The Path to Power
Chapter Sixty Four
After Skye and Coleman drop Lydia off at her house, they head back out to the lake. Well there is a quick detour to Eliís to pick up ribs and fixings. Coleman gets enough for an army as he doesnít know who all is going to be at the lake when they get there. Really should start passing the hat to Kyleís friends. Or at least tell them itís pot luck. But Skye wouldnít hear of it. Sheíd rather have Kyle out at the lake or in some scheduled activity than say... spending too much time on the computer. And this way they got to see his friends. Strangely enough the kids Kyle brought out to the lake are kids that would pass inspection and not his drugging and drinking buddies.
And Skye has managed to convert them all to cloth napkins. Course now with all of Kyleís friends around Cole had made a purchase from the Restaurant supply house. Sure enough when they pull up the music is coming from the back dock and there are 4 cars there. "It looks like some of the kids, Kyle plays soccer with." Skye ID's the cars. "Did you finish all the measurements?"
"Yeah, I got all the measurements for... I was thinking a gazebo with a hot tub in it. The electrical is going to be interesting but that is not my problem."
"It doesnít sound like a weekend project."
"Iíll take it to the Home Depot Guys tomorrow and see what they have to say. Weíve got labor out back that has been eating you out of house and home anyway."
"Good! You guys are here. Are you going to get out of the car?" Kyle demands as he comes up on the passenger side of the SUV. He takes the packages from Skye. He can tell by the smell exactly what is in them and doesnít need to see Eliís written on the side of the bag. "Now that youíre here I can give Maxie a call."
Cole knows his nephew talks to Maxie daily even more now that they are both out of school for the summer. It would be a wonder if they didnít end up with carpal thumbs the way they texted each other. "Yeah, give the all clear. Save some of those for us."
"Right." Kyle takes off.
Skye looks over at Cole and undoes her seat belt. "So you want to know what was decided?"
"Not particularly." Cole replies wryly. "Iíd prefer to be surprised. Just let me know where you have the bail money stashed."
"Hopefully it wonít come to that."
Mac is up to his elbows in the investigation. On a freaking Sunday when he should be having a cookout with his girls. Heís got the new lead that Lucky and Elizabeth had given him. It would be an interesting twist. Of all the families that have come after Sonny through the years, to have his own brother be the one that was a sleeping with his wife and then kidnapping her. Firm case could be made for the kidnapping cause even if Carly had been cheating on Sonny she never would have left the guy in front of her kid. And Michael is traumatized by whatever he saw. When the phone rings heís distracted. "Yeah."
"Mac? Itís Maxie. Kyle just called. Everyone is getting together at the Lake."
"Define everyone." Mac asks suspiciously.
"Skye is going to be there. Kyleís uncle too. The guys from the soccer team."
"Fine. Gimme a call if youíre not going to be there and keep your cell phone with you."
"Thanks Dad. Youíre the best!"
Mac is grinning when he hangs up the phone.
"Let me guess. That wasnít business." Taggart knocks on the open door.
"Good! Youíre here. Check this out." Mac hands over the pictures to Taggart.
Taggart whistles. "Where did you get these?"
"Someone shoved them under Elizabethís door."
"When and where?! I thought she wasnít living in her studio anymore because she is ducking Ric Lansing."
"Back when she was living at her studio. Itís what had her handing Lansing his walking papers. According to Elizabeth, when she confronted him with the pictures he pretty much timed them to the night of the Cellar opening."
"How pregnant is Carly Corinthos?" Taggart asks the question more appropriate for a reporter of the Intruder than a detective of the PCPD.
"About Cellar Opening pregnant. Which is interesting timing but itís also when we didnít have Alcazarís agent taking pictures... that we know of."
Taggart winces. "I know Capelli was a lot of things including dirty but I donít think he was taking pictures of Sonnyís wife doing the lawyer. I can see Alcazarís guy maybe doing the pictures. Heís got an ax to grind with Sonny. But the timing is wrong, Javier didnít take a room at Jakeís until after Capelli."
"The pictures ended up under Elizabethís door. Thatís about messing with Lansing."
"Faith." Both men say together.
Taggart takes a seat. "When Coleman Radcliffe and Skye left the church they each made phone calls. Skye was on the phone to AJ to let him know what had happened. Radcliffe was on the phone to Faith."
"Really." Macís eyes narrow.
"I kinda borrowed Colemanís phone in mid conversation and had a little chat with Mrs. Ashton. I asked her if I needed to get her attorney Ric Lansing to be there when I questioned Dillon."
"You didnít question Dillon without his mother did you?" Mac groans. Taggart had been known to play fast and loose with the rules.
"Thatís not the important part."
"The DA would think it was."
"Damn it Mac! I didnít question the kid I was yanking Faithís chain. When Courtney Matthews went missing Faith made a big thing about Lansing being her attorney even though there is no way in hell Faith would have anything to do with Lansing; she was just messing with his alibi. I was... being sarcastic about Dillon. She got real quiet. Then kinda muttered something like well isnít that interesting. Lansing is messed up in this." Taggart taps his index finger on his bossí desk for emphasis.
"Okay." Mac nods. "Lucky and Liz believe that as well. They think heís gone wack job and since Elizabeth is denying her baby is his; that heís flipped and decided that Carlyís baby is his."
"Did his biological clock go off or something?!" Taggart snorts in disbelief.
"Or something. Since youíre getting on so well with Faith. You do the interview with her. Iíll take Sonny and Ric."
Lydia brings a picnic basket to the Chief of Staffís office. She hadnít been in the hospital long enough to have a meal, even when she was ill, and hoped to keep it that way. "Any improvement?"
"Heís stopped saying Mamas gone over and over. But now he isnít saying anything. Sleeping quite a bit. Some nightmares."
"Poor boy. And can they really be called nightmares? I doubt they are about the creature in the closet." Lydia sets the basket down on the table and sits next to AJ on the couch. He pulls her in close and gives her a kiss. She tucks in close to him curling her feet up on the couch. Closing her eyes she just lets the moment run.
"I missed you today." AJ murmurs. "I got a lot done but I missed you."
"I missed you too." Lydia sighs. She straightens and leaning over opens up the basket and pulls out the fruit plate and a couple of forks. She sets it on AJís lap and hands him a fork. "Even though your cousin Dillon had his own plan for kidnapping today."
"I was planning on going straight back to the row house."
"Potato/potahto. Instead he drove me over to Faithís house. Where there was a huge powwow with Faith and Skye and even your grandmother on speaker phone."
"My Grandmother and FAITH?!"
"Oh yes. In fact I think your grandmother tasked Faith with keeping your grandfather busy and out of everyoneís hair. I truly think she was going to ask Faith to look into the whole kidnapping thing until Faith mentioned Helena Cassadine might be coming after Nedís baby?!"
"Itís Nedís baby with Alexis Davis, Helenaís very unloved step daughter." AJ takes a bite of a fruit portion and then when he is done chewing explains further. "Itís really a long shot that Helena would come after Kristina. She never liked Alexis and you can bet that Ned and Faith are not raising the baby to be Cassadine. Helena is more likely to strike at Stefan or anything to control Nikolas. But you already know most of this. The spider biting you is what put Ned and Faith on high alert."
Lydia nods around a piece of pineapple and then swallows. "And your Grandfather is evidently afraid that sheíll stress herself out by all the doings. He really doesnít seem to know her too well." Lydia shakes her head. "She was quizzing Skye on what was going to be in the paper. And suggesting that Skyeís lover find out what the Police Commissioner is thinking."
"Colemanís nephew is dating the Police Commissionerís daughter."
"Oh more than that there was something said about Coleman bonding with the Police Commissioner because of all the men who have stalked Skye."
"I thought there was only Jax?!" AJ protests.
"It was actually Faith who implied there was more than one. Your grandmother assumed Jax too."
"Iím going to have to give Skye a call." AJ mutters.
"You have got to be kidding me!" Dara pulls out her cell phone from her bag and reads the number. Then she groans. "I am going to have to call her back. I am so sorry. Two minutes and then Iím shutting off the phone for the rest of evening."
"Promises, promises." Stefan shakes his head. "Go. Iíll order for you."
"Thanks." Dara takes her phone and hurries from the dining room of the Port Charles Grille. "Yeah, Faith? Whatís up? Taggart is at your house picking your brain about the kidnapping? Carly Corinthosí kidnapping?! Why would he think you were involved? Ric Lansing? Really? Damn. Iím really glad I didnít take him up on his partnership offer. He kidnapped Courtney Matthews too?! Damn. But isnít Lansing from oldish money with property all up and down the eastern seaboard? That is going to drive Mac and Taggart nuts. Multi-jurisdictional cases are a bitch. Itís never a good idea to be interviewed by the police without an attorney present. But if he isnít going to arrest you can you postpone the interview until tomorrow?" Dara asks hopefully. After Faith makes fun of Dara actually having a date and trying to get the name out of her the conversation comes to a close. Dara shakes her head as she heads back to the table. "And I was actually hoping that none of my clients were involved with Carly Corinthos being kidnapped from Queen of Angels."
"It was too much to expect. Too many people were at the wedding so of course everyone is being interviewed." True to her promise Dara turns off the phone and shows it to Stefan to show him itís done. Then she slides the phone back in her purse. "Tell me youíre not involved in the kidnapping."
"This is not a Cassadine matter." Stefan says confidently. "Although self serving-- it has been somewhat of a relief."
"How is that?"
"As Penny pointed out to Nikolas, we are no longer front page news."
Dara looks at the entryway to the Grille like sheís seen a ghost. "Heís dead. Alexis killed him."
Stefan looks over his shoulder and grimaces. "That is Luisí brother, Lorenzo Alcazar. And if you are truly trying to avoid getting involved in the Corinthos kidnapping... donít take any work from him."
"I knew about Lorenzo of course because you told me after you got back from South America but I didnít realize how much he looked just like his brother. Itís uncanny."
"I love summer." Maxie murmurs as she kicks back by the stone circled fire pit that is midway between the lake house and the lake. Everyone had exhausted themselves between huge helpings of Eliís ribs and fixings and many trips into the lake. The sun is going down on the far side of the lake and everyone is just being mellow around the fire.
"Well itís not going to be boring." Kyle says with a snort.
"How do you figure?"í
"Soccer practice 5 days a week. Games two days a week. Pick up hours at Jakes on the weekend for gas money. Now youíre going to start picking up hours at Kellyís? Iím never going to get to see you." Kyle complains.
"At least itís day shift at Kellyís. Even if it means getting up early those are the best hours for tips and Iíll be done by twoĖ so plenty of sun time. Aunt Bobbie really needs the help especially with Penny winning the lottery, Courtney leaving to get married and then Elizabeth Webber going into hiding."
"Sheís really gone into hiding?!"
"Pretty much. You saw Ric Lansing at the Park Grand Opening. The guy is nuts. Elizabeth is totally freaked out by him. So yeah, she quit working for Aunt Bobbie. She moved out of her studio. Nobody really knows where she is. Aunt Bobbie sent her last paycheck through Lucky. And if Lucky is helping her then even if she is in town sheís hiding in plain sight."
"How do you figure?"
"Lucky is a Spencer. Theyíre like cats; always landing on their feet and doing their own thing."
"Isnít that woman who was kidnapped a Spencer too?"
Maxie nods and then explains. "Aunt Bobbieís daughter Carly. Itís why everyone is worried but not worried as much as they would be for any other pregnant woman whoíd been kidnapped. Stories about Carly are legendary when she was pregnant with Michael." Maxie shakes her head and decides to go for the subject change. "You heard any more from your mom?"
"No. Iíve been going by the house and checking the machine even though Iíve forwarded everything to my cell. And picking up the mail. Nothing." Kyle shrugs. "Sheíll show up eventually when she gets her shit together."
With too much experience in the maternal abandonment, Maxie mutters. "I hope so."
"I know I bitch and stuff but I donít think Iíd want to move into town now. Maybe when school started again but this is a sweet set up. And Skye and Uncle Cole are weird because theyíre really big on privacy and I get a lot of privacy but they are all up in my business too."
"How do they manage that?"
"I think anything I ever thought of doing Uncle Cole did it, got the t-shirt, and probably sold tickets." Kyle says wryly. "And Skye well, sheís always... reasonable. I mean even when she was kicking my ass for what I did to you... that was reasonable. She doesnít try to be all lovey dovey or anything like that. She knows she doesnít have to. Cause if Skye ainít happy ainít nobody happy. Uncle Cole will make my life a living hell until she is happy again. Heís nuts for her."
"All the guys are nuts for her." Maxie has a hint of jealous in her voice. Skye seems to have it all. It wasnít like she was parading around in a string bikini in front of all the guys. Oh no, nothing skimpy or sexy. She was always wearing dresses and hats with broad brims. And these animals whoíd brag about belching the alphabet, all of a sudden remembered they had manners around her.
Kyle tightens the hug of his arms around her. "Hey Iím nuts about you."
"Good!" Maxie bumps her head back against his shoulder. "Because if you treated me like Dillon treats Georgie when ever Faith Ashton says boo..."
Kyle winces. "Well I can understand about Faith, babe. Not cause sheís hot or anything. When you cross Skye sheís disappointed. You cross Faith and she might put a cap in your ass."
"I canít believe you!" Dillon doesnít bother keeping his voice down since they are no where near the cottage. "You tell me to never have a sit down with a cop without an attorney present and then you give TAGGART tea?!"
"He didnít drink it."
"That is not the point."
"I called Dara. She was out on a date."
"Interesting but also not the point. Why didnít you tell Taggart youíd talk to him in the morning down at the police station or something when your attorney could actually be there!"
"But he was already here." Faith examines her blood red nails. Itís a good color on her but the least little chip showed up like a neon light.
"Damnit, Faith! Youíre not suppose to talk to the cops without someone else there!" Dillon turns away and throws his hands up in disgust.
Faith comes over and rubs down Dillonís tense shoulders and back. "Iím sorry. I wonít do it again. He wasnít interested in me. It doesnít hurt to look like weíve got nothing to hide."
Dillon gives her a glare. "You are so not funny. So did you tell him the truth?" Dillon gives a fairly decent impression of Faith raising his voice to a falsetto. "Oh no, Detective Hardass I didnít kidnap that stupid cow, Carly Corinthos, cause Iím gunning for that old hag, Helena Cassadine. Sheís going to come looking for me because I broke into her house, kneecapped her servant and stole the family jewels."
"I didnít put it quite that way." Faith grins. Heís such a delight to tease.
"Look all my knowledge might be from forties film noire but you canít alibi yourself by offering up three other felonies!"
"Actually baby, you can just so long as you get immunity from the Judge first. Now that would be a sweet deal. Clear up some old stuff on some new stuff I had nothing to do with. And I donít think that Old Stiff Cassadine would press charges on me for... searching his house for him. Why I practically had an invitation."
"Faith!" Dillon is now so ticked that heís practically in tears.
Faith realizes sheís pushed it too far and comes around. "Iím sorry. Look I promise okay. I wonít even talk to a cop about the widows and orphans fund without a lawyer present." She gives Dillon a hug and pulls him close. She whispers in his ear. "Shhh now. I promise." She presses a kiss to his jaw right below his ear. "Everything is fine."
"Thatís not the point." Dillon declares.
"I know. And youíre so sweet to worry. I mean it, Dillon. I promise and I keep my promises." She steps back but keeps her hands on his upper arms. "And weíre not going to talk about the family jewels. Even around Ned. Those belong to the baby. Sheís earned them just by being born into that nutjob family." She cups the side of his face. "Are we okay now?"
"Yeah, I guess."
"Walk me back to the house." Faith strings an arm through Dillonís and brings herself in close pressing her chest against his arm. "And I know youíre going to snitch me off to Bruno. But tell him what I promised so I donít have to hear this all over again, okay?"
"Yeah. I will." Dillon nods. "Itís just everything is going so well right now, Faith. I donít want anything to mess it up."
"Everything will be fine. Iíll take care of everything." Faith gives him a kiss on the cheek and goes in the cottage. She watches from inside and doesnít turn off the exterior light until she sees him go in the bunk house. She isnít particularly surprised when she hears a voice behind her.
"Everything okay with Dillon, Faith?" Nedís voice is cool. Their bedroom window overlooked where Faith and Dillon had been talking.
"Peachy. He wasnít at all happy about me inviting Taggart to tea. I guess the only person he wants policing me is my husband."
"Exactly. Faith, donít lead him on. Itís bad enough that heís already declared heíd take a bullet for you. I donít want my brother so twisted up that heíd shoot someone for you."
"I wouldnít ask that of him." Faith answers. His aim isnít that good... yet.
"Mac, Iím home and going to bed." Maxie calls out as she comes in the front door. Sheíd made her curfew by about ten minutes. "I have to work the early shift at Kellyís tomorrow."
"Night, Maxie. You want me to make sure youíre awake in the morning?"
"Thanks Mac." There is a stomp of a teenage girl heading up the stairs.
"Okay, so where were we?" Mac asks Taggart over a fresh beer.
Taggart takes a swig from the bottle. "Faith was forthcoming... relatively. I actually believe her when she said she had nothing to do with the kidnapping. And anything to do with what bunch of SOBs Corinthos, Morgan and Lansing are. She didnít have a thing to say about Alcazar or Cassadine. Very carefully nothing to do with Cassadine or Alcazar."
"That says as much as it doesnít." Mac winces. "Sometimes I hate our job. The whole running square into what you know versus what you can prove is like a brick wall to the head over and over again. "That miracle grow potting soil in the Cassadine Summer house..."
"Yeah. But how much tighter an alibi can 20 pints of ice cream be?" Taggart shakes his head. "Iíd bet on Faith commissioning those photos. Whether it was to mess with Sonny or mess with Ric or hell-- considering the battle she was having over the Cellar with Carly Corinthos... it could have originally been all about that."
Mac nods. "Ric doesnít live at his apartment any longer. He sold it to Alcazar. Iíve requested a record search to find out where heís living now in Port Charles. I did get to talk to Sonny."
"Did you show him the pictures?"
Macís tone is regretful on that one. "Yeah. I wanted to break thru that cocky know it all attitude to see if I could get a little truth out of him. He didnít have anything to say. I could see in his face his surprise, but not a word. I put a uniform on his house see if he goes after Ric. I did tell him that the information we have about the pictures is that Carly was drugged then too."
"But Rico Suaveís mucho macho wouldnít buy that one would it?" Taggart shakes his head in disgust.
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