~ Shadows and Light ~
After breakfast at Kelly's, Lucas took Gia on a tour of Port Charles' highlights. There were a few places that caught her interest but not many. He finished the tour at what Gia guessed was his favorite hang-out, the skateboarding park.
"So, what do think?" he asked, dropping his board to the sidewalk. "Think you'll stick around for a while?"
Gia shrugged. "It's possible. There's nothing holding me in Brooklyn, that's for sure."
He brushed blonde bangs from his eyes. "No boyfriend waiting for you?"
She laughed. "You don't pull any punches, do you? Nah, I don't have one right now."
"Why not?" he asked, pointing to a bench. They sat side by side. "Got burned?"
"Not exactly," she answered. "There was a guy, but it wasn't right."
"That's a personal question," she said, looking away from him to watch the skaters show off in the skate boarding pit.
"So?" Lucas countered. "You know more about me than most. You know about my mom and her revolving door of boyfriends…about how my dad is loony tunes…about my wicked new half-sister…and my messed of thing with my ex-girl."
"Maybe I don't like to talk about myself as much as you do."
He laughed. "You'd have to be a brand new species of female to not what to talk about herself. Come on, Gia, spill the beans. I promise it'll stay between us. Tell me about him."
Gia hadn't told anyone the real reason why she split Brooklyn, not even her brother. Maybe getting it off her chest would get things into perspective. Besides, Lucas was right. She usually enjoyed talking about herself. Especially when the guy was a cutie.
"Remember, you said you won't breathe a word to anyone. If my brother finds out…I don't wanna deal with that scenario. Agreed?"
Lucas extended his baby finger. "Pinkie swear." He and Gia locked baby fingers and shook. The agreement was made.
"You see this tattoo?" she asked, lifting her leg to give him a better view of her ankle.
"It's Chinese, right?" he asked. "What does it mean?"
"In English, it can be translated to mean 'taken', but for the Triads, it has a deeper meaning. More like possession. Some kinda crap like that."
"Your boyfriend was in the Triads?"
She looked down at ankle and then lowered her foot down to the ground. "It's a junior version, but yeah, he was a member. I hooked up with him when staying at home became boring. I'd see him on the train, checking me out. At first, I tried to ignore him because of the gang thing. It wasn't like he tried to hide it, but then after a while, it looked kinda exciting, you know. So to make a long story short, we hooked up."
"So, what happened?" he asked. "Why did you split?"
She shifted on the bench to face him. His easy manner made it so easy to open up. Too bad he didn't live in her neighborhood in Brooklyn. She sighed. "It was too much. It started off exciting, but then it got scary. And then, there's the race thing. I'm not Chinese and some of his boys didn't like that. It's not the life for me. I mean, my mom's a nurse and my brother is a cop. It was destined for failure."
Lucas nodded. "Was the break up mutual?"
"Not likely," she said, "so I split. He doesn't know about my brother here so unless Marcus decides to be cute and send me back, I'll be okay."
"What about your mom?"
"She's okay. I wouldn't have left her otherwise."
"Wow," Lucas commented. "That's some story. What are you gonna do now?"
"I'm hanging here if Marcus will let me. Eventually, Chin will either forget about me or get whacked by someone. Until that happens, I'm staying the hell out of NYC."
"Yo, Lucas!" a kid called from the skateboarding pit. "You gonna chit chat all day or are what? I got five on you today, man! Get your ass out here!"
"Idiot. I'll tell him to wait," Lucas said.
"Nah, that's cool. I wanna see you out there. I'll wait. Go get your boy his five."
"Okay," Lucas said. He pulled a helmet, elbow and knee pads from his backpack. As he put his equipment on, he said, "I lose track out there so whenever you're ready to head back, let me know."
Gia watched as Lucas disappeared into the pit. Even from her ignorance about the sport, she could see that he was pretty good. She smiled when he did high flying stunt and cheered.
"I bet you don't do that nearly enough."
The low masculine murmur caught her by surprise and she jumped. Trying to play it off, she grimaced and rolled her eyes at the nosy stranger. She tried to ignore that with his shoulder-length black hair and penetrating light blue eyes, he created a striking figure. His skin was pale but that did little to deflect from his good looks. "What?" she asked, becoming mesmerized by him.
"Smile. Mind if I sit?" he asked, pointing at the space that Lucas vacated. She shrugged and he sat. "I'm Caleb."
"Good for you," she said, trying hard to fight the effect he was having on her.
He smiled. "What's your name?"
"Gia," she answered without a second thought.
"Gia," he said softly, as if he savored the taste of her name rolling of his tongue. "Beautiful. Would you believe me if I told you I'd been searching for centuries just for you?"
Unable to look away from his probing stare, she shook her head.
With the back of his hand, he brushed a few tiny braids from her cheek. "Well, you should."
"What do you think?" Monica asked Jason as they returned to her office.
"Cassadine is doing a good job of running the place," he answered, sitting on her sofa. "Everything looks great. Up to date and top of the line. General Hospital is looking good, Mom."
"Boy," she said, taking a seat beside him. "You sure know your way around a question. You know I wasn't referring to Stefan Cassadine's management style. I was referring to you. Interested in returning to medicine?"
He knew this question would come. Keesha had been patient with him in making decisions about his career goals, but he should have known the family would have something to say about that. "Um," he began, rubbing his hands together, "I'm not sure."
"Either you are or you're not," Monica coaxed. "I'm not trying to rush you, but the choice is here if you want to take it. Sweetheart, I'd love it if you wanted to come back."
"I know. That's what I'm afraid of." He laughed. "Seriously, I'm thinking about it. Being a doctor was all I ever wanted before and I still have those feelings inside me. I'm just not sure if I'd be a good one. Not after all the other stuff I got into after the first accident. Working in the mob…" He shook his head. "How could I have ever chosen that line of work?"
"I don't have the answer to that," she said. She gently stroked his cheek. "None of that would be held against you if you wanna go back to medical school. I'll make sure of it."
"Mom, I did it. Whether or not it was because of brain damage, I have to accept the consequences." He sighed. "Give me a few more days to make a decision, okay? I need to talk to Keesha about it first."
"How is that working out?" Monica asked. "You seem happy and she does, too."
"We are," he said. "That's the best part about being me. I have Keesha." He leaned forward and kissed his mother's cheek. "I'd better get out of here. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I'll talk to you later this week."
"I love you, Jason."
He smiled. "I know, Mom. I love you, too."
Sonny groaned as Kevin started to close the blinds. "Do you have to do that?"
"Doesn't the darkness help?" Kevin asked, pausing as he held onto the cords. "Doesn't it make it easier to talk?"
Sonny grunted. "Not really. Leave them open."
"From today and this day forward." Kevin let go of the cords and went back to his desk. He sat and grabbed his notepad. "Ready?"
"Might as well be," Sonny said. He inhaled a long, deep breath and asked. "What do I talk about today, Doc?"
"The subject you've been avoiding the most…women."
Sonny laughed. "You need advice or something?"
Kevin smiled. "Not today. Let's start with your mother. What was her name?"
Laughter faded and Sonny felt his throat tighten. "Adele."
Kevin made notes. "What's your earliest memory of her?"
"I'm 3 years old and she's singing to me in Spanish…some kind of lullaby. I try to sing along, but I don't know the words. She laughs, smiles and sings to me anyway."
"What's your favorite memory of her?" Kevin asked.
"That one," Sonny said in a choked voice. "That's the best one. Life hadn't taken a crap on her, yet."
"What do you mean by that?"
Sonny looked away from Kevin and towards the window and the waning sunlight. "Mike walked out on us and Deke walked in. He was a sorry SOB. A cop, you know. He thought the uniform made him a man. It didn't make him sh**. He was nothing but a bully. If there was any honor to being a cop, he took it all away the minute he put the uniform on.
"He hated me at first sight and wanted her to give me away. I was proof that she'd been with another man and he hated that. He hated me for it. He'd always throw a fit about me and say that she should leave me at the orphanage. Momma refused. She wouldn't do it. Sometimes, I wished she would…"
"Why is that?" Kevin asked.
"He beat me. All the time. Over anything or nothing at all. When he couldn't get satisfied with a beating, he throw me into a closet and lock the door." Sonny drew in a harsh breath. "God, I hated the dark."
"Did your mother do anything to stop it?"
Sonny bristled and cut his eyes to glare at Kevin. "What could she do, man? Deke was a big man. She couldn't take him on. She tried, but he'd just turn on her."
"How long did this last?" Kevin asked amid the scratching of his pen on paper.
"Do you think this affected your later relationships with women?"
In flashes, the faces of Karen, Brenda, Lily, Robin, and Dara appeared to him. Slowly, Sonny nodded. "Yeah. I always thought I knew more of than them. Sometimes, I wanted to protect them. Other times, I wanted to destroy them. Oh, yeah. All of my relationships were affected. Every last one of them."
"That was great!" Brenda clapped wildly and Ned released a few cheers, too.
"Dara, you're gonna have them eating out of the palm of your hand," Ned told her. "Keep giving your all like you've been doing in rehearsals, you'll be the talk of the music industry. No doubt about it."
Dara smiled. "You're laying it on a little thick…but I like it. Don't stop!"
The musicians on the stage behind Dara laughed as they put away their instruments. Ned and Brenda laughed, too. The camaraderie of the musicians and management made the whole idea and reality of a tour bearable. Dara had no doubts that L&B Records would stay by her side and guide her musical career without any problems. And the musicians were a dream. Each of them, from the drummer to the saxophone player knew and loved music. They also seemed to like Dara a lot and that didn't hurt at all.
"I was a little shaky at first," Dara admitted to Ned while Brenda consulted with the musicians. "I'll have to work on those bars some more tonight."
Ned shook his head. "No, you don't. Just get some rest. That's all you need."
"Yeah, maybe so. Mac and I were at the hospital most of the night. He's concerned about Katherine."
Ned nodded. "I've called to check on her, too. Our marriage wasn't a love match, but you know…"
Dara patted Ned's arm. "Yeah, I know."
"So, how is this affecting Mac? Do you want to postpone the tour?"
"Mac is worried about her. She hasn't regained consciousness. I asked him if he wanted me to wait, but he's adamant that nothing stops this tour. He has big dreams of me making it big and giving him a guitar-shaped swimming pool." She laughed. "Go figure."
Ned wagged his finger at her. "That's your future you're making light of. I can see it happening. You have the voice and the sparkle. You're a star waiting to happen, Dara."
"Maybe so, but that's not why I'm doing this. I really enjoy singing, Ned. When I see people enjoying my music and getting into it, it makes it so worthwhile. It's not about the money. It's about the joy."
Ned wrapped his arm around her and they headed towards Brenda. "I hear ya. I'm not sure if Eddie Maine can stay locked down forever. Watching you get ready is getting to me. I want to be up on that stage with you."
"Why don't you do it?" Brenda asked, as they reached her. "If Dara doesn't mind, I think this could be great! Can you imagine the PR?"
"I see those wheels turning," Ned said, taking Brenda's hand. "We'll have to see."
Dara smiled at the couple. "Work on him, Brenda. I'd love to have Eddie Maine sing some duets with me."
Her cell phone rang and she excused herself to answer it. "Hello."
"Hi, sweetheart. It's me," Mac said. "I'm at the hospital. Katherine is showing signs of waking up. The doctors are with her now. I just wanted to let you know."
"That's wonderful news! I'll be right there."