EPISODE #2011-137 Part #1

Christmas in Bay City 2009

Part #1: http://www.anotherworldtoday.com/2009/2009_33p1.html

Part #2: http://www.anotherworldtoday.com/2009/2009_33p2.html

Christmas in Bay City 2010

Part #1: http://www.anotherworldtoday.com/2010/2010_85p1.html

Part #2: http://www.anotherworldtoday.com/2010/2010_85p2.html

Christmas in Bay City 2011….

“Are you and Victoria taking annual turns?” Donna asked Jake politely, not nearly as surprised to find herself on the receiving end of a nocturnal Christmas Eve haunting as she had been the year before. Quite frankly, she would have felt most disappointed and unappreciated if some scolding ghost hadn’t come again.

“Everyone sees who they need to see, when they need to see them,” was all Jake would deign to explain when Donna pressed for specifics on how one got chosen for the honor of smacking some sense into the living.

“Ah. Then may I presume you are here to offer a cosmic I told you so?”

“Presume anything you like.”

“I tried,” Donna swore. “When Victoria told me that Marley was… that she was in danger of losing her grip on reality again, I tried my best to pull her back from the edge. And when that didn’t work, I protected her the best I could. I kept her from going to prison, and I made sure that the people who hurt her – “

“Oh, yeah, Vicky and I caught your show the other day. Classic Donna. Personally, I’m amazed you can walk into a church without bursting into flames.”

“I made certain Marley wouldn’t be hurt again. Not by those people. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t have done the same, Jake? If you and Victoria were still here, and Felicia and Lucas and Morgan had ganged up on Marley the way they did… You and Victoria would have been the first ones in line to avenge her.”

“You’ve got to give it a rest, Donna. This is getting ridiculous, the back and forth, the do unto others before they do onto you bit. Sure, maybe Vicky and I got sucked into playing that game too, once upon a time. But, it’s different now. You’re setting a crap example for our kids.”

“I am teaching Bridget and Michele what it means to be loyal to one’s family.”

“Not like this. Vicky and I intended for our girls to be the best part of us.”

“And they are. Oh, Jake, have you seen what remarkable young women they’re growing into? They’re beautiful. And they’re smart, and they’re kind and considerate – “

“And they’d better stay that way. You getting my drift?”

“I love your daughters. Marley loves them. They have their brothers and their McKinnon relatives, and we all tell them so many stories about you, we try to keep you and Victoria alive for them as best we can.”

“I don’t want you telling our kids Vicky and I would have approved of your behavior. We don’t.”

“Since when did you get so rigid, Jake? So judgmental?”

“Since I grew up and got a good look at the kind of damage an eye for an eye can do. I will not let you tie Michele and Bridget up in your web. I saw what it did to Marley.”

“How dare you?”

“I dare anything I want. I won’t have you mess up my kids. Or yourself, either.”

“And what’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means, think about what you’ve been doing, Donna. Not just to Michele and Bridget, but to yourself. You still planning on a Happily Ever After with Matt?”

“That’s none of your concern,” Donna said primly.

“How does alienating his entire family fit into that plan?”

“Matt will come around.”

“Probably,” Jake conceded. “If history is any indication, yeah, you’re right, he will.”

Donna beamed.

“But, here’s the kicker: Matt, Amanda, and Jamie just bounced Rachel out of their lives because of Carl.”

“Good riddance. And much, much too long in coming.”

“What makes you think they won’t do the same to Matt, about you?”

Donna shrugged. “Their prerogative. Matthew and I will simply rise above it.”

“Matt Cory may be able to ignore his mother. I’d say he’ll even manage to muddle along without his siblings, too. You’ve got him that head over heels.”

“Thank you, darling.”

“Well, you know, I’ve been there,” Jake reminded before returning to his primary point. “But do you honestly think Matt will be able to turn his back when the person who refuses to have anything to do with him because of you is… Jasmine?”

“Do you know who I am?”

“Yeah,” Steven said. “You’re my grandfather. My other grandfather.”

Michael laughed. “I knew it. Take second billing on the name, and you’re doomed to be the other grandfather.”

“It’s just that everyone is always saying how I look like Steve Frame…”

“That I don’t come up as much?”

“Only in the context of the guy who tried to tame Donna. And almost did it, too…”

“Should have known that would be my epitaph,” Michael sighed. “And you may look like Steve Frame but, mark my words, you’ve got plenty of Hudson in you, too.”

“Well, I do plan to follow in your footsteps, start my own company, turn it into an empire.”

“Just how much money do you need, son? All those trust funds not enough?”

“It’s not the money. It’s the doing, it’s the winning. It’s the being right…”

Michael nodded, pleased. “Like I said, you’re a Hudson, no doubt about it. More than once, I’ve wondered if my – what did you call it? – taming Donna was less about her, and more about the winning, the being right…”

“Was it?” Steven asked, truly curious.

“Nah.” Michael shrugged. “Wish I could say it was, might make the end result easier to swallow. But, it was her. All her. Your grandmother is a remarkable woman.”

“Then why couldn’t you two make it work?”

“Because. Your grandmother is a remarkable woman.”

“Was it worth it? Wasting God knows how many years of your life – “

“Whoa, there. Hold up. Never said I wasted a minute. Not on Donna, not with Donna.”

“But, if you’d known from the start how it would end…”

“Maybe I did. Who says I didn’t?”

“Would you still have done everything the same way?”

“I’d have gotten a horsewhip of my own to start, that’s for sure. If I had to re-live one moment of my life over again, I’d pick letting Reginald drive me out of town. I’d have stood up to the son of a bitch and beaten him to a bloody pulp right then and there. Problem solved and averted.”

“Really?” Steven didn’t sound convinced.

“Of course not,” Michael conceded. “Even with Reginald out of the picture, Donna would still have been Donna, and I still would have been me, and even if we didn’t have the exact same problems we’d have had different problems which we probably would have reacted to in the same way and there you have it.”

“But, you still would have gone after her?”


“Even if it might have been better to leave her alone?”

That brought Michael up short. “What do you mean?”

“I mean that maybe you wouldn’t have changed a thing. But, what about Donna? Her life would have been pretty different if she’d never met you – “

“Wrong story, Steven, we’re doing Christmas Carol, not It’s a Wonderful Life here.”

“I can hold two disparate ideas in my mind at the same time. It’s a sign of genius.”

“And using words like disparate in an average conversation is a sign of arrogance.”

“I can be both of those things at the same time, too,” Steven said calmly, refusing to be thrown off-course by either accusations or semantics. “The point is, what if staying away would have hurt you – but also been best for Donna?”

“You don’t know that. Nobody knows that.”

“No. But, tell me something: Would you have left her alone, if Donna had asked you to?”

“It can’t possibly be a good sign when one’s number of deceased siblings outnumber the living, don’t you think?” Marley welcomed Jenna into her dreams with the same graciousness she might have exhibited in her own home – if she still had one.

“There’s Nick,” Jenna pointed out.

“A brother isn’t a sister. You can be close, but it isn’t the same.”

“I wouldn’t know. I was an only child until college, and then Lorna… well, it wasn’t ever going to be a typical sibling relationship.”

“Do you think you might have liked me?” Marley wondered. “If we’d actually met outside of, well, here…”

“Everyone likes you, Marley.”

Her half-sister’s bark of a laugh harbored not a single ounce of joy. “That may have been true once. Not anymore.”

“You’ve made some mistakes.”

“I almost killed your real sister and her unborn baby.”

“Yeah. That was a pretty bad one.”

“Are you here to get your revenge for Lorna and Devon?”

“Nah, I’m letting Mom and Dad take care of it.”

“They’re doing a terrific job. They’re part of the reason I’m locked up in here, away from my girls on Christmas Eve.”

“I thought you weren’t going to pass the buck anymore, Marley.”

“Sorry. Force of habit. And you’re right, there’s a long line of those responsible for my predicament. I’m at the front. And your parents are way out in back. Well, one set of parents. Donna and Carl on the other hand…”

“I really dodged a bullet there, didn’t I?”

“Hope you said plenty of Hail Mary’s back in your convent school days, because I suspect you had one hell of a guardian angel looking out for you. Wait, sorry, was that sacrilegious?”

“No more than Donna using the same convent to keep Dean, Mom and me locked up.”

“Right….” Marley wondered. “So, is that what you’re here to get payback for?”

“Who says I’m here on any kind of vengeance mission?”

“It does seem to be the popular sport with me. I ought to sell tickets. And, let’s be honest, why else would you have come?”

“You needed a friend.”

“They don’t look too kindly on imaginary friends here.”

“You don’t have to tell anyone. You don’t even have to keep talking to me. You can make me go away anytime you like. I’m here at your request.”

“Is that how it works?”

“One of the ways.”

“So you seem to know everything, you tell me: What did I want from you?”

“A little sympathy, maybe? From one daughter of Donna’s to another?”

“How can you even say her name after what she did to you?”

“You can’t seem to stop talking about her…”

“That’s different.”


“Donna is… For better or for worse – well, you know where I come down on that topic – Donna is still my mother.”

“And Felicia is mine. And she’s going to keep on attacking Donna in my name, just like Donna will keep on attacking her in yours, until both come to their senses – or die trying. I wish it wasn’t happening, but there’s nothing I can do for them. They’re both past the point of being able to listen to anyone. Even me.”

“But, I’m not?”

“No, Marley. You’re not.”

“So what is it that you came to tell me? Wait, no, scratch that: What is it that I brought you here to tell me?”

“That of all the things you’re responsible for – and there are a lot, don’t get me wrong.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.”

“One thing that you’re not responsible for is the havoc that Donna wreaked. Donna is to blame for her actions, the same way that you are for yours. The only control you have in this life – and the next one, too; but, shh, I’m not supposed to be letting the cat out of the bag.”

“Don’t worry, as long as I’m in here, nobody would believe a word I say, anyway. Your secret is safe with me.”

“The only control you have is over what you do, the choices you make. Anyone else – even if they claim otherwise – is on their own. That includes Donna, Marley. And Grant.”

Marley gasped. “How did you know about…”

But, Jenna was gone.”

“I regret never having seen you in person,” Mac told Sarah. “My Iris’ granddaughter, even imagining what you must be like…”

“Fills you with dread?” Sarah guessed.

“Curiosity,” Mac corrected gently.

“Well. How do I stack up?”

“Well… You’re beautiful, like Iris. And you’re intelligent, also like Iris. Goal-oriented. Confident. Focused.”

“Ah, here it comes. I knew that early good stuff was just to lull me into a false sense of security. Goal-oriented? That means pushy. Confident? Self-absorbed. And focused… that’s either another way of saying self-absorbed, or intractable bitch.”

“Kindly watch your language with me,” Mac chastised in a tone equal parts firmness and affection. In any case, he made it clear another slip would be most unwise.

“Sorry,” she gulped. “I’m kind of new to this great-grandfather thing.”

“That’s quite all right. As am I. My only other option is Hudson Bauer, and he isn’t the best of conversationalists yet these days, I’m afraid.”

“So you’re stuck with me.”

“If you’ll grant me that privilege.”

“Wow,” Sarah said. “You really are everything they said you were. A real life, honest-to-goodness gentleman. No wonder you romanced Rachel straight out of being a bi – bad person,” she finished meekly.

Mac’s smile gave her an A for effort. He said, “While it is flattering to the departed's ego to be universally acknowledged as Rachel’s savior, she did the work herself. I was, at the least, a twinge of conscience, at best, a humble guide. I merely encouraged Rachel to become the person she wished herself to be. Rather like you and… Grant Harrison?”

Sarah startled guiltily. “You know about that?”

“Don’t worry, I have no one to tell. Not until you’re ready, anyway.”

“Are you here to scare me straight?”

“I’m afraid I’m not that sort of ghost. My chains are out at the dry-cleaners.”

“Then are you going to show me my doomed and dismal future as a fallen woman?”

“Again, unfortunately, no.”

“You mean,” Sarah dared ask the question. “Grant and I, we’re going to be… okay?”

“I have no special insight,” Mac told her honestly. “You have as good of a chance as any – “

“Older man with family baggage in Bay City who falls for a younger woman who’s no angel herself?”

“Exactly,” Sarah’s great-grandfather promised her.

“At-ta, girl,” Cecile cooed into Felicia’s ear, her voice dripping with nothing but praise. “I couldn’t have done it better myself. Well, honestly, I could have. But, your plucky little efforts are nothing to be ashamed of.”

“I suspected Hell was getting overcrowded these days, but I assumed they’d let the lesser offenders – murderers and Ponzi schemers – out on furlough before you were allowed to roam freely,” Felicia hissed in return.

“Is that any way to speak to an old friend?” Cecile pouted. “I refuse to believe you didn’t shed so much as a single tear upon hearing of your former partner-in-crime’s tragic and much too premature demise.”

“I did,” Felicia admitted.

“That’s so sweet…”

“As soon as I realized you were even more trouble dead than alive.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment. Same as you should my earlier praise. Truly, Fanny, masterful work with Donna. Believe me, I know how difficult it is to get the best of that woman. Inspired stroke, targeting the insipid daughter. A bit like shooting fish in a barrel, I admit, but not many would have found the fortitude.”

“Marley almost killed Lorna. Donna did kill Jenna. I’d say anything I did to either of them was well deserved.”

“No argument here. Merely a round of applause, from one survivor of that raven-haired poison to another.”

“Weren’t you the one who actually tried to poison Donna’s brother, Peter?”

“Alas, some people just can’t hold their toxins.”

“Sounds to me like you’re here praising my actions as a way of feeling better about your own.”

“Fanny, darling, I’m dead. I don’t feel anything.”

“So exactly like when you were still among the living?” Felicia asked innocently.

“Aren’t you delightful? Such a gift with words.”

“It’s served me well all these years, I’ll admit.”

“Then how come you couldn’t find the words to keep your daughter from rejecting you? Again? And again? And again?”

“At least my daughter didn’t feel a need to fake her death to get away from me,” Felicia seethed.

Cecile laughed. “That was merely about money. A trifle. Nothing personal.”

“I didn’t lie to my daughter about her father. Again, and again, and again,” Felicia’s words and tone deliberately echoed Cecile’s.

“No. You merely drove him out of your life.”

“Luke and I will find our way back to each other,” Felicia swore, wondering who she was lying to more – Cecile or herself. “We always do. And Lorna will come around. She’ll understand. They’ll all understand eventually, why I did what I did.”

“Yes,” Cecile sounded almost sincerely sympathetic. “That’s what I used to tell myself, too… Until it was too late.”

“Ada! How splendid you look!” Carl gushed, his already expansive smile attempting to grow even broader.

“Yeah, yeah, the Heavenly mist does wonders,” his mother-in-law dismissed. “Too bad I’m not here to exchange hair styling tips.”

“What does bring you out on this celebratory night then?”

“Speak English, would you? Nouns and verbs are good. Don’t need the fifteen adjectives before every pronouncement, you getting my drift?”

“With impunity.”

She made a face but chose to let it slide. Time was of the essence. “My daughter loves her kids.”

“Indeed she does. It’s one of her most outstanding qualities.”

“All of her kids, not just the ones with Hutchins tattooed on their backsides.”

“That goes without saying.”

“You know what else should go without saying? That no matter how much that fact may stick in your craw, a gentleman – a real gentleman, not just somebody who knows which fork to use with which dessert – “

“Well, actually, one does not – “

“Put a sock in it, I’m still talking. A real gentleman would suck it up, and not get in the way of a mother and her kids.”

“I couldn’t agree more.”

“Oh, yeah? Then why’s your Christmas table for tomorrow distinctively missing three settings?”

“Jamie, Amanda, and Matthew all pleaded alternative engagements. You can rest assured, they were duly invited to the festivities.”

“Kids shouldn’t have to be invited to their parents’ house. They should just show up.”

“If they wish.”

“They should wish. Only reason not to wish, is if a certain party of the first part has made it clear they aren’t welcome.”

“I’m afraid, my dear Ada, that you have it all wrong. It is rather Rachel’s off-spring who have made clear that I am the unwelcome party.”

“And whose fault is that?”

“I beg your pardon? From the start, I have shown those three nothing save tolerance and generosity – “

“Real sporting of you, there, generously tolerating them in their own fathers’ house.”

“It is Rachel’s home.”

“It’s the home Mac gave Rachel.”

“To do with as she saw fit!”

“This won’t last,” Ada predicted. “Rachel siding with you over her kids. It won’t. It can’t. You find a way to fix this mess you’ve made, Sport, and you do it fast. Or you’re looking to lose more than you even knew you had on the table.”

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