2019

Before Bobby and Dee Dee left, Bobby poilety asked if he could use Brooke's bathroom. Brooke said of course, and told him it was right down the hall to the left. Alone with Dee Dee, she saw her gaze, staring straight at the family photo of Brooke, her husband, her youngest son Alex, and finally her eldest...Cooper.

This was taken several years ago when Cooper was visiting for the holidays. Suddenly seeing Dee Dee's stare made her feel nervous. Her stomach twisted and tensed up, knowing very well there would be questions.

"How did you find him?"

"Remember that foster number you gave me when you first broke me out? I waited, and around 1991 I befriended the woman who was trying to place Cooper in a permanent home."

Dee Dee sighed.

"I heard there had been a fire...I tried to check in on him from time to time, even considered trying to adopt him myself. Felt I owed you that much. I still remember reading the papers, they said he was the only child trapped inside along with Kathy..."

Brooke nodded, nervously brushing her bangs away from her face.

"Yes, like I said I befriended Kathy. She was in a pretty abusive relationship with her husband. It was getting bad and she needed a clean break. She found a way out with a doctor who was willing to help her. It was highly illegal, but...I helped and we planted two bodies. One of a woman roughly around Kathy's age, a Jane Doe, and the body of a young runaway boy who had frozen to death and was found under a bridge. We used the bodies, planted them...and set the building on fire. As far as anyone was concerned Kathy and Cooper were burned up. The other children and staff were all able to get out in time. Kathy helped me, and I helped her. We first landed in Canada. Cooper was only six, but he was so smart. He learned who I was...and we changed our names, and both Kathy and me started on beginning our new lives. We got new identities, cost us a pretty penny but we all started new. Kathy had connections and we ended up here. I started my new life. After a few years I met my husband, Kathy met a wonderful woman who she loved very much...I had my second child, and sadly Kathy lost her battle with breast cancer. Much like you...I owe everything to her. I got another chance...and I got one with my son. Just like Bobby, Cooper is one of the only good things to ever come out of that Hell. We're happy, and I never want Cooper to ever go back there...ever."

"Are you afraid?"

"I am...trust me, I wanted nothing more than to bring Cooper to meet his father, but we both know it's too dangerous. I was lucky to get out alive the last time. I think of Xavier all the time, I miss him...I miss him so much, but he promised me never to come back, and never to bring our son back there. He's trapped in that Hell...and he made me swear that his son won't ever have to suffer like his parents did."

Dee Dee sighed.

"Does he know...about any of it?"

"Barley. I lied to protect him...same way Bobby should have been lied to. I know there's no stopping him, but enough is enough. The people responsible are dead. There's no changing anytime. Time to move on and find a little bit of happiness we have left in whatever little time we have left."

Dee Dee sighed, sitting forward and stared at the framed photograph of the young man, before she saw several others framed against the wall of Brooke, her husband, her youngest son, and finally Cooper. Photos showing a young boy, happy and smiling, all ranging over several years, showing a perfectly healthy, and happy boy who had a normal childhood. The latest one showed Cooper at his college graduation, wearing a red cap and gown, grinning next to Brooke and her proud looking husband.

"He looks just like Xavier."

Brooke sadly smiled.

"Yeah, same eyes. Crazy huh?"

"Have you ever contracted his mother?"

"She drank herself to death in the early 90's. Besides, like I said...nobody could ever know who he was, or about me. It's safer that way."

Nodding, Dee Dee sighed and heard Bobby washing his hands, about to walk out. Looking at her, she sadly smiled.

"We both know there's no stopping Bobby from going back."

"I know."

"Do you want him to...give him a message or something if he sees him?"

Brooke thought for a second, before she rubbed her palms against her slacks and stood up. Walking to a table across the way, she turned over a framed photograph of Cooper, took it out, and grabbed a pen and quickly scribbled a note down on the back of it. Turning, she folded the photo before walking back to Dee Dee.

"Here...it's not much but...he deserves that much."

Dee Dee took it, sadly staring up at Brooke, both women now having a true unspoken understanding.

Later...

Brooke stood by the bay window of her home watching Bobby and Dee Dee left, headed straight to their car. Watching them, Brooke suddenly broke out in goosebumps when she heard the back door suddenly open. She was grateful that they hadn't been interrupted. To Cooper, his father had been a one night stand Brooke had when she first moved to the city in the early 80's.

The less known...the better.

She had told him so many lies in order to protect him. Even beginning with how he first landed in a foster home for the first six years of his life. Sure he had been curious, and there had been questions, but in the end he had closely listened to her when she leveled with him, stating the facts that there were dangerous people around. Dangerous people who would do anything to hurt the two of them. Instead they continued to live their content happy lives together. Cooper was a good boy. He was happy go lucky, smart, kind, and everyone's friend. He blossomed in school, everyone's friend, always lighting up a room. He loved his little brother, and stepfather, and was currently working for a computer company, living in a nice apartment in the city, and seeing a nice girl he had met a year ago. He visited once or twice a month, and he now looked more like Xavier than ever. Tempted to call him, she eyed her phone and decided to wait. Cooper was always in-tune with his mother, and she suspected he might sense it from hearing her voice. Instead, she said a silent prayer for Bobby, and turned away, waiting for Alex to come home from school.

All the meanwhile her mind lingering to Cooper's father...out in California, forever twenty years old, forever trapped...forever frozen in time.

Sniffling back tears, she walked away towards her kitchen, still remembering the first time she laid eyes on him all those years ago...

1984

The soundtrack to Staying Alive blasted from the stereo as everyone stayed in sync as they worked out. Brooke had just joined the gym in hopes to meet some friends. She wanted to badly to start fresh after last year, she actually felt nervous once the music started. She knew she had a cute little body, but she felt she didn't hold a candle to any of these beautiful women who were dancing and working out around her. The guy who was instructing it was one of the cutest guys she had ever laid eyes on. He had a great body, beautiful bleach blond hair, and sparkling blue eyes. He was so flamboyant, she knew there was no way he could be straight.

Still, several times she had locked eyes with him and caught him grinning, making her entire face become flushed. Little did she know, this man would actually play a pretty important part in her life, even if they barley got to spend less than a few days together...

Present

"Are you Xavier Plympton?"

Bobby asked to the young man wearing the tank top and shorts. In his short time being here at Camp Redwood, he honestly had seen things he never believed were even possible. The young man made a face and cradled the axe against his shoulder that he had been carrying.

"Who wants to know?"

"Brooke Thompson."

Suddenly Xavier's expression changed for a second. He blinked, before glancing at the other councilor who stood before him. Feeling as if he wasn't going to hurt him, Bobby swallowed hard before handing him the folded photo that was in his side pocket.

"I visited her...she wanted me to give you this."

The other councilor eyed Xavier who stood there for a second, raising an eyebrow before hesitating before slowly using his free hand and plucking the photo of out Bobby's hand. Unfolding it, he stared down, eyes narrowing as he started down hard at the photo. Bobby knew it was of Brooke's son. He looked a little older than him, and stood in jeans and a T-shirt, sitting on the back steps to a house. He was laughing, with a black lab by his feet. Bobby didn't read the note, figuring it was none of his business. Xavier's eyes scanned the note in Brooke's handwriting.

Xavier, Not sure if you'll ever read this, but please make sure Bobby leaves unharmed. For me...please. This is our son Cooper. I found him, and raised him. He's healthy, and happy. We both are. You understand why we can't ever come back. Just know I did tell him that for the few days I knew his biological father for...we loved a lifetime's worth. - B

Xavier reread the note over and over and over again before tears began to blur his vision.

Turning the photo over, he stared down at the photograph of the young man. Part Brooke...part him. This was all he had left to show he had actually been alive. His son...now older than he would ever be. A happy, handsome adult. He saw his own features showing through his young man. He was handsome, and had his eyes, and facial features, with Brooke's dark hair. Staring, he was transfixed. This legacy was better than any starring role he had dreamed about. Suddenly the depression of being trapped him hit all over again. Sighing deeply, he stared up at Bobby...the son of the man he thought he hated more than anyone else, and instead felt nothing but pity. It wasn't Jingles that had prevented him from leaving her, having a career, being with Brooke, and watching his son grow. No, that was that other bitch's fault, and he was going to make sure this would never happen again. Staring at Jingle's son, he deeply sighed before softly saying...

"Thank you..."