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Episode 20

 

Release Date:  April 21, 2006

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Before Alex and Jordan's wedding, James asked Alex to help him get Sunset Studios back from Will, despite Brooke's plea for him to leave it alone.  James collapsed after having another headache and was rushed to the hospital.  Jordan issued Alex an ultimatum, telling her if she went to see James their wedding was off.  Torn, Alex went to James's side, only later to be crushed when she overheard he and Brooke professing their love.  James learned that swelling in his brain caused by the plane crash would kill him within a year unless he had a risky operation.  Brett grew angry when Stormy and Lauren made decisions about her album without consulting him. Jordan told Alex they were through. Winter found a letter Brooke wrote to Ethan but never gave him.  In the letter, she revealed that Ethan was the father of her unborn baby.


  Episode 20

  "The Blushing Bride"

 

The next morning, Stormy and Lauren were sitting on the sofa of his office at Good Times Records.  He handed her a package wrapped in tissue and she grinned mischievously while tearing it open.

“It’s that Barbra Streisand album I promised you,” Stormy joked with a laugh as he watched her expression.

“Oh my God,” Lauren gasped as she looked at the album sleeve with her picture on the cover.   “This is too good to be true.”

“It’s the very first copy,” Stormy announced.  “I wanted you to be the first to see it.”

She turned the album over and examined the back, then pulled the record out of the sleeve and giggled happily.  “I can’t believe it’s really happening,” she said, setting the album down and throwing her arms around him.  “I owe you so much, Stormy.”

“You did all the hard work,” he said, squeezing her tightly.

Just then, the door opened and Brett walked inside.  He saw them on the sofa in an embrace and he smiled apologetically.  “Oh sorry, I didn’t meant to interrupt anything,” he said, his eyes riveted to them.

“Don’t be silly, Brett,” Stormy said and stood up.

Brett walked inside and closed the door.  “I just went by your house to pick you up and Heather said you’d left hours ago,” he said.  “What happened to our workout ritual?”

Stormy smiled slyly and handed Brett the album.  “Sorry, I was so excited to get to the studio today,” he said.  “Take a look at that.   Hot off the presses.”

Brett looked at the album, Lauren’s picture on the cover and her name scrawled across the top in curvy stylish lettering.   He raised an eyebrow and managed a vague smile. “Looks great,” he said, burning with anger inside.   He hated the fact that he had no part in the completion of the album.

“We should celebrate,” Lauren exclaimed, standing up in her tight red satin shorts and white halter top.

“We’ll get to that next weekend at the album release party,” Stormy announced.  “It’s going to be the event of the summer.  Just wait and see.”

“You’ve already set the release party up?” Brett asked with a frown.

“Yeah, I’ve got everyone coming.  Magazines, newspapers, everyone in the business.”

Brett folded his arms and glared at him with contempt.  “So I guess you really don’t need me around, huh?”

Stormy looked at him, trying to decide if he was serious.  “Why would you say that?” he asked.  “You’re Lauren’s manager.  Of course we need you around.  Come on, Brett.   Stop kidding around.”

He shrugged, holding up the album and glaring at them both.  “Well you didn’t need me to make any decision on finishing the album,” he began, his temper and his voice rising.  “You didn’t need me to set up the release party.  It looks like the two of you have everything taken care of.”

Lauren looked at him curiously, wondering what had gotten him so fired up all of the sudden.

Stormy could tell he was angry and he didn’t understand why.  “Look Brett, we’re friends.  I wouldn’t purposely exclude you from anything.  You’re Lauren’s manager and-“

“But that doesn’t quite measure up to your role in her career,” Brett interrupted, then shot him a cold stare.  He knew what was going on.  Stormy bent over backwards to help Lauren and give her everything she wanted.  That left no room for him so he was slowly being pushed out.

“What does that supposed to mean?” Stormy yelled, growing irate.  “Brett, if you’ve got a problem with something then spill it!”

He shook his head angrily and shoved the album back at Stormy.  “Forget it,” he said, throwing his arms up in the air.  “As a matter of fact, forget both of you.”   He turned and stormed out of the office, barreling down the hallway and clenching his fists in anger.

Stormy stood, perplexed, as he turned to Lauren and shrugged.  “What was that all about?” he asked.

Lauren shrugged.

“Do you think he knows about us?” Stormy asked in confusion.  He thought he and Brett were pretty tight.  Now all the sudden he was acting defensive and lashing out at him.  It didn’t add up.

“I don’t see how he could,” Lauren replied.  “We’ve been so careful.”

Stormy racked his brain, trying to think of what had made Brett so upset.

Blackthorne Mansion

Leilani opened the door to the mansion and greeted James and Brooke with a relieved smile.

“I’m so glad you’re okay, Mr. Blackthorne,” she said, closing the door after they’d entered the richly paneled mahogany foyer.  “I’ve been so worried.”

James smiled.  “No need to worry, Leilani.  I’m doing just fine.”

Brooke put her arm through his and led him toward the stairs.  “You’re still going upstairs and lying down,” she insisted.  “I’m not taking any chances.  You said you’ve been under stress, well I’m going to make sure you get plenty of rest from now on.”

James laughed and turned to her.  “You don’t have to do that,” he said.  “Besides, you’re the one who’s pregnant.  You should be taking it easy.  Not me.”

She led him upstairs and shook her head.  “I’m fine.  It’s you I’m worried about.  Now I don’t want to hear any arguments.”

“Okay, maybe a brandy would be nice,” James said, walking with her down the hall to their bedroom.  “I need to look over the paper anyway. I feel like I’m out of the loop lately.”

Brooke led him into the bedroom and smiled.  “I’ll go get your brandy while you get undressed,” she said, kissing him softly.  “I’ll be right back.”

James took her hand and pulled her back to him.  “Brooke, I just want you to know how much it means to me that you’ve stuck by me,” he said.  “I feel like I’ve lost everything else.  Knowing I have you on my side means the world to me.”

Brooke stroked his dark hair from his eyes and kissed him again.  “I wouldn’t be anywhere else,” she said.  “I’ll be right back.”

She disappeared outside the room and James turned to the bed where Leilani had laid the morning paper as she usually did.   He unbuttoned his shirt and sat down on the bed, opening the paper to the business section.

The headline on the front page caught his attention and he immediately grew tense.

Blackthorne Loses Control of Production Company’.

He closed his eyes and tried to block out the pain that began to surface in his head again.   It was milder than the episode at Alex’s wedding the day before, but excruciating nonetheless.  He had been living with the pain for so many weeks that he had come to expect it under certain circumstances.  When he was faced with bad news or something equally as stressful was when it hit the most.    Seeing his failure in business splattered all over the newspaper was stressful enough.

Quickly, he got up and staggered over to the phone.  He dialed Alex’s number in Malibu and impatiently waited for an answer.  When she finally picked up, he let out a deep breath and tried to speak normally.

“Alex, we need to talk,” he said.  “It’s about Will Thomerson.   Can I see you today?”

Ethan Blackthorne

Ethan stirred awake on the bed, noticing the late hour and jumping up to his feet just as Winter came out of the shower.

“Good morning, sleepy head,” she said with a smile, her hair wrapped in a towel.

“Why’d you let me sleep so late?” Ethan asked, rubbing his eyes and grabbing a pair of shorts from the floor.

“You were dead to the world,” Winter said, stopping him from getting dressed.  “I thought you could use the sleep.  We’ve all been through a lot lately.”

Ethan sighed and sat down on the bed.  He groaned in pleasure as Winter began massaging his shoulders from behind.  “I need to go see how my uncle is doing.”

“I called the hospital for you,” Winter said.  “He was released this morning and Brooke took him home.   See, everything’s going to be fine.  You can relax.   He probably needs to stay in bed and get some rest today.   You don’t need to go running over there.”

He got the feeling she was trying to convince him to stay away.  “Do you have some kind of problem with me wanting to see James?” he asked defensively.

Winter shrugged.  “No, I just think that Brooke probably has it handled.”

Ethan lowered his head and closed his eyes, enjoying the massage.  He couldn’t help but think about Brooke and the conversation they had just before James collapsed.   He’d asked her if there was any possible way he could be her baby’s father.   It looked like she was about to tell him something when they were interrupted.   The possibility still weighted heavily on his mind.  He had to know for sure.

Winter examined his expression, wishing she could step inside his mind and find out what he was thinking.  Did he know that he was the father of Brooke’s baby?   Had she told him?  

She decided the answer was probably no.   If she had told him, she wouldn’t still be with James.  That was a certainty.  

Was she going to tell him?  Maybe.  But again, if she did, her relationship with James would be over, and James would most likely lash out at Ethan with everything he had.  That was something Brooke probably wouldn’t let happen.   Or maybe she would.   There was no telling what Brooke Taylor would do.   She was full of surprises.

And Winter couldn’t afford to be surprised.    Not when it came to her and Ethan.

Blackthorne Mansion

Brooke started back up the stairs to their bedroom with James’s brandy when he came running down toward her.   She stopped on the landing and frowned, wondering where he was going in such a hurry.

“Darling, I’m sorry but I have to go out for a while,” he said, kissing her on the cheek.

Brooke was startled by his announcement.  “Where are you going?” she asked in disbelief.  “James, you have to get some rest.  You said yourself you’ve been under a lot of pressure.”

“It won’t take long,” he said.  “I promise.”

“James!” she called after him as he ran down the stairs and flew out the front door.

The door slammed and she jolted with a start, nearly spilling the drink she held in her hand.  She had no idea what had gotten into him but something sent him running from the house.   

Sighing, she started up the stairs and paused when she felt a sharp pain in her stomach.  She frowned, touching her stomach lightly.  A second or two later the pain came again and she bent over, dropping the brandy and gasping for air.

Doubled over, she prayed there wasn’t something wrong with her baby.  The pain she felt wasn’t normal.  She was sure of it.

Slowly she crept down the stairs and made her way to the phone in the foyer. 

Ethan Blackthorne

The phone rang as Ethan and Winter were on their way out the door and he stopped in the doorway.

“Let it ring,” Winter said, pulling him outside onto the porch.

Ethan started to shut the door but stopped, shaking his head and running back inside the house.  “It might be important,” he said, racing over to answer it.

Winter sighed in exasperation and dragged herself back inside. 

“Hello?” Ethan said as he picked up the phone.

“Ethan, it’s Brooke,” she gasped into the receiver, still doubled over in pain.  “I think something’s wrong with my baby.”

Eyes wide, Ethan grew into a panic.  “Hold on, Brooke.  I’ll be right there.”

He hung up the phone and raced to the door, stopping in front of Winter with a stark look on his face.  “Something’s wrong with Brooke,” he said.  “She thinks it’s the baby.  I have to go.  I’m sorry, Winter.”

She let out a deep breath, gritting her teeth as she watched him race down the driveway and jump into his car.    He was running off to be Brooke’s savior for the millionth time and she was left alone as usual

Slamming the door shut, she picked up an ashtray from the table in the entryway and threw it across the room, sending glass shattering everywhere.

Brett Armstrong

Meanwhile, Brett was at the gym standing in front of the mirror lifting free weights and panting with each repetition.   He looked up and saw Stormy’s reflection through the mirror.   With a raised eyebrow, he continued his set and pretended to ignore him.

“Can we talk?” Stormy asked, standing behind him with his arms folded.

 Brett shrugged and switched to a heavier weight.  “What’s there to talk about?”

Frustrated, Stormy walked around to the side so he could look at him head on.  “What the hell was that all about back in my office this morning?” he asked.  “You all but accused me of trying to push your out of our partnership.”

“Are you saying you’re not?” Brett asked, breathing heavily as he pulled his arms up with each repetition.  

“No!” Stormy insisted.  “You’re Lauren’s manager!  That isn’t going to change now that-“

Suddenly Brett stopped and set the weights down.  He turned to Stormy and looked him directly in the eye.  “Now that what?” he asked in a challenging tone.  He knew the answer already.   Now that Stormy and Lauren were lovers.

Shaking his head, Stormy reached out to Brett and tried to calm him.  “Look, I don’t know what’s bothering you but I promise you-“

“I don’t care,” Brett said, pulling away and grabbing a towel to wipe the sweat from his forehead.  “It doesn’t matter.   You can go ahead and make all the decisions without me.   Just remember I’m here if you need me.”

Rolling his eyes at Brett’s sarcastic remark, Stormy turned and watched him race off through the crowded gym.   He slapped his hands to his sides and kicked the weight bench with his foot.

Alex's House

Alex opened the front door of her house in Malibu and invited James inside the meticulously decorated living room. 

“Thanks for seeing me,” James said, turning toward her with a rigid expression on his face.  

“Of course,” Alex replied.   She would do anything to make it up to James.  It was her fault that he landed in the hospital the day before.   It was her fault for letting Will Thomerson take his studio away.   And being in his life again made her happier than she ever knew, even if she couldn’t have him as her husband.   “Are you feeling okay?”

He nodded, rubbing his face and dismissing her concerns immediately.  “I need your help, Alex,” he said.  “You were with Will Thomerson when he came up with his plan to take Sunset Studios from me.   Can you think of anything that might help me get it back?”

Alex took a deep breath and sat down on the sofa, her aqua blue chiffon robe billowing around her legs.   “I don’t know,” she began.  “Maybe if you knew what you were looking for I could help.”

James placed a hand on his forehead and tried to concentrate.   “I don’t know.  But damnit, I have to do something.”

“I’m sorry, James,” Alex said breathlessly. 

James turned and looked out the patio window at the ocean waves crashing up onto the beach.   He was determined to get back what Will had taken from him.  He’d already taken enough.  His own sister fell victim to his treachery.  Now his studio.  He couldn’t let him get away with it. 

The doctor told him he had less than a year to live.  He was not about to die and let his mortal enemy keep his most prized possession.  It was his mission to get the studio back before they put him in the ground.   Sunset Studios was his legacy.   He couldn’t leave it in Thomerson’s hands after he died.   He simply couldn’t.

“Damnit, there has to be something,” James said, turning back and looking at Alex with pleading eyes. 

“Well what does Brandon say?” Alex asked.  “He’s your lawyer.  He has to have some ideas.”

James shook his head with regret.  “No, nothing.  He says the contract I signed was iron clad.”

Alex sighed and stood back up.  “Then I don’t understand how I can-“   She stopped in the middle of her sentence, growing into a daze as she thought of something that could help James once and for all.

“What is it?” James asked with a frown.

A smile spread across Alex’s face and she folded her hands anxiously.  “I think I may have the answer,” she said.   

James looked at her, wondering what she had in mind.  One thing was for certain, when Alex Reynolds put her mind to something there was no stopping her.  That was the main reason he came to her for help.

Cedars-Sinai

Ethan walked into the hospital room and saw Brooke laying on the bed.  He smiled and leaned over her, his hand resting gently on hers.

“How are you feeling?” he asked.

“Much better,” Brooke replied with a smile, squeezing his hand tightly.  “I feel so silly for calling you and making a big deal out of this.   You probably think I’m a nut.”

He laughed and shook his head.  “Not all,” he said.  “You were just being cautious and I can’t say that I blame you.   But hey, Dr. Mitchell says the pains you were experiencing were nothing to be alarmed about.”

“Really?” Brooke asked hopefully.

Ethan nodded just as Dr. Mitchell walked into the room.

“Good news,” she said, holding up the pictures from a sonogram.  “Your baby is in perfect health, Brooke. “

“Are you sure?” Brooke asked.  “There’s really nothing wrong?”

“Not at all,” Dr. Mitchell replied with a smile.  “Some women experience some forms of cramping during their pregnancy.  It’s not uncommon.  But you did the right thing by coming in.   It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Brooke smiled brightly, beaming from ear to ear as she squeezed Ethan’s hand and looked up at him in relief.  “Thank you, Dr. Mitchell.”

“My pleasure,” she said.  “I’ll see you back here next month for your checkup.”

“Okay,” Brooke said as the doctor left the room.    She looked at Ethan and smiled again, happy that her baby was safe and sound.  “I’m so sorry.   I feel like a idiot.”

“Stop that,” Ethan said.  “I’m just glad everything is okay with the baby.”

Out in the hallway, Winter appeared just outside the door and opened it partially so she could see inside.   Her eyes traveled to the bed where Brooke was laying, holding Ethan’s hand tightly in hers.  

“This may not be the best time to bring this up,” Ethan continued, unsure of how he was going to say what he wanted to say.   “Yesterday at the wedding, I asked you a question and you never answered me.   I’d like an answer now.”

Brooke immediately knew what he was asking her.   She took a deep breath, bracing herself for the reality of the situation.

“Is there a chance that your baby is mine?” Ethan asked.

On the other side of the door, Winter’s eyes flashed open and she covered her mouth to keep from crying out.  She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.   Ethan suspected he was the father of Brooke’s baby.   If she told him the truth everything would be ruined.

“I’m sorry, Ethan,” Brooke said, rubbing her hand over her stomach.   She hated doing it but she had no choice.   She couldn’t tell the truth now.  Too much had happened.  She had James’s well being to think about.  “You’re not the father.”

He nodded solemnly, slightly disappointed by her announcement.  “I see,” he said glumly.  “I’m sorry. I had to ask.”

Brooke smiled.  “It’s okay,” she said, squeezing his hand again.  “I understand why you had to ask.   And you would have been a wonderful father, Ethan.   Someday you will have a baby of your own and he’ll worship you.  He’ll be the luckiest kid in the world.”

Ethan smiled, standing back and taking a deep breath.  “Well, I’m going to go pull the car around,” he said.  “I’ll be right back to get you.”

“Okay,” Brooke said, watching him leave the room.  

After he’d gone, she laid her head back and shut her eyes tightly.   The look in his eyes was enough to cause her heart to break into a million pieces.  She got the feeling he wanted her baby to be his so badly. The ironic part of it was that it was his baby.  She felt terrible for lying.  But what else could she do?

Just then, the door opened and Winter stepped inside, a pale, erratic look on her made up face.  She walked over to Brooke and stared at her with piercing eyes. 

“That was good,” she said softly.   “Lying comes so easily to you.”

Brooke looked at her in shock, surprised to see her there and startled by her enigmatic words.  “What do you want?” she asked, sitting up in the bed.

“Telling Ethan he isn’t the father of your baby was the smartest thing you could have done,” Winter continued, her eyes riveted to Brooke’s.   “You would be ruining so many lives if you told him the truth.”

Brooke was stunned.  How did Winter know?    “Get out of here,” she said, cowering away from the woman.

“Let me make a suggestion,” Winter said, her eyes wild.  “Don’t ever tell him the truth.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Brooke said, feigning innocence.

“If word got out that you’re carrying Ethan’s baby, James would never forgive you,” she said softly.  “He would surely never forgive Ethan.  And you’d have to live with the fact that you single-handedly tore their relationship apart.  He would resent you.  And any happiness you think you’d have with him would end in a travesty.”

“Get out of here!” Brooke insisted.  She couldn’t listen to anymore.  Sadly, she knew that what Winter was saying was the truth.  If she admitted that her baby was Ethan’s, it would destroy everyone involved.

“I’ll give Ethan a baby myself,” Winter said.  “That bastard child of yours will have to suffer along with the rest of the Blackthornes.  Meanwhile, Ethan and I will be happily married raising our own family.  He won’t even remember your name.”

“Leave me alone!” Brooke yelled, tears forming in her eyes.  She didn’t understand why Winter tormented her so much.  She was starting to get frightened every time she saw her.

“Remember what I said,” Winter said with a menacing stare before turning and leaving the room.  

After she’d gone, Brooke wiped her eyes and got up from the bed.  She quickly got dressed and thought about everything Winter had said to her.  She was more sure than ever that she was doing the right thing by lying about the father of her baby.

Winter's Apartment

That afternoon, Brett walked up the steps to Lauren’s apartment and knocked firmly on the door.  When she opened it he gave her a sly smile and pushed his way inside.

“What are you doing here?” she asked in dismay.  

Brett shrugged.  “I was in the mood for some fun so I thought I’d stop by,” he said, his dark brooding eyes fixated on her.  He reached down and loosened the second button on his polo.   “Whew, it’s hot out today.  Do you have any iced tea?”

Lauren frowned at his strange behavior and disappeared into the kitchen.  Brett grinned devilishly and sat down on her sofa, propping his legs up on the brass and glass coffee table and looking around smugly.  When she returned, she handed him any icy glass of tea and folded her arms in irritation.

“Did you have something you wanted to talk about, Brett?” she asked. “Because if this isn’t about my career then I’m going to have to ask you to leave.  I’ve got someone coming over in a while and I-“

“I know who’s coming over,” Brett said and sipped from the glass of tea.  “Or at least I have a pretty good guess.”

Lauren frowned.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but if you came here just to waste my time, then-“

“I know about you and Stormy,” Brett interrupted.

She looked at him in shock, unsure of how to react to his accusation.  Was he bluffing?  Or did he really know something?

Brett examined her stunned expression and stood up from the sofa, digging his hands in the pockets of his white tennis shorts.   “What’s the matter?  Cat got your tongue?

“What are you talking about, Brett?” Lauren asked, turning around and trying to avoid eye contact.  She was a lousy liar and one look would tell Brett that he was right.

“I saw you two in the clubhouse at Alex and Jordan’s wedding,” Brett said, walking up behind her.  “You disappeared into the back room. “

Lauren shook her head and laughed.  “From that you think that there’s something going on between us?”

“I saw you kissing,” Brett said.  “You were pawing each other like animals.  It’s a good thing I was there because right after you went into the back, Heather showed up.  She would have gone back there if I hadn’t convinced her to come back to the garden with me.”

Lauren gritted her teeth and turned around to face him.  “So what are you going to do now?" she asked.  “I mean, that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?  You threw that tantrum in Stormy’s office this morning and now you’re confronting me with this.  What are you going to do?  Tell Heather and get Stormy in trouble just to get back at him for making a few decisions without you?”

He laughed and folded his arms across his chest.  “Now if I did that, what do you think would happen to your relationship with Stormy?”

Frowning, Lauren walked across the room and looked out the window at the crowded beach a few yards away.  She thought about his question and tried to predict how Stormy would react if Heather found out.   It was difficult to tell.  He obviously didn’t want Heather to know about their affair.   If she could have done something to prevent her from finding out and she didn’t, he might never forgive her.

“So what do you want?” Lauren asked as she turned back toward him.  “More money?  You’re already getting twenty percent of my earnings, which is way too high if you ask me.”

Brett laughed and smiled slyly.  “I don’t want money,” he said.  “I have enough of that already.  I married a very rich girl, remember?  No, I want something else.  Something Stormy has that I desperately want.”

Lauren shrugged.  “And what would that be?”

Walking up close to her, Brett put his hand on her shoulder and raised his eyebrow seductively as he looked her body up and down.  “What do you think?”

She looked at him in awe, appalled that he was blackmailing her into having sex with him.  “Are you serious?” she asked.

His breathing shallow, Brett reached down and brushed his hand against her bare midriff.   He licked his lips, wanting desperately to feel her body against his.

Lauren closed her eyes, realizing that she had no choice.   She was going to have to give in to what he wanted if she was going to protect Stormy.

That evening, Heather stepped onto her father's yacht at the marina, tender-footed as she tried to keep her balance in the dark night sky.  She walked around to the port side and found Jordan sitting on the edge, his feet dangling over the side as he tipped back a bottle of beer.

"Thinking about jumping?" she asked with a  slight smile.

Jordan looked back with surprise.  "No, Sunshine.  Just thinking."

Heather hated to see her father so despondent.  It wasn't like him.  Since her mother had left ten years ago, he had never gotten this close to a woman.  It shed a new light on him, and one that she was trying desperately to get used to.

With a sigh, she sat down beside him and put her arm around him.  "So I guess things didn't work out with you and Alex, huh?"

"Nope," Jordan replied, staring out at the calm marina.  Yachts and sailboats gently bobbed up and down on the water, causing tiny ripples of waves to spread as far as the eye could see.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Heather asked, looking into her father's eyes.

Jordan shook his head and took another drink.  "Nope."

Heather put her arm around him and laid her head on his shoulder.  She remembered going out on their yacht every weekend when she was a kid when her mother still around, and before her brother went away to school.  It had been a while since she'd been to the marina and it brought back a lot of good memories. 

"How long have you been here?" she asked.

"Since I left the club yesterday," Jordan replied. 

Raising an eyebrow, Heather couldn't help but smile.  "Are you going home anytime soon?  Or does your Beverly Hills mansion not hold up to the comforts of a yacht?"

Jordan took in a breath of fresh ocean air and let it out slowly.  "I just want to be alone for a while," he said.

"Do you want me to leave?"

He looked at his daughter and shook his head.  "No.  You're probably the only person I want to see right now.  I already sent Alex away.   I guess my daughter is the only one who understands me."

Heather smiled and rested her head on his shoulder again.  She wished she could do something to make him feel better.  The sad truth was that she knew something like this was going to happen.  Alex Reynolds was bad news.

Peninsula Hotel

Alex walked down the hallway at the Peninsula Hotel and paused at the presidential suite.   She took a deep breath and knocked softly, licking her lips as she waited for the door to open.  She had to keep telling herself that she was only doing it for James.  She owed it to him.  It would all be worth it in the end if she could get his studio back for him.

Moments later, Will Thomerson appeared in the doorway dressed in a velour Lacoste sweat suit.   He raised an eyebrow, effectively surprised to see Alex Reynolds gracing his doorstep.

“To what do I owe this pleasure?” he asked, looking her up and down and admiring how ravishing she looked.

Alex smiled coyly and licked her lips.  “I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d drop by,” she began.

Will shrugged and gestured for her to come inside.  “I see.  And what does your new husband think about your dropping by another man's hotel room?”

Alex sighed and made her way into the suite.  “Sadly, the wedding ceremony didn’t go off as planned,” she said, trying not to let thoughts of Jordan cloud her judgement.  She hated what her actions would inevitably do to him, but she had no choice.  “We called it off,” she said, turning around dramatically.

Will folded his arms and looked at her with surprise.  “Really?  What brought that on?”

“I just don’t think Jordan and I were meant to be,” Alex said, sitting down on the edge of the sofa.  “I really feel like I’d be limiting myself if I married him.  He’s so local.  You are an international figure. New York, London, L.A.  I think I was wrong to discount you so quickly.”

“Is that so?” Will asked.

She nodded.  “Yes, and that’s why I came here today.  I wanted to see if your offer was still open.”

“My offer?”

Alex stood up and walked toward him.  “To crush James Blackthorne once and for all,” she said.

“I’m interested,” Will said, the excitement evident in his eyes.

“And what better way to do that than to be married?” Alex continued, a gleam in her eyes.

“I can’t think of anything.”

She smiled.  “Good.  Are you free tonight?”

Blackthorne Mansion

James raced down the stairs when he heard the front door of the mansion open.  He saw Brooke and Ethan enter the foyer and he ran to them in a frenzy.

“Brooke!” he called from across the foyer.  “Darling, are you all right?  Leilani said you went to the hospital.   But I just called and they said you’d already been released.  What happened?”

Brooke smiled and looked at Ethan, then back at James.  “It was nothing,” she said dismissively.  “I got a little carried away and thought there was something wrong with the baby.  But Dr. Mitchell said that everything is fine.  We have nothing to worry about.”

James let out a sigh of relief and pulled her into an embrace.  “Thank God,” he said happily.  “I was so scared there for a minute.  If anything had happened to you or our baby I don’t know what I would have done.”

“Dr. Mitchell said the cramps she was feeling were perfectly normal,” Ethan said with a smile.

James shook Ethan’s hand.  “Thank you for being there for her,” he said, then eyed him skeptically.  “How did it come about, anyway?  You being here to take her to the hospital?”

“Oh, I called Ethan,” Brooke explained. 

“I didn’t mind coming over,” Ethan admitted.  “I’m just glad everything’s okay.”

James managed a smile and looked at his nephew, then at Brooke.  He was suddenly reminded of his old fears that something was going on between them.  Luckily things were different now that Brooke was carrying his child.  He'd never have to worry about her relationship with Ethan again.

Stormy Blackthorne

Stormy skipped up the steps to Lauren’s apartment and knocked on the door, eager to spend a couple of hours with her after the long stressful day he’d had.  All he could think about now was taking off his clothes and sliding into bed with her.

The door opened a few inches and Lauren peered outside, wrapping a bath robe around her body.  

“Hey beautiful,” Stormy said, pushing the door open and leaning in for a kiss.

“Hi,” Lauren replied uneasily.

Stormy immediately got the feeling that something was wrong.  “Ummm, can I come in or did you want to try it out here on the porch?”  He laughed at his own joke, trying again to walk inside the apartment.

“Stormy, I’m sorry but I’m going to have to take a rain check on tonight,” Lauren said with shifty eyes.  “Winter is going to be home tonight so it’s not safe here.”

“Oh, well we can go somewhere else,” Stormy said, kissing her again.  “A hotel, the studio, wherever.  I just want to be with you, Babe.”

Lauren pulled away and shook her head.  “Not tonight, okay?” she asked.  “I’m just really tired.”

“Are you sure?” Stormy asked with concern.

She nodded.  “Yeah, I’m sorry.  That’s all it is.  I’m just tired.”

Unable to hide his disappointment, Stormy shrugged and took a step back.  “Okay, well I guess I’ll talk to you tomorrow then.”

Lauren smiled and closed the door.  Stormy turned and walked back down the steps to the parking lot.  He couldn’t shake the feeling that something was bothering Lauren other than just being tired.   At any rate, maybe it was best that he spent a night at home with Heather.   He didn’t want her to have any excuses for a bitch session tonight.

Back inside her apartment, Lauren turned around just as Brett walked out of the bedroom wearing only a towel around his waist.   He gave her a sly grin and brushed his lips against her neck, untying her robe and letting it drop to the floor.  She closed her eyes and looked up, wishing she had never gotten herself into this mess.

Alex Reynolds

Meanwhile, Alex stood in her wedding dress on the terrace that jutted out from her house in Malibu.   The full moon above in the night sky illuminated the small ceremony and cast a warm glow over her porcelain skin.   She smiled and looked next to her where Will Thomerson stood, dressed in a dapper black suit.   Behind her was her maid, Veronique, and standing before them was a judge.

“Is there a witness present?” asked the judge.

“Here, your honor,” Veronique replied, raising her hand.

“Very well.  Let us begin,” said the judge.   “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony.”

Alex smiled and looked again at Will.  She took a deep breath and repeated to herself over and over that she was doing this for James.

 


Next time...

News of Alex and Will's marriage spreads.  Brett gets what he wants out of Lauren.  James and Alex have a clandestine meeting.  Lauren's album release party gets underway.  Winter grows increasingly distraught over Ethan's fixation on Brooke.

Read Episode 21

 

 


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