The Path to Power
Chapter Sixty Two
Faith has the paper open to the Society page when Ned comes down the stairs. He's dressed for a wedding. A wedding she would not be attending. It's a compromise point. Isn't that what marriage is all about?! Ned wants her to go to the wedding. She wants to bring her 9mm. He's taking Dillon instead.
"There a big write up of the wedding? It's going to be the thing for today."
Ned must be still hoping she'll change her mind. "I'm sure Father Coates would frown on there being anything but God's blood in the church."
Ned winces and reminds himself to gag Edward so he doesn't make some stupid comment inside Queen of Angels. Not expecting him to say something stupid in general is just too much. "Right. Good point."
"I'm more interested in this." Faith holds up a movers and shakers page. Someone hadn't gotten any sleep. It's a write up of a local boy, AJ, in the Nation's capitol with his new bride doing the DC version of painting the town. "I wish I would have thought of Skye owning the Herald. This is working out very well."
Ned scans the blurb from the paper Faith is holding. "So that's where the Quartermaine jet went. What is Junyur doing in DC?"
"Getting his money back." Faith replies absently as she studies the picture in the paper. It's a good thing Lydia convinced her AJ has no interest in ELQ any longer. Junyur is going to have his hands full being married to Mrs. Heir to the Karinen fortune.
"Good luck with that."
"Oh I think it's going to happen. Lydia is loaded to the tune of buying countries. There are plenty of suck up senators who would love to have her whipping up a little industry in their district- including this one. Edward is trying to get out of the family dog house. He greased a few palms to make sure needed people stayed in town."
"Well if he wanted to stay out of the family dog house he probably should have gone to DC with them." Ned says practically. "He's always been better at putting the hammer down on strangers than family." He gives Faith a kiss as he sees out the kitchen window Dillon coming from the bunkhouse. "I'll be back after the reception."
AJ holds Lydia's hair while she tosses her cookies. Morning sickness has hit with a vengeance. As soon as it seems to pass, he helps her back to her feet and hands her a glass of water to rinse out her mouth. "Are you going to be okay?"
"Gawd I hope so." Lydia presses the glass to her forehead. "I volunteered for this right?"
"Oh yeah." AJ rubs the middle of her back. "I don't care if Dr. Meadows said it's to be expected. I don't like it. And I really don't like leaving you here when you're not feeling well. I'll call and reschedule."
"No. Don't do that!" Lydia protests. "Dr. Meadows said hopefully it won't last too long. By the time you get back from the appointment I should be ready to go out and about. Make sure there is plenty of press when I'm not looking green. Last thing we need is the press being on baby watch."
"I don't like it." AJ says reluctantly.
"As long as you have your cell phone." Lydia sighs and reaches for her toothbrush. If she doesn't get that nasty taste out of her mouth....
"I'm going to call room service and have them send up some dry toast and a pot of tea."
Around a mouth full of tooth paste Lydia answers, "I know that will sound good in 20 minutes but I don't want to hear about it now."
AJ can't resist a grin but he leaves to make the call rather than talking about it. At least at the newly remodeled Hay-Adams, he was sure that Lydia would be safe and well taken care of until he returned. It isn't as big as the Madison Hotel but it isn't as obvious either. Lydia might have indicated a willingness to court the press on this trip but there had to be some down time.
"Why do I have to go to this?" Cole asks as he slides on a linen jacket he'd never seen before but had appeared in the closet.
"You don't. Course then I'll have to get another date for the wedding." Skye counters as she is putting on a necklace.
Cole growls as he comes over. He finishes locking the clasp of the necklace and then starts nibbling on her neck. "That is just dirty pool."
"It's the only kind of pool I get to play lately." Skye counters. She turns in Cole's arms and wraps her hands around his waist. "Believe me I wish we weren't going-- it just seems disloyal to AJ."
"And Faith." Cole is more worried about that.
"We could consider it work?" Skye suggests. "I'm not going as a family thing but for the paper. It's news."
"Course if you went in with a press pass flying you'd never get past the door."
"Lila's going to be there. Alan too."
Cole sighs knowing he's beaten. "Fine. But don't be turning down any excuse to leave okay?" Going over to the bed he grabs Skye's wrap and purse and hands them to her. He retains her keys. Her SUV is nicer than his car, and she doesn't seem to mind him driving.
Out in the living room, Kyle is dressed in his kicking about the lake gear and reading the sports page of the Herald. Kyle whistles when he sees Skye. She does a slow pirouette to show off the dress. Just because she has no desire to be at this wedding doesn't mean she can't look good. "We'll try to get you a piece of the cake but your uncle wants to get out of there early."
"Hell kid, I'll buy you a fucking cake if it means we don't have to stay." Cole mutters.
Faith putters around the house working on her garden and containers keeping a watchful eye on Kristina. With Ned and Dillon both on their way to the wedding, Alice is getting extra time on her project car. Half of the crew are off for the day, but Bruno keeps a watchful eye on the perimeter. He'd been expecting some payback ever since he and Faith paid a visit on the Cassadine Summer home. He sees a familiar car coming up the drive. Without an appointment. It really isn't a surprise, but Faith is not going to be happy. He calls up to Faith. "Faith, Cassadine is on his way in."
"The Stiff." Bruno waits for her reply.
"Fine. But I hope he isn't expecting me to put the kettle on for him."
When Stefan pulls up the drive he pauses at the guard house. Bruno leans in. "You really should call first. Faith is around back."
Stefan doesn't bother with thanks and smoothly accelerates to the end of the drive; he parks by the stables Nikolas had built when he lived here and walks over to Kristina first. He greets the baby under Faith's watchful eye and then after giving her a kiss on the top of the head walks over to where Faith is dead heading some earlier spring flowers. "You are impatient."
Faith snorts. "Right and you're the one that can't wait for an appointment."
She strips off her gardening gloves and going over to a pitcher on the table
pours herself a glass of lemonade. She doesn't
bother to pour Stefan one even though there is another glass sitting right there. "But I'll bite. I'm impatient." She waves the glass in a you have the floor motion.
"My mother came back to the summer house within an hour of... the home invasion."
Faith grimaces but goes with her alibi. "I have no idea what you're talking about. If you're talking about the break in at the Cassadine Summer house? I was at Baskin and Robbins getting ice cream for the crew after the Park Grand Opening."
"She will be even more difficult to find now." Stefan counters. "But perhaps with your resources we'll be able to find her again via the Dower Jewels."
"We?!" Faith's brows go up at that. "Nah, I figure the ball is in your court now. Best you just assume she is too smart to pawn another jewel. We already know she likes things on the cheap. Why would she pay money for a place to stay or that beluga caviar she likes so much when she can just eat yours? That would make it all the sweeter. She's probably not too happy about traveling without a boytoy now. Who you figure in your family would be hiding her?”
Stefan's expression doesn't give anything away. There are two major issues here. There are many in the extended family who might give Helena shelter as a hedge against her coming back to power again. Course they are the same that might sell her out, again as a hedge against her never coming back to power. And the other issue. Faith is clear in her lack of clarity. Helena would not be using the Dower Jewels. Because Helena no longer has them? Faith's smug expression answers that question. "Those jewels belong to Nikolas and his future bride."
"Guess you'll have to ask Helena about that when you find her." Faith shrugs.
"What are you doing?" Kyle is starting to get bored all on his lonesome out at the lake.
"My dad is cooking out." Maxie answers. "Evidently with the big mob wedding going on the crime stats are going to drop big time and he wants to take advantage of the break."
"Skye and Cole went to the wedding." Kyle informs Maxie. "Uncle Cole was really not happy about it. Having the day off and then having to spend it around Skye's family?"
"Miz Lila's okay." Maxie says automatically. She didn't have much to do with Lila Quartermaine. But it is The Proper Response. "My Mom wrote her memoirs. Mrs. Quartermaine didn't hold anything back. Or if she did then gees. She was a wild woman back in the forties. After you read the book you understand why Edward Quartermaine stole her from another guy."
"Really?" Kyle just remembers the old lady in the wheel chair at the Chloe Morgan Memorial Park.
"Really. Look, you want me to ask my Dad if you can come over?"
"That would really not be a good idea." Kyle is shaking his head.
"I think he'd be okay. After the park and everything. Course I wouldn't get in any arm wrestling contests or anything with him. And it would really tick Georgie off since Dillon is at the wedding too. Let me ask him."
Before Kyle can say no, Maxie is already gone but carrying the phone with her so he can hear about half the conversation. "This is so not a good idea." He mutters.
"Mac says sure." Maxie finally comes back on the phone. Of course she doesn't talk about the negotiation that had gone on... the one that went something like you can invite him over or I can go out to the lake. Did you know that Skye and Coleman are at the wedding? Mac is a reasonable man.
Hours later, Skye stands outside Queen of Angels. "Pick up, Pick up. Pick up." She looks over at Coleman who is also on his cell phone. She shakes her head no just as the phone goes to message. "AJ, it's Skye. Call me as soon as you get this message. As soon as you get this message, AJ. I'm not kidding. I don't care if this is your mini honeymoon. CALL ME." Skye clicks the phone down and walks over to Coleman. "Well?"
"Yeah, Faith? Better get your alibi in place and I hope you didn't get any shady phone calls today."
"Just this one. Why?"
"Carly Corinthos was kidnapped out of Queen of Angels." Cole isn't surprised when he hears the snort of laughter.
"Of course she was. Dumb cow." There is a pause. "Why am I hearing about this from you? Where is Ned? Where is Dillon?"
"That Faith on the phone?" Taggart holds out his hand for Coleman's phone. Cole reluctantly hands it over. "Mrs. Ashton, this is Lt. Taggart. How is your afternoon?"
"Where is my husband?! Where is my brother-in-law?!" Faith's voice is furious. "If I don't get an answer right fucking now I am coming down there! Bruno! Get the car! Alice, take the brat!"
"Mrs. Ashton! Faith! FAITH!"
"Mrs. Corinthos' son had a reaction to the kidnapping. The Drs. Quartermaine took him to the hospital for observation and your husband drove." Taggart waits as Faith processes the new information. "Dillon is here but he is sequestered with the rest of the guests until they can give their statements. He's fine."
"He ain't saying shit to you without representation. I'm not talking that bitch he calls a mother, Taggart. An attorney."
"Should I look be looking for Mr. Lansing? Is he Dillon's attorney too, Mrs. Ashton?" Taggart knows it's a lie when he says it. The last time Faith had been so adamant about Ric Lansing being her attorney it turned out she was making sure he didn't have an alibi for the kidnapping of Courtney Matthews.
There is a long pause. "Well wouldn't that just be interesting." Faith mutters. "Get my brother-in-law released, Taggart. And tell him to get his ass home." She disconnects the call.
Taggart hands the phone back to Coleman. He walks over to the uniform that is keeping an eye on the guests. He gives him some quiet instructions and then leaves the room again. The cop goes over to Dillon and makes a motion for the teenager to follow him.
"What do you think you're doing with my son!" Tracy protests.
"It's okay, Mom." Dillon leaves the room.
Taggart is waiting for him. "Give the officer at the door your name and address. If you remember anything that might help us find Mrs. Corinthos, tell me-- not Faith. And go straight back to the cottage."
"If Faith okay? She hates surprises." Dillon is already reaching for his keys and his cell phone. "The officer wouldn't let us make any calls until we were released."
"Just keep her away from here. Don't forget to check out." Taggart reminds. He takes half a step away but stays in hearing range.
Dillon is already on the phone. "Faith, yeah, it's Dillon. They wouldn't let us call anybody until we were interviewed."
"Oh and so they let out the owner, editor and nosy busy body of the Herald?!"
"I think they were afraid Skye would start interviewing the other guests."
"Good point. Dillon, on the way home stop at AJ's house, the garage apartment. The guys would have been there keeping an eye on things."
"If I do, does that mean you'll stay home?" Dillon tries to negotiate. "Faith, you really can't be in this one. I know if Sonny dropped dead tomorrow you'd wear a red dress to his funeral."
"And my dancing shoes."
"Right. But Helena right. You're making sure she doesn't come after the baby. Or Alcazar. He's coming around again right?" Dillon offers up all the alternatives he can think of off the top of his head.
"Who says Alcazar isn't involved with this?" Faith suggests softly. "Do what I told you, Dillon."
"I'm on my way." Damn.
Taggart watches as Dillon breaks into a run to the car. Luckily it was still
there. Ned had driven the Doctors' car to the hospital. Someone is going to have
to tell Tracy to get a ride home with her parents. There is a near collision at
the entry to the road as Mac arrives just as Dillon is leaving. Neither stops.
Mac pulls up to where Taggart is standing. "You save me a steak?"
"Yeah, but I doubt you're going to get it. Maxie invited Kyle over. What have we got?"
"Carly Corinthos kidnapped from the vestibule of the church. Chloroform soaked rag left behind. Looks like Michael might have seen the whole thing."
"Who did it?"
"He's not talking. He's totally shut down and probably going to be at GH until he comes out of it."
"Damn." Mac sees Skye and Coleman still in front of the church and indicates he's going to drive up on them to Taggart. Taggart taps the top of the roof of the sedan and steps away. Coleman comes around to the drivers side of the car when Mac pulls up. "Appreciate it if you got your nephew out of my house. One thing for him to be there when I am... but when there are no adults around..."
Cole winces and nods.
Skye has walked around the car so that she overhears what Mac is saying. "Mac, do you want the girls to come out to the lake?"
"If you're going to be there. How much of this is going to end up in the Herald, Skye?"
"Nothing about Michael." Skye declares. "If he did see anything I don't want him to be a target. He's too vulnerable."
Mac nods. "I'll have the information officer put together something official and fax it over to the Herald."
Cole keeps a hand at Skye's waist and leads her away from the police car and to her SUV. He seats her in the front passenger seat. "I can call Kyle and tell him to head home if you want to head to the hospital."
Skye hesitates. Then her phone starts ringing and she grabs it hoping it's AJ. "AJ?!"
"Wrong." Faith counters. "But I guess this means you already have a call in to AJ."
"Of course. But he must be in a meeting his phone is going to message."
"Doubt it's still the senator. He probably has his head up his wifey's skirts."
Skye winces. "It is a mini honeymoon, Faith."
"I don't suppose I can talk you into waiting before telling him."
"No." Skye hesitates and then can't resist. "Why?"
"I don't like surprises." Faith counters as she plays for time thinking
aloud. "But this could be it if AJ plays his cards right. The bitch is missing.
He's got the goods on Sonny. He's still probably going to
be brought in for questioning. AJ is going to be profiting from this. Course being out of town probably stopped him from being arrested already."
"You have got to be kidding?!"
"Yeah, tell him to come back. First flight and straight to the hospital. He doesn't leave Michael's side... and if Sonny makes a fuss then the floor that Michael is on. Dara can make all the legal moves."
Say what you want, she always hits the ground running.
Skye can practically hear the wheels turning as Faith twists the situation to her advantage. "I'm keeping Michael out of the paper, Faith. He may have been a witness but he is... a mess. Shock maybe catatonic."
"Damn." Faith reshuffles her plan. "Waste of an opportunity. The kid is a tough nut. He isn't broken just a little cracked. So is the paper planning on playing up the mob angle? Mobster's pregnant wife kidnapped?"
"Gang violence. All the reasons why Sonny shouldn't have custody of a hamster?"
"I'll think about it."
"Have AJ call me." Faith hands up before Skye can says anything.
"Excuse me, Mr. Quartermaine." The concierge comes around the desk to catch up with AJ and Lydia just returning from a picnic in one of the local parks complete with live music to set the mood.
"I apologize for the interruption, sir. You've had a number of messages over the last few hours and they've become increasingly... frantic." The concierge hands over the messages.
AJ thumbs through the pink slips and his eyebrows go up: Skye, Faith, Monica, Grandmother, hell Dara? "Has there been anything on the news about an explosion in upstate New York?" AJ hands the messages to his wife and reaches for his wallet. He tips the concierge. "Thanks for flagging us down."
"What on earth could have happened?" Lydia leans in with a hushed voice.
"I think we're about to find out." AJ's voice is grim. Anything that would get his Mother and Skye calling would have to be huge. He blocks the elevator door with the picnic basket and once they are in, Lydia keys their floor. The trip is quick and silent. At the door, he already has his mag key out.
"You call Skye. I'll call Dara." Lydia offers. Both of them pull out their cell phones and hit preset numbers. "Dara, it's Lydia Quartermaine. AJ and I just received a message you called. Oh Dear. When did this happen?"
AJ is on the phone with Skye and she is directing him to the story that is already on the Herald Online.
Lydia comes over to read it over his shoulder. "How is Grandmother?"
"She's went to the hospital as soon a she was cleared by the police but since she had Edward and Tracy with her she didn't stay too long. Alan is staying near Michael. Monica was called into surgery or she would be there too. Jason is already... hunting."
Of course he is. And that's the perfect word.
AJ nods at that. "Before or after the nuptials?"
"Before. Michael had forgotten the rings. It all happened when Carly went to get the rings."
"That doesn't sound too planned. How could anyone know?"
"All they had to know really was that she was going to be there. Michael saw the whole thing, AJ, and he has totally shut down. Faith says if you would have been in town you probably would have been arrested or at least brought in for questioning. You probably still will!"
"I wouldn't kidnap Carly."
"Faith also thinks this may be the right time for whatever you've got planned."
"Lydia is already on the phone with Dara, Skye."
"Be careful, AJ. Faith said if you played your cards right that this could be it. I got the feeling though she was afraid you would rush into everything and..."
"Shoot myself in the foot?" AJ suggests wryly. "We're on our way back, Skye. Just have to pack this place up and call for a car."
"Good. Call when you're about to land and I'll meet the plane." Skye offers.
"Thanks, sis." AJ hangs up and then enters a number that is not in his presets-- Faith's cell number. It's too late to be calling the cottage. "Faith, it's AJ."
"The prodigal finally checks in. Where the fuck have you been?"
"Picnic in the park, listening to a band. I take it all hell broke loose."
"Your ex managed to get herself kidnapped. Your kid is in the hospital. Sonny is playing the grieving maniac like he was born for the part and Morgan is tearing the place apart. There-- you're up to speed."
"They kidnapped Carly right out of the church?!"
"That's what I hear. Ned and Dillon went to the wedding. I had... other irons in the fire."
"Are you going to be okay on this?"
"Yeah. I'm staying out of this one all together. Not going to make it any more difficult but not going to make it any easier either. The longer this takes; the more time Sonny has to show the cracks."
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