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Chapter 51: Marlena Catches On

It was getting late and Marlena could see that Kim was fading.  She had used a lot of energy during their earlier conversation and had tried to remain animated when John and Andrew returned with the food.  Now, she looked like she was struggling to keep her eyes open. 

"Are you okay?" Marlena asked.

"I'm fine," Kim answered.  "Not even that nauseous.  Of course, that could change any second."  At their collected looks, she shrugged.  "My morbid sense of humor, I guess."

"It's okay, Mum."  Andrew reached over and touched her hand.  "It's good you can laugh about it."

Marlena studied Andrew a bit.  For most of the evening, he had said all the right things, never anything that might upset Kim.  He had not even commented on the fact that Kim had taken off that horrid wig and had instead covered her head with a scarf.  Yet there was something that made Marlena feel like she was watching an actor.  When he was not fawning over Kim, he seemed distracted.  There had been a few times that he had asked John or her to repeat a question or his expression made him seem somewhere else entirely.  Maybe it was just that Andrew was tired from caring for Kim, but Marlena suspected something else was going on with him.

"So you didn't tell me about Sami," Kim said.  "Has there been any news about Sydney?"

Marlena glanced at John.  They knew that the Bradys had deliberately chosen not to mention anything about finding Sydney's dress in the Salem River.  Given Kim's experiences with Andrew's kidnapping as an infant, bad news about Sydney might exacerbate her current condition,

"No, Sis," John said.  "There's been no news."

"I'm so sorry.  Sami shouldn't have to go through that.  No mother should."  Kim fell silent and looked at Andrew for a bit.  "I just hope she gets a happy ending like I did."

"I hope so, too," Marlena lied, as she felt her stomach turn.  She knew Kim was exhausted because otherwise she would have detected the lie.  "Hey, maybe we should get you to bed."

"Just a little longer," Kim said, then laughed.  "God, I sound just like Andrew when he was a little boy.  'Please, mommy, let me stay up a little longer.'" 

Andrew shrugged.  "It didn't work that well for me.  I should have tried it Jeannie's way."  He turned to John and Marlena.  "She used to bargain with Mum.  You know.  'Let me stay up for 15 more minutes and I'll clean the dishes tomorrow night.'  Sometimes it even worked.  Mum never realized that whatever chore Jeannie was offering to do, it was something she already was supposed to do."

They all laughed, with John adding, "Sounds like a lawyer in the making."

"Excuse me," Andrew said.  "I just caught the time.  I need to call a friend in Europe before he goes to work."  As he got up from his chair, he gave John a quick glance.  Kim didn't see it, but Marlena did.  She wondered if it had something to do with John's search for Shane.  When John's eyes followed Andrew as he left the living room, she felt her suspicions confirmed.

What are you getting that boy involved with, John?  The thought came unbidden, but she would ask her husband about once they were alone.  Knowing John, though, he would chide her for her suspicious nature and then tell her nothing.  No, if she was going to find anything out, she probably needed to conduct her own investigation.  After a few more minutes of chit chat, Marlena excused herself from the conversation and headed in the direction Andrew had.

She passed through the kitchen into the corridor with the guest rooms.  Andrew had been right about one thing: the house had plenty of space for guests.  She counted at least four rooms on this floor with extra beds.  Approaching the third door, she heard Andrew's voice carrying through.  " . . . know it's a problem, sir, but I'm stuck here for the time being.  Yes, I know, but Davies approved it.  He said it made sense long-term, that it would help my cover." 

Marlena froze, once again feeling her stomach churn.  She had heard enough, so she returned to the living room and pretended like everything was fine.  About five minutes later, Andrew returned.

"Your call go okay?" Marlena asked.

"Fine," Andrew said.  "My friend's overseeing some developments in Russia and asked for some advice on dealing with some workers from the Middle East.  He thought I might have some suggestions."

He was a good liar, Marlena had to admit, but that came with the territory didn't it?  She looked at Kim, who seemed to have dozed off, while John and Andrew had a bit of a discussion about Middle Eastern workers.  That told her everything.  John knew.  Marlena wanted to be sick.

"Maybe we should finish this discussion tomorrow," she said, looking at Andrew.  "It looks like your mom's fallen asleep, and we all should probably do the same.  How about John and I keep an eye on her tonight?"

Andrew looked dubious.  "Are you sure?"

"Yeah, it'll be fine," John said.  "We can trade off on nights or figure out shifts over the next few days.  Tonight, you get some sleep, kid."

"I have a baby monitor hooked up that allows you to listen in case she needs anything," Andrew said.  "I'll get Mum settled and bring it down."  He got up from his seat and picked Kim up from the couch.  He lifted her effortlessly and carried her up the stairs. 

While he was gone, Marlena studied her husband.  John seemed lost in thought and made no effort to head to the guest bedroom.  They sat in silence for a while, until Andrew returned with the plastic monitor and gave a cursory explanation of how it worked.  He glanced at John before going back upstairs.  "How about we go for a run tomorrow morning?  Assuming that's okay with you, Aunt Marlena?  I've been pretty much housebound since Mum's treatment started and while her gym's pretty good, it can't beat a run on the beach."

Marlena knew what Andrew was not saying.  Running with John would allow them to talk business, away from inquisitive women.  Maybe that was for the better.  If they did not discuss Shane or whatever else they were involved in, she could pretend it was not actually happening.  She smiled at Andrew.  "That's fine, Andy.  It would probably be good for John, too."  She looked at John.  "You do need to keep up your physical therapy."

As Andrew left to go back upstairs, Marlena and John headed to their guest room, her home away from home for the next several weeks.  She closed the door behind them, and let loose the anger she had been holding back.

"Tell me, John.  When did Andy join the ISA and how could you possibly keep that from me?"