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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Mysterious Samuel Toddman: Chapter 56

Blair looked at Todd and smiled. "We do, don't we. Come on, let's get you upstairs where you can rest. I need to find out from Starr how the boys are doing and I'm sure she's worried about you."


Starr rushed to meet her dad the minute he stepped through the door." What on earth happened yesterday. I came home, found a broken vase on the floor, the window curtain ties were lying on the ground along with several towels. What did you guys do? I don't want to know if it was something kinky. How did you end up at Llanview Hospital? I thought your session was at the Cherryvale Clinic. Dad, was it something so bad they transferred you from Cherryvale?"


"Whoa, catch your breath Starr, and give me a chance to catch mine."  Todd walked in and sat down in the first available chair taking a moment to shade his eyes. Blair quickly went to the windows and turned on the automatic blinds. The room got darker immediately. Todd relaxed back into the chair and closed his eyes for a moment. Starr looked on with concern. Then Todd looked at her and said, "Have a seat. Your Mom will fill you in." Once again he closed his eyes.


"Dad are you alright." asked Starr, she looked for her Mom hoping for some answers, but Blair had disappeared into the kitchen.


"I'm alright, just have a splitting headache," Todd answered still resting with his eyes close.


Starr was confused. "Mom. Dad.. will one of you tell me what happened."


Blair handed Todd a couple of aspirins and some water and took a seat on the couch. He took the aspirins quickly and set the glass down.


"I guess I'll start," said Todd. "I had a couple of visitors right after you left Starr. The first one was Tea. It seems she saw us at the hospital and followed us here. There was one big problem, she wasn't buying Samuel's story and for some unknown reason, she suddenly fainted. I came back out to wake her up but before you know it, we were arguing. That's when my second uninvited guest showed up. One minute I was angry then the next minute I was lost. Your mom will have to take over from there." he reach down and picked up the glass and rubbed the cool surface against his forehead. Starr looked over at her mom.


Blair had gotten back up and retrieved a towel and some ice cubes. She took the glass from Todd and laid the towel across his forehead. Then she looked directly at her daughter and said. "Pete was out when I got here. He was being vile to Tea. Then he decided to do worse. I stopped him."


Todd piped in. "Yeah, you could say my head had a collision with that broken vase," he chuckled.


Blair glared at Todd but he couldn't see because his eyes were still closed. She continued. "Tea and I tied Pete up and I called your dad's therapist. Ray brought Dr. Levin with him and they got Todd back. Tea left after we got your dad back. She's pretty confused right now. Your dad said he had a headache and since Ray was here, your dad decided to go through with the session. Unfortunately, as the session drew to a close, the headache got exceedingly worse and we headed to the hospital. Your dad suffered a severe concussion and that's why we spent the night. The doctor felt he should be observed to make sure no other complications showed up. I'm sorry I didn't explain it in full last night. I was pretty distracted."


"Oh my god, Dad! Mom, are you insane? How could you clobber Dad like that?" Starr couldn't believe her mom knocked out her dad.


"Yeah, Blair how could you hit me like that. My poor head..." Todd was enjoying this.  He smirked.


"Oh shut up, Todd. You know perfectly well why I did it. Starr, Pete was going to attack Tea. I didn't have a choice," said Blair hoping to make her daughter understand her actions.


"That's right Blair, you didn't have a choice. So stop beating yourself up. I don't blame you. I told you that yesterday, believe me."


Blair looked over at Todd. His eyes were opened, the laughter was gone. She knew from the tone in his voice he meant what he said.


"Starr, what your Mom did took a lot of guts. If it was you in that situation I'd want you to do the exact same thing. I never want Pete to hurt any of you."


Starr looked at her dad and knew he was dead serious. He didn't want Pete to come anywhere near her or Hope. It only took a moment to realize that he would give his life up if it meant getting rid of Pete once and for all. No wonder he was so desperate these last few days. He really was afraid that Pete was close to surfacing for good. "Dad, I understand. But you have to continue to fight. I don't think Pete can beat you. I trust you. You have to believe you're going to be the winner in this. Dad, you created him, you can destroy him. Remember that. Mom agrees with me. Right, Mom?"


Blair sat down next to Todd. "You listen to your daughter. You haven't gone through all of this to give up now. You might be willing to let your life go if Pete comes out, but I'm not and neither is Starr. So show me some of your backbone and get back in this fight. You'll feel more yourself when that headache wears off. It's just got you down right now. I don't want to think about what might happen anymore. I’m going to start planning what will happen when we get this resolved. We've a family to put back together and we're going to do it. Now, the doctor said to rest, so takes his advice. I've got some errands I need to run but I'll be back later. Take it easy."


Todd looked at Blair, then Starr, and knew arguing was a lost cause. His head hurt too much anyway. "Alright, whatever you say," he hoped that would get them off his case. They had no idea how strong Pete was, Todd did and that's why he had to make a decision soon. He could no longer put off this confrontation. Something about last night's nightmare had struck a chord. He needed to know what he had been hiding all these years. If his Nightmare was correct Tom knew and that meant that Rodd and Ms. Perkins also knew. Of course, Pete knew because that was where Pete was getting all his anger from. Todd hoped Ray would call with another session time. If he didn't call by two, Todd was going to call him. He felt that feeling of urgency coming over him. It was time. He leaned his head back trying to ease the pain and felt Blair's hand on his shoulder.


"I'll be back, I promise," said Blair brushing his forehead with her lips, she stood up and turned to Starr. "The doctor said 'rest' see that he does. I'll try not to be too long." She grabbed her bag and left.


Blair got down to the garage and sat down in her car then she made her call. " Hi, do you want to talk? How's he doing? I'll come to you. I'm headed there now. See you in a few."


At the hospital, Tea put away her phone. She looked over at the man she loved. It had been a long night. She had driven around for quite some time after leaving the penthouse. Her mind had been working to understand all that had transpired. Then she had gone to the Sun's offices and into his office just to look around. She didn't know what she'd hoped to find. It had just been a place to go. She'd noticed an envelope on Todd's desk from a Gallery in Paris. It had been sitting there probably since the day Todd had been shot. She opened it and saw an invoice for a portrait. Todd had purchased it recently judging by the date on the invoice. It was entitled "Lady in Red". Tea hadn't seen any new portraits at home and wondered where Todd had put this acquisition. Tea picked up the phone and called receiving and found out a package had been delivered the day after Todd was shot. It was down in the archives.


Tea had gone down to the Archives and walked around until she'd arrived at the vaults at the back where the microfilm and other temperature sensitive materials were stored. The crate was still standing where it had been delivered. Tea had one of the employees working in the area help her to open it. Then she had pulled the portrait free. Her heart had stopped when she saw the picture. Emotions raced through her as she set the picture against the wall. She saw that it was beautiful there was no denying that. But her heart was breaking. It was a portrait of Blair. Todd had purchased a portrait of Blair. Why? The portrait looked familiar like she had seen something like it and then another thought struck her she looked for a signature. There wasn't one. But there was a date. God, it was another of Samuel's portraits. But Todd had told Blair he knew nothing about her portrait. Why had he lied?


The crate had been left outside a vault. Tea saw the security lock and wondered if she could get in. She could spend all night trying to figure out the code or she could call security. She did the latter. As his wife and lawyer, Tea had the power of attorney while Todd was in the coma and so security unlocked the vault for her. She thanked them and sent them away. She opened the door and stepped inside. They were all lit by their own lights and there was a blank space for the new one. Tea sank into the chair that faced them. Todd hadn't just purchased one portrait, he already had four others. All of them were of Blair. This whole day had gotten worse by the minute. Tea knew in her heart that Todd loved her but it was obvious that he had never stopped loving Blair. She would have been alright if the four were all he had purchased, they could have been bought before Todd and she had gotten married but that didn't explain the latest purchase. Nor the fact that he had his own personal Gallery of Blair's portraits. It was obsessive. Who was the man she was married to?


Tea had put the latest portrait into the vault and locked the door behind her. As she was leaving she noticed a pill container laying against the wall. It was a prescription for Todd, written by a Dr. Kipling. She put it in her pocket and left. Then she had headed to the hospital. She remembered entering and sitting down next to him. All she had been able to do for the longest time was stare at him. She had dozed off and was awakened by the nurse who had come to check Todd's vitals. There was still no change, the doctors were a little concerned because they could find no clear reason for the coma. Suddenly Tea remembered the prescription bottle. She showed it to the nurse and the nurse made note of what Todd had been taking and said she'd let the doctor know. Tea put the bottle away again. She chose to go get some coffee stopping to say hi to Shawn. Tea had just gotten back to the room when her phone rang.


****


Tea looked over as Blair entered the room.


Blair pulled up a chair and sat down next to Tea. "How are you doing, Tea. I looked in earlier when I was taking Todd home."


"What did you just say? Why were you taking Todd home? Why was he here?" asked Tea in concern.


"Uh, you know that blow to the head I gave him. Well, it was more serious than we thought. Todd had a severe concussion and had to spend the night under observation. He's going to have a headache for awhile but he'll be alright. I left him at home resting." Blair glanced at Tea. " I know yesterday must have been pretty overwhelming. You got several shocks at once. Tell me what you're thinking."


"Blair, why didn't you say anything?" asked Tea. "You met Samuel in Paris. That was a couple of months ago. Not three weeks ago we met out at the nurses station and you told me he was just an acquaintance. You let me think he was just a distant relative. Why did you lie to me? I thought we were friends."


"Tea, I didn't know what to tell you at first. When I met Samuel, he had no idea who I was. He had been painting me but thought I came from his imagination. I was pretty sure he was one of Todd's alters, but I had no way to prove it. I was as shocked as you are now when I realized if Samuel was Todd, then all of us had been living with an impostor. I couldn't tell you about Samuel or Todd without proof. I remember thinking if I could get Samuel to come back to the States, his memory might return. I encouraged him to think about coming to the States and came home. I was shocked when Samuel called me and told me he was here in Llanview. Even more shocked when he told me to meet him at the penthouse. He told me his memory was coming back a little at a time and that he had met Todd and the rest of the alters. He explained that they had come home to free Todd and get back his life."


"You and Todd and Dani were just getting truly settled as a family. After what you went through at the hands of Eli. I couldn't rip your life apart. Samuel needed family around, he had been alone for eight years. Samuel wanted to see his daughter, he had recently remembered her so I arranged for the two to meet. I also suggested that Starr might want to move into her Dad's old penthouse. Their meeting was pretty bumpy to start and then Samuel experienced his first heart attack that night.  Of course, he refused to go to the hospital. So Starr and I bullied him into taking it easy as we moved her in. Things were going alright until Samuel insisted on going to the cemetery. That was the night Todd reappeared but he almost lost his life doing it. Todd's heart was damaged back in 2003, he flatlined a couple of times that night but we managed to bring him back. When you saw him yesterday he was here for his follow-up."


Blair paused and waited for any reply from Tea. Tea looked at her Todd and then back to Blair. "You're telling me Todd's not well on top of everything else. I don't know how much more of this I can take. My husband is lying in a coma because someone shot him. But now I find out he's not Todd. Wait a minute, are you sure your Todd is the real Todd?


"He is Tea and he has the DNA test to prove it. Vicki and he took the test together. Samuel told you of his memory loss. We believe that this whole charade was put into motion by Carlo Hesser. Samuel and Todd have been tracking down information that we hope places Hesser in the area the night Todd disappeared. Tea, we think there is a good chance Todd was experimented on and we think your Todd was part of that same experiment. Bo is working on getting the proof we need that connects Carlo with Todd but we're still looking for something to connects your Todd to the plan. At first we thought your Todd might have been a willing participant in this, you see he, along with Hesser, has been purchasing Samuel's portraits over the years. Then someone shot him. Now Todd thinks Carlo is trying to burn all his connections here. Tea, your Todd started acting more out of character around the time I received the Painting. You know what I'm talking about. He's been more erratic with his emotions and his paranoia. I'm wondering if the experiment is beginning to fail. Samuel's memories began returning around the same time. If the memories placed in your Todd were starting to unravel it might explain his behavior. If Hesser believes his house of cards is falling he'll disappear before that happens. Have the doctors told you what might be causing this coma?"


“The doctors can't figure out why he's in the coma. I don't know how I feel about everything you just told me.  I was so confused when I left the penthouse yesterday. First I had to wrap my head around the fact that Todd was back. Then I had to accept that his alters were real after all. It seemed so impossible. All this time, I've been so sure my Todd was Todd. How could he not be, he remembered so much of our past. Although there were a couple of times when he would look at me like he didn't know what I was talking about but I just figured he had forgotten stuff. I mean we all forget things. I went to his office last night and found out he had been buying the portraits, I was upset. Blair it wasn't like Todd to hide that from me. I found this outside the vault last night." Tea handed the prescription bottle to Blair. "I didn't even know he was seeing a doctor."


Blair took the bottle and read the label. There it was, the connection. "Tea this is the connection we need. Your Todd's been seeing Dr. Kipling. I'll bet Dr. Kipling is affiliated with the Kipling Neuroscience Research Facility outside of Philadelphia.  We're almost positive that's the same Facility where Todd was before being sent to Philadelphia General. Do you know that this drug is?"


“I have no idea. Like I said I just found it," replied Tea.


Just then the doctor came in to check on Todd, after checking his eyes, he turned to Tea. "The nurse informed me you found a prescription that belonged to your husband, may I see it, please? " Blair handed the bottle to the doctor. He looked at the label then opened the bottle and removed the pills inside. "This is not what the label calls for. I'd like to get these tested."


"Doctor, If you suspect something please tell me?" said Tea.


"Mrs. Manning I can't say anything for certain until the pills are tested but those might be the reason your husband is in a coma." said the doctor.


"Doctor, I'm Mr. Manning's ex-wife and I've been in contact with Commissioner Buchanan on a matter he is investigating. If you and Mrs. Manning don't object, I think the commissioner would be very interested in acquiring that bottle and any tests that you do on the contents. It could open wide a case he's working on for a friend of ours. If it's alright with you Tea, I'd like to take the bottle to him today. His lab, as well as the hospital lab, can be analyzing at the same time." said Blair, she looked eagerly at Tea who nodded. "In fact, just so there no question that the hospital and Bo are analyzing the same pills I'll call him and ask him to come here for the pills. Agreed?" The doctor handed the bottle back to Tea to hold onto until the commissioner arrived.


Blair made the call and told Bo what had just occurred, he agreed the bottle was indeed evidence and he would be over with an officer to make sure it was received and sealed until the lab got it. Twenty minutes later after talking to the Doctor, Bo left with the bottle and medicine in a sealed bag and the doctor took his sample to the hospital labs. The sooner they discovered what Todd had been taking the sooner they might be able to bring him around.


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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Mysterious Samuel Toddman: Chapter 55

Todd started to stand up but almost toppled over as the pain seared through his head,"Ahhh!" he collapsed into the chair grabbing his head.

Blair and Ray immediately rushed to check him out. He hadn't blacked out, but he was struggling through a fog and what sounded like a thousand anvils in his head to keep from passing out.  Finally, the pain receded.

"Sheesh Blair, what did you hit me with?" You could hear the pain in his voice underneath his attempt to lighten the mood. Then he saw the broken pieces of the vase on the floor. More pain came as Ray flashed a light in his eyes. "Ow watch the light, Ray." Blair handed him the towel and Todd held it against the back of his head.

Ray said. "I think you've got a concussion, Todd. Your pupils aren't equal.  Blair, he's going to need watching.  You might want to consider going to the hospital, Todd."

"How the hell am I going to explain this in ER?  Bo wanted me to keep a low profile. Showing up in an emergency is not 'low profile' to me.  I'll weather it out here.  Blair, get me some aspirin, please." Todd watched Blair head to the bathroom and turned his eyes to Ray. "Ok, how bad was it?  Be honest."

"It wasn't good, Todd.  Pete seemed to have a pretty good foothold.  If Blair hadn't injured him, we might not have succeeded in getting you back.  Blair is quite a woman Todd, she never hesitated in taking him out, even though she knew she was going to hurt you. That takes a lot of guts. Then, she called me immediately.   You're lucky to have her. I remember how she was there for you when you were up for attempted rape against Rebecca.  You never felt you deserved friends, but guess what Todd.  I think some people disagree with you.  Blair and I are two of them, and I have a feeling you have a few more out there.  Todd, it's time for you to talk to me about your childhood.  Tom came out for a reason and although I can guess the cause, you need to start facing it."  Ray stopped talking as Blair brought Todd the aspirin and a glass of water.

"Talk to me Todd, tell me more about your early life."

Todd moved over so that Blair could sit on the arm of his chair. She put her arm around his shoulder as he leaned into her. Through half-lidded eyes, he looked at Ray wincing because of the light.  Ray walked over and lowered the lights in the room then he sat down and waited for Todd to start. "I hate talking about Peter.  He was a bastard that stole from me and treated me like the dirt he walked on.  Things were alright when I was real little, but my mom was around then.  Then he started hurting her.  He didn't like women, but I told you that, didn't I?  I was probably eight or nine when she left. She just left. I didn't know why at the time.  It hurt because I thought I had done something wrong especially when she didn't take me with her.  In Peter's eyes, I was the reason she left, and since he couldn't take out his anger on her any longer, he started on me."

Todd took a breath.  "Those first few months after she left, I couldn't do anything right.  I tried. God, how I tried.  He liked to find different ways to 'make me strong' as he would say. For no reason at all, he would come and pull me out of bed then he would make me do something to prove my worth.  I remember telling Tea about the night he made me kneel on a pile of dry rice with my bare knees.  I wasn't allowed to move.  It didn't matter that the rice felt like shards of glass.  After about twenty minutes, he refused to let me up.  It was early in the morning when he fell asleep at the table, and I crawled somehow past him and got to my room.  I remember how my pajama legs stuck to my knees when I awoke.  I had to carefully take them off as they pulled free of the dried blood.  I hid them and walked them down to the washer so that he wouldn't know I had gotten blood on them.  After several more such nights, I stopped feeling anything.  I had found I could go someplace else."

He continued, "My fa...Peter, decided I needed the pain to prove myself, so he brought out his lighter.  He told me Hindu monks could withstand pain and he wanted to see how long I could last.  He lit his lighter and with the flame going, he had me put my hand over it.  I was about eleven then.  Suddenly, I found myself watching the whole thing from another angle.  I could see the flame, but could no longer feel anything.  I remember looking around for an instant, and I felt like I was in a large room but I couldn't see any walls or ceiling.  There was one other person with me, a woman.  I remember asking her where I was and she just said I was somewhere safe.  I asked her name and she told me it was Ms. Perkins.  The next thing I remember was how bad my hand hurt, I looked up at my da...my dad, and could feel the tears in my eyes.  He stood there smiling and just walked away."

Todd closed his eyes as he felt the tears burning there. Inside his head, he heard Ms. Perkins voice. " Todd, you can take a break, let Tom out; he can tell part of the story."

Blair had been near to tears as Todd had been reciting his story. She had known about the lighter from Todd's trial, but the other stuff was new to her.  When Todd stopped talking, she was afraid he had passed out.  Ray looked concerned too.  He started to check on Todd when his eyes opened back up.

"Owww!  Boy does his head hurt. Hi, Blair. I'm here to help. Ms. Perkins said you wanted to hear about my life.  What do you want to know?  Hey Blair, could I have a soda or something." He looked up and grinned. Then he looked across at Ray. "Oh hi, I'm Tom. Todd's not feeling so good right now, and so I'm here. Is that Ok?"

Ray looked at Tom.  From his demeanor, Tom struck him as a young boy.  Ray really wanted Todd to finish his story, but it was obvious that Ms. Perkins was doing her job.  Ray knew he would have to talk to Ms. Perkins next.  She was protecting Todd, but Todd needed to stop hiding, and Ray had to make Ms. Perkins understand that. Tom had experienced some of Peter's torture, so Ray decided to hear what Tom had to say. "Go ahead Tom, tell us about Peter Manning."

Blair brought Tom a soda and he draped the cold towel over his head. It was just something a young boy might do and Blair couldn't help smiling.  "Well let see.  Todd's dad was a really mean old man. The first time I met him he had Todd standing in a bucket of ice water and as the ice melted he kept adding more.  One minute I was watching, then suddenly, I was out.  Boy, I was cold, but he wouldn't let me move.  He kept saying that I needed to toughen up, that I couldn't show people my fear.  I thought he was nuts.  I just wanted to be warm, but he just kept adding that ice.  Suddenly, I fell over.  He got really mad and stood me up but I couldn't stand anymore.  I couldn't feel my legs from the knees down so he got mad and stormed off.  I reached with my hands and lifted my legs out of the water.  It was funny, they didn't feel like they were even there."

"I don't know how long I sat there rubbing them.  I just remember when they started to burn, they were hurting so bad,  I pulled the bucket over on them to make the burning stop and he came in and saw what I had done.  He made me clean up the floor, I didn't have any towels so I took my shirt off and tried to mop up the water all the while I was crying and scooting around on the floor, because my legs hurt so bad, then he told me since I had made such a mess of the kitchen, I didn't get dinner that night.  He left the room turning off the light and leaving me in the dark.  I was so cold.  Finally, I started feeling my feet and so I pulled myself up onto a chair and began rubbing my legs again.  I remember feeling very tired and laying my head down on the table.  I was back inside the next morning. Todd was getting yelled at because he was being so slow.  He was limping, and I knew why."

Tom looked at Blair and Ray and took a quick drink of his soda. "Poor Todd, we started switching places a lot then.  Not all the time, because Todd didn't want me going through it any more than he did.  But we helped each other.  If Todd had a real rough night with his dad, then I would come out and take over for him at school.  I really liked that.  That's how I got to meet Mr. Rappaport.  Todd and I were like twins.  Only no one knew about us.  Todd's dad just kept getting meaner.  If Todd came home with a bad grade, our 'dad' started beating us with his belt.  It got to the point that it didn't matter who took the beating, the next day was torture for both of us.  Either I got hurt taking the beating and Todd had to go through school all bruised and cut on his back, or he took the beating and I endured school all hurt. Our 'Dad' was fascinated with that lighter of his."

Tom paused and opened his palms and looked at his hands "The burns are still there just below the surface.  Some days, it was hard to get homework finished because the hands hurt so bad, I couldn't write.  I liked to write.  I would write stories to take my mind off my back or any other place.  At one point, I started a diary of sorts.  I put down my thoughts and then Todd would finish the entry.  One day, our 'dad' got hold of it.  He was furious when he read what we had written and that was the day the belt got turned around for the first time.  He tied Todd off the end of our bed with his head facing the pillow and then he started hitting Todd.  Todd was trying not to cry,  but then he started screaming and our 'Dad' started laughing.  I could see that Todd was going to keep taking the beating so I forced my way out and took the last of the beating for him."

Tom looked up and took the towel off his head and used it to dry his eyes. "It hurt so bad that night. We fell asleep on the end of the bed and sometime during the night our 'dad' untied us. One of us made it to the bathroom and then we turned on the shower.  I guess I was in charge because I remember looking down at the floor and watching the water turn brown from the blood on our back.  That was the one and only time we played hooky from school.  Todd pretended to be the housekeeper and called us in sick.  I remember we left and started walking.  We didn't care where we were going.  We just had to get away from that house.  We finally ended up outside the airport.  We climbed the fence and laid down on our stomach, on the grass at the far end of the runway.  We stayed and watched the planes zoom down and lift off in front of us; it was the coolest thing.  Todd had been keeping track of the time, so we headed back home before anyone found out we hadn't gone to school.

We got lucky that night because "Peter" had a date so he left us alone. We took another shower and this time, the water didn't sting quite as bad. Todd put on two t-shirts to keep the blood from getting on his pajamas and we went to sleep. After that day, "Peter" started dating more so Todd and I did everything we could to steer clear and not get him angry with us.  We got more involved with Mr. Rappaport and learned how to play football."  Tom stopped for a moment.

"Things didn't get any worse till Todd's fourteenth Birthday. Then, Pete showed up and everything changed.  Todd says he'll be right out, um, but before I go can I see Starr's picture and little Hope's too.  My head's feeling a little better.  Boy, this place hasn't changed too much since I was last here.  Except for all of Samuel's stuff over there."

Tom stood up carefully, started to sway and grabbed Blair's hand.  Then he stood straighter and said, "See, I'm better."  He walked to the studio and looked at Samuel's two pictures. "Wow, That's Starr.  She’s so old now.  Look at Hope, she reminds me of Starr. Hey, what's this picture?" Tom lifted the cover and said, "Wow, Blair, you're hot."  Then he lowered the cover and walked back towards Blair.  As he walked his gait changed and suddenly Blair found herself face to face with Todd.

"You're right, Tom. She certainly is." He took her hand and went to the couch and pulled Blair down on his lap and looked across at Ray. "I'm sorry I wimped out on you, but you see with Tom and me most everything were shared experiences.  I told you I hated Peter, and now you know why."

"I definitely see why you would hate your adopted father. Why didn't you ask for help?" asked Ray.

"Because at first I loved him and I had this overwhelming need to please him. I don't know why I let it go on.  You tell me, Ray.  You tell me."
Todd rubbed his forehead, he was starting to feel a little sick. "Ray I think you're right about the head. I'm not feeling too hot right now. I don't know if it's the blow, or what we've been discussing but things are getting a little blurry." Blair immediately got off his lap as Ray came back over to check Todd out.

"Easy Todd, lay your head back. This is probably going to hurt again." Ray once again used his flashlight to check Todd's eyes. "Blair we better get him to the emergency room. This might be more serious than a concussion, he needs some professional assistance now. Todd, do you think you can make it to the car? "

Todd grimaced and said, "With a little bit of help I think so."

Ray helped him up and supported him as Blair got the door. They made their way to the elevator and took it down to the garage. Todd was getting more unsteady by the minute. Blair opened her car doors and Ray helped Todd into the back then he and Blair got in the front and they headed out. It wasn't that long a drive to the hospital but Todd passed out right before they arrived. Blair stayed with Todd as Ray went for help.

They wheeled him in and the doctor went to work ascertaining the problem.
Blair waited anxiously praying she hadn't seriously injured Todd. "Ray, what if it's serious. I didn't want this to happen I was just trying to stop Pete from attacking Tea." Ray looked at her, "Blair at the time, you had no other recourse you couldn't have foreseen this. Let's not imagine the worse."

The doctor came out, they were going to take him down for a cat scan. The Xrays didn't show any fractures so they were checking for possible bleeds. The scans came back negative for bleeds. Todd had started to come around right before they got him back to the room. The conclusion was that Todd had sustained a severe concussion. The blow to the head had caused some minor swelling to take place which had resulted in his blackout. The doctors and Blair decided that he would stay the night for observation and if the night went alright he could be released in the morning. Blair arranged a private room so she could stay with him and keep an eye on him.

Blair and Ray joined Todd and informed him he would be spending the night. Todd didn't put up too much of a fight. He thought his head was going to explode. Looking at Ray, he said. "So much for weathering it out at home. Thanks for your help. Give me a couple days to recover and we'll continue our talk. I've got to do something about Pete, I don't think I'll survive any more of Blair's hits."

Blair punched him in the shoulder and he winced. "Oh God I'm sorry Todd," said Blair, her eyes were filled with concern, he reached over and took her hand.

"Blair, you did the right thing I couldn't live with myself if Pete had harmed Tea or you." He looked back at Ray. "Well, Ray?"

Ray walked over and said. "I should have insisted on bringing you in for a check before continuing today, especially with everything you've been through lately. We'll have another session Todd but we're doing it at Cherryvale again and this time, a doctor and nurse will be on hand. I'm not going to take any more chances with your health. Todd, you continue to amaze me. After hearing your tale this afternoon, I'm not surprised you wanted to have our session. You've endured so much and gotten through it, you've started taking unnecessary risks with your health. From now on, we work by my rules, I haven't lost any patients and I don't want you to be my first. Agreed?" he looked at Todd waiting for an answer.

Todd had been up against Ray's stubbornness before, so he knew better than to argue. "Agreed." Ray smiled and departed leaving Blair alone with Todd.

Todd was settled into a private room for the night. Blair called Starr and told her of the day's events and where they would be spending the night. Starr said she would get the information to Addie and the boys would be taken care of. Blair looked over at Todd, he was starting to drift off to sleep. She closed the door and climbed into bed with him. she was going to make sure he made it through the night without any complications. Soon they both were asleep.

A song was playing on the radio, breaking the silence like a band in summer. It was his birthday again, that he knew, even in a dream, he knew. The dream was a repeat; he had it throughout his life. It was the dream that always started with the same song before a knock on the door.

“Here comes that rain again . . .”

And the knock. The hallway leading to the door is congested with acrid fog. He walks to the door like every other time.

Opening the door, the smoke dissipates. Michelle stands at the door. Her hair is tied in a ponytail to one side of her head and she’s wearing a short skirt and white blouse with a black bolero jacket. Like every other time in the dream only, the jacket has Freddy Kruger slashes in it, but she does not seem to notice. In her hands, she cradles a cake, decorated with blue icing that says “Happy Birthday.”

Michelle walks into the house, and in the dream, he knows. He knows it and feels it. There’s dread, thick, gelatinous and coagulated: frightening. She walks into the living room and sets the cake down. “Aren’t you going to light the candles?” He reaches for her, to lean toward her to kiss her cheek in thanks and remembers the lighter. He needs the lighter to light the candles. He’s never had a birthday cake since . . .

Leaving her, he has to cross the hallway again, padded again with overpowering smoke, to get to his father’s room and retrieve the silver torch. Something about it felt good in his hand, cool and sleek, and at the same time, Todd wondered why it made his stomach quiver to touch it. Making his way back to her, he can see that in the dream, she’s gone. Her jacket is on the floor in a pool of congealing blood. He opens his mouth to scream, but can’t, and before he can try again, he feels the back of his shirt ripped up toward the ceiling.

In one swift move, he feels the sharp slice of the metal buckle against his back. It’s usual, expected, blunt and hot like a burn. He turns, and the lighter, extended in the hand of The Bad Man, in black, face hooded, is lit with a flame that flickers at three inches. And the routine, his hand grabbed by the wrist, held over the orange and white flare, he holds it there until he fades away for a moment, goes outside himself, and in the dream, he sees himself from the side and cheers himself on. Next, a shove and he’s down. No, not this. Who’s The Bad Man? He’s been here before, no. He struggles, like every other nightmare time, to stay on his back, because . . . no, not this. I won’t let him turn me. I won’t let him . . .

The song blares, "Tearing me apart like a new emotion . . .”

The Bad Man has superhuman strength and no matter how Todd fights, or how Tom fights, or how Ms. Perkins encourages the boys to fight, The Bad Man can just reach down and turn them over, rag dolls to a giant. The blood’s all over now, more than it was, covering everything and everywhere. Red is smeared all over the room like grease; his hands, face, and body bloodied and sliding, he can’t fight. He can’t. He’s facedown on the floor, his hands sliding into the scarlet puddles; he can’t get away, slipping as he tries, he just can’t get away. Who is The Bad Man? Who is he? And why does he do . . . this . . . ?

Todd sees his own hands make five-finger streaks, like Freddy again, across the floor through the clots and lakes of crimson as he’s dragged backward, and panic sets in. Scrambling, his feet pedal and his arms swim but the dragging, oh the dragging, no not the dragging. No, ‘cause when the dragging stops. . .

The dragging stops. His legs open and a pain shoots through him from his very core, through his heart, to his head and he’s gone. Tom, rushing to his side, pushes himself in Todd’s place. In the dream, Todd can see it all from the side, like watching a movie. And The Bad Man says bad things to Tom and laughs, a circus clown with murderous eyes. And Todd tries through enraged tears to see who The Bad Man is that has Tom, but only Tom knows, because Tom looks back over his shoulder and Tom sees the evil face looking down at him through the black cloth, and Tom knows.

The laughter echoes, pounding at him.

Todd walks into the choking smoke, down the hall, hearing The Bad Man and Tom behind him. He walks in a zombie gait to his room where he finds his bed, and his pillow, and covers his ears, making his birthday wish, and it is for sleep.

Todd jerked awake in a cold sweat. He reached, found Blair, and pulled her closer, getting comfort knowing he was not alone.

Blair felt Todd wake and pull her close. She could tell from his racing heart that he'd had another nightmare. After what he had revealed to Ray, she was sure the dreams were probably horrendous. She felt his heart slow down to a more normal rate as he fell asleep again. She felt so helpless. The more he opened up, the more her heart broke for him. Todd had done so many terrible things to a lot of people, herself included but in the end, he had been reacting with the only tool at his disposal. His survival instinct was so etched into his makeup that in his world you struck first or you died. He had faced death so many times and survived. It must have been a serious blow to him when he almost lost the game because his own body betrayed him. Now he was trying to regroup but the setbacks were disheartening.

She knew Todd was getting weary and losing hope that he could get everything turned around. He had always done things his own way by himself and had always felt alone. He just couldn't see that he had other people ready to step forward and help him. Blair had been trying to help Todd when she had knocked Pete out. It had never occurred to her that the consequences of her actions might have been detrimental to Todd.

Blair lay there thinking back to the moment when Todd had passed out in the car. She still reeled from the fact that she could have killed him. He said he didn't blame her but it scared her. When she walked in the penthouse and heard Pete insulting Tea, her first instinct had been to protect. Todd's personalities had become so real to her that she perceived a very real threat when she saw Pete and had forgotten he was also Todd. It was more imperative than ever to get rid of Pete. The thought of someone taking out Pete for some transgression with no thought to the fact that Todd was inside petrified her. Blair fell into an uneasy sleep.

Several hours later, the nurse came to check on Todd and see how he was doing. He still had some sensitivity to light, but the headache had diminished significantly. The doctor came by and said he could go home but advised that he rest at least one more day. Blair assured the doctor that he would do just that. Before leaving the hospital, Blair took a moment to go check on Tea. Blair looked in and saw that Tea was resting. She checked at the nurses station but there had been no change in Walker's status. Blair went back and got Todd and they left without encountering anyone they might know.

Todd looked over at Blair as they headed home. "You've been awfully quiet since we woke this morning. What's up?"

Blair glanced at him. "It's nothing. Don't worry about it."

"Blair something's bothering you. Did I do something or are you bothered by what you heard yesterday? Whatever it is I'll try to fix it. Just tell me." Todd couldn't stand it when Blair got moody because she usually got that way after he did something. And right now he couldn't think of anything that he could have done to get her that way. It was driving him crazy.

"It's nothing you did, it's something I did." said Blair

"Well, that really clears it up. Like no! Come on, what did you do?" asked Todd

"Todd, I nearly killed you. I was so intent on keeping Pete from hurting Tea, I forgot he was you. I realized last night how real your alters are. I'm scared for you. I remember at your trial when Pete showed up I thought it was you so it didn't bother me when you were acting cruelly. I couldn't understand why Vicki was so concerned that Pete was out. I saw her fear for you but it didn't register.  I understand it now. Pete terrified me yesterday, he was ready to hurt Tea without a second thought. My thought was to stop him and I did. All I wanted to do was get you back and I chose to use a violent method to do it. I didn't mean to hurt you but I did.  If he gets out again someone else might use a more lethal method to stop him."

She looked over at him again."Todd, I don't think you're ready to meet him but I'm afraid to wait till you are. I understand now why you've been so desperate to keep him contained." Blair pulled into the garage and stopped the car. "All those years ago when you were in love with Tea I put pressure on Tom, and Pete came out and made trouble for you. I accidentally cost you Tea, I'm sorry Todd. You fled rather then reveal that your alters were real and now you've had to expose yourself to disbelief. In fact, Tea's disbelief upset you so much that Pete escaped. How can you love someone who's done all that to you and almost killed you?"

Todd shrugged and said, "I just do. Just like I know that I'm the one for you. We fit Blair."



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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Chasing the Monsters: 28

Pamela couldn't speak, the sobs were prevailing, but Blair could see her trying to form words, and got up and went to her other side and sat there, petting her shoulder, and the woman reached for Blair's hand.  Ribsky just stood, leaning against the mantle, watching with a sullen expression.  Finally, Pamela sat up, pulling back out of Todd's arms, and attempted to rein in her emotion.  "Mr. Manning," she began.

"Todd," he corrected.


"Todd, you don't have to apologize for what he was.  I'm sorry for the fact that she never told anyone what he had done to you after your mother left.  I'm sorry she didn't believe, and I'm sorry she let the kidnapping happen.  I don't know what it was.  The greed, or some false loyalty or what she thought was love?  Whatever it was, it had a hold on her."


"No sorries needed.  Peter's the monster who caused it all.  She was just another victim.  That's how I see her,"  Todd said.


Blair still had Pamela's hand.  She said, "Thank you.  I owe something precious to you and your sister.  She died defending my little boy.  I can't thank her enough, or you, for letting us know."


Ribsky said, "Listen, I think we've all shed enough tears over this man.  Let's eat."


Todd found himself smiling at the man's comment, and Blair and Pamela both laughed through tears.  Blair said, "Oh, we were not planning to eat here."


"I know, but it seems in order," he said.  "You've never eaten until you've eaten her pierogies, and she just made them fresh to freeze."


Todd said, "I can't resist food right now.  Is it okay with you, Blair?"


Pamela interjected, "Unless you have a plane to catch?"


"Todd has his own jet, and we'd love to stay," Blair said.


With that, the strange foursome embarked on a first meal; the men were in the living room, talking football, with beers in hand, and Blair helped Pamela with the preparations in the kitchen.  When dinner was ready, all four of them gathered in the kitchen, and talked over the food.  Todd and Blair conversed with the Ribsky's, and ate the Polish meal, which was different to them, but quite good.  


At the end of the dinner, Todd said, "I can't eat anything else! It was really good, thanks," and then turned to Ribsky and said, "I . . . think you'll be hearing from my father soon."


"Oh yeah, Mr. Broderick.  What is his interest in talking with me?"


Todd's smile faded, and he looked down at his plate.  Blair stepped in and answered, "Todd's remembered more things from his childhood.  They involve the inaction of the police here.  Needless to say, he wants to know whom it was that ignored his calls for help."


***


Timothy finished filing the proxy papers for the probate court hearing and sat back, satisfied with his work.  Todd could leave, he would stand in for him, in court, and all would be resolved with Peter's property.  "Not bad, Broderick, for a day's work."  He leaned against the couch and picked up the remote control, turning on the television.


After a few moments, flicking through the stations, he shut the television, realizing there was nothing of interest for him to see.  He sank back and listened to the complete quiet.


He closed his eyes and saw Erin.  She was wearing a white, flowing gown, loose-fitting, and she was young, as he had last seen her.  Her face seemed porcelain-perfect, and her eyes were bright and happy.  He watched as she moved along the bank of flowing water, that he recognized as the Liffey River, almost as if floating, with her hand outstretched, as if calling to him.


Suddenly, he was there, and appeared in front of her.  With all his might, he tried to take her hand, but couldn't reach.  "Erin, hold me hand.  Take me with ya," he said.


The more he tried, the further he was away from her.  "Erin! Erin, don't go," he cried into the dark.  He could see the whiteness of her gown flowing around her as she floated upward and further away until she was no more.


He sat up, back in the living room of the hotel suite, and cried.


***


"Todd, you'd mentioned that before briefly, in a cryptic fashion, when we met earlier this trip.  You remembered something else?"  Ribsky said.


"Yeah, I . . ." 


Blair saw him grip the table, and breathe deeply, so she spoke instead, "He remembers making at least one call for help when he was six, and no one attending the call."


Jack's face was indescribable.  He frowned, but it was evident he was thinking as well.  "No one attending?"


Todd said, "No."


"He can't remember everything, just that he called, and he was told to hold on, and sent to a different person, who told him to run and hide until they got there.  When he woke the next morning, and went inside, they hadn't been there.  His mother was assaulted and left on the floor in the kitchen."  She saw his hands tightening.  


Pamela said, "You were just a little boy, calling for help.  Jack, how can this be?"


The older man didn't answer, he just leaned onto his hands, folded in front of his mouth, and waited.  Then he said, "It can be, I believe Todd, but I can't believe that I worked with people who would hide something like that."


"My father had access to a great deal of money.  He was able to hide his secrets well."  Todd's expression looked as if he was tasting something bad, and Blair began to worry.  "I for one want all of those secrets exposed, so I can get on with my life."


Jack took his hands down from in front of his face and said, "I can guarantee you this.  I will work to find out who did this.  I've been a proud cop all my life, and whoever it is deserves reckoning."


Todd was surprised to hear his words, and caught eyes with Blair.  She said, "Well, I think Timothy was going to ask for your help anyway.  No telling what would have happened if Peter was stopped that night, or any other."


"So many things would be different," Todd said, studying his glass.  "So many . . ."


Blair reached across and took his hand, and he snapped out of his shell.  "I'd appreciate anything that you could do, Jack."

***


Later, Jack and Pamela finished cleaning the kitchen, and had wished Todd and Blair well on their trip home to Llanview.  Pamela was drying and stacking dishes, when the phone rang and her husband of thirty-five years picked it up.  "Hello?"


"This is Timothy Broderick, calling."


"Yes, how are you?  Todd and Blair have just left."


"They were there?  This late?  I am surprised, to say the least."


"We invited them for dinner.  Your son had a very difficult time today."


"Yes."


"They stayed and ate with us, and I found out this news about the police department.  Is there any way he can be wrong?"  Ribsky fished.


"I doubt it.  But he is going on memory.  It requires proof, first off, to be moved to the next level."


"What's that?"  Ribsky asked, believing he already knew.


"Research, investigation, and outcomes for the individuals."


"I couldn't agree more.  He's had enough."


"If you knew it all, Jack, ya would also know that his life would be very different now.  His whole make-up could be altered.  His pain would be that of everyday life, instead of years of this."  He had choked himself up speaking about it.


"Well Mr. Broderick, if you're looking for an investigator with ties to the police department, you can stop looking."


"Then ya will help?"


"I know where to start," he said.  "Leave it to me."


***


About an hour into their flight, Todd, who had dozed, lifted his head off Blair's lap.  "I feel better."


"Well, that's good.  You're in the air, and you love that."


"Yeah," he said swinging his feet around and sitting up.  "I can't let this go.  I have to get some kind of information to use against them," he said, going to his tablet.


"Not so fast, Mister," she said, blocking his way.  He stopped to look at her, from her shoes to her face, and marveled at her.  It was almost midnight, on the red eye, after his mess, and she was as stunning as the first thing in the morning.  


"What are you planning to do?"


"Whatever you want me to," she answered.


"Shouldn't I . . . be working on finding proof?"


"There's always tomorrow.  Besides, Timothy's not going to be looking for it tonight."


"True."


"How about if you catch more sleep?" she said, sitting down and patting the cushion next to her.


"I don't know," he said, plopping down on his back on the long, couch seating that lined the sides of the plane, with his head on her lap again.  "I might be persuaded, if someone rubbed my temples."


"I know who that someone is.  Do you have a headache?"


"A little.  It just feels tight, or tense."


"Okay, that's easily solved."  She massaged his temples gently.  


He closed his eyes.  Then he said, "Blair?"


"Yep?"


"Was Dad telling the truth?  Are you really willing to fulfill my every need?"

"Aren't I always?"

  
"Mmm-hmm."

"Then I guess it's yes."


"Okay," he said, wrapping one hand behind her head and pulling her mouth to his.  Letting go, he said, "You may continue," and waved her off like a servant.


She laughed and continued to rub his temples, then moved to his forehead, and jaw, and the tops of his shoulders until he was sound asleep.


She couldn't help replaying the scene at Peter Manning's house as he slept.  She had been so afraid, so terrified, for him, seeing him back there.  But somehow, he'd come through again.  She looked at his sleeping face, docile and soft in the realm of rest, and gently stroked his hair.  How has he done this?  How has he made it through ALL of this?


She sometimes thought of what she knew of her father, and then let it rest where it was: in the back of her mind, somewhere, among other things she had discarded.  She refused to spend much time with it; the stories she knew were enough and those she remembered about foster care were more than plenty.  She'd grown up thinking her life was bad, and it was, until she met his.  Once she got to know Todd Manning, and what was behind his hot-tempered, sometimes erratic anger, she fully gave up pondering her own childhood.  And she was grateful, in a strange way.


Like anyone else, there were bad moments, but they were few and far between.  There were even longer bouts of good, and positive memories with foster families.  And, there were patches of dread, mistreatment, and fear.  But nothing could compare to Todd's life, and she knew it, and somehow, it made her press the memories of her childhood tighter into the palm of forgetting.

The sadness was interrupted with a thought that struck her:  her man's strength was immense; his devotion to providing his family with a stable life was all-encompassing; his love for her was unending, as hers was for him.


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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Mysterious Samuel Toddman: Chapter 54

The next morning Starr and Todd headed to the hospital for his follow-up visit and to turn in the heart monitor. Todd got a talking to after the doctor read the readings the monitor had picked up. It appeared that Todd had come very close a couple of times to another attack and the doctor asked what had occurred during those times. The time reading on the monitor indicated that one of the times had been the night of his meltdown and the other had been in his session with Ray. The doctor decided to give Todd some medicine to regulate the heartbeat but agreed to let Todd continue his sessions with Ray since he was having them at the Cherryvale Clinic. Starr had gone to check on Walker while Todd was in with the doctor. She was still gone when Todd finished his visit. He turned to the doctor to ask a few more questions concerning the amount of stress he was under.


Tea came around the corner and heard a familiar voice talking up ahead of her. "Doctor, I really need some advice on some methods to control this stress. I'm facing a number of intense issues in the next couple of days. Any suggestions to lessen the effect the stress has on my heart." Tea looked ahead and stopped cold. His back was to her, but that voice was a voice from her past. He looked so familiar from his long hair to his broad shoulders. The gentleman and the doctor began walking away from her still talking, Tea followed hoping to catch a glimpse of his face, then she got her wish. Tea thought her heart was going to stop right then, it was Todd, she could have been back in 1998 as she looked at the man as he turned the corner. She shook her head, it was impossible, Todd was lying in a hospital bed in a coma how could he be talking to a doctor.
The man pulled farther away from her, then Tea saw Starr meet him. Starr hugged him and he put his arm around her and they left the hospital. Tea was galvanized to find out who had just walked out with Starr. Why did he look like the Todd of old and more importantly why did he sound like him? She stopped the doctor on his way back to his office and asked him who he had been talking to. He informed her the gentleman's name was Toddman. Tea recalled her conversation a week earlier with Blair about a distant relative. Blair had said there was a resemblance but what Tea had seen was more than a resemblance.


Tea had to find out where they were headed. She quickly went to the hospital garage and saw Starr and Mr. Toddman just getting into Starr's car. Hurrying Tea made it to her car and followed Starr, this was getting eerie. Starr was driving down a familiar road and then she turned into an equally familiar parking garage. Starr and Mr. Toddman entered the elevator and headed up the penthouse floor. Tea stepped on the elevator and rode up to the floor where their old home had been. The door to the penthouse was opening so Tea ducked out of sight. "Dad, I'll hold down the fort till you and mom get back from Cherryvale. Please be careful and don't overdo it. Remember what the doctor said." Tea's heart started beating even faster at Starr's words. When the elevator started down, Tea braced her shoulders and went to the door. She rang the bell and steeled herself for the moment when he would open the door.


"Hey, Shorty what did you forget?" Todd opened the door, he didn't know what to say. Delgado stood in front of him. Neither said anything at first. Todd didn't know if he should have Samuel come out or just face her as Todd. He wasn't sure what had brought her to the penthouse. Starr had told him she had been spending most of her days with Manning. Then he realized she must have seen him at the hospital. He closed his eyes briefly, "Samuel you should take her. She probably thinks I'm you anyway. She doesn't need this right now. What do you say?"


Samuel seemed reluctant to come out. "She'll need to know eventually Todd, don't confuse her any more than she already is. If you insist, I'll start, but you owe it to her to let her know the truth."


"Samuel just greet her, it might be useless if she happened to overhear Starr leaving, the jig is up anyway but let's play it the way we first decided." Todd pulled back and Samuel took over.


"I'm sorry, Mrs. Manning isn't it. Starr has told me a lot about you. Won't you please come in. We haven't met although I understand from Blair that you came to the hospital while I was there for care." Samuel stood aside and Tea walked in slowly.


Tea was really confused now. When he had opened the door she had heard him refer to Starr as Shorty and he had sounded exactly like Todd. Then he had changed in front of her to a totally different man, a man Blair said was Samuel Toddman. Tea walked into the living room and became even more agitated. The room was the same but different, the furniture was placed in a much cozier setting by the fireplace, but her eyes were drawn to the beautiful paintings on the wall. Who was this man? The portraits were stunning, she didn't know this man but his painting of her was amazing. All three of them were. If he had just met his family how could he have painted these portraits. She walked closer and noticed they only had dates on them like Blair's had. The date on hers was 2004, that made no sense at all. She turned to him and said. "Who are you really?"


Samuel gesture for her to take a seat. "Well, that's a matter of perception. You've already realized I'm not a distant relative. I am however the artist who painted these portraits. Your next question would be how could I paint you since we never met? The answer to that question lies with the answer to your first question. I wish you to know that you, my dear Dee, are very close to my heart."


"Why did you just call me Dee," asked Tea sitting down abruptly? This was getting surreal. He had all but admitted he wasn't a long lost relative and that he had painted the portraits. How come he looked like Todd and sounded like Todd but not be Todd?


"I called you Dee, because that is my name for you, although I know he liked to call you Delgado. You see, you, Vicki and Blair have kept me company these last eight years. In fact, you've kept me sane. I've been living in Paris until recently when Blair found me. My only company has been my paintings, my muses," Samuel pointed to the portraits. "You see I was rather a blank book when Blair found me. My memories started about eight years ago. I thought you, Blair, and Vicki were figments of my imagination. That is until Blair dropped into a faint outside my apartment in Paris. I started having flashes of memory after Blair left Paris, those flashes brought me home." Samuel paused to let her take in everything he had just told her.


Tea was really having a hard time assimilating everything Samuel was telling her. Then something he said clicked. "What did you mean he liked to call me Delgado? Who liked to call me that?"


"Why Todd of course. I wasn't aware of him at first, I wasn't aware of any of them actually, not until the afternoon that Blair left Paris. I was leaving her room when I suddenly was gripped with an excruciating headache. I suddenly found myself facing him. He told me his name and introduce the rest of them to me and told me more about myself." Samuel looked at her. "You know who I mean, right?"


Okay, now she knew she was having a nightmare. It was de ja vu all over again. It couldn't be true. He had all but admitted it was a lie. He had even left town because of the hurt he had caused everyone. He had never said any more about them when he had come for her or during the months they had tried to make things work. Now she was being told by someone entirely new that it hadn't been a lie. "Could I please have some water."


"Oh dear Dee, how thoughtless of me. Certainly, at least you didn't faint like Blair did the first time we met." Samuel went to the bar and poured her a glass of water. " Maybe I could get you a wine instead. You're looking a little green around the gills."


Tea shook her head, "The water is fine." she was already confused enough without putting alcohol in the mix, besides it was still morning. Samuel handed her the water and sat down opposite her. She looked at his face remembering every line and his hazel eyes, those beautiful lips. She wondered how he had received the second scar. Suddenly she looked at his eyes again. Hazel eyes. Yes, Todd has hazel eyes. Oh my God, my Todd has blue eyes. Why had she never noticed? What was going on? Why hadn't she ever realized the eye color was different? The world suddenly turned upside down.


Samuel watched as she suddenly crumbled to the floor. Todd took control immediately "Tea, What is it? What happened? Come on Delgado wake up." Todd grabbed the water and poured some onto his handkerchief and began wiping her face. "Now you listen to me, you need to snap out of this. You know I hate it when women do these things. Come on you're made of sterner stuff. Where's that Delgado spunk?" he decided he was being too polite and poured the rest of the water on her face. That did the trick Tea woke up sputtering.


"God Todd, what are you trying to do, drown me?" She glared up at him as he sat on his haunches and smiled at her.


"Hey Delgado, it worked didn't it." Todd laughed and offered her his hand and helped her back up. He walked over to the bar and grabbed a towel and tossed it to her. "You want some wine now, Samuel tells me it's all they drink in Paris."


Tea wiped down her blouse and stared at Todd. The years dropped away and she and Todd were trading barbs and laughing about the strangest things. Then everything came back to the present. Todd was standing in front of her where moments before she had been talking to Samuel. It was unreal, but right in front of her. If this was Todd, who was the man she was married to?


She looked at Todd. He didn't seem much different then when he had walked away from her and gotten on that raft. She had stood on that beach and watched him leave. Now he was standing a few feet away from her and she really didn't know what to make of it. "Todd why are you pretending to be this Samuel Toddman. What game are you playing at now?"


"I'm not playing any game, Tea. Samuel is very real. You went through so much that last time, I would understand if you never believed me. I'll tell you this much, what Samuel told you about the last eight years is the truth. Up until mid-January of this year, Samuel has lived a quiet life as an artist. He spoke the truth about not knowing me or anyone here in Llanview. I assure you these portraits were painted by him. I did not commission anyone else to paint them and then pass them off as my own. If you doubt what I'm saying go look in his studio at the recent paintings of Starr and Hope. Samuel signed those. I'm sure you'll be able to tell they were painted by the same man." Todd pointed to a Studio set up by the windows.


Tea looked over and saw several paintings set up on easels. She turned back to Todd. "You've had eight years to learn how to paint. That makes much more sense than to believe that you have a new alter and that your other alters are real. I'm not a fool Todd."


"Delgado, do you honestly believe I would stay away from my kids for eight years and that I would let someone take over my life too. I thought you knew me better than that. And don't even talk to me about fools, you married that impostor thinking he was me. " Todd could feel his anger starting to get to him, once again Tea was pushing his buttons "Samuel get out here I can't talk to her right now I'm afraid Pete might decide to make an appearance." Todd turned away from Tea trying to gain some control. "Samuel where are you?"


"Samuel’s a little indisposed right now I'll take over for you, Todd . I know how to treat this one. She betrayed you again. Let me come out I'll take her down a peg or two and soften her up for you. Come on Todd you know that's what you want. You want to punish her for marrying that impostor, well let me out.”
Todd gripped the bar trying to maintain his feet. Totally unaware that Tea was watching him, he confronted Pete "You’re Not Coming Out! There's No Way In Hell I'd Let You Out! So Take Your Taunting and Go Away!"


" You’re getting weaker everyday just watch.' said Pete. Suddenly he was free. He had done it, he stood up tall smirking as he realized he had gotten out. He turned and faced Tea. " You're still the same whore who made out with Carpenter, I never did see what Todd saw in you. Now look at you. Married to an impostor who took everything from me. Maybe I should give you what you asked for all those years ago. Show you what you missed." Pete started moving towards Tea as she looked on horrified. From behind him came a voice.


"Pete you take one more step toward her and you'll regret it." said Blair holding a vase above her head ready to bring it down on him if he made her. His eyes still on Tea, Pete remarked. "You won't hurt me because you would have to hurt him." he took another step and Blair brought the vase down on his head. Pete dropped to the floor knocked out. Blair looked over at Tea. "Are you alright?" Tea nodded. She was totally unnerved by what had just happened.


Blair immediately went to work checking out Todd. She had no choice but to tie him up till she knew if Todd was going to come back. What on earth had happened to bring Pete out? "Tea, we've got to tie him up. Todd would never forgive me if I let Pete remain loose. Grab the tiebacks off the curtains we'll have to use those." After they had him tied up so he couldn't hurt either of them Blair went and got something to treat his head. While she administered to him she look at Tea and asked. "What the hell happened?"


Tea looked at Blair and at the man lying on the floor. " We were arguing about him pretending to have Alters, and I asked him why he made up Samuel and did he take me for a fool. The next thing I know he's yelling something about not letting you out and to take the taunting and go away. Then he got quiet for a moment and the next thing I know he was talking like he was Pete and then you came in. Why did you call him Pete, and why did you hit him? Todd was just playacting, he was trying to make me believe the alters were real."


"Girlfriend, you are an idiot. Todd wasn't playacting and his alters are very real. You were no longer with Todd, you were face to face with Pete and believe me, Pete had every intention of hurting you. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt Todd, but Pete can't be allowed loose right now or ever. I have to call his therapist. If Todd wakes up we'll be alright but if Pete is still with us I'm going to need some help getting Todd back. Whatever you do don't untie him. Pete is more dangerous now than he used to be." Blair got out her phone and called Ray. "Ray we have a problem. Pete is loose and I don't know what happened to Todd. Something just went down and I walked in on Pete about to attack his ex-wife, Tea. We have him restrained, but he's unconscious because I knocked him out. I don't know who's going to wake up... Good, how soon? Yes, we're at the penthouse. Okay, I'll expect you shortly." she hung up and looked at Tea. "We got lucky, Ray is at the police station. He'll be here directly. Tea, didn't you meet Samuel? What made you think Samuel wasn't real?"


"Blair you know it's all a lie. Are you honestly going to tell me you believe him? You were the one who found out he was lying all those years ago. Why on earth would you believe him now?" Tea asked.


"I believe him because I found out just how wrong I was in Paris. You see, I thought he was lying to and I accused him of that very thing in Paris. The thing was Samuel didn't know me or who Todd Manning was and the only memories he had were from 2003 to now. Now I know the next thing you would think was that since he had no memories, he had just taken the name Samuel Toddman and started living his life with that name. It crossed my mind but then I dismissed it because of the talent and the complete change in personality that is Samuel. Tea, didn't Samuel remind you of anyone." asked Blair


Tea looked at Blair. She had been listening to Blair and turned her mind back to her conversation with Samuel before she fainted. Come to think of it, he had reminded her of someone. " Well yes, he reminded me a little of Sam Rappaport but that just means that Todd put a little of Sam into his characterization of Samuel."


"Come with me Tea." Blair led Tea over to Samuel's studio. "You say that Todd had eight years to teach himself how to paint. Samuel was painting portraits that sold from 2003 till the present day. Have you ever seen Todd display any talent like that?.. No..you haven't. Now even if we go by your theory, would you agree that as an artist, you would probably develop a particular style and look to your pieces. For instant, would you say all three of the paintings on the wall were painted by the same artist." Tea looked at the portraits on the wall and agreed that they were painted by the same artist. " Ok, now let's assume that Todd who never painted a day in his life suddenly awakens, has no memories, but is able to suddenly paint like that. Do you think Todd could do that?"


"Well no, but how do we know he didn't have someone else in Paris paint them and just tell you that he as Samuel painted them. Did you see him paint them?" Tea asked. Blair couldn't really think Todd or Samuel had painted those pictures they were obviously done by a professional.


"No, Tea you're right I didn't see him paint those, but I sat in his apartment and watched him make a drawing of me that first night we met in Paris. If that doesn't convince you then these might." Blair led Tea around to where she could see the paintings of Starr and Hope. "Samuel painted those the first week he was in town shortly after Starr moved in with him. By the way, Todd was nowhere to be found. You see, Todd was trapped in his own mind much the same way Jessica is currently trapped by Tess, only Samuel wasn't doing the trapping. Remember the article in the paper about Samuel being taken to the hospital after being found in Victor Lord's tomb. That was the night Todd returned. Samuel went to the Tomb so Todd could face what happened to him in 2003. his last night in town. Do you remember what causes a fractured psyche? Severe Trauma and Sexual abuse. On Todd"s last night in town, Mitch Lawrence kidnapped Todd bound and gagged him and laid him to rest beside his dead father in Victor's crypt. Then he sealed him in. Todd's never been able to tell me the whole story, but in his oxygen starved brain, Todd encountered both Peter Manning and Victor Lord and they both wanted something horrendous. Whatever went on in his mind was so bad that just before he passed out from being beaten almost to death; Todd escaped the only way he knew, into his mind and Samuel was born. I have one more painting to show you. I hope you're not too offended by the subject. It was painted for me yesterday. Take a good look at it and at Samuel's paintings and see if they are alike and painted by the same person or if you think two different people painted them. " Blair lifted the cover from the painting she had viewed just the night before.


Tea looked at the picture of Blair. At first glance she thought they were painted by the same person then she realized that there were definitely a number of subtle differences, she looked over at the picture of Starr and saw that the painter of Starr's picture had a delicate and gentle touch that emanated from Starr's painting. the same quality in Starr's painting could be seen in the paintings on the wall and the one of Hope. The newest painting of Blair was richer and more vibrant there was a sharper edgier feel to it. It had definitely been painted by someone other than the painter of the other portraits. "Ok Blair I see that this painting was painted by a different painter. What does that mean?"


"Look at the signatures Tea,” said Blair and she waited for the truth to sink in.


Tea looked at the pictures of Hope and Starr and saw that Samuel had painted them but what shocked her even more was the signature on Blair's portrait. There was no mistaking the authenticity of that signature.  She had seen it plenty of times on legal contracts. The signature was Todd's. The two signatures looked nothing alike, they were obviously written by two different people. Tea turned and stared in horror at the man lying yards away from them. Oh God, he was real. The man who had held fourteen people hostage and thrown her out in the snow was lying bound just across the room. Pete was out and Todd was once again lost.


"You hit him awful hard Blair, don't you think he should have come around by now?" asked Tea as they made their way back over to the man lying on the floor.


"You're right Tea, if he doesn't come around soon, we'll have to call 911 but Ray should be here any minute." Blair knelt down to check on him when suddenly he whipped onto his back startling her and Tea and making them both jump.


"You bitch, I thought you loved him. You're as deceitful as the one standing next to you. Untie me!" growled Pete. He looked at both women with hate in his eyes. "Blair do you honestly want to take me on. This is only a temporary set back, once I'm loose I'll make you pay. Save yourself the pain and just let me free." Pete twisted and strained, trying to loosen the knots.


Blair backed away and put a small amount of distance between them. "If you'll stop struggling I'll check out your head but I'm not untying you Pete. You can't remain here. You'll ruin everything for yourself and Todd both, and the only place you'll end up is in a straightjacket. Look at you, you were so hellbent on hurting Tea you didn't see me and you misjudged me. I'm not afraid of you Pete, I know the secret you're hiding from Todd so does Tea and soon Todd is going to know it and you'll be an afterthought. You're only here because he needed you back then, even he knows you're a troublemaker and he's trying to get on with his life without you. You know it, that's why this attempt. It's not going to last. Todd, if you can hear me, help is on the way. Samuel and Tom and Rodd, all of you, you need to find a way to help Todd." Pete had stopped struggling as Blair talked, she saw his face and knew she was right, Pete was scared. Just then the doorbell rang and Pete started struggling even more. Tea went to the door and opened it to find two gentlemen standing outside.


"You must be Tea Manning. I'm Ray Martino and this is Dr. Levin. Where is he?" Tea pointed to the living room and all three made their way in. "Blair, I stopped and talked to Dr. Levin and he agreed to come help. He's more trained working with split personalities than I am and I thought he would know a quicker way to reach Todd."


Pete glare up from the floor continuing to struggle." Well if it isn't my fellow rapist. How you doin, Doc? You don't seriously believe I'm just going let him come out do you. I'm here and I intend to stay."


Ray knelt down to Pete's level. "I haven't seen you in some time Pete, in fact, my guess is it was back when you attacked me in prison right? I always thought there was something a little off that day. But you know we can't let you stay. You're poison to Todd, not to mention hazardous to everyone around him. Todd, I've brought some help, even if Pete won't cooperate, you need to remember you're the real one in charge. Listen to Dr. Levin." Ray stood up and walked over to Dr. Levin and the women.


"How long has he been Pete, Blair," asked Ray?


"I believe he had just changed when I arrived. so no more than thirty-forty minutes tops. Ray, he's scared . I saw it in his eyes right before you got here. I don't think he has as strong a hold as he would like us to believe. Dr. Levin what do you think?  I know you've been working with Jessica and Tess.  Can we get Todd back?" Blair inquired anxiously.


"From what I just overhead and how long he's been out I think you're right, Pete's doing more than struggling to get free of his bonds. I think he's already struggling to maintain control of Todd's body too. I believe I can put him under hypnotically and give Todd a chance to regain control. Do we all agree? Excellent then let's get started." Dr. Levin and Ray approached Pete. "Ray, why don't we make him just a little bit more comfortable." Ray and Dr. Levin got Pete to his feet and sat him down in a chair. Then Dr. Levin started talking calmly to Pete, "Pete you really shouldn't struggle so, we're not here to hurt you, in fact, the opposite is true we only want to help. You must be feeling fatigued after all the struggling you've been doing and I bet your head is pounding.  I'd like to help you get rid of some of that pain.  Now, why don't you at least just relax in the chair, that's it just relax. Now isn't that more comfortable already, it feels kind of good doesn't it...comfortable... you just want to lean back and rest your head just for a minute... that's it, close your eyes,... just for a moment..... there the pounding is stopping... you can relax... Isn't that much better Pete." Pete nodded leaning his head back. "There you go, Pete, just rest, let yourself start to float. Feels real good doesn't it, good, now Pete, tell me where you are?"


Pete opened his eyes but he wasn't looking at any one in particular, "This is great I'm high in the clouds. Wow nothing like it up here."


"That's excellent Pete but don't you see someone with you.  There he is, he's your brother Todd and he's looking for you, you've got to help him, Pete. He really needs your help, you're not going to just leave him lost up there, are you?" said Dr Levin. " You need to go get him Pete. You've protected him all these years, are you going to fall down on the job now?"


"No, can't let him down. Got to go get him. Hey Todd, over here bro. Yeah it's me, what are you doing? Mom's going to be worried. You need to get home. That's alright I'll stay here for a while. Yeah, see you later." Pete's voice faded.


Dr. Levin nodded and said. "That's it, Pete, Go relax, let me speak to Todd. Todd can you hear me. Nod your head if you can hear me." Todd nodded his head. "Todd you can come forward now, he's gone for the moment and you're safe. Don't be alarmed that you can't move, it's for your protection. You're going to have a headache, but you're alright. Do you understand? Excellent, Todd, come on, it's time, you're with friends open your eyes, you're back." They all watched as Todd opened his eyes.


Todd winced at the light, his head was pounding. He looked at the people in front of him. Tea and Blair were looking on anxiously and Ray, he didn't recognize the man sitting opposite him. "Ok this isn't good, is it?" he suddenly realized his hands and feet were bound. "What the hell... someone better start talking and soon or I'm going to go crazy. First off, who tied me up and who the hell are you, fella?... Hey, don't everyone start at once. God, My head is killing me."


Blair went and grabbed some ice and a towel and brought it back and laid it against his head sitting down on the chair next to him, he leaned into her and rested his head. "Thanks Blair. Well who's going to go first?  Ray how about you?"


"Relax Todd, Blair called me, you had an episode and I take it you don't remember do you?" Ray said. "This is Dr. Levin who's been treating Jessica I brought him with me when I received the call from Blair. Todd it's not good news. Pete got out."


Todd paled visibly, "My God what did he do! The last thing I remember you and I were fighting Tea. I remember getting angry, he didn't hurt you did he?" Todd looked at Tea. She was close to tears. " NO! Please tell me he didn't. Please!"


Blair hugged him. "Todd, it's alright he didn't hurt her. I knocked him out before he had a chance. Then Tea and I tied him up. I called Ray and we waited for him, watching over Pete. Dr Levin used hypnosis to send Pete back and get him to release you.  Todd, I was so worried. I was afraid Pete might have beaten us before we could exorcise him." Todd reached over and grasped her hands in his to both give and receive the strength they got together.


"Then my thanks goes out to you Dr. Levin.  My sister Vicki has a lot of confidence in you and I'm grateful for your help today. Well I guess after this, our afternoon session might not be such a good idea huh Ray." Todd looked at Ray and grinned.


Ray nodded ruefully and began to untie Todd.


Once free of his bonds, Todd looked at the men in front of him."Well gentlemen any suggestions on how we proceed from here. Oh excuse me. Please everyone take a seat. Tea accept my apologies. If I had known there was a remote chance that Pete would surface I would have sent you away. You've already suffered from Pete's viciousness, I never wanted you to have to face it again. Do you believe me now Tea?" his eyes met hers. Tea nodded. Blair patted Todd's hands and then went to sit next to Tea and gave her a hug.


Ray looked over at Dr.Levin and then back to Todd. "Todd, if you agree, Dr. Levin has told me he'll help us when you prepare to face your alters, especially Pete. I believe it would help us to have him there but it's your choice."


"Dr. Levin, I'm grateful for your help today and I would appreciate it if you would be available when I face Pete. But I'm not real comfortable with therapy in general and I'm better with the one on one's I have with Ray. You'll have to forgive me if I think I'll stick to the one on one sessions. You ok with that Ray?" Todd looked over at Ray, hoping Ray wouldn't push him into therapy with Levin.


"Todd that's fine. We'll take these sessions one at a time and if I feel that we might need Dr Levin's assistance I'll clear it with you. How's that?" Ray looked at Todd and he nodded.
Dr. Levin nodded also, then he stood up. "Mr. Manning I'm glad I could help today. I'll be glad to be on standby if you need me. I've chatted with your sister and from what she tells me, you don't really need my help all that much. You obviously have a pretty clear picture of your alters and their capabilities and you've been functioning with them quite well as far as I can see. You do have a right to be concerned about Pete, but I don't think he's as big a problem as you think. Give me a call when you're ready to confront him. I'll see myself out."


Tea stood up, she was clearly shaken by all that had occurred today. "Todd, I don't know what to say. I'm very confused right now. Not just with the whole Alter issue but this whole real Todd issue. I have to go, I need to go to the hospital. I do want to talk but I just can't right now. Forgive me for doubting you earlier. I'm sorry." She squeezed Blair's hand and departed without another word.


Ray started to get up to leave but Todd stopped him. "Ray don't go, I need to talk. Will you stay?" asked Todd.



Ray looked at Blair and nodded. "Sure Todd, let's talk."


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