Moreno sits in the law library of the Port Charles Jail visiting with his new lawyer and the lawyer's assistant-- actually Moreno's right hand man. "I've already started working on the appeal; the sentencing is just a formality. I'll of course apply for bail while the appeal is pending."
"How stupid are you? And how stupid do you think I am?" Moreno snarls. "There was a deal in place and that Jensen bitch double crossed me. I want her dead--DEAD!"
"Mr Moreno, I'm required by law to report all future crimes including warning Ms Jensen of your threats." The lawyer's response is tired and by rote having reminded too many clients of this legal requirement.
"Right-- just as soon as you find her, you warn her. But you won't find her before her enemies do."
"Oh shut up. I won't be the one killing her. She's made too many enemies and they're already looking for her sweet little ass. Daralee won't be at my sentencing."
"That is irrelevant; Port Charles has more than one attorney in the district attorney's office."
"Look why don't you just go play with your papers and let me talk to my guy." The lawyer moves off giving Moreno and his Lt. a semblance of privacy. "You got 'em?"
"Yeah, same thing as Corinthos took, makes it look like a heart attack. Just make sure yours is the next ambulance out of here. It'll never make it to GH."
"I got one more person on my visiting list as soon as I get rid of him, it's a go.... wouldn't want to be too suspicious. What's Morgan doing?"
Lt shrugs. "Business as usual. Guy lives like a king though; he's got women coming and going-- 'cluding that classy broad that was talking to Jensen in the courtroom, and a pair of sweet young things that his man Rinaldo was driving to school of all things."
"I want pictures of all of them . I knew about a blonde and a baby but if he's pimping or using runners that could be a way to take him down. Morgan's always been so smug about his rackets. No drugs and no fresh meat. Maybe he's finally decided to go where the money is."
The Lt rises nodding. "Got the house all lined up, boss. You'll have pictures by tonight."
Liz and Emily sit at a table in the commons. "This is as close to caught up I've been since I moved to Port Charles." Liz rues. "It's cool living with your brother but you know it's actually kind of boring with you as a roomie and getting assignments brought to me. And that kid is weird... he actually likes being read to from textbooks."
"Did the vice principal have anything to say about the unexcused absences?"
"EXCUSE ME- excused now, with a note from my lawyer!" Liz replies smugly
"You loved saying that, didn't you? How soon is the paperwork going through?"
"Yeah, it's kind of kewl although I know I never could have had a lawyer like Alexis on my own. Are you going to get emancipated too?"
"It's crossed my mind more than once, but I can't do that to Monica-- Not with everything else that she is going through with Alan and the family."
"But doesn't that mean that she can make you go home or cause trouble for Jason?"
"This is the second time in six months that I've stayed with Jason. I see Monica at the hospital when I volunteer and at lunch sometimes. She knows that things are too weird at the house. She and grandmother would move in with Jason if they could. Grandfather might try something if he hears about Moreno."
"What the deal there? I missed that." Liz leans forward her chin supported in one hand and a pretzel stick held like a cigarette/pointer in the other.
"Moreno is the worst according to Carly and Alexis. And he's trying to mess things up for Jason that's why Rinaldo drove us to school today and why Alexis gave me her cell phone."
"So we're supposed to stick together?" Liz sucks the salt off the pretzel stick before beginning to nibble on it.
"As much as possible-- or stick close to Nikolas or Lucky."
"No hardship there. and Rinaldo is kinda cute."
"Ewww he's so old!" Emily wrinkles her nose and recoils at the thought.
"Didn't stop you from grabbing hold of him this morning! He about jumped out of his skin. I think he knows that Jason would kill him if he tried anything."
"Jase would kill who?" Lucky interjects walking up with a soda from the machines tossing his backpack on a nearby chair he slumps into a chair next to Liz.
"Anyone that would try anything with Emily."
"They'd have to stand in line." Lucky replies gallantly crushing Liz unwittingly. "You girls seem to be the center of attention."
Emily looks over to where the group of girls with the perfect hair and the perfect skin whisper and look back. Emily withdraws at being the center of attention again. Liz rises and looking over at the 'A' list of the high school girls calls out. "Why don't you get a f'ing life?" The girls sneer but then look away. Liz says more quietly to Emily, "I need a smoke."
"I'll come with you." Emily replies quickly.
"Since when do you smoke?" Lucky asks.
"Since never-- but I'm not staying here."
Garcia wakes in the recovery room. Nurse General Bobbie Spencer is checking his lines making sure that they are titrating at the prescribed rate. "Well hello. Awake are we? How are we feeling?" Bobbie asks in her singsong voice.
"Feel like I want to puke." Garcia grimaces and then winces as he attempts to move. "Where am I?"
"General Hospital and it is the anesthesia that is making you feel so rocky. That'll pass."
"You were caught up in a car bomb. You were very lucky actually. But you did have some internal damage the doctors had to fix."
"Taggert was in the car, wasn't he?"
"You shouldn't be talking so much. Just concentrate on getting better." Bobbie avoids the question and refused to meet Garcia's piercing gaze as she plumps pillows and straightens blankets.
"Just tell me-- I already know." Garcia demands through gritted teeth.
"Det. Taggert didn't make it." Bobbie informs Garcia softly and reluctantly all baby talk absent from her voice.
Garcia closes his eyes regretting the loss of his partner. "Damn." A few moments pass and the rest of the memories of the fatal afternoon piece back together. "Dara! What about Dara Jensen?"
"Dara was treated and released the same night." Bobbie carefully doesn't mention the firebomb that became of Dara's apartment in the early hours of the following day.
"Dios Mio! Where is she?" Garcia starts moving around agitatedly.
"Det. Garcia, you need to calm down before you injure yourself further!"
"Get me a phone. I need to call the station."
"You need to calm down. I'm going to get your doctor."
"Either get me a phone or get me my pants I'm out of here! Dara's my responsibility and she is in danger."
Bobbie retreats shutting the door behind her. "MEN-- they are all crazy."
Matt Harmon rolls around the corner in time to hear Bobbie's comment. "Hey I resemble that remark!" He replies with a crooked grin that exposes his dimples.
"Dr Harmon! Just the resident I wanted to see. You're covering recovery, aren't you?"
"Det. Garcia just really woke up from surgery and is already demanding either a phone or his pants. The last patient we had like this was Jason Morgan after he got shot. He ended up falling and tearing open his incision."
"So you want the good detective mellowed out."
"Or restrained." Bobbie retorts only half joking.
"Let me take a look at his chart. I'll see what I can do."
"Thanks. Oh and Dr Harmon don't mention Jason Morgan to him. It will just get him hyped again. It's a cops and robbers thing."
"Gotcha." Taking the chart offered by Bobbie Dr Harmon smoothly rolls into the room where Garcia is waiting practically glaring at the door.
Harborview Towers Rooftop.
Brenda sits back with her feet up on the Gazebo bench. Her head is thrown back and eyes are closed as she enjoys the weak sunshine and almost breezeless day. Jason sits down across from her and leaning his head back relaxes enjoying the silence and sunshine. Brenda sighs and reaching for the pack of cigarettes lights one cupping the flame of the lighter to keep it steady. Waiting for Jason to speak, she curls her legs underneath her.
"What set Emily off?" Jason asks without opening his eyes.
"Seeing Dara. But that smug self righteous twit would set anyone off."
"Didn't you have her signed to L&B?"
"So she can sing." Brenda shrugs. "It doesn't mean that she and I were going to be buds. Come on Jason, She isn't your favorite person either."
"I never said that she was."
"You must have a hell of a hammer over her to let her stay here. You going to screw her too?" Jason looks at Brenda quizzingly. "Come on don't think it's a secret you getting it on with Alexis. She was looking way too relaxed when she came home from the benefit. Got your own little Harem going on. Jason, do you know what PMS is?"
"That's where a woman's hormones go wacky--a grouchy icky feeling on a monthly basis. Women have been known to kill and use PMS as an excuse. And there is this little phenomenon where women who hang out together get on the same cycle. Can't you just picture it? Six women all on the same cycle all of them PMSing on the same days. Your life is going to be HELL. I look forward to it."
Jason grimaces multiplying Carly's mood swings by six. "It takes so little to make you happy these days. I've got a little bit more."
"Someone took a hit out on you?"
"Better than that. I found Jon Ross."
"OH MY! How is my old business manager?"
"Fairly unhappy at this point. Seems he was found hogtied stark naked at the jail service entrance. Think he might lose some .... extremities from frostbite. It was rather cold last night and you know the jail doesn't accept deliveries except certain times. He could have been out there for... hours.
Brenda takes a drag on her cigarette and smiles a full toothy smile the first time since being ditched at the alter. "It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. So where is my money?"
"Amazingly enough he remember exactly where it was. I've already had it switched over to a numbered Grand Caymen account." Jason hands Brenda a card with an account number and balance on it.
"This is more than he stole from me?!"
"Substantial penalty for early withdrawals."
"You aren't kidding!"
"Your faked papers are almost ready. The guy just wants to put together a couple more pieces just in case." Brenda loses her smile and looks around at the city below them. "You don't seem too happy about that."
"Port Charles is the only home I've ever really known. The only real friends I've made. I'm just so tired of being on the outside looking in."
"Nobody is running you out of town, Brenda. It's your choice to disappear and your choice if you want to fit in here if you decide to stay." Rising from the bench, Jason leaves Brenda to finish her smoke and think about what was said.
Dara stood in Jason's office, perusing the contents of the folder for the third time. Closing the folder, she said nothing. She didn't have to...her eyes spoke volumes.
"Do you have a problem with what I want you to do?" Jason inquired mater-of-factly.
"YES!" Incredulous, Dara stared at Jason, her mouth agape. "I want to get OUT of Port Charles, Jason. Not remain here...and as your "sidekick?!" "
"You wouldn't be my 'sidekick,' Dara. You'd be working WITH me, against the rotten part of the WSB and Moreno's organization. Now there may well be some 'good guys' still left there, your partner -"
"EX-partner," Dara corrected him, tersely.
"Fine. Your ex-partner, being among them. But if you're half as smart as I believe you are, I imagine you didn't tell him your plans or whereabouts. Speaking of your partner..."
"I'd rather not." The fire in Dara's eyes belied her cool delivery. "There's no need to draw Jerry into this. Leave him where he's at."
"Uh-oh, Jane Bond. What's wrong? Did I touch a soft spot... or did he?" Jason teased.
"I said drop it, Jason," Dara replied, raising her voice slightly. As Jason cocked his head slightly, raising his brow, Dara quickly began to backpedal. "Look, I'm sorry. My...partnership with Jerry is ancient history. I'd rather not rehash it, if it's all the same to you."
Jason couldn't be sure, but he could swear he heard the slightest bit of melancholy in her voice when she uttered the words 'ancient history.' Most DEFINITELY had to file that one away for future reference. "Know what? You're right. No sense in putting HIM in the line of fire, too. And until you and the Agency can come to some sort of "understanding"..." Jason shrugged his shoulders. "All the more reason you should seriously consider my offer. Being here with me is your best, and SAFEST, bet." Jason offered up a sardonic smile. "Then again, you ARE Jane Bond. You probably COULD tough it out on your own. But we both know it'll be hard as hell."
"So What? Am I just supposed to saunter into the DA's office and offer my resignation?"
"Why bother with that? Everyone thinks you are dead or at least are exploring the possibility because of the bomb YOU set off in your apartment." Ignoring Dara's look of incredulity, Jason continued. "Hey, if you wanna go back to being Assistant DA, be my guest. But I think you'd have a BIT of a problem explaining to the folks downtown at the DA's office why you're associating with me, Dara." Jason leaned back in his chair, crossing his hands behind his head. "Do it my way and you have no one to answer to. Unless you want to." Picking up on the pause he saw in Dara's eyes, he continued. "Think about it. What I propose makes perfect sense: In light of what happened at the Courthouse and then at your apartment, no one's gonna even blink at news of your "death." But, if you choose to stay on, to keep your 'cover,' and things start happening - and believe me, they will; the WSB will SEE to it that they do - you're gonna find yourself in a real mess. A "mess" that I'm not gonna help you out of."
"So you're saying what I've got here is a one-time deal? Stay and play by your rules, or walk and chance it on my own?" Dara's displeasure was evident on her face.
"Turn your nose up at it if you want. What I'm offering is a helluva lot better than what you'll get from your "employer." Remember, I'M not the one that's making every effort to sever all ties to you...all the while STILL trying to rub you out."
"So the word on the wire is true? There IS a contract out on me?"
"Yep. Of course, all the other Families think Moreno's behind it. But that's not Moreno's style. He'd do the job himself...and enjoy every single minute of it. No. The WSB is behind this; they're using Moreno's cartel as a front..."
"That way, nothing could be traced back to them," Dara finished, nodding her head.
"You're a natural for this kinda work," Jason cracked. "But I'm not gonna force you into anything," he replied, turning serious. "The choice is yours. I can't promise you the rush you've come to expect as a WSB agent. Although, at times, working with me will come close; it can be one helluva ride. But unlike the Agency, I CAN offer you this...my word: I won't turn on you." He paused. "Unless you give me reason to."
"Alexis said that if you offer someone protection, it's like you saying you'd take a bullet for that person." Dara was quiet as she studied Jason. "Only other person I know of who'd take a bullet for me is Jerry."
"Hey, I thought 'ancient history' wasn't up for discussion," Jason retorted softly.
"He's still not. I was just making a comparison. Are you saying you'd take a bullet for me?"
"Yes." Rising from his chair, Jason made his way towards Dara . "But my "protection" comes with a price." He paused, locking eyes with Dara. "I expect your complete and total loyalty. If you choose to stay with me, you'll still be in contact with the WSB. But your allegiance to them will be secondary... to me."
"What are you aiming for, some type of a liaison between you and them?"
"You could call it that. Let's just say that pretty soon, Moreno will no longer be a factor in this equation. My plan is to convince the Agency that an alliance with me is far more profitable -and far less messy - than the one they had with Moreno." Dara gave Jason a quizzical look. "Enough about that. Should you decide to stay, I'll tell you more." He nodded towards the door, indicating Dara needed to leave. "You've got 24 hours to make up your mind. I suggest you think long and hard before you choose. Me, or them. The choice is yours."
Dara leaned against the counter in the kitchen, downing her third bowl of Fruit Loops. After all, they were her fave cereal...and SOMEBODY had to do something to diminish the gargantuan supply. Chewing slowly, deliberately she mulled over Jason's offer: Act as a liaison between him and the WSB. It was a good idea. Only problem was, to pull it off, she'd have to stay in Port Charles. Damn. If only she hadn't called Jerry. Too late to take that call back. Closing her eyes, Dara wondered how long it would take for him to head her way. Their past aside, Dara knew that like Jason, Jerry was a man of his word: "If you ever need me, Dara, call me. I'll be there."
Jerry Jacks and Jason Morgan going toe to toe. Just the thought of it made Dara chuckle...and shiver. Of course, she could always chance it on her own.
Placing the bowl in the sink, she turned and trudged up the stairs to her bedroom. Sleep. That's what she needed. Resolving to empty her mind as best she could of the dilemma before her, Dara decided tonight would be a night of rest. It had to be. For somehow, she knew that after tonight, peaceful sleep would be a thing of the past.
"How's Em?" Jason inquired.
Jason studied Carly as she climbed into bed. She seemed a bit distant; she wasn't pissed at him, but there was definitely something gnawing at her. "Okay, Carly." Jason sat up in bed. "What's on your mind? Out with it."
"Okay. How long is Dara gonna be here?"
"Now there's the Carly I know." Jason smiled slightly. "Shooting straight from the hip." Stifling a yawn, he stretched, in the process causing the sheet to dip slightly below his bare waist. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a devilish smile briefly cross Carly's face as she realized he wasn't wearing any boxers. "There'll be time for that later," he teased. Turning serious, he gathered the sheet about his waist, turning his full attention to Carly, whose brows were now furrowed. "What about her being here bothers you?"
"Duh?! Jason. Not even a month ago the woman was trying her best to put you away..."
"She was just doing her job, Carly." Jason's voice was relaxed.
"Oh, and speaking of "her job"?! It was bad enough when she was busting your balls as the Assistant D.A., but now you're dealing with a friggin' spy?! And now she's under your roof?"
"Everything isn't what it seems when it comes to Dara's "job." "
"I guess that's your way of saying things are still on a need to know basis?"
"Yep. And when it comes to what's going on with Dara being here, there are some things you don't need to know." Jason reached out, tucking a stray lock of hair behind Carly's ear.
"What things?" Closing her eyes, Carly took a deep breath. Although the slightest touch from him could make her shiver with delight, she resolved she wasn't going to budge on this.
"Things, Carly." Jason felt Carly's jaw twitch at his last comment. "Besides, you might be getting all worked up for nothing. Looks like Dara's having second thoughts about sticking around."
"All the more reason for her to get the hell out now, Jason! The little bit she's seen is too much, if you ask me."
"I know what I'm doing, Carly. Even if you think I don't," he replied evenly. As she turned away, he gently cupped her chin in the cradle of his palm, drawing her back to him. "Hey," he said softly. "You remember our deal?"
Carly nodded. "You'd take care of stuff outside, and I take care of stuff here inside the Penthouse."
"Do I ask you, no, more importantly, do I TELL you how to run stuff around here?" Carly shook her head. "Okay then. Now if Dara's giving you some sort of trouble around here..."
"But if she WERE, I trust you to handle it. Now if I don't worry about how you run things around here - and believe me, it's no picnic having four women, two teenagers and a baby all under the same roof, especially the different personality types we're dealing with here - then, at the very least, can't you trust me to run things outside the Penthouse? After all, I was doing a pretty good job before you came along," he cracked.
"Yeah," she smiled. "But you didn't have so much on your plate before, either."
"Make no mistake, Carly. I'm in control of the situation." His eyes took on that cold quality that sometimes scared Carly. "Total control."
"Fine." Lightly, she kissed the back of Jason's hand. "One more question, then I'm done." Jason shot her a "yeah, RIGHT," look. "Really," she smiled. Her smile disappearing, Carly turned deadly serious. "Do you trust her, Jase?"
"Did I say I did?"
"No." Carly paused. "But you didn't say you DIDN'T, either."
"You of all people should know trust isn't something I give freely..."
"I know, it has to be earned." She locked eyes with Jason. "All I'm saying is, watch your back. You may be "putting aside differences" to work with her, on whatEVER the hell it is you two are up to. God knows you spend enough time hunched over that damn computer of hers. But *I* haven't forgotten the way she treated you."
"The deal, Carly. Remember the deal."
"I know, I know." Inching towards him, she knocked the pillows out of the way and straddled Jason. Smiling, she slowly raked her hands through his newly buzzed cut. "Enough about Dara. Let's talk about me and you." Leaning in, she kissed him. Softly at first, but as Jason's hands began to ease the straps of her gown off her shoulders, the kiss deepened.
"That kiss tells me we ain't gonna be talking," he smiled. Leaning forward, he began to plant kisses along Carly's throat. Throwing her head back, she began to moan as he alternated between a kiss here, a nibble there. Just as Jason was about to remove her gown completely, the cell phone on the nearby night stand rang.
"Damn!" Carly muttered. "That's not what I think it is, is it?"
"Sorry." Jason kissed her softly on the lips as he drew the straps back atop her shoulders. "Gotta take it."
"Yeah, I know." Easing herself off Jason, she cast a rueful glance at his lap. "And things were just starting to..."
"Things will still be the way you left 'em when I'm done," he replied, returning her wicked smile.
"They'd better be," Carly laughed. Bounding out of bed, she turned and headed downstairs.
Carly was halfway down the stairs when she caught sight of a figure standing near the window. "Em? You should be in bed, honey."
"Nope. It's me, Dara."
"What are you doing here?" Carly made no attempt to hide her hostility.
Ignoring Carly's steely gaze, Dara crossed the room. "I couldn't sleep. I got up to make myself a cup of hot chocolate, but there wasn't any. I thought I'd come over here and get some. All you got here is instant, so I decided to go with that. I was just taking in the view while I waited for the water to heat up. You wanna join me for a cup?" Silence. "Oh-kaay. I'll take that as a no." Dara turned to head for the kitchen.
"Wait a minute." Carly stepped to Dara, who was now facing her. "In case Jason didn't make it clear to you, I run things INSIDE this Penthouse." Carly leaned in, until her face was mere inches from Dara's. "It's no secret Em doesn't like you, and I ain't exactly a fan of yours either. But for some reason, Jason thinks the two of you can work together. He hasn't told me much about what the two of you are working on, in fact, he hinted that you might just decide to try and go solo." Carly's eyes were alight with malice. "I've gotta tell you, the sight of you walking out that door would give me a better buzz than the best bourbon at my Uncle Luke's. But, if you DO stay, you'd better take note of the fact there ain't no Lone Rangers in this here outfit, Sister. You side with Jason, you're down with him for KEEPS. And if you cross him?" Carly offered up a venomous grin. "Trust me, you won't have to worry about HIM taking care of you. I'll see to it PERSONALLY the job gets done. Am I making myself clear?"
"Crystal." The whistle of the teapot served as a welcome distraction, as Dara was seriously contemplating laying a vicious backhand across Carly's smug face. "I think I'll go make that chocolate now." Dara proceeded to offer up a smile which never quite reached her brown eyes. "You're still welcome to join me." She paused. "Don't worry, I left all my arsenic back at my apartment. You're safe...for now," she replied dryly.
Carly was about to retort when the sound of Jason bounding down the stairs stopped her cold. She turned to see Jason with a less than pleased look on his face. "Jase, what's up?" Although her voice was calm, inside Carly's alarms were sounding. She knew that look - whatever news he got over the phone, it wasn't good.
"That was Rinaldo." Jason hurriedly donned his leather jacket.
By this time, Dara, too, had turned her attention to Jason. The look was gone, but she could tell by the tone of his voice she wasn't going to like what was gonna come next. As the gang of bodyguards, led by Johnny made their way into the living room, instantly, the worst thing that could possibly have happened crossed her mind. Bracing herself against the table, she murmured, "No."
"Well?! What'd he say, Jase?!"
Jason cast his eyes towards Dara, who looked as if she'd seen a ghost. "Moreno's men broke him out of jail. He's on the loose."
Slumping into the nearby chair, Dara swallowed hard as she ran her hand across her suddenly damp forehead. Quickly regaining her composure, she offered a tight smile as she looked at Jason. She didn't dare try and stand; her legs were like Jello.
"Well," she replied in her bravest voice. "Looks like I won't need 24 hours to make up my mind. Moreno just made it up for me." She paused, locking eyes with a dagger-staring Carly. "I'm staying."
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