Todd felt a shift in Blair’s demeanor when he kissed her hand. He let it go and looked back at her. “I’m sorry, that was a bit presumptive of me. Here I’ve been holding you at arm’s length and then I go and do something like that.”
Blair look at him even more surprised. She rushed to reassure him. “Todd, it’s alright. I didn’t mind it. It’s just that it isn’t something you would normally do.”
“Oh.” He didn’t know what else to say. He was trying to figure out his relationship with Blair, and when he had kissed her hand, it had felt natural. Trying to change the subject, Todd rolled to the window and looked out. “This is quite a view. So this is the Manning Building. Do I own it?”
“Yes, you bought it when we were first married. It was a gift to me. My company Melador had a lease in this building which was owned by Asa Buchanan.”
“Let me guess? That old man didn’t like you and was giving you grief. Having met him, I’m glad I did it. So was The Sun part of the deal?”
“No, The Sun is your baby. You found out you were Victor Lord’s son and wanted to show the Lord family and everyone in this town that you could leave your past behind and make them sit up and take notice of you. You were determined to make this paper the best paper in town, usurping The Banner. You succeeded. To this day, The Sun still manages to top sales in town.”
“When I lost you in Ireland, I asked my Aunt Dorian to watch over it so I could keep The Sun going. It was your legacy and I wanted Starr to know what her father had left her. It made me feel closer to you. Melador just got lost with all my energy going to keep The Sun afloat and waiting for Starr to arrive.”
Todd looked at Blair, he heard the regret in her voice. “I’m sorry. Seems like you lost a lot for me.”
“Don’t be. To me, the only thing that mattered was hanging onto something that you loved.”
“After what I did to you and Jack, I’m surprised you didn’t run this into the ground.”
Blair looked away, “I hated you for that, but I couldn’t let The Sun die.” She moved up alongside him and stared out the window. Wanting to change the painful subject she pointed across the way. “Do you see that building over there? That’s where the penthouse is. I remember the day you showed it to me. You wanted to buy it and even though I hesitated because Asa’s wife owned it, you were determined. You stood in that window and looked at this building. You were so excited. You pointed out that Asa had owned this building and I hadn’t minded that. I had to admit you were right. So we bought it from Alex. We were so happy then.”
“I owned a penthouse?”
“You still do.”
“Hmm, I’ll have to have Williams take me there. It would certainly be quieter than the Palace.”
“Todd, I thought you were going to come live with us. The workmen will be arriving tomorrow to begin making the necessary changes to accommodate your situation. The Penthouse would need work too.”
Todd shifted in his chair. His back was beginning to hurt but he had no intentions of letting Blair know about the surgery. “Umm, about that. Blair, I’m just not ready to make that move.” He needed to have his own place so he could work on his therapy. “Look, the workmen can prepare the penthouse instead. Once they are finished, I can live there. There is no reason you should have to worry about me and The Sun, too.”
It was as she had feared. Todd wasn’t ready to commit to her and the children. “I had hoped that you would come and work here with me again, like we used to.”
“I doubt I would be much help. I can’t remember the first thing about running a newspaper. Look, I know you wanted more. I’m staying around. I do want to get to know you and I would like to spend time with the kids if you’ll let me,” he reached out and took her hand again. “Blair, this whole situation and this town, it’s all a lot to take in, and in the middle of it all is my therapy and the hope that I might regain my legs. I need to do this my way.”
His way. Why did he always have to be so stubborn? Well she could be as stubborn as he was. He said he wanted to get to know her. Then she was going to drive him crazy. “Fine, we’ll do it your way. but just know I’m going to keep you to your promise. Before I’m done, you’re are going to know me in every sense of the word. Do you understand?”
Todd saw a glint of something in her eyes that touched a spark in him. Deep down he knew she meant every word. God, he had to get back on his feet. She deserved a whole man, and he knew in that moment that he wanted it to be him.
Blair waited for Todd to say something and when he just stared at her she got uncomfortable. She remembered all the times he would look at her and not say a word. “Stop that.”
Todd looked surprised. “Stop what?”
“Staring at me.”
“Why? I just like to look. You’re beautiful, especially when you get worked up.”
Blair felt flushed and her heart fluttered. Damn the man, he always found a way to keep her off-kilter. “Just stop, okay? First, you say that you want to keep your distance and then you say something like that. I…” Frustrated, Blair turned and walked back to her desk.
“Don’t say it. I’m fine. Let me finish a couple of things here and then I’ll take you to the penthouse..” She looked over at Todd and saw him wince as he shifted in the chair for the second time in the last few minutes. For the first time she realized he was also a little pale. “Todd, what’s the matter? You never did tell me what happened with Dr. Wolek “
“It’s nothing really. The doctor wanted to run some new tests and I guess with all the poking and prodding I’m just a little sore that’s all.” Todd sat up a little straighter to ease the surgery site and then found himself rubbing his right leg. The pins and needles had stopped but now he was experiencing the same dull pain he had when his arms were healing. That discomfort along with the pain in his back was actually making him feel a little sick.
Blair could tell something was off. “You don’t look so hot. When was the last time you ate?”
Of course. Todd, you’re an idiot. That’s why he felt so bad, he hadn’t eaten since early morning. “It’s been awhile. With all of the tests that Dr. Wolek wanted to run, I forgot to eat.”
Blair set down the file she had picked up and walked over to Todd. “I’m surprised at you. It’s not like you skip lunch. Larry should have known better than to run all those test and not remind you to eat when he was finished. Come on, let’s get you something and then we can go by the penthouse. Who knows, maybe it will spark another memory. Just sit back and let me do the driving.” She wheeled him out of the office before he could protest, giving instructions to her assistant on the way. “Suzanne, tell Briggs I want the first draft of the syndicate story on my desk when I return.”
Todd looked over his shoulder at Blair. “What’s so newsworthy about a business syndicate coming into town. I would think the Mayor would welcome more big business here.”
Blair laughed, “She probably would, but this big business is run by a Crime Family, and they’re slowly gaining a foothold is East Llanview. As far as I can tell,the Commissioner isn’t doing much to stop it.”
“Blair, do you think it’s wise to go after a crime syndicate? What if they decide to retaliate?”
“Todd, I’m only doing what you would do. The Sun made it’s reputation telling it like it is. And your first fans were the citizens of East Llanview. They have a right to know the trouble moving into their neighborhoods. They fought hard to break up the gangs down there and having a syndicate come in and take over would be a disaster.” She stopped pushing him.and moved to look at him directly. “Todd, you do believe I’m right, don’t you?”
“Of course I do. Can’t say I wouldn’t do the same, but I just don’t want you putting yourself in danger. Just promise me you won’t attract any attention to yourself while you do this. I...Jack and Starr would hate for anything to happen to you.”
Blair looked deep into his eyes, “Todd, I promise not to put myself in harm’s way.” She walked behind him again and began pushing his chair. A thrill ran through her as she realized he had started to say that he would hate anything happening to her. For the third time that day, she felt Todd’s guard beginning to drop. He was starting to feel something, if only his memory would return. Even though he still had a lot of bad things to remember, she was sure his love for her would outweigh those events. After all, Sam Vance did say that Todd got on the raft to come home to her.
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