Catch the wheel that breaks the butterfly
I cried the rain that fills the ocean wide
I tried to talk with God to no avail
Calling Him in and out of nowhere
Said if You won’t save me, please don’t waste my time
— Falling Down, Oasis
Thursday, July 7, 2005
Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room
Sonny’s hand tightened around the tumbler in his fingers. “Say that again,” he said softly.
“Sonny, I know Evie is your daughter.”
Yes, those were the words but somehow, he still couldn’t quite understand them. Couldn’t make them register in his brain. Carly knew Evie was his daughter.
“What—” His tongue felt too thick, the words wouldn’t form. Sonny turned to look at his wife, at the mother of his children, for whom he had sacrificed so much.
Her face was blank, but her eyes were dark. “I’ve always known.”
His chest clenched, and Sonny set down the tumbler, terrified he might throw it.
“I was content to let the situation stand,” Carly continued, standing so utterly still he scarcely recognized her. “I didn’t want any reminders of that time in our home, and that’s all Evie would be. Before Sam died, it just…it made sense to keep it going. Jason is an amazing father—” She pursed her lips and broke eye contact. “And after Sam died, when you still did nothing to change it, I said nothing. Because it was for the best.”
God. God. Everything he’d done to protect her from the knowledge had been for nothing. He’d moved her back into his home, had abandoned Sam and the feelings he’d felt for her—so that he could protect Carly and the boys.
And it had been for nothing.
“And now?” Sonny managed to say.
“You’re…so unhappy, Sonny.” Carly clasped her fingers in front of her. “I know it’s the guilt over Evie. And I know Jason wouldn’t even consider changing the arrangement as long as he believed that I was in the dark.”
“So what, you think it’s that simple?” Sonny choked off a bitter chuckle and tossed down the entire tumbler of bourbon. “Hey, Jason, that little girl you’ve raised for eight months as your daughter? I want her back now. Forget all the things we said, the promises. Carly has decided it’s okay.”
Carly pressed her lips together and took a moment to respond. “I’m…not blind to Jason’s difficulty. And that it’s particularly painful considering the position I put him in with Michael all those years ago, but I…did not ask him to do this.”
“Didn’t you?” Sonny bit out. He stalked away from her, towards the kitchen. Towards the window. Towards anywhere that wasn’t Carly. “Every time you called him, every time you begged him to fix your problems, you don’t think you trained him to jump? You didn’t even have to ask.”
“He was protecting the boys, and I’m ashamed of that, Sonny.” Carly planted her hands on her hips, her eyes accusing now. “But I’m not the one who started this. You moved that whore into our home and then moved her across the hall. Jason just stepped in where you wouldn’t. No one forced you to continue the lie. The slut is dead, Sonny, and still you left your daughter across the hall. You’re going to blame that entirely on me?”
No. And wasn’t that the fucking tragedy? He’d loved to cast the blame entirely at Carly’s feet. But he’d been just culpable. He had driven Sam to such desperate measures.
Bitch. Tricked him. Played right into Jason’s hands—
No. Sonny dipped his head. No. He had told Sam over and over again in every way except words that she and their daughter were not as important as his family with Carly.
Sam believed him, so she’d found someone who would love Evie the way she deserved.
“Sonny, we can’t let this continue,” Carly said. “If you are ever going to be in your daughter’s life, now is the time to step up. Yes, this is going to be horrible for Jason, and I am truly sorry. But I never told him to do this. I waited, didn’t I? I waited until he wasn’t alone—”
“You’re a fucking calculating bitch, you mean.” Sonny whirled to face her. “You mean you waited until Elizabeth looked like she was going to stick around this time. Her and her son. That’s the bullshit you were spouting a few months ago. You think that her kid can replace Evie.”
Carly huffed and looked away, but that was it, wasn’t it? In her head, Jason had planned a family with Sam and Evie, so Elizabeth and Cam were almost the same thing.
“You think people are replaceable?” he snarled. “You think making sure Jason had another kid in his life would make up for losing one?”
God, what a terrifying thing to learn about the woman to whom you’d sworn yourself to. What kind of life would Evie have with her? Would she ever be more than Sam’s daughter?
He’d known all long that he’d have to choose between a marriage to Carly and a life as Evie’s father, but it was so much more complicated than that. If he walked away from Carly, he ran the risk of losing Michael and Morgan. Morgan he could fight for, but maybe Carly would keep Michael from him. They would always be in the middle, and Evie would grow up, maybe blaming herself.
No, to protect Michael and Morgan, to do right by Evie, he had to walk away.
His guilt didn’t change things. Carly’s knowledge just made the situation…less complicated.
“Do you think I’d bring that little girl into a home with you?” Sonny said, his voice almost conversational. “Do you think I’d subject her to that?”
Carly’s nostrils flared. “What the hell does that mean?”
“It means exactly that. You’re a decent enough mother to Michael and Morgan, but that’s because they’re yours.” He shrugged and turned towards the window, looking out over the Port Charles skyline. “I don’t know if you could ever love Evie that way.”
“I could,” Carly said. “I-I wasn’t sure at first, but I know I could. You just…you never gave me a chance, Sonny. You lied to me over and over again.”
“I had to.”
“To hell with that!” Her voice rose. “To hell with that, Sonny Corinthos! You never gave me a chance! Never! You shot me in the fucking head and then were surprised when I didn’t immediately leap back into your life!”
He turned back to her. “Carly—”
“You’ve been punishing me for years now,” she seethed. “I was kidnapped, held hostage, electrocuted, shot in the goddamn head during delivery and you think I should have calmly accepted your affair with that piece of trash? Calmly accepted your bastard child? You’re so goddamn delusional.” Her chest was heaving now, her face flushed. “But I could have. I could have calmed down. I could have done so much if you’d given me the chance, but instead you wrote me off. And now you’re angry because I never fucking believed your lie?”
Sonny hesitated. There was something in her words that dug at him, because they were true, and he could see them. He could feel her desperation, her own unhappiness. “Carly—”
She shook her head. “For better or worse, Sonny. That’s what marriage is. I’m not walking away because it’s hard right now. We have two children together. We can do better.”
He stepped towards her. “I don’t know if that’s true—”
“I do.” Carly swiped at a tear with her thumb. “We just…have to resolve this situation with Evie. Jason—he should know that I know the truth. You know he’ll do what he can to help. That’s why he did all this, isn’t it?”
Sonny nodded and looked away. “I’ll tell him you know, but anything else…that’s between Jason and me.”
She nodded. “All right.” She stopped at the bottom of the stairs and looked at him. “For what it’s worth, I’m glad this is in the open now, Sonny. We…we can only get better from here.”
As Carly ascended the stairs, Sonny shook his head. He’d kept his temper, had not felt the walls caving in, but that didn’t mean anything. Arguing with Carly rarely…invited the darkness. Carly rarely expected him to be anyone than the man in front of her.
It was the rest of the world he couldn’t control.
Friday, July 8, 2005
Emily dropped her tote on the ground and took the seat across from Elizabeth. “It should not have taken us nearly a month to meet without boys around,” she complained, reaching across to steal a fry from Elizabeth’s plate.
Elizabeth sighed and leaned back. “I know. Between your summer schedule at the hospital, the kids, painting…”
“And Jason,” Emily responded with a beaming smile. “I’m totally cool with you taking time to get that relationship grounded. You guys needed some solo time…Georgie! Just the girl I’ve been dying to see. I need a BLT, fries and the largest soda you can get me. Stat.”
“You’ll get it when Don finishes it and not a minute sooner,” Georgie said, scrawling the order on her pad. “You’re not in the hospital.” She glanced at Elizabeth. “You need a refill?”
“Please.” Once Georgie had left, Elizabeth leaned forward. “So…Jason’s going to try to talk to Sonny today.”
Emily paused, another fry in her fingers. “About Evie?”
“Yeah.” Elizabeth bit her lip. “I had an odd conversation with Carly, and I just…I have such a bad feeling, Em. You know that Jason and I have suspected she’s known the truth for months.”
“I know, which never bodes well for my brother.” Emily wrinkled her nose. “I wonder what she’s up to. I’ve been doing some reading on the symptoms I’ve noticed in Sonny—” She paused as Georgie set down their drinks.
“What do you think?”
“Oh, it’s likely bipolar, I mean there’s nothing surprising there, but it’s all about which kind, you know?” Emily sipped soda. “So I talked to a psychiatrist at the hospital, Lainey Winters. I told her about the lightning quick mood changes, the long periods of calm mixed with huge explosions. I also suggested some paranoid tendencies because knowing Sonny as long as I have, he definitely leans that way.”
“What did Lainey say?” Elizabeth asked, swirling her chili in her bowl. “Does she have any ideas what we should do?”
“Well, she suggested that the subject in question may be suffering from mixed bipolar disorder, which is like experiencing the symptoms rapidly. It explains that scene at the hospital, where Sonny was calm, even embarrassed by Carly one minute, and then lost it on you the next.” Emily dumped some ketchup on her plate. “Lainey suggested I get my friend into treatment ASAP to correctly diagnose him and offer medication.”
“Well, that’s what Jason is going to talk to him about.” Elizabeth tucked a loose piece of hair behind her ear. “If Sonny doesn’t seek treatment by the time Evie turns one, Jason will go ahead and petition for adoption.”
Emily pursed her lips. “He’s giving Sonny an ultimatum? I—I’m not sure if that’s the best idea, Liz. I mean, the thing about Sonny is he’s super paranoid and controlling on a normal basis. Any challenge to that, if he’s even close to a breaking point in the cycle could be bad.”
“Well, what are we supposed to do, Emily?” Elizabeth sighed, pushing her plate aside. “We can’t live like this. How can we put a future together? Evie needs stability, and if Jason is her father, then I—” She stopped and looked away.
“I get it. You and Jason are blending your lives together. You’ve got a son without a father, he’s technically got a daughter without a mother. Anyone who doesn’t know the circumstances, you just adopt each other’s kids and move on.” Emily shrugged. “But you guys are paralyzed, because I don’t know if Jason ever really saw himself adopting Evie. Or having a relationship where he’d be planning for permanence.”
“Well, I don’t know about permanence,” Elizabeth said, twisting her fingers in her lap. “I didn’t say anything about that. I mean, it’s just—I spend a lot of time with her, and I know it’s going to break my heart if we lose—I mean, if Jason loses custody—not to mention what it will do to him—”
“Elizabeth, it’s me you’re talking to. And you know it stays between us.”
“Em…” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “I’m terrified. For Jason. For myself. For Evie. And even Sonny. What if…what if Carly never believed it?”
“You mean, what if Carly’s been manipulating the situation from the getgo?” Emily leaned back in her chair and waited a moment. “Well, then we’re all fucked. Because if Carly’s dropping hints—”
“It’s more than that. I think…I think she’s starting to blame Jason for not finding a better way to fix this,” Elizabeth admitted. “Like, she was okay with it as long as it looked like her marriage would be okay. And I don’t know, if Sam hadn’t died, it would be different. Maybe the grief and guilt Sonny has wouldn’t be feeding into this problem he has. But now that it’s destroying Sonny, I think she looks at Evie as a solution.”
“A solution that Jason should be offering,” Emily finished. “And the longer he puts off fixing this situation, the more desperate she’ll get. Christ, Elizabeth. What do you think she’s capable of if she turns against Jason?”
“I don’t know. She’s never come this close before. I mean, yeah, she’s destroyed his life with Michael and Robin, then sleeping with Sonny.” Elizabeth bit her lip. “But Jason was collateral damage in those situations. If Carly decides Jason is the enemy?” She shook her head. “I don’t know. The last time she declared war like that was Robin.”
“And before that, her mother. Carly’s capable of a lot of destruction when she wants something.” Emily hesitated. “Have you talked to Jason about this?”
“Yeah. I’m not sure how much he buys my theory. You know, despite it all, he still has such a blind spot for Sonny and Carly. I mean, Sonny, I get that. He…” Elizabeth paused. “He told me once that Sonny taught him half of everything he knows, and that Robin taught him the rest of it. That’s who Sonny is to Jason. No matter what happens, Jason will always look for that in him.”
“That loyalty has never been deserved,” Emily muttered.
“But I don’t understand the blindness for Carly. I get that she’s Michael’s mother, but at some point…when does that stop being an excuse?” Elizabeth huffed. “I mean, how much damage does Carly have to do before Jason gets it? Carly’s out for Carly. Why doesn’t he see that?”
“I guess you’d have to be around during the accident,” Emily said after a long moment. She bit into her burger and swallowed. “When Jason woke up, the doctors told us his brain damage meant he’d never be normal. Everyone looked at him like some kind of…damaged person. He’d never be Jason Quartermaine again. They saw him as something that needed to be fixed. Something broken, not capable of real human emotion.” Her voice thickened. “And it used to make me so mad when they’d just describe him as brain damaged, like he wasn’t worth it.”
“I know, I used to see the way Taggart went after him,” Elizabeth murmured. “Talked down to him, like he was a child who didn’t get it. I hated it. I used to flip on Taggart for it.”
“Carly—she never saw him that way, you know?” Emily tilted her head. “She always saw him as a man. Even more, someone capable of fixing her problems. Even Robin, as much as I adored her and know how good she was for Jason for a long time, she never got past the part where Jason didn’t need constant lessons. Carly—for all her faults—never saw him as a student.”
“I guess. But still. I just…I don’t know. Could Carly turn Sonny against Jason?” Elizabeth asked. “I’d like to believe that even in the worst of his moods, Sonny would see that Jason cares for him, would do anything for him.”
“I know, Liz.” Emily set her burger down. “But the thing is? If Sonny does have this disorder, when he’s in the deepest, darkest part of this cycle, he might not see Jason as a friend, but rather someone challenging him. If Sonny doesn’t get treatment, if Carly decides this is all Jason’s fault, I don’t like where we’re going with this.”
“So should Jason not talk to Sonny?” Elizabeth asked. “Because it’s my fault. I pushed him to do something—”
“I can’t answer that. I can say that I think Evie’s better off where she is. I think you guys should go ahead and adopt her, or at least Jason should.” Emily tapped her fingers against her scrub-clad thigh. “Carly’s toxic. She’ll always be in Sonny’s life because of the boys. The further away Evie is, the better we all are. Jason told me about Sam, about the way she pleaded with him.”
“I think that’s what really holds him back. He could have found a different resolution months ago. Could have challenged Carly on her knowledge.” Elizabeth reached for her iced tea. “But he knew what Sam wanted for her daughter.”
“And Sam’s wishes should count for something. Sonny only wants Evie on his terms. She’s just a baby, Elizabeth, and she deserves the best the world can give her. I don’t see that being Sonny or Carly.”
“I just…can’t see an end point to this.” Elizabeth sighed. “But I also refuse to let it rule my life. I’m going to go forward. I love being with Jason, I love my career. There’s a lot going right. I just…one day at a time.”
“Not sure what else you can do.”
Hardy Home: Living Room
Steven knelt on the floor and reached under the sofa. “Gram, what does the other shoe look like?”
“Honestly.” Audrey sighed from across the room. “It’s a white flat. This is not difficult—” She stopped as Steven drew back, a pill bottle in his hand. “What…what is that?”
“Heart medication.” Steven looked at her. “In your name, Gram. What’s…going on?”
“I’m sure I don’t know how that got under there.” She strode forward and reached for it, but Steven held it back.
“Gram. I know this medication.” Steven rose to his feet. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing—” Audrey stopped and closed her eyes. “Okay. I have a minor heart condition, but it’s treatable. I’ve been in good health since I was diagnosed in January—”
“January?” Steven repeated. He handed her the medication. “What is this minor condition and why don’t I know about it?”
“I didn’t want to worry anyone. It’s mitral stenosis—just an issue with my heart valve,” she explained. “And I just knew you and your sister would be worried when it’s really not your concern—”
“So Elizabeth doesn’t know either?” Steven nodded. “Well, that’s going to change.” He reached for his cell phone, but Audrey reached out to grab his hand. “Gram—”
“No, I don’t…want to burden her. She’s been so happy these last few weeks, Steven. Please.”
“Are you never going to tell her?” Steven demanded. “She would be heartbroken if you said nothing—”
“I’ll tell her, but it’s just…I like seeing her happy.” Audrey took his hand in hers. “Don’t you?”
“No, Gram, don’t pull that on me—” But Steven sighed and nodded. “Fine. For now. But don’t keep pushing this, Gram. Elizabeth will handle this. She’s a strong woman, and she’s got Jason to /back her up now.”
“Soon, Steven, I promise.” Audrey paused. “Now, if you don’t mind, could you find my other shoe?”
Warehouse: Sonny’s Office
Jason hesitated just over the threshold of the office, waiting for his partner to raise his eyes from some paperwork and notice him.
It was a conversation almost a year in the making, but Jason still wasn’t sure how to go about it. But he knew that putting it off would just add to the tension shadowing his life. It had crept into his relationship with Elizabeth—not in a way that would damage it, he knew. But her worry and her concern for him would only increase the longer they drew this out.
“Jason.” Sonny leaned back. “I wasn’t expecting you today.”
The other man’s eyes looked relatively clear, but Jason knew that was deceptive. Even if he was in control this moment, there was no guarantee it would last.
“Yeah, I know, there’s just something we have to talk about.” Jason closed the door behind him and took a seat in front of Sonny. “Sonny, I think Carly knows the truth. About Evie.”
Sonny stared at for a long moment and then nodded. “I…was going to call you later when I knew how to—she admitted it last night.”
Jason frowned. “What? Why?”
“She said she was tired of the lies. We had a pretty bad argument.” Sonny sighed. “And she made me see how little credit I gave her. That I took her at her word about how she’d react to Evie, and started to lie. She wanted a clean slate.”
“O-Okay,” Jason said after a pause. “I was contacted by family services earlier this month.” He rubbed his hands on his denim-clad thighs. “After a year of guardianship, I’m eligible to adopt Evie. They wanted to ask about a possible petition.”
Sonny merely blinked, but his breathing picked up. “I—I don’t know what to do with that, Jason. You’ve admitted you have no intention of signing custody back to me. I-I’m not even sure doing so would be a good idea at this point.” He closed his eyes. “At the same time, knowing that I abandoned my flesh and blood…it doesn’t sit right with me.”
“I know.” Jason waited. “It was never my intention to deprive you of having Evie. But…it just happened that way. You—you weren’t stepping up. And Sam…she was terrified of the way Carly would treat Evie. I…didn’t have a choice, Sonny.”
Sonny slowly shook his head. “You always had a choice, Jason. Don’t pretend differently. You could have insisted I take custody—leave you out of it. You chose not to.”
Which was technically true, but something in Jason rebelled at having to force a man to take care of his own child. Being with Evie, with Cameron now…he couldn’t imagine giving them up. Didn’t Evie deserve better than that? So yeah, Jason had had a choice, and he couldn’t quite bring himself to regret the one he’d made.
“If you want to change the situation now,” Sonny continued, “we can discuss the best way to do so. Maybe Carly can spend time with Evie—”
“I—” Jason closed his mouth. “No, that’s not…Sonny, I’m not signing over the guardianship. Not now anyway.”
Sonny furrowed his brow, his lips thinned. “Excuse me?”
“You need…you need to talk to someone,” Jason told him. “You’ve been riding on the edge for months now, maybe a lot longer that. We both know it’s getting worse. You’ve gone after Elizabeth, after me—because you think we’re replacing you in Evie’s life. I can’t…I love her, Sonny.”
“Who, Elizabeth?” Sonny licked his lips. “So? I’ll knock it off. Jason—”
“Yes, Elizabeth, but I meant Evie. I can’t…let her go into a situation where I’m not sure she’ll be okay. And right now, Sonny, I can’t do it.”
Sonny just stared at him. “So that’s it? You’re keeping my daughter.”
“If you haven’t worked on this, if you haven’t gone for treatment by the time Evie turns one…” Jason rose to his feet. “I’ll petition for adoption. I can’t put her life on hold, and I won’t put mine on hold anymore—”
“I don’t see you doing much waiting around,” Sonny returned blandly. “You managed to convince Elizabeth to give you another chance. What life have you put on hold for me?”
“The one where I’m comfortable asking Elizabeth for something more permanent. It’s bad enough I might lose Evie, but I won’t let her fall in love with Evie as her mother only to watch someone take her away.”
“But if I got help,” Sonny said, adding stress on the word help that told Jason everything he needed to know about his feeling on the subject, “You’d be willing to change the custody arrangement.”
“Because it’s the right thing to do for everyone,” Jason said. “You know it couldn’t go on forever the way we were doing it. Now…it’s on the table.”
“I’ll take your suggestion under advisement,” the other man retorted. “Is that everything?”
“Yeah.” Jason nodded. “Yeah.”
He left, but hadn’t made it more than a few steps before he heard glass crashing in the room he’d just vacated.