The elevator opened on the ground floor of the Harborview Towers to the sight of Detective Taggert and a uniformed cop. Sonny tilted his head and gave him a mockingly inquisitive look. "Ahh…. Just the way to start my day."
"I'm feeling pretty much the same, Corinthos." The Black man returned his gaze with something close to contentment.
"What can I do for you, Detective?" They both knew that Taggert wasn't going anywhere until he'd gotten what he came for, but why not play the game?
"I was just about to pay you a visit and 'ask' if you would mind coming down to the station for a little one-on-one about Ms. Salazar's attack."
"And the uniform? Felt like you needed a little back-up?"
"That was in case of a fortunate case of refusal."
"I see. Well, Detective, let's forgo your pleasure." Sonny said, brushing past him and heading for his car and driver. "I'll meet you downtown."
Twenty minutes later, Sonny strolled into police headquarters. His indifference irritated Taggert. But then, just about everything Corinthos did irritated Taggert. He gestured to a seat. Sonny declined. "I'm here of my own free will, remember? That means you don't get to call this shots this round."
"Fine. What's your interest in Ms. Salazar?" Taggert asked. "Somehow I find it hard to believe you were just doing your civic duty when you brought her into General Hospital's emergency room."
"I'm a client, if you checked her records, like I'm sure if you haven't already or you're about to get a warrant to do, you'll see that I've bought a few pieces from her gallery. I won't lie that I'm the one who brought her into the emergency room."
"That's only because you can't."
Sonny continued smoothly. "I found her, she was hurt, I brought her in."
"And the guard on her door? Who were you guarding her against?"
"It made her feel safe. No other explanation needed."
"Was it personal? I mean, you're usually a hands-off, delegating kind of guy. Mob bosses are like that, I hear."
"I wouldn't know about that, I'm just a…"
"Coffee importer." Taggert said the words along with him. "Yeah, we all know about that. But getting back to Eliana Salazar, I was told you brought her into the emergency room, carrying her in your own arms. I find that fact very interesting. Did your wife find that interesting as well?
"I've also done a little background check on your Ms. Salazar. Seems the two of you both come from the same neighborhood back in Brooklyn."
Sonny gazed at the detective, taking his sweet time before answering. "Lots of people live in Brooklyn, Detective. Thousands, in fact."
"What about her current location? No one has seen her at her apartment in quite a while." When Sonny didn't answer, Taggert continued.
"But how many of them end up in Port Charles? And how many of them know you?"
Taggert stroked his goatee reflectively. "Yep, I think that might be an interesting channel to pursue." He leaned in close. "I still think you had more to do with her attack then playing the Good Samaritan."
Sonny didn't bother to answer; he shrugged his shoulders disinterestedly, then tilted his head at Taggert, giving him stare for stare. "What does she say?"
Taggert wasn't about to admit that the victim was refusing to cooperate with the police in any way, shape or form, but the sudden glint in Sonny's eyes told him that the other man had already guessed at, or knew, the truth.
"If you really want to clear your name in this, how about a DNA sample for our labs?" Taggert suggested.
"My client will do no such thing without a court order." Alexis announced as she marched in. She walked straight up to the two of them. "That's enough, Sonny. Not another word before I find out about this illegal detainment." She turned to the detective. "You want to tell me why my client is being held?"
"But Counselor, he isn't being held. He was asked to come down for questioning and he agreed."
"I'm always glad to co-operate." Sonny murmured wickedly.
Alexis shot him an exasperated glance. Sonny loved to bait Taggert every chance he got. But, she had to admit, that went both ways. Not for the first time, she wondered what the antagonism between the two men was. It went beyond them being on opposite sides of the law, she was sure of it. "Nonetheless, as he's said, my client has cooperated, all he's going to do for today, in fact. So, is there anything else further you need from him?"
"A full confession?" Taggert suggested.
Sonny bared his teeth in a feral smile.
Taggert returned it.
"That's it. Down boys!" Alexis broke it up, feeling like the striped shirted referee in the ring. "I feel the testosterone rising to dangerous levels here. Time to go. Detective, as always, it's been a pleasure." She ushered Sonny out of the squad room.
"Sonny..." she began in a warning tone as they stood on the sidewalk outside of the police station.
Sonny raised a placating hand. "Alexis, Taggert was on my doorstep this morning. You and I both know, he'd like nothing better than an excuse to bring me in. I just took away his joy for the day. He didn't get anything today, so it certainly made mines." He flashed a grin.
"Lose the dimples, Sonny. They don't work on me, remember? What did Taggert want to talk to you about?"
"Information on Eliana. He's got it in his head that I'm responsible for what happened to her. He didn't get a chance to ask much before you came riding to the rescue."
"I'm not the cavalry. This comes under billable hours." Alexis said to Sonny shortly. "I don't suppose you'll be telling him about the family connection? Well, just be careful what you do say around him. He doesn't need much to set himself on your trail." Alexis glanced down at her watch. "And now that you've made my day by making me late for my first appointment, I'll be running along. Try to stay out of trouble for the rest of the day."
"I'm shooting for the rest of the week, counselor."
Returning to the penthouse, Sonny stepped off the elevator and was surprised to see Emily and Elizabeth just about to knock on his door. He tells them that Michael isn't home. They're fine with that, and Emily asks if Jason is in.
Sonny asks Johnny if Jason was home. Johnny knows he went out, but wasn't sure of what time he'd be back. Sonny knocked on Jason's door and Eliana answered, dressed casually in a big tee shirt and leggings. "This is Emily Quartermaine, Jason's little sister. And Elizabeth Webber." Sonny introduces them.
"This is Eliana Salazar, a friend of…Carly's."
"Elizabeth and I already met at Deception. Emily, hello, nice to meet you." The two of them shook hands.
"They were just wondering if Jason was going to be home anytime soon." Sonny said.
Eliana shook her head. "Last time I saw him was around lunchtime. He said he might be able to get back for an early dinner, but he wasn't sure."
"Sorry girls," Sonny told them.
"That's okay," Emily said. "I'll catch him another time. Just tell him I came by to say hello, okay?" she smiled brightly at Eliana.
The two young women stepped into the elevator. Emily was more than a little disappointed. "I guess we should have called first like I said before." She said to Elizabeth. "I wonder who that Eliana is and why is she staying with Jason?"
The other girl nodded absently. Elizabeth listened to her friend's chatter with half an ear. She'd found out what she came for. At work, she'd overheard Laura having some papers messengered over to Eliana and realized the address was Jason's. But she'd had to see it for herself. That Salazar witch sitting nice, cozy and comfortable in Jason's apartment like it was her own.
Is this the same woman Carly had been talking about visiting? That made sense. If Eliana is a friend of Carly's, why is she staying with Jason? Carly manipulating Jason as usual, this time bringing in one her trampy friends. Who knows what crazy scheme she is up to this time? She asked herself.
Carly couldn't stand her. That was okay; the feeling was more than mutual. This was probably some plan of hers to keep Jason away from her. Playing on Jason's natural inclination to protect people he cared about. But that wouldn't come between them, she told herself, forgetting that she'd told Jason that she
wanted nothing to do with him. He had to know that was just because Lucky was there.
Elizabeth felt a brief pang of guilt as she thought of Lucky. He had changed; they both had changed so much. She still loved him, she told herself, and it was just that it wasn't fair that she should have to lose what she had with Jason. Today, she'd told him that Emily had wanted to talk to her. Then she'd managed to convince Emily that she should visit her godson, offering to go with her. It was just a few little lies, she told herself. It was Lucky's fault, not hers, that she had to sneak around behind his back when all she wanted to do is talk to Jason. And no one could come between that, not even his new roommate. She'd find a way to explain it to Lucky eventually, and he'd understand.
Sonny and Eliana watched the elevator doors close. Her smile faded slightly and the two of them stood there awkwardly for a moment.
He spoke first. "I didn't introduce you as my sister, because I thought the less people who know, the better. And saying you were a friend of Jason's, well, Emily is his little sister. I didn't want to cause any complications for him. If he wants to tell her, that's different. At least for now I think it's smarter and safer this way, especially with you working at Deception now."
Eliana said that she understood. "Especially since we really don't know the truth yet."
"Don't we?" Sonny remembered Alexis' advice. "Can I come in for a minute?"
"Of course." She opened the door wide enough to let him in. "Do you want some coffee? I was just about to make a cup. It won't be a problem to make some more."
He told her it wasn't necessary, but she insisted, so he accepted her offer, trying to make her feel at ease. She all but ran to the kitchen. Anything to get away from me. He thought.
He looked at her as she came back from the kitchen with a tray. She still wasn't sleeping well; he could see the faint circles under her eyes. And she was brittle, looking like she would shatter if held too tightly. But still, she went on chattering, trying unsuccessfully, to make them both feel at ease.
"Eliana, stop." He took her hands and pulled her down to sit on the couch besides him.
For Sonny, this is a new thing. He is not used to having to share his feelings. Being emotional, caring about others is a weakness that can be fatal in his line of work. But having Carly and Michael in his life has changed him. Husband, lover, father figure, he is all these things now. And now, maybe, brother...
That is, if she wants it. He looked at her, hands clenched in her lap, all of her body language screamed of her uneasiness in sitting next to him. And how she was trying to hold it in, hide it. She may want nothing to do with him. She might hate him, despise him, and blame him for everything that has happened in her life since she'd met him. And how could he blame her? In a perverse and unwanted flash of insight, Sonny has a sudden inkling of what his father, Mike, has been feeling each and every time he has rejected him.
Sonny finds that all of a sudden, he cares very much what she thought.
"Look, you don't have to pretend around me. I will do whatever I can do to make you feel safe. So if my being around you makes you uncomfortable, I'll understand and I'll stay away."
He looked down at her hands clasped together in her lap. On impulse, he reached over and squeezed her hand. After a long, long moment, her hands relaxed. Sonny held his breath, thinking, now she'll pull away.
Instead, she took one hand and laid it on top of his. His grip tightened. And so did hers.
Eliana looked at him, seeing for the first time, the extent to which he did hold himself responsible for her attack. "Sonny, I don't blame you for what happened. I tried to tell you that in the hospital. I never did, not for one minute, not for one second. I made the choices to live the life I chose freely. You never held a gun to my head. When I came to you for help all those years ago, you gave me more than what I asked for. You could have just written me a check. If you had been any less of the man that you are, you could have even taken advantage of me, done anything with me. And if ...if you were any less of a man than you are, you would have done it. I was naive enough for that. Instead, you gave me a chance at a new life. And I took it.
"It's Sorel who did this to me. Him and nobody else. He was the one who ra…" she faltered for a moment, then, taking a deep breath, her voice strengthened ".... who raped me."
"Look, I'm not good at this, talking about stuff, I mean." Sonny said. "Maybe it's too soon. I'll leave if you want."
"And what if I don't want?" Eliana said. He looked at her, his dark glance like a sudden lance, and she was reminded just who and what he was. She swallowed hard. "I mean, I don't want you to go."
She ran her fingers through her hair. This is strange for both of us, she reminds herself. "Look, this is going to take some getting used to, you know? Me, you, this whole mess...we don't even know the details, or if it's even true. What if Sorel concocted this entire scheme? He could have paid my brother to say anything he wanted."
"There are tests that can tell us the truth. I can arrange for the DNA tests. Also for experts to make sure that those documents are authentic. But that can wait." Sonny told her. "We'll deal with it when you're ready.
"And as far as going after Sorel for what he did to you. That's in your hands. If you feel you need to take him to court, take him to court. I will repay him either way. But this choice, is yours and yours alone."
"I won't let anyone use me to get to you, Sonny."
Sonny cradled her hand in his. She'd always had such delicate hands. His -- no…their-- mother had had hands like this.
"I appreciate your saying that. But if you ever feel that you need to take care of things your way, I want you to promise me that you will come and tell me. You and me, we'll work something out." He flashed her one of his dimpled smiles, even though it was a little dimmed. "After all, what are big brothers for?"