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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Who's the Real Todd?: Chapter 5

Todd was quiet as the doors to the elevator closed. Starr glanced at her dad, she could see the unshed tears and knew how badly he was hurting. "Dad, are you okay? Dani's a little upset because of everything that went down with Walker right before he was shot. She's been feeling awful. It had to be a shock to see you and then hear you were her father. She reacted badly, but none of it was your fault. Do you hear me, Dad? She'll come around, she's a lot like you, it just takes time." She squeezed her father's arm trying to let him know he wasn't alone.

Todd patted Starr's hand, " I'm alright.  It was just difficult to see her and realize how many years I've lost. I've been trying to wrap my mind around you all grown up and Jack in high school and now I find I have a third child. But she's also a teen. It hurts because she'll never look at me the way you do and I haven't even been able to connect with Jack either. Two of my children don't know me, My daughter wishes I had never shown up and my son thinks I'm just a relative. I'm worried when he finds out the truth, he'll want the same thing Dani wants."

He paused and ran a hand through his hair. "Starr, there is something else I feel and that's rage, pure and simple. It's a good thing they haven't got Hesser back here to Llanview yet. He caused so much of this. If he was here right now, I'm not sure I'd be able to control myself. Right now, I'd like to beat him to a pulp." Todd took a deep breath. He noticed his hand was shaking and he put it away in his pocket to hide that fact from Starr. "After what just went down with Dani, I'm not sure if today is a good day to tell Jack I'm his father. Your mom was supposed to bring him by later so we could tell him and talk about this bullying he's getting into but I haven't heard from her so far. Have you talked to her today?"

"Oh my Gosh, Dad you haven't heard the latest on Jack. He really did something terrible to Shane. First, he stole Shane's inhaler and Shane had a severe asthma attack at school and then Jack and his buddies publicly humiliated Shane by stealing his clothes at the gym and when he came out of the bathroom, they took Shane's towel and put pictures of Shane over the Internet. To top everything off, Jack's not sorry. He even had the nerve to tell Mom that he thought Marty asked to be raped. Mom lost it, she slapped him and told him you would never condone such treatment. She took him home a little while ago. She probably hasn't called because she's sick that Jack has done these things and she thinks she's a bad mother." as she finished talking she looked at her dad's face. She'd never seen him look so haunted.

The elevator stopped at the parking garage floor and Todd took a shaky step out. Starr didn't like how her father looked especially when he stopped and leaned against the wall obviously looking for support. "Dad!." said Starr in alarm.

Trying to catch his breath he looked at Starr bleakly. "Please tell me it's not true. My son couldn't be that callous. He knows my past and even though I wasn't here, I thought Manning had remorse for my deed, how on earth did Jack come to the conclusion Marty asked for it? I know Manning and I probably parent a little differently but your mother told me Manning was himself raped by the mother of Sam. He couldn't have gone through something like that and escaped unscathed. Your mother told me Jack idolizes Manning. Tell me the truth Starr, is Manning that unfeeling."

"To be honest Dad, I don't know anymore. When he first showed up he was loving and caring with both Jack and I. But he began changing especially in the last two years. I couldn't believe it when he made plans to steal my baby and raise it with Marty. I couldn't understand how you could do that to me. Now I know it wasn't you. He was so like you, and when he came I missed you so much I just wanted you back. At first, he just told me he had been sent by you to look after us and that you couldn't come home yet. Then he started acting more like you and finally when he was getting too close to Mom, I told him he had to stop and that's when he told me he was you." Starr watched as her father pushed himself away from the wall and seemed steadier.

Todd reached out a hand and took Starr's and started walking toward his car. "Tell me more Starr," they sat down in his car and she continued.

"I said he couldn't be my dad and he said he had surgery but that he was you. So I challenged him to answer questions I thought only you would know. He answered them so I figured he must be you. Then we began trying to figure out how to get Mom with him and when he was going to tell her he was you. Things went a little haywire after everyone found out he was you. Then Margaret kidnapped him and Mom, I thought Jack and I had lost you both, but we were finally reunited.  Once again, we thought we were going to be a family until Margaret disappeared with her baby and everyone thought Walker had killed her. It was during his trial that I found out about Marty and everything you did in college. But I believed him when he said he didn't kill Margaret. Dad, he was actually executed for something he didn't do, but they found out the truth before the drugs totally killed him and they brought him back to us. Things were strained between him and Mom. Then we got Sam and everything was fine until he wanted us to move to Hawaii. That's when I made the mistake of sleeping with Cole and made Hope. Walker was never quite the same after that. I don't think any of us realized how far out there he was. Then he thought he lost Tea, and even though he got her back, he's been more obsessed with us than ever before. It's like he's desperately trying to hold onto something that is slipping away. Dad, why did someone want him dead?"

"Starr, I think he's strictly a loose end they want to eliminate before he falls apart all the way. If you've noticed his changes then the people who put him here in the first place have also seen them. They've been messing with his head for awhile, we know that because of the drugs Tea and Blair found. If someone had tampered with your brain, who knows what it could do to you. I still don't excuse him for the way Jack is acting. Jack has to be emulating the father he idolizes which means Manning's view on women has been skewed the opposite of mine and there is no telling how long he's been passing these feelings on to Jack. Starr, you should get home to Hope, I'm going to LaBoulaie to see Blair and Jack and don't worry I'll be fine. I can hope Dani and I will have time to get to know each other. But right now my priority is to get Jack squared away." 

Todd leaned and kissed Starr's cheek and she gave him a hug and departed. Todd looked at himself in the mirror looking at his infamous scar, his personal reminder of the horror he did to Marty Saybrooke. Then he heard his daughter saying Jack said she asked for it. There had been a time when he himself had basically said the same thing before he realized how monstrous that truly was. God, how was he going to get his son to understand just how wrong his thinking was. Jack was headed down a very slippery slope. Damn it he sounded like Peter. Would that man never give him peace?

****

Todd pulled up in front of LaBoulaie, his thoughts were all over the place. It was time to be truthful to Jack and take whatever he had to say. Todd was not leaving Dorian's house without sitting down and having a heart to heart with his son, no matter how painful it might end up being for both of them. He reached the door and knocked. Memories came flooding back as he recalled the events in 2003 that led to his departure at Mitch's hands.

That day had been his undoing. Blair had said goodbye and asked him to leave permanently before he hurt the kids. She told him to stay away for their sakes and not come back. She hadn't even let him say goodbye to the kids. In his despair, he had gone to kill Mitch but even that got thwarted by Jessica. Then Mitch had kidnapped him and he lost it all. Well he had survived Mitch's beating and Carlo's tampering and he was home, now he had to set things right. He had achieved that with Vicki, Starr, and Blair. Now his son had to be told that the man he considered his father, was an impostor. Then Todd had to find a way to get Jack to stop and listen to him. Todd was brought out of his reverie by the door opening. Blair stood there looking very lost and suddenly she was in his arms crying on his shoulder. He held her as he had done many times in the past until she composed herself. As she started to back away, he stopped her, "Don't. We both need this." She looked up and he kissed her, giving her his support and receiving her's back. They finally came up for air and entered the house.

"Todd it's just terrible, I don't know how to get through to Jack. He's not even sorry for what he has done to Shane. He says Shane deserves it because he's a dweeb. I can't believe Jack is so cruel. He's turned into someone I don't recognize. I'm so scared for him Todd."  Blair began pacing and then she turned and said " He's doesn't even think he did anything wrong. Is it something I did over the years? Was I too lenient with him or have Walker and I so messed with his head that he believes it's alright to act this way? Sure he teased Sam, but all older siblings do that. I tried to make him understand that there were consequences for your actions but Jack's seen Walker escape from his problems one too many times. Now Jack thinks he can do whatever he wants and he'll get away with it. I just found out that Shane attempted to kill himself but even that doesn't phase Jack. Do you think you can get through to him?"

"I don't know Blair, I just found out about this from Starr when we left the hospital." said Todd.

"Wait a minute, why were you at the hospital? Are you okay?" asked Blair alarmed.

"I'm not sick if that's what you're wondering about but I'm not fine. I just met my other daughter and let's just say things did not go smoothly," replied Todd grimly.

"Oh Todd, you must hate me for not telling you. I'm so sorry but I didn't figure you should hear it from me, and Tea was going through all this with Walker. Dani's a beautiful girl, don't rush her and she'll come to love you like Starr and I. Can you forgive me?"  Blair studied his face and tried to figure out if he would push her away again. If he did, she wasn't sure she could take it. She needed him so badly right then.

Todd knew Blair was really sorry and truly desperate at the moment. "Blair, I'll deal with my anger but I'm not going anywhere. Yes, I'm hurt you didn't tell me, but Tea kept me in the dark first. She and I have talked and I'm sure we'll have other talks. Right now it's time for Jack to hear some hard truths. Get him down here Blair."

One look at Todd's face and Blair knew this wasn't going to be easy for Jack. Todd had faced so many truths about his life in the past and again very recently, she sensed that Todd was going to let Jack see a part of him he usually reserved for people who crossed him. She went to the stairs.  "Jack come down here this instant.  We need to talk some more."

After a few minutes, she started to head for Jack's room but Todd stopped her. "Which room Blair?"

She told him and watched as he headed up the stairs.

Todd arrived at Jack's door and heard loud music coming from inside. Jack probably turned it up so he wouldn't hear anything from his mom. Todd knocked loud enough for Jack to hear but not pounding. There was no response. Todd checked the doorknob and realized that Jack hadn't bothered to lock it. Big mistake. Todd slammed the door open and stepped into the room.

"What the... What are you doing here? You don't have any right to come into my room.  Does Mom know you're here?" Jack said angrily as he got off his bed.

"Actually Jack, I have every right to come into your room." Todd paused to shut the door behind him and lock it then he turned back to his son. "Now that I have your attention. You and I are going to have a talk."

"Hey, I don't have to talk to you, even if you are a relative. Did Mom call and tell you about me. What? So now you're going to get in my face like Shane's dad and tell me I should have left the wuss alone. What do you know about being a real man, you paint pictures for a living? You're as much a wuss as Morasco. My dad's a real man and he'd be behind me one hundred percent. He has no love for freeloaders like Morasco and Balsom, They're living at Aunt Vicki's and they don't even pay rent. They're worthless." Jack said petulantly.

Todd stared at his son in dismay. Jack was arrogance personified. He truly thought he was doing the world a favor putting down Shane, and it's obvious even the fact that Shane tried to kill himself, didn't mean much to Jack. He really didn't care. Todd knew he was going to have to tread lightly or he'd come off as much of a bully as Jack. "So if I've got this straight, I'm not much of a man because I paint, Shane's not much because he has to use an inhaler but you're the 'it' guy all the kids admire because you were able to play a dirty trick on someone you didn't like. You're a big man on campus. That's how you see things and you think your father would agree with you huh. Well, you're wrong about all those things especially the part about your father agreeing with you because I can tell you right now your father hates everything you did to the other young man and, more importantly, he hates what you've turned into."

Jack jumped off the bed. "You can't say those things about my Dad you don't even know him. If my dad heard you talking to me like that he'd get you good. He doesn't take that kind of talk from anybody and he doesn't hate me, he loves me."

"Whoa, I didn't say he hated you, I said he hated what you've turned into. You're a bully, plain and simple. Jack, do you know anything about your dad's life growing up. I don't think you do, because if you did, you would know your dad hates bullies. I know first hand what he thinks of you and this bullying that you've undertaken with this Shane. My question is why? Why the urge to torment another classmate? What did this young man do, that you felt the need to humiliate him so much that he wanted to kill himself? What is it, Jack?  Does it make you feel good inside knowing that you hurt him, because if it does, then there is something wrong? Is it that you like the way your classmates look at you? You say you never meant to drive him that far. Your mom said you told her Shane was just weak and he couldn't take the heat. That's how you really see it don't you. Shane is weak so he gets to be knocked down. If he tries to commit suicide it's not your fault, it was all just a game. Isn't that right Jack." Todd watched his son as he had rattled off his statements and saw no remorse in Jack's face.

"You’re darn right it wasn't my fault," says Jack getting cocky. "Dad has always said only the strong survive and Shane is a wimp. He couldn't take the ribbing so he thought he'd try to off himself. Man, that's weak."

"STOP! YOU IGNORANT LITTLE..." Todd whipped himself around facing away from his son. For a brief moment, he wanted to smack that gloating smile off his son's face. In his mind's eye, all he could see was Peter standing gloating over him.

Jack fell back on the bed at the anger and rage he saw for a moment on Samuel's face before he turned away. For just a second he thought Samuel was going to hit him.

Todd took a deep breath and pushed back the anger. Then with his back still towards Jack he frostily said "Do you have any idea how utterly arrogant and disgraceful that remark is." then he slowly turned back to his son, his hands tightly clasped together in an effort to keep his own anger in check. "You have no idea the damage you inflicted and you sit there and say Shane is weak because he wanted to commit suicide. Your dad contemplated suicide several times in his life. You didn't know that did you. You have no comprehension the despair one can feel that would push them that far. You sit here in front of me all superior because you don't think you would ever do that. Listen up Jack, even you might someday find yourself facing something so insurmountable that you feel your only recourse is to end it."

Todd drew another deep breath and slowly exhaled; his son was sitting defensively on the bed having drawn his pillow around clutching it, staring up at him. Todd saw his son and realized that not only was Jack scared but he was exhibiting all the signs of someone who'd been on the same defensive side of things as Shane. Todd lowered his voice almost to a whisper. "Your dad faced challenge after challenge when he was younger. You have no idea what he lived through. Yes, he feels you have to be strong but not at the expense of another. Jack, you're breaking my heart and your mom's. What happened? Why did you feel the need to hurt someone? Who hurt you?"

Jack had grabbed his pillow and unconsciously held it as if trying to put a barrier between himself and the angry man standing over him. He had never been so scared. No one had ever been that mad at him before. He had wanted to run from the anger that Samuel was showing. Then Samuel changed and Jack saw something else in his expression. Jack saw love and concern staring down at him. This man, he barely knew, was showing him love. It was weird to realize this stranger actually cared for him. The guy really was trying to help him. He had come so close to spilling everything earlier to Mom, and now Samuel was again offering help. He had never wanted Shane to get hurt. Not physically, it had just felt so good not be the one being picked on.

Todd decided it was time to take this conversation down a notch. Todd crouch down until he was eye to eye with his son instead of standing over him. "Jack forgive me for scaring you. I saw something in you that reminded me of my adopted father and the way he used to gloat and call me weak. I don't want you to turn out like him. He was a cruel vicious man. If something has happened to you or someone has done something to you then tell me. I'll help in any way I can but I'm so worried you're headed down a path that will ultimately ruin you. I have to know one thing, tell me truthfully if you ever heard your father say that Marty deserved what she got." Todd waited for Jack to say anything, he didn't pressure him but he had to know.

Jack really wanted to trust Samuel, he missed his dad especially since Dani had arrived. His dad had just stopped being there and Jack kept trying to figure out what he had done wrong. Now his dad was in a coma and everything at school had gone haywire. Mom was mad at him and so was Starr. He really hadn't meant for Shane to hurt himself and he knew how stupid he had been to take Shane's inhaler. Samuel looked like he might be willing to listen,suddenly Jack couldn't help himself, he had to talk to someone.

"I didn't mean for Shane to get hurt really. We were just having fun.  It didn't seem so bad. It started when Shane kept having to use his inhaler and wasn't able to participate in gym, and, I don't know, I just thought he was getting away with things so I started calling him names. Then my friends started doing it too. I didn't know he was going to take it so hard, people used to call me names. I never told Mom or Dad because Dad had always said I had to be strong. He said Mannings didn't whimper instead we fought back. I couldn't tell Dad that the name calling bothered me especially since it was because of things he had done. When Dad did his thing with Ms. Saybrook, they let him go.  They said he didn't rape her. The papers all said that Marty had asked for it. So Dad went free. That's why I said what I did to Mom I figured if she asked for it this time then she must have asked for it the other time. But Mom got really mad and slapped me. Samuel, she never hit me before. You looked like you were going to hit me too. I'm sorry I don't know how to fix this. Shane's dad is real mad and Mom and now you. Why are you so mad at me, it was just a game? He wasn't supposed to get hurt. I didn't want him to get hurt. I swear!"

Jack was pleading for understanding. Todd knew that plea. Over and over he had said something similar to Peter, not understanding where all the anger had come from, never knowing why he had incurred that anger. Jack needed to understand where the anger had come from.

"Jack, we realize you never meant it to go so far but it's your whole attitude that is causing the anger. You say you're sorry, then you immediately excuse yourself 'but it was just a game'. That's telling me you really don't get the damage you've done. We want you to understand the damage. If you're doing this because someone did this to you, explain, we can talk about how you feel. But don't use it as an excuse to do harm."

"I made excuses. I blamed Marty, Nora, anybody else for my plight. It wasn't my fault, they did it to me, and I wanted revenge. I went after Marty a second time and that is when I received this." Todd pointed to his scar completely forgetting, that Jack thought he was Samuel. "I was determined to get back at everyone, and the one I ended up hurting, in the long run, was myself. When I met your mom I was at one of the lowest points in my life. I was the most hated man in Llanview and everyone thought I was responsible for two rapes, even my father petitioned that I be returned to Statesville. Your mom is the only one who believed in my innocence other than my therapist. Someone showed me exactly what I had done to Marty and it wasn't pretty. Believe me, when I tell you Marty never deserved to be raped and she certainly didn't ask for it. It was the worst thing I ever did in my life and there is no erasing the damage it caused. Through the years, I've made some other bad choices and they've all resulted in me hurting people. Some people I love have gotten caught in the wake of my errors, you and your mother are just two of them. Please Jack, what can I say to make you understand just how badly you screwed up?" Todd paused.  Jack was looking at him like he had seen a ghost. "What is it, Jack? What's the matter?"

Jack stared at the man crouched in front of him. Deep in the pit of his stomach he began to feel strange. The man in front of him wasn't any old distant cousin. He was talking about Marty like he was there. Shakily Jack asked." Who Are You?" As soon as he asks the question, Jack wished he could take it back. He was afraid of the answer Samuel is going to give him.

At Jack’s question, Todd realized that he had accidentally started talking in first person. He’d gotten lost in his memories about Marty and Nora. From the look on Jack's face, he had caught the slip, Todd knew he could try and correct the slip or go ahead and tell Jack the truth. Enough time had been wasted. Jack needed help right now and so Todd took the plunge. He straightened his shoulders and met his son’s eyes., "I'm your father, Jack."

Jack drew in his breath. Samuel was his father? It didn't make sense, but the way Samuel was remembering things about his dad's past was scary. He looked at Samuel "How can you say that? It's not true, my dad is in the hospital." Jack was almost in tears. “Why are you saying that?” Then Jack looked into Samuel's eyes, there was something so familiar about his eyes. His stomach lurched as he realized those eyes stared out at him every day from the mirror

"Is he Jack? The man you grew up with is in the hospital, but are you sure he's your dad? Because I'm sure I'm your father, I've known you from the moment you were born. In fact, I delivered you. Unfortunately, eight years ago someone took me from you and I've just now found my way back home. You don't know me but you need to know I love you. I understand you love the man in the hospital. All I can do right now is give you someone to talk to. Don't be afraid to talk to me Jack, I won't judge you. I'd be a hypocrite if I did. I've done far worse things in my life then what you've done to Shane, but I'm here so you don't make the same mistakes I have. I can see you're upset by my news and I meant to tell you with your mother present." Todd stood back up and looked down at Jack "What do you say we go find your mom and you can ask the questions swimming around in your head." Todd headed to the door. "Come on Jack."

Jack got off the bed and skirted gingerly around the man standing in front of him.  He got to his door and saw that Samuel had locked it. Glancing nervously over his shoulder, he noted that Samuel hadn’t moved and was just watching him silently.  Jack gulped and got the door unlocked and ran from the room.  

Todd shook his head and followed his son.

As they come around the corner they ran into Blair and Addie talking. Blair took one look at her son's face and knew that something serious has gone down in his room between him and Todd. "What's the matter, Jack?"

Jack stopped. He stared at his mom and back at Samuel, "Mom, Samuel says he's my dad. What's he mean?"

She frowned."What did you tell him?" She knew what the answer was going to be.

Todd said, "The truth.” He turned his gaze on Blair’s mother. "Good evening Addie, How was your day?"

"Probably better than yours, Todd. Blair tells me you found out about Dani?" Addie was never one to mince words.

Jack listened to the exchange between Addie and Samuel and realizes she called him Todd. "Grandma, why did you call him, Todd?"

"Because that's his name, Jack. Of course, he's calling himself Samuel so you won't confuse him with the guy in the hospital, but he's definitely Todd. I can tell, it's in his eyes. Don't you see it Jack, I know you were little when you saw him last but don't you remember your father's eyes? There's a look he gets when he loves you."

Addie smiled at Todd and he shyly smiled back. No one in the world saw him the way Addie did. He cared a great deal for Blair's mother.

"Look let's take this talk downstairs, Jack is very confused. This is hardly the place for a serious discussion." Todd didn't wait to see if they followed because he knew they would.  He headed down to the living room and perched on the end of the couch waiting for them to come in.  His thoughts were all over the board. He’d never meant to blindside Jack with the truth, but now that his identity was out in the open, he had to find a way to connect with Jack. Until they got the drama out of the way concerning his relationship to Jack, they wouldn't be able to get back to the matter of the bullying. Todd nervously started to clean his nails as he waited for everyone to get settled.

Blair and Jack entered the room and Jack immediately turned to his mom. "Mom, you've got to tell me. What's going on? This is crazy. You don't believe this man do you? He doesn't even look like dad. How can he be my father?" Jack turned back to Todd "You take it back. Why are you lying? My dad is in the hospital. I don't even know you. Grandma doesn't know what she is talking about. You're not my dad...you can't be my dad..." his voice trails off as he looks back and forth between his mom and Samuel.

His mom wasn't denying it. She was looking at Samuel the way people do when they're sharing some knowledge that no one else knows and Samuel was doing the same. Then Samuel looked at him. Jack once again found himself looking into those all too familiar eyes. What was it grandma said? Jack found himself remembering a time when he was just a little kid. He could hear a man laughing. It was a funny laugh almost like the man didn't laugh very often, then he remembered the man picking him up and he was looking into those eyes, the ones staring right at him.  He looked at Samuel and really looked at his face.

Another memory popped into his head of Starr showing him pictures of their Mom and Dad when they got married and her trying to explain that the picture was what his dad looked like first. Samuel looked a little like those pictures. Jack knew his dad had hated his old pictures, had said he was glad he didn't have that face any longer. Maybe the reason he hated his old face was because he hated the man with that old face. If Samuel was his real father? Who was the man in the Hospital that he called Dad? The more he looked at Samuel the more real he became in his mind, the old memory became sharper. Could it really be true? Jack sat down abruptly looking at both his parents. God, It’s true.  Dad isn't really Dad, and Samuel is. Jack felt totally confused and now his feelings were all tangled up."Mom what do I do?" he pleaded with a catch in his voice.

Blair went to her son and drew him into her arms giving him a hug. "You know Jack, it's a good thing. You have two dads who love you. Samuel is your father, your real father. His real name is Todd Manning. He loves you and has been away the whole time you've been growing up because someone did something to him and it prevented him from being here. He's not going to push you or make you do anything you don't want to do. But he does have the right to get to know you and he does have the right to be concerned with what you're doing right now." She looked over at Todd and smiled. She knew that Todd was on pins and needles wondering if his son was going to accept him. Blair hadn't seen Todd fidget so much since he arrived home from the hospital.

Todd looked at his son, "What do you say, Jack?  Will you give me a chance to be your father too?"




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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Who's the Real Todd?: Chapter 4

Tea arrived at the hospital, she had stopped to get some food for Shaun and Dani. She entered the room and saw Dani still sitting next to her dad. "Here Miha, you need to eat.  Has he shown any sign of waking up?"

 "No Mom, nothing. I thought the doctors said he was showing signs of coming back to us, but he's not responding. Mom, there was a strange call earlier. Someone called checking up on Dad. But he stopped talking right after I told him who I was. Shaun took the phone and couldn't get any answer.  You don't think it was the person who shot Dad, do you?"

 "Miha, why do you think that? Did the man say anything else?" asked Tea

 "He said he was a distant relative of Dad's, but when I said you hadn't told me about any distant relatives, he got quiet." replied Dani.

 Tea had a sinking feeling when she heard Dani say distant relative. There was only one person in town who was claiming to be a distant relative of Todd's. "Dani, did he give you his name?"

 "Yes, he said his name was Samuel Toddman.  Do you know him?" asked Dani?

 Tea looked at her daughter, she chose her words carefully,"Yes I know him and I can tell you he had nothing to do with the person who shot your father. He is a relative and when your dad wakes up I would like you to meet him." She hated herself at that moment. She was keeping her daughter in the dark all over again. Only a year ago she had told Dani that the man lying on the bed next to her was her real father. Now she was going to have to break her heart again and tell her he wasn't. Instead, Dani had just talked to her real father and didn't even know it, but it was a sure bet, Todd knew. That was probably why he had gotten silent. 

 "Dani honey, I need to go back out. You just reminded me of something I have to take care of that can't wait. Let me call Starr and ask her to come sit with you. I'll be back as soon as I can. You should eat and I brought something for Shaun too." She quickly called Starr and found out that Starr was coming to visit shortly so she turned and told Dani her sister was on the way and headed out. She stopped and told Shaun about the food and alerted him to the fact that Samuel Toddman was a relative. Then she made tracks for the Penthouse. She needed to do damage control and she wasn't even sure if she could.

 Todd's mind was in turmoil. He couldn't get the phone call out of his mind nor the words that Dani had uttered. She had said as plain as day she was Todd Manning's daughter. Why had no one told him? They all knew about her, he was sure of it. He was trying to keep his anger in check because not even Blair or Vicki had told him. He deserved to know he was her father. Hadn't he proven to Blair that he wouldn't rush Jack. Why hadn't they told him about his daughter? Todd paced, debating giving a call to Vicki, chewing her out and trying to get some answers. He was just reaching for the phone when the doorbell rang. Todd stormed to the door he was in no mood to talk to anyone right now. "What the hell..."Todd stopped and stared at the very person he wanted to talk to.

 "Can I come in Todd?" asked Tea.

 Todd stood back and gave her room to enter. The last time she was there Pete had come out. Todd felt his anger rolling around inside but it didn't seem to be unmanageable, he just wanted answers and he was pretty sure that was why Tea was standing in front of him. "Well this is interesting, I thought you wanted to stay away from me. That you were having a hard time with the idea that I'm me and that means the man you're married to is a fraud. To what do I owe this pleasure? Wait let me guess, this wouldn't happen to be because you found out I talked to my daughter today, would it? The funny thing about that, I didn't have the foggiest idea I had another daughter. What's even funnier is no one bothered to tell me either. Why is that? It wouldn't be because you kept her a secret from me to begin with, would it? You know how I feel about my kids and you didn't tell me about her. Did you hate me so much, Tea?"

 Tea heard the anger in his voice and she also heard the hurt. "Todd I don't hate you.  I never hated you. My God, I thought I married you. I know you're upset about Dani, I never meant for you to find out this way. Please, this is all so messed up. Ever since I found out you were you, I've been torn in two. I loved you, I came here looking for you two years ago. I fell in love all over again with the man I thought was you. It was just a year ago that I had to explain to our daughter that the man she thought was her father wasn't. You remember Ross, well he helped raise your daughter and she thought he was her father. Then a little over a year ago, Todd found out Dani was his. At least I thought Dani was his. I could no longer keep her apart from her real father since I thought we were in love and Todd had asked me to marry him. Dani went through so much getting to know her dad. She had to come to terms with the fact that you raped Marty and held all those people hostage, but Todd showed her he loved her because she was his daughter and he loved his kids. We were finally coming together as a family until recent events drove a wedge between Dani and Todd. Now he's been shot and Dani is mortified because her last words to Todd were that she hated him. How do I tell her that he's not her father? For that matter how do I explain about you? I'm still trying to wrap my head around all of this too."

 "Tea, that still doesn't explain why you kept her a secret from me when we were alone on that island. Or even before that. Dani is a teen that means she was conceived when we were in New York. Did you know you were pregnant when you left me? My God, I woke that day and all I had was a note. You told me you couldn't stay any longer because I couldn't give you what you needed. Do you have any idea what that did to me? I came home to Llanview to try and get back into Vicki and Sam's good graces again. I was afraid if I didn't I was going to permanently lose it. Along the way, Blair and I fell back in love and we had Jack. Then I lose them again and who shows up on my doorstep. You. Now I'm asking myself if there was a reason you showed up. I'm wondering if you came because you wanted to tell me something. But you didn't? Not only that but you stopped my plan to get the kids and we ended up on that island together.  Delgado, you had plenty of chances to tell me, but you didn't. I want to know why?" Todd looked at the woman who had held his heart long ago. There had been something between them on the island but then he had said he loved Blair and she had sent him back to Blair and the kids. It all seemed like another lifetime, Todd wondered how he would have felt if she had told him on the island that they shared a child. Would he have made a bigger effort to get her off the island with him, would he have stayed? It didn't matter now, except for the fact that he had missed out on Starr's and Jack's lives for the last eight years and now he's missed an entire childhood with a second daughter. It didn't look like he was ever going to get a break.

 Tea looked back at Todd. She could see how deeply hurt he was and all she really wanted to do was hold him. But it wasn't her place to do that, she gave that up when she married her Todd. For better or worse, she was in love with a man she didn't really know. Tea realized at that moment that it didn't matter if she told Dani about Samuel being her real father. Tea was going to stay with the man she married. Dani wouldn't lose the man she had come to love, she would just gain a second father. She could do this. Todd had a right to get to know his daughter and Dani needed to know him. "Todd, I could give you a number of reasons why I didn't tell you.   They all sound pretty hollow right now, but I'm going to correct that.  You do have the right to know your daughter and she needs to get to know you.  I'm sorry for the lost time.  I can't give that back to you. Dani is all torn up about Todd, I'm asking you to wait until I can explain to her what is happening."

 Todd reached down and handed Tea the Sun. "You better not wait too long. This hits the streets this evening. If she sees that before you explain she could end up hating us both."

 Tea realized that Todd was right, once the paper was out, Dani was going to be asking a lot of questions. "Then we'll just have to do it now. Will you come with me to the hospital?" asked Tea.

 Todd knew this could go bad so quickly but he had to see his daughter. "I'll go Tea because I need to see her. I would have preferred different circumstances but this is the hand we've been played. Am I to assume you've made up your mind to stay with Manning?"

 "I guess I have Todd.  I love him and even though I thought he was you, he still makes me feel special and wanted. He gives himself to me the way you were never able to do." replied Tea honestly.

 Todd took a deep breath, the anger he felt at her deception had eased and he realized he was happy for Tea and was no longer jealous that someone else could love her. He had Blair, and Tea was a free agent. If she chose to remain with Manning it was her choice. "Tea I can live with that but you must know I will be a part of my daughter's life come hell or high water. Now let's go.  I want to meet my daughter." Todd took off out of the penthouse.

 Tea shook her head as she watched him leave. He really was the same old Todd.
****

 Once back at the hospital, Tea headed toward her husband's room. She saw Shaun but no sign of Todd, then her elbow was grabbed from behind.

 Shaun saw the man come up behind Tea and grab her arm.  He noted the surprise on Tea's face. "Hey you! Get your hands off Mrs. Manning. Before I break them off." he glared at Todd, who continued to hold onto Tea's arm.

 "Shaun, it's alright he just startled me. This is the relative I told you about, Samuel Toddman. I ran into him while I was out and when he told me he wanted to come check on Todd, I told him I would meet him here. I was looking for him when he came up behind me. He was just trying to get my attention. Are Dani and Starr still in with Mr. Manning?" asked Tea.

 "They're both here Tea.  Mr. Toddman, I'm here to guard Mr. Manning and when I saw you grab Tea, I thought you were going to hurt her. She's been through an awful lot this last year and I won't let anyone hurt her." replied Shaun, watching Todd to see what he would do next.

 Todd released Tea's arm and held out a hand. "I'm glad to see someone is on the job protecting Todd's family. I assure you I mean no harm to Tea. Like she said, I came to see my cousin and to meet the rest of my family." Shaun shook Todd's hand as both men sized each other up. Todd liked the big man in front of him. He was reminded of the times on the football field when he had stared into the eyes of defensive backs who were getting ready to try and stomp him into the ground. They each knew what the other was there to do and respected each other for it. That's what he saw in Shaun. The man was doing his job and Todd respected him for that.

 While Todd was sizing up Shaun, he had been sizing up Todd. Shaun saw a man who had been through the wars but had survived. He liked his handshake, it was firm but not pushy. The man standing next to Tea at first glance looked like trouble personified, the kind you want to always keep in your sights because if you lose sight of him you could get it in the back. Shaun had met plenty like that in prison. Shaun wondered if this man had seen some prison action. Something about him indicated he probably had at some time in his life. Shaun glanced at Tea and noticed that although she had been alarmed when he first arrived, she wasn't afraid of him. In fact, she seemed quite comfortable with him. Like she knew what he was capable of but it didn't bother her. If Tea liked the guy then he was alright in Shaun's book. In fact, Shaun had a feeling he might actually end up liking the guy. "Go on in, I'm sure the girls would love a change of scenery now that you are here," said Shaun.

 Starr looked up when the door opened, her eyes seeing Tea and then her father enter the room. She watched her father glance briefly at her and then turn his focus on Dani. My god, he knows. He knew Dani was his daughter. She looked over at Dani and saw that Dani didn't know her mother and somebody else had entered. Starr got up and walked toward her dad. She got to him and he looked down at her.   Before she could say anything he brought a finger up to her lips and shushed her.  He mouthed 'we'll talk' and then stood there as Tea approached Dani.

 Dani glanced up when she felt Starr move and then she saw her mother and the man behind her. Dani looked at his face and remembered all those old pictures her Mom had shown her with her dad in them. What was going on? How come this guy had the same face as her dad before the plastic surgery? Starr knew him, she could tell from the glances they were giving each other. "Mom, what's going on? Who is this guy?"

 "Miha, I want you to take it easy, what I'm going to tell you is going to shock you as much as it shocked me." Tea looks at Todd and knew what she had to do. "Dani, this is your real father, Todd Manning."

 Dani sat there stunned. What the hell did her mom mean? She was sitting next to her dad. "Mom are you crazy? Why would you say that? He can't be my father. This is my father," She points to the man lying in the bed, "You told me so yourself. You married him. How can you believe this man could be Dad?" she stared at the man standing in front of her.

 Todd looked at his daughter, wanting so much to take her in his arms and ease the pain he saw in her eyes. She was so confused and really just wanted him to disappear. She was beautiful and he saw traces of himself in her features. He couldn't take back Tea's words now, they were hanging in the room like a sword over their heads. He said the first thing that came to his mind. "Hello, Dani. I'm not here asking for anything from you.  But I just found out about you, and I had to meet you. I know the timing is terrible and I'm sure you have a lot of questions but one thing is certain, I am Todd Manning."

 "Wait a minute," said Dani, "I recognize that voice. You're the man who called earlier. You said you were a distant relative. A guy named Samuel Toddman. Why are you lying to my Mom? What are you trying to pull? Just because you look sorta like my father did, doesn't mean you can waltz in here and now claim to be him. You know nothing about my father. If you did, you would know that you can't get away with this. If you claim to be my father, where have you been all this time? Why have you let a man you claim isn't you, live as you? Prove to me you're my father.  You say you know my mom, what's her full name?"

 Todd looked over at Tea and said. "Your mom's full name would be Tea Marissa Delgado Manning Manning Rayburn Manning. But to me, she'll always be Delgado. I know your name is Dani. Is that a nickname? I just can't see Tea naming her daughter a boy's name."

 Dani straightened up and said "It's short for Daniella. Why did you say you were Samuel Toddman on the phone?"

 "Dani, I couldn't very well call and check up on Todd Manning and say I was Todd Manning at the same time. There is a lot going on here and it has been necessary for me to live as Samuel for the time being. I am your father and I have proof. Why I haven't been here and the man you know on the bed has, is a story that will require a great deal of explanation. For the time being, Llanview must believe that the man in that bed is Todd Manning and I'm Samuel Toddman, a distant relative. I know we hit you with some shocking news today, but believe me, when I say I'm in the same boat as you." Todd paused and his eyes met Dani's. "I didn't know you existed. If I had known I would have moved heaven and earth to be with you." He tried to convey all he was feeling into his words as he looked at her.

   As Dani's eyes dropped from his, he didn't know if he had gotten through to her or not. "You don't know me personally but from what your mother told me earlier, you are fully informed about my past. I have to believe since you accepted him with my past," Todd nodded at the man on the bed, " You'll give me an equal chance to prove I've changed too. I would like to get to know you, Dani. I won't push. But if you need to talk my door is always opened to you." Todd looked at her once more, gave a squeeze to Starr's shoulder and exited the room before Dani had a chance to see the tears beginning to form. He moved past Shaun and headed quickly for the elevator.

 Shaun noticed Samuel's quick departure and wondered what occurred in the room. Samuel moved like someone who got hit with some news but it wasn't all good. Shaun heard the door behind him open again as Starr left and headed straight for Samuel. Obviously, she already knew him because she joined him on the elevator with her arm through his. If Shaun were a betting man he would say Starr's gesture was a comforting one. Why had Samuel needed comforting? He quickly opened the door to check on Mr. Manning thinking something had happened and saw Tea and Dani also comforting each other. "Is everything alright with Mr. Manning, Samuel just left here looking pretty upset. You two look mighty upset too."

 Tea and Dani look at Shaun and Tea said "Shaun it wasn't anything with Todd, but it was a family matter that has hit a little close to home. Why did you say Samuel seemed upset? How could you tell?"

 Shaun replied, "Being a bodyguard, you learn to read body language so you know when someone is about to make a move. Believe me, Samuel left here like someone had kicked him in the gut. That's why I thought something had happened to Todd. Well, I'll go back to my post, hope you're alright."

 "Mom, do you believe Shaun? Do you think he was upset?"

Tea looked at her daughter. " Dani, you can't comprehend how upset your father is right now. You're upset because I just dropped another father in your lap, but in a way, it's not quite as much of a shock for you as it is for him. You know all about him and you've had a year to come to grips with the thought that Todd Manning is your father. The real shock for you is that this man lying here isn't your father."

 Tea hugged her daughter, then she reached and moved Dani's hair behind her ear looking into Dani's eyes."Dani, you and I share one problem. We love the man on that bed. Now you have to decide if you're going to give the man who just found out he was your father a chance to also be your father. For myself I'm so torn because I believed I was marrying my one and only love and now I've found out I didn't. The first day I saw your father was a little over a week ago. I didn't believe him at first either, but then something happened that convinced me he was indeed Todd. My heart tumbled when I realized what had happened."

Tea watched Dani move closer to her father lying on the bed. Dani, all I ever wanted to do was reconnect with your father and bring our family back together. I thought I had done just that. Now I don't know what to do. It's too late for Todd and me, I realized that today when I talked to him earlier. I knew how Todd felt about kids. I helped him get Starr when she was little. When I had my chance to tell him about you I didn't and he'll never forgive me for keeping you from him. Now I think he and Blair are closer than ever. I did make one decision today. I'm standing by this man. I don't know who he is but I don't think he does either so we'll find out about him together. I do believe he loves me and I know I love him. So he'll always be a father to you, Dani. I know you love him. Still, I hope you can find some room in your heart for your real father. I can tell you, he'll be there for you just like he said." Tea kissed Dani's cheek and hand in hand they sat down again to watch and hope their Todd would wake up soon.



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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Who's the Real Todd?: Chapter 3

Kelly stared at Todd. His whole attitude was very cavalier. She personally would be mad as all get out if someone took over her life. The fact that he was so calm bothered her. When Todd got calm it was like waiting for a cobra to strike. If this was Todd sitting across from her, then he was just waiting for the perfect time to strike, but when he struck, who would be the recipient of the anger that was being held back right now?  "You seem awfully calm about the fact that some other man has taken over your life for the last eight years. Not just your life but your family as well. I'm surprised you've contained yourself this long. When are you going to drop the other shoe, Todd? When are we going to be treated to a famous Todd outburst and who of us will you leave standing when you get your revenge? Are any of us safe?" Kelly watched as Todd's demeanor changed. His eyes narrowed and she felt like she had just offered herself up as a tasty dish to that cobra.


Todd felt his anger rolling through him at Kelly's words. He realized Kelly was asking him if he was going to retaliate against everyone who had betrayed him. It was the same question that had been tormenting him since he got back. Looking hard at Kelly, he answered.  "You want to know how mad I am at my family. Take a guess?" Todd's voice could have frozen water it was so cold.


He stood and moved away from Blair, right then he needed space between them. He moved to the Gallery, everything in him wanted to lash out. God, why had Kelly felt the need to bring up those thoughts? He stood with his back to Blair and Kelly and then caught a whiff of the alcohol still on the paintings, he remembered the last time he had lashed out and the end result. After the anger, the sorrow, and the hurt had come. In truth, the hurt was far worse than the anger. Blair and he had made definite strides to healing the hurt he felt because of her betrayal. Starr had also done everything she could to let him know she stilled loved him and was sorry for her part in the last eight years. Vicki had shown him the other day that she would never abandon him again. As he stood there he realized the anger wasn't as strong as it had been. He looked at the pictures and smiled and decided then and there to never get them cleaned. Once again, Samuel's muses had saved him. Todd turned back toward Kelly and Blair.


Kelly couldn't believe it. Todd was smiling, all signs of the anger he had just had seemed gone. What the heck  just happened? She watched fascinated by this Todd. He had always been mercurial but when he had felt betrayed, he had been like an elephant. He had never forgotten any betrayal. Something had just occurred before her very eyes. Todd had appeared ready to strike. Then he had turned on a dime and was now smiling at them, this was definitely a new Todd.


Todd looked at Blair and saw concern for him in her eyes. "I'm alright." She relaxed and smiled at him. He looked over at Kelly "What was that question again? Oh yes, I remember, my feelings. I'm angry, Kelly sometimes so much my blood boils. Do I want revenge? Yes. Who's going to be on the receiving end of that anger remains to be seen? Who's going to be left standing also remains to be seen? So if you're waiting for the other shoe to drop you're just going to have to wait." he smiled again.


Blair looked at Todd and said. "Todd, stop teasing her. She only stated that because of our past history. She's worried about me and Starr."


Todd grinned a silly grin in Blair's direction. "I can't help it, I'm just giving her what she's used to hearing from me," he walked back over and sat on the end of the couch the way he loved to do and looked at Kelly. "Oh alright, sheesh. Kelly, Blair and Starr and even Vicki have nothing to worry about. I love them, I have no plans to hurt them."


Kelly felt like she's stepped into a time warp. She felt like she was looking at Todd's Alter Tom. He was so easygoing, there had been times in the past that he had done some really screwball schemes in his efforts to get back together with Blair. His attitude right now reminded her of those times. She looked at his face and although he was smiling, she sensed he was serious. "Alright, I believe you don't want to hurt them but can you guarantee you won't."


"In all seriousness, I can hope that I won't. I can't guarantee anything," replied Todd sincerely. He dropped back down on the couch next to Blair. "Now let's talk about how the paper can help me get the proof I need against the Kipling Neuroscience Research Facility."


Over the next hour, Kelly found out that Todd had not lost his edge when it came to the newspaper business. As well as wanting to get some investigative reporters into the Kipling Facility to find out more about their programs and searching for evidence that Todd might have been experimented on there; Todd talked about following up the special edition with another article stating the events that brought Samuel to Llanview and his ambiguous relationship with the Lord family. Todd wanted to keep speculation mounting by the readers whether he might indeed be Todd Manning, without coming right out and saying he was. For the time being, as far as the public was concerned, he was Samuel Toddman. Kelly said her goodbyes still feeling a little like Alice in Wonderland. The world was indeed turning upside down. Samuel was Todd, Todd was someone unknown, and Kelly wondered what else could happen. On top of everything else, she was still in the dark about the identity of the mastermind behind the charade.


Blair and Todd looked at one another after Kelly left. Only hours before Todd had been berating himself because he feared his anger was going to be his undoing. Now Kelly was in their corner and they could begin to move forward with the plans to trap Carlo and for Todd to regain what really belonged to him. "Todd, things are starting to go our way. You have to be pleased that Kelly is helping. For now, though, I need to go check on Jack and find out what's been going on with him lately. Are you going to be alright?" asked Blair


"I'm better than I thought I was, Blair. When we arrived back from the Sun's offices I almost wanted to call it quits. You pulled me back from the edge, for now, I'll stay here. When Kelly questioned me about my anger, it began to once again swirl within me. I remembered just how angry I felt because all of you accepted Manning without really asking for proof. I was standing over by the paintings wanting to once again lash out but then I caught a whiff of the paintings and remembered the night that I lost it. I realized that the hurt I felt was, in fact, stronger than the anger. You and Vicki took so much of my hurt away when you both stood by me several days ago. I have to hang onto what you gave me that day, it's part of what is sustaining me. You go and check on our son. I want to know if anything else has happened to the other young man. I'm here if you need me."


An hour later Todd received a call from Kelly, it turned out Clint Buchanan had been released from custody and all charges against him were dropped. After discussing strategy on finding out all the 'whys' for the sudden turnaround, Todd let Kelly go. He hadn't heard anything from Blair and began to wonder if everything was alright with Jack. While he waited for some word from Blair, Todd decided to call the hospital and check up on Manning. He waited for an answer, then the phone was picked up.


"Hello, can I help you?" Dani answered.


"Yes, my name is Samuel Toddman and I'm a distant cousin of Todd Manning and I'm trying to find out how he is doing. Are you a nurse? I was wondering if there was any change in my cousin's condition." asked Todd.


"No, there's been no change, but I'm not a nurse, I'm his daughter Dani. I don't remember my mother telling me about any distant relatives. How did you find out about my Dad?" asked Dani, there was no answer, only silence on the other end of the line. "Hey, are you still there?" Dani looked over at Shaun.


Shaun took the phone. "Hello is anybody there? Look whoever this is, you're upsetting Dani." the connection was cut. " Dani, whoever it was hung up. What did he say to you? Are you alright?"


"I'm fine Shaun.  He said he was a distant cousin and he was trying to find out how Dad was. I told him I didn't know of any distant relatives and the line went quiet. Shaun, you don't think that could have been the shooter do you? I mean why did he get quiet all of a sudden?" Dani looked from Shaun to her dad. "You don't think it was somebody who might want to hurt Dad some more, do you?"


Shaun quickly reassured her,"Dani, I'm sure he was just who he said he was. A distant relative. Look when your mom gets back, we'll ask her if she knows of any distant relatives that she didn't mention to you. Did he give you a name?"


"He said his name was Samuel Toddman, but I still don't remember Dad or Mom talking about anyone like that." said Dani and she sat back down to keep watch over her dad.


In the Penthouse, Todd was staring at the phone. Her words were rolling around in his head  ‘I’m his daughter, Dani. I don’t remember my mom telling me about any distant relatives.' Todd stumbled away from the phone and sat down. She said she was his daughter. Todd Manning's Daughter. Todd reeled as the words sank in. He had another daughter and this one was with Tea. It didn't seem possible. How could Tea have kept a daughter, secret from him? Why didn't she say something when she saw him that first day back in Llanview, she never once mentioned a child? Why if they had a child, didn't she tell him on the island? My God, she knew how he felt about his children and she never let him know he had a third. Was Dani the reason she left him back in New York? No, She hadn't said anything about being pregnant in New York. She had just said he couldn't give her what she needed and then left him. Maybe she hadn't known she was pregnant when she left. God, he had to talk to Tea.


Todd thought back to that second day that Samuel was in town when Samuel had driven to Mannings house. Todd remembered watching with Samuel as a teenage girl had arrived at Mannings house. Could that have been Dani? Todd got up, his thoughts going back to his time in New York with Tea. He had been so in love with her but he had struggled with the intimacy part that Tea had needed so desperately. The first couple of months had seemed fine. They had managed to have some semblance of a loving relationship but the last month Todd had begun having his nightmares again and their relationship had started coming apart. He still remembered the anguish he had felt when he read her letter. He had tried to find her but gave up. Then he ran into Jessica and her boyfriends, after seeing and talking to Jessica he decided to return to Llanview. He had needed to talk to someone and Vicki had seemed the logical choice. After returning to Llanview his mind had turned to renewing his relationship with Starr. Then he and Blair had found their way back to each other.


All thoughts of Tea had retreated to a corner of his mind and didn't resurface until she arrived at the front door of LaBoulae right after Blair divorced him again and had left with the kids and taken full custody of them with her. Somehow or other Tea learned of his plan to kidnap Starr and Jack and thwarted him in Hawaii. Then they had ended up on that godforsaken island. Shortly after his cohort Ross left the island to try and get some help, he and Tea found themselves alone. He began building a raft to get off the island but somewhere along the way he and Tea reconnected. They had one night before he set sail to try and get back to his kids and Blair. He still remembered her standing on the beach, that was the last time he saw her until she showed up at his door. The day she showed at the door he already knew she had married Manning, Samuel had found that out. but Samuel hadn't known about Dani. Todd walked over to the portrait of Tea, "Damn Tea, why didn't you tell me?"


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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Who's The Real Todd?: Chapter 2

Blair and Samuel walked through the penthouse doors. Blair had been quiet thinking of Samuel's words all the way back home. She turned to Samuel the minute they entered, she had to know what was going on with Todd. "Samuel please.." Samuel grabbed her and began devouring her lips. The desperation in that kiss was evident. Blair returned his kiss knowing that Todd was back and seeking solace. Minutes later, the kiss softened and his lips released hers. Blair looked into his eyes and saw the pain still lingering. Todd moved to Samuel's studio and stared pensively out the window. Blair followed and stood at the end of the staircase. "Todd, what happened?"


"I lost it, that's what happened. I was so sure that I had the anger under control. When I found out about Peter, I thought he could no longer affect me. I made the mistake of thinking the anger inside me was gone, but it's not. It scared me, Blair, I was afraid I might do more than just throw a few things around. How did we get home?" Todd asked and looked over at Blair.


"Samuel came out and tidied up the situation. He hired Kelly back, so the Sun could stay in operation. Then he indicated you were in trouble, and that we needed to return home. So here we are." Blair said and realized Todd was kicking himself for his angry display. "You didn't lose it, you were understandably frustrated. Any normal person would have reacted the way you did. Don't begin to doubt yourself.  You have made huge strides in the last week, but Ray told you things were going to take time. Stop beating yourself up."


"Is that what I'm doing? I was so up after receiving the news that Carlo had been apprehended. I thought I could go to the Sun and Kelly would be willing to help get the news on the stands that the real Todd Manning was back in Llanview. I just wasn't expecting her flat out refusal to even accept the possibility. Then I lost it when she called you a fool. Who is she to judge your beliefs?  She doesn't know the whole story, yet she claimed you were the one being hoodwinked. Maybe I have been a bit hasty and it is premature to put out an article. But one thing is now out of the bag, Kelly knows I hold the controlling interest in the Sun. The question is what is she going to do with that information?" Todd walked over to Blair "She had no right to make that remark to you." he pulled her into his arms as he captured her lips for another kiss.


Coming up for air, Blair said, "It's a shock to see you the first time Todd, I'm sorry that you have to keep telling your story. But there are a number of people in your corner. Promise me you won't let this get you down. We're here and behind you all the way. As long as I'm talking about the people who stand behind you. Why didn't you tell me Samuel was back? I thought you lost him."


Todd smiled. "So did I, but the other morning after my session, I couldn't find any of them and Vicki said they were probably still around. Samuel told me he'd be nearby if I needed him. I was feeling so empty without everyone, so I asked his help in locating Tom, Ms. Perkins, and Rodd. As we were pulling away from the clinic Samuel spoke to me and told me he had found everyone. His last words to me that morning were 'we're all here'. I didn't realize he meant himself too. I'm glad he's back. I really felt different when he left and now I feel whole again. There is something else I said to Kelly, about missing all those years with Jack. I've wasted enough time trying to be Jack's friend. Blair, I think it's time to tell Jack. I don't want him finding out about me from the newspaper or TV, and it sounds like he's really tormenting this other student. I need to get through to him, the path he's choosing is wrong. Do you agree?"


"You're right Todd he needs to hear it from us. I'll get him over here later. When were you going to tell me you've been buying up shares of Sun Stock?" asked Blair.


"Oh That, well you see I've had agents buying stock in the two companies that I found out Hesser had stock in. I don't think Manning was even aware that until recently he wasn't really in control of the Sun. Hesser had a big block of shares and has been laundering Money through The Sun. Carlo also has his hand in BE, I been working on getting a major block in BE too. I intend to hit Hesser where it hurts monetarily and then I want to finish gathering the evidence needed to put him away for what he did to me." Todd headed to the bar to get a drink. Just then the doorbell rang. He glanced at Blair.  From the shake of her head, it was obvious she had no idea who might have arrived. .Todd grumbled, "Who the heck is here now?" as he moved to  answer it.  Todd opened it saying "Whatever you're selling, I'm not buying."  then he stopped frozen as he saw his guest.


Kelly stood on his threshold holding a special edition of the Sun, the headline read. NEW PLAYER IN TOWN OR FAMILIAR OLD PLAYER? YOU DECIDE! Sun's new owner Samuel Toddman made an appearance today to introduce himself to the populace. He informed this reporter that he's back to regain what was taken from him. Could there be a mystery unfolding concerning Samuel Toddman? You be the judge. There beneath the headline was a full page picture of Todd, complete with both scars.


Todd arched his eyebrow as he took in the headline. "Blair we have a visitor and she's brought a housewarming present. Won't you come in Kelly." He stood back to let her in. " Kelly my dear, this is certainly a surprise. I was under the impression you thought I was a fraud. Why the change of attitude?"


"No change, Samuel. But you are news. The Sun might as well capitalize on the mystery of your face and the obvious relationship factor that you greatly resemble the old 'Todd Manning'. I decided to run the story and brought you a copy as the new owner. Besides, I wanted to see this new home of Starr's and I think it's time I heard the entire story about Paris." replied Kelly. She moved into the living room, noting the difference in the atmosphere that the room gave off. Todd's home had always seemed a little cold but had fit Todd. This room felt like a home. Her eyes were drawn immediately to the portraits on the wall. She wandered closer looking for a signature but noted only dates similar to the portrait Blair received from Eli. Tea's and Vicki's portraits were painted during the mid-2000s and the last one of Blair was dated 2011. Looking at the content of Blair's picture she turned to Blair, "You didn't waste any time in Paris did you?"


Her arm was grabbed and she was turned to find herself facing one very angry Todd. "This is my house, and if you insult Blair again you will answer for it. I don't have to explain the origins of those portraits but you should know that Samuel painted all of those portraits from his memory. He hadn't even met Blair the day that portrait was painted. He's a good man and I will not have you demean his love for Vicki, Tea and Blair. Get your mind out of the gutter or get out of my house. Do you understand Kelly?" he applied just a little more pressure to her arm in his anger.


Kelly struggled to free her arm and distance herself from the man in front of her. "I understand. Ow! Let me go." abruptly he released her and moved to stand beside Blair. "Why do you continue to talk about him like he's a separate person. You made him up.  Please. Do you really expect me to believe you painted these? You don't have that kind of talent. You never did."


"Who never did Kelly?" he asked quietly.


"You know perfectly well who. You, Todd, that's who! You're the same bully you've always been. I've never been able to see what Blair sees in you. Now she's back in the same rut falling for you all over again." said Kelly rubbing her arm and glaring at Todd.


"Kelly, thank you for finally admitting you know I'm Todd. For that, I'm grateful but everything else you believe is fantasy. The reality is. I am Todd Manning, and I've been diagnosed and am being treated by a reputable psychiatrist and have been undergoing sessions with an equally reputable therapist for my DID. Samuel is the alter who kept me going for the last eight years because of a severe trauma that occurred in 2003. Samuel is very real and is, in fact, an accomplished artist. Those three portraits are but a few pieces of his and if you had bothered to look a little further around the room you would have seen his studio where more recent pieces have been completed."


Todd stopped talking and pointed to the studio on the other side of the stairs. "Please have a look. There is also a portrait that I completed. If you care to examine them you'll see signatures on all of them. You are even welcomed to bring in your own expert to verify the artist. I swear that both Samuel and I are capable of producing these works of art. The question remains are you capable of believing what you see with your own two eyes." Todd turned away from Kelly and looked at Blair. "Do you want a drink now?" at her nod he headed to the bar.


Kelly was flabbergasted. She couldn't believe her ears. Todd has just very openly declared he suffered from DID without blinking an eye. Not only that but he was dead serious. He knew she could check up on him and he welcomed it. The Todd she had known all those years ago had hated giving any information about himself, he had always played everything very close to the vest. This Todd was as much a mystery now as he'd been in the past but it felt different now. Kelly wandered past the stairs to Samuel's studio and began looking at the portraits in the area. The portraits of Starr as a little girl and of Starr the mature young woman were obviously painted by the artist who had painted the portraits on the wall. Even the fanciful portrait of little Hope had many of the same characteristics of the other paintings. She noticed an unfinished portrait of Vicki that had yet to be completed. All of the finished portraits are signed by Samuel Toddman and dated 2011.


There was one more portrait that was covered, it was clearly the one Todd claimed he painted. This is going to be good.  Kelly was anticipating something very abstract and bizarre since Todd supposedly painted it. She uncovered the painting and stood there shocked. It was amazing and titillating. Given the subject matter, it could have been very vulgar and cheap but the portrait was very beautiful and the viewer could feel the love of the artist for his subject in the romantic way she was portrayed. Kelly could see a little of the other portraits in the painting but it was clearly painted by someone other than the person who had painted the gallery on the wall. Kelly's eyes wandered to the corner where his signature was on the painting. She knew that signature, she had seen it numerous times on articles and editorials when Todd first purchased the Sun. If the signature was to be believed, Todd had painted the picture and she didn't think he would have let any other artist paint Blair in that pose. Todd would kill anyone else if they even look at Blair like that.


Kelly moved back around and watched as Todd brought a drink to Blair and ever so gently caressed her cheek before going back to the bar. That was such an unToddlike movement. Todd hated displays of affection and had always been very standoffish. It was plain to see they are very much in love. Something had definitely changed in Todd at least when it came to showing his love. His anger was still a factor but today's anger had been in defense of Blair. Todd had taken quite a bit from her without batting an eye earlier until she had said something he considered offensive to Blair. Kelly was dying to know the whole story, but then her mind returned to the question that had been bothering her from the moment he left. Why had he come out today? She moved back into the room. She came to the penthouse convinced that Samuel had an agenda and was planning on taking everything from Todd before he recovered from his wound. That idea had quickly lost it's momentum as she realized Samuel was the real Todd.


Taking back his life wasn't the only thing Todd was interested in. There was something else in the works. "Todd?" he looked at her and silently offered her a drink. She nodded. Boy, do I need a drink. When his hand paused over the Vodka, she nodded again and he poured, then handed her the glass.


He sat down next to Blair and looked at her once more. "What can I do for you Kelly?" he said effortlessly continuing the conversation from where she'd left it.


"Todd, why have you waited so long to come forward? You've been here for over two months, but you've stayed hidden and reclusive. Now today you show up in my office ready to step forward into the light of day. Why didn't you do it when you first returned?"


Todd and Blair looked at each other, then he said: "Well aside from the obvious health issues, I've been working to find out who caused all of this eight years ago."


"Who caused what eight years ago?" asked Kelly.


"Eight years ago Mitch Lawrence left me on the side of the road with just about every bone in my body broken and a new scar on my face. Several months later Samuel awoke in the Philadelphia General hospital and the only thing my alter could remember was his name. My memories had been tampered with. Of course at the time, Samuel just thought he had amnesia. When Samuel got ready to leave he felt like someone was keeping tabs on him and decided to get out of the country. He took us to Paris and began making a living as an artist. He made his living selling paintings of the three women he called his muses. Samuel had no idea those were real women but they kept him sane.”   He paused as Kelly took a seat.


Todd drank a portion of his scotch and reached to intertwine his hand with Blair’s.  He continued, “ The day Samuel finished that painting of Blair, he decided to take another portrait of her to the Gallery that was selling his art. A simple glimpse of Blair that day broke the barrier that had been keeping my memories locked away and as more came back, so did I. There was a slight problem, I couldn't get back control of my body and Samuel had no idea he was an alter. Then Blair showed up at Samuel's door. When Samuel realized Blair was real he began to investigate his time in the Hospital and eventually figured out that someone had tampered with his memory. We've tracked the tampering back to a facility outside of Philadelphia and I found out how I got from the side of the road and ended up at Philadelphia General. I've been working with Bo to get the man behind it all and today I received word he was in custody. Therefore, I came forward."


"Whoa, back up.  Are you telling me Bo knows you're Todd and believes it?"  asked Kelly.


Todd and Blair both nodded. "There are others who also believe me. I'm not playing at any scam Kelly, I'm just trying to get my life back on track."  Todd reached and picked up the copy of the Sun that Kelly initially brought over. "This is an excellent start."


"Ok, you've told me that Bo knows you're Todd, obviously, Starr and Blair know. I guess that means Vicki also knows. Who else has been let in on your secret? Also, can you explain what exactly happened in 2003?" asked Kelly.


"Blair's mother Addie, Nora and Tea, as well as my therapist and Dr. Levin are the only other people who know that I'm the real Todd Manning. As to 2003, get comfortable.  What I'm going to tell you sounds like science fiction. But I assure you I'm not making any of this up.”


Todd waited as Kelly settled back in her chair.  “Samuel began investigating in Paris after having some troubling memories. When he received our medical records a few discrepancies fueled him to investigate further. It seems that there was a period of several months unaccounted for between our arrival at an emergency room in Cherryvale and our arrival at Philadelphia General. Samuel tracked down the Attending ER doctor at Philadelphia General and found out we were brought to the Philadelphia General ER by an ambulance from a research facility outside Philly.  My sources told Samuel that the facility dabbled in experiments for the Government and in 2003 they were working on projects involving Memory; both the extraction of memories and the transference of said memories from one person to another for the purposes of infiltrating any situation as someone else. The second project involved filling the memory of the second party with memories of the first party and then with some additional mind control the second party would take over the life of the first party and truly believe he was the original."


Blair interjected as she spied the skepticism on Kelly’s face.  “It’s all true, Kelly. Just let him finish.”


Todd paused and drained his glass then got up to pour a second glass and returned to Blair's side. He glanced over at Kelly. "Samuel's gotten back memories of a period of time in which we believe they were extracting my memories of my life. It is our belief that the memories they extracted from me were then transferred to Manning. Samuel was then delivered to Philadelphia General and when we awoke, the only memory thought to be intact was Samuel's name.  Later we found out that memories of my Alters had not been taken because I had hidden them too deep to be accessed by anyone but me. I believe that the person in charge has had someone watching both of us over the years so he can make sure the experiment is still functioning properly. Something spooked him though and he sent someone to feel out Samuel in Paris to see if Samuel was still in the dark. Samuel set up an excellent plan to keep the ringleader unaware that he, that I’m in Llanview. Right now it appears like he is still painting in Paris. But that is all changing with this headline and picture." Todd stopped his tale to let Kelly absorb the story. "Because of the need to keep the ringleader in the dark, I've been remaining reclusive, but all of that changed with Bo's news."


As he watched her, she took a big gulp of her drink and glanced warily at Blair. "I  can see you’re skeptical, Kelly, and as I told you, it sounds like science fiction. If you agree that I am Todd then explain Manning. He's displayed many of my traits and has recited things from memory only I should know. I know I was in that facility and the other day Blair discovered some information about Manning that seems to indicate he might have a connection there as well. If Bo can find the proof that Manning and I were both there at the same time it will only solidify our case. I don't like Manning for a number of reasons. The answer to your next question. No, I did not shoot nor have anyone else shoot Manning. I had only been home from the hospital myself for a little over a day when Manning was shot. Nora has already questioned me and has cleared me. But the fact that someone shot Manning means that our ringleader might be  starting to get rid of anything or anyone who could possibly link him to this charade." Todd looked at Kelly, trying to figure out if she believed what he just told her.



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