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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

CARBO FAN FICTION- Return Journey Chapter 15

Chapter 15
The baby was nine pounds, seven ounces and like Darcy said- all together beautiful. Carly held her new son with a new found peace and happiness; a feeling she didn't have years ago after Darcy’s birth. 

Lawrence had stood over her like a spectre of doom waiting for her to finish breastfeeding Darcy before summoning in his lawyer to take the baby from her arms. Even though she knew where Leo was taking Darcy, Carly had wept all day and the doctor was  forced to sedate her. It was totally different this time; no one was going to take her baby boy away and he was going home with her.  The hospital’s obstetrician said she was very lucky she was able to have a natural birth at her age; a baby her son’s size usually required a caesarean. Carly felt tired and sore but she also felt very, very happy and grateful as she breastfed him.
Darcy watched her, the cut she’d gotten when she hit her forehead on the steering wheel now covered by a band-aid. ‘I can’t get over how beautiful he is. Everything about is him is just so perfect.’
‘I know, I think so too.’ Carly said tenderly as the baby’s pink little mouth worked on her breast with innocent concentration. ‘I love you so much... my little baby.’ She turned, stretching out one hand to Darcy who took it, holding it between her own. ‘My three wonderful children are my greatest blessing; now and always.’
‘You are the most wonderful mother in the world, Maman. Nicholas and I can never trade you for any other.’ Darcy kissed her hand.
Carly smiled then her expression turned sober. ‘Where’s your father, do you know?’ The ambulance had arrived at the church and she remembered falling asleep during the ride to the hospital.
‘I think he went home to change and then sort out the mess we made at the church. I hope the priest  will very understanding.’
 ‘I think your father now knows the truth. I saw the way he looked at him in church; the baby looks exactly like him.’
Darcy nodded, remembering the reproachful look her father gave her when Carly and the baby were carried into the ambulance; the look speaking louder than words how hurt he was they’d kept the truth from him. Darcy felt a little guilty but she had more loyalty towards her mother than her father; especially after Bo’s past behaviour.
 ‘Papa’s in no position to be angry or sit in judgement of you; you did what you had to do to protect yourself and the baby. He reconciled with that evil woman, you were hurting and with the family’s unkind attitude... what else could you have done in that situation? You don't owe him any apology, he should be apologising to you for forcing you to make that painful decision.’
‘Yeah. But I think things are going to be more complicated now.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘After he got shot, he told me that he was still in love with me and was ready to be the baby’s father.’
‘He didn't know he was the father when he said that. Doesn't that show that he was being sincere?’
 ‘I just can’t believe everything he said that day; that he missed me the whole time we were apart, that he still loves me. Love should come with trust and I don't trust him anymore. I don't know if I’ll ever be able trust him again after everything he did. And the family; half of them still hate me; will they accept this child?’
‘But I’m your child too!’ Darcy protested.
‘When you were conceived, Hope was still “dead” and you’re a long lost grandchild.’ Her mother reminded her. ‘But this baby... he’s different. They resent me now, they will resent him more. I can’t even begin to imagine how Doug and Julie will react when they find out Bo’s the father after all.’
Darcy made a sound of disgust. ‘Papa has broken ties with their daughter; even if he didn't, why should you care what those people think?’
‘Julie Williams was my friend years ago.’
‘Oh... and look at what sort of a friend she turned out to be; she and your precious Jennifer! She tried to match-make you and Daniel just two weeks after you and Papa broke up. She cared more about that evil woman’s peace of mind than your broken heart.’ Darcy’s brown eyes were hard as she spoke, exactly like Bo’s whenever he got angry. Carly bit her lower lip, unable to argue with her daughter; Darcy disliked Jennifer Devereaux  as intensely as she hated Hope. Jennifer never blamed her for Bo and Hope’s estrangement but she’d made it clear she didn't approve of her relationship with Bo either. Darcy and Daniel had found the whole thing revolting and very tactless on Jennifer’s part. Considering the huge pain Carly was nursing the time; how did Jennifer expect Carly to forget Bo that soon? Darcy was livid but it was Daniel who had openly accused Jennifer of caring more about her undeserving cousin than her best friend and Carly and Jennifer had parted ways on a bad note.
‘You shouldn’t care what those people think; they are not your friends anymore. The only real friend you had among them was Madame Horton, God rest her soul.’ Darcy crossed herself, remembering the sweet old lady. Alice had warmly welcomed Carly back and fussed over Darcy so much that Darcy had fervently wished she was her grandmother.  
‘I don't care what they think of me.’ Carly stressed. ‘Doug Williams at least now realises that Hope caused most of her troubles. But I will not let this baby be the object of scorn either; that was the main reason why I decided to move to England, to protect him from all that. But that’s going to be difficult now; your father now knows the truth and naturally he’ll want to be in his son’s life.’  
‘And you don't want that?
‘Well, I can’t exactly deny him his rights now. But I don’t see myself being with him either.’ Full and satisfied, the baby fell asleep and Carly readjusted her gown; looking hard at Darcy. ‘You think I’m being too harsh, don't you?’
Non... non, of course not. What you are feeling is to be expected. I was the one who really saw you in pain all that time; I understand your doubts. But don't make the same mistake Papa did. He didn't think things through when he was supposed to and now he has an ex wife in prison and the woman he really loves is keeping him at arm’s length. And although you doubt him, Papa is telling the truth. And if you truly love someone, you forgive them and you try to believe they’ll never hurt you again. You told me how Papa understood why you didn't tell him about Nicholas; he forgave you and began trusting you again. He felt betrayed when you didn't tell him about being Katarina Von Leuschner but gradually he came to terms with it, didn't he?’
Carly nodded. ‘Yeah... he did. But I didn't do that to hurt him; I had no other choice at the time.’
‘True, you had your reasons and they were valid reasons, Maman. But now, Papa is full of regrets over his terrible decision. I don't want you to turn your back on him because you’re afraid of getting hurt again and then live with regrets for the rest of your life. I’m not saying you should say yes to him today. I’m saying that you should think it over, very thoroughly and carefully before you finally make a decision. Yes?’
Carly smiled faintly, nodding again. ‘Fine... I’ll do that.’ she touched her daughter’s hair, moving down to her chin. ‘Where did you get your maturity from, anyway?’
‘I have a very good role model.’ Darcy smiled back. ‘Môn Dieu!’ she got up suddenly. ‘Look at me sitting here and I have many calls to make!’ She would have done it earlier but exhausted from the night’s events, she’d fallen asleep on the couch in Daniel’s office; the couch barely having room for Daniel who’d taken a deserved rest with her. Right now, he was still sleeping.
‘Well I did drag you out of bed in the middle of the night; you needed the nap.’ Carly smiled.
‘I left my phone in Daniel’s office. I’ll be right back and then I’ll go over to the house to get some things for you.’
Carly nodded and Darcy went out of the room. She sat back, still cradling her baby, tracing his soft brow with the tip of her finger. ‘Do you have any idea how much I love you?’ she whispered. You and Darcy were a long time coming but I’ve got you now and no one will ever separate us...ever.’
Maxine and some of the hospital staff came to look in on her, congratulating her again and taking turns at holding the baby. Carly asked for Melanie and was told she was off duty. Darcy would have to phone her too. After everybody left, Carly dozed off; the baby sleeping peacefully in a bassinet close to her bed. She stirred when she felt someone kissing her forehead and cheek. Opening her eyes, she met Bo’s warm brown ones. ‘Hi, you.’ he said softly, stroking her hair.
‘Hey..’ she murmured. ‘Oh, they’re beautiful... thank you.’ she added, accepting the bouquet of flowers from him, sniffing them. Bo kissed her on the cheek again. After getting over the shock at the sudden discovery, all he could feel was an overwhelming sense of joy over the fact that he and Carly have another child together; witnessing the birth was a moment he would treasure forever. Before waking her, he’d stood over Carly for a few minutes; drinking in the sight of the pale but serenely beautiful face and thinking all over again how much he loved her. ‘How do you feel?’ he asked.
‘Fine... thanks.’ Carly felt herself blushing under his intense stare. Clearing her throat, she indicated the bassinet. Bo leaned over it, staring at his son and as though he sensed his father’s presence, the baby stirred then opened his tiny, little eyes slowly. Bo would have preferred Carly’s emerald green eyes but his son’s eyes were beautiful too. Black with flecks of dark blue, just like Frankie’s; the colours giving the eyes intensity. The baby made a mewling noise, looking up at Bo rather solemnly.
Without a word Bo carefully lifted the baby from  the bassinet, cradling him against his chest as he sat down. ‘He almost doesn't look real.’ He whispered, fascinated and enchanted by his son. ‘Like something from a wonderful, unbelievable dream.’ With his thumb, he traced the baby’s pink little cheeks. ‘He’s so amazing.’ 
‘How angry are you?’
Bo looked at her. ‘I’m not angry with you, princess.’
‘Really? You’re not angry with the heartless bitch that lied to your face?’
Bo smiled faintly. ‘Well, I’m the heartless bastard who broke your heart and has no right to sit in judgement of you. Believe it or not, princess; I understand. And I’m so sorry I forced you to do it.’ Reaching out, he took her hand. ‘More than ever, I need you to forgive me.’
‘You already have my forgiveness.’
Bo however wasn't fooled. ‘But not your trust; I can see it in your eyes.’
Carly studied the flowers in her hands.
‘We have our son to consider now, princess. I want to be a part of his life but I want you too. I want us to start again.’
‘You honestly think we can?’ Carly asked quietly. ‘After everything that’s happened? Consider how I felt when you renewed your vows with Hope and I was carrying our son in me; wondering what sort of future he would have and if you ever loved me at all. It was a very painful, chaotic time for me and I finally gave you up. Can we salvage a broken relationship even for the sake of our son?’
‘We can salvage it because we still love each other.’ Bo replied, quietly. ‘I’d still be saying this even if he wasn't here with us... he’s an unexpected gift; maybe he’s a sign to remind us that we’ll always be connected. I love you, Carly.’
Carly was unable to speak. She loved him and he knew it, but somehow she couldn't echo the words right back.
‘Please Carly...’ Bo pleaded. ‘I know I’ve hurt you so much but now I want to make it up to you. I’ll do anything, just don't go to England. I don't want to be without you or our son.’
For a few more minutes, Carly was silent; Darcy’s words of advice heavy on her mind. If only it were that easy to forget and believe Bo would never hurt her again. She was at a crossroads. Bo held his breath, waiting for her to say something.
 ‘I don't want to talk about this now; Bo.’ Carly said at last, her tone firm. ‘I had a long night and I’m very tired. There’s plenty of time to address that subject, so please... not now.’
 It wasn't the answer he wanted but Bo wasn't going to upset her by demanding for more. Still, he couldn't help but feel distressed and worried. He’d given her good cause to distrust him but he didn't want the bitter experience to change the Carly he fell in love with years ago. Lawrence’s brutality hadn't taken away her ability to be compassionate and loving; that was one of the reasons why he’d found himself under her spell when she came back. Especially now that they have another child together, he couldn't bear for her to change or lose her over his stupid, stupid mistake.
‘Okay...fine.’ he said at last.
‘Thank you.’ Carly replied quietly, placing the flowers on the nightstand and held out her arms as the baby began to whimper and Bo handed the baby to her; moving over to sit beside her on the bed. ‘What have you decided to call him?’ he asked, stroking her hair.
Before Carly could reply, Darcy entered the room holding a bag; stopping short at the sight of her father. He smiled reassuringly, holding out a hand to her. ‘It’s okay sweetheart; I’m not mad. And I guess you knew too, huh?’ he turned to Daniel, who’d followed Darcy into the room.
Daniel shrugged, no trace of guilt on his face. ‘It wasn’t exactly my place to tell you.’ He replied, closing the door behind them.
‘Or mine.’ Darcy said, putting the bag down.
 ‘No judgement.’ Bo slipped his arm round his daughter’s waist, turning to Carly. ‘Let’s just move on, okay? Your Mum was just about to tell me your little brother’s name.’
Oh, Maman picked the names ages ago; even I don't know them.’ Darcy said. ‘So let’s hear it, Carly.’ Daniel said, smiling down at the child.
Carly looked down at the baby, caressing his cheek. ‘Well, I wanted to name the baby after Adrienne and Maxine if it was a girl; Adrianna Maxine.’ Carly will never be able to repay her two loyal and supportive friends for being there for her all those miserable months.
‘Those are lovely names; it’s almost a pity he’s not a girl.’ Darcy chuckled and Bo laughed too.
‘So what’s this gorgeous little guy going to be, unless you’re going to name him Adrian.’ Daniel said.
‘No, that’s not his name.’ Carly had picked it after much thinking. ‘His name is going to be... Byron.’  
‘Byron... that’s such a beautiful name! Isn't it, Papa?’ Darcy asked, her eyes bright. ‘Like que poete anglais, no? That English poet?’ 
‘It sure is.’ Bo replied, doing his best not to give in to tears in front of them, knowing very well why Carly had picked that particular name.  Years ago, he’d recited “She Walks In Beauty” to Carly, a love poem by Lord Byron; likening Carly to the lady the poet described. Choosing to name their son Byron was a form of consolation that both that happy memory and their son was a huge part of him that did not belong to Hope hence, can never be taken away from her. Which further reminded him of the agonizing pain Carly had gone through. ‘I love it, princess, it’s a great name for him; Byron.’
‘Byron Daniel; actually.’ Carly smiled at Daniel.
‘I’m honoured, Carly.’ Daniel said, very touched.
‘It’s the least I could do, considering.’ She didn't look at Bo as she said it but Bo read Carly’s meaning. However he felt no resentment towards Daniel, only gratitude. But what remained now was Byron’s last name; was it going to be Manning or Brady? Darcy wanted to ask that question too but not in front of her father; sensing her mother’s tension. Instead she cleared her throat and said hastily, ‘I called my uncle, Shawn D and Nicholas; Melanie promised to come over later.’
‘Did you call Roman and Brady?’
Darcy nodded. ‘Yes, Brady said he will let Uncle John and Tante Marlena know. Uncle Roman will inform Sami and Rafe and phone Carrie. And I also called grandpa; he sounded so thrilled over the phone.’ She hesitated then continued, ‘I didn't tell grandma, Papa. I wanted to but I wasn't sure how she would take the news that Byron is a Brady after all.’
Carly sighed sadly, shaking her head while Bo’s face hardened immediately. ‘Don't worry sweetheart; I’ll tell her myself. Byron’s definitely a Brady and everybody will know about it. And anybody who tries to make snide remarks about him or your mother will definitely answer to me; big time.’  He caressed Carly’s cheek then leaned down to stroke Byron’s downy black hair. Little Byron Daniel yawned, then closed his eyes again.  
‘I don't want a huge feud, Bo.’ Carly pleaded.
‘I don't want one either.’ Darcy said. ‘Why on earth should there be any hostility at all? Maman did not do anything, why must she still be treated this way?’ Her face wore a look of anger. ‘It’s not right, it’s just not right.’
Bo walked up to Darcy, holding her face between his palms. ‘I know it’s not right. And I promise you...both of you,’ he turned to Carly. ‘I’m going to handle things a lot differently this time.’
‘And just how, Bo?’ Daniel demanded from where he sat. ‘Can you force your mother or your sister to do something they obviously have a problem doing?’
‘Easy.’ Bo smiled maliciously at Daniel before turning to look at Carly again. His eyes locked with her green ones with such intensity that Carly couldn't speak. ‘I’m not going to use force. Instead, I’m using to use something better; an ultimatum.’
Caroline was shocked at Bo’s news while Kayla was scathing after getting over her own shock. ‘So the baby’s yours after all, how very convenient she chose to tell you after your wife goes to jail.’
‘I found out myself- Carly was going to take him away with her.’
‘Yeah right.’ his sister sneered.
‘Hold on to your  sick, crazy opinions but never, ever let me hear to trash Carly in front of me; ever.’ Bo’s voice was harsh and ominous.
‘Bo, stop it, you both stop it!’ Caroline snapped, moving to stand between them.
‘No, let him talk Ma; little brother here loves acting the big-shot protector of his mistress, don't you, Bo?’
‘Kayla, I said stop it!’ Caroline snapped. Bo glared at his sister, hands balled into fists.
‘I didn't come here to argue with you both; so I’m just gonna make this short and sweet.’ Bo said, his voice cold. ‘Byron is my son. Whether you choose to accept him into the family; that’s your own choice.’
Kayla folded her arms, her eyes defiant.
‘But should you choose to accept him, you’re going to have make peace with Carly. And if that is something that you feel you can never do; then forget about having Byron in your life.’
‘Bo!’ Caroline exclaimed in disbelief. ‘How can you...!’
‘You should know by now Ma; I’m capable of anything. You didn’t want things to change, well they are changing whether you like it or not. I’m done with Hope and I’m going to fight with everything I have to win back Carly’s love and we’re going to be together and have a wonderful life with our son. But if you can’t accept Carly, Byron will be off-limits to you; Darcy as well. Which means, you will not be invited to her wedding, you’ll never be a part of her life. And that goes for Maggie and anybody else in the family who wants to keep hating Carly.’
‘Bo, you have no right keeping my own grandchildren from me.’ Caroline protested.
‘You forced my hand!’ Bo snapped, not moved at all. ‘And in Darcy’s case, I don't even have to; you knew how she felt about the way you treated her mother but you did nothing to fix it even after she stopped visiting you; you honestly think you’re entitled to be anywhere near my son? I don't think so. You accept Carly, honestly and truthfully, or you’ll never come a yard near Byron. And I can even take it a step further by leaving town and taking Carly and the baby with me. So, ponder long and hard, Ma.’
Without another word, Bo left the Brady Pub, slamming  the glass door behind him.
Nicholas, Shawn Douglas and Frankie were overjoyed at the news of Byron’s birth. Carly spoke with them in turn over the phone, promising to email pictures of him soon. And they wouldn't have to wait too long to really see him, since they were returning to Salem in a month’s time for Darcy’s wedding. When Bo got back to the hospital; Victor, Adrienne, Brady, Sami, Roman, John and Marlena were with Carly and the room was filled with presents and more flowers. John eyed Bo, noticing the contemplative look on his face as he kept staring at Byron. Even if Bo hadn't told him, the baby’s resemblance to him was uncanny. ‘Are you okay?’ he asked, after he manoeuvred him outside to talk.
‘He’s more than I deserve.’ Bo said quietly, watching Byron being held by Victor through the door’s glass window, Victor’s usually stern face alight with pleasure. ‘I can’t stop feeling guilty about everything... the whole time I was with Hope; Carly was planning to raise him on her own because of what I did to her. I don't blame her at all for keeping the truth from me.’
John squeezed Bo’s shoulder; the pain in his cousin’s voice more than the words telling him Bo was still very much in love with Carly. ‘What does she say? Will she stay and give you the chance to put things right?’
‘She’s going to let me be a part of Byron’s life but I don't think she’s really forgiven me, even though she said she has and she sure as hell doesn't trust me. And I’m scared.’ Bo turned to John, his expression now troubled. ‘She could decide she can never trust me again and go to England in the end.’
‘You can’t expect her to give in that easy, even if she’s still in love with you.  It’s going to take a while and if I were you; I wouldn't rush her. She’s fragile and probably scared as well. Give her time. But at the same time, you’ve got a lot to do to win her over.’
Bo knew already he had a lot to do; at that moment he was making a mental list in his head. 
Carly found herself left alone with Marlena, who stayed behind after the others left. Darcy and Daniel carted away the various presents and flowers by family, friends and hospital staff to the house, while Bo went to pick up Ciara from school. Marlena again listened to her old friend as she admitted her lingering doubts. ‘This is not even about forgiving him; I just don't see us being the way we were before.’
‘It may not be the same; but better.’ Marlena said.  ‘Have you thought about that? Bo now realises he made a huge mistake, he’s not going to repeat it.’
‘I never expected him to do it in the first place. He knew, he knew everything I went through with Lawrence... the beatings, the rapes and how I had to hide Darcy from him. And he ended up going back to that woman after he said he loved me.’
‘Look Carly, we are all human. We do things we never expect to do; especially to the people we love. You obviously put Bo on a pedestal after your terrible experience with Lawrence; which is why what he did came as a shock to you. But he didn't do it deliberately; he’s not Lawrence. Bo made a terrible mistake and error in judgement.’ Marlena paused then went on quietly. ‘What happened between John and me the night Belle was conceived was an error of judgement. I had feelings for him but I was still in love with Roman back then. After Roman found out and filed for a divorce, I knew things could never be the same between us again. After the guilt and shame... and other issues, John and I got together but it wasn't a bed of roses over the years either; we’ve been together and apart many times. But somehow we’ve managed to hold on to our love. But it’s not the same between you and Bo; you’ve got that old, very strong connection and I feel that’s what really led him back to you.’ Marlena touched her arm. ‘Remember... El Castillo?
The Mayan symbolic wedding she and Bo had had taken place on top of the Kukulcán Pyramid, also known as El Castillo in Chichén Itzá, México. While it was not legally valid- a Mayan symbolic wedding supposedly joined two people as spiritual partners for life. Could Marlena be right? She glanced at their son, sleeping peacefully nearby.
‘It’s just so hard, Marlena. I love him... but it’s just so hard.’ Carly said quietly, tears falling down her cheeks.
In silence, Marlena fished out a Kleenex from her purse and gave it to her friend, patting her shoulder as Carly blew her nose and wiped her eyes.
‘Does that mean you don't ever want to be with Bo again?’ she asked.
Carly shrugged, still looking miserable. ‘I don't know.’ she confessed. ‘I can’t even think straight right now.’
‘Well, don't make yourself sick over it; you’ve just had a baby. And Bo can’t expect it to be that easy for you to give him another chance. But whatever you do, don't make a mistake, Carly. Don't make a decision you feel is right and end up hurting yourself. If you don't want to be with Bo; no one can force you. But be sure that's how you really feel.’ Marlena rubbed her shoulder consolingly; seeing Carly’s worried, unhappy face through her psychologist’s eyes. Carly was not trying to punish Bo; she was still hurting, her emotions were conflicted and she was afraid of what the future held. Such a shame Bo had to make such huge mistake after all those years apart from Carly; one would think that he would hold her closer than ever instead of pushing her away for Hope; Hope who had given him mostly trouble and grief over the years through her childish, unreasonable behaviour. Personally, Marlena didn't think Bo deserved Carly back but if he was truly in love with her like he insisted then he certainly had a lot to prove. Carly has been through enough and now there was little Byron to consider.
Ciara cooed over Byron; overjoyed and thrilled to know that he was her baby brother. ‘I’m a big sister now!’ she declared, making them laugh.
‘Yes, you are little one.’ Carly replied. ‘And you’re going to help me look after him, alright?’
Ciara beamed, nodding enthusiastically. At moment, the door opened and Maxine entered with a clipboard. ‘Sorry to interrupt, Dr. Manning but one more detail left in Byron’s paperwork. You haven’t given us his last name.’
Carly hesitated. Bo looked at her, hiding his anxiety and anticipation; wondering what name she was going to give their son.  Finally, Carly said quietly, ‘Brady. His last name is Brady.’
Maxine wrote it down, thanked her and left. Bo slid his hand over Carly’s and squeezing it. ‘Thank you, princess.’ He said softly.
But Carly removed her hand, her face impassive. ‘Byron’s name is Brady because it is his rightful name; that’s all.’ she said, keeping her voice low so that Ciara who was leaning over the bassinet, making faces at Byron wouldn't hear. ‘It doesn't mean I’m ready to discuss us, because I’m not.’
Bo didn't argue. Time was a great healer and on top of  that, he had a lot planned to win Carly’s complete trust back. And after that...a proper future with her. 

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