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Wednesday, January 28, 2015



They fell asleep in each other’s arms, waking up just before dawn to make love again, this time slowly but not less thoroughly; their mouths and bodies locked in heated delight.
‘Good morning,’ Bo kissed her awake when the sun shone through the bedroom window. Carly’s eyes fluttered open and she gave him a drowsy smile as she slipped her arms round his neck. ‘Good morning, sailor.’ She murmured, her lips brushing against his. For a few minutes, they kissed deeply; deliriously happy to be back together again.
‘I love you,’ Bo murmured, brushing back strands of hair from her forehead.
‘I love you too,’ Carly stroked his cheek. ‘I’ve never been happier than I am right now.’
‘Then how about making me even happier. I proposed to you before now I’m asking again. I want you to be my wife, Carly Manning. As soon as possible.’
Carly smiled wider, running her hand over that beloved face. ‘I guess we’re both too old for a lengthy courtship, huh?’
‘I wouldn’t say we’re too old, not after what we did last night... and early this morning.’ Bo’s eyes glinted at the memory of their scorching passion. ‘And you haven’t given me a straight answer, princess. Will you marry me?’ he asked.
‘Of course I’ll marry you, Bo Brady. I can’t imagine wanting anything more.’ Her radiant smile suddenly faded and Bo cupped her chin when she lowered her eyes. ‘Hey, hey… where did that smile go? What’s wrong?’
‘Sailor...’ Carly rubbed his arm, looking up at him. ‘Are we really going to make it this time?’
‘You still don’t trust me?’ he asked, a hurt look on his face.
‘No…no, it’s not that.’ Carly assured him immediately. ‘It’s just… I guess I just need to feel reassured fate won’t play another cruel joke. Whenever I’m happy, my happiness suddenly gets taken away from me. I don’t want to go through that all over again.’
‘It’s never going to happen again, princess.’ Bo assured her. ‘We have each other, we have Starr and we’re finally going to be happy. I understand what you mean but enough of the negative thoughts okay? We agreed to leave the past in the past. Fate brought you back in my life but I had to learn a few lessons myself before reaching this moment with you. I should’ve known the day you left the station that I’ll never be free of you. And I’m finally where I’m meant to be; with the woman I never stopped loving.’ He touched her face. ‘You believe me, don’t you?’
Carly was so overwhelmed by his words that she could only nod. Lowering his head, he kissed her passionately. Her arms moved up to encircle his neck and they began making love all over again, their bodies moving restlessly against each other’s, hands touching and caressing as they expressed their love.
After leaving the loft, Melanie picked up Starr from Caroline’s as Carly asked her to. Caroline was adoringly reluctant to let Starr go and very pleased to hear that Bo and Carly have finally made up.
Well,’ she grinned on seeing Carly in the kitchen making coffee, ‘someone had a wonderful night. ’
Blushing and smiling, Carly gave Melanie a reproving look before lifting Starr from her carrycot. ‘Hey sweetheart… did you have a great time at grandma’s?’
 Melanie sat down on one of the wooden stools at the counter. ‘Nick bought drinks all round after you guys left, you left a crowd of people very happy for you.’
‘I’m very happy myself,’ Carly admitted as she sat down at the kitchen table, Starr gurgling in her arms.
‘So, where’s “Romeo”?’
‘He went home to change, but he’ll be back later. We’re spending the day together, dinner afterwards. Which means…’
‘I know, I’ll make myself scarce; don’t worry about it.’ Melanie grinned. ‘So, aside from what obviously went on last night, what else happened?’
‘Well, before he left, Bo asked me to marry him.’
‘Sweet!’ Melanie clapped her hands, rising to kiss Carly on the cheek, hugging her. ‘Congratulations… have you fixed a date?’
‘No, not really. But it probably will be soon; there’s the marriage licence to get for starters. I guess Bo will want us to have a quick simple wedding at City Hall. Maybe E.J can officiate if Bo doesn’t mind.’
Melanie frowned. ‘But Mum, you and Bo deserve more than a “quick do” at City Hall. All that time apart, you deserve a real memorable wedding.’
Carly looked thoughtful. ‘I guess. But still, we don’t want to make a huge fuss…’
‘Oh come on, Mum!’ Melanie objected. ‘If you had to choose, what sort of wedding would you like to have?’
Carly thought for a few seconds. ‘I would like to have a real traditional Mayan ceremony at Chichén Itza; in Mexico.’ She smiled nostalgically. ‘It’s kind of a long story but Bo and I had a Mayan wedding ceremony at the very top of that pyramid, El Castillo. I was still legally married to Victor at the time unfortunately but Bo said we could still make vows and pledge our love to each other. It was the most beautiful moment of my life. Since it was symbolic, it wasn't valid. But it was really beautiful.’ She sighed. ‘But even if Bo would go for it, we can’t. No one’s allowed up there anymore, the stairs got too steep for tourists to climb. But I would really love to be married there again, with friends and family to witness us take our vows.’
Melanie of course couldn’t tell Carly about her journey with Isabella; her favourite part in Carly and Bo’s past being that Mayan wedding. Maybe it was symbolic but she’d never seen a greater love being expressed by any couple. And how Carly looked enchanting in that traditional Mayan huipil and the simple flowers in her hair.
She deserves to have that wedding, she thought determinedly. I’m going to make sure of it, with a little help and a serious talk with Bo.
Starr tucked in her crib for the night; Carly went downstairs to the living room where Bo had dinner set out on a picnic blanket covering Carly’s carpet; Chinese food, peach cobbler from Caroline and a bottle of wine. What they’d always preferred, having dinner in front of the fire at home rather getting dressed and going to a fancy restaurant, although they also did that back in the day and a few times after her return.
‘This cobbler’s delicious, I have to ask Caroline to show me how to make one of these,’ Carly said, stabbing the piece on her plate with a fork and taking another bite.
‘You’re sure you’re up to that?’ Bo teased. During their days on the boat and when she lived with him at his house, Carly did her best but was still a disaster in the kitchen, no fault of hers- given her privileged background of servants and old money.
Carly raised her chin. ‘You wait and see; I’ll be like Julia Child yet and really surprise you with my new found culinary skills.’
Bo chuckled, putting his plate aside. ‘Come over here, Julia,’ he said, hand outstretched. Curious, Carly put down her plate and took his hand. He drew her closer to him. ‘I’ve got something for you,’ he removed a pink velvet box from his pocket and gave it to her. Trembling with happy anticipation, she opened it. ‘Oh my…’ she whispered at the sight of the exquisite antique ring. A round one carat
Carly's ring (
diamond with three smaller ones on either side and set in platinum.
‘It belonged to my Nana,’ Bo explained. ‘I wanted to buy you a ring but Mum insisted she wanted you to have this one.’
‘But Bo, this is an heirloom, I can’t possibly accept it.’
‘She wants you to have it, princess and to be honest, so do I. It not only expresses my love for you but by accepting and wearing this ring,’ he stroked her hair, ‘you’re returning to the family and taking your rightful place.’ Which was what Caroline wanted Carly to realise.
Carly was deeply touched. ‘That’s so sweet. I love it,’ she sniffled, kissing him on the mouth. ‘And I love you.’
‘I love you too, princess.’ he replied, kissing her back. Pulling the ring out of the box, he took her hand and slipped it on her finger.
It was a perfect fit, which to Carly was a very good omen.  And when Melanie saw it the next morning, she proclaimed it, “the most fabulous ring in the world.”
‘Oh there’s nothing to thank me for, dear.’ Caroline hugged Carly after Carly expressed her gratitude. ‘You more than deserve this ring. I know that you and Bo are going to be very happy from now on. Just like we’re all happy to have you back among us.’
‘I’m very happy too,’ Carly replied. ‘But Caroline, I don’t know if Bo ever told you… what went on at the boat that last day…’
‘He finally told me, when I gave him the ring to give to you. I realised what I should have known long ago, you were a victim of circumstances. What Lawrence and Vivian did to you both was unforgivable; at least we’ll never be bothered by them. I’d just like to see Vivian dare set foot in this town again. Don’t think of that time, Carly; it’s all behind you. You have your future ahead of you now.’ She soothed, hugging Carly again. ‘Now, when is the wedding and what sort do you hope to have?’
Carly mentioned the possibility of a civil wedding at City Hall and Caroline voiced her disapproval of it. ‘What’s wrong having it in church? Technically Bo’s not a divorced man; you both will be allowed to have a proper church ceremony.’
Carly hid a smile, wondering what her future mother-in-law would say if she knew the type of wedding she really wanted. So far, Bo didn’t know about it and she didn’t want to tell him so he would go through a lot of trouble making her dream a reality. The civil wedding was good enough for them, they could have a small reception at the house and their honeymoon destination was of course Cancun; they’d mutually agreed on that one at least. She couldn’t wait to see it again, the place where she and Bo really lived their love.
‘Hatching another plan, ladies?’ Nicholas joked, finding his girlfriend and sister chatting animatedly in the living room. The Alamain mansion looked a lot better than it was during Lawrence’s time after its face lift; no longer gloomy and austere instead now more homey and pleasant.
‘In a matter of speaking.  You’re just the man we’ve been waiting for.’ Melanie said.
Abby waved him over. ‘You need to be a part of this, honey. Come sit.’
Curious, yet amused, Nicholas moved to sit next to Abby. ‘I’m all ears.’
Days later, after Bo moved his things in and Melanie moved to the loft, the girls and Nicholas showed up, a large white cardboard box in his hands.
‘An early wedding present for you, Mum, from me.’ Melanie said, taking it from her brother and handed it to Carly.
Carly looked at them suspiciously, they looked as though ready to burst. ‘What’s going on?’ she asked.
‘You’ll see in time, just open it Carly, please!’ Abby begged, clapping her hands excitedly.
‘Go on, Mum.’ Nicholas urged.
‘Okay…’ Settling down on the couch, Carly tore off the cellophane and opened the box. Something was wrapped in tissue and she brought it, unfolding it. ‘No…. way…’ she gasped. It was a Mayan wedding huipil, beautifully embroidered and made of cotton and  lace. ‘ Mel, where did you get this?’
‘It’s amazing the things you can buy online,’ Nicholas grinned. ‘Melanie found it on eBay.’
‘It’s beautiful!’ Carly held it against her chest, it was floor length and some people might regard it as bohemian but she loved it very much. ‘This is really exquisite, thank you!’
‘There’s more.’ Abby beamed. ‘Honey?’ she said turning to Nicholas.
‘Melanie told us about your dream of getting married at Chichén Itza and wondered if there was something that could be arranged.’ Nicholas explained.
‘Oh you really don’t have to do anything!’ Carly protested.
‘No, no… it’s already been done; hear us out.’ Nicholas continued. ‘I made some calls and you and Bo will be able to have your wedding- an authentic and binding traditional Mayan wedding- at the foot of El Castillo. Plus, a two week stay at the honeymoon suite at the Hotel El Corazon in Cancun. And one more thing, it’s my wedding gift to you both so it’s all on me.’
‘I can’t believe this!’ Carly could barely let out her words of astonishment and delight. ‘Is this for real?’
‘It is!’ Melanie put her arms round Carly’s shoulders. ‘You deserve to have the wedding of your dreams.’
‘Oh my,’ Carly was still trying to digest this wonderful surprise. ‘But what about Bo? I have to discuss this with him first.’
‘Discuss what?’ Bo asked from the foyer as he closed the door behind him. Hastily, Melanie snatched the dress from Carly.
Bo entered the living room, smiling on seeing Melanie and Abby hastily hiding the dress from view. ‘I take it that’s your wedding dress, princess?’
Carly raised an eyebrow in askance. ‘You knew about this?’
‘Are you kidding? These two spent half an hour gabbing…’ Melanie and Abby bristled indignantly while Nicholas chuckled, ‘and stating their case over why you should have your dream wedding, not realising it I already agreed with them within five minutes.’
‘Oh, you…!’ Melanie flew at him in mock anger and he dodged, laughing.
‘So, you approve?’ Carly asked.
‘What’s not to approve?’ Bo put his arms round her. ‘We pledged our love there years ago, why shouldn’t we go back to the very place that meant so much to us? Getting married to you there will be great,’ he stroked her hair,’ more than great and I’m aching to see Chichén Itza again.’ Carly grinned happily; pleased to see they were on the same wavelength.
‘It’s beyond generous, Nicky,’ Bo shook his soon to be step-son’s hand after Nicholas explained he was paying for their wedding and honeymoon. ‘But you really shouldn’t have.’
‘It’s not only for Mum, it’s for you Bo. You two should’ve been married years ago, it was more than obvious you belonged with each other but I was a stupid, arrogant little boy who didn’t know better and my father and aunt’s influence didn’t help.’ A flash of bitterness spread across Nicholas’ face. ‘And I failed Mum in so many ways, refusing to admit she was better off with you and my father was a bastard to have won her through his selfish manipulations.  Please do me the honour of accepting my gift, Bo. It’s my way of making up for being such brat years ago and also…’ he hesitated, ‘I was hoping if, well Melanie and I hoped…’ He turned to his half- sister who suddenly looked shy as they both moved closer to Bo and Carly, their eyes on Bo’s face.
 ‘Bo, if I had you as a father figure, you would’ve been a stronger and better influence to me than Lawrence Alamain, because you’ve always been a loving and caring man. ’ Nicholas went on. ‘I’m lucky to have the love of a good woman and I would count myself lucky if I had you for a father, like Shawn D is.’
‘Bo, I love you as much as I love Daniel and not just for Mum’s sake. I love you because you’re you; you’re protective of the people you love, you made your mistakes but overall, you’re selfless. And if it wasn’t for fate’s cruelty, I would be a Brady today. So as far as I’m concerned I’ve got two Dads, if you can regard me as your daughter from now on.’ Melanie said, her voice breaking with emotion.
Nicholas’ face wore a solemn expression but his green eyes were emotional. ‘And I would be beyond honoured if you can regard me as your son,’ he said.
Without a word, Bo let go of Carly and drew Melanie into his arms, hugging the sobbing girl. Walking up to him, Nicholas received a hug as well, which he returned without hesitation. Hand pressed against her chest, Abby watched the touching scene before her with tears filling her eyes, resting her head against Carly’s shoulder when she put her arm round her.
‘Carly Marie Manning, where the hell are you?’ Bo demanded out loud. A week to their wedding date, they arrived at Chichén Itza and went straight to the home of their old friends, Professor Hank Moore and his wife Soledad, who couldn’t believe their eyes on seeing them at their doorstep, delighted and thrilled to see them again and very pleased to meet Melanie, Nicholas, Brady and Abby. They’d talked the night away and Bo had woken up the next morning to find Carly gone. Expecting to find her at the Moore house, with Soledad, he was surprised to find she wasn’t there. Cruz, Hank and Soledad’s only son, suggested she was probably strolled off to the Mayan court.
Ah… the Mayan court… where he first proposed to her so long ago. Nostalgia gave way to worry when he got there and there was still no sign of her.
Carly!’ he called again, really exasperated now. ‘So help me when I find you, I’m going to…’
‘What… spank me?’ Carly called from several yards afar, grinning unrepentantly at him.
Bo glowered at her. ‘I suppose you think it’s funny making me come looking for you. You have any idea how worried I was?’
Carly chuckled, which infuriated him more.
Bo suddenly realised her ploy and he began to laugh. ‘I get it… a little trip down memory lane, right?’
‘So glad you caught on quick, I was wondering how long you were going to stay mad at me.’
‘Like I can stay mad at you, princess.’ He held out a hand to her and she ran across the court, hair swinging and face alight; almost knocking him over when she flung herself at him.
‘Hey… hey… easy, I’m an old man!’ he joked, holding her tightly, lowering his head to kiss her, a kiss that expressed his deep love for her without words, feeling his princess press against as she fervently kissed him back.
‘It feels just like yesterday, doesn’t it?’ Carly asked as he pushed back hair strands from her flushed face.
‘It sure does,’ keeping his arm round her shoulders, Bo looked around the magnificent ancient site, a few tourists about. ‘I never imagined I’d ever see El Castillo again,’ he added, his glance stopping at the looming old pyramid.
Carly realised Bo never returned to Chichén Itza after they went their separate ways years ago, not that she didn’t understand. It would’ve been sacrilege if she’d come back here with Lawrence. ‘Nor me.’ She agreed.
Bo pressed his cheek against hers. ‘Maybe our wedding here years ago was just symbolic but according to the professor, a man and a woman become spiritual partners and become a part of the cosmos; the bond never breaking until one of the two dies. That’s why we found each other after so many years, when we least expected.’
‘I never begrudged your life after me.’ Carly turned to him. ‘I’d long accepted my fate so when I came back to Salem, I kept reminding myself I was there to find my little girl and pick up the pieces of my life.’
Bo touched her face. ‘I would’ve gotten you away from him if you’d called me, you know that.’
‘I know but I couldn’t let you risk your life. Lawrence hoped you would come for me; I think he tortured me the more so I would break and get in touch with you somehow. I couldn’t let that happen… not to you.’
Bo hugged her tightly, pressing a kiss on top of her head. ‘We promised not to talk about the past, remember? We’re getting married in a week and there’s a few things left to do. First off, in the spirit of re-enactment…’ taking her hand, he took off her engagement ring. Then he knelt in front of her, her hand clasped in his.
‘Carly Manning,’ he said smiling up at her. ‘We’re older and I hope to God wiser…’
Carly chuckled.
‘On a very sad day years ago, we went our separate ways. Then you came back into my life the same way you first came into it, a period when things weren’t going well for me. I fell in love with you all over again but then forced you to make a very painful decision afterwards. But fate was kinder to us this time. We found each other again and we’re much more aware of where we belong, with each other. And we have a very special gift, a beautiful little girl born from our love. From now on princess, you’ve got all of me. I love you very much and you’ll be doing me a great honour if you’ll have me as your husband.’
‘I love you too,’ Carly smiled down at him. ‘I want to marry you, more than anything.’
Bo kissed her hand, sliding the ring back on; kissing her again on rising to his feet.
‘Now let’s head back and get some breakfast before Mel and the others go berserk and send a search party.’
Nicholas had rented a large villa nearby, to accommodate the several guests he was flying in from Salem on the Alamain jet and where the reception was going to take place. Melanie and Abby were already in love with Chichén Itza, wishing with all their might people were still allowed to climb up to the top of the pyramid. Brady sternly told Melanie there was no way he would let her go up there even if it was possible.
The wedding planner Nicholas hired, Maria Martinez, went over the plans with Bo and Carly. The food met their approval and aside from champagne, Xtabentún was also included. Temporary maids and a handyman waited on them at the villa and were also helping with the decorations.
Bo and Carly also spoke with the Shaman who was going to perform the ceremony; both in English and Mayan. Caroline had voiced her disapproval when she was told what sort of wedding it was going to be; only grudgingly mellowing after she was assured the ceremony was completely legal. And in accordance to Mayan tradition, the bride and groom where to undergo a ritualistic cleansing a few days before the wedding. ‘Separately,’ Carly emphasized, seeing the predatory glint in Bo’s eyes.
The family arrived from Cancun, Ciara running straight to Bo’s arms; giving Carly a warm hug too. As Melanie and Abby were her bridesmaids, Ciara was the ring bearer.
‘It’s so good to be back here!’ Marlena exclaimed.
‘Hasn’t changed, much.’ John added, nostalgia hitting him as it was here Isabella had told him she was pregnant with Brady.
Shane and Kimberly had come along too and Carly got an even more pleasant surprise. ‘Marcus!  Marcus, is that you?’ she exclaimed rushing into his outstretched arms.
‘You’re sure a sight for sore eyes, Manning.’ Her old colleague kissed her on both cheeks. ‘Hey hothead,’ he grinned, hugging Bo as well.
‘Where the hell did you spring from?’ Bo demanded, very pleased to see him too.
‘Thank a very determined young woman who tracked me down through her connections,’ he said with an amused look at Melanie. ‘She told me who she was and requested I do her a huge favour by attending your wedding.’
‘It’s not something we could afford to miss,’ Shane beamed.
‘No indeed, especially since a lot of us didn’t get to see the first one,’ Kimberly laughed.
Melanie delighted to see the happy look on Carly’s face on sighting her old friend, Marcus Hunter. Nicholas had helped locating him and after the introductions were made, liked him just as much as she liked him during her time travel with Isabella. Someday, she would tell Carly about it.
Shawn Douglas came with his wife Belle and Carly got to meet her and Shawn D’s little daughter, Claire; Carly causing Bo to chase her about after insistently calling him “Grandpa Bo.” Kayla, Daniel and Jennifer were among the guests who came, Molly, Tanner, Adrienne, Maxine (at Carly’s special invitation) and her obstetrician, Karen Long.
Maggie was also invited and although she warmly hugged Carly, telling her how happy she was for them, Carly noticed she looked rather pensive.
‘Aunt Maggie’s filed for a divorce.’ Jennifer explained after Carly asked her about it.
‘Oh no…’
‘“Oh no”, nothing. She’s better off without Victor and to be honest, she should never have married him. It’s no point hanging on to a marriage where the husband just can’t get rid of his flaws. Maggie just couldn’t ignore them anymore.’
Carly couldn’t pretend to be sorry about it, if there was a man who deserved Maggie Horton, Victor Kiriakis definitely wasn’t him.
‘By the way,’ Jennifer added, ‘I’ve got a gift for you.’
‘Oh… that’s so sweet.’ Carly took the wrapped box.
‘It’s not from me,’ Jennifer said. ‘It’s from Hope.’
Carly was startled. ‘Hope? Why would she send me a wedding gift?’
‘It’s her way of asking you for a truce. She told me to make sure you get it. Open it, let’s see what it is.’
Carly was touched by Hope’s gift, vintage handkerchiefs with delicate handmade lace. Guilt was a strong thing but Hope obviously wanted to make peace and this was a thoughtful gesture from her. Carly wasn’t sure if they’ll ever be close friends but at least they won’t be any animosity between them from now on.
It was a perfect day for a wedding. The sky was blue and the weather was reasonably cool which was lucky as Chichén Itza was known for its hot weather. The banquet was ready and more than enough to feed the guests, the three tired cake taking centre stage on a flower bedecked table.
Soledad Moore skilfully wove colourful flowers in Carly’s hair while Melanie made up her face.
‘You look beautiful, Carly. That dress really becomes you.’
‘Thank you, Soledad.’ Carly smiled at her, running a hand over her wedding dress.
Carly's dress (
Melanie and Abby were also in white native costumes, lilies in their hair and no jewellery except dangling earrings. Carly however was wearing a jade and gold necklace and matching earrings- Bo’s wedding gift to her and on her right wrist, a pearl bracelet, a gift from Abby. Aside from the wedding party, all the guests were required to wear white, according to tradition.
‘Excuse me,’ Soledad quietly withdrew.
Carly got up to pace, her hands shaking with anticipation. ‘I’m so nervous, after all this time; it still feels like a dream.’
‘It’s perfectly natural Carly, after everything you’ve been through but you’re about to embrace your future, your happy ending.’ Abby soothed.
Carly halted. ‘Yes that’s true. I’m so glad you’re both here to celebrate it with me.’ She took Abby’s hand and then Melanie’s. ‘I love you both. You did a lot for me and I can never thank you enough. Abby, I’m especially grateful to you. Melanie told me it was your idea to send for Bo in the first place. I’ll never forget that. And I hope in time, we’ll get to celebrate your wedding with Nicholas.’
‘Thank you.’ Abby beamed.
‘Group hug?’ Melanie proposed.
‘Oh absolutely.’ Carly enveloped the girls in her arms.
‘Carly?’ Frankie knocked on the door and poked his head in. ‘You set?’
‘Yes Frankie,’ Carly picked up her bouquet of tuberoses. ‘Oh where’s Ciara?’
Ciara ran in as she spoke, also in white, a white ribbon decorating her hair. ‘You look great!’ she gasped, eyes widening.
‘Thank you sweetie,’ Carly leaned down a bit to kiss her.
‘Here’s the rings and for heaven sake, don’t drop them for any reason.’ Melanie warned.
Ciara pouted, her hands holding the folded lace cloth where the platinum wedding bands were. ‘I won’t, I’m not a baby.’ She said indignantly.
‘Okay guys, while we’re young.’ Frankie said briskly. As the bridesmaids and Ciara walked out of the room, Frankie took his sister’s arm. ‘Ready?’ he asked, knowing the answer.
‘More than ready.’
At the altar, at the foot of the majestic El Castillo, surrounded by friends and family, Bo Brady and Carly Manning at last took their marital vows. The Mayan priests blew on the sacred conch shells and even Caroline couldn’t help being fascinated by the solemn ceremony. For Rafe, who was of Spanish descent, it was a spectacular sight to behold.
‘Bo, is it your complete will to be here today, to join your life to Carly’s; your thoughts and heart complete?’
Bo's outfit ( 
Bo, handsome and dashing in his white shirt and pants looked at his beautiful bride, love for her running deep. ‘Yes.’
‘Carly, is it your complete will to be here today, to join your life to Bo’s, your thoughts and heart complete?’  
 The Shaman touched their foreheads. ‘You are the husband, you are the wife. Only death can bring you apart.’ After the exchange of rings, the Shaman joined their hands together, placed a rosary over them, securing it. ‘This is a sign of your commitment before the Great Lord.’
The priests recited some words in Spanish as the Shaman held up a small wooden receptacle. ‘This is the sacred drink, brother and sister; which I give to you in order to seal the signal they receive from your power. May it instill in your lives eternal bliss.’ He passed it to Bo who took a sip of Xtabentun liqueur  before passing it to Carly.
‘The power of God be with you.’ Lightly sprinkling them with a bunch of wet leaves he continued, ‘May your future be a happy one and May the power of the Great Lord be with you always.’
As the conch shells were blown, Bo slipped his arms round his wife, kissing her deeply, amidst a round of applause and loud cheers. Some tourists, happening on the scene and allowed to stay, took photos with their phones and Ipads. After Bo and Carly signed the marriage register, their children enveloping them in warm, heartfelt hugs.  
At the reception, Roman; Bo’s best man led the toast, wishing them a lifetime of happiness. After Bo and Carly had their first dance as Mr and Mrs Brady, Shawn Douglas danced with his stepmother, while Bo was grabbed by Melanie. While the cake was  being cut by the couple John, Roman and Marlena in unison instructed Bo to behave himself and not do what he did last time. With a gleam of mischief in his eyes, Bo held the piece of cake in his hand, looking as though he would squash it on Carly’s carefully made up face. A stern warning look from her prevented him from doing so, so instead he fed it to her, planting a kiss on her mouth to a round of cheers.
Frankie hugged  Bo tightly afterwards. ‘Congratulations bro.’ he said. He was now back in the fold, having forgiven Bo, Jennifer and the family at last.
‘Thanks, Frank. I’m going to make her and Starr very happy, I promise.’
‘I know you’ll keep it,’ Frankie nodded, smiling.
‘Shawn D, can we renew our vows with a ceremony like this?’ Belle asked hopefully, causing Shawn Douglas to laugh indulgently.  
‘To be honest, I would love a wedding like this,’ Melanie said as she danced with Brady.
Brady gave her a playful look. ‘Are you proposing to me?’
Melanie’s arms tightened round his neck. ‘Maybe.’
‘Uh no… I’m the guy, I get to do that.’
‘No pressure or anything but when will that be?’ Melanie retorted.
Brady only smiled and pulled her closer.
Nicholas already had Abby’s ring in his suitcase in their room and planned on proposing to her that very night.
Kayla watched her brother and sister-in-law dancing, turning when Frankie tapped her shoulder and claimed a dance with her. Ciara sat with her grandmother who had Starr in her arms. Roman and John chatted with Hank Moore while Marlena and Soledad strolled about the villa’s courtyard, deep in conversation. Everyone agreed on the same thing, it was a wedding to remember.
Especially the bride and groom. While the festivities were still going on, Bo and Carly slipped away with their bags to the already booked boat which took them to Cancun, where they spent a blissful two weeks. The beginning of their new chapter.

Dear Diary,
We’re all set for tomorrow’s celebration. Starr’s cake is ready and everyone’s promised to come. She’s going to look so sweet in her dress and the diamante tiara Bo got for her. It’s hard to believe she’s already a year old, babies really grow up so fast.
I’m watching Bo right now playing with her and Ciara. The loving look on his face makes me feel so warm inside and I find myself loving him more. Now I know, really know the joy of having a husband who loves you and goes out of his way to show it. And Bo’s been doing that, every day since our wedding. Every morning when I wake up in his arms, I say to myself , ‘I’m so blessed.’

                         THE END. 

Monday, January 26, 2015


A month after and completely recovered from her illness, Carly was sitting in a wicker chair on the patio, Starr in her arms. The baby’s tiny pink lips sucked on her bottle and for the umpteenth time Carly marvelled over her precious daughter, more than grateful they both made it through their ordeal. She had no recollection of what happened the fateful day Melanie found her unconscious in bed and when she saw her stomach was flat her first reaction had been panic until Bo soothed her, assuring her their baby was alive and well.
‘Twinkle, twinkle little Starr; no baby’s more beautiful than you are,’ Carly said softly. During her pregnancy she’d worried about the baby’s health and though prepared well for either sex, had felt deep in her heart it was going to be a girl. And what a beautiful little girl she had, this time no one was going to snatch her away.
Carly was aware of the changes that went on during her coma. While she and Melanie had long made peace and forged a good relationship she couldn’t help noticing how her older daughter seemed to have evolved to a mature and more patient young woman; even more solicitous and devoted to her. Carly didn’t know how it came about, except maybe the fear of losing her but welcomed it and warmly gave her blessing to her and Brady when they asked for it; honouring the same request from Nicholas and Abby. Not only was she thrilled John and Isabella’s son was dating her daughter, she saw that Brady was far more dependable than Phillip and a great influence, he and Melanie were a perfect foil to each other.  Nicholas and Abby… they made a great couple.  Abby influenced Nicholas with her gentle strength and firmness when needed and he obviously loved and welcomed both from her. Right now, the Alamain mansion was under thorough renovation as he was going to remain in Salem, running the Alamain conglomerate from there. Abby understood there would be times he would have to make business trips but there would be trips to Europe with him as well. Frankie went back to D.C a few days after she was discharged from the hospital but they communicated often; Molly likewise. She missed them both, just like she missed Shawn Douglas whom she was ecstatic to see again after so many years, deeply touched by his firm  avowal that he never stopping loving her. He too left Salem but promised to come back with Belle and Claire to visit her.
Melanie was in the kitchen, fixing lunch. Brady had asked her to move into the loft with him but she was reluctant to leave Carly and Starr just yet; promising him she will give him an answer soon. Since Carly’s recovery, she waited on her hand and foot, ignoring Carly’s protests that she wasn’t an invalid and she, Melanie, was doing too much. As far as Melanie was concerned, it was the least she could do. The doorbell rang and she went to answer it. ‘Hi Caroline,’ she greeted, making way for the older woman to pass.
‘Hello dear. I brought this parcel for Starr, some baby things I knitted for her.’ Caroline gave it to her. ‘And I came by to see Carly too, is she upstairs in her room?’
‘No, she’s at the patio with the baby.’ Melanie told her where to go.
 For a few minutes Caroline Brady stood there watching Carly and Starr; wondering how she could get through to her. Since coming out of the coma Carly’s behaviour towards both families has been rather lukewarm. She wasn’t cold nor hostile towards them, instead rather guarded; as though she was afraid of getting rejected again if she got too close. It was worse with Bo. She was grateful he came back for her- told him as much- but showed no interest or willingness  to discuss anything that had to do with them. Her son’s frustration more than she could bear, Caroline decided to take matters into her hands. She walked forward and Carly raised her head in surprise, getting up from the cushioned wicker chair. ‘Caroline.’
‘No, no… don’t get up dear.’ Caroline kissed Carly on the cheek, smiling down at Starr who eyes were already getting heavy with sleep. ‘Hello darling.’
She looked up to see Carly was watching her warily and inwardly sighed. ‘Melanie let me in. I came over because I want to talk to you.’
Carly indicated a similar wicker opposite hers and Caroline sank into it. ‘What about?’
‘About the present situation. Carly…’ Caroline hesitated, hoping she’ll be able to do this properly. ‘It’s only natural for any person to feel some resentment and difficulty to be around the people who wronged them so much. I was especially unkind to you, you could barely look me in the eye at the hospital whenever I came to visit. I don’t blame you, dear; what happened should never had happened at all. We mishandled things, all of us.’
‘Caroline, we’ve been through this already.’ Carly replied quietly.  ‘Everyone’s been giving me apologises and I accepted them, I just want to forget everything that happened.’ Kayla was especially remorseful, begging her to return to the hospital, more than willing to step aside as Chief of Staff.
‘You want to forget yet you’re shutting us out, including Bo.’
At the mention of Bo, Carly’s face clouded. ‘I don’t know what you mean by that,’ she said stiffly. ‘We’ve been seeing each other, he’s been coming by to visit us both. And if it’s the matter of forgiveness, there’s nothing to forgive.’ 
‘You’re actually saying there’s nothing to forgive, yet you won’t let him talk things out?’ Caroline asked.
‘I don’t know how I can make you understand,’ Carly’s eyes were now hard, tears pricking the corners. ‘I want to forget. What’s done is done; I don’t ever want to talk about it.’
‘You can’t heal if you don’t. Carly, I know where you’re coming from, I do understand. I know you’ve been hurt and I’m so sorry, we all are. So is my son. He wants to make amends, not cause more pain. Can’t you at least give him the chance to talk?’
‘What is the point of talking about it? Things can never be the same between us.’
‘If it’s closure you want instead,’ Caroline replied, although her heart sank, ‘then talk things out with Bo all the same. And please… don’t keep shutting us out. A lot happened while you were in a  coma, Carly. We realised what we did and we want you to be a part of the family again.’
Did you get Hope’s permission first? Carly couldn’t help thinking with cynical bitterness, which was unlike her. If it was hard being round the family, being with Bo was an ordeal. If he had reconciliation in mind, it was because Hope was with another man now and she’ll be damned before she was to be used as a fall-back again. The last time still stirred very unhappy memories. But Caroline was right. Their relationship had an unnatural ending, she definitely needed the closure. Hence her gruff reply, ‘I'll talk to him.’
Caroline prayed the long needed talk would prove fruitful for both of them.
Somehow or other Stefano DiMera had gotten word the ISA were closing in on him as he fled Salem without warning. But the ISA will catch up with him eventually and lock him away forever. His empire was finally on the rocks and Salem was at last free of him. Roman and Abe wanted him to return to the force but Bo was actually considering opening and running a private detective agency again. Being on the mission had brought back his P.I days with Isabella to mind and he wondered if he could be one again after so many years as a police detective; choosing his cases and applying his own methods of operation. It appealed to him far more than returning to Salem P.D and if he could get financial backing and hire at least two more detectives, he’ll be in business.
Bo thought more about it as he did some yard work and then thought about Carly. Whenever he tried bringing up a discussion about them, her face would cloud over and then she put up walls, shutting him out completely. It frustrated and upset him very much. He’d spent months missing her badly and planning how he would make it up to her but he needed to explain a lot of things to her too. And how will he be able to do that when she wouldn’t let him in? Angrily, he went into the house to wash his hands. Of course he wasn’t going to give up on her, no chance. This was a fight for love, a fight he was going to win, however long it took.
The doorbell rang just as he was getting a beer from the fridge and he went to answer, a smile of pleasure spreading across his face when he saw who it was. ‘Hi.’
Carly smiled back, albeit faintly. ‘Hi, Bo.’
Taking her arm, he led her into the house. When he offered to take her jacket, Carly handed it to him in silence. Her illness caused her to lose her voluptuous  figure leaving her thin but thanks to being able to eat properly again, her figure was now  more  attractively svelte. With her recently highlighted hair, she looked ten years younger.
‘I’m glad to see you,’ Bo said, moving near her. ‘What would you like, coffee?’
Carly shook her head resolutely. ‘I came over to talk, I think it’s time we cleared the air and resolve things.’
‘Oh,’ Bo was surprised she’s finally agreed to it. ‘Come sit then.’
Carly moved to the couch, discomfited when he sat next to her; a little too close. ‘So…’ she cleared her throat. ‘Where do you want to begin?’
‘For starters,’ Bo replied, ‘I understand why you didn’t tell me you were pregnant before I left town. But were you planning on leaving Salem again?’
Carly nodded and Bo sighed, looking down at his hands. ‘ It wasn’t just because we broke up; it was what happened afterwards, wasn’t it?’
‘What other reason is there, Bo? I might as well have been invisible with the way you went on as if nothing happened. Why on earth would I believe our baby would have a place in your life?’ Carly replied, doing her best to keep the old hurt and resentment she was feeling from her voice. ‘Yes, I wanted to leave. I wanted to give my baby and myself some relative peace and not allow her be branded “Bo Brady’s bastard”, born to “his whore.”’
‘For god sake, don’t call yourself that!’
‘Isn’t that what everyone saw me as? Whore. Home-wrecker. Trash.’ Carly went on bitterly. ‘I wasn’t going to subject my baby to any of that. The only reason why I didn’t go right away was because Melanie needed me. But if you really want to know the truth, I won’t be sitting here if I hadn’t gotten sick, I would’ve left after Starr’s birth. If you’d only been man enough to just admit you really wanted Hope back the whole time; I wouldn’t have felt so used, so angry, so betrayed… by you.’
She got up, unable to bear his proximity a second longer. Arms folded, she averted her face. He wanted to thrash things out so bad, well… she’s given him an opener.
Bo got up too, filled with pain at her words. ‘Princess,’ he replied quietly, moving closer to her, ‘Hope and I reconnecting was unexpected, it wasn’t what I wanted the whole time like you thought. It just happened. She’s my first love and we had so many years together. But it tore my heart out the day you walked out that door.’ He had wept, feeling so sad and sorry he’d forced her to break off their relationship, knowing despite her brave words she was really hurting inside.
He went on, ‘I asked you for a fresh start because it was what I really wanted with you. Falling back in love with you was inevitable, even though I kept telling myself a lot had changed since we last saw each other. We were so happy, you and I and Shawn D; how could I help it? But helping Hope brought back our own memories and even though I knew I loved you; I couldn’t deny my past with Hope. You said it yourself after you saw things had changed; that it was the right thing to do- Hope and I getting back together. Even though, I really wanted to take you home with me that day.’ ‘You told Hope I was a mistake.’
Carly turned round, arms still folded. ‘I overheard you at the docks. I saw you kissing her and pledging your love to her… the same spot you told me you loved me. Do you have any idea what it did to me, seeing that and hearing what you said about me? About what we had?’ her voice shook.
You weren’t the mistake, Carly. Promising you a future before really sorting things out with Hope was the mistake. All we did was fight instead of thrashing things out and reaching an agreement. Not you, never you. I came by the hospital that day because I had to see you; you wouldn’t return my calls, I couldn’t stop thinking about you  and I knew you well enough to know you were hurting even though you tried so hard to hide it.’
‘Yeah, you know me, stoical Carly.’ Carly whispered. ‘Just as you know some things get too hard to hide. What I heard that day almost killed me; I wanted to die.’
Bo stared at her, sheer grief and remorse on his face. ‘I’m so sorry you heard all that. And I want you to know right now, after I saw you I knew… I knew I still loved you... very much. That’s why...’
‘You began avoiding me and pretending what happened didn’t happen at all.’ Carly guessed correctly. ‘From then on, I didn’t exist.’
‘I felt it was the best thing to do. If I never saw you, I wouldn’t think of you and focus on Hope and Ciara.’ Bo admitted. ‘Part of me hoped you would move on... perhaps with Daniel but I just couldn’t stand the idea of you two getting together either. And... In the end, it was you I kept thinking about, all the time; wanting to hold you and protect you, love you.  But I couldn’t be around you.’
‘So... part of the reason you left was because of me.’
‘Mum needed medical attention and Stefano needed to be taken down finally. I also needed to think. I didn’t want you to be blamed for anything again; Carly. You have no idea how I felt when I got Mel’s message; the first thing on my mind was getting back to you and beg your forgiveness.’ Bo moved nearer, taking her hands in his; looking deep into her eyes. ‘I want you to forgive me. I want you to give me another chance. Let me spend the rest of my life making it up to you.’
Carly’s eyes filled with tears as she stared back, her mouth trembling. ‘I don’t have anything left to give.’ she said at last. ‘I… I don’t feel the same way you do.’
‘Carly, we love each other…’
‘Love isn’t always enough, Bo.’ Slowly, Carly drew her hands away from his grip. ‘I don’t have the courage to start things again. We share a daughter now; the last thing I want is for Starr to get caught in the middle of more drama. And to be honest, I can’t expose myself to more pain by being with you and keep wondering who you’re really thinking of.’
 ‘Why would you say that?’ Bo demanded.
‘Because Hope will always come first. You may keep denying it but that’s a fact; face it.’
‘She’s moved on with someone else, I thought you knew that.’
‘If she hadn’t, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.’
‘That’s not true!’  
‘Please Bo, let’s not do this. It seems you’ve always operated on the assumption that it’s okay to be with another woman if Hope makes it clear she doesn’t want you. I will not be used that way again.’
‘Things are completely different now!’ Bo protested. ‘ I told you while I was away, I had more than enough time to think and I realised it was you… you, that I wanted to be with and that was before I even got Melanie’s email. Please princess, I’m telling the truth,’ he cupped her face. ‘I love you,’ he said softly. ‘I want to be with you always, I want to marry you.’
Carly’s heart clenched at the word “marry” and more tears rolled down her cheeks. ‘Don’t…’
‘Marry me,’ Bo pulled her closer. ‘Let me spend the rest of my life making it up to you. Say you will, Carly!’
‘I  can’t…’ Carly sobbed, trying to disentangle herself from his grip.
‘Why?’ he demanded, keeping hold of her. ‘You can’t forgive me, is that it?’
‘This isn’t about forgiveness! This is about fear of getting hurt again! All those months of agony, imagine it, Bo! Before I found out I was pregnant, I went through hell; watching you so happy with Hope and thinking of the promises and plans we made! Melanie, Nicky and Daniel not speaking to me, being shunned left and right. Only Adrienne really tried to comfort me but it wasn’t easy watching her happy with Justin and feeling so alone, the odd one out.’ She finally broke loose, tears still pouring down her cheeks. Upset, Bo tried to take hold of her again but she turned away, sniffling. She  never planned on telling him her most shameful secret but it was something he would confess to her if he was nursing such a secret himself. ‘There came a point when things got so… dark that I…’ she gulped, ‘I decided to kill myself.’
‘No…no!’ Bo grasped her arm, turning her round to face him. His brown eyes were filled with shock at the idea of Carly taking her own life.
‘It’s true.’ Carly said quietly, chin raised. ‘I felt I had no reason to live, things were so terrible and dark I didn’t even think of my brother. Maybe I was so out of my mind and living in a void at the time that I imagined he would side against me too, God forgive me.’ She ran her fingers through her hair. Her “dark period”, when she thought no one loved or wanted her and wouldn’t miss her when she was gone. She’d wanted to leave all the pain behind forever.
‘But I ended up not doing it; I got a call from Daniel that Melanie  had suffered a miscarriage; divine intervention one would call it, I guess. I didn’t even know she was pregnant in the first place. Just when I felt I had a reason to live  after all- after she and I made up- I found out I was carrying your child.’ Pause. ‘I was shocked at first, then so happy about it but I didn’t know what to do. The first instinct was to leave and start over somewhere else but I couldn’t leave my daughter behind. So I stayed but kept reminding myself I couldn’t stay here for good. Then you left town without even saying goodbye. That just sealed my resolve to leave after the baby came. But night and day… I missed you so much!’ her voice broke.
It was more than he could bear. Bo pulled her back into his arms, stroking her hair as she sobbed. He knew the feeling of living in sheer darkness and wanting to end it all. But Carly had always  managed to withstand the trials in her life; from anyone else he would never believe she contemplated suicide. But even the strongest person reaches the much dreaded breaking point, he thought in anguish, pressing a kiss on her head.
‘I’m sorry,’ he whispered as he held her tightly. ‘I’m so sorry princess, I honestly  never meant to hurt you,’ he felt his own tears creep from his eyes. ‘You went through so much, so much you didn’t deserve.’
Carly pulled away, wiping her eyes. ‘So much has happened, Bo. We can’t turn back the clock.’
‘We can’t but we can move on, together.’ Bo took her hand again. ‘Give us a chance, princess. I’m not asking for Starr’s sake but for the sake of the love we still have for each other. It’s still there, you and I both know it.’
Carly said nothing and he cupped her cheek. ‘Please Carly. You’re my life. I don’t want to be without you again. Never again.’
Carly knew she loved Bo too; excruciating, awe-inspiring love. She’d thought she was dreaming when she opened her eyes and saw the familiar piercing brown eyes looking down at her, his handsome face unshaven and deeply tanned from his travels. But for the sake of shielding her heart, she had to hold it back and not give in to her emotions. He was saying all this now but he could change his mind. Yet… looking deep into his eyes, she felt herself giving in. Abruptly, she pulled away from his touch.
‘I can’t think straight right now, Bo. It would be best if I left town for a while.’
‘I need some time to myself, to think and I can’t do that here.’
Bo shook his head, a scowl now on his face. ‘You’re not going anywhere.’
‘Listen Bo Brady, I don’t need your permission to do anything!’ Carly snapped.
‘I presume Starr’s going with you, isn’t she?’
Carly glared at him. ‘Yes, so?’
‘So I’m her father, I have rights which means you can’t take her out of town without my say so.’
Carly uttered an expletive in her native German, something in all the time he’d known her never heard her do, so it really startled him. ‘I can’t believe you’re taking this attitude with me. Of course you have rights, I’m not disputing that. It’s not like I’m taking her away permanently…’
‘That’s what I’m afraid of!’
Carly was now confused. ‘What?
Anger gone, Bo’s face was now wearing a look of fear and desperation. ‘I’m afraid you won’t come back. You could very easily walk out of my life; you just told you were going to leave if you hadn’t gotten sick.’ he took her hands again, his eyes pleading. ‘I’m not too proud to beg. If you want time and space to think, you’ve got it… I won’t bother you. But, at the risk of sounding selfish, don’t leave, please. I won’t be able to sleep nights if you and Starr are that far away.’
Stunned, Carly saw Bo was in earnest and strangely enough, couldn’t describe his request as selfish. The pleading look on his face was almost her undoing and for a minute she felt like succumbing by kissing him. With supreme effort, she pulled herself together.
‘Okay, I won’t go.’ She said at last.
Bo exhaled with relief. ‘Thank you. Take all the time you need princess, I’ll be waiting.’
Meanwhile, Caroline Brady left the bank, the item she retrieved from the safety deposit box in her purse. Initially she had long planned to leave it to Ciara in her will but due to the recent events, it was unconditionally going to a new owner. And once Bo explained the message behind the item that wary, guarded look on Carly’s face that still haunted Caroline will be gone for good.
The following afternoon, Carly and Melanie went for a walk. Pushing Starr in her stroller, Carly told Melanie about her visit with Bo, not leaving a word out.
‘I just don’t know, Mel. How do I know things will be different this time? Twice we tried and  then ended painfully.’
‘But you love him, Mum. It’s just a question of faith. And trust.’
‘I’m lacking both right now.’ 
Melanie said nothing until they got to the Horton Square, where they found a bench to sit on.  ‘You know...’  she began, ‘ while you were in the coma; I found out a lot of things about you. It made me understand you a lot better.’
Carly looked at her.
‘I understand Bo better now, too. Reconnecting with Hope but keeping you in his heart; he was torn in between. You let him go because you couldn’t stay with Bo knowing he wasn’t over Hope. Just like... just like you were torn between him and Lawrence all those years ago. Or rather, the James illusion he put up when you had the amnesia.’
Carly was stunned. How on earth did Melanie know about that? ‘How....’
‘It doesn’t matter how I found out about that, Mum.’ Melanie said forcibly, wanting to put her point across. ‘He let you go because he loved you. You let him go for the same reason. You’re both are so alike, Mum. You told yourselves you were right where you wanted to be and you made the right choice but, sometimes the right choice isn’t made without a lot of pain and regret involved.’ A tear rolled down her cheek. ‘I married Phillip knowing I wasn’t over Nathan. And I took it out on him... I was nasty to him half the time, I couldn’t be around him and I kept telling myself I did the right thing but I was only lying to myself. And when Nathan came over to propose after I lost the baby, I sent him away. His love and loyalty just reminded me how much I ruined my life by choosing Phillip over him in the first place. I told him to forget all about me.’
Melanie took her mother’s hand, squeezing it. ‘People fall out of love and go their separate ways. But there aren’t many couples lucky enough to find each other again. You and Bo... you’re more in love than ever. He hurt you and you’re scared of trusting him again, I get it. But don’t hold your love back and  don’t throw his away.’ Her daughter’s eyes were pleading. ‘You have the right to finally be happy  with the man you love. Forget the past and move on. Please Mum, don’t throw away this chance  of a happy ending. Just think about it.’
And that was Carly did do for the next several weeks, aside from tending to  Starr, working in the garden and exchanging  emails with her brother, Molly, Shawn Douglas and Kimberly who was told of Starr’s birth and visited with Nicholas.  Part of her longed to run to Bo and tell him she was willing to give their love yet another change, the other part reminded her remained very frightened and wary. As Bo was intent on fulfilling his promise of giving her time and space, Melanie always took Starr over to his house to visit.
There came a letter from the hospital board. They wanted her back; offering to up her salary if she wanted. Being an heiress Carly wasn’t interested in a large salary and she wasn’t keen on going back to work just yet despite Kayla and Daniel’s  prodding; wanting to take care of her baby girl full time. She was bombarded by visitors; aside from Caroline Maggie came often accompanied by Julie. Jennifer too came and slowly Carly found herself warming up to her best friend, seeing how Jennifer was obviously anxious to be close to her again.
Victor made no move to get in touch with her and Carly let him be. If he wanted to hate her and probably her child until the day he died, that was his choice; the last thing she did was lose sleep over it. But Maggie was upset with him over it, which led to another fight. This time Maggie didn’t procrastinate; before evening she’d moved her things to the Horton house and Victor was far too proud to go after her.
Pushing the door to The Cheating Heart open, Carly entered the familiar, bustling bar, glad she gave in to Melanie and Nicholas’ urging. Some couples were already dancing to the music coming from the jukebox. She soon spotted Melanie and Abby, watching Nicholas challenging Brady in a game of darts and from the  incensed  scowl on Brady’s face, Nicholas was beating him squarely. Daniel, John, Rafe Hernandez and Roman were playing pool, pausing their game to greet her warmly.  
‘Where’s Starr?’ John asked.
‘At Caroline’s.’ Carly waved at the children who cheerily waved back.
‘Hi Carly! Good to see you out for once,’ called Jennifer who was seated at the bar with Marlena and Adrienne. ‘Join us.’
‘Yeah, come on,’ Adrienne beckoned.
John put a hand on Carly’s arm when she was about to join the women. ‘At the risk of butting my nose where it isn’t wanted,’ he said, ‘please take a chance at happiness while you still can, Carly. I’m not saying this just because Bo’s my brother and friend but because you deserve to be happy.’
‘Thanks for the concern, John. It means a lot to me.’ Carly replied. Turning to Roman and Rafe she asked, ‘So… how does it feel having Bo back in Salem P.D?’
Rafe made a face. ‘I wouldn’t say he’s back exactly.’
‘What do you mean? He’s going off on another mission?’ Carly asked, feeling her heart sinking at the thought.
‘God no.’ Roman replied. ‘He wants to be a P.I again and open an agency,  didn’t he tell you? After years of being a cop and making Commissioner; he’s taking several steps back and going private.’
Daniel looked intrigued. ‘So Bo was once a P.I? I can easily imagine  that.’ He chuckled. 
Carly raised her eyebrows at Roman’s criticism of his brother. ‘Why shouldn’t he be if that’s what he wants? And what made him decide to leave Salem P.D in the first place?’
‘Something about being fed up with the bureaucracy and all that.’ Roman snorted, a look of disapproval on his rugged face. ‘I know Bo’s real reason, he’s done with the rules of authority.’
Carly couldn’t help smiling. ‘As I recall Rom, you weren’t exactly thrilled the day he told you he wanted to  join the force. You thought he was too much of a hothead and a total non-conformist. I was the one who had to cope with his sulks at the boat.’
‘Yep, that sounds like Bo all right.’ Daniel laughed, Rafe laughing as well.
‘Leave him be, Roman; you can’t change his mind when he’s bent on something.’ John said. ‘You and I both know that he would rather work his way.’
‘Whatever.’ Still put out by his brother’s decision, Roman resumed his game.
‘He’s really having a hard time with this, isn’t he?’
Rafe shrugged, twirling the cue stick in his hand. ‘He just thought things will be back to normal when Bo came back. Not in your case of course,’ he added hastily.
‘Thank God for small mercies,’ was Carly’s acerbic reply.
‘Hey,’ Daniel put an arm round her shoulders. ‘Seen Bo lately?’
Carly shook her head.
‘What’s going on with you two so far?’
‘It’s complicated and I really don’t want to talk about it. Excuse me, guys.’
‘Remember what I said, Carly.’ John reminded.
Nodding, Carly joined the women at the bar. About to order a beer, she suddenly changed her mind. ‘A glass of white Zinfandel,’ she said to one of the  bartenders.
 ‘If I didn’t know any better I would think you’ve been avoiding us.’ Marlena commented, sipping on her own drink. ‘This is the first time in ages  everyone’s actually seen you in public.’
‘I have a baby to take care of,’ Carly replied defensively. And I needed time to think.
‘That’s motherhood for you,’ Adrienne said, ‘You think of nothing except tending to the baby; separation even for a minute is hard.’
‘Take it from a woman who had two of her children taken away from her, I’m loving every minute of motherhood,’ Carly took a sip of the drink handed to her. ‘I almost changed my mind about coming here when I dropped off Starr at Caroline’s but then I thought, screw it… I deserve a few social hours.’
‘Hear, hear…’ Jennifer raised her glass, smiling at her.
‘Is everything okay now… between you and Bo?’ Adrienne asked tentatively.
‘Yeah, we’ve been wondering about that.’ Marlena said.
Carly shrugged, reluctant to discuss it with them either.
‘Come on Carly this is us,’ Adrienne urged.
‘Please…’ Carly begged. ‘it’s hard enough as it is! It’s between Bo and me so I would rather you all just let things be, thank you.’
Marlena patted her arm soothingly. ‘If you need to talk, in a more formal capacity, just let me know.’
As she spoke Hope entered, her arm tucked into Aiden’s. She stopped short on seeing Carly from across the room, Carly and the others staring back at her. The young couples were still absorbed in their game, while the men playing pool didn’t notice.  Whispering a few words to Aiden who looked rather astonished, they left abruptly.
‘Well, at least we know how your cousin still feels about me,’ Carly said to Jennifer, her tone bitter.
‘It’s not what you think,’ Jennifer placated. Wincing at  the look of scorn on Carly and Marlena’s  faces and the sound of  Adrienne’s derisive snort, Jennifer added quickly. ‘It’s really not what you think Carly; I swear. Hope’s moved on and she really feels sorry for what happened… it’s just that she has trouble facing you right now. She told me this herself. What you saw just now was  guilty conscience, not animosity.’
‘I find that hard to believe.’ Carly said coldly.
‘It’s true.’ Jennifer persisted. ‘I know she came across to you as a bad person but she’s really not. She just made some selfish mistakes and was unfair to you, she’s realised that now. And if it’s because of her you don’t want to be with Bo again, you’ll be making a mistake. He loves you very much.’
‘And they’ll always be connected, that’s what you told to me.’
‘I had no right to say that and I’m sorry.’ Jennifer replied, touching her arm. ‘And yeah, they will be but not in the way I implied back then. Things have changed and he knows what he wants now. And everyone now knows that happiness and love comes first, not what they want. Please Carly, it’s not just Bo who deserve another chance, it’s both families. Julie and Maggie feel you’re still being  kind of distant with them and they really want to be close again.’
Carly felt rather ashamed as Jennifer was right. ‘I didn’t  mean to be.’
‘Of course you don’t mean to be, it’s only natural you want to be on your guard after everything.’ Marlena said in her defence.
‘But don’t let the past keep haunting you,’ Adrienne added. ‘Remember what I told you once, Time eventually heals wounds.’
Carly was touched at the sisterly counsel she was receiving from all sides. During the “dark period” it was only Adrienne who really cared and understood how she felt, now she had the warm happy feeling of being fully back in the former circle.  ‘Thanks.’ She smiled.
‘Hi Mum!’ Melanie appeared, pressing a kiss on her cheek.
‘How’s the game going?’
‘Well, so far it’s Nicholas 6, Brady 2 and if things go on like this they’ll be coming to blows next.’ Melanie wrinkled her nose. ‘Some of the guys here are already placing bets.’ The women looked over and sure enough a small crowd was gathered at the corner where the dart game was going on.
‘Oh, I want in on that,’ Scrambling off her bar stool, Adrienne hurried over to the throng, followed by Marlena and a giggling Jennifer. Rafe and Daniel were there already, putting down five bucks on Nicholas.
Melanie sat on a stool next to her mother. ‘You okay?’
Carly nodded, signalling the bartender to  pour her another glass of wine.
‘But you look preoccupied.’
‘I have a lot on my mind, honey.’ Carly replied. ‘Mostly, thinking over what you said at the square. And everyone’s pretty much told me to give Bo another chance. I love him… I can’t deny that. Letting go of my fear and all that hurt is just real hard to do.’
‘I know,’ Melanie said sympathetically. ‘I told you that day it’s a matter of faith and trust that Bo will never hurt you again. You’re a different woman from Hope, Mum. You love him enough not to keep him in limbo like she did before she,’ air quoting with her fingers, ‘came to her senses. And I believe Bo knows deep in his heart you won’t do that to him. It’s not a matter of him being so sure of himself but of that bond which kept you connected all these years is still there.’
Once again, given the stark truth, thought Carly.
‘Remember, you’re paying.’ Kayla said as she and Bo entered the bar.
‘The first two drinks, after that you’re on your own,’ Bo reminded.
‘Look who’s finally made an appearance,’ John paused to shake Bo’s hand and kiss Kayla on the cheek.
Roman only glared at Bo and continued with his game. ‘Still sore about my decision I take it?’ Bo asked John.
‘Pretty much.’ John lowered his voice. ‘If he knew I offered to  be your silent partner, he’ll slit my throat for sure. Give him time, he’ll come round. By the way, your lady’s here.’
Turning to where John was pointing, Bo saw Carly seated beside Melanie and talking to Kayla. She looked lovely in black jeans and a red cowl neck  sweater; her hair fashionably tousled. Kayla said something to her and she turned to meet his eyes, vivid green eyes locking with piercing brown ones. She looked very beautiful and Bo could feel the flames of desire running through him.  As promised he’d kept away but it hadn’t been easy at all. But the end will justify the waiting. He knew exactly what he wanted; her heart, her mind, her trust… and her body.
‘Our cue to melt away,’ Melanie murmured to Kayla, grabbing her beer and Brady’s club soda as Bo approached them. Kayla managed to scramble off her stool and follow Melanie without spilling her martini.
‘Hi,’ he said softly, inhaling her crisp but utterly feminine perfume.
‘Hi, Bo.’ Was Carly’s equally soft reply. Black jeans, black shirt, he looked beyond handsome. And the beard was still there, he hadn’t shaven it back  to the goatee. But then again she had always preferred the rugged sailor look. She’d loved everything about him… until he betrayed her.
He loves you.
Things are completely different now.
Take a chance at happiness while you can.
 You love him enough not to keep him in limbo like she did.
‘I miss you, you know that right?’
‘I know. And… I miss you too. I’m sorry for doing this to you...’
‘You’ve got nothing to apologise for,’ Bo chided, interrupting her. ‘And I’m giving you the time that you need because I love you. Remember that.’
He went  back to Roman and John at the pool table.
‘Why aren’t you over there with her?’ John asked in surprise.
‘Giving her some space,’ Bo replied, taking up a cue stick to play.
‘Are you kidding?’
‘It’s what she wants and considering what I did, it’s the least I could do.’
‘Sure, when the woman I love almost died, it’s best I take things slow!’ Roman retorted, looking up.
Bo glared at him. ‘Lay off me, will you? It’s nobody’s business anyway.’
‘Hey Bo, we’re just saying… you’ve given her enough space. Don’t you think you should do something else instead, like making some kind of gesture to show her how you feel? You love her and want to respect her wishes but it’s time you took the bull by the horns.  Show her, fight for her.’ John urged.
Bo looked at Carly’s direction. Make a gesture… what could he do to show her just  how sincere he was? He proposed and she said no. But John was right… he should show her. But how?
The idea came to him when someone put money in the jukebox and The Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody  filled the air. Some of the men led their girlfriends to the dance floor, Brady and Nicholas following suite. Putting down the cue stick, Bo strode over to the bar. ‘Princess.’ Looking deep into Carly’s eyes, Bo held out his hand to her. ‘May I have this dance?’
Carly stared up at him. The love he had for her was in those beautiful brown eyes, so deep felt and crystal clear that she found herself unable to hide behind her walls any longer. Taking his outstretched hand, she followed him to the floor.
Dancing with Brady, Melanie saw them and grinned. ‘Nick, Abby… look.’
‘Well, it’s about time!’ Nicholas exclaimed.
‘I just knew she wouldn’t keep him waiting  any longer,’ Abby smiled, very pleased at Bo and Carly’s progress.
Anger gone, Roman joined John in indulgently watching the couple; Marlena, Kayla, Adrienne, Daniel and Jennifer  happily watching too. It was more than obvious to any stranger how much the man and woman dancing loved each other, raw emotion on their faces.
Bo moved in time to the music with Carly in his arms, savouring the close contact of her soft and pliant body with his. For Carly, she felt she was finally back where she belonged.  Her arms round his neck, she breathed in his tangy aftershave, unable to stop looking into his eyes. Succumbing to the mood, she reached up to stroke his lower lip with her fingers. Breathing hard a little, Bo’s hands moved down her lower back, pressing her harder against him as he lowered his head to kiss the side of her neck.
‘I swear if people weren’t here, they would be doing it right now,’ Roman said.
‘Exactly,’ John agreed.
Okay… too intense, too intense,’ Nicholas looked the other way while Abby giggled at his sudden prissiness.
Carly trembled with sheer longing as Bo’s lips moved across her sensitive skin, aware of how deeply he loved and desired her, yet was holding himself in check, or at least trying to. ‘I love you, sailor,’ she whispered, feeling the tears creeping from her eyes.
Raising his head, she saw he was crying too. Not trusting himself to speak surrounded by other people, he grabbed her hand, leading her outside.
‘Love you too princess,’ he choked, holding her face between his palms. ‘I wish what I did to you never happened, it’s haunted me for a very long time...’
Carly shook her head firmly, reaching up to hold his face. ‘Neither of us will ever think of that time again. We can’t turn back the clock but we can move on…’ more tears, ‘ make new memories and be together for the rest of our lives. I love you sailor! I love you… and I forgive you!
Their lips were about to meet at last when the unbelievable happened. Bo and Carly found themselves wet from rain drops pouring down on them from the sky. Neither of them had even noticed it was drizzling when they hurried out of the bar. Watching them from the windows, Melanie and the others couldn’t keep themselves from laughing at the lousy timing and the stupefied looks on Bo and Carly’s faces as the rain drenched them.
After the first shock, Carly started laughing heartily, not caring what the rain was doing to her Ann Taylor sweater. ‘Did a higher  being  suddenly decide we needed cooling off?’ she gasped as Bo, who was also laughing pulled her back into his arms, pressing kisses on her wet face.
‘Maybe the heavens are just happy we’re together again,’ he smiled down at her. ‘And that’s how we’re going to stay. Forever.’
Forever,’ Carly repeated, pulling his head down. The rain was cold but their kiss was fiery, deep and eager; leaving them both breathless, clinging to each other as they kissed and kissed some more.  
All right, Bo!’ Melanie yelled joyfully, joining the others in their exuberant applause, whistles and cheers for the reunited couple.

By the time they got to Carly’s house, the rain was pouring down in buckets. Carly found her key and let him and herself in,  shivering in her soaked clothes as they went up the stairs to her room and found the dimmer switch. Sneezing, Bo turned on the heat. ‘We look like a couple of drowned rats,’ he joked as she walked up to him.
‘Uh huh…’ she smiled, slipping her arms round his waist. Bo kissed her again, his hands moving under her wet sweater. Their eyes met, both remembering their kiss in the rain of long ago. If he hadn’t been very ill at the time he would’ve carried her into the cabin and made love to her all night long.
‘We better get out of these wet clothes before we catch our death of cold.’ She murmured, blushing under his heated stare, leading him into the adjoining bathroom.
‘Allow me,’ Bo pulled at her sweater and she raised her arms so he could pull it over her head. Carly helped him with his shirt, pressing kisses on his hair matted chest. Growling, Bo lifted her face to deeply kiss her again, fingers finding her bra clasp and kneaded her breasts after getting the damp garment off.
Leaving their clothes in the bathroom, they went back into the room, feeling warmer. Carly glanced at Bo, feeling shy all of a sudden as she clutched the towel against her chest, her need for him so much she could barely stand.
He felt the  same. ‘Come here,’ Bo whispered, pulling her hard against him. She closed her eyes as his lips moved down her neck, his beard sensually grazing her skin before moving up for another heated kiss, his fingers moving over her body.
‘Bo….’she whispered. ‘Turn out the light.’ She didn’t want him to see the ugly scar from Starr’s caesarean birth.
‘I want to see you, all of you,’ he whispered back. ‘Don’t hide from me, princess.’ As he spoke he peeled the towel off her, both towels hitting the floor. Pushing the quilt on the bed aside, he scooped her into his arms and lowered her onto the warm sheets.
Carly ran her hands over Bo’s muscular back; loving his weight on her and the sensual feel of his hairy chest on her breasts. Kissing the sweetness of her mouth, Bo moved to the side of her neck then lower; taking a hardened peak into the hot cavern of his mouth, savouring her cry of pleasure before giving the other his attention.
Carly parted her thighs when she felt his hand slide between them, his fingers stroking the tender flesh, the burning ache inside her by degrees and leaving her trembling with the excruciating need to be joined with him.

‘I can’t be gentle, princess.’ Bo rasped against her lips as he moved her thighs further apart to receive him. ‘I’ve wanted you for so long.’ With one swift thrust he was inside her, kissing her fiercely as she wrapped her legs round his hips, her fingers digging into his shoulders. ‘Oh darling…’ Carly gasped as she felt him move powerfully, hotly and fiercely reclaiming her, taking her with him deeper and deeper in the vortex, eagerly giving herself to him; her passion matching his in their primitive mating. Then suddenly, their mutual climaxes shot through them like lightening. Gasping her name Bo grabbed her hand, tightly entwining his fingers with hers as they succumbed to white-hot pleasure, their bodies quivering with the aftershocks of their wild, untamed loving.