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Scene 86

The rich, full fragrance coaxed her from the limbo place where she'd hovered through the night, somewhere between asleep and awake.

Alexis inhaled deeply, smiling to herself at the knowledge that the morning had finally come. It had been a long night. She'd spent it in struggle. Her mind was unwilling to trust and surrender herself back into an uncertain darkness, but her body made incessant demands and challenged her will. And her body won out, overtaking her mind's resistance in small increments, pulling her under to steal parcels of light sleep. The droning chatter of innocuous voices on the TV kept her company, even in her unconsciousness. And at times it roused her from it, sending her legs stretching out along the length of the sofa and her eyes blinking into the glow of the screen.

Alexis had wondered if turning on the television was a good idea. She wanted sounds of life around her, but was wary that it might tempt a return of the voices that had woken her from her dream. They didn't. The voices on the TV were unfamiliar - those in her dream, she knew. She wanted to identify them, and she was afraid to. But one day, she would. Sonny told her that hidden things would make themselves known when it was right for her to know them. It made sense, and she believed it was true. Even so, how much taunting could she handle before that right time came? It worried her. But it would stay a private worry.

She bowed her head down, pressing her face into the softness of the small throw pillow beneath her head. There was another groan as she shifted her body and stretched her tight back. The yielding cushions on which she lay provided little support and her muscles felt the ache. Sonny had been right - her bed was infinitely more comfortable. But her bed had felt too big when she awoke in a cold sweat, all buried under layers of warm covers. And Alexis had felt too small…too alone. The morning was a welcome thing, as was the lovely aroma Sonny made sure would greet the morning right along with her.

She let one leg slip over the edge of the sofa, then the other, and Alexis slowly pulled herself up to sit straight with the pillow still hugged against her neck. Her eyes blinked and the backs of her fingers pushed into them as she let her consciousness settle in. She turned her head toward the kitchen, the source of the lovely aroma, and squinted into the veil of sun that filled the dining room behind her. Coffee - the normal start to a normal day. Alexis took a deep breath and exhaled heavily and loudly. She turned her head the other way, allowing her upper body to move along with it in another stretch of stiff muscles. She was sure that it was only from the soft cushions that the ache lingered. She'd been out of bed and moving about for several days, and the side effects of the rapid detox had to be over by then.

And Alexis suddenly remembered that there was only one pill left in the bottle that Tony and Charlie sent home with her. Only one more drug to take, and that was it. After that day, heroin would no longer be a part of her body, except for the needle marks on her arms. And with proper attention with Vitamin E, there would come the day that they would no longer be a part of her body either. She smiled and released the pillow from her tight embrace and down to her lap. Her fingers slipped through her tousled hair, raking the bangs away from her face. Her eyes were now fully adjusted to the bright glow spreading through the room from the large dining room window. The voices chattered on the TV set, speaking of the weather, the traffic and the rise of the Dow Jones. Life in the outside world continued. And in the light of day, Alexis felt hopeful in the idea of being a part of it again. Even grown women had bad dreams, but they awoke from them and their lives would go on. Her life would go on too.

The pillow was pushed from her lap and deposited into the corner of the couch. The chenille blanket was also thrown aside. Her balance was a bit off as she rose to her feet and put the full weight of her body onto her legs. A residual grogginess was holding onto her, and she stood in place for a moment to get her bearings. Her legs felt shaky too, and Alexis didn't want them to give out on her. One hand tightened on the sofa's arm as she remembered how it felt when her legs disappeared out from under her. Without warning, they were simply gone. And then, her body was lifted up by very strong arms and gently laying her down upon a bed. She remembered both of them - Thomas, Sonny…strong arms holding onto her, lifting her up, and then gently laying her down.

Thomas.

He was finding his way into her thoughts more and more, and Alexis knew that she would need to see him again. She needed to settle something inside of her and put it to rest. She turned her head to the window and her gaze found a slice of blue sky. Thomas had been kind, when he was able, and she knew he'd saved her life. She wasn't afraid of the man, but she was afraid - of seeing him again, and of how it might make her feel. She just didn't know. Her eyes squeezed tightly shut and she shook her head with a wry smile. Facing Thomas should be a piece of cake. She didn't have to do it, but she wanted to. Facing Sorel was another story. She didn't want to do it, but she had to. And of that, Alexis was truly terrified.

Her palms unconsciously released their hold on the sofa and moved up to rub at her achy lower back. She finally opened her eyes and began to make her slow and steady way past the window with a tall expanse of blue skies and toward the call of Sonny's favorite Kenya blend. It was hers too. The green digital clock on the beloved microwave showed ten after nine. Alexis was surprised that she rose as late as she did, but fighting the desire to sleep through so many hours had been exhausting in and of itself. She filled one of the two cobalt blue mugs that Sonny had left on the counter, and there was still enough left in the pot to fill three more mugs. Between the two of them, it would be a perfect amount. But she wanted to get used to the quiet solitude of a normal morning again. She would wait, at least a little while, before calling him to come join her and take over her kitchen in his Alexis-fattening quest. He was on a mission to eradicate the safety pin from her clothing, and he was doing a splendid job. And she never cared what he made for her, as long as beets weren't involved. Although knowing him, she'd probably eaten them already and just didn't know it. Sonny could be plenty ornery too.

But Alexis enjoyed the sight and sound of Sonny's reverie when in his element - his domestic comfort zone. And she was in a bit of awe that this man, who'd come from abandonment and abuse, was so deeply attached to hearth and home. He was intrinsically domestic, and she wondered why it wasn't a thing that she herself embraced. Why did it intimidate her and make her feel anxious? She'd had no desire to have her own home, and chose to live in the Port Charles hotel for years. The transient nature of it had felt comfortable - her roots were above ground and ready to move, as they'd been since childhood. Was it fear and mistrust of the unknown? Hearth and home were hardly familiar concepts to Alexis. Cassadines weren't taught how to nest.

It was only in the last year that she got used to some sort of domestic ritual, cohabitating with friend and fake husband Jax, and she'd finally felt the desire to settle somewhere of her own. And so, she did. Her nesting skills needed work, but Sonny was now nesting for her. She loved how it felt. And the desire to participate was growing, even though she hindered him in the kitchen more than she helped. He would simply laugh and tease her. Alexis would pout and feign offense. It had become a ritual, of sorts - something personal and private between them. His teasing made her feel…special, somehow. She thought that was rather odd, but it was true. Even so, Alexis wanted to find whatever instincts lay dormant within her and rouse them. At the very least, she was determined to learn how to make a cup of coffee that wouldn't make people run screaming. She made it through Harvard with honors - she would not be bested by Krupps.

She leaned back against the counter with the full, hot mug held carefully in both hands. The steam was tickling her nose while the aroma gave her comfort. She closed her eyes and breathed it in, allowing that comfort to seep in and inhabit her whole being. She was content, feeling a normal sense of calm and clarity once again. In the middle of the night, calm clarity seemed impossibly out of her reach. The urge to call him had been strong, but Alexis wanted to be stronger. Her eyes opened and she swallowed, staring down into the shiny dark liquid. She knew Sonny would be lonely with Carly and Michael gone. They'd needed him, and he enjoyed being needed. Alexis needed him too. But the last thing she wanted him to consider her was helpless - a victim. She didn't want to be any more of a burden to him, no matter how willing he was to shoulder it.

Alexis wanted Sonny to always look at her the way he did the night before, as she was sending him home. He'd wanted to stay, not escape. She was determined to never make him want to escape - to never need so much that it ultimately pushed him away. And so, the telephone had not been picked up and dialed in the heart-pounding aftermath of another nightmare. Alexis had taken care of herself, washing away the cold sweat of her heated body in a soothing shower, slipping on fresh white silk pajamas, and indulging in the mocha chip ice cream that Sonny promised was in her freezer. And then, curled up on the couch with the volume low on the television set and a small, soft blanket around her shoulders, there came the intermittent allowance of sleep.

Alexis was proud of her first stretch of self-sufficiency, and she wanted Sonny to be proud of it too. Yet her instincts told her it was best to withhold certain details. He would only fret, re-pack his overnight bag, and try to tie the apron strings into a bow. That would do neither of them any good. Even so, the guilt from her mere intent to keep something from him was already weighing heavily. And she knew it would only get worse the minute she looked into those eyes of his, all warm and open. Those eyes had a way of making her defenses crumble. Alexis wondered if Sonny knew that - and she wondered just how strong those warm, open eyes would allow her to be.

She sighed and clamped her lip between her teeth as she padded her way out of the kitchen. The heat of the liquid in her mug had taken over the ceramic and was now infusing her palms. It felt good in the chilly morning. A gentle circle of ripples was blown into the surface of the coffee as Alexis moved to the thermostat and turned up the heat. Her eyes unconsciously drifted toward the fireplace, which had burned and crackled so gloriously the night before, creating a lovely heat in the last hours before Sonny left. She'd felt more relaxed in that time than she had since coming home, just talking and laughing, as if nothing bad could possibly ever touch them again. The two of them could talk about anything - and laugh about ALMOST anything. But that was alright. Alexis was sure that one day, Sonny would find the single most ridiculous thing about Deke and finally be able to laugh - but only when it was right for him to do so. She hoped she'd be there to hear it. Sonny's laughter affected her just as deeply as his touch.

His touch…

One hand released its hold of the mug and rose up to her face, warm fingertips lightly brushing against her lips like soft feathers…like Sonny's lips, gently kissing her to make it better. Was it better - this tingle, and flutter, and quickening pulse? She wished she could think back to every time she'd felt his mouth upon her hands or face in a sweet display of attentive affection. She wished she could remember if the tingle, flutter and quick pulse had always been there, or if it had all suddenly snuck up on her? It was confusing, the way she was responding to him now. Had the drugs so compromised her perceptive abilities that the absence of them in her system now made everything feel…intensified? She knew how the heroin had made her feel, but the aftermath of the first flooding was intangible. Was that normal? Was it odd? Would she be able to force herself to return to the hospital once more, so she could see Charlie and ask? Alexis knew she needed answers - to separate illusion from truth. But as she closed her eyes and breathed in deep, the fragrant Kenya blend swirled in her head, and something inside told her she already knew.

She swallowed hard and blinked her eyes open again. Another whispery breath was blown into the dark surface within the mug, and Alexis carefully took her first sip. It tasted as wonderful as it smelled. She smiled and turned her gaze toward the door, wondering what time it was now. She hoped Sonny had been able to sleep, and she didn't want to wake him too early if he had. The low voices of droning talk show hosts continued to sift through the room, as did the growing sunlight and the smell of hot coffee. The only accoutrement missing from the normal morning's ritual was the newspaper, which lay outside her front door. Alexis made her way across the room to fetch it, and her smile widened when she realized that there would also be the friendly face of Johnny beyond that door. She was startled to see someone else's smile instead, and she couldn't hide her surprise.

"Francis! Hi."

Her smile relaxed some, and she stared at him with wide eyes.

"Good morning, Ms. Davis."

He held his own smile steady and nodded in further greeting, but found his tongue had suddenly gone numb. She was just standing there, looking so…young. And small. It made him feel strange to see her like that. Francis's gaze unconsciously darted down the front of her white pajama-clad form, then quickly back up to her face. It was clear who she thought would be there when she opened the door, but he didn't take offense. All the guys knew that Johnny'd gotten close to her since the nasty business with Sorel. But Johnny refused to tell them what, exactly, the extent of that nasty business had been. And they all knew there was something personal about it that Johnny wouldn't discuss - something more than just the long-standing little crush that made him the object of plenty of good-natured ribbing. It had all been in fun.

But the guys didn't rib him anymore. The formerly soft-spoken Johnny now turned rabid whenever her name was mentioned, always on the defensive against any disrespect that might be shown her. Francis found out personally just HOW rabid the guy could get, having made the colossal mistake of admitting that he owned a certain poster featuring a certain attorney in a teddie. Johnny was furious, and fiercely protective - particularly about THAT. And it had ultimately earned him a new level of respect among the men. Sure, the poster was sexy, but it was also pretty innocent. It wasn't in bad taste, and they all respected Ms. Davis. And they liked her just fine too. She was nice - never snooty with the guards, like she was better than them. Not like the boss's wife. Or was she now his ex?

Finally, as Francis watched her eyes shift down toward the folded paper that lay before her bare feet, he spoke again. "Johnny's back on duty at eleven, just in case you were wondering."

"Oh?"

He watched her shift her weight and tilt her head, as if considering saying something else. But she stayed quiet, and simply tightened her hands around the blue mug held between them. She lowered her eyes to gaze into it, and Francis was sure he could see the small indentations forming in her cheeks. But then, her eyes suddenly popped back up to his face, and her smile grew again.

"Well, I guess the guy's gotta sleep sometime. Right?"

"Right."

Francis focused hard on her face, for fear of his eyes shifting down to somewhere they didn't belong. He felt awkward with her state of dress in front of him, and with the fact that she seemed perfectly unselfconscious. But why should SHE feel awkward? She had no idea that Francis had a forbidden image of her in his mind and was now faced with the real thing…in nightwear. Not that a pair of pure white, man-tailored pajamas were revealing, or even sexy. Not unless they were made of silk…and looked a little too big…and were worn by a woman whose natural assets were far from a secret. Damn! Francis silently cursed the day he ever laid his eyes on Eddie's Angel, and he tried hard to imagine her in a suit. She unexpectedly began to reach down to reach for the paper. The sudden movement caught his attention and made him blink.

"Lemme get that."

Francis moved quickly, bending down to pick it up before too much effort was made on her part. As he rose back up and moved closer to hand her the plastic-wrapped bundle, an enticing blend of scents found his nose. He knew them both - the boss's favorite blend, and something else. Something feminine. Flowers, but he wasn't sure what kind. It was the scent that always lingered briefly in the air around him after she'd disappeared into the elevator, or when she appeared from within it.

She smiled as she took the paper from his hands and held it against her chest. "Thanks."

"No problem." Francis glanced over his shoulder at the door to PH4. "Is there anything else I can do for you, Ms. Davis? Anything you need?"

She laughed lightly, her awkwardness finally showing. "Sonny has trained you well, I see. Whatever Ms. Davis wants, Ms. Davis gets?"

He shrugged one shoulder with a grin as lopsided as his body. "Yeah. The boss made it crystal clear that your wish is my command."

She sighed heavily and shook her head. "Oh my. I hope he's paying you at least double for taking on that particular burden."

She pushed the wavy strands of hair away from her face and tucked them behind her ear. It was then that the recessed lighting above her landed on her face, illuminating the blend of colors marking her cheekbone. He'd almost forgotten. He didn't even notice it while he stood a few yards away, and she stood just beyond the direct light. But the sudden movement of her head put the bruises into clear view and stole his crooked grin away. He felt his jaw tense in anger. Something like that should never be put on any woman's face, and Francis didn't understand how someone could put it on the face of Eddie's Angel. He did, however, feel a sudden surge of understanding for Johnny.

"I'm glad to do whatever I can to help, Ms. Davis. All the guys are. I mean yeah, the boss gave orders, but he didn't really have to. You know what I mean?"

"Yeah, I do. Thank you Francis." She turned to go back inside, but halted and turned back around. "Would you like some coffee? And before you give me a look of horror, since I'm sure that word of my pitiful brewing skills has traveled far and wide, Sonny made it, so it's safe to drink. And it's leaded."

Francis frowned, perplexed. "But the boss hasn't been through that door all morning. How could he have…"

"He did it last night." She frowned and looked at his quizzically. "Did you know that some coffee makers have timers?"

"Oh, right. Well Sure. Doesn't everyone?"

Her eyebrows rose up and her head tilted. "Well yeah, of course. I just…wasn't sure if YOU knew."

As her tongue began to graze her lower lip, Francis was sure he saw her face beginning to turn pink. Her ignorance about coffee makers was what finally made her self-conscious. Francis bit the inside of his cheek and tried not to chuckle. He didn't want to embarrass her. If he did, Johnny would bean him, but good.

"Um, do you know if Sonny's up yet?"

"I don't know. Ms. Davis. I haven't heard a sound coming from inside, so I figure he's finally getting some decent sleep for once."

"That would be good."

"Yeah."

She suddenly looked back up at him and raised her coffee mug up with a questioning expression on her face. He'd almost forgotten that he'd been made an offer.

"Thanks, but I've hit my limit for the morning."

"Don't tell me Johnny's been lecturing you on the evils of caffeine too?"

"Caffeine, no. Other stuff, yeah." Note to self - burn poster.

"Okay. Well, just knock if you change your mind."

"Will do."

She smiled once more and the small, snowy, silk covered body slipped through the door and out of Francis's sight.

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His face was as smooth as it had ever been before the onslaught of puberty - and the accompanying onslaught of whiskers.

Sonny's palms moved up and down his newly stubble-free cheeks, rubbing the cool, tingly aftershave into the sensitive skin. He was now safely touchable, and wore the scent that Alexis knew to be his. Cloves. It was a primal thing to know a person's scent, and it was a beautiful thing as well. Sonny loved that he and Alexis shared such knowledge of each other, and he knew that nothing could ever take that away from them. He was also glad she likes cloves. Or maybe she liked cloves because of him? It wasn't all that long ago that a gardenia was just another fragrant flower - nothing more. Now, they were everything.

He checked his watch and wondered how late she would sleep that morning. Late would be good for her. Sonny, however, was selfishly anxious for her to wake up, call him, and be underfoot while trying to help him make breakfast. As much as he loved to watch her in action at the PCPD, watching her in action in a kitchen had become equally enjoyable. The attorney who could make mincemeat out of a witness or fellow officer of the court regarded an ordinary blender with nervous suspicion. It was simply, utterly endearing. And it gave him the perfect excuse to hover over her a little longer. After all, she was still recovering and needed to eat properly. Not even Alexis could argue with that - or with the fact of her culinary incompetence. Sonny smiled like a Cheshire cat. He could certainly be an opportunist too, if so inspired.

The bathroom light was snapped off on his way out the door, leaving the lingering cloud of moist, warm, post-shower air behind him. A blanket of goose-bumps rose up on his skin as he moved through his bedroom and down the stairs. The cool, dry air was a bracing contrast, and he shivered within the chill. It made Sonny smile. It tickled. And the smile quickly grew to a throaty laugh as he remembered the "Don't you dare" look on Alexis's face the night before, as he held onto her fuzzy sock covered foot and refused to let her pull away from his grasp. He'd milked her trepidation for all it was worth, though he knew it was mean to make her think he might, in fact, tickle her. He couldn't help himself, and the most mischievous smile he could muster was flashed her way, accompanied by a sly tilt of his head and a voice infused with pure innocence. Teasing her was fun, but watching the kaleidoscope of expressions travel across her face was mesmerizing.

Alexis had, without a doubt, the most beautifully expressive face and body he'd ever seen. He'd always paid close attention to those expressions to glean what was going on in her mind that her words might belie or contradict. She was truly a wordsmith, always searching for the precisely right verbal expression. But she could be somewhat detached with regard to expressing feelings, rather than thoughts. And that was where the language of her face and body served as a handy barometer of what those precise verbal expressions held back. Over time, Sonny learned to read her well. But in the last two weeks, he'd sought to make her an open book, doing his best to anticipate her every need and intuit her every fear or want. And as enmeshed as he'd become with Alexis, it drove him crazy that the one thing he tried the hardest to identify stayed uncertain. He wanted to see it so badly that it seemed to elude him all the more - he wanted to look at her beautifully expressive face and body, and know for certain how she really felt about him. But something inside told him he already knew.

Sonny ran his hands over his damp hair and sighed. His eyes squeezed tightly shut, then blinked open. As he refocused, he found himself unexpectedly in the kitchen. He felt his stomach rumble on cue, and wondered how long it had being doing that. He was hungry, but he would wait and have breakfast with Alexis. A glad of orange juice would do just fine until she called. The refrigerator door was pulled open and Sonny's hand reached for the carton. Or rather, for the place where the carton would have been before Zander moved in. His hand landed upon a bowl of fruit. He stared inside the cold, brightly lit cavern as his fingers took on the chill. He didn't care. Sonny still felt all warm and tingly inside. His mind had gone to the remembrance of her mouth - in both his waking fantasy of their first kiss, and the sweet experience of the real thing. He scrunched his shoulders and grinned a wicked grin as his fingers wrapped around a fresh, firm peach.

It was just too tempting to resist.

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The television went black and the chattering voices abruptly stopped.

Alexis dropped the remote control onto the rumpled purple blanket that lay beside her and began to noisily unfold the paper. She hadn't read a newspaper in almost two weeks, and the familiar smell of wood and ink was a small shock. She'd almost forgotten what it was like and how strong it could be when first pulled from its plastic encasement. And it suddenly occurred to her that she didn't know what happened to the paper in the mornings since she'd been home, and she hadn't even thought to ask. With a moment's thought, Alexis realized that Sonny was trying to protect her from the possibility of seeing her name in print. Reporters are sneaky, Sorel's payroll had a wide reach, and it could have easily leaked out before anyone could warn her.

But in this, the first crackling, finger-blackening morning paper she'd seen in nearly two weeks time, Alexis found no mention of herself or Sorel. The lack of the latter was somewhat disappointing. She'd hoped there would be some mention made of the Ted Wilson case, though she knew she'd have been notified if anything came down. If there was a conviction, it would end everything for Zander, Emily and Sonny, and let them go on with their lives. And it would also give Alexis a choice. She didn't want to be a coward, nor did she want to let Sorel get away with what he did to her. But if the man was already sentenced to death, what else could be done to make him pay?

It would be so easy for her to let Sonny talk her out of testifying, and she knew that he would try - hard. Still, Alexis knew that she had to speak to Dara and help her be fully prepared. Just in case. She turned her eyes to the telephone and studied it while chewing on her lip. The paper was neatly folded and deposited on the coffee table while the cooling mug was taken back up. Alexis eased herself off the sofa and moved to the desk on legs far more steady than they'd been a short time ago. She picked up the phone, and dialed by memory.

"Dara Jensen, Please. Oh. All morning, I suppose? Right. Yes, voice mail is…uh, no, actually. Is Lieutenant Taggert in? Thank you."

She sipped on her coffee and leaned against the edge of the desk.

"Taggert. Alexis Davis. I'm okay, thanks. Yes, really. You? Good. Listen, I tried to call Dara but they said she's in court today, so…I thought I'd check with you and see if there's anything happening with Sorel. In the Wilson case, not mine."

Her lip was once again attacked by her teeth.

"Yeah, I know she would. It just crossed my mind that certain pieces of information directed my way could have been…diverted by certain parties, if said parties thought said information had the potential to upset me. Catch my drift? I thought that you would. So I decided it wouldn't hurt to check in and make sure I didn't miss anything that I should know. And, I wanted to make an appointment to come in and see Dara as well. You said she'd be contacting me about giving a more detailed statement, but she hasn't - at least, not to my knowledge - so I'm contacting her. Well, I'd rather not wait. I'd rather just do it. Yeah, I'm sure. I'm fine, Taggert!"

Alexis sighed and set the mug down on the desk to move the phone to her other ear.

"You know, you're starting to sound an awful lot like you-know-who." She laughed at the fully expected response on the other end of the line. "Okay, I take it back! Although it wasn't intended as an insult. So…would you let Dara know that I called, and she can call me whenever it's convenient for her. Thanks."

She hesitated, wanting to ask something else but unsure how to ask it.

"I'm still here. Yeah, there is one more thing. Um…do you know what's going on with Thomas Malloy's case? I mean, does he have decent council and has he changed his…"

Alexis frowned and shifted her weight. "That was a public defender? So he has another one now, I assume. Yeah, I know him. He's fairly competent - emphasis on 'fairly'. I don't suppose he's gotten Thomas to change his plea or tried to work a deal based on his assistance in the case?"

She slowly nodded and closed her eyes. Her hand ran through her hair and she listened as Taggert told her that Thomas hadn't budged from his decision to plead guilty, nor had his second court-appointed attorney attempted to take advantage of his client's acts of contrition. Neither fact surprised her.

"This isn't right." She murmured softly. "What? Nothing. Is he okay though? I mean nobody's gotten to him or anything? I know it's a secret, Taggert, but Sorel has a nasty way of finding out things that he isn't supposed to know. And I don't want to see him…Thomas, get hurt." Her head sharply lifted and a small grin graced her face. "Really? Oh, Taggert. You're just turning into an old softie, aren't you? I will NOT take it back!"

A soft rapping behind her gave her a start. She covered the phone with her palm and called out.

"Just a minute." Alexis pulled her hand away and reached for her coffee. "Uh, yeah. Sorry. Someone's at my door. Tell Dara I'll talk to her later? Oh, I…I don't know. I mean yes, I do want to, I think, but it's probably still a little too soon. I really just wanted to make sure he was safe. But if you say he is, I believe you.

Yeah, I will. Thanks, Taggert. Bye."

She dropped the phone back into the cradle and headed for the door, coffee mug in hand. "I had a feeling you might change your mind." Alexis announced as she turned the doorknob.

Sonny's dimpled, rosy-cheeked smile greeted her. His hair bore a dark shine, as did his eyes. And he smelled…like Sonny. Alexis felt her face flush as the corners of her mouth began to turn upward. Their eyes held onto each other in a silent embrace, and neither of them said a word. He cocked his head slightly, shyly, and her smile grew. She was suddenly overwhelmed with the desire to embrace him in the literal sense, but a surge of her own shyness froze her where she stood. All Alexis could do was firm her fingers around the cobalt blue mug. Sonny glanced down at the slight movement of her hand, then ran his tongue across his lips. Her gaze darted down to the slight movement of his mouth, and their eyes quickly recaptured each other. They were both willing captives. Sonny's smile softened, and as Alexis tried to remember how to breathe, she barely registered the quiet murmur floating her way.

"Change my mind about what?"