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Episode 3


*All hell broke loose at the New Years Ball as Tom was shot by Mason’s assailant.

*A lonely Todd called up his ex Elliot. It left him feeling pathetic and sad, as he realized he bailed out on a good thing.

*Annie brought ex-flame Luke Jackson to the Ball to make Keith Hetricke, her current love interest, jealous. ******************************************************************************


            "I really need to get a date. What do you think, Philip and Maci?" Nicole Smith questions as she limps over to the blanket where the kids are sitting and playing with Scooby-Doo toys.

            Because of her healing ankle and her inability to dance, Nicole volunteered to baby-sit the two kids while everyone attended the ball.  She had always been fond of children and wanted to get to know the two little ones.

            An increasing lonely feeling has been bugging Nicole for the past few months and she can’t seem to get rid of it. Nicole decides that she has to get out and start dating again. Though her first serious relationship with Creg Jackson was a horrible experience and made her believe she’d never find anybody, Nicole is more determined than ever to find someone to share her life with.

            "Just ignore me, kids. I’m just being crazy and rambling on about things!" Nicole lets out a small laugh.

            Suddenly Philip lays his stuffed Scooby Doo onto the blanket and questions Nicole, "When are my mommy and daddy getting home?"

            "They’ll be home later tonight but don’t worry. You’ll be in bed by then and as soon as you wake up in the morning you can see your mommy and daddy, OK?"

            "OK. I guess so." Philip puts his head down in disappointment but resumes playing with his stuffed toy on the blanket.

            Nicole limps over to the sofa and plops down. She then gets lost in thought about her and Creg. She realizes she shouldn’t have believed that the first man she got serious with would be the love of her life. Her mind then drifts to an encounter she had with one of her photographers the day before she hurt her ankle: 

            "You are certainly the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen walk in here." A tall man with a dark complexion said to Nicole as she walked past the meeting room.

            She immediately spotted a camera in his right hand and assumed it was a photographer here to shoot some of the models.

            She didn’t know what else to say and responded simply, "Thank you. No one has ever said that to me." She could feel her face growing redder by the second.

            "Well what the hell is wrong with those guys? They must all be gay!" The man let out a chuckle.

            Nicole couldn’t help but check him out. He had very chiseled features and a muscular build. His beautiful green eyes were accented by his tanned skin.

            "So are you a model here? Maybe you’re on my shoot." The handsome man questioned as he looked her over.

            "Actually, yes, I am one of the models. I have no idea who my photographer is today. Is there a Nicole Smith on your list?" Nicole then swallowed hard. What was going on with her? Her adrenaline was rushing quickly and her heart felt like it was about to explode. She never was so attracted to a guy like she is attracted to this man.

            He scanned a piece of paper that was on the desk next to him. His face lights up when he finds her name among the other models. "You sure are on my list. Looks like I’m going to get to shoot you!"

            Nicole’s heart flutters. So this is who I’m going to have to spend my day with. I’ll try not to cry. She then let out a big smile. "So I guess we’re stuck together, aren’t we?"

            "Maybe my luck is finally changing." His eyes sparkle as he heads back into the office.  "We’ll all be at the docks right next to the building. You’re scheduled to have your shoot in about 45 minutes. You know I’m not going to miss it." With that, he disappears into the room.

            Nicole checks her watch quickly. This was going to be the longest 45 minutes in her lifetime.

            "Why didn’t you ever get his damn name, Nicole? I guess I was too much into staring at him." Nicole says aloud as she breaks from her daydreaming.

            "What did you just say, Nicole?" questions Philip with a confused look on his face.

            Nicole just laughs. "Never mind, Philip. I was just getting lost in a fairy tale land. What do you say we watch some TV?" Nicole motions for Philip to sit beside her. She smiles when she realizes Maci has fallen asleep on the blanket. Nicole reaches for the remote and pushes the power button. She is in shock by what she sees being shown on the screen: News reports about the shooting at the New Years Ball.

            "Is my daddy dead?" cries Philip as he witnesses his father being taken away on a stretcher right before his eyes.

            Nicole can’t answer and watches the screen in complete shock.


            "I saw him run over in that direction!" screams a frantic Elaine to the police as they search for the assailant. Elaine was heading over to speak with Cynthia and Nicholas when she spotted the man pull out the gun from his pocket.

            "Mom, come here and stand by me! I’m real scared." yells Elaine’s daughter Cynthia as she is squeezing her boyfriend Nicholas Kane’s right arm.

            "Honey, sure I’ll stand with you. Please calm down; the police are going to take care of everything." Elaine begins to grow dizzy and almost falls down.

            "Elaine, I’m getting you a chair. You look like you’re about to pass out." says Nicholas as he breaks Cynthia’s hold to fetch a chair.

            Elaine faintly replies, "Thanks Nicholas." Her gaze moves over the screaming and frightened crowd running through the ballroom.

            Officer Tyson stops and screams to everyone to please calm down and be quiet. He then approaches Elaine for a better description of the man.

            "He was in all black and I think he had brown hair with blonde streaks. About 6 foot tall, as well." She says this while lowering herself in a seat that Nicholas fetched for her.

            Tyson thanks her and continues to survey the crowd.

Meanwhile, Tara notices someone is missing and doesn’t keep it a secret, "Where in the hell did Melissa go?"  Her panic point is now doubled as she goes overboard to search for her missing friend.

             Eve , Carl , and Cassie are now in a frantic pursuit to search for Melissa as well as spot the assailant.

            Keith’s face is filled with complete anger as he focuses his whole mind onto the fact that he knows that Mason was behind this shooting. I am going to kill that evil bastard with my own two hands! He thinks he is now going to kill my twin brother and do something with Melissa but he has another damn thing coming!

            Annie approaches Keith cautiously, "Are you alright, Keith? I can’t imagine what you are going through at this moment."
            "No you can’t Annie but don’t worry. Hell is going to freeze over before I let Mason get away with doing this to my family! He ruined me and Shayla’s life but I am not giving him a chance in hell to get away with destroying the rest of my family’s life too!"

            "Just be careful, Keith. You know how much I care for you." Annie states sincerely.

            "I know. Don’t worry." Keith’s eyes wonder from Annie’s face and she sees something click. Keith suddenly goes charging toward a cowering figure in the corner. His hands grab the man by the shoulders and turn him around to show his face. "What in the hell do you think you just did?!" He screams as he repeatedly beats the man in the face. The 9 MM goes tumbling down to the ground and the assailant leaps for it. Keith is too quick for him as he slams the guy backwards onto the floor before he can snatch the weapon up.

            Officer Tyson comes charging to the scene with a ready pair of handcuffs. "You can get away from him now. He is not going anywhere!"

            Everyone in the ballroom watches the scene with mixed feelings-- Some of pure excitement, fear, or in complete tears of shock.

            "OUR DAUGHTER IS MISSING!" screams a hysterical Eve as she frantically searches the ballroom. "Someone has kidnapped her!" Both Cassie and Carl try to calm her down to no avail.

            What was supposed to be a night of celebration and fun has turned into a night of complete misery and disaster. All of the chaos plays out inside the building while Mason drives off into the night with an unconscious Melissa tied up in the back seat of his van. In the meantime, Tom lies in an ambulance getting closer each moment to death.

Outside, the ocean waters are rumbling as a storm front moves in on the small town of Sunrise Bay, Florida. Lightning and thunder begin to violently fill the skies…


Todd takes the final sip of his second Zima of the night and he definitely can feel the effects of it. Todd isn’t a heavy drinker and it doesn’t take much to make him drunk. Suddenly the quiet of the house is filled with a rapid knock at the door.

            "Honey, open up! It’s me -- your mother ! Hurry, I’m getting soaked out here!"

            Todd sighs hard. Great, a visit from my mother is sure going to make my pathetic night better. He slowly makes his way off his chair and stumbles to the door. Even though he heard his mother and knows who it is, he checks through the peep hole before turning the handle. He apprehensively opens the door, "Hi Mother. What brings you here this time of night?"

            "Well I heard about the big shooting at the New Years Ball and I rushed first thing to Sunrise Bay to make sure you were all right! I saw the lights on in your house and ran through the rain to your door!" Nina exclaims dramatically.

            It takes a moment to register in his mind, "Wait a minute. Did you just say there was a shooting at the New Years Ball? Annie is there! I got to call and see if she’s alright." Todd goes scurrying for the phone and picks it up. It slips from his hands but he is quick enough to snatch it before it crashes to the floor. Todd’s fingers hurriedly make there way through the number of his sister’s cell phone.

            "I know she’s OK, Todd. It was some man that got shot." Nina rolls her eyes as though Todd being concerned for his own sister was a ridiculous thought. She then digs through her purse until she finds her pack of Marlboro cigarettes.

            The phone rings three times before he hears his sister’s familiar voice, "Annie? Are you alright? Mom’s here and she just told me about the shooting. Who in the hell got shot?" Todd stumbles back into his chair.

            "I’m fine, Todd. It’s Keith’s identical twin brother who got shot-- Tom! It was horrible, Todd. I saw it all-- the blood and everything! He was rushed to the hospital and I have no idea if he’s even still alive." Annie says quickly, overly panicked.

            "So much for the extra security they were supposed to have as protection from that psycho! I’m guessing the shooting has something to do with the man that’s been stalking that family, right?" Todd then rubs his hand through his short brown hair.

            "No, it was someone else. Though they highly believe he was working for that guy. Look, Todd, I’m actually on my way right now to your house with Luke . I’ll be pulling in your driveway in thirty seconds. See ya then." With that, Annie hangs up.

            "So is your sister still in one piece?" questions Nina before taking a long puff of her cigarette.

            "Of course she is and she’s getting ready to pull in my driveway any second. You better not start anything with her, either. She sounded extremely stressed on the phone. Who wouldn’t be? She witnessed someone getting shot down tonight."

            "Don’t take that tone with me, Todd. You know damn well that I didn’t start that fight me and Annie had on Christmas day!! I was just trying my hardest to get along with her and she had to bring things up and initiate the whole damn thing!" Nina flails her arms in her air as she talks. Ashes fall from her burning nicotine stick and fall to the white carpet below.

            "Whatever. Just try to be a little sensitive towards her when she comes in." snaps Todd. He sometimes feels like he’s herparent.

            The door then goes open as Annie and Luke run in. They are pretty drenched from the rain that is pounding from the storm outside.

            "It seems like this storm came from nowhere!" yells Luke as he wipes his wet face.

            Nina studies Luke’s face and then gazes at Annie. She crosses her arms and then questions, "Well, are you going to introduce me to your guy friend here? I’m dying to know who he is." She gives Luke a little wink.

            Annie rolls her eyes at her mother. "Mom, this is Luke Jackson. We used to be an item but now we’re just good friends."

            Nina gets an impressed look on her face. "Wow. Annie Lansing has a friend who is a guy and they supposedly don’t sleep together?! "

            Sensing that an argument may begin Todd says, "Remember what I told you, Mother. So Annie and Luke, can I get you guys anything? I can’t imagine how stressed out you are. I don’t know what I’d do if I witnessed a guy getting shot." Says Todd sincerely.

            "Any alcohol you have would work wonders." Says Annie as she hurries towards Todd. "You do have some, don’t you?"

            "Yes, I just bought a case of Zima yesterday." He motions Annie and Luke towards the kitchen. Nina stares at Luke’s rear-end while puffing on her cigarette and mutters something that Todd can’t make out.

            Todd shuts the door and sees that Annie has already found the Zima. "Help yourself." says Todd with a slight smile.

            "I have to go take a major piss. You two can keep each other company." Annie states very lady-like after taking a chug of the liquid.

            When she is out of sight, Luke turns his gaze towards Todd. The image of Todd getting the crap beat out of him pops into his mind. He has so many questions about whom the man was who was pounding on Todd. All’s that he knows is that Todd asked him to keep it a secret. Luke then takes a sip of his Zima and then says to Todd, "So have you got your problem you had all sorted out?" Luke remembers hiding in the rocks as Alec beat the crap out of him.

Todd turns to look at Luke. He pauses before saying, "You haven’t told anybody about what you saw,have you?"

"Of course not. It’s our little secret. I just want to know that you are safe now. What I know of this guy Alec isn’t any good. I don’t want you to be in danger." Luke sincerely replies.

Todd studies Luke’s face as though he is trying to read if Luke is trustworthy. "You don’t have to worry. Alec’s not going to try any shit. He’ll be away from Sunrise Bay for good."

"That’s great. I’m glad to hear that. Todd, I just don’t want to turn on the news and find out that you’ve been beat down or killed. That’s why I’m asking all these questions."

"I can take care of myself. You don’t have to worry about me. I’m used to watching out for myself. I’ve been doing it practically all my life. Heaven knows my parents were never there for me." Todd heads to the fridge to grab another Zima. His face is filled with pain and anger.

Luke senses that this is a sensitive subject for Todd but decides to say something in consolation, "If it’s any consolation, Todd. I have no relationship with my father at all. He’s such an inconsiderate jerk. I guess you can say he has rich guy syndrome-- he only cares about himself. He’s caused so much damn pain in my family."

Todd twists the cap off his latest bottle of alcohol, "No, it really isn’t any consolation to hear that someone else’s parents are jerks but at least we know where we’re coming from." Todd takes a long sip as though the alcohol can go through his system and make him forget about all the issues with his parents.

"My father is the one who’s the jackass. However, my Mother is such a caring and compassionate woman. She wasted so much of her life with him. I’m glad she finally got a wake-up call when she learned about my Father’s many affairs. She divorced his ass and I’m proud of it!" Luke then lets out a laugh as though he’s told a hilarious joke.

The laugh catches on and in a matter of seconds Todd wears a smile instead of his serious and hardened face. "Well, good for her." Todd and Luke share brief eye contact. It is broken by the kitchen door swinging open. Annie and Nina look fresh from another spat.

"I’m leaving, Todd. Sorry I couldn’t stay that long but some ungrateful little girl is pissing me off." Nina glares at her redheaded daughter. She then moves her eyes to Luke and gives him a smile and wink. She then reaches in her purse and finds her card. She hands it to Luke, "Call me if you ever get into any illegal dealings and need me to bail your ass out of them or just call if you’d like some time alone with me. I’ll put a smile on your face, guaranteed." A wicked giggle escapes Nina as she heads for the kitchen door and disappears from the room.

Luke examines the card and erupts in laughter, "She doesn’t take any time getting to the point, does she?"

Annie just rolls her eyes. "That woman makes me sick. I’m glad she’s gone. Todd, do you care if I spend the night here? I really don’t want to be riding around in that storm."

"So you don’t trust my driving through the storm?" Luke questions.

"Of course I do. I just don’t trust this damn storm. I think you should stay here, too. It only seems as though it’s going to get worse." Annie says as she glances out the kitchen window. The storm is violently marching on.

"Yeah, of course you can stay. I have an extra bed by my radio system in the room across from mine." Todd states as he turns and quickly glances at Luke, "I don’t mind if you stay, too. That is if you were thinking of it. It does look pretty damn nasty out there."

Luke quickly glances out the window and then back at Todd and Annie. "Sure. I might as well stay over if you’re offering."

"Good. I’ll go look for some extra blankets upstairs. I know I have some." Todd’s eyes quickly run over the length of Luke’s body before he disappears from the kitchen.

"So I guess it’s a sleepover!" smiles Luke as he brings the alcohol slowly to his lips.


"Give him another shot! We need to keep his heart rate steady!" Carl is now programmed into doctor mode as he and 4 other doctors try to save his son-in-law’s life.

Outside in the waiting room are Derek, Tara, Keith, Jarrod, Cassie, and Eve waiting to hear of his condition. Most of them are nervously pacing the floor. The worst case scenario eats away at each of their minds.

Cassie wipes a tear from her face and walks up to her pacing mother, "We are going to have to calm down and pray or something if we want to be of any help to Tom and Melissa. Please stop pacing before I go crazy!"

Eve tries to calm down but the reality of everything is hitting her hard. "Don’t you know that Tom could be dead and that we have no clue where Melissa is right now? Hasn’t that registered? How can you tell me to be calm?"

Suddenly Elaine emerges from the adjacent hallway, "Guys, I just got word from the police station that there has been a big search party put out to find Melissa. We just all need to have the hope that this will be successful."
            "Thanks for telling us, Elaine." Derek says sincerely as Tara tightly holds his hand.

"No problem. I just saw too much tonight at the Ball to let you guys live through this hell alone. I couldn’t head home until I knew you guys were going to be a little closer to sanity. I know that going through an ordeal like this can’t be easy." She looks at Eve, "Eve, if you want to go somewhere and talk privately I’d be more than willing to. Maybe talking this out will help to calm your nerves down."

Cassie puts her hand on her mother’s back, "Did you hear her, mom? Do you want to somewhere to talk with Elaine?"
            Eve is mute for about ten seconds until she finally turns, "Yes, Elaine. That would be good. Let’s go somewhere to talk." With that, she follows Elaine to the cafeteria.

Cassie walks up to Keith and embraces him, "Hold me and tell me that this is not happening."

Keith swallows hard as his mind bubbles to the top with anger. "Don’t worry, Cassie. There will be justice done. No doubt about it. Mason is not getting away with putting you guys through this hell" Keith’s tone stings with venom and he means every single word.


            Melissa can feel a sharp pain rushing through the length of her body as her aching eyes open. Where am I? She strains to remember what was going on before waking up. That’s right. We were at the Ball and…Tom! Oh my Heavens! Tom, he got shot! Where is my husband?! Is he going to live? Where am I?

Melissa is on a bed inside a locked room. The walls are painted black and the floor made of very sturdy wood from an oak tree. Besides the bed is an end table with a lamp on top of it. The room has an eerie smell of wet grass.

"HELP!SOMEBODY HELP ME!" screams Melissa. The energy used to scream causes her head to erupt in a sharp pain. She grabs her head and begins to cry profusely. "Where in the hell am I?!"

Her heart drops when she sees the door knob begin to wiggle as though someone is unlocking it from the other side. She has no idea who or what to expect.

"Hi there. Long time, no see. You don’t know how happy I am to be looking in your face after all these years!" says a shadowed man as he closes the door behind him. "We have so much to catch up on!" He steps towards the bed.

No! I can’t let him touch me. It’s HIM. He’s going to rip my clothes off and…and…NO! I’m not letting him touch me!!!Melissa realizes that all of her nightmares are coming true and that the man that caused her so much grief and internal torture is standing in the room next to her. "Don’t go another step closer! LEAVE ME ALONE!"

"You don’t really mean that, Melissa. Quit trying to hide your true feelings." Mason is now a mere three inches from Melissa. He reaches his hands slowly towards her face.

"DON’T TOUCH ME!" Melissa yells as she pushes at him full force causing him to stumble back. The memory of the night he raped her so long ago has rushed to the forefront of her mind at the speed of light. It is like she’s a helpless 16-year-old all over again and realizing what a monster her boyfriend truly is.