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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Mysterious Samuel Toddman: Chapter 52 (mild adult)

Todd still felt a little shaky but when he got up to leave, he realized there was, at least, an hour before the business office was going to close. He remembered he needed to find out about the night he disappeared. Todd took Blair’s hand and headed for the office. When he got there he asked to speak to whoever was in charge. They were ushered into the office and Todd stated his problem. "Excuse me, but I'm trying to find out some information concerning a night in March 2003. Do you keep records going back that far?”

 “Yes Sir, we do but it’s confidential.” replied the office manager. 

 “You see I was involved in an accident the night of March 14th, 2003 and I'm trying to track down where I might have ended up and if I could have been brought here. I was hoping you  might still have the records for that date.”

 The manager opened his computer.  “We have records on file for that date, but like I said it is confidential.  Do you have a name?”

 Todd looked over at Blair "My name?  Well you see, that's the problem I don't remember who I am. I woke up in the Philadelphia Hospital and was told I was transferred there from a smaller clinic. Do you have any records concerning someone brought in who sustained massive injuries, I also had this facial laceration. I understand some of my injuries were life threatening. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciative." Todd waited, praying they had received an emergency that night.

 The gentleman doing the research looked up from his computer.  He noted that the man in front of him seemed pale and shaky, and out of pity, he found the information for the man. "We only had one major emergency come in on the night you're looking for but he was brought in by his brother. Then he was transferred to a private facility. He did sustain a great deal of damage and a laceration to his face. His name was Mortimer Hesser. We patched him up and per the family's request sent him on to The Kipling Neuroscience Research Facility. I see no other entries for that night. I'm sorry but we had no John Does that evening. Have you tried the Llanview Hospital or the Silver Mountain Hospital, maybe they had someone of your description."

 Todd kept his face as blank as he could. In front of the gentleman, he turned to Blair and said. " We struck out here honey, I'll just have to keep looking."

  Blair smiled and played along. "That's okay dear, we'll look elsewhere. Like the gentleman said, we've got other hospitals to check out. I love you, even if you don't remember anything about your past." She turned to the records gentleman and thanked him and they exited the office.

 Once they reached the car, Todd started laughing, " We've got him. You caught it didn't you, Blair? Carlo's brother Mortimer was brought in that night and then taken to the Kipling Facility. We need to get the information to Bo. If we can get Mortimer's records and compare them with my records from Philadelphia General then we'll have the proof we need that Carlo was behind this. I can't believe it, finally something tangible." Todd was suddenly in a very good mood. Then his thoughts slowly found their way back to the earlier events. His thoughts kept going to that cursed crypt.

 As the neared Llanview, Todd asked Blair to pull over. They had just crested the hill and Llanview was spread out in front of them. Todd realized they weren't too far from Vicki's cabin. "Park the car. Lock it and come with me." Blair found the better spot to park and joined Todd outside the car. He walked to the top of the hill and stood there looking down at Llanview. Blair came up beside him. "Have you ever really stopped and smelled a spring day, Blair. I have, there's nothing quite like it. There are no smelly socks or mold. The air has a pure quality to it. If you stand with your eyes closed you can start smelling the scent of the grass and separate the different flowers. The breeze flows across your face like a caress. Everything around you is alive and growing. There's a freedom in that."

 Blair looked at him.  He rarely talked so poetically.

 “Then there are smells you can't escape from. I've been in places and smelled smells that would turn your stomach. I can't get rid of the scents.  They're imprinted on my brain. But the scent that haunts me the most is the scent of my father putrefying right next to me." He reached down and plucked a wildflower. "Look at this, it's beautiful but now it's going to die and wither and be left to rot on the ground." He looked toward Blair his eyes filled with unshed tears "That's was me, I was left to rot in that place with my father. Except he had a head start. He was already beginning to rot, the scent filled the air in that tomb, there was nothing else to do, I had to breathe it, in order to stay alive. With each breath, I took I felt like I was breathing in a part of him. His essence was permeating me and taking me over. His scent clings to me and won't let go. You're the only one who's made it disappear. When I'm with you I smell stable hay and jet fuel, I smell roses and baby powder. Today made one thing very clear to me. All the therapy in the world can't fully cure me. But you can keep me sane. Come on, keep me sane for a few hours more."

 Todd grabbed her hand, then he walked and started picking wildflowers handing them to her till her arms were full. She looked beautiful with her hair blowing in the breeze the sunlight behind her and flowers close to her face. Her eyes were sparkling and a smile graced her lips. He pulled her close and kissed her, then he took her waist and guided her into the woods. There in front of them was Vicki's Cabin and he located the key and they entered. He took the flowers from her and located a vase putting half of them in the vase.
 He grabbed her hand and with the rest of the flowers he took her to the bedroom. He held her close and tossed the remaining flowers atop the bed then he turned and began slowly undressing her. Blair let him do the work standing there with love shining from her eyes. Todd lifted her up and deposited her among the flowers then he shed his clothes and joined her. Todd lifted several flowers and crushed them in his hand then he rubbed them over Blair's body rubbing in the oils from the flowers till Blair smelled like a spring meadow. 
 As he rubbed, he followed the curves of her body breathing deeply the smell of the flowers and her own delicate scent as her body responded to his touch. God, he needed her like he needed air to breathe. She had kept him alive in that tomb and now she was keeping him whole. Todd continued to caress every inch of her till Blair was writhing, begging for release then he captured her mouth to still her cries and continued caressing her, finally when she was moaning unable to take much more he took her. He heard her soft moans as she found the release he had been withholding, then he gathered her once again and held her close, just enjoying the feel of her body cradled next to his. All he wanted was to ingrain the scents of that moment into his memory pushing out the scent of his father and replacing it with the scent of his love.

 Dusk was falling as Blair headed to the Shower to clean up after their lovemaking. Todd gathered the bedspread and shook it out the window and watch the petals fly away, he set it aside and went in search of Blair, then he joined her and began soaping her down and washing the remains of the petals off her beautiful body. Blair stood with her back to him as he finished cleaning the last of the petals from her back then she turned to face him, drinking in the sight of his body as the water cascaded over them. Todd was transfixed as he noticed several flowers that had tangled in her hair. He reached ever so gently and carefully removed all but one of them, then he looked into her eyes and met her lips in one pure kiss before turning and allowing Blair to wash his back clean of the remaining flowers. He felt her lips brush the back of his shoulders just before she turned off the water. He reached out and grabbed two towels and took the moment to wrap Blair up in her's before covering himself and returning to the bedroom to get their clothes. Not long after, Todd locked the cabin door and they headed back down to the car in the fading light.

 Night had fallen when Blair and Todd entered the Penthouse. The noise was coming from the kitchen and they made their way there. Starr had made pasta so they all sat down to eat. The meal had everyone in stitches by the end because Hope managed to get more on her than in her. Starr gathered up her daughter and headed to give her a bath. Todd and Blair made their way to the living room. Todd walked to the bar to pour a drink and realized he hadn't replaced the liquor he'd had spilled. He grabbed two wine glasses instead and poured one for each of them. He handed a glass to Blair and joined her on the couch. "I forgot to thank you earlier today," he said.

 "Thank me for what?" asked Blair.

 "Thank you for finding me and bringing me back. It's hard to describe where I was. I was surrounded by utter darkness no sounds like a vacuum. There were no sensations there. I couldn't even feel my hands.  It was as if all my senses had left me. I was getting desperate when I suddenly felt your lips, I couldn't feel anything else until I tasted your tears. I opened my eyes and you were right there. I saw your lips moving but only heard the last few words and then everything righted itself. I felt you holding my hand and saw Ray kneeling down beside me. When I saw Ray my anger got the better of me. He asked me to relive that terrible night and I was in the middle of it when I was sucked into that vacuum. Blair, I don't understand why I can't shake that memory. I faced it and that should have been enough but something is still wrong. I know in my anger I let Samuel out to talk to Ray. Can you tell me what they discussed? I was too upset to listen." Todd looked at Blair hoping she could shed some light on his problem.

 "Samuel came out and told Ray you were stubborn and that they would have to find another way for you to see the truth about that night. The way they talked, tells me that what you're seeing and remembering might seem like the true event but it wasn't. I think you're going to have to sit down with Samuel and find out what really happened but after what occurred in that office, you shouldn't attempt it without Ray and me with you." Blair replied then she went on. "Todd I was so scared when I saw the Nurse take off down the hall. A couple minutes later Ray came looking for me. You were so unresponsive to everything the Nurse and Ray had tried and they knew it wasn't your heart. Ray said that you felt connected to me so he came and got me. I was never so glad to see someone's eyes as I was when I saw yours looking at me. Are we Todd? Are we really that connected? If so, I'm grateful. But no more scares. You've given me quite a few the last couple of days. I think I've reached my quota." 

 She smiled and took a sip from her glass. "Now it's my turn to thank you. This afternoon you gave me another memory that helped cast away the fears of what happened in that office. I've seen so many sides to you when it comes to the occasional lovely surprises you've given me but today was so romantic and passionate I felt like you were painting me with your hands. Todd, you can use my body as a canvas anytime you desire." Blair reached out and took his hand running her fingertips around each finger and then turning his palm up she traced each line stopping on the line that indicates love, she gently kissed his palm then leaned forward and kissed him.

 Todd sat there and accepted her gentle kiss, as she backed away he looked into her eyes and saw her love for him. He was thinking of her words, his mind went back to the cabin, he pictured in his minds the strokes that he had used to cover her body with the flowers, he had been painting her. Samuel, you dog, you’re getting under my skin, if we don't talk soon we might lose our chance. I don't want to lose you, I need your advice.  I'm sorry but we have to find a way to keep you around. I'm selfish, I'll gladly accept your talents but I won't lose your guidance.

 Blair looked at Todd, "Will you be alright if I don't spend the night tonight?" She watched for his reaction, he looked hurt but not panicked. "Believe me, I'd love to stay but with Walker in the hospital, I need to make sure Jack and Sam know I'm around if they need me. Jack's not taking this emergency very well. I know that hurts you and I wish I could ease that hurt, Todd. Jack just doesn't know you and you have to give him time. Please tell me you understand why I have to go."

 Todd took a deep breath, she wasn't going anywhere permanently, she was just going to the boys. He wondered just when he had gotten so needy. He had to do a better job of keeping his feelings under control.   Ever since he had opened his eyes in that tomb, his feelings had been running rampant. If he couldn't rein them in he would be the basket case he'd mentioned to Ray. Todd gave Blair a kiss on the cheek and said, "I'm fine, you don't need to worry about me. I'll get Jack's love eventually, I'm his father. And though I hate Manning, he's not to blame for this mess. I think we've got some proof that Carlo is behind this fiasco. I'm going to do everything in my power to bring Carlo Hesser down. You go home, take care of your sons. Starr is here and I'm exhausted. Today's session took something out of me, but I don't think there is any danger to my health. I've been so tensed up for several days I think I'm decompressing now. I'll see you tomorrow, right?" She nodded and he helped her up. "Thank you for going with me today and saving me from myself. Find a way if you can to let Jack know I'm here if he needs a man to talk to. Goodnight Blair." Before going out the door, she captured one final kiss and left. He watched till she boarded the elevator, then he locked up, grabbed his laptop and headed up to his room for some privacy, a lot had happened and he needed to think about it all.

 Todd had all of the paperwork, Samuel had gathered, scattered on top of his bed. He had managed to hack into the Cherryvale Clinic computer and found the records for Mortimer Hesser. He studied the injuries documented for Mortimer and found out they matched his to a 't'. It was time to talk to Bo. He reached for a phone and called Bo's home number. He wasn't sure if Bo had returned but figured he could talk to Nora if he had to.

 "Hello", Nora answered, not recognizing the number.

 Great! It was Nora. Todd had really hoped Bo would answer. "Hello Nora, this is Samuel Toddman. I was wondering if Bo had made it home yet. I've come across some pertinent information I think Bo will be interested in."

 At the other end of the line, Nora's reaction was similar to Todd's. She really didn't want to talk to Todd tonight. Just when she thought she'd have to tell him that Bo wasn't home, Bo walked in the door. Nora looked at Bo and gestured to the telephone mouthing, Todd Manning. Bo shook his head, he didn't want to talk to Todd either. Nora was all set to tell Todd to call back when he made his next statement.

 "Tell Bo, I have proof of Carlo's involvement." said Todd.

 "Hang on Samuel, Bo just walked in the door." Nora covered the mouthpiece on the phone, and told Bo what Todd had just told her, then handed the phone to her husband.

 "Todd what did you find out? Where is this proof," asked Bo?

 "I had an appointment with a doctor at the Cherryvale Clinic this afternoon. Then I inquired at the records office if they kept records as far back as 2003. I explained about my accident and told them I was trying to find out if I had been taken there. I told them of my memory loss and had them look up the night in question. That's when they found Mortimer's records. The gentleman in the office said that no John Does were admitted that night, but a patient named Mortimer Hesser was admitted for serious injuries to the Clinic on the night of March 14th.2003. I've seen his records and his injuries match mine. I also found out that He/I was transferred to the Kipling Facility on request from the family. You and I both know Mortimer Hesser was killed in place of his brother back in '97. I can't obtain the records by myself but you can get a warrant. With the matching records, we can attempt to get him. I have a friend who is in contact with Hesser. He's somewhere in the Cayman Islands. I think I'm right about this and I'll wager Carlo is behind the attempt on Manning's life." Todd laid it out for Bo and waited for his response.

 Bo replied, "If what you say can be verified then we'll be able to get moving on this, especially if Walker has been shot so they can tie up loose ends. I'll be by your place tomorrow, I want to see your proof."

 Todd said grimly, "Just come, You'll see what I have and you'll know I'm telling the truth."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Mysterious Samuel Toddman: Chapter 51

Todd paced the room thinking about the upcoming session. He was glad Starr had insisted that someone take him to Cherryvale. He knew his anxiety level was already way too high. Just knowing that Blair was going to be close by, was helping him keep it under control. He glanced over at Starr. She had been fairly quiet since returning from dropping off Hope. He figured her mind was on Manning and that whole subject was just going to make matters worse so he didn't try to get her talking.

Todd looked at the clock. Starr would be leaving for school soon. He didn't want to be alone. Too many thoughts were running through his head. If he kept listening to them, he'd be crazy by the time he got to Ray. Come on Blair.  What’s keeping you? Maybe she had stopped off at the hospital to check on Manning.  His heart started beating faster. Stop!  Don’t go there.   Todd could feel his anger building once more and he knew it was because of Manning. He hadn't even met the guy, but he hated him. Todd knew that there was a good chance that the guy was just as innocent of any wrongdoing as he, yet he still felt like Manning had come out on top all this time while he had been trapped.

Starr had been watching her father pace and knew he was nervous about the afternoon. He must have looked at the front door a dozen times just waiting for her mom to come through the door. She was as baffled as her dad, as to what was keeping her mom. They both heard the door together and then Blair entered the living room carrying a suitcase.

Todd raised an eyebrow at the suitcase. Was Blair going somewhere?
Surely she wasn't going out of town someplace now.

Blair saw their eyes go to her suitcase and couldn't help blushing a little. " I'm sorry I'm late. After dropping Sam off at school, I went back home to pick up a few outfits and personal items. It's presumptive of me I know, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to have a few changes of clothes here since I seem to be spending a lot of nights here." She looked at Todd and said. "That's alright with you, isn't it?"

Todd had the grace to smile sheepishly. He nodded and said. "I'm flattered. I hope that means I can count on more nights like last night."

It was Blair's turn to blush again. " I certainly hope so," said Blair. "Let me take these up to the spare room and you and I can get headed for your appointment. Starr, you should probably get going, you're going to be late for class."

Starr looked at her watch, picked up her books and headed for the door. Just as she was reaching the door, she stopped, went back to her dad and gave him a kiss. "You be careful. You just came back into our lives.  I want you to stay here for a while." Then she headed out.

Todd watched Starr leave and then waited for Blair. He was actually feeling better now, than earlier, because of Blair's action. She wasn't moving in of course, but at least, she had plans to be around often. Blair came back down the stairs and looked across the room at him. "Ok, Shall we go," she said. Todd nodded and they headed out.

They had stopped during their ride to have the picnic Blair had mentioned, but it had been a quiet lunch. Blair had tried to keep the mood upbeat, chattering away about Sam and getting him back to school and the way he'd tried to get out of it. Todd had listened and ventured opinions about why boys seem to detest school, but he was distracted for the majority of the ride. She pulled into the parking lot of the Clinic and together they made their way inside. Once inside they were directed to the room where he was to meet Ray. Ray was there waiting and Todd introduced Blair. After exchanging greetings, Ray showed Blair where she could wait.   Then he and Todd entered the room. It wasn't much, a desk and some chairs. Ray sat down and had Todd join him.

"So, Todd, I'm a little surprised you brought someone with you. Any particular reason" asked Ray?

Todd looked at Ray. "I'm not sure I can answer that except to say I need her close."

Ray looked at Todd closely and saw signs of strain.  It was obvious he was worried and stressed. Ray remembered when another woman had been important to him, it was clear that Blair was equally important, if not more so than Rebecca had been. "Ok, so before we get started, you should know I talked to Samuel's doctor at Llanview Hospital and got the okay to start you on this therapy but he did call the Clinic and they've been alerted to your health issue. Now, do you have any concerns we should address?"

"I've been thinking about this a lot Ray, I'm deeply concerned about my violent alter Pete. I'm afraid after you left the other day, that my anger got the best of me. I lose my temper just like everybody, but this time was different. The anger was building and I wanted to strike out and do some damage. I could hear him, Ray, he was goading me, telling me to take out my wrath on the ones who hurt me.  It was unnerving, it was like I was inside a cave and echo after echo was saying the same thing. “Go ahead destroy them.”  Everything got foggy and there was just the voice when a sudden crash occurred. At the crash, the fog cleared and I saw what I had just done. I had thrown an entire decanter of liquor at the fireplace just barely missing the portraits. I think Pete took control for one brief moment, but something in me wouldn't let him destroy the pictures so the throw had ended high. Ray, I'm terrified for them. If we're going to do this, having talked to my sister I kind of know what I'm going to have to do. I know I'm going to have to face all my alters and I feel when I get ready to face Pete we'll need to take precautions. If Pete overwhelms me I need your assurance he won't leave this room." Todd looked over at Ray waiting for his answer.

Ray had seen Todd's anger at work in the prison and knew what he was capable of. He had to wonder now if he had been seeing an angry Todd or an angry Pete. This was definitely going to be a challenge. Just from Todd's words, Ray could see there were several more issues that had to be addressed. Todd's anger issues were still first and foremost, and if they couldn't break down where the anger was coming from they wouldn't be able to work on the alter issue. Right now Todd needed an answer to his question. Ray knew he was right. Pete would have to be contained. He would be irresponsible indeed if he allowed Pete to leave. "Todd you have my word that when that time comes we'll have every precaution in place. Any other concerns?"

"Only one. If I get lost and I know this sounds strange but I feel that's a possibility, I want you to get Blair. She's been with me the last couple of nights and I just sense a connection between us. If anyone could get through to me, I think it might be her." said Todd. He didn't know what else to say. He felt a little foolish telling Ray about Blair, but he thought Ray should know.

Ray watched and listened as Todd talked about Blair. She meant a great deal to him. Todd's whole demeanor changed when he talked about her even his tone changed. Ray still didn't know enough about all of Todd's life since he saw him last so the first thing he needed was to get a history lesson from Todd. "I'll keep that in mind should we somehow lose you during therapy. Right now I need to get up to date on what has happened since we saw each other all those years ago. Then I'll have a better idea where we need to start."

Todd spent the next fifteen minutes revisiting his life from the pardon to the present day. Ray heard about Victor and Vicki again, then about Todd's near-death experience in Ireland. Ray watched as Todd told of coming home to his bride only to find her with Patrick, he heard Todd's anger as he recalled it and he heard the underlying pain. Ray recalled another conversation when Todd talked about his father and mother. Even back then Todd's voice had been laced with both emotions. Ray had gotten real close to getting to a truth about Todd, but they had been interrupted and he had never gotten back to that conversation. Ray listened as Todd told of his arranged marriage to his second wife Tea and of his growing love for her. Ray sensed something troubled Todd about Tea, but he would check that out later.

Next, Todd spoke about the Hostage event and how the alters had come forth. Ray was itching to find out more about what brought them out but that he decided was also for later. Todd told him of returning to Llanview and getting back with Blair, but he seemed to be leaving something out, something he was ashamed about. Ray added that to his list of subjects for a later date. Then Todd told of meeting his real father whom everyone had thought was dead. Todd's whole body changed when he talked about Victor, he truly hated the man who was his father but when Todd talked of his final memories in his father's tomb a different tone entered his voice. Ray heard fear, he looked at Todd's face and he was suddenly haunted, he was seeing something again and it was producing the same fear Ray had seen just a couple of days before. Ray made the decision then that he would start there. Samuel had said that Todd truly believed his delusion, Ray had to get that cleared up so Todd could get down to his real problems and from what he had heard Todd's real problems were doozies.

Todd had finished with his narrative, but his thoughts kept coming back to that last night in town. Why couldn't he shake the fear? Every time he tried to relive that night he was stopped cold. Oh, he remembered it, all too vividly, only days before it had crept up on him as he had tried to draw and the result had been horrifying. Todd turned his thoughts away as best he could and looked at Ray. "Well, that's everything, until I came out in the tomb over a week ago. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do this. I guess you'll have to be the judge when we get started how much truth I'm giving you because I don't even know anymore what's real and what's not."

Todd's honesty was very revealing. It was obvious that Todd was beginning to doubt his judgment, but he was going to forge ahead in spite of that. Ray nodded in answer to Todd then told him his own thoughts.

"Todd I think one of the reasons you're not trusting yourself is because you're living caught in between reality and delusions. I think I can help you break that delusion. Then we can concentrate on reality. Are you game?" Todd nodded. "Excellent then let's get started. Two days ago you had a panic attack and passed out on me. Once you were out, your breathing returned to normal and I thought you were waking up, but suddenly you screamed 'Not my Heart' in sheer terror and you passed out again. I couldn't get any response from you and then when I thought you were waking up I met Samuel.  He cleared some things up for me, but it's your turn now. Have you talked with Samuel about that night? Talk to me about your father, Victor and your first encounter with him. What stands out about that meeting?"

Todd was taken aback, he really didn't want to talk about his so-called father. " You're kidding right, why do you want to talk about that scum. I never liked the guy before I met him and I despised him after I met him. Do you know what he was up to right before he died? He was trying to extend his life by taking the heart of his granddaughter, Jessica. I mean he literally was going to have them take her heart and transplant it in him. Then when we met, he had the gall to say I was like him, that I had the heart of a Lord. He was creepy and a bastard, but he said I was like him, how do you think I felt. I'll tell you, I felt like filth and I wanted away from him as fast as I could get away, but then he grabbed my hand, he was dying but his grip was like iron and he forced his ring on me. It had the L that was his trademark, I don't know why but I actually started wearing it.  Some joke. He didn't deserve the name Lord and neither did I. He gave away his legacy for a heart and Mitch Lawrence took everything away from us. I remember trying to kill Lawrence, but my niece stopped me. That night I dreamed about my father or should I should I say I had a nightmare about him. He came to me and said he wanted my heart when I said no, he took the ring off my hand and said he would get it from my son. I remember screaming he could have my heart if he would leave Jack alone then I awoke and found myself trapped in my father's tomb. So you can see I have no love lost for Victor Lord." Todd looked at Ray. He seemed to be waiting for something else.

"Well don't stop there Todd you're leaving something out about your father aren't you?" Ray inquired

"What do you mean Ray?" Todd asked.

"What happened after you woke up. You need to talk about it or it will never drop its hold on you. Tell me something? Why haven't you asked Samuel about that night? I'm aware that whatever happened brought Samuel out, but you need to go back and look at what happened.  It's time you separated your Nightmare from the reality. You can talk to me and we'll see how far we can take it, if you lose it again then you'll have to confront Samuel and ask him to reveal the truth to you. Todd, you have to do this, it's crucial to your health too. The longer you suppress this truth the more stress you're putting on your heart. So talk to me. What happened in that tomb?" Ray looked at Todd. This was going to define these sessions. Could Todd push himself to go places he had always avoided?

Todd looked at Ray, he felt chilled, but his hands were getting sweaty. Ray wanted him to go there, back to his nightmare. God, I don’t want to do this.  He remembered when he had been shot by Bo and seen Rebecca's face.  He had done something then, he had decided to plunge into the icy river and take his chances.  He had survived and he was here today. Okay then, it’s now or never. Todd took the plunge. "Mitch had been taunting me most of the day about being able to hurt Blair and the kids. Then he left me there and when he came back he said someone had been killed and they were going to think I did it. At first, I thought he was talking about Blair, but then he informed me that my friend Sam had been killed. He had set me up to be the killer so it was time to make me disappear. Mitch had his followers bind me up and gag me. Then he had them place me beside my father Victor in his tomb. I couldn't do anything except watch them put that lid down on top of me. There I was alone with my so-called father. He was already beginning to smell, but I had no choice but to smell it. I couldn't hold my breath for very long and the air was thickening around me then I heard his laughter." Todd paused thinking about having to lay there next to a corpse and knowing he'd be rotting alongside him very shortly. "Breathing was getting difficult, but his laughter was getting stronger. I couldn't understand why he just couldn't let me die in peace."

"Todd, who was laughing? Who was tormenting you? Was it Mitch?" asked Ray, he was horrified by what he was listening to. How did one face what Todd had faced and survive with their wits intact?

"I saw him suddenly he was standing over me as cruel as ever, telling me I was worthless. My dear father, Peter Manning, standing there, he was getting a perverse pleasure out of watching me struggle for every breath.  I was getting what I deserved you see, he just wanted to come and make it final then he reached and started holding me down. I thought he was going to start hitting me so I began to struggle even more and another voice joined his, out of the corner of my eye I saw him standing there, he was watching as Peter pummeled me. I heard Peter offer to let him have his chance with me and Victor said he only wanted one thing. He wanted the heart of a Lord. I was hurting all over and close to passing out…”.

Todd had stopped talking. He was staring off into space. Ray got up and went to him. Todd wasn't aware of him, Ray took his pulse. It was racing and he felt clammy again. "Todd, snap out of it.  It's not real, you're here safe." Suddenly Todd's hand jerked free from Ray.

"NO GET AWAY FROM ME ... YOU CAN'T HAVE IT...DON'T TAKE MY HEART." Todd seized and dropped from the chair.

Ray wasted no time, he pushed a button and a nurse came running. Immediately she and Ray went to work to ascertain if his heart was involved. She checked his pulse, but it had slowed back down, and listening to his heart, indicated it was fast but steady. Ray told her to stand by and he went to find Blair. If it wasn't Todd's heart, then he was trapped in the nightmare. It was unorthodox, but Todd had said he felt connected to Blair. Ray had to give it a try. He needed to get Todd back or he at least needed to talk to Samuel, and right now Todd was unresponsive to anything.

Blair watched the nurse head down the hallway and prayed it didn't have anything to do with Todd. Her heart sank when Ray came out and looked straight at her. Todd was in trouble and Ray had come for her. She almost ran to meet him. Ray said three words. "He needs you." and that was all it took. They hurried back to the room. When she saw him on the floor she turned questioning eyes to Ray. He said."It's not his heart Blair. He's lost in his nightmare. He's not responding to me.   I'm hoping he'll respond to you.  We've got to reach him or Samuel as quickly as we can.  Do what you can.  Talk to him, hold his hand. He told me to get you if he got lost, he said he thought you had a connection. I'm hoping he was right." Blair sat down next to him and took his hands in hers. "Todd, it's me, Blair. You can't stay there, you need to come out. Now listen, I'm not going to explain this to your daughter again. You can't hide from me anymore I know all your tricks.  Playing possum isn't going to work this time." She leaned down close to his ear "Damn it, Todd, you told me you loved me!  You said you trusted me! You can't pull the rug out from under my feet again. Please, you got to come back now, we just want to help." Todd's hand grabbed hers. Blair gasped. "That's it, come on" Blair didn't care that they had an audience. She leaned over and began to kiss him. She was getting no response and her tears started falling then he began to kiss back. She laughed and sat up and saw his eyes on her. "We're putting on quite a show for Ray and the nurse. You and I are going to have a talk about the proper places for shows of affection."

Todd didn't say anything but when she tried to free her hand, he refused to let her go.

Ray was breathing with relief. That was as close as he wanted to come to a catatonic patient. He would never have forgiven himself if Todd had been trapped. Ray began to wonder if he had gotten in way over his head on this one. He knelt down beside Todd and said. "You were right, you two are definitely connected. I didn't realize I was going to have to call on her so soon, though. Let's get you off the floor. Nurse, would you bring us some water." He helped Todd get to his feet and since Todd was insisting on keeping a tight hold of Blair, Ray grabbed the second chair and positioned it right next to Todd's. They both sat down and Ray brought his chair around and sat facing them without the desk in between.

The nurse brought some water in and Ray poured Todd a glass, Ray was concerned that Todd still wasn't talking. "Alright Todd, give it to me, tell me I was a fool to bring up your father.  I didn't do it to hurt you, if you don't want to talk to me can I talk to Samuel?"

Todd looked over at Blair and squeezed her hand then he closed his eyes.  A minute later he opened them.

"Hello Ray, That was a little too close for comfort. Hello Blair, he's alright he's just terribly shaken." Samuel patted her hand in reassurance. "I'm sorry for the scare. When he dropped in he was as unresponsive for us as he was for you. According to Ms. Perkins, the only other time he was in that state was after the hostage crisis. Blair, I'm sure you remember. What is it you say? The love of a good woman works wonders. I guess I forgot to warn you he was stubborn Ray. How do you think he's survived all these years?  His will to live is the strongest around, but his psyche is as fragile as they come, that's why we're here. I know what you were trying to do Ray, but I think we're going to have to work backward. We'll have to start with me. Do you agree?"

Ray was still getting used to the fact that Todd had such control of his alters. When he had asked to speak to Samuel he hadn't really expected to see him. He had figured that since Todd was out the alters wouldn't appear, that Todd could indeed come and go as he pleased was amazing. Todd was a medical miracle and he didn't realize it. He thought of himself as damaged and worthless and looked on his alters as something he had to keep hidden because they just emphasized how different he was.

He had known that Todd was different.   He had seen signs that Todd had been abused early on and had wanted to delve into that past for Todd's sake. Something in his past created these alters. Instead of it crippling him like so many others had been crippled by their alters, he had embraced them and welcomed them as just another part of his screwed up life.  Then Ray registered what Samuel was saying and replied, " I think you're right Samuel, we'll have to start with your first memory and work backward so he'll be able to separate the reality of what had been going on, from his perception that it was a part of his delusion. I have to say to you and all of the alters, I find you incredible. I've never had this kind of discussion with an alter. Most alters will do everything in their power to retain control for as long as possible and many of them are so damaged themselves they invariably end up damaging their host, but what I've seen so far, indicates to me that all of you support Todd entirely, with the exception of Pete. I was worried I might have gotten in over my head taking on Todd and his problems, but I think with your help we can help Todd. Samuel, do you think he'll come talk to me now?" asked Ray.

Samuel closed his eyes, the pause seemed to take forever. Ray was wondering just what was going on in Todd's head at that moment. This might end up being the one and only visit he and Todd had. Blair squeaked when her hand was suddenly squeezed. She looked at Todd, his eyes once again found hers and she got another gentle squeeze. Then his eyes turned toward Ray. With a voice as cold as ice Todd asked. "Well did you get what you wanted? Am I a basket case enough for you?"

Todd's anger was palpable and Ray actually understood where it was coming from. In the months that he had treated Todd all those years before, Todd had hated when his weaknesses became apparent. Today he had shown a weakness to Ray and he was embarrassed.  Ray had to accept that anger and let Todd know that his weakness was not a flaw but the result of the punishment he had received. He had nothing to be ashamed of. "I apologize, Todd, you have every right to be angry. If you want to discontinue this therapy I understand. If you can no longer trust me then we won't get anything more done, but before you write me off, I want to tell you I still believe I can help you. You're not a basket case, but you do have some problems that will need to be looked at in detail and those will probably be as hazardous as this was. I see a man in front of me that is a survivor. To me, you're actually remarkable given all I know right now and if what I suspect is true about your hidden secrets, then you, my friend, are exceptional."

Todd sat there stunned, he had been so angry, but Ray's words totally surprised him he had never been called exceptional. Ray wasn't looking at him as damaged, Ray merely saw a man with some problems that needed fixing. He had been all ready to throw in the towel. Now he realized what Samuel had been trying to get through to him. Ray really wanted to help and Ray would work at it from any angle that would be beneficial for him. The anger drained away and Todd said only four words. "Then let's do it."

"Good Todd, I'm glad to hear you say that. You're much stronger than you think even if you sometimes take the route of least resistance and fall back on your Alters. I think we can help you break that reliance on them.  Given your relationship with them, traditional integration of host and alters might not happen, it's not a foolproof solution under normal circumstances. I think you've had all you can handle today. Do you want to have another session in a couple of days? If so, I already checked and we can use this room again. It's up to you. I actually learned quite a bit from today's session, so I'll have several pathways we can explore the next time. We'll table today's pathway for later if you want. So what do you say?"

Todd took a deep breath. This was going to much harder than he had anticipated. He had been angry at Ray, but he was also angry at himself. Ray was right, he had gotten into the habit of avoidance. But it was starting to affect how he lived in the world. He had tried avoidance after he had raped Marty and that had been a catastrophe. Once he accepted his role in Marty's rape he had been able to see what it had done to him. He had realized that he had caused his own downfall. He hated himself still for what he did to Marty and knew the shame of it would never go away. That self-hate and his fear of that anger in him that wouldn't go away meant he had a lot to work out, so he'd have to continue. "I'm open to any day Ray, so that will work for me. Same time?"

At Todd's words, Ray breathed a sigh of relief. He had hoped that Todd would agree to continue. " Same time will work for me. By the way.." Ray looked at Blair, " I think you'll need to come too. Is the day going to work for you as well? " Blair nodded. "Great then we'll see each other in a couple of days.  Todd, if you need me before then, here's my emergency number. I'm here for you, I want you to know that." Ray watched Blair and Todd leave and sat down to make some notes. When he and Todd had first started working together in prison, Todd had been so resistant to exposing any chinks in the armor that he wore. He had used sarcasm and anger to hide behind, rather than let anyone see he was hurting. Ray had sensed that he might make more headway with Todd if they had one on one sessions and he had been right. Todd had finally been able to open up a little bit. There had been a lot of hurt and anger toward his father Peter Manning.

Ray had managed to ascertain that Peter Manning had been a cruel and possibly abusive parent although Todd had never come out and said it. He remembered when Marty had asked if Todd knew what torture was, and Todd had looked right at her and answered yes. After what he heard today, he was almost one hundred percent sure that Todd literally knew what torture was. Peter Manning was dead, but he still tortured Todd. Todd's fear of both Peter Manning and Victor Lord was evident since they both played such an active role in his delusion. If he couldn't get Todd past the delusion maybe he should go back to the beginning. It was time Todd faced some of his father's abuse. Ray sat back and went over Todd's disclosures concerning his last night in town back in 2003. Ray had noticed one interesting thing about Todd's statement. There had been something very dispassionate about Todd's revelation about being entombed. He had recalled that as if it had meant nothing to him. Most people would have been terrified, but Todd had endured that with stoic silence.  It was the laughter he heard that had been his undoing. Ray wondered how many times Todd had found himself in dark and enclosed places.  In fact, with the exception of the time Todd had tried to escape by battering his head on his cell wall, he had always just resigned himself to it. Just what kind of Monster had Peter Manning been?

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Mysterious Samuel Toddman: Chapter 50 (mild adult)

Todd looked at Blair as her mother departed. Addie was priceless. He was glad she was out of St. Ann’s, but she would definitely take some getting used to. "Your mother is giving us advice again. The last time we took it we made Starr. What do you think? Would, this time, be as momentous?"

Blair looked at him seriously and said, " I don't know Todd, I guess it would depend on the honesty needed to make a proper conversation. I don't think you're ready to make that commitment. I hope it won't take you too long and I'm putting my trust in you that you'll work on the problem with Ray. If you really want to make this work we're going to have to go back when we first met and unload everything, so there will be no secrets between us any longer, I think you have some hard truths about yourself to face before we face the truths about us. Do you agree?" she looked at him waiting for his answer.

"Yes, you're right. I'm a mess and we can't really talk till I can get something straight inside first, but you'll stick by until I do, won't you?" asked Todd.

"I'm here, and I'm staying. You'll need to do more than throw a temper tantrum to get rid of me this time," answered Blair.

Todd had to chuckle at her words. That's how she saw last night, that he had a temper tantrum. It really wasn't funny. If only she knew what that tantrum had almost cost him, Todd could feel him breathing down his neck. Pete was so close to taking control, even if his sessions started with Ray, Todd worried that he wouldn't be able to keep a leash on Pete. He and Ray would need to take measures that if Pete came out he would be restrained somehow. Todd checked the time most of the morning was gone now. He prayed he would hear some good news from Ray soon.

He had always hated having to wait for things to play out. He recalled what had happened with the whole Patrick fiasco. He had been forced to wait on Keneely and then everything had blown up in his face. An IRA terrorist had almost killed him along with Tea and Starr. He'd had to watch Patrick save them and then take the bullet meant for him. It had been a bitter pill to swallow, to owe his life to a man he hated. Even then his anger had been so close to the surface. One minute he had tried to love Blair again but then something would happen and the rage would rear its head and they would be even farther apart. He was so tired of the push and pull. His whole life had been that way and it was one treadmill he wanted off of.

Blair went up to check on the children and Todd went back to his desk to try and reach his contacts and get them working on the shadow companies. Starr got home from the hospital and they all sat down to talk about Manning and who might have wanted him dead. There hadn't been a change in his status.  He was still in a coma.  As Starr was talking about Manning, Blair had been keeping an eye on Todd to get his reactions to Starr's narrative. She saw how his eyes had narrowed and his hands had clenched when Starr had said she had tried to bring Walker around. Blair could see the jealousy warring across Todd's face because his daughter cared for this other man. He was trying so hard to not let anyone know how all this compassion for Walker was driving him insane. Blair's heart went out to him, and she went and sat beside him on the couch and laid her hands over his to give him her support.

Todd had been looking at Starr and listening to her words.   He could tell that Starr cared a great deal for Manning and he felt the rage from last night begin to surface. It was all he could do to sit there and act like it didn't matter that she loved Manning and wanted him to get better. He didn't wish the guy dead, but he hated him for the love he'd received from everybody because they believed Manning was him. Not only had Manning stolen his life but he had been on the receiving end of the love of Todd's own family. God! That hurt. He felt Blair sit down next to him. What he didn't expect was for her to cover his hands with hers.  He looked away from Starr and into Blair's eyes and saw understanding and love for him, not for Manning. She had sat down to give him strength because she had seen how he was hurting. His anger suddenly dispelled and he took her hand and kept it with him as she moved closer beside him. For a minute, he recalled that moment last night when he had felt her arms around him just holding him. With Blair right next to him, he was able to hear the rest of Starr's story. It still hurt as she talked of Tea and Jack, but the anger was kept at bay because he had Blair's strength helping to keep it away.

Starr had been telling her story. She saw her mom move to sit by her dad and she watched the exchange that took place, oh so briefly. Something she didn't quite understand had just happened, but she wasn't sure what that something was. She remembered being a little surprised when her mom had said she was staying with her dad this morning, that he needed her. Just what had happened to her dad?  He didn't look like he was any sicker. Why was her mom worried? Whatever had occurred had her mom sticking close by his side. Starr told the rest of the morning's events but this time, she watched her dad a little closer. She noticed him grip her Mom's hand just a little tighter when she mentioned Jack's visit and again when she spoke of Tea. It was like he was using her mom to keep something at bay. His expression hadn't changed much since she had arrived back home. She thought he seemed distracted, but he still wanted to know anything she might know about the shooting. When she finished her story, Starr got up and went and gave her dad a kiss and headed to check on Sam and Hope.

Todd and Blair watched Starr head up the stairs. They were still holding hands and Todd rubbed his thumb back and forth along hers. Blair had said she'd be there for him and she had done as she promised no questions asked. It felt strange. Just like that time in prison, the day after Powell had tried to rape Rebecca. He had hurt his hand the night before in anger and Blair had inquired about it at the time. The next day when she came to see him at the jail, she had seen his hand and immediately had grabbed it to see if it was alright. He'd been surprised at her concern, like she cared for him even though they were barely friends. It felt like that, like he could feel her genuine concern for him, she wanted nothing in return, she was just there for him.

Starr brought Hope and Sam downstairs. She saw her dad on the phone, he seemed pretty intense. She headed to the kitchen and found her mom getting some snack for the kids ready. " Gee Mom, you must be clairvoyant. That's just what we came looking for.  Who's Dad on the phone with?"

Blair looked at Starr, "That's the call he's been waiting for. He's on the phone with his therapist. I think they're setting up a meet time."

"Oh, so Dad was able to talk his old counselor into helping. That's great. What do you think of all this, Mom? Do you think Dad's going to manage to reintegrate?" asked Starr

"Starr, 'Samuel' has a lot on his plate when he begins these sessions, I'm worried about his health as well as his sanity. You and I need to have a quiet conversation when it's just the two of us." Blair looked over at Sam and Starr realized the slip she had just made in front of Sam. She had called Samuel 'Dad', boy she prayed Sam hadn't caught that.

Sam had looked her way when she had said, 'Dad'. "Mom, I thought Daddy was in the hospital. Who's Starr talking about?"

Blair quickly moved to diffuse the situation. "Sam, your Daddy is in the hospital and we’re all hoping he gets better. Starr's been at the hospital all morning and thinking of Dad, and when she was talking about Samuel just now she accidentally called him Dad. It’s because Dad is on her mind. Do you understand?"

" Yeah, it’s like when Starr calls Jack, Sam or Me, Jack.  She's just confused sometimes."

"That's it exactly. You're very smart Sam. Now take a snack and a drink but be careful and not spill any. Here, Starr, you help Hope with hers. I'm going to take some coffee out to Samuel." said Blair. Blair left Starr with the kids and took some coffee out to Todd. He was just finishing his chat with Ray. She handed him the coffee as he hung up. She could tell he was anxious in the way he took the cup and then immediately set it down and started pacing. "What is it, Todd? Wasn't Ray able to get something set up?"

"What?" Todd looked around at her just then realizing she was in the room. He had been wondering if he was doing the right thing. Then he heard her question. " Yeah, he got something set up. I meet him at 2:00 pm tomorrow at the Clinic." He looked over at Blair "I don't know if I can do this."

Blair could see he was stressed out, the events from the previous night still weighed heavy on his mind. "Todd, I think you're strong enough to do anything when you want it hard enough. You need to look at it like you're getting ready to take on an enemy. Use that strength and I think you'll get through this. This is an enemy you have to face. You know it and I know it. I don't want to see Pete anymore, and I don't want you to be afraid that I will. Do you want me to go with you tomorrow? I will if you need me too."

"Blair what you did earlier meant a lot, but I have to do this, there's not much you can do this time. You're right I need to face my enemy, I just hope I feel the same tomorrow, " said Todd.

The rest of the day proved uneventful, but Todd's mood was definitely somber. He tried to play with the kids but soon found himself distracted and told them Sir Dragon had to lay down. He retired to his room and didn't come out for dinner. Blair began to get worried so she had Starr watch Sam and Hope then she went in search of Todd.

Blair found him laying down, but it was obvious it wasn't a restful sleep. Todd was tossing and turning on the bed and once again seemed caught in the nightmares that had haunted him the night before. Blair decided that she had to break this nightmare or he was going to hurt himself. Blair climbed into bed with Todd and embraced him when he turned toward her then before he could throw her off, she caught his mouth with hers and kissed him for all she was worth, praying to break through his dream and give him something to hold onto. He relaxed and stopped fighting and returned her kiss, his arms encircling her.

The kiss stopped and she found herself staring into his beautiful eyes.  Then he began helping her out of her top and she was feverishly trying to get him equally undressed, there was an urgency about it as they finally were able to meet flesh to flesh. She felt his muscles ripple beneath her fingers as they explored every scar. She found them erotic to touch sending shivers through her fingers all the while her body was responding to his touches and exploration. His mouth started exploring more of her and she gasped as her whole body quivered in anticipation. Delight took her to heights unimaginable, she was aching for him.  He took her, riding her like she would have ridden Araby then she returned the favor and rode him, her wild stallion to the ride's conclusion. She collapsed on him shuddering with tremors running through her body in the afterglow.

Todd laid her down beside him and gently began kissing her moving his mouth down her neck till he came to her breasts. He suckled one, tenderly flicking it with his tongue, knowing by her moans how close she was to the ecstasy he wanted her to reach, he moved to the other breast and treated it to the same special torture as Blair began to writhe in pleasure. All the while his tongue had been at work, Todd had puts his hands to work touching and stroking her all over then his fingers once again found that most intimate place, he knew she was ready and with one more flick of his tongue he maneuvered himself back on top and took the woman he loved finding her mouth as they soared to the heavens together. This time, they came down exhausted and cradling each other they fell asleep.

Blair rolled out of bed not wanting to disturb Todd. After their lovemaking, they had both fallen asleep and Todd had been able to sleep dream free. She knew he was going to wake soon and all his worries about the session would return in force. She wanted to make sure his morning went smoothly without any added problems concerning his issues with all of them. Blair went and got cleaned up as best she could, she was going to have to bring some clothes over if she was going to keep spending nights here. Blair found Starr up and doing some early studying. The kids were still asleep so she figured it was time to bring Starr into the loop about her father.

Starr looked up as her mother came down the stairs. She looked rather serious so Starr put her book down.  "What the matter Mom? Is it Dad? You didn't come back downstairs last night and when I took Sam and Hope upstairs it was quiet in Dad's room. He was OK wasn't he?"

Blair looked at Starr and said. "Your Dad is going through a lot right now. He's going to a therapy session today, but I'm not sure he's up to it. Thank goodness, Ray has it set up at Cherryvale Clinic, if anything occurs medically he'll be able to get help immediately. He refuses to let me go with him so I'm going to be a wreck this afternoon till he gets back safe."

"Mom, he's going to do it by himself, it's what he's always done. He hates when we hover. Are you going to wake Sam, he probably could go to school today? You didn't go to the hospital at all yesterday, don't you want to check on Walker." asked Starr

Blair poured a cup of coffee and sat down."Starr that's what I need to talk to you about. I told you yesterday that I was staying with your dad because he had a bad day the day before yesterday. I didn't tell you what I found when I arrived home after leaving you and your brother at the hospital. I found your father passed out on the floor by the fireplace. He had smashed an entire decanter of liquor on the fireplace just missing the portraits. At first, I thought he was drunk until I checked him out. He wasn't drunk, he was unconscious and in shock.”

“Oh, My God  Mom what happened?”

Blair took a sip of her coffee and continued.  “I knew something was terribly wrong so I tried to bring him around. It tore my heart in two when the only response I could get an exhausted sob.  I realized he had been crying. Whatever had gotten him so angry had also hurt him worse. Now this is conjecture on my part but I think your father is furious with us, but he's keeping it hidden and I think the struggle to keep the anger in has him on the edge. That's why he destroyed the decanter, but he couldn't bring himself to destroy the portraits so he deliberately aimed high and missed them. More importantly, I think he’s so deeply hurt by all of us he can hardly think straight, We've all been dealing with the fact that he is back and we've tried to keep him in good health but we've missed his pain. He came back to us, still loving us as if it were yesterday for him. He finds himself surrounded by the people he loves, loving someone else. I don't think that would have bothered him so much if the someone we were loving was a total stranger. But we're loving the man who literally took his place. We're giving our love to an impostor because we believed he was Todd. That's the biggest betrayal for your dad, we didn't even doubt that Walker might not be Todd, we just accepted it. It's like we stood there and drove a knife into your father’s gut and twisted it. That's where his deepest pain is coming from."
Blair paused, seeing tears welling up in Starr’s eyes.  She leaned forward and covered her daughter’s hand.   “Don’t cry, we just didn’t know.  Yesterday you sat there and talked about holding Walker's hand and trying to get him to wake up. You can't help yourself, Walker was your dad all this time, but with each word your father felt more pain. He loves you more than life itself and I’m sure he would never have believed that someone else could take his place. If you look at it from where he's coming from, then you know he thought you would have been able to spot the phony and it's killing him that you didn't. I sat up with your dad the night before last and watched as he struggled with his demons in his nightmares. Several times I almost call 911, I was so worried about him. Do you understand why I didn't go back to the hospital yesterday? I had to make him understand I saw his pain and I wasn't going to leave. Now he's going to go talk to Ray. If the baggage about his past wasn't bad enough, now he's carrying all this new anger and pain too. I'm praying he survives." Blair looked over to her daughter.

Starr was stricken. Was it true? How had they missed it? Long ago she had always been able to tell exactly what her dad was feeling. She had missed this anger. It just hadn't registered that there was more to his questions about Walker. She thought back two days ago when she had come rushing back home and just told her dad the Walker had been shot. She had just given him the information and rushed to the hospital to see Walker.  All thoughts about Walker being an impostor had flown out the window when she heard he had been hurt. She had treated her Dad like an acquaintance and left to be with the man who had been her father so long, never once thinking about how that had to make her dad feel. Her mom was right she had basically stabbed her dad through the heart and hadn't even realized it. It had seemed so cut and dried when she had moved into the penthouse. She had been mad at Walker and was so glad to see her real dad that she really hadn't thought about all the ramifications of loving both men or how her real dad would take that. Now in the clear morning light, she knew she had to find a way to let her dad know that she still loved him as much as ever. Nothing was going to take the betrayal away, they hadn't doubted and they should have, so all of them were equally guilty. The only thing they could do was show him he was worth something to them.

Before their conversation could go any further, Todd and the kids began making their way down the stairs, Starr looked at her Mom and nodded. They tabled the discussion for a later time and began making plans for Sam and Blair to go home. Starr glanced at her dad and saw how difficult it was for him to act like it meant nothing that Blair was leaving. As she really looked at him she saw signs that he had been through more than she realized in the last two days. She hadn't seen it last night, but it was there around his eyes, an almost haunted look. Mom was right to be worried about him going to this session alone. She suddenly had an idea.  "Samuel, I know you've got that appointment this afternoon, but you're not supposed to be driving yet. I think you're going to have to let either me or Mom go with you to ensure you get there safely. I'm not going to take no for an answer. So who's going to take you, Mom or me?

Todd looked at Starr, he had been dreading the afternoon and now she had just given him a way to take Blair’s help after all.  Starr and Blair waited for his answer. Todd looked briefly at Starr and then turning his eyes on Blair he said. "Starr, you missed classes yesterday, you should probably try and go today.  Since you won't let me drive, I guess your Mom will just have to take me."

Blair smiled at him and said. " I'll be back as soon as I get Sam off to school and get cleaned up. Maybe we can have a picnic lunch before driving on to Cherryvale." Todd smiled back at her and seems a little cheerier.

"Good, it's settled then. Mom, you need to hurry and get Sam home and then on to school. Samuel, there are rolls and coffee in the kitchen. I'm going to feed Hope and then take her down to daycare. I'll come keep you company until Mom returns, my first class isn't until 11:00 am." said Starr. She ushered her Dad toward the kitchen and her Mom and brother out the door. Then she gathered up Hope and joined her Dad in the kitchen secure in the knowledge that he was going to have someone who loved him by his side today.

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