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Episode 62

 

Release Date:  May 28, 2007

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Brooke called Ethan the morning after Nathan attempted to rape her, but she wouldn't tell him what had happened.  James continued his affair with Leigh Purcell in Rio de Janeiro, then later felt guilty and worried about his troubled marriage to Brooke.  Congressman Seth Walker phoned Leigh in Rio and the two shared a brief, yet cryptic conversation.  Alex and Renee left Rio and confronted Jordan about playing them both, where they wound up in a fight in the marina.  Miranda informed Brett that he would have no rights when it came to their child.  Heather gave in to temptation and slept with Brett. But when Stormy showed up at her door and Brett instigated a fight, she told them both to leave her alone.  Miranda blasted Heather for betraying her trust.  She later told David that she was carrying Brett's baby.  Alex overheard Jordan and Renee talking about a secret having to do with Sierra.  James returned home and Brooke told him that Nathan tried to attack her.

 

 


 

Episode 62

"The Legacy"

 

James looked at Nathan, studying his eyes and his body language and realizing that he wasn’t looking at a man who would rape a defenseless woman.  Alex and the tabloids had been wrong all those years ago.  Debralee Scott admitted it to the entire world.  His uncle was not the monster they portrayed him as.  He turned to the bathroom where Brooke had locked herself in, wondering what was going on inside his wife’s head.  The next second he motioned to the hall and led Nathan outside the bedroom.

“Look, Nathan,“ James began awkwardly.  “I’m not sure what happened while I was in Rio, but-“

“What is it, James?” Nathan asked and sipped his cocktail.  “Brooke seemed positively jumpy just now.   Is she okay?  Is it Michael?”

James shook his head.  “No, it’s…”  He paused again, unable to keep from stammering over his words. “What happened while I was gone?  Did Brooke seem okay to you?”

“Well, Michael wasn’t feeling well so she stayed up in the nursery quite a bit.  But we had dinner together last night and she seemed in good spirits.”  He paused for optimum theatrical affect and then decided to throw in something for his own benefit.  “Come to think of it, that was right after Ethan left.  They spent some time together in the family room and she seemed very upbeat after that.”

James’s eyes narrowed on him curiously.  There was a time when Brooke and Ethan spending time alone together would concern him, but not now.  That was all in the past. Wasn’t it?

“Brooke claims that you attacked her last night.  She says you tried to rape her.”

As usual, Nathan tried playing the situation like a stage direction in a script.  “Oh my God,” he whispered.  “James, are you serious?  I’m speechless.”

“That was my reaction.”

Nathan placed a hand dramatically on his chest.  “I think the world of Brooke.  You must know that, James.  I would never do anything to hurt her.  She must be listening to the lies Alex has been spreading about me.”

James ran his fingers through his hair and glanced back at the bedroom.   He’d seen the look in Brooke’s eyes.  She believed what she was saying.  She believed that Nathan attacked her.

“That’s got to be it,” Nathan continued with a bewildered expression.  “She’s been listening to that drama queen ex-wife of yours.  Alex can be very convincing when she wants to be.  Remember how she pulled off the role of Miranda in The Tempest?”

Brooke wasn’t a liar, James though to himself.  She was level-headed and intelligent and didn’t have a spiteful bone in her body.  So why would she say something so scathing about Nathan?   Maybe she was overly tired and imagined it.  Maybe she caught whatever Michael had and was delirious and hallucinating.

“You believe that I’m innocent, don’t you, James?” Nathan interrupted his thinking.

James turned to his uncle and patted him on the shoulder.  “I’ll talk to her.  I’ll get to the bottom of it.”

Nathan smiled and watched him go back into the bedroom.  Satisfied that he’d removed suspicion from himself, he took a hearty drink of his cocktail and laughed wickedly to himself.

Brooke Taylor

Brooke grudgingly opened the bathroom door after James knocked a few times.  She fell into his arms and squeezed with all her might. 

“James, I’m so glad you’re back,” she sighed.  “I was so scared.  I told you that something bad was going to happen.  I knew it.  Nathan, he-“

“Tell me what happened, Brooke.”

She wiped her forehead with the back of her hand.  “He kept popping up everywhere I went the whole time you were gone.  He scared me, James.  We had dinner last night and things got out of hand.”

“You had dinner with Nathan last night?” James asked and led her to the bed where he sat down next to her.  ”But if you felt threatened by him why would you have dinner with him?“

“He surprised me,” Brooke said with a tear in her eye.  “I came down from the nursery and he said he wanted to have dinner together.  He’d set the table.  There were candles and wine and-“

“What happened then?”

“We started eating.  He kept talking about you and Alex together in Rio.  I got upset and I said I was going to bed.  But he grabbed me and he chased me up here to the bedroom.  He pinned me down and he kissed me and….I don’t remember exactly what happened then.  All I know is I got away and hid in the bathroom.”

James wiped his face with his hand.  “Nathan says that Ethan was here.”

Brooke nodded and shrugged indifferently.  “Yes, but that was before.  We were in the family room and-“  She paused, suddenly realizing that they hadn’t been alone.  “Wait a minute.  Nathan was supposedly out when Ethan was here.  If Nathan saw us then he must have been spying.  Don’t you see, James?  He was watching me the entire time you were gone!  He’s obsessed!”

“Wait, slow down,” James said and stood up from the bed.  He began pacing the room, hoping it would help to clear his head and get a firm grasp on the situation.  “The entire time Nathan’s been here he’s been nothing but a perfect gentleman.  You said yourself how kind he was.  Now all the sudden he’s turned into an obsessive maniac?  Brooke, this doesn’t add up.”

She frowned and stood up.  “Doesn’t add up?” she asked, bewildered.  “Of course it adds up.  He raped Alex twenty years ago.  He went on trial for raping Debralee Scott.  He-“

“Alex recanted her testimony,” James reminded her.  “She admitted that she lied on the witness stand.  She spent a month in jail for perjury.  Would she have gone through that if Nathan really had raped her?”

“He threatened her,” Brooke exclaimed and followed him around the room.  “She feared for her life.  James, you were married to her.   Didn’t you notice anything different about her back then?  Weren’t there any signs that she was going through something?”

“Alex is an actress,” he insisted.  “Being dramatic is what she does best."

“What about Debralee Scott?” Brooke continued.  “What about her?  She testified on the stand that she and Nathan slept together  She killed herself in a bedroom down the hall because of what he did to her!!”

“It was consensual,” James added.  “She said so herself.  She said so again weeks ago before Nathan came back.  And she killed herself because she wasn't happy.  That's all.   Brooke, he just isn’t the monster that people make him out to be.”

Brooke couldn’t believe what she was hearing.  Her own husband was standing there defending the man who attacked her.  He was taking his word over his own wife’s.

“What did he say to you?” she asked.  “What did he say to make you believe him?”

James ran his fingers through his hair and sighed heavily.  “It doesn’t matter,” he said and turned to her.  “Brooke, I understand that you had a difficult few days.  Are you sure that you didn’t imagine all of this?“

“Don’t you dare tell me that I imagined what Nathan did to me!” she shrieked angrily.  She couldn’t remember the last time she felt so hurt and betrayed by anyone.  Holding her head in her hands, she struggled to control her emotions.   “I don’t believe this.  I don’t believe that you’re taking his word over mine.”

“That’s not what I’m doing at all,” James said and took her by the shoulders.  “I just don’t want to go accusing Nathan of something unless you’re absolutely sure.”

“What did he say to you?” she asked again.  “Tell me!  I have a right to know, James!”

“He said that you had dinner together and that everything was fine,” James replied hastily.  “He said that he never attacked you and that he doesn’t know why you’d say something like that.”

“Because it’s the truth!”

James sighed and reached out to her again.  “Brooke, I’m sure that it all seemed very real to you.  Maybe you misunderstood what happened.  Nathan is from a different era.  In his day, Hollywood was a very different place.  Things were freer and more uninhibited.  He doesn’t mean anything by it.”

She glared heatedly at him.  “He pinned me down on our bed, James!” she shouted, pointing down to the bed.  “He wouldn’t let me go.  I had to fight to get him off of me!”

“Brooke,“ James began with a certain amount of difficulty.  “Please calm down so we can discuss this rationally.  Let’s go downstairs and talk to Nathan.  I’m sure if the three of us talked it out we could solve everything.“

“I’m not going anywhere near that man!” Brooke screamed.  “I don’t even want him in this house!  I don’t want him near me or our baby!  He’s got to leave!”

James threw his hands up in resignation.  “I can’t ask him to leave,” he said.

“You can’t?  Or you won’t?”

The answer was clear to James.  As much as she hated to doubt her, he was positive that she was wrong about Nathan.   “I won’t,” he said softly.

Brooke’s eyes stung with tears.  James was like a different person to her now.  Having him look at her like she was crazy or a liar was the most hurtful thing she’d ever felt in her life. 

She raced from the room and into the nursery.  She didn’t want to be anywhere near her husband.  She’d never felt so alone and betrayed by anyone.

Blackthorne-Reynolds

The next morning, Jordan went to Renee’s office at Blackthorne-Reynolds and surprised her with a picnic basket filled with fresh croissants, succulent fruit, and fresh orange and papaya juice.

“How exquisite,” she said and threw her arms around him.  She was pristinely dressed in a pink Chanel suit.  Her hair, now newly coiffed into an elegant, modern afro, had seemingly recovered from the spill into the marina the day before.  “Is there any wonder why I don’t love you?  Always so thoughtful.”

“I have a lot to make up for,” Jordan replied with a grin and began unpacking their picnic breakfast.

“You mean for sleeping with Alex?” Renee quipped.  She couldn’t resist throwing it in his face again.  She was still so humiliated by the prospect of Alex Reynolds getting a one up on her.

Jordan sighed and handed her a glass of papaya juice.  “I already told you that I made a mistake,” he said.  “What do you want me to do?  Apologize for the rest of my life?”

She smiled and sat down at the conference table.  “Yes.”

Before Jordan could reply, Alex walked into the office with a stack of files in her arms.  “Renee, these reports are strictly slap-shot work.  I think you need to rethink some of your budget proposals because-“  She stopped short, pretending to be surprised to see Jordan there.  “Oh, I’m sorry.  I didn’t know you were entertaining during work hours.”

Jordan rolled his eyes.  “Hello Alex.”

“There is nothing wrong with my proposals,” Renee spat.  “If you have a problem with them then I suggest you take it up with the foreman because I got those figures straight from him.”

“I’ll do that.”

Jordan stood up and started to the door.  “If you’ll both excuse me, I think I’ll go out into the reception area and make a phone call while the two of you finish hissing and scratching.”

When he left, Renee stood up and glared at Alex.  “What do you think you’re doing, Alex?” she asked.  “You knew Jordan was here.  Your office is right next door.  Those reports could have waited.”

“I’m sorry, I guess I should rearrange our work load to suit your social life,” Alex replied bitterly.  She looked down at the picnic basket and managed a fake smile.  “How lovely.  Is this a celebration?  Or does this go on every morning?”

Renee folded her arms and stepped forward.  “I’m on to you, Alex.  You’re trying to come between Jordan and I.”

“Wrong, as usual.”

“You can’t stand the fact that he chose me over you so you’re being childish about it.  It’s so obvious.  Then again, I don’t think I’ve met an actress yet who wasn’t transparent.  But get this through your head:  Jordan is with me now.  You divorced him.  Now why don’t you step back and accept defeat like a gracious loser?”

Seething, Alex turned and stormed out of the office.  She went into her office next door and began pacing the room furiously, stopping only to throw a crystal cigarette lighter across the room.

Hotel Terranova

Sierra sat on the terrace overlooking the tennis courts at Hotel Terranova, sipping lemonade and wiping a bead of sweat from her brow as she recovered from a grueling lesson with the pro. 

“Nice job today,” he said.  “Same time tomorrow?”

“We’ll see,” she said with a wink before he walked off to the courts.  She sighed, put her feet up on the chair beside her, dabbing a cool towel on her face and fanning herself from the exhaustive heat. 

She turned and saw Nathan Blackthorne talking to a few men who looked like movie stars.  She wanted to go up and talk to him but she held back, realizing that she would probably look like a star struck little girl to his peers.  Remaining at her table, she casually sipped her lemonade and glanced over to him only when she thought he wasn’t looking.

Before she knew it, he was coming up on her and hovering above her table.  She felt his shadow loom overhead and she looked up with surprise. 

“Oh hello,” she said, pretending to be caught off guard.   She knew she was no actress, but she was fairly confident in her abilities to play coy.   “I didn’t see you.”

I saw you,” Nathan said with a grin, then gestured to the chair across from her.  “May I?”

She nodded and sat forward. 

“I was here meeting some co-stars of my new film,” Nathan explained and motioned for the waitress to bring his usual.  “We start filming tomorrow on Donnie & Johnny.”

“How exciting,” Sierra gushed.  “I’m sure you’ll be very busy for a while.  You'll be accepting another Filmmaker award in no timer.”

Nathan laughed and ogled her long slender legs.  He thought she saw the direction his eyes traveled, and quickly recovered by picking a penny up off the ground and handing it to her.  “For luck,” he said with a wink.  “You know, I have some pull with the producer.  Maybe you’d like to come to the set sometime and watch a few scenes being filmed.”

Sierra’s eyes lit up instantly.  “I’d love to!” she exclaimed, then quickly regained her composure.  It wouldn’t do for him to think of her as a schoolgirl with a fan website or something lame like that.  She was a woman, and much more mature than a lot of star struck girls in Hollywood.

“You’re not wearing the earrings I gave you,” he said.

“I was playing tennis.  I don’t wear diamond earrings when I play tennis.”

“And why not?” he asked.  “You seem like a young woman who does what she wants.  Why not break the rules?”

“Is that what you do?” she asked.  “Break the rules?”

“Whenever I can,” he said and winked.

Sierra smiled fondly and brought her glass to her lips.  She was entranced by Nathan Blackthorne.  He was so distinguished and worldly.  The best part was that he was actually paying attention to her.  After years of living in stuffy boarding schools in Europe, she was finally living a little and hobnobbing with movie stars.

“But first, I’d love to have dinner with you,” Nathan said.  He accepted his drink from the waitress and stood up.  “Tonight in the dining room?  Eight o’clock?  I should be done with these old cats by then,” he said and gestured to Victor Distefano and several others on the other end of the terrace.

“I’ll be there,” Sierra said, staring with wide eyes.

Jusque-là, mon doux,” Nathan said, taking her delicate hand and kissing it gently.

Vous voir alors,” she replied.  She found herself staring off in a trance long after Nathan had returned to his table.  When she finally broke from the daze, she smiled with exhilaration and propped her feet up on the chair again.

Jasmes Blackthorne

James was running late for work that morning.  He spent an extra twenty minutes in the shower, fifteen extra minutes getting his tie perfectly straight, and at least ten minutes trying to tame the stubborn cowlick on top of his hairline. 

The truth was he was avoiding Brooke.  She had slept in the nursery the night before, obviously hurt and upset that he questioned her story about what happened with Nathan.  It wasn’t that he didn’t believe her.  It went deeper than that.  He was a hundred percent certain that she misunderstood Nathan’s sometimes overly friendly advances.  That, coupled with Alex’s paranoia and slanderous remarks about him, must have sent Brooke over the edge. 

When he finally came downstairs for breakfast, he ran directly into Brooke in the hallway on the way to the dining room.  They both paused, looking at one another uncomfortably for several moments before Brooke tried skirting past him.

“Brooke, wait,” James said and turned toward her.   “Please talk to me.”

“Why?” she demanded, flaring eyes and hands planted firmly on hips.  “Whatever I say you’re just going to tell me that I’m delusional…or crazy…or…”

“I never said that I thought you were crazy!” James shouted. 

Miranda walked down the stairs and paused on the landing after hearing the shouting between her father and Brooke.  She raised an eyebrow, wondering what it was that had gotten them so riled up.  They were usually so private with their arguments.  It must be something big if they were risking the entire house hearing about it.

“But you don’t believe that Nathan attacked me!” Brooke replied.  “You think I’m making it up!”

“No, I don’t!”

“You said so last night.  You stood up in our bedroom and told me that I was delirious!”  She ran her fingers through her hair, not noticing Miranda peering around the corner from the staircase.  “Your uncle tried to rape me and all you could say is that I had a fever!” 

“Look, I just think that you misunderstood-"

 “I did NOT misunderstand anything!” Brooke cried.  “I know the difference between a man trying to force me to have sex with him and a symptom of the flu!”

James rubbed his face with his hand and tried to find a way to make her understand where he was coming from.  Nathan was his flesh and blood, not to mention his idol.  He was the reason he moved to Hollywood and tried so hard to make it in the movie business.   He didn’t believe the stories about him twenty years ago and he didn’t believe them now. 

“Can we please just sit down and try to discuss this rationally?” he finally asked, reaching his hand out to her.  “If you’ll talk to Nathan maybe you’ll understand his point of view.”

His point of view?” Brooke lamented, swatting his hand and backing away from him.  “What about my point of view?   What about Alex’s point of view?  What about all the other women he’s done this to?”

“They were lying!”

She looked at him with hurt in her eyes.  “So that must mean I’m lying, right?”

James shook his head.  “I’m not going to do this again,” he said, turning and starting down the hall to the door.  He grabbed his briefcase from the table in the entryway and stormed out to his car in the front drive.

Brooke buried her face in her hands and turned to walk up the stairs when Miranda came from around the corner, glaring with contempt at her step-mother.

“Excuse me, Miranda,” Brooke said awkwardly.  She tried to brush past her but Miranda held her back.

“I always knew you were going to cause more trouble for this family,” she said, frowning within an inch of her life.  “I warned you when you married my father again that I wouldn’t let you get away with it, and I meant it.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I know that you’re making false accusations against Nathan,” Miranda said with a look of warning.  “He didn’t attack you, Brooke.  I saw you with him yesterday morning.  There was something going on there but it wasn’t because he forced himself on you.  Tell me, did you decide that sleeping with my father’s nephew wasn’t enough, you had to go after his uncle too?  Three generations of Blackthorne men, how impressive.”

“Shut up,” Brooke said and felt her eyes sting with tears. 

“Or maybe you just couldn’t stand to share my father with anyone else.  Nathan’s been back for a few weeks so you’re not his number one priority anymore.  This phony attempted rape is just your way of trying to get rid of him so you’ll stay the center of attention.”

“Shut up!” Brooke screamed, tearing up the stairs and bolting to her bedroom in a frenzy.  She flung herself onto the bed and sobbed uncontrollably.  She felt like her world was falling apart.  Miranda not believing her was to be expected, but she never in a million years expected it from James.

Hotel Terranova

That night, the dance floor at Hotel Terranova was packed with couples dressed elegantly in their formal evening attire, slow dancing to the soothing jazz band on the platform.  Nathan and Sierra sat at a table across the room.  She was well aware that people were staring.  What she wasn’t sure of was whether they were staring because she was with a world-renowned movie star, or because she was with a man over 40 years older than her. 

 Whatever the reason, she didn’t care.  She wasn’t involved with Nathan and didn’t have any romantic interests in him, so she couldn’t care less what anyone thought.  Nathan was an inspiration, an idol from her childhood, a kind and gentle man whom she loved talking to.

“The earrings look lovely on you,” Nathan said, admiring the way her brown skin glowed in the candlelight.  “I knew you would bring them to life the moment I saw them.”

Sierra blushed and pulled at the dangling diamond teardrops.  “They’re so expensive,” she said.  “I still don’t think it’s right that I kept them.  I didn’t even tell my mother you gave them to me.  She would have probably made me give them back.”

“Mothers can be like that,” he replied.  “Is it just the two of you or is your father still around?”

“My mother adopted me.  My biological parents were friends of hers and they passed away when I was a baby.”

Nathan regarded her closely.  “You know what they say about adopted children,” he began.  “You’re extra special because you were hand selected.”

“That’s kind of you,” Sierra gushed.  “My mother and I have a pretty special relationship.  I was away at boarding school for most of my life.  I always looked forward to the times when she visited me there.”

Nathan was interested in getting to know more about the young woman.  “What does your mother do, Sierra?  Obviously she’s a wealthy woman.  The two of you living here at Hotel Terranova and all.  And your clothes aren’t those of a girl on a budget.”

“She’s successful,” Sierra replied simply.

Nathan smiled and glanced at the dance floor, then back to her.  “Would you like to dance?” he asked.

“Sure, why not?”

He stood up from the table and pulled Sierra’s chair out for her, leading her gently to the center of the room beneath the crystal chandelier.

“I love this song,” Nathan remarked as he effortlessly spun her around the dance floor.  “Takes me back to those days when music was inspired.  That dribble today could bore a monkey off its branch.”

Sierra laughed and looked into his charming eyes.  “I love the classics,” she said.  “Singing them gives me this warm feeling inside.  I don’t know…it’s corny, but I feel comforted by them.”

“I mean what I said the other day, you know.  I’d be more than happy to give you a leg up if you’re serious about singing for real.”

Sierra smiled again, her eyes twinkling in the light.  She could see why Nathan Blackthorne had been such a ladies man in his day.

Renee DeWitt

Across the room, Renee entered on Jordan’s arm, dressed in a long sequin gown and looking like a million bucks.  She felt like it too for the first time in a while.   Jordan was sticking by her, keeping her secret, and she was feeling closer to him than ever.  Surprising her by sending over a new gown from her favorite boutique, then showing up in a dapper black suit was probably the sweetest thing a man had ever done for her, including Kenny.

“Are you sure you don’t want to go somewhere else?” Jordan asked as he led Renee to the bar and ordered a bottle of champagne.   “You live here.  I thought you’d want to go someplace a little different.”

“This place is fine with me,” Renee said and looked around the room.  “Besides, I’d like to stick close to home in case Sierra comes back.  She left earlier and didn’t say where she was going.”

Jordan sighed and handed her a champagne flute.  “Renee, you’re going to have to let go eventually,” he began.  “Sierra is nineteen years old.  She’s a woman now.  You can’t keep her on such a short leash.”

“I know that.  I just can’t help but worry that the longer she’s out of my sight the more likely it is that she’ll find out who her real father is.”

“If she hasn’t already,” Jordan said ominously while staring across the room through the diminishing crowd on the dance floor.

“Well that’s not very supportive of you,” Renee spat hastily and slammed her glass down on a cocktail table.

“Look,” Jordan said and pointed across the room.

Renee turned around, her eyes traveling to the dance floor where Sierra and Nathan slow danced under the spinning lights. 

The room closing in on her, she quickly darted through the crowd, pushing people out of the way with reckless abandon.  When she reached the dance floor, she grabbed Sierra by the arm and pulled her away from Nathan.

“Mother!” Sierra cried.

Nathan shot Renee a look.  For the first time since he could remember he was speechless.  Sierra was Renee’s daughter?   All this time he’d been courting the young woman and he had no idea.

“Sierra, get upstairs,” Renee ordered, not taking her eyes off of Nathan.  She knew she’d blown everything she’d tried to hide from the public, but she didn’t care.  She’d deny that Nathan was Sierra’s father until the day she died.  Her rouse of having adopted her was enough of a cover.

“Mother, what is wrong with you?” Sierra demanded.

“Just get upstairs right now!”

Sierra twisted from her mother’s grasp, horrified by the way Renee embarrassed her in front of the entire dining room.  Everyone was turning and staring, awed by the spectacle that had suddenly erupted.  At that very moment, Alex walked into the restaurant and saw the commotion.  Her eyes narrowed on Renee’s display of outrage and she wondered what was going on.

“You’re treating me like a child!” Sierra whispered.  “Can’t you see I was-“

“Go!” Renee shrieked, her hands trembling and her eyes becoming unfocused.

Her eyes flooding with tears, Sierra turned and ran through the dining room to the lobby.  Alex watched with growing interest.  What could have caused Renee to react with such hostility?  She didn’t believe that Nathan was a rapist any more than the rest of  Hollywood did.  So why was she so protective of her daughter?  Perhaps it had to do with the secret Renee was hiding about Sierra.

“Sierra is your daughter?” Nathan asked with a smile.  “I knew she was beautiful for a reason.”

Renee quickly went into defense mode.  “Sierra is adopted,” she said with as much conviction as she could muster.  “And just what the hell were you doing with her anyway?”

“Dancing,” he replied with a cocky grin.  “Would you like to cut in?”

“Stop being so damned pompous,” Renee insisted angrily.  “How do you even know my daughter?  When did you meet her?”

Nathan took a glass of champagne from a passing waiter.  “We met in the hotel gift shop,” she explained.  “You know, your daughter is a grown woman.  She can see whomever she pleases.”

“Not as long as it’s you,” Renee spat.  “The earrings….they were from you, weren’t they?”

“I don’t mind spoiling women from time to time.”

Renee took a step closer to him and slapped him across the face.  The entire room gasped, chattering quietly over the escalading spectacle.   “I don’t want you giving my daughter gifts,” she insisted.  “I don’t want you slow dancing with her, and I don’t want you to so much as talk to her!  Do I make myself clear?”

“Why Renee, why are you so hostile?” he asked.  “It isn’t as if we parted on bad terms all those years ago.  I was falsely accused.  I was taken away in the middle of a romantic evening on my yacht.  Now you’re treating me like I’m a monster.”

“You are a monster!” she shrieked.

He regarded her carefully.  Something was amiss.  “You never believed those stories about me,” he said.  “You said yourself that Alex Reynolds lied about my attacking her.  Now you think that I’m a threat to your daughter?  I don’t buy it.  Why is it that you really want me to stay away from Sierra?”

Renee tensed.  Because she’s your daughter, she could hear herself screaming inside.  But she maintained her footing, bent on keeping the torrid secret.  “Stay away from my daughter or I swear you’ll be sorry.”

With that, she turned and raced through the crowd to the lobby and dashed into the elevator.  Alex turned to Jordan and raised an eyebrow.  She was shocked by Renee’s reaction to say the least. 

“I’d better go check on her,” Jordan said and started to walk away.

“Not so fast,” Alex said and pulled him back.  She leveled a look of warning at him and folded her arms.  “What was that all about?  What is going on with Renee and why is she so protective of Sierra?”

Jordan rolled his eyes, perfectly aware that his ex-wife was trying to cause trouble.  “Mind your own business, Alex,” he said and pulled away.

Alex sighed, realizing she would have to work harder to find out what was going on with Renee DeWitt.  

Blackthorne Mansion

The next day, Leilani opened the door at the Blackthorne mansion, standing clear as Alex entered into the foyer. 

“Is my daughter home, Leilani?” Alex asked and looked around the entryway.

“I’ll see, Miss Reynolds,” Leilani replied and started off in search of Miranda. 

Standing in the foyer, Alex waited impatiently and wondered what the big news was that Miranda had for her.  She sounded positively giddy on the phone.

Suddenly, the faint sound of crying came from parlor.  Alex frowned, stepping over to the doorway and peering inside where Brooke sat on the floor with Michael, a blanket beneath him and toys spread out in disarray.

“Brooke?” Alex said and walked into the room.  “I was just waiting for Miranda.  Do you know if she’s home?”

She tensed, picking Michael up and placing him gently in his crib.  “I haven’t seen her this morning,” she replied, avoiding making eye contact with the woman.  She felt foolish for not believing her weeks ago when she warned her about Nathan. 

Alex immediately knew something was wrong when Brooke didn’t throw a sarcastic remark or thinly veiled insult in her direction.  She followed her across the room and turned her toward her. 

“You’ve been crying,” she said.  “What’s wrong?  Is it James?”

Brooke frowned and pulled away from her.  “Like you care,” she groaned.  “Alex, just leave me alone.  We both know that you don’t give a damn about me or my marriage.”

Leilani came into the room and the door creaked after her.  The sound sent Brooke into a tailspin and she jumped out of her skin.  She placed a hand on her heart and backed up a step, desperately trying to calm her frazzled nerves.

“Miss Miranda is already gone to the hotel, Miss Reynolds,” Leilani said before ducking back out of the room.

After she’d gone, Alex turned to Brooke and eyed her suspiciously.  “What’s got you so jumpy, Brooke?” she asked.

“I’m not.”

“I saw the look in your face just now.  You’re terrified.  What’s happened?”

Brooke cried and raced to the window.  “Just leave me alone!”

“I was right about him, wasn’t I?” Alex asked and rushed over to her.  “Nathan attacked you just like he attacked me.  Brooke, tell me.  I was right to warn you about him, wasn’t I?”

“He didn’t rape me,” Brooke said and broke down in tears.  “He tried to but I fought him off and I got away.”

“Dear God,” Alex whispered in horror.  True, there was no love lost between her and Brooke, but she was human enough to reach out to a woman in need when she saw one.  “Where is he now?  What has James done with him?”

Brooke couldn’t help but let out a chuckle.  “What has he done with him?” she asked.  “He hasn’t done anything.”  A pause while she reflected on the mess things were in.  “He doesn’t believe that it happened.”

The news rattled Alex to the core.  She couldn’t believe that history was repeating itself in such a vile way.  James had proven himself to be a trusting idiot not once, but twice.

“You have to make him believe it,” she finally said.

“How?” Brooke cried.

“If I knew how I would tell you,” she said.  “All I know is that you can’t let Nathan get away with this.  Not again.  If you do he’s going to continue doing this to women.”  She suddenly thought of Sierra and the danger she was likely in.  Renee had been right to blow up at Nathan and insist that he stay away from her daughter.  She could be his next victim.

“Why did you lie?” Brooke asked her after a long period of silence.  “At Nathan’s trial.  Why did you say that you lied about him raping you?”

Alex took a deep breath.  “Because I was terrified.”

Brooke looked out the window again and closed her eyes.  She suddenly knew exactly how Alex felt.

Jasmes Blackthorne

Across the expansive maze of buildings that made up Sunset Studios, James watched from the sidelines as Nathan acted out a scene with B.J. Summers, a young blond actress with big breasts and doey eyes. 

They acted out a love scene on a set in studio 4.  After only two takes, the director called for the scene to be printed and the crew broke.  A slew of assistants approached Nathan with bottled water, cold wet cloths, and a stack of phone messages.  He expertly maneuvered himself away and approached James with a hearty slap on the back.

“Great scene,” James said with a smile.  “I would never guess that you haven’t acted in twenty years.  It comes so naturally to you.”

Nathan smiled in turn, wondering if he was making a point.  Had Brooke convinced him that her story was the truth?  Was James there to confront him?  It was possible that he'd have to finally use his secret ammunition against the lovely Mrs. Blackthorne.  

“How is Brooke?” he asked.  “I hope she’s feeling better today.  I hate the thought of her thinking of me as some kind of monster.”

James sighed and dug his hands into his pockets.  “She’s sticking to her story,” he said grimly.  “She has this idea in her head that you forced yourself on her, and I don’t think she’s going to let it go.”

“The poor girl,” Nathan said, shaking his head.

“But listen,” James continued.  “I don’t for a minute believe that you could have done what she says you did.  I think she just misunderstood your personality.”

“Oh, of course she did.  That’s all there is to it.”

James patted his uncle on the back.  “Well, I just wanted you to know that I’m trying to get through to her.  I’m sure that after a few days she’ll realize that you’re not the man she thinks you are.”

Nathan decided he couldn’t risk it.  He’d finally gotten everything back and he wasn’t about to lose it.  “James, I certainly don’t want to cause tension between you and your wife.  I was thinking that maybe I’d move back into my old bungalow at Alvarado Court.”

“Why?” James asked.  “You’re family.  You belong at the mansion.”

“I won’t be far away,” Nathan said.  “We’ll still see each other every day.  I just think that you need this time to get your marriage back on track.”

James nodded, realizing that maybe Nathan was right.  Maybe with him out of the house Brooke would feel better and she could put things into perspective.

Sierra Merteuil

“I don’t understand!” Sierra cried.  She hated the way her mother was acting.  For someone who had spent so little time with her daughter over the years, she was acting like she had all the answers.  It infuriated her.

“I just don’t want you anywhere near Nathan Blackthorne!” Renee insisted, her heels digging mercilessly into the high pile carpet as she paced her suite at Hotel Terranova.  “It’s not up for discussion, Sierra.”

“So that’s it?” Sierra asked behind a wall of tears.  “You tell me who I can and can’t see and I’m supposed to just obey?  Well it doesn’t work that way, Mother!  I’m almost twenty years old!  I’m a grown woman and I can do whatever I please!”

“Sierra, do you have any idea who that man is?  Do you know what he’s done?  He went on trial for rape!  He molested young girls after promising to help them with their film careers.  He’s a predator!  I won’t have him doing the same thing to you!”

“You’re wrong!” Sierra cried.  “That woman, that Debralee Scott woman admitted that she was with Nathan voluntarily!  He didn’t rape her!”

“She was fourteen when he coerced her into bed with him!” Renee insisted.  “And then she killed herself!  Why do you think she did that, Sierra?"

 “I’ll see him if I want to see him,” Sierra said and fled across the room.

Renee ran after her, pulling her back and grabbing for the diamond earrings she wore.

“Give those back!” Sierra screamed.  “Those are mine!  He gave them to me!”

“Gifts like these are inappropriate!” Renee insisted, clasping them tightly in the palm of her hand.  “Sierra, don’t you see?  This man will ruin your life!”

“We’re friends,” she claimed.  “That’s all.  Mother, he’s three times my age.  It’s not like I have romantic feelings for him!"

The thought made Renee’s skin crawl.  She had never thought to ask if Nathan had done anything to her yet.  She was almost afraid to ask.  He was her father.  It would be the worst thing that could ever happen.

“Sierra, if he’s made any advances on you-“

“Would you stop it!” cried Sierra. “He hasn’t made any advances on me!  He’s a kind and interesting man who I happen to enjoy spending time with!  That’s all!  And if you can’t handle that then that’s your problem!”

Renee closed her eyes with regret as Sierra ran out of the room and slammed the door behind her.   She plopped down onto the sofa and buried her face in her hands, devastated by the sudden turn of events.  She felt like her entire life was spinning out of control.

The phone rang and she answered it abruptly.  It was Jordan.

“I’m sorry about last night,” she said.  “I couldn’t see anyone after what happened in the restaurant.  I was too upset.”

Listening to him voicing concern, she sighed with frustration and shook her head.  “Jordan, no, I can’t see anyone right now.  I need to work this out on my own.”

Then, just as abruptly, she replaced the receiver and sunk back against the cushions of the sofa in quiet torment. 

Blackthorne-Reynolds

James stood in his office at Blackthorne-Reynolds, staring out the window in despair as he thought about the mess his marriage to Brooke was in.  On top of his affair with Leigh Purcell, now they had this nightmare with Nathan hanging over their head.  He didn’t know how much more they could take. 

“You bastard,” hissed a voice from behind. 

James spun around and came face to face with Alex.  From the look on her face and the tone in her voice he could tell she had heard the latest news.

“What are you doing here, Alex?”

“I just wanted to tell you that you’ve lost yet another wife,” Alex said coolly, hands on her hips as she stepped toward him. 

He frowned and shook his head.  “I haven’t lost Brooke.”

“You will,” Alex replied.  “She’ll walk out on you, James.  She’ll take your child and she’ll leave you just like I should have done all those years ago.  The minute you claimed that I lied about Nathan I should have taken Stormy and Miranda and left you.  I only hope that Brooke has enough sense to do what I never could.”

"Why do you even care what happens to me and Brooke?"

“Because I still care about you,” she replied.  “I don’t know why.  You’ve given me enough reasons to hate you.  But I don’t want to see you make the same mistakes with Brooke that you made with me.”

“I’m not making any mistakes, Alex, I-“

“You know that Nathan is guilty,” she interrupted.  “Deep down you know that we’re telling the truth about him but you just don’t want to see it.  He’s the last tie to your parents, and your sister Georgie and you refuse to believe that he’s anything but golden.  But James, he isn’t.  He’s a sexual predator.”

James shot her a threatening stare and spoke very slowly.  “Alex, I want you to leave right now,” he said.  “My wife and my uncle are my business.  Stay out of it.”

She sucked in a breath and shook her head.  “Fine,” she said and headed for the door.   Pausing before she left, she turned back to him and scowled.  “I feel sorry for you, you know that?  Your undying devotion to your uncle is going to tear your entire family apart.”

James looked at her warily, a small part of him wondering if Alex may be right. 

Sierra went to the marina and ambled her way down a row of slips until she came to a yacht with the name The Emperor emblazoned on the side.  She stepped onto the deck and smiled as Nathan came up from the lower cabin. 

“I see you got my message,” Nathan said with a grin.

“When did you get a yacht?” Sierra asked as she looked around the posh digs. 

“It belongs to Victor Distefano, ” he replied.  “He let me use it for the day so I thought I’d invite you over for a drink.”

“I’m glad you did.”

“So your mother didn’t care too much for our being together last night,” Nathan pointed out.  “I hope she wasn’t too hard on you.”

“How do you know my mother?” Sierra asked.

He laughed evasively.  “Let’s just say our paths have crossed before.”  He paused and watched as she sprawled out on a chaise lounge on the deck.  “Incidentally, I’ll be moving to my old place on Alvarado Court soon.  It’s very private.  We can get together there for our little chats if you’d like.  No overbearing mothers to speak of, anyway.”

Sierra frowned and wondered what his intentions were.  Was her mother right about him?  Was he a predator who only wanted to get her into bed?  But then after looking into his kind, gentle eyes she realized that it couldn’t be.  He was nothing more than a matinee idol who’d gotten a bad reputation because of some jealous girl who’s career didn’t take off like she’d planned.   He was a gentleman through and through.

“I’d love that,” she finally said. 


Next time....

Alex hires Eddie to dig up dirt on Renee.  Brett tells Marilee their affair is over.  Heather continues to regret her decision to sleep with Brett.  Jordan issues Nathan a warning.

 

 Read Episode 63

 

 


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