An oldy, but goody. I wrote this in the spring of 2011. Let's see how it stands up.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Why were they all crying? Did they not all realize what she was? Did they not remember what she had done? Were their short term memories fried?! This was exactly why they were all here now.
She could easily remember the day he had been placed in her arms. Never before had she seen a more beautiful baby. And when they had taken him home, he slept like a dream going four hours between feedings, which everyone told her was rare. He had been the answer to all of their prayers and rearing him had been better than anything she could have ever dreamed or imagined. For two years everything had been perfect and then the sun fell out of her sky. And the world had ended when he was taken from her. While that pain had threatened to drive her to the sanitarium, the pain that had ripped through her was indescribable when he died. She had been moments away from throwing herself on top of the tiny, white casket as it was being lowered in the ground, until she looked up and saw her.
The brunette stood there, looking uncomfortable with unshed tears in her eyes. She had always related to the young woman and had tried to reach out to her. It wasn’t easy believing one thing your entire life, then to find out it was all a lie. Then combining the world that you used to know with the new world that you should have always been a part of was difficult to say the least. Not many people understood that, understandably so, maybe that’s why she felt an infinity with this young woman. The young girl had saved her life that day, in a way her husband and even her youngest had been unable to. She could only imagine how the brunette felt- - to want to grieve, yet not feeling secure enough in the new relationships to completely let loose. And knowing the ones who know you best or longest wouldn’t really be able to understand your sense of loss. Yes, the young woman kept her going, until the truth was revealed. And then it was the thoughts of revenge that forced her to get out of bed every morning.
Yes, they were all here because of her work. When the judge had handed down the sentence of community service, the world had stopped spinning for her. Community service?! The love of her life was dead and the culprit was going to clean up the trash on the freeways? And an instant she became a person she never imagined she could be. Walking out of the courtroom, her mind quickly came up with the perfect plan of retribution.
By day, and to her family and friends, it appeared she was moving on, but at night, and in all of her spare time, she researched and plotted and plotted and researched. She would have her vengeance. She had to strike swiftly and cruelly. She stalked her prey because that was what the young woman had become, her prey, learned her habits and schedule. And six months to the day, she arrived at a house on six acres of land on the outskirts of town and put her plan into action.
She had seriously considered killing the younger woman, but ultimately she decided the greatest torture would be for the older teen to live - - if that’s what you wanted to call it. The brunette lived in a one-room cabin surrounded by forest. The closest house was ten miles away. She had provided her with an endless supply of movies and TV box sets. Once the captured woman had stopped eating, she in turn gave her the beating of her life. And to show she meant business, she handcuffed the young woman to the bed and fed her via IV. After a taste of that life, she never had another problem with the younger woman.
She visited every other day and stayed for precisely two hours and never uttered a word. It took six weeks and the woman was dying for conversation. When the brunette began talking to the other woman, she gave her updates on her family. She gained pleasure watching the woman break in front of her. But to her surprise and delight, the woman did not break completely so her words were still able to pierce and do damage. During the cesarean section, for which the pregnant woman was given no pain medication or anesthesia, she described in minute details the horror of the woman’s crimes and the pain her victims suffered. Each time the woman passed on during the surgery, she began the story again and again. Three precious babies later, she left the barely unconscious woman alone to recover. After two weeks of crying out in agony and apologizing profusely for all the hurt and pain she had caused, the younger woman was given clothes and let go.
She thought it was the right thing to do was to make the call herself. They weren’t to blame for the actions and path she had chosen to take.
“Hello, Sharon. It’s Lexie Carver,” the brunette greeted.
“Hi, Lexie. I was just re-reading Chelsea’s latest email. She is having such a great time in Iceland. She’s sounding like our old Chelsea,” Sharon Benson Hooper said excitedly. “I can’t wait until her yearlong study abroad is over. I miss her. But it does seem like she’s putting her past mistakes behind her. Distance between her and the Bradys has really been the best thing for her- -Lexie- - Lexie, I’m sorry I’m just going on and on about my niece. How are you? How are Abe and Theo?”
“Sharon, is Mark there?” Lexie asked.
“Yes, Mark is here.”
“Can you ask him to pick up the other line?”
“Mark, pick up the other line,” the worry and fear were evident in Sharon’s voice.
“I’m on,” Mark stated.
“What’s wrong with Chelsea?” Sharon questioned hurriedly.
“She’s dead,” Mark answered with assuredness.
“Why would you say that, Mark?!?! Lexie? Tell him he’s wrong,” Chelsea’s aunt demanded, “Tell him!”
“There was an accident- -“ the doctor began.
“Oh God no!” Sharon cried.
“Not again,” Mark said softly.
“She missed a turn and went off the road.”
“In Salem?” Mark asked hesitantly.
“No, she was an hour outside of Salem,” the former officer answered.
“Why would she come back and head to Salem?” Chelsea Benson’s aunt inquired.
“When can we bring her home?” Mark questioned.
“I don’t want her cut up,” Sharon stated.
“Tomorrow. They didn’t find any drugs or alcohol. The police believe the poor driving conditions and her unfamiliarity with the area were the causes of the accident. She died instantly. I’m so sorry. She was a lovely young woman,” Lexie informed the husband and wife.
“How do I tell my parents,” Sharon wept, “they’ve already lost Louis and Marcia.”
“Thank you for calling us personally, Lexie,” Mark thanked the woman they had met on their only visit to Salem, and kept in touch with via email and phone calls. She had kept them updated on Chelsea.
“You’re welcome. And once again, you’re in our thoughts and prayers,” she replied softly before hanging up with Sharon’s cries ringing in her ears.
“Lexie,” Sharon said surprised.
“Hi, Sharon. Can we come in?” Dr. Lexie Carver asked.
The blonde looked down to see a baby carrier in each of Lexie’s hands. “You got the call?! Congratulations! Come in. Come in.”
The slender black woman followed the plump white woman into the traditional looking home.
“Mom, Dad, Mark, Lexie is here with some visitors,” Sharon announced as they walked into the living room.
“Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. Benson, Mark” Lexie greeted.
“Good evening,” they all replied in unison.
“Chelsea’s here now,” the tall, grey haired man stated.
Lexie nodded as she placed the baby carriers on the couch and sat in between them. “She’s at the mortuary.’
“Thank you,” Mrs. Benson said.
“You’re welcome. I didn't want her to come home alone.”
“Who do you have with you?” Mark asked.
Removing the blue blanket and lowering the handle, Lexie showed the foursome the sleeping newborn boy. “This is Benson Mark Louis”
A dropped pin would have sounded like a rocket exploding in the deadly silent room.
Removing the pink blanket and lowering the handle, Lexie introduced the newborn girl. “And this is Blakesley Sharon Marcia.”
"Blakesley," the elderly Mrs. Benson whispered, "that's my maiden name."
Sharon stared at Benson. Moving closer to the sofa, her mouth dropped open. “He looks exactly like Chelsea at this age.”
“Benson and Blakesley Hooper.”
“What?!” Sharon stuttered.
Reaching into the diaper bag, the doctor took out a piece of paper. “Chelsea wrote an email- -“
“Give us the highlights. Quickly,” Mr. Benson requested.
Mrs. Benson coughed discreetly.
“Please,” Mr. Benson added.
“She went to a party and did too much celebrating. She wasn’t sure who the father was, but she did know she wasn’t ready to raise a child or children as the case turned out. But she thought you and Mark would make the best parents, next to her own, since you were such a wonderful aunt and uncle. The children were with a babysitter while she went to the store to get some more diapers. Bus tickets were found in her motel room. She was on her way home.”
“I’m still in awe. I can’t believe it happened so suddenly,” Abraham Carver commented in amazement. “This little girl is all ours.”
“Well believe it, she is ours. Brooke Grace Carver is our forever daughter,” Alexandra said, gazing at her newborn daughter lying in her husband’s arms.
“Her birth parents don’t want any contact?”
Do you mean her dead birth mother? Or the anonymous sperm donor birth father? “No. No contact.”
“I would just like to thank them for this perfect gift,” Abe sighed.
Thank you, Chelsea, for the only good things you ever produced in your life, Benson, Blakesley, and Brooke. Having Brooke eased some of the pain of losing Isaac, but there were still others who had to pay.
“It’s like God has given us a second chance to raise our kids together. First, Zack and Theo. Now, Brooke and Ciara, if she ever comes out,” a very pregnant Hope Williams Brady stated.
You stole my baby and then you let his murderer walk away scot-free. I will see you in hell, Hope, before I let you ruin another child’s life. “Seems like it.”
“This pregnancy has been so different than Zack’s. He was always so busy and active. It’s like he knew his time on earth would be short and he had to pack in as much as he could.”
“Really? He was such a calm, good natured baby. A great sleeper from day one,” Lexie responded.
Hope stared into the brown eyes that housed such sadness and pain. “I know we’ve never really talked about it. But I struggled and prayed very hard about regaining custody of Zack. The pure happiness on your face and Abe’s when you had him in your arms ran like a constant loop in my head. But if you knew Theo was somewhere out there could you walk away and leave him with another family?” the former police officer asked earnestly.
“Funny, you ask that while I’m holding in my arms a direct result of a woman deciding what was best for her child was to be raised by another family. A woman who put the interest of her child over her own needs,” the doctor replied.
The pregnant woman sighed. “What Brooke’s birthmother did was selfless, but what I’m talking about is having your child kidnapped. Stefano kidnapped my baby- -“
Three weeks later, they were standing where it all began. She was standing next to her eldest son’s tombstone as Hope and Bo Brady held each other, the tears streaming down their faces, as the casket of Ciara was lowered to the ground. The newborn tragically died in her sleep less than thirty minutes before she was set to go home. It was believed to be SIDS, but no one would ever know for sure because Bo and Hope would not allow an autopsy.
A new tombstone was being made to read: Beauregard Isaac Theo Brady with his day of birth and death, and Ciara Alice Brady with her day of birth and death.
Lexie pushed her double stroller when her daughter started fussing. She had wanted to leave her daughters at home, but Hope insisted they all come as she took comfort in knowing that the day Ciara went to join Zack was the same day she and Abe got the call about them being chosen a second time to parent a baby girl. Bailey Ciara Carver was a dark-haired beauty just like her virtual twin.
The service ended and she touched Isaac’s, never Zack’s, tombstone promising to be back later in the week for a visit.
Hope walked over to her and stole a quick glance inside Bailey’s and Brooke’s carriers locked to the stroller. “Take care of them. And enjoy every moment with them,” the older woman cautioned.
Putting one arm around her and the other around Theo, Abe responded, “We will every day we have breath in our bodies.”
Bo nodded and walked the crying Hope away.
“Baby, we are so blessed,” Abe whispered in her ear.
“That we are,” Lexie replied. “That we are.” And they were. Theo had blossomed since the girls had come home. He loved interacting with them. When they were awake he was glued to their side. The girls brought him out of his shell, out of his solitary world. And she couldn’t have asked for two more wonderful babies. Their attitudes and easy goingness reminded her so much of Isaac that it hurt at times, but as the days passed; she could smile and tell the girls about their older brother.
With Lexie’s medical and criminal justice background, she was able to get little Claire back in the arms of her biological father, Philip Kiriakis, who sued and won sole physical and legal custody of the toddler. Upon the judge’s momentous decision, the duo left the courthouse immediately, stepped on to the Kiriakis private jet, and left the country. Claire was currently speaking Italian fluently as she and her father divided their time between the Toscano estate in Rome and the Kiriakis villa in Lake Como. The Salem Hospital doctor had last heard Belle Black had moved to Rome in order to visit with Claire. Philip allowed Belle one visit a week for an hour at a location of his choice.
Rumor had it, the locations were more secure than the White House and the armed guards had license to shoot to kill if Belle or anyone else attempted or even looked like they were thinking about taking Claire. One condition to Belle’s visits was Shawn-Douglas Brady was not allowed anywhere near Claire.
“How is Shawn-Douglas doing?” Lexie asked as she watched Theo, Brooke, and Bailey run around the backyard.
“Kim says he’s doing good. He’s working as a runner for a show that tapes at NBC. He has a few friends, but she doesn’t think he’s ready to live by himself yet. And he’s no where near ready to date again,” Hope answered, watching the children with sadness and wistfulness in her eyes.
“Does Belle call?”
The older woman shook her head. “Kim asked her to stop calling. He was taking the Claire updates too hard, along with talking to Belle.”
“I’m sorry,” the biracial woman said with what she hoped was just the right amount of sympathy.
“If I didn’t know any better I would say we were cursed. After our last failed attempt at IVF, I told Bo I wish we had never come back to Salem. We should have stayed on Fancy Face and traveled the world- -“
“But if you had, you wouldn’t have had- -“ she couldn’t bring herself to call him by their name. “Your other two children.”
“Or maybe they would still be alive. And to top it off, Bo nor Billie have heard from Chelsea.”
“Really?” she questioned with surprise in her voice.
“Yes. Her grandparents don’t return any of our calls. Her aunt and uncle told us point blank, Chelsea was none of our concern; she was a Benson and hung up the phone.”
“Billie flew to Oregon to see if she could talk to Chelsea herself, but she couldn’t find hair or hide of her. Billie said it was a small town and as soon as she asked one person about Chels, the whole town went silent,’ the former Williams woman recounted.
“Do you think maybe Chelsea has returned to her real life? From personal experience while I was happy to know about Celeste and know my heritage, I was glad when that was all out and my thirst for knowledge was satisfied and I could go back to being regular old Alexandra Brooks. I’m a Brooks, not a DiMera. My mom and dad were Grace and Henry Brooks. End of story.”
“I hadn’t thought about that. If she felt that way, then I wish she would call or write, just say something as to why she has dropped off the face of the earth.”
Lexie nodded. “Maybe she doesn’t know how to express herself. She is a young woman who has gone through a lot. Kidnapped at birth, her parents died, then finding out she was adopted, and everything that happened when she moved to Salem. That would be a lot for anyone to handle, but especially someone in their late teens/early twenties. I think you should tell Billie to stop playing detective. If the whole town closed up when she started asking questions, don’t you think this information was relayed to Chelsea? Her silence could be her way of reacting to what she might feel is a betrayal. At the end of the day, to be honest, she owes Bo and Billie nothing. Her family is the Bensons regardless of how that came to be. To Mr. and Mrs. Benson, Chelsea is the last link to their son and daughter-in-law.”
Hope sighed; Lexie had given her a lot to think about. Lying on the blanket, she watched Bailey and Brooke and marveled at how they sort of favored each other. Looking at Bailey brought her a strange comfort; while she couldn’t raise Ciara, at least she could be a part of Bailey’s life. “Did I ever thank you for asking Bo and me to be Brooke and Bailey’s godparents?”
“Many times, so stop it. There’s no one we would want more as their godparents,” Lexie assured the older woman. “Are you going to continue with the fertility treatment?”
“No, I can’t handle any more injections or prodding. I have to start being grateful for what I was blessed with. I was blessed with three beautiful children, even if two were taken too early. We’ve got Shawn-D and that has to be enough. It was for over a decade and is now,” Hope said, sounding more like she was trying to convince herself.
Inside Alexandra Brooks Carver smiled; Isaac’s death had been fully avenged. Hope, Bo, and their son, Shawn-Douglas were broken people. Within her lied the teachings of the Brooks family, but there was a little DiMera in her too. When Bo and Hope ripped Isaac from her arms, she knew one day she had to teach them you don’t mess the DiMeras and walk away unscathed.