Sweet Caroline Can't Get No Satisfaction
by Leigh Russell

             The words 'sweet' and 'Carly Benson' are not usually associated with one another in any way, and it's obvious why.  Ms. Benson blew into Port Charles, with one agenda on her mind--to get revenge on Nurse Barbara Jones, her mother, for abandoning her when she was born.  From that fateful day when Sarah Brown stepped off that elevator as Caroline Benson, General Hospital fans have enjoyed one roller coaster ride after another. 

            Though Carly came to town with a mission on her mind, Bobbie wasn't her only focus, and it was soon clear that there was more to this girl, than the conniving and ruthless manipulator she seemed to be.  Carly quickly struck up a flirtation, and then loveless romance {oxymoron?} with Jason Morgan.  At first, they didn't so much as tell each other their last names, but after a few months of steamy encounters, {who could forget when Jason tore that condom open with his teeth?} these two actually became each other's best friends.  Carly had to let go of her relationship with Jason, however, when her ultimate goal of ruining Bobbie's marriage to Tony Jones was finally realized, and Carly got the man for herself.

            Carly quickly found out that Tony wasn't what she really wanted, after all.  She soon became trapped in a lackluster relationship, and began to fall for Jason. A one night stand with his brother, AJ, however, changed her life forever, when she bec7ame pregnant with little Michael. Lie after lie, after lie, had us wondering if Carly's life would ever make sense again.  She destroyed relationships, hurt nearly the entire town of Port Charles in a ripple effect, the likes of which are seldom seen. Sarah Brown was handed a storyline, and a role that many would have let fall by the wayside. How easy it would have been to turn our backs on Carly, and write her off as a flat character, with her only attributes being in the bedroom, her only modus operandi, manipulation and lies.  Ms. Brown, however, wouldn't let that happen.  She brought out the emotional, needy, and to some degree clingy, version of Carly that we have all come to know. When Carly's son was born with a heart defect, we saw for the first time, how much love was inside of Carly, and how emotionally unstable she truly was.  A lifetime of uncertainty, a lifetime of forcing the wrong people to love her for the wrong reasons, baby Michael taught her the true meaning of love, unconditional.  Unable to even put her hands on him, Carly fled Port Charles under a cloud of emotional duress.  She returned in time for her son's Christening, her heart full and ready to be a mother.  But she just couldn't do it. 

            In Emmy winning scenes, Carly agonized over her relationship with her son, and finally begged Bobbie to drive her through a snowstorm, just so she could hold her baby.  Bobbie obliged, unaware of the profound family connection, when she herself placed Michael in Carly's waiting arms.  The turmoil that ran across Carly's face as she looked to Jason for support, was as moving as daytime as ever seen. Breaking through her own shell of self-loathing and doubt, Carly admitted the truth to Bobbie, that she was her long lost daughter.  The reception was not what she imagined, and once again, Carly, a little girl herself on the inside, learned another life lesson.  Bobbie didn't even believe she was telling the truth.  But now Carly had her son, and that was all that mattered in the world.  So would she get a break? Of course not.

            Tony Jones had been on a downward spiral since the death of his young daughter, BJ.  It was only a matter of time before he snapped.  Carly had made him believe that Michael was his son, but upon finding out that he wasn't, Tony went on a rampage, and kidnapped her son.  Carly and Jason were frantic, and of course, Carly blamed herself.  Spouting what she had heard about herself virtually all her life, Carly convinced herself that she was an unfit mother, that she should have watched her son more closely, that the only person she cared about was her.  Jason knew the truth, that Carly was a good mother, who only wanted the best for her son, and what she could to achieve that.  But his focus was on finding Michael.  He did, and made Tony Jones pay for it in the most agonizing way--he broke his hand, and ruined his career as a surgeon.  It wasn't enough for Carly, however.  Her fuse had been lit, and she was ready to blow, as the judge handed down his verdict--Tony Jones would go free.  Unable to contain herself, Carly stood up, and fought an inner war, finally resolving to grab Detective Taggert's gun, and blow Tony Jones right out of that courtroom.

            Carly did a stint in an insane asylum, {she plead not guilty by reason of insanity}, and then, this time figuratively, shot every chance she had of happiness away, when she made a deal with the Quartermaines, just to stay in Michael's life.  Why hadn't she trusted Jason? Why hadn't she just waited one more day? Who knows what really makes this woman tick?  She remained with the Quartermaines for months, and regretted every single day of it, and more than that, she regretted ruining any chance she had to be with Jason. 

                        As was always with Carly, her life was on the upswing, and it soon would soon fall so low, it would be unrecognizable to her.  Jason forgave her, and for the first time since she had come to Port Charles nearly four years earlier, started to return her feelings of love.  And then it happened.  Witnessing an innocent exchange between Jason and Elizabeth Webber that Carly took as much more, Carly went off to Jason's best friend and mentor, Sonny Corinthos, to question him about Jason. Fighting his own battle at the time, Sonny did everything he could to hurt Carly, and make her regret ever coming to him in the first place.  The conversation turned from anger to passion in seconds, and these two made love, conceived a child, and broke three hearts, all in one night.

            Jason left town, and Carly and Sonny were left with their mistake, and their child. They made plans to love their child, raise Michael together, and eventually marry. Carly slowly began to let go of her hope that Jason would ever return to her.  Sonny warmed to Carly, and her affection for him grew.  As Sonny once said, "We light a match, the whole house burns."  Sonny and Carly didn't admit their love for one another, but it was undeniable.  Soon though, all their hopes were dashed, when Carly fell down the stairs, to their baby's death.  Carly held on by a tiny thread, and Sonny, the one who typically fell into the depths of despair, held her hand through it all, even when she took a gun, and tried to kill AJ.  Teetering precariously between lucidity and insanity, Sonny took Carly away to the island, where they had never been closer.

             No longer was Carly out for number one, and oblivious to the needs of those around her.  True, she didn't become a self-less martyr, that would never suit Carly, but she did learn, she did grow, and she did change.  Perhaps only because of one love. We're quick to say that love was Jason Morgan, or Sonny Corinthos, but that love was for none other than her own son, Michael.  Carly came through the loss of her child, so that she could continue to be a mother to Michael.  Everything seemed to be going fine for Carly, and once again, disaster occurred.  Not wanting to be an obligation to Sonny because of Jason, Carly struck out on her own, and both of them were miserable without each other. Debating whether or not to return, Sonny's father, Mike, came to Carly and asked for help with a debt, one of which that if Sonny knew about it, his relationship with Mike would be destroyed forever. For once in her life, Carly told Sonny a lie, so that she could help him, not hurt him. But through a series of events totally out of her control, Carly managed to play a role in getting Sonny arrested for drug trafficking.  He shut her out, and Carly couldn't take it.  Once again, it was Jason to the rescue.  He had left town without so much as a goodbye to Carly, and it affected her more than she realized. When he came back though, Carly knew everything would be all right. Once again, she put her fate into the hands of someone else, not trusting herself to see it through to the end.  But now Carly is the prosecution's star witness, and it's up to her, whether or not he goes to prison. His only option? To marry her.  But will she go through with it? Can Sonny ask her, knowing she's in love with Jason?  And what of her love for Sonny? At one point, both were ready to spend the rest of their lives with one another. You know what the say about good intentions and the road to hell.

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