The Diagnosis - The Sonny _ Mike Page

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					                                     The Diagnosis
                                       by Ann
Prologue: After a life of struggles with depression and severe mood swings, Sonny is
formally diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Sonny has a hard time accepting that he
has a mental illness and isn’t sure he is ready to accept treatment. Family and
friends help Sonny to cope with his illness and show him he does indeed deserve a
better life. Comment: This story is a tribute to the bipolar storyline. It incorporates
more scenes with Sonny’s family members and addresses the complex issues that
come with a mental illness diagnosis. (Sonny, Mike, Emily, Michael, Morgan, and
Kristina, etc).


~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 1 ~-~-~ The Tickets ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Sonny Corinthos walked into Kelly’s Diner looking for Mike. The place was busy and
Mike was taking an order from a customer. Sonny sat down at the counter and waited,
feeling jumpy as he waited for Mike to finish with the customers. Mike finally came over
to Sonny, surprised to see his son so early in the morning and hoping there wasn’t
anything wrong.

Mike poured Sonny a cup of coffee. “Hi,” he said nervously. “Is everything okay?”

Sonny waved off Mike’s concern. “What? You have some debt I don’t know about?” he
joked.

Mike took a heavy swallow.

“I’m kidding,” said Sonny laughing. “Geez, Mike. Relax.”

Mike let out a small laugh, realizing Sonny wasn’t here to yell at him about the money he
owed to his bookie. “Is everything okay with the boys . . . Kristina?”

“Couldn’t be better,” smiled Sonny. “That’s why I’m here.” He pulled out some tickets
from his jacket pocket. “I’d like to invite you to a baseball game. I have tickets to a
Yankees game for next week. I’d like you to go with me and the boys.”

“Really?” Mike said with surprise.

Sonny handed Mike the tickets. “See for yourself.”

Mike studied the tickets, surprised by the invitation.
“You do want to go, don’t you?”

“Yeah . . . of course I do.”

“Then what’s the problem?” asked Sonny.

“You sure you want me to go?” Mike looked at Sonny. He thought he was acting strange.
He was being very nice and laughing. He was usually so serious.

“Do you remember all those games you took me to?” asked Sonny. “We’d take the
subway to the Bronx and sit in the bleachers. We’d always bring a bag of peanuts.”

“Of course I remember that,” Mike answered quietly, pleased that Sonny had a good
memory of him. “I taught you how to keep score.”

“That’s exactly what I want to show Michael and Morgan!” Sonny said excitedly. “I want
them to know how to keep score. I want them to have a good time like I used to.”

Mike looked at the date of the tickets. “I’ll make sure and get the day off. I wouldn’t miss
this for the world, Sonny.”

Sonny beamed like a little kid. “The boys are going to have so much fun,” he smiled. “I
can’t wait!”

Mike handed the tickets back to Sonny. “Me either,” he said.

Sonny stood up from the counter. “I’ll call you,” he said, as he started to walk out. “Don’t
be late, Mike. I don’t want you to miss the game.”

Mike was thrilled that Sonny was including him in a family outing. He thought Sonny
was acting different, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on what was wrong.

~-~-~-~
Sonny was feeling good. He had just gotten some great seats for the Yankees game. Now
he wanted to stop and buy some baseball gear for the boys. He bought them baseball hats,
baseball jackets, baseball cards, and new mitts. When he finally arrived home, after
driving himself around in the Masarati all day, he was beat. He went to the bar and
poured himself a drink. He was feeling it now. The crash. This was going on for weeks
now and he knew it was getting worse. He had been able to cover it for the most part,
because he didn’t want the boys to see him this way, but he knew that Emily was very
concerned about him. He kept brushing off her concern, but now he was getting worried
himself. He gulped the drink down quickly and then poured himself another one. The
drinking helped him, he said to himself. It calmed him down and got rid of his headaches.

Michael ran into the living room. “Hey, Dad.”
Sonny put down his drink. “Hey,” he smiled. “Guess what?”

“What?”

“Where’s Morgan?” asked Sonny.

Michael took off his coat. “He’s coming. He loves that airplane you bought him.”

“Good,” smiled Sonny. He had been buying all the kids a lot of toys lately. He couldn’t
help it.

Morgan came running into the room. “Hi, Dad.”

Sonny hugged him. "Hey, buddy," he said, as he had the boys sit down on the couch.
“How would you guys like to go to a baseball game?”

“The Yankees?” asked Michael with excitement.

“Of course, the Yankees,” said Sonny. He showed them the tickets, like he had shown
Mike. “Box seats, right by home plate,” he beamed.

Michael went over and hugged Sonny. “Thanks, Dad. Wow, I can’t wait.”

“Mike’s going to go with us, so it’s just us men,” explained Sonny. “It will be Morgan’s
first game.”

Morgan hugged Sonny too, not sure what they were all so excited about.

Sonny handed them the shopping bags. “I got you some stuff to wear for the game,” he
gestured. “Open up.”

Michael and Morgan tried on their new Yankees jackets with excitement. Then Michael
looked over his new baseball cards. “These are great, Dad!”

“Wow,” said Emily, as she walked into the living room. “What’s going on?”

Sonny gave Emily a kiss. “Just some guy stuff,” he said. “How was work?”

“Long,” sighed Emily. “I’m glad to be home.”

“Look at my new baseball cards,” said Michael.

Emily studied the cards, knowing how much Michael treasured his collection. “These are
great, Michael.”
“I’m going to go put them in my binder,” said Michael excitedly, as he started running up
the stairs.

Morgan followed his brother.

“I’ll call you when dinner’s ready,” Sonny yelled after them. He turned around and gave
Emily a smile. “I’m taking them to a Yankees game.”

“So I gathered,” Emily smiled back.

Sonny walked over to the bar, taking a small sip of his drink. He briefly closed his eyes.

Emily walked over to him. “Do you have one of your headaches?” she asked gently.

“I guess I did a little too much today,” Sonny quietly admitted.

Emily rubbed Sonny’s shoulders. “You didn’t answer your phone all day. I was a little
worried about you.”

Sonny moaned as Emily rubbed his shoulders. He was feeling so tense lately. “I . . . I had
a lot to do,” he explained. He finished his drink, then walked over to the couch and sat
down. The hyperness he felt this morning was gone and now he didn’t know if he had
enough energy to cook dinner. “I visited Mike.”

“You did?” Emily said with surprise. She sat down next to Sonny. “I thought you two
weren’t talking.”

Sonny shrugged his shoulders. “I thought it would be nice to take him to the Yankees
game with the boys. He used to take me all the time when I was little,” he revealed.

Emily took Sonny’s hand. “I thought Mike wasn’t around much when you were little?”

“He wasn’t,” Sonny answered quietly. “But when he was around, he really . . . he was
good to me,” he said, getting tearful. “I’m starting to remember . . . things we did
together. I don’t know, maybe I had blocked all of it out before,” he added with
confusion.

Emily wasn’t quite sure how to read Sonny lately. He was all over the place with his
emotions. He was behaving so strangely. One minute he was buying her or the kids gifts,
then he’d be cooking them a ten course meal, then the next minute he was crying in her
arms. She had suspected since Spain that he had Bipolar Disorder. She had talked to him
about it several times, but he was in complete denial. He thought he was damaged from
his stepfather Deke. She couldn’t argue much with that, since she felt that Deke had done
so much damage to Sonny. But, she also knew it was more than childhood abuse that
caused Sonny to have breakdowns. He needed to get evaluated and she was determined to
get him help. “I’m sure Mike will love going to the game with you.”
Sonny nodded his head in agreement. “I want the boys to have good memories,” he said.

“They will,” Emily assured him. “Sonny, you’re a wonderful father. Those boys adore
you. So does Kristina.”

“I want you to promise me something, Emily,” Sonny whispered tearfully. “If something
happens where I’m . . . you know, not with it, or I do something really crazy, I want you
to make sure that none of my children see my like that.” He closed his eyes. He was
starting to lose time now. He didn’t remember where he’d been most of the day. He
didn’t want to scare the boys or Kristina. He didn’t want Emily to see him this way. He
was hoping to ride this out, like he always did. But this time, everything seemed
different. He knew he was out of control and he was scared. He looked at Emily, silently
hoping she would agree.

Emily looked into Sonny’s eyes. She wanted to plead with him again to get help, to see a
doctor and get tested. But she was beginning to sound like a broken record. The last thing
she wanted to do was push Sonny away. So she reached out to him and offered him
comfort. She ran her hands through his hair. “I will never let that happen, Sonny. I’ll
always look out for you. I promise.”

Sonny gave Emily a relieved smile. “Thank you Emily.” He leaned over and rested his
head on her shoulder. He closed his eyes again. She was his angel. He wasn’t sure of
anything right now. But he was sure of that.

~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 2 ~-~-~ Into the Night ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The house was dark and quiet when Emily walked into Greystone. She had worked a
double shift at the hospital and hadn’t seen Sonny since yesterday. She had called Max a
few times to check up on Sonny because he wasn’t answering his phone. It was
dinnertime and she expected the usual aroma of cooking coming from the kitchen. Emily
walked through the living room and into the kitchen, surprised to find nothing on the
stove and no Sonny in sight.

“Sonny?” Emily called out. “Sonny, are you here?”

Emily walked around the house, now getting a little nervous. She wasn’t sure why, but
she was starting to get a bad feeling. “Sonny?” she called out, slowly opening the door of
his bedroom. She saw Sonny staring out the window. “Hi. Is everything okay?” He didn’t
answer her and she walked slowly towards him. “Sonny?”

Sonny continued to stare out the window, which was fully opened. There was a strong
breeze and Emily walked to the window and shut it. “It’s cold,” she shivered. She looked
at Sonny. His hair was uncombed and he hadn’t shaved. He had a t-shirt on and some
sweats, not Sonny’s usual snappy attire. He had a drink in his hand, which was slightly
trembling. “What is it?” she asked gently.

Sonny slowly took a sip of his drink, trying to steady his shaking hand. He was ashamed
and embarrassed and he didn’t want Emily to see him like this. “I . . . need . . . you . . . to
. . . go,” he said gruffly.

Emily heard the pain in Sonny’s voice. He had finally confided in her that something was
happening to him. The darkness, he had called it. She was experiencing first hand his
mood swings, and had seen him deteriorate into severe paranoia, delusions, mania, and
depression. Sonny convinced her he could get through this like he always did. “Sonny,
what’s going on?”

Sonny put the drink down on the dresser and rubbed his neck. He hadn’t slept in days.
“You . . . need . . . to . . . go,” he repeated, hoping she wouldn’t fight him on this.

Emily put her hand on Sonny’s arm, which was cold as ice.

Sonny pulled back, not wanting her to touch him. “Don’t,” he protested.

Emily released her touch. “Come away from the window,” she said sternly.

For the first time, Sonny looked at Emily. But then he quickly looked down towards the
floor. “I’m . . . fine,” he whispered. He took the glass from the dresser and drank some of
the scotch.

Emily stared at Sonny with concern. He was trying to be calm, she felt. But he wasn’t.
She could feel the tension in his body and hear the confusion in his voice. His eyes were
empty and dark. “Did something happen?” she asked.

Sonny rubbed his face with weariness.

Emily attempted to touch his arm again and was surprised when he allowed her to lead
him over and sit him down at the end of the bed. She took the drink out of his hand and
he didn’t protest that either.

“This . . . this is bad, Emily. You shouldn’t . . . be here.”

“I’m not leaving,” said Emily.

Sonny reached over towards the glass in Emily’s hand, wanting a drink.

Emily gave him the glass, not wanting to agitate him more. His hand was still shaking,
his body shivering. “You look tired,” she said. “Why don’t you rest for a while?”
“Can’t sleep,” Sonny answered quickly, shaking his head. “Don’t want to."

Emily reached over and took the glass out of Sonny’s hand again. It was empty now.

Sonny stared at the floor and took a heavy sigh. He didn’t have enough energy to fight
Emily. He wanted her to leave. He let out a quiet sob, as he covered his face with his
hands, but quickly gained his composure.

“Tell me what’s wrong,” pleaded Emily.

“Nothing,” insisted Sonny. “I’m just having . . . bad thoughts. You . . . you don’t know
what . . . what damage I do to people,” he whispered. “I hurt people.”

“I’m not scared of you . . .”

“You should be,” interrupted Sonny. “You should go out that door . . . and never . . . look
back.”

Emily reached over and touched Sonny’s hand. “You push people away, Sonny. I’m
starting to get that now. But you need to start letting me help you.”

Sonny didn’t answer.

“I would never judge you,” Emily promised. “I would never look down on you, no matter
what.”

Sonny looked at Emily.

“I promise.”

Sonny rubbed his eyes. “I told you . . . I get like this . . . sometimes,” he whispered.
“There’s nothing you can do.”

“I can stay with you,” answered Emily.

Sonny stared down towards the floor. “When I’m like this,” he warned. “I don’t
remember things. It’s a dark . . . place.” He continued to stare down at the floor, like it
was swallowing him up at this very moment. Then he just stopped talking.

Emily waited for him to continue. But he had completely shut down. He wasn’t
responding to her voice, her touch. She was scared for him.
She gently rubbed his back, not knowing what else to do. After a while, Sonny looked up
at her strangely.

Sonny continued to stare at her, like he wasn’t sure who she was. His eyes were blank,
not seeming to register anything.
“Sonny, do you know where you are?” asked Emily.

Sonny looked around the room, then back at Emily. “Yeah, yeah,” he said hoarsely. “Of
course I do.” He stood up from the bed, rubbing his forehead. He felt confused and
slightly dizzy as he stood.

Emily stood too. “Let’s get out of this room for a while.” She held her hand out.

Sonny looked at Emily’s outreached hand and tentatively took it.

Emily gave him a gentle smile. She took his hand and led him out of the bedroom. Emily
brought Sonny to the guesthouse. He didn’t question where they were going, seeming to
trust Emily. She sat him down on the bed. “Wait here, okay,” she said.

Sonny sat down, letting out a slight shiver.

A few minutes later, Emily came back and handed Sonny a glass of water. She held out
two pills. “I want you to take these, Sonny.”

“You want to drug me?” Sonny said with agitation. “No.”

“Sonny, you haven’t slept in days,” Emily responded. “You need to rest your body before
you hurt yourself. These will help you get some much needed rest.”

Sonny stared at the pills like they were poison. He hated drugs of any kind because he
hated being out of control. It didn’t help that he was also afraid to go to sleep, afraid of
his dreams, and shamefully afraid of the dark.

“I’m going to stay right here,” explained Emily, seeing the fear and distrust in Sonny’s
eyes. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”

Sonny’s mind was racing and it was hard for him to make a complete thought. He looked
at Emily, seeking some answers or at least some solace. “I have to be strong . . . for the
boys,” he said tearfully. “I have to be strong . . . for Kristina.”

“I know,” Emily agreed. “You should get some sleep before the boys come home. Don’t
you think?”

Sonny slowly nodded his head in agreement.

“Then take these,” whispered Emily.

Sonny cautiously took the pills out of Emily’s hand. He swallowed them quickly, gulping
down the full glass of water. He looked at Emily with sadness.
Emily gave him a reassuring smile. “Sleep will help you,” she promised. She helped him
lay down on the bed and covered him with a blanket. His skin was cold and he was
slightly shivering, so she went and found another blanket, trying to make him as
comfortable as possible.

Sonny was afraid to close his eyes. He watched closely at every movement Emily made,
trying to focus, trying stay awake, and trying to fight off the fear.

Emily sat down on the bed. “Don’t fight it,” she whispered. “Don’t be afraid.”

Sonny’s eyes felt heavy now. But his mind was still racing and the bad thoughts seemed
to be coming again. “No,” he said out loud.

Emily took Sonny’s hand. “Shhh,” she whispered. “You’re safe now.”

“I don’t want the dreams,” Sonny whispered tearfully.

Emily squeezed his hand, wishing she could take away his pain, his fears. “I’m right here,
Sonny. Try and close your eyes.”

Sonny couldn’t fight off the sleep anymore. His exhaustion finally overpowered him, as
the sleeping pills took their full effect. He finally closed his eyes and fell into sleep.
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 3 ~-~-~ A Note ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Sonny always felt better when he was around the kids. He had invited Alexis to bring
Kristina over for a swim. Alexis declined, saying she had to work, but Ric brought over
both Kristina and Molly for the afternoon and Sonny was thrilled. The kids were in the
pool playing and Sonny could sit and watch them all day. He liked how Michael was
such a good brother to Morgan and Kristina. The sound of laughter made Sonny feel
better, especially after having such a rough week.

Ric had put Molly down for a nap and came back to the poolside and sat next to Sonny.
He had felt Sonny was reaching out to him lately and he wasn’t too sure how to react.

“Did Molly go to sleep?” asked Sonny.

“Yeah. She should stay down for a while,” said Ric.

“I’m going to grill some hamburgers for the kids, if you want to stay for dinner,” said
Sonny.

Ric looked at his watch. He did have some work to do, but he wasn’t going to pass up an
invitation from Sonny. “Yeah, I’d like that. Thanks.”
Sonny took a sip of his water. He was feeling a little better. Emily was right and sleep did
help him. Maybe he could get through this after all.

Ric knew that Sonny was acting strangely in the last few months. He had bought the
Maserati. He had been doing a lot of construction at the house. He had been buying
people gifts. Sonny had started inviting Ric over to the house more and including him in
family dinners. But the more Ric spent time with Sonny, the more he realized something
was wrong. Sonny had Ric working on a lot of different projects, from expanding the
coffee business to buying property. Ric tried to accommodate most of Sonny’s requests,
but some of them didn’t make much sense. Ric thought Sonny was losing it.

“I need you to look into something for me,” said Sonny.

“What?” asked Ric.

“There’s a warehouse for sale, near Pier 52. I want to buy it.”

“Sonny, you’re already renovating the warehouse at Pier 50, for the coffee business.”

“This is going to be used for something else,” explained Sonny.

“Sonny, don’t you think you should slow down on all of these projects?” Ric asked
cautiously.

“All what projects?”

“Sonny, you don’t need to be buying a warehouse right now.”

Sonny was getting angry. “Don’t tell me what I need. You’re the one that wanted to be
my lawyer. You’re supposed to follow orders.”

“I’m supposed to give you advice,” corrected Ric.

Sonny looked over at the kids, knowing he couldn’t show his temper in front of them. He
took in a deep breath. “Why do you question me about everything?” he asked in
frustration. “Are you trying to screw with me?”

“Of course not,” said Ric.

Sonny covered his face with his hands and closed his eyes. He knew he was quickly
losing it. He had to get a hold of himself. He wanted to throttle Ric right now and it took
all of his will to stay seated and calm himself down.

“Dad?”
Sonny looked up. It was Michael.

“Are you going swimming?”

Sonny took a deep breath, trying to focus on Michael. He was starting to feel confused
and paranoid.

Michael touched Sonny’s shoulder. He could always tell when his dad needed help.
“Morgan and Kristina want you to come in the pool.”

Sonny stared at Michael.

“Come on, Dad. It’s okay,” he whispered. “Come on.”

Sonny stood up and looked at Ric. “We’ll talk later,” he said as he put his arm around
Michael. He stepped into the pool with Michael. The kids were waiting for him and he
immediately took Morgan and Kristina in his arms and started playing with the kids. He
looked at Michael, who was looking at his father with concern. “Thanks, Buddy,” he said
quietly.
~-~-~-~
Michael had been waiting to talk to Emily all day. Sometimes she worked the night shift,
so she would get home late. He had left a note with Max, knowing he would give it to her
as soon as she got home.

Emily stepped in the door and gave Max a smile. “How is Sonny doing?” she asked.

“He had a nice BBQ for the kids. Ric came over. He seemed to have a real good day,”
Max answered honestly. He handed her a note. “This is from Michael.”

Emily read the note and looked at her watch. It was after eleven, but the note sounded
important. She walked up the stairs and peeked into Michael’s room, checking to see if
he was still awake. “Hi,” she said.

Michael had his light on and was reading a book. “Hi,” he said, putting his book down.

Emily walked over and sat down on the bed. “Everything okay?”

Michael shook his head tearfully. “I’m worried about my Dad.”

“So am I,” Emily admitted quietly.

“My Dad gets like this sometimes,” continued Michael. “He gets sad . . . and confused.”

“So, you’ve seen him like this before?” asked Emily.
Michael nodded his head. “He tries to hide it from me, like everything is okay, but I
know it’s not.”

“Did something happen today to worry you?”

“No,” answered Michael. “We had fun. Dad went swimming with us all afternoon.” He
put his head down. “My Dad’s having a breakdown, isn’t he?”

“Where did you hear that word?” asked Emily gently.

“I know what’s going on,” answered Michael. “My Dad has been like this before. He gets
really sad and he cries. Then he starts getting mad and breaks things.” He looked at Emily
with tears. “You’re a doctor. I know you can help him get better, like you did with the
virus.”

Emily took a heavy sigh. “It’s not that simple, Michael.”

“Why not?”

Emily took another sigh, studying Michael. She decided to be honest with him. “I’m
going to tell you something, Michael. It’s kind of complicated, but I know you can handle
it. But this is just between you and me, okay. Morgan and Kristina don’t need to know
any of this.”

“Okay,” Michael agreed, looking at Emily with attentiveness.

“I think your father has an illness. It’s called Bipolar Disorder. It can make you have a lot
of mood swings, that’s why you’re seeing your Dad act different sometimes.”

Michael was tearful. “He’s sick?” he said with fear.

Emily reached over and took Michael’s hand. “He’s sick,” she repeated. “But the good
news is that your Dad can get better. He can get treatment.”

“Like a shot? Like when he had the virus?” Michael asked hopefully.

Emily still wasn’t sure she should be telling Michael so much information, but there was
no going back now. “No, there’s no shot, Michael,” she answered gently. “But there is
medication and therapy.”

“Like when I had to go to therapy after AJ kidnapped me?”

“That’s right,” answered Emily.

“Then why isn’t my Dad getting help?” asked Michael. “Doesn’t he want to feel better?”
“Of course he does,” said Emily. “That’s where he’s going to need us the most, Michael.
Your Dad wants to get better, but he . . .” She hesitated, not knowing how to say it.

“He doesn’t want to go to therapy, like I did?” asked Michael. “I hated it! I hated every
minute of it,” he remembered. “I can talk to him. I can let him know that I didn’t like it
either.”

Emily nodded her head, admiring how mature Michael was. How brave he was. “This is
not easy for your father. He doesn’t want you to know he’s not doing so well. I’m going
to take care of him, I promise Michael. I’m going to get him help.”

Michael nodded his head tearfully.

Emily hugged Michael tightly. “I promise you that your Dad is going to get better,
Michael. I’m going to need your help, okay.”

“I’ll do anything for my Dad.”

“You keep doing what you’re doing,” whispered Emily. “Keep an eye on him. I’ll do the
rest.”
~-~-~-~
Emily entered the bedroom and found Sonny standing by the window. She was not
surprised he was still awake. “Hi,” she said.

Sonny turned around. “Hi.”

Emily took off her jacket and set down her purse. She went over to Sonny and gave him a
kiss. “How was your day?”

“Good.”

Emily gave Sonny a smile. “How did the BBQ go?”

“Good,” answered Sonny.

Emily studied Sonny, again, not sure how to read him tonight. “I’m going to get ready for
bed,” she said, as she gave Sonny a soft kiss on the cheek.

Sonny continued to look out the window. His mind was racing right now and he was
trying to stop all of the noise in his head.

Emily came out of the bathroom and saw that Sonny was still looking out the window.
She climbed into bed. “Coming to bed?”

Sonny turned around.
Emily gestured to Sonny. “Come to bed,” she asked gently, knowing he probably wasn’t
the least bit tired.

Sonny walked over to Emily’s side of the bed and sat down. “I’m not tired,” he admitted.

Emily rested her head on her pillow. “Then tell me about your day,” she suggested.

Sonny looked at Emily. His thoughts felt jumbled and he felt confused. He didn’t want to
talk about himself. “You look tired,” he said. “You work too much.”

“It’s going to be like this for a while,” Emily reminded him. “My residency is just
beginning.”

“Yeah,” Sonny nodded his head. Then he looked away from Emily.

“What is it?”

Sonny was feeling agitated. “I have this feeling . . . you’re going to leave me. That you
won’t come home,” he confided.

“Leave you?” repeated Emily.

Sonny nodded his head, looking down. “I know I’ve been doing a lot of things . . . to
scare you lately. If you want to leave, I’ll understand. But just give me a little warning, so
I’m prepared.”

“Sonny . . .” Emily began, and then stopped. “Why don’t you lie down next to me?” she
suggested.

Sonny hesitated. But then he crawled into bed next to Emily. He wrapped his arms
around her.

Emily loved feeling Sonny’s embrace. She turned and rested her head on Sonny’s chest.
“I won’t leave you. No matter what,” she promised.

Sonny didn’t answer Emily, but he reached out and started softly stroking her hair. He
needed Emily so much and would be devastated if she left him.

Emily closed her eyes. “When my mother died . . . that was probably the worst moment
in my life.” She became tearful. “I know what’s it like to be abandoned, Sonny. I know
what it feels like when people leave.” She looked up at him. “I love you. And I know you
don’t trust people very easily, but you can trust me.”

Sonny became tearful as well, really believing her. “I’m sorry about your mother,” he
said, softly stroking her cheek. “I know how much you miss her.”
“Everyday,” whispered Emily. She closed her eyes at Sonny’s touch. He was always so
gentle with her. He understood her pain, just like she did his. “Stay with me right now,”
she whispered. “Make love to me and hold me in your arms.”

Sonny nodded his head, then gave Emily a deep kiss, knowing she would help him get
through another night.
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 4 ~-~-~ Gone ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~

Another week had passed and Sonny was getting worse. He couldn’t sleep, he wasn’t
eating, and he was barely functioning. Carly had the boys for the weekend, which made
things worse for Sonny. The boys stabilized him and seemed to keep him focused. But
when they were gone and the house was quiet he seemed to fall apart. Sonny was having
another bad night. He couldn’t sleep at all. He didn’t want to worry Emily, so he went
downstairs and paced the living room floor in the middle of the night. He was so
exhausted. In his confusion and restlessness he wandered out to the patio and started
walking the grounds of the property. The fresh air felt so good to Sonny. He walked and
walked, hoping he would get tired. He lost track of time and when he was finally
exhausted he simply sat down and huddled by a tree. He was too confused to find his way
back to the house, the darkness of the night making him scared. He closed his eyes,
shivering from fatigue and nerves.

In the morning, when Emily found Sonny’s side of the bed empty, it wasn’t unusual. His
sleep patterns were abnormal and he seemed to need little sleep most of the time. But she
got up and checked the house just the same. She knew Sonny didn’t do well when the
boys weren’t home. He liked to cook them breakfast and spend time with them everyday.

Emily was expecting to find Sonny asleep in the living room. When she couldn’t find him
anywhere in the house, she checked his car. It was still in the driveway. Getting panicked
now, she had Max and Milo search the grounds as she searched the house again. Then she
walked over and looked in the guesthouse, thinking for sure she would be there, but he
wasn’t.

Trying to think like Sonny, Emily remembered he told her he would sometimes swim to
get tired, so she checked the pool, but he wasn’t there. She walked the grounds, again
trying to think like Sonny would, and followed the fence along the perimeter, scouting
behind bushes and trees. She had never walked past Sonny’s garden and was struck by
how large the property was. She thought she heard someone talking and followed the
sound. In relief, she found Sonny, sitting by a tree. He seemed to be talking to himself.

Emily didn’t want to startle him. “Sonny?”

Sonny didn’t answer her.
“Sonny?”

Sonny stopped talking, but he didn’t look towards Emily.

Emily went over to Sonny and sat down next to him. “Sonny, it’s Emily.”

Sonny had his knees to his chest, slightly rocking back and forth. “Emily,” he repeated.

Emily reached over and touched Sonny’s hands. “You’re cold,” she said. “Have you been
out here all night?”

Sonny didn’t know that answer. He was going to make something up, but was too tired to
even do that.

Emily put her hand on Sonny’s arm. He was visibly shaking. She wasn’t sure if it was
from cold or his raw nerves.

Sonny pulled away at her touch. “You know . . . you know what’s happening?”

“I think so,” answered Emily.

“I . . . I can’t control myself . . . right now,” confided Sonny. “There are bad things going
on . . . in my head.”

“You don’t have to hide this from me,” said Emily. “I’m not afraid.”

Sonny shivered. “It’s . . . really bad, Emily. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

“You need to trust me, Sonny. That’s all you have to do.”

Sonny stared towards the ground. “It was dark out here,” he whispered. “I couldn’t find
my way back.”

“I’m sorry,” Emily said sincerely.

“I don’t like the dark. I get so afraid,” Sonny confided. “I can’t see anything and then . . .
sometimes I hear Deke . . . but I know he couldn’t really be here. He’s dead. But I
remember he would keep me in the dark for so long . . . so long, and then I still couldn’t
see in the light. I remember that. The light would hurt my eyes . . .”

“Deke can’t hurt you anymore,” Emily whispered gently. “He can’t hurt you, Sonny.
You’re safe.”
Sonny shivered and closed his eyes. “It was . . . so real. I don’t . . . I can’t . . .” He
stopped talking, his thoughts and emotions all jumbled. “I don’t want him . . . coming
near me. I’m scared of his . . . voice . . . I can still hear it in . . . my head.”

Emily ran her hands through Sonny’s hair. His body was tense, his thoughts jumpy. “It’s
over now, Sonny. He can’t hurt you anymore,” she repeated. “What you’re hearing isn’t
real. Your mind is playing tricks on you. Do you understand?”

Sonny’s voice became distant. “He would . . . he would burn me. If I didn’t do what he
said . . . he would take his lighter and hold it on me . . . and he would be so mad because I
would never cry out . . . I would never . . . give him the satisfaction. And he would beat
me for that too.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I hated him,” Sonny whispered angrily. “He would never leave me alone.” He shivered
again and closed his eyes. “I learned to block out all of the pain . . . and that’s how I got
through it. I just . . . shut down. I don’t . . . I can’t . . .” He stopped talking.

“You we’re brave . . .”

“NO! Don’t say that,” growled Sonny. “I was a coward.”

“But you were just a little boy.”

“I let him do it to me,” Sonny whispered. “I let him hit me, burn me, knock me around. I
watched as he beat my mother. I did nothing,” he said with disgust.

“What do you think you could have done?” asked Emily.

“I could have . . . I could have fought back,” whispered Sonny. “I could have told
someone . . . I don’t know,” he answered in frustration.

“It wasn’t you fault,” Emily whispered.

“I wanted to kill him,” confided Sonny. “I knew where he kept his gun . . . I should have
done it,” he added with disgust. “My mother might have still been alive . . .”

“Sonny, no. You were just a child.”

Sonny shook his head in disagreement.

“You were the same age as Michael or Morgan. That’s how young you were, like they
are right now,” said Emily.
“He used to call me crazy, because he would do things to me until . . . I don’t know . . . I
got in a rage . . . and he would laugh and laugh and call me crazy . . . so please don’t call
me crazy, Emily,” Sonny said tearfully, “because that would make Deke right. That
would make him win.” He wrapped his arms around himself, shivering with cold and bad
memories.

“I don’t think you’re crazy,” Emily reassured him. “But you need help, Sonny. You can't
go on like this.”

Sonny was shaking uncontrollably now. “I just need . . . I need to sleep. I need more
sleep. I need . . . to stop thinking.”

Emily pulled Sonny into her arms, trying to console him.

“I don’t want to think about him anymore,” cried Sonny.

Emily held onto Sonny tightly, but it did nothing to stop his shivering or tears. “You’re
safe now,” she whispered. She held him for a long time, and after a while he quieted
down, but he was still shivering.

Max and Milo walked over to them. “You found him!” Max whispered with relief. “Is he
hurt?”

“He has hypothermia,” responded Emily. “I need you to help me get him inside. He needs
to get warm.”

“What do we do?” asked Max with worry in his voice. He had let his guard down with
the boys out of the house and had taken Milo off duty last night.

“I need you to get me some blankets, start a fire, make some hot tea,” Emily instructed.

Max gestured for Milo to go ahead of them. “Go get the living room fire started,” he
ordered. “I’ll help Emily.”

Emily gently encouraged Sonny to stand up. She hadn’t noticed until now that he had no
shoes on. “Help me, Max.”

Max helped Emily walk Sonny back to the house. Sonny was mumbling to himself and
unsteady, as they eased him down in the chair by the fire. Emily immediately wrapped a
blanket around Sonny’s shoulders.

“Is he going to be okay?” asked Max.

Emily nodded her head, in full doctor mode. “Get me that tea, Max,” she ordered.

“The boss doesn’t like tea,” commented Max.
“Then make some soup, he needs the calories,” Emily answered. “Just hurry up,” she
added. Max immediately left for the kitchen, leaving Emily alone with Sonny. She looked
in his eyes and they were so sad and distant. He seemed so lost. She held his hands and
gave him a gentle smile. “I love you, Sonny.”
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 5 ~-~-~ A Promise ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Emily had called Robin. She hadn’t been able to get Sonny’s hypothermia under control
and she felt she was in way over her head. He was sitting in the chair by the fire,
mumbling and incoherent, and Emily was very concerned. She wanted to take Sonny to
the hospital, but he was in such bad shape she was sure they would admit to the
psychiatric unit and she didn’t want that for him. He was too fragile right now. She
wanted to get him treatment, but not like that. Sonny would never trust her again if he
woke up in a locked hospital room, restrained to a bed.

Sonny was still shivering violently when Robin arrived. Emily had briefly explained what
had happened on the phone.

“What else should we do?” asked Emily, as she ushered Robin towards Sonny.

Robin immediately went over to Sonny. “Did you take his temperature?” she asked.

Emily nodded her head. “Yes. Fifteen minutes ago. It’s going up a little bit, but he’s still
shivering.”

“Hand me that blanket,” gestured Robin. “It might take a while to warm him up. Has he
had any fluids?”

“He won’t drink anything,” Emily answered. “He doesn’t want the soup.”

“He likes coffee, right?” asked Robin. She looked at Max. “Make some coffee,” she
ordered. She reached over and took Sonny’s pulse. She looked at Emily, trying to
reassure her. “We just need to get his temperature up. He’s going to be fine.”

Emily watched as Robin took care of Sonny. She felt inadequate right now. This was her
chance to be a doctor and she had panicked. She had to call Robin.

Max brought in the coffee and handed it to Robin. “Thanks Max. Could you put more
wood on the fire?” she asked. “We need to keep the room warm.”

“Sure.”
Robin got Sonny to take a few sips of the coffee, although he was resistant and still
incoherent. “Take another sip,” she encouraged gently.

“I don’t . . . want it . . . stop,” mumbled Sonny. “Stop.”

“You need to get warm,” explained Robin. “It will help you feel better.”

“No!”

“Sonny, look at me,” demanded Robin.

Sonny looked at Robin, responding to her firm voice.

“Do you know who I am?” asked Robin.

Sonny looked at Robin for a minute, trying to recognize the voice, the face. “Robin?
You’re Robin. You’re a . . . doctor now . . .”

“That’s right,” responded Robin. “So you need to drink this, okay?”

Sonny mumbled something again, but he did drink the coffee. Gradually, his hypothermia
became under control, as his body temperature slowly rose back to normal. After a while,
he finally stopped shivering. In exhaustion, he fell asleep by the fire. Robin didn’t want to
move him, so they let him sleep in the chair, both keeping an eye on him.
~-~-~-~
“So, you’ve seen him like this?” asked Emily, after she explained in detail about Sonny’s
behaviors in the past few months.

Robin nodded her head. “Well, when Lily died, he was devastated. He fell apart,” she
answered. “I’ve seen Sonny in bad shape a few times.”

“I think he has Bipolar Disorder,” Emily said bluntly. “I’m sure of it.”

Robin looked over at Sonny, then back at Emily. “I guess I always thought he was that
way because of all that stuff that happened to him. You know, the stuff with his
stepfather. I guess I never thought it could be something medical.”

“No one else has either,” responded Emily. “That’s the problem. Sonny’s been like this
for years. He needs help.”

“What are you going to do?” asked Robin. “I’ll help you in any way I can.”

“I’m going to convince him to get treatment,” answered Emily. “I already talked to
Lainey about it. After tonight, I think Sonny will do it.”
Robin gave Emily a smile. “He’s lucky to have you,” she said. “Sonny . . . well he needs
someone to look after him, even though he pretends to be such a tough guy.”

“Thank you, Robin. Thanks you for helping me tonight. I’m very grateful.”
~-~-~-~
Sonny woke up slowly, feeling confused. He looked at Emily, who was staring towards
the fire. She seemed to be crying. He sat up in the chair, reaching out to her. “Don’t cry,”
he whispered, rubbing her back. “What’s the matter?”

Emily dabbed her eyes with a tissue. “Nothing.”

“Did . . . did I hurt you?” Sonny asked softly, bracing for Emily’s answer.

“No,” Emily said immediately. “No, Sonny. You didn’t hurt me.”

Sonny studied Emily, trying to see if she was telling the truth. He didn’t remember much
of what happened, so he knew if he had done something to her, he wouldn’t have
remembered. He wasn’t sure of anything right now.

Emily reached out and took Sonny’s hand. “Sonny, you didn’t hurt me, I’m telling you
the truth.”

Sonny looked at Emily tearfully. He wasn’t sure if he believed her.

Emily leaned over and gave Sonny a kiss on the cheek, then the lips. “How do you feel?”

“I . . . I feel okay,” he answered, still not sure what happened.

“Do you remember anything about last night?” asked Emily.

“No,” Sonny answered honestly.

“You got lost,” explained Emily. “You were outside all night.”

Sonny looked at her blankly.

Emily leaned her forehead against his. “You scared me to death, Sonny,” she confided,
letting her guard down, starting to cry.

Sonny reached out and put his arms around Emily, trying to comfort her.

“I can’t keep doing this, Sonny. I can’t,” cried Emily. “You’re getting hurt. You could
have died last night out in that cold. I didn’t know where you were. You could have
gotten in that car and driven off . . . I never would have found you.”
Sonny continued comforting Emily. “Shhh. Don’t be upset,” he pleaded. “I’m so sorry I
scared you like that.”

Emily couldn’t calm herself down. Last night finished her. “I’m so scared for you,” she
cried.

“I’m sorry,” whispered Sonny, holding Emily tightly. “I’m so sorry.”

Emily finally gained her composure. She looked at Sonny. “You have to let me help you
through this. I want to take care of you, but you won’t let me,” she said tearfully, in
exhaustion.

Sonny closed his eyes, listening to the pain in Emily’s voice, trying to focus on what she
was saying to him. All he felt was shame right now, embarrassment that Emily was
seeing him for what he really was.

“Can you do that?” whispered Emily. “Will you let me help you?”

Sonny was exhausted and lost. He started to cry softly as he put his head down. “I need
help,” he admitted quietly.

Emily was relieved to hear his words, knowing she couldn’t do much unless Sonny
cooperated with her.

“I’m not getting better,” whispered Sonny. “Am I?”

“No,” Emily said painfully.

Sonny wiped away his tears. He wouldn’t make eye contact with Emily. “I can’t be
locked up. That’s the one thing you can’t do to me. I can’t be locked up . . . I can’t be
locked up . . . Please.”

Emily touched Sonny’s arm. “I understand,” she said, trying to soothe Sonny’s agitation.
“I would never do that.”

“I . . . I . . . don’t like doctors . . . I don’t know . . .”

Emily could see that Sonny’s eyes were wild with fear and his voice was full of panic.
“Hey,” she said firmly, trying to get his attention. “Let’s take this one step at a time. I
would never do anything that would hurt you.”

Sonny took a heavy swallow, his eyes cast down. He wanted help, but he wasn’t sure
what that meant. “I don’t know about this . . . I don’t know.”

“Shhh,” whispered Emily. “Shhh,” she repeated, trying to calm him down. “Sonny, I
would never cause you more pain. Do you believe that?”
Sonny didn’t answer Emily.

“Sonny, look at me.”

Sonny looked at Emily, tears in his eyes.

“You need to see a psychiatrist and get an evaluation,” explained Emily. “I’m not talking
about going to Rose Lawn or staying overnight in the hospital or being locked up.”

Sonny took a deep breath. “You won’t let them do that, Emily. Right?”

“Never,” Emily promised. “But you will probably be prescribed some medication,
Sonny.”

“Drugs?”

“Mediation that will stabilize your moods,” answered Emily. “So you can lead a normal
life.”

When Emily explained things, it seemed so easy. But, Sonny wasn’t so sure he could be
fixed like Emily believed so much. “You really think I can be helped?”

“I know you can,” responded Emily.

Sonny nodded his head. “What about the children?” he asked fearfully. “I need them
around me. Can they still be here?”

“Of course,” explained Emily. “Family support is what you need right now. The doctor
will tell you that.”

Sonny rubbed his face. “I promised the boys I would take them to the baseball game.
That’s in a few days.”

“Well, you need to postpone that,” Emily answered honestly.

Sonny wiped away a tear. “They’re going to be so disappointed in me. I promised them.”

“You can take them later, when you’re feeling better,” suggested Emily. “They’ll
understand.”

Sonny stared at the floor, trying to comprehend everything that was happening. “I don’t
like making promises I can’t keep,” he said quietly. “I don’t want to be like my father.”

Emily squeezed Sonny’s hand. “Michael knows, Sonny. He talked to me about it.”
“Oh,” Sonny said with shame, continuing to look towards the floor. He became quiet.

Emily felt bad. She knew how hard Sonny had tried to keep everything from the children.
“He’s worried about you.”

“Does he think . . . I’m crazy?” asked Sonny.

“No, not at all,” whispered Emily. “He’s just wants you to get better. That’s what we all
want.”

“What about Morgan and Kristina?” Sonny asked quietly. “Do they know . . . I’m sick?”

“I don’t know,” Emily answered with honestly. “I don’t think so.”

“I have to get better for my children,” said Sonny with resolve. He looked up at Emily.
“For you too, if you’ll still have me.”

“Sonny, I will always love you,” Emily said tearfully. “But, you need to promise me
something, okay.”

“What?”

“You have to promise me you’re going to get help. Even if you start to feel better
tomorrow, you still need to get help, do you understand?”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement. “Okay, Emily. I promise.”
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 6 ~-~-~ Steps ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Sonny paced back and forth in the hallway. He was still disheveled from spending the
night before outside, but he had gotten a little bit of sleep today. He was still feeling
disoriented and Emily hadn’t let him out of her sight all day. The boys came home from
Carly’s after dinner and Sonny was worried that they would notice something was wrong
with him. It was becoming exhausting trying to cover his moods from everybody. Later,
after the boys had been in bed for a while, he finally gathered up enough courage to talk
to them, even though he felt very shaky. He went to Morgan’s room first.

“Hey. You still awake?” asked Sonny, as he walked towards the bed. He sat down,
hoping Morgan didn’t notice his hands shaking or his nervousness.

Morgan put down his toy car. “Can I sleep in Michael’s room?”

“Not tonight,” whispered Sonny. “Why? Don’t you like your own bed?”
“I get scared,” admitted Morgan. “I can’t find my flashlight.”

Sonny looked around the room. He walked over and turned on the lamp. “You can leave
the light on,” he whispered. “Does that help?”

Morgan nodded his head. “Can you read me a story?”

Sonny sat down on the bed again. He smiled, although he was feeling very shaky right
now. “Okay,” he agreed. He picked out a book from the shelf that was short, not really
having the energy to read for very long. He read the story to Morgan, always relishing
these small moments with him.

“Can you read it again?” asked Morgan.

“No. Not tonight,” answered Sonny. “It’s late.”

“Can we go swimming with Kristina tomorrow?” asked Morgan.

“We’ll see,” answered Sonny.

“Can you make me pancakes tomorrow?”

“Sure,” promised Sonny. He gave Morgan a kiss on the forehead. “I love you so much,”
he whispered. “Goodnight, Morgan.”

“Goodnight, Daddy.”
~-~-~-~
Sonny stood in the hallway for a moment at Michael’s door, trying to gain his
composure. He loved his kids so much and he was so afraid of disappointing them. He
wondered if they were ashamed of him, as he knew the last couple of months had been
rough on them. He took a heavy sigh as he peeked into Michael’s room. He knew he
would still be awake.

“Hey, buddy.”

“Hi, Dad,” Michael said with surprise. Lately, his dad sometimes forgot to kiss him
goodnight. He put down his baseball card collection he had been looking through.

Sonny gave him a weak smile. “I need to talk to you about something.”

“Is something wrong?” Michael asked with worry. He knew his dad was having a bad
day, since his hair wasn’t combed and he hadn’t shaved. Michael always knew that was a
bad sign.

“No.” Sonny sat down on the bed. “Well, kind of.”
“What is it?” asked Michael, seeing how much his dad was struggling.

Sonny let out a sigh. “I’m not going to be able to take you and Morgan to the Yankees
game.”

“Oh,” Michael said with disappointment.

“I know how much you wanted to go,” added Sonny.

“I understand,” Michael responded.

Sonny shook his head tearfully. “I don’t like to break my promises, Michael. You know
that, right?”

“I know.”

“I want to explain why,” continued Sonny. “I haven’t been myself lately and I wanted to
apologize for that.”

“Are you sick?” asked Michael, getting tearful, knowing the answer.

Sonny looked at Michael for a moment, trying to think of how he could explain that
question. “A lot of things have happened to me, Michael. I told you about my stepfather,
right?”

Michael nodded his head. “The cop.”

“Yeah.” Sonny rubbed his face. “He . . . he did things to me that were . . . terrible and
sometimes I think that’s what made me like this.”

“He hurt you really bad,” said Michael. “Just like when AJ kidnapped me and told me
things that weren’t true. He tricked me.”

Sonny put his hand on Michael’s shoulder, offering him comfort. “Kind of like that. I
know how much he hurt you, Michael. The main thing is . . . I don’t want you and
Morgan to be scared of me anymore.”

“I’ve never been scared of you,” said Michael. “I just worry about you a lot.”

Sonny wiped away a tear. “I don’t want to worry you anymore. I’m going to go to a
doctor and get help.”

“Are you going to the kind of doctor that I did?” asked Michael. “Where you have to talk
and stuff?”
Sonny took a swallow. “Yes. I’m going to see a doctor like that. I’m not sure exactly
what is wrong with me yet, but I’m going to find out.”

Michael reached out, taking Sonny’s hand. “That’s good, Dad. That’s really good.”

“Michael, I’m sorry if I’ve scared you in any way or worried you,” said Sonny. “I’m the
one that should be taking care of you, not the other way around.”

“I don’t mind,” said Michael.

Sonny reached over and took Michael in his arms. “I am so lucky to have you, Michael.
So lucky.”

Michael closed his eyes as his father held him tightly in his arms. He loved his father so
much. “Maybe we could go to a game another time? When you’re feeling better.”

“Yeah,” agreed Sonny. “I’d like that so much Michael.”
~-~-~-~
Sonny went into the bedroom, finally letting his guard down after talking to the boys. He
was an emotional wreck as he paced back and forth at the end of the bed. There were a
hundred things running through his mind right now. He was so tired of thinking so much
that his head hurt.

Emily was in bed, reading. When she saw how restless Sonny was, she closed her book
and put it on the nightstand. She knew the nights were the worst for Sonny. She looked at
the clock and knew he would probably be up for hours after everyone had fallen asleep. If
she had her way, she would give Sonny a sleeping pill, but she knew he hated doing that.
She had told Max and Milo to take shifts tonight, as she didn’t want Sonny leaving the
house again. She got up and went over to Sonny. She took his hands and looked at him.
“You okay?”

“Yeah . . . yeah.”

“Did you talk to the boys?”

Sonny nodded his head. “I had a long talk with Michael. I told him I couldn’t take them
to the baseball game and he was okay with it,” he said with surprise.

“Michael understands,” said Emily. “Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

Sonny looked at Emily with sadness. “I also told him I’m going to see a doctor and that I
was sick.”

Emily ran her hands through Sonny’s hair. “That’s a big step.”

“Yeah,” Sonny whispered. “He was so understanding.”
Emily wondered why Sonny would be so surprised. “Your children love you, Sonny.”

Sonny became tearful. “I want to be a good father. I’ve tried so hard to be there for them
when they needed me.”

“You have,” whispered Emily.

Sonny rubbed his face with weariness. He looked at Emily. “You’ve been so good to me
through all of this, Emily. I’ll never forget it.”

Emily leaned over and gave Sonny a kiss.

Sonny gave her a small smile. Then he let out a sigh of exhaustion. “I think I’m going to
take a shower.”

Emily nodded her head. “I think that’s a good idea.” She watched with concern as Sonny
walked toward the bathroom.

Sonny took a long, hot shower. He felt his muscles start to relax and his mind wasn’t
racing as much now. When he looked in the mirror to shave, he barely recognized
himself. He tried to shave, but his hands were shaking too much. He put down his razor
in defeat. He walked into the bedroom and looked at Emily. She was sitting up and
reading her book. He smiled. He was so glad she had come into his life. She had been so
good to him, even though he was probably going through the worst time in his life. She
was his light. In all of the darkness, in the hell that was his life right now, she gave him
hope and love.

“Feel better?” asked Emily, as she put her book down.

“Yeah,” answered Sonny.

Emily thought Sonny still seemed very edgy. But he had a least put on his pajamas,
which she thought was a good sign. Lately, he had been staying in his clothes at night and
that usually meant he was feeling restless and wasn’t going to bed.

Sonny walked over to Emily’s side of the bed and sat down. He leaned over and gave her
a kiss. He reached out and ran his hands through her hair. “I’m sorry about last night,” he
said quietly. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“I know.”

“I don’t really remember what happened,” Sonny admitted quietly.

“It’s okay, Sonny. The main thing is that you’re okay and that you’re going to get help,”
Emily said gently.
Sonny nodded his head. “So, I go and see Dr. Winters tomorrow?”

“The appointments at ten o’clock,” answered Emily.

“Will you go with me?”

“Yes,” promised Emily. “I’ve already talked to Lainey. She’s going to give you a
psychological evaluation, Sonny. I can stay for some of it, but there’s other parts where
Lainey is going to need to talk to you alone.”

“Can’t she just take a blood test or something?”

“No. Not for this,” explained Emily. “It might take a couple of visits.” She wanted to be
honest with Sonny. Lainey had told her to try and prepare Sonny for what to expect.
Emily thought it was good that he was asking questions. “She’s going to ask a lot of
questions, Sonny. Things you might have a hard time talking about.”

Sonny looked at Emily with dread. “But, she won’t try and lock me up, right? She’s just
going to test me.”

Emily took Sonny’s hands. “I’ve talked to Lainey about some of your history, Sonny. She
knows you can’t be locked up. I’m going to be right there. If you want to stop, then she’s
going to stop. I promise you are going home with me.”

Sonny looked into Emily’s eyes. He knew she was telling the truth, that he could trust
her. He reached out and touched her cheek, giving her a kiss. “Okay, Emily.”

“Come lie down,” Emily said, gesturing to the bed. “Try and get some sleep.”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement. He crawled into bed and lay down. Emily moved
next to Sonny and he wrapped his arms around her, softly stroking her hair. He always
felt safe when she was near him. He always felt calm. “I think I’ll be able to fall asleep
tonight.”

Emily closed her eyes, listening to Sonny’s heartbeat. She felt relief right now, knowing
Sonny was safe tonight and things could only get better. “I’m tired myself,” she said
sleepily.

“That’s because you’ve been taking care of me,” whispered Sonny. “When I get better,
I’m going to start taking care of you.”

“I love you,” whispered Emily, as she fell asleep in Sonny’s arms.

“I love you too,” whispered Sonny, as he closed his eyes and fell asleep.
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 7 ~-~-~ The Appointment ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Sonny paced the room outside of Dr. Winter’s office. He wasn’t sure if he would be able
to go through with this. He was nervous. But he had promised Emily and the boys that he
would do this. They all had breakfast together this morning and everyone had encouraged
Sonny to go to the appointment. They all wanted him to get better. He had realized then
what kind of pain he had put the whole family through. He looked over at Emily, who
was sitting down in the waiting area. If she weren’t here, he would leave right now. He
would leave and never come back.

Emily sensed Sonny’s fear, his panic. She walked over to him. He was perspiring and she
thought he might be having a panic attack. “Sonny, you need to relax, okay?”

Sonny rubbed his neck. “I don’t like doctors,” he protested.

“I know,” Emily said gently. “Don’t forget I’m a doctor,” she joked. “I hope you don’t
mean me.”

Sonny allowed a smile. “No, of course not. I didn’t mean you.”

Emily was relieved when Lainey came over to them. She felt for sure that Sonny would
have bolted if she had to keep him there one more minute.

“Come in,” gestured Dr. Winters.

Emily looked at Sonny. “I’m going to stay here,” she explained.

Sonny looked at Emily with apprehension.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Emily promised. “I’ll be right here if you need me.”

Sonny nodded his head. With hesitation, he walked into the office. It was small and he
already felt trapped.

“Would you like a glass of water, Mr. Corinthos?” asked Lainey.

“No, thanks,” he said, as he looked around the office. “You can call me Sonny.”

“Sonny, why don’t you sit down?” suggested Dr. Winters, sensing his tenseness, his
agitation. Emily had already filled her in on a lot of information. She was fully prepared
to deal with Sonny’s doubts, his distrust, and his denial.
Sonny shook his head, already feeling like he wanted to punch something. “No. Can I
walk around?”

“You can do whatever makes you comfortable.”

Sonny went to the window. “I have to be honest. I’m only here because . . . I promised
Emily I would get help. But I don’t believe in doctors.”

“I see,” responded Dr. Winters. “So, you don’t have a regular doctor?”

“No,” Sonny shook his head. “Not really.”

Dr. Winters walked over to her desk, looking over Sonny’s medical file, which she had
requested after he made his appointment. There was page after page of emergency room
visits, gunshots wounds, and other violent injuries. “You have quite a medical history
here at General Hospital.”

“Yes,” admitted Sonny. “You know who I am? You know what I do?”

“Yes,” responded Dr. Winters.

“You’re not afraid of me?” asked Sonny.

Dr. Winters closed the medical chart. “I don’t really know. I need to know more about
you. Tell me what’s going on?” She studied him, seeing his trembling hands. He was
pacing now, trying to focus. She could see that he was suffering from exhaustion, just
from the black circles under his eyes. He was like a caged animal, she thought. And
privately, yes she was a little scared of him.

“Don’t play games with me, Dr. Winters,” warned Sonny. “I know you’ve been talking to
Emily. I know you gave her those pamphlets.”

“Yes,” admitted Dr. Winters. “Emily is concerned about you. She has told me a little
about you. But I need you to tell me.”

“You’ve convinced Emily I have this . . . this bipolar . . . thing. That I can be cured,” he
laughed. “I keep telling her I can’t. But she won’t believe me.”

“What do you think is wrong with you?”

Sonny took a heavy sigh. He paced back and forth. “It’s a long story,” he said with
seriousness.

“Well, that’s what therapy is all about,” Dr. Winters explained. “Sorting through things
that happen to someone, what they mean, and learning how to cope with all of one’s
emotions.”
Sonny reached inside his jacket, openly taking a sip from his flask. He didn’t care what
Dr. Winters thought. He needed a drink. The voices were starting in his head again. He
was getting claustrophobic. He knew he would never be able to stay in this room. It was
too small, too cramped. He needed air.

“How much do you drink?” asked Dr. Winters.

Sonny let out a laugh. “I don’t keep track,” he said. “Sometimes a drink a lot, sometimes
I don’t,” he admitted.

“How about lately?”

Sonny took another sip from his flask. He put it back in his pocket. “Look, I have
problems, okay? I’m screwed up. Coming here won’t change that.” He walked over and
sat down in the chair. He became quiet.

Dr. Winters wrote a few notes on her pad. She was becoming fascinated by Sonny’s
behaviors. Even in the small time she had seen him, she had observed several different
mood swings. She could tell by what he was telling her, that he had learned to live with
this. That he had learned to get through his episodes. He was self-medicating himself
with alcohol. “Sonny, I’d like to do a full evaluation. I need to know more about past
episodes, your family medical history, how you were when you were a child, before I can
make a formal diagnosis.”

“I have to go,” Sonny whispered.

Dr. Winters put down her pen, looking up at Sonny.

“You’ve taken a huge step coming here, Sonny. I know this is difficult.”

Sonny stood up unsteadily from the chair.

“Sonny? Are you okay?”

“I need some air,” Sonny mumbled. “I need some air.” He went over and tried to open the
window, but it wouldn’t budge. He pounded the window with frustration.

Dr. Winters went over to Sonny. She rarely had needed to open the window, as there was
air conditioning, but managed to pry the window open for him. “There,” she said,
wanting to calm him down. She didn’t want to have to sedate him; she needed to gain his
trust. “Take some deep breaths, Sonny.”

Sonny took some deep breaths, trying not to pass out. He felt the cool air reach his lungs,
but it didn’t seem enough.
“Come sit down,” said Dr. Winters. “I can help you.”

Sonny stumbled back over to the chair. He was struggling to gain his composure, to stop
the darkness from coming over him. He took in some more deep breaths, and then took a
desperate sip from his flask.

“The alcohol makes it worse,” Dr. Winters gently scolded.

“It’s the one thing that . . . helps me,” gasped Sonny. “It makes me think clear. It calms
me down.”

“You’ve been self-medicating yourself, Sonny. You use the alcohol to control your
moods,” explained Dr. Winters. “I can prescribe you medication that would make you
feel normal, so you wouldn’t have to do that.”

“So, do I have this . . . Bipolar Disorder?” asked Sonny.

“I need to do a complete evaluation before I make a formal diagnosis,” responded Dr.
Winters.

Sonny took in another deep breath, feeling exhausted. “Can’t you give me a . . . straight
answer?”

“I think it’s very likely you have Bipolar Disorder,” Dr. Winters said bluntly. “But I can’t
determine that yet. Like I said, I need to know more information.”

Sonny closed his eyes, in frustration, in exhaustion, in uncertainty.

“Sonny, you have to cooperate,” said Dr. Winters. “It won’t work if you don’t trust me.”

Sonny didn’t answer her. He was shutting down.

“Why don’t you sit there for a minute?” Dr. Winters suggested. She handed Sonny a
glass of water, which he held shakily, but took a small sip. “I’m going to bring Emily in,”
she continued. “I’ll start with some basic questions for today. When you get tired, we can
stop and finish tomorrow.”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement.

Dr. Winters went out into the waiting room and sat next to Emily.

“How is he?” asked Emily.

“I’m going to be honest,” answered Dr. Winters. “He should be hospitalized, his
condition is that severe. He needs to be treated for his exhaustion, he needs to be
medicated, and he needs to be monitored. But he would never consent to the care. I could
admit him to the psychiatric ward if I feel he’s a danger to himself or others, but if I do
that, I would never gain his trust. That’s the most important thing right now.”

“Can you treat him as an outpatient?” Emily asked hopefully. “That’s what I promised
him.”

Dr. Winters understood a lot more now. She understood Sonny’s past, she understood
Emily’s love for this man, and she understood how complex a case Sonny Corinthos was
going to be. “I’m going to try and treat him as an outpatient,” she agreed. “It’s not the
ideal situation, but I’m going to try.”

Emily let out a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Lainey,” she said tearfully.

“It’s not going to be easy,” warned Dr. Winters. “I’m going to need your help. He trusts
you, Emily. That’s the only thing we have to work with right now. It’s going to take a
while for me to gain his trust.”

“I’m ready,” Emily answered. “I just need some guidance from you. I don’t know what
I’m doing.”

“Well, right now I would suggest you get some more help. You can’t do this alone,” said
Dr. Winters. “You look exhausted.”

Emily nodded her head, listening carefully. “It’s been hard,” she admitted. “I could ask
Mike to help me, Sonny’s father. Robin can help.”

“That’s a good start,” said Dr. Winters.

“What’s next?” asked Emily.

“I’d like to try and gather some more information from Sonny today. I need to ask him
some medical history, his past. I think he’d do better if you were sitting with him.”

Emily stood up. “I’ll do whatever it takes.” She walked back into the office and looked at
Sonny. He was sitting in a chair and he looked at her with apprehension in his eyes, fear.
It was like she read his mind. She went over and sat next to him. She took his hand.
“You’re still going home with me, just like I promised,” she said gently.

Sonny let out a sigh of relief. In his paranoia, he thought he was going to be committed,
drugged, or restrained. He knew he would be too exhausted to resist if they tried to hurt
him. He would have been defenseless, just like he was as a child. It was his worst fear.
But when Emily reached out and took his hand he realized that her touch was his lifeline,
his hope, his only chance of getting out of this hell.
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis
Chapter 8 ~-~-~ Questions ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Sonny sat on the docks for a long time. He was confused and scared. He didn’t remember
how he got here. He had taken out his phone and dialed Mike’s number, but he didn’t
know how long ago that had been. He really wanted to talk to his father. He needed to get
some answers. He had just spent the entire afternoon answering questions about his
parents, and for the most part, he couldn’t answer them. He put his face in his hands,
trying to focus, trying to figure out what to do. He wanted to go home, but he was too
ashamed to call Emily. She had heard so much today, she had learned who he really was;
a coward.

“Sonny.”

Sonny didn’t answer. Mike wasn’t sure if Sonny had heard him or could even see him. It
was late and dark on the docks.

Mike called his son’s name again. “Sonny!” he said in a loud voice.

Sonny turned around, startled to hear his name. He wasn’t sure who was standing there.

Mike took a few steps closer. “It’s Mike. You called me a little while ago. You said you
wanted to talk.” Actually, Emily had called Mike first, frantically looking for Sonny.
Sonny had disappeared after dinner. He had left the house with the Maserati hours ago
and she was worried sick something terrible had happened. “Are you okay?”

Sonny rubbed is hands together. No, he was not okay.

Mike slowly sat down on the bench next to Sonny. “It’s late, Sonny. Everyone’s been
really worried about you.”

Sonny nodded his head. He didn’t have any awareness of time. Everything was a blur.
“You’ve been worried?” he asked suspiciously, his shaky voice revealing his
unsteadiness, his confusion.

Mike had been worried since the day Sonny had given him the baseball glove. That was
over a month ago and Mike had been checking in with Emily after that. He knew Sonny
was having a severe breakdown. He had kept his distance though, knowing he usually did
nothing but agitate Sonny even more. He was just waiting for the right time to help. “Of
course I’ve been worried. You’re my son.”

“You’ve never worried about me before,” Sonny answered quietly, not with accusation,
but just raw emotion.

Mike wasn’t going to argue with Sonny. The truth was he always worried about Sonny,
he was just never around enough to tell him that. “Well, you called me. You said you
wanted to talk.”
“No,” said Sonny, putting his head down. He didn’t feel like talking anymore. He
wondered if Mike was ashamed of him.

“You must be cold,” said Mike, noticing Sonny shivering.

Sonny shook his head. “No . . . well, a little.”

“It’s late,” said Mike. “Why don’t you let me take you home?”

Sonny shook his head again. He didn’t want to go anywhere. “No.”

Mike looked around. “Where’s your car?”

“I’m not sure,” Sonny admitted quietly. “I don’t know. I don’t remember.”

Mike put his hand on Sonny’s arm, sensing his agitation. “It’s okay,” he assured him.
“We can find it in the morning.”

Sonny covered his face with his hands. He was so exhausted. He couldn’t think, he
couldn’t move. He couldn’t make a decision. He was at such a loss he felt like sleeping
on the bench.

Mike wasn’t sure what to do. He wasn’t sure if Sonny would come with him. “Sonny,
you can’t stay here all night.”

“I’m too tired,” explained Sonny. “I don’t want to go anywhere.”

“We’re not far from Kelly’s,” said Mike. “Come back with me. You can stay at my place.
At least let me get you something to eat.”

Sonny wasn’t the least bit hungry. But he did want to sleep. “You have a place I can
sleep?”

“Yeah,” answered Mike, finally seeing his opening. He helped Sonny stand up. “Come
on, Sonny. It’s not far at all.”
~-~-~-~
Mike was able to walk Sonny over to Kelly’s Diner. The diner was closed for the night,
but Mike unlocked the doors, turned the lights on, and had Sonny sit down at one of the
tables. “Sit here, Sonny. You need to get warm.”

Sonny rubbed his eyes, not wanting Mike to fuss over him, but not up to the task of
fighting with him tonight.

Mike went to the kitchen to make some coffee. He called Emily, assuring her Sonny was
okay and that he was going to stay with him until the morning. He brought over two cups
of decaffeinated coffee to the table and sat down. He watched as Sonny took a sip of his
coffee. “I called Emily,” he said. “She’s very relieved you’re okay. I told her you’re
going to stay here for the night. You can get some sleep and then we can talk in the
morning.”

Sonny took a sip of his coffee. “Emily . . . she’s trying to help me,” he explained. “But
I’m not being a very good boy. She might . . . she might leave me soon.”

“No,” Mike commented. “No, I don’t think so. She worries about you though.”

“Yeah,” Sonny agreed. He took another sip of his coffee. “Was I a bad kid?”

“What?” asked Mike. “In what way? What do you mean?”

Sonny looked at his father. “When I was little, how was I? Did I get in trouble a lot? You
need to be honest with me.”

Mike stared at Sonny for a minute, trying to think back to how he was when he was little.
He honestly remembered Sonny as being a sweet child, a little shy, but not much trouble
at all. “Well, that was a long time ago, but you were an easy kid. You didn’t cry a lot, you
seemed like a normal kid.”

Sonny sighed. Mike probably didn’t remember and it was important Sonny knew. He
wished his mother were alive right now. She would be honest with him. She would tell
him if she had noticed anything. “There was nothing that made you think something was
wrong?” he asked again in frustration.

“Why are you asking these questions?” asked Mike.

“Because I need to know if I’m this way because of what Deke did to me or was I always
like this,” whispered Sonny.

“Like what?”

Sonny pounded the table. “Like what?” he mocked. “Crazy. Violent. Mad!”

“You’re not crazy,” corrected Mike. “You just have . . . you have a lot of anger
problems.”

“That’s what I’ve been telling everybody,” agreed Sonny. “And they’re telling me I am
mentally ill . . . that I am sick. That I was born like this!”

“What do you mean?”

“Dr. Winters, Emily . . . they are telling me I have this . . . this bipolar thing. That I have
a chemical imbalance and it can be treated,” answered Sonny.
Mike looked at Sonny with surprise. “Well, that’s good, isn’t it?” he asked. “That you
can get help?”

“I don’t know,” Sonny said in exasperation. “I don’t know what to think. They think I
can be fixed and I can’t. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell them.”

Mike studied Sonny. He wasn’t sure what to say to comfort him. He wasn’t very good at
talking with Sonny.

“What about my mother?” Sonny asked. “Do you think something was wrong with her?
Did she ever say anything to you?”

Mike took a sip of his coffee, thinking about Adela. “She had some problems,” he
remembered. “But she had seen a lot of violence in Cuba. When we first got married, she
used to have a lot of nightmares.”

“She had nightmares? What else?” asked Sonny.

Mike shrugged his shoulders. “When she had the nightmares, she would get quiet for
days. She wouldn’t want to talk about it. She’d just shut down. After you were born,” he
continued, “she got better. The nightmares stopped. She was happy, Sonny. She was so
happy to be a mother.”

“Did she ever . . . break things or get violent?” asked Sonny.

Mike shook his head. “No. She was always very gentle. Sometimes, she would get upset
and she would cry.”

“What about you?”

“What do you mean?” asked Mike.

“Did you ever have any problems?” asked Sonny.

“I gamble,” Mike answered. “You already know that.”

“When did you start gambling?”

Mike took sip of his coffee. “I don’t know,” he answered honestly. “As far back as I can
remember.”

Sonny rubbed his eyes, not finding any of the answers he needed. “Dr. Winters asked me
things I didn’t know,” he revealed. “I don’t know anything about you or my mother,” he
concluded. “Everybody was too busy keeping their secrets.”
Mike could see how exhausted Sonny was. He could barely keep his eyes open. “Sonny,
you need to get some sleep. Let’s go upstairs and you can get some rest. Then we can
figure all of this out tomorrow.”

Sonny looked at his father, seeing he didn’t seem to have any answers either. But he
didn’t want his pity. “Don’t look at me like that,” he whispered. “Not you too, Mike.”

“I just want the chance to help you, Michael. That’s all. Don’t push me away,” pleaded
Mike.

Sonny felt exhausted. His head was spinning with noise. He didn’t want to talk anymore.
“Okay, Mike.”
~-~-~-~
Mike helped Sonny onto the bed. The rooms were small upstairs at Kelly’s, and the place
was a mess, but Sonny didn’t seem to notice. Mike didn’t even bother with Sonny’s
clothes, figuring the best thing was to let him get some sleep.

“Do you need anything?” asked Mike, as he covered Sonny up with a blanket.

“Deke made me crazy, Mike. I know that’s what’s wrong with me. That’s what people
don’t understand,” Sonny rambled.

Mike got tearful. He believed what Sonny did, that Deke made his son the way he was.
“I’m sorry, Michael. I’m so sorry.”

“I have to stop all of these voices in my head,” whispered Sonny. “I have to have it quiet
so I can sleep.”

Mike took off Sonny’s shoes.

“I think . . . I think I hurt Emily. I have to call her and make sure. I’m not sure when I last
talked to her,” mumbled Sonny.

“I talked to her a little while ago,” Mike assured Sonny. “She’s fine. She knows where
you are. She’s safe, Sonny. You didn’t hurt her.”

Sonny sighed in relief. “That’s good,” he said. “What a relief.”

Mike brought a chair over next to the bed. “Do you want me to turn off the light?” he
asked.

“No,” answered Sonny. “No. I don’t like the dark. I don’t like it. Just . . . just stay with
me for a little while, so I can get some sleep. I need to sleep so bad.”

Mike sat with Sonny for a while. He was relieved when Sonny finally settled down and
fell asleep. It was a fitful sleep, but Mike was relieved just the same. He was angry with
himself for not being around Sonny more. Emily had told him about Sonny’s bizarre
behaviors months ago, but Mike didn’t do anything about it. He thought that Sonny didn’t
need his help. But he was wrong. Whatever this was, he wanted to help Sonny get
through this. He wanted to take care of his son.

~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 9 ~-~-~ Reaching Out ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Mike had stayed with Sonny through the night. In the early morning, Sonny was sound
asleep. Mike didn’t want to leave Sonny alone, but he needed to open Kelly’s. He went
downstairs to open the diner. He was setting out chairs, starting the coffee, and putting
out some silverware when Emily arrived. There was no one in the diner yet, although the
early birds would soon be trickling in.

“Morning,” said Emily.

Mike came over to Emily and gave her a hug. “Good morning,” he said. “Did you get
some sleep?”

“Not much,” admitted Emily. “I couldn’t stop worrying about Sonny. How is he?”

“He’s upstairs,” Mike gestured, as he put on his apron. “He was exhausted. He’s still
asleep.”

“That’s good.” Emily sat down at the counter. “He went and saw Dr. Winters yesterday,
Mike. I’m so proud of him. It’s a big step.”

“He told me.” Mike came over and sat next to Emily. “I’d like to talk to you about that,”
he said.

“Okay,” said Emily.

“Sonny was really upset last night. He said that Dr. Winters told him he might have
something . . . bipolar . . .”

“Bipolar Disorder,” said Emily, helping him along. “Dr. Winters hasn’t confirmed it yet,”
she cautioned. “She still needs to complete his evaluation.”

“What does that mean, Emily?”

“It’s a little complicated, Mike. But basically it means that Sonny has a chemical
imbalance. It causes severe mood swings, mania, and depression. It could be why Sonny
has his breakdowns,” she said, trying to tell Mike gently about Sonny’s probable
diagnosis.
“What do you do for that?” asked Mike.

“It can be treated, Mike,” explained Emily. “You can take medication. You can get
therapy to help deal with the behaviors. Sonny doesn’t have to live like this,” she added.
“He can have a better life.”

Mike shook his head with disbelief. “Do you think he has this, Emily?”

“Yes,” answered Emily. “I’ve been with Sonny for a long time, Mike. He has so many of
the symptoms.”

“So all this time, Sonny has been sick? He’s needed help?” asked Mike. “I had not idea.
I’ve always given him a bad time about it,” he added shamefully. “I always thought he
could just snap out of his funks.”

“No. He can’t. Not on his own,” explained Emily. “It’s not his fault that he gets like this.”

“How long has he had this?” Mike asked.

Emily shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. The symptoms probably showed up in his
teens.”

Mike stood up from the bar and paced back and forth. “But I thought that Sonny was this
way because of what Deke did. Do you know what that man did to him, Emily?”

“Yes,” responded Emily with sadness.

“Sonny was fine until . . . until I left him and his mother,” continued Mike. “He was
never the same after that. Then Deke showed up and he . . . abused him. He beat him and
locked him in a closet. How can you be the same after that?”

Emily had Mike sit down. “Mike, listen to me, okay.”

Mike nodded his head, feeling upset.

“Sonny needs our support right now. He doesn’t believe he can be helped, but he can,”
Emily explained. “A lot of terrible things have happened to him. And all of those things
have made him who he is today. But he also has an illness, Mike. Something that needs to
be treated or he’s going to continue to have a life of pain, of darkness. It doesn’t have to
be that way anymore.”

Mike tried to comprehend what Emily was saying. “So, he can take some medication . . .”
“Yes,” said Emily. “But he is also going to need therapy, Mike. He needs to be able to
cope with everything. Learn the signs for when he feels like he is having another
breakdown.”

“I can’t imagine Sonny going to therapy,” said Mike.

“That’s where you come in,” said Emily. “Mike, you have to believe this will work too.
Sonny’s going to fight this tooth and nail. Treatment won’t work unless he agrees to it.”

“What do I have to do?”

“Sonny needs you in his life right now, Mike.”

“I’ll do whatever it takes.”

“That means you come over for dinner, spend time with your grandchildren, spend time
with Sonny,” suggested Emily. “You have to be around him, not just when you need
some money.”

Mike took a heavy swallow.

“I’m just being honest with you, Mike. You only come around when you need Sonny’s
help, his money,” said Emily. “But you never just visit him because he’s your son. That’s
all he wants. I know he would never say it, but he needs you. He needs his father around
him.”

“Sonny seems to get irritated when I’m around,” said Mike defensively. “He pushes me
away.”

Emily shook her head. “He called you last night, right?”

“Yeah.”

“He is reaching out to you, Mike. Don’t you see that?” said Emily. “That’s why he gave
you the baseball glove. He invited you to the Yankees game. He’s reaching out to you
and you don’t even see it.”

Mike nodded his head in agreement. “Okay.”

“There’s one other thing,” said Emily. “When Sonny goes to therapy, a lot of things from
his past are going to come up. Not just about Deke, but about you and Adela. Dr. Winters
might suggest family therapy with you and Sonny.”

Mike looked at Emily with dread. “Family therapy?” he repeated.
“Yes,” said Emily. “You have to be a part of this, Mike. It’s the only way Sonny will get
better.”
~-~-~-~
After talking with Mike, Emily went up and sat with Sonny. As always, she had brought
her reading materials. She pulled up a chair by the bed and drank her coffee as she
immersed herself in her medical journals. Every once in a while, she would glance at
Sonny, who seemed to be in a very restful sleep, something she had rarely witnessed
since knowing him. She thought his exhaustion was finally catching up with him.

Sonny awoke to Emily staring at him. He wasn’t sure where he was. He looked around
the room and then back to her concerned face. “What’s going on?” he asked, still not
fully awake.

Emily sat down on the bed and took Sonny’s hand. “You’ve been sleeping for a long
time. How do you feel?”

Sonny looked around again. Now he remembered. He was at Mike’s place. “Mike
brought me here,” he said out loud.

“Yes. You called him last night,” said Emily.

“I got . . . I got kind of upset yesterday,” Sonny admitted. “Dr. Winters came at me with a
lot of stuff, Emily. I wasn’t . . . I just wasn’t prepared for that.”

“I know,” Emily said gently. She kissed Sonny softly on the lips. “Do you want
something to eat?”

Sonny looked around again. “What time is it?”

Emily looked at her watch. “It’s the afternoon. You got some much needed sleep,” she
said. “I’m glad about that.”

“Who knew Mike’s messy, uncomfortable bed would do the trick,” joked Sonny. He
looked around. “This place is unlivable.”

Emily laughed. “It is a little . . . messy.”

Sonny sat up on the bed and turned serious. “I don’t remember where I put the car.”

“Mike found it this morning,” answered Emily. “It wasn’t far from here.”

“Oh, good,” Sonny said with relief. “Emily, I’m sorry I took off last night. I just had . . . I
had to talk to Mike about things,” he said sincerely.

“Did it help?” asked Emily.
Sonny shook his head. “Not really. Mike . . . he’s always been secretive. Still is. I don’t
know anything about my father, really.” Sonny took a heavy sigh. “My mother’s dead,
Emily. She can’t tell me anything either. Maybe she had this same problem. I don’t
know.”

Emily ran her hands through Sonny’s hair. “It might take a while to figure all of this out,
Sonny. Give yourself some time.”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement.

Emily gave Sonny a kiss on the cheek. “I’m so proud of you.”

“You are?” asked Sonny. “Even after what you heard?”

Emily looked at him with confusion. “What do you mean?”

“All those questions . . . all of the things I’ve done, my temper, the violence.”

“I told you I would never judge you Sonny, and I meant that,” Emily said firmly.

Sonny studied Emily. She was sticking with him, not matter what he did, no matter what
happened. He wasn’t sure how to respond. He didn’t think he deserved someone like her.

“What?” Emily asked.

Sonny squeezed Emily’s hand. “I’m so lucky to have you,” he whispered. “I mean that
with all of my heart.”

Emily smiled. “I’m lucky too.” And she meant that. She knew Sonny didn’t believe her,
but he was the best thing to ever happen to her. He understood her pain. He understood
her heart. He always put her first and made her feel special. No one had ever done that
before.

Sonny leaned over and gave Emily a deep kiss, then nibbled on her neck. “I want to make
love to you right now.”

Emily let out a moan. Sonny’s touch always made her feel so good. She let out a nervous
laugh. “In Mike’s room?”

Sonny gave Emily a seductive smile. “He’ll never know.” He gave Emily another kiss,
then moved his kisses down her neck. “He’s working, right?”

“Yeah,” moaned Emily, quickly getting short of breath. “But he might come to check on
you.”
Sonny started unbuttoning Emily’s blouse. “Go lock the door,” he urged, “If it will make
you feel better.”

Emily laughed, but she did go and lock the door. One thing about Sonny, he liked to
make love in all kinds of places, a lot of them daring. She liked that about him. She went
over to the bed and took off her blouse, giving Sonny a shy smile.

“You’re beautiful,” whispered Sonny seductively.

Emily reached over and started unbuttoning Sonny’s shirt. She ran her hands across his
chest, loving the feeling of his skin, his muscles, and the beat of his heart.

Sonny pulled Emily close to him, kissing her passionately. They quickly helped each
other remove the rest of their clothes, feeling the urgency, the fire, as their bodies were
merging.

“I love you, Emily,” whispered Sonny.

Emily closed her eyes, feeling the power of Sonny’s touch, the intensity of his passion. “I
love you too, Sonny.”

~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 10 ~-~-~ Family Time ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Emily was keeping a close eye on Sonny this weekend. He had been seeing Dr. Winters
all week and his evaluation was complete. Both Sonny and Emily were going to meet
with Dr. Winters on Monday for the test results. They were also going to discuss what
treatment Sonny would be on. Dr. Winters had already prepared Sonny that he would
most likely be prescribed a medication. Emily knew this week had been very grueling for
Sonny. He had been fighting going to Dr. Winter’s office so many times. He had gotten
very frustrated with all of the intrusive questions. He was still unconvinced that he had an
illness. But Emily could also sense Sonny’s nervousness and dread at hearing the results.
Emily thought Sonny seemed somewhat fragile the last few days. His manic episodes
were decreasing. But he seemed to be getting more withdrawn. He had sadness to him
that Emily hadn’t quiet seen before.

Sonny had felt bad about canceling out on the Yankees game with the Mike and the boys.
With Emily’s support, he had decided to do the next best thing, which was to watch the
game together on television. He had invited Mike to come over. He had even invited
Alexis, Ric, and the girls over. Sonny had gone all out, buying hot dogs, snacks, and
setting up the large screen TV. Sonny was in the kitchen, making a fruit salad, when
Emily came in.

“How are you doing?” Emily asked.
“Fine.”

“Honest?”

Sonny sighed. He was feeling a little overwhelmed. “I want the kids to have a good
time,” he said. “I do feel a little . . . jittery. I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t have invited
everyone over.”

Emily rubbed Sonny’s back. “I’ll be with you the whole time. It’s family Sonny. They’re
here to support you, remember that. They love you.”

Sonny noticed his hands were shaking. He closed his eyes. “Emily,” he said quietly. “If I
start acting funny, would you . . . would you make sure I don’t scare the kids. I . . . I don’t
want them to be scared of me.”

Emily took Sonny’s trembling hands into hers. “The kids are going to love being with
their father today. Don’t worry. You’re going to be fine,” she assured him.

Sonny nodded his head. “You’re right,” he laughed nervously. He took in a deep breath
and looked around the kitchen. “I have to get this lunch ready.”

Emily smiled. “What do you need help with?”

“I can’t find the chocolate milk,” answered Sonny. “I thought I got some for Kristina. She
loves that stuff.”

Emily opened the refrigerator and looked inside. “Here it is,” she said, as she put the milk
on the counter. “I’ll get out the pickles for Michael too. I know he loves those.”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement as he started getting busy on the hamburger patties.
“Thanks.”

Just then, Mike walked into the kitchen. “I brought the potato salad. I have some dessert
too,” he said, as he carried a bag full of groceries. He smiled at Emily. “Hi.”

“Hi,” Emily smiled back. “I’ll leave you two alone. I’m going to change.”

Mike put the bags down on the counter. “Hi,” he said.

“Hi,” answered Sonny.

Mike started unloading his groceries. “I brought some chocolate chip cookies because I
know how much Morgan loves those.”

“Thanks,” said Sonny. “I guess the kids aren’t going to eat too healthy today,” he mused.
“Well, it’s a special occasion, right?” commented Mike.

“Yeah,” agreed Sonny.

Mike studied Sonny, trying to gauge his mood. “So, how are the tests going?”

Sonny shrugged his shoulders. “I see Dr. Winters on Monday. She’s going to tell me the
results.”

“Do you want me to go with you?” Mike had taken to heart what Emily had told him. He
was determined to make a fresh start with his son and be with him every step of the way
in this ordeal.

Sonny looked at Mike with surprise. “You would do that?”

“Well,” Mike explained. “I’m planning on being around a lot more, Sonny. Whatever
happens tomorrow, you’re going to need support.”

“That sounds like Emily talking,” responded Sonny.

“She talked to me,” admitted Mike.

“I don’t want your pity, Mike.”

“It’s not like that at all,” answered Mike. “Look, I’ve never been around for you. I wasn’t
there when Deke was hurting you. I wasn’t around after you mother died. I’ve never been
around when you’ve needed me. I want to change that.”

Sonny had heard his father say this before. When Mike came to town he had said it.
When Morgan was born, he had said it. But it never seemed to happen.

As if he could read Sonny’s mind, Mike spoke up again. “I know what you’re thinking,
but it’s different this time. I want to spend more time with you,” he explained. “I want to
help you through this. Maybe you could talk to me more about stuff that’s going on, I
don’t know,” he said honestly.

Sonny continued making the hamburger patties, not answering Mike.

“Can we at least give it a try?” asked Mike.

Sonny looked at Mike with frustration. “Look Mike. I’ve never had a problem with you
being around. What I don’t like is when you get bored with it, change your mind after a
few weeks, and move on to other things. It shouldn’t be such a chore to spend time with
your son. I see my children everyday. I’m consistent. I’m responsible.”
“You’re a wonderful father,” commented Mike with sincerity.

“It takes work, Mike. It isn’t easy,” Sonny continued with slight anger.

“I understand,” said Mike.

Sonny’s hands were shaking again. He could feel himself getting agitated.

Mike moved next to Sonny. “Do you want me to finish that?” he asked.

Sonny stopped what he was doing. “I’m sorry, Mike. I shouldn’t have gone off on you
like that.”

Mike guided Sonny towards to the bar stool by the counter and sat him down. “Sit there
for a minute.”

Sonny complied.

Mike started working on the lunch, trying to give Sonny some breathing room. He hated
that he always seemed to agitate his son.

After a few minutes, Sonny gained his composure. “I might need some help,” he
admitted.

“What kind?” Mike asked.

“I don’t know yet,” said Sonny. “I don’t know anything right now. I guess I’ll find out on
Monday. I think they’re going to try and medicate me. Make me like a zombie or
something and there’s no way I’m doing that.”

“What does Emily say?”

Sonny shrugged his shoulders. “She believes in medicine. She believes people can be
cured. But I’m not like people she knows.”

“Or maybe it can make you better,” suggested Mike.

Sonny let out a laugh. “I’ve been screwed up my whole life. I mean, isn’t that why you
left?”

Mike looked at Sonny. “What?”

“I was a bad kid,” explained Sonny. “Michael, Morgan, Kristina . . . they’re goods kids.
They don’t get into fights or anything. They do what they’re told. I wasn’t like that at all.
I was bad.”
“I didn’t leave because of you,” said Mike. “That wasn’t the reason at all.”

Sonny shook his head. “It doesn’t really matter,” he said. “I was different than
everybody. That’s why Deke . . . beat me. I was bad. I deserved it.”

“No,” insisted Mike. “No.”

“If I do this . . . therapy stuff . . . I’m going to have to talk about all of this. I’m going to
tell Dr. Winters the same thing. I can’t be cured.”

Mike sat down on the stool next to Sonny. “I left because I was selfish. I wanted to go out
every night and gamble. I was young and I wasn’t ready for a family. You were a
wonderful kid, Sonny.”

Sonny became tearful, not knowing if he really believed his father.

“You know, Morgan kind of reminds me of you,” whispered Mike. “He’s very sweet. He
always hugs me and he likes to hold my hand. He looks just like you did at his age.”

Sonny studied Mike, trying to see if he was telling the truth.

“Look, if I need to be involved in these therapy sessions, I’ll do it. Maybe I can help you
figure some things out,” offered Mike.

Sonny let out a laugh. “I don’t know what the hell Emily said to you. But she’s got you
saying all the right things, doesn’t she?”
~-~-~-~
While all the kids were eating hot dogs and hamburgers outside on the patio, Sonny
stayed in the kitchen to clean up a little bit. He was happy everyone was having such a
wonderful time, but he was still keeping his distance from everyone. He didn’t want to
start acting strangely in front of anyone.

Ric walked into the kitchen to talk to Sonny. He seemed to be avoiding him lately. He
hadn’t been returning any of his calls. “The kids are having a great time,” he said.

Sonny continued rinsing some dishes. “Yeah,” he agreed.

Ric studied Sonny. He was somewhat disheveled and seemed nervous. “You’re with
family today, Sonny. You don’t need to hide in the kitchen.”

Sonny turned off the water and looked at Ric with sadness. He walked over to the
barstool and sat down. “I want today to go right,” he explained. “I want to watch the
baseball game with the kids. I want them to have good memories.”

Ric walked over and sat down next to Sonny. “Are you kidding? Those kids are going to
have great memories. Better than we ever had.”
“Yeah,” Sonny agreed. “I’m glad you could come, Ric. The boys love to play with
Kristina and Molly.”

Ric smiled at the thought of Molly playing with Sonny’s children. “I never thought our
kids would grow up together,” he said with emotion in his voice.

Sonny looked at Ric. “Me either,” he said honestly.

Ric took a sip of his drink. “Is something going on that I should know about?” he asked
bluntly.

“Like what?” asked Sonny.

“Sonny, I’m your brother. I want to help,” Ric said in frustration. “I could do things for
you. I can take care of things. That’s why I’m your attorney. But you have to trust me.”

Sonny sighed. He looked at Ric, trying to gauge his sincerity. “Do I look that bad?” he
asked.

“No. No, of course not. It’s just . . . well, you look like hell, Sonny. Okay? I said it. I’m
tired of being kept in the dark about everything. What the hell is going on?” demanded
Ric.

Sonny rubbed his face and took another sigh. Ric had been very loyal. He had completed
every order Sonny had asked, no questions asked. He had proven himself. “I have a lot
of stuff going on right now. Personal stuff,” he confided.

“I want to help,” whispered Ric. “I want us to be like real brothers.”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement. “I want that too.”

“You’re having one of your breakdowns, right?” Ric asked cautiously. “The ones you
told me about.”

Sonny nodded his head. “Yeah,” he admitted. “It’s been really bad this time, Ric. Really
bad.”

“What can I do?” Ric asked with sincerity. “Do you need me to run the business for a
while?”

“Well, things are running smoothly right now,” explained Sonny. “But maybe you can
help to keep an eye on the business for me. Make sure no one takes advantage of me . . .
when I’m not . . . at my best.”

“Of course,” agreed Ric.
“There’s a meeting this Friday. I thought you could go in my place. Bernie has all the
information,” continued Sonny.

“Not a problem,” said Ric, thrilled that Sonny trusted him.

Sonny looked at Ric with hesitation. “There’s something else I need to tell you.”

“What?”

“Emily thinks that I can get treated for whatever I have,” explained Sonny. “I’ve been
getting tested by Dr. Winters.”

“You’re seeing a psychiatrist?” Ric asked, in more shock than intended.

“You can’t let anyone know,” warned Sonny. “Not until I’m ready to tell people.”

“Of course,” agreed Ric.

“What does Emily think you have?” asked Ric.

Sonny took a heavy swallow. “Dr. Winters thinks I have Bipolar Disorder. Have you
heard of it?”

Ric looked at Sonny with shock. “Yeah.”

Michael ran into the kitchen. “Dad! The games starting! Come on! It’s starting!”

Sonny smiled. “Okay, Michael. We’re coming.”

“Hurry,” Michael insisted, as he left the kitchen.

Sonny looked at Ric. “Let’s go watch the game.”

Ric looked at Sonny with concern.

Sonny stood up from the chair. “I’m going to go watch the game. We can talk later if you
want.”

Ric nodded his head in agreement. “I’ll be there in a minute.” He sat in his chair, stunned
at what Sonny had told him.
~-~-~-~
Sonny went into the living room and found a seat on the couch. Both Michael and
Morgan had their baseball gloves on and sat next to each other on the couch next to
Sonny. They were just as excited to watch the game in the living room with their father as
they would be at Yankee Stadium.
Michael handed his baseball card collection to Mike. “Take a look at these, Grandpa. I
almost have a complete set.”

Mike studied the baseball cards. “These are great, Michael. Maybe I can help you find
some more cards for your collection. I can take you down to the card shop right by
Kelly’s.”

“Thanks, Grandpa.”

Kristina scrambled onto the couch, sitting next to Sonny. She gave Sonny a smile. Sonny
put his arm around her. “You know what? I have a baseball mitt for you too.”

“You do?”

“Of course,” smiled Sonny. He asked Emily to hand him his bag of baseball goodies. He
searched the bag and found a New York Yankees cap for Kristina and the glove he had
bought for her. He helped Kristina put her hat and glove on gave her a big smile. “There
you go.”

Emily sat down next to Mike. She had been keeping an eye on Sonny all day. But she
really didn’t need to. He was having a good day. He was with his children, which seemed
like the best medicine he could ever get anyway. No matter what, they always grounded
him. They always brought Sonny out of his darkness. She looked over and gave Sonny a
reassuring smile, letting him know without words that he didn’t need to worry about how
today was going to go. He was doing fine.

Sonny gave Emily a smile back. He felt at peace, one of the rare times he felt calm in
months. He had all of his family near him. He was watching a baseball game. He was
being a good father. He tried not to think of the bad things that always seemed to mess
everything up. He was ready to face his demons. He was ready to get better. He wasn’t
afraid anymore.
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 11 ~-~-~ Results ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Sonny sat in Dr. Winter’s office with nervousness. Emily sat next to him. He had asked
her to stay with him for the results of his evaluation. Dr. Winters pulled up a chair to the
table they were all sitting at and opened up Sonny’s file. She reviewed it quickly,
although she had already read it several times. She was glad Emily was here. In fact, she
had called Emily to make sure she would be here. When the therapy sessions started, they
would be solo. But for now, Sonny needed support. He needed to be attentive. Dr.
Winters wanted Sonny to really listen to what she was going to say and she knew if
Emily were with him, he would be calmer.
Dr. Winters wasn’t sure where to start. Sonny Corinthos was complicated. He had many
issues, many symptoms and she wasn’t even sure how to address all of it. Sonny had
multiple diagnoses, not just one, and she didn’t want to overwhelm him. She took a heavy
sigh.

“Why don’t you just say it,” said Sonny, breaking the silence. “What, you think I can’t
handle it?”

Dr. Winters shook her head. “No, Sonny. I think you can handle a lot of things. In fact,
your history shows you’ve endured quite a lot in your lifetime.”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement. “So, why don’t you tell me what all those papers
say? I’ve been coming here all week, the least you can do is give me some answers.”

Dr. Winters cleared her throat. “Well, I’m going to start with your primary diagnosis,
Sonny. After a thorough evaluation, I have determined that you do have Bipolar Disorder.
You have had episodes of severe depression. You have had manic episodes. You have
met all the criteria for the disorder.”

Sonny took a heavy sigh, not even sure how to respond.

Dr. Winters decided to continue. “Sonny, there’s also some other issues that we need to
talk about. You were an abused child. You suffered severe beatings, emotional abuse, and
confinement. Have you ever heard of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?”

“That’s what soldiers get from combat, right?”

“That’s right. But anyone that experiences a traumatic event can suffer from it. You were
physically and emotionally abused. You still suffer from nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety,
and claustrophobia. We need address what happened to you Sonny, to prevent these
symptoms from triggering your bipolar episodes.”

Sonny closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead. He knew he would never be able to talk
about Deke. He knew he would never be able to talk about all of the things that were
done to him as a child. He felt a chill run through his body.

Sonny, do you understand everything I’ve told you?” asked Dr. Winters.

Sonny felt confused. “Are you saying that what happened to me . . . that it made me get
the Bipolar Disorder?”

“No. They’re two separate diagnoses. You have Bipolar Disorder and Posttraumatic
Stress Disorder. They can both be treated Sonny.”

Sonny was silent. He wouldn’t even look at Emily.
“I know you’ve been living with these problems for a long time,” said Dr. Winters. “But
you don’t have to suffer anymore, Sonny. You can get treatment.” She didn’t want to
push Sonny away. She had to tread very carefully with how she was going to approach
his treatment. “I know this is a lot of information. I thought we could take it one step at a
time.”

Sonny remained silent, looking down at the table. He had braced himself for this
moment, but he hadn’t been prepared enough.

Dr. Winters glanced at Emily, getting worried. This was a lot for anyone. “We can start
off slow, Sonny. There are two issues I’d like to address right away. Your lack of sleep
and the alcohol abuse.”

Sonny looked up at Dr. Winters, then over at Emily. “Wait a minute,” he protested. “Are
you saying I have a drinking problem?”

“I’m saying that you are using alcohol as a medication to keep functioning. It’s very
common with Bipolar Disorder. When you’re not having an episode, you probably drink
very little.”

“I can stop drinking anytime,” explained Sonny. “You’re making it sound like I’m some
kind of madman.”

“Not at all,” explained Dr. Winters. “I would like to see you get some sleep. You’re
exhausted, Sonny. You should be hospitalized right now, but I’d like to try and make this
as easy as I can for you. So you need to cooperate with me. You need to let me and Emily
help you.”

Sonny let out a sigh. “So, you’re going to medicate me?”

“Yes,” Dr. Winters said bluntly. “Right now, you are still in a manic episode. The
medication will help you, Sonny. You’ll be able to start getting some sleep. You’re
exhausted. You aren’t functioning at all.”

Sonny rubbed his forehead. “What kind of medication? How often?”

“You will be prescribed a mood stabilizer. It’s called Lithium. To control your moods,
you’ll have to take it for the rest of your life.”

Suddenly, Sonny stood up from the table. He went over to the window and looked out.

Emily and Dr. Winters exchanged a glance, preparing for Sonny’s reaction.

“What about my children?” Sonny asked with a distant voice. “Can they have this too?”
“It’s possible,” answered Dr. Winters honestly. “It’s genetic, Sonny. But now that we
know what you have, we know what symptoms to look for. Your children can be treated
if they are diagnosed, just like you. They can lead normal lives.”

Sonny was quiet, as he stared out the window. He could handle himself being sick, being
crazy. But he couldn’t handle the possibility of this madness affecting his children. It was
just too much.

Dr. Winters looked at Emily. “I’m going to give you guys a few minutes, okay. This is a
lot to take in, Emily. I’m going to go check my messages.”

Emily nodded her head in agreement. She waited until Dr. Winters left the room and then
she walked over to Sonny. She reached out and rubbed his arm.

“You were right, Emily.” He shook his head. “You’ve been right all along.”

“It’s not about being right,” Emily said gently. “It’s about making you better.”

“This means I’m crazy, doesn’t it?” asked Sonny. “My stepfather always said I was crazy
. . . I never wanted to prove him right.”

“Sonny, you’re not crazy. You have an illness that’s been untreated,” explained Emily.
“That’s all.”

“That’s all?” Sonny repeated. He took Emily’s hands in his and looked at her with tears
in his eyes. “My children can have this too. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody and . . . I’d
die if I passed this on to my kids,” he whispered, his voice cracking.

“We need to take this one step at a time,” whispered Emily. “One step at a time, Sonny.”

“How will I know if they have it? Maybe I can already tell? I don’t know what to do,”
Sonny continued, with agitation.

“Sonny, listen to me okay? Morgan and Kristina are fine right now. They are healthy,”
Emily reassured him.

“I’m going to have to tell Carly and Alexis,” said Sonny. “They’re going to be angry at
me. Angry that I put the children at risk.”

“Sonny, this isn’t your fault. You have a medical condition.”

“I just . . . can’t believe how messed up I really am. Did you hear everything that’s wrong
with me? I can’t be fixed,” Sonny said sadly. “A few pills can’t fix what’s wrong with
me.”
Emily’s heart was breaking right now. She could see how crushed Sonny was at the
diagnosis. What a blow this was to him. “I love you so much Sonny. You’re not alone
anymore.”

Sonny looked at Emily with sadness. “No more darkness,” he said, more in hopefulness
than belief. He looked at her like a little boy, like someone who was told that many times,
but it never came true.

“That’s right, Sonny. I’m going to be your light. Just keep holding my hands and I’ll
show you the way out. I’ll show you out of the darkness.”

Sonny looked into Emily eyes. He wanted to believe her. He wanted to get out of the
darkness so bad. He was tired of being scared, of being in pain. He leaned over and rested
his head on her shoulder. For some reason, Emily came into his life. This had to be the
reason. She was the one that was going to get him out the darkness.
~-~-~-~
Sonny had called Alexis and asked if he could take Kristina out for an ice cream. Even
though it wasn’t his day, Alexis had agreed. He was glad she hadn’t asked a lot of
questions. Sonny’s mind was spinning. He was just diagnosed with a mental illness. He
felt like crying, but he couldn’t seem to do that. He wanted to spend time with his
children. They offered comfort to him.

Sonny took Kristina to the park. They stopped at the snack bar and Sonny bought two ice
cream cones. He walked Kristina to a bench and they both sat down.

Kristina ate her ice cream. “Could I go on the swing, Daddy?”

“Sure. After we finish our ice cream.”

“Where are Michael and Morgan?”

“They’re at home,” said Sonny. “I thought I’d spend some time with just you.”

Kristina smiled. She moved closer to Sonny as she finished up her ice cream.

Sonny walked hand and hand with Kristina to the swings. He pushed her on the swing for
a while, as she laughed and giggled at how high he was pushing her. He took her over to
the slide, and then took her on the merry-go-round. He was enjoying his time with her,
vowing privately to keep a close eye on her, to see if she ever showed symptoms of being
mentally ill.

“Did you have fun?”

“Yeah,” answered Kristina. “Can we go again?”

“Sure,” promised Sonny. “Next time, I’ll bring Michael and Morgan.”
“Can we bring Molly too?” asked Kristina.

“Sure,” agreed Sonny.

Kristina gave her father a smile.

Sonny smiled back. He wanted to tell Kristina so many things. He wanted to tell her how
much he loved her. He wanted to tell her he would always take care of her and protect
her. And he prayed that she would never have to suffer like he had. Sonny became
tearful, thinking of what might happen to his daughter and angry with himself for putting
her at risk.

“What’s the matter, Daddy?” asked Kristina.

Sonny wiped away his tears. “Nothing, sweetheart,” he assured her. “Nothing.”

“Why are you crying?” asked Kristina.

Sonny wiped away more tears. “I love you,” he whispered. “I love you so much,
Kristina.” He knelt down and pulled his daughter into a tight hug.

“I love you too, Daddy.”
~-~-~-~
Sonny was an emotional mess by the time he got home. He needed to see Morgan. He
needed to hold his son in his arms. He found the boys out in the backyard, playing catch
together. Sonny savored the moment, watching as the two brothers played together.

“Hi, Dad,” yelled Michael. “Is dinner ready? I’m starving.”

For once, Sonny had stopped and gotten a pizza. He always cooked for the boys, but
tonight he didn’t. “It is pizza tonight,” Sonny answered. “Why don’t you come in and get
ready for dinner?”

The boys stopped playing and Michael ran over to Sonny. “Pizza?” he said in surprise.
“Really?”

Sonny smiled. “I thought you might be sick of my cooking,” he joked.

Michael looked at his father with confusion. He loved his father’s cooking. “What’s
wrong?”

Sonny shook his head. “Nothing, buddy. Why don’t you go wash up? I’ll be there in a
minute.”
Michael studied his father. He could see that he had been crying. He hesitated for a
moment, but then decided to let it go. If his father wanted to talk to him, he would.
“Okay, Dad.”

Sonny watched as Michael walked in the house. He looked at Morgan, who was throwing
rocks. He walked over to him and watched him for a minute. He knew that whatever
Morgan did from now on, he would wonder if it meant something, if it was a symptom, if
he had given his own child an illness. In anger, Sonny picked up a rock himself and threw
it as hard as he could. He was angry.

Morgan stopped throwing his own rocks and watched his father.

Sonny threw some more rocks and then stopped, feeling short of breath and a little
foolish. He looked over at Morgan.

Morgan didn’t say anything, but sensing something was wrong, he ran over to his father
and gave him a hug.

Sonny hugged Morgan tightly. He slumped down onto the grass and held onto his son
tightly.

“Do dads throw rocks too?” asked Morgan.

“Sometimes,” whispered Sonny, starting to cry. He couldn’t help it. Everything came
flooding over him. Everything Dr. Winters had said this morning.

Morgan rubbed his fathers arm. “It is okay, Daddy.”

Sonny tried to compose himself. He wiped away his tears. He wanted his children to be
okay. And the only thing he could do was hold them tightly in his arms. The rest, he
knew now, was out of his hands.

~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 12 ~-~-~ Faith ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Sonny sat on the bed, looking at the prescription bottle. He read the sheet of paper the
pharmacist had given him about the side effects of Lithium: Slight nausea, stomach
cramps, diarrhea, thirstiness, muscle weakness, and feeling tired, dazed, or sleepy.
Sonny’s hands started shaking. He was getting overwhelmed again. He didn’t see how
this medication could help him at all.

“The boys are waiting for you,” said Emily, as she came in the doorway.

Sonny didn’t answer her, as he was so absorbed in reading the instructions.
Emily walked over to Sonny’s side of the bed and sat down next to him. He had been
reeling since the diagnosis. He had been struggling and asking a lot of questions. Emily
thought he was handling it better than anyone would. “Did you take it?” she asked gently,
looking at the prescription bottle.

“Not yet.” Sonny put down the paper. “I don’t want to be drugged, Emily. I have a lot of
responsibility. I have to take care of the kids. I have my business to run. I have to be able
to think straight. Look at all of these side effects.”

“Sonny, you might not have any of those,” explained Emily. “You need to give this a
chance. If this medication doesn’t work, you can try another kind.”

“Would you take medication if you had to? If you thought it would prevent you from
becoming a doctor or going to work?” asked Sonny.

Emily thought about the question. “I know when I had the breast cancer . . . I was so
scared. I was so scared I didn’t even want to get treatment. I didn’t want to do anything
but close my eyes and hope it all went away. But, it doesn’t work that way. So, I decided
to start the chemotherapy treatment. I didn’t want to do it.” She looked at Sonny tearfully.
“But it helped me. It saved my life. I know what you’re going through, Sonny. More than
you know.”

Sonny nodded his head, moved by her story, by her own struggles. He reached out to her,
softly caressing her face, wiping her tears away. “You got better,” he whispered.

“Yes,” Emily said tearfully. “I got better.”

“And I can get better too,” whispered Sonny. “Like you.”

“I know you can. But you have to take that leap of faith. You have to take the
medication,” said Emily, with conviction.

Sonny put one of the pills in his hand and studied it. Then he quickly popped it in his
mouth and swallowed it with a glass of water. He looked at Emily. “I’m doing this for my
children,” he said quietly. “They’re the reason I need to get better.” He leaned over and
gave Emily a kiss. “I’m doing this for you too, Emily. So you don’t have to worry about
my anymore.”

Emily gave Sonny a smile. She would always worry about him. She loved him so much
her heart ached. “Hey, you know what. The boys are waiting for you. They want you to
finish the book you’ve been reading to them.”

Sonny stood up from the bed, giving Emily a reassuring smile. “I’ll be back in a little
while.”
~-~-~-~
Sonny went into Michael’s room. Both boys were in the bed, waiting. Sonny had told
Morgan he could sleep with his brother, since it wasn’t a school night. They liked to talk
and play and Sonny loved how close they were.

“Hey, Dad,” said Michael. “We’re ready for the next chapter.”

Sonny went over to the bookshelf and found the book. He walked over to the bed.

“Sit between us,” said Michael.

“Yeah,” sit between us,” mimicked Morgan.

Sonny crawled over to the middle of the bed. He sat with his back against the headboard
and both boys moved closer to him. He opened the book.

“What did the doctor say?” asked Michael. “Dr. Winters was going to tell you about your
test, remember? Did you pass?”

“Did you pass?” Morgan repeated.

Sonny closed the book. He owed it to the boys to tell the truth. They obviously knew
something was wrong. “It wasn’t that kind of test,” he corrected gently.

“What kind of test was it?” asked Michael.

Sonny was going to be as honest as possible. “Actually, I have something important I
want to tell both of you,” he said. “Dr. Winters gave me some medication to take today,
so I can get better.”

“So, you don’t get sad anymore?” asked Michael.

Sonny nodded his head. “Well, I guess I have a lot of problems. Sometimes I get sad, but
sometimes I start getting really busy, like I can’t stop doing something. And other times I
get mad too.”

Michael knew exactly what Sonny meant. He had seen his father throw things in anger.
He had seen him so sad he couldn’t even talk. He knew people always worried about him.
Michael always knew when his father was having a breakdown. This latest one had been
long and if it wasn’t for Emily, Michael knew his father would have hurt himself. “The
medication will help you?” asked Michael.

Sonny nodded his head. “Yeah, it’s going to help me.”

“Do you have to go to therapy, like I did?” asked Michael.
“Yeah,” answered Sonny. “Since I have a lot of problems, I guess I’ll be seeing Dr.
Winters a lot.”

“I didn’t like therapy,” said Michael. “I didn’t like it at all.”

“I remember,” said Sonny. “But, it helped you a little bit, didn’t it?”

“Sometimes,” Michael answered honestly. “You helped me more than the doctor, though.
All those talks we had? You understood how I felt, Dad.”

Sonny put his arm around Michael. “Thanks buddy. That means a lot to me.”

“Maybe I can help you too,” suggested Michael. “You could talk to me about stuff.
Maybe I would understand. You know, I’m not a little kid anymore,” he reminded his
father.

“I know, Michael. And you’ve already helped me a lot,” said Sonny. He looked at
Morgan. “You can help me too, Morgan.”

“How?”

“It helps me when I do things with you,” explained Sonny. “Like making pancakes
together, or watching baseball, or going swimming.”

Morgan nodded his head in excitement. “What about making waffles!”

“I’d love to make waffles,” laughed Sonny.

“Right now?” asked Morgan.

“Tomorrow morning, at breakfast,” explained Sonny gently. “Okay?”

“Okay,” agreed Morgan. He wrapped his arms around Sonny’s neck. “I love you,
Daddy.”

“I love you too, Morgan.” Sonny closed his eyes, savoring the hug from his son. He
cherished these moments.

“Did that help you?” asked Morgan.

“It helped me a lot,” smiled Sonny. He helped Morgan settle in next to him. Sonny
picked up the book. “Now let’s finish this chapter,” he said, as he open up the book and
began reading the story to his sons.
~-~-~-~
Sonny went downstairs after spending time with the boys. He went out on the patio to get
some fresh air. He had a long day. He was struggling with his diagnosis and still
questioning if he wanted to be medicated. He sat down on a lounge chair. He closed his
eyes, feeling relief from the soft breeze blowing through the patio.

“Sonny?”

Sonny opened his eyes to see Emily standing over him. She had a look of worry on her
face.

Emily sat down on the lounge chair. “It’s late. I was worried,” she admitted, relieved she
found Sonny so quickly.

“Don’t be scared anymore, Emily.” Sonny motioned for her to lie next to him. “Come
here,” he gestured.

Emily cuddled next to Sonny. “How are the boys?” she asked, knowing Sonny had talked
to them tonight about the doctor’s visit.

“Well, I told them that I’m taking medication,” answered Sonny. “They told me they
would help me.”

Emily smiled. She loved Michael and Morgan’s devotion to Sonny. She didn’t realize
how special it was until she had started living with Sonny. “I have no doubt they will help
you.”

“Yeah,” Sonny agreed. “I’ve been thinking a lot about what Dr. Winters said,” he
continued. “I guess I have been drinking a lot,” he admitted.

“You drink a lot, Sonny,” Emily said bluntly. “Too much.”

“I didn’t really put it all together,” revealed Sonny. “But I have no excuse for how I’ve
behaved,” he said. “I’m truly sorry, Emily. I’m so ashamed right now.” He ran his hands
through Emily’s hair. Then he rubbed her back. “I got rid of all the alcohol in the house. I
emptied all of the cabinets, the bar, everything. I’m not going to drink anymore,” he
vowed.

Emily closed her eyes in relief. She knew only Sonny would be able to make that
decision.

“I’m not going to be scaring you anymore,” Sonny promised.

“You don’t scare me,” Emily protested quietly.

Sonny continued to rub Emily’s back. He knew that wasn’t true. He had seen her eyes
when he would do something crazy. He had seen her tears when he hurt himself. He
didn’t want to cause her any more pain. “I’m so sorry for everything that’s happened,” he
said sincerely. “I know this wasn’t how you thought things were going to be.”
Emily had to admit that she had felt overwhelmed, especially in the last month. “I am a
little tired,” she admitted.

“You work too much,” said Sonny. “Then you come home and I’m acting all crazy. I’m
going to be honest Emily. During all of this, every time you left for work, I thought you
weren’t going to come back. And I wouldn’t have blamed you one bit.”

“I would never leave you like that, Sonny,” Emily whispered tearfully, hurt that he still
didn’t trust her. “I’m stronger than you think I am.”

“Oh, I know that now,” said Sonny. “You’re so strong, Emily. You’re brave. You believe
in me. I’ve never had that before. Everyone’s always told me I was bad . . . that I was no
good. But you came into my life and you looked me in the eyes and said I was a good
man. No one’s treated me like you have.”

“I just treat you like you have always treated me,” responded Emily.

Sonny was quiet. He didn’t think he had treated Emily very well. But he hoped that he
had.

“You’ve been so good to me, Sonny.” Emily sat up next to Sonny and looked at him. His
eyes weren’t sad tonight. She gave him a gentle smile. “You believed in me too, Sonny.
From the very beginning, last summer when I was such a mess, you were the only one
that knew just what to say to me. You made me believe I could move on.”

Sonny reached over, touching Emily’s hair. He gave her a smile. “Thanks for coming
with me today. I don’t know what I would have done if I was by myself. You know,
hearing that I’m . . . mentally ill . . . that’s . . . hard for someone like me . . . to accept.”

“You handled it very well,” Emily said with honesty. She leaned over and gave Sonny a
kiss. “I love you, Sonny. I won’t leave you, no matter what happens.”

Sonny gave Emily a passionate kiss. He wanted her so bad right now. “Let’s make love.”

Emily gave him a nervous laugh. “Here? Outside?”

Sonny laughed. “Of course.”
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 13 ~-~-~ Old Wounds ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Sonny had just taken the boys to school. He had an appointment with Dr. Winters in the
afternoon and he was dreading going. He thought he’d stop and get some coffee and talk
to Mike. When he walked into Kelly’s Diner it was crowded and he almost turned around
and walked out. He stood in the doorway for a minute, hesitating.

“Sonny,” Mike called out, as he motioned for Sonny to come over.

Sonny walked to the counter and sat down. “Hey, Mike.”

“Everything okay?” asked Mike with worry.

Sonny nodded his head. “I thought I’d stop by and get some coffee.”

“Sure,” said Mike. “Would you like some breakfast?”

“No,” answered Sonny. “Just coffee.”

Mike poured Sonny a cup of coffee. “So, how are you feeling?”

“Fine,” answered Sonny. “I was wondering if we could go somewhere and talk.”

Mike looked around the diner. It was busy right now, but he remembered what Emily
said. That he needed to be there for Sonny. He needed to support his son. “Sure, Sonny,”
he said, as he took off his apron. “I’ll make us some coffee to go and we can go for a
walk.”

“That sounds good,” said Sonny. He sat and waited for Mike. He had only been on his
medication for two days. He wasn’t sure if he felt any different. Dr. Winters said the
effects of the medication would take time. He had noticed his mouth felt dry, so he had
started to chew gum.

Mike came over and handed Sonny his coffee. “Let’s go take a walk.”

Sonny followed Mike outside, relieved to be in the fresh air again. They walked in
silence for a while.

Mike sat down on a bench, by the docks. Sonny sat next to him.

“So, how is it going with the doctor?” asked Mike.

Sonny took a sip of his coffee. “I wanted to talk to you about that.”

“Okay,” answered Mike.

“All these years, I knew something was wrong with me . . . the breakdowns, my temper. I
always thought it was because of what happened to me . . . what Deke did to me.” Sonny
took a sip of his coffee. “Dr. Winters is telling me I’m mentally ill. It’s official Mike. I
have this Bipolar Disorder.”
Mike wasn’t sure what to say.

“I’m scared,” Sonny continued. “She has me on this medication. She wants me to talk
about everything that happened to me.” He shook his head with shame. “Kristina and
Morgan could have this. My children might be sick just like me.” Sonny lost his
composure, totally overwhelmed. “I haven’t even told Carly and Alexis yet. I don’t know
how to tell them that I might have given this . . . to my own kids.”

Mike put his arm around Sonny. “It’s going to be okay,” he assured him.

“I can’t stop thinking about it,” Sonny said tearfully. “I don’t want my children to suffer
like that. I don’t want them to . . . feel crazy. It’s not right, Mike. It’s not fair.”

“Sonny, don’t do this to yourself,” said Mike.

Sonny shook his head in despair again. “I would have never had children if I knew . . . I
could do this to them.”

“This isn’t your fault, Sonny. There’s a good chance that Kristina and Morgan will be
perfectly healthy.”

“I hope so,” sniffled Sonny. “Mike, I’m sorry.”

“About what?”

“That I’m so screwed up . . . that I haven’t been a good son.” Sonny took in a deep
breath. Now he knew the medication wasn’t working. His head felt like it was going to
explode. He would never wake up from this nightmare. “I’m never going to get better, am
I?”

Mike didn’t know much about Sonny’s medication or his prognosis. But he knew he was
going to help him every step of the way. “You have to give this medication a chance,
right?”

Sonny nodded his head in frustration. “It could take weeks,” he said in frustration. “I’m
too screwed up for any medication to work on me.”

Mike looked at his watch. “Do you want me to take you to your appointment?”

“Don’t you have to work?” asked Sonny, feeling like a little kid. But he knew he
wouldn’t go on his own to the appointment.

“I can get coverage,” Mike assured Sonny.

Sonny nodded is head in agreement. “Thank you, Mike.”
~-~-~-~
Sonny sat in Dr. Winter’s office. He was feeling restless. Dr. Winters was out in the
hallway talking to Mike and Sonny was feeling paranoid. He felt like everyone was
always talking about him. He wondered what the hell he was doing here, when he knew
therapy would never help him with his problems. He was too messed up. He was wasting
his time.

Dr. Winters walked into the room and sat down across from Sonny. “I’m glad you made
it, Sonny,” she said sincerely.

“Why were you talking to my father?” Sonny asked with suspicion.

“I wanted to ask him a few questions,” answered Dr. Winters. “I still don’t know a lot
about you.”

“Well, Mike doesn’t know anything about me either,” stated Sonny. “So don’t waste your
time with him.”

“Sonny, he might not know a lot about you, but he can help us with your mother.”

Sonny looked at Dr. Winters in surprise. “My mother? Mike doesn’t know a lot about her
either. He left her.”

“He told me that,” answered Dr. Winters. “He said he left you and your mother when you
were just a little boy.”

“That’s right,” answered Sonny.

“I’d like to have him join one of our therapy sessions. He’s already agreed to it,” said Dr.
Winters.

Sonny shook his head with disgust. “I don’t think that’s a very good idea.”

“Why?”

“Because he doesn’t have any answers,” responded Sonny. “I’ve already talked to him.
He wasn’t around. He doesn’t remember.”

“Maybe you didn’t ask the right questions,” said Dr. Winters. “I think involving your
father is a good idea. He has a history with you, something that I don’t have.”

“My father . . . he doesn’t see things the way they really are,” Sonny answered. “He . . .
sugar coats things. He ignores what’s really happening.”
“He seems very concerned about you. He was asking questions about your diagnosis.
That doesn’t sound like someone who’s ignoring what’s really happening,” said Dr.
Winters.

Sonny shook his head. “Emily asked him to help me. That’s the only reason he’s
suddenly around.” He stood up and went to the window. He didn’t want to talk about
Mike.

“You think your father is only showing concern about you because Emily asked him to?”
asked Dr. Winters.

Sonny was silent, starting to feel angry.

“Do you think your father loves you?”

Sonny turned around in anger. “What kind of question is that?”

“I’m just trying to figure this all out,” answered Dr. Winters. She stood up and walked
towards Sonny. “I have to get to know you. Mike is very important in all of this. He
knows about your mother. He knows about you. He knows a little about your stepfather.”

Sonny shook his head with agitation. “No! No he doesn’t!”

“Why are you getting so upset?”

“Because Mike doesn’t know what I know! He wasn’t there,” yelled Sonny. “Nobody
was there. My mother’s dead. Deke’s dead. It’s over.”

“It’s not that simple,” said Dr. Winters.

Sonny was aggravated. He walked away from the window, pacing the room. “I thought
this medication was going to help me.”

Dr. Winters watched Sonny, not sure if he wanted an answer or not.

“This is bull,” he continued. “You want to mess with my head. You want to get me to cry
and talk about things that I have buried a long time ago.” He stopped pacing and looked
at Dr. Winters. “I don’t want to do that,” he said as he went over to the chair and sat
down.

Dr. Winters waited a few minutes, then went over and sat down in the chair opposite of
Sonny. “You don’t want to talk about your past with me or your father?”

Sonny took a heavy sigh, drumming the arm chair with his fingers. He fidgeted some
more, then leaned forward, looking down towards the floor. “Mike . . . he’s so full of it,
you know. He probably told you all kinds of stuff. But the truth is . . . he doesn’t know.”
He cleared his throat. “He doesn’t know what happened to us. The beatings, the blood,
the pain . . . he doesn’t know how much . . . we suffered,” he said tearfully. “The
nightmare we endured.”

“Then he needs to know,” explained Dr. Winters gently. “You need to tell him.”

Sonny wiped away a tear. “I . . . I don’t want him to know about . . . all of that. He has
good memories of my mother. He didn’t see her when she was . . . injured. When she . . .
was beaten down.”

“Are you ashamed of what happened?” Dr. Winters asked quietly.

“No,” Sonny protested quickly. “No. I . . . I . . .” He stopped talking. He rubbed his face,
and then took a sigh. “Maybe I am ashamed,” he whispered. “I let Deke beat me. I stood
there and let it happen. And I didn’t protect my mother. Mike would be upset if he knew
how my mother was treated. Deke would get so drunk. He’d smack her around . . . do
horrible things to her in front of me. I did nothing.” Sonny wiped away another tear.
“Mike would be ashamed of me if he knew that I . . . I let things like that happen.”

“You think your father would be disappointed in you?” asked Dr. Winters. “Is that why
you push him away? The reason you call him by his first name?”

Sonny looked at Dr. Winters. “My father left me when I was four. He stopped being my
father when he went out that door and never came back.”

Dr. Winters studied Sonny. His face was tearstained. His voice would change from a
vulnerable little boy to a cold hearted man in a matter of seconds. She was fascinated by
his feelings, his perspective on life. And she was pleased that he was openly talking to
her. “You’re very hard on yourself, Sonny. But, I also think you’re very hard on your
father. I think he’s very sincere about helping you through this,” she said. “But you have
to let him back in the door. If he heard what you’re telling me in this room, he would
understand you a lot more.”

Sonny sighed, feeling exhausted. “I don’t know,” he said honestly.

“Maybe your father knows some things about your mother that can help us,” suggested
Dr. Winters. “I’d like to know a little more about her.”

Sonny shook his head. “You’re not going to try and make me hate my mother, are you?”

“No. Of course not.”

“Good.”

Dr. Winters smiled.
“What?” Sonny asked.

“Nothing. Just . . . you’re not very trusting, are you?”

No,” Sonny answered bluntly. “I guess you’re going to want to work on that too?”

“Not right now,” smiled Dr. Winters. “I think that’s good for today.” She handed Sonny a
glass of water. “Drink some of this,” she suggested.

Sonny sipped on the water slowly.

“How is it going with the medication?” asked Dr. Winters.

Sonny put down his glass. “I don’t notice any changes. I still can’t sleep. I still feel . . .
the same.”

“I’m going to increase your dose,” explained Dr. Winters. “It might take a while to figure
out your medication.”
~-~-~-~
Sonny left Dr. Winters office in a daze. He stood in the hall, trying to gain his bearings
when he saw Emily walking towards him. “Emily,” he whispered softly.

Emily had told Dr. Winters to page her when the session was finished. She knew Sonny
would be a mess. Emily came over to Sonny and embraced him in a tight hug. “Sonny,”
she whispered back.

Sonny was never so glad to see someone in his life. He rested his head on Emily’s
shoulder, trying to calm himself down.

“You okay?” whispered Emily. But she knew that he wasn’t. She could feel the tension in
his body. She could hear the exhaustion in his voice.

Sonny didn’t answer her.

“Let’s get out of here,” said Emily. She took Sonny up to the hospital roof. She watched
as Sonny quickly walked ahead of her and took in some deep breaths. She knew when to
give him space. She knew he had to clear his mind, to calm himself down. She was
slowly but surely getting to know Sonny quite well and she was proud of that. The more
she knew about him, the more she fell in love with him everyday.

It took a while for Sonny to speak. He finally turned to Emily and gave her a look of
thanks. “I just . . . needed some fresh air,” he finally said.

Emily walked towards him, feeling that was her cue to get closer to him. “You like it up
here, remember?”
“It’s a great view,” Sonny nodded his head in agreement. “I’m surprised more people
don’t come up here.”

“Well, I don’t think many people know about it,” said Emily, just making small talk.
“Maybe it could be our little secret.”

Sonny gave Emily a smile. “Yeah,” he agreed. He studied Emily more closely. She had
her scrubs on. Her stethoscope was around her neck. “Do you need to get back to work?”
he asked. “I don’t want to keep you from saving people’s lives.”

Emily smiled. She always loved how Sonny had such confidence in her. How he
sincerely admired her. It meant so much to her. “I’m on break,” she explained. “Do you
want to get some lunch?”

Sonny didn’t want anything right now but to be with Emily. She was what was keeping
him together. He reached out and took her hand. He wanted to start thinking of her now.
He wanted to take care of her. “You must be hungry. You work so hard,” he said. “I
could go for some cafeteria food right now.”

Emily let out a laugh. She knew Sonny hated the hospital cafeteria.

Sonny laughed too. “Come on. It’s my treat,” he said.

At the cafeteria, Emily nibbled on her fruit salad.

Sonny had gotten a sandwich, but he wasn’t very hungry.

“So, how did it go?” asked Emily cautiously.

“I tried to talk about stuff, but most of the time I just got angry,” Sonny confided. He
took a sip of his water. “Dr. Winters wants to increase my medication,” he added with
frustration.

“It will take a while to get this right,” Emily reminded Sonny gently.

“I don’t feel any different,” Sonny added. “I was expecting . . . well I don’t know what I
thought,” he admitted.

Emily reached over and took Sonny’s hand. “You did it, Sonny. You took the first step.
Now you just keep going.”

Sonny looked at Emily with tears in his eyes. “That’s what I’m trying to do, Emily.”

~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis
Chapter 14 ~-~-~ The Children ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Sonny had been struggling with his diagnosis. He didn’t feel like the medication was
working. He hated his therapy sessions. He hated every single minute of them. Dr.
Winters wanted to talk about his past and Sonny didn’t. But he didn’t want to think about
any of that now. He was going to talk to Alexis and Carly today. He was going to tell
them about his diagnosis. He was going to tell them their children might inherit a mental
illness.

Sonny had invited Alexis over for lunch and was pleasantly surprised when she accepted.
He was cooking in the kitchen when she arrived and he was nervous.

Alexis came into the kitchen with her briefcase in hand. “I know I’m a little early, but my
meeting just ended. I didn’t want to go all the way home. What was so important that we
had to meet?” she asked.

Sonny stirred his pasta. “Why don’t you sit down and relax, Alexis. Would you like a
glass of wine?”

Alexis hesitated. She looked at her watch.

“We could do this another time,” commented Sonny, not wanting to feel rushed with
what he was going to tell her.

Alexis took a deep breath. “No. I’m here now,” she said. “I’ll take that glass of wine.”

Sonny poured a glass of wine for Alexis. “I thought we could eat out on the patio.”

“Yeah, that sounds good,” agreed Alexis. She took a sip of the wine, starting to relax. Her
job always made her so tense. She sat down at the bar and watched as Sonny cooked.
“Look, if this is about changing the custody agreement . . .”

“No,” Sonny shook his head. “No, that’s been working out.”

“Good. Look I appreciate you having the girls over to swim. They talk about it all the
time,” commented Alexis.

Sonny smiled. “You should come over too. Learn to relax a little.”

Alexis finished her glass of wine. She helped herself to a second glass. “You aren’t
drinking?” she asked.

“No,” Sonny answered quietly.

“So, I guess you and Emily are getting serious,” said Alexis.
“Yeah,” Sonny answered. He added some garlic to his sauce and then checked on the
vegetables.

“You don’t want to talk about it?” asked Alexis.

“Not really,” said Sonny. And he didn’t. He wanted to keep what he had with Emily his
secret. No one needed to know what they had together. “I hope you’re hungry,” he said.
“I made a lot of food.”

Alexis smiled, trying to figure out what was going on. “You’re acting strange,” she said.
“What’s going on?”

Sonny handed her the salad bowl. “Let’s go to the patio and enjoy this nice weather.”
~-~-~-~
“This is delicious,” complimented Alexis, as she savored her pasta.

“You like it?” smiled Sonny. “I remembered this was one of your favorite dishes.”

Alexis took a sip of her wine, looking at Sonny. “So, what’s so important you had to tell
me?”

Sonny put his napkin on the table, taking a sigh. “I wanted to talk to you about some
things that are going on with me?”

“You mean legally?”

“No. It’s about my health.”

“Your health?” Alexis repeated with alarm.

Sonny nodded his head. “I . . . I’ve been diagnosed with something, Alexis. It’s
something I guess I’ve had for a while. I have Bipolar Disorder.”

Alexis was silent, not sure how to respond.

“Have you heard of it?” asked Sonny quietly.

“Yes,” answered Alexis. “When . . . when did you find out?”

“Last week,” answered Sonny. “It was really . . . it was Emily that figured it out. I guess
my . . . moods swings . . . and other things she had seen, had her doing some research.
Then I saw Dr. Winters and got evaluated.”

Alexis was stunned. “You went to a psychiatrist?”

“Yeah.”
Alexis was silent again.

“The reason I’m telling you this is because . . .” Sonny cleared his throat. “There is
something you need to know about my diagnosis. Dr. Winters told me that what I have is
genetic. It runs in families.”

Alexis took a sip of her wine. She could see how much Sonny was struggling with this.
“Kristina,” she said simply.

Sonny nodded his head, tears in his throat. “I would never wish this on anyone, Alexis. I
don’t know what to say. I’m so afraid that I gave this to Kristina or Morgan. I don’t know
what I’d do if that happened. I would never forgive myself.”

Alexis was quiet again. She wasn’t sure what to say.

Sonny tried to keep his composure. He was completely devastated that he could hurt his
children. He pushed his plate away, not feeling hungry. He stood up and walked away
from the table, looking out into the backyard.

Alexis stood up and went to him. “This diagnosis . . . must be hard for you, Sonny.”

Sonny didn’t answer. He quickly wiped away a tear. “I’m still not sure if I believe I have
this. I don’t know . . . maybe I’m just in denial. But I wanted you to know.”

“Thank you for telling me. Are you getting treatment?” Alexis asked gently.

Sonny nodded his head. “I’m taking medication,” he answered. “I have to take it for the
rest of my life,” he added somberly.

Alexis was again surprised. “Is it working?”

“I don’t . . . I don’t think it is. But I made a promise to people that I would give it a
chance. So that’s what I’m doing,” Sonny answered. He took a long pause. “I . . . I really
don’t want to talk about it,” he said wearily. “This isn’t about me. It’s about our
daughter.”

“Well, I’d like to talk to Dr. Winters about it. I don’t know a lot about Bipolar Disorder,”
responded Alexis. She saw that Sonny wasn’t really listening to her. He had his head
down and seemed to be in pain. “Are you okay?”

“I don’t want my kids to suffer,” Sonny confided. “I would never hurt Kristina.”

“I know you wouldn’t.” Alexis said. She guided Sonny back over to a patio chair and had
him sit down. She handed him his glass of water that was sitting on the table.
Alexis studied Sonny. She remembered all of the times he had bad nights, mood swings,
and confusion. She never suspected anything other than a person that had suffered
through a lot of trauma. Sonny was messed up. She had always known that. “I’m sorry
that I never got you help. I just thought it was . . . you know, what happened to you as a
kid.”

Sonny took a sip of his water. “So did I,” he said quietly.

“Sonny, listen to me. I made a huge mistake. I selfishly kept Kristina away from you at
the beginning,” said Alexis. “It was wrong. You have been a wonderful father. You’re
always there for her. Kristina adores you. This doesn’t change any of that.”

Sonny shook his head. “What if she has what I have? She might hate me if she has to go
through any kind of the hell that I’ve been through.”

“She can get treatment,” answered Alexis. She sat down next to Sonny. “Look, Sonny.
You’ve been suffering for a long time. Too long. If Kristina had it, it would be different.
We would know what to look for. She would never have to suffer like you did.”

Sonny closed his eyes, hoping Alexis was right.

“Is there anything I can do?” asked Alexis with sincerity.

“I’d like to spend more time with Kristina,” Sonny said honestly. “I feel like I don’t
really know her. Not like I should anyway.”

Alexis looked at her watch. “Hey, you know what? Why don’t I have Viola bring
Kristina over for the afternoon? You can spend some time with her.”

Sonny looked at Alexis with surprise. It wasn’t his day to have his daughter. “I’d like
that,” Sonny smiled. “I’d like that a lot.”

Alexis gave Sonny a smile. She reached out to him and touched his hand. “I don’t have
any regrets, Sonny. Kristina is the best of both of us. I would never change anything
about us.”

Sonny nodded his head tearfully.

“Everything’s going to be okay,” Alexis promised him.

~-~-~-~
Michael and Morgan ran into the house looking for Sonny. He was out on the patio.
Kristina was riding her bike and Sonny was watching her. The boys ran up to Kristina
with excitement.

“Hi, Kristina!” they both yelled with excitement. “Hi, Dad!”
“Hey,” he said, as he hugged the boys. He turned around and saw Carly, looking at him
with concern. The boys must have told her. He wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to
handle everyone’s pity.

“Can we go swimming?” asked Michael.

“Not right now,” answered Sonny. “But maybe you can take Kristina and Morgan over to
the swings.”

Michael complied and Sonny was thankful he didn’t ask any questions.

Sonny turned to Carly, who continued looking at him with concern.

Sonny went over to her. “I guess you already talked to the boys.”

“What’s going on Sonny? They said you were sick.”

Sonny took a deep breath. “I wanted to tell you, but everything’s happening so fast.”

“Tell me what?”

Sonny gestured for Carly to sit down on the patio chair. He sat down too. They were in
view of the kids playing and he watched them for a minute. He didn’t know where to
start.

“Michael told me you were in seeing a doctor. Is this about your breakdown?” asked
Carly. She knew Sonny had been spiraling out of control the last few months. She had
seen it many times before. Sonny usually rode them out.

“I keep thinking back to all those times you helped me,” said Sonny. “All those nights
you would sit with me. All those times you held my hand when I was scared.”

Carly nodded her head in acknowledgement. “I know the last couple of months . . . I
suspected you were having a breakdown again. I could see it in your eyes. I could hear it
in your voice. I just didn’t say anything . . . because I thought . . . I thought Emily would
be able to handle it,” explained Carly.

“She has,” answered Sonny. “Emily’s been great.”

“I’m glad for you,” responded Carly. “I’m glad she didn’t . . .”

“Give up on me.”

Carly let out a sigh. “Well, it’s not easy when you’re like that,” she explained bluntly. “It
can be . . . scary.”
Sonny watched the kids playing. “I put you through hell, Carly. I’m sorry. I’m so
ashamed of what I’ve done. But Emily says . . . she thinks I can get better.”

Carly looked at Sonny with surprise. “What are you talking about?”

“I have Bipolar Disorder. I went to see Dr. Winters and she diagnosed me with some
other stuff too. Post Traumatic Distress Disorder or something. She prescribed some
medication.”

“Emily got you to go see a psychiatrist?” asked Carly in shock. “I couldn’t even get you
to see a regular doctor.”

Sonny looked at Carly with sadness. “It got really bad this time,” he revealed. “It’s been
worse than it’s ever been. I can’t even remember most of it. But, I know that I’ve lost
time, I’ve taken the car out and not remembered where I’ve gone, I wandered out of the
house and couldn’t find my way back. I was out all night. I’ve been violent. I could see
what it was doing to Emily.” Sonny reached out and took Carly’s hand. “I know I’ve
done the same thing to you. I wore you down.”

Carly became tearful. “No, Sonny.”

“You deserved so much better.”

Carly squeezed Sonny’s hand. “I just want you to get better. Maybe I could have gotten
you the help you need. I should have made you go get evaluated years ago,” she said with
regret. “I just . . . I never knew what to do. I wanted to take care of you.”

“You did,” Sonny assured her. “You did everything you could, Carly. I fought you about
getting help. You tried, but I wouldn’t hear it. And I’m sorry about that.”

“So, what does this all mean?” asked Carly. “What happens now?”

“Dr. Winters said if I take my medication and get therapy, I can get better. I can be
normal,” explained Sonny.

Carly could hear he doubt in Sonny’s voice. “What do you think?”

Sonny shrugged his shoulders. “I think I’m too screwed up to ever be normal.” He let out
a laugh.

Carly laughed too. But then she became serious. She didn’t want to see Sonny suffer any
more. It was too hard to watch. “Sonny, I think this is a good thing. You should at least
give it a chance.”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement. “There’s just one thing you need to know, Carly.”
“What?”

“Morgan could get sick. What I have is a mental illness. It might be passed on to him.”

Carly looked at Sonny with shock. “Morgan?”

Sonny looked up and watched Morgan play from a distance. “He already seems . . . kind
of hyper, doesn’t he?”

“That’s just normal kid stuff,” answered Carly, trying to reassure herself.

“Morgan’s just like me,” whispered Sonny. “I’m sorry. If I had known, I wouldn’t . . .”

“You wouldn’t have had Morgan?” said Carly. “Don’t say that, Sonny. He’s the best
thing that ever happened to us.”

Sonny became tearful. “He is. He’s such a wonderful little boy. He means everything to
me.”

“I know he does,” said Carly.

“We’re going to have to keep an eye on him,” explained Sonny.

“We will,” promised Carly. She looked at Sonny and his tearstained face. Sometimes,
when she looked into Morgan’s eyes, she saw Sonny’s eyes before he was beaten, before
he was hurt so bad, before the sadness. But right now, Sonny’s eyes had pain, fear, and
shame. She was determined she never wanted to see the same thing in Morgan’s eyes.
“We will take care of Morgan. No matter what happens, he’s loved. He has a family. You
didn’t have that Sonny. No one took care of you. But it will never be that way with your
children. I promise.”
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 15 ~-~-~ Family Therapy ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Sonny sat in Dr. Winter’s office feeling angry. Mike had agreed to come to the session
today and he wasn’t here yet. He had warned Dr. Winters to not involve his father. He
had told her he was unreliable, but she had thought it was a good idea.

“Well, while we’re waiting for you father, maybe you can tell me how you’re doing this
week?” asked Dr. Winters.

“Waiting for my father? His name is Mike and he probably won’t show up. He’s a loser,”
seethed Sonny.
“Do you hate your father that much?” asked Dr. Winters.

“I don’t hate him. But he doesn’t care about me. He never did. So why should I care
about him?”

Dr. Winters felt Sonny’s agitation today. She was puzzled, because Sonny had been on
the medication for almost three weeks now, but he wasn’t showing any dramatic changes.
She hated to increase his dose again, but felt it was the right thing to do. “Sonny, I think
we need to adjust your medication again. Like I said, it will take a while to figure out
what is best for you.”

Sonny stood up and went to the window. “I told you medication couldn’t cure me. I told
you that at the beginning. I’m going to be screwed up no matter how much you want to
drug me.”

“I’m not trying to drug you.”

“Bull.”

“What?”

“You want to drug me and make me be a good little boy,” said Sonny. “You want to
make me like a zombie.”

“Sonny, we’ve been over this before. I am treating your diagnosis. This medication will
help you,” explained Dr. Winters.

“I don’t like taking it,” mumbled Sonny.

“Why not?”

Sonny walked over and sat in the chair. “It makes my mouth taste like cotton,” he
admitted. “It makes me too sleepy.”

Dr. Winters wrote down a few notes. “Why didn’t you tell me before?” she asked gently.

Sonny shrugged his shoulders.

“Well, for one thing, your body needs time to adjust to the mediation. Some of these side
effects will go away. In the meantime, you could try chewing gum for the dry mouth.”

Sonny again shrugged his shoulders.

“You’re feeling sleepy because you’re suffering from complete exhaustion, Sonny. That
means the medication is working. It’s helping to adjust your internal clock, the one that
has been keeping you up for the past four months. If you’re feeling tired, you should try
and get as much sleep as you can.” Dr. Winters wrote down a few more notes. There was
a knock on the door and Dr. Winters was hoping it was Mike. She knew she had to get
father and son to talk.

“Hi,” said Mike.

Dr. Winters looked at her watch. “You’re late.”

“I little,” answered Mike.

Dr. Winters let Mike into the office and had him sit down in one of the chairs, so
everyone was sitting in a circle.

“Should I call you Mr. Corbin?” asked Dr. Winters.

“Mike is fine.”

“First of all, thank you for coming,” began Dr. Winters. “Second of all, we need to set
some ground rules.”

“Okay,” said Mike.

“You can’t be late to these sessions,” stated Dr. Winters.

Mike held up his hands. “It was busy at the diner, so I got a late start over here.”

Dr. Winters looked at Mike with seriousness. “Your son is very ill,” she said. “He should
be hospitalized. But I made him a promise that I wouldn’t have him locked up. So, he’s
agreed to come here for therapy. He has a long road to recovery.”

“I understand,” answered Mike.

“Sonny needs the support of his family,” continued Dr. Winters. “He needs to be able to
rely on you.”

“I want to help,” said Mike. “I already told Emily I would help.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” said Dr. Winters. “But your son has been waiting for you for the
last half hour and you weren’t here.”

“I’m sorry,” said Mike. He looked over at Sonny. “I do want to help, Michael. I won’t be
late again, okay?”

Sonny wasn’t sure what to say. Dr. Winters was defending him. She was telling Mike off.
Sonny had never had anyone do that for him before. He looked up at Dr. Winters, giving
her an unspoken look of surprise.
Dr. Winters wrote down a few notes. “I think we should get started. Mike, I’d like to start
with you. I need to get a little background on you.”

“What do you want to know?”

“How you grew up? You’re education. How you met Adela?”

Mike rubbed his hands together. “Okay. Well . . . my father left us when I was about in
8th grade. That’s when I dropped out of school. I started earning money for my family.”

“So, you worked?”

Mike looked at Sonny. “I’m going to be honest here. I did whatever I could to help. I was
good at cards. I was good at dice. I learned how to scam people for money. I left home. I
became what they call a grifter.”

Dr. Winters wrote down the information. “How did you meet Adela?”

Mike let out a sigh. “I met her at a dance when I came back from Vietnam.”

Sonny sat up in his chair, becoming attentive to Mike’s story.

“I was just passing through. But I fell in love with her the first night I met her. We go
married right after that,” revealed Mike. “Then we had Michael. It was the best time of
my life.”

Dr. Winters wrote down a few notes. “So things were going good, right? But Sonny tells
me you weren’t around that much. Is that true?”

“I was around in the beginning,” Mike said defensively. He looked at Sonny. “We had
some really good times when I was around, right Michael?”

Sonny felt upset listening to Mike.

“What do you remember about your father?” asked Dr. Winters.

Sonny looked at Dr. Winters. “I don’t get how this is supposed to help me get better?
What is the point of all of this?”

“You both have one common denominator. That is your mother, Adela. I’m trying to find
out more about her,” explained Dr. Winters. “But first, I need to know about you and
your father.”

Sonny rubbed his face. “I don’t remember a lot. But I know he made my mother cry
when he’d leave.”
“Do you have a good memory of your father?” asked Dr. Winters.

Sonny shrugged his shoulders. He looked at Mike, who was waiting for his answer. “I do
remember him taking me to the beach.”

“Do you remember that Mike?”

Mike’s eyes lit up. “Sure. We’d take the subway down to Coney Island or Brighten
Beach for the day. Michael loved the water.”

“Did Adela ever go with you?” asked Dr. Winters.

“Sometimes,” responded Mike. “She was kind of nervous. She had a lot of bad things
happen to her in Cuba, so she didn’t like crowds too much.”

Sonny stood up in agitation. He went over to the window.

“What’s the matter?” asked Dr. Winters.

“I’m not going to talk about my mother like this. You’re going to try and tear her down.
She was a good person. She did the best she could,” Sonny said with tears in his voice.

“I’m trying to get to know your family,” said Dr. Winters.

“I’m done with this. I’m done!” yelled Sonny.

Dr. Winters walked over to Sonny. “Why are you getting so angry?”

Sonny turned and looked at Dr. Winters. “I told you I can’t stay in this room. It’s too
small,” he said in frustration.

“I need to talk to you and your father together, Sonny. That’s all I’m trying to do. This is
the only way I can do it,” explained Dr. Winters.

Sonny shook his head in agitation.

Dr. Winters wanted to calm Sonny down. “Come sit down, Sonny. I’ll get you some
water.”

Sonny looked at Dr. Winters with suspicion. “Why did you bring him here?” he
whispered.

Mike got up and walked over to Sonny.

Sonny took a step back, looking at his father with tears in his eyes.
“I don’t want to hurt you anymore, Michael. I just want to help you. Dr. Winters asked
me to come,” Mike explained.

Sonny felt trapped. He literally had his back up against the wall, with both Mike and Dr.
Winters staring at him. His breathing started getting shallow.

“You left my mother and I will never forgive you for that Mike. You broke her heart,” he
said with a shaky voice. “And she was left with that monster. So, I’m not going to sit here
and judge her. No way. No way.”

“Michael, I loved your mother,” responded Mike.

Still feeling trapped, Sonny lost it and grabbed Mike by his shirt. “Shut up!” he yelled.
He pushed Mike violently against the wall. “You left us. You made her go crazy. That’s
the truth.”

Mike was stung by Sonny’s word. But all he saw was his son’s grief, anger, and sadness
at the loss of his mother.

Dr. Winters tried to diffuse the situation. “Sonny, let go. NOW!”

Sonny tried to focus, not sure of what just happened. He had totally lost it. He let go of
Mike’s shirt and took a step back.

“There will be no violence in this room,” Dr. Winters ordered. “Do you understand?”

Sonny couldn’t stand being in this room one more minute. He stormed past both Mike
and Dr. Winters as he left the office, slamming the door behind him.

“Are you okay, Mike?”

Mike straightened out his shirt. “Yeah. I’m fine.” He walked over and sat down in the
chair, more shaken then he wanted to admit. “We don’t talk about Adela,” he said
quietly. “It’s just too . . . painful.”

“Actually, I thought the session went well,” said Dr. Winters.

Mike looked at her with shock.

“I understand the dynamics now. I understand the issues,” she explained. “I’m beginning
to understand the triggers for Sonny.” She looked down at her notebook. “And I’m
beginning to understand Sonny Corinthos.”
~-~-~-~
Sonny wandered the halls of the hospital, disoriented and desperately looking for the
elevator. He wanted to get out of here. He needed some fresh air.
Robin just happened to look up from the front desk when she noticed Sonny walking
toward the elevator. He was agitated. She quickly went up to him. “Sonny,” she called
out.

Sonny turned around. “Robin?”

“Hi,” said Robin. “Are you okay?”

Sonny was tired of lying to everybody. “No. Not really.”

Robin put her stethoscope in her pocket. “What’s wrong?”

“I have to get out of here,” Sonny said with agitation, starting to walk past Robin.

“Wait,” Robin called out. “I’ll go with you.”

Robin followed Sonny into the elevator, not wanting to leave him alone. In the elevator
he looked pale and she was concerned. She took Sonny’s arm. “Let’s get some fresh air. I
know the perfect place.” She took Sonny to the park.

Sonny started to feel a little better after getting out of that hot room and the stifling
hospital. “Are you going to lecture me too?” he finally asked.

“Lecture you?” asked Robin.

Sonny looked at Robin with sadness. He knew Robin knew everything because Emily
had told him about how Robin had come over and helped him when he had hypothermia
and how she was going to have Robin look out for him at the hospital. “About my illness
. . . about taking my medication . . . about giving this a chance.”

Robin could see that Sonny was overwhelmed right now. “No. I’m not here to lecture
you. Honest, Sonny. But there’s nothing wrong with looking out for you, is there?”

Sonny studied Robin for a minute, finally allowing a smile. “No. I guess not,” he
admitted.

“Besides, we never get to see each other anymore,” said Robin. “Maybe now is a good
time to change that.”

Sonny nodded his head. “I’d like that, Robin. I need friends around right now.”

“Well, you know I’m here for you,” smiled Robin. “Just like you have always been there
for me.”
“I just don’t think I can change,” Sonny said sadly. “I know Dr. Winters thinks so.
Everyone has all these expectations of me. But, I just attacked my father, Robin. What
kind of son does that?”

“What happened?” asked Robin.

“I lost it.” Sonny leaned forward. “It’s that room, Robin. Dr. Winters office. It’s too
small. I can’t breathe in there. I get claustrophobic.”

“Did you tell her that?” asked Robin.

“Yeah. But she thinks she can cure me with all of her medication and therapy.” He
looked at Robin with seriousness. “You know I can’t get better, Robin. That I can’t be
helped.”

“I don’t believe that,” answered Robin. She reached out and took Sonny’s hand. “Sonny,
I want to apologize for something. All of those times, when you were having your
breakdowns, I should have done more. I should have seen the signs and gotten you help.
I’ll never forgive myself that you’ve been needlessly suffering all of these years.”

“You couldn’t have know, Robin. You weren’t a doctor yet. Hell, the only reason this
happened was because Emily came into my life. Maybe there was a reason for that.”

Robin gave Sonny a smile. “I believe in fate, Sonny. I know all of this is happening for a
reason. And someday soon, you won’t be in so much pain. That’s what we all want for
you.”

Sonny nodded his head tearfully. “That’s what I want to,” he admitted.
~-~-~-~
Emily came home from work and immediately looked for Sonny. She couldn’t help but
worry about him. She knew that therapy would be extremely difficult for him. She found
him in living room, sitting by the fireplace, lost in thought.

“Hi,” said Emily, as she walked over and gave Sonny a kiss.

“Hi,” said Sonny.

Emily sat down next to Sonny. “You okay?”

Sonny nodded his head. “Yeah.”

“Do you want to be alone?” asked Emily, sensing Sonny’s mood. She had learned when
to give him space.

“No,” answered Sonny quietly. “No. I was just thinking.”
Emily reached out and ran her hands through Sonny’s hair. “About what?”

Sonny shrugged his shoulders, looking at Emily. “I have a good dinner planned,” he said,
changing the subject. “It will be ready in a little while.”

“Great,” said Emily. “I’m hungry.”

Sonny gave her a small smile. “How was your day?”

“It was good,” said Emily. “I have the next two days off,” she added. “I thought we could
spend some time together.”

“I’d like that,” said Sonny, as he rubbed his eyes with weariness.

“Are you tired, sweetheart?” asked Emily.

“I am a little tired,” Sonny admitted. “I’m not very hungry either. But I wanted to make
you dinner.”

“Sonny, you don’t always have to cook me dinner,” said Emily.

“I know,” answered Sonny. “But I like to take care of you.”

Emily smiled. She reached out and took Sonny’s hand. “I like it when you take care of
me too,” she admitted. She ran her hands through Sonny’s hair. “Maybe you should lie
down for a while?” She knew Sonny was suffering from exhaustion. Lainey told her that
she would start to see him sleep more. It was expected.

“Yeah . . . yeah, maybe I will,” Sonny said quietly. “But right now, I just want to sit
here.”

Emily continued to run her hands through Sonny’s hair. She had talked to Robin today.
She knew that Sonny had left his therapy session in agitation. But she wasn’t going to
push him. She would let him lead the way. She sat with him for a while.

“My parents . . . they didn’t do a very good job of looking out for me,” revealed Sonny,
like he had just made the realization.

Emily softly stroked Sonny’s cheek.

“They didn’t protect me. They should have . . . you know, Mike. He didn’t see me for six
or seven years. What kind of father leaves his son? I can’t . . . I can’t imagine leaving my
boys or Kristina for that long.” Sonny shook his head. “It’s hard to get past that, Emily,”
Sonny said tearfully.

“Of course it is,” whispered Emily, feeling his hurt, his pain.
“It hurts too much to be mad at my mother. I won’t do it,” Sonny whispered. “But I know
that I’m not like them. I would never abandon my children. I would never let them get . . .
hurt like that. I would do everything in my power to make sure they were protected.”

Emily gave Sonny a gentle smile. “I know you would. It’s one of your strongest traits,
Sonny. Your love for your children.”

Sonny wiped away a few more tears. He looked at Emily. “Then maybe I’m not such a
bad person after all.”
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 16 ~-~-~ Responsibility ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Sonny had been sleeping for most of the day. Emily was getting worried because he had
been complaining of headaches for the last week and the medication was making him
very tired. Emily wasn’t sure if Sonny was finally succumbing to his exhaustion or his
medication dose needed to be adjusted. She knew Sonny had an appointment with Lainey
this afternoon, but she wasn’t sure if he would be able to make it. Emily had a long talk
with Mike and he agreed to come take the boys out of the house for a couple of hours.
Then he was going to come back and help make dinner. Emily was glad she wasn’t
working today.

Sonny woke up feeling thirsty and he reached over and drank the bottle of water that was
sitting on the nightstand. His head was pounding. His mouth was so dry. He looked at the
clock and wasn’t sure if it was three o’clock in the morning or afternoon. He felt too tired
to get out of bed.

When Emily came in to check on Sonny, she was relieved he was finally awake. “How
are you feeling?”

Sonny let out a groan. “Is it morning?” he asked.

Emily sat on the edge of the bed. She reached over and gently stroked Sonny’s cheek.
“It’s the afternoon, sleepyhead. You’re finally catching up on all of your sleep.”

Sonny gave Emily a small smile. His mouth tasted like cotton and he reached over and
took another drink of the water.

“Do you feel okay?” Emily asked with concern, noticing Sonny’s trembling hands.

“I’m so thirsty,” said Sonny.
“Sonny, I called Lainey to cancel your appointment. She’s going to make a house call
today and come over. She wants to do some blood work and see you here,” she
explained.

“I thought she didn’t come to people’s houses?”

Emily reached out and stroked Sonny’s hair. “Well, she’s concerned about you. She
doesn’t want to lose any momentum with the therapy.”

“Yeah, she’s doing a good job of ripping me apart,” Sonny said with sarcasm.

“I’m sorry this is so hard,” Emily said sincerely. “But, I am so proud of you Sonny. It’s
not easy to deal with demons. You’re a very brave person. Someday, you’ll believe that.”
She leaned down and gave Sonny a kiss on the cheek. “Why don’t you get dressed and
meet me downstairs? We can have some lunch before Lainey gets here.”
~-~-~-~
Sonny came out onto the patio. The fresh breeze felt good and he smiled when he saw
Emily sitting at the table. She looked so beautiful.

“Come sit down,” Emily gestured.

Sonny walked over and gave Emily a kiss. “This looks great,” he said, as he looked at the
food on the table.

“Thanks,” smiled Emily.

Sonny sat down at the table. “Where are the boys?”

“They are at the park with Mike.”

“Really? Mike took the day off?” asked Sonny. “He never does that.”

“I think the family therapy sessions are making Mike change his priorities,” answered
Emily. “He’s been coming over a lot now.”

“Yeah,” Sonny agreed quietly.

“Isn’t that what you wanted?” asked Emily.

“It’s good that the kids can get close to their grandfather,” answered Sonny. “I like that.”

“What about you and Mike?”

“I don’t know.” Sonny struggled with his words. “I just . . . I hope he’s not doing this out
of pity, you know. I’ve had to tell Mike things that happened to my mother that he didn’t
know about. He had no idea the hell my mother endured. No idea. Mike started crying.
I’ve never seen him cry before.” Sonny took a few bites of his lunch.

Emily wondered if Sonny would ever admit what he had to endure. What hell he had
suffered as a child. She studied him. She never liked to push him. If he wanted to talk, he
would. She learned that much about Sonny.

After eating their lunch in silence, Sonny finally spoke again. “I think my mother . . . she
might have had what I have.”

Emily looked at Sonny with surprise. “Is that what Lainey thinks?”

Sonny looked at Emily with sadness. “No, she hasn’t said that. But she keeps asking all
of these questions about my mother. It’s making me remember things that happened.
Things that didn’t make sense at the time,” he said.

Emily moved her chair over next to Sonny. He was whispering, so she could barely hear
him. She reached out and took his hand.

“My mother was . . . not very strong. So I had to take care or her . . . protect her,”
whispered Sonny.

Emily squeezed Sonny’s hand. She imagined Sonny as a boy, trying to help his mother. It
brought tears to her eyes.

“She just didn’t have a chance . . . with Deke beating her all the time. The rest of the time
she shut down. She would stay in bed for days. She would just sit there . . . and cry. I
would try and take care of her. Sometimes, I wondered why my mother would let Deke
do things to me. She would sit there and watch him beat the hell out of me. She would
never protect me . . . but now I know why.”

“You think she might have had Bipolar Disorder?” asked Emily gently.

“I don’t know,” Sonny answered honestly. “It was just me and her. No one was helping
us. I remember when I got home from school and she would still be in bed. I would start
cooking dinner because I knew . . . I knew Deke would be furious if dinner wasn’t on the
table when he got home.”

Emily rubbed Sonny’s arm gently. “You had a lot of responsibility. More than any child
should have.”

Sonny nodded his head tearfully. “Sometimes, I was on my own. But I loved my mother,
Emily.”

“I know,” said Emily.
“I’m never going to hate my mother,” Sonny said with conviction. “No matter what
happened, she tried her best to survive. She did love me.”

“She was so lucky to have you taking care of her,” whispered Emily.

Sonny wiped away a tear. “All along, I had blamed Mike. I thought she had a broken
heart. But it wasn’t his fault,” he whispered with sadness. “My mother was sick. Just like
I’m sick. And she died young. Not much older than I am now.”

“We know so much more now than we did then, Sonny. And you’re getting help, so
you’re going to get better,” Emily said gently, not liking Sonny’s fatalistic tone.

“Am I?” Sonny asked tearfully. “Emily, it’s been a month now . . . more than that. Don’t
you think there would be a difference by now? This medication is making me worse and
you know it.”

Emily had to admit that there weren’t a whole lot of changes with Sonny. The side-effects
had hit him hard. She wondered if anything in Sonny’s life had ever been easy. “I
promise you, we are going to find the right medication, Sonny. Lainey can prescribe you
something else. There are lots of medications out there.”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement, privately feeling despair.

Dr. Winters arrived and stood at the patio door, privately motioning to Emily.

“I’ll be back in a minute, Sonny.” Emily stood up and walked over to Lainey, bringing
her into the living room, out of earshot of Sonny. “I’m so glad you could make it.”

“Well, you sounded a little desperate on the phone,” said Dr. Winters. “How is Sonny
doing?”

“He’s been sleeping a lot, Lainey. He’s depressed. He has a lot of side effects from the
medication,” explained Emily with concern. “He’s talking about stuff though. He’s been
talking about his mother and father. He still isn’t talking about Deke.”

“He’s doing better in therapy than I thought,” commented Dr. Winters. “But the
medication isn’t working,” she admitted with defeat. “Can you give me some time alone
with him?”

“Of course,” agreed Emily.
~-~-~-~
Dr. Winters walked out onto the patio and sat down at the table. “How are you doing,
Sonny?”

Sonny was surprised at his guest. “So, you do house calls after all?” he joked.
“I do for you,” laughed Dr. Winters, getting used to Sonny’s sarcastic wit.

Sonny looked at her with sincerity. “Do you mean that?”

“Of course I do. I think you’ve made a lot of progress already and I want to make sure
you continue,” Dr. Winters responded.

Sonny took a sip of his water.

“So, Emily said you’ve been sleeping a lot,” said Dr. Winters.

Sonny took another sip of his water. “Yeah.”

“Tell me what’s going on,” prodded Dr. Winters.

Sonny decided to be honest with her. “I don’t like this medication,” he said bluntly. “It
gives me headaches. All I do is sleep. I don’t feel like I’m getting better. I don’t feel
right.”

“I want you to go to the lab tomorrow morning, okay. I need to do some blood work.
Then come to my office and we can talk about changing your medication,” said Dr.
Winters.

“No,” Sonny said firmly.

“Sonny, I need to test your Lithium level,” Dr. Winters explained.

“I don’t care about that,” responded Sonny. “I just can’t . . . I can’t be in that office
anymore. It’s too small. I won’t go back there.”

“Don’t you want to get better?”

“Of course!” Sonny said angrily. “I want that more than anything.”

Dr. Winters sat back in her chair. She was in a dilemma. She needed complete
confidentiality and saw all of her patients at her office. There were no exceptions. But she
knew that Sonny suffered from severe claustrophobia. She had witnessed his attacks. She
also knew he was nowhere near ready to address the reasons behind his phobia. That
would come later. Right now, she needed to find the right medication for him. She
needed to get him to keep talking to her. “I am willing to meet you here at Greystone if
you agree to comply with your medications and continue to see me two times a week.”

“Two times a week?” Sonny protested.

“And we need a quiet, confidential area. No bodyguards, no cell phones, no business
interruptions,” Dr. Winters insisted. “It’s the only way it will work.”
Sonny rubbed his eyes, trying to think. “Okay,” he agreed. “We can meet in the
guesthouse. No interruptions,” he promised.

Dr. Winters allowed a smile. She knew this meant that Sonny was still motivated to get
better. “Agreed,” she said. “I still need you to go to the lab tomorrow morning. I’ll get
your results and we can talk about a medication adjustment at tomorrow afternoon’s
session.”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement. He was in this for the long haul. He knew that now.
He wanted to get better.
~-~-~-~
Sonny was outside, looking towards the backyard, lost in thought.

“Hi,” said Mike.

Sonny turned around. “Hi.”

“The boys are washing up. I’m going to make dinner, if that’s okay.” Mike knew Sonny
didn’t like people in his kitchen.

“That would be nice,” Sonny answered quietly.

“Good,” said Mike, feeling a little awkward. “I hope you didn’t mind me taking the boys
to the park. You were asleep when I came around this afternoon.”

Sonny shrugged his shoulders. “No. I appreciate it. The boys . . . they need to have fun.
They need to play. They shouldn’t be seeing their father like this.”

“So, when is the next appointment?” asked Mike. “Does Dr. Winters want to see me
again?”

Sonny shook his head. “I don’t think so,” he answered. “I think she asked you everything
she needed to know.”

Mike felt a little disappointed. The sessions with Dr. Winters were hard, but he was
starting to bond with Sonny. They had shared some deep rooted feelings. They had talked
about Adela. They had talked about some good times too. Mike understood so much
more about his son now. Sonny had admitted to never forgiving Mike for abandoning his
mother. Mike had even admitted being angry at Adela and Sonny for giving up on him.
“So, how long do you have to see Dr. Winters?”

“Probably a long time,” Sonny sighed. “She’s going to come and do house calls, two
times a week,” he explained. “I guess she thinks I still have a lot to talk about.”
Mike studied Sonny. He knew how much Sonny hated therapy. He knew there was still a
very painful road ahead for his son. But he admired him. He admired his determination,
his strength, and his courage. All things that Mike knew Sonny didn’t get from him. He
reached out and put his hand on Sonny’s shoulder. “I’m proud of you Michael. And I
admire you.”

Sonny looked at Mike with surprise. “Even after all those things I’ve said?”

“I didn’t understand before,” admitted Mike. “I didn’t understand how much
responsibility you had when you were just a boy. I didn’t understand the burden that you
took on or how much you suffered. I’m sorry for leaving you, Michael. I’m sorry for
leaving your mother. Can you forgive me?”

Sonny looked at his father with tears in his eyes. He didn’t want to hate his father
anymore. He needed him too much. He needed to be taken care of now. He wanted his
father to look out for him, like he should have when he was growing up. But he didn’t
know how to put all of those feelings in words.

Mike, sensing Sonny’s anguish, reached out to him. He held his son in a tight embrace,
trying to give him the support he need, trying to comfort him.

Sonny buried his head on Mike’s shoulder, letting out the tears, finally letting go of the
loss of his father, when he was a boy. “I forgive you, Pop. I forgive you.”

~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 17 ~-~-~ Memories ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Sonny sat in the guesthouse across from Dr. Winters. They had been meeting in the
guesthouse for the last few weeks and Sonny was doing much better in the well lit and
spacious room the guesthouse offered. Sonny was able to walk around, there were more
windows to look out of, and he didn’t feel so confined.

Dr. Winters had to admit that the change had made things much smoother for her therapy.
Sonny seemed much more relaxed here. He was opening up to her about a lot of things
that were helpful to her. He still however, had talked little about his stepfather, except for
the few stories that he had shared with her about the abuse his mother had suffered.

“How are you doing today?” asked Dr. Winters.

“Fine,” answered Sonny.

“How is the medication working?” asked Dr. Winters. She had changed Sonny’s
prescription of lithium to a lower dose and added a dose of a different type of mood
stabilizer. She thought it would still take a few more months to find out the right
combination for Sonny.

“Okay, I guess.”

“How are you sleeping?”

“I’m sleeping through the night,” said Sonny.

“That’s great Sonny.” Dr. Winters wrote down a few notes. She noted that the dark
circles under Sonny’s eyes were gone and his appearance was neat. His hair was combed
and his attire was nice. He looked like a completely different person than the person she
encountered a few months ago in her office.

“Are you having any side effects from the mediations?” asked Dr. Winters.

“My hands shake sometimes,” Sonny responded. “Sometimes I feel lightheaded.”

“Those might go away with some time,” explained Dr. Winters.

Sonny shrugged his shoulders. He wasn’t too positive about taking medication, but he
was resigned to comply with it. He had promised his family. He looked around the room.
“I like it here at the guesthouse.”

“I can tell,” commented Dr. Winters. “Why do you like it here so much?”

Sonny looked around and shrugged his shoulders. “There’s lot of windows.”

“You like windows, don’t you?” said Dr. Winters, remembering how much Sonny stood
by the window in her office.

“I like to be able to look outside,” Sonny explained. “Sometimes I need fresh air.”

“Sonny, we’ve talked about a lot of stuff, but we haven’t talked about you and your
stepfather that much,” said Dr. Winters.

“I’ve mentioned him,” protested Sonny.

“You told me about what he did to your mother,” corrected Dr. Winters. “But you
haven’t told me what he did to you.”

“I don’t remember a lot of it,” whispered Sonny. “I don’t remember.”

“It’s hard, I know, Sonny. Would it be easier if Emily or Mike were here?” Dr. Winters
felt that Sonny did better with support. He had opened up more when Emily or Mike
literally held his hand or walked him through difficult memories. It wasn’t her usual
therapy protocol, but Sonny wasn’t her usual patient.

“Emily knows a little bit,” whispered Sonny.

“So, you’ve talked to her about this?” asked Dr. Winters.

Sonny was getting restless in his chair. “Well, I have scars on my back . . . my arms . . .
other places,” he confided. “Emily asked about them. So I told her.” He stood up from his
chair and started pacing. “When I have my nightmares, sometimes I wake up screaming. I
can’t get back to sleep, so Emily will talk with me until I fall back to sleep.”

“When is the last time you had a nightmare?” asked Dr. Winters.

Sonny looked out the window. “I don’t know.”

“Do you have nightmares a lot?” asked Dr. Winters.

Sonny nodded his head. “I’ve always had nightmares, even when I was a kid. I was afraid
of the dark. Morgan is like that too. He has to sleep with the light on.”

“Most kids are afraid of the dark, Sonny. That’s normal,” explained Dr. Winters. “What
are your nightmares about?”

Sonny kept looking out the window, not answering Dr. Winters.

“They must be pretty bad if you wake up screaming,” commented Dr. Winters.

Sonny sat down in the chair. “I don’t remember my dreams.”

“Are they about Deke?”

Sonny looked down towards the floor. He did not want to talk about this.

Dr. Winters could tell that Sonny was getting upset. “You trust Emily a lot, don’t you?”

Sonny became tearful. He wasn’t sure why. “Emily would never hurt me. She doesn’t . . .
judge me.”

“I know,” agreed Dr. Winters. “It’s good to have someone you can trust so much. Do you
want her here right now?”

Sonny shook his head. “No,” he insisted. “Not today. There are some things I will never
tell Emily.”

“Because you don’t think she can handle it?” Dr. Winters asked with curiosity.
“There are some things too horrible for anyone to ever have to hear,” whispered Sonny.
“I mean, why do you want to hear this, Dr. Winters? How could this possibly help me?”

“I’m trying to help you learn good coping skills. I’m trying to understand the triggers that
can make you have these episodes. Maybe we can even end your nightmares,” explained
Dr. Winters.

A few tears fell from Sonny’s face. He quickly wiped them away.

“Your stepfather abused you for a long time.” Dr. Winters looked at her notes. “Eight
years, Sonny. You couldn’t help but be effected by that.”

“You mean damaged, don’t you?” Sonny corrected her. “You mean crazy.”

“No. I don’t mean crazy, Sonny. I never said that at all. This is part of your Post
Traumatic Stress Syndrome that we need to deal with.” Dr. Winters set down her
notebook. “Deke abused you so severely he caused your claustrophobia, your flashbacks,
and your nightmares. Some of these issues trigger your episodes. So in a way, you were
right all along, Sonny. Your childhood abuse plays a large part in your mental illness.
The abuse you suffered has made your episodes more severe and you have less ability to
cope with your moods.”

“What do you want to know?” Sonny asked with weariness. “I told you he beat me. I told
you that a million times.”

“Is that what your nightmares are about?” Dr. Winters gently prodded. “Are they about
being beaten by your stepfather?”

“No,” Sonny said quickly. He took in a deep breath. “No. Sometimes, I hear my mother’s
screams in my sleep,” he revealed.

“Your mother’s screams?” Dr. Winters repeated.

Sonny again took in a deep breath. “I heard her screams when I was locked away in the
closet. That’s when he would beat her. I couldn’t protect her in there. There’d be no air. It
was dark. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. But I could hear her screams. I could hear
her pain.” Sonny choked back some tears. “I’ll remember those screams until the day I
die.”

Sonny always explained Deke through his mother’s experience, through her pain, not his.
He probably wasn’t even aware he was doing it “Do you think it’s your screams you’re
remembering and not your mothers?”

Sonny swallowed some tears. “No. I didn’t cry. I never made a sound,” he answered
quietly.
Dr. Winters wasn’t sure how to respond.

Sonny seemed to be sinking into the chair. He was now talking in a tearful whisper. “I
learned to . . . shut down the pain . . . he tried to break me down . . . but I wouldn’t let
him. He was a cop . . . he knew all kinds of ways . . . to hurt me . . . but he couldn’t break
me.”

“So you see yourself as strong person?” asked Dr. Winters.

Sonny thought about the question for a long time. He was quietly crying now, the tears
flowing freely. He wiped away his tears. “Strong? No. I was a coward.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because . . . because I let . . . I let it happen. I didn’t fight back.”

“Maybe you were too young to fight back,” suggested Dr. Winters.

Sonny shook his head tearfully. “I wanted to take his gun and shoot him in the head. I
knew where he kept his gun. I could have saved my mother. I could have ended it
anytime. But I let it go on and on. Eight years, you said? It seemed like a lifetime. I
wanted to run away. But I couldn’t leave my mother, so I just shut down. I shut down and
I didn’t feel any pain. I didn’t feel anything.”

“Sonny,” Dr. Winters said gently. “Sometimes, you are still shutting down. You don’t
need to do that anymore.”

Sonny looked at Dr. Winters with confusion.

“No one protected you,” explained Dr. Winters. “So you learned how to protect
yourself.”

“What?”

“Your mother didn’t protect you. Your father left you, Sonny. It wasn’t your fault that
Deke beat you. Someone should have been looking out for you. But you were left on your
own. You did what you could to survive. That makes you a very strong person.”

Sonny covered his face with his hands. “Why did that happen to me?” he asked tearfully.

“I don’t know,” Dr. Winters answered honestly. “But you need to let yourself off the
hook. This didn’t happen because you were bad. It didn’t happen because you didn’t fight
back. It happened because your stepfather was a sick, disturbed, violent man. He abused
you Sonny. He hurt you real bad. I think maybe your nightmares are really about you
crying out. About all the pain you went through, but were never allowed to express. You
held everything in for so long that when the night comes, your mind is letting your
screams finally come.”
~-~-~-~
Sonny’s therapy always wiped him out. Talking about his past and remembering his
childhood was the most painful thing he could ever do. He was scheduled to visit Kristina
this afternoon and he wanted to forget about all of the bad memories. Alexis had told
Sonny to come early because she had wanted to talk to him. He wasn’t sure about what.
He was nervous because ever since he told Alexis about his diagnosis he was worried that
she would decrease his time with seeing Kristina.

Kristina ran to Sonny as soon as he came in the door. He gave her a great big hug and
lifted her in his arms. The burden of the morning session was quickly disappearing from
his mind. “Hey, Kristina,” he smiled. “How is my little sweetheart?”

“Fine. I went to the doctor today and had to get a shot,” Kristina answered with
seriousness.

Sonny looked at Alexis. “Everything okay?”

“It was just a routine checkup,” answered Alexis. “Nothing to worry about.”

Sonny gave Kristina a smile. “I thought we could go to the park today,” he said.

“Can I bring my bike?” asked Kristina.

“Sure,” said Sonny.

Kristina ran out of the room. “I’m going to go get my stuff.”

Sonny watched as Kristina left the room. He sat down next to Alexis on the couch. “What
did you want to talk to me about?”

Alexis studied Sonny. He was starting to look more rested than she had seen the last few
months. “How are you feeling?”

Sonny shrugged his shoulders. “Okay.”

“How is it going with the medication?” Alexis asked with sincerity.

“I don’t know. I’m taking it. I don’t know if it’s helping,” Sonny responded honestly.

“Well, you look a lot better, Sonny. The dark circles under your eyes are gone,” said
Alexis. “What about the therapy?” Sonny had told her a little about his childhood. She
knew it was horrible. “It must be hard.”
Sonny nodded his head in agreement. “I’m not sure what the point is,” he said honestly.
“Why do I have to talk about all of that stuff? I’m trying really hard to accept all of this,
but I don’t want to talk about what happened to me,” he said quietly. “I blocked so much
of it out, Alexis. I don’t want to remember it.”

“I know how painful this must be,” Alexis answered softly. “But you’re strong, Sonny. If
you lived through it, you could definitely talk about it.”

“Is this what you wanted to talk to me about?” asked Sonny, wanting to change the
subject.

“No,” said Alexis. “I wanted to talk to you about Kristina.”

Sonny sighed. He was waiting for this. “I don’t want to stop seeing Kristina,” he said
defensively.

“Relax,” said Alexis. “I wasn’t going to say that. I wanted to say that I thought you
should spend more time with Kristina.”

“What?” Sonny said with shock.

“I’ve thought a lot about it,” explained Alexis. “I see how much Kristina helps you,
Sonny. If you’re up to it, I’d like to propose that we change the custody arrangements.
Maybe you can take her for more nights and weekends. That way, you can spend more
time with her.”

Sonny was in shock. Alexis had always resisted Sonny being around Kristina. She had
fought it tooth and nail. He would have Kristina live with him, if he could.

“What do you think?” asked Alexis.

Sonny shook his head in disbelief. “Why are you doing this?”

Alexis decided to be honest. “I’ve been talking to Emily. She always tells me how much
the children help you, Sonny. How they can heal you.”

Sonny nodded his head tearfully. “They’re my whole world.”

“Emily believes in you, Sonny. She has been right all along about the Bipolar Disorder,
the medication, the therapy,” said Alexis. “I can see you are getting better. I have to be
honest. I haven’t been fair about Kristina from the very beginning. She is your daughter.
She asks about you all the time. I think it would be healthy for both of you to spend more
time together.”

Sonny quickly wiped his tears away. “Thanks, Alexis. I’d love to see Kristina more often.
You don’t know what this means to me.”
“Oh, I think I do,” said Alexis. “Sonny, I want to apologize for how I’ve behaved
regarding our daughter. She should be allowed to know her father better. Let’s make a
fresh start and I’m going to try and do a lot better. I’m not going to keep her away from
you anymore.”

Sonny gave Alexis a tearful smile.

Alexis reached over and put her hand on Sonny’s arm. “I’m proud of you, Sonny. I want
to support you in anyway I can.”
~-~-~-~
Sonny handed Emily a bouquet of flowers.

“Thank you,” smiled Emily. “What are these for?”

Sonny sat down next to her on the couch. “A lot of things,” he smiled. “I don’t even
know where to begin.” He gave Emily a kiss on the cheek.

Emily started blushing. She would never get used to Sonny’s thoughtfulness towards her.
It was something she still wasn’t used to. “They’re beautiful,”
She said, as she walked over with the flowers and put them in a vase. She arranged them
for a minute before turning back to look at Sonny. He was looking at her intensely.
“What?”

Sonny walked over to Emily. He reached over and stroked her hair. “I love you, Emily. I
know I don’t say that to you as much as I should.”

“It’s okay, Sonny,” responded Emily. “There’s so much going on right now.”

“Yeah,” Sonny agreed. “When I get better, I’d like to take you to the island. We can
spend some time together, just the two of us.”

“I’d like that,” smiled Emily. She couldn’t believe her ears. For months, Sonny had told
her he could never get better. Now it seemed like he was seeing the light at the end of the
tunnel. That he felt he was getting better.

Sonny gave her a small smile. “Alexis is going to let me see more of Kristina.”

“Really?” said Emily.

“You don’t seem that surprised,” said Sonny. “Did you say something to Alexis?”

“Yes,” Emily admitted. She looked at Sonny with seriousness. “I know how much your
children mean to you. I thought it was only fair that you see more of your daughter. I
think it would do you a world of good to spend more time with her.” Emily had witnessed
how Sonny’s children were the best medicine he could ever have and she was going to do
anything she could to get him better.

Sonny gave Emily a hug. “This means everything to me. I want Kristina to know that I
will always be there for her and that I love her. I want to get to know her better. Thank
you, Emily.”

“You’re welcome,” said Emily. She reached out and softly touched his face. “Listen to
me, Sonny. You are a wonderful father. Sometimes, I’m not sure if you really believe
that. But you’re making good memories with your children. When they’re older they will
talk about what a wonderful father they had. And no one can ever take that away from
you.”
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 18 ~-~-~ Strength ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Sonny had taken all three of his children to Sunday morning Mass. He smiled as he
looked over and saw all three of them listening to Father Coates. He was glad Kristina
was staying more weekends, because he was able to include her in more of their daily
activities. For some reason, seeing Kristina more often seemed to change Sonny
dramatically. He felt more focused, he felt he had more purpose, and he had stopped
focusing so much on his own problems.

Morgan whispered into Sonny’s ear. “Daddy, can we have pancakes when we get home?”

Sonny whispered back. “Yes, Morgan. We’re almost done, okay.”

“Can I have blueberry syrup?”

“Yes,” whispered Sonny. “Shhh,” he reminded his son. “No talking in church.” He
picked up Morgan and put him on his lap. Sometimes that helped Morgan from being so
fidgety.

Sonny listened intently to the rest of Father Coates service. In therapy, Dr. Winters had
tried to get Sonny to be angry at his mother, but he wouldn’t have any of that. His mother
had taken him to church every Sunday, she had shown him the power of prayer, and she
had given him his faith. It was something that had carried with him throughout his life.
He wanted his children to have that same faith, if that’s what they chose to do.

After the Mass, Sonny went to seek out Father Coates. He shook his hand. “That was a
wonderful service today, Father.”

“Thank you, Sonny.” Father Coates looked at all three of Sonny’s children. “It’s good to
see the family together,” he said. “Good morning boys. Good morning Kristina.”
“Morning, Father,” said Michael. “Dad, can we show Kristina the fountain?”

“Yeah, go ahead. Keep an eye on both of them, Michael,” Sonny instructed as he
watched the kids walk away. He looked back at Father Coates.

“No Emily today?” asked Father Coates.

“No. She’s at work, Father.” Sonny looked around for more privacy. “Can we go
somewhere and talk?”

Father Coates could never deny time with Sonny. He pulled Sonny aside to a small room.
“What is it, Sonny?”

Sonny took out an envelope from his breast pocket. “I wanted to give this to you.”

Father Coates studied the envelope. “Sonny, you’ve already been more than generous this
year.”

“I know. I know, Father. But it’s important to me that you accept my donation,” said
Sonny. “It would make me feel better.”

“I’m not sure I understand?” said Father Coates.

“I’ve been using up a lot of your time these last few months,” explained Sonny. “All
those late night calls, confessions, and visits. I want to show you my appreciation.”

Father Coates could see how sincere Sonny was. He put his hand on Sonny’s shoulder.
“It was your time in need, Sonny. You have been a lost soul many times in your life. You
look to the church for guidance. I am just glad I can help. I’m here for you.”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement. “I feel very blessed, Father. Some good things have
happened to me lately.”

“Like what?” asked Father Coates.

“Emily came into my life,” explained Sonny. “She’s been helping me get better, you
know, with some of my problems.”

“I’m glad for you,” said Father Coates.

“My daughter Kristina has been spending more time with me,” continued Sonny. “It’s
changed my life.”

“And you’re struggling with all of this?” asked Father Coates.

“Well, you know I get a little cautious when times are good, Father,” Sonny confided.
“You should have faith Sonny. Allow happiness into your life,” encouraged Father
Coates. “All of your prayers have been answered.”

“Yeah, but I was wondering if you can . . .” Sonny leaned closer to Father Coates and
whispered. “Can you still keep me in your prayers, Father? I’m not used to all of these
good things happening all at once. I’m not sure . . .”

“Sonny, it is okay if good things happen to you,” said Father Coates. “You need to
embrace these things and reward yourself.”

“Yes, Father,” agreed Sonny.

Father Coates handed the envelope back to Sonny. “I don’t need any gifts,” he said
gently. “Seeing you and your children here today is the biggest gift I can ever have.”
~-~-~-~
After church, Sonny took the kids home and made them a huge Sunday breakfast of
pancakes, eggs, and sausage. They were sitting out on the patio eating breakfast when
Mike showed up.

“Morning,” said Mike.

“Grandpa!” said Michael. “Good morning.”

“Morning, kids. Sorry I missed church,” said Mike. “But I’m going to spend the day with
you guys.”

Sonny gestured to the empty chair at the table. “Take a seat.”

The kids were finished with their breakfast. “Can we go play?” asked Michael. “We’re
working on a fort.”

Sonny nodded his head. “Go ahead. But keep a good eye on Kristina and Morgan,”
Sonny instructed.

“I will,” Michael promised.

Mike smiled at Sonny. “It’s good to see Kristina around so much,” he said.

“Yeah,” agreed Sonny. “It’s been great.”

Mike fixed himself a plate of food. “This looks good, Sonny. You should be the short
order cook at Kelly’s.”

Sonny laughed. “Well, I could do a better job than the guy you have now.”
“I won’t argue with that,” said Mike. He took a bite of the scramble eggs. “So, how are
you feeling?”

Sonny took a sip of his coffee. “Well, I’m doing okay. I’m kind of sick of people asking
me that,” he admitted.

“Yeah, I guess you would be,” responded Mike. “There are a lot of people that care about
you.”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement as he took a sip of his coffee.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to go with you today?” asked Mike.

“I’m positive,” Sonny insisted. At Dr. Winters urging, Sonny was going to Bensonhurst
today with Emily. He had revealed to Dr. Winters that he still had some of his mother’s
items in storage. She told him it was probably a good idea to go get her belongings and
decide what to do with them. Sonny hadn’t even thought about it in years. He had cleaned
out his mother’s house after she died. He had been so grief-stricken he had simply put the
furniture, clothes, and other belongings in storage. He had never looked back. “I’d like
you to stay with the boys today,” said Sonny. “That would help me a lot. Alexis will be
getting Kristina after breakfast.”

“Whatever you want,” answered Mike with sincerity, wanting to help his son in any way
he could.

“I’m glad you’re here, Pop,” said Sonny. “I like that you’re starting to hang around and
getting close to the kids.”

Mike became a little tearful, hearing the sincerity in Sonny’s voice. “I like being around.
Before . . . well, I kind of made myself scarce because I didn’t know . . . if you wanted
me around.”

“Sometimes I didn’t,” admitted Sonny. “But sometimes I needed you, Pop. I needed
someone to look out for me.”

Mike finished his breakfast. He looked at Sonny. “These therapy sessions we’ve been
going to have gotten me to remember things,” he said quietly.

“What kind of things?” Sonny asked.

“I’ve been thinking about your mother,” said Mike. “There are some things I want to tell
you.”

“Like what?”
“I didn’t know how to handle things,” Mike said tearfully. “When we were first married,
your mother was a mess. She was so scared all the time. All that stuff happened to her in
Cuba. I thought it was that. But there was darkness to her Michael. You know that too.
You know what I’m talking about. She never got better.”

“She was fragile,” Sonny answered quietly.

“I tried to help her,” continued Mike. “I did everything I could to make things better for
her, Michael. But, then I started staying away more and more. I left her. I started
gambling and even when I won big it wouldn’t change anything.”

Sonny shook his head. “Mike, I thought we already went over all of this in therapy. Why
are you talking about all of this again?” he asked.

“Because I’m beginning to understand things, Michael. After listening to Dr. Winters
talk, I think your mother . . . I think she might have had Bipolar Disorder. I’m sure of it.
The depression, the mood swings, the excessive cleaning. She would finish crocheting a
blanket in twenty four hours. She would stay up all night until it was finished. It would
explain a lot of things.” Mike wiped a tear off of his face.

Sonny had suspected the same thing as Mike. The therapy sessions, talking about his
mother’s behaviors over the years, had made Sonny think about a lot of things too. His
mother was unable to cope. When Deke came along, it just moved her more into a shell
of who she really was. He pushed her further into the depths of her own hell.

Mike interrupted Sonny’s thoughts. “What do you think, Michael?”

“Yes,” Sonny said quietly. “I think she was really sick.”

“Do you think she had Bipolar Disorder?” asked Mike.

“Yes,” Sonny answered again with quietness. As hard as it was to admit, Sonny had
suspected his mother was mentally ill too. “I told Emily I thought my mother had what I
have,” he whispered. “I know for sure she had severe depression. I never put it all
together until now. I always thought she was that way because of Deke.”

Mike felt devastated. Not only did he leave his little boy, but his wife was mentally ill
and he left his family with a madman. He was thankful that Sonny took such good care of
her. “You were her light, Michael. She loved you more than life itself. I’ve been listening
to all of the memories you have been telling Dr. Winters, about Deke, about your mother,
about you. When Deke came along, you protected her. You took care of your mother.
You need to understand how much courage that took, how brave you were,” said Mike.
“You did everything you could to help your her.”

Sonny had never seen himself as courageous. If anything, he always felt weak and
ashamed of his abuse, of his dark childhood, of how much his mother suffered.
He wiped away a few tears, unable to answer his father.

“I know you don’t see it that way,” continued Mike. “But I know it to be true. You are a
very strong person, Michael. Stronger than I can ever wish to be.”

Sonny didn’t know if he would be able to accept his father’s words. He only hoped that
he really did take care of his mother. That would give him peace.

“Michael?” Mike asked with worry. “Are you okay?”

Sonny rubbed his face and tried to gain back some composure. “The church helped her.
She had faith. That’s why I take my children to church. That’s why we say our prayers
every night. So they can have strength when they need it,” he whispered. “That’s
important.”

“Yes,” Mike agreed.

“I wish she could have lived longer. I could have gotten her out of there,” Sonny said
wistfully. “I wish she could have met her grandchildren.”

Mike nodded is head in agreement. “She would have loved them.”

Sonny looked at Mike with seriousness. “Dr. Winters told me I’m too hard on myself,” he
explained. “She said I should stop blaming myself for things I can’t change.” He walked
over and put his arm around Mike. “You need to stop blaming yourself for what
happened, Pop. We can’t change any of it now.”

Mike nodded his head tearfully. “I don’t know if I could do that.”

“I didn’t think I could either,” admitted Sonny. “But I’m done living in the past. I have a
beautiful family, I have Emily. There’s no reason for me to dwell on what happened
anymore. I won’t let it.”

Mike looked at Sonny, amazed at how much he had changed. “I’m going to try.”

“Good,” said Sonny. “Why don’t you go to church with us next Sunday?”

Mike let out a nervous laugh. “I can’t remember the last time I’ve gone to church. It’s
been a long time, Michael.”

Sonny looked at his father with sincerity. “It’s up to you, Pop. Why don’t you think about
it?”

Mike nodded his head. “I will, Michael. Thank you.”
~-~-~-~
Sonny weaved in and out of lanes as he drove the Maserati at a fast speed. They had been
driving in silence on most of the trip. Emily thought that Sonny was very tense and was
worried about him. She had been surprised at Sonny’s request for her to go with him. She
thought he would bring Mike. But she was flattered that Sonny trusted her enough to ask
her to go. She had talked to Lainey about what to expect. Lainey had told Emily to expect
a very emotional trip.

“I haven’t been here in years,” Sonny finally said, breaking the silence. “I hope I can
remember where this place is.”

Emily reached out and touched Sonny’s arm, trying to ease his nervousness. “It’s going
to be okay, Sonny.”

Sonny nodded his head. “Thank you for coming,” he said. “I didn’t want Mike to come.”

“Why?” asked Emily.

“I don’t know,” Sonny answered. But he did know. He knew this would be very hard for
him and he didn’t want Mike to see him upset. He wanted Emily to be with him for this.
They drove in silence for a while longer. Sonny gave Emily a nervous smile. “We’re
almost there,” he said.

When they finally located the storage locker, Sonny opened the door slowly. He wasn’t
sure what to expect, not remembering what he had put in there. He started walking
around the small room, studying the assortment of boxes and furniture. He put his hand
on a rocking chair. “This was my mother’s. She would sit in this chair for hours.”

Emily walked next to Sonny, looking at the chair.

Sonny moved on. He opened a box, finding some Spanish books. Then he came across
some photo albums. He took them out of the box, opening them up slowly. There were
pictures of him as a baby, pictures of him with his father that he didn’t remember,
pictures of his mother looking happy, and pictures of his grandparents. Sonny closed the
photo album. “I want to take this home,” he said becoming tearful. “I can’t look at these
right now,” he explained.

Emily looked around and gathered the other photo albums she saw. She added the
Spanish books to the box. “I’ll put these in the car,” she said.

Sonny nodded his head in agreement as he continued his quest. What he was looking for,
he wasn’t sure. There was no reason to keep any of the furniture. He thought it reminded
him too much of Deke. He didn’t want to keep the clothes. He went through a few more
boxes, finding a jewelry box. He opened it up. There was a bracelet he remembered his
mother wearing. Some of her earrings were in the box. Sonny reached out and touched
them.
Emily walked up to Sonny and touched his arm. “Those are beautiful. Your mother had
good taste,” she said.

Sonny nodded his head. He noticed a small envelope of St. Christopher Medals. He took
out the medals and studied them. “Do you know what these are?” he asked.

“No,” answered Emily, not very familiar with the Catholic religion.

“These are St. Christopher medals. They’re supposed to offer you protection. My mother
wore one on a necklace all the time. She would give them to people as gifts,” explained
Sonny.

“Did she give you one?” asked Emily.

Sonny nodded his head. “Yes. I wore one all the time when I was growing up,” he
revealed. “I never thought it worked, but I wore it for my mother.” He looked at Emily
with tears in his eyes. “I remember saying the rosary every night with my mother. We
would say it in Spanish. We would always pray. But sometimes I would get angry and
ask her why should we pray if God isn’t protecting us from Deke? Why do you believe, I
would ask? And she would say because God gives us the strength to carry on. He gives us
the strength to carry life’s burdens.” Sonny buried his head in his hands, breaking into
sobs.

Emily pulled Sonny into an embrace, trying her best to console him. She knew he was
crying for his mother, but she also thought he was crying for himself. She knew he had
never allowed himself that. He had always been the strong one. “You’ve been hurt so
much Sonny. But you never let yourself feel any of the pain. That’s why this has been so
hard. You’re finally letting go of your burden.”

Sonny wiped away his tears. He looked at Emily. “She was the one that gave me strength,
don’t you see that? She was the one that taught me how to survive, Emily. She is the one
that made me who I am. All this time I thought I was like Deke. A monster. But I’m
nothing like him at all.”

Emily gave Sonny a tearful smile. “I’m glad you finally figured that out,” she whispered.
“Because you are such a good man, Sonny. You just don’t see it. No one’s ever told you
that before.”

Sonny reached out and softly stroked Emily’s face. “Until you,” he whispered. “And now
you’re making me start to believe it.”
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 19 ~-~-~ The Future ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
Sonny was in the Guesthouse waiting for Dr. Winters. He was still seeing her two times a
week at her request. But he didn’t complain too much because he knew she was
accommodating him by letting him do his therapy at home. He had been trying to be as
opened with her as possible, but he still wasn’t able to talk about Deke. He seemed to
have blocked everything out. He knew Dr. Winters was getting frustrated.

Dr. Winters was always pleased by Sonny’s promptness. He was always waiting for her.
He was never late. She appreciated that.

“So, how are you today?” asked Dr. Winters.

“I’m good,” answered Sonny.

“Any problems with the medication? Side effects?” asked Dr. Winters, asking her usual
questions to Sonny.

“No,” answered Sonny.

“Are you sleeping?” asked Dr. Winters.

“Yes,” answered Sonny.

Dr. Winters wrote down some notes. “I think we finally found the right dose for you
Sonny. I’m going to keep you on this current prescription unless you tell me something
has changed. Are you okay with that?”

“Yes,” Sonny agreed.

“Good,” said Dr. Winters. She looked at her notes again. They had already talked about
Sonny’s visit to Bensonhurst. He had decided to get rid of all his mother’s things from
storage, but keep a few items he wanted for sentimental reasons. They had talked a lot
about Adela, but they still hadn’t talked much about Deke. “Well, we talked last time
about some of your PTSD. We need to address some of those symptoms, Sonny.
Sometimes they can trigger certain emotions, which you need to learn how to cope with.”

“What are you talking about?” asked Sonny.

“Your claustrophobia,” Dr. Winters said bluntly.

“Well, that can’t be cured,” answered Sonny. “Besides, I know how to control that. I just
don’t go into enclosed spaces.”

“Yes,” agreed Dr. Winters. “That’s why we’re here at the Gatehouse and not in my
office. But we need to talk about what happened to you.”
“I’m not ready to talk about that,” answered Sonny. “Not now. I’m finally starting to feel
good about myself and that will just bring back bad memories.”

“I know,” Dr. Winters answered with sympathy. “But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go
in an elevator, or a small room, or someone’s office and feel like you can breathe, like
you can relax and not have an attack.”

“I don’t have that many attacks,” countered Sonny.

“When is the last time you had a claustrophobic attack?” asked Dr. Winters.

Sonny thought about the question. “I don’t know. Not for a while.”

“Well, do you count the ones you had in my office?” asked Dr. Winters.

Sonny thought about it. “Those weren’t attacks,” he corrected. “It’s just . . . you only had
that one window, that’s all. Your office is dark.”

“Sonny,” Dr. Winters said gently. “I witnessed you having several claustrophobic attacks.
You need to be able to recognize the symptoms. You need to face your fears and then you
can decrease or even eliminate the attacks.”

Sonny was silent. He was fearful right now. He was afraid Dr. Winters was going to lock
him in a closet or something. He was speechless.

“Sonny, I would never harm you,” Dr. Winters reminded him. “I would never do
anything I didn’t think you were ready for.”

Sonny took a hard swallow. He wiped sweat from his brow. “I . . . I don’t want . . . to go
back there. I can’t . . . do this. I don’t want to remember.”

Dr. Winters moved closer to Sonny. “You’ve come so far, Sonny. You’ve talked about
your mother and father. You’ve talked about your children. But Deke . . . he needs to be
talked about. You need to understand how he still controls your life. He sadistically
abused you. He did what would be called today psychological and physical torture.”

“Torture? No. He was just a cop. That’s what cops do,” explained Sonny.

“No, Sonny. Cops don’t go around beating women and children. They uphold the law,”
Dr. Winters explained gently. “Not all cops are like Deke. He was a cruel man.”

“Yes,” Sonny said tearfully. “He . . . he was cruel,” he agreed.

“He abused you so badly that you have blocked most of your childhood memories out.”
She looked down at her notes. “You’ve described to me bruises, broken bones, welts,
confinement for long periods of time.” She looked up from her notes. “That’s only what
you can remember. I think a lot more things happened to you.”

Sonny’s tears fell quickly now. He wiped them away. “I’m permanently damaged,” he
whispered. “That’s what you’re saying.”

“No.” Dr. Winters thought about the question. “I’m saying that you have a chance to fight
your demons once and for all.”

Sonny could see Dr. Winters struggling. “Please be honest with me,” he asked. “I already
know that I’m damaged. That I have a rage inside of me that no medication, diagnosis, or
therapy can control. This darkness, this craziness I feel, will never go away,” he confided.
“People are trying to help me . . . but I have to be honest, Dr. Winters. I feel in my gut
that I can’t be cured of anything. Deke came into my life and it was like . . . he took away
my soul . . . he took away my heart. I always say that he never beat me down because
that’s what I want to believe. That’s what I had to believe because I told myself he would
never win. But I look at my life and I know that he has.” Sonny wiped away some more
tears. He put his head in his hands and started crying. He had never said it out loud
before, but he knew it was true. Deke had won. He had won a long time ago.

Dr. Winters was surprised by Sonny’s admission, his words, and how much insight he
had. He had been the most interesting patient she had ever had. She reached out, trying to
offer comfort to Sonny. Not as a doctor, but as a friend. “Sonny,” she whispered. “I think
you’re wrong about that. He hasn’t won.”

Sonny shook his head tearfully. “But he’s still in my dreams. He’s still in my head. He
won’t go away.”

“Sonny, listen to me, okay?” whispered Dr. Winters. “You’ve never had any way to talk
about this. That’s why he’s in your dreams. You have all of these memories bottled up
inside of you and they have to get out. That is what this rage is you’re talking about. It is
memories. It’s pain. It is the hate that you feel towards what he did to you and what he
took away from you.”

“I don’t want to think about him. I don’t want to talk about him,” sniffled Sonny. “And I
don’t want to stop hating him. I will never do that. I need that hate . . . I need that to
protect myself.”

“But he’s dead, Sonny. You don’t need to protect yourself anymore.”

Sonny shook his head. “You’re not listening to me,” he said with exhaustion. “He is with
me every single day of my life. Every time I am around my children all I think about is
how I don’t want to hurt them like he hurt me. Every time I walk into the PCPD, I
remember . . . what he did to me. When it is night . . . I remember what happened to me
in the dark.”
“You have flashbacks,” described Dr. Winters. “That’s a trigger, Sonny. We can change
that. We can stop those from happening.”

Sonny looked at Dr. Winters with a tearstained face. He didn’t believe her.

“Sonny, you’ve never had professional help,” Dr. Winters explained. “You should have
been is therapy years ago. It will take time to address everything that happened to you.”

“I don’t want to do this for years,” Sonny answered quietly. “It’s too painful. It’s too
hard.”

Dr. Winters regretted saying that. She knew she had to take everything one step at a time
with Sonny. “You’ve made a lot of progress, Sonny. You’re starting to build on the most
important thing that matters to you. Your family. Look at what’s happened with Mike and
Ric. You have Emily and your children. That happened because of you. Because you
aren’t like Deke. You know how to love Sonny. He didn’t take your heart away. He
didn’t win.”

Sonny wiped away some more tears. He looked down at the floor, thinking about what
Dr. Winters was telling him. “You’re right,” he agreed tearfully. “You’re right, Dr.
Winters.”
~-~-~-~
After seeing Dr. Winters, Sonny went swimming in the pool. It was early afternoon and
no one was home yet. He had a lot of thinking to do and swimming helped him think.
Swimming also made him tired. Therapy was hard for Sonny. It was harder than
swallowing a pill every morning. It was harder than not drinking the alcohol that was like
second nature to him. It was harder than hearing he was mentally ill. Therapy was
opening old wounds that he knew would never heal. The darkness, the horror of his past
was something he never wanted to relive again.

Emily got home from her hospital shift. She had changed and gone to the kitchen to get
some ice tea. She noticed the pot roast in the oven and knew Sonny must be home. She
searched for him, quickly finding him at the pool. She sat down in the lounge chair and
watched him swim. He was so intent on doing his laps that he hadn’t even noticed her.
She knew he had a therapy session today, so he was probably upset.

Finally, Sonny stopped swimming and rested his arms on the side of the pool. He looked
up and saw Emily. “Hi,” he said, out of breath.

“Hi,” said Emily.

Sonny stepped out of the pool. He wrapped a towel around himself and walked over to
Emily. He gave her a kiss. “How was your day?” he asked, still breathing hard from his
workout. He sat down in the chair next to her.
“I had a long day,” said Emily. “I didn’t even eat lunch,” she sighed. “But it was a good
day . . . just really busy.”

Sonny looked at Emily. “I have a nice dinner cooking, sweetheart. I’m going to start
packing you a nice healthy lunch. No more of that vending machine food.”

Emily reached out and touched Sonny’s hand. “I like when you take care of me, Sonny. I
like it a lot. You know, I’ve never really met someone like you before.”

“Someone like me?” asked Sonny with curiosity.

“You’re the first person that really listens to me,” Emily explained. “You care about my
career. You ask me about my day and wait for my response. You buy me gifts,” she
added playfully.

“Well, I hope that I make you happy, Emily. Sometimes I’m not so sure I do,” Sonny
answered quietly. “I know I’ve put you through hell. I hate that you’ve had to witness
things that no should have to see.”

Emily looked at Sonny. “I wouldn’t take back anything that’s happened, Sonny. I have
not regrets.”

Sonny studied Emily to see if she was sincere. He often wondered why she stayed with
him. “Are you sure . . . are you sure I don’t . . . drag you down?” he asked quietly. “With
all of my problems? With my . . . illness? You’re not staying with me because you feel
sorry for me, are you?”

“Is that what you think?” asked Emily.

Sonny took a heavy sigh. “I think . . .” He paused. “I think that a lot of bad things have
happened to me. That for most of my life, I’ve been in this darkness that I could never
escape from. I’d go to church for help, for guidance, for answers that would never come.
Sometimes, I felt like I was in hell. I don’t think I could ever really explain the pain I’ve
been in. But then you came into my life Emily. And I have to admit I’m scared to death
because I’m afraid if you leave, it will go back to the way it was before. You have
showed me the way, Emily. Like an angel. You have helped me so much. I feel good
right now. I feel like I can do things that I’ve never been able to do.”

“I can’t take the credit for that, Sonny,” responded Emily. “You’ve done that all by
yourself.”

“No,” Sonny shook his head. “No, that’s not true. If you hadn’t come into my life I would
still be just . . . just getting by. It’s exhausting trying to fight through every moment,
through every day.”

“But you don’t feel that way anymore?” Emily asked gently.
“No,” answered Sonny. “No. I can get by a whole day now without thinking about having
a drink.” He shook his head. “I’ve been drinking since I was fifteen,” he admitted.

“Oh, Sonny. I didn’t realize that,” whispered Emily.

“I think that’s when my symptoms started,” whispered Sonny. “When I was a teenager.”

Emily reached over and took Sonny’s hand. “That’s a long time,” she said. “I’m so glad
you were able to get the help you needed.”

Sonny nodded his head. “I know I will never let Morgan or Kristina suffer like I did.
When they are teenagers . . . that’s when I’m going to help them with this. I will get them
help right away.”

Emily squeezed Sonny’s hand gently. “Try not to worry so much about that,” she
advised. “They can be treated, Sonny. We will take care of them, no matter what
happens.”

“That’s all I want,” said Sonny. “I want to be there for my children.”

“I know,” said Emily.

“Emily, I know you want to have a family one day. You want to have children,” said
Sonny.

“Yes,” agreed Emily. “I’ve always wanted kids.”

“I have something I want to ask you,” he said. “I need you to be honest with me.”

“Okay.”

“I know you want to concentrate on your career right now.” said Sonny. “But when
you’re ready to have a baby . . . what I’m trying to say is . . . if you and I ever had a baby
. . . the baby would have a strong chance of being like me . . . you know, mentally ill.”
Sonny put his head down, his shame creeping up on him suddenly. He knew Emily could
do so much better than him. He always felt like he was holding her back.

Emily could hear the shame in Sonny’s voice. “Sonny, look at me,” she asked gently.

Sonny lifted his head up looked into Emily’s eyes.

“I’m going to be honest with you, like you asked,” said Emily. “I was in love with you
long before you even knew I existed. I love you, Sonny,” she said tearfully. “And if we
ever had a child, it would be the happiest moment in my life.”
“You wouldn’t have any hesitation about having a child with me?” asked Sonny.

“None,” answered Emily.

Sonny looked at Emily with love. He reached over and touched her face, softly stroking
her cheek. “I want to have a baby with you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Emily looked at Sonny with tears. “I want to spend the rest of my life with you too.”
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
The Diagnosis

Chapter 20 ~-~-~ Giving Back ~-~-~
~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~~-~-~-~
It was early morning and Sonny was swimming laps in the pool. He had been exercising
a lot in the past few months. He loved swimming and thought he’d get in some exercise
before the boys and Kristina woke up. It was Saturday and they were planning a surprise
party for Mike. Sonny had realized that Mike never celebrated his birthday and Sonny
had never remembered having a party for his father. It had been Michael’s idea really.
The kids were spending a lot of time with their grandfather and they were getting very
close to him.

Sonny got out of the pool and dried himself off. He sat down in a one of the lounge
chairs, still out of breath.

“Hey, Dad.”

Sonny turned around. It was Michael. “Hey, Buddy. What are you doing up?”

Michael shrugged his shoulders. “I thought we could make breakfast together.”

Sonny picked up his watch, which was on the table. “It’s still early. But I’d like that
Michael.”

“Can we make French Toast?”

“Sure,” said Sonny.

“I had so much fun at the Yankees game,” said Michael. “Maybe we could go to another
game before the end of the season.”

Sonny had taken the whole family to a New York Yankees game. It was the one promise
that Sonny had made to himself that he was determined to keep. The boys and Kristina
had a very memorable time. “Maybe we could go again,” agreed Sonny. “I had a really
good time.”
“Yeah,” Michael agreed. He had been surprised at how much fun his father had at the
game. They were allowed to eat a lot of junk food and that was unusual for his father.
“I’m glad you’re doing better, Dad.”

Sonny studied Michael. He always forgot that Michael was older now. He wasn’t a little
kid. “I’m feeling a lot better, Michael. I know you probably have a lot of bad memories
of me not being myself. You don’t have to worry about that anymore.”

“Dr. Winters helped you get better?” asked Michael.

Sonny nodded his head. “She’s helped me a lot.”

“How?”

Sonny decided to be honest with his son. He deserved that much. “I’m taking some
medication everyday. It makes by brain work right. I can’t drink anymore,” he explained.
“And I have a lot of problems from when I was a kid. All that bad stuff that happened to
me that I told you about? Well, I have to make sure all those memories don’t hurt me
anymore.”

“Dad, can Morgan and Kristina get sick like you?” asked Michael quietly.

Sonny looked at Michael. He was stunned by his question. “I didn’t know you knew
about that.”

“I heard you talking to Mom about it,” explained Michael.

Sonny nodded his head. “Yes, they can get sick like me,” he answered quietly. “But I
don’t want you to worry Michael. It will be different for Morgan and Kristina. I didn’t
know there was anything wrong with me. I didn’t know I could get help. But it will be
different for them,” he promised.

Michael nodded his head. “I will look out for them, Dad.”

Sonny smiled. “That means a lot to me, Michael. You’re a terrific big brother.”

“Thanks,” said Michael. “Do you think Grandpa will be surprised today?”

“Yeah,” said Sonny. “I don’t think he has any idea. He’s never had a party before.”

“I’m glad he’s starting to be around us more,” said Michael. “He’s a lot of fun. He knows
a lot of things,” he added.

“Well, Grandpa’s been around a lot of places. He’s traveled a lot,” explained Sonny.

“Are you still mad at him for leaving you?” asked Michael.
“No,” answered Sonny. “I’m not mad. We’re not fighting anymore, Michael.”

“That’s good, because you need your dad a lot. I can tell. Just like I need you,” Michael
said with sincerity. “I will always need you, right?” he asked. “Even when I’m older?”

Sonny put his arm around Michael. “I’ll always be there for you, Michael. No matter
what happens, no matter how old you are, I will always protect you and take care of you.”
~-~-~-~
Mike walked into the living room looking for the kids. It was unusually quiet in the house
and he was wondering if he got the day wrong to take them to the park. Usually the kids
were running around and making lots of noise. “Anybody home?” he asked. “Michael?
Morgan? Kristina?”

“SURPRISE!!!” yelled the kids in delight. “Surprise!”

Mike took a step back, stunned.

Michael, Morgan, and Kristina ran up to their grandfather. “Happy Birthday, Grandpa!”
they all yelled in unison.

“Are you surprised?” asked Michael.

“Very surprised,” smiled Mike. He looked around the room at all the guests. “Thank you,
everybody,” he smiled.

Sonny walked up to his father. “Happy Birthday, Pop.”

Mike looked at Sonny tearfully. He gave Sonny a hug. “Thank you, Michael. Thank you
for this. I didn’t expect this at all.”

“Well, it was the kid’s idea,” revealed Sonny. “We thought you’d be pretty surprised.”

Emily came up to Mike and also gave him a hug. “Happy Birthday,” she smiled.

“Thanks,” said Mike.
~-~-~-~
There were a lot of people at the house and Sonny wasn’t used to having so many people
there. But the kids had wanted to invite Mike’s friends from Kelly’s and family. Sonny
tried to mingle with people for a while, but eventually he went outside on the patio for
some fresh air. He didn’t do well with crowds. The kids followed Sonny outside and he
ended up keeping an eye on them as they played in the backyard.

Alexis came out to check on Kristina. “Wow, this is quite the party,” she commented, as
she stood next to Sonny.
Sonny laughed. “Yeah.”

Alexis watched the kids play. “They sure play well together, don’t they?” she observed.

“Kristina and Morgan are almost inseparable,” said Sonny. “They can play for hours and
hours.”

“That’s nice,” Alexis smiled. “I wanted to come out here and see how you were doing.
You seemed a little overwhelmed inside.”

Sonny shrugged his shoulders. “I just needed some fresh air,” he answered. “I’m fine,
Alexis.”

“I’m glad for you, Sonny,” said Alexis. “I’m glad that you found Emily. I’m glad you’ve
finally been able to find some kind of peace with everything that’s happened to you,” she
said with sincerity.

Sonny nodded his head in agreement. “Thank you for letting me see Kristina more often.
The children mean everything to me,” he said. “I think they have helped me the most,” he
confided.

“You’re welcome,” said Alexis.

Kristina and Morgan ran up to Sonny and Alexis. “Dad, can we have cake now?” asked
Morgan.

“Yeah,” said Kristina. “Is the cake ready?”

Sonny laughed. “Let’s go find out,” he said, as he took their hands and walked them
inside.
~-~-~-~
“Do you want a piece of cake?” asked Dr. Winters, as she stepped onto the patio.

Sonny turned around. “Dr. Winters. I wasn’t sure if you were going to make it.”

Dr. Winters smiled. “I wouldn’t have missed Mike’s birthday party. I know how
significant this day is for both you and your father.”

“I think Mike’s in shock,” mused Sonny.

Dr. Winters agreed. “You’ve given your father a family, Sonny. Something he has
needed for a long time.”

Sonny studied Dr. Winters. “We aren’t having a therapy session, are we?” he teased.
“This is my day off.”
Dr. Winters laughed. “No. You’re right, Sonny. I won’t do any work today. It’s my day
off.”

“Good,” smiled Sonny. “Then you should enjoy it by not talking to one of your patients.”

Dr. Winters smiled. “Well, we can talk as friends, can’t we?” she asked.

“Sure,” agreed Sonny.

“I just wanted to tell you how proud I am of how much progress you have made,” Dr.
Winters said with sincerity.

“Thank you,” answered Sonny. Although he was still skeptical of therapy, he knew he
was in it for the long run. He wanted to stay healthy. “No hard feelings, right?” he asked,
knowing he had put her through some very tense moments.

“Never,” Dr. Winters answered. “Never, Sonny.”

Sonny studied her to see if she was telling the truth. He knew he had been intimidating to
her in the beginning. He didn’t mean to be. He had just been so out of control. “Okay,” he
replied. “I’m glad about that.”

“I’ve been thinking about how things are going,” continued Dr. Winters. “Maybe in a few
months, we can decrease your therapy sessions.”

“Are you saying I’m getting better?” asked Sonny in surprise. He had to admit that even
though the therapy had been extremely difficult, he finally understood why he had to
revisit so much of his past. He had never dealt with it before. He had tried so hard to bury
his past that it just ended up eating him up inside.

“I’m saying you’re making progress,” cautioned Dr. Winters. “You’ll always need to be
monitored, Sonny. You understand that, right?”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement. “Yeah,” he answered quietly. “But you’re also
saying that I’m through the worst of it, right?” he asked hopefully.

Dr. Winters studied Sonny. “Yes,” she agreed. “I think you’re over the worst of it.”

Sonny gave Dr. Winters a smile. “Thank you for everything,” he said again.

“You’re welcome,” said Dr. Winters.
~-~-~-~
Sonny was keeping an eye on the kids as they played on the tire swing when Ric walked
up to him.

“Sorry, I’m late,” said Ric. “I got stuck at the office.”
Sonny smiled. “I’m glad you made it, Ric. I appreciated it a lot.”

“Where’s Mike?” asked Ric.

“He’s inside having a great time,” answered Sonny. He looked at Ric. “There’s
something I want to talk to you about.”

“What is it?” asked Ric.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about my diagnosis right away,” said Sonny. “I didn’t want
everybody treating me different, especially my little brother.”

“Little brother?” Ric repeated, never hearing Sonny call him that.

Sonny knew he hadn’t treated Ric like a brother. He wanted that to end. “Ric, listen to me
okay. I want things to change between us. I need my family around me right now. I want
us to be brothers, like Michael and Morgan are brothers.”

Ric looked at Sonny with shock. “But we didn’t grow up together,” he said with regret.
“Our mother chose you.”

“I wanted to talk to you about that too,” said Sonny. “We need to talk about our mother.”

“I don’t know anything about her,” Ric answered sadly.

Sonny took a heavy sigh. “I’m going to tell you about her,” he whispered. “There are
some things you need to know. They will help you understand what happened.”

“What about her?” asked Ric.

“Our mother had Bipolar Disorder, just like I do,” explained Sonny. “It’s a mental illness,
Ric. It’s genetic.”

Ric looked at Sonny, trying to comprehend what he was saying. “Are you sure?”

Sonny nodded his head. “I have been seeing Dr. Winters. I’ve been talking about things .
. . remembering things. She had the same thing. I’m sure of it. Our mother . . . she
couldn’t really function, Ric. I thought it was because of what Deke did to her. But there
was more to it than that. She would get very depressed. She would shut down. I had to
take care of her. I think I blocked a lot of that out. But maybe she had you go with your
father because she wanted what was best for you.”

Ric wiped away a tear. “Do you believe that?” he whispered. “You think she wanted
me?”
“I know she had a big heart,” said Sonny. “I know she must have had a good reason to do
what she did. It would explain a lot, wouldn’t it?”

“It doesn’t change how much she hurt me,” Ric said tearfully.

“I know,” responded Sonny. “But maybe you don’t have to hate her. Maybe you could
see that she did the best she could.” He leaned in closer and talked in a whisper. “You
should get evaluated, Ric. You should make an appointment with Dr. Winters and see if
you have any symptoms.”

“I’m not mentally ill,” Ric said defensively. He was in complete denial. There was no
way there was anything was wrong with him.

“Well, think about it,” continued Sonny, knowing how difficult it was to admit. “There’s
something else I need to ask you. I need you to come to some sessions with me and Dr.
Winters. I’m doing individual therapy, but also family therapy. I’ve already been doing
sessions with Mike.”

“I don’t know,” Ric said with hesitation.

“You’re my brother, right?” said Sonny.

“Yeah.”

“We need to start acting like real brothers, Ric. We don’t even really know each other,”
said Sonny.

Ric nodded his head in agreement.

“I’m your big brother,” continued Sonny. “I’m going to take care of you, like I should
have done when you first came to town. We shouldn’t be enemies. We’re blood. I need
you,” said Sonny. “I need my brother around.”

Ric looked at Sonny tearfully. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted,” he whispered. “I wanted a
real brother. Maybe we can take care of each other.”
~-~-~-~
Sonny was in the kitchen cleaning up, when Mike came in with some dishes. “You
shouldn’t be cleaning up at your own party,” he gently scolded his father.

Mike put the dishes down on the counter. He sat down on the barstool. He was so stunned
by today’s party that he wasn’t sure what to say.

Sonny had never seen Mike speechless. He sat down next to him. “So, did you have a
good time today?”

“I had a great time,” said Mike. “But I’m not sure I understand why you did this?”
“Well, the kids wanted you to have a birthday party,” explained Sonny. “And I thought it
was about time to give you one. We never celebrated your birthday before.”

“It was a very special day for me, Sonny. Thank you,” said Mike.

“You’re welcome,” said Sonny.

“So, are you feeling okay?” asked Mike.

Sonny laughed. It was probably the tenth time he was asked that question today. “Yes,
Pop, I’m fine.”

“Well, you look good,” observed Mike. “You look happy. You look rested.”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement. “I don’t think I’ve slept well my whole life until
now,” he commented.

“I’m so glad for you, Michael. I’ve wanted to say that to you for a while. I’m glad that
you’re feeling better,” Mike said sincerely.

Sonny nodded his head in agreement. “I never thought I’d be sitting in my kitchen with
you talking like this. It’s what I’ve always wanted. I wanted a father I could talk to. I
wanted a father that loved me.”

Mike became tearful. “I wanted that too, Michael. I’ve always loved you so much. I have
just been such a lousy father.” He shook his head. “But, it’s different now. It will never
go back to how it was. I know it won’t because I’ve changed. I’m a different person.”

Sonny smiled tearfully. In the past, Mike’s comments would have made him angry. But
Sonny realized his father had changed and now it was time to move on. The bitterness
Sonny felt from the past was gone. He had forgiven his father. “I love you, Pop. I’m glad
you had such a nice birthday.”

“I did,” Mike said softly.

“I have something I want to tell you,” said Sonny. “It’s kind of exciting news.”

“What is it?” asked Mike.

“I asked Emily to marry me,” whispered Sonny. “I was going to wait to ask her, but it
just seemed like the right moment. I didn’t even have the ring when I asked her.” He
pulled a ring out of his pocket and showed Mike. “But I’m going to give her this
engagement ring to wear. Do you recognize it?”
Mike took the ring and studied it. “It’s your mother’s ring,” he responded. “I haven’t seen
that in years.”

“I got it when I went to Bensonhurst,” explained Sonny. “It was in my mother’s jewelry
box.”

“This brings back memories,” said Mike. He looked at Sonny. “What did Emily say?”

Sonny smiled. “She said yes. I was surprised,” he admitted.

“I see how much she loves you, Michael. I see how good she is with the children,” said
Mike. “I don’t know why you should be so surprised.”

“I guess I’m not used to having good things happen to me,” admitted Sonny. “I need to
take this one step at a time.”
~-~-~-~
“How are the kids?” asked Emily.

Sonny shut the bedroom door. “Morgan and Kristina are sound asleep,” said Sonny.
“Michael’s going to read for a while.”

“They had so much fun today,” smiled Emily. “Did you see them give Mike his
presents?”

“Yeah,” laughed Sonny. “I don’t think Mike knew what to do with all of the attention he
was getting today.”

“It was a good day for the Corinthos family,” stated Emily.

Sonny stood at the end of the bed and studied Emily. He thought she looked beautiful.
“Thank you for helping out so much today.”

“You’re welcome,” responded Emily. “I thought it went really well, Sonny. You made
your father very happy.”

Sonny walked over to Emily’s side of the bed and sat down. He rubbed his face. “I don’t
know what I’ve been doing all of these years with my father. We’ve missed so much,” he
said with sadness.

“You just weren’t ready,” said Emily. “Now you are.”

“Yeah,” Sonny whispered. He reached into his pocket. “I want to give you something,”
he said, showing Emily the engagement ring.

Emily studied the ring. “That’s beautiful, Sonny.”
“It’s my mothers,” said Sonny.

Emily looked at Sonny with gentleness. “I know. I saw you looking at it when we went to
Bensonhurst.”

“Oh, right,” said Sonny. He looked at Emily. “This ring means a lot to me, Emily. I
would like you to have it.”

Emily looked at Sonny with tears. She knew how much love Sonny felt for his mother.
She knew how precious his memories were of his her. “Sonny, I am so touched by this,”
she whispered. “I know what this ring means to you. I will cherish it.”

Sonny put the ring on Emily’s finger. “I had it resized for you,” he said.

Emily held up her hand with the ring on it. “It fits perfect.”

“It looks beautiful on you,” beamed Sonny. “Now it’s official. We’re engaged.” He
leaned over and gave Emily a deep kiss.

Emily smiled. She loved the ring. She loved the sentiment of it. “I’ve always felt we had
something very special,” she confided. “I hope you feel the same way, Sonny.”

Sonny nodded his head in agreement. “I have always felt special around you Emily. I just
wasn’t able to trust it,” he admitted. “I didn’t think we could ever make it work.”

“But now you’ve asked me to marry you,” smiled Emily. “Something must have
changed.”

Sonny reached over and stroked Emily’s hair. “I changed. I will never forget everything
you’ve done for me, Emily,” he said tearfully. “You have given me a second chance in
life.”

Emily became tearful. “Oh, Sonny. You’re giving me way too much credit. You’re the
one that’s done all of the hard work. I was just there holding your hand along the way.”

Sonny reached over and took Emily’s hand. He squeezed it gently. “I asked you to marry
me because I need you to keep on holding my hand. You make me a better person, Emily.
And I want to start giving back to you everything you have done for me. It just might
take a while,” he said sincerely.

Emily reached out and softly stroked Sonny’s face. He was the most generous person she
had ever met. “That’s all I can ever ask for. I love you, Sonny.”

Sonny leaned over and gave Emily a kiss. “I love you too, Emily.”

The End

				
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