Justus Ward

One weekend trip to Philly and Justus returned to find everything jacked up. Of all of Sonny's men, Sly seemed the best candidate to move up in the ranks. Justus pushed for him and Sonny offered no opposition. Hell, Sonny barely did anything without his dimpled, compact lover at his side.

Justus shook his head as he thought of that unlikely pairing. Sonny Corinthos and Dr. Ellen Burgess. Their relationship caused tongues to wag. Mightily.

But back to Sly, where the hell was that kid? Justus returned to an empty penthouse and overdue accounts. Any organization was only as good as its lowest employee. Sly, as one of the youngest front men, had been their best. The kid was happy with his promotion. So, why did he blow it off?

Justus dug into the books, taking matters into his own hands. As the pile decreased, he decided a break was in order. He raided the fridge and grabbed a beer. After slapping together a ham and turkey sandwich, he carried it all into the living room. He sat, ate and thought about his trip back home.

Home.

Funny, after all his years in Port Charles, Philadelphia still was home. His roots were there. The Ward side of his family brought him back to earth while the Quartermaines kept him on his toes. Edward heard about Justus' trip. The old man called. Although he never said it, Justus sensed Edward didn't want him to go. Their paths didn't cross much since Justus joined Sonny's organization. Hell, a lot of things changed then. For one, his relationship with Keesha. The disappointment in her eyes reminded him so much of their grandmother. He didn't want to think of what she'd say if she were still alive.

The telephone rang. He answered.

"Justus, is that you?"

Speak of the devil. "Yes, Edward."

"Come to the mansion."

"Why?"

"Do you need a reason?" the old man countered. "You can go to Pennsylvania, but you can't come across town to see me."

Justus groaned. Why should he even bother? But he agreed anyway.

"I'll be there."

~*~

Cars lined the circular drive. Justus had to park on the street and walk almost a mile to reach the house. He frowned as he silently counted the cars. Then, he remembered the date. Emily's wedding was just around the corner. Today was her bridal shower. Edward picked one helluva day to invite him over.

Reginald wanted to announce him. Justus quickly talked him out of it. There was no need to disturb the ladies. He could find Edward on his own. The harried butler didn't object.

Some time had passed since he'd last been at the mansion. New paintings adorned the walls. A different atmosphere seemed to hang in the air. One of anticipation. Probably because of Emily's upcoming nuptials.

"Ah, Justus, Reginald didn't tell me you'd arrived." Edward pressed his lips together as if he didn't want to appear too eager. "Come with me into the den."

"What about Emily's shower?" Justus cocked his head to the side. "I can hear them."

"They're in Lila's rose garden. Come." Edward headed for the double doors. He opened them and walked inside, obviously expecting Justus to follow.

He did. All the while wondering what was on his grandfather's agenda this time.

"Edward, I'm here. Let's get on with it. I have a lot to do--"

"That's why I called you." Edward moved to the bar. "Would you like something? Scotch on the rocks or a whiskey neat."

"Nothing except answers."

Edward poured brandy into a snifter and sipped. "I've heard that things aren't as they once were with Corinthos. I know what that means for you. You'll be expected to be in control of everything."

Justus nodded knowingly. "And this worries you. Me with power."

"No, to be honest, it terrifies me."

"Now, we're getting somewhere."

Edward's expression tightened. In a hard, fast movement, he set the snifter on the bar. "No! I'm scared for you. You're a target, more so than you've ever been before. No one at the Corinthos camp is reliable. You're not safe. I don't wish to bury my grandson. I've already lost one. I won't lose another one. Come back. Be head counsel in ELQ's legal department. Move in here."

The old man's impassioned pleas stunned Justus. He thought he'd heard it all. This conversation proved him wrong. "Now, I'm your grandson. After all this time."

"You've always been my grandson. I want you here. I want you safe. But I won't beg." With that said, Edward stormed from the room and slammed the door.

Justus stood still, incredulous. Maybe this didn't happen. Maybe he was still at the penthouse, half-asleep on sofa. He dreamed Edward's call, showering, shaving and splashing on some funky citrus cologne he found in the bathroom. Perhaps, none of this was real.

The French doors opened. He looked to his right. A petite brunette stood there. A woman he would never dream of even though he had never been immune to her beauty. God, this was strange.

She closed the doors behind her. "Hi. I'm surprised to see you here."

"Not as surprised as I am," he admitted. "I didn't know you were back in town."

"I'm no longer on Sonny's radar," Brenda Barrett said. "My arrivals and departures are no one's business but my own."

He nodded. That was true.

He stepped back. "Well, if you would excuse me…"

"Wait." Her head tilted to the side. A dark flush colored her cheeks. As she came closer, he noted the dreamy look in her dark eyes. What would she look like sprawled across his bed?

Embarrassed by his thoughts, he laughed softly at himself. He pulled his sunglasses from his pocket and pushed them onto his nose. His face became a stoic mask. She didn't need to be privy to his thoughts.

To his surprise, she was not deterred. Brenda sashayed her trim hips as she came to stand just inches from him. A wide smile claimed her painted lips. She looked him up and down. Her tongue darted out. She licked her lips as if it was the Fourth of July and he was a plate of ribs.

Have mercy.

He cast a nervous glance toward the French doors. She giggled and reached up to caress his cheek. Her fingers felt cool and soothing to his hot skin. The single touch did incredible things to the rest of him. His blood poured to one strategic spot, rendering him almost mindless.

What the hell was going on here?

"Don't worry about them." She slid her arms around his waist and inhaled a long, deep breath. The tips of her breasts became obvious. Justus tried to look away but couldn't.

"Brenda…" His voice sounded choked.

"There's always been something about you, Justus. I've wanted to get close to you for years, but the time was never right. The time is right now," she declared.

He swallowed hard. What?

"I know you want me." Her thigh slid up between his, rubbing him. Arousing him. Further. "You're a take charge man. Exactly what I want and need. Will you take charge of me?"

How could he turn down an offer like that?

"Oh, yeah."

They locked the doors and succumbed to their desires, two more victims of the mysterious Chick MagnetÒ .

To be continued…


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