Chapter Twenty-One

September 14, 2003

Corinthos Penthouse

Jason stared at the photos of Ric, Emily and Faith sitting in the loft that he had once shared with Courtney. She had sold them out. And she’d done it in a way that Emily never could have dreamed. Emily had been trying to protect her brother and though he could never forgive the method, he understood the motivation.

Courtney was exacting revenge and meant to hurt him. And to hurt Elizabeth. And he couldn’t forgive that.

“Now that we have this information, we can form a solid plan,” Laura said. She set the photo of Emily on the coffee table and leaned back against the arm of the couch. “We can lure Ric and Faith out of the apartment and lead them into a trap while we get past Courtney.”

Luke smirked. “Not much of a challenge.” He saw Sonny’s dark look and cleared his throat. “But I think it’d be better to lure Courtney out. I want her to get caught in the act.”

Carly nods. “Damn right. So here’s what I think—” she began.

“Carly, why don’t you head upstairs?” Sonny suggested. “Take a nap.”

Elizabeth hid a smile as Carly leveled a glare at her husband. “Why don’t you bite me?” she said sweetly. “As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted…Courtney obviously lured Emily to the penthouse so I’m assuming she herself can be lured there again. Sonny could go to her loft and tell her that it would be nice if she made her peace with Elizabeth.”

Luke nodded. “And you could tell her you’ll arrange for Jason to be out of the place, so it won’t be awkward. Nice going, Carlybabes.”

“I have my moments.” Carly ate a carrot stick and smiled at her husband. “But I’m not finished. Once Courtney finds out that Elizabeth is alone and guarded by the usual guards, I’m sure at least Ric will jump at the chance to try for something. And Courtney will have to get him inside the penthouse and figure out how to dispose of the guards.”

“But that leaves Faith with Emily,” Elizabeth said. “Faith’s the one I trust least of all. She’s got no stake in this, no reason to keep after me.”

“Exactly what I’m counting on. Faith is out for Faith,” Carly observed. “A trait I can definitely understand and even admire. She’s smart. She’s going to recognize the trap.”

“And this is something we want?” Nikolas asked skeptically.

“Because Ric won’t care,” Elizabeth murmured. “He’s come too far. He’s too close. He makes mistakes when that happens. He goes too fast, does things he shouldn’t. When we thought they were dead and I was out of the penthouse…Ric waited less than a week to make his move. If he’d waited longer, until we were more comfortable and less on our guards, he might have succeeded. But he wanted to take his chance right at that moment. He won’t be able to resist the attempt to get me.”

Jason pulled her hand into his lap and held it tightly. “So even if Faith warns him, he won’t care. He’ll go anyway. And if we count on Faith seeing the trap—”

“She’s gonna do what Faith does best.” Carly’s lips curved into a smile that Luke recognized from her days of tormenting Barbara Jean. “She’s going to look out for number one. She won’t stick around that loft long enough for one of us to catch her. Which leaves Emily free for the taking.”

Sonny kissed his wife hard. “Days like this I remember why I married you.”

“You’d better. Now, I want some Oreos to go with the words.”

September 16, 2003

Courtney’s Loft

When Sonny entered his sister’s loft, he knew that Ric, Faith and Emily were somewhere within and the knowledge made it hard to look into his sister’s smiling face. “Hey.”

“Hey, Sonny,” Courtney said warmly. She sat on the couch and tucked her legs underneath her body. “What brings you by?”

“I know this situation has been awkward,” Sonny began, “and I know you’ve been hurt about Jason and Elizabeth’s marriage…”

“It was my own fault,” Courtney interrupted. “I knew he wasn’t over her and I let myself fall in love with him anyway. Just another one of life lessons.”

God he wished he could believe that. That she was okay. That none of this was happening. He cleared his throat. “Well, that’s good. Elizabeth’s just been upset about it for weeks. And I was hoping you might relieve some of the stress by just…making your peace.”

Courtney tensed. “Why?”

“You don’t have to mean it.” Sonny managed a smile. “She’s just been stressed with the baby, with arguing with you…this thing with Ric. Jason refuses to let her out of the house or near a phone because he knows how torn up she is about Emily.”

“She’s not going to do anything stupid is she?” Courtney asked hesitantly.

“If she had the chance…” Sonny sighed. “I think she might go to save Emily. A lot of misplaced loyalty in that girl. Anyway, I know she could use a friendly face and with Emily gone, she could use a friend. If it helps, I can arrange for Jason to be gone. If that would make it better.”

“Well…” He could almost see the wheels in her head turning. “I wouldn’t want her to be upset on my account,” Courtney said after a moment. “She’s pregnant and all this stress isn’t good. I guess I could come by around sevenish? If you could make sure Jason’s gone then?”

“Great.” Sonny kissed his sister’s cheek and stood. “We’re all a family now and we have to stick together.”

“Right.” Courtney stood. “I’m glad we talked this through.”

“Me, too.” Sonny smiled at her before making an excuse and leaving. He’d never felt so nauseated in his whole life.

When he was gone, Courtney turned and called out. Faith stepped out of a closet and Ric slid out from under the bed. He went to check on Emily who they had stuffed in the shower stall and tied to the door.

“You’re not actually going to go are you?” Faith asked, slightly bored. “You’re not that good of an actress.”

Ric dragged a struggling Emily out of the bathroom and tied her to a chair. “It’s perfect,” he declared. “Courtney can get inside and let me in. Elizabeth will understand when she sees me. You heard Sonny. If she had the chance, she would go.”

“Oh you have got to be kidding me.” Faith pursed her lips. “It’s a trap and you’re going to walk right into it.”

Courtney shook her head. “Sonny has no idea I’m involved. If he did, I wouldn’t even be breathing. It can’t be a trap.”

“You go in, I’ll come in through the balcony and once we’re sure she’s cooperating,” Ric told Courtney, “she can leave with you and I’ll go back out. She won’t believe that you’re involved unless she sees me.”

“She’ll probably think I’m trying to do away with her because of Jason,” Courtney mused. She hesitated. “But maybe I should try to lure her out on my own. I don’t think you should take the chance.”

“This is what I’ve been waiting months for,” Ric replied. “I have to be there to see it play out.”

“This is like some really bad horror movie,” Faith muttered. She looked at Emily. “Can you believe these two?”

“Shut up, Faith,” Ric said absently. “Okay, so if he’s arranging for Jason to be gone around seven, I’ll be there at 7:10.”

Courtney nodded. “So it’s a plan.”

“It’s a trap!” Faith threw up her hands in exasperation.

Morgan Penthouse

“It’s 6:45, Jason,” Sonny called up the stairs. In Elizabeth’s art studio, Jason tilted his head towards the door and Andrew stepped outside. “I don’t like the idea of you actually being here,” Jason repeated for the third time that afternoon.

“I’ll be in the room with Andrew and you know that Ric’s never even going to reach the stairs. I just want the chance to see him when he’s caught. When this is over.”

Jason hesitated and took her hands in his. “Just promise me you won’t come out until we tell you it’s clear.”

“I promise.”

“And then when this is over, we’re going to have another wedding,” he told her. “One where we’re both sure and ready.”

“Jason, we don’t have to—”

“I want to.” He kissed her lightly. “I’m going to go back downstairs. Wait here with Andrew. Okay?”

“Okay.” She squeezed his hands and reluctantly let him go as he left the room. Andrew reentered a moment later. “It’s going to be okay, right?”

“Sure, Mrs. Morgan. Mr. Morgan’s going to take care of anything. Can we get you into the room now?”

“I get the feeling that you would tell me whatever I want to hear,” Elizabeth sighed as Andrew herded her into the room.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Yeah?” Elizabeth smiled as Andrew locked the door behind them. “Who’s your favorite, me or Carly?”

With an absolute straight face, Andrew answered, “Mrs. Corinthos of course.”

It was the first genuine laugh Elizabeth had managed in weeks.

Hallway

Courtney breezed out the elevators a few moments later and smiled charmingly at Bill and Frank, the guards on duty. “Hey, did Sonny tell you I was coming by?”

“Yep.” Frank smiled. “Mr. Morgan’s already gone and Mrs. Morgan is in her studio. She said to send you right up.”

“Great.” Courtney passed them and went into the penthouse. Sonny stepped out from the opposite corner.

“It’s time.”

Courtney’s Loft

“They never listen,” Faith muttered. She jabbed the syringe into a vial of clear liquid. “I’m the one not emotionally involved but do they listen? No. They run straight into a trap. Well not me. Not this time.”

She yanked the gag off Emily. “Look, tell your brother I was only this for as long as Ric was useful. We had plans. It wasn’t supposed to take this long to secure that stupid harpy but he insisted. Well now he’s done himself in and I’m hitting the road. I’m going to drug you so you pass out and once I’m out of town, I’ll call your sweet brother to tell him where I’ve left you.”

Emily glared at the blonde. “He’ll find you.”

“Lovely. Looking forward to it.” Faith’s lips curved into a smile. “But when he does, it’ll be on my own terms and not because my partner’s a royal moron.” She set the tip of the needle against Emily’s arm. “Sweet dreams, buttercup.”

Morgan Penthouse

When she was inside the penthouse, Courtney bypassed the stairs and headed straight for the balcony where she unlocked the windows and drew them open. “She’s in her studio. Let’s get this over with.”

Ric climbed inside and walked briskly towards the stairs. When his foot was on the first step, Jason stepped onto the landing. “Going somewhere?” he asked.

Ric stepped back, his eyes wide. He spun around but Johnny exited from the kitchen along with another guard who moved to block the window.

And Sonny stepped in through the front door. “Fancy meeting you here, Lansing,” he murmured.

“Sonny, I can explain,” Courtney began.

“Save it,” Sonny said coldly. He met Jason’s eyes before looking at the trapped duo. “It’s over.”

In A Car

Faith Roscoe pressed the cell phone to her ear. “Hello, Jason, darling. I’m sure by now you’ve caught the bumbling idiots. I tried to warn them but they wouldn’t listen. I thought it was time to cut the loose ends.” She laughed. “But you’re probably more concerned about the darling little sister. I left her with her parents. I’m sure they were terribly worried.”

She shut the phone off and looked in her rearview mirror. “Don’t rest too easily, Port Charles,” she murmured. “I won’t be gone forever.”

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