Clarity of the Confined

( sonny & connie )

shattered ♥ perceptions

Disclaimer: I do not own GH.


I'm falling for you
I'm falling for you
I'm falling for you

I have got a sweet obsession
You have captured my attention
How am I gon' get me through the day?

Tried to get you out my mind
But damn, you creep in every time
Oh boy, I never thought I'd feel this way

-- Fallin' for You, Eva Avila


Something was terribly wrong with this situation, or at least that was the path her thoughts were choosing to follow at the moment. Thoughts? What thoughts? That her life was coming crashing down around her? She could hardly even begin to form said thought let alone think them. But she had the distinct feeling that she would be okay, if only because he was and had been here with her all day. He hadn't left her side once today, in fact.

"Sonny, what am I going to do?" She asked throatily, trying to push down the emotion. Stop the tears. Control her breathing.

But it felt so much better to just let it all out, everything she'd been holding in for all these years.

Sonny was the one thing in her life that reminded her of who she'd once been -- and she was growing to miss it. Regret it. Everything she'd been set against never letting grow, but it had and she hadn't even been aware of it.

He probably knew it, too.

His arms tightened around her reassuringly before he folded a leg underneath him and sat down on the couch that was brushing against her leg, pulling her gently down to sit in front of him so that he could look at her. His hands were running up and down her arms rhythmically, soothingly, trying to comfort and it worked; she was surely but slowing starting to relax. She was glad she was sitting down.

"We," Sonny started, squeezing her hands, "are going to talk with Diane and figure out what we're going to do about this. She can get you out of this, Connie. She did it with Jason and his charges were a lot worse than yours. But you're not going to prison, alright?"

She nodded, more to appease him than anything else; she was skeptical, pessimistic... Beginning to doubt her ability to get out of this.

He must have seen the doubt flickering in her eyes because he took her chin in his hand, forcing her to look at him and, with eyes expressing their intent clearly enough, sincerely as ever, he vowed, "you will not go to prison."

Scowling, she stood, pulling her hands out of his. "You don't know that, Sonny."

"Well, I don't know, I think I do. I'm not going to let it happen." He frowned at her, throwing his arm on the backrest of the couch. "Just a few minutes ago, I could've sworn you were positive you were getting out of this. Why the sudden bleak outlook?"

"And just a few minutes ago, you were telling me I could spend another six months there, Michael, so excuse me if I don't take your words at face value." She snapped back, feeling her stomach bubble with dread. The prospect of losing everything -- her respect, her career, the people who so relied on her... Everything she'd been working for her entire life was a grim picture in her mind but above it all she saw two sixteen year old children, happy and in love and living a free life...

It seemed so much more important to her now.

"Can you count on them? Can you -- can you trust them? If you -- let's say you disappeared tomorrow. You don't think they'd give their private numbers to the next editor in chief?"

His words reverberated in her mind, swirling around and around and she knew he was right, reluctant as she was to admit it.

She didn't know what to do anymore, it was true.

But not just about the possibility of being locked up.

Sonny knew when she was so far gone so as to call him Michael, there was something wrong. He figured it was something more than just this situation she'd gotten herself into. "Look, Connie, I said it because it's the truth, you could go to prison, these charges could stick." Standing he walked over to her until he was only a breath away from her. "But I can't swallow the thought of you sitting in prison as if you belong there, wearing something I'm sure would never meet your standard's in regards to fashion." He joked, hoping to lighten the mood a little.

He was standing so close to her and she wished she could just lean back against him and take in what he was saying and believe it without a single doubt, but her thoughts were screaming at her, telling her to run and run far away from this man from the past. They were getting too close, too comfortable, too everything. Turning around was not one of her smarter thoughts as when she found herself practically in his arms her intentions flew out the window.

'No, stop it, stop it, stop it.' She thought restlessly. Shaking herself free of the spell Sonny seemed to have on her she pushed by him, heading for the door.

"As much as I'm enjoying this visit..." Connie trailed off, picking her purse up off the floor and turning back to face him, still standing at the doorway out onto his patio. "I have things I need to do."

In mere strides, he was across the room. Taking her purse from her hands, he threw it onto the empty couch and guided her towards the chair, sitting her down forcefully. "I don't want you to leave. Stay here for the night. I don't want you to be alone right now, not after what I just saw."

Anger flared inside her and she would have stood if not for the fact that he was sitting on the coffee table in front of her, his hands braced on either side of the chair, barring her in and something in his eyes told her the regardless of what she did or said, she wasn't going to be leaving anytime soon. Still, she wasn't going down without a fight. "Sonny, I am a grown woman, able to make my own decisions. You cannot keep me here against my wishes!"

"You are a grown woman yes, able to make your own decisions yes." He agreed. "But you're scared right now. Emotional. You'd be better off having someone around you."

"Clarice?" Connie suggested.

"You can't stand her."

"Sonny, I don't care what you think, I'm leaving."

"You are not."

"Why are you being so difficult!?" She raged, trying to push him away and failing. Glaring at him, she crossed her arms over her chest and leaned back, continuing on with her spiel. "If I need someone with me as you say, then we -- I -- can find someone. What makes you think you have to be that person?" Pushing her hair out of her face, she corrected herself. "What makes you believe you are that person?"

Watching her intently, he smirked. "I think you and I both know that I'm the only one who can deal with you when you're like this."

"Please. There is nothing to 'deal with'." She retaliated.

"I disagree." Sonny replied, his voice laced with restrained laughter.

A knock on the door broke them both out of their interaction and they both watched Max as he opened the door, bringing bags in with him; Connie's bag. "Mister C, Miss Howard." He nodded. "Miss Howard, would you like me to take your bags over to your house for you or should I just leave it here?"

Connie made to say something, but Sonny cut her off. "Actually, Max, can you take her bags upstairs? Ms. Howard is going to be staying here for the night." He grinned.

"I am not! Max, please, just take them to my house." Connie protested, hitting Sonny's arm.

"I, uh..." Max wasn't sure whose orders he should follow and he was growing more and more amused by the pair in front of him.

"Kate." Sonny said, looking back at her. "Don't confuse Max, he's too busy."

"Um, actually--"

"Sonny, you are overreacting once again! Why are you always doing this? I'm perfectly fine and able to help myself and if I want to leave, I will leave."

"Don't bet on it." Sonny said, motioning Max up the stairs.

Connie sent the infuriating man's body guard a pleading look and Max sent her a crooked smile in which she could see a little bit of sympathetic apologies. "Not what you signed up for, huh? Sorry, but the boss is the... Boss." Connie felt a wave of defeat wash over her at Max's knowing words. She sure as hell did not sign up for this, he was damned right. She voiced her thoughts and Sonny laughed.

"So, fine, I'll stay. Happy now?" Connie asked, waiting for Sonny to move. "Well? What are you waiting for? You're not going to keep me confined to this chair all night, are you?"

"I don't know, it's a pretty nice idea..."

"Oh, get off." She said, barely keeping the corners of her mouth from turning up.

Chuckling, he complied to her requests, standing only to take a seat on the couch. Max came thumping down the stairs, his overly expensive shoes clicking with each step and he looked on at the scene before him -- much more calm residents of the house situated on either sides of the furniture -- and smirked. "Won again, boss?" That earned him a sharp glance from the woman in the room, but he either didn't see it or he ignored it.

Sonny turned his head in his friend's direction and made a clicking sound with his mouth. "Ah, well, I knew I had her from the beginning anyway."

"I am sitting right here." She threw in.

Max nodded. "Right. Well, if you need anything, I'm just outside." With that, he left the room, closing the door with a soft click.

Immediately, Connie put her hands over her face and moaned. "Oh, I have so much work to do."

"No work."

She went still, entirely too still; and then, sliding her hands off her face, she retreated from the chair and went over to his table that was covered with sparkling glassware and poured herself a drink, taking it outside with her. Sonny raised his eyebrows questioningly, at her choice of drink and her retreating back as she opened the door and walked outside without a glance back at him.

He followed, resting himself against the stone railing of the patio, looking down at her. She was cradling her glass with both hands, idly swirling the liquid around and around, following it with her eyes that he couldn't see properly.

"That was too quiet for you, Connie." Sonny teased.

"Oh, I'm sorry. Would you like me to yell and scream for you now, because I can if you'd like and I will. I mean, I have to follow your orders to the mark anyway, am I right? No leaving, no work -- what next, boss? When exactly are you going to tell me you've hired me to be your newest servant or bodyguard or whatever you call your guys like Max?"

He sighed in response. "Why is it so hard for you to just... Stop. To let yourself enjoy a single night in your life with no interruptions and mention of work? That's a pretty dull life, Kate Howard, not even you can deny that."

"Must I remind you that I understand what you think of my life? I'm well aware you're more or less disappointed in what I've done with myself, I don't need to hear it again." She said, sipping her drink.

"I'm not disappointed in what--"

"Yes, you are Sonny." Connie laughed. "I can't believe you're actually going to try and tell me that you aren't."

"I'm not." He shrugged. He watched as she placed her drink down far away from her and frowned, curious. "I just wonder why you're so ashamed of your life back in Bensonherst."

"I'm not ashamed." She said in a resigned voice. "It was just a name change, that's all. I hid my life, not because I was ashamed," she emphasized, looking up at him. "But because it was what I needed to do to get to where I am now. I've never forgotten Connie Falconeri, Michael." She eyed him on her last word, judging how he reacted to her admission, to what she'd been denying to him ever since they'd been reintroduced to each other's lives. "I hope you don't mind me calling you that, but even if you don't, I reserve the right to."

Again, he shrugged. "I don't mind if you call me Michael. It's only fair, right? And we all know how much you love to be right up there with everyone else, doing what everyone else is doing." He smiled.

She smiled to herself. "Yes. I can't help it." She looked over at her drink when she said that, but looked away just as quickly. Picking it up again, she turned to him and held it out for him to take. He did, but not without giving her a look asking her why. "I can't have it."

"This isn't one of those, 'I've gotta watch myself and my wei--'"

"No, it's not." She shook her head, walking back into the house and settling herself down on the couch.

Sonny left the glass on the table and situated himself beside her, waiting. When she didn't say anything, he took a guess. "Let me guess," he said and she looked up at him. "You have -- or had -- a drinking problem once?" He didn't actually believe what he was saying, he was merely guessing, but when she averted her eyes and looked anywhere else in the room but her, he was genuinely shocked. "Wait, no. You didn't?"

Connie cleared her throat. "I did, yes."

"Why?"

"I don't know. Sometimes it was hard..."

"Being someone you're not?"

She cut her eyes back over to him. "I suppose so." She laughed nervously. "It was stupid, very stupid, but it happened. I let it happen, kept going back to it. And then finally, I knew I had a problem when I woke up in the morning after a night of events I couldn't remember anything about."

"It's hard to beat."

"You don't seem the type."

Sonny laughed outright. "I certainly am, but you'll just have to take my word for it."

"Hmm." She said, biting her lip.

"So, Connie, what would you like to do?"

"Work."

"Aside from everything you've been banned from."

"Unbelievable." She muttered, to herself, pulling her legs up on the couch and nestling her side into the pillows. "I don't know, Sonny, what is there that I can do? What would you like to do?"

"That's a terrible question." He grinned.

She rolled her eyes at him, smiling and holding back the laughter he seemed to get out of her so easily. Swatting his arm again, she settled back down. "You're terrible, nevermind the question."

"You don't really mean that. I mean... I believe you've described me as astonishing." The corner of his mouth quirked up even higher at her at once flustered look. "Terrible is contradictory..."

"Astonishingly annoying, perhaps. Or, if you so prefer it, astonishingly terrible."

"Maybe you were just so out of it in bliss you can't remember any of the lovely things you said to me that day." Sonny grinned and sidled closer to her. "And you said and did some pretty lovely things that day..." He murmured and Connie shot up off the couch.

"I..."

"Dad, Dad!" A voice came shrilling down from upstairs, followed closely by drumming footsteps and before Connie knew it Michael was standing in front of her, looking up quizzically. Morgan came ambling down after, talking aloud to himself, repeating everything Michael said; it warmed Connie's heart and she couldn't help but smile. And then she felt it, ever familiar, the pang of longing and regret in her chest and she moved herself out of the kids' way, off to the side of the room, tinkering with this and that.

"Why is Kate here, Dad?" Michael asked. Connie didn't look over.

"Yeah, Dad, why is Kate here, Dad?" Morgan repeated, earning from Connie a sweet smile that she kept to herself before she turned to face the kids, her hands clasped behind her back. Sonny, she noticed, was watching her, trying to catch her eye but she kept her eyes focused on the kids until he gave up.

"She has to stay here for a while." Sonny answered airily, offering no details.

Though she could guess that they would ask for them.

"Why though?" The older boy asked.

"Yeah, why?" The youngest mimicked.

"Well... She's not feeling too great today and I didn't want her to go off and be alone." Sonny answered truthfully.

"Oh." Michael said, waiting a beat before he turned to look at her. "What's wrong? Are you okay?"

"Yeah, what's wrong?" Morgan asked, before running over to her and giving her a hug.

Connie let out a surprised laugh before kneeling down to Morgan's level. "I'm fine. I just had a... Particularly bad day, is all. Thankfully I have such a good friend like your father..."

"He is a good friend." Michael agreed. Morgan attested to it, as well and Connie couldn't stop herself from laughing at his antics.

"Yes... He is." She finished, looking up at Sonny. Their eyes met and something passed between them, faint but intense. She looked away first.

"What did you come racing down here for, Mike?" Sonny asked in an attempt to redirect the conversation, making room for his son on the couch. "And where's Leticia?"

"Well, Morgan and I were wondering if we could have some ice cream. I know you have some." Michael smiled. "Morgan wouldn't stop asking me to come down and have some with him, so..." He sighed. "I left my video game. And Leticia..." He paused, a habit he'd picked up from his father. "Leticia was on the phone... And she didn't look so happy. That's kinda why I came down, to, you know... Leave her alone."

Sonny nodded and looked at his boys. Slowly, he broke into a smile and stood, hitting his head to the side in the area of the kitchen. "Alright then, ice cream it is." He chuckled. "After dinner."

"Aww, Dad, come on!"

"Yeah Dad!"

Connie smiled as he shot his kids a mock scolding look. "No dessert before dinner."

Michael sighed dramatically. "Fine."

"Do you wanna help me make it?" Sonny asked the pair and they nodded happily. Sonny looked over at Connie, still standing on the other side of the room and frowned. Her gaze was faraway, her eyes glazed over. Bending down to whisper in the boys' ears, he smiled when they both looked at each other and agreed, running into the kitchen only a moment later.

"Con--" He caught himself, deciding to use her fake persona just in case. "Kate?"

She snapped her head around to look at him. "I'm sorry."

"For what?" He asked, confused.

"Zoning out." She laughed nervously. "Did you want my help, too?"

"Actually no. Just stay here and we'll be back in a little while." Sonny winked at her before strolling off into the kitchen.

Connie watched him walk off and waited until he was gone to let out the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding. It was always difficult being in this house when his children were here, reminding her of what she'd given up...

But she'd made that decision! She should be able to deal with it, to handle her emotions regarding it.

Walking over, she practically fell onto the couch and curled herself up on it, draping the blanket that was resting on the back of it over her. And she thought. Something she did quite a bit when she went back to her empty apartment building, house, hotel room... She picked idly at the tassels hanging off of the woolen blanket. She'd once dreamed of growing up and being a mother; it had been her inspiration for everything. Whenever she'd walked around in Bensonherst and seen the mothers with their children, raising them to be responsible, loving and caring human beings... She'd vowed to do just the same, to be a wonderful mother, a doting mother.

Sonny had been a big part of that dream. They'd often talked about children's names, what gender child they'd want first, how many children they'd want... Sonny had told her she'd make a fantastic mother and she'd said the same to him, that he'd be a fantastic father.

One of them had gotten their dream, at least.

And now what? She was going to wonder if maybe... What? She wanted to pursue the delayed dream now? To maybe shake up her life a bit, change some things around? Get involved, seriously, with someone and become what she'd always wanted to be?

"Impossible." She said to herself. "It's impossible now, I'm too involved in everything. I've worked too hard for this."

She didn't feel very convinced by her own words, though and that alone frustrated her to no end. That was what made her angry, grief stricken, saddened... That she could once say no, push everything all away.

And now that Sonny was back in her life and becoming quite the part of it, she was being swallowed up by...

Connie Falconeri.

Connie and her previous life. Connie and her previous dreams. Connie and her previous love.

It didn't help having Sonny calling her by her name everytime they saw each other, pushing memories back into her head.

"Kate, Kate, look!" Morgan cried from somewhere around her and she snapped out of her reverie, looking around for the boy until she saw him ambling into the room from the kitchen, coming up to her with a wine glass in his hand. Thankfully, it wasn't full of the liquid it was made for.

It was simply filled with something she'd made known to Sonny she could not, would not eat. Chocolate. Chocolate mousse with strawberries topping it off.

"I, why..." Connie said, pulling herself up into a sitting position and taking the glass from the boys outstretched hands. "Thank you, Morgan, that was very sweet of you. I thought your father said there was no dessert until after dinner though?"

Morgan nodded emphatically. "Yeah, but... He said he wanted to make sure you liked it, first."

Connie scowled internally; the scheming... Smiling, she took the spoon that he was now holding out for her and took a small bit of the chocolate mousse, slipping it into her mouth. Immediately, she regretted it; it was absolutely mouth watering. He sure knew how to pull a punch. "I think it's absolutely lovely, Morgan and you can tell him that for me."

"Okay, I will! Stay here, okay?" Morgan said, not waiting for a response as he ran back into the kitchen.

Amused by the boy and annoyed at his father, she started picking at her nails, glad she'd been broken out of her more depressing inner rant and was now able to move onto something much more... Likeable.

She didn't have enough time to start thinking about anything though, as the three musketeers walked back into the room, carrying cups, bowls and plates all toward her. She didn't realize how much time had passed as she'd sat in here alone -- at least forty five minutes, maybe an hour. They were making their way outside, laying everything down on the weathered table, ready to be feasted upon. Sonny sent both of the boys back in to get her and she let Michael and Morgan take each of her hands and lead her outside, where Sonny flashed her his dimples with a discreet smirk meant only for her before she sat down in a chair across from Sonny and Michael, beside Morgan (her newest admirer it seemed).

"Doesn't it look good? My Dad can cook really well." Michael informed her and she smiled softly, looking up at Sonny and catching him looking at her; not that he cared. It was probably his intention anyway.

"Yes, your Dad would make a fine chef. And the both of you, I'm sure, would be fantastic assistants."

"Fantastic!" Squealed Morgan, already digging into what more than likely looked to him a week's worth of food.

"Can you cook, Kate?" Michael asked, eating slowly.

Connie laughed and Sonny answered for her. "If I'm not mistaken," he said memorably. "Kate can't even boil water."

"Really?" The boy said it as if such a thing couldn't possibly be true. "My mum's like that, too. She always order's stuff."

Connie smirked at that little revelation.

"Does she now?"

"Yeah. But it's okay. She a junk food junkie. She likes pizza especially." He shrugged. "So it's not all that bad, I guess."

"I'll bet." Connie said, twirling her fork around before taking a bite. Sonny was grinning at her, she could see and she glared back at him, but continued to eat the food that sat in front of her. She was actually really hungry; she supposed it might be better if she wasn't always almost starving herself. She wished, fervently, she could just pig out on something like this on a daily basis, but that would never do.

Like she'd said to Sonny a million times, she had an appearance to keep.

Really, she did.

But she couldn't deny that Sonny was excellent, right in line with some of the top chefs whose food she'd once tasted. It was nice, to be able to enjoy something like this.

'It's like you think it's impossible.' She thought sarcastically.

It was in her world.

And it felt really odd to classify it like that. She did not live in a separate world.

"I'm so sorry, Mister Corinthos -- I mean Sonny." Leticia corrected at the look he sent her way as she rushed out onto the veranda. Obviously he was trying to instill in her that they could be on a first name basis with each other and the young woman was finding it difficult to get used to. "I just -- well -- there was a bit of a, a family problem. I'm terribly--"

"Leticia, Leticia, calm down. It's alright, don't worry." Sonny held up a hand, emphasizing all of his words. She relaxed dramatically with his reassurance behind her and smiled at the company in front of her. "Why don't you join us?"

"Oh, I couldn't--"

"No, please." Sonny implored.

"Well... Alright."

And so they finished their meal in silence, everyone still revering over Sonny's exceptional cooking abilities. He took all of the compliment's in stride, being perfectly modest. Until, of course, Leticia took the boys back up stairs to Michael's awaiting video game and Morgan's land of toys that kept him busy for an endless amount of hours. Connie figured it had less to do with the toys and more to do with the idol that was his big brother, but she said nothing about it, instead following Sonny into the living room and sitting down once again.

"So my cooking was really that good, huh?" He asked, flashing his dimples that she melted at every possible sighting for.

"You're so arrogant."

"But it's pretty good? I could see you loved it." He prodded her further, wanting her to admit that he was quite good at something that she wasn't. It had always been in Connie's nature to be the best at something and she wore it proudly; to finally beat her down off her high horse, well... It was an accomplishment -- small, maybe, but still one all the same.

Connie waited a few moments, a sly smile forming on her face before she spilled her thoughts. "Yes, Sonny, you're cooking is to die for." Turning her head to the side, she looked at him and watched his victorious reaction out of the corner of her eye. "Yeah, yeah," she said when he winked at her. "Yes, you win in that department and quite fairly. Have you ever thought of becoming a chef?"

"Sure, once I did, a long time ago."

But he left it behind him, the thoughts. And he'd chosen this life.

And he was happy with it.

'Our one big difference.' Kate thought and nearly choked on her own words. She did not just think that -- she was happy with her life.

"How about," Sonny changed the subject. "We go outside for a walk. Being crammed up in here isn't all that exciting."

"A walk?" Connie asked in confusion.

"Yeah, you know... That thing you do using your legs..."

"I know that." Connie snapped, rolling her eyes. "What I meant was now? At..." She looked up at the clock. "Eight thirty?"

Sonny shrugged. "It's not that dark yet."

She looked him over once, dubiously, as if trying to gauge if he was pulling her chain or not. Sighing when she realized he wasn't joking, she stood. "I suppose so. I'm sure you'll drag me out there whether I like it or not anyway."

"You don't think I'd do that, do you?" He asked teasingly.

"Hm."

"What's so bad about a walk outside?" Sonny asked, following her out into the foyer where Max and his brother, Milo, fighting, stopped instantaneously as the pair came into view. The brothers nodded in acknowledgement and Sonny told them where they were going and that they would be back shortly.

"Do you need anyone to go with you?" Max asked, ever at attention.

Sonny shook his head. "We'll be fine on our own."

Connie stepped out first and turned to him as he started at a relaxed and casual pace, hands in his pocket and eyes set on the sky. "There's nothing wrong with a walk, I just... Well, I could never do this in Manhattan. And not," she added quickly. "For the reason you think, it's not at all about work. It's Manhattan that's the problem and the select few people that roam the streets after hours."

Something about her tone of voice caused a shiver to crawl down his spine, a shiver of apprehension. "Sounds like you know what you're talking about." Sonny hinted, looking at her with a mixture of concern and something else she couldn't quite place.

"Yes, well... There's a lot of stories that are bounced around in Manhattan. It's terrible, the things that happen out there."

"And?"

"And what?" She asked demurely, trying to throw him off a bit.

It didn't work. He gave her the look that said she'd better spill it now and she sighed. "And perhaps it might've happened to me once." His eyes darkened at her words and she laid a hand securely on his arm. "But it was just a minor harassment, nothing more. He chose to try it in bright daylight, none too subtle. Anyway, I was fine and I am fine now, it doesn't bother me anymore. I'm just more careful now, more alert and rightly so."

"Why did you stay in Manhattan after that?" Sonny wondered aloud. Was she asking for it to happen again?

"Sonny," Connie tutted, shocked that he would even ask? Obviously her method of trying to drill a certain important aspect of her life into his head wasn't working, especially in the area of how important it was. "My business is out there, why would I leave it all behind? It made absolutely no sense to leave over something that almost happened."

"It could have."

"Yes, well, maybe, but I wasn't worried."

"You don't need to tell me that. I can see."

"Well, good." Connie finished with finality, signaling her wish to end this particular conversation.

They finished their walk in silence, walking in and around the moonlight-illuminated trees, enjoying the view of the twinkling stars above their heads and bathing in the soft caress of the cool wind billowing out and around them. At the door, Sonny stopped her and he had a grin on his face that told Connie she should be more than just a little scared for what was to come.

"What are you thinking of now, Sonny? Just tell me and get it over with." She said, sighing and his grin only widened.

"Remember that promise I made to you?"

"Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no."

"Oh, yes. Come on, Connie, let me teach you how to swim! I meant what I said, you know..." He said, taking steps closer to her, his voice lowering by octaves. "I have a heated pool... Just you and me, nobody has to see you panicking and holding on to me..."

"What makes you think I would panic and hang onto you?" Connie said, playing his game and lowering her own voice.

"Just this feeling I have." Sonny chuckled, backing away from her and holding the door open. "I hope you have a bathing suit." He said, clicking his tongue.

"I never did agree to this." She replied.

"Yeah, well..." He rebuffed, shrugging and pushing her up the stairs as they made their way into the living room. "I know how badly you wanna learn anyway, I can see it in those beautiful eyes of yours."

"Flattery," Connie laughed, shocked, letting him push her. "Will not work!"

"Bribery?"

"No."

"Really? We'll just have to see about that, won't we?" Sonny threatened and instead of pushing her up the stairs, pulled her back against him, wrapping his arms around her stomach and lowering his lips to her neck. "If you'll come in with me..." He murmured, trailing kisses and nips up to her earlobe and teasing it with his tongue. "Then I will continue this, or something close to this, when we are done..." He felt her intake of breath as he bit her ear gently.

"Okay, okay." She said, shakily, nervously, pulling herself out of his grip. "But I don't need... That... At all. No. Just... No. I'll be back in a minute." Connie said, falling over her words as she stumbled up the stairs and into her room. Shutting the door, she leaned against it for support and breathed deeply, trying to calm her raging hormones and racing heart.

At the bottom of the stairs, Sonny smiled victoriously, immensely pleased with himself.


"No, no, no, I can't do this Sonny, no." Connie implored, wondering why on earth she'd ever agreed to this. The second she'd set her eyes on the expanse of blue water, she admitted she'd been having her second thoughts… But now, with her feet being lapped at by the liquid substance…

"Come on, Connie!" He was incredibly proud of himself for even getting her this far. "I made you a promise." He continued, now eyeing her. "A promise I intend to keep."

"No, no." She said, pulling her hands out of his. "I will be just fine watching you from afar… In this… " She waved her hand nervously, dismissively. "I'm sure the kids would enjoy my company much more."

"You've told me several times that my kids torment you, and," he sped up his talking as she moved to correct him about her thoughts on his children. "And," he paused, "I think they're having fun on their own right now." Grinning, he motioned with his head. "Come on, how hard can it be?"

"Don't get all playful on me, Sonny, it's not going to work."

"Who's getting playful? If anything…" He trailed off, raising his eyebrows at her. Scowling, she tried to take a step back but he'd grabbed her hands again and she found that moving was rendered impossible.

"Sonny, I don't like the water!"

Flashing those irritatingly distracting dimples, his eyes lit up with mock surprise. "I could not tell!" Determined, he started pulling her further into the water. "Come on. The sooner you trust me--"

"I do trust you, Sonny, I just--"

"The sooner you'll know how to swim--"

"I don't need to learn how to swim!"

"And the sooner," he said, "you'll be able to get yourself back into the safety of the house." He pronounced each of his last words carefully, putting emphasis on 'safety' and 'house'; she couldn't stop from laughing at him in disbelief.

Dubious, she stared him straight in the eyes and he stared back just as passionately -- why did he want her in the water so badly again, she asked herself? She was just about to voice her question when he spoke again.

"What is the worst that could happen, Connie?" Sonny queried, watching her intently, genuinely curious about what she thought was going to occur if she stepped into the water.

"I could…" Tearing her eyes away from his, she looked around them helplessly. "Drown?" She finally answered weakly and the tremble of her body was becoming more than obvious to the man in front of her.

"And you think I'd just let you drown?"

"No, but… It could still happen, I mean, I've seen different cases, different reports. It doesn't take much to happen and it does happen, Sonny, even when there are tons of people around!" Breathing shakily, she closed her eyes. Opening them seconds later, she continued her rambling, getting lost in her fear. "And there's so much of it and it's so deep and-"

"Con--"

"And do you remember Richard Ferguson?" She waited for his ever so patient nod before moving forward. "Well, one summer when we went to Coney Island, he told me he'd almost drowned! Naturally, I asked him how it happened… And he went into this big speech about how, what it was like and whatnot and I…"

"He spooked you." It wasn't a question so much as a statement of fact from him but she responded as such.

"Yes, he did." She admitted, looking embarrassed about it but trying to keep her voice haughty.

"You don't have to be embarrassed Connie, everyone is afraid of something…"

"I'm not embarrassed! Not at all, I don't know what you're talking about!"

Raising his eyes to the heaven's, Sonny decided not to argue with her about how she felt at the moment and instead tried to coax her slightly further into the water. "You've seen me swim."

"Yes."

"And?"

"And, you can swim very well. I was always jealous of you for that, which you already know."

"I won't let you drown, I'll be staying right beside you the entire time. If you get uncomfortable, that's fine, but you've got to at least try." He said. Shaking his head, he added, "Connie Falconeri was no coward."

"Kate Howard." She corrected, though she knew it was futile. He would never cease his constant misuse of her name until she finally backed down and admitted that that was who she was. Under her breath she muttered, "and I am a coward when it comes to this…"

"What was that?"

"Nothing. You've just told me that many times and, well, I get it, Sonny, truly." She lied, a hint of nervousness entering her voice. "I…" Closing her eyes and contemplating for a moment, she finally decided to just do it. He would keep his word… He wouldn't let her drown… Besides, it was stupid to think she would just… Drown like that, right? "No, no, no… Not stupid…" She reassured herself quietly. "Okay, I'll do it but…"

"But…?" Sonny repeated, smirking in victory.

"But," she said, swallowing thickly. "But you can't let go of me."

"Well, I'm going to have to at some point--"

"Sonny!"

"Alright, alright, not letting go, right."

Reluctance evident, Connie let Sonny slowly pull her into the water. She didn't miss the looks he was giving her, his eyes raking up and down her figure. Irritated for letting herself get pulled into this situation she snapped at him. "Eyes are up here and water is all around us."

Sonny chuckled. "Touchy."

Shooting him a withering look, she shivered as the water began to get deeper and deeper, immersing her feet, her knees, her thighs… The further she went the more her heart became trapped in her throat. She had never in her life gotten this far into a pool, an ocean, a lake, anything that had such an amount of water in it.

"And here I thought you were a gentleman."

"What?" He shrugged, grinning amused. "I haven't seen you in a bathing suit for a long time. Besides, the water suits you."

"So you're going to stare at me!?"

"Well, if you would move a little faster you might be covered up and then I'd have nothing to stare at. Not really, anyway."

"Look, I'm going as fast as I can, okay? This isn't easy at all, it's actually very, very difficult."

"I'll bet. Sometimes I wonder how you ever make it through a shower or a bath."

"Witty." She sighed.

"This is quite an accomplishment," Sonny revered.

"I'd have to agree."

Silence elapsed between then for precious few minutes in which Sonny felt himself becoming more and more proud of the woman in front of him with each step she took, fighting the feelings that had to be eating her up inside while Connie's thoughts started to trail back to more and more unpleasant thoughts as the water slowly started to swallow her body up from view.

"You know, I can't drown. If I drowned, or if something happened, what would happen to my magazine! The people!"

Sonny sighed.

"I would… I would be devastated!" She exclaimed, not really knowing what she was saying.

"By your logic, you would be too dead to be devastated." Sonny supplied, but she either ignored him or didn't hear him. Her thoughts were racing through her mind, each as tempting as the next.

"Clarice would be lost! Everyone would be relying on me but I'd be too busy lying in the morgue!"

Watching her become more paranoid by the second, Sonny let go of her arms and instead placed them on her cheeks, forcing her to look at him. "Stop, stop." Rubbing his thumb leisurely and soothingly along her skin, she finally made eye contact with him. "You've made it this far, why stop now? Stop thinking about--"

"Drowning."

"Right, drowning, because you aren't going to, alright? I'm not going to let anything happen to you, so relax."

Slowly, Connie's pulse began to slow as she breathed in and out deeply and she let her hands rest on his forearms while she tried to calm herself down. "I'm sorry."

"You have nothing to be sorry about."

"Oh please Sonny, we both know that isn't true at--" She cut herself off with a scream as she jumped in panic, swinging herself around in the water only to come face to face with what had grabbed her foot.

Or rather, who.

"My god, Michael, oh my…" Connie sputtered, placing a hand over her racing heart.

The young redheaded boy was watching her curiously and guiltily as he wiped his eyes free of the water he'd just been submerged it. "I'm sorry, Kate. I didn't mean to…" He trailed off when Connie shook her head.

"No, no, it's fine!" She laughed shakily, wrapping her arm under Sonny's and around his shoulder, staying close to his side. Sonny winced at the grip she was inflicting upon his innocent shoulder and squeezed the thigh that was resting against his own in a plead to loosen that grip. She complied, though warily. "There's no more of you waiting to scare me, I hope?" And she really did hope.

Michael shook his head. "Uh, no. Why are you…?" He eyed the adults' closeness.

"Kate here," Sonny started. "Is afraid of the water. And why are you out here so late?"

"Oh. Leticia said to come and ask you and I might have, well... Decided to just come in." Michael explained sheepishly to his father. Watching his father sigh, he decided he would rather get the spotlight off of himself. "Why are you so scared, Kate?"

"Oh, it's just a little… Childhood thing." She sighed, lowering her eyes to the water speculatively.

"Is my dad teaching you how to swim?" Michael asked, looking at his father appreciatively. "He taught me how to swim -- he's the best around! He could help you, right Dad?"

Sonny nodded while Connie said, "he sure is trying…"

"I could help!" The boy announced.

Sonny laughed and Connie's eyes widened; she thought it was bad enough being out here with Sonny, but with Michael? More could happen with a child hanging all over her, trying to help. Sighing, she couldn't deny that Michael looked good and ready to help though so she smiled and told him she would feel much better having the both of them around.

Michael smiled and dived under the water, swimming ahead of them.

Sonny dipped his head and whispered something to her. "Thank you. He likes to be… Involved."

"Something tells me it's more to do with the fact that we… I…" She shook her head. "You know what I mean."

"Are you ready then?"

"No."

He gave her a look.

"No," she repeated. "But I'm going to do this anyways."

"That's what I want to hear." He said, wrapping his arm around her waist before walking forward. "It might just be easier for me to drag you out there and then teach you, instead of you tip-toeing across the floor."

"I was not tip-toeing across the floor!"

"Ah, you could've fooled me."

"Why did it have to be water?" Connie asked, shooting a bright smile Michael's way as he resurfaced and waved them forward impatiently. "Of all the things I could've chosen to be scared of, it just had to be water!"

"I could not tell you." Sonny replied, slowing after he'd taken her out quite a bit farther.

Connie was unnerved by the mere fact that the water was resting on her neckline now and the butterflies in her stomach started up again only to be pushed to the back of her mind as she realized how much she was shaking.

"The water's not that cold." Sonny stated. He must have noticed the state of her, too.

"I know it isn't."

"You're shaking." He deadpanned.

"An astute observation!"

Sighing he smiled. "We aren't going any further, so calm down. If we do go any farther without you being able to at least tread water then we'll be in big trouble."

"Good, but… Why?"

"Because eventually I'll need to be swimming in order to keep my head above the water and with you clutching me like a lifeline, well… I'm afraid we'd be done for."

"Right. Right, that makes perfect sense, yes… Right."

"Calm."

"Right." She agreed. "Calm, I am calm, really. Let's just get this over with so I can get out."

"No eagerness to learn?"

"None at all, actually." Connie said, narrowing her eyes. She watched as Michael swam over to the pair under the water and she felt an involuntary stab of longing and fear. Longing to be able to do something like that, to discard her fears… And fear of the fact that Sonny might try to get her to do such a thing herself tonight.

"Are we gonna start?" Michael asked excitedly.

"Michael," Sonny began and his son's face dropped; he probably knew what was coming. "Can you go back to Leticia and Morgan, see if they want to come in and then swim around somewhere around us until I can get her comfortable in here? It won't take very long."

Liar, Connie thought.

The boy sighed in defeat and turned around, ready to start making his way back.

"Michael?"

He turned back around at the sound of his name. "Yeah, Kate?"

Clearing her throat, she regarded him with the faintest of an enjoyable smile. "I'll make sure this goes quickly so you can come back here, alright?"

He nodded. "Right. Good luck."

Once he was out of the room, Sonny moved up right behind her so she could feel his well-defined chest up against her slender back. She dug her nails into his hand for a split second in warning but he merely laughed and she could feel the resounding rumble through the muscles in his chest reverberate against her back.

"I hope that good luck was for me." Sonny joked.

"So do I, actually." Connie admitted. There was no relief now that Michael was gone, just a deepening sense of dread settling in the pit of her stomach.

There was nothing to stop her from learning now.

"So." Sonny started, turning her around to face him. "Where would the great 'Kate Howard' like to start?"

"You're the teacher, Sonny. I thought you had some idea of you were doing. Obviously, all that arrogance is finally beginning to get in the way."

"Obviously." Sonny chuckled. "Okay -- just kick with your feet, alright, and move your arms around you, putting pressure by pushing down in the water and you just keep doing both of those things... You'll be able to stay afloat for as long as you have the energy to." Letting the woman go (and she only allowed this with a great reluctance!), he backed off a couple of feet into the water and started demonstrating to her what she should do. "Just kick off the ground."

With a great hesitance, Connie pushed down the panic and kicked up, rapidly kicking her feet and mirroring Sonny's own motions in the water with her arms. To her great pleasure, she stayed afloat. Despite herself, she smiled.

"See, that's not so bad is it?" Sonny asked, smiling back at her.

"No. No, it's not." Settling her limbs she let herself sink slowly back to her feet and exhaled, feeling a wave of relief wash over her. She was still alive.

"Now." Sonny moved back even farther, giving himself room before he started to imitate what he'd just done, only he swung his arms out in an arc in front of his body, propelling him forward to where he wanted to go, spinning around and coming to stand right back in front of her only feet away. "Just do what I just did. It's exactly what you just tried, but you need to push yourself forward instead of upward."

The sense of panic brushed her insides with flame and her stomach flipped but she was determined now; she'd gotten a taste of swimming, she'd may as well continue on with it, right? "Okay..." She nodded. "To where?"

Smiling crookedly, he gestured towards himself in the water. "Just swim over to me."

"You'd like that, wouldn't you?" Connie asked, crossing her arms.

"Well," Sonny drawled slyly, grinning at her; it took an effort on her part not to return it. "I can not deny that I would, however I was thinking more along the lines of you swimming to me... Instead of into more water. For a start."

Connie's lip curled up in a barely restrained smile. "You're lucky you can think on your feet, Corinthos." But he was right -- there was no way she was swimming anywhere but towards him. Certainly not anywhere further into the blue abyss that was the pool.

"I believe the phrase is, 'I learned from the best'."

"You did, didn't you?" Connie agreed sweetly, gently tossing her hair out of her face slightly.

The panic was lessened within her as she swam toward him, but when he opened his arms and pulled her towards him, she didn't protest; her dislike and fear of water hadn't changed that quickly, but she... She couldn't deny she felt safe here with him, knowing that he was able to maneuver himself around the water with little more than a stroke of a muscle. She laughed out loud at her own thought and looked up at him with a sincere smile and bright eyes; fearless.

"I feel so childish, really, you couldn't possibly understand... A grown woman such as myself... Scared of water and swimming into a grown man's arms because she can't handle it herself."

"The water's not so bad once you get used to it..." Sonny shrugged, tightening his arms around her.

"I think, Sonny, that I can stay upright in the water now. Thanks to you of course." She informed him.

"Well... I know, but this is just so much more appealing, don't you think?" He murmured, letting his head fall down enough so that he was breathing the words into her ears, causing her to shiver in pleasure she couldn't stop herself from feeling before his lips were grazing the skin of her neck, nipping and feeling entirely too lovely--

"Sonny, Sonny, Sonny..." Connie tried to speak clearly, but she sounded more breathless than anything else. She squirmed, moving her shoulders back in delight and nervousness, her hands pushing back against his chest. "Somehow I knew this was just another ploy to... To..."

"To what?" His dark eyes were secure on her own and she couldn't look away; she was lost inside of them.

"I..." She stuttered out. "I think we should-- should go back. Yes, we should, before..."

"But your lessons aren't finished." Sonny smirked.

"Well." Connie brushed his gaze off, telling herself she didn't care about what he was doing to her. "Then can you please just focus on teaching me, instead of..." She trailed off, not sure what to call his constant loss of control over what his lips should do. Surprisingly, she was entirely thankful when Michael burst in through the doors, ran around to the deeper end and dived into the water. Almost immediately after the splash of water rained down upon her and Sonny, Michael resurfaced and Morgan came running in.

"Michael, Michael, Michael!" He yelled, walking toward the pool as his father told him to do, slowly submerging himself; he was wearing a life jacket, Connie saw and for a fleeting second, she wished she was wearing one too.

She laughed at herself for the ridiculous thought and waved to Leticia as she dragged herself in, a book in hand and settled herself down on the chair, shaking her head at Sonny's questioning look.

"What are you laughing about now?" Sonny asked. As an afterthought, he added, "I don't think I ever seen you smile and heard you laugh this much since you came to Port Charles. See?" He winked. "I know the effect I have on you."

Brushing his egotistical comments aside, she told him what she'd thought when she'd seen Morgan and his big yellow life saver.

Sonny grinned. "Don't you think having me wrapped around you makes you much safer?"

"What is with you!?" She exclaimed, hitting his shoulder. "It's like being taken back in time." She whispered, referring to his sixteen-year old attitude. She glared at him. "And it's becoming terribly... Odd."

Grinning, he pulled back, turning her around in the water. "Are you okay on your own now?"

Panic surged as he said the words and her heart started to beat uncontrollably -- but to get past the fear, you had to be willing to face it. She nodded a little unconvincingly which had him giving her a reassuring squeeze of the arms before he let her go. She held her breath for a second and than exhaled in partial relief. "I don't know how I'm ever going to get over this." She confessed helplessly.

"It'll come, you'll get used to it." He supplied, nodding. "But it's going to take time... And more time in the water." He eyed her critically and she could offer him nothing but a rather forced smile.

"More time in the water? Who could wish for more..." She chattered away.

"I told you I wouldn't let you drown." Sonny remarked offhandedly. "It's not like I'd suddenly changed my mind. You're safe in the water."

"I know, I know... Well, I think I know, but I can't exactly help what I feel, Sonny."

"No," he said, looking her directly in the eye. "No, you can't."


"I know, I know... Well, I think I know, but I can't exactly help what I feel, Sonny."

"No," he said, looking her directly in the eye. "No, you can't."

His words had been locked within her mind since the moment he'd spoken them. She wasn't such a fool that she wasn't aware that there was a double meaning to it all, but she would much rather there hadn't been. Throughout her very long shower she'd been mulling the entire day over and she could hardly concentrate on anything as it all came back to his last words.

He'd been being openly affectionate towards her, more so than usual.

And she liked it, god help her, she did.

But she couldn't!

As she dried herself off, she looked at her face in the mirror, scrutinizing herself. What had happened to her? Her life? Her priorities? Everything she'd dreamed of? It was all changing and the gravity of the situation was crashing down upon her like a bucket of ice cold water, shaking her down to her very core. She was becoming Connie Falconeri again, he was right, he'd always been right.

She'd been fighting forever to get back her life and had always denied herself that wish, the one wish she could actually have.

'I am Kate Howard, not Connie Falconeri. Not anymore.' She was horrified when tears started to form in her eyes. Angrily brushing them away she stomped out of the bathroom in her assigned room and started to rummage through her clothing.

"Oh, god no..." Connie moaned, slumping back against the wall and hanging her head. Pink cheeked, she quickly picked herself up from her position on the floor and unlocked the door to her room, tip-toeing out into the hallway, wrapped in only the fluffy white towel she'd been drying herself with. Walking up to Sonny's door, she knocked three times and waited for him to open the door, feeling jittery standing dressed like this.

'Maybe this isn't such a good idea... God knows what he'll say when he comes out here.' Elbows firmed placed to hold the towel, she covered her face with her hands in her anguish. Seconds later, the door was thrown open and, despite herself, she started in surprise. Sonny was standing there, casually dressed in one of his loose dress shirts, tucked into the waistband of dark sweat pants. She had to fight with herself to actually open her mouth and utter a few select words.

"I, um... Sonny." She laughed nervously, feeling more and more ridiculous. "I don't think... I..."

"Nervous, Connie?" He smirked, stepping into the now very small feeling hallway with her and within seconds he had her backed up into the wall. "Not only does water suit you, but towels..." He was close, dangerously close... Squeezing her eyes shut she blocked out the delectable scent of him and tried to form a coherent thought. She managed to duck under his arm and give herself some space.

"I can't wear this towel all night, thank you very much, I'll be changed shortly." She replied in a clipped tone, unhappy that he could get to her. "Which, uh... Brings me here..." She could feel the blush rising in her cheeks.

"Brings you here?" Sonny beckoned her to continue. "Because...?"

"CouldImaybepossiblyborrowsomethingtosleepin?"

"Ahh..." Sonny started, confused. "Say what?"

Taking a deep breath and expelling it, she clarified the jumbled mess she'd just given him. "Could I borrow something to sleep in? None of my clothing will... Do." She finished, her blush doing from a dull embarrassed pink, to an enflamed and uncomfortable red.

"You seem to be quite taken with my clothes!"

"I, I... I do not! Forget I asked!" Connie denied, turning on her heel and starting back down the hallway. She was never going to be able to live this down, never, ever, ever, ever... Sonny took hold of her arm and pulled her backward, shoving her gently into his room and she could have sworn that the squirming went up just a little.

Just a little.

"Come on, don't take me seriously." Sonny soothed. "But, what's so wrong with your clothing?"

Her mouth opened and closed but no words would come. Clearing her throat, she started walking around his room, keeping her eyes off of him. "They're just not appropriate for this... Setting."

"Oh, you've got some nice lingerie lying around in that bag of yours..." Sonny guessed and he guessed right. Not that she'd ever let him know that.

"No, I absolutely do not."

"Oh really?" He raised an eyebrow and nodded, seemingly deciding upon something before taking her hand and leading her out of his room.

"What are you -- we -- doing?" She asked in confusion and then it clicked as she saw her room as the destination. "Oh, no! Sonny, no, really, why can't you just give me the clothes and we'll just... Go back downstairs and..."

Playfully tugging on her arm, he was reveling in the feeling of getting at her like this. Besides, he really did want to see what she was carrying around that was so inappropriate... He couldn't help himself. "Well, you don't have any lingerie," he mocked. "So it can't be that inappropriate and why give away my expensive clothing for your use when you have something good enough to use of your own?"

"Because--" Connie stuttered. "Okay, okay, it's lingerie of sorts, okay? Please, can we stop spilling my 'juicy secrets' to your home!"

"Juicy secrets?" Sonny laughed. "I want to see this lingerie..."

"No, Sonny, no!" Connie protested, appalled. "No, we are not... I'm not going to be your personal model!"

"What, that's your business, isn't it? The oh so very important one? Fashion."

"Yes, but I'm not a model."

"Haven't you ever wondered...?" He laughed outright at the withering look she sent him, followed quickly but a raging colouring in her cheeks.

"No!"

"Come on, it's not like I haven't seen it before."

"True enough, but no! Is this how you treat all of your guests?"

"Well, only if they're a beautiful woman such as yourself..." And with that he captured her lips with his, possessive, passionate... He broke away before it got terribly serious but it had left her breathless as always.

"You're still not seeing that lingerie." She told him in a mock scolding tone.

"Worth a shot." He grinned.

Eventually, Sonny handed over one of his dress shirts and sweat pants and Connie stalked off to get changed. After drying her hair, she made her way downstairs where she found Sonny flipping through the channels on the television. "Anything interesting?"

"Well, there's no boxing, if that's what you mean..."

She sighed. "Boxing. Typical."

"How's that typical? Lot's of women watch boxing, not just men. You shouldn't carry around so many stereotypes, Connie. You used to fit into quite a few of them when we were younger and you probably wouldn't have liked it."

"What do you mean, I--"

"Dad, Dad! Wanna watch a movie with us? Pleaseeee? Please, Dad!?" Michael yelled, running down the stairs; he too was dressed and ready for bed.

"Movie, movie!" Morgan followed, completing the interruption.

Sonny shot Connie a look and she shrugged. "It's not like there's anything else to do."

"I could think of a few," he said so only she could hear and he received a glare for it. Turning to Michael and Morgan he asked them what movie they wanted to watch.

"I don't know, what do you want to watch Morgan?"

"I don't know. What to watch?" He questioned airily, walking over to the movie case beneath the TV. "Help me pick." He told his brother and Michael complied, but not before he asked Connie a question.

"Kate, why are you wearing... My dad's clothing?" He queried.

"Well, Kate just finds my clothing more... Comfortable." Sonny cut in before Connie could say anything. She didn't bother protesting -- they'd only get into an argument and she didn't want to do that as long as there was a possibility of her real name coming out in the heat of it. She was surprised, then, when he added onto his answer. "And she also didn't have anything to wear to bed, so I offered her mine."

She shot him a sweet smile. "Ever the gentleman."

"Oh, okay. I get it." Michael nodded and walked over to Morgan to help in picking out a movie.

Left alone, Connie closed her eyes, opening one to look at Sonny. "Very nice."

"Couldn't have you getting angry with me in front of the kids." He teased and she looked at him in disbelief.

"You didn't honestly think that I would have said something about you in front of your children?" Her voice was low and rushed, almost angry. "I would never do that, although I certainly have good reason to, I think."

"Breathe, Kate, I'm just kidding."

Huffing, she crossed her arms over her chest and leaned her head farther again the back of the couch, suddenly feeling no less than exhausted. She'd had a trying day and not just in regards to the charges that had been placed against her, but also because of Sonny and his infuriating way of getting her to do what he wanted. 'Through trickery...' She thought, turning the thought over in her head.

"Kate, do you wanna watch this with us?" Morgan asked enthusiastically, ambling over to her and leaning his body on her legs, shoving the movie case into her face. Smiling, she took it from his hands and held it back at a distance where she could actually tell apart the different colours and images. Putting on a show of excitement, she agreed, although she had no idea what it was that she'd just agreed to watch, but Sonny looked pleased enough, so she guessed it was fine.

Feeling clean and warm and full of an unfamiliar feeling she was sure shouldn't be experiencing, Connie felt normal.

Leticia had eventually made her way down the stairs, joining the group for the movie; she was finished her work for the day, but she'd told Sonny she would stay and enjoy her momentary freedom to relax and would also put the kids down for him when it was over before she left. Sonny seemed hesitant to agree, not wanting to make her feel as if she was obliged to do so, but she insisted and he came around.

Michael and Morgan both scrambled onto the couch beside Connie and she, to her great dismay and Sonny's apparent pleasure, had to move over closer to Sonny to make room for the both of them. Leticia situated herself in the plush chair. Michael crossed his legs, which had Connie tucking her legs up underneath her and leaning into Sonny so she could get comfortable and Morgan was chattering to himself under his breath; everyone seemed content.

Especially Sonny.

He was going to pay for this later, she decided.

Her plot of revenge only intensified in the aspect of how much pain there would be when he discreetly placed one of his large hands on her thigh. Slapping his hand away, she glared at him, eliciting a snicker.

"You guys are like teenagers." Michael deadpanned, pulling his eyes away from the buzzing screen upon which the movie had just begun to start. Leticia and Morgan looked over at the pair with disinterest, only wondering what Michael was talking about, before they resumed watching the movie. Michael's own interest followed shortly after.

Connie flushed and was glad for the darkness of the room. Her lovely companion stayed silent, but she didn't need to see his face to know what expression was gracing his features.

Thankfully, he didn't do anything else after that short interjection.

Slowly, Connie felt her vision dimming, feeling her eyelids becoming heavier and heavier. She was so, so tired... She just wished she was in her house, in her bed, able to relax and rest... But she was here, in Sonny's house, on the couch, with him and his boys. Not that Sonny wasn't exactly comfortable, he actually made a pretty good pillow...

She didn't have any time to berate herself for her odd thoughts because she was falling faster and faster into darkness, letting sleep take over. Subconsciously, she snuggled closer to Sonny and laid her head on his shoulder, finally letting herself drift off.


Spinning the remote idly in his hand, Sonny didn't have the heart to move. Connie looked more at peace than he'd ever seen her, curled up against his side and asleep.

Leticia had quickly gotten the boys in bed, after two awkward hugs, given that he didn't want to move to much lest he waken the blonde beauty beside him. Trekking down the stairs, she gratefully accepted Milo's offer of driving her home and had left with a mouthed 'goodbye'. And now, he wasn't sure what to do next. Should he wake her up? Or did he carry her up to her room?

A knock on the door resonated through the quiet space and a moment later, Jason poked his head in. "Sonny?"

Sonny held his hand up in a warning and motioned his head towards Connie. Jason's eyebrow furrowed and then lifted.

"She fell asleep when we were watching a movie with the boys."

"Why is she here?" Jason asked quietly, stepping into the room and closing the door with as much softness as he could. He kept his thudding feet to a minimum as he walked over to the table that was littered with glasses filled with different drinks and water bottles, setting on the water. Walking back over to the door, he sat down on the chair at Sonny's desk.

"She was involved in a hit and run and would have been spending her time in lock up if I hadn't had Diane get her off... Into my custody." He shrugged. "It was the only way to get her out."

"A hit and run? And I thought you two didn't get along?" Jason titled his head. He hadn't been kept informed of Sonny and Connie's growing friendship, mainly because he was either too busy or had been in lock-up and curiousity grabbed him as he remembered the day he'd shot down Connie's shipment of a marble statue on Sonny's orders; she'd been absolutely furious and they had obviously been at odds with each other. Had something changed?

"She side-swiped a car, nothing big." He defended. "And we didn't... At first. But, well, we've grown on each other."

"Tarnishing her name already?" He suggested, deciding not to venture into the implications of 'we've grown on each other'.

"Not if she can't help it." Sonny concurred. "But anyways, why are you here?"

Jason shook his head, frowning. "Just stopping by. Spinelli's probably waiting up on his computer, wondering where I am, so I probably should go." He explained, standing up and walking over to the door. "I'll talk to you later."

"Why do you put up with that kid, Jase? Speaking gibberish all the time... I can't handle it."

Jason smiled, thinking of the boy and his quirks. "He's a good kid. He's just different." And with that, he politely nodded, putting his well endowed manners to use, before leaving.

"He sure is different." Sonny muttered, pushing himself off the couch gently. Turning, he laid Connie's head on his chest, wrapping one of her's arms around his neck and placed his arms under her knees and behind her back and stood, cradling her in his arms. Slowly, he walked up the staircase and down the hallway, using his foot to open the door to her room. Inching his way inside, he somehow managed to pull back the covers on the bed and placed her down, pulling the covers back up around her. That was when she started to stir.

Frowning a bit, she popped an eye open reluctantly. "Sonny?"

"You fell asleep and the movie hadn't even started." He smiled, brushing her hair out of her face.

"Oh. I'm sorry." She shook her head in an irritated manner, pulling herself into a sitting position.

"Don't worry about it. You've had a pretty big day." Grinning, he sat himself down on the edge of the bed.

"You could say that." She was eyeing him as if he was going to jump up and start yelling at her or something to that affect and he lifted a brow in question of her behaviour. Sighing, he raked a hand through her hair and started fiddling with the edge of the blanket; this was something new, he thought. "I am sorry, you know, for everything today." She held a hand up when he opened his mouth, effectively cutting off the 'it doesn't matter' that was inevitably going to be said. "You've been more than gracious with me, especially... With the way I've been acting." In a smaller voice, she said, "Thank you. For everything."

When she didn't look back up at him he took her chin in his hand and forced her to. Making light of the situation, he said, "I told you I was the only one that could deal with you when you were acting the way you were." Moving closer to her, one side of his mouth quirked up. "And I'll happily take my thanks." He said cheekily, capturing her lips with his and he could feel her nails raking over his shoulders as she responded to him, despite all of her past assurances that she would never do such a thing in her right mind.

When they broke apart, Connie made sure to keep her hands firmly against his chest, stopping him from continuing. "And that's all the thanks you'll be getting." She breathed, her eyes closing with her returning exhaustion.

Chuckling, Sonny stood and walked over to the door, pausing and looking back at her over his shoulder. She was laying down on her side, facing him, the blankets fisted underneath her chin. "Maybe you should spend the night in my bed." Her eyes shot open. "You might try and run away on me and we can't have that." He suppressed his laughter as she glared.

"Out, Sonny."

And he left, but not without amusement shining in his eyes.


She'd been reading the book all day since she'd gotten here with him and it was beginning to bother him. She'd been quiet, very quiet, all day and that was something he could ascertain was not right.

She'd been the first awake this morning and he'd walked downstairs to find her dressed and lounging around, waiting for him to wake up. When he asked her if she'd eaten anything, she'd told him she hadn't wanted to touch anything without his permission and he'd joked that maybe that was better, he might lose half his house in the process of her making toast. They had eaten, throwing their usual barbs at each other and then she'd agreed to his offer of spending the day at the coffee shop, or... His office.

And so here they were and she hadn't uttered a word since she'd gotten here.

Deciding she'd read enough, he quickly plucked the books out of her hands, closed it and laid it on the table under his hand, ensuring she wouldn't get to it. "I can bet whatever if happening in there..." He said, referencing to the small paperback. "Can't live up to us."

She couldn't stop the laughter that bubbled from her lips. "Do you just have these phrases locked away in your head for whenever you need them, Sonny? And I believe I've told you this once before, but the world does not revolve around you and there is no us."

He shook his head. "You must be right... Nevermind the sex, the kisses, the shameless flirting..."

Connie grimaced and he could tell she would have let him have it, had they been out in the sitting area and not in his office. Schooling her features, she replied, "Yes, well... Sometimes people read too much into it!"

He nodded emphatically, sarcastically before laying his head on his clasped hands. "Uh huh."

Sighing, she rolled her eyes and held out her hand. "The book, please."

"Nah," Sonny drawled, smirking. "We're having an interesting conversation."

"Interesting to you." Connie answered, trying to snatch her book back but he held onto it with a grip she couldn't combat. "Sonny!"

"What? I'm not stopping you... I just have a firm grip."

"A firm grip on what? You're delusions? Trust me, I know. I've seen you in action."

"Just admit it. You're rattled," he paused, emphasizing the word with a wild hand shake. "Because you know I'm right. Why can't you just admit it, what's so bad about wanting to be with me?"

"What is so bad is the fact that I do not want to be with you, but you insist that I do, which I still do not!"

"You kissed me last night." He stated.

"No, no, no." Connie shook her head and pointed her finger at him. "You kissed me."

"That's right, but you enjoyed it and you kissed me back. And that's not the first time."

She was on the brink of indecision and he knew it, but he didn't see her standing and walking out of his office coming until it happened.

Connie walked over to the counter and ordered her usual drink and tried to sort herself out and put her frustrations with Sonny aside while she had the time; of course, she knew she was dreaming. As if Sonny wouldn't follow her out here. "Sonny, please." Connie held her hands up. "You've won, as usual and gotten your way. I don't need my book, I don't want it."

"Sounds like someone else I know." He said, tilting his head to the side and pinning her with eyes that clearly told her she would need to try better than that.

"Why are you so insistent on this?" She asked, exasperated.

He shrugged and laughed. "I just want to hear you say it, instead of seeing it in your eyes all the time." He explained.

"Well, then I'd like to inform you of something." Connie's expression turned serious and for a moment Sonny was surprised and actually foreboding the answer. "I've been looking everywhere and interviewing different people because I, and Couture Magazine, need a new male model. Now, Sonny." She sighed, smiling silkily. "If I told you that you wouldn't be getting this answer without agreeing to be my new male model... Would you do it?"

Shocked, he wasn't sure what to do.

"I will tell you the honest truth about your question if you will be a male model for Couture."

"No."

"Good!" She smiled happily. "Then we're finished with this?"

"Only until you find a new male model and can't threaten me with it."

"Fair enough. I'll just have to keep turning everyone down."

Laughing, he shook his head. "You're a piece of work, Kate."

She sighed dramatically. "I try." Their eyes locked and that same fire and spark passed between them, visible to others and felt by each other.

Their attention was pulled away from one another when Diane, Sonny's accomplished attorney walked into the room and, spotting them, rushed over to see them. "Why, hello, Ms. Howard, it's so nice to see you, as always!" She bubbled sweetly; she had a definite soft spot for the famous woman.

"Diane, it's so nice to see you and please, please... Call my Kate, I simply cannot have you calling me by anything else."

Diane inclined her head, taking it to heart. Glancing over at Sonny she smiled. "Sonny."

"Good to see you. Have you gotten any further on the charges against Kate?"

Diane sighed and both Sonny and Connie took it as a bad sign -- until her face lit up with victory. "Well, yes... It took a few pulling of strings, but I think I've finally managed to find you a way out of this mess. I have set up with an appointment with a young woman, very nice. Assistant DA, she should be quite easy to tackle and get to drop the charges to the minimum."

"When?" He asked.

"An hour. But I think we should get going now, Kate... Arriving early never hurts."

"Oh, absolutely." Connie agreed, smiling widely.

"I'll just be outside, waiting. Do hurry." And with that, she swept herself out of the shop, leaving Connie alone to say whatever she needed to Sonny.

Connie pursed her lips sweetly and looked at Sonny with a mixture of gratitude and happiness that the nightmare might finally be over and things could get back to normal. "Well, it sounds like I have a good chance."

He nodded, taking a subconscious step closer. "Yeah, well... Diane'll get you out of this."

"I don't give her all the credit, Sonny, really. You're the one who set this all in motion for me, so..." She nodded her head. "Thank you."

"Anytime."

A moment of silence elapsed between them until Connie finally said that she should take her leave. "I will probably see you later, if all goes smoothly."

"Good, good." He murmured. "I'll be waiting to hear the good news."

"Right. Good news."

"It will be good news, Connie." He assured her quietly so that nobody could hear him but her.

"I believe you." She informed him airily, smiling once more before turning around and making to leave.

"You know," Sonny called after her, smirking. "You're welcome to stay at my house again whenever you like... It's bound to be as exciting as it was last night."

Glaring, she said with finality, "Goodbye, Sonny."

And she left.


( AN. ) Woah. This is just... Well, huge. I really didn't expect it to get to this word count, but I can't say that I'm complaining! I've spent a good deal of time on this, just over two weeks and I'm very happy with what I've written.

Sonny & Connie are sooo adorable right now. They are the light of the show for me on GH right now, so expect more fanfiction regarding those two to come. I tried my best to keep the characters in character and I've tried to make it enjoyable... Laugh worthy, smile worthy... Hopefully, I've reached my goal.

This is a oneshot, please remember. There will be no follow-up to this story. I will, however, if anyone is interested in knowing, be starting up a multi-chaptered novel length story in the future and Sonny & Connie will be a main focus.

Thank you to all who read this story and I hope you've enjoyed. :D

-Bree