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Episode 51

"The Truth Hurts"

PREVIOUSLY ON SUNRISE BAY...

*Tara passed out from overwhelming guilt after Melissa announced that she was pregnant–the truth about her sleeping with Tom at the forefront of her mind.

*Eve feared that Gary was going to reveal the truth that Cassie and Melissa were his children, not Carl’s.

*Keith decided to leave Sunrise Bay.

*Everybody dealt with Gary’s suicide in their own ways.

*Luke, Todd, and others wondered what Creg’s motive was for exposing Todd and Luke’s secret relationship on the wide-screen in front of the party.

******************************************************************************

JACKSON MANSION

Brice Jackson puts a caring hand on Cynthia’s shoulder as she stands in the middle of her father’s office. "Cynthia, I know how much this must be killing you inside. Just tell your good ole Uncle Brice what he can do and he’ll do it for you."

Cynthia turns around and makes direct eye contact with him, "You don’t have to pretend with me anymore, Uncle Brice."

"What do you mean by that?"

"I know you hated my father. You and Daddy fought since you were little kids. I heard all about it. I’m not as naive and unknowing as you think I am."

Brice sighs and absorbs his niece’s words. "You’re right. There wasn’t a moment in his life that him and I weren’t fighting. In fact, I think he tried to shove me back in the womb when I first came out." Brice cracks a grin and hopes that Cynthia will laugh at his little joke.

She doesn’t even crack a smile, "Whatever, Uncle Brice. Let’s not talk about how bad you and Daddy fought. It’s doing no good now. Now that he’s gone forever and never coming back to us all." Fresh tears rush back to her face for the umpteenth time. She falls into Brice’s embrace and looks toward the door at a freshly arrived Creg.

Creg’s eyes are completely bloodshot as he stumbles into the room, "What in the hell is going on In herrrree???! Dammit, Cynthia, why are you crying again?"

Brice turns around to look his visibly drunk nephew in the eyes. "Don’t even ask her such an uncaring question! Look at you, Creg–stumbling around like a drunken fool. You should be ashamed of yourself!"

"Stop yelling at him, Uncle Brice! After all, this is how Creg deals with all of his problems. He covers them up and buries them deep inside. He can’t break his manly powerful image that he always clings to! He also can’t help but try to hurt Luke every chance he gets. Creg, I’ve been meaning to scream at you for what you did to your own brother. I can’t believe you showed that video of him and Todd Lansing! How could you? What in the hell were you gaining from that?! I’m dying to know."

Almost on cue, Luke enters his father’s office. His arms are crossed, "Actually, Cynthia, I’ve been dying to know the same damn thing."

Creg feels each and every eye on him as he stumbles back a little. "You wanna know why?! Huh? Because I wanted each and every soul at that damn sadistic party Dad planned to know what a fucking fairy fagot the eldest Jackson boy is! Especially for Dad to know the truth! He needed to confirm the reasons he hated Luke in the first damn place!!!! He probably sensed it the whole time! So, my sweet little family, is that explloonnation enough for you??!!!"

Luke is overcome with rage, "The audacity of you!" Without further thought he clenches his fists, "I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time." With that, he punches Creg in the face as hard as he can. Creg goes flying backwards to the ground and in no time is right back up and attacking Luke. Before Cynthia and Brice know it, it is a full out brawl between Luke and Creg, each throwing punches at on the floor.

DEREK AND TARA’S BEACH HOUSE

A loud crashing noise makes it’s way from the kitchen and Derek darts up from the couch, away from the rerun of Law and Order.

He enters to see Tara bending over hundreds of shards of glass. She looks up at him as she holds out her finger, dripping with blood.

"Babe! Are you OK?" Derek rushes over to her after grabbing a clean white rag from a drawer. He wraps Tara’s cut.

"No, not really." says Tara, obviously trying to suppress tears. "And it’s not the broken casserole dish either." She wraps the rag around her finger tightly.

"What do you mean by that?" Derek questions as he begins sweeping up the glass.

Tara reaches for the broom, "You didn’t break the dish, I did. I’ll sweep it."

"You are hurt, babe. Don’t worry about it."

"No, let me sweep it. I insist on it." She rips it from his hands. "Besides, you are too nice to me for your own good. If you only knew the truth about me..."

"Babe, what is this nonsense? What don’t I know about you?"

Tara stops mid-sweep and looks him straight in the eyes. She gives into the urge to cry her eyes out. "I did something. Something you will never forgive me for."

Derek is completely perplexed as he watches Tara have an emotional breakdown. He quickly walks over to her and pulls her against his chest. "Talk to me, hon. You’re scaring me. Do you need to go to the hospital or something? How bad is that cut? Let me look at it again."

"No, it’s not that. The cut isn’t that bad." She tries to wipe away the tears but they keep getting replaced by a new set. Why did I do it? How could I hurt a man who thinks so much of me? A man who would move heaven and earth just to spend a couple minutes with me. I don’t deserve Derek. The least he deserves is to know the truth about Tom and I. Tara breaks the embrace and walks in the other direction, still overcome with sobs. "This all started a few years ago. It was when Carly was around."

Derek is officially confused, "Why in the heck would you be bringing up my ex wife? Tara, please get to whatever you are trying to say because I haven’t the slightest clue where this is going."

"Derek, I felt neglected and lonely. We were fighting so much. I thought you were going to leave me for her..."

"I thought we were already passed all of this! Why are you bringing up such a painful part of our past together?"

"Please stop interrupting me, Derek! I have to tell you this. You have to know the truth about...about Tom and I."

Derek doesn’t know how to react. His heart begins beating faster. He studies Tara and can tell she has something huge to reveal to him and the fact that it involves Tom is adding to his confused state, "Tom?"

Tara closes her eyes as she summons all the remaining strength for her confession. "Derek, I don’t deserve you. Not after what I did with Tom."

Derek’s heart rate increases faster and faster as the picture Tara is trying to paint becomes more vivid. "What in the hell did you do with Tom?"

"Derek, this is the hardest thing I ever had to tell you. I...I had sex with him. I slept with Tom."

At that moment, all the air is sucked from the room. Derek’s reality as he knew it has been shattered.

TOM AND MELISSA’S HOUSE

Melissa’s eyes radiate with joy as she enters the living room, clutching the family photo album. "This has officially been my favorite Christmas. Everything about it!"

Carl looks up at his daughter from the couch with a wide smile. "I could garner a few guesses as to why you would say that." He then points to her stomach, "Well I have at least one guess that is."

"Oh Dad! You are right on the dot. I couldn’t be happier that I’m pregnant. I haven’t really told Tom lately but I’ve been dying to have another child and this couldn’t have come at a better time. I was thinking about how Philip needed a little brother or sister more and more."

Tom enters from the kitchen with a thoughtful look on his face. He sits next to Melissa on the couch after placing a tender kiss on her lips.

"So who was on the phone, honey?" questions Melissa as she raises her legs to set across Tom’s lap. She is looking at family pictures thoughtfully as she questions him.

"It was my brother. He called to tell me that he was leaving town."

Carl gets a wide smile, "Wow, Melissa. You are definitely right about this being the best Christmas ever. The sooner Keith leaves town the better."

Eve whacks Carl’s shoulder, "Carl! This is Tom’s brother we’re talking about. You could at least pretend to be a little upset that he’s leaving Sunrise Bay."

Cassie’s voice carries from the staircase, "It’s OK. Let Dad be all smiles. Let him feel as though he’s had a victory as a father."

Carl stands up and looks his daughter in the face, "Cassie, all I ever did was try to protect you. I always knew that Keith was no good for you. You should have left him the first time when you found out how he felt about that damn Annie Lansing."

Melissa looks a little guilty and interjects as a way to steer things from Carl and Cassie getting into a heated argument, "I feel as though I’m a big part of the reason he is leaving. I confronted him point blank about Jarrod’s true parentage. Now that I think about it, it wasn’t any of my business."

Tom rubs Melissa’s back, "You were just doing what you thought was right. Don’t beat yourself up over it."

Carl shows layers of concern as well, "Yes, Melissa, Tom is completely right. You have no reason to feel guilty about Keith’s choice to leave town."

Cassie shakes her head and rolls her eyes. Just like that, the attention is taken off of me and right to Melissa. This family is so damn predictable. I don’t know how long I can stick to this whole ‘be a good girl’ routine. Maybe I should thank my parents for having me be in Melissa’s shadow my whole life. It just makes me realize I have to make the drastic and stronger choices in my life to get what I want.

The doorbell interrupts everybody’s thoughts and Eve immediately rises from the couch, "I was about to go and get a glass of ice water anyway so I’ll answer that."

"Thanks, Mother!" says Melissa as she scoots upward for a more comfortable position on the couch. She pulls Tom closer to her while a permanent smile remains, "We should start thinking about baby names."

Tom runs his hand through her blonde hair, "Already? Wow, you are really on top of this baby thing."

Melissa quickly darts upward, "Aren’t you as excited as me?!"

Tom gets a defensive expression, "Of course I am! We’ll think about baby names later on tonight."

Meanwhile Eve re-enters the room carrying a big white sheet of paper. "That’s so weird, it’s an invitation for our whole family."

Everybody’s curiosity is immediately peaked, especially Carl’s: "Hon, an invitation to where?"

Eve swallows hard as she finds the answer along the bottom of the sheet, "An invitation to Gary’s video will reading." A knot forms in her stomach, Why on earth would we be invited? What could Gary possibly leave to any of us?

Carl darts upward at the mention of Gary’s name, "Let me see that."

Eve hands the paper to him as the color disappears from her skin. The reality of why their family is being invited hits her full force, Oh my gosh, Gary is going to reveal the secret I’ve been keeping for years– that Cassie and Melissa really are his children. There’s no way in hell we can go to this reading...

JACKSON MANSION

"Creg! Luke! STOP IT NOW!" screams an infuriated Cynthia as she watches her brothers practically kill each other.

Brice jumps between the two men and uses all his strength to tear them apart. "Stop! Listen to your sister."

Creg reaches his hands out toward Luke’s neck, "Why did Dad have to kill himself?! Why couldn’t it have been you, you sick bastard!!"

Luke’s eyes boil with rage and he leaps toward Creg once again but Brice stops him midway and pushes him back. Brice stands between the brothers with his arms extended and then screams at the top of his lungs: "YOU TWO NEED TO STOP THIS CRAP RIGHT NOW!"

Cynthia cries from the sidelines, "Dad is dead and this is how you two are acting?! You almost knocked all the pictures down from the mantle. You guys have no damn shame! I can’t be in here anymore, I have to go and get some air." She wipes her eyes and rushes out of the office.

Luke wipes his bloody nose and looks Creg straight in the eyes, not uttering a single word.

"Stop checking me out, you sick fuck! I’m your brother for crying out loud!"

"Oh give me a break! Brice is right, this is nothing but bullshit. If you can’t be the bigger man, then I’ll be. I’m going to go and apologize to Cynthia. You weren’t even worth the effort." With that, Luke leaves the room.

Brice still has his hand around Creg’s arm. Creg whacks it away and stumbles toward what used to be his father’s desk. He sits in the leather chair and reclines it, looking around the room, wearing a smug face. "Well I better get used to sitting here because I am the new man of power in this house."

Brice studies his arrogant nephew, while in deep thought: Don’t get too ahead of yourself, Creg. You’re too much like your Dad was for your own damn good. If anything, I’m going to be the leader around here now.

A smug grin forms on Creg’s face as he looks up at his uncle, "Don’t give me that look, Brice"

"What look?"

"I’m not an idiot, I know what you think is going to happen now that my Dad is dead. You think that you’re going to be taking the reins. However, you are sadly mistaken. My Dad’s will reading is tomorrow and I know for a fact that he is going to leave me all of his fortune and Jackson Industries, well me and Cynthia. However, Cynthia doesn’t really care about the company, I’ll be sure to let her have all the money she wants to go on shopping sprees."

Brice begins to laugh really hard. "Oh my, you are so damn sure of yourself, aren’t you?"

"Why wouldn’t I be? I was my father’s favorite son and he proved it to me time and time again. I have no doubts about what I’m going to be left in his will."

Brice smiles wide, "For your information, your father was nothing but a coward. You never knew of this but I was blackmailing your father with some juicy information. It came in good use when I wanted to get Jackson Industries. I’m sorry Creg but Jackson Industries isn’t your father’s to hand down to you. If you remember correctly, I now own the company."

Creg mocks surprise, putting his hand on his heart as though he is going into cardiac arrest. "Wow, Brice. You are dumber than I originally thought."

"What the hell do you mean by that?"

"My Dad and I were playing you the entire time. Dad never turned that company over to you–well outwardly, yes, it seemed he handed it over but legally and truthfully you have absolutely no claim. All the documents you signed that you thought made you the owner were completely forged. He appeased you by letting you go to all those big important meetings and getting the big office with the nice ocean view. Brice, think of your time at Jackson Industries as pretend." Creg rises from the desk in the midst of laughing, "This is so damn funny."

Brice clenches his fist, "I don’t believe you."

Creg watches a mere inches from Brice’s face, looking him directly in the eyes, "Don’t worry, I’m not going to kiss you, I’m not Luke. I just wanted to tell you to believe it because it’s true, plain and simple. I hope you enjoyed your make-believe power because I am officially in control of Jackson Industries now. If you’ll excuse me, I have a distraught sister to comfort. See, I’m not completely insensitive to all of my family members." He flashes Brice a wide toothy grin before exiting the room.

Brice stands in the same place, in complete disbelief of how he could have bought that Gary really handed him the company.

DEREK AND TARA’S BEACH HOUSE

Derek’s heart feels as though it’s been twisted and a stake has been jabbed through it. The weight of Tara’s confession almost takes his breath away. "I slept with Tom." "I slept with Tom." It echoes in his mind.

"Please say something, Derek! Please..." Tara’s plead is just above a whisper.

Derek’s eyes begin to tear up, "Why, Tara? How could you? I just...I just don’t get it." He turns his back to Tara. He can’t bring himself to look her in the face.

"If I could take back what happened, I would in an instant! I don’t know why we did it..."

Derek suddenly turns around, "When did this happen?!"

Tara’s eyes divert from his face as she suddenly is fascinated with the black and white tiles of the kitchen floor. A stray piece of the broken casserole dish comes into her view.

"Answer me, Tara. When did you sleep with him?"

Tara swallows hard, "Yesterday."

"WHAT?! YESTERDAY?? What in the hell?! Why? You just decided that a little sex was in order??! Was that his Christmas gift to you or something?! Why would you do this?!"

"Please Derek! Please calm down!"

"CALM DOWN?! You just admit that you and Tom slept together and you want your fiancÚ to calm down? Screw that, Tara!" Derek is now pacing the kitchen back and forth. His eyes are full of confusion and hurt.

"I didn’t do this to hurt you! I don’t know why I gave in and did it. My thinking was all screwed up and I just gave in to him. I’m confused myself about how I feel about Tom."

Derek stops dead in his tracks, "How you feel about Tom? Is there something else you have to tell me? How long has this little...this little whatever the hell it is been going on between you two?"

Tara buries her eyes in her hands, "I don’t even know how to answer that."

Derek inhales deeply, as though he is trying to summon all the oxygen possible so he can continue questioning Tara. As though as the strength that was inside of him is gone and he needs outside help to function. He then continues in a very calm tone: "It’s a simple question, Tara. How long have things been going on between you and Tom? It had to of started somewhere."

Tara almost can’t answer behind her cries and sobs. When she finally does speak up, she totally dodges the question at hand: "Derek, I promise not to let it ever happen again! I’ll stay away from Tom forever. I’ll stop being friends with Melissa. I’ll leave town and let you find someone who appreciates you and won’t cheat on you! Just please don’t let Melissa find out about this. She is pregnant and a wonderful woman and doesn’t deserve to have her family torn apart. Please don’t!"

Derek wipes the fresh tears from his eyes and heads over to the counter to grab his wallet that he left by the microwave. "You are totally avoiding my question, Tara. However, being that I know you so well, that’s my answer. Things obviously have been going on pretty long with you and Tom. You have actual feelings for him, don’t you?"

Tara can’t bring herself to articulate a sentence, "I’m...I don’t...Tom and I...we...I really care for him and I’m not going to deny it. No, this can’t be happening! Derek, where are you going?"

"I’m leaving. I can’t be here right now. I need to go somewhere and think."

Tara is now frantic, "Are you going to come back?! Please, Derek, tell me!"

Derek goes into defense mode, "Of course I’m going to come back, Tara! My daughter is asleep upstairs! I am not just going to leave her! Dammit, just get away from me! I can’t look at you right now."

Tara watches helplessly as he grabs the car keys from the coffee table near the front door. He swings open the door and slams it as hard as he can. As Tara stares at the closed door, the walls seem like they are going to close in on her. She falls to her knees, overcome with tears. "I’ve lost him! He’s never going to come back to me. What have I done?!"

THAT CONCLUDES THIS EPISODE OF SUNRISE BAY!

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