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Episode 31

 

Release Date:  July 21, 2006

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Philip kidnapped Brooke and held her captive in Alex's cabin in Big Bear.  Stormy and Brett took the helecopter and chased Philip off, leaving Brett to deliver Brooke's baby.    Will questioned Ethan about what he'd been told about his father. Alex cautioned Heather not to trust the wrong people to help her with her career.  Janet had been working on a tell-all manuscript about the Blackthorne family, and was using Ethan to get information.  James began walking again. Safe back home at the hospital, Brooke and James rejoiced and decided to name their baby Michael.  Angry that Brett had one-upped him again, Stormy threatened to tell James about the pills he found in Brett's possession.

 


 

Episode 31

"A New Era"

 

“Well?” Stormy continued, his eyes penetrating into Brett’s.  “Tell us.  Tell us what you did to make certain you remained the head of Sunset Studios while my father was in the wheelchair.”

Miranda frowned, looking at her brother and then at her husband.  “What is he talking about, Brett?” she asked.  “You haven’t done anything, have you?”

Brett bit down on his lip as he wondered just how far Stormy was going to push him before he confessed.  There was no way he could tell them what he’d done.  It would be suicide.  And if Stormy told them he would just have to deny it.  It was his word against his, after all.  He’d disposed of the remainder of the muscle relaxers and now there was no proof.

“Stormy, what the hell are you talking about?” James demanded.  “I thought I made it clear that I wanted the two of you to work together and to run Sunset Studios as a team.  I won’t have any of this bickering back and forth.”

“Believe me, Dad, you’ll want to hear this,” Stormy said.  He wouldn’t let Brett get away with coming across as a hero for what he did up in the cabin.  So what if he delivered Brooke’s baby.   One sucker punch by Philip Whitacre and he was supposed to step back and not take any off the glory?  No, it didn’t work that way. 

Brett took a chance that Stormy was bluffing so he decided to call him on it.  Luckily he had a backup scheme to confess to.  One that didn’t seem quite as atrocious as the one he’d perpetuated with the pills.  “He’s right, James,” he finally began, looking back and forth between James and Miranda.  “Remember that day when Will Thomerson showed up at the house blaming you for stealing The Murderess and Blood & Oil?” 

James nodded.  “Yes.  What about it?”

“The truth is I did steal them from him,” Brett announced.  “I had Heather take the scripts without his knowing.   Then I arranged to gain the rights before they had a chance to counter offer.  I’m sorry, James.  I know I probably let you down, but I also know that rules don’t apply when it comes to Will Thomerson.”

“You did what?” Stormy asked in a rage.  “How could you involve Heather in something like that?”  He’d suddenly forgotten all about the pills.  His protective nature regarding Heather came to the surface and he grew angrier than he was before.

“It’s not like I forced her into anything,” Brett continued.

“And what does she get out of helping you?” Stormy asked in a fury.

But Brett didn’t have to answer because James was already growing irritated by the bickering.  “Stop it,” he commanded.  “I don’t want to hear any more about this right now.  My wife just had a baby and that’s all I care about tonight.  We’ll talk about all of this later.”

Stormy gritted his teeth and slammed his fist into the wall.  He couldn’t believe Brett had made himself look like the good guy again.  It seemed like he couldn’t get his family to see him for what he was for anything. 

Miranda rolled her eyes and put her arm through Brett’s.  “Daddy, we’re going to go home now.  We’ll see you tomorrow.”

He nodded and ran his fingers through his hair, annoyed that his children couldn’t seem to get along to save their lives.  Today should be a day of celebration, not for petty arguments and finger pointing.  

“I’m going home too,” Stormy said with a sigh.  “Oh, Dad, Jack Fallmont is in the waiting room.  He wanted to come by and give you and Brooke his best."

“Thanks,” James said and started down the hall. 

After he’d gone, Brett gave Stormy a smug grin and started off with Miranda on his arm.   Stormy tried to keep his cool, refusing to let Brett get the best of him.  He’d have to find another way of showing everyone who he really was.  Besides, James was walking again so anything that Brett did to try to sabotage that hadn’t worked.   It was water under the bridge and he had a feeling that nobody would take his accusations seriously.

But there had to be more to Brett’s evil doings.  He was certain there was something else that he could nail him for.

Cedars-Sinai

Janet Harper backed up a step, her eyes riveted to Jack Fallmont as he cornered her in the hallway by a nurse's station.   It wasn’t the first time she’d had a run in with him.  She’d been on the Fallmonts bad side for years thanks to her in-depth investigative reporting.  And back in her hometown of Denver where most of the Fallmont family hailed from there was always plenty of dirt to uncover.

“As far as I know, this is still America and I have every right to go where I please,” she said in a haughty manner.  “And unless I’m mistaken, there aren’t any injunctions to prevent me from doing my job here in Los Angeles.”

Jack scoffed at her snide expression and dug his hands deep into the pockets of his expensive Armani suit.  “Wherever you are, trouble is sure to follow, Miss Harper,” he said with a frown.  “You couldn’t spread enough lies about my family back in Denver so you had to come to L.A. to prey on someone else?  So tell me, what poor unsuspecting soul is about to be slandered in that trashy newspaper you work for?”

Janet shrugged and adjusted the strap on her purse.  “Your family may have influence in Denver to keep me from printing the truth about them, but everyone else is fair game as far as I’m concerned.”

Jack grabbed hold of her arm and shook her threateningly.  “Not if means hurting anyone that I care about,” he warned her.  “If you think we have influence in Denver, you have no idea what I can do to you here.”

“Only because you bribed the newspaper I work for.  You think you rich people can buy off whoever you please.  Well let me tell you something…”  She jerked her arm away and flashed him an angry scowl.  “I’m only starting, and by the time I’m finished, I promise you I will be the most respected damn journalist in Denver and Los Angeles.  Just you watch.”

Jack set his jaw and seethed as he watched her storm down the hallway.  He had a bad feeling about her presence in Los Angeles.  She had caused more trouble for his circle of powerful friends and family than he cared to remember

Blackthorne Mansion

The next morning, James led Brooke into the foyer of the mansion, the baby cradled in her arms as they were greeted by the entire family.  

“Everybody, this is Michael,” James said proudly as Leilani and Heather cooed over the seven pound baby with a shock of brown hair.  “He’s our little miracle.”

“You’re a darling little thing, aren’t you?” Leilani said, her English as broken as ever as she gently stroked Michael’s tiny hands and feet. 

“He’s beautiful, Brooke,” Heather said with a beaming smile.  She looked over her shoulder where Stormy was standing.  The disappointment in the way their marriage ended suddenly came flooding back to her.  After being married for barely over a year, they never had the opportunity to start a family.  It was something she often thought about and some day wanted to have. 

“He looks just like his old man,” Brett said with a grin and patted James on the back.

Standing in the distance, Miranda folded her arms and watched everyone fawn over the baby.  It didn’t seem possible that she had a baby brother barely a day old.  The twenty-one years between them seemed like an eternity.

“Miranda, would you like to hold your brother?” James asked happily.

She offered a toothy smile and shook her head politely.  “Not just yet.  I think Brooke probably wants to get him settled in first.”

Brooke nodded and turned to James.  “I would like to take him up to the nursery,” she said.

“You go on, Darling,” James said and kissed her softly.  “I have a few calls to make in the study and then I’ll be right up.”

Brooke started up the stairs and Leilani followed her close behind to see if she needed tending to.  After they were safely out of view, James turned to Stormy and approached him rapidly.

“Stormy, have you heard anything about Philip Whitacre?” he asked.

“No, nothing,” he replied.  “The police have their best people out on a full-scale manhunt.  If Whitacre is still in the area, they’ll find him.  Don’t worry, Dad.”

James huffed with irritation and dug his hands in his pockets.  “Well I am worried,” he said with disdain.  “That maniac kidnapped my wife.  He damn near could have killed you up in that cabin.  He’s got to be found and taken in so I can see that justice is served.  I won’t let him get away with this.”

Upstairs on the landing, Brooke listened to James’s tirade and sighed with exasperation.  She didn’t want her husband going after Philip like this.  It wasn’t worth it.  She knew he wasn’t a danger to them.  He wasn’t going to come back.  She was sure of it. 

Stormy Blackthorne

Stormy followed Heather down the hallway and pulled her off to a corner.  “Can I talk to you for a minute?” he asked.

She shrugged, flipping her long hair over her shoulder.  “Is this about the divorce?” she asked.  “Because I haven’t got the final papers yet.  The lawyer said it should be a few more days.”

“It’s not about the divorce,” Stormy replied.  “It’s about Brett.”

Panic set in and she backed up instinctively, throwing up her defenses.  “What about him?”

“I know that he had you steal those scripts from Will Thomerson.  Heather, why are you letting him take advantage of you like that?  Don’t you know what kind of trouble Brett Armstrong is?  Have you forgotten what he did last summer with Lauren?”

Heather shook her head in aggravation and shot him a hateful stare.  “You have the nerve to mention that bitch in front of me?” she asked.  “I don’t give a damn what Brett’s involvement with her was.  You were supposed to be my husband.  You were the one who cheated.  Don’t try to turn this around on Brett.”

Stormy couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  Had she taken Brett’s side too?  What did he have to do to convince people that he was a creep?   “Look, if he was using you or coerced you into doing something then I want to know about it.  I’ll be damned if I’m going to let him treat you like that, Heather.”

Why?  Because you’re such a stand-up kind of guy?” Heather asked with a sarcastic chuckle.  “Get real, Stormy.  And get this straight – nobody makes me do anything that I don’t want to do.  And I resent the fact that you assume Brett coerced me into doing anything.  As if I don’t have a mind of my own.”

“Heather, I didn’t say that-“ Stormy began and reached out to her.

She shook her head and pushed him away.  “Forget it.  You know what?  I hope those divorce papers get here real soon, because right now I want to forget I was ever married to you.”

With that, she raced down the hall and didn’t look back.  She was more than unnerved by the confrontation with Stormy.   Yes, she did feel used by Brett.  Particularly because he promised her a role in a move in exchange for getting him those scripts.  A role that he later took back and flaunted it in her face.   But she refused to let Stormy know that she’d been taken advantage of.  The time for him being her champion was long over.  She was a self-sufficient woman now.  Independent and happily so.

Will's House

Later, Heather sat down in the parlor room of Will Thomerson’s estate, accepting a glass of wine from him as he positioned himself next to her. 

“I just think it’s so great that James and Brooke are together again and that the baby is safe at home,” she said.  “Plus James is out of the wheelchair now.  They’ve been through so much together and they don’t deserve any more pain.”

Will stifled the urge to scream at her to shut up about James and how he deserved to be happy.  It was the biggest example of irony he’d ever heard of in his life.  After keeping him from his son for almost thirty years, he deserved no happiness whatsoever.  And he was determined to make it right.

“I’m sorry,” Heather continued.  “I know I’ve been rambling since I got here.  You and James aren’t exactly friends.  I respect that and I won’t mention it again.  But I would like to talk about that role that you promised me in your next film.”

“Role?” Will asked.  It was the last thing on his mind with everything he’d learned in the past few days.   “Oh, you mean the starring role in The Murderess?  Well, I can’t exactly give you a role in a film that James stole out from under me.”

Heather grew quiet and her eyes traveled uneasily across the room.  She wished she’d never gone along with Brett’s scheme.  If she hadn’t, Will would have given her the role and she wouldn’t be left holding an empty bag.

Will examined her expression carefully.  She wasn’t good at hiding her guilty conscience.   Yet another reason he hated James Blackthorne.  He’d used Heather to steal from him.   That was something else he was going to have to make right.  He’d make them all pay, including Heather Blackthorne, for double-crossing him.

“Well,” Heather continued after an awkward moment.  “There’s always another movie.”

He smiled and put his arm around her.  “Yes, there is.  I'll make sure you get what you have coming to you, Princess."

Gwen Hardisty

Gwen entered the study where James was engrossed in an official sounding phone call with his lawyer.  He held up his hand and smiled politely while he finished the conversation.   Gwen looked around the office and wrapped her arms around herself, awkward and uncomfortable.

As soon as James hung up, he gestured to a chair and sat down on the edge of his desk.  “Pretty exciting day, isn’t it?”

She nodded with a smile.  “Yes, it is.  The baby being born, you walking again…it’s all so wonderful, Mr. Blackthorne.”  She shifted in her seat.  “What is it that you wanted to talk to me about?”

“Well, Brooke and I were talking and we decided that we’d like to have someone around to help out with the baby,” James announced.  “You’ve shown yourself to be a very capable nurse, Gwen.  I know I was a bit unbearable at times, but the truth is I couldn’t have done it all without you.”

“Thank you for saying so.”

“So we’d like to ask you to stay on,” James explained.  “You’ve become like part of the family, and I know Brooke would appreciate the help with the baby.  What do you say?”

Floored by the overwhelming gesture, Gwen nodded with approval, feeling her eyes misting over with tears.  She’d been so afraid that she would be excused from her duties as soon as James began walking again.  But now the opportunity to stay was staring her in the face.  How could she not take it?  That incident in South America was years ago.  She had been punished and she paid her debt to society.  She was much better now.  

“Gwen?” James said in a effort to pull her back to reality.  “Do you need more time to think about it?”

She quickly shook her head and stood at attention.  “No, I’d like to accept your offer, Mr. Blackthorne.  It would mean a great deal to me to stay and work for your family.”

“Good, that settles it then,” James said and ushered her to the door.  “I’ll tell my wife right away.  I know she’ll be pleased.”

Gwen nodded and started out into the hallway.  Her elation was quickly clouded by uncertainty and dread.  Suddenly she realized that if she and Brett were going to be together one day and raise their baby as man and wife, she couldn’t possibly stay on working for the Blackthornes.  He was married to Miranda Blackthorne, after all.

Her thoughts were interrupted when Stormy appeared and saw the resonant look in her eyes.  “Gwen, are you okay?” he asked as he stepped closer.

She snapped out of the daze and shot her head quickly toward him.  “What?” she asked, startled by his sudden appearance.  “Uh, yes.  I’m fine.”

“You don’t look fine.  Are you sure there isn’t anything I can do?”

Gwen didn’t want him prying.  She knew the way he and Brett were constantly at odds and she didn’t want to slip and say anything that he could use against them.  “No…I mean yes, I’m sure.  If you’ll excuse me….”

Stormy stopped her before she could walk away.  He turned her around to face him and tried to appear as unthreatening as he could.  “Gwen, I hope I’m not speaking out of line, but I couldn’t help notice something the other day when I was in your room.”  He paused, wondering if she would bring it up first.  “The pregnancy test.  Did you take it?   Are you pregnant?”

Paralyzed with fear, she wrung her hands tightly together and began swaying back and forth in her standing position.   She knew her thoughts were betraying her, but lying and sneaking around had never been her strong suit.  Maybe that’s why she spent those years in prison.  She had to confess to what she did.  She served her time and she was released.  That was all there was to it.

“No, I’m not pregnant,” she said, then quickly forced herself to speak up louder and more confidently.  “Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Gwen, it’s okay,” Stormy said reassuringly.  “It’s just between the two of us.  If you are pregnant, I won’t tell anyone if you don’t want me to.  It’s nobody else's business.”

She didn’t say anything.  She couldn’t.  The paralyzing fear was back.  Why did he have to keep badgering her?  Her stomach started to hurt and she felt cramped and sweaty in the foyer.

“Is it someone's that you’ve been seeing?” Stormy asked.  “A boyfriend?  Have you told him yet?”

Gwen felt like she would pass out.  She had to get away fast.  “Please just leave me alone,” she said and dashed up the stairs with a flourish. 

Stormy frowned, wondering why she’d gotten so upset.  He was only trying to reach out to her as a friend.  But something had gotten to her and sent her into a panic.  The only question was what?

Jordan's House

Alex walked into the parlor room of her house in Beverly Hills.  She threw her coat over a chair and walked to the bar to pour a drink.  Just as she turned around, Jordan came in with a scowl on his face.

“Where have you been?” he demanded.

She shot him a snarly look and lit a cigarette.  “Not now, Jordan.  I have a lot on my mind.”

“Let me guess,” he began.  “James Blackthorne.  Are you finally through holding his hand now that his wife is back from her latest trip to hell?  You don't even like Brooke Blackthorne."

“Get off it, Jordan.  You may be my husband, but James is the father of my children,” Alex said angrily.  “Is there anything wrong with me wanting to lend him support when he needs it?”

Jordan frowned, stepping closer and trying to decide what she was hiding.  “There’s something else,” he said, quite sure of himself.  “I know that look.  I’ve seen it before.  You’re in a moral dilemma, aren’t you?  Oh wait, I forgot you don’t have morals.  Or is this about your new venture in natural gas with Marilee Walker?”        

Alex tried to ignore his attempt at being funny.  She walked to the window of the parlor and looked out at the flowing green lawns and majestic palm trees.  “I overhead something about James quite some time ago,” she explained, wanting desperately to get it off her chest.   “About his nephew, Ethan.”

“What is it?”

She turned around and looked him dead on.  “Will Thomerson is Ethan’s father,” she blurted out without even giving it a second thought.  It felt so good to tell someone.  Keeping it inside all those months was killing her.   “James has known all along and never told either one of them.”

“Oh God,” Jordan whispered under his breath.

“But it gets worse,” Alex said, beginning to pace the room.  “Will found out about it and now he’s out for blood.”

“Oh I see,” Jordan said with a roll of his eyes.  He rubbed his hand across his face and turned away.   “So this is more concern for James’s well being.  How typical.”

Alex shook her head and raced toward him.  “You don’t understand!” she lamented.  “I’ve seen Will angry and poised to attack James before, but this is different!  Jordan, he’s not going to stop until James pays the ultimate price!  I’m afraid for him!”

“You know what, Alex?” Jordan asked in a rage as he grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her forcefully.  I’m afraid too.  I’m afraid that this obsession you have with James Blackthorne is going to wreck our marriage.  Can’t you see what you’re doing?  You’re living and breathing for that man.  You can’t keep doing that and stay married to me.”

“What are you saying?” Alex asked.

“Leave him alone,” Jordan replied plainly.  “Don’t do anything.  Don’t tell him that Thomerson knows about Ethan.  Don’t run over there and warn him and concoct another hair-brained scheme to save his neck.  Save our marriage instead.”

Alex opened her mouth to respond but before she could she realized Jordan had a point.  She married him for a reason.  She loved him and wanted to give their marriage a chance.  How could she do that if she kept running to James every time a crisis happened?

“Okay,” she finally said and buried her head in his chest.  “I won’t go to James with this.  I’ll stay out of it.”

Jordan sighed with relief and stroked his hand along her auburn hair.  Finally he had gotten through to her.  Maybe now they could forge some kind of happy life together.

Hotel Terranova

Miranda sat in her luxuriously decorated office at Hotel Terranova and glanced through a stack of fabric swatches and carpet samples.  She pushed her long black hair from her face and picked up the phone on her desk.  After dialing the house, Leilani answered and went to put James on the phone.

“Hi Daddy, listen I was just going over some swatches for the third floor room renovation and I thought you could come down and take a look,” she said with a hint of excitement in her voice.  “I’d love to get your opinion.  It is your money at work, after all.”

“Miranda, I’d love to but Brooke and I are expecting guests,” James replied from the phone in the parlor.  Kenny and Renee DeWitt and Marilee Walker are coming by to see the baby.”

“Oh,” she murmured, barely able to hide her disappointment.  “Well maybe afterwards.”

“I don’t know, Darling, I just don’t think today is going to work.  The baby’s only been home a day and I’d like to spend some time with him.  I’m sure you understand, don’t you?”

Her eyes stung with tears and she nodded reluctantly.  “Yeah, sure I do,” she said and took a deep breath.  “All right, I’ll just pick something out myself.”

“I’m sure whatever you choose will be exquisite,” James replied with a smile.  “You have excellent taste.”

“Sure.  Bye Daddy.”  She hung up the phone and clenched her fists in anger.  The idea that she was jealous of a tiny baby was ridiculous, but she couldn’t help it.  In a rage, she picked up the giant book of swatches and hurdled it across the room.

Blackthorne Mansion

That afternoon, after hearing of James’s offer to keep Gwen on as Michael’s nanny, Brett decided he had to take action quickly.  After summoning enough nerve to approach her, he found her in the baby’s nursery next door to James and Brooke’s bedroom.   He saw her standing above the crib, smiling down at the sleeping baby.  For a moment he felt a pang of guilt over what he was about to do.  But just as quickly it subsided and he realized that he had to do it for the sake of his marriage and his position with Sunset Studios.       

“Gwen,” he called out, which apparently startled her because she spun around and placed a hand on her heaving chest.  Immediately he could tell something was wrong.  “Are you okay?  You don’t look so good.”

She nodded and forced herself to smile, approaching him quickly and attempting to give him a warm embrace.  When he pulled away she grew instantly alarmed.  “Brett?  What is it?”

“It isn’t safe,” he said and looked over his shoulder.  “James or Brooke could come in any minute.”

She nodded and folded her hands in front of her.  “Well did you hear the news?” she asked.  “Mr. Blackthorne wants me to stay here and help take care of Michael.  He said I was like a member of the family."

Brett barely responded.  He walked to the baby’s crib and looked down at the newest Blackthorne heir.  Another obstacle to keep him from running Sunset Studios on his own.  As if Stormy wasn’t enough. 

“But I don’t have to stay,” Gwen quickly added and rushed toward him.  “I mean, after we announce that we’re in love and you’re leaving Miranda, I won’t be any more welcome here than you will be.   We’ll go somewhere else.  Maybe another country.   I don’t know if I ever told you but I spent a few years in Paraguay.  It’s beautiful there.  We can raise our baby there, or anywhere for that matter.”

Brett turned to her and shook his head solemnly.  “I’m sorry, Gwen, but there’s been a change of plans.”

“What do you mean?” she asked in confusion.

Placing his hands on her shoulders, he looked into her eyes and tried to make certain his words were getting through to her.  “I’ve decided to stay with Miranda.  I don’t want to divorce her.”

What?” she shrieked, tears immediately falling down her cheeks as she backed up away from him.  She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.  She thought it was all settled.

“I’m sorry, Gwen.  I just don’t love you.”

She shook her head, devastated and suddenly feeling short of breath.  A sharp pain in her stomach caused her to jolt forward and she tried taking a deep breath to calm herself down.  “But what about our baby?” she asked.  “You can’t turn your back on our baby.”

“I don’t think you should have it,” Brett announced evenly.

“You’re insane,” she said and covered her mouth in horror.  “You want me to end my pregnancy?  How could you even suggest something like that?  This is your baby too.”

Brett followed her across the room, praying that she would listen to reason.  “You know it’s the only thing that makes sense.  Do you realize what would happen if we did tell everyone the truth about us?  The Blackthornes are powerful people.  Gwen, they entrusted you with their two day old son.  Do you think they’re not going to come at us with everything they have?  We’ll be lucky if we can live in peace anywhere in the world.  Even Paraguay.”

But Gwen didn’t listen.  She was trembling and shaking her head back and forth in disbelief.  She felt betrayed.  Not just that Brett was cold enough to tell her he didn’t love her, but to say he wanted her to kill their own baby. 

“Please, Gwen-“

Suddenly she doubled over in pain, clutching her stomach and crying out in pain.  Brett stood by, wide-eyed as he tried to determine what was happening.

“Gwen?” he asked.  

“Just leave me alone!” she cried, walking to a rocking chair and sitting down.  “I don’t want to look at you right now.  Please go.”

Brett didn’t stick around to argue with her.  He told her what he needed to and that was the end of it.  That night at dinner he would suggest to James that she be let go, and if that didn’t work he’d have to make her look bad, like she couldn’t be trusted with the baby.  It was a perfect setup.  And if she did talk, who would believe the story of a mousy nurse over him?

By the time he got down the stairs, he heard Gwen crying out in agony from the nursery.  Quickly, he ducked around the corner and hid as Stormy raced upstairs to check on her.

When Stormy entered the room, he found Gwen doubled over in the rocking chair, holding her hands in her lap and sobbing silently. 

“Gwen, what is it?” he asked in a panic.

She lifted up her hands and revealed the scarlet colored blood from between her legs.   “My baby…” she whimpered.  “Please help me.”

Jasmes Blackthorne

James was on the phone in the study with Detective Baines.  He paced back and forth, raking his fingers through his hair with irritation.  “I don’t care how many men you have to send out.  I want Philip Whitacre found.  Do you understand me?  That man is a lunatic and he can’t be allowed to escape.”

With that, he hung the phone up and turned around just as Brooke entered the room.  “Who were you talking to?” she asked suspiciously. 

James ignored her question and walked around to the other side of his desk.  “It’s nothing, Darling.  Don’t worry yourself about it.”

But Brooke knew better.  She knew he was still trying to locate Philip.  He wouldn’t rest until he was behind bars for what he did.   “An ambulance came and took Gwen to the hospital,” she announced.  “Stormy went with her.”

What?” he gasped.  “What happened?”

“I don’t know,” she said and shook her head.  “I tried to find you but it all happened so quickly.”

James hesitated for a moment and then dug his hands into his pockets.  “I should probably go to the hospital and see if there’s anything I can do,” he said.

“I’ll go with you.”

But suddenly he shook his head in protest.  “No, I can’t go.  I have to stay here in case there’s any word about-“

“About what?” Brooke interrupted with an accusatory tone.  “About Philip?  James, you can’t keep pursuing this.  I told you that Philip isn’t going to hurt us anymore.  Let it go.”

Her words infuriated him and he slammed his fist onto the desk.  “You don’t know that!” he exclaimed.  “Brooke, he could try to take you again.  And this time he could do something far worse.  Don’t you see?  I have to find him.  I can’t risk that happening again.”

Distraught over James’s obsession, Brooke turned and left the study to go check on Michael.  She couldn’t stop thinking about the way Philip coached her through her labor before Stormy and Brett had arrived.  He opened up to her and revealed a soft side that she’d never seen before.  How could she let James treat him like a common criminal?

Cedars-Sinai

Stormy walked into the examination room at Cedars-Sinai, pausing momentarily in the doorway before he ventured in to see Gwen.  He took a deep breath and walked toward her, heartbroken by the sight of her frail body laying helplessly on the bed.

“The doctor said you can come home in a little while,” he said, knowing that Gwen was devastated by the turn of events.  “I’ll wait and drive you.”

She nodded and wiped her watery eyes with a tissue.  “So I guess you know I was lying before when I said I wasn’t pregnant.”

"Yeah,” he said, gently touching her hand.  “It’s okay.  You don’t owe me any explanations, Gwen.”  A beat.  “ When are you going to tell the father?”

The question made her sick to her stomach.  The father couldn’t care less that she’d lost her baby.  The father told her to end the pregnancy.   He got his wish.   She felt like telling Stormy everything about her and Brett.  The affair, the attempt at keeping James in his wheelchair, and the baby they conceived together.  That would show him.  Somebody had to do something about him. 

But she couldn’t do it because then she’d lose everything.  She liked working for the Blackthornes and she was excited about taking care of their baby.  It was just what she needed.  If she couldn’t have a baby of her own, at least she’d have theirs.  It was the next best thing.

Brett Armstrong

That evening before dinner, Brett walked into the library and found Stormy studying a set of financial reports for Sunset Studios.  He gritted his teeth and started toward him with a furious expression on his face.

“Did you take those from my office?” he demanded.

Stormy looked at him defiantly.  “Yes.  Do you have a problem with that?”

Brett shook his head in aggravation.  “As a matter of fact I do.  I don’t appreciate you going into my private office and taking things.  What gives you the right to-“

“Listen Brett, my father put us both in charge while he was ill.  That means I get to see everything, including the things you don’t want me to.  As far as I can see, that’s the way it’s going to stay until he decides to go back to work.”

“And when will that be?” Brett asked anxiously.  He knew now that James was walking again it wouldn’t be long before he reclaimed his position at the studio.  Then where would that leave him?

“Ask him yourself when he gets here,” Stormy replied.  “When I got home from the hospital with Gwen he asked me to meet him in here before dinner.”

Brett’s forehead creased in concentration.  “He asked me to meet him here too,” he announced.  “By the way, how is Gwen anyway?”

Stormy barely looked up at him.  “She’ll be fine.”

His quick response told Brett that something bad happened.  Was it possible that the situation had taken care of itself?

Before he could obsess any longer about the subject, Alex Reynolds swished into the library dressed in a formal gown and a fur hat and matching coat.  Stormy looked up in surprise and walked over to his mother.

“What are you doing here?” he asked as he kissed her on the cheek.

“I was hoping someone could tell me,” Alex replied.  “James called and asked me to come right over.”

“That’s strange.  I wonder what’s going on.”

Sighing, Alex lit a cigarette and plopped down onto the leather sofa.  “I don’t know but I hope it doesn’t take too long.  Jordan and I have dinner plans and he would kill me if he knew I was here.  He’s apparently having a little bout with jealousy over your father.”

Stormy smiled in amusement just as James entered the library and greeted them all with a warm smile.

“Well, I’m glad that you’re all here,” he said and closed the doors.  “This shouldn’t take very long.”

“What’s this all about?” Stormy asked.

“Yes, James, don’t keep us in suspense,” Alex said and puffed gently at her cigarette.  “Some of us have plans tonight.”

James walked to the fireplace and stood before the group.  “Well this should be of special interest to you, Alex.  I just got off the phone with my attorney.  He and I have been doing some checking on that land in Colorado you inherited from your Uncle Cyrus.  I understand there’s quite a bit of money involved.  Natural gas is a booming economy and you seemed to have inherited quite a bit of it.”

“Get to the point,” Alex said.

“After looking at Cyrus’s will in more detail, we discovered that he left that land to the both of us,” James continued.  “We were still married at the time and there weren’t any stipulations saying otherwise.  So it seems that we’re in business together.”

Alex sprang forward and looked at him in awe.  “That’s ridiculous.  I’m not going into business with you.”  She knew that if she worked with James on a daily basis her marriage to Jordan would suffer.  He would never understand.

“That’s what I thought you’d say,” James said with a smile and produced a legal document from his jacket pocket.  “And unfortunately there’s not much I can do about it, so I got together with Marilee Walker, your business partner in this venture.”

“You did what?” Alex asked in awe. 

James nodded.  “Marilee sold me her shares of the company.  It didn’t take much convincing really.  I gave her a pretty good price.”

“This is crazy,” Alex said, standing up and grabbing the paper from him.  “How could Marilee do this to me?”

“Money makes people do crazy things,” James said with a chuckle.

“Dad, I don’t understand,” Stormy said and took a step forward.  “What do you care about the natural gas business?  You’re a film producer.  It’s your life.”

James shook his head and put a hand on his son’s shoulder.  “Not anymore.  My life is with Brooke and Michael now.   Producing would take up too much of my time.  With this new venture I’ll be able to make a fortune and still have time for my family.”

“But what about the studio?” Brett asked and sidled up alongside Stormy.  “You’re not going to sell it, are you?”

“No, certainly not,” James said with defined certainty.  “I built that studio from the ground up and I’ll never see an outsider owning it.  Or running it, for that matter.  Which is why I wanted you both here.  I was impressed with the way you worked together the other day to bring Brooke and the baby back home.  I know that you have your differences but I think that if you compromise you’ll be able to pull if off.”

“Dad, are you sure about this?” Stormy asked.  He couldn’t stand the idea of working with Brett on a daily basis.  When it was only temporary he could have dealed, but this was completely different. 

“With all do respect, Mr. Blackthorne-“ Brett began in protest.  He looked at Stormy and clenched his teeth, infuriated that he’d been put in the awkward position.  Now he was going to have to deal with Stormy’s self-righteous attitude every day, even away from the house.

“Can I count on the two of you to work together?” James asked.

After a great deal of reluctance, they both nodded in unison.  The turn of events was certainly going to make for an interesting summer.

 


Next time....

Miranda shows everyone she hasn't changed when she throws a tantrum in front of the entire family.  Brett and Stormy clash over studio business.  Brooke becomes suspicious of Gwen.  Will sends Heather on a suspicious audtion.  

 

Read Episode 32

 

 


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