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Episode 48

 

Release Date:  January 5, 2007

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Just before Michael was kidnapped, Brooke told Ethan that he was Michael's father. That night, Will was found murdered. Will's former caretaker told the police he saw Brooke shoot Will.  In the interogation room, Brooke confessed that she killed him in a heated moment after he admitted to her that he kidnapped Michael in retaliation for James keeping Ethan from him.  James revealed that he and Ethan covered up for Brooke, and Ethan acquired papers from Will's study that might indicate where Michael was.  Brett told Miranda that he wanted them to have a baby, but she put him off for fear that he planted the evidence to get Stomry arrested.    James threatened Janet and told her to leave town.  Renee caught Kenny in bed with another woman and left him.  Alex pleaded with James and Jordan not to go through with campaigning to get charges dropped against Nathan Blackthorne so he could return to the country. In Paris, Nathan made plans for his return, and cryptically clipped photographs of Alex and Renee from the newspaper.  After days of searching, Ethan finally wound up at Joel Armitage's house and saw his wife leaving with a baby who he believed belonged to him and Brooke.  

 Read the full season two recap here

 


 

Episode 48

"This is Who We Are"

 

He walked purposefully down the dark corridor, his shoes tapping softly on the concrete floor.  A single beam of light cut through the claustrophoebic darkness, illuminating a mass of cobwebs and chipped paint protruding from the low ceiling.

A few minutes later he arrived at an old wooden door and gently pushed it open. A small opening allowed him to step into the closet of the nursery, then into the dark room where the baby lay crying in his crib.  

 

As he reached down, a sliver of moonlight shined through the window and illuminated his face.   Will, dressed in black pants and a black jacket, cradled the baby in his arms and disappeared back into the tunnel as quickly as he'd came. He didn't see the straining eyes of the nanny struggling to see who was intruding the deserted mansion.  He bounded like a jugernaught, holding the crying baby all the way back down the tunnel, half a mile in the darkness and the cold, dusty passageway.  Minutes later he approached another door and crept through into the parlor room of his estate.  

 

He stoicly went to the garage and carefully strapped the baby into a waiting car seat in the back of his Bentley.  The door went up and he backed out, careening across town to the Valley and the home of Joel Armitage.

 

"How did you do it?" Joel asked, taking the baby from him and gazing down at the perfect baby boy.  

 

"Don't worry about how," Will replied.  "As far as you and your wife know, this adoption was completley legal."

 

Joel smiled apprehensively and produced a large yellow envelope.  "Here's your movie."

 

"Should make for some interesting late night viewing, I'm sure," Will said slyly before getting back into his car.  "One more thing, Joel.  No one must ever know where that baby came from."

 

The director nodded, still apprehensive, but thrilled that his wife was finally going to have the child she'd always wanted.  No more adoption agencies turning them down, no more money spent on worthless leads.  This was simple.  He did a favor, and he was paid for it.

 

No one would ever take their baby from them....................

 

Courthouse

The courtroom filled with spectators, each one clamoring for a glimpse of the arraignment hearing, one that would surely lead up to the trial of the century.  The newspapers were already boasting headlines about the producer’s beautiful wife who shot her husband’s nemesis in cold blood in retaliation for the kidnapping of their infant son.  Both sensational and heart-wrenching, every story had another take on the sordid scandal.

Just outside the courtroom in downtown Hollywood, Miranda Armstrong wrung her hands nervously together, anxious for the rest of her family to show up for the hearing that had been rushed in front of the judge.  She was a twenty-one year old raven-haired beauty with a petite figure and piercing blue eyes.  For the last twelve hours she’d seen her father reduced to a pile of nerves while they waited.  Brooke, charged with the murder of Will Thomerson, had spent the night in jail and it tore James apart.

“Stormy!  Over here!” Miranda called when her brother came into view.   She waved him down and frantically pulled him to the corner of the hallway.  “Where’s Daddy?”

Stormy Blackthorne, a twenty-four year old studio executive with tousled black hair and dark brooding eyes, flinched and gave his kid sister a nudge.  “He’s out in the parking lot collecting himself,” he said adamantly. “I don’t think he slept at all last night.”

“At least you’re out of jail,” Miranda claimed.  “Daddy should be happy about that.” 

“Dad is concerned about Brooke right now,” Stormy reminded her.  “After everything they’ve been through this is the last thing they need.  First Michael being kidnapped, then Ethan disappearing, and now this.  I just don’t believe that Brooke could have killed Will Thomerson.  I just don’t.”

“She confessed,” Miranda exclaimed.  “Don’t you think that she deserves whatever she gets?  I’m sorry, but I hope they throw the book at her.  You were sitting there in jail while she got off scott free.”

Stormy rolled his eyes, fully aware that his sister had a permanent hate-on for Brooke.  This was the perfect opportunity for her to flex her vindictive muscles yet again.

Finally James entered the courthouse and strode purposefully toward them.   “Is Brandon here yet?” he asked.   He was a tall, distinguished man of forty-five with clean cut dark hair and dark eyes. “Have you seen Brooke?”

Miranda shook her head just as Brandon Marksman, James’s faithful attorney darted toward them with a briefcase clutched tightly in his hand. 

“They’re bringing Brooke into the courtroom now,” he said.  “Are you ready?”

James ran his fingers through his hair and let out a sigh of exasperation.  “What do you think the judge is going to say in there?” he asked.

Brandon took a deep breath and decided it was no use in hiding the truth from his friend.  He had to level with him and tell him what he and Brooke were up against.  “James, the D.A. is going to push for a charge of murder in the first degree.”

“That’s insane!” James exploded into a rage.  Ed Littleton is famous for hanging Hollywood types out to dry.  He’ll make an example of Brooke and she’ll wind up spending her life in jail.  Brandon, you can’t let this happen.  You just can’t.”

Brandon reached out and placed a hand on James’s shoulder.  “It won’t come to that.  I won’t let it.”

James shook his head in frustration and followed him into the courtroom.  He stopped in his tracks as they led Brooke in from the holding cell.  She was dressed in an orange jumpsuit and was bound with handcuffs behind her back.  Her long blond hair and ocean blue eyes were dull and listless.  The sight of his wife being treated like a criminal was too much for him to bear.  He hated Will Thomerson even more now for what he was putting them through.

“Be seated,” said Judge Anders, a bulky black man with close cropped curly black hair and pock-marked skin.  He hit his mallet and took his seat behind the bench.

Brooke looked over her shoulder and saw James and the concern deep in his eyes.   She felt a tear trickle down her cheek, horrified by the prospect of being arrested and taken into custody.  She’d never been more frightened in her life.  On top of everything else, she still had no hope that they’d ever find her precious son again now that Will was dead.

Ethan Blackthorne

Across town, Ethan Blackthorne sat in his car outside Joel Armitage’s house in Burbank.  He was twenty-eight, had dirty blond hair and brown eyes.  A muscular, athletic body and killer looks completed the package.  Gripping the steering wheel tightly, he raked his fingers through his hair and turned on the car radio.  A newscast caught his attention and he quickly turned up the volume.

“And so begins the arraignment of Brooke Taylor-Blackthorne, accused murderer of famed Broadway and Hollywood film producer Will Thomerson, who was shot to death several nights ago in his home in the Hollywood hills.  Mrs. Blackthorne, wife of James Blackthorne, a personal and business rival of Thomerson’s, confessed to the murder yesterday after an eye-witness came forward and claimed he saw the woman shoot Thomerson in cold blood…”

Frustrated and helpless, Ethan turned off the radio and thought back to the night of Will’s murder.  Brooke had confessed to him that Michael was in fact his son and that Will had probably kidnapped him.  Beside himself with rage, Ethan had gone to Thomerson’s house intent on getting his son back.  But when he got there, Will was dead, James’s silver .38 revolver laying next to the body.    James walked in and announced that Brooke had killed him in a fit of rage.  The only thing he could remember next was realizing that he had to find something linking Will to Michael’s kidnapping.  He searched through everything, and then, taped to the back of a file drawer was a piece of paper with a list of names and addresses on it.  It was his only lead to go on, so for two days he drove to every house on the list and watched patiently to see if the inhabitants had a baby who would have been about Michael’s age.

Then just last night he hit paydirt with Joel Armitage.  His wife had taken the baby for a walk in its stroller and he watched patiently.  A police car showed up twice at the house looking for Joel and left without incident.  Finally he was able to get a clear path to the house without arousing suspicion.

Getting out of his car by the curb, he started up the driveway and paused when the front door opened and Missy Armitage emerged with a scowl on her face.

“Who are you?” she demanded.  Ethan could hear the sound of the baby crying from inside the house.  “You’ve been out here watching me since yesterday.  Are you here looking for my husband?  Because if you are you’d better get in line.  I don’t know where he is, now leave me alone.”

Ethan lunged forward and stopped her before she could go back inside the house.  “Wait, Mrs. Armitage, please.”  He looked at her with a sense of urgency, realizing this was his only opportunity to find out for sure.  “I’m not here about your husband.”

“Then who the hell are you and why are you watching me?” she asked.

“Your baby,” Ethan said and motioned to the house.  “I heard him crying.”

She shrugged indifferently and glanced at the door.  “He won’t take his bottle and I can’t get him to eat anything,” she said, her guard slightly weakening.  “I just don’t know what to do.”

“How old is he?” Ethan asked with wide eyes.

“Twelve weeks,” Missy Armitage replied.

Michael was twelve weeks.  Ethan pressed for more information.  “You’re not breastfeeding?”

She shook her head and walked up to the porch.  “No, we adopted him.  My husband and I.  He just won’t take a bottle and I…”

This was it.  He’d finally found him.  “Where did you adopt him from, Mrs. Armitage?” he asked, more certain than ever that it was Michael.  Joel Armitage must have worked out a deal with Will Thomerson and that’s how he wound up with the baby.

“My husband arranged it,” Missy said defensively.

“Mrs. Armitage, I think your baby may have been adopted illegally.”

Missy shook her head adamantly.  “No he wasn’t,” she said.  “You’re crazy.  We adopted him.  My husband set it up.  He wouldn’t do anything illegal.”

“Your baby was kidnapped, Mrs. Armitage,” Ethan said.  “His was taken from his mother over two months ago.”

Missy stopped and looked at him with hollow eyes.  “I think you’d better leave now,” she said and raced inside the house.

Ethan shot up the porch steps and stopped her from closing the door.  “Please, you have to listen to me.  That’s my son in there!”

Missy had picked the baby up and was cradling him gently in her arms.  Ethan could see through the screen door and his eyes locked onto the baby.  He knew at the moment that he was looking at his son.  His eyes were the spitting image of Ethan’s.

“I’m going to call the police if you don’t leave,” Missy said and closed the door, bolting it and chaining it tightly.

“Mrs. Armitage, open the door!” Ethan yelled, opening the screen door and banging fiercely.  “You have my son!”

Neighbors walking by stopped and looked at him curiously, then turned to confer quietly with one another about the spectacle.  Ethan ran his fingers through his hair and turned around, realizing that making a scene would do no one any good.  He had to think of a plan and he had to do it fast if he was going to get his and Brooke’s baby back.

Jordan Rydell

Jordan Rydell slipped into the courtroom and spotted his daughter, Heather sitting a few rows up.  Moving quietly so as not to disturb the arraignment proceedings, he slid into the seat beside her and they exchanged bittersweet smiles.  He glanced across the aisle and spotted Alex Reynolds sitting in her trademark dramatic veiled pillbox hat.  He swallowed hard and tried to ignore the frustration he felt with her.  Mostly for her part in wrongly accusing him of the kidnapping and the murder.

Jordan was forty-four years old and a dashing Hollywood producer.  He had brownish-bond hair and penetrating hazel eyes that matched his daughter’s.  Heather, a thin, twenty-three year old waifish young woman, had a long, oval face and long brown hair that fell straight down her back.

They watched the proceedings with unblinking eyes.  Jordan, unaware that Alex was staring at him helplessly, listened to Ed Littleton’s remarks at the front of the courtroom.

“Not only will the state prove that Mrs. Blackthorne went to Will Thomerson’s house with the intent to kill him, but we will show you, your honor, that she had plenty of motive for doing so,” the prosecutor said as he stood at his post.  “The first and foremost being the alleged kidnapping of her infant son by Mr. Thomerson.”

“Stop grandstanding, Mr. Littleton.  This isn’t a trial,” Judge Anders said abruptly with a bored expression on his face.  “What’s your motion?”

Littleton paused dramatically and looked around the courtroom.  “Fist degree murder, your honor.  The prosecution would also like to ask that bail be denied due to the sheer calculated nature of the crime.”

James let out a deep breath and looked at Stormy and Miranda seated beside him.  He prayed that Brandon would be able to counter the prosecution’s claims.  He held his breath while Brandon stood and began delivering his statement to Judge Anders who listened carefully from behind his bench. 

“Your honor, the prosecution is asking us to believe that Brooke Blackthorne, a woman who believed Will Thomerson had kidnapped her son, went to his house with the specific intention of murdering him,” Brandon began.  “If this were the case, wouldn’t Mrs. Blackthorne be admittedly giving up any chances of finding her son?  I don’t believe that my client would be so calculating as to allow that to happen.  I move for the charges against Mrs. Blackthorne to be reduced to justifiable homicide and that she is remanded on bail.”

Brooke clasped her fingers together, wishing that none of this was necessary.  She acted out of impulse and that was all there was to it.  Shooting Will Thomerson was a split decision that she regretted.  Justifiable or not, she knew it meant that they would never find Michael again.

The judge paused and contemplated the issue.  A few moments later he leaned forward and addressed Brooke directly.  “Bail is denied.  The prisoner will remain in custody until a trial date is set.  The charge remains murder in the first degree.  Case dismissed.”

Brooke’s eyes flashed open in horror and she turned to look at James.  The guards pulled her up to her feet and led her out of the courtroom as James flew into a panic.

Ethan Blackthorne

Ethan jumped out of his car when he heard the sirens coming down the Armitage’s street in Burbank.  Quickly, he intercepted the squad car by the curb and waited for Officer Fitzsimmons to emerge.

“Officer, I’m Ethan Blackthorne,” he started, speaking at a frantic rate and running his fingers through his dirty blond hair.  “I’m the one who called you.”

“What’s the problem, Mr. Blackthorne?” Fitzsimmons asked as his partner walked around the car to meet up with him

“The woman in that house,” Ethan began, struggling to calm himself down.  “She has my son.”

Your son?” Fitzsimmons asked in confusion.  He looked up at the house and spotted Missy Armitage standing at the living room window watching them closely.  “That’s Joel and Missy Armitage.  She claims they adopted that boy.”

Ethan couldn’t speak fast enough.  He gathered his thoughts and tried his best to sound as coherent as possible.  “No, they adopted him illegally.  He was kidnapped.  You have to do something.”

Fitzsimmons glanced at his partner and held his hand up in frustration.  “Wait a minute,” he said.  “Ethan Blackthorne?  Isn’t your uncle James Blackthorne?  He and his wife had a baby who was kidnapped a few months ago?”

Realizing that he couldn’t get into the complicated paternity issues involved, Ethan decided to play along for the sake of argument.  “Yes, it’s my Uncle’s son,” he explained hurriedly.  “That woman has him.”

“What makes you think that’s the Blackthorne baby in there?”

Again, Ethan didn’t want to get into the whole story so he summarized enough details so that they’d take him seriously.  “Will Thomerson kidnapped him and gave him to the Armitage’s in exchange for some kind of favor.  Look, you have to believe me.  That’s Michael Blackthorne in there! “

“Wait a minute-“ Fitzsimmons exclaimed, an alarmed expression on his face.  “Will Thomerson?  The guy that Brooke Blackthorne confessed to murdering?”

Ethan raked his fingers through his hair and turned, looking at the house and spotting Missy dodge away from the window.  “Yes!  Please, you have to do something!  We don’t have time to stand here and debate this!”

“Maybe we should go talk to her,” said the other police officer.  “That baby is the same age as the Blackthorne baby.”

Fitzsimmons nodded reluctantly, offering Ethan a look of warning before starting up to the house.  “Stay here.”

Ethan sighed with relief and watched as they made their way up to the house and rang the doorbell.  He paced back and forth beside the police car, anxiously waiting for some kind of resolution.  They had to believe him, he thought to himself.  They had to know that it wasn’t just a huge coincidence.  Michael was in that house.  His son.

Fitzsimmons pounded on the door and called inside for Missy.  “Mrs. Armitage, it’s Officer Fitzsimmons again.  We just want to talk to you for a minute.”

No answer.

“Mrs. Armitage, I need you to open the door and talk to us,” he said.  “There have been some allegations that your husband might have adopted your baby illegally.”

Again no answer.  Ethan’s eyes darted toward the door and he prayed that the woman wasn’t going to make things any more difficult for them.

“We’re not here to make any trouble,” the police continued from outside on the porch.  “We just want to talk to you and clear some things up.  Please open the door.”

Panic coursed through Ethan’s veins.  He heard the loud screeching of tires in the distance and he snapped his head in the direction it was coming from.  A blue sedan made its way down the residential street, careening out of control as it neared the house and slowed to a languid pace.

Joel Armitage flew into panic mode, his gaze riveted to the police standing at his front door.  Desperate and intent on getting free, he slammed his fist on the steering wheel and pressed down on the gas, speeding up and passing the house completely.

“Wait!” Ethan screamed and ran after the car.

The police heard the commotion and came running down off of the porch. 

“That was Armitage!” Ethan yelled and climbed into his car.  “He’s getting away!”  He turned the ignition and did a sharp u-turn, speeding down the street after him. 

The two police officers jumped into their squad car and flew after him, sirens wailing and blue and red strobe lights flashing rapidly in the morning haze.

Joel Armitage

Joel Armitage frantically fumbled with his cell phone as he maneuvered his blue sedan along the busy residential street in the Valley.  He pressed the speed dial and hit send, impatiently waiting for his wife to answer at home.

“Hello?  Joel, thank God!  The police were here!”  Her tone was urgent and her speech wavered dramatically.  “They wanted to talk to me about the baby!  Joel, what’s going on?”

“Missy, listen to me!” Joel yelled into the phone as he steered around a car at a stop sign.  “Do not let them in!  Don’t even open that door until I can figure out what we’re going to do!”

“The police said that they think the baby’s adoption wasn’t legal!  Joel, what are they talking about?”

Closing his eyes briefly, Joel tried to block out the pounding in his head.  When he opened them again he was three feet away from another car stopped directly ahead on the busy street.  Quickly, he slammed on the brakes and the phone went flying into the passenger’s seat.

“Joel!” Missy’s shrill voice emanated through the phone.  “Joel, are you listening to me?  What aren’t you telling me?”

Frustrated, he leaned over and snatched up the phone in his hand, quickly darting around the car and proceeding down the road.   “There’s nothing to worry about,” he insisted, constantly checking the rear view mirror to see how close his pursuers were getting.  “I promised you a baby and I won’t let anyone take him from us.  I swear to you.”

"But Joel-“

He clenched his teeth and cut her off.  “Listen very carefully.  I want you to do exactly what I say.”

Ethan Blackthorne

Ethan pressed his foot onto the accelerator and tried desperately to catch up with Joel’s sedan.  He swerved in and out of traffic, ignoring yellow lights as he raced through intersections. 

Gripping the wheel tightly, he honked at a car turning out in front of him but regrettably had to slow down.   Pushing the gas pedal to the floor, he quickly shifted his car from second to third to fourth gear, cringing as the gears made a grinding noise.  He flew down the street in pursuit of the man who was now a hundred yards ahead of him.  He weaved through the heavy Burbank traffic, keeping his eyes glued to Armitage’s sedan.

Ethan sped up and quickly gained on him.  The sedan suddenly screeched to almost a dead stop and fell far behind him.  Ethan slammed his fist on the steering wheel angrily, slowing down and watching the car through the rear view mirror.  He saw Armitage turn onto a side street and disappear from view.

Quickly, Ethan did another U-turn and headed back to the side street where Armitage had turned.  He spotted the blue sedan flying down the hill and he sped up after him. 

Ethan focused back on the road and suddenly his eyes flew open in surprise as a moving van started backing out of a driveway onto the street ahead.  Hastily, he slammed on the breaks and the Mercedes came skidding to a halt, tires squealing and the smell of burning rubber filling in the air.

Yards ahead, Joel glanced over his shoulder, relieved that his pursuer had been trapped behind.  By the time he turned back it was too late.  The blue sedan went careening into a parked car on the side street.  Glass and metal sprayed in every direction.  The car jolted to a halt and his airbag deployed instantly.

Coughing and wheezing, Joel quickly reached for the door handle and pried it open onto oncoming traffic.  Cars honked and people screamed out their windows but Joel persisted, intent on getting away from the scene and the people who wanted to rob him of he and his wife’s dream of finally being parents.

He darted across the street, weaving between oncoming cars and trying desperately to disappear before being seen.

When the moving van didn’t budge, Ethan jumped out of his car and ran down the street on foot.  He spotted Armitage dashing across the busy four-lane road and yelled after him. 

“Stop!”

By the time Joel turned his head to see who was there, a black Escalade had plowed directly into him.  His body went sailing through the air and plummeted to the asphalt with a sick sounding thud.  The driver slumped over in their car, stunned for a split second before finally looking up at the motionless body on the street ahead.

Ethan raced over to Joel’s body and knelt down beside him.  Behind him, Fitzsimmons pulled up in the squad car and immediately radioed for an ambulance before rushing over to help.

“Damn you, Armitage,” Ethan whispered under his breath as he looked down at the blood splattered body of the porn director.  “I swear to God if you die...”

As onlookers gathered around to investigate, Joel opened his eyes and looked around with confusion.  Blood ebbed from the corners of his mouth and he reached up, grasping Ethan’s arm with remarkable strength.

“An ambulance is on its way,” said Fitzsimmons’ partner as he took a pillow from the squad car and placed it under Joel’s head.  “Just hang in there buddy.”

Joel pulled Ethan down close to him, struggling to speak as blood filled his mouth and clouded his eyes.  “The baby…please don’t take him from my wife.  She’s…she’s a good mother.”

Ethan closed his eyes with regret, suddenly feeling nothing but compassion for the dying man.  He hated what Will Thomerson did to them.  It was almost as bad as what he’d put Brooke, James and himself through.

“Mr. Armitage, I need you to tell me something,” he said softly, holding the man’s hand tightly as he trembled and convulsed.  “Where did you get the baby?”

Joel coughed and sputtered, choking on his own fluids and spraying blood in every direction.  “She’s a good mother….” he whispered weakly.  He knew his life was almost over.  He could feel himself slipping away.

“Please, Mr. Armitage,” Ethan continued in desperation.  His eyes stung with tears and he stifled them back the best he could.  “Where did you get the baby?”

Then, in his weak state and seemingly with his last breath of air, the porn director closed his eyes and whispered unmistakably.  “Will Thomerson…”

Ethan let out a sigh of relief and looked beside him at Officer Fitzsimmons.  At last the nightmare was almost over.

Alex Reynolds

Alex Reynolds made her way down the hallway at the courthouse and approached Jordan and Heather.  Before leaving she decided to take the opportunity to discuss a few things with her estranged husband.

“I’d like a word with you,” she announced, placing a hand on her hip and leveling her eyes on him.  “In private.”

Jordan rolled his eyes and Heather excused herself quickly.  After she was out of earshot, he turned back to his wife and folded his arms.  “What is it, Alex?”

“It’s about Nathan Blackthorne,” she replied matter-of-factly.  She was a devastatingly beautiful woman in her early forties with long auburn hair, aquamarine eyes and porcelain skin.  She looked at Jordan with yearning desire, never more attracted to him than when he played hard to get.

“What is there to discuss?” Jordan asked with mild irritation.

“I’d like you to stop your campaign to get him cleared of his charges,” she said with determination.  “Nothing good can come of him coming back here.  You and James both need to realize that.”

Jordan dug his hands into his pockets and shook his head in amusement.  “No, I think you need to realize that everything doesn’t revolve around Alex Reynolds.  Whatever personal dislikes you have for Nathan are your own business.  For once James and I are on the same side of the fence on something.  We both feel that it’s time his uncle comes back to Hollywood.  His talent has been sorely missing for the past twenty years.”

Alex shook her head with aggravation.  “That’s a matter of opinion.”

“May I remind you that you practically owe your career to that man?” Jordan asked with a frown.  “He put you in dozens of his films.  You starred in several of them together.  If it hadn’t been for him, you might not be the legendary Alex Reynolds.”

She shot him a cold, penetrating stare and leaned in closely, deciding to appeal to him on a more personal level.  “Jordan, whatever you may think of me, I’m still your wife, and I’d like to think that there’s some fragment of decency left between us.  Take my word for it.  We’re all a lot better off without Nathan Blackthorne around.”

“I’m sorry, Alex.  The D.A.’s already working on getting the charges dropped.”

Alex glared at him with contempt and spun around, marching down the hallway in a fit of anger.

Miranda Blackthorne

Miranda bought a cup of coffee from a vending machine and took a sip of the steaming hot liquid, grimacing at the stale flavor and quickly dropping it in a nearby garbage can.  She turned around and went to find a seat to wait for her father when Brett came down the corridor and approached her.

“Miranda, I’m sorry I’m late,” Brett Armstrong said and kissed his wife lightly on the cheek.  “I was at the studio and had a dozen phone calls come in at once.  I just couldn’t get away.”

Miranda managed a faint smile and shrugged off his embrace.  She looked at him out of the corner of her eye, unable to shake the feeling that he’d been up to some very shady antics. 

“Is everything okay?”  Brett was twenty-seven and had a strong, athletic body, dirty blond hair and brown eyes.  He detected Miranda’s standoffish attitude and immediately sensed trouble.

“The judge denied Brooke’s bail,” she replied hastily.  “Daddy’s in seeing her right now.  I’m just waiting for him.”

Brett put an arm around her and kissed the top of her head.  “Well I hope he knows that he can count on me while all this is going on.  I’ll be happy to do anything I can to help out.”

“I think you’ve done quite enough,” Miranda said, then immediately regretted it.  She had no proof of her suspicions.  All she had were her gut instincts.  Unfortunately, those instincts were usually right.

“What does that mean?” he asked with a frown.

Deciding to come out and voice her concerns, Miranda folded her arms and looked at him head on.  “I’m still trying to figure out how that videotape of Heather got into Stormy’s closet at home.  Jordan was the one who found the tape.  He obviously didn’t kill Will so he’d have had no reason to plant it there.  So if it wasn’t Jordan, then who did?”

Brett shrugged and tried his best to appear as though he had nothing to hide.  “I have a feeling we’ll probably never know,” he said and shoved his hands in his pockets.  He wished that she would drop it.  Granted, he hadn’t thought his actions through before framing Stormy, but that was when he believed that he actually was the killer.  Now that Brooke confessed it was a different story and he was in hot water.

“That would be very convenient for the person responsible,” Miranda said and looked at him warily.  She searched for any sign of guilt in his eyes.  Not surprisingly, she found no such sign.  Brett seemed to be alarmingly innocent of any wrongdoing since the day they met.  Strangely enough, she had always bought into it.

Swallowing hard, Brett watched her walk across the corridor and sit down on a hard wooden bench.  He was beginning to feel like his wife doubted his every move.  That was something that he couldn’t allow to happen.  He’d worked too hard for too long to have everything taken away now

Renee DeWitt

Renee DeWitt was a forty-five year old African American woman who exuded glamour and class with every move.  Her ebony hair curled just over her shoulders and her flawless skin smelled of lavender and coconut.  She floated across the expansive living area of her suite at Hotel Terranova and stopped to compulsively arrange a bouquet of fresh African roses she’s had flown in that morning.  A knock at the door took her away from the dutiful task and she breathlessly traipsed over to answer it.

“Kenny,” she said with a disappointed sigh as she opened the door.  “What are you doing here?  I thought I made it clear that any communication between us would have to go through our attorneys.”

Kenny Dewitt brushed past her and entered the room in a huff.  “Renee, I came here to ask if you would please reconsider.  Think about what you’re throwing away.  Fifteen years of marriage is nothing to take lightly.”

Irritated by his lack of regard, Renee slammed the door and turned toward him, her hands planted firmly on her hips beneath her powder blue chiffon robe.  “How dare you lecture me on the sanctity of marriage,” she charged, scowling with contempt.  “How many times did I catch you with another woman, Kenny?  And how many times did you promise me that it was the last?  Well I’m not going to give you another opportunity to make promises that you can’t keep.  Our divorce is going through and you’re just going to have to deal with it.”

Kenny sighed with exasperation.  Renee had threatened divorce before and always backed down at the last minute.  This time was different, however, and he was beginning to worry about the future.

“Renee, I love you,” he said and followed her down into the sunken living room.  “I always have.  I’ve just been a foolish man who didn’t see how good he had it.”

“No, you didn’t,” she spat and issued him a look of warning.  “You came to me with nothing to your name but a stack of student loans from law school, and that’s all you’re going to leave with.  I fed you, clothed you, even put you in charge of my father’s company.  Well no more Kenny.  I won’t be your bitch anymore.”

“That’s not the way I see you!” Kenny insisted, running his hands through his short afro haircut.  He was forty-two years old and a tall, solid man with a mustache and a chiseled body.  “I don’t care about any of that.  I don’t care about Merteuil Industries, I don’t care about the Land Commission, all I care about is you!”

Renee glared menacingly at him and took a few steps forward.  “Then perhaps you should have thought about that before you jumped into bed with another one of your Hollywood bimbos.”

Before Kenny could respond, Renee was scurrying for the door and opening it wide.

“Get out,” she said.

Realizing there was no reasoning with her, Kenny sulked out of the suite and jumped at the sound of the door slamming closed behind.

Ethan Blackthorne

The paramedics draped a sheet over Joel Armitage’s body and then strapped him onto the stretcher.  Ethan stood by with Officer Fitzsimmons as they loaded the dead man into the ambulance.  Sadly, it was too late for ambulances.  Ethan rubbed his hand over his face and let out a sigh of regret.

“I know how you feel, Mr. Blackthorne, but there wasn’t anything we could have done,” Fitzsimmons said.  “Armitage was running scared.  At least we got his statement before he died.”

“But was it enough?” Ethan asked, fully prepared for another road block to keep him from his son.  “One name – that’s all we got out of him.”

“It’ll be enough,” Fitzsimmons insisted.  “We’ll get a court order to have a DNA test done on the baby the Armitage’s adopted.”

Ethan nodded and stated walking to his car.  “I’m going to go back and make sure Mrs. Armitage doesn’t try to disappear.”

“I’ll follow you there,” said the policeman and walked to his squad car.

Ethan Blackthorne

Ten minutes later, Ethan was ringing the doorbell at the Armitage’s house, calling through the door and glancing at Officer Fitzsimmons with a wary expression.

“Let me try,” said the officer, moving up to the door and pounding relentlessly.  “Mrs. Armitage, open the door.  We have to talk to you about your husband.”

When there was no answer, Ethan grew immediately alarmed.  He moved to the living room window and peered inside, trying to get a clear view of what was going on in the quiet house.

“Mrs. Armitage, open the door!” Fitzsimmons yelled.

“I don’t think she’s in there,” Ethan remarked, his voice full of dread.

Fitzsimmons motioned for his partner and prepared to break the door down.  He brandished his nightstick and pushed with his full weight into the door.  The wood cracked and splintered until the door was hanging lopsided off its hinges.  They ran inside, scouted around the rooms and then adjourned back to the living room.

“She’s gone,” said the officer.

Suddenly the sounds of a baby crying from outside startled them back to reality and they raced to the door.  Fitzsimmons pulled out his gun and dashed down the porch steps directly behind Ethan. 

Running down the sidewalk with the baby in her hands, Missy Armitage didn’t look back or slow down a bit when she heard the voices calling after her.  She clutched onto Michael with all her might, desperately trying to get away before she was apprehended and would have to give up her baby.

“Mrs. Armitage, stop right where you are!” yelled Fitzsimmons from the sidewalk.

“Please, stop!” Ethan called after her.

But Missy continued running, the baby crying in her arms as her feet pounded against the pavement.

Determined, Fitzsimmons raised his gun and issued another warning.  “Stop right where you are or I will fire!”

“No!” Ethan screamed, redirecting his attention at the police officer holding the gun on the woman who carried his son off in the distance.  “Don’t!”

Fitzsimmons placed his finger delicately on the trigger and set his sights on Missy Armitage making her getaway.

“For God’s sake, don’t!  She’s got a baby!”  He grabbed for the gun, struggling with Fitzsimmons until the shot fired and echoed through the neighborhood.

Jasmes Blackthorne

James sat across the table from Brooke in the visitor’s room at the police station.  A guard posted at the door watched them and folded his arms into a rigid stance.  Brooke’s eyes darted to him nervously, hating the thought of being a criminal in the eyes of the law.     

“I promise I’m going to do everything I can to get you out of here before that trial starts,” James said.  “I won’t let you stay here, Brooke, I promise.”

Fighting back the tears, Brooke shook her head and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.  “There’s nothing you can do,” she sobbed.  “I killed someone.  I can’t take it back and I can’t just apologize and expect to get off the hook.”

“But you didn’t kill him in cold blood,” James said, struggling to keep his voice down so as not to broadcast their conversation to the guard.  “It was justifiable.  Or self defense. Brandon will come up with a defense and you’ll be out of here in no time.”

“You can’t make a promise like that,” Brooke said, filled with grief and a desolate sense of doom.  She looked into his eyes.  “James, I could go to prison for the rest of my life.  Or worse yet…”

“Shhh,” James said adamantly.  “Don’t think like that.”

A knock at the door alerted the guard and he stepped out into the hallway.  James took the opportunity to learn forward and kiss his wife softly on the cheek, holding her hand and caressing it gently.

Out in the hallway, Officer Fitzsimmons approached the guard and looked in through the glass window at James and Brooke.  “Mrs. Blackthorne has another visitor.”

“Only one at a time,” said the guard.  “And she has to go back to her cell soon.”

“Make an exception,” Fitzsimmons ordered.

Moments later, the door opened again and the guard came back in.  James and Brooke both turned to look at him and wondered what was happening.  Brooke was sure it was time to go back to her cold, lonely cell.  Her few minutes with James were far too short.

“There’s someone else here to see you,” the guard said.

James frowned and stood up from his seat.  “Who is it?”

His question was answered when Ethan entered the room, a tearful smile on his face as he held Michael gently in his arms.  The look on his nephew’s face was enough.  No words were necessary to realize what was going on. 

“Oh my God,” Brooke whispered quietly and stood up, her hands plastered to her mouth at the sight of her precious baby boy.

Beaming happily, Ethan looked down at the baby and laughed when Michael stirred and let out a sharp cry.  His eyes locked onto Brooke’s and he moved a few steps toward her. 

Brooke looked at him and then at James.  Sheets of tears ran down her face and her hands trembled with excitement.  “Michael?” she asked in disbelief.

Ethan nodded and handed the crying baby to his mother.   “It’s Michael.”

Struggling to find the words to express her happiness, Brooke held the baby close and stared into his bright blue eyes.  “I was so afraid I’d never see you again.  I thought I’d lost you forever.”

James pulled Ethan into an embrace and felt a tear trickle down his cheek. “I don’t know how you did it, Ethan, but I’m so grateful, you have no idea.”  He turned back to Brooke and the beautiful sight of their crying baby in her arms.

Ethan’s joyous expression slowly began to diminish as he watched James take Michael into his arms.  Suddenly the reality occurred to him.  James still thought he was Michael’s father.

 


Next time....

Renee gets a surprise visitor.  Brooke studies crime scene photos of Will's murder.  Miranda begins an investigation.  Brandon lays out the events of the night Will was murdered.

 

 Read Episode 49

 

 


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