Post by heroicmuse on Sept 29, 2023 6:26:53 GMT -5
Week 459 - 5 Mr. Berger leaned forward and said to Ari, “At the rate you’re telling this story, it’ll be time to go back to school by the time you finish it. So let’s get to the point. I don’t want to hear about how badly you wanted to go home and see your friend and how you might have, in the back of your mind, misbehaved on purpose to achieve that end. Save that for your therapist.”
“Or Grandma Marlena,” Will added. Sonny put his finger on his lips.
“Precisely,” Mr. Berger said. “What I need to know is exactly what you did to get in this trouble. I also need to know whether you have been punished any other time during camp and whether administration has ever been unfair or mean to you.”
“How am I supposed to tell you all that?” Ari asked nervously.
“Simple. I ask questions, you answer them honestly. Remember, nothing you say will leave this room. I’m only asking so that if the camp persists in wanting to throw you out without repaying your parents for the time you didn’t spend here, I can possibly do something about that.”
“Like sue?” Ari asked hopefully.
“We’ll see,” Mr. Berger said. “Now, let’s start with today. What exactly happened?”
“We were supposed to go swimming after lunch, but the camp director said that it looked like rain and cancelled it. She was stupid. Do you see any rain?”
“No editorializing,” Mr. Berger said firmly.
“That means adding your opinions,” Gabi added. “Do that at home when we’re finished with this, mija.”
Ari’s eyes darted back and forth nervously. Mr. Berger said, “Tell us what happened next.”
“I saw a boy over at the little kids’ table looking sad. He said he wanted to go swimming. So I said, I know where Mrs. Lindstrom keeps the keys to the pool.”
“Ari!” Sonny said, but now Mr. Berger was the one to put his finger on his lips.
Mr. Berger asked, as Ari stared down at the table, embarrassed, “Did you know this boy, or was it the first time you’d seen him?”
“I knew him a little,” Ari said, “cause we see the same kids every day. So I knew, like, his name, but I didn’t really know him.”
Mr. Berger nodded. “Go on. What happened next?”
“Mason said stealing was wrong and I said but our parents paid for us to go swimming and we’re not going, so we’re just taking what’s ours. I told him after lunch follow me and do what I say and we’ll get the keys.”
Sonny’s arms were crossed as Ari glanced at him, then away. She swallowed hard. “How much trouble am I in?”
“It doesn’t sound good right now,” Mr. Berger said. “Let me ask you this, Ari. What were you thinking when you made this suggestion?”
“Just that I wanted to make Mason happy by getting the keys.”
“Did you realize that you were getting a younger child into trouble?”
“I-I didn’t think about it. I just wanted to go swimming and Mason did too.”
“And you wanted to get kicked out of camp,” Sonny added.
“Not really. I mean, yeah, but I wasn’t THINKING that,” Ari said, raising her voice.
“Arianna,” Gabi said, kneeling down so she was eye level with Ari. “What you did was wrong for a lot of reasons. Not because you got Mason in trouble. But if you’d been unlucky, we might have gotten a call that you were found floating facedown in the pool.” Her voice shook. “If there had been an accident, if you had fallen while no one was here to watch you because no one knew you were swimming, I… I don’t know what I would have done.”
Ari’s eyes widened.. “I’m sorry, Mama,” she whispered.
“I know you are.” Gabi blinked hard. “You know the camp director was talking about calling the cops? Jail’s not a place you ever want to go, Arianna. I know you’re impulsive and hotheaded. You get that from me. But you have to control it better than I did, mija. You cannot end up in jail like I did. Do you understand me?”
Ari nodded, too intimidated to speak. Gabi turned toward Sonny and Will and said, “I know we don’t always see eye-to-eye but I’m sure we all agree she needs to be punished when we get home.”
“No argument here,” Sonny said. He asked Mr. Berger, “Is there any chance we’re going to get our money back?”
“I doubt it,” Mr. Berger said. “We haven’t really looked into whether the camp’s claims that your daughter has been a problem all along are justified, but from what she’s telling me, she put her own and another camper’s safety at risk and broke the rules as well as the law. I say cut your losses; you’re lucky the camp isn’t pressing charges against her.”
Sonny nodded. “Get your things, Ari, and let’s go.”
Ari stood. “Can I say sorry to Mason?”
“You can write him a letter,” Sonny said firmly. “And don’t think you’re going to get to see Nell before she goes back to Australia, either. You’re not leaving the house until school starts. In fact, you’ll be lucky if you get to leave your room.” He glanced at Will and Gabi. “Right?”
Gabi bit her lip, but she nodded. Sonny looked at Will, who said, “I guess.”
“Not as enthusiastic as I would have liked, but I’ll take it,” Sonny said. “Are your things packed, Ari?”
“Yes,” Ari whispered, her voice shaking. She got up slowly and grabbed her backpack. “Daddy Sonny?”
Sonny held up his hand. “Not now, Ari. I’m too upset with you to speak.”
Ari sighed deeply as she put her backpack on. “I hope he still loves me,” she said to herself. “He’s not my real Daddy so maybe I went too far.”
Dani sank into her seat at the coffee shop.
“My mom sweaars by tea,” Sarah said, “but I find a good, hot cup of hot chocolate works equally well. Maybe it’s all the whipped cream.”
Dani nodded distractedly. She was staring into space.
Sarah waved a hand in front of her face. “Earth to Dani,” she said. “Come on, the whole point of coming here was to get out of your head a little bit.”
“I know.” Dani pushed her hair behind her ear. “I was… well, I was fantasizing that some gorgeous girl was going to walk through that door and I’d be so busy crushing on her I’d forget my problems.”
Sarah patted Dani’s hand. “Your Princess Charming’s out there somewhere. But first you have to be ready for her, and someone who went to her meeting hungover this morning isn’t anywhere near ready.”
Dani reddened. “I guess it’s obvious I was drinking last night,” she said. “Could have been tonight too.” She sighed deeply. “N-not that I want to…”
“Yeah, you do.” Sarah’s voice was soft. “That’s the problem. Intellectually, you know it’s a bad idea. But if you didn’t want to at all, it wouldn’t have any hold over you. Sobriety isn’t about never being tempted to drink. It’s about knowing what to do so that you don’t give in, especially when you’ve just been sucker punched.”
Dani nodded but said nothing.
Sarah said, gently, “Do you feel like talking about this housing thing?”
“I do and I don’t.” Dani took a sip of her hot chocolate. “Part of me wants to go numb, you know? Not feel anything, not think about anything… but that’s kind of dumb cause I’ll still have the meeting in the morning even if I spend all night pretending I don’t.”
“That’s certainly true.” Sarah took a sip to buy herself some time. She had no idea what she was supposed to say. “Do you really think they’ll kick you out?”
“I don’t know. My RA said she’s looked the other way on a lot of complaints. I guess I’ve been so drunk I didn’t realize I was making noise and disturbing everybody. There’s probably people who were salivating at the prospect of being rid of me. And now that I was dumb enough to get my butt thrown in jail, they have a way to do it.”
“You’re not dumb. You have a disease, and unfortunately, if it’s not taken care of one of the places it lands people is in jail.” Sarah played with her straw wrapper, thinking. “Even that’s probably better than the thing that got me to stop drinking. One morning I woke up in an alley with a monster headache and no purse. Someone hit me over the head and robbed me, and I couldn’t remember a damn thing about what had happened to me. And even then…” Sarah sighed. “Honestly, my first thought when I woke up was that a beer would take the edge off my headache.”
Dani’s eyes widened. “But you didn’t?”
“I was in no shape to do any such thing. I don’t know how I even made it to a phone before I collapsed again. Anyway, I ended up in the hospital and they detoxed me there and that was not an experience I wanted to repeat. But even knowing everything I did about where I was going if I drank, it was almost impossible in those early days and even later…” She swallowed hard. “The last time was two years ago or so. It was Christmastime and I don’t even remember why I wanted to drink. All I remember is sneaking out at 2 in the morning to an all night convenience store. I told myself that I was just going to look, not going to buy. But that was a lie. Or it would have been except someone robbed the place and left the clerk tied up on the floor. I hate to say a robbery is God’s will, because it’s awful, but it stopped me from drinking that night, and I haven’t tried it again since.”
“Wow.” Dani let her breath out slowly. “I’m glad you weren’t a few minutes earlier.”
“Yeah, me too.” Sarah made herself smile. “But here I am, sober and healthy and with a great boyfriend now. So it’s your turn. I know you came to AA because the judge said so, but I bet there’s a part of you that realized you needed to stop drinking after you were arrested. You want to tell me how you ended up in jail the other night?”
Meanwhile, at another table, Harlow was having coffee with Paul Robinson.
“I thought this place was the most like Harold’s,” she said, “so you’d take a liking to it.”
“Oh, I do,” Paul said. He sighed. “Believe it or not, I’m going to miss this little town when we get back.”
“About that.” Harlow swallowed hard. “I don’t know that I want to go back, Grandfather.”
Paul laughed nervously. “What d’ya mean? Of course you’re going back. Where else would you go?”
“There’s job openings at the Salem Inn,” Harlow said quickly, “and I reckon I could stay round JJ and Paige’s til I get my own flat.”
Paul’s face fell. “You have it all worked out, eh?”
“Not really,” Harlow said. “I could use something from you.”
Paul sighed. “If it were anyone else, I’d refuse to give them a dime toward this misadventure, but I’ve always had a soft spot for you, so… I’ll shout you whatever you need.”
“I appreciate that, but it wasn’t money I was after.” Harlow sighed. “I want to know you’ll be all right with me staying on here.”
Post by André DiMera on Sept 29, 2023 7:05:15 GMT -5
Well, at least Berger and the others know the full story now, at least about what happened that day. I still think the camp director was being over the top about her being trouble the whole time. Glad Gabi impressed upon Ari the seriousness of what could have happened.
Sarah’s doing a good job! Hopefully Dani will open up to her more.
I'm excited about some developments in Sarah's storyline, a Theresa/Andrew moment and more! Read on for spoilers...
Coming Up on Breaking Ties... Maggie confides in Brady that she's concerned about Sarah's lack of self-confidence. She doesn't think Sarah's own sobriety is at risk, but she asks Brady to help encourage Sarah and help her see that she knows how to be supportive to someone like Dani. Brady is happy to do it, but he has something of his own on his mind: the news about Theresa. Now that he knows she didn't end up in the hospital because of self-destructive behavior, he wonders if he should change his stance on visiting her. What will Maggie say?
Meanwhile, Sarah does her best to support Dani, who is still guarded and not willing to share all the details of the trouble she's in. However, Sarah soon realizes that what Dani needs is a lawyer to help her get through the housing issue at school. She calls in a favor, but Justin has conditions of his own. Will Dani be willing to meet them?
Elsewhere, Theresa and Andrew have a heart to heart and Theresa pushes Andrew to take a step he's afraid of.
Finally, Paul Robinson tries to hold back his emotions as he prepares to let his granddaughter remain in Salem, JJ and Paige discuss their decision to allow their friend to stay, and Nan and Beth have an emotional discussion while Chanel and Jeremy move toward romance.
Dani stared down into her cup. “It was stupid, really,” she said. “It’s bad enough that I spent a night in jail, but to have to do it because of something so ridiculous that I should have known better about…”
“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to,” Sarah said. “I just thought it might help, that’s all. And obviously, I’m not going to judge you when I literally had to get hit over the head before I stopped drinking.”
“Right.” Dani stirred what was left of her drink with her straw. “But what would I have left to tell the court-mandated therapist if I tell you everything?” She smiled even though she knew as well as Sarah did that she wasn’t actually joking. “I wasn’t actually drunk when I was arrested, so spending the night behind bars… it kind of woke me up. I mean, I wouldn’t have gone to AA if the judge hadn’t made it a condition of my probation, but I remember sitting on that hard mattress thinking, now what? I didn’t know for sure that I was going to get probation. The public defender said they had an open and shut case against me. So for all I knew, I was going to jail for a year and coming out with a record, and if I did hard time… there went my scholarship and my place at school. So I promised God that if He let me have a second chance, I’d be better. Only then last night, I don’t know. I knew I had my first AA meeting this morning and I guess I got scared cause I went to a party on the quad and drank twice as much as I ever had before.”
Sarah nodded. “You probably figured showing up hungover at an AA meeting counted as going, so why not?”
“Yeah.” Dani swallowed hard. “Maybe that’s why this housing thing happened. I broke my promise to God and He doesn’t like that.”
“I don’t think God works that way,” Sarah said. “But I know one thing. I’m glad you’re here drinking coffee instead of out on the quad at another party.”
“Yeah. Me too.” Dani sighed. “I really am trying to change, but the judge is asking a lot of me. AA meetings and therapy, too. I have to go to the Horton Center Wednesday and I have to go to this stupid alcohol awareness class at school. If I’m kicked out I don’t know how I’m going to swing it.”
“Well, let’s not assume you’re going to get kicked out,” Sarah said. “First things first. In AA we’re not supposed to give advice, but as your friend I’m doing it anyway. You need a lawyer.”
“I can’t afford one,” Dani said, “and I doubt the public defender deals with this sort of thing.”
“I might have a solution,” Sarah said. “Is it okay if I make a call?”
Dani shrugged. “I guess.”
Sarah pulled out her phone and dialed the number. “Justin Kiriakis, please.” She waited and then said, “It’s me, Sarah. No, I don’t need a lawyer, but I know someone who does. Who do you know who’s familiar with college campus procedures and is willing to work pro bono? Yes, she’s a student at Salem U and she has a problem that she needs solved as soon as possible. I’ll ask her.”
Sarah turned toward Dani. “You free right now to go over to meet with a lawyer?” she asked. “A friend of my family’s willing to give you a free initial consultation and see if he can find someone who can help you.”
“I doubt he can,” Dani said, “but talking to him beats sitting at home struggling not to drink over this, so sure.”
Sarah told Justin they would be there in ten minutes and then she and Dani left.
Theresa opened her eyes to see Brady in her room. “You came,” she said, smiling. “I didn’t think you actually…”
“When I heard you were hurt, I couldn’t stay away.” Brady sat down next to Theresa. “I know things ended badly between us. That was my fault. All my fault. If I hadn’t kept getting high…”
“No, it was me too. I got you back into that crap.”
“Yeah, well, bygones. How are you?”
“Better now that I see you.”
“Same here.” Brady leaned forward for a kiss…
Theresa woke up for real. Looking around her hospital room, she said to herself, “What the hell? Stupid Eve getting in my head with her stupid ideas.”
“What’d our sister do now?” Andrew asked, coming in to check on Theresa. She swallowed hard, not sure how much she wanted to tell him.
JJ watched as Paige made up the bed in the guest room for Harlow. “Getting things ready, huh?”
Paige nodded. “She said she was going to be back if things with her grandfather go all right, so…” She smiled slightly. “It’ll be nice having her here for a while. Too bad we both have to work.” “She’s not exactly on vacation either,” JJ pointed out. “She has to get her work status straightened out and see if she can grab that job at the Salem Inn.”
“True,” Paige said. “But maybe she’ll be able to help out with watching Mariposa while we’re both at work.” JJ frowned and she said, “What? You trust her with our daughter, don’t you?”
“Course I do,” JJ said. “It’s not that. It’s just, living with her’s gonna be way different than hanging out while she’s visiting, you know? We all gotta get used to each other at the same time as you and me are dealing with high-pressure jobs and taking care of Mari. It’s kind of a lot.”
“We can do it,” Paige said.
“I hope so.”
Paige turned her head over her shoulder as she finished shaking a pillow into its case. “You’re not mad that I said she could stay, are you? If you don’t want her to, I’m sure she’ll understand.”
“Nah,” JJ said. “I just don’t know how it’ll work out, that’s all.”
Paige squeezed his shoulder. “I told you, we’ll make it work.” She stroked his cheek. “How about I stop fixing up this room and we take advantage of Mari being asleep and having the house to ourselves?”
JJ kissed her softly. “Sounds good to me,” he said, but Paige could tell he was still very tense and nervous as she put her arms around him.
Brady knocked on Maggie’s door. “You got a minute?”
“Of course,” Maggie said, smiling slightly. “I wanted to talk to you anyway. I just got off the phone with Sarah, and I think she needs encouragement. Not that I’m worried about her sobriety right now, but she’s so convinced there’s no way she can be a help to someone who’s still suffering, and it’s just not true.”
“I know. I was with her when she got the call from that new girl, what’s her name? Dani? Sarah was so good with her that it made me realize all over again how lucky I am to have her, but even though she got Dani to agree not to drink tonight and to come out with her to have coffee instead, when s he hung up, she still was convinced that she wasn’t much help and that you would have been far better.”
Maggie shook her head slightly. “I appreciate the compliment, but I just wish Sarah would see I’m not so special. I’m just someone who’s been sober a long time and is willing to share my experience, that’s all. She’s got less sober time than me, but that’s because she’s so much younger. It doesn’t mean she’s any less capable of supporting someone who needs an encouraging word to resist temptation tonight, and between you and me, I think a young person like Dani is better off with someone Sarah’s age than someone old enough to be her grandmother.” Maggie sighed deeply. “Anyway, I’m sorry. You had something on your mind and I hijacked the conversation with my concerns about Sarah. What’s going on?”
“It has to do with her, actually,” Brady said. “Nothing bad, I promise.” He swallowed hard. “I realized when I was listening to Sarah talk to Dani how much I love her and how special she is to me. And then, after she left, I got this news alert about Theresa Donovan. I didn’t know she was kidnapped. I assumed she was in the hospital because she overdosed again.”
“No, not this time,” Maggie said. “But what does that have to do with Sarah? You’re not… you aren’t going to break her heart because you found out Theresa’s sober, are you?”
“Of course not. I told Sarah I was over Theresa and I meant it.” Brady turned away. “It’s just, I told Sarah I don’t want to visit Theresa in the hospital, that I didn’t want to know what she did to herself or if she’s okay. And then when I got that alert and realized what she’d been through, I felt bad about not stopping in to tell her that I’m sorry for what the Dimeras did to her. But I feel like if I do that, I’d be betraying Sarah even though I have no intention of being anything but a distant friend, someone who Theresa used to know. Sarah’s already worried that I’m going to dump her for Theresa because of the stupid things Eve said earlier, and I don’t want to make her worry.”
Maggie patted his hand. “If you really want to see Theresa, I think you ought to talk to Sarah about it. Maybe she’ll even want to come with you. But first, I think you should ask yourself why you want to see her now. What changed just because she’s not the victim of her own bad behavior now? Remember, bad relationships can be addictive too, and the last thing you need is to go see Theresa so you can get high off the unnecessary drama and end up throwing away what you and Sarah have right when you realize how much you love her.”
Brady was quiet, thinking. “So, you’re saying… you think I got scared by my feelings for your daughter and got tempted to ruin it by visiting Theresa?”
“I think only you can answer that. But I do think you need to be very careful when it comes to Theresa Donovan. She’s always had an unhealthy hold on you, and just because you’re both sober now doesn’t mean seeing her is a good idea, no matter how bad you feel about what was done to her.”
Brady nodded, thinking.
Meanwhile, in Justin’s office, Sarah had come in with Dani, but Justin said, “Um… I hope you won’t be offended, but I think it’s best if I talk to my new client alone. If there’s a third party in the room, unless we can prove that person’s presence is absolutely necessary, like if she didn’t speak English and needed a translator, it voids confidentiality.”
“Of course,” Sarah said, standing up. “I just wanted to help her feel more comfortable, that’s all.”
“I understand,” Justin said, “but if possible, it’s better she stand on her own two feet when it comes to her legal issues.” He glanced at Dani. “Is that all right with you?”
Dani made herself smile. “It’s not like I didn’t deal with the public defender by myself after my arrest,” she said, “and probation instead of jail was a pretty good result, right?” Her hands trembled slightly, but she clasped them together to make them stop.
“I think so,” Justin said. “And I am just as invested in your best interest as the public defender was. You can do this, Dani.” He glanced at Sarah. “You’re welcome to wait outside for her if you’d like, and if for some reason she’s too anxious to talk to me alone, I’ll have the receptionist call you back in here.”
“I’m sure that won’t be necessary,” Sarah said. “But I will wait outside, Dani. I’m not going to leave you stranded.” She patted Dani’s shoulder before she left.
“Now,” Justin said, “it’s just you and me in the room, so I want to say something before we officially start working on your case.”
Dani sat up straighter. “You don’t want to take it?”
“I didn’t say that. If I didn’t want to help you, I wouldn’t have agreed to see you. But I did get your record from the court. You are very lucky that you got Judge Walston. He thrives on giving young people second chances. But he also is very big on making sure people take responsibility for their actions, as am I. So that brings me to what I wanted to say to you.”
Dani’s eyes got wide. “Okay…”
Justin leaned forward. “I am happy to take your case. I looked at the paperwork from the school, and I think it’s completely unjust for them to refuse to give you the same second chance the court did, not to mention that it’s going to be a lot harder for you to stay sober if you become homeless. So I’ve already called the school and informed them that I represent you, and I’ve asked them to postpone the hearing so that I can get up to speed on the Student Code of Conduct.”
Dani’s mouth drooped open. “Did they go for it?”
“Sadly, no. We have tonight to get caught up and we have to be there at 9 o’clock sharp. That won’t be a problem; I’m a quick study. And I’ll take your case pro bono on one condition.”
Dani’s face fell. “What’s that?” she said weakly.
“You,” Justin said, “have to keep up the good work with your sobriety. As long as you’re sober, I’m happy to help you turn things around entirely for free. But if I hear that you have started drinking again, then you are going to owe me for all the work I’ve done for you so far. Fair?”
Dani swallowed hard and she prayed she’d be able to do what Justin was asking of her.
Paul Robinson sighed as he looked at his granddaughter. “You have to understand, this is a lot to throw on me at once. I’ll have to find someone to take your place at Lassiter’s and make arrangements to head off without you, and if you think I’m leaving without inspecting this place you plan on staying in temporarily…”
Harlow said, “It’s nice to know you’ll miss me. You could just say it, you know.” She sipped her water. “I know it’s pretty full on, but you always told me that when an opportunity comes along I should seize it with both hands because otherwise I’ll miss it. So I’m just following your advice, yeah?”
“You’re not supposed to listen to me when it means turning my world upside down,” Paul said. “Look, I just want you to be happy, Harlow. Are you certain you’ll be all right staying in the States by yourself?”
“I’ve lived in London,” Harlow pointed out. “It’s not like I’ve never been on the other side of the world from my family before. The question is, will you be all right without me?”
“Me?” Paul smiled nervously. “Eh, I’ll be fine. David and Aaron are actually talking to me for once, and Terese and I are in a good place. I’ll tell you, though, Lassiters isn’t going to be the same without you.”
“If you want a word of advice,” Harlow said, “whatever you do, don’t hire Holly Hoyland.”
“Nah. I have enough to worry about without that.” Paul sighed. “I suppose I will miss you, just a bit. You will write, won’t you?”
Harlow held up her phone. “We have these new inventions that allow us to talk to people across the world. Even video sometimes.”
“Video too, eh?” Paul smiled slightly. “Take care of yourself, Harlow,” he said softly. “And if you ever make it up to New York… tell Amy and Jimmy to come round sometime.”
“I will,” Harlow promised. She stood and Paul said, “Oh, come here, you.” He gave Harlow a hug, and where no one could see, he had a tear in his eye.
Nan looked into Beth’s eyes, then away. “I know you,” she said uncertainly. “You used to run that little camera store where my… Kenneth’s girlfriend worked, didn’t you?”
“That was me,” Beth said flatly. She swallowed hard. “Steve said our daughters are connected?”
Nan nodded. She glanced at Steve. “Did you tell her?”
“Not yet.” Steve knelt and took Beth’s hands in his. “I did some diggin’ like both of you wanted. And, um, I don’t know how to say this.” He sighed deeply. “You two both had little girls born on the same day but the thing is, only one of ‘em made it.”
Beth’s eyes widened. “And from the looks on your faces, mine was the one who passed away.” Her voice was soft, wistful.
Steve nodded. “There’s another part to the story. See, Nan here, she very much wanted her baby girl but she was told that her little girl… that she was the one who died.”
Beth’s eyes narrowed. “I… I don’t understand.”
“I don’t either,” Nan said, “but it happened anyway. They gave my little girl to you and you gave her away.”
Beth put her hands to her mouth. “So all these years, you… you thought your child was dead and I thought mine was still out there and it was the other way around. There are no words for how sorry I am.” She blinked hard. “I know that’s cold comfort. It is for me too. I mean, I haven’t fully processed that the little girl that was taken from me is gone forever, that I’ll never in this world be reunited with her, but to think that you suffered that pain for all these years…”
“I appreciate that,” Nan said carefully. She frowned. “Wait… what do you mean, the little girl who was taken from you? My little girl was taken from me! You… you didn’t want her. You threw her away.”
“That’s not true!” Beth’s voice rose. “My mother overrode my wishes. I was sixteen years old and I got pregnant by accident and I believed God had given me a baby for a reason and I wanted to keep her. But my mother… “ Beth shook her head. “She said no daughter of hers was going to be raising a baby while she was still a child herself. She made out like the reason was that she didn’t see how I would finish school or make anything of myself if I was raising a child at sixteen, but I don’t think that was it, or at least not the whole story. I think she was ashamed of me, ashamed that a daughter of hers not only committed the sin of premarital sex at a tender age but managed to get herself pregnant. She was afraid of what people would say, of the looks they’d give us. So as far as she was concerned, get rid of the baby and pretend she never existed. And I know, I was that child’s mother and I should have stood up for her, but you have to understand. I was only sixteen and defying her enough to get pregnant in the first place was almost more than I could handle.”
Nan put her hands to her mouth. “You poor, sweet child,” she whispered. “My Vicki is the same age you were and I have always been beside myself with worry because she is… well, she has differences that make her vulnerable to all sorts of things. But if she came to me telling me she was carrying my grandchild, do you think I would throw her out of the house unless she gave that baby up? No, ma’am, that is the last thing I would ever do.” She reached for Beth’s hands. “Your mama… you were scared of more than her disapproval, weren’t you?”
Beth nodded. “She was never one to spare the rod, if you know what I mean. Anyway, I did make a half-hearted effort. They gave me a c-section so I was sort of out of it, but I remember them putting a baby girl in my arms. I can’t swear now whether it was mine or yours, knowing what I know, but I do know one thing. When I held that baby girl I fell in love with her, and I tried to tell the doctors that I had changed my mind about the adoption but my mom drowned me out, yelling at them to take the baby away and not let me hold her.” A tear rolled down Beth’s face as she remembered.
Nan shook her head. “I’d bet you anything that was my Brianna,” she said softly.
“Brianna. That’s a beautiful name. What… what happened to her?”
“All sorts of horrors.” Nan swallowed hard. “I’ve only been able to put together bits and pieces from what she told me, but from what I understand, my beautiful baby girl was given to a social worker who thought no one wanted her and bounced from one home to another where there was no love, only hands that hit hard if you got out of line. And from there it got worse. That girl ended running away and on drugs. The only family she ever knew was the gang that forced her to work for them in exchange for a roof over her head, and I don’t even want to think about what else they did to her.”
“Oh God,” Beth said. “Please don’t tell me that they forced her into the Fire Lions.”
“I don’t know what all it was called. All I know is she’s got a criminal record long as her arm and it’s only this past year she’s started pulling herself together and trying to make something positive out of her life. None of that should have happened. None of it. My husband and I loved Brianna from the moment we found out we were having a baby. A little brother or sister for the nephew we’d adopted, a real family for us… we were over the moon. And someone, whether it was by mistake or design, someone stole her from us and forced her into a nightmare no child should endure, but especially not one who was this loved.” Nan’s voice rose despite her best efforts to control herself. “I lit candles for her every year on her birthday! I sobbed my heart out over losing her. God blessed us with another little girl that we named Victoria because we had triumphed over the odds and had a healthy baby. And I love my Vicki with all my heart. But there was always something missing, something I could never get over. And all this time Brianna was being fed a steady diet of lies about being unloved and unloveable when the truth was her mama’s heart broke that day they told me she was gone.”
Beth nodded. “I know. I wish there was something I could do to take back the last 25 years. I wish that I had had the power to override my mother. Maybe then at least she would have been with me instead of drifting through the world thinking no one loved her.” Beth sighed deeply. “Does anyone have any idea how they could make such a mistake at the hospital?”
Nan shook her head. “I doubt it was a mistake,” she said thickly. “Maybe it’s just my anger talking but it feels like someone did this to me on purpose.”
“Maybe,” Beth said. “Or maybe someone did it to both of us.” She crossed her arms. “I can’t think of any reason my mother would do this, but I can’t shake the feeling… she was controlling and she didn’t want me raising the baby… would she have given her away knowing she wasn’t really mine?”
That went better than could have been expected. I like how you tied it all together from the time we met Chanel in the group home and the divergent threads that have come together. Nan would never have found out Chanel was hers if Beth had kept the child she thought was her own.
Post by André DiMera on Oct 4, 2023 8:47:32 GMT -5
Paul was more reasonable than I thought he’d be. I know this’ll be hard for him, and Harlow, as well.
That was a really powerful conversation! I’m so glad both Nan and Beth listened and were able to tell their sides of the story. Sounds like they’ve both gone through pain due to this, for very different reasons. I wonder if Beth’s right about her mother.