CHAPTER THIRTY NINE
Behind the Scenes
"Hello Jason." He'd seen her across the park, but had hoped she would continue on her own way, and let him continue on his. His luck wasn't good enough; she saw him and changed direction so that their paths couldn't help but cross.
"Hello Liz." He said neutrally. "How are you?"
"Fine, I guess. How about you? I've been working on some new pieces. I'm thinking of calling them the Wind and Wave series. I thought you might like to come by and see them at my studio sometimes." When she saw the hesitation on his face, she smiled at him. "We can still be friends, can't we?"
He thought for a moment. Maybe they could still be friends. A visit to her studio couldn't hurt anyone. He always enjoyed Elizabeth's art. He didn't have time right now, but when he did, he'd stop and then they could talk and he could make it clear that all he wanted from her was what she had offered from the beginning. Her friendship. Jason knew that he didn't need her for anything else anymore; he had something more now. That part of him that still felt the friendship for her wished he could share it with her, the feelings that he had for Eliana, but he knew she wouldn't want to understand. Maybe when they talked, he could find a way to make her understand. Maybe she'd even be happy for him.
"I'd like that, Elizabeth. Eliana has been showing me art and talking to me about color theory and stuff." He shrugged, an unconscious smile coming to his lips. "I don't know how, but she makes me see things like I never did before."
"You mean like I did?" she asked, wanting to remind him that they had talked about art together long before Eliana had come onto the scene.
"Yeah, you showed me a lot too." Jason realized he had never told Liz about knowing Eliana before. She'd belonged to the part of his life that he didn't discuss. He didn't want to bring that fact up now, either. "You know, maybe she'd like to see your work too. She knows people in New York, even has her own gallery there. Maybe she could get you a showing."
The last thing Elizabeth wanted was for Eliana Salazar to be critiquing her work. She didn't let her jealousy show, but instead, forced her lips into a smile. "Maybe. But how about you just come by unofficially first and let me know what you think? After all, she's so busy with all of her different projects, that I wouldn't want to bother her, if they really aren't good enough."
"Your work is good enough." Jason insisted. Elizabeth did have real talent. Even he could see that. "But okay. When I have time, I'll see what I can do. But I don't know when that will be."
"As long as it's soon, Jason." Elizabeth said. He smiled at her, a genuine smile this time, and it was if the sun had come from behind grey clouds.
"I've got get going, Elizabeth." Jason was glad to see that their conversation had gone well. Maybe they could keep their friendship, or at the very least, stay civil to one another. "Got to get home."
After he'd said goodbye and walked away from Elizabeth, he realized that he is glad to be on the way home. That he just realized how good it is to have someone waiting there for him.
Elizabeth stared after him. Slowly, she shook her head incredulous. He'd never been able to walk away from her so easily before. Jealousy flared up in her, hot and searing. This was only a reaction because she'd hurt him so. I'll make it up to you, I promise. When she uncovered Eliana's secrets and showed him what a conniving, scheming bitch she was, just like her good friend Carly, he'd thank her and forgive her and they could go on like they'd always been.
The fourth day of trial, was Zander's turn to testify. Right after lunch. Alexis was almost sick with worry the entire morning. Roy hadn't come up anything solid. He hadn't told her he'd given up; everything he said was meant to give her hope, but Alexis knew better. The worry was tying her stomach into knots. He'd promised to touch bases with her every hour on the hour, but it didn't help her nerves.
Mid-morning, Roy was still snooping around down the waterfront. He headed for a little office building off an alley behind State Street, where Roy had noticed suspicious activity. for the last two days. Roy tried to peer through the windows, but they were barred and grimy from age. He tried the door. Of course, it was locked. He took out his pick kit and began working the lock. He got it open in a fair amount of time.
"Roy," he said to himself as he stepped into the room. "Sometimes you even amaze yourself."
A voice spoke behind him. "Roy, sometimes you need to stay out of other people's business."
Roy turned to see Jason Morgan's piercing blue eyes. He held a garment bag over one arm. His other hand was free. Roy recognized the familiar outline of a pistol under his jacket. The younger man motioned for him to move further into the room. He followed him in and then closed and locked the door.
"What're you doing here, DiLucca?" Jason's voice was deceptively quiet.
"Looking for Zander. He's supposed to testify today." As he spoke, Zander emerged from the back room.
"And he will." Jason replied. He tossed the garment bag to Zander. "Get back there and start changing. It's almost time. And close the door." Zander glared at him, but didn't argue. He disappeared back into the other room.
"Sonny can guarantee it, can't he?" Roy asked cynically.
"That's something you can discuss with him. Have a seat." Jason pulled out his cell phone and made a quick call, then looked at Roy. "Sonny's on his way."
"How could you do this to Alexis?" Roy asked Sonny as he came in the door. "You know how upset she's been about this."
Sonny just looked at him for a long moment. They had helped each other out to dispose of a common enemy, Special Crooked Agent Larkin of the FBI, so Sonny decided to allow him his rant.
"Zander is fine. Alexis will be fine. Sorel won't be so fine, but that's the idea." Sonny tilted his head, looking at Roy with an amused expression on his face.
"I thought Alexis was your friend. You don't lie to your friends." Roy said.
"I never lied to her. I told her the truth. I told Alexis that Zander was safe, that Sorel wouldn't hurt him, and that Zander would be there to testify against him. Where's the lie?"
"It's called a lie of omission, Sonny." Roy said.
Jason spoke up. "He was a danger to himself. A danger to Emily. He wouldn't follow directions, so we did what needed to be done."
"A lie of omission? I think that's what you told when you first came to work for me, Roy." Sonny said mildly. If DiLucca wanted to be mad, he was entitled to it, but Sonny had other matters on his mind. He held up a hand to stop Roy's response. "Enough. Roy, I understand what you're saying. But like I told Alexis to her face, she got too emotionally involved with her client. She asked me for my protection and I gave it to her. Case closed. Let it go, Roy. "I'll even let you be the hero. You can deliver Zander straight to the courtroom."
"Thanks, Sonny." Roy said, his voice still angry but sarcastic. "But what do you want in return?"
"Say nothing to Alexis about what went down."
"So now you want me to lie to her?"
Sonny shrugged. "Don't lie to her. sniff You tracked Zander down, found him locked up in a little run down office building on State Street and delivered him safe and sound. That's the truth of it."
"Is that how you work, Sonny? Twisting the truth to suit yourself?"
"Don't we all, Roy? I didn't see you turning down my help when you wanted out from under Larkin's thumb? Or when Bobbie and then your daughter Hannah was snatched by him. Or when he tried to kill you. Circumstances were twisted to suit you then, right?"
Roy flushed. "Fine, Sonny. We'll play it your way. But after this, we're through. I won't be coming around to ask any more favors. In my book, we're even."
Sonny smiled a dangerous little smile at Roy. "If you say so, Roy. You don't want my help after this? Not a problem. But you might want to bring in an accountant to tally those books you got in your head. Seems like your totals are all wrong." He raised his voice. "Zander!"
The young man came out of the back room. He was already changed into a respectable looking suit identical to the one Alexis had provided. Zander looked from Sonny, to Jason, to Roy and back to Sonny again.
Sonny gave Zander his orders. "Roy is going to be the one to take you to the courthouse. Alexis is waiting for you there. Remember what I told you. If anyone asks, you just laid low to protect yourself and Ms. Davis. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut until you are on the stand. Don't lose your cool. Alright?"
Sonny nodded back, satisfied. "See you at the show. Think I'm gonna get some popcorn." He turned around and walked out the door. Jason followed him.
Roy turned to Zander. "Come on kid, some people are going to be real happy to see you."