Chapter 101

This entry is part 26 of 41 in the Mad World: Liberty

Hearts are worn in these dark ages
You’re not alone in this story’s pages
The light has fallen amongst the living and the dying
And I’ll try to hold it in, yeah, I’ll try to hold it in
The world’s on fire, it’s more than I can handle
Tap into the water, try to bring my share
Try to bring more, more than I can handle
Bring it to the table, bring what I am able

World on Fire, Sarah McLachlan

Thursday, April 8, 2004

 Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

“Thank you,” Carly told Jason as he let her into the penthouse. “For—for letting me do this here. I know you don’t want him here—”

“I need to make things clear to him,” Jason told her.  “You didn’t want to see him alone, and I know you don’t want to go back to the penthouse.” He paused.

“No, that’s definitely not in the cards.” Carly leaned against the desk. “How’s Cam? Do you guys have a date to bring him home yet?”

“Not yet, but the doctor said it might be in two or three weeks. Elizabeth is at the hospital with him now. He’s—” Jason grabbed a stack of photographs. “We’ve been taking pictures. I’m sorry you haven’t been able to meet him yet—”

“No, I get it. Parent and medical professionals only. And apparently board members,” she said dryly. She glanced through the photos and smiled at one of Jason holding Cameron. “Oh, man, look—he’s getting bigger.”

“Yeah, he hit five pounds yesterday.” Jason couldn’t stop himself from grinning again. He’d been there when Cameron had hit that milestone—that was huge. “His lungs are clear, and he’s regulating his own temperature. He just needs more time on the oxygen, and they want him to gain a few more ounces.” He saw her looking at a photograph of Monica and Cameron. “I’m sorry,” he said again.

“They work at the hospital. It’s just…” Carly ran her fingers over a photo of Cameron by himself in his crib. “He’s such a huge part of your life, Jason, you know? This is your baby. Your son. And I haven’t met him. I hate it. I hate that you didn’t get to bring him home yet—” She handed him the photos. “I hate everything Ric Lansing has done to us.”

Jason hesitated, then looked down at the photo —Elizabeth holding the baby, Cameron’s skin against hers, a blanket covering them both. “I do, too,” he admitted. “But—I also—I wouldn’t—”

Carly frowned slightly, looked down at the photo he was holding. “But maybe you wouldn’t have them if not for the panic room,” she murmured.

“Yeah. That sounds terrible,” Jason added quickly. “I’m sorry—”

“Don’t be. If not for me being kidnapped, she might still be married to Ric. You might have married Courtney. It’s not—” Carly forced a smile. “It’s not wrong to look for the silver lining, you know? I’m glad that you get to be happy. I’m working on it.”


“Maybe I would have stopped your wedding,” Carly offered. “I was thinking about it, you know? I wonder what would have happened if I had just, like, stood up and said, did anyone notice he’s totally miserable?” She shrugged. “We’ll never know.”

“No, but it might have been fun to watch.” Jason put an arm around Carly’s shoulders, hugged her lightly. He started to say something else, but then there was a knock on the door. “You ready?”

“No, but let’s get it over with.”

Carly straightened as Jason went to answer the door. Sonny stood there, Max behind him. His former friend had clearly been home and showered already. He was dressed in a suit, his hair slicked back—

Almost as if this was just another day.

“Jason.” Sonny cleared his throat, looked at Carly standing by the desk. “Can I come in?”

“Yeah.” Jason stepped back, let Sonny in while Max waited in the hall. He closed the door.

“I, uh—” Sonny studied the two of them. “I’m not really sure where to start. After you left last month—” He met Jason’s eyes. “Dr. Winters and I talked. I…didn’t want to go on medication, but she—she convinced me that maybe I needed it.”

“I’m glad,” Carly offered when Jason said nothing. “Really, Sonny. I’m glad that you’ve got a diagnosis and that you’re being treated. I hope you start to feel the difference.”

“Yeah, she said it might be another a week or two before I do. But I know you were both worried. And—Dr. Winters and I talked. About um—what you said. That I maybe I was using my illness as…” He squinted. “She called it a shield, I guess. To…stop from being held accountable.”

Carly traded a glance with Jason. “Okay,” she said slowly. “What do you think about that?”

“It’s, um, possible. I think.” Sonny scratched his chin. He looked over at the sofa, and his eyes darkened. “I don’t remember if—you said she was struggling to breathe.”

Jason’s voice was clipped. “Yeah. Her lungs were bleeding. She nearly choked on her own blood.”

Carly winced as Sonny closed his eyes. “I don’t remember. I’m sorry.” He turned to look at Jason. “You don’t have to believe me. Or accept that. Dr. Winters told me that Elizabeth nearly died at the hospital, but I don’t remember her being that sick—”

“Why does that matter?” Carly asked with a shake of her head. “It happened—”

“Because I think Jason’s right,” Sonny said slowly. “That some of the times I was angry with Elizabeth—that it wasn’t about my illness. And that day—I was so angry with her that I wasn’t even seeing her.”

“None of what’s happened is her fault,” Carly said flatly. “It’s not mine. And it’s not Jason’s.”

“No, it is my fault. At least some of it,” Jason said roughly. Sonny frowned at him, and Carly shook her head.


“Because I covered for you for years. And I convinced Carly that it was how it needed to be handled. The first time she saw you like that—she wanted to get you help. I said no. You didn’t want it, and I never thought it would get so bad. But I should have done something months ago. Years,” Jason corrected. “For that, Sonny, I am sorry. But I’m not apologizing for anything else.”

“No, I don’t—I get that. And I can—I’m working on accepting that,” Sonny admitted. “I, uh, I know things can’t go back—that I don’t have the right to ask for a second chance. But I still…” He swallowed hard, met Carly’s eyes. “I still want one.”

Carly was quiet for a long moment. Jason wasn’t sure if she’d be moved by his words, but Sonny’s attempt to shoulder some of the blame might have swayed her.

“I’m sorry,” Carly said finally. “I—I still want a divorce. I know you were sick, Sonny. But you were lucid some of the times you refused to listen to me. And you were lucid when you refused to ask for help. I will always love you, but you need to focus on yourself. I’m having Alexis file for divorce.” She paused, saw Jason brace himself. “I’ll be asking for full custody of Morgan and petitioning to revoke your adoption of Michael—”

“What the hell?” Sonny exploded. “You can’t take my boys!”

“Morgan does not know you, and I don’t trust you,” Carly said bluntly. “And Michael—” She traded a look with Jason before staring at her hands. “That’s not about you. At least not anymore.”

“What the hell does that mean—”

“It means that Michael isn’t going to be used by anyone ever again. I’m doing what I should have done from the start,” Carly replied. “I’m joining a petition with AJ to reinstate his parental rights—”

“AJ!”  Sonny hissed. “You can’t do this—”

“I’m doing it. And don’t look at Jason. This wasn’t his idea, and he’s not happy about it either—”

“I never said that,” Jason said, making a face.

“I did everything you wanted me to!” Sonny snarled. He jabbed a finger at her. “I got help, didn’t I? I’m taking the damn meds!”

“You were forced into this, Sonny. Kicking and screaming. Did you honestly think you could walk out of Ferncliffe and have everything go back to normal? Did you think I’d move back?”

Sonny fisted his hands at his side. “I didn’t think you’d steal my kids—”

“I begged for months,” Carly said softly. “I asked over and over and over for you to get help. To get better for them. I didn’t decide to do this overnight, Sonny, but once I got going, I couldn’t turn back.”

Sonny swung around to glare at Jason. “And you? You gonna stand here and let her take my boys?”

Jason shoved his hands in his pockets, offered Carly a long, irritated look that told her they’d be discussing this later, then met Sonny’s eyes. “It’s none of my business, and I’m staying out of it.”

“And the business?” Sonny bit out. “You shutting me out of that, too?”

Jason exhaled slowly. “The Zaccharas know you’re not stable. The men know it, too. They’re not going to follow you. It’s over, Sonny. I’m sorry. You’re not coming back.”

Sonny fisted his hands at his side, his face flushed. “You can’t keep me out of this—Ric Lansing is still out there—”

“He’s not.”

Sonny’s words stumbled to a stop as he stared at Jason. “You found him? Where the hell is he—”

“He went off the grid in November because Anthony Zacchara killed him.” Jason paused. “And then used sightings of him to agitate us. That’s why our guys kept getting all the sightings, and authorities never got a whiff of them. It’s why they started calling you, Sonny. They knew we were having problems internally. The last one? The one about Ric in New York? That never even came through the channels to us. Only you got that call.”

Sonny dipped his chin to his chest and was quiet. “Ric’s dead.”


“The Zaccharas were screwing with us.”


He lifted his chin now. “And what are we doing in retaliation?”

“Anthony’s son Johnny is under our control for the next six months. If the Zaccharas step out of line even a little, I told him I’d send their son back in a body bag.” Jason paused. “What I’ll actually do is eliminate Trevor and Anthony, but they don’t need to know that.”

Sonny made a face, then nodded again. “Okay. Yeah. I got it. Can’t really go all out with the kid in the hospital and me in the loony bin. Okay. Okay.” He paused. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t be part of the business—”

“The entire syndicate knows where you’ve spent the last month, Sonny. And so do our guys. They’re not going to follow you. I’m sorry. This is how it has to be.”

Sonny’s eyes darkened. “For now.”

“For good. I’m not doing this in another year—”

“That’s not up to you.”

Sonny stalked out, slamming the door behind him hard enough to shake the framed photos on Jason’s desk.

Kelly’s: Courtyard

“Thanks for helping me,” Georgie said as Dante lifted another table into place. “It feels like it took forever to get warm enough to open up the courtyard.”

“Yeah, spring definitely takes its time up here,” he said, unfolding a chair. “By this time in the city, we’re almost roasting.”

“Do you miss it?” Georgie smiled at a customer who passed them to head inside. “Being in New York, I mean.”

“Sometimes. I miss the Yankees. And the way something is always going on, but this isn’t too bad.”

“Really?” she lifted her brows, skeptical. “Port Charles?”

“There have been downsides,” Dante admitted with a pinched mouth, and she winced. “But it’s not like Bensonhurst would be much better.”

“Yeah, I guess not. It’s hard to be in the papers,” Georgie ventured. “When, um, Mac was getting all that press last year, reporters followed me and Maxie around.” She finished arranging the last set of chairs.

“Yeah, I saw that. They wrote some pretty mean things in the Sun.” Dante touched her arm as she started past him. “I’m sorry about that. You and Maxie didn’t deserve any of it. Mac should have done more to protect Brooke and the others, but you guys shouldn’t have been dragged through the mud because Mac told you to avoid the park.”

“I just wish we’d been nicer to Brooke. I think about it sometimes. If we’d tried harder—” Georgie took a deep breath. “It’s not our fault, but it feels like it. And maybe that’s why I took Mac’s side, you know. Because I didn’t want it to be his fault either.” She flushed. “It was, I know. But—”

“But even if he’d done everything right, they might not have caught Vinnie earlier. Yeah, I know. It’s okay, Georgie.”

“You don’t—I didn’t mean to bring any of this up. I’m sorry—”

“Don’t be. You and I don’t know each other that well,” Dante continued, “but Maxie’s a friend. I’m not sure how that happened—”

“No one ever is.” Georgie smiled. “Thanks.”

“Hey, awesome, the courtyard’s open!” Lulu was practicing bouncing as she and Dillon came in from the parking lot. Her bag was slung over her shoulder. “More tables, more tips!” She elbowed Dillon. “Get us a table, and then you can finish helping me with algebra. I’m gonna go in and grab something.” She stopped briefly to kiss Dante before disappearing into the diner.

Dillon scowled as Lulu headed inside, then focused on Dante and Georgie. “Hey.”

“Hey.” Dante folded his arms. “How’d she get you to help with her algebra? I got fired after she failed the last test.”

“I don’t know,” the younger man said darkly. “Witchcraft, maybe. Georgie—”

“Oh, no. Lulu is untutorable.” Georgie shook her head then went into the diner.

Dillon coughed uncomfortably as he sat down. “Uh, so you know, there’s, uh, no hard feelings or anything. With, uh, Lu. I mean, I hated you for a while back in December,” he added when Dante frowned at him. “But that’s just because I knew she was into you and felt guilty about it.”

“Listen, man—”

“No, no. Nothing happened. I know that. I gave Lu grief over it,” he continued, “but she’s not like that. You can trust her.” He cleared his throat. “Anyway. I hope it’s okay we’re, like, friends again.”

“Not up to me,” Dante told him as Lulu returned outside. “Why don’t you give up on algebra?” he asked her.

She rolled her eyes as she sat down. “I wish I could, but it’s remedial algebra. They won’t even let me take the regular math classes I need for my degree.”

“I’ll be right back,” Dillon told her, then went into the diner where Georgie was behind the counter.

“Oh, hey, did you guys want to order?” she asked as he approached her, smiling hesitantly. “I can—”

“No, no, I wanted to give them a minute, and I wanted to talk to you.” Dillon slid onto the stool. “Um, I feel like we’ve been really awkwardly trying to be friends again since last summer, but I just—” He exhaled slowly. “I don’t know. You were the first friend I made here, you know?”

“I’m sorry,” Georgie told him. “I wish I’d handled things better. I was just telling Dante that. I feel like I let Brooke down, but I didn’t know how to turn my back on Mac. I should have—”

“I get it. Family is family. And I was feeling protective of Ned and what he was dealing with. What we were all dealing with. We were all…” Dillon shook his head. “It’s been eight months. You know? Since that night at the movies.”

“Yeah. It feels like yesterday and a hundred years ago, all at the same time.” Georgie tapped her pencil against the order pad. “I have nightmares sometimes,” she admitted. “I keep going back to that night and reliving it, but like, from outside my body—”

“And you spend the entire nightmare screaming at yourself not to get into a stupid fight or to look around—” Dillon stared down at the counter. “I even see Brooke walking away, and I can’t make any of us look.”

“And what you and Kyle and Lucas went through—the interrogation and the—” Georgie swallowed hard. “For a long time, I was ashamed, Dillon, because I was glad—I was glad it wasn’t me. I thought it could have been if I’d run away instead—and then I was even angrier at myself when we read the transcripts—”

“He knew it was her,” Dillon murmured. “He might not have grabbed anyone else. It was about Brooke. He wanted it to be someone he knew.” His stomach rolled. “You don’t have to feel bad about that, Georgie.”

“I’ll regret for the rest of my life that I didn’t find a way to help Brooke or be a better friend. Or that I wasn’t better to you,” she added softly. “It feels like we should have figured it all out sooner.”

“Yeah, it’s something that’s gonna stay with me,” Dillon admitted. “And that’s why I knew I had to say something to you, Georgie. I should have months ago.” He got to his feet. “I just want it all to be okay again. Or as close as it can get.”

“Same.” Georgie smiled. “Thanks for coming in to say that. I wanted to, but I didn’t think—I don’t know, I felt like it needed to be you, you know? Like I didn’t have the right to bring it up again.”

“We’re good, Georgie. I promise. I better get out there before Lulu comes looking.” He offered her another grin then left the diner.

Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room

He knew he shouldn’t be drinking anymore. He’d even intended to have the mini bar dismantled as soon as he got out of Ferncliffe. Sonny had spent hours talking to his doctor, and she’d pointed out how often he talked about reaching for the bourbon—

None of that was on Sonny’s mind as he stalked across the living room, towards the bar. His hand was shaking as he shoved the glass top from the decanter and poured it into one of the tumblers that was always there. He dimly remembered sliding his arm across the bar that last night, hearing the glass shatter—

But maybe he was imagining it. Maybe it was like all those other times he’d destroyed it, thrown the glass and the liquor against a nearby wall. There was nothing nearly as satisfying as hearing glass break. Nothing felt more soothing—

Except the burn of the bourbon sliding down his throat. This felt like home, and later Sonny would think about why but now he just wanted to focus. He just wanted to think clearly.

And he needed the alcohol to feel like himself again. He needed to be Sonny Corinthos. He needed to get the control back.

No one stole from Sonny Corinthos. No one threatened him or locked him up or put him in the dark. He’d scraped, dragged, killed, and stolen to get the power.

There was a light knock on the door and Max opened it gingerly. “Uh, hey, Mr. C.” He cleared his throat. “You wanted to see Ms. Baines?”

“Yeah.” Sonny tossed back the last of the alcohol and turned as his lawyer came in, nervous, her dark eyes darting back and forth. He waited until Max had closed the door. “You got my message.”

“Ah, yes, but Mr. Corinthos—” Jordan hesitated. “Are you sure you don’t want more time to get settled—”

“Are you going to do it or do I have to find someone else?” Sonny demanded. “I gave you everything you needed while I was in the hospital.”

“I just—”

“Then get it done.” Sonny poured himself another glass, already feeling more at ease. More himself. “Because if she thinks she’s going to take my boys from me, I’m going to make her sorry she was born.”

Lucky & Kelsey’s Apartment: Living Room

Lucky winced as he hung up his jacket and joined Kelsey on the sofa. “I’ll be glad when I’m done with therapy and off desk duty. The trainer is gonna kill me—”

“He needs to make sure you’re fit to be back on the street.” Kelsey swept her eyes over him dubiously. “The bullet nicked your lung, Lucky. You might have mostly bounced back, but it’s gonna take time—”

“I hate sitting on the desk.” He peered over her shoulder, then frowned as he recognized the file she was working with. “I thought you put your dad’s file back in the archives.”

“I did.” Kelsey ran her fingers over the police report. “But I went back and got it last week. I know my mother is right,” she continued as she turned on the sofa to face him. “I know it’s horrible to put her through it, especially since it’s not likely to do anything. The cop who covered this up is gone, but—”

“But?” Lucky prompted when she stopped talking. “Kelse?”

“But Mom is still scared. And she knows who sent her running. Doesn’t that sound like the guy is still around? Didn’t you say a lot of Frank Smith’s men are still working with Sonny?”

“Uh, yeah. I know Dad was using a lot of those old connections when he was helping with Carly’s thing.” Lucky frowned. “One of the big guys is still around—Tommy, I think his name was. I don’t remember his last name. But he and Dad were friends back in the day. You think your dad’s killer is working for Sonny?”

“Maybe. I don’t know. It just—I get that Mom is scared, but I keep going over these reports—” Kelsey tapped her pen against the paper. “I want to pull more of David Case’s files. I think there’s a chance that could tell us who he was working for. This can’t be the only thing he ever covered up. It was too quick, too simple. He had to have the connections in place already.”

“Yeah, that makes sense. He had the coroner signing off by the time your mom was notified.” Lucky paused. “Let me talk to my dad before we do that, though. You start pulling cases like that, it’ll get noticed. Maybe he can point us in a better direction or at least help us focus. If we start pulling files, especially after everything that happened with Capelli, Anna is going to notice.” He paused. “Are you sure you want to go down this road? Your mom was right. Once we do this, we can’t unring the bell.”

“I want to know who my father was,” Kelsey murmured. “And he deserves a measure of justice no matter what. We might not close it, but Dad shouldn’t be forgotten. Not like this.”

General Hospital: NICU

Elizabeth smiled as Jason entered Cameron’s room. “Hey. I was wondering if you’d be here in time for his thirty minutes.” He leaned over and kissed her softly.

“Sorry, I got held up.” Elizabeth handed him Cameron, and they reversed so that he was sitting with the baby in his arms. “Was the doctor here?”

“Yeah.” Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “Cam still needs to be on oxygen for another week, maybe even two, he thinks. So we can’t take him at least until then.”

Jason readjusted the blanket around the baby, then frowned at her. “Isn’t that what we thought?”

“I know.” Elizabeth sat in the other chair in the room and made a face. “I guess I was hoping for better news. I’m glad he’s improving—I just—” She looked around the room. “I know how lucky we are that Cam’s healthy and that we get to have all this time with him—”

“You just want to be home with him,” Jason finished. “I know. I do, too.”

“How was Sonny today?” she asked.

Jason hesitated, shifted Cameron against his chest to change his grip. “He said he’s starting medication.”

“Oh. Well, that’s good, right?”

“He said it’ll be another week before he’s supposed to feel a difference, but I don’t see one yet.” He paused. “He asked for another chance.”

“Another chance?” Elizabeth folded her arms. “Like—with Carly? Or—”

“The divorce and the business. We said no.” Jason met her eyes. “He seemed sorry about what happened with you, but it’s not enough. Carly isn’t changing her mind about the divorce. And I’m not putting anything else on the table.”

“Does he know what happened with Ric? With the Zaccharas?”

“I told him today. He seemed to take it all right, but we’ll see. There’s some other stuff with the divorce, but I need to talk to Carly first about it.” He waited a minute, but Elizabeth didn’t say anything. She didn’t know what to say. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” She bit her lip. “Yeah,” she repeated. “I’m nervous about being across the hall from him, especially with Cameron coming home. But I also know that he’s a big part of your life, Jason, and I hope that he’s doing better. I want him to be better.”

“He’s not—things won’t be like before. I’m not even sure how I feel about Sonny right now.”

“Right now, knowing that Ric is dead—it gives us room to breathe, you know? I’m not at death’s door,” she continued, “and Cameron is here. He’s healthy. I just told Emily earlier today—I’m okay with giving Sonny a chance to get better. Whatever you ultimately do about him in the business—that’s your decision. I’m talking about personally. The friendship. He was your family, Jason. And if that’s something you want to fix—I’m okay with that. I want to do what’s right for you.”

“I don’t know if we can get that back, but I—” He met her eyes, held them. “Our family is what matters right now.”

“Okay. Then that’s what we’ll focus on.”

Brownstone: Living Room

Carly bounced Morgan on her hip as she stepped aside to let Alexis in. “Hey. Sorry about asking to meet here.”

“No, it’s fine.” Alexis followed Carly into the kitchen, where the other woman set the baby into the high chair. “How was it this morning? With Sonny, I mean.”

“Not great. I told him about AJ,” she replied. “But—”

“That’s why I wanted to meet with you.” Alexis paused. “Jordan Baines filed a response petition in family court, and he’s filed for divorce first. Sonny is counter suing you for complete custody of the boys, and he’s arguing an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.”

“What? He filed?” Carly’s eyes bulged. “He was just released a few hours ago—”

“I imagine his new attorney saw him in Ferncliffe. He has several legal situations he needs to sort out. The assault charges against Taggert, against Ned, and of course, this situation.” Alexis drew out the papers. “Jordan put together a list of your greatest hits.” Alexis set down another stack of papers. “I have copies for you to review.”

“He didn’t tell me he’d already planned to file—”

“He filed these both after your meeting, and we were served about an hour ago.” Alexis paused. “He waited to see what would happen with you and Jason, then acted.”

“So he had these ready.” Carly reached for the custody paperwork first. “An unfit mother,” she murmured. “That’s in the first paragraph.”

“He talks about his own knowledge of your past. Your affair with Tony, the lies you told him. What happened with AJ from Sonny’s point of view, and he claims you sent Sonny to get AJ to terminate his rights.” Alexis tipped her head. “He’s blaming the meat hook on you. It was your idea.”

Carly closed her eyes. “I did want AJ out of our lives,” she admitted. “And I told Sonny to get it done. I didn’t want violence, but maybe I knew he’d do it anyway.” She sighed. “It could have been worse—”

“And it is,” Alexis said gently. “He brings up your abandonment of Michael after he was born and claims you admitted to defrauding the court to get a lighter sentence after shooting Tony. As well as the false charges you almost filed against Jason for kidnapping.”

Carly’s throat tightened. “But I didn’t go through with it—”

“In a custody filing, all of that is admissible. And the court can subpoena Jason to testify.” Alexis waited as Carly continued to skim the papers. “Carly, it’s nothing we didn’t expect. We knew that if we went hard in our petition, which we did even if he doesn’t know it yet, Sonny would hit back.”

She knew Alexis had a point, but, oh, God, it stung to see her worst crimes listed here as a reason not to be a mother. All the things she’d believed about herself growing up—all the things she knew to be true — she hadn’t done that to him. She hadn’t dragged Sonny through the mud. She’d kept to the recent history. Sonny’s mental health struggles and the incident in December.

Was it taking back the adoption? Going to AJ? No, it couldn’t be.  He hadn’t known any about any of that yet.

He’d put this together, then asked her for another chance. Had he even meant it? Had he truly wanted a fresh start? Tears stung her eyes.

“If you decide to continue with the revocation,” Alexis began, and Carly looked back at her. “We have options. Much of what Sonny knows — he knows because of Jason. Jason would have to testify. He could refuse.”

“We need him,” Carly said after a long moment. “Jason has first-hand knowledge of more than I do. And he was there in December. He corroborates it.”

“Jason isn’t the only person we can call on for that. Elizabeth, I’m sure, would put her weight behind you. And so would Bobbie. They’re well respected. Justus was there that night, and it wouldn’t be protected by the attorney-client privilege.”

Carly’s fingers trembled. “This is everything he knows about me. And I can’t imagine the divorce papers paint me in a better light.”

“No, they don’t. He blames you for the breakdown of the marriage. You left on both occasions and refused to return. He claims you blocked him from communicating to repair the marriage and from his children. And that, he claims, is your ultimate aim.”

Carly frowned. “I don’t understand.”

“The petition insinuates that you go from man to man, looking for a meal ticket,” Alexis said, shifting. “And when you’re done with him, you block him from any child created. You’ve done it with AJ, and you’re attempting to do it with him. He says it’s a pattern of you using and deceiving people.”

The weight of that statement slammed into her, and for a moment, Carly couldn’t speak. “I can’t—we can’t defend against that, can we? Because it happened with AJ—”

“It did. But AJ can testify to his alcoholism—”

“No. No.” Carly closed her eyes. “No. It’s not fair to use that against him. It’s not why. It’s not why I shut him out. I did it because I wanted Michael to myself. I was selfish. And I’m trying to fix that now. Won’t that make a difference?”

“It might. It should,” Alexis added. “Having AJ join our petition and petition for his rights will take a lot of the sting out of that.”

“So what do I do?”

“It depends on what you want, Carly. Is there a chance that Sonny’s recovery could make a difference in custody?” Alexis asked. “Because he might be more open if you backed off complete custody—”

“That’s not an option. Not with Michael, at least.” Carly stared back down at the divorce petition. “Can we win?” she asked softly. “If we go into court, and Sonny argues all of this, and Jason has to testify against both of us. Could I still win?”

Alexis leaned back. “You mean, even after Sonny drags you and up down that courtroom? Yes, I think you can, Carly. You have a documented medical history and plenty of witnesses to the behavior of the last year. Whatever Sonny feels about your history, I can make an argument that none of it matters prior to June 2003. He knew all of that and still married you. He renewed those vows on at least two occasions. Sonny isn’t innocent, and he brings it up to scare you. To intimidate you.” She leaned forward. “Kevin Collins can testify that you were suffering from Acute Stress Disorder and that it was exacerbated because of what Sonny did to you in December.”

“That’s all good, I guess—”

“I’m not finished.” Alexis held up a hand. “We also have several witnesses to Sonny losing control in front of Michael. Sonny is on record breaking into the Brownstone and assaulting a police officer, as well as your brother’s boyfriend. He also assaulted Ned while trying to get to me — and I’m your divorce attorney. He knew that. He went after me not just because of Kristina — but because he assumed you knew all along about her.”

“I suspected,” Carly murmured, “but once he decided to believe you, I decided my obligation was at an end.”

“I can win the case, Carly. You’re not asking for a large financial settlement for yourself, only ownership of the club. You’re not asking for a great deal of child support for Morgan, and you’ve asked for nothing regarding Michael. You’ve also acknowledged your mistakes with AJ, and you’re seeking to correct them. All of that weighs favorably. Sonny is going to have to put you on trial to drag you through the mud after you were kidnapped and traumatized because of his half-brother.” Alexis’s eyes lit with a martial light. “You were right to ask me to do this. He’s not the man that either of us thought he was, and I don’t know if medication or therapy can ever make this better.”

“He filed all of this after Jason and I made it clear we weren’t going back to how things were.” Carly slid the papers over to Alexis. “You and I both know I kept things out of that petition that could have sunk him legally in so many ways. I did it because it wasn’t part of the story. Because it didn’t matter. He wanted to hurt me. He wanted to scare me. Just like Ric did.” She shook her head. “I won’t ever be able to face Ric Lansing and make him pay, but I’ll be damned if Sonny gets away with doing this to me. I want to be done with Sonny Corinthos. Permanently.”

Miami, Florida: Cafe de Lune

Claudia slid into the seat across from the dark-haired man with the sour expression and lifted the tequila she’d brought over from the bar. “You’re a hard man to get a hold of.”

Zander Smith just lifted a brow and leaned back, the sourness fading into a smirk. “Not really. You just have to know how to ask nicely.” He took a long swig from his beer. “Javi said you were willing to pay for some information.”

“I am.” Claudia leaned forward, her eyes dancing. “And if it’s good information, I’m open to bonuses.”

Zander set the bottle down, then folded his arms on the table, leaning in as well. “So, ask your questions.”

“Corinthos and Morgan. The organization is in chaos, but it’s hard to know who to approach to get on the inside.”

Zander’s smirk faded. “Corinthos and Morgan,” he muttered. “Fucking assholes chased me out of the business, and then his sister used me like a toy. Yeah, you can barely chip at that inner circle, and believe me, there’s resentment because of it. Most just aren’t irritated enough to do anything about it.”

“And the others?”

Zander hesitated. “Some of my names are going to be out of date,” he warned her, “and I worked mostly at the warehouse. I know some of the security guys who might still be around. Francis Corelli runs that arm of the business, and it’s hard to move up. Most wanna guard the big guys, but Sonny and Jason tend to use the same guards, which makes it almost impossible to get anywhere.”


“So, you wanna check on Mikey Balenciaga, Chuck Ulhendorg, and, uh—” Zander squinted. “Richie Kraemer. They made a lot of noise about not being asked to do more when the Sorel crap was going on, and I know Richie was pissed when Marco was pulled for penthouse duty. Me and Elizabeth were staying with Jason for a few weeks, so they needed guards. Marco got put on the door and given the cushy job of following her around. A lot of them thought Elizabeth was gonna stick, so getting the job on her was a big deal.”

“Thanks.” Claudia dropped a few bills on the table. “Any of those names checks out, I’ll let you know. If you think of others, have Javi get in touch.”


  • Zander!

    According to Michelle on July 23, 2022
  • Why Zander can’t die. Sonny needs a reality check that everything would have gone back to being the same. thanks for the update.

    According to Shelly Wendy Samuel on July 23, 2022
  • Whoa, Sonny is going for the jugular. I would sort of understand if he was doing this after he met with Carly and Jason but he already has the ground work started, so this was completely premeditated and I hope he loses. Any empathy I had just jumped out the window. I am also not so sure Cam and Elizabeth should be living in that penthouse. The young adults as always are great. I’m not sure Kelsey wants to dig any further. Loved the Liason and baby makes three scene. Zander is going to be trouble. Great chapter.

    According to nanci on July 23, 2022
  • There’s so much going on. Claudia is going to be a big problem. So Zander is back. I feel for Carly but I’m confident Alexis can win. I don’t know how much more I can take. Sonny, Ric and Claudia are gunning for Jason and he doesn’t have a clue and is so worried about his family.

    According to arcoiris0502 on July 24, 2022
  • wow Zander a character I never liked now hook him to Claudia and JM better wake up and smell the coffee.
    Sonny is an ass, as usual
    loved the baby scenes
    I actually like Lulu in this as well as the others in her age group.
    I’m afraid of what Kelsey is going to find but I still lean towards Sonny and it would be a great way to handle him.

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on July 25, 2022
  • Can Zander, Ric and Sonny take each other out. I loved Jason and Elizabeth getting time to spend with Cameron. It won’t take long for Sonny to lose his mind again if he goes off his medication.

    According to Carla P on July 25, 2022
  • Zander! Did not see that coming! I really don’t want Jason to be blindsided by Ric. Was hoping Johnny knew and would tell him!

    According to GoldenGirl on July 28, 2022