Still... the journey continues...

Chapter 4, by Melissa

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Hospital hallway, Naples, Italy.

CC walks down the hospital hallway, his arm now in a sling. The bandage on his gunshot wound is clearly visible under the clean white t-shirt he is now wearing. He approaches Sophia's hospital room and peers through the blinds to see Micah and a nurse going over Sophia's medical chart. The nurse then walks around the bed to Sophia's IV bag an administers another dose of the strychnine antidote through her IV as Sophia lies motionless looking very pale. Micah looks up from the chart and sees CC waiting outside. He walks out of Sophia's room and joins CC in the hallway.

" Micah, how is she? Has there been any change?"

" No CC, we just gave her another dose of the antidote. She is in critical, but stable condition."

" Critical? Micah I thought you said we got to her in time? You are NOT telling me she's not going to make it are you?" CC asks in frustrated desperation.

" CC, every major organ system in her body has been attacked by this poison for months. It's a miracle she has made it this long. If we can get her through the night, I am optimistic she will make a full recovery."

CC leans against the wall. For a moment, CC seems overwhelmed by the seriousness of Sophia's condition. Then, almost as quickly, CC seems to regain his resolve. "Micah, what else can we do for her... what about calling in specialists?"

" CC, everything that can be done is already being done. The hardest part is over now CC, you got Sophia away from Ken. All we can do now though is keep administering the antidote and wait."

CC looks at Sophia through her hospital room window. "I need to be with her."

" Of course CC, you can go in for a few minutes, but..."

CC cuts Micah off. "No buts Micah, I'm not leaving that room until Sophia wakes up."

" I understand how you feel CC really, but you have been through quite a trauma yourself and..."

" I don't CARE about any of that, I cannot rest until I know she is okay. " CC insists.

Micah reluctantly agrees. " Alright CC calm down. You can go in, but please... try to sit down and relax while you're in there."

CC goes into Sophia room and gently closes the door behind him.


Sophia's hospital room, Naples, Italy.

CC stands looking at Sophia seeing all the tubes coming out of her. An oxygen mask covers her nose and mouth. CC looks sad and almost beaten to think that the beautiful and vibrant woman that he loves so much, now lies there clinging to life. CC walks over to her bedside and gently brushes her bangs across her forehead. The only sound in the room is the beep of her heart monitor. CC takes her hand in his own.

" Hello Baby, it's me CC. You made it honey, nobody's ever going to hurt you again, I promise."

CC pulls up a chair next to Sophia's hospital bed and sits down. He takes her hand in his again and this time gently touches it to his lips again before cupping it between his own. As he sits there, studying her face for any sign of alertness, CC remembers all the times he hurt and disappointed her over the last couple of years.

They had been so happy after remarrying again that New Year's Eve not so long ago.

But when they thought Eden had died, he pushed Sophia away again as he so often did in the bad times. He remembers telling her that "he just didn't have any compassion left to give to her anymore" because he blamed her for Eden's death. He recalls that after some time passed, they were able to reach out to each other again and he remembers how good it felt to hold her in his arms and really love her.

Then he flashes back to Sophia coming out of her coma after Eden shot her and her saying she needed to leave the family so their daughter would feel it was safe to come home.

But as they had always done in the past, they found their way back to each other again.

CC remembers how taken aback he was when Sophia firmly declared, "I want us." When he took her in his arms that night and kissed her, it was like no time had passed between them. But even then he knew that Santana was carrying his child, no matter how much he didn't want it to be so.

Then he flashes to the day Sophia confronted him about Santana's pregnancy...

" She is pregnant...and I am the father."

" ...why couldn't you have waited CC? Was it love, or revenge against me, or was it just sex?"

" It was all mixed up with you and your leaving..."

" I need to know Sophia, how do you feel about me?"

" It doesn't really matter how I feel now CC."

" The hell it doesn't...Sophia, I need to know! Do you love me?"

" Of course, I love you, I'll always love you!"

Then he recalls the night that he went to the cottage and Sophia was getting ready to marry Ken. He knew then that Ken was up to no good and he grabbed Sophia and kissed her to let her know that no matter who either of them were with, it would never be over between them.

CC comes back to the present, as Sophia lies there still unconscious.

" Oh my darling, no one has hurt you worse than me, have they? I promise you that if you'll just open your eyes and come back to me one more time, I'll never turn away from you again... Can you do that for me? Just open those beautiful blue eyes and smile, and tell me you love me." CC pleads quietly.

Sophia remains motionless and CC slumps back in his chair, looking defeated. He stays there though the night waiting for Sophia to come back to him. More than once the nurses and Micah come in to check Sophia and give her another shot of the antidote. They wake CC from his restless sleep and encourage him to go lie in his own room across the hall, to no avail. For the last time that night, CC drifts off watching Sophia sleep peacefully.


Sophia's hospital room, Naples, Italy. - The next morning.

CC is still slumped in his chair asleep as Sophia begins to stir in her bed.

She opens her eyes and recognizes CC asleep in the chair.

" CC..." Sophia calls out weakly.

CC wakes up, sees Sophia reaching out to him. He stands up and grabs her hand, kissing it. Sophia pushes the oxygen mask away from her face.

" Sophia, honey, thank God you're okay!" CC kisses her on the cheek and then presses the call button to alert Micah and the others that Sophia is awake.

" CC what happened, where are we?" Sophia looks around the room perplexed.

" Sweetheart, we're in the hospital in Italy. Do you remember me coming to you on the Ship?

Sophia flashes back and has a memory of CC telling her he loved her and to hang on. She then remembers CC putting his gun down on the table and waiting for Ken to come back to the suite. Sophia remembers that she was worried that Ken would kill him.
Sophia comes back to the present. She looks at CC and sees his arm in a sling. "CC you're hurt!"

" No, it's just a flesh wound."

" Where is Ken? I remember hearing the two of you fighting, but I couldn't move..."

CC hesitates for a moment, unsure of how Sophia will react to the news that Ken is dead. "He's dead, Sophia."

Sophia lays her head back on the pillow. Tears begin to form in her eyes and she gasps with a mixture of shock and relief.

" Oh my God CC, I had no idea how dangerous he really was...he could have killed you... but why..."

" Sweetheart, we can go over all the details later. Right now, I just want to be sure you are okay." CC wipes a tear from Sophia's cheek with his hand and Sophia places her hand over his.

" I want to make sure you are okay too."

"Sophia, I keep telling you, I'm indestructible!" CC and Sophia smile at each other as Micah comes into the room.

" Well hello, Sophia! You gave us quite a scare, glad to see you awake again. Micah checks Sophia's vitals, and says that Sophia will need a lot of time to rest and recuperate, but she should be good as new in a couple weeks. Then, he takes CC aside and says that Sophia should not travel for a couple weeks until she is stronger. CC nods in agreement, saying that Interpol will need time to wrap up their investigation of Ken. Besides that, he wants to know every detail about Mathis' plot to kill Sophia and his connection with the Armonti's.

" Hey, what are you two over there whispering about?" Sophia asks curiously.

CC and Micah break up their huddle and walk to Sophia's bed side.

" Nothing darling, Micah just said you need to get lots of rest to completely recover."

Sophia perks up. "Micah when can I go home?"

" Your body has been through a tremendous trauma Sophia. I told CC, I don't think you should try to fly back to Santa Barbara right away..."

"Oh, but Micah, I want to go home! I feel like I have been away from CC and the children for so long... and besides I am sure I will rest better at home instead of a hospital."

" Honey, why don't you just relax for the moment... we will work this out after Micah as had a chance to check you over. In the meantime, I'll go make a few phone calls."

Sophia lays her head back on the pillow in exasperation. "Ok, but don't be gone too long."

CC bends down and kisses her on the forehead. "Are you serious? Wild horses and murderous, ex-personal trainers with guns couldn't drive me away." CC smiles at Sophia and leaves the room.


Sophia's hospital room, Naples, Italy. Later the same day.

We see CC's point of view as he enters Sophia's hospital room. She is asleep. CC closes the door behind him and places a large bouquet of pink roses and baby's breath on the tray next to her bed. He checks his pocket and pulls out a small black velvet box. Sophia begins to wake up and CC quickly shoves the box back into his pocket.

" CC, the flowers are beautiful!"

CC sits next to Sophia on the edge of her bed and the pair look each directly in each other's eyes.

" Not nearly as beautiful as the sight of those blue eyes and that smile that has melted my heart since the day I first saw it. I thought for awhile there, I might never see it again." they move closer and CC kisses her lightly on the lips.

Sophia rests her head on his good shoulder. "Promise me we won't ever let each other go again."

CC pulls away from their embrace and touches his hand to her cheek. "Do you remember what I told you on the ship?" Sophia nods.

" Well, let me tell you again now that I'm sure you can hear me." Sophia's eyes begin to brim with happy tears."

" I have NEVER, and will NEVER love anyone else the way I love YOU. This is it for me. YOU are IT for me, Sophia"

Tears are streaming down her face as Sophia begins to tell CC what she thought she would never be able to tell him. "I have always loved you CC, even when I didn't want to love you, I did, in spite of myself. I love you so much and I don't ever want to be apart from you again."

CC begins to kiss Sophia's tears off her cheeks. Just as their lips are about to meet, a knock comes at the door and Cruz enters Sophia's hospital room and clears his throat.

" Excuse me..." Cruz says a little embarrassed.

CC stands up and turns to look at his son-in-law. "Cruz, for a cop, you have terrible timing!" CC declares jokingly.

" CC!" Sophia laughs. "You both have wonderful timing, if it wasn't for the two of you and Micah, I wouldn't be here now."

Cruz walks over to give Sophia a hug. "You have a whole gang of people back in Santa Barbara that would never forgive us if we let anything happen to you."

" How are Kelly, and Ted, and Mason? Oh! And the kids?" I've missed all of you so much, these last few months have been such a blur."

" They're fine Sophia. Kelly is taking care of the kids while I'm away. I talked to Kel earlier, she took them to the beach today and Chipper and Adriana found some real pretty shells, so they're getting them all polished up to give to you when we get home."

Sophia smiles and asks CC and Cruz when they can all go home. Cruz explains that he won't be leaving Italy for a while because there are still some lose ends to rap up with Ken's case.

" Actually, that's part of the reason I'm here now Sophia. We're trying to find out why Ken was trying to kill you." Cruz hands Sophia the Interpol file on Ken. She reads incredulously about how Ken poisoned his two other rich wives and then how the sweetener packets found in her cottage were also laced with poison.

Sophia looks ashamed. "I guess he really did only want my money..."

" Sophia, how much did Ken know about your past with the Armonti's?"

" Well, he knew that I was married to the Count at one time and that I inherited Armonti Industries after the Count died... that's about it....Why Cruz?"

" Just before Ken died he said that he never wanted to kill the Contessa. I found it rather odd that he referred to you that way. Did he ever call you that to your face?"

" No, of course not Cruz, why would he?"

" The guy was dying so he had nothing to lose... I doubt he would say that just for kicks."

" Well, I don't doubt it Cruz." Bellows CC. The man was a sleezebag... praying on unsuspecting woman, taking advantage of the situation... why wouldn't he use up his last sorry breath to try and take suspicion away from himself?"

CC realizes his anger is getting out of hand. "I'm sorry, darling..."

" No CC, its alright, obviously I didn't know the man at all." Sophia shakes her head. "I can't believe I didn't see it, even when you and Kelly tried to tell me...I just wouldn't..."

" Sophia, stop! It's not your fault. You went through hell after Eden left...we all did, none of us could see straight." CC says firmly.

Sophia looks from CC to Cruz. "You think that Ken wasn't acting alone?"

" It's a possibility Sophia, but if it's true, I won't rest until I find the person."

" Cruz, what about CC? There won't be any charges against him for Ken's death will there?"

" No, since there is a mountain of evidence proving his involvement in your attempted murder and since he shot CC, the whole incident has been ruled self-defense by the authorities."

" Oh thank God, thank you Cruz." Sophia says relieved.

" I'm going to leave you too alone for now. I think I've given the two of you enough to take in for one day."

" Thank you, son. We'll see you in a bit."

" Ok." Cruz walks out the door.

CC reclaims his spot on the edge of Sophia's bed. "Where were we?"

" Well, I'm not sure, but I think now would be a great time for me to tell you how sorry I am that I ever brought Ken into our lives."

" Sophia, it is as much my fault as it is yours. If I had been able to reach out to you after we first thought Eden had died, maybe you wouldn't have blamed yourself after Eden shot you and you wouldn't have left the family."

" I really did think that if I left, things would be better for all of you. But I've had a lot of time to think in the last few months, and I think I finally learned that most of the bad things that happened to me and to us in our lives happened because we weren't together."

CC eyes twinkle and he pulls the velvet box from his pocket. "Well then, I think, this is as good a time as any to give you this. He hands the little box to Sophia. Her eyes light up. She opens the box to find... a key.

CC notices Sophia's expression become a little puzzled. " It's a key." CC offers.

" I know it's a key." Sophia laughs. "Mind telling me, what it's for?"

" Do you remember when I told you I wished I could built you a house with my bare hands?"

" Yes, right before we were remarried after I came back to Santa Barbara..."

" Well, I didn't have time to build a house, but I did have time to buy a very cozy little villa while you were resting earlier."

Sophia giggles. "Just a little villa, huh?"

" And since we can't go home right away, I thought it would be the perfect place for us to...recuperate."

" Oh yeah?" Sophia lightly kisses CC's lips and then stops.

" Yeah." CC grabs Sophia's head with his hand and kisses her passionately.

The camera switches to a POV shot from outside of Sophia's room. Sophia and CC are seen still kissing through the window of Sophia's room. Then we see a black gloved hand come into the frame and touch the window.

Chapter 5