"Ms. Davis has no knowledge of the two of you and your conflicts. She ought to be exempt from this meeting altogether."
"Yes, yes…" Sorel cut her off. "And your position as a courier makes you inviolate as well. Or so you thought. But a courier also has responsibilities. One of which is to remain totally neutral within the Council factions."
"As I have been. The Council approved my personal business dealings with Sonny Corinthos before I ever entered into them. I needed a legitimate business that would keep me from free from suspicion as I traveled my assigned territories. You and he both contributed to that fund."
"And afterwards, Ms. Salazar? You two created even closer business ties."
"Afterward, when I retired, those ties were created with the Council's permission, as you know, and approved. Most couriers do the same. It creates less suspicion on either side that we'll be placed into situations where our knowledge could be used against our clients or the council in any way. Our present dealings involve his legal businesses and there were the usual layers of insulation between he and I; therefore they were not under stricture. He was an investor. I have since repaid the terms of the agreement; my business is mine's alone. He set it up that way for my protection as well as his own. No laundering, no 'imports' come through my gate.
"You know the regulations and immunities that apply to me as well as anyone else. I'm not going to discuss Mr. Corinthos' business' dealings with you, any more than I would discuss yours with him."
"But how neutral could you be, Ms. Salazar, when you're Sonny's sister?"
He laughed at her suddenly stunned expression and clapped his hands.
"Wonderful acting job, Eliana; but it doesn't begin to cut it. It actually explains a lot. Sonny brought you into the organization, then orchestrated your placement to this position, to our territories. How convenient."
"Sonny Corinthos orchestrated nothing…" Eliana began.
Sorel continued as though Eliana had never spoken.
"And then, every request I made to the council -through you - is denied. How did you phrase my requests? I'm sure to my detriment and to Sonny's advantage; each and every time!" Sorel wasn't amused any more. All the remembered angers were rekindled with each word that he spoke. He stalked forward until he was towering over her, but Eliana forced herself not to flinch.
"Did the two of you enjoy yourselves at my expense, Ms. Salazar? How many times did the two of you toast your success? You thought that I was a sucker, and the two of you so smart, didn't you? You and Sonny Corinthos have been making a fool of me for years! It ends here!"
His anger got the best of him. Before Eliana could react, he reached out and viciously slapped her across the face. Eliana spun out of the chair from the force of his blow. She caught herself on her hands and knees.
Alexis made a move to go to her, but was unceremoniously shoved back in her chair by the guard standing behind her. She shook off his hands and stooped down beside Eliana as she struggled to her feet. A trickle of blood stained the corner of her bottom lip, and she winced as she wiped at it with the back of her hand, but she showed no other reaction as Alexis helped her to her feet. A nod from Sorel, and the guard took Alexis by the arm and put her back into her own chair.
Sorel's expression didn't change as Eliana stood to face him. He pushed her back into her chair. Sorel took out a packet of papers from his jacket pocket and threw them at her. "This was found in your apartment…and says differently. Are you going to continue to lie to my face?" He bent down to glower over Eliana. "That's not a wise idea, Ms. Salazar."
"I'm no fool, Mr. Sorel. I understand clearly the situation I'm in. But I repeat, I still don't know what you are talking about. None of what you just said makes any sense to me. A family connection between Sonny Corinthos and me? That's ridiculous."
"I did a little checking of my own, Ms. Salazar. Your father and Sonny's stepfather were partnered as police officers for three years."
"What the hell does that prove? My parents have been dead since I was five, and that was before I was even born. Do you think I remember anything about that? There's at least ten years age difference between Sonny and I so how do you think we could have known each other well? When he was sixteen, I was six. When he was twenty, I was twelve. Our paths barely crossed.
"And yes, he recommended me for the courier position, but you and I both know how that works. I was one on a list of many that was approved by the council before I was ever approached. You know as well as I do, that my background was checked out thoroughly. And there was nothing there to imply any bias on my part for or against anyone.
"As for these papers, I've never seen them before...so where did they come from?"
He nodded to one of his bodyguards, who turned and left the room. A few moments later he brought in Eliana's brother.
Eliana drew a sharp breath. "Eduardo, what have you done?"
He stood before her unashamed. "It's all your fault!" He shouted at her. "You left me no choice!"
"Tell her what you told me." Sorel commanded.
Eliana stared at her brother totally at a lost for words. He couldn't look her in the eye, but explained how he had come across the papers in the boxes that had come to her and avowed the veracity of them. Trying to justify his actions, he began a rambling tirade blaming all of his misfortunes on Eliana and her refusal to help him out any further.
Sorel interrupted him at that point. "Ms. Salazar, I don't believe you understand the seriousness of the situation. Or of the lengths I am prepared to go to in order to achieve my objectives." He nodded to his man, who took her brother roughly by the arm.
"Wait!" he cried out. "I thought this squared us! What are you doing?!"
"No one crosses me, Salazar. If you'll betray your own sister, how can I trust you not to open your mouth about anything else?"
"No! Please!" he began to beg as the men dragged him from the room. The door clanged resolutely shut behind him. Abruptly, his voice fell silent. Alexis and Eliana looked at Sorel, shocked into silence.
"Pick up the papers, Ms. Salazar." Sorel said, his voice deadly quiet.
Still numbed, Eliana opened the packet of papers. There were birth certificates and baptismal records, old and yellowed and faded with time. They had her name on all of them. Two birth certificates, both listing her as the child. But the parents were different. Both sets named the man she thought of as father on them, but the mother's name on the first paper was not her mother's. It was the hospital's issue. It had the imprint of a tiny hand and foot. And that was the one with a woman's name that she did not recognize. Adella Corinthos. Corinthos.
"That's right." Sorel said, his voice heavy with satisfaction. "Adella Corinthos. Sonny's mother."
"Madre di Dios." she hadn't even realized she'd breathed the words aloud. In shock, she went back and forth between them. The second one, more official, listed her mother's name, as did the baptismal certificate.
What did this mean? That her parents had lied to her, her entire life? Had her father had an affair with this Adella Corinthos? Those questions and a million more swirled in her mind. But she couldn't deal with them now. She raised puzzled, confused eyes to Sorel.
"Several papers and documents came to me recently from the estate of a recently deceased family member. I haven't had a chance to go through them yet. Obviously my-my brother did." She paused, trying to order her thoughts behind this stunning news. "I still stand by my word. I had no knowledge of this and so there was no way that I could have had any bias towards you in my role as courier.
"Even so, assuming this is true, what are you planning to do? Take revenge on Sonny through me? He doesn't know about this alleged connection any more than I did."
Sorel regarded her, unwillingly forced to admire her continuing coolness even in the face of his anger.
"Maybe, maybe not. Well, it will be interesting to see what value Sonny puts on you. On you both."
"Mr. Sorel, if these papers are true, the you don't need her." Eliana said swiftly. "As his sister, I'm much more valuable as a hostage than his lawyer. Alexis Davis only handles his legal activities. You would gain credibility with the Council if you showed the recognition of that by letting her go. You know as well as I do, the severe penalty for involving non-combatants, and the reasons for it. It brings in unwanted scrutiny, which benefits no one. In presenting these papers, I'd say that you have a legitimate complaint to lay before the Council. If handled correctly, it might absolve you of much of the trouble you're now in."
"So now you are offering your courier services to me?" Sorel asked sarcastically.
She shrugged, showing a coolness and calmness she did not feel. "Wasn't I trained for just that reason? To present the facts of a conflict fairly and responsibly?" Eliana shot back.
"As a show of good will and reasonableness, let Ms. Davis go. She can carry any message you have for Sonny to him. He would have no reason to distrust what she tells him. Do you think he would really believe anything you told him, once he discovers that you've taken us? That's assuming that he doesn't already know it and is preparing to move against you. This action serves you on several levels. You show your respect to the Council by obeying the regulations and releasing a non-combatant. Sonny Corinthos could be apprised of your complaint concerning the relationship between he and I. As his business attorney, he would trust Ms. Davis' word, unlike any other emissary you could send. You gain legitimacy for your grievance."
He hated to admit it, but her words made sense. "I'll think about it." He snapped, and stalked out of the room.
Alexis had remained silent during their exchange, realizing that she was out of her depth. Now she turned to the other woman. "What was he talking about?" Alexis asked. "Councils? Couriers? How far does your involvement with Sonny go?"
"I don't have time to explain it to you now. I'll tell you this much though, everything Sorel referred to is in my past."
"Okay, let's forget that for the moment. Do you realize what you are doing?" Alexis demanded. "You're putting yourself forward as a sacrificial lamb for Sonny's honor!"
Eliana had picked up the papers Sorel had flung at her and was studying them again. "If these are true, then Sorel will use me to try and bend Sonny to his advantage, no matter what I say or do. But this will get you out of here, Alexis.
"Please don't argue with me on this. We don't have much time before he decides, one way or the other. I know Sorel, in a way. He is not a deep thinker, whatever his position is."
"I don't want to leave you here in the hands of this monster."
"You don't have a choice. But if I can get you out of here, you have to let me try. There's no sense in the both of us being here. If I reduce Sorel's pawns, I reduce his plays. I give Sonny room to maneuver. Trust me." Eliana took a deep breath and looked directly at Alexis. "And as far as Sonny's honor goes; I've known him much longer than you, so yes, I do trust in it. And him."
"You're staking your life on it."
The door opened, and then there was no time for further talk. One of Sorel's men beckoned to Alexis. "You, come with me."
Alexis looked back at Eliana. Outwardly she was composed, cool and controlled. Only her eyes betrayed her apprehension. She blinked once and even that was gone. Eliana nodded and gestured towards the door. "Tell Mr. Corinthos what's happened. And that we will be awaiting his response."
Alexis collected her things, and walked to the door. She paused, turning to look at Eliana. The younger woman nodded slightly, her lips turning upwards in a small smile in an attempt to reassure her. Reassure her, Alexis thought. When she was the one being freed. Then her captor was taking her by the arm and guiding her through the door. She was expecting the blindfold this time. As darkness surrounded her, Alexis heard the door slam shut behind her. It had an all too final sound to it.