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Episode 54

 

Release Date:  March 2, 2007

 Read the episode Recap 

 

Previously...

Brett had flowers sent to Samantha Fallmont from Stormy hoping to reignite their affair.  Heather walked in on Brett and Terri having sex.  Brett warned Heather not to tell Stormy or Miranda or she'd regret it.  Kenny badgered Renee to tell him who Sierra was.  Dr. Anderson cautioned Stormy that he would have to be there for Heather when she finally came to terms with shooting Will.  Jordan kissed Alex after she appeared jealous of his relationship with Renee.  Brooke and James argued about her obsession with Michael.  Ethan got drunk at the Mardi Gras ball and checked into a room with a woman whom he called by Brooke's name.  Jordan warned Alan Christensen not to dredge up Alex's testimony at Nathan's trial.  A psychic had ominous predictions for Heather and Alex.  

 

 


 

Episode 54

"Tell Me That You'll Open Your Eyes"

 

Reporters from every network and newspaper in California were gathered at the small private airstrip in Los Angeles.  The jet had just landed and the pilot had lowered the steps out onto the tarmac.  Moments later, Debralee Scott emerged from the cabin amidst a hail of camera flashes.  She slowly made her way down the steps, a tight-lipped expression on her perfectly made up face.

“Miss Scott, Los Angeles wasn’t originally on your scheduled book tour.  What made you change your mind?” asked a reporter as she thrust a microphone into the woman’s face.  “Where have you been hiding since the trial?  Are you in contact with Nathan Blackthorne?”

“My publisher was recently bought out and the new owner added the stop to my tour,” she said and brushed her fingers through her windblown hair.  She was a very attractive woman of thirty-four with shoulder-length blond hair and dazzling blue eyes.  Dressed in a mink coat over an expensive Gucci suit, she exuded impeccable class and distinction.   “It’s just business, I assure you.  I have no intention of talking about Nathan Blackthorne.”

“Miss Scott, what do you think of the recent attempts to have child molestation charges against Nathan Blackthorne dropped?” asked another reporter who eagerly fought to the front of the crowd.

“No comment,” she said and placed a pair of sunglasses over her eyes.  She made her way to her limousine and the driver quickly opened the door for her. 

“Good morning,” said Jordan from the back seat.  He grinned mischievously and gestured to the seat across from him.

Reluctantly, Debralee got inside while the driver loaded her luggage into the trunk.   “Jordan Rydell, I might have expected to see you here.  Although I didn’t expect you to hijack my car service.  If you think you’re going to convince me to make some altruistic statement about Nathan Blackthorne, you can forget it.”

He poured them each a glass of champagne and handed one to her.  “I wouldn’t dream of it,” he said with a self assured smile.  “I’m here to talk business.”

“What kind of business?” she asked.

“Well, as your new publisher, I’d like to discuss future book deals,” he said and held up a copy of Help Isn’t a Four Letter Word.

“My new publisher?” she asked, jaw gaping open.  “What are you talking about?”

“I bought the company,” he said with a shrug.  Rydell Productions now owns your book.”

She set her jaw and glared at him angrily.  “So what is this?  Blackmail?  I exonerate Nathan Blackthorne or you drop my book?”

Jordan laughed and shook his head.  “No, I wouldn’t dream of that.  I want you to exonerate him because it’s the right thing to do.  That is, assuming you still maintain that your sexual relationship with him was consensual.”

Debralee hesitated before replying.  “It was.”

"Then why not help your new boss out with this one tiny favor?” Jordan asked.  “If he’s not a rapist, why should he have to live the rest of his life in seclusion?”

She hesitated again and tipped the champagne flute to her lips.

“It isn’t as if I’m asking you to lie,” Jordan continued.

Debralee looked at him and slowly let out a sigh of agreement.

Jordan Rydell

“When I left Los Angeles twenty-years ago, I was a young girl of fourteen,” Debralee stated at the impromptu press conference on the tarmac of the airstrip.  “During the trial, I stated that the sexual relationship between Nathan Blackthorne and I was consensual.  Today my view of those events has not changed.  Nathan Blackthorne did not coerce me into having sex with him.  The prosecutor called it statutory rape, but I call it a consenting relationship between two people.  I was a minor at the time, but I knew what I wanted.  A film career.  Nathan Blackthorne promised me that career, and I believe he would have delivered if he hadn’t been arrested.”

“Miss Scott, what about chapter four in your new book?  It talks about rape survivors.  Is this based on personal experience?” asked Alan Christensen from Image magazine.

“Absolutely,” she replied, causing Jordan to question her intentions.  But just as quickly she continued and he felt at ease again.  “I spoke to many women who are rape survivors.  Their experiences, coupled with intense research by noted psychologists, were the inspiration for that chapter.”

“What about the other witnesses at the trial?” Alan proceeded to ask.

Debralee exchanged glances with Jordan and then turned back to the crowd.  “If you’re referring to Alex Reynolds, we all know what her testimony did to her reputation.  And as I recall, the testimony was thrown out and stricken from court records.”

Jordan rubbed the sides of his head, fully aware that Alex would throw a fit when she saw the press conference on the news.

Alex Reynolds

“That bitch!” Alex screamed and threw an ashtray across the room.

She lit another cigarette and began pacing the living room of her house in Malibu, her nightgown billowing behind her with every step.  She glanced back at the television and fumed with contempt.  What Jordan had done instilled violent anger inside and she quickly marched to the phone to call Kenny DeWitt.  After she reached him, she muted the television and puffed heavily on her cigarette.

“Kenny, you have to get my divorce finalized immediately,” she said.  “I can’t be married to that bastard Jordan Rydell for another day!”

“Calm down, Alex,” Kenny said from his office at Blackthorne-Reynolds.  “I suppose you’re watching the press conference.”

“Of course I’m watching the press conference,” she said and continued pacing.  “It’s on every station for God’s sake!  Now what’s the hold up on the divorce?  I can’t be married to a man that would bring this kind of humiliation to me all over again.”

“Your divorce will be final in a few days,” Kenny declared.  “I’ll send the final papers to you as soon as I get them.”

“See that you do,” Alex said and slammed down the phone.  She turned up the volume again on the television and stared in awe at the way the press hung on Debralee Scott’s every word.

Jordan Rydell

“When Nathan Blackthorne skipped town before the jury could come to a decision, were you in contact with him?” Alan badgered Debralee back at the press conference. .

Debralee shook her head.  “No, my parents refused to let anyone contact me during that time,” she said.  “They were very protective.  When I heard that he jumped bail and fled to France, I was just as shocked as anyone.”  A dramatic pause while she surveyed the crowd.  “And I was relieved.”

Chatter and hushed whispers exploded and reporters continued their questioning.  “What are you saying?  That you didn’t want Nathan Blackthorne to go to jail for what he did?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” she replied flatly.  “And I personally wish that the District Attorney would drop the charges against him once and for all.  I hold no grudges against Nathan Blackthorne.  I've gotten over it.  So should he."”

Blinding flashes from cameras lit up the smoggy morning air as Jordan smiled in satisfaction.  Finally they were almost there.  With Debralee’s statement, the D.A. would look like a fool for not dropping the charges against Nathan.

Hotel Terranova

Miranda walked through the lobby of Hotel Terranova, her heels clicking on the terra cotta floor as she made her way to the elevators.  Complaints about Ethan had been coming in since the night before.  She knew that her cousin was going through a hard time, but now he was there, holed up in the hotel drinking every drop of liquor in the house.

When she arrived at the room, she knocked forcefully and waited for an answer.  From inside the room she could hear loud music blaring, several voices – at least one of them female, and the sound of ice clinking in glasses.  She looked at her watch and noted the time.  Ten-thirty in the morning and he was already at it.

“Ethan, open up,” she called through the door.  “It’s Miranda.  I want to talk to you.”

After a minute or so of rustling around inside the room, the door finally opened and Ethan appeared, naked except for a towel around his waist.  He was unshaven and his hair was tousled.  Miranda was practically knocked over by the stench of stale booze.

“Miranda, what are you doing here?” he asked.

She eyed him carefully, looking past him into the room where two blondes were sprawled out beneath the sheets on the bed.  Empty bottles of wine and champagne were spilled onto the floor and clothes were strewn in every direction.

“I run this place, remember?” she replied, heartsick by the obvious poor shape her cousin was in.  “Ethan, are you okay?  Daddy’s been worried about you.  He-“

“Worried about me?” he asked with a hiccup.  “You’ve got to be kidding.  He’s got Brooke and a new baby to worry about.  What the hell am I to him anyway?”

Miranda was clueless.  “What are you talking about?” she asked.  “Ethan, what’s happened to you?  This isn’t like you.”

He shrugged and rubbed his hands over his bare chest.  “How do you know?” he asked sheepishly.  “As a matter of fact, how do I even know what I’m supposed to be like?  I haven no idea who I am, Miranda.  I simply follow orders as they’re given to me.  Just ask Brooke.”

Still confused, Miranda threw her hands up in resignation and gestured into the hotel room.  “Fine.  I can see that you’re in no condition to talk.  But you’d better believe you’re going to pay for the damage in this room.”  She motioned to the women on the bed who were now making out and writhing around beneath the covers.  “That includes new sheets.”

Ethan shrugged indifferently and closed the door, eager to return to his guests. 

Heather Blackthorne

Heather went to Sunset Studios, desperately avoiding eye contact with Terri as she made her way into Stormy’s office.  She still couldn’t shake the disgusting feeling of walking in on Brett and their secretary on Stormy’s desk the other night.  It was clear that Brett was still up to his old tricks, and she wanted so badly to tell Miranda. 

“I didn’t know you were stopping by today,” Stormy said and got up from his desk.  “Is everything okay?  Do you have an appointment with Dr. Anderson?”

She shook her head and walked languidly over to him.  “No, I just can’t stop thinking about what that psychic said.  About my child paying for my sins.  It’s driving me crazy.”

He smiled and looked at her light-heartedly.  “People like that are dramatic by nature,” he said.  “It’s a character she’s playing.  Don’t read into any of it.  It’s all in fun anyway.”

Heather sighed and ran her fingers along a shelf of Filmmaker awards.   “I was so paranoid that I took a pregnancy test this morning.”  She saw the way he looked at her and she quickly shook her head.  “It was negative.  The only person I’ve been with is…”   She stopped herself, thinking about that night with Philip Whitacre and the other actor.  Thankfully she hadn’t gotten pregnant from that horrible night.

“Just try to relax and don’t let it upset you.”

“I thought we could hang out today,” she said hopefully.  “Maybe go to a matinee?”

Stormy smiled apologetically and gestured to a mountain of scripts and paperwork on his desk.  “I’d love to, Heather, but I’ve got a ton of work to do today.”

“Oh.”  Her tone was full of disappointment and her sad eyes sunk to the floor.  “Well maybe we could have dinner tonight.”

With that, the unsettling feeling that Stormy had been trying to ignore for the past few weeks came at him like a tidal wave.  It was clear that Heather was hoping he could be more than a comforting shoulder to cry on.  Their marriage was over and he had moved on.  Now he realized that Heather had not.

“Yeah, I think that’s a good idea,” he finally said, deciding that tonight he would tell her that they weren’t going to get back together.  He would be there to support her through her sessions with Dr. Anderson, but only as a close friend.

Miranda Blackthorne

“You can’t tell her that,” Miranda insisted over lunch with Stormy at Hotel Terranova that afternoon. 

“Why not?”

“Because Heather is in a fragile state right now,” Miranda explained.  They were sitting on the terrace that jutted out from the restaurant overlooking the tennis courts.  “She still hasn’t come to terms with what she did to Will Thomerson.  Do you want to add the disappointment of her dreams crashing all around her on top of that?”

“I don’t want to lead her on,” Stormy declared.  “I mean, I love Heather and I always will.  But I’m not in love with her anymore.  I didn’t think she was in love with me either until recently.”

“Well what do you expect?  You’ve been with her night and day for the past few weeks.  I never thought I’d see it happen, but you’ve developed a savior complex.  What happened to the old Stormy who only thought about himself?”

Stormy rolled his eyes and playfully flicked a french fry in her direction.

Jasmes Blackthorne

James left City Hall that afternoon and went back to his office at Blackthorne-Reynolds where Alex was waiting for him, poised dramatically by the window.

“Good afternoon,” he said with a smile and removed his suit jacket.  “Do we have pipeline business to discuss?”

“I couldn’t care less about the pipeline right now,” Alex said, her eyes burning into his.  “Why in hell did you bring that woman back here?  Did you hear what she said about me at that press conference?  She all but called me a liar.”

“She did not call you a liar.”

“She might as well have,” Alex said and lit a cigarette.  “James, I do not understand why you had to go dragging all of this up again.”

“I already told you.  He is a brilliant actor and director and I want him here.”

Alex stepped forward and leveled a look of detriment in his direction.  “Even after what he did to me?  I realize we’re no longer married, but do you really have that much disregard for my feelings?”

James met her gaze.  “It’s a little hard with your story changing every five minutes at the trial,” he said ominously.  “Remind me, Alex, what was your final decision?  Were you or were you not raped by my uncle Nathan?”

Alex lunged forward and grabbed him by the arms.  “You know damn well I was!”

“So you said on the witness stand when you were called for the prosecution,” James said angrily.  “They wanted to prove that Nathan was a rapist and you conveniently labeled him as one.”

“It happened!”

“Then why did you later change your testimony?”

“Because he threatened me!” Alex cried, turning and burying her face in her hands.  “I had no choice!”

“So instead of sticking to your original story, you chose to go to jail for a month on perjury charges?” James asked.  “Tell me, Alex, if you had really been raped, why would you change your story and go to prison if you didn’t have to?”

“He said he would kill me!” Alex screamed.

“So not only is my uncle a rapist, but also a murderer?” James scoffed.  “Alex, please don’t do this.  We don’t have to dredge all of this up again.  Just accept the fact that he’s coming home and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Her hands trembling, Alex shook her head in protest and ran for the door.  “I’m sorry but I can’t,” she said, her voice filled with terror.  “That man attacked me in our own home.  He’s a rapist.  Debralee Scott lied about their relationship being consensual.  I know it!”

“You’re reaching, Alex,” James said angrily.

Shaking her head in despair, Alex opened the door and ran out into the reception area.  Madam Valda’s words kept playing over and over in her mind.  What if Miranda became a victim of Nathan’s?  Or Heather?  She’d never been more frightened in her entire life.  And now, after the premonition that Jordan would die at the hands of Nathan, she was beside herself with anxiety.  If only James could see it her way.  If only he and everyone else believed her about that night so many years ago.

Renee DeWitt

Renee opened the door of her suite at Hotel Terranova and set her jaw angrily when she saw Jordan standing in the hall with a bouquet of roses.

“I know what you’re going to say but please let me speak first,” he said and walked into the suite.

“How do you know what I’m going to say, Jordan?” Renee asked and slammed the door angrily.  “If you’re talking about that press conference this morning then you’re right.  I don’t appreciate being lied to.”

“I didn’t lie to you,” Jordan replied.

“You told me that the chances of Nathan returning were slim.  Now along comes Debralee Scott with her self help crap and the media suddenly sees Nathan as a misunderstood matinee idol!”

Jordan set the flowers down on the partition between the entry and the sunken living room.  “I knew how you felt about Nathan Blackthorne because of his past, but I figured that after you heard Debralee Scott’s statement you would change your mind.”

“So I’m supposed to just believe that he isn’t a monster just because this woman says so?” Renee asked, placing her hands firmly on her hips.   “She was one of many young girls that he seduced into bed.  Your own wife claims that he raped her.”

“Alex said that she made it up out of spite because of their past together,” Jordan remarked.  “So there’s absolutely no reason to believe that he’s a danger to anyone.”

Renee folded her arms, uncertain whether to let Jordan off the hook or not.  She had grown to care about him a great deal and hated to throw it away on something that wasn’t entirely his fault.  He didn’t know the rest of the story.  He didn’t know the hell that Nathan Blackthorne had put her through.  He may not be a rapist, but she had her own reasons for not wanting him back in Hollywood.

Brett Armstrong

Back at Sunset Studios, Brett leaned back in his chair behind his desk while Terri massaged his shoulders. 

“Are you sure she’s not going to say anything to anyone?” Terri asked, running her hands down his strong arms.  “I don’t want to get fired, you know.”

“Nobody’s getting fired,” Brett said with a smirk.  “Heather may be stupid, but not stupid enough to go blab to Stormy or to my wife.  She has too much to lose.”

The phone rang out in the reception area and he groaned, frustrated by the interruption but realizing that they had to carry on with business as usual while they were at the office.  Terri sighed and reached over for the phone.

Sunset Studios,” she answered in a perky, professional voice.  “No, I’m sorry, Stormy isn’t in the office right now.  I’m expecting him back shortly.  Would you like to leave a message?”

Brett slipped his hands beneath her blouse and unfastened her bra, smiling devilishly as he tried his best to distract her.  Having her on his lap was driving him to the brink of insanity and he couldn’t wait another second.

“Okay,” Terri said into the phone.  “Eight o’clock, Suite 520, Hotel Terranova, Samantha.  Got it.  I’ll make sure he gets the message.” 

She hung up the phone and Brett quickly pushed her off of his lap and grabbed the phone message from her hand.  Samantha?” he asked.  “Did she say what it was about?”

Terri frowned and shook her head.  “No, but it sounded personal.”  She reached down to his belt and attempted to unfasten his pants but Brett quickly pushed her hand away, suddenly more concerned with another project.  “What’s wrong?  Who is Samantha?”

Stormy grinned, looking down at the message with glee.  “The ticket to my future,” he said.

Blackthorne Mansion

When Miranda got home from work later that afternoon, she went upstairs and found Brooke walking down the hall from the nursery.  She smiled and stopped in the hallway.

“How’s my baby brother doing today?” she asked.

“He’s good,” Brooke replied and walked down the hall with her.  “The nanny’s in giving him his bottle right now.”

“Is Daddy home yet?” Miranda asked.

Brooke shook her head.  “No, but he just called,” she said.  “He and Jordan are meeting with the D.A. again.  I guess Nathan will be coming home in a day or so.”

“Daddy seems really excited about it.  It’s funny, he looks up to his uncle so much, just like Ethan used to look up to him.”

The remark caused Brooke pause and she stopped on the landing.  “What do you mean used to?”

Shrugging, Miranda thought about that morning at the hotel.  “I don’t know exactly what his problem is, but Ethan is a mess.  He’s been at the hotel since the Mardi Gras ball, drunk, and running through women like they’re going out of style.”

What?” Brooke asked in a whisper.  She hated the thought of Ethan doing that to himself.  Sadly, she knew it was her fault.  Keeping Michael from him was taking its toll, and she supposed he was acting out the only way he knew how.

“He said something strange,” Miranda continued.  “Something about you and James calling the shots where he was concerned.  And then he said that he didn’t know who he was.  Do you know what he would have meant by that?”

The remark sent Brooke into a tailspin.  She knew immediately what he meant.  He must know the truth about his father.  Somehow he must have found out that James hid it from him and he was drowning his sorrows in booze and women.  Her heart broke for him.

Quickly, she started down the stairs and grabbed her purse from the table inside the foyer.  “Miranda, if I’m not back by the time the nanny takes her break, would you mind keeping an eye on Michael for me?”

“Sure,” Miranda said with a frown.  “But where are you going?  Is something wrong?”

Brooke didn’t stop to answer her.  She threw open the front door and raced outside to her car parked in the circular drive.

Sierra Merteuil

The cocktail lounge at Hotel Terranova was deserted, the staff preparing for the evening rush and the host of regulars and hotel guests alike.  Sitting alone at the piano in the corner, Sierra tinkled the keys lightly and hummed a soft melody.

“That’s lovely,” said a voice as a shadow loomed above her.  “You’re not only beautiful but you’re talented as well.”

She looked up and did a double take at the sight of Kenny DeWitt leaning against the piano.  Her first instinct was to run away, but the kind look in his eyes swayed her into staying put.  Just because he and her mother were divorced didn’t mean she wasn’t allowed to speak to him, no matter what her mother said.

“Thank you,” she said sweetly, her dark curly hair framing her face as she leaned over the keys.  “I’ve studied music my whole life.  I was in the drama and music department at Cambridge.  Plus I took some dance classes.”

“So you’re what Hollywood would call a triple threat,” Kenny joked.

Sierra blushed.

“So you’re from Europe?” Kenny asked with a grin.  He couldn’t place where he recognized her from.  Something about her face looked so familiar to him.  “How long have you been in Los Angeles?”

“Just a few weeks,” Sierra replied while continuing to strum the piano keys.  “I came for winter break, but now I’ve decided to stay for good.”

“Well that’s wonderful,” Kenny announced with a smile.  “And how is that you came to live in Europe?”

“I’ve lived there since I was born,” Sierra explained.  “Mother came to visit once a month, sometimes longer during the summer.  I went to private school at Wycombe Abbey and finishing school at Villa Pierrefeu, then a semester at Camridge, and now...I just want to be here.”

Suddenly the realization slowly dawned on him.  All those times Renee would leave for shopping trips or meetings with the European division of Merteuil Industries.  It was all a cover.

“Sierra, is Renee your mother?” he finally asked, looking into her eyes.

She couldn’t help but laugh at the question.  “Well of course she is,” she said and pulled her fingers from the piano keys.  “You knew that, right?”

Kenny slowly shook his head in reply.  He felt betrayed.  Granted, he and Renee were no longer married but he felt he deserved more than fifteen years of lies.

“She never told you about me?” Sierra asked in a shrill voice as she shot to her feet.  “I don’t believe this!  No wonder she didn’t want me to come here.  No wonder she didn’t want us to meet!”

“I don’t understand it myself,” Kenny exclaimed.  “But you must tell me, Sierra, who is your father?”

She frowned.  “My mother and father died,” she said.  “When I was just a baby. That’s when Mother…er…Renee adopted me.  She and my parents were close friends.”

Kenny was more confused than ever.  How could his wife have had an adopted daughter than he knew nothing about?  Why would she have kept that a secret for so long?

Brooke Taylor

Upstairs, Brooke knocked lightly on the door of room 1013, pausing briefly and reconsidering her decision to go there in the first place.  What good could come of it anyway?  She’d already told Ethan that he couldn’t be Michael’s father in name or in any other way.  How did she expect him to react to her showing up there?

But before she could walk away, the door opened and Ethan appeared.  He looked worn and haggard, dressed in rumpled jeans and a plain white tee shirt.  She could hear a woman in the background calling out his name.  Quickly, she realized that she was the last person that he wanted to see.

“Brooke,” he said.  “What are you doing here?”

She shrugged and looked around nervously.  “I was worried about you,” she said. 

“Why?”

Her eyes met with his and she shook her head.  “I shouldn’t have come,” she said and started off down the hallway to the elevators.

Ethan quickly ran after her, bolting from the hotel room and pulling her back by the arm.  “You had to have come for a reason.  The last time we spoke you told me that I have no place in your life.  Or Michael’s.  What else is there to say?”

She turned back and looked at him with sad eyes.  Seeing him in such turmoil was breaking her heart.   “Miranda told me what you said to her.  She told me that you know the truth about Will.”

“The truth about Will?” Ethan asked in confusion.

“I swear to you, Ethan, James only did it to protect you,” Brooke insisted.  “He didn’t want to hurt you.  You have to believe that.”

Ethan frowned at her and ran his fingers through his hair.  “What are you talking about?  What did James do to protect me?”

Suddenly Brooke realized maybe she was wrong.  Ethan didn’t know that Will was his father.  She’d made a horrible mistake.  “I meant that he…” she stammered uncomfortably.  “He just thinks of you as a son, that’s all.”

Ethan shook his head.  No, that’s not what you were going to say,” he insisted.  “What did James do to protect me, and what does it have to do with Will?”

Tears exploded into her eyes as she realized she’d destroyed everything that James had done to protect his nephew.  “Ethan, please, just drop it.  I’m begging you.”

Tell me!” Ethan yelled and grabbed her by the wrists.  “Damnit Brooke, no more lies!  You lied to me for months about being Michael’s father, now don’t lie to me again!  Tell me what James did!”

“He lied to you about your father!” Brooke screamed through a fit of tears.  “He told you he didn’t know who you father was but he lied!  Ethan, please, let it go!  It doesn’t matter because-“

“Tell me!” he hollered, shaking her violently.

Sobbing, Brooke closed her eyes and looked away from him when she told him.  “Will Thomerson was your father,” she said.  “James and his parents kept it a secret from you.”

Stumbling backwards, Ethan froze and stared at her with wide eyes.  He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

Will was my father?” he whispered to himself.  “Did he-“

“He knew,” Brooke answered before he could finish his sentence.  “He knew for weeks before he died.”

“And you and James never told me?” a devastated Ethan asked.

“I only found out the night I went to his house,” Brooke explained.  “The night he was murdered.  He told me he kidnapped Michael to pay James back for keeping the two of you apart.  I wanted to tell you but I-“

“And don’t you see what that secret did to all of us?” Ethan asked.  “Our baby was kidnapped because of this secret.  How can you even stand to be in the same room with my uncle knowing that?  Knowing that he was the reason Michael was taken from us?”

“He only kept it from you to protect you,” Brooke cried.  “Please, Ethan, if you don’t believe anything else I tell you at least believe that.”

“You’re right, I don’t believe anything you tell me,” Ethan said spitefully.  “Once upon a time I might have.  But the Brooke Taylor I’m looking at now is not the woman that I fell in love with.  You’ve changed.  Living in that house has made you into something that I don’t even recognize.”

“That’s not fair,” she cried, tears streaming down her face.

“So tell James that I’m Michael’s father,” Ethan challenged her.  “Tell him the truth and I’ll forgive him for lying to me about my own father.”

Startled by his request, Brooke waited a beat and then shook her head.  “I can’t,” she said.  “You know I can’t do that, Ethan.”

He shook his head in disappointment, realizing that history was going to repeat itself one way or another.  He’d been lied to about his father, and now Michael was destined to the same legacy.

“Ethan, wait!” Brooke called after him as he went back to the room and slammed the door shut behind him.

A sinking feeling of doom overcame her as Brooke buried her face in her hands and cried silently.  Ethan was right.  She was just as bad as James for keeping a secret that was bound to ruin lives.

Blackthorne Mansion

Brett sat quietly in the family room at the Blackthorne mansion, tapping lightly at his laptop and nursing a scotch on the rocks.  When Heather entered the room and looked around, he stopped and called after her.

“Heather, wait,” he said, running out into the hall after her.

She frowned and turned to face him.  “I’m not in the mood for you right now,” she said spitefully.  “I was looking for Stormy anyway.  If you’ll excuse me.”

Brett quickly went into action.  “Yeah, he told me to tell you that he’s waiting for you at Hotel Terranova.”

“Did he say where?”

“Suite 520.”

Frowning, Heather looked at him with unblinking eyes.  “He wants me to meet him in a hotel room?” she asked.  “We were just going to have dinner.”

Brett shrugged with a cocky smile.  “It sounds to me like he’s planning on a little more than dinner.”

Disgusted by his smarmy tone, Heather turned and started down the hall to the foyer.  If Stormy had gotten a suite for them and was waiting for her there, then maybe the signals she’d been getting from him were correct.  With any luck, they’d be back together by the end of the night.

Brett watched eagerly as she left through the front doors.  He smiled, satisfied that he’d put the ultimate plan into motion.  Actually, when he had the flowers sent to Samantha Fallmont several weeks before, he hadn’t expected it to take her so long to contact Stormy.  But now things couldn’t have worked out better.  Heather would walk in on them together and forget all about what she saw the other night in his office.  His worries about being discovered with Terri were over.  And, as a side benefit, James would blow a gasket when he learned that Stormy was seeing Samantha again.  Things were definitely turning around.

Alex's House

Alex heard the doorbell ring at her house in Malibu and she quickly got up to answer it, remembering that Veronique had the night off.  She pulled the door opened and gasped at the sight of Alan Christensen standing at the door.

“What the hell do you want?” she asked, preparing to slam the door shut on him.

“It’s been a long time, Miss Reynolds,” Alan said and forced himself inside.  He paused and looked around the meticulously decorated home.  “Very lovely.  I expected nothing less from you.”

“You haven’t answered my question,” Alex continued.  “What do you want, Mr. Christensen?”

Alan poured himself a drink at the bar and turned to her with a smile.  “A quote for starters,” he replied.  “Now that Nathan Blackthorne will be returning I’m sure you’ll want to rethink your testimony…again.”

“I have no comment,” Alex said with a scowl and snatched the drink from his hand.  “Now please leave.”

But Alan sat down on the sofa and crossed his legs.  “I ran into your husband at the Mardi Gras ball.  He wasn’t happy with a story I ran in my magazine.  He said rehashing your testimony was unfair.  I wonder if he knows that you were the one who gave me the exclusive on what really happened twenty years ago?”

Alex folded her arms and looked away nervously.

“A beautiful starlet is called to testify at a trial,” Alan summarized.  “She provides damaging testimony that the defendant raped her and therefore the jury would have surely issued a guilty verdict.  But suddenly before the verdict is read, she changes her story and says that she lied.  She spends thirty days in jail for perjury and grants me an interview where she tells me everything.”

“You’re a bastard,” Alex seethed, hating to be reminded of her mistakes.

“I believe you when you say that you were raped, Miss Reynolds,” Alan remarked and stood up again.  “It’s just a shame that Nathan Blackthorne fled the country before the verdict could be read.  I’m sure if you had kept to your original story, he would have been found guilty and would be in prison.  But you were scared.  You said that you lied.  The judge called a recess until the next day, giving Blackthorne the opportunity to flee.”

Alex followed him to the door and issued him a look of warning.

“You’re the reason he went free,” Alan said.  “I just hope you can live with that now that he’s coming back.”

When he finally left, Alex leaned against the door and closed her eyes.  She knew that he was right.  By changing her testimony, she allowed Nathan to escape.  Now he was coming home and she was afraid to think of what would happen next.

Hotel Terranova

Their naked bodies clashed under the sheets of the hotel room.  Soft music played and candles illuminated the dark room.  Stormy explored every inch of Samantha’s body, relishing every second they spent together.  In his wildest dreams he never thought he’d see her again.

“When I got your message I came straight here and waited in the lobby,” he said, trying to catch his breath after their exhaustive lovemaking.  “I must have been here for hours just waiting to come up and see you.”

Samantha grinned and traced her finger down his chest.  “I just couldn’t stay away any longer,” she said.  “I’ve thought about you so much over the past few months.  When I read about you being arrested I wanted so badly to see you.  But I knew I had to stay away.  If Timothy thought I was seeing you again-“

“Shhh,” Stormy said, refusing to think about anything but the two of them.  He planned on making love to her all night and shutting out the rest of the world.

“Then when I got those flowers-“

A knock at the door interrupted her thought.  Sighing, Samantha got up from the bed and slipped into a luxurious Egyptian cotton robe.

“Don’t answer it,” Stormy pleaded.  “Just ignore it and they’ll go away.”

Samantha grinned and leaned in for a kiss.  “It’s just laundry.  I had a dress sent down for cleaning and they’re probably dropping it off.  I’ll only be a second.”

Sighing, Stormy sprawled out on the bed and waited for her to return.  Samantha walked to the door and pulled it open with a flourish.  Peering across the room, Stormy’s gaze landed on a sight that caused panic to course through his entire body.

“Heather,” he said and shut up off the bed.

“I’m sorry, I thought that-“ Heather began, tears stinging her eyes as she backed up away from the door.  She suddenly felt like a fool.  Brett had sent her there fully aware of what she would walk in on.   But how could she blame anyone but herself?  She’d thought Stormy had changed, that he really cared about her.  Now she was suddenly reminded of two years ago when she found him in bed with another woman.

“Wait a second, Heather, please!” Stormy said, wrapping a sheet around his body and rushing to the door.  “I can explain.”

But Heather was already racing back down the hall, tears streaming down her face.

Ethan Blackthorne

Ethan lifted the bottle of vodka to his lips and guzzled it down like water.  He wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his shirt and threw the bottle across the room, sending shards of glass splintering in every direction.

Taking in heaping gulps of air, he paced the hotel room and ran his fingers through his tousled hair.  The pain of realizing his entire life had been a lie was like thousands of daggers stabbing through his heart.  James, Brooke, Will, they all lied to him.  On top of that, his son was destined for the same torture. 

Becoming more and more agitated, he grabbed his keys from the nightstand and headed for the door.  The only thing left to do was confront James.  Not only about Will, but about Michael.  He was going to tell his uncle the truth once and for all.

Stumbling through the doorway, he started down the hall to the elevator in a drunken daze.

Kenny DeWitt

Kenny pounded on the door of Renee’s hotel room.  He waited impatiently for her to answer and rushed inside when she opened the door.

“Kenny, I thought I told you that you can’t just drop by here anytime you want!” Renee spat.  “In case you’ve forgotten, our divorce is final.  Now please leave.”

Kenny stepped down into the living room and turned to face her.  “Not until you tell me why you lied to me about Sierra,” he demanded.  “How could you not tell me she was your daughter?”

The room started spinning and Renee quickly had to brace herself to remain upright.  She took a breath and walked across the room where she absently shuffled a stack of magazines on the coffee table.

“I don’t owe you any explanation, Kenny,” she said.  “We’re no longer husband and wife.  That means that anything I tell you about my life is privileged information.”

“Fifteen years, Renee,” he said, grabbing her by the arm and turning her to face him.  “Fifteen years we were married and you said nothing to me about her.  Now I think I deserve to know why.”

“No you don’t deserve to know why!” Renee screamed.  “You don’t deserve to know anything!  You slept with other women and you hid it from me for years and now you have the nerve to accuse me of lying to you?”

Finally Kenny had had it.  “You know what, Renee, I don’t care anymore.  I don’t care that I slept around on you and that you found out,” he shouted.  “Because what you did was ten times worse.  You adopted a child and then hid it from me and everyone else for twenty years!  How could you do that?”

Before Renee could answer, the door opened and Sierra walked inside.  “That’s what I’d like to know, Mother,” she said.

Suddenly, Renee felt as though she was being ganged up on.  She wanted to give them the answers they needed but she couldn’t to do it.  No one could know why she hid Sierra for so long.

“Darling, please.  Just go to your room and wait for me,” she finally said, reaching out to her daughter.  “I’ll be in in a few minutes and we’ll talk, okay?”

Sierra shook her head.  “No, I’m not going to my room.  I’m twenty years old, Mother.  I want to know why Kenny didn’t know about me.  I want to know why nobody here seems to have known that you had a daughter.”

“Well?” Kenny asked, his eyes riveted to hers.  “Answer her, Renee.”

“Kenny, just stay out of this,” Renee said, placing her head in her hands and wincing from a terrible headache.  “I’d like to talk to my daughter alone, please.”

“Are you ashamed of me, Mother?” Sierra asked.  “Is that it?  Is that why you didn’t tell Kenny about me?  Because if so then why did you even adopt me if you didn’t want me?”

Renee quickly shot toward her.  “But Sweetheart, I did want you,” she said.  “Please believe that.  I always wanted you.  I just wanted to protect you, that’s all.”

Backing up toward the door, Sierra burst into tears and shook her head again.  “I don’t believe anything you tell me!”

With that, she turned and bolted out of the room.  Renee started after her and stopped in the doorway, wringing her hands together with apprehension.  She couldn’t believe how everything had blown up in her face.  She wished she could tell Sierra the truth, but it was impossible.

“I hope you’re happy now,” Kenny said and walked past her.  He paused in the doorway and shot her a look of disappointment before starting off back down the hall.

Heather Blackthorne

Heather raced inside the Blackthorne mansion and slammed the door so loudly that it rattled on its hinges.  Miranda came rushing from down the hall after hearing the commotion, desperately wondering what was going on.

“Heather, are you okay?” she asked.

Heather looked up at the staircase landing where Brett had just come from the guestroom.   “Miranda, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but I think it’s best that you know what your husband is up to.”

“Heather,” Brett said with a warning tone.

“What now?” Miranda asked and slapped her hands to her sides.

 “I walked in on him the other day screwing his secretary at the studio,” Heather reported, her eyes burning into Brett’s with white hot anger.  She didn’t care what he did or said to her anymore.  He was a bastard and he deserved everything he got.  “He’s cheating on you, Miranda, and I’m sure it’s not the first time.”

Miranda turned and looked at Brett up on the landing.  She glared at him with contempt and took a step forward.  Suddenly she felt more liberated than she had in months.  She felt in control.  Now she knew that there was only one thing left to do.

“Miranda, I can explain-“ he began, suddenly realizing that all the manipulating in the world couldn’t save him now.

“Save it, you jackass,” Miranda cut him off with a decidedly self assured tone.  “This is the end of the line for you.  Say goodbye to this house, to your job at my father’s studio, and to me.  You’re finished.”

Brett stared in disbelief, fully aware that he was ruined once and for all.

Hotel Terranova

Back at Hotel Terranova, Ethan handed his valet ticket to the driver and waited for him to bring his car around.  When his shiny blue BMW arrived, he shoved the driver out of the way and climbed into the driver’s seat.  The driver and the bellman exchanged worried glances.

“Sir, I don’t think you should drive,” the valet driver said.  “You look like you’ve had quite a bit to drink.  If you’d like me to call you a cab-“

Ethan ignored his remark and gunned the engine, peeling out from the curb and starting to make the turn around the circular drive.  Through his blurred vision, he steered the car up onto the curb and nearly hit a couple walking from the tennis courts.  They quickly dodged away just in the nick of time.  The BMW slammed into a pile of luggage and bell carts, sending them flying out onto the drive.  He ignored the near catastrophe, pressing the gas without a second thought.

At that moment, Sierra raced outside to the porte-cochere.  She wiped the tears from her eyes and glanced around the front drive of the hotel.  Where was a cab when she needed one?  The only thing she wanted to do was get away from her mother as fast as she could.  The lies that she’d told her were unforgivable.  Hiding her from Kenny all these years was like a slap in the face.  It made her feel worthless and unwanted.  She’d never felt so alone in her entire life.

“Ma’am, do you need a taxi?” asked a bellman as he approached.

She shook her head, certain that Renee was probably fast on her heels to lure her back for more lies.  The best thing to do was get away as fast as she could. 

She darted off the curb and across the circular drive, paying no attention to Ethan’s car careening toward her.

“Stop!” cried one of the bellman, but it was too late. 

The car hit her head on and sent her crashing to the pavement with a sick sounding thud.

“Oh my God!” a woman cried and raced over to Sierra’s unconscious body.

“Is she alive?” the bellman asked and bent down to check for a pulse.  “Somebody call an ambulance!”

As Sierra lay motionless, Ethan stirred awake in the driver’s seat of his car.  A trickle of blood ebbed down his forehead and he slowly focused on the road ahead.  His eyes flashed open wide, horrified as he realized what he’d done.

 


Next time....

Nathan Blackthorne returns after a twenty year exile.  

 

  Read Episode 55

 

 


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