The Storm

    Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the characters in my fan fic!


    Chapter Seventeen

    Brady walked aimlessly around Salem, trying to come to terms with the scene that Chloe had recently performed on the pier. His heart, which had been bursting with love, now felt flat and deflated. Chloe Lane, his acknowledged soulmate, had broken things off with him! So casually too. “It’s final,” Brady said in amazement to himself. “She meant every word she said. She’s never coming back to me!”

    He held up his mother’s necklace and looked at it with the aid of the moonlight. It had only encircled Chloe’s neck for such a short time. He recalled Chloe’s reaction when he had given it to her the night of the Christmas Ball. Her eyes had revealed the happiness and love that was in her soul for him. Brady then thought of the way she had looked at him tonight, without any feeling or emotion at all. “So very different,” Brady muttered to himself as he compared the two situations. “She didn’t believe in me, or my love. She didn’t believe that we could have faced the knowledge of her father, together. She doesn’t want me anymore.” He continued to walk, unaware of the people around him.

    Finally, the numbness that Brady was feeling started to dissipate into the anger he had slightly released on Chloe earlier in the night. He stopped as he approached his “hip and happening” set of wheels.

    When he looked at his jeep, a flash of pain went straight to his soul. He suddenly remembered how Chloe had helped him pick it out this past summer. That summer had been so wonderful, and had opened Brady’s eyes to the true depth of his feelings for Chloe. He hadn’t been experiencing a crush on his sister’s best friend or mere lust when he thought of her. He had fallen completely and deeply in love with Chloe Lane.

    Brady walked up to his “hot wheels”. He brought his hands down angrily on the hood of his car, trying to release some of his fury. He leaned against the hood, thinking of Chloe. “Why would she do this to me?” he verbalized the question that was starting to haunt him. “Why couldn’t she trust in me, in my love for her?” He opened his car door, feeling like a very old man as he climbed in and drove away.

    Brady purposefully waited until after midnight before he went home to the penthouse. He was so emotionally drained and didn’t want to face Belle’s million perky questions about his meeting with Chloe at the pier. He slowly opened the door to the penthouse, glad that no one was up. All of the lights were off.

    “Good,” Brady murmured as he closed the door behind him. “Everyone’s already in bed.” He made his way to the stairs in the dark, grateful that he wouldn’t have to share the devastating scene with Chloe any time soon.

    The gratitude he was feeling died a quick death when John approached Brady with a smile on his face in the hallway from his bedroom. “Hey, son!” he greeted him happily, sure of the outcome of Brady’s meeting with Chloe. “I’ve been waiting for you to come home. I nearly gave up and went to bed.” The lighting was nearly nonexistent, so John hadn’t gotten a good look at Brady’s face yet. He slung his arm companionably over his son’s shoulders and squeezed him tightly. “Where’s Chloe?” he asked. “Marlena, Belle, and I bet that she would be coming home with you, to stay here until everything with DiMera was settled.”

    “She won’t be doing that,” Brady said with certainty, trying to hide his feelings from his father. An useless endeavor. “Listen, Dad. I’m really tired. I want to go to bed now.”

    John arched his eyebrow. He was beginning to realize that something wasn’t quite right with his son. “Brady?” he asked in concern as he peered closer at his son’s face. “Did something happen to Chloe?”

    Brady thought about Chloe’s change of heart towards him as he answered, “Something like that.” Brady pulled out of his father’s embrace and continued to his room, hoping his father would get the silent message.

    John received the message loud and clear. Brady wanted to hide what happened tonight, but John was having none of that. He followed Brady into his room, and flipped on his lights. When Brady turned around at the sudden flair of light, John looked closely at Brady’s face. His face appeared emotionless, like it was made out of stone. However, Brady’s eyes gave him away. There was such hopelessness, anger, fear, hurt, and a pained love revealed in them.

    “Oh my god!” John breathed out in surprise and concern. He quickly closed the door behind him, realizing that Brady wouldn’t want Marlena and Belle in on this conversation. “What happened, son?”

    Brady knew there would be no way of getting rid of his father now. Of course, he felt grateful that his father was here and for his support. Most of him wanted to share the night’s events with him. Brady sat down on his bed in dejection. “It’s over,” he said simple to his father. “She broke it off with me.”

    “WHAT!!” John exploded in genuine surprise. Was Chloe crazy? Everyone knew how much Brady cared for her. And they all thought Chloe felt the same. The Blacks had all believed that Chloe would eventually become a member of their family. It had seemed written in the stars. This news was a total and complete shock!

    Brady eyed his father reproachfully. “Keep it down, Dad,” he ordered his father. “I can’t deal with Belle or Marlena tonight. It’s bad enough trying to talk about it with you. I don’t think I could take their suffocating concern right now.”

    John agreed with Brady as he carefully sat down on the bed next to his heartbroken son. He could tell that Brady’s emotions were too raw right now to face the concern of the females in their family. “You’re right, Brady. Sorry about that. I am, well, I’m plainly shocked!”

    Brady nodded ruefully as he gazed unseeingly at the wall in front of him, not meeting his father’s concerned look. “She doesn’t think we can survive this, that we’re not strong enough.” He punched one hand into his other in frustration. “I tried to tell her in so many ways that DiMera doesn’t matter, but she wouldn’t listen.”

    John started to envision the scene that had taken place earlier tonight. We never thought of this scenario, he thought sadly. We believed everything would be fine between them once they met again. “It’s o.k., son,” he said ineffectually. “What happened next?”

    “I tried so hard, Dad,” Brady said as he turned to meet his father. He wanted his father to know that he wasn’t responsible for this debacle. “But she wouldn’t respond. She calmly stood there and broke my heart, without any emotion at all. She didn’t cry. She just stood there, on the pier, telling me that we couldn’t be together anymore.” The most disturbing part of the night’s conversation came back to Brady’s mind as he repeated to his father, “Dad, her face didn’t show any emotion at all. It was almost like she didn’t care that she was ending everything between us!”

    This scenario didn’t fit with John’s knowledge of Chloe Lane, who he knew to be madly in love with his son. “Dear lord,” John breathed in surprise as he looked at his ravaged son.

    Brady stood up in agitation and started to pace the floor in his bedroom. “I thought, no, I believed that Chloe loved me as much as I loved her. But, I found out tonight, that she didn’t, not enough to face the knowledge of her father with me.”

    “You let her know that her father didn’t matter?” John inquired, wondering if that was the problem with Chloe.

    Brady stopped to stare incredulously at his father. “Of course I did, Dad! I told her that many times tonight, but she didn’t respond. She never gave me a chance. She had already made up her mind, and there’s nothing I could do or say to change it.” Brady then took out the necklace Chloe had given him back from the pocket of his pants. “And this proved it to me. Beyond a shadow of a doubt.” He held up the necklace for his father’s perusal.

    John stood up from the bed and walked over to Brady when he recognized the necklace. “No,” he said in disagreement, hoping the necklace wasn’t the one Brady had given her the night of the ball, even though his eyes told him clearly that it was.

    “She gave it back to me, Dad,” Brady said with finality. “That showed me how serious she was about breaking up with me. And she did it so coolly, like she wasn’t even aware that she was trampling my heart.” Brady’s fist closed tightly over the necklace. “I…dammit…I just don’t get it!”

    John pulled his son into his strong embrace. He knew what it was like to go through heartbreak, and he realized that Brady needed to be alone, without his interference, right now. Some things you needed to deal with on your own. “I love you, son,” John said to Brady as Brady returned the hug. “I’m here for you. Everyone is.”

    Brady nodded as he stepped out of his father’s hug. “Thanks, Dad.” Brady looked quickly at the door. This time John took the hint.

    When John was at the closed bedroom door, he turned back to look once more at his son. “You’ll survive,” he said to Brady. “We’re all here for you.” With that, he opened the door and headed down the hall. Marlena and Belle were waiting for him by Belle’s room. They attacked him in a flutter of concern. John put a finger to his lips in a sign of quiet and brought them into his bedroom, where he reported the surprising turn of events to their combined shock and horror.

    After the door closed, Brady went to his dresser. He reverently laid his mother’s necklace on the top of it. “You left me, Mom,” he said aloud, “but you couldn’t help it.” He picked up the glass heart with Chloe’s name on it. “She could have.”

    Brady inspected the glass heart. Suddenly, a rage filled him. He pulled his arm back and prepared to throw it against the wall, wanting to see it shatter, just like she had splintered his heart. He nearly released it before his soul got the better of him. He looked back down at Chloe’s heart, and realized that he wasn’t ready to shatter it, not yet. “Someday,” he said to it, “when I’m completely over you. Then I’ll break it.”

    The only question in Brady’s mind as he placed the heart in a box and in one of his dresser drawers was, When? When will I get over Chloe Lane? He would simply have to harden his heart, he realized, against his former soulmate. Block out all of the pain she had been responsible for. And all of the memories. Then, maybe then, he would be able to pick up the pieces and move on with his life.

    Chapter Eighteen

    Chloe’s hand shook as she tried to fitthe key into the lock of Greta’s house. It took her five times before she was able to fit the key and open the door. After she stepped into the house, Chloe closed the door and leaned despairingly against it. The cool composure she had fought so valiantly for when she met with Brady was rapidly deteriorating. Chloe eyes now reflected the desperation her heart and soul was feeling. Brady would have a tough time of accusing her of being heartless now.

    She stayed against the door for what seemed like an eternity, trying to find the energy to walk to her bedroom. All of her energy had been sapped out of her during her meeting on the pier with Brady. “He didn’t care,” she whispered aloud in disbelief as she realized everything that she had lost because of her f@@king father. “He didn’t care that I am Stefano DiMera’s daughter!”

    The back door that opened up into the kitchen rattled but Chloe didn’t hear it, so engrossed was she in her depressing thoughts. She didn’t hear the sounds of Hope and Greta’s conversation, as they came back from a night of their barhopping. (Every now and then the two of them seem to hit every bar in Salem!!!)

    “Can you tell me now, Hope?” Greta said in exasperation. Her friend had shown up earlier in the evening, upset but not willing to talk about it. Hope had wanted to seek blissful release in the bar scene, but it hadn’t worked.

    Hope’s whole body sagged as she answered Greta. “I made the mistake of going to my old house today.” She stopped as she fought the expanding hole in her soul. “Needless to say, Bo and Shawn were not very welcoming. I wanted to explain to them, about that awful time with DiMera on that damn sub. That it wasn’t really me, but they didn’t want to listen to me.”

    “Oh, Hope,” Greta said in sympathy as she laid her hand gently on Hope’s shoulder. Greta had wanted to forget Colin’s wild accusations and the unflattering tabloid stories. Both of them had tried to drown their hurts, to no avail.

    “Yeah,” Hope answered. “Bo wouldn’t talk to me at all. He stared at me, with this look of total disgust on his face. Shawn, well, he seems to excel at expressing his anger towards me. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Bo finally asked me to leave, telling me it didn’t matter anymore. He said it could have mattered, if I had been willing to tell him the whole truth years ago.” She sighed in resignation at the decision to keep so much from her soon-to-be ex-husband. “So, now, both Bo and Shawn want nothing more to do with me. My last hope is gone.”

    Greta flashed back to that ugly scene with Colin yesterday. “I know the feeling.” The two of them walked through the kitchen door, and were surprised to see Chloe leaning against the front door. Her eyes were staring ahead, at some horror only she could see, feel, and comprehend.

    “Oh god!” Greta exclaimed to Hope. “Now what’s happened?” Greta hadn’t seen Chloe today. Neither Hope or Greta were aware of Chloe’s disastrous decision to meet with Stefano and the bargain she had unintentionally made with him.

    Hope walked slowly up to Chloe, recognizing many of the same emotions on the younger woman’s face that she was now feeling. “Chloe?” she asked when Chloe didn’t turn around at the sound of her approaching feet.

    Chloe shook her head once, as if to clear it, before she met Hope’s gaze. Her eyes looked so vulnerable and hurt as she whispered brokenly to Hope, “I’m all alone again.”

    Hope pulled the totally devastated woman into her arms and glanced questioningly at Greta, who shook her head to show her that she did not know what was going on. “Chloe?” Hope prompted softly, putting aside her feelings for the sake of the younger woman’s obvious anguish. “What’s wrong, sweetie?”

    Greta followed Hope and Chloe as they entered her living room. She flicked on only one night, thinking that all three of their souls couldn’t deal well with the blinding glare of artificial light right now. They needed to be soothed and calmed. She sat gingerly down on the other side of her sister as Hope gently pushed Chloe onto the sofa.

    “What happened?” Hope prompted again. “Why are you all alone?”

    In halting sentences, Chloe proceeded to tell them her decision to visit her father this morning, in order to try to restore lives. “I wanted to stop this madness,” she began haltingly, “to try and restore order to our lives. So, I decided to visit my father, Stefano DiMera, this morning, and try to right everything. I failed. Miserably.”

    Vivid horror crossed Hope’s face. She knew exactly how ruthless Stefano DiMera could be. He reveled in causing pain and enjoyed causing suffering to his enemies. “Oh Chloe! You went to see DiMera? Alone?”

    “My god!” Greta breathed in shocked admiration as she gazed at her sister. “You’re very brave, Chloe.”

    Chloe grinned slightly in jest at herself as she replied, “No. I’m so damn stupid!” She took a deep breath and continued, “I wanted him to leave us alone, but he wouldn’t listen. He proceeded to tell me how much he wanted me to be his “daughter.” Her eyes fluttered in disgust as Hope and Greta listened avidly. “He offered me my dream. Of going to music school. I could go anywhere I wanted to study. There was only one small, tiny, insignificant detail.”

    “There always is with DiMera,” Hope broke in, wondering what happened to her today. “What happened next?”

    “Well, all I had to do was accept his last name. Chloe DiMera.” Chloe laughed harshly at herself as she realized the death of her dream of becoming an opera singer. That dream didn’t seem as important now that she had completely and totally lost Brady Black, with no hope of ever getting him back. “I turned him down. No dice. I will never be able to sing professionally now. Of course, with the way I’m feeling, I doubt if I will ever want to sing anything again.” She became quiet for a moment before she continued with the worst piece of the news. “As I was leaving, Stefano mentioned his impending “plans” to destroy the Black family.”

    Greta’s face showed her upset as she denied it fervently, “No! He needs to leave them alone!” She cared deeply about John and his family, and thought briefly what a joy it would have been to be John’s daughter. But that was not to be.

    “Oh, he will,” Chloe answered in resignation as she closed her eyes tightly. “I had to dance with the devil, but he will definitely leave the Blacks alone now.”

    “No, Chloe, no,” Hope denied Chloe’s words, realizing that Chloe had lost something else today besides her hope of becoming an opera singer. DiMera had destroyed something else, something extremely valuable to Chloe. Hope was afraid that she knew what that “something” was. “What did he make you do?”

    Chloe opened her eyes and watched the clock in the living room slowly tick. My life will go that slow now, she thought inconsequentially as she pondered life without Brady. She gathered up the very last of her courage before she admitted the extent of her foolishness today to Hope and Greta. “He had a simple request, really, for me to fulfill. He will leave the Blacks alone as long as I cut all ties from Brady Black.” A solitary tear slid down her face.

    “No, no, no, no, no, no!” Greta exclaimed angrily. “He couldn’t do that to you, Chloe!” Greta pulled her sister into a tight embrace, hoping to infuse Chloe with some of her strength.

    “Yes, he could. I became another one of his “pawns.” It was exactly like a chess game. Only I lost, pitifully. I wasn’t much of a match, I’m afraid.” Chloe took another deep breath as she admitted the rest of her day’s events. “I just met with Brady, on the pier. I broke his heart. And I completely shattered mine.”

    Hope’s eyes flashed with vivid fury as she denied Chloe’s statement of responsibility. “NO! You didn’t do this, Chloe! That damn DiMera did! God, will he ever stop ruining our lives? Just when we think we are safe, he comes along, like a sudden storm, destroying everything in its path.”

    Chloe said from the comfort of Greta’s embrace through her continuingly silent tears, “He’s managed to kill all of our dreams, in under forty-eight hours. How could anyone be this cruel, this evil? I hate him. I despise him so much!”

    “We’ll find new dreams,” Greta replied soothingly to her upset and devastated sister. “And we’ll do it. Together.” Greta reached for Hope’s hand, who accepted it and laid her other hand on Chloe’s. The three of them formed a circle, a circle of devastated dreams and shattered lives.

    “I already have one,” Hope said with finality to her sympathetic friends. “I would love to have you two join me in it. I think, after everything that has happened in the past forty-eight hours, we definitely have the drive and the motivation to see it through, to its final conclusion.”

    Chloe sat up from Greta’s embrace and accepted both Greta’s and Hope’s hands in hers. “What is your new dream, Mrs. Brady?”
    She ignored the tears that were still drying on her ravaged face.

    “Honey, call me Hope,” she said as she smiled comfortingly at Chloe. It hurt Chloe’s facial features, but she smiled slightly back. “I’m going after DiMera. I’m going to make that bastard pay for everything he has done to us, and to all of the people we love and care about.”

    A figment of interest finally flickered across Chloe’s face as Greta responded with certainty, “Yes! Let’s make that unfeeling son of a @@tch pay!”

    Hope and Greta glanced at Chloe, whose smile came a little bit easier this time. “There’s nothing like the power of three,” she answered, letting them know she was standing tall with them. “I want my father to feel the pain and devastation he has so kindly given to us. Even if that does make me feel like a DiMera.”

    The three of them stood up from the sofa, still holding hands tightly, as they formed an upright circle. “It’s not going to be easy,” Hope warned, “and it may take awhile. But, I really believe the three of us can do it. We can take that bastard down and make him pay in spades for everything he has ever done to us!”

    “Together,” Greta answered in response to Hope’s statement. Chloe nodded her agreement, willing to do almost anything to have revenge against the man who had hurt them all beyond measure.

    Chapter Nineteen
    Final Chapter

    A day later, Chloe looked around the bedroom in Greta’s house she was about to vacate. It was Christmas Eve, a day that should have been spent in preparation for celebrations with your family and friends. Instead, Chloe, Hope, and Greta were preparing to leave Salem. They weren’t sure when they would return.

    Chloe had finally called Nancy and Craig, thanking them for always being there for her, even when she didn’t want them to be. She had also said her farewells to them, explaining that she would be leaving Salem for a while. When they asked why she was leaving Salem, Chloe had shied away from the whole truth. She said that the three of them wanted to heal from the devastation created by Stefano DiMera. Nancy had been tearful, but surprisingly supportive. Both of them had made Chloe promise to stay in touch with them, to let them know what was going on in her life. Chloe had promised, on one condition. They needed to return the favor.

    Part of her was seriously depressed to leave the town of Salem, but she was also relieved that she wouldn’t have to face Brady again, or the memories that haunted nearly every corner in the town. Her bags were packed as she prepared to leave Salem with Greta, Hope, and baby J.T. They were about to embark on their plan to take Stefano DiMera down.

    The thought of Brady brought nearly physical pain to Chloe as she contemplated what he was doing now. “Thank god I got him furious at me!” she whispered heartbrokenly. “He will need to hate me in order heal, to move on with his life. Why, oh why, couldn’t I be part of it?” But fate had turned a blind eye to her plea, leading her to this precarious cliff she was standing on. At least she was in good company. She could rely on Hope and Greta for complete support and total understanding.

    Chloe carried her two suitcases and her other bag down the stairs. She placed them at the bottom of the staircase with Greta’s numerous ones. She started to call Hope and Greta at Hope’s Gram’s house, to see if they were nearly ready to leave. Her fingers had only dialed the first three numbers when the doorbell rang.

    Chloe composed her face quickly, thinking wildly that it was Brady. Her heart wished it was him, but her mind denied it, hoping she wouldn’t have to hurt him again. “I can’t go through another scene like that one on the pier with him again,” she whispered before she walked, trance-like, to the door.

    Chloe slowly opened the door, revealing a surprising guest who had fury radiated in waves around her. “Where do you think you get off?” Belle accused her angrily as she swept past her former best friend, her eyes shooting vibrant sparks of anger as Chloe. “I can’t believe what you did to Brady, who happens to be the sweetest guy on earth! How could you hurt him like this?”

    Chloe took an unusually long time closing the door, trying to regain her fake aura of calm. When she was reasonable sure she had it, Chloe turned to meet Belle square on. Part of her deal had also been to spare Belle pain, Chloe realized, but Belle would never know that. None of the Blacks would ever realize the full extent of Chloe’s sacrifice. They would only see the pain she had caused Brady. And would continue to despise her for it.

    Belle stood aggressively and commented on Chloe’s lack of a response. “I mean, are you totally INSANE? Brady worshipped the ground you walked on!!! He would have done anything, and I mean anything, for you!! Why would you cut him off like this?”

    Oh god, Chloe thought as she gathered her remaining strength to face Belle. Why couldn’t she have come later, when we were gone? “Belle, it’s very complicated. And it’s between Brady and me.”

    “NO! IT’S NOT!” Belle actually shouted at Chloe, who stood her ground in the face of her friend’s righteous anger. “Brady has been hurt so much in his life. He’s been emotionally scarred, first by the death of his mother, and then his feelings of inadequacy about belonging in our family. Finally, he’s been able to come to terms with some of those scars and was starting to heal. His relationship with my mother is changing for the better. He’s more open, more willing to share his thoughts and feelings with us. And I thought that you were, like, happy about this and willing to support Brady! Instead, I’ve discovered that you never really knew him; otherwise you wouldn’t have completely destroyed him!”

    Chloe carefully kept her true feelings concealed from Belle, but it was tough when she was pouring salt over her open wounds. “Belle,” she tried again, “I want Brady to be happy. He wouldn’t be happy with me. Not now.” And that was completely true. If Chloe stayed with Brady, Stefano DiMera would work overtime to destroy the Black family. Now, Chloe was the buffer between them and disaster.

    “Oh? And he is soooo ecstatic right now!” Belle replied in a rare show of sarcasm, usually her brother’s forte. “You have caused him more pain and hurt than he has ever felt in his entire life!” She recalled the broken expression on his face this morning when he finally came out of his room to face the world. He had tried valiantly to hide his feelings when he realized Belle was watching him anxiously. It had broken Belle’s heart, causing her to come over to Princess Greta’s house and confront the person responsible as soon as she could leave the penthouse without Brady’s knowledge of her destination.

    “He told me how you calmly and coldly broke things off with him on the pier last night,” Belle continued when Chloe didn’t say anything in response again. “And I can see that he was right. You must never have loved him! You always told me that you didn’t know what love was. Now I finally believe you.”

    I know exactly what love is, Chloe thought forlornly. Love is all consuming. Love is sacrifice. Love is watching the man you love live a happy life, free from DiMera’s influence. Even if he has to live that life with another woman. But I won’t think of that now, Chloe thought as hurt seeped into her, rubbing her soul raw. Later.

    Belle inspected Chloe’s averted face carefully, looking for any signs of hurt, anger, frustration, sadness, anything. If she found a feeling there, maybe there would be a hope. If Chloe was feeling any type of remorse, then Belle could try to start patching things up between her brother and her former best friend. But there Chloe’s expression revealed nothing, which made Belle even more livid. “Chloe!” Belle said, trying to get Chloe’s attention.

    Chloe turned to meet Belle’s gaze squarely, waiting for the next accusation to be hurled her room by this petite fury. She realized that, from all of the Black’s perspective, she deserved whatever they believed of her.

    “All I can say is, why? Why did you have to do this? Break Brady’s heart? I mean, you know how vulnerable he is, underneath his hard exterior. You’ve told me that, like, a million times. Why?” she reiterated again, just in case Chloe may have missed her point.

    Chloe ventured quietly as she told her friend the truth Belle would never fully comprehend, “I had to, Belle. I didn’t have a choice.” The phone in the living room rang shrilly, cutting in on their discussion. Well, Belle’s ranting is a more appropriate term. Chloe turned and went to quietly to answer it, grateful for the distraction.

    Belle heard Chloe say, “Yes…fifteen minutes?…I’m ready…See you soon, Greta.” While Chloe talked on the phone, Belle noticed for the first time the numerous suitcases at the end of the staircase. When Chloe came back in, Belle asked her, “Are you moving out of here, too? Where else can you move to in Salem?”

    Chloe hesitated, but then decided she may as well tell Belle now. She was bound to hear it anyway. Maybe Belle would feel relieved that she wouldn’t be around to hurt Brady anymore. “We’re leaving Salem today.”

    “Oh?” Belle asked condescendingly in response to Chloe’s statement. “And who is we?”

    “Me, Greta, Hope, and J.T.” Chloe figured Belle would find out about Hope Brady’s departure soon, too.

    “That’s rich,” Belle responded with ironic humor. “The three of you leaving, together. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, the three of you are so notorious now in the town of Salem. And there is such a thing about safety in numbers.” Belle walked back to the door, prepared to leave the house. She had one last statement to make to her ex-best friend before she left. “Just don’t think my family or Brady will ever welcome you back to Salem with open arms.” Belle walked through the door, never once looking back at her former friend.

    “If you only knew…” Chloe said despondently as she prepared to leave Salem. She was grateful for the new goals in her life. Hope, Greta, and Chloe had a lot to do before they could begin their campaign against Stefano DiMera. Leaving Salem and moving to Europe was the first step in the lengthy campaign.

    When Chloe heard Greta’s car pull in the driveway, she picked up her bags and opened the door. Life certainly is full of surprises, she thought as she carried her suitcases through the door. “The storm is finally over,” Chloe said to Greta when she met her on the steps. “Now it’s time for us to deal with the aftermath.”

    note: I'll be writing the next,and last,installment in my "Storm Trilogy." It will be called "The Aftermath Of The Storm."

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