"Well, here we are." Jason said, as he opened the door to Penthouse Three.
Eliana walked in. She'd been here only once before, so like Jason had said, it wasn't totally unfamiliar to her. But it still felt different. This was going to be her home for the next little while. She walked in and looked around as though she were seeing it new. The tone was understated, creamy white walls, clean lines of ebony wood and dark rich leather with accents of brass. Her eyes went to the stairs. She'd never been upstairs before. That thought caught her up.
Jason got her settled in, showed her where the pillows and blankets were and other essentials. There were people picking up some of her belongings from her apartment. Johnny, on guard by Sonny's door, would make sure of the delivery.
"Do you need the tour?" His eyes followed her gaze up the staircase.
"Um...not really…not if you have something else you need to do."
"Actually, I've got some business I have to take care of. My bedroom is the first door on the left next to the stairs. There are two others, one next to mines, and one across the hall. Take whichever you want. The second one on the right is my office."
"I won't go in there." she said quickly.
"I know." Jason said. "I know I can trust you. You wouldn't be here if I didn't." Their eyes met for a moment, then she let hers drop.
Jason didn't know what else to say. She probably wanted to be left alone anyway. "I've got people picking up some of your stuff from your apartment. Johnny will let you know when they arrive. If there's anything specific you want or need, let them know and they'll take care of it."
"Thank you, Jason." She said. Her voice sounded hollow, even to herself.
Jason smiled down at her. He hesitated a moment, then reached out and squeezed her shoulder gently. "I'll see you later. Try to get some rest."
After he was gone, Eliana curled up on the couch. She tried to doze unsuccessfully until Johnny announced Alexis' arrival a little more than an hour later.
"I was going to come by the hospital, but when I called, they told me you'd already left. Sonny called to tell me you were here." She said. Alexis hugged Eliana. "I'm so glad to see you.
Eliana returned the hug, but winced slightly at the pressure on her bruised ribs. Alexis pulled away and apologized. She looked at Eliana carefully, seeing the faint circles under her eyes, the bruises on her wrist and along her collarbone.
"That bastard." she said, referring to the animal that had attacked her. "How are you feeling?"
Eliana shrugged as they sat down. "I'll be better. Can't get much worse. Unless I was dead." A shadow passed over her face. For just a moment, she heard her Eduardo-his shouts as they dragged him away and the way they cut off.
Alexis watched her worriedly. "Are you all right? Is there something I can get for you?" She started to rise.
"Sit. I'm fine." Alexis' concerned expression didn't change. Eliana waved a hand at her friend, trying to reassure her. "Okay, I'm as fine as anyone can be, considering the circumstances."
"If there's anything you need that I can do, please don't hesitate to let me know." Alexis paused. "Do you want to tell me what all of that - you and Sorel and Sonny -- was about? Can you?"
"I don't think you really want to know, Alexis. As a lawyer, isn't there that being an officer of the court thing and all?" Eliana's eyes looked away from her. "I don't want to put you in a position where you have to betray that for me."
Alexis looked away too. She saw Eliana's purse on the coffee table. "Do you have a dollar?"
"What?" Eliana looked at her, puzzled. When Alexis repeated her question, she slowly reached for her purse, pulled out her wallet and handed Alexis a dollar bill.
"Good. That officially puts me on retainer." When Eliana continued to look at her confused, Alexis elaborated. "Lawyer- Client confidentiality. I can't be made to testify to anything you might tell me."
"I may take you up on that," Eliana said after a long moment. "But I want you to think about it first, Alexis. The things I tell you, you may not want to know. I know you handle Sonny's legal affairs. Well, I was involved with the other side of his business. So you think about that long and hard, and if you change your mind and would rather I didn't tell you, I'll understand."
"I'm not going to change my mind, but we don't have to talk about that until you're ready." She changed the subject. "What about Sorel? The hospital has the rape kit and evidence prepared. Are you going to press charges against Sorel? I'd be happy to help you any way I can legally."
"There's a part of me that wants to have him face me in a court of law. I want it so bad, I can almost taste it. Maybe. I could put him away. Maybe. You hear the horror stories about what happens to rape victims in court." Her face got a determined look. "I won't be victimized twice.
"But I also have to think about the repercussions." Her fingers twisted nervously together. She looked down at her hands and then back at Alexis. "I've been thinking, and I wanted to ask you… legally, could the courts use me to get to Sonny?"
Alexis thought for a moment. "It depends on what their re-directs and cross examinations would consist of, but yes, a savvy enough defense lawyer might conceivably find a way to hook Sonny through you. It would be hard to maintain a line of questioning that would keep the matter of your connection from being introduced. And if your connections went beyond Sonny, then that would open up other avenues for them to attack."
"And I'm sure the prosecution wouldn't mind too much if that knowledge came out either. They'd have a field day with it as well. I couldn't do that to Sonny."
"But you need to think about it for you to decide. I'm sure Sonny would understand if you did press charges. Some women find that facing their attacker in a court of law helps the healing process.
"Plenty of rest is also part of that healing." Alexis said, standing and collecting her things. "I've kept you talking long enough. But if you ever need to talk more, about anything, call me. And don't worry about the time. I do live in the building, remember."
The two of them walked to the door, where they hugged.
Alexis didn't let her go, but stepped back a little and looked at her carefully. "One more thing, though, before I go. Did you and Sonny talk about Sorel's claims? Are they for real? Are the two of you really brother and sister?"
Eliana nodded slowly. "I haven't seen those papers since Sorel threw them at me. But I don't see any reason to think they were bogus." She sighed. "I can't believe that my brother could turn against me that way. How could he think he could trust Joseph Sorel?"
She looked at Alexis, her face showing her sadness. And her guilt. "I tried to help Eduardo so many times. But the last time I saw him, I threw some money at him and told him to basically get out of my life. I as much as Sorel, killed him."
"No you didn't!" Alexis said vehemently. Reaching out she grasped both of Eliana's shoulders and gave her a little shake. "He made his own choices in life, so don't let his misfortune become your fault. Don't do that. As far as you and Sonny go, if you like, I can go initiate a search into the birth records and see what I come up with."
Alexis left, wanting Eliana to get some rest. After a long while, she dropped off to sleep.