Bo found himself unable to work; he couldn't get over what Carly told him. Maybe he was crazy but he found himself unable to believe a word of it. This was the same woman who got married to get over him after he’d pushed her away but never gave herself to her husband. The same woman who refused to let him make love to her at the cabin because she wanted more than a roll in the hay. The same woman who never cheated on him during his two long months of captivity or their separation after their botched wedding.
The Carly Manning he knew-who always believed in love- would never do what she said, no matter what. She was angry and hurt...yes; but she would never settle for meaningless sex; not after being betrayed by Victor and Lawrence who’d professed to love her.
The Carly Manning he knew-who always believed in love- would never do what she said, no matter what. She was angry and hurt...yes; but she would never settle for meaningless sex; not after being betrayed by Victor and Lawrence who’d professed to love her.
Leaning back, Bo thought over the night she arrived in Salem. She’d phoned him; asking him to meet her at The Java. He’d known Lawrence was dead but not by Carly’s hand and he’d gone to see her; burning with curiosity and anticipation.
‘Hello Bo.’ She got up. ‘It’s been a long time.’
He automatically took her hands; stunned to see her and appalled at the vivid pink bruises on her face, a bandage over one eyebrow. She looked wan and thin but her smile was as sweet as he remembered. ‘Carly... this is a surprise. I couldn't believe it when I heard your voice over the phone.’
‘I figured it was best to call instead of showing up at your house.’ She replied. ‘It’s good to see you.’
‘It’s good to see you too.’ He touched her cheek. ‘You look hard done by there.’
She grimaced. ‘Yeah, I suppose so.’
They sat down and Bo ordered coffee. ‘I read about Larry in the papers; was it political?’
‘I was the one who killed him.’ Carly said flatly. ‘Self defence.’
He shook his head, shocked. ‘How long did he abuse you? He abused you, didn't he?’
She nodded. ‘A month after we got married; he fell sick and... it rendered him sterile. He took out his rage and disappointment on me and he was worse than he was in the beginning. I realised once again I was dealing with an illusion.’
Bo took her hand, squeezing it. He knew Larry all too well but he didn't want to stand in Carly’s way at the time. ‘Why didn't you call me... I would’ve helped you.’
‘ Lawrence followed your life after he recovered- he had this paranoid feeling you would come after me eventually. He threatened to...hurt you. Especially after I found out I was pregnant.’
‘I don't understand...’
‘ I was tested Bo; the baby wasn't his- but yours. That last day... we finally made a baby.’
‘Oh my God. Did Larry kill our child?’ he demanded harshly, filled with anger and fear.
‘No; he ordered his lawyer to arrange an adoption but Leo- a wonderful man- took her to a convent. I sent money for her upkeep and visited her when I could... on her birthdays especially.’ She sniffled. ‘But the beatings and rapes never stopped; he did other things...’
‘You should’ve called me; Carly!’
‘Lawrence was a powerful man- he vowed to kidnap you and have you cut open in front of me....’ she sobbed. ‘He said if wiping you off the face of the earth was what it took to make me accept I was his wife forever; he would do it! I had to protect you; I was afraid he would do something to Shawn D too, he mentioned his name sometimes...’
‘It’s okay...okay.’ he held on to her hands, consoling her. ‘It’s over, he can never hurt you again, Carly. Alright?’
‘So... my daughter?’
She smiled again. ‘She came here with me; she can’t wait to meet you. I told her to wait by the newsstand.’
‘Well, bring her in!’
Wiping her eyes, she reached for her cell and dialled. ‘You can come in now.’
Bo turned, waiting in anticipation . In a few minutes; a young woman in a fur coat entered the coffee shop, walking to their table. He got up slowly, staring at her. Nervously, she stared back. Carly got up, moving to stand beside her, pushing back the long black hair half hiding her face.
‘Bo, I like to introduce you to Darcy Isabella Marlena Manning. Cricket... this is your father.’
Speechless, Bo held his daughter’s face between his hands; it was like beholding a beautiful, female version of his own. ‘Hi.’ He said at last.
‘Hello... Papa.’ His daughter replied softly.
While he’d gotten to know his daughter, he’d found himself irresistibly drawn to Carly every time he was with her. A lot of things had happened and changed since she was away; but she was still the same lovely woman he’d fallen in love with years ago; in spite of what Larry had inflicted on her. The fateful afternoon they’d make love; he truly didn't plan it, nor did she. But Vivian had frightened her by causing the elevator in the hospital to malfunction with her in it; which triggered off a panic attack. After getting her out, he’d taken her home...
‘Feel better now?’ he asked as she came out of the bathroom, wiping her damp face with a towel.
She nodded. ‘Thanks. That bitch just knows how to push my buttons. As if burying me alive wasn't enough- she pulls this stunt.’
‘ I can get a restraining order on her tomorrow. I won’t have her harassing you- or Darcy.’
‘A restraining order won’t stop her; she’ll laugh in your face too.’
‘Thanks to her, you went through hell for several years- instead of living here safe with me. This is personal.’
‘Bo, please. You already have your hands full with problems, don't fight my battles also. Vivian’s just being a nuisance.’
‘That nuisance buried you alive right under my nose. She wasn't even punished; Victor got her committed to a mental hospital instead. She came here to hurt you and probably Darcy and I won’t let her.’
Carly sighed. ‘Some things never change. You all protective like this.’
Bo regarded her silently as she sat next to him and took off her shoes, rubbing her feet. Several minutes ago she’d been hysterical, now she seemed in control of herself. ‘You’re sure you’re going to be okay? Where’s Darcy anyway?’
‘She drove off somewhere to paint.’
‘I don't like the sound of that; not with Vivian still here. She could be having her followed or something.’
‘You want to assign a guard on her; I imagine.’ Carly looked at him. ‘But how long will Darcy have to look over her shoulder? She’s just finally starting to enjoy the world.’
‘I just want her safe, you too.’
She smiled faintly. ‘We’ll always be safe... as long as Vivian remembers she can’t fool you a second time.’ She patted his hand.
He took her hand, so soft under his. ‘You never talked about it. What went down there...in the coffin.’
She tried to pull her hand away but he held on to it. ‘I don't want to talk about it... I don't ever want to think about it again.’ she whispered.
‘I need to know Carly. When you walked up to me and Billie that night and I found out everything; I felt I’d failed you in some way...’
‘No...no...’ she protested.
‘I should’ve followed my instincts. I told John I had the feeling you weren't really dead, your hand felt warm at the chapel...’
‘You aren’t to blame for what happened to me, Bo.’ She insisted, reaching up to touch his cheek. Sighing, she put her hand down. ‘Okay. After the first shock, Vivian kept taunting me through the radio she’d placed in the coffin. Anytime she wasn't on, the walls kept closing in on me... I needed to put my mind somewhere else. I would then think of you – all the time I thought about you; wishing you would come for me, believing somehow you would figure it out and get me out. At the funeral... when you stood over me, holding my hand... I tried squeezing your fingers but the drug didn't let me...’ she sobbed. ‘You got me going... I believed you would come...’
Bo held her in his arms; kissing her forehead- longing to kill Vivian a hundred times over. That woman was Evil personified and she’d gone unpunished.
‘I’m sorry, princess. I’m so sorry.’ he whispered, stroking her hair. Raising her head, he kissed her, gently at first and then passionately. She kissed him back but then she pulled away, getting up.
‘What...what are we doing?’ she stammered.
‘You tell me.’ Getting to his feet , he pulled her against him and began kissing her again. She didn't resist him- she ran his fingers through his hair, pressing herself against him. He felt consumed with desire as he ran his fingers over the familiar soft skin ; passion at its peak. Walking her backwards, he lifted her; placing her on a mahogany bureau.
‘We shouldn’t be doing this,’ she whispered but all the same she pulled his jacket down his shoulders and arms and unknotted his tie.
‘Stop me then.’ He whispered against her lips, pulling her top over her head. ‘Make me stop kissing you, touching you, feeling you...’ he devoured her mouth ; holding her head between his hands; her legs wrapping his waist. Moving down, her buried his face against her neck, pushing her skirt up her thighs.
‘I can’t...’ she gasped; holding on to him.
‘Then hush.’ his lips moved back up her jaw then her lips again, kissing her repeatedly. She tasted wonderful... like she always did and he wanted to lose himself in her. She tore at his shirt and he helped her get it off; taking off the black vest he wore underneath before lifting her in his arms again.
‘I love you Bo.’ She whispered as he lowered her on the bed.
I love you Bo...
Bo stared at the wall, his expression grim. Carly actually called herself a whore and her baby a bastard; her whole tone harsh and bitter. She would never call his child a bastard; hell she never referred to Nicholas as Larry’s bastard when she first told him about the baby she supposedly lost. If she was lying, it would be to protect him; there was no way she would stand between him and Hope by using a child. Carly’s been known to lie, mainly to protect the people she loved, not herself- never herself.
You’re not special to me anymore... the words of a heartbroken woman but a heartbroken woman would want the lover who jilted her to feel sorry enough to go back to her. Carly, on the other hand wanted him off her back. He basically did the same thing to her years ago when he was stricken with the virus; lied that his feelings for her had changed so she wouldn't know he was sick. He’ll never forget how she cried and the look of pain on her face at his cruel words, they had hurt him more than her.They've always thought alike. But suppose she was telling the truth???
‘I wanted to hurt him... like he hurt me.’ Carly said, shaking her head, tears rolling down her cheeks. ‘And now... I feel so terrible for everything I said to him. The whole time it didn't sound like me talking... like it was somebody else saying those awful things to him. What have I become, just what?’
Maxine held Carly in her arms as she sobbed against her shoulder. Passing her door, she’d heard Carly crying and immediately went in to comfort her. Before Carly knew what she was doing, she’d told the motherly Head Nurse everything after stopping her from calling Darcy.
‘You’re hurting. It’s perfectly natural to want to lash out... transfer the pain. It doesn't make you a terrible person so don't be so hard on yourself.’ Maxine said softly; filled with pity. ‘And it’s best he never finds out the baby’s his and I’m saying that for your own sake, not his. You’re the victim in all this; Dr. Manning and it makes me very angry... I wish there was something I could do.’
Carly wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, turning to Maxine. ‘You’ve done more than you think and I thank you for that. I was never close to my own mother and with Mrs. Horton dead and Caroline...’ she gulped, but held on to Maxine’s hand. ‘I feel better talking to you.’
Maxine freed her hand, to push back a few strands of hair from Carly’s damp forehead. ‘I’m always here to listen. You probably think you don't need anybody except Darcy but it pays to have another shoulder to lean on.’
‘My brother’s in D.C... we talk. He wanted to come here but I wouldn't allow it. And my son promised to come soon, when he can leave his work. The only real friend I have besides you and Daniel is Adrienne; at least she hasn’t changed.’
‘More like she still remembers who you are; I’ve seen you two together, she obviously cares a lot about you. Hold on to what you still got Dr. Manning- not what or who you’ve lost and draw strength from it, especially that little baby in you. Okay?’
‘Okay. Thanks again... I do feel better, honest.’ Carly smiled faintly. ‘You don't have to call me Dr. Manning, you know. We’ve gone past formality already.’
But Maxine shook her head. ‘Won’t be proper. But after hours or when we’re alone...no problem. You’re going to be alright?’
‘Yeah, I will.’ Carly glanced at her watch. ‘I’ll just go grab something to eat.’
‘I can send somebody to get you something...’
‘No, no... I’ll go myself. But thanks.’
Satisfied, Maxine got up and left the office.
Hold on to what you still got.... Carly touched her stomach; at the same thinking of Darcy, Nicholas and Frankie ; her family. Darcy was half of Bo and so was the baby- she must never forget that. Nicholas was the only good thing she got from Lawrence and Frankie; her darling brother- she drew comfort from the fact he knew her inside out and will never turn his back on her. As long as she still had their love and support, along with Daniel and Adrienne’s- Bo and the rest of Salem could rot.
‘Cricket, can I come in?’ Carly asked, knocking on Darcy’s bedroom door.
Carly entered and stopped in her tracks at the sight before her. Darcy looked unbelievably beautiful in the black halter neck dress, her hair styled to perfection, her face carefully made up.
‘What do you think?’ she asked anxiously, turning round for her mother’s inspection. ‘Yards and yards of bare skin... I feel naked.’
‘You look beautiful, very beautiful.’ Carly went to her and kissed her on the cheek. ‘Daniel’s going to swoon.’
Darcy sighed, shaking her head. ‘it’s just dinner Maman... nothing more.’
‘Which is what I want to talk about you. Sit down.’
Darcy sank down on the bed. ‘What is it?’
Carly put her arm round Darcy’s shoulders. ‘What do you feel for Daniel?’
Darcy went red. ‘I... I like him; he’s a friend.’
‘No Darcy... he’s more than that and you and I both know it. Tell me the truth now.’
Darcy ducked her head, wringing her hands; unable to say anything.
‘You’re in love with him, aren’t you? You’ve been in love with him ever since you met him but you kept it to yourself, out of respect for Chloe. But even though he’s free from her, you don't want to be with him, not because you don't trust him but because you feel you’ll be getting something I was denied, right?’
She nodded, then looked at her mother. ‘Everybody here has a happy ending. Papa and that woman... Aunt Adrienne and her husband, Melanie and Nathan, Victor and Mrs. Horton- it just isn't fair you’re alone.’
‘As long as I have you and your brother and your uncle Frankie and the few friends I have left; I’ll never be alone.’ Carly stressed. ‘I realised that today and it made me think long and hard. I still have people who love me and support me and I have a baby on the way. I’m not going to keep feeling sorry for myself or fret over losing Bo...not anymore. And I don't want you to turn away from the love of a good man who I’m absolutely sure wants to have a future with you. Maybe the age difference is a bit wide but I’ve seen how Daniel’s eyes light up when he mentions your name, how you blush and look shy when he’s nearby. I get joy seeing you happy and I want you to be very happy, my darling girl. I’m done feeling sad so don't feel sad for me. Embrace the future in front you instead of the past and follow your heart.’
‘You’re a beautiful person, Maman.’ Darcy said, touched by Carly’s words. ‘I love you so much.’ she hugged her.
‘I love you too, cricket.’ Carly hugged her back, her cheek against her hair. ‘From now on, we never need to discuss Bo at all.’
‘Alright, Maman. We won’t.’
By the time Daniel arrived to pick up Darcy, he sensed a change in her immediately. Instead of the hesitant, shy smiles he always got from her; the one he saw was one of pure radiance and her brown eyes sparkled as he took her arm. Daniel was overjoyed and felt more optimistic about her reaction when he finally told her how he felt about her. Carly saw them to the door, waving as they drove off. She smiled, rubbing her stomach again. Maxine was right and now she felt stronger and more at peace. She had no idea she was being watched very intently.
‘I’m telling you this now not just because I don't want secrets between us but so you won’t be bothered by rumours that will circulate soon enough.’
‘Why did you go to see her in the first place?’ Hope asked quietly.
‘I went to thank her for talking to Darcy for me, nothing more.’
‘Is that the real reason, Brady? You still care about her, obviously.’
‘I know where my heart lies. If I feel guilty it’s because of the way it ended between us; years ago, Carly and I started off as friends and she loved Shawn D very much. We can never be friends again which is tough because we share a daughter and you know I want to keep Darcy in my life.’
‘I’m aware of that and I understand. So Carly’s pregnant and she said you aren’t the father.’
‘That’s what she said, and very certain about it too.’
Hope watched Bo carefully, trying to read the impassive look on his face as he sipped his beer from the bottle. ‘Are you sorry?’
Bo turned to look at her. ‘About what?’
‘That the baby isn't yours. Caroline told me how upset you were you weren't there when Darcy was born, how you missed out raising her. Are you sorry?’
‘Does it matter what I feel? Carly’s past tense and we’ve moved on, case closed.’
‘Well... just as well.’
‘Carly would never use a child to come between us.’
‘You know her better than I do but that’s not what I meant. I was able to accept Darcy- the circumstances were different with her- but I wouldn’t have accepted another love child, Bo. It would always remind me of the time we were apart; when you were with Carly until we got back together. Call me selfish but that’s how I feel. I love you Bo and I need to know you’re fully committed to me. I don't ever want to be reminded of your affair with Carly- in any form.’
Bo stared after her as she went to the kitchen before sinking back against the couch. After thinking about it for a long time he’d made the decision to tell Hope about Carly’s pregnancy, so she wouldn't find a reason to end their marriage again; at least that what he told himself. But he felt no peace after doing so. And try as he might, he was unable to feel relieved the baby wasn't his even after what Hope said; refused to believe Carly would give herself to a stranger for a one night stand. She was human but she all that was good and pure too. Common sense told him to let it go- he’d left her for Hope; unable to let go of their memories and years together. But he couldn't bear the thought of Carly with another man- if she was telling the truth- just thinking about it made him very angry and he realised it wasn't guilt for driving her to somebody else; it was jealousy.
‘You married Victor. You say you love me and you marry my father. You sleep with my father!’ The thought of made him sicker than he felt already.
Carly however didn't flinch at his words. ‘I didn't.’ She said quietly.
He wasn't sure he’d heard right. ‘What do you mean you didn't... you were married to him the whole time and you didn't sleep with him?’
She shook her head, her expression earnest. ‘I never slept with him, Bo.’
‘You were married to the guy!’ he argued.
‘I never slept with Victor.’ she repeated, not breaking eye contact.
‘You expect me to believe that?’
‘It’s the truth, I wouldn’t lie about something like this.’
‘You lied to me today, princess.’ Bo said to himself. ‘ You wouldn't numb betrayal by giving yourself just like that... it’s never been you.’
He needed to talk to her again as soon as possible.
Hand in hand, Daniel and Darcy walked to the door; giggling like teenagers. Darcy had completely come out of her shell; to his delight. ‘Thank you for this, Daniel.’ She said. ‘It was a beautiful evening.’
‘Thank you making it more so.’ Daniel stroked her cheek with a finger. ‘I was the envy of every man at the restaurant.’
‘Oh... no...no; I’ve not a trophy to you, am I?’ she teased.
‘Never.’ Daniel smiled down at her tenderly.
‘I’m sorry, by the way.’
‘For the way I acted... aloof. Maman made me realise that I’ve been so silly; thinking it wasn't right for me to be happy when she wasn't.’
‘But you are happy now, aren’t you Darcy?’ he encircled her waist with his arms, pulling her closer. Instinctively she slipped her arms round his neck.
‘I am.’ She smiled wider. ‘Very happy.’
‘And I intent to always make you feel this way.’ He lifted one hand to brush back her hair. ‘You fill my whole life, you know. I wanted to wait a while before telling you this but I just have to say it now... I love you Darcy Manning, so much.’
Darcy pressed her face against Daniel’s; tears falling down her cheeks as she thought of how she’d vowed to forfeit love. ‘I love you too. I’ve loved you for a long time...’
Tears pricking his own eyes, Daniel gave Darcy her first kiss with tender possessiveness; feeling like the luckiest man in the world.
Two days later
Carly ran into Daniel at the pier on her way back from her doctor’s. ‘Hey.’
‘Hey yourself.’ Daniel scanned her face sharply. ‘You alright?’
‘Yes, why?’ Carly asked warily.
‘You’ve been off colour for a while and right now you look beat. What’s wrong?’
‘Well you know... the usual. Nothing but work, I’m just tired.’
‘It’s noon and you didn't perform any surgery today. Are you sick?’
‘No Daniel I’m fine... really.’ She assured him. So far the only member of staff who knew her condition was Maxine; she wasn't ready to tell anybody else but she knew she would still have to inform Lexie.
‘Come on, you can tell me... I’m your friend aren’t I?’
Carly was about to answer when another wave of dizziness hit her, making her stumble. Immediately, Daniel led her to a park bench and hurried to the vending machine opposite and got her a bottle of water. ‘Thank you.’ she said, taking it from him after he unscrewed the cap.
‘Out with it Manning, tell me what wrong with you; you can trust me. Does Darcy know about this?’
Carly drank some water then turned to him. ‘I’m not sick Daniel, I’m pregnant.’
Daniel whistled. Carly nodded, her face grim.
‘Oh wow...’ Daniel sat back. ‘Does Bo know?’
‘What did he say?’
‘I told him the baby isn't his.’
‘What?’ he shouted, astonished. ‘Are you kidding? Why would you do that?’
Carly’s expression changed from grim to mocking. ‘You honestly think I was going to tell Bo the truth?’
‘Carly, I’ll be the first to admit that Bo was a jerk to you and you probably don't want him involved with the baby but as the father, he has the right to know.’
‘No Daniel... he doesn't.’ Carly said harshly. ‘Bo has no rights to this child, this child is mine and mine alone! I’m not going to let my baby be the cause of any rift between him and Hope and I won’t be named as the cause either, not again. Everybody saw it fit to regard me as an interloper and a home wrecker and I believe your godfather has a more sophisticated label for me.’
Daniel cringed, cursing Victor under his breath. ‘You’re afraid everybody will say you’ll use the baby to lure Bo back?’
Carly nodded. ‘I have to protect myself and my baby. I make him think I had a one night stand.’
‘You honestly think he bought that story?’
‘His marriage means a lot to him, he made that crystal clear. If he doesn't want to lose Hope again, he’ll have to take my word for it.’
‘I know you, Carly Manning. You aren’t just protecting yourself and the baby, you’re protecting Bo himself.’
‘I’m not protecting Bo.’ She denied.
‘The hell you’re not! You’re mad at him but you still love him. If you weren't protecting Bo, you wouldn't care if his marriage fell apart again; it would be your way to get even with him and Hope and that’s not you.’ Daniel put his arm around her. ‘You’re a beautiful person, Carly. You would never hurt anybody, not even those who hurt you.’
Carly smiled faintly. ‘Thanks for understanding, Daniel.’
‘Don’t mention it. I’m here for you. When the baby comes I’ll settle for the role of either godfather or protective brother-in-law.’
Carly sat straight, her eyes widening. ‘Brother-in-law?’
Daniel’s grin made him appear more boyish than usual. ‘Darcy’s such an amazing girl. I’m not going to rush her or anything but when the time comes... I sure hope we get your blessing.’
‘Oh my God, Daniel!’ Carly hugged him enthusiastically. ‘You got it already! Oh, this is wonderful!’
‘Honestly, I never thought I would feel this way again after Chloe. I’d given up on love...completely! And then all of a sudden, I saw Darcy with new eyes and she lit a spark in me. Before I knew it...’ he shook his head. ‘She makes me so happy, Carly. I love her so much.’
Carly shook her head, smiling widely. ‘Oh Daniel... I’m thrilled. This is the best news I’ve heard since the baby.’
Bo turned the corner in time to see Daniel kiss Carly’s hands. He stared, backing up a bit to watch them unobserved.
‘Well, I guess this makes us almost family right?’ Carly said.
‘We are already. I love you and Darcy, you know that. And...’ he rested his hand on Carly’s stomach. ‘This little guy is going to see a lot of me when he arrives.’
‘Just how do you know it’s going to be a boy? Darcy said she hopes it’s a girl. She’s already bought lots of pink and yellow yarn to knit some booties and little coats.’
‘Either way; he or she will learn how to play catch from me.’
Carly laughed as he patted her stomach again. Daniel laughed with her ; hugging her tightly.
Bo turned away, his ears ringing; hands balled into fists. There was a mystery man after all and it wasn't a stranger like Carly tried to make him believe, it was Daniel. Daniel’s the baby’s father.
You son of a bitch! He screamed in his head.
‘It’s done, Mr. Kiriakis.’
‘You sure she or my granddaughter will never notice?’
‘Those cameras and microphones I planted in their house are not only state of the art; they are bug sized.’ Punching a few buttons, every room of Carly’s house appeared on the monitors. Victor noted with reluctant admiration that Carly had decorated her living room, kitchen and bedrooms Laura Ashley style; the whole place looked like an English country home; pastoral and comfortable.
‘You’ll be able to see them and hear their conversations as clear as if you were in the house itself. Her phones are bugged too, except for her cell phone which she obviously carries about with her.’
Victor Kiriakis nodded with satisfaction. Now he could watch Carly’s every move; listen to her conversations. If she was going to plot against Bo and Hope; he was more than ready for her. And he will put a stop to it, immediately.