Author's Note: This story started out as a completely original fiction story. I had been working on it for 3 years when I got blocked. Then came Cin… and I began to see how I could rework the concept into a Cin fanfic. Unfortunately, as written, Ciara will actually be linked to Tripp for a while. I promise it is as hard for me to write their relationship as will be to read it, but I promise if it stick with it as the story unfolds, it will all be worth it. In my story, she's dated Tripp for a few years since her rape. But he went away to college in Nashville for criminal justice because he's working on becoming a cop. There are a few other things in my story that are written a bit differently. One of them is the character of Claire. In my story, she's not a manipulative, backstabbing, vindictive brat. I have always said Ciara has no honest & true girl friends. So I thought rather than just make a new person up I would change one who was already there. Also, The age progression is a struggle for me at times too, so again I want to stay true to certain aspects of the Days of our lives characters, but since it's fan fiction, it's going to be different. So if you can bear with me until then, I hope to make it worth your while. Thanks for reading! ~ DRC


Intro

There are moments in your life that define you... choices that you have to make to get you from one point to the next. Life is a series of moments that come together to create your story. When I stop and think about my life and how I got to where I am today, I can narrow it down to a few, life-changing events.

You can call it fate, luck, choices... or maybe it's just something much greater than that. All I know is I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, whether it's happy, sad or confusing. And it always comes back to those choices you have to make. Some could upset or even hurt people, however unintentionally, but these are sometimes the consequences of find your happiness and live the best life you can.

People can accept that or not, but it won't change the fact that choices will come & things happen… life always happens. I'm sure some may not agree with or like the decisions I made for my life. But I got sick of living my life for everyone else.

And right when I thought I had it all figured out, was one of those moments that changed the course of my entire life. I met one of those people who can come into your life when it's least expected & turn your semi-normal life into a tailspin and flip it upside down. But before I get to him, let me go back & explain how I got to that life-altering moment in time.

Chapter 1

Let's start with the basics like my name, which is Ciara Alice Brady. I was born into a very large family. In fact to name them all and get through their stories, it would take me years. To be honest, my family's history always sort of reminded me of a soap opera. My family is that crazy.

Anyway, I'm the youngest in my immediate family, and my mom & dad's names are Hope & Bo. I have an older brother named Shawn Douglas. Well, I had two, but my older brother Zach died really young, before I was even born. And I do have one sister named Chelsea—well, a half sister but that still counts.

My mom and dad have this epic love story. It's totally one for the ages. But like with any great love story, it wasn't always an easy & it came with more than one twist and turns, not to mention a few major bumps along the way. But what else could expect from a pair of bonafide star-crossed lovers. They were torn apart time after time, but if there's one thing that has always remained true, it would be the strength of their love for one another their children.

Being the youngest child in my family has been a blessing and a curse. While I've always had love and support daily from all of my family, they've also been very protective of me— one might even say they were overprotective. Not the best combination when you consider that I've always had a bit of a rebel soul—very mischievous, outspoken, brazen... People tell me I'm a lot like my dad. Despite all of that, I've always worn my heart on my sleeve, and tried to see the good in everyone. I fight for what I believe in, and for those that I care about. Most can't decide if I'm an immature rebellious brat, or an old soul who is way too mature for my age. I guess I'm a little of both.

They say the first cut is the first cut is the deepest. I would say I learned that the hard way. The first huge shift in life hit me as a preteen... right when a girl is growing into full adolescence, my family suffered a huge loss in the form of my father's death.

Nothing could have prepared me for that. No person, place, or thing. It left a void in all of our lives that nothing and no one could fix. I was never quite the same after that, and the my mom's overprotectiveness—which I had already been chafing under—grew immensely. After all, it was just her and I with my daddy gone.

Shawn, his wife, Belle, and my niece, Claire—who ironically was just a few years younger then me—had moved to Hong Kong. So things were very quiet & a little lonely for us until my mom decided to get remarried to a man, who would forever change our lives in ways we could never see coming or hope to prepare for.

His name was Aiden Jennings. From day one, I made it very clear to my mom that he would never fill my father's footsteps. Something about him… I could never put my finger on it, but he just always gave me chills, yet somehow despite that, I did become very close to my new stepbrother, Chase. He became one of my best friends. Right up until the moment we found out who my "stepfather" really was beneath the mask he'd worn.

Long story short, it had been all about the money. Aiden had lied and manipulated his way into my mom's heart & life just kill her for our money. But he failed, and when he was found out and arrested, my mom decided to take Chase in raise as a part of our family. I had never been more proud or sure of one of my mom's decision since my dad passed. How wrong we both were.

In his father's absence, Chase began to spiral. I tried to be there for him, but unfortunately that backfired when he developed an unhealthy attachment to me. At least that what Claire's grandma, psychiatrist Dr. Marlena Evans-Black called it. An unhealthy attachment. It sounds so clinical, so passionless, almost harmless, but it was nothing like that… nothing at all.

I can't really even remember how it started that night. I just remember that when he came on to me, I didn't take it that seriously until it was too late. I tried to push him away, but that only angered him—it seemed to fuel to do the unspeakable. To hold me down & cover my mouth so I couldn't say no. He raped me.

Before that night I never thought anything could devastate me like losing my dad, but after what Chase did to me, I was never ever the same again. I felt alone, broken and damaged, and all of the therapy in the world couldn't fix what was broken. It left me feeling like I had no purpose because let's face it, how could anyone ever truly recover from something like that.

But I leaned on my family and the support from my friends, and slowly but surely I began healing. Claire moving back to Salem helped as did my mom remarrying a wonderful guy named Rafe. I got through it slowly but even now carry a lot of scars and anger and hurt. Like with my father's death, I thought nothing was going to change my life more than that one event. So I was completely unprepared for what would happen 6 years later.


I had always dreamed of one thing in my life—to find love, a love as great as my mother and father's. I wanted the fairy tale. The kind of love that gave you butterflies, made it hard to breathe, and made you all nervous & giggly. I wanted to feel like my heart would burst. To find that one person who could be my first and last thought of everyday. That's rebellious, mischievous Ciara Alice Brady was a hopeless romantic, who had believed that her soulmate was really out there somewhere waiting for the right moment to make himself know.

At least I was until Chase took that away from me. After my rape, I never thought I would ever be capable of love or being loved at all, let alone that magical, bottomless, all-encompassing kind of love my parents had shared. I definitely never thought I would find him in the way that I had, or that events would take place the way they did. Like I said before, it's all about the moments and the choices that life throws at you that get you to where you are or where you need to be. That little voice in your head that tells you, "Yes, this is it". Or maybe our hearts can be louder than voice inside our heads. You can choose to follow your brain and make choices logically, or you can trust your impulsive heart to lead. But then again, there's a reason your heart is housed within a set of ribs to contain it. Although as much as you try, it never really can be contained, maybe it's not really meant to be.

So I firmly believe it's those moments and events that come together in your life that get you to the points in your life where you're making your life-changing decisions and choices. Whether they're small or large, life is lived one choice at a time; and you never know which one moment will change your entire life. What one person will just come in and turn your semi-normal upside down.

I have to say that even so many memories & stories that I can remember in minute detail, nothing is as clear to me as that day—that one moment I've been going on and on about that has been permanently burned in my brain forever that started with a life altering moment that led me to my life-altering choice. But before I get caught up in the magic of my own story, let me go back a bit farther so I can put all the pieces of this complicated story in place. I promise it's pretty different, but it's a good one.