This story is going to be different from the other stories I have written so far, and also requires a bit of an explanation.
While my previous stories have established me as a Roger and Holly fan, and a Ross and Blake fan, I am also a fan of the soap Another World. A lot of things happened to favorite, beloved characters on AW that I would rather hadn't happened, and of course I hated what happened to Roger and Holly on GL.
This story is set in 1996, specifically May to December of that year, combines elements of both Guiding Light and Another World, and turns everything about both shows involving all of the characters featured in the story on its ear. I would have to say I am more faithful to GL canon than AW canon, since for the GL part of the story, Holly did marry Fletcher, but Meg does not exist, and Dinah and Hart did gaslight Roger, but this story goes a completely different way than GL did with regards to that particular marriage, and the progress and outcome of the Dinah and Hart gaslight Roger story. As for AW, I changed pretty much everything: Frankie and Ryan are not dead; John and Sharlene never got divorced; Rachel and Carl are getting divorced; Ryan and Vicky are married and Ryan is Kirk's father; Michael and Donna are living together.
If you were a huge fan of Dinah and Hart, and/or never had any desire to answer the question, "What if Holly realized what a monumental mistake she made ever getting involved with Fletcher at all and decided that she wanted Roger back, and on the same day she's going to go to him and tell him this, she discovers that Dinah and Hart are gaslighting Roger?," I suggest you read no further, because this story, like all of my stories so far, is very much pro-Roger and Holly.
It isn't necessary to have ever seen even one episode of AW to be able to follow this story. Five characters from AW will play a major part in it, three will play minor but significant parts, several others will be mentioned. The main characters are really Roger and Holly, with appearances by Dinah and Hart, Blake and Ross, Kevin and Jason, and Detective Cutter.
This is my way of fixing the things I hated the most from both shows, and hopefully by the end of the story, you will have found something to like about the denizens of Bay City that you'll meet in this story, and enjoyed the journey that Holly and Roger undertake herein.
Here are the Bay City residents, along with the actors who portrayed them in case you want to look up what anyone looks like, that Roger and Holly will be meeting and interacting with in this story:
Michael Hudson (played by Kale Browne): Michael, the oldest son of a single mother, grew up on a farm and worked as a stable boy for the wealthy Love family as a teenager. He and the oldest Love daughter Donna fell madly in love, but when Donna's evil, sociopathic father Reginald found out about their relationship, he beat Michael to within an inch of his life and drove him away, telling him that Donna never wanted to see him again. Michael vowed that he would make his way in the world and someday return to Donna...not knowing that she was pregnant with their twin daughters. Michael joined the Marines, became a helicopter pilot, then worked for the CIA, and after leaving the Agency, he worked hard at his own company, ultimately becoming a wealthy, self-made success as a businessman. He returned to Bay City in the mid-1980s, and he and Donna found each other again. Michael was shocked to learn that Donna had given birth to his daughter Marley after Reginald forced them apart and ran Michael out of town, and that Reginald had forced Donna to raise Marley as her sister. But Michael, Donna, and Marley all three were in for another shock when Victoria turned up in town; Donna had given birth to identical twins, and Reginald had given Vicky up for adoption. Vicky's adoptive parents died when she was a baby, and she was raised in Lassiter, Pennsylvania, by her adoptive parents' housekeeper Bridget Connell (Barbara Berjer). Vicky and Marley were 18 when they met and learned that Michael and Donna were their parents. After much difficulty, Michael, Donna, Vicky, and Marley eventually settled in as a family. Vicky (Anne Heche) is now married to police commissioner Ryan Harrison. She is the mother of Steven Frame, age 7, her son by her first marriage to Dr. James "Jamie" Frame, and Kirk Harrison, age 2, her son with Ryan. Marley (Anne Heche) is married to Jamie Frame (Russell Todd), and they are the parents of a baby son, Christopher. Reginald died in 1988, but not before causing more heartache for Michael and Donna. When Michael was drawn back into the Agency for one last assignment in 1990, in order to protect Donna, he lied to her that he was having an affair and moved out. Donna was devastated and threw herself into work, and eventually had a one-night stand with her and Michael's former son-in-law Jake McKinnon. When Michael found out, after his assignment was over and in the middle of Marley's trial for her ex-husband Jake's attempted murder, that spelled the end of their third marriage for real. It took several years, but Michael and Donna found their way back to each other in November 1995. Michael now helms Hudson Enterprises, and he and Donna are living together, but after three strikes in the marriage department, both are wary of tying the knot again. Michael will always go to the wall for the people he cares about, no matter what it takes...and when an old friend is in trouble, Michael eagerly volunteers to jump into the fray.
Donna Love (played by Anna Stuart): Donna was raised by her emotionally abusive, sociopathic father Reginald Love after he murdered her mother Elizabeth. Her brother Peter followed in their father's footsteps and eventually fled to Europe, and her sister Nicole battled a cocaine addiction, murdered Jason Frame, and ended up in a mental institution, so Donna is the only family member who really survived Reginald. Michael Hudson is the love of her life, the father of her daughters Marley and Victoria, and they have three grandsons, Steven, Kirk, and Christopher. Though she was expected to be a socialite, Donna ultimately defied both her father and expectations first by falling in love with and ultimately marrying Michael three times, and then by going to work, first at Jake McKinnon's video company, then at local TV station KBAY, and currently as the owner of restaurant/bar The Harbor Club. When Marley was accused of shooting Jake in late 1990, Donna confessed to the crime and spent some time in jail in order to spare her daughter before it was discovered that neither Donna nor Marley was the shooter. The night before Donna was to marry the much younger Matthew Cory in 1995, she and Michael made love. Late to her own wedding the next morning, Donna crashed her car on the way to the ceremony and married Matthew in her hospital room (she only had minor injuries), but when Matthew found out a few months later about her night with Michael, he got an annulment. Michael and Donna eventually reconciled in November 1995 and are solidly, happily together, but resisting getting married for a fourth time, not wanting to fail at marriage yet again. Donna is high-spirited, outspoken, with a mischievous streak, and Michael is the feet on the ground type, a man with a plan at all times. The one thing Donna doesn't have is a close female friend...but that's about to change.
Mary Frances "Frankie" Frame (played by Alice Barrett Mitchell): Frankie, a private investigator, came to Bay City in 1989 to find out who murdered her uncle, Jason Frame. She and Cass Winthrop, the attorney for the accused killer Felicia Gallant, were not thrilled with each other at first since they were working at cross-purposes (Cass to prove Felicia's innocence, Frankie to prove Felicia's guilt), but Frankie was the one who discovered that the real killer was Nicole Love...Cass's then-fiancée. When Nicole threatened Frankie's life after Frankie exposed her as Jason's killer and Cass had broken up with her, Cass became protective of Frankie, saving her from an increasingly unhinged Nicole after a heads-up from Michael that Nicole had gone to see Frankie alone, and Frankie and Cass became friends and co-workers, then fell in love. They were married August 1, 1990, but Cass's dead first wife Kathleen McKinnon wasn't dead after all, and when she returned from the dead in early 1991, an unhappy triangle was born. By the time of what would have been their first wedding anniversary, Cass realized that Frankie was the one he loved and wanted to be with, but he had to earn back her trust. Cass's love brought Frankie back from the brink when she nearly died saving Kathleen from an explosion engineered by Carl Hutchins, who had tried to kill Kathleen in the first place, sending her into hiding and causing her to fake her death to Cass and the world at large for four years. Carl went to jail for trying to kill Frankie but was released only a few months later on a technicality. Cass and Frankie continued to grow closer after Kathleen left town, but learning that Frankie had miscarried their baby (she hadn't told Cass she was pregnant because she didn't want him to feel obligated to come back to her since that's when he was back with Kathleen), and the presumed death of Frankie's beloved aunt Sharlene Frame Hudson in a boat explosion, presented more challenges for Cass and Frankie to work through. Frankie was confused over whether to trust and reunite with Cass, or to step in and take care of the husband and son Sharlene left behind. Finally Frankie left town to concentrate on thinking over the dilemma, and after three months meditating on a mountaintop in Peru, she returned home knowing exactly who and what she wanted: Cass. They reunited and then became engaged again, but their friends and family had one crisis after another that Cass and Frankie stepped in to help with, and then a friend from Frankie's past, Christy Carson, came back into Frankie's life, framed Frankie for the murder of Christy's husband Douglas, and poisoned Cass. After surviving Christy, Frankie and Cass were prepared to live in sin for the rest of their lives, since every time they scheduled a wedding, some kind of disaster happened to torpedo it (their August 1990 wedding was on the spur of the moment at home only hours after Cass rescued Frankie, who had been kidnapped in a case of mistaken identity), but their friends and family were determined to see them married and so the group planned the wedding for them and then kidnapped the bride and groom to Venice, Italy, where they were (at last) legally married on May 19, 1993. Their daughter Charlotte "Charlie" Frame Winthrop was born February 2, 1994 in Bay City. Frankie is still a private investigator, often working with Cass on cases, as well as consulting with the Bay City Police Department in a similar capacity at the behest of her best friend Commissioner Ryan Harrison. Frankie is a big believer in karma and helping her fellow travelers through the universe, and she sees echoes of her and Cass's past issues in the two clients in her latest case, Holly Lindsey and Roger Thorpe, and becomes determined to help them in every way she possibly can.
Cass Winthrop (played by Stephen Schnetzer): The original Casanova of Bay City, legal eagle Cass had several relationships and one marriage under his belt before meeting the love of his life, Mary Frances Frame, in 1989. Frankie was different from every other woman Cass had ever known, and Cass slowly found himself falling hard for her. Frankie was falling just as hard for him, but never having been in love before, she was terrified, but Cass was patient with all of her insecurities and was not above doing the absolutely craziest thing possible at several junctures to prove that Frankie was it for him, including dressing as a nun and sweet-talking his way past the Mother Superior when the upset, insecure Frankie fled to a convent to try and work through her feelings for Cass. Cass was a nervous wreck the night he proposed; after all, he and Frankie, having known each other for a year at that point, already had a history of getting caught in dangerous situations, including facing a gunman in Arizona while searching for Rachel Cory, finding a dead body floating in the bay while walking there on the night of their first date, and Cass rescuing Frankie from a theater that was slated for demolition after criminal mastermind Griffen Saunders locked her in a storeroom and left her there to die. But they decided to take the chance on the beautiful disaster that could be marriage, and Frankie happily said yes when Cass popped the question. Of course, being Cass and Frankie, Frankie was kidnapped from their scheduled wedding in late July 1990 in a case of mistaken identity, but Cass rescued her, and they were married in the home they had just bought together on August 1 of that year. Cass's whole life was turned upside down when the wife he thought had died four years earlier in a plane crash in Alaska, Kathleen McKinnon, returned from the dead, having been in Witness Protection because of Carl Hutchins. Carl was still targeting Kathleen, but Kathleen, who had returned home when her cousin Jake was shot and near death, wanted Cass back. Kathleen granted Cass a divorce, but then fainted at Cass and Frankie's next scheduled wedding attempt in April 1991, putting the kibosh on those nuptials. Cass left Frankie to try to recapture the past with Kathleen, not knowing that Frankie was pregnant. After three months, Cass realized the mistake he had made; Kathleen was his past, Frankie was his future...but Frankie was not eager to get her heart shattered again by the only man she ever loved, though she loved him still. Cass then had to earn back her trust. His own trust was shaken when he learned, after Frankie nearly died saving Kathleen from an explosion engineered by Carl Hutchins, that Frankie had miscarried their baby and never even told him she was pregnant because she didn't want him to feel obligated to come back to her because of their child. Cass willed Frankie to come back to him when she was clinically dead at the hospital after the explosion, and from then on he was on a relentless campaign to earn back her trust and make her his wife again, forever this time. They grew closer, worked together, and Cass proposed several times, but Frankie just wasn't ready to reconcile with him yet. Then the presumed death of Frankie's beloved aunt Sharlene Hudson confused the issue further, since Sharlene, knowing her life was in danger, had made Frankie, her best friend as well as her niece, promise to look after Sharlene's beloved husband John and their baby son Gregory if anything happened to Sharlene. It was a promise Frankie made willingly and wholeheartedly, but it frustrated Cass, who feared losing Frankie to John. On Valentine's Day 1992, Cass left his sickbed after a film noir dream featuring himself, Frankie and John, among others, tracked Frankie down at the annual Valentine's Ball, and asked her again to marry him. Frankie's response was that she was leaving town to meditate on the entire situation, and when she returned, she would know for sure where her future lay. Cass bided his time, but misunderstood when he learned that Frankie was back in town and had gone to see John first. She had gone to see John to tell him that she was getting back together with Cass, but Cass, thinking she had gone to see John to tell him that she was going to be with him and Gregory, decided he could no longer live in Bay City without Frankie and was ready to move to California to work with his attorney sister Stacey. Frankie learned from Cass's best friend Felicia Gallant what was going on and frantically raced to the airport, where she and Cass finally reunited. Further issues with their family and friends forestalled their next attempt at a legal wedding, and then they had to fight for their very lives when Frankie's old friend Christy Carson framed Frankie for the murder of Christy's husband Douglas and poisoned Cass after realizing that Frankie would not go to jail for the murder, and that Cass loved only Frankie and not Christy, but after Christy was taken to a mental institution, Cass and Frankie could finally get on with their lives. Their friends and family arranged a wedding for them and then kidnapped them to Venice, Italy, where they were married on May 19, 1993. They honeymooned in Europe, and Frankie was pregnant when they returned home. Their daughter Charlie was born the next February. Cass and Frankie are the strongest married couple in Bay City, always there for each other and for their friends and family. Cass is drawn into Frankie's latest case when Holly needs legal help unrelated to the case, and soon sees what his wife means when she says that Holly and Roger remind her of where they were in the months after Kathleen, when they were working to rebuild their relationship.
Rachel Cory (played by Victoria Wyndham): Rachel's life drastically changed after the sudden, unexpected death of her beloved husband Mackenzie "Mac" Cory in June 1989. Mac was the love of Rachel's life, and their family is Mac's enduring legacy, numbering six children (his, hers, and theirs), eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild at last count. A talented sculptor by trade, Rachel took over the running of the company Mac built from the ground up, Cory Publishing, upon his death. Mac's daughter Iris Wheeler (Carmen Duncan), and Mac and Rachel's daughter Amanda, work at Cory Publishing in Bay City with her, while Mac's son Sandy heads up the San Francisco office. Mac's daughter Paulina Cory McKinnon (Judi Evans), and Mac and Rachel's son Matt (Matt Crane), work at KBAY, the television station that the Cory family owns, and that Rachel is now looking to sell. Rachel's oldest son, Jamie Frame, is a doctor at Bay City General Hospital, and the only one of their six kids not somehow involved in the family business, although he did have a novel published before going to medical school in the mid-'80s. In 1994, Rachel married Carl Hutchins, who swore that he had reformed because of both her love and the discovery of his previously unknown son, police commissioner Ryan Harrison. But it was all lies, and Carl is now headed back to prison, so Rachel is in the process of divorcing him. She did gain another son out of the marriage though, in Ryan, who, like Paulina, never knew his real mother and considers Rachel the closest thing he has to one. Rachel wants to get back to her artistic roots, hence the sale of KBAY, and her turning over most of her duties at Cory Publishing to Iris. The train wreck of her marriage to Carl has made her realize that she truly had a once-in-a-lifetime love with Mac, although they certainly had their ups and down, divorcing twice and marrying three times over many years before staying married until Mac's sudden, unexpected death of a heart attack. Rachel started out as a devious schemer, but Mac's unconditional love and acceptance gave her the security she had never known and always wanted in life, and though she still misses him and always will, more acutely these days than she has in quite a while, she is an astute businesswoman, talented artist, loving and devoted mother, stepmother, and grandmother, and loyal friend. Rachel meets Holly and Roger first separately, then together, and befriends Holly.
These five are the major players in Roger and Holly's journey in this story, but a few others will be making minor but significant appearances as well.
Dr. John Hudson (played by David Forsyth): Michael's younger brother, Chief of Staff and head of internal medicine at Bay City General Hospital. John was a combat medic in Vietnam, then went to medical school and tried to put his life back together, but he was so affected by what he saw during the war that after med school, he spent 20 years drifting, wandering the world. Michael finally found him and brought him back home to Bay City in 1987. John reconnected with Sharlene Frame (Anna Kathryn Holbrook), whom he had known in high school and who was still living on her family's farm, which was right next door to John and Michael's mother's farm. John and Sharlene were married in November 1989, and John passed the medical boards and joined the staff of Bay City General shortly before the wedding. John's marriage made him stepfather to Sharlene's 17-year-old daughter Josie, who never knew her own father and eventually began calling John 'Dad.'John and Sharlene welcomed son Gregory John Hudson in February 1991. Sadly, Sharlene was presumed dead after her obsessed psychotic psychiatrist Taylor Benson blew up her yacht Windswept with Sharlene aboard in November 1991. Sharlene returned to town with amnesia, calling herself Kate Baker, in December 1993. John worked overtime to help her regain her memory, and to woo her again, and they were joyfully remarried in June 1995 with Gregory, Josie, and family and friends including Frankie and Cass, Michael and Donna, and Rachel in attendance. John and Michael have a close, strong relationship, and there isn't anything these two brothers wouldn't do for each other.
Amanda Cory (played by Sandra Ferguson): Amanda is Mac and Rachel's only daughter together, and the flighty one in the family. She became pregnant at 19 by her first boyfriend, artist Sam Fowler, and they married and welcomed daughter Allie a short time later. But Amanda felt tied down and was not as ready for the responsibilities of marriage and family as Sam, five years her senior, was. She became attracted to business wunderkind Evan Bates and began an affair with him, and that spelled the end of her marriage to Sam. Her relationship with Evan didn't last, but Sam found lasting love with ballet dancer and dance instructor Olivia Matthews, and they married and have primary custody of Allie, in addition to their own son Brian. Amanda works at Cory Publishing and often jets to the European offices to handle things, but she's back in Bay City for an extended visit, and is therefore paying close attention to the prospective buyers of KBAY when they come to talk to Rachel at her Cory Publishing office.
Ryan Harrison (played by Paul Michael Valley): One of Michael and Donna's sons-in-law (married to Vicky Hudson), Ryan is the youngest commissioner in the history of the Bay City Police Department. A former FBI agent, he settled in Bay City in 1990 after coming to town to run a sting operation. He was one of the agents who kidnapped Frankie Frame by mistake from her first scheduled wedding, which is how they met. They soon became best friends. Ryan was raised by his emotionally distant stepfather Spencer Harrison with his half-brother Grant Harrison, and although he and Grant were close as children, when Grant stole Vicky away from Ryan, then later tried to kill Ryan when their long-absent psychotic mother Justine Duvalier returned, Ryan severed all ties with Grant before Grant went to prison for attempted murder. Though he tried building a relationship with his biological father Carl Hutchins, Carl's criminal lifestyle directly clashes with Ryan's law and order values. Ryan has taken the Hudsons, including Bridget Connell, the woman who raised Vicky and is now nanny to their sons Steven and Kirk, and the Corys, particularly his soon-to-be-ex-stepmother Rachel, as his family. Vicky is the free spirit in the relationship, while Ryan's feet are firmly planted on the ground; Vicky loosens Ryan up, while Ryan keeps Vicky grounded. Since Vicky takes after her mother Donna (Marley's temperament is closer to that of their father Michael), Ryan has experience dealing with Vicky and Donna both when they cut loose, which ultimately comes in handy in this story.
While this is technically a crossover story with Another World, the core of the story, its heart and soul, is Roger and Holly, how they find their way back to each other, and what they find, what they learn about themselves, and what they learn about one another on the course of this journey.
I would like to thank my friend Carol for properly sizing the picture that accompanies this story since I am hopelessly inept at that sort of thing, and PriscillaPal for her enthusiastic encouragement when I first came up with the idea for this story.
I hope you enjoy this different kind of story, and this take on Roger and Holly. I will be returning to the alternate timeline I created with a sequel to "With Arms Wide Open" after the completion of this story. In the meantime, here we go with "After All."