and Stormy tracked down Joel Armitage, then learned
that Philip Whitacre has starred in some of the
director's porn flicks. They had Philip arrested,
but after finding no evidence that he was the kidnapper,
had him released. Brooke took her misery out
on Alex. Brett confronted Gwen with the detective's
report indicating she'd spent time in prison and
in a mental hospital for kidnapping and attempted
murder. Gwen agreed to keep quiet about Brett's
deeds in exchange for his creating a new, "cleaner"
report to present to James. Kenny and Renee
accidentally found a hidden door in the mansion.
After the police investigated a set of intricate
tunnels linking every room, they found a red handkerchief
with Ethan's monogram just outside the nursery.
Case of the Red Handkerchief"
flashlight shined like a beacon in the dark tunnel as James followed Detective
Baines through the hidden passageway.
Forensics experts were peppered up and down the corridor, dusting for fingerprints
and examining footprint markings on the floor.
read about these old Hollywood mansions in history books,” Detective Baines said as they
made their way along the narrow corridor.
“These tunnels were used as pass-throughs for servants so they wouldn’t
have to go through the main house. They
could come and go as the pleased, making their way from one end to another and
no one would notice.”
James murmured under his breath, gazing around at the cobwebs and dark
they approached a dead-end that narrowed into a small opening. Detective Baines reached his gloved hand out
and pushed open a small hatch that emptied into the pool house in the back
kidnapper could have came and went through here,” he said, leading a startled
James into the small building on the far end of the property. “He wouldn’t even have had to use any of the
main entrances to the house.”
stood in bewilderment, stepping out onto the pool deck and gazing up at the
main house. “I can’t believe this,” he
said. “The tunnels go all the way to the
end of the property. This is
shrugged his shoulders. “Who owned the
house before you?”
“Jonas Lamont,” James replied.
Lamont's husband? The producer?"
nodded. "After he died and Lola retired
from films I bought the house. No
one never mentioned the tunnels.”
the years they were probably used less and less. Eventually he must
have had them sealed off
and never thought to tell anyone about them.”
turned to him and shook his head in confusion.
“But if I didn’t even know about them, how in the hell did the kidnapper
short while later, they were back up at the house in the library, poring over
old servant logs from the archives.
Brooke, Miranda and Brett were standing by, observing with bated breath
as they waited for more news.
climbed atop the ladder and scanned through volumes of old dusty books, pulling
another down and placing it on the desk.
He flipped through pages and stopped when he got about halfway through,
startled by what he found.
outlines the path of the tunnels,” he said as he scanned over a large map of
the house and grounds. “Anyone could
have looked at this and knew exactly how to get into the house and to the
nursery without being seen.”
“So the kidnapper
must be someone in this house,” Brooke said, taking a moment to pause and scan
the room slowly. She immediately thought
of Gwen. Everything kept pointing to her
as the main suspect.
“What about the
handkerchief?” Brett asked. “EMB are
Ethan’s initials. It seems to me that
we’re standing around here taking guesses when it’s pretty clear who the
shook her head adamantly and gave Brett a cold, threatening stare. “That’s ridiculous!” she exclaimed. “Ethan would never do something like
that.” She turned to James and tried to
reason with him. “James, no matter
what’s happened, you’re still his uncle and I don’t believe for a minute that
you want to find your baby or not?” Brett interrupted, filled with irritation.
course I do! Brett-“
why is every suspect innocent in your eyes?” he continued. “First you were certain Philip couldn’t have
done it, and now Ethan. Is it just
because you slept with both of them so they’re automatically exempt?”
quickly cut in, his eyes flaring angrily.
“Brett, that’s enough!” he yelled.
“I won’t have you talking to my wife that way!”
down, Brett gave an apologetic nod and slipped his arm around Miranda.
a few tense moments of silence, James turned to Brooke and reached his hand out
to her. “Darling, I know it’s difficult
to think about, but how else would you explain how Ethan’s handkerchief got
into the tunnel outside of the nursery?”
don’t know,” she replied, shaking her head in despair. “I just know that he wouldn’t have taken our
would he if he still believes it’s his,” James countered regretfully. He hated to bring up the whole mess again but
it was necessary. The lie that Winter
Austen perpetuated last summer must still have an impact on Ethan. He must still believe that Winter was telling
the truth about the baby being his.
fidgeted nervously with her hands, listening to the bickering and developing a
splitting headache. Michael was gone and
he was still the only thing people could talk about.
buried her face in her hands and wept silently.
The irony was that Michael was
Ethan’s child. She was suddenly faced
with a horrifying prospect. If James
knew the truth would he still be moving
heaven and earth to find him?
spent a lot of time here before last summer when things got so messed up,”
James continued, desperate to get his wife to listen to reason. “He could have seen this map and found the
tunnels. You saw him the other night
before the premiere. He was here in the nursery. He probably got in through the tunnels that
night. He practically called you a liar
and said that baby was his.”
Brooke didn’t care how bad it looked.
She refused to believe that the man that she once cared for so much
would resort to such a heinous act.
There had to be another reason for his handkerchief being found in the
you like us to go pay him a visit?” Detective Baines asked.
hesitated, looking at Brooke and studying her expression. He couldn’t let her personal feelings for
Ethan cloud his judgment. The odds were
stacked up too high. He had to follow
through. “Yes,” he finally replied with
and angry, Brooke turned and raced out of the room and down the hall to the
staircase. She wished James would listen
to her gut instincts. She knew Ethan
wasn’t a kidnapper. But James insisted
on thinking the worst of his nephew, instead of directing his suspicions at
Gwen. She didn’t care that the
investigation into her background had turned up nothing. She was still convinced she was hiding
be okay,” James said back in the library.
“Detective Baines, do you want me to go with you?”
shook his head. “We’d better do this by
the book. I’ll call you in a while.”
that, he motioned to the police officers and led them down the hall to the
front doors where they got into the awaiting squad car.
Brooke entered the nursery and felt her eyes explode with tears at the sight of
the empty crib. She wrapped her arms
around herself and walked across the room, praying that a miracle would present
itself and deliver her baby back into her arms.
the reality was that the longer it took to find Michael, the less likely it was
that they would get him back. She knew
the statistics. It had been over
twenty-four hours and they had no hope.
down into the rocking chair with one of his toys, she quickly drifted off to
sleep, unaware of the presence just behind her.
built-in bookcase along the wall was partially open, acting as a hidden doorway
where Gwen hovered, watching Brooke with daunting eyes. A few minutes later she quietly retreated
into the tunnel and closed the door behind her, leaving the bookcase seamlessly
flush with the wall.
turned and walked a few yards down the small dark passageway, re-entering her
bedroom through the hidden door in the walk-in closet.
looked at the clock beside his bed, fully aware that it was well after two in
the morning and he wasn’t the least bit tired.
It was impossible to unwind after everything that had happened in the
last few days. He got up and strolled
into the living room, switching on the light and turning on the news.
loud knock at the door sent him jumping to his feet. His heart pounding, he grabbed a t-shirt and
pulled it over his head. “Who’s there?”
he called through the door.
Blackthorne, it’s the police. We’d like
to ask you a few questions.”
Ethan reached a nervous hand out and unbolted the door, pulling it open
slowly. “Can I help you?”
Detective Baines,” he said as he held up his badge. “May I come in?”
shrugged and reluctantly stood clear of the door. The detective and a uniformed officer entered
the house. “What’s this about?” he
asked. “It’s kind of late.”
detective gave him an apologetic smile and surveyed the living room with
discerning eyes while the officer went to check the rest of the house. “It is
important, Mr. Blackthorne,” he replied.
After finding nothing out of the ordinary in the room he turned to Ethan
and looked at him directly. “It’s about
the kidnapping of Michael Blackthorne.”
about it?” Ethan asked.
you are aware that the infant was
taken from the Blackthorne mansion the night before last?”
nodded with a frown. “Of course. It’s all over the news. What do you want to ask me about?”
were you the night in question?” he asked.
“Say between eight o’clock and midnight?”
Ethan staggered back a step and folded his arms. “Why?
I don’t understand.”
Baines met his stare and studied his expression. “Is it true that you broke into the mansion
earlier that evening and Mrs. Blackthorne found you in the nursery with the
Ethan shook his head in aggravation.
“No. I didn’t break in. I walked in through kitchen door.”
didn’t you didn’t use the front door?” he asked. “Were you hoping no one would see you?”
Ethan replied, growing more and more flustered.
“I mean, I’m not exactly
welcome there anymore and I
didn’t want to ruffle any feathers so I went in through the back door. I went up to the nursery because I wanted to
see the baby. He is my cousin.”
Baines narrowed his eyes on him. “And
then Mrs. Blackthorne walked in and asked you to leave, and when you wouldn’t,
her husband had to come in and force you out.
Is that right?”
sighed. “I was going to leave. I just-“
you came back later that night, didn’t you?” Baines continued badgering him
relentlessly. “While the family was at the premiere of Mr. Blackthorne’s new
Ethan responded quickly.
officer emerged from the back of the house and shook his head. “It’s all clear,” he said.
the detective reached into his trench coat and removed the plastic bag
containing the red handkerchief. “Is
this yours?” he asked and held up the evidence.
examined the handkerchief and nodded slowly.
“Yes, it is.”
you say you didn’t come back into the house that night?”
right,” Ethan replied.
that his hunch was right, Detective Baines pocketed the plastic bag and leveled
his accusing eyes at him. “Then how did
your handkerchief get into the tunnel by the nursery?”
Ethan asked. “What are you talking
got in through the pool house and accessed the nursery through the tunnels,
took the baby, and exited the same way.
Isn’t that what happened?”
shook his head. “No, you’re crazy. I didn’t take that baby.”
eyes shifted to the sofa for a split second, eying a small object shoved
between the cushions. He leaned over and
picked up the small plush baby rattle.
“What have we got here?” he asked, shaking the toy at Ethan. “You look a little grown up for a toy like
defeated, Ethan slapped his hands to his side and bit his lip. “I took it from the nursery,” he said. “I just wanted something to make me feel
close to the baby. Like I said, I’m not
exactly welcome in that house anymore.”
is the baby now?” Baines asked directly.
don’t know,” Ethan said. “I told you I
didn’t take him.”
to the officer, Baines sighed with exasperation. “Okay, we’ll do this the hard way,” he
began. “You’re under arrest for the
kidnapping of Michael Blackthorne. You
have the right to remain silent. You
have the right to an attorney…”
shook his head in disbelief as the officer placed a pair of handcuffs on his
wrists and tightened them
the sun came up hours later, James made his way down the stairs and started out
the front door when Stormy came straggling inside.
are you just getting home?” James asked, noting the bags under Stormy’s eyes
and the crinkled clothes he’d been wearing since the day before. “Where have you been?”
out Whitacre’s apartment,” Stormy replied, wanting nothing more than to take a
long hot shower and a quick nap. “I
spent the night tailing him and then waiting outside in my car for him to make
shook his head with regret. “I don’t
know, Dad. If Philip Whitacre did take
Michael, he doesn’t have him anymore.
The only thing I can think of is that he’s paying someone to look out
for him until he can make a clean getaway.”
pondered the idea for a minute and then shook his head. “Well, maybe and maybe not. The police arrested Ethan last night.”
Stormy exclaimed with pronounced amazement.
a long story,” James said. “Brett and
Miranda will fill you in. I’m on my way downtown
to the station right now. I’ll see you
stood in the foyer in shock as James barreled out of the house. He shook his head in disbelief and started up
the stairs to his room.
sat in bed reading the morning paper and sipping coffee and juice when Jordan came out of the shower and gave
her a disgruntled look. “So what’s on
your agenda today?” he asked. “Going
into your new office so you can play grown up with James Blackthorne?”
shot him a look full of warning. “What’s
got into you?” she asked. “You know
James isn’t thinking about work at a time like this. His son’s been kidnapped for God’s sake.”
Jordan rolled his eyes and started to
get dressed. “And the world stops for
everything going on in James Blackthorne’s life,” he said smugly. “You know, Alex, I really question whether
doing business with that man is the right thing to do. He has more personal dramas going on than
it’s safe to know about. What if he
brings you down and you lose everything you’ve put into Blackthorne-Reynolds?”
she pushed aside her breakfast tray and shot to her feet, her nightgown
billowing behind her as she strode across the room. “You could have a little more
compassion, Jordan,” she said bitterly. “An innocent child is at stake. No matter what jealousies you may have about
me and James’s association, that child is innocent. I just can’t believe you’re being so cold
about this. What happened to the man I
groaned with displeasure and slipped into a tailored Gucci shirt. “He’s about to get very angry because you
seem to be putting everyone else before him,” he said. “Now when are you going to step back and put
things in perspective?”
do you think you are?” Alex asked with a gasp.
“You can’t just make demands and beat your chest when you’re not the
center of attention at all times.
Honestly, I don’t see what this rivalry you have with James is all
about. Your studios compete with each
other and that’s all. Why must you get
more irate by the minute, Jordan rushed forward and grabbed her
by the wrists, shaking her hard.
“Because that man will not seem to go away. Here he is, married again with a child and he
still has to insinuate himself into our lives.”
this is about our business venture again, isn’t it?” Alex demanded and shook
herself free from him.
is about me asking you to walk away
from him once and for all!” he yelled at the top of his voice. “But you can’t do that, can you? Because you’re still in love with him!”
it?” Jordan demanded, grabbing his wallet
and keys and heading for the bedroom door.
“He has everything. He’s not
getting you too. I think losing his baby
is going to teach him a lesson or two.
Maybe now he’ll know that he can’t have it all!”
he left the room, Alex turned and shuddered from the ominous remark. She wondered just what her husband meant by
that. And how far had he gone to pay
James back for his jealousy?
stood in the lobby at the police station with Detective Baines, his hands
planted firmly on his hips as he shook his head in frustration.
hasn’t confessed to anything,” Baines remarked.
“And he won’t give us an alibi for his whereabouts the night your son
was abducted. He put a call into his
lawyer but he’s away on business until tonight.
My guess is we won’t get any answers from him until then.”
clenched his fists in anger. “If he’s
not talking then that means he’s hiding something. What did he have to say about the handkerchief?”
shrugged. “He admitted that it was his,
but he wouldn’t say why it was in the tunnel.
On top of that, he denies knowing anything about the tunnels.”
prospect of his own nephew kidnapping his son was torture for James. He knew
they had had a falling out last summer, but
they were still family. Taking his baby
was beneath contempt.
running out of time, Mr. Blackthorne,” the detective said. “If he knows where your baby is then we’ve
got to get him to talk now.”
nodded in agreement. “I want to talk to
him,” he said.
hesitation, Baines led James to the interrogation room and motioned for an
officer to unlock the door. Seconds
later, James entered the room and found Ethan sitting at a long, rectangular
wooden table with his head in his hands.
he began, moving purposefully into the room and avoiding full eye contact with
the young man. It hurt him seeing him
locked up like that, but if he did
kidnap his son then he would make certain that he never got free.
a long period of silence, Ethan ruffled his hair and offered a faint
smirk. “Well, I guess you got your
wish,” he began. “You’ve wanted to see
me suffer ever since last summer when you found out about me and Brooke.”
not true,” James said and shook his head.
“I was hurt and I felt betrayed.
I never wanted this.”
tell them to let me go,” Ethan said blankly, his eyes challenging him.
finally met his gaze and moved a step closer.
“I’ll tell them to let you go if you look me in the eyes and tell me
that you didn’t kidnap my son,” he said.
a loud chuckle, Ethan leaned back in the hard wooden chair and folded his arms
across his chest. “Like you’d believe
me,” he said. “Ever since that whole
thing with Brooke I’ve become a monster in your eyes. I’m no longer the nephew that you took under
your wing when I came to Hollywood.
Or the little boy who came to visit you from Kansas
and played with Stormy and
Miranda in the yard every summer.”
you’re an ally of Will Thomerson’s,” James said plainly. “My mortal enemy. I can’t understand how you could have gone to
his side the way you did. After
everything I’ve told you about him, you would do that to me? He’s
the monster, Ethan, and he’ll drag you down into hell with him if you’re not
didn’t leave me much of an option when you blackballed me from nearly every
studio in Hollywood,” Ethan countered. “You washed your hands of me so why should I
care if I’m working for someone that you don’t particularly like?”
took a deep breath and glanced around the barren room. “Did he
put you up to it?” he asked.
“What?” Ethan asked in awe.
James saw the look in Ethan’s eyes and he knew it was something else. “Or is it that you still think Michael is your
son?” he asked. “Is that it, Ethan? You still think that Winter Austen was
telling the truth when she said you were the father of the baby?”
“Why would she lie?” Ethan asked in low voice.
“Why would she lie?” James asked in
amazement. “Why would she lie? Are you
serious? This is Winter we’re talking
about. She fought tooth and nail to hold
onto you, and when you told her to go away after she pushed Brooke down the
stairs, she felt she had nothing left to lose.
She was leaving town so why not go with a bang?”
and I were together around the time she conceived Michael, and-”
right, I want you to listen to me!” James bellowed and slapped the palm of his
hand onto the table. “If you want to
believe Michael is your son, fine, I
really don’t care at this point. But I’m
giving you thirty seconds to tell me what you’ve done with that baby and where
he is. If you don’t I swear I won’t be
held responsible for what I might do.”
“I didn’t take him!” Ethan yelled.
then who did?” James shouted. “Your
handkerchief was found in the tunnel outside the nursery, you can’t come up
with a plausible alibi for the night of the kidnapping, and you had plenty of
then, the door to the room opened and Detective Baines entered. “I’m sorry for interrupting,” he began. “But someone has come forward with an
alibi. He says he was with Ethan the
night of the kidnapping.”
looked at him with bewilderment as Will Thomerson walked into the interrogation
room, staring at James menacingly.
toweled off after taking a shower and looked at Miranda as she paced back and
forth in their bedroom, wringing her hands together anxiously. He eyed her inquisically, running his fingers
through his damp blond hair and approached her from behind.
off guard by his presence, she jumped and let out a shriek, then quickly pushed
him away with irritation. “Jeez, you
scared me,” she said and placed a hand on her beating heart. “What are you doing? Aren’t you going to the studio today?”
frowned and folded his arms across his bare chest. “Later,” was his brief reply. “What’s got into you, Miranda? You haven’t been yourself lately.”
that supposed to mean?” she asked and walked across the room, absently
fidgeting with a floral arrangement on the dresser. “No one in this house is exactly in high
spirits lately. Why am I any
studied her expression and movements carefully.
“You’ve barely spent any time with the family,” he said. “You’re always holed up in here or at the
hotel. Your father and Brooke are going
crazy with Michael gone. I’d think you’d
want to lend your support at a time like this.”
rolled her eyes and flopped down onto the bed.
“I’m sorry, am I not being a good daughter?” she asked sarcastically. “Like my father even notices anymore.”
sighed and managed a faint smile as he started to get dressed. “I know what this about,” he began.
do?” she asked with surprise, looking up at him with wide eyes.
nodded and pulled on a pair of jeans and a navy blazer over a pink Lacoste polo. “It’s because of what happened the other
night,” he described. “That incident in
the foyer when you got home from Hotel
Terranova. Miranda, if you’re
worried that your father and Brooke are going to hold what you said against
you, I’m sure they won’t. They’ve
probably forgotten all about it by now.
They have other things on their minds.
Besides, it isn’t the first time you’ve run your mouth off without
eyes sunk to the floor and she shrugged.
“I guess you’re right,” she said, growing into a deep daze. But she knew that they wouldn’t just forget
after learning what else she’d done.
Downstairs, James arrived home and ushered
Brooke into the solarium just off the main staircase. He
didn’t know how he was going to tell her that yet another lead had skirted by
them. Even if this one she would be
relieved to hear about.
is it, James?” she asked, seeing the severity in his face. “Did you see Ethan? Did he confess?”
shook his head. “Ethan has a alibi for
the night Michael was taken. He was with
Brooke looked deep into his eyes and knew there was
something he wasn’t telling her. “But
you don’t believe it, do you?” she asked.
James shook his head adamantly. “No, I don’t,” he said. “Brooke, he still believes Michael is his
son. That’s what you two were arguing
about the other night upstairs, wasn’t it?”
I told you Michael is your son,”
Brooke insisted, tears threatening to explode from her eyes. She couldn’t take much more of it. Having to constantly lie to her husband was
driving her insane. And now with Michael
gone, she felt the burden of guilt weighing even more heavily on her. He had a right to know that Michael wasn’t
his son. And she had to tell Ethan the baby that was kidnapped was his.
But how? After all this time?
know that, Darling,” James said, placing his hands on her shoulders and looking
into her eyes. “But Ethan still believes
it and I think that’s why he took Michael from us. He thinks he’s taking something that’s his.”
he has an alibi!” Brooke lamented and turned away from him. “Why do you have to think the worst of him,
James? Why? Ethan wouldn’t do
something like that, no matter what he believed to be true about the baby.”
how do you explain that his handkerchief was found in the tunnel?” James
asked. “He didn’t have an explanation
for that. He and that jackass are in on
something together. Who knows, maybe he’s watching the baby while he plans a
getaway. Will Thomerson would like
nothing more than to see me suffer at the cost of my child.”
shook her head in despair. “You’re being
ridiculous,” she said warily.
am not!” James shouted just as Leilani entered the solarium with Alex directly
behind her. He collected his thoughts
and turned to her with an exasperated sigh.
“Alex, what can I do for you?”
Alex clutched to James’s arm and shot him a terrified look. “James, I have to talk to you,” she
said. “It’s important.”
clenched her fists in anger at the intrusion.
Of course James was going to want to talk to Alex in private. She was getting used to it by now. “Go ahead.
I’m going out for some fresh air.”
She brushed past them and made her way
across the foyer to the door.
she’d gone, James led Alex over to the table and sat her down while she lit a
cigarette and puffed heavily. “What is
so damned important?” he demanded.
“Can’t you see I’m in the middle of something? Alex, I told you I’m not even thinking about
work right now.”
shook her head in devastation. “No, it isn’t that,” she claimed. “It’s
Jordan. I’m worried, James. I think
think he’s what?” James asked, still
irritated by her sudden appearance.
stood up and looked at him dead on. “I
think Jordan kidnapped Michael,” she announced, her hands trembling.
James asked with a gasp. “That’s
crazy. You’re not making any sense.”
Alex could tell he was dismissing her fears.
“You don’t understand, James, he’s crazy jealous!” she exclaimed. “He’s always talking about how you have
everything and yet you still want more.
He thinks you have some ulterior motives for buying Marilee’s shares of
my company. I think he would do anything to hurt you.”
I have a lot of enemies and a lot of rivals,” James explained. “If I suspected them all of kidnapping my son
there wouldn’t be room enough in the jail cells!”
Alex wouldn’t let it rest. “We had a big
fight about you the night of the premiere,” she pressed on. “When I got home he was nowhere to be found
and he didn’t come home until the next morning.”
information caught James’s attention and he paused, wondering if Jordan Rydell
would really be capable of kidnapping just to settle a score. He’d always thought of Jordan as more of a
playboy than a felon. But maybe Alex had
a point. She obviously knew him better
than he did. Maybe he had an axe to
grind and used Michael to do it.
you at least check it out?” Alex pleaded.
nearly laughed in spite of himself. “You
want me to have your husband arrested?
Is that what you’re saying?”
shrugged and placed a hand alongside her aching head. “No, but it wouldn’t hurt to have the police
question him. James, we can’t let him
get away with this. If he’s done
put a hand up to stop her and nodded his head.
“All right. If you feel that
strongly about it then I’ll ask Detective Baines to pay him a visit. “
took a deep breath and tried to relax.
She prayed she was wrong about her husband, but something inside told
her she was right on the money.
did you lie for me?” Ethan asked as he and Will arrived back at the estate up
the road from the Blackthornes. “I was
home by myself when Michael was kidnapped.
I don’t think they’re going to stop pursing this, either. Your history with my uncle could be enough
for them to discredit your story.”
shook his head and poured them each a drink.
“You’re forgetting that I’m quickly becoming just as respected a
producer in Hollywood as your dear uncle James. My word has come to mean something in this
town and if I say we were together then we were together.”
took the drink from him and studied him suspiciously. “Aren’t you even going to ask me if I
kidnapped that baby?” he asked.
gulped down half of his scotch and sat down in his chair. “No,” he replied with a grin. “I’m not.
And if you know what’s good for you you’ll keep quiet about the alibi I
concocted for you. There’s no need to go
getting sanctimonious just for the sake of standing up to James
Blackthorne. Take my help and accept it
for what it is.”
Ethan downed his drink and rubbed the sides of his aching head. “Now that I’m off the hook for the time
being, I’m afraid of who they’re going to accuse next,” he said, growing into a
daze as he stared at the wall across the room.
Will leaned forward and folded his hands on the desk. “Someone close to James, I’m sure. He loves turning his back on his friends and
family to suit his own sense of reality.
Look at what he did to you.”
nodded, his eyes glazing over. “Someone very close to him,” he said.
sounds like you know who they might
accuse next,” Will said. “Do you know
something that they don’t?”
Ethan looked up and nodded vaguely.
“Then you have to tell them,” Will insisted, feeling his
paternal instincts kicking in again.
“You can’t take the wrap for something someone else did. You don’t owe that family anything,
Ethan. They turned their backs on you
and now you’re supposed to protect them?”
with his conscience, Ethan leaned back on the sofa and weighed his options
carefully. On one hand, Will had a
point. But on the other, he couldn’t do
harm to anyone intentionally. His
instinct was to protect them.
knocked on Heather’s bedroom door and slowly opened it. His eyes traveled across the room where she
laid on the bed listening to slow mood music.
It was obvious that something was bothering her, and he knew it wasn’t
just about Michael’s kidnapping. He was
convinced it had something to do with Philip Whitacre and the sleazy porn
director they’d encountered the day before.
are you okay?" he asked, walking into the room and stopping beside her bed.
rolled over so that her back was toward him.
“I’m fine,” she said. “I just
want to be alone, Stormy.”
he persisted. Heather didn’t hide her
feelings unless she had a good reason for doing so. “I can’t just leave you like this,” he
said. “Something’s wrong and I want you
to tell me what it is.”
go away,” she said, feeling a tear trickle down her cheek. The memory of what Will Thomerson had done to
her was still as vivid as if it were happening right now. He found out that she’d betrayed him and he
took his revenge. Sending her to that
sick director’s office was the work of a sociopath. All she could do now was sit and wait for the
video to show up somewhere. Her poor
father would be ruined when he got wind of if.
She couldn’t bare the thought.
I need to know how you knew where we could find Philip Whitacre,” Stormy said,
coaxing her relentlessly. “He was mixed
up in some seedy stuff and I would hate to think that you were mixed up in it
said leave me alone!” Heather cried,
unable to face him. She didn’t want him
to see her like this. She didn’t fight
for her dignity after he’d left her just to have him find out that she’d
starred in a low budget porn flick.
that she was in no condition to talk to him, Stormy turned and reluctantly left
the room. But sooner or later she’d have
to come clean and tell him what he wanted to know.
short while later, Stormy arrived in his office at Sunset Studios and began organizing piles of film scripts on his
desk. There was a lot of work that he’d
neglected over the past few days since the kidnapping. Tailing Whitacre had taken up a lot of his
time and he wanted to make sure that the studio wasn’t the next thing his
secretary buzzed his office and he quickly pressed the intercom. “What is it, Terri?”
a Dennis Carlyle here to see you, Stormy,” said the secretary from the outer
Stormy tried to place where he’d heard the name before. After a few seconds, he suddenly remembered
that Carlyle was the private detective that his father used from time to
time. He’d handled the investigation
into Gwen’s background.
him in,” he finally said and approached the door.
the private investigator entered, Stormy shook his hand and gestured into the
office. “Good morning, Mr. Carlyle. What can I do for you?”
pursed his lips together and shrugged with a faint smile. “I hope I’m not overstepping my bounds,” he
began. “I’ve heard about the kidnapping
on the news and I know that your father has some P.I.’s working on it for
him. I just wanted to throw my hat into
the ring and offer my help if it’s needed.
Mr. Armstrong seemed very pleased with my findings about Miss
Hardisty. Frankly, I’m surprised he
didn’t ask me at the time I gave him the report.”
shrugged with a slight chuckle. “Well,
no offense, Mr. Carlyle, but there wasn’t exactly much to your report,” he
said. “Gwen Hardisty wasn’t exactly an
intriguing subject for you I’m sure.”
detective frowned in confusion. “I realize you work in films and this is Hollywood, but attempted murder and
mental breakdowns are still pretty intriguing in my opinion.”
shot him a quick look of distain. “What
did you say?”
Gwen Hardisty could star in her own life story and it would be better than most
of the movies out there today,” Carlyle said with a laugh.
looked away, wondering what Brett was up to this time.
arrived home later that morning and found Brooke waiting on his doorstep,
bundled in a brown sable and her hair tied up off her shoulders. He frowned, wondering if she’d come to give
him the third degree much as James had earlier at the police station.
James know you’re here?” he found himself asking as he unlocked the door and went
Brooke replied and followed him into the house. “I’m here because I want to tell you how
sorry I am.”
threw his keys onto the table in the entryway.
“Sorry for what?”
spent the night in jail,” Brooke declared.
“That couldn’t have been easy for you, Ethan. Especially since you’re innocent.”
regarded her carefully, wondering if it was a setup. “You think I’m innocent?”
I do,” Brooke replied with a nod of her head.
“I told James that you couldn’t have kidnapped our baby. Even if Will hadn’t come forward with an
alibi, I still wouldn’t have believed it.”
walked across the room and rubbed his tired face in his hands. “And how are you so sure?” he asked. He was tired of being the scapegoat for the
thought for a minute and then smiled. “I
know you. You were the only one who understood me for
a very long time. Maybe you still are. But you’re not this horrible thing that James
wants you to be.”
into her eyes, Ethan wished things could go back to the way they were
before. They’d come so close to being
happy together and now it seemed like a million years ago.
that why you came here?" he asked.
shook her head adamantly. “No, I came
here because I think you know something.”
She paused, taking a step closer to him.
“How did your handkerchief get into the tunnel?”
grew into a daze and wondered if now was the time to tell the truth. He had protected her for as long as he could
but Will was right. Unless he talked
now, he would remain at the top of the suspect list. And as long as he was suspected, the real
kidnapper still had baby Michael.
gave it to Miranda that day,” he finally confessed. “At the hotel. We were talking and she was upset because
James had been giving the baby all of his attention. She started crying and I gave her the
eyes widened in shock. Suddenly
everything began to make sense.
found James in his study and hovered timidly in the doorway. When he finally looked up and saw her, he
managed a faint smile. The look in her
eyes took him back to when she was a little girl and had done something
wrong. She’d bat her eyelashes at him
and give him a puppy dog pout until he had no choice but to put his arms around
her and forgive her. Now she was
twenty-one years old and things hadn’t changed at all.
sorry, Daddy,” she said and walked over to him.
embraced her tightly and stroked his hand down the back of her head. He knew she couldn’t help but say things she
didn’t mean sometimes. It was part of
her personality. And with Miranda, you
took the bad with the good.
love you, Sweetheart,” he said and kissed the top of her head. “I know you didn’t mean what you said.”
She closed her eyes and held onto
her father with all her might.
Jordan, Miranda and
Gwen are questioned. Ethan is slowly welcomed
back into the family. A new suspect emerges
from the past.