Act I

Blake leaned back on the plush sofa and admired the roar of the fireplace. Clarissa and the boys would be terrorizing poor Leyla by now. How Olivia had ever been able to convince her that adding a Valentine's overnight camp to the service offered by the Beacon's Little Lights daycare was beyond her. However, it was a stroke of genius, as Valentine's was on a Tuesday night this year. She heard the sound of soft footsteps just before she felt warm arms wrap around her shoulders and a glass of red wine magically appear.

"Look at you, getting in touch with your butch side." Doris teased gently, dropping a sweet kiss to Blake's exposed neck. Blake had insisted on getting the fireplace set and lit it by herself, going into the basement to bring up a few logs.

"Don't start," Blake swatted her lover's hand and turned slightly, smiling as she was rather pleased with herself. "So what is on the agenda this evening, my love?"

Doris grinned and helped Blake up to her feet, tangling their fingers together as she led them to the couch.

On the coffee table sat several take out containers and a bag from the Quiki Mart. Blake shook her head and sank down onto the plush sofa.

"First, we have some Thai food from your favourite restaurant downtown, followed by a double feature." Doris grinned.

"What are we seeing?" Blake peered into the paper bag, curious.

"Well, I found the last copy of Resident Evil: Resurrection and we can follow that up with Shaun of the Dead." Doris said proudly. "There's nothing like some scary movies to snuggle together with."

Blake just stared at her, and slowly raised her eyebrow. Doris blinked back.

"Oookay, maybe not." Doris grinned again, pulling the rental DVD's from the bag and handing them over to Blake.

"An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle," Blake's smile widened as she read the titles. "Oh, my God, I love these movies."

"I know," Doris leaned forward and stole a quick kiss from her pleased girlfriend. "There's an extra large box of Kleenex in there too. Just saying."

"Who are you kidding, Doris Wolfe? You are just as romantic at heart as I am," Blake said, nodding happily. "These aren't even rentals are they?"

"Shh," Doris hushed with a finger to her lips, and stood. "You'll ruin the image." Blake swatted her leg and grinned up at her. "I'll go grab us some plates for the food."

Doris disappeared into the kitchen, the sound of cupboards opening and closing and rattling of cutlery filling Blake with a sense of contentment. This was how it should be. The simple things shared together. It was very clearly her second chance at something just wonderful, and Blake was going to grab it with both hands and never let go.

The doorbell chimed suddenly, and Blake stood to answer it.

"Who the hell is that?" Doris' grumble from the kitchen could be clearly heard, echoing Blake's thoughts exactly. Outside the house the storm swirled, snow falling mixed with freezing rain. Thunder even rolled in the distance.

"This had better be good…" grumbled Blake, her hand reaching out to turn the handle on the large oak door. Clutching the neck of her sweater closer, she peered out into the night, "Can I help you?"

The dark shadow of a man stood there, trench coat wrapped tight, a fedora perched on top of his head. Behind him a flash of lightening streaked across the sky, the rumble rolling along.

"Oh, my God," Blake's hand came to her mouth. The silhouette of the man was so familiar, but wasn't possible. Her mind must be playing tricks on her. It couldn't possibly be, could it?

The man stepped closer, into the light falling from the porch light, slowly pulling the fedora from his head, water and snow falling with a dull splat onto the floor. His hair was thinner and more grey, but his eyes still sparkled.

Blake shook her head, not fully believing what she was seeing. She gripped her glass of wine tightly, the stem snapping in her fingers. The glass fell, the red liquid bleeding into the slush at the man's feet. She felt dizzy all of a sudden, the world spinning and then growing dark, as she fell forward. The man caught her and held her close, breathing the warmth and scent of her in.

"Well, that went better than I expected." The man murmured softly into Blake's hair.

"Blake, who is it?" Doris stepped out of the kitchen, abruptly stopping as she took in the scene unfolding before her, her heart sinking as she realized just who was at the door. "Oh, my God…"

Ross Marler was alive.

And now, on to Episode Four, Déjà Vous All Over Again…

****

Darkness.

It was a relief really, the void numb and all consuming. No emotions needing to be dealt with, just peace and quiet, with time for thoughts to swirl and settle, like waves lapping at a shoreline. Sounds began to filter through next and the tranquility started to shift and to change. The darkness was becoming heavy, clinging, like being stuck in mud, arms and legs too heavy to move.

And then the emotions started up again. A feeling of great joy and sorrow, and a pesky feeling that there was something that needed to be done. A throbbing pain began behind her eyes, hovering, threatening to take over. Thoughts began to take shape, memories churning and rising to the surface like flotsam and jetsam in turbulent waters.

In an instant Blake Marler remembered everything, and then wished she didn't.

Surely this couldn't be happening, could it?

Shock and disbelief pulsed through Blake's veins as her mind struggled out of the warm dark depths to the surface, trying desperately to catch up, to take it all in. Her heart thundered in her ears, just like it had so many years ago, when it had been shattered by the news, never to be the same again. Now though, it had been pieced back together, rebuilt and stronger than ever, only to be tested again at the limits of belief. It was too much to grasp, too much to comprehend.

It was all just… too much.

Blake's eyes fluttered open, as she finally pulled free of the smothering darkness clawing at her, trying to draw her back into the void. She was in her living room, on her couch and she was safe, but her mind was in the past. She could remember the day it all had happened perfectly, like it had just been yesterday. It was burned into her mind and soul like a brand, a healed over scar that was never to be forgotten. How could she forget?

After all, it was only the day Blake's perfect world had been changed forever.

She had been waiting for Ross in their suite at the Beacon, excitedly going through her closet looking for the perfect outfit. The slinky teal number she finally picked out was low cut and showed off all her best assets. It hugged her curves, caressing Blake's skin like a lover, but she knew it would look even better off of her heated flesh and in a pool at the foot of their king sized bed.

She couldn't wait to see her husband again. She was so eager for him to arrive so she had called him, leaving a voice message on his phone, promising the mother of all welcome homes. He was coming home for the weekend, his flight arriving at 6:15 pm from Washington D.C. A spritz of his favorite perfume at her ears and cleavage for good measure, before slipping in the long dangly diamond earrings Ross had bought her for their second wedding anniversary.

There was a knock at the door and she rushed to open it, thinking Ross had somehow found a flight home early, only to be disappointed and annoyed to find Jeffrey O'Neill standing there. The rest was pretty much a blur after that.

Jeffrey had broken the news to her as gently as he could. A witness saw the plane crash, burst into flames, the plane and all on board burned to ashes. There was nothing left to identify, let alone bury.

No…

Blake couldn't take it in, she didn't want to believe it, wouldn't believe it.

No, no, no…

Desperately she grasped at straws. Jeffrey was lying, up to some trick, it couldn't be true. It wasn't true, Ross' plane was landing at that very moment, she was so sure. Her heart raced in her chest, refusing to believe it. Ross would be walking through that door any second.

Another knock at the door and Blake was sure this would be Ross. She whipped the door open and instead of her husband it was her mother, Holly's eyes big and sad.

No, no, no, no…NNNOOOOOOO!!!

Blake knew from the depths of sorrow in her mother's eyes that it was impossibly, horribly, true.

Ross was dead.

Blake sighed now, her eyes closing briefly before opening to face her new tNatalia. She was laying on the couch, a throw blanket tucked around her with Doris leaning over her, wiping at her forehead with a cool cloth. Their gaze met and locked, Doris' eyes big and sad.

Blake knew then, in the depths of the sorrow in her lover's eyes, that it was true.

Ross was very much alive.

"Blake?" Doris murmured softly, tenderly trailing the back of her fingers across a flushed cheek. "There's my girl, back in the land of the living. Are you okay?"

Blake nodded, bringing her hand up to catch her girlfriend's, holding onto it like a lifeline. She sat up, a little dizzy but nothing she couldn't handle.

"Whoa, go slow, you had a bit of a shock," Doris said gently, smiling as Blake stubbornly swung her feet around and moved to sit beside her, hanging tightly onto her hand.

"Is he…is Ross still…here?" Blake struggled for the right words, fear and hope mingled in the depths of her eyes. Doris nodded and looked up, over her shoulder. Blake could sense movement behind her, as she turned her head. And there he stood.

Ross Marler.

His hair was greyer and a little thinner too. He had put on some weight, but not in a bad way. Most importantly, Ross still had those kind eyes that she knew so well and as Blake turned a little, he flashed that smile of his that had always wrapped around her heart.

"Hi, Blake," Ross took a tentative step closer to the couch, wanting nothing more than to take her into his arms. It had been so damn long. "I'm sorry if I-"

"No, just stop," Blake held up her hand, not anywhere near ready to deal with any of this. She glanced over at Doris for strength, squeezing her hand again for good measure and then stood. Before she even knew it, she threw herself into Ross' arms, holding him tight. She soaked up the strength in his embrace, the warmth of his body pressed against hers, inhaling the plain and simple scent of him. Blake closed her eyes and just let her body remember what it was like to have him in her arms again. Slowly she pulled away from him, her eyes glittering with unshed tears and something else.

Anger.

Blake registered the vibration along her arm first, the smack of her palm striking his cheek ringing loud in her ears as she watched Ross' head snap to the side from the force of her slap. Her hand stung, but damn, it had felt good.

"How DARE you!" Blake growled, pushing away from the stunned man. "How dare you come back now, after all this time? Where the hell have you been all these years?" Blake began to pace, her hands in the air as she vented. She stopped and stared hard at him. "Your friends and family, your children, all of us, we thought you were dead. I visited your grave, for years. YEARS, Ross. And you saunter in here like nothing has happened." Blake's eyes glittered, cold as ice. He was willing to sacrifice their love for what? She needed desperately to know. "You leave the world behind and we all paid the price. You gave us all up for what? You gave ME up, for what? Tell me."

"Blake, please, let me explain. What I can of it, anyway," Ross swallowed hard and looked down, his cheeks flushed and not just from the slap. He glanced over at Doris and then back to Blake, and prayed that they believed him. "I was kidnapped by someone I trusted, a private investigator I had hired--"

"Nikki Landers?" Blake asked hopefully. After all this time she needed to know if there had been another woman in her husband's life. He looked down and nodded. "The woman you were having an affair with."

"What? I was NOT!" Ross looked up sharply at that. He had not been sleeping with the pretty brunette but his eyes widened as he realized how some of his meetings could have been misconstrued. "Dear God, Blake. All these years and you thought…"

"It nearly ripped me apart," Blake's vision blurred with unshed tears. "Loving you, and hating you, all at the same time. Not knowing what I should be feeling, and never knowing for sure." Ross took a step towards her, but she stepped back, not ready to let him in just yet. She felt a strong presence suddenly behind her, knowing instinctively that it was Doris. The warmth coming from her was almost palpable, and Blake leaned back into it, needing the silent strength and support.

Ross' eyes narrowed, taking in the closeness of the two women. Doris' eyes locked with his as she stared back at him defiantly as if daring him to say something, to realize something. He blinked as his mind chewed on the facts before him. There was more going on here than met the eye, he was sure.

"Why don't we sit down," Doris said quietly, pleased when Blake nodded tiredly and made her way back to the couch. This whole ordeal was exhausting for all of them, but it was obviously getting to the petite redhead, and Doris would be damned if her lover would be upset again. She would kick Ross out on his ass before she'd let Blake get hurt any more this evening.

Ross nodded in agreement and followed behind the women, watching carefully as Doris' hand came to rest into the curve of Blake's spine. It was a knowing touch, comforting and yet more, loving and familiar.

Too familiar.

The women sank down onto the plush couch together, Blake reaching to take her friend's hand, holding on for dear life. Doris leaned close, whispering something that made Blake smile and shake her head, a tender look exchanged between them. It was more than just tender, it was almost…intimate.

And then it hit him.

Doris Wolfe was Blake's lover.

Ross ground his teeth as the truth of what he was seeing seemed to tilt his world to the left all of a sudden. He fidgeted slightly, not sure how to deal with this latest wrinkle, hope deflating in his chest as this new revelation sunk in. It seemed like he'd been doing nothing but adjusting his life since he woke up in that damned hospital bed. And now here he was on Valentine's Day intruding on what would have been a romantic evening for them.

"Tell me what happened," Blake finally spoke, her eyes weary but curious. It was the least he could do, she deserved to know the truth, and whether or not they still had a future together. Ross sighed and nodded.

"I had hired Nicole Landers to look for Phillip. I was certain that he was alive and that there was a cover up going on. Apparently I got too close for comfort and while she had discovered photographic evidence of Phillip being alive, she was more cunning than I gave her credit for." Ross leaned back in his chair, running a hand through his short hair. "She double crossed me and made a deal with the devil, Alan Spaulding. Alan decided that it was time for me to disappear, to protect Phillip, so he paid Nikki to make it happen."

"But the plane crashed, there were witnesses, and Rick said that he had someone tamper with it." Blake leaned forward, trying to understand.

"The pilot had caught the tampering on his pre-flight inspection, repairing it before we even took off. Nikki said Alan had the rest of it all under control. A Spaulding Enterprises military contract to build drone planes for the government came in pretty handy," Ross laughed mirthlessly. "A test drone plane flew out and crashed on the original flight path, burning to ashes and making the authorities believe that my plane had been incinerated beyond all hope of finding anyone alive. No other planes were reported missing; Nikki had the pilot register another flight path, taking us north, up into Canada to a small airport in the country. With the drone plane taking the fall, no one even thought to look for us. It was a brilliant plan really."

"How do you know all this?" Doris asked, shocked at the complexity of the plan. She almost wished Alan was still alive to be punished for this whole thing. Ross smiled sadly and shook his head, clearly lost in old memories, at the audacity of his kidnapper.

"Nikki filled me in on the whole plan as we flew towards the border. I sat there, held at gunpoint, duct taped to my seat, helpless to stop her. I never did understand why the bad guy always feels the need to tell their victims the whole dastardly plan before getting rid of them," Ross shook his head, as Doris and Blake snorted in agreement. He looked down at his hands as the next memory was a little harder to take. "The last thing I remember clearly was the syringe of drugs being injected into my arm and her laugh." Ross stood then, the woman's insane laughter still ringing in his nightmares to this day. He paced back and forth, his body needing the movement.

"Dear God," Blake sighed, glancing over at an equally horrified Doris. "All this time Rick thought he'd caused your death, when in fact it was Alan Spaulding and that crazy woman behind it all." She watched as Ross once again stopped pacing and sank down into the chair beside the couch. "When did you wake up again?" She watched as Ross sighed and leaned back into the comfortable armchair, thrilled that he was once again in her home, soaking up his presence. Something she never thought she'd experience again.

"It was about eight months ago, I woke up in a private convalescent hospital outside of Toronto, but I couldn't remember anything and I was a physical mess. No one knew who I was; my file records were false provided by Nikki, my so called daughter and I had amnesia. The local police did as much as they could, with no success, and finally the RCMP were called in to figure out my true identity." Ross sighed and rubbed at his temple with his hand, a headache threatening.

"For all intents and purposes though, I was a dead man and my file didn't come up right away, especially since I was an American citizen. By the time six months had passed and my memory was starting to come back on its own, the Mountie investigators had uncovered that one of the doctors on staff had been keeping me in a drug induced coma for years, paid in very large sums of cash to do it too. When arrested, the doctor said that Nikki had told him that she was my daughter and authorized it all, paid him in cash to keep it quiet. Family issues she had said, and he needed the money so he had done as he was told. And then one day, Nikki didn't show up like usual."

"That must have been after Alan had died," Blake said, exchanging looks with Doris, both coming up with the same thought.

"With no more money coming from Alan to foot the bill for the treatment, Nikki would have nothing to pay the doctor with," Doris said putting two-and-two together.

"Exactly," Ross continued. "The doctor didn't know what else to do, so he stopped the drug treatment and tried to cover his tracks and I eventually woke up on my own. I couldn't remember a thing at first, and then over time, certain events were triggered. I dreamt of you, almost every night, not knowing who you were," Ross smiled softly at his wife, pleased when she seemed to appreciate his words. "And then when I did figure who I was and who you were to me, I couldn't figure out how to tell you."

"The hang up calls," Blake said suddenly figuring it out. "That was you?"

"Guilty as charged," Ross nodded and sighed. "I couldn't leave Canada right away and I kept trying to find the words to tell you over the phone, but eventually I decided that it was something that I needed to tell you, and the rest of my family, in person."

"Oh, God," Blake covered her eyes, all the things that needed to be done yet almost overwhelming her. "The children. We have to tell the kids you're alive." She went to stand, to find a phone, only to get a little dizzy again, falling back down to the couch.

"Whoa, Blake. Take it easy," Doris murmured, slipping her arm around her lover. "You're still a little shaky and you haven't eaten anything yet." Their forgotten Thai food still sat in the kitchen where Doris had been getting it ready before the knock on the door.

Blake froze as she realized how this might look to Ross. Glancing into his eyes, she saw the knowledge there, he had figured it out. He had always known her so well, why would that change now?

"Listen, it's late and I know it's a lot to take in. A shock to your system and your life," Ross said softly, shifting forward to take Blake's hands in his own, his thumb rubbing slow circles against the backs of them. "I just wanted to say that I still love you, and want to rebuild my life with you," He glanced over at Doris, seeing the terror lurking there, feeling it a little himself before turning his attention back to Blake.

"However, I can understand if you've moved on. I hope you could give me a second chance to have the life and love we once shared again, but I know that might take some time," Ross smiled gently, hoping for the best despite the protective arm Doris had wrapped around his wife's tiny frame. "So in the meantime, I'd like to gather Dinah and the kids and together we can explain what's happened. I've lost so much time; I need to get my life jump started again. So I think I should go now and let you regroup."

Ross stood up and headed towards the door. Doris followed him, with Blake tagging along behind her. Ross shrugged on his overcoat and grabbed his damp fedora from the closet. Digging into his coat pocket, he flicked a business cart towards Blake.

"Here's where I'm staying," Ross smiled as his wife took the card and carefully slid it into her back pocket. He turned the door handle, swinging it open he turned back to look into her troubled eyes. "Don't worry, I'll be back."

With one last gaze, Ross nodded and disappeared out into the cold night.

Doris quietly shut the door behind him, not sure of Blake's state of mind. She locked everything up tight and then turned off the hall light, before following her lover into the kitchen. They hadn't even made it to the doorway before Blake was in her arms.

"Oh, God, what am I going to do?" Blake sobbed into the soft material of her lover's shirt. She felt warm arms slowly shift and envelope her.

"Hey, we'll figure it out," Doris whispered softly, pulling Blake closer, needing to feel her tucked against her safe and sound. "I promise." They stayed like that for a long moment, just soaking each other in, trying to calm their racing minds. Leaning back, Doris tucked a tuft of hair behind Blake's ear and smiled. "Would you like me to leave too? I'd understand…"

Blake reached out and placed a long finger against Doris' lips, stopping her words with the simple touch. It was the last thing she needed, to lose Doris right now too. Blake shook her head, tears threatening to fall.

"Please don't go," Blake sniffed. "Just hold me and wait for me to figure out what the hell is going on."

She sighed, relieved as she was tugged closer and held tighter still.

"I'm not going anywhere," Doris said, her frown hidden from the woman crying softly in her arms. "I promise."