Deb provided some pictures to set the scene:
"Was she any trouble?"
"No problema, Jefe." The security chief of Lorenzo Alcazar's South American businesses informs his boss. Alcazar had been in Europe on a business trip. Luis used to handle that area of the world but his demise had forced Lorenzo into the gladhanding portion of the arms trade. Most of the customers come to him but there are a few old customers who expected not only reliable weapons but a social interaction. It's a waste of time, but a facet of doing business. Simon hands over a folder. "There were calls. The shipment went thru and was received by our people-- there was no interference in the distribution."
"Bueno." Alcazar nods as he opens the folder and starts flipping thru the messages. Walking thru the high ceiling foyer as he does. The compound had been built not only for security but also for comfort. High enough in the mountains to be cooler, far enough from the city so that all the locals knew who was in charge and reported any strangers. And the added benefit-- it wasn't where any of his enemies would have expected. "Arrange a visit then. Follow the normal protocols."
"She is by the pool." Simon has observed the routine. Whenever El Jefe returned from his trips he would first attend to the immediate business, to show that unlike his brother he wasn't ruled by a woman. But then he would go to see her, to check on the little Mama. "Her checkup went well. The doctor is concerned about her blood pressure, La Mamacita is too... Stressed."
Lorenzo laughs and snorts at that one. "Even if Carly were still in Port Charles she would be stressed. She is married to Sonny Corinthos. She carries his stress for him. Did the doctor have any suggestions or just commentary?"
"The Doctor says to let her eat whatever she wants since she takes the vitamins. The blood pressure machine was still on her when they were talking about the diet, he saw her blood pressure go up even talking about healthy food."
"The Doctor is afraid of Carly." Lorenzo grins and shakes his head. He pauses to set the folder on a nearby table and takes off his suit jacket. He hands it to Simon. "Make the arrangements for our guests."
Simon nods and leaves.
Lorenzo starts unbuttoning his shirt and pulls it from the waist band of his pants. Picking the folder back up, he goes out into the courtyard of the compound which is protected on all sides by the tall thick walls of the house.
Here while there is plenty of sun there are also interesting shadows. The jungle plants are tamed offering color and green without being oppressive both on ground level and from the balconies above. Out in the middle of the pool a very pregnant blonde reclines on a floating lounger. Her hair is tied up in a pony tail at the top of her head and she is wearing dark glasses. "Simon said you'd be back today." Carly says flatly from the center of the pool.
"Did you miss me?" Lorenzo pours himself a glass of juice that is setting on a table by the pool and takes a thirsty drink practically draining it. There is no answer forthcoming from Carly. "You hurt my feelings."
Carly shoves her sunglasses up on the top of her head with a jerky impatient movement. "You've told me often enough that this is just business. Your feelings have nothing to do with it. So don't even play that way."
Lorenzo lifts a glass in salute. "True enough. And your husband has fulfilled his portion of the deal this month. Simon is making arrangements for his visit."
"Deal." Carly says bitterly. "Doesn't that imply two people in agreement? Why don't you call it what it really is?! It's extortion. Sonny would never run drugs thru the distribution network if you weren't such a bastard! The deal was supposed to be that you'd release me!"
"And how did that work for me? A one time exchange? This is much better. And I never would have considered it if not for Sonny's brother."
"So I exchange one prison for another!"
"At least in this one you get conjugal visits... if you behave."
Carly shuts up. Alcazar had done it before. Sonny had held up his end of the bargain but she'd gotten into it with Lorenzo. Gone for a walk with the intention of getting to the nearest town. It had been when she'd first been moved here. Lorenzo had the pilot turn the plane around in midair. She hadn't gotten to see Michael; she hadn't gotten to see Sonny. And the bastard had made it clear to her exactly why.
She'd been able to push the boundaries some but there was no doubt where the lines were. So the walls aren't grey. There is no chain on her ankle. The compound was huge and she had full access to it. That's one thing that Prick Ric hadn't considered when he'd kidnapped her. He was so interested in a healthy baby that he'd never once considered exercise? Or prenatal care? Prick.
But nobody crossed Alcazar around here, no one questioned anything he did-- including installing a pregnant woman at the compound and arranging everything so that she stayed healthy and secure.
Jason feels like he is going to come out of his skin. Sonny paces the floor of the penthouse waiting for the phone to ring. Every month it's the same. Until they got the call after the shipment was received. It isn't enough for it to hit the docks it has to make it to the distribution point. Any slip ups and there would be no call. The phone starts ringing. Sonny bounces on it before the first ring has even stopped. Jason is right at his elbow. "Hello?"
"There is a private plane waiting for you at the airport. La Senora wishes to see her Nino." Then there is nothing but a dial tone.
"Well?!" Jason demands.
Sonny puts the receiver back on the phone and
exhales the breath he hadn't realized he was holding. His knees
are weak and he locks his arms palms down on the table to keep
from collapsing. "The plane is waiting. Carly wants to see
Jason goes over to the door and opens it. Max looks toward the phone and then at Jason. The question clear in his eyes. Jason nods. "I'm driving Sonny and Michael to the airport. Make sure the car is ready."
"Mrs. C is okay?" Max asks hesitantly.
"Sonny will know more at the end of the weekend."
"I'm on it." Max goes to the elevator.
"Was that Mama?" Michael comes racing down the stairs.
Sonny turns to look at his wife's son intentionally making his face as calm and cheerful as possible. "Are you ready for a plane trip?"
Michael goes around the corner of the stairs and grabs his backpack. "Yep. Let's go."
Dinners at the compound are intimate affairs.
The table isn't even as big as Sonny's in the penthouse. There
are seldom guests and when there is normally it's one person
that's in charge and the rest are just entourage. The one person
in charge would dine with Lorenzo and his companion. This is
another accommodation made after Luis' death. Luis had done all
of the entertaining and enjoyed it. Before Carly had come to the
compound, Lorenzo had made use of hotels and restaurants but they
weren't really conducive to the kind of deals that needed to be
Carly knew how to make nice over dinner. To flatter and move things along covering for Lorenzo's impatience with social niceties. To make sure that everyone had their after dinner drink and cigars out by the pool. And then she'd disappear. That's when the business would get done. Business that was done on Lorenzo's terms. Take them or leave them. Made the negotiations brief. And Carly makes that an easier pill to swallow because she'd show back up again about the time the business was winding up to make sure that the guest either knew where his room was or the way back to the landing strip.
The corrupt opposition leader of a corrupt third world country inhales the rich aroma of the Cuban cigar and takes a sip of the brandy that would feed a family of four for a month in his country. He watches as Carly retreats back into the house. "Your wife is very beautiful. When is your child due?"
Lorenzo eyes the potential buyer. It's not the first time that Carly has been mistaken for his wife at the compound over the last few months. Her wedding set combined with his formerly low profile made for many misunderstandings. But that is irrelevant. "Carly is due in November, next month. How were you planning on paying for these?" Lorenzo indicates the rebel leader's wish list.
"Bringing Democracy and free elections to my small country is a gift without price...." The man stops talking and shakes his head with a small grin. "I forgot for a minute to whom I was speaking."
"Yeah, sell that load of crap to the US State department." Lorenzo agrees coldly. "They love to hear of budding democracies especially in countries suspected of having oil reserves."
"You want dollars, gold, or diamonds?"
Lorenzo hands him a business card. "Wire transfer. Half now. Half on delivery. I won't even start filling the order until the money is deposited."
"It is a significant amount of money." The rebel tries to work himself a better deal.
"Or you can always find someone else." Lorenzo shuts that one down automatically. There were always other insurgents or dictators who want what he sells. Some of them even had fights worth dying for.
"How is everything going?" Carly appears at the large french doors that open up onto the courtyard.
"Just finished." Lorenzo rises to his feet leaving the barely touched brandy on the table. His customer realizes that he is in a take it or leave it situation and he was going to have to take it. Even if it meant less money lining his pockets initially. Perhaps he could get the CIA to front more of the money needed. He rises to his feet as well. The meeting is over.
"Simon wanted you to know that the General's plane has been refueled, Lorenzo." Carly tells her captor.
He nods. Of course the General wouldn't be spending the night. Carly was expecting her family for the long anticipated visit. Nothing would interfere with that.
"Senora, I would like to thank you for your kind hospitality." The General bows over Carly's hand and even kisses the back of it in a gesture he'd probably seen in an old movie.
"It was my pleasure." Carly lies with a warm smile that doesn't extend to her eyes. "I hope you have a safe flight. Let me walk you out. I know Lorenzo has to fax something. He normally does after these." She takes his arm stringing her own thru his and starts walking in the direction of the front door. Simon would be waiting there with the jeep to drive the General to the airstrip, the only real way out of here. As soon as the General is out the front door and on his way to the jeep, Carly waves and then shuts the front door very carefully and turns around to look at Lorenzo. "Ugh. How can you deal with that disgusting pig? He made my skin crawl."
"I am well paid to deal with that pig as you call him. In US backed funds."
"You're crazy. They would never..." Carly's jaw snaps shut. "You're baiting me. Trying to make me do something stupid so that you can turn the plane around again. Not going to happen." Carly smiles. "See." She points to her face. "All nicey nice."
"Two magic words: democracy and oil." Lorenzo holds up a finger for each word. "The General's efforts are well funded." He draws closer to Carly. "You did well tonight, very well."
"Yeah, I've had plenty of practice being the hostess with the mostest." Carly says wryly.
"The plane has left Port Charles. Your son and Sonny will be here by tonight."
Normally planes didn't bother him-- much. Sonny wipes the back of his hand against his brow and isn't surprised that it comes back moist with sweat. He checks on Michael who is sacked out in the seat across the aisle from him and then rises going back to the head to splash water on his face.
Alcazar wants to be sure Sonny could never figure out where Carly's being held. Sonny'd about lost his mind the first time he'd come to see Carly. He and Jason had already searched all the islands where Alcazar did business in the Caribbean... the houses he owned around Caracas. Carly's somewhere in Venezuela but it is a big country. When Alcazar had made the deal there had been no real choice-- not if he wanted to see his wife. He wasn't going to find Carly on his own. Alcazar took steps to make sure it stayed that way. Even before getting on the plane Sonny'd been searched, and everything in his baggage for any kind of bug, any kind of GPS technology. And then all of the shades had been pulled down on the plane. There was nothing to orient himself. He believes they are going to Venezuela but it could be any tropical Spanish speaking country. That he got there via a flying box-- a small, airless, artificially lit box...
Sonny lets himself out of the head not able to meet his own gaze in the mirror. "I'm here, Michael."
"Are we there yet?" Michael mutters still half asleep.
"Soon. The pilot will let us know when it's time to land. Go back to sleep." Sonny finds a light blanket and covers Michael, pressing a kiss to his son's forehead. "Soon."
"Mama! Mama!" Michael races from the
barely stopped jeep to the front of the hacienda where Carly
"Oh Michael." Carly drops to her knees and grabs him. She gives him a big hug and peppers his face with kisses. Then sets him away from her. "You're getting so big, Mr. Man."
"So are you, Mama." Michael says honestly.
Carly starts laughing and hugs Michael again getting to her feet awkwardly with Michael's help to regain her balance. "Sonny!"
"Oh Babe." Sonny pulls her close and breathes in deeply. "God. Carly."
"Come on. Come with me." Sonny puts an arm around Carly's shoulders and she runs her arm around his waist and holds on to Michael's hand leading them into the enclosure. Carly's rooms are in the northwest corner of the compound. Almost like having her own apartment, it is townhouse style with one exception. There are no windows to the exterior of the compound. All the windows and doors overlook the courtyard with it's gardens and swimming pool. "I missed you so much." Carly pulls her men into the apartment. Michael goes running to the room that he uses when visiting his mother one weekend a month... if that.
Sonny pulls Carly into a long overdue passionate embrace. Tilting her head back and ravishing her mouth making up for lost time. "Carly. I've missed you so much. Every time I think this is the time. This is the time you'll come home with me."
Tears start rolling down Carly's face. "That's all I want, all we want." Carly takes Sonny's hand and brings it to her belly.
"She's gotten so big." Sonny teases running a caressing hand over Carly's stomach.
"He has." Carly corrects.
"Mama! What is this? A present?" Michael comes racing down the stairs to the main floor. He holds out an offering.
"It looks like a flute or something." Carly looks at it curiously. "Can you play it?" Michael starts blowing across the top of the pipes making some really annoying noises. "I think you're going to need lots and lots of practice."
"I'm going to make up a song for Uncle Jason!" Michael goes running back upstairs. He'd rather stay with his mama and Daddy but can tell by the look on Sonny's face that there was going to be a private conversation and he'd be sent from the room anyway. This way he could keep an eye on his Mama and not be disobeying Sonny.
"You'd never seen that before."
"No." Carly admits. "It's probably from Simon. He takes care of things around here."
"I had my checkup." Carly interrupts stepping away from Sonny to go over to a table. "Healthy as a horse. Every thing is on schedule."
"Carly, I don't trust him."
"And you think I do?!" Carly turns with a snarl. "Do you think I like being a fucking pawn in someone else's game? Of having no control over my life? This time is Mine! Don't ruin it for me, Sonny. Cause in two days you'll be gone and I'll be all alone again. Please, Sonny. Just... be with me. Give me something to hang on to until next month."
"Come 'ere." Sonny pulls her close murmuring softly against her skin all the things he'd been saving up to tell her when he'd turn to her in his sleep and find nothing there. "I love you. You're the only one for me. Sin tu, Soy nada. Todos es nada. Yo amo, mi esposa, mi amor... solamente tú."
Across the courtyard up on the balcony there is a small circular light, the glow of a cigar. Alcazar sits alone in the dark watching as the lights go out in Carly's quarters one by one.
"Testing... testing... one two three. Can you hear me, Baby? It's me, Michael." Michael puts his cheek against his mother's belly and waits for a reply. It isn't long in coming. He feels a thump on the side of his face. "Wow! Did you see that, Mama? The baby heard me!"
"I felt it. I think you woke him up."
"Her." Sonny mutters half asleep. He rubs his eyes and then leans up on his elbows. "You're up early, Son."
"I wasn't tired." Michael says defensively.
"Did you sleep on the plane, Mr. Man?" Carly asks brushing her hand thru his still baby fine red hair. "Is that why you couldn't sleep?"
"Yeah." Michael latches onto that explanation. It was even sorta true. But it was more true that he didn't want to miss a minute with his mother. Michael climbs into the bed from the foot of the bed between his Mom and Sonny and cuddles up next to Carly. He runs his fingers over a strand of her hair. "Your hair is lighter."
"That's cause I spend a lot of time in the pool." Carly takes a breath and puffs her cheeks full of air making them look huge. Then releases with a huge exhale. "When I feel as big as a whale... and where do whales live?"
"In the WATER!"
"Some days I barely get out of the pool." Carly looks over Michael's head to Sonny. "It's not like there is anything else here to do."
"But there is a garden as big as Grandma Lila's in the courtyard all around the pool!" Michael protests.
Carly looks at Sonny for that one.
He mouths back to her that he'll tell her later. "How about I make everyone breakfast?" Sonny suggests. Carly's apartment had a small kitchenette that seemed to only be used when he and Michael came to visit. Although that wasn't true. There was normally a supply of fruits and juices. He bites his tongue to stop from asking about what she's been eating. Sonny grabs Michael around the waist and swings him out of the bed. "Go get dressed and meet us down in the living room.
"When did Michael start hanging out in Lila's garden?" Carly demands as soon as Michael is out of the room. "Not that I mind, Lila is great. But unless I've fallen into the Twilight Zone, Lila's garden is at the Quartermaines."
"AJ and Edward are trying for custody of Michael again." Sonny admits. "The Judge gave them visits to start."
Carly's jaw drops and she shakes her head in disbelief. "No. This can't be happening. I can't lose Michael."
"I'm working the Judge, Baby."
"I've heard that before." Carly says bitterly. She gets up from the bed and pulls on a robe over her linen nightgown tugging the tie closed with a quick jerk, even though it won't close over her stomach anymore. "You can't let this happen. I am coming home, Sonny. They can't have my son. I'm not dead. And even if I was, you're Michael's father..."
"Don't say that." Sonny grabs Carly by the upper arms. "Don't ever talk about dying. Ever. I couldn't bear it."
"Nothing is going to happen to me, Sonny." Carly croons in a soothing voice waiting for Sonny to get himself under control. She brushes a hand over Sonny's brow, smoothing it. She was the one being held hostage but Sonny is the one that has aged. There is grey that wasn't there before. "I'm fine. Your baby is fine." Carly takes Sonny's hand and presses it against her. "I'm right here." Carly kisses the corner of his mouth and then turns his face so that his mouth meets hers.
Running an international business is more than a fulltime job. There's always a problem finding good help to share the load. Ric Lansing had proved that point first with Luis and then with him. Then there had been Javier tempted by the offer of three million dollars from Sonny. Javier would be missed; he'd just finished his training. Simon is Venezuelan born and raised only a few miles from the compound. He has no interest in the international facets of the business but instead kept himself busy with providing security with a capable combination of bribes and muscle.
Ever since Luis death, Lorenzo'd been working on restructuring the business, it was unlikely that he'd ever be able to find someone that he could trust with the tasks that Luis had covered. Trust wasn't something he gave easily-- if ever. What was the American's saying? In God We Trust... all others pay cash. He'd loved Luis and trusted him in the most basic of ways-- blood to blood. Experience had forced him to temper that trust where business had been concerned. Brenda Barrett had first tied his brother's manhood and then lead him around by the knot. Luis had never lied or cheated the business but he had been distracted. The distraction had killed him.
Carly Corinthos only reinforces the lesson. Mrs. Roscoe had called her Sonny's Achilles Heel. And she's proven to be not only Sonny's weakness but also Morgan's. Even if something were to happen to Corinthos, Carly would continue bringing Morgan to the table.
Lorenzo's eyes narrow as he considers the ramifications. Morgan would actually be easier to deal with as he was less obviously emotional. Morgan didn't have the romantic core that motivates Corinthos, that motivates Lansing. Luis had made a study of Corinthos, of Jacks. Morgan had been dismissed as muscle. But Luis had been a romantic as well looking thru the rose colored glasses of his obsession. No, Morgan is something entirely different. He'd never write a poem to the beauty of her face or the warm caress of her hand. And yet Morgan is wrapped around Carly's little finger just as surely as Corinthos.
Having watched Jason's relentless pursuit of Ric Lansing, Lorenzo knew that it would take something drastic to get Morgan to back off. So Lorenzo sent him a lock of Carly's hair and a note that told Corinthos' enforcer that the next day it would be her little finger if he didn't leave Venezuela. Morgan had left Caracas.