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Episode 43

 

Release Date:  October 13, 2006

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

In a heated confrontation, Will told James that he knew that Ethan was his son, prompting James to believe Will had kidnapped Michael in retaliation for his keeping it a secret.  The police intervened and James dropped his 38 revolver under a chair at Will's estate during the confusion.    After spotting Philip at her father's party, Heather withdrew and hid away in her bedroom while reliving the nightmare of the night on Joel Armitage's office.  Miranda refused to forgive Brett for using Heather as a pawn against Will Thomerson.  Janet broke into Will's estate to steal back her manuscript, but instead found the DNA test Will had done to prove Ethan was his son.  Fed up with Stormy budding into his business at the studio, Brett told James about Stormy's affair with Samantha Fallmont. James blasted Stormy for putting Blackthorne-Reynolds at risk. Baines told James and Brooke that they had no more leads in Michael's kidnapping.

 

 


 

Episode 43

"Exeunt"

 

Brett was in the gym at the Blackthorne mansion, lifting weights on the bench press as he exhaled steadily with each repetition.  When the door opened and Stormy entered, he barely acknowledged him, but the look on his face told him that he’d just came from seeing his father.

“You self serving son of a bitch,” Stormy exclaimed, his eyes narrowing on his brother-in-law.  “You couldn’t wait to corner my father and tell him about what you overheard that night at dinner, could you?”

Brett tried his hardest to ignore him while he finished his set.  Before he could react, Stormy came rushing up, standing above him and grabbing hold of the barbell.  He quickly tried pushing the weights up off of him but Stormy leaned in with his body and forced it down, inches from Brett’s neck.

“Do you honestly think you can turn my father against me?” he asked, gritting his teeth as he struggled to push the weights against him.   “You’re an outsider and you always will be, Brett.  Nothing is going to change that.  I swear I’ll make him see what a manipulative liar you are!“

Brett’s body convulsed as he struggled to force Stormy and the barbell off of him.  His face and neck turned red with exertion, finally summoning all his strength and pushing him off.   Quickly, he sat up on the bench and struggled to catch his breath, clutching his neck and breathing heavily.

Satisfied that he’d made his point, Stormy turned and walked out to the hallway when Brett came charging after him.   He jumped, knocking Stormy down to the ground outside the gym.   Drawing his fist back, he punched Stormy in the nose and grasped at his neck, slamming his head into the floor repeatedly.

Finally gaining the upper hand, Stormy pushed him off and rolled over, sending his fist into Brett’s gut over and over again.   Brett quickly kicked him away, sending him crashing to the table against the wall where a vase topped over and shattered into pieces.

“You want to get rid of me?” Brett asked, taunting him relentlessly.   “Then you should have killed me back there in the gym because that’s the only way I’m going to leave this house.”

“Then I guess I will have to kill you,” Stormy shouted in a rage just as James, Brooke and Detective Baines emerged from the library down the hall.  They saw the two men grappling, throwing punches and rolling around on the floor in a heated struggle.

Tightening his hands around Brett’s neck, Stormy shook him violently and slammed his head into the wall.   He drew his fist back and was about to deliver a mind-shattering blow when James and Detective Baines grabbed him and pulled him off.

“That’s enough!” James yelled angrily.   “Just what the hell is going on here anyway?’

Brett coughed and sputtered, clutching his neck violently.  “He was trying to kill me,” he said.  “You heard him.  He would have if you hadn’t shown up when you did.”

Baines raised an eyebrow, looked at James with concern.  “Is everything okay here, Mr. Blackthorne?” he asked.

James shook his head in contempt.  “You mean aside from my son and my son-in-law trying to kill each other?” he asked, glaring at them both.  “I ought to have you take them downtown and booked.  Maybe that will teach them a lesson.”

“James, I was working out in the gym when he came in and attacked me for no reason!” Brett exclaimed.

“No reason?” Stormy asked, struggling to get free of his father’s grasp.  “Dad, if you knew everything he’d been doing since he got here you would not even listen to a word he has to say.”

“Damnit, I don’t want to hear any more of this,” James argued.  “Stormy, do you think I have time to listen to the two of you bickering?  My child has been kidnapped and we’re doing all we can to find him.  Your paranoia about Brett is nothing but a distraction.”            

“It’s not paranoia!”

“Don’t interrupt me!” James shouted.  “Now I told you that you were on thin ice.  One more stunt like this and you’ll be sorry.”

Seething with contempt, Stormy pulled himself free and bolted down the hall to the staircase.   Brett took a deep breath and offered an apologetic smile to Brooke.  “I’m sorry about all of this,” he said, gesturing to the broken vase and table.   “I’ll clean it up after I get changed.”

After he’d gone, James led Baines down to the foyer.  “I’m sorry about that, Detective,” he said.  “Now, I assume since you’ve let Thomerson go you’ll have someone watching him closely.  Even if you didn’t find anything to convict him, I’m positive he’s hiding something.  I know he took my son.  It’s the only explanation that fits.”

Baines shrugged indifferently.  “I’d like to, Mr. Blackthorne,” he said.  “But unfortunately this is the end of the line for me.”

James and Brooke exchanged worried glances.  “What are you talking about?” he asked.  “You’re not giving up on my son!”

“The force is still treating the case as an active one,” he replied.  “They’ll follow up on any leads that come through, but unfortunately it’s no longer considered a top priority.”

“Not a priority?” Brooke gasped, tears threatening her eyes.  “My son is still out there somewhere!  Someone has him!  It is a priority, Detective!” 

Baines looked at them sorrowfully.  “I’m sorry.  The FBI will follow up on any new developments, but-“

“But what, Detective?” James demanded, then waited a beat.  “Answer me, damnit!”

Digging his hands into his pockets, Baines shook his head and pulled open the front door.  “I’m afraid the odds that we’ll find your son after all this time are slim to none.  Most cases are very time sensitive.  Whoever took Michael could be in another country by now.  They could have given him a whole new identity.”

“So you are giving up,” James deadpanned.  “I don’t believe it.”

Baines gave Brooke a final look of regret.  “I’m sorry, Mrs. Blackthorne.  I truly am.  If your son is still alive, then-“

“If he’s still alive?” Brooke asked, covering her mouth with her hands.  ”What are you saying?”

“I know it’s harsh, but we can’t rule it out as a possibility.”

After he left the house, Brooke collapsed into James’s arms, sobbing hysterically.  He smoothed his hand down her head in a futile attempt at comforting her.  Futile because there were no words to comfort her.   It was like a nightmare coming true.

He was more certain than ever that Thomerson had taken Michael, and he was going to get him back.  If not, he’d see the man dead.

Alex Reynolds

The next day, Alex walked down the stairs at her house in Malibu, rushing to reach the door before the person knocking gave up.  Praying it was Jordan, she pulled the door open and sighed with disappointment at the sight of a delivery man from a boutique on Rodeo Drive.

“Ms. Reynolds, I have your gown,” he said and handed her the garment neatly zipped up into a vinyl hanging bag. 

Unable to hide her frustration, she hastily took the bag and closed the door, abruptly dropping the twenty thousand dollar gown onto a chair.  She quickly sauntered across the room and picked up the phone, dialing Jordan’s house in Beverly Hills.

Gordon, it’s Ms. Reynolds,” she said when the butler answered.  “Is Mr. Rydell home?”

“No, I’m sorry Ms. Reynolds.  He left a little while ago.  Can I have him call you?”

Sighing with frustration, Alex shook her head.  “No, no, thank you Gordon.”  She hung up the phone and quickly lit a cigarette, beginning to pace the room. 

Ever since Jordan came to her house the night before asking where he could find Philip Whitacre, she’d had a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach.   Something was going on and all she knew was that it involved Heather.  But what had him in such an uproar?

The only thing she was sure about was that her husband was more upset than she’d ever seen him.  She ran up the stairs to get dressed, determined to find him and find out what was going on.

Jordan Rydell

Jordan rushed inside the foyer of the Blackthorne mansion as Leilani opened the door.  “Is Stormy home?” he asked.  “I need to talk to him right away.”

“What do you want, Jordan?” Stormy asked as he made his way down the stairs, his right eye bruised from the volatile fight with Brett the night before.  “As you can see I’m not exactly up for another showdown.  As it is, I’ll look like a prized fighter at the Filmmakers awards tonight.”

Jordan rolled his eyes.  “Don’t flatter yourself,” he said.  “Listen, I need to know where I can find Philip Whitacre.  Alex said you and James went to find him when you thought he’d kidnapped Michael.”

Frowning, Stormy took a few steps closer.  It struck him as incredibly odd that Philip’s name kept coming up.  “Why?” he asked.  “What’s going on?”

“I just need to know where he lives,” Jordan insisted.  He knew that Philip was the only one who could tell him who had drugged his daughter and set her up to star in some low budget porn flick. 

“Does this have anything to do with Heather?” Stormy demanded, growing increasingly disturbed.

“Why?”

“Because she was the one who told us where to find him in the first place,” Stormy replied.

What?”

He nodded.  “I asked how she even got mixed up with the guy and she wouldn’t tell me.  She just gave us the address of some porn studio in West Hollywood.”

“And did you go there?”

“Well yeah, my father and I went to the studio and talked to some greasy director.  I think his name was Armitage…yeah, Joel Armitage.  Anyway, he was the who told us where Whitacre lived.”

Jordan’s eyes widened.  Luckily Stormy had saved him a step.  Now instead of going after Philip, he could go right to the director and find out who had put him up to it.

“I have to go,” Jordan said and quickly turned back to the door.

“Wait a minute!” Stormy yelled and pulled him back.  “Tell me what’s going on.  I know this has something to do with Heather.  I want to know.”

“Forget it,” Jordan said and pulled the door open. 

“I have a right to know what’s going on!” Stormy yelled, grabbing hold of his arm and spinning him back around.

Glaring wildly, Jordan shook his arm free and gritted his teeth.  “If it hadn’t been for you, none of this would have happened!”

Me?”

“Yes!  If you hadn’t left Heather for that trampy singer last summer then she’d still be married to you and wouldn’t be involved with that sleaze Whitacre and this Armitage guy!”

Refusing to give up, Stormy followed him out to his car under the porte-cochere and jumped into the passenger’s seat.   “I’m going!” he yelled adamantly.  “I can show you exactly where the studio is.”

Jordan, too frustrated to continue arguing, started the car and sped off down the long driveway to the main road.

Ethan Blackthorne

Ethan opened the door of his house in the Valley and picked up the morning paper from the front porch.  He opened to the front page and read the headline quietly to himself. 

Blackthorne, Thomerson Hollywood Hopefuls at Filmmakers Awards.

Below the headline was a picture of James and a picture of Will.  He went back inside the house and kicked the door closed, scanning the article with a heavy heart.  It was true that they were two highly anticipated nominees in the best picture category, yet ironic because the award symbolized something so trivial.  In reality, their feud was about so much more than who produced a better film.   And if Will turned out to have had something to do with Michael’s kidnapping, it was only the beginning.

“Are you going?” Janet asked as she walked up next to him and read the paper over is shoulder.  “To the awards ceremony tonight?”

He sighed and rubbed his face with his hands.  “Good question,” he said.  “If I did go, would I be there to support my uncle, whose wife I slept with last year, or Will Thomerson, who may very well have kidnapped my….Brooke’s baby.”

Janet put her arm around him and pulled him close.  She knew what a difficult position he was in.  Being caught between the two men couldn’t be easy.  What made it worse was that she knew something that could change everything.   And if Ethan found out that Will was his father, it could destroy him.  His uncle’s deceit and his father’s treachery were powerful weapons.  The fact that it was in her hands troubled her.

“If you want to go I’ll go with you,” she said.  “I want to be there for you, Ethan.  I think you need someone right now.”

He smiled and pulled her into an embrace.  “Thank you,” he said.  “I don’t know what I’d do if you hadn’t come back.”

Janet looked into his eyes, feeling her knees growing weak by his penetrating stare.  She’d never quite expected to fall for him the way she did.  To her he was just another source for her manuscript.  But along the way he put her into a trance that she couldn’t seem to wake up from.  His deep, sensitive voice; his smoldering dark eyes; his strong arms wrapped around her at night while he made expert love to her in bed.   How could she destroy that? 

“I promise I won’t let anything hurt you,” Janet said and laid her head on his chest.  “I will do whatever I have to do to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Ethan frowned and pulled back.  “What’s that all about?” he asked, flattered that she felt so protective of him, but curious as to her enigmatic tone.

She quickly rebounded and shrugged indifferently.  “I just know how much you care about James and Brooke and that baby and I-“   A pause while she reflected on something that strangely enough hadn’t occurred to her before.  “Ethan, is Michael your son?” 

He looked into her eyes for a moment before turning and walking across the room.  “I think so,” he said without much hesitation.  “I mean, Brooke denies it but I’m pretty sure he is.”

Slowly the implications of what was happening came to her.  She’d never thought much about people who said history repeated itself, but in this case it seemed to be dead on.  For his entire life Ethan had been lied to about who his father was.   Was Michael destined to the same lie?   It wasn’t fair.  True, Ethan was probably better off without knowing who his father was, but Michael deserved to know the truth when he got older.   Ethan was a wonderful man and had so much to offer a child.

“What are you going to do?” Janet asked.

He turned to her and smiled sheepishly.  “If Michael isn’t found then there’s not much sense in fighting it,” he said.  “I know it sounds horrible but it’s easier to handle when it’s my cousin who was kidnapped rather than my son.”

Janet wrapped her arms around herself and grew into a daze.  She was more sure now than ever that she had to protect Ethan.  If Will Thomerson made her manuscript into a movie, it would crush him, and he’d had enough pain and misery for one lifetime.

Blackthorne Mansion

“I haven’t seen Stormy or Jordan today,” James said to Alex as they stood in the conservatory at the mansion that afternoon.  “And speaking of our son, you won’t believe what he’s done this time.”

“What do you mean?” Alex asked with a note of concern in her voice. 

“It turns out the injunction on our pipeline that Senator Fallmont is proposing is all because Stormy has been sleeping with his wife.”

“What?” Alex gasped and took off her fur wrap.   “This could ruin everything!”

“I know, that’s what I told him,” James agreed.   He poured himself a drink and stared at the fireplace in a moment of reflection.  “Now that I think about it, I might have been a little hard on him.  I said some pretty terrible things.  Tell me, why were you looking for Stormy?”

“Jordan was going to be coming here to ask him about something and I thought I could intercept.”   She shook her head in despair and stepped forward.  “James, what about Michael?” she asked.  “What’s happened?  When I got here I could tell there was something going on.”

James leveled his eyes on her and shook his head solemnly.  “Detective Baines said they’re pulling him from the case,” he announced with some difficulty.

Why?”

“There’s no evidence.  They arrested Will Thomerson but couldn’t find anything to implicate him in the kidnapping.  Now they’re questioning whether my son is even still alive.”

Will?” Alex asked in surprise.

He nodded and handed her a drink.  “He had the opportunity, the means, and of course the motive.  He…found out about something that I’d kept from him.  Now he’s paying me back.”

Suddenly Alex was faced with a devastating reality.  Could she have prevented Michael’s kidnapping if she’d come to James sooner?

“What is it, Alex?” James asked, sensing that she was struggling inside.

She closed her eyes briefly.  “James, I know about Ethan,” she said.  “I know that he’s Will’s son.”

Frowning, James set down his drink and walked toward her.  “How could you know that?”

She shook her head in despair, overwrought with guilt.  “I overheard you on the phone.  You were talking to a private detective or a lawyer or somebody and you said that you never wanted Will to know the truth about his son.”

“When was this?” James asked in bewilderment.

She shrugged and turned away.  “When I came to the house after Miranda got back from marrying Brett in Las Vegas.”

“That was a year ago!” James exclaimed.  “If you’ve known all that time then how long has Thomerson known?”

“Not long!” she lamented.  “He came to me and asked if it was true.  I didn’t say anything but he saw right through me!  He didn’t believe me!”

Storming around the room in a huff, James racked his brain and tried to calm himself down.  “Alex, you should have told me this months ago!” he raged.  “Do your realize that if I’d known this I might have been able to stop him!”

“I wanted to!” Alex cried.  “But Jordan was so jealous and possessive!  He didn’t want me to keep going to you with every little thing!  He threatened to leave me!”

James stopped and shot her a penetrating stare.  “Well he certainly made good on that threat,” he said bitterly.  “Damnit.  Now I’m more sure than ever that he’s behind Michael’s kidnapping.  Don’t you see?  He’s paying me back because I kept Ethan from him.”

“Does Ethan know?”

James shook his head.  “No, and I’ll be damned if I’ll let Will tell him.  I swear I’ll see him dead first.”

“There’s got to be a way to stop him,” Alex said, grabbing at her purse with determination.  “There’s got to be.”

“Where are you going?” James asked as he watched her head to the door

Pausing, she turned back and looked at him with resolve.  “I’m going to make things right,” she claimed.  “I should have done something months ago but I didn’t.  At least now I can try to fix it.”

James ran his fingers through his hair and turned around, throwing his crystal glass across the room and watching it shatter to pieces before him.  He had to do something fast.  Will Thomerson had infected his family like a disease, and it was high time he ended it once and for all. 

Brooke Taylor

Ethan arrived at the mansion some time later, finding Brooke upstairs in the nursery staring into the empty crib.  He paused in the doorway, watching her and fighting back the tears that threatened his eyes.

The sound of the door creaking sent Brooke spinning around, startled by Ethan’s sudden appearance.  “Ethan, I didn’t see you there.”

He smiled and walked into the room.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to scare you.  I just came by to see how you were doing.”

She managed a smile, opening her mouth to reply when she suddenly burst into tears and sunk to the floor.  Quickly, Ethan rushed over and bent down, placing his arm around her and gripping her hand tightly in his. 

“They say that Michael may be dead,” she sobbed.  “They think that someone who had a grudge against James might have taken him.  And since we haven’t gotten any ransom demands, they think that….”

“Shhh,” Ethan said, holding her close.   “Don’t think the worst, Brooke.”

“I can’t help it,” she whispered.  “He’s my baby and he’s gone.  How am I supposed to go on, Ethan?  Tell me, please.”

Horrified by the prospect of baby Michael being dead, Ethan stifled back the sting of tears in his eyes.  “I can’t,” he said.  “I can’t because there’s nothing that I can say that will make it any better.”

After a few minutes, Brooke climbed to her feet, using Ethan as a brace to steady herself.  She wiped her eyes and glanced back down at the empty crib.  He watched her from behind, wishing that he could pull her into his arms and hug her until the pain went away.

“It isn’t fair,” Brooke finally said after a long silence.   She turned to face him and took a deep breath.  “What I’ve done to you isn’t fair, Ethan.  I thought I was doing the right thing for my baby, and for James, but how can I keep lying?"

He looked into her eyes, his heart telling him what she was about to say with words.

“Michael is your son, Ethan,” Brooke continued.

Hearing her say the words sent a surge of hope coursing through his veins.  He stammered, shaking his head in disbelief at the idea that she’d finally admitted it.  And even though Michael was gone, it still made him the happiest man in the world to know that he was the father to a beautiful baby boy.  

“Brooke, I-“

“Just listen for a minute,” she cut him off.  “I’m sorry that I lied to you.  I don’t know if you’ll ever understand why I did it.  I’m not even sure I understand myself.  All I know is that it would kill James if he knew the truth.  Please, Ethan, please don’t tell him.”

“So why tell me now?” Ethan asked, confused.

She shrugged, breaking down into tears again.  “Because we’ll probably never see Michael again,” she sobbed.  “And it would be wrong for me to deny you the right to grieve over your own son.”

Ethan closed his eyes, now more intent than ever to find Michael.  He couldn’t let his own son go without a fight.  He would do anything to get him back. 

With one swift movement, he turned and fled from the nursery.  Brooke’s eyes widened and she ran after him, afraid of what he might do.  “Ethan!   Wait!”

But in a flash he was gone, bolting down the staircase and flying out the front door.

Crying hysterically, Brooke turned back to the nursery and buried her face in her hands.  A moment later, she wiped her eyes, a determined look on her face.  Something had to be done, she decided as she fled from the nursery.  Her baby was out there and she had to find him at any cost.

Stormy Blackthorne

Jordan steered his Mercedes along a tree-lined street in Burbank, ignoring Stormy’s incessant rambling from the seat next to him. 

“I don’t believe this,” he said.  “Why didn’t you tell me this sooner?  Why didn’t Heather tell me weeks ago?” 

“I just found out myself!” Jordan replied with a frown.  “And Heather didn’t tell you because she probably knew you’d act the way you’re acting now!”

Stormy clenched his fists angrily, staring out the window.  “When I find out who put her in that smut film I swear to God I’ll kill him.”

“You’ll have to get in line,” Jordan said wryly, then pointed out the window to a small ranch style house on the corner.  “There it is.”  He quickly parked the car by the curb and they both jumped out, walking up the driveway to the stucco porch. 

Knocking firmly, Jordan stood back and waited for an answer.  A second later, Joel Armitage opened the door, immediately recognizing Stormy from the visit he and James had paid to him weeks before.

“Hey, I know you,” he said.

“Yeah?” Stormy asked, then grabbed the man by the collar and pulled him outside onto the porch.  “Well you’re about to wish you didn’t!”

“What?” Joel asked, trembling with fear.  He looked at them both with wide, frightened eyes.   “What’s going on?”

Inside the house, Joel’s wife emerged from the kitchen holding their infant baby, a streak of panic on her face.  “Joel?” she asked timidly.  “What’s going on?  Do you want me to call the police?”

Jordan glanced inside, shouting over the crying baby.  “That won’t be necessary ma’am,” he said.  “We just need to borrow your husband for a minute.”

She looked at them in horror, backing up and retreating to the kitchen while trying to calm the child.

Outside, Stormy kicked the door closed and threw Joel against the door.  “We stopped by your office and your receptionist told us where you lived.  We said we were from the Academy and that there’d been a mistake and your name got left off of a ballot.”

“She’s not too bright,” Jordan said with a grin.  “To my knowledge, adult films have never been eligible for a Filmmaker award.” 

“Now you’d better start talking,” Stormy said through gnashed teeth.  “How do you know Heather Blackthorne?”

“Who?” Joel asked, terrified by the two men glaring wildly at him.

“Don’t play dumb,” Jordan said, thrusting his forearm against the director’s neck.  “Let me refresh your memory.  A pretty brunette girl who you doped up on Quaaludes, then filmed with an 8 millimeter on the sofa in your office with two actors.”

Joel began hyperventilating, his greasy black hair falling flatly in his eyes.  “Hey…I was just doing a job,” he said.

“A job?” Jordan asked and slammed his knee into his gut.   “That’s my daughter you’re talking about you filthy son of a bitch!!”

Joel groaned from the intense burning pain in his stomach.  He saw his life flash before his eyes and he whimpered helplessly.   “I didn’t know!  I’m sorry!”

“You didn’t know?” Stormy asked.  “You had to have known she was somebody’s daughter!  Or somebody’s wife or girlfriend!  Is this how you treat women in your business?  You drug them up so they don’t know what’s going on and then film them doing God knows what just so you can make a buck?”

“No!” Joel insisted.  “I don’t do that kind of thing!  It was a special request!”

“By who?” Jordan demanded.

Joel appeared to hesitate, afraid to reveal his sources.  He tried to struggle free from Stormy’s grasp but found himself being pushed back against the door.

“Who hired you?” Jordan repeated, screaming at the top of his lungs.

“Will Thomerson!” Joel finally admitted.  “He sent her to my office and said she’d already signed a waiver.  He said she needed the drugs to make her more relaxed because she was nervous about performing in front of a crew.”

Jordan looked at him in awe, horrified by what he’d learned.  He quickly released his hold on the director and raced down the driveway to his car. 

Stormy, after giving Joel one final blow to the gut, turned and bolted after him.

Will's House

Will stood in his bedroom in a silk smoking jacket, pulling his tuxedo from the closet and laying it carefully on the bed.  He smiled, lit a cigar and puffed gleefully.  The phone rang and he approached the bedside table where he lifted the receiver to his ear.

“Mr. Thomerson, it’s Lou Gunnerson,” said the caretaker from the guard shack.  “The driver was wondering when you wanted to leave for the Kodak Center.”

Will grinned and glanced down at the elegantly enscripted invitation to the Filmmaker awards.  He put the tip of the cigar in his mouth and strolled across the room.  “Tell the driver to have the car ready by eight.”  A thoughtful pause.  “I plan on showing up fashionable late, just in time to accept my award.”

“Very good, sir,” said the caretaker before hanging up the phone.

Will rubbed his chin with his hand, puffing at the cigar and staring at himself in the full length dressing mirror.  Finally, he had made it.  He’d squashed each and every one of his enemies and he’d gotten away with it.  Now, as the icing on the cake, he was about to be awarded with the award for this year's Best Picture.

Yes, it was good to be Will Thomerson.

Miranda Blackthorne

Miranda pulled a cashmere blanket over Heather as she slept soundly on her bed that evening.  Tiptoeing to the door, she quietly ducked out into the hallway and turned around just as Brett appeared before her.

“Is Heather okay?” he asked.

Miranda rolled her eyes and started down the hall.  “She’s fine.  She’s just tired so she turned in early.” 

Determined to get her to forgive him, Brett ran after her and stopped her just outside their bedroom.  “Hey, you’re not still mad at me, are you?”

Struggling with her feelings, Miranda turned around and paused.   She hated what Brett did to Heather.  Using her like that was pure and simple selfishness.  But on the other hand, he couldn’t have known what would come later.

“No, I guess not,” she finally said and turned back toward him.

Smiling his devilishly handsome smile, Brett pulled her toward him and kissed her warmly.   “Good.  I don’t like you sleeping in the guestroom.  It gets lonely, you know.”  He brushed his lips down her neck to her shoulders, pausing seductively and placing his hands strategically on her thighs. 

Unable to stop herself from smiling, Miranda pushed the bedroom door open and pulled him inside.

Will Thomerson

Sometime that evening, after the sun had gone down, a gloved hand reached up and pushed the doorbell at the Thomerson estate.  The visitor waited with remarkable patience, thoughtfully dressed in a black leather jacket which matched the black gloves.   Moments later, Will answered the door and smiled knowingly.

“This is a surprise,” he said, cocky as ever.  After a moment or two, he shrugged and stood clear of the door.  “Well come in.  We might as well get it out of the way.”

The visitor entered the house and Will closed the door, the sound of crickets chirping in the night.

Janet Harper

Later that night, Janet rushed inside Ethan’s house and scouted around for him, calling out his name in hopes that he was home.  When he didn’t answer, she flung her purse onto the sofa and raced for the phone, her hands trembling. 

Moments later, the door opened and Ethan emerged, his face pale and his clothes and hair disheveled.  He glanced across the room and paused when he saw Janet.

“Thank God,” she said and rushed over to him after hanging up the phone.  “Ethan, there’s something I have to tell you.  I’ve done something awful...”

“Janet, not now,” he abruptly cut her off, heading to the bedroom and pulling a fresh pair of slacks and a t-shirt from the closet.  “I’m sorry.  I have to go.  I can’t explain right now.”

Watching him hastily rush about the room, Janet shook her head in despair.  “Where are you going?” she asked.  “Ethan, I have to talk to you.  It’s important.  It’s about-“

“I can’t right now!” he lamented, stopping after peeling off his jacket.

Suddenly Janet’s eyes traveled to the sleeve of his black leather jacket which was soaked in blood.  “Oh my God,” she whispered.  “Ethan, your jacket-“

He grabbed her by the shoulders and looked into her eyes.  “Forget about it,” he said. “Just trust me, okay?  And if anybody asks, you haven’t seen me since this afternoon.”

Realizing the severity of the situation, Janet nodded her head and backed up a few steps while he swiftly changed his clothes.  She turned and walked back into the living room, grabbing her purse and opening it slowly.

Inside was a black revolver.  She stared at the weapon in a daze, then quickly stuffed the purse beneath a sofa cushion.  Pacing the room, she shed her black jacket and bundled it tightly in her nervous hands.

Stormy Blackthorne

Across town, Stormy entered the Fern Bar in Van Nuys, thinking it may be his best bet for running into somebody he knew.  As he made his way to the bar, he peeled off his leather jacket and flopped down onto a stool.  The bartender quickly approached and he ordered a vodka on the rocks while glancing back and forth around the room.

“Not at home watching the Filmmaker awards?” asked the overly friendly bartender. 

Stormy shook his head.  “No, I’m not.”

The bartender aimed the remote control at the television on the wall and turned up the volume.  The award for Best Picture was about to be announced.  Stormy watched with meager interest, nursing his drink and nodding as a gorgeous young woman sat down beside him. 

“Buy me a drink?” she asked, batting her long eyelashes at him.

He eyed her up and down and nodded, motioning to the bartender again.

“So just killing time?” the girl asked.

He nodded.

“You should have gotten here earlier,” the girl said, her bosom practically exploding out of her wide open blouse.  “We could have killed time together.”

Stormy smiled.  “Well I’ve been here all night,” he lied, willing to do anything to prove he was there, including going to bed with a pretty, but anonymous face.  “I guess you must have missed me coming in.”

She grinned devilishly and sidled up next to him, admiring his bad boy appearance, complete with a tell-tale cut fresh on his forehead.

Jasmes Blackthorne

James walked inside the mansion, pausing in the foyer before making his way upstairs to his bedroom.  Once inside, he closed the door quietly and glanced around.

“Brooke?” he called, scanning the room efficiently.

After realizing he was alone, he walked to the dresser and bent down, pulling open the bottom drawer and removing an empty box.  He reached into the pocket of his black jacket and removed his gun, placing it neatly back into the box and carefully returning it to the drawer.

Inside the bathroom, Brooke splashed a handful of cold water on her face.  She dabbed herself dry with a towel and looked at herself in the mirror before turning and emerging into the bedroom, fully dressed and wearing her coat and shoes.  She saw James kneeling by the dresser and stopped, frowning uneasily at the troubled look on his face.

“Darling, there you are,” James said and rushed across the room to her.  “Are you okay?”

She nodded, her eyes welled up with tears.  James pulled her into an embrace and she stared across the room at the dresser, her eyes unmoving from the bottom drawer.

Jordan Rydell

Jordan arrived at his house in Beverly Hills and quickly made his way into the parlor room.  He switched on the television to catch the last few minutes of the awards ceremony.  A beautiful young black actress was on stage preparing to announce the winner of Best Picture.

Suddenly a sound behind him triggered alarms in his head and he turned just as Alex came from the entryway, an anxious look on her face.

“Jordan, thank God,” she said and rushed over to him.

“What are you doing here?” he demanded.  “I thought I told you to go home.”

She shook her head.  “I couldn’t go.  I came straight here and waited for you.  I was worried.”  She walked forward and wrapped her arms tightly around him.

Jordan, annoyed that she had shown up unannounced, gave in to her and hugged her all too briefly.  A few seconds later, he pulled away, obviously distracted, and tossed his black leather jacket onto a chair.

Alex’s eyes darted to the chair when she saw a gun fall from his jacket pocket, slipping to the floor with a loud clunk.   She covered her mouth and glanced back at her husband, studying the consumed look in his eyes.

“Jordan-“

Just then, the announcement was made on television.  “And the Filmmaker award goes to…Will Thomerson for Tour of Duty.”

The camera zoomed to the crowd, and the empty seat where Will Thomerson was assigned.

Will's House

Papers were scattered in every direction, covering the floor of Will’s study at the Thomerson estate.  Furniture was overturned and the desk drawers were open, their contents emptied on top of the old mahogany desk.  A single light from the desk lamp illuminated the dark room, and a blood stain soaking into the carpet next to the lifeless body of Will Thomerson, stopped dead with a bullet in the chest.

 


 Next time....

Word of Will's murder spreads.  Ethan is nowhere to be found.  James attempts to sabotage the police investigation into the murder. Alex and Jordan have a clandestine meeting.  Brett becomes suspicious of Stormy's devotion to Heather. James asks Kenny to be his alibi.  

 

Read Episode 44

 

 


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