Entangled 9

Keesha couldnít believe the things you do for love. She was sitting at the dining room table of mob boss, Sonny Corinthos, a man she didnít particularly like and certainly didnít respect. And listening to the nervous chatter of Nene, on top of the nervous tension at the table, was working her last nerve.

She grasped Courtneyís hand, "Nene, take a breath. We all like each other, so donít worry. And even if we didnít, weíd pretend for your sake," she reassured her friend jokingly.

Keesha locked eyes with all the men around the table daring them to disagree, but Sonny, Mike, and Jason all nodded in agreement.

Courtney let out a huge sigh of relief and hugged Keesha. "Thanks, I knew I could count on you," she whispered.

Keesha nodded.

Picking up her wine glass, Courtney stood. "I would like to make a toast," she said, looking at her family sitting around the table. "Iíve always dreamt of a day when all the important people in my life would come together, well minus Carly being upstairs with my adorable new niece and nephew, and my mom at her hotel sick from food poisoning, and all like each other. Or at least like each other and tolerate my mom," she said with a grin.

Everyone chuckled at Courtneyís truthful statement.

"I want to thank each of you for making this night so great."

Courtney turned to face Sonny, casually seated at the head of the table. "Thank you for accepting me into your life so graciously. I know it wasnít easy for you which makes your gift of love mean that much more."

Sonny nodded politely. "Than you for being the best little sister I could have ever imagined."

Keesha observed Courtney as she walked around the table to hug Sonny. Sometimes she worried about her younger sister; while her speech was touching, did Nene remember this is the same man who orders the deaths of others? Love can make you crazy, but it shouldnít make you stupid.

Returning to her seat, Courtney turned her attention to her father. "Daddy, thank you for never giving up on me and for stepping back into your father role as though we had never been separated. I love having a daddy. Thank you for being mine."

Tears filled Mikeís eyes, but he didnít wipe them away, instead he reached across the table, grabbed Courtneyís hand and kissed it. "Thank you for giving me a second chance and forgiving an old man like me," Mike said through the tears, "I love you, Court."

"I love you, Daddy."

Wiping the tears from her face, Courtney turned to face Keesha. "Thank you for being the calm port and shelter in the turbulence that was my childhood. Thank you for being my staunchest supporter and toughest critic. You are my friend, my best friend, my sister, and my mother, and I never would have made it this far without you. Nor would I have ever met Jason. Thank you for being the one person I can always count on to always tell me the truth, well, besides Jason now."

Keesha felt like a stake had just been driven through her heart. While enduring Neneís hug, she saw a tinge of regret in Jasonís eyes. She ignored the regret; they were doing the right thing. She was sure of it.

Releasing Keesha, Courtney turned to Jason. "Jason, the day I become your bride, your partner for life, will be the happiest day of my life. You are all I ever dreamed my husband would be: loving, caring, protective, honest, strong, and my best friend. Thank you for loving me and being that man," she finished.

Courtney raised her grape juice-filled wine glass. "To love and family," she shouted.

"To love and family," they repeated back and clinked their glasses. So caught up in her own happy world, Courtney did not notice that no one was making eye contact with her or said her cheer with even a fourth of the enthusiasm she did.

"Iím going to check on Carly and the kids," Courtney said, excusing herself from the table.

The remaining adults sat at the table in an uncomfortable silence.

Keesha studied the people at the table. She had nothing against Mike. She didnít really know him; and all that she did know about him came from Courtney. She gave a quick glance at her watch and wondered if it would be rude if she left so soon after dinner.

Sonny stood and began collecting dishes. Immediately seizing this as an opportunity to escape the table, Keesha stood and began assisting him.

"Youíre a guest, you donít have to help," Sonny told her.

Keesha shook her head. "No, itís the least I can do for such a wonderful meal."

"Jason, Dad, come quick," Courtney said, running to the top of the stairs. "Virginia is smiling."

Jason and Mike looked at each other and raced up the stairs.

"Donít you want to see your daughter smile for the first time?" Keesha questioned as they headed into the kitchen.

"This isnít her first time. And itís not a smile, itís gas," he replied with a smile.

Keesha smiled.

As Sonny washed and she dried, she could feel his eyes on her periodically.

"Iím not going to break them."

"Humph," he replied.

She chuckled and shook her head.

"You canít keep this up for long," he said out of the blue.

Pausing mid-wipe for a split second, she threw a glance at him and responded, "As soon as the wedding is over, Iím outta here."

"You and Jason canít be naïve enough to think the truth isnít going to come to light. You are her family, sheís going to want you here at the babyís birth, christening, first birthday, kindergarten graduation."

"How old is Michael going to be when he finds out what was done to AJ to force him to sign away his parental rights? You, Carly, and Jason are doing a good job keeping that a secret, whatís one more."

She did not want to have this conversation, especially with Sonny.

"I donít know Jason Morgan. He was born and repulsed by the sight of me. The only thing Jason Morgan shares with Jason Quartermaine is a body, that's it."

Finishing the last dish and gently placing it on the counter, Keesha continued, "If I kiss Jason Morgan where his shoulder and neck meet would he quiver, Jason Quartermaine did." She took a deep breath. "Jason Morgan happens to look like the man who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with."

"Semantics," Sonny huffed.

"No, itís the truth." Keesha folded the dishtowel and placed it on the counter, too. "Tell Courtney, Iíll see her at the apartment. Thanks for dinner." She turned and walked to the door.

"Keesha- -" Sonny called out.

She stopped at the doorway.

"Think about what I said, please, for Courtneyís sake."

"Thereís nothing to think about. Jason Morgan is no more Jason Quartermaine then Hannah Scott was Brenda."

Swinging the door open, she bumped directly into Jason. He grabbed her arm as she righted herself.

"Where are you going?" he asked curtly.

"Back to the apartment," she replied in the same tone.

Jason nodded. "Letís go," he told her, nodding his goodbye and thanks to Sonny.

He grabbed her jacket and purse as he escorted her out the front door.

"Just give me the keys to Courtneyís car and Iíll drive myself."

Entering the elevator, Jason shook his head. "Courtney canít ride on the motorcycle," he informed her. "Iíll be back," he told Marcos before the doors closed.

They rode the elevator to the garage in silence. The silence remained as she followed him to his bike. Lifting the passenger seat, he took out an extra helmet and handed it to her.

"Donít you think you should ask me if I have a fear of bikes?"

"Anyone who can get into my place like you did, isnít scared of a bike. Besides, nothing in your background check said you were a coward, although it also said nothing about how you learned to bypass all of my security measures."

Good, she thought, her fake past was intact. "On the job training. Kind of like how nothing in your background prepared you to be a hitman for the mob." She put the helmet on. "I guess some things you just pick up as you go."

His blue eyes stared intensely into her brown ones.

"Letís go," he said firmly. He put on his helmet, got on the bike, and revved up the engine.

Please God, donít let me die on this machine with Jason Morgan, she prayed quietly as she straddled the motorcycle and sat behind Jason. She hoped he couldnít feel her trembling. She had never been on a bike and she was far from thrilled that her first time was with Morgan. She intertwined her fingers and cracked her knuckles. Here goes nothing, she thought. She wrapped her arms securely around Jasonís stomach and settled in.

As they merged into the street traffic, she scooted closer to him, bringing her front flush to his back. Being this close to him for the first time in years blew her senses wide open. She could smell the scent that was uniquely Jason.

Keesha clenched her jaw and squeezed her eyes shut. She hadnít cried for Jason since that day long agoÖ

She had been in town visiting when she was strolling through the park and had come upon Jason, Robin, and Michael playing in the sandbox together. Watching them was like watching all of her hopes and dreams die a brutal death. She ran back to her hotel room unnoticed and cried her eyes out. That day, she buried Jason in her heart and mind. And now she was leaning against his impostor.

Thereís a stranger in my house

It took a while to figure out

Thereís no way you could be who you say you are

You gotta be someone else

Cause he wouldnít touch me like that

And he wouldnít treat me like you do

He would adore me

He wouldnít ignore me

So Iím convinced thereís a stranger in my house

She remembered the moment when she finally understood what AJ, Monica, Alan, Justus, and Tony meant when they said, he wasnít the same Jason.

I donít understand

You look just like the man

In the picture by our bed

The suspense is pounding and clouding up my head

Iím checkiní your clothes

And you wear the same size shoe

You sleep in his spot

And youíre driving his car

But I donít know just who you are

Her Jason would have never yelled and screamed at her the way this man had. He would have never been so cold or heartless.

Thereís a stranger in my house

It took a while to figure out

Thereís no way you could be who you say you are

You gotta be someone else

Cause he wouldnít touch me like that

And he wouldnít treat me like you do

He would adore me

He wouldnít ignore me

So Iím convinced thereís a stranger in my house

The memories kept flooding her mind. Two virgins fumbling awkwardly and making love for the first time in Paris, the city of love.

Pop quiz

Tell me where we first kissed

Tell where my spot is

Tell me if I liked it, loved itÖ

But he didnít remember any of it. Damn AJ for his hand in creating this stranger. Damn Courtney for falling in love with Morgan. Damn Sonny for his sticking his nose where it didnít belong. But most of all, damn Morgan for not being Jason Quartermaine.

Thereís a stranger in my house

It took a while to figure out

Thereís no way you could be who you say you are

You gotta be someone else

Cause he wouldnít touch me like that

And he wouldnít treat me like you do

He would adore me

He wouldnít ignore me

So Iím convinced thereís a stranger in my house

 

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