Chapter 24

"Leave us alone!" Ridge yelled as he pushed the frontgate closed from eagered reporters that had flocked outside the Forrester mansion the whole day. But his words were useless. Ridge jumped back into the car and drove the family up to the frontdoor of the mansion. Eric, Felicia and Kristen jumped out and headed inside as Ridge parked the car and then joined his family inside.

"This is not happening. Please tell me this is not happening!" Kristen said.
"Come here" Felicia said and hugged her sister.
The Forresters were in a state of shock. The front door opened and Pam Douglas walked in. She looked pale. Ridge put his arm around her and led her to the sofa where Eric was sitting silently staring into space. It had been two hours since Stephanie had been led away by the prison guards upon her guilty verdict in court. The family still could not believe what had happened. They had not prepared for this scenario.

"Cheers!" Brooke said as she held up her champagneglass to Lucinda.
"Cheers!" Lucinda replied. They took each a sip from their glasses and enjoyed the expensive bubbly.
"So how do you feel, as the new owner of Forrester Creations?" Brooke asked.
"I donīt know yet. Excited".
"I wish you all the best"
"And I want to thank you for this opportunity, and for being so kind."
"Thatīs okay. I trust you, and I donīt need the rest of the money today. 5 million is fine for one day."
"I promise you that you will have the rest within one week."
"Donīt worry about it. I know itīs not easy to come up with a large sum like that in one day. Besides, if you donīt pay, the shares will go right back to me, so either way I will get the money to start my new company".
"How far have you planned?"
"I have been thinking of location. And I still havenīt figured out the name. Speaking of that..." Brooke said and went over to the coffetable where she had her notebook. She started writing something down, and then she ripped the paper in pieces.
"What are you doing?" Lucinda asked.
"A good old fashioned lottery. I will let destiny choose a name for my company". Brooke folded the little paper-pieces and took them with her.
"Could you mix them together?" Brooke asked Lucinda. Lucinda did as Brooke has asked and held up her hands like a bowl and let Brooke take one of them. The new name of her new company.
"Okay, here we go....." Brooke said filled with excitement. She took a deep breath with a huge grin on her face as she slowly unfolded the little piece of paper. And soon she read the name of her company.
"What will it be?" Lucinda asked.
"This was actually one of my favorites... "Intensified - by Brooke Logan".

Stephanie had gotten familiar with her cell. The last place sheīd ever live in. She was sitting down on her bed, playing with the sleeve of her jumpsuit. How could it have come to this? She couldnīt understand. She hadnīt been there for long, but it felt like several days already.
2 guards came and got everyoneīs attention.
"Finally...." Stephanie thought. "Finally something to do".
The door to her cell opened and she watched the other prisoners line up, and she followed their lead. She already felt as though she was the odd one there, so she tried her best to blend in with the others. They soon reached the laundryroom. A big room with washingmachines and driers. Stephanie was given a place. She was to fold dried clothes and stack them up in a pile, in size-order. She was given a quick instruction on how to fold and was told to begin. She did as she had been told, but her mind was elsewhere.
"Faster" a guard told her and woke Stephanie up from her daydreaming of being home with her family. Stephanie cursed quietly at the guard and started folding faster.
"How do you like taking orders for a change?" a voice behind her asked. Stephanie stopped folding and stood still. Did she hear that right? That voice was so familiar. It couldnīt be.... could it? Stephanie turned around to see, hoping her ears had been decieving her. Sheila Carter smirked ruefully at her.
"Welcome to hell".

"Have you talked to Connor yet?" Rick asked Shannon.
"You mean my father?"
"Your biological father. No one will ever take away what you shared with your dad."
"Of course not. But I am not ready to talk to Connor yet. I donīt know what to say to him."
"You donīt have to say anything special."
"I donīt know if I want to talk to him at all".
"You have to".
"No, I donīt have to do anything. He lied to me. Ever since my dad died, he has known I missed a father in my life. And he didnīt even bother to come into my life."
"You donīt have to punish him by not talking to him".
"I am not punishing him. I donīt trust him and I am not sure I want him in my life."
"But he is your relative. The only one of yours that is still alive!"
"I donīt want to talk about this anymore. What about Stephanie. She was sent to jail".
"I know... This is very hard on my family".
"Why donīt you go over to them then?"
"I donīt want to intrude".
"Intrude? Didnīt you just lecture me not to push Connor out of my life? Rick, just go over there and I promise I will call Connor".

"Hi honey"
"Hi mom" Bridget answered.
"How are you?"
"Iīm fine. I am reading a bit for school."
"Then I wonīt take up too much of your time. I came by to tell you that I sold my shares in Forrester today."
"Why wait? I have been thinking about this for a long time now. It felt right."
"Then I am happy for you".
"Iīve also picked a name for my new company. Intensified - by Brooke Logan. What do you think?"
"I think it fits."
"Good. How would you feel about location-searching with me next week?"
"That sounds fun".
"Oh itīs more than just fun. I canīt tell you how excited I am about this!"
"I can tell. Youīre absolutely glowing. Let me ask you this: Is the new company the only reason?"
"What do you mean?"
"Are you and Ridge back together?"
"No. Me and Ridge is a book that has come to its end".
"Nick then?" Bridget asked and Brookeīs none-reply made her think she had hit the right button.
"You and Nick huh?"
"Itīs still very early to say where it might lead. But I am feeling good about that too, yes."
"I hope it works out for you".
"Thank you. What about you? Are you and CJ getting more serious?"
"More like the opposite. He blames himself for what happened to Deaconīs sister. Dina, I told you about her."
"Yes, I remember. What happened to her was horrible. But CJ isnīt responsible".
"I know. And I think he knows it too. But he feels so bad about it."
"You should give him some time".
"I know".
"But you donīt seem very convinced. Bridget, are you sure CJ is the right guy for you?"
"Iīm not sure"
"You know what I think? I think you see CJ more as a friend than a boyfriend".
"Itīs nothing wrong with that, honey. It just means that maybe you two shouldnīt be together as a couple. You can be just friends for a while, and see where things might lead. If itīs meant to happen, it will. You donīt have to rush into something youīre not sure of, cause that is the biggest mistake you could make."

Darla carried her newborn son into Thorneīs hospitalroom for a visit.
"Say hello to your daddy"
She sat down on a chair that was next to his bed. Thorne opened his eyes.
"Hi there" Darla said. "You have a visitor. Thorne, this is your son". Darla said and showed off their son to him. Thorne looked down on him and she could see his face lightening up. She smiled.
"H...iiii...." Thorne said. Darla was stunned to hear him speak.
"Thorne? Oh my god!" Darla said as she pushed the alarmbutton. Soon a nurse rushed inside.
"What happened?" she asked.
"He spoke"
"Yes, heīs been able to say a few words ever since his mother was here".
"What has he said?"
"He repeated the word 'innocent' a few times. And 'mom'", the nurse said.
"Really? What did you mean by that, Thorne?" Darla asked.
Thorne looked at her for a few seconds before he tried to speak again.
"Inno-cent" he said.
The nurse excused herself and left, seeing there was no emergancy in there.
"Your mother was innocent to the caraccident, everybody knows that. You dont have to worry about that".
"Nooo" he spoke again.
"No? Wait, are you talking about the murder?"
Thorne blinked once, which was for yes.
"Do you know something about that?"
Thorne blinked again.
"What? What is it that you know? Do you know that Stephanie is innocent of the murder?"
"How would you know that? Wait, you were at the house when it happened. Did you see or hear anything?"
Thorne blinked once for yes.
"And someone else killed Tim Cameron?"
Thorne blinked again.
Thorne tried to speak, but the words wouldnīt come out.
"Iīll go call your dad" Darla said. Here, take your son for a minute" Darla said as she placed their son next to Thorne, and put his arm around the baby so he wouldnīt fall. "Iīll be right back, okay?" Darla said. She waited for a yes-blink from Thorne and hurried out to reach the nearest payphone.

Christina prepared to leave the Shady Marlin. She had her bags packed when Nick arrived.
"Youīre moving out already? Did you find a new place to live?"
"I am moving into a hotel for a few days before my new apartment is ready for me to move in."
"You could stay here in the meantime."
"No, I donīt want to be in the way. I am flying to the Dominican republic tonight to get our divorce speeded up. You should be a divorced man as of tonight."
"Tonight huh? I am free tonight, care for some company?"
"Iīd love some. The plane is leaving in 2 hours".

Rick arrived at the Forrester mansion. The mood in the room was very depressing, he could feel it immidiately.
"Hello" he said.
"Hi Rick" the others greeted.
"I heard what happened. I am so sorry".
"Thank you, son" Eric said.
"Is there anything I can do?"
"Not really" Ridge said.
They were interrupted by the phone. Ridge decided to go answer.
"I canīt believe it" Rick said. "I never thought it would come down to this".
"Neither did we" Kristen said.
"Poor Stephanie".
Ridge returned.
"What is it?" Felicia asked, noticing Ridge looked puzzled.
"It was Darla. Thorne has started talking" Ridge said and immidiately got everyones full attention.
"What has he said?" Eric asked.
"Apparenly he is saying that mother is innocent".
"I knew it! He knows what happened" Eric said.
"Should we go over there?"
"You and me go, Ridge. The rest of you should stay here. Weīll call you when we know more" Eric said, and he and Ridge hurried off.

"No, this is not happening" Stephanie said.
"Arenīt you happy to see me?" Sheila asked.
"I never wanted to see you again".
"Well trust me, the feeling is mutual"
"I canīt accept this. Guard!" Stephanie called out for the guard.
"What is it?" the female guard asked as she approached them.
"I canīt be in the same room with this woman".
"Why is that?"
"She has tried to kill me. She killed my daughter-in-law!"
"Is this true?" the guard asked.
"It was an accident".
"Well I am sorry. You will have to file a complaint. There is nothing I can do. Sheila, go over to your place."
"This is outrageous. It should be illegal to trap me with her".
"I donīt write the law" the guard said.
"How do I file a complaint then?"
"You book a meeting with the boss".
"Fine, will you do that for me?"
"Since youīre new here, I will help you. But you will only get ONE favor around here, okay?"
"Fine, thank you".
"Now, continue work".

"Darla" Ridge said as he and Eric walked into Thorneīs room at the hospital.
"Hi" she responded.
"Thorne, hi" Eric said as he went over to his sonīs bedside.
"Hi" Thorne managed to say. Eric smiled relieved at him.
"Hi bro. What was that you said about mother being innocent?" Ridge asked.
Thorne was silent.
"Do you have proof?"
Thorne blinked once.
"That means yes" Darla explained to Ridge who kept waiting for an answer.
"What proof?" Ridge asked.
"He either heard or saw something" Darla said.
"The window was fully opened" Eric remembered.
"You heard something, didnīt you?" Eric asked.
Thorne blinked for yes.
"Do you think the knowledge you have can free your mother?" Eric asked.
Thorne again blinked yes.
"Great!" Ridge said.
"Do you know who really killed him?"
Thorne didnīt respond.
"But you know for sure it wasnīt mother?" Ridge asked.
Thorne blinked for yes.
A nurse walked inside. "Visiting hours are over. I will have to ask you all to leave and come back tomorrow" she said.
"Just a few more minutes" Ridge asked.
"I am sorry. It will have to wait until tomorrow. Thorne needs his rest, heīs had a big day"
"Sheīs right" Darla said.
"Thorne, weīll be back the first thing in the morning. You get some rest and get more strenght" Eric said and gave his son a quick kiss on the forehead.

"So youīll be divorced the next time Iīll see you?" Brooke asked as she made a file-change, talking in her cellphone.
"Yes" Nick said.
"Where are you heading?"
"The office. My old office. I sold my shares today".
"That soon?"
"Connor came over and made sure it was done correctly, and we signed the documents"
"So youīre gonna go by to pick up your things?"
"Yes. I want to be out of there by the morning so Lucinda can get started right away".
"Okay. Iīll see you tomorrow then. Drive carefully."
"I will. Bye".

"The nightmare just continues...." Stephanie said to herself as she returned to her cell. She couldnīt believe she was sitting in jail with Sheila so close. The lights was soon to be closed down for the night. Stephanieīs first night there. The first out of many. She shook her head.
"Forrester!" someone said. Stephanie looked around her. Across from her cell was a woman looking at her.
"What?" Stephanie asked.
"Iīve reserved a place for you at my table for lunch tomorrow" the woman said. It sounded friendly enough, but there was something about that woman that made Stephanieīs skin crawl. Her eyes were evil.
"Thank you" Stephanie said mildly enthusiastic, hoping tomorrow would never come.

Megan was at her desk, working late. She didnīt want to go home yet as she awaited an important fax to come. She decided to go make herself some coffee so she wouldnīt fall asleep when she was going to drive home.
As Megan left the executive corridor, the elevatordoors opened and a person walked out and quickly hurried into Stephanieīs office without making a noice. Megan returned to her desk with a cup of coffee. She sat down and took a sip. The fax still hadnīt arrived but she refused to leave before it came, knowing how very important it was. Maybe even a matter of life or death.
Finally the faxmachine got a signal and started typing out the message Megan had been waiting a few hours on. She figured it would take a few minutes for it to print out everything, so she went to wash her mug. The door to Stephanieīs office opened. The person inside had heard the faxmachine and realized there was someone still at work.
Megan returned to finally get a look at what the report was saying. But instead she saw a person standing by her desk.
"Who are you?" Megan asked the mysterious person, who had the back against Megan.
Megan went closer but quickly halted, staring into a gun that was pointed right in her direction.
"Oh my god...."