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Saturday, December 20, 2014



Frankie was very pleased to see Shawn D, while Molly exclaimed over the now  handsome adult version of the little boy she remembered. Shawn D explained how Roman had called him to inform him of Starr’s birth and Carly’s condition; after finally able to get off work he’d flown in last night.
‘I couldn’t believe it when Max told me the sister he kept talking about turned out to be Carly’s daughter. You could’ve been my sister.’ Shawn D said on the way to the hospital.
Almost,’ Melanie turning to smile at him faintly. ‘And look how fate worked out.’
‘Hey... you, Nick and I share a sibling now; that sort of makes us family and makes up for what could’ve been.’
‘Yeah... what could’ve been.’ Melanie shrugged. ‘We’ll never exactly know, will we?’
Shawn Douglas Brady was shrewd enough to know what Melanie was referring to. ‘My father loved Carly, very much. Personally, I doubt he would’ve left her after my Mum came back.’
‘You don’t have to say that to make us feel better, Shawn D.’
‘No, really... he wouldn’t done that to her, not then. Come on, they went through a lot just to be together. I should know, I was there. And maybe we both moved on with Billie after Carly left town but I never forgot her. Dad told me what really happened when I was old enough to understand and there were times I wondered if I’ll ever see her again.’
Driving, Nicholas wondered if his discomfort showed on his face. After all it was his father who lured Carly away from her friends and family and the man she loved, the one who abused her for years without his knowledge. If it weren’t for his father and aunt’s interference; Carly and Bo would’ve been married, and raised Melanie and Shawn D together. And maybe having Bo Brady as a father figure would have benefited him a lot too.  ‘For what it’s worth, I’m sorry Shawn.’ He said quietly. ‘I hope you didn’t think too badly of her.’
‘No, never. I was just kind of hurt she never said goodbye to me. Even if she wouldn’t  keep in touch with Dad, I thought she would at least write to me. But that’s okay, I heard about what happened to her.’ He glanced at Nicholas’ rigid profile, so did Melanie- rather apprehensively.
Nicholas swallowed then replied gruffly, ‘My father was an animal. He’s out of our lives for good and the last thing I feel is regret he’s dead.’
Shawn D wisely decided not to comment, it’s not like he shed tears over Lawrence Alamain’s death either. On the way, he had Nicholas stop so he could buy Carly some flowers.
Carly lay in bed breathing through an oxygen mask, oblivious to
Shawn Douglas and her children’s presence. Melanie and Nicholas didn’t have to be told how much their ‘almost’ brother still loved Carly, the expression on his face as he kissed her on the forehead and took hold of her hand spoke far more than words.
‘Hey, beautiful.’ he said softly as he sat next to her. ‘It’s Shawn D. It’s been a long time, huh?’
Melanie tugged on Nicholas’ jacket sleeve. ‘we should give them some privacy.’ She whispered.
Nicholas nodded and left the room with her, his face inscrutable. ‘Are you okay?’ Melanie asked.
Nicholas sighed heavily, shaking his head before looking at his sister, his eyes now wearing a sad, rather self loathing look. ‘Shawn D’s got such a great history with Mum, whereas I...’
Melanie placed her hand on his arm consolingly.
‘When she first told me the truth, that she was my mother years ago, I rejected her. And after I accepted her, I did all I could to sabotage her relationship with Bo and Shawn D. I can’t even completely blame my father for manipulating me to do it, I also did it because I wanted to. I knew how much she loved them and Bo, Shawn D and the Bradys were nothing but nice to me but I still kept trying to drive a wedge between them. I was such an arrogant, spoilt brat...’ he shook his head again, angrily this time. ‘And I wasn’t there to protect her when she needed me!’
‘Nick, I’ve been through the guilt trip too, believe me.’ Melanie said earnestly. ‘I rejected her too; before we ever met I wasn’t a very nice person. And I did and said a lot of things I would give anything to take back and just forget. This whole time Mum’s been in a coma, I’ve gotten to know more about her.’
Nicholas raised his eyebrows. ‘Yeah?’
Yeah. She’s a strong, loving, selfless woman. She gave me up to save my life. You were stolen from her and until she found out you were alive, she kept the pain to herself for a long time. We don’t deserve her but she loves us very much, Nick. She sees us as a part of her... always. The best thing we can do to make up for the past... is just put it behind us and keep being there for her like we’ve been doing since what happened with Bo.’ Melanie had no intention of telling him their mother almost committed suicide; it would only make him feel worse than he felt at the moment.
‘If only rewriting the past was possible.’
‘Well it’s not. And we’re not the same people we were before, right? Our past with Mum may not be great but... the future’s going to be.’
Nicholas smiled faintly then shrugged, ‘Well that’s comforting at least. And you’re right.’ He slipped his arm round Melanie and the two siblings exchanged a heartfelt hug. When Shawn Douglas came out, he asked to see their little sister.
Hope was very glad to see her son, Ciara more than thrilled. But her conversation with him didn’t go well because she made the mistake of excusing herself on the subject of her moving out of the house after Ciara’s rescue.
‘I can’t believe you pulled that stunt on Dad, again.’ 
‘You have to understand, I needed time to think...’
‘That’s what you said when you moved out after aunt Kayla’s shooting. Dad tried to help you get through with whatever you were feeling but you just chose to shut him out and you actually expected him to just sit back and patiently wait for you, like always.’
Hope’s eyes narrowed with anger. ‘I see. So you’re trying to say it was okay for him to have an affair with another woman because of what I did.’
‘I’m not going to judge Carly and I won’t let you judge her to my face, Mum. If I’m angry it’s only because Carly was dragged into your drama with Dad. You played the victim but Carly was the real victim in all this. And I can’t believe everybody just decided to conveniently forget who she was, instead of telling you how wrong you were for taking advantage of Dad’s patience like that. You’ve always done that to him!’
With his current attitude towards her, Hope lacked the courage to tell Shawn Douglas she was seeing Aiden; so far only Maggie, Julie and recently Jennifer knew about it. Aiden in the meantime was getting impatient; he was done with the sneaking around and didn’t see why they should delay making their relationship public. She was meeting him later to discuss it and she hoped he would understand she was just waiting for the best way to tell the rest of the family. One thing Aiden would also be assured of was that she was really over with Bo and more than ready to move on with her life.
Ciara was very angry with her too. Hope had delayed telling her about Starr so when Shawn D mentioned he was going to the hospital to visit her and Carly, Ciara heard about her little sister for the very first time. Hence she sulkily refused to speak to her mother, slightly soothed by her big brother who promised to pick her up from school and take her to see the baby.
Hope sighed angrily as she got ready for work. This was so not what she expected her life to be after Bo begged her to come home.
‘Ten bucks she has her Carly’s eyes.’ Shawn D said, his palm against the glass as he stared down at the fragile baby in the incubator whose tiny nose and mouth was partially covered by the ventilator. Her little head was covered by strands of golden hair. Thanks to her journey with Isabella, Melanie knew it came from their Von Leuschner grandmother.
‘I’m willing to bet that too.’ Abby said, Nicholas’ arm round her waist. 
‘She might have Uncle Bo’s eyes, you guys.’ Brady pointed out. He’d stopped by to check on Carly and Starr and see how Melanie was doing, pleased to see she looked more cheerful than the last time he saw her. He wondered if she was done with Carly’s diaries.
‘No...’ Melanie shook her head thoughtfully. ‘Brown eyed blondes aren’t that common, are they? I say she’s going to have Mum’s eyes.’
‘Brown or green, she’s beautiful,’ Shawn Douglas said emotionally, wishing  he could cradle her in his arms. And that Carly was conscious so he could catch up with her. Melanie had told him what Dr. Long had said, all they could do was bide their time and hope for the best. As for Starr, she was increasing in weight and her lungs were stronger; in a few more weeks she’ll be ready to go home. ‘And I sure love the same Carly picked out for her; she and Dad always had a thing for the North Star- the star that guides the weary traveller home.’
Melanie glanced at Nicholas and Abby, wondering if they should tell Shawn Douglas of their efforts of locating Bo. Nicholas shook his head firmly, mouthing ‘no.’ Much as Shawn D no doubt still loved Carly, they weren’t sure whose side he was on in the matter between her and his parents and they definitely didn’t want Hope to get wind of their efforts.
‘Well,’ Melanie said reluctantly, ‘I have to get to get back to work, I’ve got a busy shift today.’  
‘Me too,’ Abby glanced at her watch.
‘Tell you what, why don’t we all meet for lunch at the Brady Pub later; my treat.’ Nicholas said. ‘Brady, you’ll join us of course?’
‘Sure, that would be great, thanks.’ Brady replied, pleased by the invitation.
‘Okay then, see you later guys. I’ll just go find Jennifer and say hi.’ Shawn D said.
‘How are you holding up?’ Brady asked, after Nicholas and Abby kissed her goodbye.
She shrugged. ‘Fine I guess.’
‘Good because I’ve been worried about you, ever since you found Carly’s diaries... they really upset you.’
‘At first but I’m so glad I found them, they told me so much about Mum. I really know her now, Brady. More than I thought possible.’
Brady raised his eyebrows. ‘Carly must’ve really poured her heart out for you to feel this way.’
Melanie stared at her friend, wondering whether or not to tell him about her journey with his mother. They’ve always been very close, perhaps he wouldn’t think she was crazy. ‘It’s actually more than that.’
Melanie opened her mouth tentatively then turned as Maxine called her name, frantically beckoning to her. ‘That’s me. I’ll see you later.’
‘Sure, I’ll pick you up and we’ll ride together.’
‘Okay.’ She hurried over to Maxine and the day’s work started.
As Melanie was walking towards the nurses’ station a few hours later, she ran into Jennifer. ‘Hey.’ She said.
Jennifer was surprised yet relieved, usually when she said hi to Melanie these days she was always given the cold shoulder, accompanied by angry, scornful looks.  ‘Hey,’ she replied.
Melanie hesitated then began, ‘Look... I’m sorry for giving you such a hard time. Considering how I acted when I first met Mum, I had no right sit in judgement like that; calling you a bad friend and everything.’ It wasn’t only because of her own past wrongdoing she was apologising to Jennifer but also because Jennifer too was a victim of Lawrence Alamain.
Jennifer was so taken aback that she was speechless.
‘I’m sorry Jennifer, I really am. Look... you’re dating my dad and Abby and I have gotten close... I want us to start over, if you want.’
‘It really means a lot to me, hearing this from you,’ Jennifer said at last, reaching out to take Melanie’s hand. ‘it’s okay, you’ve got nothing to apologise for.’
‘That’s not true, I do.’
‘You didn’t say anything that wasn’t true. I admit harsh but true. And of course we can start over, Mel. I’m more than happy to.’ Jennifer’s smile lit up her face and she gave Melanie a hug.
‘One more thing...’ Melanie added, hoping Abby wouldn't be furious with her. ‘Abby... she and Nicholas are dating now.’
And instantly the smile left Jennifer’s face. ‘What?’
‘They fell in love and they’re really happy together... listen to me!’ Melanie said forcibly as Jennifer was about to give an angry protest. ‘I know.’
‘Know what?’ Jennifer asked warily.
‘I know what... what Lawrence did to you years ago,’ Melanie rushed on. Jennifer paled, biting her lower lip.  
‘Jennifer, my brother’s nothing like Lawrence... he’s not. He really loves Abby and he’s a warm, caring guy and we both made our peace with Mum ages ago. Whoever he was before, he’s not like that anymore. I want you to give him a chance and not give Abby a hard time over this. Can you do that?’
What Jennifer remembered was a disdainful pampered little boy years ago; the complete opposite of Shawn Douglas who had been affectionate and more down to earth. The idea of her only daughter being with an Alamain! They were vile and contemptible; Lawrence and Vivian. But Lawrence was now  dead and Nicholas was also Carly’s son, the son of a very dear friend she hoped to mend fences with.
She nodded, smiling faintly. ‘Of course, Abby’s an adult. And if Nicholas makes her happy, they have my blessing.’
‘Thanks, that will mean a lot to them.’ Melanie hugged her again, relieved Jennifer had taken the sudden news well.  

After changing  out of her scrubs, Melanie went to check on Carly before making her way to the NICU and a sight made her stop short. What the hell are you doing here?’ she snapped, affronted at the sight of Victor Kiriakis peering down at Starr through the glass.
‘Nothing wrong with me visiting my newest grandchild, is there?’ he asked calmly as he turned to look at Melanie.
‘Sure... your heart’s just swimming with grandfatherly concern.’ Melanie couldn't help but say sarcastically. If she disliked and barely tolerated him before, she really hated him now. He was nothing but a hypocritical snake.
 ‘Look, Melanie; I don’t see why you’re wasting your energy despising me, I’ve got no quarrel with you.’
‘I do despise you,’ Melanie said, her tone harsh. ‘I know everything about you now, Victor. Everything about you.’
Victor raised his eyebrows in askance, a gesture of his that always irritated her.
‘Just so I know Victor, how were you going to help Vivian kill me before you found out I was the one she was hunting for?’
Victor stiffened. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’
‘Vivian went straight to you for help; so don’t tell me you didn’t know what she was planning the whole time. You both hated Mum, you wanted to see her suffer, through me. And I now know why you hate Mum so much,’ she snorted with derisive laughter, ‘because she dumped you! And after all these years you’re still sour  over  your bruised ego. Do you have any idea how pathetic you are?’
‘You may have Maggie wrapped round that finger of yours but I won’t be spoken to that way,’ Victor said through clenched teeth.
‘Oh I’m just starting,’ Melanie hurled back. ‘And dodging jail time for framing Mum of your supposed death- by pleading insanity?
 Victor’s anger was mounting, he should have known Carly would  resort to telling tales. ‘That’s enough out of you.’
But Melanie refused to stop. ‘Pleading insanity!’ she taunted. ‘I would’ve thought a career criminal  would be above that old cliché.’ 
Without warning, Victor grabbed her by the neck with both hands. ‘You shut up!’ he snarled, shaking her as she struggled.
Some nurses, with exclamations of horror ran to rescue Melanie but someone else wrenched Victor’s hands off Melanie’s neck; a very angry Nicholas. ‘Get your hands off her!’ he shouted, pulling Melanie away from Victor.
‘How dare you!’ Abby cried, rushing to her friend’s side, putting her arms round Melanie who was gasping for air, rubbing her neck.
‘What the hell do you think you’re doing, attacking my daughter?’ an equally angry Daniel, who had accompanied Nicholas and Abby, shouted. ‘Are you crazy?
Victor was breathing hard, his eyes glinting with fury. ‘A drunken one night stand with a whore; that’s the result.’
Instantly, Melanie and Abby grabbed Nicholas as he charged towards Victor, Daniel blocking his way. ‘You guys go, I’ll deal with this,’ he urged. ‘Go on, go.’
Nicholas’s eyes were glinting with fury as well. ‘If you ever touch my sister again, or publicly slander our mother again; I will destroy you Kiriakis and that’s not an idle threat. You just make another attempt!’ 
What’s going on here?’ Shawn Douglas demanded, Brady at his heels.
‘Your grandfather here was strangling my sister!’ Nicholas shouted, Abby and Melanie still holding on to him.
Shawn Douglas stared at Victor, shocked. ‘You did what?
‘I’m not responsible for my actions when I’m insulted,’ Victor spat.
‘You... you actually tried to strangle Melanie... my Melanie?’ Brady’s voice was as harsh and cold as Nicholas’ as he edged closer to Victor. Melanie let go of her brother to block Brady’s path. ‘No Brady, he’s not worth it, please.’
I could kill you!’ Brady shouted, trying to push Melanie away to get to Victor.
‘Brady, take it easy; she’s right- he’s not worth it.’ Shawn Douglas advised.
I will handle this, you guys leave, now.’ Daniel said firmly. ‘Go on, go.’
‘Come on Brady,’ Melanie pleaded, drawing him away. Abby took hold of her boyfriend’s arm and pulled him along, Shawn Douglas following them; looking back to glare balefully at Victor. Daniel ordered the hovering nurses to go back to their duties before turning to Victor for a very grim conversation.
The group entered the elevator, the doors closing. ‘Are you okay?’ Brady asked anxiously, putting his arm round Melanie’s shoulders as she gingerly rubbed her neck, which already spotted a faint red bruise.
‘Yeah, I’m fine.’ She said, swallowing painfully.
‘What was that all about anyway?’ Nicholas demanded. ‘Why did he attack you?’
‘Let’s just say I told him some home truths that didn’t exactly sit well with him.’ Melanie cleared her throat. ‘The bastard.’
‘I imagine what you said to him was justified, but you need to be careful,’ Shawn Douglas said. ‘ He’s a ruthless man, always been.’
‘I have a good mind to have him charged for assault,’ Nicholas said, still very angry at Victor’s action.
‘Oh please, he’ll find a way of wiggling out of it. That’s a career criminal for you. Don’t worry about it Nick. I imagine when word gets to Maggie, he’ll find himself in a worse situation than Roman interrogating him.’ Melanie never approved of Maggie’s marriage to Victor Kiriakis, once she hears about the incident it could open her eyes. Most people already felt she was blind when Victor was concerned.
‘Are you sure you’re okay?’ Abby asked.
‘I’m fine really. Shoot... I forgot my purse in my locker. You guys go ahead while I go back up to get it.’ Melanie said as the doors opened.
‘I’ll go with you,’ Brady stayed in the elevator while the others got out.
‘I still can’t believe he put his hands on you like that.’ Brady said as he and Melanie entered the nurses’ locker room.
‘Well, I did insult him; not that I care.’
‘He had no right to do what he did.’ Brady reached out and enveloped Melanie in a hug, stroking her hair. ‘If you hadn’t stopped me, I probably would’ve taken a swing at him.’
‘Mmm... my hero,’ Melanie murmured, pulling back to stroke his cheek. Brady held on to her hand, staring earnestly at her. Melanie stared back, noticing something in his intense eyes, something she’d never seen before and suddenly her heart began to beat faster.
‘Brady...’ she began and his mouth was on hers, kissing her fiercely. Her arms circled his neck at the same time his arms pulled her against him and they were exchanging a deep passionate kiss that went on until they pulled back, breathless.
‘My God...’ Melanie whispered, shocked by what they’d just done. Brady was her friend, like a big brother to her. And here she was kissing him, drawn to him in a very different way and it didn’t felt weird at all.
Impatiently, Brady raised her chin and kissed her again and again she eagerly returned it, running his fingers through her reddish blonde hair, desire and love burning through him. For a very long time he’d seen himself as her friend and protector and she in turn was his wise counsel; the girl who’d consoled him and held his hand after Arianna’s death. Others saw her as a hot tempered impetuous girl; he saw a vulnerable, sensitive young woman who had a terrible childhood and in some ways was like him. And lately, he’d began seeing her with new eyes but held back, afraid she would reject the idea of becoming his lover. But her response told him he was wrong, she felt the same way.
Melanie ended the kiss but held on to him, raising a trembling hand to stroke his lower lip with her thumb. ‘I... I don’t know what to say,’ she stammered.
‘Can I say something instead?’ Brady smiled, his boyish smile reminding her of Bo. ‘I love you Mel. I’ve loved you for a long time.’
Melanie gasped, pressing her face against his neck. ‘This is insane...’ she said, her voice muffled. She raised her head and Brady saw her green eyes were glowing. ‘We’re friends.... buddies.
‘Well, we’ve crossed that line now, haven’t we?’ Brady said wryly.
Melanie shook her head, about to tell herself this was more than ridiculous. If things had turned out differently between Bo and Carly years ago, they would’ve been cousins today. But they weren’t. Brady was a man and she was suddenly aware of him as a man. He wasn’t Phillip, or Nathan or even Dario. He was the only man who never disappointed her; that was what made him different from the others.
‘Brady, this is...’
‘No, no...’ she smiled up at him suddenly feeling shy. ‘It’s... God, I don’t even know what to call it!’
Brady chuckled, lowering his head to kiss her again. ‘I understand we really have to talk about this. But I mean it, Mel. So much.’
Melanie could only hug him in silence before picking up her purse and leaving the room with him, hand in hand. 
Nicholas stopped by the house to pick up Frankie and Molly to come along with them and the group had agreed Frankie was not to know about the incident at the hospital. Abby had told Nicholas of a new Italian restaurant so that was where they were going. No one noticed the burning glances Brady directed at Melanie as he pulled back a chair for her at their table or the shy smile and blush on her cheeks as she sat down.
‘Everything looks great, it’s going to be hard to choose,’ Molly said as she scanned through the menu.
‘Hmm, I think I’ll have the...’ Shawn Douglas broke off staring at a couple some tables ahead, unable to believe his eyes.
‘Shawn D, what is it?’ Frankie asked, worried by the stunned, angry look on his face.
‘I don’t believe this!’ Putting down his menu, Shawn Douglas angrily got up and strode over to them.
‘What on earth, oh...’ Abby said, her eyes widening. Melanie and the others craned their necks to see who Shawn Douglas was talking to.
‘Well, well...’ Melanie murmured. Shawn Douglas was angrily talking to Hope, who was looking very embarrassed. With her was the lawyer who moved to Salem recently, Aiden Jennings. 
‘I’m not asking for your permission and I won’t be judged by you!’ Hope shouted at her son later.
‘So basically you’ve given up on Papa, you believe he won’t come back.’
‘Yes I have given up on him. If he really loved us he wouldn't have left us just after we repaired our marriage and for what, to have the chance to be a hero! And I have the right to move on with my life after months of silence and lord knows what else I’ve had to put up with.’ Hope was near tears. Shawn Douglas’ confrontation at the restaurant had been ugly and she and Aiden had been forced to leave.
Shawn Douglas’ dark eyes were angry. ‘Are you in love with this guy?’
‘His name is Aiden.’
‘Whatever. Are you in love with him?’
Hope raised her chin. ‘Yes.’
‘So what’s going to happen when Papa comes home?’
‘He’s going to know the truth.’
Bullshit, I know you Mum. The only time you were with another man it was to get back at Dad for something he didn’t even do. This is tit for tat; as soon as Dad gets back, you’ll find a way of ending things with Aiden and go back with him.’
‘Aiden is not Patrick Lockhart. And I do love him. Shawn D, listen to me. I’m with Aiden because I want to be, it’s not a move of revenge. I love him and I want to be with him. And I will make sure everybody knows that I’ve moved on and have nothing to be ashamed of.’
Shawn Douglas refused to believe her. She almost left his father for good but then sang a different tone after he began dating Carly and the poor woman ended up hurt and pregnant. 'You say that now.’
‘I mean it.’
‘Fine, you’ve made your choice. And I hope you’ll tell Papa the same thing when he comes back. Because then he’ll be free to be with Carly.’
Hope stiffened but Shawn Douglas took no notice. ‘I heard enough to know what happened here, Mum. You hurt my father but made him feel guilty for being with her. And you should’ve given him the divorce instead of playing the victim because the way I see it, Carly deserves to be with him because she would never treat him the way you did. So if you say you want to be with this Aiden guy, you better be telling the truth. So help me, if Papa decides to reconcile with Carly and you swoop in to ruin things between them again by filling him with guilt, I’ll never forgive you.'
 Hope was speechless as her son stormed upstairs.
‘I still can’t believe we’re actually together like this.’ Melanie said, cuddling up to Brady on his leather couch in the loft. They had the talk and she realised she’d felt her affection for him changing over the past months too but taking care of Carly and helping her prepare for the baby had been a huge distraction. ‘But I’m happy we are,’ she assured him, touching his face.
‘Me too,’ Brady replied softly, his arms tight round her. ‘Let me here it, one more time.’
Melanie smiled. ‘I love you, Brady Black.’
‘I love you too. You’ve always been my light, Melanie Jonas. I’ve been so scared you wouldn't want to see me as a man.’
‘I understand,’ Melanie kissed him. ‘Not many friends are lucky as we are, moving on to something deeper. They would feel too weird after they cross the line and they wouldn't be able to be friends again.’
‘That’s not going to happen to us,’ Brady promised.
‘I wouldn't be in your arms right now if there was a danger of that,’ Melanie kissed him again and his arms tightened round her, aching to make love to her.The fact she was now his girlfriend and loved him as much as he loved her was enough, for now.
 ‘By the way,’ he said, stroking her hair. ‘You wanted to tell me something at the hospital, something about finding out more about Carly.
‘Yes, I did.’ Sitting up, Melanie took his hands on his and told him about her journey with his mother.
‘Wow...’ Brady said, stunned.
‘I know, it’s kind of crazy...’
‘No it’s not. I’ve seen her myself.’
‘Really?’ Melanie was surprised but relieved.
‘When I’m at my lowest point or feel really down, she would appear and remind me she was there for me. And I would feel better after talking to her.’
‘You really went to Carly and Uncle Bo’s past with her?’
‘I did and oh, Brady... I saw a lot; you can’t even begin to imagine and everything’s clearer to me now, especially about Mum... she went through so much...’
 Her cell, which was lying on Brady’s coffee table began to ring, interrupting her. Melanie reached out to answer it, from the caller I.D she saw it was Nicholas. ‘what’s up, Nick?’
‘Alistair’s located Steve Johnson and he is Bo’s contact,’ Nicholas said, ‘And Steve promised to pass our message to him.’
‘Oh thank God!’ Melanie exclaimed, reaching for Brady’s hand, Brady looking at her inquiringly. It was just a matter of time... Bo will return. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014



Melanie wept as she watched Carly take off her engagement ring, her cheeks wet with tears as she kissed it, placed it in Bo’s hand and kissed him one last time before turning away to climb up the boat’s stairs, then at Bo who was staring up after her, tears rolling down his cheeks. ‘Goodbye, princess.’ He whispered.
After living their love at last in Mexico, Bo and Carly had been more than happy; Shawn Douglas and their friends and family sharing their joy. They would’ve tied the knot on February 7th 1992; but for Bo’s abduction by the Torres’ family. Two agonising months for Carly; Lawrence Alamain returning the Von Leuschner fortune as a means to curry her favour but failed to do so and had to balefully watch Carly reunited with Bo on the night of Vivian’s charity ball. Then came Carly’s nightmares and her confession to Bo about having a stillborn son. Then the news from her doctor that her son was sold in the black market. Vivian introducing Nicky to Carly and Lawrence as a child she’d adopted. Lawrence finding out the truth from Vivian and informing Carly but before she could tell Bo, Nicky accidentally killed Lawrence’s girlfriend, Lisanne Gardner. Melanie felt she would’ve done the same thing Carly did- protecting her son but it killed her to see how Bo found out about Nicky’s paternity; on their wedding day! God damn Lawrence Alamain, only he would make such a scene in church and it was all Vivian’s fault, kidnapping Nicky in the first place! Melanie had to painfully watch everything that went down, even after Bo and Carly reconciled. Lawrence did all he could to tear them apart, hiring a criminal to pose as Bo to have him permanently discredited, encouraging Nicky to come between them. And then Vivian... the evil conniving woman who went about killing Carly’s patients and framing Carly. Melanie will never forget the moment Carly saved Caroline Brady from being Vivian’s final victim but became one herself. The waves of  deep grief  from Bo and the family when she was pronounced dead. Vivian actually rolling and dancing over Carly’s grave and Carly’s agony at being buried alive. Melanie vowed to kill Vivian Alamain if she ever set foot in Salem again.
Carly screaming for Bo in her delirium but on waking up, remembered only James; her first love. Amnesia! Melanie had gasped, horrified... her mind going back again to Carly’s diary. That was what happened... of course Lawrence would take advantage of it!  And so he did and by the time Bo knew she was alive, all Carly knew was that she was Katarina Von Leuschner and she was engaged to James.
But then Chelsea’s mum Billie had brought Nicky to Carly at the last minute and Carly remembered Bo at last. But then the painful conversation on the boat after they were unable to make love. Melanie painfully thought how she would’ve been conceived if they hadn’t stopped.... if they hadn’t talked about how things have now changed. Lawrence’s brainwashing and clever manoeuvring had paid off and there was nothing Bo could do... except let her go.
Melanie turned away from the pitiful sight of Bo sitting alone in the cabin , his head bowed in resignation, more tears pouring down her cheeks.
‘Lawrence brainwashed her... that son of a bitch took advantage of her amnesia, Isabella - he made her fall in love with him again when she was sick.’
‘She was in love with James, not Lawrence.’ Isabella corrected.
‘And Bo let her go... he just gave up!’ 
‘What else was he supposed to do, Mel? The damage was already done and there was nothing he could do.’
‘Mum loved Bo so much, there was no way she would’ve let town with Lawrence if she hadn’t lost her memory! He was the one she called for when she was down there... believing he would come for her!’ Melanie sobbed, thinking how Carly was truly a victim of circumstances. ‘And she came back to find me... she came back for me! But everyone just decided to assume the worst and I... I assumed the worst! Oh God... nobody even asked her what happened all those years with Lawrence, nobody cared!’
‘Bo did.’
‘But he hurt her. She loved him... she trusted him and she was there for him but it turned out he was no better than Lawrence!’
‘That’s being harsh, Melanie.’ Isabella said reprovingly.
Melanie was so sad and angry that she barely heard Isabella; dabbing her eyes.
‘Melanie, come on now...’
‘She came back for me,’ Melanie repeated. ‘And look at how I treated her, the same way Nick did back then; I rejected her! She was robbed of the chance of raising us and we did that to her and still she never gave up on us.’
‘She loves you and your brother, very much. You’re her children after all; your circumstances of birth never mattered to her, what mattered was you both are a part of her.’
‘Oh my God,’ Melanie sniffled, heart heavy with love towards her mother, self reproach towards herself and pain over what might have been. So many “if-onlys”.
There was one more thing she wanted to see.
 ‘I want to see the night I was born.’
‘Please Isabella, you have to show me. Mum wrote about it in her diary and I don’t doubt for a second what she wrote but I want to see it for myself.’
Isabella didn’t look pleased at the idea.
‘I know it’s going to give me a lot of pain but I really need to see it. Please.’
Shrugging her shoulders, Isabella revealed the scene to her. Like Carly described in her diary, Lawrence was holding her  few minutes’ old self in his arms and Carly was pleading with him as his fingers encircled her neck as though about to break it.
‘Please Lawrence, she’s innocent... don’t hurt my baby. I’ll... I’ll stay with you, just don’t hurt her, please!’
‘Oh staying with me, that’s a given.’ Lawrence sneered. ‘However, your little bastard’s a different matter... you don’t expect me to spare the product of your betrayal.’
‘Please...’ Carly sobbed, ‘ you can’t... she’s just a baby. If you want to punish me , fine but not my little girl. I beg you.’
Lawrence’s sneer grew wider, so did Melanie’s hatred for him as she watched his perverse delight at Carly’s grovelling. ‘Fine. I’ll spare her life. You’ll remain my wife and the brat is put up for adoption. And before you say no again,’ he added as Carly began to protest, ‘Be grateful I’m being generous, Katarina. It’s either this option or the first one.’
Carly was as white as a ghost as she stared up at her husband. ‘Okay.’ She said finally.
‘I’m glad to see we have an agreement. And by the way, as soon as we get home; you will finally give me the man who persuaded you to break your marital vows.’ Carly swallowed at the malevolent look on his face. ‘let me hold her one more time.’ She held out her arms but Lawrence only smirked at her and took Baby Melanie out of the room, leaving Carly weeping heartbreakingly.
Isabella put her arms round Melanie who began to cry again, holding her close. When she opened her eyes again, they were back in Melanie’s room. Drained from her time travel, Melanie sat down on the bed and covered her face, feeling Isabella stroking her hair.
‘I’m sorry.’
‘No, no... don’t be. I saw what I wished to see,’ Melanie raised her eyes, sniffling. ‘I swear Isabella, when Mum wakes up, I’ll do everything to make it up to her... everything I can, I’ll make it right.’
‘I know you will,’ Isabella sat next to her. ‘But no guilt Melanie. For you to do what you just said, you’re going to have to forgive yourself. And Bo may’ve mismanaged things  but he’s not a bad guy either. You’re going to have to learn to forgive him too, and the others.’
‘That’s going to be very hard. I know I’m guilty of a lot of things but they knew her long before I ever did, they were the ones who decided to shun her because of Hope and they never told me about her past...’
‘I know, I know; they were wrong but  you need give them a chance to put things right. You aren’t the only one with regrets and letting them make it up to Carly will help her own healing.’
‘But what about her and Bo? Is their story really over then?’
Isabella shook her head. ‘No. But it’s up to Carly to decide if it’s going to have a happy end.’  
‘Like I said, it’s Carly’s decision. You will see in due time.’ She got up.
‘No, please... don’t leave yet!’ Melanie begged.
‘I have to honey,’ Isabella said softly, smiling at her. ‘Take care.’ Before Melanie could plead further, Isabella vanished.
‘Wow...’ Melanie rubbed her throbbing head, marvelling over her journey with Isabella and what she’d said. So there was a chance for Bo and Carly after all which meant she and Abby were doing the right thing. If Carly chose to forgive Bo, they’ll be together again. But there was still the chance of Carly forgiving Bo but preferring not to be with him, out of fear he would betray her again. At least she would get the closure, if not the happy ending. At the moment, Melanie didn’t know what she would prefer for her mother.
Resolutely, she  pulled out Carly’s second diary, now determined to finish it. Carly wrote more of her pain over the breakup; how her comfort of having Melanie and Daniel’s support was shattered by their cold attitude towards her after Parker’s christening. Even Caroline had unfairly blamed her for the fiasco, when it wasn’t even her fault. Tears poured down Melanie’s cheeks as she read more about Carly’s feelings of hopelessness and seclusion; losing a patient and having to watch Bo kissing Hope, listening to him reaffirming his love for her. Of her talk with Adrienne who assured her Time healed all wounds but she felt her wounds were far too deep to ever heal; her children wanted nothing to do with her, the love of her life had betrayed her, the whole town was no doubt laughing at her behind her back; glad the home wrecker was cast aside at last.
The next entry made Melanie’s blood run cold, Carly had actually contemplated suicide. It was obvious she was in so much pain and not thinking clearly when she wrote it.

Do I have anything to live for? I’ve lost Bo for good, both my children hate me. Jennifer doesn’t really understand how much I’m hurting or she wouldn’t have kept thrusting Daniel at me. Daniel’s a wonderful man and the father of my daughter and I do have feelings for him...but being in love and thinking I’m in love are two completely different things. I cannot go on like this, I just can’t.
The syringe filled with arsenic’s beside me. The letters addressed to Bo, Melanie, Nicholas, Adrienne and Frankie are on my desk. I never thought my life would end this way; dying alone in a hotel room. I can imagine what the whole town will make of this in the morning; the home wrecker finally cracked and ended her life. Every miserable day with Lawrence for 16 years was a bonus; I was always relieved I made it through another day of abuse. Now... I’m about to die by my own hand. God forgive me...

Melanie gulped, her trembling hands holding the diary shaking. Bo’s betrayal, Nicholas’ coldness and her own cruelty had driven her mother to this terrible step! But divine intervention, in the form of a phone call had interrupted her. After four rings, Carly had answered the phone and told by Daniel  that Melanie was in the hospital and just suffered a miscarriage. Not thinking of anything else, Carly had rushed over to be by her side... and Melanie decided to forgive her.
Melanie cried, feeling more and more ashamed of her actions yet fiercely glad the news of her miscarriage stopped Carly from killing herself. According to Carly, Melanie’s forgiveness had given her hope. But then she received even more hope; the day Melanie was discharged was when she received the results of a forgotten check up she’d done... the shock on discovering she was pregnant, marvelling over how she’d come close to killing her unborn child along with herself. A hope lost and then she was given two wonderful gifts... Melanie’s forgiveness and this child, Bo’s child.
After making her confession in church and receiving absolution, she’d taken a long walk to ponder on what to do next... leave Salem and raise the child on her own without telling Bo about the baby? Bo wanted nothing to do with her, she no longer existed so the child will not be a part of his life nor will be acknowledged by the Bradys. But Melanie’s home was Salem hence the need to be near her, even though she would be better off in D.C with Frankie who  more than ever wanted her to come live with him or somewhere in Europe where she and the child will have some relative peace. The best thing to do, Carly wrote, is discuss it with Melanie after the baby came. In the meantime now that she had back access to her share of the Von Leuschner fortune, she could get a house- lease not buy- since she wasn’t sure how long she would be in Salem. Having her child generally scorned was one thing, watching Bo with Hope was another, she didn’t know if she would ever forgive him. As for Nicholas, he will have to know about his father’s physical abuse on her and understand why she had to do what she did. When that happened, she will be able to introduce him to Melanie and they’ll be a family at last. And her broken heart, she hoped, will eventually heal.
Closing the diary, Melanie held it against her chest and quietly cried herself to sleep.
Before going downstairs the next morning, Melanie bathed her eyes thoroughly; subdued but feeling much better.
‘Morning sleeping beauty,’ Nicholas greeted as she entered the kitchen. Frankie was reading the paper at the counter while Molly was fixing scrambled eggs.
‘Morning Nick, morning Molly, Uncle Frank.’
Frankie regarded her shrewdly. ‘You okay?’
Melanie smiled wanly, nodding. After the night events, it seemed strange to be back in the present. And she was all the more wiser now... about everything. As for Bo, on waking up she felt she understood him better too. Not that she would ever condone what he did to her mother but she no longer felt the old anger and resentment towards him, she just want him back in Salem as soon as possible, for Carly’s sake.
Over breakfast, Nicholas told Melanie what Frankie and Molly already knew, he and Abby were officially a couple. Melanie was amazed. ‘How long has this been going on?’ she asked.
Nicholas shrugged, grinning. ‘Not long, it just happened. What can I say Melanie, it’s what the French call a coup de foudre.
Molly turned from the stove to smile at his words while Frankie merely shrugged, an amused look on his face. Melanie shook her head, still in shock. Nicholas and Abby... who ever saw that coming? Personally she was thrilled for them but she was certain Jennifer wouldn’t, not with what Nicholas’ dad did to her several years ago. She may even tell Abby about it.
‘Uh well... that’s great,’ she said at last. ‘So am I going to be a bridesmaid anytime soon?’
‘Wow... wow...’ Nicholas waved his hands as Frankie and Molly laughed. ‘One step at a time sis, for now we’re in love and getting to know each other... that next step in inevitable but not soon, okay?’
Melanie squeezed her brother’s arm fondly. ‘Well, I’m happy about it. And I’m sure Mum will be.’
Nicholas’ expression sobered. ‘I hope so too.’
From his tone, Melanie, Frankie and Molly knew that he wasn’t worried about Carly’s approval but if she would recover. ‘She will,’ Frankie said firmly. ‘let’s all just focus on that okay? Before we know it, she will be out of that hospital, Starr as well.’
Melanie nodded and turned as the doorbell rang.
‘Who could that be?’ Molly said, wiping her hands on her apron.
‘I’ll get it,’ Nicholas got up and went to the front door. ‘Yes,’ he addressed the young man on the doorstep. ‘Can I help you?’
The young man stared at him. ‘Nicky?’
Nicholas stared back and recognition hit him. ‘Oh my God... Shawn D.’