If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we’re all okay
And not to worry ’cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won’t be made useless
I won’t be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
– Hands, Jewel
Monday, December 27, 2004
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason pulled open the door and frowned when he saw his sister with a stroller. “You find that on the street?” he asked.
Emily rolled her eyes and pushed the blue stroller into the room. “Steven and I are splitting Cameron this week to give Audrey a break. Not that she wanted one, but Liz insisted. So I get him until New Year’s, and then Steven gets him after that.”
“Elizabeth went back to California?” Jason closed the door and glanced inside the stroller to see the infant was asleep. “When did she leave?”
“Last night. She didn’t want to have to wait much longer. She wanted to be settled by the art show in February.” Emily looked around. “You’ve changed the place since I was here.”
“Nora suggested a few things to make it more…” Jason shrugged. “I don’t know, easier. So we moved my desk into the maid’s room and put the playpen and swing here.” He indicated to where the objects in question were. “There was some talk of getting rid of the pool table.”
“Hmm…” Emily looked towards middle of the downstairs where the pool table remained. “I see that talk went almost nowhere.”
“We’re fine in the kitchen,” Jason said. “There’s a table. She has a booster seat and a high chair for when she gets bigger. What am I going to do with another table?”
Emily frowned. “I should find an argument for that, but I just can’t.” She smiled at Evie in her swing. “She’s napping. That’s a nice change.”
“Yeah, Sundays and Mondays are Nora’s days off, so I’m on my own today.” He crouched in front of his daughter and adjusted her blanket. “What brings you by?”
“Well, I was taking Cam to Kelly’s for lunch with Lucky and his new girlfriend, Leyla, but he called when I got off the launch. He was called into the PCPD for work, so since I had already lugged this guy on the launch, I figure I’d bring him over to meet you.” She frowned down at the little boy. “And then he fell asleep. So.”
“You had nowhere else to go but here,” Jason said, almost resigned. “Emily—”
“What?” She planted her hands on her hips. “You don’t want to meet Liz’s kid? That’s real nice, Jason. After she put up with Sonny Corinthos because she’s your friend.”
He sighed and scrubbed his hand over his face. “She told you about that.”
“No, but I got eyes, don’t I?” Emily pursed her lips. “Should I take off his coat? He’ll roast. But what if he wakes up. Jase, I don’t know anything about babies. What if he gets sick?”
Jason resisted the urge to roll his eyes and knelt in front of the stroller. “I’m going to lean him up. You hold his shoulders, I’ll take off the coat. If he wakes up, he wakes up. You’re right. You can’t leave him in the coat. He’ll get used to it, and then it won’t protect him when he goes back outside.”
Emily held his shoulders and Jason gingerly stripped the bright blue parka from the little boy. Cameron opened his eyes once, fastened his dark eyes on Jason’s and then closed them again with a yawn. He couldn’t help a grin. “Not a fan of being woken from a nap. Just like his mother.”
His sister took the coat Jason handed her and put it in the diaper bag. “When have you seen Elizabeth wake up from a nap?” she demanded. “Is there information about the two of you Elizabeth has neglected to tell me? She will hear about this.”
“What did Sonny say to Elizabeth anyway?” Emily flopped on the sofa. “She refused to tell me, saying it wasn’t about her. But I saw her. He said something that made her go all pale. You got pissed, stepped between them and then took Elizabeth into the hallway. Either to apologize or give her time to calm down.”
“He just…” Jason sat next to her, angling so he could keep Evie and Cam in his view. “He was pushing me by attacking her. She’s right. It wasn’t about her, but it was…” He hesitated. “I don’t know what made him think he could talk to her like that. After everything she’s been through because of knowing me, of knowing Sonny…”
“Amen. Not least of all knowing the two of you sent Ric in her direction.” Emily pursed her lips. “Of course, she was charmed by him like Alexis was, but you know, I bet she regrets the hell out of that.”
He scowled, because he knew Ric had started dating Elizabeth to annoy him. It had worked, but he hadn’t been able to convince Elizabeth to abandon him. “You know Elizabeth doesn’t listen to anyone when they try to tell her what to do.”
“Don’t I know it.” Emily leaned back. “Did Sonny say something to her about marrying Ric again? After what he did to Carly? I know Carly still holds a grudge, but she probably remembers the name of the kid from sixth grade who tripped her on the playground—”
“No, it wasn’t…” Jason paused. “He told her that Zander was a bastard and that it was a blessing she’d miscarried her child with Ric.”
Emily narrowed her eyes and shot to her feet. “Is he home?”
Jason grabbed her arm as she started past him. “Emily—”
“I’m not one for violence, Jase, but I think I can make an exception—”
He tugged her back down. “I took care of it at the party, and I’m going to make it clear I’m not going to put up with him using her to get at me.”
“Still.” Emily huffed. “Did he explain himself? Did he have a good reason why he attacked my best friend who has never done a damn thing to him? He likes to forget the people who are nice to him. Liz used to defend him, you know? All the time. Said he was her friend. Sonny Corinthos has no friends. He has people he uses.”
“Emily—” Jason dipped his head. Because he wanted to say that wasn’t true. That wasn’t the man he knew, but he couldn’t make the words form.
He couldn’t remember the last time he had felt like Sonny was his friend. Once, he took his problems to him, looked for advice. To find the way forward.
He had not done that since….the night he’d been shot and found Sonny with Carly.
“Seriously, Jase. When was the last time you had anything in your life completely separate from him?” Emily demanded. She jabbed a finger at him. “And you’re not allowed to say Courtney. You forget, Courtney and I are friends. She told me that Sonny made you guard her, that Carly was always pushing the two of you together. Carly told her that she could get you to propose and then you did. So Courtney does not count.”
He scowled at the idea that Carly had somehow forced him into proposing to Courtney, though he knew he hadn’t considered it until Carly brought it up. “Emily—”
“You can’t even answer the question. Before Sam, before Evie, when was the last time you went against Sonny in your personal life? Never, right? Not since you came home—”
And then Jason knew the answer to the question. Because he had gone against Sonny, at least initially, when Elizabeth had been kidnapped. Sonny had questioned the methods Jason was using to find her—going to Taggart, to Edward. Had that really been more than two years ago?
“You deserve so much, Jason. You deserve better friends than Sonny or Carly. You deserve what I have with Nikolas.”
At those words, Jason focused on his sister and narrowed his eyes. “What did you just say about Carly pushing me and Courtney together? How is that different than what you’re doing right now?”
“What?” Emily demanded. “Am I demanding you tell me how you feel about Elizabeth? Did I even insinuate anything about her specifically? I didn’t tell you to ask her out—”
“You dragged her across the room to meet Evie.” Jason pressed the heel of his hand to his eye. “Emily, Elizabeth doesn’t need the crap in my life—”
“Yes, I dragged her across the room to meet your daughter,” Emily said. “But I did not make her appear on the docks the day you two talked and she made you tell me the truth. If you remember, I stayed with you two for five seconds at the party, and the two of you were the ones standing there and talking for a half hour. I have done literally nothing except introduce your daughter to someone you tell me is your friend. What is my crime, Jase?”
He hesitated, because she had a point. The fact that he was thinking about Elizabeth again, remembering the way she had laughed at him buying baby clothes or her smile as she stood on the docks, snow catching in her eyelashes, resting on her cheeks…had little to do with the fact Emily had introduced Elizabeth and Evie.
“Exactly.” Emily nodded. “I did nothing. I don’t plan to do anything.” She leaned forward. “Jase, I love you guys. If you guys are going to be anything other than friends, it is not going to because I play matchmaker. You guys became friends without me. In fact, I didn’t even know you knew each other until that Christmas party.” She frowned. “Which you know, now that I think about it, seems like a massive omission on her part for which I have never held her accountable.”
“Just don’t…” She pursed her lips. “Just don’t turn it away, Jason. That’s the only meddling I’m going to do. I feel guilty that Cameron doesn’t have a father in his life. I didn’t make Zander do the things he did, but I didn’t help, either. I could have done that so much better, you know? So I want Elizabeth to be happy. And I want you to be happy. So if you have the opportunity to be happy together, well…would that suck so much?”
He just sighed. “Emily—”
“And don’t give me crap about what Elizabeth does or does not need in her life. You don’t get to make that decision for her.” She pointed at him. “You used to let people decide what they wanted from their own life. Be that guy again, Jason. He went after what he wanted.”
He barely remembered that anymore, but he nodded. “Fine. I won’t decide what Elizabeth needs. I don’t think there’s anything to get…we’re friends, Emily. We weren’t even that for years. So, I’m not pushing anything. I’m not in a place in my life where I can think about that.”
“That’s what I thought when I got cancer.” Emily shrugged and looked over at the babies sleeping near one another. “Just because you’re not looking for it, doesn’t mean it won’t bite you in the butt.”
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
General Hospital: Dr. Meadow’s Office
Carly Corinthos believed in having a plan. Always have a plan. Commit to a plan, see it through. Whatever the consequences.
She would have another child, preferably a girl to keep Sonny from thinking of the child he might have had with Sam. After the Christmas party, when Sonny had put himself on display for the entire damn town, she knew it was time to get down to business.
Sonny Corinthos thought he was fooling her. Thought he had pulled the wool over her eyes.
No one deceived Caroline Benson. She was a master of deception. And Carly Corinthos remembered she’d been that woman once. She would channel her and devote herself to her family.
She believed Sonny had picked their marriage over his bastard daughter. He had allowed the arrangement with Jason to stand—an arrangement Carly had never believed in.
Jason would never have broken his promises to Courtney. Not after the way he thought he had hurt prissy Robin Scorpio all those years ago by crawling into bed with Carly. Even if he had been attracted to Sam McCall, he would have resisted or ended things with Courtney.
Jason was protecting Carly and her boys, so she would see that his devotion to her was rewarded. She would make sure Sonny never went for the whore’s daughter. Jason could keep Evangeline. Carly would give Sonny another daughter. He would forget the baby across the hall and remember Michael and Morgan.
But watching Sonny badger Jason, overworking him to the point of exhaustion and using any excuse so that Carly was stuck watching the little bastard, she knew the guilt was choking him. She knew that if she didn’t take drastic measures, the constant reminder of Sam McCall would live with them one day.
A baby would fix everything. A daughter would replace the ones Sonny wasn’t raising—Evangeline and Kristina were not going to be part of Carly’s family.
She had nearly sacrificed everything for Lorenzo Alcazar, but he had shown his true colors. When she hadn’t snapped to, hadn’t abandoned her dreams, her marriage, everything she had fought for all these years, he had gone after Sonny once again.
Jason had done something to him over the summer, Carly didn’t particularly care. Either he was dead or elsewhere licking his wounds. He wasn’t here to gaslight Sonny anymore or make Sonny think twice about her loyalty. He had been an aberration. A detour.
Everything in her life had been leading her to Sonny, even her relationship with Jason. And she would not let go without a fight.
Whatever it took, she had told Courtney. Whatever Carly had to do, whoever she had to break. She would save her marriage.
Carly Corinthos believed in having a plan.
She sat across from her obstetrician, and pursed her lips. “I don’t understand. I was told I was healthy after the shooting.”
Lynn Meadows hesitated and then sighed. “You were. You are. But your body has been through a great deal of stress. With Morgan’s pregnancy, you fell in an icy lake, you were electrocuted, you were kidnapped and kept in close confinement, and then you were shot. Your blood pressure was all over the place.”
“That was a year ago,” Carly snapped. “What the hell does it have to do with today?”
“And sometimes, Carly, your body just doesn’t get pregnant,” Dr. Meadows replied, her voice remaining calm and steady. “Now, you’ve been actively trying for five months. Have you been monitoring your ovulation—”
“I know how to get pregnant.” Carly cracked her knuckles. How dare her body fail her in this? Hadn’t she always been fertile in the past? Hadn’t she been knocked up on both one-night stands? “I’ve been doing everything the books say.”
“Okay, well then, maybe it’s time we look at alternatives.” Dr. Meadows flipped a page in her file. “Let’s schedule you for an ultrasound. Let’s have a look at your uterus, the tubes. We’ll see if everything is in proper working order. I’d advise you to relax, but I highly doubt that’s going to be possible.”
Carly exhaled slowly. “All right. I’m sorry. I’m just…upset. I’ve never really had trouble getting pregnant before.”
“It happens to us all eventually,” the older woman murmured. “But you’re young still. Just barely in your thirties. If you can’t get pregnant naturally, there’s in vitro insemination. You’re a wealthy woman, perhaps a surrogate or adoption—”
“No.” Carly shook her head. “I want a natural child. One that’s biologically mine and Sonny’s.”
Dr. Meadows paused and looked at her. Carly tensed, because she didn’t like the judgmental bitch. So what if Carly didn’t want someone else’s bastard in her life? To remind Sonny that she couldn’t have children, that his biological child was across the hall? No.
Sonny loved Michael, but Carly didn’t know if she had the same capacity for generosity to love a child she hadn’t carried, hadn’t given birth to. She had barely latched onto Michael once he was born, and Morgan still seemed like a stranger sometimes. She loved them, but she didn’t think she would love a child who wasn’t hers.
She knew Kristina and Evangeline were Sonny’s biological daughters, but hell if she looked at them with any sign of softness. All she saw was Sonny’s betrayals.
“Money is no object,” Carly said. “If I need surgery or—”
“Let’s cross that bridge when we came to it.” Dr. Meadows reached for her appointment book. “Let’s schedule the ultrasound.”
Carly Corinthos had a plan. She would revise accordingly along the way, because really—a plan was about the goal. Whatever it took to achieve the goal was acceptable.
She would save her marriage.
Because if she wasn’t Carly Corinthos, who the hell was she?
Monday, January 3, 2005
Warehouse: Sonny’s Office
Sonny Corinthos leaned back in his chair as he watched Jason stride in his office and stand in front of the desk, his hands in the pockets of his ubiquitous leather jacket. It was the first time he and Jason had been in the same room since the Christmas Party.
He looked at this man whom he had always looked upon as a brother, and tried to remember why he had gone to talk to him at the party when Carly had suggested he avoid him. Why he had spoken to Elizabeth, a woman whom he was genuinely fond of, in such a demeaning way.
That he could not remember why he had done those things—only that he had—was troubling.
Sonny cleared his throat. “I’m sorry if I…dragged you away from anything.”
“It’s fine,” Jason said shortly. “You said it was important.”
“Yeah, uh…” Sonny rubbed his forehead. He felt hot, like his skin was boiling and he had a sudden urge to sweep the various files and folders from his desk.
This violent urge had come once or twice a day for the past several weeks, but Sonny merely took a deep breath. He would not give into the blackness.
He would stay away from the abyss. This time would be different.
“I know we’re…having difficulties,” Sonny said slowly, “but at the end of the day, the safety of our…” the word was sour in his mouth, but he forced himself to continue, “our families comes first, I hope you agree.”
“I do.” And now Jason lowered himself into the chair, and Sonny’s chest felt less tight. He could do this. He had made the right decision in November, for his family, and for his daughter.
He knew this.
He just had to live with it.
“I also…” Reflexively, he fisted his hands in his lap and took another deep breath. This was important. He had to make this one thing right. “I wanted to apologize. About the party. I-I like Elizabeth. I shouldn’t have—” He paused. “I’d like to apologize to her personally, but—”
“I’d prefer it if you’d stayed away from Elizabeth,” Jason interjected, his voice firm. “I don’t care if you regret it or not, Sonny. What you said…you had no right to attack Elizabeth to get to me.” His mouth was pressed into a thin, angry line. “You went after her because you knew it would piss me off. How is that different than what Sorel or Roscoe did to her?”
Sonny exhaled slowly and nodded. “I-I know, Jason. I shouldn’t have…Elizabeth didn’t deserve what I said. Like I said, I would apologize to her, but I don’t know that she’d want to hear it from me. If at any point, you think it’s appropriate to pass it on, I would appreciate it.”
Jason offered a short nod. “You said there was business to deal with.”
“Yeah. Uh.” Sonny reached for a piece of paper on which he had jotted down some notes. He had resolved to write down what he wanted to say to Jason. If he planned it, if he stuck to what was written, he would be less likely to say something else.
To make this worse.
“Max reported in this morning. Cody contacted him to tell him he’d seen Johnny Zacchara at Luke’s.”
He let that news drop like the bombshell he believed it to be. For more than two months, they had had some minor troubles, nothing that couldn’t be resolved, but distractions and nuisances. A few shipments had been late, a bookie or two had refused to pay his percentage. There had been a whisper of a drug dealer that no one could find.
And now Sonny believed he knew what was behind it.
“Did you hear me?” Sonny asked, when Jason remained silent.
“Yeah. You told me that a guy who’s twenty-six years old was seen in a blues club.” Jason jerked a shoulder. “Luke’s is pretty popular for music. It’s always packed. Johnny lives an hour away. Not unlikely he would know about it. I mean, yeah, we should keep an eye on him, Sonny, but I don’t get the connection.”
Furious words rose in his throat, nearly spilled out of his mouth, but Sonny just closed his eyes. He hadn’t prepared for this. He had no words for this. He had assumed Jason would see his point, that he would not have to elaborate.
He was Sonny Corinthos. He could do this.
“The problems we’ve been having,” Sonny began.
“You’re worrying too much about them,” Jason interrupted, but his voice was only confident, not dismissive. “Shipments are late. Usually because the boats are avoiding the border authorities. They take other shipping lanes, slow down to avoid a patrol. Bookies are a pain in the ass, it’s why we prefer the casinos in Puerto Rico. And no one’s found anything other than rumor about this dealer. I don’t think Johnny Zacchara is a threat.”
He just didn’t get it. He didn’t see it. How could Jason just ignore the obvious? “His father is megalomaniac—”
“Who’s more content to annoy New York and Boston than he is to worry about us. Yeah, it’s been more tense since we learned about Ric’s connection to Trevor, but nothing more than some extra money in negotiations.” Jason shook his head. “I’m not saying we ignore his presence, but it’s probably nothing.”
There was sense in Jason’s words, and Sonny tried to focus on that. “I see what you’re saying,” he said slowly, “but I don’t think we should forget the problems we’ve been having.”
“No, it might be something,” Jason agreed, almost too easily and Sonny wondered if he was being patronized. Placated. The boiling in his gut sharpened and he forced it down. Jason didn’t placate or patronize. Not in business. His focus was why Sonny had made him partner. He trusted Jason to see what he couldn’t.
It had kept him alive until now, so just because there were…issues between them that had nothing to do with business…did not mean Sonny should ignore his words.
“So if it’s not Zacchara—”
“Maybe the Ruiz family out of Miami,” his partner offered. “They were aligned with Alcazar, and he’s been licking his wounds in South America. It might be his way of coming back after you.” Jason paused. “Maybe he didn’t like the parting bullet I put in his shoulder.”
“Should have been between the eyes,” Sonny growled.
“But you didn’t want that.”
He didn’t need a goddamn reminder. What did Jason think he was? A fucking child?”
No. Sonny took a deep breath. No. “It would have created problems we didn’t need. Carly had just stopped threatening to leave, I needed Alcazar neutralized but his death would have created more issues with the police, and God knows, Carly would have used it.” He cleared his throat. “She told me she didn’t want to be with him, that she was committed to our marriage, but I needed him gone.”
“I get it, Sonny.” Jason nodded. “I agreed with you then. And he’s been gone for months. I’m just saying—let’s not discount him aiming another family at us. We deal with Hector for Puerto Rico sometimes. Might be a good time to feel out the relationship between us—be sure it’s still amicable.”
When Jason got to his feet, he paused for a moment. “How long is it gonna be like this?” the younger man asked quietly. “Are you going to keep punishing me?”
He had not expected that question.
He had no notes for that question.
Sonny was quiet for a long moment. “I don’t know,” he said, honestly. “I don’t…have a reason to. I…agreed to this situation. I am protecting my family. All of them. If I had contested Sam’s fraud, there’s no guarantee Carly wouldn’t have started to drag the boys into court.”
The sour taste was back in his mouth as he reflected on the difficult spring. “And you know that’s the type of divorce Carly and I would have. We would drag our kids in and out of a custody hearing once a year. She’d demand higher child support and alimony, and I would deny it just to needle her. We’d keep it going until we would not only destroy each other, but the boys as well.”
Jason exhaled slowly and nodded. “That’s probably true.”
“And even if Carly agreed to allow Evie into the family, how would she treat her?” Sonny rubbed his eyes, because he knew these reasons were right. He knew he had done the right thing. “She would always be Sam’s daughter. Always. She doesn’t know about the summer. If she did…”
“These were the reasons you listed in November when we agreed to let it stand,” Jason said. “But you don’t seem to accept them.”
“It’s…I saw Elizabeth standing there, holding my daughter…” Sonny swallowed the bile in his throat, because now he could remember why he’d gone after her. “And I knew she would love Evie the way you do. Regardless of blood. If you and her—”
“We were just talking, Sonny,” Jason said quietly. “But—”
“I know that,” Sonny snapped. “I got eyes. She’s been home five minutes. But it made me see red. Because you have that. You’ve always had Elizabeth and her unconditional support, even when you didn’t know it. And I have Carly.” He bit out those last words. “I got stuck with Carly because of a choice I made a thousand years ago, in another lifetime.”
What could Jason say to that? To this revelation that Sonny wanted out, that he barely loved his wife, that he couldn’t remember why he had loved her in the first place?
It was too late for regrets. He had children with her. The children must come first.
Evie came first in her own way. He removed her from the poison of his life and given her to a man who would love her as his own.
He knew he had made the right decision.
“I’m trying to do better,” Sonny said after a moment of silence. “I don’t know if it’s going to be like this. I…I try not to be bitter. To be angry. To look at you and not want to rip out your throat, because none of this is your fault. Not really. You only tried to help. You knew Carly and I were destroying each other, that it would be worse with Evie in the mix. Evie doesn’t deserve that. I can barely put Michael and Morgan first most of the time, but after what I did to Sam, I can do better by Evie.”
Jason took that in and nodded. “All right. We’ll get through this, I guess.” He hesitated. “But Sonny, if seeing me and Elizabeth talking is going to be a problem—”
Sonny lifted his brow, waiting for him to say he’d refrain from a friendship with Elizabeth to give Sonny some peace of mind.
“—you’re going to have to get over it. She and I are friends. I’m…I’m not going to walk away from that because it bothers you.”
But he hadn’t really expected any different, and for some reason this broke through the self-control he had managed to maintain for the majority of the meeting.
“I shouldn’t be surprised,” he all but growled. “I don’t know why you bothered with Courtney. Barely divorced a year from my sister, Sam’s not even cold in the ground, and you’re already sniffing around Elizabeth.”
Jason just stared at him, but there was no change in his bland expression, which told Sonny he’d crossed a line that he’d been trying to avoid this entire time. “Don’t go near her, Sonny. You obviously think I’ve betrayed you in some way and you’re not going to take it out on her. She’s had enough to deal with this last year or so between Ric and Zander. She doesn’t need you.”
He turned and started for the door. Sonny rose from his seat. “When you gonna stop protecting her from her own mistakes? What did I say to her that was so goddamn wrong? That wasn’t true?”
Jason was already gone by the time Sonny had finished yelling after him.
He collapsed back into his seat and stared down at the useless notes he had made.
He knew he had made the right decision.
He just wasn’t sure he could live with it.