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Episode 67

 

Release Date:  September 8, 2007

 Read the episode Recap 

 

Previously...

Alex took the blame for Sierra in Nathan's stabbing, but Jordan and James saw through the rouse.  Nathan was taken to the hospital where he survived.  Alex made a last ditch attempt to convince Lola to tell the truth about the night she was raped, but Lola refused.  At the hospital, Alex described to Nathan how she wished him nothing but misery.  Victor arranged for Nathan to fly to China on his private jet, but David, James and Jordan switched planes and arranged for French Police to be waiting for Nathan when he was re-routed back to Paris.  He was taken into custody for rape charges in Paris. David told Brooke he remembered her from when she worked as a makeup counter clerk at the mall.  David and Miranda made love.  Seth and Leigh talked about a plan to use James in a money-making scheme.  Brett informed Seth that the Land Commission denied the variance he needed to drill onto a stretch of land in Costa Mesa.  Jack Fallmont hired Eddie to follow Adrienne whom he thought was having an affair.  Miranda unleashed her anger on Brooke.  The two struggled and Miranda took a violent fall, which caused her to have abdominal pains.  

 

 


 

Episode 67

"Once in a Lifetime"

 

The waiting room at Cedars-Sinai was full, everyone on pins and needles waiting for word from Dr. Mitchell on Miranda’s prognosis.  James, Stormy and Heather sat in a row of chairs against the window while Alex paced back and forth with a steaming cup of coffee gripped in her hands.  David Jennings stood in the corner with his arms folded, uncertain of whether his presence there was intrusive or not.  He and Miranda had a casual relationship consisting of a few bad dates and one magnificent night in bed.  Regardless, he had grown to care for her very much and he couldn’t think of anywhere else that he wanted to be. 

When Brett raced into the waiting room, all eyes landed on him.  His gaze immediately went to Heather and Stormy, holding hands beside one another across the room.  Rather than take time to brood over his forlorn feelings for her, he kept in check with what really mattered.  Miranda and their baby.

“I just heard about what happened,” he said quickly.  “How are they?”

“Nice of you to finally show up,” Stormy scoffed and shot to his feet.  “We’ve all been here for half an hour.  Where the hell have you been?  I thought you cared about the baby you tricked my sister into having.”

“Stormy, knock it off,” James ordered and followed him across the room.  He wasn’t thrilled with Brett’s actions leading up to the divorce, but he knew he had a right to be there as well as any of them.  He was the father of Miranda’s baby, after all.  

“I was at the racquetball club,” Brett announced without bothering to exchange the usual jabs with Stormy.  “Heather left me a message and I got here as soon as I could.”

“She’s in with Dr. Mitchell now,” James said.  “We still don’t know anything.”

“Well what happened?” Brett asked and ran his fingers through his blond hair.  “All they said was that she fell.”

“We’re still not sure,” James claimed.

“No, but apparently she was with Brooke when it happened,” Alex spat bitterly.  “She did this to my daughter.  That tramp you brought into this family.”

David listened inquisitively.  He wondered what Brooke did have to do with Miranda’s accident.  The woman he saw that morning in her hotel room wasn’t the monster that Alex Reynolds described.

“Alex, stop it.  We don’t know what happened,” James insisted.  “And throwing blame around isn’t going to help Miranda or my grandchild.”

Heather looked at Brett from across the room and couldn’t help but feel for him.  The look in his eyes reminded her of why she began to let her guard down with him in the first place.  Behind all that raw sexual energy and penchant for backstabbing, he was a truly compassionate and sensitive man.  That night she spent with him after her carjacking was both tender and exhilarating.  No man had made her feel the way he had.  Now his heart was breaking over his baby’s uncertain future.  Her heart went out to him. 

Just then, Dr. Mitchell entered the waiting room and looked sorrowfully at the gathering of vigils.  “I just came from talking to Miranda,” she announced. 

“How is she?” Alex asked in a panic.

“How is the baby?” Brett added.

Taking a breath, the doctor shook her head as if to brace them all for the bad news prior to delivering it.  “I’m afraid she lost the baby.”

A hush fell over the room and Brett felt his eyes sting with tears.  He held his breath, forcing himself to hold it together.  Stormy shook his head in sorrow and pulled Heather into an embrace.   Alex clung to James’ side and gasped, her hand clutching her chest in despair.

“I know how you all must feel,” Dr. Mitchell continued.  “In the first trimester, any number of things can go wrong.  In this case, the physical trauma from the fall halted the baby’s normal gestation period.”

“How is she, Dr. Mitchell?” David asked. 

“She’s visibly shaken.  The good news is that after completing my examinations, I don’t foresee there will be any problems with Miranda getting pregnant again in the future.”

“Thank you, Doctor,” James said appreciatively.  “Can we go in and see her?”

“Immediately family only,” Dr. Mitchell replied.  “And keep it brief.  She’s been through a lot.  I’d like to keep her here a day or so, but after that she should be fine.”

She left the room just as Brooke and Ethan entered.  All eyes landed on Brooke and she suddenly realized she was not a welcome sight.

Seth Walker

Across town at Seth Walker’s private cabin at the Yacht Club, he and Leigh Purcell made love on the bed, sunlight filtering into the shaded room through wooden blinds.  Taking her with exceptional stamina and vigor, Seth smiled in satisfaction at the pleasured look on her face.  Marilee never looked that way when they made love anymore.  Her eyes never rolled back in her head and she never even made a sound.  He realized he’d probably spoiled her by hiring Brett Armstrong as his PR guy, and he knew full well that Marilee would sleep with him, he was just her type.  Hiring him proved to be a distraction for Marilee for a while at least, which was his intention from the start.  Better to have her satisfied and content with some young stud than start paying attention to his business dealings.  Her disinterest in sex with him was a small price to pay.

After they’d finished their acrobatic round of lovemaking, Leigh lit a cigarette and pulled the sheet over her chest. 

“That was the best one yet,” she said and blew a stream of smoke into the air. 

“Better than James Blackthorne?” Seth asked with a wink and started to get dressed.

Leigh eyed him flirtatiously and pushed her hair over her shoulder.   “If you want me to continue seeing him, you don’t get to ask me questions like that.”

“Well I want to know if I should be worried about the competition,” Seth grinned, zipping his trousers and leaning over to kiss her.   “I need you to get information from him, not fall in love with him.”

“Are you jealous?” Leigh asked. 

“Should I be?”

She laughed and stubbed out her cigarette.  Twisting off the bed with the sheet around her, she made her way to the bar and poured herself a glass of water.  “Not while you’re married to Marilee,” she declared.  “Besides, I’m not so sure that this arrangement with James is in our best interests.”

“And why is that?”

“I’m just not sure that Blackthorne-Reynolds is going to help us,” she explained.  “It’s still a relatively new company.  They have limited drilling capabilities, and besides, James has two partners.  His ex wife and Renee DeWitt have to agree on any ventures the company gets involved with.  This is a high-risk deal.  Not to mention the legal ramifications.  Judging from the way they conduct their personal lives, I don’t think they’re all going to go along with it.”

“That's why they will never know what deal they're really getting involved in.  Until it's too late," Seth added and slipped his crisp white shirt on over his tanned broad shoulders.  “There’s a lot of money in this for the both of us.  A lot of money.”

Leigh wished she hadn’t even brought James into the picture.  She had grown to care for him again very much.  She hadn’t thought about him in years, until she ran into his daughter in Acapulco.  She and Seth needed a partner and James seemed like the answer to their prayers.  Now she wasn’t sure if it was worth it.  Was she really falling in love with him?

Yacht Club

Renee sat outside at the Yacht Club with Sierra.  She watched as her daughter lethargically nibbled on her salad with one elbow propping her head up on the table.  She waved the waiter away when he came to check on them, leaning across the table and trying to get the distraught young woman’s attention.

“Darling, aren’t you hungry?” she asked.

Sierra shook her head.  “Not really,” she admitted.

“Well that’s okay,” Renee replied.  “Would you rather do something else?  We could go to the movies or shopping.  Anything you want to do, baby, just name it.”

After hesitating briefly, Sierra finally looked into her eyes.  “Can we just go back to the hotel?”

Renee sighed and nodded with defeat.  She had had no luck in getting her daughter to snap out of her withdrawal since the incident with Nathan at the hotel.  The poor young woman was bottling all of her emotions up and hadn’t said a word about what happened in days.  The only saving grace was that she seemed to have forgiven her for not telling her the truth about her true parentage. 

Minutes later they were in the parking lot on the way to the car.  Renee unlocked the door and opened it slowly for Sierra.  A jagged piece of metal on the doorframe caught her skin resulting in a small surface wound on her forearm.  Before she could react, Sierra grabbed her mother’s arm and shrieked in horror.

“Mommy, your arm!” she cried hysterically as a trickle of blood appeared.  “You’re bleeding!”

“Sweetheart, it’s okay,” Renee said, alarmed by her daughter’s reaction.  She plucked a few tissues from her purse and wiped the wound clean.  “It’s just a little scrape.  See?  It’s fine.”

Sierra pulled Renee into an embrace and cried hysterically.   “Mommy, please don’t die.  Please don’t ever die.  I love you so much.  I don’t want anything to ever happen to you!”

Renee stroked the back of Sierra’s head, shocked by how troubled she had become over something so small.  She wondered if it might do her some good to see a therapist.  At least that way she’d be able to work through some of the feelings she was keeping inside.

Brooke Taylor

Brooke and Ethan exchanged glances as they stood in the waiting room.  James knew that Brooke probably felt under fire with all eyes on her, and as much as he hated the sight of her and Ethan together, and hated the lies she’d told him about Michael, his compassionate side made him want to be there for her.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

Alex flew into a rage.  “Why are you asking her if she’s okay?” she demanded.  “She isn’t the one who’s lying in a hospital bed after losing her baby.”

Brooke covered her mouth with her hands and shook her head in despair.  “I am so sorry,” she said, horrified by what transpired after her and Miranda’s struggle in her hotel room.  “If there was any way I could take back what happened, I would, I swear.”

“What did happen, Brooke?” Stormy asked, positioned next to Heather.

“Look, Brooke didn’t do anything,” Ethan said.  “What happened to Miranda was terrible, but-“

“Ethan, it’s okay,” Brooke interrupted.   She turned back to James, Alex, and the others and cleared her throat awkwardly.  “Miranda came to my room this morning and we argued.  She was very angry with me for several reasons.  She said some very hurtful things and I slapped her.  She came at me and we struggled.  I pushed her away and she lost her balance and fell on one of Michael’s toys.  Before I knew it, she tumbled onto the coffee table, and that’s when I called the ambulance.”

“So you pushed her?” Stormy asked.

Brooke turned to Brett with tears in her eyes.  “Brett, I’m so sorry.  I promise you I never meant any of this to happen.  But she fell and I-“  She stopped, realizing there was no way to explain her actions.  It was her fault that Miranda lost the baby. 

Alex walked up and drew her hand back, slapping Brooke hard across the face.  “That’s for my daughter,” she said.

Brooke brought her hand up to her face, ignoring the stinging sensation.  Ethan pushed Brooke behind him and stood before Alex.  “That was uncalled for,” he said.  “How dare you attack Brooke.  It’s obvious that Miranda was the one who instigated the argument.  If she hadn’t gone to Brooke’s hotel room, none of this would have happened.”

“Ethan, that’s not fair,” Stormy chimed in. 

Brett stood back, still too shocked to react to anything going on.  He was in disbelief, the joy of having a baby on the way suddenly ripped away from him.

“Brooke didn’t hurt Miranda or her baby intentionally,” James said.  “Now can we all please stop arguing?”

“James, your wife has never liked Miranda,” Alex chimed in.  “Since the day she moved into the mansion she’s done nothing but make her life hell.  Or are you forgetting the time she called me crying and saying how much she hated living there with her?”

“That was a long time ago,” James said in frustration.  He felt like one family crisis had been solved with Nathan’s arrest, only to have another start right up again. 

“Brooke took your son away from you, James,” Alex continued.  “And now she’s taken away your grandchild.  How much more are you going to let her take from this family?”

“Alex, stop it!”

Devastated by the backlash of scrutiny, Brooke turned and raced back out of the waiting room.  Ethan ran after her, praying that she wouldn’t hold herself responsible for the tragedy. 

Back in the waiting room, David watched the dysfunction unfold with mild curiosity.  He’d grown up thinking his family was offbeat.  Now after witnessing the spectacle today, he was convinced they were normal after all.  Remaining invisible to the chaos, he quietly ducked out of the room.

“I’m going in to see Miranda,” James said.  “Alex, are you coming?”

She nodded breathlessly and followed fast on his heels. 

After they’d left, Stormy approached Brett and folded his arms.  “You can go now,” he said.  “Your role in my sister’s life is finally over.”

“Excuse me?” Brett asked with a frown.

“Stormy, don’t,” Heather cautioned him.  She knew this wasn’t the time.  Brett was obviously in a fragile state.  He didn’t need Stormy egging him on after the news he’d just been delivered.

“What?” Stormy asked.  “Heather, this is what we’ve been wanting.  He doesn’t have anymore ties to us.  He’s done.”

“I said not now,” Heather insisted. 

“If not now, when?” Stormy continued.  He turned to Brett and moved closer yet as if testing him.  “You can finally go back to Vegas or Sacramento or wherever the hell you come from and we can forget we ever knew you.  Your association with my family is finished, and so are you.”

Heather squinted hard, expecting another knock-down drag out dog fight to erupt at any second.  Whenever the two got together it was always the same story.  But to her surprise, Brett turned and walked out of the waiting room without another word. 

Stormy, notably disappointed in the lack of Brett’s reaction, threw his hands into the air and turned to his ex-wife.  “I’m going in to see Miranda.  Do you want to come?”

She scowled angrily at him.  “I’ll go later,” she said and started to the door.

“Heather, wait-“ he said and pulled her back gently.  “What’s wrong?”

“You honestly don’t know, do you?”

“Know what?”

“I know you and Brett aren’t on each other’s Christmas card list, but was that really necessary?” she asked.  “It was not only hurtful to him, but it’s as if you’re glad that Miranda lost the baby for the sole reason of having Brett out of the picture.”

“Heather, that’s not what I meant,” Stormy said defensively.

She shook her head and shrugged him off of her.  “You know, you really haven’t changed at all.  You’re still the same old insensitive jerk that you’ve always been.”

Awed by her reaction, Stormy’s jaw hung open while he watched her race down the hall after Brett. 

Miranda Blackthorne

Inside Miranda’s private hospital room, James and Alex sat on either side of the bed holding her hands gently in theirs.  She sobbed silently as her mother dabbed the tears from her eyes with a tissue.

“It isn’t as if I even wanted a baby,” Miranda said.  “I was shocked as anyone was to find out I was pregnant.  I wasn’t even going to keep it.  Do you think this is my punishment for considering having an abortion?”

“Darling, no,” Alex insisted.  “Don’t even think that for a second.  You would have been a wonderful mother and this baby would have been lucky to have you.  It just wasn’t the right time, that’s all.  Nothing you did made that happen.”

“Your mother’s right,” James said tenderly and caressed the side of Miranda’s cheek.  “It was a terrible accident and you’re not to blame.  Nobody is to blame.”

Miranda shook her head and sniffled.  “Except for Brooke.”

James and Alex exchanged glances.  “What do you mean, Miranda?” he asked.  “Brooke said that it was an accident.  She said you tripped on a toy of Michael’s.”

“She pushed me, Daddy,” Miranda said.  “She couldn’t stand me having a baby.  She was jealous of Biff.  She pushed me and she knew exactly what she was doing.”

“Now Miranda, I know you’re upset and I know this is a horrible thing that’s happened, but you can’t use this as an opportunity to make things difficult for Brooke.” 

“James, you heard what she said.  Brooke pushed her.  Now are you going to do anything about this or not?” Alex asked. 

Sighing, James rubbed the sides of his head and realized he was put in the middle of a very difficult situation.  “Look, I know the two of you were arguing this morning.  I know she slapped you and you struggled with her.  I think she pushed you away in defense and you fell.”

“She’s still a monster, Daddy,” Miranda claimed.  “You’re so lucky she left the house.  I know you’re upset about Michael and all, but believe me, Daddy, you’re better off without her.  The sooner you divorce her and get her out of our lives the better off we’ll all be.”

Ethan Blackthorne

In the patio garden at the hospital, Ethan stood behind Brooke and struggled to find something to say to make the pain go away.  He knew she felt incredibly guilty about Miranda’s baby, but beating herself up wasn’t going to change things. 

“Alex overreacts to everything,” he said.  “Don’t worry about her.”

Brooke wiped her eyes and tucked her hands under her arms.  “It isn’t just Alex,” she said.  “It was everybody in the room.  Did you see the way Stormy looked at me?  And Brett?  I’m the reason that baby is dead.  How can I live with myself knowing that?”

Ethan pulled her toward him.  “Now listen to me, you didn’t do anything intentionally.  I won’t have you blaming yourself.  Stormy and James and everyone else will come to realize that it was an accident.”

Brooke shook her head and turned away from him again.  “Thank you, Ethan,” she said.  “I know you’re right, I just…  I’d like to be alone for a little while if that’s okay.” 

He nodded.  “I’ll wait for you inside.”

“No, I mean I want you to leave.  I need to see Miranda and I need to prepare myself before I do that.  Can you just go home and I’ll call you later?”

Sighing, he pulled her into an embrace and kissed the top of her head.  “All right, but please think about what I said.  Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty.  You are not to blame here.”

 She managed a faint smile and turned as he walked back inside.  Wrapping her arms around herself, she sat down on a concrete bench and gazed in at the colorful water fountain as it changed colors from blue to pink to green. 

Heather Blackthorne

Heather opened the door of the chapel at the hospital and scanned up and down the pews.  She took a few tentative steps forward and spotted Brett seated in the back row, his head hung low. 

For a second she considered leaving him to his thoughts, but then realizing he had nobody to turn to in his time of grief, she sat down beside him on the bench.

Brett looked up at her in surprise, his eyes red and watery and filled with despair.  “I didn’t see you come in,” he began.  “Look, if you’re here because of what Stormy said, don’t worry about it.  It was nice of you to try to defend me, but it’s not necessary.  I’ve been dealing with Stormy for a long time.”

“I’m not here because of Stormy,” she said.  “I’m here because I think you need someone right now.”

He chuckled to himself.  “And I have nobody, right?” he asked.  “I know I don’t.  And I don’t have anyone to blame but myself.  All my scheming and my cheating paid off and now I’ve got nothing and nobody.”

“Stop pretending like you’re okay with that,” Heather said and looked into his eyes.  “I know you’re not.  I know how happy you were about the prospect of having a baby.  Having that taken away has got to be very hard.”

Brett looked down at his hands resting in his lap.   “Do you know Miranda already had a name picked out?” he began.  “She wanted to call him Biff.  She was convinced it was going to be a boy.  Biff Blackthorne.  Sounds like a movie star in the making, doesn’t it?”

Heather couldn’t help but smile.  “That or a real estate agent.”

Laughing, Brett turned to her and stared off in a faraway daze.  “You know, I bought a book on baby names and gave to her but she didn’t want to consider any other names.  I have a feeling he would have been just as head strong as she is.”

“Probably,” Heather said with a laugh.  “And just as determined as his father.”

He regarded her carefully.  “What, you don’t think he would have been the spawn of satan?  Your ex-husband sure did.”

Heather placed a hand on his and looked into his eyes.  “I think he would have been the best of both worlds.  Part you and part Miranda.”

“Until I got a chance to screw him up, that is.”

She shook her head.  “I think you would have been a great father.  I told you that weeks ago and I meant it.”

Fidgeting in his seat, Brett felt his face becoming flushed and his eyes stinging with tears again.  “Yeah, well now none of that matters, does it?  I’ll probably never get another chance to have a baby of my own.  But hey, it’s probably for the best.  The world doesn’t need another Brett Armstrong running around, does it?”

Heather watched as he slowly broke down into tears and buried his face in his hands.  She pulled him into an embrace and stroked her hand down the back of his head, wishing that she could comfort him and make him feel as safe as he had made her that night after her carjacking. 

Seeing the tears streaming down his cheeks made her see him in yet another light.  The cold, selfish man she had known for the past three years kept surprising her with very real human emotions. 

Brett Armstrong

A short while later, Brett entered Miranda’s room and spotted her laying peacefully on the bed, her hair matted to her face and her eyes red and puffy from crying.  Slowly, he made his way across the room and managed a faint smile when she turned to him.

“Hi,” he said softly.

“Hi,” she replied, offering the same weak smile.  Instinctively her hand went to her stomach.

“How are you feeling?”  He ran his hand along the side of her face and gently took her hand in his. 

Miranda let out a deep breath and squeezed his hand.  All animosities and feelings of blame and resentment toward her ex-husband disappeared for the moment as she silently cried and turned her head away. 

“Hey, it’s okay.  Just let it out.  You don’t have to hide anything from me.  Not about this.”

“I’m sorry, Brett,” she said and wiped her eyes with her hand.  “I’m sorry that I went to the hospital to get an abortion without telling you.  I know that wasn’t fair.  I know how much you wanted a baby.  We talked it about it before we split up, and I pretended like I didn't care.”

He shook his head and knelt down beside the bed.  “It doesn’t matter now.  You didn’t go through with it.”

“I probably don’t deserve to have a baby.  I mean look at me, I’m a selfish spoiled brat just like everyone says.  I can’t be bothered to take care of a baby, soinstead I check into an abortion clinic.”

“Stop it,” Brett said.  “You were going to have the baby and that’s all that matters.   He was taken away because of a tragic accident.  It isn’t your fault.”

Miranda shook her head and sobbed uncontrollably, pulling him into an embrace and praying that the pain would stop.  Brett held her tightly, smoothing his hand down the back of her head as she trembling in his arms.

The door slowly opened and Heather peered inside, surprised to find Miranda and Brett in such a close and tender moment.  Despite her rationalization, she felt pangs of jealousy that made her hate herself more than anything.  Why her feelings for Brett were so complicated was a mystery to her.

She turned and walked down the hall, passing Brooke as she made her way to Miranda’s room.   Brooke paused in the doorway, watching Brett across the room pouring Miranda a cup of water.  She decided this was as good a time as any.

“Knock, knock,” she said and stepped cautiously inside.

Miranda’s head snapped toward her, her expression instantly turning to one of contempt.  “What the hell are you doing here?”

Brooke had expected the reaction but she pressed forward.  This was something she had to do.  “I wanted to see how you were doing.  Miranda, if there’s anything I can do for you, please just-“

“I think you’ve done enough,” she snapped, ignoring Brett’s attempts at calming her.

“Are you in any pain?” Brooke inquired, realizing her words sounded awkward and irrelevant, but nothing that she’d rehearsed in her head sounded right.

“What do you think?  I lost my baby.”

“I know and if there was anything I could do to take back what happened I would.  I don’t know what happened, it was all just a blurr.”

“I’ll tell you what happened,” Miranda snapped bitterly.  “You pushed me.   You killed my baby.”

“Miranda, stop,” Brett said and placed a hand on her arm.  He knew she was upset, and it was easy to cast blame, but deep down her knew that Brooke wasn’t the monster that she made her out to be.  Whatever happened in her hotel room that morning was an accident, plain and simple. 

“What?” Miranda roared at him.  “Brett, she killed our baby, isn’t that enough?  It’s time she finally got what she deserved.”  She turned back to a visibly shaken Brooke.  “Pack your cheap Ann Taylor and Nine West and go back to the Valley.  Leave my father and my cousin Ethan alone.  You’ve done enough damage to this family.”

Brooke stifled the tears that welled up in her eyes.  She turned, raced out of the room and down the hall in a fit of hysterics, stopping only when she ran directly into David Jennings. 

“You startled me,” she said, placing a hand on her heaving chest.  As much as she tried, she couldn’t hide the effect Miranda’s words had on her. 

“You look upset,” David said.  “Are you okay?”

She shook her head.  “No, no, I’m not okay.”  Tears finally flooded her cheeks and she collapsed into his arms.  The odd circumstances of his visit to her hotel room that morning suddenly faded to the background.  Despite how strange it was that he remembered her after all these years, he was a welcome body to lean on.

David quickly led her across the floor to the sunroom.  Positioning her at a small cafe table, hetrotted across the room and poured her a glass of water.

“Here, drink this,” he said and sat down beside her, pulling their chairs together with ease.   “Feeling better?”

She nodded, running her hand over her face and taking a deep breath.  “I’m sorry, I guess I couldn’t hold it together any longer.”

“It’s okay,” David replied.  “You need to let it out.  You’ve been through a lot today.”

Brooke stared into her cup of water and squeezed her eyes shut.  “She hates me so much.  I mean, we’ve never gotten along.  Since the day that James and I announced our engagement she’s made it clear that I wasn’t welcome.  But this…this is different.  She actually thinks that I deliberately hurt her baby.”

“She’s hurt and she’s in shock.  It’ll pass.”

“No offense, Mr. Jennings, but you haven’t known Miranda that long.  She can hold a grudge like nobody else.”

David laughed.

“I’m glad you think it’s so funny,” Brooke said angrily and stood up.

Following her across the sunroom, David placed a hand on her shoulder and the other on her waist.  Brooke quickly spun around and slapped his hand away. 

“What is it with you?” she demanded.

“I’m sorry,” David replied.  “I just…I’ve thought about you often over the years, and-“

“Why?  Why would you think twice about a woman who waited on you at a department store makeup counter?  You’re a good looking guy.  Almost too good looking if you ask me.  You could have anyone you wanted.  What was it about me?”

“You’re beautiful.  Surely I’m not the first man who’s told you that.”

“What about Miranda?” Brooke asked.  “I thought you and her had something.  Isn’t that why you’re here?  Shouldn’t you be in with her right now instead of our here with me?”

“What Miranda and I have is very unstructured.  I care about her, but I-“  He stopped, suddenly and without warning changing subjects altogether.    “Are you saying you don’t remember me at all?”

She shook her head.  “No, I don’t.  I’m sorry.”

David sighed, watching as she ran back inside the hospital.  He turned, digging his hands into his pockets and thinking about the circumstances that brought him to that store three years ago.  If only Brooke knew that there was much more to their meeting than she realized.  

Renee DeWitt

The next morning, Renee managed to convince a reluctant Sierra to speak to Dr. Anderson about the events of the past few days.  Nathan’s attempted attack on her on the yacht, the subsequent stabbing in her hotel room, and learning of her true paternity were enough to level anyone.  Since the day of the stabbing, Sierra hadn’t wanted to leave her side for a second.  The incident in the parking lot at the Yacht Club was the final straw. 

After depositing Sierra safely in Dr. Anderson’s care, Renee proceeded to the hospital administrative offices to begrudgingly attend the board of directors meeting.  On her way, she ran into Stormy coming out of the cafeteria.

“Stormy, I heard about Miranda.  How is she?” Renee asked, her hand on her chest.

He shrugged, balancing two cups of coffee and a bagel.  “She’s dealing.  Losing the baby was a blow, but I think she’s going to pull through.  How is Sierra?”

Renee sighed and folded her hands neatly in front of her.  “She’s seeing Dr. Anderson.  I hope he can help her.”

“I’m sure he will.  He’s done wonders for Heather.”  He led her to the elevators and pushed the button with a free finger.  “Do you want to come upstairs and look in on Miranda?”

“I think I will.” Renee said, checking her watch to make sure she had enough time before the meeting. 

They took the elevator up two floors and proceeded down the hallway.  Renee stopped in her tracks when the waiting room came into view and she got a glimpse of Alex and Jordan amidst a tender embrace. 

Seeing them together made her realize as much as she denied it, they would never be completely out of one another’s lives.  Alex would make certain of that.  Miranda’s miscarriage was just another in a long line of pretenses that Alex would use to lure Jordan into her arms.  It was almost too much for her to handle.  With Sierra’s recent troubles, she didn’t have time for the constant battle. 

Deciding to leave well enough alone, Renee turned and went back to the elevator.  She started to the conference room, intent on putting everything trivial to bed.  She had to be there for Sierra now and that was the most important thing. 

She walked by a payphone where a man in a tan bomber jacket and a plaid driving cap huddled, the receiver nestled between his shoulder and his ear.  She spotted Adrienne Fallmont pacing the area just outside the conference room, sipping coffee from a Styrofoam cup.

“Adrienne, has the meeting started yet?” Renee asked.

The sound of her voice startled Adrienne and the cup went plummeting to the floor, hot coffee spilling in every direction.  

“Damn,” Adrienne said with frustration and bent down to pick up the cup. 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to surprise you,” Renee said and put a hand gently on her arm.  She sensed Adrienne’s distracted state of mind and led her away from the mess on the floor.  “Are you okay?  You look positively jumpy.”

Adrienne nodded absently.  “I’m fine, Renee.  Just too much coffee I guess.”

Smiling, Renee tucked her purse under one arm.  “Coffee will do that to a person,” she said.

After a minute of awkward silence, Adrienne shot a look of panic in Renee’s direction and looked at her with wide eyes.  “Renee, can we have lunch after the meeting?  There’s something I need to ask you about.  It’s rather personal.”

“What is it?  Is everything okay?  Is it Jack?”

Adrienne glanced around uneasily and clutched her bag tightly.  “I’d rather not talk about it here if you don’t mind.  What do you say?  Two-thirty?  The Yacht Club?”

Renee glanced at her watch and considered the time.  She should be able to pick Sierra up at Dr. Anderson’s office, get back to the hotel, and make it to the Yacht Club by then.  It might do her some good to listen to someone else’s problems for a change.  Anything was better than wallowing in her own self misery.

“Sure,” she said with a smile. 

Adrienne gave her a look of relief before they turned and went inside the conference room.  After they were safely out of view, the man at the payphone hung up and turned around.  Removing the plaid driving cap, Eddie Distefano pulled out a small pad of paper and jotted down a few notes.   He fished his cell phone from his pocket and called Jack Fallmont.

“It’s Eddie.  Not much going on so far today.  She’s going to lunch with Renee DeWitt after the hospital board meeting. Says she wants to talk about something personal.   Do you want me to follow?”

“Yes, of course I do,” Jack replied from his office at Fallmont Industries.  “She could very well give up the name of her suitor and I want you to be there to get it.”

Eddie clicked off his phone and pulled the cap back over his head. 

Jordan Rydell

 “How are you?” Jordan asked Alex as they sat in the waiting room downstairs.  “Did you get any sleep last night?”

She sighed dramatically and placed a hand on her forehead.  “Not really. I just kept thinking about Miranda and the baby.  I mean, goodness knows I wasn’t thrilled about being a grandmother, but I never wanted my daughter to lose her baby.  It’s so horrible.”

“She’s strong.  She’ll get through this just like she has everything else,” Jordan said and placed a hand on her knee.  He loved the way her skin felt.  So soft and smooth.  How could such a pain in the ass be so perfect to the touch?

Alex’s eyes fluttered at the touch of his hand on her leg.  She smiled and tried to get her mind off of Miranda and the baby but it was futile.  Tears welled up in her eyes and she leaned into him.

“Why does life throw us these things?” she asked.  “Why are we constantly tested?”

“Because it helps us grow,” Jordan replied, tracing his finger along her arm.  “We screw up, we go to bed at night, we get up in the morning and we try again.”

“I think I’m out of chances,” Alex said, surprised by her own philosophical nature.  “I’ve screwed up a lot, Jordan.”

He turned her head toward him and smiled.  “I think you’re pretty terrific,” he said.  “The way you took the blame to protect Sierra after she stabbed Nathan.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so surprised by you.”

She chuckled and allowed him to hold her tightly.   “Sometimes I have my moments.”

Yacht Club

Sitting at a table on the veranda at the Yacht Club, Seth ordered a drink and gestured to his breakfast partner.

“Just coffee,” said Logan Mackenzie and gestured to the waiter. 

After they were alone, Seth slid a manilla envelope across the table to him and looked around discreetly.   “Here’s the report I want you to file with the land commission.  I’ve got a copy for Kenny DeWitt.”

Logan peered inside the envelope and frowned.  “How did you get this?” he asked.  He was a thirty-eight year old geologist whom Seth had worked with in the past, and recently hired to survey a plot of land that he was interested in purchasing. 

“On the internet,” Seth replied with a grin, just as Kenny DeWitt approached and sat down between them.

“Sorry I’m late,” he said.  “This morning has turned out to be problematic to say the least.”

“Sorry to hear that, Kenny,” Seth said and introduced Logan.  “Have you met?”

“Once or twice,” Kenny replied and shook Logan’s hand.  “So, I’m assuming this has to do with the land that you’re requesting the variance on.”

“It does,” Seth replied.  “Can I get you a drink?”  His tone was slick and overly familiar.

 Kenny shook his head.  “No, I’m good,” he replied.  “Do you have a land survey?”

Logan handed him the envelope that Seth had provided him.  “I think you’ll find everything in order,” he said.

“Kenny, the point of this meeting is to come to some kind of agreement with the Land Commission. Our variance was denied so quickly the first time.  The land in Costa Mesa is a goldmine in oil.  I look at it as a win win for the state and the country.  We all know what the oil prices are that we’re importing from the mideast.”

“You’re quite the entrepreneurial congressman,” Kenny said with a wink.  “Tell me, Seth, why does the husband of a wealthy dynamo like Marilee Wells need with an oil field?  Not feeling supported in the manner you’re accustomed to?”

“Is there anything wrong with a man wanting to branch out when a good deal presents itself?” he asked.  “I’m working on raising the capitol to buy the land, but I need to find out if I can drill.”

Kenny sighed and shook his head while glancing over the report contained in the manilla envelope.  “It looks like everything’s in order,” he said.  “The commission originally denied your variance because the land was an army gunnery range in the sixties.  But strangely this time it doesn’t look like the toxicology reports detect anything hazardous.”

“So convince the commission to grant the variance,” Seth asked.  “Look Kenny, as you can see everything is on the up and up.  The land is free and clear.”

Kenny stood up and clutched the envelope in his hand.  “I’ll see what I can do,” he said, offering a wary look.  "Logan, we'll be in touch to discuss the survey.  I'm sure the comission will have some questions about your findings."

“Now what?” Logan asked after Kenny left the table.

“Leave it to me,” Seth said and took a drink from his glass.  “We’ll get the variance.  And you’ll get your cut for all your hard work.”

"I better,' Logan replied.  "I'm risking my career on this deal.  I expect to be paid well for it."

"You will," Seth said, staring out at the ocean in a daze.  

Hotel Terranova

Renee dropped Sierra off  at Hotel Terranova and proceeded to leave to run a few errands before her lunch date with Adrienne.  When she left the suite, Jordan was standing in the hall about to knock.     

“Jordan,” she said, caught off guard by his unannounced visit.  “I was just on my way out.”

“I thought we could talk,” Jordan said and placed a hand on hers.  “We haven’t really talked since I returned from the dead.”

She offered a wry smile and hastily scavenged through her purse to avoid eye contact.  “Well with everything that’s happened,” she began.  “Nathan’s being extradited to Paris, Sierra acting so peculiar lately, and-“

“Is everything okay?” he asked.  “Nothing else has happened, has it?"”

Renee finally looked at him. “I just need to concentrate on my daughter right now,” she said.  “I’ve made so many mistakes.  The things she’s gone through are my fault and I need to put every ounce of myself into making sure she makes it through this ordeal.”

“What about us?” Jordan asked, obviously disappointed.

Smiling, Renee shook her head and dropped her hands to her sides.  “Was there really an us Jordan?” she asked.  “I mean, we had some fun and you were there when I needed you, but how far can that take us?  You belong with Alex.  You always have and you know it as well as I do.”

Jordan was floored by her sudden change in attitude.  “Renee, we had something.  It was much more than that, I-“

“It was a distraction,” she said with a certain amount of defeat.  “How long could this have really gone on, Jordan?  You and Alex divorced but you haven’t stopped loving each other or caring about each other.  You need to be with her now.  Not me.”

Before Jordan could reply, she brushed past him and made her way down the hall to the elevator.  She felt her eyes sting with tears but she held them back.  She had to be strong now.  Her failed relationship with Jordan wasn’t nearly as important as her daughter.  She had to think about what was important now. 

When she reached the lobby she ran into the last person she wanted to see.

“How is Sierra?” Alex asked, planting her hands on her hips. 

“She’s managing,” was Renee’s brief reply.  “I just left Jordan upstairs.  You’ll be happy to know that he and I are over.  You have a clear path to seeing him again.  Who knows?  Maybe you’ll make him husband number three.”

Alex’s eyes narrowed on her and she scoffed haughtily.  “What’s your game, lady?”

“No game,” she replied.  “I just have other things in my life right now that are more important than competing with you over a man."

Alex laughed.  “As if that would be a fair competition.  Renee, you’ve always been out of your league with Jordan and you know it.  He and I have years and years of history.  All you have is an ex-husband who cheated on you, and a daughter with Nathan Blackthorne.”

Suddenly her generous act of giving Jordan up seemed too kind a gesture.  Alex’s diva like attitude made her surge with anger and she quickly forgot about their momentary truce.

“How dare you,” she said.

“I hope you’ll follow suit and realize you’re also over your head with Blackthorne-Reynolds,” she said.  “Do yourself a favor and sell your shares to James and I.  We may have needed you at one point, but rest assured, we’re doing quite well now.”

Aggravated by the woman’s hateful words, Renee took a step forward and flashed major danger signals.  “I have no intention of selling my shares,” she spat.  “You may have won where Jordan is concerned, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to hand over my share of the company.  I’ll never let you take that from me.”

Alex glared heatedly, watching as Renee stormed across the room to the exit.  She didn’t notice Leigh Purcell listening from behind a pillar several feet away.

Leigh quickly plucked her cell phone from her purse and dialed Seth’s private line at his office at the marina.

“What is it?” Seth asked.

“I think we’re going about this all wrong,” Leigh said with conviction.  “Forget James.  It’s Alex Reynolds that we should be concentrating on.  She's our scapegoat.”

Blackthorne Mansion

Alex went back to the hospital to be with MIranda, incensed to learn that she had been released without her knowledge. She quickly made a b-line back to the Blackthorne mansion, pounding on the door until Leilani opened it swiftly.  

"Leilani, I need to speak to James," she said and marched into the foyer, glancing around for any sign of her ex-husband.

"He's upstairs with Miss Miranda," Leilani trilled in her Polynesian accent.

Alex marched up the stairs, stopping on the landing when James came down from the second flooor.  "How could you not tell me you were taking Miranda home?" she demanded angrily.

James regarded her carefully.  "I'm sorry, Alex.  The doctor gave her the all clear after you'd left.  She thought the best thing for Miranda right now would be for her to recover at home.  I would have told you, but I-"

"I'm her mother," Alex spat.  "I have every right to be involved with her recovery."

"What are you getting so upset about?" he asked.  "Look, I just figured you had a lot going on.  You've been through a lot latley."

Alex relaxed a little and followed him back down the stairs to the foyer.  "I'm sorry, James.  I'm just a little on edge I guess."

He smiled.  "That's okay.  Look, why don't you stay home for a day or so.  Renee and I can handle the meeting with the pipeline crew tomorrow."

"What meeting?" Alex asked.

"Didn't Renee tell you?  There's an update on the progress of the pipeline in Colorado.  They're ahead of schedule."

"No, Renee did not tell me," Alex replied furiously.  This wasn't the first time Renee had tried to exclude her from Blackthorne-Reynolds business, and she knew exactly why she was doing it.  She wanted to make a point that she was an equal partner and was there to stay.  

"Well, I'm sure it was an oversight," James said.

"I seriously doubt that," Alex said angrily before turning and storming back out of the house.

Alex Reynolds

Twenty minutes later, Seth was waiting for Alex in her office at Blackthorne-Reynolds.  She raised an eyebrow and tossed her purse on the desk, lighting a cigarette and pouring herself a drink in aggravation.

“This is an unexpected visit, Congressman.”

“But one that I’m sure will be beneficial to both of us,” he said with a sly grin.  “I understand you and your partner aren’t exactly seeing things on the same level these days.”

“Where did you hear that?” Alex asked.  "Do you have spies working for you now, Seth?"

“Miss Reynolds, what if I told you you could be independent from your partners and become the most successful independent business woman in the state?” Seth asked.

Alex sat down at her desk and flicked her cigarette into a crystal ash tray.  “I’d say you’ve got me intrigued.  But what does a Congressman from California care about business?  Aren’t you interested in passing oppressive laws for the rest of us to follow, bailing out the president when he claims the war is a benefit to the country?”

“I've got a right to live the American dream just like everybody else,” he said with a clever grin.   “But a partner would speed up the process.  I’ve got my eye on a piece of land in Costa Mesa.  Oil rich.”

“Congressman, I’m in the natural gas business,” Alex reminded him.

“But oil is so much more in demand,” Seth replied.  “And we’re talking millions of barrels.  An investment in this deal will render you totally independent from Renee DeWitt and Blackthorne-Reynolds.

Alex couldn’t help but be interested.  Renee had been a thorn in her side for months.  The possibility of breaking out on her own was more than she had hoped for. 

“Mr. Walker, I’m sure I don’t have the kind of capitol that you’re looking for,” she said.

“But Blackthorne-Reynolds does,” he said.

“What?” she asked.  “I can’t just take money from Blackthorne-Reynolds accounts to finance another project. There are penalties for that kind of thing, Congressman.”

Seth smiled.  “There are ways around that,” he said.  “My accountant can create an offshoot of Blackthorne-Reynolds.  He’ll hide it in your books so well that even you couldn’t find where the money went.  By the time we strike oil, you’ll have more than enough to pay the money back.”

Red flags flashed in front of Alex’s eyes.  She knew this sounded too risky.  Embezzlement was a felony and she had had her fill of prison time.

“I don’t know,” she said.

Seth shrugged and leaned back in the chair  “You could always continue working with Renee DeWitt.  Eventually she’ll try to oust you from the company, take your shares, and you’ll be left with nothing.  Not even the land your uncle left you in his will.”

Alex stubbed out her cigarette and took a drink.  “When can you start drilling?”

“Soon,” he said.  “Trust me, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Alex folded her hands together, determined to get Renee Dewitt completely out of her life.  She’d bowed out of their competition over Jordan, but now she was more rooted than ever in Blackthorne-Reynolds.  Perhaps Congressman Walker’s proposition was the best way for her to break free. 


Next time....

Heather finds herself growing closer to Brett, which infuriates Stormy.  Alex plays with Blackthorne-Reynolds funds. Jordan refuses to give up on Renee.    Ethan wants a comittment.  Brooke gets served.  A killer strikes.  

Read Episode 68

 

 


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