Shawn Douglas went back to his parents’ house the following day only to get his backpack and that was after Bo had left for work; so he left a note telling him he was staying with Carly. It wrung Carly’s heart to see her beloved foster son alienated from his parents and family but Shawn Douglas flatly refused to discuss them or go to the Pub, although he did insist that the current situation wasn't Carly’s fault at all; his family’s behaviour had shocked him so much that he simply couldn't be around them for now.
So in an effort to get some solace and shed off his bitterness and anger; Shawn Douglas did a lot of catching up with Carly, Nicholas and Frankie and bonded more with Darcy; joining the others at admiring the finished paintings and carved pieces in her studio. Her agent had agreed to postpone the exhibition until she regained her sight, very sympathetic with her current condition. Frankie was more than confident that his niece would sell every single one; Darcy’s work was very brilliant and she had made good use of light. He used to paint too; the last time was during his captivity at Lawrence’s villa he’d painted a picture of Carly to while away the time.
JJ enjoyed getting to know her sister-in-law and her niece and nephew, very moved by their story- Carly’s especially. It all sounded like a long period drama with an uncertain ending and Carly more than deserved a happy ending after everything she went through with Lawrence Alamain. Out of two failed relationships she got two beautiful, loyal children and a third child on the way, but she also deserved the love of a wonderful man. It was such a shame that Bo, once Frankie’s favourite brother and hero, had apparently changed so much, along with the rest of the family to treat Carly so shabbily.
Though she didn't grow up with them, Darcy was very fond of both her brothers but she sensed that Shawn Douglas was a bit more down to earth than Nicholas, probably because the two young men were brought up differently. But all the same she felt very lucky to have them both; as well as Lynn and her aunt and uncle. Since the Bradys and the Hortons preferred to side with Hope, Darcy refused to think about them- she still had this family and Daniel, Adrienne Kiriakis and Brady. She still didn't trust Victor despite what Carly told them about the visit and couldn't believe her mother seemed inclined to, Frankie said the same thing. But according to Carly, she simply didn't want to fight with him or anyone else; at least until it was time to leave Salem. Even if Hope went to prison, she was still going to move to England to get away from Bo and the two families who hated her; their support for Hope clearly showed that hatred, the baby had no place in their lives even if they knew it was Bo’s. The whole affair made Carly very sad; any hope of Darcy forging a relationship with her father’s family was dashed, Shawn Douglas may have to face seeing his mother go to prison... it was just terrible and painful to her. She still blamed herself for the incident, just like she blamed herself for Darcy’s blindness; she should have left town earlier, that way both incidents would never have happened.
‘What if I don't testify?’ she asked Frankie as they sat on the porch, the others enjoying a dip in the pool. ‘Will Hope still go to prison?’
‘For god sake Carly, are you kidding me?’
‘I’m not trying to score points with Bo.’ Carly insisted. ‘And I have no sympathy towards Hope but she’s Shawn D and Ciara’s mother; think of how they would feel if Hope goes to prison. If my testimony is going to do that, then I won’t do it.’
‘It’s out of your hands and you’ll get into a lot of trouble if you ignore a court’s summons. You’re just going to take the stand and tell the truth; I for one won’t lose any sleep if that bitch does time. I feel bad for the kids but she could have killed the baby or you!’
‘I know that and you probably think I’m crazy to say this but I really think she just needs help. She’s not evil, just very misguided and paranoid.’
‘Carly, she got away with attempted murder the first time.’
‘She was on drugs; she didn't even remember hurting her victims.’
‘Then, why did she pick only Bo to burn alive?’ Frankie stressed, looking at her intently. ‘Can you explain that? Would you be saying all this if she’d succeeded in killing him; if she’d done something to you... or Darcy? I know you want to give her the benefit of the doubt for Shawn D’s sake especially but you have to face facts; Hope’s got a dark side. How she got it, I have no idea but it’s there and she has to pay for what she did. You’ve got no reason to feel sorry for her.’
As he spoke, a limo pulled up in front of the house. ‘Oh great, more trouble.’ He muttered as Victor came out of the car.
‘Be nice, Francois.’ Carly replied quietly as Victor opened the small gate and walked up the path.
‘Frankie, so nice to see you again.’
‘Sorry I can’t say the same.’ Was Frankie’s rude reply, ignoring Victor’s proffered hand. ‘Carly, if you need me, I’ll be at the back with the others.’ Kissing her on the top of her head, Frankie left them alone.
‘My reputation precedes me, I see.’ Victor said, ruefully.
Carly shrugged, holding out her hand and he took it, raising it to his lips before sitting down next to her. ‘I wanted to come over earlier but Adrienne and Brady felt you weren't up to a lot of visitors then. Are you alright?’
‘Except for a sprain I’m fine, the baby’s fine too.’
Carly looked down. ‘How’s... how’s Bo?’
‘Very angry with Hope and very upset that you and Shawn Douglas aren’t speaking to him. He told me he’s staying with you.’
Carly nodded, then raised her head to look at him, her expression that of deep misery. ‘Everything’s so messed up. And the worst part is what it’s doing to Shawn D; the possibility of his mum going back to prison! I can’t even imagine what Ciara is going through right now.’
‘So far, nobody’s told her anything but she’ll find out sooner or later.’ Victor replied. ‘In the meantime, everybody’s doing all they can to keep her away from the gossips. Maggie told me what happened at the Pub. Sounds like that brother of yours let loose a lot of rage.’
‘Oh no...’ Carly covered her face with her hands. ‘He promised me he wouldn't do anything!’
‘You can’t expect Frankie not to say something. I’m even surprised he didn't come over to the house to dish out my own share. We all deserve his contempt. But terrible and contemptible are strong words to describe the family... they aren’t. Just... just plain stupid and I suppose rather sanctimonious. And I’m sensing you’re blaming yourself for what happened.’
‘Why shouldn’t I?’ Carly asked bitterly. ‘I should’ve left town after Bo and I broke up; look what’s happened now.’
‘Carly, you didn't do anything so stop holding yourself responsible for the actions of a crazy, paranoid woman. And everybody else will have to admit how badly they handled the whole situation soon enough and apologize to you. You’re the only woman Bo loves besides Hope- she couldn't take that.’
‘Bo never loved me, Victor.’ Carly said bleakly.
‘Why on earth would you say such a thing?’
Carly couldn't bring herself to tell Victor about the fight they had. ‘I just know it. He chose Hope over me; they renewed their vows without caring how I felt. Which means he would’ve abandoned me if I was still here when Hope came back. I thought I knew your son but now I see I never did. And that’s not even the issue right now; the issue now is what’s going to happen to Hope. I really think she needs psychiatric help, not a prison sentence.’
‘She’s being evaluated right now.’
‘Oh.’ Carly said straighter. ‘Then that means I won’t have to testify, she’ll probably be made to go for therapy...’
‘You don't understand, Carly. The reason why she’s being evaluated is to see is she’s fit to stand trial. I’m sorry but you’ll be made to testify.’
Carly shook her head. ‘I can’t do that, I won’t.’
‘You don't have any choice.’
‘I can’t send Shawn D’s mother to jail! Even if he doesn't blame me, how will I ever look him in the eye again? And poor Ciara, she’s just a little girl- how will she cope without her mother?’ Carly demanded, her voice shaking. ‘I can’t do that to them, Victor, I can’t! There has to be a way out!’
Shawn Douglas listened to the conversation from the open front door, his heart breaking at the thought of his mother going to prison and the wave of love for Carly. If the family could only hear her words right now, they wouldn't be so hateful and judgemental of her at all.
‘For my grandchildren’s sakes, I do wish there was a way out.’ Victor replied. ‘But all we can do is see what Hope’s fate is. And I’m very sure Shawn Douglas won’t blame you for the outcome.’
‘No, I don't.’ Shawn Douglas stepped out. ‘Because you aren’t to blame for anything, Carly. I told you that before. Hi, grandpa.’
‘My boy.’ Victor rose from the bench to hug him briefly. ‘How are you?’
Shawn D shrugged, moving to Carly’s side. ‘I’m okay, considering.’
‘Your grandmother wants you to come over for dinner tonight. Ciara needs her brother right now.’
Shawn Douglas shook his head ‘It will be too weird and awkward for me, after all the stuff she and the others said about Carly and acting like Mum didn't do anything wrong...’
‘Shawn D, please,’ Carly began. ‘Don't turn your back on the family because of me, at least think of Ciara. She doesn't understand what’s going on so she needs a lot of love and support. You’re a parent yourself sweetheart; you must understand what she’s going through right now. Please.’
Shawn Douglas sighed heavily then slipped his arm round Carly’s shoulders. ‘Okay. I’ll do it.’
Victor watched them silently as they hugged each other, inwardly wondering why Fate had given his son Hope Williams as a first love instead of Carly. How many women would be this caring and compassionate after suffering pain, injustice and a near miscarriage? Once again he was reminded why he fell in love with her a long time ago and yet again felt more ashamed of the way he had treated her. Which reminded him about the cameras still in their hidden places in the house; Luigi was yet to get rid of them. He had a sudden idea.
‘Carly,’ he said after Shawn Douglas went back inside. ‘Would you like to come over to the house for dinner tonight? All of you.’
‘You have to get out the house sometime, my dear. Come now, I thought we’ve reached an understanding.’
‘Well, I supposed it would be okay. Sure, we’ll come for dinner. Thank you.’
Smiling, Victor leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. It would give Luigi plenty of time to finally remove the cameras; he only hoped that Carly hasn't set up the alarm yet. Once the cameras were out of her house, he will breathe easier and expunge some of his guilt over Darcy’s blindness. The next thing was to recommend a top eye specialist for her, if Frankie hasn’t done that already. He had a lot to make up for.
‘7 o’clock then. And try not to worry so much. You’re not responsible for Hope’s actions. Whatever the judge decides, it will not be your doing. Okay?’
Carly nodded but inwardly didn't feel comforted. Whatever the outcome, she would still be Salem’s pariah. More than ever the man she loved so much was forbidden to her and whether or not Hope went to jail, Bo will always belong to Hope. And her baby will grow up without a father.
Ciara hurled herself in her father’s outstretched arms, clinging to him as he lifted her up. ‘Daddy, where’s Mummy?’ she asked, tears rolling down her cheeks. ‘What’s going on? Why won’t anybody tell me where she is?’
Bo kissed the top of her head, unable to say anything to console his daughter. Ciara was bewildered and lost without her mother. Shawn D who understood the situation was avoiding him and the rest of the family and like he feared, Frankie has disowned them. Everything has fallen apart... all because of one huge mistake; a mistake he’d had the power not to make in the first place. Carly too was yet to talk to him; he missed her so much, he longing to hold her in his arms and tell her what was nagging his heart. But he was pretty sure he’ll wound up getting the door slammed in his face. It was easy for Daniel to tell him to give her time; but he wasn't the one having sleepless nights aching for the woman he loved and agonising over the actions of his crazy wife. After she’d gotten over the hysteria, it turned out Hope wasn't exactly sorry about what she did, she was only sorry she was caught and by Carly’s brother and son for that matter. And all she cared about was how she would be painted black by them in court.
Even if she was repentant, it didn't matter. Bo knew it was definitely over for them. And this time he will feel no guilt when he had the divorce papers ready. He just wished he had gotten them ready before Hope decided to put her hands on Carly. Everybody would label him a monster for leaving Hope in a time of need. Carly will think... lord knows what she would think; he was already in her bad books before this happened.Thank God for Daniel, his unexpected ally. Once he’s able to convince Darcy; he’ll get her back eventually.
‘Daddy tell me, where’s my Mummy?’ Ciara asked again.
‘Mummy has to go away for a while.’ He said gently.
‘Why?’ she demanded.
‘It’s difficult to explain right now, sweetie but just know that she’s thinking of you and she loves you very much.’
‘But why did she go away without saying goodbye to me? What did I do wrong?’
‘Oh God... no, no sweetie, you didn't do anything, it has nothing to do with you, believe me.’ Bo hugged his little girl tightly, staring at his mother over Ciara’s head. ‘Don't worry, honey; you’ll see mummy soon, I promise.’
‘I want to go to Carly’s house; I want Darcy.’ Ciara sobbed; suddenly longing for her sister, the full bowl of thick ice cream and a funny movie Carly always had ready for her.
Caroline looked sharply at Bo and opened her mouth to say something but Bo’s scowl silenced her in an instant. ‘Whatever you want, little one. Go put on your jacket.’ He said, dabbing her eyes with his hanky. Smiling faintly, Ciara ran upstairs.
‘You can’t be serious; you’re actually taking my granddaughter over to that woman’s house? What on earth are you thinking?’
‘I’m thinking of the best way to console my daughter. If she wants to be with her sister, who just happens to be your granddaughter too, then I’m going to allow it; I’m her father so it’s my call.’ Bo replied, his voice tight and ominous. ‘And from now on... you will not address Carly as “that woman” in front of me.’
‘Don't you start telling me what I can or can’t do, Bo; I’m still your mother. And wanting things to remain the same does not make us terrible people!’ Caroline’s voice broke, Frankie’s words had really stung.
‘Oh, so if Hope had killed Carly’s baby; that would have been a step towards things “remaining the same”?’
‘She didn't mean to push Carly!’
‘Just like she didn't mean to do every terrible thing that put cracks in our marriage over the years. Just like she didn't mean to take those drugs and almost burned me alive!’ Bo spat. ‘But yet, somehow it all turned out to be “all about Hope” in the end. I forgave her and I made the stupid mistake to reconcile with her.’
‘You made that choice all by yourself, you chose to leave Carly.’ she reminded him.
‘Yes. And I hate myself more every day because of that.’ Bo’s face wore the look of bitterness. ‘And what is worse, you all acted like what Carly and I had was brand new; like she was some unwanted stranger who has no business being here. If Vivian hadn't disrupted our lives, Carly would never have left me and I wouldn’t have let her go for anything, or anyone! For god sake Ma; she’s also Darcy’s mother. I lost many years with Darcy but Darcy doesn't want to have anything to do with us now- how can that not bother you? What did Frankie say to all of you that wasn't true?’
Caroline sat down, her lips tight.
‘Carly never did anything to hurt anybody but everybody went out of their way to hurt her... no one cares about what could have happened to her baby; all that matters is for things to be back to normal. Well, guess what Ma- life doesn't work that way. My life changed the very night you told me in front of half of Salem that Victor Kiriakis was my father. It was never the same again and I’m still living with it till now. I made the mistake of realising too late who really held my heart but I’ll be damned if you make me feel guilty about it all over again, because I’m not.’
Ciara bounced down, her pink backpack strapped to her back. ‘I’m ready, Daddy. Bye, Grandma.’
With great effort, Caroline gave her little granddaughter a kiss and watched as Bo lifted her in his arms and left. She was so unhappy and angry that it was so hard to think over Bo’s words.
Ciara brightened up considerably on seeing not only Darcy but Shawn Douglas as well. Luckily for Bo, Frankie and JJ had gone out for groceries so Carly had no fear of a fist fight; she was already feeling stressed up having Bo in her house. Shawn Douglas and Darcy weren't pleased either; while Nicholas and Lynn immediately vanished upstairs after giving him cold looks.
‘I was planning on coming over to grandma’s tonight anyway, so I’ll bring Ciara back.’ Shawn Douglas said.
‘That’s fine.’ Bo replied quietly, unhappy at the stilted conversation they were having. Darcy didn't say a word, she sat on the couch with her arms folded; her sightless eyes cold.
Carly immediately took charge. ‘Honey, why don't you and your sisters go to the kitchen; I’ve got cartoons of Haagen-Dazs and Rocky Road in the freezer. You can pick any flavour you like, Ciara.’
‘Yay!’ the child beamed, hugging Carly as far as her tummy would allow. Without a word, Shawn Douglas took Ciara by one hand and Darcy in the other, leaving Bo and Carly alone.
‘How are you?’ he asked quietly.
‘I’m fine; we’re both fine.’ Was the equally quiet answer.
‘I’m so sorry about what happened... believe me. Hope went too far; I don't know what I would’ve done if something had happened to you both.’
Carly shrugged. ‘What is there to do? She’s still your wife.’
‘I would never condone what she did to you. And I will not make excuses for her this time; I can’t forgive her for this.’ Bo paused, wondering how to tell her he was going to divorce Hope without her thinking it was because of what she did. ‘Carly, I want to also apologise for what happened the last time I was here. You should know me enough to realise that I didn't mean a word I said.’
‘Well, that’s the whole trouble Bo, I thought I knew you. Now I see you as the third man to inflict pain on me.’
‘I’m not like Larry. Even though I did, I never meant to hurt you. I swear.’ He pleaded.
‘See, that’s the thing, Bo. I fell in love with you, I fell hard. But you kept rejecting me; because of your love for Hope. I gave up on us but I never stopped loving you. After that night at the loft years ago; after we shared what we’d kept in our hearts for so long and we struggled to get Victor off our backs- I believed I’d finally found a man who would never, ever hurt me. I loved everything about you. You only started chasing me after I got involved with Victor. After you abandoned me to go back to your wife, you ignored me. You only started paying attention to me when you found out I was pregnant.’
‘There was no day that I never thought about you. I could never stop thinking about you, Carly.’
‘Yes. Out of guilt. A man who would renew his vows with the same woman who left him wouldn't think about the woman he abandoned for a minute. So forgive me if I find it hard to believe that you ever loved me. And frankly, whether or not Hope goes to prison... and for your children’s sakes I hope she doesn't; I wish you joy of her. I’ve given up my job at the hospital. As soon as the baby is born, we’ll never see each other again.’
Bo clenched his fists to prevent himself from grabbing Carly and shaking some sense into her. The idea of her leaving town wrenched his heart. ‘It hasn’t come to that.’
‘Oh it has, Bo. Hope’s actions only reminded me further that our chapter is closed. And the saddest part is... even though we share Darcy, we can never be friends. You hurt me far too much.’ Carly’s quiet voice had a touch of coldness in it. ‘So I suggest you concentrate on supporting your wife, again. See yourself out.’ She turned away from him and it took a lot of effort to walk to the kitchen without turning back; she stood at the doorway until she heard the front door close. Wiping her eyes, she closed her eyes to get a grip of herself before she entered the kitchen. The children were at the kitchen table, full bowls of ice cream in front of them.
‘Has Daddy gone?’ Ciara asked, between mouthfuls.
‘Yes, sweetie.’ Carly ruffled her hair, sitting down between her and Darcy.
‘Maman, are you alright?’ Darcy asked, sensing the sadness in her voice.
‘I’m fine, cricket. Just fine.’ Forcing a smile, Carly asked Shawn Douglas to scoop some chocolate chip for her. Shawn Douglas obeyed, watching his foster mother carefully but since Ciara was at the table didn't ask her what she’d discussed with his father. Nicholas and Lynn came down and then a while later Frankie and JJ came home. They all made Ciara feel at home and played with her and soon the little girl felt loads better. She truly liked being in Carly’s house and being with her brother and sister. ‘Can I stay here with you, Carly? Please?’ she asked, her eyes pleading.
Carly was taken aback; not expecting such a request. ‘Oh honey... I don't know about that.’
Ciara took hold of her hand, her mouth quivering. ‘I don't want to stay at grandma’s. She’s been acting really weird and she won’t tell me where Mummy is. Please Carly, I want to stay here with you and Darcy.’
‘I don't see why not.’ Shawn Douglas said unexpectedly. ‘I’ll tell Dad and bring some of her things.’ He saw the worried look on Carly’s face. ‘It’s Dad’s decision; no one else’s and she’s better off here, at least for a while.’
‘At the same time Shawn D, I don't want more troubles for Carly.’ Frankie warned him later as Shawn Douglas got ready to go to Caroline’s. ‘Suppose your family comes here after you leave and poison Ciara’s mind as well as cause a scene here?’
‘They wouldn't dare.’ Shawn Douglas’ face wore the look of determination. ‘Not if they want me to disown them as well. Ciara’s better off here or with Dad and I know Dad won’t disapprove of Ciara staying here. I want Ciara to have some peace and stability and she’ll definitely find it here, with Carly and our sister.’
He smiled grimly at the surprised look on Nicholas’ face. ‘Trust me Nick, I can be pretty ruthless when I have to be. I’ll handle my folks, don't you worry.’
Frankie nodded, full of confidence for the young man who was once the sweet little boy who followed Carly about like a shadow; very grateful that at least one person very important to Carly still remembered who she is.
While Shawn Douglas and Ciara went to Caroline’s, Carly and her family, along with Daniel went to Victor’s house for dinner as promised. Victor welcomed them warmly, kissing Carly on both cheeks and hugging Darcy. As soon as Daniel was able to get his fiancée alone in the middle of pre-dinner drinks, he wasted no time revealing what her father had told him. Darcy listened in silence. ‘So... Papa really wants her back? Even though he doesn't know the baby is his?’ she asked at last.
‘Yeah. He loves her very much, honey; believe me, he’s dead serious and he wants us to help him get her back.’
‘That’s easy for him to say but Maman might not want to hear it. After the way he treated her, why would he think she’ll want to give him another chance?’
‘Because she’s still in love with him.’ Daniel whispered back. ‘Don't you want your mum to be happy again; to be with your Dad for the rest of her life?’
‘Of course I do, cher; I do. But I don't want Maman to get hurt again. He might change his mind again and decide he wants to be with that evil woman again.
‘Not this time. Bo wants Carly back and...’ Daniel squeezed her hand. ‘He wants to marry her.’
‘Oh.’ Darcy blinked, trying to digest this surprising information. ‘Goodness me, he is serious.’
‘Yeah. So, will you help get your parents back together?’
‘Before I promise anything, I’ll talk to him myself; just to make sure. And if he’s really serious, then he would earn not only my assistance but also my forgiveness.’
Smiling, Daniel kissed her lightly on the lips. Bo will be more than glad to hear this.
In the middle of dinner, Henderson entered the dining room. ‘I’m sorry to interrupt sir, but Mrs. Horton is here to see you.’ he said.
All heads turned to Maggie, who was standing between the open double doors. She stared at Carly who was seated at Victor’s right, at Darcy who was seated at his left and at Daniel, Frankie, Nicholas and their respective ladies. ‘Hello everyone.’ She managed to say, with a faint smile. Everyone except Frankie, who only scowled at her, murmured greetings.
‘Join us, Maggie.’ Victor invited, rising from his seat.
‘No, thank you. I need to talk to you, Victor; it won’t take long.’
‘Excuse me.’ Victor said, leaving the table and following Maggie into the study. ‘What is it?’
Maggie now looked upset. ‘I came over here to make the same request I made yesterday and I find you having dinner with Carly.’
‘Carly and her family; it’s not like it’s an intimate dinner for two. And I’m sorry but I can’t do what you asked.’
‘I’m not asking you to bribe the judge, all I asked is for you to use your connections to see that Hope does not go to prison. She did a bad thing yes, but none of us wants her to go to prison because of that. She doesn't belong there.’
Victor’s face wore a look of steel. ‘Hope has been protected and pampered more than enough. She was given a pardon but instead of her keeping her nose clean she almost caused Carly her unborn child and I will not condone that kind of behaviour after she tried to burn my son alive.’
‘For god sake, Victor; how can you bring that up? Hope was under the influence of drugs!’
‘Another crime she committed, substance abuse. Hope has proved not only to be extremely obsessive but also irresponsible. She was lucky that Bo forgave her and got the judge to pardon her but now... what excuse has she got? She didn't think about the consequences of her actions when she attacked Carly in her office. I’m not going to help her, Maggie; I’m sorry.’
Maggie’s eyes narrowed. ‘Why are you so bent on protecting Carly now? And since when have you gotten so chummy with her?’
‘Carly is the mother of my granddaughter and since I want to keep Darcy in my life; Carly cannot remain my enemy.’
‘No, it’s more than that. You loved her once, didn't you- to the point of obsession. You hated her because she left you and that sort of hate means that you still have feelings for her, enough to put her ahead of your own daughter-in-law.’
‘Maggie, you’re talking nonsense.’
‘Am I?’ she challenged, shaking off his hand resting on her arm, her eyes shining with anger. ‘What else am I supposed to think, Victor? She’s your ex-wife after all; once upon a time you did all you could to keep her. To keep yourself in Carly’s good graces, you are refusing to help my niece, your son’s wife. She would have a chance to avoid prison if you would pick up the phone and call up one of your connections.’
‘Carly has nothing to do with my refusal to help Hope and you will not repeat that about town, Maggie!’ Victor snapped. ‘I’m no longer blind to Hope’s faults like you obviously still are. If she wasn't so spoilt in the first place...’
‘Oh, how dare you; how dare you!’ Maggie cried out, her voice shaking. ‘I came over here thinking I’ll be able to get through to you but instead I see where your loyalty lies; with Carly, the ex wife who still gets under your skin! Well, I wish her joy of you, Victor Kiriakis! We’re through; I don't ever want to see you again!’
Victor’s heart sank. ‘Come on, Maggie; it hasn’t come to that.’
‘It has Victor, right from the moment you refused to help Hope.’ Maggie’s face was hard. ‘And I can’t be around a man who won’t lift a finger to help an important member of his family, my family. Good bye Victor.’ Turning her heel, Maggie left the room, ignoring his protests and slammed her away out the mansion. Victor gritted his teeth, struggling to get a hold of himself. He truly loved Maggie and he’d planned on making her the last Mrs. Kiriakis. He couldn't allow her to walk away like that.
‘Damn you to hell, Hope!’ he cursed under his breath. That stupid, spoilt bitch has managed to ruin everything. He really hoped she would do hard time; she definitely deserved to be in prison, that would teach her the lesson she so needed, that the world didn't revolve around her.
Assuming a neutral expression, he returned to the dining room. ‘Sorry about that, everyone.’ He said, resuming his seat at the head of the table.
‘Is everything alright, Victor?’ Carly asked anxiously.
He gave her a reassuring smile, hoping she wouldn't hear that Maggie broke up with him; she would blame herself even further. ‘Everything is fine. Now, let’s talk about more pleasant things. For instance, the future wedding of the two love birds here.’ He beamed at Darcy, patting her hand. Although she couldn't see her grandfather’s smile, Darcy sensed it and she smiled back faintly.
Meanwhile, although Carly had put in new locks, she’d forgotten to switch on the alarm so luckily for Luigi when he entered the house through the bedroom window Darcy accidently left open, no sirens went off. Immediately, he removed every single camera and microphone; double checking to make sure he didn't miss a single one. Shawn Douglas and Ciara returned exactly five minutes after he left, with Ciara’s clothes in a small suitcase, her books in a bag and her teddy bear under her arm. His threat had worked and Bo had coldly reminded Caroline, Kayla, Doug and Julie that he was Ciara’s father and legal guardian; if Ciara wanted to live with Carly and Darcy, he for one was happy with it. Ciara needed distraction and they will provide that in many ways.
‘Daddy said yes!’ Ciara squealed, running to hug Darcy round the waist when they came back.
Carly smiled, inwardly cringing. While she didn’t at all mind the child’s company, her presence will give Bo the excuse of coming round often and she wanted to keep considerable distance between them.
‘Papa said he’ll come round to discuss the arrangements with you.’ Shawn D said after everyone had gone to bed.
‘That’s fine, sweetheart. She can stay as long as she wants to.’ Ciara will sleep with Darcy until their other houseguests left and then she’ll have a room to herself. Carly barely had room for Shawn Douglas; currently he was sleeping on a futon in the prepared nursery.
‘Thank you so much for doing this, Carly. Ciara’s so lost right now...’ he shrugged. ‘And I can certainly relate to that.’
‘You don't have to thank me.’ Carly replied. ‘I’m just sorry about what this mess has done to you two.’
Shawn Douglas hugged her, pressing his cheek against hers. ‘I wish I could get that time back; when you, Papa and me lived on the boat.’
‘But your Mum was gone then. You can’t possibly wish for that time back.’
‘Yeah. But when the three of us were a family, things were simpler. We were very happy. You and Papa loved each other and I had a mother who didn’t blame my father for every little thing or leave him during every rough patch.’
Carly shook her head. ‘We had our rough patches too. Please don't put me on a pedestal, sweetheart; I was not perfect. I kept secrets from your father.’
‘You were trying to protect Nick!’ Shawn Douglas snapped impatiently. ‘You didn't do anything different from Papa when he tried to prevent Chelsea from going to prison for manslaughter. Can you imagine how hard it was for him when he found out it was his own daughter who ran over Zack; but at the same time he had to protect her. You and Papa always had the same mind... that was the thing I loved most about you two.’ His eyes grew harder and his grip on Carly’s wrist tightened. ‘I hate Vivian Alamain! She not only ruined your life, she ruined mine when she caused you not to remember us and egged on Larry to win you back. We had the kind of life any family would want and she and that bastard ruined everything!’
Carly stroked Shawn Douglas’ hair. ‘Even if Vivian didn't do what she did... we don't know what would have happened when your mother eventually came back.’
‘I don't believe Papa would've left you, Carly.’
‘You don't have to spare my feelings sweetheart; wouldn't you have wanted your parents back together? I’m not your real mother, no matter much I love you.’
‘I would’ve wanted Papa to be happy and he was so happy with you. I remember exactly how I felt when I felt your arms around me down that oil shaft; I was cold and scared but you made it all go away. When I cried for my mum at the hospital, you held me tight until I stopped crying.’ Shawn Douglas looked at Carly long and hard. Being a mother isn't always measured by blood, I knew that even back then. That’s why I did this...’ he used his hands to convey three words and tears poured down Carly’s cheeks. ‘Remember that?’
‘I do.’ Carly whispered. His first words to her in sign language when the fall rendered him deaf had been “I love you”.
Shawn Douglas’ eyes were damp too as he stared back at her.
‘We’ll never have that time back, Shawn D.’ Carly said, her hand massaging his cheek. ‘But we will always have this.’ Shawn Douglas took her hand from his cheek, squeezing it after planting a kiss on it. ‘Your family was once mine and your father and I once belonged to each other. Losing them was very hard for me so I concentrated on Darcy and preparing for this baby. But... I don't think I would’ve been able to stand it if I had lost you too.’
The two exchanged another tight, emotional hug. Upstairs, Ciara cuddled against Darcy in the double canopy bed; sleeping peacefully for the first time in days, her big sister’s arms wrapped protectively around her.
In his house, Bo lay awake, thinking of Carly and his children; now more confident that things will be back to normal with them in the end. Daniel had left a message in the answering machine telling him that he’d told Darcy about their conversation at the bar. With Darcy as well Daniel on his side- he and Carly will definitely be together again.
Bo went to Carly’s house the next morning with a few more of Ciara’s toys. This time Frankie was around and the look on his face on answering the door could peel paint.
‘Hi Frankie.’ Bo greeted him awkwardly.
‘Wafer-thin ice, trash.’ Frankie spat, walking away from him; causing Bo to wince.
‘Who’s at the door?’ Carly and JJ appeared. JJ’s face clouded. ‘Oh Bo. Lovely to see you again.’
‘Same here.’ Bo smiled faintly before turning to Carly. ‘Hi. I brought some stuff Ciara might want, toys and some of her favourite DVDs.’
‘I’ll take that.’ JJ took the bag from him and went upstairs.
‘Come in.’ Carly stood aside to let him pass. ‘FYI though... staying here was entirely her idea; I never suggested such a thing to her at any time.’
‘I never thought that for one second.’
‘I know, but just in case your mother and in-laws want to accuse me of luring Ciara away, I want to be more than prepared to defend myself. Don't get me wrong, I’m more than happy to have her here but no more drama from the Brady/Horton bunch if you don't mind. After what Hope did, I honestly can’t take any more.’
‘Shawn Douglas and I made ourselves loud and clear; they won’t bother you, princess.’ Bo assured her, watching her flinch at his use of her pet name but other than the tightening of those delectable lips, she said nothing.
‘Ciara can stay here as long as she wants; like I told her. I’ll come by when I can and I’d like to have her at least on weekends, starting Fridays and I’ll drop her off on Mondays, after school.’
Carly nodded. ‘But you’ll have to make more permanent arrangements after Darcy and Daniel get married. Ciara living with me after Darcy moves out will definitely cause more friction and I want to avoid that.’
‘I know and there won’t be, I’ll handle everything.’ Hopefully by then he, Ciara and Carly will be living under the same roof, with the baby of course.
Carly nodded again. ‘Darcy, Ciara and Shawn D are having breakfast in the kitchen. I think there’s still coffee, if you want some. Excuse me.’
‘Carly, please... I really don't like the way you keep walking away from me. We can be in the same room, can’t we?’ Bo protested.
Carly glared at him. ‘The baby’s pushing up against my bladder. Do the math.’ She lumbered up the stairs, one hand pressed against her back.
Bo entered the kitchen and immediately, Ciara left the table to hug him. ‘Daddy!’
‘Hey, honey.’ Bo kissed her on the cheek.
‘I slept in Darcy’s bed; it’s really big and it has a canopy!’ Ciara chattered.
‘Hi, Papa.’ Shawn Douglas said, while Nicholas and Lynn merely nodded coolly at him. But not devoid of manners, Lynn rose from her chair. ‘Would you like some coffee, Detective Brady?’
‘No, but thanks Lynn; I just came by to drop some of Ciara’s stuff.’ Setting Ciara down, he walked up to Darcy who was silent. ‘Hi sweetheart.’ He said, placing his hand on her shoulder. ‘Can we talk?’
Darcy hesitated then nodded. ‘Oui, let’s talk.’ She said, getting up from her chair and taking hold of Bo’s hand when he slid it into his. ‘Ciara, sit down and finish your breakfast.’
‘Okay.’ the girl obeyed, picking up her fork again. Linking his arm with his daughter’s, Bo led Darcy to the front porch. ‘Daniel told me he talked to you last night.’ He said.
Darcy nodded again. ‘He told me everything. And it came as a big surprise to me. I mean, after renewing your vows and ignoring Maman; I never thought you would ever look back, you showed us all that it was Hope you wanted to be with.’
‘I was wrong about that. I did a lot of soul searching and in the end, I saw that I really screwed up. Your mother is the only woman for me and I would do anything to get her back.’
‘Even with the baby?’
‘I don't care who the father is- as far as I’m concerned the baby is a part of your mother so I’ll be a father to him... or her.’
Darcy tentatively reached out and touched Bo’s face, tracing it with her fingers without speaking. Bo held his breath; wondering what she’ll say. He badly needed his daughter’s support.
‘You’re telling the truth.’ Darcy said at last. ‘You really are.’
‘Oh, sweetheart; I am.’ he said emotionally.
‘Papa...’ Darcy hugged him and he held her tightly in his arms; the realisation that he’d also missed Darcy’s hugs and the way she called him “Papa” hitting him hard. ‘I never imagined I would actually hear this. I’m so sorry for everything I said to you.’
Bo kissed her on the cheek, smiling and blinking his damp eyes. ‘I know how much I disappointed you.’ he replied, hands stroking her hair. ‘You didn't say anything that I didn't deserve and I don't blame you for hating me.’
‘That’s just it.’ Darcy sniffled and he saw the tears flowing down her cheeks. ‘I never hated you; but pain from somebody you love very much is the worse type of pain, Papa, because you never expect them to ever hurt and disappoint you, ever. That’s the pain I felt; the pain Maman felt! So for her sake... I really hope you are absolutely sure about your feelings this time.’
‘I am, Darcy.’ Bo emphasised, holding her face between his palms after wiping away her tears. ‘I love her more than life itself and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. You now know that I’m telling the truth.’
Darcy nodded. ‘Alright, I believe you.’
‘Great...’ Bo kissed the top of her head. ‘So you’ll help me with her?’
‘Of course. But Papa... now is not the time to begin. She’s still very fragile and with Hope’s trial coming, she won’t be ready to take any hints from me or Daniel. She’s certain people will blame her if her testimony sends Hope to prison.’
‘Do you blame her, after the way people treated her? You two will get back together, I will help with that but after the dust dies down. And you will have to your part; convincing Maman that you are not on the rebound. I’m sorry to... how you say, “rub it in” but you did do a lot of damage; she won’t be inclined to trust you just yet. You will have to be patient and bide your time. Vous comprenez... you understand me?’
Bo grimaced but he knew she was right. ‘Alright, I’ll be patient. I’m willing to wait as long as possible.’
‘Good.’ Darcy smiled. ‘You’ve made me very happy.’
Bo grinned and hugged her again. ‘At least I’ve got my little girl back. And by the way, congratulations on your engagement. Daniel’s a great guy.’
‘Thank you, Papa. That means a lot to me.’
‘One more thing...’ Bo hesitated. ‘Do you know who the father of the baby is?’
‘But you said you didn't care anymore.’
‘I don't, I was just wondered if you knew.’
Darcy’s sigh indicated that she did. ‘You know who it is?’
‘Ya, I do but it’s not my place to tell you who it is; that lies with Maman. I cannot betray her trust. When the time comes, she will tell you.’
Bo didn't expect her to but part of him still wanted to know. ‘Alright, sweetheart... whatever you say. I’ve got to head to the station now.’ He caressed her face. ‘You take care of Ciara for me. And I really hope your sight comes back, with or without surgery.’
‘We will know that in a few weeks. Any luck on the prowler?’
‘No, zilch. We have very little to go by.’
‘If only I could remember the man’s face, it could help you but I honestly can’t; it all happened so fast...’
‘No, it’s okay; it’s not your fault. But I honestly wish I could get my hands on the bastard who did this to you.’ He hugged her again.
Carly went back into the kitchen and was told Darcy was outside with Bo. Her blood running cold at the thought of Darcy lashing out at Bo again, she went to the front door; stopping short at the sight before her; Darcy and Bo in a close embrace on the porch. Darcy’s head was resting against her father’s chest and she was smiling. Carly’s heart leaped as she watched Bo stroke her hair; very happy all of a sudden. A miracle of miracles, Darcy’s relationship with her father was repaired.