Chapter 23 - Looks Can Be Deceiving - Part 1

Brandon drives up to the West Beverly High parking lot just when school let out at 3:30pm that Friday afternoon. Once that final bell rang, students rushed out of there as though they've just been liberated from prison. Young lovers cling to each other as they couldn't be away from each other or an hour for class.

Brandon walked into the crowded school hallway as he tried to make his way to Kelly's office.

From outside Kelly's office, Brandon could see that she's stressed out, while talking on the phone. Brandon waited a few moments for Kelly to finish her phone call. After finishing her call, she puts her elbows on her desk and planted her face in her palms.

Brandon lightly taps on the window to get Kelly's attention. Kelly notices and waves Brandon in.

Brandon walks into Kelly's office.

"Hey babe. Rough day?" asked Brandon as he walks to Kelly for a quick kiss.

"Yeah. What are you doing here?" asked Kelly who looks exhausted.

"Well, nice to see you too," replied Brandon.

"I'm sorry. It's just that I've had a very busy and stressful day," said Kelly.

"It's ok. I have those too. Luckily, your day is now over and we can go," said Brandon.

"Oh Brandon, I'm sorry," said Kelly who just realizes something.

"What?" asked Brandon.

"I can't leave yet. I still have two more parent/teacher conferences that I have to sit through," replied Kelly.

"Do you really have to be there?" asked Brandon.

Kelly gives Brandon a look.

"Yes, I do. I'm their counselor," replied Kelly.

"Oh. It's just that I'm leaving tomorrow. I was hoping we can spend the evening together; just the two of us," said Brandon.

"I know and I would love to leave. Believe me, I would but I just can't," said Kelly giving Brandon a sad but I'm sorry look.

"Ok. I understand. I just wish you were coming with me to New York," said Brandon.

"Yeah, me too. But like I told you before, I can't take any more days off work. They might accuse me of slacking off and I'll be out of the job," said Kelly.

"Gee, you made it look like I'm the bad guy," joked Brandon.

"Well, if that's the case, I still love you just the way you are," smiled Kelly.

Brandon smiles but doesn't reply.

"Are you still mad at me?" asked Kelly.

"I'm not mad. I'm just disappointed," replied Brandon.

"I know. We'll go somewhere during the summer," said Kelly.

"Ok...I gotta go pick up Sammy from daycare," said Brandon.

"Ok. I'll see you later?" asked Kelly.

"Yeah," replied Brandon who looks sad.

Kelly watches as Brandon stands up and gives her a quick kiss before heading for the door.

"Brandon?" asked Kelly.

"Yeah?" asked Brandon as he turns and looks at Kelly.

Kelly smiles and walks over to Brandon. She doesn't say anything for a moment making Brandon confused.

"I love you," said Kelly.

"I love..." said Brandon as he gets interrupted by Kelly who takes him by surprised by putting her hands on his face and kisses him passionately, wrapping her hands around Brandon's neck.

Students from outside sees this and started cheering.

"Whoooo...go for it, Miss Taylor!," yelled a student.

Kelly lets go of Brandon. Brandon smiles.

"you...What was that for?" asked Brandon smiling.

"Just for letting me off easy," replied Kelly.

"You're welcome," smiled Brandon.

"And a little preview of what you can expect from me tonight," said Kelly.

"I can't wait," smiled Brandon.

Kelly smiles as they share a quick kiss goodbye.

Everyone got up pretty early the next morning as Brandon gets ready to go to New York for his business trip.

"I'll look after Sammy," said Silver.

"Thanks. Breakfast is on the table. I shouldn't be gone for more than two hours," said Kelly.

"Sure," said Silver.

"Ok, I'm ready to go," said Brandon.

Sammy runs out from his room to Brandon.

"Hey, there's my boy," smiled Brandon.

"Bye daddy," said Sammy.

"Goodbye Sammy. I'll see you Monday, ok?" asked Brandon.

"You promise you'll be back?" asked Sammy.

"Yes, I promise," replied Brandon who gives Sammy a hug and a kiss.

"While I'm gone, you're the man of the house," smiled Brandon.

Sammy smiles.

The front door bell rings. Kelly opens the door and sees Dylan.

"Hey," said Kelly.

"Hey Kel," said Dylan.

Dylan walks in who still seems mad at Kelly.

"Hey D...you're right on time," said Brandon.

"Ready to go?" asked Dylan to Brandon.

"Yeah. Hey, thanks again for keeping me company," replied Brandon.

"No problem. You know I can't turn down a free trip," said Dylan.

"Alright, let's go," said Brandon.

They leave the house.

They arrive at the airport. Dylan, Brandon, and Kelly are sitting in the lounge area at the airport.

"Thanks for the ride," said Brandon.

"Thanks for a wonderful evening together," said Kelly.

"You're welcome. You looked like you were having lots of fun," smiled Brandon.

"I was," smiled Kelly.

"I'll miss you," said Brandon.

"I'll miss you too," said Kelly.

They lean in and kiss.

Dylan tries not to look at them. Brandon notices that Dylan seems to be uncomfortable watching them.

"Sorry D," said Brandon.

"Hey, don't mind me. Just act like I'm not even here," said Dylan.

"Ok, I can take a hint," said Brandon.

"Call me when you get there, ok?" asked Kelly.

"I will; the first chance I get," replied Brandon.

"I love you," said Kelly.

"I love you too," said Brandon as he holds her tightly.

They share another quick kiss.

"Bye boys," said Kelly.

"Bye," said Brandon.

Dylan walks to the gate without replying to Kelly.

Kelly as she watches Brandon and Dylan board the plane.

Kelly got home not long after she saw Brandon's plane took off.

"Sammy, Silver, I'm home," said Kelly.

"Hey," said Silver as she comes out from the kitchen.

"Hey, how's everything?" asked Kelly.

"Fine. Did Brandon and Dylan leave ok?" asked Silver.

"Yeah...where's Sammy?" asked Kelly.

"In his room," replied Silver.

"Ok. Hey, you wanna do something today?" asked Kelly.

"Like what?" asked Silver.

"I dunno. We never really hang out anymore; just the two of us," replied Kelly.

"Ah, I wish you would've asked me sooner, Kel. I've already made plans with Annie," said Silver.

"Oh ok," said Kelly.

"Sorry Kel. We can hang out tomorrow if you want," said Silver.

"It's ok; maybe I'll spend some time with Sammy," said Kelly.

"Awww...Do you miss Brandon already?" asked Silver.

"Just a little. I just got use to always spending the weekend with him," replied Kelly.

"That's sweet. I'm sure he's missing you too. But he'll be back in a few days," said Silver.

"So is the entire office going?" asked Silver.

"He said everyone who works for the NY Chronicle will be there so I would think so," replied Kelly.

"Even Lauren?" asked Silver.

"I guess so," replied Kelly.

"So you're not at all worried about them?" asked Silver.

"No, I'm not. I trust Brandon. And by being jealous, I'm only gonna make matters worse," replied Kelly.

"You're right. Sorry about that," said Silver.

"It's ok. I guess I'll stay here and wait for Brandon's call," said Kelly.

"Ok, I'm off. You sure you'll be fine on your own?" asked Silver.

"Yes, now go," replied Kelly.

"Ok...bye Kel," said Silver.

"Bye," said Kelly.

Silver leaves. Kelly walks by Sammy's room. She quietly knocks on the door but doesn't hear a reply from Sammy. She opens the door to find Sammy lying on the bed sleeping soundly. Kelly goes over to him and covers his body with a blanket.

Kelly leaves Sammy's room and goes back to her room. She tried to decide on what she can do by herself. She climbs into her bed and pulls the covers over her body. She could still smell the presence of Brandon's cologne on the sheets. She turns on the TV in her room and starts to flip through the channels. She stops on a talk show on the Lifetime Channel. The topic: "How do you know when your man is cheating on you?" Kelly gets a queasy look on her face and decided that TV wasn't good for her at the moment. She turns the TV off, snuggles till she is comfortable, and drifts off to sleep.

Brandon and Dylan arrived in New York around 3pm Eastern Time. We see they check into the Marriot Hotel.

"Well, what do you think?" asked Brandon.

"I got admit B. I've stayed in some very fancy hotels but this is really something," replied Dylan.

"I thought you would like it," said Brandon.

"So what's the agenda?" asked Dylan.

"We get settle in and meet everyone for dinner," replied Brandon.

"Do I have to go?" asked Dylan.

"C'mon D. You got a free trip to New York. The least you could do is keep me company," replied Brandon.

"I don't know, Bran. I don't mix well with these boring corporate business people," said Dylan.

"They're not all like that," said Brandon.

"Fine. I'm beat. I'm gonna get some rest first," said Dylan.

"Alright, man. I'm going out for a bit. I should be back in an hour," said Brandon.

"Alright, see ya," said Dylan.

"Later," said Brandon.

Brandon leaves the room, closes the door behind him, and goes into the spacious hallway. He gets his cell phone out and calls Kelly.

"Hey Brandon," smiled Kelly.

"Hey babe," said Brandon.

"Are you guys there yet?" asked Kelly.

"Yeah. We just checked in," replied Brandon.

"How's Dylan?" asked Kelly.

"He's fine," asked Brandon.

"He still seems to be very mad at me this morning," replied Kelly.

"Kel, just give him some time. He'll come around," said Brandon.

"You're right," said Kelly.

"What are you doing?" asked Brandon.

"Oh nothing. I was just taking a nap," replied Kelly.

"Oh, sorry if I woke you," said Brandon.

"That's ok. I'm glad you did. I was missing you too much," said Kelly.

"Really? How so?" asked Brandon.

"Your scent is still on the bed," replied Kelly.

"Sorry you can't be here with me and enjoy the real thing," said Brandon.

"Me too. But I think your scent will last me till you come back," smiled Kelly.

Brandon sees Lauren with someone walking towards him. They wave at Brandon. He waves back.

"Babe, I gotta go," said Brandon.

"Ok, bye," said Kelly.

"I'll call you later, bye," said Brandon.

They hang up the phone.

"Hey Lauren," said Brandon.

"Hey Brandon...when did you get here?" asked Lauren.

"Just a few minutes ago," replied Brandon.

"Oh, Brandon, this is Michael Larson," said Lauren.

"Hi Michael," said Brandon extending his hand to Michael.

"Hi Brandon, nice to meet you," said Michael shaking Brandon's hand.

"Where's Kelly?" asked Lauren.

"Oh, she couldn't come. She had to work," replied Brandon.

"Oh, that's too bad," said Lauren.

"Are you here alone?" asked Michael.

"No, I brought one of my best friends along," replied Brandon.

"Well, we're off to lunch. You and your friend are welcome to join us," said Michael.

"Well, my friend's asleep but I'm free," said Brandon.

"Great, let's go," said Michael.

Brandon, Michael, and Lauren are eating at lunch at a restaurant downstairs.

"So Brandon, Lauren tells me that you're one hell of a boss," said Michael.

"Well, I don't know about that but I do try to do my best," said Brandon.

"Oh, don't be modest. He turned me from an amateur writer to a professional columnist," smiled Lauren.

"No, I just helped you realize your skills, young lady. You wrote everything yourself," smiled Brandon.

"Still, you gave me a chance. That's much more than I can ask for," said Lauren.

"Well, you're welcome," said Brandon.

"So, what do you do, Michael?" asked Brandon.

"I was in the import/export business in Mexico. But I'm trying to start my own business here in the states," replied Michael.

"Wow, what kind of goods do you deal with?" asked Brandon.

"Oh, anything from agricultural goods to medicine," replied Michael.

"Honey, you don't have to talk about your work if you don't want to," said Lauren.

"Oh I'm sorry. I didn't know," said Brandon.

"No, it's ok. I guess I should explain what happened. The company I used to work for and I parted on bad terms," said Michael.

"Enough said," said Brandon.

"Thank you, Brandon," said Michael.

"You're welcome," said Brandon.

"Ok kids, I gotta go," said Brandon.

"So soon?" asked Lauren.

"Yeah, I promised my friend that I'll be back within an hour," replied Brandon.

"Oh ok. We'll see you later tonight," said Michael.

Brandon takes out his wallet to leave some money for lunch.

"No, please, it's on me," said Michael.

"You sure?" asked Brandon.

"Yes. It's the least I could do for the person who gave Lauren her big break," said Michael.

"Ok, thanks," smiled Brandon.

"Oh, honey, stop," giggled Lauren.

"Yes, nice meeting you, Michael," said Brandon.

"Same here, Brandon," said Michael as they shake hands.

"Bye Brandon," said Lauren.

"Bye Lauren," said Brandon.

When Brandon got back to the hotel room, Dylan was already awake and getting out of the shower.

"Hey, where did you go?" asked Dylan.

"Lunch with a co-worker," replied Brandon.

"So, do I need a suit and tie for tonight?" asked Dylan.

"Yeah," replied Brandon.

"Well, I don't have one. I guess I'm not going then," said Dylan.

"Nice try. I got an extra one," said Brandon.

"You think of everything, don't you, Brandon?" asked Dylan.

"We've known each other for way too long, D," replied Brandon.

Later that evening, we see Brandon and Dylan at the party.

"Very nice, Bran," said Dylan.

"I told you," said Brandon.

"If you would excuse, I think I'm gonna park myself at the buffet," said Dylan as he goes over to the food.

"Have fun, man," smiled Brandon.

Lauren and Michael walk over to Brandon.

"Brandon, you look very handsome," said Lauren.

"Why, thank you very much. Lauren, you look beautiful," said Brandon.

"Thank you. Where's your friend?" asked Lauren.

"Over there with the food," replied Brandon pointing to Dylan.

"Brandon, please feel free to have a dance with Lauren tonight," said Michael.

"Oh, that's ok, Michael...thank you," said Brandon.

"No, it's quite alright. I won't mind," said Michael.

"No, it's not that. It's just that I don't dance," said Brandon.

Dylan comes over to Brandon.

"Hey B, you gotta try these crab cakes. They are to die for," said Dylan.

"Maybe later. Dylan, this is my star columnist, Lauren Chapman and her boyfriend, Michael Larsen. Guys, this is my best friend, Dylan McKay," said Brandon introducing each other.

"Please to meet you Dylan," said Michael extending his hand to shake Dylan's hand.

"Nice to meet you both," said Dylan who is trying to balance a plate of crab cakes with one hand while shake Michael's hand with the other.

"Nice to meet you too, Dylan," said Lauren.

"Dylan travels all over the world helping the needy in third-world countries," said Brandon.

"Wow, I would love to do a story on you some time," said Lauren.

"Sounds good," smiled Dylan.

Brandon sees James, his co-worker from across the room.

"I think I see somebody familiar. Would you guys excuse me?" asked Brandon.

"Sure," said Lauren.

As Brandon walks away, Lauren and Michael talk to Dylan.

"James" said Brandon.

"Brandon, how are you?" asked James.

"I'm good; and yourself?" asked Brandon.

"I'm fine. Where's Kelly?" asked James.

"She's gotta work," replied Brandon.

"You here alone?" asked Brandon.

"Yeah...I'm single again," replied James.

"What happened?" asked Brandon.

"Long distance relationships don't work," replied James.

"Well, look at the brightside, you still got your health," smiled Brandon.

"Yeah but that's about it," said James.

"Speaking of health, old man Thomas was asking about you. He's over there," added James.

Brandon sees Mr. Thomas, his old boss from across the room.

"I guess I better go and say hello," said Brandon.

"Good luck," said James.

Brandon walks over to Mr. Thomas.

"Mr. Thomas, it's good to see you, sir," said Brandon.

"Brandon, oh my goodness, it's so good to see you," said Mr. Thomas as he puts his hands on Brandon's shoulder.

"How have you've been? How's the office?" asked Mr. Thomas.

"We're both doing fine, sir," replied Brandon.

"Well, we've missed you in Washington," said Mr. Thomas.

"Me too, sir," smiled Brandon.

"So, where's this superstar columnist of yours I've heard so much about?" asked Mr. Thomas.

"Follow me and I'll introduce you to her," replied Brandon.

"Lead on," said Mr. Thomas.

They walk over to Dylan, Michael, and Lauren.

"Mr. Thomas, this is Lauren Chapman, our columnist and her friend, Michael Larsen. Lauren, this is my former boss, Jeffrey Thomas," said Brandon.

"Hi," said Lauren shaking Mr. Thomas's hand.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Lauren," smiled Mr. Thomas.

"She's talented and beautiful. You did right by hiring her, Brandon," said Mr. Thomas.

"Well, thank you, sir," said Brandon.

"Lauren, if you ever want to move up with the Chronicle, you're always welcome to work at the Washington Bureau," joked Mr. Thomas.

"You're trying to steal her right in front of me, sir?" asked Brandon.

"Oh Brandon, I'm just teasing you," replied Mr. Thomas.

Dylan gets uncomfortable and quiet slips away to the hallway. Brandon notices.

"Would you guys excuse me? I need to use the restroom," said Brandon.

"Sure, of course" said Mr. Thomas.

Brandon walks away from the group and joins Dylan.

"What's wrong?" asked Brandon.

"Michael...I don't like him," replied Dylan.

"Why not?" asked Brandon.

"I think the guy's a criminal…and a liar," replied Dylan.

"What are you talking about?" asked Brandon.

"I know I've seen his face somewhere before," replied Dylan.

"Where? Like on TV or something?" asked Brandon.

"Something like that," replied Dylan.

"Well, he looks pretty normal to me," said Brandon.

"That's how a good criminal is supposed to look like, Brandon. Believe me, I know a criminal when I see one," said Dylan.

"So what do you know about him?" asked Brandon.

"I forgot," replied Dylan.

"Well then, could it be that you mistaken this guy with somebody else?" asked Brandon.

"Yeah, it's possible...but I don't trust him," replied Dylan.

"Well, what do you want me to do about it?" asked Brandon.

"Just watch your back," replied Dylan.

"He just tried to hustle some money outta me," added Dylan.

"D, I don't think I should be getting into someone else's business when you're not even sure if he is a criminal," said Brandon.

"Whatever, Brandon. I'm just calling it like I see it," said Dylan.

Brandon watches Lauren as she and Michael dance.

Coming Next - Brandon tells Lauren about Michael. Dylan McKay guest stars.