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Episode 11


*Nicole couldn't help but talk about Brice Jackson to Tara

*Annie insisted to Keith that he shouldn't feel guilty about seeing her behind Cassie's back.

*Melissa lied to Mason that she loved him and asked him about Shayla Hetricke.

*Tara and Derek learned that Jake had awoken from his coma.



The inside of the building is bustling with its usual activity. Great arrays of people scatter within and lend to the diverse kinds of job titles--models, businessmen and women, fashion designers, editors, and so forth. Jackson Industries is a company that lends its hand to various forms of entertainment and small industry to the town of Sunrise Bay and surrounding towns.

After a large chunk of the people has left for a meeting, the sound of Nicole Smith’s high-heeled shoes fill the now near-empty halls with a steady clicking echo. She quickly glances at her watch: its going on 3. She got a call from one of the secretaries about an important opportunity that came up to do with her modeling career and they told her to arrive no later than 3 to discuss it with someone in room 120.

I wonder why they were so hush-hush on the phone about this. Hopefully, this really is something big. Maybe somebody wants me to be on the cover of Cosmo or something. Yeah, right. That’s likely to happen. Nicole smiles about her sarcastic thoughts as she approaches room 120 and reaches for the doorknob.

Suddenly the sound of Annie Lansing's energetic and happy voice makes her turn around, "Happy about something, Annie?" Questions Nicole as she looks at the redhead. Her right hand rests on the doorknob.

Annie gets a giddy look. "Happy is such an understatement, Nicole. I just got a big fat promotion! You are now looking at the new head fashion designer at Jackson Industries! I am so excited!"

"So they must have really liked your new designs? Good for you! Maybe I’ll be wearing some of them in some of my upcoming photo shoots." Nicole’s hand is now completely off the doorknob and she is facing Annie.

"Maybe! Who knows? Anyway, I think I'm going to take Keith out for a big dinner, on me. Wait, I shouldn't have mentioned Keith. I know exactly what you are going to say..." Annie rolls her eyes and then looks down.

Nicole pauses in thought, "Annie, come on, you know exactly why I don't like the idea of the two of you sneaking behind Cassie's back. It's the worst thing you could do to a woman! Trust me, I've gone through it myself!" Nicole says this and flashes back to the image of Creg and Gabi's naked bodies entwined on his desk, in this very building nonetheless.

"I told you I knew what you were going to say. However, I still say that my situation with Keith is completely different than you had with Creg. For one thing, I believe that Gabi is nothing but a money-hungry prostitute. I've seen them interact with each other and there is not a single ounce of love in their eyes for each other. In my situation, Keith and I are head over heels for the other. Gabi and Creg are just head over heels with thighs in certain places and unusual bending and whatnot. "

Nicole raises her hands as though she's heard enough. "Please spare me the image, Annie. Sometimes I don't even know why we are friends. However, I continue to hang out with you. I guess it is one of life's great mysteries. Which reminds me, are we still on for a shopping date tomorrow?"

Annie then begins to dig through her purse. "Hmmm, I knew I put my damn schedule book somewhere in here. I can't remember when I have free time tomorrow. I guess it's the life of a busy fashion designer, right?" Annie's eyes then light up with recognition as she spots her red schedule book and pulls it out. She scans her plans for tomorrow and then smiles wide, "I can fit you right in between my 4 PM massage and my planned special time with Keiii-- I mean Kevin. Yeah, Kevin, my hairdresser. I'm getting my bangs trimmed and--"

"--Stop, I know that you are going to be sneaking around with Keith. It's not like I'm some fragile glass that will break at the mention of infidelity, Annie. It's just you can be pretty insensitive sometimes. I'm beginning to believe that this insensitivity is completely out of your control--which is a scary thought, actually."

Annie rolls her eyes once again; "Well I guess my raise in pay will have to make up for my insensitive streak or whatever you want to call it. I plan to buy you something really nice, Nicole Smith. Too bad they don't have this Brice Jackson you keep speaking of at the mall for sale!"

Nicole suddenly notices the time and realizes she better get her butt inside room 120. "Haha, Annie. Funny-funny. Anyway, I have something real important to tend to. I guess I'll see you tomorrow evening." She then puts her hand on the doorknob, this time wanting to fully execute opening it and seeing what awaits her.

"Bye-bye then. Don't wreak too much havoc in there!" Annie says sarcastically, before making her way towards the elevator.

Nicole smiles as she watches her friend make her way into the elevator. She then returns her attention back onto opening the door of room 120. When she fully swings it open, her heart quickly flutters--Brice Jackson is sitting behind the desk that sets before her. After her excitement fades a little, she immediately notices the bruise that surrounds his nose. "Brice, what happened to you??"

Brice lets out a small chuckle. "Let’s just say I don’t see my brother eye to eye on certain issues. It's more like we see things fist to nose."

Nicole is shocked, "Gary did that to your nose? I can’t believe it! Why would he punch you? That is what he did, isn’t it?"

Brice nods and seems amused as he remembers the scene from earlier in the day within his mind, "Yes, he punched me. But don’t worry, Nicole. I’m a tough man and can handle pain and my older brother for that matter. Now I didn’t have a secretary send you here just to talk about my big rivalry with my brother dearest. I need you to sit down, Nicole. I have an offer that I am positive you won’t be able to refuse!"

Nicole quickly sits at the seat in front of the desk. She has absolutely no idea what offer Brice is about to make but she is dying to find out.




Eve wipes the flowing tears from her eyes as she gazes through the glass into the hospital room. Her daughter's husband fights for his life in the room behind the glass. I can't believe there is still no change in his condition. Why did this happen to us? Eve's thoughts then naturally flow to her missing daughter. Suddenly something in Tom's room catches her eye. She approaches closer and realizes that Tara is in the room with him. She notices that Tara looks as though she has been crying pretty hard. She looks like she's talking aloud to him, thinks Eve as she gazes on.

Inside of the hospital room, Tara looks upon Tom Hetricke's nonmoving body. "Tom, why don't you just wake up? Come on, talk to me! It's me, Tara." She scoots in closer and slowly moves her hand towards his forehead, gently moving hair from his face. "Guess what? Derek's brother Jake woke up from his coma! Now come on, why don't you follow in his footsteps, just open your eyes? Do it for me and do it for Melissa." Tara's voice sounds desperate. As she looks upon the unconscious man, a memory creeps in on her:

Tara's footsteps make their way through the seemingly empty house, "Melissa? Tom? Are either of you here?" She clutches a get-well card tightly within her hands. Melissa has been extremely sick the past couple of days and Tara decides it is the appropriate thing to get her friend. Tara quickly opens the door leading to Tom and Melissa's living room, and is greeted with the sight of Tom, clad in only his boxers.

"Tara. Hi, I thought I heard someone come in." He smiles wide. "Let me guess, a get well card for Melissa?" He holds a hammer within his right hand. It appears he is putting together a wooden stand near the living room couch.

Tara's eyes dart from his muscled chest to his face, "Umm, yeah. I'm such a thoughtful friend, aren't I?" She forces a big smile as she feels her face growing red.

Tom notices her embarrassment, "Am I making you uncomfortable, Tara? If I am, I could always go and put more clothes on."

"No, no, no. This is your own house and you aren't making me feel uncomfortable at all! Anyway, here, I'll just give you this card and you can give it to Melissa. I'm guessing she's fast asleep upstairs?" Her eyes look up to the ceiling. She seems to be trying to keep her eyes on anything but Tom and his half-naked body. She then decides to give her friend's husband the card, and leave. "Well, I better get going." She steps forward, and before she realizes it, she is flying forward. Tom steps ahead to catch her when he realizes she tripped over his electric drill. When he does this, she falls right into him, knocking him backward onto the floor. They hit the floor making a big thump with Tara now lying on top of him. Their eyes lock and neither of them immediately get up from the floor.

"What in the heck is going on here?!" Yells the surprised and scratchy voice of Melissa as she looks upon her best friend lying on top of her husband. "Is this what goes on when I get deathly sick?"

Tara quickly darts from the top of Tom. Panicked, she grabs the card from the floor and shakily hands it to Melissa. "Oh, this?! I just tripped on Tom like a dufus! Here's a card for you! Get well! I'm sorry I can't stop to chat but I have tons of errands to run! Bye-bye" Her eyes briefly meet with Tom's before she hurries from the living room.


Tara is then snapped back in the present time by the sound of Eve's voice: "Tara, are you Ok? You look like you are millions of miles away."

Tara quickly rises from the seat next to Tom's hospital bed and looks the older woman in the eyes, "Yeah, I'm OK. Well, besides feeling completely helpless considering Tom is in a coma and Melissa is hell knows where…" She wipes her puffy eyes. "Umm, so I guess I'll give you some privacy with your son-in-law. Yeah, that's what I'll do…"

Eve gently lies a hand on her arm before she can rush from the hospital room, "Tara, is there something else bothering you? I just have this sense that there is something you aren't telling me."

Tara's eyes dart from Tom's face and back to a concerned Eve's.




Because of Melissa’s confession of love for him, Mason decides to continue the story of the events leading to Shayla’s suicide. He squeezes Melissa’s hands tightly as he then continues, "Well, there are still other things that happened before I learned that Shayla committed suicide."

Melissa tightens her grip and fakes a warm smile, "Then continue, Mason. I want to talk with you about it."

Mason gazes deep into her eyes and then says, "Of course I’ll continue the story. I would do anything for you, Melissa. Anyway, one real freezing night I was driving to drop Shayla back off at her house before her husband Keith came home. That night she had complained to me about how much her and Keith were fighting recently. She told me that she felt as though she had fallen out of love with him. By that time, I forgave her about all the time she never told me about Keith. I was—forgive me for saying this, Melissa; I was madly in love with her. Back to the story, well, we started kissing and she told me that she was ready to go past kissing. Me and her—we…Umm."

Melissa suddenly interjects, "You two had sex?"

Mason’s face then grows red as a tomato and he acts guilty as he admits to it. "Melissa, believe me, you were the only girl I wanted to do that with until I had met Shayla. She actually made me forget about you for the time being."

"I forgive you, Mason. Now please go on."

"Alright. Well, we—we had sex that night and then she started crying afterward saying she didn’t want to go home to Keith that night. So I took her home. It was such a wonderful night. We stayed up talking and getting to know each other even more. Later, well, we had sex again and she went home in the morning. By that time, I was obsessed with her and felt like I wanted to spend every waking moment with her. But after that night, she didn’t seem to call as much. When she did, it was only briefly and she had to get back to Keith. She told me that she and him were getting close again, which made me very angry. I couldn’t take not being able to see her that much anymore so I left a very angry message on her machine. Keith is the one who ended up finding the message and he confronted her about it. Sure enough, that night Shayla ended up on my doorstep in hysterics and angrier than ever with me for leaving the message. However, I managed to get my point across about how much I loved her and I pleaded with her to end things with her husband so she could just be with me." Suddenly Mason pauses. There are now tears in his eyes as he recalls everything.

Melissa clears her throat and then questions him something that has been nagging at her mind, "So when all of this was going on, where was her and Keith's son Jarrod?"

"Jarrod? She had a kid?" Mason says this with a genuine look of surprise upon his face.




"Nicole, I am going to offer to make you my right hand woman." Brice states before folding his hands together. He looks her in the eyes awaiting her response. "What do you say, beautiful girl?"

Nicole blushes and then behind a huge smile manages to say, "Your right hand woman? What do you mean by that? Whatever it is, I am sure it's an amazing job description."

Brice chuckles at her. "You are the most adorable thing ever, I’m telling you. Anyway, what I mean by making you my right hand girl is I am going to make sure people appreciate you more than ever. You are going to finally shine bright like the star you were always meant to be. I am going to make sure that you become an outright celebrity not only in Sunrise Bay but in the whole US of A. Nicole, to sum things up, I am giving you the chance of a lifetime!"

Nicole stares at Brice’s face in disbelief as she tries to soak up and digest everything he just said to her. A celebrity?! Can he really help me do that? Sure, I get recognized sometimes for all of the shoots I go on but a full out celebrity?

"Hello? Is there anybody in there?" Brice waves his hands in front of Nicole’s zoned-out face. "I can see you are already relishing in the possibilities!"

Nicole breaks from her daydreaming and quickly says, "But I am just so amazed at how you are offering me this deal. What makes me so much more special than all of the other models that work for this company?"

Brice gets an exaggerated and shocked look upon his face. "What makes you so much more special? I can’t believe you are even saying that, Nicole! From the first time I laid eyes upon you I knew you had something so much more than any model here combined!"

Nicole suddenly gets an apprehensive look upon her face. How can I believe him? First of all, how would he even have enough power to do this? Gary owns and runs this company, not him. He already told me that he and Gary are rivals as well. Nicole, what if all of Brice’s compliments and everything he is trying to do is just some way for him to use me or even try to sleep with me? Yes, he is quite the hunk but still, I have to keep my guard up!

"Why the apprehensive face, Nicole?" Brice taps a black ballpoint pen onto the desk while asking this. "Does that face mean that you are going to reject my offer?"

Nicole sighs heavily and works up the courage to say, "Brice, I’m not sure about this. Look, a member of the Jackson family has burned me in the past and I just don’t know if I can trust all these wonderful things that you are telling me. It just seems too good to be true! How do you even have the power to make an offer like this, Brice? You know as well as I do that your older brother owns this company, not you. Can you explain that to me?"

Brice slides back a bit in his chair and then clears his throat before answering, "Nicole, you sure are a smart one, aren’t you?"

Nicole suddenly feels offended. "Well I’d like to think of myself as a smart one as you put it. I’m not some dumb blonde model like most people assume would be the case."

"You know, you amaze me more and more each day I see you."

Nicole suddenly stands up in agitation, "Enough with all of the extreme compliments, Brice! Just answer my questions! How do you have the power to even make me an offer like this?"

Brice gets straight to the point, "I have the power because-- guess what? You are now looking at the new owner of Jackson Industries!"

Nicole gets a shocked look upon her face. "You are? Why on earth would Gary hand over this company for you to run? Look, it sounds a little unbelievable. Just a couple weeks ago you were a photographer shooting pictures of me and suddenly now you are the owner of Jackson Industries? I’m sorry to be so difficult, Brice. I just don’t want to be used and manipulated by another member of the Jackson family like Creg did to me."

"That is totally understandable, Nicole. Whatever my nephew did to you it must have been very hurtful. You need to believe me that I am not out to use you or manipulate you. I have complete faith in your success and that is exactly why I am giving you the deal of a lifetime." He wears a sincere face.

Nicole once again sighs heavily. She looks the handsome man over. She doesn't want to fall for his charms if he turns out to be nothing but a conniving jerk like Creg was. However, the sincerity of his tone is becoming even more appealing. The deal that he is speaking of is just as appealing. Should I go on a whim and accept his offer? She bites on her lower lip, as the decision she needs to make weighs heavily on her mind.



Melissa is shocked that Mason never realized that Shayla and Keith had a son. There is something that is not right here. Wait, Melissa, before you jump to any conclusions, you should ask him about the time frame of everything. Melissa breaks from her thoughts and then asks, "Mason, how long had you known Shayla and went through all this stuff leading up to her—her suicide?"

Mason wipes his eyes and then thinks hard. After almost a 15 second pause he answers, "Well, I had met Shayla at the beginning of that year in January and after a few meetings here and there we started seeing each more frequently at the end of February and—"

"What month did you two have sex?"

Mason’s face is then overcome with suspicion, "Wait a minute, Melissa? Now you are asking me what month Shayla and I started having sex? Why do you want to know so much?"

"Just because. Please answer my question." Melissa is surprised by her bold answer and realizes that her fear of Mason has decreased tremendously.

Mason pauses before answering, "Let me see, we had sex in—we had sex in April. Yeah, April. Though I don’t see why it's any concern to you."

"And what month did Shayla commit suicide?"

"She committed suicide in February of the year after. Anyway, now that we got that out of the way. After a few months when she came back that night after I left the phone message, she told me that she was having severe mood swings lately and feeling sick more than often. I told her she should go to a doctor about it and pressured her all of the time. A couple months later she agreed to do it. By that time, we were limited to only phone calls lately. She wasn’t coming over to see me anymore. Well, she called me crying once again on the phone saying she’d finally seen a doctor and well she wouldn’t tell me what was wrong. After that phone call, I never saw her again until I saw on TV that she had committed suicide." Mason then goes quiet. "Well, that’s all I have to say about her.

Melissa takes a moment to do the math in her head. Is it possible that Jarrod isn't really Keith’s son? That could be why he holds so much rage towards Mason… Her mind is in overdrive as she worriedly considers this possibility.