Chapter 2

Rafe called for an ambulance but Frankie insisted that Carly should not be taken to Salem University hospital. He didn't want Carly surrounded by the same people who rejected her.

Damn all of them! They won't smoother her with their fake sympathy if he could help it. The paramedics had therefore conveyed Carly to a private hospital.

Fear weighed heavily in their hearts. Before the paramedics arrived, Marcus had noticed something on the floor, beside an upended coffee table. Vitamins and Folic acid. 'Frankie... she's pregnant.' he said quietly.

Will the baby live? Frankie now thought, filled with anguish for his sister. If that child died, he couldn't begin to imagine how she would feel. What with Melanie and Nicky's cruelty; it would kill her to lose the child. It mustn't happen... my poor sister's suffered enough, please!

Rafe naturally had to have Carly's apartment sealed off and alert Roman and Bo. There was no way he could avoid that; Carly was a victim of a heinous crime. But he was made to promise no one else was to know what happened. And Frankie had given him a message to pass on to Roman and Bo.

But they will surely find out somehow, Frankie thought bitterly. Something really great to gossip about. As long as they just keep away from Carly, they can do what they like. As for Bo, I will make him and that bitch sorry.

The doctor, a tall bosomy woman in her mid fifties and dressed in scrubs finally came out and they rose to hear the news.

'Family of Katerina Von Leuschner?' At their nod, she continued, 'I'm Dr. Gage. Whoever attacked her broke her arm and some ribs. We did some surgery on her left eye but we're sure she'll be able to see with it. And we managed to stop some internal bleeding.'

'And the baby?' Frankie asked anxiously. He gave the information the moment she was brought in, as he remembered X rays were harmful to unborn babies.

The doctor shook her head in wonder. 'In all my years as a doctor, I've never seen such a thing...'

'What?' Frankie cried, fearing the worst, his hand gripping Piper's tightly.

'The foetus is still alive. I mean...ordinarily it wouldn't survive a brutal attack on its mother. But this one actually did. It's a miracle.'

'It sure is,' Marcus said faintly as Frankie and Piper embraced. 'I can't believe it either but this is wonderful news.'

'Thank God,' Frankie said, tears streaming down his cheeks. 'Can we see her now?'

'It may be a while before she regains consciousness. And we're keeping both her and the baby closely monitored but yes, you can see her in a little while. Excuse me.'

'Of course... and thank you very much.'

'What now?' asked Marcus.

'We can't do anything until she's strong enough to travel.' Frankie shrugged, his arm round Piper's shoulders.

'From what Rafe told us, it seems the whole town has it in for Carly. Anyone could be the attacker.' Piper said.

'Like Hope.' Frankie said, his eyes flashing with anger. 'If not Hope, someone close to her, who would do anything for her like getting her rival out of the way for good.'

'This something Victor Kiriakis would do, put a contract on her.' Marcus replied, a scowl on his face. 'Wouldn't be the first time he would get one of his goons to do some dirty work for him, that ruthless son of a bitch.'

'If this guy's behind all this, then Carly's still in danger.' Piper said worriedly. 'But surely, Bo wouldn't let Victor Kiriakis walk, even if he's his father.'

'Sweetheart, you don't know Kiriakis. He can get himself out of anything; he's that devious.'

'What about Vivian Alamain?' Marcus suggested.

Frankie shook his head. 'Rafe told me she left town, not long after Carly broke up with Bo. And if she wanted my sister dead, she would do the work herself.'

A nurse came in to tell them they could now see Carly.

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Bo opened the door at the sound of the bell. 'Rom. What's up?' he asked, noticing the very grim scowl on his brother's face as he entered.

'Something's happened to Carly, Bo. Something really bad.'

'What happened?' Bo demanded, a cold chill coming over him. The phone call. Surely, surely Carly didn't do something terrible to herself. She wouldn't...

'She was found beaten almost to a pulp in her apartment. Rafe called me, I just came from there. Whoever did this wrote this on the wall, in her blood.' He handed Bo a photograph, watching his face go pale. 'My God...'

'What's going on?' Hope asked, coming down the stairs.

'Where is she?' Bo demanded, ignoring his wife.

'I don't know yet...'

'What do you mean you don't know yet?' Bo snarled, abject fear for Carly causing his temper to boil up. 'Isn't she at the hospital?'

'She's not at Salem University; and Rafe's not talking.'

For a long while now Bo had the feeling Rafe Hernandez has been silently sitting in judgment of him over his breakup with Carly. He simply didn't understand the situation, hence Bo's silence about the matter. It was none of Rafe's business anyway. 'And since when does Rafe think he has the authority to keep a victim's whereabouts to himself?'

'Who's got hurt? Was it Carly?' asked Hope, turning to Roman.

'Yes.'

'I'm going to tell Hernandez a few things...'

'Listen to me, will you? Rafe's not talking because Frankie made him swear not to tell anybody where she is.'

'Including us?' Bo asked incredulously, taken aback.

'That's right. Frankie's in Salem. And the fact that he made Rafe do that should give you an idea how he feels about you right now. He doesn't want us working the case, he just want us to stay away from his sister.'

Hope turned from her brother in law to her husband, more confused than ever.

But Bo still didn't heed her. Frankie was in town to comfort his sister. He could imagine his justifiable fury. He would feel the same way if either of his sisters went through what Carly did. He felt sick at the idea of Carly attacked by an intruder. It happened because she was no longer under his protection, no longer with him. As he thought of their last conversation, he felt even sicker. I didn't mean a word of it, he cried inwardly. But at the time, I thought it was the right decision! What have I done?

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Carly's face was almost unrecognisable, covered with livid bruises, lips swollen, one eye bandaged and her neck in a brace. Her broken arm was in plaster and an oxygen tube under her nose. She was still unconscious. Frankie and Piper stroked her hair while Marcus kissed her hand, holding it between his, his eyes red from crying. Dr. Gage and her colleagues were still astonished at how the baby was still alive, calling it both a miracle and a medical marvel. They had no way of explaining how it was possible.

'Don't worry, Katrina.' Frankie said in her ear. 'I'm here now. No one's ever going to hurt you again.'

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'What... what happened here?'

Rafe turned to see Adrienne Kiriakis standing at the door, looking shocked. The crime scene technicians, rounding off their work, turned to look at her. 'You can't come in here, Ma'am.' One of them said. Rafe hurried over to her.

'What are you doing here?'

'Carly and I were supposed to have lunch today. I called her but there was no answer so I came to see... oh my God, Rafe what happened?' Adrienne gasped at the word still on the wall. 'What the hell?'

Rafe walked her down the hallway and told her what happened. Adrienne paled, covering her mouth as she listened.

'My God! Is she alright?'

'Frankie just called to tell me she's out of the OR. But she's still unconscious and they want to keep her and the baby under strict observation.'

Adrienne grabbed his arm in a vice grip. 'The baby's still alive?'

'Wait, you knew she's pregnant?'

'I was the one who made her go for the test in the first place, I was really worried about her. Of course she made me promise not to tell anybody.'

'How far along is she?'

'Three months.'

'Jesus Christ...' Rafe shook his head.

'I'm going to the hospital.'

'No wait, she's not at Salem University.'

'Where is she then?' Adrienne demanded.

'I'm sorry I can't tell you. Frankie said...'

'Carly's my friend!' Adrienne interrupted, outraged.

Rafe said nothing.

'She will tell you herself, that I've stood by her all this time and I'm not like everyone else. Please... take me to her, please.'

Rafe thawed. 'Fine, I'll take you to where she is. But nobody else must know about this. No one.'

'Even Melanie?'

'Especially Melanie!' Rafe snapped angrily.