Christine closed the door and walked into the house she'd known and loved for years, the home she'd shared with her family. Oddly enough, it looked different. Alien, somehow. She looked around, seeing evidence of her brother-or was it half-brother? A baseball cap discarded on a chair, and a scruffy pair of soccer shoes that were, as always, dropped unceremoniously by the door. Christine shook her head and laughed softly. No matter how much some things changed, P.J. didn't. Oh, he got older, but the P.J. of today was the same kid she'd known all her life, reckless, sloppy and charming.
Christine paused by the mirror in the foyer and looked at herself, wondering why she didn't look any different when she was certain that she'd changed drastically. No, the mouth was the same, but the eyes were...a little like Jack's, she decided, wondering if she should be surprised. What should she do? She wondered. Her mother had to know, but Christine wasn't in the mood to talk about all of this tonight. Not yet, not until she'd figured out how to deal with this new information. Besides, she didn't want P.J. to know at all, if that was possible. Seeing a light on in the living room, she gathered herself together, put on her best smile, and walked in. "Hi, Mom, Dad. You're up late tonight."
"It's only...twelve-thirty," Suzi said, studying her daughter for clues as to her state of mind. "We were watching a movie."
"Really? We thought about that, but decided that we'd rather get to know each other. We went to a coffee shop and talked. He's working for Matthew's, now. I guess he thought there was more room for advancement there."
"What did you think about him?" Suzi asked, a little anxiously. "Was he nice?"
"He was okay," Christine answered, forcing a yawn. "I'm beat. Think I'll go to bed now. Good night."
As Christine walked out of the room, Peter turned to Suzi. "You want to talk with her tonight?"
Suzi shook her head. "No, I won't tell her unless she needs to know." Her eyes glistened with tears as Peter gathered her into his arms.
"Then maybe she'll never have to know."
"So, what have you learned about Taggert?" Sonny demanded of Jason who had come, dragging into the penthouse the following morning.
"I went to see Robin last night," Jason told him. "I didn't go to Brooklyn. By the way, Robin says hi, and to tell you that she's doing fine."
"I'm glad to hear that, but I need some information on that cop. There's something strange about him."
"What's strange about a cop who hates you? Man, if he wasn't on your case I'd be worried. You know about cops-it's when they're all nice and friendly that you have to sweat it." Jason bit into an apple that he'd taken from the bowl of fruit on the table.
"You don't think that I should be concerned?"
"Not exactly. I mean, there's nothing wrong with checking him out to see if we can get something on him, something useful, but face it, Sonny, if it wasn't for Robin, Mac would be just as much of a pain in the a**."
"You're probably right. But, I want you to check him out anyway."
"No sweat, man. I'm on it. Just be patient a little longer." He took another bite of the apple, and asked, "Any more word from that guy out west? The one with the stuff we stored in Beecher's Corners? Have you told him that it was shipped out this morning?"
"No, I'm going to let that ******* squirm for a day or two. It'll do him good. I told him that I would get the job done, but on my schedule. I'm not risking my *** so that he can look good to his customers. This operation depends on guaranteed delivery, and getting busted won't do anybody, me especially, any good."
Seeing a slight change in Sonny's attitude, Jason asked, "So, how's Brenda? Your contacts pulled up any more dirt on Jax?"
Scowling, Sonny answered, "Nothing new. Nothing that she doesn't already know about. He's as cutthroat as I am, but the SOB is legit as far as we can discover." Sonny shook his head. "You know, business men make enemies regardless of how honest they are. Just because I'm not strictly legit, Brenda won't have me. She thinks that I'm bad for her."
Jason nodded. "I understand how you feel, Sonny. It wasn't your fault that those guys almost killed her in your shower. Could have happened to anyone. There are random shootings, drive-by things everyday. And, people get kidnapped without having any mob connections. **** happens."
Sonny stared at Jason for a moment, wondering if he was being put on, but as usual, Jason's expression was completely deadpan. Sonny nodded thoughtfully. "And, I didn't give her the pills she's addicted to, did I? No, it was a doctor. A doctor, for heaven's sake! And it wasn't my fault that Lily got killed, was it?"
There. It was out. He'd finally said it. "Rivera arranged it through Harry. Lily and I had settled everything. If they'd just stayed out of our lives, everything would have been different."
"Yeah," Jason agreed, throwing the apple core away. He came back out of the kitchen. "But, it's business as usual. What's next on the agenda?"
"Yeah, business. Okay..."
"Here's what we know," Kevin reported to Marty and the rest of the group seated around the table. Luke Spencer, Robert Scorpio, Anna Devane Scorpio, Jared Andrews and Lucy Coe sat listening closely. "The man whom Jared brought in is the real Tom Hardy. We know this for a fact."
"Then, who is the other guy and what is he doing in Port Charles?" Luke asked. "There's almost got to be a Cassadine connection there-he's the guy who set us-my family-so we couldn't leave Port Charles. He's got to be."
"We tend to agree with you," Marty told him. "And, we also believe that Laura, Lulu and Lesley Webber are still alive, though we haven't received proof yet. It just makes no sense that a Cassadine, if that family is behind it, would kill them. Revenge, Cassadine style, is to inflict pain and watch the suffering, all the while knowing that they have the power to either increase, or end the agony. No way would they kill Laura knowing her value to them as a hostage, or a pawn. But, we also know that there is a Matthews' connection. Matthews' Medical Research, to be exact. It appears that whatever drugs Tom was given may have originated with them."
"I take it that we have someone inside?" Anna asked, her dark eyes flashing concern for Tom who had helped her in the past.
"We do," Jared nodded. "My son, Jack Johnson."
All eyebrows raised at that admission, and Marty turned a rosy pink. "Jared and I had a son some years ago. For his protection, I gave him to the Johnsons, though I've kept an eye on him over the years. Jared didn't know until the boy was seven, and...oh, damn, this is off the subject, but suffice it to say that we have a few family problems to iron out."
"I know a little about dysfunctional families," Kevin offered.
"So do I," Luke cracked.
"Thanks for your kind support," Marty muttered, "but we have to take care of this mess first. Our personal problems have to be checked at the door, so to speak. Anyway, one of my agents has reported that a shipment from Matthews' Medical Research, which was, oddly enough, computer equipment, was headed out for an unfriendly country in the Middle East this morning from a warehouse in Beecher's Corners. Naturally, the equipment will be discovered to be a complete waste of money, defective and impossible to repair. It will appear to be shoddy workmanship, rather than sabotage."
"Beecher's Corners?" Luke asked. "You mean on the East Coast?"
"Same place Laura has hidden out in the past," Marty nodded. "And your friend, Sonny Corinthos, was in charge of the shipment."
Luke was aghast. "Sonny? Shipping that stuff to our enemies?"
Robert turned to his long time friend. "Yeah. It appears that your buddy is sleeping with the enemy."
"Where did the computer equipment come from?" Lucy asked.
"I can answer that," came yet another familiar voice from the doorway. As he entered, the tall man peeled off a thick, gray mustache. Doffing a plaid hat, he grinned. "Greetings, my friends? Luke, too."
"Sean Donely," Luke said, standing up, with a heartfelt smile. "Thought I'd ended your career for good." He seized the other man's hand and pumped it up and down.
Sean turned to Marty and the others. "It took a little doing, but I've backtracked on the numbers that our operatives gave us. The stuff came from NETCo, a firm located out here, a firm we've had our eyes on for some time." He turned to Jared and said, "Been meaning to ask you about NETCo, and your relationship with Suzanne Castle. You were seen having lunch with her this week." He turned to Marty. "The links are forming, Marty. NETCo, Matthews, Sonny Corinthos, Tom Hardy and the fake Tom Hardy, The Spencers and the Cassadines, Jared and Faison."
"I don't like the sound of that," Jared said, sourly. "But I'll admit that there has to be a link if only because the girl I accidentally shot was there because I was tracking Faison."
"I don't like the sound of it, either," Luke injected. "But I'll admit to a friendship with Sonny. He's saved my bacon a time or two, and Tom Hardy, that is, the fake Tom Hardy, set me up. And, I'm dealing with the Cassadines, whether I like it or not. I don't know anything about NETCo or Matthew's."
"Maybe there is a connection," Marty wondered. "Didn't you say that Lesley Webber had apparently been on drugs for some time? We know that Matthew's has been developing new drugs for years. Sean, see if you can link them together."
Jared spoke up. "It strikes me as odd that Faison and Frank White should be at the same place, at the same time. What was Frank doing there, anyhow?"
"Nobody seems to know," Sean answered. "He didn't say, but we know that he was having family problems at that time. And, while there was no Cesar Faison registered at the hotel, the cottage where Faison was seen was registered to a D. B. Saxon, a literary agent."
"Faison is a writer," Anna added quickly. "He'd have connections in that field."
"Okay, people," Marty announced. "We have a lot of information, some seemingly unrelated, and I should have more information soon. Jared, you're friends with Suzanne Castles. Her husband, Peter, is president of NETCo-the legitimate front, we believe. See what you can find out there. Sean, stay on the connections between the Grand Bahamas leads and Faison. Anna, you and Robert will have to stay undercover a while longer, but you know best how Faison operates. Luke, I realize that you are looking for your wife and family, but we'd appreciate your help, especially since we believe that the Cassadines are involved. We may be beneficial to each other."
"Me, work for a spy outfit?"
"Like the good old days," Robert told him. "We'll bring down the Cassadines one more time."
"Then, what the hell, count me in!" Luke nodded.
"And Kevin, keep working with Tom Hardy. There must be more secrets buried in his memory, if you can unearth them."
"What about me?" Lucy asked, almost timidly. "I want to help."
Marty turned to her and said, "Lucy, your job will be two fold. On the surface, I want it to seem for the next few days, as if you are having a good time in spite of Kevin's involvement here. Then, get into a snit and leave town-go back to Port Charles. You can get close to Sonny since Luke is out of town."
"And the other?"
"Lucy, Luke came to you because of your psychic abilities. I've always believed in hard work, but I've never demeaned hunches, and gut instincts. If you can assist us psychically in any way, we'll be delighted. Just know that you can't reveal your role in this-partly because this is the nature of our business, and partly for your own safety. What do you say?"
"Wait a minute," Kevin said. "I don't want Lucy doing anything dangerous."
"This is my decision," Lucy told him. "Those people have hurt my friends, and loved ones. They kidnapped me." She turned to Marty. "I'm in. Imagine that! Lucy Coe, high powered business woman is really a psychic spy."
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