Joel Armitage was struck
by a car and killed while running from Ethan and
the police. Before he died, he admitted that
Will Thomerson had kidnapped Michael and given him
to him. Later, they stopped Missy Armitage
from running away with Michael, returning him to
Brooke's arms at the police station. Ethan
was then filled with regret because James still
believed himself to be Michael's father, even though
he finally knew the truth. Brooke's bail was
denied and the judge insisted she be charged with
first degree murder. Kenny begged Renee to
reconsider the divorce. A suspicious Miranda
questioned Brett about his role in Stormy's frame
job. Alex pleaded with Jordan to drop his
plight in getting Nathan Blackthorne cleared of
charges so that he could return to Hollywood.
The news coverage of
that morning’s events came fast and furious.
Every television, radio and print media had swiftly secured headlines
and broadcasts detailing the death of Joel Armitage, as well as the discovery
that the Hollywood porn director had illegally
adopted Michael Blackthorne. As soon as
they’d heard the news, Stormy and Heather raced back to the courthouse.
“Is it true?” Heather
asked as she and Stormy approached Miranda and Brett in the waiting area. “Did they find Michael?”
wrung her hands anxiously together and stared at the ticking clock. “Yeah, he’s in the detention area right now
with Brooke and James.”
he okay?” Stormy asked. “Did Joel
Armitage really have him this whole time?”
put a hand on Miranda’s shoulder and nodded with conviction. “Apparently Thomerson gave him to the
Armitage’s. Some kind of payback for
James. Armitage's wife tried running but they fired a warning shot and she surrendered.”
distantly at the floor, Heather grew into a daze and thought about the
disgusting things Will Thomerson had done before he died. She shook her head and resisted the urge to
cry. “I can’t help but think part of
this is my fault,” she said distantly.
would you say that?” Miranda snapped.
“What Will Thomerson and Joel Armitage did to you had nothing to do with
Michael’s kidnapping. You were a victim
as much as anybody.”
Brett chimed in, a wicked tone to his already wavering voice as he rested his
accusing eyes on Heather. “Actually, I
think Heather’s right.”
“What?” Stormy demanded with a deep frown
embedded in his face.
she hadn’t double crossed Thomerson then he wouldn’t have set her up on that
phony audition with Joel Armitage,” Brett reasoned. “They might never have met and then Michael
wouldn’t have been living with strangers for all these months.”
son of a bitch!” Heather screamed and lunged forward. She attacked him mercilessly, slamming her
fists into his chest and pummeling him against the wall. “How dare you!”
shot up from her seat and physically restrained Heather, although something
inside her wanted Brett to get what he deserved for the nasty remark. “Heather, stop it!” she exclaimed.
Heather fought her step-sister for control and continued her assault, raising
her hand and slapping Brett clean
across the face. “I hate you! Do you hear me? I hate you!”
couldn’t help but smile inside, amused by the look of fear on Brett’s smug
face. Finally Miranda managed to pull
Heather off of her husband and safely drag her to the row of chairs across the
only saying what’s on everyone’s mind,” Brett said defensively as he struggled
to catch his breath and maintain his composure.
He ran his fingers through his hair to settle it back into place and
adjusted the collar on his blazer.
didn’t double cross Thomerson by herself,” Stormy reminded him. “It was you who put her up to it just so you
could win points with my father. If this
is anyone’s fault it’s yours, Brett!”
then, James and Ethan appeared from the detention area and approached them
quickly. The tenseness of the situation
seemed to fade away and Miranda quickly raced up to her father.
“Daddy, what’s going
on? Where’s Michael?”
to hide his pleased expression, James put his arm around his daughter and
glanced at Stormy and Heather. “They
agreed to let Brooke have a few minutes by herself with him. There’s a DNA specialist on his way to do a
test to prove he’s really Michael.”
God,” Stormy said and pulled James into a strong embrace. “At least one thing’s going right today. How is Brooke?”
James and Ethan exchanged worried glances.
“She’s happier than I’ve ever seen her.
I just pray that she’ll be able to handle it when Michael comes home and
she’s still in this God forsaken place.”
about impossible situations,” Miranda mused and reached out for Ethan’s
hand. “We finally get Michael back and
Brooke’s in jail being charged with murder.”
nodded in agreement. “I just pray that Brandon works up a defense good enough
to get her out of there.”
then, Missy Armitage was led down the corridor by two police officers. Behind them was a slew of reporters snapping
pictures and clamoring for a quote.
Missy’s head hung low and her eyes were wide and empty, staring at the
floor in a trance.
Ethan watched her out
of the corner of his eyes, his heart breaking for the pain the woman would have
to endure. Her husband was killed and
now her son was being taken away from her.
Missy’s eyes darted up and landed on James and Ethan. For a few seconds time seemed to stand
still. She felt like she was walking in
slow motion. The sight of the man who’d
taken her husband and son from her caused more pain than she could have
imagined. All she could remember next
was looking down at the gun in the police officer’s holster.
next few seconds seemingly lasted an eternity.
Missy’s hand darted to the gun and swiftly lifted it from its resting
place. Before the police officer could
react, she raised it into the air and aimed it at Ethan. Her vision cloudy with tears, she moved her
hand onto the trigger.
got a gun!” one of the reporters screamed.
eyes flashed open in horror and her mouth opened in a silent scream. Stormy instinctively stepped in front of
Heather to protect her from the chaos.
Brett cowered in the corner and closed his eyes tightly.
James yelled just as Missy pulled the trigger and fired the shot. He pushed himself into action, using all his
strength to shove Ethan out of the way.
The gunshot echoed through the corridor of the courthouse and instigated
screams of terror and fear.
recoiled in horror, the sound of the gunshot echoing through her ears and she
cried out in a panic. Shoving Stormy out
of her way, she bolted down the hallway and dashed outside away from the chaos.
bullet shot through the air and shattered into the far wall of the
and Ethan plummeted to the floor
and crashed onto one another, bruised but safely out of harms way.
Missy could fire again, the police tackled her to the ground, snatching the gun
from her hand and securely placing her wrists into a pair of handcuffs.
Ethan, are you okay?” Miranda exclaimed and bent down to her knees.
think so,” James said breathlessly and pulled Ethan up with him. “Is everyone all right?”
took a deep breath and nodded, alarmed by the devastating turn of events. He looked at James and embraced him warmly,
grateful for his fast action and quick thinking.
took my baby!” Missy Armitage screamed, struggling to free herself from the
handcuffs that bound her arms behind her back.
“He killed my husband and he took my baby!”
snapped photos and struggled for a clear view of the happenings. The police quickly led Missy down the hall to
the detention area, fighting to keep her upright in her state of despair and
Stormy dashed down the courthouse steps and raced over to Heather who buried
her face in her hands as she stood beneath a tree in the grassy area off to the
are you okay?” he asked, his voice full of concern.
sobbed silently, the sound of the gunshot playing over and over in her
mind. She extended her arms and pulled
Stormy into an embrace, crying into his chest and holding on as tight as she
smoothed his hand down the back of her head and tried his best to comfort
her. Quietly, he wondered why her
reaction to the incident had been so extreme.
night at the Blackthorne mansion, Miranda sat in the conservatory tinkling the
keys on the piano when Brett entered, his bare chest glistening with sweat
after his workout in the gym.
you are,” he said and kissed her lightly on the neck. “What are you doing in here all by yourself?”
she stared in a daze at the black and white keys, strumming a delicate melody
and letting her mind wander effortlessly.
“Just thinking about today,” she said distantly.
draped a towel around his neck and sat down in a nearby chair. “Yeah, that was a close call. That nutty woman could have killed
Ethan. She should be locked up for the
rest of her life.”
face twisted into a look of disgust and she shot him a penetrating stare. “She just lost her husband and her baby,” she
spat. “You’d think you could offer up a
little more compassion, Brett. Put
yourself in her shoes.”
Alarmed by his wife’s sudden
hasty reaction, Brett raised an eyebrow and looked into her eyes. “Why are you getting so defensive?” he
asked. “What if she’d shot Ethan? Or your father? Would you still be on her side?”
her eyes, Miranda stood up and walked across the room. “Sometime you can be so cruel,” she
said. “What was all that stuff with Heather
stuff with Heather?” he asked. “She
freaked out and ran out of there like a scared rabbit.”
shook her head. “No, I mean before
that. All that stuff about blaming her
for Michael’s kidnapping. Do you know
how hateful you were being?”
she was in one of her moods, Brett threw his hands up in resignation and rose
to his feet. “I just think that she’s
not as much of an innocent bystander as everyone thinks.”
it was you who put her up to that business with Will Thomerson,” Miranda said
and leveled her eyes directly on him.
“How can you put the blame on Heather when this
whole thing has your name written
all over it?”
are you attacking me?” Brett asked with a perplexed look on his face. “I didn’t kidnap Michael, I didn’t shoot Will
Thomerson, and I didn’t pull that gun on Ethan today at the courthouse. But strangely enough, I’m the one you want to
blame for all of it. And frankly, I’m
getting a little sick of it.”
Miranda could reply, Brett was darting out of the room and down the hall to the
family room. She shook her head in
frustration. Brett had a clever way of
making himself look like the victim in everything. No, he didn’t kidnap anyone or kill anyone,
but his hands weren’t exactly clean either.
He did put Heather in danger by having her seduce Will Thomerson. She wondered again if he also was the one who
planted the videotape in Stormy’s closet and phoned in the phony anonymous
tip. One thing was for certain, she was
bound to get to the bottom of it one way or the other.
her way out of the conservatory, she started down the hall and up the stairs to
their bedroom. When she reached the top
landing, she heard the faint sounds of crying and whimpering from Heather’s
she inched over to the door and paused to listen. Carefully turning the knob and walking inside
the dark room, she saw Heather laying on her bed tossing and turning in a
she asked and rushed over to the bed. It
was clear that the young woman was dreaming of something awful. She gently shook her to wake her up. Seconds later, Heather screamed out and shot
up on the bed with a shriek, her skin cold and clammy and her nightgown soaked
you okay?” Miranda asked and placed a hand gently on hers. “Heather?”
a few moments, Heather caught her breath and stared at Miranda with wide
eyes. “I think so,” she said
breathlessly. “It was just a dream,
what was it about?” Miranda asked, her voice full of concern. “You were tossing and turning like
her head, Heather laid back down and stared blankly at the ceiling. “It was nothing,” she said. “Nothing at all.”
whether to believe her or not, Miranda went into the bathroom and ran a
washcloth under the cold water for a few minutes. She returned and placed it gently on
Heather’s forehead. Something told her
that Heather was being torn apart inside by the events of the past few
days. The only question was why?
Ethan got home that night he threw his keys onto the table inside the entryway
and ran his hand over his face. He was
exhausted and drained after the emotional last few hours. He unfolded a piece of paper with his name
scribbled on the outside. A note from
Janet expressing her apologies and then a quick goodbye. He wasn’t surprised at all. After James filled him in on her manuscript
and her deal with Thomerson, he finally understood what her agenda had been all
along. Not that he could cast all the
blame her way. He used her as much as
she used him.
A million different
thoughts raced through his mind as he sat down on the sofa and stared blankly
at the far wall.
was safe, temporarily in the custody of a state social worker until the results
of the DNA test were made official. The
thought of his son in yet another’s stranger’s care was enough to send anxiety
coursing through his veins. On top of that,
Brooke was in jail awaiting a first degree murder trial, and James was blindly
under the impression that he was Michael’s father. Everything was so messed up and it was
difficult to find a silver lining.
declaration played over and over in his mind.
He couldn’t think of anything else…
“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
closed his eyes and wrapped himself in the comforting knowledge that he finally
knew the truth. But now that he did
things were even more complicated. Would
Brooke tell James the truth? And if she
did would James turn his back on them like he had before?
the next morning, James sat in the visitation room at the police station with
Brooke. Brandon stood by and looked over a stack
of notes in preparation for detailing their defense strategy.
hate the thought of Michael being in some social workers care,” Brooke said
listlessly as she held James’s hand across the table. “He must be so confused."
only be until they get the DNA tests back,” James assured her. “As soon as they prove that he’s a match with
your DNA he’ll be at home with me where he belongs. And so will you.”
closed her eyes as a tear trickled down her cheek. “I’m not so sure about
going to get you out of here,” Brandon said and sat down next to James
with his notes. “Brooke, I know it’s
difficult to concentrate on anything but Michael right now, but we have to go
over what happened that night. There’s
got to be something that you missed.
Something that can help us prove that Thomerson’s murder wasn’t
sighed and shook her head in despair.
“There’s nothing. I’ve already
told you everything.”
“Think, Brooke,” James insisted. “Is there anything that you can think of that
Brooke struggled to recall the events of that night. She burst into tears and shook her head
fervently. “No, there isn’t! I told you.
We argued, I grabbed the gun and I shot him. That’s all there is to it. I am
a cold blooded killer!”
time did you say you got to his house?” Brandon asked.
shrugged. “I don’t remember.”
what about afterwards?” Brandon
asked. “You said you drove around for a while. Do you remember how long you drove around
before you went home?”
to remember the horrific events, Brooke buried her face in her hands and
cried. “I don’t know. It was a long time. “
long time as in an hour? Half and
don’t know! I don’t remember!”
hope, Brandon reached into his briefcase and
removed a set of crime scene photographs.
Maybe something there would jar her memory. “The coroner claims that Thomerson was killed
at seven o’clock.”
Brooke asked, instantly looking up at him.
She frowned and then looked at James.
“Are you sure?”
James asked. “Do you remember
settled in and Brooke placed a hand on her forehead. “I just didn’t think it was already that late
when I got to his house,” she said. “I
was only there for maybe ten minutes. It
was still light out when I left.”
forehead creased and he looked at Brandon.
“The sun sets by seven o’clock.”
glanced across the table at the photographs and picked them up. The sight of Will’s dead body laying on the
floor of his parlor room made her stomach turn.
The bullet hole in his chest, gushing blood onto his white tuxedo shirt
and dripping onto the carpet and seeping into the floor sent chills down her
she frowned, examining the pictures more closely and scratching her head in confusion.
“That’s strange…” she murmured under her breath.
asked hopefully. “What is it?”
looked at him and then back at the photos.
“I’m not sure. It’s just
that…” She paused, increasingly more
distraught over what she saw. “Did
someone change his clothes?”
do you mean?” James asked.
it’s just that when I was there that night he was dressed in a robe. A smoking jacket or something. He wasn’t
wearing a tuxedo.”
and Brandon looked at each other in amazement.
“Are you sure about that?” Brandon asked.
Brooke looked at the pictures again. “Yes, I’m positive. That much I can remember. He was wearing
a smoking jacket and a pair of black trousers.
He wasn’t wearing a tuxedo
when I shot him.”
took a seat in the chair next to Detective Baines’ rusty metal tank desk and
flipped her hair over her shoulder.
Dropping her purse in her lap and crossing her legs, she leveled her
eyes on the detective and offered a vague smile.
what can I do for you, Mrs. Armstrong?” Baines asked. “If this is about your step mother’s case or about the kidnapping then…”
no, not exactly,” she cut him off. “This
is about my brother. I’d like to find
out who phoned in that tip claiming that they saw him leave Will Thomerson’s
house the night he was murdered.”
Baines folded his hand under his chin and studied her carefully. “Mrs. Armstrong, the tip was anonymous. The witness hotline operators do not ask for
names when people phone in. It’s
standard procedure. It’s to protect the
anonymity of the caller.”
this caller was lying,” Miranda corrected him.
“The only person who saw Stormy leave Will’s house was Janet Harper, and
she already said it wasn’t her who made the call. So somebody was trying to frame my
brother. The same person who planted
that videotape in his bedroom.”
why are you here and not your brother?”
shrugged. “I’m just taking a proactive
approach. Now are you going to let me
hear the tape or not?”
against regulations,” Baines firmly announced.
she had no alternative but to pull the spoiled Hollywood brat routine, Miranda leaned in
closely and met his challenging gaze.
“Detective, I’m a fair woman. I’d
hate to have to go to my father
and tell him that the police aren’t interested in trying to bring this anonymous tipster to
justice. I’m not asking for much. But I can assure you that my father won’t be
too happy to hear that you are unwilling to do me this one favor. I’m not even sure if he’ll continue to
support the department in the annual charity ball. How would the mayor like it if they didn’t
get that annual check because of your devotion to regulations?”
looked at her blankly, realizing that he was backed into a corner.
repeated sound of knocking at the door roused Renee Dewitt out of bed and she
stumbled into the living room of her suite at Hotel Terranova. Tightening
the belt around her nightgown, she murmured to herself and reached for the
it is this had better be an emergency,” she said irately. “It’s barely nine in the morning.”
she pulled the door open and let out a deafening shriek at the sight of the
young woman standing in the hallway.
mother,” said the young woman with a toothy grin. “I’m sorry if I woke you.”
pulled her inside and threw her arms around her tightly. “Don’t be ridiculous, Darling! It’s so good to see you! What
are you doing here?”
with despair, Sierra walked down into the sunken living room and flopped onto the white cushy sofa. “I’m on winter break. Besides, I had to come see you, Mother. I read about your divorce from Kenny and I
Merteuil was a stunning nineteen year old African American girl with light skin
and curly brown hair. Exceptional class
and impeccable manners were the forefront of her personality. Her dark eyes darted into Renee’s as if
waiting for her to give an explanation for what happened.
didn’t need to worry yourself,” Renee finally said and sat down next to
her. “You should have called me and told
me you were coming, Darling. Tell me,
how is school?”
rolled her eyes and shifted on the sofa.
“Not so good,” she said.
Cambridge is the best university in Europe,
Sierra,” Renee said with a frown. “It
was your dream to go there. What
shrugged and got up, pacing the room and pausing long enough to grab a handful
of grapes from a bowl. “I guess I’m just
a little bored with Europe,” she said. “I’ve lived there my entire life. I never get to come here and see you. You only come to England
once a month. It just gets lonely.”
what about your friends?” Renee asked.
all moved away. Since the fall semester
started I’ve been on my own.”
Darling, I’m so sorry. I had no idea you
were so unhappy.”
turned and looked at her mother with pleading eyes. “I was hoping you’d say that because I’ve made a decision,” she
said. “I want to come here and stay with
tried to hide her surprise. “Well,
Sweetheart, I think it would be wonderful if you could visit for a while.”
shook her head. “I don’t mean just a
visit, Mother. I want to stay here in
L.A. permanently. I want to get to know my mother. You adopted me when you were just a little
older than I am now. Maybe you were too
young back then but now it’s different.
We should be close. I want us to be close, Mother. Please say we can.”
aware of the risks involved with Sierra’s sudden appearance in L.A., Renee pulled her into an
embrace. She struggled to think of a way
to reason with her. What her daughter
didn’t know was that Kenny had no idea that she even existed. And she didn’t want him finding out now. There was too much to lose.
Baines rattled the keys in the door of the Thomerson estate, pushing it open
and leading the small troupe into the musty entryway. Behind him was James, Brandon, another uniformed officer, and
Brooke, bound with a pair of handcuffs.
don’t know if I can do this,” Brooke said with a sickly grimace as they entered
the parlor room.
put a hand on her arm in an effort to calm her.
“It’s very important, Brooke,” he said.
“It might be the key to getting you cleared of these charges.”
shook her head in desperation. “But I
did it,” she insisted. “I shot him. I don’t understand how I can be cleared of anything.”
why we’re here,” Brandon said as he pulled out the stack
of photographs from his briefcase. “We
need to determine what you remember happening versus what the District Attorney
sighed and tensed up as Detective Baines removed the handcuffs from her
wrists. She finally relaxed a little,
rubbing the sore spots on her hands and looking around the dusty old room. Being back there sent shivers up and down her
spine. The disturbing memories of that
night came flooding back to her and she closed her eyes in an effort to push
the body was here when the police
found him the morning after the murder,” Brandon said and motioned to the spot in
the center of the room. A tell-tale
blood stain in the rug was still evident.
immediately frowned and shook her head.
“No, that’s not right,” she said, then pointed across the room to the
fireplace. “That’s where he was standing when I shot him.”
rubbed his forehead and walked over to the wall beside the fireplace. “He was standing here?” he asked.
“Yes. I’m positive.”
where were you standing?” Brandon chimed in.
moved across the room a bit and stopped two feet away from where James was
positioned. “Right here,” she said.
and what happened?” asked Brandon.
remembering everything vividly, Brooke held out her hand and pointed her index
finger at James. “I was holding the gun
on him. He came at me and tried to get
it away but I pushed him back. He might
have hit the wall but I’m not sure. All
I know is that I shut my eyes and fired the gun. When I opened them again he was laying right
there on the floor.”
tried to piece the events together in his mind.
Something didn’t add up.
they found the body at least four feet over from where you’re standing right
now,” Brandon announced. “Are you sure that this is where he fell?”
I’m positive,” she replied.
turned and examined the fireplace and the wall beside it. He bent down and studied every inch
carefully, running his hands slowly over the wall.
are you looking for?” Brandon asked.
shrugged and kept searching. “I have a
theory,” he began. “What if when Brooke
fired the gun it missed Thomerson completely?
What if instead he hit his head on the brick when she pushed him
away? He could have been unconscious and
appeared to have been shot.”
a long shot,” said Detective Baines. “A
person knows when they’re looking at a body that’s been shot.”
turned and shrugged. “Not
necessarily. According to Brooke she
didn’t wait but a second or two before dropping the gun and rushing out of
here. She might have thought that she
shot him but she really didn’t.”
gave him a doubtful expression. “That
might hold up if you can actually find a bullet hole, but –“
just did,” James announced, running his hands over a bullet-sized hole in the
wall directly beside the fireplace.
Thomerson was a very disliked individual,” Brandon said as he paced the floor of
Judge Anders’ chambers. James, Brooke
and Ed Littleton were seated in the chairs across from the Judge as they
listened to Brandon’s recounting of the night of the
had enemies that we probably don’t even know of, but the fact is that the night
of his murder, he had several visits from people – all who had reason to kill
wrapped her arms around herself, praying that their hunch was right. At least if they could prove that she didn’t
kill him, they could reopen the investigation and find the real killer. Or better yet, let the whole thing drop and
leave the man dead and buried.
know that Will called his driver and asked to be picked up for the Filmmakers Awards at eight
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,” said the
caretaker from the guard shack. “The
driver was wondering when you wanted to leave for the Kodak
Will grinned and glanced down at the
elegantly inscripted invitation to the Filmmakers 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."
“He might have been
still getting ready and hadn’t yet gotten dressed because Brooke claims that he
was in a smoking jacket when she arrived.
At six o’clock he heard a knock at the door. It was Brooke…”
Brooke reached up with a gloved hand and pushed the doorbell
at the Thomerson estate. She waited with
remarkable patience, quietly placing her hands in the pockets of her black
leather jacket. 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.”
Brooke entered the house and Will closed
the door, the sound of crickets chirping in the night…
“They argued and he confessed to kidnapping
her son. He taunted her, refused to back
down from his vendetta against James, and Brooke flew into a rage. She picked up a gun that James had accidentally
left behind the night before when he went there to threaten Thomerson. Will laughed at her but Brooke meant
business. He tried to get the gun away
from her but she pushed him back…”
Brooke clenched her teeth, aiming the gun at him and backing
him up against the wall beside the fireplace.
“Don’t test me,” she said. “Even
if you’re dead we can still find him.
Somebody has to have him, and for the right amount of money I know
they’ll come forward. My husband is a
The smile on Will’s face faded and
he looked at her and the determination that he saw in her eyes. Swallowing hard, he raced forward to get the
gun from her. They
and she pushed him away, sending him staggering back against the wall. Unable to react in time, the back of Will’s
head struck the heavy stone fireplace and he stood frozen for a few
seconds. Brooke pulled the trigger and
closed her eyes when the shot rang out loudly, plugging the wall a foot away
from where Will was standing. A few
seconds later, she opened her eyes and saw him slump to the floor, motionless. She dropped the gun and backed up a step,
staring in horror at the body laying at her feet. The caretaker came around the corner from the
dark entryway, his eyes wide with horror…
“When Brooke opened
her eyes she assumed that she’d shot him so she left. This is where there’s some confusion in the time
frame we’re dealing with. Brooke was in
her car for probably almost an hour, driving around and trying to decide what
to do next.”
“Did the coroner’s
report say anything about a blow to the head?” Judge Anders asked as he
listened to the account.
“Yes, and until now
it was unexplained,” Brandon replied. “The position of the head trauma matches up
directly with the position he would have been in when he hit the wall of the
“So you’re saying
that someone else came in after Mrs. Blackthorne left and shot him for real?”
asked Ed Littleton, the prosecutor.
“Come on. That’s a colorful theory but you have no proof.”
“If you’ll permit me to continue, your honor,”
Brandon said, disregarding the
prosecution’s remarks. “We think that
Will was unconscious for about fifteen minutes.
He woke up when he heard pounding on the front door…”
Will winced from the dull pain in the back of his head. He slowly sat up and tried to shake off the
groggy sensation. A loud thud repeated
over and over and after a minute or so he finally realized that it wasn’t in
Struggling to his feet, he staggered into the entryway,
pausing to regain his focus and balance.
After a few seconds he took a deep breath and pulled open the door. He looked at Alex cross-eyed, bracing himself
up against the door and placing a hand on his head. “What are you doing here? I’m not in the mood for you tonight, Alex.”
“I came to talk to you about James
and Ethan,” Alex said, pushing her way past him and
walking into the entry.
Irritated, Will closed the door and
turned toward her. He swayed back and
forth on his feet, stumbling a few steps and struggling to maintain his
balance. “What about James and Ethan?”
he asked crossly.
Alex studied his face carefully,
noting the way his eyes glazed over…
Reynolds told James that Thomerson seemed a little off balance when she
arrived,” Brandon explained. “But she grilled him anyway. They went a few rounds and then she left
without incident. This is when Will
finally went upstairs and got dressed. He
put on his tuxedo and when he came back downstairs Stormy Blackthorne was in
the parlor room waiting for him. He’d
found the gun that Brooke had used when she thought she’d killed him, and he threatened him with
it. He was angry about what Thomerson
had done to his ex-wife. He and Jordan
Rydell had tracked Joel Armitage down that afternoon and gotten the whole story
from him first hand. Stormy wanted
revenge. He wanted to make the man pay
for what he’d done, but after thinking it over he realized that killing him
wasn’t the answer…”
Stormy dropped the gun and went after Will
with his bare hands. Killing him would
solve nothing, he decided. Real revenge
would be making him suffer like he’d made Heather suffer.
“You sick son of a bitch!” Stormy
shouted, wrapping his hands around Will’s neck and tightening them with all his
might. He drew one fist back and sent
it shattering into Will’s face, sending him flying across the desk and onto the
Quickly, Will climbed to his feet
and punched Stormy in return. He
staggered back and tripped, hitting his forehead on the corner of the desk and
wincing from the pain. Lifting his hand,
he felt the blood trickle down his forehead and then he slumped to the floor
Blackthorne didn’t remember seeing Stormy there when she supposedly killed
Thomerson because Stormy hadn’t even been
there yet,” Brandon said with exhilaration evident
in his voice. “The timeframe here works
because according to Janet Harper’s statement, she arrived at the house at
She had a gun and she planned on using it. Maybe not to kill Thomerson, but at least to
scare him into giving her manuscript back to her. But when she arrived, she heard yelling
inside and realized he wasn’t alone. She
waited outside in the bushes for a few minutes.
The yelling stopped when Stormy was knocked unconscious. I think this is when the real killer fired
the fatal shot.”
where was the killer?” Littleton asked with an amused frown. “He or she just magically appeared? If Janet Harper was outside the house when
the murder happened then she would have seen the killer go inside.”
the killer used the back door. Or maybe
the killer was in the house the whole
time. They could have been waiting for
the right opportunity to strike.” Brandon looked at his notes and then
back at the judge…
Will looked down at Stormy’s motionless body
on the floor. He sighed with frustration
and darted across the room to the wall safe camouflaged by a painting. Twisting the knob a few times, he pulled open
the heavy metal door and removed a black videotape. It was clear that his role in setting Heather
up was no longer a secret. Soon others
would be coming around and demanding answers.
He wanted to make sure that the videotape was secure in the event that
there was another break in.
Shoving the tape inside his breast
pocket, he started back across the room and bent down to check Stormy’s
pulse. At least he was still
Suddenly a sound from behind.
He stood up and turned around with a start.
The killer lifted James’s gun from the floor and pointing it
directly at him.
“What are you doing?” he asked,
moving across the room in search of something to defend himself with. “Put that down. You’re going to kill someone.”
The last thing he saw was a blinding
flash of light. White hot, searing pain
coursed through his entire body and he slowly slumped to the floor, his eyes open
wide before slowly closing forever. The
last thing he saw was the killer standing above with an expressionless face…”
“Janet heard the gunshot and decided to wait a minute
longer,” Brandon said, confident that they had
arrived at the right conclusion. “The
killer probably left through the back door or some other way. Then Stormy woke up…”
Opening his eyes with a start, Stormy shot
to his feet, wiping a trickle of blood from his forehead. He immediately looked to the floor across the
room and saw Will laying motionless in a pool of blood. He stepped forward and grimaced at the
gruesome sight, then looked around the room in a panic. Someone had come in and shot him in the few
minutes that he was unconscious. The
killer could still be there. Or worse
yet, someone could see him
leaving and think that he did it.
Without wasting another second, he
dashed for the front door and raced down the steps into the yard. Janet rose from her position hidden away in
the bushes and clearly made out Stormy’s face.
She looked back at the house and placed a beating hand on her
chest. Suddenly the manuscript wasn’t so
important to her any more. She dashed
down the drive and up the street where her car was parked…”
next thing that happened was Jordan Rydell showed up. He had a gun and he planned to use it. He wanted to kill the man who’d caused his
daughter so much grief,” said Brandon as he looked around the room at
each person present. “But when he got
there he realized that someone had beaten him to it. He examined the body, found the videotape in
his jacket and then wiped the fingerprints off of the gun. He wanted to make sure the person responsible
wasn’t held accountable for killing someone so vile and contemptible. This was when Alex Reynolds showed up
again. She was worried that her husband
would do something drastic so she went back.
When she came in she found him standing over the body wiping the
fingerprints off of the gun. She
immediately assumed that he’d killed him….”
she gasped, her hands plastered to her mouth.
“Is he dead?”
looked at her and then back at the body.
He shoved the handkerchief in his pocket and raced over to her, grabbing
her by the shoulders. “Alex, go home,”
he demanded in an authoritative manner.
“You shouldn’t be here.”
“I was afraid you were going to do
something drastic so I came here and-“ Alex stammered, too strained with
despair to think straight. “Oh God,
can’t believe he’s really dead.”
“Alex, you have to go!” Jordan
exclaimed. “I cannot afford to be seen
left and then Jordan left the same way he came,
through the back door,” Brandon announced. “About this time Brooke showed up back at the
mansion and told James that she’d killed Thomerson. James knew he had to protect her so he went
to the Thomerson estate and when he arrived, his nephew Ethan was there. He’d also gone to the house to have it out
“He’s dead,” Ethan said, kneeling over the
body and soaking the sleeve of his jacket in blood. “Somebody shot him.”
“It was Brooke,” James said, staring
with wide eyes at the corpse of his nemesis.
“He admitted to her that he kidnapped Michael and she shot him.”
Ethan’s eyes widened and he quickly
went to work at tearing the study apart.
“What are you doing?” James
asked. “Ethan, don’t touch anything.”
“I worked with him,” he said,
pulling open drawers and emptying them out onto the desk. “They won’t think twice if they find my
prints in here. I’ve got to find
something that can tell us where Michael is.
He had to have kept notes or contracts or something!”
that’s how Ethan Blackthorne found the list of possible names that Thomerson
might have given the baby to,” Judge Anders speculated. “Interesting.”
you still haven’t given us a name,” Littleton said with a frown. He stood up from his seat and looked down at
Brooke. “According to you people, anyone
could have been the person who fired that fatal shot. Anyone but friends or family, of
course.” He laughed, shooting the judge
a look full of doubt. “I’m sorry, your
honor, but this all sounds a little too convenient to me.”
can’t argue with the facts,” James said irately. “Everything we’ve told you adds up. The bump on Thomerson’s head, the bullet hole
in the wall, the fact that Thomerson had kidnapped my son and given him to Joel
give us a name!” Littleton argued. “The D.A.’s office is not going to drop the
charges against Mrs. Blackthorne unless you can give us a viable suspect!”
could be anyone!” Brandon yelled. “If he had this many enemies then who knows
how many more there could be! The whole
city of Hollywood might have wanted him dead! Judge Anders, please-“
enough,” ordered the judge. “I’ve heard
enough. Mr. Marksman, your theory makes
sense, and I’m inclined to believe that someone else may have perpetrated this
crime, but I’m going to have to concur with Mr. Littleton on this. Unless you have another suspect, I’m not
going to dismiss the case against Mrs. Blackthorne.”
shook her head with exasperation, feeling powerless in the impossible
situation. James walked up and put his
hand on her shoulder, aggravated by the fact that they were still stuck in the
same position as before they learned the truth. Brooke was still going
to jail, no matter what evidence they found to prove
Miranda's fears are
confirmed. The D.A. won't budge in Brooke's
case, despite the evidence clearing her. Renee
tenses when Sierra asks questions about Kenny.