John stood outside of LaBoulaie waiting for Blair to answer the door. She was taking a while. Of course Manning would come here. He expected him too which is why this was his first stop in his hurt for the fugitive.
John reached to knock the door again but Blair interrupted him before he could.
“John, what’s going on?” She looked him up and down. “What are you doing here?”
John stuck his hands in his pockets and took in Blair’s demeanor. She seemed to be oblivious. But Blair was a great liar. “Can I come in?”
Blair gestured him inside. “Is something the matter?”
“Yeah, something is the matter. Your ex-husband.”
Blair laughed at that. “Which one?”
“You know which one.” John wasn’t in the mood for small talk, not with Manning on the loose and two steps ahead of him.
“Oh God,” she rolled her eyes. “What did Todd do now?”
“The usual. He fled jurisdiction and I figured this would be the first place to look.”
Blair crossed her arms. “Well, I’m sorry to disappoint, John, but I’ve stopped taking in strays.”
“Manning didn’t come here?”
John was unconvinced. He knew things between Todd and Blair ran deep. He reeled her in not too long ago when he was lying to her about murder Victor and framing Delgado. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure.” Blair was pissed. John had a way of talking down to her that she didn’t appreciate.
“It’s just that Todd has a way of getting to you.”
He was really starting to piss her off. “After what he did to me? You really think I would give him the time of day after everything?”
“Yes,” he said without hesitation. “Come on, Blair. I know how Manning works. He’s done worse to you before and you always take him back.”
Blair erupted at that. “You don’t know anything about Todd and me, John, so don’t pretend that you do.”
Blair was getting defensive. Manning was definitely here. He just had to find him. John started pacing the room looking for hiding spots. “Didn’t mean to strike a nerve. I just meant that he is a master manipulator.”
“I’m through being manipulated.” Blair could hear the hurt in her own voice. She had spent the last decade or so being manipulated by men. Being used by men. Victor. Spencer. Eli. John even used her. Todd was the most heartbreaking. She opened up her heart to him again after everything, thinking that imprisonment humbled him. Made him realize what was important to him. He would never risk losing his family again, she thought. She couldn’t bear another heartbreak. Not from Todd. Those were the worst ones. But he did it again. Her world came crashing down around her. She felt stupid. She felt used. She felt humiliated. Was Todd playing her again? Was she really that easy of a target now?
“Is that what Todd did here today?” John knew he was getting somewhere. “Did he come here and beg you to help him? Did he tell you he made a mistake but felt he had no other choice? Did he tell you how much he loved his family? Tell me, Blair.”
Blair looked at the ground. The truth was that Todd probably would have said all those things to her if John hadn’t interrupted them. “Todd isn’t here. Not anymore.”
“He was here? When?”
“Just before you got here,” Blair sighed. “He did just what you said. He came here and looked at me and said he needed my help… I guess I fell for it again.”
John walked towards Blair and lowered his voice. “Where is he, Blair?”
“He’s gone.” She shook her head. “When you were knocking, he wanted me to hide him but I couldn’t. He just begged me to stall you as long as I could so he could escape.” She pointed to the patio doors, indicating that’s where he left.
“Oh, Blair…” John sighed in exasperation and turned his head upward, staring at the ceiling.
“Where’d he go?”
Blair just shrugged. “I don’t know, John, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t want to know.”
John rubbed Blair’s arm and headed for the door.
John turned back around to Blair. “What?”
“Before you go… please tell me. What did Todd do this time?” Todd didn’t get the chance to tell her and she knew John would give her a straight answer. Maybe a harsher version, but Todd surely would have sugar-coated it.
“He helped with that whole baby swap last year.”
That threw her back. “… What?” She knew that crazy woman’s role in Tea’s eventually heartbreak over her son really being dead. But Todd?
“He helped Heather. He had a hand in all of it. Making a mother think her child was dead. Giving it away to a stranger… but this isn’t exactly news to you, is it Blair? I mean it’s certainly not the first time Manning did something this despicable.”
It was like a stab to the heart. Blair couldn’t believe Todd could do that again. Not after Mexico. The most painful day of her entire life and Todd was responsible for it. But after many months, she believed in his sorrow and forgiveness. It was there. Not in the beginning but certainly after being stranded on an island. She saw his guilt. She forgave him. She believed him when he said he would never do that again.
“Oh Todd…” she started to tear up. How could he?
John noticed her heartbreak in her face. In her posture. He felt bad. He knew what she was thinking of. Maybe it was a good thing. Maybe he finally got through to Blair about Manning. About how he’s never going to change and how he’ll always end up hurting her. “I’m sorry, Blair.”
“Don’t be.” Blair quickly regained her composure. She hated showing weakness. She hated pity. She wiped away a tear. “Thanks for stopping by, John.” She walked him to the door.
“I care about you, Blair. I hate to see him do this to you over and over again.”
“Don’t worry. It will never happen again.” Blair gave him a weary smile and closed the door.
She stood there with her back against the front door. She took a deep breath, wondering if she had just made a mistake.
Todd quietly emerged from the coat closet and approached Blair. “Let me explain.”
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