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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Who's the Real Todd?: Chapter 18

           Shortly after Blair left, Todd got his laptop and began looking at the stories being posted by the Sun's reporters. He found the one flagged by Kelly as private and it took him just a couple minutes to get access to it. As soon as he saw the headline he knew Kelly was continuing to research the Kipling facility against his express wishes. Damn, he thought he had gotten through to her how dangerous this whole situation had gotten. He took a moment to read the article and had to admit the reporter was doing a good job but at this point, Todd didn't need another death on his conscience. He sent an email to Kelly telling her to pull the reporter or he was fired. It was harsh but the story would have to wait.He closed down the laptop and leaned back in his chair. He could hear Starr and Hope doing things upstairs and figured it was as good a time as any to talk to the guys.

         "Samuel?...Where are you guys?" he found himself back in his mind walking down the corridor again but this time, all the doors were opened and none of the guys seemed to be around. It was eerie, he had never known it to be so quiet. It was beginning to freak him out. Suddenly another door appeared in front of him. It was that damn door from the facility. Just as he reached for the door, another hand grabbed his. "Don't Todd!" he looked at Samuel feeling a sense of relief to see him. "Where have you been?"

         Samuel had barely managed to get to Todd before he opened the door. He too felt relieved but for different reasons. The memories behind that door were things that had been causing Todd nightmares. Todd's anxiety was already at an all-time high with the latest dilemma concerning his alters getting out at will, the last thing he needed was to reopen the rest of the memories about his stay in the facility. "Come with me, we've found Ms. Perkins and Pete." Todd followed Samuel and heard arguing going on ahead of them. He found himself in the corridor to the solitary confinement cells but his hallway only led to one cell and standing guard over a very angry Pete was Ms. Perkins.

        She looked with relief at Todd and said: "This is your doing, you need to correct it." Todd was bewildered until Ms. Perkins stepped aside and revealed that the cell door had no lock. It appeared that Ms. Perkins had used one of her stockings to jury rig a means to keep Pete within the cell. She had tied one end to the cell doorknob and the other to the light above her head on the wall.  It was effectively keeping Pete in but it wouldn't last long, in fact, the other stocking was already shredded on the floor. There were obviously other pairs also torn up scattered on the floor. Ms. Perkins looked fit to be tied and it was clear that Tom and Rodd were doing everything in their power to keep from laughing. She glared at the boys and said "I do not find this funny in the least. I have spent the better part of the last few days when you've been asleep Todd trying to keep Pete here. You gave these rooms to the boys, but you must do something about this one."

           Todd had looked at Samuel and had almost started laughing when Ms. Perkins words hit home. She was right. He had been remiss wanting only to give the guys a little something to make them comfortable. but there was no way around the fact that until he figured out how to shut the outlet, Pete would have to stay contained. He looked at Pete and could feel the rage Pete was emanating,

           "Don't you dare. I can still make your life miserable, I thought we had come to an understanding." Pete yelled and began shaking the door.

            Todd knew that he had no choice. He looked deep into his memory and envisioned the cell doors at Statesville. Pete screamed in rage as suddenly a lock appeared and the key panel was well away from Pete. "Pete this is for all of us. I'm sorry." he turned and walked away cringing as he heard the curses coming from Pete. If Pete did escape he was going to make Todd pay.

           Todd slowly opened his eyes and remained deep in thought.  He had a feeling that containing Pete was only one problem temporarily solved. He pulled the laptop back and sent another email to Kelly, "I changed my mind. Tell the reporter I'll let him stay but I want all updates sent to me. That facility has become my number one target for the time being. I'll get back to you. Samuel" closing the computer he went upstairs to spend some time with Hope and Starr until Ray's arrival.

 ****

        The penthouse was quiet, unnervingly so. Starr had taken Hope for a visit with Manning and planned to spend time in the park with her. Todd moved to the Studio looking at the unfinished portrait of Vicki that Samuel had started. He hadn't talked with Vicki since the morning after his intense session with Ray at Cherryvale. So much had happened, after that morning. He had heard that Vicki was still trying to get Jessica some help and she had dissolved her marriage. He hadn't even seen Jessica and he wished he could help her but it didn't look like they were going to have that chance as yet. Todd strolled over to the windows and look out across the city. He and Blair had had it made so many years ago. But circumstances and his own insecurities had damaged so much. He might have been freed from the prison, but his life following the release had been anything but okay. He still felt cursed. Would the troubles ever end, and would it be this time around that he and Blair finally found some real happiness.

           The doorbell rang and Todd let Ray in. "So Todd, how have you been? Blair called and said you have some issues you want to discuss. I'm here what can I do to help?" Todd invited him to sit and was trying to think of a where to start when Ray said. "I am concerned about your recent catatonic state and now I hear you're having terrible nightmares again. Why don't we start with what happened a few nights ago when you left us for some time. What happened Todd? Why did you withdraw?"

          "Not one to waste time are you, Ray, go straight for the jugular," Todd replied ruefully. "Alright let's talk about that night. Ray, truthfully, I'm tired. I've reached the end of my rope and I'm having trouble holding on. It's been hard facing everything that took place while I've been gone. I've met the man who's been me all these years, and I know he's not to blame for taking my life but I'm fighting myself because I want some kind of revenge against him and I can't have it.”

           Todd started to wander.  It was an old habit but one he had never been able to get rid of.  He always felt a little like he was under a microscope  when he was in a therapy session.  He turned toward Ray.  “That day I met a daughter I didn't even know I had, who basically told me at the time, she wasn't interested in getting to know me. Then I went and finally told my son, my real identity and got rebuffed by him too. Oh, he said he could accept me as a friend, but I could see in his eyes, he would never think of me as his father. I stood there that night seeing the futility of it all and then I saw pity in Blair's eyes and it was the final straw. I remember walking out to the car and everything came crashing down on me. I saw that all the hopes and dreams I'd had to make a better life for my family, had only ended up in a crumpled mess.”

          Todd walked back over to the chair and dropped into it.  “My daughter is an unwed mother, my son is showing signs of being as much a sociopath as Peter, and I'm to blame. I know I wasn't here but He was and he was supposed to be me.  He lived his life based on my memories and actions. Blair told me years ago I needed to leave so our kids could have a normal life, I was so hurt when she kicked me out of their lives but now I see she was right." Todd looked down at his hands and started rubbing his palms. He was lost in thought about the man he had become because of Peter.

         Ray looked on, studying the man in front of him. The doctors were right, Todd was very depressed. Ray had seen Todd at certain lows in his life and he knew that Todd was at a very bad place right now. Blair had been right when she said she thought Todd had given up that night. The man sitting opposite him right now was on a precipice. Ray saw something else and wondered if Todd was aware of it. "Todd, I can see you believe things are futile right now but you're forgetting something. As futile as you feel everything is, you came back to us that night. What was it? What made you return, even in the face of all this?"

         "Jealousy. I wanted to stay hidden, to forget in peaceful darkness but Blair and Samuel wouldn't let me. They both told me in uncertain terms they would be happy with each other and I could stay gone and something deep inside said Hell No. There was no way I was giving up Blair again.  It's kind of a laugh.  I was jealous of myself." replied Todd with a slight laugh.

         "I think it was deeper than jealousy Todd, you couldn't let the other half of your soul suffer. Deep down you knew how you were hurting Blair once again and you couldn't do it anymore. I've watched you two together and it there is such a thing as soulmates, you two are it. I am concerned where all this depression is coming from and I think it's weighing you down because of your health and the close calls you've been having. I also believe you fear you have brought danger to those you love once again. I'm right aren't I? You're ready to pack it in because you're trying to save your family." said Ray. "You know this, don't you? So you're here trying to be strong for them because they told you they didn't want you to go. Am I close?"

          Todd nodded, "The other night, I was this close to letting the whole thing go. My body was shutting down and it seemed so easy to just drift off but my daughter pleaded with me to fight. She said she needed me to be here and not leave again. I knew I had to try for her and Hope and Blair. I'm here, Ray, but it's a struggle. There have been two attempts on my life recently and I do fear that I've put them smack dab in the middle of this fight with Carlo. On top of everything else, I've started having these nightmares that have recently been ending with something horrifying happening to Blair. I'm afraid to go to sleep. It's just like when I was haunted by Peter only now I'm seeing the deaths of those I love." his voice cracked as the painful images resurfaced in his mind.

        "Todd, I'll help all I can. You can get through this and we'll find the way to rid you of these nightmares. I sensing there is something about the nightmares you aren't telling me. What is it Todd?" asked Ray

         "The nightmares are rooted in reality, Ray. Part of my nightmares are memories that have only begun to surface and they seem to have to do with the missing three months," replied Todd seriously.

         Ray saw the fear in Todd's eyes. Whatever had happened during that three month period was just another riddle they were going to have to overcome. Always before, Todd had suppressed his memories but there was something in Todd's tone that told Ray, this time, was different. "I was under the impression that you were too injured to remember anything of those lost three months. Why do you think these nightmares are laced with memories?"

         "Because the same scene has been playing out in my head night and day recently. Samuel drew a picture the other day and when I saw it I got this sickening feeling deep inside that I should burn the thing rather than continue to look at it. It was as if someone had stuck a knife in my gut and twisted it. I was afraid Ray. Something about the man in the sketch terrified me. I still can't look at it again." Todd paused and reached for the sketchbook lying closed next to him.

        He handed it to Ray and said. "I wanted Manning to look at it because something tells me the picture is connected to the facility I was in. If Manning recognizes him then we'll have another piece to the puzzle. Samuel has been remembering things too, since the night he drew the picture and he and I both figured out one thing. I wasn't as out of it those first three months as we thought. It seems Samuel and I were trading places like I used to do with Tom, at least for a little while. I think this afternoon I might have found the door in my memory that contains those three months. Samuel stopped me today from looking and I think he's got an even better idea than I what is behind that door. I know I need to look Ray, but I was grateful Samuel stopped me. My health and heart are both teetering and I promised the Doctor and Blair I would recuperate but I'm afraid to sleep. It's not just the nightmares that make me want to stay awake, another problem has occurred that is equally disturbing."

       Ray opened the sketchbook and noticed it contained only two sketches one was an ornate door and the other of a man behind a desk. Ray had to admit there was something sinister about the man behind the desk. "Who do you think this man is Todd?"

      Todd closed his eyes for a moment then answered. "I believe he's the man who ripped my memories from me. I know that sounds melodramatic but that's the best description I can come up with right now."

       "You mentioned another problem. What else has been happening?"

        "Ray, for the first time since I was younger, I'm experiencing moments of lost time. I realized it several days ago. I was in Manning's Office at the Sun and then I found myself here with Blair. Samuel had come out to help Blair and they brought me home but I don't remember any of it. Ever since I found out about my alters and began trading places at will, I was always able to join them and keep on top of what they were doing when they were out. The two exceptions to that were the DID fiasco years ago and the recent loss of eight years. But these recent time losses baffle me."

        Todd couldn't sit still any longer and he stood up and started pacing again. "On top of that, I found out this morning that my alters have been making appearances while I've been resting. Both Tom and Rodd have appeared and interacted with Starr and Hope and I had no idea.  Why is this happening now, Ray? Now on top of Nightmares and bad memories threatening my sanity, I find myself fearful that my Alters, especially Pete have found a way to get out without my knowledge."

         As he watched Todd pace, Ray digested everything Todd was saying. His friend had a reason to fear. Everything was beginning to point to a complete mental break if all of Todd's fears continued to pile up. It was essential he and Todd find a way to diffuse some of the fear. The question was, where to start. The first thing right now was to get Todd calmer. "Todd, do you have any coffee in this place, I think we should take a moment and just find a way to relax."

        Todd stopped pacing and grinned ruefully. "Yeah, you might be right. There's some coffee in the kitchen, I'll get us some." Todd headed for the kitchen and Ray pulled out his cell phone. He called Dr. Levin and gave him an update and discussed a meeting time for all three of them. He was just finishing the call when Todd came back with the coffee. At Todd's puzzled look Ray explained. "I'm a little out of my depth, Todd and since Dr. Levin is familiar with your DID I felt maybe we could consult him for the current problem involving your Alters. We need to attack these problems one at a time and we need to do it quickly. I worried about you, my friend." he took a cup of coffee from Todd and waited to see what response Todd was going to give him.

       "Don't apologize for wanting to help Todd, I agree this is a problem that does need addressing." Samuel sat down and sipped his coffee. At Ray's startled look, he smiled. "Relax Ray, he knows I'm here. He wanted to check up on Pete and asked me to entertain you for a few minutes."

         It was something Ray didn't think he would ever get used to. Todd's ability to switch personalities at will was fascinating and a case for psychiatric journals everywhere. Ray decided to take advantage of the moment and reached for the sketchbook. "Ok, Samuel, as long as we have this time, what can you tell me about this picture?"

        Samuel looked at the picture and visibly paled but he answered. "That is the Doctor who was/is the head of the project that caused Todd's long withdrawal and took memories from both of us. We're being inundated with those memories. They're horrific and it's like we're inside a science fiction novel except that what is happening to us isn't fiction. it's very real." Samuel took a gulp of his coffee and nearly choked as he tried to regain his composure.

       "You're telling me that you and Todd were part of some experiment. Why hasn't Todd mentioned this before?" asked Ray.

        "Well we were trying to get to the root of his anger and the circumstances concerning this seemed secondary to that. I think, like always, Todd has his problems compartmentalized and once he got past Peter, he opened up the next problem. It never occurred to him what a can of worms he opened. Now those worms are eating us alive if you'll pardon the metaphor." answered Samuel.

        Ray sat back stunned, he had heard a lot of horrific details in his years as a rape therapist but the things that his friend Todd had been through in his lifetime far surpassed anything he had heard before. Now to find out that Todd was experimented on after his ordeal in the tomb was unbelievable. When would he get a break? Stronger men than Todd would have already broken under the load. Yet he was still hanging on by his fingertips "My God Samuel, you're a blooming miracle. I've been sitting here worried that you're going to break down any minute and now I realize that isn't an option for you. You, Todd, and all the rest would die first."


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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Memories Unlocked #4

The plane had landed as Tea and Ross reached the landing field and they broke out into a run
seeing a couple of people exiting it. “Oh Thank God, you found us.   Ross and I were about to give up hope anyone would figure out where we were,” Tea said as she ran up to the couple exiting the plane.


Sam Vance frowned. She recognized the ex Mrs. Manning but she had no idea who the hell Ross was.   “Ms. Delgado, we’re glad we found you too.   Is Todd Manning with you by any chance?”


“I’m sorry do I know you?” Tea asked puzzled.


“I’m Sam Vance, I was hired by Blair Manning to find Todd.  We weren’t aware you were with him when he left Hawaii.  Is he coming?  She’s anxious to get him home.”


“Oh.  Ms. Vance we thought Todd sent you.  He left the island.  I just assumed...Are you saying, Todd is still mIssing?” Tea looked over at Ross and he moved in to pull her close.  “Ross, could he be...?”


“Tea don’t. You knew he was taking a risk when he left.”  Ross turned back to Sam. “Manning left here on a raft a couple of months ago.  He was determined to get back to his family.  We tried to stop him but he refused to stay any longer.  When we saw your plane we thought he had made it to civilization after all.”


Sawyer took in their ragged attire and knew they had probably had a rough time. “You folks have been here the whole time, huh? Sam, we need to get back in the air, I want to get to the next known destination before sunset.  I’m figuring you two don’t have anything much you need to grab.”


Ross laughed  “You figure right.  Come on Tea.  Let’s get on board, we can catch these people up on our story once we’re out of here.”


Sam watched as Ross lifted Tea into the plane and then hopped in after her.  She turned and looked at the island.  Todd was gone.  Now she needed to reassess.  If Todd left that long ago, he might be dead.  She didn’t want to have to convey that information to Blair. She took Ross’  hand and got helped into the plane. Then she made her way back to the co-pilot’s seat.


Sawyer looked over at her. “Well, it’s your call.  We can head back to Hawaii, or we can drop these two off at the nearest populated island and keep looking.”


Sam straightened her shoulders.  She wasn’t ready to give up.   “Let’s drop these two off.  If Todd left here two months ago I’m betting he made it someplace.   The man has more lives than a cat.  His wife believes he’s alive and I’m not going to be the one to tell her different.”


Sawyer was surprised,  “You’re kidding right?  You heard that guy, he said Manning left here on a homemade raft.  You honestly think he’s still out there?”


Sam nodded. “Actually, I do.  Just call it a gut feeling.  He’s out there and I’m going to find him.”


****

He was freezing, and his legs were useless as he was being swept along.  Sharp fingers of ice sliced and stabbed him while the current pushed him further down the frozen river.  In desperation, he flung his arms through the water in an attempt to get to the bank.  His hand connected with a branch and he grabbed it, pulling his body toward it.  Hand over hand he struggled to maneuver his way around the roots of the tree, finally feeling the ground.  If he didn’t get out of the water soon he would die.  The cold was seeping into his whole body, but he forced himself to claw and scratch his way onto the bank until he was free of the water.   He lay there, then forced himself to sit up. If it weren’t for his legs, he could move deeper into the woods. They wouldn’t find him there. He slammed his hand down in frustration against his leg.  He wanted to scream as pain shot through him and he felt something warm gush against his hand.  He looked at his hand in amazement as the blood dripped slowly off of his fingers.  He wasn’t paralyzed, he had been shot.


Dr. Sanchez stood at the foot of Todd’s bed.  She thought back to the previous afternoon. After removing Todd from the MRI, he had been totally unresponsive.  Believing his pain and subsequent collapse was due to fragments she spotted right before the incident, Dr. Sanchez  had ordered immediate surgery.  Several of the fragments had moved in his panic and the procedure proved to be a delicate one.  Todd failed to awaken in recovery and then his condition deteriorated.  He developed a staph infection and they were fighting it, but the infection seemed to be winning. Todd had been in and out of delirium.  It was apparent by his mumblings that certain memories might be trying to surface.  She turned to the nurse.  “Increase the antibiotic and continue with the cold cloths.  Let me know if you see any improvement whatsoever.” She made the necessary adjustment on his chart and got ready to continue her rounds.


He stared at the blood on his hand and then his whole body felt like it was on fire.  Suddenly the scene around him wavered and instead of lying on an icy bank, he was on a sandy shore, with the ocean waves lapping around him.  As he attempted to move, the pain that raged through him almost made him pass out.  It felt like every bone in his body was broken.  He carefully turned his head and saw the remains of the car he had been fighting to get out.  Although he couldn’t move, he watched as it sunk from view.  He was free of it, but he would probably die anyway.  It wasn’t enough that they shot him, they had stuffed him into a car and pushed it off a cliff.   He could feel his life draining from his wounds  Turning his head away from the ocean he looked up at the high cliff beside him.  It would all be over by high tide.   As he lay there, it was as if he could hear his heart beating its last beats.


Alarms went off, and Dr. Sanchez rushed back in to find her patient in cardiac arrest.  After several attempts, they brought him back and his heart once more stabilized.  She walked out of the room to find several of the small children, Todd had befriended, standing there. “Children, you should be in your rooms.”


Blanca spoke up.  “We wanted to know how Mr. Drake was.  Li Kwan and the others sent us to find out.” She indicated to the other two children with her.  “He’s a friend and friends need people to care and worry about them.  We know he doesn’t have any family here.”


Miguela was touched.  In one short afternoon, Todd had made a strong impression on the children and now they felt he was one of them.  “He’s pretty sick right now, but I’ll tell him you came asking about him.  I promise to keep all of you informed, and in the meantime why don’t all of you make him some cards.  When he wakes up he’ll see them and know he had someone worrying about him.”


Blanca turned to her companions and after some discussion, she turned back to the doctor. “Okay, we’ll do that, but when he’s better will you let us see him?”


Miguela smiled.  “When I’m certain it’s safe for all of you, you’ll be allowed in to see him.”  She watched as the children headed back to their wing and then walked back into Todd’s room.
“I don’t know if you can hear me, but you should know there are a number of children that are worried about you and are hoping you’ll get well.  Todd, you strike me as someone who hates to disappoint children.  You need to fight and survive.  Someone out here cares for you.”


He was drifting, his hands had been torn to shreds during that last squall.  He laughed weakly.  There was no way he was going to disappoint those kids.  He owed it to them to get home.  He hadn’t survived this long to give up now. “Kids, I’m coming. I swear.” His voice was barely a whisper, he was so parched.   He struggled to regain a sitting position, but his legs wouldn’t cooperate.  He just wanted a cool drink of water but like everything else in his life it eluded him. He laughed bitterly at the irony of his situation and then sobs overtook him.  He was floating atop millions of gallons of water and could drink none of it.


Miguela was again leaving when she caught his husky whisper.  He was talking to someone. Kids.  Had he heard her?  If so, then maybe he was on closer to coming to.  She looked at his vitals and saw that his temperature was beginning to come down.  She watched as the nurse gently wiped the tears off his face.  Would he remember anything when he awoke?  She left to complete her rounds.


In the midst of his sobs, a wave suddenly capsized the raft and he began sinking.  He wasn’t going to go down without a fight and he struggled to pull his dead weight to the surface.  A wave picked up his body like driftwood and smashed him into the rock.  Excruciating pain shot through his back.


Todd screamed in agony and awoke from the dream.  He lay there for a moment and realized the pain was gone. His mind was still trapped in the lingering effects of the dream and everything was hazy.  Todd felt someone put a cool cloth on his forehead.  It felt incredible. He was so thirsty.  “Water, please!”


The nurse reached for the water and put the straw in his mouth. “Just small sips, Mr. Drake.  You’ve been pretty sick and you’re dehydrated from the fever.”  She reached over and pushed the button on the bed.  “Tell Doctor Sanchez that Mr. Drake has awakened.”


What did she call him?  Mr. Drake?  Who the hell was that.  I’m Todd, Todd …... What the...Why can’t I remember my last name?  The water flowed down his throat like an icy river through a sun dried gully.  It enabled him to clear his throat.   He tried to speak again. “Why did you call me that?  It’s not my name.”


“It’s alright, I understand.  It’s the name you gave us permission to use.  The one the children gave you.  Do you remember?”  


He frowned. “Children gave me that name, I don’t understand.”


“Mr. Drake, do you know where you are?”


He suddenly remembered the car going over the cliff. He was trapped inside. No, he made it out. He had been hurt bad. He must have been found. “The car crash, they tried to kill me. They shot me and put me in the trunk and sent the car off the cliff.  I didn’t think anyone would find me.  How did I get to a hospital?”


Now it was the nurse’s turn to be confused.  “I don’t know anything about a car crash.  You washed up on the shore a couple of months ago.  You were badly injured.”


“I was shot, right?  I know the crash broke a lot of my bones, too.  I really thought I was a goner there for a while. This hospital, is it in Dublin?”


The nurse turned as Doctor Sanchez entered.  “Perhaps I’ll let Dr. Sanchez answer your questions.” She walked to meet the doctor.  “He believes he’s in a hospital in Ireland.  I didn’t know what to tell him.”


Miguela walked over to her patient. “Mr. Drake, Todd, it’s good to see you awake.  You had us all worried.  You’ve been pretty sick and it seems you have some confusion about where you are.  What’s the last thing you remember?”


“I just told the nurse, there was water everywhere.” Todd stopped talking. “No that’s wrong, I was lying on a beach,  the cliff...” He shut his eyes and again just saw water all around him and he was floating.  What the hell?  He opened his eyes.  “I’m not in Ireland, am I?


“No, you’re in Guam.  Something has jogged some memories, this is good.  Do you remember anything else?”


“That’s a strange question.  Of course, I remember things. “


“Excellent.  What’s your name?”


“Todd.  Why did you ask that?”


Dr. Sanchez was disappointed. “I was hoping maybe you had had a breakthrough with your memory, but I see you still don’t remember your real name.”


“That is my real name.  Hey, what’s going on here?  My name is Todd ….. Todd...,” his last name was still eluding him. . “I don’t understand, why can’t I remember my last name.  Just what am I doing here?” He looked around frantically.  What had the nurse said, something about washing up on a beach?  Suddenly memories started flooding through his mind.  Memories of waking up encased in plaster.  Being unable to move.  Oh God.  It can’t be true.  He looked down at his body, his hands moving to touch his legs.  Nothing, no feeling. It is true.  

Miguela had been watching him intently.  From his movement and the look on his face, she had a feeling his recent memories had surfaced.  She spoke quietly when she saw him try and feel his legs.  “I’m sorry, there’s been no change.  The recent surgery has put you back to square one, I’m afraid, and now we have to wait for the swelling to subside again before finding out if you’ll regain any feeling. "


Todd was only half listening to her.  That’s it, not only are you paralyzed, Todd, but your memory is faulty too.   He remembered the children giving him his name and understood why Drake sounded strange.  That was the name they had picked both his first and last name.   But Todd is my real name, I know it.  Come on think. There’s something else.  That’s it, Todd’s my middle name.  I’m Thomas Todd …..Damn it, it’s not there.  This is stupid Todd, you should know your own last name.  He noticed the doctor staring at him, she seemed to be waiting for something.  “I’m sorry, my mind was wandering a bit.  It’s all coming back to me, at least, the last couple of months.  You said something happened during the test you ran and you had to go back in and do more surgery. Right?   I think I remembered something from my past during that test.  One minute I was listening to that infernal noise and the next I was trapped inside a trunk of a car.  I was hurt, I’d been shot and the men who shot me put me in the trunk and sent it off a cliff.”


“Todd, you told the nurse about a crash when you first woke up.  Are you telling me it really happened?


“I’m not sure but I think it did.” He struggled to get more upright.  Finally settling for leveraging up on his arms.  “That’s not all.” He said excitedly.  “The name the children gave me.  I believe it’s really my name.”


The doctor looked skeptical.


“No really, I’m not kidding.  My name is Todd, actually, that’s my middle name.  My first name is Thomas, but everyone calls me Todd.   I’m certain of it.  I remember thinking how familiar it sounded when you first said it.  I’m Thomas Todd.....”  The last name remained  elusive.  “Damn it, that’s all I remember.” He dropped back on the bed, his euphoria gone.


“Easy, Todd.”  She watched as his excitement ebbed with the fact that he had remembered so little. “Don’t be discouraged. This is a good sign.  It means you might regain more memories.  You mustn’t push it.  Being in the machine triggered one memory, you just need to stay positive.”


“Why is it so hot in here, did you guys forget to pay a bill or something?” he wiped his hand across his brow.  


MIguela glanced at the nurse, and she laid another cool cloth on Todd’s forehead. “I’m afraid you’ve got an infection.  You’re running a fever.  I believe the medicine is finally kicking in but you’re going to probably feel uncomfortably hot for a while as we bring it down.”


He laid there and closed his eyes, it took too much effort to keep them open.  He started to drift off and remembered.  “The children, my kids,... I promised ... “ his voice faded as he dropped off to sleep.


Miguela heard him and leaned over.  “The children will be here when you wake up.  Get some rest.”  She made some more notations on his chart and smiled.  They had a partial name and a partial memory.  Maybe they could begin trying to find out who their patient was.


****  


Sam made their two passengers comfortable and then thought it was time to ask some questions   “You said Todd left on a homemade raft over two months ago.  Was that the last you saw of him?”


Tea nodded, “We tried to talk him out of leaving but he refused to stay any longer.  He was determined to get home to his family.   Like I told you earlier, we thought you were sent by him.”


“I’m really sorry to hear all that.   We’ll have to keep searching.  We’re headed to the Marianas to get fuel and spend the night.  I’m sure we can get you a connection from there, home.”  Sam got up and headed to the back of the plane where James had a cooler stashed.  She pulled a couple of iced drinks out and some fruit and walked back, giving some to Tea and Ross, then taking the rest up to the cockpit for her and James.


Tea immediately moved to sit beside Ross.  They had had long discussions on the island about what they would do if they were rescued.  “So, as soon as we get down, I’ll make a call to my banker and get us funds.  If we pay the right people we should be on our way to Tahiti in no time.”


Ross was a little surprised.  “I thought you would want to get back to the States and help look for Todd?”


“There’s nothing I can do to help.  If he hasn’t surfaced by now, I fear he didn’t make it.  Todd’s resilient, but even you said he was facing insurmountable odds.   Todd made his choice and I made mine.  Besides, I’m in love with you.“ Tea said the words and realized how true they were.  Ross was the man who had kept them alive.  He had made her feel safe and wanted, something Todd had never been able to do. “If you can’t return to the States, then I go where you go.”


“You’re sure, Tea?”


“Absolutely.”  To prove she meant every word she kissed him.  His arms enfolded her and she sighed. “This is where I belong.”  As she made herself comfortable in his embrace, she couldn’t help feeling a little sorry for Blair.  


A short time later, they landed in Saipan.  Sawyer had radioed ahead and informed the authorities that they were bringing in some shipwrecked survivors who had just been found on a deserted island.  The authorities were highly accommodating and before the night was out, Tea and Ross had two temporary visas and were allowed to leave the airport with Sam and James.  After getting rooms, Tea and Ross disappeared.  Sam turned to James.  “I don’t know about you, but I could use a drink.  Care to meet me in the bar in an hour.  I need to inform our employer about this latest development.”

Judging by her tone, Sawyer had a good idea that Sam Vance was in the mood for more than just a drink.  “Sure, you’re paying the tab for this trip.  I’ll meet you in an hour,”  he watched her as she made her way to her room.   He had heard the disappointment in her voice when the woman she called Delgado had given them the information about Todd Manning.   It appeared Vance felt something for the missing millionaire, too.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Who's the Real Todd?: Chapter 17

Blair looked down at him and laughed. "So that's where you were. I thought you had fallen asleep and I was going to wake my sleeping prince."

“That's not the role I'm usually given Blair, but I'll take your kind of interruption to my conversations any day. Samuel told me some more about his memories while we were at the facility. Then we talked about him for a little bit. How did your chat with Manning go? Did he recognize the doctor?" asked Todd

“I wasn't able to talk to him. They had him down for a cat scan when I went to find him. Tea said the headaches are getting worse. I believe you're right when you say things are beginning to get dangerous. With two attempts on your life and people watching Walker, it's going to be very tricky to find time to converse with Walker and Bo and Kelly without alerting Carlo to our plans." she sat down next to him, "How much longer until the discharge papers are finished." She looked at him and saw his frown. "That long, huh. We'll be back home soon. I know you're frustrated."

“Frustrated doesn't even begin to describe how I'm feeling. Blair, I sometimes feel that I'll never get the upper hand with Carlo. He's got my number and I'm always two steps behind him. If he has people here at the hospital keeping an eye on Manning, does he also have someone planted at the Sun? There is also another unknown out there who shot Manning. I think it's safe to say that the nurse who made the attempt on my life had all sorts of opportunities to take out Manning and didn't. Someone else was given that chore. We're going to have to assume that Carlo has more people planted around town then we first thought." just then the nurse brought in the discharge papers and Todd spent the next minutes signing himself out. Blair left to get the car. He took the prescription for the anti-depressant the doctor had left and pocketed it, making a mental note to find out everything about it before filling it. He knew he was being paranoid but after being poisoned, he felt the need to know just what he was taking. He gathered his sketchbook and allowed them to wheel him out to the car Blair had waiting. He sat down next to Blair and she ordered the driver to take them to the penthouse.

"The doctor said you were still supposed to take it easy for a few more days. Starr agrees with me that we're going to have to stay on top of you night and day to make sure you don't overdo it," said Blair moving to his side.

Todd looked at her and said. "Now you can stay on top of me all you want Blair." He captured her lips and pulled her closer relishing the fact that she belonged to him. After some tender kisses, he released her and got ready to depart the car as it entered the garage. Then he noticed the police cars in the garage. "What the hell is going on here." As he exited the car an officer came up and spoke to Blair, then he moved ahead to the elevator.  They all got on the elevator together and the door closed, Todd turned to him and said,"What's going on. Why the police escort?"

The officer replied. "You're officially under police protection Mr. Toddman, the Commissioner authorized a 24-hour detail."

Todd frowned. What had happened to necessitate this? He looked over at Blair and she shrugged, she was as in the dark as he was. The elevator arrived at the Penthouse level and after seeing them safely to the door the officer retired to a chair with a clear view of the door and the elevator and stairs.

Todd and Blair made their way into the room and saw the message light blinking on the phone. Todd went to check his messages and found one of the messages was from Bo. After listening for a few minutes, he heard the news that told him why the police protection. When Blair came back downstairs from putting his things away he told her what he had found out. "Well, this is the reason for the protection. It appears my two assailants were found dead and their killer is very likely the same person who targeted Manning. Bo is giving me the protection in case Carlo changes his mind and targets me again. I knew it. It's no longer safe for you and Starr and Hope. Even though Carlo believes I'm Samuel, he's going to be watching my every move now."

"Todd we're not going anywhere. If anything that will make Carlo even more suspicious. This is Starr's and Hope's home now and I'm sure Starr will want to stay close too. You did have attempts on your life, so Carlo isn't going to think much about the protection as long as you continue to act like Samuel." Blair took his hand and guided him to the couch and said.  "I for one have a wedding to plan if I remember correctly Mr. Toddman, or are you taking back your proposal."

Todd looked at her, seriously wanting to take back the proposal in order to keep her safe but he knew he couldn't let her go. He wanted her back as his wife in every sense of the word. Together they could overcome their enemies and get back to the matter of living their lives again. Then he recalled what she had said in the car and a grin stole across his face.

Blair saw his expression and wondered just what had put the smile on his face. She found out quickly.

Todd replied. "I believe you told me in the car you were going to stay on top of me to make sure I followed doctor's orders. I'm feeling this urge to start to work finding out just how those assailants were killed. You might have to stop me from overdoing it."

"I think I have just the thing to take your mind off work, Mr. Toddman." she leaned in and whispered a few words in his ear and then grabbed his hand and led him upstairs.

When they arrived at his bedroom Todd shut the door and led her to the bed. He stood and faced her and slowly began undressing her. She was truly a sight to behold and Todd never got over the fact that she chose to be with him. He shed his clothes and drew her down on the bed. He began caressing all her beautiful curves, loving the feel of her beneath his fingertips. His mind went back to the afternoon with the flowers and he started tracing lines and swirls across her body. He felt her eyes on him and looked up seeing her love for him. Leaning over he kissed those eyes and then made his way to her mouth where she eagerly took his kiss and then the passion flared up as they both got caught up in their love for each other. Blair rolled on top of him looking down at the virile man under her and began doing her own caressing. She watched as he closed his eyes to the sensations flooding through him and gloried in the knowledge that she could bring him to those heights. All the while her own body was getting hotter as their bodies began moving in rhythm together until they were both gasping. Blair screamed her pleasure as Todd plunged ever deeper into her center. Todd gazed at the wild untamed woman above him loving her for the spirit that had never lost its grip on his heart. She was his always and forever. She collapsed on his chest and he held her as the throes of passion continued to ripple through the both of them until only two hearts beat against one another. He felt himself begin to drift as his strength evaporated when the adrenaline rush wore off. Nestling Blair beside him, he allowed sleep to take him.

Blair slid out of bed allowing Todd to remain sleeping. After showering and getting dressed she made her way downstairs to check on Starr and Hope. She joined them for breakfast and informed Starr the reason for the police officer outside. Starr had noticed him but hadn't spoken to him when she came home because Hope had been asleep in her arms at the time. Then she told Starr about her dad's wishes for them to go someplace safer until all of the stuff concerning Carlo had been taken care. "I told him we were staying put but I realize that I shouldn't have spoken for you, Starr. Hope is your daughter and if you would feel safer back at La Boulaie then you should go. Your Dad would understand."

Starr wiped off some food around Hope's mouth and turned to her mom. "Mom I feel perfectly safe here. You said that for the time being Carlo believes Dad is Samuel. I believe that as long as he thinks Samuel is here, he'll back off and just keep watch. I don't have a problem with a police officer keeping watch especially since we can't ask Shaun for help right now. Hope loves it here and the daycare downstairs has been instructed never to let anyone but me, you or grandma pick her up. They've been informed that even if a police officer shows up they are to wait until one of us arrives and they should check the station house for confirmation at all times." She let Hope down and started cleaning up. "How's Dad," she asked?

Blair didn't answer right away as she thought back to yesterday morning and Todd's dream or memory and how upset he had been about it. She knew the biggest fear ruling him at the moment was the fear of losing her permanently. "Well as I told you he's worried for all of us and the fear of Carlo hurting us is eating away at him right now. He asked me to marry him yesterday." she waited to see if Starr had heard her.

Starr's head whipped around at her mother's statement. "Seriously, he asked you to marry him. Well come on, what did you say?" Starr was smiling as she waited to hear her mom's answer. If it hadn't been for Carlo this would have been the best news possible but she was excited for her mom all the same.

Blair smiled , "I told him, yes but I'll be marrying Samuel Toddman because that's his legal name right now. At first, when he realized he couldn't marry me as Todd, he tried to back out of the proposal, but I told him if we got married under Samuel's name, we would be strengthening the theory that Samuel still has no memory of being Todd. It makes perfect sense, Carlo thinks I have no idea Samuel is Todd because I believe Walker is Todd. All Carlo can see is that I fell in love with the painter of my portraits. This way we keep Carlo in the dark. I have to tell you, your dad's relationship with his alters is so endearing. Your father felt bad for Samuel, so he asked Samuel's permission to use his name and marry me. Samuel gave us his blessing. The funny thing about that was that although I know all of his alters reside in him, each of them has become separate people to me. It's like we have his brothers close at hand and Samuel especially feels like that to me. I was tickled to hear Samuel was alright with the engagement." She looked at Starr and said, " You know what I mean right?"

Starr nodded, "I know mom, when Samuel is around I feel like I'm talking to my uncle he's different from dad but very definitely family. I know when Tom comes out to play with Hope, I all of a sudden feel like a big sister watching the two have fun. Do you know I've even met Rodd? He loves to give me relationship advice and he's hilarious when he tells me stories of Dad's younger adventures with girlfriends. Rodd is also very knowledgeable about today's fashion trends. Pete, I've only met once, the night I accidentally told Dad about you and Walker and the "rape". I must admit Pete is scary but I haven't seen him at all since Dad's last session with Ray."

Blair had been listening to Starr talk and began wondering how often Todd's other alters had been coming out and if Todd was aware of it. "Starr how often do the other alters come out. Do you see them every day?"

"Oh, not too often. Usually, Tom and Rodd come out when Dad has gone to take a nap. Often times it's like fifteen or twenty minutes after he goes to lie down. Why? Is that a problem Mom?" asked Starr.

"I don't know, Starr. I just wonder if you dad is aware or if the alters have found a way to spend time outside without Todd realizing it. I take it they only stay out for small periods and then retire to his room for their own naps, at which time your dad usually returns." Blair looks at Starr who nods in agreement. " I think you dad will want to know this. It appears that your father retains a lot of control over his alters when he's awake but now when he's asleep the control has slipped. This could be a problem. I'll tell him about it when he wakes. I need to call Ray. I think it's time to restart your father's sessions." Looking at Starr she realized Starr was staring behind her. She looked back and saw Todd standing there. She stood up and went to him. "Good Morning, you look a little upset, what did you hear." she kisses him but he's distracted.

Todd looks at his daughter, "Did I hear you right? Rodd and Tom have been coming out to visit?" at Starr's nod. Todd felt chilled to the bone. When he was younger and Tom took over at the beginning he would have moments of lost time. As he had started giving and taking with Tom, he had learned how to control the moments when Tom would appear and when Rodd showed up he had retained control so Rodd wouldn't get him into trouble with the girls. Then the fateful night when Pete almost killed Peter occurred. Todd found his control over Pete very limited. That limited Control had resulted in the rape of Marty and the Hostage fiasco. " God," he thought, "if Pete's discovered a way out that I'm not aware of" he looked at Blair and sat down abruptly. "Blair, Starr, I'll be right back."

"Samuel, Rodd, Tom get out here." he paced up and down the hallway until the three of them showed their faces. " How long have you been able to get out at will."

Samuel only knew he could come and go as pleased when Todd was in crisis, so he looked stunned Todd was asking the question. Then he realized that Tom and Rodd had very guilty looks on their faces.

Tom spoke up." It hasn't been that long. It happened right after we all came home from Cherryvale. You were resting and Hope came into the room and wanted to play with Sir Dragon and so I thought I would see if I could respond and I opened my eyes and I was in charge. I only stayed out and played for a short time, Todd. I don't get out very often and it's fun."

Todd turned to Rodd. "What about you?"

"Wella you see, you had fallen to sleep on the couch and Starr wasa talking about James and looking for some answers, and the nexta thing I know I'ma giving her advice. It was all perfectly harmless she's a beautiful young woman I woulda never hurt her, she'sa like a daughter to me. After she went to get dressed I left." replied Rodd.

Todd turned to Samuel, he shrugged his shoulders and said. "Hey the only time I go out is when you ask me to or are in trouble like the other night. I wasn't aware Tom and Rodd were getting out. You should probably check with Ms. Perkins."

Todd called out for Ms. Perkins, when she didn't answer, he went in search of her. Try as he might he couldn't bring her to mind and Pete was also a no show. Todd began to worry, he quickly became aware he was once again sitting in the kitchen and Blair and Starr were anxiously watching over him. " I'm sorry, something is wrong. I'm missing Pete and Ms. Perkins. I feel like I'm all here but that something isn't right. I think it's time to call Ray and Dr. Levin both. Starr is there any coffee?" She handed her Dad a cup and noticed his hands were shaking as he took it. "Tom and Rodd both confessed they've been able to come out while I'm asleep. I'm very worried if they've discovered a way out then Pete will too." Todd looked over at Blair "I don't know what he might do, Blair. If Pete gets control there's no telling what trouble he'll add to this mess."

Todd got up and walked out of the kitchen, his mind in turmoil. He had thought that seeing Ray and trying to find out about the cause of his anger would be a step toward normalcy. But now a new set of problems had developed. With the acknowledging of Peter's sexual abuse somehow he had opened a doorway that was giving his alters free rein when he was asleep. Although unsettling to know that Tom and Rodd could come out when they felt like it, it was even more disturbing that he couldn't find Pete or Ms. Perkins. He had an uneasy feeling that Ms. Perkins must be working at keeping Pete contained, which meant that Pete was aware of the outlet also. Lost in his thoughts, he barely heard Blair's conversation with Ray.

Blair hung up and looked over at Todd. His focus was on nothing in particular and she knew the revelations of the morning were definitely on his mind. "Ray said he had some free time today and he could come talk if you were up to it and I explained that we both wanted him to go ahead and come, so he'll be here after 1:00, alright." Todd just nodded, Blair went to him and sat down saying. " This is just a minor setback. The last few days have weakened your system and I'm sure that has probably weakened your defense mechanisms."

Todd looked at her and said. "These events happened before the last few days. Something inside me has changed and I'm not sure I can get it back." he paused "Samuel any sign of Ms.Perkins."

"We still haven't located either one Todd. Hang in there, we'll find her."  

Todd shook his head and glanced back at Blair, "Still no sign of Ms. Perkins. It's weird Blair, With her I always felt like I had my back covered. I know when I was younger and during those days following my collapse in court, it was Ms. Perkins who kept Pete in check. I'm concerned that in my eagerness to retain all my alters because I couldn't stand to lose any of them, including Pete; I inadvertently opened an avenue for them to come out. I can't stay awake 24/7."

"Todd I think you're overreacting. So far only Tom and Rodd have come out for visits and both of them behaved themselves. Let's not assume the worse and figure Pete knows how they did it. Let's talk to Ray and Dr. Levin it might be something you can turn around once you understand what you did." Blair reached and took the empty cup from his hands. "Let it go for now. I'm sure the doctor would be upset to hear you're getting worked up. Remember we're supposed to be working on no stress." She got up and moved behind him and slowly began kneading his shoulder trying to get him to relax. After several minutes, Todd stretched his neck and shoulders easing himself back under her ministering hands. "That's better, remember you need to take it easy a few more days and besides I want to talk about marrying you."

Todd's hands came up and stopped hers. "Blair we can't, not with this latest development. I can't put you in harms way. I need to find out whether Pete is still securely in deep freeze before we marry again, especially after everything he tried to do the last time he was out."

Blair shook loose and came around in front of Todd and sat facing him. "That's enough of that Todd, I'm not afraid of Pete and I don't think he could ever truly hurt me because he is part of you. He can get mean and nasty but your love for me is stronger than his hatred. There is no way you would allow it. If Pete escapes, my guess is he'll try to have some fun. He's bound to make a mistake and we'll find out, but that's putting the cart before the horse, right now we haven't seen him and neither has Starr. I trust your brothers to keep a lid on Pete. I'm not going to let your bad ass alter come between us. I love you Todd Manning, all of you and I'm keeping you to your proposal. We're getting married hell or high water."

"In that case, there's only one thing to do." he grabbed her and pulled her to him taking her lips before she could say another word. They were coming up for air when Todd felt a little hand on his arm. He discovered his granddaughter staring up at him and then she said. "Sir Dragon stop eating grandma." Todd couldn't help himself.   He threw back his head and laughed, something he hadn't done in a long time. "But Princess Shorty, Sir Dragon is awfully hungry and your grandma is a tasty morsel." he looked at Blair and grinned. "If I can't eat her, I guess I'll just have to eat you." he grabbed her and threw her in the air and caught her and pretended to start eating her. Hope responded, laughing and giggling as her Dragon tickled her.

Blair stood up as they played and said "Sir Dragon you can't eat my granddaughter, I'll get you something to eat. I beg you spare my granddaughter."

"Ahh Princess Shorty I will let you go but only if your grandma brings something soon for I am mighty hungry. Perhaps you would let me have one little finger till I get some food." he nibbled at her fingers and Hope again laughed, then flung her arms hard around his neck. Todd held tight as his eyes filled with tears of joy at the pleasure of holding her. In his ear she said. "I love you dragon." He twirled her about and then whispered "I love you too." before dropping back down on the couch with her on his lap. They continued to tickle each other and laugh till Blair brought out some breakfast for him. When the tray arrived Todd relinquished his hold and allowed Starr to take Hope. "Thank you, Princess Shorty, you kept this old Dragon happy till the food came. I really didn't want to eat you. You better go with your mommy and let this dragon get his strength back, I need to be strong to protect you and your mommy and grandma." he watched Starr and Hope go upstairs and understood why Tom wanted out occasionally. He understood but he couldn't stop worrying about Pete. Pete was unpredictable and therefore a threat.

Blair watched as Todd's mood went from joyful to somber and she knew he was thinking of Pete again. She prayed Ray would be able to talk some sense into him and help him. "Todd, I have to leave to go to the Sun for a few hours. Take it easy. I'll be back if you need me here when Ray comes. Just call me."

Todd felt dismayed over the fact that Blair was leaving but then he realized it would give him a chance to converse with Samuel and the others. "Don't take any chances, just get the paper out. Tell the writers to stick with the story of the publisher's return from a coma, and keep them away from any stories about the new owner Samuel Toddman."

Blair gave him a kiss goodbye and left, feeling Todd's eyes following her out the door. She took a moment to speak with the officer of the day and then gathered her thoughts so she could face the people at the Sun. She wanted to get in and out at the Sun. It was more important that she be back at Todd's when Ray arrived.



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