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Episode 53

 

Release Date:  February 18, 2007

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

James urged Miranda to reconsider her plans to divorce Brett.  James and Jordan tried to convince Ed Littleton to drop twenty year old rape and molestation charges against Nathan.  The assistant D.A. warned them that if Nathan returned to the U.S. he would be arrested.  Jordan struggled to locate Debralee Scott, a witness from the trial who claimed her relationship with Nathan had been consentual. Heather began seeing a psychiatrist.  Alex cryptically warned Renee that Nathan might be coming home.  Renee grew angry when Alex minimized her relationship with Jordan, then later casually hinted to Jordan that he should drop his campagin to free Nathan.  After Brandon quit, James hired Kenny as his retainer attorney, who helped get them out of trouble with environmentalists opposing the pipeline.  Brooke refused to let Ethan see Michael.  Renee gave James fifteen million dollars to bail Blackthorne-Reynolds out of financial trouble, and became parterns with him and Alex.  

 

 


 

Episode 53

"For Future Reference"

 

Miranda rushed about the lobby of Hotel Terranova like a woman on a life or death mission.  Toting a clipboard, she checked items off a list, yelled orders into her cell phone, and motioned for her banquet staff to follow her into the ballroom.   Decorators, chefs, and waiters flocked about the ten thousand square foot room, hurriedly getting preparations underway for a last minute party that happened to come to Miranda three nights earlier while laying in bed.

“No, I said doubloons!” she screeched into the phone.  “Not balloons!  Who ever heard of chocolate covered balloons?  If those coins aren’t delivered in like…now…then I’ll never use your company again for another event at this hotel, and you’ll be stuck doing bar mitzvahs in Northridge for the entire wedding season.”

She clicked off the phone just as Link, the hotel concierge, approached with a panic streaked expression on his face.

“Miss Blackthorne,” he began.

“What is it, Link?” Miranda asked, snapping her fingers at two men carrying in a giant swan ice carving.  “Get that out of here.  It’s supposed to be a mask carving, not a swan.  My God, that thing is atrocious.”

“Miss Blackthorne, the truck carrying the crawfish broke down on the 101.  It sat with no air conditioning for two hours and…”

“And what?” Miranda demanded.  She was out of patience.  She realized the party was last minute, but she felt like she was dealing with amateurs.  Nothing was going right.

“Well, the crawfish didn’t make it.”

“What do you mean they didn’t make it?” she asked.  “Isn’t that sort of the point?  I doubt any of our guests are going to want to eat live crawfish.”

Link shrugged uneasily.  “It’s just that…they were compromised.  Without air conditioning in the truck…”

“Jesus, get me the name of the nearest seafood vendor.  If we can’t use crawfish we’ll have to use shrimp.  There, problem solved.”

She turned and threw her hands up in resignation as Link ran off in the other direction.  Yes, she knew she was overcompensating for the train wreck her life was in, but at least she had something else to focus on other than her failed marriage.

Alex Reynolds

“This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me,” Alex fumed as she paced her office at Blackthorne-Reynolds, leaving a trail of cigarette smoke in her path.  “How could do you do this to me, James?  Allowing Renee DeWitt to buy herself into our company?  It’s ludicrous!”

James rolled his eyes, fed up with Alex’s melodramatic tantrum.  “We needed additional capitol to start the pipeline.  Renee was willing to give us a check for fifteen million dollars.  What was I supposed to do?  Say no thank you?  Every day that pipeline is held up we lose a hell of a lot of money.  This was the only way.”

Alex slapped her hands to her sides and sighed with defeat.  “So not only have I been forced into doing business with my ex-husband, but now I have to do business with Renee DeWitt too?  This is just great.”

“Renee and I are both in agreement.  The deal is as good as made, Alex.  You’re outvoted.  You’re just going to have to deal with it.”

Alex groaned with displeasure, puffing at her cigarette as she stared out the window of the twenty-story office in downtown L.A.  Renee had managed to insinuate herself into her life, not only with Jordan, but with James as well.  It was like twenty years ago all over again.

“I suppose they’re going together to the Mardi Gras ball tonight at Hotel Terranova,” she fumed under her breath while thinking about Renee and Jordan.

“What?” James asked as he flipped through a stack of mail.  He was no longer paying attention to her.  Every melodramatic word out of his ex wife’s mouth was beginning to get on his last nerve.

Renee DeWitt

In the office next door, Renee was unpacking a box of personal belongings, smiling adoringly as she looked at a picture of Sierra.  She placed it neatly on her desk before floating across the room to pour herself a cup of coffee.  A second later, the door opened and Sierra marched inside, a garment bag slung over her shoulder.

“Hello Mother,” she said and looked around the posh office decorated in pastels and comfortable furnishings.  “Wow, this place is amazing.  Look at the view!”

“Sierra, what on earth-“ Renee began.  “I didn’t expect to see you here this morning.”

Shrugging, Sierra sat down on an overstuffed sofa and crossed her legs.  “I just picked up my costume for the Mardi Gras ball tonight and I wanted you to be the first to see.”

“Mardi Gras Ball?” Renee murmured.  She’d happily accepted Jordan’s invitation, but never thought of how to handle Sierra.  All of Hollywood would be there.  And as far as she was concerned, far too many people knew about her daughter already.

“Yes, it’s tonight.  You didn’t forget, did you?”

“Sweetheart, about the ball,” Renee began with uncertainty.  “I don’t think I’m really in the mood to go.  It’s just going to be a bunch of boring society types with nothing important to say.  Why don’t we go to the movies instead?  Then we can have a late dinner out together.”

But Sierra wasn’t budging.  She squinted hard at her mother and folded her arms in a huff.  “You’re still trying to hide me, aren’t you?” she asked.  “Just like last week when we went to Miranda Blackthornes’ party.  I felt like an intruder the whole time.  You didn’t even bother to introduce me to any of your friends.  Why?”

Renee knew it was hard for her daughter, but she was only doing it for her own good.  She walked across the room and sat down next to her.  “Darling, it’s not like that.  I just want to be careful, that’s all.  My life here is very complicated.”

Before Sierra could open her mouth to reply, the door opened and Kenny walked inside.  His eyes narrowed on Renee and Sierra as they sat on the sofa.  “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you had company.”

Renee shot to her feet in a panic.  “Kenny, what are you doing here?” she asked, looking back and forth between him and Sierra. 

“I work here, or are you forgetting?” Kenny replied with a devilish grin.  “Looks like fate would have us together even after everything that’s happened.”

Renee put her hand on the door and attempted to close it on him.  “Fate has nothing to do with it.  I’d prefer to call it misfortune.”

Kenny pushed the door open again.  “I’m sorry, I don’t believe I’ve met the young lady.”  He walked back into the room and extended his hand to Sierra.  “I’m Kenny DeWitt.”

“Nice to finally meet you,” Sierra said with a smile.  “I’m Sierra-“

Renee quickly shot into action.  “I really have a lot to do today, Kenny,” she said and pushed him to the door.  “Go see James and Alex with whatever it is you’re here about.”

Unable to shake the feeling that she was hiding something from him, Kenny grudgingly left the office and went out into the hall as the door was shut abruptly on him.  He frowned, finding it impossible to keep from wondering why Renee was in more of a hurry than usual to get rid of him.

Inside the office, Sierra walked toward her mother and folded her arms.  “Why did you do that?  Why did you throw Kenny out so fast?  You know I’ve wanted to meet him.”

Renee closed her eyes tightly, summoning all of her inner-strength.  She turned around and put a hand on her shoulder.  “I already told you.  Kenny and I are through.  I have no intention of getting you and he acquainted.  Now please drop it, Sierra.”

But Sierra wasn’t satisfied.  She eyed her mother skeptically and wondered if there was more to it than she was letting on.  Her desire to keep her hidden was extreme even for her.

Stormy Blackthorne

Stormy sat cross-legged in Dr. Anderson’s office downtown, nervously drumming his fingers on the sole of his Gucci tennis shoes while the psychiatrist leveled a look of warning at him.

Heather’s told me what a help you’ve been to her these past few weeks,” Dr. Anderson began, fidgeting with his glasses and beard.  “She’s very dependent on you, Stormy, and I’m afraid that’s only the beginning of the problem.”

“What do you mean?” Stormy asked.  “Isn’t Heather making progress?”

“No,” he replied matter-of-factly.  “Your ex-wife doesn’t have a very firm grasp on reality right now.  She’s blocking out the murder and everything that led up to it.”

“Another blackout?”

Dr. Anderson shook his head.  “No, no, not a blackout.  She hasn’t forgotten about what happened.  She’s simply refusing to talk about it.  She’s in denial, and suffering from severe displacement characterized by her dependence on you.”

“Me?” Stormy asked, full of surprise.

“In cases where a patient suffers from a guilty conscience, or a traumatic event, they sometimes latch on to someone, or a relationship, in an effort to distract themselves.  In Heather’s case that someone is you.”

“So I’m a distraction to Heather?” Stormy asked in bewilderment.

The doctor shrugged.  “In a manner of speaking, yes.  Let me ask you something, Stormy.  Are you and Heather becoming romantically involved again?”

Stormy shifted uneasily in his chair.  “Well, we’ve been spending more time together lately, but that’s just because I think she needs me.  But we haven’t talked about getting back together, or becoming involved.  We’re divorced, Dr. Anderson.  We’re just friends.”

“Heather doesn’t see it that way.”

Stormy rubbed his hand over his face and took a deep breath.  The last thing he wanted to do was lead Heather on.  “So are you saying I should step back and give her some space?”

“Not necessarily.  I’m afraid if you do, she’ll withdrawal completely.  As it is, you’re the only thing keeping Heather together.  Just be careful not to lead her on too much.  Don’t make her any promises and don’t push too hard to remember your past together.  Just be a friend to her.  Be there for her when she needs you.”

Stormy nodded and stood up.  He walked to the door and turned back before leaving the office.  “Is Heather going to be all right, Dr. Anderson?”

He hesitated and nodded his head.  “Yes, in time she will be.  But first she’s got to deal with what happened.  It’ll hit her one day when she least expects it, and the only thing that can help her through it is you. “

The remark chilled Stormy to the core.  He knew it was a big responsibility, but he had to do it.  This could be his chance to make it up to Heather for the way he wrecked their marriage.  Shaking the doctor’s hand, he left the office and approached Heather waiting in the lobby.

“Stormy…is everything okay?” she asked and clung to him uneasily.

“Everything’s fine,” he replied and tried leading her to the door.  “Come on , let’s go.”

She stopped and turned to him.  “What did Dr. Anderson want to talk to you about?  Did he say that there’s anything wrong?”

Stormy looked into her hazel eyes and forced himself to smile.   “No, there isn’t anything wrong.  Come on, I’m going to drop you off at home.”

“Where are you going?” Heather asked, her voice full of concern.

“I have to go to work for a while.  But I’ll try to finish early and pick you up for the party.”

Heather nodded uneasily, wishing that she could spend the rest of the day with Stormy.  She hated the thought of going back to her room at the mansion by herself.

Jordan Rydell

Alex walked into Jordan’s office at Rydell Productions and stopped when she saw him talking on the phone while standing at the window.  She sighed, folding her arms and waiting impatiently for him to finish.

“You just said that she’s on a book tour,” Jordan said in a rage.  “She’s got to have a stop in Los Angeles coming up.  All I want is a chance to meet with her.”

Alex narrowed her eyes on him, realizing that he was probably talking to Debralee Scott’s agent.  The prospect made her even angrier and she considered taking the phone from him and throwing it across the room.  Why was her husband so intent on talking to this woman?  Even if she did come back to L.A., there was no guarantee that the D.A. would drop the charges against Nathan Blackthorne.

“Yes, see that she gets the message.  I want to talk to her today.”  Jordan hung up the phone and turned to Alex with a look of annoyance on his face.    “Did we have an appointment?”

She ignored his snide remark and strode purposefully toward him.  “Don’t be petulant,” she said.  “Who was that on the phone?  Or do I even need to ask?”

His eyes challenged hers and he sighed heavily.  “Leave it alone, Alex.”

Deciding that she should tackle one problem at a time, Alex dropped the accusing tone in her voice and focused on what she really came there about.  Jordan, you need to do something about your new girlfriend.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Renee DeWitt.  She’s ruining my life.”

Jordan smiled and shuffled a few movie scripts on his desk.  “You mean because she’s you and James’ new partner?” he asked with a chuckle.  “It’s like a bad comedy bit.”

“Which is exactly why you have to talk to her and get her to back out.”

“I was under the assumption that she saved your asses,” Jordan remarked.  “Without her fifteen million, you would have been sunk.  If I were you I would accept the fact that she’s in it for the long haul and thank her for doing it.”

Alex was aware that he was on Renee’s side only because they were suddenly romantically linked.  He probably enjoyed the fact that she and Renee were thrown into a working relationship.

“Do you ever think of anyone but yourself?” she charged.  “I mean, think about what this situation is going to do to me.  You know that Renee and I have never gotten along.  Ever since that whole mess with-“

Jordan shot her a quick penetrating stare and threw his hands up in resignation.  “I think you’re just jealous,” he said.

“Jealous?” Alex gasped.  “Of her?  You’re delusional!”

Grinning, Jordan stepped forward and looked into her mesmerizing eyes.  “I think you just can’t stand the fact that I’m spending time with her, and now you’re being forced into a partnership with her.  You don’t want to have to see her every day and wonder if she and I are sleeping together.”

“You’re so full of yourself,” Alex declared.  She searched deep down and knew, however, that he was right.  At least partly.  She and Renee had a volatile history, but throwing her and Jordan together was the icing on the cake.

Jordan came so close to her that Alex could feel his hot breath on her neck.  She fought off the temptation, backing up a step to get away from him, but Jordan grabbed her firmly and pulled her closer.  Before she knew it, he was kissing her passionately.  She resisted at first, but then found herself kissing him back, her arms wrapped tightly around him.

Pulling away, Jordan grinned and knew that she wanted him as much as he wanted her.  Despite the horrible things they’d done to each other, the impending divorce, and the fact that he was seeing Renee DeWitt, they belonged together.

Alex backed up, fighting her feelings and racing for the door.  She bolted outside and left Jordan standing in his office, certain that he and Alex weren’t finished.

Jasmes Blackthorne

After a brief meeting with Kenny regarding the pipeline, James stopped by a costume shop in Hollywood before going home to check on Brooke and the baby.  He made his way into the nursery where Brooke was feeding Michael his bottle, snuck up behind her and kissed her warmly on the cheek.

“Hello there,” he said and stroked his hand through Michael’s soft fine hair.  “I expected you to sleep in today.  You were up every two hours with him.  Did you get any rest?”

Brooke smiled and gazed down at the baby.  “I don’t mind.  After all those months of being apart from him I have a lot of catching up to do.”  She noticed the garment bags in his hand and raised an eyebrow.  “What’s this?”

James kissed her again and continued stroking Michael’s hair.   “I took the liberty of picking up our costumes for Miranda’s Mardi Gras ball tonight.  I hope you like it.  You’ll be the most beautiful woman there.”

Brooke looked at him apologetically.  “James, I don’t know,” she said.  “I don’t think I can leave Michael just yet.  I know how important this is to you and to Miranda, but-“

“Brooke, you haven’t been out of the house since you were released from jail,” James said with a tender smile.  “I know you want to spend time with Michael, but you can’t withdraw from society.  You have to make appearances every now and then.”

Brooke stood up and laid Michael down in his crib before turning and wrapping her arms around herself.  “I thought that you of all people would understand,” she said defensively.  “You know what being apart from Michael did to me.  How can you stand there and tell me that making an appearance at some society event is more important than spending time with our son?”

James realized that he hit a nerve and he quickly tried to calm her.  “I never said that it’s more important.  Nothing is more important than Michael.  I just don’t want you to forget about yourself and your own needs.  Even the best mothers in the world need time away.”

“Well I don’t,” she said bitterly and turned back to the crib.  “Being with Michael makes me happy.  If you want to go, then go.  But don’t expect me to go out and drink champagne while my son is home by himself.”

“He won’t be by himself,” James insisted.  “The nanny will be here, and Leilani…”

“James, I said no!” Brooke exclaimed and burst into tears. 

Realizing that there was no changing her mind, James decided to let it drop.  “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you.”   He grabbed the garment bags and walked out of the room to the hall. 

Brooke placed a hand on her forehead and struggled to fight back her tears.  She knew she was being obsessive when it came to Michael, but she couldn’t help it.  She’d left him one night for a movie premiere and didn’t see him again for six weeks.  She’d never make that mistake again.  She’d spend every minute with him if she had to.

Miranda Blackthorne

Miranda left Hotel Terranova that afternoon once she was sure things were safely underway for the ball.  A quick stop at a boutique on Rodeo Drive to pick up her dress, then back home to soak in a hot bath before she had to go play hostess.  She sat on her bed undressing when Brett knocked and entered in one quick motion.  She looked at his reflection in the dressing mirror and sighed heavily.

“This isn’t your room anymore, remember?” she asked, trying to unclasp a necklace from her neck.  “You’re down the hall on the right.”

Ignoring her harsh tone, Brett walked up and attempted to help her with her necklace.  She frowned and quickly slapped his hand away.

“I just wanted to tell you that I’m going to be late to the party tonight,” Brett said, feigning innocence.  “I have some movie budgets to go over and it might take a while.  I didn’t want you to worry.  But I’ll be there.”

"Yeah, like I’d really be worried, Brett,” Miranda said hatefully and spun around to face him.  “Come to the party whenever the hell you feel like it,” she added, her tone dripping in sarcasm.  “Or better yet, don’t come at all.  I really don’t care.”

Angered by her callous attitude, Brett sighed and turned to leave again.  He paused before going out into the hall, wishing that things could go back to the way they used to be.  He truly did love Miranda.  If only she would see that. 

Brett Armstrong

The sun was going down in Hollywood as Brett drove his Mazarati through the iron gates of Sunset Studios, waving to the security guard in the guard shack and pulling into his VIP parking space.  He hopped out of the driver’s seat and made his way into the building.  When he got to his office, he saw Terri sitting behind her desk looking hotter than ever in a skimpy low-cut dress and her long dark hair cascading down her back.

A grin spread across his face as he approached her and caressed her cheek with his hand.  “I was hoping you’d still be here,” he said, growing immediately aroused by the intoxicating scent emanating from her skin.

Terri stood and shook her head.  “We can’t right now.”

Brett pawed at her like an animal.  He wanted to throw her over the desk and have his way with her.  It was all he could think about all day, but naturally Stormy was right there the whole time.  Coming back in the evening was the only way he could see her for one of their private sessions.

“Brett, no-“ she insisted.

Just then, the door to Stormy’s office shot open and Brett quickly jumped away, digging his hands in his pockets and trying his best to appear innocent.

“What are you doing back here?” Stormy asked with an edge to his voice.

“I…uh….wanted to work on some budgets,” Brett replied and tried to catch his breath.  “What are you doing here so late?”

Stormy handed Terri a stack of scripts and slipped on a sport coat.  “I’m headed home to pick Heather up for the party,” he said.   “Try not to commit any felonies while I’m gone.”

Brett ignored his remark and folded his arms casually.  “I’ll see what I can do,” he said as Stormy made his way out of the office.  After he’d gone, he clenched his jaw angrily.

“Sorry, I was trying to tell you he was here,” Terri explained.

Suddenly, a mischievous smile spread across Brett’s face and he took her arm, leading her into Stormy’s office and propping her up on his desk.  “Forget Stormy,” he said and kissed her neck.  His excitement went into overdrive with the prospect of screwing their secretary on his rival’s desk.

“Shouldn’t we go to your office?” Terri asked as Brett lifted up her dress and unbuttoned his pants.

“No, let’s do it right here,” he said and pulled off his shirt.  He could think of no better way to have a laugh at Stormy’s expense.

Terri smiled with excitement and ran her hands down his muscular chest, pausing at his waistband and pulling his underwear down with ease.  She threw her head back in ecstasy as Brett began making passionate, hurried love to her.  

Heather Blackthorne

Heather got ready for the party and impatiently paced around her bedroom while waiting for Stormy.  She looked at her watch and decided he was probably still at the office, so she thought about going to meet him there instead of making him come all the way home to pick her up.  Grabbing her mask and handbag, she headed for the door and went out to her car in the porte-cochere.

Minutes later, she arrived at Sunset Studios and entered the reception area.  Terri wasn’t at her desk and she didn’t see Brett in his office.  Stormy’s door was shut so she decided he must be in a meeting. 

After waiting a minute or two, she looked at her watch again and grew worried that they’d be late for the party.   She approached Stormy’s office and paused at the door, frowning at the voices coming from inside.  It didn’t sound anything like a meeting.

She pushed the door open and stood in shock at the sight of Brett and Terri on Stormy’s desk making love like wild animals.

She backed up, mortified by what she saw.  Images of tht night in Joel Armitage's office flashed before her eyes.  Even more mortifying was when Brett turned and saw her standing there.  Her eyes flew open wide and she backed up again.  Brett quickly stopped his frantic pace and instinctively pulled up his pants. 

“Oh, sh-“ he groaned and attempted to run after her.  “Heather!”

But she was already gone, flying out the door to the parking lot.  Brett cursed himself, leaning against the doorframe and panting with exhaustion.  He knew that he was in trouble.  Heather would surely tell Stormy and Miranda about his inter-office romance with the secretary.  Then he’d be in worse shape than he already was.

Hotel Terranova

In less than twelve hours, Hotel Terranova had been transformed into a festive Mardi Gras spectacle that rivaled any that Hollywood had ever seen.   Lavish decorations, ornate centerpieces, an authentic Cajun buffet, and hundreds of strands of beads filled the ballroom on the main floor.  Over a hundred guests had already arrived, each one showing up in a more glamorous gown than the last, and everyone carrying gorgeous hand-made bead and sequin masks.  An enormous baroque archway at the ballroom entrance served as a dramatic point of entry for the most influential people in Los Angeles. The foyer was filled with charming vendors selling everything from flashing bead necklaces to private readings by Madam Valda the fortune teller.

Miranda was stationed by the entrance, warmly greeting guests who appealed to her, and offering a phony welcome to those who didn’t.   She was dressed in a floor-length red satin gown, her black hair tied up on top of her head and an elaborate red and silver beaded mask in her hand. 

“Thank you for coming,” she said to Jack and Adrienne Fallmont.  “Daddy will be happy to see you.  He’s over there with my brother.”

"Fabulous party, Miranda,” said Marilee Wells-Walker, who wore her husband Seth like a trophy on her arm.  “You certainly have your mother’s flair for the dramatic.” 

Just then, Heather made a breathless entrance, her face flushed and her eyes darting around nervously.

“Heather, there you are,” Miranda said and grabbed her step-sister’s arm.  “Stormy’s been looking for you.  He said he went home to pick you up but you’d already left.  Is everything okay?  You don’t look very good.”

“Miranda, I-“  Heather began, fully intending to tell her exactly what she’d walked in on back at the studio. 

“Heather, thank God,” Stormy interrupted as he approached.  “I was worried about you.  Leilani said you left the house an hour ago.  I thought I was going to come pick you up.  What happened?”

She suddenly felt pressured, unsure of how to tell them both about Brett.  “I guess we got our wires crossed,” she said with uncertainly.  “You thought you were picking me up, I thought I was meeting you here…”

“Sounds like you two need to communicate more,” Miranda joked, then became distracted when a friend from high school entered with her actor husband.  “Oh my God!  You look so good!”

Stormy led Heather off to the side of the room and looked deep into her eyes.  “Hey, are you okay?” he asked.  “Is something else bothering you?”

She shook her head.  “No, I just got freaked out when I didn’t know where we were meeting,” she said, unsure of why she wasn’t ratting Brett out right then and there.  He deserved it, there was no question.  But after all the work Miranda had put into this party, she hated to drop a bomb like that on her. 

“Well we’re here now,” Stormy said, unable to keep himself from smiling as he put his arm around her.  “Come on, let’s go get a drink.  I think I want to visit that fortune teller too.  Miranda says she’s really good.”

Renee DeWitt

Across the room, Renee left Jordan and Sierra’s side and was getting a drink at the bar when Alex approached and leveled her penetrating gaze on hers.

“Enjoying yourself?” Alex asked.

“Very much so, thank you for asking,” was Renee’s coy reply.

“Good, because the only reason that you’re here is because James hasn’t realized what a mistake it was to take you on as our partner,” Alex said.  “Once he does, and he will, your services will no longer be needed.”

Renee looked at her in disbelief.  “Does that include my fifteen million dollars?”

“We don’t need your money, Renee,” Alex insisted.

“Funny, that’s not the way James put it.  As I understand it, my becoming a partner is the only way that you’re going to be able to get that pipeline through.  Otherwise all you have is a barren piece of land in the Rockies.”

“You’re out of your league, Renee,” Alex spat.  “With Blackthorne-Reynolds and with Jordan Rydell.”

Renee took a sip of champagne and licked her lips.  “You don’t know what goes on between Jordan and I.”

Nothing goes on with you and Jordan,” Alex quipped, then smiled in enjoyment as she delivered the next bit of bad news.  “As a matter of fact, I went to see Jordan in his office earlier today and we had quite the moment.”

“Really?” Renee asked, unaffected by her games.

“Yes,” Alex said and stepped closer.  “See, Jordan and I have this chemistry.  We may be apart for now, but we’ll always end up together.  And you, much like your association with my company, will be a thing of the past.”

“Don’t count on it,” Renee said and attempted to rush away.

“I see that Sierra's joined you and Jordan this evening,” Alex said in an effort to get her attention.  Just as she predicted, it worked.

“What do you know about Sierra?” Renee asked and started back to her.

Alex gave an offhanded shrug and clutched her purse tightly.  “Jordan told me that you adopted Sierra as a baby and that she’s been living in Europe ever since,” she said, eyeing her suspiciously.  “Quite a coincidence.”

“What’s your point, Alex?”

She offered an innocent smile and waved her hand through the air.  “Oh, nothing,” she said.  “I’m probably just overreacting.  You know me, an actress through and through.”

“Yes,” Renee said, trying to determine what Alex was getting at.  “You are that if nothing else.”  She gave her a final look of warning and turned to walk away.

Alex set her jaw, angered that nothing she could say got to Renee.  Her part in Blackthorne-Reynolds she could almost handle, but her seeing Jordan was something she was determined to stop.  Maybe uncovering the truth about Sierra was the key.

Jasmes Blackthorne

“You’ve really got to come by the house more often, Ethan,” James said to his nephew as they stood in a quiet corner of the room.  “Michael is getting so big you wouldn’t believe it.  I swear, he’s going to be walking any day now.”

Ethan swigged a big gulp of scotch and nodded angrily.  It took every ounce of will power to keep his feelings inside.  It should be him watching his son grow up, not James. 

“Where is Brooke tonight, anyway?” Ethan asked. 

“She isn’t quite ready to leave Michael home yet,” James said with a proud grin.  “I think she just needs more time to get used to things.  Eventually she’ll get back to normal.”

Ethan gritted his teeth, wishing that he could tell his uncle exactly what was going on, but knowing that he couldn’t.  It wasn’t his decision to make.  Brooke had to be the one to tell the truth.  The only problem was, he didn’t think she ever would.

Brett Armstrong

Brett raced into the ballroom in a panic, tying his bowtie and fumbling with his mask.  He looked around the room for a few minutes until he spotted Miranda standing talking with Alex.  She seemed happy, no scowl to speak of, so maybe Heather hadn’t blabbed yet.  After another quick scan of the room, he spotted Heather standing alone as Stormy started off to the bar.  He quickly approached her, and when she saw him she attempted to dash off.

“Hey, wait up,” he said and grabbed her arm.  “I wanted to talk to you about earlier.”

She rolled her eyes and jerked her arm away.  “If you’re wondering if I’m going to tell Miranda what I saw tonight, the answer is yes,” she spat.  “She has a right to know what a lying scoundrel her husband is.”

Brett put his hands up and shrugged.  “Fine with me,” he began.  “But just so you know, Miranda is the one who asked me for a divorce.  The only reason she hasn’t filed yet is because her father doesn’t approve.  As far as I’m concerned, I can see whomever I want.”

“I doubt very much that Miranda or her father would approve of your affair with your secretary,” Heather claimed.  “And neither would Stormy.”

“Is that so?”

“Wake up, Brett,” she remarked with aggravation.  “You’re one step away from getting thrown out of that house and this family.  Do you really think that your latest stunt won’t be the final nail in your coffin?”

He folded his arms and leveled an accusing look at her.  “And what about you?  I suppose your place in this family wasn’t over a long time ago?  You and Stormy aren’t even married anymore, and yet you’re still living at the mansion and following him around like a puppy dog.”

“Stormy is trying to help me,” Heather insisted.  “That’s something that you would know nothing about.”

Brett laughed wickedly, taking a step closer and looking into her hazel eyes.  “The only reason Stormy is trying to help is because he feels sorry for you,” he said.  “He pities you, Heather.  You’re a cold blooded killer and you got off with a slap on the wrist.”

“They said it was self defense,” Heather replied, her hands trembling.

Again, Brett laughed.  “That’s what James and your father led the police to believe,” he said.  “But we all know differently, don’t we?  You shot Will Thomerson when he was defenseless.  If the judge ever got wind of that, I’m afraid your slap on the wrist would turn into something much more serious.”

Heather glared angrily at him.  She couldn’t believe how hurtful and callous he was at times.  “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”   She attempted to dart past him again but Brett pulled her back.

“I would suggest you don’t say anything about what you saw tonight,” he said, his eyes full of warning.  “Not to Miranda, and not to Stormy.”

Heather got the picture loud and clear.  He was threatening her.  Without another word, she pulled away and ran across the room toward the lobby.  Brett smiled, satisfied that he’d prevented anyone from finding out about his newest plaything.

Ethan Blackthorne

After his brief talk with James, Ethan went to the bar in the hotel lounge and ordered drink after drink in rapid succession.  He’d been at it since before the party started and he had no intention of stopping.  He didn’t care about anything anymore.  The only thing that took away the pain was alcohol. 

“Mr. Blackthorne, I think you’ve had enough,” said the bartender.  “Do you want me to call you a cab?”

Ethan laughed and gulped down his scotch. His face was unshaven and his wrinkled tuxedo was unkempt.  His entire life for the past week consisted of staying drunk all day and cavorting around town every night with a string of anonymous women.  All in an effort to drown out the pain.

“A cab?” he scoffed, his speech slurred.  “No, I don’t want you to call me a cab.”

An attractive woman sat down a few stools down and Ethan immediately grinned, crawling toward her and trying his best to speak clearly.  “Hi, come here often?” he asked, not too drunk to realize he wasn’t being terribly original.

The woman gasped in disgust, insulted by his remark and even more insulted by his scruffy appearance.  She quickly got up and moved to a table across the room.  Ethan laughed out loud and tried going after her but he stumbled and fell to the floor, toppling the stool with him. 

“You look like you could use a hand,” said a voice from above.

Ethan climbed to his feet and saw a woman, dressed in pale blue, low-cut wrap dress and a suburban haircut.  She was probably from the Valley and spent the afternoon shopping in town.   “I could use more than that,” he said, mentally undressing her and staring down her cleavage.

“What’d you have in mind?” she asked with a wink.  “Are you here for the party?  Because I walked in there and thought I was underdressed, so I came out here to have a drink.”

“You’ve not underdressed,” he murmured and pawed at her.  “You’re overdressed, believe me.”

“Well why don’t we get a room and we’ll do something about that?”

After a clumsy check-in procedure, Ethan led her upstairs and sprawled out on the bed.  The woman stripped off his shirt and climbed on top of him, licking his nipples and running her hands over his bulging muscles.

“That’s good,” Ethan moaned.  “Brooke, you always know what I like.”

“What?” she asked and shot up.  “My name’s Sarah.  Who in the hell is Brooke?”

Frustrated, Ethan grabbed her by the arms and threw her onto the bed.   “Sorry, Sarah,” he said, covering her with kisses and undressing her quickly.   He felt himself growing more aroused by the second, taking off his pants and climbing on top of her.

“Go slow,” she said, put off by how hard and rough he was being with her.

But Ethan persisted, forcing his powerful frame on top of her and prying her legs apart.  “You like it rough, I know you do.”

“No, I don’t,” she cried.  “Look, I was just having fun.  You seemed like a nice guy who needed some company, I-“

“Come on, Brooke, stop being a tease,” he said, finally succeeding in entering her roughly.  “You used to tell me how good I was…”

“Stop it!” the woman cried and struggled beneath him.  “I’m not Brooke!  Get off of me!”

But Ethan persisted, pinning her arms against the bed and ravaging her.  He went in to kiss her and she bit down hard on his tongue.  Screaming at the top of his lungs, he lost his strength and rolled off onto the floor when she pushed him away.

Crying and whimpering, Sarah grabbed for her dress and her wedding ring that laid on the nightstand.   “You sick pervert, you need help!” he screamed, slipping her dress around her body and grasping for her shoes and purse.  “You’re just damn lucky that my husband doesn’t know I do this or he’d kill you with his bare hands!”

Ethan laid on the floor in pain, his tongue bleeding and the room spinning as he heard the door slam shut.   He’d never felt so lost and miserable in his entire life.  First he lost Brooke to James, then he lost his son to James.  Now here he was alone in a hotel room with nothing and no one.

Kenny DeWitt

Kenny had been eying Renee all night, making his way around the party and waiting for the right time to approach her.  Finally, he had a clear shot and immediately made his way toward her as she chatted casually with Adrienne Fallmont.  Without so much as stopping to pardon the interruption, he grabbed her arm and led her across the room in a huff.

“Kenny, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” she asked in a rage.  “Take your hands off of me!”

“Not until you tell me what you’re doing here with Jordan Rydell,” Kenny demanded.

“That’s none of your business!” she declared.  “Who I see is not of your concern anymore, Kenny.  The day you began cheating on me was the day you gave up any rights when it came to me and my life.”

Realizing he couldn’t argue on that front, Kenny decided to switch arguments altogether.  “Does that include that young woman in your office today?” he demanded, staring into her eyes with insistence.  “Who was she and why were you in such a hurry to-“

She pulled her arm free and slapped him clean across the face.  “How dare you march in here and make demands of me!  I didn’t accept it when we were married and I certainly won’t accept it now!”

“We’re still married, Renee,” Kenny fumed, ignoring the stinging sensation on his cheek.  “And as long as we are, I forbid you to keep secrets from me.”

“You forbid me?” she asked and laughed in a bold and haughty manner.  “Well let me tell you something, Kenny, nobody forbids me to do anything.  Is that understood?  And as far as our divorce goes, my lawyer called me today.  The final papers will be messengered to you first thing in the morning.  Our marriage is most assuredly finished!”

Heather Blackthorne

Heather sat down at the small round table where Madam Valda was seated, eyes closed, humming silently to herself.  On the table was a small clear crystal ball, a pair of dice, a purple velvet ribbon, and a stack of cards.  Heather immediately felt nervous, stood up, and attempted to leave, when Stormy stopped her.

“Come on, it’ll be fun,” he said through a fit of laughter.  “You’ve been tense all night.  Don’t you want Madam Valda to tell you what great things are waiting for you?”

Heather rolled her eyes and sat back down in the chair.  Madam Valda opened her eyes and gestured to the items on the table.  “Which fortune method you like?”

Shrugging, Heather pointed to the crystal ball.  “That’ll be fine.”

Madam Valda, a fiftyish woman with curly red hair tied in a silk scarf, long flowing robes, and lots of gold rings on her fingers, placed her hands on the small orb and closed her eyes again.  The crystal ball suddenly lit up and Heather and Stormy exchanged wary glances.  

“Trouble in your past,” she said in her broken Hungarian accent.  “Many obstacles you have overcome.  I see things that are left in the balance.”

“What things?” Heather asked.

“The laws of nature,” Madam Valda said with certainty.  “They are out of synch.  When persons take matters of fate into their own hands, they must accept karmic justice.”

Heather jolted back, fully aware of what the woman was talking about.  She refused to let her continue.  She didn’t want to go on.  She stood up and clutched onto Stormy. 

“Your child.  She will be the one to pay through karmic justice,” Madam Valda said, nodding her head repeatedly.  “I see great pain and sickness.”

“I don’t have a child,” Heather said insistently.  “You’re wrong about that.  You’re probably wrong about all that laws of nature and karmic justice crap too.”

“Could not be of this life yet,” Valda said and shrugged.  “The laws of nature insist your child will pay for your sins.  I see this and it is a certainty.”

Heather shook her head, her eyes stinging as she looked at Stormy and ran off in tears.  When she was gone, Stormy looked at the old woman and slammed his fist down onto the table.  “Was that fun for you?” he asked.  “Torturing a woman like that?  You need to tone it down, lady.  You could really hurt people with this crap.”

When Stormy turned and left, Madam Valda sighed and looked back into the crystal ball.  What she saw frightened her so much that she plastered her hands to her face and shrieked in horror. 

“Beware of betrayal by someone you trust in,” she chanted to herself.  “He will make you do his own bidding.  It is only a matter of time.”

Jordan Rydell

Jordan washed his hands in the men’s room and turned to grab a towel from the attendant, when he spotted a copy of Image magazine on the counter. Frowning, he picked it up and turned to the cover story.  The photograph and headline sent anger coursing through his veins and he immediately dashed back out to the ballroom.

He looked around the crowded room until he spotted Alan Christensen.  Angered, he dashed over to him and threw the rolled up pages of the magazine against his chest.    Alan looked down at the pages lying on the floor and offered an amused smile.

“I take it you have a problem with my magazine, Jordan.”  Alan Christensen was tall, had an exceptional build for a man of forty-six, and had sexy blue eyes and grayish blond hair.  He was a leading magazine entrepreneur and had amassed a great fortune from his successes.

“This article is nothing but sensationalistic journalism.” Jordan yelled, glaring wildly at him.  “How dare you print something like that.”

Alan shrugged and lifted his drink to his lips.  “I had my facts checked, Jordan,” he said patronizingly.  “The truth of the matter is that the public deserves to know what kind of man you’re trying to set free into the world for your own selfish movie-making needs.  Nathan Blackthorne is a pedophile.  He took advantage of young girls.”

“They were consensual,” Jordan said.  “Debralee Scott even said so during her testimony.  If you’d have interviewed her for your story you would have known that.”

“But I couldn’t, because she isn’t speaking to the press.  Not about this anyway.  How convenient that she became recently famous for writing a self-help book.  Did you know there’s a chapter dedicated to rape survivors?”  He met Jordan’s gaze and stepped closer.  “Where do you think she got the inspiration for that chapter?  Come on, Jordan, do you realty think that Debralee Scott is the person to help you get those charges dropped?”

“Rehashing the entire courtroom drama in your magazine is only going to remind people of what happened and why he was on trial in the first place,” Jordan said.  “If this article hinders my chances of bringing one of the greatest actors of our time back to Hollywood, then you’ll have me to answer to.”

Alan smiled in amusement as Jordan turned and stormed back through the crowd.  He reached down and picked up the magazine, flipping back to the story where a photo of Alex Reynolds on the witness stand during the trial was displayed prominently just above the headline.

Alex Reynolds

The woman sat down across from Madam Valda, her eyes covered with the beaded mask.  She looked down at the tarot cards and slowly lowered the mask.

“Hello Madam Valda, it’s been a long time,” she said.  “I’m sorry I haven’t been to see you for a reading lately, but so much has been going on.”

“I know this,” Madam Valda said. 

“So you know why I’ve come?” Alex asked.

Madam Valda nodded and gestured to her cards.  “Please to cut the deck.”

Alex took a deep breath and lifted half the deck of cards, placing it neatly beside the other half.  She sat back and carefully watched the woman’s face.

After a few moments of silence, Madam Valda ceremoniously lifted the cards and began placing them in a circular arrangement around the table.  She hummed quietly to herself and sighed when each card was revealed.

“What do you see?” Alex asked in bated breath.

Shaking her head, the old soothsayer closed her eyes and held up one of the cards.  “The card of Judgment,” she announced, then laid it down and picked up another.  “The Emperor.”  She laid that one on top of the other and picked up a third.  Curses,” she whispered.

“Madam Valda?”

“The Devil,” she revealed and showed Alex the card.  “Very unfortunate.”

“What does it mean?” Alex asked, her heart racing and her eyes darting back and forth between Madam Valda and the cards.  “Please tell me.”

“An act committed on you in the past will repeat itself on another,” Madam Valda explained.  “The Judgment card tells you were a victim by this man.  The Emperor talks of your subconscious mind and the fear the envelopes you because of this man.  The Devil card is the evil force behind the man.  What he did to you will be repeated onto another.”

Alex covered her mouth with her hand and whispered to herself.  “I knew it,” she said, more sure than ever that Nathan’s return was going to spell trouble for them all.   “Madam Valda, can you tell me anything else?  Can you see who he’ll hurt next?"

She shook her head adamantly.  “No, that is all the cards tell me,” she said.

Alex sighed and pushed her chair out, preparing to leave when the fortune teller lifted another card and shrieked at the top of her lungs.  Quickly, Alex shot forward and looked at her with pleading eyes.

“Madam Valda, what is it?” she demanded.

“A man very special to you,” the woman revealed.  “Will fail at the hands of this man.”

“Fail?” Alex asked in confusion.  “What do you mean?  I don’t understand.”

“HE WILL DEPART THIS EARTH!!!” Madam Valda screamed dramatically and showed Alex the Death card.  She then flung her head down onto the table and began moaning and chanting silently to herelf.

Eyes wide, Alex covered her mouth with her hands and stared at the skeleton on the face of the card.  She shook her head in despair, turning and gazing across the room at Jordan dancing happily with Renee.

 


Next time....

Debralee Scott comes to Los Angeles.  Brett sets Stormy up for a fall.  Miranda and Brooke become increasingly concerned about Ethan.  Alan pays Alex a visit.

 

  Read Episode 54

 

 


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