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|All Or Nothing
Episode 139: Empire State of Mind, Part One
An All Or Nothing Mini-Series Event
February 26, 2012
Bicyclists and pedestrians made their way past the hotel. All of them looked to be in such a rush and had such a look of
focus on their faces.
He stood in such awe of the number of people. He was lost in his own thoughts that he hadn’t heard Ethan come up
behind him until he put his hand his shoulder.
“Ryan, were you able to get checked in?” Ethan questioned and snapped Ryan out of his daydreaming.
“Sam is doing that right now,” he pointed over to the front desk and he added, “apparently with your wife.”
seemed to have hit it off quite nicely.”
“I noticed that too,” Ethan replied. “I’m just relieved that she wants to talk to this one compared to the last guy you dated.”
Ryan exhaled and raised his eyebrows at the mere mention of Josh.
“Yeah I know what you mean. Hey listen I wanted to thank you for inviting Sam and I along this week. I really appreciate it
and you didn’t need to do it.”
“It was my pleasure. We’re family and it was important that you were here for your sister.”
“She is so excited about the debut of this line,” Ryan told him.
“It’s a brilliantly designed collection. She has every reason to be excited about it.”
They both watched across the room as Sam stood with Brittany talking near the front desk. Brittany’s smiled seemed to
be infectious as Sam soon burst into a fit of laughter over something she had just said.
overlooking the city.
“I’m sorry I specifically told my assistant to book my brother and you a room that overlooked Central Park,” she attempted
“Are you kidding? I think Ryan and I are going to be just fine with the room we got,” Sam laughed.
“Brittany I know that I’ve thanked you over and over and over again for inviting me this week, but I want to say it once more
– thank you.”
“Well you are very welcome Sam, I appreciate your gratitude. I was thrilled when Ryan said that your schedule had
opened up and you would be able to attend. It gives me the chance to get to know you a little better.”
water and as Nicholas finally answered his phone it hit her across the face.
in her left hand.
get my hands on a million with no problem.”
against her face.
to get the money…I just expect you to get it.”
happens when it happens Nicholas.”
traditional tuxedos, as Natasha had requested.
“Can you believe that this is finally going to happen?” Ethan asked as they got closer to the suite.
Justin shook his head, “Not really no,” he told his brother as his cell began to ring in his pocket.
“I need to get this,” he told Ethan. “It’s Valerie Caldwell.”
“Does it have something to do with Brandi’s parole hearing?” Ethan questioned.
“I don’t know. Tell dad that I’ll be right in.”
“This is Justin,” he answered as Ethan disappeared into Nicholas’s suite.
head to one side. “I refuse to wear anything designed by that bitch Audrey King Pierce.”
“This is about the two of you,” Jodi told them both, “and your volatile relationship with one another. Madison you are my
cousin and my mother’s niece and Sabrina is…”
“Natasha’s best friend,” Sabrina interjected.
“I’ll handle this Sabrina,” Jodi held up her hand to silence her. “I don’t need your help right now, but thank you.”
“But what she said, Madison is true. Sabrina is my mother’s best friend and tonight is about her and Nicholas. It is not
about whatever the hell is going on between the two of you. Quite frankly I could care less whether you like each or
not…but tonight for your sake’s you had both better put on the performance of your lives and play nice with one another.”
“Jodi’s right,” April entered the ballroom. “Her and I agree completely on this subject,” she cut her eyes at both Madison
and Sabrina. “Neither one of us is going to allow you to sabotage mom’s wedding tonight.”
“As long as she knows her place…” Madison popped off without thinking.
“Madison Valentine…I will wipe you across this floor like I did when we were kids,” Jodi threatened her cousin. “What you
just said, right there, is exactly what April and I are talking about. Either you fall in line and act as though your mother
raised you with the manners we know she did or you leave.”
“Fine,” Madison whispered, “I’m sorry.”
“Good,” April looked at Jodi. “This is your one and only warning, for the both you.”
Madison shook her head and as did Sabrina who added, “Of course. You won’t have any problems from me tonight.”
“Good,” Jodi smiled, “thank you Sabrina. Now let’s all go upstairs and get ready for this wedding.”
hotel with Joshua Marshall.
“You’re welcome,” he smiled. “Just remember not tell your mother.”
As they approached the front desk together, Josh couldn’t help but wonder if April was able to get everything completed in
time for the wedding.
“Hello and welcome to the Mandarin Oriental,” one of the desk clerks greeted them.
“Hi. There should be reservation for Josh Marshall,” he told her. “It might be under April Bradshaw.”
“Can I go look around?” Emily asked.
“Yeah,” he answered. “Emily, make sure you stay right here in the lobby where I can see you.”
She reached into her bag for her cell phone and began walking towards the center table in the lobby. She leaned against
the table and read aloud to herself, as she texted, “Lewis – just arrived. See you at the wedding?”
Josh took the keys from the desk clerk and called out for Emily, “Come on sweetie we need to go find your mom.”
The woman behind him stood patiently as he collected his suitcase, his messenger bag and Emily’s suitcase.
“Sorry,” Josh apologized to the woman. “I’ll be out of your way in two seconds.”
“That’s quite all right,” the woman spoke with an ease of sophistication, “take your time son.”
“Emily…” he called out for his goddaughter and as promised he moved out of the woman’s way.
“Hello and welcome to the Mandarin Oriental,” the same desk clerk greeted her as she had done moments earlier with
Josh and Emily. “Do you have a reservation?”
“I do,” the woman answered. “I’m here with the King Fashion party,” she explained, “my name is Von Honson, Priscilla
Von Honson,” Patricia lied as the desk agent began getting her paperwork in order.
for our room at Gotham fell through at the last minute.”
“Nicholas, please, not another word about that,” she kissed him lightly on the lips. “You’ve been stressing about that ever
since they called this morning. Besides you heard what the manager here just said – that they will be able to
accommodate our wedding right here, tonight.”
“Tonight,” he smiled at her. “God I love you.”
“Yes tonight,” she told him, “I will finally become Mrs. Natasha Pierce…” she said with no reservations, with no
hesitations and with no concerns.
She had asked God for a sign about whether or not she should continue with this wedding and if the only thing he could
come up with was a change in venue, then she didn’t consider that enough.
“Yes you will and I for one cannot wait a minute longer,” Nicholas spun Natasha into his arms and kissed her
passionately on the lips in the lobby as everyone, including Audrey looked on.
“All right you two,” Jodi clapped her hands together, “enough of that. April and Felicia are meeting right now with the
Social Catering Manager to make sure that everything is ready for tonight,” she explained.
“I should go up to my room,” Nicholas told them as Savannah and Miranda joined them. “I have a few calls to make
before the big event. I love you,” he said to Natasha before he headed towards the elevator.
Everyone watched as Nicholas disappeared into the elevator. From opposite sides of the lobby, both Madison and
Sabrina began to make their way to the group.
“Natasha is there anything that you need Miranda or I to do?” Savannah questioned.
“I don’t know, she sighed. “Jodi and April seem to be handling everything.” Natasha turned to Jodi who was eyeing the
arrival of her cousin and Sabrina, “Is there anything that you need from Savannah or Miranda?”
“Please let us know,” Miranda chimed in. “We would love to help.”
“Oh gosh yes…” she smiled happy for the offer, “I arranged for all of us girls to have manicures and pedicures before the
wedding tonight,” she explained. “I was just about to go over to the spa and confirm our appointments…if you would do
that I would appreciate it.”
“Of course,” Savannah smiled. “Thank you Jodi that was very nice of you.”
“And Miranda…” Natasha chimed in, “would you care to ride up with me to my suite? Help get me settled in?”
“I would like that very much,” Miranda answered. “We’ll see you all in a few minutes,” she said as her and Natasha
headed towards the elevators.
“Do you need me to do anything?” Madison questioned.
“Actually yes,” Jodi answered. “I need to see you both in private,” she looked at Madison and then to Sabrina, “if you don’t
Brandi’s parole hearing in weeks,” he said. “Let alone if I would testify on her behalf.”
Justin shook his head in disgusted, but only said, “I’m asking now because it’s two weeks away dad and Valerie
Caldwell needs an answer.”
“And she waits until now to ask me?” Nicholas questioned. “Why is it so important that I testify? You’re going to be there,
you’re going to testify aren’t you?”
“Of course I am,” Justin answered as the door of the suite silently opened. “But you’re Lewis’s father and Valerie thinks
that your testimony is the most important.”
“Because Valerie wants me to testify that I think Brandi should be paroled for Lewis’s sake is that right?”
“I think so,” Justin told him. “Are you honestly saying that you don’t think Lewis needs Brandi in his life? Because if you
don’t testify dad that is what you are saying.”
his father would say about her, so he ran back to the elevator. Once safely inside and once the doors were shut, he texted
Emily, “I need to see you after the wedding…”
“Listen we’re not going to decide this tonight,” Nicholas told Justin inside his suite. “I’m going to have to think about how
this is going to affect my marriage and I need to talk with Natasha about how she feels about it.”
“You don’t have time to think about this dad. Valerie has to file her witness list with the state in the next twenty minutes.”
Nicholas shook his head and walked towards the door, “I can’t right now Justin,” he told him. “You tell Valerie whatever
you want to tell her, but I can’t make a choice like this by myself,” he explained.
but think of the friendship she now shared with Brandi.
last time I wore one of these was nearly thirty years ago.”
one of the assistance entered the fitting room.
tightly in an attempt to push out the voices she was hearing in the back of her mind…
“See I think that’s where you’re wrong Natasha. I know Nicholas like you know Andrew…” Audrey fired. “I’ve not
only known that man since I was seventeen years old, but I have loved him every day of my life since. He is the
father of my children and through all of the heartache that he has brought into my life…I can say without hesitation
that I have loved him my entire life.”
“Are you ready to marry Nicholas and are you ready for everything that is going to entail?” Felicia questioned.
bucket. Natasha popped the cork and poured herself a glass.
“What am I going to do?” she questioned as she ran her hand down the front of her wedding dress.
She walked back and stood in front of the mirrors and just looked at herself. She could still here the voices in the back of
her head, almost taunting her.
“Oh God, I rarely do this,” she closed her eyes, “but I need guidance and you are the only one who can give it to me. I love
this man…at least I think I love him and I think that I want to marry him, but I don’t know for certain.”
She opened her eyes and looked upward, “I need a sign…I don’t know what to do or where to go from here. So please,”
she prayed, “give me a sign before I vow to love this man until death do us part…because I can’t go through what I’ve
already went through once in my life, I just cannot do that again.”
reality only minutes had passed since the nurse had placed them in one of the exam rooms.
“Did Bradley say how long he was going to be?” Ethan questioned.
“No,” she answered him. “And I know the waiting is killing you, it’s killing me too.”
“I just want to know something,” he stood up and began to pace the floor. “This could change our life you know,” Ethan
smiled. “You could be…”
“Don’t,” Brittany stopped him with a kiss. “Don’t say it. I don’t want to jinx anything,” she smiled.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and returned the kiss. “Only if you insist,” he told her. “I’m just so excited about
“Well that’s good news to hear,” Bradley appeared in the doorway.
He has been given special privileges at St. John Memorial and had spent the entire morning confirming and reconfirming
the results of Brittany’s blood work.
Ethan took Brittany’s hand as they both locked their eyes on the piece of paper that Bradley had with him.
“Hi guys,” Bradley gestured towards the two empty chairs in the room. “Why don’t you guys sit down,” he suggested.
“No…no…” Brittany insisted. “I don’t want to sit down Bradley. Please just tell us what you’ve found out…” she looked to
“You said on the phone that you thought I could be pregnant,” she recanted. “Am I pregnant or not?”
“How serious are things between you and Sam?”
“Um…well…” he muttered uneasily.
“I didn’t mean to put you on the spot like that,” Ethan told him.
“No it’s not that at all,” Ryan assured him. “It’s just that you and I never really seemed to talk about stuff like this before.”
“True enough,” Ethan agreed. “I was just curious because we mentioned Josh earlier, without mentioning him and well
we both know how Brittany feels about him.”
Ryan shook his head and shrugged his shoulders, “Sam and I are taking things slow for the most part. A long distance
relationship is tough, but we’re making due,” he explained. “And the best part of all…”
“He’s not Joshua…” Ryan said with just a slight hint of disappointment in his voice.
moment, the first since they had left River’s Edge hours earlier.
“Sam there’s probably something that I should tell you upfront,” she began. “I’m very protective of my brother, more so
than I should be at times.”
“I don’t see anything wrong with that.”
“Well it’s come back to bite me once or twice,” Brittany told him. “I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye with some of Ryan’s
former boyfriends…” she paused, “Ryan and I have been through a lot together over the years and I just want to protect
him from as much as I possibly can.”
“I understand that completely Brittany,” Sam told her. “Ryan’s told me some of things that the two of you have gone
through and to be honest, I’m jealous of the relationship that the two of you have. I wish my own sister and I were that
“I’m glad to hear that. I just don’t want to scare you off because I’ve seen you with him and I think you’re a good fit,” she
laughed. “I wouldn’t mind you sticking around and I just want you and I to go into our friendship eyes wide open.”
“If I had cocktail,” Sam smiled, “I would drink to that!”
to bother you but there’s something that I need to discuss with you that can’t wait,” she explained. “Is now a good time?”
“I suppose it will have to be,” he replied. “What’s going on?”
“I’m approaching the deadline for submitting the witness list for Brandi’s parole hearing. Currently I have on it yourself
and Brittany,” she further explained. “I was wondering if there are any other names that you wanted me to add.”
He cleared his throat and asked, “Who else did you have in mind Valerie?” he shrugged his shoulders. “Brandi doesn’t
exactly have that many people willing to testify on her behalf.”
“I was hoping that Nicholas would agree to testify on her behalf,” Valerie explained.
Justin stood in the hallway of the Mandarin speechless. The thought of his father testifying for Brandi had never once
crossed his mind, especially considering that he was about to marry Jered’s mother tonight.
“Justin are you there?” Valerie questioned.
“I’m here,” he answered. “Valerie you know that my father is engaged to Natasha Bradshaw, in fact they’re getting
married tonight here in New York.”
“I was aware that they were a couple, but I wasn’t aware that they had set a date for the wedding,” she answered.
“However, Nicholas needs to understand that as the father of Brandi’s child that his testimony is vital to securing her
parole,” Valerie explained. “Could you at least talk to him about the possibility of testifying for her?”
Justin thought for a moment, “I can do my best,” he told her. “When do you need his answer?”
“Within in the hour,” she revealed. “Justin, if you want your wife to come home then you have to convince your father to do
“Okay. Thanks for calling Valerie. You’ll hear from me within the hour.”
impressive wall of windows that framed a stunning panorama view of both the Manhattan skyline and Central Park.
“Welcome to the Lobby Lounge Ms. Pierce,” the hostess greeted her.
“Thank you,” Audrey smiled. “I have an appointment with a reporter from Craze this evening,” she explained. “Her name is
Juliet Sanders. Do you know by chance if she’s arrived?”
The hostess checked her register and shook her head, “I’m sorry I don’t see anyone by that name. If you would like I can
seat you at your table and when Ms. Sanders arrives bring her to you.”
“Okay…that sounds like a plan, thank you.”
She followed the hostess to her table. Audrey looked out across the city and she for a brief moment closed her eyes,
taking the spirit of the city in. This fashion show was a rebirth for not only King Fashion, but for her as well. Nicholas
would be married by morning and she knew that it was time to pick herself up off the floor and move on.
“Excuse me,” a waiter announced his arrival at her table, “can I get you a drink while you wait for your companion?”
Audrey drew in a deep breath and smiled, “Yes thank you…I’ll have a Manhattan Dry please,” she ordered as an older
gentleman approached her table.
“In fact make that two,” the man said. “I’ll be joining Ms. Pierce this evening,” he declared as Audrey looked up to him,
wondering who this man was.
Nicholas much like his boys was also dressed in a formal black tuxedo as Natasha had requested. His silver hair was
combed to one side and a smile as big as Texas was plastered across his face.
“You look sharp dad,” Lewis smiled.
“He’s not the only one,” Ethan said as he gave his little brother a friendly nudge. “You look pretty sharp yourself little man.”
“I know…” the teen smiled up at Ethan. “So are we all ready to go then?” he asked.
“Why don’t you go down with Ethan,” Justin suggested. “I need to talk to dad about a few things. It won’t take us a long.”
“Okay,” Ethan agreed. “Come on Lewis let’s go down and see if we can find your girlfriend,” he teased him.
“She’s not my girlfriend…” Lewis told him as the door of the suite slowly closed behind the two of them.
“What’s going on?” Nicholas asked. “And whatever it is Justin can it not wait until tomorrow, after my wedding?”
He shook his head, “It can’t I’m sorry,” Justin told him. “Valerie Caldwell called me about a half-hour ago and wanted me
to speak with you about Brandi’s parole hearing?”
“What about it?” Nicholas asked as his smile quickly faded away.
“She wanted to know if you planned to testify on Brandi’s behalf,” Justin revealed to him.
earlier. Everyone who was important to Natasha had gathered in her suite to help make this night as perfect as it could
be. Jodi and April stood next to one another in matching gowns. Emily wore a pale blue gown, Natasha’s niece Madison
sat across the room in silence and nursing her second glass of champagne, while Sabrina stood on the opposite side
with Savannah and Miranda.
Felicia emerged from the bedroom where she had spent the last twenty minutes with her sister, helping her into her
wedding gown and giving her the traditional something old and something borrowed – a pair of diamond stud earrings
that had belonged to their mother.
“I think we are finally ready,” Felicia said with a smile. “Ladies, I present to you for the final time, Ms. Natasha Garrett
Bradshaw…” she announced.
Alone in the bedroom Natasha heard her sister announce her and she took a deep breath, and then slowly exhaled. She
took one step forward but stopped to check her lipstick one last time before making her entrance.
As she emerged from the bedroom in her gown she heard the gasps of her daughters and she smiled…she had finally
done what they continued to do on a daily basis – take their breath way.
“Mom…”was all that April could say as she took Jodi’s hand in her own, “you look gorgeous.”
“Oh my God mother, yes!” Jodi exclaimed with a touch of sheer excitement in her voice. “You are so beautiful.”
“Thank you girls,” Natasha smiled at them. “Everyone I appreciate you all being here so much, but if I could have a
moment alone with my girls, I would appreciate that even more.”
Everyone slowly filtered out of the room, making their way down to the ballroom and soon it was just Natasha standing
with her two daughters alone.
“I am so glad that the both of you are here with me tonight,” she smiled. “You have no idea how much it means to me,
especially considering how you both once felt about my relationship with Nicholas.”
“Well we were able to eventually see how happy he makes you and really that’s all April or I could ask for,” Jodi told her.
“Thank you,” Natasha replied on the verge of tears.
“Nope…” April told her, “none of that. No tears tonight…happy, sad or otherwise.”
“I agree with her,” Jodi took Natasha’s hand. “Are you ready?”
“Almost,” Natasha answered. “There’s one thing that I haven’t done yet.”
“What is it?” April questioned.
“I haven’t asked you both yet if you would walk me down the aisle tonight,” Natasha revealed. “Will the two of you give me
Jodi looked to April and then back to her mother, “It would be our privilege,” she assured her, as they all three embraced
in a mother-daughter hug.
The gentlemen flashed a smile of content it at her and took the seat across from her without saying one word.
“Audrey you’ve hurt my feelings,” he finally spoke. “The fact that you don’t remember me is…well it’s as though someone
has driven a stake through my heart.”
“Well I’ve been known to do that once or twice in my life,” she conceded, “so perhaps you do know me. But that doesn’t
answer my question.”
Audrey laughed at the game they were playing, “Well for starters, who you are, if you don’t mind.”
“That’s easy enough,” he said as their drinks were delivered, “I’m the reporter from Craze,” he partially answered.
“Um no,” he sipped his cocktail, “unfortunately Juliet had to be reassigned at the last minute and luckily for the both of
us,” he smiled, “I’ve taken over the assignment.”
Audrey leaned forward and lowered her voice, “And how does that make us lucky?”
She stood up from her seat and firmly told him, “All right….you and I are done with this little cat and mouse game,” Audrey
declared. “Tell me who you are or you can explain to your editors at Craze why you lost one of the biggest fashion stories
of the year.”
“That would be quite difficult since I am one of the Editors of the magazine,” the man explained as he too stood up. “You
honestly don’t remember me Audrey?”
“Should I…remember you?” she questioned.
“Perhaps…” he answered, “I was hoping that you would…I’m Warren Spencer,” he revealed to her. “It’s certainly a
pleasure to see you again Audrey.”
the Peace?” he greeted her.
“Yes, I’m the Honorable Eileen Simpson,” she introduced herself. “You must be Nicholas Pierce?”
“I am,” he told her. “Thank you for rearranging your schedule to coordinate with our venue and time changes,” he smiled.
“It’s been a one hectic day.”
“It was my pleasure,” the Justice of the Peace told him. “Are we ready to begin?” she asked as Ethan and Lewis made
their way down the aisle.
Nicholas couldn’t take his eyes off of Lewis. He had grown so much in the last year and now stood at Ethan’s shoulders.
His blonde hair glistened under the twinkle lights in the ballroom, much the way that Brandi’s did at Christmas when she
would stand next to the tree.
“God he looks just like her,” he conceded to himself.
“I’m sorry,” the Justice of the Peace turned to him, “did you say something Mr. Pierce?”
“Um…I just need to…” he stuttered, caught off guard, “I just need to make sure that my son has the ring,” he lied and
turned to Justin who was standing two feet away from him talking to Savannah.
“Is it too late?” Nicholas whispered. “For you to call Valerie,” he clarified.
“I could probably get her a text message,” Justin told him.
“Do it then,” Nicholas told him. “Tell Valerie that I’ll testify for Brandi.”
Justin immediately texted the information to Valerie with only minutes left to spare. “All right, it’s done,” Justin assured
“Thank you…” Nicholas breathed a little easier as Eileen Simpson approached him.
“Mr. Pierce,” she said, “your daughter just informed me that all of the guests have arrived and if that we are ready to begin
if you’ll take your place with your groomsman.”
“All right,” Nicholas smiled as Justin, Ethan and Lewis stood next to him at the altar, “let’s get this show started.”
Outside the ballroom Natasha stood with her daughters and her granddaughter Emily. Three generations of Garrett
women in one place and she couldn’t help but smile at that thought. She closed her eyes and took the moment in.
“Grandma...you look beautiful,” Emily told her as the doors opened behind her.
“Thank you Emily,” Natasha smiled. “I think that’s your cue my darling,” she pointed to the open doors.
Natasha watched as Emily made her way down the white carpet lined with lit candles and pink and white flowers.
She surveyed the ballroom and everything was as she had imagined it would be. She saw the altar adorned with flowers
and awaiting her there was the man she was supposed to marry. She had prayed for a sign and had not received
one…with her daughter by her side she told herself that this felt right, nothing could stop her wedding now. She was
about to become Mrs. Natasha Pierce…or so she thought…
|Next on All Or Nothing