her. “I’m so sorry,
Dad. I didn’t mean to worry you.”
“Princess, why did you leave the
institution?” Jordan asked. “How did you
get all the way here from San Francisco?”
“I took a van from the institution,”
she said, then looked apologetically at Dr. Bouvier.
“It doesn’t matter how,” Jordan said
and placed his hands alongside her face.
“Just don’t ever scare me like that again.”
Dr. Bouvier stepped forward. “Jordan, I’d like a minute with Heather if
you don’t mind.”
He nodded and gave his daughter a
reassuring nod of his head. Turning, he
led Brett into the kitchen and watched them from across the room.
“What happened?” Jordan asked. “She just showed up and then what?”
“She misses Violet,” Brett
explained. “Jordan, maybe it’s just me,
but she seems fine. She was lucid enough
to drive eight hours across the state.
Maybe she’s better. It has been a
year and a half since she went away.”
“I don’t want to take any chances in
her recovery,” Jordan said. “Did she ask
you about Suzanne?”
Brett shook his head. “I brought up the book but she changed the
They were interrupted when Dr.
Bouvier approached alone.
“How do you think she is?” Jordan
asked him. “What would possess her to
steal a van and drive all the way here?
Is she having another psychotic episode?”
“Quite the contrary,” he
replied. “I was going to wait a couple
of weeks to tell you, but after seeing how she’s reacted to being here, I might
as well do it now. I’ve done all I can
for Heather at the institution.”
Jordan looked at him with fear in his
eyes. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying she’s ready to rejoin
“Are you sure?” Brett asked.
He nodded. “She’ll of course have to remain in
outpatient care for the foreseeable future.
She had a lot of issues to work out and they’re not just going to go
away. But I think that being home in a
familiar place is just what she needs right now.”
Jordan smiled in elation. “That’s fantastic news,” he said.
“What about Violet?” Brett
inquired. “Do you think she’s ready to
“Supervised visits are permissible,”
he told him. “Don’t rush her into
“We won’t,” Jordan said and walked
back across the room. “Heather, would
you like to come home with me?”
She looked at him as if waiting for
the other foot to drop. When she saw the
encouraging look on Dr. Bouvier’s face, however, she knew that he was being
sincere. “Really?” she asked and smiled
He hugged her warmly as Brett
watched them from across the room. He
couldn’t help but wonder where he fit in.
They were divorced. She hadn’t
even made an attempt at bringing up his affair with Suzanne. One thing was for sure, however. He didn’t want to force the issue. She would deal with it when she was
Ethan flew through the doors of the
emergency room, scouting around for a nurse that could tell him what had
happened to Mackenzie. When he asked
the admitting desk, they told him she was in intensive care but wasn’t able to
tell him anything else. Frustrated, he
turned and looked for someone else who could give him information.
A police officer approached the same
nurse who pointed across the room to where Ethan was standing.
“Mr. Blackthorne?” he said as he
“Yes. Do you know what happened to Mackenzie?”
“She appears to have had a spill up
on Mulholland. She was pretty banged up
when we found her. We got your number
off the call history on her phone. Do
you know what she might have been doing up there?”
Ethan shook his head, then
remembered Brooke saying that Kyle had been with Mackenzie earlier that
night. “She was with her brother a
little while ago. We planned on meeting at
her place after but when I got there she wasn’t home. What do you mean she took a spill? Are you saying she fell? Or did someone push her?”
“Do you have reason to believe
someone would have pushed her?” the officer asked, his interest peaking.
Ethan shook his head
dismissively. The truth was, he
didn’t. Mackenzie was a ball busting
tell-it-like-it-is kind of woman, but who would want to hurt her?
“The brother you mentioned,” the
office continued. “You said she was supposed to be meeting him
“Got a name?”
The officer checked Mackenzie’s
phone. “He was the last person she
called. Around 6:30 this evening. We’ll check him out. Thanks for your time.”
As the officer walked away, Ethan
sat down and held his head in his hands.
What was Mackenzie doing outside on the side of the road like that? He wondered if it did have anything to do
with her meeting Kyle. Surely he
wouldn’t have done anything to hurt her.
The next morning, Brooke got Michael
off to school and retreated to the parlor room at the Blackthorne mansion where
she attempted to call Renee to fill her in on the developments with
Moonshadows. To her disappointment, she
only succeeded in reaching her voicemail, so she left an urgent message and
insisted she call her back immediately.
Just as she hung up, Leilani entered
the room. “Miss Taylor, you have a
visitor,” she said with sustained difficulty.
“Would you like me to send him in?”
Brooke frowned at Leilani’s nervous
behavior and slipped her hands into the pockets of her 1970’s inspired
high-waisted slacks. “Who is it,
Before she could respond, Brooke’s
question was answered.
“Hello Brooke,” Philip Whitacre said
as he strode into the room.
“Philip?” she asked in
disbelief. “What on earth are you doing
“I heard you spent some time in the
hospital and I wanted to see if you were okay.”
Philip, Brooke’s first husband
and the source of a great deal of trouble when she and James were first
married, looked at her with his trademark bedroom eyes. Six-feet tall and with a sturdy, athletic
frame, he hadn’t changed a bit in the four years since she’d seen him.
“So you came all the way to L.A.?”
Brooke asked. “You could have
He stepped closer, licking his lips
as he drew near. “And miss out on
seeing that gorgeous face?” he asked.
“Don’t I even get a hug?”
She shrunk away from him when he
tried to pull her into an embrace. “I
thought you were in prison. You and Will
Thomerson drugged Heather Rydell and put her in a porno without her
He shrugged apologetically. “I was in for eighteen months but I got
released due to overcrowding. After that I
decided to head back to Phoenix. I got a
job selling pharmaceuticals.”
“From porn star to selling erectile
dysfunction medication?” Brooke asked dubiously. “That’s ironic.”
He grinned and looked her up and
down. “Enough about me. How are you?
I hear you got sick at that resort you own part of. Something about arsenic poisoning?”
“What are you really doing
here? Don’t pretend you care about my
“I can’t believe you would doubt
that. We were married once,
remember? It was me you came to when
James and Ethan Blackthorne were bouncing you around like a tennis ball. We had plans to raise that kid together. Then you took off.”
Sighing, Brooke turned and walked to
the fireplace. “That was before I knew
what kind of man you were,” she said.
“What you did to Heather Rydell was disgusting.”
“Hey, I didn’t know it was going to
go down like that,” he insisted. “So
where is the little tyke, anyway? He’s
got to be about five years old by now, right?”
“He’s six,” she told him. “And he’s at school.”
“Good, then we have some time to
spend together before he gets home. So
tell me, which one of the Blackthorne men did you wind up with? James or Ethan?”
Brooke looked away, realizing she
didn’t owe him an explanation, but at the same time feeling a little
hypocritical. She was sure that her
expression gave her away.
“Oh don’t tell me,” Philip went
on. “You gave them both the boot?”
“I did not give them the boot,”
Brooke argued. “It just so happens that
things just didn’t work out with either one of them. We tried but these things sometimes have a
way of running their own course.”
Philip laughed. “After all that B.S., you aren’t with either
of them. Priceless.”
“So who are you with now? Don’t tell me it’s that Stormy runt. A little young for you, but I guess you do like to keep it in the family.”
“Not that it’s any of your business,
but I’m seeing a man who is unrelated to the Blackthornes,” she said
curtly. “I’m only living here because we
thought it would be easier for Michael in the interim.”
Philip shook his head in
amazement. “You rich people sure do lead
screwed up lives. You’re living with the
two men you kissed off so that you can raise your son who you lied to everyone
about his paternity for the first year of his life, and meanwhile you’re dating
some other schmuck who is going along with it?
I gotta meet this guy.”
Finally, she turned to him and
positioned her hands on her hips. “Would
you stop?” she demanded. “You have no
idea what you’re talking about. It just
so happens that James, Ethan, Kyle and I all have Michael’s best interests at
“If you say so,” Philip said,
throwing his hands up in resignation. He
waited a few minutes before continuing.
“So how long before you give this Kyle guy the boot? And the bigger question is, who’s next in the
“You should leave,” Brooke
said. “I have no interest in standing
here listening to this. I don’t even
know why you came here.”
He shrugged. “I think it’s a good thing I did. I know you, Brooke. Probably better than any of these guys do. I knew you before you were the co-owner of
resorts and movie studios. I think it’s
time you got a reality check on who Brooke Taylor is.”
“I know who Brooke Taylor is,” she
cut him off.
“No you don’t. But
luckily I’m here to remind you.”
Miranda and Eddie pulled up to an
office building in Sherman Oaks. To
Miranda, it looked more like a house than it did a business. With fake brick siding and a pointed roof,
it was marked with a sign on the front lawn that read Reconnections …Finding Your Way Home. It sounded more like the tag line for a
microchip company for pets than it did a service for bringing adopted children
and their parents together.
“What are we doing here again?” she
asked, applying a fresh coat of lip gloss in the rearview mirror.
“This place was in Keaton’s cell
phone contacts. I found several emails
dating back a few months before the murders started.”
“What did the emails say?”
“Nothing specific, which is why I
thought we should come check it out in person,” he said while climbing out of
the car. “This place provides a service
to people who want to find their biological parents.”
“So Keaton was adopted?” She got out and followed him up to the door.
else would he have been a client here?” He opened the door for her but she stopped
him before the entered.
“Look, Eddie, I want you to know how
much it means to me that you asked me to come along this morning. It feels like old times, doesn’t it?”
He nodded with a slight smile. “Yeah, it does.”
As they entered the office, they
were greeted by a thin, pale woman seated at the reception desk.
“Welcome to Reconnections,” she said
through pursed lips. “How can I help
“I’m looking for information on one
of your clients,” Eddie said. “I’m
investigating a series of murders and we believe he may be connected.”
The woman leveled a look of
suspicion at him from over a pair of wire-framed bifocals. “Our client files are confidential,” she
said. “Are you with the police?”
“We’re working with the police,” he
reported. “It’s urgent that we get a
look at those files. Lives could be in
jeopardy as we speak.”
“I’m sorry,” she said in a high
voice. “Unless you’re the police and
have a search warrant, I’m unable to help you, sir.”
“Sir?” Eddie said incredulously and
turned away with a frown.
“Look here,” Miranda said and leaned
forward. “It just so happens that my
mother is Miss Angie Dickinson and I-“
mother is Alex Reynolds, and you’re still not looking at the files.”
Miranda frowned. “How did you know that?”
“Your face was all over the papers a
few weeks ago when that pimp got murdered,” said the receptionist.
Frustrated, Miranda threw her hands
on the counter and cursed her own tarnished public image.
“Look,” Eddie began, fishing two
hundred dollar bills from his pocket.
“We’re not asking you to bend any rules.
Just walk away from your desk and we’ll accidentally look at the
computer. That way you aren’t doing
anything against regulations.”
The woman looked at the money and
shook her head primly. “I don’t even
have access to the files. Only Mr.
“Mr Brewer?” Miranda asked.
“The president of the company. Now if you don’t leave I’ll be forced to call
Miranda looked at Eddie and led him
out of the building. Once they were
outside, they both proceeded to the car.
“Well, that was a dead end,” Eddie
said. “All we succeeded in doing was alerting her that we were looking for
information. I guess Reconnections is a lead that won’t take
“Not necessarily,” Miranda said with
a mischievous grin. She plucked her
phone from her purse and made a call.
“Stormy, I’m with Eddie. We need
Eddie was willing to try
anything. Stormy didn’t have the
exposure that Miranda did, so maybe they could get information from this Mr.
Brewer after all.
left several messages for Ethan reminding him of Michael’s appointment with the
child psychologist that afternoon. When
she was unable to reach him, she decided to call Mackenzie. The last she knew, they were going to spend
the previous evening together.
Before she could make the call, Kyle
entered the family room. “Good morning,”
he said and kissed her on the cheek.
“Hi,” she replied, the receiver
still gripped in her hand. “Have you
spoke to Mackenzie today?”
Kyle immediately went on the
defensive. “Mackenzie? No, why do you ask?”
She sighed and gestured to the
phone. “I’ve been trying to get a hold
of Ethan all morning. I thought he said
he was with Mackenzie last night. I was
going to call her unless you’ve already seen her.”
“No, I haven’t,” he said. Not only had he not heard from her, but he
also hadn’t heard any reports of her accident.
That could be good or bad
depending on how badly she’d been hurt.
“Did she mention if they were going
anywhere when you saw her last night?”
“No, she didn’t mention anything.”
“What did she want to talk to you
about anyway?” Brooke asked.
“Just some family business,” he
answered. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be with
you when you were released from the hospital.
I would have called but my phone died.”
“That’s okay,” she said. “I’m feeling much better today. I’ll be feeling better when I find
Ethan. I really don’t want to miss that
appointment with Dr. Podany.”
Her cell phone rang and she plucked
it from her pocket. To her relief, it
was Ethan calling. She answered
hurriedly and paused while he told her he’d been at the hospital all
“Oh my God,” Brooke said. After she got the details, she hung up and
turned to Kyle. “That was Ethan. He’s with Mackenzie at the hospital.”
Swallowing hard, Kyle dug his hands
into his pockets. “What happened?”
She shrugged. “All he said was that she’d been admitted
last night. She just got out of the
intensive care unit.”
“So she’s not….” he began. “She’s going to be okay?”
Brooke shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess it’s still touch and go. Kyle, you should go see her.”
“I don’t want to leave you if you
have to get Michael to that appointment,” he said, finding any excuse to avoid
the hospital. “If Ethan can’t go with
you, I’d be more than happy to.”
“No, you need to be with your
sister. I’ll reschedule the
appointment. Call me when you know
He nodded and kissed her again. “Okay, I will.” With that, he turned and walked back out of
the room. Down the hall, he leaned against
the door and braced himself for what would happen when he got to the
hospital. He didn’t know what to expect
when Mackenzie saw him. With
she’d confirm his story that her fall was an accident. She had to.
Brett waited as long as he could before driving over to Jordan’s to see
Heather. He packed a bag of necessities
for Violet and took her with him. When
he arrived, he made his way past Chad, Lola’s security guard, then the butler
answered and ushered him to the breakfast room where Heather, Jordan and Lola
were having a brunch of stuffed French toast, Heather’s favorite.
“Good morning,” Brett said, walking
tentatively into the room. He caught a
disapproving look from Jordan but ignored it, balancing Violet in one arm while
setting the bag into an empty chair.
Heather turned and froze when she
saw her daughter. Slowly, she slid her
chair out from the table and clasped her hands together. She exchanged glances with Jordan who
gestured with a nod of his head which she took to mean it was time to see
Violet. Time to face the life she’d left
behind for a year and a half.
“Violet,” Brett said and pushed a
strand of curly hair from the little girls’ face. “Do you remember who this is?”
The three-year old reached a tiny
hand out to Heather while the other was clamped between her teeth. “Mommy,” she said, then broke into a fit of
laughter. “Hi mommy.”
“Hi sweetheart,” Heather said,
wanting to reach out and hold her but at the same time afraid. While she felt mentally healthy, she couldn’t
help but fear another setback. What if
she did something to hurt her daughter?
How could she live with herself?
“It’s okay,” Brett said, reading her
eyes. “Take her.”
Hesitantly, Heather lifted Violet
into her arms. The little girl nuzzled
her head against her face and wrapped her tiny arms around her shoulders. Tears fell from Heather’s eyes as she
clutched her tighter.
“Mommy’s missed you so much,” she
said, cradling her happily. “I’m so
sorry that I had to go away, sweetheart.
I promise I won’t ever leave you again.
Mommy’s always going to be right here.”
As he watched the tender scene
unfold, Brett noticed Jordan motioning him from the doorway. Hating to leave them at such a momentous
occasion, he grudgingly followed him out into the kitchen.
“It’s a good sign,” Brett said. “They seem to be reacting very well to each
“It isn’t Heather & Violet that
I’m worried about,” Jordan told him.
“It’s you, Brett.”
“Me?” he asked defensively.
“She still hasn’t dealt with what
you and Suzanne did to her. You slept
with her mother. Can you blame me for
worrying that it might have an effect on her sooner or later? She blocked out the accident and everything
that happened after it. Now she’s
blocking this out. It can’t end well.”
“This is not the same thing,” Brett
argued. “Just because she hasn’t brought
it up doesn’t mean she’s blocking it out.
She’ll talk about me and Suzanne when she’s ready to.”
Jordan shook his head and folded his
arms across his chest. “I still don’t
think it’s a good idea for you to come around.
Not for a while anyway.”
Brett laughed. “This is really just about you not wanting me
to be with your daughter, isn’t it?” he asked.
“You’re afraid she might reconcile with the man who stole your studio
from you and you can’t stand it.”
Jordan set his jaw, refraining from
replying when Lola came into the room.
“All I’m asking is that you let me handle visitation with Violet for a
while. Let her get used to be a mother
again before she has to get used to this.”
Brett shook his head angrily as he
stormed back out to the breakfast room.
After he’d gone, Lola approached Jordan while running a strand of
daytime pearls through her fingers.
“You can’t keep them apart if they
want to be together, Jordan,” she said.
“We don’t know what Heather wants,”
“Look what happened when I tried to prevent you and Mary Ann from
being together way back when,” she said.
“You and Suzanne had a few good years but you know it was Alex that you
wanted all along.”
He looked at her with surprise. “That’s almost the nicest thing you’ve ever
said to me,” he said with only a hint of sarcasm.
She smiled. “We’re only here for a short time. Look at Jack and Elana. When any one of us could go at any time, it’s
time to start thinking in real terms.
What’s really important, Jordan?”
When Kyle arrived at the hospital,
he entered the emergency room and stopped dead in his tracks when he spotted
two police officers hanging around the waiting area. Nervous that they were there looking for him,
he ducked into an alcove and bided his time.
His instincts told him to leave, to get as far away from the hospital as
he could, but he also knew that that would arouse even more suspicion. When he saw James and Ethan walking down the
hall, he quickly went to intercept them.
“Kyle,” Ethan said. “Are you here to see Mackenzie?”
He nodded and dug his hands into his
pockets. “Yeah. How is she?”
“She hasn’t woken up yet,” he
“Do they know what happened?” He had to find out how much they knew. That was the only way to come up with a
“They don’t know exactly,” Ethan
said. “But apparently she fell down a
cliff off Mulholland.”
“Well, what was she doing there?”
“That’s what they still don’t know,”
James began, but stopped when the police officers approached.
“Are you Kyle Fenwick?” one of them
He swallowed hard and nodded. “Yes.”
“We have a few questions for you,
Mr. Fenwick,” they went on. “We saw that
you were the last person that Ms. Stone called from her cellular last
night. Mr. Blackthorne here claims you
were with her last night. Can I ask what
time that was?”
Kyle swallowed again, praying that
his nervousness didn’t show through.
“That’s true, we were going to meet,” he began, rehearsing the speech
he’d thought up on the way there. “She
called me and asked me to meet her at my house but she never showed.”
“So you didn’t see your sister last
night?” one of the officers asked.
He shook his head. “No.”
“Do you have any idea who she might
have been with last night? We found tire
tracks in the mud on the lookout where she fell, so we know she was there with
“I have no idea,” he told them. “I wish I could be of more help. I just don’t know who would want to hurt my
“Have you been able to trace the
tire tracks?” James asked.
The detective gave him a quick shake
of his head. “Not yet, but we’re working
Ethan rubbed his chin and turned to
Kyle. “What kind of car does Mason
“Why?” Kyle asked.
He shrugged. “He’s the only person I can think of that she
would have been meeting. Other than
someone from the show, and that seems unlikely to occur in that kind of a
Kyle decided that Mason
was as good a scapegoat as he was going to get, so he decided to go with it. “Come to think of it, she did come to me the
other day telling me she didn’t trust Mason.”
“Mason Stone is…?” the officer asked.
“Mackenzie’s ex-husband,” Ethan told
him. “He showed up in town a few weeks
ago. I’ve never trusted him. As a matter of fact, the first time I met him
he was getting pretty physical with her.
I guess their marriage didn’t end well.”
“Thanks. We’ll check it out,” the officer said and
walked off with his partner.
After they’d gone, James looked at
Ethan. “Do you really think Mason could
have done something to hurt Mackenzie?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know, but right now it’s the only
thing that makes sense.”
Kyle breathed a sigh of relief. At least now he had bought some time. Now all he had to do was find out what Mason
was up to, and convince Mackenzie that he was innocent.
“All right, I’m here,” Alex said
when she walked into the Playhouse in Beverly Hills and found Lola reading a
script in the front row of the deserted theatre. “What do you want, old woman? I was on my way to Deacon Edgewater’s
Lola looked up from behind her
bifocals. “Lovely to see you too, Mary
Ann,” she said. “Thank you for
coming. I have a few minutes before my
next class starts so I thought you and I would have a little chat.”
“For the one thousandth time, can
you please call me Alex.”
“Your name was Mary Ann when you got
off that bus from Detroit, and it always will be.”
Alex rolled her eyes. “What do you want to talk to me about?”
“About you and my son,” she said,
plucking a cigarette from a metal case and jamming it between her lips. “I know I haven’t always been a supporter of
your friendship, your relationships, or your two marriages, but I’ve changed my
“I beg your pardon?”
“I’m giving you my blessing,” she
said, lighting the cigarette and blowing a stream of smoke into the air. “You may resume your romance with Jordan at a
mutually agreed upon time. Whether that
will ever happen is up to the two of you.
You’re both so damned stubborn it’s no wonder your last two marriages
were so brief.”
Alex shook her head in
amusement. “What the hell makes you
think I need or want your blessing?’ she asked.
“Jordan and is an adult and he can do what he pleases with or without
your consent. What’s changed?”
She sighed. “Nothing.
And everything. This maniac who’s
after me has already struck and succeeded twice. I can only assume I’m the next to go. I don’t want there to be any unresolved issues when I’m gone.”
“You mean because you’ve never liked
me?” Alex asked “Because you pushed
Jordan and Suzanne into a disaster of a marriage just to keep him away from
me? What do you have against me,
anyway? And don’t tell me it’s because I
upstaged you in every film we did together, because I don’t buy it.”
Lola rose from the theatre seat and
stood before her. “Do you want to know
why, Mary Ann?” she began. “I never
liked you because you breezed into town and two minutes later had directors barking at your feet
to give you roles. You had a career that
rivaled mine and I was jealous. And yes,
you upstaged me in The Briar Patch,
but only because you were a far better actress.”
Alex frowned. “So you kept me away from Jordan because of
some petty jealousy?” she asked in disbelief.
“You saw what Nathan did to me that night at the mansion and you kept quiet
because you were jealous? I don’t
“It’s true,” she said with a shrug,
cigarette still clamped between her teeth.
“I’m not proud of it, but it’s who I am.
Face it. I never had a decent
role until I met Jonas. And even when I
did, I couldn’t keep up. Look what
happened when I got overworked. I had my
own sister take over my life. I just
wasn’t cut out for the fast track and you walked in and did it like it was the
easiest thing in the world.”
“It wasn’t easy,” Alex said. “I struggled every bit as much as you
“At times, yes,” she said. “But you’ve persevered.”
Alex grew quiet for a few
moments. “I don’t regret marrying
James. I had two wonderful children by
him. But I can’t say I don’t wonder if
things would have been different if Jordan and I had pursued our relationship
“Now’s the time to find out,” Lola
said. She trudged through a pile of
glitter on the floor as she paced before her. How many times had she told the staff to clean
up from the previous night’s show? The
stuff was everywhere. “Since Benji’s
death, Jordan has been searching for anything to hold on to. Whether it’s finding my attacker or
desperately trying to protect his daughter.
He needs you, Alex. Whether or
not you believe it, he does.”
Alex grew silent, awed that the
woman had not only called her by her name, but that she had been so profoundly
honest with her. When Lola disappeared
into the back, she turned and padded up through the theatre. A noise from behind caused her to jump with
a start and quickly spin around. To her
surprise, Denise Syswicki was hunched over in of the theatre seats.
“Denise?” she called out. “What are you doing here?”
Without answering, the woman turned
and raced through the rows of seats, disappearing out a side door. Alex stood behind, perplexed by the woman’s
Stormy and Jane nestled into the
chairs that sat before Mr. Brewer’s desk.
He was a stout man with wire-rimmed glasses and a few remaining hairs on
the top of his nearly bald and very shiny head.
“First of all,” he began. “Welcome to Reconnections. I’m sure that we’ll be able to help you find
your way home.”
“Actually,” Stormy began, his hand
nestled around Jane’s. “We’re looking
for our son. We gave him up for adoption two years ago and we’re hoping to find
Jane smiled and squeezed his hand
for maximum effect. “We decided not to
have the adoption agency tell us where he was placed because we thought he’d be
better off, but now…”
“Now you’re having second thoughts,”
the man finished for her. “I completely
understand Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”
“We don’t want to take him away from
his new family,” Stormy went on. “But we
just want to know that he’s being taken care of. The adoption agency said since we signed that
waiver, they can’t tell us the names of the adoptive parents. We were hoping you could help us.”
“Let’s start with some basic
information,” Mr. Brewer began. “When
did you say you gave birth, Mrs. Smith?”
“I see,” he said and typed a few
things into the computer. “And you say
it was a boy?”
“That’s right,” Stormy said.
“Very good.” The desk on his phone rang and he answered it
hastily. “Miss Perky, I’m in a
consultation. Yes, please take a
message.” He hung up and looked back up
at Stormy and Jane. “Pardon the
distraction. We have a relatively small
staff and things get fairly hectic at times.”
“No problem,” Stormy said and gave
Jane a smile and a squeeze of her hand.
“Now where were we?” the man
continued. “Oh, yes. What hospital did you give birth at?”
“UCLA,” Jane responded.
Suddenly, a deafening alarm sounded
throughout the office. Mr. Brewer jumped
to his feet and looked around for a minute before grabbing the phone and
calling the receptionist. “Miss Perky,
what is going on? Oh, I see. Very well.
“Problem?” Stormy asked.
“Fire alarm,” he replied. “I’m sure it’s just a false alarm, but we
should probably go outside nonetheless.
You can never tell with the wildfires in the area.”
“Of course,” Jane said and rose to
her feet, her purse clutched before her.
“Right this way,” Mr. Brewer said
and ushered them to the door. They
followed him closely, but Stormy waited for the right moment before ducking
back into the office and closing the door.
Quickly, he raced around the man’s
desk and leaned over the computer. A
brief glance at the system told him it was fairly easy to navigate. Luckily the business hadn’t upgraded to a
very advanced software system. He knew he
only had a minute or two to work with, so he quickly did a search for Keaton
Hartley in the database. The downfall to
the older system was that it ran at a snail’s pace.
Out in the hall, staff members
quickly evacuated. Jane stalled for as
long as she could. When Mr. Brewer
turned and surveyed the reception area, he frowned and addressed her point
“Where is Mr. Smith?” he asked.
Jane looked around nervously. “He must have gotten out already.”
The man shook his head. “No, he was behind us. I’m positive of it.”
Jane panicked, unsure of how she was
going to prevent him from going back into the office and finding Stormy
searching his computer files. The last
thing she needed was to wind up getting arrested again. She was already on probation. One more incident and she could land herself
“Uh, are you sure?” she asked and
followed him in a desperate attempt to stall.
“Because I’m sure I saw him go out ahead of us.”
The man turned the knob and pushed
the door open.
Brewer, wait!" Jane called after him. To her relief, Stormy
was not at the computer, but standing on the other side of the door breathing
heavily, a panicked look on his face.
“Thank God,” Stormy said. “I couldn’t get the door open. I thought for sure I was toast.”
Mr. Brewer frowned and checked the
knob. “The door is fine,” he said and
looked around to ensure the office was secure.
“Are you quite alright, Mr. Smith?”
Stormy nodded and took a few deep
breaths. “I’ll be fine. I just need some air. Thank you for your time, Mr. Brewer.”
He walked after them. “What about your son?” he asked. “Are you still interested in finding
Stormy shook his head before
leaving. “Now that I think of it, he’s
probably better off with his adoptive parents.
Can you just forget the whole thing?”
Before the man could reply, they
were rushing out to the parking lot and into their car where Eddie and Miranda
“Did you find anything?” Eddie asked,
wiping his hand that had been stained with blue ink
from pulling the fire alarm.
Stormy nodded and instructed them to
drive away. “Keaton was adopted all
right,” he said. “He came here eight
months ago looking for his biological parents.”
“Did you see who they were?” Miranda
He shook his head. “No, he stopped using their service before
they could locate a match,” he explained.
“But I did find something interesting."
“What?” Jane asked.
“Someone else registered with
Reconnections a while back,” he told them.
“Someone who was looking for the son she gave up the same year that
Keaton was born.”
“Who?” they all asked in unison.
“James, what are you doing here?”
Marilee Wells-Walker asked when the door to her office at Wells Inc. opened and
he entered with Eddie following close behind.
“Eddie? Is everything
“Marilee, we need to ask you about
something,” James said, all business.
“We know you went to Reconnections
for help in finding your
and Will Thomerson's son."
She slowly sat back down at her
desk. “Yes, I did. How did you know?”
“I was investigating the murders and
we came across your name in their database,” Eddie confirmed. “It said that Keaton Hartley had been listed
as a possible match. He was born the
same year as your son.”
Marilee sighed and looked at her
desk with sadness in her eyes. “After I
learned that Kyle wasn’t my son, I was desperate so I went to Reconnections. They did locate a young man who could have
possible been the son I gave up. He was
the same age, he was adopted to a family in New York, and it just seemed like a
“Keaton has since withdrawn from his
search,” James revealed. “Did you ever
She nodded. “I sent him several notes through the
agency,” she explained. “They give the
other party anonymity until they’re ready.
He didn’t respond to the first few, and then finally he told them to
arrange a meeting.”
“What happened?” James asked.
Shaking her head in despair, Marilee
rose from her desk and walked across the room.
“It was horrible,” she said somberly.
“Just like when Kyle told me he wasn’t my son, but worse. He said he’d already found out where he came
from and that I was just bothering him.
He said if he didn’t stop contacting him he’d call the police.”
“Did he say who his biological
parents were?” Eddie asked.
Marilee shook her head. “No, but he seemed fairly certain of it. He said that he knew his father very well
already and that it was only a matter of time before they came face to
James frowned and exchanged glances
with Eddie. “What do you think he meant
“I don’t know,” Marilee
replied. “After he left, I had the
agency send him another message telling him that I was sorry for whatever pain
I had stirred up for him, and that if he ever wanted someone to talk to that I
was happy to be that person.”
James could tell how difficult it
had been for her. He could see the
sadness in her eyes. “I know this has
been hard, Marilee. I’m very
She walked to the credenza and
opened a drawer. “He sent this to me,”
she said and produced a fax with hateful words scribbled across the page.
James took it from her and shuddered
at the message. Don’t contact me again if you know what’s good for you, bitch. “It's
definitely Keaton's handwriting. He seems like a very angry young man.”
Marilee nodded and sat back down at
her desk. “Anyway, that was months ago. I don’t know if he’s found the father he
talked about or not. I’m sorry I can’t
be more help. But do you really think
Keaton could be involved in these murders?”
Eddie looked at the fax and noticed
something that made him pause. “Can I
take this?” he asked.
She nodded. “Of course.”
James gave Marilee a quick embrace
and a few words of encouragement before leaving. Once they were in the elevator, James shook
his head in uncertainty.
“Who do you think Keaton was talking
about when he said he’d found his father?”
Eddie looked at him with a knowing
shrug. “Only one person I can think
of. You saw how he acted the other day
when Nathan was almost pulverized by that falling camera crane. How he went on about how much he’s worshiped
“You think Nathan could be Keaton’s father?”
“He and my dad were total womanizers
back in their day,” Eddie told him. “Is
it really such a stretch that Renee was the only woman out of dozens that he
got pregnant? I’d be surprised if Nathan
didn’t have another kid out there
James tried to process the
information. “But that doesn’t mean Keaton’s
“Unless he’s bent out of shape about
being given away for adoption,” Eddie suggested. “Imagine worshiping someone your entire life
only to find out that he’s your father.
Something in his mind could have snapped. How well do any of us really know Keaton
Against his better judgment, Kyle
went in to see Mackenzie. He figured he
needed to do that much if he was to avoid suspicion. While he stood at her bedside, she remained
unconscious, her head bandaged from the fall and several scrapes covering her
“I’m sorry,” he said out loud. “You have to believe me that I never meant
for you to get hurt. I know we haven’t
been close. I know you were bitter that
I was adopted and you weren’t. I’ve
always wanted nothing but the best for you, Mac. You’re my sister. I love you.”
Slowly, she began to stir. Her eyes fluttered open and she looked at him
with contention. “Kyle-“ she said, her
voice raspy and her lips cracked and dry.
Nervously, he stepped forward. “You fell,” he reminded her. “We were talking on the lookout off
Mulholland you slipped on the rocks.
Don’t you remember?”
Straining, she finally nodded with
difficulty. “Mason…” she began. “You and Mason were in on it together.”
“No, we weren’t,” he insisted. “That’s what I was trying to tell you when
you fell. You’ve got it all wrong,
Mac. If Mason is up to something, I have
nothing to do with it.”
With each second that passed, she
came out of her groggy state. “You
bribed that senator to allow the marina expansion,” she said. “That’s why Mason has been hanging
around. What does he have to do with it,
“I don’t know,” he insisted. He glanced through the windows and saw Ethan
coming down the hall toward the room.
Desperately, he tried to reason with her. “Look, I’ll find out what Mason’s up to. Just know that I haven’t done anything wrong.”
“Then why am I in the hospital?” she
“You fell,” he said. “It was an accident.”
They were interrupted when Ethan
walked in, his face lighting up when he saw that Mackenzie was awake.
“Thank God,” he said and rushed
toward her. “I thought I was going to
lose you. How are you feeling? Do want me to get the nurse?”
feel like I got hit by a truck,” she said wryly. “I’ll be fine, though. Ethan, there’s something I have to tell
you. You were right about Mason. He-“
Desperate, Kyle flew into
action. “Uh, Ethan,” he began. “Brooke called and wanted to know if you
could still make Michael’s appointment.
She really wants you to be there.”
Ethan paused and nodded in
frustration. “Yeah, I need to be there. I’ll call her and see if she can
reschedule.” He looked back at
Mackenzie. “I need to step out for a
minute. I’ll have the nurse come in and
check on you. The police are going to
want to know what happened last night.”
After he left, Kyle looked at
Mackenzie. “You can see how close they
are now, can’t you?” he asked her. “If
you turn Brooke against me, they’re going to end up together again. Is that what you want, sister?”
“Your horns are showing,” she said,
wincing from the pain in her head.
“Fine, I won’t tell him anything yet.
But if you’re lying to me, Kyle, I swear to God I will blow you so far
out of the water that you won’t know what hit you.”
“Thank you,” he said. “I promise you won’t regret it. I’ll find out what Mason’s up to. Who are you going to tell them you were with
“I’ll think of something,” she said
and shook her head.
Glitter was everywhere, Alex thought
bitterly as she kicked her shoes off in the doorway of her penthouse in Beverly
Hills. On her shoes, her nylons, and
now all over her living room carpet.
Damn Lola and her acting class.
Following Deacon’s funeral, she felt
particularly morose, so she wanted nothing more than to climb into bed and draw
the blinds. A knock at the door,
however, told her her afternoon plans weren’t going to go as she’d hoped.
“What on earth are you doing here?”
she asked when she opened the door and saw Philip Whitacre standing in the
hall, a wiseacre grin on his handsome face.
“Hello Alex,” Philip said and strode
inside. “Nice place. What happened to
your house in Malibu?”
“I sold it,” she said and slammed
the door angrily. “And I asked you a
question. What are you doing here?”
“I thought you’d be happy to see
me. It wasn’t that long ago that you
tracked me down in Phoenix and had me fly up here to break up Brooke Taylor and
your ex-husband, James Blackthorne.”
“That was five years ago,” she
said. “Ancient history.”
He grinned and stepped closer to
her. “Come on, aren’t you even the least
big nostalgic for those days? We were
quite the pair between the sheets. You
couldn’t keep your hands off me back then.
“A lot,” she said, in no mood for
his sleazy charms. “Sleeping with you,
Philip, was a huge mistake. Just like
you coming here was a mistake. Now I’d
like you to leave.”
“How about I give you a refresher of
the gun show?” he asked and flexed his arm muscles.
“How offensive,” she said and
traipsed across the room.
Before she knew it, he was grabbing
her arm and pulling her toward him. “You
know you still can’t resist me,” he said.
“I figure you owe me, anyway. I
helped you break your ex-husband up with my ex-wife, and all I got was a prison
sentence. When do I get my break?"
“How about if I break your arm?” she
said and pushed him away.
A knock at the door alerted her to a
visitor. Quickly, she raced over to open
it, relieved to see that it was Jordan.
“I just wanted to come by and-“ he
began, then stopped when he realized she wasn’t alone. “What the hell is he doing here?”
“Hey, listen,” Philip said, backing
away. “I know you’re probably still
pissed about your daughter, but I can explain-“
“Explain what, you son of a bitch?”
Jordan said and grabbed him by the arm, flinging him across the room.
“I was just trying to make him leave,”
“I think that’s a good idea,” Jordan
said and pulled him to the door. “Get
out and go back to wherever the hell you came from. If I see you around here again, I’ll find
someone to do to you what you did to my daughter.”
Before he could protest, Philip was
thrown out into the hallway. Alex rushed
over to Jordan and threw her arms around him.
“Thank you,” she said with a sigh of
relief. “I was afraid he would never
“Are you okay?” Jordan said and
looked into her eyes. “You seem
upset. Is it just about Philip?”
She shook her head. “No, I just came from Deacon’s funeral. It was hard to get through it. I nearly couldn’t bring myself to go.”
Jordan lifted her face to his and kissed her softly. Alex pulled away for a moment and then kissed
him in return. As she knew it would, it
felt very right being in his arms again.
“Heather’s back?” Stormy asked in
surprise as he and Brett stood on the sound stages at Sunset Studios. “When?
How is she?”
“She’s fine,” Brett replied. “She’s great, actually. I took Violet over to see her this
“I need to call Miranda and we
should go see her.”
“I think she needs to get settled in
before she starts getting a lot of visitors,” Brett cautioned him. “I think being back is kind of a shock to her
Stormy leveled a look of suspicion
on him. “Are you worried about Heather’s
well-being or are you just trying to keep everyone from filling her in on what
you’ve been up to since she’s been gone?
Face it, Brett, you weren’t exactly a loyal husband while she was
“She knows about Suzanne and I,” he
“Well that’s not all you have
working against you,” Stormy continued.
“There’s still the matter of you and your sabotage efforts against
Deacon Edgewater. How would Heather feel
is she knew you’d driven a man to suicide?”
“I told you I had nothing to do with
his suicide,” Brett said. It was getting
easier to deny it to himself, but he still couldn’t help but drown in the guilt
at times. He’d gone to the man’s
funeral but only succeeded in making it as far as the cemetery gate. “I’m not the monster you make me out to be,
“Yes, I forgot, you’ve changed,” Stormy said with a sarcastic
roll of his eyes just as Keaton called cut from across the stage.
“That’s a wrap everybody. Great work.”
Applause from the cast and crew
erupted and Nathan gave a dramatic bow.
Stormy decided to let his issues with Brett go for the time being in
light of the end to the film’s principal photography.
“Congratulations,” Stormy said and
patted his great uncle on the back. “The
Benefactor is sure to be a blockbuster.”
“That it is, Ryan,” Nathan
agreed. “That it is.”
Keaton approached and extended his
hand to Nathan. “I can’t tell you how honored I was to direct you these past
few months, Mr. Blackthorne. It’s really
been a privilege.”
Nathan eyed him suspiciously. “You did a fine job, Keaton. I’m sure you have a bright career ahead of
Even as he said it, he didn’t
believe it. Keaton Hartley was hiding
something, and he was more sure than ever that he was the killer.
“Listen,” Keaton continued. “I was wondering if we could talk later this
evening. There’s something I’d really
like to tell you and I figure what better time than now that the film is
Nathan regarded him with a
frown. His instincts told him to turn
his offer down, but the more he thought about it, the more it seemed like a
good idea. Maybe he could finally get to
the bottom of whatever was going on with the young man.
“Okay,” Nathan said. “Eight o’clock at my place on Alvarado
Keaton’s eyes glazed
over. “Great. I’ll be there.”
When James and Eddie arrived at
police headquarters to tell Detective Rodriguez what they’d learned, Miranda
was there waiting for them.
“How did it go with Marilee?” she
asked when they assembled in the man’s office.
“Keaton isn’t her son,” James
announced. “But we think we know who the
boy’s father might be.”
“Who?” Rodriguez asked.
“My Uncle Nathan,” James
reported. “It fits perfectly. He’s been fanatic about him since he started
working on the film. You should have seen
how eager he was when we were scouting directors. He blew the competition out of the
“What new, inexperienced director
wouldn’t be?” Rodriguez asked. “What
proof do you have? How do
you know he's Nathan Blackthorne's son?”
“Nathan did numerous films the year
before Keaton was born,” James explained. “He was literally on every billboard in
town. He had women flocking
around him every step
he took. And we all know what a ladies’
man he was.”
“We think Keaton is holding some
kind of grudge,” Eddie explained.
“That’s just not enough to go on,”
the detective told them.
“What about his glasses that were
found at Jack’s murder scene?” James inquired.
“Or the photographs he claims he purchased for a scrap book? If nothing else, that at least warrants
bringing him in for questioning.”
“If that doesn’t, then this should,”
Eddie claimed, producing the note Keaton had written to Marilee.
“Don’t contact me again if you know
what’s good for you, bitch,” Miranda read over his shoulder. “Wow, passive-aggressive much?”
Rodriguez shook his head. “That still doesn’t prove anything. He felt like she was harassing him.”
“Not the words,” Eddie said, taking the page and walking across the room to
where the detective had posted all of the photographs that the killer had
left. “Look at the picture of Bianca Burnett
the killer faxed after Nathan’s last accident.”
“I don’t get it,” James said.
Eddie pointed to the top right
corner of the photograph. “Look at the
flaw in the picture. I thought it was
photo-burned but now I realize it wasn’t the photo, it was the fax machine.”
“Huh?” Rodriguez asked.
Eddie pointed to the identical flaw
on the faxed message to Marilee.
“See? It’s the same. Same flaw, same place. The same fax machine was used to fax the
picture of Bianca and the note to Marilee.”
his temples the detective looked at the two faxes. "Today
it's Keaton Hartley. Yesterday it was Denise Syswicki.
I think you're grasping, James."
then get this," Eddie said. "I checked
the history on Keaton's phone. There were several
calls to and from Denise Syswicki. Most of them
dated back before the murders started. They're
both involved somehow."
James looked at the detective. “Now do you have enough to go on?”
Rodriguez scratched his head while
inspecting the two photographs. The
phone on his desk suddenly rang and he answered it abruptly.
“Rodriguez,” he answered, then
listened to his officer. “When?”
From the sound of his voice, James
could tell something else had happened.
As soon as the detective hung up, he pried him for information. “What is it?”
“Looks like there was another victim
we hadn’t considered,” he said.
“What do you mean?” Eddie
“Deacon Edgewater’s housekeeper just
came in with new information,” he began.
“She says that the night of his suicide, she saw a man fleeing from the
house. I’ll give you one guess who it
“Keaton Hartley?” Eddie asked.
“Keaton Hartley,” he confirmed.
Brooke decided to stop by the hospital to see if there was anything she
could do for Ethan. Despite the
contention in their relationship as of late, she still felt for him and knew he
must be worried about Mackenzie.
On her way to the emergency room,
she ran into Philip. “Are you following
me?” she demanded.
“Don’t flatter yourself,” Philip
replied, his arm in a sling and a piece of paper clutched in his hand. “I had to see a doctor because that lunatic
Jordan Rydell practically pulled my arm out of joint today.”
“I’m sure you deserved it,” Brooke
quipped. “Now if you’ll excuse me.”
He followed her down the hall to the
waiting room. “What are you doing
“I’m visiting a friend,” she
said. “Is that okay with you? Or are you going to analyze that part of my
“Did what I said earlier get to
you?” he asked in amusement. “Sorry,
Brooke. I just call it like I see
it. With you there’s always some drama
that puts you at odds with the man in your life. Surely even you can see that trend by
“Bug off,” she said, spotting Ethan
in the waiting room and rushing inside while letting the door close in Philip’s
face. Quickly, she went to Ethan and
put a hand out to him. “Hi.”
I’m sorry I had to cancel
today. I really wanted to be at that
appointment. I hope you
“Of course I do,” Brooke said. “Is she any better?”
He nodded. “She’s conscious. They’re keeping her overnight because
she has a pretty bad concussion.”
“What happened to her anyway?”
“I have no idea,” Ethan said. “She claims she pulled over for something and
that’s when she fell on the rocks. She
said she was alone when it happened.”
Brooke frowned. “Was that before or after Kyle saw her?”
“Kyle didn’t see Mackenzie last
night,” Ethan corrected her. “He said
she called and wanted to meet him at his house but she never showed up.”
“He told you that?”
Ethan nodded. “Me, James and the police.”
“Kyle told me that he saw Mackenzie last night,” Brooke said, distinctly
recalling her conversation with him that morning...
she mention if they were going anywhere when you saw her last night?” Brooke asked him.
she didn’t mention anything,” Kyle responded.
did she want to talk to you about anyway?” Brooke asked.
some family business,” he answered...
“So why did he tell the police that
he didn’t see her?” Ethan wanted to know.
They were interrupted when a nurse
appeared and gathered Ethan’s attention.
“Mr. Blackthorne, visiting hours are almost over. I thought you might want to say goodnight to
Ms. Stone first.”
Ethan nodded and followed her out of
the waiting room. Once he was gone,
Philip walked in and approached Brooke with a look as if to say I told you so.
“So there it is,” he began.
“There what is?”
“Your out,” he said. “The thing that will push this Kyle guy
away. Just like you pushed me away,
James away, and Ethan away. How does it feel,
Brooke? How does it feel to know that no
man will ever live up to your expectations?”
She shook her head in
frustration. She had no interest in
talking to him. All she cared about now
was finding out why Kyle had lied to the police. “When are you going home?” she demanded.
“Don’t worry, I’m leaving tonight,”
he said. “Just don’t forget what I
said. Sometimes, Brooke, you have to let
sleeping dogs lie.”
She rolled her eyes. “Do you know who made up that
expression? A dog. Goodbye, Philip.”
With that, she turned and walked out
of the room.
That evening after the sun had gone
down and the last of the acting students had left the Playhouse, Lola collected
her things and waited for Chad to do a security sweep of the parking lot. Standing on stage with her purse and notebooks
tucked in her arms, she looked out at the dark theatre.
For a split second, she thought
she’d seen movement in the aisles.
Rumblings of fear overtook her and she glanced to the exit to see if
Chad had returned from the parking lot. So
When the spotlight in the crow’s
nest across the theatre suddenly turned on and blinded her on stage, she
dropped her belonging.
“Hello?” she called out, shielding
her eyes from the blinding light.
“Is anyone there? Chad? Is that you?”
Silence followed. She quickly bent down to retrieve her
items. When she rose again, the
spotlight turned off. Swallowing hard,
she backed up a few steps and inched her way to the exit.
Rattling the door, she found it
locked. Panic overtook her senses. She quickly raced across the stage to the door
to the wardrobe room and barreled through.
A shriek tore loose from her throat when she saw Chad, her burly body
guard, tied up on the floor with a gag over his mouth and a trickle of blood
coming from the back of his head.
“Chad,” she gasped, going toward him
but realizing the killer could be anywhere.
He seemed to be breathing, so she didn’t waste time checking to see for
sure. She had to get out of there. She was trapped and alone.
Swiftly, she raced back out to the
stage just as the curtain dropped on top of her. Startled by the heavy fabric enveloping her,
she clawed her way out and ran center stage, far away from the darkness of the
theatre where anything or anyone could be hiding.
Sparks and crackling from above
alerted her to more danger. Glancing up,
she saw a light tree falling toward her.
Quickly, she dashed out of the way,
the heavy object crashing down inches from her head.
She fled down the steps from the
stage, racing up the aisle to the back of the theatre. She tried the doors but they were
locked. Trying as hard as she could, she
beat on the doors, screaming and crying out for help.
When she realized the effort was
futile, she turned and hid behind a row of seats. Crouched down to the floor, she watched and
listened. A deadly silence had fallen
over the theatre. Her fingernails
grasped the red velvet seats. Glitter
from the floor covered her shoes.
When she didn’t hear anything for
several minutes, she slowly rose to her feet.
Her cell phone was in her purse on the stage where she’d dropped
it. If she could get to it in time, she
could call for help.
Quickly, she raced back down the
aisle, stopping when a familiar face appeared out of nowhere.
“Thank God,” she said, breathing
heavily and placing a hand on the person’s shoulder for support. “Someone’s after me. It’s the killer. Hurry. We have to get out of here.”
But when she saw the blade from the
knife gleaming in the light, her eyes widened in horror. Realization finally dawned. The killer was directly in front of her.
“Don’t do this,” she said, backing
up. “Don’t. Please.”
But it was too late. The knife sunk
into her stomach in one clean movement.
Blood ebbed from her mouth and covered her hands that instinctively went
to the point of entry. Slowly, she sunk
to the floor, the last image her mind processed being the killer dropping a
picture of her sister Lana next to her on the floor.
Eddie and Miranda sat in Detective Rodriguez’s office while they waited
for James to finish with the police.
Seated side by side in hard wooden chairs, they looked awkwardly at one
another and then looked away. The
silence was finally broken when Eddie spoke up.
“We managed to get a lot done
today,” he said.
“Yeah,” Miranda quickly agreed with
a nod of her head.
More silence, then Eddie spoke
again. “Think we found the killer.
Or killers. I hope.”
“I hope so too,” she said, glancing
awkwardly around the room.
After a few more moments of
uncomfortable quiet, they both spoke in unison.
“So I’ve been thinking.-“
“Sorry,” Eddie said with a
laugh. “Go ahead.”
“No, you first.”
He shrugged. “I was just thinking that I’ve been kind of a
jerk lately,” he said. “I know we
settled this David thing a long time ago.
I guess finding out for sure that Tiger wasn’t mine really drove it
home. It wasn’t fair of me to hold it
“It wasn’t fair of me to keep so
many things from you,” Miranda said.
“David, Hugh Rogers, Gemma. All
of it. I’m sorry, Eddie. I’m just sorry.”
“I know you are,” he said with a
When the silence that followed grew
too unbearable, Miranda sighed and turned to face him. “So what do you we do now?” she asked.
He hesitated for a minute and then
suggested the only thing he could think of.
“How about we get married?”
When Jordan got home, he decided it
was time to tell Heather about her brother.
So far they had managed to keep the truth about what happened to Benji
from her, afraid that she wouldn’t be able to handle it. But after seeing how far she’d come in her
treatment, he realized telling her before she heard it from someone else was
the only thing to do. She’d already
asked about him numerous times, to which she answered in the vaguest terms
“He’s gone?” Heather asked, tears
flooding her eyes as they sat on the edge of her bed. “Daddy, no.”
“I know, sweetheart,” he said,
hugging her close. “It was my
fault. I let things get too bad with
your brother. Just like I did with you.”
She shook her head, sobbing. “No.
It wasn’t your fault.”
“I turned my back on him, Princess,”
Jordan said. “How could I have done
“He was sick,” she cried. “Just like I was. You can’t blame yourself for what happened to
him any more than you can for what happened to me.”
He put his arm around her and held
her close. “I just feel like I’ve let
you down,” he said. “I’ve let everyone
down. Everything that mattered, I’ve
“You haven’t lost me,” she
said. “You haven’t.”
going to make it right," Jordan said distantly.
"I promise you I'm going to make it right."
wiped her eyes. She couldn't believe how much
had changed since she'd been away.
Jordan up from the bed
while still holding on to her hand.
“Come on,” he said. “Let’s go get
“Look,” Heather said,
pointing to his shoes which were covered in glitter. “Where did that come from?”
He looked down at his feet and brushed some of the sparkly substance
off onto the floor. “I’m not sure,” he said. “I’ll get Gordon to vacuum it up.”
She followed him to the doorway,
holding his hand and crying silently after hearing the news about Benji.
Nathan opened the door of his
bungalow on Alvarado Court and gestured for Keaton to enter. Big band music played on the stereo and there
was a fully stocked bar across the room.
“This is very nice,” Keaton said
upon entering. “I always read about your
place on Alvarado Court and wondered what it looked like inside.”
Nathan looked around while taking a
deep breath. “This place has seen some
wild, crazy times over the years.”
“I can imagine,” Keaton said. “I wish I could have been a fly on the
Nathan handed him a drink and sipped
his own. “I’m sure a Hollywood historian
such as yourself knows more about what happened here than I do. I wasn’t exactly lucid for most of the
Keaton laughed and adjusted the
zipper on his navy cashmere half-zip.
“People don’t have parties like that anymore. It’s a shame.
Hollywood was a different place back then.”
“Yes, it was,” Nathan said and
gestured for him to sit down on the sofa.
“So what is it you wanted to tell me so badly, Keaton? I’m very curious about what has you so
enamored by me.”
“Enamored is a little bit of an
exaggeration,” the director told him. “I
just have been a very big fan for a very long time.”
“Sometimes we take our obsessions a
bit too far,” Nathan said, watching him carefully. “I should know. I wasted half of my life doing just that. “
Keaton teetered back and forth on
his feet as he stared into his drink.
“Isn’t that what this is all about,
Keaton?” Nathan continued. “Isn’t this
all just a game of obsession?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Elana, Jack, now me and Victor and
Lola. Haven’t you taken it all too
Keaton crossed the room and set his
drink down. “It’s hot in here,” he said
and took off his jacket. From the
interior pocket, something fell to the floor.
Nathan reacted quickly, turning and
pulling a pistol from a drawer at the bar.
He turned and aimed it at the director.
“Don’t,” he told him. “Step away
from whatever that is.”
“It isn’t what you think,” Keaton
said. “It’s my autograph book. All this time spending day after day on the
set with you, I forgot to get it for my scrapbook.”
“Your scrapbook?” Nathan asked
suspiciously. “You expect me to believe
that? After everything, you’re still
claiming you’re just a fan?”
“Yes,” Keaton said. “I mean, there’s more to it than that. There’s something you don’t know about
me. There’s something nobody
“That you’re a homicidal maniac?”
Keaton dashed across the room to
retrieve the object that had fallen.
Nathan quickly ran toward him, waiving the gun threateningly at
him. At that moment, the door burst open
and James and Detective Rodriguez entered.
“Nathan, don’t!” James shouted. “Let the police handle it.”
“Why? So he can kill again? So he can torture us with our past mistakes?”
“Mr. Blackthorne,” Rodriguez
said. “Put the gun down. Let the police handle it from here. We have evidence. We can put him away.”
“He’ll get out,” Nathan said. “This is a very resourceful young man we’re
“We just found a bloody knife
outside in his car,” Rodriguez said, holding up an evidence bag with a dagger
in it. “He's
been communicating with Denise Syswicki and we think
she's involved. Mr. Blackthorne, we’ve got
“A comfy jail cell?” Nathan asked,
aiming the gun at him. “No, he deserves
to get exactly what he’s been giving.”
“Nathan, there’s something else,”
James said. “He’s your son, Nathan. Keaton is your son.”
Nathan looked at him in awe,
lowering the gun and blinking in disbelief.
Across the room, Keaton stared with wide eyes.
finished her nightly bath and walked out to the living
room in her bathrobe. She couldn't help but wonder
if things were about to change between her and Jordan.
He seemed different when he came to her apartment
earlier that day. Something in his eyes told her he
was not the same man who had broken things off with
her after Benji died. He'd grew wary, tired even.
Maybe he was ready to let all the pain go.
to the bar to pour a glass of club soda, she lifted
a glass and promptly dropped it when she saw someone
standing across the room staring at her.
she shrieked, her heart beating wildly. "What
are you doing here?"
are made. The sale of Moomnshadows draws
near. Kyle and Mason come to blows. Brooke
makes a decision about her romantic life. Michael's
school calls with troubling news.
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