The Hot Zone

Chapter 19


Zander let Angela cry on his shoulder for a moment, although he was a little confused as to why she was so upset at Dr. Benson's passing. Unless she knew that her brother was behind it, as Zander suspected. For the most part, Zander found it hard to believe. He managed to coax Angela out of his room. The moment she was gone, Zander jumped in the shower, then he got dressed. He went downstairs and found his father in a rage. Zander stood in the doorway of the drawing room and watched his father hurl a few glasses against the wall. After a moment he noticed that Leo was in the room as well, sitting in a corner chair, watching the show. Zander confronted him. "Did you kill him?" Zander demanded.


Leo smiled. "Why would I?"


"You tell me." Zander needed to know.

"Do you know how he died?" Leo countered.

Zander shook his head. A part of him wanted to know. He wanted this to be real. "How?"


Leo drew one finger along his neck in a slashing motion. "Throat cut."


"Why did you do it?" Zander looked into Leo's eyes and saw the truth.


"I don't like to share, Zander," Leo drawled. He stood up and grabbed Zander by the arm, hauling him in close to whisper in his ear, "I knew he was fucking you...even before he tried to warn me to leave you alone. But you belong to me, Zander." Leo paused to nip at Zander's earlobe. "Never forget that."


Zander pulled away and left the room. He wandered about until his father found him, sitting in the dining room. Zander said nothing as his father sat down across from him.

Tony sighed and rubbed at his face with one hand. "I'm sorry this had to happen. Emil was a good man."


"If you say so," Zander replied. He wondered what his father would say if he told him how Dr. Benson had fucked him. He decided it wasn't worth going there.


"I'll find another doctor tomorrow. We'll keep you on your meds, Zander. I'll take care of it."

Zander shook his head. "Don't do that, dad...please," he begged. "I'm doing what you want me to do. You don't have to drug me anymore."


Tony locked eyes with his son, then nodded. "All right...for now. We'll see how things go." He stood up slowly. "I have to call his family and help them make arrangements."


"Okay." Zander watched his father leave. The house was silent and Zander didn't hesitate. He headed out the patio door and ran for the perimeter gate. He knew which tree he could climb to jump over the gate and he scaled it with ease. It reminded Zander of climbing the tree outside of Emily's window. That seemed like a million years ago. Zander shook the thoughts from his head as he hit the ground and began to run.


* * * * *


Nikolas stepped out of the car. Jason had been driving and they had pulled up to Tony Castle's estate. The perimeter was surrounded by a massive fence. "We won't get in unless we're invited," Nikolas stated.


Jason just looked at him. "We'll get in," he replied.

Nikolas believed him.


* * * * *


Zander ran all the way to the main road, then he began to walk. He knew he would have to walk for endless miles to reach a safe destination, and that he had no money, no extra clothes...nothing. But he didn't care. He just wanted to get away from his father and the life he was being forced to live. So he kept walking.


How many hours passed, Zander didn't know. He wasn't wearing a watch. But he suddenly realized that a car was slowing down from behind him. He stopped as a blue sedan pulled up beside him.

"Want a ride?" asked the guy in the passenger seat.


"No thanks," Zander replied, and kept on walking.

The car pulled out in front of him, forcing Zander to stop. He backed up a bit as the passenger door opened and the man stepped out. Too late, Zander saw the gun in his hand.


The man grabbed Zander by the arm. "Get in," he stated, even as he shoved Zander into the back seat.


"Fuck," Zander whispered, as the man got in beside him and the car drove off.


* * * * *


Leo was the one who realized Zander was missing. He told Tony he would take care of finding his son and he sent men to search for Zander. He was not a happy man.


* * * * *


Nikolas was impatient. They hadn't tried to enter the estate the way he wanted to. If Zander was in there, Nikolas wanted to get to him. Now. But Jason insisted that they wait and after a few hours, the main gates opened. Several cars drove out. Jason was on the other side and Nikolas watched him move to the gate and fiddle with the door in some way as it was closing. Then Jason was gesturing for Nikolas to join him. He ran over. "What's going on?"

"Time to go in," Jason replied. The gate had jolted back into place and Jason gripped the latch. He jiggled it and it unlocked. He pushed the gate open just enough to slip inside.

"Nice work," Nikolas commented, as he followed. Then they were both silent as they ran towards the house, keeping to the shadows. Nikolas sent out a silent message to Zander. They would find him soon.


But even as they ran they saw another car making its way to the gate. Jason pulled Nikolas farther back into the shadows. Nikolas had just crouched down when he heard a boom and he stared in horror at the burning wreck of a car that coasted down the driveway. Whoever had been inside the car was dead now. His heart skipped a beat for a moment and prayed to God that it wasn't Zander.


* * * * *


"Do you work for my father?" Zander asked the man beside him.

The man almost laughed. "No."

Zander didn't believe him until they pulled into a private airstrip and boarded a small plane. If they had been working for his father, they wouldn't be flying away from home. "Where are we going?" Zander asked, only to be shoved into a seat. Then he was held there as the other man pulled out a syringe and stabbed it into his shoulder. Zander didn't put up a fight. Rather, he welcomed the dark oblivion.


* * * * *


When Zander woke up, it was to find himself in familiar surroundings. His old room, at Sonny's penthouse. It should have surprised Zander, yet somehow it didn't. Once again he was back at yet another beginning. His life was just a serious of endless circles, and no matter what he did he couldn't seem to break out of the cycle. Slipping out of bed, Zander took a shower then dressed in jeans and a blue pullover. He then headed downstairs and he found Sonny eating breakfast. Zander moved to confront him. "Why did you bring me back here?"

"Because I could," Sonny replied.

"My father will come for me," Zander warned.

Sonny smiled. "No he won't. He's dead."

Zander felt his knees buckle and he backed up a step to the nearest chair and sat down. "What...what did you say?"

"I said your father is dead. He died in a car explosion."

"Did you kill him?"

Sonny set aside the paper he had been reading and locked eyes with Zander. "What if I did?"

Zander held Sonny's gaze. "Then I would owe thanks." He felt conflicted about his father's death. He was sorry Tony Castle was dead, but a part of Zander felt like a part of him was now fading away. Maybe that was a good thing.


"You do owe me, Zander," Sonny allowed.


"What do you want from me?" Zander knew that Sonny hadn't saved him out of the goodness of his heart.


Sonny stood up and moved to the side table. He poured two cups of coffee and brought one to Zander. "I want you to go back to work for me at the Club. Just like before. You'll dance and you'll service clients. But it will be different this time. I'll screen them more carefully. No one like Arroyo. I won't sell you out to anyone. You'll be exclusive to me."


Zander shook his head. He couldn't go back to that life. "No...I won't do it. Ask anything else."


"I don't want anything else, Zander. Think about Alexis and the baby. Same deal as before, kid. And Roscoe is still out there."


"You sonofabitch," Zander whispered.

Sonny shrugged. "I am who I am. we have a deal?"


Zander closed his eyes and nodded. "It's not like I have a choice."

"Well...I have a present for you," Sonny countered. "You can have Nikolas to make it...better...for you."

"What do you mean?" Zander wasn't sure if this was another threat or not. Another way to blackmail him into doing what Sonny wanted.

Sonny sat back down. "You do as you're told and you can have your relationship with Nikolas. I won't interfere."

Zander was surprised. "You mean it?"

"I mean it." Sonny reached for his paper. "You've been through hell, Zander. A hell that I put you in. I owe you this much."

"Thank you," Zander said, realizing how twisted his life had become that he would thank Sonny for making him a whore. Because that was the bottom line.


Sonny was about to reply when Carly came bursting into the room. She made a beeline for Zander, hauling him to his feet to hug him.


Zander hugged her back.

"I missed you," Carly said as she squeezed Zander with all her might.

"I missed you too," Zander replied, and he meant it.


* * * * *


Nikolas tried to sleep. They had left the estate after the car had blown up. Jason had gotten a call on his cell phone. Good news. More or less. Zander was back in Port Charles, with Sonny. So he and Jason were on a plane...heading home.


* * * * *


Zander couldn't sleep. He had spent the day with Carly, then had begged off dinner, claiming he was too tired to eat. And he had dozed for a bit, but had been plagued by nightmares. So Zander slid out of bed and headed for the shower. He came out of the bathroom, with only a towel wrapped around his waist, to find Carly waiting for him. She was wearing a black, silk, robe. "What are you doing here?" Zander asked.

Carly smiled then reached for his hand. "Come with me," she said.

"Let me get dressed," Zander said, trying to tug his hand free.

"You don't need to get dressed," Carly replied, leading Zander out the door.

Zander said nothing as he followed Carly down the hall to the master bedroom. When she pulled him inside, he wasn't the least bit surprised to find Sonny on the bed, naked, and smiling at him.




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Shelly 2004