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Episode 158

 

Release Date:  November 29, 2011

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

 

James questioned Alex about her connection to his father.  Alex recalled an invitation from Deacon Edgewater to come to his house so they could discuss a movie role.  Everyone questioned what Deacon Edgewater had to do with the other murders.  Denise broke into Alex's apartment but Jordan arrived in time to save her. Lola was taken to the hospital in critical condition.  After confronting Keaton, Nathan began to question whether he was the killer.  Heather grew concerned over her father when she realized he'd kept Benji's bedroom as-is in a makeshift shrine. Alex indicated that Jordan was distraught over losing his studio to Sunset Studios.  Miranda and Eddie announced their engagement and their nuptials that would take place in less than a week.  Miranda met Kelly's father, who wanted a chance to get to know his daughter. Kelly, meanwhile, refused to have anything to do with him.  Kyle got Chip to reveal Mason's plans, then went to Mason and threatened him. Mason bribed Senator Nordquist into granting the oil drilling permits at Moonshadows. Brooke blasted Kyle about his lies regarding the night Mackenzie fell.  Renee told Brooke that T.T. told Kyle that David was not dying, but asked why Kyle had not told her.  Renee returned from France and was devastated about the sale of Moonshadows.  The man claiming to be "Adam" approached Michael at school, then later took him before Brooke and Ethan arrived.  With Winter Austen newly released from the psych ward, Brooke became convinced she had taken him.  "Adam" was revealed to be Emmett Lawson, the father of the woman Ethan married while he had amensia, and accidentally killed.  

 


  

Episode 158

"All That Glitters"

 

Spread out across the floor in the game room at the Blackthorne mansion were bridal magazines, linen samples, photos of floral arrangements, and an empty pizza box.  Knelt down amidst the middle of it all was Miranda, pulling at her hair and screaming out in frustration.

“Whose idea was it to try planning a wedding in a week?” she screeched and frantically grabbed for a glass of wine that rested on the table.  “Am I crazy?  It’s impossible!  There’s too much to decide!  Why didn’t I get that wedding planner like daddy suggested?”

“You can always push it back,” Stormy told her from across the room.  He and Eddie were engaged in a game of pool, eating the last of the pizza while Miranda, Jane and Heather tried piecing details of the wedding together on the floor. 

“No we can’t!” Miranda exclaimed.   “We’ve got to do this it weekend or…” 

“Or what?” Jane asked and flashed Heather and Stormy a look of concern.  “Miranda, you don’t have to do it this weekend.  The two of you just got engaged.  Maybe you should step back and enjoy it for a while.” 

“That’s what I tried telling her,” Eddie mused from across the room.  “I got an elbow in the gut and a death stare so I decided to keep my mouth shut from now on.” 

Miranda climbed to her feet and dropped her hands in resignation.  “You’re the one who was so eager to give Tiger a family.  I’d be fine if we just went down to the courthouse and tied the knot in front of a judge.” 

“Don’t you dare,” Heather said and flashed her a photo in a magazine.  “Look at this dress.  If you don’t walk down the aisle in this, I will kill you.  Besides, you eloped for your first wedding.  You have to do it right this time.”

Eddie laughed.  “I’d like to think we already have a leg up.  I mean, look who she married the first time.” 

“Eddie!” Miranda snapped, not wanting to bring up Brett’s name around Heather.  It still seemed like a sore subject with her. 

“Sorry.  I didn’t mean-“

“It’s okay, you guys,” Heather insisted.  “You don’t have to walk on eggshells around me.  Anyway, I’m counting on being a bridesmaid.”   

“Are you sure you want to be a bridesmaid?” Miranda asked and then flashed Jane an incredulous look.  “You still haven’t seen the dresses someone picked out.”

Jane gasped and threw her discarded pizza crust at her.  “The dresses are fine,” she said.  “You’re just stressed.”  

“Yeah, relax, babe,” Eddie said and shoved a fistful of pretzels in his mouth.  “It’s totally cool.  I mean, whatever.  As long as we get to walk down the aisle together, I’m good.”  

Miranda rolled her eyes and turned to Jane and Heather and whispered.  “Typical.”  

Just then, Kelly walked into the room and stopped when she saw the five of them gathered.  Slowly, she tried backing out before they saw her. 

“Hi Kelly,” Miranda said.  She’d made a decision to try to be civil with her.  After the talk they had about her father showing up in town, she’d started to realize that Kelly just felt excluded.  Maybe it was time to change that.   “You can join us if you want.” 

Jane looked at her with a frown and flashed Stormy a look of disapproval.   The others grew silent and watched them like deer’s caught in headlights.

“Uh, no thanks!” Kelly scoffed and tossed her black hair over her shoulders.  “The last thing I want to do is hang out with you losers.”  She directed her attention to Heather.  “Oh, I see the psycho’s back.  Great.  Keep her away from my son.” 

Stormy moved away from the pool table.  “Kelly, why don’t you learn some manners?” he snapped.  “Apologize to Heather.  Now.” 

She rolled her eyes and folded her arms tightly over her chest.  “What-e-ver.”

Miranda got up from the floor and wiped her hands on her jeans.  “Look, we’re just trying to be nice.  If you don’t want to hang out with us, fine.  But don’t attack us just because you’re feeling excluded.” 

Kelly laughed.  “Oh my God, you are so hilarious.  Like I’d ever feel excluded from the bunch of you.  Like I said, I’ve got my son and that’s all I need.” 

“No, I have R.J.” Stormy moved closer to her still.  “You’re here because I let you stay here. Don’t even think about abusing that and taking off with him or I swear to God I’ll track you down and make you sorry.”

“Ooh, I’m scared,” Kelly said and flounced out of the room.

“Sorry,” Stormy said to Heather.  “I just wish she’d leave already.  I know it’s important for R.J. to have his mother in his life, but I don’t think I can take much more of her.”  

“She seems very unhappy,” Heather noted.  “Maybe it’s not her fault.” 

Miranda had to agree with Heather.  Maybe her father never being around had an effect on Kelly.  Maybe getting them together to talk was the best thing for everyone. 

Blackthorne Mansion

When the front door opened, Brooke went barreling inside the foyer with Ethan fast on her heels.  James and Renee emerged from the parlor room and could immediately see the worry on their faces. 

“Are you okay?” James asked.  “Brooke, what is it?” 

Frantically, she ran to him.  “Is Michael here?” she asked.  “Did you pick him up from school?”

“No, Michael isn’t here,” he said and looked at Leilani as she came down the stairs.  “Leilani?  Did you pick Michael up at school?”

“No,” she answered. 

“What is it?” Renee asked.  

“He’s gone,” she said, tears staining her cheeks.  “We went to pick him up at school and his teacher said he got into a strange car.  We’ve been looking everywhere for him!” 

“Calm down,” James said and placed a hand over hers.   “There’s got to be an explanation.”  He looked at Ethan in hopes of detecting a look or a gesture that would indicate Brooke was overreacting. 

“Yeah, that witch took him!” Brooke cried. 

James looked at her in confusion. 

Winter Austen’s out of the mental hospital,” Ethan explained.  “I ran into her at the hospital and then she was outside of Michael’s school.  She claims she was just watching him.”  

“She took him,” Brooke said with certainty.  “She’s always been obsessed with you, Ethan.  She couldn’t handle it when I got pregnant with Michael. She tried splitting us up.  Now she’s taken Michael and-” 

“Where is she now?” James asked. 

“She had a double shift at the hospital,” Ethan said. 

“I should call some of Michael’s friends and see if they’ve seen him,” Brooke said and headed to the stairs.  “The school directory is up in my room.” 

“I’ll help you,” Renee said and followed her. 

After they’d gone, James looked at Ethan with concern.  “Did you call the police?” he asked.  

“Yes,” he replied.  “They’ve got units out looking for him now.  But James, I don’t think Winter did this.  It just doesn’t make sense that she would kidnap Michael after all this time.  I saw her.  She seemed relatively normal.” 

“Then who would have taken him?”

He shook his head.  “I don’t know.”

“Someone involved with Moonshadows, maybe?  Maybe Jessica De La Cruz?  She could be lashing out in retaliation over her father’s death.” 

“That seems unlikely,” Ethan said, holding the walkie talkie that Michael had dropped.  From his pocket he withdrew the NASA patch that Brooke claimed Michael had found some time ago.  

James frowned.  “You know who it is, don’t you?”  

Ethan stared at the items in deep concentration.  “It’s just a hunch,” he said.  “Winter claimed Michael got into a beat up pick-up truck.  He dropped these on the ground before he disappeared.” 

“What is it?” James asked and studied the patch. “Ethan, what does this patch have to do with Michael’s disappearance?” 

Running his fingers through his hair, he turned and paced the foyer.  “After the earthquake, when that man found me and brought me to New York, I noticed things about him.  Things he didn’t talk about.” 

“What kind of things?” 

“Like all these NASA supplies.  He had crates full of them down in that bunker.  Food and supplies.  At first I thought he was crazy, but then Sophie told me he worked for the government his whole life and then went a little berserk when his wife died.  All Michael’s been talking about lately is Adam and how he’s from outer space.” 

“What are you saying?” 

Ethan looked at the patch in deep concentration.  “You should have seen him that day at the courthouse after Sophie died.  The pain in his eyes.  He looked at me like I’d taken the last thing that meant anything to him.  I guess in a way I did.”  

James walked quickly toward him.  “And you think this Emmett Lawson guy took Michael?”  

“What better way to get back at me for killing his daughter?  Take my son and-“ 

“Did you tell this to the police?”

Ethan shook his head.  “No, it didn't start to make sense until just now..  I’m going to call them.  God only knows how we’ll even go about finding him.” 

As he got on the phone, Brooke and Renee came back down the stairs.   “No one’s seen him,” Brooke said in a fit of tears.  “He’s gone and I don’t know if I’ll ever get him back.” 

“Don’t say that,” Renee said.  “Michael was kidnapped before and you got him back.  You will again.” 

James took Brooke in his arms and held her tightly.  He hated that history was repeating itself.  When Will Thomerson and Joel Armitage kidnapped Michael, it took months to get him back.  With as unstable as Emmett Lawson sounded, he wasn’t sure they ever would this time. 

When Ethan got off the phone, he walked up to Brooke.  “I need to go talk to Winter.” 

“What?” Brooke exclaimed.  “Why?  She isn’t going to tell you what she did with him!  She’s insane!  Just like she’s always been!” 

“I need to find out if she remembers anything else about the truck that Michael got into,” Ethan said.  “It could be the only lead we have.” 

With that, he turned and darted out of the house.  Brooke rested her head on James’s chest as she sobbed silently. 

Kyle Fenwick

"You’re Loomis Enterprises?” Kyle exclaimed as he bulldozed his way inside Mason’s suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Mason backed up, staring at him with wide eyes.  “What are you talking about?” 

“Your buddy Chip gave you up.  Funny how he likes to talk when he gets a few drinks in him and tries to score with his former boss.” 

Distraught over the news that Chip had told Kyle about their plans, Mason turned and tried to think of a way to wrangle his way out of the mess.   “Chip obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  That or he was just trying to get you into bed.  He probably would have said anything if he meant he could get his mouth on your-“

“You can’t weasel your way out of this,” Kyle told him.  “You orchestrated this whole thing.  All the setbacks with the marina expansion, the arsenic, the convenient way a buyer popped up the minute Brooke decided to sell.” 

“I didn’t have anything to do with the arsenic,” Mason lied.  He realized he was not going to be able to lie his way out of everything else, but he wouldn’t go down for murder.  There was no proof that he’d poisoned the water, and as long as he stuck to his guns, it was Chip’s word against his.  “No one can prove that I did.”  

“I will prove it.  The only thing I can’t figure out is how you came up with enough capital to buy Moonshadows.  Granted, you got it for a steal thanks to the publicity problems your little stunts caused, but that’s a lot of money even for you.  So all I can come up with is that you have a partner.” 

Chip was my partner.”

Kyle laughed and shook his head.  “Chip was the sucker you conned into helping you with your plan.  I’m sure you would have found a way to cut him out when and if you finally struck oil.  He’s gone, by the way.  I told him if he left town and never came back I wouldn’t put the police on to him.  The ironic thing is you let another man put his hands on you for money.  Then he went and sold you out anyway.”  

Defeated, Mason backed up and turned when he heard his cell phone ringing.  

“Don’t,” Kyle cautioned him.  “We’re not through here.  You’re going to jail, Mason.  You defrauded Brooke, you defrauded Renee, and what Chip Matthews did to you will look like a walk in the park compared to what some of those guys in prison will do to you.  Believe me.  I know.”

Panicked, Mason went to his phone and hastily answered.  He turned away from Kyle and ran his fingers through his hair as he listened to the caller.

“I’m here,” the voice said. 

“Here?” Mason asked.  “Where?” 

“The penthouse.  Get up here.  Now.”  

Swallowing hard, he hung up the phone and turned back to Kyle.

“Problem?” Kyle asked.

Mason shook his head.  “No.  Look, Kyle.  I can explain everything.  None of this was my idea.  You’re right. I have a partner and-“

“I’m sure the FBI will have plenty of questions for you when they get here.  You can tell them all about your partner then.” 

“You called the FBI?” 

“Why wouldn’t I?” Kyle asked.  The truth was, he hadn’t.  Yet.  First he had to get Mason to tell Brooke that he wasn’t involved.  It was his only way of making things right with her.

Hastily, Mason grabbed a candlestick from the credenza and rushed toward him, striking him on the back of the head.  Kyle toppled to the ground unconscious.  Without wasting a second, Mason grabbed his keys and fled the room.  

Nathan Blackthorne

With Deacon’s suicide now being declared a murder thanks to the housekeeper’s account of seeing Keaton fleeing the scene, Nathan decided to do some of his own investigation.  He, Vaughn and Victor took Vaughan’s limousine to the Edgewater estate and bribed the police officer who was guarding the premises into letting them enter.  

“I’ve always been a big fan of yours, Mr. Distefano,” he said to Victor after getting him to sign an autograph.  “I loved you in Kidding.” 

“Thank you, my good man,” Victor said graciously while walking inside after Nathan and Vaughan.  “We’ll just be a moment.  Sentimental reasons.” 

“Of course,” the officer said and allowed them to pass. 

Inside the gothic Hollywood Hills mansion, stillness descended over the expansive lower level.  Nathan led them into a dark and dusty parlor room and switched on a Tiffany lamp that rested on the ebony desk.  

“What are we looking for?” Victor asked, running a finger along the dark wood paneling where a crop of photographs were clustered together.  

“Anything that makes any of this make sense,” Nathan told him.  “The housekeeper said that Keaton was seen fleeing this house just before finding Deacon’s body.  They’re prepared to add him to the list of victims.  But they haven’t explained why a photograph wasn’t found.” 

“It is peculiar,” Vaughan agreed.  “With each murder, or attempted murder in Lola’s case, the killer left a photograph of someone from their past.  Lana, Bianca Burnett, Cheri Montessori, Natalie Davidson…” 

“But no one after Deacon’s alleged murder,” Nathan said in summation. 

“There’s something foul in the state of Denmark,” Victor said, summoning an Elizabethan accent.

“Indeed,” Nathan said and rifled through the contents of the desk.   “So what, pray, was Keaton doing here?” 

“Maybe he was working on a deal to direct a film for Double Strike?” Vaughan suggested.  “It makes sense.  Shooting for The Benefactor was nearly over.  Could it be something as simple as that?” 

“It could,” said Nathan, moving across the room and looking on at the crime scene tape sectioning off the sofa where Deacon’s body had been found.  He opened another drawer and held up a photograph of Alex.   “But I doubt it.”  

“Good lord,” Victor said and took the photo from him.  “Could this be the photograph in question?  The one we thought Keaton failed to leave?”

Nathan shook his head.  “No.  In a drawer?   He would have left it in plain sight.  No, this is not the same.  There’s some connection between Deacon and Alex.” 

“He did give her her start in the business,” Vaughan suggested.  “When she first came to Hollywood, that is.  Before I began representing her.”  

Nathan’s cell phone ringing interrupted his concentration.  It was Detective Rodriguez calling.   After a brief conversation, he hung up and looked at the other two men.   “Keaton has an alibi for the night of Lola’s attack,” he reported.  “The police checked it out.  He was at the Urgent Care clinic on Santa Monica getting treated for an STD.”  

“What on earth?” Victor asked. 

“It seems he was telling the truth about the Vulcan girl at Questicon.  The little minx gave him the clap.”  

“So if he didn’t try to kill Lola, why was there a knife in his car?” Vaughan questioned him.

“Maybe someone is trying to frame him,” Nathan suggested.  Denise?  We thought they were in on it together, but maybe Denise was acting alone all along and making it look like Keaton was the killer.”  

Victor looked at his cohorts with squinted eyes.  “Gentlemen, all that glitters is not gold.” 

Jordan Rydell

Leilani opened the door at the Blackthorne mansion and moved to the side as Jordan and Alex rushed inside. 

“Jordan, Alex, what are you doing here?” James asked when he came out of his study. 

“We heard about Michael and wanted to see if there was anything we could do,” Jordan said.  

James placed a hand on his shoulder and nodded with appreciation.  “Thank you, but there’s nothing any of us can do right now.  Ethan is with the police and Brooke is up in her room.  She’s frantic, of course.  How is Lola?  Any change?” 

Jordan shook his head.  “She still hasn’t woken up.  The doctors say her injuries caused her body to shut down.  There’s no telling when or if she’ll come out of it.” 

“I’m sorry, Jordan.”  

“James, what about R.J. and Tiger?” Alex asked.  “What are you doing to keep them safe?” 

“What do you mean?” 

She planted her hands on her hips.  “I mean what if whoever took Michael comes for them too?  It could be somebody with a grudge against the Blackthornes.  If that’s the case, any of the children could be in jeopardy.”  

“Our grandchildren are fine, Alex,” James reassured her.  “Ethan has a handle on this situation.  I don’t think this person means any harm to the rest of us.”  

“That’s not much comfort,” she said.  “Is Heather here?” 

“In the game room,” James said. 

As she departed, he looked at Jordan and decided it was the best time as any to bring up a sore subject. 

“Jordan, about Rydell Productions,” he began.  “I want you to know that merging it with Sunset Studios was purely business.  I hope there are no hard feelings.” 

Jordan regarded him with a frown.  “It’s never been just about business between us, James,” he said.  “It’s always been about family.  About your son and my daughter getting married, about my relationship with Alex, about everything but business.” 

“Look, I know you’ve had a difficult year,” James went on.  “I’d hoped that not having the studio to worry about would have helped you in some way.” 

Helped me?” Jordan asked, growing irate.  “You took the one thing I had left.  You took the company that I built from the ground up and took it from me like you took everything.” 

“Me?” James asked.  “What have I taken from you?” 

“You and your family,” Jordan went on.  “Jonas, Nathan.  You think that nothing you do affects anyone else.  You think you’re invincible.  It wasn’t enough that you stole ideas from me, stole directors and stars, upstaged my films at every turn, but you had to go ahead and take it all from me.” 

With that, he turned and walked back outside.  James stood behind, perplexed by the gravity of the contempt in his voice.  

Alex Reynolds

“Heather, can I speak to you for a minute?” Alex asked after saying a brief hello to Stormy and Miranda.  “It’s important.” 

“Of course,” Heather said and followed her out into the hall.   “Is everything okay?  Is it about Violet?” 

Alex shook her head.  “I'm concerned about your father."  

Heather appeared relieved.  "Really?  Because I am too."  She couldn’t get the recent events out of her mind.  The glitter on Jordan’s shoes from the theatre when he specifically said he hadn’t been there, his insistance that no one go into Benji’s room, and Alex’s claim that she thought he was trying to bring down Sunset Studios.   She considered confiding in Alex about her suspicions.  Could her father really be a cold blooded killer?  That would mean he had tried to kill his own mother.  But the rest of their family had self destructed.  Was it a stretch to believe he would too?

“Heather, I'm concerned because I can see your eagerness to push the issue,” Alex went on.  “Anytime I tried to talk to him about his feelings he pushed me away.  I just don’t want that to happen to you.  You’re very important to him.” 

“So I should just overlook the pain he’s obviously in?”  

“He’ll open up to us when he’s ready,” Alex insisted.  “Trust me.” 

Heather looked at her in concern.  “He’s hurting inside, Alex.  I can see that.”

“He’s dealing with things in his own way.  Let him do that.  Don’t force him to talk about things he’s trying to work out on his own.”  

Heather realized it wasn’t the time to tell her about her suspicions.  But she still felt like something had changed in her father.  He just wasn’t the man he was before she went away. 

Ethan Blackthorne

Ethan stepped off the elevator at the hospital and walked to the nurses’ station while scouting around for Winter.  When she emerged from a patient’s room, he quickly darted toward her. 

“Ethan?” she asked.  “What are you doing here?  Has there been any word about Michael?” 

He took her by the arm and led her off to the side where they could talk in private.  “Listen to me, Winter.  If I ever meant anything to you in the past, you’ll level with me.  Did you take Michael?” 

“No!” she exclaimed.  “Ethan, I swear to you I didn’t.  I know how crazy it must have seemed with me being at the school today, but it really was just kind of a….it sounds stupid….I was saying goodbye.  Not just to Michael but to that whole life and all the mistakes I made.  I don’t expect you to understand.” 

“Then tell me about the truck you saw Michael get in.” 

She shook her head helplessly.  “I don’t remember,” she said.  “It happened so fast.  All I saw was the truck and a man reaching over across the seats opening the passenger door.  Then Michael got in and the man drove off.” 

“Did you see a license plate?”

“No.” 

“Anything about the man?” he pressed.  “Did he have a beard?”  

“I think so,” Winter told him.  “I’m not sure.  I’m sorry.  I wish I could be more help.” 

Sighing in frustration, Ethan turned just as his cell phone rang.  It was the police detective assigned to Michael’s disappearance. 

“Mr. Blackhthorne, we did a check on the name you gave us.  Emmett Lawson owns a 1983 Chevy pickup.  We got his plate numbers from the DMV and we’ve got patrols out looking for him right now.  If he’s in the area, we’ll find him.”  

Ethan breathed a small sigh of relief.  It was better than nothing, he decided.  But there was no telling what Emmett had planned for Michael.  He could be doing anything to him.

Mason Stone

“Fenwick knows everything,” Mason said as he paced back and forth in the penthouse of the Beverly Hills Hotel.  His partner sat on the sofa eating a plate of chocolate covered strawberries.   “He called the FBI.  I could be charged with fraud, murder, and God knows what else.  This was supposed to be easy.  You said it would be cut and dry.  Get them to sell the resort and we get the oil.  Now Kyle Fenwick is going to ruin everything.”  

“Leave Kyle Fenwick to me,” Jacqueline-Lamont-Blackthorne said from her position on the plush sofa.  She bit off the tip of a strawberry and stood up in her skin tight leopard print dress.  “Meanwhile, I think you should get out of town, Mason.  The less you’re involved from now on the better off you’ll be.” 

“Get out of town?” Mason asked.  “We’re partners, Jackie.  I’m the one who found out about the oil that your ex-husband was hiding.  Without me you would never have known about it.”

“Without me none of this would have been possible,” Jackie told him.  “I’m the bank, remember?  All you’ve done is create one disaster after another.” 

“I’ve been here orchestrating this whole thing while you’re off in D.C. playing politician in your cushy government post.”   

“Arsenic poisoning?” Jackie asked, her eyebrows arched.  “What on earth made you think that was a good idea?” 

“I had to do something.  How was I supposed to know that someone would die?”  

“It was sloppy and unnecessary.”

“Look, I get it,” Mason said in a panic.  “I missed up with that one.”

“No, you’ve messed up with everything.  Bribing a state senator into granting your variances?  Who do you think he’ll blow the whistle on if it gets out?”  

Nordquist won’t say anything.  He needs the money.”  

“It was still dumb,” Jackie said, standing before the bay window of her opulent penthouse suite.  “Make yourself scarce, Mason.  Go back to New York and lay low.”

“And leave the oil profits to you?” he asked.  “No.  I don’t think so.  I’m staying until the first well comes in.  And if I go down, you’re going down with me.  Murder, defrauding Brooke Taylor and Renee DeWitt.  All of it.” 

With that, he stormed out of the room and left Jackie standing behind.  She realized she had work to do.  Mason Stone was going to be a problem. 

Miranda Blackthorne

Miranda checked the address on the piece of paper to make sure she was at the right hotel.  She was in a relatively sketchy part of town near the airport.  Getting out of her car to walk up to the building had her stomach in knots.  But for the good of the cause, she powered through and made her way inside and up the elevator to the third floor of the dingy establishment. 

She knocked and waited for an answer.  Moments later, Matthew Wheland appeared in the doorway, shirtless and with his muscular torso exposed for her to gawk at.  

“Well, well, well,” he said with a grin.  “What brings the lady of the manor out to the slums?”  

“I came to talk to you about Kelly,” Miranda said and forced her way inside.  

“Kelly has made it perfectly clear she wants nothing to do with me,” he said.  “Is that really why you came here?  I usually don’t like them as young as you, but-“

“Oh God, get serious,” Miranda said with a frown and threw a t-shirt at him that she found on the old worn sofa.  “And put a shirt on, please.  You’re in the company of a lady.”  

“Yes, ma’am,” he said and slipped the shirt on.  She obviously was in no mood for joking around.  “So what about my daughter?  She change her mind?” 

Miranda folded her arms and walked toward him.  “Do you really want a relationship with Kelly or was that just B.S.?  If you’re after money then you can just forget it.  She doesn’t have any, and Stormy won’t give her a dime.”  

“Do I look like I care about money?” Matthew asked.  “I’m trying to make amends.  I don’t have any family to speak of except for Kelly.  I’d like a chance to get to know her.” 

Miranda regarded him suspiciously. She had no reason to believe him.  But she also had no reason not to.  “Then you need to tell her that.” 

“I can’t!” he exclaimed.  “She won’t let me get near her.  She still thinks I’m to blame for leaving her and Leilani.  The truth is, I didn’t know I had a daughter until Kelly was grown.” 

“Leave Kelly to me,” Miranda said.  “I’ll make sure she hears what you have to say.  Just do me one favor.  Don’t hurt her.”  

Matthew stopped her from leaving.  “Why do you care whether I hurt Kelly or not?” he asked.  “From the sounds of it yesterday, you don’t care for her much.” 

“I don’t,” Miranda said after turning back.  “She’s a liar, a whore, a gold digger, a slut, and a pain in the ass.  But nobody deserves to be used by their own father.” 

Again, he stopped her from leaving.  “What’s in all this for you?” he asked. 

She turned back one final time.  “Because I want her as far away from here as possible.”  

Renee DeWitt

Dressed in a billowing chiffon nightgown, Renee clicked off the light in the bathroom of her room at the mansion and padded to the vanity.  She hummed along to One Less Bell to Answer on the stereo while brushing her hair.  A knock at the door turned her attention away from the mirror. 

“Come in,” she called.

Moments later, the door opened and T.T. walked inside, a broad smile on his face and a bouquet of African roses in his hand.  “Hello sweetheart.”  

“T.T.!” she exclaimed and jumped to her feet.  She raced across the room and threw her arms around him.  “What are you doing here?  I thought you were going to be in New York for at least a few more days.”   

“I couldn’t wait to come see you,” he said and handed her the flowers. 

“They’re beautiful,” she said and set them on the dresser.  “But T.T., honestly.  A husband usually gives his wife some notice before just dropping by.”

He grinned and lifted her into his arms.  “Can I help it if you inspire spontaneity?” he said and carried her to the bed.   “I know you wouldn’t fault me for wanting to spend every day for the rest of my life with my beautiful new bride.”  

“I suppose not,” Renee said as he stretched languorously on the bed.  She snaked her arms around his neck and pulled him on top of her.  “Come here, you.”  

T.T. covered her with his body, kissing her tenderly. 

Brooke Taylor

Down the hall, Brooke paced back and forth in her bedroom.  When she heard the door open, she quickly ran to intercept it.  Ethan walked inside and uttered a brief hello before shedding his jacket.  

“Has there been any word?” she asked, placing her hands on his chest. 

He shook his head miserably.  “They’re still out looking for Emmett’s truck,” he answered.  “But they’ll find it, Brooke.  They’ll find the truck and they’ll find Michael.” 

“What if they don’t?” she asked, tears streaming down her face.   “Ethan, I can’t lose him.  I can’t lose my little boy.  Not again.  It almost killed me last time.” 

Turning her around to face him, he placed his hands on her shoulders and looked into her aquamarine eyes.  “Listen to me,” he said.  “They will find him.  Michael is going to come home to us.  I promise you that.”  

“You don’t know that!” Brooke cried.  “They don’t even know where to look!” 

Ethan pulled her into an embrace and held her tightly. 

“My God, how can this be happening again?” Brooke asked when she broke free and walked across the room.  “Six years ago we were going through the same thing.” 

“Only I didn’t know that Michael was my son at the time,” Ethan said.  “James thought he was.  It wasn’t until we got Michael back that you told me.”  

“I should have never kept him from you,” Brooke said.  “I thought I was doing the right thing.  I thought I owed it to James because he and I were married at the time.  He was my life back then.” 

“What about now?” Ethan asked.  “Who do you want now, Brooke?  If it’s me then just-“

They were interrupted when the door opened and Kyle appeared.  “I’m sorry for interrupting,” he said.  “I just heard about what happened.  Brooke, are you all right?”  

She looked at Ethan.  “Can you leave us alone for a minute?”

Ethan nodded and left the bedroom.  When he did, Kyle raced over to Brooke with outstretched arms. 

“Don’t touch me,” she said and backed away.  

Alarmed by her reaction, Kyle followed her across the room.  “Brooke, I got here as fast as I could.  I would have been here earlier but I didn’t know about Michael.  Has there been any word?” 

“Don’t stand there and pretend like you give a damn,” she said. 

“Of course I do.  Why would you-“ 

“I know that you lied to me about David,” Brooke said.  “I know T.T. told you that David wasn’t going to die.  How could you not tell me that, Kyle?  How could you keep something like that from me about my own brother?”  

Kyle was caught off guard.  He hadn’t realized that Brooke had made the connection.  “Look, I can explain.  I-“ 

“So you did know?” she asked for confirmation. 

“Yes, but I-“

She slapped him hard across the face and looked into his eyes, tears welling up beneath her eyelids.   “Get out of here.  I never want to see you again.” 

Kyle refused to back down.  “You don’t understand.  I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to get your hopes up. I knew that David’s operation was experimental and if it didn’t work it would be like losing him all over again!” 

“Oh, spare me,” she said with a scowl.  “You knew that David never trusted you, never approved of our relationship, and that’s why you kept it from me.  The longer David stayed away the longer you’d have to go on lying to me.” 

She was actually right about that, but he couldn’t admit it.  Not to her and not to himself.  “I haven’t lied to you,” he said.  “Listen, I got the truth out of Mason.  He and Chip Matthews were in on it together.  There’s oil under the ground at Moonshadows.  Royce knew about it.  Mason found out and concocted this scheme to steal it from us so he could drill.  I had nothing to do with any of it, Brooke.  He just clobbered me over the head when I confronted him about it.”    

“I don’t care about any of that!” she exclaimed.  “My son is missing!  Do you honestly think I care about Moonshadows right now?” 

“What about us?” Kyle asked and moved toward her.  “Don’t you care about us?  I asked you to marry me.  I love you, Brooke.” 

“Marry you?” she scoffed.  “I don’t trust you, Kyle.  Why in hell would I marry you?  There is no us.  Not anymore.  You’ve lied to me for the last time.  God, I should have slammed the door in your face the day you showed up at my door claiming to be Ethan’s brother.  I should have looked the other way.” 

“Don’t do this,” Kyle said, his smoldering eyes pleading with her.  “Brooke, we’re good together.”  

“You can’t manipulate me with your words anymore,” she said.  “Too much has happened.  There have been too many lies.”  

“Brooke-“

“Get out!” she screamed.  When he refused to move, she flew toward him, eyes flaring.  “Get out, Kyle!  Get out!”  

Realizing there was no hope in changing her mind, he turned and ran out of the room.  On his way down the hall, he brushed past James who paused to gauge the situation.  After seeing Kyle leave through the front door, he proceeded into Brooke’s room where she stood in tears. 

“Are you okay?” he asked.

She shook her head, going to him and pulling him in an embrace.  “Why is everything such a mess?” she cried.  

“I wish I could make it all go away,” James said, kissing the top of her head. 

Heather Armstrong

The next morning, Heather waited at the playground near the marina.  Caught up in her worries over her father, she didn’t notice Brett walking toward her with Violet in his arms.

“Hi,” she said and stood up from the bench.  “I thought Tiffany was bringing her.”  

“She was,” he said, dressed in khakis, a blue shirt that brought out the color of his eyes, and a black fleece jacket.  Ruffled hair and a stubble on his face indicated he’d made the decision to come himself at the last minute.  “But I wanted to see you.” 

First, Heather went to greet her daughter.  “Hi princess,” she said.  “You look very pretty today.”

“You look pretty too, mommy,” the little blond girl said while sucking on her fingers.  She reached out and touched her hair.  “I want to swing.” 

“You do?” Heather said, staring in wonderment at her.  “Then that’s what we’ll do.  Run over and pick one out and I’ll be right there, okay?” 

“Okay!” Violet said and ran off after Brett set her down. 

“I never realized before how much she looks like you,” Brett said once they were alone.  “Did you notice that you call her princess just like Jordan does to you?”

Heather didn’t take her eyes off her daughter.  “What are you doing here, Brett?”  

“I want to talk,” he said, his hands dug into his pockets.  “Since you came back, we haven’t done much of that.  Don’t you think there are things we need to work out?” 

“No,” she said, turning away from him. 

“Look, I don’t want to push you.  I know you have to take time to readjust to everything, but there are things you have to understand.  When you went away I was destroyed.  I was the one who had to sign those commitment papers.  I had to explain to Violet where her mother was.  You don’t know how hard it was.  I made some bad decisions and I-“

“I’m fully aware of how difficult it was for you, Brett,” Heather said with a hint of sarcasm in her voice.  “It wasn’t a picnic for me either.” 

“I realize that.  I’m just trying to explain why I did what I did.  The truth is, Heather, I wasn’t sure that you would ever get out of the institution.”  

“It doesn’t matter,” Heather snapped.  “Brett, I can’t worry about those things.  I have to get my life back.  I have to be strong for my daughter.  I have to figure out what to do next.  Can’t you understand that?”

He looked at her silently for a few moments.  “What about us?” he asked.  “Whatever you think of me, you have to believe I never stopped loving you.” 

Heather looked at the ground.  “I’m going to swing with my daughter,” she said and walked toward the Violet who was standing by the swing set. 

Brett exhaled deeply.  He knew it was going to take time, but he was impatient.  He wanted his family back together more than anything in the world.  More than the studio, more than one-upping Stormy, and more than all the dirty, nasty sex in the world. 

Miranda Blackthorne

“Where are we going, Eddie?” Miranda asked as she sat impatiently in the passenger’s seat of his car.  “Do you know how much crap we have to do?  We still don’t have a minister for the wedding, Jane is making decisions that seriously make me wonder if she was born in a barn, and on top of that, Michael is missing.  Take me home.” 

“That’s what I’m trying to do,” he said and pulled the car into a carport beside a courtyard town house near the marina.  “Welcome home, Miranda.” 

“What?” she asked and got out of the car.  There were two buildings shrouded in trees, a courtyard pool, and a sign in front that read Villa Antibes.  “I don’t get it.” 

“The unit on the corner,” Eddie said and went up to the door of one of the townhomes.  “It’s ours.  I bought it.” 

“You what?” Miranda asked and flashed him a look of wonder.  “Eddie, are you serious?” 

He grinned and handed her a set of keys.  “Look, we’re getting married in a few days.  We can’t exactly live in your father’s house forever.  We’re starting a family.” 

“Why can’t we live there forever?” Miranda asked.  “It’s my home.  There’s plenty of room.  Brooke and Ethan won’t live there forever, and with any luck Kelly will be out soon.  And Stormy will.....well, he'll probably never leave, so..."

“Miranda,” he interrupted her.  “I want to marry you.  I want you and Tiger and I to be a family.  A real family.”

“I know, Eddie,” she said.  “And we will be a family.  I just don’t see why we can’t do it at home.”  

“Because we need to start out on our own.  You can’t have your father by your side for the rest of your life.  Don’t you want to find out what it’s like to be independent?” 

“I am very independent,” she admonished.  “I mean, this is a great place for our first home, but I can’t leave my father.” 

“Your father is a grown man.  I’m sure he’ll be very happy for us.  It’s not like it’s all that far from Hollywood.” 

“In traffic, yes it is.  It’s like forty minutes.”

“Not the way you drive,” he said and placed his hands on her waist, drawing her close.  “Please say yes.  I want to be alone with my wife and my daughter.  I want to wake up in the morning to the smell of coffee and bacon frying.”

She frowned.  “Well, unless you plan on getting a live-in cook, that’s not going to happen.”  She looked out at the grounds of the small complex.  “I guess this place is kind of cute.”  She paused.  “Wait.  You said my daughter.”  

Eddie shrugged.  “Well, yeah.  Is that okay?”

“It’s great,” Miranda said with a smile.  “I want you to think of Tiger as your daughter.  Actually, I was thinking that maybe you’d want to adopt her to make it official.” 

“Tiger Distefano,” Eddie said with a grin. “I like it.  Are you sure?  Because if you’re not, believe me, I’ll be-“

“Of course I’m sure.  You’re right.  We need to start our own lives.  The three of us.” 

Blackthorne Mansion

Leilani was busy serving coffee to the police officers who had begun using the family room as their base of operations.  Phone tracing equipment was set up in case the kidnapper called, and a hotline was installed for tips pertaining to Michael’s whereabouts.   

When Alex arrived at the mansion, she found Brooke standing alone in the breakfast room.  Deciding to make a gesture of good will, she proceeded down the hall and approached her tentatively. 

“I wanted to see if there was anything I could do,” she said.   “Has the kidnapper made contact?”

Brooke shook her head solemnly.  

“There’s got to be word soon,” Alex said hopefully.  “Try not to worry.”

“Are you serious?” Brooke asked incredulously.  “My son is out there in the hands of a maniac and you’re telling me not to worry?” 

“That was a stupid thing to say,” Alex admitted.  “I’m sorry.  I’m just trying to help.” 

“You want to help?  Get me son back here safe and happy.  That’s how you can help.  Make this whole nightmare go away.  Rewind the tape a day and make it so that I got to his school ten minutes earlier.” 

Alex remained silent for a while before continuing.  “I wish I could, Brooke.”  

“Then there’s nothing you can do so you might as well go away.” 

“We’re more alike than you think, Brooke.”

“We’re nothing alike.” 

“I disagree,” Alex said.  “Do you remember the day six years ago when I walked into this house and you came down the stairs and I slapped you?  The whole time I was thinking that James had traded me in for a newer, prettier model.  But in fact, he was trading me in for someone that probably reminded him of me when we first met.” 

“How so?” 

“You’re determined, you don’t let anyone stand in your way, and you love your family more than anything in life.  My problem was I never knew how to show it.  I pushed people away more than anything.  That’s the big difference between us.” 

Brooke looked at her inquisitively.  “Do you really think we’re that much alike?” 

Alex smiled.  “We have the same taste in men.” 

Brooke couldn’t help but smile in return.  Soon, the smile turned to tears and she sobbed into her hands.  Alex, realizing she had to do something, approached her and placed her hands over hers.  

“You’re strong, Brooke.  I’ve seen that in you.  You’ll get through this.”   

They were interrupted when James appeared from behind.  “Alex, I’m glad you’re here.  Can I speak to you for a minute?” 

She turned to him.  “In a minute, James.” 

Brooke shook her head.  “It’s okay.  You can go.  I’ll be fine.”  

Alex waited to make sure she had pulled herself together.  She turned and walked out of the room.  Brooke called after her before she left. 

“Alex,” she began.  “You don’t push people away.  You just care too much.  That’s not a bad quality.”  

Alex offered a smile and followed James into the study where Kenny was already seated.   “What’s going on?” she asked. 

“Kenny just got a copy of my father’s will,” James announced.  “He left all of his money to you, Alex.” 

Eyes wide, Alex stepped forward.  “Me?   Why?”  

Kenny gestured with the stack of legal documents.  “He wrote you a letter.” 

Alex took the sealed envelope and looked at Marcus Blackthorne’s handwriting on the front of the envelope.  “I don’t understand.” 

“That makes two of us,” James said.  “I know you and my father were close before he and I fell out of touch, but this is beyond my comprehension. What was it between the two of you, anyway?”  

Alex grew into a daze.  She knew what the letter would say.  She recalled the first visit Marcus had made to Hollywood.  It was a few months after she and James had gotten married….

“You seem sad, my dear,” Marcus said over dinner in the dining room at the mansion.  “Does this have anything to do with the premiere?”  

Alex didn’t answer right away.  “If you’re asking if I’m upset that James went to Deacon Edgewater’s party without me, I’m not.  I chose not to go with him.” 

“But why?” Marcus asked.  “In the few days I’ve been here, you and my son haven’t spent more than ten minutes apart.  I heard you arguing earlier this evening.  Is it because of the party?”

A look of terror crossed Alex’s face.  “I just didn’t want to go, that’s all.”   

“It’s more than that,” Marcus insisted.  “Every time that mans’ name comes up, you tense.  Why?  What is it about Deacon Edgewater that has you so upset?”  

Finally, Alex broke down and told him everything.  Three years of silence had broken her.  The devastating events that had transpired at Deacon’s house the night he invited her over to discuss Bad Night had eaten away at her.  She’d told no one.  Until now.  

“You poor thing,” Marcus said and reached out to her hand.  “James doesn’t know?”

She shook her head.  “You can’t tell him.  Please, Marcus.  It’s humiliating.”  

“Of course,” Marcus said.  “Alex, it means a lot to me that you would entrust this secret with me.  You have my word that I will never tell a soul.” 

“Thank you,” she said and wiped her eyes. 

“Don’t be too hard on yourself.  What Jonas did for you after that night was the best thing for everyone.  You have to believe that.”

She laughed in spite of the circumstances.  “I know Jonas did many things to protect his stars, but this?” 

“Think how things would have turned out otherwise.”  

“I was seventeen,” Alex cried.  “I couldn’t raise a baby.”

“Alex?” James asked.  “Answer me.  What was it that bonded you so closely with my father?” 

She shook the memory away.  “We just shared a lot.  That’s all.”  

With that, she turned and left the office.  

Ethan Blackthorne

As Alex left, Ethan walked down the stairs just as the lead detective passed her on his way inside through the front doors.  Brooke heard the commotion and quickly darted out to see if there had been a development. 

“One of my men just found this outside the front gate,” the man said and thrust a box at Ethan. 

“What is it?” Ethan asked and opened the flaps.  To his horror, there was a porcelain doll inside.  One of Sophie’s.  The head was cracked in pieces.  Taped to the inside was a note.  He lifted it and read it aloud.  “You killed my daughter.  Now I’ll kill your son.  I hope your fancy Hollywood life was worth it.”  

“Oh my God,” Brooke cried, shaking her head in complete despair.  She slowly sunk to the floor.  “Oh my God, no!  My baby!”  

Ethan closed his eyes and blinked away the tears.  “You have to find him, detective.  My son’s life depends on it.” 

Mackenzie Stone

Mackenzie opened the door of her house in the hills, her head still bandaged from her fall, and a wary gaze as her eyes fell on Kyle. 

“What are you doing here?” she asked. 

“It’s over,” he said and walked inside.  “I’ve lost it all.  Brooke washed her hands of me.” 

“Are you surprised?” Mackenzie asked with a frown as she closed the door and followed him into the living room.  “You’ve done nothing but lie to her since you showed up in town.  You have no one to blame for this but yourself, baby brother.” 

“How can you be so cold?” Kyle asked and spun around to face her.  His face was unshaven and his clothes unkempt.  “Like you’re not on the verge of losing Ethan? He and Brooke have never been closer, you know.  Their son has been kidnapped.  Do you really think they’re not going to wind up together after this?”  

Mackenzie walked across the room in a daze.  She had thought of nothing else for the past twenty-for hours.  But worrying about it would do her no good.  What kind of relationship would she have with Ethan if all she did was wonder if he and Brooke were going to reunite? 

“The difference between you and I, Kyle, is that I accept defeat when it’s inevitable.  You need to learn that for yourself.  Walk away.  You and Brooke were never going to make it.” 

“You may be willing to accept defeat, but I’m not.  She and I belong together.” 

“Only because you’ve manipulated everything from the start.  I know you fell in love with her, but it’s not enough.  Love, unfortunately, doesn’t conquer all.  I’ve accepted it.  You’d be wise to do the same.”  

Kyle frowned.  “What’s gotten you in such a crappy mood?”  

She picked up a letter that had been messengered over that morning.  “The network was kind enough to alert me before the media.  The Young at Heart has been canceled.”

“What are you going to do now?” Kyle asked her. 

She shrugged and fell back onto the sofa.  “I don’t know.  Leave town.  There’s nothing keeping me here.”  

“You give up too easily,” Kyle said and made his way to the door. 

“No, I’m realistic.  Sometimes no matter how hard you fight, you can’t change fate.  The sooner you understand that the better off you’ll be.” 

Kyle shook his head with frustration, leaving the house and sliding a pair of mirrored aviators on to shield the blinding L.A. sun.  

Nathan Blackthorne

At the police station, Nathan circled Denise in the interrogation room.  She said quietly in her chair, so far without any attempt at acknowledging him.  Detective Rodriguez had indicated she hadn’t said a word since she’d been arrested.  He was determined to change that 

“We’re beginning to put the pieces together, Denise,” Nathan said to her.  “Keaton has an alibi for the night Lola was attacked.  Do you?”  

She looked up with her eyes but still didn’t answer. 

“We’ve known each other for a long time, Denise,” Nathan said.  “You, Jonas and I go back a long way.   Since the days of Lamont 3.” 

She still remained silent.  

Leaning across the table, Nathan glared at her.  “You knew about our secrets, didn’t you, Denise?” he demanded.  “Lana, Cheri Montessori, Bianca Burnett.  It has to be you who’s doing this.  No one else knows as much about the studio as you do.  Now admit it.  This isn’t a game.  You’re not auditioning for a role.  People are dead.  Good people.” 

She looked away. 

“I can see the hate in your eyes,” Nathan continued.  “I can see the-“

“It’s not hate that I feel for you, Nathan,” she finally said.  “It’s pity.”  

“Pity?” he asked and stood up again.  “Whatever for?”  

“Because you have no idea what you’re talking about.  You think Jonas shared his secrets with me?  You think I knew about those people?  I didn’t.  I worked in archives.  I’m not psychic.” 

“So I’m supposed to believe you’re just a jealous Hollywood hopeful?”

“I’m disgusted,” she responded.  “And I’m done talking to you.” 

“No, you aren’t.  Tell me the truth.  If it isn’t you who’s doing this, and it isn’t Keaton, then who?” 

“I don’t know!” she exclaimed in a guttural voice that shook the table. 

“You’re not being straight with me.  You know far more than you’re saying.” 

She reached across the table and wriggled a cigarette from her leather case.  “You’re right,” she said.  “I do know something.  But it’s not about what you think.” 

“So this thing that you know,” Nathan began.  “Does it have anything to do with why there are records of phone calls between you and Keaton?”

“Yes.  I thought he had the right to know.”

“That I’m his father?”

Denise laughed.  “You’re not his father,” she said. 

Nathan wasn’t sure if he felt relieved about the news or not.  In a way, the possibility of having a son was strangely comforting.  It made his entire existence seem less trivial, particularly since losing Sierra before he ever got a chance to know her.  

“But he was obsessed with me,” he said.  “All the photographs, the studio memorabilia, getting the directing job on The Benefactor.”

Denise blew a stream of smoke into the air and leaned back in the chair.  “He was trying to get close,” she explained.  “It was never about you, Nathan, you pompous self-righteous son-of-a-bitch.  It was about his mother.” 

“His mother?  Who is his mother?  Denise, answer me.” 

But she grew silent again, calmly sitting in her chair smoking her cigarette.  When she refused to answer, Nathan turned and stormed out of the room.  He ran into two guards were who leading Keaton out of the holding cells.

“Where are you taking him?” he demanded.   

“He’s been released,” one of the officers said.  “There’s no evidence to hold him any longer.”

Nathan watched the young man intently.  He was convinced Keaton was not as innocent as they thought him to be. 

Renee DeWitt

Kenny walked out of James’s study as Renee and T.T. made their way down the staircase.  He paused and watched them, their hands knotted together, tender kisses as T.T. left her and made his way into the breakfast room.  

“I didn’t want to say anything before,” Renee began as she approached Kenny in the foyer.  “T.T. and I were married on a yacht on the French Riviera a few weeks ago.” 

He couldn’t pretend the news didn’t upset him.  Despite all their ups and downs, he somehow always thought they’d find their way back to one another.  Seeing her so obviously happy with another man felt like a punch in the gut.  Still, he had to look at the bigger picture.

“Are you happy?” he asked. 

She smiled.  “I am.”  

Kenny’s next words were difficult for him to get out.  “Then I’m happy for you.”

“Thank you, Kenny.”  She followed him back into the study and examined his expression carefully.  “I want you to be happy too.  I hope that you find whatever it is that’s going to accomplish that for you.”

“Actually, I’m working on some new career enhancements,” he said with a twinkle in his eyes.  On the television across the room, a news bullet came on.  The mention of Moonshadows brought both of their attention to the report.   Quickly, Kenny went to turn up the volume.

“Loomis Enterprises, the New York based firm that recently purchased the faltering Moonshadows hotel and resort, has just been fingered in a scandal that will certainly be on the front page headlines for some time to come,” the reporter said.  “An anonymous source has come forward with information that claims Jacqueline Lamont-Blackthorne, daughter of the late film producer Jonas Lamont, is in fact the entity behind Loomis Enterprises.  Our sources told us that the forty-acre oceanfront resort sits on a vast oil field.  Permits to drill have recently been applied for with the Coastal Commission, which is head up by Senator Jim Nordquist, who has been no stranger to recent scandals.” 

Renee looked at Kenny with wide eyes. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me,” she said.   “I’ll kill the bitch.” 

Kelly Blackthorne

Kelly walked into the crowded restaurant off Sunset and scouted around for Stormy.  At first glance, he was nowhere to be found.  She frowned and checked her phone messages.  Maybe she’d gotten the time or place wrong.  Either way, she was eager to hear what he had to say about R.J. and the custody issue.  

“Hello Kelly,” a voice from behind said. 

Quickly, she turned and glared with contempt at the sight of her father.  She knew immediately that she’d been tricked.   “Forget it,” she said and attempted to skirt past him.  “I’m not talking to you.” 

“Kelly, please,” Matthew said and reached out to her.  “I just want to talk.” 

“About what?” she demanded.  “About how you abandoned me before I was born?  About how you stayed away for twenty-five years?  Sorry, not interested.” 

As she neared the front doors of the restaurant, Miranda stepped in front of her, blocking her path.  

“Oh great, what are you doing here?” Kelly asked.  “I supposed you’re to blame for this little sting operation?”  

“I just want you to know the whole story,” Miranda said.  “You need to give your father the chance to explain himself.” 

“What do you care?” Kelly asked in a shrill voice.  “God, you are so nosy!  When are you going to stay the hell out of my life?” 

“You and I have never been friends,” Miranda said.  “And we never will be.  But I think I am starting to understand you.  All your lashing out, your angry outbursts about taking R.J. away, your entitlement issues, your bad choices in fashion.” 

“What?”

“Okay, maybe not that last one,” Miranda said. “Kelly, you’ve never had a father.  My father has been the most important man in my life.  Without him I would not be who I am today.  You owe it to yourself to find out.”  

“This is insane!”

“Just talk to him,” Miranda said.  “Maybe you’ll find out that things aren’t as bad as you think they are.” 

Kelly planted her hands firmly on her hips.  “Get out of my way.” 

Finally, Miranda moved closer to her and whispered discreetly.  “Do it or I’ll tackle you to the ground and pin your arm behind your back until you beg me to let you go.” 

Kelly glared at her. “You wouldn’t.” 

“Watch me.”

Reluctantly, Kelly turned to face her father.  “Fine.  Let’s just get this over with.” 

Miranda smiled and watched as they made their way to the table.  She felt accomplished.  Helping her worst enemy coming to grips with her demons?  She deserved a medal. 

Ethan Blackthorne

Ethan looked all over the mansion for Brooke.  Her bedroom, the grounds, the family room where the police had set up headquarters.  Finally, he stepped out to the porte-cochere and found her getting into her car. 

“Brooke!” he called after her.  “Where are you going?”  

“I can’t just sit here anymore!” she cried.  “I have to do something!  I have to try to find our son!” 

“You don’t know where to look!” Ethan insisted.  “Driving around in your condition is not going to help Michael.  We have to stay here in case Emmett calls.”

“I can’t sit here for another minute!” she cried.  “I can’t do nothing!” 

He pulled her into an embrace, trying to soothe her fits of hysteria.  Just then, the police detective came racing out of the house and calling after them.  

“We just had a call from a unit who spotted Lawson’s truck,” he said.

“Where?” Ethan asked in a panic. 

“Griffith Park,” he replied.  “We’re headed up there now.”  

“I’m going with you,” Ethan said and followed him to his car.  Several officers went to their patrol cars and turned on the sirens.

“Ethan-“ Brooke said and followed him to the car door. 

“I’ll get him back,” he said, placing his hands over hers and kissing her.  “I promise I’ll get him back.” 

And before she knew it, they were speeding off down the drive.  She covered her mouth with her hands, silently praying that they got there before it was too late.

Jane Wheeler

“I hope they find him,” Jane said as she and Stormy walked down the hall that emptied into the foyer.  “Miranda’s not going to want to go through with the wedding if Michael isn’t home in time.”  

“He will be,” Eddie said as he met up with them in the foyer.  “Ethan would do anything for their son.”  

“Where’ve you been?” Stormy asked.  “I thought we were powering through until the wedding was planned.  All the sudden you and Miranda were nowhere to be found.”   

He grinned.  “It’s a secret,” not wanting to reveal his and Miranda’s plans for moving out quite yet.

Just then, the door opened and Nathan entered the house.  He quickly intercepted them.  “Is your father around?” he asked Stormy. 

“I’m not sure.  Is everything okay?”  

Nathan shook his head.  “I’m not Keaton’s father,” he announced.

“How do you know?” Eddie asked. 

“I just do,” Nathan replied.  “Look, I tried tailing Keaton from the police station but he lost me.  I’ve got to find him before he-“ 

“He’s been released?” Stormy asked.  “Why?” 

“He has an alibi for the night Lola was attacked.  He didn’t try to kill her.” 

“Then it was Denise.  They’re in on it together.”  

Leilani emerged from the back of the house and approached Nathan with a thin envelope tucked between her fingers.  “Mr. Blackthorne, this was delivered to the house.”

Nathan took the envelope and inspected it.  “Who delivered it?” 

She shrugged.  “I don’t know.  I found it with the mail.  There's no postmark on it.” 

Nathan tore the envelope open, not very surprised to find a photograph of Bianca Burnett inside.  He turned it over and read the writing on the back.  

Meet me on sound stage 4.  One o’clock.  It’s your turn.

“What is it?” Stormy asked.   

Nathan quickly tucked the photo inside his jacket.  “Nothing.  If you see your father, tell him I was looking for him.”

Before they could respond, he was tearing off to the front door.  Eddie went after him and cornered him beneath the porte-cochere.  

“It’s from the killer, isn’t it?” he asked.  

Nathan avoided his stare.  “Go back inside, Edward.  Call your father and make sure he’s somewhere safe.”  

“Why?” Eddie asked.  “Where are you going?”  

“Just do it,” Nathan told him.  “I need to put an end to this once and for all.”  

Eddie called after him as he raced to his car.  “At least tell me where you’re going in case something happens.” 

“The studio,” Nathan said while climbing into the car.  “Where this whole thing started.” 

Heather Armstrong

Heather found her father in Benji’s room.  She opened the door a few inches and peered inside.   He was sitting on the bed holding his head in his hands.  She could see the pain that he was going through. 

“Dad, are you okay?”  

Slowly, he looked up and nodded.  “I’m fine, princess.  Go back downstairs.”  

“No,” she said defiantly.  She walked into the room and stood before him.  “I’m not going to let you shut me out, and I’m not going to let you go through this alone.  Not anymore.”  

“There’s nothing you can do,” he said.  “I have to do it.  I have to make things right.”  

“What are you going to do?” Heather asked.  “Daddy, tell me.  Tell me what you’ve done.”   

He suddenly rose from the bed and placed his hands alongside her arms.  “Nothing I could possible do would ever be enough.  I was a terrible father to you and to Benji.  I was a terrible husband and a terrible businessman.  Can you ever forgive me?”  

“You were none of those things,” Heather said, blinking away tears.  “Dad, let me help you.” 

An alarm suddenly sounded.  Repetitive beeping sounds coming from Jordan’s phone.  He pulled it from his pocket and looked at the time.  Twelve-thirty.

“I have to go,” he said and made his way to the door. 

“Please stay,” Heather called after him.  “Daddy, we need each other.”  

“I’ll see you soon, princess,” Jordan said before leaving the room.  

Heather sighed with despair.  She thought it was a lost cause, but suddenly decided to do something.  She had to help him.  She had to follow him to wherever he was going. 

Quickly, she raced out of the bedroom and waited at the top of the stairs until she heard the front door close.  Without wasting a second, she ran down to the entryway and grabbed her car keys and purse. 

Ethan Blackthorne

Afternoon sun glared across the Hollywood sign as Ethan climbed out of the detective’s car.  Beside them was Emmett’s truck, rusted and covered in chalky maroon paint.  He dashed to the window and peered inside, praying that he would find Michael inside safe and sound.  

“They’re gone,” Ethan said in despair.  He looked around the area and saw no sign of Emmett or Michael.  “Where are they?” 

“Spread out!” the detective called to the uniformed officers.  “I want every inch of this area covered!” 

Ethan ran his fingers through his hair.  He looked inside the truck again and saw something that made his heart sink inside his chest.   A copy of The Great Gatsby.  The same book he’d seen in the truck the day Emmett rescued him from the earthquake. 

“Oh Jesus,” he heard the detective say. 

Ethan quickly turned in his direction, following his gaze up the hill to the Hollywood sign.  A sickening feeling of dread overcame him as he saw his son struggling in Emmett’s grasp, climbing the steps onto the forty-foot tall H.

“Oh my God,” Ethan whispered in horror.  “He’s going to push him off.”  

Alex Reynolds

Since leaving the mansion and getting the news about Marcus’s will, Alex had driven around for an hour trying to clear her head.  Her past was slowly catching up with her.  The secrets she thought she’d left behind were now bearing down on her again.  No matter what Jonas had done to fix things, he hadn’t done enough.  She grew into a daze, thinking about the night Deacon had invited her to his house in Bel Air to discuss the role in Bad Night.  When she arrived, he wasn’t alone...

“You look lovely, Alex,” Deacon said and led her into his grand screening room.  There were velvet sofas and chairs all pointed toward a large screen in the front of the room.  She knew men like him had places like this tucked away in their homes.  It was to be expected he did much of his business there.  “You remember Robert Wylan and George Dunning, don’t you?” 

Alex pursed her lips firmly.  How could she forget?  The two directors who had joined him in chiding her the other night at his party.  It still left a bitter feeling of resentment in her mouth.  

“Good evening,” she said politely.  

“Would you like a drink?” George asked and handed her a glass of champagne.  

“Thank you,” Alex said and accepted the glass from him.  She hadn’t had much experience with drinking.  At seventeen, she’d only had a sip here and there.  It didn’t take much for her to start feeling its effects.  Before she knew it, she was on the sofa with George and Deacon positioned on either side of her.  

“You’re very pretty, Alex,” Deacon said.  “And very desirable.”

“I thought we were going to discuss the film,” Alex said, growing uncomfortable with the men and their proximity to her.  

“Why don’t we get to know each other a little more first,” Robert said and topped off her champagne.  

“I’d really just like to keep this as focused on business as we can.” 

“Precisely,” Deacon said and pawed at her blouse.  “Now why don’t the three of us get a little more…comfortable.”   

“I don’t think so,” Alex said and rose to her feet.  “I’m sorry.  If I knew this was what you had in mind, I would never have come here tonight.” 

“It’s the only reason you’re here,” Deacon said with a  sharp edge to his voice.  “You didn’t really think I invited you over because I was just going to hand you a movie role, did you, Alex?  Or should I say Mary Ann.”  

They’d done their homework on her, she decided.  All the more reason to leave before things got too complicated.   “I should go.” 

“If you walk out that door you’ll be giving up any chance of making it in this town,” Deacon called after her.  “Stay and you’ll enjoy the benefits of stardom.  It’s what every young woman wants when she shows up here with dreams of making it big.  Tell me, Alex, is what we’re asking really enough to make you turn your back on your dreams?”  

She swallowed hard.  It was true.  They were dangling a part in a movie in front of her in exchange for sex.  She felt like nothing but a common whore.  

But she did come to Hollywood to succeed.  She had to do whatever it took.  Nervously, she walked back to the sofa and sat down.  The men looked at each other and clinked their glasses together in some kind of macho ritual.  She closed her eyes and waited until they were through... 

By the time she got back to her penthouse, she was sufficiently unnerved by the memories.  She’d given herself to those producers in exchange for a part in a lousy horror movie.  She’d let them do things to her willingly, but the outcome had been far more devastating than she could have predicted.  And much more scarring than what Nathan had later done to her against her will. 

Walking to the bar, she pulled a bag out of her purse and set it down on the countertop.  From inside, she withdrew a bottle of prescription pills.  Calmly, she poured two of them out of the bottle and filled a glass with straight vodka.  

Lifting the pills to her lips, she suddenly saw something that made her stop from swallowing them.  From going back to the dark place she’d crawled her way out of.  A picture of herself.  Her first professional headshot she’d had taken when she got to Hollywood at the age of seventeen.  It rested on the corner of the bar.   

Lowering her hand, she backed up and set the glass and pills down.  Racing to the living room, she stopped and shrieked when she saw another picture.  This one of a tiny infant.  The same one she’d clutched in her hand two years ago when she nearly overdosed on pills.  Hyperventilating, she turned and bumped into someone standing directly in her path.  Another shriek tore loose from her throat as she backed up away from Keaton Hartley, standing before her holding a gun in his hand. 

“Hello mother,” he said with a deranged look in his eyes. 


Next time....

The Blackthornes takes its final bow as six-years of intrigue, romance, shady business deals, and murder lead up to the ultimate curtain call.  

 

 

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