PH4 – The Living Room/Entrance Way
The room was fraught with tension. Carly stood stock still afraid she had said too much in her heated exchange with Sonny. She glanced hesitantly back and forth between the two of them; between Sonny, whose face gave away nothing, concealing his inner thoughts with an impenetrable shield that was almost palpable and Jason who patiently awaited an answer to his question, concern evident in his eyes.
Avoiding the question for the time being, Carly frowned, puzzlement etched on her face. “Jason?” she asked, the question an implicit request for an explanation of his presence there. When he failed to respond, she turned her gaze questioningly to Sonny and finally back to Jason when he too failed to offer an explanation.
“Tell me what?” Jason repeated, ignoring her question as she had done his own a few moments earlier. Once again awaiting a response, he leaned heavily on the stair railing beside him desperately in need of the support it provided. The motion went unnoticed by Carly, too absorbed in her apprehension to notice his apparent discomfort.
Carly’s gaze momentarily flickered to Sonny, her eyes silently asking the question she was afraid to learn the answer to. Sonny imperceptibly shook his head in a negative motion. The private exchange passed between the two of them unheeded by Jason who still looked expectantly at Carly for a reply.
Relief flooded through Carly as she realized it wasn’t too late to fix the latest mess she had got herself into. Still ignoring Jason’s question, she walked briskly towards the stairs and began in a rush, “Jase, I’ve been looking everywhere for you.” At the bottom landing where he met her she continued, “Where have you been? I’ve tried calling, I’ve left messages. I waited for you at your penthouse. I was worried about you.”
Before Jason could address her rapid-fire questioning, Sonny spoke up and quietly apologized, “I’m sorry man, I didn’t mean to wake you.” Jason nodded in acknowledgement to Sonny’s statement, his gaze never leaving Carly’s face ripe with concern for him.
“Wake you?” she asked. “You were sleeping? It’s mid afternoon. Did you spend the night here? Why? What happened? What’s the matter?” she demanded, fearful of the answer, yet needing to hear it just the same. She moved closer towards him and for the first time, took a good look at him and his appearance. He was barefoot, wearing his usual pair of jeans and a dress shirt that obviously belonged to Sonny. It was ill-fitting and seemingly hastily donned as some of its’ buttons were left undone, and others were skewed, mismatched with their intended holes. Clothing aside, Jason’s features were pale and drawn, almost ashen, and as he stood there leaning against the bottom of the banister, she finally noticed he slightly favoured his right side. In her mind, various scenarios sprung to unnatural life as she wondered at what could have caused Jason’s unkempt and haggard appearance. Fear leapt to her eyes as it dawned on her that whatever malevolence her mind manufactured, she would like the truth even less.
“Jase? What happened?” she asked, her voice quivering with the sound of freshly forming tears. Trepidation consuming her, she moved even closer and started to run her hands up the sides his body. When she reached his torso, he involuntarily tensed and gasped as her fingers lightly slid over his bandages. She raised shocked, fright-filled eyes to his and demanded harshly “Let me see it,” and immediately pulled at the hem of his shirt to look upon the damage with her own eyes. She was met by the sight of blood soaked bandages wrapped tightly around Jason’s midsection. Although bloody, the bandages were dry and concealed all but the dark heavy bruising visible both above and below the wrappings. Carly tentatively reached out a hand to his side but at the last moment pulled back, afraid to cause him any undue pain. “Does it hurt?” she asked, raising her eyes to meet his, her as yet unshed tears now flowing freely down her cheeks.
“Hey. I’m OK,” Jason soothed. He reached out and wiped away her tears with the pads of his thumbs. “It looks much worse that it is.”
“Oh my God. Oh my God!” she cried. “I could have lost you last night and I would never have known it.” She wrapped her arms around him mindful of his wounds, and took comfort in the mere presence of him; the arms that moved around her in comfort and the steady rise and fall of his chest underneath her cheek. Feeling her trembling within his embrace, Jason tightened his hold grimacing at the pain he felt for having done so. It was a pain he welcomed, however, somehow reassuring and life-affirming in its’ intensity. What mattered now, in this moment, was that he was alive, that he was here with Carly and that she needed him to be strong for her – even if it was a lie.
Carly opened her eyes to find Sonny studying them with an odd expression on his face. Reluctant to disrupt such an intimate moment between them he coughed nervously and said, “Um, Jason? You really should be getting back to bed. You need to rest.”
“And you! What’s the matter with you?” Carly raged at Sonny, using her anger towards him as the only available outlet to vent her frustration and fear at almost having lost Jason. Abruptly she broke out of Jason’s embrace, unmindful of the pain the sudden movement would cause him. He grabbed his side and leaned heavily on the staircase as she began her way across the room to Sonny. “I come here begging, pleading with you to tell me where Jason is and the whole time he’s upstairs recovering from… – from what?” Realizing neither had answered her question about what had happened the night before, she returned to Jason and demanded, “What put this hole in your side?”
“If you calm down, I’ll tell you,” he said in carefully measured tones, the residual pain in his side slowly subsiding.
After a few deep breaths, in an overly sedate tone of voice, she simply stated, “I’m calm.”
Highly doubtful of the fact, Jason regardless decided to allay her fears by answering her question. He placed his hands lightly on her shoulders to steady her and demanded her attention with his gaze, conveying with his eyes the message that he was fine and she need not worry. He briefly smiled in reassurance, and almost reluctantly, revealed “I was shot.”
She turned angrily towards Sonny and accused, ”You sent him out to get shot for you?”
Her words cut him Sonny deeply. It was no more than what he had been thinking himself, yet it hurt to hear it voiced by another, especially Carly. But then the truth hurt, didn't it. He shook his head, smiling wryly at the wayward thought.
Her anger escalated at the amused expression on his face, and grew higher still as she realized that while Jason was out getting shot for him, Sonny was home, in the safety of his bed, with Jason’s woman. With her. Sure that he had planned it that way, she shook her head disbelievingly at the calculated callousness of this man who presumed to call himself Jason’s best friend. “You cold, selfish, son of a bi--”
“Carly!” Jason shouted, cutting her off in mid-sentence. “Carly, please,” he implored, “I’m not strong enough to referee a fight between the two of you right now.”
Hearing the plea for peace in his voice and seeing the exhaustion in his eyes and in the way he carried himself, Carly relented, the fight leaving her as quickly as it had developed. Now was not the time to confront Sonny about his actions the night before, or his reasons for them. But that time would come. Soon. Letting it go, she turned concerned eyes towards Jason as asked, “What are you doing out of bed anyway? You should be resting.”
“I heard the two of you and didn’t want a repeat of last night.” His answer surprised her and she looked guiltily at Sonny, afraid he had said something to Jason after all.
“What do you mean?” she asked, a slight edge to her voice. Although asked of Jason, her eyes had remained on Sonny and it was he who answered.
“I told Jason about how we fought last night. You know, that it was bad.”
Carly nodded and closed her eyes, understanding what was said and more importantly, what was not said. She had been granted a reprieve. But for how long she silently wondered. She turned to Jason saying, “Come on. We need to get you back upstairs.” She placed an arm gently around his waist and wrapped one of his across her shoulders letting him rely on her for support. Slowly, she began to lead him up the stairs, the fact that he leaned so heavily upon her a testament to the toll the excursion down the stairs had taken from him.
Sonny watched as they departed, Carly’s smaller frame supporting the bulk of Jason’s much larger one. He knew he should offer to help but didn’t want to interfere. And did he have the right to after what he did, he wondered. He had helped Jason enough as it was. He had helped him into this life, into his business, and by sending him that meeting last night, he had almost helped him out of it. Permanently. He might has well have pulled the trigger himself, he thought. He shook his head to clear his mind of the thoughts plaguing him and stepped forward to offer his assistance. He hesitated however; watching the couple slowly begin their ascent of the upper landing, it suddenly dawned on him: whatever he knew, or thought he knew about Carly, he could count on one thing: she would not let Jason fall. Right before they disappeared, he heard Carly start in on Jason, “So what? You didn’t think this was worth a call?” and despite himself and the way he was feeling, Sonny smiled.
PH4 – The Guestroom
“Carly, really, I’m fine,” Jason reassured for the fifth time in as many minutes. He sat propped up in bed against a plethora of pillows that Carly was once again trying to rearrange in an effort to make him more comfortable.
Giving up, she sat back on the edge of the bed and absently began to pick imaginary balls of lint from the oversized comforter that covered it. After a few moments of silence she looked up and began, “You know I worry about you. And when I couldn’t find you today –.“ She bit her lip as she recalled the panic she had gone through wondering where he was and if Sonny had told him what they did, never once imagining the truth could have been worse…so much worse. “All I’m saying is you could have let me know. I would have been here for you.” She looked down to her hands playing with the corner of the bed sheet as she finished quietly, “No matter what happened last night.” Images of her with Sonny the night before flooded her mind interspersed with her imaginings of Jason shot, lying alone in the cold, bleeding to death on the snow covered pavement somewhere. Guilt weighed heavily upon her with the knowledge that while she was betraying him with his best friend, he had almost been killed.
“I know,” he assured, never doubting that she would always be there when he needed her.
Uneasy with his faith in her in the face of her betrayal, she turned her mind away from her and Sonny and the guilt she was feeling and concentrated solely on Jason. “So what happened? Hmm?”
“Carly you know better than to ask me about business. I’m fine. That’s all you need to know.” She shrugged indicating she was not in total agreement with that statement. To close the subject, with a tone of finality he stated, “That’s all you get to know.” Now, what happened between you and Sonny last night?”
PH4 – The Living Room/Entrance Way
Sonny sat downstairs at his desk working on the same invoices from the night before. Knowing he would get as much work done now as then, he tossed them aside and gave up any pretence of productivity. He sat back, ran his hands wearily through his black curls and let his mind wander where it would, which was right upstairs to what was being said between Jason and Carly at the moment.
He knew she had been desperate to find Jason because he had threatened to tell him – was in fact, going to tell him the truth of what happened between the two of them. But that all changed the moment Jason had walked in last night with a bullet wound in his side; from a bullet that had had Sonny’s name neatly inscribed on its’ deadly casing. Sonny would not – could not -- cut him any deeper after that. And revealing the truth about Carly – about him and Carly – would do that. For despite what he said the previous night, he knew Jason loved her. He had known that, and he took her anyway.
As for Carly, she couldn’t be trusted. He knew that too. He had had her figured out. She didn’t love Jason. She didn’t know how. She was a user. All she knew was manipulation and lies. But there had been a fleeting moment earlier when he thought perhaps he had been wrong. That maybe, just maybe, she really did love him. Which made what he did last night so much more the worse.
Sonny was startled out of his thoughts by a knock at the door. He began to call out to Johnny to rid him of the unexpected visitor when he remembered the guard had yet to return. He pushed back from the desk and made his way to the door to be greeted by a smugly smiling Lt. Taggert and another officer whom Sonny did not recognize.
Inwardly, Sonny chided himself for not anticipating this visit and for not moving Jason to a safe house as the situation warranted. Overwhelmed by his betrayals, both being with Carly and nearly getting Jason killed, Sonny couldn’t think clearly. He couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t focus on business where his thoughts needed to be at the moment. He was letting his emotions run rampant. It was clouding his judgement and he was making mistakes – mistakes he couldn’t afford to make in the midst of this dangerous time. And they end now, he thought. With his best poker face in place, Sonny greeted, “Lt Taggert, officer, what an unexpected surprise. I’d invite you in but I was just on my way out. “
As Sonny moved to walk past the officers out the door, Lt. Taggert put a hand out stopping him in his tracks. “Not so fast, Corinthos.” Sonny stared meaningfully at the hand on his chest and then raised his steely gaze to meet that of the lieutenant’s. The two men stood locked in a non verbal dispute of long standing until at last Taggert removed his hand and took a slight step backwards, still barring Sonny’s exit.
Continuing to hold Sonny’s stare, Taggert stated his business in a cold professional manner, “Something went down last night on Pier 17. Something big. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, now would you?” In answer, Sonny declared his innocence with raised brows and shrugged his shoulders in denial. “Moreno’s disappeared. But I suppose you wouldn’t know anything about that either.
Sonny barked out a sharp laugh at Taggert’s thinly veiled accusation. “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let me get this straight. You’re here because Anthony Moreno decided to take a vacation?”
“I hear he’s swimming with the sharks,” Taggert pressed.
“Tropics are nice this time of year,” Sonny coolly rejoined.
“So you finally had Moreno taken out, huh? I’m surprised it took you so long. Why don’t you do the citizens of Port Charles a big favour and ‘fess up. Save the poor working class their money.” Taggert leaned closely in toward Sonny and whispered, “Confession’s good for the soul, Sonny.”
Sonny sighed heavily, his annoyance at Taggert’s constant harassment barely overshadowed by his apprehension at having Jason upstairs. “I’m a working man Taggert. I run a perfectly respectable coffee business – of which you are well aware. I have better things to do as you stand here accusing me of Moreno’s disappearance while he’s sitting back, relaxing on a beach somewhere. You’ve stated your business. I can’t help you. I’ll thank you to leave now.” Sonny moved to the door and made to motion the officers out.
“Not so fast, I know you’re hiding something, Sonny. You’re going to tell me what happened down at the pier last night. One way or another.”
Sonny, momentarily taken aback by Taggert’s tone, raised his eyebrow in query, silentlly asking, how far would the other man take things, had they been alone. He clucked his tongue, cocked his head to the side and offered in his least sincere tone possible, “Gee, Taggert, I’d love to help you out with that, but I was home all last night.” He smiled at the scowl that momentarily appeared on Taggert’s face.
“You wouldn’t happen to have any witnesses to that fact, would you?” Taggert questioned and was gratified by the reaction he received: the smile froze on Sonny’s face as he remembered precisely who his alibi was and what they were doing at the time in question.
PH4 – The Guestroom
Jason waited expectantly for an answer. Carly avoided his gaze, still picking at the lint on the comforter, as she answered, “It’s not important.” Dismissing the topic as dealt with, she ended her in depth study of the bed coverings and, noticing his empty water glass on the night table offered, “Can I get you some water?” She scooted closer to the head of the bed only to find the pitcher empty as well. She absently started to arrange the table top contents and when she came upon his medication she picked them up examining them closely. Noticing the antibiotics have been taken but the bottle of pain killers was still full, she held the bottle up and asked, “Why haven’t you been taking these?”
His answer was short and simple. “I don’t need them.”
“The doctor obviously didn’t think so.” Reading the instructions on the label she opened the bottle and poured two small pills into the palm of her hand. “You’re taking these.”
“Carly –“ he began to protest.
“Jase, please? I hate to see you hurting.” She pouted turning pleading doe eyes upon him.
“I’m fine,” he reassured.
“And I know better,” she refuted. “That trip down the stairs took a lot out of you. Whether you’re going to admit it or not.” He began to argue against that only to be cut off before he was able to start. “Do it for me. It’ll make me feel better. Pleeeeeeeeeease?” she beseeched.
And try as he might, he could not refuse her. “Fine,” he conceded and was rewarded with a huge smile that brightened her face.
“Good. I’ll go get you some water.” She rose from the bed, grabbed the pitcher and pocketed his pills. Jason raised his eyebrow and cocked his head to the side in question of her last move. She laughed and explained, “I don’t want these mysteriously disappearing while I’m gone.” She placed her hand over the slight bulge the pill bottle made in her pocket, patted it reassuringly, turned and swiftly left the room, jug in hand.
Carly made her way down the hall admiring the décor, mentally noting what she would decorate differently. As she reached the end of the hallway and began her descent down the stairs she abruptly halted, recognizing the voices below and the all too familiar conversation they were having. Backing up so as not to be seen, she remained at the top of the landing, listening to the men as they talked below.
PH4 – The Living Room/Entrance Way
Sonny answered quickly careful not to reveal just how much Taggert’s question had fazed him. “You know I don’t answer any questions without my lawyer, Taggert. Do I need one?”
“That’s entirely up to you, Mr Corinthos.” Taggert paused, looking searchingly into Sonny’s eyes as if he could detect the guilt of a man, in the depths of his gaze. He continued, “There are no charges pending against you at this time. But all Ms. Davis will tell you is that this is a perfectly legal warrant for us the search the premises.” He pulled the search warrant from his breast pocket and waved it tauntingly in front of Sonny’s face. “But you don’t need an attorney to tell you that. You’ve had enough of these served I’m sure you can tell everything is in order. But, if you want to summon Ms Davis, by all means, please do. We’ll wait.”
Unnoticed, Carly turned and rushed quietly back to the guest room, the beginnings of a plan quickly forming in her mind.
“You’re telling me the PCPD has nothing better to do than to harass me? An innocent tax paying citizen of Port Charles?”
Folding his arms across his chest with the search warrant still in his hands, Taggert smiled as he answered, “Not today.”
Grabbing the warrant from Taggert, Sonny began to read it. To his dismay, everything seemed to be in order. “Well, all the I’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. Who am I to waste the tax payers’ money? Let’s get this over with – quickly. And remember: what you break, you pay for.” Without another word or a backward glance, Sonny headed for the stairs the two cops in tow closely behind him.
As the three men made their way down the hall upstairsl, Taggert motioned the unnamed officer down a second hallway to search the rooms there while he and Sonny continued towards the guest and master bedrooms. “You redecorate since my last visit?” he asked conversationally. There was definitely a difference in the décor from the last time he had searched Sonny’s apartment.
“Well, you know. You and your men, you come. You mess with my things. Can’t be too careful” he replied blithely. He took great pleasure in the dark, angry flush that suffused Taggert’s checks and the sudden hardness in his eyes that appeared in reaction to Sonny’s implication that he and officers of the PCPD were less than trustworthy. Sonny’s gratification was short lived however, as Taggert angrily grabbed the doorknob to the guestroom and made to enter. Sonny coughed loudly and raised his voice saying, ”Ah Taggert, you may want to think twice about going in there.”
“Sounds like you’re hiding something after all,” Taggert spoke through clenched teeth. He smiled coldly, sure he would finally catch Sonny in the middle of one of his extra-legal activities. “Why don’t we find out what’s behind door number one?” Not waiting for an answer, he unceremoniously opened the door behind which the two men found the surprising sight of Jason and Carly occupying the bed, sharing an intimate embrace.