A Matter of Respect

Cooper Barrett had made mistakes in his life. Decisions that he regretted, paths that he wished he had avoided. Like any red-blooded human being, there were things in his life that he was not particularly proud of.

He couldn’t change the cover up he had participated in to keep his best friend out of a military prison and he couldn’t go back and tell James Craig that he would never participate in any sort of criminal activity. But maybe, just maybe he could fix this and really lead the life he wanted. He would graduate from the police academy, get married and have a few kids.

So he was taking that future in his hands (and possibly his life) and he was going after it.

“Cooper Barrett,” the swarthy guard announced. The answer from inside the room must have been satisfactory because the guard moved and motioned for Coop to enter.

Sonny Corinthos was pouring himself a glass of water. “What have you got for me?” he said brusquely. “It had better be good to make up for that incident with the shipment.”

Coop swallowed hard. “I’m here to tell you, sir, that I don’t intend to be your inside guy.”

Sonny frowned and Coop found himself pinned beneath those dark eyes. Unsure if Sonny were amused or furious, Coop forged on. “This wasn’t the kind of police work I wanted to. I’m not sure I can live with myself if I become a dirty cop.”

“There’s money to made,” Sonny replied. He set his water glass down and approached the nervous cadet. “More than what you would earn at the bottom of the feed chain at the PCPD.”

“Yes, sir, I understand that but it would not be earned ethically,” Coop said. “I’m not interested in making that kind of money.”

“Are you interested in your freedom?” Sonny asked. His tone was level, even friendly as he delivered the threats. “Are you interested in breathing?”

Coop was sure his fear was clearly expressed in his face, in the tremble of his jaw but he knew walking into this room that he might not walk back out. If that was the case, he would go out of this world with more honor and dignity than he had used while in it. “Sir, if you refer to the Metro Court hostage incident, then I understand if you feel you need to turn me in. But…” he hesitated. “But I would like to remind you that my face was never seen and Jerry Jacks was known to everyone in that building. He’s still breathing.”

Sonny couldn’t help himself. The corners of his lips quirked up and he nearly smiled. “That’s a very brave statement, Coop.”

“Yes, sir,” Coop nodded. “I’d like to ask, man to man, that you don’t ask me to do this. That you don’t ask me to comprise my principles more than I already have. With all due respect–”

“But you don’t respect me, do you, Coop?” Sonny replied. “The work, the money, the life, you don’t respect any of it?”

“No sir,” Coop admitted. “I don’t respect any of it, but I do respect you. I respect that you pulled yourself out of the streets and you made a life you wanted on your terms. It would be difficult to find anyone to who didn’t respect at least that.” He hesitated. “All I’m asking, sir, is that you extend the same courtesy to me.”

There was a long pause and then Sonny closed his eyes. “Well played, Cooper. Well played. Appeal to my better nature.” He opened his eyes and focused on Cooper. “From now on, you and I are strangers. I never saw you inside that hotel and you’ve never worked for me.”

“Thank you , sir.” Coop nodded and then left the room, feeling a little bit lighter in the shoulders.

Now if he could just keep Logan out of trouble.

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