Two Halves by Becky Leutert


Port Charles, NY
February 10, 1998
7:15 am

The February day had started out seasonably cold, but over the course of the morning it had become unusually warm. The snowflakes that had so gracefully floated from the sky the night before, had been transformed into a million rays of sunshine that streamed through the curtains of Brenda Barrett's comfortable home.

"Robin, what are you doing up at such an ungodly hour?" Brenda asked, opening her eye just enough to see the shadow of Robin pass by her door.

"Brenda?" Robin called softly from the hall, "I didn't mean to wake you, it's just that I have to get up this early to take a couple of my pills." She stopped and pushed the door to Brenda's room open enough for her to slip inside. "Speaking of ungodly hours, what are *you* doing up?"

Brenda rubbed her eyes and tilted her head to look around her sunbathed room. It had been over a month since she had visited Lily's grave and had vowed to get her life back together, to heal the wounds that Sonny had made in her heart the day he left. But despite her diligent efforts to rid her life of all things to do with Sonny, Brenda still couldn't silence that feeling of longing that stirred in her heart. She knew that Sonny wasn't dead, and that notion alone gave her some comfort, but there were still other feelings that she had to sort out, other feelings that she had to overcome before she could be rid of Sonny forever. A life without Sonny was exactly what she wanted, or more accurately, it was a life that Jax wanted her to have, and he tried his damnedest to make her believe it was for the best.

"Robin, can I...I mean, will you think it's stupid if I...What I want to say is that do you think it's stupid that I still think about...about Sonny?" Brenda asked quietly.

Robin remained silent for a moment. She had been thinking about Sonny more than ever after moving in with Brenda, but didn't want to approach the subject for fear of what might happen to Brenda if she did. Even though Brenda apologized for her last outburst and seemed to be doing well, one mention of Sonny might send that cascading to the ground. But now here they were, about to have a conversation about Sonny, and Brenda seemed fine. She didn't seem like the frail, weak Brenda of the past two months, she seemed like herself. Strong and confident.

"No, I don't. Not at all." Robin came over and sat on the edge of Brenda's bed.

"I think about him too, Brenda, all the time." Brenda nodded and pushed a lock of brown hair behind her ear.

"Jax told me I shouldn't think about him because all I would remember were the bad things that he did to me. His lying. His mistrust. But ever since Jax said that, I've been thinking about it. About Sonny. About myself and our life together. I've made my choice." Brenda rolled up onto her side and looked at Robin. "I'm going to see Jason today," she said decisively. "I need him to give a message to Sonny from me. I need Jason to tell Sonny that I forgive him for everything he's done to me, I understand why he did it, all of it. I want Sonny to know that although I'll always love him, I never want to see him again. Ever."

They both just looked at each other for a second before Robin broke the silence.

"It's your decision, Brenda, and I know you've thought about it." She rose from the bed and then turned around once she reached the door. "Do you want me to go with you?"

Brenda shook her head no, "I think this is something I have to do by myself. But thank you for being here, Robin. It really means a lot to have you as my best friend."

As Robin left, closing the door behind her, and leaving Brenda to her thoughts, a small pang resonated throughout Brenda's heart. Why is it that I want what I will never have?

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

Hollywood, CA
Same day
4:15 am

He always rose before the sun. Perhaps it was because he wanted a chance to revel in the unique beauty of the sunrise, or perhaps he wanted the time before the wake of the day to reflect on the life he left behind and to try to validate the anguish he had caused. One thing was certain though, Jake Tamberlain's thoughts this morning were a world away from the one in which he currently resided. Blond. He stared at himself in the mirror. Blue eyed. Still a shock after how many months? He ran his hand through his hair, already growing out dark brown at the roots, and sighed heavily. He shuffled through the bills on top of the dresser and pulled out the few decidedly urgent ones. I like to have a telephone, he thought, electricity is always a plus. He was still getting used to paying his own bills on a meager salary in a dead end job, and he was also still getting used to not having to take every step as though it were his last.

"Jake, Jake, Jake," he said to himself. The name sounded foreign to his tongue, although it didn't seem that way to anyone but himself. He had pulled it off perfectly, without a hitch. Everything had been ready when he came to California, and all he had to do was play the part. At first it had been a challenge, something new, but after a few weeks it had already gotten old, and Jake now longed for the life he had once known in a city whose name was forbidden from coming from his lips. Every single day of his new life, Jake woke up in a rock hard bed hours before the sun was to rise, and thought. He had never really set aside time to think before, there hadn't been time to spare, but now he had all the time in the world to think. To do whatever the hell he wanted. He had no deadlines, no one reporting in to him at all hours of the day, no bodyguards, no bullets, and maybe the most unbearable of all, no Brenda.

It had been the hardest decision of his life. He woke up every morning and wondered what she would do that day, how she was getting along. He knew he broke her heart in the cruelest, most unbearable way a man can break a woman's heart, but he had to believe that he did it to save her life. Had to or he'd go crazy in a day because none of this would matter. He was doing this for her. Moving away, living from day to day on the shred of hope that she would learn to live without him, for her own good. She can't love me, he thought, I'm a criminal. What good could I have ever put into her life? All I brought her was hurt and tears. And love, and happiness.

He turned away from the mirror and clenched his jaw hard. Get a hold of yourself, Sonny, he told himself. She's fine without you. She's probably doing better without you than she ever did with you. But deep down he knew that wasn't true. Two halves always work better whole.

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

Jason Morgan's Penthouse Apartment
Same day
1:20 pm

Brenda stood building and just looked. She knew this building. More specifically, she knew the penthouse. Sonny's penthouse -- she knew every inch, every corner. Mustering all the strength she could, Brenda pushed through the doors into the lobby of the building and followed the path to the elevators she had followed countless times before. Up, up, up to the top floor. Down the hall, to the left. One of Sonny's bodyguards stood outside the door to his penthouse. They're Jason's bodyguards now, Brenda corrected herself, and Jason's penthouse.

Her attempt at a smile came out more like a grimace as she surveyed the surroundings.

"Ms. Barrett," the guard said politely and knocked once on the penthouse door. "Mr. Morgan, Ms. Barrett is here to see you."

"It's okay," came the response from behind the door. Brenda swallowed hard and tried to collect her thoughts. The guard opened the door and Brenda stepped inside. She reminded herself to stay focused, say what she wanted to say and then get the hell out.

"Brenda," Jason said, standing in front of her. "What, um...what do you want?"

"I want you to give Sonny a message from me. Can you do that?" she asked. Her voice remained strong while her mind was racing. She knew that Jason could find Sonny and she wasn't about to leave until he at least heard what she had to say.

"We've been through this before..."

"Once I'm done, I'll leave it up to you whether or not you tell Sonny. I know you talk to him so maybe in one of your conversations you'll remember to mention what I have to say."

"Brenda, I haven't heard from Sonny since he left you at the, uh, wedding."

"Just listen to me okay?"

"Go right ahead."

Brenda took a second to collect her thoughts before she continued. She knew what she wanted to say, knew she had to say it before it stayed trapped inside her forever. To get on with her life in the present, she had to get rid of her life in the past.

"Sonny was my life. He was my whole world and up until a little while ago, I was willing to destroy myself because he hadn't destroyed me. He took from me the one thing that I thought I had decided on my own: the fact that I would have died for him. I would have rather seen myself killed in some horrible way than let him die, because I loved him that much. He took that choice away from me. In a way, he was smarter than I ever gave him credit for because he when he left, he showed me that he wouldn't let me die for him." As Brenda spoke, she realized that she had said far more than she wanted to say, but she couldn't stop the words from coming. She was saying what she knew was true, but what she had never allowed herself to know before.

"He would rather us be apart forever than for one of us to die and strand the other alone. He knows we're not alone because we're always together, where it counts." She placed her hand on her chest over her heart. "I came here to tell you to tell Sonny that I never want to see him again. I think he had the right idea when he left. So if you could just, um, just tell him that, I'd appreciate it." Brenda let her eyes wander around the apartment, slowly taking in everything one last time. She was supposed to have a life here, or if not here then in a house somewhere, but whatever the plans, they were supposed to include Sonny.

"I'll try Brenda, but no promises," Jason said, crossing his arms over his chest. Brenda nodded and gave Jason a tight smile as she let herself out.

The air outside smelled cleaner, the sun shined a little brighter and every place glowed a little lighter, except in the heart of Brenda Barrett. Even though she had done what she decided to do, something didn't feel right. She didn't have the sense of closure she thought she would feel after telling Jason that she never wanted to see Sonny again. She hadn't expected a miracle feeling of release. What she had expected, though, was something, anything more than the feeling she had now, which was basically exactly how she felt before visiting Jason. Brenda had a sinking feeling that in fact, nothing had been resolved at all.

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

Hollywood, CA
1:27 am
February 20, 1998

Too many thoughts made his head spin. Too many thoughts and that damn feeling of loneliness he just couldn't seem to shake. And for some demented reason he found it funny, quite hilarious actually, that here he was spending yet another night wasting away in his apartment at 1:30 in the morning, with nothing better to do than think. Think. He had all damn day to think and what did he do when he got home? He thought some more. He thought too much, at least that's what he thought, and it was getting him into trouble. Just the other day his boss had called him quite the philosopher, and then went off on him about how one couldn't philosophize the day away, especially in the film industry. Time was money, and there wasn't a cent to spare.

Jake a.k.a. Sonny Corinthos, let his head fall into his hands and wondered how he could have let this happen. Of course, he had all the answers; he had more answers than he had questions to ask, but where had that gotten him? He sighed heavily and looked up into the mirror. Behind him he nearly saw the ghost of Brenda, haunting him from Port Charles, looking at him with fear in her eyes, but also with trust. How could you have left me, you said you loved me? You promised me no more lies, no more lies and love, you promised me love. How could you?

Deep lines were set in his forehead, creases more prominent than any he had during his days in the mob. The mob. Sonny thought a lot about that, too. He wondered how Jason was holding up, how his territory was, but then again, it wasn't his territory anymore. He had a hard time with that sometimes. But here I am, the man who got out, but he didn't really think of himself as a lucky man. After all, what was it to be alive and to be without everything that ever mattered? Brenda. Brenda was all that mattered.

And so here he was, sitting alone on yet another evening, playing an endless game of tag with his endless thoughts and numerous regrets when he happened to glance down and noticed that day's newspaper sitting on the floor right inside the doorway. So Joey did deliver it today, Sonny thought, because sometimes Joey forgot to deliver the papers. Sonny walked over to retrieve the paper when the headlining picture caught his eye and sparked a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Too familiar. He opened the paper and on the front page was a huge color picture of Brenda and the headline, "Supermodel Rebuilds Broken Career, Broken Life, Plans to Marry." Sonny bit his lip and skimmed the article. Every word hit him like a brick, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't convince himself that this was a joke. Brenda was going to marry Jax. Sonny felt broken, as though someone had reached into his chest, ripped out his heart and kicked it across the room. With a sudden clarity he understood this was what Brenda must have felt like standing at the altar waiting for him. Waiting, but knowing deep down that he wasn't coming, but hoping all the same. Sonny clenched his jaw, ripped the paper in half, and through it on the floor. I screwed up. I did it for her, but I screwed up. No, I did the right thing. Now she can be happy, be happy and safe. Conflicting thoughts ran through his head, making him dizzy. He couldn't believe this was happening, and yet he knew perfectly well that he expected this to happen from the moment he stepped on the plane and left Port Charles. But I love her, he thought, I love her with all of my heart and soul and I can never be truly happy without her. Their love was strong, it had lasted even through the numerous difficulties they had in the past, he knew that, but this was different. He had left her. The question that plagued his mind that night was not whether Brenda loved him, nor was it whether he loved her, for he was sure that they loved each other. His question was far more practical. Would love be enough to bring them together again?

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

Port Charles, NY
March 1, 1998
3:30 pm

Brenda looked into the mirror and the sight of her beautiful wedding dress hanging on her closet door made her smile. The whole thing had come about so suddenly, she wasn't even sure it was real. She was still living in a dreamlike state, and had been ever since Jax proposed over dinner less than two weeks ago. He's a crazy fool to love me again, she thought with a smile, but he does. She started to brush her hair slowly. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't rid her mind of Sonny. Thoughts of Sonny crept into everything she did, and even when Jax proposed, Brenda couldn't help but think of her wedding to Sonny. Not the day that he left her, but the days before the wedding, how happy they had been in each other's arms, the love that could be felt between them where ever they went and what ever they did. As long as they were together, they could do anything. I can't hold on to Sonny forever, s he told herself, I've got to move on. Jax helped me get over Sonny twice already and there's no reason why he can't do it again. He loves me, and I love him. She set the brush down on her bureau and stared at her reflection. I love Jax, but I love him more like a brother than I do a lover. She couldn't help but notice that there wasn't electricity when they were together, there were a few sparks of course, Jax wasn't exactly a monster by any means, but there weren't flames. Not like it was with Sonny.

When I was with him, I felt like I could do anything.

"Stop thinking about him Brenda!" she told herself aloud. "He can't rule you forever. You loved him, but he broke you! He destroyed you!" But he also stirred feelings so deep within her being that it scared her. Even now, months after he left, Sonny still dominated her thoughts. I'm marrying Jax, she told herself, I love Jax.

"I love Jax," she said aloud. "I love Jax. I do. I love Jax." See? She told herself, it's easy. Just say it enough times...

"Do you?" came a voice from the hall. "Do you love Jax?" Brenda's breath caught in her throat and even though she hadn't turned around, tears formed in her eyes. Her eyes widened. She watched his reflection in the mirror as he entered her room, speechless for the moment. No, no, no...he wouldn't dare come back. Not now, not like this. Somehow Brenda found her voice and mustered all of her strength.

"Sonny?" she whispered and turned to face him. And just like that, there he was. All the words, all the thoughts, all the things she had planned to say to him if he ever dared come back, were temporarily erased from her mind. No. Yes. Here he was. She could feel him from across the room. "How dare you come back like this? Was this one of your little schemes? You break into my home and then what?! What did you expect to see? Did you expect to see me sitting here crying over you?" She was mad. Sonny had hurt so deeply and the wounds were still fresh. She couldn't stop herself from screaming at him, she was so angry and hurt. "Well this may come as news to you, but I'm getting married!! To JAX! I know that he'll never leave me when I need him the most. I know that he'll never walk out on our *wedding day* and leave me to be humiliated! Not like someone else I know. No, he loves me. He says it and he means it, and he won't ever leave me!"

It all came flooding out in one screaming, ranting statement, and she wasn't finished yet.

"Brenda, I'm sorry it had to be this way," Sonny said, searching for words to explain how he was feeling, but there was nothing that could ever explain that.

"Brenda I didn't mean for it to be like this. I left to protect you because I...I didn't want you to end up like Lily. I figured that you would be better off without me. I know I hurt you, no, hurt isn't strong enough a word. I can't ever begin to imagine the pain you felt, because of me. Because of what I did. The thought that you were hurting, and I was the cause of that hurt, has tortured me every single day since I left Port Charles."

"Go away, Sonny. I don't ever want to see your face again. You made up your mind to be out of my life the day you didn't show up for our wedding. You have no idea how horrible I was after that. No words can describe the betrayal, the hurt, and the lonliness I felt when you left me. I tried to destroy myself because you weren't around to do it." Brenda stopped and brushed away the tears that were streaming down her face. "It's not going to work Sonny. You hurt me too much for me to ever forget." Sonny's face was streaked with tears as well.

This was not the moment he had wanted. The conversation had gone totally wrong, and he wasn't sure he did the smartest thing by just showing up there. But he had to say something to change her mind. Sonny had known she'd be upset, and rightly so, but he had to do something, say something to fix all of this, so he said the first words that came into his head.

"I---I wanted you so much that I conveniently forgot the fundamental problem between us. It's not, It's not Jax, or you wanting to find yourself. It's you want to know things that I can't tell you. My first solution was, to lie." It was from a conversation that seemed so very long ago, and even though he knew that it probably wouldn't fix anything, he had to try. Because he had no words except the ones he had spoken before, on the docks. He wasn't sure if Brenda remembered, or even cared, but the conversation was one that he played over and over in his mind, and it was the only thing he could remember now. Because the woman he loved hated him, and he could do nothing else but try. "But I told the truth this afternoon, and it didn't work. So, what we're left with is, you can't know anything about my business. Either you except that, or you don't, it's up to you."

He stopped and waited. He knew he didn't have a business anymore and by coming back he was making his life, and Jason's life, and Brenda's life, so much more complicated. But he would only return if Brenda still wanted him, other than that, there was no point to his doing anything. He was only certain that if Brenda told him to leave for good, he had no idea what he would do with himself.

"Brenda, you know I love you," he said, his voice shaky with emotion. Tears welled up and streamed down his cheeks. God, he loved her so much.

"I love you so much. I was so very, very wrong to do what I did to you. I don't expect you to forgive me right away, but when I heard you were marrying Jax, I had to try. I wanted to save your life by going away forever, but I realize now that I can't do that. We'll always be a part of each other's lives because we love each other. We're right for each other. We have, or had, the kind of love people only dream of. You can't possibly be happy with anyone else because deep inside you, I know you love me. I hope you love me."

Brenda was shocked by all of this. Just the shock of seeing Sonny again after so long was enough to throw her off balance, but listening to him just then, she saw into his soul. She knew he loved her, but was it enough? How could she possibly forgive him for all of the terrible things he had done to her? She was still shaking and needed time to think. Time to sort all of this out, but she knew that time was something she didn't have. She had the distinct feeling that it was now or never, and no matter how angry she was at him, she didn't think she could stand to have him walk out of her life again. She had already lost him before... but she was still so angry.

"I am *so* angry with you," she said to him in a controlled voice. "You just show up at my house after leaving me at the altar, not to mention how you just disappeared and left me with nothing. You have *no idea* what kind of damage that did to me...I don't know what I want right now. I'm still in a state of shock. I can't make decisions like this, I have to think things over."

"I know you understand that by coming here I'm asking for another chance. And I know I've said this before, and I meant it, and I mean it every time, but I love you. I think you know that. I want to be with you, and I think you know that too. I'll leave if you want me to leave, but I don't want to walk out again. I made a horrible mistake and I'm paying for it every day. Brenda all I need is you."

He looked into her eyes and tried to make her understand that he meant every word he said. She returned his gaze with a sort of sad, sullen look in her eyes. She loved him. She knew that, but it would take time.

"Sonny," Brenda began. She knew that if she said what she wanted to say, things would never be the same. "Sonny, I...I love you." She could see his face light up with hope, but it was cautious hope. "I've never stopped loving you, but that doesn't change the fact that I am still very, very angry with you. You hurt me, and it's going to take some time to get over that, if I ever do. You've got to show me that I can trust you again. It's gonna take some time."

As those words came across him, Sonny felt a revelation of hope. He knew things would work out, there would be a lot to overcome, but things would be okay in the end.

"Brenda, I have all the time in the world to fix this between us, and I will do whatever it takes to see that we end up where we belong...together." Sonny tentatively held out his hand towards Brenda. She slowly placed her hand in his and he pulled her into an embrace.

Standing there, with his arms around the woman he loved, he felt complete. Deep down inside them both, inside their souls, they felt the magic that can only be felt when two halves unite as a whole.

END