Chapter Seventeen

November 25, 2003

Carly’s House

“Wow…you guys call that a mall?” Sage laughed as she pulled off her coat and hung it on the coat rack.

Lucas rolled his eyes. “Sorry, Miss European Debutante,” he teased. “But we country folks don’t need eight different types of the same store.”

“Yeah, okay,” Sage hung her scarf up and brushed some snowflakes from the front of her clothes.

“You got some in your hair,” Lucas told her, bringing a hand up to brush them out of her dark tresses.

“I still think you should have let me make that snow angel,” Sage complained. “I’ve never made one of those before.”

Lucas rolled his eyes and brushed his fingertips over her eyelashes where there were a few more flakes. Her eyes fluttered shut and she smiled. “There’s not enough snow on the ground. Wait until Christmas time. You’ll drown in the amount of snow we get here.”

“And then you’ll let me make snow angels?”

“I’ll make them with you if you want,” Lucas replied. She opened her eyes and met his warm brown ones. “I had a good time today, Sage.”

“I did, too.” She hesitated. “I’m glad…you came by yesterday.”

“Me, too.” Lucas cleared his throat and stepped back from her. “Do–do you need a ride to school tomorrow?”

“Sage? Is that you?”

Her uncle’s voice from the kitchen made her blink and turn. When she saw Lorenzo standing in the doorway, she squealed and took off running, throwing herself in his arms. “Uncle Zo!”

“Hey, you’re late,” Lorenzo said, hugging her back. “Carly already left for her appointment.”

“Oh…I completely forgot about that. I was supposed to baby-sit the boys.” Sage pulled away and tugged her uncle over to Lucas. “Uncle Zo, this is Lucas Jones. Lucas, this is my uncle, Lorenzo Alcazar.”

Lucas nodded stiffly, didn’t offer his hand. The memory of being shoved to the ground while two men who worked for Luis Alcazar grabbed his cousins was all too vivid in his mind.

“Lucas,” Lorenzo said politely. He put a hand on Sage’s shoulder. “I guess you two have made up. Carly said that yesterday was a bit rough.”

“He apologized, it’s all fine,” Sage assured him. “Anyway, I though you were supposed to be gone all week!”

“I finished my work more quickly than I had expected.”

There was a moment of awkward silence then. Lucas shuffled his feet. “I should go,” he told Sage. “Did you need a ride tomorrow?”

She opened her mouth to accept but her uncle answered instead. “Sage will have a driver from now.”

“Uncle Zo,” Sage complained.

“Okay, well then I’ll just see you tomorrow.” Not waiting for anything more, Lucas turned and left.

Sage socked her uncle in the arm. “I don’t want a driver!” she complained. “And why did you have to be so mean to him?”

“I was under the impression that he’d been rather cruel to you yesterday,” Lorenzo replied.

“Yes, but he apologized and he’s been really nice to me and I really like him and you chased him off.” She slugged him again. “Don’t be such a jerk all the time.”

“Sage?” Michael’s voice called from the kitchen. The little redheaded boy appeared in the doorway.

“Hey, champ,” Sage greeted affectionately. She walked towards him and tousled his hair. “How was school?”

“Fine. Why are you yelling at your uncle?”

“Because he’s a geek,” Sage said crossly. She poured herself some milk and then stopped as a horrible thought occurred to her. “We…we’re going home tonight aren’t we?” she asked.

“Well…you do live with me, to Carly. You knew this would be temporary.” Lorenzo sat down at the table.

“Well…yeah. But you were supposed to be gone a whole week,” Sage sighed. She sank into a chair across from him.

“I don’t want you to leave!” Michael said crossly. “Everyone’s always leavin’ me. My daddy left, Courtney left, Brian left and Uncle Jase never comes around no more. Why do ya gotta go?”

“Because I live with my uncle and we don’t live here.” Sage propped her chin on her hand. “But I’ll come by and visit you guys. Plus, my uncle’s a guy and they’re idiots. I need to talk to Carly.”

Lorenzo scowled. “That’s not very nice.”

“Well neither is being a jerk to the only person in my school that’s talking to me,” Sage said, irritated. “I don’t want a driver. I want to be normal, Uncle Lorenzo.”

“I like my mommy driving me to school too,” Michael said firmly. He bit into his peanut butter and banana sandwich. “Much better than Max or Leticia. Even if she does go too fast.”

“Sage, it’s all well and good to be want to be normal but there are still some precautions that need to be taken. If you want to be in Port Charles with me, I want you to be safe.”

“Look, the only person in this town you need to worry about is Jason,” Sage told him. “And I really don’t think he’s the type to go after kids. I mean–he’s got one on the way after all. You think he’s gonna hurt me?”

“My Uncle Jase don’t hurt no one!” Michael argued. His brow furrowed. “What’s one on the way mean?”

“It means that your uncle is going to be a father,” Lorenzo said absently as he considered Sage’s words. “There is still Faith Roscoe,” he reminded her.

“Faith is all talk. I can handle her.”

“But doesn’t Uncle Jase need someone to carry the baby?” Michael asked. His eyes brightened. “Aunt Courtney’s having a baby?”

Sage bit her lip and looked at her uncle with some guilt. “Oops.”

“Oops what?” Michael asked.

“Uh…you know what, Michael? Why don’t you talk to your uncle about that?” Sage said helpfully, not wanting to have to explain to the little boy about men and women, sex appeal and good old-fashioned adultery.

Elevator

“Carly…” Jason sighed and shook his head. “I don’t have the time for this conversation.”

“You don’t have the time for a simple yes or no?” Carly asked, her eyebrows raised.

“I’m married,” Jason said defensively.

“Uh huh.”

She’s married.”

“Yeah…still not the answer I’m looking for.”

“Well…so it doesn’t matter,” Jason said, his eyes trained on the descending numbers of the elevator.

“I remember when I was first encouraging you to be with Courtney. I asked if you were holding back because of Elizabeth–if you were still hung up on her.” Carly shoved her hands into her coat pockets. “And you told me that it was over, that it hadn’t really started.”

“Yeah, so?”

“So that wasn’t answering the question and neither does ‘I’m married’ or ‘she’s married.’ You’re both getting divorced. So, come on Mr. I Don’t Lie, I Omit…answer the question.”

“I…it’s complicated.”

Thankfully, the doors opened and he entered the parking garage. Narrowing her eyes, Carly moved after him. “Look…this is just between us. I told you that I was going to give you my unconditional support in this. That I wasn’t going to take sides–”

“Carly–” Jason stopped at their car and sighed. “That’s not what this is about.”

“Oh…okay, so let’s try something more simple. Why’d you kiss her?” Carly challenged. She put her hands on her hips. “You were engaged and I know that you love Courtney. So why did you kiss someone you told me you were over?”

“I–I told you that already.”

“No, you stated the facts. You walked her to her door, you helped her get the key in the lock, you kissed her, you had sex–more than once. You agreed it was a mistake. And end of the story.”

“Right.”

“Yeah, okay. So…why you’d kiss her? Why didn’t you stop it? Why did you do it more than once? Why was it a mistake?” Carly pressed. She took the keys from him. “We’re not leaving here until you start talking. Because the sooner you face your own reasons, the better off everyone involved will be.”

Wyndemere

“Hey,” Nikolas kissed Elizabeth on the cheek before turning to his brother. “Everything stored at the house?”

“Yeah, Dad says Elizabeth can use the basement as long as she wants.” Lucky grinned. “Says she can have the house if she’ll promise to baby-sit Lulu.”

“The studio’s clean and I cancelled my lease,” Elizabeth sighed. “Where’s Emily?”

“She met her mother for lunch at the hospital. How about an apartment? Did you find something?”

“Yeah, an insanely huge apartment that’s like the size of Jason’s penthouse if it were on one floor,” Elizabeth muttered. She sat on the arm of the couch. “Two bedrooms, an area for the studio, kitchen, two baths–way too much.”

“She showed me the apartment–it’s perfect,” Lucky said. “It’s a few blocks from where the studio was, but in a better apartment. It’s a few minutes from everywhere she needs to be. From Kelly’s, the docks, the hospital, from the station–from Jason.”

“Yeah, so as soon as Jason gets the papers signed, I’m moving in,” Elizabeth sighed. “I’ll have to get Emily to hit some thrift stores with me to furnish it.”

Nikolas frowned. “Somehow I doubt that’s because Jason isn’t going to give you enough money to buy new furniture.”

“I’m kind of tired,” Elizabeth said, trying to avoid another argument. “I’m gonna go take a nap.”

When she was gone from the room, Lucky rolled his eyes. “It makes me want to lock her in a room for like a week. She’s insane. She refused to throw out that horrible couch in her studio.”

“She thinks she’s going to move it to the new place?” Nikolas asked surprised. “It was like five minutes from falling apart.”

“Yeah, I know. So I’m gonna arrange for it to have an accident,” Lucky joked. He sighed. “Anyway, I’m doing the night shift tonight so I’d better go. See ya.”

Parking Garage

“Carly, I have a meeting six–”

“If the answer was no, you would have said so,” Carly interrupted. “So that means the answer is yes.”

“It’s complicated,” Jason repeated.

“Yes, the situation is very complicated,” Carly agreed. She tucked her hair behind her ears. “You are both married–Courtney is devastated, Ric is a psycho, she’s pregnant and I bet the miscarriage is causing Dr. Meadows to put Elizabeth in the high-risk category. Plus, you’ve got Sonny, the media, the trial and not to mention. I get that this is a complicated situation. But the only thing that isn’tcomplicated is how you feel.” Carly took a step towards him. “You’ve never said it out loud, have you?”

He hesitated. “I’m married.”

“We’ve covered that.”

“Courtney and I have been together for a year–”

“You were involved with Elizabeth for three years before Sonny faked his death.” Carly crossed her arm. “Jason, stop avoiding this. There is nothing wrong with it. You won’t be admitting anything I sure as hell don’t know. Because you would have just denied it if you weren’t in love with her.”

Agitated, Jason reached for the keys but she kept them out of his grasp. “What do you want me to say? That yes, I’m in love with her? That the night we were together, it wasn’t sex?” he demanded.

“For starters, yeah. Don’t worry about saying what’s right–doing the right thing. We have all been doing that for the last year–you’ve been doing what you think is right by Courtney and I have been doing it for Sonny. Well it stops now,” Carly declared. “I am not just Sonny’s wife, I am my own person and you are not just Courtney’s boyfriend, husband, fiancé, whatever. You are more than your job and it’s time you started living that way.”

Jason sighed and leaned against the car. “How did we ever get to this place, Carly?” he asked resigned. “I mean…how was I supposed to know that agreeing to fake Sonny’s death would get me to this place?”

“We make the best decisions possible but sometimes they’re wrong. The more wrong they are, the more your life spirals out of control,” Carly sighed. She touched his arm. “Jason, it’s okay. I know that you love Courtney…”

“I do,” Jason said firmly. “I do love her but…” he shook his head. “Elizabeth’s…she’s in me. I spent so much time…thinking about her…wanting to be with her that when…that when it seemed possible I didn’t…it was yanked from me, you know? She just walked out of the penthouse that night and that was it. She wouldn’t listen to me, she wouldn’t let me explain. She just walked away.”

“She was upset,” Carly said softly. “When the whole charade was going on, she was stuck in the penthouse with only Zander for company. She tried to keep busy–kept cleaning my penthouse–making me dinner, making me brownies. She must have cleaned your place a dozen times. She was drowning over there and I didn’t do anything to fix it. I should–Sonny be damned, I should have told her what was going on.”

I should have told her,” Jason corrected. “If you could be let in on the secret, there was no reason she couldn’t. But I didn’t. And I couldn’t lie to her face. So I just…stayed away. I thought she’d understand but I know I was asking the impossible now. And…I don’t blame her for leaving.”

“But you do blame her for never coming back,” Carly said slowly.

“Yes. If I meant to her as much as she means to me…how could she just say it was over?”

“So…Courtney was a rebound at first, huh?” Carly said.

“Maybe…I don’t know. She kissed me…two weeks after Elizabeth left and that didn’t even faze me because I couldn’t…I couldn’t concentrate on anything except how empty the penthouse was or every time I went into Kelly’s…how she wouldn’t look at me.”

“There’s nothing wrong with a rebound relationship,” she assured him. “It’s natural sometimes. It doesn’t mean you don’t love the person you were with before. But sometimes…sometimes the pain and the emptiness is too much and you want to fill it–to forget it.”

“I…I had thought about ending things with Courtney almost from the time it started,” Jason admitted. “For the first few month or so…it felt wrong. Because she wasn’t…she wasn’t Elizabeth. But things just spiraled out of control. With the trial and Ric showing up in town–” he shook his head. “After Elizabeth found out–she was so angry with both of us, I saw how much I’d hurt her and I decided…it had to be over. And Courtney asked me that night if I had been in love with Elizabeth.”

“And you told her no,” Carly said softly. “You lied.”

“No, no…I didn’t lie,” Jason protested. “She asked me if I had been in love with her–past tense. And I hadn’t been in love with her. I was–I was still in love with her.” He exhaled slowly. “It wasn’t a lie.”

“You omitted the truth,” Carly nodded. She smiled and shook her head. “You and your technicalities.”

“It doesn’t matter any more, Carly. How I feel–what I felt then–none of that matters anymore. Elizabeth moved on. She got married–she loved Ric. It’s over.”

“Seems to me that even if you kissed her first–that she kissed you back.” Carly folded her arms. “She could have said no. She didn’t. Maybe it’s time you asked her why.”

Corinthos Penthouse

Sonny came down the stairs, freshly showered and shaved. He’d spent most of the previous afternoon in a drunken stupor but he had things to do. He had to get his life back.

He’d decided that he’d buy the jury. He’d get acquitted on his mental defect defense. He’d take back the business, he’d take back his family.

It would all be okay. He could do it. He was Sonny Corinthos after all.

The red light on his answering machine was flashing. He pressed the button.

“Sonny, it’s Courtney. I…I know that you know about Jason and Elizabeth. I wanted you to know that I’m…I’m okay. I’m back in Haye’s Landing. I’ll be back for your trial, I promise. I just need this time. I’ve talked to Jason a-and I’m filing for divorce. It’s not just about this, so please don’t be mad at him. He–he was wrong but I was wrong too. I love you, Sonny. I’m so glad you’ve decided to get help. It means the world to me. Goodbye.”

Sonny’s eyes focused on a family picture taken after Carly had returned from her hellish summer of capitivity. She had been heavily pregnant but was still cuddling Michael as close as she could. Sonny had his arm slung around her shoulder and his face next to hers.

Courtney had taken the shot. He remembered that much. He’d lost his family once. Nearly for good.

He wouldn’t lose them again.

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