"Connor's made contact," Jared reported as Justin entered the office at Andrew's Vineyard. He'd filled in the other man as to all that Connor had told them.
Justin had nodded thoughtfully. "As long as he's looking after Lucy, she should be all right. But, Frisco? You said that he's missing?"
"The WSB has listed him as presumed dead," Jared told him. "But you and I both know what that means."
"Yes." That word conveyed a world of meaning, and not for the first time, Jared wondered about Justin's past.
"When are you going to tell me who you were and what happened to change your life?" Jared asked, finally. "We both know that your name isn't really Justin-that is, you weren't born with that name. Something tells me that if I made the effort, I'd learn that your last name wasn't always Devereaux."
"You'd learn that," Justin told him, taking the bottle of scotch off the shelf. He poured himself a stiff drink, and took a quick swallow. "You'd learn that because of who I was, and what I did, I endangered the lives of the people I loved. My own choices cost me dearly, Jared. You want names? I can give them. But, it won't change what happened. I made the choice to walk away, to set her free to live and love again. The man I was is dead. And, the woman I loved is dead, too. Her past caught up with her a while back, and the choices she'd made were as deadly as my own. But, now, I have a chance at a new life." He took another swallow of the drink and laid it out very neatly. "I'm in love with Rosemary, Jared. I know that she's still officially married to your brother, Gilbert, but he's left her alone too long. Rosemary is divorcing him, and if she'll have me, I intend to marry her. A man doesn't always get another chance in his life-and I've been given this one. Believe me when I say that I'll treasure her always."
"Make sure you do that," came a voice from the doorway. Gilbert Andrews stood there, having heard Justin's announcement. "Rosemary deserves far more than me." He entered the office and helped himself to the scotch. "She probably deserves more than you, too, but if she loves you..."
"I haven't asked her," Justin admitted, turning to face Gil. "You're every sort of a fool, you know."
"More than you'd think," Gil told him. "More than I ever knew, but not so much a fool as not to know when I need help."
"If it's regarding Rosemary, you'll get no help from me." Justin was blunt, and Jared watched the interplay between the two men with interest.
"I've caused Rosemary enough pain in the past to get between her and a man who's in love with her," Gil said, equally bluntly. "If she loves you, and she wants you..."
"You're in no position to be setting qualifications," Justin informed him. "You left this vineyard and your wife a while back."
"And you've tended both?" Gil couldn't resist one last jab.
"In a word, yes." Justin defied him to make any objection, but to his amazement, Gil grinned.
"She's a good woman, Justin. See that you are as good a man."
"Uh, can anybody get in on this conversation?" Jared injected. Gil and Justin faced him, each still a bit wary of the other. "You, Gil, said something about needing help. What brought you back to the vineyard?"
"If this is a family matter," Justin began, "I'll be leaving."
"No need for that," Gil told him. "I just came back to let Rosemary know that I won't get in the way of the divorce, and that I'll be out of touch for a while."
"Something wrong?" Jared asked, concerned.
"I don't know," Gil answered. "There are some things that I need to check into, but I won't be staying at the cabin for the foreseeable future."
"So how can we reach you?" Jared asked. "You got a number?"
"Just an e-mail address," Gil told him, handing him a piece of paper. "Leave me messages there, and I'll check it on a regular basis."
"You want to talk about this?" Jared asked. "Just dropping out of sight? This isn't like you."
"It is now," Gil replied. "When I get the answers I need, I'll be back."
"If you need help," Jared said, "Just ask. I have a lot of friends with connections."
"Maybe later," Gil responded, turning to Justin. He extended his hand, and said, "I'm going over to the house to say good bye to Rosemary. Give me a few minutes, and check on her. Okay?"
"I'll do it," Justin nodded, curiously moved by the other man's gesture. "And, good luck."
"What do you mean, he's not home?" Luke demanded, as he spoke to Ruby over the phone. "I told him to go to your place right after school every day."
"I know that," Ruby answered. "And, he's done that every day but today. He should have been here an hour ago, but he hasn't showed up."
"Damn! Have you checked with any of his friends?"
"None of them have seen him. Sly said that he thought he saw Lucky over by your club, but when I asked Sonny, he said he hadn't seen him. Have you heard anything from Laura yet?"
"Not a word," Luke answered. "I guess that means that you haven't, either."
"Nothing. Luke, you want to tell me what's going on? Has Laura left you? Do you think that she took Lucky, too?"
"That's not an option," Luke told her, unequivocally. "Laura knows that she couldn't take Lucky. But, if he'd thought he'd seen her, he might have tried to do something."
"What do you want me to do?"
"Just sit tight, Ruby. I'll make a few calls and see if I can get some help."
"Aren't you coming home?"
"Expect me when you see me," Luke told her cryptically. "That's all I can say, for sure. But, if Lucky shows up, tell him that he's to stick to the plan-no variations."
Ruby hung up the phone in the diner, as Tom Hardy entered. "Hi, Ruby. Have you seen Felicia today?"
Ruby gave him a withering glance. "Just leave her alone, Tom. She's got her hands full finding a new place to live."
"I was going to offer to help."
"Like you helped Luke and Laura?" Ruby spoke her mind. "No thanks, Tom. Mac is helping her, and between the two of us, I think he's better for her than you ever were."
Clearly offended by her statement, Tom, nonetheless, tried to maintain his composure. "Have you heard from Luke since he left town?"
"And if I have?" Ruby was in no mood to be cooperative. "If I had, I wouldn't tell you. Now, don't you have somewhere else to be?"
As she spoke, the door to the diner opened, and a lovely young woman dressed in white entered. She gave a stunning smile to Tom, who was clearly surprised to see her. "Angela?"
"Tom! So nice to see you again." Angela extended her well manicured hand and continued. "It's been far too long!"
As Tom hustled her out of the diner, Ruby shook her head. What was it about Tom and blondes lately?
"I've gotta call Sonny," Luke explained to Marty. "If he hears that Lucky is missing, and I haven't asked for his help, he'll be suspicious."
"I agree. You still feel that Corinthos feels some loyalty to you?"
"I do," Luke told her. "No matter what you tell me he's mixed up in, he wouldn't hurt Lucky, or me. He's not that kind of a guy."
"I sincerely hope you're right. We know that he's doing business with one of our targets, and we know what was shipped. We have enough evidence to put him away for a very long time."
"I don't believe that he would - hell, Marty. I know what he is, that he plays fast and loose with the law, but this is different."
"Luke, I understand friendship-but this man is the head of a powerful East coast mob. He's a criminal. The only reason we haven't busted him already is that he's just a pawn in this whole affair."
"And I have a bone to pick with him," Robert injected as he strode up to join them. "He's endangered my daughter."
"She knows what he is," Marty reminded Robert. "She also knows exactly what Jason is, and she's done what she thinks best."
"But Robert," Luke began, "he's been paying for her treatment. He's done everything he can for her."
"With his ill-gotten gains," Robert reminded him. "Yeah, Corinthos is generous with his blood money."
"Robert, he's not as bad as that."
"Luke Spencer, you're a fool."
"He's saved my life. I owe him."
"I can appreciate that," Marty injected, diplomatically. "But, Corinthos is still accountable for his actions, Luke. Make no mistake about that."
"And if he's knowingly working with Faison, or his cohorts, he's going down," Anna said, joining them. "I'm sorry, Luke, but you have to understand that for Faison, there is no depth of depravity too deep to plumb. He's embraced evil completely in his quest for power."
"Anna, you of all people should know that a man can make mistakes. I heard about Duke Lavery, and about your relationship with him."
Anna's expression grew shadowed. "Don't confuse Duke with Sonny," she told him. "Duke worked with us to get out of the mob, to bring down the mob. Your friend has done no such thing-rather, he's even brought Jason Quartermaine into the mob. Yes, Luke, I know quite well all that has been going on in Port Charles in recent years. I've been out of sight, but not without sight."
"Then you know that he's not behind the drugs in Port Charles."
"I also know what he is behind," Anna told him. "You think that money laundering is an acceptable thing? How about illegal gambling? Prostitution? Oh, Sonny doesn't run girls, but he gets a cut from the pimps who operate in Port Charles. How do you think those Cuban cigars you favor get into town? He gets a piece of that action, too."
"She's right, Luke," Robert told his old friend. "There is precious little criminal activity that goes on in Port Chuck that Sonny doesn't know about and take his cut from."
"He's going down," Marty told Luke, finally. "Sonny Corinthos will have to do some serious negotiating to get out of this, and at the very least, he'll lose his power base. Luke, we have hard evidence, the kind that makes a DA weep with joy."
Luke turned away from them, a troubled look on his face. "You're sure about his involvement with Matthews?"
"Absolutely. What we don't know is whether or not Sonny knew what was being shipped. He knew the destination, though."
Luke glanced at his friends, seeing determination and resolve on their faces. Marty, knowing the pain in his heart, said, "I'm sorry, Luke."
"So am I," Luke told her. "But Sonny may well be my only contact with Lucky, and I have to use whatever help I can get."
"We'll help out," Marty promised. "I've got people on it as we speak."
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