CHAPTER 23B

"I suggest you put that glass down because I spent a lot of your money at William Sonoma buying those,"
Dara commanded, as she moved from the doorway of Sonnyís study.

Sonny put the glass down and turned towards her.  He slowly unclenched his hand.

She walked up to him and wrapped her arms around him.

"How did you get here?" he whispered in her ear, as he inhaled the scent that brought him comfort.

"Does it matter?" she whispered back.

"No," he said, kissing the side of her neck and holding her tighter.

After a few minutes and a kiss, Dara was released from the embrace and for the first time she noticed others where in the room with them.  Sheíd been so focused on Sonny, sheíd missed them.  She caught Robinís look of shock that the younger woman quickly tried to cover. AJ smiled and gave her a quick thumbs up.  And Jason as always was unreadable.  Sonny held her hand, walked her over to the sofa, and sat beside her.  And the waiting continued.
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A few hours later, Max popped his head in the door.

"Ric and Elizabeth Lansing are here to see you," Max announced.

"Tell them, I can- -" Sonny paused, seeing Dara frown.

"Heís family."

"Heís not."

"Heís as much your brother as Courtney is your sister."

"Send them in."

Ric and Elizabeth walked into the room.

"Hello, have a seat," Dara greeted them.

"Hello, Elizabeth, Ric," Sonny said, grudgingly.

"Sonny, Dara," they said in unison.

"What can I do for you?" Sonny asked, trying to keep the shortness out of his question.

"Weíre here," Ric started, then grabbed Elizabethís hand, "about Carly."

Sonny and Dara stared at each other for a moment then turned their attention back to Ric.

"What about Carly?"

"Itís about Carly and Nia, actually."

Dara watched Sonny out the corner of her eye and was amazed at how cool he remained.

"What about them?"

"Thereís no easy way to say this, but hereís the condensed version.  When you and Carly were separated. She and I had a drunken one night stand which resulted in a pregnancy."

Dara reached for Sonnyís hand and it was as if his body was made of stone.

"We took a DNA test when Carly was pregnant and the results confirmed that I was the babyís father," Ric
informed Sonny and Dara.

Elizabeth handed Dara the test results.  Dara swiftly reviewed them then handed them to Sonny.  Sonny
glanced at the papers then clenched them in his hand.

"After the baby was born, Carly insisted on a second test.  The second test said there was zero possibility
that I was Niaís father," Ric concluded.

"Zero possibility?" Sonny questioned, staring his half-brother directly in the eye.

Maintaining his older brotherís stare, Ric answered, "Zero."

Dara held her gasp inside.  Nia wasnít Sonnyís or Ricís.  Then whose daughter was she?  Carly, what have you done?

"What did say Carly say when you asked her about the differing results?"

"She told me that in utero test results are faulty."

"But my Aunt Simone said, while they werenít as accurate, there is no way there can be such different
results unless two different babies were tested," Elizabeth added.

"Dr. Simone Hardy knows about this before me?" Sonny asked Ric angrily.

"I didnít want to hurt you unnecessarily if the baby was yours," Ric argued.

"Because thatís been your chief concern since coming to town, sparing my feelings," Sonny replied
sarcastically.  "Do you know who," he paused and pinched the bridge of his nose, "who Nia belongs to?"

Elizabeth shook her head.  "We went to Jacksonville, but no one remembers Carly or any other pregnant
woman.  The hospital said Nia was the only biracial baby born that day or rather admitted that day."

"So if there was a switch, it happened before Carly went to the hospital," Dara commented out loud to no
one in particular.  She felt her leg vibrate and excused herself to answer the phone.  "Hello," she whispered, outside the study.

"Aunt Dara," the voice said quietly.

"Michael?" she asked, drawing Maxís attention.  "Get Jason," she mouthed to him.

"Yes."

"Sweetie, where are you?"

"I donít know.  Right now, Iím in the mall waiting for Dante to get back with my ice cream."

Dara popped her in the study and motioned for Sonny. Sonny and Jason arrived at her side at the same time.

"Do people speak English there?"

"Yes, but they speak it funny," he replied.

"Michael, how are you calling me?"

"This girl let me borrow her cell phone."

"Can you ask her where you are for me?"

Dara could hear Michael talking to the girl in the background.  "Theyíre somewhere in Canada," she told
Sonny and Jason.

"Auntie, she said weíre in Tornt- -"

"Toronto.  Thank you so much."

Upon hearing Toronto, Jason took off.

"Aunt Dara, can I still tell you anything."

"Of course," she reassured him, placing her hand on Sonnyís cheek.  His hand lay on top of hers.

"I want to come home.  I miss Daddy, Uncle Jason, and Stone.  I even kind of miss Papa AJ and Robbie," he confessed.

"I promise to get you home as soon as possible and your mommy and daddy wonít know we talked, okay?" she said, looking into Sonnyís eyes.

Sonny shut his eyes.  Carly had to be punished for this.  She took his kids from him as a selfish and
petty way to get back at him for divorcing her and letting Michael see AJ.  But he could see in Daraís
eyes and from her side of the conversation with Michael that he was being asked to give Carly a free
pass.  He reluctantly nodded his head.

Dara laid her head on his shoulder.

"Here comes Dante, I gotta go," Michael said quickly and hung up.

"Michael?"  She looked at Sonny.  "He hung up, but he did tell me Dante was there with them."

Dara hugged Sonny.

"Heís okay?" Sonny asked her.

"He sounded good."

Sonny nodded.

Jason coughed behind them.  Sonny released her and they turned to face Jason.

"The jet is ready," Jason said.

"Letís go," Sonny said, walking towards the front door.

Dara stopped him.  "Are we going to pick AJ and Robin up on the way to the airport?"

Sonny and Jason both gave her blank stares.

"They have to be included."

The stares continued.

"You arenít coming," Sonny informed her.

"Carly, doesnít deserve to deal with both of your wraths at the same time with no protection."

"Your friends with her?" Jason questioned.

"No, but Michael loves his mother and Iíll stand up for her for now for him."

Jason waited for Sonnyís decision.

"Fine.  Max, call the Quartermaines tell them to meet us at the gate," Sonny ordered, continuing out the
door.

"Sonny," Dara called to him again.

He paused.

"What about them?" she asked, tilting her head towards the closed studyís door.

"We bring the kids home first, then we deal with that."

Dara nodded, grasped his hand, and followed him out the door.