Rain: A Luke/Alexis, Sonny/Carly short story

Rain: A Luke/Alexis, Sonny/Carly short story</b>

Part One: It Don't Just Rain....


She burst in the door, almost unable to close it again as the rain and the wind gusted after her. Alexis loosened her jacket, pulling the scarf off her hair and stamping her feet, drops of water and bits of ice falling everywhere with every motion she made. Once she began to feel less like a drowned rat and more like a human being, Alexis lifted her head and began to process exactly what shelter the storm had driven her to seek. "Oh, perfect," she said, under her breath, "exactly the coda I need to this day." After a long moment of debating which was preferable -- perishing in the storm or facing this, Alexis sighed and took a step towards the bar. "Luke," she called out, "are you here?"

Alexis narrowed her eyes as she peered into the shadows of the empty room. Luke's was a different place without light, without music, without people. It was almost eerie; Luke's unique brand of decorating incorporated many -- strange -- objects which may have been innocuous in the light, but with shadows peeking around the corners, they seemed anything but. "Luke?" she called again, taking another tentative step further into the room. She jumped and whirled around as a loud bang sounded behind her, closing her eyes in relief as she saw the shutter that had come loose on the outside of one of the windows. "Enough, Alexis," Alexis muttered to herself, irritated with her own skittishness. It wasn't like her -- but then, maybe after a week like she'd had, she was entitled. She shook her head sharply, dismissing the thought, and moved briskly to the bar, going around to the back. Surveying the organized chaos with a raised eyebrow that said, as clearly as if she'd articulated the word, 'Luke', Alexis murmured, under her breath, "There's got to be a phone here somewhere."

"Try behind the stack of unpaid bills," came a voice from behind her. Alexis jumped, whirling around as her hand flew to her throat, and Luke Spencer sauntered out of a dark corner of the bar. "What's the matter, Lexi?" he asked, with a sardonic grin. "A little jumpy?"

Alexis stared at him, willing her heartbeat to return to normal. "Didn't anyone ever tell you," she asked through gritted teeth, "that it's not nice to sneak up on people?"

Luke shrugged. "Who's sneakin'? This is my club, baby; you're the one breakin' in after hours."

"I wasn't breaking--" Alexis broke off, making a dismissing motion with her hand. "I'm not doing this, Luke; I'm not in the mood for what passes with conversation with you tonight. All I want to do is use your phone." She let out an exasperated sigh, gesturing at the door. "My car stalled, it's raining, and the roads are starting to ice over."

Luke lifted the phone onto the counter wordlessly, nodding towards it as he raised the glass in his hands to his lips and drained it. Alexis' eyes narrowed slightly as she watched him, but what she had said earlier was true -- she was not in the mood for dealing with him tonight. She reached for the phone, deliberately turning her back to Luke, then paused, her hand still on the receiver. Luke studied her still back. "What's wrong, Princess?" he asked. "Sorry; rotary dial's all we got. I don't do the technology thing."

"It's not that," Alexis said, her voice muffled slightly as she remained facing away from Luke. "It's -- I don't know who to call," she admitted, her voice small, sounding very much, in that moment, like a lost child's.

"What about the Wonder Boy you married? I'm sure he'll brave his way through the storm to rescue you, Natasha," Luke drawled, leaning one elbow on the bar, and studying Alexis' profile.

"Jax is in Switzerland," she said briefly, turning to face him with a shuttered expression. "Besides, I'm not the person he's intent on rescuing right now." Alexis looked at Luke. "He's trying to find a doctor who can do something about Chloe's blindness. His chances are -- not good, but those are the kinds of odds Jax likes."

Luke raised an eyebrow, sensing what Alexis wasn't saying. "Your husband seems awfully concerned with Chloe Morgan," he said, then looked Alexis up and down. "Baby, if he's cheatin' on you with the blonde dressmaker, he's got even worse taste than I thought."

"Jax isn't cheating on me," Alexis said sharply. She considered her statement, and retracted slightly. "Or, he is, but -- not without my permission. Besides which, it was only fair since I was cheating on him. Or, I was." She sighed, shaking her head, then looked at Luke, who was returning her gaze with a lifted eyebrow. "You know, this is the absolute last thing I want to talk about tonight. In fact, I don't want to talk at all. I just want to call someone to pick me up, and go home."

"We tried that once before," Luke said, nodding at the phone. "You couldn't figure out how to dial." He reached down beneath the bar, pulling out a bottle of Russian vodka and a small shot glass without looking. He poured Alexis a shot, then glanced at her and made it a double, shoving it towards her. "So, your husband and Chloe Morgan, huh? My kid likes to play with Barbie dolls, didn't know the Australian did too. But, you," his eyes scanned her quickly up and down, "you never did seem much like the cheatin' type, Lex."

"Neither did you,"Alexis shot back, glaring at him. "But the whole town's talking about you and Felicia Scorpio these days."

Luke's sardonic grin slipped, and his eyes narrowed to small slits. He grabbed the bottle of vodka off the bar, pouring himself a shot and draining it in one smooth motion. "Off-limits, Alexis; we're not goin' down that particular trail of tears." He reached for the phone. "I'll call Ashton."

Alexis reached out, covering Luke's hand with her own, stopping him from dialing. "I never said anything about Ned," Alexis said quickly. Luke gave her a look, and she dropped her eyes, but she didn't drop her hand. "Ned isn't an option for me anymore," she said, her voice as matter-of-fact as she could make it. "He's -- he's married. And," her mouth twisted in what could have been anger or sadness, "he's discovered he's in love with his wife. End of story." Alexis jumped as a loud peal of thunder crashed, her hand moving off Luke's and to the pulse at the base of her throat. "I hate thunderstorms," she muttered, under her breath, looking past him to the windows, and the wind roaring past it.

Luke put the receiver to the phone back in it's cradle. "It's dead; you're not gonna be calling Ashton or anyone else. Looks like you're stuck here, at least 'til the storm dies down. Maybe even overnight, if it the roads are icin' over; you and me can have a pajama party," Luke leered at her. Alexis' attention was still focused on the storm outside the club -- and the one inside her brain. "Natasha?" Luke asked, reaching out to put a hesitant hand on her shoulder. She started violently, and turned to face him, her eyes wide. Luke looked at her with concern. "Ashton and Jacks are both idiots," he said softly. "The blonde don't have anything on you, babydoll. I've seen her; believe me, there's a difference between a little girl playin' dress-up and a woman who doesn't have to. You come out on the winning side no matter how you play that one. If Ashton and Jacks can't see that," he shrugged, "their loss."

Alexis looked at him, her eyes not quite focusing on him. "Ned and Jax are off-limits; you're not talking about Felicia, and I'm not talking about my -- whatever they are," she said, her tone sharp.

"Fair enough." Luke noticed Alexis shivering slightly. "You cold, Natasha? I got spare jackets, in the lost-and-found."

"I'm fine," she said, her body tensing again as another peal of thunder sounded. "Could you pour me another vodka?" Alexis asked, pushing her shot glass towards him. "And Luke," she glared at him, "my name is not Natasha."

"It's the name your mother gave you, Princess. Might want to think twice before turnin' your back on it," Luke said, pouring them both another shot, and clinking his glass against hers before draining it.

"Don't," Alexis spit out, her eyes going very dark, "don't you tell me about my mother! You know nothing about my mother and what she gave me." Alexis reached for the bottle, pouring herself another shot and downing it a practiced motion Luke couldn't help but admire.

"Lexi," he emphasized her name slightly, "you're guzzlin' those down pretty quickly. Not that I'm criticizing," he lifted his hands as she shot him a look, "just pointing out you're gonna have one hell of a headache tomorrow."

"Luke," Alexis leaned towards him, "my husband and my lover are both in love with the same woman -- who I can't even hate since she's been blinded in an accident. I'm living in a hotel. I haven't slept in days. My car stalled, and I'm stuck here with you. And, I really, really hate thunderstorms." She placed her glass down on the bar, hard. "Oblivion sounds pretty good to me right now, and if I can find it in the bottom of a bottle, so be it." She lifted her glass, draining the remaining liquid in it defiantly.

"Sounds like my line," Luke murmured. "I'm not gonna cut you off, Princess, don't worry. I make it a practice never to stop a woman who knows what she wants." He eyed her again; he hadn't seen Alexis this on edge since the night Katherine took her first swan dive. Luke scanned her clothes quickly; no bloodstains, he was guessing there was no dead body, this time. "So," he asked carefully, "wanna tell me why you're not sleeping?"

"Not particularly," Alexis said, then -- she met Luke's eyes. "I've been having these nightmares," she admitted reluctantly, her voice low. "Lately, I've just -- I haven't wanted to go to sleep."

"Nightmares 'bout what, Natasha?"

Alexis stared at him, her eyes wild. "That is not my name, Luke!" He made a concerned gesture in her direction, and Alexis snatched her hand away. "No! No, Luke. Natasha was a little girl who watched her mother's throat get slit right in front of her," Alexis choked out the words that she'd been swallowing back a very, very long time. Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the strangeness of the night, maybe it was just -- time. Her lip trembled, and a flash of lighting illuminated Alexis' very white face. "I died that day. My name," she took another long swig of the vodka, still staring at Luke, and beyond him, "my name is Alexis."

same night, same time

Sonny stepped into Kelly's, catching the doorway as he almost lost his balance on a slick spot of ice. "Damn," he swore lightly, shaking the damp out of his hair, and wincing as an icy cold shot of water ran down his back. For all his macho image, Sonny liked his creature comforts. And he hated the snow. He shook himself again, closing the door tightly behind him as the bells above the door rang.

Carly stepped out from the kitchen, calling out, "Bobbie? Everything's under control; I told you not to--" She stopped short as she saw Sonny, all the color draining out of her face momentarily. "What the hell are you doing here?" she demanded.

He nodded at the trees whipping furiously past the window, and the freezing rain and sleet clinging to them. "It's raining outside, Carly, case you hadn't noticed. I damn near killed myself just walking in the door." Sonny loosened the scarf around his neck, tilting his head slightly to the side.

"You can just walk on back out," Carly snapped, irritated as Sonny showed signs of making himself at home. "We're closed, Sonny; see the sign?" Carly indicated the door.

"'We'?" Sonny asked, sardonically. "Since when do you have anything to do with Kelly's?" He looked her up and down, scornfully. "You're not exactly the waitress type, Carly. And, I doubt your husband would want his wife actually getting her hands dirty. Wait," he said, pretending to have a new thought, "your hands are already just about as dirty as they come, aren't they? It just ain't the kind of dirt that comes off, no matter how hard you scrub."

"You are such an asshole, Sonny," Carly said, staring at him with contempt and hurt naked on her face. "Why do you always have to say things like that, huh? What the hell did I ever do to you, Sonny?" She held up a hand to forestall him as he started to speak. "And, don't give me crap about what I did to Jason or to my kid; what did I do to you that makes you treat me like public enemy number one?"

Sonny hesitated a moment, something raw in her voice hitting him. "It's not what you've done, Carly; it's who you are. Hey, I'll give you this; you're certainly no worse than what I am. For what that's worth."

"It's not worth a whole lot," Carly retorted. "'Cause I know exactly what you think of yourself." Carly hugged her arms tightly across herself, her voice weary. "Can we just not have this fight again? I think I know it by heart by now. Just leave, Sonny; turn around, walk away. That way neither of us will say, or do, anything we have to regret."

Sonny took a step towards her, his face twisting into what could have been a smile, had it not been totally devoid of humor or lightness. "Oh, but you never regret anything, do you, sweetheart?" he asked silkily. "Just pile up the broken, bleeding bodies behind you and move on, to your next disaster." A part of Sonny knew that even he didn't believe half of what he was saying to her, but he couldn't stop himself from saying it, nonetheless. Something about Carly brought out this thing in him, and it was either let it loose by attacking her or -- he shook his head sharply. The alternative wasn't an alternative. Once had almost destroyed both of them; he wasn't going to give into that again. He continued on the attack, taking another step towards her. "Regret ain't in your vocabulary, sweetheart; you don't ever look back, no matter who you leave behind, writhing on the floor."

"Unlike you, who's practically paralyzed with regrets," Carly shot back, her eyes flashing. "You live in this world where everything's your fault, everything's centered around you. Which is a worse crime, Sonny, huh? Going on with your life and not looking back at the things you can't change? Or sitting in your beautiful, dead penthouse refusing to live at all, no matter who needs--" Carly broke off, brushing by him, and grabbing her coat. "You know what? I'm not gonna do this; if you won't leave, then I will." She pulled the door open and stepped out, pulling her coat tightly about her as the wind and rain hit full force.

Sonny watched her leave, unable or unwilling to admit that she was awfully close to right. He couldn't keep his eyes off her as she struggled out into the night, her head bent to keep the storm off. "Damnit," Sonny swore as Carly slipped on the same patch of ice he'd slid on coming in and fell to her knees. Sonny was out the door, beside her, before he'd even registered the thought to move.

They came back into Kelly's, Sonny's coat now around Carly's shoulders, her arm unwillingly around his waist. Sonny ushered her to the counter, settling her on a stool before slipping around the counter, and pouring her a cup of coffee. He shoved it towards Carly. "Here. Drink this; you need to get warm again. Damn," he shook his head, no real heat behind his words, "you'll do anything to get away from me, won't you? Even if it means killing yourself."

Carly pushed the cup away, not looking at him. "I don't want it." She lifted her head, shivering slightly; she had hit the ice pretty hard; part of her shivering was fear for the baby. "Thanks for helping me," Carly said grudgingly.

Sonny didn't respond to her words of thanks, taking in her soaked hair and slightly chattering teeth. "Carly, drink the damn coffee," he said, exasperated. "You gotta get warm again; it's freezing outside, and you're soaked."

"I said I don't want it, Sonny," Carly protested, stubbornly. "It's got caffeine."

"Better to not sleep tonight then catch pneumonia," Sonny said. "What, you hate me that much that you'd rather get sick then drink something 'cause I poured it? Look, I'm sorry, okay? I'm sorry I drove you out into the rain; I'm sorry I was an asshole, earlier. Just don't be stupid, Carly; drink the coffee!"

"No!" Carly clutched his coat tighter about her, her jaw set, and her tone more than slightly hysterical. "No caffeine; I can't drink it, Sonny. I can't drink it because--" She looked up at him, letting out a short, brittle laugh. "Because I'm pregnant."

Part II