Chapter Thirty

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series The Best Thing: Salvation

Remember losing hope,
Remember feeling low,
Remember all the feelings and the day they stopped
We are all innocent, we are all innocent
Innocent, Our Lady Peace


Tuesday, September 6, 2005

 General Hospital: Sonny’s Room

 It was simple. Things had to change.

Sonny had to take a stand, show Jason he knew there were problems, but that he knew how to fix them. He’d offer Jason a simple deal, Jason would take it, and things could finally start to get better.

Jason stepped through Sonny’s hospital door that morning, dressed in a dark suit. Sonny furrowed his brow. “What the hell is the suit about?” he demanded. “I’m not dead yet.”

Nothing changed in Jason’s stoic expression. “Elizabeth’s grandmother died Saturday morning,” he said blandly. “I’m meeting Elizabeth at the church after this.”

Well. All the more reason to wrap this up. Jason needed to be with Elizabeth during this trying time—he didn’t need to be saddled with the burdens of this problem any longer. He’d probably thank Sonny for finally having the courage to do what he should have done a year ago.

“We can’t go on like this.” Sonny lifted his chin. It was hard to look authoritative in a hospital gown, reclining in this uncomfortable bed, but he made his best effort.

Jason’s stance remained unchanged, his shoulders tight, his hands resting loosely at his side, but a muscle ticked in his cheek as he slowly nodded. “I agree. Things have to change.”

“Good. Good. We’re on the same page.” His hands were clenched tightly in his lap, but Sonny’s voice was even as he continued. “It’s ridiculous to think we can change Evie’s custody now. She’s nearly a year old. She doesn’t know me. You’re her father.” He swallowed hard. “And I think it’s best if that doesn’t change.”

Jason’s hesitation told Sonny that Jason had already accepted that fact—had never intended to utilize it as a negotiation technique. Well, that was hardly unsurprising, so he forged on.

“But it doesn’t work when you’re in town,” Sonny continued. “Having her so close only reminds me of how I failed her and Sam. We should have seen this a year ago. You should take Evie and go.”

And this announcement stunned Jason because he took half a step back, his mouth opening slightly. “Sonny—”

“It’s for the best,” Sonny interrupted. “With Elizabeth’s grandmother gone, there’s nothing keeping you here. You and Elizabeth should take the kids and go. Set up a new life.”

“That’s not—” Jason cleared his throat. “That’s not an option, Sonny.”

“It’s simple, Jason.” Sonny paused. “I’m offering you a deal. Take Evie, get out of town and leave the business to me.”

When Jason said nothing for a long moment, Sonny scowled. What the hell was his problem? Didn’t he see this was the best solution for everyone? Jason would be out of danger; his daughter would be with him. He’d get the family he wanted. And Sonny would keep the power.

It solved all their problems.

And if Jason didn’t see that, if Jason wanted to keep the business and Evie, well, didn’t that say something?

“That’s not going to work,” he said finally. “I don’t—I don’t think you’re capable of handling the pressure.”

Sonny tasted blood as he bit down on his lip. What the hell did Jason know? He’d trusted Jason with the business once before and the son of a bitch had handed over to Moreno in less than a year. He couldn’t handle the fucking pressure?

He was Sonny goddamn Corinthos.

“And you can?” Sonny challenged. “Is that what you’re telling me? You want the power?”

Was that it? Had Jason had the taste of being in charge? Were his protests bullshit?  Why else wasn’t Jason leaping at the chance to get out of this business, to get his family away from it?

“You’re not stable,” Jason said. “Look at what happened with Johnny Zacchara. What you risked—”

Sonny growled. Little bastard had escaped before Sonny could force him to admit what he’d done. One more day, one more beating—he could have paraded Johnny’s confession in front of anyone who doubted him.

He could take on Anthony Zacchara. He wasn’t scared. He could beat him.

“So you’re refusing to give me what’s mine,” Sonny stated. “You could get out of this. You hate it so damn much, but you’re willing to stay? You want to tell me again how you don’t want to be in charge?”

Fucking bastard had been planning this for months. Pretending to support him but undermining him all the time. Sonny’s men looked to Jason, not Sonny. He’d turned them all against their leader, their boss.

Jason was a fucking traitor.

“I’m doing what’s best for everyone,” Jason said after a long moment. “You’re not stable enough to run this organization. Having this conversation in the open, kidnapping Johnny Zacchara over an electrical fire—” He shook his head. “I wasn’t going to give you custody of Evie, and I already have the business. There’s no deal to be made, Sonny.”

“And that’s your line in the sand, then? Your final word?”

“I’m sorry, Sonny.” Jason stepped back to open the door. “But this is the way it has to be for everyone.”

“Then I guess we know where we stand.”

When Jason was gone, Sonny closed his eyes. He didn’t want to believe his oldest friend, the man whom he trusted more than anything had finally turned on him.

Sonny had forgotten the first rule of this life. Trust no one.  Everyone had a price. Everyone was capable of betrayal.

Jason had made his choice.

They would all have to live with it.

Queen of Angels: Anteroom

Would there ever be an occasion in her life with Jason where Sonny Corinthos wasn’t at the center? Her engagement had been plagued by his illness. Her grandmother’s death had coincided with his latest stay at General Hospital. And he’d commanded Jason’s attention the morning of her grandmother’s funeral. Why not? She hadn’t even been surprised when Jason had set the phone down that morning, turning apologetic eyes on her.

Jason had told her he’d ignore Sonny’s command. That he’d wait until tomorrow, but what would that change?

Her grandmother would still be dead and everything about Sonny would be a disaster. Might as well as keep going as they had been. They were only treading water. She saw that now.

“Bits?” Steven murmured. Elizabeth looked at him blankly. “Father Coates said everything is ready. We can open the doors.” He hesitated, looking around. “Jason?”

“Right here,” Jason said, stepping over the threshold, his face somber in the shadowed room. “Sorry—”

“It’s okay.” She looked at Steven who offered Jason a brief greeting before going inside the chapel. “Hey. What happened?”

He reached for her hand and drew her into a side room not in use. “He offered me an out,” Jason said, closing the door. He turned to her, his eyes unreadable. “I could keep Evie if I gave the business to him and left town.”

She drew in a sharp breath, unprepared for how much she was tempted to tell him to take the deal and run.

They could start over somewhere, just the two of them. He could be out of the business. Away from the violence.

But she swallowed that reaction. It was never going to happen. He would always be worried for what was happening here. For the men that trusted him. For Michael and Morgan, and even for Carly.

And Elizabeth could never leave with Emily, Nikolas, and Steven here. With Emily’s new child.  These people who would be plagued in a city controlled by Sonny Corinthos.

“You told him no,” Elizabeth said finally. She clasped her hands behind her back. “I don’t suppose that went over well.”

“No.” He hesitated. “Should I have—I—maybe we should have discussed it first.”

“Of course not. Jason—” She closed her eyes. “Yes. My first reaction was to take it. To agree and start over. But we’d never be free. We have roots in Port Charles. Family. Even if we could walk away from them, you’d be—you’d be in agony knowing how unstable Sonny is. You’d be worried for the men you work with. Who trust you to keep them safe.” Elizabeth looked at him. “I can see why he offered it. But I know why we have to say no.”

His shoulders slumped. “I thought about it for a minute,” Jason admitted. “We could make a good life somewhere else. With just us and the kids.”

“But it’s not just us.” Elizabeth sank onto a nearby chair “How did he take it? What do you think is going to happen?”

“I don’t know.” He hesitated. “He accused me of wanting the power. I don’t. If I thought another man could do the job, Elizabeth—”

“But they look up to you,” she murmured. He’d never admit it, but he was a natural leader. He’d never send anyone to do a job he wouldn’t do himself. The men who worked for him would walk through fire for him. Would take a bullet for him. Some probably already had, but she wouldn’t think about that right now.

“He’ll see it as a betrayal,” she said softly. “Won’t he? You’re keeping his business, his daughter. You’ve turned on him.”

“It’s a possibility.” Jason knelt in front of her. “I’m hoping to figure out what he’s up to before he leaves the hospital in a few days, but even with him inside, I don’t know the contacts he has outside. We’re doubling security, and we’re probably going to have to move to the new house earlier than we thought. For a while.”

Elizabeth nodded, closing her eyes. “I want to stay at my grandmother’s,” she admitted. “But if we’re safer—”

“Until Sonny is out of the hospital, we can stay at the Hardy house,” Jason promised. “He’s not going to make a move unless he’s home. He could, but he’d want to be involved. At this point.” He scrubbed hands over his eyes. “I hate that we’re talking about this today. I hate that any of this is happening right now.”

“I hate that it’s happening at all.” She rose to her feet, and he straightened with her. “How sure are you that we’re safe at my grandmother’s house? Would Sonny come after you there?”

“I just—” Jason closed his eyes. “I just don’t know. I can’t imagine that he would, not with Evie and Cam there. But—”

“We should move to the new house,” Elizabeth said after a moment. “Now. You said Sonny doesn’t know where it is, and this is the best chance we have at keeping him from finding out.”

“Elizabeth—”

“We can have the kids packed up in a day or two so we’re settled by the time Sonny gets out.” Elizabeth nodded, at peace with the decision. “My grandmother’s house will be there when this is over, Jason. It’s more important that we keep our family safe.”

“I’m sorry—” Jason began.

She shook her head, cutting him off. “None of this is your fault. Even if you hadn’t lied about Evie last year, this day was coming. If it wasn’t Evie triggering this episode, it would have been something else.” She squared her shoulders. “All we can do, Jason, is take this one step at a time, one decision at a time.”

But even as they left the room for Audrey’s service, she couldn’t shake the feeling that somewhere, they’d already made a mistake, taken a wrong step—and that this would all get so much worse before it got better.

General Hospital: Sonny’s Room

Carly stepped into the room, unsure at the reception she’d receive. Sonny had been running hot and cold since the moment he’d awoken to find bruises on her arm.

He’d been angry the first time he’d noticed them—sure that someone else had hurt her. And furious at her accusation that he’d been the one. Then he’d been devastated, turning all that anger on himself the next time. He’d remembered the fight where he’d grabbed her, when she had fallen.

He’d been contrite then, nearly in tears, comparing himself to his stepfather and Carly to his long-dead mother.

But the very next time they’d spoken, he’d blamed her. If she were a better wife, if she hadn’t flirted with Alcazar, Sonny never would have shot her in the head.

She’d begged Dr. Ford for another psych consult, but Sonny had already had one. His diagnosis had been confirmed, his medication continued. The chief of staff had pulled enough strings to get her the first one—they weren’t going to do it again.

Carly knew Jason had called in his family, had done what he could, but Sonny had convinced another doctor to continue giving him anti-depressants. At the best of times, they did nothing. And at other times, it made everything worse.

Just as Elizabeth said it might.

It wasn’t getting better, and in a week, Sonny would be released. Without any true change. She could only hope the manic episode would disappear as quickly as it had arrived, but that felt like asking for a miracle.

And none of them deserved that.

“Carly,” Sonny said, his tone flat, his eyes unreadable. This was her least favorite mood—it was as close to lucid as he’d been in months, but he still wasn’t her Sonny. She was terrified she would never see that Sonny again.

“How are you feeling?” she asked, settling for the safe question. “Dr. Ford said they were starting to draw back the pain meds. That’s a good sign—”

“Worried I’ll become addicted?” he cut in, his tone dipping with acid. “Another problem for you to fix?”

She took a deep breath. “No, of course not. I was asking—”

“I told Jason he could keep Evie if he turned control back to me and left town,” Sonny interrupted. His hands fisted at his sides, his skin dark against the cool white of the hospital linens.

Carly’s breath hitched, but she knew Jason would never take that deal. There was no reason for him to do so. Jason had legal custody—had held it for nearly a year. Sonny had terminated his rights. Any custody hearing would be an uphill battle with nothing but disaster at the end.

And Jason would never leave the business with Sonny. Not now that he had taken the drastic step of taking control. It had been a decision made as a last resort—to protect the men, to protect them all from Sonny’s instability. He couldn’t go back on that now.

“And what did Jason say?” Carly said, but she knew. “I’d miss him if he were gone—”

“He declined,” Sonny snarled. “He’s got everything he wants. My business, my men, my power—my daughter. He thinks he can take me on—”

“Maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world,” Carly murmured. “You could focus on your recovery. On—” She swallowed hard, taking an involuntary step back even as she continued. “On your illness.”

“Then you’re on his side.” He lifted his chin. “You’ve never been on mine. It’s always about Jason with you. Did you plan this together?”

“What? No—”

“Are you screwing him?”

“I can’t—” Carly’s throat closed, as she tried to force the words out. “No. Of course not. He loves Elizabeth—”

“He loved Robin. Didn’t stop him then.”

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She could do this. What did Jason always say? How did he handle it? What had the goddamn pamphlets advised? Stay calm. Stay patient.

“He was different then. I was different. Neither one of us knew what it meant to be in love.  I love you, Sonny. And he loves Elizabeth. It hasn’t been like that for a long time.” Carly paused a moment. “I betrayed him with you. I wanted you—”

“You betrayed him, AJ, Tony. Why not me?” His dark eyes burned into hers. “How can I trust you?”

“Because I’m still here,” she said bluntly. She gestured around the room. “Jason’s not. Courtney’s not. Mike’s not. No one else is standing beside you at the moment. If you don’t trust me, who’s left?”

Sonny’s expression didn’t change but his shoulders slumped a little. “If you’re on my side,” he said, “then you know what we have to do.”

Carly nodded, twisting her fingers behind her back. “I know.”

“I can’t trust Jason anymore.” He waited a long moment. “He’s the enemy. He has to go. I want my daughter back. I want my business.”

“I know you do,” she began. Oh, God. Oh, God. She’d planned to turn Sonny against Jason, but not like this. Never like this.

“And I don’t care what I have to do to get it.” He nodded to the door. “I want to rest now. You can go.”

On shaky legs, her hands trembling as she fumbled with the latch on the door, Carly pushed her way into the hallway and straight to the elevators. She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t get air in her throat.

It wasn’t until she reached the roof, until she collapsed by the ledge that she could finally let the tears flow.

What the hell was she supposed to do now?

Queen of Angels: Chapel

Elizabeth pressed a kiss to her fingers before placing her fingers against her grandmother’s cool cheek. “Do you believe in heaven?” she asked her brother.

“I have to,” he murmured. “I can’t do my job if I can’t picture the children I lose in a better place.” Steven wrapped an arm around his sister’s shoulder. “She’s with Gramps, now.”

“I know. And Aunt Lucille.” She raised her eyes to the ceiling, the tears sliding down her cheeks. “I love you, Gram—”

Her knees buckled then, and her brother braced her until Jason came, and led her back to her seat.

It hadn’t hit her until that moment.

Her grandmother was gone. And she was never coming back.

General Hospital: Nurse’s Station

 Carly pressed hands to her face, the tears burning her skin. “Oh, God. What do I do? What do I do?”

Courtney tried to keep her hands from shaking as she twisted her fingers in her lap. “Carly—”

“He’s going after Jason. He wants Evie. He wants to kill Jason. He’s not going to care about Elizabeth, about Cam—” Carly’s voice broke. “I can’t let him do this.”

“We should tell Jason—”

“I have to stop Sonny. I can’t protect him anymore.” With that, Carly left her at the nurse’s station and started down the hall towards his room.

General Hospital: Sonny’s Room

Sonny jabbed at the buttons on his hospital phone, his fingers slipping with anger. The third time, he managed to get the right numbers.

“Get me Ruiz!” he barked when someone answered the phone. “It’s time to move.”

Carly pushed open the hospital door, and stopped as she saw Sonny on the phone. He glared at her as he continued to speak. “I’m not waiting anymore. I don’t care who gets hurt. You get my daughter and you take him out.”

He hung up the phone, his hands at his sides. And behind her, two men stepped up.

Carly turned, her blood draining from her face. These were not men she knew. This wasn’t her normal guard. “Sonny—”

“Ricky and Sam will be with you from now on,” he told her. “Until things are settled.” He tilted his head. “For your own safety, of course.”

She’d waited too long to take sides. To make the right choices.

And now it was too late.

Queen of Angels: Cemetery

Elizabeth, clinging to Jason’s side, stepped up to the open grave and looked down at the cream-colored coffin resting at the bottom.

“Bits,” Steven murmured. She looked at him, at the devastation in his eyes. He was so worried about her, so concerned and yet—he’d lost Audrey, too.

She had to do this for him. She could be strong for her brother. For the ones that mattered. She closed her eyes, then knelt and took in a fistful of cold dirt.

Elizabeth rose to her feet and released the soil into the hole. Her brother did the same, followed by her uncle and her father.

And a chill danced up her spine.

 General Hospital: Nurse’s Station

Courtney saw the men step into her brother’s room, forcing Carly to step inside. Whatever was going on was bad. She reached for her cell.

She knew Jason would be at Audrey’s service, but she was truly terrified what might happen to Carly, what Sonny might be capable of.

“Jason? I think Sonny’s planning something.”

Queen of Angels: Cemetery

 Jason, Elizabeth, and Steven returned to their spots, and waited for Father Coates to finish the service. Thunder rumbled in the distance as clouds moved over the sun, casting shadows across the cemetery.

“It’s going to storm,” Jason said quietly. “We should try to get to the car before the rain starts.”

“I don’t think we’ll make it.”

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Comments

  • You’ve got me fighting goosebumps! I’m waiting for the boogeyman to jump out from under Sonny’s bed. At least Courtney got something out to the Morgan camp. I get the impression that things are going to messy. Kudos on your portrayal of Sonny crossing that line and taking Carly with him. Liz’s spidey sense is on full alert; I only hope Jason and his crew are ready for the fireworks.

    According to Carla on January 9, 2016
  • OMG! I am so excited to hear you are feeling better and posting again. And, what a great way to get back to it. Can’t wait for more. So on the edge of my seat.

    According to Living Liason on January 10, 2016
  • What a great update! I have missed this story so much. I can’t wait to see what will happen next. I can only guess it will get worse before it gets better. You have me on the edge of my seat worrying about the trouble Sonny has unleashed on all of them. I usually consider Courtney to be good for nothing, but for once, she was useful in alerting Jason to the danger coming their way. Thank you so much for plugging along with this story despite everything going on in your life.

    According to Beth on January 14, 2016