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"You just let things 'slip'?" Jeannie said, angrily, as Kim helped Andrew limp through the door and onto the sofa.

"What was I going to say?" he said in something of a mock protest.  "I could hardly tell you I was hanging on the edge of a mountain."

Jeannie gave him a look of utter disbelief and turned to Kim.  "Can you tell me what the hell happened?"

Oh, Jeannie, Kim thought, if I only could.  Kim still had not figured it out, despite rehashing the argument over and over again in her head.  Right now, she was just grateful that Andrew was okay.  It was the curse of being a parent the way that kids played could play with your emotions.  One minute you were furious, the next scared to death, and the next overwhelmed by concern.  Right now, her inner clock's big hand pointed to concern, while the little hand caught between anger and confusion.  For now, however, Kim's focus was on concern.  The rest would be addressed later.

Thankfully, Jeannie chose not to press the issue.  She turned to playing nursemaid to her big brother.  "We need to clean these cuts," she said.  "I think there's a first aid kit under the sink."  Something about her was so officious, so organized and logical.  That probably came from her father.  Kim could be organized at times, but she did tend to lose control a little in a crisis; Shane, on the other hand, was usually as cool as possible.  That was Jeannie, Kim thought, as she watched her children from the doorway to the kitchen.

"I'm fine, Sis," Andrew said.  "It's really not that big a deal, just a fall off a horse.  I've taken a lot worse."  Kim tensed.  She hated the way he made light of things.  So much like--

She stopped herself.  'Until you stop looking at me and seeing him."  That was what Andrew had said.

"Mom?"  Jeannie interrupted Kim's thoughts.  She turned to her daughter.  "The first aid kid?"

"Oh, of course," Kim said, as she went into the kitchen and pulled the kit from underneath the sink.  She took it back into the living room.  Andrew had pulled off the remains of his jacket and was wincing as Jeannie helped him remove his shirt.  Her daughter had things well in hand, and Kim had to smile at both her children.  Their interactions reminded her so much of her own siblings, something, at least, she and Shane had gotten right.   "I'm going to put on the kettle, and make some tea."

Andrew looked up.  "Are you okay, Mum?"  He barely had time to ask before he grimaced as Jeannie put some hydrogen peroxide on some of his cuts.

"Yeah," Kim said, slowly.  "I'm fine.  I think I'm a little tired after all the excitement.  I'm going to leave the kettle to boil and lie down."  She returned to the kitchen and took care of the kettle, all the while watching her children.  She really did have so much to be proud about, yet she kept thinking about Andrew and his outburst.  The kettle on, she climbed the stairs to her bedroom.  It was light and open, with large windows facing the ocean.  To anyone else, it would be the perfect bedroom at the beach.  Yet even after years in this house, it felt strange, like she was living someone else's life in someone else's home.

She removed her boots and took off her riding jacket.  Before letting it drop to the floor, she pulled out her cell phone.  She sat down on the edge of her bed and punched the number for her voicemail.  There was a new message, but she ignored it and hit the buttons to open the saved messages.  There it was.

Even on a year-old recording, Shane's voice was a comfort.  ". . . it would be good to see you.  It's been too long. . . . Damn, I'm sorry, I didn't mean that to come out like that.  I just meant that we've always been friends and we haven't talked in ages, and I know there's a lot going on.  Andrew told me about Phillip, and I'm sorry, and I thought you might enjoy getting away from LA for a day. . . . God, listen to me, I sound like an utter fool.  Just forget it.  Forget that I said anything.  It must be the jet-lag talking.  I'll call you when I get back."  Then the click as he hung up.

Kim sank back onto the bed.  Her insides felt scrambled up, a mass of confusion and fear and God know's what.  She thought again about what Andrew said.  There was so much truth to it.  Here she was the therapist, and she needed her own son to tell her she was displacing her unresolved feelings for Shane on her son.  It wasn't fair to Andrew, but how did you stop your subconscious?  And how was that going to play out for the next few weeks, when it was just her and Andrew?  How could she start seeing her son as his own man, when there were so many similarities?  Years ago, when Shane left Salem for the final time, she told him that she would look at their children and always see their father; it was even harder now that Andy had so many of his father's mannerisms.

And deep inside, she knew the worst part, the part Andrew did not understand.  She did not hate the constant reminders of his father.  She just hated that they made it so much harder for her to go about her life believing that Shane Donovan was a remnant of her past.  They made it so much harder for her to pretend.

She reached for her nightstand and picked up a photo.  It showed Andrew, Jeannie and Shane sitting in the garden of the Salem mansion.  She had taken it not long after she had been hit by that car, and she and the kids were staying at Shane's home.  Despite the divorce and her engagement to Philip, she and Shane had actually been happy together during that time.  Or so she thought.  Kim studied Shane's face in the photo.  He wasn't smiling like the two children next to him.  His eyes were sad and she saw now what she could not see then -- he knew he had lost something precious.  And she knew what it was.  He had been watching her as she had taken the photo.

If only she had seen it then.  If only she had not been so stubborn about convincing herself that Philip was the right choice.  She had been so hurt by Shane the year before that she had tried to shut down her feelings for him.  That hurt was still there, and so much still left unresolved, but that hurt had diminished some over time, while the part of her that ached with loss remained.  Shane was not the only one who had lost something precious, something few people ever found, and those that did, only found once in a lifetime.

Kim stared out the window and shook her head.  "Trust me, Shane Donovan, you're not the only fool."