The Path to Power
Chapter Eighty Three
Third Week in October
Lydia is probably going to regret having Dillon and Bruno wait for her in her study. Bruno who should know better goes over to the huge board that is covered with a drape. He peeks under it and then takes off the drape. The first thing that catches his attention are the magnets that stick on the dry erase board. "We have got to get some of these for ours."
"It looks like Thanksgiving Dinner seating. Lydia is throwing it. Everyone thinks sheís crazy."
"Well thatís cause itís all wrong." Bruno muses as he studies the configurations. "Look at this. She went with the classic-- hubby at the head of the table and wife at the foot."
"Right. Should be like this." Bruno changes the seating so that Lydia is at AJís right hand. "You know smaller party or something where everyone doesnít know everyone and you need the separate spheres of influence then yeah, put the wife down at the foot of table. But this is supposed to be a power play right?"
"So Edward goes down at the foot of the table. And then Faith is right next to him. Cause Faith will kill him if he gets out of line but itís got the appearance of power you know."
"Grandfather knows Faith would kill him too."
"Even better. Now the old broad. Your grandmother, sheís like the moral compass right? Sheís the center of the table. They didnít put Jesus at the end you know. He was in the center."
"I always figured that Grandmotherís place was the one closest to the door. For the quick getaway."
Lydia watches from the doorway as hours, no days, of hard work are systematically rearranged. Sheíd almost screamed when she saw what they were doing but sheíd come in when Faithís Neanderthal had moved Edward to the foot of the table and be damned if his reason hadnít made sense.
"Well that works too. Kitchen here. The actual entry way to the dining room corresponds to the middle of the table." But Bruno switches Lila to the other side of the table so she is closer to the door. "Keep the centerpieces low so she can see everything from the bird down by AJ to Faith keeping The Old man on a short leash. That way she can have a happy Thanksgiving too."
"What about my Mom?" Dillon asks.
"Sheís got to come?"
"Right." Holding Tracyís magnet, Bruno takes a step back from the board. He moves it around between a couple of positions before settling on the other side of Edward across from Faith.
"Oh you have got to be kidding?!"
"I know itís kinda risky." Bruno nods. "But it placates your mother. Sheís close to the old man. And since AJ and Lydia are throwing the party they should have the pleasure of being as far away from your mother as possible." Bruno considers the board. "Looks like Lydiaís trying to do a little placating of her own. Look at the positioning of her mother-in-law."
"She was giving up right hand seating to her under the original." Dillon muses. "Donít know bout that specially with Lydia all the way at the other end of the table. Lydia definitely needs to be at AJís right hand if sheís going to be sending a signal."
"But what to do with this one?" Bruno peels off Monicaís magnet.
"Across from me." Lydia says from the door. "Dr. Monica and I are getting along right now." Lydia pats her protruding stomach significantly.
"Damn!" Dillon starts. "Look we can put them all back."
"Donít you dare!" Lydia demands. "I finally have someone who actually thinks about these things rather than AJís just put them wherever. Heís caught up in the bond issue for the Stadium right now."
Bruno shakes his head. "No disrespect intended, Maíam, but sometimes your hubby ainít too bright. This is Thanksgiving. It sets the tone for the whole holiday season."
Coming from a guy who would probably be more comfortable in a loin cloth, skins and carrying a club, itís embarrassing to admit that in this case Bruno has a point. Is there such a thing as an idiot savant of party planning? "And Ned?"
Dillon takes Nedís magnet off the board and steps back. Then stepping forward he grabs his too and steps back to look at the whole table. Stepping forward he puts Ned across the table from Lila and then puts himself at Faithís right hand.
Brunoís eyes narrow and he looks at the kid. "Why."
"Ned and AJ donít get along, but putting him at Faithís right hand puts him down and Faith canít be at Nedís right and keep Grandfather in line. Putting him on Tracyís side but across from Grandmother balances the power at the table."
Bruno grins and nods. "Go on."
"Itís a lot of pressure expecting Faith to keep both Grandfather and my mother in line; she needs me."
"By George I think heís got it." Bruno slaps Dillon on the back and sets him rocking on his feet to maintain his balance. He steps up to the board and takes Dr. Alanís name.
"Right hand of AJís grandmother, Lila." There is no room for negotiation on this. And doesnít really need an explanation. Even if Alan hadnít always been Lilaís right hand now because of her failing health. Lydia steps forward and takes a magnet. "And now the tough one. Skye. Putting her anywhere near Tracy would be a disaster. And having her anywhere near Dr. Alan would set back all the positive of having Dr. Monica next to AJ."
The three step back and look at the arrangement. Lydia moves the magnet around to try to find the right place but putting her next to Ned put Skye right across from Alan. Normally a good thing but not in this case. And the other side of Ned put her too close to Tracy.
Dillon winces. "I know itís close to Mom but other side of me. And then Coleman across from me next to Mom."
Bruno agrees. "He wonít take any crap off her and heíll take the heat off both Faith and Skye. Coleman knows how to handle chicks. And bonus points it puts a buffer between Ned and his mother."
With Michael in school and Lydia working at home, AJ has resumed bringing Rosie to the office with him. Somehow in the course of him marrying Lydia and the big press about the StadiumĖ heíd gotten a bigger office that isnít in the basement anymore. He still reviews and approves the building permits always conscious of where they fit in the 2015 drawing of the city hanging behind his desk. The drawing is the same one that had been down in the basement. Now itís in a nice frame. His paycheck still said Building Commission. But the plaque on the door says Department of Economic Development.
With about two weeks to go until the election things are going a little bit crazy. But itís a controlled chaos like heís never known before. For workís sake itís kind a nice to come into the office and just focus on plans. Focus on someone elseís vision but making Port Charles the best damn city in the NE. This was where he is going to raise his children. It has to be the best. And focusing on the work stopped him from thinking about his Grandmother for just a little while. Focusing on work stopped him from thinking about what a disaster Carly has made of their sonís life. At least she is moving out of Sonnyís house. Sonny was the one pushing her out though. Sonny had bought Carly another house, one outside of town on Adamís Rd. on the way to West Haven. Carly hadnít moved in yet, was fighting the move.
"Get out of the zone, man. Have you been listening to the radio at all?"
"Something I need to know?"
"The National Weather service is issuing flood alerts. Itís coming down in buckets out there. Theyíre worried about some of the bridges."
"Well then arenít I glad I a) live in town and b) drive the hummer." But AJ gets up and looks out the big picture window. The sky is charcoal grey and itís tough to tell where the sky starts and the rain begins. He glances down at his watch. "Looks like quitting time to me."
"Yeah anyone with vacation and or sick time decided that about an hour ago. Turn out the lights when you leave." AJís coworker heads toward the elevators.
AJ goes over to this phone and gives Lydia a call. He grins when he realizes that she hadnít noticed either. Evidently Bruno and Dillon had stopped by on some errand for Faith and had stayed for tea. Only because of his phone call interruption had she looked out the window and the party had broken up. He ends the call with a promise to be home soon. "Come on, Rosie. Lets head out of here."
Itís all hands on deck at General Hospital. Any time there is a weather emergency people started getting stupid and headed out to the store or to a friends when the sensible thing is to get home and get comfortable with a good book. The only people with any business on the roads are emergency personnel and people who have to be on the road to get away from the flooding rivers. The helicopter seemed to be taking off every 20 minutesĖ dropping people off and then going back out on the next call of people in need of assistance but cut off by the flooding.
If he wasnít chief of staff heíd be home with his wife, his mother, his daughter whoíd only been back from California for a short time. But this had come up on his watch so here he is down in the ER doing the sort. Patching what he could, assessing the rest and moving those in need of serious attention to the surgical floors.
He and Monica had agreed to bide by Lilaís wishes but in their own way. One of them is always home to make sure that his mother is fine. Which annoys the dickens out of Lila who after that one trip to the hospital had been firm in declaring herself fine and had started back with her normal schedule. Everyone in the family had tried cosseting Lila at first. Everyone except for Faith. Nedís wife has been... callous to Lilaís condition. Everyone else had been to see Lila. After the first night, Faith just the opposite. If Mother wanted to see Faith or baby Kristina then sheíd have to go over to the cottage to see them. If she wanted Faith to go to the Gardening Club then mother had better be picking her up in the Bentley. It had seemed cruel at first but he soon realized Faith was giving Lila just what she wanted: independence. Of course Faith has a three month head start on all of them.
"Jason." Alan is drawn out of his thoughts as his son comes through the ER doors carrying Courtney. The woman his son had married in France without anyone in the family there to show support. Considering that Carly had been kidnapped at the attempted wedding in Port Charles, he couldnít even blame his son.
"She was in a car accident."
"Iím fine." Courtney declares. "You have to get an ambulance, no-- a helicopter out to Carlyís new house. She fell down the stairs and she thinks the baby is coming. She needs help. The phone lines were down. Iím fine. Iím fine."
"Iíll be the judge of that, young lady." Alan declares. "Exam room two please." Alan directs a nurse who is standing by.
"Jason, Iím fine. Please go get Carly. Iím staying right here. I promise." Courtney says over her shoulder as she is wheeled to the exam room.
Jason looks at his father for confirmation. Alan shakes his head but tells his son. "Go. But be careful. Courtney will be safe here." Jason takes off at a run only stopping briefly at the nurses station to demand a helicopter for Carly.
Courtney looks up at Alan, her father in lawĖ again. "I need to call my brother. He needs to know about Carly and the baby."
"Exam first. Phone second."
"No, Iím fine. Jason just worries too much after what happened when Alcazar took me hostage trying to get Carly back. I just slid off the road. It wasnít even a real car accident." Seeing that it doesnít look like Alan is going to budge. "Fine phone first, exam second? It will only take 45 seconds I swear."
Alan hands over his phone.
The fire is roaring in the fireplace. The curtains are open wide to show the rain coming down and beating against the big windows of the study. Lydia closes her eyes and arches her back in ecstasy. "Ohhh." She groans. "Right there. Right...there."
"You were home all day. Why were you wearing heels? You know the baby doesnít like them. Hell after Faith fell in the park-- the last thing I want is you, heels and stairs to be used in the same sentence." But AJ doesnít pause in the foot massage.
"Barefoot and pregnant is just so clichť." Lydia counters. "I put them on when Faith said she was sending Bruno over with pictures of the Thanksgiving floral pieces. "That man is just too tall. If I hadnít worn heels then youíd be giving me a shoulder massage instead to take care of the crick in my neck." Lydia pauses in her argument about AJ picking her footwear when her cell phone rings. She looks at the display and recognizes the number instantly. After all she is the one who gave him a cell phone. "Michael darling? Is everything alright?"
"Lydia, Is A.. my father there?"
"Of course he is. One second." Lydia offers AJ the phone. And mouths. "Itís Michael and he sounds upset."
"Michael? Whatís up?"
"Dadís not here. Leticia said Mom was going to check on the new house but that was hours ago and I tried to call her and there is no answer on her cell phone. The lights have almost gone off twice. Leticia is afraid of the dark. Can we come over to your house?"
"Iíll be right there. Pack what you need for tonight and tomorrow and tell Leticia to do the same."
"Youíre welcome but Iím your fatherĖ itís part of the job description."
"Now packĖ and leave a note for your mother. Iíll be right there."
"What is going on?" Lydia asks.
"Sonnyís not there. He canít get hold of Carly and the power has almost gone out a couple of times." AJ stands up and goes over to the desk to grab his keys.
"Doesnít Sonny live in a penthouse? All those stairs." She doesnít mind penthouse views but no elevator would be horrifying. Lydia mock shudders then sits up and rotates on the chaise so that her bare feet are planted on the oriental rug. "Go. Iíll make sure the guestroom by Michaelís room is ship shape for his nanny."
AJ leans over and gives her a kiss. "Thank you."
"Youíre welcome. But Iím your wife. Itís part of the job description."
Anytime there is a gunshot wound the cops are called. But in this case he felt as if he should be directing traffic in the ER. Mac Scorpio, Police Commissioner is here to take the gunshot report because he is closest, and because both Sonny Corinthos and Lorenzo Alcazar are involved. Carly Corinthos is in critical condition with a bullet in her head. Heíd just heard Tony Jones make the deal to SonnyĖ operate now to get the bullet out and maybe Carly dies on the table. Wait until she is stable and maybe Carlyís brain damaged.
A street cop is attempting to arrest Jason Morgan for hitting a state trooper. Evidently Jason had run a road block to get to Carly Corinthosí house. Considering that he had gotten Carly, the baby and Sonny all here before the helicopter... "Let it go, officer."
"But he hit a cop!"
"Itís not a case the DA could win if there was even one woman on the jury, let alone a woman with kids. Let it go." The cop stands back and Jason doesnít say thanks, how ya doing but instead runs for the stairs. Heís supposed to be checking on the baby. The earlier sonogram said there might be a problem with his heart. "Youíre welcome." Mac mutters. Itís really a good thing that Taggart is coordinating things out in town because Jason would have been in jail without a doubt. Mac waits to hear Sonnyís decision and then as Tony leaves to deal with his patient, he turns to the cop who is getting ready to leave. "Now this one you can arrest."
Mac holds his hands out for the copís cuffs. "Sonny Corinthos, you are under arrest for assault with a deadly weapon. You have the right to remain silent..." Mac continues with the Miranda warnings. Sonny appears to be in shock as he just stands there slack jawed while Mac handcuffs him and then starts patting him down.
"Carly, my wife, my son..."
"Are both safer here than with you. Officer, take him down to the station."
Bobbie arrives still in scrubs on a run. "What is going on? One of the nurses told me as soon as I came out of surgery that Carly had been brought in. Is she having the baby? Why is Sonny being arrested?"
"Bobbie, we need to talk."
"No, not my girl. Not my other girl."
"Stop! Stop right there. Damn Iím sorry I screwed this up. Carly is alive. You have a new grandson. Now we need to talk."
"Where is Carly?"
Just then Carly is wheeled out of the exam room and Tony is coming out right after her. "Hold the elevator."
"Mac?" Bobbieís voice is a whisper.
Mac takes Bobbieís hand and leads her over to a private pair of chairs. "Weíre still investigating. Jason probably could tell you more than Iíll ever know, if he will. Sonny shot Carly. He was aiming for Alcazar and actually hit them both with the same bullet. Alcazar is on his way in by helicopter. Iíll know more after I interview him. Your daughter is tough, Barbara Jean. She had the baby before she lost consciousness. Jason just left here for the natal ICU. Something about heart monitoring?"
"There was a possible hole in the babyís heart. Itís the same thing Michael had." Bobbie answers automatically. "Oh my Gawd! Where is Michael?"
"I donít know." Since Bobbie is dressed in scrubs and has no pockets for her cell phone, Mac pulls out his own. "What is the number for the penthouse?"
"Last time Michael was over at my house he showed me the cell phone Lydia bought him. Heís too young to have one of course, but heís so proud of it. I donít have the number memorized. Itís on Lydia and AJís cell phone plan."
"Whatís their number?" Mac suggests. Bobbie calls it off and then Mac hands her the phone.
"Lydia, itís Bobbie. What is Michaelís cell phone number? I wanted to give him a call. Bobbie writes it down in Macís palm sized notebook. But then is startled when Michael comes on the phone. "I was just going to call you over at the penthouse. What are you doing at AJ and Lydiaís?"
Mac relaxes just a bit as he listens to Bobbie talk with her grandson. But he gets Bobbieís attention. "Probably a good idea for him to stay there until we figure out what is going on here."
Bobbie nods. "Sweetie, could you put AJ on your phone please?"
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