Wednesday, December 31, 2014

BYE BYE 2014...







Going over this year; it was happy and uneventful, even though half of it was spent working very hard to clear the rest of my papers at the University (taking the final exam in April) so I'll finally get my B.Ed in English Education. I also got to  finish the manuscript for my third children's book (STILL waiting for the editor's response on that) and while I hoped to finally write my novel, I ended up changing the story's plot over and over again! 
Yet there were the good parts. I got to go to Dubai with some friends, I clocked 35 and celebrated in a small way and created a third blog MY BOOK CABINET.  I  also learnt to stop being such a worrier and be more optimistic about the future and achieving my goals. Of course there was the reminder from some family members and friends that at 35 I'm not getting any younger and see about finding a husband and having babies. 

I believe 2015 will be a good year and I hope to achieve a lot of things. For example, finding a steady good paying job,  finally finishing my novel and getting it published with more to follow, finally moving to Canada and having my own life as a successful writer and other stuff like maybe finally a man who's definitely the one. While I'm not enthusiastic about marriage, it's not like I've completely ruled it out; I just don't want to be constantly reminded about my single status, it's not like it's a sin anyway (or anybody's damned business). I also hope there would be less reports about terrorists' attacks, shootings and whatever and  I and every member of my family will be there this time in 2015 to welcome 2016. 

So... bye bye 2014... PLEASE 2015, be a great year! 

CARBO FAN FICTION- CARLY'S DIARY PART 13




PART 13
Melanie composed the email herself; making sure it showed no exaggeration but at the same time explaining  to Bo the seriousness of Carly’s condition and the urgency of his presence. Nicholas and Brady sat on either side of Melanie on the couch as she typed, Abby sitting on an ottoman close to her. Shawn Douglas leaned over from the back of the couch. After much arguing with Nicholas, it was finally decided Shawn Douglas had to know what they’ve been up to. Annoyed at their initial lack of faith in him, Shawn D had snappishly said he was going to suggest their idea to them.
‘What about your Mum?’ Melanie had asked warily.
‘I don’t care what she thinks,’ was Shawn D’s unexpectedly harsh reply, sealing his approval of their plan  and they apologised to him, not daring to ask him  how he felt about Hope’s new boyfriend.
‘What do you guys think?’ Melanie asked anxiously.
The others took turns reading the message, nodding approval. After adding their names at the end of the email, Melanie handed the laptop to Nicholas who  immediately entered Alistair’s email, then sent it. Alistair was to forward it to Steve who then will pass it on to Bo. ‘Well, it’s done.’ Nicholas said, closing the lid. ‘Now all we’ll have to do is wait and hope Bo will drag himself from what he’s doing and get back here soon.’
‘You’ll see, he’ll be back,’ Shawn Douglas replied, moving round the back of the couch to sit on Brady’s arm chair. ‘He can’t know about Carly and Starr and stay away. Maybe he didn’t handle things great with Carly but he’s not heartless. He’ll be back, you’ll see and then he and Carly can take it from there.’
‘Uh Shawn… even if he would want to get back with Carly, even you can’t expect her to take him back just like that.’ Abby said. ‘it’s either going to be a reconciliation or closure but they’re going to have a long talk. The last time he tried talking to her she was in so much pain she could barely stay in the same room with him. You should’ve heard what she accused him of especially.’
‘What’s that?’
‘That he was only with her until Hope wanted him again.’
‘Christ…’ Shawn Douglas shook his head,  vividly picturing Carly broken-hearted, trying to be brave but the pain consuming her. She must have felt a huge revival of hope the day she found out she was pregnant with Starr.
 ‘So, it wouldn’t bother you if Bo does decide to get back with Mum?’ asked Nicholas.
‘Dude, first off…  I hate what he did to Carly. Of the women in the world, he had no right using her as a backup and I hate the way the families sided with Mum like she didn’t do anything wrong. This isn’t the first time she would do something like this; just because she knew Dad loved her enough to get past it eventually and try to make amends.’ Shawn Douglas’ tone was bitter. 
Only this time Mum came back, thought Melanie, and it wasn’t because of Bo either.
‘Mel, Nick… I’m so sorry about what Carly must have gone through; with my parents and the family. I don’t know what’s going to happen when Dad comes home but if he really wants to be with Carly again, I hope this time it will be for the right reasons and nobody in the family will have any say about their relationship if there’s going to be one.’
‘Try telling that to your grandfather,’ Abby said sarcastically, her head resting against Nicholas’ leg.  ‘You should’ve heard what he called Carly at the hospital.’ She repeated the vicious name Victor tagged Carly with.
‘He actually called her that?’ Shawn Douglas was horrified. ‘Seriously?’
‘He almost broke my neck, what do you think?’ Melanie snapped. ‘Hating Mum feeds his bruised ego.’
‘Don’t worry you two, I’m going to talk to him… he can’t get away doing something like that.’
‘You do that,’ Nicholas said, his tone hard. ‘Because I’ve got the means to deal with Victor Kiriakis if he touches my sister or defame Mum’s character again. And that goes for anybody else in this town who dares. Mum’s not going to be all alone this time; she’s got her family to stand by her.’
‘Damn right,’ Melanie agreed, her tone matching her brother’s.
‘Chill out, you two; what happened to Carly while I was away isn’t going to happen again. Uncle Roman told me he talked to the family about Carly but I’m going to have a few words with them myself.’
‘I hope that includes your Mum too.’ Nicholas replied. ‘No offence but what Mum went through when she came back here was mostly because of Hope.’
‘None taken, I pretty much told her that and that was before I saw her with that Aiden guy.’
‘Yeah, is it really serious between them?’ Melanie asked curiously.
 ‘She says it is but I don’t buy it. That’s why I really want my Dad to be with Carly for the right reasons, not because of anything else. If he can’t do that then Carly’s better off without him; I don’t want her to get hurt again.’
The doorbell suddenly rang and Brady got up to answer the door. ‘Maggie,’ he said in surprise at the sight of the woman in his door way.
‘Hello, dear,’ Maggie kissed Brady on the cheek and he made way for her.
‘Hi, Aunt Maggie,’ Shawn Douglas rose to hug her.
‘Hope told me you were in town, I was  wondering when you’ll drop by the mansion.’
‘I was going to later, what are you doing here?’
‘I actually came over to talk to Melanie; and Nicky. I went by Carly’s earlier and Molly said you’d be here.’
‘We’ll give you some privacy then, come on Abby.’ Abby and Shawn Douglas followed Brady out to the roof.
Maggie turned to face Carly’s grim-faced children. ‘Melanie, Nicky…’
‘It’s Nicholas if you don’t mind,’ was Nicholas’ cool reply.
‘Of course… I’m sorry, Nicholas. I went over to the hospital to visit Carly and Starr and I heard what happened. I am so sorry Victor lost his temper like that, I hope he didn’t hurt you.’
Lost his temper? Maggie, he had his fingers wrapped round my throat!’ Melanie protested.
‘And he’s just lucky I decided to take his age to account otherwise he would’ve ended up with black eyes and a broken jaw, especially after what he called our mother.’ Nicholas added, his expression one of anger.
Maggie’s face was red with embarrassment. ‘Again, I’m really sorry he did that.’
‘No apology’s going to erase what he did, or who he is. He’s always going to be Victor Kiriakis, a career criminal who thinks he has the right to judge and play God with people’s lives. I’ll never understand why you married him, he doesn’t deserve you.’
‘Melanie, when we first got together I realised what would make our relationship really work is overlooking his flaws. Maybe he has  the chequered past you reminded him  of but overall he’s a changed man, he loves his family and he’s a legitimate businessman now. What he did to you and said about Carly, it was in the heat of the moment, please.’
‘I cannot believe you’re making excuses for him like this,’ Melanie said incredulously.
‘I’m not  making excuses, sweetie; I just want you to understand- it’s not  easy hearing your past being talked about after so many years. He’s not the man he was years ago, his past with Carly is water under the bridge.’
‘So… by calling Mum a whore, Victor was more than justified?’ Melanie asked sarcastically.
‘Of course not, he had no right to say that about her.’
‘What would’ve been better then; interloper, home-wrecker maybe?’ Nicholas asked coldly. ‘Isn’t that what you all regarded our mother as?’
Maggie looked even more embarrassed. ‘That’s past tense…’
A lot of things are past tense to you people,’ Nicholas shouted, losing his temper.
‘Nick , don’t…’ Melanie pleaded, seeing Maggie flinch at Nicholas’ harsh tone.
‘No I’m going to; I can’t stand hearing any more of this! “Water under the bridge” Mrs Kiriakis? Is that the same way you regarded our mother’s past with Bo? Is that why you overlooked your niece’s “flaws” and decided to regard Mum and Bo’s past as “water under the bridge”, by pretending it wasn’t important just to make her feel better about herself after she left her husband?’ 
‘That’s not what happened…’ Maggie denied weakly. Shawn Douglas climbed  back in, followed by the others looking anxious, having heard Nicholas’s angry words.
Don’t  you insult my intelligence. You told Melanie nothing of our mother’s past with Bo because it was “water under the bridge”, you all practically acted like it never happened! Carly Manning’s no old flame, she was a woman who  was like a mother to Shawn D, a woman Bo almost married! How dare you come here now and expect us to understand your husband’s behaviour! His past with Mum isn’t water under the bridge for him or he wouldn’t have publicly disparaged her in the first place!’
Melanie, Brady, Abby and Shawn Douglas were now  very uncomfortable. They were very fond of Maggie and hated seeing her looking so stricken and embarrassed by Nicholas’ tirade but how could they disagree with Nicholas or not take his side when he was telling the truth? And Melanie couldn’t help but feel her relationship with Carly would’ve been a whole lot better if Maggie and the rest of the family had done right by Carly and told her everything instead of pretending what she and Bo had was completely new and callously dismissed their past and deep love.
Maggie couldn’t meet Nicholas Alamain’s eyes, momentarily speechless before finding the courage to quietly reply, ‘Yes, Nicholas… you’re right. While I didn’t mean it the way it sounded, there are a lot of things we are guilty of and could’ve done. I get it and I’m so sorry Melanie; we should’ve told you, especially me, instead of maintaining the status quo. It wasn’t fair to Carly at all especially after what she went through before she came back to Salem. I’m sorry for that and again I’m really sorry, both of you.’
Melanie saw the genuine remorse on Maggie’s face and the distress in her voice so without a word went to her and hugged her, stroking Maggie’s red hair. ‘It’s okay,’ she said rather gruffly. ‘I won’t press charges, for your sake. But Nick, Shawn D and I’ve already discussed it, until Mum wakes up and has her say, Victor’s not allowed to visit Starr again. And he’s not to go anywhere Mum either,  we’re going to arrange with Roman to assign a guard outside her room.’
‘Come on, isn’t that taking things to the extreme?’ Maggie protested.
‘No, it’s not,’ Melanie said, quietly but firmly. ‘Until Victor realised Phillip’s wife was Carly Manning’s daughter, he was going to help Vivian kill me. And you may think he’s changed but he’s a violent, calculating man and we have the right to protect them from him. That’s just how it is, Maggie.’
‘Melanie…’
No, Aunt Maggie.’ Shawn Douglas interrupted, his tone also firm. ‘He can’t be trusted around them, not after what he did to Melanie.’
Brady put his arm around his girlfriend protectively. ‘I have to agree with them, Maggie. Victor went too far; he could’ve killed her that day. And he hates Carly, you can’t overlook that no matter how you try. You just can’t.’
Maggie Horton Kiriakis had no reply to that statement. Face still red, she left the loft in silence, sliding the door behind her. 
::::::::::::::
‘Do you feel better now?’ Abby asked, stroking Nicholas’ head resting on her lap. ‘Less angry?’
Nicholas grimaced. ‘I’m so sorry darling… I know she’s your great aunt or whatever but she sounded so sanctimonious that I just snapped.’
‘Aunt Maggie’s heart’s in the right place, always. But even sweet people like her can slip up and make mistakes sometimes.’
‘And I made my own share of them and I’m anything but sweet.’
Hon…’ Abby pleaded. ‘We’ve been through this. No more guilt trips and I’m pretty sure Brady’s told Melanie the same thing. The past’s behind you both now, don’t keep bringing it up, okay? The main difference between you and Melanie and Victor is you’re sorry about the past, he isn’t. In his mind, he’s Carly’s victim, not the other way round. And that makes him a total jerk.’
‘An understatement Abigail; I can drum up several more suitable tags for that old bastard.’
‘Enough about him, let’s not let him ruin the rest of our evening.’ Abby pleaded. They’d gone out on a double date as Shawn Douglas had gone to his grandmother Caroline’s house for dinner and were now relaxing on the  couch in Carly’s den listening to Mozart in low volume as Frankie and Molly had already gone to bed. Since Molly was occupying Carly’s room and Frankie the guest room, this was where Nicholas slept, refusing to let Melanie switch with him.  Thanks to a sophisticated communication system, Frankie was getting a lot of work from D.C done as he was reluctant to leave Salem until Carly was better while Tanner had assured Molly he was holding the fort well at home and may come over himself.
Nicholas’ handsome features softened, reaching up to caress Abby’s cheek. ‘You’re right… I’m sorry.’
Abby smiled back but then it faltered.
‘Hey… what’s wrong darling?’
‘I suddenly have a thought…’ Abby paused and Nicholas sat up to pull her close.
‘What?’
Abby’s eyes were troubled as she looked at Nicholas. ‘First off, I love you.’
‘I love you too,’ Nicholas kissed her tenderly. ‘But…?’
‘But what’s going to happen when Carly comes out of the coma? You’ll be here a while and then you’ll leave. So what’s going to happen with us?’
‘You’re worried about us?’
‘Don’t I have a reason to be? Salem’s not your home and I’ve never believed in long distance relationships.’
Nicholas smiled, brushing back a few strands of hair from her face. ‘I’m not a believer of that either. And if you weren’t so scared about losing me, you would’ve given me the chance to tell you that on the issue of us being together, the ball’s in your court.’
Abby frowned. ‘In my court? What do you mean?’
‘I have a huge conglomerate to run; sometimes I have to go on business trips. But I can live anywhere I like and still efficiently run Alamain Industries. So, you have two options. I can open the Alamain mansion and stay in Salem with you or you can move to Europe with me. Either way works for me.’
‘Oh…’ Abby looked so sheepish that Nicholas couldn’t help chuckling, his hand stroking her neck. ‘So darling… what would you prefer? I stay here with you or you come with me?’
‘Well I… I love the idea of living in Europe with you, that would be so amazing. And being in Salem with me, at least you’ll get to be near Carly and the baby, Melanie too of course.’ She shrugged. ‘Either option’s great.’
‘But you still have to pick one.’ Nicholas reminded.
‘I know.’ She shrugged again. ‘I guess I’ll have to think about it some more.’
‘Sure… no pressure. At least you know either one you finally chose, we won’t lose each other.’
‘No, we won’t,’ Abby held his face with both hands, loving him so much.  They exchanged another passion- filled kiss, Nicholas’ lips moving to the side of her neck; his hands sliding under her top to caress her breasts. Abby gasped at his intimate touch, desire for him creeping through her body as she clung to him.
‘Upstairs?’ Nicholas whispered. ‘Melanie’s at Brady’s… She’ll probably be there all night.’
‘Okay,’ Abby whispered back, hoping he was right and Frankie and Molly wouldn’t hear them. Turning off the music, Nicholas drew her to her feet and they went upstairs hand in hand. As soon as he locked the door behind them, he crushed Abby against his body, exchanging urgent, eager kisses with Abby as she unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it off him with trembling fingers, running her hands down his muscular chest. Nicholas slipped her top over her head and tossed it on the floor, slowly walking her backwards to the bed until she sank against the mattress. Moving over her, he kissed her again, moving down to the top of her breasts, feeling her hands stroking his head as he moved to her stomach and unfastened her jeans, sliding them off her slim legs. Kicking off his sneakers, he removed the rest of his clothes while she sat up to peel off her lacy bra and panties, her eyes not leaving his. Joining her on the bed, Nicholas explored every inch of Abby with his hands and mouth and she wrapped her legs around him, her need for him at its peak.
Staring down at her, his eyes dark with passion, Nicholas slowly pushed his way into her and Abby cried out softly, her hands gripping his shoulders. Slowly he moved within her and she matched his rhythm, hands feverishly caressing, lips locked and in no time took each other over the edge.

::::::::::::::::
Standing on the roof where with Isabella she’d watched her mother share a dance with Bo, Melanie gazed up at the night sky looking for the North Star, finally finding it - the star that guided the lost traveller home. Melanie wondered if Carly sought for it the night she returned to Salem, vividly imagining her scared and uncertain of the future and wondering where to start looking for the daughter she came back to protect. Forgive yourself; Isabella had advised her; Abby and Brady telling her the same thing. Melanie was willing to try but she wondered if she’ll be totally free of her guilt. After all, part of Carly’s hurting  had been because of her.
Hearing footsteps, Melanie turned as Brady came up to her, handing her a cup of coffee. ‘Thanks,’ she murmured, taking it from him and took a sip.
‘You think Uncle Bo’s got the message yet?’ Brady asked, sipping his.
‘We can only hope he has. Once he reads it, Bo has to realise he has to come home.’ Melanie sighed and in the moonlight, Brady saw her pretty face looked rather wistful. ‘What is it?’
‘Bo would’ve been my father if things had turned out differently years ago. Don’t get me wrong I love Daniel, but I’ll always look at Bo differently now and keep thinking over what might have been.’
‘It’s only natural, given what Mum showed you during that journey of yours.’
‘A lot. They were so much in love, Brady; very happy and making plans then it was all taken away from them. You should’ve been there; you would see their history was so great even though they had only three years together. They had such a deep, passionate love; somehow I felt they were connected on a spiritual level. They had a symbolic Mayan wedding and it was the most moving thing I ever saw.’
‘A symbolic wedding?’ Brady asked with interest.
‘Uh huh. Mum wasn’t free to marry him legally then but that didn’t stop Bo from wanting them to exchange vows and make her his spiritual partner. Oh I saw a lot. Not only did they lose each other, I missed out having a normal childhood… having Mum and Bo and Shawn D…’ Melanie felt a tear roll down her cheek.
‘Hey…’ Brady put his arm round her, drawing her closer.
‘My life would've  been totally different, I wouldn’t have these scars within me; I would’ve had a proper home and Mum would’ve been safe and happy with Bo. Why did it have to happen? All she ever wanted was to be happy.’
Brady pressed a kiss on top of Melanie’s head. ‘I sometimes wonder what my life would’ve been if Mum hadn’t died so young. I’m no stranger to bitterness and resentment, Melanie. I was a wild boy growing up, getting into scrapes; hating my father for replacing Mum with Marlena; cursing fate for not letting me know my Mum when she was alive. I always looked for an excuse to be angry.’
Meanie sighed; she’d been the same way too. ‘I guess that’s why we ended up close friends.’ She raised her head to look at him. ‘We’re two of a kind, you and me.’
‘We sure are,’ Brady said softly. ‘Each other’s port in the storm for so long. Whatever our lives would’ve been, we would’ve been close- each other’s favourite cousin.’
Melanie smiled. ‘Yeah… I think so. But… I love what we are now.’
‘I second that.’ Taking the mug from her, he laid it and his on the ledge before drawing her into his arms, kissing her until she was breathless. ‘You complete me,’ he whispered, pushing back strands of her from her forehead. ‘I love you so much.’
‘I love you too. How did it take me so long to realise that?’
‘You do now and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?’ Brady smiled down her, exchanging another passionate kiss with her, his arms tight round her waist.
When Brady finally pulled away, his fingers slowly caressing her cheek, Melanie wondered if he was going to take her inside and make love to her. If that was his intention she was more than game. ‘What?’ she asked, suddenly feeling a bit shy.
‘I feel a strong need to dance with you,’ Brady replied, smiling at her.  
‘D...Dance?’ Melanie stammered, her mind going back to 1991 where her mother danced with Bo on the very same roof they were standing on. It felt almost like déjà vu. ‘There’s no music,’ she said, unintentionally repeating Carly’s words.
‘Let’s use our imagination,’ taking her hands, Brady draped her arms round his neck, encircling her waist with his arms. ‘Think of your favourite song, play it in your head.’
Closing her eyes, Melanie could hear the music and the opening lyrics. ‘It’s on,’ she smiled.
‘Good.’ Slowly Brady moved her across the floor in a graceful slow dance and Melanie soon forgot her surroundings and imagined she and Brady were in a ballroom decked out in evening clothes and dancing under a chandelier.
‘We’re stopping?’ Melanie asked as he stopped, his arms still holding her. In reply, Brady brushed her lips with his then let her go to climb through the window.
Melanie waited then smiled in delight as she heard the same song she’d played in her head coming from Brady’s CD player. Of course he knew her favourite song! Brady came out, holding the player in his hand, smiling at her. Placing it on the ledge, he held his arms to her and she went back to him and they slowly danced to Adele’s Make You Feel My Love. Their first dance as a couple.
When they made love later, it was both passionate and tender. Brady lifted her into his arms and carried her to his bedroom; kissing her before shedding off her clothes carefully as though she would break before lowering her on the bed and took his clothes off. Melanie felt her senses reel from Brady’s passion and sensuality; stroking his head as he parted her legs to pleasure her, the heat searing through her arching body and she found herself calling his name, moaning at the sweet hot torture.
Savouring her response to his touch, Brady moved up, kissed her hard and entered her, her arms locking round his neck, her legs gripping his hips. She made him whole, she belonged to him now… body, mind and soul. And I will never lose her, never, Brady thought as they moved in unison, their mutual passion rising and they became one person.
:::::::::::::::::::::::::

You need to come home, please. Mum found out she was pregnant before you left Salem. The baby’s been born via Caesarean, a baby girl. But Mum is very ill, the pregnancy caused her to develop Eclampsia and she’s been in a coma since. Please Bo, Mum’s condition is pretty serious; your place right now is by her side. Find it in your heart to be here for her at this time, she needs you.
Come home,
Melanie, Nicholas, Abby, Brady and Shawn Douglas.


‘Oh God… princess…’ tears slid down Bo’s cheeks as he read Melanie’s email again. The bad feeling he'd been having for some time has been confirmed. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

BAH! HUMBUG!: A CHRISTMAS CAROL







Like most of the read classics in my book cabinet, I read the simplified and coloured edition of Charles Dickens' 'Christmas novella' ; back when I was about 10 years old. That was the first time I was introduced to Dickens' unforgettable character, Ebenezer Scrooge a grumpy, cold-hearted old miser who actually hated Christmas!  That part was what got my interest because the author's opening line Marley's dead: to begin with- rather put me off a little.


How can I describe this Christmas tale? One word: UPLIFTING. The tale is about an old miser who paid a night visit by his late business partner Jacob Marley who (after lamenting of what he could have done besides making money during his life time) warned Scrooge he would be haunted by three spirits, "you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate",  Marley explained, so it looked like the three spirits were coming to open his eyes to his mundane and friendless life, which never bothered Scrooge before.

'Without their visits,' said the Ghost, 'you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. Expect the first one tomorrow, when the bell tolls one. Expect the second one on the next night at the same hour. The third upon the next night when the last stroke of twelve has ceased to vibrate. Look to see me no more; and look that , for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us!" 

And so did Marley's words came to pass. The first 'spirit' was the Ghost of Christmas Past- who took him to the time Scrooge was a boy, which causes a huge hit of nostalgia on Scrooge especially when he got to see his little sister Fan again, Fan had died young and left behind a son (who was more than kind and good-natured enough to invite his grumpy uncle to Christmas lunch but was coldly turned down). Then he saw himself as a young man just starting his path with young Marley under the employ of jolly Mr. Fezzwig then the sober scene of his fiancée Belle breaking up with him because he loved money and making money than wanting to marry and have a family with her... very sad and Scrooge couldn't bear seeing this repressed memory of his greatest mistake, - 'Spirit... show me no more! Conduct me home . Why do you delight to torture me?' 

The Ghost of Christmas Present came next and Scrooge saw people enjoying and celebrating Christmas which he'd described as 'HUMBUG!', his nephew's Christmas party where Fred spoke how he pitied his uncle who had money but no friends and then the humble house of his poorly paid clerk Bob Cracthit who was having a simple Christmas with his family, the brightest person there despite his fragile health Tiny Tim, the youngest child. One thing to note here, even though they were poor, the room was filled with love and Tiny Tim lifting their spirits with the words, 'God Bless us, Everyone!', which stabbed Scrooge with the guilty realisation that the very low salary he paid Bob couldn't cover Tiny Tim's medical bills.

'Spirit, tell me if Tiny Tim will live.' 

'I see a vacant seat in the poor chimney corner and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.' 

'No, no... oh no, Kind Spirit! say he will be spared.' 

Before the Ghost of Christmas Present left, he showed Scrooge two emaciated children; the boy was Ignorance, the girl was Want and warned Scrooge to beware the first especially. And when Scrooge cried if they had no source of help, the Ghost calmly repeated Scrooge's earlier cold words, 'Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?'  Talk about a guilt trip! 

Then the final 'spirit' appeared to Scrooge... the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come- the most memorable because it never spoke and:

It was shrouded in a deep  black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand.  

What Scrooge saw now, after viewing his mistakes of the past which shaped his present, the consequences. He saw people talking about a wretched man who just died and his funeral would only be attended if food was provided (eww by the way), and the man's possessions being sold cheaply. The next scene was a debtor and his family who were glad of the man's death as they would have more time to pay or not pay at all and the last, very scene of the Cratchit family as they mourn (though they try so hard to be brave) Tiny Tim's death, which upsets Scrooge greatly. The spirit then takes Scrooge to the graveyard and the moment of truth is revealed to him via a neglected gravestone, the wretched man is him to his horror; unloved, unmourned, forgotten.

Spirit! Hear me, I am not the man I was! I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Why would you show me this if I am past all hope? 

Christmas morning, Scrooge is a changed man (and then some), spending Christmas with Fred and his family who were surprised yet delighted to see him, sending a turkey incognito to the Cractchits and making a donation, incognito of course for it is not said that one who is silent in his good deeds reap the bigger reward? And of course a huge pay raise for Bob which contributes to Tiny Tim's survival.

Like Oliver Twist, this story is more than meets the eye- it's not just about an old man who found redemption. It glaringly portrayed Dickens' sympathy for the poor, particularly poor children (Tiny Tim being a representative in the story) the joy of giving and sharing, especially on a festive season like Christmas and how the wealthy should do their part in helping the poor. And let's not forget, how past mistakes could shape one's present and future; Life is short and it's never too late to repent. 

Quote from book:

Many laughed to see this alteration in him, but he let them laugh and little heeded them, for he knew that no good thing in this world ever happened, at which some did not have their fill of laughter. His own heart laughed and that was quite enough for him. And it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well if any man alive possessed the knowledge." The story closes with the narrator repeating Tiny Tim's famous words: "God bless us, everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

CARBO FAN FICTION- CARLY'S DIARY PART 12



PART 12
Frankie was very pleased to see Shawn D, while Molly exclaimed over the now  handsome adult version of the little boy she remembered. Shawn D explained how Roman had called him to inform him of Starr’s birth and Carly’s condition; after finally able to get off work he’d flown in last night.
‘I couldn’t believe it when Max told me the sister he kept talking about turned out to be Carly’s daughter. You could’ve been my sister.’ Shawn D said on the way to the hospital.
Almost,’ Melanie turning to smile at him faintly. ‘And look how fate worked out.’
‘Hey... you, Nick and I share a sibling now; that sort of makes us family and makes up for what could’ve been.’
‘Yeah... what could’ve been.’ Melanie shrugged. ‘We’ll never exactly know, will we?’
Shawn Douglas Brady was shrewd enough to know what Melanie was referring to. ‘My father loved Carly, very much. Personally, I doubt he would’ve left her after my Mum came back.’
‘You don’t have to say that to make us feel better, Shawn D.’
‘No, really... he wouldn’t done that to her, not then. Come on, they went through a lot just to be together. I should know, I was there. And maybe we both moved on with Billie after Carly left town but I never forgot her. Dad told me what really happened when I was old enough to understand and there were times I wondered if I’ll ever see her again.’
Driving, Nicholas wondered if his discomfort showed on his face. After all it was his father who lured Carly away from her friends and family and the man she loved, the one who abused her for years without his knowledge. If it weren’t for his father and aunt’s interference; Carly and Bo would’ve been married, and raised Melanie and Shawn D together. And maybe having Bo Brady as a father figure would have benefited him a lot too.  ‘For what it’s worth, I’m sorry Shawn.’ He said quietly. ‘I hope you didn’t think too badly of her.’
‘No, never. I was just kind of hurt she never said goodbye to me. Even if she wouldn’t  keep in touch with Dad, I thought she would at least write to me. But that’s okay, I heard about what happened to her.’ He glanced at Nicholas’ rigid profile, so did Melanie- rather apprehensively.
Nicholas swallowed then replied gruffly, ‘My father was an animal. He’s out of our lives for good and the last thing I feel is regret he’s dead.’
Shawn D wisely decided not to comment, it’s not like he shed tears over Lawrence Alamain’s death either. On the way, he had Nicholas stop so he could buy Carly some flowers.
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Carly lay in bed breathing through an oxygen mask, oblivious to
Shawn Douglas and her children’s presence. Melanie and Nicholas didn’t have to be told how much their ‘almost’ brother still loved Carly, the expression on his face as he kissed her on the forehead and took hold of her hand spoke far more than words.
‘Hey, beautiful.’ he said softly as he sat next to her. ‘It’s Shawn D. It’s been a long time, huh?’
Melanie tugged on Nicholas’ jacket sleeve. ‘we should give them some privacy.’ She whispered.
Nicholas nodded and left the room with her, his face inscrutable. ‘Are you okay?’ Melanie asked.
Nicholas sighed heavily, shaking his head before looking at his sister, his eyes now wearing a sad, rather self loathing look. ‘Shawn D’s got such a great history with Mum, whereas I...’
Melanie placed her hand on his arm consolingly.
‘When she first told me the truth, that she was my mother years ago, I rejected her. And after I accepted her, I did all I could to sabotage her relationship with Bo and Shawn D. I can’t even completely blame my father for manipulating me to do it, I also did it because I wanted to. I knew how much she loved them and Bo, Shawn D and the Bradys were nothing but nice to me but I still kept trying to drive a wedge between them. I was such an arrogant, spoilt brat...’ he shook his head again, angrily this time. ‘And I wasn’t there to protect her when she needed me!’
‘Nick, I’ve been through the guilt trip too, believe me.’ Melanie said earnestly. ‘I rejected her too; before we ever met I wasn’t a very nice person. And I did and said a lot of things I would give anything to take back and just forget. This whole time Mum’s been in a coma, I’ve gotten to know more about her.’
Nicholas raised his eyebrows. ‘Yeah?’
Yeah. She’s a strong, loving, selfless woman. She gave me up to save my life. You were stolen from her and until she found out you were alive, she kept the pain to herself for a long time. We don’t deserve her but she loves us very much, Nick. She sees us as a part of her... always. The best thing we can do to make up for the past... is just put it behind us and keep being there for her like we’ve been doing since what happened with Bo.’ Melanie had no intention of telling him their mother almost committed suicide; it would only make him feel worse than he felt at the moment.
‘If only rewriting the past was possible.’
‘Well it’s not. And we’re not the same people we were before, right? Our past with Mum may not be great but... the future’s going to be.’
Nicholas smiled faintly then shrugged, ‘Well that’s comforting at least. And you’re right.’ He slipped his arm round Melanie and the two siblings exchanged a heartfelt hug. When Shawn Douglas came out, he asked to see their little sister.
:::::::::
Hope was very glad to see her son, Ciara more than thrilled. But her conversation with him didn’t go well because she made the mistake of excusing herself on the subject of her moving out of the house after Ciara’s rescue.
‘I can’t believe you pulled that stunt on Dad, again.’ 
‘You have to understand, I needed time to think...’
‘That’s what you said when you moved out after aunt Kayla’s shooting. Dad tried to help you get through with whatever you were feeling but you just chose to shut him out and you actually expected him to just sit back and patiently wait for you, like always.’
Hope’s eyes narrowed with anger. ‘I see. So you’re trying to say it was okay for him to have an affair with another woman because of what I did.’
‘I’m not going to judge Carly and I won’t let you judge her to my face, Mum. If I’m angry it’s only because Carly was dragged into your drama with Dad. You played the victim but Carly was the real victim in all this. And I can’t believe everybody just decided to conveniently forget who she was, instead of telling you how wrong you were for taking advantage of Dad’s patience like that. You’ve always done that to him!’
With his current attitude towards her, Hope lacked the courage to tell Shawn Douglas she was seeing Aiden; so far only Maggie, Julie and recently Jennifer knew about it. Aiden in the meantime was getting impatient; he was done with the sneaking around and didn’t see why they should delay making their relationship public. She was meeting him later to discuss it and she hoped he would understand she was just waiting for the best way to tell the rest of the family. One thing Aiden would also be assured of was that she was really over with Bo and more than ready to move on with her life.
Ciara was very angry with her too. Hope had delayed telling her about Starr so when Shawn D mentioned he was going to the hospital to visit her and Carly, Ciara heard about her little sister for the very first time. Hence she sulkily refused to speak to her mother, slightly soothed by her big brother who promised to pick her up from school and take her to see the baby.
Hope sighed angrily as she got ready for work. This was so not what she expected her life to be after Bo begged her to come home.
::::::::::
‘Ten bucks she has Carly’s eyes.’ Shawn D said, his palm against the glass as he stared down at the fragile baby in the incubator whose tiny nose and mouth was partially covered by the ventilator. Her little head was covered by strands of golden hair. Thanks to her journey with Isabella, Melanie knew it came from their Von Leuschner grandmother.
‘I’m willing to bet that too.’ Abby said, Nicholas’ arm round her waist. 
‘She might have Uncle Bo’s eyes, you guys.’ Brady pointed out. He’d stopped by to check on Carly and Starr and see how Melanie was doing, pleased to see she looked more cheerful than the last time he saw her. He wondered if she was done with Carly’s diaries.
‘No...’ Melanie shook her head thoughtfully. ‘Brown eyed blondes aren’t that common, are they? I say she’s going to have Mum’s eyes.’
‘Brown or green, she’s beautiful,’ Shawn Douglas said emotionally, wishing  he could cradle her in his arms. And that Carly was conscious so he could catch up with her. Melanie had told him what Dr. Long had said, all they could do was bide their time and hope for the best. As for Starr, she was increasing in weight and her lungs were stronger; in a few more weeks she’ll be ready to go home. ‘And I sure love the same Carly picked out for her; she and Dad always had a thing for the North Star- the star that guides the weary traveller home.’
Melanie glanced at Nicholas and Abby, wondering if they should tell Shawn Douglas of their efforts of locating Bo. Nicholas shook his head firmly, mouthing ‘no.’ Much as Shawn D no doubt still loved Carly, they weren’t sure whose side he was on in the matter between her and his parents and they definitely didn’t want Hope to get wind of their efforts.
‘Well,’ Melanie said reluctantly, ‘I have to get to get back to work, I’ve got a busy shift today.’  
‘Me too,’ Abby glanced at her watch.
‘Tell you what, why don’t we all meet for lunch later; my treat.’ Nicholas said. ‘Brady, you’ll join us of course?’
‘Sure, that would be great, thanks.’ Brady replied, pleased by the invitation.
‘Okay then, see you later guys. I’ll just go find Jennifer and say hi.’ Shawn D said.
‘How are you holding up?’ Brady asked, after Nicholas and Abby kissed her goodbye.
She shrugged. ‘Fine I guess.’
‘Good because I’ve been worried about you, ever since you found Carly’s diaries... they really upset you.’
‘At first but I’m so glad I found them, they told me so much about Mum. I really know her now, Brady. More than I thought possible.’
Brady raised his eyebrows. ‘Carly must’ve really poured her heart out for you to feel this way.’
Melanie stared at her friend, wondering whether or not to tell him about her journey with his mother. They’ve always been very close, perhaps he wouldn’t think she was crazy. ‘It’s actually more than that.’
‘Really?’
Melanie opened her mouth tentatively then turned as Maxine called her name, frantically beckoning to her. ‘That’s me. I’ll see you later.’
‘Sure, I’ll pick you up and we’ll ride together.’
‘Okay.’ She hurried over to Maxine and the day’s work started.
::::::::::::::::::::
As Melanie was walking towards the nurses’ station a few hours later, she ran into Jennifer. ‘Hey.’ She said.
Jennifer was surprised yet relieved, usually when she said hi to Melanie these days she was always given the cold shoulder, accompanied by angry, scornful looks.  ‘Hey,’ she replied.
Melanie hesitated then began, ‘Look... I’m sorry for giving you such a hard time. Considering how I acted when I first met Mum, I had no right sit in judgement like that; calling you a bad friend and everything.’ It wasn’t only because of her own past wrongdoing she was apologising to Jennifer but also because Jennifer too was a victim of Lawrence Alamain.
Jennifer was so taken aback that she was speechless.
‘I’m sorry Jennifer, I really am. Look... you’re dating my dad and Abby and I have gotten close... I want us to start over, if you want.’
‘It really means a lot to me, hearing this from you,’ Jennifer said at last, reaching out to take Melanie’s hand. ‘it’s okay, you’ve got nothing to apologise for.’
‘That’s not true, I do.’
‘You didn’t say anything that wasn’t true. I admit harsh but true. And of course we can start over, Mel. I’m more than happy to.’ Jennifer’s smile lit up her face and she gave Melanie a hug.
‘One more thing...’ Melanie added, hoping Abby wouldn't be furious with her. ‘Abby... she and Nicholas are dating now.’
And instantly the smile left Jennifer’s face. ‘What?
‘They fell in love and they’re really happy together... listen to me!’ Melanie said forcibly as Jennifer was about to give an angry protest. ‘I know.’
‘Know what?’ Jennifer asked warily.
‘I know what... what Lawrence did to you years ago,’ Melanie rushed on. Jennifer paled, biting her lower lip.  
‘Jennifer, my brother’s nothing like Lawrence... he’s not. He really loves Abby and he’s a warm, caring guy and we both made our peace with Mum ages ago. Whoever he was before, he’s not like that anymore. I want you to give him a chance and not give Abby a hard time over this. Can you do that?’
What Jennifer remembered was a disdainful pampered little boy years ago; the complete opposite of Shawn Douglas who had been affectionate and more down to earth. The idea of her only daughter being with an Alamain! They were vile and contemptible; Lawrence and Vivian. But Lawrence was now  dead and Nicholas was also Carly’s son, the son of a very dear friend she hoped to mend fences with.
She nodded, smiling faintly. ‘Of course, Abby’s an adult. And if Nicholas makes her happy, they have my blessing.’
‘Thanks, that will mean a lot to them.’ Melanie hugged her again, relieved Jennifer had taken the sudden news well.  

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
After changing  out of her scrubs, Melanie went to check on Carly before making her way to the NICU and a sight made her stop short. What the hell are you doing here?’ she snapped, affronted at the sight of Victor Kiriakis peering down at Starr through the glass.
‘Nothing wrong with me visiting my newest grandchild, is there?’ he asked calmly as he turned to look at Melanie.
‘Sure... your heart’s just swimming with grandfatherly concern.’ Melanie couldn't help but say sarcastically. If she disliked and barely tolerated him before, she really hated him now. He was nothing but a hypocritical snake.
 ‘Look, Melanie; I don’t see why you’re wasting your energy despising me, I’ve got no quarrel with you.’
‘I do despise you,’ Melanie said, her tone harsh. ‘I know everything about you now, Victor. Everything about you.’
Victor raised his eyebrows in askance, a gesture of his that always irritated her.
‘Just so I know Victor, how were you going to help Vivian kill me before you found out I was the one she was hunting for?’
Victor stiffened. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’
‘Vivian went straight to you for help; so don’t tell me you didn’t know what she was planning the whole time. You both hated Mum, you wanted to see her suffer, through me. And I now know why you hate Mum so much,’ she snorted with derisive laughter, ‘because she dumped you! And after all these years you’re still sour  over  your bruised ego. Do you have any idea how pathetic you are?’
‘You may have Maggie wrapped round that finger of yours but I won’t be spoken to that way,’ Victor said through clenched teeth.
‘Oh I’m just starting,’ Melanie hurled back. ‘And dodging jail time for framing Mum of your supposed death- by pleading insanity?
 Victor’s anger was mounting, he should have known Carly would  resort to telling tales. ‘That’s enough out of you.’
But Melanie refused to stop. ‘Pleading insanity!’ she taunted. ‘I would’ve thought a career criminal  would be above that old cliché.’ 
Without warning, Victor grabbed her by the neck with both hands. ‘You shut up!’ he snarled, shaking her as she struggled.
Some nurses, with exclamations of horror ran to rescue Melanie but someone else wrenched Victor’s hands off Melanie’s neck; a very angry Nicholas. ‘Get your hands off her!’ he shouted, pulling Melanie away from Victor.
‘How dare you!’ Abby cried, rushing to her friend’s side, putting her arms round Melanie who was gasping for air, rubbing her neck.
‘What the hell do you think you’re doing, attacking my daughter?’ an equally angry Daniel, who had accompanied Nicholas and Abby, shouted. ‘Are you crazy?
Victor was breathing hard, his eyes glinting with fury. ‘A drunken one night stand with a whore; that’s the result.’
Instantly, Melanie and Abby grabbed Nicholas as he charged towards Victor, Daniel blocking his way. ‘You guys go, I’ll deal with this,’ he urged. ‘Go on, go.’
Nicholas’s eyes were glinting with fury as well. ‘If you ever touch my sister again, or publicly slander our mother again; I will destroy you Kiriakis and that’s not an idle threat. You just make another attempt!’ 
What’s going on here?’ Shawn Douglas demanded, Brady at his heels.
‘Your grandfather here was strangling my sister!’ Nicholas shouted, Abby and Melanie still holding on to him.
Shawn Douglas stared at Victor, shocked. ‘You did what?
‘I’m not responsible for my actions when I’m insulted,’ Victor spat.
‘You... you actually tried to strangle Melanie... my Melanie?’ Brady’s voice was as harsh and cold as Nicholas’ as he edged closer to Victor. Melanie let go of her brother to block Brady’s path. ‘No Brady, he’s not worth it, please.’
I could kill you!’ Brady shouted, trying to push Melanie away to get to Victor.
‘Brady, take it easy; she’s right- he’s not worth it.’ Shawn Douglas advised.
I will handle this, you guys leave, now.’ Daniel said firmly. ‘Go on, go.’
‘Come on Brady,’ Melanie pleaded, drawing him away. Abby took hold of her boyfriend’s arm and pulled him along, Shawn Douglas following them; looking back to glare balefully at Victor. Daniel ordered the hovering nurses to go back to their duties before turning to Victor for a very grim conversation.
The group entered the elevator, the doors closing. ‘Are you okay?’ Brady asked anxiously, putting his arm round Melanie’s shoulders as she gingerly rubbed her neck, which already spotted a faint red bruise.
‘Yeah, I’m fine.’ She said, swallowing painfully.
‘What was that all about anyway?’ Nicholas demanded. ‘Why did he attack you?’
‘Let’s just say I told him some home truths that didn’t exactly sit well with him.’ Melanie cleared her throat. ‘The bastard.’
‘I imagine what you said to him was justified, but you need to be careful,’ Shawn Douglas said. ‘ He’s a ruthless man, always been.’
‘I have a good mind to have him charged for assault,’ Nicholas said, still very angry at Victor’s action.
‘Oh please, he’ll find a way of wiggling out of it. That’s a career criminal for you. Don’t worry about it Nick. I imagine when word gets to Maggie, he’ll find himself in a worse situation than Roman interrogating him.’ Melanie never approved of Maggie’s marriage to Victor Kiriakis, once she hears about the incident it could open her eyes. Most people already felt she was blind when Victor was concerned.
‘Are you sure you’re okay?’ Abby asked.
‘I’m fine really. Shoot... I forgot my purse in my locker. You guys go ahead while I go back up to get it.’ Melanie said as the doors opened.
‘I’ll go with you,’ Brady stayed in the elevator while the others got out.
‘I still can’t believe he put his hands on you like that.’ Brady said as he and Melanie entered the nurses’ locker room.
‘Well, I did insult him; not that I care.’
‘He had no right to do what he did.’ Brady reached out and enveloped Melanie in a hug, stroking her hair. ‘If you hadn’t stopped me, I probably would’ve taken a swing at him.’
‘Mmm... my hero,’ Melanie murmured, pulling back to stroke his cheek. Brady held on to her hand, staring earnestly at her. Melanie stared back, noticing something in his intense eyes, something she’d never seen before and suddenly her heart began to beat faster.
‘Brady...’ she began and his mouth was on hers, kissing her fiercely. Her arms circled his neck at the same time his arms pulled her against him and they were exchanging a deep passionate kiss that went on until they pulled back, breathless.
‘My God...’ Melanie whispered, shocked by what they’d just done. Brady was her friend, like a big brother to her. And here she was kissing him, drawn to him in a very different way and it didn’t felt weird at all.
Impatiently, Brady raised her chin and kissed her again and again she eagerly returned it, running his fingers through her reddish blonde hair, desire and love burning through him. For a very long time he’d seen himself as her friend and protector and she in turn was his wise counsel; the girl who’d consoled him and held his hand after Arianna’s death. Others saw her as a hot tempered impetuous girl; he saw a vulnerable, sensitive young woman who had a terrible childhood and in some ways was like him. And lately, he’d began seeing her with new eyes but held back, afraid she would reject the idea of becoming his lover. But her response told him he was wrong, she felt the same way.
Melanie ended the kiss but held on to him, raising a trembling hand to stroke his lower lip with her thumb. ‘I... I don’t know what to say,’ she stammered.
‘Can I say something instead?’ Brady smiled, his boyish smile reminding her of Bo. ‘I love you Mel. I’ve loved you for a long time.’
Melanie gasped, pressing her face against his neck. ‘This is insane...’ she said, her voice muffled. She raised her head and Brady saw her green eyes were glowing. ‘We’re friends.... buddies.
‘Well, we’ve crossed that line now, haven’t we?’ Brady said wryly.
Melanie shook her head, about to tell herself this was more than ridiculous. If things had turned out differently between Bo and Carly years ago, they would’ve been cousins today. But they weren’t. Brady was a man and she was suddenly aware of him as a man. He wasn’t Phillip, or Nathan or even Dario. He was the only man who never disappointed her; that was what made him different from the others.
‘Brady, this is...’
‘Crazy?’
‘No, no...’ she smiled up at him suddenly feeling shy. ‘It’s... God, I don’t even know what to call it!’
Brady chuckled, lowering his head to kiss her again. ‘I understand we really have to talk about this. But I mean it, Mel. So much.’
Melanie could only hug him in silence before picking up her purse and leaving the room with him, hand in hand. 
::::::::::
Nicholas stopped by the house to pick up Frankie and Molly to come along with them and the group had agreed Frankie was not to know about the incident at the hospital. Abby had told Nicholas of a new Italian restaurant so that was where they were going. No one noticed the burning glances Brady directed at Melanie as he pulled back a chair for her at their table or the shy smile and blush on her cheeks as she sat down.
‘Everything looks great, it’s going to be hard to choose,’ Molly said as she scanned through the menu.
‘Hmm, I think I’ll have the...’ Shawn Douglas broke off staring at a couple some tables ahead, unable to believe his eyes.
‘Shawn D, what is it?’ Frankie asked, worried by the stunned, angry look on his face.
‘I don’t believe this!’ Putting down his menu, Shawn Douglas angrily got up and strode over to them.
‘What on earth, oh...’ Abby said, her eyes widening. Melanie and the others craned their necks to see who Shawn Douglas was talking to.
‘Well, well...’ Melanie murmured. Shawn Douglas was angrily talking to Hope, who was looking very embarrassed. With her was the lawyer who moved to Salem recently, Aiden Jennings. 
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
‘I’m not asking for your permission and I won’t be judged by you!’ Hope shouted at her son later.
‘So basically you’ve given up on Papa, you believe he won’t come back.’
Yes I have given up on him. If he really loved us he wouldn't have left us just after we repaired our marriage and for what, to have the chance to be a hero! And I have the right to move on with my life after months of silence and lord knows what else I’ve had to put up with.’ Hope was near tears. Shawn Douglas’ confrontation at the restaurant had been ugly and she and Aiden had been forced to leave.
Shawn Douglas’ dark eyes were angry. ‘Are you in love with this guy?’
‘His name is Aiden.’
‘Whatever. Are you in love with him?’
Hope raised her chin. ‘Yes.’
‘So what’s going to happen when Papa comes home?’
‘He’s going to know the truth.’
Bullshit, I know you Mum. The only time you were with another man it was to get back at Dad for something he didn’t even do. This is tit for tat; as soon as Dad gets back, you’ll find a way of ending things with Aiden and go back with him.’
‘Aiden is not Patrick Lockhart. And I do love him. Shawn D, listen to me. I’m with Aiden because I want to be, it’s not a move of revenge. I love him and I want to be with him. And I will make sure everybody knows that I’ve moved on and have nothing to be ashamed of.’
Shawn Douglas refused to believe her. She almost left his father for good but then sang a different tone after he began dating Carly and the poor woman ended up hurt and pregnant. 'You say that now.’
‘I mean it.’
‘Fine, you’ve made your choice. And I hope you’ll tell Papa the same thing when he comes back. Because then he’ll be free to be with Carly.’
Hope stiffened but Shawn Douglas took no notice. ‘I heard enough to know what happened here, Mum. You hurt my father but made him feel guilty for being with her. And you should’ve given him the divorce instead of playing the victim because the way I see it, Carly deserves to be with him because she would never treat him the way you did. So if you say you want to be with this Aiden guy, you better be telling the truth. So help me, if Papa decides to reconcile with Carly and you swoop in to ruin things between them again by filling him with guilt, I’ll never forgive you.'
 Hope was speechless as her son stormed upstairs.
::::::::::::::
‘I still can’t believe we’re actually together like this.’ Melanie said, cuddling up to Brady on his leather couch in the loft. They had the talk and she realised she’d felt her affection for him changing over the past months too but taking care of Carly and helping her prepare for the baby had been a huge distraction. ‘But I’m happy we are,’ she assured him, touching his face.
‘Me too,’ Brady replied softly, his arms tight round her. ‘Let me hear it... one more time.’
Melanie smiled. ‘I love you, Brady Black.’
‘I love you too. You’ve always been my light, Melanie Jonas. I’ve been so scared you wouldn't want to see me as a man.’
‘I understand,’ Melanie kissed him. ‘Not many friends are lucky as we are, moving on to something deeper. They would feel too weird after they cross the line and they wouldn't be able to be friends again.’
‘That’s not going to happen to us,’ Brady promised.
‘I wouldn't be in your arms right now if there was a danger of that,’ Melanie kissed him again and his arms tightened round her, aching to make love to her.The fact she was now his girlfriend and loved him as much as he loved her was enough, for now.
 ‘By the way,’ he said, stroking her hair. ‘You wanted to tell me something at the hospital, something about finding out more about Carly.
‘Yes, I did.’ Sitting up, Melanie took his hands in hers and told him about her journey with his mother.
‘Wow...’ Brady said, stunned.
‘I know, it’s kind of crazy...’
‘No it’s not. I’ve seen her myself.’
‘Really?’ Melanie was surprised but relieved.
‘When I’m at my lowest point or feel really down, she would appear and remind me she was there for me. And I would feel better after talking to her.’
‘Oh...’
‘You really went to Carly and Uncle Bo’s past with her?’
‘I did and oh, Brady... I saw a lot; you can’t even begin to imagine and everything’s clearer to me now, especially about Mum... she went through so much...’
 Her cell, which was lying on Brady’s coffee table began to ring, interrupting her. Melanie reached out to answer it, from the caller I.D she saw it was Nicholas. ‘what’s up, Nick?’
‘Alistair’s located Steve Johnson and he is Bo’s contact,’ Nicholas said, ‘And Steve promised to pass our message to him.’
‘Oh thank God!’ Melanie exclaimed, reaching for Brady’s hand, Brady looking at her inquiringly. It was just a matter of time... Bo will return.