Daniel held his wife’s hand tightly as the ambulance conveyed them to the hospital. Under her abundant black hair, Darcy looked like death; her face ghostly pale and sweaty.
Through his tears, Daniel Jonas again wondered how on earth his wife had contracted the virus; he was yet to even know just what the virus was. And Carly too had it... what was it, how did it happen, why was it happening just when they’ve been so happy?
One of the paramedics had injected a sedative to calm her but she was still shivering with fever and an oxygen mask covered her nose and mouth.
‘It’s going to be alright, honey,’ Daniel said gently, brushing back her hair from her too-hot brow. ‘Don’t you worry; you’re going to be just fine.’
Darcy felt too ill to reply her husband. Her body burned like a furnace, her head felt like someone was pounding an iron spike through her skull and only the oxygen being supplied was helping her breathe. Am I dying? She thought dully. What’s happening to me... why does my beloved have tears in his eyes? Unable to talk, she gave Daniel’s hand a faint squeeze then closed her eyes; the sedative finally taking its toll on her. Daniel raised the hand that wore his rings and kissed it; more tears raining down his cheeks.
The paramedic watched Daniel; seeing the pain on his face. It was hard on doctors, when the people they loved fell dangerously ill. It’s a shame too, she thought, they’ve only just gotten married and he’s so crazy about her. Whatever Mrs. Jonas has, I hope it can be cured fast; 107 F’s no joke.
Unable to keep silent any longer, she spoke, ‘She’s going to be fine Dr. Jonas... I believe it.’
Daniel nodded, unable to speak as well.
Bo forced himself not to panic. If it was a virus like Daniel said; there was going to be a cure somewhere. He assured himself of that as he kissed Carly’s hot hand in the ambulance and held it his face; thinking of their daughter and wondering for the umpteenth time where and how they got it so suddenly. Since his own experience, he’d had a horror of the very word itself; it always vividly reminded him of the terrible fever, the stabbing headaches, his strength ebbing away...
Yet at the same time, by taking the champagne meant for Carly, he’d saved her and he would have done it all over again to spare her from the illness that nearly killed him. And it was killing him seeing her looking so ill... their daughter ill as well, adding to his pain. How did this happen, just how? He thought yet again, staring down at Carly’s deathly pale face under the oxygen mask.
‘I don’t know if it’s the same virus you had, Bo.’ Daniel said after hearing the whole story. ‘But if it is; then Carly and Darcy stand a chance since Carly created the antidote. Who helped her with her research?’
‘She handled it all on her own but another doctor knew what she was working on, Marcus Hunter. She didn’t trust anybody else but him.’
Bo nodded. ‘She was working on the cure for another patient, some woman. That was before she found out I had it too. Later on, the ISA sent her over to London to administer the cure on some agents who were infected; apparently someone had been killing off several of them with the virus.’
‘Hold on... somebody was deliberately infecting those agents with it?’
‘Hold on... somebody was deliberately infecting those agents with it?’
‘Shane Donovan; my other brother-in-law, suspected Victor and Lawrence Alamain but the ISA never found proof.’
‘I see.’ Daniel scowled, deep in thought. ‘From the blood tests; Carly and Darcy do have a virus but not one I’ve heard of before. I’ll dig out your medical records and check for myself. I think we should also find a way of contacting... Marcus Hunter you said? He could help with the antidote if it turns out it’s the same virus.’
‘That would be great.’ Bo felt his heart lifting a little. Marcus was a man he trusted with his life; a good doctor and a very good friend even though they’d lost touch for a long time. If there was anyone who could help in this serious matter it was him.
Daniel went away and Bo went to check on the two women again. They were in private rooms next to each other; hooked up to IV’s and monitors and still had the oxygen masks on. The tests had also revealed that the virus wasn’t airborne so it was safe to be around them. Bo brushed some strands off Darcy’s forehead before placing a kiss on it. He thought of the moment he’d first laid eyes on her; a beautiful young woman in the expensive fur coat, face half hidden by her abundant black hair; brown eyes staring at him shyly. Love for her and regret and sadness over the lost years had sunk in; treasuring each photo of her Carly had given him later. His favourite, which he always kept in his wallet, was of her and Carly standing in front of a statue of St. Jude. Darcy’s hair was in long pigtails, one hand clutching Carly’s and her free arm clutching a rag doll to her chest. Her dress was black with a white collar and cuffs but like Ciara, she looked like an angel.
‘You’re going to be okay, sweetheart.’ He whispered, stroking her hair. ‘We’re going to do all we can to get you and your Mum the best help. I won’t lose you both.’ Sniffling, he kissed her cheek. He had to remain positive or he would break down and it won’t do his girls any good. He had to remain strong for them.
He turned to see Roman standing at the door. ‘Hey...’
The two brothers embraced tightly. ‘You didn’t have to get out of bed at this hour.’
‘When my daughter calls to tell me her cousin and future aunt are suddenly sick? Don’t be stupid, Bo; like I can let you be alone at a time like this.’ Roman moved over the bed to peer at his niece, touching the side of her hot neck before planting a kiss on her cheek. ‘How did they get it? They looked okay when they came to the station.’
‘Daniel says it’s not airborne; probably they got it from somebody who already had it.’
‘Bo, I realise you’re very worried about them but think like a cop; will you?’ Roman said, rather impatiently. ‘A contagious person would be too sick to walk down the street and have the chance of infecting anyone. Daniel’s so sure it’s not airborne?’
‘He’s positive it’s not.’ Bo replied. ‘And don’t think I haven’t been pondering over how they got it; I keep trying to figure it out.’
Roman beckoned him out of the room, closing the door behind them. ‘Okay... let’s retrace. Carly and Darcy came to the station.’
‘They said they were going shopping right?’
‘That’s right; we swapped cars then she came home looking very tired...’ Bo stopped, his mind racing furiously. ‘You don’t suppose...?’
Roman nodded grimly at Bo’s stunned face. ‘Some one must have released the virus into your car and if so, it was meant for you and it’s probably spreading round town as we speak.’
But Bo stubbornly shook his head, dismissing the idea of someone deliberately planting a virus in his car to harm him. ‘Daniel’s more than positive it’s not airborne besides; Byron was in the car with them. When I called Rafe to come pick him and Ciara up, he wasn’t burning up at all; not one symptom.’
‘All the same, your car needs to checked, to be on the same side. Call Sami to see if Byron’s okay; he may be sick already and she doesn’t know it.’
Bo pulled out his phone and dialled, barely keeping his fingers from shaking. Carly and Darcy suffering from this virus was bad enough but Byron was a two month old baby; a virus would definitely kill him.
Roman watched Bo anxiously, inwardly praying his little nephew was fine.
Sami answered the phone and as instructed, went to check the baby who was fast asleep in Sydney’s old bassinet.
‘His temperature’s normal, Uncle Bo.’ She assured him. ‘He’s sleeping, not burning up at all.’
‘Thank God.’ Bo sighed with relief; the sudden fear for his son gone. ‘Take great care of him and Ciara okay?’ While waiting for the ambulance, he had called Rafe to take the children over to his and Sami’s place; they were the first to come to mind in the middle of his panic.
‘No problem at all, Uncle Bo. We’ll come over to the hospital in the morning.’
‘Thanks honey.’ Bo ended the call. ‘Byron’s fine.’
‘That’s a relief. We need to call to contact Shane, get him to send the necessary people to scan the car. I’ll make the necessary arrangements and get back to you.’ Roman looked in on Carly, kissing her as well before taking his leave. Bo sat beside his fiancée’s bed. It was past midnight; early Friday morning. Tomorrow was to be their wedding day. The tears he’d been holding back fell at last as he rested his head against her shoulder. Why did things like this always happen to them?
‘It’s the same virus, Bo.’ Daniel said after checking Bo’s medical file and running another test to double check.
‘What should we do, call in Marcus or ask Shane if the ISA has any antidote left in their vault?’
‘We can call Shane but I don’t think the antidote will work. The period of incubation’s a lot faster than yours; you didn’t get sick the same day you swallowed the champagne laced with the virus.’
‘So what?’ Bo demanded, frustrated. ‘You just said it’s the same virus; who cares about the period of incubation?’
‘It’s important,’ Daniel snapped back, ‘Because it means that it’s a harder strain! Carly and Darcy’s symptoms are far worse; the antidote won’t work!’
‘Oh my God...’ Bo ran his fingers through his hair, longing to smash something.
‘I’m on the same boat as you, Bo; I love them both very much.’ Daniel’s expression was stern; hiding his emotions as a doctor should. ‘Whatever it takes, they’ll be cured.’
Bo nodded, not trusting himself to speak.
‘But still, I won’t rule out Carly’s antidote completely.’ Daniel went on. ‘You said Hunter’s the only one who knows about Carly’s research. Since this is a harder strain, maybe, just maybe... he could find a way of modifying the antidote.’
Bo stared at him. He was no doctor, but Daniel’s words made a lot of sense. Pulling out his cell, he sent a text to Roman- asking him to tell Shane bring a sample of Carly’s antidote- and find Marcus and bring him along.
Roman found Bo asleep in the chair in Carly’s room hours later. Waking him up, he handed his brother a Styrofoam cup of coffee.
‘You’re the best.’ Bo murmured as he removed the cover and took a grateful sip.
Roman leaned over Carly; stroking her hair. ‘Did she wake up last night?’
Bo shook his head sadly. ‘Daniel said it’s best she and Darcy remain sedated; their temperature and blood pressure’s way too high; it may trigger off a cardiac arrest or a seizure. And they’re on antibiotics to reduce any infections.’
Roman sighed. ‘Shane’s coming over with experts to sweep the car for signs of the virus. He said it would be rather hard to find Marcus though; he’s away on one of those Doctors Without Borders trips. But he’ll do all he can.’
‘Great.’ Bo took another sip of coffee, rubbing his face with his other hand. Roman regarded his brother’s haggard face with sympathy. ‘Why don’t you go home for a bit, you’ve been here all night. I’ll stay with Carly and look in on Darcy for you.’
Bo knew Roman would insist if he refused, besides he barely had the strength to argue with him. ‘I’ll be back in an hour tops.’ Rising, he leaned over and kissed Carly’s hot cheek. ‘I’ll be back soon, princess. Hang in there, okay? I love you.’ He said quietly.
Poor sod... Roman thought to himself as Bo left the room. Several years apart and still an obstacle standing between them and their happiness... he can’t imagine what’s going through his brother’s mind right now- Carly and their little girl riddled with this strange disease. Whatever it was, he hoped Marcus and Daniel will be able to find the cure before it was too late.
A nurse came in with water and flannels and he left to look in on his niece.
After a quick shower and shave, Bo returned to the hospital and found Sami near the nurses’ station, Byron in her arms.
‘Hey, buddy.’ Bo murmured as Sami handed the wide eyed baby to him. He gurgled and rested his little head against Bo’s shoulder; looking very adorable in a powder blue romper and matching cap.
‘How’s Ciara?’ Bo asked.
‘She’s fine but it was really hard getting her to go to school today; she’s very worried about Carly.’ Sami replied. ‘Where the hell did she and Darcy get this virus in the first place?’
‘We’re not sure yet.’ Bo replied, holding Byron close. ‘But whatever it is; it’s very serious.’
‘Oh, I’m so sorry and the wedding’s tomorrow!’
‘Yeah, I’ve called the judge already and Adrienne’s cancelled the caterers; she’s on her way here.’
Sami asked hesitantly, ‘Does Grandma and Aunt Kayla know yet?’
‘Would they care?’ Bo asked; his face hard.
‘They’re not that heartless, Uncle Bo. I know you’re still mad at them and Justin for not coming to Darcy’s wedding but you can’t think that they won’t care about what happens to Carly and Darcy.’
‘They don’t count Carly as family; they see her as a destroyer. Whatever concern they show now would be more about saving face. Carly went to the Pub to make things right and got shunned for her trouble. What else do you expect me to think?’
‘Grandma actually refused to make peace with Carly?’ Sami asked incredulously. ‘Why this crazy vendetta, this isn’t like Grandma at all.’
Bo shrugged. ‘I’m too worried about Carly and Darcy to give a damn about your grandmother or your aunt’s attitude; I just want my daughter and the woman I love to get better soon and move on with our lives. He looked down at his son with a faint smile as Byron made a cooing noise. ‘I hope Byron didn’t give you any trouble.’
‘Oh, of course not; he’s such a good baby, aren’t you, honey?’ Sami stroked his back fondly. She looked over Bo’s shoulder and Bo turned to see Adrienne and Melanie walking up to him from the elevators. With them were Nathan and Brady.
‘Adrienne told us over the phone... how are they?’ Melanie demanded as Adrienne took Byron from Bo. ‘Any change?’
‘No change... until they get the antidote.’ Bo explained what Daniel had told him. ‘So we have to wait for Marcus to get here and do all he can for them.’
‘If he’ll have me, I’d like to assist him and Daniel with it.’ Nathan said immediately.
‘Me too,’ Melanie added.
‘You guys have to talk to Daniel and I appreciate this; thanks so much.’ Bo patted Melanie’s shoulder and shook Nathan’s hand. They hurried away to look for Daniel.
‘Are you okay?’ Adrienne asked quietly, although it was a needless question. Bo couldn’t hide his unhappiness despite his efforts to be brave.
‘Why this? Why now after I managed to get her to forgive me and start again?’ his voice shook and Sami squeezed his shoulders from behind. ‘Haven’t we beaten enough odds to be together that this had to happen to Carly? And even worse, our daughter too!’
‘Uncle Bo, you’ve got to believe that they’re going to get better soon, okay? Don’t stop believing that; it’s your strength,’ Brady urged, remembering how he’d exercised that during the seemly endless vigil in Chloe’s room when she was stricken with leukaemia.
‘I know, I know that... I’ll try.’ Bo wiped his eyes with his sleeve; the elevator accident coming to mind. He’d been terribly afraid for Carly but he didn’t allow himself to break down even when he’d sensed her almost slipping away forever and he’d trusted Marcus and Dr. Horton’s capable hands. Brady was right... he must keep positive no matter what.
‘Thanks for cancelling the caterers and everything, Adrienne.’
‘It’s okay, Bo. I just told them it was postponed; they were very understanding.’ Adrienne assured him; stroking Byron’s head. ‘Have you called Frankie and Nicholas?’
‘Aww... shit; no I haven’t!’ In all the upset, Bo had completely forgotten about them. Because of their busy schedules and the haste they weren’t planning on come to the wedding but they were going to call to congratulate them; via video messages.
‘Maybe you shouldn’t worry them about it just now.’ Sami suggested hesitantly.
‘If I don’t and something does happen to them; Frankie and Nicholas will never forgive me. Besides, they were going to call tomorrow; they have to be told about it... ah, hell... more trouble.’
They turned to see Victor coming from the elevators with Justin; who flushed at the dirty look Bo gave him.
‘How can Carly and my granddaughter be very sick and I’m the last one to hear about it?’ Victor demanded.
Bo rolled his eyes heavenwards trying to quell his temper while Brady said hastily, ‘Cut him some slack grandpa, there are many people who don’t know about this; it all happened so quickly.’
‘Maybe but I should have been told all the same.’
‘Well, now you know about it Victor; your ego satisfied now?’ Bo bit out, his tone quiet but those who knew him very well, a sign of danger.
‘This has nothing to do with ego...’
‘Okay; stop it, just stop it you two!’ Adrienne stepped in between them, her eyes hard as she faced Victor. ‘What you should be thinking about right now are the two women battling for their life right now, not about what Bo should have done, okay? Show some consideration for once.’
‘Yeah, why don’t you?’ Sami added coldly. ‘It should be easier than criticising my uncle all the time, don’t you think?’
Victor’s lips tightened but wisely decided not to give a retort. ‘I’m as worried as all of you here, okay? Darcy’s my granddaughter and believe it or not Bo, Carly’s important to me as well. What is this virus they have?’
Bo didn’t know why but he was unable to trust Victor with the information Daniel had given him. ‘Daniel’s working on it.’
‘Daniel is Darcy’s husband; he’ll just let his emotions get in the way...’
‘Oh for God’s sake Victor, enough!’ Bo finally lost his temper. Startled and upset by the noise, Bryon began to cry and immediately contrite, Bo leaned over to kiss the top of his head as Adrienne shushed him. ‘So sorry, buddy... it’s okay.’ In a lower tone he said, this time keeping his temper in check, ‘Daniel is a capable physician and he’s going to get help from Marcus who’s on the way to Salem as we speak. I trust them both, even if you don’t so leave it at that. Got it? If you want to see them now, follow me. Adrienne, leave Bryon with one of the nurses; okay?’
Adrienne nodded, looking round and immediately found Maxine who took the baby from her. Justin opened his mouth to offer sympathy but Bo’s icy-cold look stilled his words. Inwardly, Bo vowed to punch Justin out if he dared.
By noon, the story about Carly and Darcy’s sudden illness was round town.
‘What happened?’ Vivian demanded, glaring at a very confused Gus. ‘Didn’t you do what I asked?’
‘To the letter, Madame.’
‘Then tell me how on earth that woman and her brat have the virus instead of Bo Brady? Did you or didn’t you plant the virus in his car?’
‘I did, honestly I did... all I can think what happened is that Dr. Manning and Mrs. Jonas were in the car instead of him.’
‘What a mess!’ Vivian was utterly furious but not as furious Hope was going to be when she was told. She probably knew already, it was in the morning news. ‘But still...’ she said, recovering quickly, ‘there’s no reason to be worried. There’s no evidence; nothing to trace it back to me. Bo Brady will have no reason to suspect foul play at all.’
‘All the same, wouldn’t it be prudent to leave town while you can, Madame?’
Vivian tossed her head proudly. ‘I’m not afraid of Bo Brady and he has no reason to suspect me at all. As far as he knows, Carly and Darcy got this illness mysteriously and I’m glad! Let him see the two women he chose over his wife die a thousand deaths!’
Ciara was told about Carly and her sister, causing her to cry bitterly. As Bo was consoling her, Daniel looked up impatiently from the charts when he heard Chloe calling his name. ‘Hey.’ She said quietly.
‘Chloe, not now please; I’m in the middle of a crisis, so just leave.’
Chloe shook her head, her expression earnest. ‘I just want you to know how sorry I am about Darcy... Carly too of course.’
‘I don’t need sympathy; all I need is a cure for my wife and mother-in-law.’ Daniel said brusquely. ‘And considering the way you acted on our last encounter, I’m taking your goodwill with a pinch of salt. I’m very busy so just leave me alone.’
‘Get out Chloe!’ Daniel shouted, exasperated beyond measure. ‘Take your pity or whatever it is elsewhere; I’m not interested!’
Her eyes filling with tears, Chloe fled, sobbing. Daniel’s cell phone ran and he answered it. ‘Jonas.’
‘Daniel Jonas?’ a deep voice sounding from a distance replied. ‘This is Marcus Hunter.’
Daniel was immediately alert. ‘Oh, yes.’
‘I want you let you know that I’m taking the first flight out; I’ll be in Salem by tomorrow. Shane will arrive first with the antidote and we’ll see what we can do to fight this.’
‘Okay, okay... thanks so much.’ Daniel let out a sigh of relief. Shane Donovan had called him earlier and Daniel had explained the situation to him. ‘Where are you?’
‘Somalia; Shane just managed to track me down and he gave me your number. Tell Bo too that I’m on my way; okay?’
‘Okay and please hurry, thanks again!’ Daniel said just before the call ended abruptly.
Ciara was taken home by Sami after seeing Carly and Darcy for a minute each, slightly consoled by the assurance they will be well soon. Daniel gave Bo Marcus’ message.
‘Thank God... the sooner this is dealt with the better!’ Bo said, happy he and Carly’s mutual old friend was already on his way.
‘No kidding.’ Daniel squeezed Bo’s shoulder.
The elevators opened and Caroline and Kayla hurried towards them. ‘Bo...’ Caroline went to her son, arms outstretched but Bo shrank away. She stared at him in disbelief.
‘I’ve got nothing to say to you.’
‘Same here,’ was Daniel’s cold reply and he cut off Kayla when she opened her mouth to speak, ‘Before you say anything, no... I don’t want you involved in this case; I’ve already gotten the help I need.’
Kayla looked stricken. ‘But Darcy’s my niece!’
‘And Carly’s her mother!’ Bo spat, so very angry at this last minute show of concern, and for Darcy only. ‘You’re still bent on ignoring that, aren’t you? How dare you come here and offer to help? You couldn’t come to my daughter’s wedding because of Carly; now you feel you can just come here and do your duty?’
‘Bo, I didn’t mean it that way; of course I want to help Carly too!’ Kayla protested. ‘Please believe me; I wouldn’t wish this on her for anything.’
Bo scoffed, disgusted; shaking his arm away from Caroline’s touch again.
‘Are you that angry that you won’t even let your own mother be there for you?’ Caroline cried, upset.
‘If I was the one lying sick with that virus right now; would you be comforting Carly like you’re trying to comfort me?’ was the reply from her son. Daniel glared at Caroline. The question just crept into his mind too.
‘No... you wouldn’t, you’d be making her miserable by blaming her for it; just like you blamed her for so many things.’ Bo went on relentlessly. ‘I don’t want your comfort; I don’t want your pity... I want nothing from you or Kayla or anyone else who couldn’t understand how much Carly means to me. She wanted to make things right and you drove her away. I can’t forgive you for that especially. Stay away from me and stay away from Ciara and Bryon as well. Excuse me.’
Bo left them, striding away purposefully. They looked at Daniel in mute appeal but he felt no sympathy or any urge to intercede. They had this day coming for a long time and they richly deserved it.