This is a scene from Chapter 8, which takes place in March 2004. It has not been beta’d.
Warehouse: Sonny’s Office
There were moments Sonny felt outside of himself, as if he were standing next to his desk and watching his body clench its fists, crumple paper and snap at long-time employees whose loyalties had never been in question.
Today was not the first time he had had this eerie feeling, but somewhere inside, he knew these moments were happening too often. That they were coming too close together, almost on top of one on another. He was rapidly reaching the point where he could no longer point to a moment when he could say he had been one hundred percent in control.
When Jason stepped into the room, Sonny took a deep breath and looked down at his customary page of notes. Truck. Rumors. Michael’s behavior. Zacchara. It was an innocuous list of words that would not raise any suspicions should someone discover the pieces once he shred them, but these lists had preserved the peace for the last month.
Since that morning in Jason’s penthouse where he had once again attacked Elizabeth to Jason’s face. Another moment he had not been in control of his own mind.
“Jason.” He cleared his throat, forced his fist to relax and reach for a glass of water. He would keep himself under control. He would not attack Jason for his choices, would not say a word against Elizabeth. He would put his life back on a normal footing, beginning with this moment. “How are things?”
“Fine.” His partner and former friend lowered himself gingerly into the chair across the desk, his shoulders tense. “I wanted to update you on the truck shipment from January.”
“Still no word?” Sonny asked, reaching for a pen to cross the word from his list. “Two months and no trace. Not a good sign.”
“No,” Jason agreed, releasing a short breath. “We’ve combed all the roads from here to Rochester, looked into all of Mickey’s activities. He pulled off in a rest area about fifteen miles away from Port Charles, and then just disappeared. No activity on his accounts.” He shook his head.
“Are…” Sonny stopped, because he had been about to demand Jason admit he was right all along and had wasted time dicking around for proof. No. No. That was not the way. Jason had been right to be cautious, had been right to advise patience. He knew that. He did. “I spoke to Hector Ruiz, and the relationship there seems to be unchanged. He does not hold us responsible for Alcazar’s misfortunes.”
Jason nodded. “I got that sense, too. But he’s got two sons who are not so trustworthy.”
Javier and Manny, Sonny knew, were ruthless and would become problematic one day. “I think Hector still has them under some sort of control for now,” Sonny continued. “Feelers to Zacchara’s people were not returned.”
He saw Jason hesitate and that familiar rolling nausea rolled in his abdomen. Jason knew something. Had kept something from him.
Was lying to him—
No. Sonny exhaled on a short breath. No. No. That wasn’t Jason’s style. “You know something about Zacchara?” he asked, trying for a casual tone. When Jason did not tense, did not change his expression, he thought he might have been successful.
“Not exactly. I would have mentioned it earlier, but it didn’t seem important.” Jason leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his denim-clad thighs. “Johnny Zacchara was at Elizabeth’s showing last month.”
All other thoughts flew from Sonny’s brain. “I knew it.” He lunged to his feet. “That slimy little bastard was taunting you, letting you know he knows about her—”
“I didn’t get that impression, Sonny.” Jason’s voice remained calm. Placating. Fucking bastard. Why didn’t he ever see it Sonny’s way? Didn’t Elizabeth’s safety mean anything to him? He was picking the little bitch over Sonny—
God. No. Stop it. Sonny closed his eyes and tried to concentrate again. “Why the hell not?”
“Because Johnny’s known for going to art showings,” Jason said, his voice shifting into wariness. He, too, rose to his feet. “For the last two years or so, since he graduated from Oxford and came back to New York. He’s usually at galleries on the weekends, except when he’s been in Port Charles. I didn’t just take his word for it, Sonny. I looked into it after I saw him there. Her showing was heavily promoted. Maybe he remembered her name being linked to mine, but he went out of his way to introduce me to his girlfriend.”
That got Sonny’s attention, and the red haze cleared. “Girlfriend.”
“Yeah.” Jason nodded. “Nadine Crowell. Works at General Hospital. I figure it’s why he’s been hanging around a lot. She goes to Luke’s with some of the other nurses. I had her looked at. Her sister is an issue, maybe. She’s suspected of some Angel of Mercy killings back in Ohio, but is in some sort of vegetative state in a New York hospital. Nadine is clean.”
“He deliberately showed you his vulnerable spot.” Sonny lowered himself back into his seat. “That’s…that’s a good sign.”
“That’s what I thought. And he’s green. He didn’t know how to introduce her, didn’t know how to prep her for meeting his associates. If he’s working an angle, Sonny, I’m not seeing it.” Jason leaned forward. “I’m not taking chances. I agree with you that Anthony Zacchara is a prime suspect for the problems we’ve been having, just like Ruiz is to an extent. But I don’t think he’d use his son to come at us. Johnny’s not in the business all the way.”
“I get it.” Sonny picked up his pen and struck a line through Zaccharas. “And you wouldn’t put Elizabeth in danger.”
“No.” Jason eyed him. “No, I’m not taking chances with her safety. Even though I don’t think Johnny’s an issue, I can’t say his father wouldn’t find out about Elizabeth. Anthony is crazy and known for having his son under his thumb. I think Johnny’s keeping his relationship away from his father as much as he can, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Anthony had him tailed.”
“And would have had eyes on you at the gallery.” Sonny nodded. He felt good in this moment. There had been a brief loss there, but he could feel that cool certainty filling his veins. He was in control at the moment. He could even see the way forward. A way to maybe heal the breach. “Have you…talked to Elizabeth about the possibility?”
“Not…” Jason paused. “Not in so many words. I told her that I…” He hesitated again. “I put someone on her. Not…to follow her, to drive her around like Carly. But just…to keep an eye on her. I put Milo on her, because she knows Max from before and is familiar with Milo.”
“Good, good.” Sonny nodded. “You guys aren’t…particularly public, but there’s no reason to take chances. And the security at the Towers is still good? We had the annual inspection, but—”
“I doubled the guards on the lobby,” Jason said. “And the guards at Michael’s school, as well as Carly’s club. I thought you might want to put an additional guard on her, but that’s up to you.”
“Right. I’ll talk to her.” This was good. This felt right. God, it felt good to be Sonny fucking Corinthos again. “I think you should consider your own security. At the penthouse. I have Max on my door, and I know it’s just right around the corner, but with Evie there, I—”
“I agree. I talked to Nora, and her guards were also doubled,” Jason told him. “And I’m looking into the available guys for the right door guards.” He hesitated. “I’m not taking chances with the people that matter, Sonny. I would never do that. Maybe you and I don’t really agree on who the danger is coming from, but we know it’s out there.”
“We do.” Sonny nodded. “And maybe it’s good we don’t know just yet who the bastard behind it is. Reminds us, at the end of the day, we can only trust each other.” He paused. “Right?”
But Jason hesitated a shade too long, and Sonny knew that this moment of control, of understanding, was just that. A moment. They would trust each other to keep the people they loved alive, but that’s where it ended.
And maybe this was part of the new order Sonny would have to accept to retain control and keep the darkness from closing in.