Awake Ch. 41-45

Chapter Forty-One
The next morning Kayla woke up fairly tired. Opening her eyes she wondered why her alarm hadn’t gone off. Once her eyes focused on the room she remembered where she was. Rising up, she saw she was alone and felt a rush of panic. Checking the bathroom, she saw Steve wasn’t there either.
Keeping the panic at bay, Kayla sat down on the bed for a few minutes to gather her thoughts. After they picked Stephanie up last night, Stephanie and Steve talked all the way back to the pub. It was obvious Steve wanted to continue speaking to her the whole night but Stephanie was ready to go to bed, leaving them alone.
Kayla was tempted to approach the matter of what they were doing before the news of Stephanie’s arrival interrupted them. However, before she could bring it up, Steve jumped into the bed, giving her a quick kiss and telling her goodnight. She was too afraid to push.
Looking at the clock she saw it was just after seven and she quickly got on a robe and slippers, a frown across her face. Opening the door, she quickly went down the hall that led to the pub’s main room.

——

Steve paced behind the pub bar. Since waking up, he had been walking back and forth between the kitchen and the bar trying to decide what to do with himself. Caroline had told him to feel free to help himself to anything in the place but every time he reached for anything… whether it was milk in the fridge or a beer from the shelf he would pull back thinking how weird everything was.

Deciding the beer was the best thing for now, he took a bottle and opened it, ignoring his conscious about drinking so early in the morning. Letting the liquid wash down his throat, Steve closed his eye and thought about everything. Last night after Stephanie went to bed, Steve was alone again with Kayla and he was scared to death if he really looked at her, he would pick up where they left off before they got interrupted. Obviously, she wanted to wait, for whatever reason, and he was trying to respect that. Assuming she still wanted him but she did respond like she did. Drinking some more, Steve held his head a bit and tried to concentrate on anything else.

Looking around the empty pub, Steve still couldn’t believe this place was now being run by the Bradys. When they left Saba on their way home, Steve thought even with all the changes that Bo and everybody spoke of… the very least he could count on was Shawn and Caroline’s home being the same.

Turning his head, he looked and saw Kayla staring at him from the doorway. Putting the beer down, he grinned, “Morning, Sweetness.”

She came out into the light and his breath left him for a second staring at her. He desperately wanted to take her upstairs and make love to her but one look at her expression and he knew something wasn’t right.

“What’s wrong?”

Kayla shook her head feeling stupid. “Nothing, I… I just woke up and you weren’t there and I wondered where you got off to.”

Cursing himself, Steve walked over to her. “Kayla, you don’t think I could ever leave?”

“No,” she said softly, “I just worried I had imagined everything.”

“Oh,” Steve replied. Bending down he kissed her on the lips. The kiss deepened and he felt her arms wrap around him. When they parted, he saw the worry had disappeared from her face. Grinning, he said, “So I’ll repeat, ‘Morning Sweetness’.”

“Morning, Steve,” Kayla beamed. They both leaned in for another kiss.

“Morning!” came a voice and both Steve and Kayla let go so quickly she nearly fell down. Adrienne laughed, “Well, it’s good to see I can still startle you two!”

“You always did have lousy timing,” Steve said back to her sister. He walked over and gave her her own kiss on the cheek.

“So…” Adrienne started, clearly with something on her mind.

Kayla smiled at her sister-in-law, it was always obvious when she was nervous about bringing a subject up. This time she happened to know what it was about. “Adrienne, have you called Jack yet?”

Steve glanced up, having grabbed his beer at his brother’s name. Adrienne shook her head no. “Usually at night he’s so tired, and I thought last night was too late.”

Steve was still quiet. He didn’t know how to respond actually. Hearing about the number of times Jack had died but came back to only now escape death from illness within weeks of Steve’s own return was one of the most uncomfortable things to listen to. He didn’t know if he understood it all, especially Jack’s complicated relationship with Jennifer.

Steve realized that both women had quit talking and were waiting on him to respond. He had gotten lost in thought. Steve asked, “Is he up for visitors?”

Adrienne nodded, “He sure is. Course, seeing you will give him a thrill.”

“Seeing me is always a thrill, isn’t it Sweetness?”

Kayla had been sipping some juice and nearly spit it out at Steve’s flippant remark. He leaned into her and Kayla held her breath thinking he was going to kiss her again. Instead, he took his finger and wiped away some of the juice that had dribbled. She glared at him when he pulled away.

“See,” Steve said while licking his finger. “Thrilling.”

Kayla smacked in on the shoulder while Steve laughed. After a beat, Adrienne asked, “So, would you like to go with me to go see him this morning?”

Steve nodded; he wanted to. He honestly would rather see Jo first but apparently she was out of town for the weekend. Glancing at Kayla to make sure it was alright, his wife nodded and replied, “I think that’s good. It will give me time to maybe book us a nicer place in the Salem Inn. With Stephanie here now we will need more space.”

Hearing Stephanie’s name, Steve acting as nonchalant as he could, asked, “Maybe she would like to go with us?”

Kayla laughed, “Well, if you want to wait until lunch to go, then that’s fine. But your daughter is not an early riser.”

“Oh,” Steve said dejected realizing now Kayla nor Stephanie wouldn’t be going. Feeling his sister’s arm link into his, he turned to her. Smiling, Adrienne said, “How about it big brother? Want to go with me to see our brother?”

Recognizing the look in Adrienne’s eyes, Steve said, “I don’t think I have much of a choice, do I?”

“Nope!”

Chapter Forty-Two

Steve and Adrienne walked off the hospital elevator onto the floor they knew Jack to be on. Steve noticed the differences in the hospital immediately when they pulled up. This was the last place he remembered being before he was taken away, but Steve recognized nothing. He was coming to grips with this feeling of being lost in places he should know like the back of his hand.

He followed his sister, who apparently knew where she was going, down the hall to the nurse’s station. He didn’t recognize any of the nurses nor did he expect to. They looked at him briefly before looking at his sister, who asked if Jack Deveraux was available to see patients this morning. They nodded and pointed down the hall.

“So you stayed in touch a lot with Billy Jack?” Steve asked, wondering why it took him so long to ask the question.

“I tried. We both have busy lives and not living near each other didn’t help. ‘Course, him constantly dying on us didn’t help either,” Adrienne said with a smile but then grew serious. “Steve, I know we joke about that but Jack has become dear to us. He’s made up for his past mistakes, he really has. And each time he’s returned we thanked God that He brought him back to us.”

Steve smiled sadly at Adrienne. Squeezing her arm, he replied, “I know that. Things weren’t great between us back then but he had come through for me several times right before, um, I left. Like our last wedding, if it hadn’t been for Jack, I really would be dead.”

Adrienne nodded, remembering Jack pushing his crazy adopted father, Harper Deveraux, out of the tower to keep him from shooting Steve during the ceremony. It was an act that she could relate to… killing the man that was your father. It’s how she and Jack had began to finally relate to each other without needing Steve or their mother’s presence.

They were about to walk in when they heard a voice behind them. “Excuse me, may I ask who, oh, hi Adrienne!”

Steve didn’t turn around right away. He knew the voice, it was Jennifer Horton. He was sure she had no idea he was alive and he hated to blindside her with this. Keeping his back to her, he heard both women make quick formalities. He waited until Adrienne said, “I brought a visitor for Jack!”

Turning slowly around, he came face to face with his brother’s former wife. Since hearing about Jack’s own history, it had become difficult to imagine Jennifer being involved in everything that transpired. She was a girl in college when he left. Facing her now, Steve could see she had grown to not only be a very beautiful woman, but one who appeared very capable. Steve couldn’t help but grin inwardly at the observation; Jack most definitely needed a woman who was capable.

Jennifer’s expression betrayed both shock and awe. All she could say was an “Oh My Gosh” and Steve felt foolish standing there silently.

“Hey Cupcake!” Steve said, hoping his old nickname for her could still be used. She hardly fit it anymore.

“Steve!” Jennifer said, realizing that Jack’s brother was standing before her alive and well. Glancing at Adrienne, she asked, “How is this possible?”

Adrienne filled her in fairly quickly. Steve expected her to continue to have trouble comprehending the situation but he wasn’t aware that Jennifer was well used to Salemites returning from the dead by now. She walked over and gave Steve a big hug. She was really thrilled to have him back. She couldn’t wait for Jack to find out!

Before she could respond with that assessment, they heard a “What’s going on?” behind them. Turning, Steve was shocked to find a much older Frankie Brady before him. If seeing Jennifer Horton as a mature woman was startling, seeing the kid he rescued from the streets transformed into a distinguished man in a suit nearly knocked him off his feet.

Frankie’s reaction was different. He had a voicemail from his mom, Caroline, who had told him to call her but he hadn’t had time to do so yet, but now he knew exactly what it was for. Emotion running through him, he stared at obviously a very much alive Steve Johnson.

Not caring about the reasons for Steve’s seemingly impossible return, Frankie immediately ran to his dear friend and hugged him as hard as he could. Tears filled his eyes as he felt him, knowing he was real. Part of him was nervous that this was a dream but he didn’t care. He just wanted the moment to last as long as it could.

“Easy, Franklin,” Steve said, trying to keep his voice steady, “you’re stronger than you used to be.”

Pulling back, Frankie laughed a bit. It was Steve! “So, how is this possible?”

Again, Adrienne told the story in a nutshell to Frankie. Steve had thought the big reunions might have been over for him but seeing Frankie, so obviously successful as a lawyer, filled Steve’s heart with pride. He always knew Franklin would make something of himself!

Frankie realized that Steve was there to visit Jack. “Have you seen him yet?”

Steve shook his head. “We were about to go in and see him. That is if he is up.”

“He was last time I was in there,” Jennifer said, feeling conflicted. Upon seeing Steve, her thoughts immediately went to Jack and how it would affect him. She had completely forgotten the effect it would have on Frankie, her husband now.

“So I guess it’s time to just go in,” Steve said. He was about to turn when both Jennifer and Frankie stopped him.

“Wait!” Frankie said. “Maybe you walking in so unexpectedly won’t be good for him.”

Jennifer nodded, “He might be out of any danger but he still gets tired easily and I’m not sure how this will affect him.”

Adrienne began asking questions on Jack’s recent health the past week and Steve stood listening. Now that they were talking Jack’s condition, they seemed to momentarily forget about them. Shaking his head, he grinned and pushed the door open quietly. He would just see how bad Jack’s condition really was.

The door shutting finally got the three of them to stop and turn. Steve had gone in! “Well, I guess we’ll see if he’s up for this,” Frankie said with a grin. Not caring so much for his wife’s ex-husband right now, he was thrilled to have his old friend and brother-in-law back.

————————–

Kayla stood outside Stephanie’s door and checked her watch. She already made a reservation for a two bedroom room suite at the Salem Inn and they could check in by two. There was plenty of time but Kayla wanted to talk to Stephanie before Steve and Adrienne returned.

Knocking loudly, she heard a moan from the other side of the door and she knew the first of Stephanie’s “awakening” was just beginning. Not having time for it’s usual length, Kayla took the key she got from her mother and opened the door, walking in.

“Stephanie, I need you to wake up,” she said gently. Opening the shades, morning light streamed in and Stephanie groaned louder. Kayla glanced at her daughter’s form, still angry about the day before. Her daughter knew better than traveling across the country using her emergency credit card!

“Stephanie!” she said louder.

“Mom, just five more minutes!” Stephanie grunted. Kayla narrowed her eyes and jerked the covers back. “I would think given the circumstances you would be able to force yourself to get out of bed, young lady!”

Stephanie stuck her head under the pillow trying to ignore her mom’s nagging. What was the deal? It was Saturday and she could sleep in.

“Stephanie!” Kayla yelled.
Angry, Stephanie returned, “What??” She jerked out of bed to glare at her mom and realized at once they weren’t home. Immediately, Stephanie’s mind cleared up and she went to stand up. “I forgot! I’m sorry. I did want to wake up earlier. Is Dad up? I can’t wait to talk to him!”

She stood up and began getting some clothes out to change into. She ran to the bathroom to brush her teeth. Kayla watched her and felt a trace of guilt that she would have to tell her that her father wasn’t here but gone to visit Uncle Jack.

“Stephanie,” Kayla said, her voice softening. “He’s not here right now.”

“What?” Stephanie stopped brushing and stared back at her mother surprised.

“He went to go visit your Uncle Jack,” she explained.

“Oh, good!” Stephanie returned, relieved. For a moment, she worried that her Dad had taken one look at her and decided he didn’t want to be a part of their family and left. She chuckled a bit at her silly worries.

Kayla took a deep breath, knowing this conversation might not go that well. “Stephanie, I want to talk to you. We need to talk about this stunt you pulled.”

“I have to change Mom so if this could wait…” she said, while attempting to shut the bedroom door.

Angry, Kayla jumped up and blocked the door. “No, this doesn’t wait! You broke about half a dozen rules to come out here to Salem and don’t think you’re anywhere off the hook…”

“I came to see Dad!” Stephanie cried. “Telling me he was back but then saying I had to sit out and wait for you to return to LA was an unfair thing…”

“I gave you my reasons…”
“They were stupid reasons, Mom,” Stephanie said. “Dad wants to be with us and you knew that before you came out here!”

“I didn’t! And whether they were valid or not, they were my reasons and I’m your mother and you listen to what I say!”

Stephanie got to the point. “Dad said it was okay! He was thrilled I did it and said it wasn’t wrong!”

“He didn’t say it wasn’t wrong, he just said he forgave you.”

“There isn’t anything to forgive.”

Having enough, Kayla walked to the main door. “I’m done arguing. Obviously you can stay here in Salem with us but you are going to apologize to your Aunt Kimberly for lying and worrying her to death! You are going to pay me back for that money you charged on that credit card which will take you until you are about thirty!”
“You can afford it! I had no choice but to use first class, all the other seats were booked and…”

“You are going to pay it off by helping out your grandmother in the kitchen while we are here. We’ve got to make arrangements with your school to let them know you will be gone maybe until the end of the semester.”

“That’s not a big deal. I’ve got straight A’s and I bet my teachers will let me take my finals through mail. They let Cindy Willis do it and she…”

“Let me work that out,” Kayla said opening the door. “But now you get dressed and report to your grandmother downstairs pronto!” Shutting the door behind her, Kayla held her head and counted to ten. Was she like this when she was a teenager?

Chapter Forty-Three

Jack was so hungry, yet he had hardly eaten a bite of the gruel they served at the hospital. His doctor said he was on a “special diet” and needed to let his stomach and kidney adjust back to normal food slowly. He didn’t care. He wasn’t going to eat anymore of this slop.

Pushing the plate to the side he closed his eyes and wished Jennifer would return. Alone. Frankie usually showed up with her and it irritated Jack but he could hardly blame him. Jack showed up at their wedding right after the ceremony and basically ruined the whole thing. He hadn’t intended to be seen. He wanted to just catch a glimpse of his kids, specifically his daughter Abigail who looked so beautiful in her dress. Once he did get the all too short look at Abby, Jack Jr., and Jennifer he was rooted to the spot and couldn’t leave. He still could have gone unnoticed if that stupid cop who had been patrolling the grounds hadn’t stumbled upon him and caused a scene. Just because someone was staked out in the bushes of a church peering inside the windows does not prove he was up to something!

Since then, it came out quickly how sick he really was. He returned to Salem not to die but to see his family one more time, obviously something he didn’t deserve. Yet once his presence was known he couldn’t leave then. Everyone surrounded him: his kids, Jennifer, his Mom, even Frankie.

What was interesting was after it became clear he wouldn’t die after all, Jennifer remained. He expected everyone else to stay. His daughter Abigail only left when she had to go to school and his Mom was gone this particular week due to a promise she made to another dying friend of hers, but that was only after he insisted she and Vern go. He almost missed Jo and her mothering.

Leaning back in bed he closed his eyes and tried to relax. The random sounds of the monitors that were still keeping tabs on him filled his ears. The door opening was a welcome distraction from the boredom it was to be in a hospital room.

“Did you happen to bring me something to eat? Anything is better than this… ” Jack stopped when he realized it wasn’t Jennifer or Frankie returning to the room. For a minute, Jack stared at the man in front him, the man who looked exactly like… but it couldn’t be. Sitting up, Jack leaned in, just to make sure his eyes weren’t deceiving him.

“Hey, Billy Jack, I see you still prefer hospitals.”

That voice! Jack stared at the patch on the man’s face. He glanced down to see if his heart monitor was spiked but realized they had removed that one the day before.

“Did you lose something?” Steve asked walking up, mistaking Jack to be looking around for something he needed. He had really no idea if his brother was lucid or not; it was something he should have asked before storming his way in. Looking at the younger man, Steve shook his head at how bad Jack looked. He knew he had nearly died recently but Steve wasn’t prepared for this.

“No, I… I…” Jack tried to talk but couldn’t get his mind together. Was it really Steve?

“Steve?” he finally asked.

In spite of the situation, Steve laughed. Having someone look at confused as he was a welcome change, actually. “Yeah, Junior, it’s me.”

“What happened? When did you come back?” Jack had many questions. One was to ask Jennifer if Steve had returned from the dead and they forgot to tell him. He had lost track of Kayla and Adrienne when he went into hiding, and if Steve had returned he probably wouldn’t have found out.

“Not long after you. Just this week in fact,” Steve said.

Jack’s bottom lip began to quiver a bit but got it under control. He asked, “Does Kayla know?”

Steve cocked his head and cracked, “Kayla who? Yes, of course she knows! Don’t you think she’s the first person I wanted to see?”

Jack nodded. He felt the inadequacies he had years ago whenever he was around his older brother return. Those were demons he thought he had worked out, but Steve’s sudden death never provided closure between them. “Yeah, of course. But… what happened? You were buried.”

Pulling up a chair, Steve sighed, “So I keep hearing. I honestly don’t know, man, I just have a few short memories waking up surrounded by Stefano and his goons from time to time.”
“Stefano?”

Steve nodded, he then told him the whole story all the way up until the night before with Stephanie’s arrival.

“Wow!” Jack said leaning back in the bed. “I’m so glad for Stephanie! I mean, I’m glad for us all but sometimes I got the feeling she wanted her Dad to return from the dead like her cousin’s always did.”

“So, how about that? Is this the fourth time for you? I’ve got a while to catch up to you, this being my first.”

Jack nearly laughed but was mainly faking it. He made fun of his near death experiences but he was never ever comfortable doing so.. “I have a handbook. It’s informative.”

“I’m sure,” Steve said. His brother now looked very tired and Steve wondered if he should go. He felt weird coming and staying for only a few minutes. The truth was, Steve knew in his heart he wanted to use Jack’s health as an excuse to leave. He wasn’t comfortable sitting down and chatting with him. He had thought he’d forgiven him all those years ago, and Jack had proven himself — certainly before Steve was taken–but it was as if the old distrust had returned and Steve suddenly wanted out of there.

Instead of offering to leave, Steve stayed and a silence remained between them. Jack couldn’t keep his eyes off of Steve, his back-from-the-dead brother, while Steve looked anywhere but at Jack.

Never one to stand a silent room, Jack began to ramble, “So… how do you like your daughter? She’s beautiful. Just like her mother. I mean, not that I’ve been looking at her mother. I haven’t seen her mother in years, but I’ve seen Stephanie. I mean not that I hung out with Stephanie, Abby did. They’re friends and Abby has pictures of them. That’s Abby and Stephanie not Abby and Kayla. Though there might be a few of Kayla though too, not that I was looking at her…”

“Jack!” Steve stopped him. “It’s fine. You’re Stephanie’s uncle so I know you have seen her! I understand you’ve been a great Dad to your kids.”

“Yeah, well, if you count letting them believe I was dead when I wasn’t,” Jack said, rolling his eyes.

I don’t understand that either, I’d give anything to get the missing years back with Kayla and Stephanie. Steve thought. Instead, he said, “You got to do what you got to do.”

Jack nodded but still sensed Steve’s disapproval. The silence returned and after a few minutes, Steve stood up. “Well, I guess it’s time for me to go. I wanted to make sure to stop by.”

“Thanks,” Jack said, “I’m glad you did. I really am glad to see you are alive, Steve.”

Steve debated about shaking Jack’s hand. He sure wasn’t going to hug him. He eventually chose to do a hand wave which Jack returned. He walked out the door to the surprised face of his sister. She had gotten some coffee and was just about to come in. “You’re leaving?”

“Yeah, it was good. We had a good visit,” Steve said while taking a cup from her.

Adrienne, misreading the situation, frowned, “Did he get tired on you? I’m sorry you didn’t get to spend more time with him.”

Steve shrugged trying to look disappointed but started walking down the hall.

Adrienne continued, “At least now we have you both alive and well and in Salem. Think of all the last time you two can make up for!”

Steve just nodded, drinking the coffee though it was much too hot.

Chapter Forty-Four

Hope put down the phone, her mind reeling. Steve Johnson was alive! After all this time!

Hope walked over to the couch and sat down. Tears overwhelmed her. She had just thought of Steve the other day, something she hadn’t done in so long, and now Jennifer just calls her up and tells her that he’s apparently alive! John and Bo had found him while rescuing Marlena!

Glancing at her purse, Hope knew her cell phone sat in there with unchecked messages from Bo. She saw his name appear on the caller ID, so she didn’t bother to answer. Now she felt ashamed; he was obviously calling her to tell her their old friend was coming home to Salem.

Hope asked Jennifer how Kayla was doing but her cousin hadn’t spoken to her. All Jennifer knew was what Adrienne had told her which was how the others had come upon Steve in the first place. Hope smiled for Kayla; she knew her sister-in-law never moved on from her husband’s death and she was happy for her that Steve really was alive.

Hope wanted to desperately go see Steve right then. Truth be told she had not been motivated much to leave Aunt Maggie’s house since Zack had been killed. She left the house everyday but it was just for routine and habitual errands that needed to be done. Now, Hope wanted to run straight to the hospital to see Steve again. Would she be intruding?

Deciding that she didn’t care if she was, Hope grabbed her purse to head up to the hospital. With her car keys in her hand she opened the door and nearly ran straight into someone.

“Oh, my, excuse me, I…” Hope stopped once she saw the object of her thoughts was standing right in front of her. “Steve!”

“In the flesh!” Steve returned as he got a good look at her. Hope was older now, but he would have recognized her anywhere, especially when she flashed her beautiful smile and gave him a big hug.

“Oh, Steve!” Hope welcomed him into her arms, the tears reappearing in her eyes at the sight of him. At that moment it dawned on her how much she had missed him.

“Hey, Sweet Thing!” Steve pulled back and saw the tears. “Oh, come on. Don’t tell me these wet things are on my account?”

Hearing her old nickname, Hope gave in to the tears and began crying outright. “Steve, you’re back! Jennifer called me, so I knew, I was leaving to go see you!”

“You were?” Steve asked. Hope pulled Steve inside and together they went for the couch with Hope still clutching his arm.

“Of course, I was! I am so glad you’re…” again the tears took over and Steve took her back in his arms while shushing her.

After a few minutes, they let go and Hope let the smile return. “You have no idea how glad I am you are alive!”

Steve laughed, “Ditto!”

Hope returned the laugh, knowing exactly what he meant. The fact that she “died” before he did meant she was cheated a chance to mourn at his funeral with everyone else.

Steve took a breath, relieved she was happy to see him too. Not that he expected her not to be, but given everything he knew of her life recently, she might not be up to having visitors, especially ones that returned from the dead. “Well, I’m glad I told Adrienne to drop me off here after visiting Jack so I could see you. I really am glad you’re alive, Hope.”

Hope nodded, touched that Steve even thought about her. She knew how overwhelming it could be coming back to Salem. Keeping her voice steady she asked, “Are you alright? All Jennifer knew was about the rescue itself. I mean, did they do things to you?”

Steve frowned, knowing Hope was very sensitive to such things. Stefano had wiped her memory and created a new identity for her just like he had done for John. He shook his head, “As far as I know, no, there wasn’t anything more to it except keeping me around like a sleeping dog in order for Benjy to remain in his father’s world.”

“Benjy?” Hope repeated the name. “I don’t remember him.”

“Oh, that’s right. You never met him. He was this deaf child we found while on our honeymoon in the Orient. We thought he’d been abandoned. As it turns out his mother was trying to keep him away from his father, Stefano, and knew that we would take care of him.”

“Oh, right,” Hope said, recalling the story now. “That’s awful that a father would do such a thing to his own son.”

Steve nodded, watching Hope carefully. He so much wanted to bring up Bo’s name but couldn’t come up with a good enough reason that didn’t seem too obvious.

“Have you seen Kayla?” Hope asked. Steve’s face broke into a big smile, making Hope laugh. “I guess that’s a yes.”

“Her and Stephanie!”

Hope leaned back into the couch, “And what do you think of your daughter?”

“She’s a real spitfire! Just like her Mom!” Steve said proudly.

That pushed Hope to laugh even harder, “I think she’s probably more like you!”

Steve laughed and told Hope of Stephanie’s most recent stunt or more to the point, the only stunt he knew she had pulled. Hope nodded more, “Yes, definitely she’s like you!”

“Well, how about if she’s like both me and Sweetness?”

“That’s probably the most true! I always love it when I saw both me and Bo in Shawn and Za-” Hope stopped then. The happiness on her face had left and she instantly felt cold. Cursing herself for ruining the moment, Hope tried to change the subject, “I forgot to ask if you wanted anything to drink. I could go get you something.”

She got up to head into the kitchen but Steve stopped her by getting up himself. “Hope, please, tell me about it. I want to know… I can’t imagine what you must be feeling.”

Hope turned to look at Steve, not sure if she should get into it. It was so much. It took so much energy. “No, it’s okay. We don’t have to, maybe later. Right now, I just want to be glad you are back! That there is some good news out there for me!”

“Are you sure? I came here to see you, Hope. I wanted to hear what happened. Bo won’t get into the details much.”

At the mention of Bo, Hope turned away again from Steve. Icily she said, “No, I don’t guess he wouldn’t.”

“Hope? Why won’t you talk to Bo? He misses you so much.”

Steve jumped back as Hope whirled around to glare at him. She said, “Are you here for him? Is that why you came to see me? That you want me to take him back?”

Steve knew then that things were much worse than he realized and cursed himself for not asking Kayla about it before he dove in head first. Trying to deflect her anger and fears, Steve said, “Of course not! I came to see you, Sweet Thing! As soon as I heard you were alive I wanted to see you! You know… to me you died just a couple of months ago.”

The sincerity on Steve’s face melted Hope’s heart and she felt shame. “Oh, Steve, I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me. I just… I can’t talk about Bo right now. When I needed him the most, he betrayed me… in so many ways.. I just needed him but he was with Billie…”

Again, she began crying and Steve took her in his arms. He had no idea what Bo had done but now he believed his friend had left out a lot of details on purpose, and he was going to have to get to the bottom of it.

Pulling Hope back to the couch, Steve said, “Tell me what happened. Don’t hold anything back.”

Chapter Forty-Five

Kayla walked out of the kitchen, leaving her mother to deal with an unhappy Stephanie. Checking her watch, she wondered how everything went with Jack and Steve. Adrienne had been back but she apparently dropped him off to see Hope. Kayla made a silent prayer for Steve to get through to Hope; if anyone could, it probably would be him. The waitress, Lisa, came over and asked Kayla if she would like anything. Kayla nodded and ordered lunch.

The door opened and in walked Bo and Benjy. Kayla waved them over. She was glad Bo had taken Benjy around town; she was worried about the younger man. Leaving the Dimera family was easier said than done, but from all appearances it did seem that Stefano had dropped interest in Benjy, who now had to figure out what to do with his life–a life that until now he had spent taking care of Kayla’s husband; she felt honor bound to do what she could for him.

“How did this morning go?” Kayla asked.

Bo answered for them both, “Great. Benjy spoke to the deaf school and it appears they are in desperate need of teachers. He filled out an application already.”

“That’s wonderful!” Kayla said, smiling.

Benjy nodded, responding, “They said they will get back to me quickly. Given I have no real experience working in such areas they said it would help if I had references.”

Not needing to hear anymore, Kayla patted Benjy’s hand, “Of course I’ll be a reference!”

Bo patted the young man on the back and said, “And a reference from Dr. Johnson will go a long way, especially in this town!” Benjy smiled gratefully.

Lisa came back to get orders from Bo and Benjy. After she left, Bo asked, “Steve not back yet from visiting Jack?”

Kayla took a moment to answer. “Actually, he’s already done with that. He’s gone to see Hope now.”

Bo’s eyes locked with Kayla and for a long moment he didn’t say anything. Finally, he nodded, “Good, that’s good.”

No one said much after that and they were left to the ambient sounds of the pub and the kitchen, where Caroline was barking orders at Stephanie. Both Kayla and Bo smiled knowing that Caroline was the best at giving out work punishments and the poor girl was going to be exhausted by evening. Eventually their food came, and they ate in relative silence. Kayla wanted to talk about Steve, but given Bo’s change of mood since she brought up his wife’s name, she knew he wasn’t up to talking.

When they were nearly done, Steve walked in. Kayla’s heart leaped at the sight of him. Would she ever be able to get used to him simply walking into a room? Steve smiled at her but quickly his face changed when he saw Bo. Strutting over, Steve smacked Bo in the back of the head.

“Hey!” Bo said, clearly angry. “What was that for?”

“That was for not telling me you slept with Billie. And this,” Steve smacked him again, “is for not telling me you emailed Hope asking for a divorce.”

Confused, Bo was about to jump up and ask what in the hell Steve was talking about, but Steve pushed him back down again and gave him one more smack. Steve explained, “And that was just ’cause I felt like it!”

“What are you talking about?” Bo asked rubbing his head, trying to control his temper. He glanced at Kayla and Benjy who looked just as confused as he was.

“I would tell you not to play dumb, but that’s apparently all you know. C’mon, if you want to talk about this, let’s go upstairs so we won’t disturb the clientèle!” Steve then gestured to the people in the restaurant.

Bo got up and headed for the stairs, practically growling as he did so. Steve started up after him, but suddenly stopped like he remembered something. Turning around, he ran back to Kayla, who was still in a state of shock at what just transpired. Leaning in, he gave her a very sensual kiss making her lose all thought. Then just as quickly as it began, Steve leaned back, saying, “Hi, Sweetness. Missed you!” He then kissed her again, a faster one this time. When done, he turned around and headed up the stairs to deal with his maddening brother-in-law.

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One thought on “Awake Ch. 41-45

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