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Episode 65

 

Release Date:  July 28, 2007

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

Winter Austen found a letter that Brooke wrote to Ethan but didn't deliver.  In the letter, she named Ethan as the father of her baby.  Winter told James, who confronted Brooke about the baby's paternity.  Brooke denied the truth to James and Ethan.  Nathan overheard Brooke and Ethan discussing the fact that Michael is Ethan's son.  Leigh had a secret meeting with Congressman Seth Walker, then later showed up at James' door and expressed an interest in resuming their romantic relationship.  Miranda pushed Leigh to go after her father romantically.  Brooke left James after he refused to believe that Nathan had tried to rape her.  Heather shot down Brett's attempts at reconnecting following their romantic interlude.  Alex told Sierra that Renee was her real mother.  A devestated Sierra ran to Nathan and spent the evening with him on Victor's yacht.  James began to believe the rumors about Nathan.  Alex, Jordan and Renee raced to the marina and stopped Nathan from molesting Sierra.  Renee blurted out that Sierra was Nathan's daughter.  Jordan and Nathan got into a violent brawl on the yacht.  The yacht collided with an oil tanker and burst into flames.  James confronted Nathan about his relationship with Sierra, and Nathan deviously revealed that Ethan was Michael's father, not James.  

 

 


 

Episode 65

"P.O.E."

 

Alex Reynolds was wet, tired, and wanted nothing more than to go home and pretend the past three hours had never happened.  But she couldn’t go home.  She couldn’t rest until she got word that Jordan was safe.  After hours of dragging the marina, the search had been called off until morning.  And no matter how much she threw her name around and threatened every member of the search team, their decision stood firm.  So rather than sit and do nothing, she raced to Hotel Terranova to check on Sierra.  After all, it was her fault that the young woman had nearly been molested by her own father.  Now she was racked with guilt.

Power-walking through the lobby, she paused outside the lounge when a news break flashed up on the television screen.  A reporter at the marina was giving details of the explosion.  A mass of onlookers stood by in the drizzling rain, umbrellas and slickers peppering the background.

“Earlier tonight, the private yacht reportedly owned by entertainment legend Victor Distefano, collided with an oil tanker en route to San Pedro Harbor.  The thirty-foot yacht, known as The Emperor within the entertainment industry, exploded into flames just after 10 p.m.  Sources say the only two passengers aboard were Jordan Rydell, CEO of Rydell Productions, and Nathan Blackthorne, the legendary actor/director currently awaiting a re-trial for his 1987 statutory rape and child molestation charge.  Divers have been searching the area since just after ten, and minutes ago announced that they would have to resume tomorrow morning.  More details as they become available….”

Alex placed a hand on her heaving chest.  She didn’t give a damn what happened to Nathan Blackthorne.  He could rot at the bottom of the marina for all she cared.  But Jordan didn’t deserve this.  He risked his life to protect Sierra and now he was missing, possibly dead and it was all her fault.

Besieged in misery, she fled to the elevators, spotting James inside the car and the doors closing in front of him. 

“James, wait!” Alex cried after him, but it was too late.

Sighing, she waited impatiently for the elevator to return.  A sudden commotion across the lobby caught her attention and she took a few tentative steps backward.  Reporters were flocking about a small area, snapping photographs and clamoring for quotes. 

“How did you survive the explosion?” she heard one of them ask.

“Were you thrown clear of the debris?  Do you know the fate of the other passenger?”

Her heart racing, Alex fled across the lobby in hopes that Jordan had surfaced.  Adrenaline coursed through her body as she pushed onlookers and reporters aside.  Then, to her dismay, she came face to face with Nathan, smug as ever in dry clothes and his dark hair neatly slicked to the side.

“No…” she gasped.  “No, you can’t be alive.”

“Mr. Blackthorne, can you give us an account of what transpired on The Emperor tonight?” a reporter asked.  “What caused the collision with the tanker?”

Nathan expertly avoided their questions, instead coming up on Alex with eyes fixated on hers.  “And yet here I am,” he said arrogantly.  “My dear, you look a wet cat.  Being caught out in the rain doesn’t suit you.  Might I find a change of clothes for you?”

“Don’t patronize me, you disgusting jackass!” Alex shrieked.  She took a breath, calming herself and glancing around the lobby.  She spotted Brett enter in a hurry and make his way quickly to the elevators.  Trying to focus, she turned back to Nathan.  “Where is Jordan?  What did you do to him?”

“He isn’t back yet?” Nathan quickly asked amidst the barrage of camera flashes.  “I do hope he faired as well as I did.”

“If anything happened to him I swear to God I’ll kill you,” Alex whispered.  She didn’t care that there were witnesses to her threat.  She wanted everyone to know how much she hated the man.  “Now how in the hell did you make it off that yacht alive?”

. . . . . . . . Two Hours Earlier. . . . . . . .

A ceiling of rippling waves hovered above.   From beneath the surface it seemed peaceful and quiet.  When his eyes opened he was suddenly aware of his surroundings.  White foam rushed into his mouth.  Limbs thrashed about and soon fatigue invaded his entire body.  Swimming to the calm surface seemed too difficult, but he managed.  His lungs felt like they would implode from the pressure. 

Finally, air made its way into his welcoming lungs.  He took in huge gulps, relieved, but suddenly alarmed by the fiery inferno surrounding him.   To his right were the burning embers of The Emperor, nary a dent in the freighter it collided with.  To his left were the docks, crowded with gawking onlookers.  He heard sirens in the distance and then spotted a marina patrol boat speeding to the scene. 

Eager to get to dry land, he paddled through the oil-slicked water and pulled himself up onto the edge of a dock a hundred yards from the commotion.   Soaking wet and his face nicked and bruised from the explosion which he’d been thrown clear from, he laid on the wooden planks for a few minutes to catch his breath. 

He avoided the pandemonium at the marina, instead choosing to retrieve his town car and return to Alvarado Court.  When he arrived, he was confronted with a déjà vu.  This time it wasn’t the mother of a scorned protégé, or a woman seeking retribution, but his own nephew, casting the same look of doubt and suspicion that so many had before. 

“You startled me,” Nathan said.

“I need to talk to you,” James said ominously.

Nathan tried to appear casual as he went to the kitchen and rustled around in the ice cube tray.  Moments later he returned with an ice bag which he placed on his jaw where Jordan had punched him.

“If there’s any way it can wait...” Nathan said, wincing from pain.  “I’ve had a hell of a night, James.”

“This won’t take long,” James said and approached him steadfastly, meeting his eyes with a deadly serious gaze.  “How could you have done it?  I trusted you, damnit.”

Nathan shrugged casually and fixed himself a stiff drink.  “We often trust the wrong person, James.”

Renee told me what happened with Sierra,” James continued.  “Did you do what she says you did?”

“She’s my daughter,” Nathan interrupted quickly.

“I know that.”  He knocked the drink from his hand.   Did you attack her?”

“Sierra is my daughter,” he repeated.  “Renee hid her from me.”

“Can you blame her?” James demanded.  “What on earth were you thinking?  All this time I’ve been defending you.  My own wife left me because I took your word over hers.  I lost my wife because of you!”

“Haven’t we been through this?” Nathan interrupted him.  “I’ve told you what happened that night.  Brooke misunderstood everything.”

“I don’t think so, Nathan.  Brooke wouldn’t confuse someone’s intentions for being malicious.  She’s a smart woman.”

Nathan shrugged.  “Then she’s lying,” he said plainly and with a certain deviousness. 

“Brooke wouldn’t lie.”

“Wouldn’t she?” Nathan asked.  “A woman who would lie about the father of her baby would lie about anything.  It’s second nature to her.”

James regarded him carefully.  “What are you saying?”

“I overhead her talking to Ethan a few weeks ago, before you went to Rio.  Michael is Ethan’s son, not yours.”

“That’s a lie,” James said quickly, his eyes flashing major danger signals.   “You’re lying just like you’ve lied about everything else.”

“Believe me, James.  I wouldn’t lie to you about this,” Nathan admonished and circled his nephew like a predator watching its prey.  He had him right where he wanted him. 

“Why should I believe you?  Why should I believe anything you say?”  He knew if he denied it enough it would make it not true.  All the speculation had been put to rest when Brooke returned from Phoenix and named him as Michael’s father.  She’d sworn that Ethan wasn’t the father.  Now the speculation had returned and it itched beneath his skin.

“Because you know it’s true,” Nathan said with a calculated smile.  He saw the look in his nephew’s eyes.  His plan was working.  James was suddenly less interested in his sexual escapades with Sierra and more concerned with his own personal tragedies.

“Shut up,” James said, his breathing erratic as he paced the room. 

“Why is it so hard for you to believe that she would lie about this?  She slept with your nephew while you were married.”

“Like I slept with Alex when you and she were together, right?”  James quickly asked.  “Isn’t that what this is about?  You’ve never gotten over my marrying her, have you?  You said you forgave me but you’ve been keeping it bottled up all this time.  And you’ve used that to your advantage.  You’ve guilted me into believing that you were a man and not the monster that everyone said you were.”

“I did forgive you about Alex.  If you have guilt over that then I suggest you look to yourself for the answers.  Besides, that’s all in the past.  This is Brooke we’re talking about.  The woman who has masqueraded that bastard as your son for the past year.”

James turned and looked outside at the few remaining flashes of lightening that illuminated the night sky.   By all rights he shouldn’t believe a word his uncle said.  But this was something he knew was coming.  Deep down he knew.

Before Nathan could say another word, James was tearing out of the bungalow and down the courtyard to his car.   Standing on the porch, Nathan watched the car peel out onto the street and speed toward the hills.

Hotel Terranova

A short while later, James barreled inside the lobby at Hotel Terranova, marching through a crowd of reporters and ignoring their barrage of questions.  He stepped into the elevator, his mind on one thing and one thing only.  He had to confront Brooke about Nathan’s claim.  He had to know if she’d been lying to him for the past year.

As the elevator doors began to close, he spotted Alex railing and shouting his name as she approached.  He knew what she wanted but he didn’t care.  He didn’t have time for her now. 

Minutes later he was at Brooke’s hotel suite.  It was after midnight and his unannounced visit was bound to be a surprise at this hour, but this was something that couldn’t wait until tomorrow.

“James-“ Brooke said when she opened the door. 

“Did I wake you?”

She shook her head.  “No, I was up.  What are you doing here?’

“We need to talk,” James replied.  “Can I come in?”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

James folded his arms and glared angrily at her.  “Would you rather I stand out here in the hall and discuss your affair with my nephew?”

Brooke frowned and took a step back.  “What are you talking about?”

He walked into the room and dug his hands deep into his pockets.  “You and Ethan shacking up in the Dominican Republic two years ago.  You remember that, don’t you?”

Closing the door, Brooke walked into the living room and crossed her arms.  “Why are you bringing that up?” she asked.  “I thought we came to terms with what happened in the Dominican Republic.”

“Did we?” James asked.  “All I remember was you coming home pregnant with Michael.  You said you’d gotten pregnant after our wedding, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” was her uneasy reply.  She didn’t understand where all this was coming from.  Why was he talking about something that happened so long ago?

“And I believed you, even though everyone seemed to know otherwise.  Who was it that came to me the first time?  Winter Austen, wasn’t it?  She told me about your affair with Ethan, and about a letter she’d read that you wrote to Ethan naming him as the father.”

“Winter Austen was crazy. Who knows what kind of state of mind she was in when she said that.”

“But whatever she said was sane to make you skip town for five months, wasn’t it?” James asked.  “You ran to Philip and hid from us so you wouldn’t have to answer to Winter’s accusations.”

“But I came back and I told you that you were Michael’s father.”

James laughed and ran his fingers through his hair.  “Yes, you did.  You came back and I was in a wheelchair.  You felt sorry for me.  My family was all I had and you knew that.”

Tears stung Brooke’s eyes and she turned away in an effort to hide her guilt.  James came up behind her and continued.

“Is that why you told me I was Michael’s father?” he asked.  “Because you felt sorry for me?”

“No!”

“And when did you tell Ethan the truth?” he pressed, unrelenting to her state of misery.  “I know the two of you talked about it before I left for Rio, so-“

“James, please-“ she implored him.

Suddenly realization dawned and James chuckled in spite of himself.  A defense mechanism, he decided.  “Ethan went to Will Thomerson’s house the night he was murdered. I always thought it was strange that he went to all that trouble to find his baby cousin.  It makes a lot more sense if it was his son he was looking for.  He’s known since Michael was kidnapped, hasn’t he?”

Brooke knew her eyes gave her away.  She was too tired to lie anymore.

James walked closer and looked into her red, teary eyes.  “You told him the truth because you thought we’d never see Michael again.  You wanted to set things right with his real father.”

“I did what I thought was best for everyone,” she finally said.  She felt an enormous weight lifted from her shoulders.  It was euphoric.

James gritted his teeth and turned, pushing a stack of books off of the credenza to the floor.  “Damnit!”

“James, you don’t understand!  I lied because I loved you!”

He turned back and glared menacingly at her.  “All you’ve done is lie to me.  You’ve been lying since before we got married.  First with your secret ex-husband and then with your secret feelings for my nephew.  Well congratulations, Brooke, you’ve outdone yourself this time.  Our marriage is officially one big lie.”

Something in his words caused her tears to cease.  She took a breath and looked at him in disgust.  “You’re just as much to blame for the problems in our marriage as I am,” she began.  “You took your uncle’s word over mine.  I begged you to believe me and you didn’t.  Then the minute I left you started cavorting around town with that woman.”

Leigh is an old friend.”

“Am I supposed to believe you?” Brooke demanded.  “I’m supposed to just trust you like you’ve trusted me all this time?”

He caught on to her sarcasm.  “I did trust you!”

“The hell you did!” she exclaimed.  “I feel like ever since we met you’ve been waiting for me to mess up!  You used Winter Austen to distract Ethan from me because you didn’t trust me enough to do the right thing!”

“Yes, I used Winter to distract Ethan!  But guess what, Brooke?  It didn’t matter because you slept with him anyway!”

She shook her head in frustration.  Wiping her eyes, she refused to shed another tear.  “You pushed me to him with your crazy obsession with the studio and with your preoccupation with your children’s lives!  Your ex-wife was always around and I couldn’t breath!  I turned to the only person who paid any attention to me!”

“So poor Brooke doesn’t get enough attention so she jumps onto the first available stud, is that it?” James demanded.

“Go to hell,” she said and walked to the door.  “I want you to leave.”

James gritted his teeth and glanced at the door to Michael’s room.  He never imagined when he woke up that morning that he would have lost his wife and his son.  He didn’t know what to do.  Everything was a mess.

“Get out, James,” Brooke repeated.  She held the door open and looked at the floor in an effort to avoid eye contact. 

Without another word, James stormed out of the hotel suite and down the hallway.  Brooke slammed the door closed and buried her face in her hands.  She couldn’t stop trembling.

Brett Armstrong

After hearing of the explosion at the marina, and the search party being called off for the night, Brett quickly dressed and sped across town to Hotel Terranova.  It was after midnight but he knew that Heather would be awake and devastated by the turn of events.  He wanted to make sure he was there to comfort her in her time of need.  Maybe that was the only way to prove that he was serious about her.

He pulled his car into the porte-cochere, jumped out of the seat and handed the valet his keys all in one expert maneuver. On his way through the lobby, he spotted a mob of reporters flocking around Alex Reynolds and Nathan Blackthorne.   It seemed word of what happened at the marina was spreading quickly.

He missed the elevator on its way up and he impatiently slammed the palm of his hand against the door.  Frustrated, he went to the stairs, taking them three at a time. 

By the time he reached Heather’s door, he was out of breath and panting.  He knocked on the door and waited a beat, then knocked again.  Moments later, he proceeded inside on his own, expecting to find Heather alone and sobbing over the news reports of her father’s disappearance.  Instead, he found something much worse. 

“What are you doing here?” Stormy asked.

Brett stopped in his tracks.  His heart sank and he suddenly realized his instincts weren’t fast enough.  There was Heather, crying miserably on the sofa in front of the news channel, and Stormy holding her hand with his arm wrapped tenderly around her. 

“I heard about Jordan on the news,” he managed to utter between heaping gulps of air.  “l wanted to see if you were okay.”

“I can’t believe this is happening,” Heather said, staring at the coverage of the explosion on the local news affiliate. 

“She doesn’t need anything from you,” Stormy insisted and shot up from the sofa.  He walked over to Brett and pulled him by the arm toward the door.  “Now why don’t you go home and mind your own business.  This doesn’t concern you, Brett.”

“How about we let Heather decide that,” Brett said and shrugged him away.  He rushed over and knelt down beside her.  “Heather, is there anything I can do?”

Staring at the news reports that came flooding in, she shook her head in a daze. 

“Do you want me to call Benji?” Brett continued. 

“I already tried calling Benji,” Stormy chimed in, arms folded and lips pursed.  “He’s on a ski trip in the Alps and there’s no service.  So as you can see, I’ve got everything under control.  Now why don’t you get out?”

Brett ignored him and placed a hand on Heather’s.  “Please, just tell me what I can do to help.”

Heather shook her head and finally looked at him.  “There’s nothing you can do,” she uttered slowly.  “Just go home, Brett.  Stormy’s here.  I don’t need you.”

The words cut deep but Brett refused to let his disappointment show.  He didn’t understand what had happened.  After they slept together she suddenly grew cold toward him.  Now with Stormy hanging around it was doubtful if he’d ever get the chance to make her see what they could have together.

“You heard her,” Stormy said and opened the door of the hotel suite.  “Go.”

Grudgingly, Brett sulked to the door and left without another word.  He felt completely helpless.  The tragedy over Jordan’s disappearance only made him want to protect her more.  Now that seemed like an impossibility.

Renee DeWitt

Meanwhile, Renee paced back and forth in the living room of her hotel suite, her stiletto heels digging mercilessly into the high pile carpet.  She looked at her watch and sighed.  Almost twelve-thirty and she was still wide awake, wired up after the evening’s events. 

Despite her repeated attempts, Sierra had yet to respond to her pleading.  If she could just try to make her understand why she lied to her.  She knew that by withholding the truth about Nathan she set a course of destruction into motion.  If she hadn’t arrived at the yacht when she did, she shuddered to think of what might have happened. 

Finally the bedroom door opened and Sierra emerged, a duffel bag slung over her shoulder and her eyes red and puffy.  She didn’t make eye contact with her mother, instead heading right for the door and grabbing for it swiftly.

“Sierra, please-“ Renee exclaimed and raced toward her.  “Just talk to me.”

“I don’t want to hear anything you have to say,” she responded bitterly.  She pulled the door open and flinched when Renee slammed it shut again.

“You are not going anywhere, Sierra.  Not until you listen to me.”

Sierra finally turned and glared angrily at her mother.  “Listen to what?  More lies?  More half-truths about who I am?  More of you worrying about your image and what people think of you?   If it wasn’t bad enough that you lied to me about adopting me, but to keep the identity of my father from me…”  She paused and stifled a flood of tears.

“Baby, I was wrong.  I know that now.  If I could take it back and change the way things happened I would do it in a heartbeat.”

“It’s too late!” Sierra cried and grabbed for the door handle again.  “Because of you and your stupid pride I was almost raped by my own father.  Now you’re going to have to live with that.”

Renee covered her mouth with her hands and shook her head in agony.  “Sierra, don’t leave like this!”

Sierra turned back before walking out into the hall.  “I hate you for what you’ve done,” she said. 

As she started to leave, she bumped into Nathan when he approached the open door.  A shriek tore loose from her throat and she backed up a step.  Her eyes locked onto his and she began trembling in fear.

“Get away from her!” Renee roared and sprung into action.  She flew to the doorway and slapped Nathan hard across the face with the ball of her hand. 

“Sierra, if you’ll just allow me to-“ Nathan began, but Sierra turned and raced back inside, barricading herself in her bedroom. 

“You have a lot of nerve showing your face here,” Renee hissed, silently thankful that Sierra hadn’t left.  She needed more time to reason with her.   “I swear to God you’re going to regret what you’ve done.  I’m going to file a police report and you’re going straight back to jail.  When your re-trial starts there isn’t a jury in the world that will let you stay free.”

Nathan laughed and folded his arms, leaning against the door frame with a smug expression on his tan face.  “I don’t believe you,” he said.  “You wouldn’t risk your precious reputation by admitting that Sierra is our daughter.   Isn’t that how we got to this point in the first place?”

“You smug son of a bitch,” Renee spat with revulsion.  She knew that to a certain degree he was right.  Telling the authorities what he’d done would mean her secret would have to be made public to the world.  She could learn to live with the humiliation, but Sierra could not.  She wasn’t about to let that happen to her daughter.

“That night on my yacht,” he began, forcing his way into the living room.  “You were about to tell me that you were pregnant, weren’t you?  Then the police came and arrested me, and you decided to keep it a secret.”

“You’re damn right I did.” 

“You gave birth to her in secret and passed her off as an orphan that you took in out of the generosity of your own heart,” Nathan surmised.  He clapped his hands together in applause and laughed.  “I have to give you credit for your ingenuity.  You had everyone fooled.”

“I never wanted her to know what a monster her father was.”

“And then she showed up here in Los Angeles and she and I bumped into each other,” he continued with a smile.  “How coincidental.  To think the two of us went about our friendship with no idea that we were father and daughter.”

“You tried to rape her,” Renee said with disgust evident in her voice.  “I saw the look on your face when we walked in on you tonight.  You knew she was your daughter and you didn’t care.  You’re the most reprehensible human being I’ve ever known.  Someday someone is going to make you pay, and I will be there to cheer them on.”

“Renee, Renee, Renee,” he began arrogantly.  “I’m going to get you back for what you’ve done to me.  Keeping my daughter from me all these years was a mistake.  I’m going to be a part of her life whether you like it or not.”

She leveled her eyes on him and took a step closer.  “I’ll see you dead first.”

Unaffected by her threats, he turned and walked out of the hotel room.  Renee rushed forward and closed the door securely.  She glanced at Sierra’s bedroom door and took some comfort in the fact that she was still home safe.  For now.

Moments later, there was another knock.  Expecting that it was Nathan returning, Renee stepped closer and yanked the door open swiftly.  To her surprise, it was Alex this time.

“Not now.  I’ve had more than enough of you for one day,” she said and began to shut the door again.

“Renee, please,” Alex said and blocked her from closing the door.  “I just wanted to make sure Sierra was okay.  I just saw Nathan leaving.  He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

“Now you’re suddenly concerned?  Where was this concern when you did everything you could to destroy me and my daughter?”

Alex sighed and shook her head.  “I made a mistake and I regret it.  If I’d known what would have happened I never would have set any of this into motion.”

“It’s a little late for that.  Tell me, Alex, are you that threatened by my relationship with Jordan?”

Suddenly Alex realized that Renee might not have heard the news.  She placed a hand on her chest and looked at her sympathetically.  “You don’t know about the explosion, do you?”

“What explosion?”

“There was an explosion on the yacht tonight.  Nathan and Jordan were on board.  Nathan was thrown clear, but Jordan….they haven’t found him yet.’

Renee brought her hands to her mouth and felt her eyes sting with tears.  On top of everything else that had happened, she didn’t know if she could handle another blow. 

Jasmes Blackthorne

After his explosive blowout with Brooke, James made a B-line directly to Leigh’s suite, pent up angst threatening to boil over with every second that passed.  When she came to the door in a silky negligee and her skin still glistening from a bubble bath, he knew that he had to have her.  And what was there to stop him?

“James, I was just about to turn in-“ she began, caught off guard by his sudden appearance.

Without saying a word, James rushed into the room and took her in his arms.  She didn’t resist, instead allowing him to carry her to the bedroom and strip her of her nightgown.

“I want you,” he murmured as she quickly undressed him and pulled him into a passionate kiss.  He wanted nothing more than to forget about Brooke and the shambles that his life had become.

They made love until the early hours of the morning.  By the time they both drifted off to sleep, James still hadn’t been able to forget about Brooke, Michael, and the life that had slipped through his fingers.

Brooke Taylor

Seagulls flocked above the water, their cries carrying through the pier as Brooke and Ethan pushed Michael in his stroller along the boardwalk.  The sounds of summer were in full bloom; children running and playing, teenagers skateboarding, sun worshippers stretched out in the sand with the latest trashy novel. 

“So James knows,” Ethan mused, staring out at the water and then down at Michael who appeared to be chewing on the bill of his L.A. Galaxy cap.  “How did he find out?”

Brooke shrugged and took the cap away from Michael.  “I don’t even know.  Ethan, it was horrible.  He dredged up everything.   The Dominican Republic, Philip, Winter…  He was so angry and so hurt.”

“Can you blame him?” Ethan asked and cast her a wary look.  “I’m sorry, Brooke, but I warned you that this would blow up in our faces.”

She threw her hands up in resignation and glanced out at the water.  “I don’t need an I told you so right now.”

“I’m sorry.  I guess it’s all kind of a shock to me.  I expected Michael to grow up never knowing that I was his father.”

“Like you grew up never knowing that Will was your father?” Brooke asked, unable to deny that there were similarities in the situations.  “Ethan, I’m sorry.  I know you never wanted to keep this secret from James.  It wasn’t fair that I asked you to.  It was selfish of me.  But after James turned his back on me because of Nathan, I realized that I was just fooling myself.   Michael and I weren’t his family.  We were property to him.”

They stopped and he turned her toward him.  “Promise me there won’t be any more lies.  We’ve had enough to last us a lifetime.”

She nodded.  “Michael’s going to be a very lucky little boy.  You’re going to be a wonderful father.”

Ethan couldn’t help but smile.  They continued walking along the path and he glanced over at her curiously.  “What about us?” he asked.

“Us?”

“You know how I feel about you.  Now that you and James aren’t going to be working things out, does that mean that we finally have a shot after all this time?”

The breeze blew a strand of hair into her face and Brooke quickly swept it away.  “I think we need to take things slow,” she said.  “James and I have to clear the air.  I can’t pick up with someone else until I know what he’s going to do.  I’m scared that he’s going to make things difficult, Ethan.”

He realized she might have a point.  When pushed far enough, James was an enemy that anyone would regret making.

Miranda Blackthorne

Miranda sat down beside Heather and handed her a cup of hot herbal tea.  Heather, still in a seemingly catatonic state, shook her head and pulled the pillow up to her chest.  She rolled over onto her side and stared quietly at the wall of her bedroom. 

“I’ll leave it here if you change your mind,” Miranda said and placed the cup on the nightstand.   She walked out into the living room where Stormy was pacing, still dressed in yesterday’s clothes, his face unshaven. 

“Has she said anything since last night?” she asked her brother.

He shook his head grimly.  “Not much.  I think she’s in a state of shock.  I think I’ll call Dr. Anderson and see if he can come by this morning.  He may be the only one she’ll talk to.”

“That’s a good idea,” Miranda agreed and poured them each a steaming cup of black coffee.  “I don’t understand how this could have happened.  What else did Daddy say when you talked to him?”

There was a knock at the door and Stormy went to open it.  “That’s probably Dad now,” he said. 

James walked into the room, patted Stormy on the back, and pulled Miranda into a warm embrace.  “How is she?” he asked and motioned to Heather’s bedroom.

“Not good,” Miranda answered, her arms crossed tensely.  “Daddy, what happened last night?  Why was Jordan on that yacht with Uncle Nathan?”

James went into the whole story, or at least as much as Alex had told him on the phone that morning.  He left out the part about Sierra being Nathan’s daughter.  The fact that he tried to force himself on her was bad enough.  Miranda and Stormy weren’t prepared for the rest.  Not yet.  Besides, he had to take Renee’s feelings into consideration.

He felt like an idiot having to recount a story that cast such a horrific light on his idol.  After all of his ranting about how innocent Nathan was, he was now forced to admit that he was wrong. 

“Well if Nathan survived the explosion, then there’s a chance Jordan could have,” Stormy said, blinking several times.

“I hope so,” James said.

“Are you going to the D.A.?” Miranda asked.  “If Nathan did this to that poor girl, then there’s every reason to believe everything else he’s been accused of were legitimate.  All those years ago when mom accused him of raping her?  My God, and no one believed her.  I feel sick about it.”

“I do too, Sweetheart,” James said.  He had many regrets.  Too many to list, and too many to even think about trying to make right just yet.  One thing at a time.   “I need to talk to Renee before we do anything.  Nathan isn’t going anywhere.”

“What about Donnie & Johnny?” Stormy asked.   “We’ve already started filming.  We’re going to take a huge loss if we have to stop production now.”

“Don’t worry about that,” James said and shook his head.  “For now you have to continue with production.  The minute that film gets shut down Nathan could flee again.  He doesn’t have much to lose, except his big comeback.”

“I hope you know what you’re doing,” Stormy said, unsure of the mindset his father was in these days.  

“There’s something else I have to tell you both,” James continued.  He hated to say it out loud because it made it all the more true.  But his children were adults and they had a right to know what was going on.   “Last night Brooke and I had a talk.  It’s about Michael.”

“What about Michael?” Miranda asked suspiciously.

“Brooke admitted that he isn’t my son,” James continued.  “Ethan is his father.”

“Dad, no-“ Stormy began.

“That bitch,” Miranda exclaimed under her breath.

“Miranda-“ James cautioned.

“I’m sorry, Daddy, but I knew this was going to happen.  I knew she was going to hurt you again.”

“This doesn’t concern you, Miranda,” James said sternly.  “I only brought it up because I wanted you to know what was happening.”

“She’s lied to you for over a year, Daddy!” Miranda exclaimed.  “All this time she’s been using you.  Can’t you see that?”

“That’s enough!” he father snapped.  “This is between Brooke and myself.  Right now I want you to worry about Heather and how we’re going to get her through this.  Besides, you have your own baby to worry about.  Leave  Brooke and Michael to me.”

“What are you going to do Dad?” Stormy asked, sensing the wild look in his eyes.

James set his jaw, determined not to let himself be played a fool any longer.  He would make certain of that.

Nathan Blackthorne

Renee slipped the letter opener beneath the flap of the envelope and slid it clean open.  She half-heartedly opened the letter and skimmed through it with disinterest.  Finally unable to stand it any longer, she got up and knocked on Sierra’s bedroom door, pressing her ear against the door and listening for any sound of her daughter.  Nothing.  She sighed and knocked again.

“Sierra, I’m going downstairs for breakfast,” she said timidly.  “Can I get you anything?”

There was no answer, but this time she heard rustling around.  She realized it would be a while before the traumatized young woman would trust her again.  If ever.  The least she could do was give her some space to breath.  She just didn’t want her trying to run off again.  Keeping her close by was the best thing for both of them.

“I’ll be back in a few minutes,” she said, setting the stack of mail on the desk inside the door and leaving with a frustrated sigh. 

Nathan watched her from behind a tall potted palm in the hall.  He pushed a giant leaf aside and waited until Renee got onto the elevator and disappeared from view. 

After the coast was clear, he ambled across the hall and entered her hotel suite.  The door closed behind him and he locked it securely.  Just as he turned to survey the room, Sierra stepped tentatively out of her bedroom.  Before she could react, Nathan was looming above her.   A gasp tore loose from her throat and she darted back into the room.

“Don’t run away, my dear,” he said and stopped her from shutting the door on him.   “We have a lot to talk about.”

“Stay away from me,” Sierra said, backing up into the bedroom.   “I swear I’ll scream.”

Nathan laughed.  “That’s not necessary.”  His tone was confident and patronizing.  “Your mother left so it’s just the two of us.  I want to explain about last night.”

Terrified, Sierra circled the perimeter of the room in search of a way past him.  Images of being trapped on the yacht with him flashed before her eyes and she suddenly felt claustrophobic and panicked.

“You misunderstood my intentions,” Nathan continued.  “I’m from a different time, you see.  A different era.   A time when men were aggressive and women were submissive.  It’s all role playing, you see.  It’s all very theater.”

“I didn’t misunderstand anything,” Sierra exclaimed timidly.  “You tried to force yourself on me.  You knew I was your daughter and you tried to rape me.”

Nathan shook his head adamantly.  “No, you’re wrong.  I had no idea until your mother made her big reveal on the yacht.  The moment she said it I regretted ever trying to seduce you.  You must believe me, Sierra.”

“You’re lying.  You forced yourself on all those girls and you did the same to me.  I’m disgusted that I have your blood in my veins.  You make me sick!”

She finally saw an opportunity for escape and darted past him, through the doorway and into the living room.  Nathan followed fast on her heels.  He grabbed for her, pulling her back and positioning himself between her and the door.

“Let me go!” she whimpered, praying that her mother would come back.

“Sierra, I hate seeing you like this,” Nathan remarked.  “I just want to explain things to you so we can put this all behind us and get to know each other as father and daughter.”

She shook her head violently.  “Never,” she said.  “I will never think of you as my father.  As far as I’m concerned my father is dead.”

Nathan took a few steps forward, his hand outstretched to her.  Panicked, Sierra glanced around for something to defend herself with.  Her eyes landed on the letter opener on the desk in the entryway. 

Quickly, she snatched it up and blindly thrust it forward.  She felt the blade sink into his chest.  Blood poured from the wound and she heard the air rush from his lungs.

Wide-eyed, Nathan stared down at the object protruding from his rib cage.  He lifted his hands and saw the scarlet liquid covering them.  He began to feel light-headed, his breathing shallow and his heart rate slowing.  His knees began to feel weak and he fought to stay conscious.

Jasmes Blackthorne

James met Jack Fallmont and Kenny DeWitt for breakfast in the dining room downstairs.  They caught up over coffee and commiserated over their recent troubles.  It was difficult for James to reveal the latest news about Brooke and Michael, but he knew his best friends were the only people he could truly confide in.

“James, I’m so sorry,” Jack said.  “You and Brooke were an inspiration.  After all the troubles you’ve had you’ve always stuck together.  I can’t believe that this is the end.”

“And yet it is,” James said, removing a flask from his jacket pocket and pouring a shot of bourbon in his coffee.  “She’s probably with Ethan as we speak.”  He grew into a daze and stared thoughtfully into his cup.  “Damnit.  He’s got my wife and he’s got my son.  He’s taken everything from me.”  Another pause while he reflected on the irony.  “Just like I took everything from Nathan.”

“Come on, James.  You can’t blame yourself,” Kenny chimed in.  “You and Alex fell in love.  Nobody could prevent that.  Brooke and Ethan lied to you for the past year.  They made you believe that Michael was your son.  You’re the victim here.”

James shook his head.  “I should have believed her."  He looked up just in time to see Alex racing across the lobby toward the elevators.  What now? he wondered to himself.  Sighing, he tried to remain focused.  "Brooke told me that my uncle attacked her and I took his word over hers.   How can I accuse her of anything when I was just as wrong?”

“Look, we’ve all been trumped by a woman,” Jack said and took the flask from James.  “It’s the nature of the human race.  Men and women can’t co-exist together.”

“You’re not in the same boat as us,” Kenny said with his brown furrowed.  “You and Adrienne have the perfect marriage.”

Jack looked at him skeptically and poured more bourbon into his cup.  “That’s where you’re wrong,” he said, then paused for optimum dramatic effect.  “Look, I was trying to keep this to myself but I might as well spill it.  I think Adrienne is having an affair.”

“Why would you say that?” James asked.  “She’s the most devoted wife I’ve ever seen.”

Jack sighed and traced his finger along the table.  “I’ve picked up on things,” he explained.  “It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out.  But I haven’t been able to find out anything concrete because things at Fallmont Industries have been so hectic lately.  It’s becoming difficult to concentrate on that and worry about who my wife is sleeping with.”

“Any idea who it is?” Kenny asked.

Jack shook his head.

James sighed and finished his coffee.  “Do yourself a favor, Jack,” he said bitterly.  “Don’t let it go.  Find out and put a stop to it.  Take it from me, if you do nothing, the next thing you know you could be sitting alone in your mansion with nothing but your work to keep you warm.”

They all looked at each other grimly, fully aware that as bad as things looked, they could always get worse.

Hotel Terranova

When Renee spotted Kenny in the dining room with James and Jack, she decided against staying for breakfast.  She was in no mood to discuss anything with her ex-husband, and knowing Kenny, he would have a slew of questions about various subjects. 

She made her way back upstairs, swooping into her Chanel bag for her keys as she stepped off the elevator.  By the time she realized she’d left them in the room, she looked up and spotted Alex standing outside her door.

“What are you doing here again?” Renee demanded.  “I thought I told you last night that I don’t need or want your concern.  I think you’ve done just about enough.”

“I don’t apologize often, Renee, but when I do I expect the person to accept it in the spirit in which it was given.”

Renee sighed and knocked on the door.  “I don’t have time for you, Alex,” she said.  “I have to take care of my daughter and try to undo some of the damage that you’ve done.”

“That I’ve done?” Alex asked in amazement.  “You have a very short term memory because if it wasn’t for you and your stupid lies none of this would have happened.”

“Wrong!  If you had just stuck to your story on the witness stand twenty-years ago then Nathan would be in prison right now and wouldn’t be coming after my daughter!”

A second later the door opened.  Renee flitted inside, nearly losing her balance when Sierra flung her arms around her and held her in a frantic embrace. 

“Mother, I didn’t mean to do it,” she whimpered, her entire body trembling.  “I was so scared and he came at me and I didn’t know what else to do.”

“Darling, what is it?” Renee asked.

“Dear God,” Alex whispered when her eyes traveled to the floor.

Renee broke from the embrace, keeping her arm around Sierra and staring down at the writhing body of Nathan Blackthorne, blood ebbing from the wound in his chest, soaking into the cream carpet in the entryway.  She covered her mouth with her hands, turning to Sierra and the horrified look on her face.

"It's okay," Renee said in a panick.  "Baby, it's okay.  Just go wash your hands and change your clothes.  It's going to be okay."

"But mom-" she whimpered, unable to keep from staring at Nathan, quietly moaning in pain and slowly drifting into unconsciousness.

"Go," Renee insisted.

Sierra finally turned and raced into the bathroom, leaving Alex and Renee alone with an injured Nathan.

"We're going to have to call the police and then they're going to ask questions," Renee began, pacing frantically around the room.  "They're going to ask why Sierra stabbed him and then it's all going to come out.  Everything I've done to try to protect her will be for nothing."

"Renee, get ahold of yourself!" Alex shrieked, grimacing at the blood that poured from the wound in Nathan's chest.

"The tabloids are going to be all over this!" Renee insisted.  "You know that as well as I do!"

Alex racked her brain, wishing that things hadn't gotten so out of hand.  It was because of her that any of this happened. Not just for revealing the truth about Nathan and Sierra, but for letting the man go twenty years ago at his trial.  Now an innocent young woman was going to pay the price.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door.

"Oh my God, they're here," Renee said and cowered away from the door.  "This is it.  This is the end of my life.  My daughter is never going to forgive me when this gets out."

"I have an idea," Alex said, staring down at Nathan.


Next time....

Alex, Renee and Sierra are questioned when Nathan is rushed to the hospital.  Miranda unleashes her anger on Brooke. Davidformulates a plan.  David is intrigued by Brooke.  

 Read Episode 66

 

 


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