"Have you gotten to do any of your shopping?" Carly asks the Nanny as they walk thru the streets of Florence. "Even if Senor Alcazar sends the jet back with presents for everyone in Venezuela, the number of shopping days is getting down there." Carly jokes and then stops in her tracks. "Have you even had a day off since we got here? Oh Gawd. You haven't. I'm horrible. If we were back in the States they'd have me on the front page of the Post or something. Carly reaches into her pocket and grabs some of her backgammon money. "Here." She looks around. "Do you want the whole day off of just the afternoon? If you want to do an afternoon now I can make sure that you've got a whole day... no weekend off just as soon as Senor Alcazar gets back from his trip."
"Senora, Senora!" The nanny tries to get a word in edge wise. She can already tell that she is getting the afternoon off no matter what she wants. A day shopping wasn't her idea of fun so maybe this was for the best. If she would have had a scheduled day off she would have found a nice quiet yarn shop and just whiled away the hours working on her own projects. Finally she sighs. "Fine. But just the afternoon."
"Okay." Carly looks around. "There. That fountain. I'll meet you there in..." Carly looks at her watch. "...five hours." Carly takes the diaper bag and puts it in the base of the stroller. "And have fun! Get some post cards! How often do you get to be in Florence?"
"Signora, no is good idea." Vinnie waits until they are on their way down the street. "El Capo, he say nothing..." Carly gives him a look and he shuts his mouth.
"Michael, we're looking for things to get for Nanny and for the Jefe." Carly directs her son. "It's a mission and the longer it takes... well the longer it takes."
Michael grimaces. "Got it." He looks at Vinnie and rolls his eyes. Vinnie sighs. He and the boy are definitely in this together.
There are worse times to go to Yemen. But December is not one of the better months. Lorenzo and Frisco wait on the plane to be processed and released to go about their business in San'a. Alcazar prefers to use Aden down in the the Southern part of the country. It's right on the water and more convenient for travel by air or yacht. Course security has been a lot tighter down there since the suicide bombing of the USS Cole back in 2000 that crippled the ship, killed nineteen sailors and injured many more. Technically Yemen is a US ally but it is more accurate to say that Yemen's government, not the country, is allied with the United States.
"I should check in now while I have a chance." Frisco pulls out his briefcase and hooks up his secured line to call into the WSB.
Alcazar ignores the pleasantries Frisco is exchanging while he refills his coffee. That changes rapidly.
"What do you mean I'm not supposed to be in Yemen?! I got a call yesterday on a secure line, telling me to meet Lorenzo Alcazar in Florence for deployment in Yemen. An intel packet was attached."
Lorenzo picks up the phone to the pilot. "Get us refueled and out of here!" Then he is pulling out his cell phone and calling to the farmhouse. "It was a diversion. Where is La Signora?"
"Still shopping. I will call Vinnie and call you back."
"Send back up."
"Si, Capo." Paolo hangs up.
A grizzled slim man in a black beret looks fondly at the young man unconscious at his feet. "Don't know why they quit using those choke holds back in the States. They work so well and you don't even bruise your knuckles. Reaching into his pocket he grabs a cigar and lights it with a match against the brick of the alley. He walks to the front of the alley where the Alcazar limo waits. The driver is already in the trunk of the car. He'd gotten this one when he'd returned to the car to drop off some packages. He steps back into the shadow of the alley and watches the train station across the plaza. Carly and the kids had gone into the station as soon as this one's back had turned. Maybe the snip had gotten more than her Mother's eyes. Smart going for the train rather than the plane. The airport is out of town and away from everything. The train is right downtown and you can get off anywhere along the way if you started getting a hinky feeling. He'd done that himself more than a few times.
He waits until he sees the train pull out keeping an eye on Vinnie for any sign of wakefulness. As he leaves the alley the bodyguard's phone starts ringing. "Those things are inventions of the devil." Luke comments wryly to no one at all. He walks across the plaza to the train station to find out what train just left. Coming back out he flags down a hot looking babe on a motorcycle who gives him a lift to the airport. Carly had it from here. Hell she had it even without him showing up. Bobbie was overreacting-- as usual.
Lorenzo paces the plane waiting for Paolo's call. He pounces on the cell after the first ring. "Tell me!"
Paolo hesitates to answer. "There is no answer from Vinnie nor the driver. I have notified our contact in the Polizia and they are searching for the vehicle."
"This is Donnelly's work." Lorenzo snarls glaring at Frisco while he is talking to Paolo. "Notify my men watching him. If anything happens to Carly..." He hangs up the phone and turns on Frisco. "You have one chance to save your life." Lorenzo's voice is too calm.
A veteran of tough spots, Frisco keeps his cool. "Why don't you tell me what you're talking about?"
"The deal with the WSB is protection for my family in exchange for introductions. So tell me again why I shouldn't kill you?"
"Because the WSB had nothing to do with this. Actually two reasons-- you still don't know if your family is even in danger." Frisco suggests calmly with a reassuring smile.
Lorenzo calls off an address in Port Charles, New York that has Frisco stiffening; all intentions of lightening the situation fall away. "Nor do you. But that can change. How does it feel, Agent Jones?! How does it feel?! Not so glib now?!"
"Do you want me to call the WSB?" Frisco asks quietly. "They should be able to tell you if they are on a plane."
Frisco starts keying in information. "I've worked with Conner Donnelly before. He's not the kidnapping type." Frisco can't believe he is actually trying to reassure an arms dealer.
"No, he knows better than to cross me. This is the work of his father, Sean."
Frisco looks up at that. Sean had mentored him in the bureau. "Kidnapping isn't his style either."
"It is. That's why the WSB removed him from all dealings with me." Alcazar's phone rings. "Tell me."
"We found the car. The driver was in the trunk probably with a concussion. He didn't see anything and is on the way to the hospital. " Paolo's voice is grim.
"In a nearby alley. He was crawling out-- that's what drew attention. He refuses to go to the hospital. He wants to help in the search."
It wasn't a conversation he wanted to have but Michael would need to hear this from him. "Put Michael on the phone. I will tell him myself." Lorenzo says quietly.
"The boy was with La Signora."
Lorenzo is already shaking his head. It's impossible "Michael never goes shopping with Carly. He hates shopping. He'd rather go to a Museum than go shopping." Something is off. "We're on our way back. Have a car waiting at the airport. Call me with any updates."
"The WSB is running ID's thru the airports. They want to know if they should check the car rentals."
"No. She wouldn't rent a car." Lorenzo goes back to the call. "Where was the limo found?" After Paolo tells him. "Train. She would take the train."
Frisco stops entering information. "Whoa. You aren't talking like it's a kidnapping anymore. Your wife left of her own volition." Yeah, that flies. That's when Sean would get involved. That's how he met Tiff after all. While she was rethinking the wisdom of being hooked up with Victor Cassadine.
"She is without security. Without her bodyguard. Keep looking or get out." Lorenzo demands.
Frisco looks out at the fluffy clouds out the window. He would keep looking but really slow and in all the wrong places.
"Mama? Shouldn't we wait for Vinnie?" Michael looks at his mother.
Carly zips the cash advance she'd taken from the credit card earlier today, and the passport back into an inside pocket of the black quilted jacket that had been her constant companion since arriving in Florence. The train tickets she tucks into the outside pocket of the diaper bag which is stowed under her seat. "We would have missed the train."
"There would have been another train."
"Michael, You heard the Jefe. He is going to be gone for four days. So I have four days to get everything done."
"Mama, what do you mean everything done? Mama, what did you do?" Michael worries.
"We're going to see your Daddy, Uncle Jason and Aunt Courtney. Holidays are for family, Baby. I miss them."
"The Jefe would have taken us to see them if you asked." Michael declares. "Or they could have come here. And had Christmas with us at the Farmhouse."
"No, he wouldn't have." Carly says flatly but then she bites her lip and backs off a bit. She holds a hand against Michael's cheek to make sure he is looking her square in the eye. "Besides you know your Daddy is sick right now and he can't travel. It's easier if we go to see him. You and the Jefe both worry too much about things being safe. Everything is fine, Mr. Man. Everything is going to be just fine." Carly closes her eyes and leans back against the headrest.
Michael looks at his Mother with more than a little concern. And rather than watch the rapidly passing scenery he eyes every person that comes by with suspicion. It was up to him now. He had to keep Mama and Morlee safe.
Frisco is flipping through the pictures of everyone that boarded an international flight from the Florence airports that day. Looking for a party traveling together, woman and two kids. Nothing had popped but maybe they'd managed to hook into another party, not quite so obvious. "This would be a lot easier with a picture." He mutters.
Lorenzo reaches into his inside pocket and takes out his money clip. Now instead of a picture of Sophie there is a picture of him with Carly and the children. It is one that had been considered for the passport photo but Carly had cracked a joke right before the photographer had taken the shot and so everyone was laughing. "Here. I have others but they are in Florence. Pictures taken at Michael's soccer practice."
Frisco hesitates before advancing to the next picture on the screen.
Lorenzo notices and grabs the laptop. He backs up one picture. It is a picture of a man. "Why is this important to you?! Why? Who is this person?"
"He just looked familiar for a minute. Probably from an old case." Frisco silently swears. A really old case.
"What is his name?" Lorenzo demands. He studies the page carefully to find the identifying information. "Darius Cassadine? Cassadine!" Lorenzo's eyes narrow.
"I take it you've heard of them." Frisco says wryly. "Why am I not surprised if you know who the Commissioner of Police is in a small berg in upstate New York?"
"This man is in disguise. And a poor one."
"Plenty of people in the world who wear bad rugs."
"But their last name isn't Cassadine. Who is he?"
Frisco sighs. "There is no way. No way it could be who I thought it was."
"Let me be the judge of that."
"For a minute there it just looked like a guy, I used to know. But there is no way he'd be traveling on a Cassadine passport. He hates the Cassadines guts."
Lorenzo starts swearing in Spanish. Alcazar pulls himself back under control and then looks to see Spencer's destination. He calls the pilot. "We're going to Paris-- make the course correction."
"You're chasing your tail. This is not Luke's style." Frisco is shaking his head. "There is no way that Luke Spencer would be traveling on a Cassadine passport or interfering in some international arms dealer's business. No offense. But there is nothing in it for him. He doesn't do anything unless there is something in it for him."
"No, I'm sure you're quite correct. He would be more likely to mess in the business of a rum runner or a person smuggling cigars." Alcazar can tell he has Frisco's full attention at that. "Yes, I'm familiar with Luke Spencer. My woman is his niece."
"Well I have my own issues with Luke Spencer." Frisco states flatly. "But at this point you're going to need to trade me in for a different WSB agent. Someone who doesn't know all the players. While I wouldn't mind cleaning Luke Spencer's clock in some back alley, as far as I know he only has one sibling and that's Bobbie Spencer. If this has anything to do with Bobbie then you're on your own."
"She does inspire loyalty, doesn't she? You. Donnelly. Her brother. My men find her very lovely and speak of her in glowing terms."
Frisco makes a move at Lorenzo and Lorenzo lets him come. Lets Frisco get his hands around his neck and then Lorenzo taunts. "What are you going to do at twenty thousand feet? With my pilot at the helm? With my men already in place in Port Charles? Killing me would be suicide for you and would set a chain of events in motion you don't want laid at your door."
Frisco pushes off from Lorenzo and stalks to the other side of the main cabin.
"All I want is my woman and her children. This doesn't have to have anything to do with you. It will be over soon. This Spencer, her uncle. He wouldn't leave Carly undefended. She is on the flight with him." Lorenzo says confidently. "At least she is safe."
Frisco snorts at that. "You really have no idea who you're dealing with. He'd leave her undefended in a heart beat. He sent his own ten year old kid cross country unsupervised. Hell, not just the US, parts of Canada too. Finding Luke, if he's involved in this isn't going to get you dick."
"The baby is only a little over a month old."
"His wife was in labor when they hit Port Charles. They were on the run from the mob, cops. He'd managed to piss everyone off again. He dragged Laura across country when she was nine months pregnant. You don't get it. Spencer's; Luke Spencer in particular, are crazy. What ever you think he's going to do... just do the opposite and you might have a chance of catching up with him. And if your wife is anything like Luke..." Frisco shakes his head. "They don't think like other people."
Bobbie bites her lip as she looks out the living room window. Something is off. Sean comes up behind her startling her as he looks out the window too. "Looks like Port Charles, New York in the beginning of December. Maybe a chance of snow or freezing rain. What are you looking at?" Sean asks.
"There is something missing." Bobbie states flatly. "I don't like it." She goes over to the phone while Sean examines the street more carefully to try to discover what had put Bobbie's back up. "Jason, it's Bobbie. The guards Alcazar put on me are gone. What does that mean? Has he done something to Carly? Is my daughter alright? What is going on?" Bobbie is silent while she listens to Jason's explanation and then hangs up the phone without saying goodbye.
"So? Is this something that Morgan arranged?" Sean asks.
"No." Bobbie stalks into the kitchen and puts on the kettle. She sets out all the fixings for making a pot of tea. But she can't stop moving around, she ends up pacing from one end of the kitchen to the other and then when that is too confining adds the family room as well. She practically jumps out of her skin when the kettle starts to whistle.
Sean goes into the kitchen and pulls the kettle off and then fills the teapot. He shuts off the stove and puts the kettle on the back burner. "Bobbie, talk to me. "
"Jason didn't arrange this. He's going to look into it but it could mean anything. It could mean that Alcazar has dumped Carly somewhere... but why hasn't she called? If Carly left him then the guards would come after me right? They are supposed to come after me. That's why Lucas has been spending time with his Dad."
"Whoa. Slow down." Sean comes over to Bobbie and puts both hands on her shoulders. When she tries to shrug out from under them, he gives her a little shake to get her attention. "Don't put the cart before the horse here. Morgan said he didn't know. That means he doesn't know. He's going to find out and get back to you I'm sure."
Bobbie reads Sean's face and her eyes narrow. "You did something."
"I had a chat with Luke." Sean admits.
Bobbie groans and covers her eyes.
At the Orly airport in Paris, a customs agent checks documents. He'd already been notified that there was a problem with one of them. "Monsieur Cassadine? This way please."
"What is the meaning of this?" A haughty highbrow voice demands.
"This way." The agent demands. He is flanked by two other men in uniforms that eye the passenger suspiciously.
"I will have your pitiful little job for this... this... insult." The man walks in the direction indicated by the agent with a mincing gait.
Paolo pulls at his hair. Vinnie is loudly emphatically vocal that La Signora had not had anything to do with this. That she'd been kidnapped. That the driver had been hit over the head proved that. La Signora had been with him then there was no way she could have hit the driver. No way she could have put the choke hold on him. This is the work of someone trying to make a move on the Capo.
Paolo is a more reasonable man. He knows that it had been too convenient for the Nanny to be given time off all of a sudden and then the Capo's reaction to the little boy being with La Signora. La Signora did this with help but she had done this. And on his watch. He has to find her. If he didn't then he'd be lucky if only his job is forfeit. The Capo said the train. But there is the problem. Many trains go thru Florence. And it had taken time for them to discover Vinnie. In that time trains had come and gone on their way south to Rome, west to Pisa, north to Bologna. Just the trains to Bologna are a problem! There is a direct to Zurich or there is the local that stopped everywhere in-between: trains to cities with international airports; trains to small towns where a car could be waiting.
And talking to the ticket agent is little help, all it proves is La Signora had not made a reservation. A reservation is not needed. Especially on the local trains. You could buy a fare on the train itself. He can't put it off any longer. Paolo pulls out the phone. "Capo."
"You've found her?"
"No, Signore." Paolo sighs. "It is impossible. She could be anywhere by now. The ticket agent doesn't recall La Signora and nobody would forget her. If she is on the train she bought the ticket on the train. Trains in all directions making many stops. She could be on her way to Rome, or out of the country to France, to Switzerland, hell to Slovenia!"
"Carly's uncle was on a plane to Paris. Get a man in front of that train and search it on the next stop. You go back to the farmhouse. See if there is anything there. Carly's passport is in the safe." Lorenzo gives Paolo the combination to the safe in the bedroom. "Carly has her credit card. Check that too-- if there has been any activity."
"Si, Capo." Paolo breathes a sigh of relief. He isn't dead, not yet.
Lorenzo watches from behind the glass. Inside the barren room there are two chairs, one table and one man. The man is tall, slim wearing entirely black. The man has his chair perched up on it's two back legs and is leaning against the wall. He has his arms crossed and is sound asleep. If Lorenzo isn't mistaken, he is actually snoring. The very bad toupee lists to one side.
The man doesn't open his eyes at the sound of the door opening. Or at the sound of something put on the table. Lorenzo opens up the box on the table and turns it toward Luke, revealing the aromatic cigars.
Luke opens one eye. "Don't mind if I do..." Luke stands and dons his Darius persona like a comfortable cloak. "...my good man."
"I find it unlikely that a Cassadine would fall asleep in a police holding cell." Lorenzo suggests. "More likely he would be protesting at the indignity of it all." He adds.
Luke lights one of the cigars and fussily brushes his rug back into place. "To what end? The amusement of these peasants?"
"Oh good one, Mr. Spencer." Lorenzo slowly applauds.
"Who?" Luke shrugs and lifts a single brow in a nonverbal inquiry.
"Lets set this pretense aside, Mr. Spencer. We have too many people in common to play this game." Lorenzo takes the seat across from Luke and folds his hands. "Carly didn't expect you. If I had know you were coming to visit I would have made hotel reservations."
"No red carpet? No fattened calf?" Luke drops the pretense. It would be mano a mano from here. Spencer vs. all comers just the way he liked it.
"It would have been a very nice hotel." Lorenzo changes the topic fast. Dropping the question in. "Where is Carly?"
Luke shrugs again. "Considering all the packages she was stuffing in the limo last time I saw her, I'd say shopping. Girl's got a serious shopping addiction. Maybe she found a really good sale." Luke shakes his head in mock bewilderment.
"She wasn't on the plane. Where is she?"
"Lots of planes going lots of places everywhere in the world." Luke looks down at his watch. It has been over eight hours since he'd seen Carly in Florence. She should be on a plane by now and halfway across the Atlantic. "She could be anywhere. Anywhere but where she was of course. Sonny always had a tough time getting her to stay put too. Jason never seemed to care one way or another. Caroline is like a bad penny. She always turns up eventually." Luke smiles mockingly and then blows a nice smoke ring.
Carly has Morlee in a carrier next to her chest. She's zipped the black quilted jacket over the both of them. The diaper bag that has changes of underwear and distractions for everyone, spare diapers for Morlee and snacks for her and Michael is strung over her shoulder. She holds Michael's hand and lets him take the lead in getting her to a payphone. Once there, they all crowd around the phone. Michael sits on the diaper bag at his mother's feet to make sure it's not going anywhere and keeps an eye on everyone. They'd been on the train for eight hours, not getting off until they reached Zurich. "Yes, collect from Carly please." Carly taps her foot impatiently and rubs a hand over Morlee's back. Finally.
"Carly! Where are you?"
"Where is Jason?"
"Business." Stan replies. "But he wanted you to never have a busy signal so we've had a designated line set up for you. Where are you?"
"Zurich. I've got a passport for me and the kids in the name of Alcazar."
"Then we better move fast. That one isn't going to be good for long. Alcazar has pulled the guards on your mom, so he knows something is up. If he can hook in the WSB then you got to figure he has already flagged that passport. "
Stan is busy keying in information and making reservations. "How much luggage do you have?"
"A diaper bag." Carly answers automatically then asks again. "What did you mean about my Mom?"
"Jason figures Alcazar pulled the guards so you wouldn't spook if you showed up on Bobbie's doorstep. But that's only going to last about another day then he's going to try something else." Stan says absently. "There-- got it. I can get you on a Delta flight that is leaving in the next hour from there thru Paris and then on to Atlanta."
"No way. No France. Find me something else."
"Shit. The Zurich straight Atlanta is going to take too long. You'd end up spending a couple days there getting a different passport. Got to be something quick. I'm checking Continental." More keystrokes. "Okay. Continental. Leaving in about an hour thru Newark to Miami."
"No. You know he's going to be keeping an eye on the New York area airports. It would be what I'd use to fly into Port Charles."
Stan starts muttering and swearing. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was trying to keep you on a US Carrier but... Got it. You're going to have haul it though. Lufthansa direct to Miami. The tickets will be waiting at the counter. Call Jason at this cell phone number once you get in the air. Have you got a pen?"
"Yeah," Carly pulls a pen out of an inside pocket, uncapping it with her teeth and then juggles the receiver to start writing on her hand. "Go." She says around the pen cap. As soon as she has the number. "Thanks Stan. Sorry to be such a pain."
"I don't know what you have against Paris. That one would have been perfect." Stan bitches.
"Get going or you're going to be calling back after missing the flight." Stan isn't surprised when she doesn't say goodbye and instead he just gets a dial tone.
"Capo, there is no passport in the safe but there is a note addressed to you. It makes no sense."
"What does it say?"
"He's my husband. There is nothing else on the note. Capo? What did you want me to do next?"
"Her credit card."
"There was a cash advance taken this morning in Florence. Not enough for an airplane ticket but enough for a trip anywhere in Europe for her and the boy."
"Keep looking." Lorenzo hangs up the phone and looks over at Luke. "Would you like a lift back to Port Charles?"
"Oh so now you can get me sprung from here?" Luke looks around the police station.
"You'd be surprised at what I can do." Lorenzo goes over to the door and raps on it sharply.
The door opens and Luke's eyes narrow as he sees who is on the other side. "Well if it isn't ex doc bro in law's prodigal brother. Heard from Felicia lately?"
"Nope, but Maxie and Georgie had plenty to say about you and their Mother in their last letters."
"So you hooked up with this guy?" Luke indicates with a thumb in Lorenzo's direction. "Did Georgie and Maxie tell you about his brother kidnapping them to get Felicia's cooperation? Or did he leave that part out? Or how about the part where the woman and kids you're looking for... he also kidnapped them: Bobbie's girl Carly and grandchildren. Carly made a break for it and he's tracking her with you running point."
Frisco looks at Alcazar. He knew the situation was screwed from the time he'd placed the call to his supervisor once they landed in Yemen.
"Carly will be safe and no one is going to interfere." Lorenzo demands. "Call your supervisor."
Before he can Frisco's phone rings. "Yeah." He covers the mouthpiece of the phone. "Got a hit on a plane reservations for Caroline Alcazar. Three different flights-- all out of Zurich: one to Atlanta, one to Newark and one to Miami. The flights took off already, on time. They are sending pictures of the passengers."
"Zurich." Lorenzo shakes his head. The wrong direction. He'd followed the wrong train. The WSB agent had warned him that whatever way Luke went, Carly would likely go another. But it was just so perverse. Carly had told him before she would never step foot in France. Maybe she'd been telling the truth.
"Oh yeah, the Spencer's keep their running money in Switzerland." Frisco tells Alcazar as he shuts his phone.
Luke gives Frisco a look that would kill. "Someone has been telling tales. What happened to you?"
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