Allusions and Illusions

Carly sat back in her chair, stretching her body with a soft groan. That was it, she decided, and shut off her laptop. Some of this stuff was just going to have to wait. I am going home to my family. And it’s all going to have to wait. Then she remembered about the meetings she and Laura had tomorrow and sighed. She started putting folders and stacks of printed out spreadsheets into her briefcase. Well, I can go home, have dinner with Sonny and Mikey and then finish up these reports. At least I can put my feet up while I’m doing it. “Learning this stuff was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.” She said out loud to her empty office. “But it was worth every minute.”

Learning spreadsheets and working in databases had been one of the hardest subjects Carly had had to tackle. No, that would be her tendency to hatch plans to get what she thought she needed. Unlearning that was proving to be the hardest things she'd ever had to do…Carly closed her eyes and stretched again, an unconscious smile coming to her lips…Sonny had been right. As soon as she’d stopped running, as soon as she’d learned to just let things be, everything she’d always wanted had just fallen into her lap. A house…no a home; a loving husband, a family… and respect. She liked the new her she was becoming.

Picking up the last of her folders, she remembered that there were some notes she’d needed to get from Eliana, but had forgotten. She knew the other woman had left early that day. Eliana was flying out later that night, but she needed some R&R time beforehand. She smiled again; Eliana had had the right idea. She’d just swing by Eliana’s office on the way out and then she was heading straight for home. It was a cold, wet night, the end of fall, and Carly would be glad to back to the penthouse. Starting a fire in the fireplace was sounding like a great idea. If Eliana was at Jason’s, they could do a little brainstorming, or the four of them could just sit around the fire and relax. A night with just family. Who would have ever thought they’d all gotten here to this point, when for once, they were all really happy. Eliana’s arrival in their lives had really been a blessing to all of them, Carly thought.

Carly took the elevator down to the next floor. Stepping off, she noticed some of the lights were on in the designers’ department. Carly thought she’d check it out, and was unpleasantly surprised to find Elizabeth. Liz looked up from her drafting table and it was obvious from her expression that she was just as unpleasantly surprised to see Carly as Carly was to see her.

“Working late?” Carly said.

“Don’t worry, the overtime was cleared by Laura. She wanted some mock-ups on her desk first thing in the morning, and since Ms. Salazar had left early, I volunteered to finish up the work she’d left.”

“Not that I’d expect you to know, but Eliana has out-of-town business to take care of” Not that it’s any of your business either, she thought. Carly didn’t like Liz’s tone of voice, the way she spoke about Eliana’s business. Who was she to question Eliana’s comings and goings? After all, Eliana was a department head and Liz was just another designer. But the implication was clear in her voice, that Liz was trying to insinuate that Liz had been forced to stay behind to clean up a mess that Eliana had made. No doubt she’d done it in front of Laura too…For the billionth time, Carly wished that Laura hadn’t offered Liz a job.

“Well, either way, I’m here,” Liz was saying, “and the work is being done. It’s all for the good of the company, so let’s not make a big deal out of it, okay?”

Carly didn’t buy Liz’s act for a minute. Her eyes narrowed briefly as she studied Liz’s face. Something wasn’t right here.

Inwardly, Liz was laughing. Why no battle of words for you Carly? You think you know it all, don’t you? But you don’t. I can see it in your face. Wouldn’t you like to know what’s really going on? I can look right thru you and see that. God, you’re so transparent. The fact is, I don’t have to bother with you. Pretty soon, Eliana will be out of here…and with Laura on my side, she will be more than happy to offer me her spot; once that’s done, Jason and I will find each other again. That’s what AJ had promised her

Carly left things as they were, she was tired and in no mood to deal with Little Miss Muffin Face. She did promise herself that she’d keep a closer eye on Elizabeth. She found what she needed in Eliana’s office, double-checking the lock on the door as she left, then thankfully headed downstairs. Home was sounding more and more like a great idea…She stepped out of the lobby to see a familiar, but another unwelcome face.

“AJ, what are you doing here?” Carly asked. “Have you lost what’s left of your mind?”

Max, her bodyguard, was already moving between the two of them. AJ tried to step around him. “I want to talk to you about Michael.”

“There’s nothing to talk about, AJ. You’re a drunk and you’re not getting anywhere near him. End of conversation.” She headed for her car, while Max held AJ easily at bay.

“It isn’t right that he doesn’t even know who I am! I’m a Quartermaine, one of the most respected families in this city…But it’s all right for a mob boss, a career criminal to play daddy? He’s a nothing!”

Carly was determined to ignore AJ, but turned around, angered at his words. “Sonny, a nothing? It’s you that are the nothing, AJ….Those so called high and mighty Quartermaines are the biggest hypocrites in Port Charles. I wouldn’t be so quick to boast of any connection to them. And none of them respect you anyway! Sonny is caring and compassionate and loving. That’s what Sonny is…who loves you AJ?” She saw that her last words had cut him, and unthinking and uncaring, she went on the attack. “The fact of the matter is, no one loves you. But Sonny has love in his life, and I have love in my life, and even Jason has love in his life…but you…you have nothing and no one and as vindictive and small minded as you are, you can’t stand to see anyone else happy.

“You don’t want Michael for Michael…you want him to get acceptance from your family. You think if you bring home the prize, you’ll get the love from your family that you are so pitifully and pathetically scrambling after. But you’re never going to get it, AJ… you are weak and pitiful. You’ll never know what it is to have love in your life…so just do me a favor and stay out of my life. Go away and stay away…and don’t waste my time any more tonight…Some of us have someone to go home to.”

Her car was pulling from the car, leaving AJ standing alone. “Some of us have someone to go home to.” He mimicked Carly viciously. “But some one doesn’t…not any more.” AJ grinned a shark-toothed, sadistic smile. “I’m a nothing? Well, watch while this little nothing does a big something…Your beloved little family is about to get blown all to hell, Carly. Enjoy.”