Vivian had neglected to tell Hope about the botched task so she was unable to hide her shock on seeing Bo waiting for her.
Bo stared at her hard. After the drugging/almost burning him alive episode, not to mention her outburst in court; he wasn’t surprised she’d tried to kill him again. But to actually conspire with Vivian- that was the real bombshell.
‘That’s right Hope, your partner fucked up.’ He said coldly. ‘Carly and Darcy got sick instead of me and Vivian’s confessed. One question, why?’
Hope regained her composure. ‘Why, Brady?’ she asked, her voice hard. ‘You’re asking me, why? For all the times you hurt me; you think I was going to let you live happy with your precious princess while I’m rotting here?’
‘You’re responsible for being here, not me, not Carly. We probably would’ve been able to still get along for the sake of the children we share if you’d…’
Hope’s laugh was harsh and mirthless. ‘Get along? Who asked me to move back in, who asked me for a second chance, who couldn't keep his mind on his family instead of his mistress? It was all you. What I did is what any woman would naturally do, get even! You ruined my life and I’m the one paying the price for it.’
‘You ruined your own life, Hope; from the moment you walked out on me. I overlooked the many times you hurt me; because I loved you.’ Bo replied, his voice just as hard and harsh. ‘But when Carly came back, she reminded me of the life I had with her while you were gone. She never saw me as less than perfect; she loved the man she saw. That’s the main reason why I went back to her; I wasn’t about to lose her again. And I never will. Marcus and Daniel came up with the cure and they’re going to be alright.’
Hope was silent but inwardly seething with anger at Vivian.
Bo went on. ‘Vivian’s going to be charged for attempted murder. As for you; the D.A feels you’re being punished enough. Whatever Doug and Julie decide to pull on your behalf, that’s his business but when you get out, don’t even think you’ll be allowed anywhere Ciara. If you try anything; you’ll pay.’
‘I hate you.’ Hope said bitterly.
Bo got up, unruffled by her statement. Vivian had also sullenly confessed that Carly was to be the murder victim until Hope’s change of plans. ‘Trust me; I’m not going to lose sleep over it. Goodbye Hope.’
The guard let him out and he didn’t look back for a second.
Melanie and Daniel helped Darcy to walk about the room. Like Carly, she had to do this exercise to strengthen her weakened limbs and reduce unnatural fatigue and dizziness. She was very thin and still looked pale but the fever was finally gone, yet they were still getting a series of injections.
‘Can I sit down now, please?’ she pleaded.
‘A few more turns, sweetheart and you’re done.’ Daniel promised.
Darcy sighed but forced herself to move her stiff legs and arms at Daniel and Melanie’s encouragement.
Carly was being helped by Bo, his arm firmly round her waist. ‘That’s it, keep going.’
Carly obeyed, wincing but determinedly carried out the much needed exercise. It seemed like eternity since she made use of her legs. She could never thank her old friend enough for saving her daughter and her but Marcus insisted what he did was modify her serum, no big deal at all.
‘Okay, that’s enough; princess.’
‘A few more steps…’
‘The whole idea is getting some exercise, not exhausting yourself. Come on...’
Carly meekly held on to him as he carried her back to bed, covering her with the sheet. ‘I should’ve known you would use this chance to get back at me, Bo Brady.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Don’t play dumb… when you had this years ago, you accused me of treating you like a little boy.’
Bo grinned, remembering. ‘Well, I won’t deny it feels good having you under my power for once.’ He replied, leaning over her.
‘When was I never under your power?’ Carly smiled back, stroking his jaw.
Bo’s grin turned to a leer. ‘Come to think of it, I can’t think of a time.’ He planted a lingering kiss on her mouth. ‘And that’s how you’ll be for a very, very long time, Dr. Manning. Or should I say Brady… in a few weeks.’
‘Have you been to see the judge to schedule another date?’
Bo shook his head. ‘Mum and Kayla so something else in mind, so officially it’s out of our hands now. And a little head’s up, Kayla and Adrienne went through the closet and took your wedding dress back.’
‘Hey!’ Carly was indignant. ‘Why did you let them do that; I especially picked that one!’
‘Honey, I wasn’t about to fight two very stubborn women. But if it makes you feel better, I didn’t sneak a peek.’
Carly didn’t look pleased. ‘That dress was perfect, I don’t want them changing it.’
‘Princess, if they want to give us a great wedding, let them. Kayla and Mum are trying to make up for everything that happened.’
‘They don’t have to do that.’
‘So I told them but they really want to do this. Just go with it, it will make them happy.’
Carly shrugged then asked hesitantly, ‘Did you go to see Hope?’
‘I did. No sign of remorse. But I’ll tell you this, I would’ve preferred getting that damned virus instead you and Darcy.’
‘Don’t…’ she whispered, taking his hand.
‘I’ve never been so scared in my life, watching you and Darcy going through all that. There were times I nearly lost faith.’ He hugged her close, pressing his cheek against hers. ‘I won’t lose you or Darcy, ever.’
‘I love you, sailor. You’ll never lose us.’ Carly whispered.
They turned as the door opened and Carly’s eyes widened at the unexpected visitor. ‘Jennifer…’
‘Hi Carly.’ Jennifer Devereux closed the door behind her; her expression rather timid. ‘Hello, Bo.’
‘Hi Jennifer. When did you get back?’ Bo asked, not making a move to hug her.
‘Last night, I… I went straight to Maggie’s. I heard everything that happened… thank God you’re alright, Carly.’ Jennifer moved to Carly’s bedside.
‘That’s surprising coming from you, Jennifer.’
‘Bo!’ Carly admonished.
Before Jennifer could say anything, Daniel entered, wheeling in Darcy on a wheelchair.
‘What are you doing here?’ Darcy demanded, glaring at her. ‘What is she doing here?’
Jennifer winced, seeing the old dislike on Darcy’s face immediately. ‘Darcy, I’m not your enemy.’
‘No, just a traitor…. a two faced bitch.’
‘Darcy, that’s unfair and untrue and I won’t have you talking to Jennifer like that.’ Carly scolded.
‘She is your friend, not mine. Like she can actually call herself a friend.’ Darcy replied coldly, refusing to back down. ‘Cher, please get me out of here, I do not want to be in the same room as this woman.’
Jennifer now looked very upset and at the point of tears. ‘Wait, please…’ she begged.
‘Daniel.’ Darcy said, her tone brooking no argument.
More concerned about his wife’s health and state of mind, Daniel immediately wheeled her out, closing the door behind him. Bo was silent. Why should he find fault with his daughter; he had deserved Darcy’s past icy attitude towards him. He wasn’t the only one who hurt her mother greatly.
‘Oh God…’ Jennifer covered her eyes.
‘Jennifer, I’m so sorry about that. Darcy’s just recovering from this illness we had; she didn’t mean it.’ Carly placated her.
‘It’s alright, Carly; you don’t have to stick up for me when I don’t deserve it. Darcy’s right, I failed you as a friend. No matter what, I should’ve thought of your feelings instead of anyone else’s. I’m sorry about our last conversation and the way I left things between us.’ The tears fell as she reached out to hug Carly tightly. ‘I’m so sorry, please forgive me.’
‘It’s alright Jennifer, it’s okay.’ Carly stroked her hair. ‘You’re still my friend and I still love you. Let’s forget the past.’
Jennifer sniffled, turning to Bo. ‘I owe you an apology too. I was so blind to Hope’s faults like everyone else. I had no right to judge you or tell you want to do.’
‘Carly’s right; we’ve got to forget the past.’ Bo said quietly, hugging her as well. ‘Carly’s long forgiven me and I’m grateful we’re getting our fresh start. We’re getting married in a few weeks.’
‘That’s so great.’ Jennifer smiled, wiping her eyes. ‘I’m so happy for you two.’ She leaned over and hugged Carly again.
‘And… we have a son; his name’s Byron.’ Carly smiled at Jennifer’s stunned face. ‘The last time we saw each other, I was pregnant. I didn’t know at the time though.’
‘Oh wow…’ Jennifer exclaimed, delighted. ‘A lot’s happened since I was away, I can’t wait to meet him; congratulations! How does it feel being a dad for the sixth time, grandpa?’
‘Fade out on the “grandpa”!’ Bo said sternly as the women laughed.
‘Give Jennifer a chance, sweetheart.’ Daniel urged, sitting beside her on the bed; his arm around her. ‘She came back to mend fences; she’s already apologized to Carly.’
‘I suppose she was shocked when she was told you married me and not my mother like she hoped.’
Daniel chuckled. ‘Pretty much but that didn’t stop her from wishing us well. She hopes you can forget everything that happened.’ He rubbed Darcy’s hair. ‘She made a mistake but so did Bo and you forgave him; didn’t you?’
‘That woman’s disloyalty and insensitivity really made me angry. You would think as my mother’s best friend, she would give Maman a shoulder to cry on; not side with that woman and suggest stupid alternatives.’
‘Oh, so I’m a stupid alternative?’ Daniel teased.
‘Come on darling, you know what I mean.’
‘I know what you mean, you stubborn woman and I understand. But a lot of things have changed since then; you have to let it go. Well, at least where Jennifer and your grandmother and aunt are concerned.’ Bo had told her the truth about the break-in.
Darcy scowled at the thought of her treacherous grandfather. ‘I knew it was too good to be true; even Chelsea thought it was very odd. I don’t ever want to have anything to do with that man.’
‘Nor I, that’s one person who doesn’t deserve any forgiveness. He won’t be a part of our lives; that’s for sure.’ Daniel paused, wondering how to tell her about the side effect of the serum. ‘Darcy…’ his arms gripped her tighter. ‘there’s something I have to tell you. And I want you to know, it makes no difference; I love you very much and always will.’
‘What’s happened?’ Darcy asked, looking worried.
Daniel gently told her about the possibility of her being barren. Darcy stared at her husband, her lips trembling. ‘I won’t… I won’t be able to give you children?’
‘Marcus said it was a possibility.’ Daniel stressed. ‘The chances are slim but not totally impossible. Darcy; I had to let him give you and Carly that serum; time was running out for you both. I couldn't let you die.’
‘I ... I understand.’ Darcy said softly, a tear running down her cheek. ‘I would have done the same.'
Daniel winced at his wife’s pain and kissed her on the forehead. ‘We can adopt, sweetheart. Give a motherless kid a home and give him or her the love we would give our own baby. But I don’t want you to give up either. Look at Carly; she was told she wouldn’t be able to have children but later on she had you and Byron. One thing you can be sure of, my love for you is forever.’
‘I’m sure of it.’ Darcy held his face between her palms, more tears in her eyes. ‘I love you too. And I won’t give up, even if we eventually adopt.’
Daniel kissed her, long and hard and held her in his arms, silently consoling her.
Days later, Carly and Darcy were discharged from the hospital and members of the family kept visiting them; Caroline cooking them special dishes while the rest of the family, especially Frankie and Nicholas, fussed over them. But the happiest of all was Ciara; she had missed her sister and step mother to be so much and it was joy sleeping on her own bed again.
Darcy’s manner towards Jennifer softened considerably and Carly and Marcus did a lot of catching up. Chloe left town but not before first apologising to Daniel for what she’d initially planned to do, drive a wedge between him and Darcy.
Victor, whom everyone except Maggie refused to talk to, appeared in court and was sentenced to five hundred hours of community service, Luigi as well. To Bo and Carly’s surprise, Maggie came to the house, bringing him along.
‘Maggie, how can you actually bring him here; are you kidding?’ Carly demanded, glaring at him; Byron in her arms. ‘You must be crazy if you expect me to believe anything you say ever again.’
‘Carly, Bo; please.’ Maggie pleaded. ‘Victor was wrong, very wrong. But he did something to make up for it; to show you he’s sorry.’
‘I sincerely doubt anything could possibly cancel out his crime,’ Bo retorted.
‘This one will.’ Maggie insisted. ‘Victor, tell them.’
Victor said nothing, his face impassive. Exasperated, Maggie turned back to them. ‘Victor was the one who made that call; the one warning you about Carly and Darcy being in danger.’
Carly and Bo stared at Victor incredulously. ‘You?’ Carly asked.
‘Hold it, how did you know it was Vivian?’
‘I figured she was the most likely person who would want to make Carly suffer by inflicting a virus on you; something like that was more her style. So, when I ran into her in town; I made a speech about how I hated Carly and Marcus finding the cure. I knew her enough to guess that she would rush over to the hospital to do something to hurt them before Marcus administered the antidote.’
‘You used them as bait!’ Bo said angrily. ‘Suppose we didn’t get there on time?’
‘It was a risk I had to take, Bo; I needed to clear my name and help you catch Vivian at the same time!’ Victor fired back. ‘I did what I had to do and it paid off.’ He looked at Carly. ‘what I did was wrong and illegal but it was never my intention to harm you; or Darcy. I really am sorry.’
Carly went back into the house without replying. Bo stared hard at him. ‘Okay, you helped us catch Vivian but it doesn’t cancel anything out.’
‘Come on, Bo…’
‘Not completely, Maggie. Victor can’t expect us to trust him all over again. It’s going to take time before any of us can forget this, Frankie and Nicholas especially. Maybe eventually, but not definitely not now.’
Victor nodded. ‘I can accept that. Darcy and Daniel are avoiding me like a plague so… I hope you tell them about this too.’
Bo nodded curtly and went back into the house. Carly was in the living room, rocking the baby.
‘Somehow that man just manages to stay put in our lives, no matter what.’ Carly said bitterly as Bo sat next to her.
‘Sad but true, princess. But at least thanks to him, Vivian’s behind bars where she belongs. She’s going to be sentenced tomorrow, that bodyguard of hers as well.’
‘Good riddance. I don’t ever want to see that old hag ever again. As for Victor…’
‘Don’t let’s talk about him, princess.’ Bo put his arm round her. ‘We have a wedding in a few weeks, remember? And then… Cancun.’
Carly smiled at him. ‘Yeah… our special place, the most beautiful place on earth. I can’t wait.’
Bo lifted Byron from her arms, placing him on his lap. ‘Byron’s going to have a lot of eager babysitters.’
‘Oh no… I don’t want to leave him behind, he’s still so little!’ Carly protested. ‘Let’s take him with us, please…’
‘Carly… this trip is for us to get away and really reconnect,’ Bo leaned over to kiss her. ‘And much as I so love this little guy, he’s definitely not invited to our honeymoon. Frankie and JJ and Nick and Lynn will be here to look after him, he won’t even know that we’re gone.’
Carly was reluctant at the idea of leaving her two month old baby behind but it’s not like he would be all alone either. ‘I guess you’re right, honey.’ She said at last.
‘Great…’ he put one arm round her. ‘So, has Kayla and Mum let you in on the surprise they have for us?’
‘No and I’ve stopped asking. They keep saying it’s a secret and I haven’t even seen my replacement dress yet.’
‘Whatever it is, you’re going to look stunning.’ Bo smiled, kissing her again and yet again, savouring the softness of her mouth. ‘I love you, princess.’
‘I love you too, sailor. Forever and ever… and ever…’ Carly slipped her arms round his neck.
No one except Victor, Maggie and Roman went to Vivian’s trial, not to support her of course but merely to be present at her sentencing; she and Gus were to serve twenty years in prison. Her court appointed lawyer made a motion to appeal but the judge curtly turned him down and asked the bailiff to take her away. Vivian caught the smug expression on Victor’s face as she was led away, fervently wishing she had a gun to kill him for entrapping her.
No one shed any tears on her behalf, the night she was led into her cell- Carly was having a bridal shower at the house, while Bo was having his stag party at the Brady Pub; attended by the men, including Marcus and Shane; Kimberly had flown in with Andrew and Jeannie the day before. Once again, the family was gathered for another wedding. Only this time, the entire family.
On the day of the wedding, Carly was fully attended to. Darcy ran her a bath with bath salts and essential oils. Kayla gave her a manicure. Jennifer styled her hair. Lynn did her makeup, Kimberly clasped the “something borrowed”- a diamond necklace- round her neck. Adrienne slid the blue garter up her thigh. Caroline brought out Carly’s wedding dress from its protective wrapping- an ivory corset style, off the shoulder dress with a long elegant train- which Carly carefully stepped into after exclaiming over it.
|Image courtesy of litedress.net|
Since she’d lost so much weight, she didn’t feel awkward in it, she felt several years younger. Sitting down, Ciara placed the shoes on her feet. JJ fastened the “something new” on her ears, diamond and pearl earrings. And finally, Sami slipped the “something old” carefully on her head; a simple diamond tiara that resembled a glittering wreath of flowers. Melanie sprayed on some perfume. As for the flowers, which Marlena handed to her, it was a bouquet of white calla lilies.
Carly was ready to marry the man she loved.
Bo didn’t understand why Kayla replaced his tux with this tailored outfit; it must have cost her fortune to have done on time. Roman, Daniel, Shawn Douglas, John and Marcus insisted he looked great but he wasn’t sure. Still, his sister had a reason for her choice; just as the venue of the wedding ceremony- at his former pier, which was decorated with flowers. It was fitting; he and Carly to be joined as man and wife on the very spot of their official encounter. At the café in Alamania where he’d rescued her from Lawrence, they had been faceless strangers. That night at the pier, he’d looked into a pair of green eyes and Carly had found her way into his heart for good. He was going to make sure that she never ever doubt his love, for the rest of their lives. Seats were neatly arranged and everyone was waiting expectantly for the bride to show up. Victor sat at the back with Maggie; after much thought, Bo and Carly decided to let him come, it was not like Maggie would attend the wedding without him anyway. Bo made up his mind to ignore him as much as possible. Lucas Horton was also present, so was Sami’s ex husband, EJ DiMera. Brady sat between Abby Devereaux and Abe, Theo on his lap.
Nathan, sharp and well turned-out in his tux, came running up. ‘Places, she’s here!’
Bo hastily went to the altar, his three best men- Roman, Shawn Douglas and Marcus standing behind him; the minister on full alert. The hired band began to play.
Flanked by Nicholas and Frankie who were both giving her away; Carly felt her heart beating very fast. It was time… time to be joined with Bo in matrimony; after so many years… it was like a very wonderful dream.
Bo waited for Carly, his heart filled with anticipation. Carly… his wife in just a few minutes…
Ciara in white, holding a satin pillow with the rings came first down the carpeted aisle, followed by Claire, Sydney and Ally holding small posies and dressed in pale yellow. Then came Darcy in blue holding Byron instead of flowers, Melanie in pink, Lynn in pale green, JJ in silver gray, Adrienne in maroon, Jennifer, the matron of honor in turquoise silk next. Then came the bride at last, everyone smiling at her elegant form. She saw Bo and her smile widened, finally understanding. He was dressed in a dark blue navy uniform, complete with a peaked hat; looking very handsome and dashing.
Bo grinned back, finally understanding as he saw Carly in her elegant wedding dress and tiara.
The princess and the sailor. Kayla and Caroline wanted to give them a wedding to remember.
Frankie and Nicholas led her up to Bo. Kissing her in turn, they took their seats as Bo took Carly’s hand; staring deep into her eyes and feeling like the luckiest among men. ‘You look sensational.’ He whispered.
‘You look so handsome.’ She whispered back, smiling at him widely.
The minister cleared his throat, smiling at them indulgently. ‘Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the union of these two people. Marriage is a sacred covenant hence not to be taken lightly but I’m happy to see, the couple standing before me this afternoon are definitely ready.’
Bo and Carly smiled at each other.
‘If there’s anyone here who has a reason why these two people should not be wedded, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.’
‘Bo, I understand you have a few words to say to Carly.’
‘Yes.’ Bo took her hand between his. ‘We’re here now, princess; in front of our friends and family. This day was overdue but it’s finally here. And I have no words to tell you how much I love you, how happy you make me; how grateful I am… for you and everything that makes you. But I can sum it up with these few lines.’
John handed him a piece of paper and he read from it : “Only love can bring individual beings to their perfect completion, by uniting them one with another, because only love takes possession of them and unites them by what lies deepest within them.”
Bo raised his head, ‘I love you, princess and it’s my greatest honor to finally be your husband.’
The minister turned to Carly. ‘Carly?’
Carly nodded, facing Bo. ‘I also don’t have enough words to express how I feel about you. They’re so many of them.’ She said softly. ‘But I remember what you once said to me; that this new phase of our love is a return journey. It’s my return journey too. Without you for several years, I was so lost and a part of me missing. Now I’m very happy and thankful. And I have a few lines as well…’
Darcy passed her a slip of paper and Carly read: “The key to love is understanding…The ability to comprehend not only the spoken word but those unspoken gestures, the little things that say so much by themselves. The key to love is forgiveness.... to accept each others faults and pardon mistakes, without forgetting, but with remembering what you learn from them. The key to love is giving ...without thought of return, but with the hope of just a simple smile and by giving in but never giving up.”
The guests couldn't help smiling at the loving look they exchanged.
‘Bo Aurelius Brady, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife; in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death do you part?’
‘I do.’ Bo said firmly.
‘Carly Marie Manning, do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband; in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until do you part?’
‘Oh, I do.’ Carly smiled widely.
‘The rings please?’
Grinning, Ciara held out the satin pillow in her hands. Bo took the white-gold wedding ring. ‘With this ring, I take you as my wife.’ he slid it onto her finger, his hand trembling just a bit.
Carly took the slightly bigger ring. ‘With this ring, I take you as my husband.’ The ring fitted him exactly.
‘By the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. What God has brought together, let no man put asunder. You may now kiss the bride.’
Like they needed to be told. The newly married couple exchanged a passionate kiss; not aware of the thunderous applause and cheers, only of each other.
‘Oh, Bo… I love you so much!’ Carly whispered, her green eyes glowing. ‘We did it.’
‘We sure did, princess.’ Bo hugged her tight in his arms before reluctantly breaking free to receive the numerous hugs, kisses and congratulations from the family.
Kayla and Caroline’s surprise wasn’t over. Instead of a limo to convey them to the reception, a white horse drawn carriage bedecked with flowers was waiting for them. Bo helped Carly on before climbing up to sit beside her.
‘Are you happy now, you foolish boy?’ Carly grinned, quoting Dora’s words to her husband in David Copperfield.
‘You’ve got no idea, Mrs. Brady.’ Bo grinned back, kissing her hard again as the carriage rolled away.