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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Who's the Real Todd? Chapter 40

Todd and Blair worked steadily, getting Todd more proficient with his mobility device. A lot of the nurses were really impressed with how he was able to get along with its use. There had been no further improvement in his vision, but Michael urged him to be patient. The latest cat scans of his heart showed that he still needed to keep the stress level to a minimum, but the Doctor told him he could begin working again. The brain scan revealed no other problems and everything appeared to be healing on schedule. Both doctors agreed Samuel could be discharged, and Blair lost no time making the arrangements for their flight home. Both she and Todd needed to get back to their family.

One of the calls they had received while Todd was recuperating had been from Starr. Starr said that Walker's headaches were getting really bad. Michael had received another call from Larry Wolek, this time about Walker and the continued need for secrecy. Plans were being made to find a way to get Tea and Walker out of town on some business trip, so they could fly to Seattle and talk with Michael. Tea and Blair had talked for hours about what Tea could expect. When Tea heard about Todd's vision, she expressed her sorrow and then her concern for her own husband. Blair tried to ease her fears by telling her Michael was an excellent surgeon and to trust in his skills. By the time they finished their call, Tea was reassured enough to begin finding a way to get her Todd up to Seattle without raising any red flags.

During Samuel's final hour in the hospital, Michael stopped in for one final check of Todd's eyes and to deliver the implants to Blair. He asked to be alerted if Samuel's headaches should return because that would mean another problem had arisen.

Todd immediately remarked. "Don't worry Doctor, I promise we won't keep you in the dark." Both Blair and Michael looked at him in shock and then they saw Todd grin. "Gotcha," was all he said.

Michael laughed and walked to Samuel and shook his hand and wished them both luck and left, still chuckling. Blair walked to Todd "You're a nut. Are you ready to get home, Mr. Toddman?" He nodded and she offered her arm. Todd carefully gripped her arm and they left the hospital suite for the last time - if Todd had anything to say about it.

Starr and Hope were waiting anxiously, as the plane landed. Starr had dressed in her favorite color, pink, since her mom told her that her Dad could make out colors. She had Hope in a bright yellow outfit because that was the color Samuel had her in, in his portrait. Her mom and dad must have been the last two people to depart the airplane. Starr watched as her mother led her father down the hallway headed to the baggage pickup. Hope yelled. "Mommy look, Dragon."She took off toward her dragon before Starr could stop her.

Todd and Blair had been starting down the hallway when Blair spotted Starr and Hope. Todd was looking around and using his device to stay clear of other passengers, but she could tell by the grip on her elbow that he was exceedingly nervous about all the people surrounding him. When Hope yelled, Todd had stopped them and appeared to be looking for his granddaughter. Blair whispered. "She's in bright yellow and headed straight for you."

Todd focused as well as he could on the little blur of yellow-headed his way and got down as she neared. Holding out his arms, he waited as she barreled into them and hugged him. "Princess Shorty how wonderful you came to meet us. Did you bring Sir Dragon anything to eat because if not he'll just have to eat you," he hugged her and started nuzzling her neck in play.

"No, Dragon don't eat me. " she giggled.

"Oh very well, I'll wait," he lifted her into his arms and stood up as he noticed a figure in pink moving closer. He smiled because she wore pink for him. She loved pink and it was one of his favorite colors too because it was his daughter. "Hi, Shorty." He gripped Hope in his unencumbered arm leaving his right hand free to hold Blair's arm. "Thank you for coming to greet us."

Starr gave her dad a kiss and hugged her mom then said. "Princess Shorty missed her dragon and so did I. Let's get you home. Come on Hope, you walk with me." She lifted her daughter out of her dad's arms, both of them were a little reluctant to let go, and set Hope on the ground and took her hand. "Let's go get Dragon's luggage," she led the way and they made their way to get the rest of their belongings.

Starr had a limousine ready to take them home and they were all sitting comfortably. Todd was showing Hope his new Toy and she was getting a big kick out of it. It finally hit Todd that it was taking an awfully long time to get to the penthouse. "Hey, where are we going?"

Smiling, "Home" is all Starr said.

Todd looked over at her, wishing he could make out her features, but her tone sounded happy. "Well, this limo driver needs to learn Llanview. It shouldn't take this long to get to downtown."

Starr reached over and touched her dad's leg. "It's okay Dad he's going where I told him to go. Just sit back and enjoy the ride."

Suddenly the car turned down the driveway and Todd realized where Starr had brought them. In his mind, he pictured once again driving into the clearing and seeing the home nestled in its setting. He gazed out the window, but it was too disconcerting so he sat back and waited for the car to come to a halt.

Starr and Hope exited the car and then Blair. She smiled at what she saw. Todd got out slowly putting on his glasses to protect his eyes from the sun when he heard."Welcome, home." He realized a group of people was  waiting for him and Blair. He tried to make out by size who might be standing there. Sam was easy.  He thought he picked Jack out of the bunch. Then someone moved forward and he realized it was Vicki. She came up to him and gave him a kiss.

"Welcome Home Todd." she said

Todd then realized the welcome was for him specifically, and he found himself tearing up. He was grateful for the glasses, and he was trying to talk but he found himself choked up. He didn't know what to say. The only one who had ever welcomed him home in this way had been Starr. That all these people had turned out to see him was overwhelming. Vicki was offering her arm and he took it and she led him inside. There was some sort of banner hung over the stairway. With huge colorful letters, it read the same thing Vicki had told him. Todd was staring at the sign wishing he could truly see it when he felt a little hand tug at his slacks. He dropped his gaze and saw her bright yellow outfit and knew it was Hope. Since he was now inside he removed his glasses and quickly blinked away his tears. "What Princess Shorty?"

"Dragon surprised?" she asked.

"Dragon is very surprised. Did you help your mommy with this?" he pointed to the sign.

"Sam and I made it. It's Big" replied Hope.

Todd dropped down to her level and gave her a big hug. "It's fantastic, thank you so much." he grabbed her hand and using his device he headed into the living room. He paused at the door because he was making out shapes that hadn't been there the night of the Wedding. He looked back trying to locate his sister and she replied "It wasn't me"

He turned his gaze on Starr, who also replied: "Nope not me either?" That only left one person. Before he could find her, she was at his elbow.

"It's the style you like. I had a lot of time on my hands when you were sleeping, so I got online, Starr and the movers did the rest. I know you can't see the true shapes but I think you'll love the coverings." Blair loved the look of the room the rustic colors worked great with the Wood and stone interior. With smooth and suede leather it gave off a masculine air but then Blair had brought in brighter tones in the pillows and lampshades along with the window treatments and you could see a woman's touch at work. Elegant walnut accent tables were placed in strategic spots around the room. All in all, Todd found the room comfortable to his eyes, the colors were just right and not too harsh. He wondered about the rest of the rooms, but he couldn't explore because they had guests. Todd walked over to what he was sure was the couch and sat himself down.

Hope came and snuggled up next to him. "Dragon tell story , Dragon been gone a long time."Todd turned to the put his arm around Hope and Sam and Bree came over when they heard the word 'story'.

Starr came over and said. " Hope give Dragon a chance to catch his breath. He just got home maybe you and Bree and Sam could go play for a while."

Hope just snuggled closer and said. "No! I want story"

"Me too," said Bree.

"Me three." said Sam.

Todd looked up at the pink blob that was Starr and said. " Starr, it's alright, I'll tell them a story. Why don't you and your mother show the rest of our guests the house. I'm not up to doing that but I can certainly tell a story." Starr looked over at her mom and Blair agreed because she was anxious to see if all the furnishing fit the rooms as she had planned, and Starr had been the only one to see the house fully furnished. So with Starr leading the way, the group followed her towards Todd's office wing and Todd began his story.

"Once upon a time, there was a great dragon who had become very powerful and wealthy. He loved his queen and her daughter and granddaughter very much, so he spent his wealth on them without batting an eye. Now the dragon also had a great deal of fondness for the young children in his kingdom and often times would invite them to play in his great cavern full of games and fun equipment he had amassed from all over the world. When the children of the village came to play his cavern was full of laughter."

"One day two traveling wizards came into the dragon's valley and found out about the immense wealth that the dragon had and decided to get his wealth for themselves, but they needed a plan. They realized that the dragon was very partial to the children of the valley, so they came up with a plan to lure the children away and make the great dragon come looking for them. With their dark magic, the two wizards built a fantastic playground and soon the children were clamoring for it but then the playground vanished with all the children inside. The villagers cried and went looking for their children but could find them no sign of them. The villagers pleaded with the great dragon for help and he went in search of the children. With his sharp ears, the dragon soon was getting close

"One night the wizards realized that the great dragon was going to get loose and he would come after them so they decided to make it impossible for him to find them. They made an evil little creature and carefully sent it to the dragon one night as he slept. The creature crawled into the dragon's head and started messing with the dragon and he forgot why he was behind the wall and he left and wandered around for months, not knowing who he was or where he came from. After a while, the evil creature began to come apart and the dragon started recalling the children crying. Once again he opened his ears and began making out their cries again. Now the Dragon was furious. The children had been missing their parents and it was time they got to go home."

"The dragon came back to the invisible wall but it had weakened because the Wizards had forgotten about the dragon and he began breaking down the wall. The children in the playground happily began hitting the wall from their side and soon there was a hole big enough for the children to crawl through and they crowded around the great dragon. He told the children to cover their ears because he was going to summon help. In order to protect their ears even further, he spread his mighty wings and sheltered the children from his great voice."

"With a powerful cry, the great dragon trumpeted and the ground shook from the force of his voice. The villagers heard the cry and knew the dragon had found their children, suddenly the sky over the village was filled with dragons and the villagers marveled never having seen any other dragons but their own."

"The Wizards heard the mighty cry and realized that the great dragon was coming to get them. They had one more plan they could use and they did it. They sent one last message to the evil creature inside the great dragon's head telling it to latch on and bite the great dragon."


"The great Dragon reeled from the pain inflicted by the little creature but he refused to stop trumpeting until he saw the horde of dragons winging his way. The throng of dragons landed and beat down the rest of the wall and on orders from the great dragon, they each offered rides to the children. One by one the children mounted and were instructed by the great dragon to hold tight. The great dragon watched as his dragons lifted as one and began winging the children back to their families. Suddenly one little boy noticed that the great dragon wasn't following. The little boy and his dragon returned to find the great dragon injured and bleeding because of the creature inside him."


"Now the little boy who's name was Sam knew a great young wizard who lived in the valley next to the great dragons. Sam had once lived with the wizard for a while. Sam promised the great dragon he would get help and he took off on his dragon to fly and get help. Back in the village, the dragons were landing letting the families reunite. Suddenly little Bree realized her cousin Sam hadn't returned and a cry went up as the villagers saw that the great Dragon also was missing. The queen had sent her guards to find out what had been going on down in the village and she worried about her great dragon. Little Hope and her mother Princess Starr had found the evil wizards sitting with their fake dragon and they had quietly left the cavern to tell the Queen."

Todd paused to catch his breath and Hope said."Dragon, is great dragon aw right?"

Todd hugged her and said "I think he's going to be alright eventually. Do you want to here the rest of the story?" and he saw all three smudges bob.

"The great dragon was very weary but he waited patiently for young Sam and then he saw the dragon descending toward him. The young wizard got off and went up to the great dragon and using his powerful magic he looked inside the great dragon and saw the evil creature attached to the dragon's brain. With a powerful spell, he separated the evil creature from the dragon and forced it to crawl out. but the great dragon found he was not fully healed. The damage the little creature had done to the great dragon had hurt the dragon's eyes and he found he could no longer see clearly.

With the aid of the young wizard, the other dragon, and Sam, the great dragon made it up into the air and carefully made it home. He landed in his valley and was met by his queen and her family. Everyone was angry at the two evil wizards and the queen ordered them stripped of their powers and sent into the wasteland to scavenge off the land. The young wizard did one more thing to them. He sent the evil little creature to bite and pester them the rest of their days.

The queen and her subjects felt terribly sad for their great dragon and all wondered if anything could be done to help the dragon see again. The young wizard told them the dragon's sight might come back but they should all be patient.

All at once Sam and Bree and Hope. "No, Dragon!"

Todd looked at them in surprise and "No What?" he asked

Bree looked at Sam and Hope and she said. "The great dragon didn't need to wait. Because all of the children cried and then used their tears to make the dragon's eyes better and after they washed the eyes, the dragon was able to see everyone clearly once more." Sam and Hope nodded in agreement.

Todd was overwhelmed by the three children and felt his tears begin to fall.

Hope reached up and said "Don't cry Dragon. It's alright. The great dragon all better now."

Behind the children and Todd standing in the doorway stood everyone who had finished their tour and been listening quietly to Todd's Story. Everyone had tears streaming down their faces at the love the children were displaying for their dragon. They watched as Bree and Sam stood up and gave Todd big hugs to calm his tears. No one spoke but silently hugged each other. They knew that the children had no idea dragon couldn't see. They also knew Todd would never tell them.

Blair broke the spell, quickly realizing that Todd would need a moment to compose himself. "Children, would you like to see the special playroom that your dragon made for you. " All three kids looked at Blair and back to their dragon.

He nodded and said. "Yes, you'll love it, go check it out. Thank you all for a great ending to my story." They hurriedly went to Blair, little Hope giving one last hug to her dragon before joining her grandmother. Todd took the moment to dry his tears before everyone else came back into the room.

Starr walked over to her dad hugging him from behind and said. "You tell the most spellbinding stories. Those kids love you."

Reaching up he patted her arms and said. " And I love them." he could hear everyone coming in. "So you must tell me what you think of my home," he said to no one in particular. He received another hug from Starr.

"I just love the suite with all the graphic art. Something tells me that you designed that suite for me, am I correct?" Starr had released him and moved to sit down with him. "Mom showed me how to make the seasons change. We all exclaimed over the colors and creatures on that wall. Hope will love it when she sees it.

Vicki walked over and asked. "Todd would you like a drink or something you're probably dry after telling your tale."

"Something tall and cool would be nice Vicki." he replied , he turned to his daughter "You really liked it. I'm glad." Vicki returned with a tall glass of lemonade which Todd eagerly took a sip from. It tasted marvelous. Since the loss of his sight, he had noticed that his other senses had gotten sharper, with the exception of his hearing. The lemonade hit his tastes buds like sweet and sour explosions happening in his mouth. It was very refreshing. He downed it immediately and handed the glass back to Vicki who laughed and went to get him another. Jack came over and talked excitedly about the high-tech suite and wondered when he was going to get to stay there and Todd told him as soon as he wanted. Todd hoped the boys would be moving in soon. He wanted the boys there, it was their new home too.

Vicki came back a second drink and remarked,"You might savor that one Todd" She leaned in and gave him a kiss on his cheek and whispered, " There is a cup holder in the couch just to your left." She watched as he brought his left hand up casually and found the spot on the couch arm. He transferred the drink from one hand to the other and carefully set the glass in the holder. As Vicki started to move away he grabbed her hand and gave it a little squeeze. then he returned to his conversation with Jack and Starr.

After getting the children ensconced in the playroom with Jessica keeping an eye on them, Blair had intercepted Natalie and they were discussing all the latest happenings around town and if Carlo had made any more unannounced visits. Natalie told Blair about Brody and John's findings in the woods. They had found a cigar butt and ash where Carlo had been watching the ceremony. The testing on the cigar butt proved it was Carlo, but he had once more dropped off the radar.

Jack hurried over to his mother when she came in the room and asked when they were all moving out to Dragon Heart. Blair stopped and it suddenly occurred that she should get the boys out there, while it was still summer break, and let them get used to their new surroundings. She told him it would be soon, but to give her and Samuel a week to recuperate from their honeymoon. He was disappointed, but she reminded him he was going to be spending time at Walker's house for the next couple of weeks; so by the time he was ready to return to her, they would have his stuff all moved into the new home.

Vicki had joined Todd, and Starr went in search of her daughter. Todd turned toward Vicki and asked. "Was this all of your doing?"

"Actually it was your nieces and Starr that arranged all this. They wanted to let you know you have support from all of us right now." Vicki looked at her brother. She could tell he wasn't fully focused on her and she prayed that Michael was right and that Todd would eventually get his sight back. "I know you're not really the party type. So I hope you're alright with this."

Todd heard her worry coming through her voice and reach for her hand. It took a slight amount of fumbling but he found it "Sis, you know me, I roll with the punches. This was a surprise but not an unpleasant one. In fact, this is probably the first time I really felt welcomed home. It felt good Vicki. I can hear the worry in your voice, I've had a little setback but that doesn't mean I've stopped my plan to get Carlo."

"Todd, you should let Bo and John take care of it from now on. Blair told me how long you were dead. Dear God Todd, I've lost too many family members. Please give up this fight. You have so much now, don't jeopardize it all over again." she tried to get her fear across to him but she knew she was probably speaking to a brick wall.

"Vicki, I can't stop now. I'm this close to finding them and I have to see it through. Hmmph, see it through, ironic isn't it how often we say that phrase and now it's got a double meaning for me." he closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead, he was beginning to get a light headache. "Sis is there any food at this shindig, I feeling a bit lean right now."

"Oh my, how thoughtless of me, of course, you're hungry. Everyone there is food in the kitchen please help yourselves and Todd, you wait here, I'll get you something." She rose and left with several of the others.

Blair came over behind her husband and started rubbing his temples and he relaxed back against her allowing the ministrations, thankful for the soothing touch of her hands. "Are you holding up okay? I know this was a surprise, if you want I'll ask them all to leave." She moved her hands to his shoulders and massaged the tension out of them.

"Blair it's fine. Just what you're doing is helping a lot, I'm sure I just need some food. It's been a long time since our last meal. You must be hungry too." he was getting drowsy from her massage.

She leaned close to his ear and whispered. "I'm hungry but not for food." she kissed his cheek and smoothed his hair around his shoulders.

Vicki arrived with a plateful of sandwiches for both of them and another lemonade for Blair. Blair accepted the plate and drink and moved to sit next to Todd handing him a sandwich to get started on. Typically, Todd, he started eating with relish. Blair and Vicki smiled at each other. Some things never changed.


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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Who's the Real Todd? Chapter 39

With the noise around him, Todd could barely hear himself say her name. He tried once more to get her attention. "Blair," that was better it came out louder. She was turning toward him. She moved closer and he gazed up at the woman who had brought him back from death's door. He was glad he could see colors and something that resembled shapes again and this time when Blair moved he saw the movement as natural, not those sickening zig zag lines. He vaguely remembered Michael telling him about a second surgery and more of the implant being removed. God let that be it. Could he now just get on with his life. Looking at his wife he said, "Hi Blair" It felt good to be able to say that. It felt good to be alive.

Blair looked down at her husband and responded in kind. "Hi,  how are you feeling?  Are you in any pain? Can I get you anything? Talk to me."

Putting his hand where he guessed her lips might be,`he tried to shush her. " Water, please," he croaked out.

Blair quickly went to get some water as the nurse moved in to check Todd's temperature to make sure he wasn't showing any signs of infection. She too asked if he was having any pain and he nodded. She asked him to just give her a number on a scale one to five, five being terrible. Todd responded with a three and the nurse said she would see about some medication to relieve it. She told him that Doctor McBain had asked to be informed when he woke up so she expected the doctor to arrived shortly.

With some water in hand, Blair came back and started to hand the water to Todd only to see his hand come up, but not exactly where the glass was. Disappointed she said. "Samuel your vision isn't any better is it," she had hoped when Michael removed the offending implant that Todd's sight would return but it wasn't the case. She put the cup in his hand and watched him drink it down. They really hadn't talked about how this development was going to affect everything.

Todd heard the disappointment, he hadn't had a chance to tell her there was some improvement, he was still trying to get his voice back. "Blair, it's not quite so bad " he whispered. "I can make out shapes and colors now like Samuel was able to but without the crazy zigzag lines. Everything is just indistinct, all fuzzy. It is an improvement maybe it won't be a long-lasting problem. We can find out when Michael gets here. " he tried to locate the tray but the movement was a little much for his head and a groan escaped involuntarily. Blair took the cup from him as he reached for his head. Michael entered and saw the whole thing and came over immediately.

"How bad is it, Samuel," he pulled out his flashlight and began looking in Samuel's eyes. The pupils were reacting a little sluggishly, but they did react to the light.

"Tolerable when I don't move." Todd gritted out. He was keeping talking to a minimum. It was too much effort right now. He was getting tired again. He knew it had only been hours since he had actually died, but he hated how helpless he felt.

Michael could tell Samuel really wasn't up to a lot of questions right this minute, but he had to get some answers. "Okay, we're going to to do this quickly what's your wife name?"

"Blair."

"Good. When were you born?"

"1970"

Michael looked over at Blair and she nodded. "That's excellent. Now can you see the color of my shirt?"

Todd tried to look at Michael without moving his head, he saw a blur of white and near Michael's head he was able to make out something that looked a little green. "Green" he whispered, he was beginning to feel exceedingly tired and it was getting hard to breathe.

Michael realized Samuel was struggling to breathe and quickly grabbed the Oxygen tube and placed it on him. Samuel started breathing easier immediately. He drifted back to sleep and Michael turned to talk to Blair.

"He's lucky, there doesn't seem to be any mental or memory impairment. His pupils are still responding sluggishly, but there is some improvement because he is able to see color. As for his struggle just now to catch his breath that is to be expected. Everything is in recovery mode and his lungs as well as his heart will need time to get back to full strength. I'm afraid your honeymoon is going to have to be extended by a couple of days, I want to keep him for at least a few more days longer to make sure everything begins healing and to give his organs a chance to recover properly. I've made arrangements for you and him to have one of the suites the hospital has so we can keep an eye on him, but you both can have some privacy. Blair, he needs to take it easy. Don't let him talk you into anything too strenuous."

Blair had to blush, but she smiled and thanked Michael with a quick kiss. "Thank you for getting that thing out of him Michael. We're both extremely grateful."

"Blair I don't know where that thing came from but whoever designed it is well connected and I suspect very dangerous. You both need to be careful. I know Samuel wants to take on the man who did this to him. Blair, he needs to be cautious. He's still not out of the woods physically. Let my brother and Bo handle it from here on. "

"I'll try and keep him out of it Michael, but you have no idea how stubborn he really is."

"You know what Blair, I agree. He's so stubborn he refused to believe he was dying. That's the only explanation I've been able to come up with for his miraculous return from the dead. Now it's up to you to see to it he's around to enjoy his resurrection."

The next couple days were quiet days with Todd slowly regaining his strength. Todd and Blair had several long talks with both the heart surgeon and Michael about what to expect concerning a full recovery. One of the talks they had with Michael was the discussion about a second person being part of the same experiment as Samuel. Michael was shocked to hear that the second person was Todd Manning. There was no love lost between Manning and Michael but after having seen the implant and then hearing about Manning's increasing headaches, Michael knew he would have to offer to remove the possible implant if Manning should wish it.

       Michael brought the implants in to show them to Samuel, and Blair was surprised to see them in two lead-lined compartments. Then Michael showed them the need for the special boxes. He took the jars and set them apart on Samuel's tray and they all watched fascinated and horrified as the jars made their way together.

        Blair felt like she was going to be sick and she buried her face into Todd's shoulder at the realization of those horrible things being in Todd. She shuddered to think what would have happened if they had never found out about them.

         Todd had been unable to see them clearly but he had seen enough to know the jars had moved of their own volition. He knew one thing, there was a dark place in his heart that was preparing for its chance to get even. Suddenly for the first time in days a voice inside his head spoke up.

        "You bet your life we're getting our revenge. Those bastards almost killed us and I've had enough. You're not keeping me out of this Todd I mean it." Pete said.

        "Don't worry Pete. I've got something in mind I think you're going to love. If Samuel and I can piece together our memories about the facility I think we can pinpoint the lab. Once we find that lab and all the equipment, I have an idea on how to get the equipment. Ivan and Carlo will find out exactly who they messed with," Todd replied to his brother. " By the way, it's good to hear your voice. It's been awfully quiet. Did everyone make it?"

          "Yeah, we're all still here. Don't quite know how. We were dying with you. then suddenly we were back. How did you do it, Todd?" Pete was mystified.

         Todd had no answer but one. "You ought to know Pete. Tell me the one thing that would bring you back if you were in charge and be honest Pete."

        Pete looked out Todd's eyes and saw one thing only that pulled at him. He hated that she had that power over him but couldn't deny it. "We came back for her huh. Well, she's worth it but don't tell her I said so."

       "Your secret is safe with me Pete."

        Blair had seen Todd's eyes close and at first thought he had drifted off until she found those eyes once again looking at her. That was when she realized he might have been talking to his alters. She was relieved that they were still around because they provided Todd with some stability and she would have missed them if they had disappeared."You okay Samuel, those things didn't bother you. I can't believe anyone could subject someone to those things. It's diabolical."

        Michael had just put the two jars back in their containers and commented." It's more than diabolical, it's criminal and I hope these aid you both in getting the ones who did this to you, Samuel. I'll keep them safe until you are ready to leave. After everything you've told me, if these were just one of many such experiments then there are others out there beside you and Manning who have these things in them and they are all walking time bombs. The government needs to be told."

         Todd looked over in Michael's direction. "I intend to let them know. With the power of the Sun behind me, Manning and I will find a way to expose this to the world. The government will have to take notice. But I need to get off this subject. It's giving me a headache. Just looking at those blurs move brought the pain back. I know it just sympathetic but they're ghastly and it brings the memories back."

         Michael moved to check on Todd and took a moment to check out his sight again. "You're still just making out blurs then. Is anything getting clearer?"

        "The colors are sharper but that's it. Nothing is in focus. Sometimes I feel like I wish things were black. It's so frustrating, at least darkness doesn't make me sick. I'm virtually blind. Because of the fuzziness, I have no depth perception. I'm constantly misjudging how close or how far things are. How do I adjust to that Michael?" Todd was beginning to feel sorry for himself and kept trying to stop it but this situation was wearing on him.

        "Samuel, I know it's trying. You need to be patient. You had major surgery on your brain. That in itself needs to heal. You're never going to get back the cells lost to the implant and surgery but the fact that your perception of color is improving gives me hope that you might someday get your vision restored. On top of that you were clinically dead, we have no idea all the ramifications and effects that had on everything including your sight. You need to just take it one day at a time. Get your strength back and the rest will follow. I'm going to leave you two alone. I'll have the nurse bring you something for the headache, Samuel. If you continue to improve I think we might be able to let you go home in a couple more days. I'm going to send someone in to help you learn to cope with the vision problem, Samuel. They understand what you're going through and they'll help you adjust. Give them a chance." Michael patted Samuel on the shoulder and picked up the case of implants and left.

        Blair had been listening quietly to the conversation and as Michael left she spoke up. "Todd, I'm here to help, I know you're frustrated but we will get this figured out. You heard Michael. He said you could possibly regain your vision and he seemed optimistic. It's still early days yet. Will you let me help?"

        He looked at Blair and heard the love and the plea in her voice. Parts of him didn't want her seeing him like this, he felt helpless but another part of him was telling him that it was time to trust and let her help. "Alright let's do this. You brought me back from the dead. I trust you to help me find my way around a room."The next thing he knew she was covering him in kisses, laughing and crying at the same time. He decided he'd never fully understand her but he grabbed her and returned her kisses ten fold.

        After a few minutes, they separated as Todd was beginning to get light headed. "Whoa, need to breathe now," he said weakly and Blair started to jump off his lap in alarm but Todd held her tight. "Don't go, I'll be alright just need time to catch my breath. Don't ever think I don't want to kiss you, or that you're in any way hurting me. I love you Blair." he just held her and she laid her head on his shoulder letting him get his breath back. God, she didn't realize just how good it felt merely to just hold her. He never wanted to let her go. He brought his hand up and just gently ran his fingers through her hair, loving the feel of it in his hands. She snuggled deeper into his lap almost purring with pleasure as he played with her hair. He smiled and felt himself beginning to get sleepy.  He continued to play with her hair letting his eyes close and just slowly relaxed until he drifted off to sleep.

       With Blair's help, Todd made progress figuring out how to maneuver around the room without too many mishaps. But he made even bigger strides when the Therapist showed up and started guiding him using the tried and true methods of counting steps to certain objects and retaining a mental image of the places of everything in the room. He was helped by the fact that he did see something. Which prevented a lot of falls. Two things made the difference for him, though. Whenever he put on dark glasses it took away a little of the overall fuzziness and he found himself better able to judge the placement of things and then he was instructed in the use of the latest mobility aid device.

       It looked something like a laser pointer but actually transmitted the whereabouts of items around you and sent different signals to the holder, that let the holder know the distance to the objects in front of him. Todd was soon amazed by how quickly he adapted to the device. He was also relieved that he could get around without the usual cane. There were still some stumbling blocks though as he found out when he and Blair made his first official walk outside since the surgery.

        It was an unusually beautiful day in Seattle and Todd really was enjoying it too much and got careless. He had done pretty well making it down to the ground level without anyone's help but when he stepped out into the sunlight he really hadn't been prepared for the bright sun and it's effect on his vision. Even his alters had cried out when the sun hit his eyes. Then he realized what the problem was. Michael had told him he would have a dislike for bright light for a while because his pupils were very slow in reacting right now, it was like they were dilated. Todd had stopped abruptly when the light had blinded him, he had closed his eyes because he felt like they were burning. Blair had been walking beside him and had seen him waver so she stopped and came up to him as he struggled to find his glasses. "They're in your left-hand pocket Todd." he found them and breathed a sigh of relief putting them on. Opening his eyes again, he felt Blair's hand wiping away the tears that had formed from the pain. He snagged her hand and gave it a quick kiss then continued to hold it as they began their walk.

        "What do you see, Todd?" she asked as she viewed that garden spreading out in front of her.
         "If I were to describe it as Samuel, I would say it looks like someone took a painting and washed it underwater. Everything runs together in muted pastels nothing is defined." he turned to look at Blair and realized that she almost blended into the background and for a moment he panicked. "God Blair don't leave me. I'm afraid I'll lose you in all these colors."

         Blair reached up with her other hand and touched his face. Her eyes were filling with tears. She had heard the fear and panic in his voice and knew he was so out of his element with this loss. He hated being helpless and now he was forced to rely on her and devices to aid him. It was just one more nail in Carlo's coffin. "I'm right here beside you and not going anywhere. Why don't you use the new gizmo of yours Test it out on the tree and see how far it is to it."

        He looked around trying to distinguish the tree and then thought he spotted it. He raised the device and aimed it at what he hoped was the tree and was rewarded with the device telling him with a computer voice that the object was ten feet away. He carefully started walking toward the tree when the device went off again and warned of something in his path two feet away. Todd hadn't been looking anywhere but at the tree, but something was in his path. Todd looked around and realized there was a small bench directly in front of him he hadn't seen. He made a mental note of being sure and looking at the ground in front of him occasionally. Luckily the sensor had picked up the bench or he would have fallen flat on his face.

       Todd moved the last two feet until his calf touched it then he turned and sat down looking back where he had left Blair. Once again he started to panic when he couldn't make her out but then he heard Samuel talking to him.

        "Take it easy. It's not as bad as you think. Picture her form in your head and try to find that form among all the others in front of you. Take your time. Now remember the color you saw her wearing this morning in your room." 


        Todd closed his eyes and recalled how Blair had looked standing in front of him. She was wearing what he guessed to be blue jeans and a great bright blue top. Todd opened his eyes and looked for the blue, the bright blue specifically and then he spotted her. Because of Samuel, she began to stand out from the rest of the scenery.

          She watched Todd make his way toward the tree and then she had seen the bench but before she could warn him the device had alerted him and he had stopped and taken a seat on the bench. She saw him searching the area where he had left her and she worried he might panic again but suddenly she saw him smiling and he appeared to be looking at her.

        Todd couldn't help but smile when he realized he could make her out against all the other colors. "Hey beautiful, don't you know it's not safe for a woman to be out alone. Want to go up to my place." he grinned and watched as she sauntered over to him and sat down.

        "Charming, don't tell me that's how you pick up all your women." Blair stated with a hint of laughter in her voice.

         "Hell no, just the drop dead gorgeous ones. Love one in particular, though. Maybe you've heard of her, a Mrs, Samuel Toddman. Now she's a sight to behold. How about it sweetheart? I live here. Let's go up to my place and I'll show you a good time." he leaned into her the way he had done that night in Rodi's and Blair laughed.

         "You know what Mister, I think I'll take you up on that. Maybe it's just what the doctor ordered."

          "Lady, you bet I'm what the doctor ordered. Come with me." Todd returned to his feet and held out his arm to her. Blair grabbed on and snuggled close as they started back for the hospital. What Blair didn't realize was that they were headed in the wrong direction and suddenly they came upon the street and before she could say something Todd was off balance as he stepped and wasn't aware of the step. Only the fact that she was walking so close to him helped him regain his balance before he ended up flat on the ground.

        "Damn, I don't remember that step. I guess we got turned around." He looked around but everything for him was the same. If Blair hadn't been there who knows where he would have ended up. He was feeling cold all of a sudden. "Blair, I'm cold which way do we go?"

         She could tell from his voice something was wrong she looked around and saw the hospital further to their left. They had just taken the wrong path, the street led to the emergency room entrance. Rather than go back she followed the street to the emergency entrance and found their way to the main lobby from there. Todd had been quiet all the way just holding her elbow and letting her lead, the way the therapist taught them. As they entered the room he released her and made his way to the bed. He just stood there and she saw his shoulders shaking. She grabbed the blanket off the bed and proceeded to wrap it around him. She made him sit down on the bed and taking his hands in hers, she said. "Todd I know you're scared, what happened must have terrified you. It was a fluke. I forgot I was the seeing party and I let you do the leading. You didn't do anything wrong and you weren't that far off from the original direction. This is just going to take time to get used to," She lifted his face to hers. "We will get through this together I guarantee it and you will be able to see again. You need to believe that. We can overcome anything because it's us against the world. Don't forget that." he had stopped shaking and was looking at her. She gave him a kiss and had him lay down and she sat next to him until he fell asleep again, exhausted from the fear of the moment.


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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Memories Unlocked #21

#21

Todd watched as Blair and Starr followed Sam Vance out the door.  It felt a little strange, but he was sorry to see them leave even though he had encouraged it.  For the first time in months, he felt they gave him a purpose to live again.  

“Todd, are you alright?  You’ve had a lot of shocks today.”

He turned around and faced Miguela.  “I’m not sure.  This morning I had every intention of leaving and disappearing.  Blair doesn’t know it but I saw them last night.  Then I had another of my dreams.  She and Starr were in it.  When I woke up I realized they were my family and all I could think about was getting out of here before they found me.  Doc, I’m not the nice guy you think I am.  I’ve done some terrible things and that’s why I decided to leave.  I didn’t want to expose the children to someone like me who might be capable of hurting them like I hurt others.”

Miguela shook her head.  “I don’t think you would ever do that.  My guess is that Blair told you the same thing.”

“Pretty much.  I still don’t understand how she can love me.”

“I can understand it, all I have to do is see the smiles you bring to the children every day.  You’re going to remember more each day and maybe then you’ll see what the rest of us do, and if the memories don’t fully return, let them go.  You can make new ones,  Now tell me, what did you have to do that was so important you sent your family away?”

He smiled “If I’m going to be here a couple of weeks longer.  I need to tell the kids we’ve got a little more time.  I feel bad about last night but I’m going to correct that now,  Excuse me, Doc, I got some friends I need to see.”

“Okay, but get ready for some more tests tomorrow.” She laughed as Todd rolled away completely ignoring her.

****

Blair watched as James Sawyer laid Starr down on the bed. She had fallen asleep in the taxi on the way back to the hotel.  “Thank you.  It was kind of you to carry her up here.  I’m not sure I properly thanked you for helping Sam find Todd.  I was about ready to give up, but now I know I did the right thing looking for him.”

James ran a hand through his hair, thanks usually didn’t come his way so he was a little uncomfortable.  “You’re welcome, but I just did my job,  I really should be thanking you.  Because Sam came looking for me, I now own my plane free and clear, and well, to be honest with you, Sam’s the best thing to happen to me in years.  Now if you’ll excuse me, Sam and I have a holiday to plan.  I promise we’ll be back in time to give you and your family a ride home.”

Blair nodded and saw him out.  She looked around the quiet suite.  She didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. She had found Todd, but he was changed.  Would she ever get her Todd back?  It was like Ireland all over. He was Todd but he was distant. Blair could no longer control her tears and broke down sobbing on the couch.

A short while later, Blair pushed her hair behind her ear and sniffled., “That’s enough self-pity, Blair.  You’ve got work to do if you’re going to get Todd home.”  It was now late afternoon and she wondered what time would it be in Llanview. She reached for the phone and called the front desk.  “Yes, this is Blair Manning in Suite 4. Can you give me an idea what time it might be in the United States on the east coast?  Four in the morning. Thank you.”  She hung up the phone.  It was too early to call Llanview.  She laid back on the couch, her thoughts jumbled together remembering all that had occurred earlier with Todd and soon she fell asleep.    

****

Todd rolled into the ward and was shocked by how quiet it seemed.  He rolled up to the nurse's station.  “Hey, what’s going on, by this time of day the children are usually getting their second wind.”  
The head nurse looked up at his comment and then she smiled. “Todd, the Administrator called this morning and told us you had quit.  I’m surprised to still see you here.  The children have been really down since last night.  Are you staying after all?”

“Yes and no, it looks like I’m going to be here a few more weeks and although I’ll no longer be working here, I hope you let me still come and visit.  I stopped in to tell the children I wasn’t leaving right away after all.  Are they all in their rooms?”

“Some of the older children are in the activity room and they’ve tried a couple of times to get the younger ones to come and play but Lucy’s death hit some of them pretty hard.”

Todd frowned. “That I understand.  How is it right that someone as young as Lucy had to die and yet for all my sins, I’m still around.”

“Why would you say that Todd?  From what I know of you, you seem like a good guy and the children love you.  Maybe you’re just too hard on yourself.    Either way, the children will be overjoyed when they realize you’re here.”

Todd just shook his head.  If what Blair said was true, maybe he had been wrong about himself.  “Maybe I am.  As for the children, I love them and I’m sorry that I’ll be leaving but for now I guess I’ll go see who’s in the activity room, with your permission of course.”

“Please do but would you stop at Blanca’s room first.  She’s been walking around all day just a ghost of herself.  We’re worried she’ll have a setback.  Seeing you might be what she needs to perk up.”

Todd nodded and rolled down the hallway to Blanca’s room, he looked inside and saw her laying on the bed with her back to the door.  At first, he thought she was asleep until he heard a little sob come from the bed.  He agreed with the nurse, Blanca had always been the positive cheerful one of the bunch.  She and Lucy had always gotten into mischief because they were bored.  Todd knocked on the door.  

“Go Away.” she said quietly.

“Hey, where’s my favorite cheerleader.  I could have sworn this was Blanca Ramirez’ room.  What did you do with one of my best pals?”

Blanca rolled over and gasped and then squealing launched herself off the bed rushing to him and hugging him for all she was worth.  Half-laughing, half-crying she spoke in his ear. “You came back.”

Todd hugged her with tears in his eyes. “Yes, I’m back.”  There would be plenty of time to prepare the children for his departure this time and he intended to make it as painless as possible for them.

****

Blair woke up to Starr talking to her.  

“Mommy, I’m hungry and Heddy is still sleeping.”

Blair rubbed her eyes and looked at her watch.  It was going on eight in the evening. “Starr, I’m sorry.  I guess we were all tired after that long flight and finally seeing Daddy.  Look, I’ll call room service and get something sent up.  What would you like?”

“I don’t want anything strange.  Do you think I could get a hamburger and maybe an ice cream shake?”  she flopped down next to her mother on the couch.  “Why didn’t Daddy come with us?  Can we go see him again tonight?”

Blair bit her lower lip. “Honey, it’s too late to visit the hospital.  I promise we’ll go see him in the morning.”

“Why did he run away from us earlier?  He seemed so sad.  I thought he would be glad to see us.” Starr fiddled with her pigtail and looked at her mom.  “Why wasn’t he glad, Mommy?”

“The doctor explained why your father was there, remember?  He’s been pretty sick and he’s still healing.  Seeing us, after so long, surprised him and he needs time to adjust to having us around.”

“Did he stop loving me? Is that why he was with all the children in the hospital?  Does he like them more than me?” Starr’s voice trembled. She had wanted to see her daddy for so long but today hadn’t turned out like she thought it would.

Blair heard the catch in her daughter’s voice. She reached over and grabbed Starr and pulled her onto her lap. “Baby Girl, I can tell you with certainty that your father loves you.  He left this morning because he was afraid of hurting you and me all over again.  Do you remember, that Dr. Sanchez said Daddy had amnesia?  Do you know what that is?”

Starr shook her head no.

“Well, it happened to your Daddy because his head was hurt.  When he woke up he couldn’t remember his name or any of us.  That’s why he’s been gone so long.  But he’s starting to remember again.  He knows you’re his daughter and he knows he loves you very much.  You have to give him time.  I’m sure he’ll get all of his memory back but until then we have to help him and let him know we love him even if he doesn’t remember everything.  Can you do that?”

Starr nodded

“Good then let’s see what we can do about getting you that hamburger and we’ll get a good night sleep and then we’ll see your daddy in the morning.”

A couple of hours later Blair got Starr to go back to bed.  She glanced at her watch and picked up her cell phone.  It was time to get things moving to get Todd back home where they all belonged.

“You better be up and around Sam Rappaport,  I’ve got some work for you and I know you’re going to give me grief about it.”  She listened patiently as the phone call went through.  As with Sam Vance’s call, the connection wasn’t the greatest but she finally heard Sam Rappaport’s voice on the other end.

“Hello, Blair, is that you?  Where the hell are you?  You up and disappeared and didn’t tell anyone where you were going.”

“Sam, I don’t want to go into that right now.  I’m with Todd.”

“Blair, I don’t understand.  Do you mean Todd took you and the kids someplace?”

Static flooded the line. Blair was frustrated. “Sam, you misunderstand.  Can you hear me?” There was more static and Blair heard the line go dead.  She glared at her phone,  “This is just great, now Sam thinks Todd kidnapped us all.  I’ve got to get him back on the line.”  She tried calling a second time and waited.

“Blair, thank goodness.  Listen, I gather you can’t say much.  Just tell me where you are,  I’ll get in touch with the authorities and we’ll rescue you, I promise.  He’s gone too far this time.”

“Sam, shut up.” Blair was seething.  Not that long ago, Sam and Todd had been friends but when he found out what Todd did to Jack, he had turned his back on Todd.  He had even encouraged her to get a divorce while Todd was missing but Blair had refused.  She had to make him understand somehow.  There was still some static on the line but the connection was stronger and Blair was determined to get her message through.  “If you’ll let me get a word in edgewise, you’ll understand why I called.  First, you should know Todd didn’t take us.  I found out where he was and we came to get him.”

“Blair, you should have told me.  I could have retrieved him for you,  You’re just letting yourself in for a world of hurt.  Right now I’m guessing Todd’s got all sorts of excuses and you’re believing every one of them.  Don’t do it, Blair, you know he’s not trustworthy.  I don’t understand how you can forgive him and I certainly don’t get how you can still love him.”

“Sam, I’m not going to get into that with you.  There’s a lot you don’t know and I really don’t want to talk about it now.  I need you to get Todd another Passport.  He lost his in the ocean.  We’re staying here until we can get that document.  Please, if you care for me, don’t argue.  Just get it expedited.  You should be able to use one of our wedding photos from last year.  You’re still his lawyer of record so you have all the other pertinent information.”

“Blair, I think you’re nuts but I’ll do what you ask,  Where am I supposed to send the passport once I get it?”  Sam looked around his desk to find something to write on.
:
“Send it to me at the Lotte Hotel, Guam.” Blair breathed a sigh of relief it looked like Sam wasn’t going to give her any more trouble.

“Did you say Guam?.  How the hell did Todd get there if he didn’t have his passport?”

“It’s a long story.  Just do it, please.  I’ll owe you.  I need to go, just get it as quickly as you can.  We all want to get home as soon as possible,  Goodbye, Sam and thanks.”  Blair hung up and looked up giving thanks.  She called room service and had a bottle of wine sent up.  Although Todd had agreed to make the trip home, she had a feeling it wasn’t going to be easy for any of them as they faced his new problems.

Sam set his phone down and looked at the note in his hand,  “I don’t know what you told her to take you back Todd.  I love you Boomer, but you went too far and I’m through letting you walk all over Blair.  I’ll get that passport and I’m also going to let Bo know you’re coming home.  One way or another you’re finally going to learn your actions have consequences.”


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