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Episode 5

 

Release Date:  January 6, 2006

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Miranda ran away to Vegas after being blasted by James for her role in Brooke's accident.  She later met a con man named Brett Armstrong and happily agreed when he suggested they get married.  Little did Miranda know, Brett had argued with his business partner, Bailey Freeborn, who later wound up dead from a fall out of the hotel window.  Will Thomerson suggested that he and Alex team up to get revenge on James.  James and Brooke were married, despite his uneasy feelings about Brooke's relationship with Ethan.  Kenny asked James to help him get rid of Winter, and James suggested they hook Winter and Ethan up in an effort to distract him from Brooke.  


 

 Episode 5

"Honeymoon in Suspicion"

 

Brooke woke up in her bedroom at the Blackthorne mansion, the bright morning sun streaming in through the windows and bathing her naked body.  She stretched and yawned in the luxurious bed, smiling from ear to ear.  Today was her first day as a married woman and she felt on top of the world.   Nothing was going to spoil her mood.

Rolling over, she was surprised to find that James wasn't lying next to her.   She must have been sleeping so soundly that she didn't even hear him get up.   She got up and snatched her robe off of the bedpost before making her way downstairs.

She found James in his study, already dressed and on what sounded like a very heated phone call.  She waited for him to finish, and when he hung up, she looked at him with pleading eyes.

"Good morning, Darling," James said, rushing over and kissing her tenderly and then gesturing to a tray of food on the table.   "I had Leilani bring some breakfast in here this morning.    I hope you're hungry."

"I didn't hear you get up," Brooke said as she watched James continue to shuffle papers on his desk.   She couldn't mask her disappointment in the lack of romance the morning after her wedding day had brought.

"I wanted to get a jump start on some things," James replied without even looking up at her.  "Like finding Miranda for starters."

Brooke sighed and poured herself a cup of coffee.  "Any word from her?"

James shook his head.  "No, and I'm starting to get worried.  It's not like her to disappear for this long without saying anything."

Just then, Leilani entered the study with James's jet pilot.   "Mr. Blackthorne, Mr. Lane is here to see you."

James looked up instantly, a frown on his handsome, tanned face.  "What is it, Jake?"

"I thought you should know that your daughter asked me to fly her to Las Vegas yesterday, sir," the pilot began.  "I just found out that you were looking for her and thought I should tell you.   I'm sorry I didn’t come sooner."

"Las Vegas?" James asked.  "What the devil is she doing in Las Vegas?"

Jake Lane shrugged.   He had been in service with James Blackthorne and his family for years and he had never had a situation like this come up.   He wanted to be loyal to his employer, and serving his daughter seemed to fall under that category. 

"All right, thank you, Jake," James said, excusing the man.

Jake and Leilani left the study as James began pacing the room in aggravation.

"What could she have gone to Las Vegas for?" Brooke asked.

"Who knows," replied James, staring off in deep concentration.  "I hope she surfaces before long.  I'd like to know just what exactly she's been up to."

Brooke forced herself to remain calm.  She wasn't going to let Miranda's disappearing act ruin her first day of being Mrs. James Blackthorne.  James's daughter had caused enough stress in their lives to last a lifetime.

"Darling, I hope you're not too upset with me for postponing our honeymoon," James began, putting his arms around her.   "But with everything going on I just can't afford to be away from home right now. "

"I understand," Brooke lied.  She didn't want to hurt James's feeling by admitting that she was upset about postponing their trip to Hawaii.   She didn't want to seem selfish, because the truth was she did know that James had a lot going on.   Still, she couldn't help but feel neglected.

"I'll make it up to you, I promise," James said, kissing her warmly.

He knew that Brooke was trying her hardest to be supportive.  The truth was that he had too much on his mind to go on their honeymoon and it would just have to wait.   Miranda running off, Will Thomerson showing up out of the blue, and not to mention the fact that he had a movie set to premier in less than a month.   It was all weighing on him.

Alex's House

Alex Reynolds stepped out onto the terrace that jutted out from her enormous house on the beach in Malibu.   The balmy ocean breeze sprayed gently against her face and she leaned against the railing, gazing out at the picturesque view of the Pacific.   Her maid stepped out onto the patio and set down a tray of coffee and juice.

"Thank you, Veronique," Alex said, her robe billowing in the breeze as she walked over to get some coffee.

"Mr. Rydell is here to see you, Miss Reynolds," said the young maid.

Alex frowned.  "Ask him to come out, please."

Veronique disappeared into the house and moments later Jordan Rydell appeared on the terrace, dressed casually in cotton pants and a polo.    "Good morning," he said with a wink.

"It's rather early for an unannounced visit," Alex said coyly as she sat down at the table and sipped her coffee.   "What can I do for you, Jordan?"

"I came by to bring you this," Jordan replied, handing her a yellow envelope.

"What is it?"

"The script for the movie I told you about."

Alex set the envelope down and took another sip of coffee.  "I'm going to have to get back to you on that," she began.  "I'm not sure if your movie is something I want to do."

Jordan frowned.  "I thought we agreed it was the perfect way to stick it to your ex-husband."

"There are plenty of ways to skin a cat, Jordan.   I’m not sure if your movie is the route I want to take in getting my revenge on James."  She lit a cigarette and slid the envelope back across the table to him.

"I can't say I'm not disappointed," Jordan remarked.  "Do you mind if I ask what other course of action you're thinking of taking?"

Alex shrugged, not wanting to divulge too much information before she knew the details of her plan.  One thing was for certain, Will Thomerson was going to prove to be a very powerful ally.

"I'd rather not say just yet," Alex replied.  "I don't want to jinx it."

Jordan refused to back down.  He knew that by having Alex Reynolds star in his next picture, he would be sure to be the talk of Hollywood.    His rivals ex wife starring in his new, much talked about film.   It was brilliant.

"Why don't you at least read the script," Jordan urged, pushing the envelope back across the desk to her.  "I promise it'll be worth your while."

"I don't think so."

"You don't know what you're turning down if you don't at least read it."

Sighing with irritation, Alex finally grabbed the script and set it down on the chair next to her.  "Fine, I'll read it," she said regretfully.  "But I’m not promising anything else."

Jordan grinned happily.  He stood up from the table and shoved his hands in his pockets.  "Have dinner with me tomorrow night," he said.

"What?" Alex asked, completely taken aback by his invitation.

"Have dinner with me tomorrow night," Jordan repeated.  "I'll pick you up at eight."

"I don't think so," Alex said with a chortle.  She couldn't see herself on a date with Jordan Rydell.  Her son was married to his daughter, for God's sake.   It would be strange to say the least.   On the other hand, she did find him to be very appealing and exciting.  His reputation as a world class lover preceded him.  

"What are you afraid of?" Jordan asked with a sly grin.  He was surprised at himself for even asking her.  He'd always found her attractive, but she was certainly not his type.  The fact that she could help him beat James Blackthorne in the business was enough to sway him otherwise.

"Excuse me?" Alex said defensively.  "I'm not afraid of anything."

"Prove it."

Alex rolled her eyes.  "Oh that's mature."

"I'll pick you up at eight," Jordan said again before turning and going back inside the house.

Taking a long drag off her cigarette, Alex smiled at the interesting turn of events the day had taken already. 

Winter Austen walked into the nurse's station at Cedars-Sinai, pinning her white cap on her head as she started toward the time clock.    Suddenly a hand clasped around her arm and stopped her from taking another step.

"What the-" she said, shrugged her arm away from the hospital security guard.

"Please come with me, Miss Austen," the black man said sternly.

"Come where?" Winter asked with a frown.  "I have a shift starting in five minutes.  I have to get on the ward."

The security guard shook his head back and forth.  "Not anymore you don't."

"What?"

"That's right, dear," said a voice from behind.

Winter spun around and came face to face with Renee DeWitt, immediately growing agitated by the scowl on the woman's face.   "What do you want?"

Renee smiled and adjusted her purse strap over her shoulder.   "For starters, I want you out of this hospital."

"Forget it," Winter argued and tried walking back into the nurse's station.  The security guard stopped her and pulled her back again.  "Take your hands off of me!"

"You don't seem to understand, Winter dear," Renee continued.  "You no longer have a job here at Cedars-Sinai."

"Says who?" Winter exclaimed.

"Says the hospital board of directors," Renee replied.  "Of which I am a member of.  Now please take your belongings and leave the building before I have this strapping young man remove you physically."

Winter stared at her blankly.   She couldn't believe that bitch wife of Kenny's was doing this to her.  If having to move out of her condo wasn't bad enough, now she was without a job.    Things were definitely getting worse and worse.

Brooke Taylor

The next morning, James stood in his bedroom, talking on the phone with a private investigator he'd hired to look into Will Thomerson.  He had to know what the man had been up to for the past twenty-eight years.   For a while it seemed he'd disappeared off the face of the earth.  But now he was in Hollywood and poised for revenge.  It seemed like a vicious cycle that would never end.

"I don't care how much money it takes, I want you to find out everything you can about Will Thomerson," he said into the receiver, holding the phone cradle as he paced the floor.  He didn't see Brooke come out of the bathroom, a robe tied around her waist and her hair wrapped up in a towel.

She listened casually, trying not to seem too nosey.   Will Thomerson must be the man James was fighting with in the study the other night.   She had only heard his name mentioned.  The history between him and James was a big mystery to her.

"All right, I'll be waiting for your report," James finished and hung up the phone.

"Who was that?" Brooke asked, sitting down at her vanity and removing the towel from her head. 

James didn't want to get into it with Brooke.   Will Thomerson was a nasty subject that he didn't want her worrying about.   "Just some business," he replied, gathering some papers into his briefcase and hoping to change the subject.  "So what do you have planned for today?"

"I thought I might go to lunch with Heather," Brooke replied solemnly.  She wanted to call him on the way he dismissed her so easily when she asked about his phone call.  She hated the thought of being kept in the dark.  To her, being married meant you confided in one another about everything.

James smiled.  "That sounds nice," he replied, starting toward the door and pausing to give her a kiss.  "I have some things I have to take care of but I'll see you this evening, okay?"

"Sure," Brooke murmured as James flew out of the bedroom.

She studied her face in the mirror and forced herself to remain calm.  She didn't want to fly off the handle and accuse her husband of ignoring her so soon after their wedding.  It might be an isolated incident that would never repeat itself.  She hoped that was the case anyway.

James Blackthorne

Twenty minutes later, James knocked on the door of Winter Austen's condo at the marina.   A few seconds later she opened the door with a smile on her pretty face.

"Mr. Blackthorne, this is a surprise."  She was dressed in short red soccer shorts and a white halter-top, her platinum blond hair tied back in a ponytail.   "Please, come in."

James smiled graciously and entered the spacious condo.  He noted the slew of boxes stacked throughout the living room and piles of crumpled newspaper on the floor where Winter had been packing.

"I heard about your unfortunate luck and thought I would offer my support," James said, surveying the decadent condo.  He realized at that moment just how good Winter had it with Kenny DeWitt.  There was no way she could afford a place that magnificent on her nurse's salary.

Winter appeared genuinely surprised by his gesture.  "Your support?"

He smiled.  "Not in the way you're thinking," he said.  "I don't give handouts.  That's the difference between Kenny and I."

"So what can you do for me?" she asked, walking to the breakfast bar and taking a sip from her glass of iced tea.  "Find me a new place to live?  Get me a new job?"

"A new job?"

Winter nodded.  "Yeah, I got fired from the hospital yesterday."

"What happened?"

"What happened is that Renee DeWitt doesn’t like me," Winter explained, opening the sliding glass door to let some fresh air into the condo.   "Unfortunately for me, she's on the hospital board of directors.  Mr. Blackthorne, I need that job.  I have to find somewhere to live and I can't do that with no money coming in."

James paused in deep concentration, then looked at her with a smile.  "I can get you your job back."

"How?"

"Leave that to me," James replied.  "I do need you to do me a favor in return, however."

Winter eyed him skeptically.  Somehow she knew there had to be a catch.  "Oh yeah?  What's that?"

"Forget about Kenny DeWitt," he said directly and to the point.  "You being in his life is only causing him problems.  And it doesn't seem to be doing much good for you either."

Winter glared at him with her arms crossed.  "So what am I supposed to do?"

"I think it would be beneficial to everyone if you attached yourself to someone who's better for you," James began.  "Someone who is available, independent, and can give you the attention that you deserve."

She knew he was patronizing her but she went along with it anyway.  "Great, who would this picture of perfection be?"

"Ethan."

Winter was stunned by his announcement.   Why would James Blackthorne be pushing her to get back with his nephew?  He wasn't all that thrilled about them dating a few years ago to begin with. 

"What's the catch?" she asked suspiciously.

James didn't dare tell her the reason he wanted her to go after Ethan.   She would run and tell him immediately, and then Ethan would know of James's lack of trust in him.  That was something that didn't need to happen just yet.   The most important thing for now was getting Ethan distracted so he wasn't spending so much time with Brooke.  Especially now that he was immersed in so many things and didn't have the time he would like to spend with his new bride.

"Let's just say that you'd be doing me a big favor," James said.  "I'm concerned about Ethan's happiness.  I know he was happy when the two of you were together.  And I would just like to see him get some of that back."

"I did care about him a lot," winter admitted, staring thoughtfully out the window.

"So why not get together and see if that spark is still there?" James asked.  "I'm sure he'd be willing to help you get settled again.  Think of it, you'll have your job back, a new man in your life, and Renee DeWitt will be off your back."

Winter tossed her mane of blond hair over her shoulder and smiled, thinking that James might just be on to something.

Ethan Blackthorne

Ethan Blackthorne opened the door to his house in the Valley, pleasantly surprised to see Brooke standing outside in a blue and green flowered sundress.

"What are you doing here?" he asked, pulling her inside.  "I thought you were on your honeymoon."

Attempting a smile, Brooke walked into the spacious living room and set her purse down on the sofa.  "Well, James wanted to postpone it until he heard from Miranda," she replied.  "Plus he's got all this over stuff going on.  It's just not the right time to go away."

Ethan looked at her skeptically.  "Why does it sound like you're trying to convince yourself?" he asked.

Brooke sighed and sat down on the edge of the sofa.  She felt as if she would burst into tears at any second.  "I'm trying to be supportive," she replied.  "But we only got married a couple days ago and already I feel like I'm just in the way."

Kneeling next to the sofa, he took her hand in his and looked into her eyes.  "Brooke, you're not in the way," he replied.  "James is my uncle.  I've known him for a long time and I know that he is a workaholic and sometimes he doesn't stop to enjoy things, but that doesn’t mean he doesn't love you."

Brooke stifled the tears that threatened to explode from her eyes.  "I know, I just thought it would be different, that's all."

"Give it a chance," Ethan said, trying his best to soothe her frazzled nerves.  He pulled her into an embrace and ran his hand down the back of her head.

Brooke smiled, grateful for the fact that Ethan was always there for her.  He was the only reason she'd made it this far.  "I feel closer to you than I do to James sometimes," Brooke remarked, staring into his deep brown eyes.   "You're so caring and kind.  I can't imagine not having you in my life."

Ethan gazed into her sad eyes, feeling overwhelmed with emotion and wanting nothing more than to be close to her.  He couldn't help himself.  He leaned closer and brushed his lips gently against hers.  Within seconds, they were engaged in a deep, passionate kiss.   He put his arms around her and pulled her closer.  He'd never felt this way about another woman in his life.

Suddenly, Brooke pulled away and covered her mouth with her hands.  She jumped up from the sofa, her eyes wide and full of regret.   "Ethan, I can't," she began.  "I'm sorry."

"No, I'm sorry," Ethan said, wishing he could take the kiss back.  He didn't know what came over him.  He had way too much respect for James to do something like that to him.

"I should go," Brooke insisted, grabbing her purse and running for the door.

"Brooke," Ethan called after her, but it was already too late.  She was flying out the door and down the driveway to her Mercedes.

After she'd gone, Ethan slammed the door and leaned up against it, closing his eyes with remorse.  He blew it, he thought to himself.   He'd crossed the line and there was no going back.  But something inside told him that Brooke wanted the kiss to happen just as much as he did.

Sunset Studios

Alex walked into James’s office at Sunset Studios and rushed toward his desk in a huff.   She slammed her purse down on the desk and leaned in to him, her eyes menacing.

“How dare you not tell me what’s going on with our daughter,” she said, slamming her first down on the desk.

“What are you doing here, Alex?”

“I just came from your house,” she began.  “I was looking for Miranda.  Leilani told me that she’s been missing for three days.  Now why the hell wasn’t I told about this before?”

Irritated by his ex-wife’s flair for drama, James stood up and glared at her.  “She isn’t missing.  She’s in Vegas.   My pilot took her there the other day.”

Alex folded her arms and shook her head angrily.  “So you just let her run off wherever she wants to now?” she yelled.  “She’s my daughter and she’s in your care, James.  I expect you to look after her.  You’re her father, for God’s sake!”

“Miranda is twenty years old,” he insisted.  “She can take care of herself.  She doesn’t need me watching every move she makes.”

“You know how upset she’s been lately!  Thanks to you and your new bride her life has been turned upside down!”

“Don’t try to bring Brooke into this,” James warned her.  “This has got nothing to do with her.”

“The hell it doesn’t,” Alex railed away.  “Ever since that woman came into the picture, Miranda has been miserable.   You’re supposed to be her father, and instead you’re chasing after some bimbo nearly half your age.”

“You’re on very thin ice, Alex.”

“I should have taken her with me when I left that house,” Alex continued, glaring at him with contempt.  “All you’ve done is corrupt her and-“

“That’s enough!” James exclaimed.  “I won’t have you standing in my office telling me that I’m not doing my job as a father.   I love that girl and she knows it.  If I were you I’d be a little more concerned about how she feels about you.“

"What’s that supposed to mean?” Alex asked warily.  She hated it when he turned the tables on her.   She knew she was a good mother and he had no right to say any different.

“Miranda doesn’t need to be smothered, Alex.  And that’s exactly what you’re doing.”

“I love my daughter,” Alex insisted.  “And if you’re not going to do anything to find her, then I will.”

She turned and stormed out of the office, throwing the door open as she left.

James clenched his teeth and watched her go, angry that she still had such an effect on him.   All he wanted was for her to be out of his life forever, which didn’t seem possible since they shared two children together.

Will Thomerson

Will Thomerson sat behind his desk in his new office at Jaguar Studios.   He ran his hands through his thick blond hair and shuffled a pile of papers on his desk.  He had a lot to do as new owner of the production company.  The top item on his list was bringing James Blackthorne to his knees and making him beg for mercy.   After spending the last few days brainstorming, he finally had the first step of his plan in place.

Their feud had begun twenty-eight years ago in the small rural town of Windsor, Kansas.   Will was nineteen and wanted nothing more than to make it on Broadway.  It was his passion.  It was the only thing he thought about every day when he woke up in that miserable dead-end town.

While going through the motions of every day life in Windsor, he became romantically involved with seventeen-year-old Georgie Blackthorne.   She was the most beautiful girl in Windsor, and somehow she made life there a little more bearable for him.   They had a whirlwind romance and Georgie seemed to fall a lot harder than he did.   When an opportunity to be an apprentice to a Broadway producer presented itself to him, Will didn't think twice about leaving Windsor and everyone in it behind.  He made his way to New York and never looked back.

His only regret had been the way he left Georgie.  Rather than have to see her face when he told her he was leaving, he simply left without a word.   To him, it seemed the easiest thing for both of them.    Almost a year later, he called to get word on how she was doing, probably to ease his own conscience more than anything.  To his surprise, he was told that she'd died several weeks before.   The despair he felt was overwhelming, and he channeled it into his work.

Years later, when he got the chance to produce his own Broadway play, he told the story of a young girl from a small town.  Georgie's Song was to have been a smash hit with the critics, but it never made it to the stage.   Georgie's resentful brother, James Blackthorn, had moved to Hollywood and started a career as a movie producer alongside his uncle Nathan.  They got wind of Georgie's Song and filed an injunction, successfully stopping the play from being presented to the world.  The bad press that followed ruined Will's career and took years for him to recover. All because James blamed him for Georgie's death.

Now it was Will's turn to turn the tables on James Blackthorne.  He would get his revenge and it would be slow and painful.

His train of thought was interrupted when Alex Reynolds sauntered into his office and rushed up to his desk, her purse dangling from her hand and a mink stole covering her shoulders.

“We’ve got to do something about James Blackthorne,” she insisted, still reeling from her confrontation with James a little while ago.  “I want to bury him so deep that he’ll never see the surface again.”

Will was interested to hear what had gotten her in such an uproar.   He decided he could definitely use her to his advantage.  He wasn't sure how, but the animosity between Alex Reynolds and James Blackthorne was a powerful weapon.

"You sound like a woman on a mission," he said with a sly grin and leaned back in his red leather swivel chair.

"I am," Alex replied matter-of-factly.  "I'm sick and tired of the way he thinks he can control people.  I want him to pay and to see what it's like to lose everything."

Will stood up and walked around the desk to her.  He placed a hand on her shoulder and leaned in closely.  "He will pay," he said.  "Mark my words.   Together we can crush him."

"What's your plan?" Alex asked, turning to face him.

"Next month is the premier of his new film, Angel Assassin."

Alex clenched her teeth bitterly.  "Yes, it's the film he was producing when he threw me out," she claimed.  "I already have bad feelings associated with it."

"It's currently in the hands of the MPAA, waiting to receive it's rating," Will explained, pacing the floor of his Hollywood office.  "James let Eric Autumn have an advanced screening of it last week.  Eric told me in confidence that it's pretty violent."

"James has always been one to put too much violence in his films," Alex said with a shudder.  "It's typical."

"Meanwhile, I stumbled on some interesting information about one of the board members of the MPAA," Will continued.  "His daughter is in need of a kidney transplant and medical expenses are piling up.   When I offered him a check that would more than cover her medical bills, he was very appreciative.  So naturally I called in a favor."

Alex's eyes narrowed on him.  "What kind of favor?"

"In exchange for my saving his daughter's life, he agreed to ensure that Angel Assassin is given the much dreaded X rating," Will replied, then broke into a devilish laugh.  "The only places that will show his movie will be the porn theaters in West Hollywood.  He'll have no choice but to pull it."

"Brilliant," Alex said, growing more attracted to Will Thomerson by the minute.  She loved how devious and conniving he was.  It made him even sexier than he looked.

"I have no doubt that James had to borrow from every investor in his portfolio to finance this film.  And once those investors find out their return will be delayed, or lost altogether, James Blackthorne will be in a world of financial trouble."

"I happen to know that Jack Fallmont alone invested most of the film's production costs," Alex remarked, then smiled.  "Just something I caught wind of before we divorced.  I guess being the former Mrs. Blackthorne does have its rewards."

Will agreed.  "Jack certainly won’t be happy about losing his investment.  James will probably have to mortgage his house just to pay him back.”

Alex smiled.  “I think this calls for a toast,” she said.

Will opened a bottle of champagne and poured them each a glass.  “To our victory over James Blackthorne,” he said, raising his glass.

“Cheers,” Alex replied, clinking her glass against his and taking a sip.  She decided to throw caution to the wind and ask Will something that had been on her mind since she ran into him the other day.  “Incidentally, what exactly happened with you and James back in Kansas?  Why all the animosity?”

“He never told you?”

“Not many details, no.”

Will grew into a daze and stared off out the window.  “He thinks I’m responsible for his sister’s death.”

Alex raised an eyebrow.  This was new information.  She wondered why James never mentioned anything about it in the twenty-five years they were married.

Winter Austen

Winter Austen parked her red convertible VW Bug in the parking lot at Sunset Studios.   She got out of the drivers seat and walked around to the front, bending down and jabbing a pocketknife into the tire.   The air leaked out quickly, leaving the tire flat against the asphalt.  She stood up with a satisfied grin on her face.   She looked around, making sure no one saw her, and dropped the knife into her purse.

Ethan Blackthorne

James and Ethan left the offices at Sunset Studios and started outside to the parking lot.  They passed the guard at the door and offered him a friendly hello before proceeding out to their cars.

James spotted Winter right away, standing by her car looking like the typical woman in distress.   He glanced at his watch, seeing that she was right on time.   So far his plan was working perfectly.   Before he knew it, Ethan would be back with Winter and Brooke would be a distant memory to him.

“Isn’t that Winter over there?” James asked, pointing across the parking lot.

Ethan squinted through the bright afternoon sun.  “Yeah, looks like she’s having car trouble.”

They approached her car and James gave her a knowing smile of approval.

“Is everything okay, Winter?” Ethan asked.  He hadn’t seen his ex girlfriend in months, and it had been years since they dated.   Seeing her again brought back a lot of good memories.  Somehow the bad ones didn’t seem as bad after so much time had passed.

“Ethan, what a surprise,” Winter said with a bright smile.  She’d forgotten how dashingly handsome he was.  He still looked good after all that time.  She looked down at her tire and threw her hands up in resignation.  ‘Yeah, I guess I drove over a nail or something.   I called the auto club but they said it would be a few hours before they could send someone.”

“Do you need a ride?” James asked, patting Ethan on the back.  “I have to get home to Brooke, but Ethan here will be happy to take you home, I’m sure.  Right Ethan?”

He looked at his uncle and then nodded uneasily.  “Yeah, sure,” he replied. 

“Good, I’ll see you later then,” James said, starting over to his Mercedes.  “Nice to see you again, Winter.”

Winter smiled, following Ethan to his car.  “I really appreciate this,” she said, looking at him with renewed excitement.  She agreed to James Blackthorne’s manipulations so he would get her her job back at the hospital, but now that she was standing next to Ethan she had a genuine desire to have him back in her life.   Since they’d broken up a few years ago, her life seemed to have gone downhill.  She’d become someone that she didn’t like very much.   Sleeping with married men, throwing herself at them and using them for money.  The truth was all she wanted was someone to be there for her and to enjoy life with.  Maybe Ethan was that person.

“No problem,” Ethan replied, opening the car door for her and pausing to look into her dazzling blue eyes.  “You look really good, Winter.”

She beamed like a ray of light.  “You too.”

Renee and Kenny's House

On his way home, James went to Kenny and Renee’s house in Bel Air to keep his end of his bargain with Winter.

“Why on earth would I give that jezebel her job back!?” Renee exclaimed as they stood on the patio by the pool.  “She slept with my husband!  Surely even you can’t condone something like that, James Blackthorne!” 

James had to laugh at her theatrics.  He wondered how Renee DeWitt had lived in Los Angeles for her entire life and never been in show business.  She was a natural.

“I promise you she’s out of your lives for good,” James insisted.  “She’s going to leave Kenny alone, she’s moving out of the condo at the marina, and all she wants is her job at the hospital.  Come on, Renee.  You can’t deny her that, can you?”

“You knew Kenny was sleeping with her all along, didn’t you?” she said in an accusatory tone.  “Of course you did, you’re his best friend. You tell each other everything.”

“Kenny knows he made a mistake,” James argued.  “Can’t you leave it at that?”

Renee scowled at him and gulped down her scotch and soda, realizing that James was not going to back down until she gave in.

Blackthorne Mansion

Satisfied with his victory over Renee, James returned home and found Brooke setting the table in the dining room.

“Good evening, Darling,” he said, kissing her on the cheek.  “Sorry I’m late.  It’s been one thing after another today.”

She smiled vaguely, barely looking at him as she arranged a place setting at the table.  “Leilani says dinner will be ready soon,” she said, all the while not able to stop thinking about the kiss she and Ethan shared earlier that day.   She was racked with guilt.  She’d only been married a few days and she was already kissing another man.  Her husband’s nephew, to make matters worse.

“I’m just going to go up and change and I’ll be right down,” James said, setting his briefcase on the table in the foyer and starting up the stairs.

Before he reached the second floor, he heard the front door open and loud voices carrying into the house.  He turned around, surprised to see Miranda there, a brilliant smile on her face. 

“Miranda!” he called anxiously, starting back down the stairs to the foyer.  “I’ve been so worried.  The pilot said he took you to Vegas.”

She nodded with a smirk.  “That’s right, Daddy.  I had to get away for a while.”

“Well are you all right?” James asked. 

“I’m more than all right.”

James looked her up and down, full of suspicion.  “You haven’t been drinking again, have you?’ he asked.

She shook here head.  “Nope. I’m stone cold sober.”

“Miranda, you left without saying anything,” James continued, not sure whether to be angry with her or happy that she was home safely.  “You weren’t even at my wedding.  How do you think that makes me feel?”

Rolling her eyes, Miranda took off her jacket and handed it to Leilani.  “Daddy, I don’t want to get into it,” she said.  “I’m in too good of a mood right now.”

James realized she was right.  What’s done was done.  There was no sense in going back and rehashing everything.  “I….feel bad about what happened,” he said.  “I shouldn’t have said those things to you.”

Before she could respond, Brooke emerged from the dining room and looked at Miranda with caution. 

“Hello Brooke,” Miranda said awkwardly.  She wasn’t sure how she would feel seeing her again.  She knew they were married now and there was no changing anything.  It was something she was going to have to learn to live with and accept.  Accepting Brooke, on the other hand, was not going to be easy and she had no intention of befriending her new stepmother.

“Hello Miranda,” Brooke replied.  “You’re just in time for dinner.”

“I hope there’s room for one more,” Miranda said with a giggle.

James frowned.  “One more?”

She nodded and went back to the front door.  A few moments later she reemerged into the foyer with Brett Armstrong at her side.  “Daddy, I want you to meet Brett,” she announced proudly.  “My husband.”

James’s eyes widened in disbelief.  At first he thought he was hearing things. 

“Your husband?” Brooke asked, walking further into the foyer.  “What are you talking about?”

“Brett and I got married in Vegas,” Miranda explained.  “The last few days have been the happiest days of my life.”

Brett moved forward and extended his hand to James.  “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Blackthorne,” he said.  “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

James didn’t move.  He was paralyzed with shock.  He couldn’t believe the latest stunt his daughter had pulled.   She was out of control.

 


Next time...

Brooke tries playing peacemaker between James and Miranda.   Alex and Jordan spend the night together.  Ethan and Winter grow closer.  Ethan questions James about his father.  Alex overhears startling information.

 Read Episode 6

 

 


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