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Episode 49

"Push the Pain Inside"

PREVIOUSLY ON SUNRISE BAY...

*Tara and Tom gave into their feelings and lust for each other and had sex.

*At the party, Jasper confronted Lacey about their chaotic past and about how he wanted to see his son Connor.

*Creg couldn’t handle the grief of losing his father and reacted in anger. He angrily stormed out of the funeral home as Luke comforted a crying Cynthia.

*A pregnant Gabi yelled at Creg, criticizing him for his behavior. She didn’t catch on that Creg was dropping hints about Todd Lansing’s sexuality to his brother Luke.

******************************************************************************

SUNRISE BAY MALL

The mall is filled with holiday cheer and bustle as shoppers enjoy and loathe the shopping that they have to get done in time for the big day. A version of "Carol of the Bells" by the Transiberian Orchestra plays in the background, adding to the Christmas feel of the establishment.

Derek and Jasper stand in a long line of parents with their eager kids, waiting for their turn for Maci to experience the mall Santa. Little Maci’s eyes are sparkling with excitement as she awaits.

"Be sure to tell Santa everything you want or you won’t get it." smiles Derek as he leans down and strokes his daughter’s dark black hair.

"I want a Cabbage Patch Doll, My Little Pony, teddy bear, and lots and lots of bananas!" yells Maci as she jumps for joy.

Derek and Jasper exchange confused glances before erupting in laughter.

"Lots of bananas? Wow, you are quite fruity!" manages Jasper through his amusement.

Maci gets a very serious look in her eyes as she puts her hands to her waist, "Why is it so funny that I want bananas?"

Derek gives Maci a gentle grin after managing to suppress his laughter, "Don’t worry, babe. I’m sure Santa will give you all the bananas you want and everything else you are going to ask him for."

The parents and their son ahead of them finish getting their picture with Santa and continue on their way. Santa holds out his arms to invite Maci onto his lap. She runs quickly and jumps onto him, immediately diving into her list of toys and bananas that she wants for Christmas.

Jasper and Derek smile from the sidelines as Jasper leans in to comment to Derek, "I bet everyone thinks we’re some gay couple taking their kid to the mall."

"Um, or not." laughs Derek as he shakes his head. "Well, I do admit that I would picture Tara and I standing together enjoying watching Maci talk to Santa. However, I guess you’ll have to do as a Tara replacement for now. Which reminds me, I was supposed to give her a call." He rummages around his pockets in search of his cell phone.

Suddenly Jasper’s attention is quickly diverted to the end of the line. He watches intently as Lacey Ulrich tightly holds Connor’s little hand, while briefing him that Santa might not be able to get him everything he wants but some of it. That’s my son. That is my flesh and blood waiting to tell Santa Claus what he wants for Christmas. A pang of emotion hits him, I wonder if he’ll ask to know who his father is. Not wanting Derek to see him get emotional, he swallows hard and tries to push the sudden melancholy inwards.

However, an always observant Derek is fully aware of where Jasper’s attention now lies. Having gotten the entire story of Jasper’s chaotic past with Lacey the other day, he realizes how heavy the scene of Lacey and Connor really is to Jasper. Derek puts a friendly hand on his shoulder, "You should go and talk to her and your son. You have every right to Jasper. Especially around this time of year."

Jasper is almost ready to give Derek a rebuttal but chooses not to, instead he shakes his head gently, "You’re right. I should go over there. I should go over there and see what my son wants for Christmas." As he’s saying this, Lacey’s eyes lock with his own. She passes him an unreadable expression.

TOM AND MELISSA’S HOUSE

Tara quickly puts her shirt back on, almost in a numb state. The reality of what she did is hitting her at each and every painful angle. Tom slips on a pair of pants he grabbed from the laundry room and slowly buttons them up, also wearing a face mixed of regret and remorse.

"Why did we let ourselves do that. Why, Tom..." Tara’s tone sounds neutral, almost void of emotion. She wants to cry her eyes out, scream at the top of her lungs, or just lock herself in a dark room where she’ll never have to make human contact again. I slept with Tom. I just cheated on Derek.

Tom never does provide Tara with an answer. He seems to have gone mute. Him and Tara’s wild lovemaking session repeats in his mind over and over again. He then questions himself how he could lose so much control. He walks toward Tara and she bolts away from him.

Tara’s barrier from the guilt she is feeling quickly breaks down and Tom watches as her face evolves from an apathetic expression to one of complete and utter despair. Tears begin to flow from her eyes, "Do you realize what we just did??! We slept together! I just slept with my best friend’s husband! What in the hell are we supposed to do now, Tom??! What is wrong with me?!"

Tom’s muteness completely disappears, "Nothing is wrong with you. Don’t blame this all on yourself. What we both did was wrong but it’s happened and we can’t go back in the past and change it. As for what we’re going to do now, I have no clue. I have absolutely no idea..." Tom’s lets the last word fade off in a hopeless tone of voice. It suddenly feels as though the walls are closing in around him. "Why aren’t Melissa and Eve here?! They’ve been gone for way too damn long!"

Almost as an instant answer to his question, the front door swings open as a very chatty Eve and Melissa enter. Both Tara and Tom exchange horrified glances as though Eve and Melissa are going to automatically know of the adultery they committed.

Melissa places her multitude of bags by the entrance as she happily enters the living room with her mother by her side. "Tara! What a surprise!" She rushes up to Tom and gives him a peck on the lips. She abruptly stops and takes in Tara and Tom’s serious faces. "Whoa, why does it feel like you two aren’t in the best of moods? Wait, Tom, is it because I’m so late? Well, after you hear the exciting news I have for you I know you will forgive me."

Tom forces a broad smile, "There is nothing wrong and I am not upset at you being late. I know how you girls are! Anyway, you mentioned some exciting news?" His eyes dart from Tara’s face to Eve’s.

Eve stands on the sidelines as she crosses her arms and casts both Tara and Tom judging glances that neither of them miss. Only Melissa misses the harsh look. Eve’s mind fills with suspecting thoughts, Why do I feel as though they are guilty? It’s almost as though they’ve done something else to be ashamed of. To think I told them I wouldn’t tell Melissa about their sordid exchange, I wonder if I did the right thing....

Meanwhile, a huge grin forms on Melissa’s face and she begins to pace. "Oh my, I don’t even know where to start with this news. Wait, Tara, where in the world is your fiancÚ? I feel as though he should be here for this!"

"Well, he wanted to shop for my gift today so him and Jasper are off at the mall. I’m surprised you and your mother didn’t run into him." Tara responds quietly, while clenching her fists tightly.

Eve speaks up for Melissa, "Well I guess that means Melissa and I need to admit we weren’t being completely honest about what we were doing today. Well I’ll let Melissa tell you guys what I mean by that."

"I’m dying to hear this news already, Melissa. Spill it!" pleads a very curious Tom.

"OK! OK! I will. After all, I don’t think I can keep it in for another second." Melissa approaches Tom and holds her hands out to clasps his. Squeezing them tightly she looks into his eyes, "Now before I tell you this, are you going to be honest if there is anything on your mind? I swear you two look as though you’ve just seen a ghost."

Tom gives Tara a brief glance before focusing his eyes on his wife’s glowing face. "There is nothing going on, I swear."

Melissa smiles wide, "OK, I believe you. Now it is my turn. My mother and I took a detour from our Christmas shopping today. A very important detour that is..." She begins to pace again, this time holding Tom’s hands tightly and taking him to the comfort of the sofa. He sits down closely next to her.

"Detour?" questions Tom curiously.

"Yes. Two of them actually. We stopped at that new baby clothing store after I ran and got a test done..."

"Wait..." Tom’s mind goes into overdrive as he quickly pieces together the significance of what his wife is saying. "Wait, are you telling me that..."

"That I’m pregnant and went baby clothes shopping already?? Yes!!!" Melissa says quickly, jumping up and down as though she is an excited child. "Tom, we’re pregnant!"

The air in the room for Tara suddenly has gotten thicker as things start to spin around. Hearing Melissa announce her pregnancy has increased her guilty feeling tenfold. Before she knows it, everything goes black, as she drops to the ground.

JACKSON MANSION

Creg Jackson slams the front door of the mansion as hard as he can and rushes through the main entrance, directly toward a tray of alcohol and ice that he called ahead for Rose to prepare before he had arrived. Filling his glass full of scotch and ice he downs it and begins to pour himself. another.

The sound of a gunshot keeps ringing through his mind over and over. The horrifying scene at the party is locked in his mind on repeat. It’s as though he didn’t even attend a funeral service that was being held. It’s as though it’s still that night and he and Luke are rushing toward their father as blood goes in every direction. The traumatizing horror of witnessing Gary shoot himself is the reality that will never go away. There’s nothing to feel. I’ll get past this. I will. I will. I will. I can do things without my Dad. It’s all good. It’s all good. His frenzied thoughts are suddenly interrupted by the sound of the door bell. It makes him dart upwards. He chugs the remainder of his current glass of alcohol, waiting a few seconds as he overhears Rose answer the door. A familiar voice sounds muffled behind the main doors so he decides to go and see who it belongs to.

He swings open the main doors just as Rose is ready to yell his name. Creg swallows as he looks over and meets Gabi’s sympathetic gaze. Gabi manages a faint "Hello."

Creg absorbs the sight of Gabi. She is dressed in an elegant black dress, with a matching black purse hanging from her shoulder. He clears his throat, "Hi."

Gabi sighs and continues, "Look, I just came over here to check on you. What you went through...nobody should ever have to. I know you are not one to take sympathy but I’m here to give it to you anyway. I just wanted to make sure you were alright. If you want me to leave, I’ll understand."

Creg doesn’t seem to take any of her statements into account and instead asks a question: "When did you get out of the hospital?"

"Oh, a day before yesterday. The doctors said I made a fast recovery and the baby is healthy and everything so I was real happy about that."

"The baby..." Creg’s tone suddenly seems layered with a certain care. However he quickly makes that tone disappear in what he says next, "Nobody said you had to come over here and act like you cared."

Gabi’s eyes bulge, "Don’t even say that! Look, Creg, I don’t care what you say about me. I’m not inhumane or anything. I feel horrible for what happened with your dad. I can’t even wrap my mind around how horrifying it must have been to witness something like that."

Creg abruptly changes the topic, "So I guess you must have heard about the other shocking event that went on that night. A shocking event made possible by yours truly."

Gabi suddenly looks confused, "Wait, what are you talking about? What else could have happened that night?"

"What else could have happened??!! You haven’t heard? Are you serious?!" Creg shakes his head and begins to laugh really hard. His laughter feels so intense that he almost has to take a seat on the floor as his face goes completely red.

Gabi looks at him like he is crazy. "Creg, what in the hell are you talking about? Quit laughing like that. You look like you’ve gone insane!"

After laughing for a minute longer, Creg finally regains his composure to give Gabi a response. "Maybe you should ask the man of your dreams Todd Lansing about what I’m talking about! You can hear it from the queer’s very own mouth!"

Gabi’s blood begins to boil. "Why are you doing this, Creg?! Huh? I came over here to show my condolences over your dad’s death and you find some way to drag Todd’s name into it and bash him! Quit calling him a queer, it is uncalled for!"

"Well that’s what you call gay people isn’t it??! Yeah, Gabi. It’s the truth! Todd is a grade A homosexual! If you don’t believe me, I have a video to prove it. On that note, I really need another drink. By the way, I do appreciate you coming over to show your condolences. It was noble and nice and respectful and pretty much any positive adjective you can use." As he says this, he heads back into the living room, Gabi nipping at his heels.

"Wait, what do you mean you have video to prove that Todd is gay? You are not making any sense, Creg! I think what happened with your dad has made you totally psychotic!"

"Wow, you seem more concerned about what info you can get out of me about Todd than how you care about my dad’s violent and oh so brilliantly displayed death. See, I knew the real Gabi was lurking around somewhere in there!" He proceeds to pour himself another scotch.

Gabi just lets out a frustrated groan and turns around, "Whatever, I’ve had enough of this. For whatever it is worth, I do genuinely feel bad for you. As a side note, I feel worse for you in many many ways. You are so miserable and always will be!" At that, she quickly makes her way to the door, slamming it as hard as Creg did earlier.

"Well goodbye to you too!" yells Creg before downing the entirety of his glass in one gulp.

SUNRISE BAY MALL

Jasper approaches Lacey with a feeling of caution. However, most of his attention is centered on little Connor. Connor looks up at Jasper with big eyes, not the slightest clue that the man before him is his father.

"Hi there little man. What do you want for Christmas?" questions Jasper.

Lacey decides to let Jasper say whatever he wants to say. No matter what happened with her and Jasper in the past, she still realizes it doesn’t give her the right to make sure Jasper has no contact with his son at all.

Connor shyly turns his head, "You’re not Santa Clause. I’m not telling you."

Jasper lets out a wide grin and chuckles, along with Derek. Jasper bends down so he is at eye level with his son, "You’re right. I’m not Santa Clause. I’m his helper. I report to Santa what all the little kids tell me they want. Because of all the children Santa has to give toys to, he sometimes forgets. I’m there to remind him of all the cool stuff the kids ask for."

Connor’s eyes light up and he seems to soften toward Jasper. He appears to think real hard and then responds, "OK, then tell Santa that I really want a Nintendo DS and Mario Kart too. Tell him I want it really really bad."

Jasper lets out a laugh, "Of course I’ll tell Santa how bad you want a Nintendo DS." Whoa, that sounds really expensive.

"Don’t forget Mario Kart!" yells an excited Connor.

"Of course I won’t forget to tell him!" Jasper rubs Connor’s head as he rises up. He’s so cute. Jasper makes eye contact with Lacey, "Has Connor been a good boy this year?"

Lacey nods, "Of course he has. Connor is always a good boy." There is a defensiveness to her tone.

Maci begins tugging at Derek’s pant leg and whining, "I’m hungry! Let’s get some food!"

"Ok, hon, we’ll stop at Mcdonalds." responds Derek.

Lacey grins at Maci, "How old is she?"

"She’s going to be 5 this coming February." responds Derek in a proud tone. "She’s grown up so fast."

"Tell me about it. It seems like just yesterday that Connor was a newborn." As soon as she says these words, her eyes quickly dart to Jasper. Her expression now seems to resemble disdain.

Jasper can’t help but be overtaken by emotion, "Can you imagine how fast he’s grown to me? I’m the one who never got to see him all of these years."

"Jasper!" She puts her hands over Connor’s ears. "You’re going to upset him. I think you should go now."

"Lacey! You know I’m speaking the truth. You kept him from me all these years intentionally. It isn’t right and you know it." Jasper knows he shouldn’t be discussing Connor like he is with him standing there but he can’t bring himself to mute what is on his mind.

"Please go now. I don’t want to hear this." Lacey says as she walks forward in the line to see Santa.

Derek grabs Jasper by the shoulder as he notices him walking closer to Lacey. "Please just listen to her, Jasper. You don’t want to cause another scene at the mall. Just let it go. Let’s go and get something to eat."

Jasper lets out a deep sigh and turns his glance toward Lacey, "I’ll call you later about making arrangements to visit him." After that, he turns to Derek, "Those Chicken Mcnuggets are calling my name. Let’s go."

Lacey watches as the three of them walk away. She then realizes that she is still covering Connor’s ears.

TOM AND MELISSA’S HOUSE

"Tara! Tara? Hon, look at me. Are you OK?" Tara opens her eyes to a blurry Melissa waving her hand in her face.

Tara reaches and wipes her eyes, "Yeah, I’m OK." Slowly rising from the floor she has to regain her composure and balance. "Wow, I can’t believe I just passed out." I have to get out of here right now. It feels like there is no air in here.

"Are you sure that you’re going to be OK?" This is Tom. He wears a very worried expression.

"Yes, Tom, I’ll be fine. I haven’t eaten anything and I’ve been feeling quite nauseous lately. I think I passed out because of it." Tara quickly makes up a lie.

Eve enters from the kitchen holding a box of crackers, "Then eat some of these up. I know it’s not much but you need something in your system."

"Thanks Eve but I’m going to head home and get a big meal. Anyway, Melissa, I am thrilled for you and Tom! You are going to have another baby!" She goes up to her friend and embraces her in a tight hug.

"I know, it’s so exciting! I couldn’t be more happy." Melissa is beaming as she continues to hold Tara tight. "Now you go home and get some rest. It was scary seeing you pass out like that." She looks into Tara’s eyes, "Yeah, you are definitely not all there. Get some food silly!"

Tara forces a grin, "Don’t worry, Melissa. I’m going home and eating something. Bye everyone and have a wonderful day." She tries not to look at Tom as she makes her way to the front door.

A suspicious Eve notices this and passes Tara another piercing stare. There is something not right about those two, what could it be?

Melissa walks Tara to the front door while Eve turns to Tom, "So you are going to be a father again. How do you feel about that?"

"I feel...I feel ecstatic!" gushes Tom as he turns his back to Eve. He swallows hard. Dammit, Tom, You are such an idiot! How could you have slept with Tara? There is no way you can keep this from Melissa. How am I going to be able to live with myself?! Especially now that Melissa is pregnant with our child...this would kill her inside.

"Is there something bothering you, Tom?" questions Eve as she steps closer to her daughter’s husband. "Don’t tell me there isn’t. I know you well enough by now to know when something is wrong."

"Yes, Tom. I agree with my mother. Spill the beans. Tell me what’s on your mind already!" exclaims Melissa as she walks back into the living room, her arms crossed tightly over the bright red top she is wearing.

"You caught me. I can’t get the images of Gary out of my mind. They are eating away at me. It’s just left me in a state of deep thought and contemplation. That is what has been bothering me."

Melissa closes her eyes and shakes her head, "I’ve been trying to repress that night, to tell you the truth. In actuality, I think I partly have. When it crosses my mind it seems as though it was nothing but a horrible nightmare I had."

Eve nods slowly, "I don’t even want to think about it. I don’t want to bawl my eyes out more than I already have to tell you the truth."

"Good, can we please not talk about it then?!" snaps Melissa. "I just want to focus on our baby and nothing but happy thoughts." She approaches Tom and rubs his back.

Tom slowly nods his head in agreement, "Yes, happy thoughts. That is all I want too. I can’t believe it, baby. We are bringing another life into the family and that is all that matters to me right now." He embraces Melissa in a tight hug. He pushes his guilt, regret, and torturous thoughts down deep inside–deep inside where he hopes he never have to face them. Just like Melissa wishes she could repress that night, he wishes he could repress the horrible act of sin he committed with Tara.

THAT CONCLUDES THIS EPISODE OF SUNRISE BAY!

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