Cass didn’t say anything. There was nothing for Cass to say. He simply sat with Frankie in the hospital waiting room, both of them waiting for the doctors to come out and tell them what they both already knew: Their daughter was sick. Too sick for a quick fix, of either the herbal or the pharmaceutical variety.
“You haven’t said: I told you so,” Frankie prompted, needing Cass to say something, anything, before the silence completely devoured her.
“Neither have you.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Charlie is sick because of me.”
“But, she went untreated because of me.”
Cass shrugged. “We can’t change the past.”
“That’s what I’ve been doing, isn’t it?” Frankie couldn’t suppress the compulsion to keep kicking herself, especially while she was down. “I’ve been trying to rewrite the past. Pretend all of our missing years never happened.”
“I understand the impulse.”
“Except you didn’t succumb to it.”
“I also wasn’t separated from my daughter for a decade. I didn’t have my life stolen from me. I suffered, Frankie, sure, while you were gone. But not the way you did.”
“Why aren’t you blaming me for any of this?” she demanded, more frustrated by his reticence than she would have been if he’d excoriated her the same way Zeno had.
“What good would it do?” he sighed. “Other than upset both of us even more.”
“I don’t think that’s possible.”
Cass said, “Whatever course of treatment the doctors recommend, we’ll have to make sure Charlie follows it to the letter, this time.”
“Yes,” Frankie agreed.
“It’s not going to be as easy as it sounds, trust me. Lithium has side effects. It is very, very tempting to skip a dose here and there. Especially when you’re Charlie’s age and think that you’re indestructible.”
“I won’t let that happen,” Frankie swore.
“It’s going to mean monitoring her, watching her for possibly years, until we work out a treatment regimen that works and one that we can trust her to follow. It means being the bad guys, Frankie.”
“You don’t think I can do that?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Cass said. “Because I can. I’ll be the bad guy. I’ll make her hate me. I don’t care.”
“What about me?” Frankie asked, afraid of the answer.
Cass merely looked at his wife, without saying anything at all.
After Chase’s press conference aired, Rachel received so many calls that she shut off her cell phone and ordered her staff to ignore the landlines. She needed some time to think, to form a proper response, to get herself together before she was ready to deal with anyone else.
But, what she couldn’t ignore was the message that Ms. Felicia Gallant was here, and she wished to speak to Mrs. Hutchins. Immediately.
Felicia was waiting for Rachel in the library, shaking with the same anxious fury that had consumed Rachel while watching Chase on TV. She seemed almost too worked up to speak, but not quite.
“That was Cory on the phone.” It wasn’t a question.
Rachel answered her in any case. “Yes.”
“You recognized his voice.”
“Of course. He’s my son.”
“You heard him say Mom.”
“Yes,” Rachel’s voice cracked at the memory.
“And you heard him say Lorna.”
Felicia exploded. “This was months ago, Rachel! Before we even went to France.”
“I didn’t know what to do,” Rachel pleaded with her friend to understand. “If I went public with what had happened – just imagine what Chase Hamilton would have done with the information!”
“He might have used it to find my daughter!”
“How?” Rachel demanded. “You think I didn’t try to trace the call?”
“He’s got resources you don’t. Federal Government resources.”
“That he’d have sicced on my husband!”
“And my daughter!” Felicia couldn’t stop slamming the point with everything in her. “At the very least you had proof that Carl was alive, and that Lorna was with him.”
“But, I didn’t know why.”
“What difference does that make?”
“It might. We don’t know. We don’t know anything.”
“Except that our children are alive. And that your husband took all three of them.”
“What if Carl took Elizabeth, Cory and Lorna in order to protect them from a danger we don’t know about? Something even worse than the compound? My revealing that they were still alive might have ruined his plans. And we don’t even know that he took Lorna by force. She might have gone with him willingly.”
“My daughter abandoned her husband and children to go off voluntarily with Carl?” Felicia reiterated the sentiment so that Rachel might hear how ridiculous she sounded.
“You don’t think Lorna would do anything she had to in order to protect Jamie and the girls?”
“Of course she would. But how does Carl – “
“I’ve been thinking about this,” Rachel said. “Lorna worked for Carl, right?”
“Right,” Felicia said cautiously, unsure of where this was going.
“Well, what if the threat is someone from that period in his life? Someone out to get Carl and Lorna both? Don’t you think, under those circumstances, she’d leave with him?”
“Without telling Jamie?”
“It’s safer this way. If Jamie genuinely doesn’t know where she’s gone, there’s no one he can tell.”
Felicia attempted to untangle the threads. “But, wouldn’t anyone who is after Lorna go after Jamie and the girls? What better way to draw Lorna out of hiding?”
“Not if they think both she and Carl are dead.”
“And Cory and Elizabeth?”
“They must have been targets, too.”
“So Carl deliberately let you believe your children were dead….”
“It might very well have been the lesser of two evils.”
“You still should have told me,” Felicia insisted.
“I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry. I though, if we could find Carl first….”
“But, they’re definitely alive, aren’t they?” Felicia asked through tears.
“Yes.” Rachel grabbed her friend’s hands, squeezing them tightly. “Our children are definitely still alive.”
“Are you sure it’s okay for me to be here?” Dennis nervously glanced around Daisy’s nursery, as if waiting to be caught doing – what? – at any moment.
“It’s fine,” Marley reassured, laying the baby down in her crib. “Grant is out of town, and the girls are at school for a couple more hours. Besides, you have every right to come visit your granddaughter, there’s nothing improper about it.”
“In that case,” Dennis bent over to kiss the back of Marley’s neck. “I am very, very happy that you called.”
She purred with pleasure, but kept her eyes on Daisy as she observed, “I definitely see a resemblance. She has your ears; look.”
“I though the consensus,” Dennis nuzzled against Marley’s skin. “Was that she looked just like Grant? That’s how you knew Sarah wasn’t lying about him being the father.”
“Well, now I think she looks like you.”
“And I think,” Dennis turned Marley around to face him. “That it’s been much too long since I’ve made love to you.”
“Here?” Marley’s eyes widened in shock.
“Daisy is – “
“She will be soon.”
“No, not here,” Marley insisted. “It wouldn’t be right.” And then she smiled. “I have a better idea.”
She beckoned him forward and Dennis followed Marley into the hall, his eyes the ones growing wide once he realized… “Do you mean…”
Marley nodded, practically gigging. “Grant’s and my bed….”
“Whatever you say,” Dennis allowed her to lead him the rest of the way.
“So what do you think of your Rachel now?” Iris knew that gloating gave one wrinkles. But, truly, this was worth the risk.
“She’s not my anything,” Russ reminded.
“Did you hear Chase Hamilton’s press conference?”
“I read about it. Thanks to that very helpful link you sent.”
“Rachel has known that Carl is alive for months! And that’s he’s got Lorna, too!”
“That is what the recording would suggest, yes.”
“We all heard it with her own ears.”
“You heard two words on a tape full of static, recorded through quasi-legal means.”
“Chase Hamilton used to be the District Attorney. I’m sure he understood what’s within the parameters of legality.”
“I never knew you were such a law and order type.”
“Oh, come now, Russ. If you had caught me in a lie of similar magnitude – “
“I haven’t caught Rachel in anything.”
“She neglected to mention to you that she’d received a phone call from her supposedly dead son about her supposedly dead daughter-in-law.”
“Rachel doesn’t owe me updates about her personal life.”
“Oh, why must you be so reasonable?” Iris despaired.
Russ smiled, “Well, first and foremost, because I enjoy seeing how unreasonable my being reasonable makes you.”
“You’re horrible,” she pouted.
“And two) Because I’ve flown off the handle half-cocked before – if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphor. And it didn’t go well.”
“Surely, darling, you don’t think you’re that man anymore.”
“It’s bad enough I was that man, once. I’m in no position to judge anyone.”
“Still, it is an interesting world, isn’t it,” Iris mused. “When Rachel is telling lies, and I’m the one speaking truth?”
Russ declined to comment.
There she was.
By following the trail Frankie had left him – he didn’t ask the means by which she’d acquired it and Frankie didn’t tell – Grant had managed to confirm that Sarah was indeed in Montreal, registered at McGill University and living on campus. He’d gotten his hands on her class schedule – again, via methods he wouldn’t be confessing to in the near future – and, as a result, was able to catch her as she crossed the street from one building to another.
Sarah looked… She looked like she fit in.
For some reason, Grant hadn’t expected that. After everything Sarah had been through – him, Daisy – Grant simply hadn’t expected that she would look no different from every other student who passed on either direction of her.
Sarah’s hair was pulled back into a ponytail; her hair devoid of make-up save some sunscreen and lip-gloss. She wore jeans and a T-shirt with the McGill logo on it, and carried a backpack over one shoulder. She held a cup of iced coffee in her hand and sipped it absently from a straw, her mind visibly a million miles away. Grant imagined Sarah was going over facts for a test or writing a term paper in her head.
It was everything he’d ever dreamed of for her. Unencumbered by a baby… or an old man… she was free to live the normal, carefree life that every young woman her age deserved. She could get a degree and embark on a profession in a reasonable amount of time. She could go out on dates without arranging for a babysitter. She could marry without worrying that her husband would be dead – or worse, incapacitated – shortly.
This was the reason Grant had turned his back on Sarah, the reason he’d sent her away, the reason he’d made her believe he didn’t care, that she’d been nothing more than fling, that he was tired of her, that he preferred Marley.
All of those things, Grant did in Sarah’s best interests, so that she’d be forced to return to the life that rightfully awaited her.
Which begged the question: What the hell was Grant doing here?
Initially, he’d told himself that it was only so that Grant could make sure that Sarah was alright. She’d left so suddenly and unexpectedly, Grant needed reassurance that it was all for the best.
Her best, not his.
So why was he here?
To see for himself that Sarah was thriving.
Well, Sarah was obviously thriving.
Did Grant have the right to interfere?
What good would it do anyone? Sarah was happy and obviously in her element. And even she agreed that Daisy was better off with the Harrisons. The only currently miserable one in this scenario was Grant.
There was no denying it. He’d come all this way not for Sarah’s sake, or Daisy’s, but for his own. He wanted to see her. He needed to see her. He’d missed her.
Did Grant have the right to throw Sarah’s life into turmoil – yet again – all because of his own selfishness? It was the one thing he’d been trying to avoid for close to a year now.
But, did he have the strength to do it a second time?
A throng of reporters stood gathered just outside the gates of the Cory Mansion. Rachel caught sight of them when she walked Felicia to the door. They all wanted a statement about the recording Chase Hamilton had played earlier. Was it true? Had Rachel known that her family was alive for months, and had she kept that information from the proper authorities – and her own children?
Rachel declined to give them an answer, and she was relieved to note that Felicia was doing the same. Her friend pushed through the crowd, climbed into her car and drove away without so much as a terse “No Comment.”
Which, of course, only whipped the vultures into more of a frenzy.
Rachel closed the door and retired upstairs to the Eastern part of the house, the one furthest from the noise. She told the staff, under no circumstances, were they too let anyone in.
Her order was obeyed until the evening. When a maid timidly knocked to inquire whether Mrs. Hutchins was available to speak with Dr. Frame.
“Which Dr. Frame?” Rachel asked, hoping against hope that Alice’s might be the name in question.
“Dr. Jamie Frame,” the girl reported.
THERE WILL BE NO NEW EPISODE OF ANOTHER WORLD TODAY ON MONDAY, MAY 27, DUE TO THE MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY.
ANOTHER WORLD TODAY WILL RETURN ON THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2013
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!
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