John and Bo had flown directly from Memphis to Saba. It was very unlikely this was the flight’s final destination but hopefully they could pick up the trail again.
However, after following promising leads, John’s expectations were getting lower and lower. The goons had obviously covered up their tracks pretty well and John was wondering if he would ever see Doc again. Surprisingly it was Bo who was pushing him not to give up. The younger man had insisted to John they should check into a local hotel and follow up again with the same places and question another shift.
John rested while Bo took a shower. He couldn’t believe the change that occurred with the younger man since starting on their journey. John wondered if maybe Bo wasn’t using this investigation as a way to help turn his life around. Bo needed to feel important again, he needed to see a happy ending. This was causing the motivation that Bo desperately needed. He couldn’t save his son from dying. The fate of his marriage was out of his hands. But he could do everything in his power to get Marlena back.
Grateful, to Bo, and slightly guilty, John decided he should be a friend and do the one thing he had wanted to do but was afraid. Talk to Hope. Picking up his cell phone, John dialed the number of Maggie Horton’s house where he knew Hope was staying. While he waited for her to pick up the phone, John laughed a bit to himself at how he was psycho-analyzing Bo’s mental state. God, he missed Marlena.
“Hello?” came the familiar voice.
John whispered back softly. “Hope?”
“John?” Hope sounded surprised.
“Yea, it’s me.” He suddenly was stuck on what to say.
Hope, hearing his silence, answered him, “Is something wrong? Has something happened to Bo?”
Smiling at the concern in her voice, John was relieved to know she still cared for Bo. “No, he’s ok. I just thought I would call you and try to talk to you about….well about Bo actually.”
The concern in Hope’s voice vanished into ice, “Did he put you up to this?”
“No, Hope. Please. I think you and Bo need to talk about all that’s happened…”
“He wasn’t talking when he slept with Billie the day after Zack’s funeral.”
John was confused, he hadn’t known that but then again, their issues weren’t really his business. “Hope, I don’t know about any of that…but I do know Bo is hurting very much. And I think…”
“I can’t talk about this with you, John, please goodbye.” The phone hung up.
John worried, he hoped he didn’t make anything worse.
Hope stared at the phone a long time after hanging up. She felt empty, well emptier than usual. Going to sit on the couch, Hope felt lonelier than she had in a long time.
Knowing no one else was in the house, Hope longed to reach out to someone. The first person she thought of being Kayla. She saw Bo’s older sister at the funeral but kept her distance. She knew Kayla would want the two to talk to each other but Hope couldn’t deal with that pressure at the time.
It was a few months later and Hope still wished to speak to her old friend. That wasn’t enough to push her to pick up the phone though. She knew Kayla would want to talk about both her and Bo and it wasn’t time.
“I know it’s not the same thing, Hope, but I’m here. You got me.”
Hope blinked back tears at the jarring memory that entered her thoughts. Where did that come from? Thinking of Steve after all this time surprised Hope, not that she had ever forgotten her friend. She felt tremendous guilt for missing Steve’s funeral as that was when she was being held by Stefano. She never got to say goodbye to the man who called her “Sweet Thang.”
The image of Steve sitting next to Hope while she was in a hospital bed flashed before her mind and Hope felt some of the emptiness go away. Thinking back at that time, the situation was a little similar to now. Hope had miscarried but Bo hadn’t been there for her then, either. Though, to be fair, Bo had been halfway across the world and Victor had never told Bo the news his wife had lost their baby, but at the moment Hope had needed to cry.
Initially Kayla and Kimberly had been with her. They’d been sympathetic and she’d known in their hearts they were so upset at the loss, but they couldn’t bring themselves to listen to her berate Bo’s absence. Hope didn’t blame them; he was their brother and that came before their friendship with Hope.
Later that night after they left, Steve had showed up and surprised her. He had brought a single yellow rose and had quietly taken her hand. He hadn’t said much, just let her get everything off her chest. That was all she’d needed to do. It had been surprisingly easy with Steve compared to Kayla and Kimberly. Later, it had dawned on her Steve never really joined with her in being upset with Bo and back then he never had to be asked twice. She supposed it was because he knew what she needed was for someone to listen. She didn’t mean everything she said and he’d known that, but she’d needed to say it.
Tears running down her cheek, Hope thanked Steve again. Even his memory helped make her feel better. He was always a good friend.
The next day, John and Bo revisited the places from the day before. John was too scared to let himself hope that they would find anything new but he was glad to see Bo was just as eager as he had been. Partly feeling guilty for getting involved in the younger man’s relationship, John knew eventually he would have to tell Bo he had tried to talk to Hope on his behalf. In addition, he would have to admit he might have made things worse.
As John and Bo came into a boat rental place, they wondered if maybe coming back to this location was a waste of time. It was unlikely the Dimera family would use a tourist company as a means to travel. That and the fact that the owner was the rudest person they had met since getting there was enough to make them want to skip it.
Debating about going in, Bo said, “Well, since we’re here.”
Inside, both men were face to face with the same man from yesterday, a crusty old local who looked unhappy to have to talk to two more Americans.
“What do you want?”
“Sir, we were wondering if maybe you had remembered some more information?” Bo asked politely.
“My business is not about information,” the old guy repeated.
“I know, but maybe something jogged your memory since yesterday?” Bo asked. John noticed behind the old man was a teenager, probably his granddaughter who was obviously curious about the strangers.
Noticing the direction of John’s gaze, the old man stepped in front of the teenager and sneered, “All I care about is if you want to rent a boat. You obviously don’t, so go away.”
Irritated, John said, “Sir, it’s really important. All we need to know is if you have seen two Italian men acting suspiciously around here. It’s possible they might have come in here…”
“I know of two American men who are acting suspiciously,” the owner said back to them.
Just about at their last nerve, Bo and John turned to leave but the granddaughter stopped them, “Wait!”
She walked over to her grandfather and said, “Don’t you remember? The two men that came in and wanted to borrow a boat for a few days?”
Bo and John looked at each other with excitement as they walked back to the girl. “Do you remember them?”
The owner turned around, irritated that they weren’t leaving. The granddaughter nodded her head, “I do. I remember them because they were wearing suits and it is so hot down here. They wanted to borrow a boat. They already brought it back.”
“They did?” John said. “When?”
“This morning!” Bo and John repeated, glaring at the old man. John walked over to him, “You know who we wanted to speak to and you didn’t tell us!”
He grabbed the guy but Bo stopped him. He now saw something different about the old man’s demeanor. “You know these men, don’t you?”
Looking down, the owner said, “Yes. They are known in the village. You don’t cross them. They needed a boat to take for two days, and they returned it this morning.”
He glared at his granddaughter who sheepishly looked away.
John ran to the window, “Which boat was it? Do you still have it?”
“Si,” the man said. “It is The Wanderer.”
Peering over at it, Bo knew enough to know that the ship was made for durability. Looking back at the local man, he asked, “Did they have any cargo?”
Shaking his head, the man replied, “I do not know. I just handed them the keys. I don’t know what they brought on board.”
“How long exactly did they have it?”
Getting his log book out, the man calculated the exact time. “Just over 2 days–56 hours.”
Bo went white as John said they needed to go look at the boat. The old man began to resist, but John knew the one thing that would persuade him—money.
Once on the The Wanderer, both men checked for clues but were not surprised to find the vessel had been wiped clean.
“Dammit, where could they have gone?” John stomped around in frustration.
Bo kept quiet. He had a bad feeling about this. He knew enough about sailing and his gut was telling him something he didn’t like, but what he dreaded more was saying it out loud to his friend.
Before he got the chance, John jumped up and told the old man that they were going to be taking the boat out for the same amount of time. As the old man happily took the payment, Bo asked John what he thought he was doing.
“Look, those guys are probably already on their way back to wherever Dimera goons go. I want to see if they could have taken this boat anywhere of significance.”
“Now, Bo, I’m going to need your help. You’re into boats like I’m into planes. I can help but you will have to captain it.”
“Oh, I need to call the hotel and make arrangements for them to keep our stuff. I don’t want to waste time going back. There is a shop around here. Let’s pick up supplies and clothes for the trip.”
John stopped and looked at Bo, knowing what his friend was going to say.
“I think you are going to have to face facts. The trip they took was to dump Marlena’s body. She’s gone.”
John walked past Bo pretending like he didn’t hear him. “You probably should stay at the boat and prepare it to sail. Give me a list of things to get for the trip and I’ll go now.”
Bo sadly asked, “John, did you hear what I said?”
“Yes, I did.”
Bo waited but John didn’t say anything else, nor did he turn to face Bo. . Bo started to speak again. “John…”
“Dammit, Bo!” John said, stomping further away now, his attention drawn to some rope. “I know what this looks like, but I’m not giving up. I can’t….”
Bo gently took his friend’s arm to turn him around. “John, they only had two days. That’s one day out and one day back. There is no island close enough for a journey like that. The only thing they could have done was dump–”
“Don’t finish that sentence! Please, Bo, we’ve come this far. Let’s finish this and see. There are other explanations. Maybe they met another boat and transferred her to there. Or maybe they didn’t take her out at all. Maybe this trip had nothing to do with Marlena.”
Bo’s face told John what he thought of those theories but the younger man said, “Ok, John. We can go and look. You’re right, maybe we will find something.”
John nodded, thankful for his friend’s indulgence. After Bo gave him a list of supplies and clothes that John would pick up from the nearby shops, he said a small prayer that there was some truth to what he hoped.
Hours later, in the early morning hours of the next day, John and Bo were far from Saba. Bo had taken a cat nap and just now woken up. For a few moments, he watched John navigate the boat. Smiling to himself, he remembered earlier he had to give the wheel over to his friend so he’d have something to do or the guy would have worn a hole in the top deck from pacing. John was always unable to sit still, even back when he was living life as Roman Brady.
Thinking about the time when everyone believed John was Roman brought a frown to Bo’s lips. In many ways Bo wished they could go back to that time but immediately felt guilty when he considered how the real Roman had been held prisoner by Stefano and tortured on one of his many deserted islands. That didn’t change the fact that he wished to be taken to a time when he and Hope and young Shawn were about to sail around the world. It felt like a lifetime ago. So much had changed.
Allowing himself to think about Hope in the present, Bo got misty-eyed missing his wife. He wondered if she was thinking about him now. If she was, they probably weren’t happy thoughts. Sighing, Bo felt the sadness drift over him and he was tempted to give into the depression that usually followed. To let that depression steer his life the same way John was steering the boat they were on.
But he didn’t have time for that. Life went on, and if they wanted to find Marlena, Bo needed to focus and help out his friend. Bo hated to think this was all a waste of time and that Marlena was really lying somewhere on the ocean floor. That’s what his head was telling him. But like John, Bo didn’t really feel it; it was hard to believe that Marlena was now dead. Yet Bo hadn’t admitted that to John because he didn’t want to give him false hope.
“How are you doing, Bo?” John asked without turning around.
Smiling back, Bo answered, “Good. Hard to get any sleep the way you keep jerking us around out here.”
John nodded but kept quiet, intent on the task at hand. Bo stretched and then pulled out the charts they had brought. He was surprised that John brought two sets of maps. One was from a local shop he purchased first while the other was obviously not. When Bo asked him about it, he said the girl that worked for her grandpa had handed them over, saying they were more accurate than anything in the stores.
These maps were older and a bit worn but they certainly had more detail than what Bo had seen on these other maps. Earlier Bo had drew a circle around their original destination on the newer map. This circle was how far the goon’s boat could have gone in a day’s journey, leaving them a day to return. The direction was harder to suggest so he let John pick which way they should go in and they set off.
Now that they were getting closer to the point where they would have to turn back, Bo took out the map the girl had given John and compared it to the one from the shop. Letting his eyes travel over the area they were coming up on as well as past it, something got his attention. There was an island.
“What the…?” Bo mumbled. John didn’t seem to hear him so Bo studied on. It wasn’t in their path at the moment but it was well within the area of a day’s journey from Saba.
“John!” the younger man said excitedly.
“Look at this. The map that girl gave you!”
John took his eyes off the ocean and glanced at his friend. “What about it?”
“There is something on this map not on the store one!”
John’s eyes grew large at the implications at what Bo just said. Feeling his heart beat quickly, he asked, “Something like what?”
“It’s an island!” Bo was now the one to be pacing around the deck. He couldn’t believe it.
“Yeah, an island,” Bo repeated, laughing. “I wish I had seen this before! Odd how an island doesn’t appear on a store map.”
“Not odd for Stefano,” John admitted. Looking back at Bo, he said, “How far is that island from us now?”
Bo started laughing, and smacked his friend on the back, “Not too far actually. It’s about 6 or7 hours away. I think if we held up some, we could get there at nightfall, undercover of darkness.”
“You think they all go to bed when it gets dark?”
Bo shook his head no but didn’t say anything. The fact was, Marlena could still very well be alive! They could find her.
John turned serious however. “Now, Bo, remember, this is the Dimera island. We can’t just sail in and ask the guy at the dock if they have seen a blond haired woman.
Bo agreed. “We’ll have to plan well in the time we have before we get there. We have no idea what the island is like, how many men or what. The good news is we will be coming in at night. The bad news is I’m sure they will have sonar.”
“Right, they will see us coming. You know, this boat has an inflatable raft. We could anchor just off the coast and paddle in.”
“Yeah, that might keep us from coming in undetected.”
“Might not work though,” John said but was still smiling in spite of the danger. “In fact, probably won’t.”
“Has that ever stopped us before?” Bo asked with a grin.
John and Bo arrived at the island right when they had expected to. Without knowing the sophistication of the equipment that was being used to track the surrounding area, it was difficult to know exactly how far away from shore they could be without being detected. It might not be possible at all. Hopefully the darkness would give them an advantage, but on the other hand that same darkness made it difficult for them to judge where would be the best place to land. Regardless of these concerns, they anchored and began getting ready to go ashore.
John had other worries on his mind as well. Worries of what they wouldn’t see when they landed on the island.
“Bo,” John whispered.
“Yeah,” Bo answered.
Keeping his voice low, John started, “A long time ago, Kim, Kay and I were lured to…”
“Man, why are you whispering?”
Waiting a beat, John rolled his eyes and continued in a normal voice, “We were lured to one of Stefano’s islands because he had kidnapped Carrie and Benjy.”
Bo started to ask about Benjy but remembered who he was. “Oh, yeah, that deaf kid that lived with Steve and Kay for awhile.”
“Right. Anyway, Steve and Kayla got on the island by simply rowing up to it but unfortunately what they didn’t know was that Stefano had motion detectors hidden around and he knew exactly where they were at all times. They were easily captured.”
Bo glared at John for a few seconds before replying, “You’re just telling me this now?”
John shrugged and set their raft in the water.
Not letting it go, Bo began to panic, “John, that was almost 20 years ago! If he had that kind of stuff then, imagine what he has now!”
Ignoring his friend, John threw a few essentials they might need into the raft: binoculars, rope, flashlights and some balance bars.
“Look, Bo,” John said, turning back around to get the small hand guns they had brought, “I’m trying hard not to imagine anything but saving Doc. If that means we’re walking straight into a trap, then so be it. I have to get her back.”
Bo gave John an incredulous look, seeing the man armed with a gun, a knife and a crazy look in his eyes. Before he could stop himself, he started to laugh and nodded. What did he have to lose himself? Taking the other gun from John, he said, “Let’s do this.”
Getting in the raft, they both began paddling to the shore.
Once on shore, John and Bo worked quickly to hide the raft. Looking around, they let their flashlights illuminate the local terrain. Nothing suspicious jumped out at them but it sure did look like a place that a Dimera would have set up for himself.
“Night vision would have been a good thing to have,” Bo muttered under his breath.
His patience wearing thin, John bit back, “Well, you could have grabbed it off the plane too, you know!”
Walking through the jungle would be hard enough in the daytime but it was very difficult at night, especially when they were concerned about booby traps or alarm triggers. It took a lot longer than they’d originally considered but finally around daybreak they found what they were looking for–an Italian villa set up in all its glory with beautiful views of the ocean on one side and views of the jungle on the other. Large thick walls surrounded the perimeter and judging by the security cameras on the corners, they knew this was the right place. The whole area screamed Dimera.
Still, Bo thought something seemed wrong. “Isn’t it odd that the walls are showing some deterioration?” he whispered to John. “And those security cameras look to be about state of the art, circa 1995.”
“I know,” John agreed, “This place hasn’t been kept up like it should’ve been.”
Both men dwelt a moment on what lay before them but eventually Bo broke the silence. “Okay, you’re in charge. What’s the plan to get inside?”
Bo rolled his eyes at John’s sophisticated plan. It was going to be a long day.