Disclaimer: Characters belong to Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent, Gary Tomlin, NBC, et al and are used here strictly for non-profit entertainment purposes.
Genre: Drama / Romance
Spoilers: The first 100 (or so) episodes...sort of…not really.
Summary: Nothing changes in Sunset Beach except the people. (Alternate universe.)
Chapter One: "January 6, 1997"
Gregory knocked on the door of the hotel room, waiting for a response that didn't come. "Del, it's Gregory. Are you ready or do you want me to wait downstairs?" he called out after several moments of silence. He knocked again firmly on the door, annoyed as he glanced down at his watch. It had been easier doing business with Del when he was almost 10,000 miles away as opposed to being in the same town.
As he knocked again on the unyielding wood, the locks clicked and the door swung open. "Good Lord, Gregory, you'll wake the dead," Olivia chuckled, leaning against the door jamb.
His stomach flipped, the sunlight streaming through the suite's windows to glow against her silk robe. She smirked, her blue eyes moving over him critically as she waited. He cleared his throat and smoothed his tie as he said, "Well, well, well…Little Olivia Blake."
Her eyes crinkled when he spoke, her former name rolling off his tongue so easily. "I don't think anyone's called me that in years," she marveled.
He chuckled and reached out, hugging her gingerly. She squeezed him back with a measure of affection that surprised him. "It's how you've always been to me," he said softly, his lips next to her ear. She pulled back slightly, meeting his eyes as he continued, "It's the name you had the last time I saw you."
She shook her head disbelievingly as he stepped into the suite and closed the door behind him. "Has it really been that long?"
He followed her into a small sitting room, the curtains drawn back to frame a picture-perfect view of the Pacific. The doors were flung open, a fresh ocean breeze stirring the pristine suite. He glanced around, expecting to find Del, but found no one. "Over twenty years."
Olivia shuddered visibly as she reached for the phone. "Twenty years? I hate to think how old that makes us. Have you eaten yet?"
Shaking his head, he turned in a small circle as he listened to her order coffee and breakfast for two. A mountain of luggage was piled in the corner, an intimidating pastiche of espresso-colored leather and polka dot plastic pieces. "Del said you weren't arriving until the end of the week," he said as she hung up the phone.
She tightened the belt of her robe, following his gaze to the luggage. "Yes, that was the plan, but I was able to close up the house sooner that I thought." She shrugged and sat in one of the armchairs, gesturing for him to do the same. "Winter is horrid in Amman, so Louise and I were happy to leave."
"So, you got in-"
"Late last night…or early this morning." She gave him a tired smile even as she pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed, "We crossed so many time zones." She glanced up at him and asked, "You were supposed to meet Del?"
"Over an early breakfast," Gregory admitted.
"He wasn't expecting us. Louise wanted to surprise her father," she explained, a distant look clouding her eyes. "In all the excitement, the meeting must have slipped his mind. I can wake him."
"No need, Darlin'."
They turned, watching as Del crossed the space between them, rubbing his face awake. "I heard the door," he continued, leaning down to kiss his wife. She slightly turned her face away, giving him her cheek instead of her lips. He scoffed under his breath and stood tall, yawning wide. "Sorry about our meeting, Greg," he continued, turning to him with his hand on his wife's shoulder.
"You can still have your meeting. I just ordered breakfast," Olivia said.
"It can wait," Gregory insisted, leaning back comfortably. "We can catch up instead." This drew a reluctant smile from Olivia as her husband sank into the sofa with a groan.
"How long's it been since we've all been together?" Del grumbled as he wedged a pillow beneath his head. "We've never managed to be in the same corner of the world at the same time."
"We were just talking about that. Thomas is eighteen, so," she trailed off, counting in her head, "it's been twenty-three years." She looked up, smiling at Gregory. "How old does that make Caitlin and Sean?"
"Caitlin's twenty and Sean's seventeen," he said with a quiet smile.
"We've become our parents," she sighed. "Do you have a photo?" She watched as he dutifully took a photo from his wallet and passed it to her. "Oh, Gregory," she gasped, looking at the snapshot, "they're beautiful." His continued smile was his only reply, watching as her eyes flickered before she looked back at him and softly said, "Caitlin looks just like Alex."
He nodded, taking back the picture from her extended hand. "She's her mother in every way," he said quietly, tucking the photo back into his wallet.
"It's a damn shame, Greg," Del said after several moments of pregnant silence. "Alex always was a real spitfire."
"I'm so sorry we couldn't make it to her funeral," she said softly.
Gregory nodded and cleared his throat, looking down at the carpet. "I got your note," he said simply. Three years of grief came back in an instant, the horrible way the bright sunshine mocked the mourners at the cemetery. The way every day for the last one thousand days was as empty as the one before it. "The children have been a comfort," he said finally, forcing a smile to ease Olivia's concerned gaze.
"I'm sure they have." She stood, looking out through the balcony doors to the ocean. "The town still looks the same," she said, changing the subject.
"Nothing changes in Sunset Beach except the people," Del sighed, catching Gregory's eye. "And, that makes it ripe for the picking."
"Picking?" She glanced over her shoulder, confused.
"Development," Gregory explained. "A new beach-front resort with the finest amenities: gourmet restaurants, shops, a spa and an executive golf course."
"Give those snobs up in Pebble Beach a run for their money," Del piped in. "And, it's going to make us a fortune."
"Dealing with California snobs is quite different from dealing with Saudi kings. The snobs are worse," Gregory deadpanned.
"Hell, that's alright. Haven't you heard, Greg? The world's running out of crude. Gotta get out now before I lose my head. Besides," he said, feeling his wife's gaze on him, "Olivia's fed up with moving every few years."
"It was easier when the children were younger," she explained, her tone suggesting she and Del had gone over this ad nauseum. "But with Thomas away for his gap year, Louise is alone. She needs a permanent group of friends and stability."
"Well, she'll like St. Agnes'. Caitlin loved the school."
She smiled, brushing her hair from her shoulder. "Thank you for the recommendation. She's looking forward to starting the new term next week. I'm sorry you couldn't meet her now, but I think it would take a bomb to get her out of bed. She was exhausted."
"Thought you would be too, Darlin'. All that traveling can wear a person down," Del said, casting a long gaze on his wife.
Gregory watched an indescribable look pass between husband and wife. "Traveling, like so many things in my life, has worn me down," she murmured, her eyebrow arched. She turned to Gregory, an apology dancing in her eyes. "But, I think I am going to lie down. We'll finish catching up later, I hope?" she asked as he stood.
He took her hand, wincing as her icy fingers slipped into his palm. He nodded and squeezed her hand. "Of course. What time is it in Jordan anyway?"
"They're ten hours ahead, so just after seven at night." After a moment's hesitation, she reached out and hugged him quickly. "It was good to see you again, Gregory," she whispered in his ear. "So very good."
"It was," he whispered in reply. He stepped back, looking deep into her blue eyes. "But, you should really get some rest," he added.
"We should have dinner. Tonight?"
"Only if you feel up to it."
She nodded. "Nothing would make me happier." Her eyes sparkled, an unspoken question dancing on them before she gave Gregory a half-smile and turned away. She looked down at Del, stretched out comfortably on the sofa. "You'll join us, won't you?"
He grinned, his teeth gleaming white as he reached for her hand. "Of course, Darlin'. Where else would I be?"
With a shrug, she pulled her hand back. "With you, one never knows," she muttered, her eyes hardening to glacial slits.
Gregory watched her back as she left, the door to the bedroom closing hard a moment later. He looked down as Del began to chuckle and cracked his knuckles. "Jet lag," he answered, seeing the questioning look on Gregory's face. "She hates the time change."
"I guess." He sat up, leaning forward on his knees. "Makes her difficult to deal with…" he sighed, gazing off into the distance. "Irritable…"
"Speaking of irritable," Gregory interjected, clearing his throat. "I ran into Annie in the lobby just now."
Del smirked and sat back, resting his feet on the glass coffee table. "I imagine she gave you quite the earful."
"Somewhat." He paused for a moment, waiting for Del's full attention. "She had a gun on her."
With a loud chuckle, he stood and rolled his shoulders. "She must've heard Olivia was back in the same time zone as her. The two of them have never gotten along."
"She seemed quite upset."
"As she should be. Her free ride is about to end," he snapped, a dark look clouding his face. "Did she tell you she got kicked out of law school and used the tuition money to pay off tabs she ran up at nightclubs up and down the coast?" He rubbed the back of his neck as he growled, "Little tart's a thief, just like her mother."
"If you called her that, I'm not surprised she's skulking around the lobby with a gun."
"If Annie had the guts to do anything with that gun, I might re-consider cutting her off. At least then I'd know she's got a backbone."
"I wouldn't test her," he replied. "Does she know about the new will?"
Del shrugged. "She will…eventually. Though I don't plan on kicking the bucket for a long, long time."