The Compound





Jason looks with disgust at Faith who sits on Carly's couch. Faith had moved in and never moved out. Sonny didn't care. It was like he didn't even see the deceitful bitch anymore. She was just a piece of the furniture. He wouldn't have to see her either but he doesn't like to run the business from his penthouse. That is Courtney's home and he wants to keep the business away from her.

"Anything I can help you with?" Faith asks. She tosses her artfully messy blonde hair back and thrusts out her chest.

"Dropping dead would be a start." Jason tries to focus on the paperwork in front of him. He'd seen the pry marks on the middle drawer of Sonny's desk. Sloppy work even Carly would have done better. Hell Michael could have done better. "If you touch Sonny's desk again I'll break your hand."

Faith stands up in a snit putting both of her hands on her hips. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Then let me make it clear. Anyone touches Sonny's desk and I'll break your hand."

"Why are you here?!" Faith demands. "Don't you have a little bunny across the hall that needs a h...op."

Max knocks on the door and opens it. "There is a Mister Brown here to see you, Jase."

"Answered that question." Faith rolls her eyes.

The Federal agent in civilian clothes comes into the penthouse.

Jason puts the business information back into the desk and locks it. "Thank you for coming." Jason turns to Faith. "Get out."

"You can't talk to me that way." Faith protests as Jason takes a step toward Faith ready to throw her out by the hair. "Fine, fine whatever! I'm leaving. I didn't want to be here anyway." Faith sneers at Jason and the agent. Then she hightails it out of there, grabbing her red alligator clutch purse as she does.


Agent Brown shakes his head. "I've talked to the embassies... ours, the Venezuelan's. Nothing. The stone walls aren't just around the embassies. But around everything to do with Alcazar."

"Carly is a US citizen who has been kidnapped. You can not be telling me that there is nothing that can be done. Sonny trusted you to find his wife and you handed her over to Alcazar on a silver platter! I told you that Ric had Carly. But you were so busy working your scam that you put a woman and her unborn child at risk!"

"If we could have gotten Mrs. Roscoe next to Alcazar we would have been able to save hundreds, no thousands, of women and children. It was an acceptable risk. Mr. Corinthos went in with his eyes open. Corinthos came to us. We didn't come to him."

"He was insane with grief and worry about his wife!"

"We still want Alcazar."

"I could give a fuck what you want. We've already done it your way. Sonny jumped thru all the hoops you put in front of him. I knew that hooking up with you was a mistake. So I'll tell you what. It's time for you to put up or shut up. You want Alcazar? Fine. On the day Carly is safe back here in this penthouse... I'll get you Alcazar. Until then stay out of my way. And take Faith with you."

"I'll have to hear that from Mr. Corinthos. Where is he anyway?"

Jason walks over to the door and opens it. "Goodbye, Mr. Brown. Don't come back unless you have good news."


If you pretended real hard it was like a vacation: beautiful courtyard, gorgeous pool, catered gourmet meals. Carly is ensconced on her lounger while Michael paddles around her and even gives her a push using the rigid frame of the lounger as a paddle board. Sonny comes out of Carly's apartment carrying drinks and settles in under an umbrella covered table. "Michael." Sonny waves the boy over.

Michael nods in his stepfather's direction and starts paddling toward the shallow end of the pool pushing his mother to the side. Carly climbs out of the pool being very careful to keep a hand on the railings. "Thank you, sir." Carly gives Michael a nod once she is out of the pool and wraps a toweling robe around her. Michael puffs up and then bows from the waist. He takes his mother's hand and leads her over to the table. Sonny holds Carly's chair while she gingerly seats herself. "I'm going to need help getting back up." Carly warns.

"I'll help ya, Mama." Michael is quick to offer coming over to hug on Carly's arm. He'd always been a loving boy but Carly's absence had made him needy and insecure.

"Thank you, Mister Man." Carly gives him a kiss on the temple. "Your baby brother and I appreciate it." Carly pats her stomach.

"Or Sister." Sonny reminds. He takes the seat next to Carly.

"This time next month." Carly reminds them both then bites her lip and looks away. This wasn't the way it was supposed to be. Sure put on a happy face for Michael, for Sonny but it was supposed to be different this time. She'd have the baby at the hospital, with her mother around.. awake this time although plenty of drugs would be nice. She wouldn't almost bleed to death. The baby would be fine. Sonny would hand out cigars. "Hell, I might even have one."

"One what, Mama?" Michael asks.

Carly realizes she'd said the last aloud. "A cigar to celebrate when the baby is born. I didn't get to have one when you were born."

"They're nasty." Michael says disapprovingly.

Carly sighs and looks at Sonny. "You're turning him into the good for you police aren't you? I'll have you know that my doctor says I can have anything I want. If I want to have pizza for breakfast... then I have pizza for breakfast. And as long as I take my vitamins nobody says a word."

Sonny opens his mouth unable to resist the temptation but Carly reaches out and puts a finger across his lips.

"Not one word."


It would be so easy to just kill him. Pick up one of the sculptures and bring it down on his head. Repeat as needed. Killing Alcazar was just the beginning of the problem. Getting out alive afterward-- that would be the trick. And with a pregnant wife and Michael... it is too big a risk. Every day he isn't with Carly, Sonny plans how he'll get his wife out of Alcazar's clutches. Working the steps: a) kill Alcazar b) get out of the compound c) get to the jeep d) get to the airfield e) get the pilot to get the plane up in the air f) get the hell out of here and back to his own turf.

And every step of the way is an unreasonable risk to his wife and children. His heart and gut know that the only way for Carly to be free is if he abandoned his family; something he just can't do. If Carly wasn't important then Alcazar would either let her go or he would kill her. Another unacceptable risk. "Carly's due next month."

"Yes, the doctor keeps me informed of her progress." Alcazar agrees with a nod. He already knows where this is going. "He will be moving in as she nears her date."

"She should be home surrounded by family, with her own doctor!" Sonny takes a step forward and then gathering up every bit of his control takes a step back, clenching his hands at his side. "Carly needs to deliver in a hospital. You don't know what happened... before."

"Which time? When her son was born or when she lost your baby? I made sure that the Doctor had a complete copy of her medical records."

"If anything happens to Carly..." Sonny threatens.

"You'll what?" Alcazar says dismissively. "Break something? Threaten to kill me? Your wife will have the best of care and she's safer here than she ever was living with you. She's no good to me dead."

Sonny flushes at that. It wasn't anything he hadn't told himself in one form or another ever since Carly had been taken from the church. And even before. He'd tried to walk away from Carly and it had never stuck. Mostly because Carly would never let it. That and that he needed her like air. "Best of Care?! Eating pizza for breakfast?"

Alcazar shakes his head at that one. "The doctor is concerned about your wife's blood pressure. Making her diet an issue was raising it and causing more potential harm than an occasional bag of chips. She takes her vitamins, eats as she likes..." Alcazar shrugs. "The question now is which is better for your wife's blood pressure-- your presence or your absence."

"Don't even go there." Sonny says flatly but he's already breaking out in a cold sweat.

"Then don't upset her while you're here. Or you won't be back until after the baby is born."


Carly helps Michael repack his backpack but is distracted by the album that Jason had Michael bring. Trust Jason to think of this. Carly traces the pictures. Just like Ferncliffe. Every day she's away not wanting her to miss anything. Carly wipes at her face.

"Do you like it?" Michael worries.

"It's beautiful, baby. You and Uncle Jason did a great job."

"When are you coming home, Mama?"

"I don't know, Mister Man. I hope soon."

"It's my fault. I should have yelled when the mean man took you away. I should have screamed and kicked him and made him stop."

"No! No, it was not your fault, Michael." Carly takes Michael by the arm and pulls him close so that he is standing right by her. She sits down on his bed to bring them more to eye level. "Ric is the one that took me from the church. He's the only one to blame. You didn't do anything wrong. You told Daddy. You told Uncle Jason."

"Daddy didn't believe me." Michael says bitterly.

Carly takes a deep breath at that. "I think he did. In his head, in his heart he believed you. But he didn't want to, baby. Because Ric was supposed to be family. And family doesn't do that to each other."

"Like the Quartermaines."

"What do you mean, like the Quartermaines?" Carly demands.

"They're supposed to be family too. That's what AJ says. He says he's my family."


"I know he's just biological. And that Sonny is my real Daddy." Michael says flatly.

"I don't want you to be confused by this, honey. And I want you to promise me that you will never, ever, ever get in a car when AJ is driving."

"That's what Uncle Jason says too." Michael nods. "We used to just hang out in the garden and play with the dogs and that was okay. But then it started getting cold and now we just hang out in the house. I don't like that. Grandma Lila is okay but Grandpa Edward is weird and he always has a look on his face." Michael scowls to show his mother what he means. "And he's always saying mean things about Daddy."

"In front of you?"

"Well he's kinda loud."

Carly sighs. There was so much she really wanted to say and if she were back in Port Charles that old goat would pay for messing with Michael. Carly takes a deep breath and then exhales. "He is isn't he? Michael, Grandpa Edward is...." Carly tries again. "Well he's kinda sad. And I've never really heard him say anything nice to anybody... Except maybe Lila and everyone is nice to her. So it's no surprise to me that he says mean things about your Daddy. He says mean things to everyone, about everyone. You know I think maybe his shoes are too tight. Remember how grumpy you were when you were growing out of your shoes and they pinched your feet? You were always scowling too."

"Then why doesn't he buy some new ones?"

"I know! That would make the most sense wouldn't it?" Carly rises to her feet and picks up Michael's backpack. "It's almost time, Mr. Man."

"I want you to come with, Mama. I want you to come home and be with me and Daddy and Uncle Jason. Everyone is so sad. And Daddy says that Ric can't hurt anyone now; that it's really safe. That's why I don't have to stay on the island anymore and you can come home too."

"I need to stay here just a little bit longer, Michael."

"Then I want to stay too!" Michael demands. "I want to be with you and the baby! You need me!"

"I always need you, Mister Man. Always." Carly covers his face in kisses and tears. "But I'm okay. I'll come home soon."

"You promise?" Michael reads Carly's hesitation in answering and starts yelling. "Grandpa Edward says you're never coming back! And that Daddy doesn't really want me. But I'll be okay at St. Swithens like Dillon." Carly's vision starts narrowing around the sides and spots start forming in front of her eyes. Her hands fall away from Michael and she puts a hand out against the wall to support herself. She slides down the wall her legs collapsing from under her. "MAMA! MAMA wake up! MAMA!" Michael races out onto the balcony overlooking the courtyard and starts yelling for help. "Daddy, Mama fell down! She won't wake up! Daddy!"

Sonny and Alcazar who had been on the opposite side of the compound on the balcony by Alcazar's quarters start running along the balcony that goes around the whole second floor. Sonny brushes Michael aside and races to his wife. Alcazar stands in the doorway. Sonny lifts Carly up onto the bed and sits down next to her. "Carly. Come on, Baby. Open your eyes."

"What happened?" Alcazar demands of Michael.

"I didn't mean to yell at Mama." Michael starts tearing up.

"Your mother is used to yelling." Alcazar points a thumb in Sonny's direction. "He yells all the time. It isn't how you said it. So tell me exactly what you said."

"I told her what Grandpa Edward said."

Sonny groans at that. "Carly. Come on. Don't do this."

Alcazar comes over to the bed and rolls his eyes. Emotional. Romantic. Useless. "Go get a washcloth, wet it and then wring it out, boy." Michael races to do his bidding. In the mean time Alcazar takes a spare pillow and puts it under Carly's feet.

"She needs a doctor."

"She just fainted. Probably her blood pressure." But Alcazar is already reaching for his cell phone. The only phone in the whole compound that isn't locked up. After a brief conversation, Alcazar hangs up. "He's on his way from the clinic."

Michael comes racing back with the washcloth and hands it to Sonny who folds it and puts it on Carly's forehead. "Is Mama going to be okay?"

"Yes." Sonny says quickly to reassure the boy.

While Alcazar says at the same time. "No."

"Don't be messin' with my kid!" Sonny gets to his feet and puts both hands on Michael's shoulders.

"The baby has given your mother high blood pressure." Alcazar continues to speak to Michael. "When the blood pressure gets too high then she does things like that." Alcazar points to the bed where Carly is still out cold. "Things that upset your mother cause the blood pressure to get high. Fish for dinner. Broccoli. When the satellite goes out during Sex and the City. Very easy to fix. Don't have fish for dinner. Don't serve Broccoli. Make sure that someone is taping her favorite show. Now. What did you tell your mother that upset her, so that it can be fixed." Alcazar demands of the youngster who takes a step back and closer to Sonny.

"Back off." Carly mutters reaching up to grab at the washcloth.

"Mama!" Michael races to the bed.

"Carly." Sonny takes his wife's hand.

"Leave the washcloth where it is. The doctor is on his way." Alcazar orders.

"This is such bullsh.. baloney." Carly mutters. Being the center of attention is one thing but she was going to pay for this one in naps and needles. Lorenzo Alcazar might have been reasonable about the chips but he isn't a coddler. That's why the hunger strike would never work with him the way it did with Ric. Alcazar would have gone straight for the force feedings.

"Michael." Alcazar demands again.

"I told Mama about Grandpa Edward wanting me to go to St. Swithens."

"What on earth is St. Swithens?" Alcazar asks blankly.

"Boarding school." Carly sits up tossing the washcloth on the bedside table.

"Michael, I told you that wasn't going to happen. Edward was just talking about something he knows nothing about." Sonny tries to reassure his son.

"You said..." Michael shuts his mouth and decides to not say anything.

Sonny is about to ask him what he was going to say when Carly squeezes Sonny's hand in a nonverbal request to let her handle it. "Michael, I was wondering if you could get me a glass of juice from the fridge downstairs?" Carly requests waiting until Michael has left the room to rail at the men. "You don't interrogate my son! Ever!"

Both of Alcazar's brows go up at that as he just stares at his hostage. For a woman who was just recovering from a faint, Carly seemed to hit the ground running with her demands. "I will leave you and your husband to settle this. The doctor will be here soon. Then it will be time for Mr. Corinthos and your son to leave." Alcazar goes out onto the balcony and moves far enough away to be out of sight.

"Michael shouldn't even know a place like St. Swithens exists! What the hell is going on back in Port Charles?" Carly says in a low hiss knowing that Michael will be back any moment and that Alcazar is probably still outside listening.

"It's those damn visits." Sonny admits. "Jase and I can't be there. Jase asked Emily to keep an eye on things..."

"Didn't you tell me she's got cancer and is too tired to go further than the bathroom? To puke? Sonny!"

"I know. I know." Sonny sits down next to Carly and takes her hand again. "And I don't like it, Baby. But maybe boarding school isn't such a bad idea. Not St. Swithens. But somewhere safe. Somewhere away from the territory, away from the Quartermaines. Just until things settle down."

Carly pulls her hand away from Sonny pulling it back toward her sharply and in a fist. "I can't believe that you...."

"And how is the little Mama this evening? I hear we had an episode?" The doctor bustles into the room without knocking. He comes over to Carly and takes her fisted hand and starts taking her pulse it only takes about thirty seconds for him to start tsking. "Excuse me, could you wait outside while I run a few tests."

"I'm her husband." Sonny asserts himself trying to get out from under the edict.

"Yes, and I'll be right out with the results." The doctor smiles kindly but firmly waiting for Sonny to step out on the balcony. He opens up his bag and pulls out the blood pressure cuff. With sure movements he runs it up Carly's bare arm above the elbow and fastens it down.


Sonny walks into the penthouse in Port Charles like a man wearing a hundred pound weight around his neck.

At the sound of the door opening, Jason is already on his feet with Courtney not far behind him. "How's Carly? Did she look.... Where is Michael? Sonny, where the fuck is Michael?!"

"With Carly." Sonny throws his keys onto the desk.

"This can't be happening!" Courtney interjects. "This is insane! How many hostages does Alcazar want! You've given him everything that he's asked for! Done everything. Why does he need Michael too?"

"Courtney, leave it alone." Jason reads Sonny's face. "I need to talk to Sonny."

Courtney starts to protest but Jason has business face on. Her lover is a pushover 99% of the time. It was the only way to really explain the bond between him and Carly. But when Business Face came on don't even bother to argue. "I'm sure that Rosie needs a walk." Courtney shakes her head.

"Take Max with you." Jason suggests but doesn't look away from Sonny. He tilts his head to the side when Courtney gives him a kiss on the cheek. He waits until the door shuts. "There is no way in hell you'd leave Michael with Alcazar. If he has Michael then he can make Carly do anything he wants! It makes Carly's situation worse!"

"Don't you think I know that?!" Sonny yells. He sweeps everything off his desk with a vicious swing. "Don't you think I know?! Don't you think that I offered to stay behind?! To be the hostage if he would just let Carly go?! You aren't the only one that loves Carly, Jason. She's my wife. He's my son. Don't you think I would do..." Sonny crosses over to the couch and collapses on it his shaking hands holding his head.

Jason takes the seat across from Sonny and leans forward. "What happened?"

"Carly found out about the Quartermaines. The visits. St. Swithens. It sent her blood pressure thru the roof and she fainted right in front of Michael."

"Carly's having problems with her blood pressure?"

"Yeah." Sonny looks up at his second in command. "Why wouldn't she? She's been under stress this whole time. First thinking that the baby might be Ric's and then the kidnapping and now this. The Quartermaines acting like she's dead and going after Michael. I was this close to having Alcazar convinced to take me instead when the doctor came out from checking Carly. She's due next month, Jason."

Jason groans. "The doctor said no flying."

"And that with Carly's history that she shouldn't be away from the clinic, from the doctor."

"But how does that explain Michael?"

"Worrying about the Quartermaines sent Carly's blood pressure thru the ceiling! Damn it!" Sonny rises and starts to pace. "If I hadn't tried that deal with the Feds... If Faith wasn't staying here... I made it easy for the Quartermaines."

"If, if, if." Jason dismisses the scenarios. Too damn late for that and it wasn't doing any good anyway. "Talked to Agent Brown while you were down there. He's getting stone walled by the US State Department, by the Venezuelan authorities."

"But Carly's a US citizen!" Sonny protests.

"And we can't say for sure that she is in Venezuela. " Jason admits. "But I don't think that's it."

Sonny looks at Jason with a dawning horror. "You think she's in the middle of a turf war."

"Yeah. One that the FBI already lost since Alcazar is out of the country. Luis had high level protection. CIA type protection. WSB type protection."

"The king is dead, long live the king." Sonny mutters.

"Hunh?" Jason looks at him blankly.

"If something happened to me... you would take over and everyone knows it. Along with the fact that any deal I made you'd honor."

"Exactly." Jason agrees getting the analogy now. "The FBI wants Lorenzo out of business but he's got a deal going with someone higher up. Same deal that Luis made."

"You think I give a rat's ass who Sonny is meeting with?!" Faith snarls at the guard on the door as she bursts in.

"Sorry Boss." Johnny takes the door handle with a sigh and closes it behind him.

"Let me just get rid of her." Jason tells Sonny. He snaps his fingers. "Clean, neat... permanent. It would be a dead issue with the Quartermaines. She's useless to the Feds unless she makes another deal-- this time to take you down."

"What is going on?" Faith looks from one to the other. Maybe this was really a bad idea, bad time.

"Make sure we aren't disturbed." Sonny tells Jason. He starts taking off his suit jacket and rolling up his sleeves.

"I don't think this is such a good idea, Sonny." Jason warns.

"Nah. I'm just gonna make sure this whore gives a rats ass when she interrupts my business in the future." Sonny snarls.

Faith starts backing toward the door.

Jason is torn between stopping what is going to happen and following Sonny's directive. Just killing Faith would be cleaner, more humane really. But what had she done to deserve that generosity? And if it stopped Sonny from withdrawing into himself... Jason sighs. "Let me know if you need a clean up."

"You can't let him do this!" Faith protests.

"Yes, I can." Jason pushes Faith away from the door and leaves the two enemies alone.

Faith decides the only way out of this one is to brazen it out. "Bad day huh? How about you and me go to the No Name. Have a few drinks a nice dinner get a little perspective on things."

"I only have one question. What is it going to take for you to shut your fucking mouth?!"

Faith sees her long, painful, drawn-out death in Sonny's rage filled eyes. Should have gone with Jason. He would have taken her out in the woods and shot her like a dog but it would have been over. She and Roscoe would have been together again somewhere at the bottom of the Charles River. She swallows hard and starts angling herself around. Sonny was between her and the front door besides if she went out via the lobby there was no guarantee that Johnny or Jason wouldn't just catch her and throw her back into the lion's den. Sonny had spit on her before, kissed her before, tore her clothes off, grabbed her but he'd never actually hit her. But she'd never seen him like this either. If she could just get away from him until he calmed down... until he passed out. Faith starts backing away back toward the stairs. If she could just get to the guest room... the bathroom actually had a deadbolt on it. She makes a run for it.

Sonny flings the glass that he is holding in his hand in her direction and it shatters against the wall behind the stairs. Faith instinctively flinches but keeps moving. If she could just get to the bathroom...


"You were just trying to get out of school." Carly says as she tucks Michael into bed. "Don't think that you're foolin' me, Mr. Man."

"I missed you, Mama."

"I missed you too, Michael. So much." Carly leans over and gives her son a smooch on the forehead. She dims the lights and walks over to the balcony. "If you need me, baby, just call and I'll be here."

"And your blood pressure it's all better now?" Michael worries.

"You're the best medicine a Mama could ever have. Now close your eyes. Morning will be here soon enough." Carly goes out onto the second floor balcony that functions as a hallway around the compound. Carly walks out to the railing and stands there for a minute with her eyes closed just inhaling the fragrance of the flowers below.

"Is your son settled in?"

"Yes." Carly says flatly.

"It's better this way."

"Better for whom?" Carly turns and demands.

"Better than taking him from whatever boarding school he was stuck in. Less... stressful."

"Sonny would never have let that happen." Carly defends. "Boarding school I mean. He knows how I feel about that. That's the Quartermaines, trying to turn Michael into a little drone. It's not going to happen."

"No, it's not. Because your son is here with his mother. Where he belongs."

"No, Michael and I both belong in Port Charles."

"You heard the doctor. You are too close to your due date to be moved."

"Oh please give me a BREAK!" Carly ends her protest with a yell and then looks over her shoulder to the room where Michael was hopefully already falling off to sleep. Her voice drops down to a hiss and she takes a step closer to Alcazar so that he can hear her. "You could care less! If you wanted me out of here I'd be on a plane already. You're rich, Sonny's rich. It's not like I'd be riding in coach! The doctor is saying what you want him to say."

Alcazar grins at her. "Yes, and your fainting went a long way toward making my case. Thank you for that."

"You son of a bitch." Carly goes at Alcazar claws extended.

Lorenzo grabs both of her arms and forces them down to her sides. "Ah ah ah. None of that."

Carly pulls away and takes a step back rubbing where Alcazar had held her arms. "This has never made any sense! Alexis killed your brother. Not Sonny. It's not Sonny's fault that Brenda was wacked in the head! Okay I know she wasn't like... diseased as far as I know--although Luis made her think that she was. It's not Sonny's fault that Brenda couldn't let Anyone be happy. Why don't you go hold her hostage?! Or how about Alexis?! Take that bitch out! But leave us alone! Michael and I didn't do anything to you. Just let us go!"

"No." Alcazar smiles again and then taking out a cigar lights it. "Anything else?"

"You can't do this."

"I already have. Get some sleep. I believe you told him..." Alcazar refers to the room where Michael sleeps. "... morning will come soon enough. And I suspect if your son is anything like his mother, he will be a handful. A handful whose conduct you are responsible for."



The next day

Lorenzo feels the hair go up on the back of his neck and quickly runs thru the possibilities. He switches to Spanish with the person he is talking to on the phone and terminates the call as quickly as possible. "Where is your mother, boy?" Alcazar says in a voice that carries.

Michael comes from the courtyard into the room where Alcazar is sitting behind a desk. Sonny hardly ever worked at his desk preferring the table or the couch. Uncle Jason was the same way. The desk is just a place to lock things up. "Sleeping."

Alcazar grunts. "The baby in addition to giving your mother high blood pressure makes her sleep in most mornings."

Michael shakes his head.

"You don't agree?"

"Mama always sleeps in in the morning. She says mornings are evil and that alarm clocks are the work of the devil. I asked Father Coates if that was true. He said Mama might be mistaken about mornings but that she has a point about alarm clocks."

"That explains a lot." Alcazar says wryly. He leans back in his chair and gives Michael a glare. "And what does your mother say about listening to other people's conversations?"

"Don't get caught?" Michael shifts from foot to foot under Alcazar's stern gaze. "How else are you supposed to find anything out?! Mama does it all the time! I've heard Daddy talk like you do. In that other language. When he's talking to people in Puerto Rico or down in Miami. That's in Florida."

"Yes, I know where Miami is. The language is Spanish. That's what most people speak around here--Spanish, English, maybe some German but not around here. You should learn Spanish it would surprise your... father."

"How do you learn to speak Spanish?"

"The same way you learned to speak English. One word at a time." Alcazar stands up. "Are you ready to learn the rules of staying here?" It's a rhetorical question. "Follow me."

"Your house looks funny." Michael tells Alcazar as he half races to keep up with the man's longer strides.

"Why do you say that?" Lorenzo says absently.

"Cause most people have their yard on the outside rather than on the inside." Michael explains.

"Ah." Alcazar nods. "But you will appreciate why my house is this way."


"Because you already know that the world is not a safe place, boy. Outside you have to be concerned about people who would steal you or your mother."

"Like Ric." Michael nods knowingly.

"Like Ric." Alcazar agrees with a nod. "In order for you to be safe, your... father sent you to the island with your Aunt Courtney. And your mother is safe here so that she can focus on having the baby."

Michael nods again as he thinks about that. It made a certain sense. Daddy had sent him away. Only Uncle Jason had brought him back. And Uncle Jason had known from the start that Ric was a bad man.

"My home is designed for me to be comfortable and safe. I can enjoy the plants, the pool, the outdoors but inside the walls. Home is supposed to be somewhere to relax."

Michael thinks on it hard. Whenever Daddy got worried about something then he wasn't allowed to go to the park or on sleepovers. And that is no fun in the penthouse. Here you could at least go swimming or ride your bike. Once Mama had the baby maybe they could even go rollerblading. That would be fun up on the balcony. Michael looks up consideringly. "Can I go outside?" Michael asks.

"During the day. If you have Simon with you." Alcazar nods. "But always keep the compound within sight. It is unlikely that your mother will be accompanying you. She prefers the pool. So never go so far that you can't hear her call."

"That could be far." Michael offers with a smile. "Mama can be really loud."

"I've noticed."

"MICHAEL!" Carly comes out on the balcony, looking around frantically. Michael starts to run toward his mother but Alcazar puts a hand on Michael's shoulder restraining him.

Alcazar looks up at Carly. "The boy is here. He was in my office." He can see Carly blanch at that. "Perhaps you two should work out a plan for your days." Alcazar looks down at Michael. "So that you are not in my office." And then up at Carly. "And so you keep your blood pressure down. The doctor says that you need to start taking siestas."

"What's a siesta?" Michael looks up at Alcazar.

"It's your first Spanish word. It means nap. Every afternoon. Make sure it happens."

"I will."

"Bueno. Good." Alcazar drops the hands on Michael's shoulders and the boy goes running up the stairs to the second floor balcony where Carly is white knuckling the railing. Alcazar gives Carly a crooked grin a brief salute before turning around and going back toward his office.

Carly takes Michael's hand when he races up to her. "Don't do that again, Michael."

"What Mama?" Michael frowns wondering what he'd done.

"Don't bug Mr. Alcazar." How in the hell do I say something without scaring my son? "He's an extremely busy business man. He likes to be alone so he can concentrate. We're his... guests not his friends."


Back Home Next