Carly spent the morning in her office at Deception, the conversation she'd overheard between Alexis and her husband replaying itself over and over in her head. At first, hearing that Jason had a woman staying in his apartment, she had been ready to go on automatic pilot, to protect him. The idea of him with any other woman usually meant her seeing red. And that meant going over and ripping girlfriend a new you-know-what. But the truth was, he didn't need her protecting him. Not anymore.
And this was different. This was an old friend of his and Sonny's that needed help. She was more than an old friend. She was a part of Sonny's family - hers too, she suddenly realized. Eliana meant a lot to Sonny already. And if what Alexis said was true about her trying to protect Sonny, he meant a lot to Eliana too. Maybe she could help, but how?
Shortly before noon she made a decision. Leaving her office, she went to knock on her partner's door. Carly opened the door. "Laura, I need to take off for a little while this afternoon." She stopped as she realized Laura was not alone. She was in there talking to Elizabeth Webber. Carly sighed. Great. Just great.
Carly, you just can't take off on a whim whenever you feel like it." Laura began.
"This is not a whim, Laura." Carly said. "But there's something I really have to do now."
Carly turned and walked back into the reception area. Laura followed her out with Elizabeth right behind her.
"Well, what is then? You haven't finished going over the morning's correspondence, have you? We have to make some decisions about those, then there is the ad layout meeting with the execs this afternoon."
"I'll be back before then. The meeting is not until two o'clock." Carly said.
"What's the matter, Carly, time for a manicure and pedicure. Or maybe a facial." Elizabeth couldn't resist the jab. "Being a businesswoman means more than taking two hour power lunches."
"You watch your mouth!" Carly snapped. "You don't work for Deception yet, and if that dark day ever comes, you had better remember that working for Deception means working for me!"
Angry, she stalked back into the reception area. Laura follows her out. Elizabeth comes too, but hangs back at the doorway of Laura's office.
"And me, Carly." Laura said. "I am senior partner. I don't appreciate the idea of you leaving the offices for some frivolous piece of personal business either."
Carly shrugged into her jacket. "Did I ever say it was frivolous?" She punched the elevator button furiously. "I never did say what it was I had to do, but let's see if this meets with your approval: I know someone who was attacked and raped a few days ago. She hasn't been eating or sleeping too well lately…I'm sure you know what that is like, don't you Elizabeth?" She shot a glare at Elizabeth, who had the grace to flush.
"So I thought I would bring her lunch and stay long enough to make sure that she ate some of it."
The elevator doors opened and Carly stepped into it. "I plan to be back in plenty of time for the meeting. "And Laura, senior partner or not, never ever criticize me in front of the help," she flicked a disdainful look at Elizabeth. "Ever again."
The doors slid shut on their stunned and silent faces. An angry smile played about Carly's lips. This was one time she'd shut the two of those sanctimonious
A short time later, a surprised Eliana answered the door, and was surprised to see Sonny's wife, Carly, there, holding a large tureen in her hands. What was even more of a surprise was Johnny, Sonny's bodyguard, behind Carly, holding a tray with slices of garlic bread and two bowls and utensils. Carly motioned for him to follow her and directed him to set the tray down on the coffee table.
"Thanks, Johnny. If there are any leftovers, I'll fix you up with a doggie-bag." She reached over and fiddled with his tie. Johnny blushed, mumbled something unintelligible and fled back to his post. Carly chuckled to herself He was such a sweetie. It was so easy to mess with Johnny's head. Sometimes almost too easy.
Carly turned to Eliana. "Hi. I'm Carly, Sonny's wife and Jason's my best friend. I hear you need to eat and I'm not taking no for an answer."
"I heard you were like that." Besides, the delicious aroma from the soup was making her stomach grumble.
"Believe it." Carly said, and grinned. She sat down and served up two bowls, handing one to Eliana. "Sopa de Ajo. Did I say that right?"
"Close enough. And it just happens to be one of my favorites, Carly. " Eliana said. "Thanks."
"Yeah, that's me, the best take out orderer in Port Charles." She held up her hand and wiggled her fingers. "There's magic in these fingers."
After the first few spoonfuls, Eliana miraculously found her appetite returning. Carly started telling her about Deception and her plans. It was hard for Eliana not to be buoyed up by the other woman's enthusiasm as she described her ideas. Before she realized it, she'd eaten two bowls of the hearty soup.
"Thanks again, Carly. I can't remember the last time I ate so much." Her face fell as she remembered why.
Carly tells her that she may not know exactly what it feels like to be raped, but remembers how Sorel's thugs had caught her in the alleyway with Mike, she'd come too close. "I remember when Mike was lying unconscious and the two of them were holding me. I knew what they were going to do and I'd never been more terrified of anything in my entire life. If Sonny hadn't have come when he did…."
She bit her lip. "Do you blame Sonny because he wasn't there before…before…Sorel…." she gestured helplessly.
"No - I'm only glad that he came when he did. Sorel told me what he was going to do when he came back from meeting with Sonny. He said that maybe Sonny would like pictures." Eliana shuddered.
"What about the police? Did you think about going to them and pressing charges?"
Eliana ran her hand over her face, then pressed two fingers to the bridge of her nose, a gesture Carly recognized as identical to one that Sonny used. "I thought about it. Of course I thought about it. I'm still thinking about it.
"Right now, I'm torn between going after him in court, or letting Sonny go after him and hope that it's enough. I'm not stupid. Putting Sorel in jail might not be enough. It's not going to stop him from doing what he does. It'll just change his locale. I talked to Alexis Davis, though. If I took him to court, more than just the rape would come out. My connection to Sonny might come out, not just the family connection, but…other things." She hesitated, not knowing how much Sonny's wife knew about their past association.
"Sonny told me. No details, of course, he wouldn't betray you by telling me anything, but I know that you knew him long ago. And I know that there are papers that say you and he are brother and sister. Do you believe they're for real?"
"As incredible as I thought it was when I first found out, I have no reason not to believe it at this time." Eliana answered. "The answers, I suspect, are in the boxes back at my apartment." Seeing Carly's puzzled look, she hurried to explain. "My great-aunt left me papers and mementos from my family. That's where…Joseph Sorel got his information from. I had kept putting it off. If only I hadn't…"
"What are you going to do about Sorel?"
Eliana exhaled slowly. "I don't know. I do know that more than likely that if I did try and press charges, the authorities would try to get to Sonny through me. We both know they'd jump at the opportunity. I can't take that chance. I owe him more than that."
Carly sighed openly. "I'm not going to lie and tell you that I'm not relieved. I know this has had to be a hard choice for you to make. I am sorry I had to ask, though."
"You love your husband very much, don't you?" Eliana asked.
"I do. More than I ever thought possible. You know him. No matter what he does for a living, or what people say about him, Sonny lives by a personal code of rules, of honor, more so than anyone else I've ever known. Not many get close enough to see it, but he is loving, and loyal, and gentle…."
Eliana knew how true that was, she remembered how he'd saved her life ten years ago, how he had always looked out for her, the pain she'd seen in his eyes and how gently he had held her when he'd rescued her from Sorel. "Yes, I know. I think I'm going to be proud to have a man like Sonny as my brother. What anyone else thinks be damned."
She felt her eyes fill with tears as she spoke and looked over at Carly. Her eyes were wet too. "Ah Dios, we are getting to be a bunch of weepy females in here." She said, laughing.
Carly reached over and squeezed her hand. "Yeah, Sonny has that effect on people. Who da' thunk it, hm?" She glanced at her watch. "I've got something that might brighten your day. I've got to get back to the office for a little while. Wanna come with?"
Elizabeth Webber was just leaving Deception as they returned. Carly ignored her for once and showed Eliana into her office. "Welcome to the bubblegum pink broom closet."
"You don't like it?" Eliana asked. She looked around the office. The color scheme wasn't to her liking, but it wasn't a bad layout. Automatically, she began cataloging the room's possibilities.
"Please," Carly said sarcastically. She waved at the light pink walls. "My partner had already decided on the color scheme and had decorated both offices and the reception area before I had ever stepped foot in the place. I feel like I'm going to go into sugar shock when I'm in here.
"Just like when I'm around Little Miss Perfect Webber, the stiff miss we passed getting off the elevator. Sugar wouldn't melt on her tongue. She has got that act down cold, I'll give her that."
"So she's not one of your favorite people." Eliana said dryly.
"Hell no! She's a conniving, fake little so and so who is playing with Jason's head right now. Elizabeth says that she just talks to him about Lucky Spencer, but that's not it. She wants to see how many men she can wrap around that perfect little pinky of hers. And Jason is such a great guy; he can't see her for what she really is. He helped her out back when she thought her boyfriend was dead. He's my cousin, but that's another story.
"You're a friend of Jason's, so you know how he is. Once Jason becomes your friend, he stays your friend. Never mind that once boyfriend made a comeback from the dead, Elizabeth has cut Jason dead in public. What annoys me the most, is that she still sneaks around to see him in private. Like he's not good enough for her to be seen in public with her. It's the other way around. She's not good enough for him."
Carly looked at her speculatively. "You two seem to be good friends. I was surprised to hear that he brought you to stay at his place."
"Yes, I was too. I know that Jason is a loner at heart. It must drive him crazy to have someone underfoot like I am right now."
"I doubt it." Carly said. "Jason is a pretty straightforward guy. If he didn't want you there, you wouldn't be there."
She really didn't want to continue this line of conversation, especially the way Carly was looking at her, so Eliana changed the subject by coming up with some ideas to redecorate Carly's office. Maybe knock down a wall here, and then suggesting a color scheme that would harmonize with the outer offices, but at the same time, satisfy Carly.
"My favorite flowers are Amazon roses. Their hearts are this wonderful deep peachy pink and gold. I wish I could describe it better, but I think it would be exactly the color you would like. For you, I think, color must sing. Deep, rich, vocal. No pastels for you."
Carly enthusiastically agreed. Eliana continued to walk around the office, describing ideas as they came to her.
"Laura has a fireplace." Carly pointed out.
"So, if she does, we should go for the opposite." She pointed at the computer setup at Carly's desk. "I assume that's not just for show?"
"No," Carly answered, "I'm finding out that I actually have a talent for using it."
"Well then, let that reflect your office. For you, I see deeper colors, but still soft, modern, edgier, but with more fluid lines." She warmed to the idea and gestured around the room. "Staggered niches for a collection of perfume bottles and other objets d'art here. Sample pieces could go here." She pointed to another area. "On glass topped pedestals, so you could live with certain designs for a time. That's how you evaluate them better."
"Over here," and she pointed to the far wall. "Maybe a series of multiple monitor screens on that wall."
"So I can keep up with my latest soap?" Carly asked wickedly.
Eliana laughed. "If you like; you could also monitor media on an international as well as national and regional scale. Isn't that where you eventually want Deception to compete?"
Carly nodded thoughtfully. "We've got a meeting with some ad execs in a little while. It would be great if we could teleconference too."
"Exactly. And if you don't mind me saying so, you also should have your own in-house design shop."
They were interrupted by a knock on the door. It was Laura. She asked Eliana to give them a moment alone. When the door had closed behind Eliana, Laura turned back to Carly."I'm sorry."
Carly blinked. "Excuse me, can I hear that again?" she just knew she wasn't hearing right.
"You were right, Carly." Laura said. "I should have never spoken to you like that in front of Elizabeth. We're partners, and if I had something to say to you, it should have been kept between just you and me."
Carly pressed a hand to her own forehead. "Am I delirious or something? I mean, I thought I just heard the words, 'You were right, Carly.' "
"Okay, Carly." Laura said with a reluctant smile. "Just don't let it get around."
Carly, feeling expansive at Laura's surprising apology, broaches Eliana's idea of an in-house design firm.
"In the long run, it would be more productive for Deception to have its own design shop. Think of all the ways we could branch out. From perfumes, to accessories, jewelry. Think internet sales. We could generate several separate individual streams of income."
"The potential could be infinite." Laura had to admit. "But you're right, it is a great idea."
Carly didn't stop to analyze a new thought. "I know this is on the spur of the moment, but why not have Eliana act as art director consultant while we form a design team? I can work up a cost analysis with accounting and if it's feasible, let's go for it."
Laura thought for a moment. "I say make your friend the offer now. Contingent upon the accountants coming back with an okay."
Carly called Eliana back in and formally introduced the two women. Laura allowed Carly to be the one to make the offer. She was surprised and excited by the proposal and accepted the offer. They spent the rest of the afternoon before their meeting tossing ideas back and forth. They also invited Eliana to attend the ad exec meeting, and listen to the idea pitches. Then the three of them made plans to get together in the morning and go over the pros and cons of each proposal.
At the end of the day, Carly and Eliana returned back to the penthouse in an excellent mood. Carly insisted that Eliana come over for dinner and more talk. Sonny came home to find the two of them knee deep in decorating magazines and fabric swatch books and giggling like school girls.
"Hey, hey…what's going on here?" Sonny swung Michael up into his arms. "I hope this doesn't mean that the two of you are planning on redecorating my penthouse?"
He was already in a good mood. He had checked into Alexis' story and learned more about this Zander Smith kid. Emily had also gone to Jason with her concerns. After the two of them had talked, Sonny had decided to put him under his protection. He liked Jason's little sister. She trusted him. Sonny still couldn't understand that. But if a sideline of his actions that did nothing but benefit him would make her happy, so be it. He had talked to Zander, and laid out the deal to him. Now he was glad to be home.
"Our penthouse." Carly corrected him. "But no, that's not the plan. When Eliana gets through, we will be remodeling Deception!" The two women laughed and toasted each other with their champagne flutes.
"Champagne?" Sonny lifted an eyebrow.
"Ginger ale, actually. We have an early day tomorrow." Carly said. "I would like to introduce you to the new art director of our in-house design team, Eliana Salazar."
"Deception doesn't have an in-house design team." Sonny said. "I read and funded the prospectus, remember?"
"It does now." Eliana grinned. "Thanks to your wife."
"Get out!" Carly said. "If you hadn't been there with your advice, it would have never happened."
"But you, very diplomatically, I might add, convinced Laura Spencer to give it a try." Eliana turned to explain it to Sonny. "This is kind of a premature celebration, because we have to wait for accounting to run it through the books."
Sonny grinned, pleased with the surprising turn of events. "Tell Accounting not to worry. Whatever funds Deception needs, I'll put up."
Carly jumped up and threw her arms around Sonny's neck. "Thank you!" She planted a big kiss on his lips.
Eliana grinned up at the both of them.
"Carly, I can't thank you enough for the opportunity." She said "You too, Sonny."
"You're going to help put Deception on the map. I should be thanking you! Not to mention helping me show Laura Spencer that I have a brain in my head. That's icing on the cake." Carly said.
"Now that the mutual admiration society is done for the day," Sonny said dryly. "What are the plans for dinner?"
"We were thinking of ordering pizza." Carly said mischievously.
"Pizza?" Sonny said in mock outrage.
"Pizza." The two women said in unison.
"Pizza, pizza, pizza." Michael chanted and they all burst into laughter.
Sonny headed for the kitchen. "Ladies, I will make you a homemade pizza that will knock your socks off."
After dinner - Sonny made a stuffed crust pizza with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheeses and thinly sliced prosicutto ham - Carly and
Eliana went upstairs to give Michael a bath and get him ready for bed. Later, Sonny followed them up. He paused outside Michael's bedroom, listening to the happy sounds coming from within. Eliana began singing an old Hispanic lullaby, involving Michael's fingers and toes. He is giggling and Carly is too. If he closes his eyes, he can hear his mother's voice. Sonny's insides clench momentarily with the memory. But instead of the pain it would have once brought, a bittersweet smile tugged at his lips.
"G'night Mommy, g'night Auntie Elli." Michael said sleepily. "Unca Sonny?"
"Unca Sonny will be up any minute." Carly leaned over and half whispered to Eliana. "Sonny likes to have his mano-a-mano goodnights with Michael. Must be a guy thing."
Sonny walked in then. "That's right. And if you ladies don't mind, it's about that time."
They left, laughing.
Sonny sat down on the side of Michael's bed. "You are a lucky little boy, you know that? I bet you do. You've got a mom who loves you to death. And me. I will never let anything happen to you, Michael. And now, you know what? Now you got an auntie."
"Auntie Elli." Michael murmured, already more than half asleep.
"That's right, Tia Elli. And you know what, you've already won her over. But hey, a kid like you, who could resist, right?" Sonny bent over and kissed Michael's forehead. Instinctively, Michael reached up with his little arms and wrapped them around Sonny's neck. Sonny's eyes closed as he let the fresh washed scent of the little boy fill his senses and his heart. Sonny pulled the covers up around the boy. "I love you, Michael."
Later that night, he and Carly lay in each other's arms in their bed, her head on his chest, neither of them talking, just enjoying the quiet and being with one another.
Carly spoke first. "You really enjoyed tonight, didn't you?"
"Didn't you? After all, you're getting to spend a bunch more money." Sonny gently teased her. "And you get one up on Laura Spencer."
"Don't change the subject. I mean having your sister here with us tonight. Next time we should do a dinner -- invite Mike, Bobbie, Lucas and Jason. Maybe," Sonny laughed softly as he felt her make a face. "…even Emily."
Sonny lifted his head and looked down at her. "You mean that, don't you?"
"Sonny, I know how much family means to you. I know that this is hard, the way everything happened, the way the two of you found out, but at the same time, I know that there is a part of you that is glad to have found Eliana as a sister. And so is she. You should see the looks the two of you give each other when you think the other one isn't watching. It's cute."
He smiled up into the darkness. "You think so?"
"I know so."
He pressed a kiss on her forehead. "How do you know me so well?"
"Love, Sonny. Because I love you."
"That's all talk, Carlybabes."
It was Carly's turn to raise her head. "What you mean, man? As in all talk and no action?"
That's about right." Sonny grinned at her.
Carly rolled over on top of him. "Action you want, action you get."
Carly captured his mouth with hers for a long, smoldering kiss, then let her lips trail downward slowly. She could never get enough of the taste, the smell of the man she loved.
Her mouth found one of his nipples. "Carly." He growled low in his throat as her tongue swirled around the tip. But smiling to herself, she still took her time, kissing along the smoothly muscled expanse of his chest, going lower and lower until she found him, hard and ready for her. Her mouth slides up and down his length slowly at first, reveling in the power she has to give him pleasure, to make him tremble at her touch and in the trust he's given her. She quickly finds a rhythm that has him groaning with pleasure.
Impatient, Sonny grasped her by the arms and dragged her upwards until her soft thighs straddled his. Carly gasped as he settled himself deep inside her and began moving in her, with hard, fast strokes. In return, she begins to rise and fall against him, grinding herself against him.
"Sonny." she moaned and whispered his name, just before his mouth took hers.
Sonny rolled so that she was beneath him, never missing a stroke. She could feel him thrusting deep into her, filling her, taking her to the pinnacle of pleasure once, then again. He slammed into her almost roughly, forcing mindless cries of pleasure from her throat. The sounds of her moans are the sweetest music to him. He feels himself incredibly harden even more, barely able to control himself from his release right then and there.
Instead, he slowed his pace, wanting this to last.
"Yes baby, I know..." he crooned in her ear, just before his tongue caressed the delicate lobe. She arched against him in response as he sucks it into his mouth. He began whispering soft words in Spanish, love words. Sonny's mouth moves lower, to plunder her neck, pausing to let his tongue play over the spot where her pulse danced erratically.
He let his mouth glide lower still, drawing the stiff peaks of her breast into his mouth, his tongue licking and suckling lazily until her head thrashed from side to side in senseless pleasure.
Sonny let the rhythm of his strokes slowly build, driving deep into her welcoming softness, then pulling all the way out to plunge back into her again and again and again. His hands tangle into her hair, holding her still while he rained kisses over the contours of her face.
"Carly." He groaned. Her eyes flutter open. "Ahh… Carly…" Their eyes catch and hold one another's gaze. There are no words for what they feel. The giving and taking of their bodies, the ebb and flow, the pleasure, as endless as the oceans' waves and as powerful, drowning them both. Waves of sensual pleasure poured over them, submerging them in pure sensation.
Then he is taking her to the summit with him this time, his need for her a tangible thing, the pleasure overtaking them like a flood. She is so wet, so hot, that at last he can't withstand the sweet friction any longer. Carly shudders, moaning loudly as her last climax consumes her. Sonny groans, finding his fulfillment deep inside his woman. His wife. His Love.
"I love you, Carly." He says, when he can breathe again. He rolls over to lie behind Carly, spoon-fashion. His arm came around to hold her close against him. He nuzzled at the base of her neck, feeling the aftershocks of pleasure ripple through her body.
"What about Carlybabes?" she murmured, already drifting off.
"Tell her I love her too. And next time, to bring the thigh-high boots." Both of them smile as they float off into sleep.