“AJ, will you marry me?”

“You know I always pictured my proposal a lot different. The woman on bended knee, using my full name, a ring.”

Glaring at him, Carly dropped to one knee. “Alan James Quartermaine, Junior, will you marry me?” She pulled out a platinum ring with a single, perfect diamond gleaming in the middle.

AJ took the ring from Carly and held it up to the light. “Don’t you think you should be divorced before you propose to me?” he asked, still examining the ring.

Carly got up and huffed. “I can’t believe I have to put up with you again. Reginald!” she shouted.

Taking his own sweet time, Reginald casually walked into the drawing room. “Yes?” he said with a false charm, his disgust for Carly very apparent.

“Watch me.” Carly quickly withdrew her divorce papers and signed them. “Sign here,” she commanded Reginald, shoving the pen and documents at him.

“What am I signing?” Reginald asked, perusing the document.

“Stop being nosy and just sign here where it says witness,” Carly demanded. “You’re so out of here when I become Carly Quartermaine again,” she said, under her breath.

“This family would kill you before they would let that happen again,” he fired back, under his breath. “Here you go,” he said cordially, handing Carly back her papers and pen. He smirked at her and walked out of the room.

“How do you guys put him with him and his attitude?”

“What are you talking about? Reginald is a perfect delight. And most importantly, Grandmother adores him,” AJ reminded her. “So when should the divorce be finalized?”

“I leave for the Dominican Republic in an hour and a half. Two days later, I’ll be a free woman again. I think we should get married Friday.”

“Who are we - JLo and Marc Anthony? Don’t you think you should be divorced more than 3 days before you get remarried?”

Staring at AJ, she asked, “Are you having second thoughts?”

“No, but I think it will look better and more believable to a judge if we wait a while. If you remember, there are children involved.”

“How could I? Even if I wanted to, my body wouldn’t let me,” she joked.

AJ did not return her smile.

“I’m just kidding. AJ, regardless of what anyone thinks or says, I love my kids. Mr. Man and Missy are the two people I love more than anything else in the world. I would do anything for them.”

AJ gazed directly into her eyes and was saddened. He saw Carly was telling the truth. But her own version of doing anything for them was the problem and brought the doubt to everyone’s mind. So much so, he thought his own son was better off with a gangster than with her. He shook his head. “Well, you better get going. We don’t want you to miss your flight.”

“You’re right,” she agreed, glancing down at her Rolex watch. “We’re going to nail Sonny to the wall. He won’t know what hit him. That’s why I think the sooner we get married the bigger the impact and surprise.”

“I don’t think Sonny would be expecting our remarriage regardless of when we remarried. We’ll talk more about it when you get back,” he told her as he ushered her out of the front door, closing it in her face.

AJ sighed with relief. He hated being in her presence now. He didn’t know why, but he was somehow still shocked and dismayed at Carly’s actions even after having experienced them first hand. How could she so carelessly take her children from their father and days later give them a new one? Especially considering all the issues she’s had regarding her adoption and her parents’ divorce. It amazed him that she was so cavalier about it all. He ran his fingers through his hair. He remembered the good days when he and Carly were friends. She had been a good one.

She could be so insightful, if she ever took a minute to calm down and think things through. But who was he to judge? It was only through AA and a great sponsor that he was able to be insightful and see situations for what they really were now. He wondered what it would take for Carly to get to that point. Or if she ever would?

He walked over to the phone and dialed the now familiar numbers. As the phone rang, he thought, after this, I think it’s time for a conversation with Keesha. He hadn’t talked to her in a while.

“Hello, Dara. Carly was just here.”


As the plane lifted from the runway, Carly remembered how AJ slammed the door in her face. That no good twerp thought he was better than her with his midget self. She would show him. She would show them all. She couldn’t believe she’d sunk so low that she needed to go to AJ of all people for help. But Sonny shocked her when he asked her for a divorce. Granted, she knew their marriage wasn’t in the greatest shape but she figured things would either eventually work themselves out; or they would start living his and her lifestyles, but stay together for Michael’s and Virginia’s sakes.

But “Mr. I’ll never leave you” Corinthos stunned her by walking out on her and the kids. She had been so sure he was the one who would never leave his kids. But this was just another lesson that you couldn’t count on others, you only had yourself and your mama. And her mama was buried in a cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida.

Wait, that wasn’t necessarily true, she could count on Jason. He gave up Robin, the supposed love of his life for her and Michael. She hadn’t want to draw him into her feud with Sonny because of whatever problems he was having with Courtney, but Jason loved Michael and he wouldn’t refuse to help her. Why hadn’t she thought of that before? Jason had always been there for her even when he didn’t know her from Adam. And Courtney was no match for Michael or Virginia.

Maybe she didn’t need AJ after all. Thank goodness for that small favor. She had already been having nightmares about moving into that wretched mansion. Lila was okay, but she kept mostly to her wing and her gardens. Jason wouldn’t fail her.

Though a thought did run through her head that she could leave well enough alone and go solo. Sonny gave her a nice ten million dollar settlement. He was buying her a house of her choice. He gave up all interests in her nightclub. And he was giving her fifty thousand dollars a month in child support. Plus he was paying for all school and school related fees for the kids. Taking a sip of her martini, she turned her head and looked out at the blue sky around her.

No, she couldn’t be that woman. She couldn’t be her mama. She remembered the looks that the other mothers would give her mama at school. Poor Virginia. She’s a divorcee. Poor Virginia. She has to raise little Caroline all by herself.

She remembered her mama telling her to ignore the talk and that they had nothing to be ashamed of, they were much better off without her daddy if he wasn’t willing to give his full 100% to them. But her mother’s platitudes did little to soothe her soul, she wanted to be like the other girls with fathers. She vowed she would never allow her child or children to be fatherless. She didn’t want the pity of her peers. She knew divorce was acceptable now in a way it wasn’t when she was a kid, but for her and her kids it was still unacceptable. All kids needed a male role model, both girls and boys, and her kids would have that.

Picking up the airline phone, Carly inserted her credit card and dialed Jason’s number. It was time to get back to the basics.