Path to Power
Gotta have Faith, Sure as the Skye above
"Oh my gawd! You little brat! Look what you did to my suit! This is designer! UGH!" Skye puts the baby back in her car carrier and shudders. Carefully she peels the suit top off gagging as she does so. She looks over at the baby who is blowing bubbles and smiling at her. "Oh you think that is cute. Well get over it. You're going to have to work a lot harder than a little puke to top the things that Grandfather has done to me."
"Did you say something?" Faith comes down from upstairs. She'd already started to get the lay of the land. She'd sent Alice out with Bruno. Bruno to get her stuff. Alice to get supplies for the house. The diaper bag would only cover the kid for one more meal and a couple of changes.
"Princess Brat here just shared her last bottle with me." Skye indicates with a quick thumbing direction to the ruined jacket.
Faith shrugs. "Trip to the drycleaners. Good as new. I don't think that Ned and I are going go be that lucky. Or do you think that the Old Fart moved all of our clothes up to the big house before he torched it?"
"Depends on the story he wants to give the cops. Arson... or burglary arson. So what do you think? Is this place okay?"
"It'll do." Faith shrugs. "It'll have to do. I already sent the guys to get my stuff."
"I thought that you had everything at the gatehouse?"
"Yeah, I bet Edward did too. His mistake." Faith says grimly. "So what's the history on this place?"
"Belonged to my husband's lover."
"And you didn't torch it?" Faith raises a brow at that. "Or have Junior do it for you?"
"No. I just made sure I got it in the divorce settlement." Skye says wryly.
"Nice." Faith nods agreeable. "Not my style but I can see the benefits. Real estate is always a sound investment."
"Before Brenda lived here I think Nikolas Cassadine lived here with his girlfriend Gia. And before that Brenda again. And before that... you'll love this one. Jason with his girlfriend Robin and Carly."
"Really." Faith looks around consideringly. "Oh if these walls could talk."
"More than Princess Brat would be losing her lunch." Skye rolls her eyes. "I did contemplate burning it down. But it was more important to deny Jax having it. That's why I haven't sold it. I don't want him to buy it. The same with the Lake house."
"You got two houses! Damn. Great Lawyer. I'm impressed."
"Jax wanted out. And I needed someplace other than the mansion to stay."
Faith's cell phone rings. She curses having thought that she'd sent it off with Bruno. Luckily the baby is awake. Otherwise the person on the other end of the line was going to be hurting. "This is Faith."
"Fowler. What the hell is going on? Bruno called. I'm on my way back."
"Stop. Just stop. I'm fine, Fowler. You've got more important things to do there."
"I don't like it, Faith." Faith can tell that Fowler is pacing as he is talking to her. "You haven't seen that stuff since... well since Roscoe died. You never went back to the house. Listen why don't you just call one of those RentaCenter places and get all new stuff. Have them deliver.
"I can handle it, Fowler. It's just stuff." Faith says defensively.
"Babe, if that were true then you would have gone back before now."
"Tell me this, Fowler, Who is the fucking boss around here?!"
"You are, Faith." There is a long silence. "I can be back in an hour. I'll charter a plane."
"And I'll put a cap in your ass if you do. I need you there."
"I don't like it."
"Yeah, well life's a bitch. And so am I."
Fowler laughs just as Faith intended. "Everything is on track here. If you need me I can be there in an hour. Don't be such a hardcase, Faith. And don't be mad at Bruno. He was in a bind. I would have killed him if didn't call me."
Faith snorts. "Chain of command. Sucks to be him."
Fowler sighs. "You sure, Faith?"
"I'll call you when I need you."
"You'll call me before you need me."
"Yeah, yeah, don't be such a worrywart." Faith waits for Fowler to say bye then hangs up. She looks over her shoulder to see Skye making no pretense of not listening.
"Who is Fowler?"
"My guy." Faith shrugs. "Ned doesn't like him so he's working out of town."
"But keeping tabs. That was fast."
"Yeah, well Bruno is a snitch." Faith sees the rental truck pull up and a crew of burly guys climb out. "And there he is now." Faith goes over to open the door. Bruno is the first one in and his arms are full of boxes. He stops in his tracks and breaks out into a sweat at Faith's look. "When you were on the phone to Fowler did you happen to mention how you let Stefan Cassadine get within ten feet of me? Or how about Edward Quartermaine walking into the Gatehouse like he owned it?"
"Um no, Faith. I forgot." Bruno lies sheepishly.
"Look if you're gonna kill me, Faith, can I at least put this stuff down. I don't wanna get blood on it."
"That's the first smart thing you've said all day. First right on the top of the stairs is the baby's room. First left is Alice's room. The back bedroom is the master bedroom. You are sleeping out in the garage or the stables. You pick." Bruno nods and starts up the stairs. That had been a close one. As the rest of the guys come in, Faith repeats the directions to each of them. And then she gets out of the way. She hadn't packed the house she shared with Roscoe, it wasn't like she actually knew which boxes everything was in. Faith goes over to Kristina and picks her up. "I know they're noisy, baby. But we'll get them out of here soon enough and you'll finally get your nap."
Skye's eyes go wide as she sees first a crib and then a changing table go up the stairs. "I thought all of this stuff came from your storage?" She blurts out.
Faith looks over at her with knowing unreadable eyes. "It did."
"Thank you for staying with me until my guys got here. You can leave now. I'll be fine. I'll get your suit jacket back to you after it's been cleaned."
After a busy day down on Courtland St. Lila is tired as she and Reginald pull thru the gates of the Quartermaine estate. The first thing that both of them see is the burned hulk of the Gatehouse. All that is left is the foundation, charred support timbers and the chimney. Reginald slows down unable to believe his eyes. Lila's voice is furious from the back seat. "Reginald."
"Yes, ma'am. I'll make up the guest bedroom for Mr. Q."
"Move his things out of my suite."
Reggie winces. It wasn't the first time that he'd moved Edward's things out of Lila's rooms but it didn't happen often. "Yes, ma'am."
"And if he gives you any trouble... Have them sent to his club."
Reginald's eyes go wide at that. He'd never heard that one before. Mrs. Quartermaine must be ticked.
"Ned, Man! What do you think you're doing? Your house burned down. The paperwork is going to be there tomorrow." Zander can't believe that Ned is still at the office. "You need to go ho... You need to be with the baby."
"Faith is fine. Kristina is fine. They are at Brenda's cottage." Ned says aloud what has been his mantra since Faith called. "I have things I have to get done here before I go over there."
"Really?" Marcus Taggart says from behind Zander. "What would that be?"
"Have they figured out if it was arson or not? Please tell me it was an accident." Ned pleads with Taggart. An accidental fire was about the only way he was going to keep the old goat alive. Faith had killed her own grandmother for a lot less reason than what Edward had just handed her. He knew it even if he could never prove it. Never wanted to prove it.
"That's still under investigation. The fire marshal is in charge of that. You afraid what Faith is gonna do if she finds out it was Arson?" Marcus grins at Ned. "Yeah, she's a firecracker with a short fuse, or is it no fuse at all? So who you betting on?"
"I fail to see the humor in this, Lieutenant."
"Sometimes you just got to laugh or you'd cry, you know?" Marcus says cheerfully. "The Old Man got his will all up to date? Faith knows that the rest of the family alibis are looking pretty good. She was there when I was talking to Skye and the rest of the younger set. And you know-- she didn't try to pin this one on Corinthos." Marcus shrugs. "Go Figure. Maybe when I do my follow up with her..." Marcus turns to Zander. "I need to talk to you."
"Hey it wasn't me! You know right where I was around Lunch time."
"Yeah, getting into it with Cassadine. Move it, Smith."
"If it's about Gia... we're just friends, Man. I don't want any trouble."
"Will you just shut up until I ask you a question?" Marcus gives Zander a push out the door and then shuts it to cut off Ned. "What did Cassadine do that you figured upset Natasha?"
"Why you asking?" Zander asks suspiciously.
"I figure that this whole DID thing is Alexis' shot to not get screwed up by that bunch of bloodsuckers. You see anything out of whack. You let me know. Immediately."
"Nik said he'd have me arrested."
"Yeah. So we'll talk down at the station." Marcus gives Zander a slap on the back. "Stay away from my sister." Marcus leaves.
"Right." I am so screwed. How do I get into these situations?
Skye gnaws on her thumbnail and her eyes are narrowed as she stares out over the water. The trip back to the lake house it was a miracle she hadn't gotten into a dozen different accidents. Faith's stuff had been in storage. Since her husband had gone missing. That guy, Fowler, didn't want her to get it out of storage. The stuff included a baby's room. There was no baby. Well there is a baby now but there hadn't been one before. Until Faith married Ned and the baby she'd had a crazy death wish to take out Sonny. Everyone knew that. She hadn't packed the stuff that was in storage. The stuff had been in storage since her hubby had gone missing. Why didn't she pack the stuff? Where was Faith when Roscoe went missing?
Coleman had parked his car up a ways and walked down to the lake house. He can see Skye thinking. He can practically hear her thinking from here. Faith had called. Told him Skye was going to be trouble. Red's stuck her nose in something that is none of her business. Either distract her or I'll break it off. Coleman intentionally makes some noise as he comes up the steps, startling Skye and bring her attention to him even before he knocks on the screen door. "Hey pretty lady."
Skye sighs. "I thought..."
"See and I was thinking on that. I was thinking that what needs to happen is you and me make a few memories with absolutely no alcohol involved." Cole grins and waggles his eye brows at her suggestively.
"I really can't... I've got to...."
"Let it go, Skye." Coleman says quietly.
Skye goes still as everything comes together including the timing of this little appearance. "Let what go? How long have you been working for Faith?"
"It's not like that."
Shaking her head in disbelief. "It's exactly like that. What kind of idiot... nevermind-- I don't want to know."
"Faith and I go way back, Skye. Before she was married to Roscoe. Yeah, she called me and told me what happened today. Skye, you need to let it go."
"If I don't know what is going on-- how can I let it go?"
"Well that's kinda a circle isn't it? If you do know-- how can you let it go?" Coleman says softly.
"Where is the baby, Coleman?"
Brushing both hands thru his hair, Cole sighs. "You going to let me in? Scratch that. How about you light a few citronella candles and we'll just sit out here." Cole takes a seat on the glider out on the porch. He pats the spot next to him. Skye comes out of the house with lit candle and goes around lighting the torches before sitting down next to Coleman and blowing out the candle. Coleman cuddles her next to him. With one foot he sets the glider to rocking. "Now this is the life."
Skye pinches Coleman on the thigh. "Start talking. So how did you meet Faith. Was she a stripper? Oh my GAWD she was!" Skye straightens away from Coleman and turns to look at him.
Coleman grabs Skye by the side of the head and presses her head to his shoulder. "Who is telling this story anyway? A long time ago...."
"In a land far, far away? Isn't that the way most fairy tales start?" Skye says wryly but she slides her feet up on the glider curling up next to Coleman and wrapping one arm around his waist.
"Hush. I'm getting to it." Coleman cuddles her closer, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. A guy could get used to this. "I had just hit town. Was bouncing at the Oasis before I took over the place. The Oasis has always been one of those places that really doesn't look for references and didn't give any. Faith was already working there as a dancer"
"Riiiggghhhttt." Skye giggles.
"Be nice. Her ID said she was eighteen but there was no way in hell. But Faith had a plan. She was going to school to get a degree in business from PCU. Gonna open her own place."
"Nah, a florist shop. Can you believe that?" Coleman smiles at the memory tracing circles on Skye's shoulder with a single finger. "But she figured it really was a family business. Did you know that one of the main mob figures back in Chicago ran a florist shop as a front? Threw the best funerals."
"She wanted to be in the Organization even back then?"
"According to Faith it was Family business. Her Grandfather ran the mob in Port Charles for awhile back in the thirties. Before he went down for avenging the murder of his best friend and died in prison. Her father was adopted out but he was old enough to remember the story to tell her. Hell of a bedtime story. Faith didn't have a chance. She came to Port Charles looking for the rest of her family."
"I'm familiar." Skye says wryly before continuing curiously. "You said you didn't think she was of age?"
Coleman shrugs. "I didn't ask any questions. She was already taking college classes by the time I owned the joint. Besides I figure if a gal has a choice between being home or taking her clothes off for strangers and stripping is the choice she makes? It's gotta suck pretty hard at home."
"Yeah, that's really altruistic, Cole." Skye says smartly.
"Courtney came to me, Red. I didn't go looking for her. And AJ ran thru the wall of my club. They picked me; I didn't go looking for them."
"Alcoholism is a disease." Skye says defensively. This always happened when the conversation came around to AJ. When ever it was about his drinking it felt like an attack on her.
"Yeah, and you're doing something about it. I don't want to fight with you about Junior." Coleman says with a sigh. "The local thugs would come around the club. They liked the girls. The girls liked their money. Once Sonny started consolidating power he quit being a player at the table of the five families. And the Families started reporting to him instead. That's the way it is now. Sonny's been on top for awhile now but there are plenty with long memories who think that things should be split up differently: Smith, Silver, Rivera, Moreno, Sorel, Roscoe."
"They're all dead."
"Yeah. One by one." Coleman gives the glider another push. "Anyway. The players would come around. Chat up the girls. Throw their money around. Faith was a couple credits shy of getting her degree in business. Had the money saved to open her shop. And then Roscoe walked into the Oasis and Faith was a goner. She did things for that guy that I'd never seen her do before. He was punk. Just like all the other punks. But he had something about him that just drew her like a moth..."
"...to a flame." Skye winces. That kinda relationship was never good for the moth.
"Didn't see Faith for awhile after that. Heard she married the guy. Doing the whole housewife thing. Roscoe started making some noise. He was a thug under Moreno, a soldier. With Sorel he was a lieutenant. Roscoe always did have a thing for blondes and a little thing like a wife at home wasn't gonna slow him down. After Sorel died he made a grab for it all. Including Carly Corinthos."
"I don't see Sonny going for that."
"No. He didn't." Coleman shrugs. "So Roscoe went the way of Sorel, Moreno etc. But there was something weird. Something just kinda off about the situation. You got to figure that Roscoe's guys would be laying low. You go thru enough of these... purges you get to see the pattern. But there was No sign of Fowler. Nada. Fowler wasn't even going thru the motions of looking for Roscoe."
"Faith's guy. That's what she said when he called today." Skye prompts.
"Yeah, that's when it became real clear that Fowler was Faith's guy and not one of Roscoe's men."
"Roscoe getting snatched up... disappearing... Faith was trying to hold things together. It didn't work. Fowler was the one who found her. Somewhere between the house and Mercy hospital she lost the baby."
"That's horrible. She lost her husband and her baby."
"Roscoe wasn't much of a loss. But the baby, a little girl." Coleman brings his hand up from Skye's arm and taps on the side of Skye's forehead. "That twisted her up good. All she wanted to do was die. Fowler pulled her out of it. Can't say as I care for his method but he pulled her out of it."
"Reminded her that the baby wouldn't be dead if Jason hadn't killed her husband. If Sonny hadn't given the order. Gave Faith an outside place to pour her grief. Faith's worn black every day since she got out of the hospital. But it isn't for Roscoe. Faith still wanted to die but she wanted to take them with her... after making them suffer first. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your vantage, Catherine Flynn, Faith's grandmother got to her while she was at Mercy. Faith had to have still been drugged cause Catherine got her to swear that she wouldn't live for vengeance while Catherine was still alive. As soon as Catherine died, the game was on. Any connection to Sonny is fair game. She lost her kid in Roscoe's war with Sonny. Nobody is off the table."
"And then she married Ned and started hanging around the brat." Skye muses. "Does Ned know all this?"
Coleman shrugs. "I'm not going to tell him and you're not either. Skye..." Coleman thinks how to put this. "Faith losing the baby was like having her heart ripped out and replaced with ice... dry ice... the kind that burns. You poke at her on this and she'll hurt ya because she still hurts. It's up to Faith to share whatever she wants to share when she wants to share it."
"So why did you tell me?"
Brushing back a lock of hair from Skye's forehead, Coleman shakes his head. "Cause I like you, Red. I like you a lot. And I don't want you to get caught in the crossfire. So...."
"You gonna invite me in?"
"I have to be up early in the morning." Skye warns.
"I'll make the coffee."
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