What Matters Most~ Epilogue

Three days later…

Danny entered the Springfield police station with some hesitation. When Frank had called him and informed him that Carlos wanted to speak with him before he was hauled off to a more secure facility Danny’s initial reaction was to pass on the message for him to “go to hell”. But then curiosity got the better of him. What could Carlos possibly have to talk to him about. So here he was, walking into the Springfield Police Department and meeting with the man who had nearly killed a member of his family. He showed his ID to the desk clerk and signed in.

Frank approached and raised his chin greeting. “Come to chat with Quesada?”

Danny nodded. “I hate to give him the satisfaction but when you called and said he wanted to talk I felt I had to come. I owed it to Tony, to Marah.”

“How is she doing?”

“She still hasn’t regained consciousness which has Tony on edge. Well, even more so.” Danny amended before he continued. “Between him and the Lewis’s they practically live at Cedars. But we have hope and that is important.”

Frank nodded in understanding. “Blake and I wish them the best. I’ll send Mr. Quesada into an interrogation room for you.” He paused was if considering the best way to approach his next request. “He hasn’t given us much. He knew going in that he was either going to lose his freedom or his life. So any information you can ascertain would be more than helpful.”

That sounded fair, everyone wanted the answers to why Marah. Why now? Danny slapped Frank’s shoulder as replied. “I’ll see what I can do.”

***

The orange jumpsuit made Carlos look even more lethal than Danny already knew him to be, but at least it . The man had already killed two people and tried to kill his cousin’s wife. But at least that jumpsuit indicated he was going to be locked away with others like him. He had no idea what Carlos could possibly have to say to him but he would hear him out, even if it was more bitter ramblings from a man headed to prison. “Love the outfit Carlos. The orange really brings out the color in your eyes.”

Carlos waited while the guard removed his handcuffs then took his seat across the table. “How I am going to miss that wit of yours Daniel Santos.”

“I am sure you’ll cope.” Danny wasn’t interested with pleasantries, he wanted to get straight to the point. “What could you possibly have to talk to me about Carlos? Want to explain why you decided to try to destroy someone who had done nothing to you? Why you wasted ten years of your life stewing in bitterness to take out revenge on people who had nothing to do with Catalina’s death.” Danny leaned across the table and dropped his voice to a frosty level. “Catalina was murdered because she tricked Tony into marriage. Because she threatened the family. That was your beloved sister.”

Carlos pointed a finger at Danny in accusation. “Your family corrupted her.”

“Perhaps. I wouldn’t put much past Carmen and Maria.” Danny nodded as if accepting Carlos’ claim. Lord knew Carmen and Maria were rotten to their core. “Doesn’t change the fact that Catalina saw what she wanted and did what she could to get it.” Danny stood and gathered his coat, “I think we’re done here.”

“You wanted to know why I asked to talk to you, it’s pretty simply really. I wanted to see how much I had marked your family. How much I had destroyed you.”

Danny shook his head and walked towards the door. “You don’t get it. You didn’t destroy us, you couldn’t.” At the door he paused and turned to face Carlos for hopefully the last time. “Tony and Marah will recover and live happily with their daughter. Hope that comforts you while you rot in prison.”

***

After leaving the police department Danny knew exactly what he had to do. After stopping to make the necessary purchases he found himself once again standing outside the mammoth structure of the Santos mansion. Only this time he watches as orange flames engulfed the building he had once called home. It had never been a home, not really. All the cold silences during dinner, not knowing when your own family would turn on you, and now it was the scene of Marah’s tragedy. The place was a mausoleum of misery.

He heard the sirens in the distance and before long he was joined by two fire trucks and none other than detective Frank Cooper. Frank stepped from his car and joined Danny in watching the flames lick up the front wall. “This why you asked if we were done collecting evidence?”

“Yeah.” Danny should have winced as the roof finally gave to the fire and crumbled in on itself, but he didn’t. Instead he sighed with relief. “I didn’t want the place. Tony certainly could never live here. So I rid my family and this town of a reminder, a reminder of all that was bad about my family.”

***

Marah fought her way through the dark and the pain, pain that felt like it was everywhere. Light exploded behind her eyes when she tried to open them so she immediately closed them again. What in the hell happened to her? Did she drink too much last night? Phillipe always knew the best bars to go to. That incessant beeping had to go though. It was grating on her last nerve.

“Marah? Oh thank God you’re awake!” A strong hand gripped hers tight and held firm. “I pressed the button for a nurse but I’m not letting go. I’m never letting go baby.”

Well that sounded serious. She hadn’t had a serious relationship since…”Tony?” That couldn’t be right, Tony had broken her heart. Tony was supposed to be dead. Marah opened her eyes, ignoring the stab of pain to her already burning retinas. “What? How? How can you be here? You are supposed to be dead!” She wrenched her hand free from his suddenly slack grip and rubbed her aching head. “Where am I? This is like the Twilight Zone.”

Tony stood in horror as the truth hit him square in the face. His wife hadn’t just lost her memory of that night, she had lost her memory of them. He watched as she trembled in fear and he could do nothing, nothing, to stop it without causing her more hurt. Marah turned onto her side away from him and seemed to curl into herself. He moved silently and laid a hand gently on her hip, which he quickly removed when she flinched. “Marah, please?”

“Just…go!” Her harsh sob nearly broke his heart further but he didn’t think she could take any more at the moment. Especially not declarations of love from someone she thought was supposed to be dead. Outside in the hall Tony found his way to one of the uncomfortable plastic chairs and practically fell down into it. Resting his head in his hands he let his tears fall freely. In true Tony Santos fashion he was a day late a dollar short. He finally leaned what mattered most and now she was simply…lost. He wiped his tears away and raised his head. Marah may be lost right now but he’d help her find her way home. He’d help her find her way.

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