The Path to Power
Marcus looks down then steps back pulling
out his phone. "Pick up Faith Roscoe and bring her to the
alley behind Kelly's. I think she needs to do the formal ID."
Marcus turns to the women who discovered the body. "You
didn't see anything?" He grimaces at their answer. Always
having to ask the question and never getting the answer. "Then
why don't you go back inside. An officer will be in to take your
statement." Marcus continues to collect evidence waiting for
Faith to arrive.
Sloppy. The body had been meant to be found. A warning to someone? And there wasn't enough blood in the dumpster. Killed somewhere else and dumped. As soon as the ME could get there they would remove the body and take it to the morgue at General Hospital. They'd get more exact information then. Until then they just had to go with the obvious. The only person still walking around with that much of their brain missing was Jason Quartermaine now Morgan. This stiff hadn't been that lucky.
Faith comes running from the back door of the Kelly's. Whether it had been the officer that had picked her up or Courtney and Carly inside of Kelly's, Faith is already clued in on what she is going to find. She runs straight to the dumpster and looks inside. "Aw damn it. Gawd Damn it. Fowler, you stupid...."
"You know the victim?" Taggart asks the question already knowing the answer.
"Yeah, he works for me. So where is he?"
"He who?" Taggart plays along knowing this is going to be the good one.
"Jason Morgan. He killed him." Faith says confidently. "He's been threatening me. Threatening my guys. He killed Fowler."
"Got any proof of that Mrs. Ashton?"
"Proof is your job, Lieutenant." Faith retorts.
"And you're going to give me time to do my job, right, Mrs. Ashton. Seeing as how you have your hands full with the new hubby, new baby, and your house burning down and all. Really have had a mixed string of luck recently haven't you."
"When can I get Fowler's body?"
"It will be released to his next of kin."
"I'm the closest he had to family."
"That will take a bit longer. You'll have to contact the ME at General Hospital to find out the details. Can one of the uniforms drive you back to your house?"
"No, thanks I'll walk."
"Are you sure that's such a good idea... you know with Jason Morgan gunning for you and all." Taggart suggests tongue in cheek.
"Yeah, well maybe my mixed string of luck will change and I'll see him first." Faith snaps and looking over her shoulder at the back door of Kelly's shakes her head. She really didn't want to deal with Lil Courtney Cottontail and Sonny's Slut. She stalks off down the alley until she reaches the street. There was no way she could be around people right now. She heads to the park. She'd have a bout an hour to herself before Alice brought the baby. With her red clutch tucked under her arm, Faith sets a brisk pace trying to walk off her mad and get this all figured out. It was too sloppy for Morgan. Morgan's bodies didn't show back up. Which is why there is a beautiful marble headstone over a grave where Roscoe should be. And Morgan would never have dumped Fowler where Daisy would find him.
Faith is halfway thru the park on the way to the pond when she sees a couple picnicking. Oh so sweet: Sonny's lawyer and his bobble head waitress-- it's enough to send a person into sugar shock. Faith stops in her tracks. Ric Lansing. She'd contemplated teaming up with him before Ned came up with a better offer. Boy had an ax to grind against Corinthos. Why else would he have taken Sonny's Slut to that motel? If he wanted brownie points he would have called Sonny and told Corinthos about Fowler then. He's too slick. "Oh man." Faith processes. Ric was the only one, outside of her guys, who knew about Fowler and the Slut. But the flip was also true. Fowler was the only one that knew about Ric and Mrs. Corinthos. "What game are you playing now?" Faith mutters figuring the angles. She starts when there is a low growl in her ear.
"What do you call a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?"
Faith smiles and doesn't turn around already recognizing the voice. "A good start."
"Sorry about Fowler, Babe. He was a rabid dog." Coleman gives her arm a squeeze.
"But he was mine." Faith bites her lip and continues to stare at Ric in the distance. "You need to be very careful. Fowler went outside the plan. Sent the pictures to Sonny's Slut. I bet the little tramp ran straight to her stud. Somehow he lured Fowler back from Atlantic City. I told him to stay away. Damnit I told him to stay away. He always thought he knew better."
Coleman gives her a kiss on the side of the forehead. "I can take care of myself and I know how to squeeze someone just enough."
"He'll pay. He'll pay for what he did to Fowler."
"He's a dead man walking and you don't even have to lift a finger." Coleman starts massaging the knots out of Faith's shoulders. He's gotten to know all the spots back when she was dancing. Her tension was always at the base of her neck. "All you have to do is make sure that Sonny and/or Jason gets caught with the smoking gun."
Coleman senses the slow smile and knows that Faith is over the crazy... at least for now. "Something you need to tell me, Old Pal?" Faith says softly.
Cole sighs and his hands drop from Faith's shoulders. "I told her everything."
Faith swings around to face Coleman for the first time. "You what?!" Her jaw drops and her eyes go wide. Quick as a snake Faith grabs Cole by his pride and joy. "You used my secrets to get laid?! I can fix that." Faith tightens her grip.
Coleman grabs her above the hand. Using an old bouncers trick, he tightens down on Faith's wrist bone until she loosens up her grip. Not caring if she ends up bruising because he's way more concerned about his own--bruising that is. He tosses her hand away from him. "She's not going to say anything." He makes an adjustment in his trousers. "Geez Faith. I'd tell you to get a grip but you already did."
"She couldn't say anything if she didn't KNOW anything." Faith says bitterly. "Why didn't you tell her all your secrets instead!"
"Skye didn't ask. She's not stupid, Faith. She put one and one together and got the two of us. She saw your stuff... the baby furniture."
"Well then put a little gin in her juice. Put a little bloody in her Mary. Give her something else to think about than my business." Faith hisses drawing closer to Coleman again.
"I think that would be a mistake, Faith." Cole lifts both hands in a surrender motion and takes a step back. "I get it; neither of you play well with others." Faith gives him a look and Coleman half grins. "Well mostly don't play well with others. But Skye is an asset, Faith. Look how she came thru for you with a place to stay. She hates Corinthos, the old man too-- the only one she does get on with is AJ and you've already got him playing ball..."
Faith's cell phone rings. She holds up a hand to Coleman and then takes the call. "Why Miss Quartermaine, what a surprise to hear from you." Faith says too sweetly as she gives Coleman the glare of death.
"Faith, I don't know how to break this to you. I'm at Kelly's. I stopped for coffee between meetings and well..."
"Fowler's dead. Taggert is investigating. And the twin twits are all a twittering at Kelly."
"Taggart called me to identify the body. And I'm just as likely to get an arrest on who killed Fowler as I am on the bastard that burned down the gatehouse." Faith says bitterly.
"You know who did it?"
"Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies."
There is a long pause on the other end of the call as Skye processes that one. "I can live with that. I just wanted you to know I'm really sorry about Fowler, I got the impression he was important to you. I could tell he felt like he could get in your business."
"Yes, and look how he ended up." Faith says pointedly. Then she sighs. "I appreciate your call. It's probably about the only one I'm going to get. Fowler didn't have many friends. He wasn't that kind of guy."
"I was actually going to call you today."
"This fundraiser that AJ is putting together for the Ward House. A... little bird told me that you do flower arranging. I was wondering if you'd be interested. It's a lot of work and with the Princess Brat I'd understand..." Skye's voice trails off.
Faith is frowning. This is not what she's expected from the call and she wasn't sure how to answer it. "Sure. No problem. Get me the details." Faith hangs up the phone. "You told her about the flowers too? Was there anything you didn't tell her?"
Coleman shrugs guiltily.
"Could I please get some coffee here?" Skye finally asks impatiently to the diner at large. She is ignored by the blonde behind the counter who is too busy... twittering just like Faith said. Penny grabs a coffee pot by reaching over the counter. She brings it around to Skye's table only taking a second on the way to top somebody off who had their cup on the edge of the table after seeing she was coming round.
"Sorry. There was some trouble out back." Penny explains as she pours the cup.
"Yeah, that explains today." Skye snarks. "Would it be possible to just find out when you're working so I know when its safe to come and get something to eat and actually make my next appointment on time?"
Penny laughs and shakes her head. "I wish you were kidding but I don't think you are."
AJ comes up behind his sister. "Good-- you got a table in Penny's section." He gives Penny a wink.
"Actually it's Courtney's but I don't think she'll be stay... nope there she goes." Penny watches the other waitress leave without so much as a see ya later. She sighs heavily. Liz has the afternoon off to be with her guy. Oh well. "Do you need to see a menu or..."
AJ looks over at the blackboard. "Special sounds good. You have time, Skye?"
Skye looks at her watch. "Sure. Special is fine." Penny makes a note on her pad and leaves to put the order in.
"So how is it going?" AJ pulls up a chair across from Skye. "Any more trouble with Taggart?"
Skye leans in to give the update confidentially. "He's kinda got his hands full with a murder out in the back alley. The Quartermaines' little arson is already off the radar."
"Too bad. The time I have a real alibi." AJ sighs. "So why?"
"I wanted to give you an update on the Ward House fundraiser." Skye brings out her dayminder and flips the page open to her planning page and reverses it so that AJ can see. "The RSVP's are solid. It's already sure to be a success for the Ward House."
"Faith is doing the flowers?!"
"It's kinda penciled in for now. I talked to her a minute ago but with everything that's going on right now..."
"You talked to Faith a minute ago." AJ repeats shaking his head. "I must have entered the twilight zone. When did you get so chummy with Faith?"
"I'm not chummy with Faith." Skye says defensively. "I just happened to be there when she saw what Grandfather did to the gatehouse. So I lined her up with Brenda's cottage. It wasn't chummy."
Edward strides into Ned's office not bothering with being announced. "What do you think you're doing?! Moving that poor child into a hovel on the wrong side of the tracks! When you and your bride and that precious child could have a whole wing..."
"Here." Ned says flatly and hands Edward a folder.
"An itemized list of everything lost in the fire. Turn it into the insurance company at your own peril. I'd advise you to just cut a check... from your personal accounts not ELQ. If you choose to involve the insurance company then I'm sure there will be an investigation. And I'm no lawyer but I'm sure it would be easier to prove you started that fire in a civil suit than in a criminal one."
"Shut up, Grandfather. I'm not finished. I said your personal accounts not ELQ because you don't have check writing privileges with the company anymore."
"This is my company. I created it! How dare you!"
"Thanks to Skye, ELQ is a publically held company with a responsibility to it's stockholders of which you are only one. You get dividends when the company makes a profit just like everyone else. If you don't like it then I suggest you sell."
"I put you in that chair. I can take you out." Edward threatens.
"Fine." Ned snarls. "And I'll make sure that the last thing I do is to turn this company over to the SEC with a copy of every check you've written since this company went public. And you'll be in jail just like all the other corporate thieves caught dipping in the company till!"
"Now Ned..." Edward decides this angle just isn't working. "There is no need to be... hasty."
"Hasty. HASTY?!" Ned bellows. He rises to his feet. "Do you see this suit, Grandfather?"
"Yes. And?" Edward says impatiently.
"Nice isn't it? Italian. Custom. Doesn't quite fit. That's because it belonged to Faith's DEAD husband. It's this or off the rack until I can get the time to have a new wardrobe made. Do you see this, Grandfather?" Ned holds up a framed picture on his desk. "This is the only picture I have of Brook Lynn. The rest went up in the fire. Do Not Lecture Me About Being HASTY!"
"Take up golf, Grandfather. You're retired. You'll never work in this company again. Make a fuss and I'll tell the world why. Have the check to me by the end of business today. Oh and Grandfather, stay away from Faith and Kristina if you value your life. I might fire you but my wife will kill you."
Edward turns and charges thru the door almost knocking Zander over. "Get out of my way, you deviant!" Edward snarls.
Zander waits until it's clear and walks into Ned's office. He grins at Ned hoping to ease the tension. "Wow. That was mild for the old man. You could tell his heart just wasn't in it."
"Grandfather has his mind on other things." Ned does a shuffle of papers on his desk and then sits back down. He adjusts the suit jacket that is just a little too full in the chest but might fit properly if he was wearing something like say... a shoulder holster. "Have his office boxed up... personal items only and sent to the mansion. Have the contents of his safe removed... brought to my office."
"You're firing the old man from his own company?" Zander wonders.
"Do you have problem with that?" Ned asks.
"Hell no. I think it's kewl. Does he get a going away present? Gold watch or something?"
"Or something. Take care of that."
"I'm on it." Zander hands over the papers he'd been bringing to Ned and heads back out.
Faith glances over to the park bench. Alice was settled in and the baby was taking her fresh air snooze. There was time to conduct a little business. "Bruno?"
"Yeah, Faith?" Bruno comes over to his boss already reaching for the phone figuring that's what Faith wants. Faith jerks his head around with the force of her slap. His hand comes up to cover the red mark on the side of his face. Faith backhands him going the other direction. "What's that for?! What did I do?!" Bruno protests and starts backpedaling but not too far. He'd rather take a beating from Faith than have her shoot him.
"Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It's time to slap the stupid right out of you."
"Shut up and just listen. Because if you don't get it right the first time then I'm going to beat you until you get it. Capice?" Faith lifts a brow eyeing Bruno to see if he'd gotten that info before continuing. Bruno just keeps rubbing on the side of his face and works his jaw to make sure that everything is still attached. "Fowler is dead. He was stupid one time too many and it was his last. He didn't follow my orders and he let himself be lured back here to an ambush. They dumped him in a dumpster outside of Kelly's like he was trash for the cops to find. Like trash!"
"It was Morgan. I'll take him, Faith." His head jerks to the side as Faith lets him have it again. This time he takes a step hopefully out of her swinging range. Damn ring that Faith always wears cut him across the cheekbone.
"You Moron! THINK!"
"Fine! Fine!" Bruno brings up both of his hands in a fighting stance to protect his face. "Just let me think for a minute. Don't hit me nomore."
"Fowler was my guy." Faith says in a low hiss as she walks around Bruno. He cringes, his shoulders coming up when she's behind him. "He's gone and now I need someone who can think. What is the priority here?"
"Your safety and the baby; nuthin' can happen to the baby." Bruno says by rote. He's got that one down.
"Very good. What else?"
"Making sure that Fowler didn't have anything that could lead back to you?" Bruno guesses.
"Such a smart boy." Faith comes up to Bruno and he recoils wondering if he's going to get hit again but instead Faith caresses the side of his face and then presses a gentle kiss to the bruise she'd created. "I knew you had it in you, Bruno. That's why I've been so patient. I have been patient with you, haven't I?"
"Yeah, Faith. I know I've been slow catchin on sometimes. And I'm real sorry, Faith. I'm real sorry about Fowler too, Faith."
Faith sighs. "I'll take care of Fowler. I have to wait until the police are done. But I'll make sure he's treated right." Faith strings an arm thru Bruno's and then brings up her other hand across her body to pat and pet Bruno's arm as she thinks and plans. "You need to have one of the guys go thru Fowler's place and make sure that there is nothing there. Atlantic City too. Make all the phone calls after you're sure you've got the security covered, but be careful, Bruno."
"Why's that, Faith?"
"Because it wasn't Morgan. Somebody wants us to be too angry to realize that. They want us to attack Corinthos before I'm ready. Sonny is gonna die for what he did to Roscoe, for what he did to me, but it's going to be on my timetable." Faith slowly smiles and it sends an icy shiver down the new Lieutenant's spine. "In fact I think I'll send a message to Sonny's lil Bunny telling her-- and him-- just that."
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