Author's Note: I have changed some significant familial relationships in order to make this story work. It will be said later in the story but I wanted to give you a heads up just so you won't be confused. The changes are as followed: Lulu is the adopted daughter of Sonny and Carly Corinthos, who are still married. Luke and Laura are Lulu's biological parents but disappeared years ago with Lucky and she was taken in by her cousin, Carly and was later adopted into the family. At the start of the story, Johnny and Lulu have not met. That's pretty much all that is crucial to understanding the story. Anything else that is mentioned that differs from the current storyline of General Hospital is just filler. Ok? Onwards!
Chapter 1 – The Invitation
The sun was setting as the driver pulled up to the large fortress type house and parked in the driveway. The town car door swung open and out popped out Lulu Spencer-Corinthos. She had her distressed leather messenger bag slung over her shoulder and was carrying a biology textbook in the opposite hand as she walked past the fountains and into the foyer. She was a sophomore at PCU but didn't live on campus. She thought it was stupid to live in a crappy dorm when she could just live at home and sleep in her queen sized bed. She walked past the study where she could hear Jason Morgan and Sonny talking about business in hushed voices. She never had the urge to listen into one of their conversations. She headed upstairs and nearly collided with Michael.
"Hey! Watch it!" he whined.
"Sorry, squirt…" she laughed.
"Dad wants to know if you were going out tonight or not because he was going to cook tonight." Michael said.
"Sonny's cooking tonight? Of course I'll be here! I'm so sick of the food in the cafeteria and I've got a huge biology test tomorrow morning that I need to study for." Lulu said, as she made her way upstairs.
She walked down the hallway and into her bedroom. She swung her bag onto her bed and dropped her textbook on the antique desk near the huge window across from the bed. She watched as little Morgan run around the backyard with one of his many toy airplanes. She could imagine the silly airplane noises that he was making as he swung the toy through the air and smiled. She turned back around to the desk and saw that awful biology textbook, staring at her… taunting her almost. She sat down at her desk and opened the book to the material that they were studying: Protein structures. She read but didn't absorb the material.
"Primary structure… secondary structure… tertiary structure… when am I ever going to need this??" she screamed and she shut the textbook as fast as she had opened it.
She perked up, hoping that she wasn't going to get into trouble for yelling.
"Yeah, Carly?" she called.
"Morgan wants to make brownies for dessert, do you think you could help him?" Lulu heard Carly say.
"Sure!" Lulu said.
She jumped out of her chair and headed downstairs. Carly was sitting at the kitchen counter, reading a magazine and talking to Sonny as he was chopping tomatoes for his homemade pasta sauce. Lulu's mouth began to water just thinking about it. Suddenly, she felt a tug at her sweater. Morgan was holding a box of brownie mix in one hand and her sweater in the other.
"Ready to make brownies?" she asked him and he nodded.
"So, Lulu… have you decided if you're going to go to the masquerade ball at the MetroCourt this weekend?" Carly asked.
"That's this weekend?" Lulu asked as she grabbed a mixing bowl out of the cabinet.
"Yeah… I just wanted to know if we needed to get a sitter for Michael and Morgan or not." Carly said, flipping through her magazine again.
"I don't know…" Lulu said, "I don't even have anything to wear."
"You've got that biology test tomorrow, right? Well, why don't you and Carly take a car into the city tomorrow to find a dress after class?" Sonny added.
"Great idea! Come on, Lulu… we can have a girls night out on the town!" Carly said.
"Yeah… and the boys and I can have some male bonding time." Sonny laughed.
"Alright! Alright…" Lulu said.
"Is Jason staying for dinner?" Morgan asked.
"Oh… no sweetheart, Little Danny has a cold and Sam called to tell Jason that they were heading to the doctor's office." Carly said.
"Ohhh…" Morgan said, eying Lulu as she mixed the brownie batter.
"It's nothing serious, is it?" Lulu asked.
"Probably not, babies catch colds all the time… Morgan!" Carly said.
She had caught him with his entire hand in the batter. Lulu and Sonny began laughing uncontrollably. Morgan smiled sheepishly and then began licking off the batter from his fingers. Carly rolled her eyes and went back to her magazine. These were the days that she loved being a part of the Corinthos clan… they made life seem… normal.
Johnny Zacchara was sitting in his father's study, softly playing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. The room was dark with the exception of the one lit lamp on the desk. Nothing said "I'm brooding" quite like playing Moonlight Sonata in the dark. He loved playing the piano… it kind of made him forget that he was a certifiably insane and ruthless crime boss' son. Suddenly, there was a sharp knock at the door. Johnny stopped playing and turned around to face the door. Claudia was standing in the doorway, wearing her black dress and red pumps. She had her arms crossed and was smiling.
"Could you be any more melodramatic? Playing that song in daddy's study with all of the lights shut off?" She laughed, crossing the room towards the black lacquer grand piano.
"I identify with Beethoven…" he muttered.
"Really?" she asked, raising her eyebrow.
"What do you want, Claudia?" he asked, slamming the piano cover down over the keys.
"Hey! Watch the attitude!" she snapped.
"Sorry," he mumbled.
"Listen… we've got to prepare for this takeover… Trevor can think that he's calling all of the shots but he's clearly mistaken," she said.
"And what are you going to do?" he asked, standing up.
He walked across the room to a table with a pitcher of water and poured himself a glass. Claudia walked over to him and put her hands on his shoulders.
"John… I need a favor." She said, smiling.
He laughed and took a large swig from his glass.
"And what would that be?" he asked.
"There's a masquerade ball at the MetroCourt Hotel in Port Charles on Saturday night and all I need you to do is to wear one of those nice Italian suits that I brought back for you and escort me." She said.
"Hell no," he laughed.
"Come on, Johnny! You won't do this one tiny favor for me? All you have to do is walk me through the doors, spin me around on the dance floor a few times, and drink a few drinks." She said.
"And what are you going to be doing?" he asked.
"Scoping out Sonny Corinthos and the people in Port Charles, of course," she said, maliciously.
"And you can do that without me," he said, walking over to the desk.
"So, you're telling me that you'd rather sit at home and do nothing while you could be downing free food and booze? God, you're lame, Johnny." She said.
"Either way, I'll be bored out of my mind… you know I hate stuff like that." He said.
"So, you'd pass up the chance to have women in low cut dresses throw themselves at you in your handsome suit? Should I be checking your manhood as well?" Claudia laughed.
Johnny rolled his eyes and put his feet on the desk. He didn't want to go to this ball thing. He hated wearing all of those stupid vests and cufflinks that go with a "proper" suit and especially when they were dumb to begin with. He knew that he would end up standing on the wall or outside for the entire time. However, he knew that Claudia would keep pestering him until he finally relented.
"Fine… but if it blows, I'm leaving." He said.
Claudia smiled and gave her little brother a kiss on the cheek and left the room. He crossed his arms and sat back in the squishy leather chair and closed his eyes. He could hear Trevor and Claudia arguing in the hallway. Shortly after, he heard one door slam shut and then a sharp banging on the door to Anthony's study. Before Johnny could even open his eyes, Trevor stormed into the study.
"What the hell?" Johnny growled.
"Did you tell your sister to go into Port Charles for this masquerade ball?" Trevor roared.
"You seem to forget that Claudia can think for herself," Johnny said.
"That's not an answer," Trevor barked.
"No, I didn't tell her to go into Port Charles… she begged me to escort her." Johnny said, sitting upright.
"She's going to get herself killed… wandering into Corinthos' territory." Trevor said.
"Like you really care, Trevor… everyone knows that you just want this empire for yourself… hey, one less Zacchara to get in the way of what you really want, right?" Johnny said coolly.
"Well, fine… if you insist on going, you're bringing body guards." Trevor said.
"And that won't look suspicious at all, Trevor." He said sarcastically.
"Exactly what I said," Claudia said, as she stood in the doorway.
"This is being reckless…" Trevor said.
"I don't plan on starting a mob war… I'm there to scope out the territory so we can come up with a strategy. Nothing more… nothing less." She said.
Trevor and Claudia began arguing again and Johnny went back to the piano and started playing Moonlight Sonata again. The slow repetitive nature of the song drowned out all of the rest of the world: the scheming and the plotting and the betrayal. He couldn't stand it. Beethoven was a lucky son of a bitch… what he wouldn't give to block out everything that was going on in his life.