‘How did you happen to come with my uncle?’
‘I ran into him in D.C, my husband and I live in Georgetown. He told me everything and I insisted on tagging along. Tanner promised to come over as soon as he can. Can I see Carly now?’
Melanie watched Molly carefully and the raw emotion on the woman’s face when she leaned over Carly and touched her face told her Molly still regarded Carly the same way she must have done years ago. She wasn’t like the others, thank God.
Frankie came into the room eventually, accompanied by Dr. Long and two nurses. ‘We’re taking her into the O.R now, Mel.’
‘Okay...’ Melanie nodded, moving to kiss Carly on the forehead. ‘I love you Mum, we’ll be here waiting for you.’
Frankie kissed her as well, squeezing her hand, Molly did the same thing. Carly was wheeled out.
‘I couldn’t believe what Frankie told me on the way here. I felt sick to my stomach hearing what Carly went through all this time.’
Melanie touched Molly’s arm. ‘Since my uncle told you everything, then you must know my story.’
Molly Brinker Scofield nodded, her face serious. ‘So you know Mel, Carly wanted so much to have Bo’s children. If she gave you up, she did it for a perfectly good reason...’
‘I know the reason now, Molly and I love her more for it. But I want to know more about her... her story with Bo when she was here years ago.’
Molly sighed, looking sad. ‘I’ve never seen two people more in love than Bo and your Mum were back then.’
‘Then why did she marry Victor Kiriakis?’ Melanie demanded.
Molly was silent for a minute before speaking. ‘You might say it was actually Bo’s fault... but on the other hand you can’t blame him. You see, when Carly first arrived here, he was mourning Hope. At the time Hope was assumed dead... you know about that, right?’
Melanie nodded impatiently, not the least bit interested in Hope.
‘Carly fell in love with Bo the moment she met him, it was obvious to everyone. Bo was still hurting but began having feelings for Carly, which grew even more after Shawn D’s accident...’
‘Hang on,’ Melanie interrupted. ‘What accident?’
‘Shawn Douglas fell into a deep oil shaft and Carly volunteered to go down there and get him. She was his doctor and Shawn D got so attached to her.’
Melanie felt a surge of pride for Carly sweep through her. ‘Go on.’
‘Bo knew he loved Carly but he got scared. He was scared of giving in to a great love and have it taken it way from him; he couldn’t stand it happening to him and Shawn D all over again. So he pushed her away, saying he could never commit to her.’
Molly grimaced. ‘Yeah... a lot of us thought that back then. Carly was Victor’s private doctor after he had a stroke. She was lonely and vulnerable.’
‘But... I still don’t see why Bo could’ve allowed that wedding to happen, no matter how scared he was.’
‘Actually...’ Molly continued, ‘He sent Carly a letter, begging her not to go through it, that he loved her very much and was ready to commit. But he gave it to the wrong person to deliver it for him.’
‘Who was it, not Victor?’
‘No but it was Victor who got the letter. Bo asked Emmy Borden, one of the nurses here, to give it to Carly. But she was in love with Bo herself and wanted Carly out of the way. Victor had another letter forged and destroyed the real one.’
Melanie shook her head, shocked. ‘How did Mum find out?’
‘I don’t know, she just did; much later. We never found out what happened to Emmy, she just disappeared and we never saw her since. Just as well though, she would’ve wound up in prison.’
‘It’s something I overhead Carly telling Marcus; one of the doctors here.’ Molly shrugged apologetically. ‘I was a bit of a serial eavesdropper then. Emmy tried to poison Carly with a rare virus she poured into a champagne glass. But Bo drank it instead and got very sick and it was thanks to Carly he got cured because she came up with the antidote.’
Melanie sank back in her seat, overwhelmed by everything she learned. Bo saved Mum’s life by taking the poisoned drink meant for her... then she’d saved his by entering that elevator. It was eerily just like her triangle with Phillip and Nathan. Marrying Phillip when she really loved Nathan, she’d sent him a letter he never got and Phillip ended up her biggest betrayer. Mum and I are more alike than I ever thought; lied to and betrayed by the men we married and thought we knew.
‘You seem so keen to know about Carly’s past.’ Molly commented.
‘It’s made me know and understand her better.’ Melanie replied, deciding not to tell her about the diaries, unwilling to share them with anyone except Brady. ‘I... I didn't before. Now, I want to make up for the past, I was pretty horrible to her.’
Molly squeezed her arm consolingly. ‘She wouldn’t think about then but now, Melanie.’
‘I know but all the same, I wish it never happened. I just hope she comes through this alright.’ Melanie’s voice shook as the tears rolled down her cheeks.
‘Melanie, it’s going to be okay, come on now...’ Molly slipped her arms round the sobbing girl’s shoulders.
‘You don’t understand, Molly, I was a terrible person to her. I was no better than them, I was worse. I just wouldn’t listen to her... I said a lot of horrible, unforgivable things to her.’ Melanie sobbed harder, unable to forgive herself for a particular sentence that came out of her mouth after Parker’s disastrous baptism...
I don’t need you. Maggie’s more of my mother than you can or will ever be.
‘The day I lost my baby I told her I forgave her for giving me up,’ she sobbed, Molly stroking her hair. ‘Even then I played the victim... like she’d wronged me and my dad. But the whole time... the whole time; she did what she did, endured so much just to keep us alive. The more I keep thinking about it, the more I feel so ashamed. I’m not worthy to be her daughter.’
‘I’m sure my sister won’t agree with that statement.’ Frankie, who had overhead Melanie’s emotional speech a few yards away unobserved, walked up to the women, sitting down next to his niece. ‘Carly loves you very much. All she ever did was talk about how beautiful you were and how you were her whole life.’
‘She did?’ Melanie sniffled, her eyes red from weeping.
Frankie nodded. ‘You made your mistakes but you also helped Carly through a very difficult time and I’m very glad to hear you and Nicholas have a wonderful relationship with your mother since then. She was hurt but you two were her source of comfort, more than I was.’
‘That’s not true...’ Molly began.
‘It is, I wasn't there for her.’ Frankie cut in, his handsome face hard. ‘It was my job to look after my sister. I should’ve gotten her out of Alamania when I had the chance, I should’ve been here earlier instead of listening to her and face the people who branded her a home wrecker and decided to forget everything she did for them!’
Molly sighed again, shaking her head as she rubbed Melanie’s shoulders.
‘Do you love your Mum, Melanie?’
Melanie was startled by the question replied, ‘Yes, I do.’
‘If you do, then stop thinking about whatever you did or said to her in the past but concentrate on loving her and taking care of her like you’ve been doing. When she wakes up, she’s going to need a lot of care; she and your baby brother or sister. That involves love and commitment; not self loathing. It’s time to stop wearing the hair shirt, understand?’
Melanie nodded, accepting the hanky he passed to her, wiping her eyes as he pressed a kiss on her brow; feeling much better.
Brady returned with coffee for them, accompanied by Abby and Melanie introduced them to Molly.
Molly’s expression was emotional when she hugged them in turn. ‘You were both babies the last time I saw you.’ She smiled. ‘You’ve got your mum’s eyes, Brady. And you looked so much like Jennifer, Abby.’ Brady and Abby smiled back at her rather shyly.
Alerted by him via a phone call, Adrienne Kiriakis arrived later to share their vigil, so did Daniel.
‘Mel was just angry and worried about Carly, Hope. Don’t take it so much to heart.’
‘You weren’t there, Maggie. You should’ve heard how she spoke to me- with so much hatred. She obviously blames Bo and me for Carly’s pain... she looked at me like I was some sort of disease.’ Hope sipped her coffee.
‘Well Melanie will just have to understand she can’t hold the two of you reconnecting against you- no matter how loyal she is to Carly.’ Jennifer said.
Hope snorted. ‘Sure... we reconnected and I have no idea where the father of my children is as we speak. And Carly’s lying in the hospital having his love child.’
Jennifer regarded her cousin for a few minutes before saying rather coldly, ‘You mind not saying that?’
Hope looked at her in surprise. ‘What?’
‘His love child... that is an innocent baby you’re talking about, not some rival.’
‘I know that but it’s just...’
‘Just what exactly?’ Jennifer’s voice rising a bit. ‘You got Bo back, didn't you? At the cost of another woman’s pain and heartbreak, you and Bo and Ciara became a family again, so what’s your problem?’
‘Jennifer, what’s this?’ Maggie asked, surprised.
Jennifer ignored their aunt, staring hard at her bewildered cousin. ‘That lovechild’s the only thing Carly has left of Bo; it’s her baby, her child... not some weapon to use to get him back like you obviously think.’
‘That’s not true!’ Hope protested.
‘Girls...!’ Maggie exclaimed, trying to intervene.
‘Oh really?’ Jennifer challenged, getting up. ‘Why didn't you tell Bo about his child?’
‘Oh sure... like I was expected to just sit him down and tell him he knocked up his mistress!’ Hope spat, also getting up to face Jennifer.
‘Stay out of this!’ Jennifer snapped at Maggie when she tried to open her mouth before turning back to her glowering cousin. ‘Mistress, huh? Mistress?’
‘That’s right, mistress. She slept with my husband, on our bed; living with him in our house!’
‘The house you voluntarily moved out of, with Ciara- you took all your things out of that house because you felt Bo wasn't worthy to be your husband! A marriage doesn’t work that way Hope- you don’t toy with your husband’s emotions by running away whenever you feel like it. That’s exactly what you did! Bo begged you to come back to him, instead you decided to serve papers on him and discuss visitations rights! Carly was no mistress, she was the best thing that ever happened to him and he should’ve just left you in jail because you were the one who put yourself in there in the first place! You caused your own problems but everybody defended you; including me!’
‘How... how can you say all this to me?’ Hope whispered in disbelief, turning away, fingers running through her hair in agitation.
‘I’m saying this because you’re selfish! You were never the victim in that mess, it was Carly! I warned her you and Bo will always be connected, not just because I was on your side but because she’s my best friend and I didn't want her to get hurt. And she got hurt, not just by him but by all of us... all of us who knew and loved her years ago!’
Hope spun round, her eyes bright with unshed tears. ‘I never asked any of you to...’
‘Everything we did to her, including ignoring her past with Bo, was all because of you.’ Jennifer strongly emphasised. ‘And we all just moved on, being happy things were back the way it was, but Carly was the one who had to live with a broken heart all this time, who is lying at the hospital as we speak... probably dying and I’m not even allowed to see her!’
Maggie slipped her arms round Jennifer when she burst into tears, Hope watching silently, her own eyes damp. Maggie swallowed, unable to speak but hugged Jennifer in silence.
Finally Dr. Long came out and they got up hastily to hear what she had to say.
‘You have a little sister, Melanie. However... the baby’s lungs are underdeveloped and her birth weight’s low so she’ll be in the incubator for a while.’
Melanie’s heart sank. ‘And Mum?’
‘She’s still a coma but we hope she’ll wake up soon and respond well to the treatment being administered.’
‘How long will she be in the coma?’ Frankie asked anxiously.
‘The severity of Eclampsia varies, Frankie. I can’t give you an exact duration but we’re hoping for the best. And I won’t lie to you- it’s a life threatening condition.’
Melanie sniffled, Daniel and Brady’s arms round her while Molly, Abby and Adrienne looked worriedly at Frankie- Molly slipping her arm through his.
‘Carly will soon be moved to Recovery but you can see the baby now if you want.’
‘Oh... she’s beautiful, beautiful.’ Melanie whispered, staring at the tiny baby in the sterile incubator. ‘Please God... let her and Mum make it, please...’
Frankie blinked back his tears as he gazed at his newborn niece; thinking of what Carly had sent him two months before, her last will and testament; stipulating that her estate should be divided between Melanie and her unborn child and he would act as the baby’s legal guardian and trustee until he or she was 18; in the event of her death. If anything happened to him, Melanie and Nicholas must take his place and act as co-trustees. Frankie was more than ready to follow her wishes but he hoped and prayed his sister will live to raise her baby like she deserved to.
‘What was Carly going to name her, does anyone know?’ Adrienne said, quietly.
‘She told me.’ Melanie replied, wiping her tears with the back of her hand. ‘If it was a boy, she said she would name him North. North Francis Manning. If it was a girl...’
‘Starr.’ Molly interrupted, remembering the golden star shaped pendant Carly always wore round her neck and Carly explaining to her what it symbolised on the night she and Bo returned from Mexico. ‘If her son was going to be North, her daughter would be Starr.’
Melanie nodded, smiling through her tears; a surge of love and respect for Molly rushing through her. This woman knew Carly, still knew her so well. True enough, Carly had chosen the names Starr Isabella if the baby was a girl. She must ask Molly later why Carly had chosen such unusual first names.
‘Carly would chose a beautiful name like that,’ Adrienne said, smiling down at the child through the NICU’s glass window.
‘It sure fits her perfectly,’ Daniel agreed.
Abby stared at the baby, at the same time thinking about Carly. More than ever, Bo needed to come back to her.