The next few weeks after getting his memories back had been exhausting for Todd. He had overseen the remodeling done at the penthouse and had set up regular therapy sessions at the hospital. He continued to use the wheelchair when he went into The Sun and when Blair asked him why he didn’t use the brace more often along with a crutch, he told her the truth. He couldn’t stand wearing it..
Every day from ten in the morning until noon, he worked with his therapist. The last half hour was devoted to working with the brace and he hated every minute of it. The right leg had improved immensely but the therapist still insisted he wear the brace because the muscles needed time to recover. Todd was convinced it was unnecessary because he was now able to put all his weight on that leg without any problem. When the brace for the left leg was added, Todd felt the impact of his disability even more. He had gotten used to the chair but for some reason, the braces made things harder. He was grateful they got him on his feet, but he hated the feeling of helplessness they gave him. He now remembered everything he had gone through to get back to Blair from Ireland, and the braces just brought that whole ordeal back into focus and also reminded him of the outcome of that return.
He could have done without those memories forever. He had woken up several nights in a row as his memories kept coming back and more than once he had broken out in a cold sweat as all his sins came to light. The things he had done to so many people including Blair and Vicki were beyond bad and yet both Blair and Vicki had forgiven him. He still couldn’t understand how they continued to love him but he was grateful they did.
Todd glanced out the window of the van as Williams pulled into The Manning Building parking garage. It had been another grueling workout but the therapist said he was right on schedule and would probably be walking without support soon. Todd was pleased and all he wanted to do was have a nice luncheon with Blair and an even better evening. He rolled into the executive office outer room and overheard Blair talking to someone on the phone.
“Look, your threats are useless. This is America, and as a publisher, I have the right to inform the citizens of Llanview about the thugs coming into their town. If Mr. O’Brien doesn’t like the publicity maybe he should consider finding another town to set up house in that will cater to his kind.” Blair slammed the phone down and walked behind the desk muttering to herself’
Todd rolled over to Suzanne. “Did I just hear Blair say the word ‘threat’? Is this the first time?”
“No Sir, that call was the third one this week. I’m worried. Mrs. Manning won’t take them seriously. She says they’re bluffing to try and stop her from writing her articles.”
Frowning, he looked at Suzanne. “I want to be notified immediately if she gets another call like that.” He rolled into the main office. “Hey Babe, you look a bit out of sorts. Tell me which idiot here at the paper is giving you trouble and I’ll fire them immediately.”
Blair laughed. “Stop that. No one here would dare give me any trouble now that you’re back in town. Your reputation for instant dismissals is too well known.”
Todd grabbed her hand as she neared him and pulled her down onto his lap and gave her a kiss
.After a quick gasp, when she found herself in his lap, Blair wrapped her arms around him and returned his kiss passionately.
When they finally came up for air, Todd frowned at Blair. “Is there anything you want to tell me?”
Blair looked at him in surprise. “Like what?”
“Like how you’ve been getting threatening calls. Why the hell would you keep that from me? I thought we were starting over clean. No more secrets.”
Blair put her hands on his shoulders, her eyes meeting his. “Todd, it’s nothing. If I don’t get a threat every other week I figure The Sun isn’t doing its job.”
Todd took her hands off his shoulders. He could see on her face she had no idea of the hornet’s nest she had stirred.“This is different, Blair. Suzanne says these calls have been from O’Brien and his syndicate. I warned you, you needed to be careful. You’ve been stepping on some serious toes These guys play for keeps.”
“I’m a big girl Todd. They wouldn’t dare harm someone from the press. “ She slipped off his lap. “You went after the Men of 21. Why is it wrong of me to go after these guys?” Blair had no sooner said the remark when she realized Todd probably had no memory of that occasion. “Todd, I …” She paused as she realized Todd wasn’t looking at her any longer.
Todd found himself looking at Patrick and Mahoney fighting over the gun and then the shot rang out. Mahoney stood tall for a minute as Patrick backed away from him. Mahoney collapsed and Patrick soon followed. Todd walked over and nudged Mahoney but he was dead. He then turned his attention to Patrick, the blood was spreading across his chest. Todd moved to Patrick but then backed off as Bo and the police came through his door. The next thing he knew Marty came screaming into the room going straight to Patrick. She was hysterical trying to staunch Patrick’s wound. As Marty held him, Patrick looked right at Todd
“I’ve repaid you for saving my life in Innishcraig.” His breathing was labored
Todd could only look on silently as Marty pleaded. “No! No! Don’t even think about dying!”
Patrick gasped continuing to look directly at Todd. “In the end, you’ll pay for what you’ve done and you’ll know that I saved your life and the life of your beautiful daughter. That’s the beginning of your punishment.” Patrick turned his attention to Marty telling her what she meant to him and then he died in her arms.
Todd looked on with sorrow knowing he had once again hurt Marty.
Bo turned to Todd. “Manning, I need to know what happened?”
Marty glared at Todd as she continued to hold Patrick. Her tone was laden with hatred as she spit out the words. “Right, got to give them a statement. Got to tell them why all this happened. Tell how it’s all your fault and Patrick’s dead”
She screamed. “Don’t say my name! You’re not a man, you’re a Curse!”
Just then, Blair burst in looking for Starr. She looked around and saw the carnage. Her eyes met Todd’s. “You’re a magnet for Chaos, Danger, and Death!” Those last words reverberated through Todd and he found himself gasping for breath.
Even as she watched Todd, she realized the memory he was having was a bad one. When he started struggling to breathe she knew she had to get him out of the memory. She sat down on his lap again and wrapped her arms around him. “Todd, let it go. Whatever is holding you is something from long ago. Let it go. Come back to me.” His breathing got more regular and she brought one hand up to his face. “That’s it, Todd. Look at me. I don’t know what happened, I’m sorry.”
Todd took a deep breath. His eyes met Blair’s. “I didn’t want him dead. I just wanted to get him gone from Llanview. He was never supposed to die. God, you and Marty were correct I’m a curse who only hurts the people he loves.”
Blair was baffled. “Todd, who died? I don’t understand.”
“Patrick, he died because I couldn’t let go of my hate. He died because my articles to destroy him and the Men of Twenty-one brought the killer to my door.”
As she listened, Blair finally realized what had brought on the memories. “Oh my god, Todd, this happened because I brought up those articles. I never should have mentioned them. I was just trying to make a point. But Todd, you need to know something. Patrick didn’t die. He and Marty went into hiding. You didn’t kill him. And one thing more, I never called you a Curse and if Marty did she was wrong. You’re your own worst enemy. Yes, you’ve hurt us, but in the end;, you are the one that hurts himself the most. We’ve all had a support system but you always end up alone, and I’m not going to let that happen again. I will fight your demons for your soul if that’s what it takes. Do you understand me?”
Todd gazed at Blair. He took in her features from her gorgeous green eyes to her silky hair. One would never know just looking at her, just how scrappy a fighter she was. It still puzzled him how she continued to love him. He knew one other thing, despite her scrappiness, Blair was impulsive and took chances. The memory he had just endured reminded him just how dangerous it was to play games with the mob. She was waiting for an answer so he gave her one. “I understand. But now I need you to listen to me. I played with fire when I tried to take down Patrick and I got burned. I don’t want to see you go up in flames. I need you to back off O’Brien’s Syndicate. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but you should let Bo handle him for a while.” Blair started to say something and Todd put his hand over her mouth. “I’m serious, Blair. I won’t lose you again.”
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