confronted Brooke about Michael's true paternity. An
angry Brooke threw James out of her hotel room, and
James went straight to Leigh for a romantic liason.
Brooke told Ethan they needed to take things slow. Brett
tried to console Heather after hearing of Jordan's disappearance,
but she sent him away and leaned on Stormy for comfort
instead. Jack Fallmont confided in James about
his marital problems. Sierra refused to talk to
Renee. Renee warned Nathan to stay away from their
daughter. Nathan snuck into Renee's room and went
after Sierra. Terrified, Sierra stabbed Nathan
witih a letter opener.
walked into her hotel suite, her eyes landing immediately on Nathan, writhing
about in agony on the floor, a letter opener sunk into his rib cage and blood
seeping into the thick cream carpet in the entryway.
she exclaimed in horror.
“Mother, I didn’t mean to do it,” Sierra sobbed, her hands stained
with blood and her entire body trembling.
“I was so scared and he came at me and I didn’t know what else to do.”
followed fast on Renee’s heels. “Dear God…” she whispered.
"It's okay," Renee said in a panic. "Baby,
it's okay. Just go wash your hands. 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
"Renee, get a hold 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.
. . . . . . . Twelve Hours Earlier. . . . . . . .
oil tanker’s horn blasted through the night, a makeshift distress signal to
alert the marina of the fiery collision.
He woke up underwater almost directly beneath the massive vessel. The current carried him to the surface and he
thrashed about violently, sucking in pockets of air and coughing up salt
water He was exhausted and
bleeding. Fiery debris was scattered as
far as he could see. He couldn’t hear
the tanker’s engines, an indication that it had stopped in response to the
toward the docks, he knew he couldn’t make it by swimming. He was too weak. A rescue boat in the distance caught his
attention and he waved his arms as best he could, but even that proved to be
too draining of his energy. When he
realized they were going in the opposite direction, he turned to look for
something to latch onto. At least he’d
be able to float until he was rescued.
rope hanging from the oil tanker was as good as anything. He grabbed on and allowed his legs to float
on the water. With any luck he’d be able
to hang on long enough for the rescue team to find him.
several minutes his eyes closed and he fell into a welcoming sleep. The next thing he remembered it was daylight
and he was coughing up water and seaweed, a group of people gathered around him
and watching in anticipation.
okay, man?” asked one bystander, a young blonde lifeguard who had successfully
performed CPR on a water-logged Jordan.
think that’s the guy they’ve been looking for since last night,” said a girl
the time Jordan
was conscious and alert enough to survey his surroundings, he realized he was
beneath the pier on a sand dune. The
current must have carried him inland sometime during the night.
don’t look so good, dude,” said the blonde kid.
“Your head’s all bleeding and junk.
You wanna go to the hospital?”
his head and slowly climbed to his feet.
His knees gave out and he fell to the sand again. “I have to go home,” he said. “Can somebody give me a ride?”
sure?” the kid asked.
allowing several of them to help him to his feet.
drove him home to Beverly Hills
where he showered off remnants of sand and salt, changed clothes, drank a
gallon of water, and bandaged his various cuts and wounds himself. It would have to do for now, he decided. He had to get to Renee and Sierra and make
sure they were all right.
had his driver take him to Hotel
Terranova. James was in the
restaurant with Jack Fallmont and Kenny DeWitt, who frantically raced over to
him when they spotted him ambling through the lobby. He didn’t stop to talk.
in the hall outside of Renee’s suite, he knocked firmly and waited impatiently
for an answer. He heard voices inside
but the door remained closed. He knocked
"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."
Another knock, and they both looked nervously at the door.
“I have an idea,” Alex said, staring down at Nathan, who was now
white as a sheet. She turned and went to
pull the door open. To her dismay, Jordan was standing
in the hall. A gasp tore loose from her
throat and she threw her arms around him.
“Jordan, thank God!” she cried, overwhelmed
with relief that he was alive and well.
“Jordan?” Renee asked and made her
way to the door. She couldn’t believe he
was standing there in front of her.
After the search team failed to find him, she was certain that he’d been
carried off to sea, or worse yet, blown to bits from the explosion.
“Are you okay?” Jordan said to
Renee. “How is Sierra?”
Renee looked at Alex and then
glanced behind her.
“Renee?” Jordan repeated. “Is Sierra okay?” He pushed his way past them and entered the hotel
room. His eyes immediately landed on
Nathan, unconscious on the floor with the letter opener protruding from his
chest. “What happened?”
Renee and Alex exchanged worried
“Is he dead?” asked Jordan
and bent down to examine Nathan’s motionless body. He felt for a pulse and stood up again. “He’s still breathing. Did you call an ambulance?”
Alex shook her head. “Not yet.”
“So what happened here?” he asked
again, confused by what he’d walked into.
“I stabbed him,” Alex maintained.
Renee looked at her with wide eyes.
She couldn’t believe what Alex was doing.
Jordan picked up the phone in the
entry and quickly dialed 911. While he
was on the phone, Renee pulled Alex aside and whispered in her ear.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
Alex waved her away in an effort to
avoid suspicion. “I’m saving you and
your daughter, now shut up before I change my mind.”
After summoning an ambulance, Jordan hung up
the phone and turned back to them. He
approached Alex and examined her carefully.
“Did he hurt you?” he asked.
She shook her head. “He tried to but I fought him off,” she
explained, pulling a story out of thin air and hoping that it sounded
plausible. “I came by to check on Renee
and Sierra. They were downstairs at
breakfast. Nathan came by and we
argued. He was going to rape me again so
I picked up the letter opener and I stabbed him.”
Jordan sighed with despair and
pulled her into an embrace. “I’m so
sorry that I wasn’t here,” he said. “I
woke up on the beach and-“
“What the devil is going on here?”
asked a voice from behind.
They turned and saw James enter the
room, staring in disbelief at Jordan
and the fact that he had miraculously survived the explosion on the yacht. When he and Alex stood aside James saw the body
of his uncle lying motionless on the floor.
“What happened?” he asked.
“He came after me and I stabbed
him,” Alex explained. The pressure of
maintaining a believable story weighed heavily on her. “The paramedics are on their way.”
“He’s alive?” James asked.
nodded and turned just as
Sierra came out of the bathroom, her eyes red and puffy from crying. She
looked at Nathan and felt the tears surface again. As much as she hated the man, she was
horrified by what she’d done to him.
“Sierra, are you okay?” Jordan asked
and rushed toward her.
“Is he…” she slowly asked. “Oh my God, I swear I didn’t mean to kill
Jordan raised an eyebrow, glancing
back at Alex and Renee just as the paramedics arrived. They immediately went to work at checking
Nathan’s vitals, placing an oxygen mask over his mouth while everyone watched
in bated breath.
“Why am I not surprised to find you
here?” Miranda said when she knocked on Brooke’s hotel room and Ethan
answered. “Haven’t you ever heard of
“Miranda, what are you-“
“Where is she?” Miranda asked and
walked into the room.
“Huh?” Ethan asked.
“Don’t play dumb with me,” Miranda
said and issued him a look of warning.
“I heard the news about Michael.
Daddy is hurt, as you can well imagine.
How could you do this to him, Ethan?
He practically raised you. He
pulled you up from the uncivilized depths of Kansas and brought you here and gave you a
whole new life. And how do you repay
him? You steal his wife and get her pregnant.”
“I haven’t stolen Brooke. James lost
her all on his own. And as for Michael,
that happened a long time ago.”
Miranda folded her arms and peered
into the bedrooms. “I knew that witch
was going to destroy this family. Well
where is she, the infamous Galleria makeup counter trash? I want to give her a piece of my mind.”
“She took Michael to get his twelve
month checkup. And I don’t want you
upsetting her. She’s been through
“Well isn’t that too damn bad,”
Miranda scoffed and flung her black hair over her shoulder. “You tell her that when she gets back I want
to see her.”
Ethan followed her to the door and
shook his head in frustration. “Miranda,
leave it alone. Let you father and
Brooke works things out on their own.”
She exited into the hall and gave
him a final parting glance. “I warned
her that I would make her sorry if she hurt my father. Consider this fair warning. I’m going to decimate Brooke Taylor.”
After breakfast, Jack Fallmont
decided to follow James’s advice and do something about his suspicions
regarding Adrienne. He made his way
across town to Beverly Hills
and paid Eddie Distefano a visit at his private investigative offices. When he got there, Eddie was amidst a make
out session with a vivacious redhead on the sofa. His shirt unbuttoned and girl in her bra and
mini skirt, Jack was the last person Eddie expected to see.
“Now I see the resemblance to your
father,” Jack said with an amused smile.
Eddie quickly shot to his feet and
handed his conquest her blouse. She
clumsily slipped it over her arms and made her way to the door. “Call you later,” he said and gave her a
After she’d left, Eddie turned back
to Jack and laughed nervously. “Sorry
about that,” he said. “What brings you
by, Mr. Fallmont?”
“I need to find out if my wife is
having an affair,” Jack said and sat down across from Eddie’s desk.
“That’s my specialty,” Eddie grinned
and buttoned his shirt. “What do you
have so far? Mysterious phone calls? Late night meetings? Disinterest in sex?”
“All of the above. Plus she’s made several sizable withdrawals
from our bank accounts. I think she’s
using the money for an apartment or a villa where they’re rendezvousing. I can get you copies of the bank statements.”
“Good,” Eddie said and leaned back
in his chair. “What’s her schedule?”
“Schedule?” Jack asked as if the
idea that Adrienne did anything was foreign to him. “She doesn’t have a schedule, unless you
consider nine am Pilates lessons, lunch at noon with the Beverly Hills Ladies
Club, and then shopping until 5 a schedule.”
Nodding, Eddie jotted down a few
notes. “Where does she have lunch?”
Jack shrugged. “The
Polo Lounge, The Yacht Club, Hotel Terranova. Other than
that your guess is as good as mine.”
Eddie stood up and tucked in his
shirt. “I’ll get started right away.”
“Good,” Jack said and shook Eddie’s
hand. “And just so you know, I need to
keep this as quiet as possible. Nobody
can know that you’re working for me.”
“Of course,” Eddie said with a grin.
The paramedics strapped Nathan onto
the stretcher and wheeled him out of Renee’s hotel room. They made their way down the hall just as
Miranda stepped off the elevator and looked around in bewilderment.
“What’s going on here?” she asked
Detective Baines who was jotting notes down on a pad of paper. “I’m the manager of Hotel Terranova and I demand to know what’s happening.”
“It seems Nathan Blackthorne has
been stabbed,” Baines said and led her into the suite where Renee, Alex, Sierra, Jordan
and James were gathered. “Your mother
claims she was threatened by the victim and picked up a letter opener in self
“Mom!” Miranda exclaimed and ran
over to Alex. “Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”
She shook her head. “I’m fine, Darling.”
“Is he dead?” Miranda asked.
“No, we’re not that lucky,” Jordan
Suddenly Miranda realized that Jordan was no
longer among the missing. She hugged him
warmly and kissed him on the cheek.
“Thank God you’re all right. Does
He shook his head. “Not yet.
I’ll go down and see her as soon as we’re done here.”
“Before we get too carried away with
this family reunion, I do have a few more questions to ask,” Baines said with a
frown. “Miss Reynolds, you stated
earlier that you came to Mrs. DeWitt’s hotel room to talk to her. What did you want to talk about?”
“It was Blackthorne-Reynolds
business,” she lied. “And when I got
here, Renee was gone. I was about to
leave when Nathan showed up.”
“The door was unlocked?” Baines inquired.
“What?” Alex asked, caught off guard by the technicality.
“The door to the room. It
must have been unlocked when you got here.”
She shrugged. “Yes, it
was. Sierra was here. She was in the bedroom.”
frowned, again finding glaring holes in Alex’s story. When he arrived she told the story
differently, saying that Renee and Sierra were both down at breakfast. He immediately knew that something wasn’t
“Miss Merteuil, could you hear Miss Reynolds and Mr. Blackthorne
from your bedroom?” the detective asked Sierra.
“She was sleeping,” Renee chimed in. She knew her daughter wasn’t prepared to
answer questions about what happened.
She wanted to protect her and to make all the unpleasantness go away.
“I believe I was directing the question at your daughter,” Baines
said with a sarcastic grin. “Miss
Sierra looked at her mother and then at Alex. “No, I couldn’t hear anything.”
“There, you see,” Alex remarked with irritation. “I’m telling you, Nathan came on to me,
threatened me, and I felt that he was going to attack me so I picked up the
letter opener and I stabbed him with it.
End of story.”
Baines sighed. “I find it
difficult to believe that Miss Merteuil didn’t hear any of this going on. Her bedroom is right there. It isn’t a stretch to think that she’d be
able to hear if you were out here in the living room being attacked.”
“It all happened very fast,” Alex said.
“Did you scream?”
“I don’t remember,” she said.
“I might have. I stabbed him, he
fell to the floor, and Sierra came out of the bedroom. Then Renee showed up and then Jordan showed
up. Honestly, I don’t know what more you
want from me. I stabbed him. Arrest me if you want, but it was self
defense so I’m afraid you’ll never make it stick. Never!”
Renee rolled her eyes in response to
Alex’s dramatic performance. She recognized the exact same speech from one
of her early movies. Hopefully Baines
hadn’t seen it. Then again, nobody had.
“Nobody’s getting arrested,” James indicated. “Alex was
acting in self defense.”
“So it seems,” Baines said and pushed his notepad into his
pocket. “Well, that’s all for now. I’ll get to the hospital and see what
condition Mr. Blackthorne is in. Miss Reynolds, please remain available
for further questions.”
After he’d gone, Jordan
took James aside and whispered quietly.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” he asked. “As soon as I got here,
Sierra said something to me about not meaning to kill him.”
“You think Sierra stabbed Nathan?” James asked.
shrugged. “Alex sure as hell
didn’t. Her story was all over the
James nodded in agreement.
“Well, I can see why she would.
If the police found out that Sierra stabbed him, they’d start asking
questions. It would only be a matter of
time before they figured out who she is.”
“Let’s go talk to Baines,” Jordan said and led him out into
the hall. They caught up with the
detective before he got onto the elevator.
“Baines, wait up.”
“Well, I can’t say I’m surprised that this day has come,” said
Baines. “The two of you were Nathan
Blackthornes number one supporters. Now
your ex wife stabs him and you don’t seem to have any problems with that. What’s the catch?”
“Yes, we were wrong,” James said.
“He’s a rapist and he should be behind bars.”
“It’s doubtful that’s going to happen now,” Baines declared with a
certain amount of regret.
“What do you mean?” Jordan demanded. “His re-trial is coming up in a few weeks.”
“The re-trial is a joke,” Baines laughed. “It’s so the D.A. can look like he’s making
an effort. He knows that Blackthorne
isn’t going to be convicted. There
aren’t any witnesses to testify.
Debralee Scott is dead, as are her parents.”
“What about Alex?” James insisted. “She just got done telling you that he
tried to rape her again today. With her
testimony the jury won’t have a choice but to convict him.”
“Are you kidding?” Detective Baines asked. “The D.A. isn’t going to let Alex Reynolds
testify again. Not after the mockery she
made of the trial in ‘87. Convicted perjurers don’t usually make good
“So that’s it?” James asked angrily. “He just gets away with everything?”
“I’m sorry. Without a
viable witness there is no case. Unless
there’s another woman he’s attacked or tried to attack since he returned to Los Angeles…”
They looked at each other, fully aware that they were backed into
“You have got to be kidding,” Ethan said and paced around Brooke’s
hotel room. “Did my uncle send you here
to ask me this?”
“It was my idea too,” Jordan said, digging his hands in
his pockets and watching Ethan storm around the room.
“He didn’t even have the nerve to ask me himself,” Ethan said and
chuckled under his breath. He turned to Jordan and
folded his arms. “So he finally realized
that Brooke was telling the truth, is that it?
All it took was for her to leave him and for him to find out the truth
about Michael. Now he suddenly wants to
do the right thing and send his uncle to prison?”
“If Nathan survives, Brooke may be our only hope. She’s the only one who can testify against
“If you and James hadn’t worked so
hard to bring him back here, you wouldn’t have to ask Brooke to testify!” Ethan yelled angrily.
“We were wrong,” Jordan
said. “But what’s done is done. Now are you going to ask Brooke or not?”
Ethan ran his fingers through his hair and
picked up the phone to call Brooke’s cell phone. If it were up to him, they’d leave James
hanging. But if it meant getting Nathan
off the street then he’d have to convince her.
Renee wrung her hands together nervously,
glancing at the phone and waiting for James or Jordan to call with news from
the hospital. She was on pins and
needles waiting to hear if Nathan was going to pull through. Part of her wanted him to die a slow and
painful death, but in reality she knew that if that happened they would be in a
lot more trouble than they already were.
“I just can’t believe you did this,” she said
and glanced over at Alex.
“I did it so no one would find out your secret,”
Alex insisted. “You know, it isn’t often
that I do something so selfless. I think
a thank you may be in order. If he dies I could go to jail!”
“If he survives, he’s going to tell the police
that Sierra was the one who stabbed him,” Renee exclaimed. “Your phony story will hold up for about ten
minutes before they come looking for her.”
Alex lit a cigarette and puffed heavily while
she paced around the room. “We’ll just
say that he hallucinated. He was in
shock from the blood loss and he imagined that it was her. Trust me, we can explain it away easily
enough. Besides, I don’t think it will
come to that, because the police will want to know why she stabbed him, and
he’s not stupid enough to open up that can of worms.”
“I hope you’re right,” said Renee. Deciding to check on Sierra, she walked to
the bedroom door and opened it slowly.
Inside, Sierra was lying on her bed, sobbing
into her pillow. She looked up and
immediately threw her arms around Renee.
“Mom, it was horrible,” she cried. “I
was so scared. I thought he was going to-“
“Shhh, I know baby, I know,” Renee soothed her,
stroking her hand down her back and holding her close. “You’re safe now. You don’t have to worry about him hurting you
Sierra looked into her eyes and shook her head
in agony. “What if he dies?” she
asked. “I will have killed him. How could I have done that?”
“You were defending yourself, baby,” Renee
insisted. “You didn’t do anything
wrong. Now I don’t want you to
worry. He will never hurt you again, I
Alex watched from the doorway, certain that she
was doing the right thing. If she hadn’t
meddled in the first place, none of this would have happened.
“He’s alive?” Heather exclaimed, throwing her
arms around Miranda and then pulling Stormy into an embrace. “I don’t believe it. Where is he?
I want to go see him.”
“He wanted to come see you too, but things are a
little crazy right now,” Miranda explained.
They were in Heather’s hotel room and Miranda had gone to deliver the
good news in Jordan’s
“What’s going on, Miranda?” Stormy asked.
“More problems with the family perv,” she
replied and started to the door. “Look,
I have to go take care of a few things.
I’ll see you both later.”
“Miranda,” Heather said before she left. “Thank you.”
Miranda smiled and hugged her step-sister briefly. “Love you,” she said and left the room with a
Out in the hall, she bumped directly into David
Jennings. His handsome face brightened up
her mood and she flushed with excitement.
“How about dinner tonight?” he asked with a
“I think I can probably pencil you in,” she said
with a playful smile. “I haven’t seen
you for a few days. I was beginning to
think you were turned off by the pregnant divorcee thing I’ve got going on.”
“Didn’t you know? Pregnant
divorcee’s are my thing.”
“Are they now?
Well then, dinner it is.”
He placed a hand on her arm and leaned her
against the wall in the corridor. Moving
closer, he pressed his lips to hers and kissed her passionately. Miranda wrapped her arms around him and pulled
“See you later then?” he asked and backed up a
She nodded, unable to speak a single word after
the kiss. One thing about David Jennings
was for certain; he had a way of grabbing her attention.
Alex’s shoes tapped repeatedly on the tile floor
as she made her way down the long, sterile hallways. A nurse in a crisp white uniform passed her
and smiled kindly, but Alex didn’t return the gesture. She was in no mood to be there. She dreaded every second of the impending
Village, a five-acre complex in Pasadena, was the coveted destination for aging showbiz
legends to make their peace with God and the rest of Hollywood.
Dumped their by the younger generation, forgotten and alone, with the
exception of the hefty price tag that
went along with it. If somebody wanted
to disappear in Hollywood,
it was there that they would retreat to.
Pausing at a room at the end of the hall, Alex
pushed the door open and walked tentatively inside. Her eyes scanned the room briefly. The walls were cluttered – barely an inch of
white space visible through dozens of framed pictures – movie one-sheets,
autographed photographs of long-dead actors and actresses. Awards and statuettes lined a bookshelf
against the west wall, thick cakes of dust collecting on the sufaces.
Taking a deep breath, Alex stepped forward, expecting
the old woman to be sleeping. She
reached down to tap her on the shoulder.
“What the hell do you want?” Lola Lamont asked
as she shot up on the bed and glared at Alex.
Air escaped from Alex’s lungs and she stepped
back instinctively. ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t
mean to startle you. I just-“
“What?” Lola demanded. “Came to smother me with a pillow in my
sleep? Well it’s not going to work. My neighbor is Angie Dickinson, Police Woman.”
Alex ignored the old woman’s senile
ranting. It was the reason Jordan had
placed her there several years before.
“No, I came to talk to you. He’s
back, Lola. Nathan is back.”
Despite her aging appearance, wrinkled,
liver-spotted skin and wiry gray hair, Lola had a fresh coat of makeup on and
was doused in thick rose petal perfume.
Alex remembered it from years ago, the same scent that haunted her since
the first day she met her.
“Well I’ll be damned,” Lola said with a chuckle
and reached for her cigarettes. “Mary
Ann, hand me my filters, would you?”
Alex reluctantly handed her the leather
cigarette case. What did she care,
anyway? A few less years without the old
woman around wouldn’t hurt anyone.
“The nurses don’t let me smoke in here but I say
the hell with them,” Lola said as she lit a cigarette and took a long
drag. She smiled and looked at the
object tucked neatly between her index and middle finger. “What are you so good to me?” she asked the
cigarette, then looked back at Alex. “So
the old bastard is back, eh?” she finally asked.
“Yes, and he’s at it again,” Alex insisted. “He’s attacked more women. James Blackthorne’s wife, and a young
woman. Renee Merteuil’s daughter.”
daughter,” Lola chuckled to herself. "Filthy
Alex was floored by the remark. “How did you-“
“You didn’t think Renee and Suzanne acted alone,
did you?” she asked. “Somebody had to
finance the phony doctors and adoption lawyers.”
Now wasn’t the time for questions, Alex
decided. “Lola, you’re the only one who
can make him see him for who he is. You
have to tell them that you lied. You
have to tell them that you saw him attack me that night at the mansion. You’re the only living witness.”
Lola took a few more drags of her cigarette and
then flicked it onto the floor. “I’d
rather put that cigarette out in my eye,” she admonished.
Alex was surprised by the reaction. “What?” she asked. “Didn’t you hear what I said, you miserable
old hag? Nathan has hurt more women. He’ll get away with it if you don’t do
something. You can set it straight,
After a few moments of hesitation, Lola pushed
the covers off of her legs and leaned forward on the bed. “I don’t have to do anything, Mary Ann. I’m not done punishing you for what you did.”
“For what I did?” Alex asked. “If this is about…”
“You know damn well what it’s about,” Lola seethed. "I
can still see the reviews from that damn movie. I
was the star, do you hear me? I was the star!
I will never tell the truth about that
Alex remembered the same speech from one of
Lola’s early films. She was probably the
only one alive who had ever seen it. She
sighed, swallowed hard and backed out of the room. Her heels tapped loudly on the tiled floor
as she raced back to the exits.
Downtown at the police station, James paced the
waiting area while Brooke was in giving a statement to Detective Baines. Jordan was
standing across the room on his cell phone, while Ethan hovered in the
corner. There was an air of tenseness in
the room, and James knew why, and it had nothing to do with Nathan, or with
Brooke’s statement. Finally, he decided
to press forward and congratulate his nephew on his new family.
“The only reason I haven’t disowned you is
because you were just as in the dark about Michael as I was,” he said. “At first.
But that doesn’t excuse the fact that you said nothing since Brooke told
you the truth months ago.”
Ethan issued him a stern look of defiance. “My father is dead, remember?” he asked. “He’s the only one that could disown me. And you were just as guilty of keeping that
little bit of information from me as I was about Michael, so don’t you dare act
so sanctimonious with me.”
“This is different,” James said in a quiet rage.
“The hell it is.
You went out of your way to keep the truth from me about Will. How many times did I ask you about my
father? And every time you lied to my
“I did that to protect you! You and Brooke lying about Michael was for
your own selfish reasons. I raised that
boy for the past year as my son, and now the two of you waltz in and take him
from me. Why in the hell should I accept
“First of all, you wouldn’t have lost your wife
if you had taken her word over you perverted uncle’s,” Ethan remarked. He was so angry but tried his best to remain
calm. “And as for Michael, Brooke fully
intended to let you raise him as your son.
You would have if you’d have
treated her with any respect.”
“Don’t you dare tell me how to treat my wife!”
“Somebody’s got to because you sure as hell
don’t know the first thing about Brooke or about what she wants!”
“Oh I forgot, you had your little romantic
rendezvous in the Caribbean, didn’t you?”
James said bitterly. “Come to think of it,
I wonder if that was the only time the two of you shacked up together. There had to have been other times. Tell me, did you bed her on our honeymoon?”
“You smug son of a-“
“Guys, knock it off,” Jordan cautioned them as he hung up
from his call. “They’re bringing Brooke
They put their hostility on hold long enough for
the Detective Baines to emerge with Brooke close behind. She glanced at James and scowled with
contempt. Without pausing, she made a
direct path to Ethan’s side.
“Well?” James asked.
“I took your wife’s statement,” Baines
said. “But I’m afraid it’s not going to
“What do you mean it’s not enough?” Ethan
“He tried to attack her,” James insisted. “She’s your witness. Put her on the stand and see where that gets
“It won’t get us anywhere,” Baines
revealed. “Nathan’s lawyers will crucify
her on the stand. There were no
witnesses. It’s his word against
hers. And the defense, nor the jury,
will be impressed that no formal charges were made when it happened.”
Brooke glared at James, her eyes flashing major
danger signals. “I hope you’re
satisfied,” she said. “He’s going to get
away with everything thanks to you and your undying devotion.” She turned to Ethan. “Get me out of here, Ethan.”
He obliged, issuing James one final look of
disappointment before guiding her through the waiting area. As they made their way down the hall, David
Jennings walked toward them from the opposite direction. His eyes landed on Brooke’s and he stopped in
“Excuse me, don’t I know you?” he asked.
“I don’t think so.”
David scratched his head. “I’m sorry, I just thought you looked
Brooke shook her head and glanced at Ethan. “I’m sorry, I don’t think so.”
David shrugged and dug his hands into his
pockets. “Must be thinking of somebody
else,” he said apologetically and continued along his way. He approached the waiting area where James
and Jordan were talking to Detective Baines.
“Look, with Brooke’s statement, we have enough
to put him in custody,” the detective was saying to James. “He’ll have guards outside of his hospital
room. At least he’ll be out of harms way
so he can’t do this to anyone else. But
when the trial starts, I don’t think we’re going to get a conviction. He’d have a better chance of being convicted
back in Paris. Since this whole thing started women have
been coming out of the woodwork with complaints of sexual violence.”
“I figured he’s probably been up to no good in Paris. Twenty years is a long time to be on good
said sarcastically. “Do any of them have
“A couple. Apparently he was
under investigation before he fled and came back here. If he ever did flee again, he’d be in more
trouble there than he is here, that’s for sure.”
“But he’d never go back,” James said. “And there’s no extradition agreement with
we’re stuck. We have to find a way to
make the charges here stick. He can’t
get away with everything he’s done.”
“If there was another victim,” Baines
suggested. “Someone he’s done this to
that could attest to it, and prove it.”
After the detective left, David approached James
and extended his hand. “Mr.
“David, good to see you. What brings you down here?” James said.
“I want to help put Nathan Blackthorne away,” he
James sighed and wiped his hand over his
face. “Look, your mother and my uncle
had a relationship, but that was a long time ago-“
“To her it might as well have been yesterday,”
David remarked. “I don’t think she’s
ever gotten over him. She’s convinced
he’s a saint, and I won’t rest until he’s behind bars.”
“I appreciate your conviction,” James
remarked. “But we may not need your
help. There’s one other person who can
put this whole thing to rest.”
“Absolutely not,” Renee said, shaking her head
in insistence. “I cannot put my daughter
through that. I’m sorry, James.”
“If she doesn’t, he won’t get have to serve any
jail time. He’ll be free to do this to
someone else, or free to try again with Sierra,” James declared. “I know it’s a lot to ask, but please
consider talking to her.”
Renee, standing in her hotel suite, folded her
arms and shook her head. “I wish I
could, James, but I can’t. I’m
sorry. Not only do I not want to put her
through the whole ordeal of telling a jury what happened, but I can’t let them
expose who she is. Her life will be
ruined if it gets out.”
James sighed and nodded. “I understand.”
“I wish it could be different.”
“So do I.”
David Jennings lived in a surprisingly modest home
overlooking the roaring Pacific.
Tastefully decorated in a thoroughly retro modern theme, complete with
shag carpet and walnut veneers, he had a style all his own. When he arrived at his front door that
evening he knew immediately that something was amiss. The sound of soft music playing inside and
the crackling of a fire threw his guard up.
Tentatively stepping inside, he relaxed a bit
when he realized he wasn’t alone.
“Thought I was picking you up for dinner,” he
“I couldn’t wait. I climbed in through the window,” said a
vixenish Miranda, sprawled on the sofa with a glass of wine, dressed in a
clingy red dress.
Smiling, David pulled his silk tie from his neck
and looked down at her with a sheepish grin.
“Isn’t it a bit warm for a fire?”
Miranda climbed seductively to her feet and put
an arm around him. “It’s about to get
warmer,” she said and playfully teased his lips with hers.
“This is a new version of you,” he said,
surprised by her aggressive nature.
She shook her head. “No, this is the old me. I’ve been playing a role lately that I don’t
“So the hot and cold vibes I’ve been getting
“Not me,” she winked playfully and set down her
glass. She put her hands on his chest
and slowly unbuttoned his shirt.
Grinning, she ran her hands along his chest and gasped in surprise when
he pulled her close and kissed her hard.
“Well I’m glad to see you finally put that girl
to rest,” he said feverishly, leading her to the bedroom.
That night, Alex made her way down the hallway
in the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai.
The click of her heels on the floor resonated through the corridor until
she stopped outside a private room.
First peering through the window, she pushed the door open and walked
inside. The sterile smell of alcohol and
iodine permeated the air. She approached
the bed, listening to the heart monitor and the breathing apparatus over Nathan’s
Hovering above him, she watched his eyes open
and for the first time since she’d met him nearly thirty years before, he
appeared to be terrified. When he
reached up to remove the oxygen mask from his mouth, she stopped him and leaned
“Don’t say a word,” she said in a whisper. “I want you to lay there and listen to what I
have to tell you.”
Nathan lowered his arm to his side and watched
her with wide eyes.
“I’m glad that you’re not going to die, Nathan,”
she said slowly. “Because I want you
alive when you finally are held accountable for every evil thing you’ve ever
done. I want to see you go to prison and
I want you to feel the pain and the humiliation when you’re raped by a two
hundred and fifty pound inmate. I want
you to fear for your life every time you step in the prison showers or every
time the lights go out in your cell.”
Her bitter words seeped into his head and he
visualized the nightmarish picture that she painted.
“For every woman and every innocent child that
you’ve violated, I wish for your total and complete misery,” Alex continued
through clenched teeth. “And in fifteen
or twenty years if they are misfortunate enough to let you out, I wish for the
rest of your life to be spent alone in a dark room wearing a diaper.”
Nathan’s eyes fluttered around the room. Never had he seen Alex so vengeful and filled
“Death is too good for you,” she went on. “And when the police ask you about what
happened at the hotel this morning, you’re not going to say a word about
Sierra. If anybody finds out that she’s
your daughter, it will be the biggest mistake you’ve ever made. Because even though death is too good for
you, I will kill you in the most slow, horribly despicable way that you can
Nathan’s eyes widened and he watched as she took
a few steps back.
“I just wanted to make sure you knew that,” Alex
finished before quietly turning and leaving the room.
By the time morning came, Nathan was more alert and knew precisely
what he had to do. Safely out of the
woods, he summoned Victor to his heavily guarded room to plan their strategy.
“You look like hell, ol’ boy,” chuckled Victor as he popped two
black pills into his mouth and washed them down with a sip from his flask. “If it wasn’t bad enough that you destroyed
my yacht, now you’re holding up the movie with this latest medical crisis. I hate to think that your regal return to the
screen will be held up on account of Alex’s letter-opener-wielding instincts.”
Nathan laughed, wincing from the pain in his ribcage. “I’m afraid Donnie & Johnny shall never
see a red carpet premiere, my friend,” he said.
“Circumstances have….worsened, shall we say.”
“Yes, yes,” Victor murmured and paced the room. “Well, my jet is on standby. I assume, however, that Paris is out of the question at this
Nathan nodded. “I hear China is
beautiful this time of year.”
Victor enlisted the help of two blonde, buxom starlets who owed
him big, and thanks to recent charges of possession and pandering, had no love
lost for the law. B.J. Summers and porn
star Danni Crenshaw looked spectacular dressed as candy stripers. Luckily, they had the outfits already in
their closets for one reason or another.
They wheeled the linen cart down the hallway to Nathan’s
room. While one made eye contact with
the armed guard outside the room and proceeded to sign an autograph and pose
for pictures on his camera phone, the other wheeled the cart into the private
Two minutes later, she re-emerged with the cart.
- - - - - - -
“Is that the cargo for Mr. Distefano’s jet?” asked the pilot at
the private airstrip in the Valley.
“Yes,” B.J. Summers declared as they stood in the terminal with
the linen cart. “It’s very precious
cargo, so be careful.”
“Of course,” said the pilot and wheeled the cart down the corridor
to the loading ramp.
- - - - - - -
Once the jet had taken off, a pile
of sheets and towels erupted from the linen cart and Nathan emerged
triumphantly. He carefully stepped out
onto the floor and smiled devilishly, still wincing from the nagging pain in
his chest. A small price to pay for
freedom, he decided.
Finding a chilled bottle of
champagne and a farewell note from Victor, he happily poured himself a glass
and toasted to himself.
“To my new home in China,” he said
aloud and laughed before gulping down half of the glass.
- - - - - - -
The eighteen hour flight was long, but
bearable since Nathan knew what the outcome would be. He’d successfully evaded prison not once, but
twice. Granted, he’d hoped to be in Los Angeles
he was. He didn’t even get to revel in
his return to the silver screen. But
perhaps the footage they had already shot would wind up in the Smithsonian at
the very least. After all, it would
sadly be the last film he was attempt to make.
wasn’t known for its bustling cinematic scene.
When the pilot lowered the steps
onto the tarmac, Nathan emerged into the daylight and was immediately met with
a barrage of reporters, gawking onlookers, and an army of Parisian Police.
“What the-“ he began, looking around
and realizing the terrain was not that of China. In fact, they were clear on the other side of
the world, back in France
where he’d anxiously left three months earlier.
“Nathan Blackthorne, you are under
arrest,” said the officer in charge, placing handcuffs tightly behind his
Bewildered, Nathan looked around in
awe. He had been duped. Glancing back at the jet, he realized only
then that it wasn’t Victor’s jet at all.
When the pilot emerged and took off his hat, he knew immediately what
“I hope you found my jet
comfortable,” said David Jennings with a wink.
“Because it’ll be concrete slabs in prison.”
Nathan was in disbelief. He knew he was finished. Unlike the ridiculously inept American
justice system, the French were far more aggressive in their punishment. How
could they have tricked him like this?
. . . . . . . Eighteen Hours Earlier. . . . . . . .
“Is that the cargo for Mr. Distefano’s jet?” asked the pilot at
the private airstrip in the Valley.
“Yes,” B.J. Summers declared as they stood in the terminal with
the linen cart. “It’s very precious
cargo, so be careful.”
“Of course,” said the pilot and wheeled the cart down the corridor
to the loading ramp. When he rounded the corner, James and Jordan were
waiting. James silently handed him a
roll of hundred dollar bills.
Victor’s pilot nodded in appreciation before turning and starting
off in the other direction.
James and Jordan wheeled the cart outside onto the tarmac where
David’s jet was waiting just beside Victor’s.
David walked down the steps and intercepted them, aiding in pushing the
cargo up into the cabin. Jordan
set the champagne and note from Victor's jet, and smiled
in spite of himself.
They exchanged knowing glances and retreated, watching the hatch
close tightly and the engines start on the small G4. James
flipped his cell phone from his breast pocket and recalled
the number he'd stored for the French National
“Nicely played,” James said and
clinked his champagne glass against Jordan’s.
“Likewise,” Jordan replied
with a grin.
“I still don’t like the way this was
handled,” Detective Baines said as he stood in the library at the Blackthorne
mansion. “You aided in the escape of a
prisoner. He was in our jurisdiction and
now we’ve lost him again. I have half a
mind to have the both of you, and David Jennings, arrested for aiding and
abeiting a criminal. “
Alex rolled her eyes and approached
steadfastly. “If he’d stayed in California
he would have
been back on the street in a matter of days,” she declared. “You said so yourself.”
“We just delivered him to a
government that actually punishes their criminals,” Jordan remarked.
“I hope he rots in jail for the rest
of his miserable life,” Renee said, cross-legged in a chair across the
“I don’t know about the rest of his
life, but at least for the next few years,” Baines announced. “I hate to say it, but your plan wasn’t
completely without merit.”
James laughed and patted Jordan on the
back. “Alex, it looks like you still
won’t get the satisfaction of seeing him squirm for what he did to you.
Are you okay with that?”
She grew into a silent trance,
recalling the vicious words she’d spoken to him the night before at the
hospital. She’d said her peace, and she
knew that everything she said to him, the predictions she’d made about his life
in prison, would come true, and that was victory enough.
The next morning, Brooke opened the
door of the suite at Hotel Terranova, surprised to find David Jennings standing
in the hall.
“Miss Taylor, I’m sorry for
disturbing you,” he said. Since he’d
bumped into her in the hospital, she was all he could think about. The night before with Miranda at his house in
face never left his minds eye. The
entire way to and from Paris
he’d thought of nothing else.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
David dug his hands into his
pockets. “I remembered where I knew you
“Did you?” she asked. “Well enlighten me, because I honestly don’t
“The Galleria,” he replied. “Several years ago. You helped me pick out a perfume for my
Brooke frowned uneasily. She found the whole situation very odd. “I met a lot of people working there. I’m sorry, I can’t remember every-“
“I asked you out for a date,” David
recalled. “But you were engaged to some
big movie mogul. Now I realize it was
It was difficult for Brooke to
recall that happy time in her life.
She’d been so misled by James and his charms. “Is there something I can do for you, Mr….?”
“Jennings,” he replied. “David Jennings. Actually, I hope it isn’t too forward, but I
wanted to give you my card.”
Brooke took the card from him and
guffawed at his nerve. “I beg
your pardon?” she asked.
“Well, it’s no secret that you and
James are separated,” he said. “I hate
to admit it, but I read the tabloids out of habbit. You know, to see what people are saying about
“Mr. Jennings, we met briefly over
three years ago. I find it very peculiar
that you still remember me and that you would show up here at my hotel room
when I haven’t even been legally separated from my husband.”
David smiled. “I guess you’re just that unforgettable.”
He turned and walked back down the
hall to the elevator. Once he’d gone,
Brooke retreated into her room and looked at the business card in
concentration. His name sounded familiar
and suddenly she remembered why. He was
the same man that Miranda had been seeing occasionally for the past few
weeks. She remembered James talking
about how pleased he was over the pairing.
Shaking off the strange coincidence,
she turned to go back to the bedroom to check on Michael. She paused to pick up
a few of his toys strewn across the floor when there was another knock at the
door. Sighing, she floated across the
room and pulled the door open, half expecting that it would be David again.
“Look, I told you that-“
“Expecting someone else?” Miranda
asked, glaring angrily at her step-mother from the hallway.
“Miranda,” Brooke said timidly. “Yes, I’m sorry. Is everything okay? Is it James?”
“James is fine,” Miranda declared
and forced herself into the room.
“Considering you’ve abandoned him, taken his child, and shacked up with
his nephew. But now you suddenly care
about what happens to him?”
“Of course I care about what happens
to him. That’s a ridiculous thing for you
“Ridiculous?” Miranda asked and
folded her arms. “The only thing that’s
ridiculous is you, Brooke. The way you
came into this family with nothing but a bag of supermarket makeup and a big chip on your shoulder, thinking you were
better than everybody else. The way you
teased and flirted with Ethan while you were engaged to my father. And how about letting my brother sit in jail
for days while you knew fully well that you were the one who pulled the trigger
on Will Thomerson?”
“Oh, I know you didn’t kill him, but
you thought you did, and you were so selfish that you allowed them to persecute
Stormy. Hell, you even got my father to
go along with that charade.”
"I don’t know what you want from me,
Miranda,” Brooke said angrily. “But if
hashing out everything that’s happened to this family in the last three years
and blaming it all on me makes you feel good, then why don’t you just get it
out of your system already. Go on. Let’s have it. What else do you have?”
“Okay, how about lying to everyone
for the past year about who Michael’s father was?” Miranda continued. “What was that all about? You wanted to make sure your bastard son got
an inheritance, is that it?”
“How dumb do you think I am,
Brooke?” Miranda asked. “I know your
type. You’re not that much older than
me, remember? I knew girls like you in
school. Leaching onto wealthy and
powerful families to secure their future.
It’s all so trite, isn’t it?
Because when it comes right down to it, you’ll always wind up flat on
your back with your legs in the air for any man who will give you a compliment
and a necklace from Tiffany.”
“I want you to get out,” Brooke
demanded, backing up a step and stopping when she bumped into the coffee
“What’s wrong? The truth too hard to take? I mean come on, if things don’t work out with
you and Ethan, and they won’t because he’s probably already out of Daddy’s
will, you’ll just move on to the next wealthy stud and get knocked up by him
too. Isn’t that the way you women
“I said get out,” Brooke said,
trembling and walked toward the door.
“You’re so transparent,” Miranda
continued. “Why are you even bothering
to lead Ethan on? Just cut him loose
already. But whatever you do, don’t even
think of going back to my father because he’s already moved on and he doesn’t
need trash like you in his life.”
Finally having enough, Brooke
slapped the young woman hard across the face.
Miranda lurched forward and grappled with her, her nails digging hard
into her skin. Brooke screamed out in
pain and pushed her away, sending her stumbling back a few steps.
Before she could regain her balance,
Miranda tripped on one of Michael’s toys and toppled to the ground, crashing
stomach first into the coffee table. The
legs buckled from the impact and Miranda dropped to the floor with a thud.
She lay, stunned, for several
seconds before wheezing and gasping.
Brooke’s hands plastered to her mouth and she rushed toward her
“Miranda, are you okay?” she asked
in a regretfrul panic.
Wincing from the pain, Miranda
curled into a ball and held her stomach.
“I think something’s wrong,” she whimpered. “Call an ambulance.”
Miranda is rushed to
the hospital. David consoles Brooke during a difficult
time. Alex gets a business proposition. Heather
provides Brett a shoulder to cry on.