Chapter 6: Let's Misbehave
"Sonny too busy to meet with me himself." Charlie 'Lucky' Luciano, the boss of the East Coast, spoke in quiet tones. Every word from his mouth sounded like a threat. He poured a shot of whiskey into a crystal glass and didn't bother to offer any to Jason. "Is that it? He's too good for me now."
"No, sir." Jason stood tall. He respected the man. Lucky worked hard to claim his position. He started young but didn't allow age to stop him from meeting his goals. A man like that deserved to be honored. "I volunteered to speak with you on his behalf."
Luciano cocked an eyebrow. "You volunteered. I'm honored." He moved around his desk to sit in the large leather chair. "I've heard good things about you. If Port Charles ever gets too small…"
Jason nodded once. As much as he admired Luciano, he was completely loyal to Sonny. But he'd be a fool to close the door on a prospect. "I'll keep that in mind."
"You do that." Luciano sipped his drink. "This thing in Chicago isn't good. It puts the heat on us and makes us look bad. The police will come in. Be prepared for that. Whose palms are you greasing up there?"
"No one's, sir." Jason frowned. "We haven't found a way in, yet."
Luciano shuffled through some papers on his desk. A frown creased his brow during his search. Then, he paused and quickly scanned the page. "Mac Scorpio is Port Charles' Police Commissioner. He likes the spotlight and hates law breakers. A perfect man with a shiny badge." Lucky tossed the paper onto his desk. "No one's pure. Find a way to get next to him. All of them can be bought if you offer the right price."
The powerful man leaned back in his chair. "As for the incident in Chicago, we will distance ourselves from it. Capone and Bugs Malone… I'll handle that. Their war won't affect our business. Continue as usual. Keep the profile low. Cops like Scorpio want to make an impression. Don't give him the opportunity."
"You're staying overnight. There's a suite reserved for you and I want you at my table at the Cotton Club tonight."
Jason's mouth tightened. Luciano's orders interfered with his plans. Objecting meant disrespect. He knew better. "Thank you."
"Just show your face," Luciano said. "Attend to your other business afterward."
Jason nodded. His plans for seduction would suffer a slight delay. But anticipation added to the excitement.
"Ivory suits you."
Dawn twirled in front of the mirror. Under Miss Sadie's guidance, she tried on numerous gowns and fancy accessories. She melted at the feel of silk against her skin. Satin cooled her from head to toe. Feathers tickled her funny bone, but looked so sophisticated with the right dress, shoes and jewelry. She sighed. Wearing finery like this was always a fantasy. She never imagined it would really happen.
Sadie chuckled. "Jason sure does have an eye for the ladies. Brown sugar must taste so sweet on his tongue."
Dawn stopped admiring her reflection and glanced into the older woman's knowing brown eyes. "I'm singing at the Paradise Lounge. That's why he's getting these things for me."
"Sweet thing, no, it ain't." The woman turned her toward the large oval mirror with the oak frame. Their gazes locked. A faint smile lessened the severity of her words. "He wants you in his bed."
"Oh, I know you ain't." Sadie patted her shoulder. "Least aways not yet. But he aims to get you there. Jason is not an easy man, but I figured him out a long time ago. You're not the first to catch his interest, but you could be the last. I thought he and Keesha…but…he held on too tightly. He'll do things differently with you."
"No, ma'am." Dawn's heart began to race. Denial flooded through her. She shook her head and began removing the pearls hanging from her neck. "I heard about him and Keesha. I'm not nearly as exciting as she is. I just want to sing."
Sadie stared at her in disbelief. "You don't want him. He can give you the world. All you have to do is share his bed and give him your body. That's not a bad trade."
"It's more than I'm willing to part with," she said quietly. "Besides, he said I don't have to do that. He almost promised it."
"Well, you hold him to it." Sadie moved behind her and began unbuttoning the gown. "As long as you have something he wants, he'll treat you right. Give it to him when you want. Not when he demands it. Men always appreciate having to make an effort."
Dawn took the older woman's advice to heart.
"When I was in Philadelphia last week, I got something for you." John rolled from the bed and grabbed his jacket from the floor.
Air lodged in his throat as he watched Evangeline slid her arms into the silk dressing gown he gave her for Christmas. It was their first Christmas and they spent the day together. Making love and being merry. He realized then that he hadn't ever been so happy. She gave him joy. Her sense of humor, her beauty and her smarts. He thought of her the entire time he was gone. If the world was different, he would have taken her with him. Such as it was, all he could do was bring her gifts.
"I know you told me not to get you anything," he said, pulling the velvet sachet from his pocket, "but I can't help myself."
She hesitated near the foot of the bed. A frown marred her smooth forehead.
"Evangeline," he murmured. "Come here. Please. I want you to have it."
Slow footsteps brought her to him. He took her hand and pressed the small cloth bag into it. The feel of her skin shook him to the core. As usual. He considered spending the night. Would she let him? Lately, she ushered him out the door faster than he liked. He knew there wasn't another man, but something wasn't right. He hoped the gifts would reinforce how much he cared about her.
She squeezed the bag without opening it. "Feels like rocks. Smooth, round rocks."
"Open it. See what's inside."
"I can't give you expensive gifts."
"Money isn't important. You give me your time."
Shaking her head, she shoved the gift bag into his stomach. He had no choice but to take it back.
"I can't take this. I can't do this with you anymore. You have to go."
"Because we can't really be together and I need more, John."
"I can give you more," he argued.
"You can't give me a wedding ring and a real home with the both of us living in it." She grabbed her clothes and shoes and went to the door. "I'm going to the washroom. Please, don't be here when I get back."
Sonny brushed the back of his hand against the swell of Dara's cheek. Her skin was as smooth as satin and the nut brown flesh was flawless. He enjoyed teasing Jason about his attraction to colored women, but standing inches from this fearless beauty, he understood that the appeal was more than skin deep.
Something fierce and untamed flashed in her eyes. The way she carried herself and protected her sister, Dara Jensen was the epitome of refinement. Yet underneath the surface hid a spitfire. He knew better than to underestimate her. If he wanted her in his bed, he'd have to be true to their arrangement. Otherwise, she'd find a way to make him suffer.
"I'll have some of my guys pick up your things," he said.
"You'll stay here unless you've already changed your mind…"
Shadows crossed her face. She blinked, hiding countless emotions from his searching gaze. "Fine. I need to pack what I want to bring and make arrangements for Dawn. I'd rather she didn't live there alone."
"She's welcome to come here."
Her body froze. The single word exploded from her mouth. "No!"
Sonny became still at the sudden outburst. Her disapproval didn't come as a surprise, but the passion behind it intrigued him. Having her on his arm would forever change his life. "The offer stands. Rinaldo will drive you to Maywood and wait while you gather your things. I want you back here tonight."
He called down to the bar. The phone rang, but no one answered. Tension crept up his spine. After returning the handset to its base, he removed a pistol from his desk. He then closed his hand around Dara's upper arm and pulled her to his connecting suite.
"What are you doing?"
"Wait here and don't come out."
Her bottom lip trembled as she stared. "What's wrong?"
"I don't know--"
Without warning, his office door burst open. He turned, instinctively blocking her. Curses rolled under his breath as he met the suspicious gaze of the number one thorn in his side. Palming the gun, he slid it into the back of his pants and straightened his jacket.
"Commissioner Scorpio. It's always a pleasure, but the Lounge isn't open for business. You're early."
"Not early enough," Mac said through gritted teeth. "What are you hiding over there? Who's in that room?"
"Do you have a warrant?" Sonny cocked a brow.
"Do you have something to hide? Maybe Capone is in there and you're planning a repeat of the massacre in Chicago. You can forget about it. I won't allow that here. Who's back there?"
Sonny ground his back teeth. Dealing with this bastard used every ounce of patience he could muster. Mac Scorpio deemed Sonny and his associates as his pet project. So many times, Sonny considered eliminating the cop. But what good would that do? Another one would just replace him. But then again, maybe the replacement would come with a price.
"Keep your pants on. It's just a friend." Sonny stood aside and allowed Dara to decide whether or not she'd reveal herself.
She chose to and joined them in the room. To her credit, she held her chin high and met the Commissioner's gaze.
"What were you doing back there?" Scorpio questioned her. "Do you work for Corinthos?"
Dara shook her head. "No, sir." She glanced over her shoulder at Sonny. "I'll go now." She hustled past Mac and out the door before either man could protest.
"As you can see, Al Capone isn't here. I must say I do admire your imagination." Sonny went to the door and opened it, "Now, if you don't mind, I have to prepare for tonight's show."
Scorpio didn't budge. "I do mind. What is she to you?"
"I find that hard to believe."
Sonny's mouth twisted into a cynical smile. "Why, Commissioner Scorpio, would you say that?"
"I know of her and she's not the type to be your 'friend,'" he said through gritted teeth. "Don't bother to get creative. I'll find out on my own."
"She's not your concern. Why are you here? I don't even know Al Capone. Only what I read in the papers which makes me glad to live here in good, safe Port Charles. Maybe Chief Bennett knows Capone's whereabouts. He seems to enjoy the less than savory side of town."
Mac snorted. "That tactic won't work with me. Sam is one of the best."
"So I hear." Sonny laughed. "He's very good."
A split second later, Scorpio stormed from the room and Sonny sent Rinaldo after Dara. The prospect of the fiery woman in his bed far outweighed any concern over the policeman's visit. Sonny had been in the business for years. He knew his way around the law. Sooner or later, Mac Scorpio would understand that and obsess over a different pursuit.