Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Chapter 37

Hope brought Ciara over to the apartment later. Ciara, wild with joy at seeing them again, squeezed Carly tight with her small arms after hugging Bo. ‘I missed you so much!’  She squealed.
‘We missed you too and look what we brought you.’ Bo handed a small box to Ciara; which revealed a silver charm bracelet. Hope watched as Carly clasped it on Ciara’s wrist, her face impassive.  ‘So... how was your trip?’ she asked.
‘It was great; it was something I really needed.’ Carly replied as Bo didn't seem inclined to; his manner towards his ex wife decidedly frigid.  
‘Well of course, after what you went through.’ Hope hesitated then looked down at her daughter. ‘Sweetie, why don't you go to your room for a bit, I want to talk to Daddy and Carly.’
‘Okay.’ Flashing a hero worship smile at Carly, the child scurried to the guest room she used whenever she stayed with Bo.  
‘Well?’ Bo asked, frostiness at full blast.
‘Bo, please.’ Carly said quietly, wanting as much as possible to avoid an altercation.
‘No it’s okay. He has the right to be mad at me, you both have that right, what with my behaviour towards you before you left town. The way I acted so ungrateful and heartless and I’m not, Carly... really.’ Hope’s face was now earnest.
‘Then why was it so hard for you to go and at least say thank you to the woman who saved our daughter, huh?’ Bo snapped, ignoring Carly’s imploring look. ‘You, Kayla, Ma.... Doug and Julie and Maggie; you were all simply too proud to admit you were wrong about her.’
Carly shifted under Bo’s protective arm round her shoulders, very embarrassed and greatly longing for this awkward conversation to end very soon.
‘Yes, you’re right!’ Hope snapped back, feeling like a child being rebuked, a thing she’s always hated but she forced down her anger with great effort. ‘I was too proud to come; after everything that happened to you and everything I said and thought about you... you actually saved my daughter even after you lost yours and probably blamed me for it...’
‘You didn't cause my miscarriage.’ Carly said quickly. ‘Neither you or Bo had anything to do with it, it happened and I’ve made my peace with it. And what went on afterwards was a period we’ll do well to simply forget and move on.’
‘How can you possibly just forget it?’ Hope demanded, incredulously. ‘I have so much to apologise for, so many things I regret...’
Bo looked away, irritated by the drama. If she really wanted to apologise to Carly, she should get on with it and be done.
Hope.’ Carly said emphatically. ‘Life’s far too short to go over regrets. What I did for Ciara that night, I would do again- miscarriage or no and I don't hold any grudge against you. Please, please... don't wear yourself out with guilt.’
That only made Hope feel worse, far worse than how she’d felt after Shawn Douglas had told her all about how Carly had gotten him out of the oil shaft and the many ways she was there for him, especially the two agonising months Bo was missing. If she had to lose Bo to another woman, she gladly and sincerely preferred relinquishing him to Carly Manning, who definitely deserved to be happy with him and vice versa.
‘Thank you.’ she said at last. ‘Lord knows I don't deserve your forgiveness and I can’t think of anyone else who would let me off this easy. But all the same Carly and you too Bo... I apologise for my behaviour and I hope we’ll be able to get along from now on.’
‘Well we hope so too, Hope.’ Bo said, still not letting go of Carly. ‘And you might as well know now, Carly and I got married in México.’
‘I know.’ Hope nodded, smiling faintly. ‘I noticed Carly’s rings. Congratulations, I really mean that.’  
‘Thanks.’ Carly’s returning smile was also faint but she knew sincerity when she heard it. Hope was letting go at long last.
‘Well...’ Hope adjusted the strap of her shoulder bag. ‘I have to go, tell Ciara I said goodbye.’ She hesitated and then gave Carly an unexpected hug. ‘Thank you again.’ She said softly, her smile wider before departing.
‘That wasn't so bad, thank God.’ Bo remarked after closing the door after her. Carly was wearing an odd expression on her face. Concerned, he touched her shoulder. ‘Princess, what’s wrong?’
‘I...I don't want this, Bo.’ She turned to look at him, eyes troubled. ‘ I don't want  people lining up apologising to me. I won’t be able to forget everything  that happened if they keep reminding me with their “I’m sorry, Carly”!’
‘It still doesn't mean they don't have to do it. Even before we slept together your name was already dragged into the mud, like they never knew you before! How do you think that made me feel?’
‘I didn't care.’
‘Don't lie to me, princess, you did; you just managed to hide it and you barely managed to  hide  what I put you through...’
Will you stop referring to it!’ Carly cried, exasperated now. ‘Just stop! I don't ever, ever want you to go back to guilty memory lane; not you, not the family, not the Hortons. I don't want to be reminded of that terrible time and I don't need words to know that they’re sorry.’ She cupped his face with both hands. ‘ You want to know the moment I actually forgave you? When you read the scroll with me at the hospital. You took me back to where we were all those years ago, when we belonged to each other... so nothing mattered from then on.’
‘Really?’ Bo asked, touched by her admission.
‘Yes. It was so sweet and meaningful, a huge bouquet of roses with a card saying “forgive me” wouldn’t have been half as precious.’ Her arms now circled his neck. ‘That was the reason why I forgave you; besides the fact that I love you so very much. I don't need an apology from them before I forgive them. I already have.’
‘I can’t believe you sometimes...’ he whispered, pushing back her hair with his fingers. ‘Even after everything?’
‘Even after everything.’ Was the soft reply. ‘Real forgiveness heals and helps a person to forget, not referring to the past and passing judgement over and over again.’
 Overwhelmed with love and tenderness for her, Bo kissed her passionately, not once but several times; holding her tight in his arms. The whole time they’d been apart, sixteen long  years without each other, she never changed; remaining the stubborn yet compassionate woman he’d fallen in love with so many years ago. And he’d come so close to losing her all over again; to another man and the cold hands of death. Every day for the rest of their lives, she’ll always see just how much he loved her.
Ciara came out as the last kiss ended and they broke the happy news of their marriage to her which resulted in a joyful and emotional group hug.
Later on, Carly phoned her brother, who was ominously silent when she told him she and Bo were now married. ‘I’ve forgiven him Frankie and I need you to forgive him too.’ She said pleadingly. ‘He loves me, really he does.’
‘Is he there?’ Frankie asked.
‘He’s right beside me.’
‘Put him on.’
Carly put the phone on speaker. ‘Bo?’
‘Hi Frankie.’
He heard his brother, or rather brother-in-law clear his throat. ‘Audra keeps calling me a hot head and maybe I am but I have to be where my sister is concerned. You surely understand why it’s hard for me to trust you.’
‘I do, man. But I really love Carly and believe me... she’ll never suffer any pain from me, ever again.’ Bo said earnestly, willing for Frankie to be convinced.                  ‘I want us to move on, be friends again; what do you say?’
A minute of silence and then Frankie spoke again, ‘Well, since you two have done the deed there’s nothing else except give you my blessing. Congratulations to you both, big bro.’
Bo and Carly smiled with relief. ‘Thanks so much, honey. Where’s Audra?’
‘She’s out but I’ll tell her your news of course. She’s going to be psyched that her idea turned out more than great.’ He said with dry humour.
‘It did and we can’t thank you both enough.’ Bo stroked Carly’s hair. ‘Give her our love and we hope to see you back here soon.’                                                              
Carly had told Bo she needed no apologies from the family but they didn't give her a choice in the matter all. Caroline showed up at the apartment the next day  with a chocolate covered cheese cake, a single white rose on top of the box. As she handed it to Carly, she looked at her earnestly, lips trembling with emotion. ‘Carly, I’m...’
‘Don't, Caroline.’ Carly interrupted,  putting the box down to take her hands. ‘Please don't.’
‘Please dear, just let me do this, or I’ll never be able to live with myself.’ Caroline gripped Carly’s fingers in hers, tears already forming in her eyes. ‘I’m so... so sorry for the way I treated you, for everything I accused you of...’
Carly shook her head firmly, hugging her tightly. ‘It’s over, all over... we never have to refer to it again. Please...’
And like Hope had felt, Caroline felt all the more ashamed at Carly’s unconditional kind-heartedness as she hugged her back; kissing her on both cheeks, tears pouring down hers. ‘Welcome.’ She said softly, touching Carly’s face. ‘Welcome back to the family.’ She turned to Bo, hugging him as well. ‘I’m sorry too, son, for everything.’
‘That’s okay, ma. I’ve forgotten all about it.’ Bo kissed his mother.
Caroline smiled at both of them. And congratulations to you both on... I know you’re going to be very happy.’ The couple exchanged loving looks. There was no doubt about that.
‘And...’ she added enthusiastically, clapping her hands. ‘Since we didn't make the ceremony, we are going to have a proper reception with the whole family.’
‘Oh that’s not necessary...’ Carly winced as Bo squeezed her wrist a tad too hard, signalling her not to argue.  
‘No, no... We must have a celebration and we will!’ Caroline said firmly. ‘We’ll have a big cake and all the trimmings!’
Which is what they had at the house a week later, the guests including Carly’s children, Daniel  and the out of town Bradys; Frankie and Audra, Shawn Douglas, Belle and Claire, Carrie and her husband Austin, Kimberly and her sons, Sami’s twin Eric and Max and Bo’s daughter Chelsea.
Frankie embraced his sister and solemnly shook hands with Bo, wishing them both happiness. Audra, overjoyed they were now married, insisted on hearing all about the ceremony.
 And there was of course Kayla who held Carly in her arms for several minutes, crying quietly. ‘Forgive me.’ She whispered in her ear.
‘Kayla, hush.’ Carly said, kissing her. ‘We’re sisters again, so none of that.’
Kayla smiled tearfully as Kimberly hugged her as well. ‘Only one person’s missing... Isabella. I wish she could have been here to see you both happy at last.’ 
‘Oh, I wouldn’t say that, Kim.’ Bo said, exchanging a knowing glance at Carly. ‘She’s always with us and I’m certain she’s more than happy we’re together.’
‘Hey... my turn to hug the bride.’ John elbowed Bo aside to pull Carly close. ‘Looking even more beautiful doc.’ He grinned, scanning her face.
‘Well you don't look so bad yourself, and of course you too, old friend.’ Carly exchanged a hug with Marlena and then Adrienne and Jennifer who squeezed her joyfully, grinning all over their faces.
‘It’s so wonderful to see you again, Carly and lord knows you’ve aged better than I have.’ Marlena teased.
‘Well, I think we’re not bad looking for women over 40!’ Jennifer retorted jokingly, making them laugh.
While the women surrounded Carly, admiring her rings, Chelsea congratulated her father. ‘She’s beautiful, Dad.’ She commented.
‘Thanks honey, she makes me very happy.’
‘I can tell, from the look in your eyes.’ Chelsea smiled warmly. ‘Shawn D told me all about her and Mum added her bit. It must have so weird seeing her again after so long.’
‘An understatement because I never thought I’d ever see her again or we’ll end up back together after all that time. We found each other again after a lot of obstacles because it was just meant to be.’
‘Seeing you two with each other, no can say what you two got isn't deep.’ Chelsea kissed him. ‘You both stay happy.’
Roman led the toast after everyone’s glasses  were full of champagne. ‘To my little brother and my new sister-in-law; the bravest and most wonderful woman I’ve ever known and many years of love and happiness.’
‘Hear, Hear!’ was the general chorus.
After the cake was cut, Melanie put on some music and the party became even livelier.
‘Happy, princess?’ Bo asked, hugging his wife from behind.
‘With everybody here, celebrating and sharing our joy; deliriously happy.’ Carly rested against him, watching Frankie chatting with Roman. ‘And one more thing besides being with the family again.’
‘Yeah, what’s that.’
In reply, she pushed his hands lower, pressing them on her stomach. Bo didn't understand at first but suddenly a wonderful thought struck him as he felt something.
‘Princess...’ he whispered, his fingers detecting a small bulge. ‘Are you... are we...?’
‘I found out yesterday.’ She whispered. ‘I didn't tell you because I wanted to be sure.’
‘Oh my God...’ he kissed the back of her neck, caressing her stomach. A long hoped reunion and now another miracle. ‘Are you scared?’
‘A little. But for the most part, I’m very grateful.’ Carly whispered back, emotion in her voice. ‘But I’m not ready to tell everybody just yet.’
‘Sure... whatever you want.’ Bo turned her round to face him, meeting her radiant eyes. ‘We’ll have our own private celebration when we get home. All night long.’
‘As long as we don't get too carried away and wake Ciara.’ She grinned, pressing her face against him.
‘Oh stop with the mushy stuff and get your butts to the dance floor!’ Justin exclaimed in mock disgust. Laughing with sheer joy, Bo dragged his bride to the middle of the room, every one applauding and cheering encouragement as Bo spun Carly to the music.

Everybody one, everybody two, everybody free
Everybody needs to touch, you know, now and then
And everybody wants a good, good friend

Everybody wants to be
Closer to Free

I said everybody one, everybody two, everybody free
Everybody wants to live
Like they wanna live and
Everybody wants to love like they wanna love and

Everybody wants to be
Closer to Free

Yeah, Closer to Free
Yeah, Closer to Free
Closer to Free.....

And that was how Bo and Carly Brady felt; completely free to love each other and openly live their love like they had the right to. For always.

Vivian Alamain was found guilty of attempted murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison, her accomplice Gus Pascal receiving the same sentence.
After making her peace with Bo and Carly, Hope began dating her divorce lawyer, Damon Ward but the relationship never lead to marriage; she was done with it.
Daniel and Jennifer got married in a simple civil wedding; Doug, Hope’s father, gave her away. He and Julie and the rest of the Hortons also made their peace with Carly.
Lexie and Abe moved to Philadelphia with Theo and Carly assumed the position of Chief of Staff , still managing to spend time with her husband.

‘Push again, Carly.’
Beads of sweat on her forehead, Carly obeyed, moaning in excruciating pain. Bo held her hand tightly.
‘Stay with me Princess, I’m right here.’
‘I can see the head... one more push!’ Dr. Heather Shaw urged. Carly pushed again with the last of her strength. A hearty cry of a new born infant finally sounded.
‘It’s a boy.’ Heather said, happy tears in her eyes visible above the surgical mask. ‘He’s perfect!’
‘Oh he is!’ Melanie said softly, tears running down her cheeks as she beheld her baby brother. ‘And he’s so beautiful!’
The baby was cleaned and wrapped in a shawl before placed in Carly’s arms.
‘Oh Bo...’ she whispered. ‘Our baby. We have a baby...’
Bo gazed down at their son, who quietened as he peered at them out of his tiny eyes, squirming in Carly’s arms. ‘He’s incredible.’ He said softly, stroking his soft cheek. ‘So beautiful. He has your eyes, princess.’
‘But he looks like you and a bit like Shawn D.’ She kissed the child on the forehead. ‘Oh my God...’ She looked up at her husband. ‘I love you.’
Bo kissed her, long and tenderly. ‘Love you too, princess.’  
The child was baptized Ryan Francis  Brady two weeks later in church; Frankie and Audra, who was six months pregnant, appointed his godparents.  Bo and Carly’s happiness was finally complete.

The end. 


Chapter 36

‘How did you know they’d prepared it for us?’ Carly asked, looking round in delight at the candle lit room Bo led her into. It was their beloved hut from long ago, lovingly and elaborately furnished and decorated again. And like before, in keeping with Mayan custom, they’d secretly made an exit from the wedding reception. It wasn't practised in native Mayan weddings but Soledad had made a huge cake with the words Congratulations Bo and Carlina written in icing while Professor Moore popped open a bottle of Xtabentún and led the toast to their happiness.
‘Soledad dropped a heavy hint while you and the Professor were talking. She and two of the professor’s students did all this.’ Bo explained.
Carly guessed who the students were; Raquel and Marianna; who had told her they’d found her and Bo’s story very, very romantic and how lucky they were to have found each other all over again.
‘Well, they did a very good job. It’s just like I remember it.’ She turned to smile up at him as he kissed her hands, one after the other.
‘I’ve never been so happy than I am right now.’ She whispered, holding on to him. ‘I still can’t believe I’m looking at my husband.’  
‘It’s all real.’ Bo replied softly. ‘Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve you, princess.’ Tears filling his eyes, he kissed her hands again, his lips lingering over the finger bearing her engagement and wedding rings.
Carly freed one hand to wipe his eyes, her own misty. ‘It wasn't an easy journey, was it?’
‘No, it wasn't. But this moment...’ he held her face with both hands. ‘This beautiful moment makes it all worth it. We belong to each other, in the truest sense of the word, princess. And maybe it took a very long time but we’re back at the beginning of our journey; back in Corzon Del Cielo.’
‘The Heart of Heaven.’ Carly whispered.
‘Yeah... the heart of heaven; our own private world, our love. I’m never letting you go again; ever. And we’ll be living our love for the rest of our lives, princess. I promise you.’ Touching her face, he then pulled her close then they kissed eagerly and fervently, hands slowly  undressing each other. As soon as Carly’s dress slid noiselessly on the floor, Bo crushed her bare breasts against his chest and lifted her high in his arms, placing her gently on the cool, clean sheets before moving over her, fire licking through his veins. The silence in the room was broken by the sounds of quick breathing and whispered words of love. Hands and fingers caressed skin, lips and tongues merged and duelled; Carly gripped Bo’s muscular shoulders as they moved in the age-old, primitive dance of love, meeting his passion with an equal force. Growling with pleasure, Bo flipped her on top of him and the pace grew wilder and harder; carrying each other to the final, earth shattering peak, their bodies melting together as they lay on the bed, sated and exhausted. Bo shivered and stroked Carly’s hair as he felt her lips raining kisses on his chest, aftershocks of fulfilment rippling through him. They’d made love so many times before but this... on this particular night was so wonderfully different. Carly was finally his legal wife; completely and irrevocably attached to him... for all time. Raising her head, he kissed her lingeringly, enfolding her in his arms.
‘I love you.’ He whispered, meeting her radiant eyes. ‘Our love is for always, I hope you believe that.’
‘I’m back at the very beginning with the man I love.’ She whispered back. ‘I believe in anything now.’
‘This is the beginning... of an easier, smoother journey for us. None of the mistakes of the past or anyone to stand between us, ever again.’
Carly kissed him, rested her head against his chest, savouring the feel of his hands rubbing her back. ‘We’ll have to go home sometime though.’
‘Hmm...This year or next?’ he teased.
Carly laughed softly along with him. ‘We have a week and a few days left before you have to go back to work. Duty calls, commissioner.’
Bo sighed. ‘True. And what about you? You’re going to take that job?’
‘I still feel odd about it. When I first came to Salem, I was another young intern walking behind Dr. Horton; I never thought I’ll be holding his position some day.’
‘Did anybody think a hot headed motorcycle riding punk like me would wound up the Police Commissioner?’
‘You’ve always been above anything you thought of yourself, Bo.’
‘And you’re prejudiced.’ He kissed her head. ‘Even when you were scared something might happen to me, you still supported me when I decided to join the force. Remember how you helped me study for the exam?’
‘I was strict.’
‘But you made up for it... much later.’
 Carly rubbed his arm, smiling. ‘I remember when I first saw you, after I came back. I was at the hospital, trying to find medication for Rafe... I saw you by the nurses’ station. You were holding Theo in your arms and talking to Maxine. Seeing you for the first time in years and hearing the sound of your voice...’ she nuzzled against his neck. ‘I knew so much had changed since we parted ways but the feelings were there all the same. At first I told myself I was just proud of you and happy that your life had turned out better than mine...’
 Bo gripped her tightly. ‘You were wrong about that.’                                         
‘Far better than mine.’ Carly insisted. ‘At least you had your family; Shawn Douglas, Zach and then Ciara. I was all alone; Lawrence kept moving us from one place to another so that Frankie couldn't contact me and I was so worried about my daughter. And...’
‘And what?’ Bo asked, softly.
‘Well... sometimes I wondered if you ever thought about me. But that went to hell after Lawrence told me Hope was back in your life. He kept crowing over it at every opportunity; laughing about how it was now easier for you to forget me because you would’ve left me anyway if he hadn’t stolen me away from you.’
‘That bastard...’ Bo bit out savagely.
‘But did you? You know... think of me sometimes?’ she asked hesitantly.
‘I did.’ He confessed softly, anger gone. ‘Sometimes when I had a really bad day, I thought about you, wondering if you were happy... if you’d had other kids and my mind would go to what might have been if I’d gotten you out of that casket first.’ He resumed stroking her back. ‘So many things ran through my mind when I looked into your eyes for the first time in years.’
‘The main thing being...?’
‘That you were even more beautiful than the last time I saw you. And the whole time we talked, I wondered when I’ll see that lovely smile. Your face looked so haunted and scared... I hated seeing you that way.’
Carly kissed his chest.
 ‘But all that’s way behind us now, princess. We’re together and it’s going to stay that way, for good this time. We’ve both paid our dues; you especially. Which is why I want you to accept the board’s offer when we get back to Salem. The hospital couldn't have chosen a better Chief of Staff to run it.’
‘Now who’s being prejudiced?’ She said softly, raising her head to meet his eyes again, one finger tracing his upper lip. Grinning, he nipped the tip of her finger. ‘Great minds think alike, remember? But I mean it. The sky’s the limit; just go for it.’
 She smiled back. ‘I love you.’
‘I love you too.’ Bo pulled her down to kiss her deeply again, then gently rolled her on her back and they made love several times over for the rest of the night.

Carly was awoken by something velvety brushing against her cheek. Opening her eyes, the first thing she saw was a half open rose and then Bo’s smiling face hovering over hers. ‘Good morning, princess.’ He murmured, handing it to her. Carly sniffed it briefly before sitting up to kiss him; their lips joining lovingly. ‘Good morning... husband.’ She stroked his unshaven cheek with the back of her hand. ‘It still feels like a dream; almost too beautiful to be real.’
‘You’re almost too beautiful to be real.’ He kissed her again, wrapping his arms round her. ‘Everything about you; your mind, your heart...everything. The whole time you were in a coma and I sat beside you, holding your hand... I kept praying that when you opened your eyes, they would look at me like they used to... before I screwed up.’ He looked deep in the green eyes staring back at him with love and warmth. ‘Promise you’ll never stop looking at me like that.’
‘I promise.’ Carly replied softly. ‘And do you promise, to always wake me up like this, with this smile on your face, reminding me that I’m the luckiest woman on earth? And...’ she touched his face again. ‘That I’ll never lose you?’
‘You never have to be afraid of that, princess. Because I’m not going anywhere. Not for anything, or anyone.’ He took hold of her hand, rubbing his thumb over the rings. ‘These aren’t the only things binding us. Our love, our bond, our souls; every one of them....unbreakable. ’ He kissed her long and deep. ‘You also promise that you’ll always stay strong for us, be by my side no matter what the future brings?’
Carly’s intense kiss spoke louder than words and there was no talking for a little while.
‘We should get dressed and go grab some breakfast.’ She said breathlessly as Bo’s hands began stoking a gnawing hunger through her body again. 
‘In another few minutes.’ He whispered, running his lips along her jaw and neck.
‘But aren’t you...’ Carly exhaled sharply as he moved up to her ear. ‘Aren’t you starving?’
‘I’m starved for you.’
And with that came more lovemaking. For the next ten minutes.

The rest of their vacation was spent in Cancun after a few days at Chichén Itzá. While they both felt sad at leaving their very special place; Bo promised Carly they’ll come back on their one year anniversary and then the next.
‘Home Sweet Home.’ Carly said wryly as Bo unlocked the door of their apartment.
‘No...’ Bo stopped her as she was about to follow him inside. Dropping their bags, he lifted her in his arms and carried her across the threshold, covering her with kisses as he deposited her on the couch. ‘Welcome home, Mrs. Brady.’ He murmured against her lips then kissed her over again.
Carly stroked his cheeks. ‘Are you dreading everyone’s reaction to our news, like I am?’ she asked softly.
‘They’ll get over it in time; we did what we wanted for us.’ Was Bo’s firm reply. ‘And certain people will also have to accept the fact that you’re my wife now.’
‘Victor will blow a fuse.’
 ‘We should be so lucky.’ He retorted, honestly not caring what his biological father thought. ‘I’m done with him for good this time; so the hell with him. As for Kayla and Mum; I’d like to see them showing any disrespect to you from now on.’
‘Oh Bo...’ Carly said, distressed at the thought of a long lasting feud. ‘Surely they won’t still be aggressive towards me after all this time?’
‘They’ll be very heartless then if they are.’ Bo’s face was hard and unrelenting. ‘You almost died saving my daughter so they should be asking you for forgiveness a hundred times over. And I’m not going to have anything to do with them until they do!’
Carly winced, praying it won’t come to that; it wouldn’t be a good start to their marriage at all. But not wanting to ruin their first day home, she didn't argue. Instead, she smiled, slipping her arms round his neck. ‘So what should we do now?’
Bo frowned, pretending to be thinking hard which made her break out in helpless giggles.
‘Well we could let the kids know we’re back in town but I sort of want you all to myself...’
You’ve had me all to yourself for four whole weeks!’ she reminded, laughingly trying to disentangle herself from his arms which were already fast placing her on lockdown. ‘Get off me... I want to take a shower.’
‘Even better.’ he leered, kissing down her neck before rising, pulling her to her feet.
‘Commissioner Brady, you are a sex fiend!’ she complained as he began undressing her as soon as they got to the bathroom.
‘Sure I am... that’s why you married me, doc.’

 ‘Married?!’ Nicholas spluttered after the bombshell was dropped. ‘Without inviting us to the wedding?’
‘I can’t believe you did this without telling us, how could you?’ Melanie exclaimed, staring at the rings glittering on her mother’s finger.  ‘Oh Bo, we would’ve wanted to be there! It’s not fair!’
‘We wanted it to be just us, our way.’ Bo forcibly got a word in, refusing to let them make him or Carly feel guilty. ‘Understand... it took a very long time coming and we didn't want to wait any longer; with the planning and whatever. Besides, there was no time to invite you lot to fly over to Chichén Itzá.’
‘Chichén Itzá?’ Melanie asked in surprise and delight, remembering what that place had meant to them, according to Carly’s stories. ‘That’s where you got married?’
‘At the foot of El Castillo; we had a native Mayan wedding!’ Carly said enthusiastically, reliving the happiest day of her life. ‘I’m so, so sorry we didn't invite you all like Bo said... we just couldn't wait any longer. Please don't be mad at us.’
Melanie and Nicholas glared at Bo but only for a minute; their faces soon softening.
‘Congratulations Mum, we couldn't be happier for you!’ Nicholas shook Bo’s hand. ‘And congratulations to you too, I hope you both will be very happy.’
‘Thanks Nick. I promise I’ll take good care of her.’
‘I’ll hold you up on that.’
Melanie hugged her new step father, as Nicholas hugged Carly; kissing his cheek before whispering in his ear. ‘But so you know, if you ever hurt Mum again, Nick and I will punish and torture you in ways you’ve never heard of.’
Bo grinned ruefully as she pulled away; the warning was playful but he sensed the faint steely tone in her voice.
‘I never will Mel, I promise you both that. I love her very much.’
Melanie’s eyes, so like her mother’s, regarded him solemnly. ‘I know you do. Just make sure your mistakes don't repeat themselves, okay?’
Bo touched his step daughter’s cheek reassuringly. ‘They won’t... ever again. Because I know what I’ll be without Carly. Empty.’ He looked at Carly who was in deep conversation with Nicholas. ‘I really mean it.’
Taking her mother aside as Nicholas talked to Bo, she whispered. ‘See what Love and Time’s done for you; just like Adrienne said.’  
‘Yes, so much.’ Carly said emotionally as Melanie hugged her again.
‘You of all people deserve it, Mum. When someone like you gives so much love, you get it back ten-fold. And I’m very, very happy for you. No more sadness from now on.’
‘No.’ Carly lovingly glanced at Bo over Melanie’s shoulder. ‘Only love. And I’ll be living it with that wonderful man over there from now on.’


Chapter 35

When they entered their bedroom, Bo put his arms round Carly and began kissing her; her arms locking round his neck as she returned his kiss with wild abandon,  their lips fusing with desperate, wild desire, punctuated by their desperate seeking hands. Clothes were ripped off and sent flying in every direction before they sank on the bed; Carly’s breathing coming out in helpless gasps as Bo’s hard, heated body covered hers, wrapping her arms round his neck as he continued kissing her with a sensual brutality echoed by her own seeking tongue.
 When they were younger, he’d constantly made love to this beautiful body; that fateful afternoon in her hotel room, he’d passionately rediscovered every part of her, not caring about the few tell-tale signs of Larry’s beatings.  The beautiful body was now even more beautiful because it had taken bullets for his precious daughter and all he wanted was worship it.
And worshipped it, he did, with his lips and hands; kissing and touching every inch of her, each curve, exploring each hollow and Carly trembled and arched beneath him as he kissed her stomach, gently  patted her legs and then moved further down...
She cried his name out, her body clenching as she gave herself up to the sweet, hot torture, her fingers gripping his shoulders as he mercilessly stoked the fire within her until she was shaking with excruciating need for him. Reaching down, she grabbed his head, lifting it from her. Their blazing eyes met; she didn't need to spell it out to him. Patting her legs further, he was inside her; hot, hard and throbbing, stopping her tiny cries at her mouth with the force of his own.
‘I love you,’ she murmured as he left her mouth to gently nip the side of her neck, her hands moving over his muscled back as each flex of his hips drove her higher.
‘Princess... my princess...’ he managed, face buried against her neck, ‘you’re so beautiful... you’ve always been so beautiful...’ He seized her lips again, her arms and legs like silken cords holding him amid the ferocity of their joining; every muscle straining for release. Carly rippled beneath him gasping, and he was right there with her, gripping her shoulders as wave after wave washed over him.
Clinging to each other in a tight embrace, they lay still as the last aftershocks of pleasure shook them. Then Bo raised his head to look down at her, brushing back strands of hair from her face. ‘I love you, princess.’ He said softly before kissing her breathless, her arms locked round his neck.
‘Love's definitely what dreams are made of,’ she said as they lay entwined, feeling Bo’s stroking her thigh resting on his. ‘I can’t wait to be your wife, Bo.’
Bo moved his head to kiss her brow, stroking her hair. ‘And I’ll be the luckiest man on earth; waking up every day for the rest of my life next to you.’
Carly rubbed his chest, fingering the chain he wore. ‘I guess we’ll have to wait until we get home; for everybody to be at the wedding.’ As she spoke, she realised she didn't want to get married in Salem didn't appeal to her; both times she and Bo had planned their formal wedding there and it had ended up in a big fat zero and a sixteen year separation. Much as she wanted her children, Ciara, Adrienne and Jennifer to be at her wedding, the idea of taking their vows surrounded by people who initially disapproved of her didn't sound appealing at all.
Bo’s hand stilled as he thought the same thing. Caroline and Kayla had been too cowardly or too proud to go to Carly for forgiveness and the Hortons would do their best to make him feel guilty for leaving Hope by blaming Carly; not out loud but the last thing he wanted was have their wedding day ruined the third time.
‘We don't have to wait till we get back.’ He said at last. ‘At least I know I don't.’
Carly raised her head, eyes glowing with relief. ‘Oh thank God... I feel the same way! I don't want to walk down the aisle with everybody staring and wondering what they actually think of us; especially Victor who will obviously show up even if we don't invite him, just to spite us.’
‘No... We can’t have that at all.’ He agreed, holding her face. ‘This wedding is about us, not them and I’m not about to go about pleasing anybody this time. So you name it, princess... we’ll get married anytime and anywhere you want and we’ll just do it. Melanie and Nick will understand.’
Carly hesitated. ‘What about Frankie? We’re going to tell him first, right?’
Bo’s expression was stern and impatient. ‘I love Frankie, no doubt about that... but I don't need his permission, he’ll just have to learn to accept me as your husband and trust that we’ll always be together. Come on, princess... just name the day and place.’
Carly suddenly smiled widely. Where else on earth could be a better setting for their wedding ceremony, not to mention the wedding ceremony itself?

‘Ready, Carlina?’
Carly turned from the mirror, smiling at her old friend. ‘More than ready. I...still can’t believe this day is finally here... I’m so scared, Soledad. This is too much like a wonderful dream!’
Soledad Moore held her hands, kissing her on both cheeks. ‘It is real, my dear friend. You are about to become a bride, and your groom is waiting for you. The turbulent journey has ended, now you’re about to embark on a new one; a journey filled with love, laughter and peace- three things you deserve. And I’m glad my husband and I are here to see you and Bo take your vows. You are truly meant to be together.’
Carly blinked back her tears, not wanting to mar her makeup. ‘Yes. Just give me a second.’
‘Of course.’ Patting her cheek, Soledad left the room. Carly turned to look at the mirror again, running her hands over the elegantly embroidered Mayan huipil she had on; made of white hand woven cloth, more elaborate than the one she’d worn on her symbolic wedding. Her hair was styled in the native fashion and decorated with a tropical flower headdress by Soledad and her friends, a lace shawl round her shoulders. Round her neck was a strand of carved jade beads, matching bracelets on both wrists and dangling earrings in her ears. She and Bo were getting married in a traditional Mayan ceremony to be held at the foot of the ancient
Kukulcán Pyramid, also known as El Castillo. Once she’d told Bo what she wanted, he’d insisted on them flying to México and driving down to Chichén Itzá from Cancun to see Professor Hank Moore and Soledad who were wild with joy on seeing them again and enthusiastically helped with the wedding arrangements. Soledad got some local women to make Carly’s dress and prepare the food while the professor took them to meet the local Shaman in the area. After hearing their story, the old man, who luckily spoke excellent English besides his native tongue said he would be more than honoured to join them as Man and Wife; praising them for taking their spiritual connection from the symbolic wedding to heart and on his advice, Bo and Carly had performed the Mayan ritualistic cleansing a few days ago at one of the local spas. The ceremony was now about to begin; and Carly was nervous but very, very happy. In a few minutes, she was going to be Bo’s wife; legally.
‘You were right Izzy B,’ she said softly. ‘I have seen the depth of Bo’s love and I know you’ll be with us in spirit today.’ Pausing, she continued more softly, ‘And thank you Tony... for being there for me. You made me happy during the short time we had and I’ll never forget that... or you. My destiny was written a long time ago and now... it’s about to come to pass. I know Bo and I have your blessing... and you’re happy for us.’ Sniffling a little, she dabbed at her eyes. ‘Goodbye... and thank you.’
Bracing herself, she went out to where Soledad and the women were waiting. ‘I’m ready now.’
Smiling, they led her to the wedding venue.


Bo adjusted the collar of his white Mexican shirt, anticipating Carly’s arrival. Apart from Professor Moore who was his best man, there were several archaeology students dressed in white traditional outfits as well as the Shaman who was standing under the bamboo gazebo set up and his assistant priests.
‘Nervous?’ asked Hank.
‘Are you kidding? I’m way too happy to be nervous; when Carly and I spilt up years ago, I never thought I’d ever see her again. But she came back to me... no, she was returned to me and I’m never, ever letting her go again.’
Hank smiled, patting his shoulder. ‘You kids deserve this day. And I’m glad you chose to get married this way. Your symbolic wedding was one thing, but a real  Mayan wedding ceremony is mystic and way deeper... your souls will be even more bound forever. But are you sure your family back home won’t be mad that you’re getting married without telling them?’
‘They’ll get over it in time.’ Bo replied, firmly, feeling no guilt whatsoever. ‘This is how we wanted to do it  so they’ll just have to respect that.’
‘Well, Carly thinks the same way; so I guess they’ll just have to. And I know you two will be very happy.’
Bo smiled warmly at his old friend. ‘I’m gonna do my best to make her very happy. Every day of our lives.’
‘She’s coming.’ Said one of the students suddenly. At the distance, Bo could see his princess coming; just like she’d arrived years back, led by Soledad and the women, breathtakingly beautiful in her wedding dress; her feet bare like his since the ancient ceremony emphasized the interaction with Mother Nature.
She smiled shyly as she reached him, green eyes radiant with love and happiness. ‘I love you.’ she mouthed as he took her hand, holding it tight.
‘I love you too.’ He mouthed back as they made their way to the altar under the gazebo; the priests playing evocative music from pre-Hispanic instruments and intonations of the sacred conch shell. The altar was made with flowers at four points with an arch and offerings on top; four candles lit on the arch. Four lit candles, representing  the four cardinal points (north, south, east and west) stood on the four corners of the table and one unlit candle dedicated to man and god (Mother Earth and cosmos) at the center. Incense from the copal tree, wafted through the air.
Encircled by their witnesses; the ceremony began. As it was being conducted in Maya, the Shaman had explained the whole process to Bo and Carly a few days back, including his sermon. Lighting the centre candle, he spoke of love, forgiveness and new beginnings and the ancient Mayan ideologies concerning the union of husband and wife.
The Shaman then asked Bo in English, ‘Do you take this woman as your wedded wife and spiritual partner; to be bound to her in body and soul forever?’
‘Yes.’ Bo replied, eyes fixed on Carly’s face.
‘And do you take this man as your wedded husband and spiritual partner; to be bound to him in body and soul together?’
‘Yes.’ Carly whispered.
The old man nodded. ‘Give each other your promise in front of your witnesses here. The bride may proceed first.’
Carly cleared her throat then began, ‘Every second, every hour of every day I love you more... with all my heart. Every time I see you, I tell myself there can never be another you, Bo. You are the great love of my life and I’m so happy we’re getting married right here... our special place. I love you and I pray we have many more years together, loving each other as we do now. There’s a poem which says: “Love is never easy, but it turns life into a song. There’s no circumstance that love cannot transform.” I never thought we would stand face to face like this; but love and fate decided otherwise. I promise to love and cherish you, to keep you close and with faithfulness, to be your prop and helpmate in times of need, to make you laugh and to hold you when you cry, to hold you to the highest respect and honour as you so deserve for the rest of my life.’
Bo gripped her hands, his brown eyes warm with love. ‘Like I told you the night I asked you to marry me, I carry you in my heart, in my thoughts and in my soul every day and I always will, forever. You know my word of love to you is true because it comes straight from the heart you captured so many years ago when I was a broken, unhappy man who was bent on turning away from love. You are my light, my air, my everything. I love you so much, princess. I know that you are the only one for me, my one true love. I am happy and I am grateful that you came back into my life and I’m never letting you go. I promise to hold you, cherish you and give you my heart and always be by your side... your hand in mine, regardless of what life would bring to us.’ Unable to help himself, he lifted her hands, kissing them.
The Shaman blessed the two white gold rings before handing one to Bo. Bo slid the ring on her finger, saying, ‘With this token of love, I take you as my wife and spiritual partner.’
Carly received the slightly bigger ring and said, ‘With this token of love, I take you as my husband and spiritual partner.’ And slid it on Bo’s finger with a trembling hand.
‘You have made the sacred vows to each other and you are now forever connected. Great Father, Bless this marriage, as Bo and Carly begin their new journey down the road of life together. May earth and heaven mingle, May earth and heaven be one. All through your earthly journey until sets your earthly sun. In sunshine and in shadow…through dancing and in song, May heaven bless your union, throughout your whole life long. By the power vested in me; I pronounce you wedded. You may now kiss your wife.’
 Carly couldn’t believe they’ve finally done it. They were Man and Wife… at long, long last! Bo too was dazed, after all this time, he was married to Carly; legally and binding. My wife! He thought as he encircled Carly’s waist and planted a long, passionate kiss on her which she returned, her arms locked round his neck. Everyone applauded loudly, laughing and cheering at the happy couple then began spraying them with colourful petals of different flowers.

The start of their new beginning.