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Scene 8

Her senses had been all but extinguished. No smell, no sound, no light. She blinked hard and deliberately, unsure if her eyes were open or closed against the pitch black. Had she slept? She must have. It seemed like days since the slamming of the door had trapped her inside these walls. In her mind, the room was silently shrinking. Was is possible to feel the walls closing in on you if you don't know where the walls really are? The rhythmic thumping in her chest was the only mark of time passing, beating out the proof of her existence in two-second parcels.

She closed her eyes and turned her focus to the feel of it...her heartbeat. Her hand hovered in front of her throat, then gingerly traced the prior path of Sorel's. She winced slightly, the left side of her neck a sore, swollen trail of fingerprints. The stiffness reached across and over to the single point below her jaw, where his thumb had left its calling card.

Something rough rubbed against her wrist - the diamond pendant, resting safely against her skin. She smiled, remembering when Ned had put it around her neck. "To hold above your heart," he had said, "as I hold you in mine." She bit her lip, wanting to both hold and push away the thought of him. No matter how much he might hate her now, she still held him in HER heart.

Heart...heartbeats...what was that story? "The Telltale Heart" - Poe. The body of a murdered man encased inside the walls, the sound of his heart still pounding through the plaster, an accusation in the ears of his killer. Oh God, the word "encased" kept creeping into her head! She had to stop this! The sensory deprivation was pushing her to dark and gothic places; places she'd seen, places she'd been, things she'd lived...

No! She would NOT go there, not again. She tried to physically to shake the thoughts away, uncurling her knees from their tucked position against her chest. She was a grown woman now. She was strong and capable, and nobody's victim. Sonny WOULD find her, and he wouldn't have to use Zander's life to do it. All the times he'd been her emotional life-jacket, ultimately believing in her...she trusted him.

She sighed deeply, leaning back against the cold wall. She wondered if there was something, ANYTHING, in that room to tell her where she was. Sonny would insist on speaking to her again, to be given proof that she's alive. If she had something to tell him, some clue. Turning on the floor where she sat, Alexis placed her palms against the stony surface and, bracing herself, rose to her feet. Her hands began to travel up, down and across the concrete, searching for some crack, some weakness...some way out. Yet all she found was wall.

A fiery blast suddenly unleashed itself into her face.

The shock of it jerked her backward. Her lids squeezed shut, Alexis fought through the storm of showering stars raging before her eyes. The heavy door flung open, banging into the wall with a resonant crash. She blinked rapidly against the glare, shielding her eyes with her hand. As her pupils re-adjusted themselves from out of the darkness, the echo of footsteps. Alexis took a small, hesitant step as her focus improved, stopping to steady herself with a hand against the thin post that ran from floor to ceiling in the center of the room. The footsteps stopped in front of her. Her eyes once again her own Alexis gazed upward, steadily, at Sorel.

"Have you ever considered track-lighting, Mr. Sorel? It's much easier on the eyes."

"Good morning to you too Miss Davis. Or should I say, good evening?" He smiled, cocky. "Kind of hard to tell from where you're standing, isn't it?"

Alexis's eyes traveled down from his face to his shoes, then back up again. "Different suit, different day?"

Sorel raised an eyebrow. "Very good. I'm impressed."

"Am I being damned with faint praise, Mr. Sorel?" Alexis squinted at him.

Sorel didn't respond. Alexis allowed her eyes to wander away from his face, just for a moment. A faint glowing light spilled into the room from the open door behind him. All she could see was another wall. Sorel cleared his throat, demanding the return of her attention.

"Where's your little friend? Couldn't he come out and play?"

"Aw, that's sweet. You miss him already? He'll be touched."

The two contemplated each other, neither face revealing a thing.

"He'll be here shortly." Sorel said flatly. "He had errand to run. Meanwhile, you and I can have a moment of private time to see if we can't reach a better understanding."

Alexis slid her hand down the side of the pillar and dropped her arm to her side. "I understand you perfectly."

"I don't think you do. And I don't think Mr. Corinthos does either. I was certain I'd have heard something from him after our discussion." Sorel shrugged, hands up in the air. "Nothing."

He moved away, beginning to circle her slowly. She turned in place, her attention following him. He stopped at the post and raised his hand to rest it where hers had been before, mocking her.

"I expected that all the time you've had alone, in the dark, would have given you something to think about. Maybe clarified you priorities. Think about it! Your life vs. a client's? Some trouble-making kid who's practically a stranger to you? I know a good attorney's price is high, Miss Davis, but isn't it usually paid by the client...rather than by the attorney herself?"

Alexis was unmoved.

"What do you say we get Mr. Corinthos back on the phone, right now, and end this little farce."

"Sorry, can't do that."

"If you can make him appreciate the seriousness of this situation - for you as well as for myself - he'll do as you ask. He gives me the kid, I give him you, and if that isn't Corinthos getting the better end of the deal, I don't know what." Sorel smiled at her.

Alexis sighed, resolute, and stated the simple fact. "I will not ask." Then she lied with equal resolve. "And he wouldn't do it even if I did."

Sorel's face grew questioning. "Tell me something, Miss Davis, because I really do want to know. Why in God's name are you doing this?"

The sincerity of his expression, his genuine confusion by her made her almost feel sorry for his utter lack of human feeling.

But what was she to tell him? That she believed Sonny would find her? That she didn't believe Sorel would kill her? That at least Zander had something - someone - to live for? Someone who'd miss him if he were gone...her breath caught in her throat.

"He's just a boy," she finally whispered.

She hadn't heard his footsteps, but she saw his shadow cast across the floor. A shadow she'd now know anywhere.

"Thomas, come in. The lady was asking for you."

Alexis's eyes followed Thomas as he strode past her, a small tray in his hands.

"No rest for the weary, huh Thomas? I hope Mr. Sorel is paying you properly for all the overtime you're putting in. It is the law, you know."

Sorel laughed heartily. Thomas went about his business. Alexis watched as he set the tray down on the table beside the cot, marking two cups and a medium-sized box of some kind. As Thomas turned and looked to Sorel, waiting for his next cue, Sorel continued to indulge his amusement at Alexis' deflective tactics.

"I must say, Miss Davis, you are a rarity of womanhood. I've never encountered a female with as many compelling attributes: beauty, brilliance, a razor-sharp wit, an unyielding sense of loyalty...and quite sexy as well. Did I say photogenic?"

He gave a sly wink to Thomas, who's expressionless face finally gave way to a small curve of his lips. Alexis felt the blood draining from her face. She felt exposed all over again.

"Your Mr. Ashton is a VERY luck man."

"He's not MY Mr. Ashton! He's not my ANYTHING, nor am I his. Not any more!" Alexis snapped. She was at once afraid of the passion in her voice. Looking furtively from Sorel, then to Thomas, she stammered. "You must not keep up with the tabloids. I left him at the alter. Literally. It occurred to me, quite suddenly actually, that marriage to an over-grown Backstreet Boy was not a very attractive prospect for a grown woman. At least not for me."

There was an uncomfortable silence. She couldn't stand it.

"He didn't take it kindly. I guess that's HIS problem."

Sorel shifted his weight and crossed his arms in front of his chest. "Miss Davis, I would just LOVE to play poker with you some day."

Alexis said a silent prayer that he would please, God, just leave Ned alone. She couldn't handle the idea of him being in any danger because of her. He didn't deserve it - ANY of it.

A sudden movement from Sorel caught her eye. He gave Thomas a nod of his head, then turned back to Alexis with that trademark smirk of his.

"Do you know what my favorite musical is? 'Cabaret'."

"Really? I'd have thought 'Guys and Dolls'."

Thomas's heels clicked in steady time against the floor, halting just to her right. He handed something small and flat, wrapped in white cloth with a rubber band, to Sorel. Clearly for her benefit, Sorel studied it, turning it over in his fingers two or three times before slipping it into his pocket. Alexis's throat went dry, but she knew she must keep engaging him.

"Are you telling me that you're about to break into song? I am a captive audience, after all." Against all efforts to the contrary, her voice betrayed her growing unease.

"Life IS a cabaret, Miss Davis. And there's a whole world full of different kinds of music just waiting for you to...experience them."

As she tried to decipher his cryptic words, she suddenly realized that Sorel had taken her hand in his. He turned her palm upward and she watched in silence as he lightly touched the blazing mark on her finger, where the cut was beginning to already heal. He nodded in satisfaction.

"It'll heal just fine."

He moved his eyes from her hand, working them slowly and deliberately up her body. They lingered on the purple marks that trellised up the side of her neck, then finally came to rest on her face. Her heart was racing. This cat and mouse game was about to take a turn.

As her pulse quickened, Alexis felt Sorel's fingers drift up to her wrist. Then with a quick jerk of his hand, the delicate silk ripped at the cuff, tiny pearl buttons flying to the ground. Her sharp intake of breath filled the room with its sound, deafening in the stillness of the hollow room. A reflex, she yanked her arm away. Sorel set his jaw as he stared at her, narrowing his eyes. He roughly grabbed hold of her other hand and pulled it toward him...a dare. Again, she yanked it back. A steady tremor rumbled through her body, the intensity of her fear surreal.

This was NOT going to happen. He would have to kill her first, and she wasn't going to make it easy. Then, as if reading her mind...

"Miss Davis, you can either make this easy, or you can make it...HARD."

A final time, he reached for her. Alexis squared her shoulders in a strong, clear reply. Sorel pulled his hand back without even making contact. Her head began to buzz, adrenaline surging, preparing her.

Sorel tilted his head with a vague furrow of his brow. "I'm truly sorry you feel that way."

As his eyes shifted away from hers, he raised his head high and gave Thomas a look of intention, then a nod.

The signal.

Alexis tightened, her head turning imperceptivity in Thomas's direction, waiting for him to...

The sharp cracking sound rang harshly through her ears before the pain had time to find her. The full force of Sorel's fist sent her reeling sideways, into the waiting human wall. As Thomas quickly locked his thick arms around her, fists pressing hard against her back, a hot sting took hold of her face. She was stunned, forgetting how to breath. So many memories locked inside her body rising up. They just never leave.

Held firm against Thomas's chest, she could feel his heart beating as rapidly as her own. Sorel finally came up beside her, leaning his face in close to hers. Too close. The heat of his breath against her skin intensified the throbbing pain. His fingers were on her cheek, gently brushing strands of hair off her face and away from her tightly closed eyes. She shook uncontrollably. She didn't care anymore. It was over. He lingered close to her, whispering softly.

"Now why'd you have to make me do that?"