asked Gwen if she would stay on as baby Michael's
nurse. Gwen continued to hide the fact that
she had been in prison in Paraguay. Jordan
convinced Alex not to tell James that Will knew
he was Ethan's father. James continued his
search for Philip, even though Brooke insisted that
he drop it. Miranda grew jealous when james put
her off to be with Michael. Brett told Gwen
that he wanted her to have an abortion, and she
reacted violently. Later, she began bleeding
and was rushed to the hospital where she miscarried.
James bought out Marilee's interest in Alex's
company, then announced that he was dividing control
of Sunset Studios between Brett and Stormy.
Hotel Terranova was crowded with guests
rushing about the lobby, checking in and out and scrambling to make their
tennis lessons or tee times on the golf course. The Mediterranean décor of the lobby boasted
expensive tiles and artwork flown in from places as far off as Marrakech and Sri Lanka.
Nothing but the best for the newly remodeled hotel, Miranda Armstrong
thought as she strode across the terracotta floor in her Manolo Blahnik
heels. She paused and took a satisfied
look around the glamorous hotel that she’d single-handedly brought back from
near bankruptcy. Quite an
accomplishment if she did say so herself.
off into the restaurant, she spotted her cousin Ethan sitting in the bar with
Janet Harper, a face she recognized from when they had located Brooke down in
Phoenix a few weeks ago. Unable to
resist the temptation of a confrontation, she sauntered over and stood by with
her arms folded.
Ethan,” she said, then looked at Janet.
“Miss Harper, isn’t it? I believe
looked up with a startled expression on his face. He knew that his frequent visits to Janet at Hotel Terranova would eventually work
against him. Running into Miranda was
bound to happen since she ran the place.
“Hi Miranda,” he said. “How are
fine,” she replied, then gave Janet an intense glare. “I see you’ve been keeping yourself busy
while you’re not working for my father’s nemesis, Will Thomerson.”
nodded. “Yeah, I have.” He wasn’t about to play her games. “How is Uncle
Brooke?” Ethan asked, swallowing hard and fighting back the bitter feelings of
resentment. “Is she happy to be back?”
Miranda saw right through his charade. “Brooke is fine. My father is fine. And their baby is fine. They’re one big happy family. I guess you didn’t have as much of an impact
on her as you thought. She seemed to
have gotten over you pretty quickly.”
I know James is angry with me but that doesn’t mean you have to be,” Ethan said and stood up from the stool. “We’ve always been friends, Miranda.”
well the last mistake you made as my friend
was sleeping with my father’s wife,” she shot back angrily.
laughed at her remark. “You’ve never
liked Brooke. I would think you’d be
happy for anything that came along to keep her from your father.”
I don’t want him to be miserable if that’s what you think,” Miranda said. “You were like a son to him, Ethan, and you stabbed him in the back. Forgive me if I’m not grateful for that.”
quickly went to Ethan’s defense. “I
think Ethan was just saying that he-“
didn't ask for your input,” Miranda quickly cut her off, again directing her
penetrating stare toward her. “I don’t
know who you are, lady, and why you keep popping up around my family, but I’d
watch out if I were you. You don’t want
to mess with the Blackthornes.”
that, she turned and darted off toward her office just off of the lobby. Ethan sat back down and patted Janet lightly
on the hand. “I’m sorry about that,” he
said. “I’m still pretty much an outsider
with my family these days.”
eagerly perked up and crossed her legs as she leaned closer. “What exactly did transpire between you and James’s wife?” she asked. “I don’t believe it’s just a simple case of
you stabbing him in the back. You’re
much too nice a guy for that.”
a long story,” Ethan said with a sigh and finished his drink.
Janet licked her lips.
Finally they were getting somewhere.
Ethan Blackthorne was one member of the family she didn’t have much
written about for her manuscript. Even
the few evenings they’d spent together hadn’t proved beneficial. He was surprisingly tight-lipped about his
past. But she was almost there and she
wasn’t about to stop until she had the whole story about the Blackthorne
why don’t we go up to my room and you can tell me all about it,” she said with
a vixenish pout and took his hand in hers.
walked out of his office at Sunset Studios
and barreled across the hall, marching directly into Brett’s office and
slamming the door closed.
“Where are those financial reports?” Stormy demanded, the
veins in his forehead throbbing. “I
wasn't finished with them and you took them.”
glanced up and shrugged indifferently.
“Which financial reports are you talking about?” he asked. He wasn’t about to be bullied by Stormy. He’d run Sunset
Studios for the past six months and he’d be damned if he’d let him come in
and tell him how to do things now.
know damn well what I’m talking about. I
was working on the budget for Blood &
Oil. I need those reports so I can
finish by the start of pre-production.”
stood up and adjusted his suit jacket.
“Let’s get one thing straight, Stormy,” he said and walked around the
desk. “Blood & Oil is my
project. I’ll decide the budget and I’ll
decide when pre-production starts. Not you.”
his head in frustration, Stormy ran his fingers through his hair and tried to
maintain his cool. “You’re
unbelievable,” he began. “You may have
been in charge before but now I’m here and I’m going to make some changes. That means you don’t do a damn thing until I
give the approval.”
father put us both in charge,” Brett
exclaimed, glaring wildly at him. “You don’t call the shots around
here. We have equal say, and if we both
don’t agree on something then you don’t get to make the final call.”
let me see the financial reports. I’ll
look over the budget and if I agree then you can start pre-production. But not
that he’d managed to make him feel so powerless, Brett grabbed the reports from
his desk and thrust them at him.
“Fine. But what’s next? I suppose you’re going to take credit for the
re-editing of Angel Assassin at the
premier tomorrow night.”
shook his head. “No. I know you’ve been working on that for the
past few months. I’ll give you this
took the papers and gave Brett a final look of warning before turning and
exiting the office. After he’d left,
Brett slammed his fists onto the desk and cursed his meddling
brother-in-law. He hated the idea that
he was there. James had entrusted him with his studio all that time, and
now he had to share it all with Stormy.
It was enough to make him want to kill.
Miranda got home that evening she found James and Brooke in the family room
with the baby, oohing and aahing over how cute he was and shaking
rattles and squeaky toys in his face.
She rolled her eyes and attempted to sneak off before they saw her but
she had no such luck.
Darling, how was work today?” James called from inside the room.
sighed and walked in with a smile plastered on her face. “It was great, Daddy,” she replied
unenthusiastically. “How’s everything
wonderful,” Brooke chimed in. “Michael
smiled for the first time today.”
was the spitting image of your brother’s smile,” James said, staring down in
adoration at Michael. “I remember it so
wrapped her arms around herself and stepped forward. “That’s great,” she said. “What about me, Daddy? Do you think Michael looks like me at all?”
hesitated for a bit too long and then shook his head in reply. “I don’t think so, Sweetheart. He’s definitely got Brooke’s eyes and nose,
and me and Stormy's mouth. He's a
Blackthorne through and through."
I see,” Miranda said, gnashing her teeth together. She knew it was ridiculous but she felt
unimportant ever since the baby came home.
Everyone had something they were doing for the family but her. All she had was the hotel. “Daddy, I still want you to come up to the
hotel and see the progress on the new rooms.
I really think you’ll be pleased.”
nodded after more hesitation. “Okay
Darling, I will,” he said. “I’ll be out
that way tomorrow for a meeting. How
about if I stop in and take a look? Then
you and I can have lunch together.”
Miranda’s world didn’t seem so dark.
“That’s great,” she said with a bright smile. “I’ll have the chef make something extra
special for us.”
beamed with approval and turned his attention back to Brooke and the baby.
turned and started down the hallway, walking past Gwen as she made her way into
the family room. “Mr. And Mrs.
Blackthorne, I can take Michael upstairs for his bath if you’d like.”
nodded in reply. “That’d be fine,
Gwen. Thank you. I’ll be up in just a little while to put him
I can do that,” Gwen said and took the baby from her. She smiled sweetly at Michael, cradling him
gently in her arms. “You and Mr.
Blackthorne should spend some time alone.
Lord knows you've both been through a lot lately.”
I would like to see him before he
goes to sleep,” Brooke said, determined.
“I’ll be up in a while.”
expression turned stark and she nodded obediently. “Yes, Mrs. Blackthorne,” she said and left
the room with Michael.
she’d gone, Brooke followed James across the room where he poured them each a
tumbler of brandy. “Do you think Gwen’s
okay?" she asked, her voice filled with concern for the young nurse.
do you ask?”
shrugged and took the drink from him.
“Ever since Stormy took her to the hospital the other day she’s been
different,” she said. “Has she told you
anything about what happened? Why she
got sick and had to go off in an ambulance?”
sighed and shook his head reluctantly.
“No, but Stormy told me." He
paused and took a deep breath. "She
had a miscarriage.”
Brooke threw her hands up to her mouth and gasped in shock. “How awful,” she said. “That poor girl. I didn’t even know she was pregnant.”
led her to the sofa and sat down beside her.
“Apparently she didn’t want to make it an issue,” he explained.
who was the father?”
don’t know. She didn’t tell Stormy. My guess is that it wasn’t someone she
planned on having a baby with.”
Gwen stood above Michael in his crib and gazed down at him with longing eyes. She felt a tear roll down her cheek and she
quickly wiped it away. It was no time
for sorrow, she thought to herself.
She’d lost her baby but she’d been given the blessing to care for
Michael. He was just as beautiful as
she’d imagined her own baby being.
a voice said from behind and she quickly spun around, placing her hand on her
heaving chest. To her disgust, Brett was
standing there in the shadows, watching her closely as if studying her
are you doing here?” she asked and turned toward him.
“I just got home,” Brett said in as gentle a voice as he
could manage. “I’ve been wanting to talk
to you for the last few days but it never seems like the right time. How are you doing?”
mean since I lost the baby?” she asked bitterly, her eyes darting around the
room and landing back on Michael. “Our baby.”
I was concerned.”
know how concerned you must have been,” Gwen spat sarcastically. “This entire house has been whispering being
my back since it happened. Gwen lost her baby. Gwen’s all alone in the world. Who was the father of poor Gwen’s baby?” She quickly turned back to him and rushed
across the room. “How about if I tell
them who the father of my baby was? I
bet you’d be real concerned then,
didn’t know what to say. It wasn’t his
fault that she had the miscarriage but somehow he felt that she blamed
him. “Gwen, I-“
She turned around and returned to a relatively calm
state. “You got what you wanted,” she
said softly. “Now please just leave me
Brett had to put his mind at ease. He
had too much to lose. “Are
you going to tell them that I was the father of the baby you lost?” he asked
said leave me alone,” she hissed.
it was best to drop it for the time being, Brett quietly ducked out of the room
and started down the hall. Gwen lifted
Michael into her arms and smoothed her hand down the back of his head. She closed her eyes and slowly began singing
him to sleep.
next day, Heather made her way into the parlor room of Will Thomerson’s
estate. Ethan was there and she
immediately grew tense, struggling to come up with an easy way to back away and
avoid another confrontation.
wait a minute,” Ethan said. “There’s
something I’d like to talk to you about.”
rolled her eyes and looked at him with irritation. “What?
Do you want to attack me again and tell me what a
horrible person I am? Well save your
breath. People have done a lot worse to
break into the business. All I did was
steal a few scripts.”
for James,” Ethan began. “Do you have
any idea how much he and Will hate each other?
If he found out you did anything to help Sunset Studios get the edge over him, he would go ballistic.”
he won’t find out if you don’t tell him,” Heather said shortly and then turned
around just as Will emerged from a hidden staircase in the wall.
tell me what?” Will asked with a smile.
He approached Heather and kissed her lightly on the cheek. “You two weren’t talking about me, were you?”
just a little bit,” Heather said playfully and tossed her long brown hair over
her shoulder. “So what was so important
that you wanted me to come right over?”
from ear to ear, Will led her over to the sofa and sat her down. “I have wonderful news,” he began. “I’ve found a part in a film that I think you
would be perfect for.”
face lit up instantly. “Really?"
she exclaimed, throwing her arms around him in elation. “That’s fantastic! What is it?”
a very juicy role, Princess,” he began.
“It’s exactly the kind of film you've been wanting to star in. Now I’ve set up a screen test with a
director.” He casually reached into his
jacket pocket and handed her a slip of paper with a man’s name and an address
scribbled out on it.
test?” Heather asked with a slight tilt of her head.
just a formality, dear,” Will said. “The
director just wants to get a feel for how you look on camera, that’s all.”
the director, Will?” Ethan asked from across the room. He thought it was strange that Will hadn’t
mentioned this to him before.
new,” was Will’s easy reply. “And very talented. Very hip with what’s hot right now and what
the audiences want to see. So Heather,
can you make it over there later? He
said he'll be free tonight."
“Can I?” she exclaimed and shot up to her
feet. “I’m going to go home and pick out
something to wear. Oh God, I’m so
a flash she was racing back out of the room.
Will smiled to himself and almost forgot that Ethan was there. When he turned around, he saw the young man
staring at him from a distance.
"Things seem to be getting serious with you two," Ethan
said. "That necklace you gave her,
now a part in a movie. Is it a Jaguar Studios production?"
shook his head dismissively.
"No," he replied and quickly changed the subject to something
else. "Shall we send out for lunch
today? There's a lot of work to do and I
think we should buckle down."
"I have plans
for lunch," he replied. "With
raised an eyebrow and followed Ethan across the room. Every time he looked into his eyes he saw
more and more of himself. He wanted so
desperately to tell him that he was his father.
He wanted to start making up for all the years they'd lost. But first he'd have to deal with James. Making him pay was going to have to come
seeing Janet Harper again?" Will asked inquisically. "It seems like you may be getting
serious about this woman."
Ethan absently began gathering a stack of papers on the desk. "I think that I'd like to see where it
goes," he replied. "She's a
very exciting woman."
how serious can it get? She lives in Denver.
She won’t be in L.A. forever.”
guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it," Ethan said. The truth was his relationship with Janet was
a mere distraction for the time being.
True, she was vital and attractive and he respected her but he didn't
see it lasting. Relationships were out
of the question until he really got over the pain over losing Brooke.
I've warned you about this woman," Will continued, unable to hide the
paternal instinct to protect his son.
"Her reputation precedes her.
I'm surprised you'd want to get involved with her in the first
place. Are you even aware of the media
circus she started with the Fallmonts back in Denver?"
to hear any more about his new interest in Janet, Ethan held up his hand and
started to the doorway. "I'm a big
boy, Will. I think I know how to handle
myself with a reporter. Besides, she's
not interested in me for that reason. We
enjoy each other's company. End of
Will wasn't so convinced. He rubbed his
chin and wondered what Janet Harper was after.
ambled her way through the kitchen at Hotel
Terranova, peering over Chef Antón's shoulders and watching as he
masterfully created an elaborate lunch for her and James.
sure you don't use any cilantro," she goaded. "My father hates cilantro."
chef threw his hands up in resignation.
"I know, I know. Now leave
me alone so I can work!"
offered a good-natured laugh and turned to exit the kitchen. She was thrilled to finally spend some time
alone with her father. Since Brooke had
returned, and in particular since the baby had been born, she felt like she was
no longer important to her father. Yes,
some quality time was just what they needed.
the meantime, James and Alex were standing in the office space they'd leased to
act as headquarters for their new venture.
James looked around at the expansive suite of offices in downtown L.A. and nodded with approval.
is going to be fine," he said.
"Three offices and a reception area should be good for
starters. Then as we grow we can always
buy the rest of the floor."
rolled her eyes and lit a cigarette.
"I don’t see why we can't buy an office building down by the
marina," she complained. "The
view is much better and we're not trapped in the city with all the smog and
view is spectacular," James said as he looked out the forty-story
window. "I think you're just
looking for reasons to get out of this, Alex.
And you're not going to. We're in
business together whether you like it or not."
I don't like it!" she spat and plopped down onto a stark white sofa.
don't understand. We've managed to put
the past behind us. Why are you fighting
me all the sudden? Was Marilee such a
better partner than your ex-husband?"
with frustration, Alex puffed at her cigarette and tried to explain why she
wasn't happy. "It isn't that,"
she began. "You know I don't bare
any grudges against you, James. We have
children together. I just don't know how
Jordan's going to feel about
nice of you to consider my feelings," said a voice from behind.
both spun around and saw Jordan standing in the doorway, a
defiant look on his tan face. "Jordan, how did you know where I
was?" Alex asked.
strolled into the office, his hands digging deeply into his pockets. "I phoned the driver and asked where you
were," he replied. "Alex, why
didn't you tell me James was in and Marilee was out?”
tried desperately to think of an easy way to tell him, but there wasn't
one. Just a few days ago Jordan had told her to stay away from
James and here she was getting involved with him again. "I was going to but I-"
there a problem, Jordan?" James asked. "I mean, why do you care who Alex does
business with? She's your wife, not a
stockholder in your company."
Jordan chuckled with amusement. "You have a lot of room to talk, James. If I remember correctly, when you were married to her she wasn't even
allowed to acknowledge my existence. You
treated her like a possession and-"
hell I did!" James bellowed angrily.
"You have a lot of nerve talking to me that way, Rydell!"
it! Both of you!" Alex lamented as
she stood between them. "I can't
stand all this yelling!" She turned to Jordan and placed a hand on his heaving
bought Marilee's shares of the
company. I had nothing to do with
it. Now I'm sorry but you're just going
to have to get used to the idea of us working together."
Jordan frowned and pushed her aside as
he stepped toward James. "Why are
you doing this?" he asked.
"What do you care about the natural gas industry? You're a film producer, James. So tell me why was it so important to you
that you get in on this deal with Alex."
it expanding my horizons," James replied.
"Stormy and Brett are in charge of Sunset Studios now. I'll let
them have a shot at giving Rydell
Productions a run for their money."
why this company?" Jordan asked in an accusatory
tone. "Why my wife? Tell me, what does
Brooke think about you working with your ex-wife while she's at home taking
care of your new baby?"
is all for it," he answered quickly.
"Stepping back from the studio is the best thing I can do for my
marriage right now."
prayed that Jordan would understand. She looked at him with pleading eyes and
attempted to reach out to him.
"It's really not a big deal, Jordan," she began. "If you'll just-"
he quickly pushed her away and took a step back. "Why is it that the two of you can never
seem to stay away from each other?" he asked, then grabbed Alex by the
arms and shook her hard. "I’m your husband! Now you’re going to be with him on a daily basis! Are you still
going to tell me that you don't have feelings for him anymore?"
She looked at him with frightened eyes, twisting away
from his grasp. "You're being
ridiculous! Just get out of here, Jordan!"
clenched his fists in anger, turned and raced back out of the office. After he'd left, Alex looked at James and
tried to calm her frazzled nerves. Why
did it have to be all or nothing with Jordan?
walked down an upstairs hallway at the mansion and entered the nursery where
Michael was napping. She crept over to
his crib and stopped dead in her tracks, gasping in terror at the sight of the
she cried and raced from the room.
Tearing down the hallway, she bounded into Gwen's room to see if she'd
taken the baby in with her. But her
desperate search ended in an empty room.
she raced down the stairs calling out for Gwen.
No one else was home in the big house and she couldn't think of where
they could be. In desperation, she began
going from room to room calling
out for the nanny.
applied for the drilling permits," Alex explained to James as they went
over some basic information about the new business. "As soon as we're approved, Reynolds Inc. can begin construction on
the pipeline in Colorado."
James corrected her as he looked up from a stack of papers and manila
beg your pardon?" Alex said with a hint of animosity in her voice.
shrugged. "Well Alex, if I own
equal shares of the company, you can't expect my name to be left out of it, can
she said smugly. "Reynolds-Blackthorne it is."
sorry, I guess you misunderstood. Blackthorne-Reynolds. It's a catchier name and I think people will
more easily associate a producer's name than that of a retired actress."
gasped at the insulting remark. "I
am not retired! I'm on hiatus! And you know how we actresses are. We demand top billing in everything."
cell phone rang and he fished it out of his pocket while continuing the
exchange with Alex. "Whatever you
call it. Just let me win this once,
are you talking about?" Alex guffawed.
"You've already strong-armed your way into the damn company!"
James answered his phone and found a panicked Brooke on the other end. He quickly tried to calm her down long enough
to find out what had happened. She went
into a hurried explanation of the events leading up to Michael's disappearance,
sobbing uncontrollably with every word.
he exclaimed in the phone. "I'll be
a flash he was out of his seat and bounding toward the door. "Alex, we'll have to finish this
later!" he said. "I have to
get home!" Suddenly he looked at
his watch and remembered his lunch date with Miranda. "Listen, would you call Miranda at the
hotel and tell her I can't make it?"
"Okay. James, what is it?" Alex exclaimed. But it was too late, James was already
halfway down the hallway getting on the elevator. She threw her hands up in resignation and
went back to her stack of paperwork.
minutes later, James raced inside the foyer of the mansion and found Brooke
crying hysterically in Leilani's arms.
He immediately intercepted her and tried shaking her until she stopped
happened?" he asked. "Has
there been any sign of them?"
shook her head. "No! James, where could he be?"
Gwen take Michael out somewhere?" James demanded, holding onto her by the
shoulders and trying to get her to focus.
she cried. "I know she would have
told me if she was taking him anywhere!"
just at that moment, the front doors opened and Gwen entered the foyer pushing
Michael in a stroller. She smiled
brightly at the welcoming committee that awaited her.
going on?" she asked innocently.
"Mrs. Blackthorne, have you been crying?"
raced over to the stroller and picked Michael up in her arms. "Oh thank God!" she cried, stroking
her hand down the baby's head.
where the devil have you been?" James asked, rushing toward her. "We've been frantic looking for you and
removed the scarf covering her head and frowned with confusion. "I told Mrs. Blackthorne that I was
taking the baby out for a walk," she said.
"I'm sure I told
didn't tell me," Brooke shot back, holding Michael as tight as she
could. "I thought he was
napping. I went upstairs to get him up
and he was gone. I was so scared."
lifted a diaper bag from her shoulder and handed it to Leilani.
"Well what did you think happened?" she asked with a
don't know. I thought someone took
him." Brooke looked at James with a
helpless expression on her face.
"James, I'm sorry for upsetting you, but if I'd known Gwen was taking
him out for a walk I never would have called you out of your meeting."
nodded and pulled her close. "I
know, Darling. It's all right. Why don't you take Michael upstairs and I'll
be up in just a little while."
nodded, giving Gwen a final look of despair before heading up the stairs with
Leilani close behind. James turned to
Gwen and saw the bewildered look on her plain, unmade face.
I’m sorry about all of this,” he said, placing a hand on her shoulder.
“Mr. Blackthorne, if I’ve done something to upset you or your wife I’ll just
never forgive myself,” Gwen said, shaking her head in frustration. “Honestly I didn’t mean to-“
quickly hushed her concerns. “You
haven’t done anything wrong,” he said.
“I think my wife is just a little nervous about being a new mother. She’ll learn to relax in time. For now just make certain you tell her if
you’ll be taking Michael somewhere.”
sir,” she said apologetically.
turned and went up the stairs to the nursery where Brooke was hovering over the
baby’s crib. “Darling, are you all
right?” he asked.
turned to him and shook her head.
“No. James, I know that Gwen
didn’t tell me she was taking Michael for a walk,” she said. “He’s only a few days old, and
with this rainy weather we've been having.... I would have never let her take him without me.”
put his arms around her and pulled her close.
“Brooke, she’s our baby’s nanny.
You’ve got to learn to relax and trust her.”
shook her head in despair, looking back at Michael. “I don’t know if I do trust her,” she said. “Do
you, James? Can you honestly say we know enough about
Gwen to trust her with our baby?”
I can,” James insisted. “She was my
nurse for six months and she did a wonderful job. Now why can’t you just drop this?”
shot him a cold look and walked across the room to the dresser. “You mean the way you dropped your manhunt
for Philip?” she asked bitterly. “Oh
wait, I forgot, you haven’t dropped it, have you? You’re still working with the police to find
got to!” he yelled. “Brooke, this is not the same thing. Philip kidnapped you.”
sighed and realized she was fighting a losing battle. “All I’m asking you to do is just check into
Gwen’s references again. For our own
peace of mind.”
frowned. “You want me to have her
shrugged with indifference. If it was
important to Brooke then he would have to agree to it. Anything to make her more at ease with their
new nanny. “All right, I’ll have Stormy
or Brett check into it.”
smiled and fell into his arms, staring over his shoulder at the baby laying
contently in his crib.
had spent the afternoon sitting at the bar at Hotel Terranova, ordering drink after drink in hopes that she could
drown her sorrows. When her mother
called to say that James couldn’t meet her for lunch, her mood quickly turned
sour. But why was she not surprised? So what if she had the chef spend all day on
a fabulous dish that she wound up picking at while sitting in her office. So what if she commanded the hotel employees
to look sharp and be on their toes when he came because after all he was the
obviously more important had come up.
But then again what wasn’t more important than her lately?
gulped down the rest of a glass of wine and ordered the bartender to bring her
another one. Suddenly a shadow loomed
over her and she looked up, immediately growing irritated by the sight of Ethan
you think you’ve had enough?” he asked and sat down next to her.
her eyes, Miranda took the fresh glass and took a big sip. “Don’t start,” she said weakly. “I’ve had enough to deal with today without a
lecture about drinking. Especially
you want to talk about it?” Ethan asked after ordering a scotch on the rocks.
placed a hand on her forehead and shook her head. “Don’t let me keep you,” she began. “I’m sure you’re here to see your reporter
friend. She keeps a messy room, by the way. I got one of the housekeepers to tell me.”
couldn’t help but smile. He’d missed her
dry sense of humor during his exile from the family. “So let me guess,” he started. “Your father and Brooke are married again so
it’s back to the same old problems.
You’re not your daddy’s little girl anymore and-“
try to act like you know what’s going on,” Miranda said, her words slurring
together. “This is nothing like last
time. I can actually handle Brooke.” A pause.
“Well, sort of anyway. But it’s not just Brooke. It’s everything. I’m busting my ass at this hotel trying to
make my father proud of me and all he seems to care about is Stormy and Brett,
or Brooke and the baby. Hell, even the
nanny gets more attention than I do.”
sounds like you’re jealous of a baby,”
Ethan said with a smirk.
shook her head in protest, her long black hair falling around her face. “I’m not jealous,” she said. “I’m just mad, that’s all. Seven months ago I was set to move out into
my own house with my husband and start our own lives, then Daddy got sick and
so I stayed to take care of him. Brooke
wasn’t there, Stormy wasn’t there, and you weren’t there. I was the only
one who stuck by him. Now this baby
comes along and-“
you’re jealous,” Ethan repeated, taking a big gulp of his drink. “Miranda, this is exactly like last time. Do
you remember the night of James and Brooke’s rehearsal dinner? You were drunk, much like you are now, and
you acted out on your jealousy and somebody got hurt.”
threw her hands up in the air and laughed belligerently. “I’m not going to run the baby over with my
car if that’s what you’re thinking!”
that’s not what I mean,” Ethan said with a chuckle. “But your actions do have consequences, Miranda.
You’ve go to learn to let some things go and realize that you’re not the
only person in your father’s life anymore.
He has a new family now.”
The words made Miranda’s eyes sting with tears and she
quickly took another big drink. Maybe
Ethan was right. Her father had a new
life now and she didn’t seem to fit in anywhere. “Maybe
I'm a horrible person for saying this, and I'm sorry,
but I wish that baby had never
knew she was upset and had been drinking for a while so he didn’t react much to
the hateful comment. He reached into his
jacket pocket and handed her a monogrammed red Ralph Lauren handkerchief.
Suddenly he began thinking about the baby and wondering if Brooke had
been completely honest with him and James about who the father was.
does he look like?” he asked. “I mean,
does he look like James?”
shrugged and dabbed her eyes with the red handkerchief. “I don’t know. Daddy says he’s got his smile but I don’t see
it. I really don’t know who he looks
grew into a daze, wondering if maybe by seeing Michael he would be able to
determine the truth. Maybe things
weren’t quite as bleak as he’d thought.
Maybe he had a baby and didn’t even know it.
in the old, musty, dilapidated office building in Hollywood,
cringing at the director’s cluttered desk.
Piles of papers and photographs covered the surface while stacks of
dusty magazines and videotapes were strewn all over the floor. She wanted to get the screen test over with
so she could make it home in time to change for the premiere. James had been so good to her that she didn’t
want to miss the opening of his big movie.
it’s a little bit of a mess,” said Joel, a tall dark haired man in his forties
who had greasy hair and way too dark of a tan.
“We had to cut back on expenses and the first thing to go was the
Heather nodded, forcing herself to smile. “It’s tough when money’s tight.” She looked around the rundown office,
wondering how Will knew this guy. He
didn’t seem like the type of director he usually worked with.
“Let me get you a drink,” Joel said, walking over to a
small portable bar and pouring straight vodka into a glass.
“No, that’s okay,” Heather said, afraid to touch any of
the surroundings for fear that she would catch something. Was Will serious? Was this the director he wanted her to screen
test for? It had to be some kind of
“I insist,” Joel said, his back turned to her. He reached into his pocket and removed a
small capsule. Quick as a magician’s
slight of hand, he split the capsule open and poured the white powder into the
glass. “It’ll help you relax a little. I could tell when you came in that you were a
Heather decided he was probably right. Screen tests were always a little nerve
racking. She graciously accepted the
glass and took a big drink.
James was in the bedroom dressing for the premiere when
he heard the front door open and voices carry up the stairs. He stepped out of the room and went down to
the foyer where he saw Miranda sauntering inside. Brett had come down the stairs and met up
with her, immediately sensing that something was wrong.
“Miranda, are you all right?” James asked, dressed
handsomely in a black tuxedo. “I was
afraid you weren’t going to make it home in time to go to the theater with us.”
She shot him an ominous look and scowled angrily. “No, I’m not all right,” she said, starting
toward the staircase with Brett. “And I
don’t want to go to the premiere. I just
want to go to bed.”
“Miranda!” James called after her. “Did something happen?”
She stopped and pulled away from Brett, glaring wildly at
her father. “Actually just the
opposite,” she replied. “Nothing happened as usual. Do you have any idea what I went through
today at Hotel Terranova because I
thought you were coming?”
James shook his head.
“I’m sorry, Sweetheart. Didn’t
your mother call you to tell you I couldn’t make it?”
“Yes she called me, but that doesn’t make it okay!”
Miranda screeched. Before she knew it,
the foyer was quickly filling up. Stormy
had heard the commotion and came down the hall from the game room. Brooke walked out from the parlor holding
Michael in her arms and quickly felt the tension in the room.
“Miranda, have you been drinking?” Brett asked with a
“I don’t know, maybe a little,” she said with
irritation. The truth was that she felt
much more sober since her talk with Ethan.
He’d said some things that had awakened her on many levels.
“Brett, why don’t you take her upstairs?” Stormy said as
Brett shot him a cool stare and ignored his domineering
tone. One thing Stormy couldn’t do was
tell him what to do with his own wife.
That was something he had no say in whatsoever.
Miranda looked back at James and took a step closer. “So what was it this time?” she asked. “Did Brooke run away again or get kidnapped
by another ex-husband? Come on, Daddy,
just tell me what was so important that you couldn’t take an hour out of your
day to spend with your daughter.”
Her tantrum was quickly getting on James’s nerves. It seemed that she hadn’t quite matured as
much as he’d once thought. Getting
married and finding a career wasn’t enough for Miranda it seemed. “Look, I’m sorry that I had to cancel but it
couldn’t be helped. Gwen took Michael
out for a walk and Brooke was sick with worry.
We didn’t know where they’d gone or if they were safe-“
“You have got
to be kidding me,” Miranda said angrily.
“Did you find them?” She turned
and looked at Brooke. “Of course you
did. Michael’s right here.”
“It was just a misunderstanding,” James explained.
Miranda placed a hand on her forehead and felt the room
spinning. “The nanny took the baby for
walk and suddenly it’s such a monumental event that you have to put everything
else on hold? Forgive me if I don’t
understand that. What’s next? You call the fire department when he gets a
“That’s enough, Miranda,” James ordered.
She shook her head in despair, feeling tears threaten to explode. “I am so sick of
everyone acting like Michael
is God’s gift to the Blackthornes!
We did survive before he came
along, you know!”
“Miranda, let’s go up to bed,” Brett said, gently coaxing
her to the staircase.
“No!” she exclaimed and pulled away from him. “I just want to know what makes Brooke and
her bastard baby so damn special!”
In a flash, James brought his hand up and slapped her
clean across the face. Her hair whipped
through the air and she brought her hand up instinctively, a tear trickling
down her cheek.
“Apologize to Brooke,” James said, trembling from the
anger he felt. “Now!”
Miranda flashed him a defiant stare and shook her
head. “No. I’m not going to apologize to Brooke, or to you, because I don’t care about your
new family and your new life together!
The truth is, Daddy, I HATE
The room grew eerily quiet and Miranda backed up a few
steps. She saw the hurt look in her
father’s eyes but she didn’t care. She
was only giving him back what he had given to her. She quickly ran past him and dashed out the
front door into the night.
Standing awkwardly in the center of the foyer, Brett
decided he needed to do something fast.
He quickly went after her but it was too late. She had disappeared and there was no sign of
Will makes Janet an
offer she can't refuse. Heather finds herself
in danger. Jordan asserts his jealousy over Alex's
business relationship with James. The premiere
of Angel Assasin arrives. Brooke's
worst fears are realized.