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All readers should know that books by our author Cloud should, for best reading, start with Book 1, The Way Back, followed by The Shadows Fall, Battle the Dark, and the fourth book, The Fourth Life. They do build on each other. The Way Back is the initial book in the series, and begins with The Vickerman Premier from OLTL (of course, written with this author's point of view.) Cloud has also completed her 5th Book, The End of Blame, her 6th novel, Diamond in the Rough and her 7th book in the series, Hope from the Ocean. The 8th in the series, Failings of the Fathers, is currently being shared one chapter at a time, every Thursday and Sunday. There are also more to come after this!

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In addition to these, Author Monica_Ann currently completed Dance with the Devil that takes place in Port Charles and has also shared her next book, The Devil You Know, also taking place in Port Charles. Enjoying her next project, Brothers, currently in progress!

Maria, one of our newer authors, just completed Spidey Sam, where Todd, Sam, and Jack have adventures that don't necessarily warrant approval from Blair.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Failings of the Fathers: 25

"Shaun, you stay in the house with them while I'm gone.  Jack will give up his room, if you want it."

"Not necessary, Todd.  I'll be fine in the family room."

"Just stay with them until I get back.  Once I put this to rest, we can go back to the usual."

"What's this about?"

"I . . . don't want to rehash too much of it, you understand."

"Whatever you say."

"It's about my father."  He offered, having second thoughts.

"Timothy?  He okay?"

"No, not Timothy.  My first adoptive father.  Peter Manning."

The name brought a reaction to Shaun's face much like everyone else's, though he didn't know everything, he knew enough.  "What about him?"

"Checking to be certain the bastard's in the ground."

"You have doubts?"

"I'm not sure.  My mother and Sister Rebecca Katherine and I all have had dreams of him coming to get my kids.  The coincidence was a lot for us, I guess."

"I'd say so.  I get it.  You going to be okay alone?"

"Yeah, I'm fine.  I'm going to see his fiance.  The woman who was going to marry him around the time of his death.  Just to be sure."

"Well, good luck to you with this.  I . . . guess I hope you can put all this behind you."

"Thanks Shaun.  Don't leave them at all, all right?  I'll be back in a day or two.  No big deal, it won't be long," he said, zipping his overnight bag.  He went to the staircase, and looked back.  "Watch out for my mother, she's been under a lot of pressure, she's . . . not doing so good, I guess."  After he said it, he didn't like the way it sounded.

"Will do," Shaun said, going into the family room and setting up camp.

Blair turned when she heard him come into the bedroom.  She went to him and kissed him.  Jewel was on the bed in her basket, sleeping.  He said, "She sleeps a lot."

"Babies do that.  Newborns."

"Okay.  She's all right, right?"

"She's perfect, Todd, thanks to you.  I miss you so much already."

"I won't be gone long.  Just to get this crap taken care of, and then I'll be back."  He leaned in to kiss her again.  He said, "Shaun's moved in.  He'll be here."

"We're all right."

"I know or I wouldn't go."



"Be careful, and if you need me, call or text.  I want to be there for you, if it gets bad."

"It won't get bad.  It's not going to be anything rough.  A conversation with this woman, and move on to the rest of living.  Either way."

"I like the sound of that.  When you get back, I will be missing you so much, I'll want to spend some quality time with you," she said kissing the side of his mouth and down his neck.

"Whoa, go slow there.  I gotta drive!"  He joked.  "Gotta concentrate in the copter."

"Okay," she smiled.  "I love you, so much, Todd."

"I love you, too."  He kissed her forehead, and went through the glass doors to the helipad.  She watched him lift off, torn between hope that he would find what he needed and fear for what he might face.


Timothy was sitting by Aiden's chair, watching his son sleep.  A few moments later, he watched him stir, and gently sit up.  Timothy moved closer to the bed, and said, "Hey, Son.  Are ya all right?  How do ya feel today?"

"I feel better," he said.  "I'm ready for whatever comes."

"What does that mean?"

"It means they want to increase my therapy and try to use hypnosis.  They believe it might give us answers.  I still am getting the headaches, so the scar tissue is going to have to be removed.  I guess they want to see if by any chance the pains are related to my thoughts and emotions, instead of my injury, Pappy."

"Can it be?"

"It can.  I don't know the answers, but it makes sense.  I saw my mother die, right when I was injured.  It stands to reason that it can be connected to the pains."

"It's true.  I'm hoping whatever it is, it brings ya peace and lets ya move forward."

"Me, too.  I want a life free of this."

"I know ya do.  I can tell that ya have a goal in mind, and that's always good."

"Yes." He said, and at that moment, the door opened, and Malcolm and Calvin made their way into the room.  

Timothy looked up, this time examining the men in a new light, as if for the first time.  He watched carefully as they approached his son.  Calvin, the taller older man, appeared to be disinterested, but followed behind Malcolm, who greeted Aiden with a smile.  "Mate, are you all right?"

"I'm getting there, yes," Aiden responded, and the two shook hands.

Aiden looked up.  "Calvin."

"You're living, that's a good thing."  Calvin said.  

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary with the men.  Still, Timothy watched carefully as the exchange continued.  It was nothing more than pleasantries and general talk.  Calvin was true to form, rather callous and reserved; Malcolm was more engaging and pleasant.  Nevertheless, both men peaked Timothy's interest as it was possible, if only that, that they could have been out to harm his son.

Timothy's cell phone rang, and interrupted the banter in the room.  He answered, "Hello?"

"Dad, me, Todd."

"Yes, Son," he said.

"I'm a father, again.  Blair had the baby."

"Eric will want to know, would ya like to talk to him?"

"Yeah, but make sure I get you back on before you hang up."

Aiden took the phone, "Todd, is that ya, Brotha?"

"Yeah, it's me.  Blair had the baby.  She's perfect."

"Ah, congratulations, being a father again, Matey.  Is Blair well?"

"She's fine.  It was close for a while, but . . . well, I'll tell you more about that another time."

"Ah, glad it worked out.  Give me the specs, then."  Todd told him Jewel's weight, and Aiden said, "Oh, a little bit of a thing.  But she's healthy, that is what counts."

Both Malcolm and Calvin seemed unaffected by the phone call, as they sat, waiting for Aiden to get off the call.  That was when Aiden said, "Yes, I'm well.  Trust me.  Well, Pappy, ya better go, here's ya father," and handed it back.

Timothy took the phone back, and walked away, while Aiden said to the men, "My brotha, just had another child.  A girl, this time.  She was premature - but healthy."

"A baby is a good thing, positive energy."  Malcolm said.

Calvin said nothing, and sat with his stoic expression and folded arms.  He made no reaction, just listened.

Timothy had walked to the far side of the room and said, "Yes, Son, what else?"

"I'm in Chicago."


"Decided to come and find out for myself about Peter."

"He's likely dead, Son."

"I know.  I've located Connie, with the help of the lawyer you found for me.  I'm plan to talk to her.  I need confirmation.  Blair does, too, and my mother."

"Ah, yes.  I see."

"You sound distant.  Something up?"

"I have my reasons.  I will talk to ya later about it.  Right now, take care of y'arself and good luck with the  search.  I have a feeling ya will be able to put this all to rest soon, and move forward.  And congratulations, Son."

"Thanks," he said, ending the call.

Timothy looked back toward his other son, and saw him entertaining the two men.  At this point, even Calvin seemed interested in his stories.  He was an animated, friendly character who had a great deal of interesting and entertaining history to share.  Timothy sat and listened as well, chuckling at the right parts of the story.

"And then, the buxom one, she turns to me and says, 'Laddy, ya better put that away before ya catch a cold,' and everyone began to laugh like mentallers."  Aiden said, and looking up, spied Tina at the door.

"Hi, should I come back?" she asked.

"No, no.  We're going.  Come on Calvin.  We're going to make a stop at Miguel's."  Malcolm said.

"Great.  The psych ward."  Calvin added, standing.

"Come on, you crab, we're out of here.  Good bye, all.  Aiden, we will see you later."  The two men exited.

Tina walked to the bed and leaned down, kissing Aiden on the lips.  "Ah, the best medicine.  Pappy, cancel all me appointments and shots."

Timothy smiled, seeing his son happy.  Tina said, "Are you feeling better?"

"I feel better now, ya came into the room, Dear Tina."

"I'm glad to see you, too."  Their hands lingered.

"Tina, ya're an aunt again.  Blair's had the baby.  She's only four pounds, the little smidgen."

"Oh, is she all right?"

"Yes, she's fine.  She's perfect."

"Good, it's about time something went right," Tina said, and sat by Aiden's bed.


Todd opened the door to his small motel room, and walked in.  He hadn't gotten anything extravagant; in fact, because he was alone, he chose a moderate venue on the route to Connie's sister's house.  He planned to get to her in the morning, have his talk and go.

He had to admit to himself that he was not excited about seeing her, since she hated him so much all those years back.  Most of the women did.  Any who liked him, or showed him kindness were never brought home again.  

All those women.  Had Peter abused them all?

He put his coat onto the chair, and jumped on to the creaking bed, put his hands under his head, and studied the ceiling.  He missed his baby and his wife, and his boys, so much, it almost surprised him.  He opened his phone, and there was a picture of tiny Jewel, wrapped in pink, with her cheek against Blair's.  He ran his finger over the photo on his phone, and smiled to himself, then remembered where he was and why.  "No one is going to ever hurt you," he said aloud.

Then, he flipped through his photos and took a look at Jack, handsome, smiling and strong, and Sam, with his little glasses, holding his Spelling Bee Certificate.  Next, he thumbed across to a shot of Starr holding Peanut, and his eyes moistened.  He had missed so much of Starr's life, as well as Jack's.  He would make up for that with Jewel.  She'd be Daddy's little girl for real, not half-baked like Starr had been, with him always leaving and coming back and screwing things up.  He did remember all that, as much as he wanted it gone.  Little Ray was in the next picture, playing with his truck and holding it toward the camera.  His mouth was open, and his feet seemed perched to take off at any time, and it made him smile.  He flipped backward to the first photo, of Blair and the baby, and studied it.  She didn't look any different than she did when he first met her, all those years ago, in Rodi's at the bar.  She amazed him.

He missed her.  He opened the phone and dialed.  "Hey, Mommy."

"Todd."  She sounded relieved and very sexy.

"Yep, it's me."

"You made it okay?"

"Yeah.  I'm here in one piece."

"I'm glad."

"I was just looking at this picture of you.  You're so beautiful.  You look just like you did when I first met you."

"I'm so much older, Todd."

"If that's true, I can't see it.  I miss you."

"I miss you."

"Jewel okay?"

"She's fine, she's just resting on me.  She just nursed."

"Lucky her."

She laughed.  "Are you feeling all right?  I mean, any regrets that you went out there?"

"I don't know.  This place is similar to Ireland for me.  When I get here, I sort of feel depressed the first minute.  Drags me down."

"I'm sorry.  I wish I was there with you."

"Well, you're busy.  Our daughter and the kids rate, number one, along with you."

"Be careful.  If something feels off . . ."

"It's not going to be like that.  It's going to be cut and dry.  The bastard is dead, and so are all his threats."

"I like that attitude.  Will you call me, again?"


"Every hour."

"I could, if you want me to, or we could just stay on the phone."

"We could.  Let me put the kids down, and then I'll call you back.  Want to watch a movie together?"

"Sure, why not," he smiled, leaning over to look at the television remote.

She said, "I have an idea, you brought your tablet, right?"

"Yeah, sure I did."

"Okay, I'll call you back.  I love you."  She hung up.

He put the phone next to him and closed his eyes.  It would take her some time to get the kids in bed, and be able to call back.  Maybe he could keep her on the phone with him until morning.  Even if he had to listen to her breathe.  He loved her more than anything.

Peter is not alive.  He can't be.  He flashed on the drawing that Bitsy had just done of Peter with the bat, and winced.  He's dead.  He died in front of me, in the hospital, right down the street.  He got up and went to look out the window, and sure enough, the hospital was in view.  He closed his eyes, remembering the last things they had said to each other - how he had been so desperate for Peter's love and approval even then.  I couldn't remember a thing.  I didn't even know the half of what he did . . .  the only thing I wanted was his acceptance.

He went back to the bed, and sat down, and felt very alone.  He turned and lay back on the bed again, and closed his eyes.  

Later, he woke up to a darkened room, and the sound of his cell going off.  He scrambled out of his sleep to get to it, and saw "OTB" on the screen.  He answered, "Hello?"


"Hi, Blair."

"The kids are asleep.  So get the tablet, go online and check your email.  Get that link I sent you.  Click it, and then, we'll watch a movie together."

"How did you figure all this out?"

"Jack.  He has his ways."

He did as she said, and before he knew it, he was in a website chat room with a You Tube video screen, and she had found Evil Dead II.  It was just starting.  He laughed.  "You did all this?"

"Jack.  But I thought of it.  Your favorite."

They watched the movie together over the phone, chatting sometimes, and silent others.  About an hour in, she had fallen asleep.  He could hear her, softly taking in breaths, and kept the phone line open, hoping she wouldn't accidentally disconnect.  When the movie ended, everything was quiet, and he could hear her, again, only clearer, in the soft, rhythmic patterns of sleep.  He listened, turning on his back, and looking to the popcorn ceiling again, with her breathing in his ear.

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