Archive | May 2016

A Soft Place to Land: Chapter Twenty-Nine

Sorry guys, the St. Louis Blues are in the Western Finals and it’s really playing havoc with my writing schedule.  I am going to try my best to stay on schedule this week but like I said, it’s the FINALS. 

One Week Later…

In the guest room Marah lay on the bed while she stared up at the ceiling and berated herself for possibly being the dumbest person alive.  The idea of separating made so much sense a week ago.  But then again a lot of things made more sense a week ago.  But here, in the stillness of early morning with soft light shining through the window Marah admitted to herself that she missed him.  She missed the man who lay not thirty feet away sleeping peacefully in their marriage bed.

The past week had been a mixed bag of emotional torture.  At times she could feel Tony’s irritation rolling off of him in waves.  Then there was the confusion, the hope, and of course love.  He loved her so he had agreed to this set up, as unconventional as it may be.

But even though he may have agreed he didn’t exactly make it easy for her either.  Two days after their talk on the patio she woke to find her husband in the kitchen cheerfully humming to himself as he cooked her breakfast.  And as he set the plate of pancakes in front of her he had smiled and Marah felt her lady bits quiver.  Actually quiver.  That smile was like a double shot of tequila, potent and potentially dangerous to her health.

And then the other night he had arrived home after working out at the gym all flushed and sweaty.  She knew for a fact that he always showered at the gym so his disheveled appearance was a bit jarring.  But his intentions were crystal clear as she had carried Lanie upstairs to find her husband looking wickedly sexy with nothing but a white fluffy towel wrapped around his trim waist.  Droplets of water from his shower clung to his hair and his chest.  And she had literally felt her mouth go as dry as the Sahara desert.  She had practically ran into Lanie’s room before she listened to her traitorous heart that kept questioning why she would deny herself love when it was right across the hall.

Then the other night she had to work late finishing up her designs for The Lakeview and Buzz had arrived delivering a turkey club sandwich and a message from Tony saying that he didn’t want her “wasting away”.

With a groan Marah rolled over and covered her head with the pillow.  It didn’t take a genius to figure out what Tony was doing.  He was showing her the sweetness she had seen in him from the very beginning.  The part of him that only a cherished few got to see.

If only that were the problem.  If it were she would probably be back across the hall already making love to her husband instead of lying here frustrated and annoyed.

The cry from Lanie’s room broke the silence and gave Marah an excuse to end her musings.  Opening the door she went to step into the hall when the door to her and Tony’s room opened as well.  With sleep-disheveled hair and morning stubble on his face Tony look too good this morning, especially for the mood she was in.  And certainly those flannel pants riding low on his hips didn’t help matters.  “Jesus Tony!” Marah huffed, “Don’t you own a shirt?”

Tony wanted to laugh at the look of frustration on his wife’s face but thought better of it.  Instead he innocently looked down at his attire, or lack thereof, and shrugged, “This is what I always wear to bed Marah.”

With a growl in her throat Marah crossed her arms across her chest, “You keep on flashing your, your,” She lifted one arm and gestured to his half naked form, “manliness around here thinking that I am going to swoon.”

Placing a hand innocently on his chest Tony tried to look affronted, “Why Marah, I would never be that sneaky.”

“Whatever.  You want to play Mr. Santos?  Two can play at that game.” Without another word Marah marched across the hall and went into their bedroom.  She pulled open Tony’s favorite drawer in her dresser, the one that housed her lingerie.  Loading her arms with the lace and silk nighties she returned to the guest room without giving Tony a second look.  The door slamming shut set off another round of Lanie crying and Tony continued to his original destination.

Leaning over the crib he lifted his daughter’s screaming form into his arms. “Lanie your dad sure likes to get a rise out of your mommy.”  Placing her on the changing table me made quick work of the soiled diaper.  By now he considered himself a diaper professional, changing a diaper in less than five minutes.  “And now Mommy thinks she won because she is going to strut her sexy self around in lingerie.  Sounds like a win-win to me sweetie.”

***

Reva peered across the room as her daughter bent over the drafting table.  The pencil clutched in her hand angrily as she drew out some sketches.  She shook her head.  The idea that Marah and Tony could co-exist in the same space while being “separated” was ridiculous.  Those two were about ready to combust.  Scooting her chair around the desk she rolled towards her daughter who didn’t even look up as she approached, “Marah, honey, perhaps it is time to just call a truce.  Tony loves you, you love him.  It’s more than a lot of people have can’t you just be happy?”

Marah stopped drawing and looked at her mother, “I do love Tony.  That has never been an issue.  I can’t help but love him.  It’s like a visceral response my body has to him, it just can’t help itself.”  She paused before continuing, “But he doesn’t trust me mom.  Not to be strong enough to handle the bumps that come along.  I don’t need to be sheltered mom, I just need him to trust me to be able to weather the storm together.”

“I understand honey, I do.  But as your grandmother Sarah would say ‘don’t cut off your nose to spite your face’ darling.  Tony loves you, he wants to protect you.  There are worse things in a marriage trust me.”

Marah turned the pencil she still held in her hands over and over, “I know you think this whole separation thing is stupid but I just felt like we needed it.  A time out to find out if we were strong enough.  I don’t want to be the damsel in distress in my marriage mom.  I can’t.”

Reva smiled, “I don’t think Tony sees you as anything but what you are.  Tell me, did he demand you get a new doctor?”

Confused Marah lifted in eyebrow in question, “Why would he?”

“Well your doctor put the moves on you.  Or at least he tried.”

“Tony hasn’t said anything.”

“Hmm.” Reva looked her daughter in the eye trying to convey her point, “Seems your husband trusts you a lot more than you realize.”

“Mom I am talking about more than just that kind of thing.”

Reva laughed, “I know.  And you are just as stubborn as everyone else in this family.  But trust me on this one Marah, Your father and I lost a lot of good years being stubborn.  You kids lost because of it too.  You may just want to think about that.”

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A Soft Place to Land: Chapter Twenty-Eight

Tony stood so quickly the patio chair fell backwards, “Separate?  You can’t be serious!” He raked furious hands through his hair as he paced back and forth across the patio before finally coming to a stop in front of Marah, “You don’t think I’ve learned my lesson?  My God Marah I have fought for us from the moment you woke up in the hospital with years missing from our life together.  I let you hold me and our daughter at arm’s length and I did all that while trying to make you see that our life together was worth remembering.”  Tony punctuated each point with a thumb towards himself.

Surprisingly calm Marah just shook her head softly, “It’s not about teaching you a lesson Tony.  It’s about both of us.  Our relationship hasn’t been easy from day one.  There have been ups and downs, miscommunication, rash decisions, and lies.  I just think we need to take a step back and regroup.”

Tony had to admit to himself that Marah had a point, their relationship had never been easy.  But nothing worthwhile ever was, and what they had together was worth all the struggle and pain the world could dish out. “So you think that to help our relationship we should separate?”

At the sad and dejected tone in Tony’s voice Marah questioned her choice.  It wasn’t the first time, she had rethought her decision at least a million times between coming home from Michelle’s and now.  But it all came back to one single point of contention for her, that Tony didn’t trust in her love.  Not to handle the truth and not to be strong enough for the both of them. “I just think that we need to regroup and decide if this marriage is strong enough.  We have been through a lot in the past couple of years and maybe we need a time out to see if we can just…be.”

Tony righted the chair that had fallen and sank into it.  Lowering his head into his hands he tried to calm himself, and it took every ounce of his self-control to not take Marah in his hands and shake some sense into her.  But above that he wanted Marah to be happy and if this would make her see that what they had was what mattered most than he would do what he could to make her see that. “Fine.  I don’t want to do this but I will, for us.”  He raised his head and looked sad eyes towards the only woman he had ever loved, “And how do you suggest we do this?  We have an infant daughter we need to think about.”

Wringing her hands in her lap Marah had to admit she hadn’t thought this far ahead.  All she knew is that she needed a time out to gather her thoughts. “Well, maybe you can stay at Towers for a little while-”

“Absolutely not!” Tony’s face and voice took on a furious note, “Just because you woke up today remembering you are Lanie’s mother doesn’t mean you get to push me out of her life.  I have been the one to change the diapers.  I have been the one to walk the floor with her on nights when she wouldn’t sleep and wonder what I was doing wrong.  I have been the one who did the midnight feedings without a clue as to what I was doing.  Me.  Not you.”  At Marah’s wince Tony wanted to take his words back.  he knew they were harsh but damn it, she would not deny him their daughter. “Sorry, but it’s true.”

“I know it’s true.  And that is part of the reason I think we need a time out.  We need a chance to deal with the pent-up anger we have.  At each other and everything else.”  Marah thought about it for am moment and conceded, “I can move into the extra bedroom.”

Tony laughed humorlessly, “So you want to separate into separate bedrooms?  And we are supposed to coexist yet we are technically separated.”

Marah shrugged, “It’s the best I could come up with.  You don’t want to leave Lanie and I don’t blame you.  You a great father Tony.  And I don’t want to leave the daughter I just remembered I wanted more than anything in the world.  I want to be there for her now in the way I should have been from the beginning.”  She shrugged again, “I don’t want to hurt you Tony. I just have to do this.”

“Fine.  I’ll agree to this asinine plan of yours but just remember this.” Tony stood and walked over to where Marah was sitting and leaned down.  Reaching out he cupped his wife’s face and his hands and pulled her lips towards his.  And after a searing kiss he look into her eyes, “I have fought for you and the life we could have together for most of my life.  And I would fight until my dying breath to make you see what we have is beautiful and forever.  But when you see it, well I just might make you fight for me for a change.”  Standing up he began walking towards the house but not without calling out over his shoulder, “I am your soft place to land Marah.  And you are mine.”

Marah watched Tony enter the house before lifting her fingers up and touching them to her lips.   That kiss was like electricity that shot off sparks like a live wife through her.  And there was a secret part that wanted to just say ‘the hell with it’ and just go on living as they had been before.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t the same person she had been before the accident.  But damn if Tony didn’t call out to every single molecule in her body.

Marah picked up the phone and pressed the number for the one person who knew about time outs more than a baseball umpire.  “Mom.  You busy?”

***

Reva hung up the phone and turned worried eyes to Josh, “Our daughter and Tony are separating. Well kind of.”

Josh dropped the magazine he had been reading, “What do you mean kind of?”

“Well they are living together but technically taking a time out.” Reva couldn’t help it, she smiled, “Bud that is the most ridiculous thing I have head in awhile.”

Josh shook his head, “Do you think she has any idea what she set herself up for?”

“Nope.” Reva joined Josh on the couch and snuggled into his side, “But I have a feeling it is going to be interesting to watch.”

***

Danny hung up the phone and turned to his wife in their bed, “Tony and Marah are kind of taking a time out.”

Michelle sat up in bed, clutching the sheet to her chest, “What do you mean?  I just saw her today and she said that she has always loved Tony.  Hell, we know she has always loved Tony and vice versa.”

“They are separated but still living in their home”, Danny smiled slyly to his wife and slowly pulled the sheets from her hands and kissed her deeply, “How long do you think before one of them cracks?”

Michelle wrapped her arms around Danny and sank back down on the pillows, pulling him with her, “Not long.  You Santos’ have been known to be charming when you want to be.”

Danny gave his wife a wolfish grin, “And I am about to show you just how charming I can be wife.”

Guiding Light: Mother’s Day 2006

The saga of Marah and Tony will continue with the next installment on Wednesday but beings it is Mother’s Day I think a look back to Guiding Light’s 2006 Mother’s Day episode is in store.

There were a few of things I didn’t like on Guiding Light at the time, and fewer things that I actually did.  But in my opinion, this episode was a light in the dark times on the show.  The return of the mothers that were gone, but never truly forgotten.

Nadine Cooper.  Quirky and flighty, she was never one of my favorite characters…until she was gone.  Then I saw just how big of a role she played in keeping the Cooper family grounded.  Sounds strange right?  The flighty and selfish mother keeping her kids grounded.  But she did, she kept them from going off the rails because she was quirky enough for the both of them.  Though she loved Buzz she knew his heart was not hers, but still remained his steadfast supporter and friend.  She was fiercely protective and loving towards her children.  And most of all she infused the Cooper family with humor and an unquenchable spirit.  Her death at the hands of Brent Lawrence/Marion Crane remains one of the most shocking in Guiding Light history…well even more so because the show had her being a psychic at the time (I really hate that soap trope).

Jenna Bradshaw.  Personally Jenna was always one of my favorite characters.  I simply loved watching Fiona Hutchinson bring Jenna to life.  Jenna arrived in Springfield a jewel thief but slowly over time became to be a beloved character on the show.  Perhaps it was the first time we saw that Jenna had a heart, when she comforted Michelle during a blackout.  Or maybe it was her romance with Buzz, which was one of my personal highlights of the 90s.  Whatever it was, losing Jenna marked Buzz forever.  In fact, none of his relationships post-Jenna really blossomed into more than a blip on the radar.  Even the show leaving him with a happy ending I always got the sense that his heart will forever belong to Jenna Bradshaw.

Sarah O’Neal Shayne.  I always saw Sarah as a woman who deserved better.  Her husband abandoned her and their three kids.  She worked as a housekeeper to support her family.  And hell, she parented Reva through her teenage years which had to be hard enough!  She forgave Hawk and remarried him and years later threw him out again after he lost all their money in poker.  She was never a character that was forefront on canvas but to her kids, especially Reva, she was a pivotal member of the Shayne/Lewis clan.  And through all of Reva’s crazy stunts throughout the years I would always find myself wondering what Sarah would have done to kick Reva’s behind into shape.

And on to our episode…

It is May 2006 and all of Springfield has gathered for a Mother’s Day picnic….

Part One

~Buzz looks at Coop and thinks about Jenna.

~We actually have a Marah mention!  Reva tells Josh that her kids competed about who would send the biggest bunch of flowers.

~Lizzie is pregnant and is trying to convince Coop to spend Mother’s Day with her and “their” unborn baby.

~Buzz’s potato salad gives everyone food poisoning.

Part Two

~Reva gets her cancer results back but hides it from Jonathan.

~Lizzie continues her charade.

~Buzz feels Jenna’s presence…and Nadine and Jenna fighting.

~Jenna appears at Buzz’s bedside but although he senses her she has a bigger reason for visiting.  Their son Coop is in trouble.  She later appears to Coop.

~Nadine visits with Harley.  Sarah visits Reva.

Reva: Momma, you’re here.

Sarah: I’m here to give you a swift kick in the britches.

Part Three

~Jenna talks to Coop about his upcoming fatherhood.

Coop: Oh, right, well, I’m scared. I’m excited. I’m not ready for this.

Jenna: Do you know if there was somebody never ready to be a mother, it was me?

~Nadine congratulates Harley on being in charge of Spaulding.

Part Four

~Sarah warns Reva not to break Josh’s heart.  Especially if it is to keep her cancer a secret.

Sarah: And you’re just as stubborn and silly as ever, but we are going to talk about the “c” word, and I’m not talking about “cellulite”.

Reva: It’s my decision, Mama, please stay out of it.

Sarah: I can’t. As much as I want you with me, I’m not ready yet. Not like this. (Love this exchange between Sarah and Reva.  If ever there was anyone who called Reva out on her BS it was Sarah.  Even if Reva rarely listened.)

~Sarah appears to Cassie and apologizes for not being in her life.

Part Five

~Nadine’s false joy over Harley’s status as CEO reveal her true purpose, to remind Harley to be herself and not like Alan.

Nadine: There are no two ways about that. I know I was selfish, but at least when you do bad stuff, you do it for the right reason.

Harley: What bad stuff? What are you talking about?

Nadine: You know, that stuff with Dinah and that ugly business with Ross. Oh, Ross, he was such a lovely man. But you know, there will be a lot of fallout from this business, and it could affect your bottom line.

Harley: I turned into Alan Spaulding, with blonde hair and boobs.

~Coop tells Jenna how much he misses her

Part Six

~Nadine and Jenna observe Olivia’s interactions with Buzz and Frank.  Nadine thinks that Olivia is better with Buzz.  That Frank needs another Elani.  Jenna disagrees.

~Coops puts off proposing to Lizzie

~Sarah urges Cassie to learn to let go of Jeffery and Tammy.  Cassie asks about her father.

Part Seven

~Sarah witnesses Reva and Cassie being close.

~Nadine says goodbye to Frankie (her pet name not mine) and Harley

~Jenna bids Coop farewell and the three mothers return from whence they came..

 

A Soft Place to Land: Chapter Twenty-Seven

Tony knew fear.  Growing up it had been an emotion best left unsaid, a Santos did not show fear they made others show it instead.  He had felt it as a young man, watching Marah reach for her dreams and fearing that she would leave him behind.  He had felt it being held captive by his former friend, the fear that today could be your last and he would never be able to see those he loved ever again.  He had felt it last winter as he watched Marah’s blood seep out of her and being powerless to help her.

So yes, he knew fear.  Fear and him were old friends.

And he knew fear now as he moved towards where Marah was sitting calmly sipping a glass of tea.  But after years of watching every nuance of that woman he knew she was anything but.  He feared that this would be the biggest fight of his life.  Placing the baby monitor on the table he folded himself into the opposite chair and…waited.

They sat like that for a while.  In silence.  The only sounds around them were the leaves moving in the soft breeze and the occasional bird.  So deceptively calm considering the emotional tension that swirled around them.  Tony left like a wire pulled too tight, ready to snap.

“When I first came home from the hospital I had a panic attack just looking out the kitchen window.”  Marah paused before continuing, “And today I remembered that I found a dead body out here.  Lying right there on the pool cover.  Even now I have to force myself to sit here, to sit and think that someone died not five feet from where we are sitting.”

“I promised that we would get a new pool once the weather permitted.  It’s getting close-”

“Damn it Tony it’s not about the pool!” Marah slammed her hand against the table before turning to face him, “It’s everything.  I remember seeing Eden and you in that hotel room.  I remember seeing the fear in your eyes when I learned that you had slept together.”

Yes Tony knew fear, but he also knew when to fight.  And Marah was coming out swinging. “Years ago Marah.  I made one mistake years ago.  I haven’t touched another woman, much less thought about touching another woman since I came back home.”

“How can I trust you Tony?  You have done nothing but sell me half-truths from the beginning.”

Tony leaned forward, “Everything I have done was to protect you.  To protect our family.”

Marah scoffed, “Protect yourself is more like it.  Had you told me about you and Eden I would have been upset but I would have gotten over it.  But I wouldn’t be upset about the fact that you had sex with Eden, I would have been upset that your guilt over it caused you to push me away all those years ago and it ultimately cost you years of freedom.  I would have said that what we had,” She gestured between the two of them, “Was strong enough that no incident from years ago would even be able to touch it.  But you didn’t give me the chance Tony.”

“I know.  I know I should have told you but at the time I thought I was protecting you.”

“I am not a fragile flower.  Hell, that wasn’t even my first kidnapping!  But don’t you see, this goes deeper than you not wanting to tell me about Eden.  That was just the catalyst.  Because you didn’t trust me with the truth I lost more than just my memories.  I lost giving birth to our baby.  I lost hearing her first cries and holding her in my arms.  My God for months I held her at arm’s length I was so lost.”

Tony watched helplessly as tears poured unchecked from Marah’s eyes.  He wanted nothing more than to go and hold her in his arms and whisper things were going to be all right.  But he knew that wasn’t a wise move.  She was more likely to hit him than fall into his embrace.  “I am sorry.  I know I should have told you then and I just didn’t think the fallout would be what it was.”

“I know.” Marah wiped the tears from her eyes and smiled ruefully, “I know you didn’t.  And I am sorry for disappearing last night but Tony something is broken.  Broken between us.”

Tony reached across the table and took her hand in his, “Don’t say that.  We have just hit some bumps, but we have made it through worse.”

“While you were gone I went and visited Michelle.  And she reminded me of when she had to convince Danny to let her stand by his side.”  She removed her hand from his, “And I realized that I have always loved you.  Always.  Even without my memory I felt a pull towards you and no one else.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.” Tony tried to smile but he was sure it was less than convincing.

“But even knowing that I love you.  That I have loved no one but you I know exactly how Michelle felt.  Pleading with her husband to just trust in their love.”  Marah sighed and turned watery eyes to her husband.  The man who had owned her heart since she was still in high school.  And she knew she was making the right choice.  The choice that would either allow them to grow or bring them crashing down, “You don’t trust in our love Tony.  You don’t trust in me.  And I think we need some time apart to figure out if what we have is strong enough.”

Tony felt like someone was choking him.  He had expected a fight, but never this. “What are you saying?”

“I think we need to separate.”

***

Tristan crept away from the open window her forgotten cell phone charger clutched in her hand.

She wasn’t even supposed to be here, today being her day off from watching Lanie.  But she had woken up in that dingy hotel to find her cell phone had died and not a charger in sight.  Retracing her steps she realized that it must have fallen out when she had rushed to pack up her bag last night.

She had knocked but there had been no answer and so she had used her key.  Hearing Tony and Marah’s voices she had gone to the kitchen to announce herself but instead was met with…this.  This development could change everything.

As their voices continued to carry through the house Tristan hurried to get out without alerting anyone to her presence.