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Episode 159

 

Release Date:  December 3, 2011

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

 

Ethan and Brooke frantically searched for Michael.  The police located Emmett's truck at Griffith Park and Ethan raced to the scene, where he found Emmett forcing Michael up to the top of the Hollywood sign.  Brooke told Kyle that their relationship was over.  Nathan, Victor and Vaughan found a picture of Alex at Deacon's house, and wondered what the connection was between the two.  Jordan blasted James for him taking Rydell Productions from him.  Alex cautioned Heather not to push Jordan for fear that he was alienate her. Heather still worried that her father might be the Hollywood Slayer.  Alex recalled telling Marcus Blackthorne about Deacon Edgewater seducing her into bed.  Denise told Nathan that Keaton wasn't his son, and that Keaton had located his mother.  The killer summoned Nathan to Sunset Studios.  Heather decided to follow Jordan after he left the house under mysterious circumstances.  Alex returned home to find Keaton waiting for her brandishing a pistol in his hand and calling her mother.  

 


  

Episode 159

The Finale - Part 1

"The Benefactor"

 

A beam of light slashed through the darkness, lighting his path as he made his way down the long corridor.  Cobwebs lined the sides of the unfinished walls and low-hanging ceiling.  He could hear voices in the distance.  Loud, jubilant voices that guided him through the darkened tunnel.  He could always tell that his parties were a success even before he crossed the threshold into the room in one of his grand entrances.  Glasses clinking together, an excess of laughter, and plenty of conversation.  These sounds told him he’d directed yet another masterful gathering of Hollywood’s elite.  

Paused just outside the room, he opened the door to the secret passageway that emptied into the living room.  When he appeared to his guests, they all fell into a few moments of silence before erupting into raucous greetings and delighted applause. 

“Good evening, my dear guests,” Jonas Lamont announced as he emerged from the hidden passage in a dapper Valentino tuxedo.  “I hope I haven’t kept you waiting.”  

“We’d expect nothing less,” Nathan Blackthorne said from nearby.

“It wouldn’t be one of your parties unless you made one of your unexpected entrances,” clamored Elana Hendricks who was dressed in a flowing ball gown, a glass of champagne clutched in each hand.  

“My husband does have a flair for the dramatic,” Lola Lamont announced as she approached him and kissed him tenderly on the cheek.  “But we wouldn’t have it any other way.” 

“Thank you, my dear,” Jonas said and took a glass of champagne from a passing waiter.  “I’d like to make a toast.” 

“Another one of your famous toasts,” Victor Distefano chuckled, then made a snoring noise which brought the entire room into fits of laughter.

After the room had settled, Jonas lifted his glass.  “In his Life of Johnson, James Boswell said, ‘we cannot predict the precise moment when friendships are formed.  As in sealing a vessel, drop by drop, there is at last one that makes the heart run over’.  So in this series of kindnesses, may our hearts run over and may our friendships be formed.” 

He took a drink and then his guests followed suit.  Applause erupted and Jonas made his way through the crowd.  Past James and Alex; past Jordan and Suzanne; the youth of Hollywood; the generation to come.  It was a wonderful feeling having so many admirers flocking around you at all times.  Hanging on your every word.  So many of them indebted to you. Some would say he had a God complex.  Others claimed he was nothing but the inspiration for Jeremiah Norton in his biggest blockbuster to date, The Benefactor; a man who challenged fate, who controlled the lives of everyone he came across.  A man whose life was dedicated to making the ultimate film, to casting it himself and manipulating the plot lines like the most cleverly executed script. 

Staring out at his guests, he realized he’d done just that.   “One day they’ll make a movie about us,” he effused.

Alex Reynolds

Standing at attention, as one often does when facing the barrel of a gun, Alex Reynolds swallowed hard and searched for something to defend herself with.  If only she hadn’t given Veronique strict orders to de-clutter her penthouse apartment, there might actually be a makeshift weapon within reach.  Instead, she bought herself time.

“What did you call me that?” she asked.  Mother.”   

“You are my mother,” Keaton Hartley told her.

She shook her head and backed up, nearly toppling over the coffee table.  “No, you’re mistaken.  I have two children.  Stormy and Miranda.  Can I call someone for you?  Do you need help?” 

“What I need is for you to admit it,” Keaton said, his brow sweating profusely.  “I need you to acknowledge me as your son.”

“No,” she said.  “I don’t have any other children.  Keaton, why are you doing this?”   Even as she said it, the realization came at her slowly and with pulsating clarity.  She felt flushed.  The room was spinning out of control.  

“So you do remember me,” he said. 

“Of course I do.  I met you weeks ago when you were having lunch with Stormy and Nathan.  You directed The Benefactor.” 

“What about the day you gave birth to me?” Keaton asked.  “Do you remember that?  You were on location filming Serendipity Express with Nathan.  You started to show and Jonas Lamont whisked you off for the last few months of your pregnancy.  You had signed a contract with Lamont 3.  He couldn’t have his newest sensation pregnant with a bastard child.” 

Tears formed in Alex’s eyes as she moved around the perimeter of the room.  Fear was replaced with bitter memories of Jonas’s insistence that she give the baby up.  Once she’d signed on with Lamont 3, he called the shots.  She was indebted to him. 

“How did you find me?” she whispered.  “Jonas never told me what happened to you.”  

“I was adopted by a lovely family in upstate New York,” Keaton said sarcastically, following her with the gun drawn.  “The Hartleys. Tudor house, white picket fence, a dog, a cat, a barbecue grill.  You know the drill.  When they saw how interested I was in filmmaking, they sent me here to attend film school.  For years I had no idea where my desire to fit into Hollywood came from.  Then years later my parents told me I was adopted.  They didn’t know who my real parents were.  I went to Reconnections.  They listed someone as a possible match.  Marilee Wells.  The woman was desperate.  I almost believed that she was my mother for a minute.  She’d known Jonas, had starred in films that he produced, and she’d spent time on Broadway in New York.  But then something happened.”    

Alex looked at the photograph of Keaton as an infant.  She couldn’t believe he had found her.  

“Someone replied to an ad that I placed in a national newspaper for adopted children.  She claimed she had information on who my parents were.  I went to meet her and discovered that she worked at Sunset Studios.” 

Denise,” Alex deduced. 

“She said she knew about what Jonas did to keep your childbirth a secret.  She had some one night tryst with him and he confided in her about me.  She told me I came from someone deeply rooted in Sunset Studios, but she wouldn’t tell me who.  She was toying with me.  She seemed to get some kind of sick pleasure out of it. She was bitter and angry after the way she’d been treated by the studio system.  So I started doing my own investigation.  I learned everything I could about the stars of Sunset Studios.  Then I began to put the pieces together.  Nathan Blackthorne had been a womanizer, a child molester, a force dumped on this town.  I was convinced that he was my father.  I got a job as director of his new film, The Benefactor.  I had to get close to him.  I had to find out if it was true.  But then Denise saw that I was on the wrong track so she told me the truth.  She told me that you were my mother and that my father could be one of three men.  She hated you.  She hated that you had made it and she was stuck in the basement of the studio.”  

It all made sense to Alex.  Why Denise had come to her apartment that night.  The strange comments she made about the night at Deacon Edgewater's house.  “Why didn’t you come to me sooner?” Alex asked.  “Why play these games?”

Heather Armstrong

Heather Rydell followed her father from their house to an office building in Beverly Hills.  She remained several cars behind him so as not to draw attention to herself.  As she weaved through traffic, she nearly lost him on two occasions.  Running a few red lights and cutting off a Land Rover seemed inconsequential compared to finding out where he was going. 

When Jordan had left the house, he’d made it sound like an urgent situation.  The look in his eyes had terrified her.  She hated herself for thinking the worst of him, but how could she not?  His behavior had been erratic. With the murders going on, he seemed like a painfully logically culprit.  Could he really be trying to destroy Sunset Studios by killing off those associated with it?   It seemed much of his rage stemmed from his failure to keep promises to Benji.  This could be his way of rectifying that. 

Finally, Jordan pulled up to an office building in Beverly Hills.  She didn’t recognize it as anywhere she’d been before.  She waited for him to go up to the door and tried to Google the address on her phone.  It appeared to be a building full of various offices.  Lawyers, dentists, private investigators, and the like.

After a few minutes, she saw him emerge carrying a large manila envelope.  Quickly, she sunk back down in her seat so he didn’t see her.  Once he had pulled away from the building, she sat up and maneuvered the car after him. 

Nathan Blackthorne

On his way to Sunset Studios, Nathan Blackthorne went over every possible scenario in his mind.  Denise had mentioned something about Keaton’s mother.  Meanwhile, Keaton had been placed at the scene of Deacon Edgewater’s alleged suicide.  The only question was why?  What did the two things have to do with each other? 

Then it hit him.

Alex. 

He pulled the car up to the back lot behind sound stage 4, the stage where they’d filmed the majority of The Benefactor.  The original and the remake.  The perfect place for the killer to reveal himself, he decided.  He climbed out of his car and made his way to the stairs that led to the secure entrance.  Using his key card emblazed with the Sunset Studios logo, he gained entry.   Once inside, he found the production offices dark and deserted.  At first glance he appeared to be alone.   Was it just a trap to get him out of the way while the killer went after someone else? 

Quickly, he reached into his pocket and retrieved his cell phone.  He called Alex but it rang repeatedly with no answer.  Frustrated, he disconnected and called Jordan.  Voicemail.  He left a message in hopes that he would retrieve it before it was too late.

“Jordan, it’s Nathan,” he began.  “Look, I think you should check on Alex.  Keaton Hartley was released from jail a little while ago.  I can’t explain now.  I’ll try to make it there myself.  But just in case I can’t, please hurry.” 

With that, he turned and started to leave.  When his hand went to the knob, however, he found the door locked.  Swallowing hard, he backed up a step and began to feel the presence of someone lurking behind. 

Keaton Hartley

“Denise said you didn’t care about me,” Keaton went on as he held the gun at Alex with his trembling hand.   “She said you had a family of your own.”

“Things might have been different if I’d known-“ Alex stammered.

“You let those men put their hands all over you!” Keaton exclaimed loudly.  “For what?  A part in a straight-to-video horror movie?    Then when you got your part, you let Jonas Lamont take me from your womb and give me away to strangers!”

“I was only seventeen,” Alex said.  “I had dreams.  I wanted to be a star.  Having a baby then would have just-“

“Ruined everything?” he finished for her.  “Well, sorry to hamper your plans, mother.  Did you ever even make an attempt to look for me?  After you had Stormy and Miranda, did you stop and think: gee, I’m an established actress, why don’t I look up that son that I let them give away?”

“That’s not how it was.” 

“I can only imagine how it was,” Keaton said angrily, then grew silent for a few moments.  “I did a DNA test to find which one of those son-of-a-bitches was my father, by the way.  Since Robert Wylan and George Dunning are both dead, I only had Deacon Edgewater to test myself against.  Luckily he turned out to be the proud father of a thirty-three year old man.” 

Alex felt like she would be sick.  All these years of wondering had finally been put to rest.  She had been fairly certain Robert Wylan couldn’t have been the father, but Deacon and George equally could have been.

“The night Jack Childers was murdered,” he explained.  “At Questicon.  I met a girl.  She was dressed as a Vulcan. It turned out she worked at a hospital.  She helped me get the test.  I took his glass from the bar when he was finished.  The next night I went to confront him at his house.   He was drunk out of his mind when I got there.” 

“You killed him?” Alex gasped, backing up and making her way to the door.  She could see the lengths he had gone to to find out where he’d come from.  She could see the fury in his eyes over the despicable way his life had begun. 

“No,” Keaton said.  “I brought a picture of you and confronted him until he admitted the truth about what he had done to you.  He begged me to stay, to give him a chance to explain, but I told him I hated him.  Then I left.  The next day I heard reports that he’d killed himself.  I guess having to face your demons like that has a tendency to drive a man to suicide.”  

“What about me?” Alex asked.  “What are you going to do with me?”

What am I going to do with you?” he asked.  

“You broke in here with a gun,” she clarified.  “Are you going to kill me?”  

Keaton simply looked at her with a malevolent stare.

James Blackthorne

“Do you think that you and Brooke were meant to be together?”

The question struck James Blackthorne as particularly odd, especially being that his best friend Kenny Dewitt had never been particularly philosophical in nature.  He turned to him and swirled the contents of his half empty glass of scotch. 

“Why do you ask?”

Kenny shrugged and sat forward.  They were in James’s study waiting for word from Ethan.  “Just being nostalgic, I guess.  I always thought Renee and I were meant to be.  I guess her marrying T.T. blows that theory out of the water.  But you and Brooke; you’ve remained close after all these years.  You lean on one another.  You respect each other.  Do you think fate dealt you a hand that wasn’t meant to be when your marriage ended?”   

James sighed warily.  Before he could answer, he was distracted by the sound of his fax machine emptying pages into the paper tray.  He picked them up and noticed they were for Kenny.  He couldn’t help but spot a few tell-tale hints as to their contents. 

“What’s this?” he asked. 

Kenny took them from him and perused them briefly.  “I had them faxed here since I planned on waiting it out with you,” he said.  “They’re from Marilee.  She’s asked me to step in as CEO of Wells, Inc.  This is my two-year contract.”  

“Really?” James asked in surprise.  “What brought that on?  Marilee didn’t mention anything to me about stepping down from Wells, Inc.”   

He shrugged.  “She’s been very distracted since she started the search for the son she gave up.  I guess she feels like she can’t give the company a hundred percent right now.” 

“It’s been a while since you took the helm of a major conglomerate,” James said.  “Not since you ran Merteuil Industries, anyway.  Are you sure you can handle it?” 

Kenny smiled.  “I’m actually excited about it.  It may be just the thing I need to get me over this hump with my failed relationship with Renee.”  

“I hope it is,” James said.  He got up when he heard the front door open.  Quickly, they both walked out into the foyer to see if it was Ethan returning with news about Michael.  It turned out to be Miranda. 

“Have you heard anything about Michael?” she asked.

James shook his head sorrowfully and gave her a quick squeeze. 

Just then, Eddie, Stormy and Jane emerged from the family room.   “Dad, there you are,” Stormy said.  “Nathan was looking for you.”

“What for?”

Stormy shrugged but Eddie gave him a knowing look.  “He got a message from the killer.  He went to meet him.” 

James panicked.  “What is he thinking?   I’m calling the police.” 

“Wait a minute,” Miranda interrupted while looking around the foyer.  “Sorry to switch crises on everyone, but where is Brooke?”

Stormy dropped his hands in resignation.  “She didn’t leave to follow Ethan and the police up to Griffith Park, did she?”  

They all looked at one another in a panic. 

Ethan Blackthorne

Ethan Blackthorne could hear his son crying from the steps that led up to the Hollywood sign forty feet above them.  The detective had retrieved a pair of binoculars from his car and surveyed the scene with a keen eye.  When he was through, Ethan quickly grabbed them from him so he could see for himself. 

“Lawson is insane,” he exclaimed  “He’s actually going to push Michael off to get back at me for killing his daughter.”  

“We’ve got a hostage negotiator on the way,” the detective told him.  “We’ll get Emmett Lawson talked down, Mr. Blackthorne.” 

But Ethan wasn’t so sure.  “We don’t have that kind of time,” he said and darted toward the steps that lead up to the sign.  Peering above him, he could see that Emmett was forcing Michael up one step at a time.  The boy, crying hysterically, was obviously paralyzed with fear.  The height to which they were climbing made Ethan’s heart stop momentarily.  

“Emmett!” Ethan called up to him.  “Bring him back down!  This is between you and me!” 

“Now it’s between you and God!” Lawson shouted down.  “This is an eye for an eye!” 

“It was an accident!” Ethan yelled up to them.  “You have no idea how badly I’ve beaten myself up over it!  Please bring Michael back down.  Take me if you want.  I’m the one you want to punish for Sophie’s death!  Not an innocent child!”

“That would be too easy!” he shouted.  “I want you to suffer like I have this past year!” 

Ethan decided it was no use.  He wasn’t going to be able to reason with the man.  He had to do something, and fast.  Quickly he started climbing the ladder. 

“Michael!” he shouted.  “I’m coming up for you!  Just hold on!” 

“Daddy!” the little boy cried out.  “Daddy!  I’m scared!” 

“I know you are, son and I’m going to come get you!  Just hold on tight!” 

As fast as he could, Ethan climbed the stairs.  From his vantage point, he could see Brooke pulling up in her car.  He saw her frantically climb out and race to the scene, two officers unsuccessfully trying to restrain her. 

“Oh my God!” she screamed when she saw Michael nearing the top of the sign. “No!  You can’t do this!” 

She started to climb the stairs herself.  Ethan panicked, convinced that she was going to get herself hurt in her erratic state of mind.  He breathed a sigh of relief when the detective arrived and pulled her down.  She thrashed about in his grasp, her hair whipping against her face as she struggled to get back to the stairs. 

Heather Armstrong

Heather followed Jordan across town to the Playhouse Theatre in Beverly Hills.  She sat behind the wheel of her yellow Corvette and watched him enter through the main doors.  Why was he going back to the place where Lola had been attacked?  It didn’t make any sense to her. 

Quickly, she got out of her car and walked up to the door.  Creeping inside, she jumped when the door closed loudly behind her.  When she entered the theatre, she saw Jordan standing on the stage.  She decided to confront him.  It was time she got to the bottom of whatever he was up to. 

“Dad, what are you doing here?” 

Stepping away from the spotlight, he shielded his eyes from the glare.  “Heather,” he began. “How did you know I was here?”  

“I followed you,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Why?” 

She stood beside the stage and shrugged, tears forming in her eyes.  “I’m worried about you,” she said.  

“What are you talking about, princess?” Jordan asked, just as the manilla envelope slipped from his fingers and landed on the stage. 

“What’s this?” Heather asked as she picked up the envelope. 

“It’s nothing,” Jordan said and quickly took it from her.  His phone rang inside his pocket but he ignored it when he saw that it was Nathan calling.  Nothing could be that important.   “Look, I’ll take you home.” 

She pulled away.  “No, I want you to tell me what’s in the envelope.  Why did you rush out of the house so quickly?  Dad, you’re scaring me.  Ever since I came back I feel like I don’t know you anymore.  I’m afraid that you’ve done something that you won’t be able to take back.” 

“Like what?" he asked.

She shook her head in a fit of tears.  

Reluctantly, he opened the envelope and showed her the contents.  They were legal documents for the sale of the theatre. 

Heather frowned and took the papers from him.  “You bought the theatre?” she asked.   A million questions ran through her mind, but all were answered as she noted the legal name of the establishment.  “The Benjamin Rydell Theatre for the Youth.” 

“I’m starting a charity,” Jordan explained.  “Sort of an after-school program for kids who need something to do.  It could keep some of them out of trouble, anyway.  I hope.  Like I said, it’s not enough, but it’s a start.  I only wish something like this existed for Benji before he-“ 

Heather pulled him into an embrace and kissed him tenderly on the cheek.  “I think you are the best father in the world,” she said, tears in her eyes.  “This is such a wonderful idea, dad.  I mean it.”   She paused as realization slowly dawned.  “Wait a minute.  The other day when Lola was attacked, you were at the theatre?” 

Earlier in the day,” he replied.  “I met the owner here.  I almost reconsidered the whole thing after what happened to your grandmother.” 

“So that’s why you had glitter on your shoes,” Heather said with a smile. 

“Huh?” Jordan asked.

She shook her head and latched her arm through his.  “Nothing,” she said.  “Listen, Daddy, we really need to start talking more.”

“Talking has never been my strong suit.” 

“You’ll have to work on that,” she said and stepped up onto the stage with him. 

Jordan hugged her again before pulling his cell phone from his pocket.  He checked the message from Nathan and immediately grew concerned.  

“What is it?” Heather asked, detecting that something was wrong. 

“Can you drive yourself home?” he asked and ran down off the stage.  “I have to get to Alex.”

Miranda Blackthorne

“Brooke’s not in her room,” Miranda said as she retreated down the stairs at the mansion.  “Did anyone see her leave?” 

“Her car isn’t in the driveway,” Stormy said when he came back inside. 

“She probably followed Ethan and the police,” James surmised.  He looked at Kenny. “We should get up there and make sure she’s okay.” 

Kenny nodded.  “I’ll get my jacket.”   As he turned back to the study, the fax he’d received from Marilee slipped from his hand and scattered across the floor.  Eddie bent down to help retrieve the pages. 

Thanks,” Kenny said and hastily bent down to assist.  

Eddie looked at the faxes and frowned, a thoughtful expression crossing his face.  “Where did you get this?”

“Marilee faxed them to me,” he explained.   “Why?” 

“What’s wrong, Eddie?” Stormy asked as he and Jane approached and peered over his shoulder.  

He ran a hand over his face and looked at James.  “Do you remember the picture the killer faxed to the studio after Nathan’s attack?” he asked.  “There was a flaw in the corner, remember?” 

James nodded.  “Yes.” 

“And the same flaw in the same spot on the note Keaton faxed to Marilee telling her to stay away from him,” Eddie continued.

“Eddie, what are you talking about?” Miranda asked, sensing that he was disturbed by something.

“I assumed the flaw came from whatever fax machine Keaton was using,” he explained and then gestured to Kenny’s fax. “Look.  The same flaw in the same spot.  Again.”

“I don’t understand,” Jane remarked.

“The faxes didn’t come from Keaton,” he said.  “They came from Marilee.  She faxed the photo of Bianca Burnett, she received the fax from Keaton, and she faxed Kenny these documents.  All from the same machine."

They all looked at each other in surprise.  Quickly, Eddie grabbed his cell phone to call his father.  It went straight to voicemail.  

“Marilee?” Kenny asked.  “You think she’s the killer?” 

“The proof is in the fax,” Eddie confirmed.  “And Nathan got a note from the killer telling him to meet her at the studio.  Now my father isn’t answering his phone.  He could be in trouble.  We need to get to the studio.” 

“Come on,” Stormy said and headed for the door.

“What about Brooke?” James asked. 

“You go take care of Brooke,” Eddie said.  “We’ll find Nathan and my father.”  

Miranda and Jane followed them out the front door.  James stood behind, alarmed that things seemed to be spiraling out of control so quickly. 

Nathan Blackthorne

Nathan backed up from the door and slowly turned around.  To his relief, it wasn’t the killer standing behind him.  

“Marilee,” he said, his heart beating wildly inside his chest.  “You startled me.” 

“I’m sorry, Nathan,” she replied, a thin smile on her lips. 

“What are you doing here?” he asked.  “Are you looking for James?”

She walked toward him slowly.  “No, silly.  I’m looking for you.  I asked you to meet me here, remember?”

Nathan frowned, confused as to what she was talking about.  The killer told him to come there.  What was she saying?   Sounds coming from the back of the production offices alerted Nathan to the fact that they were not alone.  He heard tapping, knocking, muffled sounds coming from one of the offices.  

“Marilee?” he asked.  “Is someone else here?”  

“What would give you that idea?” she asked.  

Something didn’t sit right with him.  There was something about Marilee that struck him as peculiar.  He didn’t know her that well, but she didn’t seem to be herself.   When the sounds from the office continued, he decided to get to the bottom of whatever was going on.  

Moving at lightning speed, he darted to the door and pushed it open.  Across the room seated behind the desk was Victor, tied and gagged to a chair.  Fixed around his neck was a contraption that appeared to contract when the door opened.  Immediately, Victor began wheezing, his air flow cut off and his face turning blue.   Veins popped in his neck and face until Nathan quickly closed the door again.  He heard Victor coughing inside the office, which told him that the pressure from the choker had been released.  If the door were to open again, however, Victor was as good as dead.

“That was quick thinking,” Marilee said and pointed a gun at him.  “I’ll deal with Victor myself later.  For now, it’s your turn to die.” 

Keaton Hartley

Keaton’s hand trembled as he pointed the gun at Alex.  He used his free hand to wipe the sweat from his forehead.  Pounding in his head added to his confused state. 

Kill you?” he asked and then shook his head.  “I just wanted you to listen to me.” 

“Then put the gun down,” Alex said and bravely took a step toward him.  “I’m here.  I’m listening to everything you have to say.  Just put the gun down, Keaton.” 

He started to lower the gun but raised it quickly when she made a move to the door.   “See?  You’re trying to get away.  Just like she did.” 

Alex frowned and studied his face carefully.  “Who?” she asked. “Just like who tried getting away, Keaton?”  

He grew distant, a faraway look in his eyes as he stared off at the wall behind her.   “Why does everyone desert me?” he asked. 

“I didn’t desert you, Keaton.  Jonas gave you to a family who would love you and protect you.”  

“You said yourself that I would have gotten in the way of your dreams,” he insisted angrily.  “I was a burden so you tossed me aside.” 

“Millions of children are adopted into families and lead very happy lives,” Alex snapped.  “Forgive me if I don’t take pity on your for your miserable life. You told me you had a house with a white picket fence.  You went to one of the best film schools in the country.  You had more than most people have.  Now why don’t you grow up and stop whining?” 

She knew it was risky pushing his buttons, but she felt that she had to do something.  She had to get through to him enough to help him rationalize what he was doing. 

Angered by her outburst, Keaton darted forward with the gun gripped tightly in his hand.  His finger rested firmly on the trigger.  Alex screamed, backing up and shielding her eyes as she waited for the inevitable.   

“How dare you talk to me like that?” he screamed, aiming the gun at her head. 

Just then, the door burst open and Jordan raced inside.  He took immediate action, darting toward Keaton and knocking the gun out of his hand while paralyzing him in a choke hold. 

Alex cried out in terror, her hands covering her mouth as she watched Jordan immobilize Keaton on the floor of the apartment. 

Marilee Wells-Walker

Nathan watched Marilee closely.  He backed up away from her, moving down the hallway toward the entrance to the sound stage.  The door creaked open behind him.  She moved toward him with unrelenting determination, the gun poised firmly in her hand and her eyes fixed wildly on his. 

You?” Nathan asked.

“Surprised?” she replied.  “You should be.  I planned it perfectly so no one would suspect a thing.” 

Walking out onto the stage, the life-size replica of the shuttle still positioned in the center, Nathan studied her carefully.  “Who else is here?” he asked.  

“We’re alone,” she said.  “Except for Victor, and he’s not going anywhere.  You’ll be dead, and someone will open the door to that office and strangle the life out of him.  Appropriate for someone as despicable as he is, don’t you think?” 

“You’re alone?” Nathan asked and looked around.  “Are you saying you've done all this by yourself?” 

She nodded with a self gratifying smile.  “Just me.” 

“Why?” Nathan asked her.   “Jack, Elana, Lola?  Why did you do it?” 

“Why?” she asked with a scoff.  Why?”  The question came louder the second time.  “I’ll give you one hint.  Cheri Montessori.” 

“Who?” Nathan asked in confusion.  The name didn’t immediately register.

“One of Elana Hendricks’ hit-and-run victims,” she clarified.  “She was a young woman with her whole life ahead of her. Until Jonas Lamont came in and dumped her body in the ocean to protect his precious star from public scrutiny."

“She was the porn actress,” Nathan recalled.  “She was addicted to drugs.  Did you know her?  Is that why you’re doing this?” 

Marilee shook her head.  “So because she had a drug problem she deserved to die at the hands of an alcoholic?  She deserved to be treated like a piece of garbage and thrown off the pier?”  

“I didn’t say that,” Nathan insisted.

“Did you know she had a son?” Marilee continued.  “He was three years old.  Her husband died and she fell on hard times.  That’s why she resorted to doing porn for Joel Armitage. That’s why she got hooked on drugs.”  

“I didn’t know,” Nathan said, shaking his head. 

“Three days went by before they figured out she was missing, and then they went knocking on her door,” she explained.  “They got the landlord to open it and that’s when they found him.  Her son had died because he spent three days alone with no food and no water.  He died because that pig Jonas Lamont was too worried about his precious studio to stop and think of how covering up for these people might affect others.”

“Oh my God,” Nathan gasped.  “She left him alone?”

“She probably didn’t know she’d be killed by a drunk driver and thrown into the Pacific,” Marilee answered bitterly.  “The sad thing was, it took three days for people to realize she was missing.  That’s how important she was in this town.   She died alone because above anything else, a movie deal is all that matters to anyone in Hollywood.”

“I know it might seem like that, but-“ 

“It’s the truth!” she screamed, waiving the gun through the air, tears in her eyes. “Why do you think I got out of the business when I did?  People don’t matter here, and that’s the only reason why my son is dead!” 

Nathan’s eyes widened.  What?”  

Marilee looked at him with a crazed expression.  “When I learned that Kyle Fenwick wasn’t my son, I began searching for the real baby that I’ve given up for adoption.  It took a long time and a lot of money, but eventually I learned the truth.  The son that I bore from Will Thomerson was adopted by Cheri Montessori, before her life went down hill.  How do you think it felt after all this time of not knowing to find out that he only lived three fucking years?  A senseless, tragic death that could have been prevented.”  

“Jonas didn’t know that she had a son at home or else he wouldn’t have-“

“Do you think it would have made a difference?” Marilee asked with a snarl.  “Do you think the life of a drugged out porn star or an insignificant child mattered to him when it came to the tens of millions of dollars he raked in over the years?” 

“So why kill them?  Elana and Jack?  Why go through the trouble of torturing us?”

“You have to ask?  Why should any of you get to get away with your crimes?  What right did Jonas have to cover up for your stupid mistakes?  And even if he did feel justified in doing so, look what it cost Cheri Montessori?  Look what it cost me.” 

“So you decided to get revenge,” Nathan surmised.

“I spent a lot of time with Jonas when I starred in a few Sunset Studios films after I moved here from New York,” she explained.  “At parties at his house, on the sets, out and about town.  He loved to talk when he drank too much.  I must have heard a hundred stories just like the one about Elana, and the one about you, and Victor, and Jack and Lola.  I kept the secrets to myself because I owed Jonas.  He saved me at a time when I felt the lowest.” 

“Then when you found out about your son, you decided to start telling our secrets.” 

“I didn’t just want you all dead, I wanted you to know why you were being killed.  I wanted you to know that you can’t play with lives like this.  You just can’t.” 

“And Keaton?  You framed him, didn’t you?” 

“After Reconnections implied that he might be my son, I met him.  He was cold.  Hateful even.  He told me he’d already found his mother and that I didn’t compare to her.” 

“So you decided to get back at him too?”

“I planted the knife in his car after I stabbed Lola.” 

“And Deacon?” Nathan asked. 

Marilee shrugged.  “Not my doing.  Keaton could have killed him.  I tend to believe the initial story that he killed himself.”

Nathan had suspected as much.  “Marilee, you don’t have to do this.  Put the gun down and I’ll see to it that you get help.”

She laughed.  “I’m perfectly sane, Nathan.  This is just a case of good old fashioned revenge.  Take it as you and everyone else finally getting the punishment you deserve for what you did to those poor people.” 

“But those people we hurt,” Nathan began.  “What happened to them were accidents.” 

“Tell that to Bianca Burnett,” Marilee said.  “Was it an accident that you and Victor drugged her into a coma?  I wonder if she had anyone she left behind.  Well, at least Jonas and his fixer, Vaughan Novak didn’t just decide to pitch her off the pier.” 

“People will find out what you’ve done,” Nathan said.  “You won’t get away with it.” 

“I already have,” she said with a laugh.  “After I do you and Victor in, I’ll head over to the hospital where I’ll finish off Lola.  I’ve already got someone in line to take over Wells, Inc, which will leave me to enjoy myself on some tropical island for the next twenty years or so.”  She brought the gun directly to his face and removed a photograph of Bianca Burnett from her bag.  “Now close your eyes and say goodnight, Nathan.”

From behind her, Nathan could see the door to the sound stage slowly open.  To his relief, Stormy and Eddie were making their way from the hall.  He swallowed hard, praying that they would stop her in time. 

Michael Blackthorne

Teetering on the top step of the Hollywood sign, Michael cried out for his father.  He tried to sit down but Emmett pulled him back up, lifting him into his arms and holding him as he struggled in his grasp. 

“Put me down!” he cried.  “Put me down!” 

Ethan was nearing the top of the H.  He could still hear Brooke screaming frantically from below.  Suddenly, a helicopter appeared from above and Ethan realized it was the police forces rallying to the scene.  Not that it would do any good.  All Emmett had to do was move a few mere inches and it would all be over.   Michael would plummet down hundreds of feet to his death.

“Emmett!” he called from below.  “Emmett, think about what you’re doing!  This is the life of a child we’re talking about!” 

“What about the life of my child?” the man asked, his arms wrapped around Michael who still thrashed about in his clutches.   “She was so young.  So beautiful.  And you took her away from me!” 

“Taking another life won’t bring her back!” Ethan shouted.  He reached the top step and positioned himself on the ledge beside the man.  “It won’t bring her back, Emmett.  Nothing will.  I know it hurts but you have to move on.”  

“I’ll feel a lot better knowing you’ve lost something just as precious to you,” Emmett said, desperately trying to hold Michael still.

“Emmett, we were friends once,” Ethan called to him.  “I owed you my life.  I still do.  You rescued me and took care of me.  You know I would never have hurt your daughter on purpose.” 

“She was such an angel,” Emmett said, grief stricken tears rolling down his face.  “She was so much like her mother.  Now they’re both gone.” 

Ethan could tell he was beginning to waver in his determination.  The look on Emmett’s face turned from vengeful to one of utter despair.   He made an attempt at maneuvering forward, reaching out to take Michael from him.   In a moment of weakness, Emmett allowed his arms to slip from around the boy.  Before Ethan could catch him, Michael fell, screaming as he rolled off the ledge and began sailing over the sign.  

Brooke screamed out in horror from below as she watched the events unfold.  She covered her eyes, unable to watch the inevitable tragedy that was about to take her son from her.   At that moment, James arrived.  He quickly went to her and held on to her to comfort her.  Hysterically, she clung to him. 

“He’s going to fall!” she cried.

On the top of the sign, Ethan reacted quickly, lunging to the surface of the ledge and reaching his hand out to Michael.  He missed grabbing his arm by inches, but managed to cling onto the thin fabric of his t-shirt.  

“Daddy!” Michael wailed as he dangled over the side. 

“I got you, buddy,” Ethan said, praying that the fabric would hold out.  He clamped his fingers around the stretched collar, attempting to reach his other hand down to take his son’s arm.   Then his worst fears were realized.  The fabric started to rip. 

Standing below, Brooke watched through her hands.  She prayed that Ethan would be able to bring Michael to safety.  Each moment that passed was excruciating.  She squeezed James’s hand with all her might. 

Finally, Ethan managed to reach his other hand down and take Michael by the hand.  At that moment, a piece of the boy’s t-shirt ripped off in his fist.  He gathered his strength and lifted him back to the ledge, panting with exhaustion and collapsing once he was safe.  

Brooke let out a cry of relief, sobbing happily as she watched.   Instinctively, she turned and wrapped her arms around James. 

“When did you get so heavy?” Ethan asked with a laugh in spite of the dire circumstances.   He climbed to his feet, checking Michael over to ensure he wasn’t hurt.   Once he was sure that he was in one piece, he turned and saw Emmett standing silently on the edge of the sign. 

“It’s time to go, Emmett,” he said and reached a hand out to him.  “It’s time to say goodbye to Sophie.” 

Tears staining his cheeks, Emmett shook his head in agony.   “I can’t,” he said.  “I can’t do it.  She was all I had left.”  

“You need to go on,” Ethan told him.  “Find a way to keep living.  It’s not easy but it’s what we have to do.” 

“My angel,” Emmett said and looked down at the steep mountain that emptied onto the road a hundred feet below.   “I’ll be with you again soon.” 

“Emmett,” Ethan said, suddenly realization dawning.  “Emmett, don’t.” 

But it was too late.  In one swift movement, the man stepped off the sign and plummeted to the ground below.  With Michael held tightly in his arms, Ethan turned his son’s face away from the horrific scene so that he wouldn’t be witness to the senseless act.   He gazed down the mountain and saw the man’s body splattered all over the road.  A sick feeling of finality overcame him. 

After he’d brought Michael back down the steps, Brooke came rushing over and scooped the little boy up in her arms, sobbing happily as she squeezed him tightly.  When she was sure that he was real and not a dream, she turned to Ethan and drew him close.  They kissed tenderly, huddling together on the hill.  A few yards away, James watched them and smiled. 

Nathan Blackthorne

Nathan knew he had to keep Marilee talking long enough for Stormy and Eddie to make their move, so he did his best to distract her. 

“You’re going to let an innocent man take the fall for your crimes?” he asked.  “It won’t work, Marilee.  He already has an alibi for the night of Lola’s attack.” 

“It won’t matter,” Marilee told him as she cocked the gun.  “Especially once they find out about his past before he came here.”

“What do you mean?”

“When Reconnections listed him as a potential match for my son, I decided to do some checking into his background.  It seems your director has a few mental incapacities.  That’s the polite way to put it, of course.  His high school girlfriend, on the other hand, might have a different story.  It seems when she tried breaking up with him he tried to kill himself.  Multiple times.  The last time he threatened her with a gun and then turned it on himself.  I believe he spent the summer after his senior year in a padded cell, but I’ll have to check my facts again.”  

Nathan grew more concerned for Alex’s safety.  He hoped that Jordan had got to her in time.  While Keaton had always been a little nervous and out there, he never imagined he’d have been that troubled.  He looked behind her again.  Stormy was approaching slowly, a fire extinguisher clutched between each hand.  He raised it over his head.  That’s when Nathan’s eyes gave him away. 

Marilee spun around quickly, pointing the gun at Stormy and firing a shot.  The bullet richocheted off of the fire extinguisher and hit Nathan in the arm.  He still managed to go at Marilee from behind,  finally succeeding in knocking the gun from her hand.  

In a desperate attempt at escape, she dashed across the sound stage and bolted through the door.  Just on the other side, Miranda and Jane were knelt down with their hands outstretched clasped together in a makeshift wire trap.  In Marilee’s haste to escape, she tripped over their arms and went sailing to the floor.   

Before she could regain her footing, Nathan appeared and aimed the gun at her. 

“It’s over, Marilee,” he said.

Hovering behind, Stormy looked at Jane and grinned.  “Nice going.  But also dangerous.  Who do you two think you are?  Charlie’s Angels?” 

“The original,” Miranda answered, out of breath.  “Not that lame remake.” 

“Hold this, Stormy,” Nathan said and handed the gun to his great nephew.  He made his way down the hall to the first office and paused outside the door.

“Nathan, what are you doing?” Eddie asked. 

Quickly, and in one swift movement, Nathan kicked the door in, hoping that the force would undo the contraption Marilee had secured Victor in.  It seemed to do the trick.  Once the door went toppling over, the rope securing the choker came loose. 

“Dad!” Eddie exclaimed and raced into the room.  He untied him and removed the gag from his mouth.  “Oh my God, Dad.  Are you okay?”

“Never better,” Victor said, instinctively rubbing his neck where the choker had been.  “I’m just grateful you all got here when you did.”  

“If anything had happened to you-“ Eddie said and pulled him into an embrace.  “I’m just really glad you’re alive.” 

“It’ll take more than a crazed killer to keep me down,” Victor said.  “I rose from the brink of death once before.  After that, anything’s possible.”  

“You should have died on that yacht that night two years ago,” Marilee said, defeated.  She then looked at Nathan.  “And you.  If what you both did you Bianca Burnett wasn’t bad enough, the things you did to those poor girls was despicable.  I can only imagine how Jonas would have protected you from that if he were still alive.”  

“You don’t have the right to play God,” Nathan hissed.  “A young man is lying in a coma in the hospital and if he wakes up, he’s going to find out that his father is gone thanks to you.  Jonas is gone, Marilee.  Who’s going to protect you?” 

She glared menacingly at him as the police arrived and cuffed her hands behind her back.  Detective Rodriguez turned to Nathan and addressed him. 

“Does someone mind telling me what went on here today?” he demanded. 

“I’ll fill you in on everything, detective,” Nathan said, standing by Victor and the others as Marilee was led out of the studio. 

Jordan Rydell

Jordan tended to Alex on the sofa as the police restrained Keaton in handcuffs.  The director obeyed their commands, his head hung low as he was frisked for additional weapons. 

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Jordan asked Alex. 

“He’s my son,” she whispered in shock.  “After all this time-“

What?” Jordan asked in astonishment as he turned toward the young man.  

“I would have never hurt you,” Keaton said.  “I just wanted you to listen to me.  That’s all.”  

“You broke in here with a gun,” Jordan lamented.

Tears filled Keaton’s eyes.  “I’m sorry.  I just wanted to know who I was and where I came from.  I never meant to hurt anybody.”  

Alex turned away, unable to look him in the eyes.  After the police had escorted him outside the penthouse, she stood up and padded across the room.  

“This can’t be happening,” she said, wrapping her arms around herself.

“Why didn’t you ever tell me?” Jordan asked and placed a hand on her arm.

“I was ashamed,” she admonished. 

Despite the crazy look in Keaton’s eyes, she believed him when he told her he would have never hurt her.  Now she had to face the consequences of her secrets.  The truth she tried for so many years to cover up was out.  Nothing would ever be the same.

Blackthorne Mansion

That evening at the Blackthorne mansion, word had begun to spread about the days’ events.  They gathered in the family room while Leilani served coffee and sandwiches. 

“You had quite an adventure today, didn’t you?” Miranda said to Michael as she knelt down before him.

He nodded distantly, a finger hooked over his lower lip and his head hung low. 

“I think he’s more tired than he’s letting on,” Brooke announced and placed a hand on her son’s shoulder.  “How about mommy takes you upstairs and gets a bath ready for you?”

He nodded and clung to her hand.  Brooke glanced at Ethan before they left and he nodded as if to indicate he’d be up soon.   After they’d gone, he ran his fingers through his hair and poured himself a cup of strong black coffee.

“I can’t tell you how scared I was that we were going to lose him,” he announced. 

“But you didn’t,” James said.  “Michael’s been through a lot, but he’ll survive this.  He’s stronger than you think.  You all are.” 

“It’s kind of sad when you think about it,” Stormy added, his arm snaking around Jane who fell in line beside him.  “He was so grief stricken over his daughter’s death that ending his own life was the only thing that would end his pain.” 

“Emmett and Sophie were all each other had,” Ethan said somberly.   He shook his head and started for the door.  “I’m going to go up and see if he’s okay.  I’ll see you all in a bit.  I want to hear more about Marilee when I get back.” 

“I still can’t believe Marilee was behind the murders all along,” James said in deep concentration.  “I've known her for thirty years.  I mean, I knew she regretted giving her son away, but to take revenge on everyone Jonas helped cover mistakes up for was…” 

“Insane,” Eddie remarked with a scoff. 

Stormy shook his head.  “I don’t know.  Nathan said she seemed very cognoscente of what she was doing.  When she found out that her biological son had died, the grief took over.”  

“You’d think we would have noticed something,” Kenny said from across the room.  “Erratic behavior or something.  But to me she seemed like the same Marilee she always was.  I guess this makes sense as to why she asked me to step in at Wells, Inc.” 

“Well, thank God for Eddie for putting the pieces together,” James said and turned to his future son-in-law.  “That was brilliant work with recognizing the similarities with those faxes.” 

“I can’t take all the credit,” Eddie swooned and pulled Miranda close.  “My bride-to-be and Jane took the psycho – I mean Marilee - down all by themselves.  They didn’t need our help.”  

“Hey!” Stormy exclaimed. “I was the one who was brave enough to go after her with the fire extinguisher!”

“Speaking of,” Jane said.  “What happened to Nathan?  That bullet ricocheted and hit him pretty good.” 

“It wasn’t serious,” Eddie said.  “My dad went to the hospital with him but I think he’ll be good as new.” 

Miranda plopped down in a chair and exhaled.  “Well, I’m exhausted,” she said.  “This day has been a bit too much even by Blackthornes standards.” 

Stormy laughed.  “Are you kidding?  We should be used to one of these every few months. "

“Hopefully things will be quiet long enough to get this wedding under way,” James said.  “We’ve got two days to pull off the impossible.”  

“Don’t remind me,” Miranda said and covered her face with her hands.  “Jane, tell me you remembered to order the flowers.” 

“I didn’t order them,” Jane said. 

“What!?”

You did, remember?” she said.  “Relax, Miranda.  The wedding is going to be perfect.  Nothing is going to ruin this day for you.” 

Stormy cleared his throat and let out a muffled laugh.  “That’s because you’re new around here, Jane.  Something will go wrong.  It always does.”

Miranda threw a pillow at him and folded her arms tightly across her chest.  “Not at my wedding,” she said.  

Jordan Rydell

After hearing the news about Marilee, Jordan left Alex and made his way to the hospital to check on Lola.  To his relief, Dr. Farraday had positive news.  While still unconscious, her vitals were improving. 

The fact that Marilee had been behind the murders and attacks made him wonder if anyone were ever truly who they claimed to be.  In Hollywood, particularly, people wore masks on a daily basis.  He, himself, was guilty of it from time to time.  But more than a means of deceit, it was a means of hiding from his feelings.  It always had been.  

“Mr. Rydell?” a voice came from behind.   He turned to see a nurse enter the room.  Ashton Childers has been asking for you.  Another nurse said you were here visiting your mother so I took a chance and-“

“Ashton is awake?” Jordan asked with surprise and rose from his chair.   “When?” 

“Just a few hours ago.  I can show you the way if you’d like.” 

He nodded, said a brief goodbye to Lola, and followed the nurse up two floors and down a corridor.  When he arrived, Blake Distefano was pacing outside the room.  They embraced warmly.  Moments later, Jordan was inside the room sitting next to Ashton.

“They told me about my dad,” Ashton said to Jordan, his face drawn and pale, dark circles around his eyes.  He’d been in a coma for eight months following the car accident on Mulholland.  

“I’m sorry, Ashton,” Jordan said.  “I want you to know that you’re not alone.  There are people who care about you.  You have my word.”  

"How can my dad be gone?"

Jordan shook his head sorrowfully.  

"Mr. Rydell?" Ashton continued.  "How come Blake got upset when I asked him about Benji?  We were on our way up Mulholland to see him and Sierra when that drunk driver hit us.  Did we get there in time?  Is Sierra okay?  Is Benji?"

Tears exploded from Jordan's eyes.  It was like reliving that night all over again.  "No, they're not okay," he told him, and then proceeded to tell him what happened.  The only difference was this time it hurt a tiny bit less.  It wasn't much, but it was progress.

Ethan Blackthorne

Ethan walked into Michael’s room and found him asleep on the bed, Brooke standing over him watching him.  When she saw him enter, she turned and folded her arms. 

“He was out the minute his head hit the pillow,” she said. 

“He’s been through a lot.  But he’ll get through it.  We’ll talk to Dr. Podany in the morning.”

Brooke nodded hopefully.  “How are you?” she asked.  “Emmett’s death has to bring a lot of feelings up for you.  About Sophie and about the time you spent with them.”  

“It does, but I can’t beat myself up over what happened.  I spent enough time doing that in prison.  Emmett was a lonely man.  I think he would have taken his life even if he hadn’t tried taking Michael.”  

She looked at him warily.  “I know you have more feelings about it than that.” 

Ethan shook his head and changed the subject.  “What happened with you and Kyle?”

“Kyle and I are over,” she said.  “I mean it.  He’s lied to me for the last time.”  As she thought about David and the experimental surgery he’d undergone, she suddenly realized something that hadn’t occurred to her.  With Michael’s kidnapping, it had escaped her momentarily.  “Oh my God.  Miranda.” 

“What about Miranda?” 

Brooke covered her face with her hands.  “There’s something I have to tell her.”  She knew she’d want to know about David.  But with the wedding in two days, how could she spring it on her?  Maybe waiting until afterwards was the best thing for everyone.

“Look, I need to go out for a while,” Ethan said.  “We’ll talk when I get back, okay?”  

“Where are you going?”  She seemed upset that he was leaving. 

“There’s just something I need to take care of.”   

She pulled him back and looked into his eyes.  “Ethan, there’s a lot we have to figure out,” she said.  “I think this thing with Michael really made me realize what’s important.  I hope it did the same for you.”  

Ethan nodded.  “It did.  I’ll see you in a bit.”  

After he left, Brooke turned back to Michael and took a deep breath.   “Everything’s going to be okay, Michael,” she whispered.   “We’re going to be a family again.  You, me and your daddy.”  

Mackenzie Stone

When Ethan got to Mackenzie’s house, she opened the door and looked at him with a dull stare.  Slowly, she moved from the doorway and allowed him to pass. 

“Michael’s home safe,” he told her.

She walked into the living room and poured herself a glass of chardonnay.  “I’m relieved,” she said.  “Really, Ethan.  I’m very happy for you and Brooke.”  

Sensing that something was off with her, he moved toward her.  “Look, I realize I’ve been distracted, but I haven’t stopped thinking about you.  How are you feeling?” 

“Don’t pretend that you care,” she said with a roll of her eyes.  “I know why you’re here, Ethan.” 

“No, you don’t.” 

“Let me see,” she began, walking across the room with her glass.  “First you’re going to tell me that you had a really great time with me and then you’ll say that you hope we can still be friends, and you wish me all the best in whatever the future holds.  Then you’ll cap it off with the astonishing news that you and Brooke have grown closer during these last forty-eight hours and that you realized you belong together after all.”

“Mackenzie, you’re wrong-“

“Please,” she quipped and downed half the glass.  “It’s word for word what I’ve been expecting you to come here and say to me.  Well good news, Ethan.  I saved you the trouble.  So let’s just leave it at that and go about our own lives.” 

“I’m not getting back with Brooke,” Ethan said.  “Mackenzie, I came here to tell you that I love you.  Almost losing my son made me realize that.”  

She shook her head and slammed her glass on the bar.  The force caused it to shatter into pieces, one of the sharp edges slicing through her thumb.  

“Damnit,” she hissed and quickly went to lick the blood away.   

“You’re hurt,” Ethan said and raced toward her. 

“I’m fine!” she insisted and backed away from him.  “Ethan, go home.  Go home to Brooke and Michael and forget about me.”

“But that’s not what I want,” Ethan said. 

She walked to the door and opened it.  “It’s inevitable,” she told him and looked away.  

Resigned to the fact that there was no getting through to her, Ethan slunk out of the house and turned just as the door was being slammed in his face.   

Brooke Taylor

Brooke was coming out of the shower in her bedroom when Ethan returned some time later.  Surprised that he’d already made it home, she padded across the room toward him but he cut her off, removing the towel from her body and throwing her down onto the bed. 

“Ethan,” she said, surprised by his sudden change in moods.   “What’s gotten into you?” 

“Just let me make love to you,” he said, ripping his shirt off and bending down to cover her naked body in wet kisses. 

She pulled him on top of her and ran her fingers through his hair.  Minutes later, they were making urgent, hurried love, her body still wet and glistening with water.

Nathan Blackthorne

“It’s good to be home,” Nathan said when he, Victor and Vaughan entered his bungalow on Alvarado Court.  “I never thought I’d be so happy to see this old place.” 

“It was quite a day,” Victor said and went to the bar to pour them drinks. 

“Victor, you were so lucky,” Vaughan said and shed his topcoat.  “How did Marilee get you?”  

Victor cleared his throat while standing before them. “There I was, gentlemen.  Reaching for the door handle of my car when from behind I hear the devil’s footsteps.  He’s upon me, reaching from behind to snuff the breath from my body.  The last thing I remember was seeing the word Cadillac emblazoned ever so faintly on the bottom of my car window.  I started to wonder if I would be able to convey my feelings of that moment with one single word.  I’m an actor, so when I see a word I act it!  I live it!  I embody that word with every fiber of my being.”  

Nathan removed his jacket and tended to the bandage from where he’d been stitched up at the hospital.

“The next thing I know, I wake up strapped to a chair at the studio.  I say to myself Victor, you will get through this.  You’ve overcome so much.  This is just another test.”

“Horrifying,” Vaughan said and crossed the room.  “To think, Cheri Montessori adopted Marilee’s son.” 

Nathan hated to ask the question that had been plaguing him, but he had to for his own peace of mind.  “Vaughan, when Elana called Jonas that night to tell him what had happened – that she’d struck someone with her car – did you really not know that Cheri Montessori had a three-year old son at home?” 

Vaughan knew what he was getting at.  “Nathan, we didn’t even know who she was,” he insisted.  “For all we knew she was a prostitute.  All Jonas wanted to do was cover up the hit-and-run so we pitched the body off the pier and got rid of Elana’s car.  We never thought that she could have a child at home, much less a toddler.”  

“It is sad,” Nathan said.  “Marilee looked for her son for years.  How painful it must have been after all that time to learn he died at the age of three.  And all because Jonas wanted to protect the studio’s reputation.”  

“It’s a tough business,” Vaughan said with a somber shake of his head.  “And a lonely business.  No one ever said it wasn’t.”

Nathan looked into his glass and grew reflective of his own experiences with Jonas.  He raised his glass and offered a toast.  “I propose we drink to Cheri Montessori,” he said.   “And Bianca Burnett.”  

“And Natalie Davidson,” Victor added. 

“And Lana,” Nathan finished, clinking his glass against theirs.

“What about Jonas?” Victor asked. 

Nathan considered the sentiment before nodding in approval.  “Of course.  He’s the only reason we’re here.  To Jonas.” 

Blackthorne Mansion

When the party had died down and most of the guests had left the mansion, Jonas retreated to his private screening room in the basement.  It was there that he went when he needed time to reflect.   He didn’t immediately realize it, but he wasn’t alone. 

“Maureen,” Jonas said, staggering toward his seat.  “I thought I was alone.”  

“I just needed to get away from the crowd for a few minutes,” she replied.  “Oh, and it’s Marilee now, remember?”  

Jonas smiled.  “Oh yes, Marilee.  I’m sorry, my dear.  Good work in that scene yesterday, by the way.  You, my little star, have chemistry with positively everyone.”  

She blushed.  “Thank you.  You were gone for some time this evening, weren’t you?  I saw you leave with Vaughan.  Where did you go?  It’s not like the host to abandon the ship.” 

Jonas looked down at his tuxedo shirt and noted that there was a small blood stain near his belt.  “If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.” 

Marilee’s face lit up.  “Sounds exciting.”  She rushed to the chair beside him and sat down.  “Come on, tell.  I promise I won’t repeat it.  Not to anyone.”

He would have protested, but he was already slightly inebriated.  That’s what downing three drinks in half an hour did to a man.  “It’s no fun being Jonas Lamont sometimes.” 

“I bet it’s something good,” Marilee said with innocent excitement.  “If it’s anything like what you told me about your wife and her twin sister, I know it will be.  And I never told anyone about that, did I?” 

Jonas was too drunk to argue.  “You saw Elana Hendricks at the party earlier, didn’t you?” he began.  “A drink in each hand all night.” 

“I know!” Marilee squealed.  “Did she leave with someone?"

“She left alone,” he replied.  “And unfortunately, managed to get into a little bit of a situation with a woman crossing the street.  Let’s just say that Jonas had to come to the rescue again.  It’s all for the good of the studio, you know, darling.  I’d do it for you.” 

Marilee grew quiet.  “That’s terrible,” she said.  “That poor woman.”  

He shrugged.  “Like I’ve always said, darling, in Hollywood there are two kinds of people.  Those who matter and those who matter.  The rest are just hookers, waitresses, and valets.”  

The remark put a smile back on her face.  “I think I’m going to like it here,” she said.

“Just you wait,” he said.  “Hollywood is a playground of delights.  I should know.  I helped build it.”

***To Be Continued***


Next time....

In the conclusion of the finale, friends and family gather for Miranda's wedding.  Alex battles her demons.  Brooke makes a decision that affects many lives.  Renee wants Jackie to pay dearly.

 

 

Read Part 2 of The Series Finale

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