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After watching John and Andrew leave, Marlena took a seat on the couch next to Kim and took her hand.  "So now tell me how it's really going."

"You get straight to the point, don't you?" Kim said.

"I'm a doctor and your friend, so yes."

Kim sighed.  She could never fake it with Marlena.  Ever since she had returned to Salem in 1985, Marlena had been there, always hovering, always worrying, and always able to force Kim to say what she tried to keep hidden from everyone else.  "How's it going?" Kim said with a shrug.  "Well, I'm still alive, so I guess that's a good thing.  But I'm scared.  No, that's not really true.  I'm terrified.  I keep trying to tell myself not to be afraid, that I have to fight this with all my strength and being afraid will make me weak."

"It's natural to be afraid," Marlena said.  "But you know that."

"In my head, yes.  I've been a therapist far too long not to understand that at an intellectual level, but it's different when you're the patient, Marlena.  It hits too close."  Kim looked toward the windows, but all she could see was the reflection of the living room.  "I keep thinking about Andrew and Jeannie.  They're not children any more, but they still need taking care of."

Marlena looked like she understood.  A mother never completely lets go of her children.  "Your children would be fine, Kim.  Just look at Andy.  He's a strong man."

Kim shook her head.  "Maybe.  I don't know.  Sometimes he seems so confident and in control, and other times he's so guarded and closed off."

"Sounds like his father," Marlena said.

"Let's not go there," Kim cautioned.

"Why not?"  Marlena sounded intrigued, and Kim kicked herself for getting sucked into this conversation.  Yet the subject was now broached, so she could not avoid it as Marlena asked, "Are we discussing Andy or Shane?"

Kim leaned back and rolled her eyes.  "I don't know.  Some of both, I guess.  It's so hard.  I look at Andrew and there are so many things that make me see his father.  I just can't help it."

"I know.  When we came in, he ran his hand through his hair and I immediately mentioned it to John."  Marlena smiled.  "But it's hardly surprising that a son might seem like his father.  Sometimes when I look at Brady, I see all these things that remind me of John, and they don't look as much alike as Andy and Shane."  She fixed Kim in her gaze and said what Kim did not want to hear.  "But it's not Andy that's the problem, is it?"

Damn.  Damn.  Damn.  Damn Marlena for being so perceptive.  Kim tried to figure out the right response.  "No, not really.  I mean there are issues there, but constantly thinking about Shane . . . It's not right.  We broke up 20 years ago, and I have no right to expect him to be here."

"But you do?"

"Yes, damn it."  Kim heard her voice rising.  "We were supposed to be there for each other.  Even when I was married to Philip, that's what he always said.  'I'll always be there if you need me, Kim.'"  She let loose a bitter laugh.  "I think this qualifies.  And where's the great Shane Donovan?  Nobody seems to have a damn clue."

Marlena said nothing, so Kim continued.

"You know, the other day on the news they were talking about this big bust the ISA did.  How they caught all these mobsters, and I thought, 'Oh, that must be it.  That must be Shane, and now he'll call his children and they'll tell him what's happening.'  But it's been a few days and nothing.  Andy still doesn't have the father he worships, and Jeannie, oh Jeannie, she's terrified she'll never resolve things with Shane, but she's as good at putting up walls as he was -- is."  Kim saw Marlena's eyes widen a little at the slip and cursed herself for letting loose that bit of doubt.  Kim just sighed.  "I mean, as good as he is.  Jeannie doesn't understand.  She never did.  And she's so scared that she'll never be able to get a chance to understand that she would rather just hate Shane and be angry with him."

"And you?"

"Me?"

Marlena nodded.  "Are you angry at Shane?"
 
That was a funny question.  Why would she be angry at Shane?  She knew what he did and the risks it brought.  She had always known.  She had even lived through it before.  She had no right to be angry. 

"Yes."  The word betrayed her thoughts.  "Yes, I'm angry.  I thought I got off that roller coaster when we divorced.  It wasn't my job any more to worry about where he was, what he was doing, or even if he was still alive."

Marlena smiled sadly.  "You know as well as I do that we can't just shut off how we feel about someone.  It's not like there's some switch you flip and you stop loving someone."

"Oh no, that's not it.  That's not it at all," Kim said in exasperation.  Marlena was misreading her and she wanted to get things quite clear.  "I do not love Shane Donovan.  At least not in that way."  Seeing that Marlena was still giving her a sad, yet indulgent look, Kim grew even more frustrated.  "Please.  We're friends, or at least that's what I thought we were.  We hadn't even talked in months before his last call, because I was so angry about everything that happened to Andrew."  Kim did not elaborate, because Marlena knew that Andrew's joining the army had been a source of conflict between his parents.  Instead, she shook her head.  "Sometimes I wonder how I possibly got involved with Shane Donovan in the first place."

"Oh that's easy," Marlena said.

"Is it?"

"Sure.  It's the same as with me and Roman or me and John."  Marlena looked away, with a wistful expression.  "We were babies, Kim, little girls who got swept off our feet by a fantasy.  Come on, Kim, what girl wouldn't have fallen for James Bond when he showed up on her doorstep?" 

"I don't think it's quite that simple," Kim said, shaking her head.

"I think it is.  When you're young and a man like Shane Donovan comes into your life, you don't think of the danger, of all the times you'll be sitting alone wondering if he's ever going to return.  You get caught up in the excitement and, let's face it, for a time, the danger is exciting.  And it's damn sexy." 

Kim raised an eyebrow.  "I never thought of Roman or John as James Bond."

"Okay, maybe my type is a little more Dirty Harry."  Marlena chuckled.  "But it's the same thing."

"And then what happened," Kim asked.

"Then?  Then we grew up.  We had babies of our own."  Marlena touched Kim's hand.  "Suddenly the danger wasn't exciting any more.  Suddenly, we realized that there was a good chance James Bond or Dirty Harry would never return home, and we would be all alone, trying to raise our children without him.  That kind of kills the fantasy." 

They both fell silent, as Kim tried to process everything Marlena had said.  Was that really it?  Had she been seduced by some fantasy of danger and adventure?  Remembering Shane sneaking into her room at Victor's, she had to admit that there were times when it was exciting.  Kim was still thinking that all through when Marlena asked another question. 

"Can I ask you something I've always wanted to ask?"  Marlena sounded nervous.  "You won't be angry with me?"

Kim had to laugh at the very thought.  "Of course.  I could never be angry with you."

Marlena took a deep breath.  When she spoke, she still sounded hesitant.  "I wasn't in Salem when Shane disappeared, you know, when you thought he died.  But I know that when you found out you were pregnant with Jeannie, you didn't tell Shane she might be Cal Winters' baby.  Why was that?"

Kim blanched.  That was not a question she expected, not from Marlena.  She looked down at the sofa and studied the fabric carefully.  "Um, I don't . . . I guess I just didn't want to hurt Shane.  You have no idea how much he hated Cal.  He blamed Cal for what happened to him, you know, his disappearing and losing his memory.  He thought Cal was behind it all.  I thought if he knew Jeannie was Cal's, well, I didn't think our marriage would survive.  Shane would never have accepted her."  That at least was the reason she had used at the time.

"Shane hated Victor, too," Marlena said in that voice that Kim thought sounded too all-knowing.  "And he was willing to accept Andrew as his son."

"I don't think he would've done it a second time," Kim said.

"Or maybe you were mad at Shane."  Marlena's tone did not indicate if that was a statement or a question.  "Maybe you were angry that he disappeared and left you, and keeping that secret from him was the best way to push him away."

Kim jerked her head up.  "You can't think I would do that."

"Maybe not intentionally," Marlena said.  "But the subconscious can be pretty powerful.  I can't think of anything that could have hurt Shane more than you lying about Jeannie's paternity.  Not after what happened with Andrew."

Kim had no response.  She had never considered what Marlena was saying.  It had just happened.  She had been scared about what Shane would say if he learned the baby was Cal's, and she had been duped by the doctor into believing that lie.  She would never have intentionally hurt Shane, but could she have been acting without intent?  Kim had to admit that Marlena was right about one thing: There was probably nothing that would have hurt Shane more than Kim lying about paternity and trying to dupe him into believing another man's child was his.  Not after she lied about Victor and Andrew.  Finally, she said, "I don't know."

"I think you do, and I can understand it."  Marlena sat back.  "You know, when Roman disappeared because of the Torres family, I was so mad at him.  I had already gone through one period where I thought he had died, and then he disappeared again, and intentionally that time.  Looking back, even though we seemed okay when he came back, it was never the same.  My anger just festered and grew."  She shook her head.  "Then I started the affair with John, which put the final nail in the coffin of my relationship with Roman.  Did I intend that?  I doubt it, but I can't imagine a better way of permanently ending things with Roman."

"No, that pretty much took the cake," Kim said.  "Kind of like Shane turning around and sleeping with Kayla, I guess.  We always were good at finding the worst possible ways of hurting each other."  She sighed again.  "So where does that leave us?"

"I don't know.  Somehow I wound up with John, who hardly is less dangerous than Roman, so maybe I'm still addicted to the danger.  You chose Philip--"

"Who I never loved like Shane."  Kim preempted what Marlena was going to say before she said it.  It was easier saying it herself than hearing someone else confront her with the truth.

Marlena nodded.  "But Philip provided security and stability, and you never had to worry about him dying during a location shoot.  That can be the basis for a type of love."

"Until he runs off with an actress the same age as your daughter."  Kim gave Marlena a rueful look.

"Given what's happened, Kim, it's natural that you're thinking a lot about the past and some of those old feelings are resurfacing."  Marlena grew pensive.  "It's also okay for you to be angry at Shane for not being here.  During the worst times of your life, he was your rock, so it's natural that you would feel betrayed that he's not here now.  It may not be very rational, but it's still natural." 

"I still feel like a bit of a fool," Kim said.

"That's okay, too.  You're entitled to act like a bit of a fool right now."  She gave Kim a pointed look.  "Speaking of which.  Let's talk about that wig."

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Nov. 8th, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)
That's a wonderful conversation. I love how Marlena helps Kim see that possible subconscious reasons for some of her decisions. And I love that Marlena recognizes that emotions aren't always rational or logical. Feeling something and thinking you are entitled to feel it are two different things.

Great chapter.

Erica
jwsel
Nov. 11th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
Thanks. With this and the next chapter, I was trying to offer some different perspectives on the break-up. I could never understand why Kim lied about Jeannie's paternity given how Shane had accepted Andrew. She had even less reason to lie about Jeannie, since Shane knew she had slept with Cal, unlike the situation with Victor.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )