Chapter 10: "Backing Off" The Reckoning

A storm was heading towards Llanview; it had been heading there for weeks, John occasionally saw Van sometimes with and most times without RJ. It didnít matter he stayed his distance. He wanted to say he had forgotten her but he just couldnít. Sometimes it would just be the laugh of a woman and he would hear Vanís tinkle and smile forgetting just for a moment that she hadnít chosen him. Then the pain of losing her would hit him and he would feel the raw need again-- and he would shut down. It was the only way he could survive.

Van was on the other hand walking a thin line, trying to find out as much about the Santiís as she could with out alerting RJ about her true intent. If she thought their wedding night was bad, nothing prepared her for their life together. He had taken up with Sonia in the bedroom and out.

She had a meet with Tonio, because she had to get this information to him soon, or it would be worthless, something huge was going to happen in Llanview, the five families were meeting to split up the territory and the revenue, and RJ Gannon was hosting the event. He was as excited as a schoolboy, and never tired of going over every detail from the catering to the security. He acted like it was a state function instead of a bunch of mobsters coming together to carve out the filth that made them money. She was happy Sonny would be there; even though she knew he was bad, she liked him. He had a bad boy charm. She did everything to RJís specification, she didnít want to set him off and she had to get the details to Antonio, because this event was huge. She had noticed Tico was around more and he and RJ were always in the study conferencing about what she was soon to find out, and at a huge cost.

Carlottaís home: 9:00 am in the morning. Tonio and Van agreed to meet and he was on time, her cover was a business meeting with Carlotta, RJ didnít care what clients she met as long as she was available when he wanted her.

"Van, what have you got, and make it fast, you said it was huge."

"RJ is hosting a meeting with the new five families. It will happen in three weeks, they only meet like this every ten years, either to consolidate or redistribute the territories."

"How in the hell did you get this? Thereís nothing about it on the street?" he said

"I had a transistor and bug that I leave in RJís study not for very long, because he does sweeps, but I managed to get the information on this disk, it details, who and what time they will all be there. I donít know how you guys are going to handle this information, but here it is."

"I got to get this to John, heíd want to know about it right away," he said

"I know and after today, Iím going to be watched a lot more closely until the meeting, and it is definitely in three weeks, even Sonny Corinthos is supposed to be one of the guest."

"What about El Tiburon, any idea who he is?" he asked anxiously.

"No, but according to what Iíve heard he will solidify himself with the families at this meet."

"Van, you did good. John would be proud of you."

"No, I think you are speaking about the old John. The new one wants nothing to do with me, and I canít blame him," she said sadly.

"Van, you not looking so good. Whatís wrong?"

"Antonio, we were friends long before John, and I have to tell someone, because I need someone I know to be aware of what Iím going through."

"Well you know you can count on me," he said.

She began to pace realizing she didnít have much time, and someone had to know her situation, she told him about the baby.

"Van, does John know, youíre carrying his baby?" he asked

"Why do you assume it belongs to John?"

"Cuz, I know you." He said simply and "You are a one man woman, I know this."

"Antonio, I canít tell you how much that means to me. Yes itís Johnís baby, but he doesnít know."

"Van, you canít keep something like this from him. He has a right to know, whatís happening with you." He stated seriously.

"If John, knew about the baby, you know what he would do. He would get to me so fast the whole plan would blow up, and no telling what would happen."

"He still has a right to know."

"Yes, he does, but you arenít going to tell him."

"If anything happened to you or his kid, he would kill me if I knew and didnít tell him."

"Then I was wrong to trust you. If you do tell him, whatever happens is on your head. I know John, no way would he let me stay in this mess, if he knew about our baby."

"Exactly, we have to tell him," he said.

"No, Iím this close to finding out who "El Tiburon" is and if I pull out now the meeting will never take place, and the investigation will have to start all over again. We are never going to get a chance like this, to actually be able to see the meeting, and maybe hear what they plan. This is too huge."

"Van, you are making a dangerous call. What if RJ discovers what you are doing? That you are the one spying on him and you having another manís child?"

"Antonio, I have risked too much to have this all be for nothing, and I have lost too much not to see it to the end. Help me?" She asked looking at him and hoping he would agree.

"Okay, but Iím telling him the day of the meeting. John has a right to know, and he needs to be prepared, to help you if you need it. Okay?

"Sounds like a plan," she said. "Now I have to go, and another thing, Tico is very close to RJ closer than he was two weeks ago, they meet every day.

"What about Sonia?"

"She is either in bed with RJ or scheming with him, they both do it so well."

"She and RJ that close?" He seemed disturbed.

Van looked at him sharply trying to read his expression but it was too closed off. Sounded like he cared. Too bad, Sonia was bad news; he was better off with that meddlesome Jessica. "Yeah, they are really that close, sometimes he gives me intimate details, just to see my look of disgust."

"Sorry to hear it, just canít wrap my brain around the two of them being together." Antonio said in bewilderment.

"I really got to go, I canít promise I get back to you again, so be safe." Van said.

"No, you be safe and take care of that kid. I know youíre going to make me the godfather, right?"

"Sure, if I live long enough." She said quietly and left.

After she left, Antonio thought long and hard about their conversation. Keeping this news from John was absolutely the stupidest idea Van had ever had. If John found out he knew and something happened to either Van or the baby, there would be hell to pay, and John would end up at his door. Damn, I wish I never heard the name Santi.

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