Life After Dark – Chapter 119, Part 4

Chapter 119, Part 4

~ New Year's Eve: Retribution ~

The thick, wooden door closed with a soft sigh, lowering the laughter and enjoyment of the New Year's partygoers to a quiet murmur. Standing still in the dark entryway, Tommy allowed himself a moment to collect his bearings. If Juan had taken his mother there, it wouldn't do her or him any good for Tommy to give himself away by stumbling in the dark. Keeping his eyes wide, he looked around the room until finally the object became more than just shapes and shadows. They became things that he could recognize, and now that he was ready, he took his first step into Monique Adams' art gallery.

His footsteps were soft and careful. He listened with a keen ear. He didn't hear anything, but that didn't mean that they weren't there. He doubted if Juan would have his mother out in the open somewhere she would be heard if she screamed for help. No, Mr. Smart-ass Valdez would have her in a secluded area. That was more his style. And, according to Sonny, the gallery had a basement, so that's where Tommy was headed...but he would have to find it first.

His first few attempts had proven unsuccessful. The first door had opened to reveal a storage space while the second door had led to an office. After a few more tries, Tommy found what he was looking for.

Closing his hand over the doorknob, Tommy slowly turned the knob. He held his breath as his hand moved. If the doorknob squeaked, all could be lost. After a few seconds that had seemed like an eternity, he was set to pull open the door.

Please, God, don't let this door make a sound, Tommy silently prayed. His prayers were answered, and the door opened in silence. He found that the basement was darker than the rest of the gallery, and as his eyes adjusted, he held himself still listen.

Nothing. He didn't hear a thing, and instinctively, he knew. His mother wasn't there. Once again, he had come up empty. But it wasn't over, he told himself. There was one other place she could be...where she had to be.

There was still the penthouse...


A swoosh and a flash were the only warning that Juan had, but it was enough. For someone who had consumed enough alcohol for several adults, his movements were smooth, agile and swift. Simone came towards him and in a blink of an eye, he had grabbed her wrists, twisting them until she dropped the switchblade. Then, throwing his weight on her, he pinned her to the floor. His solid form covered her writhing body and soon a grin spread across his face. "Simone? You should have told me that you were into rough foreplay. We could have foregone the champagne and broke out the whips and handcuffs instead."

"Let go of me, you sick, bastard!" Simone demanded. Her brown eyes blazed with rage at him for getting the better of her and at herself for losing the control in the first place. She was determined that he would not maintain his hold over her. She would control this. She had to dammit!

"Ooh, and name-calling to boot," he said as laughter erupted from him. "I never would have thought you'd be such a wildcat. And, here I thought you were a lady-"

"Shut up!" she yelled. "I'm tired of your games and I'm sick and tired of your shit!"

Taken aback, Juan loosened his grip on her wrists. His eyes widened in dismay. "Simone, I was only teasing. I would never hurt you. How could you speak so unkindly to me-"

The knee to his groin was quick and unexpected. It prevented any further comment from him except for low murmurs of pain and agony. His throbbing member had been hard and ready, but not for that. Never for that. Unable to think of anything else during that blinding flash, Juan's hands flew to what had been his erection and rolled off of Simone.

Simone didn't wait another second. She pushed the rest of him from her and she moved to crawl away from him. Her movements weren't fast enough and a cry of surprise escaped her as one hand curved around her one delicate ankle in a startling grip. Refusing to give in that easily, Simone kicked out with her other foot. The spike heel of her black satin pumps tore into his midsection. Juan cried out in anger and pain.

"You bitch!"

His grip around her ankle tightened and he began to pull. Her other foot continued to kick in wild abandon. Sometimes, she connected with his flesh and other times, she didn't. Either way, she didn't stop kicking out…viciously. Even with the vicious kicking, Juan didn't give up his hold on her. Taking a chance, he grabbed the kicking foot and within seconds, his had closed around the other ankle. "Now, I have you, my pretty little hellion," he told her through gritted teeth.

"You will never have me!!" With survival the only thought on her mind and sanitary issues not anywhere in her realm of consciousness, Simone lowered her face to his ankle. Her mouth was opened wide as she closed over his exposed flesh. Her teeth sunk in and she bit him with everything she had.

"Damn you, Simone!"

"Fuck you, Juan!"

"All in due time-" he began with a smirk. The smirk soon faded as the realization of what she'd called him hit him. "What did you call me?" he asked quietly.

"You heard me, you son of a bitch!" Simone growled. "I called you Juan, you bastard! I know who you are! Giovanni Montega, my ass! You're gonna pay for what you did! If it's the last thing, I do!"

"You're delusional, Simone," he murmured, his mind spinning a mile a minute. "In your anxiety about your memory loss, you've become confused. The doctors can help you. They can give you something. I won't press charges against you, but you will understand if I have to stop the progression of our relationship-"

"Doctors?!" she said, as she continued to struggle. "I don't need any doctors, but you might before this night is over. And, I'm not deluded! I know you're that parasitic piece of shit who held us captive."

Juan's heart raced. How did she know? Did she really know or was she guessing? Damn her for ruining everything!

As the questions flooded Juan's mind, Simone saw her opportunity and seized it. Concentrating on her ankles and lower body strengths, she broke free from his grasps. This time, instead of crawling away, she rolled away from him. The switchblade was right there and if she moved fast enough, she could reach it. She did and in a quick movement that surprised even her, she grabbed the switchblade and stood, turning quickly to face him.

The crooning, romantic sounds of Sinatra had long since faded in the background. The labored breathing of the two adversaries was loud as they stood face to face and toe to toe. Simone clutched the switchblade in her hand, wielding it as she prepared herself for his attack. Juan glanced at the sharp blade before he raised his eyes back to her. A smile of pure malevolence grew upon his face, causing a shiver to course down Simone's spine. But her hold on the switchblade remained firm.

"Almost brings back old times, doesn't it, mi querida?" he asked low and seductively.

"Don't call me that!" she said, tightening her hold on her weapon. "Don't you ever call me that!"

Juan took one step forward. He was unafraid as he moved towards her. So, she knew. So what? There was nothing she could do about it. No one would believe her, not that that was of any consequence. Once he had his way with her, her existence would be no more. 'Tis pity, too, because she was always such a good lay.

He grinned at her, as she took a step back. "But you were, my willful, determined Simone. Of all of them…each and every one, you were always my favorite-"

"Shut up!"

He took another step forward as he continued with a charming smile. "-such a fighter and so passionate-"

As he took a step forward, she took a step back. "Stop it!"

"-so very, very passionate. I can remember our first time," he said with wistful smile. "Can you? It happened in the late afternoon. Your little bastard had been taken away-"

"Don't you dare talk about my son-"

"-he was always such a little pain in the ass. So quiet and watchful. So filled with distrust and hate. Simone, whatever were you teaching him?" he asked, shaking his head at her. He took another step.

She refused to move. Her eyes glared at him. "Leave Tommy out of this!"

"It's a little too late for that, I'm afraid," he said changing his expression to one filled with sadness. "His hatred has ruined him, and he's killing himself. Unfortunately, it's not moving fast enough to save me the trouble of doing it myself-"

He knew she would strike. He had planned on it, but he hadn't planned on the strength behind her attack. He hadn't anticipated the depth of a mother's love and the power it would give her…power enough to drive the blade straight into his stomach without a second thought. Closing his hands over the handle, he fell to his knees.


After indulging his mind with a few fantasies about what the future could hold for him and Simone, Sonny's mind was clear and focused as he stepped out of the elevators that had taken him to the top floor. He hadn't wondered about what he would find behind those closed double doors. He hadn't needed to. He knew that whatever waited for him on the other side would and could be handled. He had no doubts as to his ability. Sonny was a logical man, but he was also a man of action. He slid the key inside the hole and unlocked the door.

He knew he'd found her the moment he stepped inside. The atmosphere was different. He felt a vibe…Simone's vibe, and he also smelled the faint scent of her perfume. Oh, yeah, she was in there, but where?

Keeping his steps light and noiseless, he moved from the entryway to head down the long hallway. The 35 mm rested comfortably in the palm of his right hand, and with his mind on the task at hand, he concentrated. He listened closely for anything that would lead him to her. Then, finally he heard it. A sickening, taunting laugh of a madman who dared to threaten the life of a mother's son to her face. Sonny disengaged the safety of his firearm and quickly moved to follow the sounds of their voices.

Later, Sonny would remember that the first thing he noticed as he walked into the room wasn't Simone as she drove the blade inside her tormentor, but the setting…the unbelievably romantic setting. The flaming candles, the roaring fireplace, and the bottles of champagne would have created a loving atmosphere if not for the malice behind it. Only a demented, twisted mind would go to such lengths to seduce his victim. Sonny would delight in taking Juan Valdez out. Animals such of him should never have existed in the first place.

After taking in the setup, Sonny's dark eyes were drawn to Simone. As if in a daze, she stood over Juan. Sonny's eyes drifted down to where Juan knelt at Simone's feet, his hands clutching the handle of the blade which was still inside him. Even though the man appeared wounded, Sonny didn't trust it. He called out to Simone, in a commanding, but gentle voice, "Simone."

Simone blinked twice and then she slowly tore her eyes from Juan to look at him. In a hoarse voice, she said, "Sonny."

Holding his hand out to her, as he slowly went to her, he said, "Come to me. It's okay. I won't hurt you."

Unable to move, she held her hand out to him. Her eyes drifted back to Juan. She was frozen by what she had done and by the unwavering way his eyes held hers. She stood by what she had done and the many times she had dreamt of killing him, but the feeling of hatred that gave her the strength to push the blade inside of him had overwhelmed her. She had wanted him dead. She still did. And, the way he looked at her... It was as if he had wanted her to stab him…as if it justified him somehow. The thought him feeling vindicated scared her and angered her even more. Damn him!

He's playing mind games with her, Sonny thought. He had seen it before. Hell, he'd even done it. The master manipulator who controlled with his eyes… What a piece of shit, Sonny thought, condemning the man he once was and the man who knelt on the floor. "Simone!" Sonny called out strongly, determined to break Juan's connection with her. His call didn't break through, so he when he reached her, he pulled her away.

"Simone!" Juan wheezed, laughing softly as he imitated Sonny. He looked at Sonny for a second before turning his eyes back to Simone. Thriving on taunting her, he said, "If I had known you were into that look, I would never have changed my face. I thought you liked them white. I mean that bastard's father is white, right?-"

Simone lunged for Juan as he cackled wildly. Sonny tried to hold her back with one hand, but she was too strong for him. Determined to keep her away from the vile cackling creature, Sonny wrapped both arms around her waist and pulled. She continued to struggle against him and he lost his hold on the gun. Sonny felt it slip from his hand and he sensed Juan's entire being light up with anticipation of grabbing it. Moving quickly with her still in his arms, Sonny kicked the gun out of Juan's reach.

Sonuvabitch! Juan, ignoring the pain in his midsection and the blood that was rapidly flowing from his body, reached out for Simone. His hands once again wrapped around her ankles, pulling on her.

"Let go of me!" Simone screamed to both of them.

Sonny saw what Juan had done, but he refused to relinquish his hold of her. He wished he hadn't kicked the gun so far away because he wanted nothing more than to blow a hole straight through Juan's remodeled face. Not wanting to hurt her, Sonny stopped pulling on Simone. He could see that Juan's hold on her was a tight one, and he knew that the next few seconds would tell the tale for them all. He had to think of something, and he had to do it soon.

"Isn't this a delicious game of tug of war?" Juan laughed. He squeezed as hard as he could, hoping for some kind of reaction from Simone. None came. Tenacious bitch, he thought. She would give in eventually, though, he told himself. She always did. And, as for her Latin lover boy, Juan would take care him. Switchblade to the stomach be damned! He would be the only one left standing when the New Year was rung in. He would have it no other way.

As Juan's grip around her already bruised ankles tightened, Simone's fingers dug into Sonny's hands as she bit back a scream. She would never cry out. She refused to give Juan that satisfaction, and somehow, Sonny knew that. He withstood the clawing of her nails into his flesh and he became even more determined to end this stupid situation. Looking around for something that would aid them, he saw it. He could have kicked himself for not seeing it sooner, but that would come later. With a gleam in his eye and a smirk on his face, Sonny raised his foot and forced it down onto the blade, shoving it deeper into the maniacal man. Juan howled in pain and relinquished his hold on Simone.

As Juan collapsed onto the floor, Sonny swept Simone away from him. He carried her to the far corner of the room. He positioned her so that her back rested against the wall as she sat on the floor. Her legs were extended straight in front of her and gently, Sonny, who was crouched before her, placed one foot on his thigh. He looked at the bruises on her ankle and he gentle flexed her foot. Taking his time to make eye contact with her, as he didn't want to scare her, he raised his eyes to her. She stared back him. The dazed look was long gone and now her eyes were filled with pain. He wasn't sure if it was emotional or physical so he asked her, "Simone, does this hurt?"

"No," she said, shaking her head. "I'm numb, Sonny. I don't feel anything."

"You will," he reassured her as he examined her other foot.

"I don't want to," she whispered hoarsely. "I just want him dead. That's about all I have left."

"Now, maybe," he said, softly. "It will all come back later. Will you be okay here?"

"Are you going somewhere?" she asked in a small fearful her voice.

"Just over there," he said, pointing over his shoulder. "I'm not leaving you alone."

"Good." She nodded. Her eyes held his as he rose to stand. Her voice was clear as she said, "Will you make sure he's…?"




Tommy entered the quiet penthouse, knowing… In fact, as soon as he put the key inside the lock, he knew what he would find behind the closed doors. He would find his mother and he would find their nemesis.

After closing and locking the door behind him, Tommy moved quickly down the hallway. He wasn't sure what he would walk in on…if Sonny was already there…if his mother was hurt or worse…so he mentally prepared himself for whatever.

The lights were dim in the living room and Tommy could just barely make out the figure of a male as he rose from a crouched position. Holding his breath—and making sure to use common sense—Tommy waited before he made his move. With his own switchblade clutched firmly in his hand, he was glad for Sonny's earlier reminder. The figure turned out to be Sonny and if common sense hadn't been used, the older man would surely have been dead, and by Tommy's own hand.


Startled, Sonny turned to Tommy with a gun in his hand. Upon recognizing his young friend, Sonny returned the gun back to the waistband of his pants. He released a deep sigh and smiled. "Man, you can't just creep up like that."

"Sorry," Tommy replied with a faint smile. A frown creased his brow as he looked around the room. The romantic setting put his teeth on edge and there was no sign of his mother. "What happened? Where's my mom?"

"She's okay. She's washing up."

Tommy nodded as Sonny pointed towards the hallway. She was nearby and in a second, he would see for himself that she was fine. But as for the other… "What happened? Where's Juan?"

"He's dead." Sonny pointed to Juan's lifeless body, which was now covered up with blankets. When Tommy moved to uncover him, Sonny stopped him. "Wait. You don't have to."

"Yes, I do," Tommy said. He removed the blanket and grew still as he stared into Juan's sightless gray eyes. He pulled back the rest of the blankets and found the bloody wound. He threw the covers back over him and stood. Looking at Sonny, he asked, "Did my mom do that?"

Sonny nodded and shrugged. "She stabbed him with the blade you gave her. I finished the rest."

"How? The stab wound couldn't have killed him."

"Tommy, are you sure you want to know all of this?" Sonny asked with concern.

"I stopped being a kid six years ago," Tommy replied. "I can handle it. Besides, this is something that I need to know. I know you understand."

"I do." Sonny took Tommy's arm and led him away from the offensive corpse. Speaking softly, he told him what had happened. "Your mother figured out who he was. I don't know how, but she did. She stabbed him, but you're right, that didn't do the trick. I pushed it in further for her and to complete the deal, I put one of those pillows over his face and smothered him. She wasn't here for that."

"That's good. She's been through enough," Tommy said in a husky voice. He glanced towards the hallway as he thought of her. He needed to see her, but not yet.

Understanding the younger man's thoughts, Sonny said, "It's okay. Go see for yourself. I told her you were here in New York. Seeing you would be good for her right about now. I can take care of the mess."

Tommy shook his head, as he moved his eyes back to Sonny. "There's something that must be done before I can see her."

"What?" Sonny questioned. "He's dead. He'll never hurt her again."

"It's not good enough, Sonny."

Sonny looked at Tommy in confusion. "What are you talking about? Of course, it's good enough."

"No, it's not. I need to get rid of him."

"How?" Sonny asked. "The Atlantic?"

Tommy's emerald green eyes became glacial and unforgiving. In a cold voice that aged him far beyond his sixteen years and chilled the hardened, older man beside him, he said, "No, water's too good for him."

"So, what are you talking about?" Sonny asked, thinking of many possibilities. "Hacking him up?"

"No," Tommy shook his head. Speaking softly, he added, "Ashes to ashes, Sonny, and dust to dust."

"Burn him," Sonny nodded with a smile.

"To a crisp."

~*~ New Year's Morning: Restoration ~*~

Tommy's arms were wrapped firmly around the shoulders of his mother and his cousin. His hold on them was strong, but filled with love. They returned the sentiment and the hold with equal strength. Their footsteps were slow and patient as they walked from Sonny's limo to the private jet, which waited for them on the runway. Sonny and Gina followed at an even slower pace.

"Sonny, I need to know," Gina said softly. Her eyes were on the man she loved, and his mother whom she considered her best friend. She then moved her eyes to Sonny. "Tommy won't tell me and I know there's more than what you both told me and Liz."

"There isn't much more," Sonny said, shrugging. He glanced at Gina for a moment before he looked back at Simone. She, Tommy, and Liz were at the foot of the staircase that would take them up to the plane. Keeping his eyes on her as she went up the staircase, he said, "Everything went down the way we told you. Simone figured out who he was just as I showed up. He and I fought. He sucker punched me and while I was out, he left. End of story."

"So, why didn't he take Simone?" she questioned. "I find it hard to believe that he'd go to the trouble to change his face to get next to her again, and then skip out when he could have just taken her with him."

"And, risk being exposed?" Sonny asked. He laughed softly as he shook his head. They reached the foot of the staircase and began their ascent. "He's one sick bastard, but not a stupid one. Simone would have raised hell if he'd tried to take her with him, so he cut his losses and split."

"So, it's not over," Gina said, reflectively. "He could come back and do this all over again."

"He won't." Tommy held out his hand to Gina as she entered the jet. Leading her to the beige leather sofa, he said, "You don't have to worry about him. He won't come after my mother again."

"You sound so certain," Gina said, softly. "I wish I could be, but he did once. He'll do it again."

Tommy released a deep sigh. He glanced at Sonny, who shrugged at him in reply. They had both made the decision to keep the full details of Juan's demise to themselves. Simone knew he was dead, and that was enough for them. They didn't it feel it was necessary for the Gina or Liz to know about his death or the other fiery details. It wasn't that they didn't trust them to remain silent. Tommy trusted his cousin and his love with his life, and he valued theirs beyond measure. The fact was that the knowledge of Juan Valdez's demise was a burden, and that wasn't one either man wanted anyone to carry if it wasn't necessary. Simone's knowledge of Juan's death was necessary for her to begin her healing process. Her ignorance about how his ashes now lay in his apartment complex's basement furnace was unnecessary. Sonny and Tommy had unanimously decided that she didn't need to know, and so she never would. Their conscious wasn't completely at ease for having lied to her, but it was something they would live with. They'd rather her believe that Sonny's men had taken care of the body, than for her to know that they had done the deed themselves.

"Mama's fine, Gina," Tommy said. Sitting between her and his mother, he pulled Gina into a hug. "She's gonna be okay. Juan Valdez won't be a threat to her. He knows that she's connected, and he's not about to go after her now."

"Connected," Gina said, rolling her eyes. She glanced at Simone to see what her reaction was. "Are you okay with this?"

"Well, whatever it takes to keep him away from me," Simone said quietly.

"But, being associated with the mob," Lizzie said softly. "Why couldn't we just tell the police."

"And, then what?" Sonny asked, gently. "The police were blind to his little outfit for years. Your aunt and cousin were down there and the police didn't do a damn thing about it. It's done now. He's gone and he won't come back. He's weak, Elizabeth. The weak ones always run. Your aunt is safe. I assure you of that."

"I hope so," Liz said, turning worried eyes to Simone. Her head was much clearer than what it had been hours before. She still had a mild ache, but it wasn't a bad one. Doc had given her an excellent bill of health and the drugs John had given her would not have any long term effects, of that, everyone was relieved.

"It's so," Simone said with a smile for her niece. She then directed her attention to the owner of the jet that would take them far away from cold New York and leave them on a warm, tropical island. "Thank you, Mr. Corinthos, for watching out for my son and for coming to our rescue. I dread to think of what would have happened if…you hadn't."

"Then, don't," Sonny advised. He smiled at her, revealing his deep dimples. "Don't think about any of it, and if you want to thank me, call me Sonny."

"Okay…Sonny," she said, upturning her lips to give him a faint smile.

No, thank you, Sonny thought, as he basked in her first smile for him. Thank you very much.

Go to Chapter 120 .

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