I've been away from this story so long that I had to go back and reread it from the beginning. Mikkosavich will soon be found by his biological mother, but which mother will find him? Alexis or Natasha? And Natasha's hit list is not finished. Who is her next victim?

Chapter 17

The limo drove to a place unfamiliar to Alexis. But she could tell it was something of importance to Sonny as he squeezed tight to her hand while he looked outside the car window to the empty pink painted home. A "for sale" sign stuck out from a small patch of grass contained in the front.

"Is this where you grew up?" Alexis dared to speak.

Sonny looked at her. "He painted the house pink. He thought she was joking. But she wanted it that color. So he did it. And I thought because of that, he loved her. It was all a façade; just like their marriage."

Alexis swallowed hard realizing she was in for a journey that stretched beyond girls and boys in leotards leaping across a stage. She exhaled deeply knowing that being in Bensonhurst meant a lot to Sonny. "What happened to New Hampshire? I must have fallen asleep. I didn't notice the detour. Why would you torture yourself?"

"Kevin said that you and I can't have a strong marriage if we're not honest with each other. I've told you the stories. I wanted you to see where I came from."

Alexis leaned on Sonny's lap to get a better view. "I see it. Now can we go?"

"How about taking me seriously?"

Alexis pointed to the house. "I don't want to go in there. Why do you think I'm not taking you seriously because I don't want to see you have to remember the place where you were the most tortured? I would hope you wouldn't want that for me either."

"We're going in." Sonny opened the door and stepped out of the limo. He slipped on his sunglasses and looked up at the sun beaming down him.

A group of kids ran down the street bumping into Sonny. He grabbed one of the boys and playfully wrestled with him. "Be careful Son."

"Sure Mr. Corinthos!" The little boy squealed.

Sonny let the boy run off with his group. He turned back to Alexis still sitting in the limo. "You coming?"

Alexis scoffed and stepped out of the car. She took Sonny's hand. "Make this quick."

"After this, we go to the opera." Sonny smiled.

Alexis frowned. "You said the ballet." She slipped her arm in his.

"The Nutcracker is over. And you hate Romeo and Juliet. So we're going to the opera." Sonny's smile faded.

Alexis released Sonny and watched him walk up the stairs to the house. "You spoke to Kevin didn't you? He's trying to convince you to get me to go with integration. That's what this is about. How about you be honest with me?"

Sonny pulled the keys from his pocket. He unlocked the door. He turned back to Alexis clearly annoyed on the sidewalk. "Ladies first."

Alexis stormed up the stairs and walked inside the dark home. The furniture was covered in sheets. "No one has lived here?"

"I bought it. Now it's up for sale."

"Why did you decide to sale?"

"Time to let go of the past. I'm ready to look to the future." Sonny slipped his hands in his pockets. "You need to do the same. Let go of Natasha."

"That's not fair. I can't let go of Natasha. You see…the difference is that Deke is gone but Helena still lives. You do realize my little boy is missing?"

"I know. But we don't know that Helena is involved with that."

"Sonny, hers was the last face I saw before I left my little boy in Greece. I want to go back to Port Charles."

"Why didn't you tell me your father is alive?"

Alexis' eyes grew wide. She knew she was caught. "How do you know about that?"

"Kristina saw him."

"Kristina saw him? When?"

"Doesn't matter. I almost went to see him but I got the call that Natasha showed up in Switzerland and my defenses just completely fell apart. I hate the Cassadines. Every last one of them. And you, Alexis, hate them too. That's why we worked. You would come to me and ask me to do something to piss off Helena or fuck with Stavros. Or you'd want me to tell Stefan to go fuck himself. And I'd do it with your permission. But this Natasha…" He shook his head. "I don't like her very much. She thinks I'm trash. Your father will feel the same. I don't want to lose you to the Cassadines, Alexis."

Lucky rolled over and found himself suspended across the couch of the jet. He looked up at Jason hovering over him. His head pounded. "What's up Boss?"

"You're tanked Lucky." Jason handed him a steaming cup of coffee and sat down on the table.

Lucky steadied himself and balanced the coffee cup between his fingers. "I'm sorry. Please tell me I didn't do anything stupid?"

Jason sighed. "Sam and I went out looking for you. You were at a bar arm wrestling with the bartender. It was all in fun. But you have an addiction. Are you in a place where you can control it?"

"I thought I could." Lucky rubbed his aching head and sipped his coffee. "So sorry."

"I'm worried about you."

"I'm worried about me to. We going back?"

"No." Jason grinned. "Sam and I want to take a detour. We're going to Casablanca. You in?"

Lucky perked up. "Why Casablanca?"

Jason pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. "We tore that house apart. And we found out that Julia Barrett is living there."

Lucky studied the paper. "Wait? That house belonged to Julia Barrett?"

Jason nodded.

"What the fuck? What does this mean?"

Jason shrugged. "Sam and I want to check it out. Mikkosavich was definitely in that house."

"You going to say anything to Brenda?"

"Not a word. Brenda doesn't need to be involved in this."

Alexis went up to Sonny's room. Her attention fell on his pristine baseball card collection sitting on his desk. She ran her hand across his handmade Yankees bedspread. Sonny joined her in the room. She turned to the closet and pointed in its direction. Sonny slowly nodded.

"Did you play? Baseball?"

"Everyday…until I started working for Scully. That took up all my time. I'd play with some of the other boys that ran numbers for him. It wasn't the same as playing in the schoolyard."

"Did you and Taggert ever get along?"

Sonny stared at Alexis. He shook his head. "He teased me. Thought he was smarter. Deke did to. Used to tell me I needed to be more like that Marcus Taggert kid."

"Where did he live…Taggert?"

"Around the block."

"So it was really a small community huh? You, and the Cerullos, and the Falconeri's, and Taggert."

"Pretty much. And some of the guys I do business with now. We grew up together. All of us. Some of us went for a life of crime. Some of us went to work for the law. Some of us went out in body bags. But all of us were in love with Lois Cerullo." Sonny laughed breaking the ice.

Alexis smiled. "She's a pistol."

"Oh she is. The best friend I ever had. Forrest had Jenny. I had Lois. I'd go to her house to pick her up for school in the morning. I'd be bruised and banged up. She'd put make up on my face so no one would know what Deke did to me."

"Oh no Sonny."

"The funny thing is that if it was hot and I would be out playing baseball and that shit would sweat." Sonny laughed. "God it was so embarrassing. The other boys would start asking, what the hell happened to your face? And Lois would jump in and say that I beat up some piece of shit for her on the way in to school that morning."

Alexis' smile faded. "She stood up for you."

"Problem is that taking up for me meant hiding the truth. It didn't make the beatings stop."

Sonny sat down on his bed. "I'd go to mass every Sunday and pray that my real dad would come. And he did."

Alexis sat down next to him. "Mike came here?"

"He did."

"I bet that didn't go over well."

"Deke pretended to be happy for me. But I was going to get it when Mike left especially if I told Mike the truth. Mike said he was thinking of getting his own place nearby. And he did…for about a year."

"Did that help at all?"

"It wasn't what I dreamed it would be. He promised I could go live with him which made the beatings worse. I went to Deke and threatened to move. I couldn't. I couldn't leave my mother behind. She told me to go. I couldn't do it Alexis. I had to stay. It didn't matter any way. My relationship with Mike wasn't what I wanted it to be. I thought we'd go to baseball games or do father and son stuff together. But he was too busy. He barely called. He was distance. Then he finally moved again."

"Was this around the time Courtney was conceived?"

"I guess." Sonny nodded. "I hated him. I thought he didn't want me. I thought he didn't care about me. I came to realize he was just lost in his gambling world. He had to move because he owed some guy in the neighbor thousands of dollars. Had I known…had he told me he was trouble, I would have helped him."

"That's a lot of pressure for a young man."

"Better than having to kill your stepfather." Sonny looked at Alexis. "I get it. I get why you hold on to Natasha. I remember when I did it and how I did it. It felt great. I wanted Deke to look me in the eye and know who was snuffing him out. I wanted him to have the same fear that I had staring at him in that dark closet taking yet another beating just for trying to protect my mother."

"That suit brings out the blue in your eyes." Sam watched Jason stroll onto the balcony dressed in a tuxedo. His pocket square was a pale blue. "God you are a gorgeous specimen of a man."

Jason tugged at his coat sleeves. "You need to get dressed. We don't want to miss Julia."

Sam pulled Jason close to her. "We don't have to go to this party do we?"

"If Brenda were here, she'd be my accomplice."

Sam released Jason and went back inside their suite. Jason looked out from the balcony at the water and noticed the mosque in the distance.

"Why do you think Julia decided to move to Casablanca?" Sam slipped on her dress.

"The port."

"What is she importing or exporting?" Sam walked out to the balcony.

Jason was blown away by her beauty as her sapphire gown flowed in the evening air. "I guess we'll find out tonight." He reached his hand out to Sam.

"Can we make it an early night?"

"I'll do my best." Jason kissed Sam's face. "Lucky is waiting for us downstairs."

"Shouldn't he rest?"

"He's fine. He'll be fine."

"Have you checked on Alana and Spencer?"

Jason looked at his watch. "Yep. She was taking a nap. She and Maxie have finally formed a bond."

"Let's do it."

"Sam." Jason watched her go back inside.

Sam stopped. "Yes?"

"Be careful. We all need to be careful. In the end, something dangerous is going down."

Sonny and Alexis left the house. Alexis waited for Sonny to lock the door. She noticed he took his time as he juggled the knob a couple times to make sure it was locked.

"As soon as you sell, it's over."

Sonny released the knob. "I thought of tearing this house down."

Alexis walked down the stairs pulling her coat close to her to fight off the breeze. "That's an idea. I felt the same about the cave."

Sonny met her at the bottom of the stairs. "The cave?"

"Ric was killed in that cave. Ethan and Johnny found his wallet and articles of his clothing in that cave. We still don't know who killed Ric."


Alexis shook her head. "I don't believe it."

"Really?" Sonny raised his brow. "You don't think Stavros killed Ric?"

"What was his reasoning?"

Sonny grunted. "You think Stavros kills for a reason?"

"Stavros doesn't get his hands dirty without a purpose. I know my brother."

"Who else would know to kill Ric the same place you were raped?"

Alexis lifted her eyes to Sonny. "Don't forget. I'm an attorney."

"Sounds like you want your brother to be innocent of killing mine."

"I loved Ric. Even when I felt used by him, I loved him."

"You just love me more." Sonny winked and flashed a dimpled smile.

Sam and Jason made it to the bustling casino floor. They both searched the room with their eyes until Sam spotted Lucky sitting on the top step of one of the cascading staircases with a drink in his hand. Sam nudged Jason and pointed in Lucky's direction.

"We need to focus." Jason sighed. He scanned the room and spotted someone that threw him for a loop. He pulled Sam into a corner. "Look."

Sam slowly turned her head and through a sea of party patrons she spotted Gallos in a corner chatting it up with Julia Barrett. "Gallos? What's he doing here?"

"Business maybe? Is he playing for the other team?"

"We're assuming Julia is the enemy." Sam patted Jason's chest. "I just thought of something. Wouldn't Julia recognize you and Lucky?"

"She would."

"Maybe I should go over alone. She doesn't know me." Sam moved in the direction of the Gallos and Julia until Jason grabbed her arm.

"Be careful Sam."

Sam parted the waters of people in route to her target. Men did a double take while women rolled their eyes. Sam was unassuming until Gallos took notice of her moving in his direction. He stood tall.

"Gallos?" Sam stretched out her hand. "You never miss a party."

"You here for a game of poker?" Gallos sipped his drink. "I'm so rude. Let me introduce, Ms. Julia Barrett."

Julia shook Sam's hand. "To what do I owe this pleasure?"

"I love gambling. I'm Samantha McCall."

Gallos took a puff of his cigar and noticed Jason in the corner. He looked upwards and found Lucky sitting on the top of the stairs chatting with a woman. "Is this business or pleasure?"

"Depends on what we find." Sam smirked. "Do you play?" She asked Julia.

"On occasion." Julia sipped her drink. "Gallos lets me win." She stared longingly at Gallos.

"Wait." Sam tapped her temple. "Are you the sister of Brenda Barrett?"

"I am."

Gallos flashed Sam a dirty look. "Why do you ask?"

"I know you're heavily involved in ASEC. Just thought maybe there was a connection."

"A little." Julia blurted. "I'm heading to the tables." She left Gallos and Sam alone.

"What are you doing here Samantha?" Gallos growled.

"My missing son was staying in a home owned by Julia Barrett. What's that about?"

Gallos shrugged. "Samantha, go home. Take your husband with you."

"Not until I find my son. Please help me Gallos."

"I don't know where he is. And I doubt Julia does either. For your own safety, go home." Gallos walked away from Sam.

Lucky stumbled over to Sam. "I was watching. " He took a sip of his drink.

Sam looked to Lucky. Tears formed in her eyes. "I just want to find my son."

Jason walked over to Julia hovering over the roulette table. He tapped her on the shoulder. "Ms. Barrett."

Julia spun around to Jason and found herself caught off guard. "Jason Morgan? What brings you to Casablanca?"

Gallos leaned on the table visibly annoyed.

"Can you and I speak privately?" Jason asked.

"Of course." Julia nudged Jason in the direction of a dwindling crowd until they found a spot. "I heard about the plane crash."

"Why didn't you come to see Brenda? She needed you. When Alec died, she needed you."

Julia's face turned red. "Brenda and I were never particularly close. But it's no excuse. How is she?"

"She said you and her fought on the phone. What did you fight about?"

"Business. Family business."

"Family business?"

"I wanted her to move to Switzerland."

"You own a home in Switzerland?"

Lucky poked Sam in the arm. "Jason's talking to Julia." He took Sam's by the hand and led her up the stairs to get a better view.

Julia looked away. "I do. And it's a big home. And it's peaceful. I wanted us to be a family. Her, me, and our brother…"

"Whoa." Jason held up his hand. "Your brother? You and Brenda have a brother?"

"We do."

"She never mentioned a brother."

Julia cut her eyes at Jason. "She doesn't know about him. I've been protecting him."

Jason eyed Julia with suspicion. "I don't understand."

"I've said too much. You still in the organization?"

"No." Jason crossed his arms. "How old is this brother?"

"Alexander is the youngest. He's Brenda's half-brother. I've grown to adore him as my own."

"I'm just gonna get to the point. A kidnapped baby was kept at a home in Switzerland registered to you."

Julia was stunned. "I haven't been in Switzerland since Christmas."

"Who else would have stayed at that home?"

"The staff. Jason, you don't really believe I'd kidnap a child."

"What about this brother of yours? Can you tell me anything about him? Why were you protecting him? Was he in danger? Or did he do something illegal? I need answers Julia. My son is missing and he was in your home. Help me find my son."

Julia slowly shook her head. "I can't. I don't have these answers. My brother would never kidnap a child. Never."

As night fell on the city, Alexis started to get antsy on how the evening would end. Her black evening gown just fit but she knew in another couple weeks she'd be holding her breath to squeeze herself inside her wardrobe. She admired herself in the floor mirror and finished her makeup until she saw Sonny standing behind her dressed to the nines.

"No uniform?" Sonny asked. He went over to the dresser and played with Alexis' sapphire and diamond necklace. "I'm so glad you got this back." He picked it up and handled it with care admiring the sparkle in the light.

Alexis pinned up her hair and did another makeup. "What opera?"

"The Queen of Spades by none other than Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It's Russian."

"I guess that will do since The Nutcracker is no more." Alexis continued to admire herself in the mirror. "What is it about?"

"Life is but a game." Sonny slipped the necklace onto Alexis' neck.

Alexis was struck by the sparkle of the sapphire and diamonds across her neck. Her eyes tried to follow in the reflection in the mirror.

Sonny's hands quivered as he latched the necklace together. "You ok?"

Alexis closed her eyes to fight the urges of Natasha. "Unlucky in love, lucky at cards."

"What's that?" Sonny buried his nose in her hair.

"Your father…the gambler. It seems he was lucky at cards but not at love."

"Yea. Sure." Sonny smiled at her beauty reflected in the mirror. "The Queen of Spades has two suitors who knew her secret cards. But she was warned of a third suitor who would try to steal her secret."

"I pity the fool who would dare be the Queen's third suitor." Alexis smiled finally comfortable opening her eyes as Natasha remained tucked away in her psyche.

Sonny grabbed Alexis' throw and put it around her arms. "Shall we go to the opera?"

Sam remained on the stairs drowning her sorrows in what was left of Lucky's drink. The liquid drug overcame Lucky. He stumbled back to his room. Jason left Julia. She refused to say more. His eyes searched the crowd until they met Sam's. He could see the red circles around her eyes which infuriated him that he couldn't fix it. He was at a loss. Jason decided to make one last ditch effort for answers. He went over to Gallos finishing up a game of poker. He tapped Gallos on the shoulder. Gallos tried his best to ignore.

Jason took a seat at the table and got Gallos attention by shoving Gallos' chips to the ground. "What game do you think you're playing with me? I'm not a fucking Cassadine. Don't bullshit me."

Gallos stared at Jason as the other players got up from the table sensing a fight about to brew. "Do I need to have you escorted out of Casablanca Morgan? We're more civilized in these parts."

"Do it for Alexis. Where is my son?"

Gallos lit his cigar and took a puff while blowing smoke rings in the air. "I don't kidnap children. And neither does Julia. Back off Morgan. The criminals outside of Port Charles would eat you for lunch. Leave while you can alive. It is a game Young Man. I've been playing it for years. I've beat all odds."

Jason noticed Sam get up from the stairs and leave. He gave up and hurried after her. Sam ran through the dark halls of the mansion until she spotted Julia tucked away in a corner on her cellphone. Sam slipped inside a crevice and remained quiet.

Jason spotted Sam but he turned back and went down the stairs.

"I know Dad." Julia spoke into her phone. "Please tell me Zander is safe. I'll be back in Switzerland after Gallos and I discuss the routes for the shipment. I'm glad he and his son are safe. I love you too." She hung up her call and stuffed her phone into her handbag before heading down the stairs past Sam hiding away in the crevice.

Julia walked down the stairs and went to Jason waiting at the bottom. "Goodnight. Have a safe trip back to Port Charles. Give Brenda my love. Maybe she'll change her mind about Switzerland."

"Maybe." Jason watched Julia walk away to Gallos. The two left together hand in hand. Jason looked up at Sam. He reached out his hand to her. "Let's go home." Sam practically fell into his arms. "Did you hear anything?"

"Zander? Do you know him?"

Jason pressed his head against Sam's. "You're amazing. I do know a Zander. He kidnapped my sister, Emily. But he's dead."

Sam rested her head on Jason's shoulder. "I don't know what it means but Julia mentioned the name Zander."

"Let's go home." Jason helped Sam walk with him towards the elevators. "Am I going to need to put you and Lucky to bed?"

"Together?" Sam's speak was slurred.

"No." Jason laughed and hugged Sam tightly in his arms.