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Chapter 32: "Call in the cavalry"

Bo did not hesitate to accept John's invitation to join him, Brady and Marlena at Brady's Pub for a late lunch. Carly had refused to leave the hospital, even though Philip wanted her to leave.  Bo did not know how to deal with the situation.  He was furious with Carly for trying to take action against Vivian, but as a man known for having no patience, it was hard not to sympathize with her.  Between Philip and Victor being out for blood, Bo feared he was going to have his hands tied for awhile.

Entering the pub was a relief.  Here, at least, he did not have to be the Police Commissioner.  He could be a devoted son, who was just there to enjoy his mom's cooking.  And in the February cold, a bowl of his mom's clam chowder sounded just perfect.

The instant they entered, the entire place seemed to explode.  Caroline rushed up, hugging John like the long-lost son he sort of was.  "Oh, John, it's so wonderful to see you."  She immediately began demanding to know about his recovery and Marlena."

"On that," John said with a wink, "You're going to have to ask her yourself."

As if on cue, Marlena entered, and there were even more hugs and kisses.  Then things turned somber as Caroline thought of her granddaughter and they all expressed condolences over Sydney.  Caroline hovered over them, asking Marlena for the latest on Belle and Claire.  Then she had to return to the kitchen, but told them she would be back soon.

Soup was delivered to their table in just a few minutes, and everyone ate quietly, allowing the soup to warm them up.  Across the table, John and Brady were chatting, catching up on things.  After the exchange with Caroline, however, Marlena had fallen silent.  She said nothing as she watched her husband and stepson engage in their conversation.

"You okay?" Bo asked her.

She started to nod, but stopped short.  She leaned over to him, so that only he could hear.  "I'm worried."

"About Sami?"

"Yes," she said, "but also about John."

"Why would you be worried about John?"  John Black was one of the toughest men Bo had ever met.  Probably the toughest, with only Steve Johnson and Shane Donovan even coming close.

"You know what he's up to?" Marlena asked.

She caught Bo in the middle of a spoonful of soup.  When he finished swallowing, he answered.  "Yeah, he's looking for the Gov'nor."

Marlena shook her head.  "I've got a bad feeling, Bo."

"Marlena, it's probably nothing."  He wondered if he managed to sound half-convincing.  Doubtful.  "Look, if something happened to Shane, we have to see what we can do.  You know he'd be leading the charge if anything happened to one of us."

"I lost Roman for several years after Shane promised he would keep Roman from going to that island you were on."  She looked at Bo, who was shocked by the resentment in her voice.  "I know I shouldn't feel like this, but I can't help myself.  I can't stop thinking how things would've been different if Shane hadn't messed up."

Before Bo could answer, John spoke.  He had broken his conversation with Brady and was now looking at her.  "Whoa, Doc.  Where's that coming from?"  He sounded completely bewildered.  "How things would've been different?  For one, you'd never have met me."

Bo knew that was not what Marlena meant, but jumped in before World War III broke loose in the middle of the pub.  "Marlena, I was there," Bo said.  "No one could've stopped Roman from landing on that island, and Shane didn't mess up.  He didn't know where we crashed and thought we were on Stefano's island.  And he went there alone -- suicidal, if you ask me, especially when he could've taken Roman with him."  Bo did not bother to add that Shane barely survived that mission, because Marlena already knew that.  He just shook his head.  "I think you're wrong, Marlena.  Shane was trying to keep Roman out of it."

"That doesn't even matter," John said, sternly.  "Shane's our friend.  Hell, how many times did he put everything on the line for us?"  He looked at Bo.  "Remember how he got us away from Ernesto."  He turned to Marlena.  "And he nearly died in Stockholm helping us rescue you."  He sat back in his chair, obviously annoyed.  "We already discussed this, Doc."

Marlena seemed frustrated.  "I know all that, and I know I don't have a right to be angry at Shane.  I know he's our friend; he's my friend, a good friend.  It's just, I just . . . I just have a bad feeling about this."  Bo glanced at John, who caught the look and just shrugged.  Marlena sighed and looked down at the table.  "I can't explain it.  I just don't want to lose anyone else I love again because of Shane Donovan and whatever mess he's gotten himself into."

Bo reached over and put an arm around her.  Marlena still felt like his sister, not even a sister-in-law.  "I'm gonna make you a promise," Bo said.  "If John finds out anything -- and I mean anything -- he's gonna tell me and Roman, and we'll be there in a shot."    He eyed John to make sure the message got across loud and clear.  "You got that.  No Lone Ranger stuff.  You call in the cavalry."  He squeezed Marlena's shoulder.  "I know how you feel, but we owe Shane too much to just let this go.  If something happens to him and we just sat here, you know we couldn't live with that."

Marlena nodded.  "I know, and I know I sound selfish, but--"

"But you can't help the way you feel," John said, finishing her sentence for her, but he said it softly, an acknowledgment of her feelings.  He reached his hand across the table and touched hers, eliciting a soft smile.

Bo grinned.  War averted.  But then he shook his head, amused at what he had just promised.  He would have to let Roman know that they had just promised to go into whatever battle John Black was about to wade into, just to protect John and Marlena.  Aw, who was he kidding.  Roman and he would have gone to battle for them without any promises.  For Shane as well.

For any of their family, they would go to hell and back, no matter the risks.