Author's note I've been struggling with this story for weeks now, and I'm not entirely sure how pleased I am with it, so I'm posting it as is, and if any of you have any comments or suggestions, I'm more than happy to hear them! This was originally supposed to be a one-shot story, but I'm thinking of maybe turning it into a longer one, so also, let me know if you think I should or not! Enjoy!!

The song is Before You by Chantal Kreviazuk

Carly Corinthos sat alone at her table at Kelly's, staring blankly into the untouched cup of cooling coffee Courtney's replacement had set in front of her. She couldn't stop thinking; her mind was in definite over drive. That damned fire. Ever since the hotel had gone up in flames, her life had been a mess. Sure, it was safe to say her life had been a mess before that, but the fire really was the breaking point. Almost dying would do that to you; it would bring everything into perspective.

Over the sounds of clinking silver and dishes, Carly could faintly hear the song playing throughout the diner. She recognized the song and strained to hear the words.

Baby before you
Well I was bad news

In letting me love you

I think I can get through

She smiled then, realizing how well the words fit her. More than one man's love had definitely saved her. Before all of them, she had been a person difficult to love, hell, to even like.

She thought back to when she first came to Port Charles. She barely recognized the person she had been back then. Stealing her mom's husband, then shooting him in open court. The memories made her cringe. She had honestly thought she loved Tony at one time, but she knew better now.

And then there was Jason. Her knight in shining armor. Her best friend. Jason would always be her rock; he would always be the one she knew she could turn to. He had made that apparent yet again when they had been trapped during the fire.

It was ironic, she thought, thinking back to one of their first nights together. He had seemed so disconnected to everything and anything. And then they would be together and he was so focused on her, so attentive, so caring. They had tried to keep it sexual, but even then, Carly knew. They both knew there was a bond much stronger between them. That didn't stop Carly from testing him more often than not though.

Oh baby before you
I was so scared

I was a train wreck waiting to happen

On the way to nowhere

Sonny. He consumed her thoughts more than anything else. Of all the men in Port Charles, he was the one to get to her. He was the one that got her. And that one simple fact made her crazier than anything else.

He always teased her that he knew from the beginning that they were meant to be together. She would laugh and call him a liar, but he would swear that from that first night to the first wedding, right on through to the first divorce and then the 2nd wedding. It was love and he wasn't letting her go.

And now I think it's kinda crazy that you say you love me
you tell me that I'm crazy then you smile

They had both called her crazy. More than once. Carly closed her eyes and she could hear Sonny's voice saying the words. Jason's too. Maybe she was crazy, she realized. Maybe that could explain what she was doing right now, what she was putting everyone through.

And now I think I'll get through
the end of the world

And now I think I'll get through

Being a girl

Now I think I'll get through


Now I think I'll get through

She sighed, remembering just how much she had grown up since coming to this town. She had gone through so much, from men, to careers, to well, everything now was different than it was then. She couldn't imagine where she would be now if she hadn't met Jason or Sonny. Would she still be married to AJ? Living at the Quartermaine mansion under the evil glares of Edward? The thought made her shudder and she quickly pushed it out of her mind.

Living with Sonny definitely had its dangerous moments; no one could dispute that. From bomb threats, to car accidents, to bed hopping, they had survived it all. And they had done it together.

For the most part.

Now baby before you
there was just a black hole
Yeah I was beat down, blacked out

My darling you couldn't even know

But ever since I met you on that cloudy Monday

I can't believe how much I love the rain

Tears now stung her eyes as she thought of Michael. Her Little Man, she had been so unprepared for him. Hell, for the first year or so he didn't even know who she was. He had changed her in so many ways; she didn't even know where to begin. Everything she did, she did for him. As far as she was concerned, he was the first person she truly loved completely. And Morgan, he was still so little; he didn't even know what was going on.

Pain stabbed at Carly's heart as she realized there was a chance he wouldn't even know who she was, just like Michael hadn't. She thought back to that night he had been born, at the house in the thunderstorm, and how, before passing out she had promised him the world. Yet now both her sons were hurting. Jason was hurting. Sonny was hurting. And it was all her fault because of one moment of weakness. That one stupid moment that could end up costing her the most important things in her life. Was it worth it? Was he?

Now honey around you
I'm feeling so good
'Cause you picked me up out of the rough
and you polished me up and made me brand new

The truth was, he wasn't. No matter what she did or where she was now, he would never be worth her best friend, her husband, and her family.

The song had finished playing long ago, but the words still haunted her. It was all there; it was all true. Before them, she had been a shell of the woman she was today. They had all taken part in shaping the stronger person she had become, and she couldn't forget that, no matter how she had tried.

And if she had to deal with bullets and explosions and fires and deceit, so be it. If living that life meant being with the ones that mattered most, she could make the best of it. She could make things better. She had to.

Sonny had said it the best, the night of the hotel fire, after they had fallen through the floor. "I've never loved and hated anyone as much as I love and hate you right now."

She took a deep breath and pushed her chair back from the table. She only hoped she wasn't too late.