“Glowing? I don’t beam or glow,” added Sophia. Carlotta served her sandwich. Sophia paid her and headed for the door, “Sorry I can’t stick around Vega. I got fish to fry.”
Antonio watched her leave and at the last minute decided to follow her realizing his feisty partner was up to something and he wanted to know what.

Todd leaned back on the bed. He felt terrible but Sophia had really…taken care of him and he did appreciate it. She was quick. Sharp. He liked that about her. There was a quality about her…that he admired. Her conspiratory nature maybe? Even though he hadn’t known her long, he knew he could trust her.



Sophia walked up to the front door and paused to admire the mansion. It was grand. Regal. Classy. Everything she wasn’t. She ran the doorbell and adjusted her jacket. The door opened. It was Ben.

“Hey Sophia, what are you doing here? Trouble at the bar?” he asked lightly.

“Nah…Blondie home?”

“She’s in the den. What do you want Blondie for?” asked Ben getting suspicious.

Sophia made a face and tugged at her collar. Nosy bastard.

“Look Ben, you’re a good dude and all but I gotta talk to Blondie alone,” said Sophia deciding on the straight up approach.

“Me and Blondie don’t have secrets,” said Ben getting angry and crossing his arms. Sophia was afraid he’d wig out and try to push her around like he usually did.

“Is something wrong?” asked Viki walking up behind Ben.

“Sophia says she’s got to talk to you in private and I told her we had no secrets,” explained Ben.

Sophia felt like she was dimed out and coped and attitude.

Viki looked confused and stared at Sophia, “What would you want with me Sophia? You work for Ben part-time at the bar.”

Sophia was getting frustrated and angry, “Look, Ms. Carpenter, I’ve got something wicked important to tell you – and only you! And if you don’t want to hear it, fine! I’ll find some other way to help him.”

Somehow, even though she’d only known Todd for a handful of days, it was very important to her that she assist him in any way she could.

Him? Viki was immediately struck by that word.

Viki’s head turned and she met Sophia fiery gaze staring deeply into the young girl’s eyes, trying to read her. She was convinced Sophia was sincere and desperate. She turned to Ben who hovered over her like a protective guard dog.

“Ben, I’m convinced Sophia has good intentions. I’ll talk to her alone…” instructed Viki.

“Blondie!!” he protested.

“Ben, trust me on this. I’ll talk to Sophia, alone.”

Ben sulked out of Llanfair and Antonio, who was lurking the bushed took note. Why were Sophia and Viki alone? What was his partner doing with Llanview’s classiest dame?

Viki walked into the den followed by Sophia. She closed the doors.

“Sophia, what did you mean by him?” asked Viki.

“Your brother wants to see you,” said Sophia evenly feeling a bit outclassed in Llanfair.

“Todd?” exclaimed Viki in shook, “He’s here in Llanview?”

“Yeah. And he’s hurt. I found him on the docks and I’ve been taking care of him,” added Sophia proudly.

“He’s all right?”

“He’s worried about something. Says his chick was kidnapped and now he’s worried about you…” continued Sophia.

“Téa’s been kidnapped?!” Viki was completely taken back by Sophia’s information.

“Yeah, but I never figured ADA Delgado was his type. Look, he wants me to take you to him but it’s just gotta’ be us and you can’t tell anyone he’s back. He’s afraid he’ll put you all in danger…” finished Sophia.

Viki swallowed. What mess had Todd gotten himself into now?

“Take me to him,” said Viki. Her heart was torn. She cared Todd deeply but had been extremely hurt when he used her illness to get out of going to prison again. Compassion and love for her brother won out though.

As Sophia and Viki walked out, Sophia heard rustling bushes. It wasn’t windy out. She took a quick glance around and saw nobody but her guard was up. She had that eerie sensation that she was being watched. Something wasn’t right but she couldn’t quite place it. Sophia insisted Viki get in her car and she drove off spying Antonio’s car at the end of the block. Suspecting her partner from the academy followed her from the diner, Sophia took an alternate route through her old neighborhood, which just happened to be the wrong side of the tracks. Her erratic driving though managed to spook Viki as Sophia took sharp, quick turns and drove incredibly fast. Once she was confident she’d lost him, Sophia took Viki to the docks.


Carlotta’s Diner…

Antonio sulked back into the diner after losing Sophia, disappointed with himself. He had underestimated her driving skills and her determination. And how did she know he was there in the first place? He took a seat at the counter and pouted. Carlotta came out of the back and pointed to the corner booth.

“Keep an eye on him,” she whispered.

Antonio turned around and saw RJ Gannon nervously sitting in the booth, staring at his cell phone, as if he was waiting for something or someone. Roseanne, possibly? He didn’t understand how Roseanne could be buds with him. Antonio got up and walked over to RJ, hovering over him.

“If you’re not going to get anything, maybe you should go,” said Antonio in a measured tone of voice.

RJ took a cup and gave it to him, “How about a refill?”

Antonio took the cup, “I’m watching you.”

“Whatever,” said RJ.

Antonio walked off.

Finally RJ’s cell phone rang. He answered it as if his life depended on it. Upset, he flung it across the diner. Antonio put down the coffee pot but RJ was up, breathing heavily, sobbing, and smashing the furniture, lashing out in an uncontrollable rage.

Antonio grabbed him and they struggled until the fight drained out of RJ. He collapsed on the floor, as Antonio held him.

“What the hell is going on with you, man?!” yelled Antonio.

Carlotta and Cris rushed out as patrons fled the diner.

RJ looked up into Antonio’s eyes and made a face. He swallowed, choking back tears. Upset with himself that he couldn’t do a thing right.

“She’s gone…” was all he muttered.

Antonio looked at him, confused as hell. Something was up. Was Sophia’s behavior somehow connected to RJ’s emotional outburst?


The Docks…

Todd examined his arm. It appeared to be healing well. Once he’d talk to Viki he was going to find out if RJ Gannon was behind Téa’s kidnapping, the threat of harm on his loved ones, and the attempt on his life, and if Gannon was, heaven help him. Why couldn’t he have a moment’s peace? He needed her and now she was gone and he had to have answers. He peaked out the window. Sophia drove up in her clunky Toyota and she had a passenger. Good. It would be good to see Viki again. He stared at Sophia as she got out of the car.

Sophia wasn’t drop dead gorgeous. No. She was like an everyday chick. And she didn’t put on airs about herself. She was always straight with him. And surprisingly, she had proved she was worth trusting. He found himself liking her despite himself.

The door opened and Viki walked in. Todd turned around. Viki looked shocked as she studied him. Finally, he walked toward her.

“Hey sis,” he simply said.

“What the hell is going on Todd? Is your arm all right?!” said Viki overwhelmed by the situation.

Todd just held his arm close to his chest in his makeshift sling as Sophia stood near the door quietly.

“No, actually, it hurts but I’ll get over it. Look, you gotta’ watch out for you…and Starr,” he said.

“Why? What’s going on?” she asked, “Are you in danger? Where’s Téa?”

“Téa ain’t here! She’s been kidnapped. Look, Sis, I need your word – this stays between me and you – and Sophia.”

He began to pace as he realized she was upset.

“I don’t have secrets with Ben,” Viki insisted.

“ARGH!” yelled Todd, “Look, I don’t know Mr. Whoever so I don’t trust him but I trust you. C’Mon Viki…this is important. I’m your flesh…and blood…”

Viki studied him. Clearly, he was upset too. And insistent.

“But I do trust him. That should be enough for you,” said Viki.

“But it isn’t,” said Todd.

“You obviously trust Sophia. A girl you barely know. Why is that Todd? I’ve known Ben a lot longer than you’ve known Sophia,” quipped Viki holding her ground.

Sophia nervously bit her lip.

“cos Sophia…is Sophia! She’s proved herself to me. Look…” stammered Todd, “I’m not joking here Viki.”

Viki said nothing. She turned around to walk out.

“Where are you going Sis?” he asked with a tone of desperation in his voice.

Viki paused, “Todd, I’m not going to play games with you. Either you trust me or you don’t.”

Todd felt backed into a corner, “Fine! Look! Whatever! I went to pay Téa’s ransom. Only Téa wasn’t there. The kidnappers tried to shoot me and threatened my family. You and Starr. I had to warm you and I want you to watch over Starr. Keep her safe while I try to find out who did this.”

Viki softened towards him but was very concerned by his words, “Todd, what did you and Téa get yourselves into?”

“Nothing. We were just trying to live our lives!” he spat.

“And what’s your brilliant plan to go after these people? Do you even know who kidnapped her?” questioned Viki, “Why don’t you go to the police?”

“No police. They don’t take me seriously anyway. They’d probably think I did Téa in,” said Todd.

“Well, I’ve got a pretty good idea…” chimed in Sophia.

Todd shot her a look that said, Shut up!

Sophia stopped in mid-sentence.

“Todd, I need answers. I need more…!” insisted Viki.

“I can’t give you more now. What I need from you is that you’re going to look out for Starr and be careful yourself.”

Viki could see it was important to him, “I will.”

“And don’t tell a soul – especially Blair ‘cos it might put you and Starr in danger…” he insisted.

Viki paused. She realized how much this meant to him. Finally she acquiesced.

“All right Todd. I need to go before Ben gets nervous then,” she said.

“I’ll take you back,” said Sophia quickly.

“I’ll take a cab,” said Viki, “No offense Sophia, but you just gave me the ride of my life.”

Sophia just grinned. She liked to drive fast.

“Sis, thanks,” said Todd.

“I feel like you’ve stuck me right in the middle of the mess that’s your life again Todd and I don’t understand it but for you, I’ll do what you ask. When can I see you again?”

“Soon, I hope,” he replied.

Viki smiled briefly and walked out leaving Todd alone with Sophia. Todd didn’t know how, but he suspected RJ Gannon knew something about Téa’s kidnapping and he was determined to prove it. After all, it wouldn’t surprise him if Gannon went after him like how Todd went after Gannon when RJ was seeing Téa. Damn, that Sophia had sharp instincts. He turned around and walked back to the window, glazing out of the corner, sure not to reveal too much of his face. Sophia stood there by the door, unsure of what to do or say next, only knowing that somehow her presence in the room brought him a sense of comfort.


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