Todd knew that Samuel sustained a big shock when those memories returned and he had felt him almost give in to it. Thank God for the young lady who was helping Samuel. Samuel made it through some of the worse memories Todd had and survived. It had been one of the biggest hurdles they would all face. Todd surveyed the gaping hole in the wall and watched as memory after memory escaped. Samuel was probably in for rough ride tonight.
He shut the front door and took his coat off hanging it on its hook. Wearily he entered his sitting room. Samuel gazed around at his girls, tonight he needed the warmth he had always felt from them. He was cold and knew it was the effects of the shock he felt. He walked to his loft and found Marty's painting. He had to face her, now that he had the whole truth. With shaking hands he picked up the canvas and set it back on the easel. Although he himself had not perpetrated the rape, he was a part of the man who had. Therefore he would also have to accept the guilt. As Samuel stood there looking at Marty, more memories seeped into his consciousness and he remembered facing Marty in a hotel room and asking forgiveness. That night a truce had fallen between them and they had both begun to pick up the pieces of their lives. Samuel felt some of the coldness lift as more memories came, events where he and Marty helped each other, always fated to be in each others lives. They would never be friends but they had an understanding of each other like few others could possibly realize.
Samuel rubbed his forehead, "I'm tired." he said to himself. He turned and headed to the bedroom, he paused and turned into the bathroom. Standing in front of the mirror, He looked at himself.
"Todd?" he asked.
"Yes Samuel" he heard in return.
"My god Man, how could you do that?! What drove you to those extremes? What other terrible memories are in store for me?" he begged.
Todd answered. "I have no excuse for my actions that day and I live with the horror of it as you will have to, until I can take over. I fear there are more ugly truths that haven't surfaced yet. You'll handle them because they are as much a part of you and me, as the beautiful memories. Remember you're a part of the whole and the whole of us can tackle anything."
Samuel looked once more in the mirror seeing Todd and himself blend into one image. He could do this. He would do this. Samuel turned and left the bathroom, made his way to the bed, took off his shoes and laid down. He was too tired to change, as soon as his head hit the pillow he was out.
'Samuel was running to get away from someone, he was looking for his mother but he couldn't find her. .. He had to hide, that man was getting closer he was going to hurt him. .. Samuel saw a flame in front of his eyes and his hand hurt it was hurting bad but he wouldn't cry. .. he was running again he found her everything was going to be ok... no...she's gone .. more flames .. more pain .. his back was so painful he didn't want to lay down it hurt.. birthday cake and candles .. no not again the flame .. no more .. wait no oh god no...blackness'
Samuel sat up screaming. He was drenched in cold sweat. He had had nightmares before but Samuel knew these were more than nightmares. He was beginning to understand a little of what drove Todd, that desperation, a constant undercurrent, that push Todd through life. Samuel recalled the black void that he suddenly couldn't enter. That was one area that Todd couldn't or wouldn't go. Samuel wondered if that was the memory that would bring Todd out, still, he didn't know why but Samuel suspected the black void was separate from the horror that had made him come out. Just what kind of horrors could split a man so completely. Samuel laid back down almost afraid to close his eyes. What was he going to see next?
Samuel's night took another turn into the darkness.
He was lying in a bed screaming in agony, burning up, god he felt like his insides were burning through his skin... he had to run.. couldn't think ..had to think... anger raging through him, had to get her..she couldn't see now he had her...she stabbed him, darkness again ...running never going to be free...running.. he was struggling.. a gunshot pain ...so cold... there he had to climb they were coming....agony ....falling... darkness once more...no she's there... Rebecca ...more darkness.... so angry want to hit out.. my hand...trapped again ..didn't do it..no one believes...he sees the knife descending catches it fighting... can't breathe...searing agony again.. darkness..her voice...don't you die..you hang on Todd... he sees her his Blair... no...my son's dead...anger... can't take it ...she crying he's standing over her, God, he wants to hurt her..can't...won't...NO!!!'
Samuel once again snapped awake. He remembered. He saw himself standing over Blair. He was so angry, she'd hurt him more than he thought was possible. He wanted to strike back to hurt her the way she'd hurt him. She was on the bed in front of him as he reached for his belt. She was scared but defiant, daring him, he started to take her,,,he couldn't. As his heart ripped to shreds, he raced from the apartment. He wandered out to the alley behind Rodi’s There's where he belonged with the trash..he collapsed. Samuel felt his tears sliding down his face. All that anger, fear, shame and love, such deep love filled him at once but surrounding all of the feelings was an intense self-loathing that he wasn't worth anything. Todd felt so much but didn't and couldn't express it.
Samuel got up and headed to the sitting room. He said quietly to himself, "Todd, you're more than trash. Come I'll show you." Samuel then walked over to the mantle he looked at his picture of Vicki, "Todd, she's our sister and she loves us no matter our flaws, don't you see it in her eyes..look at the bench, she’s overjoyed to see you, she missed you." he moved to his Dee, his beloved Dee."She's been with you a lot . she's kept me sane when I had nightmares. She did the same for you. Your Delgado defended you and loved you even when you were cruel to her. Why? Because she saw you, not the person you think you are. Look at her, remember when we got her necklace from the river, she was terrified for us. And Todd, never doubt that Blair still loves you. You were there when we kissed, there is no way that Blair could ever hate you and kiss us the way she did." Samuel went to the final painting to make his point. "See Todd, all you have to do is see the love in her eyes. I know I painted the picture but that is you in her arms, she told us in that moment that she wanted to stop time, nothing before or after. It's stopped Todd. Look at it, believe it. There will be a time when all of us will be able to reach that moment. We do have worth and eventually maybe you will come to feel it. So, Todd, do we continue our journey?"
Todd responded overwhelmed by his alter's revelations. "Samuel, we'll continue this journey to its conclusion and I will try to overcome my own personal roadblocks so I can meet you halfway, but I promise nothing."
Samuel stood there a moment. Todd was definitely stubborn. Samuel realized that getting through the protective shell that surrounded Todd was not going to be easy. It was early morning,and Samuel had had enough bad memories for one night. He wasn't going to let them take him over like that again. The memories were coming back pretty quickly, and he couldn't get over the numerous traumas and injuries that Todd had endured. Obviously some of the other scars on his body were as old or older than the horizontal scar on his cheekbone. Samuel had been able to figure out that the man Todd had been running from at first was their late father Peter Manning. He had hurt Todd physically and mentally. In fact, he was the reason Todd fractured. Samuel sensed a deep hatred for Peter, that went clear to his soul. The alters he had met, Tom, Rodd, Pete and Ms. Perkins had been with Todd for a very long time. Most likely since Todd was a teen. The trauma that occurred during that time was hidden from Todd but Samuel sensed that his four alters knew what had happened and continued to protect Todd from that event. It was a memory that had been separated and shielded from Todd. Very likely because he stubbornly refused to look at it.
"So, let's try and make some sense of Todd's life; he was abused as a child, later in life he committed the crime of rape on a young girl; he's been to prison, escaped and returned there, only to end up pardoned for his crimes. In the process besides the scars from his father, he's almost committed suicide, has been shot twice,and been stabbed twice. The other memories are the people in his life and mine. We have a sister Vicki. We have three nieces and three nephews;Jessica, Natalie, and Sarah, also CJ, Kevin and Joey. There are or were four other woman in our lives: One is Marty, Two is Rebecca, Three is Blair, and Four is Tea. In one way or another these women have affected Todd's life. There is so much more to remember, and a new memory emerges every minute. Some of the memories will probably still be elusive, until I am in the States.” Samuel surmised.
It was time to go back to the States. Samuel knew that Blair and her friend, as well as Alex, had all left the previous night for the States and more than likely were arriving there shortly. Did Blair know Alex? That was something that hadn't occurred to him till now. Was Alex connected to Carlo Hesser? He would have to wait for those answers. He needed to tie up things here, then he would arrange a flight to the States.
Samuel had one more piece of artwork he needed to complete before leaving Paris. It was to be a Thank You for Jessica. He owed her a lot for her help last night and for that first moment when they met. He fixed himself a quick breakfast, ate and headed for the loft. Grabbing his acrylics because he needed a fast drying medium, he began to paint the background. Using warm colors of brown , beige and peach, he drew her at the outside cafe table with the sunset behind her. Then he closed his eyes for just a moment to remember how she would smile every time he had gone to the bank, he opened his eyes and began to draw her. Samuel worked well into the afternoon finishing her portrait, then he put his name at the bottom and dated it 2011. He stepped back and gave one final look. She was beautiful and she deserved to be in the sun. He knew that she had a crush on him that was never going to be fulfilled. If he couldn't give Jessica her heart's desire, he would leave her with a piece of him in the painting.
When he was finished, he began to pack his supplies, he had decided that he was not coming back. "If I'm going home, I'm going home to stay." First thing in the morning he needed to get packing crates for his portraits. Most of them would be shipped to the states. He picked out a handful to be taken to the gallery. Then he added Blair's portrait next to Vicki's and Dee's , they would travel with him. Not wasting any more time, Samuel got on the phone and got the overseas operator to connect him with a climate controlled storage facility in Philadelphia. After a short discussion, arrangements were made for the storage of his art. Next, he got the name of a realtor in Llanview. He informed them he was looking for something in an upstairs apartment with plenty of windows for painting. They told him of a penthouse that had been on the market for some time, and with the market being what it was, Samuel was able to negotiate terms acceptable to both parties. Finally, he made arrangements for a flight home. He had a flight out of Paris leaving the day after next. It was perfect. "Okay, ladies, we're going Home."
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