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Episode 66

 

Release Date:  August 24, 2007

 Read the episode Recap

 

Previously...

James 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.  

 

 


 

Episode 66

"Exit Stage Left"

 

Renee 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.

Sierra!” 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.”

Alex 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 nothing."

"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. . . . . . . .

The 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 accident.

Glancing 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. 

A 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.

After 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. 

“You okay, man?” asked one bystander, a young blonde lifeguard who had successfully performed CPR on a water-logged Jordan.

“I think that’s the guy they’ve been looking for since last night,” said a girl onlooker. 

By 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.

“You don’t look so good, dude,” said the blonde kid.  “Your head’s all bleeding and junk.  You wanna go to the hospital?”

Jordan shook 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?”

“You sure?” the kid asked.

Jordan nodded, allowing several of them to help him to his feet.

They 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.

He 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.

Landing 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 again.

"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 glances again.

“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. 

Jordan 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 him.”

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.

Miranda Blackthorne

“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 discretion?”

“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 enough.”

“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.”

Jack Fallmont

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 knowing grin.

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.

Hotel Terranova

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 defense."

“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 remarked.

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 Heather know?”

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.”

Jordan 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 right. 

“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 Merteuil?”

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. 

Jordan shrugged.  “Alex sure as hell didn’t.  Her story was all over the place.”

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 witnesses.”

“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 a corner.

Ethan Blackthorne

“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 him.”

“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 DeWitt

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 ever again.”

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 promise.”

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.

Heather Blackthorne

“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 place.

“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 flourish.

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 wink.

“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.”

David laughed.  “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 him closer.

“See you later then?” he asked and backed up a step.

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 Reynolds

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 visit.

The Actor’s Retirement 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.”

His own daughter,” Lola chuckled to herself.  "Filthy beast."

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, Lola.”

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 night.  Never.”

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. 

Jasmes Blackthorne

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 face.”

“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 that?”

“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 out now.”

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 be enough.”

“What do you mean it’s not enough?” Ethan demanded.

“He tried to attack her,” James insisted.  “She’s your witness.  Put her on the stand and see where that gets us.”

“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 his tracks.

“Excuse me, don’t I know you?” he asked.

She frowned.  “I don’t think so.” 

David scratched his head.  “I’m sorry, I just thought you looked familiar.”

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 behavior,” Jordan said sarcastically.  “Do any of them have proof?”

Baines shrugged.  “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 France, so 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. Blackthorne.”

“David, good to see you.  What brings you down here?” James said.

“I want to help put Nathan Blackthorne away,” he said ominously.

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.”

Hotel Terranova

“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 Jenner

David Jennings lived in a surprisingly modest home in Malibu 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 said. 

“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 particularly like.”

“So the hot and cold vibes I’ve been getting are-“

“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.

Cedars-Sinai

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 mouth.

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 in closely.

“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 with hatred.

“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 imagine.”

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.

Nathan Blackthorne

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 juncture.”

Nathan nodded.  “I hear China is beautiful this time of year.”

Victor Distefano

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 room. 

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 longer than 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.  China 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 back. 

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 had happened.

“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 Police.

Blackthorne Mansion

“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 room. 

“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.

Brooke Taylor

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 Malibu, her 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 from.”

“Did you?” she asked.  “Well enlighten me, because I honestly don’t remember you.”

“The Galleria,” he replied.  “Several years ago.  You helped me pick out a perfume for my mother.”

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 James Blackthorne.”

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 me.”

“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 to say.”

“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?”

“I didn’t-“

 “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?”

“No!”

“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 table.

“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 operate?”

“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 instantaneously.

“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.”


Next time....

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.  

 Read Episode 67

 

 


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