Carly went on with her therapy and each day, found herself slowly healing more. Losing Bo’s child was still a deep scar in her heart she wasn’t sure she’ll ever really heal from, however. And there was no possibility of ever getting pregnant again, the damage to her womb far too severe. But she cheered herself up with thoughts of Ciara, who was now a big part of her life and Shawn D who still loved her as much as she loved him.
More than ever, Melanie attached herself to Carly, very sad over her tragedy. No longer the young woman with a huge chip on her shoulder ever since she got to know Carly better, she and Carly shared a bond that was almost sisterly. Melanie found herself telling Carly about her miserable childhood and how her late father, Trent Robbins, had pimped her out like a common prostitute to settle some gambling debts. ‘Imagine a father doing that to his own daughter.’ She said bitterly. ‘Until Max came to Rome looking for me, I didn’t even know I had a brother. And I let what happened define me until one day I realized I was making a mess of my life. I suddenly found myself entering the nursing program.’
In turn, Carly told her about how her parents arranged her betrothal to Lawrence when she was a mere child and how she ran away from boarding school to avoid it. Melanie listened in disbelief as Carly also told her how Lawrence tricked her and kept plaguing her life after she met Bo. And there was also the story of his evil aunt Vivian who stole her son, burying her alive, her amnesia and leaving Bo; which she’ll always regret. More so because Bo told her, after putting the ring on her finger, that he would’ve stayed with her after Hope’s return.
‘Fate pretty much threw us both a lot of hard knocks, you especially. But I stopped living in the past a long time ago. You should too, Carly.’ Melanie said soberly. ‘And don’t let it ruin what you now have, a future with Bo.’
‘I just hope fate’s done with me at last. What I don’t need is another twist of it or more drama.’ Carly said dryly. Marlena and the women in her support group emphasized she was a victim of circumstances and she mustn’t keep feeling she had a hand in what happened. And like Melanie reminded her, she did have a future ahead of her. Spending the rest of her life with the man she loved. She and Bo were still taking it slow and careful in the bedroom, Bo only touching her when she initiated it. They tried making love properly some nights ago, Carly longing to be joined with him. But on feeling him against her thigh, she shrank away in terror, weeping in Bo’s consoling arms afterwards. One step at a time but how long will it be before she was back to being the passionate woman Bo remembered? If it wasn’t for his kindness and patience, Carly would go crazy.
That evening, Carly glanced at her watch. It was time to call it a day already and she contemplated getting some Chinese for Bo and herself on the way home. Just as she was taking off her white coat, Bo appeared at her door; grinning. Carly’s eyes swept over him as he was looking spruce in a dark blue suit, white shirt and dark blue tie. ‘Well…’ she said, moving to kiss him. ‘What’s the occasion then?’
‘A special date.’ He replied, his brown eyes dancing with mischief. ‘I’m taking you for a night on the town.’
‘Ah.’ Carly couldn’t help smiling back, pleased. She then noticed the garment bag slung over his arm. ‘Did you pick that from my closet?’
‘No, I stopped by a boutique and requested something fabulous for my beautiful fiancée. I hope you’ll like it.’ he said, handing it to her.
‘So where are we going?’ Carly asked, filled with anticipation.
Bo gave her the humorous exasperated look she always found endearing. ‘You know I’m not going to tell you that, that’s why it’s a surprise. Now go on and get dressed.’ Kissing her, he left the office to let her change.
Excited over a fun filled evening with Bo, Carly quickly discarded her blouse and skirt and unzipped the garment bag, her eyes widening at the deep red silk dress with narrow straps and a rather low cleavage but to her relief, a high back; which would shield her scarred back from view.
‘Oh Bo…’ she murmured, overwhelmed by his thoughtfulness, before slipping it on and zipped it up, securing the hook. After brushing her hair, Carly applied makeup and sprayed on a little perfume.
Bo was waiting for her when she came out. Suddenly shy and feeling like 25 again, she fidgeted; blushing under his warm eyes. ‘You like?’ she asked softly as he walked up to her.
Bo smiled, loving her so much. ‘I love. And you look… absolutely perfect.’ They kissed, watched by a few nurses nearby, sighing at the romantic picture the couple painted.
‘You’re still not going to tell me where we’re going?’ Carly asked as Bo led her by the hand to the elevator.
‘No, and don’t bother guessing either.’ Bo replied as the doors closed.
‘You’ll see.’ Bo squeezed her hand, anticipating Carly’s reaction to their date he carefully arranged especially for her; one of the numerous new memories he wanted to give her. First off, he took her to a popular bar for drinks. And then on to the theater, to watch a live musical play. To Carly’s amazement and delight, it was The Princess & The Pea. Carly was so touched she couldn’t say a word, instead hugged Bo in silence after they took their seats. Bo kept his arm round her shoulders, occasionally glancing at her during the show. She looked at him tenderly. They both remembered vividly the night at the lighthouse years ago where, to pass the time, they played the princess and the prince of the classic fairy tale.
‘The play was so great,’ Carly enthused as they left the theater after the show was over. No wonder you didn’t want to tell me… it was a wonderful surprise.’ Her arms went round Bo’s neck. ‘Thank you so much, sweetheart.’
Bo smiled, one hand brushing her cheek. ‘You don’t have to thank me, princess. Besides, the date’s not over yet.’
“Much more” was a drive to the marina, where Bo led Carly to a brightly lit boat that turned out to be a floating restaurant that offered not only a buffet but live entertainment and a one hour cruise.
‘I can’t believe you did all this,’ Carly said as Bo poured wine in their glasses and made a toast.
‘I wanted this night to be really special for you. How have I done so far?’
‘More than enough. I love what you did and I love you.’ Carly reached out for his hand, which he grasped immediately.
‘I love you too.’ Bo said, rubbing her hand with his thumb, focusing on Carly’s face. Her cheeks were rosy and her green eyes… so alive and happy, no longer aloof and hard. She was healing and putting the past behind her. There were a few moments of sadness but she always let him in, instead of shutting him out; of which he was grateful for. ‘You look exceptionally beautiful tonight.’
‘You make me feel beautiful.’ Carly said softly. ‘Besides, look at this lovely dress you got me.’
‘You can be dressed like a hippie and you would still look beautiful. It’s not the dress anyway, it’s you. A woman’s not beautiful when she just has a pretty face. She has to be beautiful inside; kind, brave, with a loving heart and who puts anyone before herself. That’s all you and that what makes you beautiful.’ Bo said expressively, still holding her hand. ‘And I put this all together to let you know what you mean to me.’
Carly blinked, willing herself not to cry; touched by his words.
‘I’m so lucky, to have you back in my life. And I promise you, we’re not going to screw up this second chance.’
‘No, we won’t.’ Carly whispered. ‘I don’t ever want to lose you again. I’ll never leave you again.’
‘You better not,’ Bo replied, ‘because I will never let you go.’
Bo and Carly drove home, riding up the elevator to their loft, holding hands. On entering, Carly waited for Bo to slide the door shut before walking up to him, her arms sliding up his neck. Their kiss started gentle but began stoking a burning passion within them and became hard and demanding. Instinctively, Bo’s hands went down her back to cup her hips, hungry to feel her softness against him but at the last minute curbed himself; breaking the kiss.
‘No,’ Carly protested softly, not letting go of him.
‘I don’t want to scare you, princess.’ Bo said, his arms round her waist. ‘We agreed…’
‘I know,’ Carly touched his face. ‘You’ve been so patient and understanding and I love you so much.’
‘And I love you too much to make you afraid of me.’
‘I shouldn’t be afraid to make love with you, Bo. I want to, I want you; I want to make love with you exactly the way we used to.'
‘You know you can’t rush it , or force yourself. PSTD takes time to overcome. It’s not like we’ve not been trying.’ He stroked her cheek, the heated look in his eyes causing her to blush.
‘I feel it’s going to be different this time. And not just because of the meetings and sessions with Marlena. It’s you and our love; a whole lot stronger than anything.’ Carly slowly peeled the jacket of his shoulders, loosening his tie. ‘Lawrence has nothing to do with us and I’m not going to let the memory of him come between us. Right now, all I see is you… not him. I need to feel you against me, really feel you…’ she kissed him and he kissed her back eagerly; holding her tightly against him. Instead of recoiling, she pressed herself even harder against him, their breathing unsteady.
Bo lifted Carly up in his arms and carried her into the bedroom. He set her down and resumed kissing her, savoring the sweet taste of her as he held her face between his hands. It was going to be different this time, he detected a new urgency coming from Carly, her eagerness matching his own. But he was going to make sure not to make a wrong move and ruin things.
Carly unbuttoned his shirt and peeled it off him but when her hands moved to the waistband of his pants to unbuckle his belt, he stopped her, gently placing her hands down. Pushing back strands of hair from her forehead, he nuzzled the side of her neck, moving to stand behind her. Slowly, he unzipped her dress, peeling it down. Carly tensed, closing her eyes; waiting for his reaction to the ugly whip scars across her back.
Bo’s fingers moved over them, anger towards Lawrence and ache at the marks of Carly’s sufferings stabbing him. Leaning down, holding her by the waist, he traced them with his lips; his warm breath caressing her skin. Carly trembled, sighing; her hand reaching up to touch him but Bo again gently lowered her arm. Turning her round slowly to face him, he kissed her again, walking her backwards until her back was pressed against the wall. ‘Bo…’ Carly whispered when he broke the kiss.
‘Hush,’ he said softly, pressing a finger against her lips before nuzzling her neck, moving down to her heaving black lace encased breasts. Kneading them, Bo kissed the soft flesh before moving further down to her scarred stomach, tracing them gently with his mouth.
Carly leaned against the wall helplessly, passion and longing surging through her as Bo sensually rained kisses and caresses all over her body but refusing to let her touch him. He was driving her crazy with want and agonizing waiting as her knees buckled, his lips trailing her thighs.
Cupping her hips, Bo kissed his way back up, recapturing her mouth.
Carly’s hands moved up his hair roughened chest, moaning in protest when Bo again removed her hands. ‘I need to touch you…’ she pleaded.
‘Not yet,’ Bo whispered, hungry for her touch but determined to prolong the moment. Reaching behind her, he unlocked her black lace bra and Carly’s breathing grew faster, a cry of pleasure as he lowered his head to kiss her breasts, causing the ache in her loins to reach boiling point. Bo finally took her hands and placed them on his chest and she immediately wrapped her arms round him, both groaning in the sensual feel of their chests against each other. With fingers slightly trembling, Bo tugged her panties downwards and she stepped off them, still clinging to him.
‘Make love to me, Bo.’ Carly pleaded, pressing herself against his arousal. ‘Make love to me now.’
Without a word, Bo lifted Carly, carrying her to the bed. This time, there were no more walls. Their lovemaking was passionate yet tender, Bo flooding her body with ecstasy, finally giving in to his own as they came together.