“Hey, Stan. Come on in.” Mob boss Michael Corinthos waved the organization's computer expert into his office at the coffee warehouse. Sonny closed the solid steel door behind him, ensuring the privacy he desired for their conversation. “Have a seat.”

The directive was unnecessary. Sonny turned around to find the dreadlocked hacker already seated in Sonny's place behind the big oak desk. “Stan…”

“I need to connect,” Stan explained. “All this metal interferes with my wireless.” He began to connect his ever-present laptop to the phone lines beneath Sonny's desk. “You can sit there,” Stan gestured absently.

Sonny gave a long-suffering sigh and took a seat in the chair intended for visitors to his office. It wasn't worth reminding Stan that Sonny gave the orders in the organization. The young African-American hacker wasn't impressed by that fact. ‘ You do know that I can have you taken out with just a single word ,' Sonny had once jokingly threatened. ‘ Yeah, ' Stan had replied without a smile. “ Do you know I can make all your organization's assets disappear with a single keystroke? '

“Alrighty.” Stan's narrow fingers tapped out a furious rhythm on the keyboard. “Let's see what we have happening.” After only seconds Stan whirled the laptop around for Sonny to see. “Yep. There you go… just like you thought.”

Expecting the information and actually seeing it was two different things, Sonny thought. Still, he had to give her credit. “Man,” Stan jolted the mob boss from his contemplation of the screen, “that is one scary smile you're wearing.”

“Give me a moment, Stan.” Sonny nodded toward the door. “We'll talk about that other business in a few minutes.”

“Sure. I'll go try the new coffee we're offering. Even though,” Stan added, “our profits are coming off the backs of poor migrant workers who-”


“Right, Sonny. A few minutes…”

The steel door closed behind the hacker. Sonny reached over the desk and pulled his cellphone from the drawer. He thumbed the number ‘1' and listened to the phone ring. “Hello, Counselor,” Sonny drawled as soon as the ringing ceased.

“Tsk, tsk,” he chided, grinning fully at his wife's profane response. “Such language!”

You're really pleased with yourself, aren't you, Michael? Did it amuse you to think that I was flying all the way down to the Dominican Republic for nothing?

Dara's icy tone only made Sonny's smile broaden. “How was I to know you were flying to the Dominican Republic, Counselor? You neglected to tell me that.”

This isn't a game, Michael !”

“No, it isn't,” Sonny growled. “Come on, Dara. Did you really think I would let you go without a fight?”

Sonny was not disturbed by the silence that followed. He knew his wife well. Dara was taking a moment to regain her composure. Presenting an icy little demeanor always made her feel more in command of situations she had no control over.

I could always ,” Dara remarked quietly, “ make a call to Stefan. I'd be divorced before this plane touched down in New York.”

“He'd become my enemy for life.” The words, utterly devoid of emotion, left no doubt about Sonny's sincerity in the matter. “I'm fighting for my life, my family. Anyone who threatens that, threatens me.”

“What do you want, Michael?”

Sonny winced at the defeat in his wife's voice. It hurt him to know that he was the cause of her distress. Still, it was necessary if they were to survive as a couple. “I want the six months it will take for a New York divorce to go through. If you still want to give up on us when that's done,” Sonny said, “I'll let you go.”