a . t h o u s a n d . t o m o r r o w s

He threw a glance over the glow of the candles, wondering what exactly she was thinking about. He'd been preparing for this night for weeks...months even, and now it was finally here. He'd cleaned the Penthouse, cooked a fabulously romantic meal, done everything in his power to make the night memorable and special for her, but yet, her reactions to the whole event seemed reserved. He didn't really know what to think.

Carly saw him looking at her, his expression one of deep thought intermixed with great confusion. Good, she thought, keep thinking whatever you are Sonny.  She was definitely not going to make this night easy. No way in a million years.

"So, how is the chicken," Sonny asked, trying to start any sort of conversation.

Carly threw a short glance at him and returned her attention back to the food. In a perfect world, she would have to tell him how wonderful the meal was...how wonderful everything was. The Penthouse was as clean as she had seen it in what seemed like years, but had only been a couple of months. The meal he had meticulously prepared for them to share was beyond good...it was absolutely wonderful. In a perfect world, she would have fluttered her eyes and gushed on and on about how great of a cook he was...how great of a man he was. But this was not perfect world.

"It's fine," she finally answered. Deciding to make him squirm a bit, she added, "A bit on the salty side though."

Sonny almost dropped his fork at that. Salty! She thinks my chicken is salty! The nerve. 

Sensing...knowing she was playing some sort of game, Sonny decided to play along. "Yeah, I thought so myself. I could've done a lot better."

That brought her eyes up real quick, he thought with a hidden smirk.

Carly blinked, not believing what she had just heard. "Ugh...yeah." She returned her attention back to her chicken, hurrying the bites to her mouth just as fast as she could chew them. He will not win.

Sonny dropped his fork on the plate and pushed it aside. Clasping his hands together on the tabletop, he put his chin down and studied her...watched as she began to perspire under his unwavering gaze.

Finally, she broke. "What do you want," she half barked, half yelled.

Sonny put his hands up in the universal sign of surrender. "What? I was just looking --"

"Staring," she interjected angrily.

"-- at the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on."

Carly rolled her eyes at that one. "Puh-lease!"

"I'm hurt Caroline," he returned with a look of the same emotion.

"I know what you want Sonny...what you're expecting. I'm just not sure I want to give it to you." Carly began to stand up, ready to declare victory when Sonny bolted out of his seat. "No! Sit. Dinner's not finished."

"I couldn't possibly eat anymore Sonny," she began as she pushed herself up.

"Sit. Down. Carly."

Meeting his gaze, Carly knew that he was serious. "Fine," she answered mildly as she made herself comfortable on the dining room chair.

Sonny picked up his plate, walked around to her side to fetch hers, and left the room, moving into the adjoining kitchen.

Carly looked to the door he had disappeared behind. There was no way he was going to win this time. She would not let him win.

In the kitchen, Sonny stared at the covered dessert and then looked back towards the door that seperated him and Carly. She was going down and she didn't even know it. With a grin, he picked up the tray and made his way back to dining room.

She didn't turn at the sound of the door opening to allow him back into the dimly lit room. She just stared at the centerpiece and the surrounding candles, trying to come up with a strategy to counter the secret attack she knew he had planned.

Setting the covered tray down in front of her in a flourish, Sonny swatted her hand away as she tried to reveal the treat underneath.Before she could utter a word of her disapproval, Sonny pulled over an extra chair, real close to her own, and sat down.

"Don't you think you're crowding my space," Carly asked him bluntly. She knew where this was going and it was her job to stop it.

"No. In fact, I don't think I'm close enough," he returned along with his amazing, dimpled smile.

Carly snickered and turned her gaze back to the covered tray. "This is about as close as you're going to get tonight," she muttered under her breath, making sure it was loud enough so he wold hear her though.

"I don't know Carly. I plan to get a lot closer before the night even begins."

"Well, good thing I'm a pro at thwarting plans, isn't it," she said as she made a move to uncover the dessert. Might as well get it over with.

"Uh, uh, uh, uh, " Sonny teased as he patted her hand away yet again. "Not until I say so."

"Then say so already. I'm getting tired," she ended with a fake yawn.

"I don't think you're tired Carly. I think you're playing games. You love to play games. You love to play games because you know I hate games. All through dinner, you've been playing...trying to trick me...make me think that you're not here...that your thoughts are somewhere else."

Carly tried an appalled look, but saw that it wasn't working.

"Come on Carly. How long have we done this? Going on six years now, isn't it?"

"So," she answered weakly. "Sonny, I don't care if you've known me since birth. Nothing is happening tonight."

"It's been forever Caroline," Sonny spoke in a low tone. "A man can only wait so long before his interests turn somewhere else--"

"Don't even think about it Corinthos! Your little friend will be gone before you can even set foot outside those doors."

"Ooh, touchy," Sonny chuckled. Sonny moved in closer, his lips making the briefest of contact with her right earlobe. "I love it when you get jealous Mrs. Corinthos. It makes me feel important."

Startled by the closeness of his lips...the closeness of him period, she pushed him away with her shoulder. "Just because I was dumb enough to marry you doesn't mean I have to put out everytime you get hard," Carly said with a raised eyebrow.

Sonny grinned. "Now, funny you would say something like that Carly. Exactly how long has it been? Oh yes, four months, three weeks, two days, and," he paused to look at his wristwatch, "eighteen hours. I should definitely be grateful."

"I was pregnant you ignoramus," Carly shouted as she smaked him on the back of the head.

"Word of the day on Seasame Street," Sonny asked of her use of the word ignoramus as he rubbed the sore spot on his head. He would get her to kiss it better later...

"No, it wasn't. And you would know the word of the day better than me, Sonny. Oh, I forgot. Your favorite show is the Teletubbies. What are their names, Curly, Moe, Fred, and Barney?"

Sonny grimaced at the names she gave his and the children's favortie tv characters. It had taken a lot of wheedling from Carly for him to agree to a television, but he found that the kids liked it so he was willing to make the change to his life. He had actually made a lot since taking Carly as his wife, none of which he regretted today.

"For your information, their names are Tinky-Winky, Po, Laa-laa, and Dipsy!"

Carly looked at his afronted face and burst out laughing.

"What," Sonny asked.

"Nothing," she said between giggles. "Its just that, that you actually know their names. That's pathetic Sonny, especially for you."

"Can I help it if I love my children, therefeore having to love the things they love as well."

"Michael doesn't love that crap! He's much too sophistacted for the Teletubbies."

"Micahel is eight. He's more into finding things to blow up than tv. But Rebecca and Samuel, they love the Teletubbies."

At the mention of thier names, Carly's thoughts moved to her daughter and son. Rebecca, who was quickly approaching five, had been her savior from the bonds that losing her son had placed her in. She had never felt as if she could forgive or simply even forget. But after Sonny had told her he still wanted a family for the them and they had gotten over the initial grieving period, she had found out of her pregnancy with Rebecca.

"You know, maybe I should call Leticia and just see how they're doing," Carly said, now worried about her kids.

"No," Sonny said as he pushed her back into the chair. "Rebecca will be fine. Sam has his night light and they both love playing with Mark and CJ, you know that!"

Samuel, her two-year old son, had also been a blessing in disguise. After the awe of having Rebecca had faded, their family had moved into a robotic trance, with things being done because they were on the schedule and no real time to communicate as a unit. Then, she had found out she was pregnant, a mistake if any could occur since they had decided to wait a few years before having another child. Even so, they had all accepted Samuel with open arms as a new addition to the family, one that brought them closer together.

Carly raised her hand to her mouth, ready to take a nervous bite, when Sonny captured it and brought it to his lips for a kiss.

"Don't worry Carly. Leticia and Reginald will take care of them. Plus, Francis and Pete are right outside the door, you know that."

Carly looked to him, still worried, though his words calmed her a bit...but just a bit. "I should call Jackie to check on Michael then," she said, taking her thoughts away from her other children to her oldest child. Though it had been one of the hardest things to do, Carly had finally allowed AJ back into Michael's life, only after making sure he was clean and sober for over a year and would pose no threat or danger to her little boy. The two had immediately developed a close bond, though Michael still thought of Sonny as his father.

"Woman, you need to calm down," Sonny interceded before she could make another move to get up from the table. "Michael is fine. He loves spending time with AJ, Jackie, and his little brother. Rebecca, Sam, and Evan are all fine!"

Carly tried to hold back her tears, but felt she couldn't. She raised a hand to wipe one away, quickly, as to keep her sadness and fear from her husband. Yet, Sonny was not easily fooled.

"Don't cry Carly," he said softly as he pulled her closer with his arm. "The kids are all fine. They all have gaurds on them. Nothing will happen."

"I know," came her muffled response as she continued crying into his soft, cotton shirt. "I just...you know I haven't been away from Evan for more...more than an hour," she cried into his shirt. "I just want to know if he's okay."

"If there was a problem, Bobbie would have called...Johnny would have called." Sonny almost rolled his eyes, thinking of the measures he had to take before she even allowed their seven-and-a-half week year old son out of the Penthouse.

"B-b-but, I'm a new mother...again...and...I just wanna hold my baby."

"You can hold him tomorrow when he gets back," Sonny exclaimed as he took her face in his hands. "He will be all right, just like the rest of his brothers and sister. I promise you that Carly. I just...I just want us to spend some time together...enjoy this night."

"You just want to get me back into bed," she continued crying.

"Well, a man does have needs," Sonny joked.

Carly pushed him away. "I have needs too, Sonny Corinthos! And right now, I need to make sure my children are all right."

Sonny stood, hoping the towering effect it created would break through her sudden anger. "How many times do I have to tell you Carly? All of the kids are okay. They are safe and they are happy. Leave them alone." Watching her calm, he retook his seat. "Now, let's just have dessert, all right?"

"I already told you I wasn't hungry," Carly fumed as she wiped her face dry with the back of her hand.

"That's fine. I'll enjoy it then. The more for me anyway."

Carly watched quietly as he slowly moved his hand to the tray, then stopped, his fingers on the top. "I would hate to not share this with you though," he spoke solemnly as he slid a glance her way. "It just...wouldn't be as good."

"Fine," she exclaimed. And he claimed he hated games, the nerve of the man!

"So, you'll share? You want some then?"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Open it, for God's sake!"

Sonny grimaced at her use of the Lord's name, but decided to let it go for now. "Okay then. Dessert is served," he exclaimed as he lifted the lid of the tray to reveal two silk, rose scarves.

Carly picked both up, looking under for the dessert. "Where is it," she asked as she turned towards Sonny, who now had a very amused look on his face.

"You're holding it baby," he answered, his smile still in place.

She looked down to the scarves in hand before it clicked that he was playing the games now. Throwing them back on the tray, she turned to her husband. "Where's the real dessert, huh?"

Sonny sat forward, picking up the scarves and running them through his hand. "This is it Carly. The question you should be asking is, how are those two scarves going to make dessert for us."

Carly looked towards the kitchen. "Don't you have some chocolate...something, back there? Anything sweet?"

"If I can recall correctly, the last time I had you, you were very, very sweet."

Carly looked at him, then began to clap her hands. "Very nice Mr. Corinthos. Really, this about tops anything you've ever tried in the past."

"Tried and succeeded, Carly. I'm two for three, and I really expect to have a perfect record by tomorrow morning."

"Well, as I already told you, I'm tired." Carly stood and looked at him, still sliding the scarves between his fingers, caressing them as he were touching her. She abandoned those thoughts. She was going to win tonight. She would and nothing he could do would stop her.

"I'm going to sleep Sonny," Carly said as she turned to make her way up the stairs.

Sonny stood, the scarves still in hand, and blew out the candles on the table. Turning, he silently make the trek up to his room, where his wife was putting on the shirt, one of his old one's, she wore to bed.

"Carly, you won't need that tonight."

"Yes I will Sonny. It's kind of chilly outside."

"I'll keep you warm," he purred as he made his way over to his wife. Throwing the scarves on the large bed, he grabbed her by the waist and pulled her to him, making his need apparent with a wiggle to her bottom. "I don't know why you're fighting me Carly. It's been almost two weeks since the doctor said we could make love and yet, you've been pushing me away."

"I'm just asking you to be patient Sonny. Give me some time," she pleaded as he began licking her her ear, her cheek, her throat. "Stop it Sonny."

Twirling her around, but keeping her firmly locked in his arms, Sonny looked into her eyes. "You do this everytime Carly. You have the baby, and then you withdraw. It's almost as if you're just waiting...expecting for me to mess up so you'll have something to throw in my face."

"That's not true," Carly lied adamantly. "I'm just not comfortable with the way I look right after I've had a baby," she told him, which was part the truth.

Keeping his arms locked tightly around her waist, Sonny stepped back and let his eyes make the slow journey down her body. Though she still had the beautiful face from all those years ago, it was apparent that time, and the children had taken their toll on her, adding dark circles under her eyes. He would have to remember to book a spa appointment for her later that week.

His gaze traveled lower, to her breasts, big from the mother's milk they held, yet still nicely shaped...beautifully shaped in his eyes.

With each birth, she had obsessed about her wait, but not to the point of endangering the welfare of the child she held, which most times caused her to gain a few extra pounds. Though she usually shed them in the months after the birth, the stretch marks that remaied on her belly always served as a reminder to the wonderful event she had been a part of...now four times over.

Her thighs were still the same, still perfect around his waist as he moved within her. The brightly painted toes on her feet begged to be worshiped - caressed, kissed, loved.

Looking back into her eyes, he saw her uncertainty and for a split second, he doubted his actions. He didn't want to push her.

"Carly, I don't know how many times I have to say it. How many different ways. You're the only woman for me. We have a life together...a family. Those four children bond us together for the rest of our days here on earth. No other woman could possibly give me half of what you've given me. No other woman could even compare. I love you, yesterday, today, and a thousand tomorrows. Forever."

He broke the embrace he held her in and took her cheek into the palm of his hand. "If you're not ready, I'll understand. But you should also understand that I'm not going anywhere...I'll be right here, waiting for you. So when you're ready, just say the word."

Sonny dropped his hand, turned towards the bed to retrieve the two scarves.

Carly didn't want to cry, but how could she not after what he had just said. Though in part, it had become a sort of game to see which one could go the longest without the other, Sonny's call of her long held insecurities about their marriage, thier life together, rang so true. She was afraid she would lose him to someone else. That one day, he would wake up and realize what a mistake thier life together had been. And then, he would just leave. The simple thought of it made her desperate with fear.

She never questioned why he had wanted to continue a life with her, even after thier first child's death. Though she had put that time behind her, the guilt of that day still remained. It had been her own fault that her child had died; her own inability to keep control that had led her to goad AJ into grabbing her. Though she barely remembered her tumble down those stairs, she always wondered as to what her child had felt...how it had felt to lose it's life. That guilt would stay with her until she died. Only with the birth of Rebecca, and the subsequent births of her other children had she been able to go on with her life...to live it.

And then there was Sonny. Always there for her, no matter what mood she was in, no matter what phase she was going through. He would clasp his mouth, endure it, and wait for her to open the doors to communication. Sometimes, he seemed so unreal, she expected to close her eyes for a brief second, open them, and he'd be gone. Yet, he was always there.

And now, he had given her the greatest gift in the world - a thousand tomorrows of love. Forever.

She watched as he stood by the bed, caressing the silk scarves as she knew he would caress her, if she gave him the chance.

"Sonny," she whispered.

"Yeah," he answered, not removing his gaze from the scarves, but paying attention to her nonetheless.

"Only if I get to tie you up," she answered.

He turned around to find she was standing right behind him.

"Carly you don't have to..."

"A thousand tomorrow's Sonny. A thousand tomorrows," she whispered before she took his face in her hands for a passionate kiss.

She was sure they would have a thousand tomorrows together...and much, much more.

A Thousand Tomorrows
After The Kiss
1