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Saturday, January 23, 2016


Bo locked up for the night but didn't go to bed immediately. Instead he pulled out one of the photo albums from the cabinet and sat on the couch. Each flip of a page a life time of memories; he and Hope, the children, the extended family of Bradys and Hortons. He paused at the photo of him and Hope on their first wedding in 1985, which had taken place in England. He remembered that day like it was yesterday; Hope walking down the aisle on her grandfather’s arm so beautiful in her white lace and satin wedding dress with long tight sleeves, her elegant veil hiding her happy face. He had been so happy too; his Fancy Face belonged to him for the whole world to see at long last. As he stared at the photograph, he remembered another bride; a beautiful bride in a native Mayan wedding huipil, her hair decorated with flowers as they pledged their love for each other on the top of El Castillo in México, 1991.The same bride wore a white, off shoulder dress with a lace collar for their church wedding in Salem; a simple lace veil over her head, grinning at him as she walked along the aisle, every inch a princess. He’d felt like the luckiest man in the world as he grasped her hand at the altar, their eyes fixed on each other. His princess, his beautiful Carly. 
‘Bo, I understand you have a few words to say to Carly.’
He had more than a few words to say to the woman he loved so much; who in a few seconds will finally be called Mrs. Carly Brady, his wife. They faced each other, her lovely face looking at him through the veil.
‘The way I feel about you can fill volumes,’ He began softly. ‘But instead I picked a few choice phrases. One is a gift from heaven... which I’m eternally grateful for.’ Carly blinked, her lips trembling as she struggled not to cry; her fingers tightly holding on to his.
 ‘Second... is the love of my life. Sometimes I find it hard to believe I have you in my life. Right now when I look at you... at that face, that glow around you, that smile... and you’re looking at me, loving me... and you’re finally marrying me. I promise to do everything in my power to make sure you are happy. I will always treat you with respect; as a partner and as a friend.’
‘My heart is so full right now,’ Carly said emotionally. ‘When you said what you just said about me, I thought... can I love you any more completely than I do right now. I’m going to have the rest of my life to find that out. You’re my great love, Bo...’ 
And Lawrence had ruined everything... he and that evil bitch Vivian. 
Bo slammed the album shut; angry and confused. First he’d been thinking about his wife, longing for her then his mind had shifted to Carly. All the years she was gone he’d locked away his memories of her, now they were just pouring out one by one since she returned. It’s because she wasn't happy all those years like I thought, he told himself; I feel guilty for letting her go... for having a life with Hope while she was all alone. But Hope too lived as someone else the whole time he’d been happy with Carly and later Billie; which further reminded him that he wouldn't have left Carly for Hope. Or would he have? With the way he felt now, Bo wasn't sure about anything anymore. Putting the album aside, he reached for the blanket draped over the couch, pressing it to his face. It belonged to Hope, countless nights he’d draped it over her shoulders when she felt chilly; snuggling with her on this very couch. Now it seemed so long ago... he had no idea where she was, or what was going to happen when she came back. That and what she was going to say when he told her about Carly, which she didn't give him the chance to do and he wasn't going to tell her such a thing over the phone. He’ll just have to bid his time. Like he told Carly; he and Hope have been through worse. Even when they much younger, they had a lot of battles... Doug’s disapproval of him, Hope’s reluctance to oppose her father after his illness, Larry Welch; the husband chosen for her, their fights before her ‘death.’ He’d missed her terribly, wanting to die but their little Shawn D had kept him going... then later Carly. Try as he might, he couldn't stop thinking about her.
Bo Brady was unlike any man Clarice’s ever known in her life, hence why she couldn't help but fall in love with him. But all the same she was filled with dismay and horror; after several years of being alone, going on missions and dodging bullets- she now had feelings for a married man, a married man with children. Nothing could come out of it, she saw the look of sadness in his eyes when he told her how Hope walked out of their home with Ciara. When Hope eventually came back, she and Bo will settle things and be happy again. She wished she hadn’t agreed to stay with Caroline now but it was too late to say no and it would be a while before she fully recovered enough to go back to New York. Keeping valuable secrets from the enemy was child’s play compared to having to keep her feelings to herself while she was still in Salem. And she had to; she wasn't going to break up Bo’s marriage or his happiness for anything. Clarice briefly mulled over her predicament before drifting to a deep, troubled sleep. An image flashed in her mind and her head shifted restlessly on the pillows, willing it to appear again and it did, followed by a few more; all hazy.
Candles...A lighted room... Two entwined bodies on a bed...
She frowned in her delirium, trying to hold on to the image as it faded then came back like a dim lamp brightening but only just.
A face, hers but she looked younger... she was in a man’s arms... he was kissing her neck...Clarice’s mind struggled to see his face but couldn't. Something was on his back... a tattoo... too hazy to see what it was... what was it of? Brighten damn it!
‘Agent Parker? Agent Parker...’
Clarice jerked awake, her head hurting painfully and her face and neck drenched with sweat. Standing over her was Dr. Carver looking anxious, a nurse at her elbow. ‘Are you alright?’
Clarice blinked, swallowing. ‘What happened?’ she croaked.
‘The monitor went out of control; seems your heart rate shot up for some reason. Were you having a nightmare?’ Lexie asked as the nurse patted Clarice’s face dry with a sterile cloth.
 Clarice moaned, closing her eyes. ‘I have a headache.’ She mumbled.
Lexie placed a cool hand on her forehead. ‘Mmm... you’re burning up. We’ll give you something for that.’ Instructing the nurse to get the necessary medication, she checked Clarice’s pulse. ‘Was it a nightmare, Clarice?’ The name weighed heavily in Lexie’s mouth; it was so hard to see Carly as a totally different person, no memory of her family, friends or past life. She’d cried when Abe told her about Lawrence’s abuse after the surgery, cursing him with all her might. A lot of time may have passed but Carly was still a person she remembered with fondness.
‘Nightmare?’ Clarice tried to recall what she saw in her dream but her head was aching too much. The nurse returned with the pills and Clarice took them, along with a long draught of water for her parched throat. ‘Thanks, doctor.’
‘Call me Lexie, please.’ Lexie signalled the nurse to leave the room.
‘It’s short for Alexandra.’ Lexie sank into the chair beside her. ‘I’m Abe Carver’s wife by the way.’
‘Oh...’ Clarice peered at her. ‘With the name, I should’ve made the connection.’
‘It was a very brave thing you did.’
 ‘I’m not exactly Power Girl.’ Clarice murmured.
Lexie chuckled. ‘You know, I was once a police officer myself.’
‘Uh huh... then I went back to school and years later...’ Lexie spread her hands. Actually she was kicked off the force for deliberately not turning in the vigilante known as ‘The Pacifier’; who in reality was Abe’s younger brother, Jonah. Now she was the one wearing the stethoscope and white coat while Carly was the one carrying a gun. Abe told her in confidence that Carly was in the ISA; which shocked her more than the amnesia but pledged to do her own bit at helping her with her memory. Although she also wondered how Hope will react once she found out Carly was Bo’s ex; probably she would be more furious everyone hid the truth from her than having another ex around Bo, she’d resented Billie Reed and Billie had given her more than enough reason to hate her through her efforts to ruin their marriage. With the way Hope was currently acting like a child, Bo might just start leaning towards Carly and though Hope was her best friend, Lexie wouldn't blame him. But for her sake, she hoped that won’t happen.
‘Well... we choose a path, and then life leads us to another.’ Carly said. 
‘Absolutely. And I’m happy with mine. I have a family and I help the sick...’ Lexie felt ashamed at the wry look on Clarice’s pale face. ‘I’m so sorry; I didn't mean to make you feel bad.’
‘That’s okay... Lexie.’ Clarice shrugged. ‘I’ve never killed anyone who wasn’t trying to kill me. I got into law enforcement because... I had this nagging need to protect people.’
Just like Bo, Lexie thought. On the inside, Clarice Parker was still Carly Manning ... Bo’s spiritual half which Billie never was though Bo had loved her. But so is Hope! She argued in defence of her friend. She and Bo had had problems over the years but caused by third-party interference and most married couples fought; that wasn't unusual. Bo and Carly never fought until that spoilt brat of hers came between them and Bo ended up losing her to him and Lawrence Alamain.
‘I understand... that was Abe’s motivation too; even though he’s Mayor, he still tries to be as active as he was when he was still a cop. Bo and Roman do most of the work.’ she chuckled.
Clarice forced herself not to talk about Bo, she might give herself away. Instead she shifted in bed and replied, ‘My head feels a little better now.’
‘Happy to hear that.’ Lexie touched her temple. ‘But you didn't answer my question, were you dreaming?’
A candle lit room... a tattoo... Clarice somehow didn't feel like sharing such a dream with anyone. ‘I guess so, but I don't remember what it was.’ She lied.
Lexie nodded, disappointed. ‘Well, if you need anything just press the buzzer right here and a nurse will see to you, okay?’ she got up.
‘Thank you, Lexie. I hope we’ll be good friends while I’m here.’
 ‘We already are, Clarice.’ Lexie assured her, smiling. ‘Go to sleep now.’ For her sake, she hoped Carly will get her life back, without ruining Hope’s.
‘Here... give me that.’ Bo took the suitcase from Carly and slipped his arm round her waist to steady her as they went up the path to the house.
‘Bo, I can walk perfectly well by myself.’ She protested, inwardly revelling in his touch and being close to him. She wondered if he could feel her heart racing. Bo wondered if Carly could feel his heart pounding or his hand going clammy. The feel of the familiar soft skin under her clothes was invoking more locked away memories... the two of them dancing under the stars on Isabella’s roof, México- entwined on the sand, laying her down on the pool table...
He kept a tighter hold of her as he forced the images away. A fine dude you are, he told himself sternly. You’re married to one woman and getting the hots for another; the whole objective is to help her and you’re losing it by mentally picturing her naked! He couldn't let his emotions get in the way of what he vowed to do for her; it would only complicate things for the two of them. Since her time at the hospital, he found himself wanting to kiss her  whenever he came to visit, which appalled him. His mind would immediately revert to Hope, who was yet to come home with Ciara; reminding himself how important Hope and their marriage was to him. No way could he ever get romantically involved with Carly, no matter how much she affected him and  she definitely was affecting him; sexually. He really needed Hope to come home before he made a fool of himself.
Caroline opened the door, smiling. ‘Here you are at last, Clarice. Give me the case, Bo.’ She took it from him and made way for them to enter.
‘Thanks again for doing this, Mrs. Brady.’ Clarice said as they followed Caroline upstairs.
‘Nonsense... you don't have to thank me dear, I’m more than happy to have you here. I couldn't let you stay in a lonely hotel room while you’re recovering from your injuries, could I? And...’ she turned to look at her sternly, ‘It’s Caroline, alright?’
Clarice nodded, sharing an amused glance with Bo. Caroline opened the bedroom door. ‘This is Bo’s old room... I hope you’ll be comfortable here.’
‘I’m sure I will, it’s lovely.’
‘It wasn't like this when Bo lived here; rock stars’ and  half naked models’ posters all over the walls, his clothes, sneakers and magazines everywhere...’
‘Yeah, thanks ma.’ Bo interrupted swiftly, glaring at her as Clarice laughed. ‘I wasn't as bad as you just painted.’
‘No son... you were much worse.’ Caroline retorted. Turning to Clarice she continued, ‘I guess you’ll want to rest until lunch time; I can bring a tray up to you.’
Yes. You’re a guest, so no arguments.’ Patting her cheek, she left them alone.
‘You have a wonderful Mum there.’ Clarice said, sitting on the bed.
Bo grinned, shrugging. ‘With us kids and grandkids all grown up and married... I guess Mum misses out having someone to fuss over and boss around. And she could certainly use the company too. You’ll love it here.’
‘I already do. By the way... you’ve been holding out on me, Bo.’
He raised one eyebrow as he sat on a chair opposite her. ‘Oh, how so?’
She shook her head at him. ‘Director Shaw came to see me yesterday. Apparently, I’m on loan for a while. When were you going to tell me you and Roman and Abe approached the agency requesting my profiler services?’
‘Oh man... I’m sorry; I wasn't trying to hide that from you. I was going to tell you soon as we got  a definite answer from your superiors. With you injured, it didn't seem like the right time. You aren’t angry, are you?’
She wasn't angry, just distressed at the idea of being around Bo longer than she thought. She was planning on heading home soon as she was fully recovered, taking her secret with her... her love for Bo. ‘I’m just surprised... I wasn't expecting it. ’
‘You did a very great job cracking the case, Clarice. Roman, Abe and I decided we needed you to stay longer to help us; we’ve never had a profiler as good as you. Of course, no one else will know you’re ISA; as far as our men are concerned, you’re on loan from the FBI.’
Clarice nodded. ‘That’s how it should be. Anyway... you should know that  Shaw said you guys have me for a year but I still might get called in for a mission during  my stay with you.’
Going on missions while she was assigned to Salem P.D wasn't exactly what Bo bargained for; the last thing he wanted was any progress she might make dashed to pieces. But having her for a year was a major victory all the  same; more than enough time to gain her memory back. Of course there was also the need to keep his hands off her the whole time too. Even with no makeup she looked so pretty and desirable and he found himself again longing to plant his mouth on hers, stroke her hair and hold her in his arms...the intensity of his feelings stunned him.
‘You’re doing it again.’ she said suddenly.
‘Looking at me in that weird way; you’ve been doing that since we met. Why?’
‘I’m sorry... I didn't mean to freak you out.’ Bo assured her hastily. ‘It’s just... well you look like somebody I knew a long time ago. She had eyes just like yours.’
‘You mean the woman you mistook me for, Carly?’
He nodded, watching her carefully.
‘Oh... I was meaning to ask you about that. Who was she?’
Grateful for the sudden opening Bo replied, ‘She was a doctor; Shawn D’s actually- she nursed him after an accident he had. He got very attached to her; we all did.’
‘What happened to her?’
‘She got married and moved away... we haven’t heard from her since then.’ Somehow Clarice got the feeling there was more to it than that, he was hiding something from her from the way his face clouded and the bitterness in his voice. Had Carly been his lover? He didn't seem the cheating type and Hope didn't mistake her for Carly like he and mother did. She couldn't put her finger in it just yet but she will find out what was really going on, who this woman had really been to him.
‘So...’ she said, deciding to change the subject. ‘When am I to start my temporary position?’
‘As soon as you’re really back on your feet, no rush.’ Disappointed he  hadn’t gotten through to her just a little, Bo got up. Taking her hand, he pressed it between his. ‘I know we’re going to enjoy working together.’
‘Me too.’ was the soft reply. Their eyes met, both finding it difficult to look away.

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