‘Frankie, you have to be reasonable and not make this about you,’ Molly said. ‘Melanie, Nicky and Abby here acted on Carly’s best interest, nothing more.’
‘And behind my back,’ Frankie bit out.
‘We knew you wouldn’t approve, that’s why we didn’t tell you.’ Nicholas replied. ‘I’m sorry Frank but we had to get Bo back here. He’s Starr’s father, he had the right to know what was going on. I had doubts of my own when Melanie and Abigail came to me with this but in the end, we all decided to take our chances.’
‘Until they told me I had the same idea,’ Shawn Douglas added. After dropping Ciara at Caroline’s, he’d hurried over to Carly’s house; certain Frankie will be informed about Bo’s return. And understandably, Frankie was very angry, like Shawn Douglas figured he would be. ‘I know you’re pissed off, given what Papa did, what my families did to Carly. Believe me, I’m ashamed of the whole business; I’m still mad at everybody involved. But I knew my father will come back once he knew about Carly and Starr, he couldn’t know about it and stay away. They need him.’
‘If Carly needed him, she wouldn’t have appointed me Starr’s legal guardian in the first place. What makes you think my sister would want anything to do with him after he abandoned her?’
Taken aback, Melanie and Nicholas looked at each other; they hadn’t known that.
‘Listen guys, your heart was in the right place but seriously, I don’t want Carly to get set up to more pain from Bo by believing more of his two-faced promises.’
‘But he loves her,’ Melanie protested.
‘You don’t know that for sure, Mel. What will stop him from changing his mind and leave her standing there… again?’
‘Several months away from her and he won’t have a change of perceptive?’ Abby said at last, a silent listener until now. ‘Give him the benefit of the doubt, Frank. I suggested the whole idea in the first place because of something I heard between them, not just because Bo has the right to know about his baby. I figured it would either be a reconciliation between them or closure for Carly.’
‘He came back, once he got our message.’ Melanie emphasised. ‘I was there; you should’ve seen the look on his face when he saw Mum and he feels terrible about what happened. You told me to forgive myself, imagine how Bo must have felt when he got our message and when he saw Mum and Starr, how hard it’s going to be for him to forgive himself.’
‘I know it’s hard and we don’t expect you to forgive him or both families immediately but don’t write him off completely.’ Nicholas added.
‘And like Abby said, it’s either going to be closure or them getting back together. I’m all for the second one but if it’s only for the right reasons and from what Mel just told us, we don’t have to worry about that now.’ Shawn Douglas said. ‘Nobody’s to interfere with what happens; it’s going to be absolutely between Carly and my father.’
Frankie sighed heavily, a scowl on his face. ‘Fine, if that’s what it’s going to be but I’m only going along with this on your word especially, Shawn D. I have the right to protect my sister so if Bo hurts her again, I won’t be responsible for my actions. I mean it.’
Melanie moved forward to hug him after Molly did. Frankie still felt angry and resentful but his face relaxed somewhat by the women’s hugs and the satisfied looks on Abby, Nicholas and Shawn Douglas’ faces.
‘What do you mean… you couldn’t tell him?’ Aiden demanded.
‘I’m sorry Aiden. I just couldn’t.’
‘Again, why not?’
Hope bit her lower lip. ‘You have to understand, he caught me unawares and next minute we were arguing. It wasn’t the right time.’
‘Hope, don’t do this to me; you’re obviously lying and I won’t stand for it. There’s a reason you didn’t tell him about us, you’re not over him are you?’
‘Aiden, I love you.’
‘No, no…don’t stray from the question; I’m really upset with you right now. What’s the point of your family knowing about us but Bo doesn't? Don’t you want us to be together?’
‘I do,’ Hope said, holding his scowling face between her hands. ‘I really do.’
‘Then… what is this?’ he asked, moving away from her touch.
‘Aiden, even you can’t expect me to just blurt it out to him right there and then. He just got back and I told you… we began arguing over him being away for so long and then you called my cell. Of course I’m going to tell him.’
‘Hope, I thought we passed a big hurdle after we told Chase and your family about us. Clearly I was wrong. Just say it and spare us both some self-respect… you aren’t really over Bo, are you?’
While Hope tried to think of something to say, Aiden turned away in exasperation.
‘I’m just going to make this easy for you,’ Aiden said, without looking at her. ‘Let’s just end things, the last thing I want is getting in the middle of something that would bring a lot of pain.’
Hope’s eyes filled with tears. ‘I don’t want things to end between us, you’ve got it all wrong.’ Walking over to him, she made him face her and kissed him frantically, holding on to him until she felt his arms circle her waist and he kissed her back, almost roughly. He was the first to break it.
‘Hope, tell me the truth. What’s going on? Do you still have feelings for Bo, is that it?’ Before Hope could reply, he added, ‘Of course you do, 25 years isn’t something you would kiss off like that.’
‘No it isn’t.’ Hope admitted. ‘I’m sorry for making excuses earlier, you’re right. But I don’t want to lose you, Aiden.’
‘And I don’t want to lose you either. But you can’t really move forward until you’ve put the past behind you and that’s if you really want to move on.’
Hope’s arms went up to circle his neck. ‘I’ll tell him first chance I get; promise.’ She said, even though she felt a little pang in her chest.
Caroline was delirious with joy at her son’s return, hugging him hard as though she would never let him go, Maggie and Jennifer- who were visiting- hugging him too. Over coffee at the kitchen table, (Ciara was watching T.V in the living room) the main subject was Carly and Starr, after Bo explained how Melanie was able to contact him.
‘She’s a good girl.’ Maggie said softly.
‘She sure is,’ Bo smiled faintly. ‘So grown up now, the way she held the fort while I was gone and looking after Carly. I was actually expecting her to take a swing at me first chance she got. Instead we bonded as if… as if Carly and I never lost all those years.’
The three women didn’t have to guess what Bo meant; if Carly had stayed Melanie would’ve been their daughter, not just Carly’s. Months back, Caroline, Jennifer and Maggie would’ve felt uncomfortable by such a statement but now realised it wasn’t their place to object. Besides Bo’s statement just reminded them how they never bothered to tell Melanie about Carly’s past with Bo; a gross negligence they’ll have to live with for a long time.
‘I can only imagine how Carly must have felt when she found out she was pregnant. With the way I treated her before I left town, there’s no way she could’ve told me. She probably decided at some point to leave town to raise our baby on her own.’
Jennifer swallowed, a painful pang in her stomach. If she didn’t tell him now, somehow Bo would find out eventually. ‘She told me and I then told Hope.’ Caroline and Maggie looked at her in surprise.
Bo turned to her. ‘Immediately after I left?’
Jennifer hesitated and Bo felt his temper rise. ‘You mean you knew about it before I left?’ And the first person you decided to pass that important info to was Hope? What… you two just decided to just sit back and see what happened?’
‘It wasn’t like that,’ Jennifer protested. ‘Carly didn’t even confide in me, I found out she was pregnant by accident. She passed out in her office and she looked so pale that when she came round I asked her and she didn’t deny it. But she made me swear not to tell you, she was adamant about it. I had no choice but to respect her wishes.’
Maggie however looked troubled. ‘But honey, why did you tell Hope? You could’ve caused a major confrontation between her and Carly. What were you thinking?’
Jennifer turned away from Bo’s furious glare at her. ‘I… I don’t know.’ She replied, looking miserable.
‘Since you chose to go behind Carly’s back you should’ve told me, not Hope!’ Bo was very angry but struggled to keep his temper to spare Ciara from hearing him yell at Jennifer. ‘even if she didn’t want me to find out, you had no right to tell Hope about it! What if she’d gone to have it out with Carly like Maggie just said?’
Jennifer couldn’t admit that was Hope’s immediate inclination but for Jennifer’s intervention. Instead she hastily replied, ‘I messed up, I’m sorry.’
So Hope knew about Carly’s pregnancy the whole time yet kept it from him. Did she honestly think he would never find out? Or she thought that Carly would leave town, taking her secret with her? God, he could strangle her!
‘I can’t believe you Jennifer, I never imagined you would do this.’ He bit out. ‘I have no right to say this but what sort of friend are you?’ Jennifer paled at his words. ‘Hope’s your cousin but by telling her about the baby, it was like you were ganging up on your best friend- after she made you promise not to say anything. Were you hoping she would leave town without telling me about my baby and decided to tell Hope so she would feel less threatened?’
‘That’s not how it was…’
‘Don’t lie to me!’
Caroline rose. ‘Bo, that’s enough.’ She said quietly. ‘What’s done is done; alright? That neither here nor there now. The important thing right now is for Carly to get better and you two finally talk things out. Please.’
Jennifer cringed under the fierce glare still on Bo’s face. Not trusting himself to speak, Bo rose from the table. ‘I’m heading back to the hospital.’
‘Bo, wait.’ Maggie hesitated, not knowing how he was going to react to her question but still felt the need to ask anyway. ‘You and Hope… are things the same or different now?’
Bo looked back at her steadily. ‘With all due respect Maggie… right now, that’s really none of your business. And I would appreciate it if everyone just let Hope and I sort things out ourselves this time, without the talk and speeches about how we belong together and all that. Whatever decision we make in the end, I expect everyone…’ looking back at Jennifer with scorn, ‘to respect it.’
‘There’s no call for that Bo,’ Maggie protested, now wishing she’d kept her mouth shut.
‘Just expressing my wishes,’ Bo replied coldly, moving to the living room to kiss Ciara before leaving the house.
However, before going back to the hospital, Bo set out to look for Hope, determined to have it out with her once and for all. She didn’t answer her cell when he dialled her number and he wondered where she could be.
‘Uncle Bo!’ he turned to see Abby hurrying across the street to him. He smiled at the young woman, reaching out to hug her tightly. ‘Hey you.’
‘Welcome back!’ Abby cried enthusiastically. ‘It’s so great to see you!’
‘It’s great to see you too, honey.’ Stroking her blonde hair, Bo turned to the young man beside Abby. ‘Bo,’ Nicholas said, hand formally outstretched.
Bo shook his hand, staring at him. ‘The last time we saw each other, you were just a knee high,’ he commented. Lawrence Alamain’s replica more than ever but with Carly’s green eyes and none of his late fathers’ aura of arrogance. And no trace of the pampered, disdainful boy he once was. Like Melanie, maturity and dignity flowed from him.
Nicholas shrugged and smiled as Abby chuckled at Bo’s remark. ‘Little boys grow up eventually.’
‘In more ways than one, from what I see.’ Bo smiled at him warmly before turning to Abby. ‘Melanie told me everything, thanks a lot.’ He looked at Nicholas. ‘And thanks also, Nicky; you guys really came through.’
‘Melanie and Abby convinced me it was the right thing to do for Mum,’ Nicholas replied. ‘All I did was just call in a favour.’
‘By rights you should be angry.’
Nicholas’ mouth tightened, taking hold of Abby’s hand. ‘I was. But I thought long and hard about it after Abby and Melanie talked it over with me, I came to the conclusion that while what you did to my mother was reprehensible… at some level I got the feeling you never really meant to hurt her.’
‘You’re right, I didn’t.’ Bo replied soberly. ‘And I’m really sorry it happened. But now that I’m back, everything’s going to be alright from now on, like I told Melanie.’
‘Well, since Hope’s with Aiden, that makes things a lot easier, right?’
Bo frowned. ‘Who?’
‘Didn’t Shawn D tell you?’ Nicholas asked, surprised.
‘Tell me what? Who’s Aiden?’
‘Uh… Aiden Jennings… Hope’s boyfriend?’ Abby replied, also surprised. ‘Even if Shawn D didn’t tell you, we figured Hope would. Mum told me it’s pretty serious between them.’
‘Does Maggie know about him too?’
‘Uncle Bo, the whole town knows about them. It’s not exactly a deep dark secret.’
And Maggie had the nerve to question him about the situation between him and Hope. Bo felt his temper rise again as he remembered the way Hope behaved on his return. Oh… she was going to get it once he found her. How dare she!
Abby and Nicholas watched him carefully, wondering if the anger on his face was jealousy and their hearts sank. God, not again.
Bo relaxed his face on seeing the way the young couple were looking at him. ‘No guys… it’s not what you think. I’m just surprised that’s all.’
‘And… you don’t mind?’ Abby asked cautiously.
‘Honey, I did a lot of soul searching while I was gone. Since I plan on getting Carly to forgive me and start over, why the hell would I mind Hope’s found someone else? What’s his story anyway?’
Abby shrugged. ‘He’s an attorney. Widower with a son about Ciara’s age. Umm… Chad, Casey… no, I think his name’s Chase. Yeah, Chase. Ciara seems to like them both.’
A widower with a son, the scenario was so déjà vu-like that Bo felt like laughing out loud. Years ago a lonely heiress had arrived in Salem for a new life and stumbled upon a grieving widower raising a son- him and Shawn Douglas. Now it was in total reverse, Hope being the new woman in a widower’s life. Bo couldn’t help but feel a huge sense of relief that this Aiden Jennings and Carly never crossed paths. Being hurt and vulnerable after what she went through, Carly could have easily made friends with the boy Chase, just like she did with Shawn D. And Aiden would’ve taken one look at the beautiful green eyed woman and then…
You might have lost her for good. Be glad it didn’t go down that way, Bo.
‘What about Shawn D?’ he asked, breaking from his thoughts.
‘He didn’t seem happy seeing them dining at the restaurant we happened to be by chance,’ Nicholas replied. ‘But afterwards he said Hope told him it was serious, but he wasn’t convinced. He had this idea she was only with this man to get back at you and he didn’t want anything to come between you and Mum if you decided you wanted to reconcile with her.’
Bo frowned. ‘I’m not sure I understand.’
Abby snorted in exasperation. ‘Don’t you get it, Uncle Bo? Shawn D doesn’t mind you getting back with Carly but so long as it’s because you love her and not because Hope doesn’t want you. I’m sorry to say this but that’s pretty much the scenario between you two over the years.’
Abby was painfully right about that. ‘Well, it’s not like that this time,’ Bo snapped, rather defensively. ‘And this time, nobody’s going to lecture me about who I really belong with… regardless of a long history. Abby, before your Gram Alice died, she told me to listen to what’s in my heart. And I used that time away to do just that. I love Carly. I’ve missed her so damned much…’ his voice shook, ‘and what matters to me right now is that she gets better so I’ll be able to tell her! No more looking back.’
Nicholas and Abby were fully convinced by his heart felt words.
After seeing Roman and Abe and filling them in on the success of his mission, Bo finally tracked Hope down at the docks, staring at the river. She jumped as he approached. ‘Hey.’
‘Hey,’ Bo wasted no time. ‘When exactly were you going to tell me about Aiden Jennings?’
Hope flushed, it was only a matter of time he found out; thanks to the many wagging tongues in Salem. ‘You have to understand…’
‘Hope, first off I’m not jealous, if that’s what you’re worried about.’
Now Hope was really taken aback. ‘You’re not?’
Bo sighed impatiently. ‘Were you banking I would be and say “now we’re even”? Listen, we’re two mature adults here so let’s not keep playing this game. Before scurrying out of the house like you did, you basically accused me of abandoning you.’
‘Which is what you did.’ Hope fired back.
‘I’m not going to argue about that with you. What I want to know is, why didn’t you say something right away about you and this guy, instead of heaping guilt on me?’
Hope folded her arms, refusing to reply. Now that she thought about it, her behaviour had been childish, something she wasn’t going to admit out loud.
Bo sighed again. ‘Hope… I think you already know. I was bracing myself to tell you this but hearing about this new guy of yours just makes it a whole lot easier to tell you…’
‘You’re still in love with her.’ Hope bit out.
‘She has a name!’ Bo said sternly.
‘Fine, you’ve decided you're in love with Carly!’ she hurled out.
‘I didn’t decide, I knew. And while I was away; I realised that more than ever. I’m sorry but I love her, Hope.’ Bo replied.
‘How can you do this to me?’
‘No.. no way; you aren’t going to do that,’ Bo said warningly. ‘Hope… I’ve known and loved you for a very long time. I know you… nothing’s casual with you. Sure there was Lockhart but that was more to get back at me for something you thought I did. But I know it’s different with this Aiden. From the moment you got together with him, you knew it was over between us.’
Hope bit her lip.
‘Hope, don’t deny it.’ Bo urged. ‘The truth is right in front of us, it’s really over this time; now’s the time to finally just call it a day.’
‘25 years, Bo!’ Hope whispered. ‘Can you actually throw all that away?’
‘I only had 3 years with Carly,’ Bo said quietly. ‘I buried memories of her deep in my heart but they never left. You and I will always be connected but I can’t deny what my heart keeps telling me. Duration doesn’t matter. If it still mattered that much to you, you would’ve ended things with Aiden before I came back.’
Hope couldn’t argue with that. If she still felt the lingering need to hold on to Bo, it was because of their long history. But Aiden was a huge part of her life now; how could she hurt him and herself by leaving him to glue back a marriage… well not exactly a marriage; that no longer existed? But still… she glanced at him.
Bo shook his head, reading her mind. ‘Hope, you know I’m right. 25 years later and we’ve outgrown each other. We’re in love with other people now. At least I hope you are happy with this guy.’
‘I am,’ she mumbled. ‘I guess it just seems strange starting over with someone else after being in love with the same man for so long. Not for you though. You wouldn’t have left Carly when I came back, would you?’
‘No, I wouldn’t have,’ Bo said without hesitation.
Hope nodded. ‘I knew from the moment I saw her in our house, that she was different from Billie. Every time I saw her, looked at her; I tried to dig out flaws to pick on… and got more jealous when I couldn’t find any real ones.’ She rubbed her nose then looked up at Bo steadily. ‘I had a lot of time to think about things too, Brady. What went on between us was my fault. And I treated Carly terribly; I said some unforgivable things to her and blamed her for our problems, I sometimes wondered how she could be so calm and polite around me. And I guess you know now that I found out about the baby before you left.’
Bo’s face hardened. ‘Yes, I did.’
‘Well it wasn’t something I could tell you, was it?’ she said defensively. ‘I didn’t know how you’d react.’
‘How I would react?’
‘I was scared… I didn’t know how to tell you!’
‘Your reasons for not telling me are no longer important. What’s important right is us parting ways without any bitterness or resentment.’
‘No, we can’t have that.’ As she spoke, it really hit Hope. She was closing a chapter, actually closing it. ‘So…’ she went on, ‘What’s going to happen now? We sell the house and split the proceedings? Or you take it?’
‘You can keep the house.’
‘Hope, keep the damn house. I’ll get myself an apartment or something.’
Hope stood firm. ‘We bought that house together, Bo. Sooner or later, Aiden’s going to ask me to move in with him and Chase. Naturally, Ciara’s going to want to spend time with you now and then and I’d rather she stay in a familiar environment, not in an apartment.’
She had a point. ‘Joint custody?’
‘Of course.’ Hope smiled faintly. ‘She’s really taken in with Starr, I imagine she’ll spend a lot of time with her after she and Carly get out of the hospital. Congratulations by the way, Starr’s really precious.’
‘Thanks, she really is. I guess our lawyers can take care of the rest. I’ll call you, set up a meet.’
‘Right.’ Hope shifted from one foot to the other. ‘I guess, this is it.’
‘Yeah.’ Impulsively, Bo reached out and Hope clung to him as he hugged her, keeping back the tears threatening to fall in spite of the future that lay ahead of her. Pulling away, Bo nodded and walked away, the chapter finally closed behind him.
Frankie made no move to shake the outstretched hand, his bluish black eyes impassive as he stared at Bo.
‘Frankie, please believe me… I never meant to hurt her.’
‘Years ago, you made me a promise.’ Frankie replied, his voice icy cold. ‘When you made it clear you’ll never be ready to move on, you promised me you would never use my sister dishonourably. To put it bluntly, bed her if you wanted no future with her. So don’t tell me you never meant to hurt her, Bo or so help me I will take a swing at you, like you deserve.’
‘Okay, I deserve it. And if it will make you feel any better, go ahead… take your best shot.’ Bo braced himself but Frankie just glared at him. For a moment he thought his adopted brother would succumb to his anger but Frankie didn’t touch him. ‘It wasn’t enough that you hurt her so much, you made my sister look like a fool.’ Frankie said at last, his voice trembling with anger. ‘You allowed your families to slander her when you were supposed to look after her. What makes you think I can ever forgive you for what you did?’
‘Because we both love Carly.’ Bo said quietly. ‘And we’re family.’
‘Carly’s my family; her children and Shawn D. You and your lot are no family of mine; no matter what Carly decides.’ Frankie hadn’t forgotten what he told Shawn Douglas and the others but the sight of the man who betrayed his sister brought back a fresh surge of anger, so much that he could barely keep his hands to himself, itching to punch Bo out. ‘So you can tell that to them, especially that heartless bitch Kayla. Just stay the hell out of my way.’
It was definitely not going to be easy getting Frankie to forgive him and the rest of the family, he’d clearly taken what happened to his sister very personally indeed. Roman had told him Frankie wasn’t even on speaking terms with their mother, who was really upset by his unbending anger and on running into Hope at the square, had told her exactly what he thought of her, embarrassing her in front of several bystanders.
Molly assured Bo Frankie would calm down in time. Naturally Frankie was very upset about his sister’s condition and past humiliation but once she came out of the coma, she’ll be able to get through to him.
‘If she forgives me that is,’ Bo said quietly.
‘She will.’ Molly said consolingly.
‘Enough for her to give me another chance? Either way, I’m going to fight hard for her, Molly; no matter how long it takes.’
As another week dragged, Carly had more visitors. John, returning from a long business trip was told by Brady and Marlena about Carly and Starr and he wasted no time going to see them both. ‘Get well soon, sweetie,’ he said softly; pressing a kiss on the hot, pale cheek. ‘A lot of us are here waiting for you.’
Adrienne came and Abe came too, bringing Theo with him. Despite his autism, Theo had the uncanny ability to sense a person’s disposition which was why he pressed a kiss on Carly’s forehead and stroked her hair. Kayla visited her room every day, doggedly ignoring cold looks from Frankie and Melanie and Daniel and Molly’s raised eyebrows.
Dr Long said the new medication was preventing another cardiac arrest and everyone kept their fingers crossed, Bo especially. Every night he sat with her, holding and kissing her hand and whispering how much he loved her.
On the walls were ‘Get Well’ drawings from Ciara, Theo and Sami’s children; various arrangement of flowers decorated the room. Aside from family members, all anxious to make up for their past unkindness, former patients of Carly’s also came by as well as some nurses from St. Mary’s who prayed at her bedside.
Bo stoically refused to give in to despair as yet another week came. ‘Wake up princess,’ he whispered, running his fingers across her cheek. ‘Please wake up and let me see those eyes again.’
He turned, rising as Melanie entered; Nicholas and Abby at her heels. In her arms was a wrapped bundle. ‘Would you like to hold your daughter?’ she asked softly, a tender smile on her face.
Bo held out his arms and Melanie carefully handed the baby to him. A pair of tiny green eyes looked up at him and Bo felt like weeping as he stared down at them. Carly’s eyes.
‘Hey little angel,’ he whispered, his finger gently moving over her velvety cheek. ‘my beautiful little Starr.’
Starr made an almost inaudible mewling noise, her tiny tongue briefly peeking out between her pink lips. She was altogether beautiful.
‘Carly…’ he walked back to her side, Starr in his arms. ‘Starr’s right here. She made it. Now you have to as well, okay? Because she needs her mummy. We all need you.’
‘Yes, we all need you Mum.’ Melanie whispered from the other side of Carly’s bed. ‘Please wake up soon. We miss you so much.’
‘Yes, Mum; get well... for us.’ Nicholas added, taking hold of his mother’ s hand. Abby wrapped her arms around him from behind when she saw a tear rolling down his cheek.
Everyone were of course excited Starr was finally out of the incubator. Caroline went to Carly’s house the day after Melanie and Nicholas took Starr home and held her newest grandchild for hours in the nursery. Jennifer, Adrienne, Marlena, Maggie and Molly took turns holding Starr, exclaiming over how she looked so much like Carly. Frankie was very glad his niece had made it past the difficult phase, feeling it was a good omen. Ciara was positively doe eyed over Starr; carefully holding her as she sat in Carly’s rocking chair, softly singing to her.
Frankie stood at the nursery’s doorway the night Bo came by to see her on the way to the hospital, watching him cradling the baby in his arms, the loving look on his face as he softly recited a lullaby to her. He raised his head and saw Frankie looking at him. ‘Hey, Frank.’
‘Hey.’ Frankie entered.
‘She’s out… I’ll just put her back in the crib.’ Bo placed her in it carefully, tucking her in; his hand touching her tiny one lingeringly. ‘She’s so perfect.’ He whispered.
‘Bo, I don’t want you to hurt my sister again.’ Frankie said. ‘I really hope you’re serious about her this time. It’s not only her heart that’s at stake, but that little girl there.’
‘I am serious.’
Frankie said nothing and Bo went on, ‘I understand your doubts believe it or not and how hard it is for you to trust me. I would feel the same way as you if any of my sisters got hurt like that. I don’t expect you to forgive me that easy but I wish you would. My daughter’s your flesh and blood and you’re my brother… in time my brother-in-law. That’s how serious I am.’
Frankie said nothing but Bo could see something in Frankie’s eyes, a sign of relenting. It was only a matter of time and by then Frankie would see he was more than ready to make a commitment to Carly.
Patting Frankie’s shoulder, he left the house.
‘Remember the night we went ice fishing?’ Bo stroked Carly’s cheek. ‘You caught seven with that damned contraption of yours; I never felt more humiliated in my life. How was I supposed to know an heiress would beat me at fishing? And I ended up burning the whole thing and instead of getting mad… you couldn’t stop laughing. You had a laugh as sweet as the sound of a beck. I miss that laugh, princess.’ He reached down to squeeze her hand. ‘I guess… after what happened between us, you didn’t laugh much.’ He winced, vividly imagining it.
‘You must have carried around so much hurt, hiding behind a mask. But I saw the pain in your eyes that day… I never forgot it and I never forgot you.’ He sniffled, using one hand to wipe his eyes. ‘While I was away, I kept thinking about that old prayer you recited… during our symbolic wedding in Chichén Itza. God… that was such a long time ago. The best out of our memories. I remember how beautiful you looked that day. The flowers in your hair, the loving look in those green eyes when you recited it all to me.’
He leaned over and said softly;
“I know not if the voice of man can reach to the sky
I know not if the gods will hear as I pray
I know not if the gifts I asked for will be granted
I know not what will come to pass in our future days
I hope that only good will come, my love, to us.”
Tears sliding down his cheeks, Bo leaned over and kissed Carly between her eyes, pressing his lips against her hand.
He suddenly stiffened, wondering if it was a figment of his imagination. Did Carly’s eyelids just twitch? Her fingers moved under his own and his heart started beating very fast as her eyelids twitched again. ‘Carly?’ he said, praying she was finally coming round. The monitor began making a noise. ‘Princess?’Breathlessly he watched a miracle unfold; Carly’s head slowly turning on the pillow and her eyes fluttered open.