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Chapter 43: Philip's Choice

Philip pulled his coat more tightly around himself to ward off the cold as he stared out at the Salem River.  The last few hours had been a nightmare as he barely managed to reach Melanie's room in time to pull Vivian away from her bed.

How could that monster try to kill his wife again?  How could he have failed to protect her?

After that, coming here to think, he had run into Carly, who basically told him the same thing.  Don't go back to Victor's because he doesn't have control.  What had she said?  "You're her husband now, Philip.  You have to protect Melanie from Vivian."

Philip shoved his hands deeper into his pockets.  He wanted to scream or to break something.  This was not his fault and it was not Melanie's fault.  Melanie was embroiled in some feud between Vivian and Carly who, until a few days ago, was just a local doctor, not Melanie's mother.  It all was far too confusing, and Philip felt lost.

The immediate question was where should he and Melanie go.  He could not protect his wife when they were living under the same room with Victor and Vivian.  Victor had made clear that his crazy bitch of a girlfriend was going nowhere, so that meant Philip had to leave.  That decision would hardly make Victor happy.

Behind him, Philip heard a noise.  He turned quickly, only to catch a dark shape slipping into a nearby alley .  He ran toward it as fast as he could on his normal prosthetic leg, but when he reached the alley, it was empty.

Damn.

He knew he was being watched.  For the past few days, he had that uncomfortable feeling that someone was following him, tracking him.  No matter where he went, whether it was to the hospital to see Melanie or, even now, as he walked along the pier, he knew someone was tracking him.  And the most infuriating thing was that he knew it was Victor behind it.

It had to be.  The timing was too coincidental, starting immediately after Philip talked with John at Brady's Pub, but what had Philip done to tip off the old man?  He had been so careful when he spoke with John.  Or was it just that Victor naturally did not trust his own son, so he assumed the worst.

Philip was torn.  He had already told John they needed to talk, but there was no way that he could provide the documents he had collected and, without them, what proof did he have?  John probably would not trust his word, not given their past history.  Meanwhile, Victor's spy would report on the meeting.  Even if they just spoke by phone, Victor would probably find out; he likely had someone tapping his phone.

Outright defiance of Victor Kiriakis was suicidal, and with everything now going on, Philip was in even more of a bind.  He had Melanie to think about and no way to know if Vivian would try again.  What if helping John was just the impetus for Victor to help Vivian succeed the next time she tried to kill Melanie?

Was it really worth putting his wife's life on the line for someone he did not even know?

And what did he really know anyway?  All he could say is that Victor was compiling a dossier on the Donovan children.  The rest was just the product of Philip's suspicions.  So maybe it was premature to say anything to John.  Maybe he should just wait and see.  In the meantime, he would deal with his more pressing problems.

At that moment, his cell phone rang.  He glanced at the number.  Of course it would be John calling now.  Philip answered.  "John, I'm sorry, but it's not a good time to talk."

John's slow drawl came through the phone.  "Sorry, man, but you said something about discussing some business."

Philip had to appreciate John's caution.  Even if he had no idea that the phone call was being intercepted, he was not about to reveal anything damaging.  But then, of course, John Black had been very well trained and had plenty of experience being circumspect.  "Yes, but I don't think I can discuss that any time soon."

"Oh," John replied.  "I'm leaving Salem this afternoon."

That came as a great relief.  If John left, maybe Victor would decide any danger had passed and relax his surveillance on Philip.  He still had to assume the phone would be bugged, but at least he might not be under constant watch.  "I see.  Truthfully, what I wanted to discuss probably wasn't that important.  If things change, I'll give you a call."

"Fine," but John did not sound very convinced.  "I'll be in Los Angeles for a few days, maybe a week.  After that, I don't know."

Philip said a quick goodbye, and hung up.  His stomach did a few flips and he fought back the bile rising in his throat.  He had made the best choice for his family.  He just wished that he did not feel like such a coward for doing it.