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Roger Howarth

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Roger Howarth is a daytime legend.  General Hospital was lucky to have him. He's been on 5 different soaps: Loving, Guiding Light, As the World Turns, One Life to Live, and GH.  He won a Daytime Emmy and was nominated a total of 5 times.  He's the only actor who I have ever followed from one show to another.  In some cases, he was the only reason I watched a show.  I have been a fan of his since he played Paul Ryan on ATWT.  I also enjoyed his short stint as Joey's teacher on Dawson's Creek.  I was saddened by Franco's death on GH like a lot of other fans.  I could relate to his character because I went to art school.  I can't wait to see what his next character will be.  He has one of the largest fanbases in daytime history.  He is also a pretty good human being.  He is currently doing charity work in his time off from GH

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When Victoria Met Franco


Victoria Newman was sitting in Chancellor Park at lunch time. She had just finished her turkey club sandwich and lemon ice tea. It was a sunny spring day in Genoa City. A flock of seagulls squawked overhead while Victoria checked her applications on her cell phone. She deleted a message from her mother and replied to an email from her assistant. Then she tucked her phone into her purse. She saw two teenagers making out on a bench on the other side of the park. The sight of them brought tears to her eyes. It was just a reminder of the fact that she was alone.


She started to cry right there in the park. No one noticed. She wiped her eyes now and then with a handkerchief. After five minutes of uncontrolled sobbing, she felt a warm breeze in the air. It was accompanied by a musical noise that sounded like wind chimes. Then a man with layered long brown hair and hazel eyes appeared in front of her. He wore a black suit with a light blue shirt.  She could smell the lavender and citrus notes of Drakkar Noir. 


Are you all right, miss?” the man asked.


I’m fine,” Victoria replied with a sniffle.


No, you’re not. You’re crying.”


Okay, so what if I am? It’s not like anyone cares.”


Don’t say that,” the man said as he sat next to her on the bench.


I’ll be fine. It’s just hormones. That’s all.”


It looked like a lot more than that.”


Okay, if you must know. I was crying over a guy.”


Well, any guy who can make a pretty woman like you cry is a jerk.”


I risked my job, my company, and my inheritance for a man who doesn’t even love me,” Victoria said.


Forget about him. Don’t waste your tears on a random idiot.”


He wasn’t a random idiot. He’s the father of my children.”


Well, he didn’t deserve you. You’re better off without him.”


You think so?” Victoria wondered.


I know so. Any guy would be lucky to have you.”


Who are you?” Victoria asked him.


Some people call me Hunter or Keith, but you can call me Franco.”


I’ve never seen you around here before. Are you from Genoa City?”


No. I'm from Port Charles.”


I’ve never met anyone from Port Charles. Is it nice?”


It’s all right, I guess.”


I have to get back to work,” said Victoria.


Don’t go. I was enjoying our conversation. Live a little.”


Franco looked at Victoria earnestly. She just couldn’t say no to him. His chiseled features were magnificent and otherworldly. He seemed too perfect to be real. She pulled her phone out of her purse and sent a text to her assistant.


Hi Sandra,” the text said. “Something came up. I need to cancel the meeting this afternoon. Please send out an email to everyone. Thanks. VN”


That wasn’t so hard, was it?” said Franco.


I don’t usually do things like this.”


Cancel afternoon meetings?”


That, and talk to strange men in parks.”


Are you gonna give me a tour of this town or what?”


Okay. Where do you wanna go?”


Surprise me.”


Victoria and Franco walked from Chancellor Park to Crimson Lights. A female barista was washing the windows. She opened the door for them, and they stepped inside. The café was having a slow afternoon. "Uninvited" by Alanis Morissette was playing on the establishment's sound system.  Victoria saw Abby drinking a latte at a table across from the counter.


Hey Victoria!” Abby called to her. “Wanna share a table?”


No, it’s okay,” Victoria said. “I’m with someone.”


Abby looked to the right and left of Victoria, but she saw no one. She didn’t want to upset her sister, so she decided to go along with it. Maybe Victoria’s lonely single life was making her crazy. Be that as it may, it was the first time she’d seen Victoria smiling in a really long time.


Well, that’s all right,” said Abby. “We can hang out some other time.”


How’s the baby plan working out?” Victoria asked.


Great. Mariah had the embryo implanted just last week.”


That’s awesome. It’s nice to see you so happy. I hope Chance comes home before the baby’s born.”


So do I,” said Abby. “Hey, there’s my donor.”


At that moment, Devon walked in and waved to Abby. Victoria said goodbye before she and Franco headed toward the counter to place their order.


Can I buy you a cappuccino?” Victoria asked Franco.


Sure,” he said. “I’ll go find us a table on the terrace.”


Victoria ordered the coffee while Franco looked for a place to sit. She chatted up the barista as the girl made two cappuccinos. Two minutes later, she joined Franco at a table on the terrace.


So Victoria...what do you do for a living?”


How did you know my name?”


That’s what your friend called you.”


She was my sister actually.”


Victoria tasted her coffee before she added a packet of Sweet N Low. Franco appeared to be in deep concentration for half a minute. Then he lifted his mug and brought it to his lips. He lowered it without taking an actual sip.


I’m CEO of my dad’s company,” Victoria told him, “Newman Enterprises.”


I’ve heard of them,” said Franco. “They’re huge.”


Yeah, they are. What do you do?”


I’m an artist, among other things.”


That’s amazing. I’ve never dated an artist.”


Are we on a date?” Franco asked.


Yeah, I guess we are.”


They talked casually about their lives over coffee. Victoria was too lovestruck to realize that Franco never actually drank his cappuccino. None of her exes were anywhere near as attractive as the devastatingly handsome man who was sharing her table at that moment. It was like something from a dream.


An hour later, Victoria and Franco left the coffee house. She decided to take him on a tour of her office building. Everyone was so busy working that they hardly noticed her come in. She was positively beaming. She escorted Franco into the elevator and showed him the way to the CEO’s office of Newman Enterprises. She opened the heavy oak doors and invited him to have a seat beside her massive desk. Then she locked the doors and told Sandra to hold her calls. She straightened her mauve skirt suit before she sat down in her swivel chair.


So this is where it all happens,” said Franco.

Yes, this is it,” Victoria replied, “the place where I make all my bad decisions.”


You can’t be all that bad. Otherwise they wouldn’t have promoted you.”


It’s my dad’s company. I didn’t have to work like a dog to get here.”


But you did. I can tell. You’re a workaholic, aren’t you?”


I wasn’t before...”


Before what?”


Before we split up, Billy and me.”


He’s a fool to break up with you.”


I divorced him. He had issues. He hurt me so many times.”


Then you’re better off without him.”


Maybe you’re right. He doesn’t need me. He’s already moved on.”


Victoria reached out to touch Franco but her hand passed right through his forearm. A shiver ran up her spine.


Are you a ghost...or an angel?” she asked him.


I can be whatever you want me to be,” said Franco.


Someone or something must’ve sent you here to comfort me.”


Actually, I’ve been stuck between two worlds for the past month. I guess I have some unfinished business to take care of.”


What happened to you, Franco?”


I was shot by a man named Peter August. I fully expected to go to Hell for all the things I did when I was alive, but for some reason that never happened.”


So you came to Genoa City...to see me?”


Yeah, but it’s kinda weird. I should be in Port Charles haunting Liz and her family.”


You should probably go, Franco. They need you more than I do.”


Are you sure? I’m a pretty good listener... and an amazing visual artist.”


I’d love for you to stay, but you’re not real. We could never have an actual relationship.”


Why not? I think you’re great, and you like me, too.”


But I could never hold you...or kiss you.”


Actually, when I concentrate hard enough I can cause a mild breeze or move small objects.”


I have an idea,” said Victoria.


Victoria walked over to her closet and pulled out a male mannequin that was dressed in a white Newman polo shirt and beige chinos.  It was a leftover prop from a trade show. The form had short brown synthetic hair, painted blue eyes, and bright red lips. Victoria would often hug it when she was working late, and no one else was around. She stood it up against the wall behind her desk.


I saw something in a movie when I was a kid,” she remembered. “Can you try to move your spirit into the dummy?”


I don’t know. I haven’t been supernatural for very long.”


Just concentrate hard like you said. Then push yourself forward in the direction of the wall.”


Franco closed his eyes and concentrated until his ethereal head hurt. He held his hands against his temples and willed himself forward. His body started to move in the direction of the wall until he slammed face first into mannequin. He felt his body begin to solidify. Then the figure came to life.


Oh my God!” Franco exclaimed. “It actually worked.”


That’s awesome, as long as Franco doesn’t turn into Frankenstein.”


Don’t worry, Victoria. I’m not that monster anymore.”


Kiss me Franco.”


Victoria moved toward the animated mannequin and waited for Franco to respond. She touched his broad shoulders lightly. He actually felt human. She was in awe of the strange miracle that had just happened. He wrapped his arms around her, and they kissed for a very long time. When she pulled away from him, she felt the mannequin becoming stiff again. Franco’s ghost gradually left the figure, and it dropped sideways onto the floor.


Franco flew through the air until he landed on the couch in Victoria’s office. He assumed his old ethereal form, and his hazel eyes glowed brightly. Not a single hair on his head was out of place. He literally ghosted her.


I guess my work here is done,” he said.


How can I live without you now?” she asked.


Look out the window.”


Franco closed his eyes and concentrated deeply again. A bluebird flapped its wings and landed in a maple tree outside the window. It warbled softly as it nested.


Did you do that?” she asked him.


He nodded. She tried to hug him, but her arms passed right through him.


That’s your bluebird of happiness. Whenever you see it, that means I’m not far away.”


I don’t know about that.”


I’ll always be with you, Victoria.”


Be with me here...in my office?”


No," said Franco, as he pointed to the left side of his chest. "In your heart.” 


Franco’s ethereal form began to grow thinner. A minute later he disappeared completely. Victoria wasn’t sure what just happened. She pinched herself to see if she was dreaming, but she wasn’t. No one would ever believe it.


Victoria looked outside the window. The bluebird left its nest and circled through the air. She watched it fly away until it was just a small dot in the distance. The bird was gone, but she knew that someday, somehow... it would be back.

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Nothing is stronger than love

No wind, no rain, no hail

When it's sent from up above

True love will never fail

Though hate would threaten to split

This bond that people seem to share

This love will forever sit

In those dark shadows that lie there

Love can build a bridge in due time

It can move a mountain by a mile

Love can bring out kindness from crime

It can turn a frown into a smile

Strength is often measured by force

And wars are fought because of it

But love can be mighty of course 

As long as you refuse to quit

Patience, time and faith are needed

For love to find its way back

And when these few words are heeded

You will be on the right track

How on earth the world will go on

It what we often think of

But it will last well past the dawn

Nothing is stronger than love


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