‘Mummy, Grandma, Aunt Maggie; guess what?’ Ciara bounced into the Brady Pub; a delighted, excited expression all over her pretty face.
‘Ciara...’ Bo began, but Ciara was too happy and animated to heed her father. ‘Darcy’s getting married!’ She burst out gleefully, skipping about in excitement. ‘And I’m going to be a flower girl and Mel’s going to be her bridesmaid!’
‘To who?’ Caroline exclaimed, looking at Bo in askance. ‘I didn't know she was even seeing anybody.’
Bo tightened his lips, his eyes as hard as granite and she flushed red, immediately reading the expression on her son’s face. How could she expect to know anything going on in Darcy’s life after her behaviour towards Carly especially had caused Darcy to alienate herself from the family in the first place? Hope sipped her coffee, showing no interest.
‘So Daniel asked her to marry him? I didn't think they were serious.’
Shocked, Caroline turned to Maggie. ‘Wait... You knew about this and you didn't tell me?’
Ciara stared at them, confused. ‘Is it bad that Darcy going to marry Dr. Jonas?’
‘No, no... of course not, honey!’ Caroline immediately drew Ciara to her side. ‘It’s just a surprise that’s all. But a very wonderful surprise; I’m excited for her too.’
Smiling again, Ciara ran to Hope. ‘Mummy, Darcy said she’s going to pick out my flower girl dress and I’m going to have a flower basket and Melanie will be behind me and Darcy will come wearing a white dress...’
‘That’s fine sweetheart,’ Hope replied, trying to smile at her daughter’s eager expression. ‘It was very sweet of your sister to choose you especially.’
‘Me too, I don't want anybody else to be flower girl but me!’ Ciara said firmly.
Bo looked more than ready to explode so Caroline hastily asked one of the waitresses to take Ciara to the kitchen; explaining to the little girl that the grownups wanted to have a serious talk about her sister’s wedding. Taking the hint, Ciara meekly followed Tess.
‘Bo, I don't understand this... how can Darcy be involved with Daniel? I thought he was with Carly now.’
‘I thought so too, until Hope and I saw them at the square.’ Maggie replied, glancing at Hope.
‘Please, just stop!’ Bo snapped, still trying to get rid of the image of Daniel and Darcy kissing and lying in each other’s arms.
‘Just why are you so upset about this?’ Hope asked, her tone as neutral as possible but her heart beating fast; wondering if that conniving bitch had told Bo the truth after all. And if she had, she was more than ready to do battle to keep her marriage.
‘Because young brunette girls seem to be a damn weakness of his! First Chelsea, then Chloe- who just happened to be another man’s wife when he seduced her- now Darcy, an innocent kid who spent most of her life in a convent, what the hell does she know about men?’
‘From what we saw that day, she seemed to know enough.’ Hope said before she could stop herself.
‘You will not talk about my daughter that way again, got that?’ Bo snapped, making her flinch.
‘Bo, don't take it out on Hope, what’s the matter with you?’ Caroline scolded.
‘And you’re making it sound like Daniel is some wild playboy; which he isn't.’ Maggie added. ‘So he made a few errors in judgement in the past but he really loved Chloe and his breakup with her was not his fault and you know that. If he and Darcy are in love now, you can’t keep them apart- she’s of age.’
‘He’s not right for her.’ Bo said stubbornly. ‘And I’m going to have a word with Carly for allowing this to go on and not telling me.’
‘Well, yes... she should have told you, you’re Darcy’s father after all.’ Maggie hesitated, exchanging a look with Caroline and then Hope. ‘So... since Carly’s not with Daniel... does that mean the baby...’
‘Carly told me a long time ago that I’m not the father.’ Bo replied as coldly as he could. ‘And frankly, I could care less- I’ve got more important worries right now.’
He saw the look of relief on the three women’s faces and just managed not to grind his teeth in disgust.
‘Môn Dieu... he didn't hurt you, did he?’ Darcy cried, gripping Daniel’s arm.
‘No, no... he mostly yelled at me and I gave it right back to him.’ Daniel glared at everyone who could clearly see the bruise on his jaw; silently daring them to contradict him. Nobody did.
‘He has no right; he can’t stop us from being together.’
‘No, he can’t. But your father’s more stubborn than a mule and it’s going to take a lot to make him calm down.’ said Carly. As soon as she’d returned from Victor’s- Melanie and Nathan wasted no time telling her what had happened. Knowing Bo, Carly knew he was definitely going to give her an earful soon enough.
‘And one of the things he’s going to have to accept that what happened between Daniel and Chelsea is water under the bridge.’ Melanie added. ‘He can’t hold that against him forever.’
‘It’s not just that.’ Daniel looked at Carly. ‘He thought I was the father of your baby.’
‘Oh, dear God...’ Carly moaned in horror.
‘What?’ Darcy exclaimed.
‘Don’t you worry; I didn't tell him anything. But you better brace yourself for questions, my friend.’
Nathan looked very confused. ‘Why would he think it’s Daniel’s when it’s obviously his?’ he asked in surprise.
‘Well, it’s not.’ Carly replied shortly. She liked Nathan very much but he was a Horton; she couldn't risk him babbling to Hope or worse, Maggie who- though kindness itself- was the town gossip. Melanie knew the truth because Darcy told her and she was capable of keeping a secret, so she trusted her completely. Besides Nicholas, Frankie and Lynn; Maxine, Adrienne and now Victor knew Bo was the father and the less people who knew the better. ‘Bo isn't the father and I don't have to answer any questions he has because it’s none of his business- I’ve told him that already.’
‘He doesn't have any reason to bother you anyway, who the hell does he think he is, sticking his nose into your life after he broke up with you?’ Nicholas asked bitterly. ‘That man’s insufferable.’
‘I will handle Bo.’ Carly said, her tone firm. ‘But he’s not important right now. What we have to focus now is this happy news.’ She leaned down to kiss Darcy and then Daniel. ‘Congratulations to you both.’ Lynn did the same.
Nicholas warmly shook his future brother-in-law’s hand. ‘You don't believe in wasting time, do you?’ he teased.
‘Absolutely not, Nick. Maybe it’s sudden but the greatest thing a person can do in is grabbing happiness when he can and I’m doing it.’
‘Maman, I’m so happy.’ Darcy whispered as Carly hugged her again. Carly kissed the top of her daughter’s head, happy tears stabbing her eyes.
‘I’m happy for you too, cricket. And you know what, your Uncle Frankie’s coming over soon so you’ll break the news to him and J.J.’
‘He’s coming over, that’s great.’ Melanie said. ‘Does he know about the prowler and what happened to Darcy?’
‘Yes. Actually I called him because I wanted to see if he can recommend the best eye specialist for her.’
‘Eye specialist?’ Darcy asked, panic now in her voice.
‘Yes, honey; in case you might need surgery after all.’ Daniel stroked her hair. ‘We need to be prepared.’
‘That sounds reasonable enough.’ Lynn agreed.
‘You’re going to see again, sis. Believe that.’ Nicholas assured her. ‘And soon; for you to witness your own wedding day.’
That brought a smile back on Darcy’s face. ‘True. But for now, when am I going to be allowed to go home?’
‘Tomorrow. And I’m starting my maternity leave next week; with your condition and me barely able to stand, I have no choice.’ Carly rubbed her stomach ruefully. ‘I swear sometimes it feels like I’m carrying two Sumo wrestlers.’
Everyone laughed. ‘Well it has been a while since you were pregnant, Carly.’ Melanie pointed out. ‘It can’t be that easy now, and you were bound to take time off early.’
‘Which is what she needs and I’m glad she’s taking it.’ Nicholas slipped his arm round his mother. ‘You still don't have any idea if it’s a boy or a girl?’
‘No... I told you I want to see for myself when he or she comes; not before.’ Carly replied, still rubbing her swollen stomach and trying not to be sad that Bo wouldn't be there beside her when she had their baby.
Guessing Bo would come over to the house later, Carly sent Nicholas and Lynn to the store for groceries and sure enough he showed up just as the locksmith had finished changing the locks. Paying the man, Carly closed the door and entered the living room where Bo was pacing, ‘So... let’s talk.’
Bo faced her, his expression angry. ‘Just when were you going to tell me about Darcy and Daniel, how could you keep such a thing from me?’
‘Daniel told me he went to the station to tell you and you kicked him out after telling him you could care less.’ Carly replied coldly.
‘I thought he was talking about you!’
‘Well, now you know better.’ Carly was angry as well. ‘Daniel’s a good man and he and Darcy’s in love. It makes no difference if you don't like it- Darcy’s an adult and she knows what she wants and that’s being with the man she loves very much. And whoever said Daniel and I are together or that he’s the father of my baby? Is that another ludicrous rumour about me going around town?’
‘I saw you two looking so cosy, what else was I suppose to think?’
‘And I saw you and Hope kissing and I heard you telling her you never wanted to be without her again, so I guess we are even!’ Carly shouted. ‘You asked me to forgive you, now I’m starting to wonder why I did! My baby and my life are none of your business; you left me to go back to your wife!’
Bo winced but he was determined to get an answer. ‘Who’s the father?’
‘None of your business.’
‘God damn it, Carly!’
‘Don't you swear at me, Bo Brady! Who do you think you are, talking to me like that? Why do you care I got knocked up either by Daniel or any man; is this a matter of misplaced ego?’
‘No, it’s the matter of knowing Carly Manning; Carly Manning wouldn't just go to a bar looking for meaningless sex! Since it’s not Daniel, then who else can it be?’
‘I’m going to say this one more time, this baby has nothing to do with you and it’s none of your business. And why should you be angry I went to another man; the whole time you made love to me, you were thinking about Hope!’
‘Oh yeah, that’s what you think? If you think that, then maybe the whole time we were together years ago, I thought of her the whole time.’ Bo said cruelly. ‘Every time I kissed you and touched you, it was actually her!’
Carly swallowed her anger and hurt, willing herself not to cry. ‘Lesson learnt and you’ve said more than enough. Get out of my house.’
Immediately contrite and unable to believe he’d said such a terrible thing to her, Bo stepped towards her. ‘Princess, I’m so sorry... I swear I didn't mean what I said.’ He whispered.
Carly stared back, her face tired and sad. ‘You didn't mean it... you never meant to hurt me... just what am I supposed to believe now? Now it looks our love was a total sham- not like what you feel for Hope, it was never how you feel for her!’
‘Carly... wait a minute, look at me!’ Bo held her by the arms, desperately wanting to do damage control. ‘it’s not true, none of it is true!’
Tears slid down Carly’s cheeks as she disentangled herself from her grip. ‘Get out of my house, Bo. Get out of my life.’
‘Just go!’ she sobbed, pushing him away. ‘Just leave, get out of my house!’ she sank into an armchair, covering her face with her hands.
Bo blinked back his own tears, sickened and so ashamed of his behaviour. How could he have added more hurt on her, by belittling their great love like that? ‘Princess,’ he knelt down beside her. ‘I didn't mean it... the time we had together- I loved you more than life itself, that’s not a lie. Please, I’m sorry; I was angry that’s all.’
Carly raised her head, her eyes red. ‘I asked you to leave. Get. Out.’ she said slowly, a note of steel in her voice.
Swallowing, Bo rose and left the house, got into the car and drove off; not noticing the car parked at the other side of the street. If he had, he would have recognised it as Hope’s and would’ve seen her behind the wheel.
Inside the house, Carly wept bitterly and as if in sympathy; her baby gave a gentle kick. Nicholas and Lynn came back and after consoling her, helped her up to bed.
Carly had no idea how she was able to get through the night but she was able to sleep and despite Nicholas and Lynn’s protests went to work the next morning. Bo was no longer a lost love, he was a closed chapter. With that in mind, she drafted a letter of resignation, letting the hospital board know that after she gave birth, she was leaving Salem for good. The whole time she wrote it, she was stoical and did not shed a tear. She was a survivor after all.
‘I really wish you were moving to England with us right now.’ Nicholas said. ‘I don't want you in this place a minute longer.’
‘The people of this town and Vivian weren't able to drive me out of this town and I am not going to let Bo Brady do so. When I leave, it will the day of my own choosing.’
Maxine told her that Lexie had called in sick so Carly left the letter on her desk, hoping whatever she had wasn't serious. Darcy was dressed and eager to go home; declaring she wanted a large hoagie- she’d really loathed the hospital food. ‘I don't want to taste liver ever again, yuck!’ she added, making everybody laugh.
‘We will stop by for some on the way; lord knows I wouldn't mind a couple myself.’ Carly said. Rocky Road ice cream and burgers, the baby was very demanding. All well and good but she was the one who will have to do the callisthenics to get back in shape.
‘None for me, though.’ Lynn reminded Nicholas, who groaned.
‘I find the most beautiful woman ever to grace the pages of Harper’s Bazaar and she has to be a vegetarian!’ he said in mock disgust, kissing her on the forehead. ‘We’ll get you a salad, babe.’
Daniel kissed Darcy on the mouth, promising to come by the house as soon as he could. Maxine and Melanie promised to come by later as well. Just as Carly was closing the door of her office, a young man bearing a bouquet of long stemmed yellow roses and baby’s breath came up to her. ‘Dr. Carly Manning?’
He held out the bouquet. ‘Delivery for you. Sign here please.’
Carly signed the clipboard and took the flowers. She read the card which said, Forgive me, princess. Bo.
‘Not this time, never again.’ she muttered, blinking back sudden tears. Turning to an orderly who was nearby she gave it to him, asking him to throw it in the trash.
‘Throw them in the trash?’ he asked in surprise.
‘Yes, throw them in the trash, that’s where they belong!’ she spat, walking away.
The flowers were a poor sort of way of apologising to Carly but Bo ordered them anyway, wondering just how he’ll be able to get through to her; he’ll never forgive himself for saying such a thing to her, and to her face. Why should he sit in judgement of Daniel and his relationship with Darcy when he’d hurt Carly so badly? Their time together had been the best few years of his life; their love had been passionate, a love between spiritual equals. Every kiss, every touch was forever embedded in his mind and heart and he’d spent years blocking them out because he wanted to focus on what he had; his marriage to Hope after her sudden return to his life. He’d always regarded Carly as the second great love of his life and she was. Bo brooded over it as he stood at the same pier they’d first met over twenty years ago. The pain on her face had broken her heart and he’d been unable to sleep since then, managing to hide his feelings for Hope.
Hope! He grimaced, shaking his head. He couldn't blame her for his inner misery; the blame was all on him. He should have thought things over more carefully before allowing Carly to end their relationship- he’d known the connection between him and Hope was still there but he shouldn’t have made Carly feel she was only an interlude and why wouldn’t she think that after what she saw and heard at the docks? Will his shame and guilt never end?
‘You sparked something in me; A flame. That flame sure is burning strong. I think it consumed me.’
Carly’s glowing smile sent his heart racing as always. In seconds, he was devouring her mouth and as always she welcomed his kiss; his tongue in her sweet warmth.
‘I’m so in love with you.’ she whispered.
‘That’s good, princess. ‘Cause I sure do love you. More than life itself.’
From the moment he’d laid eyes on her, she’d fascinated him; those beautiful green eyes and her spunk. He’d felt the flame and hated it, as he was in mourning at the time but the flame had been there. Not so with Billie, when they’d first met he had arrested her for solicitation before helping her turn her life around, his love for her had come later; after Larry had taken Carly away from him. It hadn’t been enough for him to stay with her when Hope came back. He wouldn't have looked her as a potential lover if Carly had been around.
He wouldn't have left Carly when Hope came back.
The sudden epiphany shook him to the core. He wouldn't have left Carly for Hope... that was the extent of his love for her. She wasn't just his second great love, she was his mature love- when he’d met Hope he was a young, brash biker; when Carly came to Salem, he was a widower and a father and she’d changed his whole outlook in life. They’d pledged their love on top of the El Castillo and were joined as spiritual partners and spiritual partners were forever connected.
‘I have to get her back.’ Bo said to himself. ‘And I will get her back.’
First of all, he was going to apologise to Daniel and give his blessing. Then he’ll convince Darcy to help him win her mother’s heart back.
At The Java, Hope barely touched her camomile tea; rage burning through her. She was yet to confront Bo about going to Carly’s house and ordering yellow roses for her over the phone; she’d heard him say it loud and clear, including what was to be written on the card. And she’d checked his cell phone while he was in the shower and found Carly’s number in the dialled numbers log. Carly was ruining her life all over again... it was only a matter of time before she confessed he was the father of her baby and then he’ll file for a divorce again.
‘Hello, Hope. It’s been quite an age, hasn’t it?’
Hope regarded the woman who sank into a chair opposite her coldly. ‘I have nothing to say to you, so would you mind going to another table?’
‘Come now, Hope; I thought we were friends.’ Vivian scolded.
‘We were never friends, get that into your head.’
‘I should say we were, considering we have one thing in common; a hatred for Carly Manning for destroying our lives.’
Hope stirred her tea, refusing to speak.
‘She ruined yours more, my dear. Thanks to her, you’re no longer in law enforcement; she drove you to those sleeping pills in the first place. And don't think I blame you for that; what woman would stomach seeing her loving husband with another woman?’
‘Vivian; will you please get the hell away from me?’ Hope snapped. ‘I don't need you telling me something I already know; Carly’s a home wrecking bitch but this time, she’s not taking my husband from me.’
‘This time?’ Vivian raised her eyebrows. ‘Don't tell me Bo has had a change of heart. What happened?’
‘It’s none of your business, I will handle this myself, thank you.’ Hope said curtly.
‘Very well, dear. But if you should need a shoulder to cry on...’ Hope flinched as Vivian laid a manicured hand on her shoulder. ‘I’m right here. Believe me, I feel whatever pain you’re going through.’
‘You know shit.’ Hope snapped, marching out of the coffee shop and slamming the door behind her. Vivian calmly ordered a latte. Hope Brady was clearly nursing rage and in due time, she will come running to her. She could afford to be patient.
‘Look who’s here.’ Bo said as soon as Hope entered their house.
‘Shawn D, what a wonderful surprise!’ Hope exclaimed, rushing over to hug her son, suddenly feeling better. ‘What are you doing here?’
‘I got time off work and then I thought I could use the time to see you all and finally meet my sister.’ He looked at his father, his expression sober. ‘And of course I want to see Carly.’
Hope bit her lip, turning her face away. Ignoring her, Bo cleared his throat. ‘I’ll give you her address, she’ll be glad to see you.’
‘Have you caught the prowler?’
‘No, not yet. So far, we’ve got no leads and we don't know yet if Darcy’s blindness is temporary, if it’s not she’s going to need surgery.’
‘Damn...’ Shawn D shook his head, his eyes troubled.
‘In the meantime,’ Hope forced a smile. ‘Why don't I fix us a snack?’
‘Sounds great.’ Shawn D replied, but his tone sounded more absent minded than enthusiastic. Gritting her teeth, Hope went into the kitchen. She’s even got her hooks on my son! She screamed inwardly, her hand trembling as she opened the fridge. Is there anything that woman won’t take from me?!
‘You guys are okay now, right? You and Mum?’
Bo shrugged, not yet ready to confide in his son. ‘Pretty much.’
‘Too bad it had to come at someone else’s expense. This is Carly we’re talking about Dad, what the hell were you thinking?’
‘Son, it was complicated. And I do feel bad about it.’
‘That woman was like a mother to me!’ Shawn D hissed, low enough for only Bo to hear. ‘She’s not some person you can just have an affair with...’
‘It was not an affair.’
‘Then how the hell can you define it? Couldn't you have talk things out with Mum before you decided to have a thing with Carly, knowing very well you wanted Mum back? Have a fling while you were separated, but it shouldn’t have been with Carly!’
‘We’re not doing this now!’ Bo hissed back. ‘Coulda, woulda, shoulda... I’ve heard it more than enough! It’s bad enough Carly and your sister aren’t talking to me, I don't have to be reminded how I screwed up from you!’
‘You don't like hearing it, you shouldn’t have done it and I fucking hope that Carly will let me inside her house. Because if your major mistake has ruined my own relationship with her, just know I’ll never forgive you.’ was the cold reply. ‘I’m going to wash up.’
Bo sighed heavily, rubbing his face. So far Carly refused to answer whenever he dialled her cell, refused to reply his texts. He could only hope that after giving her a few days to cool off, he’ll get her forgiveness again.... with Daniel and Darcy’s help. Daniel has agreed to meet with him at The Cheating Heart later in the evening.
‘Mum, a surprise for you.’
Carly took one look at the smiling young man standing beside her son and she exclaimed in delight; arms outstretched. ‘Shawn D! Oh my God, is that you?’
‘Carly...’ Shawn Douglas enfolded her in his arms as close as her enlarged tummy would allow, kissing her on both cheeks.
Pulling back a bit, she touched his face with her fingers; smiling tenderly. ‘My beautiful boy...Look at you all grown up and so taller than me now.’
Shawn Douglas laughed.
‘How’ve you been, honey? How’s your wife and your little girl, did they come with you?’
‘I’m sorry no, at the last minute Claire came down with a cold but Belle didn't let me cancel the trip.’ He stared down at her stomach, then back at her, his eyes questioning.
‘Come on man... later about that. We have a lot to catch up on!’ Nicholas took his jacket and put it away.
‘Yeah sure...’ Shawn Douglas put his arm round Carly’s shoulders. ‘So where’s my sister?’
‘She’s upstairs resting, she was discharged today. Nicky, make some coffee and finish heating the pizza, will you?’
Darcy was sitting up in bed, while Lynn brushed her hair. They both turned as the door opened. Shawn Douglas was startled at how Darcy looked so much their father, albeit in a more feminine way and with much longer hair.
‘Cricket, your brother Shawn D is here to see you.’
‘Oh.’ Darcy stretched out her hands which Shawn Douglas immediately took. ‘I’ve waited so long to meet my other brother and I can’t see you how you look like.’ she said wryly.
‘You will, in time.’ He smiled, hugging her close. ‘I’m very happy to meet you, sis.’
Darcy smiled shyly. ‘I am too.’
‘And this is Nicky’s fiancée, Lynn...’
‘Lynn Eddowes, I recognise her.’ Shawn D shook her hand, grinning. ‘My wife’s a huge fan and I got to say you’re a lot prettier in person. Nick’s a lucky dude.’
‘You’re too kind.’ Lynn replied, laughing.
Shawn Douglas looked at his sister, already warming up to her; she had an aura of innocence about her, something Chelsea never exactly had- Chelsea was vivacious yet exasperatingly cocky half the time, well... before Zach’s untimely death. Darcy on the other hand had quiet natural grace; just like Carly.
After dinner where he learnt about Darcy’s engagement to Daniel and congratulated her, Shawn Douglas and Carly sat on the porch to talk alone.
‘I heard what happened, Carly and I’m so very sorry.’
‘It’s over and done with.’
‘But you got hurt.’ Shawn Douglas stressed. ‘Damn it, you and Dad have a major history- he totally crossed the line! If he wasn't sure, he should never have promised you anything!’
‘Honey, I was the one who broke up with him, because I knew he wanted to be with your mother. Feelings aren’t something you can deny and I don't want you to hold it against him because you feel for me.’
‘You were there for me, far more than anyone before Mum came back. And after she came back, it’s not like it was all bed and roses between her and Dad; not all of it was because of Billie. They had problems and if you hadn’t come back, I’m willing to bet anything Mum would’ve filed for a divorce.’
‘You’re being too hard on your own mother, stop it.’ Carly admonished. ‘She realised her mistake and your father forgave her. You should be pleased about it.’
‘Not at your expense, Carly. I loved you and I still do. I can’t forget all those times you were there for Dad and me; especially when I got hurt down that hole.’ Shawn D said emotionally. ‘You filled a space that Dad couldn’t. So for him to do this to you, I could...’
Carly hugged him tightly when he reached for her, stroking his hair. ‘I’ve long accepted what happened and the fact that we are not meant to be together, honey. Please don't let this affect your relationship with your parents. I’m going to be okay.’
Shawn D pulled back, looking down at her stomach. ‘And he didn't even tell me about this, either. Just to show how much he cares about you.’
‘I told him it’s not his baby.’
Shawn Douglas frowned. ‘Isn't it?’
Carly stared at her foster son, realising she couldn't lie to him. Shawn Douglas stared back, realisation coming to him. ‘Oh my God... Carly, why?’
‘I can’t destroy your parents’ marriage, this will definitely drive them apart and I won’t be responsible for that and I have to protect this baby. I’m going to leave town after it’s born anyway and everything will be the same, long before I came.’
‘You’re unbelievable!’ Shawn Douglas said incredulously. ‘How can you actually make this kind of sacrifice?’
‘Because I love your father and I will always love him!’ Carly said, her voice shaking. ‘That’s the only thing that hasn’t changed! And I have to protect this child from slander, he or she will understand when the time comes. Please understand why I have to do this.’
‘I do, I just wish I didn't.’ Shawn Douglas muttered, drawing her into his arms again. ‘You just reminded me further just why I love you, Carly. That’s the other thing that will never change, for anything!’
Across the street, hidden by the darkened interior of her car; Hope watched Carly and her son sitting on the lighted porch, her hands gripping the steering wheel.
‘No hard feelings then, man?’
‘None. Darcy will be glad to hear you’re cool about us now.’
‘And can I count on both of you to help me get Carly back?’ Bo asked.
‘Well, you’re going to have to convince Darcy you mean it before she agrees to help. And you’re going to have to do a lot of work yourself; you really put your foot in it saying all that to her.’
‘I know I did.’ Bo gripped the handle of his beer mug. ‘And I’m ready to do anything, including letting her know how much I love her.’
‘Better late than never. And I’m sure glad you finally came to your senses.’ Daniel said dryly.
‘Don't worry, in the end Carly’s going to forgive you. At least you know she still loves you- she can’t stay mad at you forever.’ And maybe she’ll finally tell him the truth about the baby. Daniel was going to leave that task to her; it wasn't his place at all. And for Carly’ sake, he hoped Bo really was serious about wanting another chance with her.
Lexie was still away sick and Carly made a mental note to go and see her on the way home; she was starting to get worried. Sorting her desk, she looked up as the door opened. She straightened up, frowning. ‘Don't you knock?’
Without replying, Hope dropped an envelope on her desk. ‘What the hell is this?’
‘You open it and you’ll see.’
Carly obeyed, drawing out a check. ‘A check for five million dollars? Why are you giving me this?’
‘Moving expenses.’ Hope said, her face hard. ‘I want you out of Salem, out of my life for good.’
Carly laughed hollowly. ‘I have more money than I can ever count in a life time so try and find another subtle way of insulting me. And for the record, you have no authority over me, I will leave Salem when I’m ready.’
‘You will leave now!’ Hope shouted. ‘I’ve had it up to here with you! First you fucked my husband and now you think you can take over my son as well! I am Shawn Douglas’ mother, not you! You have no right taking over what’s mine!’
‘Shawn Douglas is a living, breathing human being, not a piece of property! I have the right to love him, I always have.’
Hope laughed harshly. ‘Until when you chose Lawrence Alamain over him and Bo, you had enough of slumming, didn't you, high and mighty Lady Von Leuschner? Vivian’s right about you; you put on the pure, innocent act and then you poison everything you touch! And you have the nerve to sit in judgment of me and entice Bo into your bed... it makes me sick just to even look at you! I want you gone, Carly Manning, for good!’
‘I’m not inclined to obey your orders, Hope Brady.’ Carly snapped back. ‘ I don't care what you or Vivian think of me. As for Shawn D, he will always be my son, whether you like it or not- some bonds are meant to be unbroken. And this is what I think of your check and your jealousy.’ Taking the slip of paper, she tore it into pieces. ‘Petty and pathetic. Now, get out of my office before I call security to throw you out.’
She turned away to throw the pieces away and Hope darted over to her and grabbed her by the shoulders. ‘Get out of my life, you thieving bitch!’ she screamed, shaking her.
‘Let go of me!’ Carly struggled fiercely.
In great rage Hope backhanded her across the face, causing Carly to fall and landing heavily onto the floor, just as the door was flung open. Hope turned wildly, her hands shaking, frozen on the spot at the sight of Carly’s brother.
Frankie stared at her for a second then hurried to the other side of the desk, pushing Hope roughly aside. ‘My God... sis, are you okay?’ he exclaimed, falling to his knees next to Carly.
Carly was crying, her hands clutching her stomach. ‘Call someone , please...’ she begged.
Nicholas roughly grabbed hold of Hope as she tried to run away; J.J meanwhile had already dashed off for help. ‘And just where do you think you’re going?’ he shouted.
‘Don't you let her get away, Nicky!’ Frankie ordered, not moving away from his sister.
‘It was an accident...’ Hope muttered, still struggling.
‘Oh, so your hand just happened to accidently sweep across my mother’s face and caused her to fall?’ Nicholas gripped Hope by the neck tightly, causing her to cry out in pain. ‘Make no mistake, you’re going back to prison. And this time, you piece of psychotic trash, my uncle and I are going to make sure you get the hardest sentence possible and have the judge throw away the fucking key!’