Deceptions Revealed

Their weekend away from Port Charles had rejuvenated both Carly and Eliana
and they threw themselves into their work with renewed energy. Eliana was
still dividing her time between her galleries and Deception. Carly was even
getting along with Laura these days, at least on the surface. Since their
return from the island, Carly had been working nonstop to get the Deception
party off the ground. She couldn't wait. This would be the first public event
since she had joined the company as Laura's partner.

Laura still thought miss perfect Elizabeth Webber should be the new Face of
Deception, but Carly had other plans. Gia Campbell was her choice. Her
striking looks were one reason, but the day she promoted Elizabeth to be
anything, was the day hell froze over and she straps on her ice skates.

Laura had decided to hold the Deception party at Luke's. She decided, Carly
thought resentfully. There'd been no discussion, no debate; the invitations
had already been printed out by the time she'd found out about them. She must
have used the time Carly spent at the island to put everything into motion.

The day of the reception, Carly checked with the caterer and shook her head
in disgust at the menu. No imagination, just the same old crab puffs and
veggie dips. She'd made a few changes there. They were having the reception
in a blues joint. So, go with the flow, Laura. Blues, New Orleans, what
couldn't be more obvious? Oyster ramekins, fried stuffed mushrooms. Carly had
done her research and had some pralines and napoleons added to the menu for
something sweet. There. Carly smiled to herself; she'd made some other solo
decisions of her own. Just wait until Laura got wind of them. Two can play at
that game. Carly smiled at the thought. It really was for the best. Deception
would be a success, in spite of Laura. Just wait and she'd see.


Sonny stood at his bar and poured himself a drink, listening to the sounds of
laughter floating down from upstairs. Carly and Eliana seemed to have bonded
and that made him happy. They sounded like two teenagers getting ready for
prom night. Carly was right, again. The idea of having a family was getting
to him.

They came floating downstairs. Carly was stunning in a strapless red dress,
Eliana in a deep emerald green low-cut halter-top gown. They reached the
bottom of the stairs and pirouetted for Sonny.

"Very nice ladies." He looked at his watch. "And only twenty five minutes
behind schedule. That's got to be a record."

Carly made a face at him while Eliana laughed. There was a knock on the door
and Johnny was opening it. "Ms. Salazar, your car and driver are ready

"Thanks, Johnny." Eliana said, walking towards the door. "Well, finish your
drink and I'll see you there." Carly had offered for her to ride with her and
Sonny, but Eliana had insisted on going in her own car, saying that as
co-owner of Deception, she deserved to make her own entrance. "This is about
you and your night." She'd insisted. "You worked hard for this and you've
earned it. This is your triumph. Enjoy it."

Sonny remembered the glow that had appeared in Carly's face as Eliana had
spoken. She'd said just the right thing to make Carly happy.

Carly looked down. "I forgot my purse." She ran back upstairs. Eliana grinned
and shook her head as she opened the door, smiling at Johnny. Just then,
Alexis stepped off the elevator. She barely greeted Eliana, but strode into
the apartment and straight up to Sonny just as Carly was coming down the

"Hi Sonny, you're looking very handsome tonight." Alexis said. Sonny opened
his mouth to reply. Before he could speak, Alexis slapped him in the face.

Caught by surprise, Sonny's head snapped to one side. His eyes, when he
turned back to face Alexis, went to cold black ice.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" Carly flew down the remaining
steps and across the room. Eyes blazing, she swung her arm, hard, and caught
Alexis on one side of her face. Alexis staggered back a step. The explosive
sound of Carly's hand cracking against Alexis' face seemed to shock both
Sonny and Eliana into action. Sonny caught Carly by the arm, while Eliana
rushed across the room to step in front of Alexis. They dragged the two of
them apart.

"How dare you put your hands on my husband!" Carly shouted at her.

"Carly, stop!" Sonny snapped.

Alexis didn't apologize. In fact, she had only just begun. She lit into Sonny
with a tirade about loyalty and honesty and how she thought they were
friends. "You had Zander the whole time. You watched me worry myself sick!
And what about Emily? Why didn't you pull me to the side, and tell me, friend
to friend?"

"You made it clear that anything I told you, you would have to take straight
to the DA's office." Sonny answered, doing his best to keep his temper in
check despite the throbbing in his cheek where she had struck him. "Sorel's
people were getting desperate. Zander wasn't listening, didn't follow the
rules. Neither did you. You were acting more like a mother than a lawyer."

"Sonny knows best, right?" Alexis said sarcastically. Her anger, and yes, her
hurt, made her choose her words carelessly and without thought. "I told
myself that you had some good in you. That what you did for a living had very
little to do with the man that you are. Maybe I was mistaken. You think
you're above the law, you work outside the law, you live outside the law. And
look down on the rest of us."

"Alexis, that's not true!" Eliana snapped.

Carly jumped in as well. "If anything, it's the other way around. Everyone
comes running to Sonny when they need something, but they only worry about
his morality when it doesn't affect their own little worlds. Look at you;
what do you think you're doing right now? Looking down on Sonny. You think
you're better than him. And you're not. You didn't trust the cops, so you
came to him too, remember? Just like everyone else!"

"Carly, your past choices make your opinions worthless. And Eliana, I expect
you to say that." Alexis said. "He's your long lost brother. How nice for
you. I hear the violins already. But the fact of the matter is he is a man
who uses people. He used Jason and Carly. He used you and he used me."

"Sonny has never used me." Eliana snapped. "But you don't think you used him?
When you needed Sonny, he came through for you!"

"You are such a hypocrite!" Carly shouted at the same time.

"Enough!" Sonny snapped, his voice harsh. They all fell silent as he turned
to Alexis. "I kept Zander Smith alive. He testified. Sorel's finished. End of

"No, Sonny, you don't get to end this. You lied to me when I asked you. You
intentionally lied to me about Zander. You intentionally let me worry myself
sick. You trashed my apartmentnot to mention what you did to Emily? But
what difference does that make, really, because she believed you, I believed

"I'm under no obligation to explain this to you," Sonny said to Alexis. "But
I will, this once." He pointed his finger at her to emphasize his point.
"Sorel's people were after Zander. They were also after me. They tried twice
before and botched it up. So they got desperate. They grabbed Zander once
already, outside of Kelly's and almost killed him. These are dangerous men
we're dealing with, and they don't play games. You've seen that up close and
personal, remember? They snatched you and Eliana. You were an accident, but
only Sorel's stupidity and Eliana's smarts got you out of there unhurt. With
Eliana, Sorel knew exactly what he was doing."

His words stunned Alexis into a momentary silence as she took in this new
information. "When did they kidnap Zander?" she asked quietly.

"A week before I stashed him. I took care of it"

"Why didn't you tell me?" Alexis said.

"You wanted me to keep Zander safe, I kept him safe!" Exasperated, Sonny
walked to the couch and sat on the edge. He could see the pain of hurt and
betrayal in her face and it angered and wounded him all at once.

"We stood in the courtroom and you wanted me to believe that Roy had brought
Zander back."

"He did." Sonny said.

"That whole dramatic entrance was just another lie."

Sonny saw that there was nothing he could say that was going to change
Alexis' mind at this point. He'd tried to do what was best, and still, it
wasn't enough. It was never enough. He ran his hand over his face. "That's

Carly had been pacing the room, trying to hold her tongue while the two of
them had gone back and forth. She couldn't hold back any more. She turned
around to face Alexis. "You know, you couldn't protect Zander. Sonny could,
so he did. What is the big deal?"

"You ignored my rules, you got too close to the kid. You lost perspective."
Sonny said.

"Is that so?" Alexis said, stung by his observation.

"You know you were being a mother hen with him."

"Gee," Alexis' voice was drenched in sarcasm. "Sonny knows best."

Sonny tried to make her understand his point of view. "The situation the way
it was, wasn't working for anybody. Zander wouldn't listen. You cared too
much and couldn't look at the situation objectively. You're an officer of the
court and there are boundaries you can't cross. I took care of it."

"All neat and tidy.." Alexis clapped her hands together as though dusting
something imaginary off. "Did you want Sorel so bad that you'd betray
everyone around you to make it happen? Listen, I want to ask you something
else. I mean I know you think you already know everything, about everything,
but have you ever heard witness tampering? Do you know that you have put
everything at risk for a mistrial? So you know what that could do to Zander
if anybody."

Why couldn't she see that he'd done what he had to do? He had no choice if
he were to keep the people he cared about safe! Zander only mattered because
Zander mattered to Alexis.
His own temper flared.
"I won't - I'm not going to apologize!"

Why? Because the great Sonny has spoken?" Alexis stared at him for a long
time. "Well, you can go to hell." She turned on her heel and stormed out of
the room, slamming the door behind her.

The silence in the room was deafening. Carly spoke first. "I don't believe
that witch."

"Not now, Carly." Sonny said. Carly opened her mouth in indignation but the
look on Sonny's face shut her up. Her eyes were flashing serious danger
signals. This was far from over.

Eliana was as stunned as the both of them. "Look, let's just forget about
this for now and get going. Jason is supposed to be meeting us there, and the
car he sent for me is downstairs already, so I'm going to get going. See the
two of you there in a few?"

Neither Carly nor Sonny moved.
"Please you two, Alexis was just angry and in a couple of days, we'll all
work everything out. It's an important night for Deception. Let's concentrate
on that." Eliana said.

Sonny turned and rested his hands on his desk. He closed his eyes. "We'll be
there in soon." He said.

Eliana recognized the inflexible tone in his voice. She looked at the two of
them, sighed and left, closing the door behind her.

In her absence, the silence grew deafening. A knock came at the door, and
Carly was glad of the intrusion. Eliana must have forgotten something, or
maybe she came back to make sure that the two of them were okay. Before she
could reach it, the door swung open. Johnny tried to announce their visit,
but before he could speak, Taggert and Ford, his Fed counterpart, were
already in the apartment.

Sonny's reaction was to go cold; his facial expression went bland and
unemotional. Carly thinned her lips in displeasure. "Taggert, what is it with
you, you keep turning up like a bad rash."

"Did I interrupt something? I just saw Ms. Salazar leaving, and it looked as
though she was a little upset. I wonder what went on up here, don't you Agent

"I certainly do Lieutenant. A lover's spat, perhaps?" Ford said. He looked
from Sonny to Carly and directed his next words to her. "I understand that
Ms. Salazar has taken up residence in the penthouse across the hall. I'm sure
your husband finds that very convenient."

"Puh-lease." Carly sneered at him. "Peddle your smut minds somewhere else."
She turned her back on the two men and walked across the room, refusing to
rise to either of their baiting.

"Every time I see you, Mrs. Corinthos, we have such enjoyable conversations.
I've especially enjoyed the one we had last week. But this time, I want to
talk to your husband, not you."

"What is it now, Taggert?"

"We just wondered if you had time for a few questions about Sorel's capture
by the PCPD."

Sonny gestured to himself and Carly. "Does it look like I have time? My wife
has a very important business engagement to attend tonight. And I intend to
be there by her side. A judge could construe your interfering with that as
harassment, so any questions you have, take it up with my attorney in the
morning." If I still have one by then. He thought to himself.

"I just thought you'd want to display some of that vaunted cooperation you've
talked so often about."

"Is this an official matter?" Sonny asked, unamused. "Should I call my

"It can be." Taggart said. "If you want to take it there." He let his voice
trail off suggestively.

Ford put a restraining hand on Taggert's arm. Their bluff hadn't worked. And
they all knew that thanks to Larkin, Sonny had full immunity until he was
caught red handed in the performance of a crime. And that wasn't going to
happen anytime soon, if ever. "That won't be necessary, Corinthos. Not
tonight, anyway." The threat hung in the air.

"Be seeing you, Corinthos." Taggert couldn't resist the parting shot.
"Mrs. Corinthos -- hope we have time for another little talk again real soon.
I really enjoyed our last one."

"In your dreams, Taggert." Carly spun around, eyes flashing. Taggert only
smiled at her as he closed the door behind him. said as the door closed
behind them.

Sonny spoke to Carly without turning. "Why didn't you tell me Taggert was
hassling you?"

"He wasn't hassling me." Carly said. "I mean, he tried, but he didn't get
anywhere with me. He never does. Do you think I would talk to him?"

"The point is, you should have told me!"

"Why? It was no big deal. I made the call." Carly looked at Sonny keenly.
"Don't like the feeling? Well, multiply that by all the times you decided not
to tell me things. Then maybe you'll come close to a fraction of what I
"When it comes to anything about my business, you've got to tell me about
it." Sonny said angrily. "Why didn't you tell me? You kept it from me on

"You had so much on your mind, I didn't want to add to it with a stupid
conversation." Carly answered hotly. "This is just what he wanted though. Why
do you think he said what he said tonight? He wants us to argue. You gonna
let him win?"

Her words were like a dash of cold water on his temper. Carly watched as the
growing rage behind his eyes flickered then died away. He reached up and put
his hands on her shoulders, then pulled her close into his embrace. She
hugged him back tightly. Sonny pulled back to look down into her eyes. "Let
Taggert win? Not a chance. He can't break us."

"The only thing that can break us is us. This is what I'm talking about,
Sonny. I know something's going on, but you don't tell me. You're trying to
protect me, I get thatbut I'm trying to protect you too. Don't waste your
breath telling me not to...I can't help it. But when we keep things from each
other, all it does is make us get angry at each other. I'm always going to
protect you, Sonny. Every time, every way I can. Get used to it. If that
means we fight, then we fight." She balled up a fist and clipped him gently
on his chin.

Sony looked down at her and marveled one more time at the woman that was his
wife. He took her hand and pressed his lips against it, then bent his head
and brushed his lips against hers. "Well, we can fight later. And make up

Carly smiled up at him as he finished his sentence. "Making up works for

"And if that's what Taggert wants, to put a split between us, it ain't
gonna happen. Not tonight; not ever. Grab your purse. We got a celebration to
get to."