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Tuesday, January 19, 2016


The Director of the ISA, Salem branch- Tristan Shaw- granted Abe, Bo and Roman an audience and got the full report of what happened in writing after sending two agents to visit Clarice at the hospital. The three men had agreed not to let Tristan know about Clarice’s amnesia or that she and Bo a couple a long time ago; if they wanted their request to be granted. Tristan promised to let them know the final decision soon; New York needed to be contacted as well as the Head Office in D.C.
‘I want Carly to stay with me when she leaves the hospital; a hotel room is no place to recuperate. Maybe the whole period will help her with her memory.’ Caroline said, as she poured more coffee in Bo’s cup.
‘I hope so too, Ma.’ Bo agreed, the picture of Carly bleeding in his arms still fresh in his mind. The whole episode was still on Ciara’s mind as well, since that fateful day she’d been having nightmares so he and Hope decided to have her see a therapist. She also been overly anxious about Clarice but she was yet to be allowed to visit her. ‘But remember what we all agreed on...’
‘I do remember, we’ll all be careful of what we say around her; Victor especially.’ 
‘I’m sure glad Mrs. H knocked some sense in that hard head of his, he sure as hell didn't want to listen to me.’ Bo, Roman and Abe had told Victor everything about Carly except for her status as an ISA agent; letting him still believe she was with the FBI. Victor reluctantly accepted that Carly was truly suffering from amnesia but still insisted on Hope knowing about her and Bo. Alice, after complaints from Bo, had summoned Victor to her house and given him a stern talking to.
‘Well, Alice always knows how to handle him; Tom too had the knack when he was alive, God rest him.’ Caroline sat opposite Bo. ‘So, if the ISA allows Carly to stay on to act as a profiler for Salem P.D for a while; you are going to give her desk job?’
‘Absolutely. But so that she won’t get suspicious she’ll be in the field, just not too often. I’ll do all I can to see she doesn't get close to danger.’
‘Please do that, son.’ Caroline urged. ‘The memory loss is bad enough. Lord knows what I’ve gone through all these years having two sons and a daughter-in-law in the police force; now your ex- fiancée’s in the ISA... a place she has no business to be. I’ve had a very hard time imagining a brilliant surgeon like Carly carrying a gun, ever since you told us. I never even approved of Hope joining the force in the first place.’
‘I know Ma and it’s the main reason why I’m helping Carly get her memory back; I believe she’ll get it eventually. If it could happen for Steve, it’s going to work for Carly.’
‘But you do know you’ll have to tell Hope about Carly some time.’
‘I know that too. I just don't know how I’ll be able to do that without worrying about Hope getting all paranoid and insecure. And I don't want her ruining anything by upsetting Carly; with the way she’s been acting with me lately she might think she’s Billie all over again, another threat to our marriage. ’
‘Hope won’t think that, not with Carly’s present condition and the fact that Carly never planned on coming back here before her memory loss, for fear of Lawrence finding her and possibly hurting you; he hated you with a vengeance. Carly wouldn't put you or the family in danger for anything or ruin your marriage.’ Roman had told their mother what Shane told them and Bo had finally narrated the last conversation he’d had with Carly on the boat. Caroline had tearfully sympathised but refused to allow her son blame himself for what happened to Carly. In her opinion, Bo and Carly were simply victims of unfortunate circumstances, circumstances brought about by Lawrence and Vivian. ‘Carly was, is a wonderful woman, no shred of vice or deviousness in her and I trust Hope will be mature enough to realise that. Besides, a lot of things have changed since you and Carly said goodbye, you’ve led separate lives for over sixteen years. There’s nothing for Hope to be worried about since you’re helping an old friend.’
Old friends were childhood, high school and college buddies; Carly had been his lover but Bo hoped his mother was right. Hope had the tendency to be unpredictable and impulsive; there was no telling how she would react to the truth about Carly. He wanted to protect Carly but he also wanted to save his marriage and for a marriage to thrive there couldn't be any secrets between him and his wife. And maybe once he and Hope reconnected, he’ll be able to shrug off the powerful feelings that have been disturbing him since Carly’s return; feelings he didn’t understand, want or need. He loved Hope, always would and Carly was the past, even though he did still care about her. The reason why he was getting her assigned to Salem P.D for some time was simply to help her, nothing else.
‘Hope will understand, Ma. In fact,’ suddenly making a decision. ‘I’m going to tell her tonight... get everything out in the open.’
Caroline looked surprised. ‘You’re sure you want to tell her now?’
‘I think it’s best she knows now, I don't want secrets between us. Once she knows the whole story and what Carly went through with Lawrence, Hope will probably give her some support too. Besides, she knows how much I love her.’
His mother shrugged. ‘But in case Hope needs convincing, you let me know. And when you visit Carly, tell her about my offer.’
‘I will. And remember, her name’s Clarice.’
Caroline sighed, shaking her head. ‘If only...’
‘What?’ asked Bo, puzzled at the expression on his mother’s face.
Caroline hesitated, wondering if it was wise to tell him, then decided to. ‘I never told you this but... years ago, at Carly’s wedding shower at Jennifer and Jack’s house; after I assured her she will give you a child eventually despite what Dr. Alvarez said... we talked a little about baby names. I asked her what she would name your son, she said Jeremy Shawn. When I asked her what she would name the baby if it was a girl she said...’
‘Clarice.’ Bo guessed in a quiet voice. So Carly had been thinking of him and their broken dreams when she chose that name for her new identity; naming herself  after the daughter they never had. And the whole time ready to face a future in New York without him, content to raise Nicky alone and not even tell him.
Caroline nodded, wincing at the sad, reflective look on her son’s face.
‘Daddy, Daddy!’ Ciara ran to him as he closed the front door behind him. Bo lifted her up in his arms, kissing her. ‘How’s my little girl today? Did you get along great at the therapist’s?’
Ciara nodded, her bright little face sobering. ‘Daddy, why won’t you and Mummy let me see Clarice? I really want to.’
‘I know you do honey but Clarice was badly hurt; she needs lots of rest. But I told her you want to visit, she’s been thinking of you a lot too. And I gave her the drawing you made for her, she told me she was going to frame it and hang it up.’
‘Yay!’ Ciara squealed as Hope came downstairs.
‘There you are Fancy face... I really need to talk to you about something important.’ Bo said, setting the child down. The sooner he got it over with, the better.
Hope however didn’t look curious or interested by her husband’s statement; instead she took Ciara by the hand. ‘Go put on your jacket like I told you, Ciara.’
‘Okay.’ Ciara ran up the stairs. Bo stared after her then at his wife in askance. ‘You guys going out?’
Hope looked back at him steadily, her expression intractable and determined.
‘You could say that. We’re taking a trip out of town for a while.’
Bo narrowed his eyes. ‘And when were you going to tell me this? You didn’t even give me any warning...’
‘That’s because you aren’t coming with us. It’s best that Ciara and I go alone.’
Bo couldn't believe what he was hearing. ‘Says who? Why the hell are you going away in the first place, and without me?’ he barked.
‘Lower your voice, will you?’ Hope hissed angrily, glaring at him. ‘I should think you’ve done more than enough to our daughter without getting her scared all over again.’
‘What is that supposed to mean, I’ve done more than enough? What’s this about?’ he glared back, unable to keep his voice down as ordered.
You Brady, gambled with our daughter’s life!’ Hope spat. ‘You didn't let me pay the ransom, that’s why Dean almost killed us and almost killed Clarice! Ciara actually saw  her shot right here in her own home- if you hadn’t been so pigheaded, he would’ve been long gone  and Ciara wouldn't be plagued by nightmares! I can’t let her stay here for one more day so we’re leaving.’
‘And I’m supposed to let you walk out with my daughter, just like that?’
‘You don't have much of a choice, do you? You brought all this about, you. Not only did you mishandle the whole chase, you refused to admit you messed up. So don't you even try to stop me.’
Bo grabbed her roughly by the arm as she made to walk past him, enraged beyond measure. ‘ Like hell I won’t stop you! How dare you say such a thing to me! How dare you just decide to take Ciara without discussing it with me- I’m your husband!’
‘Husband?’ Hope scoffed coldly, struggling free from his grip. ‘What sort of husband would do what you did or a father for that matter?’
‘What sort of wife would leave her home when things get rough, who won’t let her husband help her?’ Bo fired back. ‘You’re doing it all over again, I thought you were  done with that!’
‘I suggest you look in the mirror and figure out why I had to! Good luck with that, we are leaving, case closed!’
Ciara came down, her backpack in one hand, her teddy bear in the other. Hope gave him a warning glance before turning to Ciara. ‘All set, sweetie?’
‘Yes.’ Ciara looked at Bo. ‘Are you coming later, Daddy?’
Bo looked at the woman he loved, searching for some sign of softness on her face but found none. How could this be happening to them after over twenty years of marriage; after the joys and sorrows they’ve faced together? Only sheer force of will made him pick up his little girl instead of grabbing Hope and shake some sense into her.
‘No little one, you and Mummy need some time alone; I have to stay here and take care of things. You go and have fun for the two of us, okay?’
Ciara looked disappointed but nodded, kissing him on the cheek. ‘Okay. I love you Daddy.’
Bo blinked back sudden tears as he held her tightly in his arms, kissing her back. ‘I love you too, sweetie. You and Mummy take care now. I’ll call you.’
Hope slipped on her own jacket and picked up the bags behind the couch, without looking at Bo. No hug, no kiss goodbye; completely shutting him out. Silently, Bo watched his family leave; his heart ripped to shreds.
Bo opened Carly’s door silently. She was asleep, the monitor beeping. After sitting alone  staring at nothing; he felt he had to get out of  the oppressively quiet house and seek some company. No one knew of what went on with Hope yet; he didn't feel like telling anybody and listen to sympathies or lectures, he was far too heart sore. After Ciara’s birth, he thought he and Hope were past the pain and mistakes over the years; they’d even renewed their vows as a symbol of a new chapter of their love. How wrong he was.
Placing the flowers on the  blanket he sat beside Carly, watching  her thoughtfully.  Three years, short compared to twenty five years with Hope but they had been wonderful years. He never wanted to love Carly initially; out of guilt and grief over Hope’s supposed death and the agonising fear of losing Carly too. But every day of knowing Carly and spending time with her, she’d crept further and further in his heart. Carly never backed out when things got rough, she faced them with him- shared them with him. Before they were even a couple she did her best to keep him out of trouble and acted as his voice of reason, whether he liked it or not. Stubborn, pigheaded, loyal Carly...

‘This is none of your business!’
‘It is my business,’ was Carly’s calm reply.
‘Yeah why?’ he asked, really angry at her assumption that she had the right to watch his every move.
‘Because... Because I care about you.’ she said hesitantly.
‘Oh...And that’s supposed to be  enough reason to get yourself into trouble?’
‘Why is that hard to believe Bo?’ she demanded. ‘Don't tell me you haven’t done the same.’
She had a point and it infuriated him the more. ‘Alright, maybe I have...’
‘Then why won’t you let me help you?’ she cut in, grabbing his arm as he walked past her. ‘Why?’
‘Because, I care about you!’ he snapped back. The stunned look on her face made him realise he’d finally admitted what he’d been holding back for so long. It was the truth and it frightened him. He didn't want to fall in love with this beautiful girl, another had died because of him. He couldn't lose Carly too.
He took her hand, squeezing it between his. ‘I care about you. And I don't want you hanging around me when I’m doing things like this.’ Abruptly, he dropped it and turned away from her.
‘You’re asking too much from me.’
‘I’m not asking...’
‘I CAN’T LEAVE YOU.’ she said resolutely, ‘not after everything we’ve been through; we’ve come too far for me to leave you now!’
Bo wanted to scream in frustration at her stubbornness. ‘You know, this is exactly what I didn't want to happen! I didn't want you hanging around me and becoming attached to me.’ Even when she wasn't around, he couldn’t get her out his mind and it didn't help that Shawn Douglas talked about her a lot.
‘Maybe you’re afraid of getting too attached to me.’ she said quietly.
She was a very good mind reader and she’d said it with no trace of conceit or triumph. ‘Well maybe,’ he said gruffly, ‘but that doesn't matter...’
‘It does matter, it matters a lot,’ she insisted.
‘Why? So that I can get involved with you, get you killed too?’
Carly stood there silently for a while, probably fumbling for the right words. He wished she would leave, he was having a very strong urge to kiss her... and more.
‘Bo, you don't have to worry about me, okay; I can take  care of myself.’
‘I’ve heard that before.’ He muttered bitterly.
‘Look at me,’ she said softly. He felt her fingers touching his hair and he tensed, struggling to control himself. ‘Look at me.’ Reluctantly he obeyed, looking deep into the beautiful emerald-green eyes looking solemnly up at him.
‘I’m not Hope.’ She said, her expression firm yet serene, not breaking her gaze. He stared back her, his heart thumping. Whether he wanted to admit it or not, Carly Manning had definitely gotten to him.
‘No...’ he said quietly, reaching out to hold her face between his palms. ‘No, you’re not.’ 

Bo pushed back strands of hair from Carly’s pale forehead. If there was any woman who’d truly been there for him, it was the woman lying  right there. As he thought over Hope’s words to him he tried imaging Carly standing there in Hope’s stead, saying them to him and couldn't. Because Carly would never say them in a million years, much less think them. Caroline or Roman would probably regard him as disloyal for comparing his wife with his ex but Bo couldn't help it right now. Hope’s sudden action deeply hurt him and he needed some sort of comfort. Moving his hand down to stroke Carly’s cheek, he went over that same night so long ago...

‘Do you have any idea what that means?’ he said sceptically. Nick Corelli’s death was his own responsibility, his burden; no way was he going to implicate Carly.
‘Yes. And I’m willing to do what it takes to see you through this.’
 He was touched by her sincerity, her loyalty. ‘You mean that don't you?’ he said slowly. She nodded, eyes not leaving his face.
‘I never thought I would have anybody... anything like this again in my life.’
‘Well, you do.’ Carly said quietly, touching his face and he didn't pull away, not wanting to. Before he knew it she was in his arms, his cheek pressed against her hair...

Carly’s eyes suddenly opened, peering at him. ‘Bo...’ she said softly. ‘Hello.’
‘Hi... how are you today?’ he smiled. ‘Look, I got you these.’ He placed the bouquet of roses in her hands.
‘Oh, thank you... they are beautiful. Hope came by today... did she tell you?’
Bo turned his eyes away, filled with bitterness at the mention of his wife’s name.
‘Bo...what’s wrong?’ Carly asked anxiously.
‘Nothing’s wrong. It’s just...’ he suddenly felt the need to confide in her, to see her reaction. He turned back to look at her. ‘Hope left with Ciara today. She felt Ciara needed to be in a new environment, after everything that went down at the house.’
‘Of course... but why aren’t you with them?’
Bo sighed then narrated what Hope had said, everything she’d accused him of. He didn't feel treacherous towards his wife as he did so, he needed to vent out his pain and anger and who else but Carly could actually listen and not judge him.
‘That’s crazy...’ Carly said at last. ‘You aren’t to blame for anything. Why on earth...?’
‘I keep going over what I did wrong Clarice and I can’t come up with anything. Even my cousin and my own father think I handled everything  wrong. I didn't think Hope would carry things this far... not wanting me around my daughter.’
‘Hope was upset. I like to think that she didn't mean what she said to you. And you... give her time. When she comes back, the first thing she’ll want to do is kiss and make up. Time heals... so does love. You shouldn’t believe she meant it... okay?’
Bo took her hand. ‘Thank you, Clarice.’
‘Family is precious... remember?’
‘They are. And sure, I’ll take your advice, give her some time. We’ve gone through worse, anyhow.’
‘Yeah. Some years ago...’ the old pain creeping in but he continued, ‘we lost our son Zack in a car accident. He was barely five.’
‘Oh God... I’m so sorry, I didn't know.’ Carly whispered. ‘How did you both get through it?’
‘It wasn't easy; not easy at all.’ It certainly wasn’t, considering who had run over Zack in the first place; his daughter from Billie, Chelsea. It was after Ciara’s birth that Hope had finally forgiven her, and him for that matter.
‘Well if you two could get over such heartache... this one is minor compared to that. Everything will turn out okay, you’ll see.’
Bo  squeezed her hand, smiling warmly at her; the weight on his shoulders lifted by her words.
‘By the way, my mother wants you to stay with her when you get out of here.’
‘That’s very sweet of her... but I can’t possibly impose like that.’ Carly objected.
‘You won’t be imposing, she really wants to look after you and you can’t go to New York right after you’re discharged. Besides, Hope’s grandmother- Alice Horton- wants to get to know you better. She keeps asking about you.’
‘Really. She’s a wonderful woman; her late husband was Chief of Staff of this very hospital.’  He watched her carefully as he added, ‘Dr. Thomas Horton.’
To his  great disappointment, no sign of recognition on her face. ‘Well... I guess I have to accept... your mother’s hospitality and meet Mrs. Horton if she wants me to. Okay, sure.’
‘Tell me more about your family... do you have another child... besides Ciara?’
‘My first son, Shawn Douglas. He’s married with a daughter of his own; they live in Chicago.’ He made a mental note to inform Shawn D about Carly as soon as he could, he totally forgot  in all the excitement of the past week.
‘Shawn Douglas... that’s a very nice name.’
Bo found himself hating Lawrence more and more. Shawn D had been like a son to her long before Nicky surfaced; she didn't remember him either! He needed to contact Marlena too; she might just be the one to get through to Carly better.
‘He was named after his two grandfathers.’ He explained.
‘And you are one yourself...’ Carly smiled faintly, a teasing twinkle in her eyes. ‘A very young one though.’
Bo chuckled quietly. ‘ I get that a lot. I hope you get to meet him.’
‘I hope so too. Depends on how long I’m still here.’ 
This is your home, Bo thought, holding on to her hand firmly. ‘You live in the city?’ he asked.
Carly nodded. She was feeling tired from all the talking but she didn't want Bo to leave her. Summoning strength she continued, ‘I also have a lake house; in Connecticut. I stay there on weekends... or when I have some time off. I told Roman about it.’
‘You don't have a boyfriend?’ Bo asked, steeling himself for her answer; the idea of a man in her life strangely bothering him.
Carly smiled. ‘I’m in the ISA. Where will I have the time? I’m your average loner. No family; no ties.’
As soon as she got her memory back, she would know how wrong she was; Frankie, Nicky and the Bradys who still thought of her as one of them.
‘Well, you do have ties Clarice; you made a lot of friends overnight. People who appreciate and admire you for what you did; including me.’ Letting go of her hand, he touched her cheek. ‘I’m more than honoured to have you as a friend; I want you to know that.’
Carly looked up at him, mesmerized by the warm brown eyes; a huge comprehension hitting her with full force. I’m in love with this wonderful man, she thought with pain. And I can never have a future with him.

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