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Chapter 70: Shane's Regrets - Kayla

A shadow crossed the thin slice of light at the door of his cell.  Just a guard's boot probably.  The guards seemed to have forgotten Victor's orders about keeping Shane cleaned up.  In a way, Shane was almost glad for the delay.

When the time came, Shane knew his escape attempt could end in only one of two ways.  Ending Number One would have him outside the walls of this place, once again able to breathe fresh air, once again able to see sunlight.  He tried to focus on his escape plans -- on how he would take out the guards and on how he would find his way out to the open sky.  The path he took in his mind was purely his imagination.  He still had no idea where he was, and no idea how to find his way out.  Of course, that just increased the odds that his escape would finish in Ending Number Two -- with his death.

Shane had faced death more times than he could count, but there was something different this time.  Usually, his scrapes with death were without warning or his energies were 100% focused on staying alive.  Waiting in this dark place for his chance to escape, knowing it would probably end in his death, he had nothing to do but think.  Invariably, those thoughts turned to the choices he had made in his life, including the ones he looked back on with regret.


He had tried not to think about her, but it was impossible.  It would be easy for him to just write off his relationship with Kim's sister as a mistake, but he had loved Kayla for a time.  Not the same way he loved Kim; nothing could compare to that.  But Kayla was stable and strong, and her strong love for Steve had meant she would never completely give her heart to Shane and he would never have to do the same to her.

It had started innocently enough.  Shane had felt guilty about his role in Steve's death and Kayla needed protection from the Jencon people, so he had suggested Kayla and her baby, Stephanie, move into his house for safety.  He never had any romantic designs.  Nor could he.  She was mourning Steve, while he had tried to close himself off from the pain of Kim leaving him a few months earlier.  His focus was entirely on bringing down Lawrence Alamain, and he had no intention of ever opening himself up to another relationship, not after the type of pain he had experienced when Kim walked out of his life.

But time and proximity do funny things, don't they?  For the most part, he was as cold and unemotional with Kayla as with everyone else in Salem, but then he found that there were times he let down his guard -- almost always because of some connection to her.  There was her daughter Stephanie, who in hindsight probably filled a void in Shane's life.  He had always wanted a daughter, and he had repeatedly been denied the opportunity to raise one.  He had missed Eve's childhood, Kim had lost their baby girl in 1988, and, finally, he believed Kim's new baby girl was not his.  In a way, Stephanie was a surrogate for all those little girls whose lives he had missed.

And there had been Andrew.  When Kim refused to let Andrew come to Salem for Christmas, Kayla had convinced her.  At a time when Shane was still reeling from the divorce and directing all his energies at Alamain, Kayla had brought his Andrew home.  In a time when he had felt only pain and loneliness, it had been Kayla who gave him a brief moment of happiness.

Still, Stephanie and Andrew were only a small part of why he fell in love with Kayla.  Looking back, their connection was so obvious.  They were kindred spirits, two people who had been wounded profoundly and probably would never be whole again.  They knew that they would never be able to give themselves to another person as completely as they had with the loves they had lost.  They understood each other in ways that nobody else could, and that drew them together.

Their relationship probably was doomed to fail, but Rafi Torres' bomb had truly ended it.  Sometimes Shane wondered what would have happened if he had not been paralyzed in that explosion.  How had he been so stupid not to anticipate the attack at the museum party?  He had been with Roman when Torres' brother was killed; he should have anticipated that Torres would include Shane in his revenge plans.

Well, he had paid for his arrogance.  Trapped in a wheelchair, impotent, Shane had felt like less than a man, undeserving of anyone's love, let alone that of someone as young and vibrant as Kayla.  So he had pushed her away, not just out of his life, but out of Salem completely.  And by the time he recovered, it was too late.  She was gone.  And there was no recapturing whatever they had. 

He had tried once.  Shane had gone to Los Angeles in August 1993 to return Andrew and Jeannie to their mother after a summer visit to Donovan Manor.  Convincing himself it was just a whim -- that he just wanted to see how she was doing -- Shane had gone to see Kayla. 

With the money she had made from selling her house in Salem, Kayla had bought a small house in Santa Monica.  Money did not go as far in Los Angeles, and the little two-bedroom cottage was about as different from Kim's palatial Malibu house as possible.  Kayla had acted surprised when he arrived, but he suspected that she had known he was coming to town and had expected him at some point.  Although they had parted on good terms, with each hoping the other would find happiness, she knew that there was much left unresolved.  And maybe she too wondered if they could recapture what they had now that he had recovered fully from his injuries.

Kayla had accepted his dinner invitation, but had insisted on a local pizza place where Stephanie could play while they ate.  He had known it was a safe choice; anything more would have felt like a date.  That had been fine with him.  He enjoyed watching Stephanie, considering she had been such a touchstone of their relationship, and he had been amazed at how much Stephanie had grown since he had last seen her.  She was no longer a baby, but a little girl.  And Shane had felt the same sense of loss that he felt with Jeannie after missing so much of her young life -- initially, because of his mistaken belief she was not his and, later, because distance and his work made his visits with his children so infrequent.

Over dinner, while Stephanie played, Shane and Kayla had talked.  About her job, which she liked.  About her plans to apply to medical school, with Shane making a point to find out where she intended to apply.  She also had talked about the challenges of raising Stephanie alone in this city, which was so different than Salem.  She was worried about everything from neighborhood crime to getting Stephanie into a decent public school, since the costs of private school put them out of reach. 

In her words, Shane had detected an undercurrent of resentment toward Kim -- nothing specific because Kayla clearly loved her sister and he could tell that they had mended a lot of the fences that had broken because of him.  However, he could tell that it was hard for her to see Kim living a life of luxury while Kayla struggled just to make ends meet.  It had been Shane who suggested that she see look into sending Stephanie to whatever school Jeannie attended.  Eton provided scholarships, he had said; perhaps the LA private schools would do the same.  And if they didn't now, he thought, they would after a little pressure and monetary encouragement from a certain captain in the ISA.  It was the least he could do.

After dinner, they had returned to Kayla's house, where she had put Stephanie to sleep.  Then they had sat in the small living room and he had asked the one question at the forefront of his mind, a question that echoed the one hope he had expressed for her on the day she left Salem.

"Are you happy?"

She had taken a long time to answer and then said, "I'm busy."  She had flushed.  They both knew that was not an answer.

"I think you're lonely," he had said.  From his tone, they both knew that he was speaking as much about himself as he was about her.

He had reached over and touched her cheek.  That had been followed by a soft kiss and then by more passionate kisses.  Then Kayla had led him to her bedroom where they slowly undressed and made love.

It had been good, he couldn't deny that.  Sex had always been good with her.  But when it was over, when they were lying in bed together in the darkness, Shane had felt empty.  Whatever emotional connection they had made in Salem was gone.  That night, they had just been two lonely people trying to lose themselves in some momentary pleasure.  That might have been fine for some people.  But not for him.  Not for her.  Not when they had each known so much more.

Kayla knew it as well.  He remembered how she had rested her head on his chest and cried softly afterward.  Then she had looked at him, a sad expression on her tear-streaked face.

"You should go," she had said.  "I don't think you should be here when Stephanie wakes up.  It'll be too confusing for her."

Shane had nodded and gotten out of her bed.  He had dressed in silence as she watched.  Then he had crossed back to the bed and given her a final, soft kiss on the forehead, before repeating the same hope he had expressed before she left Salem.

"Be happy, Kay.  That's all I want."

That had been about 17 years ago.  He had only seen her once after that, at Jeannie's and Stephanie's high school graduation.  She had been Dr. Kayla Johnson at that point, a successful physician and graduate of UCLA medical school, the recipient of full scholarships that covered her entire education and most of her living expenses.  They had exchanged brief pleasantries, but little else.  "Congratulations."  "You look well."

He had almost asked why she had never remarried, but knew he had lost the right to ask that question.  Yet he had still wondered.  Surely someone as smart and beautiful as Kayla could have found many suitors, but then he had seen the sadness still in her eyes and he had understood.  Just like him, she could never settle.  After what she had experienced with Steve, like what Shane had experienced with Kim, anyone else was a poor substitute.  They had tried once, with each other, and they knew it would be futile to try again.

Shane's mind returned to the present and back to the dark cell.  As he looked at the tiny sliver of light snaking under the door, he felt that same hollow emptiness that he had felt that night in Los Angeles.  At least, Kayla had gotten a second chance when Steve had turned up alive.  He hoped she was happy now, living in Africa with her true love.

Shane pressed his head against the wall and sighed.  He knew there was little point revisiting the past, but it was impossible not to.  Not when he knew his time was running out.  Not when he would never get a second chance of his own.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 5th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
Love it. I know some will disagree, but I think it makes sense that Shane and Kayla would have tried to reconnect after he recovered from the paralysis. It also makes sense that it wouldn't necessarily work. Their relationship was a result of a particular set of circumstances arising at a particular point in time. I think of it as being what it needed to be for both of them when they both needed it - it was what it was when it was. But once that moment passes, it couldn't be recaptured again.

I love that Shane's regrets don't seem to be about having a relationship with Kayla per se, but more just looking back on something that didn't work out. If you accept the idea that they both saw their relationship as a chance to find happiness again, then the loss of that relationship would also be a loss of that chance for happiness and that's the regret I feel from Shane, if that makes any sense.

Dec. 7th, 2010 05:13 am (UTC)
Thanks. I wanted to give Shane and Kayla a sense of closure that was consistent with their parting on the show. Given how their break-up was so connected to Shane's paralysis, I just can't imagine him not trying to see her again after he recovered.

And I am glad that you see that his regret here is not that he didn't wind up with Kayla. It's a regret that it took this experience with Kayla to make him realize that no other relationship could fill the void left by Kim. I think that is a necessary step to take before he and Kim can ever reunite.
Dec. 6th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
Dec. 7th, 2010 05:23 am (UTC)
I would love for you to elaborate on your reaction.

Are you just unwilling to accept any post-show contact between Shane and Kayla despite their history together? I certainly cannot change that history.

Or is there something about this particular scene that disgusted you? Is it that they slept together? Is it that there wasn't a lot of anger from Kayla?

I'm curious to hear more from you.
Dec. 7th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC)
That they did it again, that sex with Kayla was good, that he paid their ways through school...gag, gag, gag. I think they could have contact again and deal with their issues without having sex again. I don't think a one night stand resolved anything any better than the way it was left on the show. Shane alteady knew he still loved Kim when he left in 92 and didn't need to sleep with Kayla again to figure that out; it just makes it worse. And if Kayla is so warm and wonderful, and was mending fences with her sister, why would she try to go there again? It totally tainted my excitement about the unfolding reunion. Now a fight where they said nasty things or a heart to heart about why it was a mistake, I could stand. But intimacy between them made me nauseous the first time, and I don't care to go there again. It's your story and you can do whatever you want with it, but that chapter wrecked it for me :(
Dec. 7th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC)
See, I disagree that the scene didn't resolve things more than the way it was left on the show. Because the way it was left on the show was that Kayla was leaving because Shane couldn't accept that they could have a relationship while he was less than whole. That leaves open the idea that the relationship would not have ended if Shane had never been paralyzed.

This scene, including the sex, closes that door completely. It wasn't just Shane's paralysis, it was that the relationship existed in a moment in time and when that moment was gone, the relationship couldn't work any more. And, for me, it points out the reasons it never could have lasted. Settling might work for a little while, but it couldn't work forever for either of them.

I think a fight where they said nasty things or a heart to heart about it being a mistake would completely go against what played out onscreen. I realize that for some folks, that would be more comfortable and acceptable. But, I like that this honors the relationship for what it was without making it out to be something it wasn't.
Dec. 7th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
I appreciate your coming back and explaining. A lot of people would not have done so, and I appreciate the opportunity to see your thoughts and to respond to them.

I can only explain my why I included some of the details that you disliked. Obviously, in trying to reunite Kim and Shane, I have to deal with Kayla. It would be easy to just dismiss the relationship as a mistake, but I didn't think that would do the relationship justice after watching the storyline play out. I hope you at least watched their final scene < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy0RLRHeVQ8 >, because that was a very bittersweet ending -- two people saying that they loved one another but circumstances just prevented things from working out.

For Shane to ever be able to reunite with Kim, I felt he needed closure with Kayla. In my view, Kim walking out on Shane ripped him apart. As someone who shuts himself off emotionally to avoid pain, Shane for a long time is utterly terrified about going back to Kim despite loving her deeply. (That's why I had John describes Shane as a "coward" for pushing Kim away.) Kayla provided a possible substitute who would provide some happiness while also allowing him to avoid risking the kind of pain he felt when his relationship with Kim ended. And you're right about Shane still loving her in 1992; it's just that I think he also still loved Kim in 1991. He just wouldn't risk that type of emotional pain again. Shane's fear will play out in a later scene; he also has "regrets" about Kim. Hopefully, some of that will explain why it took him 20 years and nearly dying in prison to be willing to get over his fear.

I did think long and hard about whether to have Shane and Kayla sleep together, before finally deciding that the sex was necessary. The show established pretty clearly that Shane and Kayla's break-up was not just the result of Shane being paralyzed but was due to his inability to have sex with her. Once he fully recovered, I couldn't see them not making an attempt to see if things could work now that his paralysis was no longer an impediment. That's why I didn't feel a heart-to-heart talk would be sufficient; there had to be more.

Shane and Kayla in this scene are both extremely lonely, isolated people. They actually may be even more isolated than in 1991 because they are no longer in Salem. We know from the show that Kayla never had another sexual relationship until Steve returned in 1996. And the story establishes that Shane has not had any meaningful relationships with woman. So finding themselves together, no longer blocked by his paralysis, this is a last stab to see if they can settle. But it was just sex, and that wasn't enough.

I do agree with you that Kayla had mended fences with Kim, but I don't think that would necessarily prevent her from testing the relationship with Shane one last time. That had been one thing for which she been willing to defy her family. However, once she, realized that they could not recapture their emotional connection, it wasn't worth the risk to her. That's why she kicked Shane out of her bed.

Finally, there is the issue of Shane paying for Kayla's and Stephanie's schools. I wonder why that troubles you. Shane has immense wealth, and I can see him wanting to help Kayla for myriad reasons -- guilt over Steve's death, the desire to help someone he was once close with, the remnants of his bond with Stephanie, maybe even because he feels he screwed up her life by pushing her out of Salem. I like to think that Shane's a decent man, despite his emotional foibles and mistakes. Helping Kayla monetarily is a way to make up for some of the harm he has caused her. Of course, others may not see it the same way.

Anyway, I hope that gives you some understanding of my view. I'm not saying I'm right and you're wrong. I'm just explaining why I wrote the scene the way I did.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )