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Episode 19

 

Release Date:  April 14, 2006

  Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Ethan felt defeated when he learned of Brooke's pregnancy and her intentions on going back to James.  Brooke agonized over her decision, fearing that if she'd known Ethan was alive she'd have acted differently and told him the baby was his. Lauren broke off her affair with Stormy as a result of his defending Heather.  Brooke was delighed when James announced he would not go after Will to get Sunset Studios back.  Stormy became jealous when he saw Lauren with another man. Later, after they reconciled, Brett saw them together and contemplated telling Heather out of jealousy.  Disregarding Brooke's request, James went to Alex for help in getting his studio back.  Ethan asked Brooke if her baby was his.  


 

Episode 19

"In Her Letter"

 

Standing in the clubhouse at the Valley Beach Club, Alex pushed an auburn curl of hair up away from her face and fanned out her satin wedding dress.  She looked at James and at the glimmer of hope in his eyes.   So much had changed in the last few weeks.  She’d gone from being hell bent on ruining his life to exchanging pleasantries just minutes before her wedding.   The tender way he looked at her made her question her union with Jordan.  What if there was a chance of reconciling with James?   Of getting back what they had before their bitter divorce?

“Did you hear what I said?” James asked.   “Alex, will you help me get my studio back from Will Thomerson?”

“You know I would do anything to undo the damage that I’ve done,” Alex said, wishing she could tell him how she felt without the risk of rejection.   “But how?  Do you have any idea the lengths Will went to to get it in the first place?”

“I don’t care,” James insisted, wincing from a sharp pain in his head.   He closed his eyes and waited a beat.   A minute later the pain was gone.   “I have to get my studio back if it’s the last thing I do.”

“James, I don’t know what you’re asking me,” she began.  “You don’t have any legal grounding to stand on.   Everything Will did was by the book.”

Suddenly the pain returned and James doubled over, holding his head in his hands and groaning in misery.  

“James!” Alex cried.  “Oh my God, what is it?”  

“Alex…” James grunted, falling to his knees and feeling the room spinning.   The pain was worse than it had ever been.   He felt like he was dying.

Eyes widening, Alex bent down and tried to comfort him.  She was shocked that he was still having the headaches.   It was all because of that damned plane crashed in the Caribbean.   She knew it at the time but didn’t do anything about it.  Now he looked like he was dying and it was her fault.

Beach Club

Brett stepped inside the restaurant from the terrace and saw Stormy and Lauren in a heated embrace, kissing passionately and whispering quietly to each other. 

“I’m so sorry,” Stormy said, smothering her lips with feverish kisses.

“I know,” Lauren replied in bated breath.   “Just be with me now.”

Stormy nodded, taking her hand and leading her backstage where her dressing room was.

Suddenly Heather walked in through the front door, pausing in the doorway and calling across the room to Brett.  “Have you seen Stormy?” she asked.  “I’ve been looking all over for him.”

Brett bit down on his lip, glancing at the back room where Stormy and Lauren had just disappeared.  He looked back at Heather and weighed his options carefully.   He could tell her what he’d seen and that would put an end to Stormy and Lauren’s affair.   But it could also put an end to their partnership.   His big chance of making something of himself would be over.   He couldn’t risk it.

“I haven’t seen him,” he finally replied.  “I just came in to check on things for the reception.   Lauren is going to sing.”

Heather shrugged.  “Maybe that’s where Stormy is,” she said.  “I’ll go check the back room.”

Brett’s eyes widened and he darted across the room to intercept her.   “Wait!” he called out instantly.

Heather stopped and looking at him suspiciously.   “What?” she asked with a slight frown.  

Trying to do some fast thinking, Brett put his arm around her and led her back to the doors leading outside.  “I think I remember seeing him in the clubhouse.  Come on, let’s go have a look.”

“I was just there,” Heather said, pulling away and walking back to the back room.

“Heather, you can’t go back there,” Brett announced, realizing how strange his behavior must seem to her.    But the more he thought about it the more he knew he couldn’t let Heather see Stormy and Lauren together.  It would ruin everything for him.  

“What is your problem?” Heather asked.

“I just think we need to get back,” Brett said nervously.  “You don’t want your father wondering what happened to you.  I’m sure Stormy’s there by now.  Besides, I already checked the back room.”

With a sigh, Heather finally gave in and followed him outside onto the terrace.   He turned back and looked to the door leading to the dressing room, biting his lip and imagining what was going on at that very moment.

Ethan Blackthorne

Meanwhile, back in the garden area, Ethan looked at Brooke with pleading eyes and took a step closer.    “The baby you’re carrying,” he began.  “Is there any chance it could be mine?”

Brooke froze, paralyzed with fear as she looked at him blankly.  How could she stand there and lie to him after everything they’d been through?    She had to tell him the truth.  He deserved that much.  “Ethan, look, I-“

“I don’t want you to feel like I’m pressuring you,” he interrupted, his dirty blond hair gently blowing in the breeze.  “It’s just that we were together a month ago and we both know all it takes is once.”

She knew there was no way she could stand there and lie to him.   He would see right through it.  Besides, it wasn’t fair to keep a secret like this from him.  “Ethan, when I came back from the Caribbean, I thought I’d lost you forever,” she began.

Just then, commotion from the clubhouse caught their attention and they both spun around to see what was happening.   They saw Miranda running inside the clubhouse with a grief stricken look on her face screaming for her father.

“Oh my God,” Brooke whispered and took off up the hill toward the building.   Ethan followed fast on her heels.

Once inside, they found Alex standing above James who lay unconscious on the floor of the clubhouse.    Brooke’s eyes widened and she raced toward them, pushing her way past bystanders to get to James.

“What happened?” Brooke asked, a tear forming in her eye.  “Did someone call an ambulance?”

“They’re on their way,” said Jordan as he put an arm around a frightened Alex.

Brooke laid her hand alongside James’s pale face and shook her head in despair and confusion.   She looked up at Alex and gritted her teeth.  “What did you do to him?” she asked angrily.

Alex looked at her in shock and shook her head.  “I didn’t do anything!  We were talking and all of the sudden he collapsed!”

Miranda grabbed Brooke’s arm and pulled her up, glaring at her with a menacing stare.  “How dare you accuse my mother of doing something to him!” she screeched.  “If anyone is to blame for this it’s you!”

Just then, Brett and Heather arrived and quickly surveyed the commotion.  Brett ran to Miranda and pulled her away from Brooke.  “It’s okay,” he said.  “This isn’t helping anything, Miranda.”

She pulled away from her husband and lashed out at Brooke again.  “It’s because of you and your baby!” she screamed.  “Everything was fine until you came back into our lives and ruined everything!”

The crowd gasped in shock at Miranda’s announcement.  Those who didn’t know about the baby, including Alex, looked at Brooke in awe.    “Baby?” she whispered to herself.

She couldn’t believe Brooke was carrying James’s child.   The thought of him having a family with another woman was a startling blow.

Sirens sounded in the distance as the paramedics arrived on the scene.   Heather looked around for Stormy and didn’t see him anywhere.    She scampered outside and looked around the garden.  She knew he would want to know what was going on with his father.  

Deciding to check out the restaurant again, she made her way up the hill and entered the dining room through the terrace doors. 

“Stormy!” she called out, weaving through the tables in the sun-filtered room.

Stormy Blackthorne

In the back dressing room, Stormy jumped off of Lauren and stood up from the sofa, beads of sweat covering his face and body.    He panted heavily, certain that he’d heard Heather calling his name.

“What is it?” Lauren asked, frustrated that their rendezvous had been interrupted just when it was nearing the explosive climax.

“I don’t know,” he whispered, eyes wide as he stared at the door.

Heather Blackthorne

Heather walked into the back of the restaurant and proceeded down the long hallway.  She looked into the break room and found that it was empty.    Next, she stopped at the manager’s office and peered inside.   Nothing.     Finally, she came to the dressing room door and reached out for the knob.    Slowly she turned it and stepped inside the small room.

Empty.

Sighing, she pulled the door closed again and went back down the hall to the dining room.   She didn’t understand it.  Her husband was nowhere to be found.  Meanwhile, his father was being hauled away in an ambulance.   

Lauren Spencer

In the dressing room, the closet door opened and Stormy slowly crept out, followed by Lauren.    He looked at the door and let out a deep breath.  That was close, he thought to himself.   Too close.  

“Is this how it’s always going to be?” Lauren asked, pulling on her clothes in frustration.   “Hiding in closets from your wife?”

Stormy closed his eyes, wishing he didn’t have to think about it.   Why couldn’t things be simpler?   Why did he have to fall in love with Lauren in the first place?

Jasmes Blackthorne

The paramedics loaded James’s unconscious body into the back of the ambulance and closed the doors.   Brooke watched with watery eyes as Ethan put a hand on her shoulder and pulled her into an embrace.  

“I’ll go to the hospital with you,” he said, then stood back and looked deep into her eyes.  “He’s going to be okay.  I promise.”

Winter watched from across the crowd, clenching her teeth at the sight of Ethan coddling Brooke.   She was frustrated out of her mind.   What would it take to get Ethan to leave her alone?    She was pregnant with James’s baby.   That should be cause enough to walk away from her.

Brooke started down the sidewalk to the parking lot when Miranda grabbed her and pulled her back. 

“Where do you think you’re doing?” she asked with Brett right behind her.

Brooke looked at her and shrugged.  “To the hospital,” she replied evenly.

“Oh no you’re not!” Miranda yelled.  “I think you’ve done enough already!  My father doesn’t need to have you hanging around!  He has me!”

“Miranda, that’s enough,” Ethan snapped, glaring at his cousin.  “This isn’t the time or the place.”

Miranda rolled her eyes and slapped her hands to her sides.  “What the hell do you know?” she asked.  “You’re as blinded by her as Daddy is.  I’m sorry, Ethan.  I know you mean well, but she’s going to hurt you the same way she hurt him.   You’d be doing yourself a favor if you just walked away from her right now.”

Ignoring her hateful remarks, Ethan turned and led Brooke toward his car in the parking lot.    Winter stood back, watching them go and sighing in disbelief.   The fact that he could just leave her there without a word was hurtful to say the least.   It was as if she didn’t even exist when Brooke was around.

Just then, Stormy ran up to the crowd with a concerned-stricken look on his face as he glanced around at the somber faces.   Lauren appeared just behind him seconds later and Heather’s eyes widened in surprise.

“What’s going on?” Stormy asked, looking at Miranda and Brett.

“Your dad collapsed,” Brett replied, eyeing him and Lauren skeptically.   “They took him to the hospital.”

“What?” Stormy gasped.  “When did this happen?”

“A few minutes ago,” Brett announced, then added with a snarl.  “Where were you?”

Stormy paused, flustered by the question and uncertain of how he was going to respond convincingly.

“Yeah, where were you?” Heather asked, approaching him from behind.   She looked at him and then at Lauren, trying desperately to read their guilt-ridden expressions.

“I was in the restaurant,” Stormy replied, stammering over his words as he eyed Lauren out of the corner of his eyes.  “Seeing if Lauren was ready for her performance at the reception.”

Heather shook her head adamantly.  “No you weren’t,” she said.  “I was just there and I looked all around for you.”

Brett smiled with satisfaction.  The fact that Stormy had backed himself into a corner with this one was almost amusing.   It couldn’t have worked better if he’d planned it himself.

Stormy shrugged indifferently.  “Well I was there.  We must have just missed each other.”  His tone turned defensive and he glared at his wife.  “Why are you badgering me, anyway?   My father was just taken to the hospital.   We should be on our way there, not standing around here keeping tabs on everyone.”

“Let’s go,” Miranda said, starting up the sidewalk to the parking lot.  Brett, Stormy and Heather followed close behind, leaving the dwindling crowd of wedding guests behind.

Alex shook her head in despair and turned to Jordan.  “I guess we should get to the hospital too,” she said.

Jordan frowned.  “Excuse me?” he asked in disbelief.

She shrugged.  “Well I can’t get married now,” she said.  “Everyone left.  I think that our first priority should be to find out if James is going to be okay.”

“No, our first priority is getting married like we’d planned,” Jordan insisted, a hint of annoyance evident in his voice.   “Alex, James Blackthorne is nothing to you anymore.  He’s your ex-husband.   Now you’re telling me that you’d rather be with him in the hospital than marrying me here today?”

Alex shook her head in desperation.  “Jordan, be reasonable,” she said.  “We can’t go ahead with the ceremony after all of this.  My children aren’t even here to see it.”

“So we’ll take pictures,” Jordan insisted, then grabbed her by the arms and looked into her eyes.  “Alex, don’t walk out on this wedding.  I want to marry you now.”

Alex glared at him and pulled away.  “And what if I don’t?” she asked.

Jordan folded his arms and shrugged.  “Then I don’t want to get married at all.”  He knew it was harsh but he couldn’t let Alex’s lingering feelings for James ruin their day.   He would have to leave it up to her to decide what was more important.

“Jordan, please-“ Alex began.

“What’s it going to be?” Jordan asked, standing firm.   “Do we get married now or are you going to throw it all away for James?

Finally Alex backed away and gave him an apologetic look.   “I’m sorry, Jordan,” she said, then turned and ran down the sidewalk to her car.

Jordan watched her go with a dumbfounded look on his handsome face.  He couldn’t believe she chose her ex-husband over him.  There he was, standing in his tuxedo, prepared  to marry the woman he loved, and she was running off to be at another man’s bedside.

Cedars-Sinai

A short while later, Brooke was pacing the waiting area at Cedars-Sinai, struggling with her feelings of concern over James’s condition.   Ethan watched her from a nearby chair, folding his hands under his chin and wishing they would hear something.

“Damnit, I forgot my purse at the beach club,” Brooke suddenly said.

“Don’t worry about it,” Ethan replied.  “I’ll send someone back to get it.”

Brooke nodded, realizing she had more important  things to worry about.  “I can’t stand this,” she said as she continued pacing.  “I have to know what’s going on in there.”

“I’m sure Dr. Farraday will tell us as soon as he knows something,” Ethan said. 

Brooke shook her head, pausing long enough to shoot him a sorrowful look.  “I knew something was wrong with him,” she said.  “He’d been having headaches and I’d ask him if he was okay and he said it was nothing but stress.    God, I should have insisted he go to the hospital sooner.”

“Blaming yourself is not going to help anything,” Ethan said, standing up and putting his arm around her.   “Brooke, you have to stop this.”

She shook her head in sorrow, gently sobbing on his shoulder with grief.   When she looked up and opened her eyes, she spotted Winter standing by the doorway.   Memories of their hateful confrontation the week before came flooding back to her and she suddenly pulled away from Ethan.   She didn’t want to give the woman another reason to accuse her of using him in her times of sorrow.   

“What is it?” Ethan asked, noting her sudden change in mood.

“Nothing,” she said.  “I just have to get some air.”

She turned and left the waiting room, brushing past Winter and cringing at the sight of her menacing glare.   After she’d gone, Winter turned to Ethan and approached him with a faint smile.

“Are you okay?" she asked.  “How is James?”

Ethan turned to her and sighed.  “No word yet,” he said.  “Listen, I’m so sorry for just leaving the club like that.   I should have asked you if it was okay.”

Winter shook her head.  “Don’t be ridiculous,” she said without really meaning it.  “It’s your uncle.   He needs you to be here.”

Ethan pulled her into an embrace and kissed the top of her head.  “Thank you for understanding,” he said, staring off at the door and wondering what had suddenly gotten into Brooke.  “Damnit, I have to go.”

“Why?” Winter asked.

“Brooke left her purse at the club,” he explained.  “I don’t know if anyone’s still there.”

“Oh, well I’ll get it,” Winter offered.  “You should stay here in case there’s any news.”

Ethan smiled at her thoughtfulness.  “Thanks.  I hope we hear something soon.”

Jasmes Blackthorne

James was lying in a private room at Cedars-Sinai as Dr. Noel Farraday examined a set of x-rays across the room.

“What is it?” James asked in his groggy, weakened state.   The pain had subsided for the moment and he was conscious, but he felt exhausted after his mind-numbing ordeal. 

Dr. Farraday looked at the x-rays and then back at James.   He took a deep breath and let it out slowly.   “I’m not going to lie to you, James,” he began.  “It’s not good.”

James listened carefully, suddenly become more alert by the alarming sound in the doctor’s voice. 

“Do you see this dark area here?” Dr. Farraday asked, pointing to a spot on the x-ray.   “It’s swelling in the brain.  Probably caused from the head injury you sustained in the plane crash.  Did the doctor you saw in Santo Domingo say anything to you?” 

James shrugged.  “He wanted me to come back for a follow up,” he said.  “But I didn’t.  It just wasn’t possible.”

“The swelling is progressive,” Dr. Farraday explained.  “Over the last few weeks it’s gotten worse.  Had we been able to catch it in time, there might have been something we could have done.”

James frowned.  “What are you saying?”

Shaking his head with regret, Dr. Farraday took a step closer to James.  “The damage is irreversible,” he said matter-of-factly.  “I’m sorry, James.  You’re going to die.”

The words echoed in his mind as he stared at the x-rays.   He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.   All this time he’d thought the headaches would simply go away in time.  He had never thought they were anything that serious.  Or maybe it was just wishful thinking. 

Winter Austen

Winter walked up the sidewalk to the clubhouse at the Valley Beach Club and went inside where she found Jordan sitting at the bar nursing a scotch.

“You don’t look too happy for a man who just got married,” Winter said.

Jordan turned and shrugged.   “Maybe I would be happy if I had actually gotten married,” he said.  “The bride decided it was more important to go sit by her ex-husband’s side in the hospital.”

Winter raised an eyebrow, spotting Brooke’s purse on a table.  “I’m sorry to hear that,” she said.  “I guess that fake heart condition you have didn’t do the trick this time.  Too bad because she really seemed to have bought it.   Oh, and don’t bother asking for the money back because I already spent it.”

Jordan laughed and gulped down the rest of his drink.  “I could be lying on the ground dying of a heart attack and she’d still have run off to be with James.”

“Seems like James Blackthorne is ruining everyone’s day.” 

“Sounds like you have a grudge against him too,” Jordan said slyly.

Winter shook her head and grabbed Brooke’s purse.  “No, but he has a way of bringing the wrong people together.”

Jordan raised an eyebrow and turned toward her.   “If you aren’t the picture of a woman scored then I must be losing my keen sense of intuition.”

Sighing, Winter folded her arms and looked at him regretfully.  “I guess I’m sort of in the same boat that you are,” she said.  “I kind of have to take the back seat to someone else whenever she’s around.”

“And you put up with it?” Jordan asked.

“There’s not much I can do about it.”

“I always pictured you a strong willed woman,” Jordan claimed.  “Someone who would fight to get what she wanted.   No matter the cost or who got hurt in the process.”

Winter paused, mulling over his words in her head.   “What would you suggest?’ she asked.

Jordan shrugged.  “Pull every dirty trick in the book if you have to,” he said.  “You might find yourself back in the drivers seat.”

Winter smiled.  “Seems like you should follow your own advice,” she said.

Jordan smiled and got up from the bar.  “It’s already too late for me,” he said, grabbing his jacket and starting toward the doors.   He turned back and gave her a final word before leaving.  “Sooner or later you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it.”

Winter watched as he left the clubhouse and disappeared from sight.   She thought about what he’d said and realized that it was worth it to her.     She and Ethan had a long history together and they could have a lifetime of happiness if he gave it a chance.   She decided that Jordan was right about one thing.   She would do anything she could to hold on to Ethan.

Starting toward the door, she dropped Brooke’s purse and looked down in aggravation at the contents spilled all over the floor.    Sighing, she bent down and started piling everything back inside.   She picked up a set of keys and looked at them with a gleam in her eye.  Suddenly she got an idea.   It looked as if Jordan’s advice would come in handy sooner than expected.

She raced out of the clubhouse and down the sidewalk to her car.   She decided she was going to have to take a trip to the Brooke’s apartment.   There had to be something there she could use to get her away from Ethan.

Cedars-Sinai

James looked at Dr. Farraday and swallowed hard.   “Are you sure about this?” he asked him with somewhat difficulty.  “There’s nothing you can do?”

Dr. Farraday folded his arms in front of him.  “We can try to operate,” he said solemnly.  “But it’s a very risky operation and there are no guarantees it will help.”

“What are the odds?”

“Less than half that it will be successful,” the doctor replied.   “And there’s a good probability that you won’t survive the operation.”

James closed his eyes and tried to put things into perspective.   “How much time do I have?” he asked.

“A year at the most,” said Dr. Farraday.  “Maybe less.”

James struggled with the odds.   He had a baby on the way and a chance of being happy with the woman he loved more than anything.   If he had the operation and didn’t survive, he would never get to see that baby.   If he accepted his fate and waited it out, he’d at least have a couple months of happiness with Brooke and their child.   It would be worth it just to hold that baby in his arms before he died.

“Dr. Farraday, please don’t mention this to my family,” he said.  “I don’t want them to know about any of this.”

“You have to tell them sooner or later,” said the doctor with concern.

James nodded.  “I know, I just can’t tell them now.   You won’t say anything, will you?”

Dr. Farraday nodded.  “Of course not,” he said.  “But if you decide to have the operation, we need to do it very soon.  The chances of success and your chances of survival will decrease drastically if you wait.”

“I understand,” James said.

Alex Reynolds

In the waiting room, Miranda, Brett, Stormy and Heather sat nervously in their seats while Alex paced around anxiously.    Her maid, Veronique had brought her a change of clothes so she could get out of her wedding dress.   The waiting was killing her.   She wanted to know that James was all right and that nothing she had done was going to have any lasting effects on him.  The way she led him to believe they were still married while they were in the Caribbean seemed like such a horrible mistake now.   She’d kept him from getting the proper medical attention he needed and now he was suffering for it.

Just then, Dr. Farraday appeared from the next room and gathered their attention. 

“How is my father?” Miranda asked, standing up and rushing toward him.

“He’s conscious and feeling better,” said the doctor.  “You can go in and see him.”

Relieved, Miranda and Stormy ran through the doorway and down the hall to James’s private room.   Alex approached the doctor and wrung her hands together nervously.

“Are you sure he’s okay?” she asked.  “Please, tell me everything.”

Dr. Farraday put a hand on her shoulder and offered her a sympathetic look.  “He’s doing better now,” he said, following James’s wishes by not telling her about his terminal condition.

“Oh, thank you, Doctor,” Alex said with relief.  She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been more happy to hear anything in her life.    She didn’t know what she’d do if anything happened to James.  Especially if there was a chance they could recapture the love they once shared.

Brooke's Apartment

Meanwhile, Winter Austen opened the door to Brooke’s apartment in the Valley and stepped inside, dangling the keys in her hand and smiling devilishly.   She looked around the room, trying to decide where to start looking.  The simple fact was that she had no idea what she was looking for.    But there had to be something she could use to get Brooke out of her way.   

She started looking through stacks of mail on the credenza, leafing through each envelope and trying to decide if it was worthy of opening.    Sighing, she realized most of them were junk mail or bills, and she tossed them back down.

Walking to the bedroom, she started looking through drawers.    She knew Brooke had been married before and never got a legal annulment.   That little secret cost her her marriage to James Blackthorne and nearly ended their relationship for good.   There had to be something equally as damaging out there somewhere.   Women like Brooke kept more secrets and lies bottled up than it was safe to know about.

Brooke Taylor

Brooke sat by James’s hospital bed holding his hand in hers.   She looked at him and smiled happily, relieved that he was awake and looking much better than he did earlier.

“I wanted to give you a few minutes with Stormy and Miranda before I came in,” she said.  “I thought family should come in and see you first.   They were so worried about you.”

“You are my family,” James insisted.   “You and that little baby of ours.”

Brooked tried not to let the truth show on her face.   If James so much as thought her baby wasn’t his it would kill him.   She refused to be the reason he wound up back in the hospital.

“Are you sure you’re all right?” she asked.

He nodded eagerly.  “I’m great,” he said.  “Dr. Farraday said it was stress and the excitement over the last few weeks.   I’ll be fine in no time.  I have to stay overnight just as a precaution.”

“I’m so glad,” Brooke said, looking into his dark eyes and smiling.   “Because we need you home where you belong.”

Outside in the hallway, Alex watched their tender moment through the glass window.  Her head sunk when she saw the way they lovingly looked into one another’s eyes.   It was clear that James was more in love with Brooke than she ever thought.  She was a fool for thinking there could ever be anything between them again.  

Wiping a tear from her eyes, she turned and raced down the hallway.

Brett Armstrong

Stormy and Heather left the hospital and went out to their car in the parking lot with Miranda and Brett right behind them.   

“I feel bad about leaving mom and Jordan like that today,” Stormy said as they made their way through the parking lot.   “I guess the wedding will have to be rescheduled.”

“Yeah, if there is a wedding,” Heather remarked under her breath.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Stormy asked irately.

She shrugged.  “Your mom went running off to be with your father and left my father standing at the altar.   I wouldn’t be surprised if he told her to go to hell.”

“In case you’ve forgotten, Heather, they’re our parents.   What did you expect her to do?  Just ignore the fact that our father was being carted off in an ambulance?”  Miranda spat bitterly.

“Just forget it,” Heather said, getting into her yellow Mustang and starting the engine.   She looked out at Stormy and yelled after him.  “Are you coming?”

“Yeah, hang on,” he replied, then turned to Brett.  “Hey, did you get a chance to look at the picture we decided on for Lauren’s album cover?”

Brett frowned.  “No, I wasn’t aware that you’d made a decision,” he said.  “I thought we were still deciding.”

Stormy nodded.  “Well the album jackets went to pressing today so we had to come up with something fast,” he said.

Brett folded his arms, perturbed that he was Lauren’s manager and he was the last to know about a decision this important.   “Oh, okay,” he said.    “I guess I’ll come by the studio tomorrow and take a look.  I wanted to hear the final mix on some of the songs anyway.”

Stormy stopped him and smiled.  “Hey, we already sent everything to press, Brett,” he said.  “I thought I told you, man.   The mix is done.   The album’s being cut as we speak.”

Brett felt like he’d been delivered a blow to the stomach.   Stormy had definitely not told him that the album was already being cut.   That was something they would have talked about in some length.    Before he could say anything, Stormy was climbing inside the car and speeding off with Heather.

“Something wrong?” Miranda asked, walking up behind him and wrapping her arms around him.

Brett watched the Corvette disappear into the distance.    Suddenly he felt like he was being cut loose from his responsibilities as Lauren’s manager, and he had a feeling he knew why.    Now that Stormy and Lauren were sleeping together, he was slowly fading into the horizon.

Meanwhile, Alex arrived at the marina and made her way along the maze of docks.  She stopped at the slip where Jordan sat on the deck of his yacht, drinking a bottle of beer and basking in the setting sun. 

“What are you doing?” she asked, trying to study his face.  She figured he must despise her by that point.  Walking out on their wedding was definitely not one of her shining points.

“Having a beer,” he replied without looking at her.  “How did you find me?”

“Because whenever you’re upset about something you drink beer and sit on your yacht,” Alex replied with a smile.  “See?  I’ve gotten to know you pretty well.”

“Then you should know that I want to be alone,” he said.  “Besides, coming out here is probably taking time away from playing vigil to James.”

Alex realized she deserved that remark.  “James is fine,” she said.  “So I thought-“

“You thought you could come running back and I’d forgive and forget?” Jordan asked, finally looking at her with a contemptible gaze.  “Well I don’t bend that easily.  I’ve had more than enough of your ups and downs, Alex.”

“Well I’m sorry!” she exclaimed.  “What was I supposed to do?  Just get married while the father of my children was lying in the hospital?”

Jordan stood up and put his Gucci sandal up on the boat deck.  “You made your choice,” he began.  “I’m through chasing after you.   The truth is I really don’t care anymore.”

Alex felt heartsick by his words.   Granted, she still had feelings for James and had held on to the hope that they could get back together.  But after seeing him in the hospital with Brooke, it didn’t seem possible.   The truth was she did care for Jordan quite a bit.  She wouldn’t have agreed to marry him otherwise.   It started out with her being guilted into it because of his heart condition, but the more she thought about it the more she loved him.

“You don’t mean that,” she said.

Jordan challenged her with his eyes.  “Why wouldn’t I?” he asked.  “How much more can a man take, Alex?”

Alex shook her head.  “You love me,” she said.  “Just like I love you.  Nothing else matters.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Jordan said under his breath as he turned and went inside the yacht.

Alex stood on the dock, perplexed by the finality of his words.   She refused to believe that he had given up on her.   She was an actress.  She was supposed to be a diva who was high strung and high maintenance.   It was to be expected.

One way or another she would get Jordan to forgive her, she thought to herself as she turned and started back along the docks.

Winter Austen

Winter continued searching through Brooke’s apartment, growing impatient and losing hope that she would find anything of value.    She walked out of the bedroom and paused in the doorway, trying to think of any places she hadn’t looked.

Suddenly her eyes traveled to the trash can beside the desk in the living room.  She saw several pieces of crumpled paper lying in the bottom of the wicker basket.  She bent down and picked one of them up, unfolding it and smoothing the creases out on the top of the desk. 

Dear Ethan,” she began reading.    There were several lines handwritten by Brooke after that but they had been scratched out.    She frowned, picking up another piece of paper from the basket and quickly unfolding it.

Dear Ethan,” she read aloud.  I know I’ll never have the nerve to give you this letter but for some reason it helps just to write it.   I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since you came back to us.  So many things have happened that I regret.  What I don't regret are those wonderful nights we spent together in the Caribbean  I will cherish those times in my heart forever, as I know how much they meant to both of us. “

Winter sat down, angered by what she read.   She’d been right all along.  Ethan and Brooke had slept together in the Caribbean.  She took a deep breath and continued reading the letter.

When I thought you were gone forever, I came home and reconciled with James,” she read.  Not because there is any substitute for you, but because my baby needs a father, and James may have many faults but he is a good father to his children.  I just hope I have the strength to remain loyal to him now that you are home and safe.  I would love to have you in my life but it’s too painful.   That’s why I have to cut all ties with you, and when our baby is born I will raise it as James’s.  I wish I could tell you the truth that you’re the baby’s father, but it would only hurt people, and I’ve done enough of that to last me a lifetime.”

Winter looked up from the letter, her eyes wide and her hands trembling.  She was in shock.  Ethan was the father of Brooke’s baby.  It was a fact.  They slept together and she got pregnant with his child.

Standing up, Winter crumpled the piece of paper again and put it back in the waste basket.  She wrung her hands together, trying to process the information.  She had to make sure Ethan never found out.  If he did, it would only be a matter of time before he ran to Brooke and she was left out in the cold.

 


Next time...

Brooke is rushed to the hospital.  Lauren causes the rift between Stormy and Brett to deepen.  Winter issues Brooke a warning.  Alex has a proposition for Will.  

 Read Episode 20

 

 


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