Part Twenty-nine

Jason decided before Keesha arrived that if she glanced at his legs before looking into his eyes it was over between them. The love she professed couldn't be real. Hell, it wasn't real. How long did it take for her to say the words? He stiffened, hardening his demeanor for her arrival. He wouldn't be swayed by the softness in her brown eyes or the curve of her full lips. He had to remember that without the use of his legs he would be a different man and not a man Keesha could love.

The door swished open. Jason held his breath, waiting.

First, her face peeked through and then the rest of her. She stared straight into his eyes and rushed to his side. Without looking once at his useless limbs, she took his hand in hers and raised it to her cheek. The ice cold shell around his heart melted into a liquid pool of nothing.

"When Matt told me you wanted to see me, I came right over," she said. "How are you?"

"Stationary." He glanced at her watch. "You left work to come here."

"Not exactly. I've been suspended from active or desk duty. I was at home when Matt called."

"He called. I didn't tell him to call."

Her face fell. "Oh." The touch of her hand on his relaxed. She lowered it to her lap. "I see."

Jason's heart constricted. "I didn't mean that."

"What do you mean?" she asked, staring down at their hands. "I want to be here with you. Do you want me here?"

He couldn't lie. "Yes."

"Then why are you pushing me away?" she asked, slowly resting her gaze on him.

"Because I don't want your pity."

"Good. I don't have any to give," she answered.

Jason inhaled a ragged breath. "They don't know if I'll walk again. I'll be in a wheelchair. I won't be able to make love to you the way I did before if at all."

"There's more to us than love making," she said. "I've been doing some research online. Unless the doctors have told you differently, you're fully operational. You shouldn't let something like sex keep us apart."

"Not when it brought us together," he said quietly.

"Yeah," she agreed. "Sex was the catalyst that reunited us, but there is more. Love makes us strong. I love you, Jason. It's taken me a long time to come to terms with it, but now that I have, I'm not turning my back on how I feel or on you. I am here for you. Have faith in me."

That's what he needed from her. Those words and her assurances. He reached for her, pulling her into his arms. "I do. Baby, I do."

# # #

Dara lied to Sonny. All of the arrangements for the move hadn't been made. She just didn't want his help. So instead of accepting it, she called on an old friend.

"There's really not much you need to pack," Lois said, after checking Hope's closet she joined Dara in the other bedroom. "A few dozen stuffed animals—"

"Courtesy of Mike," Dara said.

Lois smiled. "The doting grandfather. Be careful of them. They're known to spoil granddaughters rotten. She has quite a few clothes. I'm sure courtesy of her mother and father."

Dara nodded sheepishly. "I couldn't resist. I guess I'll have to be careful of spoiling her, too."

"Don't be too hard on yourself," Lois advised. "You're allowed to indulge."

Dara groaned. Some indulgences led to disaster. She remembered the kiss. The taste of Sonny's lips on hers. The feel of his tongue as he parted her lips and plunged inside. The emotions that rippled through her. The desires and need that almost made her make a mistake and forget everything else except how it used to be between them.

She buried her face her hands.

Lois touched her shoulder. "What happened? Oh, my God. You and Sonny..."

"Is it so obvious?" Dara moaned, looking into her friend's caring blue eyes.

"You made love!" Lois all but squealed. "This is fantastic!"

"Lois!" Dara jerked away from her friend and began to pace. "We didn't make love and there would be nothing fantastic about it if we did!" Lois burst into laughter. Dara pointed her finger at her. "You know what I mean!"

"No, I don't," Lois said amid her chuckles. "Sonny and I have always been strictly platonic. Would it be wrong of me to assume that he's fantastic in bed?"

"Lois! Cut it out. I can't think about him in that way. It's wrong."

"Why is it wrong?" Lois questioned. "And don't tell me it's because he's married. I've been looking for ways to save him from her for years. If you can do that, I am all for it."

"Thou shalt not commit adultery."

Lois released a loud, exaggerated breath. "I know, I know. But you and Sonny never had real closure. You never got a real chance to see where it could lead between you. Don't you think you deserve a shot?"

Dara shook her head. "There are too many factors involved. Carly and their son, and Hope...she wants us to get back together. I can't even entertain the idea of seeing what could happen with him at the expense of hurting her."

Lois went to Dara, grabbed her upper arms and squeezed. "But what about you? What about what you want?"

"I don't want to get hurt," Dara answered honestly. "We kissed last night and it was wonderful, Lois. More than wonderful, better than great. But it was wrong. I slapped him and before he left, he said that there are no second chances. He's right. It's over for us. He has a life with Carly. I have our daughter."

"And that's it?" Lois asked, her eyes wide with disbelief. "That's all you want?"

"No," Dara said, shaking her head. "I want to know that I haven't hurt Marcus and right now, I'm not sure that I haven't. Let's talk about something else."

"Sure." Lois grabbed the remote control and turned on the television.

Tiffany Hill's morning show was coming to an end. A news break interrupted the closing credits. A reporter stood in front of the courthouse. He stated that the DA finally had an indictment against Michael "Sonny" Corinthos and more would be reported as the news came in.

"I don't believe it," Lois said under her breath. "Justus never said a word."

"You know he's not supposed to." Dara rubbed her throbbing temple. If it wasn't one thing, it was another. Hope's father behind bars. Shit.

# # #

"These charges are ridiculous and you know it!" Alexis shouted at Alex in the middle of the squad room. "I want my client released right now!"

"You've been here enough times for your client to know the drill," Alex replied through gritted teeth. "He's been formally charged. The hearing to decide on bail is across the street. Not in my squad room."

"I know the last time I was here, the charges were false—"

"Don't, Alexis," Justus said, entering the squad room. The officers milling around became quiet, intrigued by the scene before them. Justus gave Alex a pointed look who moved away to talk to his officers. Justus took one step toward Alexis. "You're making yourself look like a fool."

She flinched.

Justus continued. "You and everyone else know that the blood on Corinthos' hands are bright red. Nothing you can say, no matter how you try to spin it can erase what happened on the South side."

"Your delay in arresting him proves this case isn't as cut and dried as you'd like for it to be. A detective and a former detective were on the scene. Have either of them been arrested?" Alexis snapped.

"A good question," Justus responded smoothly, "but none of your concern. If I were you, I'd get to that bail hearing. Judge Foster looks badly on tardiness."

Alexis' face turned bright red but she offered no comeback. After glancing at her watch, she quickly stormed from the squad room. As she exited, applause rocked the room as the officers cheered and whistled catcalls. Alex told his officers to get back to work and he and Justus moved to his office.

"She's a wildcat," Alex said, closing the door. "Very possessive of her 'client.'"

Justus chuckled. "You noticed that, huh. It's that bad boy thing. Women gravitate to it like a moth to a flame. I'll never understand it."

"Me either," Alex mumbled. He sat and gestured for Justus to do the same. "What she said about Marcus and Keesha. What's the fallout gonna be for not arresting them?"

"Their possession of arms was legal." Justus shrugged.

"Marcus's bullet killed Joseph Sorel. We can't ignore that."

"No one has," Justus said. "The formal statement is that at this time, the District Attorney has no cause for an arrest against Taggert or Ward. If a Grand Jury must be called to back me up, then so be it."

# # #

Carly told Letitcia to stay in the penthouse with Mikey and that if anything came up, she could be reached on her cell. Then, she grabbed her purse and rushed from the penthouse. As luck would have it, Dara and Lois were already waiting at the elevator.

With one glance into Dara's eyes, Carly knew the other woman knew about the arrest. And the words came out of her mouth before she could stop them.

"He doesn't need your help."

"I know that," Dara said.

Carly wasn't sure if she believed her. Sonny still hadn't cleared up how he felt about Dara. And it would be a cold day in hell before Carly asked Dara. First Alexis with her puppy dog eyes all over Sonny and now this. Her fingers gripped the handle of her purse until her knuckles turned white.

"She's going to get Hope," Lois said just as the elevator arrived and the doors opened. The three women stepped inside followed by two burly bodyguards. "Tell Sonny I'll talk to him later."

"Right," Carly snapped. "It's your boyfriend who issued the arrest warrant. I'm sure Sonny would want to talk to you, friend."

Dara's hand shot out and closed around Lois' arm. The brunette shrugged it off. "I am Sonny's friend, but Justus has a job to do. Think about that. You know what. Don't give Sonny any messages for me. I'll give them to him myself."

"You do that," Carly retorted.

"I will."

# # #

Lucky heard the news about Sonny's arrest. His first thought was of Hope and how she was taking it. He knew she was spending the day with Mike. He left work early and dropped by the Recovery Room on the chance she'd be there. She stood behind the counter with her grandfather. Dimples flashed as she smiled and laughed. Relief swept through Lucky. She didn't know, yet.

A blush colored her cheeks when she saw him. He smiled back and waved as he claimed a stool in front of her. "Hey."

"Hi."

Mike's eyes cut from Lucky to Hope and back to Lucky again. The older man frowned and mouthed the word, 'fifteen.' Lucky nodded. He didn't need the reminder. It was already stamped on his brain. If he really was lucky, the three year wait wouldn't be too difficult.

"Laura lets you off early for lunch," Mike commented. "It must be nice working for family."

"What do you think, Hope?" Lucky asked, not upset by Mike's teasing. "You're wearing an apron and standing back there with him. Is it easy working for family?"

She shrugged, smiling at her grandfather. "It's not so bad. What can I get for you? You like root beer floats, right?"

His eyebrows shot up. "You remembered. Nice. Yes, ma'am. I'd love one."

"Okay. I'll be right back. Grandpa Mike keeps the ice cream in the back."

Lucky waited until the doors swung closed behind her. "I know she's too young, Mike. We're just friends," he said before Sonny's father busted his chops. "I came over to make sure she's okay."

"Why wouldn't she be?" Mike asked, the frown returning. "I can take care of my granddaughter without a baby-sitter looking over my shoulder."

"No, Mike. It's not that. Sonny was arrested a little while ago. It's all over the news. I wanted to make sure that Hope didn't hear about it in a bad way. "

"What?" Mike questioned. "Arrested? On what charge?"

"The reporters haven't been clear on it. I'd guess it would have something to do with Sorel. You want me to tell her?"

"No, I got it," Mike said. "Thanks for coming."

"No problem."

A few minutes later, Hope returned with Lucky's float. The three of them moved to the far end of the counter. Mike told her about Sonny's arrest. Lucky nodded to confirm what Mike said. Wetness shone in her dark eyes. Lucky could tell she didn't want to, but she started to cry. He placed his hand on her shoulder, gently patting. Then, she was in his arms.

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