Chapter Seventeen

"I don't abuse women," Sonny corrected suddenly. He smiled as she glared. "And when I use them, it's a mutual thing. I don't just take, like some men I've met. I give, usually more than I get."

"But you always have expectations."

"Call them high hopes." He continued to smile. "And you look like you could use a little giving right now." He took off his new jacket and draped it around her soggy shoulders. "I expect nothing in return. Not even my jacket back."

The woman shrugged out of it. "I don't want your jacket, mister, but thanks for the thought. It's warm out tonight."

"Then how about a ride to wherever you were going?"

"Momma told me never to get into a car with a stranger."

"No problema. I'll introduce myself and then I won't be a stranger anymore."

"Not interested."

"I'll call you a taxi."

"Then I'd be indebted to you because my purse went with the guy who pushed me into the water, and I can't pay."

"I'm open to suggestions."

"Just leave me alone. I can take care of myself."

"Like you took care of yourself a few minutes ago?"

She flushed at that. "He caught me off guard."

"Look, Ms..."

"Scott, Hannah Scott." She gave a smile that sent Sonny reeling, warming him to his toes.

"That your real name?"

"It's the one I'm using at present."

"Corinthos. Sonny Corinthos."

"I've heard of you." She backed off a bit. "And not all of it was good."

"I'll have to talk with my PR agent. I must be paying him too much."

"Look, Mr. Corinthos. I need to be going. But, thanks for your concern."

With that, she turned and quickly walked away. Sonny watched until she was out of sight, then called his bodyguard. "Did you get a look at whoever pushed her in?"

"It was that little twerp who calls himself Dutch."

"Put the word out that he'd better bring the purse to me, complete with everything that was in it, and he'd better do it by midnight tonight."

"And after he does?" That the purse would be returned was never in doubt.

"See that he doesn't bother anybody ever again. We've got to make the docks safe for our citizens."

"I told you that I could find him," Robin said to Zandor. "He was where I said he'd be."

Zandor shook his head. "And you think that I could use him? He's entirely too predictable."

"He's not stupid, Zandor," Robin countered. "And, he'd be a real asset to us. He knows Port Charles better than either of us. He's lived in some strange places, and he knows how Sonny thinks."

"True. Could you vouch for his loyalty to us? To the WSB?"

"Zandor, if he says that he will, he will."

"Didn't he pledge something similar to Sonny?"

"Wait a minute," Jason injected. He turned to Robin. "Look-I can speak for myself. I know that you think that I'm brain damaged, and yeah, I had a head injury. But, I can think, plan, and carry out those plans. I'm improving all the time. I didn't tell Sonny everything, but I can do things that used to be nearly impossible for me. Give me a chance, Zandor."

"And what about the mob? What about Sonny? What if you have to choose between him and me? Will you guard my back, or the back of whoever I assign you to work with, or will you still be loyal to Sonny?"

"I promised him..."

"Exactly." Zandor shook his head. "You're the kind of guy I'd love to recruit, but until you're sure of your loyalties, I can't trust you."

Jason paused, then looked at Zandor. "You can trust me. I can't ever return to the Quartermaines, but I can't return to Sonny, either. No, make that won't on both counts. I know them for what they are, and I have to be who I am."

"And who are you?"

"Jason. Just Jason."

"That works," Zandor grinned, suddenly. "I vowed never to use my last name again, and I haven't." He extended his hand. "Zandor."

"So who is Zandor and how do you know him?" Alexis asked Jax as they flew to Port Charles.

"His identity is something of a mystery," Jax answered. "But I met him about fifteen years ago in Milan. He was working for some guy in Monaco, some casino operator, if I remember correctly, as a trouble shooter."

"You mean a paid assassin, or what?"

Jax laughed. "Not quite. The casino operator had connections on both sides of the law, and Zandor played whichever hand he was dealt, so to speak."

"What about that scar on his neck?"

Jax shook his head. "Zandor never says much about it, but it looks like someone tried to cut his throat."

Alexis shuddered. "Helena did that to my mother."

"So I've heard. Tell me, Alexis. Why haven't you finished the old hag off yourself?"

Alexis shrugged. "I guess I'm just not a cold blooded killer."

"You're not going to try to tell me that the rumors I've heard about a certain parapet incident are not true?"

"What rumors?" Alexis asked, suddenly. Too suddenly.

"I see. Alexis, my dear, stick to corporate raiding and legal maneuvering. You're right about not having the instincts of a killer." He leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes for a few seconds. "One thing more. Could you kill to save yourself or someone you love from imminent danger?"

"Any luck on the Bell body?" Mac asked as Garcia dragged himself into the office.

Garcia poured himself a cup of coffee, downed it black, then refilled the mug with more. This time, he added sugar and powdered creamer.

"Awake yet?"

"Barely. Taggert and I spent last night interrogating everybody and their pet cat from GH who might have had contact with the Bell body."


"It's creepy, Mac. Everybody has suddenly wondered who would steal a body. You wouldn't believe the rumors that I've been told. One guy said that he didn't believe that she'd survived from before, that this wasn't the real Kathryn Bell, that the real Ms. Bell had died in that fall at Wyndemere. Another one thought that she was alive again, just like before. Someone else said that they thought they'd seen her corpse parading around in the cafeteria at 3 am, and so we had to go there, just to make sure. Turns out that one of the patients from the fifth floor had gotten hungry and slipped past the fifth floor nurse's desk."

Taggert slouched in, making a beeline for the coffeepot. He poured himself a large mug of the life restoring elixir and drank deeply.

"Good to see you made it."

"It's too soon to tell," Taggert responded. "Man, remind me not to go the hospital in the middle of the night. There are really strange people lurking around there in the wee hours."

"So I'm to assume that neither of you learned anything about Ms. Bell's body's whereabouts?"

"She's not in the morgue, not in any of the local mortuaries, or anywhere else you'd expect to find a dead body," Garcia told him.

"But she didn't just get up and march off." Mac pointed out. "She was quite dead. Indeed, she'd been dead for a few hours before she was brought in. We have evidence to that effect."

"We know that, Commish. We've questioned everybody from the guy who loaded her into cold storage to the night watchman, who, by the way, is one very weird dude." Tag shrugged again. "Guess I'd be weird too, if I stood guard over dead bodies all the time. But, the thing is that nobody saw anything conclusive."

"Window of opportunity?"

"The guard took a bathroom break at around 2:47 am and was gone for about five minutes. That's the only time that he was out of viewing distance of the door to the morgue."

"Okay, so whoever swiped the body did so then." Mac looked at both cops. "But why?"

"My guess is that Helena Cassadine had something to do with it," Garcia told him, and Mac nodded in agreement.

"Same here, but we can't exactly waltz up to her door and ask if she's taken up body-snatching on the side."

"Why not?" Tag asked. "She's done it before. If not for her, Kat would have stayed dead the first time."

"There's no need to ask me," Helena said as she strolled up to Mac's desk. With an air of disdain, she surveyed the room, noting the men and women who paused to note her entrance. "I see that my reputation precedes me."

"It's not everyday that we get a Cassadine visiting us," Mac said, wondering why the sight of the woman made his skin crawl. "I take it you're here to offer us some insight on the disappearance of Kathryn Bell's body?"

"My son tells me that his hospital seems to have misplaced the body. This does not surprise me," she confided. "After all, he managed to misplace Lesley Webber for years, all the while telling people that she was dead when she was alive."

"But you were able to help save Ms. Bell's life before," Mac pointed out. "Perhaps you've done the same again?"

"She wasn't dead the first time," Helena told them. "Merely injured. I put her into a healing sleep and secreted her away. She and I had something in common-we'd both been betrayed by the men we'd trusted and loved. Unfortunately, this time, she betrayed my trust and seduced my grandson. Would that I had left her to her previous fate."

"So why did you come down here?" Mac asked, curious.

"I want the body found, and I want an autopsy performed. From what I've heard, her behavior changed suddenly, unnaturally. I want to know if somebody used Ms. Bell as a tool with which to attempt to murder my grandson."