There's a moment between the taunts about Liz, and his lips touching hers when a small calm part of Carly's mind points out "He's been playing you all along to get to this point." It's little more than a whisper, but it's enough to get her hands against Sonny's chest to push him away and get her feet moving backwards until she's standing with her back against the wall gulping in air like there's no oxygen left in the room.

"You worthless bastard. You almost got me." She shakes her head a few times until she feels like she can think again. "I will never understand what Jason and the rest of them see in a backstabbing traitor like you."

"Oh sure, blame me. You're the slut who was all set to give it up." He sneers at her, "All I did was try to get you out of his life before you ruin everything he has left."

Carly opened her mouth to tell him off, but sensing the futility of it all she opts to turn toward the door muttering "If I'm the worst thing for Jason, then what are you Sonny? I wasn't the one lying to get the woman he loves into bed." She's not sure where she's going other than away from this man, this place, and from the pain she can feel beating on the air between them. But before she can get to the door Sonny's hands are on her shoulders pulling her back against his chest. There's a horrible tension in the air, and in the moment before his hand closes over her mouth that same small voice says dispassionately "He wants to hurt you. Fight."

She takes her own advice, kicking and clawing like her life depends on it. But he's stronger than she is, and has the advantage of surprise so he manages to get her off her feet and hurl her towards the stairs before she can do any real damage to him or get to the front door. Carly catches a glimpse of Sonny's face as he stalks toward her and something there makes a scream like one of those women in the horror movies she used to watch as a kid bubble up from her guts against her will. Anywhere else that noise would be enough to bring someone running to her aid, but here all it does is piss Sonny off enough to actually slap her. The blow is hard enough that it is all she can do to hang onto consciousness, and she falls silent in the face of his wrath focusing only on survival.

The next few minutes are a blur of limbs, grunts, and muttered obscenities as he tries to drag her up the stairs and she fights him to a standstill. When he falls back seemingly exhausted, she tries to get up only to feel his foot sweep her legs out from under her again. It is there on the floor of the place that she used to think of as home that Carly comes to understand the depths of Sonny's hatred for women. He doesn't quite rip off her clothes while he's mauling her, but he tries hard enough that she's starting to resign herself to being violated when the door opens.

From her vantage point all she can see is Jason's legs, but she imagines his eyes widening in horror as he starts to process what he's seeing. There's a sound like some great beast roaring before he drags Sonny away from her and throws him against the wall so hard Carly shudders at the sound of the drywall giving way. She watches him slam Sonny shaped holes into the wall while she tries to get up.

Her movements draw Jason's attention away from his mentor and there's a look in his eyes when he turns towards her that she's never seen before and will gladly never see again. She wants to crawl away from it, from him, and hide but her limbs are too sore to cooperate. All she can do is curl inward and try to protect herself when he reaches for her. Jason doesn't say a word, but his eyes flicker with something like pity before he crouches down to gather her into his arms. His hands are gentle and he lifts her so carefully that for the first time in her life she understands the true meaning of fragile. He strides toward the door saying to Johnny as he goes through the opening "Send someone to pick up the doctor."

"What do you want us to do with the B-...with Mr. Corinthos?"

"Put him somewhere...safe until I call you." The way Jason says the word safe makes Carly's stomach churn, and she has to fight down the urge to vomit when he adds "I want him to know what's happening and why."

Johnny bobs his head in acknowledgment as he hauls an unconscious Sonny over his shoulder into a fireman's lift, and he says softly "I saw her coming in earlier, but I had no idea that he was this far gone. I would have sent her to your place if I'd known."

"Who was on the door?"

"Tommy." Johnny jerked his head sideways to a man standing by the elevator, "Sonny brought him up before he hired me."

"He can help you get Sonny where he needs to go." There's something hidden in the words, that Carly can't quite understand but it still makes her skin crawl.

"Yes sir." Johnny's voice shakes as he says softly, "Carly, I'm so sorry."

Carly tries to form enough words to tell Johnny that it wasn't his fault, but without the adrenaline pumping she's too exhausted, so she settles for patting at the air near his arm. Now that Jason's holding her close she feels so safe that she can almost believe that the last hour isn't important. That delusion lasts until the moment he lays her on the couch in his living room. She clings to his shirt in a panic when he tries to step away, and he freezes in place.

"It's going to be okay." Jason says soothingly, "I'm going to take care of you Carly. Just lay back and let me fix it."

"I'm sorry." She clutches at his hand sobbing, "I'm so sorry. Don't hate me please Jason. Please. I'm sorry."

"This was Sonny's fault." His blue eyes are burning with some emotion as he says mournfully, "I could never hate you for someone else hurting you."

When she finally lets go of him, Jason walks away long enough to bring out one of his shirts, an ice pack, a blanket, and the first aid kit from under the sink before taking a seat on the coffee table and regarding her solemnly. There's a tenderness in his eyes that tugs at her heart, and she finally lets herself breathe when he reaches out hesitantly to brush her hair out of her face.

He picked up the ice pack, wrapping it in a towel and laying it against her cheek before covering her with the blanket. "Can you get your clothes off on your own, or do you need help?"

Carly glanced under the blanket at the tattered remains of her shirt and laughed bitterly, "They're barely on." She tries to shield herself with the blanket, but it slips toward the floor when she starts to wiggle out of her pants.

Hearing Jason growl at the sight of the bruises on her bare skin she says "Aren't you going to ask me what I did? To provoke him I mean?" She forces herself to enunciate carefully, knowing that if they don't do this immediately she won't be able to face it later when he isn't looking at her like she's made of spun glass.

"I don't care what you did." The warmth in Jason's eyes cools; something dark lurking in the blue depths that reminds her of what he actually does on a daily basis. He helps ease the shirt over her head as he says, "He had no right to hurt you."

"You say that now." she shrugged diffidently as she slid her arms into the oversized sleeves, "But he's been your best friend for such a long time. Right now you're angry enough to hurt him, but you're going to wonder later if you should have done it. So, you might as well know now that I started it. I stopped by Kelly's tonight and I saw you dancing with Liz. I didn't know what to think so I decided to ask Sonny about it. He told me that the two of you were together, tried really hard to piss me off, and then I baited him into kissing me. Or maybe he baited me into baiting him."

Carly shook her head, trying to piece together the night's events. "I don't know...it went from zero to train wreck so fast. One minute we were arguing, then we were kissing, and the next second I was pushing him away, and we were back to the insults and then he lost it when I tried to leave. I don't know if he thought I was going to tell you, or if I did something else to set him off. I know he's sick, and I provoked him enough for three fights so...don't do anything you'll regret."

"I don't care." Jason frowned "He lied to you about Liz, but this wasn't about you or me. This was about Sonny doing what he does best. Wrecking everything and everyone around him because he's in pain or because he can't...won't get his shit together."

Carly wants to ask him what he meant about Liz, but the surge of energy that she used to tell him the truth has deserted her and it's all she can do now to keep her eyes open.

"Carly, you have to stay up until the doctor gets here." Jason's voice is tense again, "I know you're tired, but you can't go to sleep yet."

Dimly she recognizes that staying awake is important, but it's a losing battle and her eyes are starting to drift shut when she hears the guard say, "Doc's here."

The doctor walks in slowly, taking in the scene he stops a few feet away and murmurs, "Is there anything...sensitive I need to be aware of right now?"

"I wasn't raped." Carly takes a deep breath, hoping that Jason's internal lie detector is off as she says, "This wasn't about that. Not exactly."

The doctor raised his eyebrow, casting a meaningful glance at Jason before bending to examine her. He moved her limbs gently, watching her face closely throughout for any signs of pain. Every time she winces, or bites her lip he sighs and gives Jason another disapproving look.

"Whatever it was about you're very lucky. Nothing seems to be broken, though I can't be sure without an X-ray. Lots of soft tissue injuries that will heal with time but you're going to be in pain for a while. I'll leave you something to help you get through the next few days. Just...rest and recuperate okay?"

"Okay." She watches him scribbles instructions on a piece of paper as she says softly, "Thank you."

"I didn't do you any favors." He looked at her grimly, "This life is no place for a young girl like you."

"I don't have another laying around to jump into." Carly replied acerbically, as she lay back against the cushions and closed her eyes, "So, let's just skip the lecture okay?"

He bites out "Be more careful in the future, or I might not be able to solve it with a first aid kit and some Vicodin." before getting up to gather his things.

The silence in the room is broken when the guard opens the door again and says "It's Ms. Spencer Boss. Should I..?"

"You can get out of my way." Bobbie snapped as she barreled into the room nearly running into the doctor in her haste, "Leticia showed up at my place an hour ago saying that Carly sent her with Michael, but now I can't find Carly and I know that AJ's going to have Taggert on my doorstep at the crack of dawn."

She breaks off at the sight of a battered Carly curled up on the couch and the doctor standing in front of her, "What the hell happened to you?"

"She'll be fine." The doctor smiled reassuringly, "Just make sure she gets some rest."

"I'll take care of her." Bobbie showed him to the door with a strained smile, barely letting it close before turning around to say,"Jason, what the hell happened to my daughter?"

"I'll take care of it." Carly didn't need to see Jason's face to know that he was giving Bobbie the same flat look he usually reserved for Taggert. "You can stay with her if it'll make you feel better."

She can hear Bobbie struggling for something to say that will break his facade and wants to laugh when her mother says crisply, "Leticia's still at my place with Michael. I'll take her back to the Brownstone tonight."

"It's better if she stays here. I'll have someone go pick up Leticia and Michael."

"Are you sure?" Bobbie's voice dipped to a near whisper as she spoke, "This is the first place they'll come after you do whatever you're planning to do to AJ."

"AJ?" Jason let out a short sharp sound that might be taken for a laugh if they started making them out of razor blades, "I have plans for him, but he didn't do this to her. And the guards have strict instructions not to let anyone into the building tonight."

"Was this...was this business?" Bobbie's hand flashes out to grab the front of Jason's shirt, "What mess did you and Sonny get her into this time?"

Hearing the frightened tremble underneath the rage in Bobbie's voice Carly sits up, opening her eyes wide and forcing her voice to cooperate so that she can say clearly, "It's not Jason's fault. And I'm fine. Mostly."

Bobbie poked Jason hard in the chest, "She's willing to take whatever crumbs you throw her way, but I'm a whole other story. I want to know what happened to her and I want to know right now."

"Bobbie, I have to go." He scrubbed his hand across his face, "I'm going to fix this, all I need you to do is stay here. You can yell at me after...I make sure this never happens again."

"After what? What are you going to do?" His mask drops for just a second, the rage simmering in his gaze mollifying Bobbie enough that she says firmly "Don't get caught."

The sensation of Jason's lips brushing against Carly's forehead makes her reach for him, clinging to the solid planes of his shoulders when he tries to stand up. He rests his forehead against hers and murmurs, "I'll be back as soon as I can, and the guard will be right outside."

"Oh baby girl, who did this to you?" Bobbie mutters as she bends to clean up the mess left behind by the doctor. Her hands are shaking and she accidentally drops the first aid kit onto the floor when she tries to move it. The noise jolts Carly fully awake, her panicked scramble backwards prompting Bobbie to say "No more talking in circles. Who did this to you?"

"Momma, it's complicated." Carly twists her lips into what she hopes is a reassuring smile only to wince at the pain it causes her, "Can I have something to drink so I can take a pill?"

Bobbie stalks into the kitchen and fills a glass with ice and water as she snaps, "I can ask questions and play nursemaid at the same time. Tell me the truth. Was this about the business?"

Carly laughed bitterly, "This definitely wasn't business."

"Not business. Not AJ." She handed Carly the water and a pill and sat in the same spot Jason had occupied earlier, "So what happened then? This wasn't a mugging by some stranger."

"Momma...just let it go." A tear trickled down Carly's cheek, "I did this to myself in every way that matters."

"Bull." Bobbie's eyes flicked across the cuts and bruises covering Carly's flesh, "You didn't beat yourself up, and I know Jason didn't lay a hand on you. He's the only one you love enough to let off the hook for hurting you, and I think this would still be too much for you to forgive. So, who hit you?"

"You won't believe me." Carly spun the glass in her hands letting the chill soothe the sore skin covering her fingers "It happened to me, and I still don't believe it."

"Carly, stop stalling and tell me who hit you."

"It was Sonny." At the look of shock on her mother's face she smiled ruefully, "Told you that you wouldn't believe it."

Bobbie surged to her feet, "I believe it. You forget, I knew Brenda before and after Sonny. I saw what happened to her, to Lily, and I know what he did to poor Karen Wexler. That worthless, lowlife, lying, son of a bitch."

Carly ducked her head, "I provoked him. Kind of. I don't know. It was...I didn't go to him looking for a fight, but we got there and then Jason walked in and saved me."

Bobbie's eyes glittered with a fierceness Carly had never seen before as she said coldly, "Don't you ever blame yourself for what he did. Do you hear me? NEVER!"

Unable to formulate a coherent response Carly nodded obediently, and Bobbie sighed softly "Sorry, I don't want to yell at you. We should get you upstairs so you can get cleaned up and into a bed."

"I won't sleep until Jason gets back anyway, but you can crash." She smiled weakly, "Besides Leticia will be here soon with Michael and I'm sure he's not going to be a barrel of fun after moving twice in one night."

"He was knocked out when they got to my place." Bobbie scrubbed her hands across her face, "Speaking of Michael, what about AJ and the Quartermaines?"

"I decided to leave him tonight. We'll sort it out one way or another." Her voice hardened, "AJ's not interested in being a father. He just wants my son as a bargaining chip to impress Edward. I'm done playing nice."

"You and Jason do realize that you can't kill your way out of this problem right?"

"We won't need to Mama." Carly shrugged diffidently, "AJ doesn't love Michael enough to risk Edward's disapproval much less his own life. He'll give him up as soon as he sees there's no way for him to win."

"Carly…" Bobbie took a deep breath and let it out slowly as she said gently, "I don't want to fight with you, but have you ever considered joint custody? It's a reasonable compromise and it would give Michael a chance to have everyone that loves him in his life."

"That would be a great suggestion if AJ was capable of love. He was so busy yelling at me tonight about how he'd never let me see Michael again that he didn't even realize that Leticia snuck him out to your house." Carly's lips quivered, "I won't let a man that hates me raise my son. He'll just teach Michael to hate me too."

Before Bobbie could respond the guard knocked on the door and announced "Leticia and Michael are here."

Instead of finishing whatever thought she'd been about to utter Bobbie rushed forward to cover Carly completely with the blanket as she said, "Just in case Michael is awake; I don't want him to get upset. I'll get them upstairs and then we'll see about you getting some rest too."

Carly rolled her eyes at Bobbie, as Leticia walked in toting Michael. She smiled at the sight of her sleep addled son, as he was carried carefully past her and up the stairs. The smile played on her lips until she couldn't hear Bobbie and Leticia fussing over sleeping arrangements. Alone with her thoughts she shuddered as her mind flooded with memories of the night's events.