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Friday, September 18, 2015


Bo zipped his duffel bag and went downstairs. Dropping it on the couch, he went to lock the back door. The doorbell rang when he went back to the living room and he opened the door. ‘Hi Mum,’ he said, letting her in.
‘Hello, honey. I was hoping to catch you before you went out.’ She turned to face her son, who looked at her in silence. There had been some distance between them since he confronted her about what Ciara told him. On hearing about Carly’s travails and the murder of their unborn child, Caroline was the most affected of both families. One by one, they rallied round Carly, expressing heartfelt sympathy and regret for the way she was treated. But Carly, while accepting their apology, still maintained she and Bo can’t be together. She felt overpowering shame for letting Lawrence fool her and considered herself too broken and damaged for Bo to take another chance with her. Bo tried everything while she was recuperating to convince her otherwise but she wouldn’t budge.
‘What is it, Mum?’ Bo asked quietly. ‘I’m sort of in a hurry.’
‘This won’t take long, I promise.’ Caroline raised her hands imploringly.  ‘I know you’re very angry with me. You’ve been angry with me for a long time now and I don’t blame you. I deserve your resentment; for a lot of things. For siding with Hope, for not seeing your view and for being unfair to Carly.’
 ‘You were uncaring and heartless.’ Bo said brutally. The reason behind Carly’s tears on seeing Ciara was the unhappy memory of their dead child and Bo was yet to forgive Caroline for not bothering to find out the reason behind Carly’s sadness and for the things she said about her.
Caroline winced, stung. ‘I suppose I can’t use the excuse of “I didn’t know.”’
‘You didn’t care to know. You and many people were so convinced she came back to cause trouble, you saw Carly how you wanted to see her. The whole time she wanted to heal after that animal killed my kid, my kid,’ tears crept at his eyes. ‘You believed what you wanted to believe, refusing to remember how she saved my life and Shawn D’s, everything about her. You were too wrapped up in hate, just like Victor.’
Caroline looked miserable. ‘I never hated her. I was just angry she left.  I… I wanted things to stay the same and I let it blind me.’
‘Mum, please; I really have to go.’ Bo picked up his bag from the couch, not wishing to hear more. He was facing a 4 hour drive and wanted to get to his destination in good time. First he has to stop by the mansion to see Ciara and then pick up Carly’s present afterwards.
‘I need you to forgive me, son. Please.’ 
Bo paused at the door, not looking at her. ‘I need this time away. Maybe when I come back, I’ll feel less resentful than I feel towards you right now. Lock up after me.’
He went to the car without a backwards glance, wanting to put as much distance from his mother as possible.
Ciara hugged and kissed her father, saying she looked forward to seeing him when he came back from his trip. Hope was at the station so she wasn’t present. Hearing more details of Carly’s great trauma had shocked and humbled Hope, her resentment and jealousy all gone. So sad, resigned and a lot wiser; she signed the papers. The divorce proceedings were almost over and they’d agreed on joint custody of Ciara, but yet to decide on what to do about the house. Bo hoped they will be able to decide soon because he didn’t like Ciara living in the mansion.
Victor was coming down the stairs when Bo was taking his leave. If there was distance between him and Caroline, there was sheer hostility between him and Victor; flatly refusing to speak to him.
‘Still giving me the cold shoulder?’ Victor asked as Bo walked passed him. Ignoring him, Bo went to the door.
‘Listen to me for a minute, Bo.’ Victor said. Bo turned, waiting.
‘Carly and I will never be close friends, that much I know. But I’m not as heartless as you both think, that child was my flesh and blood too. Since there’s the strong possibility Carly’s going to be my new daughter-in-law; what say the three of us call a truce?’
‘I have nothing to say to you.’ Was Bo’s cold reply and then left the house.
What he ordered especially for Carly and himself was ready at the shop. Bo placed them at the backseat of his SUV before pulling out his phone.  
A few days after Carly was discharged, he went to the loft but she wasn’t there. Lexie assured him she was on her accumulated vacation; she didn’t quit her job and left Salem like he feared. He had called Frankie in D.C to find out if she was staying with him but she wasn’t. Frankie was still disinclined to believe Bo’s intentions towards his sister, reluctant to tell him where she was. Bo wasn’t prepared to lose her a second time. He said that much to her brother.  
‘She would’ve been safe and happy with me, even after Hope came back. She’s who I want for the rest of my life, Frankie, now more than ever. I decided that before she finally told me what happened with Larry. This isn’t a rebound; it’s a second chance, our second chance.’
Convinced at last, Frankie gave him the address and phone number of the lake house as Carly had switched off her iPhone.
Carly answered on the fourth ring. ‘Hello?’
‘It’s me,’ he replied without preamble.
Carly’s heart leaped at the sound of his voice. ‘How did you get this number?’
‘Never mind that; this has gone long enough! I need to talk to you and what I want to say, I’m not about to tell you over the phone. Frankie gave me your address and I’m on my way there right now.’
‘Bo, please… I told you…’
‘I know what you told me, and I decided to ignore it.’
‘What do you want to tell me now?’
‘A lot of things, some you already know. It’s high time you stopped running, princess. You can run to the ends of the earth and I’ll be right behind you, if that what it takes. I want to know you’ll be there waiting for me. Will you?’
Silence, then the soft word, ‘Yes.’
The sun was setting by the time Bo's car  pulled up in front of the lake house. From the porch, Carly watched Bo come out. Though he marveled at the beauty of the charming house, his eyes were only on her. 
 ‘You’re a difficult lady to find, you know that?’ he called, smiling at her; elation in his heart on seeing her walk towards him, the setting sun touching her hair. The moment she reached him, Bo’s arms came round her and for the second time since she came back in his life, he kissed her; long and hard. For Carly, the touch of Bo’s mouth on hers was no longer a yearning memory but glaringly real, his arms tightly locking her against him as though he’ll never let her go. She kissed him back, devouring his lips with hers; reveling in his strong, manly strength. She pressed her cheek against his, her arms still round his neck, savoring the warm feeling of happiness.
Bo pulled back slightly to run his hand over her hair. ‘I love you, princess.’ He said at last.
Tears filled her eyes. ‘I love you too, sailor.’ She whispered, holding his face, seeing the love and tenderness in his eyes. Bo used his thumbs to wipe away her tears.
‘You’re just in time for the sunset, isn’t it amazing?’
‘It’s breathtaking.’ His arms still round her; he watched the orange ball hovering over the horizon. ‘But I’d much rather look at you.’ He kissed her again, slowly and tenderly. ‘I’ve missed you.’
‘I’ve missed you too.’ Carly held on to the lapels of his leather jacket. ‘I felt I was doing the right thing for you. But you’re right; it’s time I stopped running. Come on, let’s go into the house.’
Pausing only to take his bag from the car, Bo took her hand and followed her inside, leaving it in the small hall. He immediately liked the place. ‘This place is great,’ he said, staring round the large cozy living room, where a fire was already going. The décor was a cross between Texan and English country living; complete with modern appliances and a filled bookcase.
 ‘I figured you would scoff if you ever found out about it. I know it’s a palace compared to our cabin but I really needed a sort of sanctuary to escape to now and then and this house was for sale. It used to belong to one of Frankie’s clients and Frankie bought it for me.’
‘So that explains why you always seemed to disappear now and then,’ Bo said, yet understanding her action. It was a perfect place to hide from what she was putting up with at the time and spend much needed peace and quiet.
‘So… um… why don’t you take your bag upstairs, freshen up while I fix you something.’
‘Sure.’ He kissed her again.
Doing a quick explore upstairs, Bo saw there were three bedrooms and a guest bathroom; definitely a far cry from their rustic cabin. Finding the room where Carly slept, he unzipped his bag and pulled out a fresh T-shirt before going to the adjoining bathroom for a wash.
Carly was in the warm, brightly lit kitchen when he went back downstairs, behind the work island pouring out hot coffee. Bo sat at the kitchen table and stroked her arm as she set a plate of sandwiches down, causing her to smile shyly at him.
‘Well, here we are.’ She said, sitting opposite him; a cup of coffee in front of her.
‘No interruptions, no more walls.’ Bo reached out for her hand, which she slipped into his. ‘We’re where we should’ve been ages ago.’
‘Yes, I know.’ Carly squeezed his fingers. ‘But I still…’
‘No more buts.’ Bo said firmly. ‘No more reasons or excuses. Whatever you still feel, you won’t be working it out alone anymore.’
‘It’s not just about part of me which will always hurt; losing our baby.’ Carly said quietly. ‘That day when we almost made love, I thought I would find solace in your arms, like I always did. But I pushed you away…’
‘It was PTSD, Carly. What you went through, you were bound to experience it.’
‘I know. But I never thought I would react like that with you. And when I did… it hit me more than ever that I was not the same person, not the same woman I was years ago. I hated feeling that way, that sense of terror and not feeling myself.  It’s more about the scars on my body, Bo. I’m afraid… I might not be able to be that person I was ever again, or be a woman … for you. And it’s all because I allowed myself to be taken in by Lawrence’s lies. I brought it all on myself. If only I hadn’t made such a terrible error, our child would be all grown up by now.’
‘Come here,’ Bo pulled at her hand and she walked round the table. Bo placed her on his lap, his arms tight round her waist. ‘Now you listen to me. I told you this years ago, and I’ll tell you now. I love you, not just your body… but your mind and your soul. Of course I want to make love to you again, erase the terrible memories. But you should also remember that we were connected on many levels long before that special night in the hut.’ He stroked her hair. ‘Not just physically, princess. I know you have a lot to heal from. So when Marlena comes back, you’re going to resume therapy and I’ll be there to hold your hand. But in the meantime, I won’t touch you… unless you want me to. And I don’t want you to ever think about Lawrence again, or blame yourself.’
He wiped away the tears falling down her cheeks. ‘I love you Carly Manning. I can’t change the past but I can give you a future and new memories. And I will give that to you.’
Carly sniffled, touching his face. ‘The best way to heal is not allowing the past to break you. And…’ she smiled faintly, ‘allowing someone you love very much walk with you.’
‘Exactly.’ Bo’s voice shook. ‘You’ll let me now, princess?’
Every day for the rest of our lives.’ She kissed him with a deep, fiery intensity that matched his, the couple holding each other close.

Bo insisted she went upstairs to bed, while he cleared the kitchen and locked up for the night. When he went up to her bedroom, she was in a nightgown, sitting up in bed waiting for him. Bo undressed in the bathroom, brushed his teeth and slipped into sweatpants. Getting into bed beside her, he turned off the lamp and drew her into his arms. Bo and Carly were aware there was quite a lot to overcome. But they were together at long last and that was what was really important.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Bo paced the floor of the hospital’s waiting room, filled with anxiety and fear. Alerted by panicked shouts, he’d rushed over to find people surrounding Carly; his heart painfully clenching at the sight of her on the ground, pushing people aside to crouch beside her and cradle her in his arms, calling her name urgently. Lexie had to gently tell him to let go of Carly so that she and Daniel could examine her. Nathan ran into the house to get his medical bag.
 ‘What’s wrong with her?’ Bo demanded harshly as the three doctors attended to her, anxious and impatient to know what caused Carly to faint. The guests waited breathlessly, Melanie wringing her hands in distress.  
Daniel was grim faced. ‘She’s gone into shock because she’s bleeding internally.’ He said, to everyone’s amazement. ‘Her blood pressure’s way down.’
 ‘Somebody please call an ambulance quick, she’ll die if we don’t get her to the hospital!’ Lexie said frantically.
On getting to the hospital, Nathan had discarded his tux to assist in Carly’s surgery and they were yet to come out. Bo was very worried about Carly, scared for her and very confused. Most of the guests were back at Maggie’s house waiting for news. Sharing his vigil was Melanie, still in her wedding dress; Brady, Roman, Abe, Max, Chelsea, Jennifer and Hope.
Melanie walked up to Bo, touching his arm. ‘Does Carly have family you need to call?’ she asked quietly.
‘Oh God… Frankie.’ In the middle of his agonizing worry over Carly he totally forgot to call him. ‘She has a brother in D.C,’ he replied, bringing out his phone. ‘Her son’s in Europe and I don’t have his number so Frankie will have to tell him.’
Frankie answered on the third ring. ‘What’s up, Bo?’ he greeted, sounding preoccupied. Bo swiftly explained what happened and Frankie listened in horror. ‘What’s happening right now?’ he demanded.
‘She’s still in surgery and we’re trying to be optimistic she’ll pull through.  And I really want to know is what caused this.’
Frankie wasn’t sure if what Carly had been keeping from Bo was the cause of her present condition but he did know that Bo was definitely going to get a shock when the surgery was over. ‘I’ll take the first flight out,’ he said, upset about his sister.
‘Don’t forget to tell Nicky,’ Bo added quickly.
‘Please Bo, I’m counting on you; do what you can for Carly until I get there, okay?’ Frankie  grabbed his briefcase and was already out the door.
‘Okay man, see you soon.’ Bo hung up. ‘He’ll be here, Nicky as well.’ he told Melanie. Seeing the genuine concern on her face, he touched her arm. ‘Hell of a wedding day for you.’
‘I’m too worried about Carly right now.’
Bo looked at the young woman thoughtfully. ‘You really care about her, don’t you?’
‘She’s my friend.’ Melanie said simply. ‘And I’ve long realized she’s such a great person. I feel so bad  whenever I think how awful I was to her in the beginning.’
‘Well, just to show you can’t believe everything you hear,’ Bo said bitterly, thinking of the injustice thrown at Carly. Melanie went back to sit down and Chelsea walked up to him. ‘She’s going to make it, Dad.’ She said, rubbing his arm.
‘I sure hope so, Chelz. I can’t lose her again, I just can’t.’ Bo said, his voice shaking.
Hope, who was walking up to him from behind to resume their conversation, heard the heartfelt words and stopped in her tracks as though Bo had slapped her in the face. Bo was deeply in love with Carly. It was more than obvious, the way he was very upset. There was no way he could deny it now. Unable to bear it, she turned and went back to Jennifer. ‘I’m going back to Maggie’s,’ she said, picking up her purse.
‘I don’t need to be here, Jennifer, I have to go.’ Hope said, refusing to break down in tears in front of everyone. ‘You’ll tell me what happened later.’
‘Hope, I realize you’re upset with Bo…’
Upset?’ Hope said, her voice angry and bitter. ‘Upset doesn’t even cover how I feel right now. I have to get away from here.’
Jennifer was unable to stop her from leaving. She sat in her chair, distressed and upset for her and Carly; wishing she hadn’t told Hope about the divorce papers. She didn’t mean to go behind Bo’s back in the first place, it had just slipped out and he wasn’t going to let her forget her blunder.
The hours went by and then finally;  Daniel, Lexie and Nathan came out and everyone sprang to attention to hear what they had to say.
‘Carly survived the surgery,’ Lexie said, to everyone’s relief. ‘We had to do an exploratory laparotomy because we weren’t sure where the bleeding was coming from.’
‘But what caused it ?’ Bo demanded.
Lexie’s face was filled with concern as she looked at Bo. ‘Bo… did Carly ever mention anything about being abused?’
Abused?’ Melanie, Chelsea and Jennifer echoed in disbelief.
Bo was shocked. ‘ No, she never mentioned a thing like that. Why do you think she was abused?’
‘Because Carly’s body shows glaring signs  of being beaten within the inch of her life for years. Several healed bones and whip scars on her back.’ Daniel  explained grimly. ‘She also has some puncture scars on her stomach and a larger one across, like  she was stabbed and almost eviscerated.’
‘My God…’ Brady said faintly. The others were dumbfounded.
‘The reason for the internal bleeding was leftover scar tissue.’  Nathan added, Melanie clinging to his arm.
Bo felt sick, like a massive sledge hammer had hit him. Finally it all made sense… the hardness on Carly’s face, never talking about her life with Lawrence and her blatant refusal to let him get close. Abe turned to Bo. ‘She never mentioned it to you?’
‘No… no she didn’t. And I didn’t have a clue!’ Bo said, unable to believe what he was hearing.
Daniel shook his head. ‘When Phillip attacked her, she shrank away from me when I tried to help her up.  I suspected PTSD but she denied it when I asked her about it later, she said she was simply in shock.’
‘That’s obviously why she didn’t let us examine her at the time or get X-rayed.’ Lexie said. ‘She didn’t want us to know about it.’
‘Oh my God…’ Jennifer ran her hands over her hair. Bo was ashen with shock, speechless.
‘Does… does that mean besides beating her, Carly’s husband also stabbed her?’ Melanie whispered. ‘What kind of guy would do that to his own wife?’
That sick bastard!’ Bo erupted; livid beyond measure at the terrible images of Lawrence beating Carly, after if ruining things between them with Vivian’s help hadn’t been enough for him. There was no doubt who the culprit was, that animal had abused Carly. That was Carly’s secret all along and Lawrence’s brutality must have traumatized her enough into rendering her self-loathing and broken, making her feel she could never be normal again… or have another chance at love with any man. She’d been carrying around such pain and heartache in her heart the whole time and getting unfairly dragged in the middle of his problems with Hope. God… if Lawrence wasn’t already dead, he would empty every single bullet in his gun into his head, which wouldn’t have been murder but avenging the woman he loved.
‘Bo, please don’t think you’re responsible for what happened to Carly,’ Roman said gently as Bo covered his face with his hands. ‘You couldn’t have known Lawrence would end up abusing her.’  
‘It’s not your fault Bo,’ Jennifer said, putting her arms round him. ‘I’m sure Carly doesn’t blame you for any of it either.’
Bo wiped the streaming tears off his eyes with the back of his hand. ‘Can we see her now?’ he whispered.
‘After she’s moved to Recovery, yes. But it might take a long time before she wakes up though. You can all see her for just a minute.’ Daniel directed.
‘Until Carly’s family gets here I’m not going anywhere,’ Bo said fiercely, his eyes red and damp. ‘I’m not leaving her all alone.’
‘Fine, you can stay with her.’ Lexie said, knowing from experience it was no point arguing with Bo. ‘But the rest of you, just one minute.’
Carly looked wan and helpless on the bed, a breathing tube under her nose, hooked to monitors and an I.V attached to her arm. One by one, everyone tiptoed in to peer at her and hold her hand. Roman phoned Maggie to give her the news, instructing her to pass it on to the others. ‘One of the waitresses wants a word with you or Bo; she’s been acting rather agitated.’
‘What does she want?’
‘She wouldn’t say, except that it’s really important.’
Roman glanced at his watch, it was quite late. ‘Have her come by the station in the morning.’
Bo sat beside Carly after everyone had left; the room quiet except for the beeping noises from the monitors. Staring down at her, he felt the tears come back; unable to express the flood of emotions running through him, only knowing that he loved her and now that he knew what she’d been keeping from him was going to do all he can to help her heal. He felt more ashamed for his anger towards her for refusing to confide in him. It was just like the time he was ill with the virus, keeping it from her because he didn’t want her burdened by a man who was probably going to die. Carly’s love and care had shown him how foolish he’d been not telling her from the moment he began showing symptoms. How she must have suffered for years, going through such torment and cruelty from Lawrence; a man who always hid his true nature behind his disgusting aristocratic charm, who had delighted seeing him squirm when Carly didn’t remember him. For how long did the abuse go on? And where the hell was Nicky the whole time?   
‘I love you, princess.’ Bo whispered. ‘You’ve walked alone long enough. I’m here with you now, now and forever.’ He pressed his lips against her hand.
By morning, Carly’s eyes fluttered open, groggy and disoriented. Bo, unable to sleep the whole night, was thankful; kissing her on the forehead. ‘Thank God,’ he said fervently.
Carly winced at the pain from her stiches and peered at him, trying to focus on his face. ‘Bo?’ she whispered.
‘Yeah, princess, it’s me.’ Bo sniffled, forcing back the tears this time. ‘I’ve been with you all night.’
‘What… happened to me?’
‘You collapsed at the reception. Do you remember anything?’
Carly closed her eyes, thinking back. ‘I remember… feeling sick the whole time. Then… I was talking to Victor.’
‘Okay.’ Bo encouraged.
‘I drank some champagne… I don’t… remember anything else.’  
‘It’s okay; don’t worry your head about that. I’m just glad you’re awake.’ Bo leaned to kiss her on the forehead again, still holding her hand.
‘I was… operated on?’
‘Yes you were. Carly, you were suffering from internal bleeding, leftover scar tissue from your old injuries.’
Carly stared up at him. ‘You know.’
Bo nodded. ‘I know. And I’m not mad at you but princess, why didn’t you tell me Lawrence abused you? And how long did it go on?’
Carly swallowed painfully. ‘I… was so ashamed. I chose to leave Salem with Lawrence… I hurt you so much.  It went on for years and … it was a terrible period of my life I wanted to forget. I didn’t want you to feel responsible… and I… couldn’t handle any form of pity. I just… wanted to start over.’ Carly squeezed his hand weakly. ‘Forgive me.’
‘Oh hey... there’s nothing to forgive, nothing.’ Bo said emotionally. ‘I want you to concentrate on getting better and we’ll take it from there.  There’s no reason why we can’t be together now.’
Bo may know about Lawrence abusing her but he was yet to know about her other secret. A secret she had no choice but to finally reveal. ‘Bo…’ she began.
‘Hush, princess,’ Bo soothed, stroking her cheek. ‘What matters right now is your health. I don’t want you to wear yourself out, whatever it is can wait.’
As he spoke, the door opened and Frankie entered the room, rushing to her side. ‘Sis… are you okay? How do you feel?’
‘Tired… and very stupid right now.’ A faint smile touched Carly’s lips. ‘I’m a doctor who didn’t recognize her own symptoms.’
Frankie leaned down to kiss her. ‘What matters right now is you’re alright. I called Nicholas before boarding. He’s handling a major crisis so he can’t come but he says to tell you he loves you very much and he’ll call as soon as he can.’
‘Okay.’ Carly closed her eyes, drifting off to sleep again.
Frankie turned to Bo and the two men hugged. ‘Thanks so much for staying with her.’
‘Come on, you know I wouldn’t do otherwise.’ Bo patted Frankie’s shoulder. ‘I know about what Lawrence did to her. Why didn’t you tell me?’
Frankie was about to reply when a nurse came in and they left the room to talk. Frankie explained how Lawrence deliberately blocked his entrance to Alamainia and how he was never able to make contact with Carly until after Lawrence died.
‘You should have told me all this.’ Bo’s voice was cold. ‘The fact I moved on after Carly left doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have helped her if I knew about the situation. I would’ve worked out a way to get her out of there, if you’d only come to me with this.’
‘You had your own family to worry about and excuse me for saying this, but I doubt Hope would’ve been thrilled letting you risk your life saving an ex you never told her about.’ Frankie replied just as coldly, long suppressed resentment surfacing at last. ‘From the moment Carly left, she was a closed subject to all of you; like she never existed. The last time I was here, none of you even asked about her. And I had to hear from Carly last Christmas how the family and the Hortons regarded her just to protect that wife of yours,  so obviously I was more than justified not telling you!’
‘Okay, it’s true; I admit it.’ Bo replied, stung by Frankie’s accusation. ‘But it was not for the reasons you think. I never forgot her and I really hoped she was happy, even though I hated Lawrence for luring her away. Since I found out about what he did, I can’t stop blaming myself for not working harder to keep her. But I want to make it right. Now that I know the reason why she felt we can’t be together...’
No way, I’m not thrilled about this at all.’ Frankie interrupted, his face stern and disapproving.
‘Why not?’
‘Because you’re unable of having a committed relationship with another woman when Hope’s around.’ Frankie said bluntly. ‘You guys have been married for a long time and you’ve had your rough patches but once Hope snaps her fingers, you’ll go running back to her and I’m be damned before my sister gets hurt all over again because of you. Carly doesn’t deserve a rebound relationship.’
‘It’s different this time, I love her.’ Bo protested.
‘So you say now.’
‘It happens to be the truth,’ Bo snapped, understanding Frankie’s skepticism but still infuriated by it. ‘If we never broke up, Billie and I wouldn’t  have ended up together, you know that.’
‘Oh really? Then what would’ve happened after Hope came back?’ Frankie challenged, his dark eyes hard.
Bo was silent.
‘I thought so.’ Frankie said bitterly. ‘Listen, just leave my sister alone. You are not going to use her as a substitute until Hope decides she wants you back.’
 Bo bit his lip as Frankie went back to Carly’s room. He had no answer to Frankie’s question, because it was a question he constantly refused to ask himself when Carly returned to Salem.
Bo’s cell rang after he came out of the shower. It was Roman, who immediately asked about Carly’s condition and Bo told him she was awake. 
‘And to think she came back here to face more problems, with that terrible trauma she was trying to get over. I feel terrible.’
 ‘I imagine a lot of people will feel terrible unless they’re simply coldblooded.’ Bo rubbed his damp hair with a towel.
‘By the way, I got a visit from one of the caterer’s waitresses, a Sarah Logan. She had something really interesting to say.’
‘What that?’
‘She said she saw Victor and Carly talking by the buffet table. Then when Carly turned away from a moment, he slipped something into her glass.’
‘He did what?’ Bo shouted, enraged.
Roman went on, ‘When Carly collapsed seconds after drinking out of it, Sarah assumed Victor poisoned her. Victor was distracted when people ran to see what was wrong with Carly so Sarah managed to switch glasses; she was nearby clearing away a few used ones then. She figured Victor would hide it and she was right, she saw him wrap the false one with a hanky and put it in his pocket.’
‘That son of a bitch,’ Bo steamed, vowing all sorts of things to do to Victor. ‘I assume this woman handed in the glass. What was in it?’
‘That’s the very weird part, it wasn’t poison. Lab results showed traces of sodium pentothal.’
Bo sat down on his bed, now confused. ‘Why the hell would Victor put truth serum in Carly’s drink?’
‘Knowing Victor, a very nasty reason. I’ll go over to the mansion to question him. You need to be with Carly. Has Frankie showed up?’
‘Yes, he’s with her right now. Nicky had some business problem he had to take care of so he’s not coming right now.’
Roman detected contempt in Bo’s words. ‘If it’s really a business thing, he can’t exactly help it, can he?’
‘Carly’s far more important than his Daddy’s business. I would like to know where the hell he was the whole time Larry was beating Carly.’
‘Don’t go judging him until you hear what he has to say.’ Roman cautioned. ‘I’m as upset as you are over what happened to Carly but now’s not the time to get yourself worked up. Give Carly my love, okay?’
‘Okay.’ Bo hung up.                                                           
Just as he finished getting dressed, the doorbell rang and he went downstairs to answer it. Without preamble, Hope entered the house and he closed the door behind her.
‘How’s Carly?’ she asked quietly.
‘She woke up this morning.’ Bo replied, equally stiltedly.
‘I’m glad for her. But now I guess it’s no point asking you why you’ve decided to call it quits.’
‘Maggie must have told you what happened to Carly.’
‘She did.’
‘So why do you still persist on laying the blame on her? For god sakes!’ Bo snapped, infuriated by her attitude.
‘I’m not doing that, I’m not!’ Hope raised her voice, trying to talk over him. ‘I’m not heartless, Bo. I’m sorry about what happened to her and now I know I was wrong to assume the worst when she came back. But put yourself in my shoes…’
‘No “buts” and no, I will not put myself in your shoes.’ Bo replied coldly. ‘Carly herself told you she wasn’t after me, you chose not to believe her and then it was all you could obsess about, refusing to give her the benefit of the doubt. You blamed her for something you started, this separation. I’m not going to let you or anybody else blame her for our divorce.’
‘I was angry at the time!’ Hope cried. ‘Surely you knew me enough to know it’s not something I want.’
‘Since you left this house, I had trouble reading your mind or knowing what you really wanted. You put up this wall between us, you wouldn’t talk to me.’ Bo accused.
‘Okay, I messed up, I admit it.’ Hope said harshly. ‘If you did this to punish me or force my hand, I guess I asked for it. I still love you, despite…’
‘Despite what? Despite I gambled with Ciara’s life, is that what you want to say? Or despite me being less than perfect in your eyes, which is it?’ Bo challenged.
‘Stop yelling at me, I’m trying to tell you that I want us to work things out!’ Hope cried.
‘There’s nothing to work out this time!’ Bo shouted back. ‘You were prepared to let me maintain the status quo, living alone, but then Carly came back and all of a sudden you were a victim.’
‘Oh yes, perfect Dr. Manning; she’s not as bitchy and neurotic as your wife.’
‘I never, for one minute, described you in those terms. Carly’s only part of the reason why I filed for a divorce.  Every time we hit a rough patch, you always made me feel I had to vindicate myself. I would wait until you came back. You moved out with Ciara and you emotionally held me hostage, like you were testing how far I could go on without you. And I would’ve wallowed in misery but fate brought Carly back into my life and you turned around making me feel I should apologise for my past with her. I never planned on falling in love with her, but I did. And I want to spend the rest of my life with her.’
Hope said nothing, turning away to stare out of the window. ‘And nothing I say will change your mind?’ she whispered.
‘Hope, let’s just make this as honest and painless as possible.’
Hope sighed, wiping the tears of her eyes and composed herself before turning to face him. ‘I’ll be waiting on the papers and sign then, if it’s really what you want.’ Bo’s words had stung but were painfully true. Only this time she stayed away too long and overplayed her hand and as a result, lost Bo for good. Carly’s warning came back to her…  you’re going to lose Bo eventually but I’m not going to be the reason; it’s going to be your jealousy and this idiotic, childish game you’re playing with him! If only she had taken it to heart  rather than let that jealousy and pride blind her. It was over between them this time.
‘You’ll get them as soon as possible. And of course, we’ll work out what to tell Ciara.’
She nodded, her face now impassive. ‘Goodbye Bo.’ She said, opening the door and left the house.
‘Goodbye Hope.’ Bo said, without a trace of sadness. He had his answer for Frankie now. With everything Carly was to him and the various ways she saved him and never once made him feel less than worthy of her, he would never have chosen Hope over her.
‘Just make this easy for yourself or you’ll be charged with malicious intent.’ Roman said.
‘Those charges will never stick,’ Victor said pompously. ‘I’m not responsible for Carly’s collapse.’
‘So what do you plan to say to the judge, that you were simply playing a prank on Carly? Don’t waste my time, Victor; why did you slip truth serum into her glass?’
‘I wanted to humiliate her.’ Victor spat. ‘I wanted to force her to confess she came back here to destroy Bo’s marriage and the only way to do that was dose her with truth serum and make her confession publicly. That’s why I did it.’
‘You’re a sick bastard,’ Roman said in disgust.
‘Call me what you like. I was doing it for my son, for Hope.’
‘Carly could’ve died.’
‘It’s not my fault she didn’t know she was getting a bellyful of blood. I didn’t commit a crime.’
Roman was eager to end the interview, filled with contempt for the man Bo was unfortunately related to. ‘Don’t hold your breath, Kiriakis. You’re going to be held accountable, whether you think so or not. I’ll be back.’
When Bo went to visit Carly Jennifer, Chloe and Adrienne were just leaving. There were flowers in the room and a few balloons emblazoned with Get Well Soon. After exchanging greetings with the women, Bo closed the door. ‘Hi.’ He said, walking to the bed. ‘I brought you these,’ he said, holding a bouquet of yellow roses.
‘Thank you,’ Carly murmured.
‘And…’ Bo held up Ciara’s present. ‘The little one drew you a Get Well card.’
‘That’s so sweet of her.’ Carly smiled faintly.
Bo leaned down to kiss her on the cheek. ‘Where’s Frankie?’
‘I sent him… to the loft to get some sleep. He’ll be back later.’
Bo took her hand, staring down at the green eyes looking up at him. ‘We’re together now, princess. No more secrets between us and when you get better, I’ll do all I can to make up for everything you went through.’
‘It’s not… that simple Bo.’
‘If you’re talking about Hope or the family…’
‘No… no…’ she whispered. ‘Bo... I said I was ashamed to tell you what Lawrence did but there’s more … I have to tell you.’
‘We have all the time in the world to talk but not now, save your strength.’
‘Bo, please… I’ve carried this for so long… you must know about it now.’ Carly pleaded, holding to his hand. ‘Please… listen to me. I have… to tell you the truth.’
Bo leaned closer, still holding her hand. ‘It’s okay baby, I’m here. Calm down, I’m listening.’
Carly swallowed and began her story.
After leaving the boat and her life with Bo and Shawn Douglas behind, Carly had gone to the airport where Lawrence and Nicky were waiting for her in the Alamain jet. Very happy she’d made the decision to go with him and their son, Lawrence had promised things will be different between them than before. The plane had departed to Paris and on getting there, Lawrence suddenly fell ill. His illness went on and he  insisted they get married in his hospital room, unwilling to wait any longer to make her his wife at long last. He was in the hospital for a month and he was told by his doctor later that the rare illness he suffered from had rendered him sterile. Lawrence didn’t take it well and it took a lot of reassurance from Carly that it didn’t matter to her, as she too was reproductively challenged. But for a long time Lawrence was sullen, angry and bitter, lashing out at her to vent his disappointment. He seemed go back his old self when they got to Alamainia. But things only grew worse. Carly discovered, to her amazement, that she was pregnant and it was obviously not Lawrence’s. Enraged, he demanded to know who she cheated on him with while he was ill. She denied it until she remembered something she did before she boarded the plane.
 Bo had led her into the boat to their bed, undressed her and they made love in an effort to reconnect. But it had only made the inevitable parting of ways even more painful and they’d exchanged one last hug in tears, after Carly gave him back her ring. Lawrence had stared at her in angry disbelief and struck her across the face, making her fall.  “You went back to have one last fling with that peasant! You deceived me!” he’d screamed at her and that was the beginning of her nightmare and the realisation she had made a terrible mistake, once again.
She tried running away but was caught and from then on was never allowed outside the compound alone. She was not allowed contact with her brother and the servants were too scared or loyal to go against Lawrence’s orders. The sight of her pregnant belly always triggered off Lawrence’s rages and he would beat her constantly. Nicky was away in boarding school and the times he was home, Lawrence put on the façade of the warm family man. Most times Nicky spent the holidays with Vivian or went on trips with his numerous school chums, he had no idea what went on. One night, he grabbed her by the hair and tossed her into the cellars, unable to bear the sight of her. She only had a mattress to lie on and nothing to protect her from the cold. She was however given food and a village doctor in Lawrence’s pocket gave her the medication she needed. Lawrence would come down now and then to rape her. Day and Night, she prayed for her baby.
When she was getting close to her due date, Lawrence came down the cellars with two rough looking men. At his instructions, her wrists and legs were chained.
“What are you doing?” she cried. Lawrence had the look of deadly calm on his face. In his hand was a knife. “You and Bo Brady have made a fool of me, for the last time.”
“No… no… not my baby! Lawrence please… don’t kill my baby! Have mercy, don’t kill my baby!”

Tears rolled down Bo’s cheeks, his heart filled with pain and anguish. ‘He killed our baby?’
Carly’s eyes were red and teary. ‘I couldn’t tell you, especially after hearing about Zack… I couldn’t…’
Bo pressed his face against the side of her neck, weeping at Carly’s ordeal and the loss of the unborn child conceived on their last day together. While he had moved on with his life and had more children afterwards, Lawrence had abused Carly and taken the life of their long awaited child.
Carly went on, Bo wiping her tears now and then. When she regained consciousness she was in her own bedroom, drifting between life and death, having lost a lot of blood. The same doctor from the village attended to her, along with his nurse. Nicky was not allowed to see her and was told she lost the baby and was suffering from a nervous breakdown.
But the beatings and the rapes did not stop. Two months after he killed her baby, Lawrence resumed his abuse. During his worst episodes, he would drag her back into the cellars, lashing her with a whip, before forcing himself on her and then left her there, too weak to climb up the stairs. He called it deserved punishment for her betrayal.
Then one day, in the middle of his torture, she had managed to grab the same knife he’d used on her and drove it into his stomach. She remembered Nicky running down the cellar steps, his face a mask of horror. The next thing she remembered was opening her eyes to find herself in a sunlit private room of a nursing home in the South of France, Frankie holding her hand.
‘Nicky kept it from the media… to protect me; he didn’t want the world to call me a murderer.’
‘You are not a murderer.’ Bo choked. ‘You did what you had to do, for what he did to you, to us. I hope he’s burning in hell right now!’  

Carly sobbed, holding Bo’s arm as they softly wept together. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015


Brady showed up at the loft the next morning, very upset on hearing Phillip’s assault on Carly from Melanie. Carly assured him she was fine; the bruises on her face will fade in time. ‘I never liked the idea of him and Melanie anyway.’ Brady admitted to her and Marcus. ‘Just as well she called off the wedding, he’s shown what he really is.’
Marcus looked angry. ‘Yeah, too bad he’s not going to get punished after all.’
Surprised, Brady turned to Carly. ‘You’re not dropping charges, are you?’
‘I am,’ was Carly’s calm reply.
 ‘Why would you do that?’
‘Your grandfather came by last night and threatened her.’ Marcus said before Carly could speak.
What?’  Brady exclaimed. ‘But Carly you don’t have to do that, just let Uncle Bo know!’
‘I’m not scared of Victor,’ Carly replied. ‘But I do know what he’s capable of and what he can do. When he makes a threat or a promise, he means it.’
‘Uncle Bo will protect you!’ Brady insisted.
‘That’s what I told her.’ Marcus said.
‘Yes, you told me.’ Carly turned to Marcus. ‘But you also remember how Bo battled with Victor because of me years ago and I don’t want that to happen again, especially since Bo’s now the Commissioner of Police; a very important position.’ She turned back to Brady. ‘You probably think this is a crazy decision on my part.’
‘It is!’ Brady snapped, taking note of the black eye and bruise covered cheeks. ‘Look at what he did to your face, suppose the first thing he does after getting out of jail is go after Melanie instead or tries to hurt you again?’
‘Phillip’s not  going to be a problem when he gets out,’ Carly replied after some hesitation. ‘Because if I know  your uncle, he’ll still find a way of keeping Phillip in check, without him appearing in a court room.’
Brady and Marcus exchanged disapproving and skeptical glances, hoping Carly knew what she was doing.
 Bo, Roman and Abe  were very surprised when Carly showed up at the police station with Marcus to inform them she was dropping charges against Phillip but surprise turned to anger when she explained why she was doing so. ‘Victor actually threatened you?’ Abe said with disbelief.
‘He did, I was right there.’ Marcus confirmed. Roman swore under his breath.
‘My God!’ Bo stormed, furious. ‘Carly, you don’t have to worry about anything. A guard will be assigned to protect you.’
‘No, not that again.’ Carly said firmly, remembering how exasperating it was to have a bodyguard with her during their trouble with Victor years ago; he was assigned to her for the same reason- Victor threatening her. ‘I appreciate what you guys want to do but I feel that Victor will back off if his son doesn’t go to jail and I’m not about to let you compromise your position by making you take sides.’
‘Carly, he hit you.’ Roman emphasized.
‘Yeah, and Victor will have a field day in court telling the jury I’m Bo’s supposed mistress and the defendant is his brother.  Everyone in this room knows he doesn’t care about the consequences of his own actions, he will do all he can to bring Bo and me down. Victor’s made me his sworn enemy and there’s a limit to what I can take from him. Please guys,  just let me have my way with this. I’m dropping all charges.’
‘Fine, it’s your decision.’ Bo replied, certain of his love for this woman more than ever and already  planning  how he will deal with both Victor and Phillip. Abe thought how selfless Carly was, while Roman was not surprised by Carly’s gesture, she’d always been that way; putting others before herself. No wonder Bo fell for her again.
After Carly signed the necessary papers a few minutes later, she found Bo waiting for her at the lobby. ‘Here… you left this at my house.’ From his pocket he brought out something, giving it to her.
‘Oh, my bracelet. I wondered where it was; thanks.’ Carly said after unwrapping it, unable to meet his eyes.
‘All those things I said about us and Nicky… I’m so sorry, princess.’
‘It’s okay.’ Carly said quietly, her heart touched by the remorse in his voice, wishing things were less complicated.  
Bo cupped her chin before she could move away from him. ‘I just wish you would let me in, to give us a chance for a future.’
‘Your future isn’t with me.’ Carly said flatly, removing his hand. ‘And I wish you would realize that and forget about me.’
‘I said the same thing to you years ago,’ Bo reminded, taking her by the arm when she attempted to walk away. ‘And I didn’t mean it and it didn’t stop you from loving me, it never stopped you. Whatever the reason you feel we can’t be together again, we can work on it  together.’
In reply, Carly released her arm. ‘I have to go.’
Bo remembered what Alice Horton said to him before she died,  Fight for her if you have to. And there was his own determination to have Carly in his life; which he really wanted badly. ‘I’m not  giving up on you.’ he said quietly.
The expression on her face was now sad. ‘I really wish you would, Bo.’ Adjusting the strap of her purse on her shoulder she left; Marcus waiting for her outside. Bo watched her, exasperated but no longer angry; anger wasn’t going to help him achieve what he wanted. Roman advised him to give her understanding and patience so he was going to do that. In the meantime, he was going to pay his bio-father a visit.
‘Where do you get off threatening Carly like that, did you honestly think I wouldn’t find out?’
‘An exaggeration on her part and I see you immediately took her side.’ Victor replied scathingly.
Bo glared at him. ‘Don’t insult my intelligence, Victor; we both know how you love to intimidate people to prove a point. Carly’s the only woman in your past you couldn’t call to heel and you’ll never forget that.’
‘At least my memory’s better than yours!’ Victor barked. ‘From the moment that woman came back to Salem you seemed to forget that you have a wife, who's worth ten of that tramp!’
Brady, who was also in the room, snorted derisively.
‘Don’t you dare say that about her again Victor or I might just forget you’re my father.’ Bo growled, his eyes now having a dangerous glint.
‘Have you told him yet?’ Brady asked him.
‘About to.’ Bo replied, his eyes still on Victor’s hard face. ‘I’m not going to let you hurt Carly in any way. And if you do, you know only too well that you’ll answer to me, no matter what influence you think you have. Not just me either, Roman and Abe are willing to do anything to protect Carly. She came by the station today to drop charges against Phillip.’
Victor folded his arms, looking self-satisfied.
‘Don’t start looking all smug,’ Brady went on, disgusted. ‘Carly may’ve decided to drop the charges but Phillip won’t be completely out of the woods until you agree with Uncle Bo’s demands.’
‘And what are they?’ Victor sneered.
‘You’ll send Phillip to handle your business interests in Greece and I don’t want him setting  foot in Salem for a very long time.’ Bo replied.
Victor now looked staggered. ‘What?
‘You heard him,’ Brady said coldly. ‘Phillip has to leave town and you’re going to make that possible.’
‘What you’re suggesting is that I exile my own son!’ Victor shouted. ‘You must be insane if you think I would agree to something as preposterous as that! Especially since Carly’s the reason his fiancée left him!’
‘Melanie Layton’s an adult; she’s more than capable of making her own decisions.’ Bo retorted. ‘You’re not going to hold Carly responsible for anything, for my marriage or Melanie breaking up with Phillip. I’ve had it up to here listening you bitch about her.’
Victor’s face was white with anger. ‘And suppose I don’t agree? Carly’s dropped the charges, you have no reason for holding him.’ 
‘Well, he should’ve thought about the consequences of hitting an innocent woman but I guess he takes after you when it comes to that. You will go to the station and convince him. I want him out of town by tonight or I will keep him locked up by any means. Do I make myself clear?’
Victor glowered at his son and grandson, hating Carly Manning with all his might. She was responsible for all this. No matter what Bo said, he’ll pay her out somehow.
It turned out Phillip didn’t need much convincing. Upset at losing Melanie for good and rather mortified over what he did to Carly, he was willing to leave town for a long period of time. By evening, the Kiriakis jet departed for Greece. Brady told Melanie about it and she was hugely relieved, so was Nathan.
Hope was surprised to hear about the incident, confronting Bo about it the next time she came to drop off Ciara. ‘Victor said you forced him to send Phillip away. Why would you do that?’
‘I guess he didn’t tell you want he did to Carly? Just like him.’ Bo said cynically.
‘Phillip was drunk, he didn’t know what he was doing.’
Bo was angry to hear Hope defending Phillip. ‘If it was another woman he smacked around, would you be saying that?’
‘Don’t make me out a monster, Bo! I don’t condone what he did but still… he’s your brother.’
‘Yeah, by default; just like Victor is.’ Bo said bitterly. ‘I did what I had to keep Carly safe… Melanie as well. That kid’s not exactly my favorite person but lord knows what Phillip would’ve done to her too, given the chance.’
‘It looks to me like you would do just about anything for Carly Manning,’ Hope replied, the old jealousy and insecurity in her voice.
‘Think what you like, Hope. I’m done arguing with you about her.’ Bo turned away to put a few discarded toys away.
‘You had Victor send your brother away.’ Hope emphasized.
My decision entirely.’
‘Exactly, to protect her. What is the real story here, Brady? Do you love her?’ Hope demanded.
‘What kind of question is that?’ Bo snapped.
‘A valid one and I want an honest answer.’ Hope looked him in the eye. ‘Are you in love with her?’
Bo stared back at her. ‘What answer do you want to hear? A “yes” or a “no” won’t make you suddenly decide end this separation, will it?’
Hope opened her mouth to say something but was lost for words. Maggie, Doug and Julie have been pressing her lately to move back home. Jennifer had talked to her seriously about it before flying back to London. Hope was sorely tempted to; she couldn’t deny missing walking into her own house and finding her husband there. She didn’t know what was holding her back but she still felt she wasn’t quite ready to move back with Bo. ‘You’re allowing Carly to alienate you from your own flesh and blood, you don’t seem to realize that now and I hope you do.’ She picked up her purse, dying to know what Bo really felt for Carly but didn’t dare ask him again; for fear of what the answer would be. First Billie, now this woman, she thought. But at least she knew what Billie was up to, constantly hovering over Bo the way she did. Carly was an enigma but somehow managed to have a hold on Bo. And that made her a bigger and more dangerous threat.
‘Have a safe flight,’ Carly said, hugging Marcus.
‘Remember to call me, any time you feel like talking.’ Marcus replied, wishing he didn’t have to leave.
‘I will.’ Carly promised.
Marcus sighed, pushing back a strand of hair from Carly’s cheek. ‘You didn’t ask for the complications in your life right now, which is why I don’t want you thinking any of it is your fault.’ 
Carly shrugged, her face pensive. ‘It started so simple before, coming back here.’
‘Yeah and now it’s not. I just hope by the time you’re ready it won’t be too late for you and Bo. Grab that happiness while you can, Carly. It’s right there in front of you so just do it.’ Marcus leaned over to kiss her on the cheek, hugging her again. ‘Take care of yourself and watch your back. Call me.’
Carly waved goodbye to Marcus, watching him follow the other passengers.

Daniel and Chloe got married at the hospital’s chapel the following week, unable to wait any longer and the venue enabled most of the hospital staff to attend. Chloe was radiant and Daniel couldn’t stop smiling. Carly was happy for them, leading the toast to the happy couple. Chloe threw the bouquet and there was an immediate fierce scramble among the nurses to grab it first. But they missed, the flowers landing on Carly who caught them involuntarily, amidst shrieks, followed by a round of applause. Smiling faintly, Carly placed them on a nearby table and joined everyone in saying goodbye and wishing them a happy honeymoon.
‘I sure hope they’ll be back in time for our wedding.’ Nathan said, Melanie at his elbow. ‘We’ve fixed a date already.’
‘Oh you guys… congratulations!’ Carly exclaimed. Smiling widely, Melanie proudly  showed her the beautiful solitaire ring on her finger.
 ‘And it’s all thanks to you we got back together, we can never thank you enough, Dr. Manning.’ Nathan smiled, looking more boyish and happier now that he’d come out of his shell.
‘I hardly did anything,’ Carly protested.
‘You did a lot and we’re so happy now.’ Melanie insisted. ‘I hope you’ll come.’
‘Of course I’ll come, I won’t miss that  for anything.’ Carly promised. ‘I assume Max will fly down to give you away?’
‘Oh yes and he’s bringing Chelsea.’ Melanie replied. ‘Maggie’s helping me with the wedding and we’re picking up my dress tomorrow. I hope you’ll find time to come round and see it.’
Carly chuckled at Melanie’s eagerness, her demeanor entirely different from before. ‘Of course. In fact…’ she undid the clasp of her bracelet and gave it to Melanie. ‘Consider this my wedding present to you.’
‘Oh… it’s beautiful, thank you.’ Melanie said, admiring it. She suddenly gave Carly a hug. ‘You’re a wonderful friend, Carly. Nathan and I are so lucky to have you.’
‘We sure are,’ Nathan smiled at Carly, affection for her all over his face. Carly was very happy for the young couple. She thought again about Alice and what she told her. Happiness was within her grasp. If only she was worthy to grab it like Alice and Marcus advised her to.

Maggie enthusiastically helped Melanie plan the wedding; pleased the Hortons will be gathered for a joyous occasion this time around. It’s been two months since Alice’s passing and they were slowly moving on and coming to terms with it yet remembering the late matriarch fondly. The invitations were sent out; the reception was going to take place at Maggie’s house. One by one, the family returned to attend.
Max came from London with Chelsea who was wild with joy to see Bo again but stunned to hear his estrangement with Hope was still on. ‘I thought you guys worked things out ages ago.’ She said.
‘Not this time, honey.’
‘Not this time? Dad… are you divorcing Hope?’
Bo nodded silently.
‘Wow.. that bad? You two have always been so tight, I never imagined it would come to this.’ Max said.
‘We simply just outgrew each other, that’s all. But she doesn’t know yet because I wanted to give her time to recover from her grandmother’s death. I’m going to have to tell her soon, I’m not putting it off any longer.’
Chelsea still looked bewildered and unconvinced. Her mother was forced to realize, after all her schemes and manipulations, that Hope was the only woman for Bo, will always be. And here he was, willing to end his marriage. It couldn’t be impatience over her behavior for him to act this way.
‘I hate to ask… but does this have to do with Carly?’ Max asked tentatively.
‘Sorry, who’s Carly?’ Chelsea asked.
‘She’s a woman I almost married,’ Bo explained. ‘We broke up and afterwards your mum and I started dating.’
‘Is she the rich doctor you were once engaged to?’ Chelsea asked. ‘Because Mum told me about her. She didn’t say her name, she  just said that you two were from different worlds and she left you for some rich guy.’
Billie would describe her like that, Bo thought crossly. ‘Yes. And after her husband died, she moved back here.’ He didn’t want to talk about the family’s attitude towards Carly with Chelsea, it would make her uncomfortable since her own mother had done what Carly was accused of. ‘And no, to answer your question, Carly’s got nothing to do with my decision. And I’ll appreciate it if you didn’t mention it to anyone.’
Max and Chelsea promised but they sensed he was lying. And on meeting Carly at the wedding rehearsal, Chelsea knew for sure Bo was lying.
On the morning of Melanie’s wedding, Carly woke up feeling nauseous and dizzy.  However she managed to get out of bed. She couldn’t miss the wedding, not after promising to be there, she wanted to be there. Opening her medicine cabinet after a hot shower, she opened a bottle of Pepto Bismol to settle her stomach. The room seemed to spin. What’s wrong with me? she thought, finding it hard to focus as she staggered back to her bedroom. Lying on the bed wrapped in a wet towel, she breathed deeply, waiting until the nausea passed. She carefully got dressed, a short blue dress over a matching jacket; her fingers trembling as she zipped up, put on her shoes and applied a light makeup. Just as well she was riding with Brady, she was positive she would faint on the wheel.  What a time to be ill.
Brady was alarmed on seeing how white she looked. ‘I’m just a little under the weather, honey,’ Carly said when he suggested she stayed home instead. ‘I’ll be fine eventually.’
‘I don’t know Carly; you don’t look well at all. Are you sure you don’t want me to drive you to the hospital instead?’ Brady asked, looking at her worriedly.
‘I’ll be fine.’ Carly insisted. ‘Let’s go now or we’ll be late for the ceremony.’
Melanie looked lovely in her ball gown wedding dress, a veil covering her head and shoulders; as she walked down the aisle on her brother’s arm. Nathan, handsome in his tux, fixed his eyes on her as she walked up to him, the face of a young man full of love for his bride. His mother Melissa smiled at him from her seat beside Maggie, happy for her son. Through the veil, Melanie looked at the man she loved, her heart fluttering with happiness as he took her hand.
Carly blinked rapidly to keep focus, feeling dizzy again. Jennifer, who was on her left, looked at her sharply. ‘Are you okay?’ she whispered.
Cary nodded then regretted it, as nausea hit her again. What the hell’s going on? She wondered with dread. ‘I’m fine.’ She managed to say.
Brady, who was on her right, turned to her. Carly looked anything but fine, in fact looked even whiter. He chided himself for not driving her to the hospital, she was obviously very ill and it looked like she’d lost a few pounds lately. ‘Are you sure?’ he whispered.
‘I’m sure, don’t worry about me.’ Carly said, straightening herself on the pew, eyes on the couple as they made their vows and exchanged rings.
The priest pronounced them man and wife and there was a round of applause as Nathan lifted Melanie’s veil and they exchanged a heartfelt kiss.
Carly splashed water on her face, breathing deeply again. The reception was in full swing and she managed to sneak off to Maggie’s bathroom to compose herself. Feeling better, she wiped her cheeks with a hanky and went out.
Mingling with the guests, she saw Bo talking to Julie. How handsome he looks, she thought wistfully; seeing him in a suit reminding her of how he looked on their wedding day. She caught his eye and she turned away immediately, looking for a place to hide.
‘Excuse me, Julie.’ Bo said, before walking away to find Carly. But his name was called and he turned to see Hope matching towards him, Jennifer at her heels. ‘I want to talk to you,’ she said, her voice low and angry. 
‘Hope, this isn't  the time or place!’ Jennifer hissed.
Hope ignored her. ‘You filed for a divorce… and behind my back. How could you do this to me, Brady?’
Bo glared at a shamefaced Jennifer. ‘I’m sorry Bo,’ she muttered. 
‘We’re not talking about this here, Hope.’
‘Don’t start lecturing me!’ Hope snapped, very upset. ‘We will talk about this, right now!’
‘You were the one who hinted that maybe we should get a divorce,’ Bo snapped back defensively.
‘And you automatically assumed I meant it?’ Hope asked incredulously.
‘Bo, please, can’t you see you’re hurting her…’
‘Jennifer, you’ve done enough damage so just butt out!’
‘She’s not butting out, she’s family so she might as well witness this!’
While the argument was going on, Carly was by the buffet table; her hand resting on it to steady herself. ‘What are you doing here?’ she asked when Victor walked up to her. ‘I didn’t think you were invited.’
‘I’m here as Maggie’s guest. I felt I might as well mingle with trash.’
Carly smiled grimly, knowing he was referring to her. ‘Of course, I expected nothing else.’
‘You should also expect me to keep my promise.’ Victor said coldly. ‘I’m going to make sure you get your comeuppance, one way or the other. You should’ve left Salem when you were supposed to.’
It hit her. ‘It was you.’ Carly said slowly. ‘You were the one leaving those anonymous notes. I should’ve guessed you would descend that low.’
Victor’s mouth tightened, not denying her accusation.  
‘You’re nothing but a bully and a coward, Victor Kiriakis. You didn’t have the guts to say all that to my face; instead you tried scaring me away with poison-pen letters. You’re insufferable and pathetic; just like you were years ago. The best thing I ever did was leave you.’
‘You bitch,’ Victor hissed.
Feeling more ill, Carly turned her head away. Victor used the opportunity to quickly empty the contents of a tiny vial into the glass of champagne near her hand. Shaking her head to clear it, Carly picked up the glass and took a much needed drink, not noticing the look of malicious satisfaction on Victor’s face.
‘I’m going to tell Bo and Roman what you did,’ Carly said, putting down the glass, struggling to glare at Victor. ‘And I’ll press charges for harassment, you bastard.’
‘After today, I don’t care what you tell them,’ Victor replied, his smile smug and triumphant. ‘I slipped a vial of sodium pentothal in your glass. You’ll soon be spilling answers to my questions on why you really came back to Salem and soon everyone will see you for the conniving home wrecker you really are.’
Carly tried to answer but couldn’t; Victor’s voice sounded so far away. She could no longer stand on her feet and she felt very cold. Something wet flowed from her nose to her upper lip and Victor stared at her, now alarmed. Touching it with her fingers, Carly saw it was blood. Her body shook violently and before Victor could catch her,  collapsed at his feet.