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Thursday, August 27, 2015


Photography is a wonderful art I've dabbled in since I was twelve. It's another  trait I inherited from my father (the first being a voracious reader); most of the photos in our family albums are  courtesy of him. He was an avid photographer and would sometimes allow me to look through the viewer and click the button. In those days people used Nikons and Cannons mostly and get the photos developed by professionals in the darkrooms. There was of course the Polaroids, whose photos just slide out out the slot in front.

Daddy used a  Canon Canonet with a flash mounted on top; I think the film he used was usually enough for about 36 photographs and they always turned out clear, colourful and glossy. When he saw I had a genuine interest in photography, he let me use another model he had. It was small compared to the Canonet and its film was enough for 12 photos but a very camera still.

 It was a Boots 110 Teleflash and a very handy device; and I was really proud of my photographs after they were developed. But I still got to use the Canonet from time to time.

In 2002, I was given a little Canon as a birthday present; a Canon Prima BF-9S, with a built in flash, 32 mm lens, self timer and aiutomatic loading and rewind. I remember taking a lot of photographs at a friend's engagement and wedding with this camera and the photos turned out so great, I gave them all to her as a wedding gift.
In the present digital era, 'film' cameras are used less, at least among amateur photographers.Today's cameras double up as video cameras with zoom-in lens, plus the options of making it coloured, black and white, sepia, small, portait or landscape and merely hooking it to a printer... BAM! you get your photos... no, they are now called 'pics' in a heartbeat!
To me, photography's far more of an art using the 'film' cameras. True, developing them is work but work is fun when you are doing something you like very much. And the photographs made the subjects stand out and make them more realistic, while digital cameras while very handy and good and you get your pics fast, the wide selection of options has the tendency of making the subject cartoony at some point. I should know, I use my phone's camera to take pics these days (my Canon Prima sadly neglected for a very time)  and my computer's microsoft photo viewer does the editing should I decide to take it to a photo studio or cybercafe (I kid you not) to have them printed.
I want to believe there are still 'film' camera users out there who remember the time when photography was really an art. Today, it all so easy and... well digital.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Carly showed up as promised and the first thing Bo noticed was her hair was back to its original chestnut waves, with a few needle-thin blonde highlights. ‘You look great,’ he said, leading her by the hand inside. Now that he realized what he felt for Carly, it took a lot of restraint from him not to clasp her in his arms and cover her with kisses. Carly looked round, remembering when the house was Jennifer and Jack’s and how it was the last house she visited before saying goodbye to Bo. ‘Would you like a drink?’  
‘No thanks, I’m good.’ Carly pushed back some strands of hair from her forehead, more than curious to find out what Bo had to say this time. ‘So, what’s going on?’ she asked, sitting down on the couch. Bo sat next to her, wondering how to begin. Now that she was here, he suddenly found it difficult to put his feelings into words.
‘Bo, what’s wrong?’  Carly asked apprehensively.
‘Nothing’s wrong,’ Bo assured her, finding his tongue at last. He took her hand, holding it between his. ‘First off… I’m really sorry about that other day, when… when I...’
‘You have nothing to apologize for,’ began Carly but Bo shook his head firmly, squeezing her hand. ‘You do deserve an apology Carly; I had no right to ask you that, not you. You were the one who dragged me out of the dark place I was living in when you first came to Salem. You changed my life, made me whole again. You deserve better than what I asked of you.’
‘Bo… it’s really okay, I’m not upset about it at all. But if it makes you feel better, I accept your apology.’
‘You know what would really make me feel better;  is if we end this stupid thing we’ve been doing and be together, permanently.’
Carly stared at him. ‘What?’
‘There’s no better way to do this so I’ll just come right out and say it… I’ve fallen in love with you, all over again.’ Bo said softly, freeing a hand to caress her neck.
‘I don’t understand,’ Carly moved away from his touch and rose to her feet, unable to believe what she was hearing.
‘I know it’s not something you expected to hear,’ Bo got up. ‘But it’s true. This time away made me realize what I’ve been feeling about you all this time. I love you and I want to be with you from now on.’
‘Oh my God…’ Carly murmured, shocked. He was serious. She wanted to burst with happiness and tell him she loved him too and kiss him breathless. You can’t do that, Carly. If he finds out what happened to you and what you did... the vicious voice in her head reminded her. Besides, there was a nagging doubt in her mind. So she backed up; folding her arms. ‘What about Hope?’ she asked, forcing her voice to be cold.
 ‘What about her?’ Bo demanded.
‘25 years of marriage and memories is a lot to throw away, so you can’t expect me to believe you’re willing to do that, Bo. We only had 3 years.’
‘It doesn’t mean I’m not capable of loving you again. We’re not exactly total strangers here.’
 ‘That’s true, we’re not. But… you’ve been with Hope forever; she’s the mother of three of your children… your soul mate. If I was still here when she came back, you probably would’ve gone back to her.’
‘How can you say that, Carly!’ Bo was appalled and angry. ‘I loved you!’
‘But our love wasn’t enough to keep us together!’ Carly cried. ‘Even before Vivian attacked me at the hospital, we were always fighting, Bo, you know that. And I saw how Hope’s “death” hurt you, I still remember the times you were so cruel. I understood your pain but it still hurt, because I loved you so much and I was human. That’s what would’ve happened, you would’ve left me for her.’
‘Neither of us know what would’ve happened then,’ Bo said harshly, moving closer to her. ‘And I don’t want to talk about that time, Carly. The day you left was the most miserable day of my life. I moved on eventually but it doesn’t mean I ever forgot you. Years ago, you came at the crucial time I thought my life was over. My marriage was on the rocks when you came back and I found myself wondering what my feelings for you were. I’m not a kid, I know what they are.’ He held her face.  When Carly said nothing,  Bo lowered his head to kiss her only for her to pull away, avoiding his eyes.
‘What we had… was a life time ago.’
‘And it’s still there, princess. You can’t tell me you don’t feel the same way.’
But Carly shook her head, standing her ground and hating herself for what she must do. ‘I don’t. I really do care about you Bo, but I don’t. Besides, somewhere along the line Hope will realize she wants to give her marriage another try and you will realize how much you miss her.
‘There’s no way that’s going to happen.’
‘It will.’
‘Well I’m just going to tell her the truth then, that I’m in love with someone else, you!’ Bo snapped.
‘You say that now but later on you’re going to see I’m not the woman for you. I didn’t come back to Salem to break up your marriage and I don’t want to be the reason why you and Hope get a divorce.’
‘What are you talking about?’ Bo was now confused. ‘You didn’t break up my marriage, Hope left me and you know how much I tried reasoning with her.’
‘And suddenly along the line, I ended up being the reason you feel your marriage isn’t worth saving anymore.’
‘That’s not true, you’re simply twisting everything! I love you, I want a second chance with you, why won’t you believe that?’
Carly was about to reply when a sound came from her pocket. Bo swore as she drew her beeper out. ‘It’s the hospital. I have to go.’
‘We’re not finished.’
‘We are.’ Carly looked him in the eye. ‘And we’re not having this conversation again. Goodbye Bo.’
She turned, her face pale and drawn.
‘Years ago, you told me love’s something that happens, something you feel. The whole time  we’ve been talking, you’ve avoided saying it but I know you love me as much as l love you, princess.’ Bo stared hard at her. ‘That’s why I’m not giving up on us, not ever.’
Standing at the door, he watched her walk to her car. In time, he’ll get through with her and they will have that second chance.
‘Damn you, Lawrence. Damn you and your soul to hell.’ Carly muttered as she drove back to the hospital; angry tears rolling down her cheeks.
After speaking to Hope over the phone, Bo picked up Ciara from school; the child overjoyed to see him. After taking her for ice cream, Bo took her to the house to give her what he brought home from California, a snow globe she was very pleased with. Bo’s mind was full of Carly but he managed to focus attention on his daughter.
‘Look Daddy, a bracelet.’ Ciara picked it up from the rug. ‘Is it Mummy’s?’
Bo took it from her. It was made of rose gold, with tiny diamonds. ‘It’s Carly’s,’ he said, immediately recognizing the antique piece Carly always wore on her right wrist.  It once belonged to her mother; so she told him years ago. It must have slipped off her wrist when she was around earlier.  
‘Oh.’ Ciara said uncertainly. Bo looked at her sharply. ‘Honey, Carly’s a very good person and I want you to get to know her. Don’t listen to what people say about her.’
Ciara nodded, suddenly remembering something. ‘Grandma and I saw her one day. And… she acted weird.’
‘What do you mean “weird”?’
‘She looked at me and then she started crying.’
Bo stared at his daughter, amazed. Crying? ‘Honey, are you sure about this?’
‘Yes, Daddy.’ Ciara said earnestly. ‘She cried like something about me made her very sad and then she just turned and walked away.’
Carly crying at the sight of Ciara. Why? And  Caroline was there at the time, how could she be so heartless not to even mention it to him! Bo’s mind turned over to Carly, trying to figure out the reason behind her behavior. Was she  sad because she never had another child? Carly  hoped to have at least three more with him until Dr. Alvarez’s painful diagnosis, which she’d taken very hard. He’d done all he could to console her, assuring her of his love; even willing to adopt if she wanted. ‘Tell me what happened that day, exactly like it happened; whatever you remember.’ Bo instructed.
Ciara frowned thoughtfully, describing the incident bit by bit, Bo listening. From what Ciara told him they were tears of misery, not mere sadness. Bo had no idea what it was but it was obvious, Carly was hiding something. Knowing how stubborn she was, Bo knew it won’t do any good to confront her about it. It was going to take a lot of patience on his part to get her to open up to him. He loved Carly more than enough to give her that.
… I’ve fallen in love with you, all over again. Carly couldn’t get Bo’s words out of her head. She tried arguing to herself Bo was simply confused and feeling lonely and vulnerable but she’d seen the sincerity on his face. It was the look he often gave her when they were still together. He was willing to leave Hope for her, something she never thought for a second would happen, in spite of her own love for him. She should be happy, delirious with joy at the prospect of a second chance with him. Instead, Carly Manning felt herself sinking further and further in despair.
Broken, damaged…. a murderer. Carly wept, covering her face with her hands.
‘Oh boo hoo… the lady’s feeling sorry for herself,’ a taunting voice sounded at her elbow. Carly sprang to her feet, shocked at sight of the ghost of her tormentor perched on her filing cabinet. ‘“Will all the water in the ocean wash this blood from my hands?”’ Lawrence quoted the famous line from Macbeth maliciously.
‘Go to hell,’ Carly spat.
‘Oh, I’m already there, no thanks to you Katarina. But even in death, I haunt you and to my delight, standing between you and that peasant you love so much.’
‘He’s worth ten of you!’
‘So you made oh so obvious,’ Lawrence said coldly, mirth gone. ‘I gave you everything but it just wasn’t enough for you, you had to keep lusting after Bo Brady.’
‘You lured me away from him…’ Carly sobbed, ‘and then you ruined my life, you ruined me for good!’
‘I like to see it more as a punishment, a punishment you deserved. And frankly, I’m surprised Brady managed to bring himself to love you again. Much as it nauseates me to admit you love him, you held yourself apart all the same. You kept secrets and more secrets from him; he never exactly had all of you. Just like me; looks like we have something in common after all.’
‘No you don’t! He’s nothing like you, you’re a monster and he’s everything good! He still is!’
‘And yet… he still doesn’t know your secret,’ Lawrence murmured. ‘Of course he doesn’t. You want to spare him pain and make him keep thinking you’re still his golden princess.’
Carly glared at him, hating him.
‘So near and yet so far,’ Lawrence sneered. ‘You’re beyond the pale now, Katarina Von Leuschner and I’m beside myself with glee knowing you can never be with Bo Brady. I saw to that before you murdered me, didn’t I? Hence, poetic justice. Ta ta!’

The room was empty again. Carly sank to the floor, feeling sick to her stomach. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


To help her keep to the painful resolution, Carly focused on work more than ever; spending her weekends off at the lake house. She hoped to accumulate a sizeable amount of vacation time so she could spend more time there; keeping out of everyone’s way except for Alice whom she visited and occasionally joined Adrienne for drinks at The Cheating Heart. Frankie and Nicholas called her on the phone often to check on her, Carly amusing them with stories of her cooking struggles at the lake house; including the failed attempt to make raisin bread. However after meticulously following the cookbooks’ instructions, Carly slowly made headway. But the nightmares didn’t stop. Most nights Carly would wake up screaming and trembling all over; longing for Bo’s comforting arms and his soothing words. But he kept away from her like she asked, not even a text message came from him. As the weeks passed, Carly kept reminding herself she did the right thing, her love for him notwithstanding. But all the same, she missed him agonizingly.
One evening after work, Carly was at the supermarket shopping for groceries; reaching out for a box of cereal when a hand reached for it at the same time. Carly blinked at who the hand belonged to. ‘Roman…’ she said, facing Bo’s brother. They’d seen very little of each other since she came back and his attitude towards her had been more cagey than cold. ‘Hi.’
‘Hi, Carly.’ Roman replied quietly, withdrawing his hand.
Carly placed the box of cereal in her trolley, looking at Roman squarely. She was innocent of what they all thought of her, so she had no reason to be uncomfortable around him. ‘How have you been?’ she asked.
‘Great, thanks.’
‘How’s Bo?’
‘He’s in California.’
‘Is he working on a case?’ Carly asked, knowing her ex fiancé enough to guess he missed being on the field. As the Commissioner of Police, Bo spent more time behind a desk.
‘Oh no, nothing like that,’ Roman replied. ‘Kimberly has leukemia and her best chance is a bone marrow transplant.’
So Bo went over to donate some of his; like the loving brother he is, Carly thought. ‘Poor Kim. I really hope it helps her.’
‘We’re keeping our fingers crossed.’
Carly nodded. ‘Okay then. See you later, Roman.’
‘Wait a bit,’ Roman stopped her, his hand on her arm. Carly swallowed, bracing herself for more unpleasantness. She was yet to forgive Justin for what he said to her at the wake and she wasn’t going to allow Roman bash her as well.
‘Did you and Bo have a fight?’ was Roman’s surprising question.
‘Why would you ask me that?’ Carly demanded, yanking her arm away. ‘What did I do this time?’
Roman blinked, taken aback. ‘Take it easy, I’m not accusing you of anything.’
‘Then why are you asking me a question like that?’ Carly snapped, not backing down. ‘I had to tell Bo to stay away  just to make Hope and both families happy. I’ve done all I could to stay out of their way. And you expect me not to think you’re about to accuse me of something? Why don’t you just say what you really feel, Roman; you’re not happy I came back here at all. I’m aware I picked the wrong time to return to Salem. But I came back to for my own reasons and none of them has to do with getting Bo back.  You know me enough to realize I don’t deserve all this Rom, I don’t.  Is it because what Billie did? You’re all likening me to her?’ Frankie had told her all about the Billie/Bo and Hope saga, which had appalled and disgusted her; bitterly sure Billie would have done the same if she and Bo had stayed together.
‘It’s not that either.’ Roman said roughly.
‘Then what? Hope’s bent on believing I’m out to ruin her life, when all she has to do is put her own house in order and not let her jealousy get the better of her. I will not apologize for my past with Bo and that’s what it is, the past. I can imagine the Hortons seeing me as a threat but not your family, Roman. Not yours!’
Roman took her arm again and this time pulled her into his arms, hugging her tightly. Momentarily stunned, Carly awkwardly hugged him back.
Roman pulled back a bit, staring down at her solemnly. ‘You’re right. And I’m sorry, Carly; I really am. To be honest, I never thought you came back for that.’
Carly sighed, lowering her eyes. ‘I just want some peace in my life, Roman. Is it too much to ask, for the family to give me some benefit of the doubt?’
Roman couldn’t tell Carly the unfair general hostility was more than she thought it was; it would just hurt her feelings further. It wasn’t only about being on Hope’s side, despite the fact she was behaving like a fool. With the trouble going on between Hope and Bo right now,  Bo might fall in love with Carly all over again. Without Lawrence and Vivian’s interference, they would’ve been married ages ago and Roman personally doubted Bo would’ve abandoned Carly for Hope. No man in his right mind would give up a woman like Carly Manning.  The love she and Bo shared so long ago was what made her a bigger threat than Billie, not anything they felt she would do. Billie had truly loved Bo but then turned against him. It was unthinkable Carly would do the same, but just by being herself Hope was already threatened and Bo was stuck in the middle. Caroline especially wanted things to remain the same, not the eruption of an explosive love triangle and Ciara a victim of a broken home.
‘You have the right to be angry,’ Roman held on to Carly’s hand. ‘I asked you if you guys fought because… well before he left town, Bo was sort of short tempered, snapping at everyone.’ Which was putting it mildly, he and Abe almost got their heads bitten off. Bo was hot tempered but his behavior really baffled them.
‘We didn’t fight. I just told him it was best we didn’t hang out and I stand by it. I got tired of being blamed by everyone.’
I’m sorry you felt you had to shun Bo, Carly. I guess he didn’t take it well.’
Carly’s heart sank at the thought of their last encounter. ‘I had no choice. And I think this time away will give him the chance to cool off and see it’s the best solution.’
‘I don’t think it’s the best solution myself, Carly. There’s no reason why you and Bo can’t be friends.’
Oh yes, there is, thought Carly. ‘There are many reasons, Roman. If I want to avoid trouble, that’s how it’s going to be and how it’s going to stay.’ She squeezed the hand still entwined with hers, before letting go. ‘I’m glad at least you don’t think I’m out to wreak Bo’s marriage.’
‘I never thought that about you, not for a second.’ Roman said vehemently, meaning it. Would it be so bad after all, if his brother did fall back in love with Carly, he suddenly thought. Carly would never take Bo’s child away from him or torment him with hints of divorce. Sentiments aside, he was angry with Hope, fed up with her behavior. But in the end, Bo will forgive her like he’s done many times.
‘Thank you,’ Carly said gruffly, hiding her real emotions. ‘I’ll see you around. Let me know how things work out for Kimberly, okay?’
‘Sure.’ Roman watched her go in silence. There was something different about Carly, yet she was the same feisty woman he met on his return from his long captivity. She could easily win back Bo but like she said, had no intention of doing so. The more Roman thought about it, the more he began to suspect Carly was avoiding Bo for more reasons than not wanting more resentment from the two families.
 A few days later, Nathan’s hand slipped in the middle of a surgery; almost causing serious damage to the patient he and Carly were operating on. Carly was furious; summoning him to her office afterwards as she didn’t want to embarrass him in front of the nurses. ‘I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about being completely focused when you have a scalpel in your hand. Do you have any idea what could’ve happened?’
‘I’m sorry Dr. Manning,’ Nathan muttered, not meeting her eyes.
‘I hope you are Nathan, because it can never happen again. Whatever’s going on with you, try to keep it at the back of your mind in the O.R next time. You can go.’ Carly sat down to deal with some paperwork on her desk. Nathan paused, his hand on the doorknob. He turned. ‘Dr. Manning… I need to talk to someone. If I don’t, I’ll… I’ll just go nuts.’
Carly looked up. Nathan’s face was flushed and angry but resolute. She indicated the chair opposite her and he sat down. ‘What’s on your mind?’
Nathan sighed. ‘I do have a lot on my mind and it’s killing me. It’s… it’s Melanie.’
Melanie?’  Carly’s eyebrows rose up.
‘I’m sure you know like everyone else, Phillip Kiriakis’ asked her to marry him.’
Carly did. While she thought Melanie was a bit young to embark on such a serious step, the girl seemed to be head over heels in love with Phillip; spotting a large diamond engagement ring on her finger. Now that she was in Melanie’s good books, she was already invited to the wedding, which would be in a month’s time. ‘Of course.’ She replied.
Nathan bit his lower lip and Carly immediately caught on. ‘You’re in love with her.’
‘Damn it, yes.’ Nathan was glad to let out what’s been giving him heartache. ‘I didn’t know what I felt for her until she told me she and Phillip were going to get married. And it’s partly my fault; I chose to date Stephanie Johnson but it was never really serious between us. I never felt for Stephanie the way I feel for Melanie.’
‘I see.’ New generation, new love triangles; Carly thought as she looked at Nathan’s earnest face. ‘Does Stephanie know about this?’ she asked.
‘She’s always known but I guess she thought I’ll get over Mel eventually. I thought so too since it’s always been Phillip for Mel even though she and I seemed to have a connection when we first met. I know what I feel for Melanie Layton now,’ Nathan said softly. ‘I love her so much. I can’t think of anything or anyone but her. And now… she’s going to marry someone else.’
Carly rubbed her nose thoughtfully. ‘Well, this is a real tight situation; Nathan.’ She replied, feeling sorry for him.
‘It is,’ Nathan said bitterly. ‘And there’s nothing I can do about it. Phillip Kiriakis is a jackass. He’s not going to make her happy, if he’s anything like his old man.’
‘I’m not in a position to give you advice, Nathan. But if it’s eating you alive this much…’ Carly hesitated then continued, ‘maybe you should just tell Melanie how you feel. Get it off your chest once and for all and hear what she’ll say.’
‘I’m not sure I can do that,’ Nathan replied quietly, looking down at his hands.
‘It’s the only option open to you right now. Once she walks down the aisle, there’s nothing you can do.’
Nathan stood up, shrugging his shoulders. ‘I’ll think about it.’ he held out his hand and Carly shook it. ‘Thanks, Dr. Manning.’
‘Anytime.’ Carly wondered if he would really take the plunge and tell Melanie the truth. The situation reminded her of what happened years ago; Bo finally chasing her and admitting his love after she married Victor. Carly wondered if she did the right thing, telling Nathan to admit his feelings to Melanie. Melanie loved Phillip as far as she knew but now that she knew Melanie better, Carly doubted Phillip Kiriakis was the right man for her. He was more like Victor than Bo; arrogant, condescending and so sure of himself. Nathan was more  down to earth, albeit rather reserved. Carly could only hope that if marriage to Phillip was what she wanted, Melanie would let Nathan down gently.
‘I hope she does too.’ Daniel said when Carly confided in him. ‘At least it will give him some closure. There’s nothing worse than being in love with someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you.’
‘I know,’ Carly replied, thinking about Bo and angrily brushing the thought aside. Her case was different because she and Bo didn’t belong together; will never belong together. ‘Which makes you more than thankful for what you and Chloe have.’ In spite of the age gap, Carly could see how much her old friend and his fiancée loved each other.
‘I’m thankful for it every day of my life,’ Daniel replied warmly. ‘I  can’t imagine my life without Chloe.’
‘So when are you guys going to tie the knot? At this rate, Melanie and Phillip will get married before you do.’
‘All in good time, Manning.’ Daniel patted her shoulder. ‘Trust me, you’ll be the first to know.’ As he spoke, Chloe Lane stepped out of the elevator and hurried over to them, her beautiful face all aglow with excitement. ‘Sweetheart!’ she flung herself at Daniel, blue eyes sparkling. ‘I’m pregnant. We’re going to have a baby!’
‘Are you serious?’ Daniel exclaimed, delight all over his face as he hugged her.
‘I’m absolutely serious. It’s certain this time, I had an ultrasound. I’m so sorry I did it without you but I wanted to be sure there was a baby in  there before telling you.’ She held up a photo and with a trembling hand, Daniel took it from her. ‘My God… this is our baby,’ he said softly, staring down at the image. ‘Our baby Chloe…’ he hugged her tightly, kissing her.
‘Congratulations you two,’ Carly said softly, suddenly feeling a sharp ache in her heart.
Chloe beamed at her. ‘Thanks Carly.’
Daniel kept gazing at the photograph in his hand. ‘It’s so amazing…’ he whispered. ‘Our baby, right there.’
Neither of them noticed the expression on Carly’s face; the expression of sheer pain.

‘I can’t wait to have a brother or sister; or both!’ Shawn Douglas said enthusiastically.
Bo’s eyes met hers, an amused expression on his face. ‘Two at once? Well Carly, do you hear that; looks that we’re going to have to work real fast on this one!’

Carly turned away to hide her tears. The jubilant couple didn’t know when she walked away, lost in their sheer happiness.
Bo turned on the light and closed the door behind him, dropping his bag by the door. Kimberly was on the mend and very grateful to him. He was glad he was able to help her but even gladder to be home. For the first time since Hope moved out with Ciara, he didn’t feel depressed returning to an empty house. The clock read two minutes past eleven. Carly was either at the hospital or already asleep. He had a lot to say to her. Making up his mind, he pulled picked up the receiver.
Carly was reading in bed when her phone rang. As Bo was using his landline she didn’t recognize the number. ‘Hello?’
‘Hi Carly, it’s me.’ Bo said, greatly hoping she won’t hang up on him.
‘Hi.’ Carly gripped the phone, the sound of Bo’s voice further reminding her how much she’d missed him. ‘Are you back from your trip?’
‘Yeah, how did you know about that?’ Bo asked, surprised.
‘Roman told me. How’s Kim?’
‘Thankfully on the mend. The last scan she did showed no more cancer cells.’
‘Oh … that’s wonderful news. And you, are you okay?’
‘I’m more than fine. Listen, I need to see you. Can you come over to my place tomorrow?’
‘Carly, I’ll come by the hospital or your place if I have to if that what it takes to get you to talk to me.’
‘I don’t want any more trouble with your wife, Bo.’
‘This so called arrangement’s gone long enough and Hope’s not going to be a problem, trust me. I want to see you, tomorrow.’ Bo’s tone allowed no argument.
Carly bristled at the commanding tone, inclined to tell him he wasn’t the boss of her hence didn’t have to obey him. But Bo will persist until she agreed, she knew him all too well. ‘Fine. I’ll be at your place, let’s say noon.’
‘Great. See you then.’

Bo hung up, his heart lifting. The trip to California had not only helped his sister, it had helped him as well. Far away from Salem; during  the quiet times when he was alone, Bo had used those times to think. He’d felt ashamed of what he’d asked of Carly the last time they saw each other; it hadn’t been fair to her at all and he'd got off easy. He thought a lot about her, about Hope and what Roman had said. Now he finally knew what was in his heart and Carly was going to know it when she came tomorrow. What he felt for Carly was deep, rekindled love and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. 

Sunday, August 09, 2015


Carly sobbed quietly and Alice’s heart ached for her; thinking how both families would  immediately envelop Carly with love and sympathy if they only knew the great sadness and pain she was carrying. She thought of Bo and what his reaction would be if he found out. With the present situation  between him and her granddaughter, she didn’t know if it would change things or just make it worse. Carly was adamant about not ever telling Bo about it.
‘Bo will never despise you for what you did. Not after everything Lawrence did and took from you.’
 Carly sniffled, wiping her eyes with a Kleenex. ‘It will hurt him so much, Mrs. Horton. And you know him as well as I do; he’ll blame himself and it could cause more strain between him and Hope. I can’t burden him with this, I just can’t.’
‘But it has a lot to do with Bo as well.’ Alice argued. ‘I understand where you’re coming from… I do and I share your pain. Regardless, I feel he should know about this. Eventually he’s going to realize you’re hiding something and that will really hurt him too because he’s trying very hard to be your friend and he’ll feel shut out.’
 ‘We can’t even be with each other as friends anymore, not with what everyone thinks of me or how I feel about him. I… I told Bo  it was best we stayed away from each other.’
Why would you do that?’
Quietly, Carly told her what happened at Mickey’s wake, including what Justin said. ‘Hope’s jealous of me.’ she added. ‘ Bo never told her about me and it’s making her unreasonable; she’s so sure I want to take Bo away from her.  I don’t even know if she would be behaving like this if things were normal between them when I came back to Salem. All she's got to do  is go home and work things out with Bo. I honestly don’t understand it, is this all about pride?’
‘Partly, I’m afraid. Hope’s always been stubborn and at times impulsive. This won’t be the first time she left home to “think” and Bo loves her more than enough to overlook it and forgive her afterwards. Nobody knows if she was going to ask Bo for a divorce or if it’s just a temporary separation. But she was obviously worried when you came back, an ex she never knew about. They’ve always managed to get over their rough patches; I don’t know why this is different. It hurts me to see her test Bo’s patience the way she’s been doing. Bo’s been a wonderful husband and father all these years. She should ponder on that right now. And nobody is to blame you for the situation,’ Alice said firmly. ‘From now on, it’s something that’s going to stop.’
Carly nodded. ‘Thank you, Mrs. Horton. It really means a lot to me.’
Alice stroked Carly’s damp cheek with her fingers. ‘There’s no need to thank me, Carly. You’ve always been very dear to me. You still are.’  
Carly pressed the beloved hand against her cheek. Alice looked into the green eyes tenderly. She thought about Bo and Hope and again about how things happened for a reason. Deep in her bones, the matriarch of the Horton clan had the strong feeling that this “rough patch” will prove a lot different from the past ones.
Roman assured Bo that it had been the anger talking, Hope didn’t mean what she said. Before knew it, she and Ciara will be back home with him. Bo was already sick and tired of everyone’s reassurances. Just like Carly said, no one’s been talking to Hope about her present behavior towards him, merely wrapping her in cotton wool and protecting her like they always did. If Hope thought he would go down on his knees and assure her of his love and fidelity, she might as well whistle for it. His patience was running thin every day.
‘I did what I had to do to ensure our daughter’s safety; I don’t deserve all this. Why can’t things just go back to normal.’ Bo snapped, frustrated.
Roman looked at him steadily. ‘Well maybe if you saw Carly less…’ he began.
‘So help me Roman, I’ll take a swing at you if you start on her as well.’
‘Take it easy, I’m not blaming her for your problems with Hope,’ Roman explained, raising a placating hand. ‘But even you have to agree she’s a complication you don’t need right now. Carly’s a woman you almost married. She’s  now widowed and you’re separated from  Hope. It doesn’t take a genius to guess what might happen. The only time you let yourself look at another woman is if you’re convinced it’s over between you and Hope. You made that mistake when Billie tricked you more than once and you almost lost Hope for good.’  
‘Carly will never do a thing like that to me.’
‘Of course she won’t,’ Roman agreed. ‘But she’ll end up getting hurt when you eventually reconnect with Hope. Will you be able to live with yourself if you did that to Carly, of all people? You love Hope Bo, so for God sake; try to keep your distance from Carly.’
‘You don’t have to worry about that,’ Bo said bitterly. ‘Carly’s already told me to stay away from her.’
Roma now looked uncomfortable, startled that Carly took the initiative. ‘Gosh Bo, I’m sorry.’
‘Really? After the speech you just gave, I find that hard to believe. My wife and I are living apart because she thinks I gambled with our daughter’s life and my ex doesn’t want to be seen with me anymore because of my wife’s jealousy. It’s all about Hope, my feelings don’t matter.’
‘That’s not true.’ Roman protested. ‘Of course your feelings matter.’
Bo got up, his coffee untouched. ‘No they don’t. If they did, everybody would’ve talked Hope into coming back home ages ago and not lecture me about being patient with her or questioning my relationship with Carly. Carly’s the only one who sees the situation clearly and she won’t even talk to me anymore. Thanks a lot for the sound advice, big brother. It’s of no help.’
Bo stormed out of the Brady Pub, the glass door almost breaking; ignoring Roman calling his name. If he felt he was living in limbo before, he felt knee deep in it now. He was furious with Hope toying with his emotions; making him guess whether she really wanted a divorce or not. She’d used the words maybe, almost like she was dangling a carrot in front of him, not seeming to care she was hurting him. Carly wanted nothing to do with him, believing she was acting on his best interest. She invoked strong feelings  in him  just by being herself and it was more than the kindness and protectiveness he’d been showing for her.  Roman was right in a way, she was a complication. But all the same, he was very hurt she made such a drastic decision. She couldn’t possibly think he would accept it just like that. Bo knew firsthand how obstinate Carly Manning could be but she should’ve remembered he surpassed her in obstinacy, always.
Alice gave Carly a warm goodbye hug, urging her to think over what she told her. Alice Horton wasn’t a woman one could refuse anything but Carly  doubted she would ever have the courage to reveal her secret to Bo. She simply couldn’t do it. Yet Alice’s words remained in her ears, “eventually he’s going to realize you’re hiding something and that will really hurt him too.”
Carly drove back to the hospital, running into Bo on the way in. They stared at each other in silence for a minute. ‘We have to talk,’ Bo said at last, taking her arm. Carly struggled but Bo kept a firm grip on her arm until they entered her office, closing the door behind them.
‘I thought I told you to stay away from me.’
‘You told me and I heard you loud and clear,’ Bo replied brusquely.
‘Why are you here then?’ Carly demanded.
‘Because we’re not finished, Carly.’
Carly ran her hands through her hair in agitation. ‘What exactly do you want from me?’
‘Hope and I talk and talk and achieve nothing and I don’t want the same to happen to us; I don’t want to lose you, Carly or what we have.’
‘Whatever you think we have, it’s just going to make things even worse between you and your wife. What almost happened at the apartment proved I can’t be your friend. Before you know it, we’ll end up having an affair and you’ll end up divorced. And then what do you think the town will call me then?’
Bo stared at her intently. ‘Hope thinks we should get a divorce. She feels we can’t make each other happy anymore.’ 
Carly was stunned. ‘Do you agree with her?’
Bo spread his hands. ‘We haven’t been happy with each other for a long time, that’s a fact.’
‘But surely you… you won’t throw away 25 years of marriage.  I know you. You wouldn’t do that.’ Carly insisted, unable to believe what she was hearing. 
‘Of course I wouldn’t.’ Bo replied, his voice quiet. ‘But what am I supposed to do Carly, force a woman who’s no longer happy with me to stay married to me? And it’s not like I’ve been happy either. I’ve tried, I’ve tried so hard and just end up getting stumped on.’ He moved nearer to her, brown eyes fixed on her face. ‘Do you know you’re the only one who keeps me sane? That I feel less miserable whenever we talk or hang out? I called it friendship but I was just kidding myself; it’s something more.’
Carly lowered her eyes. ‘Bo…’
‘Don’t deny it.’ Bo raised her chin, holding her face between his palms.  ‘I don’t know what it is and you probably don’t either but it’s there. Let’s be together and see what it is and where it goes.’
Carly stared at the warm brown eyes, the word yes on her lips. How she wanted to say yes! But there was her terrible secret, her affliction and the fact that it was Hope Bo really loved. Instead she closed her eyes, not wanting to see his reaction when she said…'I can’t.’
She opened them again. ‘I’m sorry; I can’t.’ she shook her head. ‘You’re my ex fiancé and I care about you but I don’t want to have an affair with you. Whatever’s between us, it’s not love. And eventually, Hope could decide she doesn’t want a divorce after all. It’s best we don’t complicate things further, Bo.’ She removed his hands gently, her heart aching at the hurt and disappointment in Bo’s eyes.
‘Can’t you even consider…’ he began.
‘There’s nothing to consider.’ Carly shook her head firmly. ‘And like I said before, it would be best we stayed away from each other.’
Bo left her office without a word. Carly forced herself not to cry this time.
That night, Bo went to The Cheating Heart and got drunk. Carly found another anonymous note, folded and placed on her door mat.
Leave Salem, home wrecker. You’ve been warned.
‘Yeah, tell it to my face.’ Carly muttered angrily, already upset over Bo.
On her next day off, Carly took the train to the countryside, several miles away from Salem. The caretaker of the lake cabin she wanted to buy, a tall bluff man in his late fifties, was there waiting for her with the keys. It could hardly be described as a cabin, more like a cottage since it was  bigger than she expected. It had a front and back porch, a large furnished living room and kitchen and three bedrooms upstairs. Like Frankie said, the house stood just near the crystal clear lake, stone steps on the tiny bluff leading to a short wooden jetty over the water. The view was breathtaking and Carly immediately felt entranced and refreshed by her surroundings. It was the perfect place to hide and relax.
She called Frankie on the phone on the train ride back to Salem, giving him the offering price to pass along to the owner. The following morning he got back to her. ‘He accepted, Carly.’
‘Great!  Send me the papers and I’ll wire him the money and…’
‘You don’t have to do that, I bought you the house.’  
‘Frankie, you didn’t!’ Carly exclaimed.
‘I did. After all those years of not being there for you, I wanted to do something for you.’
‘Frankie, it’s so sweet of you and I love you for it, but you didn’t have to. Please let me reimburse you.’
‘Don’t be silly. My share of the inheritance tripled over the years, just like yours; so this house is not exactly taking the shirt off my back. Accept this gift from me, okay?’
Carly sighed, touched by his gesture. ‘You’re the best brother in the world. Thanks love.’
‘Anytime sis. I’ll send the papers over as soon as I can.’
Carly hung up and went to her bedroom. Sitting at the dressing table, she pulled out a rosewood box from the bottom drawer. Opening it, she brought out its contents, one by one. A photograph of Bo, Shawn Douglas and herself; taken by Alice with Shawn D’s camera on Christmas Day, 1991. Bo’s jade ring. Carly ran the back her thumb over it before taking something else out; a scroll with wooden handles. The ancient Mayan story-poem, a wedding present from Marlena. Carly could clearly visualize herself back in Mexico with Bo; in the candle lit hut, taking turns in reading  it. Precious relics of her time with Bo she managed to keep hidden from Lawrence for years. Running her fingers over the calligraphic writing on the parchment, Carly began to read:

This is the first entry to the story; the story of how the Mayans came to be. Always in suspense, at peace and in silence. There was not yet a man or a woman. Neither were there animals or birds, fish, trees or stones.
In this way, the heavens existed, and also the Corzon Del Cielo- the heart of Heaven; This being the name of God and this is how he is called. The word then reached here, together came two gods and the darkness in the night... And they joined their words and thought. Then it became clear that when dawn came Man should appear.
"'Now that be done thusly, they said, "let the emptiness be filled. If this water withdraw and vacate space, let the land surge up and it shall be solid.''
So they spoke: "Then let there be light. Let there be dawn in the heavens and on earth. There will be neither glory nor grandeur in our creation until a human creature exists."
And with these words of two... the world began.

Tears slid down her cheeks. 

Saturday, August 08, 2015


None of the Hortons made any reference to the incident but Hope felt they were all looking at her differently now, not judging her for leaving her husband but all the same taking Carly’s words to heart. She’d told the truth and it hurt. But there was Maggie and Alice to think about for the moment, hence no gentle recriminations. But Hope knew they would come eventually.
Bo found her in the kitchen on the morning of Mickey’s funeral; making coffee. She looked at him bitterly. ‘I thought you were satisfied your girlfriend did your job for you. Did you come by to dish out more?’
‘This is a sad day for all of us. Are we going to fight today of all days?’ asked Bo quietly.
Hope bit her lip and turned away, unable to find a reply. Bo walked up to her, placing his hands on her shoulders. Hope shook them off and he let out a sigh of exasperation. ‘Hope, please… I’m sick of this. If we’re going to fix our marriage we have to find some way to communicate.’
‘This is not exactly the right time for that.’ Hope muttered, taking something from the cabinet.
‘Then we should make time.’
‘When I’m ready to, I will.  I’m not going to let a sanctimonious hypocrite dictate to me about our marriage.’
‘Don’t call her that. You have no reason to be threatened by her, I told you before.’ Bo did all he could not to raise his voice, out of respect for Maggie and his determination to make headway with Hope. ‘She’s the past and you’re my wife, the mother of my children. Is it that hard for you to believe that I love you?’
‘Love doesn’t always guarantee happiness and you know we haven’t been happy, even before Ciara was kidnapped. And if you loved me, you would give me some space; not trash me to your ex.’ 
‘I never trashed you to Carly. And as for space, how long am I expected to wait before I know what you really want from me- a divorce? Just say it once and for all, is that what you want?’
‘Oh you would love that, a chance to be with that woman…’
‘Damn it, I’m talking about us, us! Leave her out of this!’ Bo shouted, finally at the end of his rope.
‘Yes, maybe I want it!’ Hope shouted angrily, provoked. ‘Maybe it would be the best thing, for us to end it because we sure can’t make each other happy anymore!’
Bo stared at her, unable to say anything. It wasn’t a sure enough answer but it seemed final all the same. What she said about not being happy together for a long time was true but he never thought about calling it quits either, believing they could still fix their marriage.
Hope stared back, tears in her eyes. ‘My uncle is being buried today, Bo. Let’s just put our differences aside and be there for Maggie and Gram. Afterwards… maybe we’ll be able to talk this out properly.’
She walked out, leaving Bo standing there, shaken.

Feeling certain she would be an unwelcome presence, Carly decided not to go to the funeral after all but vowed to place flowers on Mickey’s grave on the way home. Thankfully she had enough patients to see to; keeping herself from thinking about Bo. Carly felt angry at the whole mess; if things were alright with him and Hope when she came back, her friendship with him wouldn’t be in question and her love for him easier to bear. She wasn’t angry Bo came on to her, obviously wanting her physically. It was understandable he would feel lonely and turn to her for comfort. And it was no use lying to herself; she would’ve made love with him and demanded nothing else. She wasn’t “good girl Carly” anymore. As long as he thought her reason for changing her mind was because of Hope, he would work all the more to get her and Ciara home. Her secrets will be safe forever and she could go on loving him from afar.
Blinking back tears, Carly focused on her patients, administering treatment and making notes.
‘Hi Dr. Manning.’ Carly turned to the nurse who had addressed her. ‘Hello.’ She replied.
‘I was the one who heard you, when you were stuck in the elevator.’
‘Oh right… Sally isn’t it?’
‘Yes. I just wanted to see if you’re okay. It must have been horrible, shut up there that long.’
Carly shuddered at the memory. ‘I’m fine now, Sally. It was a simple case of claustrophobia. But thank you for your concern.’
The girl beamed. ‘Anytime, Dr. Manning.’
Carly nodded and turned to go to her office, then saw Melanie just stepping out of the elevator. ‘Hi. How was the funeral?’ she asked, walking up to her.
Melanie nodded soberly. ‘As far as funerals go, it was okay.’
Carly was surprised; she expected a rude answer from the girl who’d made it plain she disliked her. ‘I thought you would be with Maggie today.’
‘I do have the day off; I only came to get something I forgot in my locker.’
‘Okay then.’ Carly turned to go.
‘Dr. Manning,’ Melanie followed her, her tone hesitant. ‘I’ve never found it easy to say I’m sorry for anything. But I want to apologize for the way I’ve been acting, for the stuff I said. I hope you’ll be able to forget it… can you?’
Carly marveled at the positive change in the girl’s demeanor towards her. ‘Sure, Melanie; I don’t have a grudge against you. But why this all of a sudden?’
Melanie blushed, looking at her fingers. ‘It’s because of what you said to Hope at the wake.’ She replied at last. 
‘Oh no...’ Carly shook her head. ‘I insulted Hope and her family, I’m not proud of it.’
‘You told the truth and you were right.’ Melanie insisted. ‘And maybe everybody will look at the situation a lot more objectively from now on, like I have. I shouldn’t have gone by what they’ve been thinking about you. I’m really sorry, Dr. Manning.’
The girl sounded so contrite that Carly moved nearer and touched her shoulder. ‘It’s okay Melanie, I accept your apology.’
Melanie smiled and Carly couldn’t help thinking what a pretty girl she was, the smile altering her face entirely. At least there was one Salemite less who didn’t think she was a home wrecker.
‘Thanks Dr. Manning. I guess I’ll see you later.’
‘Okay.’ Carly hesitated. She wanted to ask Melanie to tell Maggie she’ll come by to see her but after what happened at the wake; Maggie may slam the door on her face. It was all very well for Melanie to assume the Hortons would look at things more objectively but she doubted it. Hope commanded too much of their love and loyalty for that to happen. But there was someone else who might agree to see her.


The housekeeper led her into the living room where Alice Horton was seated on an armchair by the window. Carly was shocked at how aged and frail Alice now looked; her hair shorter and snow white, more lines on the familiar kindly face. Dressed in black, her expression was sad and pensive.
‘Mrs. Horton?’
Alice looked up, a faint smile lighting her face and she held out her arms. Carly went to her and the two women embraced.
‘Carly.’ She murmured, pulling away slightly to touch her face. ‘You’re here at last. I’m so happy to see you, dear.’
Carly smiled back, pressing a kiss on the wrinkled cheek, relieved and happy at the warm welcome. Her mother long dead and Caroline so cold towards her, Alice’s motherly regard towards her was a huge gift. ‘It’s wonderful to see you again, Mrs. Horton.’ Pulling an ottoman near Alice’s chair she sat down, commiserating with her over Mickey’s death. Alice held Carly’s hand, accepting Carly’s condolence with sad resignation.
‘But let’s talk about you now, dear. I’ve been wondering when you’ll come over to see me.’
‘I’m sorry, Mrs. Horton. I thought… I wasn’t sure you would want to see me, with what’s going on with Bo and Hope.’
‘Why wouldn’t I?’ Alice chided. ‘You have nothing to do with the trouble between them.’
‘The rest of the family don’t think so, the Bradys too.’
‘They are wrong. And I’m sorry you’re going through all this, with what you’re already going through.’
Carly stared at her. ‘What I’m already going through? I don’t understand.’
‘Come, come dear…’ Alice shook her head. ‘I may be old but I can still read you like a book.  I’ve seen sadness in your eyes before. Now I see hardness in them, which means you’ve been carrying a lot of pain in your heart.’
Carly bowed her head. What she’d been hiding from Bo and the rest of the Salemites, Alice saw it in seconds. ‘I’ve never been able to hide anything from you, have I?’
‘No, never. As soon you sat near me, I saw it. Which makes me gladder you came by. Now, what’s this all about?’
Carly opened her mouth to speak then closed it, her lips trembling. How could she reveal her secrets to Alice of all people? What would she think of her when she knew?  ‘Mrs. Horton, it’s too painful for me to tell and too shocking for you to hear.’ she whispered, tears forming in her eyes. ‘Please… don’t make me tell you… I can’t.’
Alice tightened her hold on Carly’s hand, peering at her. ‘Carly, you know you can confide in me. From the moment Bo told me you seemed different when you came back, I sensed something was wrong.  It’s obviously something more than Lawrence’s assassination, isn’t it?’
Carly looked down at their clasped hands and nodded, the tears flowing down her cheeks.
‘Tell me, Carly.’ Alice pleaded.
‘Oh God...’ Carly pressed her trembling lips with her other hand. Fighting for courage she lowered her eyes; unable to look Alice in the face. ‘Lawrence… wasn’t assassinated by an anarchist. I… I was the one who killed him.’
She heard a sharp intake of breath and Alice raised her chin, her face now pale. ‘Was it accidental?’ she whispered.
Carly shook her head, more tears rolling down her cheeks. ‘Mrs. Horton… my life these past  years has been nothing but a nightmare. It wasn’t accidental.’ Holding on to Alice’s hand, Carly slowly told her the whole story and at the end of it burst into tears; burying her head on Alice’s lap. Alice Horton’s hands stroked Carly’s hair. ‘I killed Lawrence because I had to. I had to do it… I couldn’t bear it anymore.’
‘Does Bo know about this?’ Alice asked gently.
‘I can never tell him. It will break his heart.’ Carly wept.
‘My poor Carly. Darling girl, I’m so sorry for what happened to you. I was sad when you and Bo broke up but I still hoped you were happy wherever you were.’
Carly raised her head. Alice had tears in her eyes. ‘I never thought such a thing would happen to us, Mrs. Horton. I loved Bo very much; I still don’t know how it happened.’
‘You were a victim of circumstances, that’s what happened to you  both. And you came back here, to heal didn’t you?’
Carly nodded, sniffling. ‘I’m trying to but it doesn’t seem to get any better. Not just because what everyone’s been thinking but…’ she lowered her eyes again.
‘You love Bo.’
‘I  love him very much,’ Carly confessed. ‘But his love for me is in the past. Which is just as well because I can’t be with him.’
‘Not even if he and Hope decide to end their marriage?’
‘Not even that.’ Carly shook her head. ‘I’m not the woman for him, Mrs. Horton. Fate’s shown me that.’

Alice sighed, at how absurdly complicated everything was and at the same time thinking how certain things happened for a reason. Why else would Carly, after years of great suffering, returned at the time Bo and Hope’s marriage was on the rocks? Was Fate weaving a new future for the three of them? She had a feeling that was exactly the case and no one’s wishes was going to change it.