It’s the story of your life
You’re tearing out the page
New chapter underway
The story of your life
You live it everyday
You can run, you run
But you won’t get away
I don’t know what’s coming up
Where will you go now
It’s the story of your life
– Story of Your Life, Five for Fighting
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Port Charles Courthouse: Family Court B
When the end came, it was anti-climatic, really. Just a stamp on a piece of paper and an order granted. Carly Corinthos became Carly Benson, and Sonny Corinthos was no longer Michael’s legal father. Carly stared down at the white paper and black text, a bit mystified at how it all had ended with a whimper.
“You know he’ll drop one of the last names,” Lucas told her as Carly blinked at him. “Michael Alan Benson-Quartermaine. He’ll decide the Q name is more useful, and it’ll be done—”
“But it’ll be his choice.” Carly looked over at AJ, standing with his grandfather and parents, grinning. He had every right to look like he’d scored a victory. Sonny was gone, and Michael was back in the Quartermaine fold. Not officially. That would still take time. Carly had put her son back into therapy—family counseling this time, and they were reintroducing AJ slowly.
She’d fought so long for her idea what Michael’s family should look like, it seemed so strange to be done with it.
“I didn’t expect it to go through so fast,” Carly murmured. “But Sonny—” He’d dropped all opposition to her divorce and custody demands and had relinquished his rights to Michael and Morgan.
A man on his way to prison didn’t have much to fight for, he’d told her with those sad eyes the last time she’d met with him, and he’d signed over most of his property to hold in trust for Morgan.
“Are you okay?” Lucas asked. She sighed, then shook her head.
“What does that even feel like?” she murmured. She tucked the paperwork into her bag. “Thanks for being here today. I know it was just a formality—” Carly bit her lip. “I’m just glad I wasn’t alone.” She looked over at AJ, surrounded by his family, then back at her brother. “I know I’ll never be your favorite person, but you’ve been so good to my boys. They’re lucky to have you.”
“They’re pretty cool kids.” Lucas shoved his hands in his pockets. “You can’t choose who you’re related to,” he told her. “My mom adopted me and that made us siblings. I didn’t always like that—”
“And I didn’t always care,” she offered with a half-smile.
“But it’s different now. You’re not the older sister I wanted,” he continued. “That’ll always be BJ. But you’re the older sister I have, and I’m cool with that.” Lucas tipped his head towards the door. “You wanna grab lunch? Felix is meeting me at Kelly’s.”
“Yeah. Yeah, I think I would. Let me just go talk to AJ about our next appointment with the counselor.” Carly took a deep breath and crossed the room, prepared to responsibly co-parent with her first ex-husband.
Friday, June 11, 2004
Morgan Penthouse: Master Bedroom
Jason grimaced in front of the mirror, then unwound his tie to begin again. “If you give me a minute,” Elizabeth called from the bathroom, “I can help—”
“I’ve got it.” Jason tightened the knot, then went over to pick Cameron up from his bassinet, remembering almost at the last minute to grab a spit blanket. “You don’t have to go—”
Elizabeth fastened her bra, then reached for the dress on the hanger behind her. “No, but I want to.” She tugged it over her head, then scooped her hair out of the collar. “And Sonny should have people there, I guess.”
Especially since she knew the Spencers were going and would be sitting on the prosecution side. The whole room would be filled with media and gawkers ready to see the infamous Sonny Corinthos go down for murder.
“The papers will print anything they want. I’m going to support you, and it’s not like you’re paying for some legal team to get Sonny off the hook.” She pressed her lips to Cameron’s head, then stretched up to kiss Jason. “It’s a sentencing. It’s done. And it’s the last time Sonny will be free for a long time. We both know how hard this will be for him.”
“He just gave up,” Jason said. He leaned against the door frame. “He wouldn’t let Justus argue to throw out the confession. He completely caved on the divorce and gave up the kids. He barely agreed to let Justus plea it down to fifteen years.” He exhaled slowly. “He gave up,” he repeated.
Elizabeth studied him for a long moment and thought about how this conversation would sound to someone who didn’t know Jason, hadn’t considered Sonny a friend. To the rest of the world, Sonny had murdered a man in cold blood to cover up the drugging of a young girl he’d been sleeping with.
But that was a version of Sonny they’d never known. It hadn’t been the man who’d held out a hand to Jason, struggling and lost after the accident had stolen his life. Or offered compassion to a young girl broken from the grief of her first love.
Sonny would always be a man of contradictions, and it was hard for Jason to admit that somewhere along the way, their Sonny had been lost to them.
“Maybe there was more we could have done,” Elizabeth said softly. “I think we both knew he struggled when he came home from Ferncliffe. No one wanted to give him another chance. You tried, but it was too hard. He always wanted more than we were ready to give. He fought as long as he could, Jason. I can honestly believe that. But the darkness inside him—we couldn’t save him. It was always going to swallow him whole.”
“Yeah.” Jason stroked Cameron’s back, swaying slightly as the newborn dozed, his eyes fluttering against his father’s chest. “I know. But it doesn’t make it easier.”
Port Charles Court House: Hallway
Ned scowled at the reporter from the Sun following him and ducked down another hallway, hoping to lose the pain in the ass. One of the drawbacks of being mayor, he thought to himself, then stopped when he saw Lois sitting on one of the benches, pressing her hands against her cheeks. “Lois?”
“Ned—” She cleared her throat, and got to her feet, swiping at her eyes again. “I’m sorry. I thought we were meeting in the court room—”
“No—” He stopped her. “We were. I was just hiding from the tabloids. What’s wrong?”
“It’s nothing—” Lois closed her eyes. “June 11,” she murmured. “A year ago today, I told Brooke she was coming to live here.”
His chest tightened. “I didn’t—”
“You wouldn’t have known. Couldn’t have,” she added. “I didn’t call you until the next day, but I just couldn’t communicate with her anymore. We couldn’t hear each other, and I was just— I was so scared that something terrible would happen if I kept leaving her in the city while I went on tour—I should have quit,” Lois spat. “I hated touring. I don’t even miss it, and I could have quit. I could have turned the agency over—I did it anyway—”
“But I was bitter. I’d done all the work and you hadn’t done any, so I just shipped her off to you like it was your turn. That’s what I thought about my baby. I was too tired to deal with her anymore, so let her drive you crazy for a while—” Lois faltered. “I’d give anything to go back. To make another choice. Any other choice—”
“I know.” He folded her in his arms, thinking of his own meeting with Brooke the day she’d arrived. He’d dragged Dillon in to help him and hadn’t he given up, too? Hadn’t he just let Brooke go her own way in Port Charles? “I was even worse. I was a terrible father—”
“We could spend the rest of our lives picking out the moments when we were wrong. No one is a perfect parent. Even my own grandmother who comes close—she pushed my mother to marry my father because she thought Mom should settle down.”
“God.” Lois exhaled in a rush. “And we sit here blaming ourselves when the only one to blame is that piece of shit Vinny for what he did to her. I hope he’s rotting in jail. I hope they’re beating him every day until his lungs—” She stopped. “Okay. Okay. That’s enough of that. We need to go to this sentencing because—” She blinked. “Why are we going again?”
“Because he’s Kristina’s biological father, and Alexis feels guilty. I’m going for her, and you’re coming for the both of us.” He slung an arm around her waist. “Come on. Keep me company.”
Court Room B
Jason sat next to Elizabeth, taking her hand in his and holding it tightly in his lap. He could feel the cool metal of her wedding and engagement rings against his skin, and for some reason, it reassured him.
Elizabeth offered him a slight small smile, then squeezed his knee with her other hand. “Almost there,” she reminded him softly, then nodded at the table in front of them where Justus was shuffling some papers around and Sonny’s head was bowed. Across the aisle, there was a district attorney Jason didn’t recognize. Scott had stepped aside of course, and so had Kelsey Joyce. Both of them were sitting opposite.
Jason couldn’t look at them. Couldn’t look at the young woman who’d nearly died to bring Vinnie Esposito to justice and know that Sonny had murdered her father. At Scott, who worked hard to give Elizabeth and Carly closure when Sonny had drugged and slept with his daughter. Next to them was an unfamiliar woman, but she looked a little like Kelsey. That must be her mother.
And in the next row sat the Spencers. Luke, Laura, Lucky—and then Dante and Lulu. Dante, the son Sonny would never know. Luke, the former partner who’d known all along what kind of man Sonny was and might have gone to his grave with those secrets.
On this side of the aisle, it was just Jason and Elizabeth. No one else had come for Sonny, and even Elizabeth wasn’t here for Sonny. Only Jason sat in this room to give him a measure of support.
And he felt like a fraud. Did he even want to be here? A few months ago, he’d shoved Sonny against the wall and nearly choked the life out of him. He would have killed him without regrets. Jason knew he was part of the reason Sonny had given up the fight and was going to prison. There was nothing left for him outside, and Jason hadn’t lifted a finger to change that fact. Not really.
How much did Jason really owe to Sonny for those days in the beginning? When he’d loaned Jason money for a cab fare and bought him a burger? He’d been kind, but maybe he’d seen from the beginning how desperate Jason was for approval, for acceptance. For someone to believe in him.
Had Sonny ever truly loved him like a brother? Or were those just words? Had they meant anything to him?
He’d never know the answer to that now, but this was a day to close the door on Sonny. He’d go to Sing Sing and disappear into the prison system. If he came home after a decade—
Elizabeth squeezed his knee again and he looked at her, at the worry reflected back at him. “Are you okay?” she mouthed.
He shook his head slightly, then focused on the judge. He realized with a start that it was the same judge that had presided over Vinnie’s sentencing in December.
“I have here a sentencing recommendation from the state—” The judge peered at the court. “And the defense has signed off?”
“Yes, Your Honor,” Justus said, briefly rising then taking his seat again.
“No impact statements?” the judge asked the state, and the ADA at the other table just shook their heads.
“All right, then let’s proceed. Michael Corinthos, Jr., please stand.” Sonny dragged himself to his feet, swaying slightly. Justus also got to his feet again. “You are pleading guilty to a charge of murder in the second degree, a violation of New York State Penal Code 125.25, a Class A-1 felony. Is that correct?”
“Yes, Your Honor,” Sonny said.
“As part of your plea agreement, you are directed to allocute to the details of your crime. Please proceed.”
“I shot Oliver Joyce,” Sonny said. And then he said nothing else. The judge frowned, glanced at the ADA who was scowling.
“Mr. Corinthos, I cannot accept your guilty plea if I am not satisfied that you are making it willingly and knowingly. You must offer details, not simply statements. Mr. Ward—”
“We prepared a statement, Your Honor,” Justus assured him. He glanced at Sonny who closed his eyes. “A moment.”
Sonny turned then, looked behind him for the first time, and saw that the rows behind him were empty, beyond the back row which been reserved for the press. Then he looked at the other side—his eyes held Luke’s for a moment, before rolling over Dante, then Scott—and finally to Kelsey.
He cleared his throat and looked back at the judge. “I managed the Paradise Lounge,” he said, but his voice was a little clearer now. “It was strip club. Oliver Joyce was the business manager. He kept the books for a few clubs. He didn’t care for my relationships with some of the dancers. They often used drugs and I—” Sonny cleared his throat. “I gave them the drugs sometimes. When he found out one of the women was the daughter of a friend, he decided he was going to turn me in. He’d report me for some financial crimes or something. I was never sure what. He confronted me and told me that he didn’t think I was a bad person, but that I needed to pay for what I’d done to Karen. To the other girls. He was going to give me a chance to come clean. I—” Sonny swallowed hard. “I agreed. I told him that I’d go to the PCPD, and he offered to come with me. To help me get started.”
He waited a long moment, and Jason dimly heard crying from the other side of the aisle. Kelsey’s mother had dissolved into tears, Scott had an arm around her.
“But I waited until we were on a quiet road, and I made him pull over. I said I wasn’t sure. I had second thoughts. I couldn’t do it. Ollie—he argued with me. He said that this was my chance to get out. To be a better man. That’s what he was gonna do. He wanted to be better. His little girl was growing up, and he wanted her to look at him with respect. I still had a chance, he said. I was young—” Sonny closed his eyes. “I shot him then. In the head. And then I wiped down the car and left. I called a guy on my payroll at the PCPD, and the whole thing got written off as a car accident.”
He’d murdered that man in cold blood. The words sank in, the horror of them, as Jason struggled to process the facts. A tax case. Sonny might have served a year. Oliver Joyce could have gotten out and left Port Charles. Instead, the man had given Sonny a second chance and had paid with his life.
He heard Elizabeth’s breath hitch next to him and he glanced over to see silent tears shimmering in her eyes.
In front of them, the judge had accepted Sonny’s statement and had moved on to the sentencing. “On the single count of murder in the second degree, I hereby sentence you, Michael Corinthos, Jr. to a serve a sentence not exceeding fifteen years in a state penitentiary.”
Saturday, June 12, 2004
Queen of Angels Cemetery
Kelsey stepped forward and laid the bouquet of flowers beneath the tombstone marking her father’s short life. Lucky slid his arm around her waist. “He was a good man, wasn’t she?” she murmured.
“He wasn’t even trying to ruin Sonny’s life. He wanted to give him a chance to get out. To look at his life.” Her voice faltered. “He died because of that.”
“He died because Sonny was too selfish to admit he’d been caught.” And because that was the world Oliver Joyce had chosen to live in for all those years, but Lucky didn’t say that. He knew how easy it was to get swept up in the mafia. How close had he come to following in his father’s footsteps? He’d been a courier for Jason, hadn’t he? And if Jason hadn’t left the business even briefly, would Lucky have moved up?
Kelsey looked over at Scott, his hands shoved into the pockets of his suit jacket. “Scott—”
“Crazy fool,” Scott muttered at the tombstone. “Always believed the best about everyone. How he survived working for Frank Smith for so long with that kind of attitude—” He knelt down and tossed the flowers—a bunch of daisies—next to Kelsey’s. “Thank you, Ollie. For looking out for my girl. For doing right by her. I’ll try to do the same for yours.”
Scott got back to his feet and looked at Kelsey, his eyes red. “So many years I chased the dream of getting Sonny Corinthos to pay for what he did to my daughter. I wanted him to go down for something. I thought—” He looked back at the grave. “I thought it would feel different.”
Lucky studied this man who had been part of the reason his mother had broken down—but had also pushed him into the academy. Towards the life that gave him Dante and Cruz—and Kelsey, the best part of it. “If we enjoyed it, we wouldn’t be much better than the people we go after, would we?”
Scott smirked, but then nodded. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. You can rest now, Ollie.” He touched the top of the grave. “Be at peace.”
Sunday, June 27, 2004
Morgan Penthouse: Master Bedroom
“I was thinking,” Elizabeth said as she handed a clean and dry Cameron to Jason so she could change out of her damp tank top. “Maybe next summer, we can start looking for a house.”
“A house?” Jason echoed. He furrowed his brow. “Why wait until then?”
“Well, I have my surgery tomorrow, and I’ll be useless for like a month. We’re going to Italy in August, then I’ll be at school—” She slid her arms around his waist and kissed him. Cameron cooed, then batted his hand against her cheek. She laughed and broke away, reaching for son. “Jealous?” She bounced him slightly. “Anyway, by then, he should be taking his first steps and I want him to have a yard.” She chewed her lip. “I mean, we could keep the penthouse for security, but—”
“Yeah. I want him to have a yard, too.” He leaned over and kissed her again. “You want me to feed him?”
“No.” She smiled down at Cameron, at her perfect baby. A year ago tonight, she’d been nearly at her lowest. Already on the verge of the embolism that would almost kill her—but it had also been the first time she’d looked at Jason and he’d looked back like he still cared. He’d kissed her.
And nothing had ever been the same.
“I won’t be able to do much with him for almost a month,” she reminded Jason. “So I want to do everything while I can.”
“It’s almost over,” he promised her, brushing his lips against her forehead. “And we’ll get on with the rest of our lives.”
“You know,” Maxie said, sliding her arm through Cruz’s as they walked towards the diner, “about six months ago you and I had a conversation.”
“Why did all the hairs on the back of my neck stand up?” he wanted to know.
“You told me your birthday was in June,” Maxie reminded him. She stopped him just at the entrance. “And that you didn’t do much for it. I declared you a man of mystery, and I was determined to solve it. You looked so damn nervous.”
His eyes widened and he started to look towards the windows of the diner, realizing too late that the blinds had been pulled down.
“But that’s because of your family, isn’t it?” Maxie asked. “You never talk about them, and you didn’t tell any of us were gay even after we practically adopted Felix, and I’m not sure I don’t like him better than Lucas sometimes—” She tipped her head. “Because they rejected you.”
The pain of that squeezed his chest. “Maxie—”
“You don’t have to talk about it. You really don’t. But as soon as we saw you at the club a few months ago, I started to connect the dots, and I made a few phone calls. June 27. You’re twenty-four today.” Maxie went around him to the door, but faced him, reaching behind her for the knob. “In Port Charles, we don’t give a crap about blood. We pick our families, and once I decide to like you, Cruz Rodriguez, there’s no going back.”
She shoved the door open, and then the lights flipped on, and sound exploded as a crowd screamed “Happy Birthday!” Cruz saw Dante and Lucky, Lulu, Kelsey, even Emily and her boyfriend Nikolas. Lucas and Felix. Georgie, Kyle, Dillon—
Everyone he’d met over the last year. And everyone who knew the truth about him.
Maxie beamed as he took it in, then just looked at her. “You’re not a mystery anymore, Cruz. Happy birthday.”
Monday, June 28, 2004
General Hospital: ICU
It never got easier to see Elizabeth laying in a hospital bed, her face pale, her nails unpainted, and a ventilator tube taped to her mouth. Even though Jason knew she’d come through her surgery with flying colors, that Monica said they’d cleared her lungs of all scar tissue, and that she was as good as cured of the condition that had nearly stolen their future.
None of that mattered. Jason wouldn’t be able to relax until she opened her eyes and looked at him. Until she was breathing on her own.
Nearly three hours after she’d come out of the post-op, her eyes fluttered, and she started to cough. Monica was already there, and with Epiphany, they pulled out the tube. Jason had the straw at her lips before Elizabeth had even fully opened her eyes.
“You’re…getting…too…good at that,” she managed, but then she opened her eyes fully. Looked at him. “Hey.”
“It’s done.” Jason nodded at Monica. “Monica said we got everything. It’s done. And it’s over.”
“Good. Love you.” Elizabeth closed her eyes, her head lolled to the side, and she drifted back into sleep. But this time, her chest was rising and falling on her own.
“I love you, too.” He slid her wedding ring and engagement ring back on her hand, kissed her palm, and sat back to watch her breathe.