and Brooke were re-married in a private ceremony.
Miranda cautioned Brooke not to hurt her father
again. Stormy tried to make amends with James,
then warned him that Brett was up to no good as
head of Sunset Studios. Brett backed
out on his promise to give Heather a starring role
in The Murderess. Will learned that
Heather was a spy and vowed to get revenge. Janet
Harper engineered an accidental meeting with Ethan.
James told a furious Brett that Stormy would
be helping him run the studio while he recovered.
A mysterious intruder broke into the mansion
and startled Brooke. Later, James grew weak
as a result of the pills that Gwen and Brett gave
him, and fell down the stairs.
television in the waiting room at Cedars-Sinai blasted a report from the
Hollywood Bowl where setup was underway for the annual
4th of July celebration. Bands
did their soundchecks and the fire department supervised
as fireworks were trucked in for the traditional display. Miranda and Brett sat
restlessly in the cold plastic chairs, watching the midday news on television while they waited for word about James.
don't understand what's taking so long," Stormy complained as he paced
back and forth in the depressing waiting area flocked with cheap dime-store
flags and red white and blue decorations. "He's been in
there for an hour and nobody's come to tell us anything."
still in with him. Maybe she'll have
some news," Brett remarked with a shrug.
gazed at the television and shook her head with concern for her father. "I can't believe he fell," she
said. "It's like he's not getting
any better. Gwen should be in there with
him. She's his nurse. She needs to confer
with Dr. Farraday."
upset," Brett said with an edgy sigh.
"She probably blames herself."
ridiculous," Miranda exclaimed.
"You know my father. Once he
gets something in his head you can't change his mind. He was determined to go out and look for
whoever it was that Brooke saw in the house.
An army couldn't have stopped him."
"Well I'm going
to go see if I can find anything out," Stormy said with frustration as he
started out of the waiting room just as Heather entered with a tray of
coffee. He stopped and looked at her blankly,
the awkwardness still present every time he saw her.
everyone would like some coffee," she said and handed him a cup.
Stormy said and took a cup from her on his way out of the room.
Brett looked up at
Heather and rolled his eyes. He wasn't
in the mood for her this morning of all mornings. Was she going to start in on
him again about his broken promise to cast her in The Murderess? Hopefully
she'd exhibit some tact and let it rest at least
until James was back home with his family.
Moments later, Alex rushed into the waiting
room, a streak of panic on her heavily made up face. She rushed toward Miranda and threw her arms
around her in despair. A minute later, Jordan entered after having parked the
coming, Mom," Miranda said with misty eyes. She gave Jordan a hug and then sat back down in
James?" Alex asked, bundling her mink stole around her shoulders. "I was
horrified when I heard. Miranda, Darling, tell me this doesn't have
anything to do with that awful Brooke Taylor."
Miranda opened her
mouth to reply when from outside the waiting room came Brooke, followed by
Stormy and Dr. Noel Farraday, James’s long-time physician.
Alex," Brooke seethed, her eyes red and puffy. "If you've come here to start trouble
then you can turn around and walk right back out that door."
Miranda glared at
Brooke and stepped in front of Alex.
"Don't tell my mother to leave," she said. "She has just as much right to be here as
you do, Brooke."
Their eyes met in a
long standoff. How dare Miranda defend
Alex to her at a time like this? She was married to James now, not Alex. When were people going to
realize that she was not going away again?
She was here to stay.
"Would you all
stop bickering," Stormy insisted.
"Dr. Farraday has news about Dad.
He wanted to tell us all together."
Brooke broke from her
penetrating stare and turned to the doctor.
"How is my husband, Dr. Farraday?" she asked. "Please tell me we can bring him
nodded and put a hand on Brooke's shoulder.
"He's going to be fine, Mrs. Blackthorne. We took some X-rays and didn't find any
broken bones or head trauma from his fall."
thank God," Alex said, placing a hand on her chest and leaning against Jordan for support. Jordan couldn't help but feel jealous
of his wife's obvious concern over James Blackthorne. Something told him that she would never get
over her first husband completely.
am concerned, however," Dr. Farraday
looked at the doctor with panic in his eyes.
What if he found out that he and Gwen had been feeding James muscle
relaxers to keep him dependent on his chair?
What if this was the end of the line for him? He couldn't let that happen.
is it, Dr. Farraday?" Stormy asked, paralyzed with fear that something
worse had happened to his father.
reviewing the X-rays and doing some tissue monitoring, I'm surprised that this
happened," the doctor continued.
"The tests show miraculous tissue recovery in James's legs. That, compounded on top of his daily therapy,
should be enough to give him substantial feeling in his legs again."
family stared at him in silent disbelief, and Brett suddenly felt a surge of
terror course through his veins. What if
this was it? What if his plan was about
to be exposed? Stormy would get his way
and have him thrown out of the house and out of Sunset Studios,
leaving him to run it by himself.
"So why isn't my father walking yet?" Miranda asked. "I don't understand it."
Farraday shook his head regretfully.
"I'm afraid I don't either," he said. "There could be any number of reasons
why he isn't regaining the use of his legs.
Something in his diet, something psychological, or-"
mean something my husband is doing could keep him paralyzed?" Brooke
exactly," Dr. Farraday replied.
"I'm thinking of possible drug interactions. If any of you know what he's currently taking
then maybe I can tell if there's been a reaction."
nurse would know," Miranda said.
grabbed his jacket and shoved his arms through it. "I'll go home and talk to Gwen," he
don't you let me do that?" Brett asked in a panic. "James is your father, Stormy. I know
he'd want you to be here for him."
He couldn't let Stormy go and talk to Gwen. Not in the delicate state she was in
now. She'd probably spill her guts and
tell Stormy everything.
I want you to stay here with me," Miranda pleaded, clutching to her
husband's arm. "I need you
here. I don't know what I'd do without
caught between a rock and a hard place, Brett reluctantly gave in and sat back
down next to Miranda. He watched Stormy
with hawk-like eyes and prayed that he wouldn't find anything.
let you know as soon as I can," Stormy said before turning and rushing out
of the waiting room.
soon as he got to the main floor of the hospital, he was accosted by a slew of
reporters asking him questions about the condition of his father.
Blackthorne, can you give us an update on your father?” asked a reporter from
the Chronicle. “Is it true that his
condition has worsened?”
do you think this is going to affect the Academy Awards next year?”
your father’s marriage to Brooke Taylor legal this time around?”
changes do you and your brother-in-law plan on implementing now that you’re
both running Sunset Studios?”
was a pro at ignoring questions from reporters.
He made his way out to the parking lot when a familiar face stepped in
front of him. He stopped and looked
Janet Harper up and down, not a bit surprised by her presence.
certainly have a way with reporters,” she said and licked her lips. “I don’t suppose you’re holding out to give me a personal interview, are you?
Stormy smiled and
folded his arms. “Why do I get the
feeling you’re following me, Miss Harper?” he asked. “First I run into you in Denver, then at the airport in Phoenix, and now back here in L.A.
Am I supposed to believe this is a coincidence?”
can believe whatever you want,” Janet said with a grin. “But I like to think of it as destiny.”
remembering he was in a hurry, Stormy quickly cut their intriguing conversation
short. “Why don’t you tell me what it is
you’re after, Miss Harper?”
smiled and pulled her purse tightly over her shoulder. “You’ll find out soon enough,” she said with
raised a curious eyebrow and continued down the steps to his car in the parking
lot. He didn’t have time for riddles, in
particular riddles from a reporter like Janet Harper.
an hour later, Stormy was walking inside the foyer of the Blackthorne
mansion. He started up the stairs when
Leilani came running out from the dining room to see if there was any word on
yet, Leilani," he said. "Is
Gwen in her room? It's important that I
talk to her."
shook her head. "No, sir. She was upset after the ambulance came and
drove off in her car. I don't know where
have to search her room himself, Stormy decided as he made his way down the
hall upstairs. When he got to her room,
he quietly pushed the door open and walked inside the meticulous space. Fortunately Gwen was alarmingly neat and
orderly so finding the pills that she'd been giving James was no problem.
he plucked his cell phone from his jacket and dialed Miranda. Moments later she answered and he quickly
rattled off the unpronounceable names from the labels on the bottles so that she could relay
them to Dr. Farraday.
he finished, he clicked off his phone and started back out of the room. Before he left, his eyes darted toward a bag
from a local pharmacy that rested on top of Gwen's dresser. He emptied the contents onto the bed and was
floored by what he saw. A home pregnancy
then the door opened and Gwen walked inside, stopping mid-step when she saw
Stormy going through her personal things.
are you doing?" she asked in horror.
Without wasting a second, she raced forward and snatched up the
felt horrible for having violated her space.
"Gwen, I'm sorry. I was just
looking for the pills that you'd
been giving my dad."
looked at him quickly.
"Pills?" She wondered if he meant the mood enhancers
Brett had insisted she give to James.
"Yes. Dr. Farraday wanted to know what he was
taking so he could find out if the medication had anything to do with his
Gwen said, her heart beating wildly. She
wondered what Brett had really been asking her to give to James. If they were just mood enhancers then the
doctor wouldn't be having concerns.
"Did you find them?"
nodded reluctantly. "Yes, those
over there." He pointed to the tray
of pills he'd already reported back to Miranda. "Is that all there is?"
Gwen nodded her head. "Yes, that's all," she said. "Is Mr. Blackthorne going to be all
think so," Stormy replied as he started to the door. He paused and looked back for a second. "Listen, Gwen, I'm sorry if I overstepped
shook her head in an effort to dismiss any further discussion on the
topic. After he'd gone, she opened her
top drawer and placed the pregnancy kit inside.
She moved a few articles of clothing around and withdrew a hidden bottle
of pills from inside. She shook them
around in her hand and closed her eyes with regret.
at the hospital, Brooke sat by James's side in his room, holding his hand and
gazing longingly into his eyes. He
started to open his eyes and she squeezed his hand tightly, overjoyed that he
gave us a pretty good scare," she said softly. "How are you feeling?"
nodded vaguely and managed a smile.
"I feel better now that you're here," he said. "How are you feeling, Darling? Did
they find the prowler?"
her head, Brooke leaned forward and kissed his cheek. "Don't worry about
that now," she said. "You're the most important thing to
me. You and our baby."
smiled and squeezed her hand in return.
"Would you tell Gwen I’m sorry for being such an overbearing
bully?" he asked with a good-natured chuckle. "I think I've been pretty hard on
tell her," Brooke said with a smile.
"Dr. Farraday says you can come home in just a few hours. We'll have a reason to celebrate this
4th of July. Leilani and the Gardner have
been busy getting the house ready for a little celebration. Leilani's
making her famous fried chicken. We'll sit in
the garden and watch fireworks..."
first picnic together," James said, his eyes twinkling. "I can't wait."
either." She leaned back, her hand
still clasped around James's. "Dr.
Farraday says that your muscle tissue has
improved a lot. He says you might be
regaining some feeling in your legs soon.
Won't that be wonderful?
Like a miracle."
nodded dreamily. "You coming back
to me is the miracle," he said.
"I promise I'm going to give you the best life
you can imagine. Just wait and see."
outside the room, Alex listened to their heartfelt words with a pang of
jealousy. She wiped a tear from her eye
and turned back down the hallway where Jordan was waiting.
"I'm ready to go," she said.
I thought you wanted to see James before we-"
Alex insisted as she gave Miranda a quick squeeze. "Darling, I'm going to head home. I'll
talk to you soon, okay?"
"Won't I see youat the house
later?" Miranda asked with a hint of disappointment in her voice. "I
think Daddy needs to have people around him right now.
That's why we're having this 4th of July party..."
She shook her
head. "Jordan and I are going up to
the cabin in Big Bear for the weekend.
I'll call you when I get back.
We'll do something next
Miranda nodded with a
sigh and kissed her mother on the cheek.
Jordan said his
good-byes to Heather and followed
Alex down the hall to the elevator.
night sky lit up with fireworks, illuminated the gloomy
parlor room of Will Thomerson's estate half a mile down the road from the
Blackthorne mansion. The butler entered
the room and Will looked up from his reclined position at his desk where he
poured over an old photo album.
I've started to prepare the menu for your party this evening," he
said. "Will you require anything
else in the meantime?"
Gerald," Will replied absent-mindedly.
He turned back to the photo album and flipped through the pages. Dozens of pictures from his youth growing up
in Windsor, Kansas stared him coldly in the face.
first love, young Georgie Blackthorne, looked so sweet and innocent back
then. She was a beautiful young woman
with curly wisps of dark hair and sparkling green eyes. A picture of them together at a town
Christmas dance sent chills down his spine and he felt like he was twenty-five
sweet Georgie," he whispered, touching the photograph with tender
fingertips. It had been a long time
since he'd thought about her, not counting the times when James Blackthorne
tried accusing him of killing her by leaving her with a broken heart.
truth was he had to leave Windsor.
If he'd stayed and didn't take his chance on Broadway, he would have
grown old and bitter and resented Georgie for keeping him there. On the other hand, if he hadn't left Kansas, Georgie would never have been
taken in by the carnival worker who got her pregnant and left her broken
hearted. As if his leaving wasn't
enough of a heartbreak to her.
a moment of reflecting on the past he looked down at the picture again and
squinted, taking in the memories as best he could. Suddenly, he caught a glimmer of something
that he hadn't noticed before. Or
perhaps he'd been too blind to notice.
twenty-one, Will had looked startlingly similar to Ethan. The resemblance between him and Georgie was
there, but the fact that Ethan today was like the spitting image of Will
twenty-five years ago was astonishing to say the least.
looked up from the photo album and stared across the room in a daze. Just then the door opened and Ethan
4th of July," he said and handed Will a box of
sparklers. "For the party tonight. I thought we
could use a little entertainment."
took the sparklers and looked at Ethan closely.
He was amazed at how he never put the pieces together before today.
was no carnival worker at all.
handed her stole to the butler as she and Jordan walked into their mansion in Beverly Hills.
She quickly made her way into the parlor room and poured herself a glass
of brandy, standing back and watching a fireworks display through the large
you please tell me what's got you in such an uproar?" Jordan demanded as he followed her into
the room and closed the giant paneled doors behind him. "You shot out of the hospital like you
were a wanted woman. What is it, Alex?"
it alone, Jordan," she said dismissively and
turned toward the French doors that led out onto the terrace.
sighed and shoved his hands into his pockets.
"I know what this is all about," he began. "It's James, isn't it?"
shot him a look of protest and folded her arms, entranced by the bright glow
of the enormous fireballs in the sky.
"Don't be stupid."
you're upset because James is lying in a hospital bed and you're not the one
sitting by his bedside," Jordan insisted in outrage. "Isn't that right?"
am not wrong!" Jordan
argued. "You're still hung up on the man and
you’re so jealous that he's married again and has a baby on the way that you
couldn’t bring yourself to be there another minute. Admit it, Alex. I’m right about this."
turned to him and threw her half-full glass at the wall beside him. Shards of glass and a spray of sticky dark
liquid flew in every direction and Jordan quickly dodged away to deflect
any fragments from hitting him.
said you're wrong!" she screamed.
"Now just get out of here and leave me alone!"
about Big Bear?" Jordan asked in frustration as he
fished the keys to the cabin out of his pocket.
"I thought we were going to spend the weekend together. Just the two of us. I'd rather not have James tagging along with
us if you don't mind."
don’t care about Big Bear!" she cried and turned away.
his head in frustration, Jordan threw the keys across the room,
turned and stormed back out of the parlor.
After he'd left, Alex buried her face in her hands and wept
quietly. She hated herself for feeling
the way she did. The truth was that Jordan was right on the money with
everything. She was jealous. James didn't
want her anymore and he'd moved on.
in her misery, she walked to the French doors and opened them to
let in some fresh air. The smell of sulphur and smoke filled the room
from the fireworks. She took a deep
breath and tried to put the day's events into perspective. Suddenly a hand clasped around her mouth and
her eyes flashed open in surprise, muffled screams emanating uselessly.
word of James's impending release came, Brett made a cleverly disguised exit
from the hospital and made his way back to the mansion where he immediately
sought out Gwen.
his relief, he found her alone in her room.
He quickly shed his jacket and loosened the top button on his shirt,
panting with exhaustion from rushing so fast up the stairs.
you okay?" he asked, closing the door quietly behind him.
barely looked up at him, wiping her teary eyes with a tissue. "Go away, Brett," she said. "I can't even look at you right
what had happened since he left, he raced over and sat down next to her on the
bed. Gwen immediately shot up and bolted
across the room a safe distance away.
you've been crying," he said, following her closely.
could have died," Gwen said between sobs.
"Do you realize that, Brett?
He could have died and it would have been all our fault."
shook his head in protest and offered a patronizing smile. "What are you talking about?" he
asked. "James falling down the
stairs doesn't have anything to do with us.
The doctors always said he might not regain the feeling in his
legs. You knew that. How would we be to blame if anything had
happened to him?"
of these!" Gwen lamented and
threw the bottle of muscle relaxers at him.
"I don't know where you really got these or what they really are,
but I know that his condition has gotten worse since I stated
giving them to him! That makes us both
to keep up with his constant web of lies, Brett threw his hands up in
resignation and looked at Gwen with a leveled truthfulness. "Look, I didn't mean for him to get
hurt, okay?" he began, then quickly thought up another lie to cover his
deceitfulness. "I knew how eager he
was to get back to work and I didn't want him to push himself. I thought by giving him muscle relaxers he
would be forced to taking it slow. "
looked at him and tried to decide if he was on the level or not. It was so hard to tell sometimes. Brett seemed to have a cover for every move
father and I never got along," Brett continued, deciding to lay it on even
thicker. "He threw me out of the
house when I was seventeen. For years I
tried to win his love but it didn't seem to make any difference. Then he died of a heart attack and I never
got the chance to say goodbye to him."
felt her heart sink and she again felt sorry for Brett. The puppy dog look in his eyes and the
corners of his mouth turning down was enough to make up for any wrongdoing.
James it's like I have another chance," Brett said. "I love him like my own father,
Gwen. I just don't want to see him
hurt. This thing that's happened, it's
killing me inside knowing that I might have been the cause of it." To top off the sentiment, he was somehow able
to muster a couple of tears. "I
didn't know that he would get hurt, Gwen"
don't even deserve the love and trust that he's given me," he cut her off,
sitting down on the bed and burying his face in his hands.
responsible for his breakdown, Gwen sat beside him and took his hand in
hers. "You had good
intentions," she began solemnly.
"I know how much Mr. Blackthorne means to you. You're like another son to him. I just wish you had told me the truth before
any of this. I'm a nurse, Brett. I could have told you this would
know. I'm an idiot." He looked up at her and dried the few tears
he'd forced himself to shed. "So what are you going to do now? Are you going to tell James?"
sighed and looked at the bottle of pills.
"I don't know," she began.
"For now I’m not going to do anything. I
think this family has been
nodded and looked at the pill bottle. He
had to get it back from her. Without the
proof, it would be her word against his.
He got up from the bed and straightened his shirt before giving her a
faint smile and leaving the room.
he'd gone, Gwen went back to her dresser and put the pills back in the top
drawer. From out in the hallway, Brett
watched her intently.
twisted from the grasp of the intruder and slid away, picking up a candlestick
to use in her defense. Her eyes riveted
to the man standing before her, she slowly lowered her weapon and cocked her
head to the side in confusion.
she asked in surprise. "What are
you doing here?"
Whitacre took a step forward, unzipping his black leather jacket as his eyes
bore into her threateningly. "I
need your help," he began.
help?" she asked. "You've got
to be kidding. I believe I paid you in
full for your efforts in breaking up James and Brooke last summer. I want nothing more to do with you."
sly grin broke out across Philip's face and he took a few steps forward. "You certainly couldn't get enough of me
last time," he began. "If I
remember correctly, your eyes were permanently rolled back into your head after
I got through with you."
fought the temptation and pushed him away.
As attractive and sexually charged as Philip Whitacre was, she had to
remain faithful to Jordan, however irritating he might be at times. "I'm a married woman now," she said.
your husband give it to you like I do?" Philip asked, walking up behind
her and pushing himself close, his hot breath on the back of her neck. "Does he make you scream like I
felt lightheaded and she hurriedly scampered away. "Really, Philip. This is a bad idea. What are you doing here, anyway? I thought you were in Phoenix."
was," he said. "But now I’m
back. I have some unfinished business in
Alex lit a cigarette and puffed gently on the tip. "I don’t even want to know what business you have in L.A."
I said before, I need your help. I need
someplace to stay for a while," he persisted. "A nice place up away from the
city. Just until I get on my feet. I need to sort some things out and I need time
tried to appear unaffected by his clever manipulation. "I'm sorry. I can't help you. If my husband even knew you were here he'd have
a fit. He's very jealous, you
what about that cabin I heard you talking about?” Philip asked. “Where’d you say it was? Big Bear?”
how long have you been skulking around my terrace?” she asked, slightly
unnerved that he had listened in on her private conversation with her
husband. “I should call the police on
dug his hands into his pockets and looked to the ground. The tip of a key jutting out from under the
sofa caught his attention and he suddenly got an idea. Under the pretense that he was tying his
shoe, he bent down and quickly scraped the keys up in his hand.
Philip. What are you doing here?"
Alex continued. "If you're here to
cause more trouble with James and
Brooke you're too late. They've already
nodded. "I know. I wish them both lots of happiness."
looked at him with a raised eyebrow. She
didn't buy his act for a minute. There
was a reason he had come back to L.A. and she was certain it had
something to do with Brooke Blackthorne.
for intruding on your evening," Philip said with a smirk as he backed up
toward the terrace, clasping the keys tightly in the palm of his hand. "I'm sure I'll be seeing you
a flash he was gone and Alex quickly went to the doors to close them
again. She shivered from the eerie
and took a long drag of her cigarette.
evening, Leilani opened the grand double doors of the Blackthorne mansion and
stood clear as Brooke wheeled James into the foyer, followed by Miranda, Stormy
home, Mr. Blackthorne," Leilani said.
you, Leilani," James replied with a smile.
everything ready on the terrace, Leilani?" Miranda asked. "I think we’re all in need of a healthy
dose of summertime fun."
looks lovely, Miss Miranda," Leilani said and led the family down the hall
to the family room. Once they entered,
praises of approval came fast and furious.
An elaborate buffet was set up, the terrace doors open and flaming torches ablaze
outside near the garden. Brett was already there, pouring
drinks at the outside bar and tending to the barbecue
4th everyone," he said as he walked over and embraced Miranda
warmly. "James, I hope you're
feeling better. You gave us all quite a
feel fine, Brett, thank you." He
wheeled himself to the terrace doors and took in a breath
of the fragrant garden. Beams of light illuminated
the sky from the Hollywood Bowl fireworks show, music
from a band emanating all the way up the canyons.
everybody care for some lemonade mixers?" Brett said as he handed out glasses
terrific," Miranda said as she took a glass from him. "Daddy?"
wouldn't mind having some," James said happily. He wheeled over to the sofa and Brooke sat
down next to him after shedding her white fur coat. "Darling, one sip won't hurt
you. What do you say?"
just a sip," she said and took a glass from Miranda. "I think we have a lot to
celebrate tonight. Dr. Farraday said that there's a good chance
you'll be regaining some feeling in your legs soon. Isn't it wonderful?"
hope he's right," James said.
about the concerns he had?" Stormy asked.
"Were the medications you were taking causing your condition to
sighed and shrugged indifferently.
"He doesn't know. But he
must think they were being counterproductive because he told me to stop taking
all of the pills he prescribed. That's
good news in my book."
wonderful, James," Heather said and exchanged relieved smiles with Brooke.
bit down on his lip and realized that his plan to keep James immobile hadn't
come off as easily as he'd thought. And
now with him and Stormy both running Sunset
Studios together, the fate of his position with the studio was more up in
the air than ever. Once James started
walking again, he'd be back in control.
sidled into the room and cornered Brett by the buffet. She shot him a lethal stare that he knew
right away meant business. It was clear
that she wasn't through with him yet.
His reneging on the deal to get her a part in The Murderess wasn't just going to fade away. Heather was going to be a thorn in his side
for some time to come.
me, where is Gwen?" James asked.
"I'd like her to come down and celebrate with the family as
well. I think I owe her an
go get her," Brett announced quickly, setting his cocktail down and making
his way out of the room. Stormy watched
him and raised a curious eyebrow. He
thought it was peculiar that twice in one day Brett jumped to attention at the
very sound of Gwen’s name.
When Brett arrived at
Gwen's room, he pushed the door open and found her sitting on her bed holding a
small object in her hand. There was a
far-away look in her eyes that didn't subside until he called her name several
I didn't hear you come in," she said distantly.
you okay?" Brett asked, closing the door behind him.
shook her head in despair and a tear ran down her cheek. "No, I'm not okay," she said. She stood up and looked at him dead on. "I'm pregnant."
news nearly sent Brett doubling over in shock.
He took a step back and blinked a few times before opening his mouth to
it's yours." She answered his
question before he asked.
No, this couldn't be happening! She can't be pregnant! She'll ruin everything!
Gwen held up the pregnancy test stick and shrugged. "Well, aren't you going to say
considered his reply very carefully.
There were two ways to play this, and the wrong choice could send Gwen
running to James with the truth about the pills he had insisted she give
him. No amount of twisting the truth
and fabricating fake stories about his childhood would get him out of that
one. Stormy would make sure of
think it's wonderful," he said and walked over and put her arms around
by his reaction, Gwen smiled happily and took a step back. "Do you mean it?" she asked. "You're happy about this baby?"
nodded. "Of course I am, Gwen. Just think of it. A baby of our own. What more could we ask for?"
laughed with exhilaration and threw her arms around his neck. "I'm so relieved!" she cried. "I thought you were going to be angry
in the world could I be angry about something as beautiful as having a baby
with the woman I love?" he asked, lifting her chin and gazing into her
swallowed hard and felt a tear stream down her cheek. "You love me?" she asked in
I love you." He picked her up in
his arms and spun her around in a circle.
the initial elation had subsided, Gwen covered her mouth with her hands and sat
down on the edge of the bed. "But
what about your wife?" she asked.
"This is going to destroy her.
And we'll both be banished from this house without a second
that's why we have to keep this just between us for the time being," Brett
insisted, taking her hand in his and patting it gently. "Nobody can know about this baby, Gwen. Let me handle my wife, okay?"
nodded, mesmerized by how gallant and cordial he was being. She had no choice but to go along with
him. If they were going to be together
she'd have to.
right now we have to act like everything is normal," Brett continued. "James wants you to come downstairs to
celebrate with the family. You go
down first and I'll meet you there in a few minutes."
she said happily and kissed him warmly.
She turned and raced from the room, leaving Brett behind. Once she was gone, he quickly went to the top
drawer of her dresser and fished the bottle of pills from inside. He quickly
pocketed the bottle and started back out of the room. He had to get downstairs before anyone
suspected anything. The last thing he
needed was Stormy causing more trouble for him.
on the terrace, Heather and Miranda set off a slew of
bottlerockets and cowered away as they shot up into
the air and crackled as they disappeared from sight. Stormy
laughed and approached with an M-80. Gwen stepped
out from the family room with some trepidation
and quietly slid to the gazebo.
come over here," James said and flagged down the nurse. "I'd
like to tell you how sorry I am for the way I've acted
shook her head adamantly, unable to hide her guilt over
her part in his fall. "Really, Mr. Blackthorne,
that's not necessary."
he said, handing her an envelope of cash. "Please accept this and
my apology. Consider it a bonus."
deserve a bonus after having to put up with him," Miranda joked
just as Brett approached and took his place by her side. He and Gwen exchanged knowing glances while
Stormy watched them both carefully.
while I'm feeling generous, I have something for you too," James said to Brooke as he motioned for
Stormy to bring over an enormous wrapped package. "Actually it's for our baby."
our baby?" Brooke asked with a bright smile as she walked over to the
gigantic box that rested on the patio. Miranda watched her
coolly, fighting every temptation to scream out that she didn't deserve so much
attention from her father.
might be a few years before he or she gets to use it, but I wanted to get
something for the future of the next Blackthorne," James said, watching in
admiration as Brooke unwrapped the present.
you didn’t," Brooke gasped as she revealed the polished leather
saddle. She turned to him and her jaw
dropped in astonishment. "You got
our baby a horse?"
nodded. "A pony actually. He's out in the stable right now. By the time our baby is old enough to ride,
that pony should be trained perfectly."
wonderful, James," Brooke said and threw her arms around him. "It's the best gift I could ever ask
for. Our baby could ever ask for, I mean."
now for you," James said, removing a long velvet box from his pocket.
eyes lit up with excitement as she opened the jewelry box and gazed inside at
the shimmering necklace and earrings.
She'd never seen so many diamonds in her entire life. "It's beautiful," she whispered.
"But I don't understand. What's the occasion
for all these gifts? It's the 4th of July, not
just feel very lucky and blessed and I want to share
it with you."
was quickly reminded of the similar present Will had given her the week
before. She realized she had a decision
to make about their relationship. Brett
wasn't going to help her so maybe she was too quick to discount Will.
rolled her eyes and sat back against a cushy patio chair. She couldn't stand how Brooke was
yet again the biggest star in the house.
It was like last summer only worse now that a baby was involved.
then, Alex stepped outside onto the terrace from the family room with a
flourish. Jordan followed her close behind,
his hands dug firmly in his pockets.
evening everybody," Alex clamored, dressed festively in a red
and white dress with matching pillbox hat.
Miranda screeched happily, flying up from her seat and rushing over to her and
Jordan. "I'm so glad you're
"Hi Mom," Stormy said and waited behind Miranda to greet Alex. "I thought the two of you were going
to Big Bear."
decided to celebrate Independence Day with our children," Alex said, giving Jordan a wry look before hugging Stormy
4th of July,
approached her father and kissed him warmly.
The animosity she'd felt toward him lately dissipated and she welcomed
him with open arms. Stormy was shuffled
awkwardly close to Jordan and the two met in a standoffish
"Jordan," Stormy said offhandedly.
good to see you," Jordan
managed through clenched
teeth. He wanted to kill Alex for
dragging him over there. If it hadn't
been for Heather he would have insisted he stayed home. He didn't understand
why everyone was fawning all over James Blackthorne
so much. They were acting like the 4th of July
was his own personal holiday.
is she doing here?" Brooke
whispered in James's ear, her eyes unmoving from Alex's painted on smile.
Sweetheart," James soothed her. "Stormy and Miranda are her children
too. And things between us have been
better lately so I don’t see the harm in having her spend the evening with
I do," Brooke said with a
pout. "She's positively horrible to
He pursed his lips together and kissed Brooke on the
cheek. "I'll handle Alex. Don't you worry about that."
then, the entire night sky lit up in a myriad of colors
and lights. Loud crackling and a string of thunderous
roars echoed through the canyons. Everyone stopped
and turned to witness the elaborate grand finale, mesmerized
by the awe-inspiring fireworks display.
put her hand on James's shoulder and smiled contently. Their first holiday together was proving to
be the best one of her life. Alex
approached and stood on the opposite side of Brooke. She pushed her long auburn hair up off her
shoulder and offered a coquettish smile.
"Hello Brooke. I had a visit
from a friend of yours today."
looked at her and raised an eyebrow.
"Really? Who was
that?" She couldn’t imagine having
any friends in common with Alex Reynolds.
hesitated and then shook her head, deciding it was best
to leave her in the dark. She didn't owe Brooke
anything and certainly didn't have to tell her everytime
she saw one of her ex-boyfriends. "Oh, nevermind.
I'm sure it wasn't important."
frowned at the odd remark, turning back to watch the
grand finale of the fireworks display at the Hollywood
hundred yards away, a dark figure crept through the
trees on the expansive grounds of the mansion. He
moved with cat-light agility, moving from tree to tree
until he was in range and could get a clear view of
her. He stood and watched, gripping his fingers
onto a tree branch as he watched the way she stood by
her husband with that whimsical look in her eyes. She
looked so happy with him, but he knew it wouldn't last.
Soon she would come to her senses and come back
soon he and Brooke would be back together, Ethan thought
to himself as he watched her from across the lawn.
Heather reluctantly goes
back to Will in hopes of landing a gig. Ethan
and Janet grow closer. Will gets a DNA test.
Brooke goes missing during a torrtential rainstorm.