Title: "A Little Bit Rusty" 1/1
Author: monimala
Fandom: "General Hospital"
Rating/Keywords: AC, Carly/Sonny, Carly/Jason, angst, adult situations
Disclaimer: Nope. Don't own them. And "Push" was written by Rob Thomas and Matt Serletic.
Summary: Takes place shortly after Jason returns to PC and Sonny is out on bail. (The week of 8/28). Basically a "what if"/"full circle" type deal.

She wished she could make him understand. She wished he would just look into her eyes and see that she'd fallen for him months ago and understand that she'd done everything for him. She wished he would see that love made her do crazy things without thinking about it. Love. Not hate. Not stupidity. But he refused to look. One thing was certain: Sonny Corinthos would never, ever, forgive her. Not this time.

she said I don't know if I've ever been good enough
I'm a little bit rusty, and I think my head is caving in
and I don't know if I've ever been really loved
by a hand that's touched me, well I feel like something's
gonna give and I'm a little bit angry...

"Sonny...Sonny, tell me you understand?" she whispered. Mascara tracks stained her cheeks. Her voice was hoarse from the apologies she'd been repeating for days. "I didn't mean it...I didn't mean to screw up."

"But you DID, Carly...you always do," he growled, dragging his hand across the sideboard and knocking a brandy decanter towards the carpet. Instinctively, he caught it before it could shatter and wake Michael. And he turned his back. He took a deep breath. He closed and opened his fist, willing away the animal that was emerging. It was all he could do. "You can't keep sayin' 'sorry'...it ain' always gonna cut it."

well this ain't over, no not here, not while I still need you around
you don't owe me, we might change
yeah, we just might feel good.

"Then what do I say, huh?" Her voice was strident...going from wounded to defensive in less than a second. "What am I supposed to do? Keep living here with my son and a man who will never forgive me? That's really good for him, you know...living with Uncle Sonny's hatred of his mommy. He'll grow up real healthy. I might as well give him back to A.J."

He whirled around, eyes black with rage. "I told you...never use Michael to manipulate me. I won't have it. It won't work." He moved towards her and she backed up towards the back of the sofa. "The problem is not Michael's well being. It's you, Care-o-line. And that isn't going to change! Because you can't change!"

"I could change!" she threw back, clenching her hands so tightly that her nails drew blood. I could change if you loved me, she added, silently.

"And pigs will fly!" Sonny shouted. "You're a walking disaster, Carly."

All she could do was nod. It was no use to argue. Not anymore. "I know." She shrugged.

He seemed taken aback by her agreement. And the surprise took the anger from him. His shoulders deflated. Leaving the quiet disapproval...the shutdown that she'd had to get used to since the arrest. "I've got to go," he said, curtly. "I've got a meeting with Benny. Tell Jason if he comes by."

I wanna push you around, I will, I will
I wanna push you down, I will I will
I wanna take you for granted,
well, I will

She watched him walk out. Couldn't even say "Bye, Sonny...come home soon." Her voice wouldn't work. Neither would her knees.

As she sank to the floor and buried her face in her hands, she caught a glimpse of sympathy in Johnny's eyes as he pulled the front door closed behind his boss. And that was almost worse than everything else. Sympathy. From Johnny. Who was paid to be loyal to Sonny. And Sonny, himself, couldn't bother with seeing her side.

Carly broke down and cried....knowing that tears wouldn't save her. Nothing could.

Except the door opening again.

And the man who stood there.

She scrambled to her feet.


she said I don't know why you ever would lie to me
like I'm a little untrusting
when I think the truth is gonna hurt ya
and I don't know why you couldn't just stay with me
you couldn't stand to be near me
when my face don't seem to wanna shine
cuz it's a little bit dirty

She stared at him with big brown eyes...and the addiction for him was bright. The plea. The silent question. Jase, will you save me? Just like it had been before he'd left. He cupped her face in his hands and looked down, helpless to do anything but take her pain into him like he always had. The tears were flowing down her cheeks like the rushing waters of the Nile. And it affected him more than seeing the famous river ever had.

She was hurting. Hurting so badly. And it wasn't a lie. It wasn't a manipulation. It was just Carly needing him to fix things. Like always.

He knew he shouldn't...he couldn't...that giving her any kind of hope was both their damnations. But he felt his resolve crumble.

well, don't just stand there, say nice things to me
I've been cheated, I've been wronged,
and you don't know me, I can't change
I won't do anything at all

The shadow of her dead son, of the grief she'd borne for months, gave her face more character...less selfishness than before. And it was that character that drew him to wrap his arms around her, pull her head against his chest, kiss her hair. "It's okay..." he whispered. "It's okay. I'm here now."

"Thank God," she sobbed into his shirt. "Oh, Jase, thank God..." Her entire body was shaking.

He stroked her back, feeling the thin silk of her blouse bunch up under his fingertips. "Carly...did he...did he hurt you?" Part of him knew the question was stupid. Sonny would never lay a hand on her...but part of him wasn't so sure. Part of him just wanted to protect her from everything and anything.

"No," she gasped out, brokenly, sniffling. "No...anything he said, I deserved, right?"

"Probably." He smiled against her forehead and she mock punched him in the stomach, proving he was all ready making her feel better.

"Gee, thanks." She pulled back, wiping her nose and cheeks with the back of her sleeve. Her eyes were still red and puffy...but the sheepish grin was genuine. "Are you gonna lecture me, too, now?" she demanded.

He shook his head, sighing. "Would that work? No."

I wanna push you around, I will, I will
I wanna push you down, I will I will
I wanna take you for granted,
well, I will

"So what would work?" she wondered back, feeling the dark place in her chest start to break apart and float away.

Jason's blue eyes never held judgment. Maybe it was the knock his head had taken six years ago, but they never held anything but clarity. Clarity that was totally contagious and totally heady.

"You tell me," he murmured. "A lot has changed since I've been gone." He gestured at the general decor of the penthouse and grinned.

"Uh uh." She shook her head. "One thing hasn't changed. I still love you." She did. She still loved him despite everything. She always would. No matter what she felt for Sonny...Jase had always been her first real love. Her best friend. Her savior.

His smile disappeared. Seriousness making his face so handsome. So unbelievably Jason that she wanted to start crying all over again.

"Carly..." he began.

She covered his mouth with her fingers. No. "Don't say anything," she pleaded. Just this time. She wanted him to save her just one last time.

And she reached up on her toes, brushing her mouth across his lightly. Tentatively. Giving him time to pull away. To accuse her of using him.

But he didn't.

He just crushed her to him and kissed her back with all the emotions she knew he'd never stopped feeling.

oh but don't bowl me over
just wait a minute
well it kinda fell apart,
things get so crazy,
don't rush this baby,
don't rush this baby

He knew it was wrong. Knew he shouldn't be kissing her. Knew he shouldn't be opening up a door he had shut and locked himself a year ago. But she'd been right when she'd said, the other day, that he'd been lonely. He was still lonely. There was a hole inside that needed to be filled. He'd missed his son. He'd missed his son's mother. He'd missed his family.

And, on that level, kissing Carly was so right. It felt so right to take back everything he'd lost. He twined his fingers in her hair, urging her mouth open for him so he could taste her brandy-soaked tongue. He pulled her lush hips against his with his other hand and they stumbled, together, towards the sofa.

Just as they sank to the cushions in a tangle of limbs and lips and desperate sounds...the door opened. For the third time in as many minutes.

They froze.

"Carly...I didn't want to leave things the way they were...I'm sor--"

Sonny's face paled.

And time stopped.

"Oh, no..." she whispered. "Oh, no...Sonny...no." She leapt off the couch, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand as fresh tears rose and fresh horror choked her voice. "Please..."

Jason knew, then, that he truly had lost her.

And that she'd lost more.

I wanna push you around, I will, I will
I wanna push you down, I will I will
I wanna take you for granted,
well, I will

Once again, she had betrayed the man she loved with his best friend.

And she knew there would be no second chances. Not this time.

The door slammed shut...the sound reverberated through the deadly still apartment. And, from upstairs, Michael started crying. He called for both "Mommy" and "Unca Sonny."

Her own sobs joined his. She called for his "Unca Sonny", too.

She turned into Jason's comforting arms, this time with no intentions except to drown. "I love Sonny. Oh God, I love him so much," she told him, hysterically. "I love him and now he'll never know. He'll never care. I screwed up AGAIN! Chalk one more up for Carlybabes the walking disaster!"

Jason knew better than to correct her, to offer sweet lies and assurances. He just let her cry on his shoulder. He let her pretend that he could fix this. It was nice. It was a nice, momentary, illusion.

Nothing could fix this.

It was the story of her life

. A story that needed to end.

One way or another.

"I've got to get him back," she said, softly. "I will get him back," she promised herself, not caring how futile it was.

She would get him back.

She would make him forgive her.

Make him love her.

And then she would change.

--The End--

August 2000.

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