bittersweet romance of General Sloan Carpenter and Victoria Lord Buchanan
proved the old adage that the course of true love never runs smooth. This
pair had a destiny that couldn't be denied and though fate was not always
on their side, their love won out in the end. Set against a backdrop of
rampant fear, prejudice and homophobia, Viki and Sloan came together
during one of the most tumultuous times in Llanview history. But despite
the times and despite everything that seemed to stand in their way, Viki
and Sloan were still able to find a deep and lasting love in each other.
together started when Sloan Carpenter came to Llanview to see his son
Andrew Carpenter. Andrew was the Reverend for St. James Church, where Viki
Buchanan was a parishioner and a member of the church vestry.
Army General was a handsome but taciturn man, disciplined by years as an
officer in the Army. He had rigid ideals and demanded perfection from
himself and others, especially his family. He was a widower who had not
only given up on love, but also on life. He'd been diagnosed with
Hodgkin's disease, and was only in Llanview to make peace with his
surviving son, Andrew. He had refused further treatment because he thought
he had nothing to live for.
spent the years following his son William's death being eaten up with
guilt over his treatment of William, whom he'd shunned when William had
announced his homosexuality. Sloan couldn't come to grips with William's
revelation and it shook him to his core to think that his own son was part
of something that he couldn't comprehend. William later died of AIDS and
Sloan was unable to get past his own fears and prejudices to be there for
his son at the time of his death. Sloan had never forgiven himself for
this and he almost welcomed his own death, thinking it would at least
provide him with some relief from his unending and overwhelming guilt.
attempted reconciliation with his surviving son Andrew, whom he'd
estranged by his treatment of William, led him to meet Viki. She was at
St. James talking to Andrew, and Sloan was immediately impressed with her
elegance, beauty and warmth. He told Andrew that here was a woman who
surpassed even his impeccable standards and high ideals.
with their first chance meeting, Viki and Sloan ignited long buried
feelings and desires in each other. They responded to each other in a way
they had with no one else and their seemingly reserved exteriors belied
the passionate and sensual lovers they would soon become.
similarities to the idealized version she had of her father in Sloan. Both
men had regal bearings and patrician backgrounds, but only Sloan was a
true and honorable gentleman. Viki erroneously thought that her father
possessed these qualities too, but she would soon find out the truth about
Victor Lord. As luck would have it, Sloan would be the one to unwittingly
lead her to that awful revelation, when he began to write a biography of
of Victor's "sterling" reputation and "untarnished" image and thought that
he would make a great subject for a book. Viki endorsed this idea because
she, like Sloan, was under the impression that her father was a great man.
Needless to say, they couldn't have been more wrong, but they wouldn't
realize that until much later. Wanting to do research on Victor, Sloan
began using the library at Llanfair and he and Viki got to know each other
during this time. His growing attraction to Viki also changed his mind
about not seeking treatment for the Hodgkin's disease and he finally
decided to let Larry help him. Thanks to treatment, he eventually went
into remission from the disease. At the time of Sloan's arrival, Viki had
been trying to deal with her grief over her daughter Megan's tragic death
from Lupus. Viki immediately understood Sloan's feelings about William and
the two of them spent many hours talking about the loss of their children.
was also complicated by the fact that her marriage to Clint Buchanan was
coming apart at the seams. They had both changed a lot from when they'd
first married, and though Viki had loved Clint, she had never been able to
share her innermost thoughts or desires with him. She'd been sure he
wouldn't understand, but with Sloan, she was sure of the opposite. Clint
had always put her on a pedestal and seemed to see her as some kind of
icon instead of a flesh and blood woman. This had been fine with Viki for
a long time because it kept her safe and secure and most importantly, it
kept her demons at bay, demons that were always there, and always
threatening her "perfect" world and "perfect" image of who she was and who
her father was. Little did Sloan know how much he would help shatter this
image or what effect it would have on Viki's psyche.
biography of Victor Lord, titled "Lord of the Banner," was a best seller.
Viki had supported Sloan's desire to get to the truth out about Victor
Lord, and in doing so, Sloan had discovered that Victor Lord was not the
upstanding man he'd originally thought he was. This caused some friction
between Sloan and Viki after she read the book for the first time, but she
realized that Sloan was only telling the truth about her father. The only
problem was that neither of them knew that this "truth" was only the tip
of the iceberg and there was so much that would be eventually be uncovered
about Victor's life and death.
continued to throw Viki and Sloan together and their growing desire for
each other was now a constant presence whenever they saw each other. Their
attraction to each other became undeniable during the time that Andrew was
helping Billy Douglas. Billy was a friend of Joey's and he was trying to
sort out his feelings, since he'd recently realized that he was gay.
Andrew's counseling of him upset the St. James congregation immensely and
caused a giant rift in the community because of allegations made by Marty
Saybrooke. Marty was in love with Andrew, and she had started a vicious
rumor about Andrew and Billy when Andrew rejected her advances. Andrew
struggled with many of the parishioner's prejudices and homophobia,
including Clint Buchanan's. Sloan came to Andrew's defense and this
eventually led him to be able to finally accept William's sexuality. Once
he was past that hurdle, Viki helped him realize that he could forgive
himself for the mistakes he'd made with William. Sloan had shown that he
could change, while Clint grew more bigoted and intractable every day.
AIDS quilt was a very moving story," shares Slezak of the storyline
surrounding Billy's announcement that he was gay. "When we actually saw
the quilt, boy, it changed everything. We were in New Jersey, outside this
magnificent church and they had a big chunk of it spread out on the lawn.
Some of the names - like Ryan White - you know. It was just so touching
because a lot of people have been affected by AIDS in this
business. It just breaks your heart."
one of the most moving events to impact Llanview, the AIDS quilt came to
their town and Andrew and Sloan finally reconciled at its dramatic public
ceremony. Afterwards, feeling cleansed of guilt and not being able to hide
his feelings for Viki any longer, Sloan declared his deep love for Viki
and they shared a wonderful, passionate kiss. This scared Viki and she
pushed Sloan away, and tried to make another go of her marriage to Clint.
But as much as Sloan was opening up to her and becoming the man she knew
he could be, was how much Clint was shutting down to her and becoming a
man she couldn't love or respect anymore. But regardless of Clint, Viki's
love for Sloan became too powerful to fight any longer and she finally
gave into her feelings in the Llanview Library one afternoon. "Love among
the old tomes," was a pivotal point in their relationship as the former
prim and proper Victoria Lord, abandoned all inhibitions and conventions
and let herself openly neck with Sloan in the poetry section.
Andrew helps dad Sloan
get past his
wanted each other desperately, Viki still fought to save her marriage
because she thought it was the "right" thing to do. Things came to a head
though when Clint went to Sloan's house and viciously attacked him. Viki
found them and tried to stop Clint and in the heat of the moment, he
raised his hand to strike her. He stopped just in time and realized what
he'd almost done, but that was too late for Viki. The thought that her
husband was so hate filled and so out of control that he'd even think of
hurting her was too much and she moved out of Llanfair and into the Palace
Hotel. She agonized over what to do and then finally, after trying one
last time to talk to Clint, did what her heart told her to, and she went
to Vermont to be with Sloan.
to a ski lodge and had a wonderful time just being together and away from
the prying eyes of Llanview. (Or so they thought.) Sloan was loving,
gentle and patient with her, and Viki finally felt free enough to give
into the deeply sensual and erotic feelings she had for Sloan. After
sharing their hearts with each other, they made love on a dark and snowy
liked the story with Sloan," laments Slezak. "I'm sorry that had to end."
euphoria was short-lived however because Dorian, who was a guest at the
lodge, had phoned Clint and told him that Viki had broken her leg and
needed him. Feeling guilty about his cruel words to Viki before she left,
Clint went to Vermont to see her. He found Viki with Sloan and he railed
at her for her infidelity, despite his own involvement with Lindsay
Butler. Seeing his pain, Viki let her guilt get the best of her and she
and Sloan went back to Llanview to face everyone.
After a lot
of soul searching and recriminations between her and Clint, Viki realized
that things had gone too far and that she was too deeply in love with
Sloan to ever go back to Clint, so they began divorce proceedings. Soon
after this, Clint was hurt in a plane crash and had to stay in Arizona to
recuperate, so Viki had to face Kevin's rape trial by herself. (Marty
Saybrooke had been gang-raped by Todd and two fraternity brothers, Powell
and Zach. She mistakenly thought that Kevin was involved and accused him.
But Kevin was innocent.) Sloan stood by her and supported Kevin and her
through this ordeal. This bonded them forever and also helped Viki's
children finally accept Sloan as the man their mother truly loved.
the trial Viki and Sloan went to his beach front home in Tidewater,
Maryland. One evening on the front porch, Sloan touchingly proposed to
Viki while an old Victrola played music in the background. She joyfully
accepted and they eagerly made plans to be married as soon as Viki's
divorce was final.
threw a wrench into their plans when she used Emily Haynes, a very dense
and gullible student of Sloan's at Llanview University, where he
subsequently became its president, as her pawn in a scheme to ruin Sloan.
Dorian persuaded Emily to file bogus sexual harassment charges against
Sloan and the University was forced to investigate. No one really believed
this though and Dorian's part in the scam was soon exposed.
that Dorian would never leave them alone, Viki and Sloan decided to try to
get to the truth about Dorian's part Victor Lord's death. They began
investigating his death with information that was touched upon in Sloan's
book. Because of new evidence, Dorian was put on trial for Victor's death
and was found guilty. Viki had wanted Dorian to pay for killing her
father, but even she was horrified when the judge sentenced Dorian to
death for the crime. After sitting on death row for a time, Dorian paid
David Vickers to forge part of Irene Manning's diary in a desperate
attempt to free herself from prison. The ruse worked and once free, Dorian
wasted no time in trying to pay Viki back. She seduced Viki's youngest son
Joey and made sure that Viki found out about their affair, (ultimately,
due to Dorian's machinations, Viki caught her deflowering Joey on the day
Viki and Sloan had originally planned to be wed). This hurt Viki as much
as Dorian hoped it would. Unfortunately Viki was already dealing with
Sloan's apparent abandonment of her, so this was doubly painful.
learned that his Hodgkin's disease was out of remission and that he was
dying. He didn't want Viki to suffer through his death the way she had
suffered through her first husband Joe Riley's death, so he had lied to
her and told her that he didn't love her anymore. He had gone back to his
home in Tidewater, where he underwent unsuccessful chemo treatment by
himself, and pretended that he was in love with an old friend of his,
Beverly Crane. Sloan had confided in Clint the truth about his illness
though and Clint told Viki about it. She then went to Sloan, they
reconciled immediately and vowed to spend whatever time they had,
failing health, Viki very much wanted to be his wife and with Andrew
presiding over their ceremony, they were wed even though Sloan was in the
hospital. Viki insisted that Sloan be brought back to Llanfair so that he
would be as comfortable as possible. Sloan held on as long as he could,
savoring every moment with his new wife, but Viki, seeing his pain and
suffering, told him that he could let go.
After telling her one final
time that he loved her, Sloan died in her arms in their bedroom at
Llanfair. With a heartbroken Viki Carpenter watching, Sloan was buried in
Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. It was a tragic end
to a beautiful love story, but both Viki and Sloan were enriched by each
other's presence in their lives, short-lived though it may have been.
the poem Viki read to Sloan as he lay dying in one of the most gut
wrenching and sorrowfilled scenes in their tragic love affair.
By John Donne
I WONDER by my troth, what thou, and I
Did, till we lov'd?
were we not wean'd till then?
But suck'd on countrey pleasures,
Or snorted we in the seaven sleepers den?
But this, all pleasures fancies bee.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desir'd, and got, t'was but a dreame of thee.
And now good morrow to our waking soules,
Which watch not one
another out of feare;
For love, all love of other sights controules,
And makes one little roome, an every where.
Let sea-discoverers to
new worlds have gone,
Let Maps to other, worlds on worlds have showne,
Let us possesse one world, each hath one, and is one.
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares,
And true plaine
hearts doe in the faces rest,
Where can we finde two better
Without sharpe North, without declining West?
ever dyes, was not mixt equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and
Love so alike, that none doe slacken, none can die.