Roman looked at his mother and at his sister, who were sitting opposite him. Kayla’s face was expressionless while Caroline’s was a mixture of uneasiness, reproach and sadness; her eyes lowered. Roman already told them of Starr’s birth, Melanie’s visit and Frankie’s presence in town.
‘Sooner or later this day had to come. Melanie’s more aware of Carly’s past with Bo now. And I doubt Frankie will count himself as a member of this family from now on after he hears what happened to his sister. His sister, Mum. How can we say we’re Frankie’s family after Carly was treated like an outsider by all of us? What sort of excuse are we going to give him? Or we’re just going to act all defensive and do to him what we did to his sister; his only blood relative? We accused her of coming to wreck Bo’s marriage. We didn't care to listen to her side of the story of Alamain’s murder. Like it or not, we’ve got a lot to answer for.’
‘I’m aware of that, Roman.’ Kayla said, her tone flat. She’d been away for a week attending a medical conference, thus didn't know about Carly’s illness until Roman informed her and Caroline. ‘But what exactly can we do about this now? What’s done is done; Frankie can’t expect us to go down on our knees and start apologising.’
‘Do you hear yourself?’ Roman asked harshly. ‘Is this how we would’ve treated Carly years ago after Hope suddenly came back? Have Bo throw Carly and Melanie out of his life because of his history with Hope? Look at how we all swept Carly’s past with Bo, with this family, under the rug because we cared too much about Hope’s feelings! For god sake; Carly was one of us!’
‘Fine, she didn't come back here for the reasons we thought,’ Kayla snapped. ‘But all the same she shouldn’t have come back here; she was a complication Bo didn’t need...’
‘Don’t you ever call her that again!’ Kayla rose, backing away from her brother’s wrath, his fist pounding the kitchen table.
‘Roman, Kayla... please stop, just stop.’ Caroline demanded, her voice trembling. ‘I can’t watch you two arguing, please.’
Roman scowled at his sister, not heeding their mother. Kayla scowled back, trying not to be intimidated by him but felt her eyes lowering.
‘Is Carly going to be alright?’ Caroline asked slowly.
‘She’s still in a coma; what she’s got is life threatening.’ Roman turned to her, replying with great effort as he was still simmering with anger.
‘And...’ Caroline swallowed, ‘the baby?’
‘She’s in the NICU right now.’
‘Oh my God...’ Caroline closed her eyes, bowing her head. ‘How angry is he... Frankie?’‘From what Jennifer told me over the phone, I can only imagine how he’s feeling right now. I don’t know about you two but I’m going over to the hospital right now to see Carly and my niece; your granddaughter. Hope can say what she likes; I’m done shunning my brother’s ex because of her.’
Picking up his car keys, he left the house; slamming the door behind him.
Kayla sighed deeply, sitting down next to her sobbing mother and put her arms round her. ‘Mum, you’re going make yourself ill; please stop crying.’
‘How will I face Frankie? He will never forgive us...’
‘Mum, stop it... it’s going to be alright...’ Kayla soothed.
‘How’s it going to be alright? Frankie’s my son, your brother... what are you going to tell him?’ Caroline demanded. ‘Carly’s his sister, Kayla... one of the many things we conveniently forgot about!’
Kayla shook her head, refusing to give in to guilt. ‘That may be true Mum... but Carly shouldn’t have gotten involved with Bo. Whatever the circumstances, her relationship with Bo was wrong.’
Caroline pushed Kayla’s arm away from her shoulder. ‘after everything that’s been going on in this family over the years... Kayla; who are we to judge what’s right and what’s wrong?’ More tears rolled down her cheeks as memories flooded in. ‘ I cheated on your father... for selfish reasons. You got involved with your sister’s ex-husband.’
Kayla bit her lower lip. ‘Mum...’
‘What right did we have to judge Carly?’ Caroline shouted. ‘She came back to find her daughter... she endured years of abuse instead of contacting Bo to help her! That’s the extent of how much she loves him! Carly was like a daughter to me.... she was your friend. How will we explain our actions to Frankie... you tell me that!’
Long awkward silence.
‘I should go,’ Hope sat up, only to be pulled back down.
She sighed, resting her head against his shoulder; her body still tingling from his lovemaking. ‘I can’t stay the night, Ciara will be wondering where I am,’ she whispered, running her fingers over his chest longingly.
‘She’s your daughter, not your keeper. You can call and tell Kiriakis you’ll be out half the night, cop stuff.’
Hope smiled faintly as she raised her head, pressing a kiss on his mouth. Since the day she’d met him at Ciara’s school she’d sensed the attraction for him and vice versa and fought hard against it; her love for Bo the main reason. But the feelings she had for this man couldn’t be ignored anymore. He’d found her at the docks, upset over her fight with Jennifer and in the middle of comforting her, had kissed her. Dinner had led to him taking her back to his place; where they finally gave in to passion. It was different from her time with Patrick. She had been taken in by him true but it was mostly out of revenge towards Bo for his betrayal; an act of revenge she later found out to be futile. But now, she felt no guilt or remorse.
Aiden Jennings kissed Hope back, wrapping his arms round her tightly.
Pulling back a little, he stroked one eyebrow with the tip of his finger. ‘This isn’t a one night stand for me. I don’t want an affair; I want a relationship, a real relationship with you.’
‘Aiden...’ Hope sat up, clutching the sheet to her chest.
‘I mean it, Hope.’ Aiden’s strikingly handsome face was stern. ‘We’ve been keeping back how we feel for each other for a very long time. We can’t deny it any longer.’
‘Not after this we can’t,’ Hope reluctantly agreed.
‘What’s this about, then?’ Aiden cupped her chin. ‘Do you still nurse the hope that Bo will come back to you? Or... is this a way of getting back at him?’
‘No!’ Hope denied, stung by the question. ‘Of course not.’
‘Then we do we go from here, Hope? I know what I want but what about you?’
‘It’s a little more complicated than you think.’
‘You’re afraid of what your family’s going to think about us, aren’t you?’
‘Well, yes.’ Hope admitted. ‘Technically, Bo and I aren’t married... but he’s still the father of my children and we’ve been together for years. We had our rough patches but we always got through them.’
‘If this was another rough patch, you wouldn’t be in bed with me right now.’
Hope couldn’t argue with that. Bo’s been away for months... No letter after the one she got through John; no phone call, not one word to let her know he was alright. All because of his “deep undercover” mission. Just thinking about it made her angry and resentful all over again. If Bo really loved his family, truly put them first; he wouldn’t be gone at all. She was the one who’s been raising their daughter alone; Ciara affected by her father’s absence. Lonely nights, wondering if Bo would come home anytime soon and they will be a family again.
Will they ever be a family even if he came back tomorrow? She just made love to another man... and she didn’t feel guilty, but she still loved Bo. She turned to look at Aiden and the tender expression on his face made her want to cry. She touched his cheek. ‘Give me time to think.’ She said softly. ‘Please... my feelings are just all over the place right now. Please?’
Aiden looked at her for a few seconds then nodded, drawing her back into his arms.
‘She’s beautiful, Mel.’ Roman said softly, peering down at Starr through the glass. ‘And it’s a beautiful name Carly picked out for her.’ He’d already seen Carly, very sad to see how pale and ill she looked under the oxygen mask.
Melanie shrugged. ‘Thanks for the flowers and the baby stuff.’
‘It’s the least I could do. Even before Jennifer called me, I thought about what you said the day you came to the station. And you’re right, Mel. We acted badly. And we should’ve told you more about your Mum, especially since you could’ve been Bo’s daughter. I’m really sorry.’
So you should be, Abby, who was standing beside Melanie, thought scathingly but said nothing.
‘I sent him and Molly to Mum’s house; they needed the rest. You remember Molly?’
Roman frowned. ‘Molly... Molly Brinker?’
‘She’s Scofield now.’
So she married Tanner, Roman thought. ‘I see. So you know Mel, if I really knew where Bo was, I would contact him in a heartbeat and get him to come home.’
Melanie and Abby exchanged glances, they’d agreed not to tell any of the Bradys or the Hortons of their plan to locate Bo.
Roman continued, ‘I told Sami about Carly and Starr, she promised to come by with Marlena in the morning. And... I sure hope you’ll go easy on Jennifer from now on.’
‘Please don’t mention her.’ Melanie turned to Abby. ‘Sorry.’
Abby shook her head reassuringly.
Roman patted Melanie’s shoulder. ‘There’s going to be amends being made, Mel. Try and be generous; okay? I’m going to say the same thing to Frankie. I’ll see you girls tomorrow.’
‘Good night and thanks.’ Melanie waited for him to leave before turning back to Abby. ‘I’d like to see just what Caroline, Kayla and Victor will explain to Frankie. Speaking of Victor...’ she noticed Abby looking over her shoulder and turned.
‘Nick! You’re here finally, thank God!’ Melanie rushed to her brother. Abby stared at Nicholas as he enveloped Melanie in his arms.
He’s here, the man who’s been haunting her dreams.