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Jonathan and Michiru sat on the floor in the living room of Michiru's loft. Some Asian delicacies had been put on the low table and were waiting to be eaten. The man had some trouble when it came to the chopsticks, but with lots of patience, Michiru showed him how to handle it. His mouth still full, he praised the food, "Mmhhh, God, this is soooo good. You are the most wonderful and fantastic cook."
"It's good to know that you like it," Michiru replied, blushing a little bit.
While they ate, silence fell during which Jonathan gathered some courage to say the next words. "You know... I... uh... I would like to spend more time with you. It is amazing that we hit it off as fast as we did and... uh... I would like to get to know you better. I want to know what you think... what you feel... please, tell me something about your life."
Michiru was very surprised about this. "Are you serious?"
He nodded. "Every single word."
"Oh, I don't know where to start," the Asian woman replied and laughed.
Jonathan just looked at her and smiled. She already had him wrapped around her finger without knowing. Question was, would she even want to know that? He tried another piece of sushi. "The best thing is to start at the beginning..."
Jack had finally made it home and fell on his couch, exhausted from his long day. His mind was whirling with a thousand thoughts at once. The thing concerning Danielle had given him a major headache. He had found the hospital in New York but over the phone nobody wanted to tell him anything about Danielle's condition. Sometime during the following weeks he would have to take some time off to fly to New York and have a look himself. Still, the police had no idea whatsoever where the stuff came from that had nearly ended the woman's life. He also didn't know the noble-minded donator, who gave so much money to Danielle's parents, and where the familiar black car came from. "Just what is going on? And how does Alexander Parker fit in all this crap? The Stuarts are a sad bunch at the moment too... and then Sara... oh Sara, my poor darling, you've got such a big heartache because of Christopher... and you hate me, even though I have no idea what I ever did to you to cause this hate. Well, maybe the little surprise I sent you will help to cheer you up a bit."
Jack stared ahead for a few minutes. "Sooooo, now just what do I do this evening?" His gaze fell on the table where a DVD case lay that Juan had given to him during the first lesson. He took it and had a look at the cover. "Dirty Dancing, huh?" This movie had been a big hit in the movie theaters during the 80's. Jack himself had never seen it, since romantic movies weren't exactly his thing. "Juan said this movie has some great dancing sequences." He shrugged his shoulders. "I've got nothing better to do anyway."
Jack put the DVD into his player and got comfortable on the couch. A bottle of cold beer in one hand, he placed his feet on the table. The title sequence came on and his feet started to move to the rhythm of the song. "Hey, the music is good already. Let's hope that the story will be too."
Christopher opened the door and carried two big suitcases inside. "So, Uncle Will, here we are."
William Stuart, a stout man with thinning, gray hair and a gray beard, entered the house after his nephew. "It's good to be here again," he announced in his happy voice and took in the surroundings. "It hasn't changed since the last time I've been here."
Chris smiled. "The last time you were here was just a few months ago. What do you think? That we change the furniture every 2 weeks or something?"
"Oh, you don't?" came his uncle's reply, as he pretended to be very astonished about that.
The blonde artist shook his head softly. "You're here just a few seconds and you are already cracking jokes. Hopefully you can stay for awhile, because that's what this family needs right now."
William gently patted his nephew on the shoulder. "That's why I'm here."
"Why don't you go and get comfortable in the living room and I'll see where Taylor is. Her car is outside, which means she's back from the riding trip with Karen."
"Oh, Karen? Isn't that this beautiful, young lady that was your girlfriend two years ago?" William asked and grinned.
"Yes, it is the beautiful blonde with whom you flirted so shamelessly during our last winter vacation," Chris grumbled.
"Hey, am I not allowed to have a little bit of fun in my old age?" The older man waggled his eyebrows. "Besides, now that you're not together anymore I can set up a trap and catch her for myself."
"Oh no, Uncle Will!" Chris exclaimed. "You will restrain yourself. Because I'm working on it to get her back. She is the one whom I love beyond anything else. It's just sad that it took me so long to realize it."
Smiling, William hugged the young man. "I'm so happy for you. You two make such a great pair. I hope it'll work this time."
"It has to," Chris replied in a serious tone. "I couldn't let Karen go again and I don't want to."
William patted his shoulder once more. "It will be okay, my boy. Now go look where the little ice princess is hiding. I think where Taylor is little Tasilo isn't far either, right?"
Chris laughed. "Yeah, Taylor and Tasilo are inseparable. But I wouldn't say 'little' Tasilo... he is fully grown now," he explained and went upstairs to check on Taylor .
Shortly after that the doorbell rang and William opened. He smiled as he recognized Karen and pulled her in an embrace. "Hello, we just have been talking about you, Karen. How are you?"
She hugged him back. "Hey, Uncle Will. I'm fine. It's good to see you again. Sadly, I bring bad news."
"Does it have something to do with Liz?"
Karen sighed. "Yes. Taylor is not coping well at all with the situation."
William nodded in understanding and ran a hand through his short hair. "I was afraid of that."
Samantha sat there with such a look of sadness on her face that it nearly broke Liz' heart. "Sam? What happened to make you talk like that? Was there a time where thinking with your heart was not good?"
The jungle inhabitant nodded slowly. "After Emily died, I was all alone again."
Liz' eyebrows rose. Emily? She wanted to ask some questions but she was also glad that her lifesaver was finally talking so she didn't dare interrupt. There would be a time for questions later.
Playing nervously with her fingers, Sam continued with her story. "The medicine man of our village had some visions. He foretold that a big white wave would roll through the jungle and destroy the animals and everything else that would step in its way. Everybody thought it was just the silly talk of a crazy old man." Samantha stopped and stared unseeingly at the closest wall.
Liz could see that the dark-haired beauty was reliving what had happened in her mind.
In a hoarse whisper Sam continued, "Until one day... when the strangers came... They had light skin like you and I. And they had these long sticks where they put in little balls of metal and they made lots of noise. I was curious because I had not seen anyone that was light colored like I am, besides Emily. They told me they wanted to observe the life of the animals in their natural surroundings..." Sam's breathing hitched and she made another pause. "And I... I led them to the animals..."
Liz could guess what Sam would be telling her any moment now. Tears had started to gather in those amazing blue eyes and the other woman was clearly upset. Hesitantly, Liz reached for her hand. "Did they catch the animals?"
"They caught a few... but most of them... they killed most of them... and then... and then..." the tears spilled over and harsh sobs broke free from her throat.
"Oh Sam, I'm so sorry. Come here," Liz whispered and pulled the taller woman into her arms, who went willingly and held on to the blonde for dear life. Feeling Sam's hot tears on the skin of her throat and shoulder the business woman began to stroke her fingers tenderly through the long dark hair.
"They cut the fur from their bodies," Sam went on through her tears. "While they did that they were laughing and talking about how much dollars they would get for each fur."
"Those bastards!" Liz exclaimed in disgust. "They were poachers." Suddenly an unpleasant thought reared its head in Liz' mind. "Sam? Did they do something to you?"
Sam shook her head and held on tighter. "I... after I realized what was going on I hid in the jungle until they were gone. Then I went back to our village. According to the medicine man everything was my fault and they banished me from the village. That was a long time ago... 10 years..."
Liz was horrified. Sam didn't look to be much older than she herself was, so it all must have happened when she was quite young. "But how could they do that? It wasn't your fault..."
"It was!" Sam cut her off sharply. "Don't you see? I was the one who led the strangers to the animals!"
Liz took Sam's face gently into her hands so that she could look at her. "Listen to me, Sam. Those people were evil. One way or another they would have found the animals and they would have killed them anyway to sell their furs for money."
"I know they were not like Emily... I just wanted... I was so lonely... but they were not like Emily..." Sam sobbed, and Liz just tightened the embrace, slowly starting to rock the other woman and aching inside for the pain she had gone through.
With a dreamy smile on his face Jonathan sat next to Michiru and listened sincerely to each word she spoke. "My father, Seyato Kasawaki, was born in Japan . He became a doctor and during his travels through China he met my mother Mei-Lang Tan. They fell in love and got married and soon after I was born. As you know in China you are allowed to have only 1 child and that's why I don't have any brothers or sisters. I grew up with two cultures and had a very happy childhood. My parents loved me and I never missed out on anything. I took lessons in several martial arts but my great passion was and still is figure skating. After my active time, I retired to become a coach and went to Japan . There I married Kendo Takeuchi. After we found out that I'm infertile and couldn't give him an heir for his martial arts school he wanted a divorce."
"What a mean bastard," Jonathan chimed in angrily.
"Well, I think it was good for something."
He thought about that. "Yes, you are right. If you would still be married in Japan then I would have never gotten to know you."
Michiru smiled and continued with her tale. "After the divorce, I changed my name back to Kasawaki because I didn't want to have the name of a man that had hurt me so. I was traveling for a while and saw lots of different places and countries. Well, and now I'm here in L.A. to be a coach for figure skating again."
"And who is the lucky one whom you will take under your wing to coach?" Jonathan asked matter-of-factly and reached for his glass with sake.
Hearing the familiar name, the rice wine went down the wrong pipe and Jonathan coughed.
Michiru patted his back and asked concerned, "Are you okay?"
Gasping for air he replied, "Yes... yes... just... wrong pipe..." He coughed some more, now completely red in the face and wiped at his eyes, which had began to tear.
"Is it better now?"
Jonathan nodded. "So, Taylor Stuart, huh? Is she any good?"
"Yes, she is good, but with my help she will be the best," Michiru answered, feeling very confident about that matter.
When Chris couldn't find his little sister in her room, he went into Liz' room. There Taylor lay, sleeping on the bed.
Tasilo, who had curled up at the foot of the bed, lifted his head as Chris entered. He wagged his tail only a little and whimpered quietly.
Chris slowly lowered himself to the edge of the bed and brushed some hair off Taylor 's forehead. He recognized traces dried tears had left behind on the girl's cheeks. Around her lay several photo books. "Little one, please don't give up hope," Chris whispered nearly inaudible. "We will find Liz. I promise you." He placed a tender kiss on her forehead, left the room and went back downstairs.
Tasilo cuddled up to his protégé and placed his head into the back of Taylor 's knees.
Alex stepped out of the limousine and held out a hand to Sara to assist her with leaving the car. He guided her gallantly to the wooden footpath where the yacht of the Jones family was docked. "I wish to express my gratitude for this wonderful evening that was even more beautiful thanks to our presence," Alexander said as charming as he could.
Sara grinned. "You know you can talk normally with me. Save the romantic stuff for your fiancée."
"Hey, I was just testing if my charm is still there and working."
"You can rest ensured, it is still where it belongs."
Alex smiled at that. "That's really good to know. I hope I could cheer you up a bit."
"Yes, I had lots of fun this evening," Sara said. And it was true. They had such fun at the restaurant, the food had been fantastic and Alex made her laugh more than once. She really felt better now.
"Let me tell you something else. Chris really is such an idiot, if he doesn't realize what he's missing out on now that he's let you go."
Sara's heart skipped a beat at that. She still had told nobody that there never was anything between Chris and her even though she had realized this morning that she would like that. "No, please don't talk about him like that," she said seriously. "He doesn't deserve that."
Alex was taken aback by her tone. Trying to lighten the mood he said, "You know, if I wouldn't be already engaged with Elizabeth I sure would go for you."
She snorted. "Go finally, you silly idiot," Sara responded and laughed. "I need my beauty sleep."
Alexander bowed deeply. "Your wish is my command. Good night, Milady. May sweet dreams be yours tonight." Giving a short wave he went back to the limousine and Sara walked, still grinning to the yacht.
On the "Moondance" she stepped right into a huge chocolate box that had been placed in front of the door. "What's the meaning of this crap?" She picked it up and went inside. Sara switched on the light and had a closer look at her gift. "Eeeeew! Yuck!" she exclaimed in disgust. "Chocolate with raisins."
She found a card on which was written, "Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey." It was signed, "Your secret admirer"
"Very original," Sara said scornfully. "He's using the lyrics of an oldie to impress me. Well, Jack Carpenter, it's not working. You'll have to come up with something better than this!" The chocolate box including its interior and the card went into the trash without a second glance. "Raisins, I hate raisins! That's the most disgusting thing I know."
Sighing deeply, Karen sat down on the couch and buried her face in her hands. "Cheering up didn't work at all."
William sat down next to her. "How did Taylor react?"
"She sat stiffly on Storm and stared ahead and by the time we took a break she was crying but didn't say anything. I tried to console her but she got mad and then galloped off. I do understand her, I understand her completely. She loves her sister so much. She just shouldn't give up hope so soon. For the moment Liz is just missing. It doesn't mean that she's dead."
Chris came back downstairs and as he saw Karen he hurried towards her, his whole expression changing to one of extreme happiness. "Hello," he said softly and greeted her with a tender kiss.
Karen smiled. "Hey. Where is Taylor ?"
"Upstairs in Liz' room. She cried herself to sleep."
The blonde woman was dismayed. "There has to be something we can do."
William was thinking about this and he too was very concerned. "Chris, do you remember the time shortly after your father's death when you all came to live with me?"
"I will never forget that," he replied seriously while Karen held his hands. " Taylor was 7 years old then. She was such a happy and wild child until the horrible day the police came and told us about Dad's car accident. At first she didn't understand what was going on but as she realized that Dad would never come back she retreated into herself. She stopped talking and didn't let anyone close."
At Karen's horrified gaze William nodded. "It was a very hard time and only Liz could get through to her. That's why the bond between them is so very strong."
"And if Liz shouldn't come back..." Chris didn't finish his sentence. The three of them looked at each other in dismay and nobody dared to finish the last thought that Chris had started.
Sam's head was resting on Liz' lap and she held on tightly to one hand of the small blonde. She had closed her eyes and was slowly calming down while Liz gently stroked her long dark hair.
She opened her blue eyes and stared into the green ones of Liz.
"Please, tell me about Emily."
A tiny smile appeared on Sam's lips. "Emily Wilson was a nun, a missionary, who come to our village when I was a very young child. She taught me the English language, how to read, write and do math. Also she was the only one who paid attention to me. I was barely tolerated in the village because I was so different from the others. All the other children made fun of me due to my light colored skin and my blue eyes. The older I got the more I stood out. I was faster, stronger and better at hunting than any of the other boys, period. The girls didn't want to have anything to do with me because I was so different. Only Emily did truly understand me. She was always nice to me. She wanted to get me out of here and take me away to England , but she was already too old and then she became so sick."
"But somebody has to know who your parents are and how you came here," Liz said, never ceasing the gentle caresses to Sam's hair.
"All I was told is that they found me in the jungle when I was a little baby. I was wrapped up in blankets and the name bracelet is the only thing I had with me... and this..." Sam sat up and took off a delicate necklace that Liz now noticed for the first time. She gave the locket to Liz.
"Wow, this is very beautiful." She pressed the tiny button and the lid opened. It played a little melody and revealed an ornate inscription. "For my beautiful Angel, Kayla. In love, J." Liz couldn't believe it. This was a truly amazing piece of jewelry. If it really had belonged to Samantha's parents, it must have cost a fortune. Unfortunately, there was no indication where it was from and what very skilled craftsman had created it.
Suddenly Sam rose to her feet and was about to leave the tree house again.
"Where are you going?" Liz asked. Now that they had gotten somewhat close the business woman dreaded to be left alone again.
"It will be dark soon and we need something to eat," Sam explained and patted her thigh gently. "Come here, Shakira."
Liz wrinkled her forehead. "Shakira? At home she is a superstar..."
The panther rose, came over from the corner where she had been laying and sat down next to Sam.
"That... that is Shakira?" the business woman asked completely surprised and pointed at the big cat.
Sam smiled. "Yes, she is with me since I live in the jungle on my own. She was too fast for the people you called poachers. Alright, we go then. I promise it won't take long."
"I will be here," Liz replied. She was still overwhelmed by everything she had learned in the past few hours.
Sam's smile grew even more as she heard that the other woman would wait for her.
Faced with this expression of happiness, Liz' heart leapt in joy.
***** THREE WEEKS LATER *****
"I woke up this morning… the sunshine was shining… I put on my happy face..." ‘Destiny's Child' were rudely interrupted as Taylor quickly switched off the radio. "My happy face disappeared 3 weeks ago," she muttered to herself and sat down on the bed. Gazing around her room, her eyes fell on the globe that stood on the shelves opposite her. "Just where are you, Liz? And how can I find you? There has to be a way to contact you if you're still alive." Like everybody else, she had tried to call her on her cell phone but that was completely useless. "There has to be something, damn it!" Looking at the pin board she found the little business card that Jack had given her during the traffic jam they had both been caught in. "Mmmh, Jack Carpenter, Computer Animations..." Then she had an idea. "Computers, that's it! I'll send her an email, if she has her laptop there might be a chance that she can write us..." She knew it was a stupid idea. Liz would have probably already tried it if she was able to. But desperate times call for desperate measures and at least it was worth a try.
Taylor was just done with it as she heard her uncle calling her. She hurried downstairs as quickly as she could, Tasilo hot on her heels. "What is it, Uncle Will?"
"Let's go to the mall. Since there is no eatable stuff in this house we have to go shopping for groceries anyway. Besides, I know you are just about dying to get the new No Doubt CD."
Taylor 's eyes widened. "Really? The new CD has been released?"
Her uncle smiled. "Now you see, what one can miss if one is staying locked away in their room for weeks."
"I'm sorry for that, Uncle Will," the teenager replied and looked at her feet.
"I know, little one," William said and disheveled her hair. "You are scared for Liz, as we all are. You mustn't retreat into yourself and try to cope with this on your own. You know that your brother and Karen and I are always here for you. Talk with us."
"No but," he interrupted her quickly again. "I won't allow it that anything happens with your condition like after the death of your dad. And what about your new coach, Ms. Michiru Kasawaki? I've been the one to talk with her the past days because you didn't go to the training. Do you think you're treating her fair?"
"To tell you the truth, I didn't give it one thought," Taylor admitted in a small voice.
"As soon as we're back from shopping you'll go to her and apologize. Maybe she'll be so nice and continue to coach you. You know, your former coach, this big Russian lady, she would have probably given you a spanking," William joked and pushed his niece to the door.
Taylor looked at him and her eyes widened in pretended fear. "My new coach is Asian... do you think she might use some Kung-Fu moves on me?"
Grinning wildly and grabbing the car keys, William replied, "You will soon find out, I guess. And now come on, let's get this over with. I can hear a No Doubt CD calling your name."
Catherine Parker punched in the phone number of the Stuart residence. Due to the fact that nobody was home, the machine picked up. A bit annoyed, Catherine waited for the beep sound. "Hello, this is Catherine Parker speaking. I'm calling because I would like to set a date for our families to meet. It is very important. Maybe some misunderstandings can be taken care of as well. Please, call me back, it is really very important. I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Bye."
Juan was standing in front of the camera that was supposed to record his newest music video. He was lacking concentration though, stumbling during his dance moves, his lips' movements were not in sync with the playback music that blared from the speakers and it seemed that his thoughts were completely somewhere else instead of on the task at hand.
"CUT! Cut, cut, cut, cut!!!" screamed the director for the 100th time. He was starting to lose his patience with the singer. "We can't do it like that. Let's take a ten minute break and then we'll try again." He called Juan over to him. "Can you please tell me what the hell is wrong with you today?"
Juan shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. Maybe I'm coming down with something. I do feel a little sick," he mumbled.
"You better find out quick what's wrong with you," the director replied, angered. "This little show you're doing here is stealing my precious time that I could spend more useful than watching you prancing about like a monkey!" That said he stomped away, muttering curses under his breath.
Juan just stared silently at the floor even though anger was stirring inside him for being scolded like a little child. "I'm the one who pays you for shooting my music video and not to nag at me. He behaves as if he never had a bad day."
The director's assistant came to him and gave him a cell phone. "It's an Adam Evans for you."
Juan's eyes widened in surprise. "That's the casting boss from "Lords Of The Darkness"... give me that!" He practically tore the cell phone out of the other man's hand. "Hello... yes, this is Juan Rodriguez...
Liz awoke alone in the tree house. She knew it wouldn't be long until Samantha would be back. Shakira crawled over to the small blonde and got comfortable beside her. Cuddling with the big cat had become one of Liz' morning rituals.
Shakira purred and closed her eyes in delight as she received the gentle caresses.
Liz laughed. "Yeah, you like that, don't you?"
Meanwhile, Sam had returned from wherever she had been and watched the two in fascination.
"You are such a cuddly pussycat," Liz told the panther and stroked her between her ears.
"You should see her when she goes hunting," Sam chimed in and entered the tree house. "She is not cuddly at all when she stalks her prey."
Liz looked up and smiled at her. "Good morning."
"I... uh... I have something for you," the dark-haired beauty said and held out an orchid.
"Oh, Sam! It is beautiful."
Before Liz could reach for it Sam went down on her knees in front of her and put the flower in Liz's hair behind her ear. "I think it looks even more beautiful this way," she announced and smiled tenderly, before she rose to her feet again.
The business woman blushed and looked bashfully at the floor.
"For the past days you have been so sad, especially since I told you there is no way off this island... and so I thought... uh... maybe... I... I thought... that maybe... I..."
Liz grinned. She thought it was very cute and sweet how Sam was always trying to cheer her up and tried to make her feel at home in this jungle and situation that had been forced so unexpected upon the business woman. "Just tell me what you have on your mind, Sam?"
The other woman crossed her arms behind her back and drew invisible circles with her big toe on the floor of the tree house. "I thought I would show you around the jungle a bit... you can't stay in the house the whole time, that's not good... and... and..."
"Okay," Liz blurted.
Sam looked at her in surprise. "Seriously?"
"Yes, you are right," Liz admitted and smiled at her new friend. "I have to get out of here before the walls come in on me."
Sam wrinkled her forehead. "The house is really stable... it's not going to fall down."
Liz chuckled. "I know, I know. It is just a saying."
"So, what are you planning on showing me today?"
"I thought we could have a little boat ride on the river. I have a canoe."
Liz nodded. "Yes, that sounds very interesting. But, let me tell you, if I fall in and get eaten by a crocodile I will never speak with you again."
It was meant only as a joke but Sam didn't catch the meaning. Her face very serious, she responded fiercely, "I will protect you. Shakira will do so also. Nothing is going to happen to you!"
Realizing that the other had not understood the joke, Liz tried to explain herself. "I know that you will protect me, Sam. I really am not scared of getting eaten by a crocodile. I was just kidding."
"It is not funny. Don't make jokes about death!"
Jack used the pleasant morning to go for a run at the beach. Passing by some pairs that were obviously in love and happy, he had to think about Sara and how wonderful it would be to take a walk with her hand in hand along the beach. He jogged on, lost in his daydreams and fantasies about a beautiful future with the young photographer until he came to a sudden stop.
There were Christopher Stuart and Karen Miller, wrapped up in each other's arms and looking out at the sea.
Unrestrained fury rose inside him as Jack saw how they kissed each other tenderly. He decided now would be the right time to confront Chris concerning Sara. Seething with anger, he ran towards the pair. Without a word of warning he grabbed Chris' shoulder turned him around and smashed his fist right into the face of the surprised man.
Completely dazed and with a heavy nose bleed, Chris stumbled back and fell into the sand.
Horrified about the whole scene, Karen knelt down next to him and yelled at Jack, "Have you lost your mind?!"
"So, Stuart. That was for Sara," Jack spat. "And you, Karen... I'm really disappointed. I didn't think you would be like that."
"Hey man, what the hell are you talking about?" Chris asked confused, holding his nose while fumbling with his other hand for a tissue to try and stop the flow of blood that was still running in a steady stream from his nostrils.
"Stop playing the innocent guy!" Jack demanded. "You broke her heart, you bastard!" Then he turned around to leave.
"I don't know what's going on but at least apologize, Jack," Karen growled, but the tall computer specialist just went away without another word.
After he was out of sight Karen helped Chris to get up on his feet again. "Let's drive to the hospital. Your nose has to be x-rayed just to make sure it's not broken."
"No, I don't think that's necessary. At home I will just put an ice bag on it. It will be okay."
"Alright, whatever you want. Still, I'm going to have a talk with Mr. Jack Carpenter and find out what that was all about."
Later that day, Sara entered the area of the Parker film studios to pick up Alex. They had a date for lunch.
Jonathan, Jack and Alexander came out of the conference room, where they had talked about which parts of the movie were to be filmed in which studio.
"God, my stomach has been growling for hours now," Jack complained. "How about it if we all go for a little lunch break together?"
Jonathan rubbed his neck that had gotten a bit stiff during the meeting. "I have to excuse myself because I already have other plans. We will see each other later when we check up on the sets... 4:00 pm right?"
Alex nodded and Jonathan quickly left. He already had lunch plans with a certain Asian beauty that had completely stolen his heart.
Wrapping an arm around Jack's shoulders, Alex said, "Hey buddy, I already have a lunch date but I'm sure she won't mind if you come too." They left the building after telling the lady at the front desk that they would go for lunch.
Outside Alex hugged Sara warmly. "Hello, little dear heart." He took one look at her and saw that she was not completely awake yet despite that it was close to lunch. "I'm under the impression somebody just fell out of bed?"
"That's right," Sara grumbled. She certainly wasn't a morning person. "And why would I have to get up early anyway."
Alex chuckled. "I wish I had a life like that." Resting one arm on her shoulder he turned them around until they were facing the other man. "Say Sara, you wouldn't mind if my friend Jack comes with us for lunch, would you."
Just now Sara took notice of the tall man. "Oh no, not him. Not Jack Carpenter. I don't want to be seen with such a primitive guy."
"Why?" Alex asked, completely puzzled.
"Chocolate with raisins," she spat as explanation. "I really can do without something so cheap." Sara hurried back to her car and shouted over her shoulder to Alex. "You can go alone with him to lunch."
Staring in disbelief at the cloud of fume that the racing car left behind, Alexander mumbled, "Women, will we ever understand them?" He then shook his head and turned back to Jack, grinning from one ear to the other. "Let's go eat. I think she didn't want me to share my attention with somebody else."
Jack just sighed and thought, 'If you only knew.'
After Karen had pestered him the whole time in the car, Chris had finally given in. Now he sat on a bed in the hospital's emergency room and waited for the doctor to return with the x-ray pictures of his nose.
The doctor entered. "So, Mr. Stuart. The bad news is that your nose is broken. The good news is that it will be okay in a few weeks."
Chris' eyes widened. He pointed at his hurting face and asked, "And now I'm expected to run around with this... this thingie for a few weeks?"
"You can take off the bandage in a few days but the stability band-aid will have to stay on."
"Just what did I do to deserve this," Chris groaned and rolled his eyes. Now everybody would see that something had happened and would ask him questions to which he didn't even know the answer. Just why did Jack do what he did?
The doctor laughed and joked, "I hope this wasn't your ex-girlfriend that tried to knock you out."
Chris frowned and regretted it right the next second because it caused more pain in his already hurting nose. "Huh?"
"I'm talking about Sara Jones with whom you broke up not so long ago."
"No, no, it wasn't Sara. Just some crazy guy."
The doctor nodded. "I'd say you probably feel sorry that it didn't work out with her..."
"Why?" Chris was beginning to feel uncomfortable because nothing of this was really the doctor's business.
"Well, with these billions of money she will one day inherit when her daddy says good night... man, I'm telling you, one has to be crazy to let that go."
"Money isn't everything," Chris grumbled and gathered his things. He had a feeling it would be better to leave here quickly.
"That might be true... but it does have a calming effect on the nerves if one hasn't to think about how much is there to spend."
"Now what is that supposed to mean?"
The doctor cleared his throat and then explained, "I really don't want to seem obtrusive but everybody knows that since the death... since she is missing... your sister Elizabeth I mean... ever since then it's been going downhill with 'Stuart Films'."
Christopher glared darkly at the other man and growled, "For not wanting to be obtrusive you sure are. It's our problem and private business. It's none of your concern!"
"You are right. It's your business... even if it is not that private."
Finally the blonde artist had enough. He jumped off the examination table and left the room to go home.
Karen entered the office building of the Parker film studios. At the front desk, she asked the lady for Jack Carpenter.
"I'm sorry, but Mr. Carpenter has left the building together with Mr. Parker junior to go to lunch."
"Oh. Uh... is Mrs. Parker still here?"
"Yes, she is in her office, Ms. Miller. If you want, I'll call her to announce that you are here."
Karen smiled. "Yes, thank you. That would be nice."
The lady called and then said it would be okay for Karen to come up to see Catherine. She stepped into the elevator. Its doors opened again at the 19th floor where the red-haired woman was already waiting for her and led her into her office.
"Ms. Miller. It is great that you could come so quickly as representation of the Stuart family and their company."
Karen was surprised. It sounded like the head of the Parker family had something important to talk about. But she didn't know that the woman had left a message on the Stuart's machine at home.
Catherine sat down in her leather arm chair, after Karen was sitting on the couch opposite to her. She smiled her usual business smile, which didn't reach her eyes. "We will talk about the private stuff some other time at our home. For now let's concentrate on business. I have a suggestion to make that will be very important for the existence of 'Stuart Films'."
Sara was still seething about the fact that Alexander had invited Jack to accompany them for lunch. She really had enough and was beginning to feel she couldn't leave the yacht anymore without constantly crossing ways with the man. At first she had been driving around aimlessly until she had decided to do some expensive shopping out of frustration. Loaded with bags and little packages, she returned to her car and tried to stuff all the things into the small trunk.
Somebody cleared their throat behind her and Sara whirled around. A smile appeared instantly on her face as she discovered her friend. "Hey, Taylor . How are you doing? We haven't seen each other for a long time not since..."
"I'm not going to give up hope. My sister will be found somehow," Taylor responded bravely, even though she didn't exactly feel like it.
"That's good to know."
"Hey, I would like to introduce you to somebody." Taylor pointed at the older man that was standing wildly grinning next to her. "That's my uncle William from Scotland . Uncle William, this is my friend Sara Jones."
The man and the girl shook hands.
"You know, it's been awhile since we hung out together... why don't you come visit us?" Taylor suggested.
"I don't think that's a good idea," Sara replied. She knew she would feel uncomfortable the whole time because of the thing with Chris. Nobody else knew about her true feelings and that's how she wanted to leave it.
"I think it would be a wonderful idea," William chimed in. "How about we make it a real Scottish evening. I will cook."
"Now such an invitation you can't refuse," Taylor begged. "Please."
Sara searched for the right words to let the teenager down gently. "That's really nice but I really don't think I..."
"Please, do it for me," Taylor interrupted her. "I'm sure that Chris would like it too, to have somebody else there to talk to and make jokes with."
Sighing in defeat, the photographer answered, "Only for you, Taylor. Only for you."
"Great," the other girl replied, grinning wildly in victory. "Tomorrow evening then. Okay, we have to go now. Starting today, I'll go back to training."
"That's great news. Okay then, we'll see each other tomorrow, Taylor ."
After William and Taylor had left, Sara sat in her car and shook her head. She was a bit mad at herself that she let the girl talk her into coming for dinner tomorrow. Because there was one thing that she didn't wish to see at the moment. And that was Christopher Stuart.
STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT EPISODE...
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