The Play's the Thing
Note #1: I saw toto1973's pic of Elizabeth and Sonny with Jason in the background and got inspired. This story is complete and I will post a chapter a day for 10 days.
Note #2: Jake is alive; the paternity secret is intact; Aiden and Daniel don't exist.
Sonny Corinthos paid lip service to God but didn't truly worry whether he was a good man or not. His life was focused on accumulating and maintaining the power he needed to keep what was his. As their eyes met, he realized two things. He didn't have enough power to keep her. More importantly, he was a very bad man for wishing he did.
Elizabeth Webber was tired. A double shift, small sons, and the never-ending innuendo that Kelly Lee voiced about Nikolas left her desperately needing an escape. After dropping Cameron and Jake at her grandmother's, she drove to the one place she never thought she would visit again.
The safe house had an air of neglect as if it too was tired. She was a little surprised her key still worked. Wasn't the point of these places to keep unwanted guests out? Then again, this was no ordinary safe house.
Gently closing the door behind her, she looked around. The furnishings were all as she remembered, though definitely dustier. Her hand running along the back of the couch stirred up a small cloud and made her cough slightly.
She didn't see or care. In her mind, all she saw was Jason. Smiling at her, tackling her to these very cushions, caressing her, loving her…
She sank to the floor and cried. Why, after all she had lost, did this particular one still hurt so much?
Sonny listened to Max's report on the warehouse's safety updates as he flipped through the mail. It was times like this that he missed Jason the most. While security was a major concern, it was also a bunch of mundane details Sonny preferred not to hear. Unable to trust Max as he had his former partner, he had no choice.
The envelope was like any other he received. Plain, local sender, thin, and yet something about it scared him. Not that he admitted that fear even to himself but he did pause and tune the guard out completely. Slowly he turned it over and broke the seal. He dumped the contents into his free hand: a piece of ordinary paper, some type of card and a picture.
The photo was of Elizabeth and Jake. There were crosshairs drawn over both their faces. Sonny stared until Max let out a loud expletive. Breathing deeply Sonny turned his attention to the paper. It read He would want you to protect them. He then looked at the card. It was a wedding invitation. Sonny's cursing was much louder and longer than Max's.
Elizabeth pulled into her driveway smiling at Jake's attempts to outtalk his older brother. It was pretty much a lost cause. Cameron could talk circles around most people and Jake was just too much like his father to keep up. Both boys were still excited about their day at Audrey's and the root beer floats after dinner had given them a sugar high which probably meant that bed time was going to be late tonight. As she had the next day off, she decided to just let them have their fun. Turning off the car and moving to help Jake out of his car seat, her thoughts were on what games the boys might enjoy playing this evening.
Cameron's sudden quiet was her first clue that something was wrong. Immediately glancing around to find the threat, she tensed when her eyes met Sonny's as he strode up the driveway. "Sonny, um, hello."
The gangster smiled but she could see it didn't reach his eyes. "Elizabeth." He nodded to Cameron and then he stepped closer to Jake. The little boy shrank against his mother in shyness. "He's, they're growing."
Flustered and fearing her sons could tell, Elizabeth forced herself to return his smile. "Yes, they are. How are you?"
Sonny cleared his throat. "Why don't we talk about that inside?" Motioning for Max to lead the way, he took her arm and walked up the sidewalk.
She should have been shocked when Max pulled out a key and opened her front door. She should have been annoyed when Sonny prevented her from following the taller man into her own home. She should have started asking questions while they waited for her house to be searched as that was obviously what Max was doing.
Instead, she was simply too terrified to think straight.
Sonny patiently waited in her living room through bath time and stories. Elizabeth tried to rush the boys but they were still too wound up to sleep. Having strange men in the house really wasn't helping. Jake didn't say much but Cameron badgered her relentlessly. Over an hour after arriving home, Elizabeth's nerves were completely shot and she was just about ready to slip them both some Benadryl.
Milo appeared in Cameron's doorway and knelt down to ruffle Jake's hair. "Miss Webber, Mr. C thought you could use a hand. If you don't mind, I'll watch these two while you and Mr. C talk."
"Thank you!" She couldn't help the small grin that appeared as she imagined Sonny calling in reinforcements. "Cam, Jake, this is Milo. Please be good for him, okay?"
After gaining their agreement, she headed into her bathroom for a quick moment to herself. Whatever Sonny had to say, it could only be about Jason. Did he know she had spent the day at the safe house? Was he angry? Or worse, had one of his enemies found out about Jake? Did it matter now that Jason was de…was gone? Straightening her shoulders and calling upon the absolute last reserve of strength she had, she went downstairs.
Sonny took in the dark circles under her eyes and hated that this couldn't wait. Hell, he hated that this was happening at all.
Elizabeth's hands fluttered at her sides as if she couldn't figure out what to do with them. "Would you like some coffee? I might even have some Corinthos Morgan in the cabinet."
"No, thank you." Sonny scratched his jaw. He had no idea how to explain this and even less of how she would react. Could he get her to agree to something Jason was adamantly opposed to? "I'm sorry to just show up like this but we need to talk." At her nod, he continued. "I got a package in the mail yesterday, threatening note and picture. Someone is playing games but they're covering their tracks fairly well. We don't have anything yet so I need to go along with the demands. It's safer for everyone at this point."
Elizabeth's stomach tightened. "What demands?"
The mob boss tried but failed to reassure her with a smile. "Well, I'm supposed to protect you and Jake." He sighed. "By marrying you tomorrow."
Elizabeth sat at her dining room table. It was after midnight. Sonny and Max had left but Milo was standing sentry on her front porch. The copies of the envelope's contents he left were lying before her. She traced the crosshairs over Jake's sweet face. She read the note again despite having memorized the short sentence hours ago. She picked up the wedding invitation and stared at the words which would negate every promise she had ever made to Jason.
Elizabeth Imogene Webber
Michael Corinthos, Jr.
invite you to share in the joy of their union.
Saturday, June 29th, 2013
Tears fell once again. Jason would hate this. He would hate Jake being in danger and he would hate her for even considering this marriage. Bringing her sons into his world was something he fought against time and again.
Yet she was going to do it. She was going to marry Sonny. The possibility of losing Jake was simply too frightening to do anything else.
The residents of Port Charles awoke Saturday to hand delivered invitations to the wedding. Most thought it was a joke in very poor taste but a few chose to seek out either the bride or groom to find out for themselves.
Kate was furiously yelling at Sonny when Carly arrived. "You bastard! How dare you do this me? I thought we were finally, finally building something that would last! And all the while you were slipping off to a woman almost young enough to be your daughter!"
Sonny stood and took it all. He deserved it for hurting her this way but explaining might endanger Elizabeth and Jake. He couldn't do that.
Carly's mouth dropped open. "Wait, it's true? You're marrying Elizabeth? What the hell are you thinking?"
At his silence, Kate grabbed her purse and left with one last shot. "We are finished, Sonny Corinthos. There is nothing you can say that will ever, ever fix this!"
Carly could see how much Kate's words hurt him. "Okay, this is me. And I know for a fact that you and Elizabeth are barely friends, much less lovers. What is going on?"
Sonny closed his eyes as he fought between his heart and his head. "Just drop it, Carly."
"No, I can't. You're destroying your life AGAIN and I can't just watch. Let me help. Whatever mess Little Miss Perfect has gotten herself into, we can figure a way out that doesn't include you marrying her." Carly waited but he didn't respond. "Okay, let's forget for a moment that the woman you love just walked out the door and will probably never come back. What about Jason? I mean, really, he was your best friend and the one thing he wanted more than anything else was to keep his son away from this life. I hated it, you hated it, hell, I'm pretty sure even Elizabeth hated it, but Jason refused to let anyone know about Jake because of your business. Now you're bringing that little boy into this world and Jason would never forgive you for that!"
Sonny exploded. "Jason's dead! He's gone and he would want me to protect his family. So that's what I'm doing. I'm gonna make damn sure that nothing happens to Elizabeth or Jake because he would want me to take care of them, just like he always took care of us."
The truth dawned on Carly with those words. "Someone found out about Jake. There's a threat and this is how you handle it? Come on, Sonny, there has to be a better way!"
Knowing that his ex-wife wouldn't back down, he opened the desk drawer and pulled out the package that started this whole nightmare. "Here, take a look and tell me what other options I have."
Elizabeth awoke to shouting. Nikolas was apparently at her door and arguing with Milo. Her mind wondered over that for a minute before recalling last night's events. Jumping to her feet and racing down the steps, she flung open the door and faced her would-be boyfriend. "Nikolas! What on earth are you doing her so early? The boys aren't even awake yet."
The prince shoved a card into her hand. "I'm hoping you can explain this."
She knew without looking what was on that card. "I'm sorry."
Nik's eyes nearly popped from his head. "That's it? You're sorry?"
When she took a step back, Milo placed a hand on Nik's chest. "Please leave, Mr. Cassadine."
Elizabeth shut the door and sank onto the couch. She didn't want to hurt Nikolas but had promised Sonny not to tell anyone what was really happening until he found whoever was threatening them. Her thoughts had been so focused on what Jason would have wanted that she forgot about Nik. While marrying Sonny might save her life, it would also ruin it.
Elizabeth's next visitor was someone she had been expecting. Carly was nothing if not territorial.
"First, I think this is the worst idea I've ever heard and that includes all of my own crazy schemes." Carly smirked at the surprise on the nurse's face. "Then, there's the fact that no one, I mean, NO ONE has ever seen you and Sonny as even potential lovers, much less spouses. Finally, there's Jason and he would…"
Elizabeth interrupted her. "He would hate it. I know but, ugh, Carly, do you have any ideas or schemes to get us out of this? Cause Sonny doesn't and I don't. And the one thing I know for sure is that Jason wanted Jake to be safe. Did you see the picture?"
"Yes," Carly huffed. "I did and I don't know what else to do. So I'm gonna help."
Elizabeth laughed. "You're going to help? Riiiigghhtt."
"Hey, I am! I loved Jason and I want to protect Jake." Carly sat down at the table and picked up the note. "Besides, you're gonna need someone on your side. This whole damn town is about to turn on you. I know; I've been there."
"Um, Tony? A.J.? Sonny? Lorenzo? Sonny again? I've made more bad choices than you've ever dreamed of."
Elizabeth let out a groan. "No, I know why the town has turned on you at times. I meant, why help ME? I get why you want to help Jake and protect Sonny but we both know you can do that and still make my life miserable."
Carly nodded in agreement. "I could. Don't get me wrong, I want to. But more than that, I want to make Jason proud of me. I disappointed him so much and he was always saving me from myself. Maybe this will make it up to him a little, if I stand by you now that he can't."
After all the years of animosity and fighting, two of the most important people in Jason's life were going to set aside their differences and do what he'd asked them to all along. They were going to be friends, even if they both detested every minute of it.
Elizabeth felt the tears welling up again. She wasn't upset that Sonny had told Carly. It was almost impossible to keep the overbearing woman out when she wanted in. But Carly's unexpected support touched her deeply. Only Jason's death could have made this possible and she would have much, much rather had him alive.
Despite the numerous invitations delivered, only a handful of guests actually showed up to the ceremony. Audrey was among them, determined not to lose her granddaughter or grandsons despite Elizabeth's poor choices. Dante and Lulu were there, though Lulu spent the afternoon shooting dirty looks at the bride. Spinelli came but was strangely silent.
Carly was the final guest and made a couple of phone calls to find out exactly why her sons were boycotting their father's latest wedding. Michael explained that he was in Hong Kong with A.J. on business, which he had neglected to tell her about before leaving. Morgan reluctantly agreed to stop by later but said that he and Kristina were just not ready to watch Sonny make another mistake. Carly took what she could get and encouraged him to bring his sister with him when he did finally come.
Just as the judge was beginning to speak, Diane waltzed into the den. "So sorry. I was stuck behind an accident. No one hurt, but what a mess to clear up!"
Sonny nodded, Elizabeth tried to smile, and the judge coughed before continuing;
Elizabeth said the right words at the right time. She smiled for the pictures, all the while imagining crosshairs. She spoke to their guests as she stood by her new husband. But inside she felt hollow. This was a sham. The vows were nothing but empty promises. The rings were meaningless. Even the cake tasted dry.
Sonny knew that his new wife was on the verge of a breakdown but didn't know how to handle it. As if this day wasn't strange enough, Carly came to his rescue.
"Hey, Lizzie, why don't we wrap this up so you and your boys can get settled?" The forceful blonde stood by the door sending a less than subtle message to the small group.
Elizabeth genuinely smiled at Carly. "Sounds good. Thanks."
Greystone had gained three new residents but it still felt lonely. Cameron and Jake were sleeping in rooms decorated with their newly moved furniture. Elizabeth was in the guest suite across the hall and Sonny paced the floor of his own room wishing they could talk. He had nothing new to share. His people had no idea who sent the damn package and he was seriously considering bringing in Spinelli. The only problem was that Sam would undoubtedly get involved too, which would just make the whole situation harder for Elizabeth.
The knock at his door was so soft he almost didn't hear it. "Sonny?"
Elizabeth was pulling at the knot in her robe's belt as she walked over to him. "I can't sleep. I just keep seeing that picture. What do you think will happen next?"
Sonny crossed to her and wrapped her up in his arms. "I don't know but I think it will happen soon. When it does, we'll be ready."
He felt her relax and kissed the top of her head. There were bad things coming but they would get through them.