Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Scene 121

Alexis kept walking, gaze locked on the doorway just beyond the bench where Sorel was chained. But she could feel his eyes burning into her as he silently watched her approach. He let her get just a few precious feet from escape before throwing her another punch.

"Did you get my little memento of our time together?"

Her steady stride faltered. Sorel smirked to himself.

"I'll take that as a yes."

She took another determined step toward the door.

"You told me you loved a challenge, Ms. Davis. And I'm always more than happy to rise to the occasion when a lovely lady is involved, even when I'm slightly inconvenienced by..."

He shook his cuffed hands, rattling the metal links against the wooden planks of the bench. A cold shiver shot up Alexis's spine. Sorel saw it, and it pleased him to see that he'd sliced right through her cool exterior all over again.

"Don't tell me you were surprised to hear from me?"

"Nothing you do could ever surprise me." She turned around and coolly looked him in the eye. "So congratulations, Mr. Sorel. You did indeed out Herod, Herod."

He cocked his head and gave the length of her body a long, slow once-over with his eyes.

"I wonder what Herod would have done in my place? What he would have done with my...unique opportunity?" His gaze settled on her legs. "I could have taken you to the moon - and I'm not just talking about heroin."

"Talk is cheap, Mr. Sorel. And all you can do is talk about your lost opportunity because if you'd actually tried to take it, you would have been forced to put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. Since you already feel like a lesser man as it is. Having it proven beyond a doubt would have been too mortifying for you to bear."

"Speaking of bare..."

He quickly reached out and brushed his fingers against the edge of her knee, making her jump backward. Sorel laughed.

"What's the matter, angel? Contemplating your lost opportunity...or are you starting to feel the itch?"

"I feel nothing. In your presence, I feel nothing because you ARE nothing."

"Yeah, you just keep on telling yourself that, angel. Whatever gets you through all those long nights when you can't get the fond memory of the needle's sting and the hot eruptions of pleasure out of your mind."

Alexis tightened her jaw.

"When your arms starts to itch and your stomach starts to cramp, because the memory's that strong and you just can't get it out of your mind. You feel something in my presence, all right. You can't help yourself."

"What gets me through the long nights, Mr. Sorel, is your mortal enemy. But you already knew that, by way of the broken nose Sonny gave you." She smiled. "And that's a fond memory to get YOU through the long nights when the bars to your six-by-eight foot cell slam shut, the lights go dark and you're counting off the hours until YOU feel the needle's sting and the hot liquid death courses through your veins until your lungs collapse, your heart stops beating and your brain turns into jelly."

"I'm not going to my grave any time soon. A crackerjack attorney like you oughtta know all too well how slowly the wheels of justice turn when it comes to carrying out a death sentence - IF a first degree murder conviction is even won."

"Oh, it'll be won. I'll make it my life's work."

"And I'll make it MY life's work to make sure you and your new lover-boy never, ever forget me." He leaned forward, leering up at her. "I've already proven that I can get to you anytime I want, even from behind bars, no matter how well Corinthos thinks he's keeping me away."

"If you're being transferred today, it'll be to a maximum security facility to await trial. And if I were you, I wouldn't expect to be extended any special visitor or mail privileges." She smiled and tilted her head. "They tend to frown heavily upon cop killers in prison."

"As if I don't still have people in place on the outside to do whatever I say." He returned her smile and leaned back against the bench. "You're still quite an amusing woman, Ms. Davis, in spite of all the strange little demons I saw pouring out of you that were clearly nothing you considered to be funny."

Alexis felt the blood begin to drain from her face. Her throat was dry, her heart pounding as she fought like fury to hold her ground without letting him see the struggle.

"Oh I consider it very funny, Mr. Sorel, that for all your efforts to destroy both me and Sonny, you only succeeded in bringing us closer than any two people could ask to be. And it only took a few hours for a doctor to permanently rid me of the demon that is you."

"You keep on telling yourself that too, Ms. Davis. But we both know that you don't need any mementos dropped on your doorstep for me to invade your head."

His whispered words sent a chill right through her. She knew he was right. All it took was the sound of his rough, lowered voice to make her feel like she was his captive all over again. And she could see in his eyes as he stared up at her that he knew he'd thrown another well-aimed punch - and was about to throw another.

"I'm always there, especially at night, when you're asleep...in the scary, scary dark. And no doctor is ever gonna rid you of me!"

As Sorel's eyes glowed with sadistic glee, the door behind Alexis's back flew open. The unexpected sound almost made her jump out of her skin. The unexpected sight made Taggart freeze in his tracks.

"What the..."

"And once again, it's Lieutenant Taggart to the rescue!" Sorel tilted his head. "Must be your lucky day, angel."

"Shut up, you filthy maggot!" Taggart spat, quickly moving up behind Alexis and reaching for her arm. "Ms. Davis and I have business to..."

Alexis pulled away from Taggart's touch as she glowered down in contempt at the shackled man.

"I don't need anyone to rescue me, Mr. Sorel. Certainly not from you, with your matching set of steel bracelets. How did the guard just put it? Chained like the dog that you are? But you're certainly right about it being my lucky day, because I consider it VERY lucky that this is the last time I'll ever have to look upon your sickening face."

"Sickening? But I thought I made you feel nothing?" He gave her a wink. "Nice try, Ms. Davis. But you can't fool me. I know you too well now."

"Come on, Alexis." Taggart muttered, putting a guiding arm around her back. "You're wasting your time on a dead man."

With a tremble running inside of her, Alexis turned away and Taggart followed close behind until they reached the open doorway.

"See you in your nightmares." Sorel crooned. "Butterfly."

A young man's face suddenly filled her mind's eyes, thinly bearded and crowned with wavy dark hair. And then she was filled with heat as a bright light melded over the familiar male image.

"Butterfly..."

Alexis's whole body jolted from the pain that hit her skull, and she made a strangled sound of distress as she grabbed at the back of her head.

"Ha!" Sorel snorted. "You're sure as hell feeling something now!"

Taggart quickly pulled the door shut on Sorel's last words just as Alexis's weight fell back against him. His arm locked around her, trying to keep her steady. But within moments, her body was dead and her consciousness was gone. He shifted his balance, holding her tight and easing her gently to the floor as he repeated her name over and over, trying to elicit a response. Her pulse was racing and her face was flushed with heat. Calling her name was no use. Alexis was out like a light. Confronting Sorel was just too much, too soon. But at least this time, Taggart knew that she'd wake up soon and be physically unscathed when she did. Even so, he wasn't leaving anything to chance.

"I know you're gonna be pissed at me for this." He whispered as he picked her up in his arms. "But I'm taking you to GH."

------------------------------------------------------------------

The distant murmur of voices snuck in and out of her head against the loud backdrop of blood pulsing through her temples. She felt something soft and warm on her forehead - a hand. And then her left lid was lifted up, sending a sharp burst of light into her eyes. Her body jerked as her head snapped away from the hand and her eyes squeezed tightly shut against the burning light. She felt dizzy, as if she was spinning around and around like a top. Her hand made a frantic grab for anything near that would keep her from falling. Another hand found hers and grabbed on tight.

"Alexis, it's okay. It's Tony Jones, and you're at GH."

Tony? GH? No...not again. Alexis turned her head and swallowed as she tried to open her eyes on her own.

"What's going on, Alexis? Can you hear me?"

She nodded silently, swallowing again. Her throat was arid, but she still tried to speak.

"I'm...I'm falling."

"No, Alexis. You're not falling." He firmed his hold on her hand. "You've probably experienced a sharp, rapid drop in your blood pressure and it's given you a sensation of vertigo - like what started to happen when had your check up last week and I had to draw blood. Remember? It's just a panic reaction."

She ran her tongue across her lips and raised her hand to her forehead to shield her eyes from the glare as they slowly, cautiously opened.

"P-panic?"

Tony's pressed his fingers firmly against her wrist to check her pulse.

"Taggart brought you in. Said you'd had an unexpected run-in with Sorel at the station right before you blacked out."

She nodded, eyes closing again.

"Well if anything was going to precipitate a panic attack, that'd do it. And your pulse is still pretty rapid half an hour later."

"I was fine." She whispered, trying to rub the dizziness away with the firm rubbing of her temple. "I was fine all through our confrontation. Just as I was leaving the situation, it happened again. But I never blacked out before."

"What happened again? The vertigo?"

"No. The face, the light, the heat...my head feeling like someone hit it with a brick."

"How long has this been going on?"

"Since Sorel started drugging me."

She shivered involuntarily. The spinning just wouldn't abate. Alexis let go of Tony's hand and grabbed hold of the edge of the bed.

"God, please make it stop."

"We will." Tony assured her. "I'll give you something to settle you down, and it won't take long to kick in. But until it does, I'd suggest keeping your eyes open as much as you can. Keeping them closed typically makes the dizziness more pronounced."

"So do the overhead lights."

"Turn your head to the side a bit and see if that helps." Tony glanced upward. "I've been working under them for so long I don't even notice anymore."

"Lawyer jokes tend to roll right by me now too."

He smiled. "Sit tight. I'll be right back."

"I'll be here - if not on the floor. Bet that's a déjà vu you could live without, huh?"

"I'm not the only one."

"Tony? Taggart isn't still out there, is he?"

"I don't know. Johnny is, which means Sonny's sure to be here soon."

"Poor Johnny." Alexis groaned. "The fun never stops with me."

"As opposed the fun he has with Sonny, dodging bullets and bombs at every turn?"

She squinted up at him reproachingly.

"I'm sorry, Alexis, but it's true. You just narrowly escaped with your life because of your association with him, and it wasn't the first time. And it may not be my business, but I've grown rather fond of my most stubborn patient so I'd like for it to be the last time."

"I appreciate your concern, Tony." Her eyes shifted away from his as she turned her head toward the wall, away from the light. "But it's...complicated."

He sighed heavily as he drew the curtains closed around her bed.

"Love usually is."

Alexis stared at the white wall, listening to the blood pulse through her head. Sorel's sneer kept flashing before her eyes, making her want to close them to block the vision out. But the vision was in her mind and it wouldn't be blocked. Her lids lowered as her eyes begin to burn with hot, frustrated tears. And then, Sorel's face began to morph into another - one that was even more familiar, but formed from a distant memory. It was the image that overwhelmed her as Sorel shouted after her and the pain overtook her head...the image that followed her into unconsciousness. And it evaporated into nothingness just seconds before a connection was made and an identity caught in her grasp. But even as her mind's eyes became a blank slate, Sorel's words continued to echo in her ears.

"See you in your nightmares...butterfly."

------------------------------------------------------------------

"Where is she?"

Johnny quickly rose from his chair in the hallway, Alexis's black purse still unconsciously clutched in his hand.

"She's still in there." Johnny jerked his head toward the ER. "But Dr. Jones said she's almost okay to go home, so..."

"She's all right?"

"Yeah. I told you on the phone."

Sonny nodded, wide, distracted eyes shifting toward the all-too familiar emergency room.

"Where's Taggart?"

"Had to go back to the station, make sure Sorel's transfer was completed."

"Did he say what happened?"

"Just what I told you."

"Did Sorel threaten her? Did he touch her?"

"I don't know, boss." Johnny shrugged his shoulder helplessly. "Taggart walked in on the end of it between them, and he got Alexis out of there as quick as he could. Right when he did, she blacked out."

Sonny shook his head and rubbed at his face with both palms.

"I don't get it. I don't get how this happened. How did Sorel get left outside a cell, in a hallway, where Alexis would be? How did he get another package sent to her HOME when he's supposed to be under tight restriction?"

Johnny guiltily looked at the floor. "I don't know, boss. I'm just sorry I couldn't keep it out of her hands."

"We'll discuss that later. I need to see Alexis."

Johnny nodded. Without another word, Sonny headed for the double doors and pushed his way through them. There were three visible beds in the room, two of which held patients, neither of which were Alexis. And three curtains were drawn. Tony stood at the end of the room, studying an x-ray clipped to a lighted panel on the wall. Sonny quickly moved up behind him.

"Where is she?"

Tony didn't even turn around.

"Regaining her equilibrium. And good luck to her in maintaining it for as long as she's foolish enough to be in love with a man who puts money and power first and her second."

"Excuse me?"

The doctor turned, flipping off the lighted panel.

"You heard me. And you know I'm right. So does Alexis, for all the good that'll do her. She puts you first."

"Nothing is more important to me than her. Nothing." Sonny's eyes narrowed. "And your job is to take care of her health, not her love life. So why don't you tell me what's wrong with her health and what you're going to do to fix it so I get her out of a place where she hates to be and take her home."

"There IS nothing wrong with her health. At least, it's nothing that a surgeon is qualified to fix."

"In plain English, please."

Tony glanced back at the darkened x-ray.

"I just reviewed the skull series we took when Alexis was brought in for the first time and compared it with the new films taken today. No difference. And nothing in my preliminary examination indicates a pathological cause for any of the symptoms she's been experiencing since she was released - and failed to disclose to me when she came in for her check up, I might add. Has she told you about them?"

"She just told me the other day. I thought it was just stress, 'cause she's been pushing herself to get back into her normal routine as soon as possible. And she just had to tell Ashton that he wasn't going to have a future with her."

"Well, you're right that it's stress related. Specifically, I think Alexis is experiencing Post Traumatic Stress panic attacks that are directly related to either Sorel himself, or something in her past that her experience with Sorel brought back. Has she seen a therapist to help her deal with it?"

"She talked to Charlie. It was just once, but I know it helped her. And she feels comfortable with him so I'm sure she'd be willing to talk to him again."

"Seeing Charlie's all well and good, but he's a drug councellor - not a licensed mental health professional. I think Alexis needs the latter. And she needs it now. Convince her, Sonny. We have no way of knowing what Sorel did to her that wouldn't show up in x-rays or lab tests. But a thorough psych evaluation could..."

"I'm taking care..."

"You're not qualified either!" He glanced around the room and lowered his voice. "I'm telling you, Sonny, if she doesn't do what she has to do to make it better, it's only going to get worse. And unless you tell her that right now, I'm going to tell her myself. So who'll it be - you or me?"

"Where is she?"

"She's resting behind that curtain in the corner. I gave her something to bring her heart rate down, which eased the dizziness, but she's still fairly weak."

"Can I take her home now, if there's nothing more you can do here?"

"If she's steady on her feet, she can go. Just make sure she takes it easy for the rest of the night. And no alcohol."

Sonny nodded and turned away.

"Call me if she needs me. I'm off at seven, but I can be paged."

Sonny nodded again as he slowly made his way toward the partitioned bed in the corner of the bright, sterile room. His heart was heavy as he came closer to her - heavy with guilt, heavy with pain, and heavy with love. Alexis did come first now. He just didn't know how to safely deconstruct everything else in his life that used to be first, second and third. But Sonny knew that it could and had to be done if he was to have a life with the woman he wanted. He also knew that before anything else was done, Sorel had to be taken care of once and for all so that Alexis's life would never be tainted by him again. And then, Sonny would insist upon Alexis doing whatever was necessary to slay the dragons of her past. He couldn't slay them for her, he could only stand by her and hold her when it hurt.

"Alexis?" He whispered. "Honey, are you awake?"

The curtain was slowly drawn open from within. Alexis sat upon the edge of the bed, giving him a feeble half-smile as she released the bunched fabric from her grasp.

"Hey."

Sonny went to her, wrapping his arms around her and kissing her cheek, nose and mouth before pulling back to study her pale, tired face.

"Are you okay?"

She nodded, letting her head drop down from her shoulders.

"I'm just still a little shaky. And a lot embarrassed, yet again. Seems to be my new lot in life."

"No it's not." He ran his palm over her hair and kissed the top of her head. "Are you sure you're feeling well enough to go home, because you can stay here overnight if you're afraid this'll happen..."

"No. Tony said there's nothing wrong with me, and I'm not staying here. Not again."

"Okay."

"But I could use some water before we go. Whatever Tony gave me to take away the dizziness made me thirsty."

Sonny turned, eyes searching for a nurse. "Can we get some water here, please?"

A nurse across the room looked up from notating in her chart.

"There's a pitcher on the cart right there."

She pointed with her pen. Sonny's gaze followed to the cart nearly blocked by the thick gather of curtains at the head of the bed.

"Let me know if it needs to be re-filled." The nurse added.

Sonny reached for the pitcher. "Thanks. It's okay."

As he poured the water into a cup, Alexis's squinting eyes furtively darted around the glare-filled room that smelled of disinfectant. The smell was making her head reel all over again. She hadn't noticed it before, when she first came to. But now it was all she could focus on.

"Here you go."

Alexis smiled as she took the cup from Sonny's hand. "Another déjà vu."

"What?"

"I remember you giving me a glass of water when I woke up from the detox. Only that time, you had to help me drink it so I wouldn't spill it all over myself."

"Well, you're on your own this time."

She smiled and took a few sips. Sonny cleared his throat and shifted his weight, eyes settling on Alexis's hand that lay resting in her lap. Alexis watched his down-turned face as the cool water trickled down her throat, distracting her senses from the smell of the room. He was worried about her again. She was worried about him too. The wheels of his mind were already turning about how to take care of Sorel before the state had a chance to do it for him, and Alexis was afraid that she wouldn't be able to stop him. But she had to try.

"Sonny..."

"Alexis, did..."

Sonny's voice overlapped with hers, and both stopped talking to stare into each other's eyes. Alexis smiled. Sonny just tilted his head. And then he smiled back.

"You go first." She offered, taking another sip of water.

"Okay." He took a deep breath and then quietly exhaled. "When you went to the PCPD to see Thomas Malloy, did you intend to see Sorel too or was it just an accident like Taggart said?"

"What?"

"I know what Sorel did, Alexis. I know what he delivered to you this morning, and I know that your reflex would be to get up in his face to let him know that he didn't beat you."

"Johnny told you."

"Yes, Johnny told me. He should have told me when it happened until waiting until after you collapsed and ended up back in the ER."

Her fingers toyed with the edge of the damp, empty paper cup as Alexis watched him pace his way to the end of the bed. He stopped and turned halfway toward her, rocking back and forth between his feet with the wheels ever spinning in his mind.

"It wasn't his fault, Sonny. I asked him not to tell you and promised him that I would - tonight. So please don't be mad at him."

Sonny sighed heavily and ran his hand through his hair, dark eyes intensely fixed on hers.

"I'm not mad at him."

She stared back in silence for a long while as a vivid memory of Thomas flashed through her brain.

"Just don't piss him off anymore, okay?''

Alexis swallowed and closed her eyes.

"You're not mad at him...but you are mad at me." She murmured.

"I'm not mad at you, Alexis. I'm..." Sonny let his hand drop from his head, and then whispered softly. "Disappointed."

His intense expression slowly shifted into something that unsettled her to the core - nothingness. A cold chill crept up the back of Alexis's neck. She blinked slowly, and behind her briefly closed lids she saw a young, handsome man with an angular beard and wavy dark hair.

"Disappointed." She unconsciously parroted.

Sonny began to speak again, but Alexis couldn't hear anything he said. Another voice was louder, clearer in her head and Sonny voice was just a hum of white noise behind it. The only words she could hear were coming from mouth of the man staring back at her within her own mind.

"I trust you won't fall short of my high expectations and disappoint me - or Stefan."

Alexis gasped loudly, her body jolting sharply and eyes flying wide open. The minute the light hit her pupils, the cracking pain in her head doubled her over and the colors began to spin. She cried out, grabbing hold of her head with both hands. And then, the other voice was gone and all that Alexis could hear was Sonny.

"Alexis?"

She felt his palm cover the backs of her hands. Alexis's hands flew away from her head, roughly shoving his away.

"Don't touch me!"

Sonny blinked, stunned into silence by her sharp outburst.

"What right do have to say something like that to me?" With deeply flushed cheeks, Alexis fixed him with an icy stare that chilled him through and through. "What right do you have to be disappointed in me?"

Sonny ran his tongue across his dry lips and carefully studied her quickly flushing face before opening his mouth to respond. But Alexis wasn't through.

"Going to bed with me does NOT make me your possession." She murmured in a cold, measured tone. "It doesn't give you the right to expect...to...have expectations..."

As Alexis stammered, a deep crease began to form in her brow as if her own words confused her. And in the silence that followed her trailing voice, Sonny could hear the quickening pace of each raspy inhale. His eyes stayed trained on hers, though her gaze had dropped, unfocused, to the middle of his chest. Something frightening was raging inside her head and panic was starting to take hold of her all over again. Sonny knew he that needed to stop it.

"Honey, I think you need to lie down and let..."

"Don't tell me what I need!"

Her eyes shot back up to his face, and they were filled with contempt. But in a heartbeat, that contempt had returned to confused fear all over again and her rapid breathing was close to hyperventilation.

"Alexis, something's not right with you and I think you know it." He swallowed and slowly reached out for her again. "Please, please try to stay calm and let me get Tony to..."

"Get your filthy hands OFF ME!"

Alexis violently smacked his hand away and shoved him away from her, hard, before pushing herself off the side of the bed. Sonny's heart leapt into his throat as he fought to keep his balance against the surprisingly strong force of her attack. Alexis was fighting too, holding tightly to the end rail of the bed, her body visibly trembling as she glared at him like a trapped, frightened animal. Sonny quickly began to feel a bit of panic all his own. Alexis was in serious trouble. And Tony's warning rang loud and clear in his head, filling him with the painful reality that she needed more than he could give her.

If he took her home and the dam inside of her finally burst, his love might be enough to keep her from drowning. Not this time. This time, Sonny knew he had to keep Alexis calm and keep right there in GH, where people were qualified to help her. He couldn't take the chance that his love would be enough. With his eyes burning from tears he refused to allow, Sonny looked into Alexis's eyes with all the love he had and dropped his voice to the most tender of whispers.

"Alexis, you know that I love you with all my heart."

"I loved watching you. You were enjoying it, out there in the water. You looked like a child, the way you played alone - until you emerged from the water and walked onto the shore. That was no child."

"And I would never, ever hurt you."

"I told you that I had no desire to hurt you, and that was the truth."

Alexis close her eyes, squeezing them tightly shut against the hot, burning light that blinded her from above like a giant sun.

"I'd much prefer to make you feel good..."

"I just want to make you feel..."

"NO!"

Alexis wrenched her hand away from the bedrail and recoiled away from him, though he hadn't made another move to touch her.

"It feels wonderful, doesn't it? There's nothing wrong with feeling good, Alexis."

"Stay away from me." She muttered through a tightly clenched jaw. "S...stay away."

Sonny sadly shook his head. "I can't."

"Embrace it, butterfly."

"Owe..."

Alexis whimpered, her hand flying up to her head wracked with cracking pain. Sonny flinched, wanting desperately to grab her and hold her tight until everything just stopped. But he was he was scared to death to try touching her again.

"Alexis, I'm getting you help whether you want it or not."

"No." She begged in a small, meek voice. "Please leave me alone. I won't tell..."

"Tell what, Alexis?"

She cocked her head, eyes opening into a narrow squint that darted back and forth.

"What?"

"You won't tell what?"

She lifted her head and looked at Sonny as if she was stunned to see him standing there. The fiery anger had vanished from her eyes. But the fear was still there, and it was growing by the second as she realized that she'd lost not just awareness, but also control.

"I...I don't know." She murmured.

"Okay." Sonny said gently. "It's okay."

She swallowed hard and shifted her gaze toward the ER doors.

"I need to get out of here."

"Honey, you need to see another doctor first. Tony's going to arrange it, okay?" Sonny vaguely turned his head while keeping his eyes fixed on her. "Could someone get Dr. Jones back in here, please?"

At that, Alexis's panic took hold.

"No!" She held up both hands in warning, to keep him at bay. "I need to get out of here. Now. Don't try to stop me, Sonny. I mean it."

He knew that she meant it. And as she quickly headed for the exit on still-trembling legs, he didn't move a muscle, giving her a safety net of physical space before following after her. The anguish in her voice told him that forcing her to stay at GH would be a hideous mistake. This place was too fraught with bad memories and pain. Wherever her instincts led her now, that's where she should be. Sonny had no doubt that her instincts would lead her home. That's where he would go too. And if his love wasn't enough, he would call in a qualified cavalry to keep he safe.

As Alexis burst through the ER doors, she nearly knocked over a pacing Johnny.

"Hey." He gave her a worried half smile. "I've been worried about you, you've been in there so long."

"I'm...sorry." She whispered roughly.

"Are you okay?

She didn't answer.

"Is Sonny gonna take you home, or should I bring my car around?"

Johnny craned his neck to look past her, surely expecting Sonny to come through the doors any second. So did Alexis, and she turned to look back over her shoulder. Sonny wasn't coming after her just yet, but she could hear his voice close behind. As she turned her eyes back to Johnny, she spotted her purse lying in an empty chair by the ER doors. And then, she saw the door begin to move. She grabbed it.

"I'm...sorry." She numbly repeated.

"Sorry for what?"

But Alexis was already heading for the exit doors. Johnny frowned.

"Alexis, where are you going?"

As Johnny started to follow after her, Sonny came through the ER doors. He quickly headed toward the exit, with a perplexed Johnny close behind. Through the glass doors, the two men saw Alexis getting into one of several loitering cabs. Johnny halted, even more perplexed.

"Where's she going?"

"Home."

"Huh?"

"Let's go!"

Sonny slapped Johnny on the arm and bolted through the exit as the cab took off. He jumped into his car illegally parked in the driveway, barely letting Johnny close the passenger door behind him before speeding off in the taxi's path. Johnny looked at him with wide eyes.

"Where are WE going?"

"Home." He lead-footed the gas pedal to slip through a yellow light. "And when we get there, I need you to do exactly as I say, no matter what you see or hear. Do you understand me?"

Johnny swallowed, feeling a rush of adrenaline shoot through his veins.

"Do you?" Sonny barked.

"Yes."

Sonny's cryptic comment scared him. So did the fact that Alexis just fled from both of them. A thousand questions were filling Johnny's head, but all his tongue could muster was one.

"What's going on, boss?"

"I don't know. But I think I'm about to find out." He gave Johnny an intense sideways stare. "And so are you."