- Shannon Thurlow Jurado’s death had been faked over two years ago, and for her protection she was entered into the Witness Protection under the care of US Marshal Jon Stout. Upon hearing that her only son, Aidan Jurado was in Stone Creek, CA., Shannon fled from her home in Georgia so that she could finally see him. Jon Stout soon followed insisting that she remain a ghost to her family.
- Putting her work before her family, Kirsten Thurlow Sutton began work on preparing the Daycare for it’s grand opening in order for her old flame, Adrian Stone, to continue working alongside her. Although her husband didn’t see any harm in the partnership, her step-mother thought otherwise. Caitlyn Thurlow also believed Kirsten was forgetting about her responsibilities to Megan Sutton, her daughter.
- After hearing from his grandmother, Anita Porter Thurlow -- Aidan Jurado grew enraged that his sister, Imogene married Gavin Archambault in a quick wedding and without the family around. Even though they were in separate countries Aidan began to think they were even further. Aidan and his cousin, Kirsten believe that Gavin is only bad news for Imogene Jurado.
- Dylan Tyree arrived in Stone Creek on the heels of her music career hitting rock bottom. In order to try and rebuild her brand she enlisted her aunt’s help and in doing so agreed to stay out of the public light. Upon her arrival, however, she stumbled upon her cousin Kirsten’s flirtatious relationship with her ex. boyfriend, Adrian Stone...
To Listen to the Song this Episode is Inspired by, Click Here.
Stone Creek, CA.; Sage Gardens
Wallingford Inn; Jon Stout and Shannon Jurado’s Room
It had been four months. An autumn’s breeze had already taken the place of the sticky summer’s heat and if nothing else was on Shannon Jurado’s mind she would have been thankful. The petite blond shoved a couple strands of hair to the side of her face and tried to smile at the mirror in front of her. It was becoming a struggle for the woman in her early-forties and the creases in her face had begun to shape her self-esteem as well.
Shannon had been stuck in her hotel room for weeks at a time and even when she was allowed to leave it didn’t seem like she could get far. It troubled Shannon to be in the same town as most of her loved ones... and yet she wasn’t allowed to make contact with any of them. Of course she knew the consequences; that she would be putting any one of them in danger if word got out that she was indeed alive and well. But knowing didn’t make things any better.
Even though she had Jon to keep her company, the US Marshal wasn’t much company when he was stressed out, and trying to find the perfect way to get a woman who many believe to be deceased out of her hometown had become tricky. So they had spent four months in hiding.
There were times when Shannon hid herself in a scarf and huge framed sunglasses -- Jon would quip about her many useless disguises -- and she would find herself in the park sitting on a bench and hoping to see someone she knew. All Shannon needed was a glimpse of her childhood to calm her down. Jon always tagged along to watch out for her. She knew his intentions and never grew angry with him.
He had become a confidant in the two years they had spent together. Jon had become the closest thing Shannon has had to a friend, and then under the cover of the Georgia stars about five months into her new life, the two became more than friends. It was a release from her thoughts, from the stress and depression of never seeing her family again. They were talking about her old life, how she had worked so hard to make her father proud of her and to have it all just be for nothing and then Jon leaned into her and they kissed for the first time.
Shannon often would take herself back to when she first began to fall for Jon. It was innocent at first. They didn’t share many conversations other than the morning routine of what Shannon wasn’t allowed to do, things like; call her family, go into town without checking in with Jon first, build any relationships with other people. But then sometime after dinner Jon asked Shannon how she was feeling and something just clicked. For the first time since finding out her life was at stake Shannon finally felt safe around another human-being.
“I’m going to the police station.”
She looked away from the mirror and found the man standing behind her. Jon towered over Shannon, as often was the case for the five foot-six inch Thurlow. This she didn’t mind. “Tell Gideon I said hi...” Shannon replied sarcastically.
Jon eyed her. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine Jon, I’m just feeling a little claustrophobic today. Did you know that maid service asked if we were married? I told her that I’ve been begging you to buy me a ring but you thought it would be better to drive across the United States until you found the right moment to propose to me.”
“That old story again?” Jon smirked.
Shannon chuckled, she scrunched her nose. “She thinks we’re romantic.”
"We are romantic... I took you to that one place for your birthday... you know, the Grand Canyon and we dined out in the desert under candlelight.” Jon defended, effortlessly.
“That was only because I made you; I threatened to run away and find my family if you didn’t do anything nice for me on my birthday.” Shannon grinned at the thought of how long ago that was. Although in true retrospect it had only been a year since then. “It’s my birthday again, soon.”
“And here we are... in Stone Creek.”
She sighed in a way she had grown used to over the past two years. It wasn’t as heavy as it was stressed; but it was a sigh nonetheless. “Gideon already knows I’m here in the city... and so does my son’s ex. Girlfriend.”
It was something that Shannon had become used to so she didn’t mind the harshness in his voice. He only took precaution because he wanted to protect Shannon and she made it so hard to do so; especially when she snuck away from their home in Georgia to check-up on her adult children.
Shannon shook her head. “Amanda is a very nice girl.”
Even when Shannon said the comment, she still felt unsure. When Amanda Tucker discovered Shannon at the Winter Wonderland Ball she did seem like a nice girl, and especially afterwards, when Amanda hid Shannon away for a week, it was a kind gesture.
“We still don’t know anything about her.”
This life wasn’t something that Shannon found easy. Being raised a Thurlow woman meant that her trust stretched far. Although Shannon wasn’t an incredibly gullible woman, she did however, try to find the good in everyone around her.
“It doesn’t matter now. Amanda thinks that I left town after our last encounter... there’s no way she could ever fathom that I’ve been hiding here for the last four months.” It comforted Shannon enough to produce a smile. “It feels weird... Amanda was once a very significant part of my son’s life. I have a feeling she had a lot to do with his grief process... over me.”
“From what I understand he’s doing well for himself, Shan.” Jon comforted. He walked over to her side and she looked up at him from her seat by the mirror. “I can’t tell you enough how strong you’ve been through this entire ordeal.”
“I’m just waiting and hoping for you to tell me that I can go be with my family someday.” She admitted, she closed her eyes and let Jon kiss her on the forehead. “You do know that Gideon will tell my brother that I’m alive... if he hasn’t already.”
Jon grinned. “I already know this. This is exactly why I told Chief Wilkinson the entire story and why you’re under my protection in the first place. Even if he does tell your brother that you’re alive, I can guarantee that they’re not going to go searching for you.”
She frowned. “I know you’re not trying to hurt my feelings.”
“I just want to protect you.”
“You have so far, and that is a lot more than I can say about some of the men from my past,” She admitted, lingering into the darkness of her past for a moment. “Do we even know who is behind my attack...? I overheard you talking about it a couple months back, before I left Georgia.”
Jon refocused his attention away from Shannon and she knew it was something big. There were times where she found herself just watching the man, mostly when he thought she was asleep. When there was something he didn’t want to face or talk about. He had the same look in the eyes that seemed to avoid her own.
“I’d like if you’d tell me what is going on... especially since we promised to never keep secrets from one another.”
It took a couple of minutes for him to respond. She had already found herself away from the mirror; she stepped into the bathroom and combed her hair. Like some damsel in a tower. Definitely still trying to adjust to this new life she had planned out for herself since her ‘death’ in Paris.
He appeared at the door frame. “Edward Rayburn wasn’t the person who tried to kill you.”
“I know that already,” She replied, “Once the government caught wind of what was going on they intervened and made it look like I died in the explosion... I know that Edward didn’t kill me. Ironically...”
“What I mean is that Edward Rayburn wasn’t the one who wanted you dead. There was someone else behind the whole ordeal. We were trying to trace this man for years before we stumbled over Edward trying to steal the diamonds from you.”
Shannon looked up nervously. “So he’s still out there.”
1763 Majestic St., Stone Creek, CA. [Hannigan Home]
Jacks Hannigan’s Home.
Her deep breaths were shadowed in guilt. The twenty-three year old brunette had spent her entire teenage life in love with one man, but once he proposed to her she had a change of heart. Still, laying naked in a bed of silk Dylan Tyree couldn’t help but feel the guilt of letting the boy go. She had spent the last couple of months avoiding her aunt Helen and sneaking around with the much older Jacks Hannigan. It had helped her forget the fact that she needed to hide away. That she had needed to hide away from the media and her old life.
Dylan rolled over to face the slumbering man beside her. He was rugged and experienced in life. The way that he had taken her last night only made her crave Jacks even more. Now he was at peace, void of her existence and sleeping heavily.
The brunette turned away from her companion and thought about her life and the choices she had made up until now. How she had denied the proposal, then she began seeking out drugs to help her cope. It had all come so easily to her and then the media began to shine light on her addictions, or lack of control. Everything came crashing down. Her whole world had changed and she hadn’t been able to readjust ever since. So Dylan decided it was best to see the only other person in her family who had experienced this sort of catastrophe; her aunt, Helen.
A pair of strong arms wrapped themselves around her body, she could feel his warm breath upon her neck and she smiled when his deep voice spoke, “Why have you awaken so early?”
“Jus’ been thinkin’,” Dylan turned to face him. “My aunt is probably worried ‘bout me.”
“You’ve never worried about that before. In fact she has been far from your mind these last three days,” Jacks pulled Dylan closer to him. She could feel his muscular body cover her own lanky torso. “How about I help put your aunt and the rest of your family at the back of your mind... where they belong?” He slipped his right hand underneath the covers.
But Dylan pulled her body away from his. “As much as I would like to canoodle with you, I jus’ cannot stop thinkin’ of what she is goin’ to say. I came here for some of her insight on how to deal with the media and then I jus’ disappeared.”
“That’s what you had wanted, wasn’t it?”
She shrugged. “Of course, but that was only for a minute. I need the spotlight for my career to exist, otherwise I jus’ become my aunt, the invisible Tyree. Why would I want to be that... when I can be famous.”
“Why don’t you just lay here with me. Just forget about it all... it will only lead to stress and heartbreak. Stay here in Stone Creek and spend your life with me?” He sat up in the bed. “You seem quite happy here with me.”
“We’re only sleepin’ together.” Dylan reminded him. “Besides one of us is goin’ to get bored of the other sometime soon and I’m not lookin’ forward to that. Listen, if I were into the whole ‘settling down on livin’ the boring life’ I would definitely do it with a hunk like you.”
“But you’re not going to.”
Dylan shook her head. “I’m goin’ back out there and I’m takin’ my comeback from any stupid lil bitch who thinks she can steal my shine. I jus’ have to talk to my aunt and see how exactly she was able to overcome her past. How she was able to change her image in front of the media.”
“Didn’t she just disappear entirely?” Jacks reminded her.
“No,” she turned to Jacks, “she changed how everyone looked at her and turned herself into a very successful business woman. I need to get back out there into my legacy and there’s not a thing that will stop me.”
Jacks placed a finger on her lips. “Can we at least have break-up sex before you go all ‘Big-And-Mighty’ on me?”
Dylan smirked, falling back into his arms.
813 Crystal Hill St., Stone Creek, CA. [Bayou Oaks Condos #21]
Aidan and Taylor’s Condo
“Have you replied to your sister yet?” Taylor Kern asked. He slipped into the living room of the condo that was formerly only occupied by his boyfriend. It felt nice to finally have one place to keep his things. Going back-and-forth had put a hamper to his daily plans. The twenty-nine year old caucasian man stood in the middle of the room as he waited for a response.
In a matter of seconds Aidan appeared above him, he gripped the railings of the loft. His arms were ripped as he leaned against them with a smile. “Surprisingly, Imogene isn’t taking my calls.”
Taylor thought this over. He knew that Aidan’s younger sister, Imogene, was a tad on the dramatic side. He had figured it was how she grew up in Paris and how Aidan’s father never gave her any mind. But Imogene seemed even more fickle lately. Which troubled Taylor since he knew it troubled Aidan. He looked up at his lover. “Have you tried your father?”
“I’d rather try my grandmother.”
“You’re going to have to make-up with your father at some point, Aidan. Besides, your grandmother said she wouldn’t tell him a thing about our relationship until you’ve said something yourself.” Taylor reminded his boyfriend. “Can you come down here so I don’t have to shout?”
“You’re not shouting.” Aidan replied.
Taylor smirked. “Well then come down here so that I can kiss you.”
He watched as Aidan disappeared from sight and the sound of footsteps endeared to his ears. Taylor couldn’t help but smile as he found Aidan in front of him. Now that they had moved forward with their lives and moved in together he felt less alone. “Now that I am here... where is my kiss?”
“Right here.” Taylor pulled Aidan in.
The taste of Aidan’s lips was worth the thick topic they had been dwelling over. “I don’t know exactly how I feel about my father finding out about us, Taylor. On one hand I really shouldn’t give one push to how he feels... especially after what happened back in Paris. But on the other hand... he is my father.”
“I wish I could give you some advice but I never really told my family the truth about me... I just sort of ran off.” Taylor admitted. “Still, it would help in situations like this where you hear about your sister marrying a man like Gavin Archambault from your grandmother. You didn’t even get an invitation to the wedding.”
“My grandmother said it was a small ceremony.”
“Either way... shouldn’t she have said something? From what I heard about that man... from what Kirsten told me about Gavin he doesn’t seem like good news. I don’t really know Imogene but I think she needs to hear about this from someone who cares about her.”
Aidan shook his head. “Imogene already knows.”
“What does that mean?”
“Imogene already knows the kind of man that Gavin is. When we were younger Imogene was the one that introduced my cousin Kirsten to Gavin Archambault and the two of us helped Kirsten sneak out of our home so she could go on a date with the man.”
Taylor frowned. “The night he tried to rape her?”
“I felt really bad about it.”
“You shouldn’t... it wasn’t your fault.” Taylor stepped up to his boyfriend and smirked. “Kirsten is fine and she even explained that Gavin never got the chance to rape her after Charlie stepped in. There was never a bad deed done. But if we don’t try to at least reason with Imogene.”
Aidan stopped him. “There’s no ‘we’ in this, Tay. Look, I really appreciate that you want to help myself and my family rid this bastard but the thing is my sister and my father don’t even know that you exist. I think I should handle this on my own.”
“You’re doing so well as it is.” Taylor taunted.
He sighed, took a deeper breath and then looked at Aidan. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be.” Aidan shrugged. “I love you and I didn’t mean to upset you darling. I just know my sister and I want to handle this on my own... that’s all that I meant. Of course, in any other situation I would love for you to be by my side helping me sort out my family issues --”
“Aidan, it’s fine.”
“This is where I miss having my mother around.” Aidan admitted, he placed a hand on Taylor’s hand and squeezed it tightly. This, Taylor, took as a good sign. “I just wish that she was around so that she could give Imogene a good shake or two.”
“Or three.” Taylor huffed.
Aidan smirked. “Or three. I have this feeling that she wouldn’t have even let the two of them walk down the isle. Sometimes I wish I was able to just talk to her and ask for some advice, you know? About what I should do about my father and Imogene.”
“We can always do that Aidan.” Taylor gathered his thoughts. “We can always go to Paris and visit your mother’s grave... maybe ask her for some advice about Imogene or even just to tell her about the two of us? I know it doesn’t seem like it helps but maybe it just might?”
“Is it selfish to wish to move her grave to Stone Creek?”
Taylor chuckled. “Anything to avoid your father, huh?”
“I just don’t know how to react to him yet. The last time I saw Mathias Jurado he relieved me of my duties at Thurlow-Jurado Overseas for what I did to my mother. I can't really he blame him for that... but then he cut me out of his life... or maybe I cut him out of mine.” Aidan thought. "I shouldn't have went through with Edward's plan."
“You didn’t do anything to your mother.”
Aidan shrugged. “If I hadn’t have forged her signature then maybe she would have still been here...”
“We’re not going down that road. I’ve done it on my own already. I tried to recollect my childhood and tried to retract my sexuality but it doesn’t work because you can’t change the past. You just have to find a way to move forward and maybe I might not be able to help you solve your family issues... but maybe I can help you move forward.”
“You already are... even if I’m being a tad bit stubborn.”
Stone Creek, CA.; Boulstridge Mountain
The Lakeside Inn; Inside
She had spent her entire morning running errands for the Cafe and after two coffee stops, a visit to her father’s house to drop-off Megan, and a check-in with the carpenter’s at the future Daycare’s, Kirsten finally found herself a resting place. Although she had no idea how much rest she would be getting. Ironically, the building held more than fifty beds.
Kirsten Thurlow Jurado stood in front of the Lakeside Inn with her hands clasping a soy white chocolate frappuccino. Of course, the nice teenager at the counter spelled her name ‘Kristen’ like they always have, but the drink had been enough to get her to this point. She needed to talk with her husband about a sore subject; their future.
Thinking it over she felt her thoughts were a little on the dramatic side today, this, she blamed on the caffeine. It wasn’t her normal place to inhabit but she decided then and there that she would stop spending money on cheap coffee chains and stick to her own brew.
“Well there is a pleasant surprise.” Kirsten spun around to see her husband standing before her. He wore an expensive suit, one that Kirsten had talked him into on one of their trips to the city. It brought out his eyes, the blues and pearl white palette brought a sense of calmness to her current mood. “Should we head inside?”
“That would be wise. I wouldn’t want anyone to think that the two of us are having some sort of... date. I mean especially since the two of us are married to our jobs.” The words were meant to be a joke but they sounded so much thicker as they left her lips. Kirsten cleared her throat and let Charlie lead her inside the Inn and to his office.
Charlie turned to Kirsten as they walked. “How was Megan when you dropped her off at your father’s place?”
“She’s ten, Charlie.” Kirsten reminded him. “Megan is a lot more moody than she used to be. But if it soothes your mind I feel like she’s doing better than before. I’m sure she still is hesitant about us all being one big happy family.”
“Sometimes I feel like you’re the teenager and Megan’s the adult.” Charlie smirked. “I meant did Megan have all of her things for her science fair? She had asked me to help with the volcano but I didn’t have much time to go buy the materials so I sent Taylor to help her.”
Kirsten nodded, she knew all of this. She had had lunch with Taylor more times this week than she had lunch with her own husband. “She ended up making a robot or something that talks... maybe a dog that does a backflip?...” She frowned.
“I think we need to spend more time with our daughter.” Charlie replied, he looked up from his files he had dug up after they entered his office. “So what brings you here today, sunshine?”
“Actually that is exactly why I came today.” Kirsten thought back to the conversation she had with her step-mother a couple days ago. How she felt so hurt by what Caitlyn had said... but then she later realized that Caitlyn was only trying to help Kirsten and Charlie have a relationship with their daughter. She folded her arms. “Why haven’t we spent more time with our daughter?”
Charlie stopped, he thought it over. She could tell that he was searching for a viable answer as he stood before her. Kirsten was hoping that Charlie would come up with a reason, something concrete other than that they were both busy with work. Although the longer he stood quiet the more she knew he was thinking the same thing as she was.
“She’s growing up... getting older. Before either of us know it she will be in High School and not want to have any connection to the two of us. I know I’m being a little overdramatic about this. I know that no matter what, Megan will always be our little girl... but shouldn’t we be doing something?”
“Of course she will always be our little girl,” Charlie replied, he drifted, “I knew it the first moment I laid eyes on her even though you passed her off as Kent Wallace’s -- not that I hold that against you -- anymore... I love the both of you.”
It was hard. Thinking about how much her family had been drifting apart in these last few years when it wasn’t that long ago when Kirsten had been the one trying to keep them all together. Trying to plan dinner parties for both sides of Megan’s family. She had tried to get her father and Patrick Sutton to sit at the same dinner table at one point, but now... the ones who were pulling the family apart where Megan’s parents; Kirsten and Charlie.
This was never how she pictured things, of course, she had never found herself so preoccupied with her own business until now. Now that she had wanted Adrian to work alongside her. This brought guilt upon the blond woman. She tensed up when Charlie approached her.
“I think we need to find a way to balance both work and our daughter.” Kirsten admitted.
Charlie shrugged. “Kirsten, just say the word and we will change things. I’ve been sitting here waiting for you to want to have dinner together... waiting for you to stop talking about the cafe and the daycare and the stress of owning a business.”
“I don’t talk that much.”
He chuckled. “Either way. I want our family to stay together because I adore the two women in my life and I couldn’t think of anybody else to spend my life with.”
Kirsten smirked. “The same for me. I’m sorry for coming down here and creating this whole Hallmark conversation. I’m sure the employees got a real treat out of this... I should probably just go. Maybe wait at home or something...”
“Stay?” Charlie asked, he held a hand out. “Maybe we can have lunch on the patio and talk about our next family vacation? We can probably get my mother to come along as well so that we can sneak away and have a little reunion for ourselves?”
“I thought this was all about Megan?”
It will be about her, but I think that we need to find a balance for ourselves as well. Besides do you think your mother is ready for a change of scenery right now? I mean of course she’s healed a whole lot since the incident at Christmas... but to go out on vacation away from her therapist?”
“Then we can bring her therapist with her.”
This got a chuckle out of Kirsten. “Let’s just settle on bringing your mother along.”
“Bringing me along where?” It wasn’t mistaken who’s voice the words had belonged too, even if the voice had said something more anonymous Kirsten would have knew that Charlene Nelson was now occupying the office. The two of them turned to face her. She looked well, vibrant and full of grace. Nothing like the woman they had brought into their home after her divorce from Charlie's father, Patrick Sutton.
Stone Creek, CA.; Now Town
HEAT Headquarters; Helen Tyree Sutton’s Office
Helen Tyree Sutton mulled over her recent decisions, it wasn’t a task that she did often nor was it one that she had perfected. It was, however, something she couldn’t shake off this morning as she woke up to yet another empty bed. The huge rock on her ring finger often convinced Helen that she was right where she needed to be. After all, she did marry into the powerful Sutton family.
The morning had dragged and after getting ready, leaving her new mansion and beginning the routine that was her life; work was taking a toll on the woman. Helen needed a distraction.
“Miss Tyree,” the soft-spoken voice of her newest assistant greeted, “Your niece is here to see you. Now, I know she didn’t make an appointment but she said it was urgent.”
The redhead rose from her seat. “Everything with my niece is urgent... please, Cincinnati learn the tone in her voice before you invite her into my office. The faster her words, the lighter the tone, is when you lie and say that I’m in a meeting.”
Dylan Tyree appeared in the door, she folded her arms and scowled. “I’m not that dramatic aunt Helen.”
“Clearly you haven’t heard yourself speak.” Helen chimed, she ushered her assistant out of the room and made a note to have someone put out an advertisement for another assistant. “Listen, Dylan I really do love you and I wish I had the time right now to listen to whatever it is you want to talk about... but you’ve made it clear that I’m to stay out of your business.”
Ever since her niece arrived in Stone Creek it had been a struggle to figure out the things that went through her head. It always felt like Helen was on the loosing end of a teenaged struggle. Dylan had a way of bringing every conversation to the same place; to the Dylan show.
“I need your help.”
Helen sat back in her chair. “What is it that you need my help with? Did Jacks Hannigan hurt your feelings like I said he would? You know your parents wanted me to teach you something and if you’re willing to learn from me... You have to develop thicker skin. Stay away from men who can’t give you the financial advantage and try not to let any of your fuck-ups get publicized.”
“Aunt Helen... you might as well have been my mother.” Dylan scoffed.
“Seriously though Dylan, is this really important?” Helen asked, she wasn’t trying to be harsh to the younger woman. It was just that she didn’t have enough hours in the day to worry about her own work, let alone her niece’s problems. This, Helen noted, was probably why she was terrible at raising children. “If it’s not can we talk about this over dinner?”
Dylan shook her head. “I need to know how you dealt with the media after grandfather found out about your affair with that McCormick fellow?”
“Your father sure doesn’t stop short of his bedtime stories... does he?” Helen returned, she raised an eyebrow and tried to think back to how vulnerable she had left herself as a teenager. How Elias McCormick was the first man she had ever felt loved by and how easy it all fell apart. The media, with the help of her fellow peers, bombarded Helen with nasty names. She gulped and then looked at Dylan. “You’re not like me.”
“Aren’t I?” Dylan replied
It was true that Dylan had taken to Helen so easily once she grew into her own. Not only had all three of Helen’s children grown up to take their lives a whole lot more serious than Helen did, but they built careers for themselves and stood out of the spotlight. Then there was her niece, so heavily sedated and frantic to carve this public image.
Helen shook her head, if only to retract the thoughts. “I learned the hard way because I never had anyone to teach me these things Dylan. If you want something you have to take it and not look back. You can’t cry because everyone is pointing fingers at you, but instead you have to embrace it.”
“So you’re saying I have to publicize my breakdown?”
“You already did that!” Helen reminded her. “What I am saying is that you need to admit that you had a breakdown and get the proper treatment for it. If you really want to further your music career maybe you need to take a real vacation from the public. Maybe you need to figure out a new plan and getting involved with Jacks Hannigan is only going to set you back from your dream.”
Stone Creek, CA.; Boulstridge Mountain
The Lakeside Inn; Lothario's Italian Restaurant
After making plans to have dinner together tonight with his wife, Kirsten. Charlie Sutton made his way into Lothario's Italian Restaurant, after having a craving for their Momma’s Baked Ziti, Charlie convinced his mother that they were due for some Italian food. It had been weeks since either had lunch together so once Charlene agreed they walked down to the first floor of the Lakeside Inn and entered the establishment that offered up a third of the Inn’s multi-cultured menu’s.
“This was a good choice.” Charlene spoke, her mouth watered and Charlie knew she hadn’t had a bite to eat in hours. Her manners began to wane as her stomach started to growl.
He let the waiter sit the two, near a window that looked out onto the glistening waters of Cuttlebone Lake, before Charlie began conversation with his mother. They ordered their drinks; he ordered a tall italian beer that made Lothario's famous and Charlene ordered a water with a lemon wedge. “How are you feeling?”
The blonde looked at her son through observant eyes and he knew this. It was the same look Charlene would give his sister Gillian when they were younger, usually when she wanted to bring a friend along for their yearly summer boating trip.
“I’m still sober. Actually, Reichen has been buying me these gorgeous charms for each month that I’m sober... if he keeps this up I’m going to need another charm bracelet.” Charlene lifted her hand to show her son. The bracelet, a delicate gold rope had several shiny charms latched to it. “I know that most of my drinking problems were my fault --”
“With the help of my father.” Charlie quipped.
Charlene frowned, then she chided him. “We can’t go blaming your father for all the world’s problems.”
“Actually mother I am fairly certain that there’s a six degree’s of Patrick Sutton connected to all of the worlds problems.” Charlie chuckled in amusement. Then he continued. “I’m glad that you’re doing well and that Reichen is treating you with the respect you deserve. To tell the truth I didn’t think the man had it in him to shake the reputation he had built for himself.”
He had never full explained to his mother his trust issues he had once Reichen Calbourne came about. After looking into the man’s past Charlie knew the kind of man that he had once been. Even though Reichen had claimed he was done draining major companies Charlie was still hesitant to let Charlene continue a relationship with this ‘recovered’ man. Especially since Reichen had shared an addict’s personality with Charlene.
“Everyone can change, Charlie,” Charlene spoke as their waters found their ways to the table. The waiter, a young man of italian descent with dark hair slicked back, smiled at the two and asked if they were ready to order. After ordering a chicken fettucini for herself, Charlene continued her conversation, “Reichen is a strong man and someone to look-up to.”
Charlie looked at the waiter, his name was Arturo, and he recognized the kid as a local from old town Stone Creek. “I’ll take your Momma’s Baked Ziti, Artie,” Charlie spoke kindly. Then he focused his attention on his mother, “You are someone to look-up to.”
“I’m glad that you think so, Charlie.”
The two sat in silence for a minute or two, mostly so that Charlie could catch his thoughts. All that he could think about was his wife and the conversation they had earlier. Even though he was still sorting the new information Charlene had given him about Reichen, Charlie knew it wouldn’t shape the image he still had of the man.
“I saw that Kirsten was in your office today,” Charlene said, lightly.
Charlie looked up. “Yeah,” he replied, clearly distracted, “Kirsten came by to talk about Megan. I can’t believe that my daughter is growing up so fast I feel like it was just yesterday that we were taking care of her...”
He let Kirsten’s words from earlier sink in. “Now I feel like maybe she’s taking care of us.”
“Megan’s still a child.” Charlene observed. “I think that maybe the two of you are spending too much time focusing on work. But I hardly think that she isn’t being properly raised.”
“That’s not what I was saying.” Charlie replied.
He shrugged. “I know that Caitlyn has been a great help to Kirsten and I, and even now you’re there to help take care of Megan when Caitlyn’s not around... There’s no doubt in my mind that Megan is being raised properly. It was just something that Kirsten said earlier...”
“Maybe we aren’t doing our best to keep our family together?” The words felt so foreign coming out of his mouth. “You know how hard it was for Gillian and I, growing up at the boarding school without you and Patrick. I just don’t want Megan to have to go through that. But then here I am putting work first and not having time for dinner with my family.”
Charlene took a sip of her water. “I think you’re thinking too much about this. You’re following a dream that you had even before you learned the truth about your daughter’s existence. If there’s one thing that I have taught you it is to follow your dreams.”
“But what about Megan?”
“She’s a strong girl.” Charlene reminded him. “Megan understands that you’re only working towards a future for your family. That young lady is smarter than Caitlyn Thurlow thinks she is and she even has the strength of a family that loves her.”
Charlie sighed. “So you don’t agree with Caitlyn?”
“I agree that you should make time to spend with Megan... but honestly, I feel that you need to put the Lakeside Inn first. You might be out of the red financially, but that doesn’t mean this can’t all come crashing down on you.” Charlene smiled warmly. “If you need me to talk to Megan or Caitlyn --”
“I don’t advise that.” Charlie chuckled. “I don’t know what to tell Kirsten.”
If Charlie were to agree with his mother about putting the Lakeside Inn first he would most definitely have to come up with a solid reason for it. He knew that once Kirsten put her mind to something, she would try her hardest to keep it that way. He let the conversation marinate for a bit before changing the subject to his sister Gillian and her current predicament.
It was a nice change of pace.
Stone Creek, CA.; Now Town
Stone Creek Police Station; Inside
Laurie Jonas felt warm with the heather grey thermal she had bought in town yesterday and her heavy frost free black vest that Chief Wilkinson had gave her following the late February freeze. She had started to feel at home here in Stone Creek, which was ironic, since it had been her home for years before she eft with her now estranged husband; Michael. Her hazel eyes glanced at her cellphone as it lightly buzzed on her desk. Her mother was calling and it wasn’t unusual for Deborah to do so. Although Laurie had tried to seek out a place of her own. It seemed that the loan she pulled out for her children’s private school fee’s had caught up to her. Nobody was willing to rent to Laurie and neither did she have the money to buy her own home. So instead she was forced to stay with her parents, still.
She had to admit that it wasn’t a rather tough situation as she made it home in time to a warm meal every night. Especially now that her parents were ‘working out their differences’ as they liked to call it. Some nights it was nauseating just watching them walk on eggshells around each other and of course around Laurie. She had never thought she would wish for the days of constant fighting or passive-aggressive behavior.
The sight of Chief Wilkinson is a welcome greeting as he bursts through the glass double doors of the Police Station. A tall man in his mid-to-late forties falls into step behind the Chief. The Chief looked confused as he scanned the main floor and then relieved to see both Detective Miles Fowler and Sasha Pierce walking the corridor.
“I need the both of you in my office.” He directed.
Laurie jumped out of her seat, eager to be a part of the conversation. If all days on the force were as quiet as this last month, she was willing to bet this was going to be a major bone. “What about me?” Laurie asked, determined.
“You can stand down officer.” Gideon Wilkinson spoke. His voice commanded her to part from the conversation.
But Laurie looked at him confused. “But I want to help, Chief.”
She knew that she was talking out of turn and the looks from her fellow officers only solidified her defiances. But Laurie had only been on one case since she arrived in town and that one ended so quietly that she was itching for something new. Something to preoccupy her guilt of leaving the kids with Michael.
“I understand that officer Nelson.” Gideon replied, she took note of how good it felt to be called by her maiden name. Chief Wilkinson was the only one who did this, whereas everyone else called her by Jonas. A name she was beginning to tire of. “But right now I need two of my most experienced officers on this case as it’s a very sensitive one.”
Laurie looked at the man standing next to Chief Wilkinson, she finally had a chance to get a good look at him. He had green piercing eyes with an agenda, which unbeknownst to Laurie had everything to do with a woman she grew up around. His skin had aged faster than he had, this Laurie was certain had to do with whatever line of work he was in. Which begged the question what sort of business did he have with Gideon Wilkinson -- a man that Laurie had looked up to her entire life.
The man caught Laurie’s eye. “I hope you understand that this an urgent and delicate case.”
His words left a lot unsaid. So she scanned his eyes for whatever he was leaving out. Something that Laurie had perfected while married to Michael for so many years. “I completely understand.” Laurie replied dryly.
She moved out of the way so that the four could pass her. First was Officer Sasha Pierce who obediently opened Chief Wilkinson’s office door for the group. The man passed Laurie next followed by a concerned Chief Wilkinson. She knew he would pull her to the side at a later time.
“I’ll keep you informed if it’s anything I can tell you,” Detective Miles Fowler began, she had almost let the assurance slip her by as she watched the man enter the office, “that man gives me a bad taste in my mouth just as much as he does yours.”
“Thank you.” Laurie summoned.
The brunette frowned when Miles patted her shoulder. “And for what Chief Wilkinson said earlier, I think you’re more than qualified to be a part of this case, whatever it turns out to be.” He added.
The words were enough to comfort Laurie, but at the back of her mind she still felt less than Miles and Officer Pierce. She noted that things were bound to change after being away from Stone Creek for so long. She knew that her parents would be different people, along with her friends and acquaintances. Laurie just didn’t think she would have to start her entire law enforcement career over.
As the group filed into Chief Wilkinson’s office she had no other choice but to stand alone wondering what case the Chief had wanted to discuss without her.
Stone Creek, CA.; Now Town
Stone Creek Police Station; Inside
“Couldn’t we come up with an alternative route?” Detective Miles Fowler asked, he leaned against his superior officers desk and looked out at the three people occupying the room. US Marshal Jon Stout had just explained to them his situation and how urgent he needed to get himself and the woman he has been safeguarding out of Stone Creek. “Don’t get me wrong. We want to help in any way that we can but the only secure ways out of Stone Creek are the highway that leads to Cuttlebone City, across Cuttlebone Lake into Wolf Point or on bus... None of those are really safe to travel at night with any indiscretion.”
“My detective is right.” Chief Wilkinson spoke.
It wasn’t the first time that Gideon Wilkinson had agreed with Miles, but each time he did so Miles felt like he was one step closer to earning Gideon’s complete trust. Especially now that he was married to Gideon’s only daughter; Greta.
Miles could feel officer Pierce by his side, which was comforting. “We don’t even know the exact dangers we would be facing.” She pointed out.
He took this into consideration. If the Marshal wanted out of Stone Creek so badly, then it begs to stand who was this threat he was running from? Could they already be in the city searching for this mystery woman?
“I can assure you that you’re safety is one of my main concerns, officer.” Jon Stout replied, cooly.
“With all do respect, Marshal,” Miles stepped up, he knew that they needed more information from this man in order to fully evaluate the situation. “I think we deserve a whole lot more information than you have given us. I know that we are more than willing to help you out... but there’s not an officer I’m willing to expend for some blind joyride here.”
Chief Wilkinson cleared his throat and straightened up. “I’ve been privy to the entire profile and I have got to let you know this woman is in grave danger.”
“Wait!” Miles jerked, he turned to his boss in confusion. “You know who we are protecting?” He tried to get more out of Gideon through his eyes, but the man remained strong. There was definitely more to this mission than met the eye and this made Miles uneasy. “Chief Wilkinson, you need to tell us.”
Sasha appeared to Miles’ right side. “Do we know who she is?”
“I cannot allow your Chief of Police to indulge that information!” US Marshal Stout snapped. For the first time he appeared to lose his cool which only intrigued Miles even more. He turned back to the foreign man. “This is beyond your jurisdiction.”
Miles ripped his eyes away from Jon and turned back to Gideon. “What’s going on Chief?”
“They need to know, Stout.” Chief Wilkinson replied. “I’ve trained my officers to stand on moral ground and I would be cheating them if I hid this from them. Besides, I cannot willingly risk the lives of my men and women by leaving out any information.”
“So this is deep.” Sasha breathed.
Gideon nodded. “Shannon Thurlow Jurado is alive.”
The resolution caused Miles to step back as he readjust to the new information. He didn’t know too much about Mrs. Jurado other than she was the sister of James Thurlow, a very wealthy -- and a member of one of the founding families of Stone Creek -- she also had one son in the city; Aidan Jurado. “Are you for real right now?”
“Since your Chief of Police seems to think petty officers are privy to this information --”
“Cool your shit Marshal.” Miles seethed. “I like to think that our Chief has a better relationship with his staff because he believes we are privy to this sort of information... but do you understand what this means to many people living here?”
“Marshal Stout... need I remind you that you came to us for help in the first place?” Chief Wilkinson spoke. There was a tinge of annoyance in his voice. “I’d like it if you respected my officers, my detectives and my townspeople. Now let my Detective carry on.”
Tension filled the room; if Miles had a knife he could serve the tension to their minds as they gobbled up the new secrets spilled across the office floor. He would be famished with some sort of idea if only he could wrap his mind around the fact that this woman that needed their ‘protection’ was a woman who had appeared to be dead. Then he thought back to the dinners he had shared with Aidan Jurado and the rest of the Thurlow family. Could Miles feel included at another dinner with this knowledge in his head?
Chief Wilkinson and the Marshal had carried out another conversation; mostly about alternate route to take out of Stone Creek. But Miles already knew every backroad in the city so it felt irrelevant for the conversation to continue. “This woman is your best friend’s sister.”
All conversation came to a halt. “You cannot keep a secret like this from Mr. Thurlow, Chief.”
“I haven’t kept this secret from my dear friend,” Chief Wilkinson revealed, “In fact James Thurlow does know that Shannon is alive. I’m sorry Mr. Stout but I could never lie to my friend about this. There’s no way I could keep him in the dark about his sister being alive.”
“You’ve jeopardized everything!”
Miles stepped in. “He did the right thing.”
“I understand that this leaves you vulnerable Stout, so please take my team and let us help you get my old friend out of Stone Creek safely. Like I stated earlier we have alternative means to get her out of the city and if you’d let us explain we can help you leave as soon as possible.”
“I’d like to leave by the end of tomorrow.”
Miles frowned. “What about her family... shouldn’t we at least allow her to say goodbye?”
“That is too big of a risk, detective.” Chief Wilkinson replied, solemnly. “If Marshal Stout is right and this revelation has left them vulnerable there is no telling who already knows she’s alive and what costs they would go through to make that change... so let’s do our part and help them both leave unharmed by tomorrow tonight, shall we?”
Next Time, On Concrete Shelves
- Can Chief Gideon Wilkinson live with his decision to cut-out a reunion between Shannon Thurlow Jurado and the Thurlow family? Will he and his team be able to help US Marshal Jon Stout get his ex. flame out of Stone Creek safely? Someone seems hellbent on letting James Thurlow know where Shannon is being kept.
- Will Ryan Bauer and Patrick Sutton be able to get leverage over the comatose Mayor of Stone Creek and finally get the truth about the fraudulent votes for Damien Crenshaw? A startling discovery could make them change pace in their steamboat of a plan to take down Damien’s operation.
- Meanwhile, Laurie Jonas is determined to find her in on the case that Chief Wilkinson pushed her out of. Could opening up to Detective Miles Fowler be the way in doing so? And if Laurie does this, could she be making herself vulnerable to her once best friend’s husband?
- Dylan Tyree makes a decision about her presence in Stone Creek, but will everyone around her believe that she’s making the right choice? A forced encounter with her cousin Kirsten Thurlow Sutton could change her course of direction... but what secrets will spill out of her mouth in doing this?...