EPISODE 55
"Choices"


This episode deals with radical heart transplants, a procedure that saves over 2,000 people a year, as well as medical “brain death.” References are made to medical power-of-attorneys as well as Disassociative Amnesia. Some foreign terminology might be used. Click on the links for further information. Thanks to Heart Center Online, Mental Health Matters and TransWeb.org for information and insight on the actual procedures involved.


Previously, on Friends and Foes:
Alex had sustained a possibly fatal wound to the heart. Devin, a wound to the brain. Posing as next of kin, Taylor discovered from Doctor David Marchese that Devin is brain dead. Alex needs a new heart. FBI Agent Kortni Hope saved recovered Jeff Moore after he had been kidnapped and missing for over a year.


DR. MARCHESE'S OFFICE - NIGHT

Dr. David Marchese is taking a moment of reprieve in his office. He is pinching his temples, his eyes closed, and his need for a momentary escape surprises himself. He has been doing this for many years, but something about this scenario feels unusually cruel. A group of friends torn apart in a seemingly pointless act of violence…

The fact that Taylor, Devin, and Alex are not blood relatives is not lost on Dr. Marchese. He is well-aware that Taylor is acting as next-of-kin because the boys don’t have anyone else.

“I wonder,” Dr. Marchese thinks to himself, “how receptive Taylor will be to my proposal.”

There is a knock at the door and his pager rings simultaneously. He silences his beeper, wipes a bead of sweat from his brow as he composes himself and calls, “Come in.”

Taylor enters the office with Amber. It’s clear he has calmed down since his last meeting with the Doctor. Amber stands at a shoulder length behind him, trying to be as supportive as possible. David gestures for Taylor to take a seat.

“What’s up, Doc?”

“Taylor… As you know, the situation with your friends is dire.”

“I know.”

“Both have them have incurred serious gunshot wounds. There are some serious decisions to be made, and we need to stop playing games here. Time is running out. I know you’re close with these guys.”

Taylor interjects, “They’re like my brothers.”

Dr. Marchese pauses. “I need you to give me some family I can contact. This is very important. I wasn’t born yesterday. I know that you’re not related to either of these boys, and unfortunately that means that you are not authorized to make any legal decisions on their behalf.”

“Listen, Doc. You don’t understand. I grew up with these guys. We went to grade school together. When I had my first kiss, I ran over to Alex’s house and told him all about it. In the 6th grade we made blood oaths to each other. We’re family…”

“I understand that,” Dr. Marchese starts.

Taylor interjects, “… the last few years, the three of us have been…we’ve been through Hell. When we were in high school we…we survived a really awful...”

Taylor struggles to find the words.

“We had multiple attempts made on our lives. We were in the news for months. We were at the center of this…this bloodbath. Our names were dragged through the mud. We were treated like lepers. But we lived. We moved to California to escape the past and the horrible things that had happened to us.”

Dr. Marchese is startled. These are the boys from the Pine Valley, Colorado slaughters that had happened a few years ago. There was a fourth one, Jeff Moore, who isn’t here. They made national news when an insane girl from their high school orchestrated an elaborate murder attempt on their lives. He remembers the story well. Dr. Marchese remembers a recent news headline saying that Jeff Moore had been missing for nearly a year before an FBI Agent discovered him in an abandoned wherehouse.

“My God,” Dr. Marchese mutters inaudibly.

“So you see…I’m all they’ve got.” Taylor’s bottom lip trembles, his voice cracking for just a moment. “Everywhere we go, death seems to follow us. We moved to L.A. and first there was the accident with Josie, and then the bomb at my wedding to my WIFE.”

Taylor looks at Amber lovingly and continues. “Every wonderful event in my life has been marred or overcast by violence and death. And here I am again, but this time there was no premeditation or plotting. This was just a freak collision of fates. Someone we hardly know loses his cool and it leads to this. But I didn’t give up then, Doc, and I am not planning on giving up now. If you think I am ready to pull the plug on Devin, then you’ve got another thing coming.”

Amber grabs Taylor’s hand, speechless.

“Taylor, I had something else in mind.” Dr. Marchese says, aware now of the resilience and persistence he is facing.

Taylor looks up at him inquisitively and clearly upset.

“Go on.”

“Alex’s condition is quickly deteriorating. He is not going to live through the night without a new heart. I don’t think it will come as any surprise when I say that finding a heart for him in such short notice would be…will be… impossible.”

Taylor hasn’t connected it. “Ok, so what do we need to do?”

Marchese clears his throat. “As I told you a bit ago in Devin’s room, being brain dead means…he is considered legally dead in the State of California. He is being kept alive by nothing more than an electronic respirator.”

Taylor slams his fist down, “Dammit, Doc, I know, we already went through this.”

Amber grabs his hand again, this time with purpose. She understands. Taylor looks at her. The color has drained from her face, her mouth slightly agape, her eyes wide in disbelief and full of tears. “Taylor…”

A pause. Taylor begins to understand. The slow realization leads to horror. He buries his face into his palms and sobs. His open sobs grow into an agonizing howl. Carnal. For a moment the Doctor watches on, a giant pit in his stomach. Taylor does not relent. Instead, he sputters through his tears, “you want to give Alex…you want to give him Devin’s heart?!”


ROLL OPENING CREDITS

SEASON FOUR CAST OF CHARACTERS
Alex Harrison
Taylor Brookdale
Amber Newel-Brookdale
Candice Rodgers
Devin Barberry
Dr.David Marchese
Kathleen Ripple
Jeff Moore
FBI Agent Kortni Hope


HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM - NIGHT

Candice sits, exhausted, with her hands folded in her nap. Dark circles have formed underneath her eyes, and she looks around pensively while Taylor and Amber meet with the Doctor. In the past weeks she has been emotionally tested. With her mother back in Oklahoma in desperate need of surgery and her private education being as pricey as it is, she has hit a new low. She realizes it.

She reaches into her bra and pulls out a bundle of cash. Her earnings for the night. And what a long night it has been. She shakes her head in spite of herself. While her boyfriend, Alex, was being held hostage by a lunatic, she was out hooking.

“How could I? When he most needed me.” She thinks to herself. She puts the money back into her bra, ashamed of what she has been deduced to. “Now all I can do is wait.”

“Hi, you’re Candice right?” A voice says. Candice turns around to greet the stranger. It is the female paramedic that accompanied Alex and Devin to the hospital after the shooting. The same woman that got into a verbal altercation with Amber in the women’s restroom only hours ago.

“I’m Kathleen,” the woman says. She sits down next to Candice and shakes her hand.

“Hi, Kathleen.”

“I’m sorry if I’m intruding.”

Candice chuckles, “Not quite. Just waiting to hear whether or not the love of my life is going to die.”

Her attempt at levity fails. Kathleen frowns and says, “I’m sorry. I know Alex and Devin actually.”

Candice furrows her brow. “Is that why…were you the one arguing with Amber in the bathroom earlier?”

“I was,” Kathleen confirms. “I know her too, though our relationship hasn’t always been so rosy.”

“How do you know them?” Candice asks.

“We all went to high school together. Back in Colorado. A few years ago. I wasn’t good friends with them but we knew each other. I moved out to L.A. after we graduated but didn’t realize they were out here. I originally wanted to be a nurse but I got licensed as a paramedic because I find it to be more exciting and hands on.”

Candice nods. It’s hard to feign interest, especially in moments like this. “That’s great. Well what a coincidence, I suppose.”

“You’re with Alex, right?” Kathleen asks.

“I am.”

Kathleen sighs. “I have a really vested interest in this. I really want to make sure that he is okay and that he makes it through this.” Candice doesn’t quite have the energy to become defensive or angry at this comment. She just looks at Kathleen in disbelief. “And why is that?”

“Because,” Kathleen says. “I owe him.”


PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL WARD, PINE VALLEY COLORADO – NIGHT

Jeff Moore sits dazed in a room full of patients, staring at the ceiling. He is pale and seems as though the skin is hanging from his bones. Shockingly thin. His eyes are bloodshot and his lips chapped. He is generally disheveled and comatose. A pungent body odor seeps past his hospital garb, which hangs from his body like an oversized sheet, as he reaches for the stubble growing on his face and scratches it passively.

A nurse puts her hand on Jeff’s shoulder. “Jeff, Agent Hope is here to see you again.”

Jeff looks at the nurse dismissively. He is lucid, but slowed down. He smacks his lip. “I’m thirsty.”

The nurse seemingly ignores him and grabs his arm, leading him to a private room. Jeff takes a seat opposite FBI Agent Kortni Hope. She is alert, dressed in plain clothes, a cup of coffee in hand.

“Jeff,” Kortni greets him.

“Ms. Hope.” Jeff acknowledges her but not much else. “I didn’t expect to see you again so soon.”

“The doctors tell me you’re making real progress in your reparative memory therapies.”

“I suppose.” Jeff shrugs. “I’m starting to recall some faces. Snapshots of events. Not much else.”

“I know I say it every time I’m here, Jeff, but your recollection of the events leading up to your kidnapping is crucial. It’s been months now and your progress has been slow and steady, but we’re on the brink of litigating a very large criminal conspiracy case against Robert Sullivan and your testimony is going to be necessary. Without you, it’s all circumstantial.”

“Listen,” Jeff interjects. “You give me this spiel every time you come here. You’ve been here dozens of times. I can’t even remember my own mother’s face and I’m chatting away with you about this guy Sullivan all the damn time. I don’t remember. I don’t remember being kidnapped, I don’t remember being missing for months, I don’t remember you rescuing me like you say you did. For all I know, you could be a total stranger.” Kortni tosses a picture of Taylor Brookdale onto the table. “But you remember him?”

Jeff nods. “Sure, that’s Taylor.”

“Do you realize how unusual that is? Not to remember your mother but to remember your childhood friend?”

“We’re like brothers.” Jeff reasons.

“And him?” Kortni says, throwing another picture onto the table.

“That’s Alex.”

“And him?” Another photo.

“That’s Devin.”

“But you don’t remember being strapped to a chair and tortured for the past year?”

Jeff sighs with frustration. “No.”

“Jeff, we’re about to nail the man behind your kidnapping and for your psychological condition. We’re about to nail the man who was behind those attempted murders all those years ago. He’s a very wealthy, very powerful man with an agenda against your friend Taylor’s father.”

“I’m done with this,” Jeff says angrily, as he throws his chair out from behind him and storms out. Kortni sits back and runs her hands through her hair in frustration. A doctor walks into the room with a look screaming “I told you so.”

“No luck?” the doctor asks.

“Nope.”

“Agent Hope. As I’ve told you before, Jeff is suffering from severe Dissociative Amnesia. He’s in what we call a ‘fugue state,’ and the fact that he can recall anything is remarkable. Actually, the fact that he hasn’t developed a new identity altogether is remarkable.”

“But you told me two months ago when he was brought here that he’d eventually get his memory back.”

“Yes,” the doctor nods. “But Jeff has undergone a severe trauma. These things could take days. They could take months. Maybe longer.”

“I’m not sure we have that long.”

The Doctor frowns. As Kortni packs up her suitcase and prepares to leave, the Doctor has to ask. “Agent Hope?”

“Hmm?”

“I hope I’m not crossing some professional line here, but…that girl that comes here with you sometimes…” The Doctor starts.

“Yes?”

“That’s the Brandi Vandle girl, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is.”

The Doctor scoffs. “But she was involved in those murder attempts all those years ago!”

Kortni shakes her head. She doesn’t have to defend Brandi, but she chooses to. “She was just a pawn. She was forced to do what she did by people much more powerful than she. Her name was cleared and she helped me for months when I was searching for Jeff after he was kidnapped.”

“Still, I can’t imagine any of those boys want to see her ever again! What is she doing here?”

Kortni pauses for a moment. “Seeking redemption.”


DR. MARCHESE'S OFFICE – NIGHT

“I need a number. A name.” The Doctor persists.

“You don’t understand.” Taylor says. “We have no one. That’s it. We left them all behind. It’s just us now. Brothers, ok? Brothers!”

Dr. Marchese grows impatient. “Dammit, Taylor! Enough! Enough of this Kumbaya, friends for life charade! This is about life and death! One of them has to die…not both of them! I know this is hard but I can’t do this with you, Taylor, you’re just a child. Unless you all drew up some sort of living will, I need their families, otherwise they’re both going to die here tonight. Do you understand?”

“Taylor—“ Amber interrupts. Her eyes have widened, a look of hope on her face. “When we were married!”

“What?” Taylor says, looking at her, confused.

“When we were married! Don’t you remember?”

Taylor looks at her blankly.

“When Alex and Devin signed our marriage certificate as witnesses and you guys had that speech about being each other’s true family? You signed over power of attorney to one another!” Amber explains.

Dr. Marchese looks skeptical. “What?”

“Yes!” Amber exclaims. “It was a weird symbolic gesture at the time but my God I think that works, right? Right, Doctor?”

“I’m going to need to see this document and I’m going to need to see it. Quickly.” Dr. Marchese says urgently.

Without another word, Amber jumps out of her chair and darts out the door, leaving Taylor looking on with a dazed look painted across his face. If it is true and the power-of-attorney is binding, he has a big decision to make.

But either way, tonight, he will lose a brother. He knows that.


TAYLOR AND AMBER’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Amber’s car comes speeding around a corner and she parks hastily in the middle of the street. Glistening with sweat and an incredible urgency, she throws the door open and runs up to the front step of the house. The entire perimeter of the property is lined with police tape. She looks at the front door apprehensively. Only hours earlier, her home had become a crime scene. She breathes and goes for the front door.

“Hey! Stand away from the door!” An officer calls.

Amber freezes. “This is my home! Please don’t shoot.”

“I don’t have a gun drawn, ma’am.” The officer says, as he approaches Amber and gently guides her away from the front door. “But this is a crime scene. No one goes in.”

“I know, but there is an important document inside that house, and I need to—“

“I’m sorry, no one goes in or out. Those are my orders.” The officer continues to usher her off of the property, ignoring her protests.

“Officer, you don’t understand! The men who were shot in this house need my help, and there is a power of attorney in that—“

“Ma’am!” The officer interjects. “Don’t make me as you again. Please back off.”

Amber stands there for a moment, looking at the apartment earnestly. She looks at the officer and back at the house, defeated for a moment.

Until her resolve becomes clear.

She looks at the officer and take a deep breath. “Please don’t shoot me.”

“Huh?”

Before the officer knows it, Amber pushes him aside and scampers to the front door at maximum speed. The Officer is confused for a moment, but then calls after her and begins his pursuit.

Amber nearly knocks the door down, flying through police tape and running past the bloody scene before her, trying to ignore it, with only one goal in her mind: the power of attorney. She runs into her bedroom and slams the door shut, grabbing a nearby chair and jamming it underneath the door knob to keep the officer out for as long as possible.

“Okay, okay,” she says frantically, the adrenaline soaring through her veins. She reaches underneath her bed and pulls out a file folder full of important papers and documents. She quickly skims through each paper, throwing them aside when they are useless, reading them, profusely sweating as she tries to find the paper she needs.

Finally, she comes across it. She pauses for just a moment, looking at the paper incredulously. “This is it.”

The officer starts pounding on the door. Petrified, Amber grabs the paper and runs into the bathroom, slamming the door shut and locking it. She reaches for her cell phone and dials Taylor.

“Come on…Come on!” Amber beckons nervously. The Officer’s pounding and shouting at the bedroom door intensifies, and Amber jumps out of her own skin, startled by the intensity. Finally, Taylor answers the phone.

“Taylor! I have it!” Amber begins reading rapidly. “A durable power of attorney granted to Taylor Brookdale on the behalf of Alex Harrison and Devin Barberry, giving advance directive that empowers the grantee to serve as attorney-in-fact and to make health-care decisions for the grantors, up to and including terminating care for terminally ill or afflicted patients!”

The bedroom door comes shattering down and a few officers come barging into the room. Amber screams. She knows her time is up. “Taylor, they’re coming for me but I want you to—“

Her words are interrupted by the bathroom door being slammed down. Amber screams and drops the cell phone onto the floor. The officers begin to cuff Amber and drag her out of the bathroom. Amidst the chaos, she manages to scream at the cell phone as loudly as possible.

“Do it! TAYLOR, DO IT! HE NEEDS YOU, TAYLOR! DO THE RIGHT THING!”


ROLL CLOSING CREDITS

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