Corinthos Brownstone: Foyer
Two years later, Sonny Corinthos remarried. It was a surprise to anyone who knew him and even more so to his daughter who felt betrayed. Elizabeth was never going to have another mother–why should her father have another wife?
Brenda Barrett-Corinthos was young, barely twenty-seven. She was former model and she had a kind and loving heart. But Elizabeth was unwilling to accept a stepmother who was only twelve years older than she was. She was even more upset when Brenda’s younger sister moved in with them. Carly Barrett was nineteen and she looked like Elizabeth had always wanted to. She was tall with long gorgeous blonde hair, a curvy voluptuous figure.
Elizabeth was waiting in the front hall when Carly and Brenda moved in one early summer morning. Ric was home from college by then, having graduated and engaged to high school sweetheart Faith Roscoe.
When Carly came in, she was dressed to the nines. Silk sundress, manicured fingernails and her toes, encased in delicate high-heeled sandals, matched the color. She looked like a movie star and by comparison, in her jeans and tank top with her hair in a French braid and some freckles scattered across her cheekbones, Elizabeth felt all of eight years old.
“You must be Lizzie,” Carly greeted, a smile on her face. She took her sunglasses off and tucked them in the bodice of her dress. She extended a hand and Elizabeth gingerly shook it.
“Elizabeth,” she corrected softly. “I prefer Elizabeth.”
But Carly was already looking at Jason. “And you’re Jason, right?”
Elizabeth darted a look at Jason and narrowed her eyes when she saw him staring at Carly like he’d never seen a girl before. He shook her hand and she smiled coyly at him.
“Carly, don’t take so long,” a feminine voice said from behind her. Brenda Corinthos swept in then. It was the first time Brenda was meeting the family, having eloped with Sonny to the Cayman Islands. She had light brown hair, dark skin and was tall and willowy–almost the exact opposite of her sister.
“You must be Elizabeth,” Brenda said, with a big smile. She was eager to get to know her stepdaughter.
Elizabeth smirked. “What tipped you off?” she asked pointedly.
Brenda flushed and then looked at the two men standing behind her. “Ric and Jason, right?”
“Guess which one is actually related to Sonny,” Elizabeth remarked sarcastically. Ric flicked her on her ear and she scowled at her uncle.
“Well, that’s easy since Jason looks like a California surfer boy,” Carly mused. She licked her lips. “And Ric looks like a miniature Sonny.”
Elizabeth folded her arms tightly, all too aware that Jason’s eyes were still locked on the blonde. How dare Carly come in here after she’d spent the last two years trying to look older and more mature in his eyes?
“Well, why don’t Carly and I unpack and maybe we can go out and you can show me the sights, Elizabeth,” Brenda suggested.
“I can’t,” Elizabeth said shortly. Brenda’s smile faltered. “I’m not allowed to go out without my father.”
Brenda frowned. “You’re fifteen years old–surely you’re exaggerating.”
“Unfortunately, she’s not,” Jason told the new bride. “Elizabeth has the tendency to get in trouble when she’s out without Sonny or one of the men.”
Carly leaned against the wall in a magazine pose–one foot braced against the wall and an arm over her head. “Why don’t you take us then?”
Elizabeth shook her head. “I can’t go anyway. I’ve got stuff to do.” Without another word, she shot past Ric and up the stairs.
Brenda sighed. “I was hoping we’d get off to a better start.”
“She’s a spoiled little mob princess,” Carly murmured. She leaned down to grab one of her bags. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to get settled into my room.”
“I’ll show you where it is,” Jason volunteered, grabbing two more of her bags. “Ric, you’ll take Brenda, right?”
“Right.” Ric watched his best friend climb the stairs after the beautiful girl and shook his head, amused. “She’s got him wrapped around her finger already.”
“Doesn’t surprise me,” Brenda sighed. She eyed her husband’s younger brother. “Do you think Sonny made a mistake in marrying me?”
“I think you’ve got some things to learn before I can make that decision,” Ric told her. “This is a very different life that you’ve married into. And Elizabeth has been her father’s entire world since the day she was born. It’s going to be hard to let her share that spotlight.”
“I’ll win her over,” Brenda said, determined. “I can’t replace her mother–but I can certainly be her friend. She’s at an age when she needs an older female figure in her life.”
“She is,” Ric agreed. “But she’s stubborn.”
Brenda lifted her chin. “So am I.”
Elizabeth yanked her hair out of its braid and started brushing it furiously. She knew she could never get it as straight as Carly’s but she could make it look presentable.
After a few moments of wrestling with it, she tossed her brush aside and crossed to her closet. She pushed aside her jeans and tomboy clothes until she found a plain black skirt. Elizabeth yanked it off the hanger and tossed it on her bed.
She found a red and brown peasant shirt that had two strings to tie around her waist in the back. She frowned, trying to remember why she’d bought it.
She shimmied out of her jeans and quickly changed into the other outfit before going to her vanity table and looking through it, trying to find the makeup her mother had bought for her before her death.
Elizabeth nearly poked herself in the eye five times with the mascara before giving up on the idea of makeup. She grabbed her brush and started to brush her hair again. Finally, the curls were untangled and it looked semi normal.
Someone knocked on her door. “Come in!” she yelled.
Sonny entered and smiled when he saw his little girl at her vanity, brushing her hair. “Trying to make a good impression on Brenda?” he asked.
Elizabeth scowled. “Hardly,” she muttered.
“Brenda said that the two of you had a nice meeting downstairs,” Sonny remarked, coming further into the room and standing behind her. “I’m glad you’re warming up to her.”
“She’s lying,” Elizabeth said, irritated. “I don’t like her and I don’t like her stupid sister either.”
“Do you even remember Mama?” Elizabeth asked bitterly. Her eyes stung with tears. “How do you think she’d feel about this?”
Sonny looked away. “That’s not fair,” he said quietly.
“What’s not fair is you bringing home a woman who’s only twelve years older than me and expecting me to call her mother.” Elizabeth slammed her hairbrush down and glared at her father through the mirror. “Brenda is not my mother and she never will be, so keep her away from me.” She jumped to her feet and stormed from the room.
Dinner was an interesting affair. Ric’s fiancée was eating with them and due to the occasion, it was a formal dinner. Carly was seated across from Jason, who couldn’t seem to take his eyes off of the blonde and seated to the right of him was the scowling Elizabeth. He hadn’t even noticed her outfit or semi tamed hair.
Brenda and Sonny were seated at one end of the table, Sonny on the end and Brenda to his right. Adela sat on his left. Ric and Faith were next to Carly.
“Elizabeth,” Sonny began, “I’ve been thinking it’s time you had friends your own age.”
Elizabeth scowled and opened her mouth to retort, but Brenda jumped in instead. “Honestly, Sonny, could you be any more patronizing?” she asked pointedly. “She isn’t a child to be pointed in the right direction. She’s a beautiful young woman.”
Elizabeth frowned in her stepmother’s direction. She wasn’t supposed to defend her–she was supposed to agree with her father at any cost. That was what women did right? Her mother had always taken her father’s side.
“She’s fifteen,” Sonny argued.
“Michael,” Adela admonished. “Stop acting like a jackass.”
“Elizabeth,” Faith began with a smile. “I was thinking that the two of us could go to a spa one day. You look like you could use a day of beauty.”
Elizabeth frowned. “Why?”
Faith darted a look at her fiancé, nervously. “Well, it’s just that you’re so pretty and with the right amount of attention, you could be really beautiful.”
“When you’re done kissing the princess’s ass, could you pass me the bread?” Carly asked Faith.
“Yeah, what is with you?” Elizabeth asked, her eyes narrowed in suspicion. She looked at Faith. “You’ve barely said two words to me in all the time you’ve been dating Ric.”
Faith sighed. “Well, I’m sorry for trying to fix that mistake.” She looked at Ric. “A little help here.”
“Let me tell you what’s up, miss innocent,” Carly began. “My dear sister is sure her marriage hangs on your approval–”
“Carly!” Brenda said, her cheeks flushed.
“And I’m not sure what’s up the ice queen’s ass, but I’m sure she wants you to like her and from the looks of her, she’s definitely got some ulterior motives. You due to inherit your daddy’s money or something?”
Elizabeth shook her head. “No,” she said faintly, darting a glance at Faith before looking at Brenda. “Jason and Ric are.”
Ric coughed discreetly and looked at Sonny. “I see no one’s informed her of Lily’s will.”
Adela glared at her youngest child. “Richard.”
“What about Mama?” Elizabeth asked curiously.
“I hardly think this is the time or place for this conversation. Elizabeth is a child yet and–”
Elizabeth jumped up from her seat and glared at her father. “I’m not a child!” she seethed. “Why do you all insist on treating me like I’m five years old?”
Jason sipped his water. “Maybe it’s because you insist on acting like you are.”
She turned her angry and hurt eyes on someone she’d thought was her best friend. He looked away from her after a moment and stared down at his plate.
“Elizabeth, sit down,” Sonny said sternly.
Elizabeth glared at him. “Oh, we wouldn’t want your child bride to think you’ve got an unruly daughter, now would we?” she said scathingly.
Adela sighed and shook her head. “You are all such children,” she said sadly. “Elizabeth, please…sit down.”
Sonny stood and glared at his daughter. “Elizabeth Adela Corinthos, if you don’t sit down right now–”
“What?” Elizabeth demanded. “What will you do? There’s nothing you can take from me, Daddy. I never leave my room, I have no friends and my mother is dead. How do you think you will punish me?”
“Go to your room until I decide what to do with you!” Sonny ordered.
Elizabeth stalked out of the room and Sonny sat down a moment later. “I’m sorry about that,” he told Brenda and Carly.
“I think you handled that all wrong,” Brenda said. She pressed a napkin to her lips and stood. “Excuse me.”
Elizabeth was sitting on her window seat, staring out over the street when Brenda pushed the door open. She saw her stepmother and scowled but said nothing.
“If it helps my approval rating anyway, I do disagree with the way your father treated you,” Brenda said, sitting on the seat, leaning against the opposite wall.
“Good for you,” Elizabeth muttered. She stared at her short fingernails, the edges ragged from her biting down on them.
“It can be hard for a father to admit their little girl is a woman,” Brenda continued.
“I might as well be a little girl,” Elizabeth said miserably. She kicked her sandals off to reveal her bare feet with the unpainted toenails.
“I don’t want to replace your mother,” Brenda told her softly. “I don’t want to even pretend that we could have a mother/daughter relationship.”
“Then what do you want from me?” Elizabeth asked. She dragged her hands through her already tangled hair. “My father can barely stand to look at me anymore. I look too much like my mother.”
“I think I know what’s wrong.” Brenda stretched her legs out onto the floor. “It’s not just me moving in and marrying your father.”
Elizabeth shrugged. “Sure it is. You’re only twelve years old than me. It’s ridiculous.”
“It’s Jason, isn’t it?” Brenda smiled a little. “I wouldn’t worry about Carly getting into deep with him. He’s not her type.”
Elizabeth scowled. “He’s a jackass and I hate him.”
“He’s lived here for the past ten years hasn’t he?” Brenda asked. “Long enough for you get attached to him.”
Elizabeth smiled involuntarily. “When I was six years old, I announced at dinner that I was going to marry him.”
Brenda laughed then. “What did Sonny say about that?”
“Oh, he thought it was highly amusing and I believe Jason said no way in hell.” Elizabeth looked away. “Only my mother took me seriously.”
“Mothers tend to do that. I told my mother when I was ten that I was going to marry the richest and most handsome man I could find. She said that of course I would because I was going to be beautiful and any man would want to marry me.” Brenda shook her head. “So she told me to go ahead and find my rich, handsome prince but to only marry him if I loved him.”
Elizabeth eyed her cautiously. “Do you really love my father?”
“Yes. Even if he can be arrogant and stubborn.” Brenda tossed her hair over her shoulder and smiled at her. “Hey, why don’t we show your father and Jason exactly how grown up you are?”
“What do you mean?” Elizabeth asked.
“I say that tomorrow morning…you and I go on a shopping spree. We’ll go to a hair salon, we’ll get you a makeover.” Brenda touched Elizabeth’s cheek. “We’ll show everyone what a beautiful young woman you are.”
Sonny sipped his bourbon. “I don’t know what’s up with her these days.”
Ric smirked and wandered over to the mini bar to pour himself a drink. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you married a woman that she’d never seen before, who was only twelve years old then her. Then you moved her in here along with a younger woman who seems to have stolen her playmate.”
Jason scowled. “Don’t be an idiot.”
“She’s just being selfish–”
“And why haven’t you told her about Lily’s will?” Ric interrupted his brother.
“There’s nothing to tell her that’ll be any use to her.” Sonny shrugged. “She only gets the money if she’s not married when she’s twenty-five.”
“That’s ten years from now,” Jason said. “How can you guarantee she will be?”
“Because I’ve already arranged a match for her when she’s eighteen,” Sonny told them.
Ric raised his eyebrows. “What year is it again? 1842?”
Sonny scowled. “It’s a good match with a good family. She’ll be treated right.”
Jason shook his head. “I can’t believe you’re being so blasé about this. Doesn’t her happiness mean anything?”
“She’ll never agree to it, Sonny,” Ric chimed in. “And besides…she’s only fifteen and she’s so sheltered. I can’t imagine that’s going to change in three years.”
“She won’t be responsible to handle the kind of money Lily left her–even when she’s twenty-five.” He looked at his brother. “And tell Faith to stop sucking up to her. It’ll be ten years before Elizabeth sees a dime of that money and then it’ll go into her husband’s accounts.”
“I can’t believe Lily agreed to this,” Ric said, shaking his head.
“She probably assumed that Elizabeth would marry on her own free will,” Jason told him. “Elizabeth was her whole world.”
“Well, Jason, she also assumed that it would be you,” Sonny said, sarcastically. “My wife was a wonderful woman, but she was a romantic.”
Jason frowned. “Lily thought I would marry Elizabeth? She’s like my little sister.”
Ric smirked. “Yeah. Right.” He shook his head. “Anyway. I think you’re making a mistake in keeping this from her.”
Sonny glared at the two men. “You are the only two who know about both the will and the marriage, so if she finds out…I’ll know who told her. She isn’t to be told. That’s an order.”
Brenda knocked softly on the door. “Sonny?”
“Yeah, come in.”
His wife entered, slightly nervous. “I’m not exactly sure what the protocol is but I’d like to take Elizabeth shopping tomorrow.”
Jason raised his eyebrows. “Does Elizabeth know about this?”
Brenda leveled a cool gaze on her husband’s surrogate son. “She knows and she’s agreed. We both agreed that if she’s going to be treated like the woman she is, she’s going to have to start portraying that image.”
Brenda turned to her husband. “Look, I’m trying to bond with her and if I have to do it over shoes and jewelry, I’ll do it.”
Sonny hesitated. “All right. I’ll arrange it. But it should be made clear to her that her behavior at dinner tonight was uncalled for and that I expect an apology.”
“Fine.” Brenda smiled at Ric before leaving the room.
“Elizabeth agreed to go shopping? That doesn’t around right,” Jason remarked.
“Why do I have the feeling that things are about to change around here?” Ric murmured.