The shadow moves across the drive and into the darkness cast by the garage, staying out of the lights to avoid detection. Stealthily, it makes its way across the backyard to peer into the kitchen window and listen to the voices coming from inside.
Hope and Chelsea are sitting at the table talking and laughing while Hope feeds Ciara her dinner.
“So are you ready for your big date tonight?” Hope asks her. Chelsea grins. “I am now. Hope, thank you so much for taking me shopping for a new outfit and to the spa today. I really had a great time.”
Hope smiles back at her. “I had a great time too Chelsea. And you look beautiful. Every girl should have a new outfit, hairdo and makeup for her first college formal…just don’t mention how much it cost to your dad until I have a chance to distract him.” They laugh together. Suddenly, they hear a noise and turn to the door.
“Here are my favorite girls.” Bo says as he walks into the kitchen. He walks up to the table and leans down to give Hope a kiss before leaning over and kissing the top of Ciara’s head.
He turns to Chelsea as she stands up and notices she is dressed up. “What do you think daddy?” She asks nervously. Bo smiles. “Wow. You look beautiful Chelsea. I don’t know if I should let you out of the house.” he teases. He hugs her as Hope stands and picks Ciara up out of the highchair. Keeping one arm around Chelsea’s shoulder, he holds the other arm out as Hope walks into his embrace. “This is the best part about coming home.” He sighs as he hugs all three of them.
The gloved hand grips tightly into a fist.
“Can I take Ciara upstairs and put her to bed before I go Hope?”
“She might mess up your outfit….”
“I don’t mind. Please?” Chelsea begs. “I love spending time with her. She will be asleep before I get home and I have to be at work early tomorrow so I won’t get to spend any time with her then either. Please?”
Hope looks at Bo with a grin. “Okay. But don’t say I didn’t warn you if she spits up on you.” Chelsea laughs as she picks up the baby.
“I won’t. Come on Ciara. Lets go read a bedtime story.” She says as she walks out of the kitchen with Bo and Hope watching.
Hope turns to see Bo staring at her in speculation. “What is it?” She asks. “Nothing.” he grins mischievously.
“Yeah right.” she responds. “Well I guess I will just have to get it out of you over dinner. It’s ready. Are you hungry?” Hope asks as she starts across the kitchen to the oven.
Bo grabs her arm as she walks past and pulls her up against him. “I’m starved.” he says with a twinkle in his eye. “But I think I will start with dessert.” He lowers his mouth to hers and they begin to kiss.
They break apart breathlessly when they hear Chelsea coming down the stairs. “Hope, Dad” she calls out. Hope starts to walk quickly to the stove as Chelsea opens the kitchen door.
Bo grabs Hope “Oh no you don’t.” he whispers with a pained laugh as he pulls her back against him so she is standing in front of him. Chelsea sees this and stops with a grin as she notices how out of breath they are. “Oops. I just thought I would let you know I’m leaving. You can….um…..get back to what you were doing.” she finishes with a delicate cough.
“Brat” Bo says with a grin.
“Have a good time Chelsea.” Hope says, a little embarrassed. As Chelsea walks out. Bo turns Hope to face him. “Now, where were we?” he says softly as he captures her lips again. The kiss quickly turns passionate. Neither notice the figure still watching from the window as Bo picks Hope up and carries her out of the kitchen and up the stairs.
Three days later….
Chelsea and Abby are at the pub studying for a test when Hope and Ciara come in.
“Hey guys. Studying hard?” Hope asks as she walks up to the table. They both look up and smile as they say hi.
“Actually I’m about studied out.” Abby responds. “I can’t believe how much Ciara has grown. Hey there cutie.” She says as she reaches over to touch Ciara’s hand.
“Isn’t she adorable?” Chelsea asks. “Do you want to sit with us Hope?”
“Actually I’m waiting for your dad. He’s supposed to be meeting me for lunch.”
At that moment Bo walks into the pub. “Hey Fancy Face.” he says as he gives her a kiss. “And how’s my little doodlebug today?” He takes Ciara in his arms then turns to say hi to Abby and Chelsea. “I hate to rush Hope, but we are shorthanded today so I don’t have a lot of time. We better grab a table.”
“Why don’t you and Hope join us dad? We could use a break from studying and I would like to spend some time with Ciara since I'm staying at Abby's tonight to cram for this test.” Chelsea says hopefully. Bo looks at Hope to make sure its okay and hands Ciara to Chelsea. Chelsea moves over to sit next to Abby so Bo and Hope can sit together.
The four of them sit in the booth talking and laughing. After finishing their lunch Bo and Hope watch Abby and Chelsea play peek-a-boo with the baby and look at each other with a smile. Bo puts his arm around her and pulls her closer as he leans in for a long kiss. “I better head back to the station or I might not go back at all today.” he says with a laugh. He gets up from the booth and says goodbye to Chelsea, Abby, and Ciara. As he moves toward the door, the shadow that had been peering into the pub window slips around the corner and out of sight.
Hope left the pub not long after Bo. Caroline and Shawn asked to keep Ciara for the night and with Chelsea staying at Abby’s, she planned to wait up for Bo so they could enjoy having the house to themselves, especially since he didn’t have to work tomorrow.
She takes a long shower and dresses in the negligee she picked up on the way home then walks downstairs. There are candles lit throughout the living room, a fire in the fireplace, and soft music playing. Hope surveys the room with satisfaction. “Now I just have to wait for Bo. Maybe I’ll take a nap while I wait. I would hate to be tired later.” She laughs to herself as she lays down on the couch and closes her eyes.
Bo looks up at the clock. He is supposed to work until 1 am and its just now midnight, but its been a long night at the Salem PD and he is ready to go home. He grabs his jacket and heads out of the office.
As Bo walks up to the front door, he notices soft light through the living room curtains and hears the soft sound of music. He smiles as he pulls out his keys. “I guess I don’t have to wake her up after all.” He turns the key in the lock and is hit with the strong smell of gas as soon as he opens the door.
He sees Hope lying on the couch and runs over to her. “Hope! Can you hear me?” She doesn’t respond. Bo picks her up and carries her quickly outside into the fresh air. He lays her on the ground, pulls off his jacket, and sticks it under her head. “Come on Fancy Face. You have to wake up.” He feels for a pulse. Its faint but it is there. He grabs his cell phone and dials 911 as a shadow moves deeper into the trees.
“Hey Fancy Face. How are you feeling?” Bo asks as he walks into the hospital room. He leans down to kiss her softly.
“Well enough to go home. I just have a bad headache.”
“Hope….” “Brady, I want to get out of here. I’m fine. I promise.”
“I’ll talk to the doctor. If he okays it then I will take you home. But if he wants you here overnight you are staying. No arguments.” Bo says.
She opens her mouth to argue and notices Bo is distracted and pacing. “Tell me what happened Bo.” She says softly.
He hesitates for a moment. “Before I do I want you to tell me exactly what happened tonight when you got home.”
Hope looks at him closely for a moment, sighs, and begins. “I got home and went upstairs to shower…” She takes him back through the entire evening. “The last thing I remember is laying down on the couch to wait for you and the next thing I know I am waking up in the hospital.” She says as she reaches for Bo’s hand.
“Did you cook anything when you got in? Turn on the stove for any reason?” Bo asks.
“No. I didn’t cook anything.”
“Hope, the pilot light was out on the stove and two of the burners were turned on high as well as the stove itself. Maybe you went in to make tea or something and just don’t remember it because of the gas you inhaled.”
“Bo I never even went into the kitchen after I got back home.” She says in confusion. “I don’t understand this.”
Bo leans over and gives her a kiss and leans his forehead against hers. “I don’t understand it either Fancy Face. But I will find out what is going on. The problem is…..” he stops, unsure how to continue.
“What is it Brady?”
“We can’t come up with any other explanation. Hope, there was no sign of forced entry, all the doors and windows were locked and there were no fingerprints on the stove besides yours and mine.”
“What is going on Brady?” she whispers as she closes her eyes.
Two weeks later……
Things have been relatively quiet in the Brady household since the accident with the gas stove. Hope still doesn’t remember turning on the stove but since there is no other explanation she and Bo have tried to forget about it.
They are just finishing breakfast and Bo is about to leave for work. “I shouldn’t be too late unless I catch a new case Fancy Face. I just need to catch up on some paperwork. What do you have planned for today?” He asks as he watches her wiping Ciara’s face and hands.
“Ciara and I are going to Salem Place to do some shopping. I thought I would try to find something to wear to the party this weekend.” Hope looks at him with a grin as he groans.
“On second thought,” he teases, “I guess I need to put in some overtime if you are going on a shopping spree.” Hope throws the wet towel at him and laughs as it catches him in the face.
“Hey!” he yells. “You are going to have to pay for that Mrs. Brady.” he jumps up from the table and chases her around the kitchen finally grabbing her from behind as she rounds the island. He turns her to face him. “Now what exactly should your punishment be?” he asks seductively as he touches his lips to hers. “Hmmm….maybe I will wait until I have a little more time for this particular payback.” He whispers. He straightens back up and grins. “I better get to work. But I will remember this.”
Hope just smiles. “Promises, promises.” she stands on her tiptoes and gives him one more quick kiss. “Have a good day Brady and be careful please.”
Bo walks out the back door whistling as Hope gathers up Ciara and heads upstairs to change her before going shopping.
Hope and Ciara have been shopping all morning and Hope still hasn’t found anything that she likes for the party. She decides to stop in at the pub for lunch before any more stores. Caroline feeds Ciara while Hope eats and they chat.
“Why don’t you leave Ciara here with me while you finish your shopping?” Caroline asks.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t mind?” Hope responds. “She did really well but it would be faster if I could hit a couple of stores without worrying about her.”
Caroline smiles. “Of course I don’t mind. Don’t you worry about us.” She takes Ciara upstairs as Hope gets up to go finish her shopping.
She arrives back at Salem Place and finally finds the perfect dress in the third store she tries. She smiles as she walks out of the shop, bag in hand, “Bo is going to love this.”
She begins to cross the street to get to the parking lot. Suddenly, she hears tires squealing and looks up to see a black SUV round the corner going entirely too fast and heading straight for her.
Bo and Roman are sitting in the office going over the last of the files before heading home when the dispatcher knocks on the door. “Excuse me sir. We just got a report of a hit and run at Salem Place but all units are engaged at the moment.”
Bo sighs, “I’ll take it. Thanks.” “I’ll go with you little brother. Maybe with both of us working it we can get out a little quicker and both get home.”
“Thanks man. I’ll call Hope on the way over and let her know I will be late.” He tries to call but doesn’t get an answer at home or on her cell phone. He calls the pub. “Hey Ma. Have you seen Hope?”
“Actually I was expecting her back here to pick up Ciara about half an hour ago. I’m beginning to get worried. She hasn’t called or anything.”
“What do you mean pick up Ciara?” Bo asked with growing concern in his voice.
“She left Ciara here with me so she could go back to Salem Place and finish shopping.”
“I’ll call you back Ma. Hurry up Roman! Hope was at Salem Place and she was supposed to be back at the pub 30 minutes ago.” Bo is beginning to panic by the time they arrive at Salem Place. He sees a crowd of people and runs towards them. Before he gets to them he sees something on the ground a few feet away and comes to a complete stop. Roman runs up to him. “Bo, what is it?”
Bo looks over at Roman with a look of shock on his face. “That’s Hope’s purse.” He points to the torn purse laying in the middle of the street next to a shopping bag.
Bo stares at the purse in horror for a moment then begins running towards the crowd.
“Hope! Hope! Get out of my way! I have to find my wife!”
Suddenly the crowd parts as the paramedics helps Hope up from the ground. As she turns, Bo reaches her and throws his arms around her, hugging her tightly and trying to control his racing heart. He doesn’t even try to speak as they stand in the middle of the street in each others arms. After a few minutes, he looks up and notices the crowd has dispersed and Roman is interviewing those still standing there. He pulls back a little as Hope looks up at him but keeps his arms around her. “What happened Fancy Face? Are you sure you are okay?”
“I’m okay. Just a little shook up. The EMT said I would probably be sore for a few days from the bruises but other than that I will be fine.”
Roman walks up before Bo can ask anymore questions. “Hey there pretty lady. You doing alright?”
“Hey Roman. I’m fine.”
“Alright. You want to tell me what happened here?” he asks.
“Roman, you can talk to her at the hospital after she sees the doctor.”
“Brady, I’m fine. I don’t need to go to the hospital. Let’s get this over with and you can take me home. Just…just hold me for a minute.” she whispers. She leans against Bo as she closes her eyes. She takes a deep breath and looks at Roman. “Okay. I’m ready.”
“I was walking across the street to my car when I heard tires squealing. I looked up and saw a black SUV speeding around the corner heading straight for me. I jumped backwards to get out of the way and the bumper brushed me knocking me off balance. The SUV kept going. I don’t know if they even saw me Roman.”
“Did you see the driver?” He asks.
“No. The windows were tinted and it just happened so fast. I couldn’t see anyone. I’m sorry.” Bo hugs her as she finishes. “All that matters is that you are okay, Fancy Face. You don’t know how scared I was when I saw your purse lying in the street.” Hope doesn’t say anything, just hugs him tighter.
“Alright. Well, unfortunately, no one else saw much either. No one can identify a driver and no one saw a license plate. I’ll let you know if I get any more information but for now… there isn’t much we can do. Little brother, why don’t you take your wife home? I’ll see you at the station tomorrow.”
Bo and Roman share a concerned look over Hope’s head as Roman hands him Hope’s purse and shopping bag. “Yeah. I’ll see you tomorrow. Thanks Roman.” Roman watches them walk off to Hope’s car before going back to his own.
Hope hurries up the drive towards the house. She and Julie had spent the morning visiting with Gran, laughing and talking about all the adventures the three of them have had over the years. It had been a really great carefree time. They had just finished lunch when her cell phone rang. Bo had called and told her he needed her at home as soon as possible but wouldn’t say why. It couldn’t be good since he was supposed to have been at work for another 3 hours. The only thing he would do was reassure her that Ciara was okay. “I wonder if he found out something about the hit and run last week.” She asks herself worriedly. She rummages through her purse for her keys, pulls them out and drops them on the ground in her hurry. Sighing, she leans down to pick them up before unlocking the front door. Expecting to find Bo waiting on the other side, she is surprised to find the living room empty. “Bo?” There is no answer. She walks over to peek in the kitchen. “Bo?” Still no answer. Getting worried now, Hope runs up the stairs calling for him.
She reaches the master bedroom and hesitates at the closed door. “Bo?” She calls out once more as she opens it slowly and stops as her eyes widen in surprise.
“Its about time you got home.” Bo says with a seductive grin. Hope just stares at him for a moment before smiling back. He is laying on the bed wearing only a pair of silk pajama bottoms that she had bought him for Christmas. The blinds and curtains are closed. There are lit candles around the bedroom and music is playing softly in the background.
“What are you up to Brady?” She laughs, still a little confused. “Why aren’t you at work?”
“I decided to take the afternoon off and spend it with my wife. Do you mind?” He says softly as he gets up and walks over to her. Reaching around her he closes the bedroom door. He turns to walk away, stops, and holds out his hand to her. She takes it in hers as he leads her over to the table where he has a bottle of champagne. He picks up the bottle, pours it into the two waiting glasses and hands one to Hope.
“A toast. To the love of my life. My heart, my soul, my wife.” he says softly with love in his eyes. The glasses clink. They each take a sip of the champagne before Bo leans forward and captures her lips for a kiss.