Bo sat on the couch feeling no better than he did that morning. He really thought going to the funeral would make him feel better or at least give him some closure.
“What can I do?” she asked.
“Nothing, I…” he said as tears welled up in his eyes. “I just thought today would help. It hasn’t.”
“Only time can help, Bo.”
Looking around in the empty house, he allowed those tears to fall down his cheeks. Glancing at his sister, he said, “Well, Kay, I think I got lots of time for that.”
The sweet smile of his sister and her attendance at the funeral were really the only things keeping him from going insane.
Three Months Later
Sitting on his couch, Bo finished off another beer. He had just came from seeing Hope who once again told him she hated him, blamed him for Zack’s death, and that he needed to accept that Patrick was in her life now. Bo wanted to forget his whole conversation with her and the best way to do that was to grab another six-pack.
Hearing his doorbell ring Bo wondered who in the world it could be. Certainly not his family. Shawn refused to see him, Chelsea was too self-absorbed, Roman was sanctimonious as always, and even his mom had told him angrily to wake up and get his family back. Bo didn’t see the point.
The doorbell rang again and Bo got up angry, wondering who could be disturbing him at this hour. He threw the door open and revealed John Black.
“When the originals won’t do, go to the next best thing!” he said, referring to John’s former identity as Bo’s older brother, Roman.
Without asking to be let in, John walked past Bo knowing he didn’t have much time. Looking around the room, he cursed out loud. “Dammit, Bo, are you drunk?”
Bo shook his head no but contradicted it by saying, “Certainly.”
Cursing again, John took Bo by the neck and guided him into the nearby powder room. Before Bo could gather his wits, John promptly stuck Bo’s head right into the toilet and stood back.
“What the hell!” Bo asked, as he grabbed a towel and wiped his face.
John had already walked away and headed into the kitchen to make coffee. He was just relieved that in Bo’s depressed state he still maintained a clean house.
As he was brewing the coffee, John heard Bo come up behind him. He didn’t have to look to know the man was seething.
“Who do you think you are, coming into my house and…”
“Bo, I’m sorry about that. I know you are going through rough times and there isn’t much I can say to help you snap out of it. All I know is, I can’t do what I need to do alone. You are the only guy I know and trust who can help me.”
Bo glared at the older man but found his anger breaking apart as he realized that John was completely earnest. He wasn’t sure what was going on. Since Zack’s death and the life explosion that resulted from it, including Chelsea’s case being dropped, Bo hadn’t taken the time to care about his friends lives. The last thing he knew John had rescued Marlena safely from the clutches of her first husband.
“What’s going on, John?” Bo asked seriously.
John took a breath. He was getting through to Bo. He worried before coming over that Bo wouldn’t be much help at all but he should have known he was a true Brady at heart and would help a friend who was in true need. “Marlena has been kidnapped.”
“What do you mean again?” John asked annoyed, trying to remember Bo was still drunk and not responsible for what he was saying.
“I’m only saying that this isn’t the first time Marlena has been kidnapped. You really ought to get one of those GPS units placed in her teeth or something.”
Resisting the urge to throw Bo’s head back into the toilet, John decided to just spill what was wrong. “Look, since we got back Marlena has been herself again, she went away on this psychiatric convention. I decided to head up there to surprise her but it seemed she disappeared the moment she got there.”
Still wiping his wet face, Bo asked, “Wasn’t that a week ago?”
John nodded, now getting a cup down from the cupboard so Bo could have a drink when the coffee was ready. “Yes, it was. No one has seen her since last week but I have heard from her.”
“What?” Bo asked, not understanding and wishing the coffee would hurry up and get brewed. “I don’t understand.”
“Neither do I!” John said, and then realizing Bo didn’t know everything. “Bo, why don’t you sit down and I will fill you in.”
John began telling Bo all he knew. It seemed after Doc arrived, she had called him from her cell phone and that was the last time he heard from her in person. As usual, they made their promises that she would try to call him each and every night.
The first night there was no call so John attempted to call her but left a message. The next morning while he was in the shower, she called back and left a message saying how sorry she was, she had stayed late at the seminars and she would call later that night.
That evening, she did call but it was earlier than usual; at a time when she knew he usually went to the gym. Her message even started off in that vein, “John, I know you are at the gym but I wanted to give you an early call to make up for missing you last night.”
The week continued with her missing him every night in some way but always leaving a message. Her voicemails were pretty standard and John had no reason to suspect anything. This past weekend he decided to surprise her. When he got to her hotel, he was the one surprised to find the day after checking in she had called the hotel and canceled the rest of her stay.
Security videos showed that Marlena made it to the hotel safely and checked in, however, there was no sign of her leaving the hotel on any of the tapes. Sometime the next afternoon, the hotel manager received a phone call by a woman stating she was Dr. Evans and informing them she would not be back.
Immediately, John called Roman back in Salem and together they did their best to trace all incoming flights in and out of Memphis looking for any suspicious activity. Marlena’s cell phone records were pulled. Naturally the search proved fruitless and John was forced to tell Marlena’s family. This was where they were this morning.
“I’m sorry, man, I did-” Bo stuttered as he sobered up, “I didn’t know. I’ve been out of it.”
Sighing, John nodded, “I know, Bo. I’m sorry to have to ask this of you but I need your help.”
Off Bo’s questioning look, John explained, “I think Stefano is behind this kidnapping.”
John nodded, going on, “I know I have no direct proof, but the messages I got from Doc, it’s occurred to me it’s not her. I didn’t realize at the time that they were created to fool me for awhile”
“Okay, but what about that Alex guy…”
“There’s more, Bo. Since we got back from… her stay with North, I noticed one time a guy in a building across from ours looking over with binoculars into our penthouse. Now, at first I thought he wasn’t really spying on us because he quickly looked away like he was just… you know some twerp with binoculars looking at who he could see around town.”
Bo said nothing as John continued, “I did call Roman and report him thinking nothing would come of it. And to be honest we forgot about it until now. That was about three weeks ago. Roman found the apartment was leased to a man named Tae Phoenix.”
Bo’s mouth flew open, the last name shocking him. “Ok, I admit, Phoenix as a last name is almost too much for it to be a coincidence…”
“And the letters T-A-E. Those are the first initials of Stefano’s kids, Tony, Alexandra and Elvis Junior.”
Oh, I forgot about Lexie being Stefano’s daughter.”
Impatient, John got off the couch, “You’re missing the point! Stefano’s got his hands on Marlena and we are wasting time.”
Trying to get his friend to calm down, Bo said, “Assuming you are right…”
“I know I’m right!”
“Okay, maybe so, but where do we start? What else has Roman been able to dig up, he would do anything to find Marlena…”
“Oh, he will but he doesn’t put a lot of stock in my Stefano theory. He told me Stefano was dead,” John said while eyeing Bo. Seeing the younger man snort at the comment, John asked, “What do you think of that?”
“I think we’ve thought Dimera was dead before.” Bo said while drinking more coffee. “Lots of times actually.”
Sighing, John nodded, “That’s a fact.”
Getting quiet, Bo looked up at John and decided to go for broke, “Why did you come to me, John? I’m hardly in a position to help anyone.”
“You’re the perfect person, Bo,” John said while sitting down closer to him. “Look, you have dealt with Dimera before and helped in tracking the guy down. I also need you to go with me to who knows where as soon as we get more information and I know you are available to do that.”
Sheepishly, Bo nodded, “I can’t deny that I’m not. I just don’t know…”
“Bo, I have a lot more clues if you are willing to help me with this. I can’t do this alone though but if you aren’t going to help I need to know now and move on. I’m wasting valuable time. I believe in you, Bo, and I know you want to help. Please do it, if anything, for Marlena’s sake.”
The pleading in John’s eyes gave Bo the courage he needed. Sitting up straighter, Bo said, “What do you need me to do?”
John had already done a good deal of the research before coming to Bo. Getting information like phone records and travel logs took time, and while he was waiting for Roman to call him back, John immediately began researching the Dimera angle.
John knew that if the Dimeras were involved chances were Marlena was no longer in the country. It was doubtful they used commercial airlines to leave the U.S., but John knew the best place to start was probably in warmer climates where Stefano could get his hands on private islands. John had asked Roman to call the private charter plane company out of Memphis but they wouldn’t give any information out over the phone without a subpoena, which they were still waiting for.
“Even with a subpoena issued it will take too long to get what we want because of red tape. We have to figure out how to get into their records a faster way.”
Bo knew where John was going with this, “Know any hackers?”
“Actually, I do.”
“Doesn’t matter,” John said. “He’s working on breaking into their systems now. I thought it would go quicker but turns out hacking isn’t like it’s shown on TV.”
“Is anything ever?”
Just then John’s cell phone rang and he answered. The look on John’s face when he recognized the voice told Bo it was the very person they were speaking about. He nodded his head and glanced at Bo quickly, “You have a fax machine don’t you?”
As a matter of fact he did. Bo needed one as a cop, well, when he was on the force he did. Bo told him the number and John repeated it back in the phone.
As he hung up, John grinned, “He got in. He’s faxing us some information that he says we will find very interesting.”
“Did he say what?”
“Not much, he doesn’t like to talk over cell phones, says they aren’t secure. Did I mention this guy is a bit of a paranoid freak? Doesn’t matter, makes him good at his job.”
John immediately headed to the home office as Bo followed. The information was already being sent. John was so excited to be making headway he was practically dancing as he waited on the machine to finish.
“So, who are we going to tell Roman we got this info from?”
“We don’t tell him anything. He won’t like it.”
Bo had to suppress a smile. It was nice working again with John, he had missed it but he didn’t remember him ever being so dismissive of going around the law.
Bo shook his head, and laughed, “You know, you used to be as straight as an arrow as Roman is.”
“That’s when I was Roman.”
Bo laughed some more but John then turned serious. He admitted, “Look, I don’t like this myself but Marlena is missing! Again! I just got her back, Bo. And… I remember being caught up in the legal red tape when Alex had bribed the local authorities before. I can’t go through that again.”
After the pages were faxed, John and Bo sorted through the information sent. Bo didn’t know who John’s hacker was but he was very thorough. He was also very good. He managed to hack into the FAA and get information they needed. Since 9/11 the FAA had been monitoring all planes inside the U.S. and their courses. He had highlighted already suspicious flights that fit John’s theories. One flight in particular stood out.
“Look at this, John!” Bo said excitedly. “The flight plan for this flight out of a smaller airport near Memphis shows that the FAA had them headed to South America but they wound up going to this island…Saba.”
After a check to make sure this was the only suspicious flight leaving Memphis from their timeframe, both men hurriedly got ready to call Roman and see if he could get information from Millington Airport about where this flight was headed.
Taking their evidence to Roman proved time-consuming as Roman gave them the default lecture of letting the police take care of this instead of themselves.
“Do I even want to know how you came upon this information?” Roman asked.
“It doesn’t matter, Roman, what matters is we have our first real chance of finding out where they took Marlena and if you would call up the FAA…”
Roman laughed at John’s flippant attitude, “Call the FAA and do what exactly? John, when you did this job you knew the FAA is not an organization where you can easily get information about one flight and the bureaucracy involved in…”
John, furious that he felt he was on the right track, slammed his fist into Roman’s desk, “Dammit, Roman, I’m talking about Marlena’s life here! I would think if anyone would be on my side with this…”
Roman stood up, John’s words crossing a line. Slamming his own fist down on the desk, Roman said, “John, I don’t need you to lecture me about rescuing Marlena . I think I have enough experience on my own with that way before you showed up in Salem. Just because you have a hunch that Dimera is behind this…”
Bo, who had been quiet this whole time, finally spoke up, “Oh, come on, Roman. You have to admit this is a big coincidence, not just the guy who was watching John but the fact that this suspicious flight is headed straight to Stefano’s favorite vacation hot spots.”
“Right, a flight plan that has no connection to Marlena’s disappearance other than it left the day after the hotel room was asked to cancel the rest of her stay. You do know Memphis has its own international airport along with river and train access so there are dozens of ways for Marlena to have left the city and maybe–” Roman paused and looked at John for emphasis, “–the country.”
“But Roman,” Bo argued, “international airports are being watched like a hawk right now. If Stefano, or for that matter anyone else, wanted to fly out of Memphis with the least amount of attention, they would use this private commercial airline which doesn’t use Memphis International. It’s a small airport in a nearby suburb called Millington. If we can call them up in an official capacity, I’m sure there is some information on who booked this flight and maybe then we will have the information needed.”
Roman glared at Bo as if he noticed his little brother was in the room for the first time. Feeling still unsure of himself, Bo sat down in a nearby chair.
His face softening, Roman said gently, “Bo, you really shouldn’t be investigating anything as you were suspended over…”
“You don’t have to remind me of that, big brother,” Bo said sadly.
John took a deep breath, conflicted about being protective of his friend Bo but irritated they were wasting so much time. Knowing this wasn’t getting them anywhere, John told Bo that they were leaving.
Roman said after John, “If you bring me direct proof, I’ll be able to do something…”
By then John and Bo had marched out of earshot. Glancing at Bo, John said, “Was I that hardheaded and stubborn when I was Roman?”
Bo didn’t hesitate when he quickly said, “Yes.”
Trying to lighten the mood, John smiled, “I guess it’s in the name then.”
As they walked to the car, Bo asked John what they could do next.
John looked at Bo and said, “Up for a visit to Memphis?”
The younger man nodded. Before they got to the car, a voice behind them asked, “Bo, what are you doing here?”
Turning around, Bo saw it was Hope and he froze. John, not sure what to do, cleared his throat and said hello to Bo’s estranged wife.
Hope barely giving John a glance, returned his hello.
“Good,” John said uncomfortably. “I’m, uh, I’ll wait for you in the car.”
Bo nodded at John as the taller man went to get the car.
“Bo, what are you doing here?” Hope asked. Her face was just as icy as the last time he saw her.
“I’m…here with John.”
“I can see that.”
Can you see I need you? Bo thought. Instead of saying so he voiced, “I’m helping him with Marlena’s kidnapping.”
Hope finally had the sense to look slightly sheepish, she knew about Marlena going missing. “Right. I forgot. You’re helping him?”
“Yea, he asked me.”
Hope started to say something but it looked like she changed her mind. Turning around, she said walking off, “Well, I do hope you both find her. Marlena is a good person.”
“Yea, she is,” Bo said as he watched Hope walk away.
By now John pulled the car up and Bo got in. John glanced at his friend, hoping he was still up to the trip. “Are you going to be okay?”
Bo nodded, “Yeah, I have to be.”
John and Bo arrived in Memphis later that day. Since John had his own plane and pilot’s license, it was no trouble flying into Millington’s airport right away. On their way there, John and Bo had decided on a plan to get information about CharterAir Flight 243 from last Tuesday. It was quite possible that even at such a small airport no one would remember many details on any given flight, but that didn’t keep John from hoping.
As Bo and John exited their plane they assumed the roles they had chosen. John was pretending to be a hard-nosed playboy billionaire who treats anyone near him like garbage, and Bo was pretending to be his bodyguard.
“I’m sorry sir, but it’s necessary for me to acquire a vehicle myself and make sure it’s secured,” Bo said loudly.
“Listen, you are my employee, I do what I want!” John said, sneering. “I’m not sitting around this hillbilly airport that you insisted we fly into.”
“Sir, I assure you, your arrival is easier to keep quiet coming into this airport rather than Memphis. You asked me to make sure we got into Memphis as quietly as…”
John simply walked away from Bo while the latter was in mid-sentence. He had caught the eye of a beautiful airport worker who was working at a nearby flight desk. John waved Bo away and began flirting heavily with the girl.
Gritting his teeth, Bo turned back towards the airport workers who now were refueling the plane and looking for luggage to unload.
Walking towards them, Bo said, “Hey, fellas. There isn’t any luggage to unload. We aren’t staying long. I appreciate you fueling up the plane.”
“No problem,” the guys said. Bo knew a larger airport kept their employees separated from passengers but he had guessed a smaller airport like this it would be easier to speak with them.
“I don’t know if you can, but is there a limo rental nearby?” Bo asked, knowing perfectly well what their answer would be.
Hearing them laugh, Bo feigned a confused look on his face “What’s so funny?”
“You are in the wrong part of town for that. This is the farming side of the county and there aren’t many limos around,” one guy said. “You aren’t going to get a limo here anyways at this hour.”
Bo sighed really hard and looked back at John who was shamelessly flirting at the girl half his age. “He’s going to go berserk at that.”
“He seems like a real son of a bitch,” Bo heard one of the guys say sympathetically.
Nodding, Bo answered, “He is. I’m up to here with his ridiculous and self-centered behavior!”
The two guys were giving Bo sympathetic glances so Bo continued, “I guess you don’t get many customers like him, being we are on the farming side of the county?”
“We get a couple from time to time. Mainly we get guys who have weird requests.”
“Really? I bet not as weird as my boss. He probably will want us to turn around and go back once he finds out there isn’t a limo down here to use.”
Laughing they said, “Oh, that isn’t too bad.”
The larger fellow had to go back to his job of refueling but turned to his friend, saying “Tell him about that one guy last Tuesday.”
Trying not to get excited that they were giving the information he exactly wanted, he listened as the other guy told the story.
“Man, last week we had this dude, foreign. He came in and demanded that we load these boxes by hand. We usually use a pallet driver but he insisted we carry this large box up ourselves and load it manual. It was a big deal because the box was long and took two of us to carry.”
“I didn’t think you were allowed to bypass procedures.”
“Oh, we didn’t. It still got scanned through X-ray but since it came out clean I guess they agreed for us to manually carry it.”
“Go on,” Bo said, knowing the Dimeras no doubt knew how to get around the outdated X-ray equipment located at this airport.
“Well, it was heavy and the guy followed right behind us. You know, if the package was so damn important he could carry it himself but he just stood and watched us.”
Finishing up the fueling, the other guy interrupted, “Well, he was on the phone a lot. He said a lot of things in Italian.”
Bo looked at them. “Italian huh? That must be unusual to get here in this part of the country.”
“It is. Even at an airport. He was excited about something.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Well, he kept repeating the same phrase over and over, but don’t ask me to repeat it, I’m terrible with other languages. All I could make out was ‘isalo’ “
Bo perked at the word, his run-ins with Dimera allowing him to recognize that word that meant island in Italian. “Isalo?”
“Yea, I remember it because they were using it a lot and his partner who was the pilot repeated it. I figured it was someone’s name.”
Feeling like he was so close, Bo hoped he wasn’t pushing too hard. “They sounded like weird people. Anything else you remember about them?”
One shrugged while the other laughed, “Well, they had matching emblems on all their stuff.”
Bo gave the guy a questioning look and he shrugged, “I remember it was some sort of bird.”
Suddenly, John appeared behind Bo. “Did you get my limo yet?”
Bo turned to John, trying to contain his excitement, “Not yet.”
“That’s surprising as I’m sure the work crew know all about limos,” John replied trying his best to imitate Victor’s voice, a definite role model on how to act elitist.
“Actually sir, I’m afraid limos are hard to find in this part of town. Maybe if we go to a rental…”
“What? No limos?” John spat. “This is ridiculous. I am so sick of… That’s it. Let’s just go home.”
As John marched off to the airplane, Bo followed saying his line “But sir, I thought you wanted to go party on Beale street…”
“I’m not in the mood. Let’s just go.”
Both men entered the plane while the two men Bo was speaking too, shook their heads and left.
Alone in the cockpit, John looked at Bo with a smile on his face. “What did you find out?”
“Plenty,” Bo said. “If the plane that left here wasn’t affiliated with Stefano, I’ll begin introducing myself as Beauregard.”
John laughed, “Good, because that little blond at the information desk was nice enough to let me see how important she is here. I got my hands on where CharterAir really flew to.”
John then called the tower, requesting for them to take off. Both men were very excited about the progress they had made.