"You're forbidding me, Mary Frances?"
"Yes," Frankie crossed her arms, hoping the tremor in her voice was audible only to her.
"Really?" Cass asked again, his tone not so much challenging as disbelieving.
"I'm asking you," she changed tactics. "I am asking you to do this. For me. Just let this whole thing drop. Charlie and Kirkland will figure it out on their own. We don't need to get involved."
"Clearly Jamie thinks the situation warrants parental interference."
"Jamie micromanages his kids! He's a Frame. It comes naturally."
"You're a Frame."
"Exactly. Which means I know what it's like to have your every move tracked and questioned and criticized. And criticized. And criticized."
"So this is about Emma?" Cass guessed.
"This is about me not wanting to be like Emma. Or for Charlie to feel like she can't tell me anything because, sure as the sun rises, I'll manage to find fault with it. I don't want my daughter going through life convinced she's incapable of making a good decision. I had to trek all the way to the Himalayas to settle if I wanted to take you back after you left me for Kathleen! That's what happens when it's been drilled into you that whatever you do, you'll be wrong according to your mother, anyway."
"You came back to me," Cass said. "If those are the kinds of decisions that Emma's constant nagging taught you to make then, I'm sorry, I'm all for it."
"We can teach Charlie to make good decisions without the accompanying urge towards matricide by showing her that we trust her and her judgment."
"It sounds like Charlie's judgment led her to taking a very erroneous approach "
"What did you tell her?" Frankie demanded.
"When you two had your talk, in the car, what did you tell her?"
"I told her that wanting to have sex at her age is perfectly normal, and that if she felt ready for it that she should go ahead, only be careful and make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. How's that for supporting and non-judgmental?"
"Did you mention the possibility that she might get turned down?"
"She's a girl, Frankie. A beautiful girl. Like her mother. Beautiful girls don't get turned down for sex, trust me on that one."
"Well, there you go! There's your answer, right there!"
"Wait a minute. This is all my fault now?"
"You obviously set her up for false expectations. You confused her."
"So now you do believe Jamie's story?"
"I believe that Kirkland turned Charlie down and she got upset, and Jamie blew it all out of proportion, that's what I believe."
"And that the fault for this... misunderstanding lies with me?" Cass concluded.
"No." Frankie shook her head. "If anyone is to blame, it's me. I should have gone with my initial instincts but, what was I just telling you? I've got a virtual Emma sitting on my shoulder, clucking, "Well, if you thought of it, Mary Frances, it couldn't possibly be the right thing to do." I should have ignored her and gone with my gut, which was to leave Charlie alone. Instead, I allowed you "
"Allowed? Did not the words, "You need to speak to your daughter about sex," cross your lips? In rather desperate fashion, may I add?"
"That was because I'd spent the afternoon over-thinking it and channeling my mother. I bought into the hype. And then I chickened out. I should have thought a little harder and realized what the implications of sending someone like you to talk to a "
"Hey! What's wrong with someone like me?"
"Your take on sexual relations between men and women is..."
"Progressive? Enlightened? Affirmative?"
"Inappropriate for a seventeen year old girl. Charlie should be finding her own way, she doesn't need our hang-ups and complexes shoved down her throat."
"A minute ago, you thought I was too uninhibited. That I didn't have enough hang-ups and complexes. Make up your mind, please, Frankie."
"I have." The crossed arms were back. "I told you before, Cass. I do not want us to get involved. We'll only make everything worse. We already have made things worse. Let's leave Charlie alone. It's for the best. I'm certain of it."
"I need to talk to you." Grant, having effectively struck out with Morgan, tracked down Jamie at the hospital next.
"If this is about Kirkland "
"It's not. Although... how how is he?" Grant failed to keep the hope out of his voice.
"Still devastated," Jamie told him bluntly.
"Do you think maybe I should "
"Don't you dare go anywhere near him. If Kirk needs something, he'll let you know."
"Okay. Fine. You have my word. I didn't come here today to talk about Kirkland. Though I think about him every minute. That won't ever change, no matter how many documents he makes me sign. I wanted to talk about Marley. She needs your help."
"She's got plenty of help. Doctors, therapists. Donna." Jamie grimaced. "You."
"Donna's never been of any use to anyone ever. And I... Marley refuses to see me, no matter how many times I've tried. On the other hand, Morgan Winthrop apparently gets to stroll on in and brow-beat Marley into hysterics whenever he wants."
"He was in the car with Lorna," Jamie shrugged. "Marley might have killed him, too. Morgan has every right to be angry."
"Come on, Jamie. You cannot be this indifferent. You loved her once!"
"You've already played that card. Along with 'Think of the children,' 'It was an accident,' and 'Show some compassion."
"Here's a new one, then: It's a matter of life and death. Marley needs you to save hers."
"Already done it. Twice. The first time when I didn't press charges for the accident, the second when I gave her a pass on trying to split town with the twins. Declining to make Marley spend twenty years in prison was my final contribution to saving her life. What she decides to do with it now is up to her."
"She's dying, Jamie. She's pulling away from everyone and everything as a penance. She's killing herself due to the guilt she feels over what she did to you. Not Lorna, not Morgan, not Devon, you. How can you stand by and let that happen?"
"Leaving Marley to suffer the consequences of her choices does not make me the bad guy. I am not responsible for her, and I sure as hell don't owe her anything."
"The hell you don't! If you hadn't strung her along and toyed with her emotions for literally years, none of this
"I did nothing of the sort," Jamie cut Grant off. "Marley and I were always clear on where things stood between us. Until you came back to town. If anyone played games with her, it was you. And the sad thing is, Marley was only too happy to play along. Sure, I could've tried to open her eyes, make her see you for what you are. But, past experience taught me that playing Marley's white knight does neither of us any good. She had to learn for herself what it means to be with a man like you."
"All I did was love her."
"If you loved her, you would've done what was best for her. Stopped her from hurting herself and other people. Helped her face her issues instead of running away from them and making things worse."
"You're right," Grant admitted. "I failed her. I didn't mean to, but I did. I'm trying to correct that mistake by coming to you. I am swallowing my pride and acknowledging just how deep the connection between the two of you is, and probably always will be. Marley needs you, Jamie. Not to absolve her, but to show her by example how to grab onto any lifeline that's within reach."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"I'm talking about your breakdown. I'm talking about you now doing for Marley what Alice did for you."
"Alice was my stepmother. She wasn't someone I'd harmed in the past."
"You harmed Alice merely by being born. Not your fault, naturally. But, nevertheless, she must have needed to put aside her resentment in order to come to your aid."
"Alice is an amazing woman with an enormous capacity to forgive and show compassion. I'm not built the same way."
"You are when you want to be. You know that just having help available isn't enough. You have to accept it. You have to want to accept it. You have to want to get up in the morning, and not merely face your transgressions, but forgive yourself for them. So you can let go and move on. You know how to do that. You know how to make Marley want to do that. I... don't."
"I can't help her," Jamie reiterated, despite Grant's speech.
"You mean you won't."
"No, I mean I can't. I do know what she's going through, but I also know that I am not someone who can help her. I'm part of the problem, Grant. I could go to Marley with the best of intentions, and give her what she needs to clear this hurdle, but, in the end, I can't give her what she really needs. I never could. Because I don't think I ever really understood what that was. Which played a huge part in how we all ended up here."
"You could try. Damn it, at least try!"
"Whatever she's going through, she has to pull herself out of it. I can't save her. You can't save her. Nobody can help her get better, make her want to get better, and have it stick... except Marley."
"That woman is absolutely insufferable!" Rachel exploded, filling Carl in on her earlier confrontation with Alice. "Can you imagine, the nerve of her, thinking you are the only guilty party in all of this? That Spencer is completely innocent? Remember two years ago, when Jenna and Felicia first went missing, and everyone was looking at you as the culprit? You said a window couldn't get broken in Bay City without it being blamed on you."
"And I believe you responded, my love, by flinging an ash-tray through the French doors."
"Well, I know how you feel now. How do you stand it, Carl? Round up the usual suspects and there you always are, top of the list?"
"In due course, one learns to offset the unavoidable with an affirmation of hard-won Zen and the proverbial other cheek."
"It's insulting! It's humiliating!"
"I do regret having put you in this position."
"Don't. Don't regret any of it. This was precisely the wake-up call I needed. To think that I doubted you. That I wondered if you might have ulterior motives, if you weren't using the danger we are all in as an excuse to settle old debts. Not anymore. Never again. I understand what you're up against now. How many people would love to see you suffer, see you humiliated. You had to strike first. It was the only option."
"Yes," Carl exhaled in gratitude. "Thank you, my dear. You have no idea how much your renewed faith means to me."
"This won't happen again," Rachel promised, allowing Carl to take her in his arms. "I am completely behind you now, whatever happens."
"Not behind," Carl corrected. "By my side, where you belong."
"Good. For there is no one I would rather have."
"There's another bright side," Rachel said. "I finally realized, once and for all, that all of Alice's talk about letting bygones be bygones and calling a truce for our children's sake is just a charade. She's still the same simpering, passive-aggressive, masochistic fraud she always was, using her superiority and self-righteousness to beat up and bully others into getting her way. Spencer may have fallen for her act and she for his but I know better now. We know better now. I am never letting that woman make me feel bad about myself again. And I am damn sure never letting her make me feel bad about being with you."
"Is it sibling rivalry?" Amanda asked Kevin, "If they've only been siblings for a few weeks?"
"Jen and Allie got into a fight."
"Nope. Over us."
"Oh, good. I was worried their relationship wasn't complicated enough."
"Jen basically accused Allie of being a screw-up, so Allie called her Little Miss Perfect."
"That sounds mature. On both their parts."
"Then Allie suggested that Jen only acted perfect because she was afraid if she didn't live up to what you wanted her to be, you wouldn't love her anymore. So Jen countered that even if Allie were everything I wanted, I still wouldn't love her anyway. This prompted Allie to ask me what "
"Wait a minute. Wait." Kevin help up a hand to cut off Amanda's stream of consciousness. "Jenny thinks I need her to be perfect or I won't love her?"
"That was Allie's theory, not Jen's. She said Jen was going on and on about how much she owed you and how she never wanted to be any trouble and "
"Damn it," Kevin flopped back in his chair.
"What? You have a daughter who wants to please you. I wish I had your problems."
"My daughter is wound tightly enough as it is. She's a Type A, perfectionist, over-achieving workaholic "
"Again. Wish I had your problems."
"And now I find out it's all because of me?" Kevin groaned.
"I understand your confusion. Seeing as how you're none of those things," Amanda couldn't help teasing. In this case, the apple most certainly didn't fall far from the tree. She couldn't believe Kevin failed to recognize that. "Besides, a seven year old girl who tracks down a name from a newspaper than takes a subway downtown to hire herself a lawyer was probably a little bit unusual before you even entered the picture, wouldn't you say?"
"I was supposed to help with that. Her grandmother asked me to try and make sure Jenny stopped taking herself so seriously, that she quit loading the world's problems onto her own shoulders and act like a kid, for a change. I'm convinced that's why she's still with GQ. The bigger a mess he made with Hudson and Allie, the more Jenny probably thought he needed her."
"See how my daughter's name followed right on the heels of the word, mess? That's what a real problem is, Kevin. Having a child a little intense about always doing the right thing? That's what we call a genetic win."
"Allie's a good kid," he defended absently, mind still obviously on Jen. "Yes, she made some mistakes. But, so what? Kids are supposed to make mistakes. It's how you know they're kids and not prematurely aged husks of human beings who act like their lives are over before they've even started living them."
"You'd prefer Jen got knocked up, given a baby up for adoption, and faced a murder-charge all before she'd graduated college?" Amanda challenged.
"Well... I Isn't there some happy medium?"
"Not for our girls, apparently."
"You remember Ms. Ewing, don't you, Jazz?" Matt asked his daughter as the three of them sat by the Cory pool the next morning, Jeanne looking a bit confused as to why exactly they were there, but willing to play along if Matt insisted.
"How do you do?" Jasmine extended her hand politely, most likely harboring a better idea of what was about to happen than Jeanne did.
"Your father and I are getting married."
"Jesus Christ, Jeanne." Matt threw his hands up in the air. "We just got here."
"I need to be at the studio in an hour. The response to the Spencer Harrison piece has been above and beyond anything we could have dreamed of. We're getting calls from the networks. Not just US, but international. Better ride the wave before it's gone."
"Yeah, that's great, but..."
"It's okay, Daddy," Jasmine patted his knee. "I understand. Ms. Ewing is very busy."
"She's not too busy for you. Neither of us will ever be too busy for you, Jazz."
"Okay," Jasmine nodded, looking somewhat sympathetically at Matt, as if he couldn't possibly know what he was saying. But, he'd learn.
"Your father thinks you'd like us to have a wedding. Something like your Uncle Jamie and Lorna."
Jasmine wrinkled her nose. "Why do you care what I think?"
"Because I love you," Matt reminded, playfully tweaking one of her damp pigtails.
"But, it's your wedding. Yours and Ms. Ewing's."
"Would you call her Jeanne, please?"
"Is that okay?" Jasmine asked Jeanne.
She shrugged. "If you'd like. It really doesn't matter to me."
"Don't you want to have a wedding, Jeanne?"
"Jeanne is interested in other things," Matt attempted to explain.
"I love my job," Jeanne said. "I want to be the very best I can at it. And I want people to recognize my achievements."
"They tell us that at school," Jasmine nodded thoughtfully. "That women can be and do anything they want."
"Well, not exactly. They told me that at school, too. But, what they forget to mention is that it helps to have money. Lots of it. Money allows you to do what you really want, instead of what you have to just to get by. Luckily, that won't be a problem for you. You've got plenty of money, thanks to your daddy."
"Jeanne!" Matt hissed.
"What? Jasmine is a lucky, little girl. She really can make all her dreams come true."
"I'm going to take Ms. Ewing to work now, Jazz. I just wanted her to stop by and say hello and, well, fill you in about our plans."
"Congratulations," Jasmine said, making up in manners what she lacked in enthusiasm, waving as Matt took Jeanne by the elbow and led her rather firmly through the house to the front door.
Where they bumped into Rachel.
"Hello, Jeanne," Matt's mother offered cautiously. "I We My husband and I caught your special report the other night."
"I hope you and Mr. Hutchins enjoyed it."
"You certainly did your homework."
"I always try my best. I take my responsibilities as a journalist very seriously." Despite Matt's all but tugging her outside, Jeanne held her ground, only turning towards him to ask, "Don't you have something you want to tell your mother, Matt?"
"You didn't slam the door in my face," Grant observed with a modicum of surprise, fidgeting nervously as he sat before Alice in her office at the hospital.
"Should I have?" Alice asked with such sincerity that Grant had to do a double-take.
"Between where I left things with Dad and the recent situation with Jamie, I'd expect you to have several bones to pick with me."
"Whatever problems you and Spencer are currently experiencing are between you and your father. The same goes for you and Jamie."
"So you aren't itching to give me a jaw breaking slap across the face?"
"Would it help any one of us if I did? The most important thing right now is the family pulling together to protect ourselves from the potential threat "
"I heard about that," Grant interrupted. "And I'm on it. But, Dad's latest in a long line of public transgressions is not why I came. I need your professional advice. It's about Marley."
"I'm not a psychiatrist, Grant. Her doctors at Clareview "
"Are beyond useless. One of your colleagues, Dr. Morgan Winthrop, stopped by to see Marley the other day. By the time he was done with her, she'd gone nearly catatonic."
"My God! What did he say to her?"
"I don't know," Grant admitted. "All I know is, Marley won't let her doctors anywhere near her. She's stopped eating, stopped communicating. She's wallowing in guilt, allowing it to consume and pull her away from the people who love her. She's killing herself, Alice. I can't allow that to happen."
"I understand. Truly, I do. But, something you need to understand is, you can't fight this battle for her."
"I wish everyone would stop telling me that! Someone has to do it, and Marley's quit fighting, so that only leaves me! No matter what her crimes, Marley doesn't deserve to lose her life. Michele and Bridget don't deserve to lose their mother. That's why I came to you. You're my last hope. You're Marley's last hope."
"What can I do for her that isn't already being done?"
"Whatever you did for Jamie years ago. You figured out a way to make him want to live, to accept help, to get better. That's exactly what Marley needs right now."
"It was different with Jamie and I. I was a connection to his father. He trusted me. He knew I was on his side, no matter what. Marley's situation is the exact opposite. She knows how close I am to Jamie. She'll most likely just shut me out, as well."
"Would it hurt to try, though? Please, just try. If you don't, there's no one else for me to turn to. She won't see me. Donna would only make things worse. Steven and Kirkland have made it clear they want nothing to do with her. I'd never subject the twins to her current condition. And Jamie "
"You've gone to Jamie about this?"
The sudden spike in Alice's tone made it clear there was only one answer Grant could give in order to retain whatever goodwill he'd managed to wring out so far. "I No. No, of course, I haven't."
"Good," Alice said thoughtfully. "Because that would be a mistake. For both of them."
"Right." Grant was more than happy to agree with anything she said at this point. "Jamie isn't an option. For obvious reasons." Alice's nod suggested that she concurred, even if Grant remained clueless as to why. "Which leaves just you. As a doctor, you can go see her, even if she doesn't want you to. And as someone with an actual heart, you'd try to help her, unlike Winthrop. I know I have no right to ask you this. I know I'm imposing on our familial relationship, which isn't merely new but also pretty tentative at the moment. I understand you have every reason to say no, because of Spencer, because of Jamie, because of me and the role I played in all this. But I'm begging you, nonetheless. Go see Marley, reach her, help her. For her sake, for her family's sake, and, selfish bastard that I am, for mine, as well."
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