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Part 10

(Mike and Carrie scene written by special guest author Sara, Queen of Steam.)

Sara was a tad bit upset she had ruffled Carrie's feathers like that but she was strong. She'd live, and live she did. Not ten minutes after their in depth conversation Carrie seemed to have no recollection of it. Damn Sally. This was her handy work.

That alone must have been what threw Sara over the edge. She grunted in frustration, ran for a little used portion of the set, and jumped with all her might. She landed exactly where she thought she would -- outside the set.

Luckily, there was no one there. Which once she thought about it was a strange fact considering Bradygirl said she'd fallen straight into a bunch of people. No one was milling around now. It was a virtual graveyard. Maybe Sally didn't have as much control over her as she thought she did. Oh, the evil things that were winging through her mind. They would definitely throw a few washers in the gears of Sally's plans.

"Sally," she said in an ominous tone. "I'm really getting annoyed by these theatrics. You think you can mess with me? Honey, you ain't seen nothing yet."

Sara walked up to someone who looked like an intern and smiled.

"Hi," she said casually, hoping she appeared to belong there. "Where is everyone? I stepped out for a minute, and they all disappeared."

"Lunch. Scene must have gone late cause they're usually finished by now. You must be one of the new actresses." He extended his hand. "I'm Alison Sweeney's boyfriend, and speak of the devil, there she is now. I gotta go."

Sara never caught the guys name. They did make a cute couple, she thought to herself as she watched them walk out the stage left door. Then a realization hit her. Television really did add ten pounds. Alison in real life was a skinny girl and petite to match. If this was true, she'd hate to see what Hope looked like without those extra ten pounds.

Then the bag of bones herself walked by and smiled at her munching on a carrot stick. She didn't say anything, just smiled. Kristen was more beautiful in real life too, but thin, way, way too thin. That woman needed some nutrition. Sara returned the smile. She wasn't there to schmooze. She had a job to do and Sally had just upped the stakes by messing with her plotting techniques.

Once Kristen disappeared down the hallway where the dressing room were, Sara glanced around the darkened set. Now all she had to do was find Sally's office.

"What were you thinking Michael???" Carrie nearly screamed at him as he whirled her around. She didn't care who would hear them, or see ... she just plain didn't care. She was so angry, so hurt, and, yes, so jealous she couldn't see straight.

"What was I thinking Carrie? How should I know???? I can't think anymore ... I can't function anymore ... all I can think of is you!!!" He nearly roared back, stunning her with the force of his words, his emotions, as his hold tightened on her arms and he yanked her up against him.

Carrie couldn't breathe. Literally. She could sense every fiber of Mike's being. Every angered, aroused fiber of her's as well. Her heart nearly pounded through the walls of her chest ... and she could feel Mike's own accelerated heartbeat. And his words stunned her. He couldn't think of anyone but her? How could that be? He'd been all over Ali ... the hospital was buzzing about how "all over" each other they'd been. Even Ali ... who'd relished in telling her how "close" she and "Doctor Mike" were ...

"Oh can't think of anyone but me ... sure you can, you can think of Ali ... and let everyone else know you're thinking of her...sending her flowers, stealing kisses when you think no ones watching ... look where it's getting you ... rumors, hints of scandal ... and now ... now these whispers you slept with Ali and gave your "girlfriend" the head nurse job ... right Mike, you REALLY can't think of anyone but me..." she said, anger colored by hurt in the painful words.

Mike was trying to control his temper, but wasn't succeeding. Added to the fact he was so turned on by Carrie's body pressed against his, he couldn't think straight.

But he had to. He had to set her straight. He couldn't let her be touched by his stupidity. He had to reassure her, make her believe the rumors were just that. He could NEVER have slept with Ali ... no matter how hard she'd tried to seduce him, no matter how 'needy' his own body had been ... he just couldn't do that ... to himself, to Ali...but most of all to Carrie. She was the ONLY one he wanted to 'be' with, in all senses of the word. He had to tell her this, if she didn't believe him ... he wouldn't go there. She had to...she just had to.

"Carrie, no matter what you've heard, no matter what Ali's saying, or the nurses, or the can't believe them...please," he nearly pleaded with her, meeting her gaze head on. "I know everything you're hearing sounds bad, and it's probably only gonna get worse...because Ali knows I don't want her. She's not happy about that, and is set on making my life miserable ... and she probably will be able to ... I foolishly gave her ammunition ... and unfortunately ... she sensed my one weakness...the one thing that would hurt me the most ... and she capitalized on that ..." He stopped for a moment, seeing he had her full attention, then, took a deep breath and went on.

"She told you we'd slept together, knowing how you, and I, would take it. Oh Carrie ... Princess ... you have to know, I didn't sleep with her, I couldn't, ever ... I don't WANT her... I never did ... I only ever wanted ..." he stopped, realizing what he was about to reveal. He couldn't do that ... not with her still married... oh, how he wanted to, but he couldn't. He just ....

"You only ever wanted what Mike?" she asked, softly now, the anger seeming to drain from her body.

He couldn't meet her gaze. He just couldn't. She'd know all his emotions, his feelings. His soul would be laid bare to her.

"Michael ..." she reached out and cupped his face in her hands, looking deep into his eyes. His heart stopped at the emotions he saw reflected there, and he almost, almost, couldn't believe them.

"Michael," she went on, not breaking his gaze, "What did you always ever want?" She whispered the last words, the knowledge of his as yet unspoken answer shining in her eyes.

Mike couldn't resist the love he saw there. It overwhelmed him. It floored him. It excited him like no one else ever had ... ever could ... or ever would.

He knew it was wrong. He knew it would solve nothing, only create more problems. It would hurt a lot of people they both loved. But he couldn't hold back anymore. Years of stored emotions came to the surface, all of which he knew she could see in his eyes as he whispered his answer.

"You, Carrie ... all I ever wanted was you ..." he said softly, heart leaping as he saw the fire spark brighter in her eyes as her arms closed around his neck and pulled him down towards her.

"I know Mike ... somehow, I've always known ... and I want you too...I think I always have ... only you ... forever ..." she managed, just before she sealed her lips to his.

With that, they were both lost in the most exquisite kiss they'd ever known, ever felt, ever experienced. The Fourth Kiss paled in comparison to this one.

Carrie clung to Mike, her body pressed tightly against his, hands stroking through his wavy blonde hair. This was heaven. This was what she'd been missing with Austin. This power, this breathtaking passion. This overwhelming love. Only Mike gave her that ... could ever give her that. And with that thought, she surrendered to him.

Mike literally felt the stars exploding around his head as he pulled Carrie closer, not separating their mouths, or bodies, an inch. This was perfect ... wonderful ... breathtaking. And so right. Nothing had ever felt this good, this right to him before. She was his, and he was hers. He'd never doubt that, or her again. And with that thought, he surrendered to her.

"Mike ..." Carrie managed, dragging her lips from his for a much needed breath of air, "Michael .. I love you ... I know I've just complicated both our lives beyond repair, but I can't deny these feelings, hide them, anymore. I love you ..." she managed, seeing the deep love and joy appear in his eyes.

"Oh Princess ... I love you too, I have forever ... I know, we're going to have to overcome a lot of obstacles, but together, we can ... we can do anything ... because we love each other ... I love you so much Carrie Brady Reed ... and I'll never stop ..." he whispered as she reached for him again with a smile.

After that, all talking was finished as Mike kissed her again, and they sank to the floor, lost in each other ... uncaring of who they were, or where they were ... all they could think about was each other. And really, that was all that mattered. They were together. Come what may. Forever. Nothing and no one could tear them apart....

"Yes! Yes! Yes!" I almost screamed it cause I was so happy but DiVA helped me to keep my head.

We were standing just around the corner from Mike and Carrie watching their very public displays of affection. I started giggling so uncontrollably that DiVA had to wrap her hand over my mouth. "Sorry, but... Isnít this just GREAT... So WONderful?"

She agreed and we both did a little happy dance right there in the middle of the hallway. We were so stunned. We couldnít believe Sara had actually pulled it off. Finally! Mike and Carrie were getting together and it was happening right there in front of us! The happiness of the moment hit me again and I spun around dancing like a lunatic, shaking my bootie like I was hoofing it to a fifties tune. I had never realized until this moment how freeing a happy dance could feel. My heart was so full I had to hug someone. John came by at just that instant and I gave him a big bear hug.

"Iím just so happy, I canít tell you." I said to him.

"Thatís great," he said, a tad stunned that I was hugging him. Then he continued on as if I hadnít even been in the hallway at all.

Suddenly the hallway began to fade and a misty white fog overtook everything.

"NO!!!" I screamed. "Not now! Oh, Sally, come on! Have a heart. Let me revel in my victory for at least five minutes before you pull the run out from under me."

I continued to rant at her, my cries becoming softer and more quiet until there was complete silence in the fog filled room. Well, now that I looked at it, I didnít appear to be in a room at all. The walls, if there were walls, stretched out into infinity giving the illusion of a great wide open space. Immediately a song from the Dixie Chicks sprung to my mind and I hummed the chorus to "Wide Open Spaces" while I looked around this very white, very bright, endless foggy landscape.

"Hello," said a sweet voice from behind me.

I turned to find a slim woman with shining strawberry blond hair. She was wearing a suit, much in the fashion Marlena usually wore but all in white instead of pastels.

"Hi," I managed.

Somehow the sound of Ďhelloí coming from her was an almost angelic experience.

"Welcome," she said, her voice quivering with purity.

At that moment I felt very un-angelic.

"Do you know where I am?" I asked.

"Of course I do."

She smiled at me and I had to smile back. She sure did have a lot of patience, I thought to myself.

"Angels always do," she replied suddenly.

"Angels always do what?"

"Have a lot of patience. Something you seem to be lacking in these days."

She was right, but I had to clinch my teeth to stifle the barking comeback that immediately sprang to my lips.

"So what are you telling me here? Are you an angel?"

"Yes, and Iím not only an angel.... Iím YOUR angel. Your guardian angel. My name is Murial. Have you ever heard of me?" She smiled a knowing smile and waited for my response.

"I canít say that I have... Although... Isnít there an arch angel name Urial?"

"Got it in one. But I prefer Murial. I always knew you were the quick one."

"Yeah, quick," I said, my voice dripping with sarcasm.

"There are four of us actually."

I glanced at her quizzically not knowing what she was talking about.

"Arch angels," she said simply. "Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Theyíre the ones who do all the things humans take notice to in life. Iím the quiet one who works in the shadows."

"Maybe you just need a better PR agent."

She laughed and it sounded like the tinkling of bells on an easy afternoon breeze.

"Murial, exactly where am I and why am I here?"

First I was in a soap. Now I was in what looked to be heaven. Maybe I was losing my mind after all.

"Here is the outskirts of heaven. In your world, I think you would refer to it as the boon docks."

"Yeah, the boon docks is just about as far out of town as you can get," I said, taking a breath. "And still be considered to live in that town."

"As for why youíre here. Thatís another story entirely."

For some reason I knew what she was about to say was why I was here in heaven in the first place.

"You seem to want to punish Sally for using your ideas as her own."

"Well... Isnít she?" I said dead pan.

"No, she isnít. Toni, you have to understand something. You have a gift that not many people in this world possess."

"So what are you saying... Am I psychic?" I was just dying to hear what I was.

"No, youíre not psychic. You have the awesome gift to see the truth."

See the truth? What kind of gift was that? I think being psychic would have been better. But of course, I didnít say so to her.

"The gift of truth like Monica on Touched by an Angel?" I had to ask. It was the first thing that came to mind.

"No, not like Monica. Monica has the ability to speak the truth so someone will hear it. You donít need to speak it because you see it so clearly. So clearly in fact, that sometimes it scares you." She smiled and held her hand on my shoulder.

"Remember the man who was stalking you?" I nodded. "You didnít hear the truth in his voice when he called you on the phone, did you? It wasnít until you actually looked him in the face that you saw the truth. The truth that he was a troubled soul expressing himself in troublesome ways. Thatís what stood out to you. That is your gift."

"But how does that translate between Sally using my ideas?"

"Toni, they arenít YOUR ideas. You watch the show and see the truth of the direction it is going. That is why you are so good at making theories. You see what others do not. Sally just leaves the subtlest of clues and you pick up on them. That is why you think sheís stealing your ideas but in fact you are practically reading her mind. Sometimes she doesnít even know the direction she is going but you do. You can see the truth in what she writes. Thatís how powerful your gift is. So stop being so down on Sally. Forgive her and move on."

Suddenly I was back in the hallway with DiVA.

"Toni, are you alright?" DiVA asked. "For a second there you looked like you were a million miles away."

"You can say that again."

Murial had told me a lot of things and I had a lot of things to think about. I was still happy about Mike and Carrie but the vendetta between Sally and I seemed to be diminishing.

to be continued

(Hey, this is fun.... anyone want to write some of it too.
We could do this as a Continue the Story story.
Let me know what you think.)

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