It had been a stormy night and the last remnants of the windstorm tossed the
waters into grey and white tossed waves. Funny, returning to Port Charles
after a few days away, it almost felt like coming home. Why was that, Eliana
mused to herself as she gazed out over the waters. Was it the fact, that for
the first time in a very long time, she had a sense of family, of belonging
now? Those thoughts drifted away, replaced by less pleasant ones. Try as she
might, the bad thoughts were back in force. She stood at the edge of the dock
alone, staring out over the water. The brisk and cold air did very little to
help her, although she had been hoping it could. The nightmares had come back
again. And last night, Jason hadn't been there when she'd woken up, heart
pounding and trembling.

In the morning, she was able to shake loose from the dreams that still came,
but thankfully with less and less frequency as the time had passed. The first
half of the day had gone pleasantly enough at Deception. But after a working
lunch, she'd decided that she'd better take a break. The doctors had told her
to take it easy and not to push herself too far or too fast. Eliana had sense
enough to heed their warnings. Some fresh air and a brisk walk along the
docks might be just what she needed before she had to deal with the afternoon
round of meetings and conferences. She'd asked Sonny's guard to wait for her
at the car. With Sorel made an example of, both Sonny and Jason had agreed
with her that she really didn't have anything more to worry about. But having
learned how protective Sonny was about his family, Eliana had compromised and
agreed to keep one of his men as a driver, at least for a little while longer.

    Her thoughts went back to Jason. Of course, she knew what he did for
Sonny was dangerous and she didn't want to worry him, so when he'd finally
come home a few hours later, in the last hours of the night, she hadn't told
him what had really awakened her, but instead told him that missing him next
to her was what had her up.

    Why had she lied? She asked herself for the umpteenth time. She still had
no answer. Either Carly or Alexis, as little as they might agree on anything
else, might have been able to tell her that she was more like her brother
than she knew. Her pride and determination to stand on her own and deal with
her own weakness on her own terms was almost a match for Sonny's. Her fire
had been banked for a little while, but not totally quenched. And it was
beginning to burn a little bit brighter again, a little more every day. Lost
in her own thoughts, she hadn't noticed the man watching her from the

AJ had gone on a walk to clear his head too. He hadn't planned on seeing
anyone down here on this chilly, blustery day. In fact, he hadn't even
recognized the figure staring out over the water for a minute. But when he
did, briefly, he wondered if talking to her would get him anywhere with his
plans to get back at Carly, Sonny, and Jason.  He remembered seeing her at
the mansion with Jason. Damn, he couldn't remember what his grandmother had
been saying to her before he'd come in. If only he hadn't had those last few
gin and tonics before lunch that day… But maybe he could remedy that. He
probably hadn't made a great impression on her that day. But maybe with a
heartfelt apology and a little conversation, he could make something out of

    Before he could make a move towards her, he saw someone else coming from
the opposite direction, heading straight for her. AJ swore softly to himself.
Taggert. As usual, the long arm of the law always showed up when you least
wanted them, and never when you did.  His first instinct was to disappear,
but then something told him to stay. This could get…interesting….

    "Ms. Salazar…"

Eliana's head snapped around, her thoughts abruptly torn from her reverie.
Her dark gaze met the deep brown ones of Detective Taggert. "Detective.." she
said, more than a hint of exasperation in her voice. She was so not in the
mood for him.

"Down here all alone, Ms. Salazar? Or were you perhaps waiting to meet
someone?" Taggert said, very conversationally.

"I came down here to be alone." Eliana replied very pointedly. "I'm not in
the habit of meeting my clients down by the docks."

"I was referring to Mr. Corinthos." He nodded his head towards the warehouse
where Sonny conducted most of his business. "It would be nothing more easier
for him to take a short stroll down to the docks to meet with you, away from
all the prying eyes, you know what I mean?" his tone left no doubt to exactly
what he meant. "I know that the word, what little word there is, says that it
was Sorel that was the one that got to you, but I still don't know if that's
the truth." Taggert continued. "Sonny is a very powerful man. Plenty of
people before you have said how high when he says jump."  He leaned forward
and lowered his voice suggestively. "How high have you jumped, Ms. Salazar?"

Eliana didn't move, although the proximity of his body had produced a very
real physical reaction. She was glad her hands were in her pockets; she
clenched them to still their trembling.  "I don't jump for anybody,
Detective. Not for Sonny, and not for you."

    "What do you do for Sonny?" Taggert asked. "I've been trying to figure
that one out since the night he carried you into the emergency room at GH."

He ignored Eliana's stiffening at his implications and continued. "Sonny
Corinthos doesn't do anything that doesn't benefit Sonny Corinthos. So the
question becomes: how do you benefit Sonny? The first answer is the obvious
one, they always say. And Sonny was very concerned and protective that night.
But you couldn't have known that, being in the state you were in." He paused
suggestively. "Are you sure that Sonny had nothing to do with that? Don't
think we can't protect you from him. We can. All you have to do is tell the

"The truth is that Sonny had nothing to do with what happened to me that
night." Eliana said. Her throat was tight with rage. "I've given my statement
to the police and I don't have to talk to you. As far as I'm concerned, the
case is closed."

"Consider this a follow up. We can do it here, all informally, or we can do
it downtown." Taggert said. "Myself, I'm all for the informal approach. And
by the way, the case is closed when I declare it's closed."

     "What do you want from me, Lieutenant?" Eliana said. She wanted him
gone. Out of her face. Why couldn't he just leave her alone?

    "Just the truth, Ms. Salazar. The truth is that you are, or were Sonny
Corinthos' mistress. That somehow, you got involved in something too deep for
you to get out of. Things got out of hand, and you got hurt. All I want to
know is who did it?"

"I already told you that it wasn't Sonny!" Eliana glared at him. 'What is it?
Is Sonny not allowed to have heart, not allowed to do good? He found me, he
brought me to the hospital. He did what any other upright, upstanding citizen
would do, but that's just not good enough for you, is it!"

"If he didn't do it, then who did?" Taggert asked. Her outburst didn't seem
to have touched him at all. "And I do find it interesting how strongly you
defend Corinthos. You too must be very close."

He'd twist anything she would say, Eliana realized. Physically, despite her
best efforts not to, her body shivered as those dark memories stirred within
her, awakened once again by his words. Eliana swallowed and faced Taggert
squarely, willing herself to show nothing of what she was feeling. She knew
that if he had a hint of her emotions that he would pick and pick at her
until she shattered like cracked glass. She didn't want to think about that
anymore. Why couldn't he just leave her alone? She asked him that and added,
"Why would you want to bring those memories back for me. Do you get off on
it? Causing people pain?"

"Being around Corinthos has warped your thinking," he replied. "I want to
help stop the pain. That's my job."

"If I remember right, you doing your job sent me into hysterics." The last
thing she needed was to be reminded of that; the nightmares of last night
were still too close to the surface today. Her emotions were still too raw.
But her body remembered. Eliana's heart began to hammer in her chest and she
felt light-headed all of a sudden, as though she couldn't get enough air. She
inhaled sharply.

That tiny gasp must have given her away, in spite of her best efforts,
because Taggert was looking at her discerningly. He leaned in close again.
"Sorel may be locked up, but how about memories? You can't really lock those
away, can you?"

No she couldn't. And all of a sudden, it was a fight to keep them bottled up
inside. One hand reached out blindly for the railing. Eliana closed her eyes,
but there was no refuge there; Sorel's face danced mockingly behind her
eyelids. "Please…" the words escaped her lips before she could think.

Taggert caught himself suddenly. The look on her face and then in her eyes
when she opened them stopped his next words from ever leaving their lips. No
woman should ever look like that, haunted and hunted. For a brief moment, he
felt ashamed. He put one hand out. It looked like she might possibly collapse
any minute. "Is there anything I can do…" he asked helplessly.

"No!" She jerked away from him as though his touch would burn her through her
coat and Taggert felt a fresh wave of shame pour over him. Her voice was a
choked whisper and her eyes blazed up at him, star-bright, through a veil of
unshed tears. "Just leave me alone after this!"

She made a move to pass him. Taggert did put out his hand then, as gently as
he could, he grasped her upper arm and swung her around to face him. "I'm
sorry Ms. Salazar. I really am. But the blame for all of this lies at Sonny
Corinthos' door, not mine. Don't blame me for what happened to you. Now, are
you sure there isn't anything I can do for you?"

"Can we get one thing straight once and for all?" She jerked free of his
hold. But she didn't run. Instead she faced him, head high. "I didn't, I
don't and I never will blame Sonny for what happened. You can hound me and
harass and maybe I can't stop you. But if you're looking for a tool to take
down Sonny, look somewhere else, because you'll never use me to do it!"

The last words were practically shouted in his face. Before he could react
she was moving again, nearly running up the stairs and away from the
waterfront. He could go after her…no, he couldn't. Not today anyway.