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***** THE NEXT DAY *****
Karen was surprised when she opened the office door.
Liz sat there and was so deeply engrossed in work, she didn‘t even notice her assistant.
“You are already here?” Karen asked astonished. “It's not even 9:00 yet and you are already all wrapped up in work?”
Without looking at her friend, the blonde replied, “There is a lot to do.”
“But, it's not that bad that you have to work overtime,” Karen pointed out.
“I'm not. I'm just doing what needs to get done.”
Her assistant looked at her with raised eyebrows. Then she grabbed a nearby chair and sat down in front of Liz' desk. “Okay, out with it,” she demanded. “What's wrong?”
“Nothing. What could be wrong?”
“Stop it and tell me. This has been going on for a whole week now. In the mornings you are the first one to get here. Also, you are the last person, who leaves in the evening. You are slowly becoming a workaholic.”
“That's nonsense,” Liz responded.
Karen crossed her arms in front of her chest. “Oh, is it? Have you looked into the mirror lately?”
Liz sighed. She was getting a bit annoyed. “What for? I know what I look like.”
“Yeah, like a total mess if you ask me.”
“Therefore I am not asking you!” came the snappy remark.
“Liz, you have dark circles under your eyes that nearly reach your chin. I'm worried about you.”
“I'm fine. Honestly.”
Looking at her with imploring brown eyes, Karen pleaded, “I can tell that there is something bothering you. I'm your friend and I know you. You can't keep anything from me. So, what is it? Are you having trouble with Alexander again?”
Liz leaned back in her leather chair and another heavy sigh escaped her throat. “Karen, I really don't want to talk about it, okay?”
Karen nodded, accepting this answer for now. “Alright. But, if you want to talk about it, then please, come and find me, okay?”
For a minute they were silent until Karen switched over to a completely different topic. “You can congratulate me,” she announced, grinning brightly.
Liz looked at her questioningly. “Really?”
“Yes. I'm the proud owner of a house now.”
“You bought it?” A smile now appeared also on Liz' features.
“Yes. A little bit of painting here and there, some minor repairs and I can move in.”
“That's great. Have you already ordered a company to do the job?”
Karen shook her head. “Nope. Only a couple of friends. You can help too, if you'd like.”
“That's for sure.”
“But not Chris.” Karen told her very seriously.
Liz barely suppressed the urge to roll her eyes. She really wished that Karen would finally get over it. “Karen...”
“No.” The assistant stood her ground. “You can bring Sam, but not him. I am not ready to see him yet.”
Liz nodded. “Alright. So, when is this construction project of yours going to start?”
“I thought every Saturday for a few hours until it is done,” Karen suggested.
“You can also bring Taylor.”
“I don't think that's possible for some time. She is in Beijing,” Liz explained quickly and Karen couldn't help but notice the traces of sadness in the blonde's voice.
“When did she leave?”
Liz looked at her watch. “They flew out of L.A. two hours ago.”
“Some special training at a figure skating school there. She was very excited and her coach thinks it will help her.”
Karen looked at her friend intently. “You are already missing her. Am I right?”
“Yes,” Liz confirmed. “She'll always be my little sister, no matter how old she gets.”
Karen sighed and placed her folded hands against her cheek. “That is so cute. I wish I had a sister like you.”
Liz nearly said something about that, but bit her tongue in the last moment.
Samantha was feeling very lonely. She was sitting on the carpet in the living room, holding a framed picture of Liz in her hands. Staring at it, she traced the face with a long, slender index finger.
Christopher came down the stairs in a hurry. Seeing the brunette in the living room, he called out, ”Come on, Sam. Put on your shoes. We are going for a ride.”
Samantha had still not overcome her shyness to speak with anybody else, but Liz or Michiru. So, she just looked at him questioningly.
“I have an important meeting concerning my new job and I don't want to leave you here all alone in this big house. I think you would be much more comfortable in Liz' presence than to sit here by yourself.”
Sam's face brightened a lot as she heard that.
Sara was lying on the couch in her hotel room. Her head was resting on Jack's lap, who was lovingly caressing her forehead. She was gently stroking her purring tomcat that was curled up on her belly. “Mhhh,” she moaned contently. “This is pure heaven on earth. I could lay like this all day long.”
Jack laughed. “I can't imagine that.”
The bliss was broken by the shrill ringing of the telephone.
Jack contorted his body in strange ways to reach the receiver, because he didn't want to get up.
“No, please. Ignore it.” Sara begged, but it was already too late.
“Hello? Oh... hang on a second please... it's for you.” He gave the phone to Sara.
“Hello? Oh, Monsieur Devereux... yes... I understand...yes... I'll be on my way... yes... okay, see you soon.” She hung up. “I'm sorry, Jack. That was my boss. He wants to see me.”
He smiled. “That's quite alright. I have a meeting in an hour too. We will see each other this afternoon then.”
She smirked and waggled her eyebrows. “Ooooh... I am so looking forward to that,” she whispered against his lips before kissing him.
“Me too... very much...” he breathed back and pulled her into another kiss.
Tugger protested loudly because he nearly got squeezed in between them.
“Oh, I'm so sorry, my poor darling,” Sara said.
“What for?” Jack inquired. “I'm quite alright.”
The young photographer rolled her eyes. “I was talking with my cat.”
“You know, I'm slowly getting the impression that you love him more than you love me,” Jack pouted and gave her his best sad puppy dog look.
“I will ignore that comment,” Sara announced, climbed off the couch and went to gather the things she would need for her meeting with Monsieur Devereux.
Christopher and Samantha entered the big area that held the movie company of the Stuarts.
The brunette looked around wide-eyed.
“That's modern architecture,” the blonde artist explained helpfully, while they went to the main building where most of the offices were.
The guard let them pass without problem. Chris hoped the man wouldn't hurt his eyes with the way he was staring so hard at the beautiful woman that accompanied him.
They walked past Karen's office. The door was open and Christopher glanced inside, but he couldn't see Karen. “Damn,” he mumbled under his breath. Continuing on their way, they reached the end of the corridor and stood in front of Liz' office.
He knocked quickly and then entered. “Hello, dear sister of mine.”
Liz looked up from her work and snorted at his greeting. He did have a thing for the dramatic. “Chris, what a nice surprise. What are you doing here?” she wanted to know.
“Delivering somebody, who is longing for you,” he replied, grinning and motioned for Sam to enter.
Samantha stepped into the room and beamed happily at Liz.
“Well, I gotta go,” Chris announced. Nodding in direction of Sam, he told his sister, “But I'm glad you finally have a reason to let work be work before you mutate into some kind of workaholic.”
Liz rolled her eyes. First Karen and now him. Just what was going on? “This is just normal paper work that needs to be done,” she explained.
He leaned over her desk and stared into her eyes. “Still, even a genius like you needs to take a break once in a while.” Chris pecked his sister's cheek and then turned to leave. “Until later this evening, ladies.”
Once her brother had closed the door behind him, Liz rose, poured herself a glass of water and took a pill. “Ahh,” she sighed in satisfaction. “Now I'm feeling better.”
Greatly concerned, Sam looked at her friend and asked, ”You are taking pills to sleep even at the office?”
Liz shook her head and quickly explained, ”No, no, Sam. These are not the same pills I take in the evening at home. These will help me to concentrate better.”
Sam was still looking at her with a concerned and fearful expression.
“Don't worry,” Liz told her. “They are totally harmless and can be found in every drugstore of the country. I'm feeling wonderful. Actually, I think I should take a break, just like Chris suggested. What do you think about me giving you a tour through our company? Would you like that?” She took Sam's hand, but the brunette just stood there, rooted to the spot. “What's wrong?” Liz inquired, wrinkling her forehead.
“I've sworn to myself to protect you. Also, I swore to always be open with you and speak my mind, telling you always the truth.”
“Sam?” Liz wasn't sure she liked where this conversation was heading.
“This stuff you are taking is scaring me. Either you are working or you are sleeping and in between you are taking these pills. I'm feeling lonely without you.” Sam cast her eyes to the floor.
Liz tenderly rubbed a tanned arm. “I am sorry you are feeling neglected. I really don't want that, but here in L.A. life it not as easy as it was in the jungle. I have a job and I need to do this work to make money. We need money to live because here we can't climb up a tree to pick fruits or go hunting in woods. Do you understand that?”
“Yes,” came the reply in a small voice.
“I tell you what though... I will try to not work too much and spend more time with you. Alright? Is everything okay again?”
Even though Sam nodded, she wasn't exactly happy about the situation. She was still very concerned about Liz and the pills, she took.
Taylor was lying on the bed and listening to music as Michiru knocked on the door and then entered the room. Smiling, she asked the teenager, ”So? Already settled in?”
Taylor sighed. “It's now 2:00 pm here that means back in L.A. it is 11:00 pm yesterday.”
Michiru sat down next to her. “Feeling homesick?” she inquired softly.
“A bit. I've never been that far from home all alone.”
“What do you mean alone? Am I not counting?” The coach elbowed her gently in the side.
“That's not how I meant it,” Taylor responded quickly, thinking she might have hurt the woman's feelings.
“I know that, little ice princess. We are not going to stay here forever. The first 2 to 3 days will be full of training at the sports center and then I'm going to show you Beijing... the ‘Mandschu Town' that holds the former ‘Emperor's Town' and in there is the famous ‘Forbidden Town'.”
“With the valuable palace of the Emperor?”
Michiru nodded. “Yes. With lots of artificially built hills and lakes, countless palaces, temples and also the winter palace of the Emperor...”
Taylor lifted her hands in a defending gesture. “Okay, okay, my head is beginning to spin from so much culture.”
Michiru's expression turned to one of astonishment. “Ohh,” she said and placed a hand on her belly.
Immediately, Taylor jumped off the bed in concern. “What's wrong with you?”
“I think my baby moved for the first time,” the coach explained in a soft voice.
“God, you scared me,” the girl said and held a hand over her widely pounding heart. “For a moment I thought something was horribly wrong with you.”
Michiru smiled, grabbed Taylor's free hand and placed it on her tummy.
The teenager's eyes widened. “Oh, I felt it. What do you think? Will it be a boy or a girl? Are you curious as to what your child will be?”
The woman stroked her belly and announced, ”I feel, it's going to be a healthy, precious girl.”
Taylor looked at her in disbelief. “You know that?”
“Yes, of course. After all, I'm the mother.”
Nodding, Taylor said in a dramatic voice, ”Well, I guess this is the mysterious, sacred bond between a mother and her child that's telling you that.”
Michiru laughed, rose and went to the door. “Relax and rest some more from the exhausting flight. Tomorrow we are going to discover the Sports Center.”
Sara was exhausted when she returned from the meeting with her boss. She closed the door to her hotel room and leaned against it, letting loose a huge sigh. “Beijing. That's so far away, but Monsieur Devereux is right. This would be my chance to conquer the Asian market and would ensure that I get a few more customers. But, flying out already tomorrow? Jack has to come with me. I don't want to leave him behind.”
Sara started to dream and began to paint her future in the brightest of colors behind her closed eyelids. “The most important thing is to be far away from L.A. and the past...”
The door opened and Jack entered.
Sara quickly wrapped her arms around the totally surprised man and covered his face with kisses. “Ohhh, I missed you so. Please, hold me. Hold me tight.”
Jack couldn't suppress the smart remark and let it flow from his lips. “Hey, maybe I should go away more often if the greeting turns out like this one every time.”
“Don't make fun of me.”
“Don't pout.” Jack beamed at her. “I have wonderful news for us. I set the deal with the guy and bought two tickets. Tomorrow, we can fly back to L.A.! We will live happily together in my house at the beach.”
Inside Sara's head everything started spinning until Jack brought her out of her thoughts.
Stroking her cheek, he asked, “Are you alright? Your face is suddenly so hot...”
She took his hands and swallowed hard. “No, no. Everything is fine.” Staggering a bit, she walked to the closest armchair and sat down.
Wrapped up in his happy feelings, Jack didn't notice her condition. “Okay, I have to go again. It will only be for a little bit.”
“No, please. I don't want you to go. I have to talk with you about something,” Sara told him.
Jack leaned down towards her. “Later. I have a surprise for you. Today will be a very special evening that you will never forget. I promise.” He kissed her tenderly on the forehead and then turned to leave. At the door he looked at her one more time. “I love you.”
Catherine was sitting in her office, her eyes fixed on a framed picture of her family. “What are you planning, Norman?” she muttered to herself. “What do you want to do to me? I will not sit by and allow anything to happen. No! I had to fight too hard for the life I have now and I will not allow some bum to destroy it.” Unconsciously, she formed her hand into a fist and in the next moment she hit her desk with it. “No! I am Catherine Parker and I will not let this piece of scum intimidate me!”
In her ranting and raving, she had not noticed that Alexander was leaning against the door frame, listening intently to his mother's words. “You know, you should tell me about your little secret.”
Shocked, Catherine whirled around and looked at him.
He closed the door, walked towards her and supported his hands on her desk. “I will help you, Mom, no matter what this Norman guy wants to do to you,” he declared with a dark glare.
Catherine rubbed her forehead and sighed. She had to make a decision. The best thing was to involve her son, because she knew he would never betray her. “He is a threat to our whole family,” she said.
Alexander looked into the light blue eyes of his mother and yelled, “BUT WHY?!”
Raising her hands in a calming gesture, Catherine ordered, “Be quiet, Alex. Your father or anybody else must never know anything about it.” She rose and placed her hands on his shoulders. “I'm so proud of you, Alexander. You know that. I will count on you to keep silent and to accept my final decision concerning the matter with Norman.”
Alex looked at her questioningly.
“I'm not going into detail. The less you know, the better for you.”
He nodded. “You're my one and only idol.”
“Norman will be mute before he can destroy our lives.” She said, matter-of-factly.
Alex kissed her cheek and remarked, “I will take care of it. Don't worry, Mom.”
Catherine smiled. “We will talk later about the details.”
Needing some time to think, Sara had fled the hotel and walked through a nearby park. She was close to tears. “I can't go back. I can't go back to Los Angeles. I swore that to myself. I have to prevent it and somehow change Jack's mind,” she muttered to herself. “But how? He is so excited about going back.”
Sara came upon a bench, sat down and ran both hands through her dark hair. “No, he wouldn't understand me, would he? He... he told me he loves me... if that is true then Jack would come with me. Why is my mind making me doubt his feelings? I'm about to despair because of my fears.” She sat there a while longer, pondering and brooding until she finally rose and went back to the hotel.
Down in the canteen of ‘Stuart Films', Liz and Sam met Karen, who was trying desperately to open a small bag of chips. She saw them and waved them over to sit with her at the table.
“Do you think it might be a sign that I shouldn't eat this devilish stuff?” Karen asked grinning, while still fiercely attempting to open the bag. After another minute of this, she put the bag down on the table. “I'm giving up. I think I'll have an apple instead.”
“Maybe it means that you need somebody in your life, who will open these bags for you,” Liz said, after she sat down opposite her.
Karen poked out her lower lip and the subject was changed. “So? What are you two doing?” she wanted to know. “You both are practically glowing with happiness. Especially you, Liz. I'm glad that you are taking a break, big boss. Always when you are with Sam there is this big grin etched into your face and the dark circles under your eyes are not so prominent.”
Liz blushed a bright red. “Karen, please!”
Her assistant winked at her. “Sorry. I didn't mean to embarrass you. Let's talk about something else. Are you up for being a part of my painting team tomorrow?”
Liz laughed and saluted playfully. “Ready when you are, General Miller. I'm looking forward to it. A nice distraction from our monotone office work.”
Karen smiled. “That's right. And you'll get to know Richard.”
Liz' face grew expressionless. “Richard?” she inquired, her voice a mixture of surprise and disbelief.
Karen rose and took her plate to go. “Yes, a great man. He is working at the stables and became my friend. Okay then, I have to go back to work. I'll see you two later.”
“Wonder what he'll be like,” Liz mumbled to herself while watching Karen leave. “The best thing will be to not tell Chris anything at all.”
Feeling dejected, Sara opened the door to her hotel room with trembling fingers. Her eyes widened in surprise as she saw the interior. The room was covered with rose leaves and dozens of flickering candles filled it with their golden light. Tears welled up in her eyes as soft, romantic music started to play and Jack came out of the bedroom, holding a long-stemmed, red rose between his teeth.
The tears ran down her cheeks and she had no way of keeping them in.
Quickly, Jack walked over to her and gave her the rose. Taking her face into his hands, he tenderly kissed her tears away and whispered, “Don't cry, my sweetheart. This evening will be the beginning of our new life together.” He sealed her lips with a kiss that showed all his desire.
Sara was happy to lose herself in the sensual touch and to cast aside all the problems and heavy thoughts that were whirling in her mind.
Hesitatingly, Jack broke the kiss. “I could continue like this forever,” he said, smiling. “But now I would like to dance with you.”
He pulled the protesting woman tight against his body and she stomped on his feet immediately. “Stop!” she yelled. “What makes you think that I'm able to dance? I've never done that before in my life.”
Jack laughed. “I don't believe that. Besides, I went through so much to learn it just for you.”
“I'm sorry, but personally I prefer the riding school to a dancing school.”
He bent down towards her ear, nipped at the lobe and purred, ”Well, I'm sure that will have lots of advantages too. I think I experienced a few of that already.”
“You are such a naughty boy!”
He was waiting to see if she would explode in anger but she just pulled him into her arms again. “And I do like that about you.”
“Good. I want you to do something for me. I want you to close your eyes and await the surprise I have for you.”
While Sara kept her eyes tightly shut, her heart began to pound out of control in anticipation as to what she would have to expect.
Christopher had just come home and his mood was one of the best he had in a long time. The meeting had gone well and he got the job. Soon, he would start his work as chief drawer for a new animated movie. “Hello? Anybody home?” he called out, but only got Tasilo's happy bark as an answer that echoed from the garden where the dog was playing and digging holes.
“Well, now I can celebrate with our dog. Great. This big house is so empty when there's not the whole family home. Oh Taylor, I really miss you. I wish you would call.”
A bit lost, he stood there until he discovered a shadow in the pool house. “Norman,” he exclaimed happily. “At least somebody of the household is here.” Christopher walked over and found the door a crack open. He entered, calling the man's name again. “Norman?”
When he didn't get an answer, he continued on his way through the small corridor, that would lead to other rooms of the small house. “Maybe I was wrong and he is not here?” he pondered but then he heard him speaking on the telephone in the living room. He peered through the crack of the door and looked around, catching bits and pieces of the man's phone conversation.
“Midnight at the harbor... the whole money plus 29 years of interest... and don't mess with me!” Without another word he hung up.
Before Chris could try to figure out what was going on, he discovered Sam's medallion on the table. Without thinking, he pushed the door open and confronted the man. “You took it? Norman, how could you? Why did you do it? And what about that weird phone call? I think you owe me an explanation.”
Panicked, Norman ran to the table, grabbed the medallion, pushed Christopher with a powerful kick out of his way and raced from the house.
The artist fell against a chest of drawers, hit his head and slid unconsciously to the floor.
“You can open your eyes now, my sweet,” Jack said softly, but to Sara it felt as if his voice was floating from far away to her ear. Frightened and nervous, she looked at him.
He took her hand and cleared his throat. Slowly he went down on one knee.
Sara's whole body began to tremble in excitement.
Jack brought out a little box that was covered in black velvet. He opened it and revealed a bright sparkling diamond ring to Sara's anxious eyes.
“No, Jack. Please, don't say it...” she sobbed, scared. “Please, don't say it... don't destroy everything...”
But Jack didn't hear her begging and pleading and so he asked her the question of all questions. “Would you become my wife?”
The room started to spin around her, beads of sweat appeared on her forehead and all suppressed emotions concerning Chris and what he had done to her rose with a vengeance. She felt her mind transported back to the chapel. Chris was there, saying, “I'm sorry but I can't marry you.” After that an image appeared of herself and her Dad at the ranch and she heard herself say, “I've sworn to myself to never fall in love again. Never ever...” A stabbing pain ripped through her heart. Feeling backed against a wall due to Jack's words, she shouted, “NO! NO! I DON'T WANT TO! Why did you do it?”
Shocked, Jack could only stare at her.
“HOW CAN YOU BE SURE AFTER JUST A WEEK?!” she demanded, still yelling.
Dejected, Jack replied, “I thought you are feeling the same as I do. Guess I was wrong.”
Dissolving into tears, Sara said, “You are expecting too much.”
“What's the matter?” Jack inquired. He needed to know what was going on. But then all of a sudden a thought rose. “Chris.”
Uncomprehending, Sara looked at him.
“You still have feelings for him,” he accused.
Sara didn't have the strength to talk back and just shook her head weakly. “If you really believe that...”
“YOU REALLY HAVE A PROBLEM WITH YOUR PSYCHE, DO YOU KNOW THAT?” Jack shouted with tears of rage in his eyes. “You make me sick!”
“Jack...” she sobbed.
He cut her off with a harsh hand motion. “Don't say anything. I don't want to hear anymore of your excuses.” Jack looked at her imploringly. “If you would love me you would come with me to Los Angeles.”
Sara hesitated, so he spoke for her. “Your silence is answer enough. Now I really know where we stand.”
“It is far more complicated than you think,” she tried to explain.
Jack ignored her and announced. “I will sleep on the couch tonight and tomorrow I leave. Good night.”
Unending, the tears were flowing down her cheeks and she said in a small voice, “I'll be flying to Beijing tomorrow.”
He pretended to not have heard her.
Sara ran into the bedroom, flung the door shut and threw herself on the bed, crying.
Chris groaned in pain as loud screeching brought him out of his unconscious state. “Owww, my head. Please, be quiet...” He looked up at the person he saw hovering above him and froze. “Vicky?”
She pulled strongly at his arm, trying to help him up from the floor. “Just what did you do, Chris?” she asked, anxiously.
Christopher rubbed the back of his head and responded sarcastically, “What does it look like? I slept until you woke me up with your banshee scream!” As he saw the hurt expression on her face, he regretted his words. “I hit my head on the chest of drawers,” he explained.
Victoria looked at him in shock. “Come on. I'll help you back to the house and we can place some ice on your poor head.”
A bit reluctantly, Chris let her drag him back to the house and asked her in astonishment, “How did you get in anyway?”
She grinned. “Through the open garden gate,” she replied happily.
“And what do you want here?”
She looked at him, her gaze speaking volumes. “I have a request.”
These words caused the artist to have some horrible premonitions.
After Victoria had placed him on the couch and give him some ice for his head, she got to the matter at hand without beating around the bush. She sat down on the low table in front of him and declared, “You are going to help me to make Jack solely mine.”
Christopher had no idea what he should say to that demand.
Vicky continued, “You are friends, right?”
He wrinkled his forehead. “Uh... well... we get along better than we did in the beginning, let's put it that way,” he said, thinking about the time Jack had broken his nose.
For Victoria it was enough and she responded, “Chris, you HAVE to help me.”
“Why? What reason do I have to help you of all people?”
She smirked and replied, “That's very easy. If you don't, I will start chasing you again.”
Chris felt ice-cold shivers run over his back when he thought about that. “You do know that what you're implying is blackmail, right?”
“It's your choice,” she announced coldly and shrugged her shoulders. “Jack or you.”
He found her threat repulsive, but after some time of thinking, he relented to her wish. A tiny grain of hope started to blossom in his heart, because there could be the chance that Jack might be able to change the former model to be a better person. Stranger things had happened.
Jack couldn't sleep and so he stared indifferently at the ceiling, listening to ‘In Joy And Sorrow' by ‘HIM' that he had put in repeat mode on his mp3 player. ‘If only you would come out to me... everything could be okay again,' he thought to himself. ‘But this time you will have to take the first step, Sara.'
Sara sat on the bed, holding a pillow tightly pressed against her body and looked at some pictures of Jack and herself that they had made during the wonderful week they had spent together in Paris. Sighing, she glanced towards the door. “If only you would come in, Jack. Then I could tell you about the doubts and sorrows that are torturing me, when I think about the people that wait for me in L.A., but whom I never want to see again.”
The old picture of Taylor appeared again in between her other photographs and she thought to herself, ‘If you would be here, right now, you could tell me if I'm doing things right or not.'
Another moment later, she reached for the phone and dialed the number to the Stuart house with trembling fingers, hoping fiercely that Taylor would pick up.
“Stay there, Chris. I will answer it,” Vicky ordered and picked up the shrilling phone. “Hello? You have reached the Stuarts. Here is Victoria Parker speaking.”
Shocked and scared to hear that voice, Sara didn't manage to say a word.
Vicky grew impatient. “HEL-LO-HO! Anybody there?” When she still didn't get an answer, she scowled and growled into the receiver, “I'm not in the mood for jokes right now!”
“Give it to me,” Chris called out. “It's probably Taylor and you are scaring the hell out of her!”
She wrinkled her nose, clearly offended, but gave him the phone.
With a bright smile, Chris said, “Hello Taylor, is that you? I miss you, sweetie. We all miss you.”
Sara's heart nearly ceased to beat as she recognized his soft voice. Still, she didn't say a word.
“Hello? Whoever is there you better answer because I can hear you breathe!”
Panicked, Sara flung the phone against the wall and broke down crying, hitting her forehead with her hands.
Jack could hear sounds from her room, but he forced himself to not give in. Instead he just turned up the volume of his music and continued to lay there.
Chris looked frowning at the receiver. “That was strange. I'd really like to know who that was.”
Danielle was standing in front of the big mirror in the corridor of Jack's beach house, applying some more blood-red lipstick to her lips.
Elias came towards her and saw how she pulled on her short dress to adjust it and posed sexily in front of the mirror. “Are you going to say goodnight to me?” He asked.
Danielle glared at him, still angry about the talk they had, not so long ago. “If you want... Goodnight! I'll go and have some fun.”
He raised his eyebrows. “Again?”
She rolled her eyes, nerve-wracked. “Does that mean I have to listen to some more of your preaching?”
Elias stayed calm, even though her words had hurt him. “No. I just want you to take care of yourself.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Danielle replied quickly. She was in a hurry to get out. Once more, she looked at her watch and went to the door. “I really gotta go. I'm late already. Bye.”
After the door had fallen shut behind her, Elias made a difficult decision. He was suspicious and didn't believe that she really knew what she was doing. So, he took his jacket and followed her to find out what exactly was going on.
Billy had decided to take some time off from cuddling with Michiru's cats. He went to the ‘Majority' to have some fun. The club was full of visitors. Billy got himself a table. It was upstairs and in a cozy corner that couldn't be seen from everywhere, but he in turn had a good view of the huzzle and buzzle. Lost in thought, he looked at the dancing crowd that was moving to the hot rhythms of music below him. His feet started to tap as the first sounds to the song ‘Call For The God Of Love' rang out. And there he was. The dream of every gay man in town was there live and in color; Juan Rodriguez.
Everybody cheered and clapped as the spotlights were directed on the Latino star, who ripped off his shirt and played lasciviously with the microphone.
Billy pushed his chair a bit forward and leaned with crossed arms over the balustrade. Dreamy-eyed, he stared at his heartthrob, sinking into his deep brown eyes.
Juan was in a very good mood because the audience was praising him. After a few more encores, he took a bow in front of his fans, his gaze traveling also over the faces that looked at him from upstairs. He saw how Billy applauded him and somehow it made him very proud and he bowed some more under the excited shouts of his admirers. Then he disappeared backstage to freshen up while the band continued to play more music.
Still dreaming, Billy sat in his corner as a waiter came towards him and put down a glass in front of him. “A cocktail for you, Sir.”
Billy was surprised. “Thank you, but...”
“It's from Mr. Rodriguez,” the waiter explained.
Billy looked up and saw Juan coming towards him, who asked him smiling, “May I sit with you?”
“Of course,” Billy replied as if in a trance.
Danielle was so excited to meet Greg again, she didn't notice that Elias was following her. In anticipation, she said to herself. “Oh Greg. I wonder what kind of naughty things you'll be doing with me tonight, you little vampire. Besides, I want to get my vengeance for the love bite you left on my throat not so long ago. I want to give you some unforgettable hot hours that will show you that you can't live without me.” Even though she was still away, she already recognized the corvette, that was parked next to an empty parking lot.
Danielle got into the car while Elias hid from their gazes behind some nearby trash cans.
Immediately, she climbed upon Alexander's lap and started to cover his face in hot kisses until she suddenly stopped. “Something is different today,” she said. “I don't feel so good... I don't feel so light and free. Why is that, Greg? I want it to be like last time!”
“Hey, hey, babe. Calm down. I'm here to cancel our date.”
“But why? Don't you want me anymore?”
“I do, more than you know. Something came up that has priority.”
“But I'm feeling bad and I thought you would help me,” Danielle whined.
Alex sighed. “I thought as much.” He took a small vial with some white powder from one of his pockets and gave it to her. “Here. A gift for you with my best wishes. Afterward, you will feel much better. Trust me... and now you have to leave because I have to go.”
Danielle stepped out of the car.
“Have lots of fun this evening,” Alex chuckled and started the engine. “You'll hear from me.”
Her sparkling eyes were fixed on the vial, before she stuffed it into her little handbag and was on her way back to Jack's beach house.
Elias, who had heard and seen it all, was frozen with shock about Danielle's development. “She's going to ruin her life once more. I have to prevent that at all cost.”
His heart pounding wildly, Billy sipped at his cocktail and thanked Juan.
“Oh, you are very welcome. I'm glad to see a familiar face among the crowd. Well, and all this squealing girls that are camping in front of my dressing room are really getting on my nerves.”
Billy noticed that Juan seemed to be in a very happy mood and hoped for a sign if he liked him or not. He was making gooey eyes at him and Juan was actually relishing and enjoying it. “I am your greatest admirer and for that reason I have to admit something or else I won't be able to continue living,” Billy told him.
“That sounds a bit dramatic, don't you think?” The singer laughed.
Billy leaned closer and as Juan looked into his blue eyes, he experienced an unknown feeling of warmth and safety that he had never felt before in his life. Here, in Billy's presence, he wasn't the big superstar. Here, he was just a man.
The stylist was very nervous so Juan placed a hand upon his in order to calm him down somewhat. Billy's body tingled all over at this first touch.
“Stay cool, Billy. Just relax and let it go.”
He looked into the most gorgeous brown eyes he had ever seen and in the face of Juan's enchanting smile, he gathered all his courage. “I have fallen in love with you, Juan,” he breathed. He thought his heart would pound its way out of his rib cage as he waited for the singer's reaction.
A moment went by and nothing happened, but then Juan reached over, took Billy's face in his hands and kissed him.
The other man was totally perplexed, as the singer let go of him to take a breath.
Juan himself couldn't believe what he had just done. Trying to find an explanation for his behavior, he stuttered, “I... I... I just wan-wanted to t-try... I c-couldn't t-think of any-anything else...” A second after that confession had left his lips, he jumped up and stormed out of the bar.
Billy just sat there, unable to move. “Wow. This man really has fire in his blood.”
Elias hurried to the closed door of Danielle's room and pulled strongly on the handle. “DANIELLE! DANIELLE! Please, open the door!”
From the room came no reaction at all.
“DANIELLE?” With all his strength, he threw himself against the locked door and he finally was able to break through, bruising his shoulder. His fear rose even more as he saw her body lying motionless on the bed. “Danielle?”
To his relief, she finally opened her eyes and glared at him. “Have you lost your mind?” she snapped, angry and irritated. “How dare you do something like that?!”
Searching, his eyes darted through the room and came to rest on the tiny vial at the nightstand. He walked over and took it, despite Danielle's protests and returned to the kitchen.
Screaming and shouting, she pulled at his clothes and called him nasty names and things. “Give it back! It belongs to me! You don't have the right to take it from me!”
Unexpectedly, he whirled around and pointed out, shaking the vial, “These are drugs! Danielle, do you even want to get well again? Please, answer me this question honestly.”
Like a petulant child, she kept silent, just pierced him with evil glances.
“What do you believe Jack would think of you if he would see you like this?”
Danielle became sad and he could see that deep inside she fought a battle with herself.
“Please, make the right decision for yourself,” Elias pleaded.
She stomped her feet and ran back to her room.
He called after her, “I'll make you some tea. That will help you relax.” His eyes fell on the vial and he muttered, “First though, I have to get rid of this nasty stuff.” The psychologist went to the sink and let the white powder disappear with a gallon of water. “I failed. I have to take much better care of Danielle and her fragile psyche.” Tired, he rubbed his eyes and began to heat up water for the tea.
Sam and Liz were walking hand in hand towards a slowly sinking sun, along the pier that was bathed in the light of countless lanterns.
The brunette breathed in the salty air that drifted from the sea. It reminded her of the cliffs on her island and of Shakira.
Liz looked up and saw the longing in her deep, clear blue eyes. “Are you happy, Sam?” she inquired.
The other woman stopped and smiled at the blonde. “I am always happy as long as you are with me.”
Liz felt so comfortable in her presence and she felt the other woman's sincere and honest affection. With Sam, she forgot all about problems and troubling thoughts and was so carefree. Secretly, she sometimes wished that they were back in the jungle. Just her and Samantha.
“Liz? Are you dreaming?” Sam laughed as she saw the smaller woman jerk out of her thoughts.
“Oh, sorry. I guess I had another daydream.”
Innocently, Sam asked, “What were you dreaming about?”
Again, Elizabeth found herself caught by those unbelievable blue eyes. ‘I can't tell Sam that I'm constantly dreaming about her. Day and night. What would she think of me?' Out loud, she replied, “Oh, it's nothing special. Would you like to have some ice cream?”
‘I have to keep these unspeakable feelings to myself,‘ Liz thought to herself while looking at the brunette from the corner of her eye. ‘Or else she might think I'm abnormal.'
STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT EPISODE...
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