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Episode 52

 

Release Date:  February 3, 2007

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

James, Jordan and Alex bribed the assistant D.A. into reducing the charges against Heather.  Upon her release, Heather became dependent on Stormy and had an unnatural lack of regret over her actions.  Miranda held her position with Brett and insisted that their marriage was over.  Jordan and Renee shared a drink and comisserated over their love lives. Angered by Stormy's smug attitude, Brett arranged for flowers to be delivered from him to Samantha Fallmont, hoping to reignite their relationship in an effort to push Stormy out of James's favor again. After Brandon quit, James hired Kenny as his attorney.  Their first mission was to counter hostile allegations from another environmental group over the pipeline. Brooke told Ethan that she was not going to tell James the truth about Michael's paternity.  

 

 


 

Episode 52

"Administration"

 

Sitting in her office at Hotel Terranova, Miranda heard the door open and looked up with surprise when she saw her father enter the room.  A bright smile lit up her face and she got up to greet him.

“Daddy, what brings you down here today?” she asked and kissed him on the cheek.

James gave her a quick squeeze and sat down in a chair by her desk.  “I have a meeting in the dining room in a few minutes and thought I’d stop in and say hello to my favorite birthday girl,” he replied with a wink.  “I took the liberty of planning a party for you tomorrow night at the house.”

“You’re so sweet,” she blushed happily.

“You didn’t come down for breakfast today.  I get the feeling that things aren’t going so good for you lately.  Is it Brett?”

Sighing, she plopped back down at her desk and swiveled around a few times.  “I’ve been waiting for the right time to tell you this, Daddy.  I asked Brett for a divorce.  He’s been sleeping in a guest room.”

“Yes, I noticed that.  Miranda, are you sure that divorce is the answer?  Isn’t there anything you can do to work it out?”

Miranda shook her head adamantly.  “No, there isn't.”  She paused, uncertain whether she should get into all the dastardly deeds Brett had conjured up recently.  She didn’t want to be married to him anymore, but she wasn’t quite sure that she wanted to unleash her father’s wrath on him.  Almost nobody deserved that.

Obviously upset by the news, James leaned forward and leveled a look of uncertainty at his daughter.  “I can’t pretend that I’m happy about this.  Brett has changed you over the past two years, Miranda.  For the better as far as I’m concerned.  I mean just look at how far you’ve come since he came into your life.  You took an interest in this hotel, you stopped your drinking and getting high and carousing around every night.  You’re even being nicer to Brooke.”

She rolled her eyes.  “I don’t think we can give Brett credit for all of that,” she said sarcastically.  “Besides, you hated him when I first brought him home, Daddy.  You didn’t trust him one bit.  Now all the sudden you’re his biggest supporter?”

“Not all the sudden.  Brett proved himself as a worthy husband to you over time.  It didn’t happen overnight, you know.  When I was recovering from surgery last year he stepped in and did a hell of a job running the studio.  He still is.  He and your brother are working together and I couldn’t be prouder.”

“So you just don’t want to lose an executive, is that it?” Miranda asked bitterly and shot to her feet.

“I don’t want to lose a son,” James corrected her.  “And Brett has been like a son to me.”

“Doesn’t it bother you that he and Stormy are at each other’s throats all the time?  I mean, how many times have they wound up trashing the house in one of their dog fights?”

James walked up behind her as she gazed out the window at the grounds.  “You of all people should know that your brother isn’t always so easy to get along with.  He’s controlling, he refuses to take ownership of his own mistakes, and he’s careless.  Look what he almost cost me by having an affair with Senator Fallmont’s wife.  The pipeline was almost shut down because he couldn’t keep it in his pants.”

“Well, he stopped seeing her, didn’t he?”

James smiled and lifted his daughter’s chin.  “Sweetheart, your brother isn’t the issue here.  It’s you and Brett.  Now, whatever decision you make I’ll support you.  But I just would hate to see you make a rash decision that you’ll wind up regretting.  Especially now.  It’s a new year, Michael is home, Brooke and Heather are free.  This family just has so much joy to give right now.  I’d hate to have a divorce ruin all that.  At least for right now.”

Miranda nodded uneasily as James walked over to the door.  He paused before leaving and turned back to her.

“Brett is a good guy.  Just remember that.”

Miranda managed a smile as her father left the room.  She sighed and sat back down at her desk, picking up a picture of herself and Brett at their 4th of July party last summer.  She knew her father would sing a different tune if she knew everything Brett had done.  He would fully support her decision to divorce him.

But as usual, the guilt her father made her feel was overpowering.  Now she was more confused than ever about what to do about Brett.

Brett Armstrong

Terri screamed at the top of her lungs, panting with exhilaration as she lay on the desk with her legs over Brett’s shoulders.  He stood before her, sweat dripping down his face and neck as he made expert love to her in his office at Sunset Studios. 

“Shhhh,” he said and covered her mouth with his hand.  The last thing he needed was Stormy coming in and finding him screwing their secretary, his pants around his ankles, his shirt crumpled on the floor, and his tie still hanging loosely around his neck.

“You are so fantastic,” Terri squealed with delight.   She decided that having a boss like Brett Armstrong was another good reason for having gone into the movie business.  All the new executives were young, handsome and horny.

“Just make sure you keep this between us,” he said as he leaned down and flicked his tongue inside her ear.  “You just keep coming in early every day and we can do this for as long as you want.”

Just then, the phone on his desk buzzed and Brett groaned with irritation.  He quickly snatched up the receiver and tried to sound as normal as possible.

“Armstrong,” he said, slowing his feverish pace.

“Why isn’t Terri answering the phone?”  It was Stormy calling from his cell phone in his car.

Brett looked down at the beautiful brunette and smiled devilishly.  “She just got off,” he said.  “Of the phone, I mean.  What’s up?”

“I’m going to an appointment with Heather this morning,” Stormy replied.  “I don’t know if I’ll be in today or not.  Is everything okay there?”

Brett grinned again, unable to control himself.  “Everything’s great.  Give Heather my best.”

After Stormy clicked off, Brett dropped the phone and picked up his rhythmic pace again until he finished in an explosive climax.

Hotel Terranova

The waitress brought three cups of steaming coffee to the table in the dining room at Hotel Terranova where James and Jordan sat with Ed Littleton.  After she left, James leaned in and spoke quietly.

“Need I remind you of the seven figure donation we made to you a few days ago?” he said to Littleton.  “All I’m asking for is a little cooperation from the D.A.’s office.”

“You paid me to get Heather Blackthorne's murder charges reduced,” Littleton whispered, all the while glancing around the room to ensure they weren’t being overheard.  “That deal didn’t include anything about the charges against your uncle.  France doesn’t have an extradition agreement with the United States.  That’s the only reason he’s free.”

“Damnit, Littleton, it’s been twenty years,” Jordan said.  “Drop the charges against Nathan Blackthorne once and for all.”

“The man is a pedophile,” Littleton hissed.  “I don’t care if it was twenty years ago or two hundred years ago.  He raped countless young girls and then–“

“Statutory rape,” James corrected him.  “They were all consensual.” 

“So he said before he fled the country.”

"No, so the witness at the trial said,” Jordan replied.

Littleton shook his head, refusing to budge.  “Nathan Blackthorne made a habit of sleeping with underage girls.  I know he was a famous actor and director in his day, and I know that you Hollywood types think you’re above the law, but he committed a crime.  It just so happens that Debralee Scott was the only one who was willing to come forward.”

“She was fourteen.  Her parents forced her to testify,” James admonished.

“She wasn’t the only one who testified as to what kind of man your uncle was,” Littleton said, his eyes challenging James steadily.

Jordan shook his head in frustration.  “Maybe we’ll just see what Debralee Scott has to say about this,” he said belligerently.  “It’s been twenty years.  She could probably care less if he were in jail or not.”

Littleton glared at him.  “You’ll never find her,” he said.  “The publicity and the media attention the trial got was such a circus that her parents took her into hiding by the time it was all over.  Trust me.  You’ll never find her."

"We already have," Jordan said with a grin.  "She lives in upstate New York.  She just published a self-help book.  She hasn't exactly been reclusive lately."

Littleton wiped a bead of sweat from his brow.  "Getting her to come back here is a different story.  She'll never do it.  And if Blackthorne even tries to come back to the United States, he’ll be arrested the second he gets off the plane.”

James slammed his fist onto the table as Littleton got up and left the restaurant.  He turned and looked at Jordan in deep concentration.  “Now what do we do?”

Jordan felt defeated, but he refused to give up.  “I think we can get her to come back,” he said.  “If she was to give a statement to the press…”

“Then the D.A.’s office would look like fools for not dropping the charges,” James said.  “Debralee Scott was only fourteen at the time.  She’s an adult now.  The media would crucify the D.A if she she came back and publicly exhonerated Nathan for what transpired between them."

Jordan slid out of the booth and dropped a twenty on the table.  “I’ll try to contact her agent."

James followed him through the dining room, unaware that Alex was seated in the booth just behind theirs.  She lowered her sunglasses and placed a hand on her beating heart.

She refused to let them bring Nathan Blackthorne back to Hollywood.  She’d do whatever it took to stop it from happening.

Getting up from the booth, she raced to the lobby doors.  There was only one person who could help her.  Only one other person besides herself knew what kind of man he was.

Stormy Blackthorne

Stormy sat in the waiting room of Dr. Anderson’s office downtown, leafing through a magazine while obnoxious music played over the loudspeaker.  He sighed and glanced around the sparse waiting room, cringing at the sight of a tacky plastic fichus tree in the corner with a strand of half blinking lights.

As much as she resisted, he knew that Heather would benefit from seeing a psychologist.  Sooner or later the guilt over what she’d done to Will Thomerson would sneak up and she’d be vulnerable and broken.  At least this way she could talk it out with a professional and brace herself for the fallout.

A few minutes later the office door opened and Heather emerged, a sullen look on her pretty face.   Stormy shot to his feet and waited eagerly for some kind of reaction.  All Heather did was turn and shake the doctor’s hand politely.

“Thank you, Dr. Anderson,” she said.

“See you on Thursday, Heather?” the doctor asked.

She nodded unenthusiastically and then turned back to Stormy.  “Ready?” she asked.

Taking her arm in his, Stormy led her down the hall to the front door.  Once they were in the car on the way home he finally had to break down and coax information out of her.  “So how did it go?”

Shrugging, Heather pulled at a long strand of hair that whipped around in her face.  “Okay I guess,” she said, then offered a smile.  “Can we go to that little smoothie stand on the beach we used to go to?  I haven’t been there in forever.”

Stormy couldn’t help but smile.  “Sure,” he said, getting the distinct feeling that Heather was trying to block out what happened.  It worried him.  If she couldn’t even talk about it to him then she was in for a rude awakening when it finally hit her.

Renee DeWitt

Back at Hotel Terranova, Renee DeWitt opened the door of her posh two bedroom suite and harrumphed at the nerve of Alex Reynolds showing up at her door.

“Alex, what an unwelcome surprise,” Renee said, her hands planted firmly on her hips as she looked in awe at the woman.

“Relax, Renee, this isn’t a social call,” Alex said and strode purposefully into the sunken living room.  “I have news.  News that I don’t think you’re going to like.”

Hesitantly, Renee closed the door and followed her across the room.  “Any news that comes from you is news that I probably won’t like, so there’s no big surprise there.”  She sat down on a plush white sofa and crossed her legs.  “So tell me, Alex, what is it that’s got you so riled up?  Did Angie Dickinson beat you out of another role?”

She ignored her snide remark.  “It’s much worse than that.  I’ll give you a hint.”  She paused for effect, then looked at Renee with cold dead eyes.  “Nathan Blackthorne.”

Renee’s brown eyes flashed open wide and she looked at Alex with a mortified expression.  Nathan Blackthorne was a name she hadn’t thought of in years.

“I thought that might get your attention,” Alex said with a clever smile.  “James and Jordan are trying to get the D.A. to drop the charges against him so he can come back to the United States.”

“But his trial….” Renee began, her thoughts going in a million different directions.  “I mean, why would he come back now?”

Alex shrugged indifferently.

Speechlessly, Renee got up and walked across the room in a daze.  “Jordan didn’t mention anything about this to me,” she said almost in a whisper.

Alex laughed.  “Well why would he, dear?  Oh, you mean the other night when you ran into each other downstairs in the bar?  Well, no offense, but I ran into him just after that and it appeared that my husband had a few too many Cutty Sarks, if you know what I mean.”

Renee knew perfectly well that Alex was trying to downplay her spending time with Jordan.  That angered her more than the prospect of Nathan Blackthorne returning to Hollywood.  “Alex, if Jordan wants to bring Nathan back here then let him,” she said, although didn’t really mean it.  “But if it means that much to you, I’ll ask him about it tonight at dinner.”

“Dinner?  Tonight?” Alex asked, a hostile tone to her voice as she stepped closer to her.  “Renee, are you dating my husband?”

“He won’t be your husband for long from what I hear,” Renee said, then walked up to the door and opened it wide.  “Like I said, I’ll speak to Jordan this evening.”

Furious, Alex stormed toward the door and paused to give Renee a final parting shot.  “You do that,” she said before leaving in a huff.

After she’d gone, Sierra came out from her bedroom and stifled a yawn.  “Mother, who was at the door?”

Renee forced a smile and tried to put Alex and Nathan Blackthorne out of her mind for the time being.  “No one, Darling.”

Alex Reynolds

After leaving Hotel Terranova, Alex rushed back to her office at Blackthorne-Reynolds to try to talk some sense into James.  By the time she got there, James and Kenny were up to their eyeballs in paperwork regarding the pipeline, so she quickly shifted gears.  Nathan Blackthorne would have to wait.

“Any news on the drilling problems?” Alex said as she walked into the room and peered over Kenny's shoulder.

"Nothing that you're going to like," James said.

Alex sighed and lit a cigarette in an effort to calm herself down.  She didn't take a chance on this new business venture just to have it shut down by a bunch of bleeding heart environmentalists.  First the Fallmonts and now this.  

"We hired a geologist and he came up with an alternate drilling route," Kenny explained.  "It should satsify the opposition, but..."

"But what?" Alex demanded impatiently.  "Whatever it is, let's just do it."

"It's going to cost us another fifteen million," James explained.  "And as of right now, neither one of us in the position to put any more capitol into this deal."

Throwing her hands up in resignation, Alex walked across the room in a fit of despair.  “Brilliant!  Now what are we supposed to do?  My uncle left this land to me, and since then it's been nothing but a headache.  I should have known I couldn't do anything but act."

"And you weren't even very good at that," Kenny jibed.

Alex shot him a cold, penetrating stare and placed her hands firmly on her hips. "Very funny," she hissed.  "Do I need to remind you that without us you would still be jobless and peniless?  I'm starting to think Renee had the right idea in dumping you."

"I could say the same thing about your husbands."

"That's it," Alex shrieked.  "I'm fed up with-"

"That's enough, both of you!" James shouted.  "Now unless you want to watch this business go to down the drain, I'd suggest the two of you stop bickering long enough to think of how we're going to come up with that fifteen million dollars."

“Don’t worry, we’ll think of something," Kenny finally said.  "This project is a sure win.  An extra fifteen million is a drop in the bucket compared to how much money is at stake.”

Jordan Rydell

That evening, Jordan and Renee sat at a candlelit table at an exclusive restaurant in Beverly Hills.  He cut his steak diligently, not moving his eyes from her the whole time.  The flicker of candlelight illuminated her flawless skin and made her look even more attractive than usual.  Jordan could think of nothing else.

“I find it hard to believe that you adopted Sierra so young,” he said, forcing himself to concentrate on the subject at hand.  “You must have been just a kid yourself.”

Renee smiled and lifted her glass of wine to her lips.  “I was twenty-five,” she replied.  “I was Sierra’s Godmother.  Her parents were dear friends of mine.  When they were killed, I became her guardian.  I decided to adopt her illegally shortly after that.”

“You’ve certainly kept her hidden.”

“What do you mean?” Renee asked, caught off guard by his remark.

Jordan shrugged and set his fork and knife down on his plate.  “I’ve never heard you or Kenny mention her.  She’s never been here to visit.  It all just seems a little secretive.”

Renee didn’t want to divulge that Kenny didn’t even know of Sierra’s existence.  It would incite too many questions and then she’d be forced to deal with reality.  Instead, she used the opportunity to question him about Nathan.

“Secretive like you and James trying to bring Nathan Blackthorne back to Los Angeles?” she asked, studying his eyes carefully to catch his reaction.

Jordan shrugged indifferently.  “That’s not much of a secret,” he said.

“You never mentioned it to me.”

Laughing, Jordan sipped his wine and looked at her in admiration.  “I wasn’t aware that I had to divulge every detail of my daily activates to you.”

“You don’t,” she said calmly.  “I’m just curious about something.  Why now?  Why is this the magic timeframe for Nathan to make his return?”

Jordan shrugged.  “We’ve been talking about it for a few months actually.  It just seems that twenty years is twenty years.  Time to move on.”

“Indeed,” Renee said enigmatically.  She wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of Nathan returning, but making a federal case of it like Alex was doing would only arouse suspicion.  All she could do was hope that Jordan would drop it.

“Do you disapprove?”

“I quite disapprove,” she replied adamantly.  “You know his history.  He had sex with young girls with the promise that they would be stars.  It’s irreprehensible.  I personally don’t see what his coming back here would benefit.”

“Well, if you feel that strongly about it…” Jordan said with a sly grin.  He reached across the table and touched her hand gently.

“I do.” 

There, Renee thought.  Nothing to it.  Calm and rational.  No suspicions to arouse.

“Look, it's not a sure thing anyway,” Jordan said, though he didn't even believe that.  He said it more for Renee's peace of mind than anything.  The truth was, it was only a matter of time before Nathan was home.  “Chances are you'll never have to worry about it."

Then, in the same calm state, Renee quietly, but assuredly, let out a huge sigh of relief.

Blackthorne Mansion

The next day was Miranda’s birthday.  The Blackthorne mansion was filled with music and the rooms were lit up with the most lavish decorations.  A cool chill filled the air outside as Brett drove up in his black Mazarati and proceeded to the front doors with an armload of wrapped presents.

Inside, Miranda walked down the stairs and raised a suspicious eyebrow at the sight of her husband in such good-natured spirits.  She followed him into the family room down the hall and observed as he stashed the gifts onto a table.

“What’s all this?” she asked, her arms folded as she propped herself up on the arm of a chair.  “It looks like Rodeo Drive exploded in our house.”

Brett grinned and wiped his hands on his jeans.  “Just a few tokens of my love for my birthday girl,” he said and kissed her on the cheek.  He paused and frowned, immediately noticing that she didn’t pull away in disgust as she had every other day since their big fallout.

“What?” she asked with an irritated edge to her voice.

He smiled.  “Nothing.  It’s just that…you almost looked like you wanted me to kiss you.”

Rolling her eyes, Miranda jumped down and walked to the bar to pour herself a glass of sparking water.  “Don’t push it,” she said.  “I still want a divorce.  It’s just that now isn’t the time.  After things settle down around here I’m going to see Kenny and have him draw up the papers.”

“Miranda, please-“

She shot him a cold, penetrating stare.  “You won’t change my mind, Brett,” she said adamantly.  “Everything you’ve done lately disgusts me.  There’s no way I’m going to stay married to a man I can’t trust.  You’re staying in the guest room.  Don’t even think about coming near me or I swear to God you'll be singing soproano for the next six months."

Brett’s expression turned to a pout and he watched as she stormed out of the room and down the hall.  He would have to change her mind one way or another.  No way was he going to lose everything now.  At least in the meantime he had Terri to take his frustrations out on in the office.

Jasmes Blackthorne

James put his arms around Brooke and held her close.  Everything had gone so right lately and he was determined not to let the setback with the pipeline ruin it.  Especially now that they were finally happy.  One way or another it would work itself out.

“Is everything okay?” Brooke asked him as they stood in their bedroom.  “You seem a little distant.”

He shook his head.  “Nothing at all.  I’m just happy that things are finally going our way.”

Brooke smiled and walked across the room to finish getting dressed.  “Is Ethan coming to the party this evening?” she asked, fishing for information from him since she hadn’t spoken to him since their big blowout.

“Yes, he is,” James replied.  “Tonight is all about family.  The Blackthornes are going to triumph this year if it kills us.  This celebration is just as much for all of us as it is for Miranda.”

Brooke took a deep breath, fidgeting with her hands as she walked to the window and gazed outside.  “James, why didn’t you ever tell Ethan who his real father was?”

“What?” he asked, shocked by the question.

She turned to face him.  “Will told me.  That night at his house.  He said that you hid it from them both.  That was why he took Michael from us.  To pay to back.”

“I could never have guessed he would have done that, Brooke, I’m sorry.”

She shook her head.  “No, I’m not blaming you.  I just want to know why you felt it was necessary to hide it from Ethan for his entire life.”

“Why?” he asked angrily.  “Do I need to remind you what kind of a man Will Thomerson was?  Brooke, he was a monster.  He took pleasure in other’s misfortune.  He was responsible for my sister’s death.  I could never allow Ethan to be influenced by him.  Not the way a son should be influenced by his father.”

The parallels were startling.  Here she was denying Ethan’s right to influence his son.  It was like a vicious cycle that would play out for generations.  Was she doing the same thing James did to Ethan?

“Darling, let’s not talk about it,” James said and kissed her forehead lightly.  “Will is dead and buried, and so is the secret.  Ethan will never know the truth now.”

Brooke wasn’t so sure that was the best idea.  What if it came back and ruined his life?  What if the same thing were true of him and Michael?  What was she doing by keeping the truth from him?

Miranda Blackthorne

That evening, the warm glow from the fireplace illuminated the family room at the Blackthorne mansion.  An elegant dinner had been served, followed by a cake from an exclusive confectioner in Beverly Hills, mountains of presents surrounding it on all sides.  Cheerful music filled the air as Miranda tore open presents in a mad dash.

“Daddy, thank you,” Miranda said after opening a small Tiffany box containing a pair of diamond earrings.   She sidled over and gave him a hug and kiss.  “They’re beautiful.” 

“Brooke picked them out,” James declared and put his arm around his wife.

Miranda smiled politely and returned to her seat next to Stormy and Heather.  “Thank you Brooke.  You have lovely taste.”

“It’ll look nice with the necklace Brett got you,” Brooke explained.

Miranda eyed Brett who stood in the corner eyeing her like a hawk.  She shuddered with discomfort and managed another forced smile.  It was all she could do to fake it as the happily married woman after everything that had happened.  But she knew how important this was to her father so she smiled politely behind gnashed teeth.

"Thank you for my necklace,” she said and fingered the box his gift had came in.

“Well put it on,” Brett said and gestured for her to turn around.

Reluctantly, she turned around and lifted her hair so he could fasten the diamond and emerald necklace around her neck.   He turned her back around to face him and his eyes sparkled happily.

“You’re beautiful,” he said and reached his hand out to her, but Miranda quickly pulled away and walked across the room to the bar.

Stormy got up and walked over to his sister while she poured herself a drink.  “Why are you still pretending with him?” he asked her.  “It’s obvious you’re not into this marriage anymore.”

“I’m doing it for Daddy, okay?” Miranda exclaimed, trying to keep her voice down so the rest of the family couldn’t hear her.  “He’s been so happy lately.  I don’t want to ruin it with a big announcement that I’m divorcing Brett.”

“I’m sure Dad only wants you to be happy,” he insisted.  “Miranda, this is your life we’re talking about.   Don’t waste it by pretending to be this happy couple just to make Dad’s life easier.  Divorce Brett and move on before he can do any more damage to this family.”

She twisted her face into a frown and rolled her eyes.  "Like you have any right to counsel me on relationships.  What the hell is going on with you and Heather, anyway?"

"What do you mean?"

"You're acting like you did when you two first got married.  Are you getting back together with her?"

He shook his head.  "No, of course not, why?"

"Does Heather know that?"

Stormy turned and saw Heather staring at him from across the room.  He didn't know what Miranda was talking about.  If Heather was falling for him again, he would know it. They'd been together since the ninth grade.  No, Miranda was wrong.  Heather was just using him to deal with everything that had happened to her lately.  And he was happy to be there for her.

Miranda considered what her brother said as she stared across the room at Brett making small talk with James and Brooke.  She wished she could end it now, but she owed her father more than that.  She owed him a chance to have a normal family for a least a little while.

Moments later, Alex entered the room, her chauffer in toe carrying a pile of presents in his arms.  She directed him to a table across the room and turned to greet  Miranda.

“Happy Birthday, Darling,” she said and gave her daughter a hug and a kiss on the cheek.  “I’m sorry I’m late.”

“That’s okay, Mom,” Miranda said and looked around.  “Where’s Jordan?”

“How would I know?” Alex asked and removed her gloves dramatically.  She turned and greeted James and Brooke and Heather with a smile plastered on her perfectly made up face.   

Moments later, Jordan entered, accompanied by Renee and Sierra.  Alex shot them a look of disbelief and quickly lit a cigarette to calm her nerves.

“Hello everyone,” Jordan said as Heather threw her arms around him.  “I hope you don’t mind I brought a couple of guests,” he said and gestured to Renee and Sierra.

“Not at all.  The more the merrier,” James said and got up to give Renee a kiss on the cheek.  “And who do we have here?” he asked while extending his hand to Sierra.

“James, this is Sierra,” Renee said, draped in a white fur coat and matching hat. 

“Very nice to meet you, Sierra.”

Sierra smiled giddily.  “It’s an honor to meet you, Mr. Blackthorne.  I’m a big fan of your movies.  I was in the drama program back at Cambridge and your name came up often.”

“Well thank you,” he said.  “Sierra, I haven’t seen you with Renee before.  How exactly do you know each other?”

Sierra started to reply when Renee quickly and purposefully interrupted.  “James, I’m sorry to be so demanding of your time, but there’s really something that I must talk to you about.”

“Of course,” he said and gestured to the doorway.  “Would you excuse us, Sierra?”

She nodded her head, perfectly aware that her mother was still trying to hide her.

Across the room, Alex approached Jordan at the bar and exchanged heated glances with him.  “It’s such a coincidence,” she said with an off-handed chuckle.

“What is?” Jordan asked.

“That you and Renee showed up at the same time.”

“We came together, Alex,” Jordan corrected her and took a swig of scotch.   “I invited her along when we had dinner last night.  I hope that doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable.”

It did, but Alex bit her lip to keep from saying what she really wanted to.  “Of course not.  We’re practically divorced.  It’s only a matter of time before you’re a free agent.  You can see whomever you want.  Although why you’d pick Renee DeWitt is beyond me.”

“Because she’s beautiful, smart, classy, need I go on?”

It was all Alex could do to keep from throwing herself at him at that very minute.  She wanted to tell him that he was making a mistake by taking up with Renee DeWitt.  She wanted to make him see that they still belonged together.

Instead, she decided to play devil’s advocate.  “Who is the attractive young girl accompanying Renee this evening?  I don’t think I’ve seen her before.”

“She’s Renee’s daughter,” Jordan replied.

“Daughter?” Alex asked in shock.   “I wasn’t aware that Renee had a daughter.”

“She’s adopted.”

Alex raised an eyebrow.  “How old is she?”

“Almost twenty.”

Intrigued, Alex folded her hands beneath her chin and grew into a thoughtful daze. "Twenty, you say?"  she said in a whisper.  

"What?" Jordan didn't hear her mumbling.  

She decided to drop the subject of Renee DeWitt for the time being and concentrate on another sore subject.  “Incidentally, I tend to agree with Ed Littleton.  I don’t think you’re going to convince Debralee Scott to give that statement to the press.”

“How did you know about that?” Jordan asked angrily.

Alex shrugged.  “I know everything, Jordan.  For instance, I know that if Nathan Blackthorne comes back to Los Angeles it will be to the detriment of everyone involved.”

Jordan rolled his eyes and poured himself another drink.  “You’re beginning to sound like a broken record, Alex.”

As he walked away, Alex took a long drag of her cigarette.  She was at her wits end trying to convince everyone that Nathan was a menace.  All she knew was that he had no place in their lives anymore.

Renee DeWitt

“Who is Sierra?” James asked Renee in his study.

Renee took a deep breath.  “She’s my daughter.”

"Your daughter?” 

“I adopted her when she was an infant.”

It didn’t add up to James.  “Why didn’t anyone know about her?”

“She’s spent her whole life in Europe,” Renee replied simply.  “I wanted the best for her and that’s what she got.  I went to visit every month.  There’s no secret, it’s just not something that I divulge to everyone I know.”

“Kenny knows then?”

Renee shook her head.  “No.  I never told Kenny.”

Why?” James asked in confusion.  “You were married to him for fifteen years.  How could you keep something like this a secret from him?”

“He would have wanted her to come and live with us, and I didn’t want her to be exposed to his philandering ways.  Surely you can understand that.  You knew about all of his affairs.  Is that the kind of man you think should be influencing my daughter?”

James realized she had a point.  Kenny didn’t have much of a moral code.  “Okay, I won’t say anything to Kenny,” he promised.  “Which might make it a difficult working situation.  I just hired him on as my attorney.”

“How nice for Kenny,” Renee groaned.

“And for me,” James explained.  “It’s thanks to Kenny that the pipeline still has a chance.  He did an excellent job of dealing with the environmental groups opposing us." 

“Well, I guess Kenny is good for something after all.”

James laughed.  “The only problem is that now Blackthorne-Reynolds is in need of additional capitol.  The pipeline is going to cost a bundle more than we’d anticipated.  If I can’t get my hands on fifteen million dollars by next week, we may not be drilling.”

Renee folded her arms and considered his predicament.  “You know, I may know someone who can help you.”

Brooke Taylor

Deciding to get Michael from the nursery to show him off, Brooke walked down the hall to the stairs when she heard the front door open.  She turned and saw Ethan come inside, a droll look on his unshaven face.  They stood silently in the foyer for a minute, watching each other closely and trying to predict what the other would say or do.

“I wondered if you were going to be here,” Brooke said with a tender smile.  She approached him slowly, afraid to say or do the wrong thing for fear that a repeat of the other day would ruin their celebration.

“I wanted to wish Miranda a happy birthday,” Ethan replied grimly.  “Is she inside?”

“Yeah, they’re all in the family room.  Are you joining us?”

Ethan dug his hands into his pockets and looked into her eyes.  He still couldn’t believe she was asking him to deny his own son.   It was like he was talking to a completely different person from the woman he fell in love with so long ago.

“I’d like to see Michael first,” he finally said and glanced up the stairs.

Brooke tensed up, feeling her skin grow cold and clammy all the sudden.  “Ethan, I don’t think that’s a very good idea.”

He frowned immediately.  “Why?  I thought you said that I could see him any time I wanted.  Or was that just another lie, Brooke?”

She shook her head adamantly.  “No, I meant it.  It’s just that-“

“What?  Are you afraid that I’m going to kidnap him?  Are you afraid that I’m going to look into his eyes and not want to give him back?  That I’ll tell James that he’s not his father and that I am!?”

“Stop it,” Brooke cried.  “We’ve been through this.  James is his father now.”

Ethan was disgusted, hurt and angry.  “Am I’m just cousin Ethan, the guy who drops by now and then for dinner.”

“You can be whatever you want to be to Michael,” Brooke said in a whisper.

Shaking his head, Ethan backed up away from her and felt his eyes sting with tears.  “Except his father,” he said before turning and rushing back out of the house.

Brooke cringed at the sound of the door slamming shut.  She hated what she was doing to him, but she didn’t see any other way.

Alex Reynolds

A short while later, Alex made her way into James’s study where he and Renee were seated sharing a bottle of imported champagne.  She surveyed the room, immediately curious as to what they were up to.

“James, everyone is looking for you,” she said, glaring at Renee.  “What’s going on in here?”

Grinning, James handed her a glass of champagne and raised his glass high in the air.  “Saving Blackthorne-Reynolds, that’s what’s going on in here,” he said and took Renee’s hand in his.  “Renee just gave me a check for fifteen million dollars.”

“Money well spent,” Renee preened.

James clinked his glass to hers and then turned to Alex.  “Alex, meet our new business partner.”

Alex stared in disbelief, hoping she had either hallucinated or fallen asleep and had a very bad nightmare.  Partners with Renee Dewitt?  It was too unfathomable to believe.  


Next time....

Alex raises hell about her new working situation.  Jordan kisses Alex.  Ethan sinks into a destructive depression over the family he is denied.  Brett is caught with his pants down.  Alex and Renee spar over Jordan's affection.

 

 

  Read Episode 53

 

 


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