Blair sat there for a moment, her heart was beating fast as she chewed on her lower lip. Her worst fear was true. Todd was paralyzed. She had hoped the wheelchair was just a ruse, but the doctor had blown that out of the water. Blair looked back toward the door. She wanted to go to him so bad and tell him it didn’t matter but that would just infuriate him. He hated the thought of being weak and pitied. When she first met him, he was at an all time low but he refused to let it drag him down. Everyone in town had been convinced he was raping nurses and he fought every step of the way to prove his innocence, and he did, much to the chagrin of Bo and the Llanview Police.
He had been there for her as a friend when she thought she wanted Cord and had been her rock when she shot Max due to momentary madness. Now this. It must have been a crushing blow to find himself without his memory or his legs. She looked back at the doctor. “Tell me, how did he end up working in the Children’s ward?”
“Todd was really depressed and was quite an ogre to the staff because of his problems. Any attempt to give him a name or questions about the raft just made him angrier and more frustrated. One afternoon he saw the children outside getting some fresh air. They were getting restless and cranky because all they were allowed to do was get some sun. He interrupted their moaning with paper airplanes. The children were delighted and soon were laughing and having fun. It was the first time I actually saw a smile on Todd’s face. The children and Todd formed a bond that day and when he was well enough to leave the hospital, it was my suggestion that he stay on and become the activity coordinator for the Ward. He still needed physical therapy and we were trying to help him get back his memory. He agreed because he had nowhere else to go and I believe the children kept him from dwelling on his own problems. He’s been great with the children and they love him. I was surprised when you said he was leaving. I had no idea he made that decision. I do know something has been bothering him for some time and I think it has to do with his flashes of memories. If I may inquire, what happened between you and Todd and why was he on the ocean on a raft?”
“As I said Doctor, Todd and I were having problems. He disappeared a few months ago from Hawaii and recently I found out he was stranded on an island with two other people. I was told he left the island on a raft, intent on coming home to me and the children. How he ended up here is a much a mystery to me as it is to you. Tell me, why didn‘t you try to find out who he was? I mean, I know he didn’t remember but what about fingerprints. Surely those would have given you some idea who he was.”
Miguela nodded, “They would have if we could have gotten fingerprints but unfortunately Todd’s hands were damaged when he came to us and there were no fingerprints to be had. We tried to see if anyone had been lost off a cruise ship or if there were any boats missing here in the South Pacific, but none was found and he was unable to explain the raft. All we found on him was a picture. It was of you and the children but he had no idea who you were or why he had it.”
It was all too much for Blair. She broke down crying. All her fears about Todd being hurt had come true and the reality of Todd’s situation tore her heart out. He had tried to come home and instead he had ended up lost.
Todd held his son and opened the bowl of oat rings so his son could grab them and eat. He grinned as the little guy tossed several of them on Doctor Sanchez’s floor. “Hey now, you’re supposed to eat those not play with them.”
Starr watched her father. He looked different from the last time she had seen him and she knew something was off. “Daddy, why are you sitting in that chair? Did you break your legs? Mommy told me about the time she was hurt real bad and had to walk with crutches, is that what happened to you? How come you didn’t call me? I’ve missed you so much. Mommy said the reason you left is because of what you did to Jack and that you tried to take us from her. She was really mad at you at first. Daddy, why did you give Jack away and then bring him back?”
Todd had looked up when Starr had started to ask her questions. He wasn’t sure how to answer her questions about his legs. He heard the hurt in her voice when she asked him why he didn’t call. “Starr, I couldn’t… wait .. who is Jack?”
“Daddy don’t be silly.” She moved closer to her father and ruffled Jack’s hair. “Jack, Daddy’s teasing, he knows who you are.” She then hugged both her father and brother. “See, all together again and this time, we’re going to stay a family, just like my friends.”
Todd blinked his eyes to clear the tears that were forming. He looked at the baby in his arms. Jack wasn’t an adult, he was his son. Suddenly he saw himself standing in a room.
She was angry .”You didn’t care, did you, Todd? You gave my baby away and then you brought it back! But you didn’t care about me, at all. You didn’t care how much I was hurting. All you cared about was whether or not I found out what kind of monster you were. The kind that would take an innocent baby.”. She sobbed and continued, “and get rid of it because he couldn’t raise another man’s child!
He stood there looking at her..”There are so many mistakes..”
“Admit it, Todd! I want to hear you say it!” she moved towards him. "And be honest for one moment in your sorry life, I want you..to ..tell..me..what ..you ..did!”
They were face to face. “I did it. I did everything you said I did!”
She sobbed and backed away from him and started crying.
. Starr didn’t know what to do. One minute she had been talking to her dad and the next he had just seemed to forget she was there. She saw tears start to fall and shook him. “Daddy, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”
The memory vanished but the pain of what he had done remained. He looked at his son and daughter through his tears. God, I really am a monster. Just then the door to the office opened and his wife walked in with Dr. Sanchez. He looked up at the woman he knew was his wife and saw tears in her eyes. It was as if the moment had just happened. “Why are you here? What I did to you and them is unforgivable. You’re right, I am a monster. You should leave and stay as far away from me as possible.” He tried to stop the flow of tears by wiping them away quickly and then he rolled his chair over to his wife and handed his son back to her. “You need to go!” he moved his chair past her and rolled out into the hallway intent on getting as far away from them as he could.
Blair stood there stunned. She clung to Jack and looked at Dr. Sanchez. “What just happened?” Starr looked like she was going to burst into tears herself. “Starr, what did you and Daddy talk about?”
“Mommy, we were just talking about Jack.” She began to cry in earnest. “ Why did Daddy say we should leave. Why was he crying?”
“Starr, you stay here with Dr.Sanchez. I’ll go find your father. We’re not going anywhere.”
Miguela held out her arms to take the baby from Blair. “He’s probably headed for the entrance. He had his duffle bag on the chair. I believe he came to say goodbye and then saw you. You should be able to catch him there.”
Blair ran out of the office with only one thing on her mind, to get to Todd before he got away again. She found him just outside the entrance on the sidewalk. He was cursing and pounding on his legs.
“You stupid bastard. You can’t walk and now you know the real truth about the kind of man you are. You thought being a rapist was bad. God, how could you give your own son away! What a fool I am?” He pulled the picture from his pocket. “I thought if I just got my memories of you back, I’d find a reason to keep going but the more I learn about myself the more I hate myself.”
Blair walked up slowly behind him, listening to him berate himself. Her heart ached for him the same way it had the night she made love to him after they decided to keep Jack. Her poor Todd, always believing the worst of himself. He didn’t think anyone could love him He was maddening, infuriating, capable of terrible deeds and yes, cruelty, but he also loved with all his heart and she loved him with all of hers. “Todd..”
He spun around in the chair. “Why did you follow me? I told you to go.” It was like looking at the picture, only now the woman was talking to him. She was beautiful. Her eyes still had traces of tears and the sunlight played off a tear on her lashes as she blinked. She had been crying and he knew it was because of him.
“I’m not going anywhere without you. You once told me we were soulmates. After all these years and everything that’s happened, that is still true. There have been times in the past that I hated you with every fiber of my being but no matter how hard I tried, you were under my skin and I knew we would always be tied together. I forgive you.” She got down so she could look at him, face to face. “Whether you believe this or not, I came looking for you because I love you and I missed you and our family is incomplete without you.” She started to cry again.
Todd raised a hand and began brushing her tears away. He was surprised when she gave a little laugh and grabbed his hand. “What?” he asked about her strange reaction.
Blair kissed his hand. “You don’t remember but it seems you constantly catch me crying and your first instinct is to brush away my tears. It was one of the endearing qualities you have that surprised me when we first got to know each other. You’ve never been known for your gentle side. In fact, I doubt many people even know you have one.” Unable to stop herself, Blair leaned forward and softly kissed him. As she drew back she saw his expression. She had seen it before, that look of utter bewilderment that anyone would want to kiss him. It was that very look that had captured her heart so many years before. That first Christmas, they had been two lost souls seeking comfort with each other and it had ignited a love so deep that Blair was now determined to hang onto it. She stood back up still holding his hand. “Thomas Todd Manning, the only place you’re going is home with me and the kids. I don’t care if you never fully regain your memories. We’ll make new ones, and if I know you, and believe me, I know you better than you know yourself, you’ll find a way to get rid of that wheelchair and get back on your feet.” She started to move behind his chair to push him back inside but he stopped her.
“Wait!” The kiss had totally surprised him. He realized that although his memory of her was still faulty something in him recognized her on a deeper level. The taste of her lips lingered on his and he found himself wanting more. One look at her standing above him told him that she was bent and determined and nothing he said was going to change that. Don’t be a fool, man She said she forgives you. just go with that. It’s what you really want..
Blair looked down at him, afraid he was going to once again insist they leave without him
“If I’m going to go home with you, I think I should know your name. After all, I can’t keep calling you Mrs. Manning.”
Blair beamed. “I love it when you call me Mrs. Manning.“ She leaned down and whispered in his ear. “It’s Blair. I love you, Todd Manning.”. She kissed his cheek gently and then began pushing him towards the entrance.
Todd reached up and touched where she had kissed him. It had felt right. For now, he was going home with his family and they would work things out along the way. The wind picked up the picture that had been sitting on his lap and sent it flying through the air. Todd watched it blow away. It didn’t matter, he now had the real thing.
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