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Bess Returns with a Vengeance

In 2008, the popular ABC soap One Life to Live took a gamble with a controversial teen pregnancy storyline involving one of the youngest characters on the cast, Starr Manning. The gamble paid off.

To understand the dynamics of this storyline, we need to take a little trip down memory lane to the days of a young Todd Manning. Todd, with the help of some of his college frat buddies, raped a young woman named Marty Saybrook. Todd was eventually arrested and convicted for the crime and, after two years in prison, he was released to reap havoc in the town of Llanview once again.
Over the years, Todd Manning and Marty Saybrook have somehow managed to live and work in the same town; even having a modicum of a civilized relationship at times. After a few years away, Marty returned to town with her son, Cole Thornhart, in tow. Cole met Starr, and almost immediately they began a tumultuous relationship that continues to thrill viewers today.

Cole and a very young Starr did share one night of passion, resulting in a pregnancy that neither teen was ready or able to deal with. After months of agony and tough decision making, the two teens decided to let a married couple, Marcy and Michael McBain, adopt the baby. The McBains had been trying to have a baby for a long time and were unable to conceive.

Jessica Buchanan, Todd’s niece, was also pregnant at this time. Jessica suffers from multiple personality disorder and often turns into her alter ego, Bess. Due to the sudden death of her husband, Nash, Jessica slipped into her Bess personality while she was still with child.

In true soap fashion, both Jessica and Starr went into labor on the same night. Jessica’s baby was stillborn and her alter ego, Bess, stole Starr’s newborn in order to replace her own. Starr was told that her baby had died and life for Cole and Starr had been forever changed. Starr began an unrequited love affair with her teacher, Schyler Joplin. Cole became addicted to drugs. Jessica started life with her new baby with no memory of the events of that snowy night.

Recently, Jessica’s twin sister Natalie and her new husband Jared put the pieces of the puzzle together. However, in order to protect Jessica’s mental state, the couple decided it would be best to keep quiet. After some DNA testing, Natalie and Jared’s suspicions were confirmed.

Starr and Cole began to question the death of their child and after having some DNA testing done themselves, discovered that the baby that died was not the one that they had conceived together. Jessica began to get her memory back from that night and, realizing that the child she loved was not hers, turned into Bess in order to cope. Last week, Bess kidnapped baby Chloe. Will Starr and Cole ever be reunited with the baby they thought was gone forever?





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