Melanie wept as she watched Carly take off her engagement ring, her cheeks wet with tears as she kissed it, placed it in Bo’s hand and kissed him one last time before turning away to climb up the boat’s stairs, then at Bo who was staring up after her, tears rolling down his cheeks. ‘Goodbye, princess.’ He whispered.
After living their love at last in Mexico, Bo and Carly had been more than happy; Shawn Douglas and their friends and family sharing their joy. They would’ve tied the knot on February 7th 1992; but for Bo’s abduction by the Torres’ family. Two agonising months for Carly; Lawrence Alamain returning the Von Leuschner fortune as a means to curry her favour but failed to do so and had to balefully watch Carly reunited with Bo on the night of Vivian’s charity ball. Then came Carly’s nightmares and her confession to Bo about having a stillborn son. Then the news from her doctor that her son was sold in the black market. Vivian introducing Nicky to Carly and Lawrence as a child she’d adopted. Lawrence finding out the truth from Vivian and informing Carly but before she could tell Bo, Nicky accidentally killed Lawrence’s girlfriend, Lisanne Gardner. Melanie felt she would’ve done the same thing Carly did- protecting her son but it killed her to see how Bo found out about Nicky’s paternity; on their wedding day! God damn Lawrence Alamain, only he would make such a scene in church and it was all Vivian’s fault, kidnapping Nicky in the first place! Melanie had to painfully watch everything that went down, even after Bo and Carly reconciled. Lawrence did all he could to tear them apart, hiring a criminal to pose as Bo to have him permanently discredited, encouraging Nicky to come between them. And then Vivian... the evil conniving woman who went about killing Carly’s patients and framing Carly. Melanie will never forget the moment Carly saved Caroline Brady from being Vivian’s final victim but became one herself. The waves of deep grief from Bo and the family when she was pronounced dead. Vivian actually rolling and dancing over Carly’s grave and Carly’s agony at being buried alive. Melanie vowed to kill Vivian Alamain if she ever set foot in Salem again.
Carly screaming for Bo in her delirium but on waking up, remembered only James; her first love. Amnesia! Melanie had gasped, horrified... her mind going back again to Carly’s diary. That was what happened... of course Lawrence would take advantage of it! And so he did and by the time Bo knew she was alive, all Carly knew was that she was Katarina Von Leuschner and she was engaged to James.
But then Chelsea’s mum Billie had brought Nicky to Carly at the last minute and Carly remembered Bo at last. But then the painful conversation on the boat after they were unable to make love. Melanie painfully thought how she would’ve been conceived if they hadn’t stopped.... if they hadn’t talked about how things have now changed. Lawrence’s brainwashing and clever manoeuvring had paid off and there was nothing Bo could do... except let her go.
Melanie turned away from the pitiful sight of Bo sitting alone in the cabin , his head bowed in resignation, more tears pouring down her cheeks.
‘Lawrence brainwashed her... that son of a bitch took advantage of her amnesia, Isabella - he made her fall in love with him again when she was sick.’
‘She was in love with James, not Lawrence.’ Isabella corrected.
‘And Bo let her go... he just gave up!’
‘What else was he supposed to do, Mel? The damage was already done and there was nothing he could do.’
‘Mum loved Bo so much, there was no way she would’ve let town with Lawrence if she hadn’t lost her memory! He was the one she called for when she was down there... believing he would come for her!’ Melanie sobbed, thinking how Carly was truly a victim of circumstances. ‘And she came back to find me... she came back for me! But everyone just decided to assume the worst and I... I assumed the worst! Oh God... nobody even asked her what happened all those years with Lawrence, nobody cared!’
‘But he hurt her. She loved him... she trusted him and she was there for him but it turned out he was no better than Lawrence!’
‘That’s being harsh, Melanie.’ Isabella said reprovingly.
Melanie was so sad and angry that she barely heard Isabella; dabbing her eyes.
‘Melanie, come on now...’
‘She came back for me,’ Melanie repeated. ‘And look at how I treated her, the same way Nick did back then; I rejected her! She was robbed of the chance of raising us and we did that to her and still she never gave up on us.’
‘She loves you and your brother, very much. You’re her children after all; your circumstances of birth never mattered to her, what mattered was you both are a part of her.’
‘Oh my God,’ Melanie sniffled, heart heavy with love towards her mother, self reproach towards herself and pain over what might have been. So many “if-onlys”.
There was one more thing she wanted to see.
‘I want to see the night I was born.’
‘Please Isabella, you have to show me. Mum wrote about it in her diary and I don’t doubt for a second what she wrote but I want to see it for myself.’
Isabella didn’t look pleased at the idea.
‘I know it’s going to give me a lot of pain but I really need to see it. Please.’
Shrugging her shoulders, Isabella revealed the scene to her. Like Carly described in her diary, Lawrence was holding her few minutes’ old self in his arms and Carly was pleading with him as his fingers encircled her neck as though about to break it.
‘Please Lawrence, she’s innocent... don’t hurt my baby. I’ll... I’ll stay with you, just don’t hurt her, please!’
‘Oh staying with me, that’s a given.’ Lawrence sneered. ‘However, your little bastard’s a different matter... you don’t expect me to spare the product of your betrayal.’
‘Please...’ Carly sobbed, ‘ you can’t... she’s just a baby. If you want to punish me , fine but not my little girl. I beg you.’
Lawrence’s sneer grew wider, so did Melanie’s hatred for him as she watched his perverse delight at Carly’s grovelling. ‘Fine. I’ll spare her life. You’ll remain my wife and the brat is put up for adoption. And before you say no again,’ he added as Carly began to protest, ‘Be grateful I’m being generous, Katarina. It’s either this option or the first one.’
Carly was as white as a ghost as she stared up at her husband. ‘Okay.’ She said finally.
‘I’m glad to see we have an agreement. And by the way, as soon as we get home; you will finally give me the man who persuaded you to break your marital vows.’ Carly swallowed at the malevolent look on his face. ‘let me hold her one more time.’ She held out her arms but Lawrence only smirked at her and took Baby Melanie out of the room, leaving Carly weeping heartbreakingly.
Isabella put her arms round Melanie who began to cry again, holding her close. When she opened her eyes again, they were back in Melanie’s room. Drained from her time travel, Melanie sat down on the bed and covered her face, feeling Isabella stroking her hair.
‘No, no... don’t be. I saw what I wished to see,’ Melanie raised her eyes, sniffling. ‘I swear Isabella, when Mum wakes up, I’ll do everything to make it up to her... everything I can, I’ll make it right.’
‘I know you will,’ Isabella sat next to her. ‘But no guilt Melanie. For you to do what you just said, you’re going to have to forgive yourself. And Bo may’ve mismanaged things but he’s not a bad guy either. You’re going to have to learn to forgive him too, and the others.’
‘That’s going to be very hard. I know I’m guilty of a lot of things but they knew her long before I ever did, they were the ones who decided to shun her because of Hope and they never told me about her past...’
‘I know, I know; they were wrong but you need give them a chance to put things right. You aren’t the only one with regrets and letting them make it up to Carly will help her own healing.’
‘But what about her and Bo? Is their story really over then?’
Isabella shook her head. ‘No. But it’s up to Carly to decide if it’s going to have a happy end.’
‘Like I said, it’s Carly’s decision. You will see in due time.’ She got up.
‘No, please... don’t leave yet!’ Melanie begged.
‘I have to honey,’ Isabella said softly, smiling at her. ‘Take care.’ Before Melanie could plead further, Isabella vanished.
‘Wow...’ Melanie rubbed her throbbing head, marvelling over her journey with Isabella and what she’d said. So there was a chance for Bo and Carly after all which meant she and Abby were doing the right thing. If Carly chose to forgive Bo, they’ll be together again. But there was still the chance of Carly forgiving Bo but preferring not to be with him, out of fear he would betray her again. At least she would get the closure, if not the happy ending. At the moment, Melanie didn’t know what she would prefer for her mother.
Resolutely, she pulled out Carly’s second diary, now determined to finish it. Carly wrote more of her pain over the breakup; how her comfort of having Melanie and Daniel’s support was shattered by their cold attitude towards her after Parker’s christening. Even Caroline had unfairly blamed her for the fiasco, when it wasn’t even her fault. Tears poured down Melanie’s cheeks as she read more about Carly’s feelings of hopelessness and seclusion; losing a patient and having to watch Bo kissing Hope, listening to him reaffirming his love for her. Of her talk with Adrienne who assured her Time healed all wounds but she felt her wounds were far too deep to ever heal; her children wanted nothing to do with her, the love of her life had betrayed her, the whole town was no doubt laughing at her behind her back; glad the home wrecker was cast aside at last.
The next entry made Melanie’s blood run cold, Carly had actually contemplated suicide. It was obvious she was in so much pain and not thinking clearly when she wrote it.
Do I have anything to live for? I’ve lost Bo for good, both my children hate me. Jennifer doesn’t really understand how much I’m hurting or she wouldn’t have kept thrusting Daniel at me. Daniel’s a wonderful man and the father of my daughter and I do have feelings for him...but being in love and thinking I’m in love are two completely different things. I cannot go on like this, I just can’t.
The syringe filled with arsenic’s beside me. The letters addressed to Bo, Melanie, Nicholas, Adrienne and Frankie are on my desk. I never thought my life would end this way; dying alone in a hotel room. I can imagine what the whole town will make of this in the morning; the home wrecker finally cracked and ended her life. Every miserable day with Lawrence for 16 years was a bonus; I was always relieved I made it through another day of abuse. Now... I’m about to die by my own hand. God forgive me...
Melanie gulped, her trembling hands holding the diary shaking. Bo’s betrayal, Nicholas’ coldness and her own cruelty had driven her mother to this terrible step! But divine intervention, in the form of a phone call had interrupted her. After four rings, Carly had answered the phone and told by Daniel that Melanie was in the hospital and just suffered a miscarriage. Not thinking of anything else, Carly had rushed over to be by her side... and Melanie decided to forgive her.
Melanie cried, feeling more and more ashamed of her actions yet fiercely glad the news of her miscarriage stopped Carly from killing herself. According to Carly, Melanie’s forgiveness had given her hope. But then she received even more hope; the day Melanie was discharged was when she received the results of a forgotten check up she’d done... the shock on discovering she was pregnant, marvelling over how she’d come close to killing her unborn child along with herself. A hope lost and then she was given two wonderful gifts... Melanie’s forgiveness and this child, Bo’s child.
After making her confession in church and receiving absolution, she’d taken a long walk to ponder on what to do next... leave Salem and raise the child on her own without telling Bo about the baby? Bo wanted nothing to do with her, she no longer existed so the child will not be a part of his life nor will be acknowledged by the Bradys. But Melanie’s home was Salem hence the need to be near her, even though she would be better off in D.C with Frankie who more than ever wanted her to come live with him or somewhere in Europe where she and the child will have some relative peace. The best thing to do, Carly wrote, is discuss it with Melanie after the baby came. In the meantime now that she had back access to her share of the Von Leuschner fortune, she could get a house- lease not buy- since she wasn’t sure how long she would be in Salem. Having her child generally scorned was one thing, watching Bo with Hope was another, she didn’t know if she would ever forgive him. As for Nicholas, he will have to know about his father’s physical abuse on her and understand why she had to do what she did. When that happened, she will be able to introduce him to Melanie and they’ll be a family at last. And her broken heart, she hoped, will eventually heal.
Closing the diary, Melanie held it against her chest and quietly cried herself to sleep.
Before going downstairs the next morning, Melanie bathed her eyes thoroughly; subdued but feeling much better.
‘Morning sleeping beauty,’ Nicholas greeted as she entered the kitchen. Frankie was reading the paper at the counter while Molly was fixing scrambled eggs.
‘Morning Nick, morning Molly, Uncle Frank.’
Frankie regarded her shrewdly. ‘You okay?’
Melanie smiled wanly, nodding. After the night events, it seemed strange to be back in the present. And she was all the more wiser now... about everything. As for Bo, on waking up she felt she understood him better too. Not that she would ever condone what he did to her mother but she no longer felt the old anger and resentment towards him, she just want him back in Salem as soon as possible, for Carly’s sake.
Over breakfast, Nicholas told Melanie what Frankie and Molly already knew, he and Abby were officially a couple. Melanie was amazed. ‘How long has this been going on?’ she asked.
Nicholas shrugged, grinning. ‘Not long, it just happened. What can I say Melanie, it’s what the French call a coup de foudre.’
Molly turned from the stove to smile at his words while Frankie merely shrugged, an amused look on his face. Melanie shook her head, still in shock. Nicholas and Abby... who ever saw that coming? Personally she was thrilled for them but she was certain Jennifer wouldn’t, not with what Nicholas’ dad did to her several years ago. She may even tell Abby about it.
‘Uh well... that’s great,’ she said at last. ‘So am I going to be a bridesmaid anytime soon?’
‘Wow... wow...’ Nicholas waved his hands as Frankie and Molly laughed. ‘One step at a time sis, for now we’re in love and getting to know each other... that next step in inevitable but not soon, okay?’
Melanie squeezed her brother’s arm fondly. ‘Well, I’m happy about it. And I’m sure Mum will be.’
Nicholas’ expression sobered. ‘I hope so too.’
From his tone, Melanie, Frankie and Molly knew that he wasn’t worried about Carly’s approval but if she would recover. ‘She will,’ Frankie said firmly. ‘let’s all just focus on that okay? Before we know it, she will be out of that hospital, Starr as well.’
Melanie nodded and turned as the doorbell rang.
‘Who could that be?’ Molly said, wiping her hands on her apron.
‘I’ll get it,’ Nicholas got up and went to the front door. ‘Yes,’ he addressed the young man on the doorstep. ‘Can I help you?’
The young man stared at him. ‘Nicky?’
Nicholas stared back and recognition hit him. ‘Oh my God... Shawn D.’