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Episode 44

*Tara and Tom were able to buy some time before they could tell their mates that they had betrayed them.
*Todd and Luke gave into their passion for one another. However, Todd still didn’t feel like telling the rest of the world about his true sexuality.
*Keith was rushed to the hospital in wake of him getting injured in a heated fight with Jarrod. Lacey and Amy drove with Jarrod to the hospital. After being questioned by a cop, Jarrod told Amy, Lacey, and Nicholas that he’ll be responsible for whether Keith makes it or not.
*Annie admitted to Todd that when she was 15 she ran off with her friend Jessica to escape her dysfunctional home life. To make money, Annie was a prostitute. The man her and Todd spotted was one of her clients. Annie decided not to tell Todd the part of her past that involved getting pregnant.
*Annie despised Cassie for her “psychotic” obsession with Keith.

Morning sunlight pokes through the bedroom window that overlooks a stunning ocean view. A flock of seagulls makes their way past the home, announcing their presence by chattering with each other like a group of gossips.
Tara opens her eyes groggily and rolls over to Derek’s side of the bed, realizing he’s not there. She immediately bolts upward, “Derek?”
The sound of the toilet flushing sounds from the master bathroom, a few seconds later Derek enters the bedroom, clad in a pair of gray boxer briefs. 
“Hi babe. There’s nothing like a pounding hangover to greet you in the morning.” He jumps onto the bed, moving his body next to Tara’s and leaning in for a quick peck on the lips.
After the kiss, Tara smiles, “Well that is what Aleve is for. Did you take some?”
“Of course I did! I know the drill.” States Derek as he moves down to Tara’s stomach, kissing it in random spots.
Tara closes her eyes as she enjoys the touch of Derek’s lips on her skin, “You’re still as frisky as you were when you were drunk last night, that’s for sure.”
“Of course, I've got a gorgeous half-naked beauty queen sitting next to me in bed. Can you blame me?” questions a playful Derek as he moves onto Tara’s lap, leaning in for a passionate kiss.
Tara pulls Derek’s body tightly against her own as the exchange continues, removing his boxer briefs. Just as Derek begins to undo her black bra, the sound of crying comes from the neighboring room. Derek pretends he doesn’t hear it and continues trying to get the undergarment off of her, with no luck. Little Maci’s screams intensify with each passing moment.
Tara motions for Derek to move off of her, “Hold that thought. Maybe she just lost her teddy bear or something. I’ll be right back.” She bolts quickly from the bed, giving Derek a naughty grin before slipping into the neighboring room.
While Tara is comforting Maci, Derek wipes his brow. The things I’m gonna do that woman when she gets back…well she better be prepared. Of course I have to get that damn bra off of her first! His attention is diverted to the vibrating sound of Tara’s cell phone on the adjacent desk. He grabs the phone and looks at the caller ID, surprised to see Tom’s name. Without hesitation, he pushes send to answer it, “Hello?”
“Um, oh, Derek?”
“No, it’s Tara, just with my new manly man voice.” Jokes Derek.
“Haha, funny funny. Um, I was just calling to tell Tara that she better find her best dress because there’s a huge party Gary Jackson is throwing today. That goes for you as well, you still have that suit you wore at the New Years Ball, don’t you?”
“Yeah I do. Wow, that party is today? Anyway, why didn’t you just call the home phone? I didn’t even know you had Tara’s cell number.”
Tom quickly musters an excuse, unintentionally wearing a defensive tone in his voice, “Melissa gave me this number one day when she went shopping with Tara. I didn’t really think it mattered what number I called.”
“Oh, it doesn’t, I was just curious.” Responds Derek while letting out a brief yawn, “Anyway, thanks for all the help last night with the whole shower thing. Jasper and I got more plastered than we intended to. At least Tara doesn’t seem mad about the whole thing.”
“Oh, it’s no problem. As long as I don’t have to help my naked friend into the shower again, I’ll be set for life.” Laughs Tom as he relives the moment with mixed feelings.
“Yeah, how about we keep last night between us? There’s no need that to get out to anybody else.” States an embarrassed Derek.
“Yeah, you and I have reputations to live up to. That would shatter any hope of respect in this town.” Tom says, in a forcefully serious tone.
“Exactly, my friend.” Says Derek as he realizes that Maci’s cries have been calmed from the neighboring room.
Tara reenters the bedroom seconds after. “Derek, who’s on the phone?”
“Oh, it’s Tom. He was calling to inform me and you that Gary’s big bash is today.”
Tara nods her head as her heart rate increases rapidly, How long are you going to put off telling Derek about you and Tom? You have to do this, Tara. By the sounds of it, Tom hasn’t told Melissa yet—unless he was calling me as a warning. How the hell am I even going to bring this up?
“Earth to Tara. Hey, are you home?” Derek’s voice interrupts Tara from her frenzied thoughts.
“Yeah, of course I’m here.” She slowly approaches the bed, realizing Derek’s phone call is over.
Derek immediately pulls her body against his, leaning in for a kiss, his hands already trying to take off the bra again.
Tara’s sexual mood from a little bit ago is completely gone, “Derek, what time is the party?”
In an out of breath voice, Derek answers, “It starts at 7, why?”

Without warning, Tara jumps up off of the bed, “We have so much to get done by then. I should schedule a hair appointment at Annabelle’s. You need to buy some more hair gel cause you’re out and if you want that sexy spike do like before, you’ll need it.”
“What are you talking about?! We have plenty of time to do all that.” Derek reaches to pull Tara back on the bed, “Can’t you spare ten minutes? Come on, you can’t do this to a guy.”
Tara lets out a deep sigh, quickly deciding to give Derek what he wants. This may be the last time we ever have sex. “OK, OK. You’re right. That would be cruel of me but to save time I’m going to take my own bra off.”
“Yes, very good choice. You’d think that thing had a padlock or something!”
Tara quickly removes it as Derek lets out a victorious yell and pulls Tara onto him, both laughing. Their bodies entwine in the heat of passion as Derek finally gets to prove what he’s wanted to since last night.
Todd double checks that his front door is locked. After peeking out the windows, a feeling of safety overcomes him and he turns his attention to Luke Jackson, with a wide smile.
“Paranoid lately?” questions Luke.
“Hey, neither of us can risk someone finding out about us. You know my mother. Also, as you were just informing me, your family wouldn’t take the news of you and I so well either.”
Luke nods in agreement, “Yeah, very very true. I can see the shock on their faces right now. After all these years of dating women, well, to suddenly show up with a man might throw them for a loop.”
Todd chuckles as he walks closer to Luke, “Just a small loop, I’m sure.”
“Yeah, such a small loop that my dad probably would have a heart attack.”
“Speaking of heart attacks, how is your granddad?”
Luke scratches his chin, a pensive look coming over his expression. “He’s still in intensive care. Things aren’t looking so good. I’m afraid his day has come.”
Todd gives Luke a sincere look of empathy. “Damn, that really sucks, to put it mildly of course.”
“Yeah, it does. Nothing we can do to change it, I’m afraid.” Responds Luke, nodding slowly. He then surprises Todd by pulling him towards his body. Luke leans in for a kiss. Their tongues entwine. Raw desire and passion fuels the liplock. The exchange lasts for a minute before Todd’s cell phone starts ringing.
Todd chuckles as he slowly breaks the kiss to answer his cell, “Hello?”
“Why the hell aren’t you at the hospital?” hisses Annie.
Todd is taken aback, “What, wait, has something happened with Gabi?!”
“Yes! She woke up yesterday and I figured you’d be here to see her by now. Also, you could drop by Keith’s hospital room if you wanted to.”
Pure joy washes over Todd. “Whoa, Gabi woke up?! Oh my god, that’s amazing news!” Todd breathes a sigh of relief.
Thank God! Gabi has finally woken up. I wonder how the baby is doing. As that thought stirs in his mind he gives Luke an excited expression, “Of course I’ll be there. By the way, how’s Keith? Has his condition changed since yesterday?” Todd scurries to find his keys and wallet. He motions Luke toward the door. Luke gives Todd an eye-roll as he proceeds to undo all three locks.
“Well, he just got done getting about a billion stitches. They’re looking him over as we speak.” Says Annie from the other line. “He’s lucid and everything but I’m still worried. I really want to get some answers from Jarrod about what the hell went on. They’re being so hush hush.”
“Hey, don’t fret about what happened just focus on the fact that Keith going to be alright.” Says Todd as he ignores Luke’s teasing expression.
The men bolt out the door. Luke begins to head to the passenger’s side of Todd’s car but Todd signals him to ride in his own. “We can’t be too sure.” Whispers Todd as his eyes quickly scan the scenery and people around them.
Luke lets out a light chuckle and takes heed to Todd’s statement as he proceeds to his own car, parked on the left side of Todd’s.
“Who are you whispering to?” questions a confused Annie.
“Oh, it’s just Luke. He came to, um, he came over to pick up something he forgot here. He’s heading to the hospital with me right now. We should be there in a couple minutes.” Todd says, in a hurried tone. “I guess I’ll see you when we get there, sis.”
“Yeah, I guess so. Oh and Todd?”
“Yes?” Todd gets in the driver’s seat, puts the key in the ignition.
“Please don’t tell a single soul what I told you yesterday. That’s just between you and me. Let’s keep it that way.”
“Oh, too late, I made a front page story about the whole thing.” Teases Todd as he lets Luke back out of the driveway before him.
Annie isn’t amused, “Todd! This is no laughing matter! I told you out of complete brother sister confidence. I already have to worry about that slimeball we saw at the restaurant. Let’s hope he was just passing through town.”
“Annie, what do you think of me? Of course I’m not going to tell anybody. Now, if you excuse me, I have some driving to do. You know my rule about not using my cell phone.”
“Yeah, OK, whatever. See you when you get here. Oh, and there’s a certain girl here I think you’re gonna like seeing again.” teases Annie.
“Wait, what girl?” questions an intrigued Todd.
Annie wears a teasing grin, “Remember, no cell phone.” At that, Annie hangs up.
Todd rolls his eyes and tosses his cell phone into the passenger’s seat. After looking over his shoulder for traffic, he pulls his car onto the main road, proceeding in the direction of the hospital.
Gary stares at Barbara from the doorway. He watches as she combs her long black hair. She makes sure that each strand is straight and perfect while staring into the mirror. Gary seems to get lost in each strand, almost being hypnotized.
Barbara feels his eyes on her back and quickly jerks her head around, “Gary, um, were you standing there staring at me?”
Gary’s eyes are neutral. He almost seems robotic as he enters the fancy bedroom. The walls are covered with expensive paintings Gary has collected over the years. The room works as just a fragment of proof for the riches the Jackson family relishes in on a daily basis.
Barbara jumps from her seat in front of the mirror, casting Gary a worried glance. “Gary, you’ve been scaring me lately. You haven’t been the same since your father had a heart attack.”
“You’re imagining things. I’m the same person I’ve always been, Barbara.” Gary states flatly as he blankly stares in the mirror.
“No, I’m not imagining anything. You can’t fool me. I know you too much.” Barbara extends her hand to touch his shoulder.
Gary slaps her hand away and turns around quickly, anger building in his expression. “You don’t know a damn thing about me.”
Barbara swallows hard and steps back. “How could you say something like that? Hasn’t what we’ve shared meant anything to you?” Barbara sounds as though a new realization has dawned over her, the tone resembling defeat.
“Barbara, I don’t have time for this. I thought I could have a decent conversation with you but obviously your psychological issues are once again hindering any possibility of that. I have to go check the last details of my party, bye.” At that, Gary makes a beeline for the door. Before exiting, he turns around, looking Barbara directly in the eye, “By the way, be prepared for a huge change around here after tonight.”
Barbara is confused, “What do you mean by that?”
She doesn’t get an answer being that Gary has disappeared down the hall before her question is finished. Barbara crosses her arms, shaking her head in disappointment, “What has gotten into that man?”
She is suddenly overcome with tears. Nothing has felt right to her lately. The only positive light in her life is the fact that Gabrielle is going to be OK. Other than that, a huge void has resided inside of her. Wasn’t falling for a rich man the “happily ever after” of her life? It had been a picture perfect fairytale in her mind. Her and Gary were high school sweethearts and managed to find their way back into each other’s lives after years and years apart. In her mind, years of her life were wasted in a tumultuous marriage with Patrick Kane. After divorcing him, she was searching for that fill. Gary came along again and represented that fill. However, as she stands crying in the empty room that is full of expensive things, the void feels like it has widened tenfold, no fill within reach—only more emptiness.
Carl seems engrossed with the morning newspaper as he lets his plate of eggs, bacon, and toast get cold. Eve notices this while pouring him a tall glass of orange juice. “Hon, aren’t you going to eat your food?” She leans in and gives him a quick kiss on the cheek.
“Oh, sorry, I was reading the article about what happened with Jarrod and Keith.” He slowly sets the paper down. “It’s so unreal.”
Eve rubs his shoulders, “Yes, Jarrod admitted that he pushed his father. Things obviously got way out of hand. There is no way he would intentionally hurt Keith.”
Carl takes a bite of bacon, “I know, of course not. However, he’s completely devastated that Keith isn’t his real father. Why in the hell would Keith keep the truth from him like that? Obviously it’s another dumb choice in a long line of bad choices for that guy.”
Eve proceeds to put away the orange juice, “Well, Keith was protecting Jarrod, I’m sure. Maybe he felt if Jarrod knew he wasn’t his real dad, Jarrod would look at him differently.”
Carl pauses to ponder his wife’s response and then turns to look at her, studying her expression. “Eve, why is it that you constantly defend Keith? Are you telling me you’d hide the truth about your child’s paternity out of fear? That’s wrong. Children deserve to know the truth.”
Carl’s words hit Eve harder than he realizes. She swallows hard. You don’t think I realize I’m selfish, Carl? I have been hiding a horrible secret from you all of these years out of complete fear. If you knew that Melissa and Cassie weren’t your biological children, you would hate me. Cassie and Melissa would hate me too.
Carl sighs as he watches Eve standing in silent thought. “What’s the sudden silence for? Look, I know we have different opinions about Keith Hetricke. I’ll never understand why you seem to have such a soft spot for him but I don’t want us to argue about it. Anyway, where is Cassie? She was devastated when she learned about Keith getting injured even though she tried to hide it. We both know that she reacts to things stronger than other people. We need to keep a constant eye on her as though she were a little kid.”
Eve speaks up as she quickly turns around, “Wait, you don’t know where Cassie is? She wasn’t upstairs.”
Carl gives Eve a worried look, “Dammit, where has she gone to now?”
Cassie hides herself in a shadowed corner as she looks toward Keith’s hospital room. Annie and Jarrod seem to be in the midst of an intense conversation. Wait, I have every right to be visiting with Keith. Why am I hiding myself like this? Thinks Cassie as she slowly steps out of her hiding place.
Suddenly a hand reaches to pull her around, she is startled as she looks into the face of Annie’s brother. Luke stands a couple footsteps behind him.
Todd studies her face, “I saw you hiding and I know you can’t stand my sister. Why are you here?”
“Oh my god, why would you be asking a question like that? I’m here to see Keith.”
“Are you sure that’s the only reason you’re here?” questions Todd in doubt.
Both Annie and Jarrod’s attention is diverted to where Todd, Cassie, and Luke are standing. A face of anger forms on Jarrod as he darts to where Cassie is, Annie walking alongside him.
 “Of course not, Todd. Cassie came here to cause trouble.” States Annie vehemently.
Cassie feels surrounded by everyone. Claustrophobia creeps in. “What the hell is up with you people? I swear you all need to get your own life because I have every right to be here to visit with Keith. I didn’t come here to be yelled at like I’m some child.”
Annie steps inches in front of Cassie’s face. “Oh, that’s funny because last time I checked a child throws a temper tantrum when they don’t get what they want. That’s exactly what you did when you lost Keith to me. You screamed and whined like a spoiled brat. You’re nothing but a pathetic bitch.”
The group doesn’t notice Lacey Ulrich and Amy Slater slowly approaching the scene of commotion. Lacey is excited to see Todd and Annie Lansing, wanting to tell her she’s a fan of her work. Meanwhile, Amy’s heart drops out of dread as she spots Cassie. Residue of Cassie confessing to having sex with Jarrod is at the forefront of her mind.
Cassie backs up from Annie, “Dammit, Annie, get away from me. You’re such a damn slut, even your breath smells dirty.”
Luke rolls his eyes and speaks up, “Ok, stop the high school insults. We are grown adults here.”
Todd gives Luke a look of agreement, “Yeah, Annie. This isn’t worth it. Just ignore her. Anyway, I’m going to go visit Gabi.” He pats his sister’s shoulder as he heads in the other direction.
Luke walks away with Todd leaving Jarrod and Annie with Cassie. Amy and Lacey continue to watch things from afar.
“Luke was right. I don’t want to stoop to your miserable level.”
Cassie rolls her eyes, “Oh please. Spare me, you miserable wench. You can tell just by looking in your eyes that you’re a sad nothing. Nothing will ever make you happy—even stealing somebody’s man. You don’t really care for Keith. I’m sure you’re already sleeping with another guy or at least have your eyes set on someone else’s man.”
Annie tries to hold her rage but is having trouble doing it. She steps toward Cassie, “You don’t know a damn thing about me so I’d advise you keep your mouth shut.”
Cassie makes a mocking face, “Oh, did I strike a nerve, miserable slut?”
Annie gives into the rage and slaps Cassie square across the face. Cassie immediately lunges toward Annie pushing her toward the floor. Both of their arms go flailing in every direction as they both slap each other repeatedly. Jarrod tries to break the angry women off of each other. Lacey and Amy watch in complete shock.