Sonny Corinthos looked up as his body guard, Johnny, announced Jason. “You’re early.”
Jason shrugged. “Didn’t feel like waiting.”
Sonny gestured towards the breakfast table. “Feel free to grab something. Carly isn’t down yet.”
“I don’t do breakfast,” Jason replied.
Sonny paused. “Are you gonna tell me what you decided?”
“Yeah.” Jason stuck his hands on jean pockets. “I’ll take it.”
“Good.” Sonny grinned and sat down. “You don’t want any coffee? Alexis will be here shortly with the contracts.”
Jason sat and poured himself a cup of coffee. “Alexis, huh? You were pretty sure of yourself weren’t you?”
Sonny shrugged. “I like to be prepared.”
“So, why didn’t you tell me your sister was Elizabeth Webber?” Jason asked, sipping the coffee.
“Didn’t know it mattered,” Sonny served himself some scrambled eggs.
“She lives with Emily,” Jason pointed out.
“So?” Sonny shrugged and put two pieces off toast on his plate.
“Sonny, we can’t stand each other.”
Sonny looked at him skeptically. “You don’t like someone? You?” Sonny shook his head. “That’s impossible.”
“What are you talking about? I don’t like plenty of people,” Jason said defensively.
Sonny grinned. “No. You have two categories. People you like and people you don’t care about. Liz is the only person you’ve ever said you didn’t like.” He shrugged. “It’s just weird. Why don’t you like her?”
“She’s irritating and she’s a pain in the ass.”
“Watch it-” Sonny pointed his fork at him. “That’s my baby sister you’re talking about.”
Sonny frowned. “True. Anyway, you’ve been in town less than a day. How irritating could she possibly be?”
Jason frowned. “I knew her before I left town. I’m told I knew her before the accident.”
Sonny nodded. “Right. Of course. I remember. You, Emily, Liz and your brother…you were close as kids, right?”
“Yeah. That’s what Emily tells me. I basically have the same relationships with them as I did before. AJ and I are friends – I saw him in New York before I came here, I love Emily and Elizabeth and I fight. I don’t know why everyone thinks it’s so different.”
“You know, it’s strange,” Sonny said thoughtfully. “You usually separate yourself from Jason Quartermaine unless you’re talking about of the three of them. And then it’s like…you’re sorry you can’t remember.”
Jason shrugged. “I am sorry. I’ve seen the photos and Emily and AJ are always talking about how much fun we used to have. I know they miss him.”
“They love you, too,” Sonny said.
“I know. But it’s hard to compete with a ten-year-old breaking statues in the gardens.”
“Breaking statues?” Sonny repeated.
“Jason!” Carly shrieked from the stairs.
“Was she always this loud?” Jason asked, wincing. Carly flew down the steps and hurtled herself in Jason’s arms.
“It’s so good to see you!” Carly said, pulling away. She sat down at the table and Jason resumed his seat. “Did Sonny tell you that I run my own company now?”
“With Laura,” Sonny reminded. “Carly runs Deception, the cosmetics company.”
“Oh, and I have this great secretary. She’d be good for you,” Carly said, helpfully.
“Carly-” Sonny tried to cut in.
“She’s gorgeous, she’s funny, she’s smart,” Carly said, ticking the traits off on her fingers, “and she doesn’t mind the job because Sonny’s-”
“Carly-” Sonny tried again.”
“-her brother!” Carly finished triumphantly.
“Thanks, but no thanks,” Jason said shortly. He stood. “I’ve got to go see if Jake’s got a room open.”
“Hey, wait for-” Sonny stopped as Jason left. “Good job.”
“What’s your problem? What’s his problem?” Carly asked irritated. She spread some jelly on a piece of toast.
“He already knows Liz,” Sonny said.
“How does he know Lizzie-” Carly broke. “Holy hell, Emily’s his sister? That’s the Jason she’s been complaining about the last week?”
“How many Jasons do you think there are in Port Charles?” Sonny asked.
Carly shrugged. “At least two. I never made the connection.” She grinned. “But this just makes it better.”
Sonny grimaced. “Carly, this is my sister you’re talking about.”
Carly grinned. “And Jase is like your brother. You know we want them both happy.”
“Carly, don’t get that look.” Sonny winced. “That’s your ‘I’m gonna help and nobody can stop me look.’ I don’t like that look, Carly.”
She shrugged. “Deal. I think Jason and Liz would be perfect for each other.”
“Let’s see. I can enlist Emily—because I know she wants them to be happy. Oh, and I can have a party for Deception that way they can both get dressed up-”
Sonny buried his head in his hands. Carly was off and running. God help his sister and Jason.
Elizabeth stepped off the bus and turned the corner, intent on heading for Sonny’s warehouse. Just as she reached the docks, she groaned.
“Well, well, if it isn’t the mafia princess.” Lt. Taggart crossed his arms and grinned. “Here to see your brother?”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “Taggart, in order for me to be a mafia princess, my brother would have to be in the mafia and I’d have to be his daughter. And since that’s illegal in most states, I guess you’re going to have to let me pass.”
“I hear your brother has a new partner,” Taggart said. Elizabeth brushed past him. “Word on the street says it’s his former enforcer.”
Elizabeth turned and smiled sweetly. “My brother’s business is none of my—or your—concern. If you’ll excuse me-”
“It’s a shame. Such a fine boy, corrupted by Corinthos.”
“What are you talking about?” Elizabeth asked. “Stop talking in circles and get to the point. I’m busy.”
“From a fine upstanding family…” Taggart shook his head sadly. “Jason Quartermaine could have gone places.”
Elizabeth froze. Sonny’s new partner? Jason? She took a deep breath. “Jason Quartermaine is dead. The sooner everyone realizes that, the happier everyone will be.”
“You never learn.” Sonny emerged from a car that had pulled up. “You want something Taggart?”
“Nope. Just informing the mafia princess what her former friend has been up to,” Taggart. He smirked at Jason who had gotten out of the passenger seat. “Morgan. No surprise there. Welcome back to town.” Taggart strode away, still smirking.
“Twisted little…” Elizabeth muttered. She shook her head. “Hey.”
“Was he bothering you?” Sonny asked.
“No.” Elizabeth crossed her arms. “Why didn’t you tell me Jason was your new partner?”
“Because I just found out this morning that he agreed.” Sonny motioned for Jason to join them. “Jason, I take it you know Liz.”
“Yeah,” Jason said shortly.
Sonny scratched his head. “Well, there’s something else you need to know about her.”
“Sonny!” Elizabeth shook her vehemently. “No.”
“Liz, sweetheart, he has to know.”
“What’s going on?” Jason demanded. He eyed the petite brunette suspiciously.
Elizabeth sighed. “Fine.”
“Liz isn’t just Carly’s secretary and Emily’s roommate.” Sonny hesitated. “You know that, uh, other partner…”
“Sonny, you’ve got to be kidding,” Jason said, stunned. “She’s just a kid.”
“Hey!” Elizabeth snapped. “You’re only two years older than I am!” She glared at Sonny. “You never told me that Jason worked for you.”
“Yes, I did,” Sonny reminded her. “I just never mentioned his last name. Seems everyone was under the impression that there are a lot of Jasons in Port Charles. It’s not my fault if you didn’t make the connection.”
“I can’t work with him,” Elizabeth fumed.
“Liz-” Sonny turned to Jason. “Listen, let’s take this inside. We can discuss it in my office.”
Elizabeth stalked in the office and fumed as Sonny and Jason entered.
“Liz, I trust Jason with my life-”
“Save it,” Elizabeth snapped. “You told me you had a perfect partner in mind and all you would tell me was his name was Jason. You knew I was living with his sister and you knew that we didn’t get along but you chose to offer him the position without even informing me that I already knew him.”
“Liz, I was hoping you’d give him a chance,” Sonny said. “You’re right. I should have told you but I was afraid you’d shoot the idea down.”
“Damn right,” Elizabeth said, glaring at her brother.
“Look, I haven’t signed anything-” Jason broke off. “I don’t have to take it.”
“No, Jason,” Sonny said. “This is just a family disagreement-”
“The hell it is,” Elizabeth hissed. “I have to be able to trust him. I don’t care if you do, but I don’t. I have to know that I’m not in danger and I can’t because I do not trust him-”
“Doesn’t my judgment mean anything?” Sonny demanded. “I’ve been in this business my whole life; you’ve only been involved for two years. I think I can make a judgment call. Jason has worked for me for five years. He is the only person qualified to take do this.”
Elizabeth took a deep breath. “You’re right. You have been in this business longer than I have. And you have more experience.” She sighed. “If you think you can trust him, then I’ll have to deal.”
She shook her head, vehemently. “I don’t like it, but the problems between Jason and I … they don’t have to come to work with us.” She eyed him. “Right?”
Jason’s mind was still spinning. This petite brunette with the curly hair was the mafia princess Taggart called her. She was Sonny’s full and equal partner. He blinked. “Right. Strictly business.”
Elizabeth turned her eyes back to Sonny. “All right?”
“Thanks, Liz,” Sonny said, gratefully. “You won’t regret this.”
“Yeah, I better not,” Elizabeth muttered. She checked her watch. “I have to go. I’m meeting Em and Nik for lunch. I only came by to meet our new partner.” She kissed Sonny on the cheek. “Bye.”
“See ya kid.”
After she was gone, Sonny rolled his shoulders, trying to get rid of the tension that seemed to have knotted in his shoulders. “She’s a little-”
“Why didn’t you tell me this morning?” Jason demanded. He ran a hand through his hair and put his hands on his hips. “Jesus, Sonny. You knew we didn’t get along.”
“I didn’t tell you because Liz is a strictly silent partner. She comes in only when necessary. After she graduates college, she wants to take on a more active role. But I can’t wait another two years, so that’s where you come in.” Sonny shrugged. “Taggart doesn’t really think she’s involved, but he knows he can get a rise out of her.”
“I thought you hated women being involved,” Jason said.
Sonny rubbed his eyes. “Yeah, well, Liz isn’t a normal woman.” He grinned. “How did she put it…?”
Elizabeth flew past the secretary and straight into Sonny’s office. She closed the door behind her and crossed her arms.
Sonny grinned and stood. “Something I can do for you?”
“I found out you were my brother two weeks ago,” Elizabeth began, “and all I’ve done since then is think about that. You are the only family I’ve have in the world and I would really like to develop a relationship with you.”
“I want the same, Liz-”
“But I am completely terrified that I will lose you before that happens,” Elizabeth continued as if he hadn’t spoken. “I’m not stupid. I know what you do, and I know that it’s not limited to coffee or the hotel.” She strode forward and put her hands on his desk and leaned towards him. “I can’t lose you.”
Sonny sighed. “What do you want me to do about it?” he asked quietly. “I know how you feel and trust me, there’s not a day that goes by that Carly doesn’t hug me with all the strength in her body because she’s afraid that I might not come back. You have-”
“I want to be involved.”
Sonny blinked. “Excuse me?”
“I have a quick mind and good instincts,” Elizabeth said. “I want to help. I want to be a part of this.”
Sonny shook his head quickly. “No. No women.”
Elizabeth smirked. “I’m not just any woman. I’m your sister.”
“Liz, my answer is no.”
“And it’s the wrong answer,” she said glaring at him. “It doesn’t have to be an active role. I understand that. But I want to help. You get to take risks every day. You take the chance that you won’t come home. Why is that okay for you? Why don’t I get to make that same choice?”
“Liz, getting involved in this business…there’s no turning back. Once you’re in, you’re in. And choosing to get involved because you’re scared, that’s not a good enough reason.”
Elizabeth stood up and re-crossed her arms. She bit her lip and looked down. Her curly hair fell forward, hiding her face. After a few tense moments of silence, she looked up. She pulled her hair out of her face and took a deep breath. Her eyes were full of determination. “I want to protect the people I care about. And right now, the only people I care about are you, Em, AJ and Carly. I can’t lose you and if I think I can help, you know I will. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve given me that okay. I’ll do it anyway. Now wouldn’t you rather that you were guiding me and making sure I didn’t do the wrong things?”
He sighed and looked away. “Liz-”
“Don’t protect me because I’m a woman. Because that’s not fair. I’m just as good as any man, damn it. Just because I’m female does not mean I can’t handle this.”
He rubbed his eyes. “You know there’s no going back.”
“I’m aware of that.”
“All right. Here’s the deal.” Sonny looked up and clasped his hands under his chin. “You take a silent partnership. We’re equals, we make our decisions together. But no one knows you’re involved. The cover story is that you’re my sister and you visit me here from time to time. You do not get involved unless there is no other choice. You will limit it to research, but you will train just like any of the others. If, once you’ve graduated from college, you still want to do this, we can discuss a more active role.”
Elizabeth smiled. “That’s perfect.”
“Don’t make me regret this, Liz.”
She shook her head. “You’ll never have a reason,” she promised. She rounded the desk and threw her arms around him. “Thank you.”
He hugged her back. “You’re welcome.”
“Still can’t believe you gave in,” Jason muttered.
“She had a point. I might not like women being involved but I’ve also never had one waltz in here and ask. I’d like you to say no to Liz and get away with it.” Sonny smirked. “I can’t believe she agreed so quickly.”
“I don’t understand, Sonny. What do you need an active partner for?” Jason asked.
Sonny shrugged. “I have a kid named Zander who’d be next in line if something were to happen to me before Liz graduates. He’s a good kid with a lot of potential and he’s earned the position.” Sonny sighed. “But he’s not ready to take over. So, instead of replacing him, I’m bringing someone in who can take over.”
“So what happens when Elizabeth takes the active role in two years? You send me on my way?” Jason asked.
Sonny shook his head. “No. You stay on. If something happens to me even after the Liz graduates, I want you to take over my spot.”
“So Zander stays where he is?”
“Yeah. He’s expressed the opinion that he’s not really interested in running the territory. He likes where he is.” Sonny sat in his chair. “I know you’re the same way, which why you’ll be doing the same things you were doing before, only you’ll be in Port Charles. Liz might like to think she can handle this job as well as anyone and she probably can, but you know as well as I do that a woman in charge…she won’t get the same respect that you or I do.”
Jason nodded. “Makes sense. You think Elizabeth will take the active role?”
Sonny nodded. “Yeah. I had my doubts early on, but she’s proved herself. She’s as well trained as any of the men and she’s one of the most intelligent people on the staff. It’s like she was born to do this. She’ll definitely get more involved.”
“All right. Well, I’m gonna head over to Jake’s and see if she has a room I can use.”
“Use the other penthouse,” Sonny suggested. “It’s been empty for a few months since Alexis moved out. Which reminds me.” Sonny reached into his desk drawer. “Here’s those contracts.”
Jason took a pen from the desk and quickly signed and initialed his name in the right places. “Here.”
“I’ll drop them off at Alexis’s place.” Sonny grinned. “Any reason to annoy Jax.” He put the contracts aside and pulled some keys from his pocket. “Here’s the keys to the penthouse.”
Emily knocked on Carly’s half open office door. “Hey. You called?”
Carly gestured for her to enter. “Come in.”
Emily entered and sat in the chair in front of Carly’s desk. “What’s up? What was so urgent it couldn’t wait?”
Carly grinned. “I’ve been thinking about Lizzie.”
“She hates that name and what about her?”
“I think I have the perfect guy for her.” Carly grinned. “And she already hates him.”
Emily grinned. “Jason right?” She squealed. “Oh, you are right!”
“I am?” Carly said, warily. “Because Sonny seemed to think it was a bad idea.”
“No, no, seriously. Before the accident, Jason had a big crush on Beth and he’d just worked up the courage to ask her to the senior prom. Of course, they both say they despise each other, but I think that they would be really good for each other.”
Carly nodded. “Definitely. So,” she said her eyes full of mischief. “How do we get them together?”
“Well, first we have to make them friends,” Emily pointed out. “And maybe once that happens, they can take the initiative.”
“Uh uh, this is Jason we’re talking about. He doesn’t know what that means,” Carly said.
Emily laughed. “Let’s not worry about that. We have our work cut out for us with keeping them from killing each other!”
Let the games begin. I sure wasn’t expecting Elizabeth to have an active role in the business.