PREVIOUSLY: After Eric filed for divorce from Stephanie, he began pursuing Brooke, who still had lingering feelings for Ridge. Stephanie did her best to delay the divorce, not consenting to it even when Brooke was about to give birth to her son with Eric, Eric Jr. (Rick). Finally, unable to stop the proceeding, Stephanie granted Eric his divorce in exchange for friendship with him and Brooke, hoping to get close to him again. Meanwhile, Ridge, whose wife Caroline had died not long before, developed an attraction to Taylor, despite her being engaged to Brooke's brother, Storm -- and despite his own feelings for Brooke. Eric proposed to Brooke, which resulted in a lavish Palm Springs wedding; Stephanie and Ridge attended, but unenthusiastically. For her part, the night before her wedding, Brooke had a dream about marrying Ridge, but she walked down the aisle with Eric, anyway.
While Donna helped Brooke into her wedding dress, Katie walked in and announced that Thorne wasn't feeling well, so Macy had taken him home. Brooke lamented that Thorne was to have been Eric's best man. Katie revealed that Ridge was taking Thorne's place. Donna didn't think that was a big deal, but Brooke wondered if she could look at Ridge after what had happened. Questioned by Katie, Brooke shrugged and said it had just been a dream.
Caterers roamed the outdoor wedding location in Palm Springs as the few guests lingered. Taylor arrived with Storm and wondered where Ridge was. Storm snarked that maybe Ridge had stayed home. They were surprised to find Ridge in heavy discussion with Eric; when Taylor noted she had seen Thorne and Macy leaving, it became clear that Ridge was going to be Eric's best man. Storm and Taylor stood in disbelief.
A quartet of trumpeters played one of the show's themes as guests seated themselves. Katie and Donna, as bridesmaids, preceded Brooke, who was walked down the aisle by her brother, Storm. With daughter Felicia sitting beside her, Stephanie could barely look at the bride and groom. Margo, who had also had a thing for Eric, couldn't conceal her unease from her disapproving husband, Bill Sr. At the altar, Storm gave Ridge a purposeful glance; after hugging Storm, Brooke turned around and faced Ridge for the first time since her dream about marrying him.
The minister began the ceremony; when he asked if anyone had any objections to the marriage, Ridge bit his lip, and Stephanie stared off into space. Brooke took a breath as the bride and groom were asked to confess any just cause why they might not lawfully be married. Stephanie watched, clearly in pain, as Eric and Brooke took their formal, more Biblical vows. Ridge and Brooke locked eyes a moment too long as he approached with the requested rings, which Eric and Brooke exchanged. After the minister declared Eric and Brooke husband and wife and invited them to kiss, a single tear rolled down Stephanie's face. Ridge also appeared decidedly unhappy.
At the boisterous reception, Eric fed Brooke wedding cake, and Ridge had to shout over the crowd to begin his toast. Ridge declared the newlyweds were the best, and he wished for Eric and Brooke to always be as happy as they were that day. Ridge said he loved them both.
The party continued, with Taylor remarking that Ridge's toast had been lovely; Taylor was amazed when Storm agreed. Donna was sure Ridge had to have some idea where Eric was taking Brooke on their honeymoon, but Ridge didn't. Pierre, a restauranteur who helped reunite Eric and Brooke and had been rewarded with his own establishment by Eric, suggested that perhaps the honeymoon was to be in Paris. When Donna told Katie that Brooke had only been told to expect the unexpected, Stephanie said that, in that case, she was sure the honeymoon would be spectacular.
Ridge found Taylor, who asked him how he was holding up. Ridge joked that all his women were either getting married or engaged. Taylor and Ridge flirted before an annoyed Storm, "the fiancé himself," interrupted. Taylor got between the men and told them to remember where they were then led Storm away. Eric and Brooke shared their first dance as husband and wife as Strauss's "Tales from the Vienna Woods" waltz lilted through the room. Storm took note of how wooden Ridge seemed. Stephanie continued trying to keep up a brave face.
Afterwards, Felicia came to Stephanie on the patio and offered her more Champagne, saying it was one day when Stephanie would be entitled to a second glass. Stephanie told her daughter she'd be inclined to drink the whole bottle. Felicia gently said Stephanie had done beautifully, and she wasn't sure she could have done so in Stephanie's shoes. Stephanie replied that she'd pray Felicia would never be in her shoes then went back inside with her.
Katie and Donna helped Brooke out of her wedding dress and into clothes Eric had laid out for her. Donna gushed that she wanted a man like Eric and asked Brooke where she could find one. In another room, Eric changed into safari duds while Ridge found a map case and asked his father for a hint about the honeymoon location. Eric beamed that "this was one" even Ridge hadn't thought of, telling Ridge he'd appreciate "this" after Ridge said he was "the original genius with this kind of stuff."
Brooke came down to applause and Felicia's joke that Eric had left without her. Brooke asked, "By land or by sea?" Eric arrived and answered it wasn't by train or by plane. Ridge seemed uncomfortable again as Donna wanted to know if Eric was ever going to tell them the honeymoon location. Eric assured her and Katie he was going to show them right then, but first he wanted to thank everyone for making the day the kind he and his bride would never forget as long as they lived. Eric intrigued Brooke by pronouncing they would never be back that way again, and the guests filed out behind them.
Eric had Brooke cover her eyes as they walked outside, but Katie and Felicia gasped -- Eric had arranged to whisk Brooke away in a hot-air balloon. A valet helped Brooke and Eric into the basket, and Eric asked Ridge for his map. The guests waved goodbye, and when Felicia queried where they were going, Eric grandly stated, "somewhere...over the rainbow."
The trumpeters played their show theme again as the balloon fired up, and Eric and Brooke lifted off. The couple marveled and kissed while floating luxuriously over Palm Springs. Brooke giggled, wanting assurance that Eric really knew how to fly the balloon. Eric smiled that all he needed was the map, but it slipped out of his hand when he embraced his bride. The map sailed through the desert air as Brooke and Eric flew away.
Eric and Brooke honeymoon in the desert
At the Forrester guesthouse, Ridge finished changing out of his wedding clothes into denim casual. He saw Stephanie approaching on the walk and let her in. His mother wanted to know where Ridge thought Eric was taking Brooke "in that ridiculous balloon." Stephanie lamented that Eric didn't even seem concerned with what people thought. To her, Eric was trying to be young again, though he was old enough to be Brooke's father. She wondered how long it would take before he realized the whole thing was ridiculous.
As Brooke and Eric sailed over the mountains in their hot-air balloon, they kissed in between admiring the view. Eric reached over to make a few adjustments to the controls, but Brooke wondered how he could navigate when they'd dropped the map a thousand feet in the air. As Eric reassured her, Brooke said she'd be scared to death with anyone else and had a feeling she was in capable hands. She again asked where Eric was taking her; he said he would tell her -- all in due time.
"I feel like I own the whole world," Brooke gushed, noting that she and her new husband weren't over Palm Springs anymore. Eric noted they were above the desert, one of the most treacherous in North America. Getting confirmation that there was no city, town, or airport, Brooke asked where they would land in the middle of nowhere. Eric still stayed mum.
Soon, Brooke noticed a pair of horses below and observed that they were already saddled. Eric took the balloon down, then helped Brooke out of it. Brooke couldn't hide her amazement, and Eric asked if she was up for it. Brooke answered by mounting her horse, but Eric was in his saddle first and pretended to gallop away without her. Brooke followed Eric, and together, they rode through the desert in the blazing sun, with barren mountains rising above them. Eric stopped when they reached a shady oasis. Brooke's eyes widened.
Back in Los Angeles, Ridge asked if Stephanie really believed Eric and Brooke's marriage was ridiculous. Stephanie scoffed that Brooke was a supreme opportunist; she'd known it from the day they met, only then, the plan had been Ridge. Brooke was a little girl from the Valley who thought she was going to have everything and had switched her plan from Ridge to Eric so she wouldn't have to wait for Ridge to inherit Eric's wealth -- she could have the money right away. Stephanie derided Eric as gullible. Though she admitted Brooke was young, beautiful, and sexy, she knew one day Eric would realize he had made a terrible mistake. Stephanie told Ridge, "Mark my words. Your father and I are not through."
Ridge insisted Stephanie needed to face reality. They couldn't stay buried in the past. They needed to face the future and reach out for new directions. That was what Ridge was going to do, and he impressed upon Stephanie that it was time for her to let go.
Atop a hill, Eric and Brooke spied an enormous tent pitched in an area protected from the sun. When Brooke inquired about it, Eric joked that it was a mirage -- or perhaps left behind by early settlers. The honeymooners rode their horses through a bubbling stream and dismounted, tying their horses before appraising the tent. Brooke headed toward it, but Eric asked if she'd forgotten something. He picked her up and carried her in.
Brooke was stunned. The tent stood well above them, and it was festooned with candles and Southwestern decor. There was even a fire pit, and a variety of food, all surrounding a large bed. Brooke deemed it amazing and magical, and Eric declared it was all theirs. No one was around for miles.
When Brooke asked Eric how he'd done it, he only smiled. He reported that there was a generator out back, so they had refrigeration, ice, and a heater, since the desert got very cold at night. They had everything they needed. Brooke couldn't believe Eric had created the perfect fairy tale wedding and incredible honeymoon for her; she beamed that he really knew how to make her fantasies come true. Eric swore that was exactly what he was going to do, "now and forever."
Eric lifted a glass of Champagne and toasted to his beautiful Brooke and their new beginning. He predicted a life of love, devotion, and happiness, for them and their beautiful baby boy. They sipped, and Brooke marveled that "this" was really happening; it wasn't a dream. Eric said it was their future, and he asked if Brooke knew how much he loved her. "Almost as much as I love you," Brooke replied. Eric told Brooke she couldn't begin to realize what their future held for them. Brooke made a toast to all their days and all their nights together.
Putting down their drinks, Eric and Brooke started to kiss, not breaking it to sit down on the bed. Brooke coyly unbuttoned Eric's shirt. Eric noticed a single tear streaming down Brooke's face and asked if she was crying. Brooke called them tears of joy and happiness. Eric and Brooke Forrester continued their gentle kissing and lay down together on the bed.