It was drizzling lightly as Carly and Sonny left the club. A few people
were standing outside; most of them eagerly came forward to shake Carly's
hand and congratulate her one again and again on the success of Deception and
the whole evening. There were one or two photographers that rushed forward to
get their final shots. Carly was on cloud nine. Everything had worked.
Everything! Gia was the Face, the Deception party was a huge success and she
had been the one to do it. Her plan had worked!

Carly smiled a huge flashing grin and waved a final time to Jason and
Eliana as they went to their own car as Johnny came around to open the door
for them. Just before Carly stepped down into the limo, she paused. The
oddest sensation went through her and she shivered. She looked up and down
the street for a moment, wondering why she had felt so strange for a moment.
There was nothing to see, of course.

"You okay, Carly?" Sonny asked as he paused behind her. His eyes
automatically swept the street but saw nothing amiss.

"Yeah." Carly answered. It was just nerves after a long day and longer
night. She shrugged the sensation off and it disappeared from her mind.
"Everything's fine." She stepped down into the limo and settled back into the
plush seat as Sonny followed her in. Carly knew she was still psyched, but
she couldn't help herself as she chattered on and on about the entire night.
For the first time, it was about her, Caroline Corinthos and her success.
Success that she had worked long and hard for. Sonny just looked down at her
indulgently, enjoying the sight of her reveling in her success.
She was still feeling jazzed, bubbling with joy and excitement as they
stepped off the elevator. Max already on duty, nodded at Sonny and Johnny
takes up his post as Sonny reached for his keys.

"Johnny, you've been working all night. Isn't it time for you to get some
rest?" Carly asked teasingly. "Don't tell me there's no one waiting for you
at home?" She was gratified to see the bodyguard blush, just a little.

Johnny cleared his throat, uncomfortable now that Sonny as well as Carly
were studying him. "I'm just here until the third shift shows." After what
Sonny had told him about a possible Cassidine threat, he wasn't about to let
security ease up as far as Carly Corinthos was concerned. She was the best
thing that had ever happened to his boss, and Johnny was close enough to the
both of them to see exactly why. If anything happened to her, anything at
all, it would tear Sonny apart. What would come after wouldn't be pleasant at
the least. Irregardless, Johnny wasn't about to let that happen.

"Third shift, hm?" Carly wasn't ready to let up quite yet. "You gonna put
in a fourth shift when you get back to the ranch, partner? Maybe got some
young filly waiting on ya?"

Johnny was turning a distinct shade of pink, knowing both Sonny and Max
were watching him closely.

"Say goodnight, Carly." Sonny said, having mercy on Johnny at last.

"Goodnight Carly." she shot back.

"Why don't you check the kitchen...there's a bottle of champagne on ice
with your name on it."

"I'm actually being allowed the privilege of stepping in the hallowed
area of your kitchen? Will wonders never cease tonight?" She laughed and took
the keys out of Sonny's hands as she spoke. "I'll let you boys say
"Goodnight, Mrs. Co-" Johnny stopped in mid sentence as Carly turned and
leveled a warning mock-glare on him. "...I mean, goodnight Carly." he
stammered. She'd told him long ago to dispense with the Mrs. C. stuff. After
all, he was being paid to guard her life. That entitled him to first-name
basis. She'd insisted. Then his voice warmed. "And congratulations. From what
I saw tonight, looks like you're a success."

Sonny caught Carly's gaze, warm and dark and full of promise. "She sure

Carly smiled at them both, eyes shining, before she turned and let
herself inside the apartment.
Sonny stepped away from the door and motioned for Johnny and Max to join him.
"You both did good tonight, I wanted you to know that. Neither my wife or
Miss Salazar are to notice the extra guards on them. Johnny, Jason already
told you that you're in charge of the extra security, Max you'll be his
second. I trust no one more than I do you two." His men nodded, accepting the
compliment and the trust he put in them. They'd both been briefed by Jason
and understood. "I want the building monitored 24-7 on double shifts until
further notice."
Sonny nodded in satisfaction. they heard an impatient whistle from inside the
penthouse. In spite of himself, Sonny smiled as he entered.

Shoes in a tumbled pile on the carpet, Carly was perched on back of the
couch, dangling a pair of champagne flutes between her fingers. She smiled as
Sonny shut the door behind him, his eyes traveling appreciatively up her
legs. "Champagne on ice? You were so sure everything was going to be a
Sonny had started working on the champagne cork. Now he looked up and fixed
his dark gaze on hers, stealing her breath away with just a glance. "Never a
doubt about it." The sensuous intensity in his voice made Carly weak in the
knees. She was glad that she was already sitting down. But her voice was just
the least bit breathy as she answered.

"It's nice to know I can inspire such faith."

"Oh, you can inspire all sorts of things," Sonny replied wickedly. "Now,
if you want some of this.." and the look in his eye made it unclear what
"this" he was referring to "You'd better get over here."

Carly steadied her nerves and hopped down from her perch and came over
with the glasses. Sonny worked the cork for another few seconds, then pop -
the cork came free in his hands. Carly held the glasses up while Sonny poured
them both a full glass. Sonny took his glass and raised it to her. "To the
success of Deception, and to you, Carly. You did me proud tonight."

Carly's heart swelled to hear his words. Sonny was a man difficult with
praise. So it made the words he spoke doubly sweet.

The sound of delicate crystal shivered into the air as they touched
glasses. The two of them sipped at their champagne silently. Carly's mouth
curved into a slow smile.

Sonny tore his eyes away from those lips. Those lips...glistening red,
still moist from the champagne, just asking to be tasted....just looking at
them gave him ideas. "What?" he askedseeing the knowing smile they shaped.

"You didn't dance with me once tonight, you know." Carly said. She
propped one hand on her hip and gave him a challenging look. "Not one single
solitary time. You owe me, man."

"Hey," Sonny said, falling into the game. He took her glass and set his
and hers down. "I don't hear no music now. So what am I supposed to do about

"Do we need music?"

Sonny pulled her into his arms. "I don't think so -- what do you think?"

"I think, what took you so long?" she whispered as she pulled his lips
down to hers.


"You don't get to have a happily ever after, Carly." AJ roused from his
drunken sleep. The club was closed now, the street dark and silent. From his
car far up the street where no one would notice him, he'd watched all the
comings and goings, all the important people entering, and it did nothing but
fuel his fury. Watching Carly and her little group as they'd left Luke's, all
happy smiles and laughter, had made him burn in rage. And here he was, alone
in the dark. He mumbled incoherently to himself as he lifted his flask to his
lips and drank deeply.

"No happily ever after for you." he repeated. "Not after everything
you've done to me." He remembered how beautiful Carly had looked as she gazed
adoringly at her Mafioso husband. His words began to slur as his anger grew.
"You and your mobster husband aren't going to keep my son from me forever.
Not even Jason can help you with that"

And Jason and that woman again. AJ hadn't forgotten how she had treated
him like dirt and how Jason had come in and threatened him. "And you, baby
brother. I haven't forgotten about you either. Payback's a bitch. Just you
wait...just you all wait..." his voice trailed off as AJ slumped back in
his seat. His eyes closed and soon he was soundly, drunkenly asleep.