Fathers and Sons
Chapter 4 ~-~-~ Snowed In ~-~-~
Sonny got in his car and drove. He was mad as hell and he needed to think. The snow was falling hard now. He decided to drive out to the farm so he could be alone for a while. Sonny drove fast, weaving and passing cars as they got in his way. He was still stung by Brenda's comments. Had she really doubted him this whole time? He arrived at the farm in good time and had beaten the worst of the snowstorm. It was freezing in the house. He started a fire, sat down and poured himself a drink.
Brenda had waited a couple of hours after their fight to start calling around. It was snowing heavily and she was becoming worried. She wanted to explain to Sonny that she did trust him. She called Jason, Mike and Luke, but no one had seen him. She knew Sonny would be found when he was ready. She reluctantly went to bed and had a fitful night of sleep.
Brenda got up early and looked out the window. It had snowed heavily last night and the street was blanketed with snow. She wondered if Sonny was stuck in a ditch somewhere. Then, it had suddenly dawned on her where he was. He was at the farm. She called Jason.
"Jason. It's Brenda. Has Sonny called you?"
"Not yet. But, I know a few places to look. Why don't you stay there and I'll go find him."
"No. That's okay. I know where he is," replied Brenda.
"He's at the farm."
"How do you know that?" asked Jason.
"I just do. He was pretty mad when he left. He probably wanted to be alone. It's the only place that makes sense."
"Did you call up there?"
"Yeah. He won't answer the phone."
"Then how do you know he's there?"
"I just DO!" Brenda was getting frustrated at Jason's twenty questions.
"Brenda, there's another big storm out there. It's too dangerous to take that drive."
"I'll be okay," Brenda insisted. "I've driven it a million times."
Brenda slammed the phone down. She didn't have time to deal with Jason. She bundled up Anthony with a heavy coat, got in the car and headed for the farm. The roads were worse than she thought. She drove slowly with stubbornness and determination. She handed Anthony some crackers and turned on the radio. Damn you, Sonny, she cursed.
Sonny woke up and fixed himself some bacon and eggs. He was still hurt and angry with Brenda. He was mad about the restaurant. He felt his try at legitimacy had been a complete disaster. He called Jason to see what was going on. He should have called Brenda last night, but was too stubborn to do so.
"Jason. It's Sonny. What's going on?"
"Sonny, I've been trying to reach you since last night. Brenda's been worried sick."
"I know. I should have called her. I was kind of mad last night. But, I can't leave now. I'm snowed in at the farmhouse. Can you call Brenda and tell her I'm okay? She's not answering her phone."
Jason was silent.
"Jason . . . you there?"
"Yeah, it's just . . .Brenda figured out where you were. She left an hour ago to find you."
"WHAT? Why didn't you stop her? The roads are too dangerous!" Sonny's voice was full of alarm.
"She wouldn't listen, Sonny."
"Man. Brenda drives me crazy with these stunts she pulls!"
Jason refrained from making a comment. Both Sonny and Brenda were a handful. "What do you want me to do?"
"Nothing," said Sonny. "I'll call her on her car phone and get her to turn back to Port Charles."
"Okay. Call me back."
Sonny hung up the phone and thought. With the bad roads Brenda probably didn't get very far. He called her cell phone. "Come on Brenda, pick up the phone!" There was no answer. He'd wait ten minutes, then he'd call her back. Damn you, Brenda, he cursed.
Brenda was having trouble with her windshield wipers. The visibility was near zero and she was getting completely disoriented with the road. She hadn't seen any signs for a while. She figured she had been driving about two and half-hours. She looked down at the odometer. She had driven seventy-eight miles. The farm was about one hundred ten miles from Port Charles. She was almost there. Her phone rang. She didn't answer it. It was probably Jason trying to talk her into turning back to Port Charles. She was bound and determined to talk this out with Sonny!
Brenda drove another twenty miles. She was pretty sure she was near the farm. But, she didn't recognize any landmarks. Anthony was getting hungry. She only had a few graham crackers left. Suddenly, the car stalled, then conked out. She tried not to panic. She had gas. She got out of the car and opened the hood. She checked around the engine. That's when she noticed the broken alternator belt. Then she panicked. A broken alternator belt meant no battery, no heat, no starting the engine. Her and Anthony were going to freeze to death on a deserted highway. She tried to get a hold of herself. She went back inside the car and called Jason.
"Hello," answered Jason.
"Jason. Thank God. It's Brenda." There was a slight panic in her voice.
"Brenda, where are you?"
"I'm not sure. My car broke down. I think I'm lost and the storm seems to be getting worse."
"Okay, listen. I'll call the highway patrol and tell them you're stranded. Whatever you do, don't get out of the car. It's too cold. Bundle up with Anthony to keep you both warm." Jason's medical skills were kicking in.
"Okay," Brenda said a little hopelessly. "Did Sonny call yet?"
"Yeah. You were right. He's at the farm. I want you to hang up and call Sonny. He can find you quicker than the cops." Brenda hung up and dialed the farmhouse.
Sonny picked up the phone on the first ring. "Jason. Did you. . "
"It's me," Brenda cut him off.
"Brenda, Thank God. Where are you?"
"I'm not really sure. The car broke down. I kind of got lost in the storm."
Sonny took a deep breath and tried to think straight. "Do you have any blankets?"
Brenda looked around the car. "No. But, Anthony has a heavy coat on. I kind of left in a hurry. I just have my sweatshirt."
"Okay. I want you to try and tell me where you are. How close are you to the farm house?"
She looked down at the odometer again. "I've driven ninety eight miles. I must be pretty close." Brenda was already feeling cold.
"I'm going to drive and look for your car. It might take a while, so don't panic. Call me on the phone if you want, but don't waste your battery, okay baby?"
"Okay. Sonny, I'm sorry abo. ."
"Later, Brenda," Sonny cut her off. "We'll talk later."
Brenda had Anthony climb in the back seat with her and they huddled together.
"Mommy, why did we stop? Are we there yet?"
"No, not yet honey. We might have to wait a while. Something's wrong with the car." She zipped up his coat and put his mittens on.
"I know honey. We'll get something to eat soon, okay."
The car was freezing. Brenda's hands felt numb and her feet were like ice. She wished she had worn her gloves. She wrapped her arms around Anthony and held him tightly. The wind and snow were swaying the car back and forth. She had to wait, that's all she could do. She held Anthony and closed her eyes.
Brenda had lost track of time. She awoke to a tapping on the window. She couldn't see who it was. She was too cold to move. The pounding continued.
"BRENDA! BRENDA! OPEN UP!"
It was Sonny. Brenda struggled to reach the handle and opened the car door. Sonny climbed in, slammed the door shut, and sat in the back seat next to Brenda and Anthony.
"You all right, baby?" He wrapped Brenda around his arms. She was freezing. Her lips were blue and she was shivering. He took off his coat and wrapped it around her. He reached over and checked on Anthony. He felt his face and hands. They were like ice. "Brenda. Let's get in my car. You guys can get warmed by the heater."
Brenda nodded. She was too cold to talk.
Sonny opened the car door as the strong winds and snow whipped around him. He reached in the backseat and grabbed Anthony, then helped Brenda out of the car. "Come on, Brenda. Let's get you inside my car."
They all struggled to his car and he eased Brenda down in the seat. He put Anthony on her lap and wrapped them in a heavy blanket. He looked at both of them with worry. "You'll be warm in a minute. Can you feel the heat?" asked Sonny.
But, they were too cold to answer. Brenda just hugged Anthony tightly.
Sonny turned up the heat as high as it would go and started driving to the farm. He reached over and put his hand on Anthony's forehead. "Anthony, are you okay?"
He laid his head on Brenda's shoulder and shivered. "I'm c . . c . . cold, Daddy."
"I know. But, you'll be warm in no time. No time at all."
Sonny drove through the fierce snowstorm, trying to concentrate on the rode, glancing every few minutes at Brenda and Anthony. They were still shivering. It took them another hour to find their way back to the farmhouse. Sonny helped them into the house and sat them next to the fireplace. It had gone out since he had been away from the house for so long. He quickly built a roaring fire. Sonny laid Brenda and Anthony in front of the hot fire and wrapped some more blankets around them. All three of them huddled by the fire for a long time. Sonny held his wife and child close as they slowly warmed up. Brenda had been quiet for a long time and Sonny was worried. Anthony was warm and dry enough to stop shivering, so Sonny took him into the kitchen. Sonny touched Anthony's hands and face again and this time they were warm from the heat of the fire.
"Are you still cold?" Anthony shook his head no.
"Good. 'Cause I'm going to fix us something to eat." Sonny made some hot chicken soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, one of Anthony's favorites. "Here. Eat some soup. It'll warm you up." Anthony sat at the kitchen table and ate his soup and sandwich.
Sonny went into the living room to check on Brenda. She was asleep, resting on a large pillow by the fire. There was a gentle radiance shining off her from the firelight. She looked peaceful in sleep. He knelt down and gently touched her face.
"Brenda," he whispered softly. She lay still. "Brenda." He gently shook her shoulder. "You okay?"
Brenda stirred and moaned, then looked up into Sonny's eyes. They were soft and concerned, so different than the anger and meanness she saw last night.
"Brenda, baby. I think you should eat something," he continued. "Why don't you sit up?" Sonny propped Brenda up against the pillow. He brushed the hair out of her eyes. "You want another blanket?"
"No. The fire feels good," she said quietly.
Sonny handed Brenda some chicken soup. "Here, eat this. It'll make you feel better." He threw a few more logs on and stoked the fire, then sat down on the floor next to Brenda.
"Where'd you learn to build such a good fire?"
"Jason." Sonny smiled. " He has many hidden talents."
They both remained silent for a while. Not having the energy or desire to continue what was started last night. Sonny watched Brenda eat her soup. Her color looked a lot better, he thought. Anthony came over and snuggled on Sonny's lap.
"I think we'll lose the power pretty soon," Sonny said out loud. "Looks like we're stuck here for a couple of days."
After a while, Anthony fell asleep on Sonny's lap. He carried him to his bedroom, tucked him under the covers, and returned to the fireplace. He knelt behind Brenda and nuzzled her neck. He wanted her so bad. He wanted her right now. He looked at her with an intense stare as the glow of the fire shone from his eyes. He took her face with his hands and kissed her lips, hard and deep.
Brenda pulled back. "Sonny, I think we should talk."
Sonny shook his head no. "Not now. Let me look at you. Your beautiful face." He ran his hands through her hair. He shed her blouse, kissing her neck and shoulders. They undressed each other slowly and in silence. Their eyes met and they each gave a look understanding and love. Sonny laid Brenda gently back on the pillow and softly kissed her up and down her body. Brenda moaned in delight. They made love, knowing each other's pleasures, filling each other's desires, their souls united as one. They warmed each other with their own heat and passion. They both lay next to each other, not wanting this moment to end. Both content to stay this way forever, if they could.
Sonny broke the silence. "I'm sorry about last night, Brenda."
"I'm sorry, too," Brenda whispered back. "Sonny. I do trust you. I want you to know that. I need you to believe me."
Sonny let out a deep sigh. "I have been completely legitimate for three years now. Most people in this town think the restaurant is a front for all this criminal activity. I just didn't want to hear it from you, too. It made me really mad." Sonny's voice was laced with hurt and anger.
Brenda tried to calmly explain her side. "The only reason I suspected something is because you've been acting secretive again. Something's changed. If you'd tell me what's going on I wouldn't have to overreact."
"Secretive?" Sonny challenged. "Nothing's going on!"
"Then explain the phone calls, the late night meetings with Jason, the raid on the restaurant."
Sonny was silent for a long time. "Brenda, I just didn't want you to worry. But, I'll tell you what's bothering me and maybe it will clear up some things. Taggert has been watching me like a hawk for the past year. He has the FBI tapping my phones, surveillance cameras, tailing my every move. The works."
"Yeah, but if you're clean, then what does all this matter?" Brenda asked.
Sonny sighed again. "Taggert wants revenge. He's convinced I killed his favorite cop, Deke Woods. He's been planning this for years."
"But, if he can't find anything? . . ."
Sonny cut her off. "You're not listening! He's setting me up! I don't know how. I've had a bad feeling about this for a while. But, something's coming down, soon, and I can't do a damn thing about it."
Brenda thought Sonny sounded a little paranoid. But, he was definitely scared. More scared than she had seen him in a long time. "Why didn't you tell me all this? It would have saved us a lot of grief. Jeez, Sonny. I could have gotten Anthony killed this morning!"
Sonny took Brenda's hand and kissed it, then rested it on his chest. "Anthony's a tough kid. He has to be with us as his parents. And I didn't tell you what was happening because this is the best time in my life, baby, ever. I didn't want to put a damper on things. But, Brenda, if something happens, I need you on my side. That's what I was mad about. I thought you didn't trust me."
Brenda stroked Sonny's face. "No, honey. I trust you. I'm sorry it came out that way. I was just scared because you seemed so upset."
"I'm sorry I yelled," Sonny said softly.
"Nothing will happen, Sonny. He can't touch you, not anymore."
Sonny didn't answer. He wished he had Brenda's confidence and her belief that things would turn out all right. He suddenly felt really tired. He closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep. Feeling safe next to Brenda, feeling a peace only she could give.
Fathers and Sons
Chapter 5 ~-~-~ Nowhere to Hide ~-~-~
Sonny, Brenda and Anthony arrived back in Port Charles three days later. They couldn't leave the farmhouse until the roads were clear. They spent the whole time playing games with Anthony, talking, and thinking of how Sonny could get the restaurant opened again. They pulled in front of their house late and all trekked through the door. Brenda turned on the lights and noticed something on the couch. It took her a few seconds to realize it was Mike. He had fallen asleep.
"Why is Grandpa on the couch?" said Anthony loudly.
Mike stirred and sat up suddenly. It took a few minutes for his eyes to adjust to the light. "Are you guys okay?" he finally managed. "I was worried sick."
Anthony ran over to Mike and gave him a big hug. "We got stuck!"
"Yeah, I heard. Thank God you're all right," he looked at Brenda.
"We're fine, Mike. Really." She walked over and sat next to him on the couch. "I just had car trouble, that's all. We told Jason to call you."
"He did," Mike replied. "He said you were okay, but I had to see for myself. I must have fallen asleep." He stood up and looked at Sonny. "Listen, I thought I could take all of you out to dinner tonight."
"Thanks, but we've had a long drive and it's late." Sonny said.
Brenda turned to Mike. "It is late. Can we take a rain check on dinner?"
"Sure, I didn't realize the time."
"Why don't you stay for a cup of coffee?" added Brenda, "while I go get Anthony's pajamas on."
"I don't want to go to bed," protested Anthony.
"You don't have to go to bed, sweetheart. Just get ready for bed."
"Okay." Anthony took his mother's hand and they walked up the stairs.
Sonny headed towards the kitchen to make the coffee and Mike followed him. "Jason told me what happened. I'm sorry about the restaurant."
Sonny sighed and shrugged his shoulders. "So am I."
Mike continued. "If there's anything I can do . . ."
Sonny interrupted Mike. "Like what?"
"Help you get the restaurant back in operation."
"How do you plan on doing that?"
Sensing Sonny's hostile mood, Mike decided to drop the subject. "Just let me know if you need anything."
Sonny shrugged his shoulders again. "Yeah," Sonny managed, not making eye contact with his father.
Two weeks later, Sonny, Brenda, Anthony and Mike were eating dinner at Luke's club. They had taken Mike up on his offer for dinner. They were about ready to leave when things took a turn for the worst.
Detective Taggert and Detective Garcia moved quickly through the restaurant and made a beeline towards Sonny Corinthos' table. Detective Taggert had a large grin on his face. Sonny noticed him walk through the door and knew by the look on his face there was going to be trouble.
"Good evening," he said politely.
"You lost, Detective?" Sonny said sarcastically.
"Sonny Corinthos, you're under arrest," Taggert said with enjoyment. "Stand up. I'm taking you downtown."
"Yeah." Sonny remained seated. "What's the charge?"
Detective Taggert looked at Sonny with contempt. He then rattled off the charges. "For starters, money laundering, racketeering, and tax evasion."
"Is this some kind of sick joke, Detective?" Sonny was getting angry.
"Does it look like I'm joking? Now stand up," Taggert repeated.
Sonny stood up slowly. He didn't have much of a choice. The whole club was watching. Detective Taggert had picked a public place on purpose. He read Sonny his rights, handcuffed him, and escorted him out of the restaurant. Although Sonny didn't know it at that moment, this night would change his life, forever.
Sonny wasn't able to post bail until morning. After leaving the police station Sonny, Brenda and his lawyer met at their house to discuss their strategy. It was becoming clear that Sonny's arrest was very serious and his prophecy was coming true. Sonny's lawyer informed him that the police had enough evidence to take the case to trial. He encouraged Sonny to plead guilty. But, Sonny refused, insisting his innocence and wanting to prove a set-up.
"Sonny, listen. Did you see all of the evidence? The tax evasion charge alone will get you twenty years. They have inventory logs showing shipment after shipment of imports with transfers to an account in your name," said the lawyer.
Sonny stood up and paced the living room. "Yeah, but they found all that evidence from the raid on the house, right?"
"Don't you see? They set me up! I don't keep any business records in this house-ever." Sonny sat back down on the couch. "I'm telling you, it's all bogus and I'm not pleading guilty on charges that are false!"
"Okay, okay. It's your decision. But, just so you know, if you're found guilty you can get up to thirty-five years on these charges."
"Then I WON"T be found guilty will I?"
The lawyer tried to smile. "Okay. There's one more thing, Sonny."
"I want Anthony at the trial. It will be good for your image."
"No!" Sonny looked at Brenda. "Absolutely not."
"Think about it." The lawyer looked at both Sonny and Brenda. "Sonny, not everyone believes you're legitimate. The kid will make the jury more sympathetic."
"Look, I understand what you're saying. But, I will NOT have Anthony at my trial, end of discussion."
Sonny's trial lasted over six weeks. Brenda sat behind Sonny throughout the trial as well as support from Mike, Jason, Robin, Lois, Luke and Laura. As the trial droned on it became clear that most of the evidence was inconclusive. The surveillance tapes were inconclusive. The racketeering charges couldn't be proved. But, the tax evasion charge was the most damning evidence. There were receipts, undeclared assets and questionable inventory. All the paper trail needed for a conviction. Sonny took the stand and denied all the charges. He claimed police harassment. The trial finally went to jury and they deliberated for four days. In the end, Sonny was found guilty on tax evasion. Sonny Corinthos was sentenced to ten years in a federal prison, with no chance of parole. His prison term would start the following Monday.
When Sonny saw Detective Taggert in the court hallway his rage could not be contained. He attacked him full force, grabbing him and knocking him to the ground. Sonny jumped on top of him and started punching him in the face "YOU SET ME UP! You're gonna pay for this. You set me up!"
Luke ran over and tried to restrain him. "Sonny, c'mon. Let's get out of here." He couldn't pry Sonny off until Mike came over and they both managed to pull Sonny off of the detective.
Detective Taggert stood up and brushed himself off. His mouth was bleeding, but he still managed a smile. "You're a good for nothing hood, Corinthos. You're just a punk in nice clothes and you proved it right now. You should have used the kid. You probably would have gotten off."
Sonny tried to attack him again, but Luke and Mike had him in a tight grip. "Go to hell, Taggert. You're a bad cop, just like HE was."
"You know, I'm tempted to charge you with assaulting a cop, but seeing as you're already going to prison, I'll give you a break this time."
Sonny tried to lunge for him again, but Luke and Mike held him back.
"Sonny, let's go," said Luke. "Let's get out of here."
Sonny didn't answer. He let Mike and Luke walk him past all the reporters and out of the courthouse.
They took him home. Sonny and Brenda's close friends gathered at their house, shocked that Sonny was found guilty. Sonny remained upstairs in his bedroom. He didn't want to talk to anybody. He just sat on the edge of his bed in disbelief. Deke won, he thought to himself. Deke had finally won.
A little later, Brenda came upstairs to check on Sonny. He was motionless at the end of the bed. She slowly walked over to her husband. She stood in front of him and gently touched his face. Sonny closed his eyes at her touch. He stood up and looked directly in Brenda's eyes. Then he laid his head on her shoulder. She held him tightly and gently stroked his hair. No words were spoken. She just held him for a while. Then she felt his silent tears fall on her shoulder.
The following mornings newspaper. . .
Port Charles Herald
Corinthos Guilty on Tax Evasion
Gets ten years, brawls with cop
Michael "Sonny" Corinthos Jr. was sentenced to ten years in federal prison. Prosecutors were disappointed with the verdict. A federal jury, after deliberating for four days, found Mr. Corinthos guilty on tax evasion, but dismissed 12 counts of racketeering and money laundering. Said one juror, "The evidence in the case wasn't conclusive, there were too many doubts." Corinthos could have received up to thirty-five years on the charges. Mr. Corinthos took the stand and testified that the PCPD had planted false evidence at his home and "has had it out for me since I moved here." He also stated he was "a legitimate business man" and denied any connections to the mob underworld. Detective Marcus Taggert had a different take. "I think the citizens of Port Charles can breathe a sigh of relief. We got one more bad guy off the streets." Apparently, these two had words after the trial when a heated exchange took place outside the courtroom. There were no injuries, but punches were thrown and the two men had to be separated. Mr. Corinthos is married to Brenda Barrett Corinthos and has a five years old son.