"Oh, bother," Donna caught sight of the garage's broken window as she pulled up to the door and pushed the button to open it, only to be greeted by a whirlwind of charred black exhaust that instantly flooded her car and prompted Donna's eyes and nose to burn.
Even through the discomfort and haze, however, Donna still saw the lone figure slumped over on the passenger-seat of the offending vehicle.
"Marley! No!" Donna called, as if her daughter were a toddler in danger of running out into the street. Covering the lower half of her face with one elbow, Donna ran inside the garage, wrenching open the door, and catching Marley as she fell out, eyes closed, body completely limp.
She was too heavy for Donna to carry. She was instead forced to drag Marley outside onto the lawn, into the fresh air. Donna grabbed Marley by the shoulders, shaking furiously, hoping to jolt her back into consciousness, but all of Donna's efforts were rewarded with nary a moan or any other sign of life.
"Breathe!" Donna ordered no, willed her child.
Her cell-phone was in the car. Donna realized she should be calling 911, the police, anyone for help. But, she refused to take so much as a step away as long as Marley continued lying so still and unresponsive.
"Breathe!" Donna leaned down to press an ear against Marley's chest. She could hear her heart beating, weakly, but definitely still beating, against Donna's cheek. At the same time, there appeared to be no air coming either in or out of Marley's lungs. Slipping a hand under Marley's neck, Donna exhaled directly into Marley's mouth, desperately trying to revive her before it was too late.
"Help me, Michael," Donna mentally commanded Marley's father as firmly as she had Marley earlier. "Victoria, help me. Help her."
Marley gasped, her body convulsing, shuddering, eyes fluttering open to dance wildly around before settling on Donna.
She began coughing violently, struggling in between gulps of air, to warn Donna, "They always make it look like an accident...."
"What? No crow this time?" Jen asked, turning her back even as she let GQ into her apartment.
"With the amount I needed, there was a danger of them going extinct." He closed the door behind him.
"What do you want?" Jen asked.
That stopped him in his tracks. "The way I let Mel treat you on the witness stand..."
"You had your reasons. Those reasons haven't changed, have they?"
"So what would be the point of an apology?"
"I'm confused," GQ tried for lightness. "Isn't it against the law for cognitive scientists to argue with regular people?"
"I believe you're sorry for how everything went down. I believe you're sorry that I was upset. But, sorry doesn't change anything. Especially not the past."
"Then how about the future?" GQ challenged. "How about if, to prove just how sorry I was, I dropped my custody suit for Hudson?"
"Donna!" Grant bull-rushed his way through a throng of nurses and orderlies to descend upon Donna, who sat exhausted and spent in the ER's waiting room. "Where's Marley? What happened?"
"She's being examined," Donna answered distractedly, before gazing up at him puzzled. "What are you doing here? How did you know to "
"I dropped by your house and saw the police cars and fire trucks lining the street. The fire director said something about Marley succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning?"
"Yes," Donna nodded, a hand to the necklace looped around her neck, fingers tangled, clutching, pulling at the strands of gold and pearls. "When I came home I found her in her car in the garage...the engine was running... She wasn't...she wasn't breathing."
"But, she's fine now," Grant prompted fiercely as his heart skipped a beat. "You said she was being examined, which means you got her breathing again." His tone all but dared Donna to suggest otherwise.
"Yes," Donna exhaled, Grant closing his eyes in relief along with her. "At first it didn't work and she... I thought I'd lost her."
"Was she lucid? Talking?"
"Then everything's alright," Grant decreed. "You got to her in time. Marley is fine. The doctors will probably give her oxygen and keep her overnight for observation. Nothing to worry about. We should be able to take her home tomorrow or maybe the next day."
"We will not be doing anything together regarding my daughter," Donna immediately corrected, her voice suddenly sharper, her gaze more focused. "I will see to my daughter's well being. You can go to hell."
Grant's eyes narrowed. "On the contrary. I was being courteous of you with my generous inclusion. Considering everything you did for Marley this afternoon, I didn't think it was the appropriate time to remind that your daughter can barely stand the sight of you, much less entertain your devoted ministrations at her sick-bed."
"Save your delusions of chivalry, Grant. If you believe for one second that I am going to allow you anywhere near Marley after what you've done to her, you're simply insane."
"I'd be careful about the name-calling. It wasn't so long ago that you were a guest of the state's finest sanitarium. On the other hand, I have a clean bill of mental health and only Marley's best interests at heart."
Donna hissed. "It's because of you and your manipulative, corruptive influence that she was even in that car, that she tried to "
"Tried to what?" Grant challenged Donna as she cut off, darting nervous looks around the ER.
"Tried to kill herself," Donna finished, the words causing Grant to recoil.
"Kill herself? What in the world would make you think "
"How else do you explain it? She was seated in the car, engine on, doors all closed!"
"That doesn't mean she was trying to kill herself," Grant heatedly countered. "There could've been something faulty with her engine. She was overcome before she knew what was happening. Or...."
"Or your old friends, the ones you had the arrogance to threaten publicly, have seen fit to send you a warning," he charged, leaving out the role his own father and Carl may have recently played in provoking them.
"They wouldn't dare," Donna countered. "They know I'd come out with everything I have on them. That was the entire point."
"These people are professionals. Your stunt may have bought a modicum of time for us all. But do you really think they got where they are by allowing amateurs to hold them in check indefinitely?"
"Then they'd come after me," Donna insisted. "Not Marley. No, Grant. You're just denying the obvious because it's to your advantage to blame a cabal of invisible boogey-men rather than face the truth: The woman you purport to care about was despondent and desperate enough to attempt to end her life. And I was the one who saved her."
"I came to apologize," Felicia told Lorna when she stopped by the house after making sure that Jamie was planning to be at the hospital. No sense asking for trouble.
"What for?" Lorna asked, genuinely confused. She sat in front of her computer, surfing yet another wedding site only to arrive at the conclusion that maternity bridal gowns apparently came in two styles exclusively: Ugly and Extra-Ugly.
"The other night, at your birthday dinner..."
"You didn't do anything," Lorna said, biting her lip before she added, "This time."
"I'm afraid I overreacted to your announcement that you intended to go by only Frame after you and Jamie are married."
"Yeah," she conceded. "You kind of did. But, I figured you had your reasons."
"I wanted to explain why..." Felicia sat down next to Lorna. "You know your birthday is always difficult for me. So many bad memories..."
"I get it. Especially now," Lorna grazed her stomach with the tips of her fingers. "Ever since the doctor told me her due date, it's all I can think about. Even if she's not born on it and I guess most babies aren't I still can't imagine I'll ever forget."
Felicia reassured, "I understand why you prefer to celebrate on the day you grew up thinking was your birthday, instead of your actual birth-date "
"It reminds me of my grandmother," Lorna said.
"I understand. Truly, I do. It just..."
"Precisely." Felicia said, "The entire thing... sucks. But, truth is, the real reason I responded the way I did was because I realized that you were in such a hurry to take Jamie's name, even though you never, ever had mine. Or your father's."
"I..." Lorna trailed off, unsure of what to say next. "It's It's like I said before, names aren't that big of a deal for us, are they? Dad didn't care enough about his to keep it. As for Fanny Grady/Felicia Gallant... one was made up by some publisher, and the other is your stepfather's. Remember him, the guy who started this mess in the first place?"
"I know," Felicia said. "You are absolutely right."
Somehow, Lorna didn't think that was the end of it. "But...."
"But," Felicia confessed with a defeated shrug. "It still hurts."
"I'm sorry," Lorna said sincerely. "It honestly never occurred to me that you might mind. Or even care. The thing is, Jamie, this baby, his boys, they're my family now."
"In a way that you and I can never be," Felicia guessed; wounded, but not accusing.
"I just want to make things legal. I want to make it easy for my daughter. I want her to grow up in a family where everyone has the same name. So she knows we belong to each other. For good."
"All my grandchildren will be Frames," Felicia mused. "Who could've predicted it?"
"I never thought of that," Lorna smiled. "Lori Ann, too. Wow." And then, after a moment, she asked, "Mom?"
"What?" Felicia's heart leapt into her throat. Lorna tended to go back and forth between using Felicia's first name and calling her "Mom." The former usually won out. Which was why, whenever she slipped into the latter, Felicia paid particular attention. "What, baby?"
"What were you... What would you have named me, if you'd gotten he chance?"
Her mother laughed, more to herself than at Lorna. "You won't like it," she warned.
"What?" Lorna smiled, intrigued. "Come on, how bad could it have been? You have good taste. 'Fess up, was it some romance novel name? Something you later used in a book?" Recalling her mother's many titles, she tried to deduce, "Liza? Mallory? Sonya? Gwendolyn? Poppy? That's it, isn't it? You were going to name me Poppy."
"Felicia," she sighed, pleased to finally have the truth known. "I was going to name you Felicia. It means lucky. Fortunate. Happy."
"I know," Lorna said, stunned nearly speechless. "It's on that spread-sheet Steven made us."
"Those were all the things I wanted you to be. So I picked out a name you could live up to. Later, when Edward Gerard suggested I change Fanny to Felicia, it seemed like a good omen. A way to have you with me, always."
"Why didn't you ever tell me this before?"
Felicia shrugged. "I didn't know how you'd feel about it. I've never even told Luke."
"I don't know how I feel about it," Lorna confessed. "I think I like it...."
"Good," Felicia smiled and reached over to squeeze her hand. "I'm very glad."
Awkwardly, she disclosed, "My grandmother picked out the name Lorna, I was able to get that much out of her. But, she'd never tell me why. It was strange. Like it was some big secret."
"I know why," Felicia said abruptly, stunned that she'd never made the connection before. Of course, it had to be. "There's a Van Morrison song. It came out a few months before you were born."
"I know. Lorna. It's off his Unplugged in the Studio album."
"You've heard it?"
"I'm in the music business, and my name is Lorna... it was kind of a given. Listen, Felicia, I hate to rain on your parade, but neither my parents nor my grandmother were exactly... Van Morrison-type people. I doubt they ever heard of him, or his song."
"That's not true. Luke gave me the album. Right before he... left. I'd sit in my room and just put it on, over and over again. Helen heard me play it many, many times while she was over to clean. She even asked me about it once. Because she said it reminded her of her favorite book, Lorna Doone."
"Oh..." Lorna said, now really unsure of what to say or how to react.
"Isn't that something?" Felicia marveled. "It looks like your father and I did end up naming you, after all...."
"What are you doing here?" Steven asked Sarah when he pulled up to Michele and Bridget's school to find her outside, apparently waiting for them, too.
"Marley kicked me out of her house. I didn't get a chance to say good-bye before I left last night. Wanted to do it now. Since when are you on chauffeur duty?"
Steven beckoned Sarah to climb into the passenger seat and, even then, lowered his voice to relay, "My grandmother called me. Marley's been in an... accident."
"What happened?" Sarah asked, stunned.
"Donna found her in the garage, in her car, passed out from carbon monoxide. She thinks Aunt Marley tried to commit suicide."
Sarah gasped, even as she observed, "She did seem really unhinged the other day. Is she going to be okay?"
"Not sure. But Grandmother wanted me to get the girls, fill them in before they heard it from someone else. Actually, I'm glad you're here. Sensitivity isn't exactly my thing. Think you could stick around? Help me out with this?"
"Of course," Sarah said. "I'd do anything for Midget."
And squeezed Steven's arm reassuringly.
"Alice!" Donna sidestepped a belligerent Grant to pounce on Marley's doctor the moment she emerged from behind the swinging doors marked Hospital Personnel Only. "How is my daughter?"
"She's going to be fine. Her blood oxygen levels are back within normal range and there are no indications of any neurological damage from the oxygen deprivation."
"When can we see her?" Grant asked anxiously, drawing a scathing glance from Donna.
"You won't be seeing her. Not here, anyway. You're not family," Donna haughtily informed Grant, casting an eye to Alice in challenge.
"It would be best not to overwhelm Marley with too many visitors at this time," Alice reasonably offered. "The trauma of what's happened has her a bit... anxious."
Grant didn't miss the loaded look Alice threw in his direction. No doubt having been filled in by Spencer regarding his and Carl's plans, Alice had a pretty good idea of what precisely might be causing Marley's... anxiety
"All the more reason she needs someone with her," Donna asserted. "Now, if you would kindly show me to my daughter's room?"
"Of course," Alice signaled an ER nurse over and directed him to escort Ms. Love.
"How is she?" Grant pressed Alice once Donna had gone. "Really?"
"Physically, she's fine. Emotionally, she's terrified. The way she's talking...if I didn't know better..."
"But you do know better," Grant said quietly.
"I do," she nodded guardedly. "Is it possible that this wasn't an accident? That "
"Possible," Grant conceded guiltily. "And it wouldn't be the first instance, either. Last week, someone somehow spiked Marley's coffee...caused her to pass out."
"What?" Alice looked at him incredulously. "Spencer never said "
"I didn't tell him. I increased my own security around Marley and Kirkland. I thought... How the hell did this happen? What did Marley say?"
"That someone tried to kill her. That someone rigged her car and the garage so that she couldn't get out. She was so agitated that the doctor on call ordered a psych consult."
"She has damn good reason to be agitated!"
"I know," Alice hesitated. "But considering the way she was found..."
"What do you mean, the way she was found?"
"She was seated behind the wheel, engine running, garage door down. It indicates a possible suicide attempt."
"First, Donna, now you! Marley was not trying to commit suicide, damn it! Someone tried to kill her!"
"Given Marley's mental history, the stress of having to look over her shoulder, of having already been attacked... Is it completely outside the realm of possibility that the pressure and the fear finally got to her?"
"Past mental history," Grant muttered angrily. "Marley, like Jamie, like you, like half this damned town or at least the people I know anyway, may have had problems in the past, but she is completely recovered now."
"Sometimes," Alice ventured tentatively. "It's tempting to ignore the signs "
"I haven't been ignoring anything!" Grant thundered. As if to prove it to himself, he deliberately went back over everything that'd happened since Election Day; Marley's unpredictable moods, her self-loathing dark moments of overwhelming guilt, her guarded looks, the sudden determination and embracing of denial, and the constant push-pull she employed with him.
Damn it all to hell, had he been kidding himself?
"She didn't try to kill herself," Grant repeated, whipping out his cell phone and dialing furiously. "And I'll find the damned evidence to prove it..."
"You're offering to drop the suit?" Jen's eyes narrowed, more suspicious than anything else. "In exchange for what? Me forgiving you? Are you... blackmailing me?"
"No!" GQ shook his head, emphatically. "No, no, absolutely not. Obviously, I want you to forgive me. If I wasn't clear enough before, I want it a lot. I thought this would make you happy. You never agreed with my taking Hudson away from Rick and Mindy."
"So you're giving up your son to please me?"
"No," GQ spat, frustrated that his point wasn't coming across the way he intended. "Me giving up Hudson isn't an if-then-go-to proposition. I was only using it as an example of just how sorry I am... for everything."
"What the hell happened in court after I left?"
"Nothing. Nothing important, anyway. Rick got on the stand and accused me of... the usual. He said I was going to warp Hudson because of the things I believed in. It did make me think. Not about what he said, precisely, but about how I come off to other people. So I went to see Allie."
"Did she want to see you?"
"Not particularly. Not at first."
"Allie looked really shook up as she walked out. After you said that you loved her."
"I said that I loved her when Hudson was conceived. I love you now, Jen."
She ignored the declaration, sticking to the topic at hand. "What did you want from her?"
"I wanted to know what she thought of me. Did she see me the way Rick Bauer did?"
GQ sighed, rubbing a hand over his face before confessing, "Allie called me a coward. And you know what? She's absolutely right. Me being a coward is to blame for everything that's happened. I was scared to be with Allie, scared to be seen with her, scared to admit that I did love her. And I hurt her. I never wanted to hurt her. Same with you. I hurt you because I was too scared to tell you what Mel had planned. What Mel and I had planned. And because I was too much of a coward to fight my own battles. I don't think the things that Rick said on the stand will make me a bad father for Hudson. But, what Allie said... A coward for a father? I won't do that to my son."
"So you're just giving up? After everything?"
"No. I'll take the deal they offered me. An open adoption. We'll work out visitation. I'll be a part of Hudson's life. But, I won't be his father. That'll be Rick."
This was all too much to absorb at one time. "Is it all set?" Jen struggled to understand. "Have you talked to them already?"
"I wanted to talk to you, first."
"Why?" Jen demanded. "What for? Have you even told Allie your plans?"
"So why me? I don't have anything to do with Hudson."
"But, you have something to do with me. At least you did. And I hope you will in the future. My intention, by telling you what I planned to do, was that you'd see how really sorry I am about letting things get out of hand the way they did, and how badly I want to make amends with everyone. You're right at the top of that list. What do you say, Jen? Can you forgive me? Can we go back to how things were before we knew about Hudson?"
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