She walked through the lobby of the Port Charles Hotel, striding with unconscious poise across the carpeted expanse. A woman in her late twenties, with dusky, olive gold skin and large, thickly lashed, Latin-dark eyes. More than one man admired the trim figure clad in an expensive Italian silk suit. Simple in its cut, the skirt and jacket in no way detracted from her womanly curves, but instead, it's creamy ivory color was the perfect contrast to her skin; it caressed her full form, tracing its way from her full bosom through her tiny waist and then softly flaring hips. Their eyes traveled appreciatively from the matching Vera Wang pumps to the great mane of sable dark hair pinned up to expose her slender throat. Unbound, it would fall past her shoulders blades and the majority of the men watching her imagined how it would feel, like heavy silk, in their hands.

Eliana Salazar paused in the doorway of the bar, checking her watch, unaware of the striking picture she made. Her eyes searched over the crowd in a businesslike way, paying no attention to the many men that tried to discreetly catch her eye.
Business, not pleasure, was the reason she was here, after all.

Good, she thought to herself. I got here early after all. She spoke to the maitre'd, confirming the reservation that she'd made to meet her client. And since she had time to kill, she decided to stop at the bar and have a drink. She slid onto a barstool, still oblivious to the eyes that followed her move. She crossed one slim leg over the other as she smiled at the bartender and ordered Hennessy VSOP with ice. While she waited for the bartender to fill her order, she pulled a sheaf of papers from her briefcase. She studied them as she sipped at her drink.

Her cell rang. She listened to the caller for a moment. "Well, delays are inevitable, Mr. Barrington. We can meet tomorrow if you wish. Dinner? That won't be necessary." She laughed at the reply. "If you insist then. No, it's not a bother. I'm here and I'll simply change the reservations. Same time tomorrow then."

She hung up. With a sigh, she began putting her papers away.

Slowly she became aware of someone standing before her. She raised her eyes slowly and met a pair of intense dark eyes. Eliana leaned back in the high-seated stool.
"Mr. Corinthos." she said carefully.

"Ms. Salazar." He replied. He smiled at her briefly, setting loose those devastating dimples. "It's been a while since I've seen you in Port Charles. How's business?"

"Business is excellent, Mr. Corinthos." she answered. She smiled back; after all, what woman could resist those dimples? "I'd ask the same about yours, but well…." She let her voice trail off and shrugged, a small smile on her lips. When you knew what she knew, business like his you didn't discuss.

"Well…" he repeated. "Coffee's doing just fine."

The two of them were smiling at one another now. "I haven't been by the art gallery lately. Are there any new pieces that might interest me?" he paused. "In fact, maybe I'll come by with my wife, I'm sure she might like something for her new office."

"Yes, I had heard you were married. Caroline Corinthos of Laura Spencer and Caroline Corinthos, as in the new owners of Deception?" He nodded. "I hope you and she are very happy."

"We are."

She could see that. The steel in the velvet glove was still there, always would be, she guessed, but there was something new there in his eyes when he spoke of his wife. This Sonny looked a lot less driven, a man at peace with himself. She was glad for him.
"Well, we could set up an appointment, or I could come by with a portfolio. Which would you prefer?"

"I don't know. I'd kinda like to surprise her with something. Carly loves surprises."

"Well then, how about I call you sometime soon and we set something up?"

Sonny nodded. That would be fine. "Gotta run. Nice seeing you, Eliana." His dark eyes sparkled mischievously, looking her up and down, and his dimples deepened. "You cleaned up good for a kid from the old neighborhood."

"Si, Sonny." She lifted her glass to him. "…and so did you."

He laughed and waved at her before he left, bodyguard in tow.

Neither one of them noticed the figure in one of the shadowed corner booths, watching them both.


Her cell phone rang a second time. Unfortunately, this call was not as pleasant as the first and her expression showed that. "Where are you? Fine. No, no problem. I'll meet you there."

Ninety minutes later, the Eliana that entered Jake's was totally opposite of the immaculately coifed woman earlier. This one had her hair pulled back in a loose ponytail. Clad in faded jeans, a white t-shirt and leather jacket, she still exuded a magnetism that drew eyes to her as soon as she crossed the threshold.

The clientele in Jake's might be a little rough, a little rowdy, but that wasn't a problem for her. She smiled as she entered, remembering how much, in a lot of ways, it felt like home. And she could handle herself in places like this. She knew just how to put on the "hands off" and "back off" demeanor.

She went to the bar, checking her watch as she slid onto the bar stool. Just my night; she thought to herself sarcastically. Nobody's keeping their appointments and I'm the one running around dealing with it. Eliana ordered a beer. She drank it slowly, but still found herself alone by the time she had finished it. She checked her watch again. Still no show. She ordered another.

"Is that all you gonna have?" she turned to see a stranger sitting himself on the stool next to hers. "Looks to me like you can handle something a whole lot stronger than that."

"Yeah, that's all I'm looking for tonight." she said, purposefully turning away. He was good looking enough, but she wasn't in the mood for conversation. Or anything else. "And I don't mean to be rude, but no thanks."

"You don't even know what I'm offering." he said. He leaned over, not so pleasantly this time. "And you're being rude."

"Whatever it is, I'm not interested." She slid off the bar stool and stood to face him. "And actually, I am being very, very polite. You wouldn't want to see me when I'm not."

"A real bitch, huh?" he said.

"I can be."

"She's not lying." A familiar masculine voice said from behind her.

Her antagonist went silent. Eliana didn't turn to see who it was, she didn't have to, but she tried not to smile.

"Any other questions?" her friend said.

The other man shook his head.

"Then you'll excuse us." He said. She allowed Jason Morgan to take her by the arm and lead her to a table near the pool tables. "I didn't expect to see you here."

"And hello to you too, Jason." she said. "I was supposed to be meeting someone here, but I think I'm being stood up."

"So do you need for me to walk you to your car?"

"Actually, I took a cab." Eliana looked around the bar. The music was playing, people were relaxed and having a good time. And all she had to go home to was an empty apartment and sad memories. She could put those off for awhile. "Might as well hang out here for awhile."

"Fine by me." Jason said. "How about a couple of games of pool?"