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With tears streaming down her face and mucus running from her nose, she laid on the bed as instructed. She struggled not to shake as her hair, her body; her clothing were positioned, and then repositioned. It was as if she were being posed for a picture.
"After you've been refused entrance into the streets of gold, be sure to explain to John Zacchara Corinthos through the Pearly Gates, how he died and why he never got a chance to live," the voice said calmly, seconds before wielding the knife and cutting the young woman from ear to ear.
"I should be quiet so I don't wake your kids," Diane Miller, attorney extraordinaire, commented while walking through the front door of Alexis Davis' house.
"Don't worry about it. The girls sleep like the dead. Make yourself comfortable while I go check on them," Alexis said, moving towards her youngest daughter's room. Her heart beat steadily as she watched Molly Lansing sleep so soundly and peacefully. She straightened the blankets and kissed her brown eyed girl before quietly walking out of the room.
With a deep sigh, the attorney moved toward her oldest daughter's room. She remembered when it was once a joy to visit with her eldest, but lately they had had more and more battles. Diane assured her it was just a phase. Teenage girls were supposed to be moody, snotty, smart alecs who snuck out the window, when their parents were asleep. She prayed it was a phase because she desperately missed her funny, smart, helpful daughter.
Knocking softly on the door, Alexis opened the door and froze. The sight that greeted her was one she saw every night in her sleep. She closed the door and swiftly went into action. She quickly went into her closet, took down the box, and unearthed the untraceable, pre-paid cell phone. "She killed her just like she killed my mother." The pose. The look. The method. It was all the same, except this time she knew she would find the body.
"She will be taken care of," the voice on the other end assured the attorney, after one ring.
"She killed her," Alexis reiterated shakily.
"I will be there as soon as I have taken care of her." The voice paused. "Alexis, do not forget you are a Cassadine," the thought-to-be-dead Stefan Cassadine reminded her before hanging up.
Fighting the urge to cry, the former Natasha Cassadine called the police station.
"Alexis? Are you okay? You know I hate to drink alone," Diane called out from the living room.
"I'll be right out," Alexis responded, as she waited for the officer to get the staff sergeant on duty. "Yes, my name is Alexis Davis and my daughter, Kristina Davis, has been murdered."
First Alexis' call and now this, if the evidence hadn't said so the chief of police, Mac Scorpio, would be convinced a hit had been placed on mob boss Sonny Corinthos' children. He prayed for strength and the right words to say as he waited for the door to open.
"Mac," fellow Australian Jax Jacks greeted.
"Jax. Is Carly home?" the police chief asked.
"Yes. Please come in, while I go get her."
Mac followed Jax in and took the offered seat. He only waited a few moments before Carly Corinthos-Jacks emerged from the kitchen with Jason Morgan hot on her heels.
"Mac," the former lovers said curtly.
"Carly. Jason." He hated this part of his job. "We found Michael."
"Oh thank God. Where was he? Who took him? Have you told Sonny? Because if you haven't, he will be beside himself- -" The blonde stopped talking. Why was no one else talking? Why weren't they rejoicing? Why wasn't there relief on Mac's face? Oh my- -
Jax reacted quickly and caught his wife before she hit the floor. He laid her on the couch and held her hand. The tears gathered in his eyes, silently fell.
"What happened?" Jason demanded.
This was not a time for egos so he refrained from commenting on Jason's behavior or to remind the younger man that it wasn't his place to ask questions. "His car was found about 80 miles outside of Buffalo. I'm going to the site myself, but the local Sherriff said based on the evidence they found and the people they interviewed, Michael bought a puppy from a breeder. They believe he must have stopped to let the puppy relieve himself. The puppy got away from him and ran into the lake. Michael jumped in to save the puppy- - and they both drowned.
"Michael is an excellent swimmer," the mob enforcer retorted.
"How much swimming has Michael done since he came out of his coma? The water was freezing. It would have been hard for the best swimmer in the best condition to survive the temperatures for an extended period of time."
Carly came to and looked at the somber men around her and knew her son was dead. She pulled Jax into her embrace and sobbed.
"When the coroner is finished, I'll contact you," Mac said to no one in particular. "I'm so sorry for your loss." And for Michael's. From the moment of his conception that poor boy hadn't caught a break. Multiple fathers, an absentee then self-absorbed mother, heart problems, a mobster adoptive father and uncle, watching his birth father die, getting shot, and spending the majority of his childhood in a coma. The chief of police knew Michael had a special crown waiting for him in heaven for all that he'd had to endure on earth.
"Mac, I'll follow you," Jason said.
Mac nodded and the two men left the grieving mother and her husband.
Michael's funeral was full of people who loved him, wished they had known him better, and of course other mobsters paying their respects.
It did little to soothe the hearts of his parents to know he died getting a present for his little brother, Morgan. They had finally had him back only to lose him over a stupid dog. Sonny would gladly give his own life in exchange for his son's. Though he would be less than honest if he didn't say he was grateful his son died accidentally and not due to anything related to him. He had Jason check Michael's car from top to bottom to make sure nothing was wrong with the car. The car and Michael's toxicology report all came up clean. His son had died being a hero.
He stoically sat listening to the minister's words. He wouldn't allow himself to cry because if he started, he would never stop. He would cry for the loss of his other children and for the one he wasn't allowed to mourn. Michael "Sonny" Corinthos, Junior, had been rebuffed at every turn regarding Kristina's funeral and burial arrangements. He couldn't believe it, but if it were not for Mac he wouldn't even know what caused his daughter's death. Stefan Cassadine had returned from the dead and was not permitting any non-Cassadines to contact any of his family; even Lucky had no idea what was going on with his brother and his brother's family.
Mac told him Taggert and Garcia believed Kristina's murder wasn't mob related, but Cassadine related. Had his daughter ever truly had a chance with his profession and her mother's family's?
He couldn't take more of this. He needed to be alone, Sonny thought, seconds before the priest said the benediction. With everyone's head bowed in prayer, something alerted him to keep his up. He noticed the uniform cop, whispering into Mac's ear. From the expression on Mac's face, he knew more bad news was coming.
Had it only been a week ago, they had attempted to come here to lay Michael to rest, yet never made it? Sonny knew his face was void of emotion, but inside he wanted to rage, to cry, to die. Now he was not only burying his son, but his best friend was burying his own, and the absent Carly was having her third buried.
An explosion. While they had been mourning and celebrating Michael's life, a gas leak had caused Carly and Jax's house to explode. Josselyn Jane Jacks and Jacob Martin Spencer had been inside napping, while Morgan Corinthos-Jacks, Cameron Webber Spencer, and Leticia, Carly and Sonny's nanny, were outside picking flowers. Picking a few flowers had saved the life of his only remaining child. What would he do without Morgan? That little boy was his saving grace. Once again, Mac had deemed the explosion an accident. How could so many accidents happen within such a short period of time? He didn't want to believe it. Yet, all the answers his people came up with were- - they were all above board accidents. He was just having the unluckiest and deadliest time of his life.
Walking through his front door, Sonny expected to hear Morgan's footsteps running to greet him. Instead silence greeted him along with his anxious looking bodyguard Max. "What's up?"
"I had no choice, boss," Max stuttered, handing his boss some legal documents.
Sonny was on high alert. Where was his son? Quickly reading the documents, the mob boss pinched his nose and sighed in disbelief. It wasn't possible? It couldn't be possible? Yet, part of his mind said, yes, it was entirely possible. How could he have ever forgotten who he was dealing with? Hadn't he had questions himself?
Morgan Stone Corinthos-Jacks was the son of Alan James Quartermaine, Junior. He held in his hands six DNA test results from world renown labs. His son was now residing in the custody of his legal guardian and biological paternal grandmother, Monica Quartermaine. He assumed the Quartermaines had only recently acquired the information about Morgan or they would have tried to take him sooner. According to the paperwork he had no legal rights to the boy he helped bring into the world. The boy he called his own. Carly. Carly. If she weren't already locked up and on suicide watch at Ferncliff, he would go and kill her himself. Strangle her with his bare hands. How could she do this again? How could she have seen what Michael went through and then do the exact same thing to Morgan?
The mob boss knew approaching the Quartermaines or asking anything of them was useless. He had shown them no mercy when it came to Michael and he knew they would return the favor in spades. What did he have to live for? His life was now over.
"She just sits there and stares at nothing," Jasper Jacks stated to no one in particular, as he watched his wife through the shatter and bullet proof window.
"Is it possible Morgan can visit?" Dr. Lainey Winters suggested.
"No," Bobbie Jones, Carly's biological mother, answered sadly. She had begged and pleaded with her former best friend to let her daughter's only living child visit his mother. But all Monica had said was, "You now know how I felt when you went along with Jason and Carly refusing me access to Michael."
"Carly's near catatonic state is beyond my experience. I've called in a psychiatrist, who specializes in catatonic states and severe post traumatic stress. A Dr. Andrew Ticsay will be here later today. I've spoken with him in great detail about Carly's situation and he's read all of her medical charts so he is completely up to speed on her case."
"But you know her," the Australian said, continuing to watch his broken wife. "You have a relationship with her."
Lainey laughed inside. She had a relationship with that self-absorbed, lying, selfish witch? "She needs the best, Jax, and Dr. Ticsay is the best. He blends traditional treatments with cutting edge ones. He is open to suggestions and new ideas. He is exactly what she needs."
Bobbie and Jax nodded.
"Will we ever get her back?" Jax asked.
The psychiatrist was once again reminded from the pain, heartache, and unshed tears in the tycoon's eyes how a mental illness or break affected the whole family and could easily destroy it. How could she answer the question? A hundred years ago, burying three children wouldn't have been uncommon. Carly would have been at home carrying for her sole remaining child and taking care of her home. But in this day and age, to lose three- - why would she want to recover? Was staying with one living child more important than being with three dead ones? She honestly couldn't say. No medical book or med school class had ever taught that. The answer to that question would be evident based on what Caroline Benson Quartermaine Corinthos Jacks did in the future. "I don't know. I don't know."
"Losing BJ almost killed me, but I held on because of Lucas. She's got Morgan. He'll keep her strong. She will come back," the redhead said assuredly.
They all pretended as if Morgan wasn't in the sole custody of Dr. Monica Quartermaine, due to another one of Carly's lies.
"When are we getting married?" the voice asked, breaking the still of the night.
"Oh my- -" the woman gasped, putting her hand over heart. "You scared me to death. What are you doing here?"
"Waiting for you."
"Why? How did you get in?"
"Did you forget my training? And the why- - because you need my help to pull this off," he said without batting an eye.
He was immune to her stare down. Looking into his eyes, she knew it was useless to lie. He knew what she had done. "Why?"
"It'll be easier. You'll have less to explain."
She really did need his help. The less she had to explain, the better. "Why do we have to get married?"
"Because I'm in love with you," he answered, not moving from the couch.
"You're- - No."
"Why do you think I keep coming around? I love your strength, your loyalty, your courage, your great sense of wrong and right- -"
She started laughing. He loved her moral convictions after what she did.
"You did it out of your loyalty."
Her head almost spun around. How did he know? Who told him?
"Your dad. He even had pictures."
She didn't realize he had pictures. Why hadn't she seen them?
Walking towards her, he laid the pictures on the table. "I didn't think he should be showing them to every Tom, Dick, and Harry, so I offered to keep them safe."
She nodded. "Thank you." In the wrong hands, those pictures would have been dangerous.
"If you want to change or freshen up, you better hurry you only have forty-five minutes," he informed her.
For the first time, she noticed he was wearing a suit and the flowers on the table.
"It's better to have the legal stuff out of the way."
"How did you get a marriage license without my consent and so quickly?"
"Do you know how charming I can be when I set my mind to it?"
Yes, she did. When he wanted to be, he could charm one's socks off.
"And to cut out unnecessary inquiries, I took some other liberties, also," he said, pointing to the paperwork.
Finally walking towards him, she reached the table and picked up the paperwork. "How?" She couldn't another word out.
"Once again, do you remember what I used to do? You'd be amazed at the skills some of my comrades had."
He had thought of everything.
"I know you don't love me, yet- -"
"Yes, yet, but I know you feel something for me. I know you're attracted to me- -"
She was going to deny the attraction, but his piercing gaze stopped her.
"You're attracted to me. You went beyond the call of duty to help me, which I know you don't do for everyone. You know what they say- - where there's smoke, there's fire."
He was so incredibly conceited at times.
"And so incredibly right."
Could he read thoughts now?
"No, but you have no idea how expressive your face is."
"Go change. I'll let the minister in."
What was left to say? Nothing. So she turned around and walked to her bedroom. As she quickly showered, the events of the past weeks weighed on her. She didn't feel guilty, which should have scared her, but didn't. She knew she had covered her tracks well. And now she realized she had a guardian angel making sure nothing could be traced back to her. Marriage? She hadn't seen this one coming. He, out of any man she had ever met, had the ability to shock her. He would definitely keep her on her toes. Why was she taking this all in stride? She should be freaking out, but how could she?
After all she had done was getting married to a man she was very attracted to, found charming occasionally, admired greatly, and once again saved her when she didn't even realize she needed saving, really that bad? Fifty minutes later, as his tongue demanded entrance and swept into her mouth, she knew the answer. It might actually be very, very good based off of their first married kiss.
"Uncle John, you don't have to do this," she said for the millionth time.
The former Roman Brady aka John Alamain DiMera Black retorted, "For the millionth time, we want to. I want the world to know my goddaughter is married to a man who loves and adores her. I want this town to see the beautiful family you two have." Walking over to his goddaughter, he cupped her chin. "I've been worried about you. Living so far from me since your dad died. You are all I have left of him. I'm glad you decided to make your home here in Salem. I love you, Sunshine."
Her dad's ex-partner had always called her Sunshine. She loved him and his wife. She hadn't known how much she missed them, how much she missed being near family, until they moved to Salem. After spending a year traveling wherever the day took them, thanks to the inheritances her dad and cousin left her, getting used to each other, getting to know each other, becoming a family, she was ecstatic to finally be settled. "I love you, too. I love you, Aunt Marlena."
"I love you, too," the blonde psychiatrist, Dr. Marlena Evans Black, returned.
"Good, we all love each other and in two weeks the town is going to see the biggest party they've ever seen," John announced.
"Uncle John, you said small," the woman responded.
"I can't show you off to Salem with a small party. Now can I?"
Before she could reply, her husband appeared in the doorway. "Uncle John, Abe said you are a genius when it comes to putting bunk beds together."
"Sami and Eric made me an expert," the older man commented.
"Mommy," a young voice screeched, running full speed towards her.
"Baby," she screeched back, squatting down and throwing her arms open to catch her Tasmanian whirlwind, as was their tradition. They had had a lot of rough times and then one day, he opened his eyes and called her mommy and all was right with the world. For the first time in her life, she knew why she had been placed on this planet. To be this boy's mother. To be his sister's mother. And to be her husband's wife.
She showered her son in kisses, and then looked up to see her aunt hand her precious baby girl to her husband. She caught her husband's gaze and they shared a secret smile. Who would have ever imagined this outcome a year ago ago? Who would have imagined the post traumatic stress suffering, drug addicted, ex-soldier who had infuriated her yet turned her on at the same time could be such a loving husband and wonderful father? Cody Paul was all that and more. And now working in security at Toscano Industries, he had found an outlet and a place to share and use the knowledge he had learned in the Armed Forces. It was astonishing how quickly her life had changed.
Not that long ago when no one was around, she had held her cousin, her father's half-sister's daughter, in her arms and let her cry for the baby she had lost. For the husband she had tricked into marriage. For the man she loved but who couldn't stand the sight of her. Yes, Claudia Zacchara Corinthos could be deceitful, conniving, and an all out witch, but she had a heart of gold and loved those she loved fiercely, completely, and was loyal to the very end.
She had hated the fact that she couldn't openly claim Claudia and Johnny, but she knew they were right it was for the best. Through a massive amount of intrigue, late night meetings, and codes, the three stayed remarkably close even if they couldn't acknowledge each other with more than a nod on the streets of Port Charles.
Upon Claudia's disappearance, she knew she would not rest until she found her beloved cousin. Upon discovering the older woman's murder, she knew she wasn't going to wait for God's vengeance and would exact her own.
She had plotted quickly and succinctly on how to make those who had caused Claudia's death, caused her son's, baby John, death, and caused her cousin unnecessary hurt and pain pay. Michael Corinthos' drowning death, she still felt like she let him get off to easily for what he had done to Claudia. But that was her heart talking and there was no room for sentiment in the execution of a hit; Michael's and his puppy's deaths had looked perfectly like accidental drownings.
And little John's murderer's death had been too easy; the Cassadine history had made it grade school easy to make it look like Kristina Davis' death was at the hands of her step-grandmother. Her mind couldn't even begin to comprehend how Helena Cassadine had been tortured and died, if Stefan had ever stopped bringing the woman, whom gave birth to him, to the edge of death and then pulled her back just to start all over again.
She had contemplated the suspicion that would be aroused with so many accidents happening to one extended family in a short amount of time, but she reasoned they were accidents. And sometimes in one family when it rained it poured. For the Corinthos/Jacks/Morgan/Webber/Spencer/Cassadine family, it was pouring.
Everything had gone off without a hitch, almost. She had hated hurting Elizabeth and Lucky Spencer and Jax Jacks, but sadly innocent bystanders were hurt in wars. It was amazing, yet scary, what a few days researching at the library could teach you. It had taught her how to make an explosion look like it was caused by a gas leak without using a detonator. Yes, Lucky, Liz, and Cameron Spencer had been hurt, but Jason had to pay for burying Claudia's body, as if she was a nobody- - one of his mobster hits. She had contemplated killing Robin Scorpio, Jason Morgan's first love, but had ultimately decided that wouldn't hit him hard enough. But taking away his eldest son and his biological son would hurt him, stay with him, until he took his dying breath.
The only punishment she had intended for Sonny had been to lose Morgan to the Quartermaines for his mistreatment of Claudia. Unfortunately he had raised a killer in Michael, even with the boy's years in a coma, so Sonny had lost another son. And due to his daughter's rebellion and teenage belief that she was invincible, he had also lost a daughter.
Carly's loss of all three of her children was simply poetic justice. She had gotten a sick pleasure out of reminding the barely lucid Mrs. Jacks that it was all her fault her children were gone. Professionally speaking, she didn't think Carly would ever make a full recovery. No, the other woman would more than likely spend the rest of her days, babbling, moaning and groaning her mother's and children's names. All people she had had a hand in killing.
Claudia Zacchara Corinthos would have loved the havoc wreaked in her honor. She would have adored it and relished in it. Her cousin always had a sick sense of humor. She suspected Johnny didn't believe everything that happened in Port Charles was an accident, but unlike his sister he knew it was sometimes better to not question things, particularly when things avenged his sister's and nephew's murders.
Updates from Dr. Robin Scorpio, Dr. Kelly Lee, and Johnny, who was mob free and dating nurse Regina Thompson, kept her fully abreast as to the going ons in her old hometown. Liz and Lucky had made it official again, after Jake's burial. They had stated they wanted to make the day mean something for Cameron, other than just a day of tragedy. And shortly after, they had discovered Liz was pregnant. Steven-Lucas Spencer, Stevie, was only a few days old.
Sonny had finally discovered Dante Falocneri was his son and was trying to make a relationship work with his now PCPD officer son and forgive and make a relationship work with his son's mother, Olivia. Robin had mentioned that for those who knew Sonny intimately they saw the ever present sadness in his eyes, but as always Sonny kept going.
As did Jason, who had suffered another loss - - his girlfriend, Sam McCall. She had gone to Spoon Island to visit her mother and her sister and had never returned home. Stefan, Nikolas, Spencer, Alexis, Molly, and Sam were believed to be on the Cassadine's impenetrable Greek Island in mourning for the death of their beloved, Kristina, and the mysterious disappearance of the family matriarch, Helena. But through it all, Jason was still Sonny's enforcer and was still on the job, even with all of his losses.
Jax, according to Kelly, had taken a leave of absence from his company and every day could be found at either Ferncliff or at the cemetery laying fresh lilies on his daughter's grave. The prognosis for Carly was still undetermined.
The former Dr. Elaine "Lainey" Winters mouthed, "I love you," to the man, who knew her darkest secrets, yet still loved her and thought she was the greatest thing that ever happened to him.
In the cocky way that only he could do, he mouthed back, "I know."
Looking down at her son, the former Jake Spencer, she hugged him tightly. "Nothing's funny, Brian John Paul. Mommy's laughing because she's so happy. She's got you, Daddy, and Brenna Grace," aka Josselyn Jacks.
"And Granma and Granpa," Brian added.
John and Marlena beamed at the titles the toddler had bestowed on them under his own steam.
"Yes, and Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Carrie and Uncle Austin, Uncle Eric and Aunt Lexi, Aunt Sami and Uncle Lucas, Uncle Brady and Aunt Evie, Aunt Belle and Uncle Philip."
"Yes, and Papou." She and Cody assumed it must be the Quartermaine gene that had their son so enraptured by the controlling, yet dynamic billionaire Victor Kiriakas. "Mommy's life has taken a lot of turns, but she wouldn't change any of them because it brought her here."
"Neither would, Daddy," Cody concurred as the two held each other's gaze with one of their children in each of their arms.
"This is why the reception has to be the biggest this town has seen. I want the world to feel and see this love," John said knowingly. This was exactly the husband, the life, and the family his best friend, Roger Winters, had wanted for his only child.