Life After Dark – Chapter 119, Part 2

Chapter 119, Part 2

~ New Year's Eve: The Clock Strikes Twelve ~

Mercifully, the kiss ended.

Feigning shyness, Simone turned away from Juan and directed her attention back to the world outside. The view, which had been merely spectacular and splendid only moments before, now became so much more. To Simone, it represented the unobtainable. It made her feel trapped. With Juan just behind her and the promise of freedom just right on the other side of those windows, she felt the small seed of hysteria begin to grow inside of her. She reminded herself that she had to remain calm. She told herself that she could do this. She had survived the repugnant feel of his hands on her body, the revolting smell of him, and the disgusting taste of him on her lips. She would survive the rest, and contrary to whatever convinced him that his deceit would work—that his wooing of her would be successful—she would be the one in control. She only had to come up with a plan first-

Oh, God, Simone inwardly groaned, as his hands closed around her from behind. Biting her lip to hold back the scream that begged to be released, she made her body go lax. She took a deep breath and upon releasing it, leaned her back against his chest. With trembling hands, she covered his larger ones. She forced a smile onto her lips as he pressed his cheek against hers. She was in control.

"Isn't this perfect?" he murmured against her ear. "The clear sky, the twinkling stars…everything was ordered by me to make this the perfect, romantic night. I wanted tonight to be special for you. Has it been?"

"Very," she whispered. "It's amazing the lengths you'd go to just for me."

"I would do anything for you," he said, as he swiftly entwined their fingers. "I've never known a woman quite like you before, Simone."

"And, what kind of woman would that be?" she asked. Her tone was light, but inside she burned with a very real need to know. Why was he so fixated on her? Why the obsession? Why her?

"The perfect woman, of course," he told her. His lips moved sensuously against her ear. The shiver that flowed through her body enticed him, and in one deft movement, his mouth closed over her earlobe, kissing it and tasting it.

NO! Stop it!

Laughing softly to mask her revulsion, Simone pulled away from him. She smiled as she moved across the room. With a glance over her shoulder to him, she said, "There's no such as a perfect woman, and if there were, she and I are nothing like."

A game of cat and mouse, perhaps? Juan grinned at the thought. He took his time as he followed her to the fireplace. His gray eyes danced with anticipation and delight as he lowered himself onto the black leather sofa. With his arms outstretched, he leaned back, all the while his eyes never left her.

She seemed intent on building up the fire, he thought, as she poked the logs with the black iron poker. Obviously, the silly woman didn’t realize that the heat between them was hot and electric, and that the roaring fire in the fireplace was as cold as ice by comparison. He wanted her next to him, underneath him, enveloping him, but she wanted to take it slowly. Okay, he decided. The first time would be at her pace, and the second time would be at his. Now, as for the conversation…

"I disagree," he replied. "In my travels, I've encountered many of God's finer creations and none have had what you have."

With her back to him, Simone rolled her eyes. Oh, please. She gave one of the logs an extra hard poke. The fire crackled and she asked, "And, what is it that I have, John? What is it about me that you find so perfect?"

He laughed softly. Her questions were so typically female that they amused him. He never considered her as the demure, coy type, but apparently there were many facets to her personality that he had overlooked. Ah, mi querida, he thought, and he would take his time learning and conquering every one of them.

"Everything," he answered.

"That's not an answer," she said, resting the poker against the stone fireplace. She turned to face him. "I think you don't have one."

"Oh, but I do," he reassured her. "Several, in fact."

"Well?" she asked, folding her arms across her chest as she looked down at him. Her hands itched to slap the smug smile off his face just as much as her fingers yearned to claw out his eyes and end their infernal perusal of her. She didn't surrender to her body's urges, but oh, how she wanted to.

"Come." He beckoned with his hand. "Sit," he said, patting the tiny space beside him.

Simone shook her head. "No, thanks."

"Why not?" he asked, in a dangerously low voice. He would play her game of cat and mouse, but he would only play it his way. "Sit down."

"No, I can't," she said, shaking her head. "I need to go freshen up, and while I'm away, I suggest you come up with better answers than the ones you've given me so far."

He relaxed as the teasing quality returned to her voice. Okay, they would take a brief intermission from the age-old ritual, but upon her return… "Very well," he said. "When you return I'll have my answers ready for you. Would that suffice?"

"That would be perfect," she said, laughing softly as she used the word. She glided past him and as she did so, she grabbed her small handbag. Then she left the room, heading straight for the bathroom.

The door closed behind her and soon after the soft click of the lock was heard. The sound gave her a moment of relief before the panic set in.

Simone! What are you gonna do? What's the plan??

"I don't know," she whispered softly.

Well, you'd better figure something out. You don't have much time. You know how Juan is. You know what he wants, and you know he damn well plans to get it-

"Oh, shut the hell up," Simone muttered, effectively silencing the nagging inner voice. She would come up with a plan, and she would get out of there. Alive and dammit, untouched! Maybe she would play his little game and allow him to hold her and kiss her, but that would be as far as it went. He would not force himself on her. Not ever again.

Now, as for a plan… She had to think of something. True, the return of her memories gave her the upper hand, but they were no competition for his physical strength. He was a good four inches taller and at least forty to fifty pounds heavier. So, there was no way she could take him-

Um, Simone?

She closed her mind to the tiny voice and tried to think of something, anything-

Yo, Simone!

The insistent nagging returned and she drew a long breath before responding. When her nerves were a little less frazzled, she nodded her head in acceptance. She would listen. She did listen. The voice reminded her of some very important facts that in her almost hysterical state, she had come close to forgetting. One fact was that she wasn't the same weak woman she had been in the catacombs. With their strict daily regimen, she and Tommy had taken care of that. Another fact was that she wasn't entirely alone with Juan in that penthouse apartment with the spectacular view. In her purse, there was family: in the form of a small gift of love that had been given to her by her loved ones. The additional facts came together as The Plan was formed.

"Oh, yeah, Juan," she said softly as she reapplied her lipstick and fluffed her hair, "I'm in control this time, and I am so ready for this. So very ready."


Fuzzy. Blurry. Dizzy.

Everything seemed so out of control for Lizzie when she slowly began to open her eyes. At first, she thought Lucky was there, but as she came back to herself, she knew that couldn't be true. Then, she thought that she was in Port Charles, but she knew that that couldn't be true either…or could it? She and her aunt Simone had gone to New York for New Year's, hadn't they? But if they had, why was Gina there? Nothing made sense anymore, Lizzie thought, as she closed her eyes again.

"Lizzie!" Gina called out. The younger woman was on the brink of consciousness, and according to Sonny's friend, a doctor who went by the name of Doc, if she woke up, she needed to stay awake. "Elizabeth Webber, wake up!"

"No," Lizzie moaned, shaking her head. "No more dreams."

"This isn't a dream," Gina told her. "Wake up, Elizabeth! This is Gina, and you've got to open your eyes. You can do it, girl, just try."

"Gina's not in New York," Lizzie protested. "It is so a dream."

"I am in New York with you," Gina said, resisting the urge to shake her friend awake. "I'm here, Tommy's here, and Sonny is, too."

"Why?" Lizzie sleepily asked.

"Because—Dammit, Lizzie!" Gina's voice was a few decibels below a shout, but not much. It was, however, enough to convince Lizzie to open her eyes. Gina reacted immediately. "Good, you're awake. Now, get up."

"Why?" Lizzie asked, yawning as Gina pulled her into a sitting position.

"Because I said so." Gina pulled Lizzie to her feet and together they began to walk around the room. Their movement brought Sonny's driver, Rico, and Doc back into the room with them.

"Is she lucid?" Doc asked.

"About as much as you said she would be," Gina replied.

The middle-aged man ran a weary hand through his salt and pepper streaked hair. He nodded and told Rico to telephone Sonny with the news. To Gina, he said, "Let her sit down. I need to examine her again."

"Why?" Lizzie mumbled as the stranger came towards her. "I'm fine. Just a little sleepy…that's all." She yawned again, and had to fight the urge to drift back asleep.

"You were drugged," Doc told her after he had finished his examination of her. "You'll feel out of it for a little while, but the medication I gave you will counteract what was given to you before. Tomorrow this time, you'll be as good as new."

"Drugged?" she repeated. Confusion shone in her brown eyes. She looked at Gina for clarification. "Is he sure? How did you find me? Where's my aunt?"

"Yeah," Gina said softly. She rested a comforting hand on Lizzie's shoulder as she continued. "Juan drugged you, and he has Simone somewhere. The three of us came here to take you back to Port Charles."

"Juan? Who's that? Why does he have Simone and what happened to John? Did he do something to him?"

Doc offered the two young women a tight smile before he left them alone to their explanations. After he left them alone, Gina quickly filled Lizzie in. The young girl's eyes brimmed with tears as the realization of what had happened came to her. She didn't want to believe any of it. It all sounded too larger than life to be real, but she knew that it was not. When she was able to speak, she asked, "Do you think they'll find Simone? What if he takes her away?"

"He won't," Gina said with certainty.

"How can you say that? How do you know for sure?" Lizzie asked, a little impatiently. She wanted to believe that everything would be just fine and dandy in the end, too, but she learned the hard way that there was no such thing as a fairy tale ending in real life. Sometimes, just when a person thought she had a firm grasp on things, life had a way of shaking things up, making the firm grasp resemble the grip of a baby.

"Sonny wouldn't come out and say anything, but I think he knows where she is-"

"What if he doesn't? What then?"

Gina shook her head. "I don't want to think about that. I have to believe that he does, and I suggest that you do the same."

Lizzie didn't respond to Gina's suggestion. Instead, she abruptly rose from her seated position and almost stumbled. She quickly righted herself and said, "I want to go and help them. I can't stay here and wait."

"Later," Gina told her. "We have to wait until the drug wears off and then, we'll go. Understand?"

Lizzie nodded. She understood, and Gina helped her walk around the room again, she hoped that the drug would wear off very soon.


"You know where we're going, don't you?" Tommy asked Sonny as they pushed themselves through the crowd.

"Yep," Sonny said with a nod. A red light prevented them from crossing the intersection, and Sonny was still as he waited for the next question. He prepared himself for wrath, but he did it needlessly.

Tommy was upset, angry and terrified, but he held it all in check. In fact, he was storing everything up. He planned to unleash every bit of his pent-up emotions on the man who most deserved them…Juan Valdez. He appreciated everything Sonny had done for him and his family that night. He was a little confused by what had motivated the older man, but he decided to deal with that later. Now, as he spoke, his voice was filled with curiosity. "How do you know she's there?"

"A hunch."

"Sonny-" Tommy began with a bit of anger.

Sonny shook his head. "It was a bad choice of words. It's more than a hunch. Remember the investigation?"

"Yeah," Tommy said. The light changed and they began to move as briskly as the crowd would allow. "I thought you didn't get anything on him."

"I didn't. This way," Sonny pointed. They turned off and took a short cut through an alley. The alley wasn't empty, as others had discovered its short cut potential, too, but it wasn't nearly as crowded as the sidewalk had been. "I didn't find anything out about him personally, but the guy who followed him said that there were two places he frequented. We're going to check those out."

"What were the places?" Tommy asked.

"One's an art gallery, owned by a Ms. Monique Adams. The second is a penthouse apartment."

"The gallery makes sense. He brought them up here because of some art show," Tommy said softly, almost to himself. "So which one's first?"

"I was thinking we'd split up," Sonny said. "Are you okay with that?"

"Sounds good to me," Tommy told him. "Which one's mine?"

"The gallery," Sonny replied. "It's about two blocks from here. I'll take the penthouse. It's about 3 blocks over to the west. If you don't find anything at the gallery meet me at the penthouse, and vice versa. Got it?"

"I got it."

"And, Tommy?" Sonny said softly.

"What?" Tommy asked, concerned by the intensity of Sonny's gaze. "What's up?"

"Be careful. Use common sense. I know you have it 'cause Jason has told me all about it. If the situation is something you can't handle, there's no shame in coming to get me or waiting for me to show up. Too many people love you. Don't break their hearts needlessly."

Tommy nodded. "I know."

"Hardy, I'm serious," Sonny said when Tommy's reply was too quick for his liking. He'd seen that look in a young man's eyes before because it was the same look he'd had when he was Tommy's age. He knew from personal experience that in a fit of blinding rage things like common sense became non-existent. He didn't want Tommy to lose sight of what was important and then there was that promise Sonny had made to Gina. Her eyes had glittered like a wildcat's when she had pulled him aside, and Sonny would be damned if he had to tell her that something had happened to the man she loved. He reached for Tommy's upper arm, applying pressure until Tommy stopped and they stood face to face in the alley. "Tonight, that sonuvabitch will pay for everything he put you all through. You don’t have to be a casualty to make that happen. Listen to me. There's no shame-"

"Sonny, I know," Tommy said a little too loud. When he spoke again, his voice was softer. "Sonny, when it comes to my mother, the people I love…I have no shame. I'll do anything to make sure they're okay. If it's risky, I'll come for you. You have my word."

"Good." Sonny nodded. "Let's get to it then."

Go to Part 3.

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