Plans in Motion

Their arms held each other close. The kiss was soft and deep and gentle and bittersweet as only goodbye kisses can be, and neither one of them wanted it to end. Reluctantly, they pulled back from one another. Sonny looked down into Carly's eyes and sighed. "Carly, I'm not going to lie to you. I'll try to come down, but I can't promise you."

Carly sighed. "I know, Sonny, I just wish you would."

Sonny pulled her closer. "Hey. I'm being honest with you. Isn't that what you wanted?" Before she could answer, his lips were on hers again, kissing her thoroughly. "You know why I can't come to the airport with you, right?"

Carly wound her arms around him tighter. They had decided that it would call more attention to Carly and Eliana if Sonny and Jason were to accompany them to the airport. "I know. I even understand. It doesn't mean I have to like it."

"There's a lot of things you don't like.." Sonny said.

"Yea, but lucky for you, you're not one of them." She kissed him again, then pulled away as they heard Leticia coming down the stairs with Michael. She turned to grin at him. "Ready for our trip, mister man?"

Sonny took him from Leticia and hugged him tight. "Lucky you, Michael. You get away from all this cold and get to play on the beach for a few days."

"And maybe Uncle Sonny will come down and help us build sand castles, hm?" Carly looked up at Sonny slyly.

"Carly…." Before he could say more, there was a discrete knock on the door. Sonny called out and Johnny opened it.

"Miss Salazar is ready and the car is downstairs." He announced.

"All right, Johnny, thanks." Sonny said. "Have the luggage sent down, and the ladies will be along presently."

Leticia discretely took Michael downstairs, leaving Sonny and Carly a few more minutes to say there goodbyes.

"Sonny…" Carly began; Sonny answered her unspoken question by pulling her into his arms and into another kiss. When he raised his head, Carly reached out and held her hand against his cheek in a final caress. "Be safe, Sonny."

"I will, Carly. I promise."

"But…." You can't promise me that. Carly thought. Her resolve to be strong for him, to not show her fears, threatened to weaken...she could feel tears of worry and concern prickle her eyes. Carly bit her lower lip, refusing to voice her fears, as though saying the words out loud would make them true. Instead, she forced a smile to her lips, even as her hands slid down to his and held them tightly.

"Everything is going to be fine." Sonny said. Looking down into her warm brown eyes, he can see past the shield his wife was putting up and saw the troubled concern deep down inside. Neither one of them would give into it; neither wanted to be a cause of worry to the other. But both of them knew, this was no ordinary trip. Sonny held onto her hands, until it was time for her to go.

When the elevator had closed on Carly and Eliana, Sonny and Jason returned to Sonny's apartment. They sat around making small talk until Johnny knocked and then opened the door again. "I just got the call. Carly and Eliana are in the air and on their way."

Sonny looked at Jason. "Let's go."


They left another guard at the penthouse. Johnny was their driver to the rendezvous, taking a circuitous route to ensure they were not being tailed. The meet was to take place out of Sonny's territory. He wasn't too happy with the idea, but Sorel's lieutenant was slightly paranoid, and rightly so. If he something were to go wrong and he were found in any area that was known to be run by Corinthos, it was a guaranteed death warrant.

So Sonny and Jason had agreed to meet him on the outskirts of town, in a seedy little bar just beyond the city limits. Jacob the Mouse had arranged it, so he was along to ensure the meet. They parked across the street from the bar. It was a run down section of town, with a busted streetlight at the corner. The street was deserted, several of the houses on the block were either dark or had their shades tightly drawn against the dark; people here minded their own business.
Their man met them just outside the bar. He gave no objections about being searched, which Jason did, quickly and competently. He led them inside to a shadowy back booth. Jason went ahead of him; eyes everywhere, making sure no traps lay for them.

When they reached the back, Jason motioned for the man to take a seat in the booth first. He slid in next to him, taking the position where he had a clear view of the door. Sonny watched Jason carefully. When he was satisfied, Sonny took his seat. The waitress came over and took their drink orders. When she had served them and had gone away again, they began to talk.

"Now that we're all here, Mr. Mitchell, let's hear your proposal." Sonny said.

"It's no secret in the organization that you're taking Sorel out. I figure it's time for a lifestyle change anyway. But that takes connections. And friends."

"And you want to be my friend?"

"Let's just say I have no desire to be your enemy, Mr. Corinthos." Mitchell replied. "I've got a wife and kids. I want out of the life, and I want them safe. And I want your guarantee that they and I stay that way."

"In return for what?"

"Sorel. I can give him to you. Alive."

"How can you guarantee this?"

"I have someone close to him. When I give the word, they will make the delivery. But we have a few conditions of our own. New lives, new identities. In Canada. With enough cash to bankroll our new lives." He named his price.

It was reasonable enough. "And the new identities are doable. Half the cash payment upfront, the identities and the remainder after Sorel is delivered. It'll be done before the week is up. Those are my terms. Is that agreeable to you?"

"Of course, Mr. Corinthos. All I need is your word on it."

Sonny stuck his hand out and Mitchell took it without hesitation. "It's done."
They went over the details of the plan to catch Sorel.

"As a measure of good faith." Mitchell said; he passed a slip of paper to Jacob. "This is the number to my partner. If anything goes wrong, and I can't contact you at the appointed time, this is who you call. The phrase that will identify you is 'catch of the day'."

Sonny couldn't help but smile a little at the phrase. Mitchell returned it. "I thought it appropriate." He said.

"It is." Sonny replied. "Let me ask you something. Are you sure you can walk away from the life?"

Mitchell looked down at the table for a moment, then he raised his gaze to meet Sonny's head on. "My wife is pregnant. With twins. We already have two little girls. So yeah, I can walk away. Some might say I'm betraying Sorel. If I stay with him, I am betraying her. This may be the only chance I get, so I'm taking it. Whatever else I am, I love her very much."

Sonny nodded. "I can respect that."
He stood. "Well, that's that, then. Our business is finished."

The men walked outside, each going in their own directions. Sonny and Jason began to cross the street to their car. Mitchell stayed on this side of the street, heading to his car, which was parked two spaces down. Seeing them approach, Johnny got out to get the door.

"Sonny." A prickle of unease swept along Jason's shoulder blades. He paused, his hand automatically going inside his jacket. He drew his weapon. All of his senses shouted danger before he could even pinpoint the source.

Concealed by the dark and shadows, a dark colored sedan began to silently ease out from its parking space further up the street, its headlights dark.

Sonny didn't question Jason. He drew his own gun, eyes searching the dark.

The headlights from the car flared on. At the same time, its engine roared into life.

Bam bam bam bam bam bam.

The street lit up with bright flashes and sound. A lethal shower of bullets erupted from both rear windows. Jason shoved Sonny to safety behind a parked car. Ignoring the danger to himself, he spun and returned fire, then, as Johnny let loose a barrage of covering fire, he ran for cover. Sonny leaned over the hood of the car, aimed and fired at the windows of the car. From his position behind their own car, Johnny joined in the counter-barrage/attack.

Their bullets hit their marks. The car veered wildly and hurtled towards them. Tires shrieking in protest, it sideswiped the car Sonny and Jason had taken refuge behind as the driver fought to regain control. As the impact sent both men hurtling backwards to the sidewalk behind them, the sound of angry metal screamed into the night air. As it scraped by them, Joseph Sorel's face was clearly visible in the left rear window, gun in hand, face twisted with rage. He aimed directly at them, but the wild swerving of the car sent his shots wild.

Jason jerked back as a hot sting creased its way across his upper shoulder. Sorel's car smashed into the next car beside them, then another on the opposite side of the street before recovering and speeding down the street. It tore around the first right hand corner and disappeared into the night.

Ignoring the pain, Jason knelt beside the car for a moment, his eyes scanning the area tensely. He satisfied himself that there were no other shooters in sight. Johnny also signaled to them an all clear. Jason motioned to Sonny and they both stood. The two of them ran back across the street to Mitchell and Jacob, Johnny covering them both.

Both men were hit. Jacob was swearing. He'd been quick, but not quick enough. A bullet had gone clean through his upper arm, another second was lodged in his right leg. But otherwise, he was okay. Mitchell, unfortunately, was in more severe shape. He had been in the street on the driver's side of his car when the attack had begun. Sonny knelt down by his side and examined the damage. He'd had caught a bullet in his chest, one in the abdomen and third in the hip.
"Get his keys," Sonny said to Johnny. "Get him in his car and get him to the hospital." There was no time to call an ambulance. And in all likelihood, little chance of him making it either way. But Sonny owed him the chance.

"No...wait..." Mitchell said with a harsh cough. A trickle of blood spilled out the side of his mouth, but he locked his eyes onto Sonny's. He spoke weakly, his breath catching between each word. "…not going to make it…. I know…" He grabbed Sonny's hand and held on tightly. "Keep the deal…my wife…my kids…get them out…before Sorel gets to them."

Sonny looked down at him, enduring the man's death grip. Death had cast its shadow over his face and his last thoughts were of his family. He didn't have to think about it twice. "They'll be taken care of. I give you my word."

"Good…enough." Mitchell said. He coughed once, then again. His body sagged down. Sonny pressed his fingers to the man's throat. He was unconscious, but still had a pulse, faint and unsteady as it was.

"Johnny, get him in the car…Jacob you go with them. Try to get him to the hospital." Johnny and Jason carried the man to the car. Johnny took the wheel.

When they were gone, Sonny looked at Jason. "You're hurt." There was a line of red on Jason's jacket, just along the line of his collarbone.

"A scratch." Jason shrugged. Only now, with the danger past, did he feel the burn of it. But it wasn't the pain of a puncture wound. "We'd better get out of here before the police show up. Someone was bound to call them."

"In this neighborhood, that's no guarantee. But yeah, let's get moving." Sonny and Jason left in their own car. Sonny insisted on driving. "Call Leverts." He was one of the doctors they kept on call.

"It's nothing, Sonny." Jason insisted.

"It won't hurt to have it looked at, either way. Stop being so damned heroic and make the call." Sonny drove in silence for a few minutes, while Jason used the cell phone, then he bared his teeth in a grim smile. "Did you see who was one of the shooters?"

Jason nodded. "Sorel. He must be desperate as hell to play his own triggerman."

"All the better. Desperate men make mistakes."

When they arrived back to the penthouse, the doctor was waiting for them. He did a quick examination on Jason, only finding a shallow bullet graze along his upper chest just below his collarbone. He cleaned and dressed it swiftly, efficiently and silently, then left them alone. Jason shrugged back into his tee shirt, then stretched his legs in front of him as he sat back on the couch. He let loose a soft groan as his muscles protested.

Right after the doctor left, Sonny made another phone call. He'd given his word to Mitchell that he would protect his family and he intended to keep it. He set that in motion. Mitchell's wife and family would never want. Except for him. Hanging up, he let his head droop down for a moment, the adrenaline rush from the past few hours fading out of his system. Tiredness threatened him in a slow wave, but he pushed it back.
Sonny poured two strong shots of liquor. He handed one to Jason, who didn't usually drink straight alcohol, but tonight he tossed the amber liquid back in a quick gulp, letting it sear away the pain.

Sonny let his breath out on a slow exhale. That could have been him tonight, bleeding to death on some anonymous dark street. Sonny thought of Mitchell's family, what was happening with them right now. That could be Carly, waiting for familiar footsteps that would never come. Two little girls waiting upstairs for their father's voice, that they will never hear again… and unborn children that will never see their father's face...stop it! He slammed the glass down in a sudden, irrational spurt of fear.


"Nothing!" Sonny said harshly. "It's nothing." He turned around to meet Jason's quizzical gaze. Sonny realized he couldn't lie to his best friend. He opened his mouth to speak. There was a knock on the door. "Come." Sonny barked.

Johnny opened the door. The look on his face told Sonny everything. But he waited to hear the words. "Mitchell never made it to the hospital. He was DOA." Johnny told him. "I took Jacob to one of our guys. He'll be okay."

Sonny nodded. "Get word to his wife that all expenses will be covered and all arrangements completed to her wishes. Then tell Benny I'll talk to him later about the details, but I'll be transferring some large amounts of money in the next few days. And Johnny," he said, as the bodyguard turned to head back out the door. "You did good tonight. After you take care of this, take the rest of the night and a couple of days off. Tell Francis to cover for you."

The door closed silently behind him. Sonny sank down on the couch. He closed his eyes and pressed the heels of his hands against his eyelids. Jason came to sit opposite him.

"Is it Mitchell, Sonny? Is that's what's bothering you?"

"I don't know. Maybe." Sonny rubbed his hand over his face, then took a long drink from his glass. "He tried to walk away from the life tonight. And now he's dead."

"Not because of you, Sonny." Jason said. He watched Sonny closely, trying to figure out exactly what was happening in his friend's head.

"I know that. I know what killed him, too. Mitchell said it himself. There's no getting out. He saw his one chance, he gambled. He lost." Sonny drained the last of his drink and got up to fix another. He motioned towards Jason's glass. Jason shook his head.

"Mitchell was one of Sorel's lieutenants. He had power. But not enough." Sonny poured himself another healthy glass. "Mitchell knew that he was vulnerable. Whenever you have someone you care about, that person becomes a weakness for your enemies to try and exploit."

Sonny was too restless to sit again. He walked to the fireplace. One hand reached out and grasped the mantle as he let his head bow down slowly. "I know what most people think of me. Even the ones that come to me for help, like Roy. They wash their hands of me when they are done with me, then go back to their nice, safe little lives, and look down on me from all their moral high horses.."

"Most of them don't, Sonny." Jason said. "Those that do are fools and hypocrites. If they hate anything, it's that they aren't brave enough, or honest enough to make the choices that you've made."

"I made the choices for my life a long time ago. I know what I am." Sonny met his eyes for a moment, and then continued as though Jason hadn't spoken. "I didn't think that I would ever have someone who loved me, or that I would ever have a family like I have now. That wasn't in the equation. I knew this going in. But now, it's different.
"At the same time, I know what I do to Carly. She said it to me once. Every time I go out that door…." He twisted and stabbed an angry finger at it. "She knows there's a chance that I might not come back again. I tried to push her away. I gave her every chance to leave me. For her sake, not mine. But she wouldn't go."

"She loves you, Sonny." Jason said. "She will fight for you with everything that is in her."

Sonny smiled but it was a sad one. 'I know that. We both know that's how Carly is. But do I have the right to ask her to live her life on those terms?"

"Does anyone have the right to make choices for anybody else?" Jason asked him. "If a woman makes it clear that her heart has chosen you, what do you do then?"

Sonny heard the change in Jason's voice. He looked at Jason again and waited.

There was a long pause. "I kissed her, Sonny."

There was no question about who he meant.

"Did she kiss you back?"

Jason was startled into a momentary silence. Then, "Yes."

"Then it's no problem. I'm only surprised it hadn't happened sooner." Sonny came back to sit on the couch. He reached over with one hand and squeezed Jason on the shoulder as a silent sign of support and approval. "You're right. I don't have the right to make choices for Carly. And that lets me be selfish. The one time in my life when I don't want to be selfish..." he let out a small, bitter laugh. "And I can't help myself. In my head, I know I shouldn't…but my heart…my heart says the exact opposite.

Sonny sighed out loud. "But Jason, be very careful. Be one thousand percent sure of what you want. I realized a long time ago what I would have to do to keep my power. It's the only way to keep the people I love alive. And even then, sometimes it's never enough. He thought to himself before continuing.
His eyes never left Jason's, underscoring the seriousness of his words. "You have to make very sure that your enemies know that they dare not move against you. And the only way to do that is to become so strong that they don't dare. When you bring someone you care about into this, it's one more wall you have to build. It's one more exit to leave that's blocked. To leave her, even if you decide that it's to keep her safe, means you will have to cut out a piece of your heart. And hers."

Both men are quiet after that, a silence that lingers until Jason's cell phone rings.

It was Jacob. "I got a call from one of my boys. Sorel's looking for a deal to get him out of town tonight if he can, and I found the dealmaker. It's Mitchell's man."

Jason relayed the information to Sonny.

"Set it up." Sonny told Jason. "Have him think it can't be done until tomorrow night." Tomorrow night, Sorel goes down.