Michael has everything that he immediately needs in his backpack. Since Mama came to stay with the Jefe he'd gotten used to long plane trips from New York to the Compound, although this is the first trip since he'd come to stay all the time. As soon as he gets into the jet he picks his spot, buckles up, and then unzips the backpack. Inside are drawing supplies, a few toys, a CD player and a small collection of CD's. Before he'd left the compound, he'd gone into the kitchen and got a supply of good munchies, including gum, cause the munchies on the plane sucked. It's all fish bait and goose guts. Mama and Morlee's nanny had taken her to the back of the plane. Mama had explained she heard that babies cry all the time on the plane because they couldn't chew gum to make their ears pop. Mama wanted to see if she could get Morlee to have dinner and go straight to sleep rather than cry. If it didn't work then it was definitely walkman time.
Lorenzo looks over at Michael with a grin and a shake of his head. "Are you sure you have everything there?"
Michael reexamines his set up. "I think so. Will it take as long to get to Italy as it does Port Charles?"
Alcazar nods. "A little longer perhaps."
"Then I should have brought more munchies." Michael shrugs. "Normally I just go to sleep during the boring parts, you know like over the water."
"There will be quite a lot of water. Do you like flying?"
"It's okay. I like boats better. Specially if I get to steer and they go real fast."
"When did you get to steer a boat?"
"Michael, why don't you let the Jefe get his paperwork done so he won't have to work on it once we get to Italy?" Carly suggests as she comes over to where Michael is sitting and checks his seat belt. "And you leave this on the whole flight okay?"
"When are we taking off?" Carly looks over her shoulder to ask Lorenzo.
"When ever you are ready." Lorenzo indicates.
"Gimme a sec to get settled then and we.. are.. on.. our.. way." Carly gives Michael a quick Eskimo kiss rubbing noses with him before she goes to the back cabin and buckles herself in. The nanny hands Morlee to Carly and then closes the curtain to separate the back from the main cabin.
Lorenzo calls the pilot.
Conner watches the activity of the Compound with the eye that isn't swollen shut. He'd been released from his binds and the doctor is there to tsk and poke him with antiseptic dosed cotton tipped sticks. There are a couple of cuts that took a stitch or two, gave him a losing boxer appearance except that his hands are pristine. He'd never gotten a punch in. "What's up?"
"You really need to stop running into fists." The Doctor quips. "It's lucky you will soon be going home."
The doctor packs up the rest of his things and then leaves. A guard who'd been waiting for the doctor's departure secures the door and then stands ready for the Agent to do something else stupid.
Conner realizes as he is looking at the courtyard bustling with activity who he doesn't see. There is no sign of Carly and her kids. No sign of Alcazar. The one in charge appears to be Simon. The only thing that is missing is the white gloves as Simon stands in the middle of the courtyard like he is directing traffic and calls out orders in terse Spanish emphasized with a wave of his hand.
Simon isn't taking any chances. All non essential personnel are given time off. The doctor is heading back to his own family and clinic. Everything the Jefe needed from his computer had already been transferred to his laptop. Actually to discs. The Jefe never did like keeping anything on his hard drive. Simon did a wipe of the computer here. If everything went as planned they would have a new alliance. If not then the Jefe wouldn't have lost anything, not really. The agent would be released tomorrow, or the day after depending on when the Jefe settles into his other digs in Italy. His European counterpart would step up while Simon kept in close communication from South America. As soon as he received word from the Jefe, he'd make contact with the WSB and arrange the meet.
From the bird's eye view above the Casino, Courtney watches the tables below. She'd been around tables and gamblers all her life. There were early memories of blowing on her daddy's dice or helping pick the name of a horse from a racing form before she could even read. Or the times when her mother couldn't find a sitter so she'd end up in the employees lounge of whatever Casino she was working at waiting for Janine's break. A little girl can learn a lot if she kept her mouth shut; eyes, ears open; and looked pretty. She'd probably knew more about Casinos than Sonny does at least the really big ones.
Still it is a very different view from above. The room is soundproofed. Behind her is a bank of monitors that closely observe every table, looking for the counters, the cheats, or any sign that maybe the dealer was working for someone other than the house. But that isn't what she's watching. Instead she is watching from the one way mirror that overlooks the whole casino. It's strange when you can't hear the bells and whistles of the slots, the cries of exaltation or despair from the gamblers. It took on a surreal quality. "Table twelve."
Manuel, the head of security for the shift, pulls that table up on the big monitor and watches the action to see what Sonny's sister had seen. He nods as he spies it too. "You have a good eye." He picks up a phone to get the plainclothes security to table twelve where one of the patron's had crossed the line from having a good time to being a harassing jerk giving the dealer grief and spoiling the good time of the other players. "That one has been warned before."
"Once is enough." Courtney shrugs as she turns around to look at the other security. "Is there a Spanish version of the English saying... instant asshole just add alcohol?"
Manny breaks from his normally grim visage with a brief snort of what might have been laughter. "That translates into every language."
"True enough." Courtney agrees. "Anyone sending flags up?"
"I have the folder here." The security man hands Courtney the folder and stands by her as she flips thru it looking for anyone that looks familiar from the yacht. She flips thru them quickly relieved when she doesn't see any familiar faces. Manny is used to this and waits until she is going thru them again more slowly to tell what he knows about each one and what had raised flags about them. With each one, he explains his actions or inaction as the individual case warrants.
Courtney nods with each one. There are standards and the Casino's guys are pros. They knew exactly where the line in the sand is drawn: what rules could be broken or whose knuckles. "The hotel manager said there is a Big Game coming?"
"European high rollers." The security man rolls his eyes. "The private room is set aside for them. As long as the decks and drinks are fresh..." He shrugs. "These are the real gamblers. They don't care about being seen-- only the game. The ones that want to be seen go to Monte Carlo."
"Yeah, well I'm trying to keep a low profile here too." Courtney reminds him. She closes the folder and hands it back to him. "Have a maid or somebody bring the pictures by to the villa when you send the books over. I'll check them out there."
"And if we're shorthanded?" Security looks at her quizzically.
Courtney winces. Boredom had set in early. After the villa had been turned upside down to be ready for Sonny, there hadn't been anything to do. Sonny refused to let her help with his rehab preferring to work with the physical therapist that Maria had found. She'd started filling in on occasion when someone was needed at the Casino. Not dancing. But dealing, even took a turn or two cocktailing or hostessing in the Casino's five star restaurant. The hotel and casino managers thought that Sonny was going over the books at the Villa. And Sonny did sorta, generally when he remembered. Courtney is the one to go over them specifically with a fine tooth comb, and the one to initial all the reports. "They better be in the hospital if I have to cover for them." Courtney says wryly already shaking her head. "And Manny, I have to see pictures of those high rollers and anyone traveling with them before I can say I can work."
"As soon as they check in at the hotel." Security agrees.
"Got someone to walk me home?" Courtney asks.
"Even the nanny is asleep." Carly says in a whisper as she slides into the buttery leather seat across from Lorenzo curling her legs up underneath her.
Lorenzo glances over to where Michael is laying across the couch, head phones on, eyes closed and mouth agape. "I thought he would have lasted longer."
"I think he's gotten used to sleeping on planes." and that bothers me.
Lorenzo studies Carly carefully. "Are you ready to tell me why you were so anxious to... get away?"
"Did I make it too easy?" Carly asks wryly.
Carly glances over at Michael. It was nothing but the truth. The original part of her plan had been to make Lorenzo work for the trip to Italy. Convince her to go, talk her into it. Make it all his idea. Hell if he'd drugged her and had her wake up on the plane that would have been even better. This was rushing things and putting Lorenzo's guard up. "I didn't like what happened with Michael."
"I should have tossed Donnelly over the balcony."
Carly reaches out to cover Lorenzo's hand instinctively. "No!" Just as quick she starts pulling back but Lorenzo grips her hand keeping hold of it. Rather than making a tug of war out of it, Carly leaves her hand where it is. Carly glances over at Michael again to make sure that he is still sleeping and then she leans in keeping her voice low. "What happened was too... scary."
"Too scary for you?" Lorenzo tries to lighten the mood with a quirky smile. "I didn't think there was any such thing."
"I don't want that to ever, ever happen again. I felt so helpless. I didn't know what to do. First Michael was screaming like the hounds of hell were nipping at his heels and then he just shut down. Okay-- so the doctor said this might have actually been a good thing to help Michael work thru what happened with Ric. Lorenzo, that WSB agent wasn't Ric. He isn't a bad man."
"Young, impulsive, cocky..."
"But not bad, not really. If you had thrown him over the railing..." Carly shudders and then straightens, sticking her chin out as if daring fate to strike. "I could have lived with it on my conscious. I would have. But Michael is just a little boy. He's already seen and been thru too much. I had to get him away. Distract him from what happened." Carly takes a deep breath. "Did you know Michael tried to order a hit? On Ric. Courtney told me about it. Right in front of Kelly's asked Jason to kill somebody."
"At least he asked the right person." Lorenzo says wryly. Carly pulls her hand away from him. He can feel her withdrawal. Not just the loss of the physical connection. He leans forward to take her hand again. "I get it. He's just a little boy."
Carly's voice is low and emphatic-- fierce. "Michael is going to have options, Lorenzo. He's going to be able to be a history professor or a race car driver, or a fireman or whatever he wants to be. Not this."
Lorenzo nods as he glances over at Michael.
"How long until Italy?" There is a forced cheerfulness in Carly's voice as she changes the subject.
"A few more hours."
"Well I'm not sleepy. I have some time to win some money off of you."
"You know it was just beginners luck."
"Nah, I figured it was your way of making sure I had shopping money when I went to the village. Goodness knows I didn't have any place to spend it on the yacht. Your guys might be suckers but they weren't taking bribes." Carly shrugs. "So where is the board? I know you didn't leave it at the Compound."
"No. I didn't." Lorenzo reaches for the Backgammon board and opens it up on the table between the two of them. "And thank you, I think. It's comforting to know that they weren't tempted." He adds wryly.
"Not with Money anyway." Carly grins at Lorenzo and getting comfortable starts setting up her side of the board.
There is a rapid-fire pounding on the door. Bobbie flips lights on as she races down the stairs fastening her robe as she does tugging her hair out from underneath the collar. Who on earth would be coming by at this time of night? She flips on the porch light. Sees who it is and then flips the light back off and starts back up the stairs.
The pounding resumes. "Come on, Bobbie. Open up. I'm not going to go away."
Bobbie growls under her breath and goes back to the door and flings it open. "Or what? You'll get a warrant? Oh that's right, you resigned as DA. It was either that or be brought up on charges. Oh wait! I think they are still going to bring you up on charges."
"You have to help me, Bobbie."
"I don't have to spit on you if you are on FIRE! How dare you come here?! How dare you?! I didn't think you could sink any lower. But why would I be surprised? You are the same guy who threatened to take Michael away from Carly if she didn't go along with your story of Sonny being the father of Alexis baby! My daughter was KIDNAPPED. Ric Lansing was planning on KILLING her after stealing her child and you let him OFF?! Not only did you let him off but his statement made the front page of the Herald! That rancid piece of fiction about how my daughter plays adulterous bondage games in private sex dungeons?! Die, Scotty. Just DIE." Figuring she's said her piece Bobbie starts to shut the door.
Scotty gets a foot in the door and a hand on it as well to start pushing the door back open. "Bobbie, think of Serena. Come on."
Bobbie's jaw drops. "Were you thinking of Michael? Of the baby that Carly was carrying? ARE you DRUNK?! You are! Get out of here!"
"Come on, Bobbie." Scotty grins the grin that has gotten him out of so many jams with Bobbie before. "I had a plan. It was a good one too. Ric makes his statement, Sonny kills him and then Sonny is off to SingSing. Carly would have been free of that bastard. You should be thanking me."
Bobbie lets the door open a little and then tries to slam it but even drunk Scott isn't budging.
"Hay problema, Senora?" One of Alcazar's men comes up behind Scotty.
"If that means is there a problem... yes, he is a problem."
"I will solve it for you." The henchman smiles eagerly. "How may I assist you? Would you like me to make him bleed? Break his knees? Disappear? I will make this problem go poof." The bodyguard makes a theatrical wave with one hand.
"You can just mind your own business you latin... poofer." Scott interjects with a stutter.
"The beautiful Senora doesn't wish you to bother her. Move along." The man says kindly and then he smiles showing all of his teeth in a sharklike display. "Or I will move you along."
"Who is this guy?" Scott looks over his shoulder at Bobbie.
"Employees of the guy Carly is staying with now since her rights weren't being protected by you here in Port Charles." Bobbie snarks. Then she looks beyond Scotty to the guard. "Did you know that poofer is a slang word for gay? Not that I have a problem with that. Just thought I'd let you know." When the man just looks at her blankly Bobbie decides to explain further. "Homosexual. He called you a homosexual."
"Now wait a minute." Scott protests.
Bobbie uses the distraction to shut the door and lock it. Ignoring the fray on the porch she starts back up the stairs. She sees Sean standing there in the foyer just shaking his head. "What?"
"That was just evil."
"No, just Karma. I'll see you in the morning."
"You aren't going to see how it turns out?"
"I don't care." Bobbie keeps right on stepping.
Sean can't resist looking out the glass of the front doors in time to see Scott Baldwin go rolling down the stairs. He winces sympathetically. That has got to hurt. Scott is quick enough to get up though. Not as fast as the other of Alcazar's guards who had been waiting at the base of the stairs. Sean sighs and opens the door. "If you kill him there will be all kind of paperwork and it really would upset the Senora."
"Don't worry. We won't kill him. We promise. Go back inside, Senor Donnelly."
"You can't just leave me here." Scott demands.
"Hey you know whatever happens between two, or even three, consenting adults right.. whatever kinky sex games you're into... not my business. Have a nice night. Try to keep it down. People are trying to sleep." Sean goes back into the brownstone.
Jet lag is a bitch. Time zones are a bitch. But it is all stuff that can wait until everyone woke up. The limo is waiting at the international airport in Florence near the hangers where the private jets land. The new passport has it's first stamp and everyone except for Lorenzo and the pilot had slept right thru it.
"Carly. The car is waiting."
Carly brushes at the intrusive voice and snuggles down deeper in the throw that covers her. "Na."
Lorenzo shakes his head and lifts her out of the chair carrying her out of the airplane and into the waiting warmth of the limo. The nanny is easier to wake and takes care of Morlee while Lorenzo carries Michael down into the car. The kids are on the bench seat with their backs to the driver. The Nanny takes the seat next to the driver Everyone is buckled in. Lorenzo takes the seat next to Carly. The luggage would follow in another car. They are on their way to a an old farmhouse about thirty kilometers outside of Florence. Carly starts drifting from her seat until she is leaning into Lorenzo. He wraps his arm around her shoulders and adjusts the throw. He draws a breath and holds it not wanting to exhale. Not wanting to do anything that might wake Carly up and stop her from what she is doing now. He swallows a groan as Carly's hand comes to rest on his thigh.
The window between them and the driver comes down. "Capo, we'll be at the farmhouse in about ten minutes."
Lorenzo chokes out. "Drive around. Find a place with a view of the city. I'll tell you when to go."
The driver gives him a grin in the rearview mirror. "Sė, Capo." The glass comes back up.
"What's Capo mean?" Michael asks groggily rubbing his eyes.
"Shhh. Your mother and sister are still asleep. Capo is the same as Jefe. Just Italian instead of Spanish."
Michael winces but keeps his voice down. "You aren't going to make me learn Italian are you?"
"That up to you." Lorenzo almost shrugs but then thinks better of it. "It never hurts to know what people are saying around you. The world is a big place where not everyone speaks English."
The limo comes to a smooth stop on an overlook above the city. The lights of the city and the stars above fade as the weak winter sun pulls above the horizon washing away the black and dark violet of the city at night and coloring in hues of pink, orange and yellow of the sunrise. The sky lightens to day.
"There is a river running thru it like back in Port Charles."
"That's the Arno." Lorenzo informs Michael. "Through mid-Tuscany winds a stream that rises in Falterona and a hundred miles of course do not suffice for it...". Michael looks at him oddly. Lorenzo explains. "It's from a story that was written many, many, years ago by a man named Dante called the Divine Comedy."
"It didn't sound funny."
"It must have lost something in the translation." Lorenzo says wryly. "Perhaps it was funny the original way Dante wrote it."
"Italian?" Michael asks with a grimace.
"Exactly." Lorenzo changes the subject. "You see how the Arno winds thru the city. How all the bridges go back and forth across it? There are ten of them that connect the north to the south of the city."
"Why didn't they just build on one side or another? Or just one big bridge? Why did they need ten?"
"Are you two going to stay up yakking all night?" Carly mutters then she freezes as she realizes exactly where her hand is. She pulls it back quickly and then sits up straight. She pushes her hair back.
"It's not night anymore, Mama."
"Close enough, Mister Man." Carly looks out the window of the limo. "Oh my."
"Like it?" Lorenzo says as if he painted the scene himself.
"I saw this movie once... some dress up thing... A Room With a View."
Lorenzo nods. "I've heard of it. E.M. Forster, I think."
"Let me guess-- you read the book." Carly rolls her eyes. "You know, there was a geek in that movie too. He didn't get the girl."
Are you calling me a geek?! Lorenzo shakes his head at Carly's comment and then looks at Michael who is watching the conversation between his mother and the Jefe like a tennis match. "Why don't you tell the driver we're ready to go to the house."
Michael turns around in his seat and knocks on the window. It rolls smoothly down. "Capo says it's time to go to the house."
"On our way." The driver agrees with a smile.
By the time it's noon in Port Charles, Sean is pacing the floor. This being cut out of the loop was driving him crazy. He's finally been able to move past sympathy to empathy of Bobbie's situation with Carly.
The phone rings and Sean pounces on it. "This is Donnelly. Conner! Thank God. Are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine, Dad. Alcazar got Carly and the kids out of here yesterday before the meet."
"You have any idea where?"
"No clue." There is a lot of background noise. "Dad, I've got to do a debrief. As soon as they clear me I'm going to head to Port Charles."
"Let me know when you're coming in and I'll meet you at the airport." Sean says quickly before they are disconnected.
"Right. Talk to you later." Conner hangs up the phone.
First things first, Sean calls Tiff and fills her in on the news. He starts with Conner's release and then goes straight to the events of the night before with Scotty Baldwin and how Bobbie had handled it.
"Darlin', you're lying!" Tiffany's disbelief is clear over the phone lines. "You're joking me."
"Oh no. Bobbie did everything but tell this goon that Scotty had claimed carnal knowledge of the goon's Mother. He bounced Scotty down the brownstone steps and I went back inside."
"I swear nothing changes in Port Charles. There is never a dull moment." Tiffany sighs. Have you seen Luke yet? There is a long weighted pause. Hon, he didn't mean to shoot you. You know that. It's all really old news. And I know you were planning on enlisting his help if you needed to go get Conner. You said as much before you left.
"I know. And I really should go see him. I've kind of let Bobbie influence me here."
"Bobbie loves Luke! What on earth are you saying?"
"I'd say that relations are strained."
"Have you thought any more about retiring? Tiffany asks hopefully.
"Let me talk to Conner first. He said he was going to head here after de-briefing. I think it's time I got out..."
"past time" Tiffany mutters interrupting.
"...but, I can't leave things unfinished like this. Bobbie still doesn't have Carly and her kids back."
It's colder than Venezuela, colder than Florida, but much warmer than Port Charles would be. It's almost December in Florence. The sunrise had been beautiful but about the time everyone was getting settled a storm started edging in bringing an icy rain. That's okay. It gives everyone time to get familiar with the rustic farmhouse. It looks as if it has been converted over to a bed and breakfast or something and then with Lorenzo in The House so to speak the whole thing had turned back over to his use. If it had just been him, Carly and the kids they could have gotten by with a couple of rooms. But it was moving his whole business and all the staff that went along with that: nanny, bodyguards, lieutenant. It's easier to just take the house back over. Luis would have used a palazzo in Venice or moored the yacht in Palermo and seldom came to Florence.
And while Luis had been running the European operation, Lorenzo had seldom been to the farmhouse in Florence either only dropping in for occasional R&R's. There had been many times when he'd contemplated getting rid of the farmhouse. He just hadn't been here often enough to make it worth it from a business standpoint. But that had been weighed against his sanity. And the peace of the farmhouse made it priceless.
"Simon!" Carly calls as she comes racing down the stairs. At the foot of the stairs she starts swearing as she realizes what she'd done.
"Paolo." Lorenzo reminds wryly. One of the first things he'd done upon arrival was to introduce Carly to his European Lieutenant. Already the man had become Carly and Michael's guide to local resources. Unlike Simon who was on his home turf back around the Compound, Paolo isn't actually from Florence, but from Sicily. He is barely more knowledgeable about the local attractions than Carly.
"Right. Thanks." Carly heads for the study area where she is sure that the lieutenant is hiding from her. "Paolo!" She pops right back out again. "I think he's hiding from me."
"Entirely possible." Lorenzo agrees. Simon had informed Paolo of the change of situation. Paolo had been Luis' assistant and was actually more familiar with how Luis had handled his domestic situation. Luis' obsession with Brenda and her care had left the staff in a damned if they do damned if they don't situation. Brenda had been treated as a consort, a mistress, one that was touched in the head. That was not his expectation with Carly.
Carly plants both hands on her hips. "I'm just trying to get things done and not bother you."
"I've gotten done all the business I'm going to today." Lorenzo shrugs. "Simon and Paolo were already working on clearing my schedule for the holidays. Would you like to walk down to the village? It's very small. Most of the activity centers around the pub."
"Pub?" Carly's eyes light at that. It had been a while. "I'll tell Nanny to watch the kids. I'll be right back. Don't go without me."
In about nothing flat, Carly is back. She is wearing her new favorite pair of jeans and a flattering red top. She has a black quilted jacket in a bomber style over her arm. Lorenzo takes the jacket from her and holds it while Carly slides her arms in. Carly reaches into the pockets and grabs her gloves.
"You've got my ID. And I'm sure I can get one of you to buy me a soda." Carly looks from Alcazar to the other two guys: Paolo and a security guy. "What do I need a purse for?"
"True." Alcazar agrees. He gets the door, and Carly is the first one out. The guys are right behind her though. At the end of the driveway up to the Farmhouse is the edge of the boundary of the village and the pub is just down the street.
Paolo gets the door and Carly walks through. She stops just inside the door and takes a deep breath: it's the familiar aroma of smoke and alcohol. No matter where in the world, this is her turf. Glancing around the room she picks the perfect table, perfect to see and be seen, close to everything. She picks her chair and shrugs out of her jacket hanging it over the back of the chair before taking a seat.
Lorenzo manages to actually have a hand on the back of her chair when she takes a seat and then takes the one next to her that has a clear line of sight to the front door. He never expected trouble here but there is no reason to not take precautions. The bartender comes over and takes the order for a bottle of chianti from one of the nearby wineries... and a soda. Paolo asks a quick question of the security guard in Italian but it is Lorenzo who answers.
Carly spots the jukebox and pops out of her seat. "Do you have money for the jukebox?" While Lorenzo has converted some money into Euros, they are all bills, Paolo is there with a couple of Euro coins. "Thanks." Carly goes over to the jukebox leaving the guys to talk business. None of the songs on the jukebox sound familiar but she spies some familiar names. Carly drops the unfamiliar coins in and sees how many songs it buys her. She bends over the jukebox resting one arm over the top of it as she hits the first selection. The pulsing beat of Eve reaches every corner of the pub, as Carly starts tapping her foot and nodding her head. The trouble doesn't really start until Gwen Stefani comes in on the chorus, but by then Carly has already picked the rest of her songs.
And if I had to give you up
It's only been a year
Now I got my foot through the door
And I aint goin nowhere
It took awhile to get me in
And I'm gonna take my time
Don't fight that good shit in your ear
Now let me blow ya mind
Whatever Paolo had to say fled his mind and he swallows hard. The guard was already totally distracted. Lorenzo who had his back to the jukebox is one of the last to realize what is going on as the conversation falls away in the pub. He looks over his shoulder and silently swears as he gets to his feet. He strides over to where Carly is totally into the music. Her gyrations are silky smooth and in perfect sync to the music. Her eyes are closed as she focuses totally on the music. "You are making a spectacle of yourself."
Carly's eyes pop open and she reaches out and grabs the front of Lorenzo's shirt. "Dance with me."
"What has gotten into you?" Lorenzo asks curiously.
"Or I'll find someone else." Carly lets go of Lorenzo's shirt front with a shrug and starts looking around the pub walking toward the bar.
Lorenzo grabs her hand and pulls her back to him, hugging her close with his hand at the base of her back. "I didn't say no."
And the Sample of Blow Your Mind, the Eve song, is from of NOW 7.
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