Archive | August 2013

What Matters Most~ Chapter Thirty-Four

The remnants of a nightmare startled Marah awake. Only it wasn’t a nightmare it was all too real. Laying on her side Marah surveyed her surroundings. The room was shrouded in darkened shadows so it wasn’t much and any movement brought an immediate throbbing pain to her head. The last thing she remembered was Carlos tying her hands then gagging her mouth, he must have knocked her out with something. She tested her arms and found they were no longer bound. She gingerly reached up and felt the back of her head and winced. He had definitely hit her with something, a large knot had already formed and when she brough her hand back down she caught the metallic scent of blood.

She listened for any movement to indicate if Carlos was nearby but the only sound she heard were of the vermin variety. Though logically she knew he was close, no one went through the trouble of kidnapping a person to simply abandon them, she let herself relax slightly. Where had Carlos taken her? He said they were going to the scene of the crime. What crime? She had just met the man a few months ago! Sure she thought something was fishy going on. For one small moment in time she even worried that Danny and Tony had gotten mixed up in the mob again. But this was a little extreme and never crossed her mind.

Tony.

Her husband’s face flashed before her and brought a wave of tears to her eyes. After that fight they had Tony probably didn’t even know she was in danger. The very idea made Marah even more determined to make it out of here alive. Yes, Tony kept secrets and had a nasty habit of letting that trashy Eden put her lips on him but Tony and Marah had always had a destino. They had been forever since the day they met, they just got delayed for a while. She silently vowed that when she got out of wherever in the hell she was that they would clear the air once and for all. Make a fresh start for them and for their baby.

Marah once again listened for any signs for Carlos but he still hadn’t returned. Ignoring the intense throbbing in her head she managed to push herself up into a sitting position.  Pausing to catch her breath she saw him, sitting in a nearby chair patiently waiting for her to make the first move. His smile was cruel and taunting. “Got tired of playing opossum? Sorry princess we are still waiting for our other guest to arrive. You know how women are, always making you wait. But I have been waiting years for this so a few minutes more won’t kill me.”

Marah was done playing his little games. She wanted answers and she wanted them now. “Why did you do this? What is it you want?  Money?”

He waved her off as if the very idea was ridiculous to him. “Don’t be absurd.  Your money is inconsequential.  I am afraid my motives were a bit more Machiavellian in origin.” Carlos leaned forward on his chair, his arms resting on his knees. Though his posture was relaxed, she knew he was just scrutinizing her and trying to intimidate. “Let’s see if this will help clue you in Marah Santos.  My real name is Carlos but it is not Riviera, it is Quesada, and I do believe you knew my sister.”

***

Tony looked at the stunned faces currently gathered in his living room and felt the same mix of bewilderment. What Frank was telling them was so beyond what any of them had imagined.  The more they tried to untangle the strings on this web the more messy it became.  “So let me get this straight, I was drugged?  That is why I can’t remember anything after leaving the bar that afternoon?”

Frank picked up one of the documents that had been tucked inside the envelope. “According to this letter John wrote he said that he was paid $1000 to slip you the date rape drug Lady Q, otherwise called Queen of Hearts, into your drink.  So you were correct Michelle, Tony was drugged.  Talked to one of the vice cops, he said Lady Q is quickly becoming a thorn in their side.  It’s quick acting and in less than eight hours completely out of the blood system.”

Michelle hardly looked satisfied knowing she had been right. “That is not exactly a good thing Frank.”

Frank continued explaining. “He didn’t ask why he was asked to drug Tony, he just did it for the money.  But when he saw Eden escort you out he had what he called ‘a feeling’.”  Frank took a breath before continuing, “John Anderson really wasn’t a bad guy.  A little misguided and he fell into the wrong hands.  You two know what that is like don’t you?”

From behind Tony’s shoulder Danny muttered. “Yeah he was a real stand up guy.”

Frank pretended to ignore Danny’s comment and the looks he got from the group at large.  He knew John Anderson had made poor decisions, but he hated to see such a young life filled with potential cut down in its prime.  Instead he continued to search the contents of the envelope for clues.  Perhaps something that would further tie this case together.  He pulled out a photocopy of evidence checkout and suddenly he knew what John was trying to show him, it was right in front of his face.  He slid the paper across the table towards Tony, “Recognize this?”

Tony quickly scanned the sheet but he couldn’t say he really read a word of it.  They were wasting time, time Marah didn’t have.  “Get to the point Frank!”  He felt a restraining hand on his arm and he knew it was Reva holding him back.  “Frank please just tell us.”

“John was paid nearly 10,000 to get a specific piece of evidence out of storage.  Evidence pertaining to case number 041602.”

041602.  That number bounced around Tony’s brain frantically until it finally hit home.  April 16, 2002.  The day Catalina was murdered.  “Catalina.” Tony leaned forward and pinned Frank with a look so lethal even Frank cringed. “Are you telling me all of this is somehow connected to Catalina?”  At his master’s harsh words Toby raises his head and whined.   Sensing the tension in the room the dog had been restless all night, pacing from one room to the next.  Tony absent-mindedly stoked his soft head, reassuring him though Tony wasn’t certain if he was convincing himself or the dog more.  He looked back at Frank and continued, “She never really spoke of her family, not in a way that I would think they would come after my family or myself .  You think this is all about revenge?”

“I think they are connected somehow and frankly it is our best lead in finding where Mr. Riviera, if that is his real name, has taken Marah.”  He pointed to the envelope but didn’t take his eyes off of Tony, “All of this screams that it is personal Tony.  Say Catalina’s relatives came back for revenge where would they take her?”

From where he stood nearby Rafael growled. “Damn it man he’s not a detective.  You figure it…”

“The Santos mansion.” All eyes on the room flew to Tony and he continued. “That was where Catalina was killed.  If it is as personal as you say it is than you don’t get more personal than that.  And it is certainly secluded enough.”

Frank turned to Danny. “The Santos mansion still empty?”

“It has been on the market for years but no takers.  I have refused to set foot on the property since I moved back home.  Too much bad blood there.”  Danny winced at his poor choice of words.  Hopefully no more blood would be spilled that night.

Frank stood and opened his cell phone to mobilize a police unit to that location but stopped speaking when he saw the looks exchanged in the room.  “Don’t even think about it.”

Tony barely spared Frank a look as he stood and walked towards the door flanked by Danny and Rafael. “That is my wife and child damn it!  Don’t even think of stopping me or you’ll have to arrest me for assault.  Even then I would find a way to get to them so save yourself the time and hassle.”

Josh held Frank back when he moved to intercept the trio at the door. “Don’t argue with him Frank.  Just get your men moving!  Nothing matters except bringing Marah home safe where she belongs.”

Frank growled but he finally made the call he had intended to make moments ago. “I need all units to the old Santos place.  Let’s go in under the radar, no lights.”  He turned to the remaining members in the house and shook his head. “I doubt you will listen but this is police business.  You will be more help to Marah here than out there acting like cowboys.”  He closed the door behind him with a resounding click.

Reva stared at the closed-door and dropped her head.  After taking a few deep breaths she turned and faced her husband and grown sons.  Shayne had grown up along side Marah and they had always been close.  Even though he was younger he had always been protective of her and she could tell by his posture that he wanted nothing more than to run to her aid.  And Jonathan?  Though he had grown up away from the family fold he had built bonds with all of them on varying levels.  Since Marah had moved back home Jonathan and Marah had grown close and she knew he was no less worried than Shayne.  So it was with a heavy heart, knowing she was sending her men into a dangerous situation, like the cowboys Frank alluded to, when she simply said. “Go.  Help Tony bring Marah home.  We will stay here with the kids like good women folk.”

As if permission was what they were waiting for her stoic men moved towards the door, ready to do what was needed to bring back their little sister.  Josh paused by her side. “I trust Tony, but that’s our baby girl.”

She kissed him sweetly, “I know Bud.  Just keep the boys safe.  Keep yourself safe, and come home to me.”

He touched her face tenderly.  The face he had loved since they were teenagers in Oklahoma, the face he had always loved.  “Always.”

***

A hard nudge to her side brought Marah awake.  She must have passed out from the concussion.  The smell of sulfur filled the air and when Marah opened her eyes she saw that Carlos had lit candles, the room was filled with them.

Carlos crouched down beside her so that he was in Marah’s line of sight. “Rise and shine princess, our guest has finally arrived.”  He gripped her arm tightly and yanked her to her feet.  The room blurred before her eyes and tilted sideways and Marah stumbled forward.  Carlos stopped her with one of his strong arms. “Can’t have that Mrs. Santos.  Why we’ve barely just begun.”

Marah swallowed down her nausea and was about to tell him where he could shove his ‘fun’ when she caught sight of the newcomer to the room.  Her brain may not have been firing on all cylinders at the moment but she knew this wasn’t a welcome addition to the nightmare this night had become.  Carlos unceremoniously plopped her down in a chair and Eden slithered up to her like the snake she was.  “Why hello Marah.  Having fun yet?”

The Community Center

Cedars Ball

Ross at the Cedars’ 60th Anniversary Ball

Just like the Bauer Bar-B-Que and the required Christmas episode, Guiding Light used to throw some really great parties. There has been everywhere from the Founder’s Day Picnic, complete with turn of the century costumes, to masquerades. From decorative galas to commemorative balls. These were always great fun to watch in that they typically included a goot majority of the community of Springfield and there was always something going on behind the action to amp up the drama.

Reva Founders Day

***

In What Matters Most I tried to incorporate some of these elements into the opening of the Community Center.  In fact, I tried to draw on as much history as possible.

I started with the name.  There is nothing like a good tie-in to the show, and it seemed appropriate to use the name Guiding Light as the name for the center.  I felt this would be particularly appropriate considering its entire purpose is in “guiding” Fifth Street back to its former glory.  Which brings up another, though more recent, ode to history; the role of Fifth street in Springfield.  Fifth Street was basically a big block party at Frank and Eleni’s wedding, in 1995 Buzz Cooper threw a charity gala to raise money for Fifth street, and in 1996 it was the victim of a fire.

We were also led to believe that it had fallen victim to the clutches of the Santos family and became a den of depravity.  Danny and Tony began a neighborhood cleanup project in 2003 but this was eventually scrapped.  Since Danny and Tony were both back in Springfield I liked the idea of them finishing what they started so many years ago.

SantosFifthStreet

At Cedars Hospital’s 60th Anniversary Ball Ross made a great speech about the history of Cedars and its importance to Springfield.  I felt that Ed, as the Bauer patriarch, should make this speech at the community center.  And including Reverend Rutledge’s famous quote was my final ode to Guiding Light History.

What Matters Most~ Thirty-Three (Part Two)

Carlos pulled the car over to the side of the road right outside Springfield city limits. As far as Marah could tell he had just been driving in circles or perhaps his plan was to drive her out here all along. To get her outside of city limits and end her life. He had already tied her hands, as if Marah was a real threat in her current pregnant state. But she hated being helpless and at his mercy.  Perhaps if she could just get the door open she could try to at least make some sort of run for it. Shifting her body away from Carlos Marah surreptitiously reached her hands towards the door handle…

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Not that the doors would open anyway but I would hate to have to hurt you needlessly.” He turned towards her and held out a scrap of fabric. “I’m going to need to cover up your mouth Mrs. Santos. Can’t have you screaming and alerting curious onlookers.”

Marah recoiled in horror, a wave of overwhelming panic consuming her. She pushed herself as close to the door as possible she could barely breathe through the fear, he couldn’t cover her mouth! She threw up her bound hands when he moved closer, “Please! Don’t! I’ll be quiet I swear!”

Carlos let out a frustrated sigh before reaching in to the waistband of his tuxedo pants and pulling out a rather large and lethal-looking pistol. He grinned in satisfaction at watching Marah’s eyes go even more wide in fear, “Listen, I could kill you now and save myself a lot of time and aggravation, or you can put the gag on and perhaps live to see your child make their first steps. Your choice.”

She knew that he was most likely lying, no one would go through all this trouble just to let someone walk away, but she had no choice.  She reached out and grabbed the cloth from his hand and tied it securely behind her head, knowing that if she didn’t do it right he would know.  Carlos grinned at her acceptance. “Now that wasn’t so hard now was it?” He ignored the daggers she shot him from her blue eyes and instead turned back to the steering wheel and Marah let out a relieved breath through her nose.  At least he hadn’t hurt her, not really.  And she could concentrate on where he was taking her, perhaps make a run for it…then as quick as a snake Carlos turned back around and struck Marah in the back of the head with the gun he still held in his large hand.  As she slumped over unconscious in the passenger seat Carlos nodded to himself, “Not so hard at all.” Tucking the gun back into the waistband of his pants he then pulled the car back onto the road continuing towards his destination.

***

Rafael stood nearly toe to toe with the company hired to provide security for the evening.  He looked like he was ready to come to blows if need be to get inside, and knowing the man Tony was sure that wasn’t too far off the mark.  Tony let out another frustrated breath. “I do not have time for this.” Rushing over he quickly put a restraining hand on the older man’s arm. “Hey Rafael it’s okay man. I am right here. Let’s not start throwing punches.”

The security guard scrutinized Tony with a harsh look. “You know this guy?”

Tony resisted the urge to belt the guy in the face himself.  He really didn’t have time for meatheads on a powertrip, adding Springfield’s finest to the mix would just be the topper to this craptastic night. “He’s my father.” He ignored the slightly amused look on Danny’s face.  It’s not like he had planned to say those words, they had just come out. “He has just gotten back from out-of-town. Cut him some slack.”

The security guard still looked wary but after a few moments backed off grudgingly. “Next time read the invitation more carefully.”

Rafael gave a mock salute. “Yes sir” Turning towards Tony he looked as agitated as ever. “Well son I called in every favor owed to me in D.C. but at least I finally got some answers.  So do you want the bad news or the even worse news first?”

***

Blake moved through the throng of dancers to get to the pair that were still occupying the dance floor like a bunch of teenagers. She tapped Reva on the shoulder to get their attention. “Have you seen Tony anywhere? Frank called and told me to make sure he stayed put. He sounded pretty urgent.”

Both Josh and Reva scanned the room, when there was no sign of Tony or Danny they both suddenly knew something was amiss.  Josh turned towards Reva and gave her a reassuring smile he didn’t feel. “Darlin’ I’m going to go look outside for Tony. I’ll let you know what I find out.”

***

Rafael squared his shoulders, once again looking like a boxer getting ready for a fight. Or like someone ready to impart some really heavy news. “I talked to the agent who was in charge of keeping track of Ms. August while she was in Witness Protection. Took me damn near a week to get him to divulge anything important but finally I was able to work my magic.”

Tony didn’t know what Rafael’s brand of magic was and frankly he didn’t care.  All he wanted was answers. He made a hurry up gesture with his hand. “And…”

“And let’s just say she did not acclimate well to the program. She was defiant, hostile, you name it.  Agent Clarke said the psychiatrist assigned to help transition her into the program warned him that she was prone to periods of delusional fantasy. And can you guess who was her main characters in these fantasies?”

He didn’t have to guess Tony already knew.  Eden had always seen them as being made from the same cloth. “Me.”

Rafael shook his head. “You were only part of the story.  It’s Marah that was the star of the show.  Marah was reason she could never have you, why you could never love her.  Angela Coleman was just her most recent identity in Witness Protection, she’s had to have several more due to her troubles in the program.  And sure enough one of them she chose was Marah.  Seems she wanted to become what she envied most.”

Tony tried to digest all that Rafael was throwing at him.  If what he was saying were true then all the time he had been trying to protect Marah he had actually left her even more vulnerable to Eden’s plans.  Rafael said Eden had been prone to delusions which meant that Marah could be in even more danger than before.  “We need to figure out where Carlos could have taken Marah.”

Josh had exited the large double doors just in time to hear Tony’s announcement.  And judging by the fear in the younger man’s tone Josh knew something was seriously wrong. “What do you mean?  Is Marah in some kind of danger?”

“We don’t know Josh.” Danny hesitated before continuing, “But it’s possible.  We have reason to believe that Carlos Riviera isn’t who he claims to be.  And right now he has Marah and she is not answering her cell phone.   And Rafael here just came back with some interesting information about Eden August.”

“Do you think they are working together?”

Tony shrugged, a loss for answers. “We simply don’t know. ”

“You looking for answers?” Frank Cooper was practically running towards them holding a large manilla envelope in his hands. “I think I might have the answers you are looking for.”

What Matters Most~ Thirty-Three (Part One)

Angry didn’t begin to describe Tony’s mood at that moment. He knew to the depths of his soul that Eden had known Marah was there when she kissed him. Walking the short distance back to the room he was shocked to discover that Eden was gone. She had simply vanished. He laid his palms flat on the table before him and hung his head. Once again Eden had detonated a bomb in his life and walked away unscathed. He growled in frustration, pushing the table several feet away.

“Judging by your defeated look and the way you are beating up that table I am guessing you and Marah had a fight. My question is are you going to stand there and throw a hissy fit or are you going to go after her?”

Tony hadn’t heard Danny come in the room but he wasn’t surprised, Danny had to have heard some of the commotion. He was surprised half of Springfield hadn’t witnessed the end of his marriage. “She saw Eden kiss me. Suffice to say she doesn’t want me anywhere near her right now Danny.”

“That woman has been out to get you from day one Tony. I know and you know it. But you and Marah are strong you just need to clear away all the crap Eden has thrown at you.” Danny let out a sad little laugh and fished out his keys from his pocket, “As for Marah not wanting to be near you, since when do you ever listen? Here you can take my car, Michelle and I can catch a ride home with Ed and Holly.”

“Keep your keys. My car is right outside. Marah caught a ride home with Carlos.” Tony let out a harsh breath. Sitting on the table he finally looked at Danny, his eyes full of condition. “Though I guess I should be grateful. Marah was really upset. I would never forgive myself if something happened to her or the baby.”

Hearing that Marah was currently with Carlos, Danny’s expression suddenly got serious, “Did you invite Carlos Riviera tonight?”

Tony shook his head. Danny wanted to talk about invitations at a time like this? “My life is going down the drain but you want to talk about who invited some business associate of ours?”

Danny advanced further into the room, tension evident in his stance and tone. “Listen Tony this is important. I don’t know why, it just is.”

“I haven’t seen or talked to the man in weeks. When I saw him tonight I assumed you told him about the event.” A look of pure panic washed over Tony’s face when Danny’s expression didn’t change, in fact it just looked more rigid. “What is going on Danny?”

He didn’t know, but it wasn’t looking good. They needed to alert Frank as soon as possible, something was seriously not right about this whole situation. “I don’t know for sure.”

“Danny, please tell me Marah is safe.”

The naked pleading in Tony’s voice nearly broke Danny. But that wouldn’t help any of them right now, he had to remain steady, for Tony and for Marah. “I think there is more to Carlos Riviera than what meets the eye. I think we need to talk to Frank and…” Danny stopped mid sentence when he realized Tony wasn’t listening, he was already running towards the door. Following in his wake Danny rushed to catch up.

***

Marah had been surprised when Carlos had escorted her to an older model SUV. The man was decked out in Armani and he drove a Honda? Marah had then mentally slapped herself for thinking like a snob. She had never been one for pretentious behaviour so perhaps Carlos was the same way. She was just thankful he didn’t make idle chitchat or try to sing the praises of Tony Santos. She really didn’t think she could handle any of that right now. She felt a sharp pain in her lower abdomen and winced. Damn Braxton-Hicks. But thankfully the pain was fleeting just like last time. Not like the pain in her heart.

Turning her gaze out the window she was shocked to see that Carlos wasn’t anywhere near her house. But then again he had only been there once, perhaps he didn’t remember the way. “This isn’t the way to my house. If you take a left you can double back though.”

Carlos turned cold and unfeeling eyes towards her. Eyes that made the hair on Marah’s arms stand on end. Something is not right here. Then he practically sneered at her as he said, “I am not taking you home.”

Marah tried to keep the fear out of her voice as she replied calmly. “Where are you taking me?”

Carlos shot her a look full of pure malice that chilled Marah to her very core. Marah knew without a doubt that she was in the presence of evil. And it was even more clear when he sneered, “Where are we going? Why, back to the scene of the crime of course.”

***

Several heads turned as Tony came running through the crowd but thankfully no one tried to stop him because they would have gotten mowed down. Michelle saw the frantic look in Tony’s eyes and seeing her husband following in his wake hurried over. “What is going on?”

Danny knew time was of the essence so he kept his explanation as brief as possible. Drawing her to the side he kept his voice pitched low as he filled Michelle in on the situation, “Neither I nor Tony invited Carlos here and now he is driving Marah home. We think Marah might be in danger.”

Michelle’s face went ghost white, she was not only worried about her friend but the baby as well. She pulled her husband down for a brief kiss before pointing towards the door. “Go! Make sure Marah is safe, but both of you be careful!”

Danny and Tony didn’t have to be told twice. They rushed towards the exit only to be stopped by a commotion directly in front of the front door. And from the sound of things the person was not a happy camper.

“I don’t care if it is black tie! I need to talk to Tony Santos and if you don’t get out of way in the next five seconds you are going to be damn sorry.” They didn’t hear what was said to the man but they did hear his reply. He practically growled deep and dangerous, “Whatever sport. Now either move aside or I move through you. Your choice. But I move through you and you won’t like the outcome.”

Danny and Tony exchanged looks, only one man could threaten an entire security detail without so much as taking a breath. Together they moved more briskly towards the exit. Rafael was back and he sounded as desperate as they were.

What Matters Most~ Chapter Thirty-Two (Part Three)

Danny frowned as he watched Tony disappear down the hallway, particularly when he spotted Eden following in his wake. This was not good, not good at all. He finished his drink and was prepared to follow when he spotted Carlos Riviera moving in their direction. Curious. He didn’t remember mentioning this event to Carlos, and the man certainly wasn’t from Springfield so why would he be in attendance? He leaned down and whispered to Michelle. “Here comes our new business partnership, Carlos Riviera. Not sure why he is here.”

Michelle’s brows furrowed as she pondered the unspoken question in Danny’s statement. “Community outreach perhaps?”

“Hm. Perhaps. Though he doesn’t seem like a community outreach type of guy.” Though he was still suspicious Danny greeted Carlos jovially before making introductions. “Michelle this is our new wine distributor Carlos Riviera. Carlos, this is my wife Michelle.”

When Michelle extended her hand to shake in casual greeting Carlos slipped on what he must have considered his most charming smile. Bringing her hand up his mouth he kissed a brief kiss on her knuckles. “A pleasure to meet you Mrs. Santos.” Carlos turned his attention back to Danny. “You are a very lucky man Mr. Santos.”

Feeling Michelle stiffen beside him Danny instinctively pulled her closer. Clearly she wasn’t comfortable with Carlos’ intense attention, and truthfully neither was Danny. He wasn’t sure why but he suddenly didn’t trust the man as far as he could throw him. Making small talk held little appeal, not with Tony currently who knows where alone with Eden. But it didn’t seem like Carlos was going away anytime soon. “Nice party. Heard some folks talking about how this urban renewal has been a Santos project for a while now.”

Michelle gazed up at her husband admiringly. “Danny and Tony began cleaning up Fifth Street years ago but as they say, life has a way of changing plans.”

That was an understatement. All of what happened back then seemed so unfathomable now. But it was there, hidden deep in Danny’s memory where he was unlikely to recall the stark coldness of that time. Like Michelle’s brain injury and subsequent memory loss. They both had tried to move on in relationships with others, he with Marina and Michelle with who they had thought was Tony. The only bright spot in the whole sordid time was Hope, sweet beautiful Hope. Everything else was best left in the past, locked away so they could focus on what they had in the present and the future. “Tony and I both feel that since our family played a role in driving this part of the neighborhood into ruin that we should play a role in building it back up again. But it took more than us to make this happen.”

Danny noticed that although Carlos seemed to nod in all the appropriate places his attention kept straying to the hallway, where Tony had disappeared with Eden. Curious. He decided to do a little digging. “I was surprised to see you here. Springfield events don’t usually attract attention from those in Bay City.”

Carlos just shrugged as he regarded Danny with his shrewd gaze. “Tony mentioned it when I talked to him the other day. I contribute to a number of civic causes.”

Plausible enough. But the brief flash of anger in Carlos’ eye when Danny had questioned him about his presence hadn’t gone unnoticed. Danny watched as Carlos turned on his chameleon-like charm on the people of Springfield. The man was good, he would give him that. Beside him Michelle whispered, “I don’t like him and I don’t trust him.”

Danny briefly turned his attention toward his wife and when he looked towards the crowd Carlos had simply vanished as if he were never there. Before he could even question where the other man had gone there was a commotion from the hallway Tony had gone down. And just like that Danny knew things had just gotten worse, much worse

***

Tony walked quickly down the hall taking small pleasure in the fact that Eden had to labor to keep up. She had been a thorn in his side since she had revealed herself to him outside of Infierno, making her suffer a bit made him feel a little bit better. Marah must have gotten caught up talking to someone, perhaps her parents or siblings. In this case it was certainly a good thing. If she had spotted Eden all hell would have broken loose and he didn’t want that for her, not on her big night.

Just before the restrooms he spotted an open door and decided it was as good as any for a private discussion. Even before he turned on the lights Tony sensed the room was designated for arts and crafts. The distinctive scent of paint was in the air, a scent that had nothing to do with the fresh coat of glossy white on the walls. This was a scent that reminded him of Marah. Of waking up early on Sunday mornings and finding her outside on their patio painting the sun just as it broke through the trees. The thought made him smile. God he loved that woman. Which made him even more determined to rid them of Eden once and for all. He flipped on the light and confirmed his suspicion. It was an artist paradise. Marah had surely had her hand in the planning of this room.

Tony leaned against a table and faced Eden and began clapping. “Got to hand it to you Eden, you sure know how to ruin someone’s life. The photos were a nice touch. But we both know I wasn’t an active participant in that hotel room.” All serious now Tony pinned her with his harsh gaze. “So now that you have once again disrupted my life what is it going to cost me to get you out of it? No games this time.”

Eden threw her head back and laughed. “Precious Marah didn’t enjoy my present? Too bad. And how do you know you didn’t participate Tony? You can’t even remember that day at Towers. The passion that flared between us.”

He had been barely listening to her, but his ears perked up at something she had let slip. He regarded her shrewdly, cautious not to not overplay his hand. “How do you know that Eden?”

“Know what?”

“Know that I don’t remember that day.” Michelle’s theory about Eden drugging him was starting to look even better.

For a moment Eden looked mildly panicked but she quickly recovered as she shrugged her shoulders. “You know how people talk in this town. Word gets around.” Seeing movement of the corner of her eye Eden smiled and moved towards Tony seductively. “But enough about that. Let’s talk about us.”

Wait what? Tony was instantly confused. “Us?”

“Yes us. As in you and me. I think it is time we stop fighting the inevitable.”

Warning bells began going off in Tony’s head. It was clear Eden had no plans to leave, not without getting what she wanted. And what she wanted was him. “Eden there is no us.”

Speaking softly Eden whispered, “There could be. You just need to stop fighting it. You never could see that I was perfect for you in all the ways Marah will never be.” Before he could react Eden threw her arms around his neck and sealed their lips together in a bruising kiss.

That got a reaction! Tony instantly brought his hands up and pushed against her shoulders, extracting his lips from hers. But before he vent his outrage he saw his life effectively shatter in an instant. There, in the doorway, stood Marah.

“Don’t let me interrupt. I just wanted to let you know that you should sleep at the Beacon tonight. Or at Infierno. Or at the freaking bus station for all I care. As long as it is nowhere near me.” Inside Marah gave herself a mental pat on the back. She had sounded strong when all she wanted to do was crawl in a corner and weep. Instead she turned and headed down the hall.

“Marah!”

Tony was close on her heels. Reaching out he clasped her hand pulling her to a stop. But Marah was not in the mood. Instead she wheeled around and releasing all the hurt and anger inside her slapped him across his cheek. Wrenching her arm away from his hand she seethed. “Don’t touch me!”

Carlos Riviera was suddenly there, concern in his eyes. “Is everything all right.”

“No. Everything is not all right.” Marah reached inside her small handbag for her cell phone. “I am calling a cab and going home.”

“Marah don’t do this.” Tony reached out towards her, his tone pleading. But while Marah gave him a quick look he doubted she really saw him. “Tony you still have her damn lipstick all over you.”

Carlos looked awkward, like he wanted to be anywhere but in the middle of a marital argument. But he placed a hand on Marah’s shoulder. “I could drive you home if you like Mrs. Santos. “

Marah looked at the man and while she hesitated she finally nodded. “Thank you.” Without sparing Tony a second look she continued down the hall and then she was gone.

Carlos gave Tony a reassuring look. “I will make sure she gets home all right.”

But Tony wasn’t reassured. Not in the least.

Could Guiding Light Make a Come Back?

Grant Aleksander

Recently Grant Aleksander (Phillip, GL) did an interview with Carolyn Hinsey from Soap Opera Digest about his work on the webseries Tainted Dreams and revealed an interesting little tidbit that may be of interest to Guiding Light fans. Paul Rauch, who was Executive Producer for Guiding Light from 1996-2002, was working on bringing back Guiding Light before his death in 2012.

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According to the interview: “Oddly enough, Paul was working on getting the show back on the air before he died. He had gotten pretty far with that, he was talking to big
network executives. P&G was interested. When you look at what’s going on in Stamford right now [where AMC and OLTL have been filming], I don’t think P&G will just sit on a creative property if there’s a profit to be made.”

***

Could you imagine if Springfield made a comeback online such as AMC and OLTL?

On a personal level I would love to see Guiding Light return more than any other soap. I see the demand every day when I get comments on Marah and Tony videos thanking me for uploading clips. About how upset they were to see that Lighthouse fade into the darkness. When I see how many people are checking out this website and the happenings of the citizens of Springfield. I Believe In the Mystery is just a small corner of the internet devoted to one soap couple, a soap couple that stuck with me long after their story ended.

But there is a definite profit to be made in the marketing of Guiding Light. Just like I see DVDs for Dynasty, Falcon Crest, and Dallas available for purchase Guiding Light is a fairly untapped market waiting for executives to see its potential. The clips I have made available were DVDs of episodes that I purchased from a private vendor.

So could Guiding Light make a come back online? Perhaps. Paul Rauch passed away before it was off the ground. But the fact remains that P&G were interested. And that makes a big difference.

What Matters Most~ Chapter Thirty-Two (Part Two)

Frank Cooper took a look at his watch and cursed. “Blake is going to kill me!” He was nearly half an hour late for the opening of the new community center, once again work had gotten the better of him and he had lost track of the time. Thankfully he had thought ahead and packed his monkey suit along with him when he left the house that morning. Moving the current case file he was working on to his desk drawer he was surprised to see a large manilla envelope sitting on there with his name written in bold scroll. “What the-”

The case file forgotten he picked up the envelope and opened it. Inside was a letter and some photocopies of documents. Frank had seen a lot of things working on the Springfield PD but this was something straight out of a Hollywood. “Holy shit.” He hurried up and locked up his desk and picked up his car keys. Screw the monkey suit, there was more important things at stake.

***

When Marah exited the powder room she took one look at the crowded reception hall and knew that was the last place she wanted to be. Instead she walked down the remodelled halls and took in all the improvements made to the building. Rooms that had once been used for offices had been converted into space for both children and adults. Everything from play space to rooms for continuing education classes could be found within these walls. The Guiding Light Community Center would serve as a beacon of light for all those in Springfield who sought refuge here. Though Marah tried, that thought did little to give her comfort. These walls couldn’t solve her problems.

“What’s wrong honey? You are missing the party, all the guests are raving about what you did with the place.”

Marah turned and faced her father, who looked rather dapper in his tuxedo. “I am not really in a party mood dad. Besides, all I did was put the finishing touches on all your hard work. The place looks great.”

“The building had great bones to work with.” Clearly done with small talk he moved closer and took her into his strong arms, holding her head against his chest in a comforting hug. “It will be alright Marah.”

It had been so long since he had given her his fatherly comfort and Marah realized how much she could use it. The feeling that he could shelter her from the outside world like when she was a little girl. But she wasn’t a little girl anymore and regretfully she pulled away. “I’m fine dad. Just thinking.”

Josh nodded but continued to look at her sympathetically. “You know I was never Tony’s biggest fan when you were younger. And maybe that was part of the problem. That I never gave him a real chance. Because seeing him now, how much he obviously loves you, makes me realize that it was always there. He always loved you I was just too focused on protecting you to see it. Give him a chance honey, don’t close yourself off to love.”

“I want to! Don’t you think I want to? But every time I look at him, every time I think of him, I see those pictures and I can’t help but close myself off.”

Josh pulled Marah close one more and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead. “You have always been smart. I even like to pretend you get that from me. But fact is you have so much of your mother in you it is sometimes scary. But you have so many of her other traits as well. Particularly her bravery. Our family hasn’t always been easy but it’s making it through these rough patches that make the good times even more special.” At the distant sound of applause Josh gestured down the hall where the party awaited. “You want me to escort you back?”

Marah walked with her father until once again they reached the powder room. The joys of impending motherhood. “I’ll be there in a minute. Just need to make a quick stop.”

Josh nodded and smiled. “I’ll see you in there. And save me a dance beautiful. It’s been a long time since I’ve danced with my little girl.”

***

As the head of Springfield’s oldest and more revered families the board of trustees had chosen Dr. Ed Bauer to give the opening speech. Nearly the entire town stood silently as Ed spoke of growing up listening to his parents talk about a Reverend Ruthledge when they lived in Five Points. How the good Reverend had served as the proverbial ‘guiding light’ in the lives of all who knew him and how the community center was carrying out a similar mission. Ed faced the crowd of people he had known for years and recalled the words he had heard numerous times growing up. “In the words of the late Revered Ruthledge, There is a destiny that makes us brothers. No man walks alone. All that you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.”

The speech was short and sweet and topped off with words of wisdom that spoke to all in attendance and was met by thunderous applause.

Tony’s applauses was half-hearted at best. All his attention was focused across the room. At the brunette who had effective driven a wrecking ball through his life. When he moved to take a step in that direction Danny laid a restraining hand on his bicep and leaned in close and hissed, “Don’t do anything Tony. The entire town is here. Damn it, your wife is here.”

Tony could sense his cousin’s frustration but it was nothing compared to his own. Not to mention his own sense of helplessness and loss. He tugged his arm loose. “Exactly. My wife doesn’t need to see Eden right now. I am not going to do anything stupid.”

Danny saw the stubborn look of determination on Tony’s face and knew his cousin had his mind made up and muttered. “Famous last words of a fool.” But Tony was already walking towards the other side of the room and all Danny could do was watch.

***

Eden stood and watched as Tony practically mowed Vanessa Reardon down in his effort to get to her. She knew her presence would cause a stir and she wasn’t disappointed. Judging by the frowns and whispers she had received since arriving her showing up had caused the social bomb she intended. If only Marah would have seen here. Where was little miss perfect anyway? She didn’t see her, just Tony in all his fury. And didn’t that fury look good on him. Marah had never known how to truly appreciate all that barely contained rage that resided inside Tony Santos. But Eden did, and she would again. When Tony was within earshot she put on her best seductive smile, “Well if it isn’t Tony Santos. Where is the old ball and chain?”

Tony didn’t respond to her bait, he merely moved into her personal space causing her to move even further away from the crowd. Away from curious onlookers and prying eyes. “Why are you here?”

Eden tried to look affronted, even placed a hand over her heart as if his words hurt. “I’m wounded. You know how I feel about community issues.”

“Eden you ran a brothel. I’d hardly call that community service. So how about you cut the crap and get the hell out of here.”

She reached forward and trailed one long fingernail down his tuxedo jacket. “Maybe if you could give me a moment of your time. I may have reconsidered your earlier offer to leave town. If the price is right.”

Tony looked around the room. With no sign of Marah he walked towards the hallway where he knew rooms had been converted into meeting space. He didn’t have to turn around to know Eden was following eagerly.