"Marley was driving the car that hit you and Morgan," Donna informed Lorna bluntly, unable and uninterested in dancing around or easing into the truth.
Lorna allowed one lip to twitch cynically. "And I should believe anything you say regarding anything because...."
"Why would I lie about something like this?" Donna demanded.
"Why do you do anything? To protect yourself and screw over someone else. Not always necessarily in that order."
"I am trying to protect my daughter."
"Same way you protected Jenna?" Lorna's eyes blazed, the initial fury she'd managed to swallow in response to Donna's opening statement flaring now unchecked.
"I don't care to discuss that with you," Donna's voice faltered.
"Really? Because that's about the only thing I have any interest in discussing with you, ever."
"Marley needs help. I don't know if you heard. She she tried to commit suicide."
Lorna's eyes narrowed. "Kirkland said it was an accident."
"That's what she claims. It's what Grant would like to believe. I know better. The day before her accident, I told Marley I knew that she was your hit-and-run driver."
"And how would you know that? The cops have been working on the case for months. They said there was no forensic evidence, thanks to Lila's sterling clean-up job."
"I know she was the one," Donna said simply. "Let's just leave it at that."
"Okay. So why are you telling me? You've got evidence of her guilt, go to the cops."
"I can't. They'll put Marley in jail."
"That's what happens to people who try to commit murder."
"Marley did not try to commit murder!" Donna corrected archly.
"Right. Out of all the people in Bay City, she according to you, anyway just happened to ram her car into me, the woman that Jamie "
"It was an accident."
"Save it, Donna," Lorna dismissed. "Go peddle your sick, twisted fairytale someplace else. Whatever your game is, I won't be playing along."
"Don't you want justice? For yourself? For Jamie? For your child?"
"You're lecturing me about justice for a mother and her unborn child?" Lorna's implication couldn't be clearer.
And, once again, Donna chose to ignore it. "Make no mistake, this will be your one and only chance to receive any kind of restitution for what you've been through."
"Do you honestly want me to believe that you would testify against your own daughter?"
"No," Donna said. "You will, Lorna."
"Looking for absolution over what you've done?" Felicia inquired of Carl when she spied him approaching Jenna's grave, flowers in hand.
He paused, resting the bouquet reverently atop the stone bearing her name. "Now why, pray tell, might you believe me in the market for something of that nature?"
"Alright, then. Over what we've done." Felicia held his unwavering gaze a moment before glancing back to Jenna's grave, her eyes softening, lips trembling. "Marley tried to kill herself, Carl. Why do you think she would have done that?"
"I'm sure I have no idea. Though one presumes a lifetime alongside Donna would drive anyone to "
"It was us," Felicia hissed. "You and I. We deliberately made her suspicious of Donna, of Grant. We did everything we could to throw a woman who'd done neither of us any harm a woman who'd already wrestled with multiple emotional problems off balance. Should we be surprised it led to a suicide attempt?"
"And yet Marley lives," Carl said lightly. "While our Jenna..."
Doesn't. The horrible word hung in the air of the cemetery like a fine mist.
"There's something wrong with me, Carl," Felicia confessed a truth she, ironically, felt safe confiding only to him. "I told Cass, I told Lucas, Lorna, I'll tell anyone who'll listen that I'm ready to move on, to let go of the bitterness, the need for vengeance. And then, something like this happens, and instead of being moved to pity Marley, all I can think about is how much Donna must be suffering. And then I think: It still isn't enough."
"Donna's pain," Carl's tone was infinitely reasonable, sensible, kindly even. "If you can believe her capable of feeling any such thing, was limited to a few moments of watching her asphyxiated child struggle for breath. How does that compare to your being forced to witness our daughter slowly and agonizingly expire in front of your powerless eyes?"
"Why can't I let this go?" Felicia keened, angry tears spilling down her cheeks. "Why can't I just be happy to have Lucas back? To see Lorna healthy? Why aren't I planning to welcome my new granddaughter? Why aren't the blessings in my life enough?"
"Because one child doesn't replace another," Carl offered.
"No, but hurting Donna's daughter won't bring mine back, either. I never meant for it to go this far, Carl. I swear to you, I'll swear it to anyone. All I wanted, when we first started talking, was to alienate Marley from her mother. I wanted Donna alone, her entire family, including her grandchildren, turned against her. But, I didn't want this. How on Earth can I justify this?"
"Justice, Fanny. This is justice."
"I should stop you," Felicia mumbled, more to herself than to Carl. "I should expose you before you have a chance to launch any other cruel plans against Marley. What affects her affects Steven and Kirkland. And what affects Steven and Kirkland affects Jamie and now Lorna. I should be trying to end this before things get completely out of hand."
"And yet," he pointed out the obvious. "You're not."
"No," Felicia looked sadly, apologetically at Jenna's grave, disappointed in herself, but unable to deny the burning need to see what they'd started through. "God, help me...I'm not."
"Say cheese!" Kirkland clicked the button on his waterproof camera, checked the digital display, and grinned.
Unfortunately, taking the moment to give Kirkland a pointed look diverted Grant's focus just enough for him to miss the wave rolling towards him. Suddenly, he found himself tossed from his boogie board and into the turbulent waters of the surfing pool.
"You okay?" Kirkland laughed, offering his hand to a sputtering Grant.
"I'm crammed like a sausage into a bodysuit and soaked to the bone. No, I am not okay."
"I think we're done," Kirkland called out to the Surf Pool operator who gave a nod and cut power to the system.
"The hell we are. Any day a wave of water gets the best of me, is the day I "
"You've suffered enough. This is all outside your wheelhouse, but you were still ready, willing and able to totally humiliate yourself by coming out here to ride with me. Not to mention drop a pretty penny to rent out an indoor Surfing Pool for the day."
"It's your birthday. Say the word and I'll buy the place for your own exclusive use."
Kirkland paddled to the side of the pool. "What have I told you about extravagant gifting?"
"It doesn't prove love," Grant recited dully. "I still wish you'd let me take you to experience the real thing. Getting away to Hawaii or Australia would've been nice."
"It would have," Kirkland nodded. "But with everything going on, Lorna coming home from the hospital and Aunt Marley going in... leaving town just felt wrong."
"Your Aunt Marley is fine," Grant assured. "Her instructions to me were to make sure you had a very happy birthday, and I am damn well going to make certain that happens."
"Well, considering my present last year was visiting Dad in jail, and the year before I got the surprise gift of your Easter-season resurrection, this birthday has been the most normal I've had in a while. But then next year..."
"What about next year?"
"I'll be getting ready to go off to college," Kirkland sighed. "It'll be... different."
"Not that different," Grant put on a brave face despite suddenly feeling so old, the air knocked out of him as he realized how much time had passed so quickly, how much time he'd lost with his son, and all due to his own selfishness. "You could always stay in Bay City and go to BCU. Steven's the alleged brain of the family not that I have any doubt you'll surpass him down the line yet it was good enough for him."
"Steven went to college at, like, age twelve."
"BCU has an excellent pre-law program."
"Good pre-med program, too."
"You're thinking of going into medicine?" Not that Grant had an opinion on the subject.
"I'm thinking about everything. Law, medicine, culinary school," Kirkland smirked at the look on Grant's face. "But, you can breathe easy for now. I haven't made up my mind at all. The idea of leaving everyone... Bridget and Michele... Steven... a new baby sister I'll barely know... you...I'm not sure I'm ready for that."
"Oh, don't worry about me, son. I plan on buying a nice little house in whatever college town you decide to relocate to and continuing to smother you with my presence."
"You think I'm joking? I have a lot of lost time to make up for with you."
"And you think you can do that by stalking me across the country?"
"Just a minute ago you were sad and pensive at the prospect of leaving me."
"Of leaving everyone. Besides, you ever hear of absence making the heart grow fonder?"
"You're my son. Can I help it if I love you so much?"
"There has to be more to your life than me, Dad. Obsessing over one person... you know how that felt when Spencer did it to you... how much you hated it."
"And then I made the same mistake with your mother," Grant acknowledged, Kirkland blinking in surprise at his words. "Doing everything I could to hold on to her, I ended up pushing her away instead. I don't ever want that to happen with us."
"It won't. You're a better man now than you were back then."
"I try to be," Grant insisted, ignoring in his mind's eye all recent evidence to the contrary.
"You are," Kirkland smiled at him. "If mom could see you now she'd "
"Point and laugh and wish I'd drop to the bottom of this pool like a stone, never to rise again."
"Probably," Kirkland conceded. "But then she'd have to admit that, in spite of a rocky start, you've turned out to be a pretty great dad. Who can be a bit clingy and who's got really... eccentric tastes "
"I have a classic style."
"You wear plaid."
"And yet you still appear in public with me. It does a father's heart good."
"You're my father," Kirkland sighed in mock resignation. "Can I help it if I love you so much?"
"Hi," Jen leaned over GQ's carrel inside the BCU Computer Lab, happy to see that they had the place to themselves.
"Hey," he said, looking up with a pleased, though cautious, smile. "How you doing?"
Jen asked, "Have you talked to Rick and Mindy yet?"
"Mel and I have an appointment to meet with them and your dad later today."
"And you're definitely going to give up custody?"
"I'm going to withdraw my petition to overturn Hudson's adoption," GQ clarified. "Mel suggested I offer joint custody, with them having the physical."
"That's not what you said before."
"I talked to my attorney. She insisted it would be clearer that way, everything spelled out, all our rights protected."
"Oh," Jen nodded her head way more times than her observation deserved.
"Are you the one blackmailing me now, Jen?" GQ wondered. "Are you only willing to forgive me if I give up Hudson?"
She turned the question back on him. "Will you only give up Hudson as long as I'm willing to forgive you?"
"No," GQ said.
"No," Jen said.
"God, we're really a pair."
Jen struggled to make herself understood. "It's not that I don't want to be with you unless you give up Hudson. It's just that, the man I want to be with is a man who would put his son's interests ahead of his own. A man like you."
"So you're not forcing me to give up Hudson, you just won't forgive me if I don't?"
"And that's why I hate words!" Jen groaned. "They confuse the things they're supposed to clarify. How about this? Hook me up to an EEG, and it'll all become much clearer, I swear."
"That's okay," GQ stood up, walking around the carrel, taking Jen's hand tentatively, smiling when she didn't pull away. "I don't think we need to go that far. I get what you're saying, I really do. Same way that I know I'm not giving up Hudson simply to score points with you. Even thought that's what it might sound like to other people." He stroked her cheek with one finger, cupping her chin in his hand, his lips faintly brushing hers as he assured. "It'll be okay, Jen. As long as we know what we're doing and why, nothing else matters."
"Fowler must have been out of his mind," Morgan gasped as Amanda slid off of him and plopped her head down on the pillow beside Morgan's. "To let you get away."
"Oh, you know," she waved her arm about lazily. "He had principles... or something."
"Sure didn't sound like it in court. Son-of-a-bitch certainly didn't have any principles when it came to reading out his list of women from my past."
"What's wrong with that?" Amanda rolled over, propping her head up on her elbow. "I'd have thought you'd be grateful for the flattering press. Made you sound like this stud."
"I don't kiss and tell," Morgan noted.
"Apparently you don't marry and tell, either."
"I keep my private life private."
"So does that mean you don't want to come to Lorna and Jamie's wedding with me?"
He craned his neck for a good look at her. "Are you asking me out on a date?"
"You sure? Because, like you said, I am this stud, so I'm pretty familiar with the ritual."
"I'm going to have to be there... You're going to have to be there..."
"I wouldn't be so sure. I'm not exactly your brother's favorite person."
"But, you are one of Lorna's favorite people. Don't worry, the invitation is in the mail."
"I was planning on sending my regrets."
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah! It should be fun. Think of the geometry! The mother of the groom is married to the bride's... what should we call him? Benefactor?"
"I'd have gone with borderline pedophilic old coot, but sure, let's use yours. Takes less time to say."
"The groom's brother and the bride used to... work together. The groom was once engaged to the bride's ex-husband's sister. The mother of the bride had a torrid fling years ago with the bride's ex-husband's brother, who is currently lying sweaty and, from the looks of it, very satisfied with the groom's sister, who's daughter had a baby with the boyfriend of the groom's great-nice, whose great-grandmother was married to the father of the groom! Come on, no one in their right mind would want to miss an occasion like this! The seating chart alone promises to be epic."
"I thought you wanted to keep this us casual. No strings, no commitments."
"It's one afternoon out of your life. And it beats sitting around here, moping, imagining Lorna becoming Mrs. Dr. James Frame."
"I wasn't planning on moping. I was planning on working."
"Coward," she tickled him.
Morgan flopped over on his stomach to escape her and mumbled into the pillow, "He who runs away, lives to fight another day. Words to live by."
"You seriously believe you and Lorna have another day in your future?"
"You seriously believe she and your brother are going to make it to their first anniversary?"
"Who cares? I'm talking about the two of us dressing to kill, downing some free drinks, and kicking back, watching the show. Man up, Winthrop. Are you with me?"
"Was that Donna?" Sarah asked Steven when she saw him hang up his phone, a somber expression on his face. "Is Marley going to be okay?"
"What? Oh. Yeah. Marley's going to be fine." He continued staring at the phone's display as if sheer will could connect him to the party on the other end.
Since Steven was making no move to hide it, Sarah craned her neck around and peeked at the number mesmerizing his attention. "Why were you trying to reach Jen?"
"None of your business," Steven snapped, stuffing the phone back into his pocket.
"Does this have something to do with the custody suit?"
"In a way," he hedged.
"You know something," Sarah accused.
"I know lots of things," he reminded.
"What's GQ up to now? I know he's got to be up to something. Did you hear how he barged in on Allie, dragged her to see Hudson at Rick and Mindy's?"
"Yeah?" Steven turned, genuinely curious. "What happened?"
"Nothing, as far as I know. Allie still wants Hudson left where he is. She tried to get through to GQ but you know how he is. It's like talking to a wall."
"So you don't think there's anything that could make GQ give up Hudson?"
Sarah shrugged. "The dude is a sleaze and a liar. He'd say anything and do anything to get his way, and then he'll turn around and stab you in the back. It's what he did to Allie. It's what he did to Jen in court. You'd have to be nuts to trust a guy like that."
"You want me to testify against Marley?" Lorna double-checked, still refusing to consider that even some of what Donna was saying might be true. Because if it was.... Ironically, the first thought that flashed through Lorna's head when she thought about Marley being her assailant was: Poor girls, poor Kirkland, poor Steven, poor Jamie... "On the basis of what? Her mother's say-so?"
"I don't want you to testify against Marley."
"Then what the hell do you want, Donna?" Lorna exploded.
Utterly calm now that Lorna finally seemed to be taking her seriously, Donna said, "I want you to go to Marley and tell her that you've remembered. You remembered seeing her behind the wheel. You know she's the one who hit you."
"Why?" Lorna momentarily put a hand to her head, straining to make sense of what was happening and, more importantly, what Donna's endgame could possibly be in all this.
"Because. My daughter needs serious mental help. She needs to be in a hospital, under a doctor's care."
"Well, isn't that standard procedure with a suicide attempt?"
"Marley is insisting that she didn't try to kill herself. I spoke with the psychiatrist assigned to her case. She doesn't think there's enough evidence to commit Marley against her will. The way that events unfolded, it could have been an accident. Unlikely, but with Marley and Grant determined to fight any "
"Grant!" Lorna snapped her fingers, feeling like she'd received her first clue. "This is about Grant. You want to keep Marley away from him. Isn't that what they used to do in the olden days? Lock the wayward daughter in a nunnery... or an insane asylum? Who knew you were so into the classics, Donna? I hate to burst your bubble, but I will not do your dirty work for you."
"Marley is the one who hit you and Morgan," Donna reiterated calmly, her lack of dithering driving home for Lorna that maybe, just maybe, she might be telling the truth.
"And you expect me to tell the cops that? You expect me to lie and say I remember Marley being my hit-and-run-driver? Why can't you do it yourself? If you've got evidence..."
"Because, like I keep telling you, I do not want to see my daughter behind bars. I want her treated. I do not want you to go to the police. I want you to go to Marley and offer her an ultimatum. Tell her that you know what she did. But, that you are willing to keep quiet if only she will check herself into a hospital, and stay there until she's recovered."
"Why should I do that? If Marley really is the guilty party, why shouldn't I have her locked up for twenty years like she deserves?"
"On the basis of what?" Donna echoed lightly. "You don't really have any memories of what happened. Any decent defense attorney will be able to prove that. And taking into account your recent head injury, not to mention the history between Marley and Jamie, how do you think any testimony of yours will come off in court?"
"Did you just come here to taunt me?" Lorna wondered, unsure anymore what to think.
"I came to do what was best for everyone. Your only chance for seeing the person who nearly killed you and your baby pay in any way, is to get Marley committed. You have no other options. It's either this, or she gets away scott-free."
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