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Episode 34


*A horrified Lacey watched as Jasper entered the restaurant. She quickly sat down with Nicholas asking that he help in not getting Jasper’s attention, she also hoped Cynthia wouldn’t notice them and cause a scene.

*Brice offered to take Barbara out for drinks to get her mind off of Gabi and her ex-husband Patrick. Barbara accepted his offer.

*Annie told Nicole that Brice had to get her seal of approval.



Nicholas grasps Lacey’s hands as his eyes dart briefly to an incoming Jasper.

Lacey quickly moves her hands from his, "Just act like we’re a couple of friends chatting."

Nicholas leans back, "Ok, will do. Now are you going to explain to me why you don’t want this guy to see you?"

A fearful expression washes over her eyes, "Let’s just say that he’s dangerous to me. Besides, maybe we should talk about something else being that he could overhear us." Her tone is very whispered, she deepens it in hopes of Jasper not being able to recognize her voice.

"Ok, suffice enough explanation to me. Sooo, what do you think of the weather?" Nicholas states with lack of a better conversation topic.

Lacey grins, "It always goes back to the weather, doesn’t it? Seriously, it always seems like it does on movies, TV shows, or real life in general. When strangers are searching for something to talk about it ends up being the weather."

"Wow, you seem to really resent weather. Bad experience?" Nicholas says with a wide smile.

"No, no. Me and weather get along great. Especially the weather in this town. Well, I think the people in Florida really don’t have to complain about weather being that it’s always gorgeous." There is a nervous edge as Lacey rambles.

Nicholas nods, "I totally agree with you."

Lacey’s eyes quickly dart toward the front of the restaurant as Jasper makes his way to the bar. Good, his back is facing us. Now where is Cynthia? She’s bound to cause a scene if she sees me sitting with her boyfriend.

She brings her attention back to Nicholas and briefly looks him in the eyes, "So how is your sister doing?"

Nicholas is surprised, "How did you know about my sister?"

"Well, strange story actually, my boss here seems to have this fascination with the Jackson family. When you girlfriend came in to look for a job, Shirley mentioned the accident to her saying she’d send a gift basket."

Another wave of surprise washes over his expression,"Cynthia came in here looking for a job?"

"Oh, she never told you? Well yeah and she got hired on the spot by my Jackson obsessed boss. Look, I hope Cynthia doesn’t see us or she could call attention to us and that’s the last thing I want."

After saying this, Lacey watches as Jasper orders a beer from the bar. He is being served by a tall brunette named Tricia. Jasper brings the alcohol to his lips and lets out a laugh after saying something to Tricia. Lacey can tell that he’s flirting with her. I hate you so much. What are you doing in town anyway?

However, her train of thought is interrupted: "What exactly is going on here?!" questions a very confused Cynthia, who approaches from behind Lacey, carrying a tray of dirty dishes.

A speechless Nicholas gazes at Lacey and then at his girlfriend. How do I explain this to Cynthia without drawing that guy’s attention?!


The thump of a techno song fills the dance floor of the crowded club. Everybody is getting down and having a fun time after a long day of work. At the front, Brice has just ordered Barbara another martini.

Barbara watches as Jax the bartender prepares her drink before turning her attention back to Brice Jackson, "This was very nice of you, Brice. I couldn't handle another moment in that hospital room with my ex-husband."

Brice scratches his chin and gives Barbara a forced serious look, "Now be honest, who could ever handle being in the same room as their ex? Yuck, this reminds me of an awkward time I ran into one of my exes. It was in Paris, nonetheless! She must have tracked me down just so she could get the pleasure of watching me squirm."

Barbara taps her manicured nails on the bar top,"Paris?! Oh wow, I’ve always wanted to go there. Actually, I’ve practically begged your brother to take a vacation there, just him and I. However, to be truthful, Gary has been completely miserable as of late and a vacation seems to be the last thing he wants to do."

Brice shakes his head, "You’re right. Gary has been miserable. But to be truthful about that, he has been miserable his entire life. Even if I wasn’t his brother and I didn’t know him my whole life, I could tell that he was a lost soul looking for his place. Never finding that place, of course."

Barbara shakes her head at his remark, "OK, let’s do this right here, right now. I want to know the exact reasons why you two hate each other so much. Why are you guys constantly fighting?"

Brice sighs and takes a long sip of his alcohol, "The main reason why we can’t get along are his constant feelings of inferiority to me, I’m telling you."

"Oh my, you sure aren’t missing an ego. Come on, Brice. There is more to the story than your supposed greatness that nobody can live up to. You really place yourself on a pedestal."

Brice shrugs his shoulders, "Then maybe I’m coming off wrong. I don’t think of myself as anything more than a guy who knows what he wants, when he wants it. I’m just real confident, you can say. However, people often make the mistake of confusing confidence with arrogance or pride. I can’t help that they make this error."

"Ohhh OK, you’re just confident. Whatever you’d like to call it. Anyway, you never explained why you and Gary are feuding. Forget that whole feeling of inferiority bull." says Barbara, getting straight to the point.

Brice smiles, "You also seem like a woman who knows what she wants when she wants it. I like that. Well fine, I guess I’ll tell you the long boring story of this big mess with my older brother. However, I insist that you don’t leave the 'inferiority bull', as you put it, out of the story. It’s integral, I swear."

Barbara shakes her head and rolls her eyes. "Just tell me."

Meanwhile, at the entrance of the dance club, Nicole and Annie make their way through the energetic crowd. Annie is wearing a low cut dark blue dress that showcases her cleavage. Nicole, on the other hand, is wearing a more conservative silky white dress.

After surveying all the sweaty bodies on the dance floor, Annie motions Nicole toward the bar, "I need a vodka and coke to prime me for some good dancing. We’ll get our groove on after a few."

Nicole giggles, "OK then, alcoholic Annie. We’ll start with the drinks."

The two women meander through the crowd toward their desired destination at the bar.

Jax smiles wide when he sees Annie and Nicole, "Hey you two. I haven’t seen you guys causing destruction here in a while, well together that is."

Annie gives Jax a devious grin, "Well if we were always causing destruction then it would get boring, now wouldn’t it?" Annie taps her nails on the bar top. "OK, Jax, let’s see how good you are. Give me my usual."

Jax acts as though he has to think real hard, "Would that be a vodka and coke?"

Annie feigns shock, "Wow and here I thought you were like every other forgetful man."

Jax laughs as he goes about preparing Annie and Nicole’s drinks. Nicole smiles as she notices him reaching for the tomato juice to prepare her bloody Mary. Her attention is diverted by something to her right. She is very surprised to see Brice in the midst of what looks like a serious conversation with Barbara Winthrop. I wonder what he’s doing here with his brother’s girlfriend.

"What is it, Nicole?" questions Annie as she notices Nicole’s incredulous expression.


Cynthia’s hair is disheveled and she is visibly exhausted from running around taking people’s orders and cleaning tables as she looks onto Nicholas and Lacey, "Are one of you going to explain why you’re sitting together? Especially you, aren’t you still on your shift, Lacey?"

Lacey gives Nicholas an intense gaze signaling she wants him to explain the whole thing.

Nicholas holds his finger up to silence Cynthia. He tries to keep his voice low as he offers her an explanation, "Look, I know you are very confused right now but if you keep your voice down and act like everything is normal, I promise to explain everything later. Please, babe, just trust me. There’s nothing fishy happening between Lacey and I."

Lacey, unaware of it, is squeezing the front of the overstuffed seat with her full strength. Her eyes are completely locked onto Jasper’s back as he continues his overly friendly exchange with Tricia the brunette. She is still zoned into what Cynthia and Nicholas are talking about, "Yes, Cynthia, there is nothing going on between Nicholas and I. He’s just doing me a huge favor by letting me sit with him."

Cynthia wipes her face with her left hand and shakes her head and lets out a deep sigh, "Whatever, I believe the two of you. However, Nicholas, I want a really detailed explanation of this whole thing later. On that note, any word on your sister?"

At the mention of Nicholas's sister, Lacey focuses her full attention on what’s going on at the table,"Yeah, I was going to ask you about her condition."

Cynthia gives Lacey a strange expression.

Nicholas nods his head, "Last I heard she was still the same. I really hope she gets better. I need to keep holding out hope." After a pause he continues on a different subject, "Anyway, Cynthia, why didn’t you tell me about you applying here? From what Lacey told me and from the outfit you are wearing, your plans went very well."

"To be truthful, it was going to be a surprise." Cynthia smiles and then makes her way over to Nicholas, taking a seat next to him at the booth. "I wanted you to be proud that I did this all myself. I'm determined to show everybody that I can handle a job just like your everyday Joe or Lacey here, for example ." She points at Lacey when she says this.

With a sarcastic wink, Lacey responds: "Oh, I don’t know if you could label me as your everyday person." The young blonde forces a grin.

Her eyes wonder again to Jasper's place at the bar. A wave of relief washes over her as she notices that Jasper has given Tricia his number. He finishes off his beer and heads to the front exit of the establishment, shutting the door firmly behind him.

Good, he left without noticing me. That was too damn close. Lacey makes her way out of the booth as soon as the door closes. "Well, as fun as this was-- I think I’m spent. Congrats on getting the job, Cynthia. I’ll probably see you guys in the near future considering our whole living situation."

Nicholas quickly rises from his seat and looks around the place. "Well I’m guessing that he’s gone. Look, Lacey. If you're ever in danger, don’t be afraid to drop by our place if you need to hide out. I wouldn’t want anything bad happening to you."

"Aw, that is so sweet of you. However, I hope I can handle myself from here on out. I’ll keep your offer in the back of my mind though. Thanks again for letting me sit with you." Lacey gives the two of them a half wave before proceeding in the other direction of the booth.

"Yeah, anytime." Nicholas says slowly as he watches her walk away.

An annoyed Cynthia taps him on the shoulder, "OK, I don’t think I can wait any longer. Tell me what in the heck is going on and why we are going to be our neighbor’s protector."


"Oh, it’s nothing Annie." says Nicole as she focuses her attention from Barbara and Brice to her newly arrived bloody Mary.

However, before she even brings the drink to her lips, a yell comes from Brice. "Nicole! Come over here!"

Annie notices Brice waving his arms, "You were lying. Wait, is this the magnificent Brice Jackson? Oh my god, he is a hottie. Come on, Nicole, you have to finally introduce me to him!"

Nicole smiles wide and motions back to Brice as she leads Annie over to his spot with Barbara at the bar. "Well then here is your chance to meet him. Follow me, friend."

Brice makes his way to the two women and places a quick kiss on Nicole’s lips. "It’s so nice to see you here."

He notices that Nicole’s gaze is on Barbara and he dives into an explanation, "Barbara has been beating herself up over Gabi’s car accident and I thought I’d be a nice guy and take her out for some drinks. The poor woman needs something to occupy her mind."

Nicole acts like seeing Barbara wasn’t a big deal in the first place, "Brice, you are allowed to take whomever you like out for drinks. No need to go into some big explanation."

"Yeah, of course. I never thought you were jealous anyway. You have no reason to be. I only have eyes for you."

Nicole blushes while Annie clears her throat.

"Oh! How could I forget?! Brice, this is my best friend Annie Lansing."

Brice gives Annie a once-over, "Wow, nice to meet you. I must say that you look stunning, Annie. Almost as stunning as Nicole."

"Aw thank you. You really do know how to make the women feel good about themselves. So good at it, in fact, that Nicole has been gushing about you nonstop ever since laying eyes on you." says Annie in a playful tone.

Brice looks surprised, "Oh really?! Ever since she saw me, you said? I guess I have that lasting effect on women...not that I have a bloated ego and all." He says this as he gives Barbara a glance.

"Oh of course you don’t have a bloated ego. You’re just very confident." says Nicole as she leans in and gives him a kiss.

"And a Jackson." says Annie with a sudden serious tone. "I know that we just met but I have a message to relay to you: If you ever hurt Nicole, there will be absolute hell to pay. Your nephew already caused her enough pain and I’m not going to stand around and see my friend get hurt again–much less be hurt by another man in the Jackson family."

Brice claps his hands,"Now that’s what I like to see in this world. A true friend who isn’t afraid to stand up for the people they care about. Annie, you don’t have to worry about Nicole getting hurt by me. I intend to treat her like the princess she is." Brice says this while pulling Nicole closer to him and planting a kiss on the top of her long blonde hair.

Nicole smiles wide but lets her attention wonder to Barbara. A sympathetic expression washes over Nicole as she gently breaks Brice’s hold and approaches her, "I wanted to tell you that I’m real sorry what you are going through, Barbara. I may not get along with your daughter for obvious reasons but I sincerely hope she pulls through well."

Barbara gives her a faint smile, "Thanks, Nicole. Your support means more than you would know." She rises from the barstool. "Brice, thanks again for taking me for drinks. However, I think I’m going to head to the mansion and try to get some sleep. Of course try is the operative word."

Brice steps toward Barbara and wears a concerned face. "Well you take care, Barbara. You stay your strongest through this and avoid any more run-ins with your ex-husband. I don’t think that any more squirmish interactions will benefit anyone."

Barbara lets out a slight chuckle, "Of course. I’ll try my hardest to be civil with Patrick for Gabrielle’s sake but that will be the extent of it. Anyway, I’m off." Barbara makes her way through the crowd of dancers toward the exit.

Annie and Nicole watch Barbara’s figure disappear in the crowd.

Brice brings his full attention to the two women standing next to him. "So it’s now just me and my two women! Anyone in the mood to dance?"

Nicole and Annie exchange goofy glances. Nicole then speaks up, "Actually Annie and I require the proper amount of alcohol before we can do our whole groove thing. I think you’ll have to show off your dancing moves to us while we warm up."

"OK OK, I can dig that. Now you two watch and be amazed." Brice dances his way into the crowd as the intense beat of a techno song fills the club.

"Oh my gosh!" laughs Nicole as she watches on.

Annie leans in to Nicole’s ear, "With dancing skills like that, he definitely gets the Annie seal of approval!"

Nicole bursts into a giggling fit over Annie’s comment. She and Annie are in hysterics as Brice proceeds to do the robot.

If Brice only knew that a man who can dance is my ultimate weakness, thinks Nicole elatedly, just as Brice's eyes lock upon her own.



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