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Episode 29

 

Release Date:  July 7, 2006

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Dr. Farraday determined that James should have regained feeling in his legs, and asked if he was taking any medications that might inhibit his healing.  Stormy confronted Gwen and asked what James was currently taking. Brett convinced Gwen not to say anything about the pills they were giving him. Will wondered if Ethan was his son. Philip Whitacre returned to town and asked Alex to help him get settled. When she refused, he stole keys to her cabin in Big Bear.  Gwen told Brett that she was pregnant with his child.  Rather than risk her exposing his lies, he made her believe that he would leave Miranda for her when the time was right. A jealous Ethan watched from the shadows as Brooke celebrated the 4th of July with James.  

 


 

Episode 29

"Downpour"

 

Ethan arrived at Will Thomerson's estate, grabbed a glass of champagne and stood in the corner watching the boring industry types hobnobbing with each other at the less than exciting industry party.  He sighed and sidled along the wall, wishing to stay clear of anyone who might draw him into a conversation.  He was in no mood to talk to anyone tonight.  After all, it was Independence day, and he'd never been more independent.  His family had disowned him, the woman he loved was with another man, and overall there wasn't much worth celebrating.

"Is this a small world or what?" asked a voice from behind.

Quickly, he spun around and came face to face with Janet Harper.  His frown immediately turned to a smile and he laughed at her remark.  "I think it might be," he said, taking a glass of champagne from a passing waiter and handing it to her

"You got here awfully late," she said with a playful smile.  She was dressed elegantly in a black evening gown and a festive red bag clutched in her hand.  "I was getting a little uncomfortable.  I don't know anyone here, I only got in with my press ID, and everyone seems to be coupling off.  Kind of reminds me of high school dances when I was the only one not getting kissed."

Ethan cleared his throat and nervously learned forward to kiss her.  Once their lips touched, he knew he had to have her.  The sweet taste of her lips and the exciting smell of her perfume left him panting with desire.  Seconds later, they were embroiled in a passionate kiss and everyone else in the room seemed to fade into the background.

"That definitely makes up for the senior prom," Janet said and licked her glossy red lips.   "Would you like to dance?"

He nodded eagerly and gently led her to the dance floor where they began a slow effortless motion in the twinkling lights of the ballroom.

Will Thomerson watched them from a distance, nodding graciously to a few passing guests and lifting a glass of champagne to his lips.  He studied Ethan’s face and wondered if his hunch was right.  If so, they were all going to be in for a big surprise.

Moments later, the butler opened the doors in the entryway and bowed regally at Heather Blackthorne who entered the estate dressed in a flowing silver gown, adorned heavily around the neck with Will’s generous ruby and diamond necklace.

She entered the adjoining ballroom and spotted Will standing alone.  Taking a deep breath, she walked over to him and smiled gleefully, gesturing to the necklace. 

“What do you think?” she asked.

Will turned to her and a maniacal smile spread across his face.  The loathing he felt for James Blackthorne surfaced ten fold.  The fact that his nemesis had used young Heather as a spy for his studio was beyond contempt.  His first instinct was to throw her out of his house and damn her for daring to tread on his territory. 

But after quickly reminding himself that he needed her to exact his revenge on his enemies, he politely took her hand and drew him toward him.  “You look ravishing, my dear,” he said elegantly and kissed her cheek.  “I thought you'd never get here.  May I have this dance?”

“Of course,” Heather said and began waltzing across the dance floor with him.  She’d made the difficult decision to remain with Will Thomerson despite her better judgment, and despite Ethan’s warnings against it.  Ethan knew of her betrayal but with any luck he wouldn’t tell Will.   If Brett wasn’t going to help her get into the business, then Will certainly would.

Blackthorne Mansion

Stormy and Miranda remained in the family room after the rest of the family had gone up to bed.  They looked through old photo albums and reminisced about childhood summers with their family.  When Brett left them twenty minutes after Gwen did, Stormy grew immediately suspicious.  He knew something was going on but couldn’t quite put his finger on it.  But just as quickly his attention was shifted when Miranda brought up a sore subject.

“Stormy, what ever happened to that woman?” she asked.  “The one you said you met when you were on tour with Lauren?”

Frowning, he looked at her and shook his head.  “Why are you bringing that up?” he asked in dismay.

“There’s something different about you since you came back,” Miranda said, turning to him on the sofa and closing the photo album.  “You seem determined.  Not like when you started Good Times Records.  This is different.  I can’t help but wonder what happened during those five months you were away.”

He smiled awkwardly and thought about the brief affair he’d had with the woman in Denver.  “It was just a fling,” he explained.  “I met Samantha at the bar at the hotel and…one thing led to another.”

“Have you seen this Samantha since then?” Miranda asked curiously.  “Or talked to her?”

Shaking his head, he turned and looked at his hands resting in his lap.  “I wouldn’t know where to find her,” he said.  “She didn’t say much about herself.”

Miranda rolled her eyes.  “Oh how romantic,” she mused.  “An anonymous hookup in the hotel bar and then it’s back to your own lives.  When are you going to stop treating sex as something so trivial?  Need I remind you of what happened when you were married to Heather and decided it would be okay to dip into Lauren Spencer’s pool?”

He shot her a look of warning.  “No, you don’t,” he said.  “Believe me, if I could find this woman I would.  There was something about her.  She was lonely.  I felt like we really connected.”

“I bet you did,” Miranda scoffed, then hit him playfully on the shoulder.

Will's House

Back at Will Thomerson’s estate, the party was dwindling down and only a few sole guests remained in the vast ballroom on the first floor.  He’d sent Heather home, not able to summon the energy to put up a front with her for an entire evening.  He’d deal with her later.  He had other things to worry about in the meantime.

“You’re taking off then?” Will said to Ethan as he caught up with him at the door.

Ethan nodded and finished his champagne.  “Yes.  It was a great party, Will.  A success in every way.”

“I can see that,” Will said with a grin as he gestured to Janet Harper who waited for Ethan just outside the doors.  “Ethan, you do know about Miss Harper’s reputation, don’t you?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“She’s built quite a name for herself back in Denver,” Will announced.  “I just hope you know what you’re getting into.  Nothing you say is off the record with women like Janet Harper.”

Ethan chuckled heartily.  "I seriously doubt that anything I know is of interest to her,” he said.  “As if there’s something to tell that hasn’t already been uncovered by the tabloids.”

Will offered him a friendly pat on the back and took his empty glass from him.  They exchanged goodnights and Ethan left to meet up with Janet on the porch.  Just as Will closed the door, his butler appeared and handed him a plastic bag. 

"Thank you, Gerald," Will said and sealed Ethan's glass tightly inside the bag.  

Jasmes Blackthorne

The next morning, after the family enjoyed an elaborate breakfast, James followed Brooke into the foyer as she slipped on her white fur coat.

"I don't like you going by yourself," he said.   "Why don't I have Stormy or Brett go with you, Darling."

Brooke shook her head in protest.  "Don't be silly," she said.  "It's just a doctor's appointment, James.  I'll be back in an hour tops.  And just think, this will probably be the last one before the baby comes."

The prospect made him smile from ear to ear.  "I hope so," he said.  "I just want my wife and baby home with me."

"Soon," she said and bent down to kiss his lips.  "And when I get home we'll start thinking about a name.  How does that sound?"

"You're on," James said and watched her exit through the giant doors leading to the chauffeured limousine parked in the porte-cochere. 

The uniformed driver was wearing dark sunglasses and a hat pulled tightly down onto his forehead.  He opened the rear door for Brooke and she climbed into the back, bundling her white fur tightly around her body.   The driver secured his uniform hat snugly over his head and glanced carefully around the front drive before returning to the driver's seat and adjusted his sunglasses.

The car quickly lurched forward and started down the long driveway toward the main road.  In the back seat, Brooke sat in quiet reflection of the glorious summer evening she'd shared with James.

Will Thomerson

Will Thomerson paced back and forth in his study that morning, continuously glancing at the fax machine in heated anticipation.  He wrung his hands together and paused at the window, then back at the phone and the fax.

The exhilaration was insurmountable.  The possibility that a simple DNA test taken from Ethan's champagne glass could prove that he was his son was enough to keep him up all night.   The lab at Cedars-Sinai had promised to get him the results by mid morning and he was on pins and needles waiting.

Years of betrayal by James Blackthorne were about to bubble to the surface and finally come to light.  And if that were the case - if Ethan was indeed his son - he would make James pay dearly for keeping it from him.

Brooke Taylor

Brooke had been so busy with warm thoughts of her and James' new life together, and of the joy they would soon share when their baby arrived, that she didn't immediately notice when the limousine had passed by the hospital and kept heading east toward the Valley.

When she finally glanced out the window she saw pebbles of rain hitting the windows.  Seconds later the sky opened up and a downpour of rain emptied onto the roads.  She sighed, only then noticing that they were a good half-hour outside of the city.  She pressed the button to lower the partition so she could speak to the driver.

"Is everything okay?" she called to the front, still glancing nervously outside the foggy windows.  "We passed the hospital a while ago."

The driver didn't reply, which only made her more uneasy.  He stared through the windshield, wiper blades swishing rapidly.  He stayed hidden behind his hat and sunglasses and drove intently along the highway.

Growing increasingly alarmed, Brooke began breathing heavily and peering through the windows to get a better idea of where they were.  The rain was coming down so hard that she could barely see a thing.  The speed which they traveled made her stomach turn and she had to physically prevent herself from getting sick.  She hoped that the driver could keep the car on the road and not send them hydroplaning off into a ditch.

"Where are we going?" she called to the driver.   "Does my husband know about this?"

Still the chauffeur remained silent, staring straight ahead with steadfast control.  He ignored Brooke as she thrashed about in the back seat in a blind panic.

"Oh my God," she whispered to herself as she realized she was being held against her will.   Fear crept into her mind as she desperately tried to think of a way out.  A quick glance to the seat beside her reminded her that she didn't bring her purse, which meant her cell phone was at home as well.

She was trapped. 

Jordan's House

Alex spent the morning lounging in the new silk robe Jordan had given her as a guilt gift, sipping tea and pouring over business plans for her new venture with Marilee Wells-Walker.  Jordan had gone out for a ride at the stables after unsuccessfully trying to convince her to come along.  Riding had never been here forte.  Now she expected him back momentarily because of the sudden rainstorm.

Nibbling at a heaping of caviar, she was interrupted when the doors to the parlor opened and the butler entered to announce a visitor.   "Ms. Reynolds, Mr. Thomerson is here to see you."

The unwelcome visit sent her into a tailspin and she quickly rose from the velvet settee that she'd spent the morning perched on.   "Tell him to get the hell out of here," she ordered.  "I have no intention of-"

"You know it's bad manners to hide behind your servants," Will Thomerson said as he forced himself into the room.  "Hello Alex."

Gordon stood back and positioned himself by the phone.  "Shall I call the police, ma'am?" he asked.

Alex took a deep cleansing breath and shook her head with frustration. "No, that won't be necessary," she replied. "Mr. Thomerson won't be staying long."

The butler obligingly ducked back out of the room and closed the doors.  After he was out of sight, Alex floated across the room and positioned herself inches from Will, her hands plastered on her hips.

"What the hell do you want?"

"I'm on a fact finding mission you might say," Will replied, then smiled and removed a piece of paper from his jacket pocket.  "Well, I actually already have the facts.  I just want to know how involved you are."

Alex rolled her eyes and walked over to the desk and lit a cigarette.  "I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about," she said.  "Get to the point and get out.  I’m in no mood to talk to you.  Not after trying to kill me last summer.  You remember, don't you?  Your hands ever-so delicately tightened around my neck?"

"I had good reason for threatening you," Will countered.  "You married me on the pretense that we were going to destroy James Blackthorne.  Then you doublecrossed me just to try to win him back.  As far as I'm concerned you've waged a war with me."

"Is that it?" Alex asked with a laugh.  "You've lost your touch, Will.  I'm not even trembling."

Quickly he rushed toward her and presented the DNA results from the hospital.  "And you'll have no reason to as long as you tell me you had no idea about this lie that James Blackthorne has perpetuated for the past twenty-eight years."

Alex glanced at the paper and then quickly took a step back.  "No…." she gasped.

"That's right," he continued.  "I know that Ethan is my son.  I have the DNA results to prove it.  Now how long has James Blackthorne known?  And how long have you known?  You were his wife.  I’m sure he told you everything."

Nervously, she darted across the room and poured herself a stiff drink.  What on earth made him decide to get a DNA test done?  She knew that James never wanted Will or Ethan to find out the truth.  Now this.  James was going to be devastated.

"Your silence tells me that you've known for quite some time," Will said solemnly.   "And James?  I suppose he's known since the beginning."

Alex turned to him in a panic.  "What difference does it make?" she lamented.  "Who cares who knows or how long they've known?  The important question is what are you going to do now?  Does Ethan know?"

"No he doesn't know," Will replied.  "I just found out myself.  And how dare you tell me it doesn't matter.  Do you realize that I've had a son for twenty-eight years that I knew nothing about?  We've been working together in the same house for the past five months and we had no clue we were father and son.  Does that seem right to you, Alex?  Does it?"

Words failed Alex as she searched for something to say to justify James's actions.  She knew he had his reasons for keeping it a secret, mostly surrounding the way his sister had died all those years ago.   But it wasn't her battle to fight.   She only found out by accident.  James didn't even know that she knew.

"Just get out of here!" she finally said in a craze. 

He gritted his teeth and threw a crystal carafe of vodka across the room in a blind fury.  "I swear to God I'll make you and James Blackthorne pay for this betrayal," he groaned menacingly.  "You people can't go around playing God like this.  Life doesn't happen the way you and James Blackthorne command it to.  I won't rest until every person who kept this from me is rotting in hell!"

With that, he turned and bolted from the room. A crash of thunder echoed through the house and Alex covered her mouth with her hands and let out a terrified gasp.  She knew Will would carry out with his threats.  He wasn't about to sit by and let something this big go unpunished.

Brooke Taylor

Brooke whimpered silently in the back seat of the limo.  She looked at her watch and saw that she'd already been gone for over an hour.  People would start wondering where she was before long.  She was only going to Dr. Mitchell for a final checkup prior to her due date. 

Pressure in her ears told her they were climbing higher into the mountains, probably northeast of L.A.  The mountain terrain was clearly visible from their location.  She peered outside and saw that the rain was falling harder than ever from the sky, a sure sign that they were getting further and further away from the city.

"Where are you taking me?" she demanded, tears streaming down her face.  "Please!  I just want to go home!  I swear I won't tell anyone!"

But the driver continued driving silently, ignoring her pleas.  He had to keep his eyes on the road.  One wrong move and they could go sliding off the road into a pool of mud.

Realizing she had to do something fast, Brooke tried the door handle.  Locked.  The driver had set the safety lock from the front seat preventing her from opening it.  She pulled at the handle anyway, frustrated and desperate to escape from her certain doom.  She didn't know who was behind her kidnapping but whoever it was obviously had a plan.  Where was he taking her? 

In a frenzied moment, she lunged forward and tried to sabotage the car to get it to stop long enough for her to make an escape.  She knew it was dangerous on the wet, winding road but with any luck the fates were on her side.

She fumbled for the gearshift and the driver pushed her hand away, struggling to return her to the back seat.  Brooke persisted, crying out in desperation as she scratched at his face and knocked his hat and sunglasses off his face.

The driver quickly tried looking away from her but Brooke had already gotten a long look at her kidnapper.

"Philip?" she gasped in horror.

Blackthorne Mansion

Heather ran out of the conservatory at the Blackthorne mansion and raced down the hall to see if James was in his study.  She pushed the door open and found him quietly reading next to the window.

"James, Dr. Mitchell just called," she said in bated breath.  "Brooke never showed up for her appointment."

He immediately looked up and flew into a panic.  A flash of lightening lit up the room.  "What?  Are you sure?"

"Yes, she never made it to the hospital.  Her appointment was almost two hours ago."

The news rattled James to the core.  Quickly, he wheeled himself out into the foyer and hollered for Leilani.  "Leilani, has my wife come home yet?" he asked.

"No sir," she replied. 

"Well did she call?"

"No."

James and Heather exchanged worried glances.  Brooke's disappearance gave him a bitter sense of déjà vu.  Only six months ago she disappeared without a trace.  She took off in the middle of the day.   Now he had her back again and he'd be damned if he'd let history repeat itself.

"What's going on?" Stormy asked as he walked down the hall from the gym, dabbing his sweaty face and neck with a towel.

"Brooke's gone," Heather said in a panic.  "We have to find her, Stormy."

He immediately flew into action.  "I'll check upstairs."

Brett Armstrong

Brett paced back and forth in his and Miranda's bedroom, holding the bottle of muscle relaxers in his hand.  He'd successfully taken them from Gwen without her knowing, and now he had to make certain nobody found them.  

Opening the bottle, he poured the remaining pills into his hand and started toward the bathroom.  Just then, there was a loud knock at the door and hollering from outside in the hallway.  His hands instinctively went behind his back to hide the evidence, but by that time Stormy was already bounding inside the bedroom.

"Have you seen Brooke?" he asked.

The pills flew from Brett's hand and scattered all over the floor.  He looked down in horror and then back up at Stormy.  The empty pill bottle was in one hand, the cap in the other hand.

Stormy's eyes flashed open in surprise.  He rushed over and picked up one of the pills but Brett struggled to push him away. 

"Get out of here!" Brett shrieked, grasping for the remaining pills.

"What the hell-" Stormy shouted, realization slowly dawning.  He looked at Brett and then at the empty bottle of pills.  "What are these?"

"Vitamins," Brett replied and wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead.  "You're not the only one who likes to work out around here, you know.  They're for stamina."

Stormy studied his brother-in-law's expression carefully.  "You're this jumpy and nervous about vitamins?" he asked, his tone full of doubt.  He shook his head and rolled one of the pills around between his thumb and forefinger.  It all made sense to him now.  "What are these, Brett?"

"Who are you?  The pill fairy?" Brett asked resentfully.   "What do you care what drugs I’m taking anyway?"

Brett's defensive attitude spoke for itself and Stormy immediately saw straight through it.  "Are these what kept my father in that wheelchair?" he demanded.  "Is this why Dr. Farraday said he wasn't getting any better?  What are they, Brett?           

"Get out of my way," Brett said and tried forcing his way past him.

"You're not going anywhere," Stormy said and physically pushed him back inside the room.   "What the hell were you trying to do to my father?   Were you trying to kill him, is that it?  Did you want him dead so you could assume the head of the house?  And what about me, Brett?  What plans did you have for me when I came back from Phoenix?"

"You don’t know what you're talking about," Brett shouted.  The windows in the bedroom rattled from a booming thunderclap, the walls practically shaking fromn the force.

"I can easily have these pills tested in a lab," Stormy said menacingly.  "And I promise you once I get the results I'll go straight to my father and tell him what you've been up to around here."

Brett laughed at Stormy's dramatic overture and attempted to skirt past him again.  "I think you have too much time on your hands," he said.  "Your imagination is running in over drive."

"Once I get the pills back from the lab we'll see if I'm imagining things," Stormy said.

Angered by his self-righteous attitude, Brett grabbed Stormy by the shirt and shoved him across the room.  His body slammed into the dresser and sent perfume bottles and vases falling to the floor.   Once he recovered, he set his jaw and charged toward Brett, hurdling himself against him in a mind-shattering body slam.

Soon they were on the floor in a heated struggle, each taking violent punches at the other.  They twisted in each other's grasp, dodging fists that flew at great speed.  Stormy got Brett onto his stomach and took hold of his hair, smashing his face into the carpet repeatedly.

Brett threw him off of him and picked up a flower vase from the floor, cracking it effortlessly over Stormy's head.  The glass shattered in every direction but Stormy didn't falter.  He kicked Brett away from him and raced over to continue the brutal attack.

Just then, the door opened and Miranda raced inside, instantly alarmed by the violent display between the two men.  "What are you doing?" she screamed, trying to pry her brother off of her husband.  "Knock it off!  Both of you!"

Reluctantly, Stormy backed away and wiped a trickle of blood from his mouth.  He panted with exhaustion, wanting nothing more than to rip Brett limb from limb for what he did to his father.

Heather suddenly appeared in the doorway and cried out in a frenzy.  "Stormy, come quick!  They just found the driver.  He's been tied up and gagged in the gardener's shed!"

They all looked at one another, paralyzed in shock for a split second.  The news of Brooke's disappearance, followed by news of the driver quickly put all other thoughts out of Stormy's head.   He raced out into the hall and Heather followed close behind.  Miranda stayed back and tended to Brett who climbed weakly to his feet.

“Are you okay?” she asked.  “What the hell was that all about?”

Brett struggled to catch his breath.  “Nothing, just go help your father,” he said.  “I’ll be down in a minute.”

Miranda threw her hands up in resignation and started back out of the room.  She didn’t want to get into it with her husband now.  Her father needed her and that was all she cared about at the moment.

Brett quickly dropped to his knees and scavengered for the pills that had spilled out everywhere.  He made a conscious effort to find every single one until no remaining traces were left.  If Stormy didn’t have anything to take to the lab, then he’d be in the free and clear.  No one would believe that he would do anything to hurt James. 

Once he was satisfied that he’d found them all, he ran into the bathroom and flushed them down the toilet.   His chest heaving, he leaned against the wall and closed his eyes.

The rain in Big Bear came down in buckets, flooding the ground and the isolated cabin nestled high up in the mountains.   Philip struggled with the keys and kicked the door open, throwing Brooke inside with one swift movement.

“Please let me go!” Brooke cried as she laid on the floor of the luxurious cabin.  “I won’t tell anyone what you’ve done, Philip.  I promise.  Just let me go home!”

He locked them inside and searched for lights to turn on.  Swiping those keys to Alex Reynolds’ cabin was the smartest move he could have made.  No one would think to look for them all the way up there.  They’d be alone with no distractions.  It was perfect.

“I can’t do that,” he finally said, lighting the room and then making his way to the fireplace.   “I haven’t gone to all this trouble just to turn back and let you go, Brooke, and especially not after the two hour drive up here.”

“But what do you want from me?” she cried and slowly climbed to her feet.  “I thought we were friends, Philip.  Why are you doing this to me?”

He fidgeted impatiently with the fireplace until he realized it was gas powered, and with one click there was a blaze of flames igniting the stone hearth.  He turned around just in time to see Brooke grasping for the lock on the door.  She managed to pull it open and start out into the pouring rain when Philip raced over and grabbed her from behind.  She screamed mercilessly as he drug her back into the cabin and threw her down onto the couch.

“You’re not going anywhere!” he yelled angrily, wiping beads of sweat from his forehead.  “I told you that you can’t go back and I meant it!”

Brooke laid helplessly on the sofa and cried hysterically.  Philip had changed since their long summer together in Phoenix.  He wasn’t the kind, helpful man she’d lived with for five months.  Now something in his eyes frightened her and she didn’t know what he might do.

“Why?” she sobbed, bundled in her white fur on the couch.  She placed her hands on her stomach and felt her baby kicking mercilessly.

Why?” Philip asked as he drew nearer to her.  “Why do you think, Brooke?  My God, you act like we meant nothing to each other this past year.  After everything we went through together and you have to ask why?”

She continued crying, her eyes traveling to the window at the falling rain.  It was coming down harder than ever.  The last few miles to the cabin were next to impossible for the limo to get through.  She didn’t know if it would be able to get back down the mountain until the rain stopped and the roads cleared.  Mudslides were forming everywhere.

“I loved you, Brooke,” Philip continued.  “You can’t not know that.   You can’t be stupid enough to not have seen it.  Why else would I have taken you in and given up everything for you and your baby?”

She shook her head in despair.

Philip looked out the window and grew into a daze.  “I wished so hard that you could be carrying my baby instead of James Blackthorne’s,” he said distantly.  “I wanted that baby to be mine.  I was ready to raise it as my baby.”  He looked back at her, his eyes wide and penetrating.  “I would have done anything for you, Brooke.”

She sat up and wiped her eyes.  “Philip, I’m sorry, I-“

“But you left just like you left the first time,” he interrupted, his voice suddenly growing angry and explosive.  “You walked out on me like you walked out on our marriage.  And what was I supposed to do?  Sit back and forget everything while you married James Blackthorne and lived it up with all those rich people in L.A.?”

Brooke shook her head slowly.  “No…”

“No!” he yelled.  “That’s right!  I’m not going to sit back and accept this.  I’m going to make you love me and then we’re going to be a family.  You, me and our baby.”

Her eyes shot open in terror.  “Philip, you can’t make someone love you!”

Suddenly his tone shifted back to normal just as quickly.  “Oh but I know you love me, Brooke,” he said.  “The other day at the bridal store when you were trying on your wedding dress.  You had those words with Alex Reynolds and then I followed you outside to your car.”

“That was you?” Brooke asked in a whisper.

“And then the other day in the dining room.  I was going to take you with me then but your cripple husband had to go and ruin it.”  He turned and inspected the meticulous interior of the cabin.  “But this time no one can stop us from being together.  The rain’s going to keep falling and the roads are going to wash out. Sooner or later we’ll be trapped here.  Maybe for good.”

Brooke shook her head in frustration.  “You can’t keep me here forever!”

He looked at her with ominous eyes.  “Yes, I can.  I’m sorry, Brooke, but you have no choice in the matter.”

Blackthorne Mansion

The Blackthornes' driver sat in the parlor room rubbing his wrists from where the ropes had bound him.  Detective Baines, a tall, athletic, dark haired man in his late thirties, glanced at a pad of notes and questioned the driver further.

“Would you be able to give a description of the man who attacked you?” he asked from his seat across from him.  “Sometimes artists are able to sketch out a rough resemblance of the perpetrator.”

The driver shrugged.  “I didn’t get a look at the guy,” he said.  “He got me from behind.  I didn’t even know what hit me.”

James slammed his fists on the arms of his chair in frustration.  “Damnit, we’re wasting time here!” he yelled angrily.  “This monster could have my wife a thousand miles away by now! “  He wheeled over to the detective and met him square in the eye.  “Tell me what you plan on doing to get here back here!”

“Mr. Blackthorne, we’re doing everything we can,” said Baines sympathetically.  “I have your wife’s photograph being faxed to every police station up and down the entire west coast.  An all points bulletin is our best bet right now.”

“An all points bulletin isn’t good enough!” James bellowed.

Miranda walked up and put a hand on her father’s shoulder.  “Daddy, there’s nothing else we can do.  Maybe whoever took Brooke will contact us.”

“That’s right,” the detective agreed.  “I’d like to set up some surveillance equipment here in case he does try to make contact.  There could be a ransom involved.”

James nodded eagerly.  “Fine.  Whatever you have to do.  I’ll pay any ransom they want to get my wife back.”  He looked at the detective and grew suddenly quiet.  “She’s pregnant, Detective Baines.  We have to get her and my child back safely.”

“We’ll do everything possible,” the detective said.  Heather approached and offered to show him out while the rest of the family gathered around James to lend their support.

“She’s got to turn up, James,” Brett said, placing a supportive hand on his arm.  He slid his other arm around Miranda and kissed her on the forehead. 

Across the room, Gwen watched with hurtful eyes.  Seeing the way Brett was so intimate with his wife made her wonder if he was on the level about leaving her so they could be together.  Was she crazy for thinking he wanted the baby she was carrying?

Stormy ran into the room and Miranda immediately raced over to him.  “Did you find anything?”

He shook his head.  “Nobody on the grounds saw anything.  I don’t get it.  How could someone take out our driver and stuff him in the garden shed without anyone else seeing?”

James sighed and buried his face in his hands.  “The same way he got in the other day.”

Gwen gasped and threw her hands up over her mouth.  “The day Mrs. Blackthorne fainted in the dining room,” she began.  “She said she saw a man come in through the window.”

James nodded regretfully.  “And we all tried to make her think it was a side effect from her pregnancy.  My God, my wife is going through hell all because I didn’t do anything to stop this!”

“Daddy, no,” Miranda insisted.  “It’s not your fault.  You were going to search the grounds, but you fell, remember?”

He nodded angrily.  “Yes, and if I wasn’t in this damn wheelchair none of this would have happened!  I could have caught the bastard that day and put an end to this!”

Brett swallowed hard and glanced over to Gwen.  He knew she was probably wallowing in her guilty conscious by now.  In her naïve mind Brooke’s kidnapping was probably their fault for giving James the pills.  It never ended with her it seemed.  And now that Stormy knew something was up, it would be difficult to keep it all under control.

Philip Whitacre

At the cabin in Big Bear, Brooke sat on the sofa and watched as Philip paced back and forth across the hard wood floor.  She prayed that he would come to his senses and drive them back to town.  Or at least call and get someone to come help them out of theret.  But it seemed that he’d planned for everything.  He had gone out to the limo and returned with bags and bags of food and bottled water.  The fact that he was so prepared was frightening to her.

“Can we listen to the weather?” she asked timidly.  She wondered if James had notified the police regarding her disappearance.  It had been hours since she left the mansion that morning.  People were bound to start wondering where she was by now.

“Good idea.  I suppose I will have to go out for more food eventually.  Who knows when that’ll be possible in this storm.”  He searched for a radio since there was no television except in the bedroom upstairs.  In an old trunk in the corner her found a stack of blankets and a transistor radio.  He switched it on and tuned the dial until he came to an all news station.  No weather yet.   At least they would know what they were up against.

“Do you remember that day at the beach?” Philip suddenly asked after a long period of silence.  “In August I think it was.”

Brooke immediately knew what he was talking about and she nodded, barely able to keep herself from smiling out of instinct.  “I buried you in the sand and those kids from fat camp couldn’t see you so they walked right over you.”

Philip laughed in return.  “What were the odds of that happening?” he asked with a chuckle.  “I asked you why it had to be fat camp and not cheerleading camp.”

The memory from the past summer made her break out into laughter in spite of herself.  She knew there was nothing funny about the situation they were in now, and Philip’s decline to insanity was nothing to joke about, but she had to admit they’d had some good times together.

Brooke glanced up at him and paused.  The look in Philip’s eyes at that moment was pure innocence.  She suddenly got the impression that he wasn’t insane after all.  Maybe he was actually just a sad man with a broken heart. 

The moment was interrupted when a news bulletin came over the radio.  The mention of Brooke’s name caught both of their attention and Philip quickly went to turn the volume louder.

“Authorities in Los Angeles today reported the apparent kidnapping of Brooke Blackthorne, wife of film producer James Blackthorne,” the report said through the fuzzy reception.  “Sources say that a limousine driver working for the Blackthorne family was knocked unconscious and his uniform stolen by the kidnapper.  The limousine is black with license plates reading NC1J7.  Authorities in Los Angeles are asking citizens to be on the lookout for this and-“

Philip quickly cut the report off and stood up with a jolt.  The panic returned to his eyes and he began pacing back and forth.  Brooke looked at him with concern, knowing that he had suddenly been set off again.

“Philip, are you okay?” she asked.

He shook his head angrily.  “I’m not going to let them ruin this for us, Brooke!” he yelled.  “I’m not!  I will not let anyone take you from me again!”

Brooke cowered away in fear.  Just as quickly as Philip had softened and shown her his gentle side, he was now flying into a tirade again.  It seemed that he was constantly at odds with himself.

But then something else sparked concern in her fevered mind.  She frowned, shifting on the sofa and placing her hand on her stomach.  “Oh God,” she whispered to herself.

Philip kept pacing, absorbed in his plan to keep Brooke for himself.

“Philip!” Brooke cried as she felt the wetness beneath her.  “Philip! I think I’m going into labor!”

Blackthorne Mansion

James stared out the window in his study, holding a picture of him and Brooke on their wedding day.    He was determined to find her and bring her home.  He wouldn't let someone come between them again.  Not after everything they'd be through.

Overcome with frustration, he turned and wheeled toward his desk.  Pulling his arm back, he swept everything off onto the floor.  The racket carried out into the foyer and Miranda quickly rushed inside to see if her father was all right.

She found him seated in his wheelchair weeping silently.  The painful sight was too much for her to bear.  She rushed over to him and bent down to his side, placing her arm around him and holding him close.

Brooke Taylor

Brooke cried out in agony, her face dripping in sweat and her hair matted down onto her clammy skin.  She breathed heavily, panting with exhaustion at the excruciating pain from the contractions.

“Philip, I really think this baby is coming!” she cried.  “Please do something!”

Frozen in fear, Philip looked at her and wondered how they were going to get her to a hospital in the middle of a flood two hours from civilization.

 


Next time....

James searches desperately for Brooke.  Will decides to keep quiet about his recent findings.  While trapped in Big Bear, Brooke goes into labor with only Philip to help her!  James gets good news about his condition.

 

Read Episode 30

 

 


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