CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN
An Unexpected Summons


The plan was to fly back in Monday afternoon, but a call very late Sunday evening from Alexis to Sonny brought them back that night.
It wasn't good news that Alexis wanted to talk to him. Benny knew better than to just give her the number, but for her to have convinced him to patch her through told him that whatever it was about must be serious.

"What's going on?" Sonny said.

It had taken most of the evening to convince Benny to contact Sonny on her behalf and then patch her through. She refused to talk to anyone but him. Alexis understood the brevity in his voice. He never discounted the fact that someone might be tapping into any phone line he might be talking on. "There's been a situation. I think you need to get back here as soon as possible."

"Do you need to talk to me tonight?" Sonny asked. The hesitation before she answered made up his mind. "I'll leave as soon as I can get the plane fueled. I'll be back in Port Charles in a few hours." He ended the phone call a few minutes later, then called out for Jason.

After the two of them discussed the phone call and its possible ramifications, they had to break the news of their premature departure to Carly and Eliana; both women decided to return with them. They left as soon as they had packed and the place could be readied. It was late in the night when they took off and they didn't get back to Port Charles until the earliest hours of the morning. Jason asked Sonny if he wanted him to stay with him when he met Alexis, Sonny told him to no, get a couple of hours sleep; that if he needed him, he'd send Johnny for him.

Jason and Eliana dropped their bags just inside the door and headed for the staircase. At the top of the stairs, automatically, Eliana went to walk past Jason's door to go to her own room, when his hand on her arm stopped her. She turned back to him, a question in her drowsy eyes.

Jason looked down at her, his cool blue eyes intense even in this soft light. "Sleep with me." His hand slipped down to hers and he drew her into his room.

***

Sonny saw Carly and Michael into the penthouse and to bed, and then went downstairs to see Alexis. She was waiting for him, answering the door on the first knock.

"Are you all right?" he asked as he walked through the door.

"I am now." Alexis said. She looked almost embarrassed. "Maybe I over-reactedů"

"I trust your judgment, Alexis. You wouldn't be my lawyer if I didn't. So tell me what it is you think I need to know."

Alexis sat and started to tell him what had happened to her late Sunday afternoon. She'd gone down to the courthouse, after getting a tip from one of her sources that Dara Jensen was working off hours and that she had had the trial moved up to Monday.

"You are not the defense. Alexis. I have no obligations to inform you of the docket." Dara had said to her after she'd tracked her down to her office. "Who told you I was in here anyway?" To say the ADA was annoyed was an understatement.

"I refuse to divulge my sources. And you knew that when you asked me." Alexis said. "I do have a client that is involved in this case. So I think I should have been told."

Dara checked her papers. "He's not due to testify until Thursday. That gives you ample time to prepare your client." She leveled a glare at her. "You will have him ready for trial, won't you?"

"Of course." Alexis said, putting on her best lawyer face. If Dara only knew.

She left Dara's office and pushed the elevator button, still worrying about Zander's whereabouts.

She paid no notice to the few other unfortunates working on a Sunday, until she realized only she and one other man remained. He had been standing towards the very back of the car when she'd gotten on, but as everyone else had gotten off at their floors, he hadn't moved. That realization sent a shiver of unease running down her spine. Alexis started to turn to see if she knew him, but was checked by his voice.

"I'd rather you didn't do that, Ms. Davis."

He knew her name. She turned back to the front and then watched with frozen dread, as his hand reached past hers and pressed the emergency stop button. Her heart lurched as the elevator car shuddered to a stop. Helena?

"This will only take a moment, Ms. Davis." His smooth voice said. He was very close to her now. She could feel him behind her. "You were so reliable in the past, that Mr. Sorel wanted to be sure that Sonny Corinthos gets this message in a timely fashion. Just like his last one."

"What is it you want?" Alexis asked. She stayed very still, determined not to show her fear, though her heart was still pounding painfully in her chest.

He chuckled softly. "Ah, admirable. A woman with spirit. No evasions, or useless denials. So let's get to it, shall we?
"Mr. Sorel wants nothing more than to pass on a simple message to Mr. Corinthos. All their misunderstanding and conflict can still be avoided, even at this late hour. There is no need to any further unpleasantness between them if Mr. Corinthos would simply agree to a cessation of hostilities. There; now can you be trusted to convey that to Mr. Corinthos?"

Alexis nodded tightly.

"Come now, I need just a little more than that."

"I will see that Mr. Corinthos is told." Alexis said each word very carefully.

"It wouldn't be amiss if you were to add your own advice to this message - providing that advice endorses Mr. Sorel's views." He reached around her and punched the button again and the elevator resumed its downward movement. "When we reach the lobby, it would be wise if you simply step off the elevator and proceed to your car - without looking back, of course."

As the elevator doors slid shut behind her, she heard that chuckle one more time. "Gracias tanto, dama bonita. Oh, pardon me - thank you very much, pretty lady."

Alexis finished her story and shook her head "This is not supposed to happen, Sonny." she stabbed a finger at him. "I'll handle your legal contracts, I will defend you against the PCPD when they step over the line. But I will not be your consigliore!"

Sonny stared at her. Then, in spite of everything she'd just told him, he started laughing. "Counselor, you've been watching too many Godfather movies."

Okay, so as soon as the words left her mouth, she felt foolish. But she wouldn't laugh. Not where Sonny could see. She'd bite her tongue off before she did. But she couldn't stop her lips from twitching. Alexis whirled around before Sonny saw.

"There's more." Alexis said, sobering.. "I went to see Joseph Sorel in lockup. To let him know that threats against me were not a good idea. And if he hurt Zander, he would pay."

"You did what?" Sonny asked. He shook his head.

"I played the Cassidine trump card. I think he was suitably impressed." Alexis said. "Maybe it will even convince Sorel to give Zander up."

Sonny shook his head. "Counselor, I hope you didn't just make a big mistake." Alexis didn't understand.

"I thought we agreed that more than likely, the kid has gone underground on his own. If Sorel didn't have Zander, then you just tipped your hand that you have no idea where he is. And that might make Sorel bold enough to try a move. Especially now that he's going to trial. He's desperate. And desperate men are dangerous men."

The truth of what he was saying penetrated. Alexis was appalled. "What have I done?"

Sonny nodded slowly. "You jumped in over your head, Alexis. Now you got to trust me to clean it up. That means no more impetuous moves. No more little talks with Sorel. If anyone approaches you again, you come straight to me -- immediately. Can you do that?"

Alexis nodded. "I understand."

"I told you, counselor, you're getting emotionally invested. Sorel wouldn't dare hurt Zander. The cops would be all over him like one of Taggert's cheap suits. Going to Sorel did nothing but antagonize him. The kid has probably gotten it in his head to lay low until the trial. That wouldn't be the dumbest thing he could do." He gestured to the door. "I gotta get back upstairs before Carly realizes I'm gone and starts sending out smoke signals."

She walked him out to the elevator. "Emotionally invested? Ten-dollar words to say that I care, Sonny. And I do care. I'm entitled to. Who else has 'that kid' as you referred to him as, got in his corner?" Alexis asked, her chestnut brown eyes full of worry. "What if you're wrong, Sonny?"

"Me, wrong?" Sonny grinned at her as he stepped onto the elevator. "Don't worry about it, Counselor. I got it all under control."

After the door closed, his smile fell away. Stepping out of the elevator, he turned towards Jason's. Sorel, if he stopped to think about Alexis' visit, might jump to the conclusion that he, Sonny, didn't know where Zander was, and that might make him bold, or desperate enough, to try something from his jail cell. There were movements he could set in place tonight. Jason could set things in motion.

Hand in mid-air to Jason's door, he stopped. Sonny stared t the closed door. There was time enough for reality, for his life, his and Jason's life to take over everything once again. He can give Jason and Eliana this. A few more hours of peace and time for one another. He knew all too well how rare those moments could be and his sister had been through so much in the recent past that he wanted to give her this, at least.

Sonny turned and went into his own apartment. He ran his hand over his face and exhaled slowly. And so it begins, again, he thought. He walked heavily to the bar and started to pour himself a drink. He splashed the amber liquid into a glass, but then sat it down abruptly. It wouldn't help; it never did. All alcohol did was numb the pain, but eventually, it always came back.

He knew what was bothering him. A part of him felt that he was betraying Alexis. It was for her own good, but he couldn't shake the feeling and it made him feel unclean. To keep Zander safe, to protect her, he had to deceive her. He couldn't allow her to compromise herself, as much as he knew she'd do it for the kid. As an officer of the court, she was bound by ethics to report Zander. And she'd do it in a minute too, even if it meant censure or even getting her license to practice law revoked. He couldn't let that happen to her. Her actions yesterday proved it. She couldn't be trusted when it came to Zander, as well meaning as her actions were. Women were like that; he had to accept the fact. When their hearts became involved, they found it hard, if not impossible, to separate common sense from doing what was needed.

Look at Carly; he thought; his eyes shifted, flicked towards the stairs. If she had any sense, she'd be running in the opposite direction when it came to him. But no, here she was, lying in his bed, their bed, trusting in him and their love to keep her safe. In his mind's eye, he could see her now, her honey gold hair spread out on the pillows, her beautiful, vibrant face peaceful now in slumber, as she waited for him. And then there was Eliana. She should hate him for what has happened in her life because of him, but she wanted him in her life as well.

He'd wasted so much time denying what he felt for her. He'd told himself he married her to fight the charges against him, to give their baby a name, but all the while he had loved her without even realizing it. They'd both fought against it, denied to each other and themselves until they were forced to see that everything between them was real.

"Mi amor." He murmured the words aloud. My love. Carly was everything he could have ever hoped for. Sure she drove him crazy sometimes, but that was all part of her. A reluctant smile tugged at his lips. Her passion, whether she was happy or angry was one thing he could count on as a constant.

Sonny returned to the bar and picked up his glass, studying the amber liquid as he swirled it in his glass. They called women the weaker sex? No, they were stronger than men in so many ways. They trusted their hearts over all, believed in intangible things like love. And without them in his life, life would be that much darker. If he couldn't quite bring himself to trust wholeheartedly in such things, at least he had them in his life; women who actually cared whether or not if he lived or died. If he had never known them, he would have never known that. How different would his life be then?

Sonny had no answer for that tonight. And his drinking any amount of liquor wouldn't bring him surcease. Any escape for him lay in the arms of the woman who waited for him upstairs. He carefully replaced the glass on its coaster, its contents untouched. He turned and went up the stairs, turning off the lights as he went.