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Monday, July 20, 2015


Bo mingled through the guests, smiling and nodding but inwardly seething with anger and frustration. Anger towards Hope who was yet to let him know of her final decision- whether or not she’ll finally move back in with Ciara. He was really sick and tired of the whole deal. Fuelling his anger was most of the Hortons blatantly siding with Hope, hinting he should put in more effort to save his marriage. The trouble was Hope’s was such a favorite of the family; they were completely blind to her faults. He’d almost snarled at Julie earlier but because Mrs. Horton was present, forced himself not to make a scene. And there was the frustration over Carly’s absence. She was spending Christmas with her family at Chamonix, no doubt having more fun than he was and won’t be back until after New Year’s day.Was she thinking about him at all? Feeling the need to be alone, he wandered out outside, staring up at the night sky.
‘Is something wrong, honey?’ Caroline asked, appearing at his elbow.
‘Nothing Mum,’ was Bo’s gruff answer.
Caroline knew that was a lie, she was well aware of her son’s moods. She glanced at Hope who was chatting with Roman. She wasn’t the only one to notice that Bo and Hope had barely spoken to each other all evening. Where they were headed, no one knew and all efforts to intervene proved fruitless. Was Bo upset at the  current strain between him and his wife or was there something else weighing his mind? Or rather, someone else? There’s been more talk about him and Carly lately; ever since they were spotted having dinner at The Neptune. ‘Have you seen Carly lately?’ she blurted out.
‘Mum, leave Carly out of this; she has nothing to do with what’s going on. Can’t you just lay off her?’ Bo snapped.
 ‘I was just asking a question, that’s all.’ Caroline protested.
‘She’s at Chamonix with Nicky and Frankie.’
Bo saw the way his mother’s expression changed at the mention of Frankie. She  was now looking very uncomfortable. ‘Are you worried about  how he’s going to feel when she tells him what’s been going on?’ he asked, his voice heavy with contempt. He was usually very deferential towards his mother but she had this coming.
‘Bo…’ Caroline murmured in weak protest.
‘Why not? it’s not like whatever she tells him would be a lie. And I hope she does tell him and he calls you up to remind you that Carly’s his sister and what he  thinks  about  his sister’s been treated like an outsider. I won’t be surprised if he decided he wants nothing to do with the family, because even you can’t expect him to side with Hope.’
‘Of course I don’t expect him to side with Hope!’ Caroline snapped back, goaded.
‘Then why, why does his sister have to put with this crap?’
Because she came back!’ Caroline cried out. ‘You probably think I’ve been mean and irrational  and maybe I’ve been and I’m sorry about it. Of course Carly’s not the reason things are strained between you and Hope. I remember who she is and lately I’ve been feeling guilty about it. I also remember how much you loved her and how she hurt  you…’
‘You’ll not say that to me, Mum,’ Bo said darkly.  Ever again. You don’t know what happened and it wasn’t even Carly’s fault.’
‘That’s neither here nor there. You and Hope have been together for 25 years; even with the rough patches. Carly coming back to Salem is complicating things with you and Hope and I don’t want to see your marriage fail.’
‘Carly will never do what Billie did to us and you’re being unfair to even think that way about her.’
Caroline shook her head, wishing he would understand. ‘It would be best if Carly left town.’ Before you fall in love with her all over again.
Bo shook his head. ‘Here am I thinking you’ve realized you’ve been wrong about her. All that talk about feeling guilty, that wasn’t true, was it?’
‘No… it’s true!’ Caroline protested.
 ‘I don’t want to talk about this anymore with you,’ Bo said abruptly, walking back into the house.
Caroline felt upset, she had handled it all wrong. Deep down she knew very well Carly was unchanged, that was the real reason why Bo could fall in love with her again and end his marriage. But Carly was Frankie’s sister and Caroline  envisaged Frankie’s anger once he heard how the family was treating her. By harming her, they were harming him. Why did she have to come back, and at this time?
She thought about Carly’s odd behavior a few weeks back. She contemplated telling Bo about it but then changed her mind; it would only make him even more protective of her. But Carly’s tears haunted her and she wished she knew why she reacted to Ciara the way she did.
The traditional Christmas balls bearing names of the family were on the tree, including the family members who weren’t able to fly over; Shawn Douglas, Chelsea, Belle, Claire, Jennifer, Jack, Bill, Laura, Melissa, Mike. And of those who weren’t there to spend it with them; Tom, Addie and… Zack. Bo stared at the last one sadly.At this time, he and Hope would be consoling each as they remembered their dead son. Glancing at Hope, he again wondered what he stood with her. And he thought of Carly, painfully missing her comforting presence. He caught Alice Horton’s eye, immediately hurrying over to her when she beckoned. ‘How are you bearing up, darling?’ she asked, sliding her hand into his.
Bo shrugged. ‘As well as I can, Mrs. H. Are you going to give me a lecture about putting in more work to save my marriage too?’
‘Of course not,’ Alice admonished. ‘And frankly, I feel it would be wiser to just let Hope work it out for herself, rather than everybody taking sides. But I hope she won’t take too much time to realize how much she’s hurting you.’
‘I hope so too.’
‘By the way… how is Carly? Has she been settling in well?’
‘Yeah, she has. But she’s not in town right now, Nicky invited her and Frankie to spend the holidays with him.’
‘I see.’ Alice murmured. Bo had been the one to inform her of Carly’s return but Carly was yet to pay her a visit. And Alice really wanted to see her again. ‘When she gets back, will you please tell her I would love to see her.’
Bo was pleased to hear that. Alice Horton was the most wonderful woman he knew. There was no “side” to her, she was everything loving, fair and kind. Obviously she still had deep regard for Carly, who was after all, her granddaughter’s best friend. ‘I’ll tell her.’ he promised. Carly too will be very glad to know Mrs. Horton was still her friend.

Frankie observed his sister as she stood in front of the large window, looking at the  magnificent  view. In her black ski pants and  red and white patterned sweater, she was exceptionally beautiful. Frankie wasn’t being biased, it was the truth. She was lovely as a little girl and now in her forties, still in the height of her beauty. The bruises and cuts on her face were long gone but he knew about the scars; on her body and within her soul. He was glad she made the trip; he would’ve changed his mind to come if she hadn’t.
The chalet was bigger than he and Carly expected. It had three spacious bedrooms, a huge open plan living room with a log fire and though old fashioned in ambience, the place was full of modern comforts. A huge game room with gym equipment, pool and air hockey tables, an elaborate music system and satellite T.V, high speed Wi-Fi and a  fully stocked fridge in the kitchen. The chalet was one of several in a luxury winter resort and not far from the ski lifts and Chamonix’s historical town.At the moment, Nicholas was on the slopes so the siblings were alone. Their wrapped presents lay under the gaily decorated eight foot Christmas tree, its multicolored lights blinking and carols played softly through hidden speakers.
Frankie  walked up to Carly, handing her a mug of hot cocoa topped with marshmallows.
‘Thanks, love,’ Carly smiled, taking a sip. ‘Remember when Cora would fix us this every night?’ Cora was their nanny when they were kids, who they saw more than their parents. ‘We would always tell her when she sent us to bed, “don’t forget the marshmallows.”’
Frankie grinned. ‘I remember. She never forgot.’
‘But she always put a little extra on yours.’ Carly pouted.
‘Well, maybe it’s because you were worried about getting zits on your pretty nose,’ Frankie tweaked it.
‘Oh those days… so long ago.’ Carly walked across the room in her fluffy Snoopy slippers, sinking into one of the cushioned couches. ‘Who would’ve thought we would eventually leave our home to follow our own paths.’
‘It wasn’t much of a home and Mother and Father didn’t exactly give us much of a choice, did they?’ Frankie said dryly, sitting beside her. ‘We’ve come a long way, you and I. You especially.’
Carly nodded, her expression sober.
‘How is it been so far?’
‘I still have nightmares,’ Carly confessed. ‘Work keeps my mind off things and I’ve really been busy at the hospital since I started. And Bo’s been a great friend to me.’
Frankie eyed his sister as she sipped  her cocoa. ‘Is there something else you aren’t telling me, Katarina?’ he asked, detecting an odd tone in her voice.
The only person she tolerated calling her by her birth name was her brother because his way of addressing her was genuinely affectionate; just like when they were children.
‘Why do you think so?’ she asked.                 
‘Don’t do that.’ Frankie’s expression was now stern. ‘What with the years apart and what you went through, you can’t keep anything from me.’
Carly sighed deeply. ‘I wasn’t expecting the family to welcome me back with open arms but I didn’t expect downright hostility either…’
Hostility?’ Frankie asked sharply, sitting up.  ‘What’s this? Have they been treating you badly?’
Quietly and reluctantly, Carly explained in detail everyone’s behavior towards her, including what Justin did, but not the anonymous note she received. It would alarm him and Nicholas.  Frankie’s face went red with anger as he listened. He had asked Bo to look after Carly. What the hell has he really been doing; allowing both families to slander her?
‘From what Bo told me, Hope sort of accused him of gambling with Ciara’s life, because he convinced her not to pay the ransom but offer a reward instead.’
‘Oh no…’ Frankie was shocked but felt Bo did the right thing.
‘So she moved out with Ciara; they’ve staying with Victor at the moment. Bo’s really torn up about it.’
‘So what… everyone now thinks you want to make a move on Bo? Are you kidding me?’
‘How was I to even know there was trouble between Bo and Hope in the first place?’ Carly was glad to let out her hurt and frustration at last. ‘The family’s probably still very angry for me for leaving in the first place.’
‘It’s not like they don’t know why!’
‘I don’t think they know the whole story. But what does it matter anyhow? Bo moved on with his life ages ago.’
‘It still doesn’t give them the right to treat you like this. Have they forgotten you’re my sister?’
‘Right now, I think they’re too busy protecting Hope from the interloper to remember that, or anything else about me for that matter.’
‘I can’t believe I’m hearing this.’ Frankie growled. ‘I’m going to go back to Salem with you and straighten them all out, Justin especially. He’s going to pay for attempting to sabotage you.’
‘You’ll do no such thing. The family still has regard for you, at least I hope so, and I’ll just get the blame if this turns into a feud.’
‘A feud of their own making. Why would they treat you like this in the first place and expect me to take it lying down? And you should’ve sued Justin.’
‘I don’t want any trouble, Francois and I can take care of myself. At least I got the job and once they see I’m not trying to get Bo back, they’ll probably change their minds about me. And it’s not like I’ll be drawing attention to myself or forcing myself on them.’ Carly told him of her plan and he nodded approvingly.
‘Does Bo know what Lawrence did to you?’
Carly lowered her head. ‘No, he doesn’t know about… that.’
Frankie stared at her in disbelief and Carly went on, ‘I can’t tell him; not with what he’s going through right now. I just can’t.’
‘You’re in love with him.’ Frankie guessed correctly.
Carly’s eyes filled with tears and her brother’s arm went round her. ‘ I am, it’s impossible not to be. Especially after…’ she sniffled, her heart filled with sheer pain. ‘But what we had is in the past. I know he hopes to sort things out with Hope and he will, I want him to. If there’s anyone who deserves love and stability, it’s Bo. In time, everyone will realize I didn’t come back to ruin his marriage. So please… don’t do anything that would only make things worse. Please.’
Frankie reluctantly nodded and held his sister tightly in his arms, consoling her; wishing she’d taken his advice about not moving back to Salem. He was very angry at what he just heard from her but she’d made him promise not to take action. But her plan she revealed to him was a good one. He was prepared to help her with it if she ran into difficulties. ‘I promise. In the meantime, please cheer up. It’s Christmas. Don’t let Nick come back to find your eyes all red.’
Carly agreed, pulling herself together and went to the bathroom to bathe her eyes.
Nicholas came back from skiing later, his cheeks red from the rigorous sport. He too was pleased Carly had come to Chamonix and seemed to be recovering from her ordeal. He knew she was yet to fully recover but he was glad at what he saw so far. Reading his father’s journals was a very unpleasant experience, each entry making him ill and making him ask himself yet again how could he have allowed his father to fool him. He was yet to be done with them but in the meantime, giving his mother a wonderful Christmas was more important. Vivian had called from Madrid hoping he would fly over to spend the holidays with her. He’d basically told her to go to hell and never call him again.
While Nicholas and Frankie shot pool in the game room, Carly contemplated phoning Bo to wish him a merry Christmas; her hand hovering over the phone. Despite her resolve to avoid him more, she missed him terribly. The holidays were probably hard for him and Hope, their poor little Zack not being there to celebrate it with them. She wondered if Bo’s other daughter flew in to spend Christmas with them.  Carly’s lips tightened. He and Billie never got to raise Chelsea from a baby but she was his first born daughter all the same…. a child she never got to give him. Life just wasn’t fair.
You can’t turn back the clock, Carly.
Carly didn’t call Bo. She called Daniel instead and also spoke with his fiancée, Chloe Lane. She had a delicious dinner with Frankie and Nicky, afterwards they bundled up against the cold and walked down to the town to attend Mass, wishing one another merry Christmas and exchanging kisses at midnight.
On Christmas morning, they exchanged gifts. Nicholas went skiing again and Frankie, who was also an avid skier, joined him. Carly however preferred ice skating; taking it up quickly even though she hadn’t skated in years. They had lunch at one of the cafes and later in the evening, enjoyed a hearty Christmas dinner. For the first time in years, Carly was happy. Her wounds were yet to fully heal but she was with her family, spending a lovely Christmas with them. That was her real Christmas present and she was grateful for it.


  1. Another great chapter! I really liked how you had Carly spend time with Frankie and Nicky for Christmas. It was always hard for her to be in Salem at first because her family wasn't there, and I hope one of them comes back with her eventually. The fight between Caroline and Bo was sad, but the conversation was definitely needed. Everyone seems either apathetic toward Carly or very bitter towards her for no real reason. Also, I hope Frankie does not blame Bo for not taking care of Carly, because he has been trying to. I feel like Bo would want to take care of her even if Frankie had not asked him to, though. I wonder if Carly knows that Frankie asked him to. Anyway, it's also sad that Ciara reminds Carly of the kid Bo & Carly could've had. :( I'm hoping for a Carbo baby, though. :) Thanks again for the update!

    1. You're welcome as always. I felt the writers should have let Frankie visit Carly and defend her, not leave her alone as if she had no other family except Mel and Nicholas; whom we saw much later. There was no real reason Carly was disliked by the family and it still hurts me the writers made it so. Thanks so much for reading

  2. Yes, they should have shown the family she did have more because it helps the viewers to know some of her background. When you know their family & background, you seem to understand them better. Anyway, you're welcome. Your stories are always so engaging. :)


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