Episode 12: Prodigal Son
Standing at the large panoramic window Alexis Colby fingered the lit cigarette that hung from her right hand as her left fiddled nervously with the black patent belt that pulled her tailored black dress suit in at her neat waist. Her gaze was fixed on the horses out in the paddock yet she wasn't really paying attention to the hands training of her racehorses.
Today was the day of the funeral…her baby girl's funeral.
Part of her still couldn't quite believe it was happening. It was like being trapped in a nightmare, unable to wake up.
She hadn't believed it at the hospital even with Amanda laying cold in front of her or when they had left Monaco…or even when she had watched from the tarmac as that slim oak coffin was loaded on to the plane…even when they had landed in Denver and she had been thrown into planning the funeral.
That had all gone by in a terrible numb blur. If it hadn't been for her other children Alexis wasn't sure what she would have done…
Fallon had been wonderful, she had taken so much weight off of Alexis's shoulders, she had taken it upon herself to phone around all Amanda's friends and organise flights and accommodation for all the family flying in from England. She had even taken it upon herself to sort out the preparations for the wake at the house with Mrs Gunnerson to save her mother from having to spend too much time in a house that she still felt uncomfortable in.
Adam had been her rock at Colby Co, taking over all those meetings that couldn't be postponed. Alexis had tried to go into the office one morning for a few hours, hoping the distraction would take her mind off of things. Yet all that had resulted was wasted hours as Alexis had spent the time she should have been reading production reports staring off into space unable to concentrate.
Jeff had taken care of Denver Carrington.
By contrast the men in her life seemed determined to make her life even more difficult. Thoughts of Dex sent her temper spiking and as for Blake…
Thoughts of Blake caused Alexis take a deep pull on her cigarette as tears built up behind her eyes. She really shouldn't have expected anything else. How often had they been in this situation before? How many times when she needed him, really needed him, had Blake shut down…shut her out.
Why should this time have been any different?
It had started on the plane…
"Do you want a drink?" The question had been a straightforward one and yet either Blake hadn't heard her or he was ignoring her by choice. "Blake?
"No." His reply was curt almost rudely abrupt as Blake didn't even turn his head to look at her, continuing to stare blankly out of the window.
Pouring herself a large brandy Alexis took the seat on the opposite Blake across the table. Running her fingertip along the rim Alexis girded her courage to finally pose the question that had been on her lips all morning.
"You weren't there when I woke up, you weren't in your room either, where did you go so early?"
Sighing Blake seemed reluctant to engage in any sort of conversation. "Out. I went for a walk, I couldn't sleep I needed some air."
"You could have woken me I would have come with you." Alexis answered softy reaching across the table for Blake's hand her heart sinking even further as Blake shifted uncomfortably, allowing her comfort for a moment before pulling away.
"I know but we had such a late night and you needed your rest and I didn't want to wake you…besides I wanted to be myself for a while."
Leaning back in her own seat Alexis stared down into the depths of her brandy glass for a while, trying to stifle the sudden urge to cry. Tears were constantly near the surface at the moment; it hardly took much to set her off. Still knowing and feeling Blake pull away from her both physically and emotionally was a difficult thing to take stoically.
Perhaps a change of subject might draw him out of this descent into emotional isolation and depression.
"I have been thinking about the funeral…I was thinking of keeping it small and simple. A church ceremony and then a private burial just immediate family and maybe a few friends, followed by a short gathering at the house…I was wondering if perhaps I should invite Prince Michael, but if we do that what if Andrei turns up… "
"Alexis please can we not discuss this right now." Blake tried to make his chastisement soft but his lack of sleep made his tone gruffer than he probably intended. "I just can't…Please just leave it for now."
Biting her lip this time Alexis couldn't stop the tears from spilling down her cheeks even as she reached up to hastily brush them away. "Leave it alone or you?"
Scowling slightly Blake couldn't hide his irritation this time. "Both."
Yet he wasn't unmoved by her tears, part of him wanted to be able to reach out to her, the same part of him that had held her close to him the night before whilst she slept for as long as he had been able. Yet there was another part of Blake that pulled him away, that instinct to bury his pain and his emotions so deeply that they couldn't distract him so he could force himself to live through the pain.
"Fine! Have it your own damn way." Alexis hissed taking her brandy and her concern back to the couch. Muttering angrily to herself. "Just don't expect me to still be here when you finally realise how much you need me."
"Does this tie look right to you?"
Glancing back over her shoulder Fallon Colby paused in touching up her make up, making sure that it still covered the lingering remains of her bruising. Jackson stood lingering in her doorway, for once out of his jeans and casual shirts and smartly turned out in a dark grey suit and fiddling with a dark blue tie.
"It looks good."
"You sure?" Jackson asked hesitantly. "I thought perhaps I should have gone out and bought a black one…"
"Jackson the tie is fine." Fallon insisted. "Although it might look a little better if you tied it properly." She added crossing the room, reaching up to tweak at the knot until it was even and straight. "There now it's perfect."
"Thanks…I guess I'm just a little nervous, I haven't been to a proper funeral before...well not since I was a kid…I hope I don't make a mistake and embarrass myself."
Smiling slightly at Jackson's almost boyish uncertainty Fallon smoothed down the lapels of his dark grey suit. "You won't I promise. I am just glad you are going to be there I don't think I would be able to get through the day without you."
"Oh I don't know you'll have all your family there…I just hope I won't be in the way, I never met your sister…"
"Jackson you won't be!" Fallon insisted. "Believe me I barely knew Amanda either, it wasn't like we grew up together and I was living in LA most of the time she was in Denver. Sure she's my sister but I guess I'm more upset about the fact that I'll now never get to build that sort or relationship with her…well that and I am upset for my parents."
"I haven't really seen Alexis since she got back from Europe…" Jackson paused glancing back over his shoulder and down the corridor where Alexis's bedroom door remained firmly shut just as it had for most of the two days she had been home. "How is she taking it?"
Snorting in distinct unamusement Fallon moved back to her vanity, picking up her broad brimmed navy hat and checking her reflection in the mirror she carefully pinned it on.
"How do you think she's taking it? She's just lost her youngest child in terrible circumstances…god I cannot even begin to imagine what that must feel like. I mean there were times when we thought we might loose both LB and then Lauren but somehow they pulled through. The closest thing must have been how I felt when LB was kidnapped…Being so powerless…I can only imagine how much worse it must be to sit there and being forced to watch as your child dies in front of your eyes."
"Hey…" Jackson whispered softly, he could hear the break in Fallon's voice already. "Alexis is probably the toughest lady I know, if anyone can get through this she can."
"That's what she wants you to think." Fallon muttered. "Everyone always thinks of my mother as being made of stone but its just a façade, she's so fragile underneath…if you only knew how close to the edge…" Fallon broke off her fingers gripping the edge of her vanity. "I can't stand by and watch my mother like that again."
"Fallon we won't let anything happen to Alexis." Jackson tried to enthuse confidence in his voice. "Whatever it takes alright?"
Sighing Fallon nodded and leant back against Jackson's broad frame.
Rubbing her arm Jackson swallowed nervously before continuing. "Do you think perhaps…I mean do you think I should try and apologise to her? I still feel terrible about what happened, I mean if I'd known the two of you were going to turn up when you did and walked into that scene."
"Oh no…at least not right away, not today at any rate. In fact it's probably best if you wait until she brings it up. Mother has enough on her plate without anyone bringing up that man again." Fallon retorted bitterly, instinctively checking her makeup one last time at even the barest illusion to Dex Dexter.
As unpleasant as that scene had been, as unfortunate as the timing had been, at the time Fallon had wanted to the ground to open and swallow her up. Part of her still felt more than a small twinge of guilt whenever she thought of it. Still it was too late to do anything about it now, and besides it had gotten rid of Dex Dexter…perhaps this time for good?
So why did that thought not make Fallon feel as happy as she expected it to?
"What are you doing here Dexter?"
Sipping his whiskey Dex leant his head back against the headrest of his recliner his dark eyes unfocused as they stared out of the window. In the other room he could hear Jack's giggles and Marin's voice as she talked to her nephew, but Dex had no desire to go in there and play happy family's not when his own had been practically torn apart. The memories of those fateful moments on continuous replay in his mind.
"What are you doing here Dexter? I would have thought you would been ashamed to show your face around here after what you did?"
"I am here to see Alexis not answer to you Hobbs, I heard she was flying in this morning." Dex turned to stare at the Colby live in stud and so called racehorse trainer. He had never really taken to Jackson, the man seemed to know too much, to be in other people's business all the time, and for a straight man Dex found that more than a little unnerving.
"She's not here yet Dexter, Fallon is picking her up from the airport but even if she was I doubt very much she would want to see you."
"Why?" Dex snapped. "Oh let me guess because Fallon has been filling her head with lies about me? I suppose that's why she offered to pick Alexis up, so she'd have all the time in the world to warp her mother's mind."
"What lies Dexter I was there!" Jackson retorted his blue eyes blazing with anger. "I saw what you did…Now Fallon may not want to talk about it, in fact she made me swear to keep it to myself but that doesn't mean I am just going to let this go. If you think I am just going to stand back and watch you move back in here as though nothing happened…."
"Nothing did happen!" Dex barked back. "And no man gives me orders let alone primped up playboy like yourself."
"Because a macho hot head like yourself is so much better." Jackson retorted. "You know I foolishly thought you were a good guy Dexter. When you first came back onto the scene I actually encouraged Alexis to give you another chance. I thought you were the better option, I thought you really loved her and could keep her from getting hurt by Carrington again. Well if I knew then what I know now I would have pushed her back into Blake's arms."
Gritting his teeth and clenching his fists Dex resisted the urge to lash out, but realising that would merely confirm Jackson's opinion of him Dex kept a short leash on his temper. "You don't know the whole story Jackson, lets just say there were extenuating circumstances."
"There is never a good enough excuse for hitting a woman and only a coward would claim there was."
"Hey watch your mouth or I'll…"
"Or you'll what? Shut it for me?" Jackson countered quickly. "Resorting to violence how like you…But I am not a victim Dexter, you hit me I'll hit you back."
"You'd try." Dex snorted.
"I'd succeed, unlike you I fight men and not defenceless women."
Shaking his head at the younger man's bluster Dex sneered his reply. "Whatever Jackson I told you I didn't come here to waste my time with you, I want to see Alexis and I am not leaving until I do."
"Well then it seems your wish is granted." A clipped English accent pronounced regally from the doorway. "Now will someone please tell me what on earth is going on?"
"Alexis." Dex sighed with relief crossing the room to pull a surprisingly rigid Alexis into his arms. "Darling I have been so worried…"
"Really?" Alexis replied her tone deceptively light even as she broke his embrace and stepped out of it slapping her gloves into her palm. "How very surprising…I mean considering this is the first time we have spoken in weeks…not even a single message left at my hotel enquiring how I was…"
"That wasn't my fault!" Dex argued heatedly his eyes narrowing as he caught sight of Fallon slinking along the hallway. "Why don't you ask your daughter why I didn't call?"
"Don't you dare bring Fallon into this Dexter!" Jackson butted in his blue eyes blazing. "Don't you dare try to pin the blame on her after all you've done."
"Why the hell not this is all her fault!" Dex yelled back his dark eyes glaring into Jackson's blazing blues. "She is a little liar, and a thief."
"How dare…" Jackson began only to be cut off by Alexis.
"I hope you can substantiate those accusations Dex. I don't appreciate people attacking my children, I once told you that remember?"
"Oh I remember plenty." Dex sneered. "Fallon's been trying to drive us apart since I moved in, she thinks if she can break us up then you'll go back to Blake. She stole an engagement ring I bought for you…Then she refused to give me your number in Monaco…"
"You lying bastard." Jackson spat back. "So I suppose these fantastic stories were reason enough for you to hit her?"
"What?" Alexis's voice was so sharp and icy it was practically artic. "Fallon said she fell from her horse."
"Fallon didn't want to tell you…she thought you had enough to cope with right now. She was just covering it up, so much for your theory about her trying to destroy your relationship Dexter."
"Would you just shut up and stay out of this Jackson."
"Or what you'll hit me too?"
"Now you are really pushing it!" Dex all but growled pointing threatening at Jackson who merely returned his glare with a confident gaze of his own.
"Would you two stop bickering?" Alexis exclaimed raising a hand to her forehead, after the last few days she had neither the desire nor the patience to deal with this now. Lifting her gaze to meet Jackson's righteous anger Alexis seemed to deflate. "Is it true?"
"Why are you asking him?" Dex demanded frowning as his lover turned to another man for the truth, a virtual stranger over him. "I am telling you it was just an accident. I am the man you are supposed to be in love with…I am the man who picked the pieces of you off the floor after Blake was through with you…You're supposed to trust me Alexis!"
"Dexter hit Fallon I saw him." Jackson replied ignoring Dex's exclamation. "If anyone is a liar around here its him!"
For a long moment no one spoke. Dex watched as Alexis's pale face drained of what little colour was left in it. "Alexis I swear it wasn't like that…it was an accident…"
"Leave." It was said so quietly and softly that for a moment Dex didn't catch it.
"I said leave Dex." Alexis repeated this time louder and with steel in her voice.
"Alexis don't do this…" Dex's voice broke, his hand outreached for Alexis, brushing her sleeve, his heart sinking as Alexis stepped back as if burnt.
"Dex I can't deal with this right now. I don't want to see you anymore… Please just leave."
Horrified and unable to swallow down his pain Dex staggered out the door…his heart breaking a little bit more with every step.
"So are you just planning on sitting there all day and drinking yourself into some sort of a stupor?"
Grunting Dex did his best to ignore his sister's question staring down into the amber liquid at the bottom of his glass. "Maybe." What was the point?
"Can't you shave or at least take a shower, Dex you're really starting to smell?"
Shrugging his shoulders noncommittally Dex lifted his glass and took another sip not even lifting his gaze when his sister sighed and sank down into the opposite seat.
"Dex please, I am begging you, for your sake, my sake…for your son…you have to snap out of this. She is just one woman, there are others out there…"
"Not for me." Dex grunted scowling down into his now empty glass before reaching out for the whisky bottle, his annoyance growing when Marin's sober reflexes were faster and snatched it up before his fingers could close around the neck.
"What…." Dex spluttered his confusion only growing as his sister got to her feet and stomped into the bathroom upending the remains of his alcohol in the sink. "Hey you want to throw quality whiskey away Marin buy it yourself!"
"I did buy it, this is my hotel suite remember?" Marin spat resisting the urge to reach out and shake him. "God dammit Dex when are you going to stop sitting here on your backside feeling sorry for yourself. If you really cannot live without that damn woman then you are going the wrong way about it. Get off your arse, get sober and clean and then go get her back."
"It's not that simple." Dex barked back. "Alexis threw me out…she told me she never wanted to see me again."
"Only because she doesn't know the full story. You haven't even told me everything but I know you well enough to know you would never beat a woman….even a spoilt little bitch like Fallon Colby."
"Yeah well try telling Alexis that. When it comes to her children she will always take their side, always put them first." Dex muttered bitterly.
"Then make her listen!" Marin insisted. "Get off of your backside, get yourself sorted out and come with me to this damn funeral. Prove to her how much you really love her. Be there for even when she has told you to get lost, and if after all that Alexis still can't see you for the honest decent man that you are then frankly she doesn't deserve you!"
Adam Carrington was tired, dog-tired. Not that he let it show, he had the Carrington name to uphold after all.
He had been acting up as CEO since his mother had first travelled to Australia to help bail Jeff out the mess Denver Carrington had found itself in. It was a challenge that Adam relished, being able to prove to the family and the Colby Co staff that he was the Carrington son that was the safe pair of hands despite his turbulent history. Yet that didn't mean it wasn't exhausting covering both his post and his mother's and Adam resolved on the day he eventually took over Colby Co he would make sure he had two senior vice presidents.
After all what was the point of being the boss if you had to work yourself into an early grave?
Wincing at that thought considering the circumstances Adam checked his reflection in the vanity mirror. It may be his baby sister's funeral but that didn't mean she shouldn't look his best, in fact the opposite was true, because it was Amanda's funeral he should make an extra effort. Of all of his siblings Adam had found Amanda easiest to relate to. Perhaps it was because like him she had been thrust into the Carrington Clan as an adult. Perhaps it was because temperament wise they were quite similar, they both craved love like it was a drug, always wanting more than what they had.
Straightening his practically perfect tie and ascot knot, frowning when he caught sight of more than the beginnings of grey at his temples. It was typical that having taken after Alexis in most of his features, the high cheekbones and fine complexion, the one thing he seemingly had inherited from Blake was the early greying hair.
He was only thirty-four far too early to be going grey. It made him feel far older than his years and reminded him daily of how much still had to accomplish with his life. Adam Alexander Carrington still had much he wanted to achieve; becoming CEO of one of the family companies was merely one step. Yet although his other plans were far more humble, earning the respect and love of his family and one day hopefully sooner rather than later becoming a father himself…
Adam wasn't certain whether Dana's decision to take a break and move into another bedroom actually improved the chances of that happening or not.
"Adam are you ready?…Krystle wants everyone to gather in the library before we leave. She think it would be good for Dad if we are all there for him since Fallon is going to the church with Mother."
Sighing Adam moved to open the door forcing his expression into a mask of neutrality, when even the sound of his younger brother's voice set his teeth on edge. Steven, the Carrington golden boy. It made Adam's blood boil that no matter how many times Steven put himself before this family still he was welcomed back with open arms, the perpetual prodigal son.
"Coming Steven don't go getting your knickers in a twist." Adam quipped back, inwardly smirking as Steven scowled as Adam pushed past him and strode off towards the staircase.
"You know Adam I would have thought that today of all days you might drop the attitude and try and be a little nice to everyone."
"Oh how nice a lecture on family values from my baby brother." Adam sneered pausing on the top of the staircase. "This coming from the man who runs off and leaves his child to others to raise. Forgive me if don't rely on your opinion too heavily Steven."
"Dammit would it kill you to drop the hostility for one day?"
"I don't know would it kill you to face up to and deal with your responsibilities like a man and not a spoilt little boy?" Adam countered, snorting as Steven's tanned face flushed pink. "Instead of running away whenever things get difficult."
"Because you are a fine one to talk about running away." Steven scoffed blue eyes flashing as his big brother hit a little too close to the mark. Danny had been unusually cold and distant when Steven had arrived just in time to join him for breakfast.
"You're just bitter…I don't know why I bother to try…"
"Because Krystle ordered you to." Adam countered. "And you just love playing the perfect golden boy that you couldn't possibly refuse any little request Krystle makes of you, lest that golden crown of yours slips a fraction in her eyes. Well in my view its already down around your knees. Tell me Steven have you even bothered to have a conversation with your son yet?"
"I only flew in early this morning Adam and Krystle was right to send the children to school…a funeral is no place for them. I will have plenty of time to spend with Danny when he gets back from school."
"Oh an hour or two before you jet back to New York, how incredibly generous of you." Adam sneered taking the steps two at a time, doing his best to keep his lid on his temper.
"Actually I had planned to stay for the weekend, maybe take Danny away overnight to the cabin and do a spot of fishing. Not that my relationship with my son is any of your concern."
"Oh I am sure he will be thrilled." Adam drawled sarcastically pausing as he reached the mezzanine level. "Fishing with Daddy sounds like such fun."
"Why don't you keep your opinion to yourself?" Steven retorted hotly stepping up until he was in his older brother's face, not even thinking before adding. "When I want advice on parenting I will ask someone who is actually a parent for it."
Smarting from that jibe Adam bite back just as nastily. "Funny I thought there was more to being a parent than simply impregnating the nearest trailer trash tramp and running away. Still that is all you do isn't it Steven always dumping your child because you resent him cramping your fag lifestyle…"
"Boys that is enough! God Dammit your sister is being laid to rest today, can't you at least pretend to get along today of all days?"
The sound of Blake's command cut through the heated atmosphere like a bucket of cold water over a pair of scolded cats. Frowning Blake stalked down the stairs turning his dark gaze onto both of his sons in turn.
Both of his sons began to speak at the same time but Blake huffed and brushed their excuses aside before they could even begin, striding off down the remaining stairs without another word. He didn't have time or the desire to deal with them right now. Besides Blake Carrington had other things pressing on his mind.
The church was full. A fact that had momentarily surprised Alexis, before she guilty pushed such thoughts away…Amanda may not have grown up in Denver but clearly people had been fond of her, either that or they were here out of some voyeuristic tendency, not that she had any intention of indulging them.
Thank god Fallon and Jackson had stuck close by her side, the pair forming an unofficial circle of protection that had kept the circling vultures away and allowed Alexis some dignity as she moved to one of the front pews to take her seat. Across the aisle Krystle sat in a pew by herself, and it was a symptom of how raw Alexis was from her grief that is took a good minute or so before she realised the rest of the family was missing.
Suddenly the music started, the tremulous opening strain of Mozart's Alleluia Exsultate Jubilate, filled the large church as the congregation got to their feet. Alexis frowning in confusion as she caught Fallon's muttered…
"Oh Daddy…you shouldn't be straining yourself…"
Glancing back over her shoulder following Fallon's gaze, Alexis's gaze scanned the crowd, familiar faces standing out amongst mere acquaintances, although she did do a double take when her gaze passed over Dex seated next to his sister. Dex seemed to sense the weight of her gaze on him and his dark eyes flicked up to meet hers, something deep and unreadable in their depths.
Pulling her gaze away from Dex's dark gaze Alexis finally settled on the doorway to the church, her breath catching in her throat as she caught sight of the polished oak coffin and the familiar looking pallbearers.
Blake, Steven, Adam and Jeff along with two undertakers were carrying the coffin inside.
Swallowing a sob, Alexis held a handkerchief to her mouth. It was too much…the coffin…it was all too real and not a nightmare she had been hoping to eventually wake up from. It was only the feeling of Fallon's hand taking hers and holding it tightly that kept her grounded as Alexis watched the slow procession of the coffin towards the front of the church.
For Blake Carrington he was trying to concentrate on making his steps even and measured, and sustaining his balance and grip on the heavy weight he was carrying…all whilst not dwelling on exactly what he was carrying.
Part of him now wished he had declined Jeff's suggestion back at the house. Back then it had seemed a fitting symbolic act, all of Amanda's male relatives bearing her safely to her final resting place. Blake couldn't help the feeling guilt that stirred up, so different than the numbness that had dominated since the night of Amanda's passing. Carrying her coffin was the least he should do as her father, perhaps that might assuage the guilty sick feeling his stomach that Blake could only attribute to the fact that he had not contributed in any other way to his daughter's funeral.
Yet there was a big difference to agreeing to something in the abstract and actually physically carrying your daughter's coffin on your shoulder, when with every step your empty stomach gave a warning lurch and threatened to spill its meagre contents over your polished dress shoes. Forcing feelings of panic down Blake breathed through his nose, taking it one step and a time…
He could do this…he could…it was the least he could do considering….
Blake knew he had become a virtual recluse since returning to Denver, preferring to remain in his own room rather than interact with the family. As a result the burden of making all the funeral arrangements had rested on Fallon and Alexis….
On setting the coffin down carefully on the stand in front of the alter Blake found his gaze automatically drifting towards his ex-wife. She was dressed as impeccably as always, but even the wide brimmed hat and veil couldn't hide the tears that were already making tracks down her cheeks. God he hated seeing her cry.
The impulse to go to her and do something useful flared up for a moment. However his indecision made that choice for him as Adam automatically sank into the open space by his mother's side. It was probably be for the best at any rate…Blake had only proved to Alexis and himself over the years own truly inadequate he was at comforting anyone else. You needed to be able to open up and empathise and Blake Carrington had never been good at sharing his emotions, he struggled to even recognise and acknowledge them himself.
Standing lost, and feeling awkward Blake paused for a few seconds too long. Then fighting an embarrassed flush as the vicar coughed awkwardly signalling his desire to start. Out of the corner of his eye Blake watched as Krystle moved over to make space in her pew, which was already pretty full with Jeff and Steven. By rote Blake shuffled to take the space, allowing himself to drift back into the numb state he had survived in over the last few days. It was just safer that way.
The ceremony passed in something of a blur, and it wasn't until the fresh air hit him that Blake realised they were outside. Fortunately the family must have realised he was in no fit state to carry the coffin back out after the service and so it seemed Jackson had take his place in helping his son's.
There was a gentle breeze in the air, enough to rustle the autumn leaves that someone had painstakingly raked up from the paths and piled up. The occasional stronger gust would lift one of two leaves from the piles and send them dancing across the churchyard. It was those leaves that caught and held his attention, blocking out the priest's low even voice as he went through the service.
Yet when the wind suddenly dropped and the leaves fell as if having their strings cut, one of them falling like a stone coming to lightly rest on the polished oak surface of Amanda's coffin…Blake felt his throat close up.
He couldn't breathe; there was just too much pressing down on him. The grief that he had been pushing down, feelings that he had been suppressing for years were suddenly rushing at him like a tsunami. Impossible to fight or avoid.
Not here….not now…not in front of all these people…Blake prayed, hoping that someone was listening. Was this his punishment? Punishment for years of being able to exercise iron control over his thoughts and feelings, of pushing other people away because he had been unable to deal with their emotions whilst maintaining control of his own?
Was he destined to spend the rest of his life unable to control himself? A pathetic emotional cripple, a shadow of the former Blake Carrington unable to cope with the real world?
Yet as the panic began to truly grip him, and Blake tried to catch his breath, taking tiny little gasps for air, no one seemed to have heard his plea. Clenching his fists Blake tried to bring his breathing back under control…forcing himself to focus on something…anything…
Then as if heaven sent out of the corner of his eye he watched Alexis step forward, pushing aside Fallon's supporting hand to lay a single rose on their daughter's coffin. Then as she stood up something seemed to break in her and Blake watched frozen as she seemed to drop.
That got him moving…panic for her momentarily overwhelming his own emotional breakdown.
Sinking to the floor Blake's arms wrapped around Alexis, pulling her shaking crying frame against him. "It's alright…Darling it's alright I've got you."
"Blake?" Lifting her gaze, Alexis tried to wipe the tears that blinded her away. Her fingers closing on the lapels of Blake's suit jacket as she leant on Blake as he helped her to her feet. He was so warm and solid and she felt so cold…so very cold and tired of feeling alone and adrift.
"I've got you." Blake repeated his voice breaking as he stared down into her bloodshot green eyes, the pink tinge making the green seem almost florescent. Reaching up he lifted her veil and brushed the tears spilling down her cheek away with his thumb, Blake felt the build up of pressure behind his own eyes.
Yet he couldn't let go and let them fall…He was Blake Carrington…he couldn't breakdown, not when Alexis needed him to be the strong one. If only his damn defective body would listen to him…
"I'm sorry…I'm so sorry. I shut you out, I hurt you even more, I was protecting myself and that was selfish." Blake managed to choke…feeling as though the eyes of Denver were witnessing his confession, watching him, judging him, finding him lacking and just like that the crushing pressure on his chest returned.
Grasping for breath Blake could only watch helpless as Alexis's eyes widening in horror and panic. Her fingers tightening on his jacket as Blake seemed to stagger slightly.
Wheezing, Blake's grip on Alexis tightened until it was probably bruising, but neither of them cared.
"I love you." Blake managed somehow, this time certain that the doctors back in LA were wrong, this didn't feel like a mere panic attack…the pain… his chest…he had to be having a heart attack.
"Please god somebody do something he can't breathe." Alexis cried out as Blake struggled to breath and sank down to the ground pulling her with him as the people around them gasped and began to panic.
Cradling Blake's face between her hands Alexis shrugged off Fallon's hands as she tried to pull her mother away. "No I won't leave him."
"Mother please…let Jackson help him."
"No I can't…" Alexis choked out her tears falling to land on Blake's face…yet this time when Fallon and Adam reached for her she didn't have the strength to push them away. "Please god don't take him from me too…Blake don't you dare leave me."
"Mother it will be alright…Daddy's not dying."
"You don't know that Fallon." Alexis snapped back, leaning forward and urging her driver to put his foot down as they followed the ambulance. Right now she didn't even worry about getting stopped, or the fact that limousines didn't corner quite as well as a ambulance or that her driver hadn't undertaken any high speed advanced driving course. All Alexis could think was that right now Blake could be dying and she wasn't by his side.
"Mother Fallon is telling the truth, Father will be fine I expect."
"How can you say that…how can you be so calm?" Alexis demanded. "Dammit Adam Blake may be dying, he's your father shouldn't you be a little more concerned? How can you be so calm?"
"Because it's not a heart attack…it's a panic attack. Daddy had one in LA and swore everyone to secrecy." Fallon cut in watching as her mother's face changed colour, from pale to red and back again.
"What?" Alexis struggled to understand what Fallon was trying to tell her. She had seen Blake collapse, unable to breath clutching his chest. She had been here once before, watching before her eyes as the man she was due to marry was struck down by a heart attack. "No I saw…He couldn't breath."
"I know he couldn't breathe last time…" Fallon interjected only stopping when she saw the storm clouds gathering across her mother's face. "But it wasn't a heart attack. Still the doctor told him to take it easy…"
"And you kept this from ME?" Alexis demanded her emerald eyes flashing angrily. "Alright you two start talking, and this time don't leave any detail out!"
Swallowing nervously Fallon glanced over to her brother, yet from the way Adam shifted uncomfortably she could see there was no help coming there. "Umm it's kind of complicated…"
Leaning back against the plush leather of her seat Alexis locked her death glare on her squirming daughter. "Fortunately for you Fallon it seems we have plenty of time... So start talking!"
"Why are we here again? Remind me." Marin's drawling voice muttered in her brother's ear as she leaned against the back of her uncomfortable plastic chair. Rummaging around in her small black clutch bag until she liberated a nail file and began to work on her left pinky finger that she had annoyingly snagged on the rush to the hospital.
"Because." Dex answered shortly, his dark eyes locked on the family gathered across the other side of the waiting room.
"She doesn't need you Dex."
"You don't know that."
Snorting Marin shook her head; her brother was a brilliant and yet stupid man. "She hasn't so much as glanced in your direction once."
Biting back his immediate retort Dex sighed. Marin had a point. Whenever Blake's life had been in danger in the past Alexis hadn't been able to think of anything else, it was like she had a pair of blinkers on, almost an obsessive single-mindedness. Plus Marin was right Alexis probably hadn't even noticed he was here.
If only that was true for the rest of the family.
Even sitting here out of the way Dex had caught more than his fair share of dirty looks. Most of which had been from Jackson, who looked torn between staying and supporting Alexis and Fallon and storming over and demanding what the hell Dex thought he was doing here. Fallon by contrast had only glanced their way once and for a moment Dex caught a glimpse of something that might be interpreted as guilt or regret…however that was quickly smothered by anger and frustration. Clearly little Miss Fallon didn't approve of his presence much like her lover didn't; yet much like Jackson she was unwilling to make a public scene, even if it was for a different reason.
"Hello Dex, may I sit with you?"
Surprised by the question Dex glanced up at an awkward looking Krystle who forced a polite smile as she glanced across him to Marin who simply raised an eyebrow at the new arrival.
"Sure Krystle, nobody should be on their own right now." Dex answered softly, and Krystle accepted his offer gracefully sinking into the seat to his left.
"I don't think I've been introduced to…"
"Oh right." Dex answered. "Krystle this is my sister Marin…Marin this lady is Krystle…"
"Carrington, yes I know." Marin answered for him, her dark eyes raking over Krystle. "The unlucky second Mrs Carrington."
Blanching as if slapped Krystle forced herself to remain polite. "That is a rather unusual remark Marin. I wouldn't consider myself to be unlucky. I have a beautiful little girl, a wonderful family…"
"Except they aren't really your family they are hers." Marin retorted bitterly her dark eyes narrowing in distaste as she watched everyone fawn over Alexis. "Everything is always hers…"
"Marin please." Dex's voice was low but firm. "Now is not the time."
"Well when will it be the time Dex?" Marin spat back. "Why are we even here? Oh no let me guess…Because Alexis is upset and so you came running like some sort of lapdog."
"You were the one who told me to man up and tell her how I felt…"
"Tell her yes, make me hang around in a hospital whilst you sulk like a kicked puppy making pathetic goo goo eyes at Alexis whilst she doesn't even know you're alive, no! Besides what's the point anymore? We all saw them at the funeral, and unless Blake Carrington doesn't pull through this, I think it's safe to say your chances at reconciling with Alexis are slim to none."
Sighing Dex could only shake his head, clearly his sister's earlier kindness had been a fleeting impulse and the bitchy selfish younger sibling he remembered had remerged. Still it would be a hell of a lot easier if deep down Dex didn't suspect Marin was right on the money. If Blake Carrington pulled through this there would be no prising Alexis from his side…not even baby Jack would work this time.
Humiliated…that about summed it up perfectly
Blake knew he had humiliated himself in front of his peers, his family but worst of all in front of the woman he loved.
How could Alexis even bare to look at him now? A mere shadow of a man, a snviling cry baby, no woman would want a loser in their bed, certainly not a woman as strong and passionate as Alexis Colby. Oh she would undoubtedly be kind, would find some other way or excuse to let him down gently but the end result would be the same. Blake had already lost her respect and along with it any chance of her ever loving him back.
"Oh stop being a snivelling cry baby, take it like a man…Carrington men are strong not weak like little boys…"
Scrunching up his eyes Blake flinched as those words that had been so deeply engrained in his mind lashed out at him once more. His father's mocking words still as clear today as they had been all those years ago, the tone of disgust and disappointment still cut him to the quick…in a memory that Blake had tried so desperately to avoid thinking about in years.
"You're a weak nancy mummies boy…."
No…Blake silently intoned trying to push those memories and accompanying feelings of shame and worthlessness back down. He didn't want to think about that night now…not ever again…he couldn't and yet try as he might Blake couldn't stop his mind from taunting him with his past failure.
"You are a disgrace to the family name boy…look at you crying over a worthless piece of rubbish. Perhaps you aren't really a Carrington after all, perhaps you're one of those changelings you hear of foisted off onto unsuspecting folks…just some pathetic poetry writing little fairy nonce."
"NoDaddyI'mnot…I'maCarringtonreallyIam." I am I am Blake repeated in the present pleading with the phantom of his father who in his mind towered over him now just like he had when he was a small boy. Just like then he was unable to block out his father's drunken rage or his own child self's pathetic pleading as a drunken Thomas Carrington held aloft the entry to the church's poetry competition that a nine year old Blake had painstakingly spent all week perfecting.
Then a gentle voice intervened and even caught up in his grief an older Blake felt a twist of joy and pain at once again hearing his mother's voice…or what his addled brain concocted as his mother's voice, soft sweet and frightened…frightened for him…frightened for herself and the child she was carrying. After loosing so many others it was a blessing no Carrington had been expecting.
"Thomas please calm down, it's nothing really, Blake was just trying to please me…"
"You stay out of this Ellen, I've let you baby him enough, too long it seems well you'll have a new baby to concern yourself with soon…Leave the rest of Blake's raising to me!""But Thomas…"
"God's teeth woman I will be obeyed in my own house. Now if you cannot hold your tongue then leave the room." Thomas Carrington's bellows seemed to shake the room, and Blake remembered cowering in fear as his mother fled the room with a regretful glance back at her nine year old son.
"Now this is what I think of your artsy fartsy nonsense." Thomas hissed, ripping the carefully handwritten clean in half before his son's face and then tossing the remnants into the grate where the hearth fire ate them greedily.
"Listen here boy no son of mine will let those faggot ideas into his head…Its time you grew up Blake, and if it takes a good walloping to set you head on straight…"
Yet no matter how hard the boy Blake pleaded or how many tears scrolled down his red cheeks his father was relentless, taking off his slipper and tanning Blake's backside until it was raw.
"Now stop that snivelling this instant or I really will give you something to cry about!" Thomas commanded waving the slipper under Blake's nose. "Crying is for women and babies, Carrington men don't cry!"
"No Daddy." Blake answered contritely wiping his nose on his sleeve.
"And enough of this Daddy nonsense you are nine years old time to learn some respect. From now on it is Father or Sir, understand?"
Biting down on his lip to stop the tears in his eyes from falling Blake forced down his fear and pain, finding a sense of calm and control in pushing and locking his emotions away. "Yes Sir."
"Good." Thomas grunted in something approaching approval and the young Blake clung to that olive branch. If pushing down the pain made his Dad…Father proud of him then he could do that.
"Now starting tomorrow I think I'll take you into town with me, find you a proper part time job, something to keep you busy after school and knock this arsty fartsy nonsense out of you for good. A real man works hard for a living and its time you started!…But mark me Blake if I ever catch you acting like a cry baby again, or hiding behind your mother's skirts like a little boy then I will give you a proper hiding that will make that one feel like a little tap…You hear me Blake? Don't you ever embarrass the Carrington name again!"
Blinking Blake was jarred back to the present, opening his eyes he caught sight of a young nurse with a gentle smile, yet to Blake's eyes her concerned glance looked pitying and he couldn't bear it.
"I was just checking you were awake you have quite a few visitors waiting to see you…Now don't worry the doctor has told your family the good news, and other than your blood pressure that was a little on the high side, which is understandable considering the circumstances, you're doing just fine. In fact there is no reason we can't discharge you later on today. Providing of course you schedule a check up with your own doctor for the next few days so he can refer you to a proper specialist, and that you have some one stay with you over night…"
"Actually nurse I am feeling rather tired, too tired for visitors. You can tell them go home."
If the young nurse was surprised Blake thought she hid it rather well.
"Oh well I'll pass that message along, although I wouldn't be surprised if most chose to stay regardless. You must be a popular man, lots pf people seem to care about you, the waiting room was practically full and the phones been ringing off the hook with people wanting to check up on your condition."
Choosing not to respond Blake waited until the nurse was out of the room before raising a trembling hand to his forehead. The news was probably across Denver by now and halfway across the country. Soon everyone would know what a pathetic failure he was, an emotional cripple who couldn't hold it together when he most needed to. At least his father wasn't alive to see this, Blake could only imagine what his scathing response would be.
It was for the best that he didn't have any visitors. Right now he was a wreck and wouldn't be able to cope seeing the disappointment in his children's eyes…So perhaps it was cowardly having the nurse lie to them but since he was weak and pathetic anyway he might as well go the whole hog.
It was only delaying the inevitable in any case…tomorrow was soon enough to face loosing the respect of everyone he valued.
"God Dammit!" Alexis Colby was not normally one for cursing, well at least not in public since she had a refined and elegant reputation to uphold, but this damn hospital coffee machine was testing her last nerve on what had already been a rather trying day.
"I don't think you can really blame god for a faulty coffee machine…a phone call to hospital maintenance might be a little more effective."
Sighing at the familiar baritone Alexis realised she should have expected this…after all most of the family had gone home and she had merely assumed he would to but this wouldn't be the first time she had underestimated his stubbornness.
"I am sure it would but it doesn't have quite the same ring to it, besides since god is already on my bad side, cursing him makes me feel a little better."
"I guess I can understand that, today hasn't gone the way you expected and I know this is probably not a good time to bring this up…"
"What do you want Dex?" Alexis cut him off, turning on her heel to face her former lover and third husband.
"Would you believe me if I said I just wanted to check you were alright…if there was anything I could do…"
Snorting in distinct unamusement Alexis rolled her eyes at his obtuseness and his sheer gall. "Let me see I just buried my daughter and then during the ceremony had her father collapse in my arms. How in any possible scenario could I be alright?"
"I know…" Dex insisted his dark eyes skimming over her face, which looked far to pale and drawn for his liking, even make up couldn't completely hide the dark circles under her eyes from too little sleep. "If there is any way I can help Alexis just say it, I would do anything for you, you know that."
"Sure why not." Alexis snapped surprising Dex until she added in a sarcastic drawl.
"Just go back in time and stop Amanda from getting mixed up with Demeter, or even just stop her car from going over that cliff. Or if that is too much even for you Dex, perhaps you could find a damn doctor who can tell me why the hell I can't go and see Blake, because I find it impossible to believe Blake Carrington would refuse to see his family just because he was tired! Not the man who once travelled through the night just to bring me breakfast nor the man who would work double shifts at the rigs whenever they were short handed…No something is wrong, they've made some sort of mistake they are trying to cover up…"
"I doubt that's true." Dex hedged his heart clenching as the pieces all began to fit together, and the picture began to take shape. "You're really worried about him aren't you?"
"Oh what gave you a clue?" Alexis spat hotly, fumbling in her purse for a damn cigarette. Since she couldn't get a coffee or any answers, she'd have to settle for a cigarette.
"Alexis I get that you are worried but I am sure it is nothing like that." Dex tried to placate her, but Alexis was in full hurricane mode; nothing was going to stop her save her getting what she wanted and right now what she wanted was to see Blake. "You know I don't think you're supposed to smoke in here."
Snorting "Frankly I don't give a damn" Alexis lost her temper and her fight with her handbag which tired off the rough treatment unloaded its contents all over the corridor floor. "Now look what you made me do."
Biting back a smart reply Dex watched for a moment as Alexis scrabbled for her belongings before bending down to try and help. Yet even his patience was tested when Alexis all but snatched her possessions back out of his hands.
"Hey I was only trying to help."
"Did I ask for your help?" Alexis retorted. "Did I ask for you to follow me…it's like having a stalker."
"So you don't need or want my help anymore…hell you don't want me anymore either." Dex countered, loosing his grip on his temper. "Not now you have Blake back…tell me Alexis did you ever really genuinely give us a chance, ever see a real future for us, or was I just a temporary bed warmer; a way to make Blake jealous?"
Pulling out a cigarette Alexis stubbed the end on her lighter case before brining it to her lips and lighting it. Drawing in a lungful of calming smoke she stared up a fuming Dex from beneath her veiled hat before replying acerbically. "Not everything is about you darling."
"No but it might be nice if occasionally something was!" Dex snapped. "I gave you everything I had, my heart, everything! I was the one who picked you up when Carrington tossed you aside like garbage, I put you back together Alexis…"
"Oh because my recovery had nothing whatsoever to do with me?" Alexis retorted sarcastically. "I put myself back together Dex, you helped as did my children, but in the end I had to move on for me, you don't get to take all the credit!…God why are we even fighting about this? It's stupid, as is your jealousy I might add."
"Oh I think judging by your little display in the churchyard I have right to wonder what really went on between you and Carrington in Monaco." Dex argued hotly, oblivious to the way Alexis's face blanched. "How convenient it must have been when Fallon gave you a perfectly reasonable reason to give me the boot, something that absolved you of all guilt."
"For your information Blake and I spent the majority of time sitting by the side of our daughter who lay dying, it was hardly a romantic getaway Dex, and how dare you suggest otherwise…but it doesn't matter now, this isn't about me and Blake, it's about you and me…it's over Dex, we're over and if we're being honest it was over long before you hit my daughter, not that I could ever forgive you for that but it was merely the final nail in the coffin."
"Because of Blake…"
"Because of ME!" Alexis countered. "Because although I did…do love you, I can't trust you Dex, I will always be waiting for you to get drunk and end up in bed with the next floozy who smiles at you."
"Yet you trust him?" Dex asked incredulously. "The man broke your heart, threw you out of your own home…tried to rape you, or have you conveniently forgotten all of that?"
"No…no I haven't." Alexis muttered softly as if struck dumb. "But in the end it doesn't matter. I will always love him more. I can't explain it; not really, it doesn't make sense even to me. How can I love someone who treated me so badly? Once I even thought I could stop, that I could cut that love out my heart but then all I would have ended up with is no heart at all. I could be content…maybe even happy with you and Jack."
"But not enough to stay?"
"No not enough." Alexis replied sadly the fight having seeped out of her. "I can't help loving him Dex, but I always have and I imagine I always will. Even when I hated him I loved him still and that depth of feeling just doesn't go away because we wish it would. Today just made me face what I had been avoiding for months, when I really thought that I might lose him…"
Alexis closed her eyes, that stab of fear was still very much in her thoughts and it made her sick to her stomach. "I could have lost him today and I can't afford to waste any more time."
Sighing Alexis forced herself to nod. "I could lose him at any time and that terrifies me, but nothing frightened me more than the thought of Blake dying without knowing that I love him and forgive him."
"And I can go to hell?" Dex's voice was hurt and angry and dangerous.
Opening her eyes Alexis forced herself to meet Dex's gaze, to face the pain that she alone was responsible for. She had been hurting and alone and selfish and in that confusion she had latched onto the first person that had been a balm to her wounded heart and pride. Admitting that she had used Dex didn't make her suddenly a better person but at least it meant she wasn't a hypocrite.
"I shouldn't have dragged you into this mess in the first place Dex. Yet if it makes it any easier I did love being a family with you and Jack, and there was a time when I really thought we could make it. I doubt I would have recovered so quickly if it hadn't been for the two of you. I know that doesn't make what I did alright but I need you to understand I didn't deliberately go into our relationship intending for this to happen."
"But you're not going to change your mind, we don't deserve this Alexis, all I did was love you and what about Jack?" Dex demanded. "You're his mother, are you really going to throw all that away for Blake Carrington?"
"It's not a question of what chose, it's a question of what I can live with and I can't live without Blake…I love him and I want him."
Choked up Dex barely resisted the urge to scream, either that or reach out and shake some sense into Alexis. "Lady you really are one of a kind…"
"I don't blame you for hating me."
"Hate you?" Dex scoffed bitterly, his pain reflected clearly in his dark eyes. "I only wish I could, god knows it would be easier but you're my Carrington Alexis. No matter what happens, no matter how much you hurt me, I can't stop loving you or coming back for more…I just don't like you very much right now."
Holding her tongue Alexis at least had the sense to realise there was nothing she could say now that would do any good.
Running his hands through his hair, Dex could only huff in irony imagining Marin's reaction; he could picture her expression as she told him 'I told you so'.
"If I were the bigger man I suppose right about now I should be wishing you well…God knows all I've ever wanted was for you to be happy but I guess I'm too selfish. Right now the best I can do is not cursing the two of you to hell."
Ignoring the soft pleading way Alexis said his name Dex shook his head stepping away from her like she was toxic.
"Good luck Alexis I think you will need it." Dex hissed, gathering what remained of the tattered thread of his dignity and striding off before his tears could fall. He was done. Dex Dexter was out of here, for good this time and not once as he strode away from the love of his life did he give into the temptation to look back.
There were days Krystle Carrington wondered what she had been thinking marrying into the Carrington clan. Of course at the time love had been the pressing reason but part of her couldn't help but wonder if her naive younger self had realised the extent to which Blake's children and his first wife would end up dominating her life and happiness, would she still have married him?
Of course now they were officially divorced Krystle guess that was really a mute point. Yet despite the ending of their marriage it was ironic that Alexis and Alexis's children seemed to influence her life as much as they ever did.
Why else would she have returned to the mansion to make sure the guests who had filtered back there after the funeral were being taken care of? They weren't officially her guests, Fallon had done all of the organising, and yet Kystle still felt somehow constrained by the stringent expectations being Mrs Blake Carrington.
Fortunately though she hadn't been alone in her endeavour, after hearing from the doctors that Blake was well although not up to visitors Jeff, Steven and surprisingly enough Jackson had offered to accompany her home. Yet whilst Steven and Jeff helped answer the questions of many curious guests Jackson had vanished into thin air…
Still it was with some measure of relief that Krystle headed up to her room to shower and change. It had already been a long day and with Fallon picking the children up from school Krystle knew she has precious little time to relax before the whole hoard arrived home demanding food and attention and guilty Krystle couldn't help but wonder just when Fallon was planning on taking her own two back to the ranch with her. Not that Krystle didn't love LB and Lauren but sometimes they were so boisterous that they tended to overshadow the other children, especially Danny who seemed to be becoming more and more subdued.
Perhaps after his weekend away with Steven Danny might perk up a little and if Steven hadn't made arrangements to take the boy back with him toe New York then Krystle intended to persuade him to let Danny remain at the mansion with her. Krystle would never dare question out loud Alexis's love for her grandchildren but she doubted very much with both Colby Co and Denver Carrington not to mention her racing interests and baby Jack that Alexis really had the time or the inclination to give Danny the support he needed.
And speaking of support…Krystle sighed glancing at her watch as her precious free time seemed to slip away from her, she hadn't checked on Jessica at all today. Their temporary houseguest hadn't appeared at breakfast and Krystle could hardly blame her not wanting to show her face a funeral for someone she hadn't even met. Still that didn't change the fact that someone ought to check on the girl just to make sure she was alright.
Changing direction Krystle quickly strode to the over end of the main corridor, to the last door on the right where Jess was staying, yet as her hand hovered about to knock she couldn't help but overhear raised voices. As her mother had taught her better than to eavesdrop Krystle went to step away but then she heard something that made her stop despite herself.
"Why are you so mad about me asking? What's so terrible that I want him to be alright…"
"Because this is exactly what I was afraid of. You can't go getting attached to this family Jess. Now I see its too late well you'll just have to move out…" Jackson's voice countered angrily surprising Krystle.
"Jess I mean it it's too dangerous for you stay here. What if people found out, all that we've worked for would be for nothing…"
"Would it really be so terrible if they found out?" Jess's voice was softer and Krystle had to step closer to hear the rest.
"I mean he wasn't like what you described, he's actually been really kind to me not what I expected at all..."
"Only because they don't know who you are, do you think if they did they'd welcome you into the fold with open arms? Be sensible here Jess, his father didn't even want him, why would he want you?…Don't cry I'm sorry I yelled this is my fault I got so caught up in all these other problems when I should have been paying attention to you."
"I just really like it here Jackson…they're nice even Adam and it's like having a family."
"I'm your family, remember kid we don't need them."
"Except I do…maybe it's just the baby or maybe its feeling alone all the time, and know I'm only Blake Carrington's bastard's bastard and I'm carrying another illegitimate brat but this child is still a Carrington by blood no matter what side of the blanket it is born on."
Stunned and shaken Krystle all but staggered back from the door, unable to believe what she had just overheard. It couldn't be true, could it? If it was it meant Blake had once again had another child that he had never told her about and it that were true how many other dirty secrets was Blake Carrington hiding?
Sitting on the edge of his bed Blake Carrington watched the sky darkening through the window of his hospital room. His nurse had popped in to check on him and oblivious to Blake's dark mood had happily informed him that when the doctor came through on his rounds it was likely he would discharge him home, so if he wanted to get dressed in his own clothes…
Yet as Blake slowly buttoned up his shirt he had little reason to hurry. His mind was far too preoccupied with just what he was going to say to his family when he saw them, what could he possibly say to apologise for letting them all down like that? This time alone was supposed to have been a breathing space to help him regain control and allow him time to think, but his emotions seemed too unstable. Blake could only worry how much worse he would make the situation if he returned home still in so much turmoil.
Hearing the door behind him open and shut Blake sighed and called out. "I am sorry to keep you waiting I am almost ready…"
Still Blake started in surprise when an all too familiar voice, that seemed less than happy with him retorted. "Good because I am through waiting Blake!"
His throat suddenly dry Blake slid off of the bed and turned to face her. Now hatless with her hair pulled back and with much of her makeup removed, probably from crying tears over him, Alexis looked pale and tired but her righteous anger made her eyes flash and Blake was certain she had never looked quite so real or so beautiful.
"Cat got your tongue Blake…No "oh have you been waiting Alexis?" Or "oh how terrible I am sorry for driving you out of your mind with worry?" Alexis drawled sarcastically watching as Blake seemed to visibly shrink at her tongue-lashing. "Or how about just explaining why you didn't tell me, me of all people, about these attacks? During all that time we spent alone in Monaco you didn't think once to mention it? What if something had happened to you there and I hadn't known what to do? Do you think I would ever have been able to forgive myself?"
Sighing Blake forced himself to meet her gaze, Alexis was right, every accusation was true and justified and to his own mind Blake knew he had no decent reason only excuses. Yet even if they weren't good enough Blake realised he owed her an explanation…if he could only find the words and the courage.
Still some part of him knew this was his last chance, and that alone forced him to find the remains of his courage and relying on the faith he had in Alexis Blake did something he never did; what he swore he would never do…talk about how he was feeling.
"I couldn't bear the idea of you thinking of me as weak." Blake sighed closing his eyes as he reached up and ran his hand nervously through his hair.
"You know me Alexis…probably better than anyone…you know how difficult I find talking about how I feel. I have always struggled with overt emotional displays and this time it was me. I was the one having a breakdown because I couldn't control my emotions. I had pushed them down so much that it was like an eruption I couldn't stop."
"And you thought I wouldn't understand?" Alexis questioned unable to contain the hurt in her voice.
"No its not that…God this is so difficult." Blake admitted moving to sit on the bed and holding out his hand, hoping that Alexis accepted. It wasn't logical but somehow Blake felt this might be easier to discuss if Alexis wasn't so physically distant…if he could just feel the warmth of her skin under his fingertips maybe he could get through this.
When Alexis hesitated Blake knew he wasn't above begging, holding her gaze he pleaded softly. "Please."
On hearing Blake request so softly and humbly spoken his dark eyes unusually vulnerable and frightened, as if a refusal from her would actually break him; Alexis's stomach twisted and her hand shook as she reached out to accept his hand, allowing him to pull her closer.
When Alexis was seated next to him Blake knew he couldn't put it off any longer and he held her hand in between his own yet he couldn't find the strength to meet her gaze. "I was afraid…"
"Of what, me?"
"A little. Afraid that you would realise that underneath everything I was weak and pathetic. I had already lost you and your love to Dexter. I couldn't bear to loose what little respect I still had in your eyes, especially after you told me that I had destroyed your trust in me. I know it was selfish but I couldn't bear to lose anything else. I honestly thought it was a one off and that I could get through it with something of my dignity intact…Which I suppose just proves I am a fool as well as a coward." Blake scoffed, in that moment the full picture of his misplaced arrogance becoming clear even to him.
"Now I've not only lost your respect but I've humiliated myself in front of half of Denver and ruined our daughter's funeral…And I am so sorry ruined that for you, god knows I've been little help to you in organising it."
Biting her lip Alexis stopped herself from trying to reassure him, in fact she stopped herself from speaking at all, afraid that if she did it would somehow break the spell and the flow of Blake's confession. Alexis had waited nearly thirty five years for Blake Carrington to finally let down those walls around himself and let her see the core of him. Thirty five years of tears and frustration, yet as Blake finally stepped back from his defences and let her in Alexis had a feeling it had been worth the wait.
"I was afraid of loosing myself. At times it was like I could feel myself and my life unravelling, every strand unwinding between my fingers and no matter how strongly I gripped on to them it wasn't enough. I have always prided myself on being in control and now I can't even hold it together long enough to give my own daughter the send off she deserved." Blake added unable to stop the tears that brimmed in his eyes.
This time Blake didn't try to fight them, allowing them to fall from his eyes onto his tanned and weather-beaten face, surprised when instead of the feeling the shame he expected all he could feel was a sense of relief…of finally letting go…of letting it out.
Seeing the tears on Blake's cheeks brought a lump to Alexis's throat, and although she would have sworn she must have already cried herself out, yet more tears sprang to her own eyes.
"All I seem to do is hurt and fail the people I love…I do love you…god you can never know how much." Blake whispered softly lifting his gaze to meet Alexis's, encouraged when she managed a small smile despite her tears.
"I was wrong Alexis, I should never have thrown you out. The first time I was just so angry I didn't even think of the consequences, I was running on pure rage but I somehow convinced myself I wasn't. I didn't do what was best for Fallon or Steven, I reacted that way because I wanted to hurt you back and you and our children spent the next sixteen years paying for my arrogance and wounded pride and I am so sorry. I never got around to asking you for forgiveness because if I did that then I would have had to admit I was wrong, well I am asking now, if one day you could please try to forgive me?"
Reaching up to cover her mouth as she choked back a sob Alexis couldn't then resist squeezing Blake's hand in reassurance. "I can't forget the pain Blake, loosing those years with my children will always hurt but I forgave you for that months ago…If I hadn't do you think I would ever have agreed to marry you?"
Hanging his head Blake felt slightly lighter. As one of his greatest sins it still hung about his neck but it didn't cut into him the way it used to, still it was merely one of many. His others were more recent and their wounds were still fresh and Blake couldn't even being to imagine that Alexis would be able to forgive them so easily…yet that didn't mean he could hide from them…it just meant it was time for the truth, the whole truth.
"You were right."
Blake's softly spoken words surprised Alexis. Especially as after his last confession and almost awkward silence had fallen between them as Blake struggled to contain himself. Finally raising a hand to swipe at the tears that lingered on his cheeks as Alexis herself fumbled in her purse before handing over her handkerchief.
"Thank you." Blake muttered blowing his nose and tucking the monogrammed handkerchief back into his own pocket after Alexis waved it aside.
Unable to contain her curiosity a moment longer Alexis couldn't stop herself from asking. "What specifically am I right about this time?"
Smiling at Alexis's turn of phrase Blake paused before answering, as if thinking carefully about how to phrase his own answer. "Do you remember that day Colby Acres, in the stables?"
"The day I yelled at you and then threw you out?" Alexis retorted her own smirk tugging at her lips.
Chuckling Blake could only nod before becoming serious once more. "Back then you knew, somehow you knew there was more to my breaking our engagement than what I told you."
Snorting Alexis couldn't contain a note of bitterness in her retort. "Well that was hardly a feat of genius Blake. Even when you stood there and yelled in my face that you didn't love me, that you loved Krystle and I was simply convenient, your eyes were saying the exact opposite…You've never been able to successfully lie to me."
Hanging his head Blake had to admit Alexis had a point, she always seemed to be able to see through his bullshit and Blake couldn't help but wonder if she was just that perceptive when it came to him or if he was just that bad a liar?
"It wasn't all a lie…" Blake stumbled over his words. "I really did think I owed it to Krystina to at least try to make the best of things but if hadn't been for…Well I would have tried to find another way, a way that didn't involve hurting you."
"You're prevaricating Blake."
"I know…I…it is difficult this isn't my secret to tell but since it effected you I think you deserve to know the truth."
When Blake didn't immediately continue Alexis reached out and took his hand, her fingers squeezing his gently. "If it would I help you know I would keep the confidence…"
"No it's not that I know you wouldn't tell anyone else." Blake answered smiling slightly. "But I guess it would reassure me if you agreed not to use this against her…I know you Alexis, you have an unerring ability to cut people to the quick if they get in your way and I would feel terrible if this was used against her."
Stung slightly by Blake's comment Alexis knew now he had to be talking about Krystle…The Sterling Krystle…Even if he wasn't in love with her anymore Blake was clearly still protective over his ex-stenographer and Alexis wasn't immune to the feeling of jealousy that his concern stirred up. That and the fact that despite his protestations of love for Alexis herself it was Krystle who still lived at the mansion, she hadn't been thrown out when their relationship had come to an end…
Although the fact that Krystina still lived at the mansion might also have been a mitigating factor…
"Alexis?" Blake prompted when Alexis remained worryingly silent.
"I presume we are talking about Krystle then?"
"Yes." Blake answered simply watching, as Alexis seemed to sharpen and bristle. "This is her secret Alexis…please promise…for me?"
Sighing Alexis knew she couldn't fight that. Not when Blake looked at her so pleadingly, his voice to low and rough. "I promise."
Smiling broader this time Blake squeezed her hand back, rubbing his thumb along hers. "Thank you…I suppose it would be best to start at the beginning."
Still that was easier said than done.
"When I first flew out to Switzerland I met with Krystle's doctors who told me their tests had picked up a secondary tumour…"
"Oh my god." Alexis gasped raising her eyes to meet Blake's, seeing the truth in his dark depths, and the missing pieces of the puzzle suddenly fell into place. "But they were able to do something…I've seen her she looks fine, she doesn't look sick…Are you sure they weren't mistaken, did you get a second opinion?"
Shaking his head Blake continued cutting off Alexis's questions. "Dr Muir is a leading specialist he knows what he is talking about. The tumour isn't operable, the position is too deep. He offered Krystle the choice of a course of radiotherapy to try and shrink it or a regime of drugs to try and keep it stable and her free from the symptoms as long as possible. Krystle decided to take the drugs, she didn't want waste whatever time she had left with Krystina being too sick to take care of her, and she didn't want the rest of the family to know she was sick until it was impossible to hide it anymore."
"So that was why?" Alexis choked unable to believe what she was hearing. Having seen Krystle only hours earlier looking fit and well it seemed impossible to believe it, but Blake wouldn't lie about something like this. "You knew she was dying…"
"I thought I was doing the right thing, the honourable thing." Blake answered shaking his head at his own stupidity. "All Krystle could talk about was coming home and spending the time with all the people she loved and I couldn't bring myself to tell the truth about us. So I hurt you out some misguided idiotic notion that I was protecting her. That I could reset the clock for the time she had left and make sure she had what she wanted for as long as she had left."
Blake broke off unable to keep the self-loathing from his voice. "I was such a fool…An arrogant fool. I actually believed that if I refused to bend I could force everything back to the way it was before Krystle's coma. I thought if I suppressed my feelings for you, and ordered my children about, then Krystle wouldn't catch on. She knew from the very beginning something was wrong and I…I knew I had made a terrible mistake but my pride kept me from admitting it until things had gone so monumentally wrong."
"Which was when?" It killed Alexis to ask. Throughout Blake's explanation it didn't surprise her how easily she followed his twisted logic, yet the ease with which she did disturbed her somewhat. Perhaps it was possible to know someone too well, that it became unhealthy?
Still Alexis did know Blake, something specific must have happened to force him to confront the fact that he was wrong. He was far too stubborn and when Blake got an idea in his mind it was nigh on impossible to get him to change it.
"You." Blake answered simply. "Or more to the point you and I…for the first time I couldn't suppress how I felt about you…I tried but no matter what happened I couldn't stop thinking about you, wondering what you were doing, worrying if you were alright. Then when you came back to Denver and I saw you again first with Jackson and then with Dexter…well I was so obviously jealous that Krystle saw it and I couldn't deny it. The thought of you with anyone else…it drove me crazy, it still does…"
"I see." Alexis whispered softly, and she did see. She had experienced first hand the unpleasant face of Blake's jealousy and the memories it stirred up were far from pleasant and considering recent events were nearer the surface than usual.
Watching Alexis closely Blake couldn't fail to notice the way she seemed to withdraw him both physically, dropping his hand to clasp her own together, and emotionally as well.
"Alexis?" Blake whispered her name gently before reaching out hesitantly to brush her arm with his fingertips, horrified when she flinched slightly at his touch.
"Sorry I was just…" Alexis spluttered, embarrassed by her own lack of control.
This was just Blake, it had taken time, a lot of time, but gradually they had been able to regain that trust that had been lost between them. If she hadn't dealt with what had almost happened between in her office then she wouldn't have been able to trust him enough to share her bed with him in Monaco…she certainly wouldn't have been able to drawn comfort and reassurance from his touch and embrace, that she had needed and craved his touch in the last few days proved that in her own mind.
"No I am the one who is sorry, you have nothing to be sorry about." Blake replied firmly. "I understand if after what…after what I did that you would find it difficult to be near me. I only have myself to blame…"
"It's not that…or that's part of it…I can't…" Alexis stuttered cursing herself as thoughts and feelings she had refused to even allow breathing room during the crisis with Amanda suddenly bubbled up and overwhelmed her. The violence of her sobs surprised even her, so it wasn't any wonder that Blake sat there frozen for a moment before reaching for her.
Falling gratefully in his arms Alexis cried out her fear, the terror of being manipulated and out of control, of being played and used.
Frightened by the intensity of Alexis's outburst Blake didn't know what to do…in the end he did all he could, holding her tightly and rubbing her back as she cried herself out, allowing her to take him along for the ride. Finally her sobs seemed to lessen a little, her breathing evening out as she rubbed her face against his shoulder.
Hesitantly Blake whispered. "Please talk to me…if something is wrong…if it's something I did…"
Sniffing Alexis reached Blake's pocket and retrieved her handkerchief, not caring that he had already been used in this instance. "It's not you…I…it's difficult…I've been trying to forget it even happened…"
Tensing it was like a thousand warning bells began to ring at once and loudly in his ears and Blake's throat went dry as a terrible realisation struck his brain like lightning. Gathering his courage Blake reached up and brushed the tears off of Alexis's cheek before cupping her chin and lifting her reluctant gaze to meet his own.
"You don't have tell me anything but I have to ask or the worry will drive me mad…Alexis has somebody…have you been raped?"
She didn't need to open her mouth to answer, Blake saw his answer first in her eyes and that knowledge and his heart sank like a stone to the bottom of his stomach. There was only one more question he needed to ask but Blake worried it would be too much and so he bit his tongue, trusting Alexis would tell him if she wanted him to know, but that didn't stop it burning away in his brain. Who?
Blake's fingers in her hair was surprisingly soothing. Somehow he had managed to get it out of the tight bun at the nape of her neck, and unstyled curls now fell in a curtain around her face. It undoubtedly looked a mess, something probably not helped by Blake playing with it but right now Alexis couldn't bring herself to care.
If nothing else it helped to hide the mess of the remains of her makeup.
His shirt was damp under her cheek, and Alexis flushed with embarrassment knowing it was due to her tears…still considering what Blake had gone through himself only a few hours earlier he was the last person to make her feel self conscious about loosing control. It would be all too easy to just sink into his embrace and never move again but the growing crick in her neck refused to allow her to drop off completely.
Shifting Alexis reached up to rub her sore neck, smiling against Blake's shoulder as fingers more dexterous reached up to take over. "You're too good at that, be careful or I just might not let you stop."
"Blake Carrington masseuse." Blake quipped keeping the tone light, despite the turbulent nature of his thoughts. Alexis hadn't offered any more information about her attack and things between them were so delicate Blake was too afraid to press the matter, so if Alexis wanted to change the subject who was he to object? When she was ready to talk to him Blake swore on his life he would be there…
"Not quite the career change I had in mind."
"Fine you can just be my personal masseuse, besides I'm not sure I would like the idea of you off massaging all manner of other naked women…"
"They would be naked? Maybe I was too hasty…" Blake teased, chuckling when Alexis slapped his chest playfully. "It's a good job I am happy to be a one client masseuse..."
"Yes it is." Alexis answered softly her fingers drawing light circles across Blake's shirt her tone deceptively light as she asked. "Blake did you mean what you said earlier…about still being in love with me?"
"Yes." Blake answered softly his fingers moving back to Alexis's hair to rake her chin length curls back from her face so he could try and gauge her expression. "I love you and I'm in love with you."
Biting down on her lip Alexis tried and failed to contain her smile.
"And that knowledge pleases you?" Blake prompted Alexis when she remained silent and yet continued to fight smiling like a cat with a canary.
"Maybe a little." Alexis replied teasingly in fingers tip toeing from one shirt button to another.
Swallowing down his nerves Blake reached up and caught her fingers, interlacing them with his own before asking. "And how do you feel?"
Laughing at the peeved tone in Blake's voice as she strung this out Alexis couldn't contain her smile this time. "Oh you mean about you?"
"Yes I meant about me!" Blake retorted rolling his eyes at her deliberate delaying tactics before the thought occurred to him that perhaps Alexis was just trying to be kind because she didn't feel the same way and was hoping he would drop the line of enquiry.
"Look it's alright if you don't feel the same…just knowing you have forgiven me is enough and…I know you are with Dexter and…"
"Dex and I broke up." Alexis cut him off. "Or more accurately I broke up with him."
For a moment the thought occurred to Blake that Dexter…before he immediately pushed that away as absurd. Blake had more than a few issues with Sam Dexter's son most of which if he was truthful revolved around him being competition for Alexis's heart, but Blake couldn't believe Dex capable of rape. Dexter for all his faults adored Alexis, no matter how badly she had treated him, and despite his problems with fidelity Dexter had a chivalrous streak a mile wide. No Dexter would sooner harm himself than hurt a woman like that.
Resting her head against Blake's shoulder Alexis sighed at the question. Was Blake really that oblivious? Or was his self-esteem currently so low that he couldn't even begin to contemplate how his earlier attack might have forced her to face her feelings? Feelings she was just as guilty as Blake for trying to suppress.
"Well you can't stay with someone when you're in love with somebody else, now can you?"
"You.." Blake spluttered his heart jumping into his throat, as a painfully dreadful hope seemed to squeeze it almost in half. "Who?"
Laughing at his worried expression Alexis reached up and brushed his cheek.
"I love you Blake." Alexis whispered softly cutting off Blake's nervous splutter, watching as her words registered and a look of pure joy stole over his face. "I always have and I probably always will."
Clasping her hand to his heart with one hand his other hand still tangled in her hair Blake angled Alexis's head back, his dark eyes flickering from her eyes down to her lips that were parted invitingly. It would be so easy to close the remaining distance between them and Blake wanted nothing more than to kiss Alexis right now but he hesitated. After everything they had been through and what Alexis had half confessed Blake couldn't help but be afraid that if he moved too fast, if he rushed her before she was ready then he would ruin everything.
It didn't take a genius to interpret Blake's expression. Alexis had seen it often enough on the faces of her children on Christmas morning when they had to get dressed and eat breakfast before being allowed to open their presents. The expression of anticipation and longing coupled with barely concealed frustration at having their hearts desires just out of reach.
Leaning up Alexis closed the distance between them, brushing her lips against Blake's in the faintest ghost of a kiss, before Blake finally overcame his hesitancy and tugged her mouth down to meet his properly and he could feel Alexis's smile against his lips.
The sound of someone clearing their throat before asking in an amused tone. "Should I come back later?"
Pulling apart Blake blushed red to his silver roots, being caught kissing was bad enough, being caught kissing by a doctor who looked young enough to practically be his own grandson was another. "No Doctor we were just…"
"Oh I think I can see what you were just…" The Doctor trailed off cheekily. "However I am afraid I must ask your young lady to step outside Mr Carrington, one quick final check up and if everything is then you two lovebirds can be on your way."
Grudgingly Blake nodded, watching reluctantly as Alexis gathered her hat and purse, pausing to kiss his cheek before leaving with a whispered promise. "I'll be waiting right outside…"
"I'll hold you to that." Blake deadpanned. "If you hear screaming be sure to come to my rescue."
"Oh I'll bear it in mind." Alexis quipped turning back and favouring him with a loving gaze Blake had never would ever be directed at him again. It made even being examined by the doctor bearable.
True to his world the Doctor was quick but efficient and Blake was already buttoning up his shirt when the nurse arrived with his paperwork in hand and surprisingly enough a small arrangement of flowers.
"Alright Mr Carrington now we have an agreement I am signing these and releasing you on the condition you have a check up with your doctor in the next few days and you agree to see a specialist about addressing your condition, these panic attacks won't go away until you do."
Nodding Blake would have agreed to practically anything if it would have gotten him out of here.
"Oh Mr Carrington these were left at the front desk for you…Now I'll just go get your wheelchair."
Thanking her distractedly Blake didn't even blink an eye at the mention of the dreaded compulsory wheelchair trip out of the hospital. Instead his attention was taken by the unusual lily and yellow carnation combination. Reaching for the envelope that bore his name Blake didn't so much as glance up when the door opened and in a faint whiff of perfume Alexis returned to his side.
"Secret Admirers already?" Alexis quipped lightly, taking a seat beside Blake on the bed and glancing over his shoulder at the flowers. "Should I be worried?"
"Oh I doubt that." Blake replied absently surprised when on opening the envelope he found not a florists card but and old black and white photograph, a posed affair of a solemn looking boy dressed neatly in some sort of school uniform.
"What on earth…" Alexis began her eyes widening in horror and recognition, a recognition Blake thankfully didn't share as she stared down into familiar cold dark eyes that stared malevolently out of such a young face.
"Search me." Blake muttered frowning in confusion before flipping the photograph over. Now it was his turn to gasp, there in nearly faded handwritten ink were the words.Thomas Carrington aged 11 on admission to St George's Grammar School for boys
Flipping the picture back over Blake couldn't help but stare, it was the first time he had so much as seen a picture of his first born, and Blake couldn't help but be shocked by the similarities. The eyes, the shape of Tom's jaw…No there was no longer any doubt in Blake's mind about this boy's parentage, only questions about why someone would be sending this to him now…What did it all mean?
Was someone trying to tell him something? But why wait till now so many years after his son's death?
Confused and frustrated Blake returned to the envelope shaking it lest it held any such answers, then just like a snowflake falling a sliver of paper fluttered down to fall into his lap. Innocently facing upward it was adorned with few scant words but those words made the breath catch in his throat.
Thomas Carrington Jnr Born 13th June 1945 Died ?
Was someone really trying to tell him that the son he thought dead is actually still very much alive?