Jason came home and heard Eliana in the kitchen. She had the radio on, and the sounds of salsa music echoed through the apartment. The spicy scents and sounds coming from there told him she was preparing dinner. Jason smiled to himself. If he didn't watch it, he was going to get too used to this.

His smile faded as he remembered what he'd come to tell her. Jason walked into the kitchen. Eliana was test tasting from a pot and turned to grin at him as he entered. She dipped her spoon into the pot again, then walked over to him.

"Taste." She said, before blowing on it slightly and raising the spoon to his lips.

Jason opened his mouth obediently. "Mmmm…" he made an appreciative sound as he sampled the garlicky chicken and rice stew.

"Arroz con Polla." She said proudly. "Your timing is perfect. Ten more minutes and we can eat."

Jason was not looking forward to breaking her happy mood. "I'm not going to be able to stay for dinner tonight." He watched as disappointment crept into her eyes. "I've got some news that's not so great."

She turned back to the stove, setting the burner temperature down to low. They walked into the living room.

"Sorel?" Eliana asked, instinctively knowing it to be true.

"Yeah. His lawyer got him out on bail and he's disappeared."

Eliana sank down onto the couch, her legs suddenly rubbery.

"He jumped bail?" she asked. When he nodded, she let out a long breath. "That's not good."

"I know you talked about wanting to move back to your own apartment, but Sonny and I both think that it's better if you stay here a while longer." Jason watched her carefully, but she had dropped her head when she'd said Sorel's name. Her hair had tumbled down to veil her face, hiding her reaction.

She let out another audible breath, slowly raising her eyes to his. "If you're sure you don't mind, Jason."

"Actually, I kind of like the company." He tried to make it a joke, but even as he said it, he surprised himself by realizing but it was true. "I'm sorry I can't be here to eat with you."

"I can wait until you get back." She sounded awkward to her self. Eliana dropped her head again, unable to face Jason.

"I don't know how long I'll be out. With Sorel on the run, I've got a lot of things that need taking care of." He glanced down at his watch. "I'd better get moving now." He looked at her for a moment, then reached out and squeezed her hand. "I'll get home as soon as I can. Don't stay up too late." He smiled to take the command tone out of his words. "Promise me."

"I promise." Eliana tried to smile back. "I'll fix you a plate and leave it in the fridge. That way, no matter how late it is, all you'll have to do is heat it up in the microwave."

He nodded, stood, and walked towards the door.

"Jason?" he turned around. Her sable dark eyes caught and held his. Her voice dropped to a low half-whisper. "Be careful."

His cool blue eyes stared into hers from across the room; his senses were picking up more than ordinary concern in her voice, but he couldn't pinpoint just what it was.
"Promise me?" she said.

He nodded, his full lips curving in a brief smile. "I promise." Jason opened the door, giving her one last reassuring glance before he closed it behind him.

Jason met Sonny at the warehouse office. Sonny was seated at his desk, Jason in the chair across from him.

"With Sorel on the loose, I've got to move quickly. If I give him enough time, he'll either get desperate or get away." And that ain't gonna happen.

"What about the moratorium you agreed to?" Jason asked.

"The meeting is set up to deal with that. But in the meantime, I gave my word; I'll honor it as long as I can. It's Sorel that's broken faith."

He left Jason to touch base with his street people and headed back to the penthouse. Sonny returned home to an empty house. He was startled for a moment by the quiet and then he remembered. Since she had to work late, Carly had asked Leticia to bring Michael to her, planning on having a picnic dinner on her office floor. He was just removing his jacket when Johnny knocked on the door.

Sonny answered and Johnny opened it, sticking his head in and announcing that Leticia was back and his father, Mike Corbin, was with them.

Sonny hung his jacket on the back of a chair as they came in. "Hey Michael, did you have a good time with your momma? Sorry I couldn't go with you today." He looked at his father warily. "Hello Mike."

"Hello Sonny." Mike knew full well why Sonny regarded him the way he did. Inside, he sighed. He had failed Sonny so many times, in so many ways in the past; he didn't think that Sonny would ever really trust him again.

"I met them in the lobby, honest." he said. "I wasn't planning on staying, it's just that I passed this toy store and saw this cute stuffed giraffe in the window. Since Carly tells me that Michael is into jungle animals lately, I thought that I would buy it and drop it off. Just thought I'd say hello to my son while I was at it."

Sonny shrugged. The gesture said fine by him.

Mike didn't ask any more than that. He squatted down by Michael. "Hey Mikey, I just wanted to bring you a little present. It's not your birthday or anything, but it's a 'just because' present." He handed Michael the shiny red gift bag. Michael took the bag eagerly and pulled out the stuffed animal.

It was cute, Sonny had to admit, as far as stuffed animals went. It was soft gold with chocolate brown splotches and a stubby mane and big black eyes. Michael would like it. He looked at the expression on his father's face. Even though he was smiling, there was a shadow of sadness on it.
Michael grinned, then reached into his little backpack and pulled out another giraffe. It was the same one, except the colors were reversed, gold splotches on brown.

"One two one two." He crowed.

They all had to smile at that.

"Oh, I see you got a buddy for him already. That's great, Michael." Mike said.

Michael waved the old giraffe at Mike. "Tia Elli."

"Tiaelli? Is that his name?" Mike asked.

Michael shook his head no. "Auntie Elli g'raffe."

"He means his Auntie Elli gave him this one." Leticia bent down and picked him up. "And now it's time for Michael to take a bath and get ready for bed."

"That's great, Michael." Sonny said. "What do we say to your Grandpop?"

Mike's head shot up at the term. Sonny very rarely refers to him as anything else but little Michael's godfather. It had been Jason Morgan's way of establishing a connection with Mike when he was a baby, since he had been named after Sonny in the first place.

"T'ank you." Michael said.

"Leticia, why don't you take Michael upstairs so he can introduce his new giraffe to the rest of his jungle friends. I'll be up in a little while to read with him
before he goes to bed."

As Leticia carried Michael upstairs, Mike began buttoning up his coat. "Like I said, I just stopped by to give Michael his gift." He wouldn't inflict his presence on his son any longer than he had to.

"Mike…wait. You don't have to rush off." Sonny said, as he made a decision. "I wanted to talk to you about something anyway."

Sonny walked to the bar and fixed himself a drink. He downed half of it in one gulp. "Quit looking at me like that. It's no big deal, the Grandpop thing. I mean, Michael is Carly's son, and she's my wife. That makes you her father-in-law, which makes you - technically - Michael's grandfather."

"Is that what you wanted to tell me, Sonny?" Mike asked carefully. He watched his son as he moved around the room, wondering just what it was he wanted. An uncomfortable thrill of apprehension went through him.

Like it or not, Sonny fairly radiated power. And danger. Even when he did something as simple as walk across a room, like he was doing now. Sonny didn't just walk; he prowled. Sometimes, when he looked into his son's eyes, Mike wanted to wince from the predatory darkness in them. It wasn't easy to face him, even now, when he'd done nothing to merit his usually icy or wary gaze, but could it be he saw a slight thawing this time?


"I just wanted to tell you…tell you that there is a woman staying with Jason that you might be running into from time to time." Sonny began.

"This would be Auntie Elli?" Mike was confused. Why was he telling him about Jason and a woman? Jason Morgan may be a lot of things, but he was a man and he wasn't dead. "Sonny, I think the time for the birds and the bees talk is way overdue for us. And I'm hoping you're not wanting me to have a talk with Jason."

"She's staying there for protection right now. What I'm about to tell you, Mike, I'm trusting in you, y'know? This is not for conversation outside this room."

"All right, Sonny." Mike can see this is something important for his son. "Should I sit down for this?"

Sonny shrugged. "I'm telling you about this woman - her name is Eliana Salazar -- because the two of us just found out she's my mother's child. My sister."

Mike just stared at him. "Adella's child…how?"

"Don't worry, she's not yours. She's about ten years younger than me, so that means she was way past your moment in time." Sonny said harshly. He regretted the words the moment they came out of his mouth. Why did he always feel the need to stick it to Mike every chance he got?

He turned away from his father, and leaned against the bar, not wanting to look in his eyes just then. "Not Deke's either. We're both lighting candles on that one."

"Then how?" Mike asked aloud. The Adella he remembered would have never had an affair.

"It seems Deke lent my mother to his partner so he and his missus could have a kid." Sonny answered. He said it calm enough, but Mike knew better. He could see the muscle ticking in Sonny's jaw and the way he was holding onto the edge of the bar as though he could snap it like kindling.

Mike just sat there, shocked into speechlessness. When he'd walked away, Mike had honestly thought he was doing the right thing for his wife and son; that he was freeing them to find a life without him in it. He'd heard, too late, what kind of horrors he had left Sonny and his mother to. Now there was a new level to which that monster had sunk. Once more, in his heart, Mike begged Adella for forgiveness. Mike had expected Sonny to blame him for his abandoning him and his mother once again. He deserved it. If he had been man enough to take care of his responsibilities, so many things wouldn't have happened. But this time, he hadn't. Instead, he'd trusted him with intimate information. And the usual black ice that he was used to seeing in his son's eyes whenever the past came up between them wasn't there this time.

"Why is she staying with Jason, then?" he finally asked.

Sonny let go of the bar and slid his hands into his pockets. He shrugged his shoulders. "This whole situation involves Sorel. He hurt her. Bad. The two of them are friends. She feels more comfortable there than here, right now. It's cool.

"There's a reason for my telling you this. You know I can't get into it, but things are probably gonna heat up before they get better. I'm going out of town for a day or so, so you'd better watch your back. I'll put some guys on you for protection, but you still got to be careful.
Sonny smiled a crooked smile. "I'd hate to have to come back and see you in the hospital, because you know how I hate hospitals."
Even though the warning was real enough, there was a glint of concern and amusement in Sonny's eyes. Mike smiled back.


"I'm telling you, there's nothing for you to worry about." Sonny said to Carly. "This is a short overnight trip. I'll be back in time for Michael's bedtime story tomorrow."

They were in their bedroom, while Sonny packed a small overnight bag. Carly sat on the bed, looking up at her husband, not sure if she believed him. She wanted to, but she knew that was one of the risks of the life he led and her greatest fear. That one day he would walk out of that door and not come back.
He sat down besides her. "Didn't I tell you that if I ever felt that I was in - if I felt I was going into a dangerous situation, that I would warn you? This is nothing like that. This is a business meeting, that's all."

"I'm afraid for you, Sonny. It's just that I love you so much; I love our life together, and the idea that something might happen to change all of that…" Carly reached out and caressed his face.

Sonny caught her hand in his own, and turned to kiss her palm. "I told you, there is nothing dangerous about this trip."

He had a sudden idea. "You know what, you should take Michael and go spend the night with Bobbie and Lucas. I bet Michael would like that. And then you wouldn't be worrying all night long, like you would if you stayed here."

Carly quirked a smile at him, even though her eyes still held a trace of her fears. "You think you know me so well, don't you?"

"Tell me you wouldn't sit around this place staring at the walls and driving yourself crazy? And we both know what happens after that…C'mon…it'll do you good." He kept a teasing tone in his voice until she was forced to smile.

"You're right," she finally said. "Plus Bobbie did say something about LeslyLu coming for a sleepover. She's been after me for days and days to bring Michael around to join them."

In the end, Sonny convinces Carly to spend the night with Bobbie. Once she is packed up an overnight bag and has left with Michael, Sonny called Johnny and had him bring the car around to take him to the airport.

Before he left, Sonny went across the hall to say goodbye to Eliana. She saw that he wanted to speak with Jason, so she left the room after saying her own goodbyes.

"This Zander Smith is proving to be almost more trouble than he is worth." Jason told him. "He broke curfew again. If it weren't for Emily, Sorel's people would have snatched him."

Sonny nodded in agreement. Twice already, this little punk had disobeyed. Sorel's goons had almost gotten to him once and then he'd ducked the guards Sonny had put on him to keep him safe. He didn't seem to realize that the only value that he had to Sonny was the fact that he could put Sorel away without Sonny having to resort to other means. Using the law to take him out was a much more enjoyable alternative. But not the only one.

"We've discussed this possibility. And with Sorel running around, we need to have things totally in control. No loose ends. Including Zander Smith." Sonny said to Jason. "Do what you gotta do."