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The Understanding

Chapter Text

"Can we talk?" Hope said looking into the guard green eyes of Carly Manning. "I mean really talk?"

"Um, are you sure it's wise?" Carly said the first thing that came to her mind. Her eyes closed quickly as she realized the mistake she made. A mistake that she always seemed to make whenever she was around Hope Brady.

"It's about time, isn't it?" Hope asked in the same tone of voice. She waited for the other woman to open her eyes and look at her. She wasn't going to run from this conversion. She wasn't going to allow Carly Manning to run either.

Carly opened her eyes slowly, "Yes it is about time." She nodded. She moved aside, and allowed Hope into the house. Which truly was her house after all. As she was closing the door she said, "Hope, I'm sorry for everything. I mean I full well know that I shouldn't be here in the house. It's your house after all."

"You are much safer here than anywhere else." Hope shrugged out of her light weight jacket. "I mean I know Chloe had major issues with you staying at Daniel's. I know that you are currently staying with Adrienne until Bo returns."

"I am just here to check the mail – and make sure the planets get watered." Carly said as Hope walked over to the fireplace where the pictures of the Brady clan were located. "When Bo returns, I'm not moving back in."

Hope looked over her shoulder, "You should." She said in a calm voice. "I'm not going to stop you."

"It's not right." Carly sighed as she sat down on the couch. "This is your house, Hope. Not mine." She looked up into Hope's eyes, "I'm not giving up Bo. I c-can't."

"I know." Hope softly said. "I understand it. I have always understood it, Carly. It hurts. But, I understand that your guys romance hasn't played out yet." She walked over and sat down next to the other woman on the couch, "I want you back here in this house." Tilting her head. "I want you to be here for Bo and for Ciara."

Did I just hear her right? "I'm glad that you are allowing Ciara to spend more time with her father, Hope. But, it's not wise for me to be near your daughter."

"Why not? Melanie is in a good place now. She won't be jealous of you spending time with someone else's little girl. Being all motherly towards another little girl." Hope shrugged her shoulders. She could see the color fade from the other woman's face.

"I'm not trying to take your place, Hope. I never was." Carly cried out in a passionate voice. She jumped to her feet, and walked across the room – towards the kitchen swinging door. She slammed her palm against the wall to the right of the door. "I s-shouldn't have come back to Salem."

"Melanie is here. You came to search for your daughter." Hope said in a calm voice. Her right eye brow rose.

"I could have searched for her via the internet. I could have made contact with her anywhere else in the world." Carly said turning around, and leaning against the wall. "I never had to come back to Salem. I only came back because I knew Bo was here. I knew Bo would protect me. Just like always." She whispered the last. "I fully knew you were alive, and back with Bo." She regained the level of her voice. "I just figured that you would be all right for me to cling to Bo. I wasn't out to get Bo back into my bed, Hope. You have to believe me."

"I do believe you." Hope smiled softly.

Carly went over Hope's words. "I never intended to allow Bo to even get a hint of my love for him. I was just going to come get his help to save my life. Find Melanie and -"

"And what?" Hope prodded.

"Tell my daughter the truth. Hope for the best. Perhaps have the mother and daughter relationship that I had always prayed, and dream t about." Carly's head banged against the wall twice. "Not once, did I plan on telling Bo that I still loved. That I hadn't stopped loving him."

"I knew it." Hope said in an knowing voice.

Carly lifted her head, "I'm sorry." She said simply. "The only thing I'm apologizing here is for not allowing my love for Bo to leave, even when I chose to leave with Lawrence and Nicky – I still held onto my love for Bo."

"As you should have." Hope said simply. "I don't blame you for that. Bo Brady is a hard man to fall out of love with."

"Don't I know it." Carly sighed closing her eyes. "I have tried to fall out of love with Bo, since the first moment that I set eyes on him." Hope watched the soft smile grow bigger on the other woman's lips. "Lawrence, whom I thought was James, was man handling me in a bar – and in comes this young rough looking sailor. He grabbed Lawrence and shoved him away. Before I knew what was happening," Her eyes opened and she looked into Hope's waiting eyes. "they got into a brawl. Fists were flying, blood was flying. The rough looking sailor won – manged to send the rich aristocrat out of the bar.

"Instead of thanking him – I blamed him for embarrassing me. I told him that I could take care of myself." Carly laughed softly, "He just stood there with his arms crossed and said, that he was taking that as a thank you very much. He offered to follow me home. I told him I was just fine. I turned and walked to my car."

"He followed you. Bo wouldn't allow you to be unsafe." Hope said knowing.

"Yes, he followed me. He didn't know that I saw him. He still doesn't know." Carly said meaningfully.

"On my word, he won't hear it from me." Hope promised.

"I feel in love with him then." Carly softly said. "The moment that I knew that he wouldn't let anymore harm to come to me – that he wanted to make sure I was safe. I freely gave my heart to him. I never saw him again – not until I arrived in Salem. I knew him on sight – but, he forgot about me."

"I'm sorry." Hope sighed. "I'm truly sorry."

"His heart wasn't mine to begin with." Carly shrugged. "His heart already was yours. Always and forever yours." Her eyes lowered, "But, I can't give him up again. I know that he won't fully be mine – but the part that he gives me is enough for me."

"You deserve so much more, Carly. You deserve someone whom can give you their full heart, and soul. Just as you given them." Hope stood to her feet. "Everyone deserves that. Especially you."

"Bo will go back to you. He'll chose you in the end." Carly stood straight. "I know that. I also know that it will be soon." She walked over to the over stuffed chair, and sat down on it. "I'm fine with that, all I ask, Hope, is that you allow me to have this time with him."

"It is yours." Hope said sitting back down. "Now that Victor is planning on marrying Vivian, she's back in the mansion. I don't want Ciara around her. As soon as Bo comes home; she's going to be living with him full time. I'm going to remain at the mansion." She smiled grimly. "Vivian won't be able to plan anything against you with me under foot. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."

"Vivian isn't your enemy." Carly stated in a dead tone.

"She went after a member of my family." Hope replied. "That makes her my enemy."

"I'm happy you think Melanie as family." A tear sparkled in the corner of her left eye.

"I'm talking about you, Carly." Hope said leaning forward, and putting a hand on the other woman's knee. "You are my family."

"You don't mean that. You shouldn't mean that." Carly shook her head in denial. "Why would you say that?"

"It's the truth." Hope said sincerely her hand still on the other woman's knee.

"I never asked for this." Carly said in a weak voice. She tried to pull away from the other woman, but Hope's hand suddenly gripped her knee. "Please take your hands off of me."

"I can't allow you to leave, Carly." Hope said in a gentle but firm voice towards the fragile woman beside her. "I can't allow you to run away from this." Sighing deeply, "You need to allow yourself to allow others in. Not just Bo, Melanie and Daniel."

"I allow others in." Carly said in a stiff voice. "Just I end up endangering them. It's safer if I don't allow anyone in."

"That's not a way to live, Carly." Hope said with much wisdom in her voice. "You can't live like a hermit. You need people and they need you."

"I'm a danger to everyone. Nicky – although he's safe. He's Lawrence's son after all." Her jaw tightened as she tried to push away the fears for her son. Licking her lips, "Melanie -" She lost it than. She began to hyperventilate and she felt firm and strong arms around her. Resting her head against the chest that was her shelter in this moment. Clinging to the person whom held her to prevent her from falling into the vast void that was before her – she broke completely.

Hope just held onto the broken women until Carly seemed to be out of tears. She could still feel the tremors in the other woman's body. She began to hum the lull bye that she had used when Shawn, Zack and Ciara were just babies. She had tears in her eyes as she thought of her precious Zack. John Thomas came to her minds eye; as she remembered that she hummed this lull bye to the son that her heart had adopted.

Carly softly laughed against her chest. "That's the lull a bye I sang to Melanie when I was pregnant with her." Pulling her head off of the other woman's chest. "I always knew that Lawrence wasn't going to allow me to keep my baby." She wiped the tears from her cheeks, "I honesty thought that he had changed his mind; when he held her." Her jaw clenched, and spiting fire, "but I finally knew the truth – right Lawrence taunted me about dropping her onto the floor – and crushing her head in with his feet."

"Oh Carly," Hope breathed out. "I'm so sorry for what Lawrence put you through."

"I knew when he was threatening Melanie while she was still in womb – that Lawrence would have no problem hurting her through me." Carly hiccuped. "He wanted me alive – to keep me suffering for a very long time. Once he knew that I wasn't going to abort my baby – he kept beating me. Mostly in the womb. But, Melanie had a strong well to live. I was the one protecting her."

Carly's eyes lowered, "I couldn't protect her when she was born. She was taken from me from the nurse. Lawrence managed to get his hands on her." Her eyes lifted. "I had no choice but to give her up – in order to save her from Lawrence. He promised me that once Melanie was away from me – that he'll leave her alone. He won't target her. He just wanted me to suffer not having her with me. He told me that he found a childless couple whom would love her."

"He lied to you." Hope said with a frown. Her hand rose and began to stroke back Carly's hair.

"If I wasn't in so much pain after giving birth – then I would have realized that he lied. I would have managed to get Melanie and leave. Go to where it was safer." Carly bowed her head, "Only, if I didn't do that when I realized that Lawrence was so angry – that he wanted my baby to die – then why would I do that once my baby was born?" Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks.

"When I learned I was pregnant and Lawrence wasn't the father; I should have gone to Daniel. He deserved to have known that he was going to be a father. After our baby was born – I would have left her in Daniel's arms; and returned to Lawrence." Carly chocked on her sobs. "Once I knew my baby was safe – than I would have gladly allowed Lawrence to beat me to death for my betrayal."

"Carly -" Hope couldn't go on. The other woman just stared into her eyes. She allowed the tense silence to go on. What could she say? Everything had all ready happened. You couldn't turn back time. All she could do for her new friend now, was just to listen as she poured out her heart and soul.

"Lawrence always knew where Melanie was; I never knew. He could have gone to her and killed her any time he wanted." Carly spoke after an hour had passed. "He promised me that he wouldn't. As long as I stayed with him. As long as I never even looked at another man. I was still allowed to practice medicine – and I managed to stay friends with Daniel. I made sure to get him safely married right after Melanie was born. Keep Lawrence's scent away from Daniel.

"Lawrence got sick – and when he got well once more; he became over panic. He ordered me to quite practicing medicine. He took us to the island. He ordered me into the villa – to never leave again. Even with him by my side; I was never to leave the villa's gates again." Carly's hands played in her lap. "By than, I knew my daughter was safe. She was a full grown adult. She wasn't as defenseless as she was in childhood. I began to search for her.

"Lawrence gave me a baby picture of her – when she was just a few months old. He knew that it broke my heart every time I looked at it." Carly swallowed. "The end was when Lawrence said that he was going to go and kill my daughter. That there was no way that I could protect her any longer. He told me that he was going to rape her over and over again, then he was going to kill her."

Hope watched as the heat rose higher and higher, as did Carly's panicked filled voice.

"I killed him. Willing – fully aware that I was killing him. It was defense. But, it wasn't self-defense. It was to protect my baby girl." Carly swallowed. "He was going to kill her. I had to kill him to stop him." Her voice grew calmer. "She was now safe. The threat on her life was dead. She was safe.

"But, she wasn't safe. She was never safe." Carly's eyes closed. "Her biggest and frightening threat was non other than me – her mother." She laughed harshly, "The first chance I got – I shot her in the chest."

"That was a complete accident, Carly." Hope firmly stated.

"Was it?" Carly looked Hope square in the eyes.

"Of course. You were aiming for Vivian." Hope was scared at how wild Carly's green eyes were.

"Murder is murder." Carly simply shrugged. "That's why Ciara isn't safe with me around."

"What are you planning, Carly?" Hope demanded her head tilting to the right.

"You should have let me go to prison." Carly stated in a deadly calm voice. "Then Vivian would have been satisfied. She would be over joyed for the rest of her life at knowing that I was in a panic shell in a small widow less cell." She shook her head, "Whom am I kidding?" She spoke more to herself than Hope. Matter of fact she forgot Hope was even there. "There's only one way of preventing Vivian from killing Melanie."

Hope suddenly shook Carly. "H-hope what the hell do you think you are doing?" Carly was started from her revile at seeing Bo's wife in front of her.

"Carly don't take the law into your hands." Hope said in a stern voice. "You aren't going to handle Vivian all on your own. You have Bo, Daniel, Phillip, Maggie and myself on your side now. Let us do our jobs and make sure Vivian doesn't come close to you or your daughter ever again."

"You can't do that." Carly said with tears rolling down her cheeks. "Vivian is just like Stefano. She keeps coming back. She's like the Energizer bunny. Never running out of battery life."

"You just have to count on the people whom love you the most – to help keep you safe. If the Brady clan can do it against one man – then they can do it against one woman." Hope said. "Vivian is out in the open now. No one in Salem is going to allow her to get near Melanie or you ever again. The rest of the family have informed whom are loyal to us – they know to keep Vivian away from you."

Carly blinked back the tears, "I wish I could believe you, Hope. I wish I could. But, I can't."

"In time you will." Hope said pulling Carly close to her once more. "In time you will." She lowered her head, and kissed the hot forehead. She held the broken woman tighter against her. It was her job to protect her until Bo returned.