6 Years After - Stange Bedfellows: A Prequel by Jody


Rewrite The Wedding-That-Wasn't. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

6 years later  (A) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
     "Train in Vain"  covered by Annie Lennox on *Medusa*. . . . . . . . .9

6 years later (B). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     "You hurt me (and I hate you)"  by Eurythimics from *We Too Are One*11

6 years 19 months from the Wedding-that-Wasn't  (A). . . . . . . . . . . 18

6 years 19 months  (B) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

6 years 19 months (C). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
     "The Music of it All"  by Eleanor McEvoy from *Eleanor McEvoy*. . . 30

6 years 19 months (D). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
     "Nothing's the Same" by Gary Moore from *After Hours* . . . . . . . 33

6 years 19 months (E). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
     "The Promise" by Tracy Chapman from *New Beginnings*. . . . . . . . 41

6 Years 19 months (F). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
     "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabiel from *So*. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

6 years 19 months (G). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

6 years 19 months (H). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
     "I Dreamed a Dream"  by Boublil & Schonberg's Musical *
           Les Miserables*57

6 years 19 months (I). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
     Things Go Wrong by Chris Issac  *Forever Blue*. . . . . . . . . . . 62

6 years 19 months (J). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
     "You Learn" by Alanis Morisette from *Jagged Little Pill* . . . . . 63
     "Caramel" by Suzanne Vega from *Nine Objects of Desire* . . . . . . 67

I was not impressed with Sonny's departure. I would like to correct the flaws in logic and to have one more scene between Sonny & Brenda. After four years and emotions ranging the full gambit of love and hate, trust and betrayal, lust and disgust, we as fans, they as characters and as actors need to have closure. JMHO. So here goes......

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Rewrite The Wedding-That-Wasn't

We pick this up two hours before the wedding. Brenda has left for the church, Sonny is having his fantasy about Brenda blowing up like Lily blah blah blah. Jason comes down in his tux and Sonny tells him that he can't marry Brenda. He has to leave her, to protect her.

J: Are we going to the church?
S: No, you are.
J: What am I supposed to tell her?
S: Tell her is was a great ride.
J: This is wrong Sonny.
S: I can't think of any other way out of this, Jason. They'll kill her.
J: This is not the right way. You love her.
S: With ever fiber of my being and I won't see her killed. Not because of me. I must protect her.
J: Her or you?
S: You think I am doing this for me? What the hell is wrong with you. All I have ever wanted since the day I met Brenda was to spend the rest of my life with her.
J: So why don't you?
S: Jason, why are you being do dense? I am putting her life in danger.
J: You did that the day you met her. What has changed in 4 years?
S: Now I know the damage it can cause.
J: Lily -- you are referring to Lily?
S: Yes. She died because of me. Her blood in on my hands.
J: Wash them. She knew who you were, she knew the life you led, she knew you were not the safest man to live with. You let her make her decision -- why not let Brenda?
S: Brenda doesn't understand. She thinks she does, but she still thinks it's a game.
J: After almost being killed in Puerto Rico, and in the shower, by the car, and by Rivera? After knowing what happened to Lily? After seeing you almost go to jail and knowing that you killed Joe Scully? After living and knowing you for four years do you really think that she thinks it is a game?
S: She loves me -- she will not make a decision about what is best for her safety.
J: What gives you the right to make that decision for her? Don't you think you owe it to her to let her decide for herself? Wasn't she already willing to give up everything just to be with you? Do you think that living a life on the run is so incomprehensible to her that she can't make that choice?
S: She loves me. She thinks that it is a test. She trusts me. I can't promise her that I will keep her safe.
J: Did she ask you to?
S: She trusts me Jason, and I can't .....I just can't. I will let her down and she will suffer for it. If you could take away Robin's HIV, even if it meant breaking her heart, would you do it?
J: No, and she wouldn't want me to, nor would she be happy about not being included in that decision. This is wrong Sonny.

(Jason was quiet for a while looking at Sonny. Sonny was getting increasingly more uncomfortable under Jason stare.)

J: She trusts you Sonny. She is waiting at the church for you. She is ready to walk away from everything because she can't imagine a world without you. She isn't aware of the depth of the sacrifice she will be making to be with you. She doesn't know that there are still people who have threatened her life and yours. You owe her the truth -- you owe her that much.
S: I can't Jason. I have to leave. I have to take this threat away.
J: Who are you kidding? Cause you are not kidding me. EVERYONE knows your history. No one will be confused as to why you left -- with the possible exception of Brenda. She'll hate you. You will have betrayed her in a way that she could never have betrayed you. Do you honestly think if you leave her standing at the alter that they won't target her anymore? The contract is on both You and Brenda. Don't be stupid. She will be a target until the day she dies. Do you want her to die alone Sonny?
S: You have to protect her.
J: If you can't, how am I supposed to? No Sonny if you do this you do this without my help. If you do this I will lose respect for you. I have always thought that you were a man of honor. Don't do this Sonny.

(Sonny says nothing for a long time. He is just looking into Jason's eyes.)

J: Sonny you have changed my life. There are not too many people who can say that. Please don't leave with out talking to Brenda. I am going to the church. I hope I will see you there. Pete will be downstairs with the car. (Jason moves to leave)
S: Jason -- please watch out for her. This will all be meaningless if she dies.
J: If you don't let her decide for herself -- then your love is meaningless.

At the church: Brenda has walked down the aisle and Jason has come in. He waited for Sonny for 30 minutes before he went into the church. Same old scenes -- Brenda at the alter etc. This time Jason is more angry -- not at Brenda but angry at the situation. Brenda goes to the front of the church. Jason moves to stop her.

B: Don't touch me! You helped him do this.
J: No I didn't and I don't understand why he did. I am sorry Brenda. I tried to convince him not to do this. I can't make his decisions for him.
B: Well some best man you are. All you had to do was get him to he church.
J: I am sorry Brenda. I tried.
B: Leave me alone.

(She opens the doors of the church and looks out into the rain. Sonny is standing in the park across from the church. Brenda steps out into the rain, Jason goes to give her his tux jacket but she brushed him aside. She is standing on the steps of the church. Getting soaking wet in her gown.)

B: DAMN YOU SONNY CORINTHOS! You always leave me standing in the rain!
J: Come on Brenda, I'll take you home.
B: Jason, please listen to me. LEAVE ME ALONE. PLEASE.

(She walks out into the night. Her head held high and her shoulders squared. Jason follows until he sees Sonny in the park. Brenda does not notice him. Sonny motions for Jason to go get the car. He does. Brenda walks through the park toward the water. Her gown is soaked and her train is filthy. Her make up is smearing on her face, but she has not cried yet. Rather she is talking out loud to herself -- loud enough for Sonny to hear. She still does not know he is there.)

B: Why Sonny? Why? I would have died for you. I would have gone to the ends of the earth with you. What more was I supposed to give you? What more could I have given you? I have begged for your forgiveness and your love since the day I met you. You said you loved me. You said we would be together. You said that I should trust you. I DO NOT DESERVE THIS!

(Sonny was still pacing her and Jason had brought the car around to the other side of the park and was watching from the distance. A figure of a woman soaked to the skin walking slowly toward the water with a dark man following in the shadows. She reaches the edge of the park and looks out over the water. The lightening lights up the water and she starts at the sound of the thunder.)

B: Damn you Sonny. I couldn't possible love you any more than I do. I couldn't possible trust you anymore than I do. I couldn't possible give you anything else of me. You had everything I was and everything I hoped to be in the palms of your hands. Why? Why did you destroy everything we had together? How could you possibly destroy all my hopes and dreams for us. You love me I know you do!
S: (Sonny stepped out of the shadows) With all of my heart.
B: (Brenda stiffened and closed her eyes. She didn't turn around) Then why?
S: Brenda please let me explain.
B: I am waiting (she still did not turn around)
S: I have to end it this way -- for you, because I love you.
B: (She turns around like she had been hit) What the hell are you talking about?
S: You life is in danger as long as you are with me.
B: This is supposed to be NEWS to me?
S: You don't know all the facts.
B: Why don't I know all the FACTS, Sonny? What are they? What am I supposed to know that will help me understand why you left me standing at the alter? What could you possible have to tell me, that I don't already know, that would allow me to understand this. (SILENCE) I saw you three hours ago. You told me you loved me. You said you would be there. Where the hell were you, and why are you here now?
S: Can we get out the rain, please?
B: Damn it Sonny, tell me.
S: I'm sorry if I embarrassed you.
B: Embarrassed? Embarrassed?! Go to hell. Do you think I have any pride left at all?
S: There is a contract on my life and on yours.
B: So you were running to save your own hide?
S: I was trying to save yours. If you were not with me -- then they would not want to kill you. If they thought you had no hold on me -- then they would have no reason to kill you.
B: Right. This is all coming clear to me now. (Sarcastic and Angry)
S: Brenda - I can't promise to love, honor and cherish you while I know that there is a gun pointed at your head. Do you understand? I can't keep you ..... I can't protect you. I can't be the cause of anyone else's death.
B: This is about Lily? This is about Lily being blown up by her father -- who was in fact trying to kill me -- and you? You are taking the responsibility of Lily's death on you? It is your fault that she died? It is you fault that she forced you to marry her even though she knew you loved me? It is your fault because you were in love with me that you couldn't love her? It is your fault that her father has no other way to protect his daughter's honor than to try to kill her husband and his girlfriend. Therefore what --- you can't be happy. You can't be with me? Because Lily is dead and you child along with her -- you can't be with me? And this will keep me safe? Get over yourself Sonny. You don't have that much power.
S: Brenda don't do this. I am trying to keep you alive.
B: Why the hell didn't you ask me what I wanted? Did you ever listen to a word I have said? How many times Sonny? How many times have I told you that you are my reason for living? How many times do I have to tell you that I would give everything I have to be with you for the rest of my life. That means 10 minutes or 50 years. ------ You have always told me that actions are more important that words -- well I was ready to walk away with you. I was ready to leave everything I know just to be with you. All I have ever asked of you is to be honest with me. You took away my chance to show you --- with actions not words -- how much you mean to me.
S: Brenda -- I'm ----
B: What Sorry? You are sorry! Do you think I didn't know the risks we were taking by walking away. Do you know how many times I have nearly been killed by being with you? Did you think that I was expecting a picket fence and a garden, with you on the porch smoking a pipe? Do you really think that I am that naive. Sonny life with you has never been normal -- why should that change. That is why I am with you. Was with you!

(They were silent for a while -- the rain stopped)

B: We have bigger problems than people trying to kill us. You have never thought of me as anything other than something beautiful to look at and to keep safe. I am just another possession to you. Something to own, something that someone else would try to take away from you. All of our problems arise when I act like a person, flesh and blood, with wants and needs and desires.
S: That's not true Brenda.
B: What did you say to earlier? That I was spoiled and reckless, lonely and brave. There is so much more to me than that. I have grown so much in the last four years -- because of you and in spite of you. You don't see that. You don't see me as anything. You talk to Jason more than you talk to me. You didn't even have the courtesy to discuss my future with me. You made and executive decision about me and us as if I didn't have an equal vote.
S: I knew you wouldn't understand. I knew you would just twist this around to me doing something selfish.
B: Well, show me where I am wrong.
S: Damn it Brenda. I am trying to save your life.
B: Why start now? How many times do we have to escape death and find ourselves together for you to understand that this is where we belong and have always belonged? The danger is part of that. It is not me that doesn't understand, it is you. It is not me that can't live a life on the run - - it is you. I am just not enough for you. Nothing is enough for you. You want to be miserable.
S: Do you know how hard it was to make this decision? Do you know the agony that I suffered? Do you know that I cannot even see the point of living with out the hope of you being in my life? The only thing that would have kept me going is that you were somewhere safe in the world. I can't keep putting you in danger. What kind of life is that for us? You know one day we won't be the ones left standing.

(They were silent for a while)

B: Now what?
S: I am leaving -- I won't be back. Let Jason protect you. Please -- I need to know that you are alive. Even if you are hating me I need to know that you are breathing.
B: Don't do this!
S: I have to.
B: I will not beg you to stay, nor will I beg you to take me with you. But I am asking you to please let me be with you.

(Sonny is quiet for a while -- looking deeply in to Brenda's eyes. He takes a step forward and touches her face with his hands. He kisses her. Softly and sweetly at first then more passionately. The fold into an embrace. He is holding her very tightly and his eyes are closed. Brenda eyes are closed too.)

S: (Sonny whispers in her ear) I can't. I love you too much to be terrified for you every minute we are together. (He kisses her again and turns his back and starts to walk away.)
B: If you leave me now -- I will hate you forever. (Sonny stops and looks back at her. There are tears in his eyes and hers.)
S: I will love you with every breath I take. Goodbye Brenda. LIVE!

(Sonny walks back to the limo and drives away without looking back at Brenda again. She whispers after the car...)

B: Goodbye Sonny. Stay alive yourself.

(It was starting to rain again. Brenda turns her face to the sky and smiles a very sad smile. Jason comes up behind her and puts his coat on her. She walks back to the car with him .)

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6 years later (A)

This story picks up 6 years (2003) after the Rewrite of Sonny's Departure that I wrote.

Brenda is sitting alone in her house. She has moved into a 5 million dollar mansion across the river from the Quartermains. She is dressed to the nines and had a bottle of champagne and one glass sitting next to her. The phone rings and is picked up by Reginald, who could not continue to work for the Quartermains after Lila died two years prior. He steps into the room, but backs out without saying a word. He's been here before and knows that she wants to be alone. It is September 19, the anniversary of the day that Sonny left Brenda at the alter.

It had been a long six years for Brenda, two failed marriages, numerous attempts on her life and the building of an empire out of the ruins of Deception. Sonny had dropped in on her life occasionally - especially after she survived another attempt on her life. The first time, two months after he left, she was thrilled to see him -- like a knight in shining armor saving the damsel in distress. But he left again. The next time she was thankful that he showed up to check on her -- she had gotten out of that one on her own, but after one night of rekindling their lust, she woke up alone. The next time she had been in the middle of divorcing Jax and wanted nothing to do with Sonny. The next few times Sonny had just caught her eye across a crowed room. She made no motion to go talk with him, nor did she turn her head away.

She has been safe for the past year and a half. She was rich enough now to hire her own security. Funny how her guards seemed to keep her safer than Sonny's ever did. She had not seen Sonny for longer than that. Tonight she was toasting him being out of her life - for good she hoped. Each year - no matter where she was or with whom she was with, she spent the evening by herself reflecting on life and growth. It was her Re-birthday.

Tonight she had special reason to celebrate. Lois and Brook were coming to town and the three girls were going to go off to the south of France in a few days for a well deserved vacation. Brenda was now the CEO and 75% stock holder of Deception which had grown into a full fledged fashion house. It had three top designers working on a clothing line, perfume, cosmetics, and a magazine. She would make a small toast tonight to Jax for getting Deception back for her as a wedding present and giving it to her as a divorce settlement -- that whole thing only took 6 months. She held Sonny responsible for that as well. He had ruined her for love, she couldn't even make a marriage work with her best friend.

She would also toast Ned, husband #2, for teaching her how to stoop as low as he could to gain the upper hand. Her marriage to Ned lasted about 3 years, but they were never really together. The rarely slept together. It was more a matter of convenience. Ned would always love Lois, the mother of his child and Brenda would be alone and angry. Their marriage ending with a fizzle and they are still the best of friends. Lois understood but it did put a little strain on her relationship with Brenda. That was what this trip to France was for. For them to reconnect.

She would not toast to Sonny -- rather she would toast to her accomplishments since that awful time in her life. She had stopped being violently angry years ago -- but it was her anger at the world that gave her the drive, determination and the nick name "Bitch-on-Heels" to make her company a success. She was not beaten and she was not depressed. She was lonely. But with each passing month that she didn't have to see or hear about Jax, Sonny, Jason, Lily etc etc etc or be harassed by the police about Sonny's whereabouts she grew stronger and believed that she would have it all one day.

It was around 11pm and she had finished going over some papers and was shutting down her home office for the night when the door to the hall opened. Her office was dark, lit only by the lamp on her desk. The hall light silohetted Sonny in her doorway. She sunk back down in her chair looking disgusted.

B: Hello, Sonny.
S: How are you Brenda?
B: I am great. Really Really great. At least I was great. What do you want?
S: You know what I want.
B: Probably but I would still like to hear what you have to say.
S: Brenda we have not spoken in years. You know I have been watching over you and I am never very far away. I can't live without you any longer.
B: Why now?
S: I have finally neutralized the threat from Rivera.
B: Neutralized? That seems very tidy of you.
S: Brenda we are free. We are safe.
B: Damn, after I just got through putting this 15k dollar security system in. I suppose if you got in, it wasn't worth the cost of the check. (She picks up her dictaphone and turns it on) Note to self -- fire the security company and get money back.
S: Brenda I understand that you are angry -- and you have every right to be.
B: Thanks for giving me permission. Ya know Sonny I am not the same little girl you walked out on lo those many years ago.
S: I was never very far away.
B: YOU WERE NOT WITH ME! You left me here in the line of fire to defend myself.
S: Jason was---
B: Jason was supposed to do what? You said yourself that you couldn't protect me. What did you expect Jason to do that you couldn't. I have forgiven Jason for his part in our messed up lives and he has forgiven me for all the garbage I dumped on him. He and I have learned to become respectful with one another. Which is more than I can say for you and I.
S: That's why I am here.
B: Exactly what do you want from me?
S: Another chance.
B: I will not give up my life for you. I fought too hard to get to where I am today -- and for the seflrespect that you took away from me. Correction that I let you take away from me. I will not go back to that life.
S: The better, stonger Brenda
B: Look Sonny, you and I have a bond. A very strong bond. It is bigger than the both of us and it is too hot to handle. Because of you I know what love is -- and because of you I know I will never have that kind of love in my life.
S: Brenda -- (he is stepping closer to her)
B: I also know what hate is, and fear and betrayal. We hit every emotion that there is to experience. I don't think my heart can stand another ride on that rollercoaster.
S: You are not the only one to suffer here. Do you think I was sitting on a beach drinking MaiTai's?
B: I really don't care about what you suffered. You left me remember. You did not even give me a vote. You cannot waltz in here after 6 years and say "I'm Sorry" and expect me to say "Oh, Ok, all is forgiven." Do you?
S: I will do what ever it takes to ---
B: I have moved on Sonny. I am not some dumb model that just wants to look good on your arm. I am not some coed looking for an exciting career in the music industry. I am a woman with a very successful buiness mind. I don't need a man, much less you, to make me feel whole.
S: What do you feel Brenda? What are you looking for? (Moving closer to her)
B: Right now, my sleeping pills. I don't think that I am going to get much sleep tonight.
S: I can help with that. (By now he is kneeling in front of her as she sits in her executive chair)
B: Get out.
S: (He reaches out and touches her face -- she moves slight away) You don't really want me to leave. (He is touching her hair and running his thumb across her lips -- her eyes begin to close -- but then she pulls aways sharply and grabs his hand)
B: What's the point Sonny? One night of passionate love making and I will wake up alone. I don't want to go through that again.
S: You will never be alone again, I promise. (He is talking in a whisper and they are staring intently into each others eyes. He pulls her toward him and kisses her.)
B: Please go. (He kisses her again, stops only when he feels tears rolling down her face.)
S: (Wiping the tears away) Oh god Brenda. I am so sorry. I just wanted you safe. I never wanted to hurt you. It was the only way I could think of.
B: Well you should have tried a little harder. You chose my life over my love. Well I am alive, worse for the wear but...alive. But I have no love left for you. Now please go.
S: I will go, but I won't be far. I am back Brenda. I am back to stay. I will make it up to you - all the hurt and pain you have suffered at my hands. I will make it up to you. I love you, Brenda. We will find away to be together. I promise you that too. (He moves toward the door. Looks back over his shoulder. She had not moved and was not looking at him.) I love you. (he leaves)

B: Words Sonny, just words. And we both know that words don't mean anything.

She picked up her phone and dialed her pilot. She woke him up to tell him that they were leaving for France as soon as Lois and Brook had arrived.

The music from the stereo filled her thoughts:
=========================================================
"Train in Vain" covered by Annie Lennox on *Medusa*

They say you stand by your man
Tell me something I don' t understand
You said you loved me, and that's a fact
And then you left me, said you felt trapped
Well somethings you can't explain away
But the heartaches with me 'til this day

Did you stand by me? - No not at all
Did you stand by me? - No way!

All the times that we were close
I remember these things the most
I've seen all my dreams come tumbling down
I can't be happy without you around
So alone I keep the wovles at bay
And there is only one thing I can say

You didn't stand by me - No not at all
You didn't stand by me - No way!
You must expain why this must be
Did you lie when you spoke to me?

Now I've got a job, but it don't pay
I need new clothes, I need somewhere to stay
But with out all these this I can do
But with out your love I won't make it through

But you don't understand my point of view
I suppose there is nothing I can do
You didn't stand by me - No not at all
You didn't stand by me - No way!

=====================================================

B: Yeah - what she said! (She snapped off the stereo and went to bed)6 years later (B)

The next morning Brenda awoke to the sound of the Eurythmics on her clock radio blaring out a song that she had played to death years ago.

=======================================================
"You hurt me (and I hate you)" by Eurythimics from *We Too Are One*

Well the sun came up this morning, like a burning red balloon.
It broke into my window, and it slipped across the room.
It spread itself upon me, like the smell of sweet perfume.
I was sleeping like a baby.

I'm not a saviour. I'm not a saint.
I'm not an angel, I'm not that quaint.
Don't need a preacher, to be that wise.
Don't need a teacher --I've got my eyes...

You hurt me and I hate you, you hurt me...

A history of bitterness, you have left a blazing trail
If you had been a hammer, I'd be a broken nail.
You gave me nothing-- nothing but regrets.
Don't think it's over -- It's not over yet.

You hurt me and I hate you, you hurt me...
You put me down

They tell you there is no hell on earth thats like a woman scorned.
And if you have to face its wrath, you'd wish you'd not been born.
And if you have to face yourself, you'd find me standing there.
In the shadows, in the corners, at the foot of every stairs.

You put me down...


And everytime you try to fool yourself
You've got yourself to blame
And every lie you ever told yourself
Will all come back to you one day.

You hurt me and I hate you, you hurt me...

====================================================

By 9:30am Brenda was barking orders into the headset she was wearing while walking around the office, answering questions for the 20 or so people that arrived that morning. She seemed slightly more agitated this morning but Kelly (her administrative assistant) was the only one to notice the difference. The phones and faxes were ringing and people where typing into laptops, and layouts were strewn all over the office. Brenda was very on task. Everyone was talking at once and Brenda was handling all of it. She was making decisions left and right. Finally she called a halt to it all. She put her fingers in her mouth and let loose a very loud whistle.

B: I will not tolerate this slipshod work from you people. Look you are all professionals. We have all been working together for 3 years minimum, if you don't know what I what by now -- then maybe you ought to pick up a Sunday paper and brush up your resume. Now everyone back to your own corners, we will meet back here in 2 hours. You all have remembered that I am going to France today, oui? Don't get any ideas that I am taking a vacation, the phones work in France ya know. Now all of you go -- two hours.

Her office emptied out and she collapsed into her chair. She had not gotten too much sleep the night before and was working since 4am. She was a little frazzled. She had her back to the door when her secretary knocked.

K: Ms Barrett? (She had never taken either of her husband's names -- it didn't seem right)
B: I don't want to be disturbed Kelly -- call me Brenda for god sake.
K: Yes Ma'am. Dean Favor is here, you said to send him right in.
B: Fine. Thank you.
D: Good Morning Brenda - you wanted to see me?

She turned her chair around and stared at him for a minute- he became uncomfortable. He had been reamed by her on more than one occasion. He thought that part of their relationship was over. He had been her chief body guard and in charge of security for her businesses and her personal property for 5 years now. They had gone through some pretty rough times together and he had saved her life more than once. She had saved his more than once and he had taken a bullet for her shortly after starting to work for her. There was nothing personal between them - but they did admire each other.

B: Yes Buster (she always called him that -- it started out as a joke but it stuck). Thanks for coming. Two things. One - I had an uninvited visitor last night. How do you think he got in?
D: WHAT! Kenny was on last night. He said nothing about a visitor. Stand by. (He picked up his cell phone and dialed Kenny. He had just gotten to bed 20 minutes before.) .... I don't care when you got home. Get yourself down to Deception on the double. Ms Barrett had a visitor last night.....That is what you will need to answer. Now Kenny! (he hung up) Who was it?
B: Sonny.
D: Oh for Christ's sake. Did he hurt you?
B: Sonny is not the problem -- well not your problem. If he can get in so can anyone else. Find out how and block it. (She hated the fact that she always had to be in the presence of a body guard and driver. It annoyed her to talk about it and it really annoyed her when she had to deal with it. Dean had made it easy for her. He was very good at his job and very discrete. But it was still like living in a prison. She got used to it and in fact she looked for it everyday. She never was alone away from her house. That is why she bought such a large house. It made it feel like she was freer.)
D: Consider it done. I am sorry.
B: Don't be too hard on Kenny. Sonny is very single minded - he always gets what he wants. But don't let it happen again. (Dean smiled to himself. He knew when Kenny arrived Brenda would rake him over the coals and leave him shaking in his boots. He thought of it as a game for her. Hide all your decent feelings from everyone and you win the game. He never spoke of it with her -- he would lose the game then.)
D: Alright Two?
B: Sonny told me that the threat from Rivera is gone. Is there anyway to check this out? Is there anyway to be sure that I might be able to return to a normal life.
D: Normal? That might be asking a bit too much. Even if the threat from Rivera is gone, there are other people in the world who would like to see you fail. Katharine Bell - Jax Cosmetics. etc etc etc
B: I understand. But I would really like to be able to go to the bathroom in a public place without having to have it checked out first. I would really like to be able to get into a car alone and feel that I was going to make it to where ever I was going without being driven off the road.
D: I understand. I will see what I can find out. You may want to put a call into Jason Morgan. He is still connected on some level right?
B: Maybe - but Sonny said he is back to stay and I want to stay away from that old territory.
D: Got it. I'll take care of it.
B: I pushed up my departure date to this afternoon. Who are you sending with us.
D: Ayn and Meg. They are the best and would blend into you "women's weekend."
B: Be prepared to join us. I expect that it will be longer than originally expected.
D: Fine. Anything else.
B: How much do you want to take Sonny Corinthos out?
D: Sorry?
B: Just a joke. Fantasy really. Just keep him away from me, ok. Don't hurt him -- much.

She smiled. He knew she was only kidding but he would love it if she weren't. Kenny arrived and Brenda let loose on him for 15 minutes. He was more than shaken when that meeting was over. Dean didn't need to say a word. It was interesting how Brenda could be so unrelentingly hard on people and yet inspire such undying loyalty. She expected 150% from everyone and gave 200% herself. She knew people and she knew business and she knew how to get the best out of both. She always attributed it to the fact that she was pretty. Hell she was drop dead gorgeous. The past six year only made her more beautiful, not 2D magazine beautiful but truly 3D stunning. Everyone turned when she walked into a room. After the first six months of people treating her like some dumb model turned exec -- she would not tolerate it any longer. She demanded and got the respect she so richly deserved.

As Kenny and Dean were leaving her office, Kelly came in.

K: There is someone here to see you.
B: Kelly, I have a meeting in one hour, can't it wait?
K: I think you will want to take this meeting.
B: (Heavy sigh) Send them in.
Brk: Auntie B. We are here! (Brooklyn came bounding into the room all smiles and ran up to Brenda and gave her a huge hug.)
B: Hey Kiddo. It is sooooooooo good to see you. I have missed you so much. Where is your Mom?
Brk: Checking on some work stuff. Are we really going to France?
B: Oui, Oui Mademoiselle. Today -- this afternoon, so I hope you didn't unpack yet.
L: Not yet, but what's the hurry.
B: Hey girlfriend -- I'll tell you later. Give me a hug.

The three girls sat around like there was not another care in the world and chatted for about 20 minutes. It was amazing how much life Brooklyn could inspire in people. She gave such perspective to the world. Brenda loved having her around, and regretted the loss of her own child 5 years ago. Another reason to hate Sonny. If her Love and Hate for Sonny were playing a football game -- Hate would be ahead by at least 5 touch downs, with minutes to go in the 4th quarter.

Brenda finally arrived home around 2pm. Time for a late lunch. Brooklyn was outside playing in the playhouse -- with a guard, that Brenda had built for her. Lois was using her office to tie up some loose L&B ends when Brenda walked in.

L: So, girlfriend. What happened?
B: Right to the chase, eh?
L: Would you expect anything else? Spill it.
B: He's baaaaaaaack! (In that voice from Poltergeist)
L: You are kidding me. When, Where, How?
B: All I know is that he showed up in this room last night. Said that the threat was gone and that he was back and wanted us to get back together.
L: Just like that.
B: Just like that.
L: That man always did have the biggest cajones (sp).
B: They are about average. (The two girls laughed)
L: Too much information. Seriously girl -- what did you say? What did you do?
B: I told him he was 6 years late and more than one dollar short.
L: So why are we skipping town so fast?
B: I need time to get used to the idea that Sonny Corinthos will be back in Port Charles. It has been really easy to hate him or to ignore him when he was only in my head. I need to be able to see right through him when he is standing in the same room with me.
L: I guess he didn't believe you when you said you -- what didn't love him any more.
B: I told him a future for us was not possible. I told him that I was not going to have my heart broken by him again.
L: Did you believe yourself?
B: Yes, No, I don't know, maybe. I really hate that this man can just show up whenever he god damn well pleases and mess with my head. I HATE IT! Maybe I should take my own contract out on him.
L: BRENDA!
B: Not to kill him, just to keep him busy and out of my life.
L: Your money would be better spent in therapy.
B: Thank you - and this from my best friend in all the world. (She smiles)

The women get ready and are waiting for clearance when Brenda hears a commotion behind her. She turns around and Dean has Sonny in a hold. Sonny is belly aching about just wanting to talk with Brenda. Dean starts to move him out of the area when Lois goes up to Dean and says:

L: Let me Buster. This way Corinthos.
S: Lois I don't need a lecture from you right now.
L: Don't I even rate a "How do you do?"
S: I'm sorry. Lois you look great. Motherhood agrees with you. (They hug)
L: Wish I could say the same for you. You look weary.
S: I am. I have been running for 6 years. No home, no rest, no life, no friends. I feel like I have been living in purgatory. I have finally been released and now the only reason I had for living won't even speak to me.
L: Actually she has given the order to have you shot on site but--never mind that right now.
S: That is not funny Lois. Time has stood still for me, I have been in jail for all intents and purposes.
L: Brenda has not. She has moved on. It took everything she had to clean up the mess you left and to rebuild her world. It cost her more than you will ever know.
S: What is that supposed to mean?
L: Never mind. Look at it this way. Putting the past aside for the moment. Look at the two of you. You are some guy - no job, legitimate or other wise, no home, no nothing. What do you have to offer a woman like Brenda? She is rich, she is the head of a very large organization and she is well respected. She has a lot of people on her side these days -- Especially herself. What could you possibly give her that she does not have?
S: Love, Life, Passion, happiness.
L: That may be. But now comes the problem of history, how many times have you taken these offerings back? How can she possibly trust you after you left her when she was in danger? How can she possibly justify trying again with you after all that? What are you offering this time that is different than the last time, or the time before that and so on.
S: I love her Lois. I need her. This was all for her.
L: I don't see it that way, Sonny. And I know she doesn't. Look just give it some time. Get your own life back. The life you choose this time Sonny - as an adult not the one you were forced into as a young man. You have choices now Sonny. If the threat from the organization is really gone then you have choices. Make them count. You may never get another chance with Brenda. But this is your life. Your one shot at this world. Make the best of it. I know you can do better than you have.
S: Is this the same advice you have been feeding Brenda?
L: To a degree. She did most of this herself - by herself -- for herself. She is not the same Brenda you left at the alter.
S: Jesus, I know. But just look at her. She is the light inside me.
L: Get a life Sonny. If you two were meant to be -- you will be. Don't use a sledge hammer when a screwdriver will do.
S: What the hell kind of credo is that?
L: Life lesson number one for Sonny Corinthos. Let the two of you evolve.
S: I don't know how but ok. I will give it a try.
L: Don't Try - DO.
S: Thank you, Yoda. Can I just speak to her for a moment?
L: I am not her keeper, just her friend and yours. I still love you Sonny.
S: It is nice to know that someone does.
L: Look, I hate what you did to Brenda and I am on her side if I have to take a side, but I do love you and I believe that you believed that you were doing the right thing. I'll see if she wants to talk to you.

Brenda came walking over slowly. Dean tried to stop her but she just smiled and said that it was ok. She brought Brooklyn with her.

B: You don't remember your Uncle Sonny but---
Brk: Uncle Sonny isn't he that guy who left you standing in the rain?
B: Yes honey.
S: You couldn't read her Mother Goose I guess. (Brenda looked embarrassed) Hello Brooklyn. I am your Mom's oldest friend. I knew her when she was younger than you. Brk: It is nice to meet you. Are you coming to France with us?
B: No honey, he just came to see us off. Alright now go back to your Mom. We will be leaving soon.
Brk: Goodby Uncle Sonny. (Brook ran back to her mom.)
S: She is wonderful.
B: She is a joy. What can I do for you Sonny?
S: Aside from the obvious? Nothing - well try not to hate me.
B: That's what you were going for wasn't it?
S: Brenda, I don't know what to say or do to make you understand. But I am going to respect your wishes and leave you alone.
B: Skipping town so soon?
S: Could you try to loose the attitude? I am really trying here. No I am not leaving town. I am staying. I am going to rebuild my life -- here in Port Charles. I will not dog you, nor will I break into your house again. I have been in there on several occasions you know.
B: Sonny (she is getting mad again)
S: Wait -- No -- Wait -- I am not telling you this to scare you or threaten you. I just want you to know that there is a hole in your system and that you should close it up.
B: Make an appointment with Dean. Anything else.
S: Yes. I have given up six years of my life for you. I know you don't see it that way and I know you probably think that if it weren't for my connections then neither one of us would had to have endured this ----- pain. And you would be right on both points. But I did not give up that much time, I did not spend everyday loving you with every breath I took to give up now. I just want you to know that we will be together again. Whether it takes 6 more years or 60 we will be together like we were in the beginning -- better.
B: Is that a threat?
S: Go ahead Brenda be the world class bitch that you have everyone convinced that you are. I am not buying it. I know your soul. You can change anything about yourself, your looks, your job, your attitude, but you cannot change your soul. I will show you how much I deserve to have you back in my life. (Just then he reached out and grabbed her -- he planted a very passionate kiss on her. By the time Dean arrived to break it up, Sonny had pulled away. He still held her face in his hands. He looked very deeply into her eyes. ) Remember, I know your soul.

Lois had come running up too. Sonny turned on his heal and headed for the door. Dean in pursuit. They had a minor scuffle on the curb. Dean made sure that he was out of the airport before returning.

L: What was that all about?
B: He just reminded me about the contract I signed 10 years ago.
L: What? What contract?
B: The one with the Devil. He's come to collect.
L: You are not making any sense.
B: Nothing makes sense. Let's get the hell out of here.

****************************************

6 years 19 months from the Wedding-that-Wasn't (A)

It is now nineteen months since Sonny and Brenda had spoken at the Airport, April 2005. They had met on various occasions but never spoke about their relationship or Sonny's last words. Brenda was working as hard as ever and trying to spend as much time with Brook-Lynn as possible. She had taken a position 3 years prior on the Board of Directors at GH. She thought it was quite a coo, even thought she knew is was only about money, and that she had a lot of it.

Sonny stayed faithful to Brenda the entire time he was away and for these last 19 months. He missed her passionately - more so now that they were again living in the same town. But he moved on with his life. He was getting older and the nesting instinct had finally hit him. He met other women and his friends, Luke, Lucky, Jason and Mike, would all try to suggest that he move on from Brenda. He was single minded and would only say that: "There was no point." Luke gave him very little opposition. He and Laura had separated often over the past six years and had only reconciled this past christmas. Luke understood the meaning of "soul mate" he also understood what it took to recover from un-recoverable mistakes with the one you love the most in the world.

Sonny wanted what Luke had: wife and children and a home. Something to fight for, something meaningful. He occasionally thought of Lily and the baby that they lost -- but he could never fully picture them getting old together. There was something about Lily that was too good to be true, it made him nervous. He would often fantasize about living with Brenda on that farm he bought and their kids. But he could never imagine even having a child with Brenda. Every time the thought crossed his mind her would say "Who would be the mother?" Now that he had been able to really see her in action he noticed how much she had changed. Would he even love her if he met her today? He knew his answer -- absolutely -- but would she.

Sonny had been busy himself. He found out the owner of the old Luke's and some surrounding properties -- Barrett Industries -- and bought them. He dealt directly with the lawyers and found himself wondering if Brenda knew anything about this transaction. If she did then she gave him a fair deal, if she didn't then Barrett Industries was not an ELQ operation. He turned Luke's back into nightclub, a little more upscale than Luke's -- he would never tell Luke that. With a warehouse that was attached he turned that into a homeless shelter for wayward children. The Ward house had closed in 2001, and the kids had no where to go. With a smaller property he created a hospice care for people suffering with AIDS. This was an extension of the Stone Cafes wing at GH.

With the exception of the initial investment -- every dime was accounted for. He received a lot of support from the community. A community UNwilling to forgive his trespasses after six years - but willing to give these much needed programs a chance. He was also able to convince a few of his old business partners that it was wise to invest in altruistic ventures. There was no strong arming and no money was laundered through these enterprises. They were actually fairly well self-supporting. The kids worked for their keep at Luke's. He kept the name since he hired Luke back to run it --- The Spencer's had run into a money problem after their third child was born and Luke needed to work. The kids would also work at the Hospice. Laura and Emily Quartermain ran the Ward-Warehouse (he kept that name at Laura's request. He was going to call it Mae-Mae's but...)

The hospice he ran himself. He knew nothing about the medical side of things but he was a sensitive administrator. Working closely with the GH and Mercy Boards of Directors -- he got a huge list of volunteer doctors and nurses to rotate in and out of the hospice. Robin was now almost a doctor. She had one year left at medical school, but promised to come back and work there when she could.

Brenda and Sonny ran in to each other at board meetings and other Fund Raising events. Sonny was always out of place and unwelcome. They were always very professional with each other, but Sonny never missed a chance to jump in Edwards, Jax's, Ned's, Stphan's or Kathrine's shit if they were getting in his way. They never met on social occasions, she had not been to Luke's since it reopened.. Brenda rarely went out to dinner. She was a work-aholic. He began to admire her business sense. At times he would allow his mind to wander back to the time he coached her on how to gain control in contract negotiations with Kathrine Bell. She had come a long way since then. Barrett Industries was very generous to Sonny's ventures. She never signed the checks and he never pitched her personally on the needs of the kids or the hospice. He never knew this but - she sponsored 6 college scholarships yearly for the homeless children living in his shelter. Interestingly enough, because Barrett industries was such a nuevo-riche company it gave quite a bit to the Not-For-Profit organizations in PC. Consequently, ELQ, J&J Jax, and Bell-Cassidine Ventures were not to be out done by a model, they more than matched all of her donations.

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Sonny had moved back into his apartment above Luke's. It had changed quite a bit. Luke had done some serious remodeling when he lived there during his separation from Laura -- the third time. It didn't even look the same. He was working at home one night when there was a knock on the door. It was Brenda, Dean in tow.

S: Brenda! -- Hi please come in. (The house was a mess - how unlike Sonny. Papers were strewn everywhere. He was clearly working on something big.)
B: I'm sorry -- I don't want to disturb you -- I'll call first next time.
S: Brenda please. I would love to show you what I am working on.
B: OK (Brenda looked at Dean and he entered the apartment and made a quick look around.)
S: That is not necessary-(he received a "SHUT UP SCUM" look from Dean)- but please feel free.
B: (Brenda entered when she got the high sign from Dean. He planted himself inside the door -- but Brenda nodded for him to step outside.) What are you working on -- looks big or at least complicated.
S: I had an idea of pulling in the music from the club and the studio Mike wants to open and build some kind of school with a radio station.
B: Interesting. (she was scanning his drawings and blue prints). What about a Performing Arts institute for inner city kids. You know like they have in New York. Teach not only music, and radio broadcasting, but journalism, TV broadcasting, acting, dancing, art, fashion design etc. You know pick up all the programs that are cut by the schools and put them all in one house -- so to speak. You could bring in PC South High to participate and get the kids involved, as well as taking students from other cities.
S: A pretty lofty idea. As well as we are doing - we are still not rolling in the dough so to speak.
B: The teachers could be pro bono professionals -- obviously not the math English etc but

.....................They talked this way for many minutes. They played off each other for ideas. Brenda offered to help quite a bit. They were silent for a while looking at the work they had done together.

S: What brings you by Brenda? Not that I am not thrilled to see you.
B: You are an amazing man Sonny Corinthos. You have a power to inspire people to do things that they did not know they wanted to do. Even more so now that you are doing so much for the community.
S: Yes -- now my powers have been turned to good -- and away from evil. (In a super hero voice)
B: Laugh if you want. I have always known the depth of your compassion and understanding of the human race. I also knew that you had great kindness to give the world. But you sure as hell covered it up in that Dick-for-hire package.
S: Thanks I think.
B: I am not sure I know you anymore.
S: Older, a little fatter -- I found a niche in the community - as much as they would want to not know it was me running these programs. I can't tell you the pleasure I get squeezing the richest people in town for every penny I can get. Same old Sonny - still running a scam - just cleaner and no one gets hurt.
B: No you are not - you are not a schemer. I think you are more than you ever had been. I think you are reaching the potential that your mother would have wanted for you.
S: Look Brenda you say potAto I say potato. It was the same argument we have always had. I am a business man - just like Ned and Jax. We both manipulate and play the game. The games are just slightly different. Hell you play the game now and quite well. Just look at you. CEO of Barrett Industries. Pretty impressive. You finally for that house you have always wanted and it is no one else's money this time.
B: Maybe -- but I still think of the two of us you have done the more impressive turn around.
S: How do you come to know such much more about me? We have probably spoken 35 words to each other in 19 months.
B: and 12 days.
S: and 34 minutes (looking at his watch)
S&B: Not that I have been counting. (They smiled. Brenda leaned in and gave him a hug. It was not meant to be a "prelude" type hug. It was appreciation. Simple love.)
B: (She pulled away and stepped to the other side of the room.) I have been keeping my eye on you. At first it was like watching your enemy.
S: Ouch that hurt. Have you been spying on me?
B: Not literally -- it seems that despite all my protestations -- people feel the need to keep me apprised of your goings on. Ya know I was never sure of their motives but...
S: So I have spies working in my midst.
B: No one said anything bad -- surprisingly enough.
S: Ouch -- if you are going to keep shooting arrows at me I am going to have to get some armor.
B: Sorry. You must admit you were never and still aren't Mr. Popularity in PC. When we first met there was no one who said a nice word about you to me -- with the exception of Stone. So for people to go out of their way to tell me about the good things that you are doing in PC. Hell even Garcia and Taggert have stopped trying to trip you up.
S: Are they still together -- did they get married or something? (Wrong word to use with her -- she winced and looked sad and away). Brenda I'm----
B: (She interrupted him) Listen what I came here for was to invite you to Brooklyn's birthday party. It is a little early but it is the best time for her and Lois. It is a week from Saturday.
S: Brooklyn's birthday?
B: It should be a lot of fun. There will be about 60 kids there and Ned and Lois, the Quartermains, Jax and V said that they might make it. Robin . Lois thinks that it about time that Brooklyn know her Uncle Sonny.
S: Lois thinks. Why didn't Lois ask me? We have spoken often in the past year or so and she never mentioned me getting to know Brook.
B: Sonny are you going to make this hard on me? Look forget it. It was just a thought. -- I don't know why I came. I should have just sent you and invitation. (She was picking up her bag and starting for the door.)
S: Brenda hold on a minute here. You come here after avoiding me for over a year and a half -- compliment my "good deeds", and invite me to a 9 year old's party and I am just supposed to say "Great" like this is normal?
B: Forget it.
S: Brenda -- (He catches her arm and she turns to face him) What? What ? What do I have to do? Nothing has changed. I love you.
B: Everything has changed. (She starts to cry) Damn you Sonny Corinthos!
S: This is were I came in.
B: Correction that was when you left.
S: Point Barrett.
B: Don't make fun of this. Do you know how hard this is for me. I am a successful business woman. I make million dollar deals while I am shaving my legs in the morning. I have more than 1500 people in my employ around the world. Each one looks to me for leadership and I give it to them. But when I get within 10 feet of you ---- I ---- I ---- fold. I don't trust the words that come out of my mouth.
S: What does that tell you?
B: That I should stay away.
S: Damn it Brenda. I need more than just an invitation to a birthday party. I deserve --
B: You DESERVE?! You DESERVE to be drawn and quartered for the hell you put me through in the name of Love. No wait - Just wait - I am not going to do this. I came here to extend the hand of friendship, I will not let you grab it and pull me back in. That is not going to happen. There are too many reason for me to stay away from you, regardless of your "good deeds" and the metemophasis you seem to have experienced. But I had an idea that we might try to come to some other kind of terms.
S: What -- friends -- we'll do coffee, lunch on occasion? There has been way too much left unsaid by the two of us, and to many things that need to be worked through.
B: Well if we are going work anything out it is going to be my way -- SLOW! OR we are not going to do it at all. Understand?
S: Understood.
B: Fine -- so will you be at Brook's birthday. A week from Saturday?
S: Wouldn't miss it.
B: Fine -- well I -- I gotta go. Bye
S: Bye .........Brenda?
B: What?
S: I don't know how it is possible, but I love you more this way. Strong Confident - No BS it looks really good on you.
B: Save those compliments. SLOW. I said slow. We will start at a 9 year old's birthday.
S: Who knows maybe next we could move on to a barmitzvah. (They smiled)

****************************

6 years 19 months (B)

Sonny showed up at the party with a few friends. They were some kids from the house. He has no problem getting in, but Dean was not very please with him. Brenda, Ned, Robin, Emily and Edward was in the middle of these 60 + kids playing a game. The house looked like a carnival had landed. Brenda had really gone all out. Of course the Q's had to have their two cents thrown in. Sonny watched from the terrace. He watched with the kids laughing and playing. He had never seen her this happy. All her rough edges of the Board room and with him has faded away. She looked young and happy. Lois approached Sonny.

L: She's amazing isn't she?
S: Brook is a very beautiful girl. With Cerello blood how could she miss.
L: I meant Brenda. This event was bigger than the Nurse's Ball.
S: Where are all the kids from?
L: Some are Brooks friends, some are from the hospital, some are just kids from the neighborhood. I guess you brought a few as well.
S: So you think she'll mind.
L: Brook loves to meant knew people.
S: I meant Brenda. We have got to get our signals straight. Brenda said no presents, but I couldn't resist. I have missed so much time with her. I had to get her a little something. (He handed her a jewelry case -- a diamond solitaire pendent.)
L: Brenda?
S: Brook -- Jesus Cerello.
L: Kidding -- she'll love it. She knows about you.
S: Yeah more than she needed to know at 9.
L: She's a bright girl. Do you still want to get back with Brenda?
S: Are you going to warn me against it?
L: No, I was just going to warn you of her left hook.
S: His name is Dean, I know I met him.
L: Yeah him too.
S: Are they---- you know?
L: Don't be stupid. He took a bullet for her -- well for you ya know. He has saved her life on more than one occasion. She would never have him working for her if they were - she knows how love and screw up your thought processes. She's changed Sonny. Not all for the good, but definitely better than that little fool you left at the alter.
S: When can I be forgiven for that?
L: How long did you take to for give the wire? How much for several attempts on her life? How much for making her live like a prisoner? How much more for losing... never mind.
S: Losing what? Tell me Lois.
L: Take it slow with Brenda, Sonny. She is well guarded these days. If you force your way in, you might just break the supports that are holding her together. You will either destroy her or you will let the monster out again. Then neither of you will be left with anything. Can I ask you a question? If you had it all to do over again -- would you do the same thing.
S: Which part?
L: Any of it.
S: In six years running and looking over my shoulder I have thought about this on more than one occasion. I must say that there are only about 1000 things I would do differently. But falling for Brenda and loving her is not one of them. The first night I cam back she reminded me that we have more than love between us. We are connected -- bonded was her word. I used to tell her that we were inevitable. I think that it excited her back then, now it ....
L: Scares the pants off of her. Be gentle. Be slow. Be sure. Don't screw her over again or I will kill you myself. Clear?
S: Very.

Just then group of kids, most form the Ward house came running up to Sonny and told him that he had to play tug of war with them. He laughed and let them lead him down to the game. There was a play pool filled with whipped cream - Brook's idea -- and 15 kids on either side. They let Brook and her best friend Katie be the team captains. Well all was said and done Ned and Edward were on Brook's team and Sonny & Brenda were on Katie's team. Don't need to explain how this ended. I'll just give you a visual image of 12 kids and Sonny& Brenda rolling around in the whip cream. Of course anyone standing with in 5 feet of the pool got splashed with the cream and a few kids got chased with a pie tin full of cream. It was fun and it was messy. So Sonny and Brenda decided to help the kids get Edward and Ned back, they would throw them into pool -- the big pool. The organized with the kids and eventually everyone was swimming fulling clothed. It was a fun party.

Sonny hadn't spoken to Brenda alone all day. They ran into each other by the pool house after they each had cleaned up.

S: Great party.
B: Yeah, I am having a great time. Do you think Brook is?
S: Are you kidding - the time of her life. Who wouldn't this place is better than Disneyland.
B: She's my only Goddaughter so I can spoiler her if I want to.
S: There are a lot of kids here today that are getting a lot out of this.
B: Yeah you looked like you were having fun too.
S: Have you ever thought about having your own kids.
B: (Changing the subject) Oh look, it is time for the cake. See you later. (Brenda left quickly. Sonny thought that she froze up rather quickly. Interesting.)

~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~

It was six weeks before Sonny was able to get through to Brenda.

S: Hey, it's you and not your machine.
B: Yeah, Hi -- I 'm sorry I have been really busy. I hear the plans for the Performing Arts school are coming together.
S: They are and thank you for sending all of your support -- financially as well as all your people. That is not why I called. I was thinking that we could take our dogs to get dipped.
B: You don't have a dog.
S: Neither do you but... How about lunch tomorrow.
B: Oh Sonny.....
S: Brenda please -- we need to start some where.
B: Well it take some doing but I could meet you for Breakfast at 6. I have a meeting at 7 but I could push it back.
S: Brenda -- how about when you don't have anywhere to be for at least - oh say - 3 hours. B: That would be sometime in 2025 around October. (Silence) OK how about a late dinner - - say around 8:30.
S: Tonight?
B: If not tonight , it won't be until ----
S: OK tonight. How about Luke's.
B: I would rather not.
S: Fine you name it.
B: Come to my house, I'll have dinner ready.
S: You aren't going to cook are you? (Smiling)
B: I might. Sonny don't read anything into this. It is just more convent for me to be at home.
S: You are safe now Brenda. I keep telling you.
B: I know -- tonight at 8:30 then OK? Bye.
S: Fine Bye.

Brenda hung up -- "Safe from whom Sonny? Rivera, or You or Myself?"

~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~

Sonny showed 15 minutes early. He has brought a bottle of wine and a huge bouquet of flowers. He was dressed in an incredible Armani suit (Sorry the writer loves Armani on any one). He looked HOT. Brenda was running late. She had taken a break from work at 7:30, but as soon as she got out of the shower she was called to the phone on an emergency. She was still in her house coat and no makeup when she entered the library at 8:45.

B: Sonny I am sorry. Really. Crisis in Milan -- I don't want to get into it. Listen I am going to get changed really quickly. Are you enjoying the appetizers?
S: Yeah, great. Do you want to change this to another night?
B: No - No I am really sorry. I had every intention on being ready on time. Please, it will only take me a couple of minutes. Do you mind?
S: Sure go ahead. Don't take too long.
B: I won't be able to match you -- you look great. Armani Right?
S: Go.

Sonny wandered around the library and looked at all the art that was displayed. He could not picture Brenda acquiring all this stuff. It didn't seem like her. She entered in 15 minutes. She look great. Simple black suit with a very sexy camisole top peeking though. She watched him for a second and read his mind.
B: This is all for show. I have my personal stuff in my rooms upstairs.
S: For Show?
B: I am the head of a major fashion house -- can't have family pictures on the mantle piece should I have to entertain. Beside the fact that I have 25 designers on my staff that love to redo my house every year. I let them.
S: I see. I still can't get over what a force you are. I have been watching you grow for the past 11 years and you have bloomed into quite the rose.
B: So I am no longer Spoiled and Reckless, Lonely and Brave.
S: Don't put words in my mouth -- but you have no need to go looking for anymore adventure. You have created you own. Brava.
B: Thank you. Let's go into dinner so I can let Fredia go home.

~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~ ~:~~:~

Through dinner they talked of mutual friends and new ventures. I was all pretty superficial. It was stiff and friendly. During dessert Brenda got a call again from Milan. She took it in the study and suggested that they have coffee and brandy in the conservatory. When she got back from the phone Sonny was out on the terrace. He was looking off into the night with a pretty sad look on his face.

B: I am sorry. I won't be bothered again tonight. I have had all the calls routed to my assistant.
S: I am jealous Brenda.
B: Of?
S: Your life. When I knew you I was the most important thing in your life.
B: So now you now how I felt.
S: Touche. Brenda I get the feeling that there is something important that you want to tell me.
B: No not really. (Very uncomfortable)
S: OK I won't push. I have spent the last 7 1/2 years going over all the things I did wrong and all the things I wished I could have changed. But I meant what I said I have loved you with every breath I took. I know you will never understand what I did or why - but is there any way we can try to put it behind us.
B: (She was silent for a while, looking out into the night. Finally she turned around) You were right -- I do have some things to tell you. Let's sit down. Before I say anything you must understand that I have dealt with all of it the best way I knew how. These things creep up on me at times but I do not want you sympathy or your support. They are things that happened that I suppose you have a right to know.
S: I will listen to anything you have to tell me.
B: I want to say these things with out a "TONE" so give me a minute.
S: (Sonny got up and refilled their Brandies.) Here you go.
B: Courage -- just what I needed. Life with you Sonny was always one step ahead of doom: Rivera, Scully, Frank Smith, Damien, Taggert, Garcia etc etc etc. (Sonny sat and was quiet letting her say her piece.) But we had such a connection that our love was over the top and our hate was so low. After you left I hit rock bottom. When you came back two months later -- saving my life from someone or other -- I thought for sure you would take me this time. I convinced myself of it. But then you were gone again. I was numb. I could not understand how I could still be in danger even if we were apart. It didn't seem fair. For months I just went through the motions. Jax helped quite a bit but it always hurt to be with him knowing that I would never love him as I has loved you. Then you came back again. The day after I had escaped death for the second time since you had been gone. I remember not really knowing that you were there. I was asleep and woke to you holding me and crying. The next morning I woke up and you were gone. I thought I had dreamed the whole thing. Until--- (She stopped. She was becoming more agitated and her eyes were tearing up.)
S: Brenda?
B: I am Ok.. Until three months later I discovered I was pregnant.
S: What? Pregnant. I don't understand.
B: Sonny please --- (He was silent again). I told only Jax at first. He convinced me that we should get married. No one would question his paternity and he would raise the child as his own. It sounded like a good idea at the time. By then I knew I couldn't trust that you would show up again or when. I also convinced myself that if I was in so much danger because of you any child of ours would be as well. So I married Jax.
S: I was there that day. It broke my heart to see you promise to love honor and cherish him.
B: Well that is something else we have in common. I was there when you married Lily. Anyway let me get through this Ok? When we got back from our honeymoon he convinced me to hire Dean and his security service for protection. Three months on the job and Dean was shot trying to save me. In the course of him getting me out of the line of fire I fell down some stairs. I lost the baby. I was alive, Dean was going to live but the baby was not.
S: Oh my god. Brenda I am sorry. (she put her hand up to stop him)
B: Jax tried to be understanding but he could just could not muster up any sympathy for a Corinthos/Barrett Baby. It destroyed our marriage. We were always respectful and I am really angry that our friendship suffered as much as it did. We just drifted. (She was silent for a while.) There is more. The doctors told me that I should not try to get pregnant again. They felt that my odds of carrying a baby to full term would be slim at best. So with one bullet - a bullet that should not have been fired because I had already paid the ultimate price for stopping it - I lost my husband, my child and all my future children. Not to mention almost getting Dean killed. (She walked inside for a moment and left Sonny there in silence. There were tears in his eyes and rolling down his face. He could find no words. She came back out with the bottle of brandy. He shook his head. He wanted to stay lucid.) Our Not-to-be-Wedding day was now a bright spot compared to that day. So I did the only thing I knew how to do. Fight. Fight for what I wanted -- rather fight for what I thought I could have. There were several other attempts on my life -- but Dean and I were able to work our way through those times to get us here to day. The rest, as they say, is history.
S: That is why you wanted nothing to do with me when I came back that time.
B: I wanted to kill you. You had taken everything there was to be taken from me Sonny. I had nothing left. My only feeling was anger: Raw, Unadulterated, Hate. It motivated me to build the business and well ---- I am still walking and talking. And what really pissed me off was that I was giving you exactly what you wanted. There were many times when I thought if I had died that would have showed you how wrong you were to leave me. Twisted logic ugh?
S: How you must hate me.
B: Look. I told you this because you needed to know. You needed to know that Katie Barrett Jax was born and died - and she was your daughter. Did you need to know? Or did I need to tell you? As I stand here Sonny, I am not sure why I told you about Katie. To hurt you? To make you understand why I could not ever want you back in my life or to finally be able to cry for our daughter with her father. Maybe a little of all three. I probably shouldn't have told you.
S: (Sonny had not taken his eyes off the ground. There were still tears falling from his eyes. He finally looked up --his voice cracked). No -- No you should have. I can't believe the depth of the pain I have caused for the both of us. Jesus Brenda -- (he stood up and stepped toward her - she at first looked away. Finally she went to his embrace. They cried in each others arms until the wee hours of the morning.)

*************************

6 years 19 months (C)

About 2AM Brenda noticed Dean out on the ground making his rounds. She and Sonny had been holding each other on the terrace without saying a word for hours. It was odd that Dean was there that late, but she figured that it was because of Sonny. She pulled away from his embrace and he stirred slowly. He wasn't sleeping - just in very deep thought.

B: Would you like some coffee?
S: No thank you. (Something had gone out of his voice -- he sounded beaten) Could you tell me a little about Katie?
B: There is very little to tell. I went into labor and she was born 9 weeks premature. They thought she might make it for a little while, but something happened. Her heart just wasn't strong enough. She was so small. But she was so beautiful. She was a fighter too. I had her for 3 days. She died in my arms. So much of me died that day.
S: Katie Barrett - I believe that she was beautiful. I am sorry you had to go through that alone.
B: It is getting pretty late and I am sure Milan will be calling me first thing in the morning. I should try to get some sleep. (Her tone was flat and even and for the first time since he had known her he was not sure what she was feeling of thinking.)
S: Right. I'll go.

Sonny got up and started gathering up his coat etc. He noticed that the flowers had been placed in a vase and the bottle of wine was sitting next to them on the hall table. Brenda followed him to the door.

S: Thank you for dinner, it was very good.
B: I will tell Freida. She'll be thrilled to know that a chef such as yourself enjoyed her offerings. (Sonny stood for a moment with his hand on the door looking at the floor).
S: Brenda ---- I just ... I am .. I don't know what to say. (He looks directly into her eyes.) There is so much going on in my head right now that I don't even know which end is up. All I want to do is try to take your pain away - fix what I have broken.
B: Sonny don't. We are still standing and there was a time in our lives when we thought that we always would be the last one's standing. Besides - what has been broken can't be fixed. But I am not broken -- I am not dead and I have not curled up into a ball. I have a life many people dream of. Is it the life I dreamt of?...not really - but who every really gets their dreams. (Tears are welling up in his eyes) It's late -- I am waxing way too philosophic.
S: (He reached up and touched her face) Lois asked me if there was anything I would have done differently in the past 10 years. At first I told her there was more than 1000 things that I wish I could do over again. Tonight there is only one. I wish I had met you before -- before I got in so deep that nothing else mattered.
B: Sonny It's OK. Life happens to you when you are not looking.
S: I can't even hope that you might forgive me for all the things that you have suffered by knowing me.
B: I have also known a few fairly wonderful things from knowing you too. We made choices Sonny. All our lives are full of choices. We do the best we can and we make the best choice we can at the time. I knew what you were and I had plenty of red flags that I chose to ignore. I could have walked away. I chose to stay. That was my choice.
S: Someday I hope you will at least understand that I didn't leave to hurt you. I really thought that I could protect you better from far away. Now it seems so wrong and twisted and meaningless. Jesus --
B: Look -- it is late and we should take a little time to let all that has gone on tonight sink in. Maybe we can talk again sometime.
S: I would like that very much. Please call me, soon.
B: Right, hey Sonny. I haven't told too many people about Katie. Lois and Robin of course. Dean was there through the whole ordeal. Jax and Ned, but no one else. We had kept the pregnancy out of the media and after she died we saw no reason to mention any of it. So please don't discuss her with anyone, even my friends.
S: I understand.
B: Goodnight.
S: Goodnight (He held her for a very long time -- when he pulled away he kissed her sweetly on the lips -- as old lovers might.) I am so very, very sorry, Brenda.
B: Yeah, me too.

Sonny left. He walked out to his car and Dean was standing 5 feet away. Sonny thought about going over to speak to him - but thought better of it. He got in his car and drove down the drive as Brenda watched from the door. When his car was out of sight Dean appeared in front of her. His look was not supportive. All he said was "Goodnight Miss Barrett." He hadn't called her Miss Barrett since the day he got shot. She noticed the stiffness but chose to deal with it in the morning. As she closed the front door she first noticed the flowers that Sonny had brought and the bottle of wine. She smiled sadly, took one white lily out of the arrangement and went up to her quarters.

Her quarters consisted of 3 rooms over looking the lake. She had a lovely terrace full of flowers. She lay the lily on her pillow and turned on the stereo. She pulled a picture frame from the bottom of the desk and sat on the terrace looking out over the water. She clutched the picture to her chest and let the tears fall as "The Music of It All" by Eleanor McEvoy filled her ears and her head.

==============================================

"The Music of it All" by Eleanor McEvoy from *Eleanor McEvoy*

The white light on the water
The changes in you and your attitude
But the changes that I see are no surprise to me
Cause your worthiness is empty
Your willingness is a jewel to me
You body I recall
Made music of it all
Yes your body I recall Made music of it all

With your lips next to my lips
The night would be much easier
The day not so hard to face
With you inside this empty space
And with your skin next to my skin
The night ahead could be beautiful
...

And it's been such a battle to change
It's been such a battle to rearrange
My life, my days and the way I feel
But one more night to spend with you
Just one more night of holding you
Though I know in my heart and soul
It wouldn't change a thing
Just a little comfort bring
Comfort from you

The white light on the water
The changes in you and your attitude
Your body I recall, made music of it all...
The music of it all...
Your body moves like music...

====================================

The picture in her arms was of her and Sonny in Puerto Rico, in the corner she had put a picture of Katie, taken 6 hours before she died. She got up and walked into her bedroom. Sonny had parked outside the gates looking mindlessly at the house, he noticed her light come on from the second floor. He watched the terrace and thought he saw her on the balcony. When the light went out he drove slowly home. He put in an old Eleanor McEvoy CD and tracked ahead to track 10.

************************************************

Help how do I get these two back together? Or should I? Is anyone still reading? 6 years 19 months (D)

Thank you all for your support and input. I have been struggling with this for about 24-36 hours now and I think I have a good start on how they should get back together - that is the consensus anyway. Please don't expect that it will take one installment or that they will succeed first time out. Hang with me. I would like to create scenes like Brenda on the 10/02/97 episode watching the white screen remembering Sonny and being in such pain it hurt to watch. They are inspiring I will admit that. I wonder if Maurice is watching or is reading the boards. If so -- Mauice you are still causing a stir and will -- I imagine -- for quite some time.

Here we go......

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sonny arrived back at Luke's close to 4 am. He drove around quite a bit after his leaving Brenda's. So much had changed in Port Charles -- there was now a 7-11 on every corner and what the hell what this Starbucks thing all about anyway -- too bad he didn't buy stock in them back in 97. He could not think. He wanted to remember but his mind would not let him. He wanted to think about Brenda and the life they had. He wanted to remember the love or even the hate he had for her. He wanted to remember how he felt the days after Lily was killed. He wanted to remember Scully and how it felt to kill the only fahter figure he had ever known. He tried to remember his mother's face as she slipped away from him in the hospital. He wanted to feel the loss of Katie. Nothing - Nothing at all. No feelings, no emotions nothing. He noticed the lights on the water and wondered who changed the bulbs when they went dead. He wondered why they would put a Ralph's and a Hugh's on the same corner. He tried to understand how Pavillions could get such better produce than any other store. {Sorry I am from the West Coast Now}. He tried to justify spending $2.25 on a gallon of gas. He was numb. And he *wanted* to FEEL. Nothing came to him.

Inside his apartment he sat in the big chair that looked out on to the docks. He missed the view from the Penthouse. Jason was still living there, but he had not gone to see him since he was back. Jason had turned coldER and it would not have been appropriate for him to show up and disrupt Jason's command. He wanted some more brandy but he kept very little in the way of alcohol in the house. He wanted to feel. He just wanted to be able to be happy or sad or angry or mean or anything. Nothing. If it were the old Sonny he would have picked a fight with Dean or the kid that was trying to break into his car as he watched from the window. But nothing.

He sat still for hours and watched the city get brighter as the sun came up. Around 6 am he stirred to consciousness - he never slept -- and called Brenda's house. He had no idea what he was going to say he just needed to hear her voice.

R: I am sorry Mr. Corinthos (he had not given his name - that was why Reginald got paid the big bucks) Miss Barrett has gone to Milan. She left----- (He was cut off and Dean picked up the phone)
D: Miss Barrett was called away on business and does not have a return date. Sonny hung up. She left -- without telling him -- so suddenly - but then again why should she. It could have been business but it was proably her just trying to put distance between them. Damn her. For the first time in their 10 year relationship - such that it was -- he felt that he would not ever be able to get her back. How could he possibly every win back her love after all the drama that she experienced at his hands? She had loved him once but he had played all his trump cards and now there was nothing left.

His nothingness had turn to a very deep sense of loss. A loss as deep as death. The death of Sonny & Brenda, their love, their bond, their connection, their passion, their hope in the future. He looked out on to the cold grey dawn remembering nothing in particular. Nothing memorable but to a man deeply in love and loss. Her smile, her hair, her smell, her skin, her lust for life, her passion, and of course her eyes. Eyes so full of expression they could sell perfume in the pages of a magazine. He remembered touching her neck and the small of her back. He heard her speak his name, and make that little sigh she made when he would touch her in that certain way, he remebered the sound she made as she drifted off into a deep sleep. He picked up the shirt he had worn that night and inhaled deeply -- he smelled her perfume - it was the scent that Luke had given her before they left Port Charles that time. He remembered the day he kissed her in the hall out side of Jax's penthouse. Her knees buckled. All these senses were new again and like old freinds at the same time. He was stirred to consciousness when he heard a song come on the stereo.

========================================================

"Nothing's the Same" by Gary Moore from *After Hours*

Another time, another place
The lonely streets where we embraced.
Then you were gone without a trace,
Nothing's the same without you.

Another day goes passing by,
I sit alone and wonder why.
Sometime's its hard, but I will try
To live my life without you.

You are in my heart, You're in my dreams
You are everywhere, in my soul - it seems (?)
So many times I have heard that song
Hold back the tears , the tears just come.

Another day goes slowly by,
I sit alone and wonder why.
I think of you and I start to cry
Nothing's the same without you.

Another time, another place
The sweetness of our last embace
What would I give to see your face
Nothing's the same without you.

Nothing's the same..without you.
=============================================

The tears were streaming down his face. He loved her, he lost her over and over again. There was no hope now. She didn't need him, she didn't love him, she didn't want him. He had nothing to give her and had taken and destroyed everything she had given.

A knock came to the door, and again, and again. A voice came from behind the door.

K: Mr. Corinthos? It is Kelly O'Connell, Brenda Barrett's assistant. I have a message for you from Brenda.

He opened the door, Kelly handed him and envelope and walked away without another word.

********************************

Sonny,

I have been called to Milan on business. I should be home in a few days. I know I dumped quite a bit on you last night and I am sorry that this timing is so bad. I would have liked to talked to you again about all that we discussed last night.

I won't presume to understand what you are feeling. I imagine that finding out about Katie after all this time has to be strange and painful at the same time.

I asked you last night not to discuss her with anyone. I realize that was wrong. You need to come to terms with her life and death in your own way, and I have no right to dictate.

Be gentle with yourself and with me. I know in my heart that none of this was intentional on anyone's part. We all got caught in the crossfire. Some day my head will catch up.

Take care. I will contact you when I am back in the states.

Brenda

*********************

The note fell from his hands to the floor. He read nothing into that note which might give him a chance at hope. He had wasted his life. It was all a cosmic joke. His anger at the world has cost him every chance at happiness. Brenda was THE ONE chance in a life time - a chance that most people don't get. What would have happened if he had lost his ego the day he met her and she hers. Would they have been like Luke and Laura? Would they have learned how to trust, love and live with each other. Could they have survived? He even lost Lily. A woman that he would never been IN Love with but whom he could love. Was he paying for the Kharma of this life or was this from past lives. He must have been Atilah the Hun.

He made his decision. He was going to get the hell out of Dodge. Living away from all the things he could not have had to be easier that watching them 20 feet away from him. He looked around his apartment and grabbed one suit case. It had the essentials. Money, two changes of clothes, his travel log (a diary he kept the years he was on the run) and a picture of Brenda from a deception shoot. He headed for the door. He pulled the door open and took one last look. He picked up the letter that Brenda sent and stuffed it in the bag, he turn back toward the door. Robin was standing there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

R: Running away again I see. Ya know Sonny you are a jerk.
S: Robin! How are you?
R: I am great. Better than you. Are you really running again? Stupid.
S: What the hell am I supposed to do? I have no life here. Why stay?
R: Why go? Brenda is not the only reason you came back to Port Charles, ya know. I know you would like to think so. But what about me, Mike, Jason, Lois, Luke, Lucky? What about the new friends that you have made? The hospice, the Ward-Warehouse, Lukes? You have a life Sonny. It is not that bad. Now - it is not that bad. You have created a safe, productive space for yourself out of the ruins that was your life.
S: Why are you here? {Truly a plot device if I ever saw one}
R: It doesn't matter, you need some refreshing honestly in your life and I am just the person to give it. Look there are many people in life who have screwed up, and they make amends and move on. There are many people in life who go through everyday without their one true love. They make it Sonny. They live and they are productive and they find happiness - if only a modicum of happiness.
S: I am not leaving because of Brenda?
R: I know.
S: I am moving on.
R: You're delusional . You have been on your own too long. You are wallowing in self pity. Oh poor me. My mother died because I couldn't protect her. Oh poor me. Lily and my baby died because I couldn't protect them. Oh poor me. My daughter died & Brenda hates me because I couldn't protect her. Oh poor me---
S: Stop it. When did you get to be so ruthless. Why are you talking to me like this?
R: If not me, who else will? Sonny I have lost more in my life than a person should. I am still standing. I am still moving forward. I am still striving for something that will bring joy to my life. I have found medicine. I have made mistakes and gone down roads that I should have known better than to try. Not nearly to the extent that you have - but still I am not perfect. I have my own baggage.
S: I thought you and I were friends.
R: And so we are. I did not fold when my parents or Stone died. I survied losing Jason to that world you introduced him to. Brenda did not fold when you left her -- how many times again did you leave her?
S: Jesus -- if you were anyone else I would have decked you by now.
R: Good thing I am no one else.
S: What am I supposed to do?
R: Think for a change. I know you don't do it very well when it comes to your heart but try.
S: Wait - I'll get you a stick and you can really hit me hard.
R: Think Sonny. Look at all sides of the problem. Take you heart out of the center and THINK. I will help you and will point out the flaws in you logic.
S: This ought to be as much fun as a root canal. Ok - How?
R: Let's start with something simple. What will leaving gain you?
S: Distance, Perspective.
R: From what?
S: Port Charles?
R: Try again.
S: Brenda?
R: Again.
S: My pain.
R: One more time.
S: I don't know --- my life, my past, my mistakes ---- myself?
R: Ding, Ding, Ding. Yes -- Now Jay tell Mr. Corinthos what he's won. Exactly. You are running from yourself. The flaw in the logic of course is that when you go you take yourself, your life, your past and your mistakes with you. Even if you change your name.
S: That is so trite. ------- So what if I stay. What then.
R: I'll bite, what then?
S: Am I just suppose to -- what?
R: Live? Work? Give back to the world? Eat? Drink? Be Merry? Do what everyone else is doing in the world. Are you going to let yourself continue to ruin your happiness? What would you do if someone - me - for instance was trying to ruin your happiness. Would you let me?
S: You are doing a pretty good job so far and you are still standing.
R: Ok let's take - Jax - for instance.
S: Not on a bet. He has no power over me.
R: So don't let yourself have that kind of power over your life. Sonny you are helping a lot of people. Does that mean so little to you? Are you willing to let them just fade away because you cannot face your demons?
S: Ok OK I get it. Why does leaving mean that I am running away. Why can't it be a tactical retreat?
R: ANNNNNT Wrong answer, but thank you for playing. How tacticle could it be? You have built something here. How much would you gain if you left? How much would you lose?
S: Robin it hurts too much to see her - on those rare occasions that I can see her. And now that I know that I will never be able to regain her love or be in her life ----
R: Who said that?
S: She did.
R: Oh yeah - And we always believe everything that falls out of Brenda's mouth.
S: How can I ever make up to her all that she has lost?
R: Who said you have to? Think Sonny. Did she order you out of town? Did she ask you to make amends to her? Did she ask you to do anything at all for her?
S: She asked me not to push.
R: and so you leave town. That's like not pushing.
S: I saw her eyes --
R: I have too. They are beautiful. I have seen them extatic as the day she told me that you and she were getting back together. I have seen them deadened as the day she buried Katie. I have seen them furious as the day she knew that you had left her again. I have seen them loving as the day she held your hand in the hospital after you were shot up with herion. I have seen them too Sonny. You have just started gaining her trust. 19 months of honesty, integrity and truly selfless behavior goes a long way with someone who has never stopped loving you.
S: You think I might actually have a chance with her?
R: I don't know. The only thing I do know is that you have got to stop running. If you and Brenda were meant to be you have to give yourself a chance. If you are going to be happy with or without her, you need to find a home.
S: Ok, I'll stay. I won't push and I will fill my days with productive activities. Happy?
R: Very, I have got to go. I love you Sonny. Be good to yourself.
S: Robin, why did you come here today?
R: You needed me. I will always be around when you need me.
S: How did you know.
R: Stone told me.
S: Don't get Twilight Zone on me. How did you know?
R: I spoke with Brenda this morning. So long Sonny. SIT! STAY! (She kissed him and left)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The sun was full up and it seemed like a good day to be alive. As good as any other. He went to bed.

6 years 19 months (E)

Brenda had thought quite a bit about Sonny during her trip to Milan. It was not about the past, or about love or hate. She thought about the last year and 1/2. How much he had done for the community. How much he had changed and how much he had not. She only had a handful of interactions with him directly and many second hand reports. He was still rebellious. He still had contempt for the people in the world who had more. It was interesting that he never thought of him self as having more than elite. He drove a more expensive car than they did. He dressed better than they did. He had more money in his pocket than they did. But as hard as he tried he would never be one of them. He didn't seem to mind. It appeared that he loved his "bad boy" image. Some things never change.

She wondered if that was what intrigued her about him the most - that bad boy image. She had always enjoyed her wicked reputation. It fact it was a great asset to her when she started her business. Most people expected her to fail and fail big. That gave her a leg up. They never looked at her as competition until the game was over and Brenda the victor. Even today Brenda can best Edward at a negotiation table.

She was still concerned. Sonny had never openly told anyone that he was either in or out of the organization. To her knowledge he had never contacted Jason but ---- she could not get involved with him again. Leopards don't change their spots. As the pilot told her that they were in finally approach to PC airport - she called Sonny's office.

Svoice:Hi, leave a message or your bank account number. I'll take only what I need. *Beep*
B: Hi Sonny, great message. Direct, to the point, but forget it. I will be back in the office today around 3pm. Can we try to get together in the next couple of days? Talk to you later.

As Brenda got off the elevator she heard loud angry voices coming through the closed door of Dean's office

D: You will walk away Mr. Corinthos. You are nothing but trouble. She has been safe for years now and I will not let you drag her back down to that mire again. In fact I think you ought to pack your bags and leave town.
S: Do you? And who appointed you judge and jury?
D: I have been cleaning up your mess for 7 years now, I won't let you destroy her world again. You put her through hell. You are trouble. You are the dirt under my fingernails and I will squash you like a bug before I let you any where near her. I am warning you Corinthos. I don't give a good god damn how many homeless kids you get off the street, you will always be pond scum. (Brenda opened the door and which stopped Sonny from responding.)
B: Good afternoon gentlemen. Sonny, I am surprised to see you here. You are here to see me I presume.
S: Of course - not this---
B: Could you wait in my office for just one moment. Since I just got back I have few things I need to go over with Dean. Kelly?! Would you escort Mr. Corinthos to my office and fix him a drink. I'll be in directly. (They leave. Sonny has this look like "You are gonna get it now." Dean scowls)
D: Brenda I'm sorry. (She puts her hand up.)
B: Dean I wanted to tell you about Milan. It appears that the fabric order might have been sabotaged. I want you to look into it. Find out who would want to ruin the fall line. I would prefer that you do not leave Port Charles just now but if you feel that you need to put your personal touch on this investigation I understand. Vince has all the information and particulars and Katrina will be calling you later today with the full estimate of the damage. Get with Agnes in Accounting to see if this is covered under our insurance etc. Please keep be informed of all the particulars ok. I will not let this fall be ruined by anyone. It is our best line ever. Ok?
D: I'll get right on it. Anything else.
B: Yes, I appreciate your defending me but that is not your position. You are here to keep our business secure and the employees (including me) safe. You are the Chief of Security. We have a personal connection due to the length of time we have worked together and the experiences that we share. I respect you, your knowledge and your position. You need to keep perspective. If you let any part of this get personal -- well it would not be good for either of us.
D: Brenda, I need to say something that you may not want to hear.
B: We have always had an open line of communication. Now is no time to stop.
D: If you decide to pursue a relationship with Sonny Corinthos, I will not be able to continue to work for you.
B: (She breathed in slowly and breathed out slowly) I see. Do you know something about him that I need to know?
D: Everything I know, you know. He's a walking train wreck waiting to happen.
B: (Long pause) Fine, prove that he still is the lying criminal that you know him to be. I have not made up my mind to do anything about Sonny. I want you to do an extensive background on him. Look into everything you can find. His business dealings, his friends, phone records everything. Do not go back farther than 8 years. Compile a report as you would on any new person we were intending on doing business with. When you are done with the investigation give me your report - my eyes only. Be objective and sensitive and confidential. Sonny is smart and will know that you are investigating him, and I am going to tell him. If he has nothing to hide then he won't mind -- much. This is your investigation -- bring no one else in on it. Understand?
D: Understood. If I find out that he had not changed.
B: Then I have lost nothing other than the cost of the investigation. This is personal and will not go through the business. Bring all your receipts to me personally.
D: If he has changed - or at least appears to have changed.
B: Let's cross that bridge when we get there. Dean I cannot afford to lose you. We work together very well and I trust you more than I do anyone - other than myself. If I chose to reconcile with Sonny or try to establish a friendship with him - I will need your understanding - if not your blessing - and if I can't have that then we will need to make a change. Anything else.
D: Yes - how can you be so businesslike about this?
B: Practice. My feelings - as they concern Sonny - have never been controllable. I have never been able to make a rational decision. I need you to be the head and my heart is very tightly locked away right now. Let's get back to work. (She left. In the hall she breathed a huge sigh of relief. She had a nagging feeling that condoning an investigation of Sonny would be just like wearing a wire. But if Sonny had something to hide then she wanted nothing to do with him. She walked down the hall to her office. Sonny was sprawled on the couch sifting through some proofs that had just come up from downstairs.)
S: That is some watch dog you have got there.
B: I am going to only say this once. Dean has saved my life on many occasions. He took a bullet for me and would again in a heartbeat. He has been there for me through the roughest points in my life. He walked back with me from the pit that you left me in. I have known and trusted him longer than I have known you. He has the right if not the duty to be a little leery of you and what you represent. While I don't approve of this particular tactic, I appreciate the initiative. If we are to have any kind of relationship at all -- everyone needs to own their part. More to the point - why are you here?
S: Ummmmm Jesus Brenda you are so-------
B: Cold? mater-of-fact? honest?
S: I guess, a little of all three. You and I have had such different experiences these last 7 years. I am not sure I know you anymore.
B: You may not like what you see - if you chose to look after what I have to tell you.
S: What is that.
B: Wait Wait just a minute. I am taking back control of this interview. I called you from the plane to ask if we could get together. Do you want to discuss our last meeting here and now, or would you like to set up another time?
S: Jesus Brenda --- WE HAD DINNER? It wasn't a meeting. We held each other and cried about the death of our daughter, for Christ sake. This was a mistake. I shouldn't have come here. Look call me when you are over your jet lag. Call me when you want to be Brenda and not Ms. Barrett, corporate superstar. (He got up to leave.)
B: Sonny I am sorry. Wait please. Let's have dinner tonight. I need a shower and a nap, but I will be fine by 7.
S: (Defeated and disgusted) Where?
B: We don't have to.
S: Tell me where? You are calling all the shots - so call em.
B: How about Luke's.
S: Are you ready for that?
B: We'll see.
S: Will you be bringing Rex the attack dog?
B: "Buster," no but I will have somebody with me.
S: Great, dinner for three. Sounds ----- intimate.
B: Lose it Sonny. Lose the attitude, now. You have lived with body guards and you know what the drill is. You forced me to learn that part of life too. Own it.
S: You are right, I am sorry. I'll see you at 7.
B: One more thing. Dean does not trust you. He thinks that you are the same man who left me at the alter and left me alone to defend myself. Are you?
S: I don't really give a rat's ass what Dean thinks or does not think. What do you think? (Brenda just stared at him waiting for an answer) No, I am not. Someday you will see that. Someday you will understand. Someday you will know that you are finally out of danger and that I was the one who finished that for us. Someday you might actually forgive me -- but I am not holding my breath.
B: I have given Dean the authorization to investigate you and your business dealings. This is a private investigation and the information will go no farther than you, me and Dean.
S: What the hell is that about?
B: A condition. Do you want to --- see me, have me in your life?
S: You know I do. But --- you can't take my word can you. No I suppose I wouldn't either. Well I have got nothing to hide. My leaf has turned Brenda. I suppose that proving it to you will be good for me. Maybe you will finally let me make amends for the past and then we can move on to a future.
B: Good. I will see you tonight at 7.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As Brenda was showering for dinner that night she was flooded with old feelings. 1000's of them crowding her mind, her heart and her skin. She remember times with Sonny she had not let herself remember in 5 years. The kiss in the limo... the kiss outside of Lukes... the fight over Lily... her birthday... Washington DC... the cave... the wedding that wasn't... the second time he returned... the cave... moving in to Sonny's... the mountains... standing in the rain... Puerto Rico... L&B... Miguel... Valentine's Day... getting shot in the shower... the docks... the car dealership... finding Sonny shot full of heroin... Jagger... Karen... Lily's death... the blood transfusion... Stone... Robin... the first kiss... the last... showing up in her house 19 months ago. She was experiencing them again as if they were all happening to her at once. She could feel everything. The hurt, the love, the pain, the anger, the joy. It was all too much for her. She was crying softly on the floor of her shower with the water pounding down on her. The speakers she had wired into her bathroom were filling the steam with the the lyrics of Tracy Chapman.

=====================================================

"The Promise" by Tracy Chapman from *New Beginnings*

If you wait for me, then I'll come for you.
Although I've travelled far I always hold a place for you in my heart.
If you think of me, if you miss me once in a while,
then I'll return to you. I'll return to fill that space in your heart.
Remembering your touch. - Your kiss - Your warm embrace
I'll find my way back to you. If you'll be waiting.
If you dream of me like I dream of you.
In a place that's warm and dark.
In a place where I can feel the beating of your heart.
Remembering your touch. Your kiss. Your warm embrace.
I'll find my way back to you, If you'll be waiting.
I've longed for you and I have desired you touch your kiss. Your warm embrace.
I'll find my way back to you
Please say that you'll be waiting. Together again
It would feel so good to be in your arms.
Where all my journeys end.
If you make a promise. If it is one that you can keep.
I vow to come for you. If you wait for me.
And say that you'll hold a place for me in your heart.

=======================================================

Sonny was sitting at the bar listening to the act for the night warm up.
S: Hey Luke, who is she?
L: Tracy Chapman. Fine artist. A ballad Queen.

Brenda arrived right on time. Her man Kenny came in first to check the place out and was never more than 8 feet away from her. Brenda dressed very carefully this evening. She was sure not to dress too sexy -- no mixed messages -- but that woman could wear a potato sack and army boots and make every man-in-the-room's head and most of the women's turn.

They had a very nice dinner and discussed very little of import. That must come with age - not discussing important topics over dinner -- ruins the digestion. Sonny had ordered a bottle of the best Cabernet and Brenda was still feeling a little jet lagged. She felt raw, exposed, unbalanced. It was the first time in years that she was just going out to dinner. He nerves were shot after that emotional breakdown in the shower. He eyes were still a little teary. Sonny was gentle with her, he was not going to push. It was his mantra. The moment she walked into the club however he wanted her as badly as he ever had. It had been nearly 7 years since they had last slept together. For him that meant it was the last time he had sex. She was drop dead gorgeous and although her lust for life was tempered - he felt that she was just controlling her passion. How were they supposed to begin a serious conversation.

B: Do you want to talk about the other night? (Thanks Brenda - always direct)
S: Alright. I wish you had told me when I came back that time about Katie. I wish I had known.
B: What would you have done differently? (There was no tone in either of their voices - this was two old lovers discussing their old feelings. Everything was safe.)
S: I don't know. I just wish I new. I am going through all kinds of feelings that you have already dealt with and put away. I am uncomfortable asking you to relive those. Especially knowing how you feel about me.
B: How do I feel about you Sonny?
S: I imagine you don't really care for me too much - at least not my behavior. I am greatful that you are willing to spend any kind of time with me at all.
B: Ya know what? We need to come to an understanding. I don't expect that you will pay homage to me for the rest of my life for the "wrongs" that I suffered at your hands. I made decisions to. I was there and I was not forced into anything. Yes you lied, you cheated, you lead me to believe that you were not in as deep as you were. All of that was wrong - but I had plenty of warning to get out. I had plenty of chances to leave. I could have and probably should have walked away the day you married Lily. But we were not finished.
S: Are we finished now?
B: You don't think so.
S: How do you know?
B: Call it a hunch.

They smiled. Just then Tracy Chapman came up to the stage and started her set. They turned their chairs to listen, and were silent. When she started The Promise toward the end of her first set, Brenda could no longer hold back the tears. They flowed steadily down her face. Sonny reached around the back of her chair and embraced her as a friend might. She leaned into him and he held her tighter. At the end of the song she got up, walked toward the door, looked once over her shoulder at Sonny and left. He could not let it end that way so he ran out after her. She was not getting into her car, she was walking down toward the docks. Kenny was keeping very close step with her. Sonny caught up with her, and Kenny stepped between them.

S: Brenda? Brenda tell him that I am not the enemy. (She nodded to Kenny and he stepped back) Brenda I am really trying here. Please give me something.
B: I don't know what you need, I don't know if I can give it to you. I have been so locked up for so long that I just can't let go with you - or anyone.
S: I have loved you every minute of every day for the past 10+ years. Even when I hated you - I loved you. I have never felt anything like the feelings I have with you.
B: I know. I know. I know. I don't know what to do.
S: Let yourself be with me. I won't hurt you again. I am done running. I am here to stay. No organization, no death or destruction. We are safe and I won't hurt you again.

He was getting closer to her, until he reached out to touch her face. She closed her eyes and rested her cheek in his warm hands. They closed into an embrace, tears were rolling down her face.

B: Sonny I have to tell you. I don't know if this is love or if this is nostalgia. I have yearned for you for so long that I -----
S: It's OK Brenda, we'll be ok. We'll figure it out. In time. Just don't shut me out, please.

They were looking into each others eyes when they were approached by a you man dressed in street clothes. He was probably only about 18. Kenny watched him and moved closer as he did.

Kid: Mr. Corinthos?
S: Excuse me. (they excused themselves and went to talk a little way off. Sonny was getting irritated and angry. This was the Sonny she remembered -- she did not want to remember this Sonny.) I am sorry Brenda. I have something I have to take care of. (He saw in her eyes the pained look of mistrust and frustration) It is not what you think.
B: What do I think Sonny?
S: That this is some "henchman" coming to give me new about some business deal. Look, please come with me and you will understand. Come on. Please. (She agreed.)

6 Years 19 months (F)

Sonny & Brenda walked back toward the Ward-Warehouse being lead by the kid and followed by Kenny. They were silent. Brenda had all sorts of thoughts running through her head. Not the least was the feeling that she should run. Run far, run fast and run now. WAIT -- HOLD THE PHONE -- STOP THE PRESSES. She knew that Sonny thought that he could drag her back to life of theirs but she would not let him. She was going to stay strong and show him exactly how much she had grown up. If fact she was not going to let him force her to run away. When she left she would walk slowly and assuredly away. He had no power over her any more. She had survived and moved on with her life. How dare he play upon her feelings for him to get her to let down her guard? He has got some nerve coming back into her life and playing like a violin. She was working herself up into quite a tizzy. By time they had arrived at Ward- Warehouse, she was ready to rip Sonny apart with her bare hands. Sonny was thinking about what he was going to find at Ward-Warehouse.

When they arrived Sonny had to handle a kid who had been caught by the police trying to break into a store down on the waterfront. There was no damage done and the kid was only 11. Sonny handled the cops with his usual irreverence, but they didn't seem to care. They just wanted the kid off their hands. Sonny then dealt with the boy. He handled him with firm understanding. It reminded Brenda of....nothing. She had never seen Sonny deal with kids. She had never seen him give so much understanding and yet let the kid know how wrong his actions were. There was stiff punishment imposed but it was not like the Sonny she new. She wanted to see Stone in this boy. Or Jason or Robin or anyone that might give her a clue as to why Sonny was acting this way. Nothing. There was very little of the old Sonny in this scene at all, yet it was very familiar.

Brenda became extremely uncomfortable. She felt off balance and out of her element. It was time to go. She turned to leave and noticed a small girl watching her. She was about 6 years old, long curly blonde hair and the deepest blue eyes she had ever seen. Their eyes met for a long moment and then the girl was gone. She knew that look from inside. Brenda had to leave. Leave now.

Outside the door Sonny caught up with her.

S: Leaving?
B: I have an early meeting in the morning and I have got to prepare for it tonight.
S: I see. Brenda I am not in that life anymore. I am free of it and will not go back.
B: That means what to me?
S: (Dumb founded) It means that --- Nothing I guess. I thought you should know. 20 minutes ago I thought you were ....just forget it.
B: Thanks for dinner.
S: You should put a traffic light on your head so I know I should stop, go or yield with you.
B: Go to hell Sonny. I owe you nothing.
S: Right -- nothing, nothing at all. I -- however -- must make amends for the crimes of the world to you. I should lay prostrate at you feet when you deign to speak with me.
B: Look Sonny ------ I'm out of here. I don't have to fight with you anymore. We are nothing to each other. Stay out of my life.
S: Where are you headed tomorrow? China? Australia? The moon? How far this time to get me out of your head, Brenda.
B: It is not my head that you need to get out of.
S: Damn it Brenda. We mean as much to each other today as we ever have. Doesn't that say something about the connection between us?
B: Yes. It says we need serious therapy.
S: (Ignoring her comment) We can be in the same room for two minutes and it is like no time has passed. We are still connected. Bonded. Bound to each other.
B: Get over it Sonny. You pushed a few old buttons that I thought I had disconnected. We were never right for each other and we never will be.
S: You lie like a rug!. You can delude yourself if you want to but as long as we are alive then we are connected. Hell I bet even death will have no effect on us.
B: You are wrong. Dead wrong.
S: Fine -- TO HELL WITH YOU.
B: To hell with me?
S: Yes, I have had it with you. I have fought everyone in the world for you including me, I will not fight you for you. If you are so bound and determined to cut me out of your life then fine. I'll quit trying and I will probably be happier that way. You are way too much work and always have been. I have spent the last 7 years of my life trying to figure a way for us to be together, to correct the mistakes I have made, and to make up to you what I have --- what you have suffered. I can't do it alone Brenda. I can't apologize if you won't hear. I have made every move and you have just stood there. Just when I think you are opening that door a little it comes slamming back in my face again. I can't take it. (He turns to walk away)
B: How DARE you be mad at me? How dare you walk away from ME? You make me sick. I have barely gotten away with my life and that is not enough for you. What the hell do you want from me? What else am I suppose to give you? What do you expect from me?
S: I expect that you give me a chance.
B: Number 1013. How many will it take Sonny before you get it right? How much more will I suffer until you do?
S: Can't you give me one more chance for old time sake? (BIG MISTAKE)
B: OLD TIME SAKE!? Old Time Sake? Which old time Sonny? The one that almost got us all killed in Puerto Rico? Any one of the number of times that you lied to me about being connected and made me feel that I had no right to ask? The time you let me get shot in the shower of OUR home? The time you kicked me out of our home without discussion? The time you left me standing at the alter to without even discussing it with me? Or the time you left me pregnant? Or the number of times that I was shot at, kidnapped or otherwise harassed by your "connections" or the police? Those are to name but a few. You have got a lot of nerve. I owe you nothing. Bottom line you gave up all your rights the day you left -- pick a day. (Sonny was silent for a moment. Brenda was hot, really really hot. She saw Kenny standing with in ear shot.) Kenny get the hell out of here. I am sick to death of being "protected". Go home. You are fired. Sonny is the witness. If I buy it tonight then it won't be on your head. Get out. NOW! (Kenny moved out of eye sight and called Dean.)
S: That was useful, Brenda.
B: I don't remember asking for your opinion.
S: He is not going to leave Brenda just because you fired him.
B: I don't care. At least he is out of my sight. It is because of you he is here at all.
S: Can we just take a breath.

They were both silent for a minute. Brenda seemed to be calming down slightly. Sonny was chilling. Brenda sat on a crate with her back to Sonny. Sonny stepped up behind her. He was about to put his hands on her shoulders when he noticed that she stiffened so he stepped back.

B: I have not been this angry in years. I hate that you still can make me this angry.
S: I am out of practice Brenda. What do we do now? (She turned to face him)
B: We had never figured out how to talk ourselves down from a fight like this. I think that was our biggest problem - why there is so much unfinished business between us. We let all the outside problems rule our lives to the point that we never had enough energy to work on the problems in the relationship.
S: We had enough energy to make up every time. Why do you think that was?
B: We were good together ---WHEN things were good.
S: Good?
B: Fantastic. Jesus Sonny you could make me feel like I was something. Like I was important, beautiful, desirable and valued. No one in my life has ever been able to give me that - not before and certainly not since. You would reach in and touch my heart - my mind - my soul - and hold it like it was the most precious thing in the universe. You were gentle and loving and your love was unconditional and real. It had texture and form. Oh god.... At those times I knew - I knew that you would never do anything to hurt me or us. It is so hard to move on from that. When you have had the ultimate - everything else seems like a waste of time.
S: Then don't, don't waste anymore time. I am right here. My love for you is more complicated today but it is just as strong and just as real.
B: Why complicated?
S: When I first met you, you made my blood HOT. All I could think when you were in the room or had ever been in that room was how much I wanted you. How much I wanted to make love to you. I would fantasize for hours before we ever got together about how your skin would feel next to mine. I would memorize each and every part of your face, you hands your smile when ever we met. The first time was on the Docks when I held your hand. It was electric. Then time went on and we started that toying, flirting, game playing. It drove me crazy. I still wanted you as much as ever but then there was you to deal with. God what a package you were - are.
B: If I was too hard to deal with, why did you at all?
S: Oh Brenda you were not too hard - just hard - harder than I ever expected. It made it worth so much more. I hung on and tried - because I had no other choice. I wanted no other choice. You pushed me - you pushed my limits everyday. I loved you more each time - I suppose I did not know it then and still today I have a hard time recognizing it. You know that whole thing with the wire - oh god. The reason I was so mad was that you were right. Not about using a wire, that was desperate and foolish, but about me not being honest with you. I couldn't look you in the eyes and tell you what I was doing because I knew that you would leave me. Or more to the point, you would make me answer for bringing that kind of danger into our lives. I have tired over the years to put myself in your position and I think that I have done many things that were as desperate as wearing a wire when it came to you. Leaving you on our wedding day was the hardest, most desperate, thing I have ever done in my life. Just like you convinced yourself that the wire was the only way - leaving was my only way. I am not convinced that either of us were entirely wrong.
B: We weren't enough for each other we were? are we?
S: Jesus, Brenda we were young. So much younger than we are now. I don't think we were ready for the force of nature that we were together. I was not expecting you to be the answer to my prayers. I thought that the organization was. I had convinced myself that power and money were the answers. When you came along you were icing. I had it all. I had the world by the short hairs. Then it all fell apart. Fell apart -- hell is shattered into pieces. It was a whirlpool. That giant flushing sound we heard was my life going down the toilet.
B: But we are still here. We are still standing. And here we are on the same damn docks fighting about ----- what? What are we fighting about?
S: Fighting for what we are to each other. Fighting to save what we can't even put into words. Fighting to maintain the connection to ---- I don't know what -- but I can't live without it. At least I can't live without the hope that we will have it again.
B: I don't want to fight anymore. I don't want to hate or regret anymore. I am so worn out. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get up everyday? I want to trust, Sonny. I want to trust that what you say is true. I want to believe. I want to believe like I used to. I want to believe as much as I did that night outside of Luke's that we belong together, that we could get over it. But what kind of life could we have together? If we could lock ourselves away from the world - live on a desert island - and live on fruit and our love for each other I might actually think that it could work. But ---- I don't have any faith left. I don't have any trust left. I just don't...

She hung her head and started to cry. She sunk down on to the ground and was rocking. It broke Sonny's heart to see how defeated she was. He saw that little girl, ignored by her father and spurned by her sister, lost and alone, thrashing around in the world for the love and acceptance that she never received. There was no where for her to turn. He had to convince her that he would never let her down again. He had to convince her that she was not alone, that she was worth the energy it took for her to fight. He knelt down next to her. And kissed her cheek. Very softly, as a father might. She looked up. Tears rolling down her face. He placed his hand on her face and brushed away some tears with his thumbs. He pulled her face close to his and looking deeply into her eyes - her soul.

S: (Very softly and very gently) Fight Brenda. Fight for yourself. Fight for your happiness. You are worth it. You are worth everything ounce of energy it takes. If you are too weak right now to fight, let me fight for you. I know how much you are worth. I know how precious you are - I have held you in my heart. I won't let you down, again.

She closed her eyes and hung on to Sonny arms tightly. Then he kissed her. It was full of love and passion. It was backed by desire and force. She responded. They kissed for sometime, until Sonny picked her up and carried her back to his apartment over Luke's. She buried her face in his neck and hung on for dear life. He had a hold of her and was not about to let her go. As the outside door to Luke's was closing behind him, he saw Dean standing a few feet way. He thought he saw tears in his eyes. Dean made no motion to enter the club or to try and stop Sonny. How long had he been there? How much did he over hear? No matter. Brenda was in his arms and he was not about to do anything to hurt her and was not going to let go of her again.

He did not put her down until they reached the bed room. He placed her gently on the bed on her side and kneeled down on the floor next to her. Her tears had dried.

S: Brenda, we will be OK.
B: (Nods) OK?
S: Phenomenal. Stupendous. Sensational. You are the air that I breathe, the light in my sun, the stars in my night, the cream in my coffee.
B: You take your coffee black. (Smiles)
S: Black and sweet - like your eyes. Just wanted to see if you were listening. (Smiling)
B: To every word. No more talking.

She rolls over on her back. Sonny walks over to the stereo and hits play. He climbs onto the bed. As the scene fades to black they are kissing - we are treated to the sounds of Peter Gabriel's "in Your Eyes" as they begin to make love for the first time in many years.

============================================

"In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabiel from *So*

love I get so lost sometimes
days pass and this emptiness fill my heart
when I want to run away
I drive off in my car
but whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are

all my instincts, the return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

in your eyes - the light, the heat
in your eyes - I am complete
in your eyes - I see the doorway to a thousand churches
in your eyes - the resolution of all my fruitless searches
in your eyes - I see the light and the heat
in your eyes - oh, I want to touch the light
the heat I see in your eyes

love, don't like to see so much pain
so much wasted and this moment keeps slipping away
I get so tired of working so hard for our survival
I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive

....I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light, the heat
I see in your eyes.

=======================================

Will they make it this time? Should they? You tell me.

6 years 19 months (G)

Brenda woke up the next morning alone. She knew she was alone, she knew that she would be alone. The room was still and the house was quiet. She had curled up into a fetal position facing the wall with her back to Sonny's side of the bed. What a fool. How could she possibly let him take her in again. Her eyes started welling up with tears but she fought them off. She had no idea what time it was. She was probably late for her 8 o'clock with ....somebody or other. She was exhausted. The 18 hours since she had arrived home from Milan had been filled with every emotion on the map: Love, Hate, Passion, Frustration, Lust, Happiness, Loss, Anger, Sadness ...Think. Think. She need to think - not to feel. Feelings always got her into trouble - especially with Sonny. Work - she needed to work. If she could get to work she would be fine. She spotted her purse on the night stand and pulled her cell phone out. She checked her watch -- 6:30am -- she could still make it to her meeting. She called Dean.

B: Dean? Brenda. I need a ride home. I think I fired Kenny last night.
D: I'm right outside Brenda. I have a bag of clothes for you, shall I bring them up?
B: Thank you, Dean. No I will change at the office. I'll be right down. Dean ...... did you see Sonny leave? Wait Forget it I don't want to know. Give me 5 minutes OK?
D: Fine.
B: Dean?
D: Yes.
B: Do I thank you enough?
D: Yes. 5 minutes.

Brenda hung up, and found her clothes neatly hung on the back of the closet door. There was a robe hung next to them with a note pinned to the front with her name written across it in Sonny hand. She sighed. Now what. She was not going to open it at first but curiosity got the better of her.

B: As least he is learning to say "goodbye."

The Note read:

____________________________________________________________________________

6am the day my life began again.

Good Morning My Sweet Lover --
You are not going anywhere. I am sorry I am not there to welcome you to such a glorious day as this one, but I had not expected such an important guest. I went down to the club to get a few things for breakfast. You may get back into bed and dream of our life together, or you may call your office and tell them that you are taking the day off. Those are your only two options. I will be back with you before you have a chance to miss me. My Love is for you, Sonny.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

B: Too late Sonny - I have missed you. I have missed you for too long.

The door to the bedroom opened slowly. Sonny was carrying a tray with strawberries, Champagne, Bagels etc. A single white orchid. Brenda's back was to the door and she did not hear him come in. He placed the tray on the bureau quietly and came up behind Brenda and wrapped his arms around her. She was stiff, but melted into his embrace. He kissed her neck, and ear and turned her around and kissed her passionately on the mouth. She returned all his advances until he started moving her toward the bed.

B: Sonny, wait.
S: Never again. (He did not stop kissing her)
B: Really, Sonny wait! We need to talk. (Still he did not - she returned some but not all)
S: Oh honey -- we are talking -- the best way we know how. (Still he was not stopping)
B: Sonny -(Not Yet) Sonny - (Not Yet) Sonny - Stop It! (He stopped)
S: What? What is it? Honey it has been way too long. (He was about to start again - when Brenda put her hand up in between them)
B: I can't do this right now.
S: You are not going to give me that spurious excuse of work again are you?
B: Yes, I do have to go to work, but that is not why. This is going to be hard to explain, in light of the fact that I am wrong.
S: I don't understand.
B: I woke up and you were gone.
S: I was getting breakfast - foraging for food like a good man - feeding his woman.
B: Don't do that cave man thing. I woke up and you were gone.
S: I am here. I wasn't gone. I am right here, I am not going anywhere ever again.
B: (She closed her eyes tightly) I WOKE UP and YOU WERE GONE.
S: You keep saying that. What do you --- What are you trying to say?
B: Just that .... I woke up and you were gone.
S: You thought I left again, didn't you? Did you honestly think that I had left you again?
(Brenda hung her head down -- her cell phone started to ring) Brenda don't answer that. This is important. (He was getting upset. She answered and he stepped away from her.)
B: Yes .... I need a few more minutes....I'm fine.....Soon....I know...OK......Bye.....Thanks. (She hung up)
S: Brenda please don't leave -- not like this.
B: I need to go. I need to think. I need to understand what is going on in my head.
S: Brenda please -- last night was so wonderful. I held you for hours while you slept and just keeping you safe. Knowing that I would never have to sleep without you again. I watched you dream. I held your hand when you reached out for me. I didn't sleep for fear that it might be a dream and that I would wake to find you ------
B: Gone? See Sonny I DID wake up and you WERE gone. In that 10 minutes before I found out that you were coming back - all the feelings that I had before came flooding in. Those feelings are safe. They are real. They are familiar.
S: They are wrong! I just can't......I can't believe this Brenda. This is not a one night thing. I am not back in town checking to see if you are in one piece. I am back. I am back to stay -- come hell or high water. We are safe, we are free and we have the rest of our lives together. Lives that could be as long as 50 years more. I have started to make my life, laying foundation for us to build a life. So much has changed for each of us and so much has stayed the same. We need to find away to make it this time.
B: I wish I had your confidence. I wish I believed.
S: So many people have hurt us in our lives. We expect to be hurt.
B: And we rarely let each other down.
S: What do I have to do to make you see that I will not hurt you again?
B: I don't know. I don't know if you can. We may be shattered - like your life was Sonny and there may be no hope for us.

The both flashed on Stone saying that as long as there is life there is hope. They each stopped and looked at each other. There was a sad smile that came to each of their faces. They embraced and held on tight for a long minute.

S: I miss him so much. He was only in my life for a few short years but he lived so greatly.
B: He knew what was important. He said that it was the AIDS that gave him that special insight but I think he has always had it.
S: I can feel him standing next to me often, I'll turn but he is not there.
B: Yeah, I know what you mean. Sometimes when I do something really uncalled for - I see his shadow in the mirror behind me. I'll turn and he won't be there.
S: What an impact for such a young soul.
B: He was something alright.
S: Can we at least try - for Stone if not for us?
B: We'll try - for all three of us.

They embraced and Brenda saw Stone, clear as a bell. He was smiling and standing right in front of Sonny. Sonny saw him too. They held tighter to each other.

B: This won't be easy Sonny.
S: I don't care. What ever it takes.
B: What ever it takes. Right now I have to get to the office.
S: Oh Brenda, come on.
B: Sonny this is me now. I am responsible and professional and I have a major deal working. Can we meet later?
S: Name the time. Name the place.
B: This is a switch. Lunch in my office, 2:30pm. You bring it. Don't bring the champagne, I need to keep a clear head.

Brenda dressed and left the apartment with a quick kiss to Sonny and a smile. As the door closed behind her she let a deep breath out. "I can do this. I can do this. I can do this." Sonny sat on the edge of the bed looking out the window at the water. "I can do this. I can do this. I can do this."

6 years 19 months (H)

Sonny didn't make lunch. He called around 1:30pm and left a very curt message with Kelly. He did not even ask to speak with Brenda, not that she would have taken his call. He made no excuse nor did Kelly ask. Brenda did not call him back when she received the message.

K: Your messages, Brenda.
B: (Reading the 6 messages, when she came to Sonny's she sat down in her chair looked irritated yet relieved) I guess I am free for lunch. Have you eaten yet Kelly?
K: Not yet, I have a salad in the fridge but....
B: Great why don't you order lunch from the Grill for anyone who would like it and push the layout meeting up to 2:00pm.

She started looking through some of the proofs on her desk. As soon as Kelly left, she tossed the pictures aside and looked out the window on the water. She had a great view from the 23rd floor and could see the entire docks and the Ware-warehouse. She was muttering under her breath. "Stupid, Stupid, Stupid. Just as well. The hell with him." The day had been going a little unevenly. She got the feeling that everyone knew where she spent the night and each time she walked into a room people would stop talking. This of course was in her head. They always stopped talking when she came into a room, hell she usually came in talking. No one knew with the exception of Dean and he of course was not there, and would not have discussed Brenda's activities with anyone.

Dean had his own agenda for the day. He had been given the go ahead to investigate Sonny and he was not about waste anytime. He started with the phone records from Luke's, Ward- Warehouse and the hospice and well as his cell phone, home phone and pager. He was trying to gather information from his e-mail site but needed his geek friend Milo to get into that. He spent the whole day dogging leads and gathering information. This was going to take time. Sonny had only been back in Port Charles for 1 1/2 years but he had done quite a bit in that time and had created several companies and subsidiaries in order to finance his businesses. This was not going to be a walk in the park. Especially since Sonny was used to covering his tracks really well, Dean needed to let nothing slip by.

Around 6pm Robin showed up at Brenda's office - her door was open and Kelly had gone down to accounting to get some information so Robin just walked in.

R: Hey, B! You forgot didn't you?
B: Robin, Hi. No of course not. (long pause) What were we going to do again?
R: Oh Brenda, you work way too hard. You need to take some time for yourself and have a little fun. We were going to order pizza and watch movies - remember? Like we did in high school.
B: That sounds so boring.
R: It's OK. I understand. We will do it another time.
B: Absolutely not! Give me two minutes and then we are going to have some real fun. Where should we go? Lets go out to dinner and then to the movies -- or better yet lets go to the drive in. Yeah - now that would be fun. I suppose we could go get dressed up and go to the Outback but I am a little tired today.
R: The sound is better in your -- "theater". And I have some great old movies to watch. Let's stick with the plan. I am not up for carousing either. (Robin was confused as to why Brenda was suggesting that they go out. Brenda had not gone out since Katie died. She would only go the office, home or someone else's home -- but never a public place.)

Brenda cleared off her desk and grabbed her coat and her clothes from last night.

R: What did you do, sleep here last night?
B: Not here. Not at home either. I have something I have to tell you. But lets get home first and change into something really comfortable.

As they are leaving Dean tried to get Brenda's attention, but Brenda said that she was going home with Robin and they were going to have a nice quite night and not be disturbed. Dean relented and thought that what he had to tell her could wait until morning. As the elevator doors closed Brenda noticed Dean looking at Robin and Robin returning the look.

B: Robin -- is there something you need to tell me?
R: Why?
B: Call it a hunch. Are you and Dean ---- you know?
R: No NO No . We went out once or twice but --- ya know it was OK. Nothing to write home about.
B: But you like him.
R: I guess -- what difference does it make.
B: What difference? How could you possible say that?
R: Look I have dated at least 5 guys since Stone died and all have not been able to handle the HIV. I can understand - I suppose I would do the same thing too.
B: Jason had no problem.
R: Jason was on a death wish. Bullet wound, motorcycle accident, or AIDS he didn't care.
B: Jason loved you and probably still does to this day.
R: I doesn't matter. We weren't able to maintain a friendship. After Sonny left and he took over the business, I just could reconcile the Jason I knew with that Jason.
B: Will the real Jason please stand up. I am sorry. I still feel responsible for that.
R: You? Because if Sonny hadn't dumped you then Jason wouldn't have been - promoted?
B: It sounds really dumb when you put it like that.
R: It was really dumb - no matter how you put it. Jason and I were on two different paths. I still care about him. I occasionally run into him, and we have nice conversations. But he is different now and so am I.
B: Let's get back to Dean, did he say or do anything that makes you think that he is unwilling to get involved you because of your HIV status?
R: No -- I have just seen it too many times to really get my hopes up.
B: Dean has been around for 7 years. If he were going to run - he didn't need to ask you to go out once. I think you ought to give him a chance.
R: I think he is in love with you.
B: No he is not. We have a strictly working relationship. I don't think he actually likes me much. I know he respects me but we have no connection other than that. You go girl. Do you want to go back up stairs and ask Dean to join you this evening? I can go home and get some much needed sleep.
R: NO NO NO NO -- I hate it when my women friends break dates with me because something better - a man - came up. No tonight is our night. Let's go.

They arrived home and Brenda gave the cook the night off. They went into the kitchen and raided the refrigerator. They ate popcorn and fudge and everything that was bad for you. It was a refreshing sight to see two thirty year old women acting like teenagers. They were laughing and playing and having a really good time. Then Robin broke the mood.

R: Have you seen Sonny? (Talk about a wet blanket)
B: Well he was out of my thoughts for at least 2 hours. Lets go out on the terrace and I'll tell you all about it. (On the terrace) We slept together last night.
R: Oh? How do you feel about that?
B: What kind of Doctor are you going to be again? --- I don't know. I am more confused now than I was before. -------- I am convinced that we are never going to figure out how to be together.
R: That doesn't sound like you are confused. B: I loved Sonny. I hated Sonny. I missed Sonny. Missed is a little too tame, I yearned for him for so long. Even when I hated him I wanted him. There has been so much bad that I eventually convinced myself that I was better off with out him and would have been better off if I had never known him at all. Then he shows up - just when I think I have gotten him out of my system. He looks me in the eyes and tells me that he loves me, that he has always loved me. That everything he did, he did because he loves me and wants the best for me. BLAH BLAH BLAH I believe that he believes it. And if I believe it too, somehow this hole that is in my life would make sense somehow -- if it were true.
R: What if it were true?
B: See that is where I get confused. Lets take this one step at a time. If it were true. He loves me and has always loved me. That would mean that what?

1. He was never able to tell me what was going on in his life because it was too dangerous for me to know. He was protecting me. I was still almost killed in PR and in the shower. Not knowing did not keep me safe.

2. He married Lily and chose to stay with her because he knew that Rivera would try to kill me if he left her? He was protecting me. Lily still died and Sonny still wanted me and I still got to feel the wrath of Rivera.

3. He left me on our wedding day because there was a contract out on our lives and he knew that he could not protect me himself so he had to go. He was protecting me. Since that day I have been shot at, kidnapped and I have lost my daughter. How could my being alone been better than having Sonny in my life.

R: None of it really adds up does it?
B: Every decision he has made has had no effect on my level of safety. I was in more danger with him out of the picture especially since I didn't know how much danger I was really in. The real truth is that he could not handle a relationship. He was climbing the "corporate" ladder and I just did not fit the profile. Lily did.
R: I don't think that is really fair either.
B: Why do I have to be fair?
R: Because - it has been too long. You have had feelings for Sonny for 10 years and those feelings - be they Love or Hate - have motivated your every move. It is time to reconcile your feelings and make a decision. Do you want him in your life? Or not?

Brenda was silent for some time. She was looking out over the gardens.

B: No.
R: Then why did you sleep with him last night?
B: Because he still pulls all my strings.
R: No he doesn't Brenda. You pull your own strings.
B: Oh Robin - for a little while last night I let myself believe that we could actually make it. But then I woke up alone and all those years of missing him, hating him, feeling like a fool came crashing down on my head. I felt trapped and stupid and alone -- so very alone.
R: What happened?
B: He had gone downstairs to get some food for breakfast. I had the overwhelming desire to run - I thought he was gone again. I can't trust him! I can't believe a word he says.
R: What happened?
B: He wrote me a beautiful note and came in and made me feel - silly - anyway I am not going to jump right back into that mess again. I was ready to walk out when ---- (Brenda stopped and looked at Robin) --- when I said that there was no hope for us. As soon as the words left my mouth I heard -- Stone. I heard him say that as long as you are alive then there is hope. We talked about him for a minute and agreed that we would try to figure this thing out for his sake. We hugged and I saw Stone, as clear as I see you now. He was happy.
R: Stone loved you two and always thought that you could work it out.
B: I see him a lot.
R: You do?
B: Yeah -- usually when I do something -- mean, or dumb. He is like my guardian angel. I talk to him quite a bit too.
R: Me too. (They were both silent for a while) I saw Sonny the other day.
B: Did you? How did that go?
R: He was ready to leave town. It was the day you went to Milan and when I got to his apartment he was on his way out the door.
B: YOU SEE - You see running is in his blood. He'll never stay.
R: He was leaving because he could not be in the same town with you and not be with you. For all his faults Brenda, he does have it bad when it comes to you. He is a one woman man. And you have always been that woman.
B: If I only had to fight against another woman or his libido. It is us together. We are combustible and all consuming. I remember once Sonny told me that we would "Eat each other alive." God I was young. I remember thinking that I would rather be eaten alive and feel every bite than to live with only half an existence. To live without that kind of love is torture.
R: Like you have been living for the past 5 years.
B: I don't need that hot a fire -- it BURNS. I've grown up.
R: Or given up?
B: Who's side are you on anyway?
R: I am on yours and on Sonny's. I want you two decided to be together or decided to end this ----thing you two have for the right reasons. Not because it is too hard or it runs too hot or too cold. Or because someone has left town or what ever. You have to stop this dance, this see- saw that you are on. Be true to yourselves and be true to each other.
B: Why are you saying this?
R: I don't know. He has changed Brenda. He is not the same man that left town years ago.
B: Do you think he is still connected with the organization?
R: I don't think so. I can find out.
B: How?
R: I'll ask Jason.
B: He won't tell you.
R: He won't lie to me. He'll avoid the subject if he is and he deny it if he isn't.
B: Don't do that for me.
R: I'll do it for me.
B: Sonny broke our lunch date today.
R: Really - why?

Brenda shrugged. They started talking about other stuff and went on with their evening. There were many lulls in the conversation but neither one of them brought the subject of Sonny up again. Robin was still wise beyond her years. She left sometime around 12:30. Brenda stood on her terrace for a while - then she went in search of a little comfort. Brenda always found comfort in music. IT made her feel that the feelings she was experiencing were not hers alone. That other people in the world had suffered as much. It was a depressing comfort but music always made her feel better - even if it brought tears to her eyes. After looking for about 15 minutes for a particular CD - she put it in and drew a bath. She tracked forward to:

"I Dreamed a Dream" by Boublil & Schonberg's Musical *Les Miserables*

There was a time when men were kind, when their voices were soft and their words inviting. There was a time when love was blind, and the world was a song, and the song was exciting. There was a time...then it all went wrong.

I dreamed a dream in time gone by, when hope was high and life worth living. I dreamed that love would never die, I dreamed that God would be forgiving. Then I was young and unafraid, when dreams were made and used and wasted. There was no ransom to be paid, no song unsung, no wine untasted.

But the tigers come at night, with their voices soft as thunder. As they tear your hope apart, as they turn your dream to shame. He slept a summer by my side, he filled my days with endless wonder. He took my childhood in his stride, but he was gone when autumn came.

And still I dream he'll come to me, then we will live the years together. But there are dreams that cannot be, are there are storms we cannot weather.

I had a dream my life could be, so very different from this hell I am living. So different now from what it seemed Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.

6 years 19 months (I)

Sonny had tried to be happy all morning. He had just spent the night with Brenda and it was like nothing had changed. The morning of course was not how he had hoped it would go but she would come around - she had to. He tried to get some work done but he was completely distracted. He was happy. The first time in 6 years has got to bring a smile to a man's face - especially if it was the culmination of a fantasy. But there was still something wrong. There were a lot of things that needed to be worked out. They had issues.

Their passion was never in question. Even that time he came back - the night Katie was conceived. He had shown up in her room and watched her sleep for an hour or so. He had sworn to himself that he was not going to wake her. The first time he came back there was a lot of fighting and screaming and crying. He couldn't go through that again. But as he watched her he couldn't help himself. He just wanted to hold her for just a minute. Things got carried away. He woke her up by climbing on the bed. She was still groggy - she had taken a sleeping pill because of all the excitement. She was a little out of it - but she knew it was Sonny and she knew what she was doing. Their lovemaking that night was -- great. Sonny left before dawn, before Brenda woke up. He couldn't bear to look in her eyes and say goodbye, again. He touched her hair and stroked her cheek and softly said "Be safe Brenda. I love you.--- Like a moth to a flame." and then he was gone.

His life in the "rain forest", as he likes to refer to it, was the worst. He had given up everything. He had no friends, nothing to do but think. He spent a lot of time alone. Probably too much. At times he would get mad and go out in search of the men who were contracted to kill him. There was a lot of down time. It felt like jail. He couldn't make any friends and he would not attempt to move on from Brenda. He had no intention of setting up a new life for himself. He was just away. Traveling waiting for it to be time to go home. Self-imposed jail an self-imposed exile. He never attempted to contact Jason or anyone from the organization.

He didn't need to work but there was a time after Brenda had married Ned Ashton that he needed something to fill his nights. He took a job as a chef in an Italian restaurant. He was good and got a lot of praise. It was in a little place in Boston. He quit after 8 months, the night Lois and Ned showed up with Brook-lynn. He was torn between wanting to kill Ashton for marrying Brenda and wanting to kill him for cheating on her with his ex-wife & her best friend. They did not see him.

Sonny went through a range of emotions during this time - some times were easier. He loved and hated his mother, Deke, Mike, Joe Scully, Brenda, Lily, Stone, Robin, Jason, Rivera. He was not fun to be around and rarely spoke to anyone. He had minor relationships with the clerks in the grocery or video store, but he never lived any where for long enough to make anything stick.

About a year before he came back he had an epiphany. He had been in Montreal for 6 weeks. He was living in a walk-up, a real dive. There was a family that lived below him: husband, wife and two small kids. The husband was a drunk and the wife was a shrew. They both did drugs and the kids got nothing to eat. The younger one was a girl, about 7 years old, her name was Chloe. A beautiful name for a beautiful girl. She had the bluest eyes that he had ever seen and really really sweet. She was a happy girl, most of the time. Sonny liked her because she didn't have to talk. But she was always in a good mood. Her brother, Buck, was two years older. Buck was not his real name but that was all Sonny could get out of him. He was tough and hard to get close to. The siblings were inseparable.

The kids would often go out on the stairs or on the fire escape to get away from the ugly scene in the apartment. Sonny would feed them and talk to them. He tired to get their mind off of home life. But he didn't do anything else. He never tried to get the kids taken away or spoke to the parents. Nothing - it was not his business.

One night there was a really ugly fight in the apartment. Sonny opened his door expecting to see the kids wander up stairs to his house. They never showed. About two hours into the fight, there was a gun shot followed by dead silence. Then screaming yelling and finally police sirens.

Buck had shot his sister with his father's gun. All he would say is "She's happy now."

Something snapped in Sonny. How could he possibly sit by and let this thing happen right under him? He found his "action" command. He vowed to take back what was taken from him. He was going to take back what Mike, Deke, Joe Scully and Rivera had taken from him. He was no longer going to be hiding and running. He had been hiding and running his whole life.

FROM WHOM was he running? Them or himself? He had power he had control. And this power had nothing to do with money or position in the organization. It had to do with his character. He found his humanity. He was Michael Sonny Corinthos and he was going to be damned if he would run from anyone ever again.

This resolve that he found in Montreal was crystal clear in his mind for a long time. He found the organization that had the hit out on Brenda and him - he paid them off. They were getting bored anyway. The expense to revenue ratio was becoming too high, Rivera and Rivera's organization were a thing of the past. They came to an agreement. Sonny thought after the meeting that is was odd how much control he had over that situation even though he did not have the weight of the organization behind him.

He then went home to Port Charles. He showed up at Brenda's house - what would have been their 6 year anniversary. His reception was much chillier than he had expected. It took some of the wind out of his sails, but not enough to stop the Ward-warehouse, and the hospice. He had Buck transferred to his custody when he was able to get our of juvi. Buck didn't really know who his benefactor was but he was glad to not be living in Montreal.

Now here is was 20 some months later. He was growing his dream and he felt stronger than he ever had. He still did not have Brenda back in his life but he had a life. He was doing good work and if felt great. She was just going to have to get over it. He was changed and if she could see that well then---------------he would have to show her.

Back to the morning after - Sonny came flying down the stairs he was hot.

S: I am being investigated by Brenda!
L: She is bound and determined to get you in jail, eh?
S: No it not like that -- but damn it Brenda!
L: What the hell is going on?
S: She doesn't trust me. She thinks that Luke's and the hospice and the Ward-warehouse are all a cover. Damn her. I thought after last night....
L: Last Night?
S: We spent the night together.
L: And-
S: It was f&*king fabulous. That woman has me hook line and sinker. Come hell or high water I am hers. If I don't kill her first.
L: I don't get it man.
S: Do you think I do? All I could think about while I was away was how to keep her alive so that we could be together. Now -- I don't know. We are not the same people we were. I love her with the same intensity but maybe I should just throw in the towel.
L: Sonny Corinthos - give up a fight.
S: Some fights aren't worth winning.
L: Maybe - but some fights are worth dying for.
S: You tell me Luke. You are married to your one true love. It has never been easy for the two of you. What keeps you going back?
L: My wife is (with a sly smile) my world. Nothing makes any sense without her. We connected for years - when there was just the two of us and then Lucky. We traveled the world together and we trusted each other and we knew that we would always be there for the other. It was not easy. I think back and I never thought about the danger. I never thought that she would be better off without me. I know she never doubted for a second.
S: I was never sure of Brenda -- not in the beginning. She was so young and naive.
L: She was? I think you need to look at that time in your life again.
S: Are you defending Brenda?
L: Defense is not quite what I had in mind. I will say that it took two of you to get into this mess. And there is plenty of blame to be shared - if you are looking to blame.
S: I can't pay for my choices for ever, Luke. Brenda is going to have to grow up and accept that I did what I did. End of story. Or it is over for us.
L: Sonny - wait just a second here. I have come to know her over the past number of years. I think Brenda's biggest problem was that she believed what every one thought about her. She never believed in herself. Now she only reads her own press. She is smart Sonny. God knows she could brighten up any room. She is strong and loyal.
S: I never would have expected this from you. Brenda was never your favorite person.
L: That wire thing really effected my opinion. But in hind sight and with a few more years under my belt I can see Laura doing something as desperate if I had treated her the way you treated Brenda.
S: What the hell does that mean? How did I "treat" Brenda.
L: She is not the little model doll you left here and she never really was. Sonny if you have not looked at your relationship with Brenda in the past 7 years then you need to go back to the rain forest.
S: She was far from perfect.
L: She was 18 when you met her. Who was the adult in that relationship?
S: What are you suggesting?
L: I am suggesting that you get to know the real Brenda.
S: She has locked herself up in that tower of hers.
L: So ask little miss Rupunzel to let down her long hair.
S: It won't be that easy.
L: Your point?
S: She may not want me back in her life.
L: What else are you doing? Could you give it half a chance?
S: When the hell did you become an advocate for love - particularly with Brenda & me?
L: I am just tired of watching the tennis match played with you heart. It make me dizzy. You two are either going to make it or not - but you will kill each other if you don't figure it out and you may wind up taking a few of us down with you when you go.

It is was now 4 pm. Too late for lunch and too early to call. He was still mad though. He needed to think. How was he going to approach her? Did he really want to? It is time for reflecting on the docks with flashback all done to the tune of:

==============================================

"Things Go Wrong" by Chris Issac from *Forever Blue*

Try to remember what I know I should forget
Tried to forget her, but I really haven't yet
Things go wrong, Things go wrong


Tried to remember what is was I said you'd done.
Maybe it doesn't matter 'cause you are still my only one
Things go wrong, Things go wrong

I know that love can sometimes change
But in my heart I feel the same
Don't be so quick to say we're through
Things go wrong, but I still love you.

Things go wrong, Things go wrong
Don't tell me that your love has changed
Don't tell me it can't be the same
Don't be so quick to say we're through
Things go wrong, but I still love you.
but I still love you...
===========================================

When Sonny arrived back at Lukes it was near 11:30 pm. He chose to let it go for a day or two.

6 years 19 months (J)

Brenda awoke the next morning early. Her bedroom was dark she leapt out of bed and opened the curtains in her room. The dawn filled her room. She felt great, like the weight of the world had been lifted from her shoulders. She had spend hours in the bath tub crying and feeling sorry for herself the night before. The light of day had delivered her to a different plane. She looked around her room with fresh eyes. It was gone. She was free. Free of all the hate, loneliness, blame, anger, loss, pain and regret. She showered (not that she needed to be cleaner) and dressed in her best suit. She looked in the mirror and it was like looking at herself for the first time. She looked for a long time as if trying to memorize every little feature. In a loud and clear voice she said "Sonny." Nothing. No pain, no hurt, no blame, no regret, no longing - just a bittersweet memory that brought a comforting smile to her face. She went to the bottom drawer of her desk and pulled out the picture of her and Sonny with the picture of Katie. She looked at the three of them like old friends. She touched each of their faces and placed the picture on her bookshelf for display. With one last look around the room and a clear resolve she had not know in years she closed the door behind her. Downstairs Kenny was ready to driver her to work.

B: Ya know Kenny. I am going to drive myself. I know that your job is to protect me, at least until I can get to work, but I really am going to drive myself. Thank you.

In the car on the way to work she turned on an old Alanis Morisette tune "You
Learn":

========================================================

"You Learn" by Alanis Morisette from *Jagged Little Pill*

I recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone
I recommend walking around naked in your living room
Swallow it down (what a jagged little pill)
It feels so good (swimming in your stomach)
Wait until the dust settles

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

I recommend biting off more than you can chew to anyone
I certainly do
I recommend sticking you foot in your mouth at amy time
Feel free
Throw it down (the caution blocks you from the wind)
Hold it up (to the rays)
You wiat and see when the smoke clears
Wear it out (the way a 3 year old would do)
Melt it down (you're gonna have to eventually anyway)
The fire trucks are coming around the bend

You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn
You live you learn

==========================================

B: Well I wouldn't recommend my way but --- I learned.

At the office, Dean greeted her as she got off the elevator.

B: Does everyone get up as early as I do? OR did Kenny call you from the car and tell you that I had the audacity to drive my own self to work today?
D: Brenda there are a few things we need to discuss.
B: You are absolutely right. And now is the best time to do it. Let's get some coffee and order a huge breakfast and we will get right down to it.

In her office Brenda ordered almost everything there was to order from the PC Hotel. They regularly deliver to Barrrett Industries since they are right across the street and Brenda did used to be married to the Quartermaines.

B: OK Dean you go first. You look like you are about to explode.
D: There are several things Brenda but first lets discuss your little stunt this morning.
B: I am glad you brought that up. Dean I respect your opinion and your position in my life as well as this company. However I no longer require the services of bodyguards.
D: Excuse me?
B: As of this morning - right now - I will no longer be paying for body guards and I no longer wish you to act in the capacity. (Dean was stunned) I am done living like a target. I don't know if the danger is past or not but I can not continue to live in a protected environment. You must know how hard it has been for me for the past 7 years not being able to go where I want to go when I want to go there. I could not even go into a department store to see my own line of clothing with out a compliment of body guards all talking in to their cuffs. I am not the president of the US for god sake. I am done. If there are still people out there to kill me then - have at it. I can not live that way for one second longer. Besides I truly believe that the threat is gone.
D: Because Corinthos said so?
B: That and that no threat has been made for over 3 years. It is time to test the waters and step out into the sun shine -- on my own.
D: Now what?
B: Well I would like you to reorganize. Keep the people who would like to continue to stay put them to work in the organization. We are having trouble in Milan and there will always be corporate espionage to guard against. For anyone who does not wish to go with this change - give then a generous severance and a great letter of recommendation.
D: Alright. What about me?
B: I am assuming you will continue as the head of security at Barrett and be grateful for the reduction of hours. I am sure your love life could stand a little more attention.
D: We'll see. There is another matter to discuss. Sonny Corinthos.
B: Before you say a word. I would like you to drop the investigation.
D: Damn it Brenda. You can not think with your........heart when it comes to him.
B: Relax Dean. I have no intention of reconciling with Sonny. That is why there is no need for the investigation. I am done with the entire stinking mess.
D: Just like that?
B: Pretty much. I did not take one night to come to this point. It just took one morning to bring it home. I am tired of being the "tragic heroine" of a novel. I am tired of crying myself to sleep at night listening to the blues in my head. There is no need to hang on to any of that time in my life any longer. I am going to live. I am 28 years old. LOOK AT ME! {great old Brenda line} I have grown up so much in the past 10 years. There has been bad as well as good. I am choosing to hang on to the good, and let the bad go. (In a mock evangelic voice) I have been saved! I have seen the light! I have looked into the face of the devil and I have survived. (She laughed)
D: Seriously Brenda.
B: Seriously Dean. I am moving on. I have a great life. I am responsible for a very successful fashion conglomerate. I travel the world in my own private jet. I have the best friends anyone could ask for, loyal and dedicated co-workers. I am healthy and I am young. Too damn young to be living in the past. I refuse to let another day go by with - bitter feelings filling my days and my nights. Those feelings ruin my mood.
D: Your mood?
B: I can be a real bitch at times -- well you know. I don't want to be. I wasn't born to be a bitch I turned myself into one. I am done.
D: There does seem to be something you different about you this morning. But two nights ago Brenda, do you remember where you slept?
B: Dean Stop. Do not go any farther there than that. I know full well where I was two nights ago. I know full well where I was 6 months - 6 years and 10 years ago. I have not forgotten a thing. I know, better than anyone, what I experienced with and without Sonny Corinthos. I had just as much to do with all of it as he did - emotionally speaking at any rate. He brought more good to my life than you will ever know. And yes he brought a ton of bad - but not by his design. He has suffered quite a bit too you know. However -- we are both different now. We have both learned from our mistakes. I am packing up all the hate and bitterness and setting it adrift. I am hanging on to the good and I am walking away.
D: That sounds like you are forgiving him.
B: I suppose I am -- and myself.
D: Brenda he still wants you back. He wants a relationship - to be in your life.
B: Interesting how much you know about what Sonny wants. Regardless, I am not letting those emotions control me anymore. As for what Sonny does or does not want -- well I will deal with that as the situation arises.
D: Starting now.
B: Starting now.
D: Ok. I hope you are right and that you know what you are doing.
B: Thank you for all your support. Will you continue here?
D: For now. I need to ask you one thing.
B: OK
D: Do you still love Corinthos?
B: I suppose I always will have a connection with him - but love -- love is too simple a description for how I feel about Sonny. What is real is that we are not going to be together.

~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~

Across town a similar conversation was going on between Luke and Sonny.

L: That's it! Man you been obsessing on her for years. You went in "exile" for her.
S: Self-imposed exile, Luke. I did all of that for myself. I chose Brenda as an --- a reason I guess. We have so much garbage between us that even if we both could survive digging through all of it, what would be left when we were done? It would be analyzed to death and there were be no spontaneity. More importantly we have no trust left between us. That is always one thing that you an I have been able to agree upon. Where there is no trust there can be no future.
L: What kind of trust are you talking about?
S: Emotional trust. Brenda will always look at me as if I had some secret agenda and I will always see how much that effects her. It would kill me to live every day proving myself over an over again. It would destroy us - again.
L: Even now.
S: Even now. There will always be something inside of me that only she can touch - but there are some things that are just too broken. They can not be fixed.
L: You sound ok with this - man. Are you?
S: Yes I am. I have a good life now and some really good friends. Mike and I are working through some difficult stuff. I am finally doing something important and I don't have to look over my shoulder to see who is trying to take it away from me.
L: What about the other night?
S: We never did have any problem in that arena - but seeing the look in her eyes in the morning when she thought I was gone -- well lets just say that I knew we were finally done. L: Hearing about the investigation just-
S: Cinched it.
L: So how do you feel about her now?
S: I don't really know. I don't have that sense of urgency where she is concerned.
L: Really?
S: Really.
L: Well now is time to put it to the test. Ms. Barrett just walked in the door.

Sonny turned and gave her a very warm smile which Brenda returned.

S: Good Morning. Would you like to have a late breakfast?
B: No thanks I ate just a little while ago. Hi Luke, how are Laura & the kids?
L: Great. Nice to see you again Brenda. Listen I have got some --- fish to fry - excuse me.
B: A man who knows how to make an exit. Can we talk?
S: Sure, let sit down over here. Where is your armed force?
B: No longer need their services.
S: I see.
B: I no longer need the services of a private investigator either. I stopped the investigation Sonny. I'm sorry it upset you.
S: Thank you. It did but I suppose I understand. Tell me about the body guards.
B: I have decided that I no longer wish to live like a -- a high profile witness or some damn head of state. Further I believe that the threat is gone. I believe that a lot of threats are gone.
S: Oh? What brought this about?
B: I am not sure I can name one thing or put my finger on it. I woke up this morning and decided to take back my life.
S: Take you life back?
B: I can't live that way anymore. I don't see the need to.
S: You look like a woman reconciled - confident - who has got the tiger by the tail.
B: I don't know about that, but I am ready to break out into the light.
S: You seem like a new person. I don't know what it is - - something in your eyes.
B: Sonny about the yesterday morning and what we were talking about...
S: Brenda I know. (Brenda looked in his eyes - she saw what she saw reflected in her own eyes that morning.) I agree with you completely.
B: Do you mean that we are finally in sync? (Sonny saw the same thing)
S: It looks that way.
B: I don't know what to say now. I suppose I didn't know what to say before.
S: Are you ok?
B: Yeah I am. It feels good good to be rid of all that hurt and anger. It is nice to be able to sit here with you and not want to strangle you.
S: I am glad to hear that. (They smile)
B: Are you ok?
S: (He reflects) Yes.
B: What a difference a day makes.
S: A day?
B: Now what do we do?
S: I have no idea. Brenda I want the best for you. I want you to be happy above all else.
B: I know, I want that too --- for you I mean. You will stay in Port Charles, yes?
S: Yes. This is my home. I have a lot more to do here. I want to get that school going.
B: Excellent. May I --- well call me if you need anything.

Sonny & Brenda continued to talk about different things. Nothing really important. They touched lightly on the good feelings that they once shared but did not really delve into anything of import. We watched them talk and laugh and be courteous as we listen to :



===========================================

"Caramel" by Suzanne Vega from *Nine Objects of Desire*

It won't do to dream of caramel, to think of cinamon and long for you.

It won't do to stir a deep deisre, to fan a hidden fire that can never burn true.

I know your name, I know your skin, I know the way these things begin;

But I don't know how I would live with myself, what I'd forgive of myself if you don't go.

So goodbye, sweet appeitie no single bite could satisfy...

I know your name, I know your skin, I know the way these things begin.

But I don't know what I would give of myself how I would live with myself if you don't go.

It won't do to dream of caramel, to think of cinamon and long for you.

===========================================

B: Sonny I would really like to help you with your plans for the school. Would you allow me to help?
S: Allow you? I would love your help. I have got more help than I know what to do with but yours would welcome and more useful than all the rest put together.
B: Great. I have got some business to take care of but call me next week and we can go over your plans.
S: Alright. (Brenda got up to leave - Sonny reached out and stopped her by touching her forearm) Brenda.

She turned and looked into his face. They both smiled saddly. They embraced as old lovers and new friends.

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