Hope looked up from the book she was reading to Ciara, noticing Ciara wasn't responding to the funny voices she was making. ‘What’s the matter?’ she asked.
‘Mummy, is Darcy mad at me?’ Ciara asked, her eyes huge pools of sadness.
‘I used to go to Carly’s house all the time and we would paint together and she would come to grandpa’s house all the time to play with me or take me out. I don't see her any more now, why?’
Hope sighed. What was she supposed to tell an eight year old, that her other big sister refused to have anything to do with the family; that Darcy was very angry with everybody, probably her especially. Hope sighed. It was sad somebody got hurt after that dark period but there was nothing she could do about it. Bo had asked her to return home and while it stunned her initially, she was overjoyed he still loved her after all . She wished Ciara hadn’t grown so attached to Darcy because she would then be painfully reminded of Carly at the mention of Darcy’s name. She and Bo never talked about her and avoided her as much as possible, not that Carly bothered them or anyone else with her presence these days. But like a woman scorned she was probably nursing her wounds, waiting for the right opportunity for revenge- just like Billie did. But this time, she was going to be completely on her guard. Jennifer had assured her that Carly Manning didn't have a vicious bone in her body but she wasn't the one who struggled in the web of pain and deceit Billie and Chelsea had woven over her family. Carly was of a different class all together but she was a woman scorned all the same and as long as she remained in Salem, Hope couldn't rest easy.
‘You know Darcy’s an artist, Ciara; she’s probably been painting a lot lately. I’m sure as soon as she can, she’ll come over to hang out with you like before.’
Ciara didn't look convinced. ‘But she always said she was never too busy to see me; that she loved me. And I really liked being with her and her Mum. Aunt Carly always gave me ice cream...’
‘I know, I know.’ Hope interrupted hastily, not wanting to launch into a discussion about Carly at all. ‘I tell you what... when Daddy comes home later, I’ll talk to him and he’ll have a word with Darcy for you, okay?’
Ciara nodded, now looking more optimistic. They both turned as the door bell rang and Hope went to answer it. ‘Oh... hi.’ She said, meeting Darcy’s cool eyes. ‘We were just talking about you.’
Darcy nodded curtly before walking past her, her face breaking into a genuine smile. ‘How’s my petite fille?’
‘Darcy!’ Ciara squealed, running to her outstretched arms, clinging to her as Darcy lifted her up. ‘You’re here!’
Darcy kissed her, hugging her close; Hope watching silently.
‘Why haven’t I seen you for so long?’ Ciara accused, her arms round her neck.
‘I’m sorry my love, I’ve been busy, very busy. But I am here to make it up to you. We will go out together now, just the two of us.’
‘Can I go Mummy, can I?’ Ciara asked eagerly.
‘Sure you can. Go upstairs and wash your hands and put on your jacket.’
Darcy set her down and Ciara ran upstairs. Hope turned to Darcy; shifting from one foot to the other. It still felt so disconcerting looking at Carly’s daughter; she looked too much like Bo. ‘Umm... thank you for doing this.’ she said at last. ‘Ciara’s been asking about you, I didn't really know what to tell her.’
‘Let me say this Mrs. Brady, so that we understand each other.’ Darcy said coldly. ‘This goes against what I was taught by the nuns but I don't like you; as a matter of fact, I really hate you. You caused my father grief by leaving him and taking my sister with you but when he chose to find happiness with my mother, you acted like she stole him and that was when you decided you wanted him to remain your husband. You went around acting like a martyr and elicited everybody’s support- even before Papa and Maman ever got together, you were full of jealousy and paranoia. If it wasn't for Daniel, Papa would’ve died in this very room when you tried to kill him. But yet, after everything you did, including causing your own problems, you came out the winner and my mother is suffering in silence.’
Hope wished for the earth to swallow her as she listened to the quiet, cold words from the young woman; feeling like a erring child being talked down by a parent. Darcy was different from Chelsea; more candid and as refined as Carly, two of the many reasons why she was always so uncomfortable and intimidated around her.
‘I’m sorry you feel this way.’ She said, quietly.
‘Justifiable hate is what I feel. So, since there is no way we can ever be friends, don't try to make small talk with me whenever I come to pick up Ciara. When you see me on the street, you avert your gaze and keep walking.’ Darcy raised a cynical, graceful eyebrow. ‘I believe you can manage that since I will do the same.’
Ciara bounded down the stairs, oblivious of the burning tension between her mother and sister. ‘I’m ready.’
Darcy’s face softened in an instant. ‘Good. Let’s go.’ She took her hand and Hope walked them to the door; watching Darcy lead Ciara to a parked Toyota Prius. Ciara looked very happy; her small arm round her sister’s waist. She felt more uneasy as she thought over Darcy’s words; Ciara trusted Darcy completely and she liked Carly. No woman in Carly’s shoes would just let what happened go so easily. Just suppose... just suppose Carly and Darcy decided to hurt her as a means of revenge, to get back at her?
She jumped as the doorbell rang again and she opened it. ‘Victor, what are you doing here?’
‘I just happened to be in the neighbourhood; thought I stop by.’ Hope made way for Victor to pass. ‘Where’s my little girl?’
‘She just went out with Darcy.’
Victor’s eyes lit up at the mention of his eldest granddaughter. ‘What a shame; I haven’t seen her in ages.’
‘Victor, you should’ve realised by now Darcy doesn't want to be around you or anyone else she feels hurt Carly!’ Hope snapped.
Victor shrugged. ‘I did warn Carly Bo would go back to you, that she was nothing but an interlude. It’s her fault for chasing Bo in the first place; not you or anyone else. She couldn't possibly have expected anyone to take her side. I’m just sorry Darcy got caught in the middle of it; I’m very fond of that girl.’
‘Yeah well, your perfect little angel hates me.’ Hope said bitterly.
‘Darcy doesn't hate anyone.’
‘She hates me Victor... she stood right here and said it to my face; she blames me for whatever Carly’s going through!’ Hope threw up her arms. ‘Okay... maybe most of what she said was true but I never set out to hurt Carly; I just wanted my husband back.’
‘And you’ve got him back because he chose you. Darcy naturally feels resentment on Carly’s behalf but I’m sure it was blow over after a while. She’s a good girl; she won’t hold a grudge forever.’
‘I’m not so sure, Victor. And to be honest I’m worried. Any woman in Carly’s shoes would leave and not look back but she still here. Billie hovered around Bo in spite her promises she was over him and then she and Chelsea did all they could to break us up... and almost succeeded! And let’s not forget Chelsea killed Zack!’
‘That was an accident!’ Victor exclaimed, appalled. ‘You aren’t suggesting Darcy might do something to Ciara?’
‘Hatred can drive anyone to do horrible things; and a woman scorned won’t let things slide- she waits and plots!’ Hope insisted, now worked up.
‘You listen to me Hope, Darcy will never do what you’re thinking. She’s a wonderful young woman- in many ways she reminds me of Isabella. Don't look at me like that; I’m not letting sentiment cloud my judgment- Darcy’s beyond reproach.’
‘What about Carly then? You were once married to her, weren't you?’
‘Carly’s a different kettle of fish- she wasn't the woman I thought she was. I gave her love, she was lusting after my son the whole time. She had no respect for you when she lured Bo into bed. If you’re that worried about Carly, rest easy. She won’t be a problem- not if I can help it.’
Hope stiffened, remembering Victor was a career criminal. ‘I’m not asking you to do anything to her!’ she said immediately.
‘I’m not going to. I’ll just have a word with her, that’s all.’
‘No Victor... no. You leave her alone; if anything happens to her...’
‘Hope, I’m not going to put out a contract on her, I don't do that. I’m just going to sit her down and have a serious conversation with her- as Darcy’s mother, we do need to come to sort of agreement. I don't want to miss out having a proper relationship with Darcy; I love her... no matter how I feel about Carly. So don't worry- I’ll take care of it.’
Hope looked at him warily, wishing she hadn’t confided her fears to him. She didn't want to think that way of him but if Carly suddenly disappeared and Victor was behind it- Bo will never forgive them both and she’ll lose him for good. ‘As long as you’re just going to talk to her... fine.’
Victor nodded. ‘Say hello to Ciara for me when she gets back. Take care of yourself.’
Sitting comfortably at the back of his limousine; Victor pulled out his cell phone and dialled a number. ‘Luigi; Kiriakis here. I have a problem that needs to be taken care of. Meet me at my house in 30 minutes.’
Carly was tired and very hungry. Pregnancy for a woman her age was rather trying- all she wanted to do was just lie down and sleep and eat lots of Rocky Road ice-cream; her main craving. Sooner or later, she’ll have to inform Lexie about it- as her boss, she had the right to know so as to make the necessary arrangements later on. Lexie has already asked her why she looked rather pale and Melanie Layton- one of Hope’s former supporters- was overly concerned about her too.
Leaning against the counter at the nurses’ station, Carly rubbed the back of her neck- really exhausted. She got tired easily these days and she couldn't allow it to affect her work; not to mention it was too early to ask for maternity leave.
‘Dr. Manning; are you okay?’ Maxine asked, touching her shoulder. ‘You don't look well.’
Carly smiled faintly. ‘Just tired, that’s all.’
‘You’ve been looking pale lately.’ Maxine hesitated then asked tentatively, ‘You aren’t... aren’t feeling ill over what happened between you and Detective Brady are you? You probably need a check up then.’
‘There’s no cure for heartbreak and bitterness, Maxine. I’ve just been working hard lately, all I need is rest. But thank you for worrying about me.’ Carly patted Maxine’s plump arm.
‘Well, if you need anything or need to talk... I’m here, okay?’
Carly nodded. ‘Thanks, I appreciate that.’
‘Anytime.’ Maxine bustled away. Carly sighed, rubbing her head. Tomorrow was her appointment with her doctor at the private clinic she’d chosen; maybe Dr. Matthews will be able to give her something to battle the fatigue she’s been feeling. She couldn't go on like this.
‘Hey Carly.’ Daniel appeared at her elbow. ‘You okay?’
‘Yeah... peachy.’ Carly straightened, smiling. ‘So... tonight’s the big date. Am I allowed to ask where you’re taking my little girl?’
Daniel grinned. ‘Somewhere quiet, formal and classy; that’s all I’m saying.’
‘Darcy came to my room yesterday and went straight into my closet to find a dress. Deep down, she’s really excited about going out with you- I guess after I talked to her she realised she’s been isolating herself all this time.’ She prodded Daniel’s chest with a finger. ‘Don't you dare try anything though...or else.’
‘I wouldn't dream of it.’ Daniel laughed, kissing her cheek. ‘I’ll treat her like a queen; promise.’
Treat her like a queen; Carly thought to herself as Daniel went to his office. She wondered if Daniel had given Darcy a hint on where he was going to take her since Darcy had finally chosen a formal black dress trimmed with silver thread for the occasion. Or maybe he was like Bo who never, ever revealed a planned surprise. He’d always been that way....
‘This is going to be our first real date.’
Bo’s eyebrows went up as he digested her words. ‘Yeah.’ His grin turned predatory. ‘You uh...don’t mind making love on the first date; do you?’
She smiled back. ‘You know me.’ she murmured.
‘I wish I did.’
‘Well, I’m a very liberal woman.’
‘Oh... lucky me.’
‘No... luckiest.’ She moved forward to receive another heated kiss from him. With great effort, Bo pulled back. ‘Get out of here... I’ll see you soon.’
‘But you haven’t told me where we’ll be; how are you going to find a place for us to be alone?’
‘You just go get ready; I’ll give you a call and tell you where to meet.’ He insisted.
‘You have something in mind, don't you?’ she persisted, willing him to tell her.
But he shook his head firmly. ‘You just go get ready.’
‘Okay.’ she knew when she was defeated but she had one more question. ‘How do I dress?’
‘If this is your way of trying to get me to...’
‘No... no... I just need to know how I’m going to dress!’ she replied anxiously. ‘Please?’
Letting out a sigh of exasperation, Bo said, ‘Okay- I’ll tell you. Plan for an evening fit for a princess. Okay?’
Carly pulled out a hanky from the pocket of her white coat and wiped her damp eyes; pushing the happy memory to the back of her brain. She didn't get a happy ending but that didn't mean Darcy wasn't entitled to one. She was free from Lawrence and deserved to live her life to the fullest. Just like the baby within her was going to do. Tenderly, she rubbed her stomach with both hands. This didn't and will never belong to Hope but it grieved her that Bo will never know the truth. Tears sliding down her cheeks, she walked to her office. Closing the door behind her, she took off the white coat and laid on the couch at the corner of the room. She could still feel his lips against hers; his voice filled with love as he held her in his arms.
‘I want you to know something, princess. You and I are going to have everything we want.’
Carly closed her eyes after weeping for a while.
‘Detective Brady, what a surprise.’ Maxine greeted as Bo walked towards her. ‘Is anything wrong?’
‘No Maxine. Is Dr. Manning around?’
‘She’s probably in her office. If you don't mind me asking, just why do you want to see her?’
‘It’s personal.’ Bo said gently.
Maxine didn't smile, instead she looked grim. ‘Look... I’ve known Dr. Manning long enough to regard her as a friend and she’s very fragile right now. Let her be, she’s heartbroken enough as it is; she doesn't need you hovering around her.’
‘I didn't come here to upset Carly, Maxine; I just want to talk to her. Our last conversation didn't exactly end well... I just want to mend fences; that’s all.’
‘Huh... you honestly think she will want to be friends with you all the same?’ Maxine said, now angry. ‘My God, you’re so full of it!’
Bo sighed. ‘Maxine please... this is between me and Carly, no one else.’
‘Whatever. But watch your step; Carly isn't only a friend... she’s like the daughter I never had and she’s hurting... big time. If you hurt her even further, it won’t just be Darcy you’ll answer to.’ Glaring at him, she strode away.
Shaking his head, Bo went to Carly’s office and knocked. No answer.
‘Carly... are you in here?’ he asked, entering cautiously. She wasn't at her desk. Then he saw her lying on the couch, asleep. Silently he went over, squatting by the couch to look at her closely. Her cheeks were tearstained; she’d obviously cried herself to sleep.
Struggling not to cry himself, Bo touched her face; his fingers moving over her soft skin. He’d come over to thank her for talking to Darcy- something he could done over the phone- but he needed a plausible excuse to see her. Her pain was equal to his overwhelming guilt and they was no way they’ll really be able to move on if both emotions weren't resolved and buried. She was still in his thoughts and the memory of how he’d betrayed her didn't allow him any peace. They both needed closure to really move on, her especially.
She didn't look well; her face wore a sickly pallor. Was she ill or she’d been over working herself?
I’m good at hiding pain... she’d told him. But not this time. Bo felt so helpless and sad as he watched her lying there; knowing she’d been crying over him, probably vowing never to forgive and forget. What woman in her position would?
Carly suddenly stirred and opened her eyes blinking. ‘Bo?’ she murmured, shrinking from his touch and sat up hurriedly. ‘What are you doing here, what do you want?’
He rose. ‘I... came to see you.’
‘Why?’ she demanded. ‘I already told you to leave me alone; why are you doing back here? I don't want you anywhere near me!’
‘Carly, please don't be this way with me. I’m not your enemy and you’re the mother of my daughter... I still care about you. I just wanted to see how you were.’
Carly rubbed her eyes and got up from the couch; pushing him aside to get to the water dispenser near her desk. ‘What is this about exactly, Bo?’ she asked bitterly as she filled a Styrofoam cup. ‘You coming to check on me, what... to see just how much pain you inflicted? And why, because thinking about my pain is not allowing you to move on, because of your guilt?’
Bo bit his lip. Carly’s always was a good mind reader and knew him so well. ‘I put you in a terrible position, Carly- I know that. You clearly read the signs and you did something you never thought you would do.’
Carly drank the cold water, setting the cup down on her desk before looking at him. ‘I just made it easy for you, Bo. You wanted to be with Hope; she was the one who you wanted to be with the whole time we were together. Victor was right... I was just an interlude and I actually thought he was just being spiteful... as always. I told myself some people will never change; you proved me wrong.’
‘Carly, I never lied about how I felt about you- I did love you.’ he said quietly.
‘Not the way you once did. You had no right to promise me what you didn't really mean. I didn't ask you for anything- I was happy enough watching you and Darcy make up for the lost years and then you took my heart and ripped it to pieces.’ Her voice shook. 'If you weren't sure what was in your heart- you should never have come to me; is that what you want to hear- the extent of my pain, is that what you want?’ she shouted. ‘So that it can die down and you can go back to your family with a clean conscience? You think it works that way?!’
‘I’m sorry...’ he whispered, his expression bleak. ‘I swear...I never meant to hurt you. I’m sorry for everything, I am, Carly.
‘Sorry isn't enough. I can never forget... or forgive. Let that be your cross, Bo. Get out and stay out of my life.’
‘I’m not going anywhere until I know you’re going to be alright; I still care about you!’
‘ I want you out of my office. Just leave right now!’ Carly shouted and then fell on the carpeted floor. Bo was immediately by her side. ‘Carly! Carly... are you alright?’ he asked, frightened. ‘Carly!’
Carly struggled weakly. ‘Let go of me...’
‘No, you need to be checked up on! I’ll call Daniel right now.’
‘No... don’t call anybody! I’m fine, get off me right now.’ She pushed his arms away and got up; shaking her head to force off the dizziness. Bo rose to his feet, staring at her anxiously. She was even paler than before and she holding her stomach. ‘Carly, you’re sick.’
‘No, I’m not.’
‘You can barely stand and you’re pale! How long as this been going on?’ he demanded. ‘What’s wrong with you, tell me please... let me help you!’
Carly was about to reply when she put a hand to her mouth and bolted for the bathroom. A sudden thought struck Bo and his blood ran cold as he heard the sound of her throwing up. Oh no; she wasn't...
‘My son came to his senses and went back to his wife but Carly Manning still poses a threat to his family. I need her taken care of, Luigi. You’re the expert in this sort of thing.’
Luigi Corleone nodded his head. ‘I am, Mr. Kiriakis.’
‘Good. This is very important so please don't mess it up.’
‘I’ve never messed up an assignment, sir. It will be done and no one will suspect anything.’
Victor knew what he’d instructed Luigi to do was downright illegal. But he had to right to protect his family from a vengeful predator.
Carly came out, pressing a cold cloth to her head; mortified. From the look on Bo’s face; he’d figured out her secret earlier than she’d planned.
‘You’re pregnant, aren’t you?’ he asked at last.
‘Yes.’ She replied, forcing her voice to sound neutral. No point denying it now.
‘Just when were you going to tell me you're carrying my child?’ he demanded.
‘Never because it’s none of your business!’ she snapped back; another reason why she was doing what she about to do suddenly dawning on her. The need to hurt him like he’d hurt her.
‘How can you say that? This is my baby! No wonder...look we can work something out somehow...’
‘Shut up, Bo. There’s nothing to work out because you’re not the father!’ She almost laughed at the stunned expression on his face. ‘This baby has nothing to do with you, so you can stop concerning yourself about it.’
‘I don't believe you.’ Bo shook his head. She was trying to punish him; how could this not be his child?
‘Well, believe it; so you can rest easy. You’re not the father.’
‘Then who is, if it isn't me?’ he snapped. ‘You can’t tell me this isn't my child...’
‘It’s not.’ Carly stressed, looking him in the eye. If she was going to get Bo off her back once and for all she had to use all she’s got. ‘ There are other beds for the home wrecker and whore of Salem, Bo. You honestly think because I enjoyed sex with you; I won’ t seek out other sources of satisfaction and comfort the minute you went back to Hope and pretended I never existed? You didn't want me anymore so I just went out and found something better; sex with no strings attached. I just didn't know it would come with an unexpected package that I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life!’
Bo couldn't believe what he was hearing; Carly saying such harsh, spiteful words. He also couldn't believe she would actually go to a bar or somewhere and pick up a stranger for meaningless sex; that was not what his Carly would do in a million years- no matter how much she was hurting.
‘Who is he?’ he asked at last. ‘Who’s... who’s the guy?’
‘It’s none of your business nor anyone else’s for that matter. You went back to Hope and I found another man; so we’re even. You and your wife and your sanctimonious family can rest easy knowing the little bastard I’m carrying is not a Brady and Victor I’m sure will have a field day knowing he was right about me after all.’ Breathing hard, she kept her eyes on him, wanting the words to sink in. ‘We’re even. Now you can go home knowing what a slut you narrowly escaped from; you’re no longer special to me. Get out and stay away from me from now on.’
Bo needed to get some air; the walls seemed to close in on him all of a sudden. He was shocked, stunned and he struggled to keep his rage intact. Carly... carrying another man’s child. Why wasn't he relieved? Where was the feeling of closure instead of anger and jealousy? Abruptly, he walked out of her office, out of the hospital and started the car with shaking fingers.
In her office, Carly waited for the feeling of triumph to come. Instead she buried her face in her hands, sobbing.