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Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Bo insisted on being the one to break it to Melanie. And Melanie, like Bo rightly surmised, hit the roof; stubbornly refusing believe what he told her until she and Max were given  photocopied entries of Lawrence’s diaries, the documented statement from his lawyer and most importantly, the DNA results; which they went through carefully. When she was done, Melanie sat in her chair; looking stunned, so was Max.
‘I… I don’t know what to say. Max…’ Melanie turned to him.
‘It doesn’t make any difference to me Mel, it doesn’t!’ Max assured her, tears in his eyes. ‘You’re still family, always.’
Melanie squeezed his hand before finally stared up at Bo, as though seeing him with new eyes. Trent Robbins, the man who heartlessly pimped her out, who abused Max as a child; was not her father. Bo Brady, tough yet kind and protective; was her father and Carly Manning, the woman who practically brought her and Nathan together… her mother.  Which meant Phillip was her uncle. That was even harder to swallow, considering her past with him. And yet… it didn’t seem important. 
  ‘Bo… I mean… oh dear God,’ she covered her mouth with her hand, tears springing from her eyes she got up. Bo enveloped her in his arms, pressing his cheek against hers, his own tears creeping from his eyes as Melanie clung to him.  
Melanie pulled away slightly to touch his face tentatively, sniffling. Bo stroked her hair; for the first time realizing Melanie had Carly’s vivid green eyes. How could he not have noticed there was something familiar about the hot headed girl the whole time she was living in Salem? The hot temper was no doubt from him and her fiery independent spirit came from Carly. Their child was a living reality.
‘Dad,’ she whispered, savoring the word.
Smiling through his tears, Bo kissed her on the forehead. ‘Right now, all I can say is how glad I am you’re my daughter, sweetheart.’
‘Hothead and all?’ Melanie asked, smiling back; overwhelmed but so happy.
‘You already know from past experience I’m a lot worse.’ They laughed, hugging each other close. Max joined them and Melanie hugged him too. ‘You’re still my brother, Max. And brother-in-law, once you and Chelsea make it official.’
Max smiled faintly, subdued by the big reveal but happy for Melanie all the same. For a very long time she’d carried bitterness towards Trent for prostituting her to men, struggling to overcome her unhappy past. Now she was given this unexpected gift of parents and a large family; of which he was a part of. She may not be his flesh and blood but will always be a huge part of his life.
‘So that means Shawn D and Nicholas are my brothers, Chelsea and Ciara my sisters, Brady, my cousin.’  
‘That’s right.’
‘And… Carly’s my Mum.’ Melanie’s voice broke, ashamed of the memory of their first encounter.
‘You got to know Carly once you realized you were wrong about her, Mel.’ Max said quickly. ‘Don’t beat yourself up over what happened before.’
‘Max is right,’ Bo agreed. ‘That’s all in the past.’
Melanie shook her head in wonder. ‘Lawrence Alamain tried to kill me and this woman Vivian wanted to let Mum keep believing I was dead. Why would she do a thing like that?’
‘Because she’s a vicious old bitch.’ Bo said coldly. ‘The same reason she made Carly believe Nick was stillborn and passed him of as her adopted son; she wanted Carly to suffer. According to her years ago, Carly broke her precious Larry’s  heart when she left him and finding out I got her pregnant after she decided to go back to him was a betrayal; a betrayal that deserved to be punished.’
Melanie shuddered, biting her lower lip. ‘Carly’s everything good and decent. For anyone to deliberately cause her so much pain like that, that’s just sick and cruel. I’m glad that bastard’s dead, I hope he’s burning in hell right now for what he did to Mum, to the three of us.’
‘I’m sure he is right now.’ Bo said, Max nodding vigorously.
Max suddenly turned to Bo. ‘Does Carly know?’
‘She doesn’t. I wanted to make absolutely sure and tell you and Melanie first. Shawn Douglas knows though and probably telling Chelsea as we speak. Once we tell Carly, we’ll tell the family.’
‘Let’s go tell her now.’ Melanie pleaded, very anxious to hug Carly.
Bo gently broke the news to Carly and her reaction was disbelief then shock at the revelation their baby actually survived and who their daughter was. Melanie ran into her arms and the two women shared a heartfelt hug, crying.
‘Mum… Mum…’ Melanie kept saying in between sobs. ‘I’m so sorry for what you went through.’
‘The past’s the past,’ Carly whispered, drinking in the sight of the child she mourned for years and now held in her arms. ‘And now I have you right here with me; my daughter… my little girl. Our little girl, Bo…’ she stretched out her hand to him and Bo went to them, kissing her and then Melanie before enveloping them both in his arms in silent family communion for several minutes; more than grateful for the miracle given to them.
The Bradys and the Hortons’ reaction that Melanie was Bo and Carly’s daughter couldn’t be described. Nathan especially was shocked at the sudden revelation but more than delighted to have Carly and Bo as his parents in law.  After getting over the shock his best friend was actually his cousin, Brady joined the others in accepting her as one of their own. John couldn’t help pointing out the sheer coincidence; Shawn Douglas and Ciara were both Brady and Horton, Melanie ended up having their status by being a Brady married to a Horton. Shawn Douglas, Chelsea and Ciara too were happy to have another sibling in their midst; willingly adding Nicholas to their circle. Marcus was overjoyed at the news when Carly called him in New York to tell him.
Hope had no choice but to accept the situation but Victor found it very hard to; as Melanie almost married Phillip and he had blamed Carly for Melanie’s defection. Now it turned out to be a blessing in disguise that they never got married after all but Victor, who was never good at apologizing; kept his distance. It didn’t bother Melanie one bit; she never liked Victor. The fact he was her grandfather didn’t mean they had to be close.
On the night of the rehearsal dinner, the family; at Caroline’s request; had a Thanksgiving Mass in church.
Carly turned to smile at Bo as he joined her on the roof. ‘Tomorrow’s the big day. You should be in bed.’ he said, covering her shoulders with a plaid shawl.
‘I couldn’t sleep. I can’t stop thinking over how in a short time, our happiness got doubled. It still seems like a dream to me, Bo; our little girl alive and right here with us the whole time. For years I grieved over our baby, wondering if it was a boy or a girl and what might have been. And now… this miracle.’
Bo wrapped his arms round Carly from behind. ‘Fate’s really been kind to us this time.’
‘Before this came up, I worried sometimes Fate might pull another nasty surprise on us after we’ve been so happy. I know it’s crazy and wrong to be so negative but you understand, right?’
‘After what you went through? Of course I understand you being scared.’ Bo pressed his lips against the side of her neck. ‘But I really feel it’s going to be okay from now on, Carly. I believe it. And you should too.’
He turned round in his arms; the moon light illuminating her face as she looked up at him. ‘When we first met years ago, I was so unhappy and lost. I thought love brought so much pain and I was afraid of loving you. But you kept me from sliding further into that dark place; just by loving me. When you left, I never thought I would ever see you again. We shouldn’t question fate anymore, princess. The fact that fate brought Melanie to Salem and then you back into my life, during a very difficult time; proves that we’ll never lose each other again. We’ll never be apart again.’ Bo ran his fingers over her face. ‘Remember the night we made up after I found out the truth about Lisanne Gardner’s death? And we drove up that hill? I made you a promise.’
Carly was silent, her mind going back that night. She smiled. ‘You said, “Our love story’s never going to end.”’
‘It’s never going to end.’ Bo vowed. ‘I love you Carly, we’ll never be apart ever again.’
A passionate kiss followed, sealing his vow.
(Carly's dress)
Carly’s wedding dress was of a 1800s inspired style; short sleeves and made from lace, embroidered with sliver and floor length, molding her figure. With it, she wore the three strand pearl necklace and droplet earrings Alice Horton bequeathed to her. Her curled hair spotted a hand beaded flower wedding comb and on her wrist, a white gold bracelet.
Belle carefully applied makeup on Carly’s face; nodding her head in satisfaction when she was done. ‘You’re all set now.’ She said.
Carly looked at her reflection in the mirror, seeing a glowing, radiant bride looking back at her; more than ready to be joined in matrimony. ‘Thanks Belle.’ She said.
‘I’ll go see if the limo’s here.’ Belle left the room.
Melanie put her arms round Carly from behind. ‘You look so beautiful, Mum.’
Carly smiled, patting Melanie’s hand. ‘I’m marrying the man I’ve loved for so long and my daughter’s here to witness it. What could be more wonderful? I’m so blessed Mel. I have you; I have your father and the family… everything I thought I lost when I made such a terrible mistake.’
‘Now, now… none of that talk on your wedding day,’ Melanie said briskly, straightening up. ‘You were a victim, so was Dad. And today’s the start of your new life, new memories.’
‘You’re right.’
Belle came back into the room, followed by Frankie. ‘The limo’s downstairs. Let’s get you married.’
Carly got up from the chair and Melanie passed the wedding bouquet over to her. ‘You look beautiful, sis.’ Frankie said, carefully kissing her on the cheek so not to ruin her makeup.
‘Thank you.’ Carly touched his face. ‘Thank you so much for being there for me, you and Nicholas.’
Frankie’s smile was of deep affection. ‘What else could we do otherwise? You deserve all the happiness in the world and I’m glad I was able to do what I could. Come on now, Bo’s waiting for you.’
‘Yes, let’s go.’ Carly enthused, filled with joyful anticipation as the four of them left the loft.
The ceremony was to be held on the upper deck of The Blue Pearl. Chairs were arranged on either side of the carpeted aisle; and at the end, a flower bedecked arch. As soon as Carly arrived, the boat was to immediately put out to sea and the ceremony will begin.
Sami’s younger son, Johnny was the ring bearer and Ciara and Claire flower girls, the two looking lovely in their pink chiffon dresses, holding their baskets as they waited with Caroline and the others on the lower deck.  
‘Do I look okay?’ Bo asked anxiously, adjusting his silver grey tie for the umpteenth time. Roman sighed in exasperation and straightened it yet again.
‘If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times, you look great.  By the way, touch that damned tie one more time; I'll toss you into the ocean.’
Shawn Douglas and Nicholas, the groomsmen; laughed. ‘Chill out Papa, you’re going to be a nervous wreck before the ceremony starts.’
Bo paced, devastatingly handsome in his dark suit; a  small white gardenia boutonniere  in his lapel.  ‘I can’t help it, Shawn D; I’m so anxious to marry Carly.’
‘Yeah, we know.’ Roman rolled his eyes. ‘And in a few minutes, you’re going to so stop with the pacing and try and calm down.’
With effort, Bo did what he told. From the moment he realized he’d fallen in love with Carly again, he dreamt of this moment; when they’ll finally belong together and call her his wife. The few minutes Roman described felt like hours… where is she?
‘I understand how you feel though,’ Nicholas said as they stood waiting together, Shawn Douglas chatting with his uncle. ‘If it wasn’t for Vivian and Lawrence, you would’ve been married years ago. I’m really happy you and my mother have this day.’
Bo nodded, patting Nicholas on the shoulder. ‘Thanks, Nick. I really appreciate it.’
‘I also want to apologize again, for the way I behaved years ago… driving a wedge between you and Mum,’ Nicholas went on, ashamed. ‘Looking back, I despise myself for it; causing trouble between you and Mum like that. She so wanted to make up for the lost years and I took advantage of it. I was no better than my father.’
‘You’re nothing like your father.’ Bo corrected him. ‘You love your mother, you went out of your way to make things right and thanks to you and Frankie, we found out who our daughter is. Lawrence would only do a thing like that if he wanted something else in return. You turned out great and I thank you for what you did for us. You’re Carly’s son and from on, I regard you mine.’
Moved, Nicholas exchanged a hug with his soon to be stepfather; feeling the guilt of his past behavior fading away.
The boat suddenly began to move and people started climbing up the stairs to the upper deck to take their seats. Carly has arrived.
Flustered but eager, Bo took his place at the arch; waiting; Roman, Shawn Douglas and Nicholas with him.
After an agonizing five minutes,  Ciara and Claire appeared, walking down the aisle scattering petals from their baskets. Johnny came next, holding the large satin pillow bearing the white gold rings. Then came Melanie, closely followed by Belle; the two young women in matching cream dresses. And finally the bride and everyone rose to their feet.
The live orchestra, instead of the traditional wedding march; played (at Bo’s request) an instrumental version of a song they danced to on their date; “I’ll Be” by Ed Mcbain. The tune was soulful and beautiful and Bo felt the lyrics summed up what he felt about Carly.

The strands in your eyes that color them wonderful
Stop me and steal my breath.
And emeralds from mountains thrust towards the sky
Never revealing their depth.
Tell me that we belong together,
Dress it up with the trappings of love.
I'll be captivated,
I'll hang from your lips,
Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above.
And I'll be your crying shoulder,
I'll be love's suicide
I'll be better when I'm older,
I'll be the greatest fan of your life.

Carly looked like she’d stepped from the cover of a historical novel; she looked beautiful and angelic, her radiant eyes fixed only on him as she walked down the aisle on her brother’s arm. Bo smiled at her, loving her so much and grateful this day had finally arrived. Carly stared up at him, love and joy all over her face. Frankie handed her over to Bo; who immediately took her hand, squeezing it. Everyone sat down.  
The minister began, ‘Dearly beloved, we’re gathered here on this joyous occasion to witness these two people joined in holy matrimony. As we all know, marriage is a sacred institution that must not be taken lightly. Do you both have your vows?’
‘Yes, we do.’ Bo turned to face Carly. ‘Carly, there are many words I can describe  how much I love you and they still won’t be enough. Because my love for you can’t be expressed by just words. You are my everything and you complete me. I promise to always love, honor and protect you. I promise to be faithful, patient and understanding. Above all, I’ll always be by your side, through thick and thin. I love you, princess.’
The women wiped their eyes discreetly. The minister turned to Carly. ‘Carly.’
Carly hoped she would get through her vows without crying, deeply touched by Bo’s heartfelt words. ‘Like you, I don’t have enough words to express how much I love you and what you mean to me. You’re the love of my life, my protector and my best friend; oh… and you complete me too.’ Her voice shook. ‘When two people are in love like we are, they aren’t separate individuals; they are one person. I promise, above all else, to live in truth with you. I promise that I will always walk with you… hand in hand, through thick and thin.’ She sniffled, forcing the tears back. ‘I love you, sailor. So much.’
‘Now, Bo Aurelius Brady; do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?’
‘I do.’ Bo said, his eyes on Carly’s face.
‘And do you, Carly Manning; take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?’
‘I do.’
‘May we have the rings please?’
Johnny moved closer to the couple, holding the cushion up. Bo took the smaller of the rings. ‘Carly, with this ring; I take you as my wife.’ He said softly; feeling the proudest of men as he slid the ring onto her finger.
Carly took the other ring, aware her hand was trembling. ‘Bo, with this ring, I take you as my… my husband.’ Managing to hold her hand steady, she slid the ring onto his finger.
‘You both have made your declarations before God and by the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.’

Everyone rose to a round of thunderous applause as Bo and Carly exchanged their first kiss as Mr. and Mrs. Brady. 

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