*Conclusion to No Looking Back/Nowhere To Hide*
An Ethina Story- by: Lil' Chrissy
Jason quietly crept up the long, snowy driveway towards the abandoned theatre, carefully using a stick to erase his footprints. He wanted to get an idea of what they were dealing with. He noticed the black SUV with the same license plates that Ethan had given him after the hospital incident. He was about 100 ft from it, behind a tree and watched as Tony and Jeff loaded several boxes into the back. He slowly made his way towards the vehicle and caught Tony's eye. He knew what Jason wanted, so whispered to Jeff then they went back inside. Jason quickly stuck a GPS transponder underneath the bumper of the SUV. Now Spinelli could track them. Jason headed back to the designated meeting place to let Lucky and Dante know what was going on.
They met on Eastlake Road as instructed. The area was fairly isolated, with huge undeveloped fields on either side of the road. Jason had scoped out the best spot to watch without being seen and he filled them in.
"They're loading the SUV and it shouldn't be too much longer before they leave. I managed to hide a GPS transponder underneath the bumper. I've got Spinelli standing by. Did you notice the elementary school about a ½ mile back? I think that's the best place to wait and there's a huge dumpster in the parking lot you can use as cover. I'll hang back here and call you when I see them heading your way."
"Where are you going to hide?", Lucky asked, then noticed his motorcycle hidden just over the hill 50 ft from them.
"I'll let them pass me, then slowly follow at a safe distance", Jason added.
"Do we have any idea where they might be headed?" Dante wanted to know.
"No. According to Johnny, Tony and Jeff weren't given any specifics. Manelli just told them they were moving locations last night and he left. They have no idea where he went." Jason looked at his watch. "You'd better get into position."
Lucky and Dante headed to the school parking lot and waited. All Jason could think about was getting the bastard that killed Sam- no matter what he had to do!
Johnny was anxious about Jason's plan. He wanted to be there to back him up, but figured someone should stay close by in case Ethan tried to contact him. He decided to fill Ethan in on what was going on.
"Breaker, breaker, this is Johnny One calling for Gambler's Heart over", Johnny called.
There was nothing but static. He checked to make sure he had the right channel, he did. He tried again.
"This is Johnny One, calling for Gambler's Heart. Ethan, you there? Over."
Nothing. He began to get a little worried and attempted contact for the next 15 minutes, unsuccessfully. What the hell was going on?
Ethan heard the CB as he slowly regained consciousness. His face was swollen- he had a bloody nose, a cut just above his right eye and his lip was bleeding. His legs were really weak and he fell back on his butt again as soon as he tried to stand up, so he slowly crawled over towards the CB radio.
"Breaker, breaker, this is Johnny One calling for Gambler's Heart, you read me? Ethan?"
Out of breath, he finally pulled himself close enough to reach the CB receiver, "This is Gambler's Heart, Johnny?"
Johnny could hear something was wrong. "Ethan? I've been trying to reach you for 15 minutes! What's going on? Are you okay?"
Ethan relayed the events of the past couple of hours. "She's gone, he took her! I don't know where! What are we going to do?" There was panic in his voice.
Johnny was alarmed. "Are they on foot?"
"I don't know mate. When I came to, they were gone and I have no idea how long I've been out. Hold on, I'm going to see if the snowmobiles are still here."
He slowly got to his feet, but was still pretty weak and had to hold on to the desk chair, then couch as he walked. He opened the door and could see tracks from the shed, leading back towards the entrance to the property. He staggered to the shed and was dismayed to find the other snowmobile had been disabled. Ethan was really scared- what had that bastard done with Krissy?
Ethan got back to the CB and relayed the situation. "I can try to fix the snowmobile, but they have at least a 20 minute head start. I need to find her! You have no idea how this guy was looking at her! If anything happens to her, if he lays a hand on her…." He couldn't even finish the sentence.
Johnny checked the weather forecast and luckily, it had stopped snowing for the moment and the next wave of snow wasn't due until the next afternoon. "I'll fly my helicopter to your location and we'll do a sweep of the area. We'll find her Ethan, I promise."
"Just hurry!" Ethan put the receiver down, plopped on the floor and with his head in his hands, prayed he wasn't too late.
The ELQ jet finally landed, but Luke was a little puzzled because it had been a shorter trip than usual. Tracy noticed Luke seemed a bit unnerved by something.
"What's wrong?", she asked.
"I thought we had at least another 2 hours before we reached Barcelona", he estimated looking at his watch.
He looked out the window to see they landed on what looked like a single landing strip. It was very dark, with no lights visible, so he had no frame of reference. This wasn't a good development.
Lulu was alarmed. "What are you saying dad?"
"Let's not panic, but I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."
"This is ridiculous! Trevor has been the ELQ pilot for 10 years! There must be a problem with the plane and he had to make an emergency landing or something." She tried to raise him on the intercom, but there was no answer.
Suddenly, the door opened and 2 men stood with AK47's pointed at them! "Let's go", one of them ordered.
"What's going on here?" Tracy demanded an explanation. She didn't get an answer. "Where's Trevor?" All she got were cold, blank stares from the men.
"Come on lady, let's go!"
"I'm not going anywhere with you until you tell me what the hell is going on!" Tracy demanded again. "Do you have any idea who you're talking to?"
"I doubt they care. I don't think this is a good time to antagonize the men with the AK47's", Luke solemnly tried to get her to back down.
"Who the hell are you? Where are we? I'm not leaving this plane until I get some answers!"
The pilot had walked into the cabin and suddenly hit Luke in the back of the head with the butt of his gun, rendering him unconscious! Then he pointed the gun at his head.
"This isn't a joke lady! Now get your ass off the plane or he's a dead man!"
Tracy was mortified and now realized their situation was dire.
Lulu followed Tracy and the pilot threw Luke over his shoulder, then carried him off the plane.
Thanks to the weather, Johnny made it to a clearing not far from the cabin in 45 minutes and he set the helicopter down. Ethan was anxiously waiting at the front door, sipping a glass of Crown Royal when Johnny walked up the path that had been cleared of snow. Ethan's face was all bruised and swollen. They walked inside. Johnny could see the distress in Ethan's eyes.
"Tell me again, what was the last thing you remember?"
Ethan showed him the bathroom door that had been kicked in. The shower curtain was ripped, half hanging from the rings and a bunch of Kristina's cosmetics were strewn on the floor.
"Kristina was able to lock herself in the bathroom, but I couldn't…." his voice trailed as he choked back the lump in his throat. "He must have kicked the door in and dragged her out of here. She was only wearing bathrobe! Who knows where this bastard took her! What he could be doing to her!"
Johnny could see fear taking hold of Ethan. "Let's see if we can pick up their trail. You ready?"
Ethan gulped the rest of his Crown Royal and then followed Johnny to the helicopter.
About 10 minutes after Lucky and Dante took their position, Jason called to let them know the SUV was leaving the theatre. As they passed Jason's location, he noticed Tony driving and he allowed them to round the bend, then slowly followed on his motorcycle. Lucky and Dante watched them pass by, then began to follow about ¼ mile behind them. Dante was on the phone with Spinelli, who was monitoring via GPS Satellite and kept them appraised of the SUV's movement.
After making it back to the car, Ramirez turned his attention to unlocking his car for a split second and Kristina seized the moment. She took off running through the woods as fast as her little feet would carry her, until she tripped on a tree in the dark. Ramirez caught up to her and tried to pull her back towards the car. Kristina saw an opportunity and kicked him in the groin as hard as she could!
"Fuck! You fuckin' bitch!" Ramirez got up, holding his crotch but was able to catch up to her again. "I've got something for you little girl! You want to play it that way, huh? We'll just see about that!" He sat on top of her, with his knees holding her arms to her side.
She thrashed around trying to break free from his grip, but he was in a good position. He pulled a syringe from his inside jacket pocket and injected Kristina with a sedative. She screamed at the top of her lungs, "No! Don't! Don't!" After a moment, she finally fell silent. He scooped her up and threw her in the back of the car.
Johnny and Ethan were having a hard time seeing tracks, even with the spotlight. It was pitch dark and the wind was picking up, so it was tough to keep the helicopter low enough to see. Ethan was getting frustrated.
"Can't you bring this thing down a little lower? I can't tell if those are snowmobile tracks or not!"
"If I go any lower, we'll crash. The wind isn't cooperating much." Johnny struggled against the air current. He figured they had most likely gone back to the storage area and after a sweep of that location, they spotted the snowmobile partially hidden on the side of the storage building.
Luckily there was a little bit of lighting attached to the outside of the building. They could see footprints, as well as tire marks in the snow where a vehicle definitely backed up, did a half turn and drove off towards the highway.
"I wish we knew what vehicle they are in." Ethan commented. He was beginning to feel it was like looking for a needle in a haystack, until they spotted a black hummer on the side of the freeway, about 5 miles from the storage location. Ethan pointed at it.
"I see it", Johnny nodded.
They did a quick recon to see if there was a cabin or building nearby where Ramirez could have taken Kristina. Unfortunately, there was nothing visible but woods on either side of the freeway, for several miles. The blanket of snow wasn't helping and Johnny commented it might be hiding smaller structures they were unable to see. He looked for a place to put the helicopter down, however, there wasn't a clearing nearby. They ended up having to go back to the storage facility. Johnny put it down behind the storage building in an effort to conceal it.
"Let's go!" Ethan went to get into his car.
"Wait a minute Ethan. We don't know what we're potentially walking into and we have no back up. I think we should let Jason know what's going on and maybe they can meet us here."
"It'll be too late! This guy could have already killed her for all I know!" The thought ripped at his soul to the very core! "I need to get to Krissy, NOW!" Ethan was frantic and Johnny could see any attempt at reasoning with him was going to be futile. Reluctantly, he agreed and they headed back towards the freeway as fast as they could.
Luke, Tracy and Lulu were taken to a shack, deep in the jungle and locked inside. Luke had been thrown on the floor, still unconscious. Lulu and Tracy tried to bring him back around, but couldn't.
"Where the hell are we?", Tracy asked as she surveyed their miserable accommodations. The guard slammed the door shut and locked it without answering.
It was a small shack. There was only one double-sized bed against the wall opposite the door, a wood nightstand with lamp next to it, a small round table with 2 chairs. The 'bathroom', if that's what you'd call it, was to the left of the bed. The tub in the bathroom looked like it hadn't been cleaned in years, the toilet and the sink were kind of rusted. The only good thing about it, was the mirror above the sink. There was a small kitchenette to the left of the bed with a coffeemaker, portable refrigerator, microwave and sink. It was meager at best and Tracy wasn't happy.
"Will you look at this dump? We need to figure a way out of here, because there is no way I'm spending the night in here!" Just then a rat ran across the room and into the bathroom! She screamed! It was loud enough to jolt Luke from his state of unconsciousness.
"Stop yelling so loud!", he said holding the back of his head.
Tracy ran and stood on top of the bed. "There's a rat in here! I'm not getting off this bed, until it's gone!"
Lulu laughed at Tracy's antics. She went over to Luke to see how he was doing. "Are you okay dad?"
"I think so, except for this splitting headache that Tracy isn't helping!" He looked at her, shaking his head. "What are you doing popsicle?"
"There are rats in here! I don't do rats!" Tracy shrieked at him.
"Well, you'd better get used to it because by the look of things, we're not getting out of here any time soon." Luke added as he assessed the situation.
"I tried to kick the door down, it's locked and I couldn't get it to budge", Lulu informed.
Luke noticed the bars on the window- that was out. "Any idea who is hosting this lovely get away?"
"No idea", Lulu answered.
Tracy was wearing a pants suit and was uncomfortably hot. "I'm sweating! It's got to be 90 degrees in here. I don't suppose they carried our luggage off the plane?"
Lulu noticed a small fan on the counter, "Here, try this." She handed it to Tracy, who proceeded to carefully get off the bed long enough to plug it in, then she got right back on it.
Suddenly, the door opened!
Jason was about a half mile behind the SUV, with Lucky and Dante another quarter mile behind him. Spinelli was tracking them as they wound up the mountain side and Dante had him on speaker.
"I can't be sure, but it looks like you are headed towards Devil's Run", Spinelli relayed to Dante.
"Where?" Dante had no clue what Spinelli was talking about.
He explained. "Devil's Run is just off highway marker 17. Legend has it there is an old dungeon beneath a church that burned down in 1795. It's just ruins now, but over the years people have been known to use it for satanic rituals and witchcraft- thus the name 'Devil's Run'."
Lucky chuckled and rolled his eyes. "You've got to be kidding!"
"Alas I am not."
"How far are we from that location?" Dante asked.
"I'd guess about an hour or so", Spinelli estimated.
"Well, we'll see where they're leading us", Lucky added.
"I might lose you in a little bit. I don't know how far up the canyon the signal will hold", Dante reminded Spinelli.
"No problem. Stone Cold has a Sattelite mobile, so if I lose you, I'll still be in contact." Spinelli clarified.
Tony hadn't been given any information other than to drive up the mountainside. An hour later, Hugo finally handed him a piece of paper with coordinates to where they were headed. Jeff was sitting in the passenger seat, read it, then punched the data into their GPS.
"Shouldn't be long now", Hugo said with a grin.
"What is this place we're going to?" Jeff tried to get some type of idea.
Hank piped up, "You'll know when you need to know!"
"Is Mr. Manelli meeting us?", Tony asked.
"Just drive. I'm not paying you to give me the third degree!" Hugo warned.
Jeff glanced at Tony, with a woeful look.
Kristina had been unconscious for almost 2 hours when she finally began to come around. Still high from the sedative, she tried to get her bearings and focus. Slowly she became aware of her surroundings- she was in some type of an underground tunnel, made of stone. It was really cold and her feet were frozen from her little romp in the woods in her socks. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she looked around. She could hear water dripping, echoing from somewhere deep within and looked up to see a sliver of light shining through wood slats above her. Suddenly Kristina recalled the strange dream she'd had months before- it was eerily similar! She shivered as the wind whipped down through the slats and the reality of the situation started to sink in. The temperature had dropped to only about 20 degrees and Kristina huddled against the cold stone wall, her knees to her chest, wondering if she'd ever see Ethan again.
Ethan and Johnny pulled in behind the black hummer on the side of the freeway. Ethan went to get out, but Johnny grabbed his arm.
"Wait a minute."
"What?" Ethan didn't understand why Johnny was hesitating.
"We can't just go half-cocked. There's no telling how many men are involved or what we're dealing with."
Ethan was aggravated. "It's already been at least 2 hours, who knows what that bastard is doing to her. I'm going in there with or without you."
Johnny could see there was no changing his mind. "Okay. Let's see if there are any signs as to which way they went. If we figure out where they are, let's regroup before rushing in- obviously these guys are ruthless and we can't help Kristina if we're dead." He pulled his gun from his waist, took the safety off and took the lead.
They stealthly made their way through the woods, using flashlights and Johnny noticed several branches that had been broken, as if something had pushed through. He motioned to Ethan who nodded. About 10 minutes later they came upon a creek and on the other side of it, noticed stones that appeared to have been part of a foundation. It was situated amongst the trees, overgrown with various types of vegetation and they looked for a safe way across the creek. Johnny noticed rocks about 20 ft to their right that could serve as stepping stones, so they carefully made their way across.
As they began to approach the stone structure, they heard a man talking, then saw him pacing back and forth a few feet from the stones. They stopped dead in their tracks, hid behind a boulder and listened to his end of a phone conversation.
"I'm about a mile in from the freeway off mile marker 17. Just the girl. I know, but there was a little…problem so I improvised. I left him unconscious in the cabin. Okay." He hung up the phone, then disappeared down some steps.
Johnny and Ethan crept up to the stone structure and noticed a wooden hatch door. They listened for a minute, but couldn't hear anything. Ethan began to pull it open and cringed when it creaked. He stopped, holding his breath, waiting to see if it had been heard. Luckily, it appeared they were in the clear. Just as they were about to enter, they heard rustling behind them and slowly turned around. Hugo and Hank were standing there, guns drawn!
The man's phone rang as he stepped into the cabin. "You have them? What do you mean you only have the girl? You were supposed to take them both! Okay. Wait to hear from me and don't do anything foolish!" He hung up and then turned to Luke, Tracy and Lulu.
"Welcome. I hope the accomodations aren't too…uncomfortable", he looked around the room.
Luke was irritated. "Cut the crap. What's going on? Who the hell are you?"
"I believe you know someone I've been waiting to talk to for a very long time", he snickered.
Luke, Tracy and Lulu looked at each other as they realized this must be the guy who had been searching for Ethan.
"Manelli." Luke said with discontent in his voice.
"Very good Mr. Spencer." Manelli ordered his bodyguard to stand guard outside the door, then he turned back to the trio.
Sassy as always, Lulu tried to cover for Ethan. "Ethan left town. We have no idea where he went, so you might as well let us go."
"Nice try blondie, but I happen to know exactly where he is." He turned to address Luke. "Now, I just need to find out where Ethan has stashed my diamonds and if things go as planned, you won't be required." he divulged. "You're my plan B."
"What's plan A?", Luke asked though afraid of the answer.
"That's not you're concern. Just sit tight and hopefully, you'll be on your way soon."
Luke knew there was no way Manelli would let them go. "Look, we have no idea what you're talking about. Ethan doesn't have your blood diamonds! You've been barking up the wrong tree and if you don't release us now, I'll make sure your entire operation is dismantled, piece by piece!", Luke threatened.
Manelli was impressed. "I've done my research Mr. Spencer. I happen to know you've only just recently met your son a couple of years ago. Now that's hardly enough time for you to have any idea who he really is. I'm sure there are things he hasn't disclosed…things from his past."
Luke was defensive. "I know my son, everything about him and there is nothing he's done that would ever make me doubt his integrity."
"We'll just see about that", Manelli added sarcastically. "I've got to go now. Enjoy your…'vacation'."
Luke was pissed at the insinuations and as Manelli turned to leave, he hauled off and punched him! Manelli's lip split open and he took to a swing at Luke, who ducked, dodging the blow. Manelli fell into the table. The bodyguard heard the commotion and ran in, then grabbed Luke, restraining him.
Manelli laughed and motioned for the bodyguard to let him go. Luke fell to the floor. Manelli clapped his hands. "Bravo! I'm always in the mood for a little sparring, even though I obviously have the upper hand", he added with a smirk. Then with a wink, he left.
Tracy was furious! "Are you out of your mind? What the hell were you thinking? Remember the AK47's? I don't need for you to get shot and leave me with these animals!"
"I think we have way more to worry about than that darlin'", Luke added with dismay.
Ramirez was just exiting the tunnels when he saw Hugo and Hank holding Ethan and Johnny at gun point. "What's going on?"
"Where's the girl?", Hugo asked.
"In the tunnel. I see you found him at the cabin?" Ramirez was pleased with himself.
"Actually, no. We just saved your sorry ass! They were about to ambush you, moron!", Hank said with disgust.
"I got the girl didn't I?"
"Manelli said you were supposed to grab them both!", Hugo yelled at Ramirez.
"I had a little business to take care of and needed the girl", Ramirez vaguely explained.
"Whatever. Let's go!", Hugo motioned for Ethan and Johnny to head down into the tunnels, waving his gun at them.
Tony and Jeff were standing behind Hugo and Hank. Johnny nodded at Tony and then all hell broke loose! Tony clocked Hugo in the back of the head with the butt of his gun, while Ethan turned and punched Hank, who fell hitting his head against the stone wall. Ethan winced and shook his hand. Ramirez grabbed Johnny from behind. Johnny elbowed him in the gut, kneed him in the groin, then hit him on the head rendering him unconscious!
"Thanks for the assist!", Johnny said out of breath. Tony and Jeff tied Hugo, Hank and Ramirez to a nearby tree.
Ethan rushed into the tunnels looking for Kristina and was horrified by what he saw. Kristina was huddled in the corner, shivering uncontrollably. "Oh my God! Kristina!
He immediately took his jacket off and wrapped it around her. She was still high from the sedative Ramirez gave her and almost unconscious. She managed a weak smile, "Ethan?"
"Yes honey." He kissed her.
"I'm so….c-c-c-cold", she barely got out against her shivers.
"I've got you." He gently scooped her up in his arms and carried her out. The warmth of his body enveloped hers. Johnny held the hatch door open and was shocked when he saw Kristina's condition.
Ethan was furious! "What the hell did you do to her?"
Although Ramirez was still groggy from the hit, he managed an evil grin, "Princess tried to run, so…!" Ramirez chuckled.
"I have to get her out of here!" Ethan interrupted frantic. Before Johnny could answer, they heard voices across the river and noticed flashlights.
"Johnny?" It was Jason, Dante and Lucky.
Ethan and Johnny looked at each other relieved. "Glad you could make it!", Johnny quipped, then directed them to the stepping stones to get across the river. A few minutes later, Johnny filled them in on the past few hours.
Jason and Lucky were surprised to see Manny Ramirez.
"What the hell?" Jason was shocked!
Ramirez laughed. "Thought you were rid of me, didn't you?"
"You were dead! How are you…." Jason didn't finish the sentence.
"Wouldn't you like to know. I told you…we have unfinished business. How's sweetness?" Ramirez sneered.
Jason started to grab Ramirez when Lucky stopped him. "Come on. We'll deal with him at the station."
Jason stared at him. "You know this guy?", Dante asked surprised.
"Let's just say, this isn't the first time Ramirez has terrorized the women of Port Charles! We thought he was dead.", Lucky informed.
Ethan tried to talk to Kristina, but she wasn't responding. He was really worried. "I need to get her to the hospital! Can we get out of here?"
Johnny nodded. He turned to Lucky, "I'll take them in my helicopter."
"We'll take care of these guys and meet you at the hospital", Lucky stated.
"I'll go with you and let Sonny know what's going on", Jason added.
Kristina was completely unconscious by the time they made it to GH. Ethan explained what happened as they took her from his arms and placed her on a gurney. Her body temperature was at a threatening level and Steve confirmed hypothermia set in. Ethan helplessly watched as they assessed her condition.
Epiphany tried to usher Ethan to trauma room 2, but he resisted and waved her away. "I'm okay."
"No you're not! Now we can do this the easy way or the hard way- either way, I win." Epiphany wasn't going to give him a choice. He reluctantly followed her.
Sonny and Alexis arrived. "How is she?", Alexis directed at Jason.
"They're working on her", he motioned towards trauma room one.
"What the hell happened?" Sonny asked. Before Jason could answer, Steve and Patrick emerged to brief them of Kristina's condition. Ethan heard them and slipped out of his room to hear what was going on.
"She's suffering from hypothermia, so we're trying to bring her body temperature up and the blood panel showed she was given a large dose of the sedative, Thorazine. We're giving her medication to counter-act that, as well as fluids for dehydration. She's lucky- another hour and….", Steve didn't finish the sentence.
"I'm ordering a CT scan just to make sure she doesn't have any internal injuries and we'll do additional blood tests", Patrick added. I anticipate that as long as we can bring her temperature up, with a little rest, she'll make a full recovery.
Relief spread across everyone's face and Alexis let out a huge breath, as if she'd been holding it for the past hour. "Thank you."
Ethan was standing behind Patrick, "Can I see her?" Patrick nodded and Alexis acknowledged it was okay.
She sat down in the waiting room with Johnny. "Tell me what happened." Johnny filled her in. "You and Ethan saved my daughter's life. I won't forget it." She leaned over and gave him a hug, then walked over to see how Kristina was doing. She watched at the window. Ethan was holding her hand, his lips against her skin, with tears in his eyes. She was amazed at how much love he had for her. Alexis decided to let him stay with her and went to grab some coffee.
Sonny took Jason aside. "I want this bastard taken care of, no matter what it takes, understand me?" Jason could see the disgust and fierce rage in Sonny's eyes. "I want you to convince Lucky to let you talk to Manelli's men. Use whatever tactics you need to- they're not getting away with killing Sam and almost killing my daughter! Did I hear that Manny Ramirez is involved in this?"
Jason nodded. "He was on loan from the Cortez organization."
"That son of a bitch! After how he terrorized this town? He's done, get me?" Sonny was livid.
Jason knew what Sonny meant. He got a call from Lucky letting him know they were back, so he and Johnny headed for the PCPD instead of waiting for them at the hospital.
Day turned to night for Luke, Tracy and Lulu, who were still being held by Manelli. Luke had been listening at the door all afternoon, trying to hear what was going on or if the bodyguards would mention where they were. They had thrown a bag of burgers and fries in the room, with bottled water, but Luke warned against eating or drinking anything, concerned about being drugged. Tracy was still on her perch on the bed, refusing to walk on the floor due to the rat she had seen earlier.
"You're wasting your time!", Tracy was irritated.
"She's right dad, we need to figure a way out of here!" Lulu agreed with Tracy.
Luke looked around, then snapped his fingers. "Okay, here's what we're going to do."
Lucky was in the interrogation room with Ramirez when Jason and Johnny arrived at the police station. They walked up to Dante.
"Get anything from these guys?" Jason asked.
"No. I doubt we will either. We've already tried to flip Hugo and Hank, they're not budging and Ramirez is our last hope."
"Let me talk to him. I've dealt with him before. I know how to get something out of him", Jason assured.
Dante didn't like that idea. "I can't just let you go in carte blanche and rough this guy up. Mine and Lucky's asses are on the line here! With Interpol involved, it's a little complicated and we have superiors to deal with."
"We don't have time Dante! You don't know what this guy did to Carly, Sam…" Jason wasn't about to back down.
Johnny intervened. "Look, Ramirez is our only hope right now. I happen to be in good with his boss, Cortez", he admitted, looking out of the corner of his eye at Jason. "I'm sure he'll tell me what's going on."
Dante motioned for Lucky. "Apparently Ramirez has been working with the Cortez brothers and freelancing for Manelli. Johnny says he can get him to talk- what do you think?"
Lucky let out a huge sigh. "This guy did a lot of damage in this town and I can't believe he's out of prison on some technicality. Are you sure you can? Our badges are on the line here if we allow you to talk to him."
"Do you want to know what Manelli is up to or not?" Jason was aggravated and could see Lucky was hesitant. "Look, I understand, but Kristina almost died tonight! Sonny wants this guy taken care of- NOW! This Manelli guy isn't going to stop and maybe he told Ramirez what was going on. We have nothing to go on right now and the clock is ticking. Who knows what this guy is capable of!" Jason pleaded his case.
Lucky looked at Dante, then they reluctantly agreed to let Johnny talk to Ramirez. Jason took Johnny aside, "We need to find out what he knows about Manelli, who he spoke to, what his orders were and why he's not giving up on these diamonds. There's got to be more to it than just diamonds. This guy hasn't given up looking for Ethan for 9 years. It's personal, there has to be another reason he refuses to stop."
"I promised Ethan I would help get these guys and I intend to do just that." Johnny nodded, then took a deep breath and walked into the interrogation room.
Lulu pounded on the door furiously. "Help! Help! Please! I need someone to help me!" She pleaded and pounded for a couple of minutes until one of the guards finally opened the door. Lulu was frantic. "It's my step-mother! She just passed out! I don't know what's wrong with her, please, she needs a doctor!"
The guard looked towards the bed where Tracy was unconscious, laying on her side and it appeared she had collapsed. He motioned at the 2nd guard, "I'm going to check this out. Why don't you call the boss and let him know what's going on."
The guard entered the room and as he approached the edge of the bed, Luke walked out from the bathroom, whacked him on the head with the bottom of the lamp! The guard fell unconscious! Luke quickly dragged him to the bathroom, threw him in the tub and then ripped up the sheet from the bed to gag him, tie his hands and legs. He closed the door.
"One down, at least 2-3 to go!" He turned to Lulu, "Nice work! Your mom would be proud."
Tracy sat up. "It's only a matter of time before the other one opens the door, let's not congratulate ourselves yet!"
"I think I hear someone!", Lulu ran to the door. Luke took position in the bathroom again and Tracy acted like she was unconscious.
The door opened and 2 more guards walked in. Lulu slammed the door behind them, kicked the gun out of one of the guard's hands, kneed him in the groin! Then she hit him in the back of the head with the butt of the gun, he collasped!
Meanwhile, Luke ran out of the bathroom and ended up in a struggle with the other bodyguard for control of the lamp. It fell to the ground. Luke body slammed the guard to the floor and they wrestled for several minutes, each trying to get the upper hand. Finally, Lulu grabbed the lamp and hit the guard in the head with it!
"Thanks for the save buttercup!" Luke was out of breath.
After a few moments of recovery, he dragged the other two guards into the bathroom to tie them up with the other one. He grabbed the ring of keys from one of them, as well as their guns. Luke listened at the door and felt it was all clear- Luke, Tracy and Lulu made their escape, heading into the darkness and unknown.
Johnny stepped out of the interrogation room after his 'talk' with Manny Ramirez. Jason, Lucky and Dante had watched from the one-way window and eagerly surrounded him.
"He claims Manelli was planning to use Kristina as leverage against Ethan. He said the diamonds are not the exactly what he's after, but denies knowledge of what the real reason is. Apparently, Ethan and Kristina were plan A and in case something happened, plan B will be in effect."
Jason was confused, "Plan B? What the hell is he talking about?"
"He's offered to help us, but refuses to disclose any more details unless you give him a deal." Johnny pointed at Lucky.
"Why me?" Lucky was beginning to get the feeling something more was going on and was getting angry.
"He wouldn't say. Only that you'd want to cooperate."
"Take it easy Lucky. This guy is just playing a game", Dante believed.
Lucky paced back and forth. Then his eyes widened and he rushed into the room. He grabbed Ramirez by the neck and slammed him on the table! "What did you do?"
Ramirez let out a maniacal laugh. "That's for me to know and you to find out…Detective Spencer."
Dante pulled Lucky off of Ramirez and ushered him out of the room. "We have to be careful here. Now lets assess the situation."
Jason stood at the door, glaring at Ramirez. He couldn't wait until he had the chance to rid Port Charles of this menace forever! He had to bide his time. Johnny pulled him from the doorway and shut the door. "Come on. We'll take care of him, I promise. Let's just get through this."
Jason sat on Lucky's desk, listening to Dante make a plan. "We need to make a deal with him. That's the only way we're going to find out what this 'Plan B' is."
Lucky was fuming. "We have to figure out what the fuck this Manelli guy is really after! Do you believe Ramirez will tell us what he knows if we give him a deal? He deserves to rot in hell after what he's done!"
Dante shook his head. "You've had more experience with this guy than me, but I don't see a choice here. Let's brief Mac on the latest developments and see what he thinks."
Lucky agreed and they head for Mac's office.
It was well after midnight as Luke, Tracy and Lulu made their way through the jungle. Tracy was having a fit from all of the 'creatures' creeping and crawling around them.
"I am never going outside again!" Tracy complained as she slapped her neck at a mosquito.
"Ssshh! Someone will hear you!", Lulu shot back.
Luke was leading the charge down a small path when they came to an old bridge that extended across a 100 ft drop gully. It looked like it was made over 100 years ago, with several pieces of rope hanging off the side of it and several missing planks.
"I think this is the only way across", Luke said with dismay.
"If you think I'm risking my life going across that thing, they must have hit you over the head harder than I thought!" Tracy quipped, hands on her hips.
"What do you think dad?" Lulu didn't know that it was a good idea herself as she walked over and gingerly put her foot on one of the planks. She put her weight on it, holding on to the rope railing. It seemed to be strong enough.
Just then, they heard voices in the distance! "I guess we don't have a choice." Luke started his way across, slowly and a few minutes later, made it. "Come on Tracy, you're next."
Tracy was afraid to go and hesitated. "I can't do this!"
"Yes you can. Look at me the whole time and don't look down", Luke coached.
"You can do it Tracy. Listen to dad", Lulu urged. "I'll be right behind you."
Tracy finally, at a snails pace, began to inch across. The voices got louder and louder. Time was running out! Tracy made it and fell into Luke's waiting arms!
"Ok. Lulu, you're next!" Luke yelled across the gully.
Just as Lulu began to cross, several men broke through the brush and ran towards her! She screamed, then lunged forward and fell onto the broken bridge! As she scrambled to get up, shots were fired. Lulu didn't waste any time. She crawled across on her hands and knees, with several of the planks falling into the gully below. Lulu held on and made it across just as the bridge completely fell apart, splintering into the gully!
Luke held his daughter. "That was way too close!" They quickly headed into the jungle, hopefully to freedom!
Back at the PCPD, Lucky was at a loss as to how to proceed. He had a feeling Manny Ramirez had something to do with the fact no one had heard from Luke, Tracy or Lulu and they received confirmation their plane did not land in Barcelona as planned. According to air control, the plane's GPS beacon appeared to have been disengaged somehow. The last location they had record of the plane, it was heading south over Florida. He sat in Mac's office trying to come up with the best way to handle Ramirez.
"Here's what I think we need to do. We'll give him a deal to drop the kidnapping and aggravated assault charges, but only if the information he provides leads to the conviction of Joseph Manelli", Mac ordered. "Why don't you let Claire Walsh know what's going, have her sign off on the deal. Then we'll see what's next", he directed at Lucky.
Lucky shook his head. "After everything that bastard did, he could still get away with it. Sometimes I wonder if I'm on the right team", he added with disgust as he left to get the Immunity Agreement in order.
Spinelli had been anxiously awaiting Stone Cold's return and was relieved when he finally showed up.
"Gracious greetings. Did Stone Cold get the fair princess?"
"Yes. She's at the hospital, but listen, I need you to do something for me. We need to find out what this Manelli guy has on Ethan. This guy is after more than some missing diamonds and we need to know exactly what we're dealing with. Look at everything, his bank transactions, cell phone records, any business associates, police records….I want to know everything", Jason hastily rattled off.
Spinelli was concerned that Jason wasn't 100%. Since Sam's funeral the other day, he knew Jason hadn't eaten or slept. "But are you sure that's the best thing to do? I mean, you haven't even slept in 48 hours. Maybe…"
"Spinelli!", Jason gave him an icy glare. "Just…do it!", he barked at him.
Spinelli decided it was best to drop the subject and slowly sat in front of his computer. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Jason warily plop on the couch, physically and emotionally exhausted.
"Yes. Okay. What's his name again?"
Though he immediately turned his attention to the task at hand, deep down, he knew Jason was never going let go until Manelli was brought down.
He feared for his friend, because no matter what he was able to uncover, nothing was going to take away the searing pain Jason was going through…
After they made it across the gully, Luke, Tracy and Lulu continue to make their way through the jungle when suddenly it began to rain. It poured down in buckets and luckily, they came across an abandoned church, in the midst of overgrown bushes and trees.. The steepled church looked like it was over 100 years old, with peeling paint, boarded windows and its dilapidated appearance gave off an ominous feeling. Though Lulu and Tracy were a bit apprehensive, they followed Luke inside, both eager to get out of the rain.
Inside the small church were 2 rows of 8 wooden pews, but the rest of the chapel was void of anything else. The only window that appeared to have survived the test of time, was a circular stained glass window of a cross, towards the top of the roof. There was a bunch of debris strewn around the church, broken pieces of wood, the walls were peeling and underneath the window, they noticed several used candles where the alter would be. Some of the walls had been spray painted, probably by juvenile delinquents and people had written on the walls. There was a huge pentagram on the wall where the candles were and Luke figured kids probably came in to clown around. Dawn was just about breaking, so at least it was getting lighter outside and they'd be able to get a better idea of where the hell they were.
Luke lit a couple of the candles, then they all sat on one of the pews, completely exhausted. Though the storm raged outside, it was eerily quiet and all were a little on edge.
"When I get home, I am going to the Spa for an entire week! Look at me! I'm a mess!", Tracy complained trying to fix herself up without a mirror.
"You look fine", Luke unconvincingly lied.
"Right. Remind me never to go on a 'vacation' with you ever again!", she retorted. Tracy was tired, hungry and just wanted to take a shower!
"Yeah dad. The next time I go anywhere with you, remind me to dress accordingly", Lulu sarcastically added.
"You're blaming me for this little sware?", Luke looked hurt.
Tracy felt bad. "I'm sorry. I'm just cranky! I haven't had coffee in 2 days, I'm starving and we have no idea where we are! How are we going to get out of this hell hole?"
"Well, let's wait until the storm passes. Once it does, we'll head back out to find a way off this lovely jungle ride", Luke grimly added surveying their surroundings.
"Where do you think we are dad?"
"Well, I've been thinking….the flight lasted about 6 hours. We're obviously in the jungle, so my best guess is…Columbia maybe? What I can't figure out is what the hell this Manelli guy wants with Ethan? Something else is going on. It's obvious this guy isn't giving up and who knows what he had planned for us."
Lulu shook her head. "I don't know, but I hope Jason drives a bullet right into that bastard's heart!"
Luke and Tracy whipped their heads around, completely shocked at the statement.
"Lulu! I've never heard you talk that way about anyone…not even Helena Cassadine!" Luke was completely floored.
"It's how I feel. After what he did to Sam…Ethan and now who knows if they are okay. I really think the only way Jason is ever going to get past Sam's death is if this guy isn't breathing anymore." Lulu's grisly assertion hung in the air for several minutes.
None of them said a word, but all of them were thinking the same thing…how were they going to get out of there?
Johnny rounded the corner heading towards Kristina's room to see how Ethan was doing. He was a bit alarmed after their conversation a couple of hours ago and felt Ethan needed a break.
As he passed the window, he saw him holding Kristina's hand, trying to will her to regain consciousness.
It had been almost 24 hours since they found her and although she was given medication to counteract the Thorazine, she hadn't awakened. Ethan mentioned Patrick and Robin were able to bring her temperature to normal, but none of them understood why she was still unconscious. Johnny quietly opened the door and motioned to Ethan, who met him in the hallway.
"How is she?"
"I don't know mate. Robin was here a few minutes ago and said she should be coming out of it soon. Other than that, she's in good shape", Ethan described.
"Good. How are you holding up?" Ethan didn't answer, but sat on the bench in the hallway. He lowered his head, looking at the floor. "She's gonna be okay. You have to believe that", Johnny urged.
Ethan stood up and looked at Kristina through the window. She looked so tiny, practically invisible underneath the blankets. "She's been through so much. Because of me. When I saw her in that underground tunnel…", his voice cracked.
Johnny could see Ethan's eyes water. "Come on. I brought you some clean clothes. Steve said you could use the shower in the doctor's locker room", he handed him the garment bag and cup of coffee. When Ethan hesitated, Johnny patted him on the back. "Go. I'll stay here until you get back", he assured.
Reluctantly, after another long look, Ethan finally headed to the locker room. Johnny walked into the room and sat down next to the bed.
"Hey Kristina. It's Johnny. You need to wake up now. Everything is going to be okay. Ethan needs you, more than ever", he touched her arm a little bit, then sat back and prayed she would return to Ethan.
The sun felt so warm on Kristina's face. A slight breeze caressed her body like invisible hands, the sea air smelled refreshing and she finally looked out towards the vast ocean before her. It was a brilliant crystal blue turquoise color and the waves seemed to dance upon the shore. Kristina walked along the beach, picking up interesting shells as she continued. She felt…happy. Peaceful. There was no pain, no anguish, no fear…just…sheer joy. She decided to sit and dig her bare feet into the white sand, which felt a little cool from the dampness. She didn't know how long she was sitting when suddenly she heard her name.
It was only a whisper, so low she dismissed it.
Then a moment later, "Kristina."
This time she knew she heard her name and turned her head to the right but didn't see anyone, then to the left. The image of someone walking on the beach towards her slowly flickered into focus as the person got closer. At first, Kristina had no idea who this person was, but then….she suddenly got up and ran! It was Sam!
Tears of happiness filled Kristina's soul. She hugged her sister so tight, not wanting to let go! "Sam! I knew you'd come back, I knew it!" They embraced for several long minutes. When Kristina finally pulled back, she noticed a sadness in Sam's eyes. "What's wrong?"
"What are you doing here Krissy?"
"What do you mean? I'm here to find you and I did! We have to go tell Mom…Molly is going to be so excited!", Kristina rattled off as though it were the most natural thing in the world.
As Kristina turned, Sam grabbed her arm. "Wait a minute Krissy. Come sit with me for a minute." They sat on the sand, Sam put her arm around her baby sister and held her close. "The reason I'm here, is because you need to go back."
"Go back? What are you talking about?" Kristina was confused.
"You have so much more that you need to do with your life and it's time for you to go home", Sam calmly urged.
"I don't…understand…you're back. We've got you back. Jason is lost without you and Mom and Molly….", her voice trailed. What the hell was this? Nothing was making sense.
After a moment of silence, Sam pointed out at the ocean that lay just beyond. "What do you see when you look out there?"
Kristina smiled. "The great wide ocean, the sun on the horizon, the light from the sun dancing on the surface of the crystal blue water", she answered.
"How does it make you feel?"
Kristina paused. "I get…the feeling of freedom, endless possibilities, adventure", she added with a small giggle.
"That's right. Your life is just beginning Krissy. There are so many great adventures you have yet to experience, love yet to give and your options are limitless. It's not your time."
Tears welled in Kristina's eyes. "But I love you! I'm so, so sorry I yelled at you and I just want you to come back! We need you….I need you!"
Sam got up and helped Krissy to her feet. "I know you love me. I love you too and I miss all of you. But you need to move on with your life and do what you were meant to with it…live your life to the fullest- there's no looking back. Every heartbeat Krissy. Every heartbeat….make it count. I'll be here waiting for you when it's your time. I'll always watch over and guide you."
Slowly Sam began to back away as she let go of Krissy's hands, looking right into her eyes until she shimmered into a the wisp of cloud. "I love you", she heard whispered in her ear.
Meanwhile,Manelli returned from his trip around 1:00 am and was dismayed to learn the details of Ethan's heroic save, as well as the fact the Spencer's appeared to have escaped. Now he sat in the corner of the darkened strip club, with 2 more of his men.
"I'm not fucking around anymore! What's going on with Ramirez?", he demanded."
"The Commissioner has agreed to give him an Immunity Agreement for information regarding the Spencer's disappearance and the organization."
"Can you take care of this?", he asked with an evil glimmer in his eyes.
"Don't worry, I've got it covered", his associate assured. "The girl is at General Hospital ICU, she hasn't regained conscienousness and Mr. Lovett is at her side. How do you want me to handle it?"
"What's her condition?" Manelli hoped his plan for revenge wasn't going be affected by this development.
"They say she should be fine. She should wake up any time now."
"Good. Here's what we need to do…."
Lucky and Dante finally got Claire and Judge Carroll to sign off on the Immunity Agreement. They walked into the interrogation room and threw it on the table in front of Ramirez.
"Here it is", Dante stated with disgust they were actually making a deal with this menace to society.
Ramirez sarcastically chuckled, full of himself for cutting the deal. Lucky wanted to smack the smirk off his face, but held it together…barely. He took a pen from his jacket pocket and threw it at him.
"Sign it", Lucky glared at him. He forgot they had handcuffed Ramirez behind his back.
"A little help?", he motioned.
Dante uncuffed one hand. "Do I need to read this?", he nonchalantly quipped.
Lucky was sickened by the entire situation and couldn't hold back. He suddenly grabbed Ramirez by the shirt! Dante tried to hold him back. Through clenched teeth, Lucky addressed the animal.
"You might have gotten this agreement, but I don't have to like it. Tell me what you did with my family!", Lucky demanded as he pushed Ramirez back down in the chair.
"Tisk, tisk, tisk. I don't believe police brutality is going to be in your best interest detective. I haven't signed this yet", he warned.
Lucky was about to lunge at him again, but Dante managed to push him back and out of the room. "I think you better let me handle this."
Although he was anxious to learn what Ramirez knew, he gave Dante a look of discontent, then decided to take a breather. Dante went back into the room and found out what was going on.
It had been a couple of hours when Spinelli finally compiled the information Jason wanted. He was checking the police records in Australia and suddenly motioned to Jason. "Stone Cold. I found something."
Jason looked at the computer over Spinelli's shoulder. "What? What did you find?"
"At first I didn't think it was anything, just another prostitute that died of a drug overdose, but look at this", he turned the computer towards Jason.
"Ethan's name is listed as the person who found her- a Denise Bransford.
"So? What does that have to do with Manelli?", Jason didn't get the connection.
Spinelli pulled up the autopsy report. "Says she died of an overdose and after running her fingerprints, they found she was actually….Denise Manelli", he revealed.
Jason's jaw dropped. "Oh my God! That must have been Manelli's daughter!" The revelation was shocking. "Does it say anything more about what happened or how Ethan is involved?"
"No. But I have the name of the detective who handled the case. We should have Lucky or Dante call them", Spinelli suggested.
"Okay. You text them the information. I'm going to talk to Johnny. We've got to make a plan because who knows what Manelli's next move will be." Jason grabbed his jacket and headed out the door, hoping to finish this once and for all!
It had been a long night. Ethan fell asleep in the chair, still holding Kristina's hand, when Epiphany entered to check her vitals he abruptly woke up.
"You know, I could put a cot in here for you", Epiphany offered.
Ethan managed a small smile as he rubbed the back of his stiff neck. "That's not necessary. How is she?"
"Seems to be physically doing well. Hopefully she'll regain consciousness soon."
Just then Sonny and Alexis poked their heads in. "How is she?", Sonny directed towards Epiphany.
"Doing good. She just needs to wake up."
"Can I talk to Dr. Weber?", Sonny requested.
"I'll tell him you're here."
Ethan got up. "Don't leave on our account", Alexis offered.
"It's okay. I've got to check in with Lucky and find out what's going on anyway. I'll be back in a few minutes", he graciously left them with their daughter.
Sonny followed him out. "Jason is on his way to talk to Johnny. Spinelli found some information about this Manelli guy and why he's hell bent on getting to you", he disclosed.
Just then, Lucky rounded the corner with Jason and Johnny in tow. "What's going on?", Ethan asked.
They all went into the conference room down the hall.
"Jason had Spinelli run a complete background on Joseph Manelli and he found something", Lucky relayed with a hint of alarm.
"What is it?" Ethan had no clue what was about to come.
Lucky looked at Jason. "Do you remember a girl named Denise from Australia?"
Ethan was completely caught off guard. He hadn't thought of her in years. It was something he never wanted to remember. A darkness fell across his face that was unmistakable to all of them. He lowered his head, then finally confirmed he knew her.
"I spoke to Detective Thornston in Sydney and he indicated the girl was a prostitute and overdosed. Your name appears on the police report", Lucky informed. "Can you tell us what happened?"
Ethan let out a huge sigh. "After my parents were murdered, I took off and was living on the streets for almost a year. That's how I learned to run cons to get by. I met this girl, Denise Bransford. She was the same age as me and ran away from home because her father was abusing her. She was sweet and kind of innocent in that she was very naïve. One of the pimps, Freddie Connell, had reeled her into his fold. He got her hooked on cocaine.
I tried to help her get off of it, but Freddie would threaten if she didn't work for him he'd cut off her supply and she wasn't strong enough to stand up for herself. I was staying at one of the shelters downtown when one night, she showed up hysterical and barely able to function. Freddie had beaten the crap out of her. Her right eye was almost swollen shut, her lip was cut open and she was holding her side. I got her cleaned up, but she was so out of it. Her arms are full of needle marks and I knew Freddie shot her up."
Ethan paused with a distant look in his eyes, as though reliving that fateful night which flashed through his mind like a mini movie. Lucky, Jason and Johnny glanced at Sonny. After a moment, he continued the gruesome tale.
"I had taken her to the bathroom to bandage the cuts and she kept falling asleep. I knew if she did, that was it, so I helped her walk around the neighborhood. We were about a block away from the shelter when her entire body went limp. I tried to revive her….give her cpr…I couldn't….", his voice trailed.
"What did you do after that?", Sonny wanted to know.
Ethan swallowed hard. "I was yelling for someone to call an ambulance and a few minutes later they arrived. I went with her to the hospital, but it was no use. She was gone. I told the police what happened. After that, I hopped a plane to the States. There was no looking back."
Silence filled the air as they all grasped the reality of the situation. Finally, Lucky spoke up. "You said her name was Denise Bransford?", he wanted to confirm.
"Yeah. She told me her family was from….Melbourne I think", he recalled.
Lucky sat across from Ethan, then slid a file to him. He opened it, confused as to why he needed to see it. "Look at the Forensics Fingerprint Lab Report on top. Denise Bransford wasn't her real name. Her real name was Denise Marie Manelli", he dropped the bomb.
Ethan's face completely went white! It all made some kind of sick sense!
"Oh my God! I…I didn't know! I swear to you! I had no idea! So this is why Joseph Manelli has been after me for the past 9 years? He thinks I had something to do with his daughter's death?"
It was too incredulous to fathom, but the weight of the revelation didn't escape any of them.
"We've got to neutralize this situation immediately", Sonny ordered Jason.
Just then Alexis opened the door. "She's awake!"
They all looked at each other, then Ethan sprinted down the hall to her side. His entire face lit up upon seeing Krissy's smile. He took her hand in his.
"How do you feel luv?"
"Okay I guess. What happened?"
"What's the last thing you remember honey?", Sonny asked.
"Um, I tried to get away and I ran into the woods but that creep drugged me and I remember waking up in a well or something. But that's it", she described.
"They all found you in Devil's Run", Alexis told her.
"You mean the woods where the witches do those ceremonies?", she recalled with a scrunched face.
They all laughed at that description…none of them believed in that sort of thing.
"Apparently", Ethan confirmed with a grin.
Just then Dr. Weber arrived and booted everyone except Alexis and Sonny out of the room.
"I'll be right outside", Ethan assured. She nodded.
Lucky, Jason, Johnny and Ethan talked about their next move. All Ethan knew, was now he understood why this mad man wanted him dead…the most important thing, was to make sure Kristina was going to be safe.
The hot late afternoon sun bore down on Luke, Tracy and Lulu. They had just emerged from the jungle, onto the beach…but it was desolate! "Now what?", Tracy threw her hands up in the air.
Luke surveyed the area, trying to figure out what to do, when he noticed a building in the distance, on the far end of the beach. "Let's check that out."
About 20 minutes later, they cautiously approached a beach house and knocked on the door several times. There was no answer. Luke and Lulu walked around and peered in all the windows, but no one seemed to be home. In fact, it looked like it hadn't been used in quite sometime.
The furniture was covered with sheets. Lulu took a bobby pin from her hair and it wasn't long until she opened it.
Luke looked at his daughter in awe. "Nice work! I didn't think you'd remember how do that", he added with pride.
"Please", she gave a sly grin. "How do you think I used to sneak liquor out of the cabinet when we lived at the Quartermaine's?", she revealed to both Luke and Tracy's chagrin.
"That's my cupcake!", he patted her on the back as they entered.
"Well, let's look for a phone", Tracy urged.
They scoured the entire house but didn't find anything, so Lulu began to uncover all the furniture. Tracy found the bathroom and suddenly shrieked! Luke and Lulu ran in to find her trying to fix herself in the mirror. "I look like Cruella Deville!"
Luke shook his head and stifled his chuckled. "Honey, next time, don't do that…I thought you were in grave danger!"
"I am in danger…look at my hair!"
Both Luke and Lulu walked back and continued searching the house. Finally, Lulu went into one of two bedrooms. She suddenly yelled for Luke, so he ran down the hall.
"What's the matter? What happened?", he frantically scanned the room thinking someone was attacking his daughter.
Lulu started to laugh. "You should see your face! Priceless!"
"Are you trying to kill me?" Luke was exasperated!
"I thought you might like to know I found a transistor radio…see?", she motioned towards the desk in the corner.
Luke grabbed Lulu and kissed the top of her head. "I knew I had you for a good reason!" He immediately sat down and tried to raise someone.
"Breaker, breaker, uh, this is…we're stranded on a beach. Can anyone hear me?" There was nothing but static. He tried several more times, then left it on and went in search for something to tell them where the hell they were. The radio was a great find, but it wouldn't matter if they couldn't tell anyone where they were.
Meanwhile, Tracy had already taken it upon herself to take a shower first. Lulu found some old clothes in a drawer in the bedroom and pulled something out for Tracy as well. Fifteen minutes later, Tracy walked out of the bathroom with just a towel on. Luke's eyes widened as he saw his wife.
"You swoon me!", he whisked her toward the 2nd bedroom.
Tracy put her finger up. "Ah, ah, ah. Not until we're out of here mister. Besides, I don't know how to tell you this, but you stink."
"Is that anyway to treat your husband who formulated a plan to escape, then got you to a beach house in paradise?", Luke tried.
Tracy just smiled as she walked away and found the clothes Lulu had for her, so got dressed. Luke knew he was defeated and decided to take his shower.
They were all starving, so Tracy rummaged around in the kitchen for something to eat and found some cans of chili, tuna, olives, soups, some saltine crackers and peanut butter.
Luke walked in with a towel on after he showered and spied the cuisine for the evening. "Wow. Looks like quite a spread popcicle! I think I'll pass on the soup though…it's a little hot." He was lucky to find some clothes in the master bedroom and a few minutes later, came out in beige walking shorts and blue Tommy Bahama button down short-sleeved shirt, with sandals. Then he began looking in all the cabinets.
Lulu and Tracy looked at him. "What are you doing?", they managed to say at the same time.
"Looking for what really counts."
Lulu quizzically looked at Tracy who simply said, "Booze."
"Oh. Right. How could I have missed that one!", Lulu quipped.
"We have a winner!" Luke proudly held up a bottle of vintage scotch, 1952. "This baby is going to go down smooth!"
Lulu and Tracy shook their heads. "Um excuse me, dad? Remember we are stranded? We need to concentrate on getting the hell out of here. Who knows if the owner of the house will return before we can leave", she reminded.
Luke winked at her as he poured a glass of scotch, then pulled an envelope from his back pocket. "No problem."
Tracy took it from Luke. "You were right! We are in Columbia", she stated astonished. "What now hubby?"
"Now, we get someone on that radio!
Dante met up with Lucky and Jason at Johnny's penthouse with the lowdown on what he learned from Ramirez.
"Okay. Your father, Tracy and Lulu are being held on Manelli's compound in Columbia. Apparently, they were going to be bait in case plan A (aka) taking Krissy and Ethan failed. Also, Ramirez indicated that Manelli is after Ethan because he had something do with his daughter's death? I don't know how credible that is. This guy is a real piece of work", Dante was clearly annoyed at the situation.
Lucky filled him in on what they had just learned from Ethan, as well as the fact Kristina regained consciousness. Dante was relieved his little sister was okay.
"Where's Ethan now?", he asked.
"At the hospital", Jason answered. "I've got Max and Milo there to make sure Manelli doesn't get to her again.
Just then, Lucky got a phone call from Mac. "Oh my God! Okay. We're on our way."
"Ramirez just escaped!", he announced.
"Call me", Jason firmly requested.
Lucky nodded, then he and Dante sprinted out of there wondering how the hell he managed that!
Ethan had been gone for a couple of hours, when he finally returned to see how Kristina was doing. She was actually eating, watching tv and the color started to come back in her face. She smiled when she noticed Ethan with her favorite flowers- a dozen pink roses and big stuffed bear. He leaned down and gave her a kiss.
"Awww. You didn't have to do that!", she blushed a little bit. "I love them!"
"Anything to see that beautiful face light up."
He used one of the plastic water pitchers to put the flowers in and placed them on the nightstand next to the bed, then sat down. "You gave me quite a scare young lady."
"I'm sorry", she felt bad that everyone was so worried. "I'm glad you came back", she reached for his hand.
He kissed her. "I didn't know what I was going to do if you didn't wake up." The statement hung in the air for several long seconds.
"I almost didn't", Kristina revealed to Ethan's shock.
"What do you mean?" He squeezed her hand a little tighter, a bit apprehensive.
Kristina let out a hug sigh. "I saw Sam."
"Yeah. I was on a beautiful beach, picking up seashells, then I heard my name. When I looked up, it was Sam. She looked so…amazing, almost like an angel. She told me it wasn't my time and I needed to go back. I told her I was sorry and then….she was…gone", her eyes welled as she remembered the moment she shared with her sister.
Ethan choked back the lump in his throat, then rubbed her hand with his thumb. "How do you feel now?"
She looked deep into his golden eyes, "I'm happy I came back." Ethan could see the conviction in that statement and also could tell she had finally been able to put Sam's death into perspective. "I feel at peace with it now."
Ethan leaned over and gave her a kiss. "I love you more than you'll ever know."
"I love you too", she returned then they kissed again.
"So, how was your visit with your mom and dad?"
"Good. But I want to hear about you. You look a little bruised there. How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine", he assured with his usual signature smile though Krissy gave him a doubtful look. "Really."
"Okay. So, what were you guys talking about in the hallway?", she questioned.
"Oh nothing. I was just updating them about you", he side-stepped. "So, how are those pancakes?"
Kristina put her fork down. "Nice try but changing the subject isn't going to get me to stop asking. What's going on?"
"You need to concentrate on getting better", he urged.
"I'm fine", she wasn't about to let it go. "What happened?"
Ethan could detect her annoyance at his stall tactics. He got up and looked out the window. "Looks like it might snow again."
Kristina knew something was bothering him and it wasn't good. Fear began to creep to the surface. "Are you okay? You're scaring me."
Ethan finally turned to faced her, then sat down again. "Jason had Spinelli do a complete background on Joseph Manelli and they figured out why he's been after me for so long."
Kristina didn't think she wanted to know, but it was too late now. She reached out and took his hand. "It's okay. I'm here for you no matter what the problem is", she looked him straight in the eyes.
He managed a small smile. "Remember I told you about my parent's murders and that I ran after that night?" Kristina nodded. "For almost a year I lived on the streets and I met a girl, Denise. We were both 15, on our own and she had run away from an abusive father. Unfortunately, she fell victim to prostitution and her pimp got her hooked on cocaine.
I tried to help her leave that kind of life, but her pimp always pulled her back under his control. One night she showed up at the shelter I was living in, all bruised up, stoned out of her mind, hysterical. Her pimp beat the crap out of her. She had needle marks up and down on her arms and I know he shot her with cocaine…she could barely function. I tried to help her….", his eyes watered a bit. "She died of an overdose that night."
"Oh my God! I'm so sorry Ethan." Kristina's heart went out to him and she could feel his pain emanating from deep within.
"Anyway, I told the police what I knew, then hopped a plane for the States and never looked back."
"So what does that have to do with Manelli?", Kristina didn't understand.
"I knew her as Denise Bransford, but after the autopsy they found out her real name was Denise Marie Manelli…Joseph's daughter. He thinks I had something to do with her death, so he's been trying to find me ever since. I guess the detective gave Manelli a copy of the police report when they came in to identify Denise and my name was on it."
"So what's going to happen now?"
"I'm not sure. Jason, Lucky, Dante and Johnny are working on a plan to hopefully get him, but now, Manny Ramirez has escaped. I don't know anything more." Kristina suddenly got very uneasy learning Ramirez was out there again and Ethan could see it in her eyes. "It's okay Krissy. Max and Milo are right outside and Ramirez won't be able to get close to you", he assured.
Though Ethan tried to allay her fears, he didn't believe she was any safer than he was….
Twenty-four hours passed with no word or news on Ramirez. Lucky and Dante were at a loss as to what to do. They had just received a copy of the security footage at the jail and hoped to determine how he escaped. Dante put the DVD in the computer, then they watched several hours of video, with nothing unusual.
The camera was situated down the hall from the convict's cell. His was the 3rd cell on the right and so far, the only thing on it, was when he was brought to the interrogation room and then to the common area for dinner.
Dante yawned, his eyes were blurry from staring at the screen for so long.
"It's possible nothing is on here. I mean we've already watched what, 6 hours? We should think about questioning some of the correction officers", he suggested.
"You heard Mac. It's possible one of them helped him escape!", Lucky snapped annoyed. After a moment he realized it was uncalled for. "I'm sorry. I'm just…tired."
"Hey look, it's okay. We'll figure this out", Dante assured.
They continued to watch another hour, when the lights went out at 10:00 pm upon lockdown for the night. At 10:07 pm, someone walked to Ramirez's cell and appeared to be talking to him for a minute, then left.
"Back it up", Lucky ordered Dante.
He did and they also slowed it down to look at it frame by frame, which enabled them to see the man hand something to Ramirez through the bars. Then the man looked to the right and left, before he quickly got out of there.
"Freeze that frame", Dante stated.
Both of their eyes widened, "Oh my God!" Lucky was in shock.
"I'm not surprised", Dante stated with disgust. He backed it up again to make sure who they were seeing and shook their heads….it was Ronnie!
"That son of a bitch!", Dante was furious.
Five minutes after Ronnie left, they watched as Ramirez used a key to unlock his cell. He quietly made his way down the hall, then turned left, disappearing around the corner. They switched to a 2nd DVD which oddly showed no personnel at the inner reception gate. Ramirez used the key to unlock that door, then slowly made his way towards the east entrance.
He again used a key, then met someone just outside the door who they didn't recognize.
"Let's advise Mac of the this, see if he can figure out who this other guy is and get an APB out on Ronnie. We've got to find Ramirez…now!", Lucky urgently added.
The next day, Kristina was released from the hospital, so Ethan took her home. Alexis, Molly and Michael greeted her at the door with hugs, a banner and welcome home cake.
Ethan stood behind her, his arms around her waist. "Awww. Thanks guys. You didn't have to do that!", she blushed a little bit.
They all sat in the living room chit chatting for a little bit until Kristina yawned.
"Someone needs some rest", Alexis said.
"Come on, I'll tuck you in", Ethan got up and led her to the stairs.
"Thanks", Kristina blew them a kiss before heading upstairs.
Ethan waited until she changed into her comfy sweats, then tucked her in bed, making sure she was warm enough. "How do you feel?" He could see she was a little pale.
"Okay. Just really worn out."
"I'll let you get to sleep", he turned to walk out but Kristina stopped him.
"Wait. Sit with me?"
Ethan's heart swelled. He never knew he could ever love someone as much as he loved Kristina. "Anything for you luv." He sat next to her bed and held her hand until she drifted off to sleep.
An hour later, Alexis poked her head in. "How's she doing?"
"She's resting comfortably. Listen, I've got to check in with Johnny and find out what's going on with Manelli…can you tell her to call me when she wakes up?", he whispered.
"Sure. Thanks for everything Ethan. I'm grateful she has you", Alexis gave him a hug.
As Ethan left, all he could think about was the fact that both of them were still targets and he hoped Johnny had a plan.
Ramirez met with Ronnie at the Corinthos-Morgan warehouse. "Thanks for bouncing me."
"You know what you have to do right? Manelli wants this done once and for all and I need you to make Sonny pay", Ronnie warned.
"I know. I've got it all worked out. Don't worry. He'll be here tomorrow, believe me", Ramirez assured the dirty cop.
"Call me when you have it set up", Ronnie added as he cautiously left the area.
Ramirez took the gun from his pocket. "I'll have it all set up", he chuckled to himself.
After he left Kristina's, Ethan went to Johnny's to find out what was going on. To his dismay there was still no word on Ramirez. Ethan grabbed a glass, poured himself a scotch and quickly drank it in one gulp. He poured another.
"Kristina and I are like sitting ducks mate. Max and Milo are at the lake house, but I'm still worried. Have any of your men seen Ramirez?"
Johnny shook his head. "No. I've got everyone on the look out though. Have you spoken to Lucky at all?"
"Not since yesterday when he told me Ramirez escaped." Ethan sat on the couch, head in his hands. He was exhausted and Johnny could see the anguish he was struggling with.
"We'll get this guy", he tried to assure. "How's Kristina?"
"Resting. She's really scared knowing Ramirez is still out there somewhere. I left her at the lake house sleeping, but will head back in a little bit. I don't like leaving her alone."
"Alexis is home, right?"
"Yeah. But I'll just feel better if I'm there. I still can't get the image of seeing her huddled in the corner in that underground tunnel", his voice cracked a little bit.
"Well, she's going to be fine and soon this will all be nothing but a nightmare", Johnny attempted to quell Ethan's fears.
Just then, static filled the air and a weird sound as though someone was searching for a signal on the radio. Ethan looked at Johnny, "What was that?"
Johnny looked towards his desk in the corner of the living room. Again, they heard static, then a male voice. "Can anyone hear me? This is Luke Spencer and we are stranded, repeat anyone?"
Ethan's eyes widened, "Oh my God! Dad?"
They ran over to the CB radio. Johnny picked up the receiver. "Breaker, breaker this is Johnny One, Luke? You copy?"
Luke, Tracy and Lulu all smiled with relief at hearing Johnny's voice.
"Yeah! Johnny? Listen, we're here in Columbia", Luke eagerly relayed.
"Give me your location and I'll send someone for you", Johnny promised.
Ethan took the receiver. "Dad? Are you guys okay? What happened?"
"Dodger! Yes we're fine. We escaped but Manelli's men are still looking for us. I don't know how much time we have. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine", Ethan responded then Johnny took the receiver.
"Can you give me your coordinates Luke?", Johnny asked as he pulled up a map of Columbia on his laptop. Luke gave him the address where they were. "Okay. Stay there and I'll send someone for you. I've got an associate not far from your location. His name is Hector Rodriguez. Ask him for the code name 'red'. Should be there within the hour. He'll make sure to get you home."
"Okay, thank you! Love you Dodge!"
"Us too", Lulu and Tracy chimed in.
Johnny immediately got on the phone to get his man there as quickly as possible. Ethan called Lucky to let him know what was going on, then left to check on Krissy.
After meeting with Ramirez at the warehouse, Ronnie couldn't help but chuckle. He was proud of himself because Sonny was going to get what he deserved! He smiled at the thought and couldn't wait to see Sonny's entire world crash down around him! Knowing Lucky and Dante probably realized he helped Ramirez escape, Ronnie entered the tunnels underneath the pier. He set up his own little surveillance center with cameras that covered every angle of the Corinthos-Morgan Warehouse, located on the other side of the pier. He grabbed a beer from the mini-fridge, lit a cigarette, then looked at his watch. "By this time tomorrow, Sonny Corinthos will be dead!" He let out demon like laugh which echoed throughout the entire network of tunnels, as the though from the bowels of hell!
Lucky was relieved after hearing Luke, Lulu and Tracy were okay, though he was still concerned for their safety. He had just finished talking to Johnny, who assured him they'd be taken care of.
"At least I can concentrate on getting Manelli and Ramirez now", he commented after explaining the latest developments to Mac and Dante.
Mac had learned the guy Ramirez met outside the east entrance to the jail, was Ramyne Tarbush, also a known convict who had recently been released from Pentonville a week earlier.
"Apparently Ramirez and Tarbush had been cellmates. We've got Tarbush's place staked out now, so as soon as he surfaces, we'll arrest him. Anything new on Ramirez?", Mac inquired.
Dante shook his head. "Nothing. Johnny and Sonny both have their men looking for him too."
"What about Manelli?", Lucky was curious.
"I received a call from an Informant who indicated he was at his strip club around 1:00 am this morning, however, he hasn't been seen since. I've got surveillance teams staking out the area. We'll get him one way or another", Mac assured.
It was almost midnight, so Lucky and Dante headed home for a little rest. None of them had any idea what was about to commence.
Meanwhile, Luke, Tracy and Lulu kept the look out for Johnny's guy and it had been almost an hour.
"Maybe this guy couldn't come", Lulu said with despair.
"Johnny would have let us know", Luke assured.
"Are you sure that thing is still on?", Tracy flashed a doubtful glance.
"Yes. The light is on. Let's just calm down and be patient", he tried to placate them.
Just then, there was a noise towards the front of the house and Luke peeked out the living room window. He could see several men approaching from the other end of the beach!
"Get your stuff…we've got to high-tail it out of here!"
The look on Lulu and Tracy's faces was that of complete terror. They followed Luke to the back door and after checking, he motioned it was okay.
They quietly slipped out, then back into the jungle approximately 100 ft behind the beach house. As they continued slowly up the trail, they heard rustling about 50 feet in front of them and all stopped dead in their tracks! It was over! They were about to be killed! Luke bravely pushed the women behind him.
"You might as well come out! I'll warn you, I know Juzitsu!", he boldly lied
After a few seconds, a man stuck his head out from behind one of the trees. "Johnny sent me", he announced.
Luke was skeptical. "What's the code?"
"Red. Now come on! We don't have time for this!", Rodriguez urged. They all caught up and he led them to a plane, on the other side of the beach.
Once safely on the plane, Tracy let out a huge exhale. "That was too close for my comfort!"
Luke was looking out the window, "I wouldn't congratulate ourselves yet!" They all observed about a dozen men emerge from the jungle 150 ft beyond the plane!
Luke ran into the cockpit, "You'd better punch it Hector! These guys aren't going to wait around for the plane to get up to speed!"
Hector did the best he could, when shots rang out! Tracy and Lulu ducked down, as Luke sat next to Hector. Just as Hector was turning the plane towards the horizon, he suddenly slumped over! He'd been shot! Luke was frantic to get the hell out of there!
Lulu entered the cockpit, horrified upon seeing the dead pilot! "What are we going to do? You don't know how to fly!", she frantically exclaimed.
"Well darlin', I'm all we have. Go back and buckle up!", he ordered with urgency.
Luke took control of the plane and punched it as fast as he dared with the wind speed variable. Though the men continued to shoot at the plane, after a few scary moments they lifted off and were finally headed home!
It was almost 11:00 by the time Ethan got to the lake house to check on Krissy. Max and Milo were standing guard in the front of the house and let him inside. Alexis said she was still sleeping, so he didn't want to disturb her. He decided to go home and said he'd call in the morning. As he drove home, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was coming…and it wasn't good. He just hoped they were going to be able to end the threat of Joseph Manelli and Manny Ramirez without watching them kill or hurt another person he loved.
It was almost 1:00 am by the time Lucky returned home when he received a call from the airport, regarding Luke's heroic landing with the help of traffic control. Security had an ambulance standing by and they were headed to GH to get checked out. He immediately called Ethan, Dante and Mac to let them know of the good news as he headed to the hospital, grateful his family was safe. Upon reaching the ER, Elizabeth greeted them all.
"They're fine. Luke has a few cuts and bruises, so do Lulu and Tracy, but nothing serious. Steve is going to keep them overnight for observation just as a precaution", she assured.
They all breathed a sigh of relief.
"Can we see them?", Ethan asked.
"Sure. Luke is in #1, Lulu and Tracy are in #2", she pointed at the closed curtains.
"Thank you Elizabeth", Lucky gave her a huge hug then went to see Luke first, along with Ethan, while Dante checked on Lulu.
"What the hell happened Dad?", Lucky asked with alarm.
"The plane was hijacked by a couple of thugs, then someone hit me from behind and next thing I know, I wake up in some little shack in the middle of a bad jungle movie", he described. He explained the entire ordeal, which Ethan & Lucky were shocked to hear.
"Dodge, this guy isn't playing games. He's serious and alluded to something you had done before coming to Port Charles…any idea what he's talking about?"
Ethan let out a huge sigh, then folded his arms on his chest. "He thinks I killed his teenage daughter", he revealed.
Luke's eyes widened, "What?"
"Yeah dad. Spinelli was able to do a complete background on the guy and turns out Ethan was with her the night she died. Manelli believes Ethan gave her the drugs that killed her", Lucky relayed the grisly details.
"I didn't hurt her", Ethan assured with a stern look. Both described the situation to Luke.
"Did Manelli say what he had planned?", Lucky was curious.
"Not really, just that we were 'Plan B', whatever that means."
Steve poked his head in with Ephiphany. "We need to take you for a CAT scan and make sure that noggin' of yours is okay."
"We'll be back later dad", Ethan smiled then walked over to see Lulu and Tracy.
After hearing more details from the girls, Ethan decided to call it a night and went home. He hoped the next day would bring the end of the threat of Joseph Manelli and Manny Ramirez.
The next day the sun shined brightly in the cold February air. Alexis was having coffee in the kitchen when Molly bounced in, then made herself a bowl of cereal.
"You're awful chipper this morning", Alexis stated.
"I just had the best dream!"
"Really? Well do tell", Alexis took a sip of her coffee.
"I talked to Sam!" Molly grinned from ear to ear. "We talked about everything that's been going on and she told me good luck on the spelling bee contest next week", she gleefully conveyed.
"That's great honey."
Alexis didn't really put much stock into dreams and felt they were merely thoughts of imagination. However, she had no intentions of breaking Molly's spirit. They had all been through so much and she was glad Molly was able to 'connect' with her sister…no matter if it was real or imagined.
"Yeah! It was really great. I wonder if I can always see her in my dreams?', she thoughtfully added, finger to her chin mulling over the question.
"Honey, it was probably just because Sam is fresh on your mind, so you were dreaming."
Molly got up from the table, "I'm going to look up what the meaning of dreams are on the internet."
Before Alexis could say anything else, Molly ran out and upstairs to her room. Alexis looked at her watch and decided to check on Kristina. Her cell rang as she headed upstairs. It was Ethan.
"Hi Ethan. I'm just going in to check on her now", she relayed opening the door. "Oh my God!" Alexis couldn't believe her eyes…Kristina's bed was empty, with the sheets and comforter hanging off the side of the bed!
Ethan's stomach dropped. "What happened? Is she okay? Alexis?"
"What do you mean she's gone?", Ethan panicked.
Alexis ran to the open bedroom window, where a ladder still stood against the house. "The window is open and there's a ladder….I'm calling Mac!"
"I'm on my way", Ethan added. Fear took complete hold of him as he grabbed his jacket. He knew what happened. He knew Ramirez had taken Krissy!
Kristina had been blindfolded, gagged and tied to a chair. She was terrified as Ramirez took the blindfold off.
"Well, well, well, lookie what we have here. Daddy's little princess", he sarcastically quipped. Then he got to within inches of her face, slowly putting the tip of his knife on her cheek. "Bet you thought you wouldn't see me again, right princess?", he chuckled. He ordered her gag be removed by one of the 2 henchman he had.
Kristina looked around and could see she was inside one of her father's warehouse down at the docks.
"My father won't let you get away with this! He'll kill you the first chance he gets. I'm surprised you have the balls to take me, knowing there's a hit out on your head!", Kristina shot back with fire in her eyes.
Ramirez grabbed the back of her hair, then pulled her head back to make her look him in the eyes. "Listen here princess! Not everyone is born with a golden spoon in their mouths and some people need to be held accountable for their actions!" After a few long seconds he let go.
"What are you talking about? You're insane!", Kristina goaded again.
"You'll see soon enough princess. Daddy and Ethan are going to get what's coming to them."
"What do you mean, Ethan will get what's coming to him! He didn't do anything! He had nothing to do with killing Manelli's daughter!", she yelled as he walked away.
As Ramirez left, he let out a disturbing laugh and left Krissy wondering what he had planned.
Luckily it hadn't snowed again, so footprints were still visible. Ethan was outside looking for evidence underneath Kristina's bedroom window when Mac, Lucky and Dante showed up at the lake house. Mac went inside to talk to Alexis, while Lucky and Dante checked with Ethan.
"I'm sure she was taken out this way. I found this", Ethan held up a gold bracelet. "I gave this to her for graduation last year."
Lucky could see the fear in his brother's eyes. "We're gonna find her. Anything else?"
He shook his head. Both noticed footprints that led from the ladder near the bushes against the fence that divided the neighbor's property. While they checked it out, Dante directed Forensics. It appeared whomever took Krissy, had jumped the fence because there were similar tracks on the neighbor's property.
"Well, this explains why Max and Milo didn't hear or see anything. Looks like they used the neighbor's yards as cover and took her out that way", Lucky surmised.
Ethan agreed with Lucky's theory and both followed the footprints in the snow across the next door neighbors property, all the way down to the next house. The footprints led them half-way around the lake, then stopped where a parked car obviously was waiting. Lucky called Dante to get Forensics there. Hopefully there'd be some type of trace evidence along the route.
Ethan was beside himself, did not know what to think. "Well, now what?", he asked Lucky with a look of despair.
"Let's head back to the lake and see if Dante had any better luck", he suggestion.
As Ethan turned to follow Lucky, he noticed a small white envelope half-hidden behind a bush not far from the curb. He used his coat sleeve to pick it up and handed it to Lucky. Lucky took a pair of gloves from his jacket pocket, then slowly opened the envelope. Inside was a silver necklace, with the letter 'D' and a note that simply read:
Warehouse 1013, midnight
Ethan recognized the necklace. "Oh my God!"
"This was Denise's. She wore it all the time! She never took it off!" Ethan put his hand over his mouth as the reality of the situation hit him full force. "This must mean that Manelli wants me to meet him at this warehouse. He must have Krissy there!"
Ethan turned to leave, but Lucky stopped him.
"What a minute. We need to let Dante, Jason, Sonny and Johnny know. You don't want to go in there half-cocked, it's obviously a trap."
"Let's go and make a plan then! I have no idea what that maniac Ramirez could be doing to her and who knows what Manelli has ordered. We have to get her out of there!" Ethan's eyes watered a bit.
Dante showed up and they filled him in, as well as Mac and Alexis, then headed for the penthouse. Although Lucky said everything was going to be okay, Ethan wasn't so sure. All he knew was that he didn't know how he'd live his life without Krissy in it.
Manelli and 2 of his thugs arrived at the warehouse to meet with Ramirez. "Is everything set up? Are you sure Ethan will find his way here?"
"Don't worry. It's all set. I've left a little breadcrumb for Mr. Lovett, Mr. Morgan and Mr. Corinthos…they'll be along shortly", Ramirez chuckled.
"Meet us at the hideout when you're done. I've got a jet standing by", Manelli assured.
Ramirez nodded, then left to prepare for his 'guests' arrival.
Jason had just come from Sonny's after he learned of Kristina's disappearance and upon getting to the door, he noticed a package leaning against it. He picked it up, then briefly looked around. Nothing appeared out of place, but he wasn't taking any chances. He pulled the gun from his waist then slowly entered the penthouse. He checked, but no one was there. He turned his attention to the box. It was wrapped in simple brown paper, no markings or postage on it. Just then Lucky, Dante, Ethan and Johnny showed up.
"I just got back from Sonny's and this was at the door. I haven't opened it yet", he informed.
"Well no time like the present", Johnny urged though with a bit of apprehension.
Slowly Jason pulled the paper off, then the top of the shoebox sized box. Inside, were coffee grounds and on the bottom of the box, was a note:
I've got something you want. Midnight.
There was nothing else in the box. Jason was pissed and threw it across the room, which caused the coffee grounds to scatter on the floor! "That son of a bitch! We need to take care of this guy once and for all!", he barked at Lucky and Dante.
"Okay. Obviously he's setting a trap at your warehouse. We need to make a plan", Dante stated.
Just then Jason's phone rang. It was Sonny. He had received the same box at his house and he was on his way to the warehouse.
"Sonny, wait. Obviously, this is a trap", Jason warned.
"If that evil asshole hurts my daughter….", Sonny's voice trailed.
"We're gonna take care of this, but wait until you hear from me…please Sonny." Reluctantly Sonny agreed and Jason promised to call him with the plan.
Ethan was numb. It seemed like this was a sick nightmare he wished he could wake up from. He prayed Krissy was okay and that animal wasn't hurting her, however, he remembered how Ramirez looked at her at the cabin and he felt sick to his stomach.
"What's the plan guys", he urgently questioned. "Every minute we stay here, is another heartbeat of Krissy's life!"
The statement didn't escape any of them. Jason grabbed a diagram of the warehouse, then devised a plan.
Johnny's warehouse was about a block from the Corinthos-Morgan warehouse, so they cautiously met Sonny there. Jason and Lucky were sharing binoculars, looking to see if there was anything visible from their vantage point.
They could see one guard at the west door to the warehouse, smoking a cigarette, however they didn't see anything else. Jason had Spinelli in their van with a computer layout of the warehouse, as well as a view of it via satellite. He relayed what he saw using a com link, to Jason.
"Okay. I see one guy on the west entrance and another on the east entrance. Looks like a limo just pulled up to the west entrance and drove into the warehouse", he described.
"We see that. It must be Manelli. Were you able to see anyone inside when the limo entered?", Jason hoped.
"What's going on", Sonny anxiously questioned.
"I saw two more", Spinelli added.
Jason explained what was going on. "Johnny, you and I will take out the guard at the west entrance, while Lucky and Dante take care of the east entrance. We'll let you know when it's clear", he directed at Sonny and Ethan.
"Wait. I'm not about to be left out of this", Ethan interjected.
"Believe me, you're not prepared for something like this Ethan", Johnny quietly reminded.
"Look, Kristina is in there and I'm going after her", he firmly demanded. "I can go with you guys or make my own plan, it's your choice."
Johnny looked at Jason, both agreed to let him go. Sonny handed Ethan his gun. "Do you know how to use this?"
"Unfortuanately yes." He took it then cocked it to make sure a bullet was in the chamber.
Jason handed them each an ear piece. "Just tap it once and we'll be able to hear each other. Spinelli, what's the latest count?"
"Stone Cold, I was able to hack into the FBI's system and download a thermal image. Now can see 2 at the east entrance, 3 at the west entrance and 4 inside", he described.
"Do you see Kristina?"
"I think she's in the back office on south side of the warehouse."
"Spinelli, let me know if you see anyone else. Everyone clear on what the plan is?", Jason asked. They all shook their heads.
"Okay. Let's go!"
The cold February air felt like needles on their skin, especially with the wind that kicked up. Stealthly they all made it to their positions and waited for the go ahead from Lucky. Jason, Johnny & Ethan were hiding behind a bunch of crates approximately 50 feet from the west entrance, while Lucky and Dante crept up the alleyway towards the east entrance.
"Everyone ready?", Lucky quietly inquired.
"Copy that Lucky. We're ready when you are", Jason replied.
"Spinelli, I can't see how many are at the east entrance, can you update us?"
"There are 2 guards on the west entrance and one just entered the warehouse on the eastside", Spinelli relayed. "Five are inside- 3 are congrated near the limo, one standing post outside the office where looks like Kristina is and one at the west entrance."
"Okay, let's do this", Dante piped in.
The guards on the west entrance were a little lax, smoking cigarettes and chit chatting. Jason decided to make his move. "Stay here Ethan and cover us", Jason ordered. "We're going in", he whispered.
Lucky swaggered out of the alley, towards the eastside entrance, pretending to be drunk and distracted the guard while Dante snuck up from behind. He knocked him out cold with the butt of his gun, then they hid the body in the bushes. They slowly opened the door and peeked inside to see what was going on.
Meanwhile, Jason and Johnny crept up behind both guards at the west entrance. They grabbed them around the neck from behind, covering their mouths with one hand, then rendered them unconscious. They dragged them behind the crates, then cautiously opened the west entrance door to assess the situation. After a moment, they returned to where Ethan was.
"How does it look guys?" Ethan was anxious.
"There are 5 inside now- 2 about 20 feet from the door. Lucky, how does it look on your end?", Jason whispered.
"All clear at this entrance, just see 3 standing in front of the limo in the center. I don't see Manelli or Ramirez though", he described.
"My guess is they're probably in the limo", Johnny added as Sonny met them.
Just then, a commotion erupted inside the warehouse, they heard someone yell, "Get her!"
"What's going on Spinelli?", Sonny asked with alarm.
"It seems the fair princess has taken it upon herself to escape! From what I can tell, she made it out of the office, but someone noticed her and she's running to the opposite end of the warehouse", Spinelli frantically relayed.
"We're going in, now!", Lucky ordered.
As Dante and Lucky entered the east entrance, they shot one of the guards, then proceeded towards the limo. Suddenly, the Limo began to take off! Dante and Lucky stood in front of it and unloaded their weapons! The driver was hit and the limo slowly waned to the left, finally hitting a bunch of boxes stacked against the east wall. Both immediately opened rear passenger side doors of the limo- it was empty!
Meanwhile Jason and Sonny entered the west entrance first, with Johnny and Ethan close behind. Jason and Sonny slowly took a left towards the other end of the warehouse. As they approached the far end, shots were fired! Johnny was hit in the arm, so Ethan pulled him out of the line of fire, underneath the stairwell to the right. Jason and Sonny returned fire and managed to kill both shooters who were using a bunch of big crates as cover.
"Where is she Spinelli? Do you see her?" Sonny was panicked.
"Mr. Sir, looks like she's cornered, in the northeast corner underneath the stairwell on that side of the warehouse. There are 3 men closing in…hurry!"
Manelli stood with two of his minions, as they closed in on Kristina.
"Such a feisty little thing", Manelli commented with underlying menace. "I underestimated you."
Kristina's eyes widened and though she was terrified, did her best to appear unaffected by her predicatment. "My father will come after you if anything happens to me! Ethan didn't kill your daughter and killing me won't bring her back!", she shouted.
Manelli motioned towards one of the men to grab her, but she wasn't about to go down without a fight! While in the office, she found a letter opener and now pulled it out of her pocket in defense. Kristina lunged forward and slashed his arm!
He fell to the ground, "You bitch!"
Lucky and Dante met up with Jason, Johnny, Sonny and Ethan, who were crouched behind some crates approximately 50 ft. from them. Sonny was about to reveal himself, when Ethan did instead. With hands up, he slowly walked towards Manelli, locking eyes with Kristina. He had never wanted to see such fear in her eyes…because of him.
"Let the girl go Manelli. It's me you want", he offered.
Manelli chuckled. "Well, well, well. Mr. Lovett. I've been looking for you for a very long time. Got my little….message huh?", he sarcastically added.
"I got it, now you get mine…let the girl go and I'll do whatever you want", he pleaded.
Unfortuantely, Manelli could detect how much Kristina meant to Ethan and he had other plans. "Did you really think I wouldn't find you? Because of you, my only daughter is dead! You are nothing but a disgusting piece of shit on the bottom of my shoe and now, you're gonna pay for it!" Manelli pointed his gun straight at Kristina's head!
Sonny and Jason had managed to circle in behind Manelli, using the crates as cover.
"That's not going to happen." Sonny calmly stated, cocking his gun pointed at the back of Manelli's head. Jason had his gun trained on the thug standing next to Manelli, while Johnny had his on the 2nd hit man Kristina had cut.
"Where's Ramirez? We know you're behind his escape", Lucky informed.
Manelli seemed amused. "Actually, I can't take credit for that. It was Ronnie's idea, but you knew that already did you? I take it your father returned?", he snidely directed at Lucky.
"No thanks to you! What were you planning to do with them anyway", Lucky asked in disgust.
"Just a little insurance", the mobster joked.
"What's your involvement with Ronnie?", Jason asked.
"He's been very….helpful. One of my best inside men and when he came to me for help with Mr. Corinthos, I couldn't resist. He said the best way to have Mr. Corinthos pay for his crimes, was to release the one mad man he never was able to take care of", Manelli explained with a malicious look in his eyes.
Before Lucky was able to respond, everything spun out of control. The wall behind Kristina suddenly retracted and before anyone could do anything or react, she was pulled into the secret room by Ramirez! Seizing the opportunity, Manelli quickly turned, then pushed Sonny who was caught off-guard and fell to the ground! A single shot was fired….Manelli hit the ground! Jason shot him in the head.
The other thug turned to Johnny, quickly kicked the gun out of Johnny's hands, then the 2 proceeded to fight each other. After several punches back and forth, Dante broke it up and took the minion into custody.
Ethan and Lucky ran over to the wall and tried to open it, to no avail.
"That maniac has Kristina! We have to get in there! Any idea where this leads?", he frantically asked Lucky. He yelled to Sonny and Jason, "How does this open? Where does this lead?", Ethan was trying to look for some type of trigger to open it.
Sonny pulled out the keys from his pocket, then clicked the remote. The wall slowly retracted and as soon as he could slip through, Ethan ran down the long corridor, with Sonny, Jason and Lucky at his heels.
"There are a network of tunnels that run underneath the pier. There's no telling which way they went", Jason grimly stated. "Spinelli, can you see anything on the satellite image?"
"Um, hold on Stone Cold. Looks like there are 3 people at the end of the northeast corridor", he urgently relayed. "Uh oh!"
"What?", Jason wasn't sure he wanted to know. They all stopped dead in their tracks.
"You guys need to get out of there…now! I'm not positive, but it appears there's a device with a clock counting down- you have less than 5 minutes!"
"I'm not leaving without Kristina!", Ethan continued down the corridor. As if in response, they heard Kristina's voice echoing throughout the tunnels like thunder. "Let go of me!", was the only thing they could make out.
A chill ran down Ethan's spine hearing her pleas. "Which way?", he barked at Jason.
Jason pointed towards the right, then they all bolted down that corridor. As they got closer, they could hear Ramirez talking to someone, however, they couldn't tell who it was. Sonny, Jason and Lucky peered around the corner and noticed a set of 3 monitors set up. They were shocked to see Ronnie manning them.
Lucky slowly walked up to him, then put the gun to his head.
"You son of a bitch! You're done! Get up, hands where I can see them!", Lucky ordered.
"Now Lucky, why do you have to be this way? Sonny needs to pay for his crimes and this is the best way to make sure he does!", Ronnie snickered.
"Where's Kristina you fucking asshole?", Sonny grabbed Ronnie by the shirt. Ronnie only chuckled. "Laugh all you want now…cause you're a dead man!", Sonny promised.
Ethan and Jason made their way across the open room, towards the set of tunnels that veered off to the right, when all of a sudden, Ramirez appeared holding a gun to Kristina's head!
"Back it up there loverboy!", Ramirez snarled.
"Let her go! This isn't going to end well for you mate", Ethan tried to convince the menace.
"Ramirez, let the girl go and we'll talk", Jason lied.
"How stupid do you think I am?", he waved the gun around. "Besides, this little firecracker and I have a few things to….finish", he leered with a demonic smile.
Ethan and Kristina looked at each other right in the eyes, never looking away, when Kristina gave a little nod. Ethan knew what she was going to. Suddenly, she caught Ramirez off guard, elbowed him in the gut, kneed him in the groin and ran towards Ethan's open arms! Then a shot rang out! Jason suddenly flashed back to that fateful night, when Sam was shot and he froze!
"Come Jason! Let's go!", Sonny urged.
Although Jason saw Sonny's lips moving, he didn't hear anything. All he saw when he looked down, was Sam, limp in his arms, her blood on his hands. Even when Lucky ran to them, he was reliving Sam's horrible death.
Everything appeared in slow motion again and he couldn't figure out what Lucky was saying to him. Finally as Sonny tried to get close enough to grab Jason's wrist, a bomb exploded! The entire network of tunnels completely collapsed!
The shot Jason, Sonny, Ethan and Kristina heard, was actually from Lucky. Ronnie had quickly turned the tables on Lucky and kicked the gun from Lucky's hands, then they fought. Lucky was able to get the gun, then shot at Ronnie has he fled the tunnels and escaped. Ronnie slipped out the door underneath the pier, then pushed the remote to set off the bomb. He hopped on a boat that was waiting for him then sped off towards parts unknown, grinning from ear to ear…Sonny finally got what he deserved!
Dante had just finished handcuffing the 2 thugs to a drain pipe against the far wall, when he and Johnny heard the shot. They sprinted down the tunnel, then were knocked to the ground when the bomb exploded! Puffs of smoke and debris covered them, as they realized what happened. The earpieces were completely dead and they couldn't hear anything except Spinelli.
"What happened? I heard an explosion", Spinelli was freaked out.
"Can you call Mac? Tell him to get firemen, EMT's and back up here pronto", Dante commanded.
"Okay!" Spinelli's hands shook, afraid that they had all been killed. He made the call, then locked the fan and ran towards the warehouse.
Luckily the tunnel Dante and Johnny were in, was still in tact so they went back the way they came to direct rescuers, then helped start digging, calling out to them. Johnny prayed his best friends were okay.
"Ethan? Kristina?" Nothing but silence. "Do we have any way of knowing exactly where they were when the bomb went off?"
"Spinelli said they were just beyond the room in the center of the tunnels, on the northeast side", Dante relayed.
"Can he tell if anyone is alive?" Though Johnny asked the question, he realized he wasn't ready for the answer and continued to concentrate digging.
"I don't think so", Dante answered.
They continued to dig for almost 30 minutes, when they finally thought they heard something.
"Sonny? Jason?", Lucky called out.
Johnny shouted, "Ethan? Krissy?"
Then the faint sound of Lucky's voice resonated within the tunnel. "Are you okay?", Dante asked. Silence.
Another 15 minutes went by. Spinelli was outside with Mac, completely panicked, along with Alexis and Molly. "What's going on Mac", Alexis wanted to know.
"Dante and Johnny are in there, they think they're closer to getting to them", Mac tried to be positive.
"She just got out of the hospital! How could this have happened? I thought she was safe with Max and Milo guarding the house." Alexis was clearly distraught, losing her composure and although Mac tried to allay her fears, it was fruitless.
They all continued their vigil, praying for some good news…soon.
"Do you think they're still alive?", Johnny had his doubts.
Things looked really bad. Dante never answered and continued to dig, until he was finally able to create a hole about 6x6 ft wide. He peered in and could see Lucky and Jason.
"Lucky! Are you okay? How bad is it?"
"I think I might have a broken rib, but Jason's leg is looking pretty bad", he described.
"Where's Sonny, Kristina and Ethan?", Johnny asked alarmed when he didn't a sign of them.
"They were about 20 feet ahead of us, near the tunnel entrance", Lucky coughed as he tried to tell them where to look.
"Have you heard them?", Dante hoped so.
"No", Lucky answered then sat against the wall next to Jason.
With the help of firefighters, it only took another 10 minutes to make the hole wide enough to get through. They immediately tended to Lucky, then Jason asked Johnny to let Mac know that Ronnie escaped.
"What? What the hell happened?", Johnny was pissed.
"Can you just please let Mac know?", Jason barked through his pain.
"It's okay Johnny. We'll take it from here."
As the EMT's loaded Jason onto a gurney, Lucky got up and tried to help take more rubble from the entrance where they last saw Ethan, Kristina and Sonny. Lucky's ribs were definitely bruised if not cracked and he could hardly lift the debris.
"Go with the EMT's, we'll get them out", Dante assured.
Reluctantly, Lucky followed the EMT's with Jason, then spoke to Mac while EMT's checked him out in the back of the ambulance. Alexis, Molly, Michael and Lulu were there.
Lulu gently gave her brother a hug. "Where's Ethan? I thought he was with you?" Lulu knew something was wrong by the way Lucky glanced at Mac.
"They're still trying to find them", he simply stated.
"Them?", Lulu didn't know who was involved.
"Yeah. Sonny, Ethan and Kristina. According to Lucky they were about 20 ft ahead of them when the bomb exploded", Mac relayed.
"Oh my God!" Lulu's eyes widened as gruesome scenarios played in her mind like a broken record.
Johnny wanted to head back inside to help Dante.
"Johnny, the tunnels are unstable. I don't want you going back inside", Mac commanded.
"Ethan and Kristina are my best friends! I'm not going to just stand here, when I could be helping! I'm going in and if you want to stop me…then shoot me!", Johnny ignored the order and ran back inside despite the warning.
Alexis gave Lulu a little hug. "I'm sure they'll be fine honey, right?", she directed at Mac who nodded. Then she turned to Michael, "There's no telling how long this is going to take. Would you mind taking Molly home?"
"No! I want to stay! I can't lose another sister", she wailed.
It broke everyone's heart seeing her so distraught. "Listen honey, it's better for me if I don't have to worry about you, okay? Be strong and I'll call you as soon as I know something", she promised. Reluctantly Molly agreed. "Thank you Michael." He nodded as he slowly turned Molly away from the scene.
At this point, word had spread. Luke and Tracy walked up to find out what was going on. "Well, looks like Ronnie escaped and it appears Ramirez was also in the tunnel when the bomb exploded. Sonny, Ethan and Kristina haven't been found yet. They were about 20 ft ahead of Jason and Lucky when the bomb went off. I've got men digging through the debris now. With any luck, we'll find them soon", Mac gave them the lowdown.
Luke wanted to go into the tunnels, but Mac stopped him. "My son is in there!", he added with fire.
"It's not safe! I understand how you feel Luke, but I'm not allowing another person in there. It could completely cave at any moment and the men in there are in grave danger. They'll find them. Just sit tight."
Tracy pulled him aside. "You're not going to be much help to anyone if you get hurt. Look at me", she turned his head to make him. "Stay here. Johnny, Dante and about 6 other firefighters are in there and they'll get them out. We have to believe that", she gave Luke a hug.
Though he didn't like it, he placated her and stayed out, praying his son and best friend would be okay.
Kristina's head was pounding and although she had a few cuts bleeding, she appeared to be okay. She looked around, a bit confused. Gradually she remembered the explosion. Slowly she got up and noticed Ethan against the wall. He didn't appear to be injured other than the gash above his left eye.
"Ethan? Ethan?", she gently nudged him until he regained consciousness.
"What happened?", he asked as he put his hand to his cut and saw the blood.
"There was an explosion", she reminded him.
All of a sudden, Kristina remembered her father. "Dad? Dad?" It was fairly dark in there, but she managed to see him underneath a huge piece of the ceiling that fell on top of him. "Ethan! Dad's stuck!" Fear bubbled to the surface.
Ethan ran over there, it was too heavy for him to pull off himself. As they tried to pull the debris off of Sonny they heard some noise, then Dante and Johnny calling to them
"Johnny, we're in here. Look Sonny has a huge piece of the ceiling pinning him down. He's unconscious. It's too heavy and I can't pull it off of him", Ethan described.
"Are you and Kristina okay?", Dante asked from the other side of the rubble.
"Yes. We're okay, but Sonny….", Ethan's voice trailed.
"We'll be right there", Johnny assured.
Five minutes later, Dante, Johnny and 6 other fireman were able to break through. The firemen were easily able to lift the piece of ceiling off of Sonny, as Johnny and Dante pulled him out from underneath it. Sonny remained unconscious and Kristina was losing it.
"Dad? Dad! You have to wake up, please!", she tried to shake him to consciousness.
Ethan gently pull her away as the EMT's placed him on the gurney then carried him out.
Alexis rushed up to Kristina as she emerged from the rubble. "Are you okay honey?", Alexis looked her over to make sure.
"I'm fine…it's dad! Part of the ceiling fell on top of him!" Kristina completely broke down.
Ethan walked over to the back of the ambulance to see how bad the gash on his forehead was. Luckily, it didn't need stitches, so the EMT patched him up on the spot. They loaded Sonny into the ambulance and Kristina insisted on riding in the back with him, so Ethan accompanied her.
The ambulance screamed towards GH and Kristina held Sonny's hand.
"Dad, please. You have to be okay. I know that I'm a spoiled brat sometimes and we fight all the time, but I love you", she managed to admit through her tears as she kissed his forehead.
Ethan's heart went out to her because no matter how rocky things were between Kristina and Sonny, she still loved him. He hoped Sonny would be okay…for Kristina's sake.
By the time they got Sonny settled in his room, word got out that Ramirez was never found in the tunnels. Both Ramirez and Ronnie had disappeared into the night without a trace. However, the threat of Joseph Manelli was gone, so Ethan was finally free.
Kristina was still holding his hand when Ethan walked in to check on her. "You need to get checked out luv", he quietly suggested.
"I'm fine", she quickly snapped.
"You've just been through a horrible ordeal and you need to take care of yourself. How are you going to be there for your father if you're not well?", he posed.
Deep down Kristina knew he was right and she finally looked at him. "It's just…I've been so awful to him…about…everything!", she broke down in tears. "I can't lose another person I love, I just can't! It's too much!"
Ethan held her tight and allowed her to let go of everything she was holding inside. "It's okay luv. He's going to be fine. Robin and Patrick said other then a few cracked rips, his CAT scan looked good, with just a minor concussion. You'll be fighting with him in no time!", he joked trying to lighten her mood.
Kristina sort of half-giggled through her tears. She was exhausted and decided to take Ethan's suggestion to go home for a little while. "Okay, but only for a couple of hours. I want to go home, take a shower and came right back", she pointed her finger at him.
"Okay sweetie. Whatever you want. Let me take you home."
Dante and Lulu were visiting Lucky when Luke and Tracy walked. "How are you cowboy? A little roughed up?", Luke quipped.
"You could say that", he barely got out. Luckily the medication was taking effect and he dosed off, so they all left together. Luke was so grateful both his sons were in one piece…relatively speaking. They breathed a sigh of relief as they headed home.
Johnny was pouring himself a scotch when there was a knock on the door. It was Ethan. Johnny gave him a little hug as he walked inside. "How are you? How's Kristina?"
"She's okay. I just dropped her off so she could take a shower and eat something, then we're heading straight back to the hospital." Ethan poured himself a Crown Royal, then plopped on the couch, exhausted.
"Has Sonny regained consciousness?"
"Not yet. But Robin and Patrick he only has a few cracked ribs and minor concussion, so it's only a matter of time before he wakes up. Kristina is terrified. If something did happen to Sonny, I really don't think she'd be able to handle it." Ethan took a sip of his drink. "Thanks for coming after us", he added.
"Of course! Do you think I'd leave your survival to the PCPD and Fire Department?", he chuckled.
"Well at any rate, thank you." He stood up, gulped the rest of his drink down, then decided to head back to pick Kristina up.
"Let me know if you need anything, I mean it", Johnny offered.
After Ethan left, Johnny reviewed the entire ordeal in his head like a mini-movie. It was really unbelievable what they'd all been through. Although Ramirez and Ronnie had disappeared, he wasn't about to give up looking for them. Then….he'd make them pay.
When Ethan made it back to the lake house, Kristina answered grinning from ear to ear. "Dad's awake and Robin said he looks good, he's going to be okay!", she gleefully announced.
Ethan could see the relief spread across her face. "It's nice to see that beautiful smile", he gave her a hug.
They were driving for about 10 minutes when Kristina noticed they weren't going towards the hospital. "Wait a minute. The hospital is back that way", she pointed.
"I just wanted to show you something. Mind if we take a little detour?", he flashed a sly grin.
"What are you up to Mr. Lovett?", she suspiciously looked at him out of the corner of his eye. He never answered, so Kristina decided to go with the flow.
About 15 minutes later, they stopped in a wooded area and Ethan led her down a small path. "Where are we going? I think it's going to snow again", Kristina added.
When they emerged from the path, Kristina's heart skipped a beat. It was a view of the entire city skyline. They could see the hospital, Kelly's, the docks, even a little bit of the lake house. Ethan stood behind her, with his arms around her tiny frame and held her close.
"This is beautiful! How did you know it was here?" Kristina was really taken by the view.
"A little birdie told me about it", he joked. "Actually Johnny told me about it. Things have been so crazy after everything with Sam, Manelli, Ramirez, I just wanted to show you that there is more to life than what we've been dealing with", he explained.
"I love it. How come you always know what to do to make me feel better?", she asked then turned to face him.
"Because you're my heartbeat Krissy. My every heartbeat." He slowly gave Kristina a passionate kiss and when she pulled back, there were tears in her eyes.
"What's wrong?" Ethan was greatly concerned. "This is supposed to be a happy moment", he gave her a little hug.
"It is, it's just…Sam told me that I had to make every heartbeat count and that's what I'm going to do. I love you."
They kissed for several long minutes and both new that they'd always be together…through every heartbeat.