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Episode 59

 

Release Date:  May 2, 2007

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Nathan spotted Sierra eyeing a pair of earrings at Hotel Terranova's gift shop and struck up a conversation with her.  After waking up in Brett's room after he comfoted her following the carjacking, a confused Heather grew distant and tried her best to avoid him.  Miranda blasted David Jennings for taking an interest in buying Hotel Terranova.  Unable to get her off his mind, David later sent Miranda roses with an invitation to dinner.  Stormy made plans to start work on a film starring Nathan and Victor.  Alex and Jordan slept together after their divorce became final.  Later, Alex showed up at Jordan's house with a bottle of champagne, angering Renee.  Marilee Walker told Brett that he should work for her husband the Congressman. James informed Alex and Renee that they were going to an energy conference in Rio.  Miranda learned that she was pregnant.  Nathan overheard Brooke and Ethan talking about Michael, and discovered that James was not the boy's father.

 

 


 

Episode 59

"Three Days"

 

Heather opened the door of her suite at Hotel Terranova and smiled at Stormy who held up a carton of banana chocolate ice cream and two spoons.  She stood clear of the door and gestured for him to come inside.

“I know it’s late, but I thought I’d come by and see how you were doing,” Stormy said and sat down on the sofa.  “The last time we talked you seemed a little peeved at me, so I brought a peace offering.”

“My favorite,” Heather said and sat down beside him.  “You didn’t have to do that.  I’m not pissed off, I just don’t want to have to depend on everyone else all the time.  It’s time I started over and took care of myself for once.”

Stormy took the lid off the ice cream and handed her a spoon.  “I can appreciate that,” he said.   “But I can still be here for you as a friend if you need one.  That’s not going against the rules, is it?”

Heather laughed and shook her head.  “No, it’s not.”

Digging his spoon into the softening ice cream, Stormy looked into Heather’s eyes and saw something he hadn’t seen in a long time.  “There’s something different about you,” he began.  “You look happier.”

“I think I am happier,” she said and licked a glob of banana chocolate off of her spoon.  “The sessions with Dr. Anderson have really been helping.”

“And what about the murder?  Does he think you’ll be able to cope with it soon?”

“I think I might already be,” Heather replied.   She didn’t want to give him the details of the carjacking.  That would only instill more concern on his part, and then she’d be back to depending on him and leaning on him for support.  That wouldn’t do at all.  She decided to tell him only what was necessary.  “The other night I just let it all out.  I remembered everything clearly, almost as if I’d never blacked it out at all.”

 “You did?”  He sounded surprised.  Probably more so that she hadn’t ran directly to him with the new development.   “Well, that’s wonderful.  How do you feel?”

Shrugging, she leaned back on the sofa and thought about Brett.  Strangely, she’d been thinking of him quite a bit since that night.  It was like she finally saw past his rough façade and manipulative charm and good looks.  Of course she didn’t dare tell Stormy that he’d been there with her.  She’d never hear the end of it.

“I think I feel okay,” she answered after a while.  “I know it was an unforgivable thing that I did, but that’s something I’ll have to learn to live with.  No matter how despicable Will Thomerson was, he didn’t deserve to die like that.  Nobody does.”

Stormy set the carton down and turned to her.  “I think you’re really something,” he said with a smile.

Heather looked into his eyes.  Just a few weeks ago she would have taken his words and the intense way he looked at her to mean there was something still between them.  But in light of everything that had happened recently, she no longer felt herself needing him or wanting him in that way again.  It was a good feeling.

Miranda Blackthorne

Downstairs in the formal restaurant, David Jennings sat across the table from Miranda, admiring the way her skin glowed in the candlelight and the way her eyes sparkled when she looked at him.  But something was different.  She wasn’t the spirited young woman who had let him have it in the lobby the day before.  Tonight she seemed distant and forlorn.

“Was it something I said?” David asked as he brought a glass of wine to his lips and took a hearty gulp.  He waited for her to respond, and when she didn’t he frowned and cut into his steak.   “I guess so,” he mumbled to himself.

Miranda finally looked up at him.  “I’m sorry, did you say something?” she asked, finally breaking from the daze.  Her mind was definitely not on dinner or on the handsome man across the table.

Smiling, David leaned forward and looked into her eyes.  “Are you okay?” he asked.  “You’ve barely said a word all night.  Am I bad company or something?  Do I have salad in my teeth?”

She smiled apologetically and shook her head.  “No, nothing like that,” she said, unable to stop thinking about the news she’d received from Dr. Mitchell that day.  How could she be pregnant?  She was on the patch.  It was more effective than the pill, for God’s sake.

“If you’re still worried about me trying to buy Hotel Terranova, don’t be.  I had a talk with your father and he stressed that I should reconsider.  So I have.”  Then he added with a playful wink.  “Although if you don’t start acting like you’re enjoying yourself, I might have to reconsider reconsidering.”

“You wouldn’t,” Miranda said, shooting him a threatening stare.

He smiled.  “No, just checking to see if you were paying attention.”

Sighing, Miranda looked down at her plate and tried to put things in perspective.  She and Brett were divorced.  They’d both moved on.  How could she be carrying her ex-husband’s baby?  It was going to ruin everything. 

David got a call on his cell and he fished it from his jacket pocket.  Looking at her apologetically, he slid his chair out and stood up.  “I’m sorry, I have to take this.”  Then he added with a smile, “got another hotel to buy since yours is off the market.”

After he’d left the table, Miranda sighed again and glanced across the room.  She hated to be such a stick in the mud on her first date with a hunk like David Jennings, but it was all she could do to put on a nice dress and fix her hair.   Being charming and spirited was too much to expect tonight.

Suddenly her mood grew worse.  Brett spotted her on his way through the lobby and made his way to the table.   She tensed, fully aware that the right thing would be to tell him that she was pregnant.  But she couldn’t.  Not yet.

“Hello Miranda,” Brett said with a smile.  “You look beautiful tonight.  Entertaining clients?”

She flashed him a toothy grin.  “Actually I’m on a date,” she said and scowled.  “You know, what people do before they get married.  Oh, but I forgot.  You go on dates while you’re married.”

Brett ignored her sarcastic tone.  “Who’s the lucky guy?” he asked, unable to keep from feeling slightly jealous.  He hated to think of Miranda with another man.

“I’m sure you don’t know him,” she replied.  “He’s got class, brains, and I’m not sure yet but I don’t think he screws his secretary.  I’ll have to ask him when he gets back.”

“Miranda, please-“ Brett began, wishing that things could be different.  Granted, he’d made mistakes, but he never stopped loving her.

“You can go now,” she cut him off bitterly.

Sighing with frustration, Brett paused before leaving the table.  “I’ll be moving out of the hotel tomorrow,” he began.  “I bought a condo at the marina.  The view is amazing.”

“Hmmm, a swanky singles condo?” Miranda asked.  “You’ll fit in perfectly, Brett.  Don’t forget to settle up at the front desk when you check out.  The adult movies aren’t free.”

Smirking at her callous attitude, Brett started to walk away when David returned to the table.  They both paused, circling each other as if sizing one another up.  Brett raised an eyebrow, pangs of jealousy tripping through his stomach.   Finally, he turned and started to the lobby.

David sat back down at the table and smiled his handsome smile.  “Sorry about that,” he said and dropped his cell into his pocket.  “Now, how do I find that feisty young lady who accosted me in the lobby the other day?  Because so far you aren’t living up to your reputation.”

But Miranda didn’t hear him.  Her thoughts were on Brett.  She knew what she had to do.  Having his baby was not an option.

Hotel Terranova

Renee walked out of the bedroom in her suite upstairs at Hotel Terranova, her bath robe billowing behind her as she made her way to the door.  She pulled it open with a flourish, scowling at the sight of Jordan standing out in the hall.  She quickly tried to shut the door but he pushed it open and forced his way inside.

“It’s late, Jordan,” she said.  “Please go.”

Frowning, he grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her to face him.  “I’ve been calling you since last night.  I know you’re giving me the brush-off.  What’s wrong, Renee?”

She folded her arms and turned away.  “I told you.  It’s late.  I’d like to go to sleep.”

“You know, I’m getting pretty tired of these games of yours,” Jordan exclaimed, running his hands through his hair and clenching his teeth in frustration.

“What games?”

“This wall you keep putting up between us!” he raged.  “I can’t keep up with your moods.  What have I done this time?  Tell me, because I honestly don’t understand why you’re pushing me away.”

Finally, she turned around and leveled her eyes on him.  “I’ll tell you why,” she began angrily.  Alex Reynolds.  Your ex-wife is still in love with you, and I’m not so sure that you’re not still in love with her.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Jordan said and began pacing the living room.  He hated it that she was right.  He did still love Alex.  The way they made love the other afternoon was proof positive.  You couldn’t fake that kind of passion.  But still, he had very real feelings for Renee too.  Hurting her was the last thing he wanted to do.

“She came to your house last night with a bottle of champagne and do-me eyes.  I know that look, Jordan.  She was ready for a romantic evening.”

He shrugged indifferently, trying desperately to hide his guilt.  “I can’t help it.  Alex does what Alex wants to do.  I have no say in what she wants or thinks I want.”

“Are you saying that you haven’t been giving her signals?”

“What kind of signals?”

Renee planted her hands on her hips and shook her head angrily.  “I’m getting a little sick of all the snide remarks from her.  She’s always telling me that I’m just a distraction for you.  I can’t help but wonder if she’s right.”

“She’s not right,” Jordan insisted.  He took her arm and led her to the sofa.  “I love being with you, Renee. You have to believe that.  I told you I’d help you keep your secret about Sierra, didn’t I?”

She nodded reluctantly.  “I’m sorry, Jordan,” she replied.  “You’re right, it is Sierra.  I’m going out of my mind with worry.  What if she finds out the truth?  Or worse yet, what if he does?  Nathan is back in L.A. now and it’s only a matter of time before everything blows up in my face.  I just don’t want to hurt my daughter.”

Jordan pulled her into an embrace and stroked his hand down the back of her head.  He felt himself growing to care for Renee more and more.  But if that were the case, why did he still love Alex?

Nathan Blackthorne

Downstairs in the lounge, Sierra sat by the piano as the pianist played a jazz number for the crowd.  She watched with a smile, singing along quietly and then blushing when a few patrons at a nearby table applauded.  She felt uncomfortable from the attention, but the truth was she loved to sing.  Sometimes she couldn’t help herself, especially in the lounge when Stan was playing the piano.  She’d been told that she was very good, even from vocal coaches back at school, but singing in public scared her to death.  It was a silly dream of hers, one that she decided was best left for the shower or the car.

“That’s lovely,” said a voice from behind. 

Sierra turned around on the stool and saw Nathan Blackthorne standing there.  She immediately recognized him from the other day in the gift shop.

“Oh, hello again,” she said with a sweet smile.

Nathan, dressed in a sharp navy blazer and white ascot, couldn’t help but smile fondly at her.  She was so young and pretty, he decided, and he loved young black women with a passion.

“Hello again,” he finally said after taking in her sweet innocence.  “I hope you don’t mind, I was listening to you sing.   Have you performed before?” 

She shook her head with a laugh.  “Oh, no, I could never.  It’s just something I enjoy doing.  You know, when I’m by myself and feeling lonely.”

“May I?” Nathan asked and gestured to the stool beside her.   He sat down and waved to the bartender for his usual.  “Are you feeling lonely tonight?”

She sighed whimsically and sipped her glass of club cola.  “I think so.  Being in a strange city and not knowing anybody.  Well, besides my mother and her boyfriend.  Other than that I feel like I’m the only person in Los Angeles.”

Nathan grinned at the poetic way she spoke.  “Well now there’s two of us,” he said and extended his hand to her.  “Nathan Blackthorne.”

Sierra’s eyes shot open and she looked at him in awe.  “Nathan Blackthorne, the actor?” she asked in disbelief.  “I had no idea.  I’m so sorry.  I feel like such an idiot.”

He laughed again.  “Please, don’t be embarrassed.  I haven’t released a film since probably before you were born.  A young lady like you has her own idols to look up to.  I can’t exactly compete with the Tom Cruises and Brad Pitt’s of the world.”

“Oh, I’ve heard of you, Mr. Blackthorne,” Sierra said.  “I’ve seen a lot of your movies.  I just didn’t recognize you is all.  You look very different in real life.”

“That’s good I hope.”

“Of course.  You’re a very handsome man.”

Nathan was thrilled with her.  He couldn’t get enough of how sweet her skin smelled.  “Tell me, which was your favorite film of mine?”

Sierra gasped and brought her hands up to her mouth.  “Oh gosh, it’s so hard to choose just one.  They were all so good.”  A pause while she contemplated.  “I think I’d have to say that Love Nest was my favorite,” she remarked.   “It was so romantic.  You and Alex Reynolds really lit up the screen.  Or the DVD I guess I should say,” she added with a laugh.

Nathan became flushed at the sound of her voice and the way she admired him.  It was quite an ego-trip to realize that a young attractive girl such as her would be so enamorative of him.  “I have something for you,” he said and reached into his pocket. 

Sierra frowned when he handed her a small box wrapped in a red velvet ribbon.  “I don’t understand,” she said, completely caught off guard by the gesture.   She didn’t even know him and he was giving her gifts.

“Go ahead,” Nathan said.  “Open it.”

Sierra shrugged and pulled the box open.  Her eyes lit up in amazement when she saw the diamond earrings from the gift shop.  “Mr. Blackthorne, I-“

“I saw you looking at them the other day, remember?” he asked her.  “I told you that they were perfect for delicate features such as yours.”

Sierra shook her head and handed the box back to him.  “I’m sorry, I can’t accept these,” she began.  “They’re much too expensive.  You don’t even know me.  You don’t even know my name.”

“What is your name?”

“Sierra,” she said with a smile.

“Well, Sierra, please accept them as a personal favor to me.”  He looked at her with desire in his eyes.  Everything about her turned him on. 

Just then, Alex walked into the lounge and scanned the room.  When Nathan saw her, he quickly decided that it was time to make himself scarce.  He would have to continue getting to know Sierra another time.  The last thing he needed was Alex Reynolds causing a scene in public.

“My dear, I must go,” Nathan said and stood up from the stool.  “Please keep this just between us.  No one needs to know where you got the earrings from.  But I do hope you’ll be wearing them next time we meet.”

Sierra watched as he made his way through the lounge and disappeared on the other side. 

Brooke Taylor

The next morning, Brooke walked down the upstairs hallway at the mansion and went inside the nursery.  She smiled when she saw James holding Michael and bouncing him happily in his arms.

“Good morning,” Brooke said timidly.  She was still unsure if they were on solid ground anymore.  It seemed everything she said caused another fight.  “I didn’t even hear you get up this morning.”

“I’ve got a lot to do,” James replied.  “First and foremost the energy conference.”

“I wish you didn’t have to go away.  Rio seems like another world from here.”

He handed her the baby and smiled rigidly.  “It practically is.  But it’s only for three days.  Besides, you’ll be so busy with Michael that you won’t even know I’m gone.”

“That’s not true,” she said, fully aware that he was taking a jab at her.  “Since we got remarried we haven’t really been apart.  I just don’t want anything to happen.  I worry that-“

“You worry too much,” James interrupted abruptly.

She regarded him carefully, trying to decipher what he was thinking.  “James, are we all right?”

He shrugged bitterly.  “I think you’re a better person to answer that.  How many more times are you going to question my judgment about Nathan?”

She froze up, unwilling to answer him for fear that it would cause another argument.  The truth was that Alex had warned her about Nathan, and her own instincts told her that she should heed those warnings. 

“I thought so,” James said and looked away angrily. 

“Well what about Ethan?” she asked.  “You were angry with me for letting the truth slip about his father, but since he got out of jail he’s been completely different.”

“He does seem to be over that self-destructive mode he was in for the last few weeks, no thanks to you.”

“You’re so willing to put it all on me, aren’t you?” she demanded.

“I never said that you were the only person to blame for everything that’s happened,” James insisted.  “I just don’t think you use your head sometimes.  I’m your husband.  If I ask you to trust my Uncle and ignore what Alex and the media say about him, then you should.”

She looked at him in disbelief and crossed the room.  “So as your wife, I’m supposed to not have my own opinions, is that it?”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it.”

“All I know is that you sound like the James Blackthorne that I knew before we got married.  The suspicious, scheming tyrant who used people to manipulate his own selfish needs.  I thought that man was long gone.  Now it’s clear that he’s back.”

“Brooke, wait-“ James said as he watched her place Michael in his crib.  “I don’t want you obsessing over this while I’m gone.  I promise things will get better.”

Just then, Nathan entered the nursery.  “I’ll keep Brooke entertained, James,” he said and flashed them a toothy grin.   “You won’t have to worry for a second that she’s sitting home brooding.”

“I’d appreciate that, Nathan,” James said rigidly. 

“It will be my pleasure,” said Nathan as he made his way to the crib where Michael was sitting playing with a stuffed toy.   “My, my, he’s getting bigger every day.”

“He certainly is,” James said proudly.  “He’s going to be a very strong young man when he grows up.  He is a Blackthorne after all.”

“I can’t decide who he looks more like,” Nathan said and looked up at Brooke.  “His mother or his father.”

Brooke swallowed hard, thankful that Michael didn’t show any glaring signs of looking like Ethan.  It was easy to keep her secret under those circumstances.  No one could look at him and know the wiser.

“Oh I think he looks like both of us equally,” James said.  “Don’t you agree, Brooke?”

She nodded uneasily and felt Nathan watching her from across the room.

“Of course,” Nathan said, flashing back to the conversation he overheard between Brooke and Ethan.  He wondered how long she was going to continue with the charade that James was the child’s father. 

Heather Blackthorne

Heather knocked on Miranda’s office door at Hotel Terranova and pushed the door open gently.  “You ready for brunch?” she asked as she poked her head inside.

Miranda was staring at the pregnancy pamphlets Dr. Mitchell had given her, barely acknowledging that Heather was there.   She slowly looked up and tried to force herself back to reality.

“Oh, yeah, just give me a minute,” she finally said.

Frowning, Heather walked into the office and closed the door behind her.  “Miranda, are you okay?  You looked a million miles away just now.”

“No, I’m not okay,” she said and thrust one of the pamphlets across the table.

Heather’s eyes narrowed on the block lettering and she quickly snatched it up in her hand.  “You’re pregnant?” she exclaimed.  “Miranda, oh my…”

“That was my first reaction,” she interrupted her.

Heather flipped her hair over her shoulder.  “Have you told Brett?”

“No, and I don’t think I’m going to.”

“Oh Miranda….”

“I know, I know,” she murmured.  “How could I have let this happen?  Brett and I were always so careful.  We didn’t want to have a baby yet.  Well, I didn’t.”

“Are you saying that Brett did?” Heather asked, her voice full of surprise.  She hadn’t pegged Brett as the type who had a paternal instinct.  It seemed that she became more and more surprised by him every day.

Miranda sighed and moved over to the sofa.  “Yes, but I didn’t think it was the right time,” she explained.  “Michael was still missing, my father needed me, and I just…I don’t know…I wasn’t ready.”

“Didn’t you use birth control?” Heather asked and sat down beside her. 

“Of course, but you know how that goes.  I should sue the damn company that makes that stupid patch.”

“Wow,” Heather said and brushed her hair from her eyes.  “So what are you going to do?”

Miranda handed her another pamphlet.  She took a deep breath and tried to maintain her cool.  “I’m not going to have it,” she said plainly, then paused while waiting for a response.

“Are you thinking of having an abortion?” Heather asked.  “Oh Miranda, are you sure about this?”   She reached over and placed her hand gently on hers.   She knew that Miranda was strong-willed and never did anything she wasn’t a hundred percent certain about.  It scared her to think that she was this determined to make a decision that could impact the rest of her life, and Brett’s.

Hastily, Miranda stood up and began pacing the office.  “It’s all I’ve thought about since last night.  Heather, I just divorced Brett.  You know better than anybody what a jerk he turned out to be.  I can’t even consider having his baby.  Not to mention the fact that it wouldn’t be fair to the child.  What am I supposed to tell him or her in twenty years?  Oh yeah, your father cheated on me and manipulated everyone in the family but he’s still a really good father.  No, I can’t have this baby.  It would be the biggest mistake of my life.”

Heather got up and followed her across the room.  “How do you know that if you go through with the termination that it wouldn’t be the biggest mistake of your life?” she asked, hating to be the voice of reason on something that she knew nothing about.  But still, she knew what a huge decision it was.  Besides that, she couldn’t help but feel for Brett.  He asked Miranda for a baby and she turned him down.  Terminating the pregnancy without so much as telling him sounded so cold and cruel. 

“I just know that I can’t bring a baby into this world under these circumstances,” Miranda said.  “I’m trying to get on with my life.  This would only hold me back and tie me to Brett forever.”

As much as she hated to admit it, Heather didn’t think that was such a bad thing.  Brett may be a louse and a backstabbing cheater, but there was a side to him that she’d only recently come to know.  Perhaps Miranda just hadn’t seen it as she had.

Brett Armstrong

The marina was packed with business people coming and going on their lunch hour, dock hands tending to private yachts on the rows of slips, and active young people skating and biking along the paths.  Brett carried a box of books and CD’s into his condo on the fifth floor of a new building built just off the water.

Dropping the box onto the floor in the spacious living room, he took the back of his hand and wiped his sweaty forehead.   It was well over ninety degrees outside and it felt like over a hundred after all the physical exertion of moving from the hotel.

After grabbing a bottle of water from the refrigerator, he made his way out onto the terrace overlooking the heart of the marina.  He took in a breath of fresh air and smiled with exhilaration.  This is where he belonged, he decided in an instant.  Sure, it didn’t have the luxuries of the Blackthorne mansion in Hollywood, no maid service and no gourmet meals three times a day, but it had style all its own.  Beautiful women at every turn, equally as beautiful views, and access to the private yacht club downstairs whenever he wanted.

Yes, he was slowly climbing back to the top.  Now all he needed was a job to pay for it all.  His stock options wouldn’t take him far for long. 

Suddenly he heard ice clinking in glasses from inside the condo.  He turned with a frown and went back inside, completely surprised at the sight of Marilee Walker standing at his kitchen bar pouring two glasses of spiked lemonade. 

“I know, it’s a little early to start drinking,” Marilee said with a wink and approached him with a glass.  “But what’s early?  It’s happy hour somewhere.”

Brett took the drink from her and eyed her incredulously.  “How did you-“

“I stopped by your room at Hotel Terranova and they said you checked out,” Marilee replied, staring him up and down as she sipped her cold drink.  “I called in a favor from Link the concierge and got your forwarding address.  I hope you don’t mind my stopping by.  I wanted to give you a proper housewarming present.”

Looking around the room, he decided to go along with her playful rouse.  “Where is it?” he asked.

She purred seductively and set her glass down, then took his and placed it neatly on the kitchen bar top.   “Right here,” she whispered in his ear and drew him closer.  She stepped out of her shoes and untied her wrap dress, letting it drop clean to the floor.

Brett swallowed hard, feeling himself growing aroused by her display of forwardness.  After seeing her standing there in nothing but a pair of lacy underwear, he had to admit that she was in spectacular shape for a fifty-year-old woman.  Curves in all the right places, skin as soft and smooth as a twenty-year old, and breasts that defied gravity. 

When she kissed him hard on the lips, he threw all caution aside.  He buried his face in her breasts and kissed her neck feverishly.   Quickly, he peeled off his sweaty t-shirt and moved her toward the sofa.

“Have you given any thought to my offer to work with Seth?” Marilee asked.  She expertly unfastened the waistband on his shorts and dropped them to the floor, not at all surprised that he wasn’t wearing underwear. 

“Do you think I’m up to it?” he said with a sheepish grin, throwing her onto the sofa and taking charge of the situation.  Coming up behind her, he reached around and kissed her moist, hot neck.

Marilee grinned devilishly.  “You’ll get the job done all right,” she panted, closing her eyes as he teased her relentlessly.  “Seth is always in Washington on business.   You could take care of…things for him here in L.A.

The air conditioner was on full blast but Brett was sweating profusely.  As they began making love on the sofa, he decided that maybe Marilee could help him with his new start after all.  If servicing her once and a while was all it took then he’d be getting off easy.

Just outside the door, Heather raised her hand and started to knock.  She felt obligated to tell Brett what was going on with Miranda.  It wasn’t fair that she kept him in the dark about the baby.  If she went ahead with the abortion, there would be no turning back. 

Sighing, she paused and took a step back.  Maybe telling Brett wasn’t her place.  Miranda had confided in her privately, and she owed her a certain amount of discretion.  She turned and started down the hall to the elevator.  Maybe she’d be able to convince Miranda to change her mind.  Or at least level with Brett before she went ahead with her appointment.

Blackthorne Mansion

Brooke followed James down the stairs into the foyer and grew rigid at the sight of Nathan waiting by the front doors.  James motioned to the driver who came into the foyer and picked up his suitcases.

“I guess I’d better get to the airport,” he said and glanced at Brooke.  “Give Michael another kiss for me, will you?”

“Of course,” Brooke said, waiting for him to offer some kind of gesture before his trip.  But as he walked to the door and stepped outside without looking back, she realized that their marriage was really in trouble. 

She couldn’t let things go for three days the way they were.  She had to come to some kind of resolution before he left on his trip.

“James, wait-“ she said and darted outside after him.   He paused before getting into the limousine and turned back to her.  “I love you,” she said hopefully.

He looked at her and simply nodded.  “See you in three days.”

With that, he turned and got into the car.  Brooke’s heart sank in her chest.  Not even an I love you too to appease her during his absence.  She felt her eyes sting with tears and her stomach tie itself in knots.  She turned and started back inside when she suddenly realized she wasn’t alone.

“Don’t worry, my dear,” Nathan said and approached her from behind.  “You won’t even notice he’s gone.  We’ll spend these next few days getting to know each other better.  Before you know it he’ll be back in your arms.”

Brooke sought no comfort in his words.  If anything they made her feel worse. She brushed past him and dashed up the stairs to the nursery.

Renee DeWitt

“Darling, are you sure you’ll be okay while I’m gone?” Renee asked her daughter as she opened the door for the bellmen at Hotel Terranova.   They took her designer bags and started back out of the room.  “Thank you, I’ll be down in just a minute.”

“Mother, I’ll be fine,” Sierra replied with a scoff.  She stood before the mirror in the entryway, admiring the earrings Nathan had given her and the way they sparkled in the glow of the chandelier.   “I’ve been on my own before, you know.  I’m almost twenty years old.”

“I know that, I just can’t help but worry,” Renee declared.  “You haven’t been out of the hospital that long, and-“  She paused and noticed Sierra’s reflection in the mirror.  “Darling, where did you get those earrings?”

Sierra stopped, wishing she had been more discreet about wearing the expensive gift around her mother.  “These?”

“Yes, those.  I haven’t seen them before.  Where did you get them?”

She tried to appear as nonchalant as possible.  “Oh…they’re….they were a gift from a suitor back in Paris.  Jean Claude Batiste.  He thought he was in love with me for about ten minutes.  These were his way of proving it.”

Renee smiled in amusement.  “They’re very lovely,” she said and examined one between her thumb and forefinger.  “And very expensive.  Jean Claude must be a very wealthy young man.”

“I think he comes from royalty,” Sierra embellished, tickled that she was able to come up with something so clever right off the top of her head.  “You know the type.  Handsome, rich, snobbish…”

“All right, that’s enough,” Renee said with a smile and pulled her into an embrace.   “Now please do not hesitate to call me if you need anything while I’m gone.  We’ll be staying at the Peninsula Hotel in Rio.   I left the number on the desk.”

“I’ll be fine,” she said.  “I’ll see you in a few days.”

“All right.  Good bye, Darling,” Renee said, pausing again to look at the earrings.  “They’re so beautiful.”

Before she could make her exit, Ethan approached from the hallway and paused in the doorway, his hands dug deeply in his pockets. 

“What on earth on you doing here?” Renee demanded, trying to block the door so he couldn’t enter.  “Haven’t you done enough?”

“Renee, please,” Ethan began.  “I came to apologize.”

“Apologize?” Renee guffawed.  “Well I do not accept.”

“Actually, it isn’t you that I came to apologize to,” he insisted and motioned through the opening to where Sierra was standing.  

“Mom, it’s okay,” Sierra said and pulled the door open. 

Ethan took another step forward, looking at Sierra with sincerity and glancing at Renee every so often.  “I know what I did was stupid, and maybe a few weeks in jail and some community service doesn’t begin to make up for it...”

“It doesn’t,” Renee interjected, her hands planted firmly on her hips.

“But I wanted you to know that not a day goes by that I don’t regret getting behind the wheel that day,” Ethan continued, ignoring Renee’s interruptions.  “I’m glad that you’re okay, and I want you to know that if there’s anything I can ever do for you, please let me know.”

After a long pause, Sierra nodded and managed a vague smile.  “Thank you,” she said evenly.

Rolling her eyes, Renee pushed Ethan out into the hallway and followed in a hurry.  “How noble of you,” she said, then turned back to her daughter.  “Darling, I’m late.  I’ll see you in three days.  Goodbye.”

Sierra closed the door behind her after they’d left, rushing back to the mirror and examining the reflection of her earrings as she shook her hair back and forth.

Alex Reynolds

At his private airstrip, James waited on the tarmac beside the Sunset Studios jet as two limousines arrived.  The first limousine stopped and the driver opened the back door.  Alex emerged and walked up to James, the wind whipping through her hair and tousling the silk scarf around her neck. 

“Let’s get this over with,” she murmured, turning around just as Renee emerged from her limousine.  Her eyes narrowed on the woman and she set her jaw.   “The faster we get there and get back the better off we’ll all be.”

“I’ll second that,” Renee said with a scowl as she approached.

James groaned in frustration.  “Now listen, both of you.  I don’t know what’s going on with the two of you but whatever it is I suggest you leave it here.  We’re going to this conference to network and to promote Blackthorne-Reynolds.  I don’t want any bickering or any diva-like performances from either one of you.  Is that clear?”

Renee pursed her lips together and started up onto the plane after Abram lowered the boarding ramp.  Alex shot James a quietly defiant look and followed a few steps behind.   James realized it was going to be a difficult few days with the two women butting heads and conspiring the entire time.  He only hoped he could live through it.

Hotel Terranova

That night, the lounge at Hotel Terranova was buzzing with activity.  Stormy wandered in from the lobby and glanced around the crowded room.  When he spotted Eddie sitting at a small table behind a potted palm, sunglasses covering his eyes and ball cap pulled down over his face, he frowned and jogged up to him.

“What’s with the disguise, bro?” he asked and plopped down beside him.

“Shhh,” Eddie whispered and swatted his hand through the air.  “I’m on a stakeout.”

Stormy looked around and tried to appear inconspicuous.  “Oh, sorry,” he said.  “Who is it?  Some philandering Hollywood husband?  A crooked bodyguard selling secrets of the stars to the tabloids?”

Eddie lowered his sunglasses and leveled a look of irritation.  “What TV show are you on?” he asked, then went back to watching his target.  “I can’t tell you who it is, Stormy.  It’s confidential.  I take my job very seriously, you know.  These people depend on me.  I only asked you to meet me here so I wouldn’t look odd out place sitting here in a hotel bar by myself.”

Stormy rolled his eyes and ordered a drink from the waitress.  “Like the hat and sunglasses at eleven thirty at night don’t make you look odd enough?”

“Get me a gimlet,” Eddie said, not taking his eyes off a table across the room.

Stormy tried to see where he was looking, and finally deducted that it was the shifty-eyed man sitting with a buxom blond across the bar.  They looked guilty enough, he decided.

“I’m going in for a closer look and see if I can get a picture,” Eddie said, grabbing his drink from the waitress and slinking through the crowd.  As soon as he was within range of the couple and had his camera out and aimed at its target, his father and Nathan approached and exploded into a raucous greeting. 

“Ed, you sly devil, I almost didn’t recognize you in that disguise!” Victor hollered, presumably drunk or high with a drink in each hand and a slur in his words.

“Dad!” Eddie complained, furious when the loud spectacle drew attention and the target quickly darted off through the lounge.  “God, I’m trying to work here!”

Stormy stifled a laugh from his vantage point.

While Victor and Eddie squabbled over his blown cover, Nathan glanced around the bar and paused when he spotted a man in the corner watching him closely.  He frowned and ambled over to the booth, reaching into his pocket and fishing for something.

“I’m sorry, I don’t have a pen,” he said.  “If you have your own, I’d be more than happy to sign an autograph.”

David Jennings stood up and shook his head.  “That’s not necessary, Mr. Blackthorne,” he said.

Nathan was flattered.  He adored fans.  They made it all worthwhile.  “It’s always a pleasure to meet the viewing public.”

“I’m David Jennings,” he said.  “My mother was Jacquline Lamont.  I believe you were acquainted with her.”

The remark shut Nathan up quickly and forced him to drop the act that he was always on camera.  “Well, well, David Jennings.  I haven’t seen you since you were eleven years old.”

“At my grandfather’s funeral.”

“Such a sad day,” Nathan said, slowly getting over the shock of seeing the young man.  He was quickly brought back to the time when he and Jackie were married and she wanted to have a child.  He’d refused, claiming that his career came first.  After their divorce, she’d married Royce Jennings and two years later Jackie got the child she wanted.

His one big regret in life.

“My mother talked about you a lot,” David said.  “She often said that she treated you unfairly.  The way your marriage ended and how she left you for my father.”

“I was sorry to hear about your father.  Were they still married?”

David shook his head.  “They divorced when I was in college.  My mother moved to New York and my father stayed here until he died.”

“Royce Jennings was a man to be reckoned with, that’s for sure.  A good man.”

“My mother loved him very much, but to tell you the truth, I don’t think she ever got over you.   I’m not quite sure why.  Your reputation precedes you.”

Nathan straightened his jacket lapels indignantly.  “If you’re referring to those accusations against me, I can assure you, young David, they are an abomination of justice.  The trial will prove that to the public, and to your dear mother.”  A thoughtful pause.  “Tell me, how is Jackie now?"

David bit his lip and then delivered in a deadpan voice.  “She’s dead.”

Suddenly Nathan grew despondent, his heart aching over the news that his beloved Jackie was gone.  Granted, he hadn’t seen her in twenty-five years, but somehow he had always taken solace in the fact that she was healthy and happy somewhere in the world.

Before he could respond, Victor grabbed his arm and began leading him off through the crowd.  “Nathan, you won’t believe who’s here.  Come, I must introduce you to this lovely young thing.  She bears the most uncanny resemblance to Tippi Hedron.”

Nathan grudgingly went with Victor, still reeling from the news about Jackie. 

David Jenner

When David got home to his beach house in Malibu, he undressed and plucked a shoebox from the closet, then sat down on the edge of his bed.   He flipped through a stack of old photographs, one of his mother and grandfather posing with Nathan on the back lawn of the mansion.

Taking a deep breath, he dialed the phone and waited for an answer.

“It’s David,” he said into the phone.  “Yes, I know it’s late.  I just missed you, that’s all.”

He shuffled the photographs in his hand and looked at another picture of his beloved mother. 

“No, I just wanted to hear your voice.  I worry about you.”  A pause while he listened through the receiver.  “No, I don’t think you should come here.  I’ll come there for a visit as soon as I can.”

Standing up, he began pacing the room.  He knew he shouldn’t have called.  It always led to the same conversation. 

“Of course not,” he said.  “Mom, please.  I just think it’s best that you stay in New York.  Trust me, I’ll see you soon.”

After they said their goodbyes, he clicked off the phone and threw it onto the bed.  Gathering the photographs back into the box, he placed it neatly in the closet and closed the door securely. 

Jasmes Blackthorne

When the Sunset Studios jet landed in Rio, James, Alex and Renee took a limousine to the Peninsula Hotel and checked into their rooms.

The elevator doors opened on the penthouse level and James followed the bellman down the hall to his room.   While paused at the door, a ravishing auburn-haired woman emerged from the elevator and proceeded to the room next door.   Dressed in a one-piece bathing suit, sunglasses and beach bag slung over her shoulder, she fumbled with her keys and dropped them clumsily to the floor.

“Here, allow me,” James said and went over to pick them up for her.

“Thank you,” she replied and flashed him a friendly smile.  When she got a clear look at him, her mouth gaped open in awe and she quickly removed her sunglasses.   “James?  James Blackthorne?  I don’t believe it!”

Caught off guard, James tilted his head and looked at the woman curiously.  It took a moment or two but he finally recognized her.  Leigh Purcell.  Well what do you know?  My daughter told me she just ran into you in Acapulco.  This is such a coincidence.”

She laughed and threw her long silky hair over her shoulder.  “It certainly is.  But on the other hand, we’re both in the energy business so I guess it’s to be expected that we attend the same conferences.”

James nodded in agreement.  “True enough.  Wow, you look fantastic.”

You look amazing,” Leigh gushed, sizing him up and down.  “We have so much to catch up on.”

`“Yes, we do.”

”I was just about to change and go downstairs for a drink.  Why don’t you join me?” 

James shrugged and grinned excitedly.   “Why not?” he said.  “Give me just a few minutes and I’ll meet you in the lounge.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” Leigh said before stepping inside her room.

James went into his room and handed the bellman a huge tip.  After he’d gone, he sat down on the sofa and thought about how good it was to see Leigh Purcell again.  It had been six years since they last saw each other.  Six years since their torrid affair ended.  It seemed like fate that they ran into each other again.


Next time....

James makes use of his time away from Brooke.  Nathan and Brooke share an uncomfortable dinner together.  Brett talks to Seth about a job opportunity.  

 

 Read Episode 60

 

 


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