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Episode 57

 

Release Date:  April 11, 2007

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Dr. Anderson encouraged Stormy to be emotionally available to Heather for when she finally came to terms with murdering Will.  After seeing Stormy in bed with Samantha, Heather moved out of the mansion.  Miranda kicked Brett out and then flew to Acapulco to get a quickie divorce.  Renee revealed to Jordan that Sierra is her biological daughter, and that Nathan is her father.  Alex warned Brooke about Nathan.  James blasted Brooke for inadvertantly letting it slip to Ethan that Will was his father.  At Nathan's welcome home party, Debralee snuck into his bedroom and waited for him to enter, then angrily told him how he'd ruined her life.  Debralee shot herself in front of Nathan.  

 

 


 

Episode 57

"Blind Trust"

 

James and Brooke stood in the foyer and grimaced as the paramedics carried the stretcher down the stairs from the second floor, a blood stained sheet covering Debralee’s body.  Police and crime scene investigators crowded the entire mansion while Leilani escorted the last few party guests to the door.  Jordan hung behind, his arms crossed as he went over the evening’s events in his mind.

“This is just awful,” Brooke said under her breath.  “That woman came into our house with a gun while Michael was just upstairs in the nursery.  She could have...“

“She wouldn’t have hurt Michael,” an irritated James cut her off.   He glanced up and spotted Nathan making his way down the staircase, followed by Detective Baines. 

“It’s awful, isn’t it?” Nathan said dramatically and patted James on the back, then pulled Brooke into an embrace.  “She was so young and so beautiful.  She was a published author.  So much to live for.”

“Any idea why she did it?” James asked.  “Did she say anything to you?”

Nathan shook his head.  “I wish I knew.  Like I just got done telling Detective Baines here, I was walking down the hall to my room and heard the gunshot.  I opened the door and the poor thing was dead, the gun still gripped in her lifeless hand.”

Jordan’s forehead creased in concentration.  He didn’t pretend to know when Nathan was on the level or performing, but something inside told him this was a performance of a lifetime.

“It appears there’s only one set of fingerprints on the gun,” said Baines.  “We also found powder residue on Miss Scott’s hand, which makes sense if she pulled the trigger herself.”

“Of course she pulled he trigger herself,” James said irately.  “I hope you’re not trying to turn this around and make it my uncle’s fault.  Haven’t you done enough to him?”

“No one's accusing him,“ Detective Baines replied.

“Incidentally, now that the only witness from the trial is dead, I’m inclined to believe that the D.A.’s case no longer holds water,” James continued.  “Debralee’s parents died years ago.  There’s no point on continuing this.  My uncle is the only victim in this whole thing.”

“What about Alex?” Jordan chimed in and walked forward.  He hated himself for it, but he was beginning to doubt his former mentor more and more.  “She testified and she’s still alive.”

Nathan regarded Jordan carefully.  He began to question whether Jordan was on his side or not.   Something told him his loyalty was slipping.

“Alex perjuring herself on the stand wiped out any harm she could cause,” James insisted.   “Now I expect you to have the D.A. drop the charges against my uncle and have this ridiculous bracelet taken off of his ankle.”

“Are we not even going to ask why the woman who accused Nathan of molesting her just shot herself in his bedroom?” Jordan asked and shot James a challenging stare.

The room grew awkwardly silent and all eyes landed on Nathan.

“She was obviously very lonely,” was his easy reply. “Creative types often are.”

More silence.  Detective Baines pocketed his note pad and motioned to the rest of the crime scene crew.  “We’ll get cleared out of here soon so you can all get back to your evening,” he said and turned to Nathan.  “I’ll be back tomorrow to have to sign your statement.”  A pause while he glanced around the room and then back.  “Are you sure there isn’t anything you want to add, Mr. Blackthorne?  Like why this woman would have shot herself in your bedroom the very night you returned to town?”

Nathan simply shook his head.

“We’ll be in touch,” he said and started to the door.

Jordan watched him go.  He wasn’t sure how to feel.  He didn’t want to believe the worst about Nathan.  But since learning that Sierra was Nathan’s daughter, he only wanted to protect her and Renee. 

Miranda Blackthorne

The tropical breeze blew through Miranda’s hair as she sipped a pina colada by the pool at the posh Continental Hotel Acapulco.   She grinned happily, stretching out in the sun and soaking up the rays in a new two-piece bathing suit she bought at the gift shop. 

As soon as she’d arrived in Mexico, she went to a divorce attorney and got the paperwork started.  She was informed that she should remain there for two days at which time the divorce would be final and she could return to the states a free woman.  That was all she needed to hear.  Now she was intent on relaxing and enjoying herself, celebrating the end of her marriage.

For a brief moment she reflected on Brett and the romantic way they’d met.  She’d been gambling at the Flamingo Hilton in Vegas and he was in line behind her at the Roulette table.  After getting drunk in the bar they ran off to a chapel and tied the knot.  She’d never been happier in her life.  Now here she was on another impromptu vacation ending the whole thing.

“Let me guess,” said a voice from above.  “You’re here to divorce your cheating husband, right?”

Miranda sat up and shielded her eyes from the sun.  “What are you?  A psychic or something?”

The woman laughed and pulled a lounge chair over to her.  “No, just someone who sees a lot of women come here who have the exact same look on their face that you do.”  She smiled and extended her hand.  Leigh Purcell.  I own the Acapulco Continental.”

Miranda shook her hand appreciatively.  “Miranda Blackthorne,” she replied.  “You have a lovely hotel here.  I happen to run a hotel myself back in Los Angeles.”

“Well, nice to meet a fellow businesswoman,” Leigh said.  She was a stunningly beautiful woman of forty with long auburn hair and catlike green eyes.   “Did you say your name was Blackthorne?”

Miranda nodded.  “Well, that’s my maiden name, which I plan on going back to as soon as this divorce is final.”

“Your father wouldn’t by chance be James Blackthorne, would he?”

“Yes he is.  Do you know my father?”

Leigh smiled fondly and crossed her long silky legs.  “We met when he was here filming a movie about six years ago.”

Elena,” Miranda said with a knowing smile.  “That’s one of my favorites.  I didn’t realize they filmed in Acapulco.”

“Just some post-production shots,” Leigh explained.  “He was here with a few crew members.  They stayed here as a matter of fact.”  She drifted off into a dreamlike state and caught herself smiling again.  “Such a nice man.”

Miranda raised an eyebrow, wondering what all happened during her father’s location shoot.  He and her mother were still married at the time, and Brooke hadn’t come into the picture yet.  She got the distinct feeling that more than post-production shots went on.

“I hear he’s in the energy industry now,” Leigh continued.  “What a small world.  I actually own an oil and natural gas company.  My late husband was the CEO and when he passed on I took the helm.  I hope I bump into your father again sometime.  Maybe the two of us can compare industry notes.”

“I’m sure he’d like that,” Miranda said and sipped her pina colada through a curvy pink straw.

“So would I.”  Leigh grew into another daze, staring off and recalling those magical two weeks in Acapulco with James.

Hotel Terranova

The lounge at Hotel Terranova was busy with hotel guests and people out on the town for the night.  Elegant music played and couples sat quietly at their tables over cocktails and conversation.  At the bar, Brett sat nursing a gin and tonic.  He flicked a lighter repeatedly, staring at the flame and growing into a daze as he thought about the mess his life had become in such a short time.

By now Miranda was in Acapulco knee deep in their divorce proceedings.  He hadn’t opposed too much because there wasn’t a lot of hope for changing her mind.  After everything he’d done; framing Stormy for Will’s murder, sleeping with Terri, and manipulating Heather to suit his personal needs, Miranda had every right to send him packing.  He only wished that he would have been a step ahead so he could have seen some of the backlash coming.  Maybe he was losing his touch, he wondered.  A con man with no game was the worst kind of con man.

Now he was without a job, living in a hotel and no real friends to speak of.  Granted, he’d made some acquaintances during his stint at Sunset Studios, but most of them were very Blackthorne-friendly, which meant they probably weren’t Brett-friendly any more.

Turning around on the stool, he spotted Heather enter the lounge as she made her way to a small table in the corner.  A cocktail waitress approached and took her order, then vanished and left her alone at the table.

Dragging himself from the stool, Brett approached her and sat down in a chair across the table.  Heather looked up and immediately grew irritated, snatching her purse up and starting to run off in the other direction.

“Heather, wait,” he said.  “You don’t have to rush off.”

“If it’s between rushing off and spending another minute with you, then I think I’ll rush off if you don’t mind,” she said spitefully.

“You know, we lived in the same house for the better part of a year,” Brett said and stood up.  “I don’t think sharing a drink is exactly crossing the line.  What are you doing here, anyway?”

“I moved out of the mansion,” Heather admitted glumly.  “I’m not a Blackthorne anymore and I don’t belong there.”

Brett dug his hands into his pocket and noted the sadness in her eyes.  “Well I’m living here too,” he said.  “All the more reason for us not to continue lashing out at each other.”

Heather looked at him in astonishment.  “What about that stunt you pulled with me and Stormy?” she demanded.  “Setting it up so that I would walk in on him and Samantha Fallmont?  That’s low even for you, Brett.”

“Look, I was only trying to-“

“You were trying to make me forget that I walked in on you and your secretary having sex on Stormy’s desk,” Heather exclaimed.  “Well I’m not a puppet, Brett.  I can’t be used and treated like a pawn in a chess game anymore.  Not by you and not by anyone else.”

“Heather-“  But before he could stop her, she was racing off through the lounge. 

Stormy Blackthorne

Upstairs, Stormy was on top of Samantha, smothering her with kisses as their bodies moved rhythmically against each other.  A trickle of sweat dripped down his face as he made love to her for the third time that night.  He’d left the party early when she sent him a text message that she was in town.  Spending an evening with her was far too tempting an offer to turn down.  Samantha, clutching his arms, pulled him deeper and then cried out in ecstasy when they both exploded in unison. 

After a few minutes of basking in exhaustion, Samantha got up from the bed and made her way to the bathroom.  She came out a minute later with a robe tied around her waist and her blond hair falling loosely around her shoulders.

“Want something to eat?” she asked and lifted a handful of grapes from a fruit tray on the table.  “I’m starving.  I couldn’t eat a thing before I left Denver and then the fat guy beside me on the plane stole my peanuts.”

Stormy laughed and slipped into a pair of boxer shorts.  He sidled up behind her and kissed her shoulders repeatedly.  “Well we need you to keep your strength up,” he said with a grin as he popped a grape in his mouth.

Samantha opened the doors leading onto the veranda and took in a breath of fresh night air.  “I need to get going soon,” she said.  “I have to be back in Denver tonight.”

“But it’s so late already,” Stormy replied.  “Why not stay the night?”

She turned back to him and smiled.  “I would love to, but I do have a husband and daughter waiting for me at home.”

The very mention of her husband sent Stormy into a tailspin.  When he thought about the way Timothy had confronted him last year about his affair with Samantha, he wanted nothing more than to knock the smirk right off his face.

“Are things better between you two?” Stormy asked, even though he was afraid to.  He wanted nothing more than for her to say she was leaving Timothy and that they could be together all the time. 

“They’re worse,” Samantha admitted and flung herself onto the settee inside the room.  “He’s constantly checking up on me.  He thinks I’m sleeping with every man he sees.  Meanwhile, I’m positive he’s involved with someone.  He travels to Washington almost every week and he’s never at the hotel where he’s supposed to be registered.”

“Who do you think it is?” Stormy asked.  "Janet Harper?"

She shrugged and stretched languorously.  “I don’t really care,” she said.  “We’ve basically admitted that the only reason we’re staying together is for his political career and for Christina.  I don’t think she could handle it if we split up.  She’s only eleven.  Se’s so fragile as it is.

Stormy sat down beside her.  “Does he know you’re in L.A.?”

She shook her head.  “He’s in Washington.  I finally decided to say the hell with it and leave town for a few days.”  A sigh while she reflected on her miserable life.  “But I called tonight and our butler said Timothy’s expected home later.  I really should be on the next flight back.”

Stormy put his arms around her and drew her into a kiss.  “Please tell me that I can see you again,” he said.  “The past few months without you have been miserable.”

“Well what about your father?” Samantha asked.  “Won’t he flip his lid if he finds out you’re seeing me again?”

Stormy thought about James and the fact that he was instilling complete control of Sunset Studios in him.  He was determined not to let him down.  But on the other hand, he wouldn’t lose Samantha over it either.

“Don’t worry about me,” he said.  “I know exactly what I’m doing.”

Renee DeWitt

Early the next morning, a paramedic led Sierra into Renee’s suite at Hotel Terranova, helping her down the steps into the sunken living room to the sofa.  Renee followed and waited for her to get settled.  She looked at her watch and tried to glance through the morning paper but nothing could hold her attention.  With a sigh, she flung the paper aside and stood up and continued pacing.

A second later, the nurse left the room.  To Renee’s relief, Sierra finally looked at her, giving her some form of hope that she’d forgive her.

“Darling, please understand,” she lamented.

Sitting on the sofa, Sierra folded her arms and eyed Renee angrily.  “How do you think it made me feel when I found out that Kenny didn’t even know who I was?” she asked.  “I was five years old when you married him, Mother.  How could you not tell your husband that you had a five year old daughter?  Are you ashamed of me?  Is it because I’m not your real daughter?”

“Of course not!” Renee insisted.  She hated lying to her.  She hated the fact that she couldn’t tell her she was her real daughter.  “I told you, baby, it’s complicated.”

“I don’t see what’s so complicated.  How about ‘Hey Kenny, I have an adopted daughter and she lives in Europe’.  What’s so hard about that?”

Renee placed a hand on her head and sighed in frustration.  “Haven’t I given you everything?” she asked.  “I sent you to the best schools, dressed you in the best clothes, made sure that you have everything you could have wanted.  Sierra, why can’t that be enough?”

A tear trickled down Sierra’s cheek and she sobbed silently.  “I don’t care about any of that!” she cried.  “All I want is your love, Mother.  Can’t you see that?”

Renee felt her breath rush from her lungs and she clutched her chest.  She’d never felt so heartbroken in her life.  “Baby, you’ve got it,” she said and rushed over to her.  They hugged warmly and Renee stroked her hand through her hair.  “You’ve got it.”

Blackthorne Mansion

James, Nathan and Stormy sat in the solarium eating breakfast when Brooke came down the stairs and joined them.   The tenseness in the room was evident.  The events from the night before had left the house solemn and grave.

“Thank you,” she said awkwardly when Nathan pulled out the chair for her.  She sat down next to James.  “Good morning.”

“Good morning,” James said and barely looked at her.  He was still filled with resentment over her betrayal by telling Ethan the truth about his father.  Because of her he was still sitting in jail at that very moment.

“You look positively beautiful this morning, Brooke,” Nathan said.

“Get used to it, Uncle Nathan,” Stormy said with a laugh.  He decided that a note of cheerfulness was in order after recent events.  “Women in this house refuse to come downstairs without looking perfect.  Hair, makeup, nails, the whole shebang.”   

James laughed in turn, then directed his attention at Stormy.  “Where did you disappear to last night, son?” he asked and wiped his mouth with a napkin.  “I don’t remember seeing you past eight o’clock.”

Stormy grinned and grew into a daze while thinking about the fantastic sex he’d had with Samantha.   “I had some work to do at the studio,” he lied.  “I wanted to go through the books and see if Brett left any surprises for me.  I always wondered what kind of shenanigans he was up to.”

“Brett is Miranda’s husband, right?” Nathan asked.

“Not anymore,” said a voice from across the room.

Everyone turned and saw Miranda enter, glowing radiantly and smiling from ear to ear. 

“Miranda, welcome home,” James said as she kissed him on the cheek.  “I was wondering when I could expect my jet back.”

“Welcome home, Miranda,” Brooke interrupted in an effort to dismiss James’s dry sense of humor.  “I hope everything went okay in Acapulco.”

"It went better than okay,” she said and plopped into her chair.  “I’m a free woman now.  Brett is out of my life and I can finally start living again.”

“Hallelujah,” Stormy murmured under his breath.

“Miranda, I’d like you to meet my Uncle Nathan,” James said proudly and gestured next to him where Nathan sat.   “He’s going to be living with us.”

“Nice to meet you,” Miranda replied and bit off a chunk of cantaloupe.

“You’re every bit as beautiful as your mother was at your age,” Nathan said with a twinkle in his eye.   “James has told me what wonderful things you’ve done with his hotel.”

Miranda took a gulp of orange juice and motioned to her father.  “Daddy, that reminds me,” she began.  “I ran into an old friend of yours in Acapulco.  Do you remember Leigh Purcell?  Some ultra glam oil chick who owns a hotel down there.”

James couldn’t help but smile fondly.  “Yes, as a matter of fact I do,” he said.  “Leigh was very hospitable to us when we were there filming about six years ago.”

“Just how hospitable are we talking, Dad?” Stormy asked with a smile.

“She was very kind, that’s all,” James replied, ignoring his son’s clever jab.  “I always wondered what happened to her.”

“She’s running her dead husband’s oil company,” Miranda explained and spread a thin layer of cream cheese on a bagel.   “She had some nice things to say about you, Daddy.  Something about her was different, though.”

“What do you mean?” James asked.

Miranda shrugged.  “She seemed sad, lonely, I don’t know.  I just got a weird vibe from her.  She’s very beautiful but she didn’t strike me as being very happy.”

James appeared distant and Brooke caught on to it immediately.  She quietly sipped her coffee, wondering what exactly what James’ relationship was to the mysterious oil heiress.

“So what have I missed around here?” Miranda asked cheerfully.

The room grew quiet and all eyes shifted downward. 

“Wow, that much, huh?” Miranda said sarcastically.

“I guess you didn’t pick up the morning paper,” Stormy said grudgingly.

Brooke slid her chair out from the table.  “Excuse me,” she said and dashed from the room.  She darted into the parlor room and stood by the windows in a daze.  Moments later, James followed after her.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

She turned to him with a streak of panic in her eyes.  “No, I’m not okay,” she insisted.  “I don’t understand why you’re all being so callous about last night.  A woman killed herself in our home, James.  In Nathan’s bedroom.  The same woman who accused him of raping her over twenty years ago.”

“It is a tragedy, I’m not arguing that,” he insisted.  “I’m not sure what it is you want me to do, Brooke.  You already know what happened.  It isn’t as if Nathan was at fault.”

She looked into his eyes and tried to find a glimmer of humanity.  “But why did she do it?” she asked.  “There was no suicide note, no final words.  She just came into our house, went to Nathan’s room, and killed herself?  It doesn’t add up.”

“I don’t pretend to know why she did what she did!” he shouted angrily.  “But I do know that it’s got nothing to do with my uncle.  Debralee Scott was a child actress whose parents ran her life.  They trumped up those charges against Nathan to further her career.  And when that didn’t work she led a life of misery and blamed Nathan for it.   End of story.”

With that, he turned and stormed back out of the room.  Brooke wrapped her arms around herself and wished that Nathan had never come home.  Since he had, James had quickly become a different man.

Out in the foyer, the doorbell rang and James pulled it open with a start.  His day had already gotten off to a bad start, thanks to Brooke, and he was in no mood for any further complications.  However, when he saw District Attorney Ed Littleton standing on the porch with two uniformed police officers, he realized things could change.

Jasmes Blackthorne

“We’re not dropping the charges,” Littleton said minutes later as they stood in James’ private study.   “Especially now that Debralee Scott is dead.  She didn’t commit suicide over nothing, I can tell you that right now.”

“But it’s a victimless crime!” James bellowed and flashed his uncle a brief look.  He realized his statement made it sound like he was acknowledging there actually was a crime that took place.  He didn’t even believe that.  “Debralee Scott was the only person still living – besides Alex – to testify at the trial.  Now she’s gone.  In the interest of justice, it’s time to let this thing drop!”

“In the interest of justice, we have a responsibility to make an example of your uncle,” Littleton insisted.  “If we let him off, what kind of message does that send to the public?  There will be a hearing where a judge will decide if a new trial is in order.”

“And who will testify at this trial?” Nathan asked.

“We have a couple of witnesses in mind,” was his cryptic reply.

James sighed.  “If you want another media circus just to ensure your re-election next term, then you’ll have it.  But in the meantime, there is no reason why my uncle has to be under house arrest.  You’ve already confiscated his passport.  He isn’t going anywhere.”

“No way,” Littleton said adamantly and shook his head.

“Need I remind that you the jury hadn’t delivered their verdict before my uncle left town?” Jams asked.  “There is no ruling against him.  As far as the state is concerned, he’s still innocent until proven guilty.  This house arrest thing is corrupt, even for you, Littleton.”

Littleton held up his hand in an effort to shut James up.  “Fine,” he said.  “I’ll remove the house arrest order.  The satisfaction of knowing he’ll be behind bars soon is enough for me.”

Nathan smiled devilishly, quite sure that he wouldn’t spend another minute behind bars.

Nathan Blackthorne

Later that morning, Renee walked through the lobby at Hotel Terranova, flung a mink stole around her neck and proceeded to the elevator.  She realized she’d left her pocketbook in the restaurant, turned and started across the terra cotta floor when Nathan approached swiftly, grabbing her arm and leading her off to a corner by a set of house phones.

“Good morning, my dear,” he said.

“Take your hands off of me,” Renee said and twisted away from his grasp.  She shot him a penetrating stare and clutched her purse tightly in her hand.  “What on earth are you doing here?  I thought you were under house arrest.”

“The District Attorney decided to remove that silly ankle bracelet,” he said proudly.  “I’m a free man.”

Renee’s jaw dropped and she staggered back in surprise.  “Until your re-trial.”

“Not to worry.  Since Debralee Scott’s unfortunate demise, there isn’t much to their case.  There is the little matter, however, of my resisting arrest and fleeing the country. A minor infraction.  I’m confident James’ attorneys can get that dropped as well.  Now, where were we, my dear.”

“I am not your dear.  That part of our relationship was over a long time ago, Nathan.”

“Only because I was abroad,” Nathan said.  He was dressed pristinely in a navy sport coat and red ascot, his dark hair slicked back away from his forehead.  “But now that I’m back we can pick up where we left off.  It’s a shame that our last night together on my yacht had to end so abruptly.”

“I wouldn’t call it a shame,” Renee declared. “I’d call it fate.”

Nathan put on a shocked expression.  He was quite clever about punctuating his emotions with the appropriate face, Renee decided.  He was an actor through and through.

“Don’t tell me you believe all those bogus charges brought up against me at that trial,” Nathan said.  “You heard Debralee Scott’s press conference, didn’t you?  She said our relationship was consensual.”

“Then why did she kill herself?”

“I fear we’ll never know.”

“She was fourteen when you had a relationship with her,” Renee hissed.  “A fourteen year old girl is no match to the wits and charms of a grown man.  Consensual or not, it was wrong.  And how many others were there, Nathan?  How many girls did you seduce by promising them a career and a future in Hollywood?”

“There was just the one,” he replied, although not very convincingly.

“And Alex?”

The remark caught Nathan off guard.  “What do you mean?  Alex and I had a relationship as well, long before you and I did.”

“Until James came along and you were left in the dust,” Renee recalled.  “I remember you didn’t take it very well, but my how you did put on a brave face.”

“If you’re going to say that you believe her ludicrous story that I raped her…”

“I didn’t say that,” Renee replied.  “I don’t know if I believe her or not.  Alex Reynolds isn’t exactly trustworthy.  But what I do believe is that you took something from each and every woman you seduced.  What I’m not sure of is what it was that you wanted from me?”

“I was in love with you,” Nathan claimed.  “I still am.”

Before Renee could reply, Jordan approached and put his arm through Renee’s.  “Nathan, I heard the news that you were released from house arrest,” he said, then added unenthusiastically, “I guess congratulations are in order.”

“Yes, yes I suppose they are,” he said.  “And now I have much to do.  James and Ryan have a fantastic role in mind for my big return to the screen.  Oh, I’m sorry, Jordan, I hope you don’t mind that our working together will have to wait.” 

Jordan shook his head.  “Not at all.  It actually works out better this way,” he said, relieved that he wouldn’t have to work with Nathan.  The more he looked at him the more he distrusted him. “Well, if you’ll excuse us.  Renee and I are golfing this morning.”

Nathan held up his hand.   “No, I can’t join you today, Jordan,” he claimed.  “Another time, though.  But let’s have drinks soon.” 

“Absolutely,” Jordan said and bit down on his lip.

After he’d gone, Renee looked at Jordan and closed her eyes in regret.  “Thank God you got here when you did,” she said.  “I didn’t know how much longer I could put up with him.”

“His being free for the time being won't help matters, either,” Jordan remarked.

“No, it won't,” Renee replied and walked with him to the doors leading to the golf course.

Nathan watched them go, certain that he and Renee’s past was yet to be settled.  He turned and started to leave the hotel when he spotted a young woman looking in the gift shop windows.  Smiling, he approached and paused beside her.

“They’re lovely,” he said and gestured to the diamond earrings in the window.  “Perfect for delicate features such as yours.”

Sierra turned and smiled at the handsome, friendly stranger.  “That’s very nice of you to say,” she said with a grin.  “I was just browsing.  A girl can dream, I suppose.”

Happy that he still had the same affect on women, Nathan dug his hands into his pockets and decided the young woman was the prettiest face he’d seen in town since his return.  Whoever she was, she was someone he’d like to know.

Brooke Taylor

That afternoon, the phone rang at the mansion and Brooke answered it as she came down the stairs to the foyer.  Flinging her hair over her shoulder, she frowned when she realized who was on the other line.

“I told you he was dangerous,” Alex said from her office at Blackthorne-Reynolds.  “He’s in town for one day and a woman is already dead.”

“Alex?” Brooke asked.  “How did you-“

“The media is all over it,” Alex cut her off.  “James tried to keep it under wraps but you know nothing that goes on in that house is ever secret for long.”

Brooke sighed and glanced up the stairs to where they’d carried Debralee’s bloody body from.  “She was unhinged.  Her life didn’t go as planned and she blamed Nathan.  That’s all.”

Alex gripped the phone tightly in her hand.  “She killed herself because she couldn’t live with what he did to her.  Mark my words, Brooke, James will continue to support his uncle because of the way he took me from him all those years ago.  He blames himself.  And now you’re in jeopardy.”

Sighing in despair, Brooke shook her head.  “Look, just leave me alone,” she said and hung the phone up again.  She bit down on her lip and considered Alex’s words.  She hated to admit it, but what she said did make sense.

Heather Blackthorne

Brett knocked on Heather’s door at Hotel Terranova and took a step back, swinging his tennis racket in his hand and waiting for her to answer.   When she opened the door and saw him standing in the hall, she immediately went to close it.

“Hey, hold up,” Brett said.  “I just wanted to see if you cared to join me on the tennis courts this morning.”

Heather rolled her eyes.  “Brett, stop trying to be nice to me,” she said.  “I think you’ve done enough damage already.  Please leave me alone.”

The door slammed in his face and he sighed and turned back down the hall, whistling quietly to himself while he waited for the elevator.  When the doors opened and Stormy emerged, they locked eyes for what seemed like minutes.  Wordlessly, Brett stepped into the elevator car and grinned devilishly before the doors shut.

Wondering what his ex-brother-in-law’s smug expression was all about, Stormy turned and started down the hall to Heather’s room.  He knocked and she pulled it open with a jolt, half expecting that it was Brett again.

“Oh, Stormy,” she said with a breathy sigh.  “Come in.”

Frowning, he entered the room and dug his hands into his pockets.  “Were you expecting someone else?” he asked. 

“No, I just didn’t think you’d be coming by is all,” she replied, running her hands through her long brown hair and pausing at the tray of juice on the coffee table.  “Did you want something?”

He shrugged.  “I thought I was taking you to your appointment with Dr. Anderson.  You didn’t forget about it, did you?”

She shook her head listlessly.  “No, but-“

“Heather, you have to keep going to see him.  If you don’t then I’m afraid that you’ll keep everything bottled up.”

“I have no intention of missing my appointment with Dr. Anderson,” Heather cut him off.  “But I don’t think that you should go with me.  I think it’s time that I handled things on my own.  I don’t need to keep leaning on you and your family.”

“Heather, you don’t have to do this alone.  If this is about the other night when you saw me with Samantha Fallmont, I-“

“It’s not,” Heather said and opened the door.  “It’s just like I said.  I need to start taking care of myself.”

Wondering if she really meant it or was just lashing out at him for what happened with Samantha, Stormy hesitated briefly before stepping out into the hall.  Before he could turn around, she was already closing the door on him.

Blackthorne-Reynolds

Brooke couldn’t get the disturbing conversation she’d had with Alex out of her mind, so she drove downtown to Blackthorne-Reynolds to talk to James.  That morning at breakfast had been so chaotic with the fallout from Debralee’s death, Miranda’s return from Acapulco, and the D.A. coming by, that she didn’t think it was the right time.  Now she was determined to get to the bottom of it.

“What brings you down here, Darling?” James asked and got up from his desk.  He walked around and pulled a chair out for her.  Since breakfast, he’d decided that he had been too hard on her lately.  Snapping at her was not the answer.  And now that Nathan was free for the time being, he had fewer things weighing on his mind.  “Do you have time for lunch?”

“Actually I wanted to talk to you about Alex,” Brooke maintained, a forlorn look on her pretty face. 

James frowned.  “Alex?  What the devil for?  What has she done this time?”

Brooke stood back up and wrung her hands together nervously.  “Do you believe her?” she asked.  “About Nathan raping her all those years ago?”

After a long period of silence James shook his head regretfully.  “Why are you bothering me about Alex?” he asked irately.  “You know damn well Nathan didn’t do those things she claims.”

“She’s terrified, you know,” Brooke said softly.  “She told me that he hasn’t changed.”

“When did you talk to Alex?” James asked.

“At the party last night, and this morning on the phone.  She says Nathan can’t be trusted.”

“And I suppose you believe her?”  His forehead creased into a deep frown and he placed his hands on his hips in a sign of anger.  “Damnit, Brooke, you know better than to listen to anything Alex has to say.”

She shrugged and pushed a lock of blond hair from her eyes.  “When I look into his eyes I just get this feeling in the pit of my stomach…”

James was bewildered.  “So now you’re going to start making accusations against him too, I suppose,” he raged.  “Jesus, can’t you just trust me for once, Brooke?  Have faith that I know what I’m talking about?  My uncle is not a threat to anyone.  Not to you, and not to Alex.”

“I do trust you!” she insisted, her eyes stinging with tears.  She knew it wasn’t her imagination.  She’d seen the way Nathan looked at her, and the way his touches lingered on for too long.  It made her uneasy.  If only she could make James see that.

“It sure doesn’t feel like it,” James said and sat back down at his desk.  He opened a stack of folders and motioned to the door. “I have a lot of work to do.  I’ll see you at home later.”

Her head sunk as she turned and slowly made her way out of the office.  As if everything else wasn’t bad enough, now Nathan’s return was causing an even bigger rift in their marriage.

Alex Reynolds

“I want you to stop filling my wife’s head with your lies,” James shouted a short while later in Alex’s office next door.  “Things are finally calming down with us for a change.  I don’t want you stirring up a bunch of drama just for your own enjoyment.”

“Is that what you think I’m doing?” Alex asked angrily and shot to her feet.  “I cannot believe that you would just throw my feeling aside and assume that I’m trying to cause trouble!  James, we were married for twenty-four years!  Do you honestly think that I would hold on to the same story for this long if it wasn’t true?”

“I don’t care!” he shouted.  “I just want you to leave Brooke alone!”

“That’s right, your precious Brooke is more important to you than the mother of your other two children!  Or don’t they matter to you anymore now that you have Michael?”

James shook his head angrily.   “This has nothing to do with our children,” James lamented.  “If you won’t admit to yourself that you lied about Nathan raping you that’s fine, you can continue living in denial.  But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you stir up those ugly memories for Brooke or anyone else!”

“James, a woman died in your house last night because of that man.  Are you really so blind that you’ll overlook that?  Maybe the police don’t have anything on him anymore, but you have to know that he’s a guilty man.  You have to!”

She cried out in frustration when he turned and stormed out of the office.  She grabbed a heavy crystal paperweight from the desk and hurdled it across the room in a rage.  Glass splintered and shattered in every direction and she sunk to her chair in devastation.  She was sick of being treated like a liar and a manipulator.  She was beginning to feel like she was alone and had no one to turn to.

Heather Blackthorne

That night, Heather left Dr. Anderson’s office and made her way back home to Hotel Terranova, steering her yellow Corvette through the valley.   She thought about her session and the things that Dr. Anderson had told her to think about.  As much as she wanted to, she didn’t think she could.  It was too painful.  It was easier to block it out and forget that it happened.  Sure, Stormy said that she’d wind up a shell, devoid of feelings and emotions, but it was easier than accepting the truth and dealing with that night at Will Thomerson’s house.

Stopping at a light on Van Nuys Blvd, she grew into a daze and thought about Stormy and how horrified she was walking in on him and Samantha Fallmont.  She felt like a fool for thinking they could ever get back together.  It wasn’t what Stormy wanted, and the fact that she even thought about it made her seem weak and desperate.  She vowed not to let that happen again.  Ever.

“Get out of the car!!”

A thunderous voice exploded into her ears, jarring her back to reality.

Startled, Heather turned to the open window and saw two hulking black men standing just outside on the street.  She recoiled in horror when they each produced a gun from their black jacket and waved them threateningly.

“Please, don’t hurt me,” Heather whimpered, unable to take her eyes from the weapons pointed directly at her.

“Then get out of the freakin’ car, bitch!” one of them yelled and pulled at the door handle.  “Unlock the door!  I swear I’ll freaking drop you, barbie doll!  Unlock the door and get out of the car!”

Heather tried desperately to think fast.   Carjacking was a common occurrence in L.A. She could make a break for it.  The car was still running.  She could shift into gear and drive off before they could hurt her.  Her hands trembling, she reached down for the gear shift and attempted to move it into first.

Suddenly, a deafening gunshot rang out, stinging her ears and sending alarms tripping through her entire body.  Glass from the back window shattered all over her and she screamed hysterically.  Petrified, she quickly succumbed to a dark panic and everything went blank.

Images of her in Will Thomeson’s study came at her like flashes from a camera.  She saw herself pulling the trigger, the earsplitting crash coursing through her head.

Finally she snapped back to reality.  All she could remember next was being pulled from the car and thrown onto the asphalt.  The sound of tires squealing was the last thing she heard before she went unconscious from sheer panic.

Brett Armstrong

Brett sat on the sofa in his room at Hotel Terranova, flipping through a magazine and nursing a scotch on the rocks.  He ran his hand over his bare chest and thought he heard the faint sounds of crying from outside the room.

Frowning, he got up and walked to the door.   Outside in the hall, Heather was crouched on the ground, rocking herself back and forth with tears streaming from her eyes.  She sobbed hysterically, seemingly unaware of what was going on around her.  Brett quickly raced over and knelt down beside her.  Luckily he couldn’t see anything that would indicate she’d been hurt.

“Heather, are you okay?” he asked and swept a lock of hair from her eyes.  “Tell me what happened.”

She cried and cried, finally looking up at him and murmured in despair.  “I killed him,” she said in horror.  “I walked through the tunnels and I picked up the gun and I shot him.  He didn’t even have a chance to defend himself.”

Brett suddenly realized that Heather had finally come to terms with killing Will Thomerson.  Something tonight must have triggered it.

“Oh my God, Brett,” she whispered between shrieks.  “I killed someone in cold blood.  How could I have done that?”

Slowly, he picked her up in his arms and carried her inside the room.  Setting her down on the sofa, he stroked her hair back comfortingly and tried to soothe her as best as he could.  Heather pulled him close, holding him with all her might and crying softly into his shoulder. 

Brett, overcome with feelings of helplessness, held her in his arms and rocked her back and forth until she eventually fell asleep.


Next time....

Miranda learns she's in danger of losing Hotel Terranova.  Stormy begins work on a film to reintroduce Nathan to Hollywood.  Brett gets an offer from Marilee Walker.  Ethan is released from jail and goes straight to Brooke.  

Read Episode 58

 

 


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