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Episode 3

 

Release Date:  December 23, 2005

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

James and Alex sparred over Miranda's unhappiness with James's engagement to Brooke. James walked in on an emotional Brooke in an imtimate embrace with Ethan.  Winter pleaded with Kenny not to end their affair. James gave Brooke a necklace for an engagement present, which angered Miranda.  An enemy of James's from the past returned to announce his plan for revenge.  Miranda got drunk at the engagement party and accidentally hit Brooke with her car.


Episode 3

"Miranda"

 

Miranda Blackthorne sat behind the wheel of her shiny red Camaro, her hands gripping the steering wheel so tightly that her knuckles turned white.   Eyes wide, she stared through the windshield at the motionless body of Brooke Taylor laying on the hard asphalt circular drive of the Blackthorne mansion.   Her head spinning, she tried to think but all she could manage was a streak of panic and terror.   She couldn't believe she hit her.  The first thing everyone would say is that she did it on purpose.   They all knew how much she hated Brooke and resented her intrusion in their lives.

But it was a genuine accident, Miranda thought, trying to clear her mind and focus on the problem at hand.   Sure, she had a little too much to drink and ran out of the house in a tizzy, but she had no intention of hurting Brooke in any way.

Finally getting out of the car, Miranda raced to Brooke's side and checked to see if she was breathing.   She was, as far as she could tell, and she didn't see any traces of blood or injuries.    Maybe she'd just hit her head and would walk away from the near disaster after she regained consciousness.

"Brooke?" she said, shaking the young blond woman gently.  "Brooke, can you hear me?"

After a minute or so of trying to revive her, she decided she had no choice but to go inside the mansion for help.   One thing was for certain, she knew her father would crucify her when he found out what happened.  If anything happened to his precious Brooke…

Making a split decision, she got back in her car and started the engine again.  She backed the car up its original parking spot and climbed out, checking the front end over before rushing inside the house in a panic.

"Help!" she cried.  The terrifying event had managed to sober her up quite a bit and she was a little more sure footed than when she'd ran out of the house several minutes ago.

"What is it?" Stormy asked with irritation as she walked out of the parlor to see what the commotion was all about.

"It's Brooke!" Miranda shouted.  "She collapsed outside in the driveway!   I can't get her to wake up!"

"Dear God," Renee DeWitt gasped as she clutched to her husband Kenny's arm.

"What do you mean she collapsed?" asked Ethan Blackthorne, pushing through the crowd in the foyer. 

Miranda shook her head in despair, simply wanting to make sure Brooke was all right and avoid any questions.  "I don't know!  Just call an ambulance!  Hurry!"

"I'll call," Heather Blackthorne volunteered, rushing back into the parlor and picking up the phone.  The rest of the group ran outside where Brooke was still laying lifelessly on the driveway. 

"Brooke!" Stormy called, bending down and checking for a pulse.   He announced that she was breathing and stood up.  "I hope that ambulance gets here soon.  Has anyone seen Dad?"

"He had a guest in the study," Kenny reminded him.

"I'll go," Ethan announced, racing back into the house and down the hall to the study.        

When he entered the room, he was quickly knocked over by the force of Will Thomerson being thrown clear across the room.   "What the-" he began, surveying the shambles the study was in.   He watched with wide eyes as Will retaliated against James and rushed toward him at blinding speed, knocking him over the desk and sending papers scattering everywhere.

"You son of a bitch!" Will shouted, his blond hair disheveled from the violent struggle.

"I'm going to make you sorry you came here, Will Thomerson!" James bellowed, grabbing his enemy by the lapels and punching him twice in the jaw.

"Knock it off!" Ethan shouted, trying to pry the men off of one another.  "James, stop it!  You have to come with me!  Brooke collapsed outside!"

The news stopped him dead in his tracks.  His head snapped toward his nephew and he gasped in horror.  "What?" he exclaimed, releasing his clutches from Will and tearing out of the study and down the hall to the front door.

As he walked outside he could hear the ambulance sirens in the distance.  Everyone from his rehearsal dinner party was gathered around an unconscious Brooke who lied motionless on the ground.

"What the devil happened?" he lamented, dropping to his knees and examining his beautiful bride to be.  His clothes were tattered and crinkled from the violent struggle with Will inside the study.

Stormy shrugged.  "Dad, she ran outside and the next thing we knew she was unconscious."

James frowned, looking around at the crowd.  "Why was she outside?" he asked in confusion.  "Who found her?"

Heather chimed in and replied in an awkward tone.  "She and Miranda had an argument," she said.  "Brooke ran outside and Miranda followed her."

James's face turned stark white and he stood up, glaring at his daughter who hid behind Kenny and Renee DeWitt.   "What did you say to her?" he asked in a rage.

"Nothing, Daddy, I-"  Miranda began, tears flowing down her face.

"Miranda, if you did anything to hurt Brooke I swear to God I'll-"  He stopped when the ambulance arrived on the scene and pulled into the driveway.  The paramedics quickly jumped out of the front and tended to Brooke, asking everyone to clear the area so they could examine her.

“She’s breathing,” one of the paramedics said, flashing a light in Brooke’s eyes.  “It looks like she has a concussion.  We’re going to have to get her to the emergency room right away.”

Devastated by the turn of events, James buried his face in his hands and watched as the paramedics lifted Brooke onto a stretcher and loaded her into the back of the ambulance.  He didn’t notice Will Thomerson leave the mansion and disappear into the sea of cars parked in the driveway.

“I’m going with you,” James announced, jumping into the back of the ambulance with them.

Ethan looked at Miranda and noticed the stark white expression on her face.  She was crying and trembling, obviously upset by her confrontation with Brooke inside, and then the way James laid into her and practically accused her of hurting Brooke.

Shoving his hands in his pockets, he watched the ambulance speed off.  Everyone slowly made their way back inside while he lingered behind.   His eyes traveled to the ground where thick black skid marks caught his eye.  They were in the direct path of where Brooke had collapsed. 

Frowning, he bent down and eyed a tiny piece of yellow plastic.  He picked it up and examined it closer.   Suddenly a horrible thought crossed his mind and he almost hated himself for thinking it.   He walked over to Miranda’s car and walked a circle around it, looking for anything that seemed out of place.    Bending down next to the hood, he noticed a crack in one of the headlights.   He lifted the piece of plastic and eyeballed the headlight again. 

Kenny DeWitt

Inside the house, Kenny was helping Renee put on her long mink coat in the foyer.

“Well this is the most excitement I’ve had all day,” Renee said, pushing her coiffed black hair up in the back as she took her purse from Leilani.    “Except for catching you and your mistress in bed, that is.”

Kenny smiled evasively.  “Now now, Darling,” he began.  “That’s all in the past now, remember?   I made a foolish mistake and I’ve learned my lesson.”

“I should hope so,” Renee spat, shooting him a threatening stare.  “I’d hate to put in a call in and have your position with the land commission ripped right out from under you.  It’d make what happened to poor Brooke Taylor look like a picnic.”

Kenny sighed and walked his wife to the door.  He hoped that Winter Austen wasn’t going to be a problem for him.   She didn’t seem too happy when he ended it with her and told her she had to find somewhere else to live.   The last thing he needed was for her to go around causing problems with his new position with the land commission.

Inside the parlor, Stormy paced the floor while Heather tried her best to comfort him.

“Maybe we should go to the hospital,” he announced.  “We can’t just leave Dad there by himself.  What if something is really wrong with Brooke?”

“I’ll go with you,” Heather insisted.

They started out into the foyer and stopped where Miranda was standing, a far off look in her red watery eyes.  “Are you coming?” Stormy asked.

She didn’t reply.

Stormy scoffed and rolled his eyes, leading Heather out the front door just as Ethan walked in.   “We’re going to the hospital.  Do you want to come?”

Ethan looked across the room at Miranda, wondering if he should confront her about his suspicions.   He immediately decided it wasn’t the best thing to do, at least not right now.  Going to the hospital and checking on Brooke was the most important thing for now.

“Yeah, I’ll drive,” Ethan replied, ushering them out the door.

Cedars-Sinai

James paced the waiting room at Cedars-Sinai, impatiently waiting for the doctor to give him word on Brooke’s condition.  He was worried out of his mind.  How could this have happened?  It was the night before their wedding.  They were supposed to be starting a beautiful life together in less than eighteen hours, not spending it in the hospital.

He approached a nurse on duty and cut off her conversation with a woman standing in the waiting room.  “Nurse, is there any word on my fiancé?” he demanded.  “The doctor has been in there for half an hour!”

“The doctor will let you know as soon as he has any information,” the nurse replied impatiently, then turned back to the woman.

“You don’t understand!” James exclaimed.  “That’s my fiancé in there.  We’re supposed to be getting married tomorrow!   I want to know about her condition and I want to know now!”

“Sir, if you’ll just be patient!”

“Now!” James shouted at the top of his lungs.

Finally the nurse scampered off and left James standing in the waiting room.  He let out a deep breath, refusing to feel bad about yelling at the nurse.  They didn’t understand how important to him Brooke was.  Every minute he waited was like an eternity in hell.

“Mr. Blackthorne?” asked a voice from across the room.

He looked up and saw Winter Austen coming toward him in her nurses uniform.  At first he couldn’t place where he knew her from, but then it dawned on him that this was the nurse that Ethan had been involved with some time ago.   If he wasn’t mistaken, this was the same nurse that his pal Kenny DeWitt was having an affair with.   The only reason he knew was because Kenny told him everything.  He loved to share the sordid details of he and Winter’s sex life.

“Is there anything I can do for you?” Winter asked, her long blond hair pinned up inside her nurse's cap.

“It’s my fiancé,” James began.  “She’s in with the doctor and no one will tell me anything.”

“I’ll check on her for you,” Winter offered with a smile and rushed out of the waiting room.

After she’d gone, Stormy, Heather and Ethan showed up in the waiting room, rushing toward James in a panic.  “Dad, how is she?” Stormy asked.  “Do they know anything?”

James shook his head.  “The doctor is in with her now.”

Just then, the doctor entered the room and called for James.  “Mr. Blackthorne, your fiancé is conscious.”

“How is she, Doctor?” Heather asked.

“She has a concussion,” he explained.  “Nothing serious, but I’d like to keep her here for an hour or so just for observations.”

“Oh thank God,” James whispered.  He hugged Stormy and Ethan and turned back to the doctor.  “Can I see her?”

“Of course.”

James followed the doctor down the hallway to an examining room.  He raced to Brooke’s side and kissed her tenderly on the cheek, holding her hand in his.  “Hi Sweetheart,” he said.  “You gave me quite a scare.”

Brooke managed a weak smile.  “I’m sorry,” she said, looking longingly into his dark eyes.  “I guess the rehearsal dinner is a bust, huh?”

James laughed.  “I don’t care about that,” he said.  “All it means is we’ll have to wing it at the ceremony whenever we decide to reschedule.”

Shaking her head adamantly, Brooke tried sitting up in the bed.  “Reschedule?” she asked insistently.  “James, I don’t want to reschedule.   I want to get married tomorrow just like we planned.”

“Sweetheart, you have a concussion,” James exclaimed.  “You’re in no condition to do anything tomorrow.”

“I feel fine!” Brooke insisted, her eyes pleading.  “Please, I don’t want this to change anything.  I want to get married tomorrow just as we planned.”

James smiled and kissed her forehead.  His gaze grew distant as he thought about Miranda and the circumstances that happened back at the house.   “Brooke, how did this happen?  They said you collapsed.  Was that all there was to it?”

Hesitating, Brooke recalled the hateful exchange between her and Miranda earlier that evening.   She remembered Miranda ripping off her necklace and then running outside in a sorrowful state of gloom.   She remembered sitting down by the curb of the driveway and seeing Miranda get into her car and peel out.   Then she stood up to stop her from driving off recklessly and that’s when the car hit her and knocked her down.   Miranda hadn’t been driving very fast, which was most likely why she hadn’t been injured further.

“Darling, did Miranda have something to do with your accident?” James prodded, hating the idea of suspecting his own daughter of doing something so hateful.  But after the way she’d been acting lately, it wouldn’t surprise him.  “Everyone said you and her had quite an argument inside the house just before you ran out.”

Brooke looked straight ahead and saw Ethan standing in the doorway.   She just wanted everything to be perfect for their wedding.  She didn’t want to think any more about Miranda and the feud between them.  She hated what it was doing to her and James.  If she admitted that Miranda struck her down with her car, it would cause so much uproar that their lives would be turned upside down forever.  She couldn’t let that happen, even if it meant protecting Miranda.

“No,” she finally answered.  “I ran out of the house so fast that I tripped and fell and hit my head.   Miranda wasn’t there.”

James felt relieved.  He knew his daughter couldn’t be capable of causing physical harm on anyone else.

Brooke smiled as James hugged her close.  She continued looking to the doorway where Ethan stood watching and listening.   He knew there was something more to it than Brooke was letting on.   But why would she cover for Miranda if that were the case?

Miranda Blackthorne

Miranda paced back and forth in her bedroom in a daze.  She was nearly over the edge as she agonized over the night’s events.   If anything happened to Brooke then it would be all her fault and the guilt would consume her until she confessed to running her down with her car.   Everyone would hate her, especially her own father.  She would never be able to look at him in the eyes again.

On the other hand, if Brooke turned out to be all right, she would tell everyone what had happened and she’d still be in hot water.   She’d be forever known as the bratty daughter of the movie producer who tried to kill her own stepmother.   But that wasn’t how it was at all.  It was truly an accident.   Brooke had to know that.

The waiting was unbearable.  She threw herself onto the bed and buried her face in the pillow.

A knock at the door caused her to jump to her feet, her long black hair slightly disheveled and her eyes red and puffy.  “Come in,” she called.

Ethan walked into the room and closed the door behind him.  “I thought you should know that Brooke is fine,” he began.  “They’re keeping her at the hospital for another hour or so but she’ll be released tonight.”

“Thank God,” Miranda said with an overwhelming sense of relief.    She sat down on the edge of the bed and took a deep breath.  “How’s Daddy?”

“He’s fine,” Ethan replied with a solemn expression on his handsome face.  “He was a little frazzled there for a while, but he’s just relieved that Brooke is all right.”

Miranda nodded and began wondering what Brooke had told everyone when she woke up.   Did she say that James’s crazy jealous daughter hit her with her car in a drunken stupor?

“Is there anything you want to talk about?” Ethan asked her, trying to study the expressions on his cousin’s face.

Shrugging, Miranda frowned and looked away.  “No, why?”

“Well, according to Brooke she tripped and fell and hit her head,” Ethan began.  “Is that really what happened?”

A wave of confusion smothered Miranda as the information sunk in.  Why hadn’t she told them the truth?   Did she really not know what happened for certain?   Or was she protecting her for some reason?

“How would I know?” she replied.  “I came outside and she was on the ground.”

Ethan shrugged.  “It’s just that you had that big fight and all.  You were outside for a few minutes before you came back in,” he said.  “What were you doing that whole time?”

Miranda felt like Ethan was badgering her and she didn’t like it.  If Brooke said she fell and hit her head, then why didn’t he believe her?   How would he know any different?  She stood up in a huff and put her hands on her hips.   “I was trying to wake her up!” she replied angrily.  “Just what are you getting at, Ethan?”

“I just want to know if Brooke left anything out, that’s all.”

“Like what?”

Ethan realized he wasn’t going to get any answers out of Miranda.  No matter what suspicions he had, the only people who knew for sure what happened that night were Miranda and Brooke.   He didn’t know if either one of them would admit to anything else.

Finally he shrugged and managed a smile.  “Just trying to piece everything together,” he said.  Maybe now wasn’t the time to question her and make any accusations.   He had to talk to Brooke first and find out if she was holding anything back.  One thing was for certain,  something didn't add up with the evening's events.

Blackthorne Mansion

The next day was busy with wedding preparations.   Caterers, florists, musicians and decorators ran about as the Blackthorne mansion was buzzing with activity.   Miranda woke up late and proceeded down the stairs to the foyer, her stomach doing flips at the unwelcome disarray her house was in. 

"Excuse us!" said a rude man who carried giant pillars through the front door and positioned them at the front of the expansive foyer.

"Coming through!" called another man delivering giant floral arrangements.  He gave Miranda a shove and knocked her out of the way, still keeping up his hectic pace as he made his way through the crowded foyer.

Growing more irritated by the second, Mirada ducked into the dining room hoping to get some breakfast.  She definitely needed something to ease the splitting headache she had.   Inside, Leilani was clearing the table and quietly mumbling something in Hawaiian.  Miranda could tell she was cursing.  After having Leilani as their maid for fifteen years, she had come to realize a Hawaiian four letter word when she heard one.

"Is there any breakfast?" Miranda asked.

"Sorry Miss Miranda," Leilani said, barely looking up in her haste.  "You missed breakfast.  I can fix you something when I'm done here."

Miranda shook her head regretfully.   "No, that's okay.  I'll just get some aspirin and juice."  She was already beginning to feel like she was in the way and the wedding hadn't even started yet. 

Turning back, she walked down the hall to the kitchen and got a bottle of aspirin from the cabinet, then poured herself a glass of pineapple juice.   She swallowed three pills and then turned around just as Brooke entered the house from the back door.

They stood wordlessly for what seemed like an eternity.   Miranda studied the look in Brooke's eyes, wondering what she was going to say.  Was she going to berate her for last night?  Lecture her and then tell her she was going to hold it over her head forever?   The suspense was killing her.

"Good morning," Brooke said calmly.   "Is your father around?  I don't want him to see me yet.   You know, superstitions and all."

"I haven't seen him this morning."

Brooke nodded, barely able to look at Miranda in the face.  "I guess I'll go up the back stairs.  My bridesmaids are meeting me up in the room at the end of the hall to help me get ready."

She started toward the stairs when Miranda called after her.  "Brooke," she said, then took a meaningful pause.   "Why did you lie?"

Hesitating for a few seconds, Brooke finally turned back around.  "I lied because I was being selfish," she replied.  "Because I didn't want anything ruining my wedding day, especially another fight between you and your father."

"It was an accident, you know," Miranda said.  "I didn't mean to-"

"I don't care," Brooke snapped.  "I'm not going to let you ruin this for me.  I'm going to marry your father today and there's nothing you can do about it.   Whether it was an accident or not, it doesn't matter to me.  I'm through trying to be your friend, because you know what?  I don't care if you don't like me."

Miranda pursed her lips, feeling defeated by Brooke's words.  She'd never heard her sound so bitterly defiant.

"And one more thing," Brooke continued before going upstairs.  "If you give me any more grief about marrying your father and moving into this house, I promise you I'll tell him the truth about last night."

The words stuck in Miranda's head and echoed in her mind.  She folded her arms and her expression turned to a pout.  She wondered if Brooke would actually tell her father the truth or if she was just making idle threats.

James Blackthorne

Ethan Blackthorne arrived at the mansion and found James in his study, cleaning up the disaster from the night before.

"Do you want to talk about what happened in here last night?" Ethan asked.  "If I hadn't come in when I did the two of you would have killed each other."

James stacked a pile of papers on his desk and sighed.  "I'm afraid you're right about that," he said.  "His name is Will Thomerson.  He's the one who bought Jaguar Studios.  He came to rub it in my face and tell me that he's planning on demolishing my career."

"An enemy of yours, I take it."

"You could say that, yes," James said with a hearty laugh.  "We go back a long way."

Ethan noticed the faraway look in his uncle's eyes.  He could tell there was much more to the story.  There had to be something that he wasn’t telling him.

“How is Brooke?” he asked, deciding to change the subject since James didn’t seem too keen on talking about Will Thomerson.  “I take it the wedding is still on.”

James nodded.  “I tried to get her to agree to postponing it, but she wouldn’t hear of it,”  he explained.  “I took her home last night and tucked her into bed.  You know how brides are, they insist on that silly tradition about not letting the groom see them before the wedding.”

 Ethan smiled fondly.

“She should be here by now,” James continued.  “Her bridesmaids are helping her get ready upstairs.”

Ethan folded his arms and stared at him in deep concentration.  “Did she say anything else about the accident?” he asked.  “About how it happened?”

“No, it just seems she lost her footing and hit her head on the ground.  Kind of a departure from how graceful she normally is.

“Yes, it is,” Ethan agreed, his voice filled with suspicion.  “Well, I’m glad she’s all right.”

James met his gaze and nodded slowly.  ‘It’s nice of you to be so concerned about my fiancé, “ he declared, unable to hide the accusatory tone in his voice.   He had noticed how close his nephew and Brooke had recently become, and as much as he hated himself for it, it worried him.  The idea of Brooke falling for a much younger man and starting a romance with him right under his nose was preposterous, but something told him he needed to keep his eyes and ears open.  As if he didn’t have enough to worry about already with Miranda acting so hatefully, and then his nemesis Will Thomerson showing up out of the blue after all these years.

Jordan Rydell

Alex Reynolds walked purposefully across the lobby of the Peninsula Hotel, ignoring the pointing and staring from fans and onlookers.    She owned the room.  Returning to her seat in the cocktail lounge where Jordan Rydell was waiting, she lit a cigarette and smiled pleasantly at him.

“Sorry for the interruption,” she began, her auburn hair spiraling down her face and neck.   “A woman has to make sure her nose is powdered in the company of attractive men.”

Jordan smiled graciously.  “Alex, we’ve known each other a long time,” he said.  ‘I think we’ve both seen each other at our worst.”

“We may have known each other for a long time but we were certainly never allowed to be civil to one another,” Alex remarked, nursing her scotch with a twist.  “Not with that tyrant of an ex-husband of mine running the show.”

“Yes, he always did seem the jealous type,” Jordan agreed with a laugh.

“Well there’s nothing stopping us now.”

Jordan caught her flirtatious eye and finished his drink.  “And now my daughter is married to your son.  I can’t think of a better reason for us to get better acquainted.”

“Is that really why you asked me to meet you for cocktails?” Alex asked, blowing a stream of smoke into the air.

Shifting in his seat, Jordan motioned for the bartender to bring two more drinks.  He returned his attention to Alex and smiled slyly.  “I did have an ulterior motive.”

“I thought so.”

“I’ve started casting for a new film.  It’s a sure fire hit.  I want you to star in it.”

Alex didn’t bat an eyelash.  She knew there had to be something more to Jordan’s sudden interest in her.  “I’m sorry, Jordan.  Haven’t you read the headlines?  I’m taking a sabbatical from the big screen.”

“Because you’re overworked or because you can’t face your public since James threw you out?” Jordan asked bluntly.  He knew the only way to get an honest answer out of Alex Reynolds was to lay it right on the table.  “Incidentally, isn’t today his wedding to Brooke Taylor?”

“Jordan, I’ll make a deal with you,” Alex began, leaning across the table as the bartender arrived with their drinks.  “I’ll ignore that comment if you give me one good reason why I shouldn’t throw this drink in your face.”

He shrugged with a nonchalant smirk and leaned back in his seat.  “Think about it,” he urged.  “James Blackthorne’s ex-wife starring in his rivals next blockbuster hit.   What better way to show the public you’re back and better than ever?  And at the same time hitting James where it hurts.”

Alex pondered the notion.  James would have a fit if she starred in a new movie from Rydell Productions.   The biggest way to bruise James Blackthorne’s ego was through his work.   And right now, she would like nothing more than to stick it to him and make him sorry for throwing her out like last week’s garbage.

 “Send a script to my place in Malibu,” she announced before finishing her drink and standing up.   “I’ll give you a call.”

Jordan grinned and caught her before she left.  "Incidentally, it wasn't just James keeping us from getting acquainted all those years.  My ex-wife was very jealous of you, you know.  You were quite intimidating to Suzanne"

Alex laughed.  She flew through the lobby and stopped when she saw a tall, attractive blond man standing by the courtesy desk with the phone to his ear.    Frowning, she tried to think of why he looked so familiar to her. 

When the man hung up the phone and turned around she got a better look at him and realized who it was.

"It can’t be,” she whispered to herself.   “Will Thomerson.  Here in Los Angeles?”

Stormy Blackthorne

“What are you doing here?” Stormy asked as he opened the door to his house in Burbank and Miranda pushed her way inside.

“I had to get out of that house,” she said in desperation.  “Everyone is driving me crazy with this-“

“Oh God, enough of this self-pity,” Stormy interrupted.  He was half-dressed for the wedding in his tuxedo shirt and pants.   “I’m sick to death of it.”

“I’m sorry, but nobody sees that witch the way I do!” Miranda exclaimed, still reeling from the ugly confrontation with Brooke back at the mansion.  “She’s horrible, Stormy!  It can’t just be me who sees it.”

“Well it is!” Stormy argued, walking across the room and gathering a stack of CD’s that had been strewn around the floor beside the stereo equipment.  “You’re the only one who has a problem with Brooke.  Maybe it’s time you realized that it’s your problem, not hers.”

“She doesn’t even care if I like her or not!”

“I wouldn’t either after that stunt you pulled last night!” Stormy replied.

“What do you mean?” Miranda asked.  Did her brother know the truth about what happened outside the mansion?  Did he know she hit Brooke with her car?

“I’m talking about you tearing off her necklace like that!  If I were Brooke I wouldn’t want to have anything more to do with you either!”

Frustrated, Miranda turned and stormed out of the house, slamming the door so hard that it rattled the walls.

Ethan Blackthorne

Ethan knocked on the bedroom door at the mansion and waited a minute before going inside where Brooke and her two bridesmaids were gathered.

“Am I interrupting?” he asked.

“Ethan, come in,” Brooke said happily as Deb finished pinning on her veil.

He walked into the room, dressed in his tuxedo and smiling from ear to ear.  “You look beautiful,” he said.

Brooke asked Deb and Bianca to give them a minute alone and they obliged, leaving them together in the bedroom.

 “Well you look very handsome yourself,” Brooke replied, straightening his bow tie and brushing her hand down his jacket.

 Ethan watched her carefully.  “Are you feeling okay?”

She nodded and went back to the vanity to finish her makeup.  “I feel fine,” she replied.  “A little bump on the head is hardly enough to stop me from walking down the aisle today.”

Digging his hands into his pockets, Ethan walked up behind her and looked at her reflection in the mirror.  “Brooke, did Miranda have anything to do with your fall last night?” he asked, thinking about the broken headlight on Miranda’s car and the skid marks on the driveway.

Immediately tensing up, Brooke shook her head and tried to stay calm.  “Of course not,” she replied.  “Why would you ask that?”

“Look, if she did do something, I’m not saying it was intentional.  We both know she was pretty upset last night, not to mention drunk.”

“What is it you think she did?” asked Brooke somewhat uncomfortably.

“Brooke…” Ethan said, bending down and looking directly into her eyes.  “Are you protecting her?”

Brooke felt herself giving in.  She sunk into his arms and sobbed quietly just as the door opened and James entered the room.  Her eyes shot open in surprise and she jumped up out of the chair.

“James, you’re not supposed to see me!” she squealed, backing up a few steps.

James surveyed the room, becoming agitated by the fact that Ethan and Brooke were in yet another cozy embrace.  “You’re not in your dress yet,” he said.  “I can see you as long as you’re not in your dress.”

“Is everything okay, James?” Ethan asked, noting the stark expression on his uncle’s face.

“You tell me,” James insisted.   He didn’t think he could keep it in any more.  “Just what the hell is going on with you two anyway?”

“What?” Ethan asked on confusion.  “Brooke and I were just talking about last night.  I think there’s something you should know.”

“Ethan, don’t!” Brooke cried.  She didn’t want James knowing that Miranda was responsible for her accident.  It would kill him if he knew his daughter had done something like that.

“By all means tell me,” James demanded.  He felt his heart thudding inside his chest, waiting for Ethan to tell him that he and Brooke were in love and that she wasn’t going to marry him today.  “Don’t keep me in suspense.  What’s this big news?”

“Brooke didn’t fall last night,” Ethan explained.

“Ethan, no!” Brooke lamented, overwrought with guilt.

“I’m sorry, Brooke.  He has the right to know.”

“Would someone just tell me what’s going on?” James asked, puzzled by what was going on.  It was obviously not what he was expecting to hear.

“Miranda ran outside after Brooke and got into her car,” Ethan continued.  “She was drunk.  She hit her.  That’s how Brooke got hurt.”

“What?” James asked in a whisper, then looked at his fiancé.  “Brooke, is this true?”

She nodded her head with regret, angry that Ethan had taken it upon himself to tell James the truth.   “Yes, it’s true.”

“Damn that little bitch!” James shouted and raced out of the room.  He bounded down the upstairs hallway and pounded on Miranda’s door.  When there was no answer, he pushed open the door and scanned the room.   Empty.

“Miranda!” he bellowed, his voice echoing through the mansion.  “Miranda, where the devil are you?”

He turned and went back down the hall to the staircase.  Brooke and Ethan were fast on his heels.

“James, please!” Brooke cried.  “Don’t do anything you’ll regret!”

“That daughter of mine has crossed the line!” James argued.  “She’s done nothing but cause unhappiness for you ever since you came into my life and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let her keep it up!"

“It doesn’t matter!” Brooke pleaded.  “It’s-“

She stopped mid-sentence when Miranda walked through the front door and entered the foyer.  She looked up and saw her father, Brooke, and Ethan on the staircase, glaring down at her.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“You’ve gone too far this time!” James shouted, stomping down the stairs to the foyer.  “You could have killed Brooke last night because of your damned drinking and your tantrums!”

Miranda knew immediately that her father knew the truth.  Brooke must have told him after all.  She knew she couldn’t trust her to keep her word.  In a way it was a relief.  At least now Brooke wouldn’t have anything to hold over her head.

“It was an accident, Daddy!” she insisted.

“Was it?” James asked angrily.  The veins on his forehead were throbbing as he turned red all over.  “We all know how much you wanted Brooke out of the way!”

“Daddy, how can you say that?” Miranda cried.  “I might not have wanted you to marry Brooke, but I wouldn’t deliberately hurt her!”

“James, she didn’t mean to do it!” Brooke called as she and Ethan reached the bottom of the staircase.   “Please, just let it go!”

“No!” James insisted, his eyes still riveted to Miranda’s.  “You’re a spoiled little rich girl and all you care about is yourself!  I can’t believe I raised someone as hateful and cruel as you are!”

Tears welled up in Miranda’s eyes.  The words hurt like nothing she’d ever felt before.  She couldn’t believe her father would say something so horrible to her.  She turned and raced out of the mansion, leaving them behind in silence.

James closed his eyes, realizing he might have gone too far with his daughter this time.  He knew there was no sense in going after her now.  She was too upset.  They all were.  He gave Brooke and Ethan a final glance before he marched down the hall to his study.

Brooke buried her face in her hands and cried silently as Ethan tried to comfort her.  He had no idea that James would react so harshly to the new information.  Suddenly he felt like an idiot for causing so much havoc on the most important day of James and Brooke’s lives.

 


Next time...

James blasts Brooke for protecting Miranda.  Alex and Will conspire to bring James to his knees.  Miranda meets a handsome con-man and uses him to pay her father back in spades.  Kenny asks a favor of James.  Two weddings take place.

 Read Episode 4

 

 


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