May 30, 2014

I was having trouble visualizing the end of the story, but I knew how I wanted it to start, so I started to write hoping it would assist me in finishing the outline. It did, but I ended up not quite liking it this. I realized I was telling this scene all wrong — it needed to be Jason’s voice, not Elizabeth’s. So once I knew I had to be inside his head, it worked so much better. And Jason couldn’t open up to her so fast, so I think my actual opening works better for the characters.

But for funsies, here’s the original opening. Because it never made the move from Scrivener, where I do the rough writing, to Microsoft Word where I do italics and typo checks, it’s messy and unformatted.


 

December 2004

Elm Street Pier

Elizabeth Webber tightened her grip on her cup of hot chocolate and stopped at the top of the stairs. Below her, she saw something that made her think she had gone back in time five years.

Jason Morgan, at the top of the other stairs, his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket, and his face looking as though someone was kicking him.

The image of standing here all those years ago was so vivid, so strong, she reflexively glanced down, expecting to see AJ Quartermaine and his son, Michael, looking at the ELQ crane over the harbor.

Instead, the pier was empty.

She looked back at him now, and wondered if she should say something. They hadn’t been friends for so long, but he’d been there for her the previous winter—had done what he could to keep her from going to jail.

Once…she would have just approached him without worry. Put a hand on his arm, asked what was wrong. Could she still do that? Despite…everything?

He moved then, and started down the stairs, each step seeming heavier than the one before it. His eyes were lined with exhaustion, his shoulders were slumped. When he sat on the bench, her decision was made.

She stepped down her own stairs and started towards the bench. “Hey. I recognize that look.”

Jason looked up and blinked at her for a moment, before offering a wan smile. “Elizabeth. Emily-Emily told me you were home for the holidays.” He slid over on the bench, and she sat down. “When did you get in?”

“The day before Thanksgiving.” Elizabeth hesitated. “You look as tired as I felt the first two months of Cameron’s life, so I guess..” She cleared her throat. “It’s the single parent syndrome, I think. Like kids just know there’s no backup, no second person, so they just…refuse to sleep for two months straight. I know…I know Cameron did.”

Jason was quiet for a moment, and she bit her lip. “Should I…not have said that? I’m sorry—”

“No, no.” He shook his head. “I…yeah. I haven’t…really been sleeping much.” He leaned forward, his elbows resting on his thighs. “You’re living in California?”

“Um, yes.” She shifted a little. “I was just…going to stay for a little while, but…things happened and after Cameron was born, I decided to stay on.” She sipped her hot chocolate. “I sold a few paintings while I was there, and I’m…supposed to have a show in New York after the new year.”

His smile was more genuine now, and he straightened. “That’s really great. I-I’m happy for you.”

“I was really just going to come home for the holidays, but when I stepped off the plane…” She sighed and looked out over the grey winter waters of the harbor. “My grandmother, she looked…old. Tired. I…hadn’t seen it before, but I guess I was thinking about Lila, and how…” She hesitated. “Should I not mention that either?”

He leaned back against the bench, his shoulders still slumped. “Emily said you came home for a few days for the funeral.”

“Yeah…I…really loved Lila,” she murmured. “She was always so wonderful to me, and she meant so much to this town, to…” She wrinkled her nose. “To your family,” she finally said, because there was no way to separate the two sometimes. “I…saw you there. I was going to say something, but you were with…”

“Sam.” Jason nodded. “Yeah. I saw you, too…” He glanced at her. “With Ric.”

“Yeah.” She stared at the plastic top of her hot chocolate. “His last ditch effort to get me to call off the divorce. Didn’t work, obviously. He’s married to Alexis now, so I guess he’s relieved I didn’t…take him up on that offer.”

“I’d forgotten about that…” Jason said, almost more to himself. “I think it was the same night that…” He trailed off.

“This is so awkward,” Elizabeth said after a long moment. “I don’t know what to say to you. Should…I say congratulations on your daughter, I’m sorry for your loss?” She huffed. “It’s just…there aren’t words, but I feel like I should say something.”

“It’s all right.” He removed his hand from his pocket and rubbed the edge of his eyebrow. “Not much to say, really. Sam…died. And now I have a daughter.”

“Emily said you named her Evangeline.” Elizabeth said. “Or more accurately, she said you didn’t know what to name her, so Emily suggested Evangeline Grace and you said fine.”

He nodded. “Yeah. She calls her Evie, so I do now, too. It sounds…” He was quiet for a long moment. “It sounds awful, but I couldn’t name her. Because…it wasn’t supposed to be my job.”

She frowned, but let that go. “Well, it’s not like you thought you’d be doing it alone, Jason.” She shifted again on the bench. “I don’t…know what you’re going through, not exactly, but I guess I…I remember what it’s like to plan a life around someone who just…goes away.” Her sigh was a soft one now. “And never comes back.”

Jason frowned. “Lucky did come back.”

“Not really.” Elizabeth shook her head. “That’s…not the point, anyway. I just…I remember feeling like I couldn’t do everyday things, especially not the things we’d planned to do together. We were supposed to go to New York so I could go to art school.My acceptance came in after…the fire.” She exhaled slowly. “I didn’t go. Because it was something I was supposed to do with Lucky. So…it doesn’t sound awful, Jason, that you found it difficult to name her when it was something you were supposed to do with her mother.”

“Yeah.” His eyes were distant now, looking out over the water. “Yeah, that…makes sense, I guess. Sam never…settled on anything. We talked about Lila, but Sam wanted to wait until she was born. To pick a name that suited her.”

Her heart ached for him. “I’m so…sorry that you lost her, Jason. You guys were creating a family, and to lose someone you love at a moment like that—”

“I—” He started to cut in, but stopped, looking slightly bewildered. “I mean, yeah, I guess we were going to be a family, but I wasn’t…” He shook his head. “Never mind.”

Elizabeth paused. “Jason?” she said softly. “Is…something wrong? I mean, other…than the obvious. You looked…so sad standing there. Did something happen today?”

“No. I just…” He tilted his head back, the muscles of his neck tense. “I don’t know the right answers anymore. What I’m supposed to tell you.”

She drew her brows together. “Jason—” She broke off. “There are no right or wrong answers. There’s just…how you feel. You don’t have to tell me anything, you know. We’re not close, anymore. I realized that when Emily called me, and I found out your daughter’s birth and name from her. I-I didn’t even know you were having a child until your grandmothe’rs funeral. And I realized that we only know each other through Em, now but—”

“That’s not true.” He met her eyes. “I mean, no, I guess we’re not close, but…” He stopped, clearly struggling with something. “I just don’t want to lie to you.”

And the niggling thought in the back of Elizabeth’s mind—the memory of knowing that Sam McCall had been seeing Sonny Corinthos before Elizabeth left town, that at the time Evie would have been conceived, Jason was still married to Courtney—came clear. She’d thought the timeline was odd when she came home in July, but it was so clearly true. Sam was living with Jason, she was at his grandmother’s funeral.

“Then don’t,” she said softly. “You know that anything you ever said to me would go no further, if that’s what you wanted. Just because we haven’t been…friends the way we were once, it doesn’t change anything for me. I will always care about you, Jason, and I hope you feel the same about me. If you can’t talk to me, then talk to Emily or…I don’t know, Sonny or Carly.”

And she saw the way his face tensed at their names, and she knew that the couple was causing the pain she saw in his eyes. The grief she’d attributed to losing Sam was meant for Sonny and Carly.

“I changed the paternity test results,” Jason said so quietly that she almost didn’t hear them. “I didn’t…really think it through. I wanted to protect Michael and Morgan—Carly said she’d walk out if the baby was Sonny’s. She’d take the boys, and it would start all over again.” He closed his eyes. “They were dragging Michael into court, making him choose which parent to live with, and he was so angry, so upset—he told the judge he wanted to live with me. People didn’t fight around me.”

“So you wanted the world to think it was your child so Carly would stay and not disrupt the boys’ lives.” And it made a sad sort of sense to her—since he’d returned home two years earlier, his entire existence had been predicated on cleaning up after Sonny and Carly.

“Yeah.” He cleared his throat. “Sam…hated it. She loved Sonny, you know. I mean, right up until a few months before Evie was born, she thought he’d change her mind. So she went along with it, hoping that if Sonny saw me planning to raise their child, he’d…wake up. But Sam…didn’t realize…”

“That Sonny would always choose Carly.” The wind whipped past her face, a tendril flying into her eyes. She pushed it back behind her ear. “And you fell in love with the baby.”

“I…yeah.” Some of the tension bled away, and his face relaxed. “I saw her grow and felt her kicking. Sonny did get annoyed by it, but he didn’t leave Carly. He just…” Jason shook his head. “He had another affair with Sam. While Carly was across the hall, he’d take Sam to an apartment in the building. It went on almost a month.”

“What happened when Sam realized nothing changed?”

“He told her that she could take the baby and go away, maybe to the island or Puerto Rico. He’d never have to tell Carly about her, and they could be a family that way.”

“Like a dirty little secret,” Elizabeth murmured. “She and her child weren’t enough for him to acknowledge publicly. She could be his mistress, though.”

“Sam was…” Jason looked at her. “I don’t know how much you knew about Sam, but she…was a con artist. She made Sonny think she was okay with it. And she wanted him to sign some paperwork, so that the baby would be taken care of. Instead…she made him sign a termination of parental rights.”

Elizabeth couldn’t help the smile that stretched across her face. “I think I would have liked her.”

“Yeah.” Jason was smiling , too. “She never took crap from anyone, except Sonny. So she did that, and then…” He hesitated. “After she gave birth, she was bleeding. They…they couldn’t stop it, so she begged me…” His voice was slightly hoarse now. “She begged me not to let Sonny and Carly take her baby. They would forget all about Sam, and her daughter would never know her mother.”

“So you agreed,” she murmured. She slid closer on the bench to him. “And you’ve been raising her since Sam died. Which can’t be helping things with Sonny.”

“No. He was angry, but Carly still doesn’t know the truth, so as long as he doesn’t want her to know…” With a short breath of air, he sighed. “He keeps calling in the middle of the night for me to take care of things, and lately, he calls in the middle of the day. I haven’t been able to hire anyone to help me, so I have to take Evie to Carly in the middle of the night. By the time I get back, she’s crying. She’s not sleeping right either.”

He scrubbed his hands over his face. “I-I don’t know why I told you all of that. I haven’t…told Emily. She just…she knows I’m not sleeping. She’s with Evie now.”

“You and I have always had a habit of telling each other things we don’t tell anyone else,” Elizabeth said with a soft smile. “I guess that’s one thing that hasn’t changed.”

“No.” He looked at her, and she liked to think some of the pain had dissipated, that he didn’t look as haunted. “So you’re coming back to Port Charles.”

“Yep.” Elizabeth offered a smile. “Already back. I have to fly out after Christmas to tie up some loose ends, but I’m back. Cam and I are staying with my grandmother for now until I find something with good lighting.” She wrinkled her nose. “Would you believe they condemned my studio?”

They both looked at her old building, a sagging mess that hunched over the pier. “I can’t believe they waited this long.”

“Brat.” She punched him lightly in the shoulder. “I loved that place. It was the first time I felt independent, like I could be strong on my own.” Elizabeth looked back at him. “I know things are hard right now, so if there’s anything I can do…even if it’s just a baby-sitter in the middle of the day when you don’t want to leave Evie with Sonny or Carly, give me a call. My cell is still the same.”

“I’ll do that,” he said.

“I should go,” she said after a moment. “My gram is watching Cam, and I don’t want to leave her with him too long.” She stood and adjusted the strap of her bag over her shoulder. “Jason…” When he met her eyes, she offered him a smile. “Congratulations on your daughter. I’m sure she’s beautiful.”

Edited: I added a deleted opening scene for The Best Thing, written in Elizabeth’s POV but discarded when I realized it wasn’t right for the story.  Also, apparently my host is upgrading my server next week or so, so at some point, things might not work for a bit. I don’t know much about it, because it’s beyond my technical experience, but it’s just an fyi.

 

I know my posting has fallen off drastically in the last few weeks, so my apologies for that. I’ve been super busy with a lot of offline nosense. I had a friend staying with me for a week, I went to Ireland for my birthday and then I had a major dissertation conference a few days ago, so I really had to get moving on that project.

I’ve been tired as a result and haven’t done much writing. Here’s where we stand:

– I have five scenes left for Damaged, Episode 004. My plans are to finish those up today and tomorrow, and post it sometime late tomorrow night.

– I have fallen behind on writing The Best Thing, and have been stuck on a scene in Chapter 7 for almost a week. Not because it’s difficult to write, but it’s an important scene and I keep restarting it. I hope to get that and Chapter 8 done tonight. Once I break through this, I hope to get a chapter done a day.

– Despite those ambitious plans, I am only posting on Mondays for a while. I still have a lot on my plate this summer: the dissertation has to be written by August 25, so I can go home to New Jersey by August 30. I have another friend coming to London at the end of June, and I, myself, am returning to the golden shores of the Delaware River for a week in June. So it’s just easier to post one day a week.

I am constantly thinking about my fun writing as a break from the relatively dry constiutional and Parliamentary legal literature I’m reading from the eighteenth century. I hope to get back into the swing of things shortly. Until then…um…I love you all very much 😛

May 25, 2014

I added Chapter Four to The Best Thing. I will update Poisonous Dreams tomorrow.

TBT will not be posted twice a week for a little while. I have my dissertation conference this week, and then next week, an old professor is coming to speak in London, I’m heading up to Northern England for three days, and then I’m going home for a week. June is going to be insane, and I want to make sure I stay ahead of things. I haven’t had a day where I’ve written three chapters just yet, but hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of it and write a chapter a day a least next week to put a larger buffer in.

Damaged, Episode 004 is about two-thirds done and will hopefully be posted by the end of the week.

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series The Best Thing: Sanctuary

And in the end, you’re still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn’t break, we didn’t burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I’ve got, and what I’m not, and who I am
– I Won’t Give Up, Jason Mraz


Sunday, January 15, 2005

Hardy House: Living Room

“Gram, did you see Cameron’s other shoe?” Elizabeth called into the kitchen. She huffed and knelt down to peer under the couch. “For a kid who can barely crawl and certainly cannot walk, he knows how to throw far.”

Audrey emerged into the living room, a brightly wrapped box in her hands. “I thought I saw it under the planter. I had intended to grab it, but then Gatsby ran out the front door when the flower delivery arrived—”

Elizabeth did indeed spy the blue sneaker under the planter across the room and rose to her feet. “I know our things are everywhere, Gram.” She cast her eyes around the cluttered living room, as some of their boxes had not fit into either her bedroom, Cam’s nursery or the makeshift studio in the last guest room. The moving truck she had sent from California had arrived on Friday, and it seemed like they were never going to be settled.

“Darling, it’s the most excitement I’ve had since you and Sarah moved here in the first place.” Audrey pressed a kiss to her cheek as she passed by her to lift Cameron from the playpen. “Having a child in the house again is so wonderful. Other than short visits from you, Steven and Sarah over the years, Cameron is the first baby since Tommy.”

“Well, you’ll be sorry when he’s walking.” She grimaced, and planted her hands on her hips. “Now where are my shoes?”

“It was nice of Nikolas to invite me to Emily’s party today.” Audrey said as she set Cameron the sofa and put his shoes on. “I would not have thought they would want an old lady at a young woman’s birthday party.”

“It’s not that type of party,” Elizabeth murmured. “I know I had those sandals somewhere…” She looked at her grandmother. “Emily wants to…she’s got this idea about keeping her family united. It’s been rocky since Lila passed this summer, you know? She’s worried her grandfather and her parents aren’t arguing enough.”

“I would think that was odd, but I know the Quartermaines. It is truly troubling when they lay down arms.” Audrey lifted a sketch pad from the table under the bay window. “Are they blue sandals, Elizabeth?”

“No, coral.” Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “How did those get over there?”

“Possibly Cameron. I do believe we have an outfielder on our hands here.” Audrey nuzzled Cameron’s cheek. “His great-grandfather played a mean third base, so he’s carrying on the tradition.”

“Anyway, so Emily invited you, she invited her parents and her grandfather, but when Edward sent his regrets, she convinced Jason to bring Evie, so she told me to bring Cameron, because Alexis is bringing Kristina. Why she thinks a two month old, a seven month old and a two year old constitutes a children’s section, I don’t know, but Emily has her—” she trailed off when she saw Audrey’s look. “What?”

“Don’t think I did not see Emily dragging you across the room at the Christmas party or that you stayed with Jason and his daughter for nearly a half hour.”

“Oh, is living at home again going to be like really living at home again?” Elizabeth grimaced. “Gram—”

“I don’t know why you think I’m about to say something unkind,” Audrey murmured, lifting her chin. “I was merely inquiring if you and Jason are friends again.”

“We are, sort of, I suppose.” Elizabeth pursed her lips. “I know I brought those shoes down here.”

“Well, I want you to know that while I don’t particularly understand it, I will respect any decision you choose to make regarding Jason.”

Elizabeth turned away from the pile of newspapers and blinked. “Gram, that…are you sick?”

“No,” Audrey said with a sniff. “I just…there are battles that are not worth fighting, and you know…I have eyes, Elizabeth. I saw Jason with that beautiful little girl. I’m sure it’s very tempting image—the same reason your brother abducts Cameron every five minutes to impress a nurse. A man with a baby, particularly someone like Jason Morgan, is somewhat…attractive.”

Elizabeth cleared her throat. “Gram, are you telling me you think Jason is hot? Because I want this on tape.”

Now her grandmother scowled. “You are deliberating baiting me now, Elizabeth. I am only saying that I understand it. I also…” She sighed and pulled out a chair to look behind it for Elizabeth’s elusive sandals. “I find him almost admirable in some respects.”

“Hold on. Hold on.” Elizabeth held out one hand, pressing the other to her forehead. “I know I’m hearing things now.”

“I do wish he had picked better friends to care about,” Audrey mused. “But I suppose one cannot quibble at his loyalty. He loves those boys, and I do remember seeing him around town when we thought Michael was his son. So Lila was concerned about him—”

“I…” Elizabeth hesitated, knowing that Audrey and Lila had been frequent tea partners. “He’s doing better, now, you know. He…didn’t expect to be a single parent—”

“He shouldn’t have had to clean up Sonny’s mess at all. Why he still has that delightful little girl, I do not understand. Lila always worried about him, you know. She said that for all his fuss about not being Jason Quartermaine anymore, he had retained the worst of that boy’s qualities.”

Elizabeth sank onto the sofa and handed Cameron his stuffed dog which had fallen to the floor. Her grandmother wasn’t making any sense. “Gram—”

“Jason Quartermaine was in that accident because he loved his brother and never knew to let well enough alone,” Audrey huffed. She unearthed the coral sandals from underneath the playpen. “And Lila always knew that Sam McCall was not having Jason’s child.”

Elizabeth pressed her lips together and took the shoes from her grandmother. “I have no idea what you’re talking about—”

“She told me that she felt Jason had replaced AJ with Sonny. That boy will always take care of Sonny Corinthos, and by extension, his family, to his own detriment. Last time, it cost him his memories. What will such blind devotion cost him this time?” Audrey scowled. “He’s a good father. He should have children of his own.”

“Does anyone in Port Charles believe Jason is Evie’s father?” Elizabeth asked, strapping her shoes on. “Emily and I both suspected, but he just confirmed it to us last month.”

“If they do, it’s willful ignorance.” Audrey straightened a stack of newspapers. “You were there when Sonny Corinthos sauntered over to him and picked a fight. The man is supposed to be with his wife, but he’s still harping on Jason Morgan. Now, one could suppose it’s related to the affair Jason supposedly had with his mistress, but Lila never bought that. Her boy is too honorable for that.”

Her throat was closed. Emily had told her she felt so guilty that Lila had died believing Jason was going to be a father again, and now her grandmother was telling her that wasn’t true. “He’s made his choice, Gram. And Evie’s better off for it.”

“Well, that’s difficult to argue with.” Audrey peered at her. “Are you thinking of getting involved with him, darling?”

Elizabeth hesitated a shade longer than she should have. “No, of course not. Gram, when would I find time for that? When would he? We have small children. We both have time-consuming…jobs. I run into him sometimes, and we talk. That’s it.”

“All right. I just…I wanted you to know that I know the situation he’s in and I do not begrudge him your support. Or your friendship. Or anything else.” Audrey sat next to her on the sofa. “I encouraged you to keep trying with Lucky. I encouraged you to go back to Ric. And what do you have to show for listening to me, my dear?”

“Well…” Elizabeth glanced at her son. “Cameron, for one.”

“What I’m trying to say is that I am aware that I do not always know best, and in fact, I rarely do.” Audrey touched her cheek. “I want you to do what makes you happy. At the end of the day, that’s all I have ever wanted. I am finished believing that anyone but you knows what that is.”

“I love you so much, Gram.” Elizabeth leaned forward and hugged her.

Wyndemere: Entryway

Emily hurried out of the large ballroom to greet Elizabeth, Steven and Audrey. “I’m so glad you guys could make it!”

“Sorry we’re late,” Steven said, leaning past his sister to kiss her cheek. “Bits and Gram waited for me to finish my shift.”

“No problem.” Emily turned to her best friend and hugged her. “I’m just so glad you’re here.”

Elizabeth narrowed her eyes and shifted Cameron from one hip to the other. “What are you up to, Quartermaine?”

“Um…” Emily glanced at Audrey and Steven who were following Nikolas into the ballroom. “So I did a very bad thing.”

With Emily, a very bad thing could range from chipping a nail to waking up next to a dead man, so Elizabeth merely sighed. “Are we going to need the freezers again?”

“What? Oh, no.” Emily flushed. “No, I guess it’s not a ten on the scale, since Ted would be the ten. It’s more like a…” She pursed her lips. “More like a six. Remember I told you that I only convinced Jason to come and bring Evie because my grandfather couldn’t come?”

“Oh, you didn’t…” Elizabeth’s mouth dropped open. “You deliberately manipulated the two of them into a room and didn’t tell Jason? He’s going to roast you alive.”

“This is entirely true,” Emily nodded. “I am in such bad trouble, but you know Jason, he’s not giving Grandfather the satisfaction, so he’s just standing there with Evie and—”

“The day is going to come, Emily, when I abandon you to fix your own problems.” Elizabeth handed Cameron to Emily long enough to shed her pea coat and scarf. She tossed these at Emily and took back her son.

“Luckily for me, this is not that day.” Emily smiled brightly. “So what do you suggest? Smoke alarm? I could pretend Ned is singing somewhere, I think he might help. Grandfather is always distracted when he think Eddie Maine is making a resurgence. But I don’t want Jason to leave, not until the cake—”

“I’ll take care of this, you’ll just make it worse. Has Edward cornered him yet?” Elizabeth started for the ballroom, Emily on her heels.

The room was filled with Emily’s friends and family, including half the hospital. Jason stood near the doorway to the conservatory, Evie in his arms and a blank expression on his face. “Oh, Em, he is pissed.”

“What? How can you tell?” Emily craned around her. “He looks fine.”

Elizabeth snorted. “Nope, I’ve seen him give that look to Taggart. Has he gotten you alone yet?”

“Um. I’ve been hiding or sticking close to Dad.”

Elizabeth eyed her. “What exactly did you think was going to happen when Jason realized you’d tricked him?”

“I may not have thought that far ahead.” Emily pressed her lips together. “I’m just…tired of my family not getting along. If Jason would just give Grandfather a chance—”

“Em—”

“And if Jason would just try to understand that Grandfather comes from a place of love, and he’s been wrecked since he lost Grandmother—” She sighed. “Okay. Okay. I was wrong. I know it, and I’ll let Jason yell at me all he wants. How are we going to fix this?”

We’re not going to do anything.” Elizabeth looked at her friend. “If I find out you did this deliberately as part of your asinine matchmaking plot, Jason won’t be the only one you have to worry about.”

Emily rolled her eyes. “Pfft. Like I don’t have better things to do than worry about your sad love life. Oh crap, Grandfather is heading for Jason—”

“I’ll take care of this.”

Wyndemere: Ballroom

Jason was going to murder his sister. Slowly. And he was going to enjoy it. She knew he hated parties, but she said that their grandfather would not be there and he wanted to show her that he was sorry he had kept her in the dark all along.

He should have known.

He hadn’t turned around and left immediately because Evie had been sick on the launch ride and he wanted to give her some time, even a nap before he put her through it again.

When Edward separated himself from Audrey and Monica, Jason wanted to hit something because the old man was heading straight for them.

His sister was going to pay for this.

“Jason.” Edward slid his hands into the pockets of his trousers, his chin lifted in the air. “I wanted to say hello to you.” He paused and his eyes locked on the infant in Jason’s arms. “And…maybe say hello to my…” He coughed. “To Evangeline.”

They both knew he had been about to call her his great-granddaughter, a term that would have annoyed Jason. That he had stopped made Jason frown.

“Hello,” Jason said, because it was simpler than walking away.

“I—” Edward paused, as if he had been expecting something else. “It was good of you to come to the Christmas party. We…weren’t expecting you.”

“Emily asked me.” He cast his eyes around the room, looking for his sister who had managed never to be alone since the moment he had set eyes on Edward.

“Well, Evangeline looked as though she was having a good time.” Edward was quiet for a moment, as this was the most they had spoken to one another in some time. “She’ll enjoy it more next year, I’m sure.” His eyes softened. “Lila would have enjoyed her.”

The only thing he had in common with this man who was technically his grandfather was their adoration for Lila Quartermaine, so in her memory, he would attempt to keep this conversation civil.

“I-I know she would have.”

Edward dipped his head, as if searching for something else to say. “I noticed you were speaking to Elizabeth Webber at the party. And that Sonny Corinthos upset her.”

Well, that was almost two minutes longer than Jason would have expected. “And?”

“Mr. Quartermaine!”

The woman in question stepped up to them with a bright smile and her son in her arms. “I was hoping to see you here today!”

Edward turned to Elizabeth, his mouth breaking into a grin. “Elizabeth! Let me get a look at this boy. Emily kept saying she’d bring him by the house while you were in California, but it never seemed to work out with her schedule.”

“Yes, Emily and Steven were my lifesavers while I packed everything up.” Elizabeth smiled at Jason. “Hey, Jason. Emily told me she brought Cam by while I was gone, so I know you’ve met him.” She turned her attention back to Edward. “Did Gram tell you what I named him?”

“Lila did.” Edward’s eyes dimmed for a moment, but his smile remained. “Cameron Steven. Your grandfather would have approved. We still miss him very much, Elizabeth. Board meetings are not the same without him.”

“I know he enjoyed butting heads with you.” Elizabeth’s smile deepened. “And Gram tells me you two used to play baseball against one another back in the sixties.”

Edward chuckled and glanced at Jason. “ELQ used to sponsor a Fourth of July game against the hospital staff. We stopped that…oh…maybe a decade or so ago, but Steve Hardy and I were fierce competitors.” He hesitated. “AJ and…well, it was a family event.”

“I’m so glad you and my grandmother will be here to tell Cam all about his great-grandfather,” Elizabeth said. “Would you like to hold him?”

“Of course, my dear.” Elizabeth handed the little boy over, and Edward happily bounced the infant in his arms. “Lila showed me all the pictures Audrey gave her.”

“Really?” Elizabeth lifted her brow. “I didn’t know Lila took such an interest.”

“Oh, yes, she loved babies.” Edward looked at Jason. “I was telling Jason how much she would have enjoyed Evangeline.”

“Oh, she would have spoiled her just the way you guys spoil Emily. Why, look at the two of you, having a civil conversation and everything!” Elizabeth put a hand on Edward’s shoulder but looked at Jason. “Would you mind if I stole your grandfather for a while? Gram was telling me about the time the Quartermaines threatened to shut down the hospital if my grandfather didn’t authorize an operation—”

Edward scowled. “Steve always embellished that story. You come sit with me, Elizabeth, and I will tell you how it really happened.”

Jason watched as Elizabeth led Edward towards a cluster of chairs and sofas. She glanced over her shoulder and widened her eyes at him, as if to say you owe me.

He grinned at her, and mouthed thanks. They’d been getting along when she came their way, but it had been a close thing.

Now to find his sister.

Wyndemere: Across the Ballroom

“I am the master of opportunity creating.” Emily sipped her tea and smiled at her fiancé. “Admit it. No one is better than me.”

Nikolas eyed her with skepticism. “What do you think your brother is going to do to you when he gets you alone?”

“Well, now that Elizabeth saved him from Grandfather, I’m hoping he’ll be less annoyed. They were having a civil conversation, Nikolas.” Emily touched his forearm. “Grandmother would have loved every inch of it. She hated how at odds they were.”

“Hmm….” Nikolas sipped his wine and shook his head. “It’s not going to change the fact that you lied to your brother. You know he hates that. I thought you were not going to do any actual meddling. Setting Elizabeth up to save your brother from your family seems like physical meddling.”

“That’s where you’re wrong.” Emily jabbed a finger at him. “Setting Jason up to be in the same room as my grandfather was completely separate from my opportunity creating. That was my meddling in my family life. But then you know…they were actually in the same room—”

“And you realized you were in trouble.”

“So I was asking Elizabeth for suggestions on how to distract Grandfather long enough to get Jason out of here, but she suggested rescuing him all on her own.” Emily sniffed. “Perfect for each other, what did I say? And you saw him smile at her once Elizabeth got Grandfather to go away. Besotted, and they don’t even know it.”

She peered at the room over the rim of her glass. “I am a master opportunity creator,” she repeated. “I got Lucky and Leyla together, didn’t I?”

“How do you figure?” Nikolas asked. “Lucky met her in the emergency room when he got sliced in the leg. He asked her out. You were barely involved.”

“I knew he was interested,” Emily said. “I brought Leyla to Kelly’s when I knew Lucky would be there. Opportunity created.”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t take credit for that.” Nikolas paused. “You’re going to retire your creating after your brother right?”

“No!” Emily widened her eyes. “I’m barely at the top of my game, Nikolas. I’m onto tougher targets after him.”

“There’s someone tougher than Jason Morgan in the romance department? I have to hear this.”

“Elizabeth’s brother, Steven. He’s a bit of a player,” Emily said, considering the man in question who was laughing with one of the residents from the neurology department. “So it will have to be the right woman. I can’t just match make with him or create opportunities. I need to do research.”

Nikolas sighed, but a reluctantly smile spread across his face. “You know the best thing about you, Em? You’re not content to be happy alone. You have to annoy others into being happy, too.”

She sniffed. “I’m choosing to take that as a compliment.”

“Emily.”

They turned to find Alexis standing there with a smile on her face. “Alexis!” Emily stepped forward to embrace her future aunt-in-law. “I’m glad you and Kristina could make it.”

Nikolas looked around her. “And that Ric couldn’t.” Emily elbowed him sharply. “Ugh.”

“Ric understood why he was left out of the invitation.” Alexis hesitated. “I knew Elizabeth would be here, and they haven’t spoken since they finalized the divorce and she moved back home. He…was hoping she wasn’t hurt by our marriage.”

Emily gestured towards the sofa where Elizabeth and Edward had been joined by Audrey. “She’s looking good to me, so I wouldn’t worry.” She hesitated. “Alexis, if you’re serious about Ric, we’ll make it work. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t…share your family with ours.”

“Does it have to be Ric?” Nikolas asked with a grimace.

“I know Ric…is not a perfect man,” Alexis said slowly. “That he’s done some things that seem unspeakable, but I’m a Cassadine, Nikolas, with my own dark deeds. What right do I have to hold his past against him when no one does the same to me?”

“I don’t think it’s on the same scale,” Nikolas began. He paused and cleared his throat. “Hey, Jason.”

Emily whirled around to find her brother at her shoulder. “Um. Jason. Hey. Hi. Are-are you having a good time?”

Jason glanced briefly at his sister before at his former lawyer. “Alexis.”

“Jason, good to see you.” She hesitated and looked at the little girl in his arms. “The baby looks beautiful.”

“I need to put her down for a nap.” Jason frowned at his sister. “And talk to you.”

“Well, you knew it was coming,” Nikolas murmured to Emily as she started to lead her brother out of the room.

“Traitor,” she hissed.

Wyndemere: Hallway

Emily was just descending the stairs when Elizabeth emerged from the ballroom. “Em, great. I need to put Cam down for his nap. He nearly passed out on your grandfather.”

“Great, I’ll put him in the nursery with Evie. I just put her down.” Emily took the baby. “Thanks for helping with Grandfather. I think it made Jason less annoyed.”

“I saw that he finally got you alone.” Elizabeth frowned. “Emily, why do you have a nursery?”

“Uh, because I want babies. You have a baby. Jason has a baby. Alexis has a kid.” Emily shrugged. “It’s a large house with lots of rooms. Made sense. I’ll bring you one of the monitors.”

“Thanks.” Elizabeth hesitated. “Is he still mad at you?”

“I don’t think so. He told me in that tone he has—you know the one—not to do it again, but we both know that promise will last five seconds.” Emily shrugged. “Again, you saved my butt, Webber.”

“What else is new?” Elizabeth hesitated as Emily started back up the stairs. “Hey, Em…did you see where Jason went?”

“To the conservatory, I think. It’s pretty empty right now, with all the glass. It makes it kind of chilly.” Emily watched as Elizabeth wandered away from the ballroom and towards the entrance to the conservatory. “Besotted, and they don’t even know it,” she sighed.

Wyndemere: Conservatory

Jason glanced up when Elizabeth rounded one of paths. “Hey.” He got to his feet. “Thanks…for earlier.”

She smiled and sat on the bench he had just vacated. “No problem. Emily sent up the smoke signal the second I walked through the door. She’ll never learn.”

He lowered himself down next to her. “I would have come if she’d told me about Edward.” She looked at him skeptically and he relented. “I might have come.”

“She just…wants you guys to get along. You know, she and Nikolas are planning this wedding and she wants all her loved ones there.” Elizabeth shifted slightly, crossing one leg over the other. “After Lila…”

“Yeah, I’m trying to make more of an effort since Grandmother passed away,” Jason admitted, and felt the tightness in his chest at the thought of her. “But you know, they don’t make it easy.”

She laughed. “No, but luckily, with Edward, it’s easier than you think to distract him.” She hesitated. “I don’t know if I should say anything, but I don’t know…maybe you might feel better about it.” She bit her lip. “My grandmother and I were talking about the Christmas party, and she told me that your grandmother…” She leaned forward a little, lowering her voice. “She knew the truth.”

Jason blinked. “The truth,” he repeated. “About-about Evie?” When she nodded, he exhaled slowly. “How?”

“Gram said Lila thought you were too honorable—to sleep with Sonny’s girlfriend or cheat on Courtney, I guess.” Elizabeth’s eyes met his. “Is…it good that she knew?”

“If I had thought for one minute that I would never be able to tell her the truth, I wouldn’t have lied.” Still, all these months later, the shock of her loss numbed him. “I know she was…getting older, but I thought she would always be there.”

“Like she was immortal.” Elizabeth nodded. “I felt that way about my grandmother until I stepped off the plane. After watching Emily struggle with losing Lila, I realized my gram could go any time. I didn’t want to waste any more time.” She reached out for his hand. “It sounds like Lila understood.”

“She always did,” he replied softly, his eyes on their intertwined hands. “Your…art show is coming up soon, isn’t it?”

“Mmm…in another month.” Elizabeth disengaged her hand from his and tucked her hair behind her ears. “I stayed in California an extra week to pick out the last pieces so they could be sent across the country.” She hesitated. “I’m nervous, because some of the pieces are really personal, so maybe they won’t sell. The agent seemed to love them though.”

She was quiet for a moment after that. He waited a moment before reluctantly saying, “Sonny…told me that he was sorry about the Christmas party. He wanted to apologize in person, but…”

“I’d rather he didn’t,” she admitted. She worried her lip again. “But…if you think it would help with any tension between you two, I would deal with it. I don’t want to make it more difficult for you.”

He appreciated the fact she would put herself in an uncomfortable position in order to help him, but he didn’t think it would. “I doubt it would help.” He waited a moment, because he wanted to talk to her about the strange meeting with Sonny, his concerns that Sonny was starting to slide towards the edge, but only Carly knew about Sonny’s issues.

And Carly was the last person he could talk to about this.

“Jason?” Elizabeth murmured. “Is everything all right?”

“Sonny…gets in these moods,” he admitted. “He starts…getting erratic. Depressed. Irrational. He’ll…bounce back and forth between them sometimes, and it’ll happen in a blink of an eye. He was like that the last time we met in person. He started…by apologizing about the party, and then finished by accusing me of never loving Courtney because…” He dipped his chest towards his chest. “Because we were talking at the party.”

“And I suppose he’s done this before,” Elizabeth murmured.

“I can usually stave off the worst of it,” Jason told her. “I can be calm and patient with him, wait for him to work out whatever started it.” He was quiet for a moment, but decided to go ahead and tell her what he should have told her years ago. “When…we faked Sonny’s death and I couldn’t tell you…”

“Jason—” Elizabeth started with a shake of her head.

“He was heading towards that edge,” Jason finished. “He’d been…questioning me for weeks, second-guessing me. When Alexis lost her sister in that warehouse explosion, you know? It didn’t help. And it was getting worse, because we couldn’t get ahead of Alcazar. I…asked him to let you in on the plan, but he refused. And I played along because I…couldn’t chance a breakdown.”

Her eyes were sad now and she broke eye contact to look away, sighing. “Well, I suppose I’m not surprised. I was angry for a long time, but I’ve…moved past it.” She looked back at him. “I’m not surprised you picked Sonny over me. Like you said…it was a tense time, and you needed Sonny focused.”

“I didn’t…” He exhaled a short breath. “I didn’t see it that way then. As choosing Sonny over you. I wouldn’t…But I can see why it looks that way.”

“Well, whatever happened, it seemed to work because Sonny came out of it.” She cleared her throat. “Maybe he can again.”

He remembered the brief flashes of anger in Sonny’s eyes that he would quickly tamp down or even mask. “I don’t know. He’s trying to control it, which sometimes works. He’s not always aware it’s happening, but…” He scratched his brow. “I brought up…the situation. Asked if it was always going to be like this. Even if he had sat there and told me he wanted custody, at least we could have…done something.”

“But he’s still sticking by the original decision?” Elizabeth asked.

“For now. But the guilt is choking him.” Jason sighed and tilted his head back. “I don’t see Michael or Morgan much now, which seems….they were the reason I started this, but I avoid them and Carly, because I don’t want her to see the truth. I’m trying to create distance between Sonny and Evie, to make it easier. I’m thinking of moving out of the penthouse.”

“Well,” Elizabeth said after a long moment. “You’ve chosen a difficult path, Jason. It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. But I guess…” She paused. “I guess you just have to take it one day at a time.”

“Yeah.” He sighed. Easier said than done.

May 24, 2014

Just wanted to drop a note that I have returned from Ireland. Amazing trip 🙂 I’ll have updates for The Best Thing, Damaged and Poisonous Dreams hopefully on Monday as this is my friend’s last day in London and tomorrow, I’m working on my dissertation  and laundry 🙂

This entry is part 17 of 23 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Poisonous Dreams #2

August 21, 2003

Corinthos Penthouse

Carly held the cookie over her head. “You’ll have to kill me to get this,” she threatened, shooting her husband a dark look.

“Carly—”

“You try carrying thirty pounds on top of your bladder, have your feet swell and face the thought of squeezing a baby out of something the size of a lemon. Lay off the cookie if you want to live.”

“One cookie,” Sonny warned. “And I’m hiding the package.”

Carly snorted. “Yeah, like that’s gonna stop me.”

Jason pushed the door open and cleared his throat. Sonny looked towards his friend, relaxing his guard and Carly reached out and yanked the package of Oreos out of his hands. She was halfway up the stairs before Sonny even noticed.

“Haha, you’ll never find them!” Carly taunted. She moved the rest of the way upstairs a little more slowly.

Sonny shook his head. “She doesn’t understand the concept of nutrition,” he muttered. “I don’t even know where those Oreos came from.”

Jason knew Elizabeth had smuggled the package in three days ago but he kept mum and crossed his arms. “Elizabeth is taking a nap.”

“She okay? About Emily?”

Jason hesitated and moved across the room. “I think she is. She was trying to reason in her head Emily’s motives and comparing it to when Carly did the things with the Feds.”

“She wants to believe Emily’s still got some good in her,” Sonny deduced. “I wouldn’t argue with her—not right now. She may have a point and even if she doesn’t, it’ll probably help her get through it.” He cleared his throat and picked up his glass of iced tea from the table. “I met with Andrew while you were over there.”

Jason’s eyes hardened. “And?”

“He’s clean. He’s genuinely upset with himself for letting the girls go upstairs by themselves but in his defense, they had called upstairs and Marco was there and even if Andrew had gone upstairs with them, Ric had a gun and a knife. He may have gotten killed and it could have been a lot of worse. He sends his apologies and understands if we remove him from Elizabeth’s security team.”

“We are, right?” Jason remarked. “I mean, keeping Johnny on Carly is one thing but Andrew is too new—”

“But he’s protective of Elizabeth. If he’d been up there last night, he would have died to protect her. I’m sure of that and at this point, too many of our most trusted guards have been compromised. If we move Andrew, we’ll be forced to bring in someone new.”

“You’re sure he’s clean?” Jason asked dubiously. “Elizabeth’s safety is the most important thing right—she’s right in the middle of a high-risk pregnancy and—”

“Jason, Jason, you’re not telling me anything I didn’t already know.” Sonny shrugged. “Andrew’s clean. He’s loyal to us but more importantly, he’s loyal to Elizabeth. Anyway—I think it would make more sense that if Elizabeth leaves the penthouse, you’re with her every step of the way.”

Jason nodded. “That goes without saying. Did you take care of Francis?”

“Yeah. There’s no word on Faith or Ric yet and I’m agreeable for letting the families look for them rather than us waste our resources,” Sonny admitted. “I’m just grateful Elizabeth came out of it.”

Jason hesitated a moment before speaking. “Sonny—what would you think of us…not getting an annulment?”

Though Sonny knew exactly what Jason was saying, he played dumb. “Well, you’re not getting one. Not with Ric and Faith still out there. Maybe in a few more months—”

“No, I mean…at all,” Jason said uncomfortably. “I—I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I don’t—I don’t think I want one.”

“How long is a while?” Sonny asked curiously. “Since the wedding? Since you agreed to adopt the baby?”

“Since agreeing to the plan in the first place,” Jason admitted. “I like…I like being married to her and I’d really like to stay with her.”

Sonny nodded slowly. “Well—it’s not really up to me. It’s up the two of you except—” he closed his eyes. “I forgot to call Courtney.”

“What’s that?”

“Courtney,” Sonny repeated. “Her plane was due in today and I completely forgot with everything that’s been going on. She’s going to be coming back here. Today.” He glanced at a clock on his desk. “Now, in fact.”

Morgan Penthouse

Elizabeth started back down the stairs when she heard Jason leave. She wanted something to eat and drink and if she got it now, she could be back upstairs and pretending to nap before he got back.

She wanted to finish the conversation between them because she was beginning to think it wouldn’t be a bad one. But she still didn’t feel ready to do so.

She was halfway to the kitchen when the door opened and a hesitant Courtney walked in. “Jas—” she stopped her call for him abruptly at the sight of a sweat-clad Elizabeth in the living room. Her eyes narrowed. “What are you doing here?”

“Ah…” Elizabeth blinked. “Courtney—”

The blonde’s eyes zeroed in on the wedding band and pressed her lips together. “How pathetic can you be? You’re still living here, wearing that ring like you have a right to it?” Courtney snorted. “What the hell are you still doing here?”

“Courtney—” Elizabeth began again.

“Carly told me that the adoption wasn’t going to happen anymore and that you were getting this farce of a marriage annulled so you know, you can just drop the act,” Courtney said scornfully. “Now that this is all over, Jason and I are going to get back together—”

“It’s not over,” Elizabeth blurted out. “We’re not getting an annulment.” Out of spite, she kept mum on the fact that it was out of necessity and not love.

Courtney’s nostrils flared and she took a step towards the brunette. “What the hell are you talking about, Elizabeth? What lie are you telling now?”

“I’m not the one who lies,” Elizabeth shot back.

“The hell you don’t. You know—I bet you’ve been in on this all along,” Courtney remarked. “You knew Ric was Sonny’s half-brother and you probably concocted this whole plan to trap Jason into marriage. You’ve got my brother and Jason so snowed by your little innocent act that they’re probably not even going to see the knife in their backs—”

“What are you doing in here?” Jason demanded sharply.

Courtney whirled around. “Jason—I just got home—Carly told me the adoption off so—that just solves our problems—so I thought we could—”

“Didn’t you tell her?” Jason interrupted, looking at Elizabeth who just shrugged as if to say—I tried. He sighed heavily and looked back at Courtney. “The adoption is on. It’s already been finalized and the annulment is what’s off. Elizabeth and I are staying married. We’re over, Courtney.”

“No—Jason, look—please, just listen to me—okay, so you’re going to adopt the baby.” Courtney’s lower lip trembled. “You can just have joint custody. You don’t need to be married to her—”

“Yes, I do,” Jason interrupted. “Courtney, I’m not trying to hurt you—”

“I was right, wasn’t I?” Courtney accused. “You were just looking for a reason to get back together with her and this little—pregnancy—this little bastard she’s going to pass off as yours—”

“Wait just a damn minute,” Elizabeth interrupted. She crossed the room to face the blonde. “You leave my daughter out of this. You’re angry because you gave Jason an ultimatum and he didn’t perform the way you wanted him too so now you’re jumping down his throat. Get over yourself, Courtney, the world doesn’t revolve around you.”

“And you can’t have Jason,” Courtney retorted. “You threw him away and now you think you can get him back but—”

“Courtney, you’re leaving now.” He took her arm and steered her towards the doorway. “Goodbye.”

He closed the door on her outraged face and looked back at Elizabeth. “I’m sorry. Sonny didn’t remember that she was coming home today until her plane had already landed.”

“It’s fine,” Elizabeth said stiffly. She looked away. “How did it go with Sonny?”

“Fine,” Jason said simply. “Andrew’s going to remain your guard for now. There’s one else that we can really trust and he seems to have convinced Sonny of his loyalty.”

Elizabeth nodded. “Good. I like Andrew.”

Jason rubbed the back of his neck and sighed. “I thought you were taking a nap.”

She shrugged. “I felt hungry.”

“You want something to eat?” Jason offered. “I can make something—or send someone if you want something specific.”

Elizabeth hesitated. “Actually—I was hoping to make a peanut butter and pickle sandwich,” she admitted with an embarrassed smile. “I’ve had a craving for it all day.”

Jason grimaced. “Are you sure?”

“It’s weird,” Elizabeth sighed, “but I can’t help it, I guess.” She twisted her hands together. “Jason…about earlier…”

“We don’t have to talk about it until you’re ready,” Jason assured her. “You’ve been through a rough night and day. This is no time to be making major life decisions.”

Elizabeth tilted her head to side. “Just for conversation’s sake—what life decisions would they be?”

“Whether or not we stay married,” Jason stated as though it was the obvious choice. “I can understand if you’re not ready for that and that you’d want to keep your distance, but—”

“We’re not just talking about staying married through Ric and Faith are we?” Elizabeth interrupted. Her face drained of color as Jason’s words and intent sunk in. She’d never dreamed that remaining married to Jason would be a viable option.

Jason shook his head slowly, unsure if the shock written across her features was a good sign or a bad one. “No, I’m not.”

“Oh.” Elizabeth exhaled a shaky breath. “And to make it clear—you’re Laura’s father. You don’t need to be married to me to have that.”

“I know that,” Jason said simply.

“Oh,” she repeated. She shifted from one foot to the other as she thought about her next move. Jason had put himself on the line big time by just admitting he wanted to be married. There was no reason to push him for more right now. He wasn’t ready to say more and she wasn’t sure she was ready to hear it. “You’re right. This isn’t a time to be making major life decisions,” she said softly. “But just so it’s out there…it’s definitely something I want to think about.”

Somewhere In Port Charles

Ric slammed his fist down on the table. “Damn it.”

Faith leaned back in her chair and examined her blood-red nails. “Oh hell, I’ve chipped a nail,” she murmured.

“They’re going to triple her security,” Ric seethed. “I won’t be able to get near her.”

“So forget the little bunny so we can focus on something more profitable,” Faith sighed. She eyed him. “What would we do with a kid anyway?”

“It’s my kid,” Ric said coldly. “I won’t abandon him because his mother has no spine. I won’t do that.”

“Listen up, Sparky. He is a she,” Faith snarled. “It won’t be a boy, it’s a girl. And she certainly had enough spine to marry Jason Morgan.” Her lips curved into a smile. “I imagine he must be something else in bed.”

He leveled a withering glare in her direction. “Spare me, Faith. I don’t care if the kid’s a hermaphrodite. Jason Morgan is not raising my child, do you understand me?”

“Fine,” Faith huffed. “But you’ve got to step it up a notch. Take the gloves off, so to speak. You made a mistake trying to snatch her last night and I’ll tell you where you went wrong.”

Ric sank into a chair across from her. “Enlighten me, oh Great One,” he said with mocking reverence.

Faith ignored the tone and smiled in that way of hers when even the coldest man would feel shivers rolling down his spine.

“You can’t kidnap a woman like Elizabeth,” Faith informed him. “She’s under Sonny and Jason’s protection. Sonny feels guilty because you—his brother—has emotionally tormented her for months and Jason is in love with her. You’ll never get her through kidnapping.”

“Well, what the hell do you suggest?” Ric snapped.

“She has to come to you willingly. She has to surrender,” Faith said simply. “And the only way to do that is to prey on her vulnerabilities. Hit her where she hurts. Her family, her friends.” The smirk deepened. “Her baby.” She examined her nails again. “When she feels like the only way to save the people she loves is to come to you, then you’ll win and there won’t be anything Sonny or Jason can do.”

Ric nodded. “Sometimes, Faith—you surprise me.”

Faith snorted. “Men. You always underestimate me.” Her eyes hardened. “You need me, Lansing. Don’t ever cross me or you won’t live to regret it.”

This entry is part 16 of 23 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Poisonous Dreams #2

August 21, 2003

Morgan Penthouse

Sonny followed Jason and Elizabeth into the penthouse and cleared his throat. “Elizabeth, about Emily—”

“I’ll handle it,” Jason said quietly. He nodded towards the door. “Can we…have a minute?”

“Yeah, yeah, sure.” Sonny nodded in agreement. “I’ll be across the hall with Carly if you need anything.” He didn’t wait for them to reply but just left.

Jason took a deep breath before turning around to find Elizabeth standing at the window near the pool table. “I wasn’t going to keep it from you,” he said immediately. “If I’d known the families were going to press for information, I would have let you know before we left.”

“I’m not made of cotton, I’m not made of glass.” She turned to meet his eyes. “Don’t treat me like I’m fragile. If my best friend in the world betrays me, I have a right to know.”

“I was going to tell you—”

“And it’s not fair that you can decide when I’m ready for that information.” Elizabeth crossed her arms tightly. “When did you find out?”

“Five minutes before I came upstairs.” Jason cleared his throat and looked away. “She told Zander and he brought her over here. She told Faith the names of all the guards she knew, including Andrew and Marco.”

“Why?” Elizabeth asked softly. “What could she possible think Faith could do for her?”

“Exactly what she almost did,” Jason remarked. “Emily wants this marriage over. Faith and Ric faked their deaths. They bought the guards who identified the fake bodies and if Ric had waited a month rather than a few days, he’d have you right now and the marriage would be annulled.”

Elizabeth tilted her head to the side. “What makes a month different from now? I mean—I still would have had the same security…”

Jason shook his head. “We were talking about moving you somewhere else,” he admitted. “I didn’t—I thought you might want to be away from this life so we were talking about suggesting you go to the island—after Courtney came home.”

She didn’t say anything at first—just turned back to the window to peer out across the harbor. A few moments later, she sighed heavily. “Are you lonely, Jason?” she asked softly.

Confused by the question and change in topic, Jason shrugged. “I never thought about it before.”

“I bet you miss Courtney,” Elizabeth said. She moved her eyes to the building that had held her studio and she found herself longing for that one-room escape. “When she comes home—I’ll try to keep out your way.”

Jason approached her than. “We’re not getting back together—Elizabeth, what happened earlier was—”

“A mistake,” Elizabeth said, turning to face him. “I was feeling sorry for myself. I’m sorry that I threw myself at you but I promise it won’t happen again.”

“No, it was not a mistake,” Jason replied firmly. “And don’t insult me by thinking you can lie to me. It’s been a long time since I could tell what you’re thinking but it’s coming across very clearly. You think because Sonny and I considered sending you to the island after Courtney came back here that I was just exchanging you for her and that says a lot of your opinion about me, doesn’t it?”

“Jason—” Elizabeth began.

“The truth is that you deserve better than this life. I’ve always felt that way and for a long time, I thought you had decided that too. That’s why I didn’t press the matter last fall. You had a right to leave this life before it was too late and I thought that’s what you had done.” He shook his head. “It never occurred to me that you were leaving me and not the life.”

“The life—it doesn’t bother me. It never has. Do I like being in danger all the time? I’m not thrilled about it but I know that you’re in ten times more danger than I am. I know that every time you step out that door, you might not come back—” she broke off and closed her eyes. “I don’t want to go over the same ground again.”

“We never went over this before. You never said anything about how it made you feel. You just told me that you couldn’t handle it and you walked out,” Jason accused. “Maybe if you had stayed and we talked about this, none of this would have happened.”

“Oh, so now it’s my fault that I’m pregnant with the psycho’s baby,” Elizabeth sarcastically. “Like it was my fault that you ignored me for a month, left me here night after night wondering if you were alive or dead.”

“Elizabeth—”

“Because for all I knew Sonny was dead and you were in charge again. And I thought you might go after who killed Sonny and I was terrified that I’d never see you again.” She clenched her hands into fists. “But you never came home except to change and avoid me and every time I saw you—every single time—you were with Courtney.” She arched an eyebrow. “You know—when did you start seeing her? Before or after I left?”

“I’m not even going to answer that because I know you don’t believe I’d do that to you and if you do, then we’ve got bigger problems then you pulling away from me,” he replied quickly.

Elizabeth shrugged. “Whatever. I don’t even care anymore.” She started past him towards the stairs but he grabbed her arm and turned back to face him.

“We’re not finished here, Elizabeth. For one thing—what happened upstairs was not a mistake, it was not about you feeling sorry for yourself or me missing Courtney. We both wanted it and if Sonny hadn’t called, then it would have gone a lot further and you know it.” He took a deep breath. “Secondly, Emily may be your friend but she’s my sister and she betrayed me just as much as she betrayed you so no, I didn’t tell you right away because I was having enough trouble believing it and I heard it right from her mouth. She’s my sister, Elizabeth, and she decided she knew what was best for me.”

Once he’d begun talking, she’d stopped struggling and she instantly felt contrite for having turned the whole conversation into a fight. She could see that he hadn’t wanted her to find out that way and truthfully, how else could he have done it? How do you tell someone the girl they thought of as a sister had turned them both over to a pair of psychopaths.

“You’re right,” Elizabeth said softly. “I didn’t—I was so caught up in thinking about what Emily did to me—I’m so sorry, Jason. I know how much you love her.”

Her submission surprised him and he took a step back, releasing her arm. “It doesn’t matter—”

“It does,” Elizabeth protested. “Jason—you don’t want me to shut you out, right? You want me to talk to you, to be honest?”

“Yeah,” he said, knowing where she was going and resenting like hell that she was using his words against him.

“I want the same from you. Talk to me.” She braced her hands on his forearms and looked up him. “Please.”

He exhaled slowly. Until he’d started talking, he hadn’t realized that he was upset about what Emily had done. Angry, yes. Betrayed, yes. Devastated was something he didn’t think he’d felt.

“When Robin told AJ about Michael—I could understand why,” he began. He looked away. “I knew how much she hated the lie and how much it hurt her for everyone to believe I’d cheated on her with Carly to conceive Michael. She was doing what she was thought was right. I never saw it coming, but I understood it.”

“And even Sonny and Carly—I hated it but I know them. I know what made them both do it and I’ve learned to live with it.” He took a deep breath. “But Emily—even knowing that she did it…I still have a hard time believing it. She decided that I couldn’t be married to you and not get hurt. She decided she had to get me out of this situation and in doing so, she nearly got you kidnapped and almost killed. I don’t think she meant to hurt you—but I can’t believe she’d willingly turn over that kind of information without thinking Ric would use it to get to you.”

“She loves you, Jason,” Elizabeth said softly. “More than anything. But I don’t think it was entirely about you. I think—” she bit her lip. “Gia told me that Emily was really upset when she found out about last summer—about Zander. Gia told Emily that I’d been dating Zander before going on to you. She had basically summed it up by saying that I’d gone from Lucky to you to Zander to you to Ric and I guess Emily was afraid I’d hurt you again.” She shrugged. “It doesn’t make what she did right but it wasn’t about not trusting you or making the decision for you. Even Emily knows better than to do that.”

He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter, Elizabeth. She could have come to me. She could have told me what she was thinking. Emily knows she can come to me. I could have told her that what happened with Zander was none of my business and if I’d just—been more open with you, that it wouldn’t have happened in the first place. I think—if I’d told you I came home to Port Charles because I knew you’d broken up with Lucky…things would have been different, wouldn’t they?” Jason asked.

Elizabeth blinked. “Wait—you knew before you came home…” The implication sunk in and she took a step back. “You came home because I wasn’t with Lucky anymore. Jason…”

“But if I’d told you that that night in the studio, it would have been different, right?” Jason insisted.

“Yes,” Elizabeth said. “Yes, they would have—but—”

“So Emily could have come to me and I could have talked her out of this. But she chose to do something she knew could hurt you and I’m not sure if I can forgive her for that.” Jason pulled away from her and moved to the pool table. He exhaled slowly. “You wanted to know how I felt and that’s it. I’m angry because she took my trust in her and obliterated it. And she nearly got you killed. How do I let go of that?”

“I don’t know,” Elizabeth admitted. “I don’t know if you can but I’m not you, Jason. Things aren’t black and white for me. I guess—I was so awful to you in the past, Jason. I really was and I think—” she looked away. “I’m not surprised her loyalty to you is stronger than hers to me.”

“How can you say she has loyalty towards me when she went to Faith?” Jason bit out angrily.

“Because she didn’t go to Faith to hurt you. She didn’t go, intending to hurt either of one of us. She did it, thinking she would protect you and I’m sorry, Jason, but it’s hard for me not to sympathize with that because I’d do anything to protect the people I love.” Elizabeth sat on the arm of the couch. “Her methods were shit, I’ll be the first to admit it and I don’t plan on forgiving her for at least a year but her intent was good.”

“So because she had my best interests in heart, I should forgive her?” Jason asked skeptically.

“I remember once that Carly was scared of what was going to happen to her family and turned Sonny into the Feds, hoping he’d take a deal and take immunity. She, in essence, betrayed Sonny. Her methods were wrong but in the end, she was only trying to protect her family. You wrote that off because she’s Carly and always doing things that make no sense, right?” Elizabeth remarked. “Emily’s out of your life because she did the same thing?”

He stared at her for a moment before shaking her head. “I don’t like that you’re making sense.”

She smirked. “I’m not saying forgive her, Jason. I just—I want you to look at this from all sides. You know Emily almost better than she knows herself. She would never willing to set out to hurt anyone.”

She rubbed the small of her back. “I think I’m going to take a nap—I’m a little tired.” She slowly moved towards the stairs, stepping gingerly on her sprained ankle.

“Elizabeth—” Jason called after her. She glanced over her shoulder. “We’re not finished here. And I’m going to want to finish this eventually.”

Accepting the inevitable, Elizabeth sighed and nodded before heading up the stairs to take her nap.

This entry is part 15 of 23 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Poisonous Dreams #2

August 21, 2003

Quartermaine Mansion: Emily’s Bedroom

Zander threw open the window to Emily’s bedroom and climbed through. His girlfriend was still sleeping but he didn’t care. He crossed the room and shook her shoulders. “Wake up, damn it!”

Emily sat straight up. “What’s going on?” she demanded.

“Elizabeth was attacked last night—Ric Lansing and Faith Roscoe aren’t dead,” Zander informed her.

Emily stared at him. “What do you mean attacked?” she asked softly. She climbed out of bed and gripped his shirt. “Is she hurt?”

“Emily—”

“Because she can’t be hurt—they promised!” Emily cried. “They’re not supposed to hurt her, they’re supposed to leave her alone—he wasn’t supposed to attack her!”

Zander stared at her for a moment before slowly taking her hands and pulling them away from him. “What do you mean by that, Emily?” he asked slowly.

“I-I wanted this to be over,” Emily stammered. “They weren’t going to go after them—Sonny and Jason, I mean. They were just going to wait it out. While my brother and Elizabeth stayed married and Jason was forced to watch Elizabeth raise her child—it was never going to end!”

“Emily—what did you do?” Zander asked quietly forcing himself to quell the rising panic.

“I guess my fight with Elizabeth was pretty—pretty well-known. I got a call late last month a-and she offered to separate them. No harm to them—just find a way to end the marriage. All I had to do was tell her a few things—”

“You sold them out to Faith?” Zander demanded. He jerked away from her and shook his head. “Damn it, Emily, what the hell were you thinking?”

“I didn’t sell them out!” Emily shrieked. “I just—she wanted to know who guarded Elizabeth and Carly. A-and the name of all the guards I knew. I didn’t see the harm—”

“They sold Elizabeth out!” Zander yelled. “Ric cut the power in her apartment and threatened her life—he told her that he would take her baby and then kill her—because you couldn’t stand to see your brother married to her. He got to her, Emily, and she’s holed up in the guest room at Jason’s. She refuses to come out, refuses to talk to anyone.”

“I didn’t think—”

“Lucky says she acted this way after the rape,” Zander said softly. “That’s what you’ve done to her. You gave Ric Lansing a clear path to her and now he’s terrorizing her again. How could you do this to her?”

“I didn’t mean for it to happen this way!” Emily cried. “I just wanted to get Jason away from her. I was scared he’d fall in love with her again and she’d turn him away again! I was afraid she’d turn back to you!”

Zander stared at her for a moment. “Back to me.” He closed his eyes. “We slept together once, Emily. Last summer. She was trapped in a stairwell and so scared—she wanted to feel something other than that fear and I wanted to feel something other than isolation. We slept together and we tried to make something of it because she’s not the one night stand type and you know it. She loved your brother and he turned her away for making a mistake. And by the time he forgave her, she’d fallen off the pedestal he’d always put her on. He didn’t trust her anymore—Jason hurt Elizabeth far more than she hurt him.”

“Gia said that Elizabeth went from Lucky to Jason to you to Jason to Ric and I was scared she’d keep doing it—I wanted to stop the cycle,” Emily tried to explain. She started forward.

“And now a man she trusted enough to sleep with is threatening the life of her child and the only thing you can think of is yourself. You weren’t trying to protect Jason. You were trying to protect yourself. Because you thought maybe Elizabeth might turn to me and apparently, you don’t trust me either.”

“No, Zander—”

“We’re done, Emily.” He shook his head. “We are completely done. You’re going to get dressed and you’re going to Jason’s. You’re going to tell your brother what you did and if he lets you, you’re going to tell Elizabeth.”

“No—there’s no reason they have to know—Zander, I love you—”

“I’m not sure I love you,” Zander interrupted. “I know that I love the Emily who left two years ago—the Emily I first knew. She was a little selfish but she had a good heart and would have done anything, sacrificed anything for her friends. This girl standing in front of me?” he shook his head again. “I don’t know her. Get dressed.”

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

“Did she at least let the doctor in?” Sonny asked Jason softly glancing towards the stairs.

“Yeah.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Her blood pressure’s up but some rest will take care of that. She sprained her ankle—but with the shock and everything, she didn’t even realize that until this morning.”

“But the baby’s okay?”

“As far as the doctor said, yeah.” Jason glanced towards the couch where Luke and Nikolas were engaged in a bitter debate—over what, he wasn’t sure.

Lucky trudged down the stairs and sighed. “She’s not opening the door. Did Zander call?”

“Not yet. Do you think he’ll convince Emily to come over?” Jason asked. “I know Elizabeth would appreciate her support.”

Luke rose from the couch and glared at his stepson before joining the trio by the stairs. “Laura’s at home and I vote we take the door down and at least get a woman in there to stay with her.”

“I’m not forcing Elizabeth to do anything she’s not ready for,” Jason said firmly. “If she wants Laura, fine. But she says she wants to be alone.”

“Did you find out who the leak was?” Nikolas demanded. “Because if you can’t keep her safe, I’m packing her off to Greece if I have to tape into a box and ship her there.”

Jason stepped towards the Cassadine prince. “She’s not going anywhere.” He looked at Sonny. “Dara took care of those annulment papers right?”

“It’s been called off. The families want a meeting and they want Elizabeth there. I don’t know why—but she needs to be there.”

Luke snorted. “If she’s going, I’m going—”

“There’s no need for you to go or for anyone other than the three of us,” Sonny said firmly.

The penthouse door swung open and Zander entered, practically dragging Emily behind him. She dug in her heels and refused to cross the threshold so he lifted her and set her inside. “Tell them.”

“Zander, what the hell is going on?” Jason demanded.

“Your sister will explain.” Zander shut the door and glared at his ex-girlfriend.

“I—” Emily shook her head and folded her hands to look at the ground.

“Maybe seeing Elizabeth will make your filthy mouth work,” Zander said angrily. “Maybe if she tells you what that slime did to her—”

“Zander, you must have a death wish,” Lucky snarled, pushing past Sonny and Jason. Nikolas held his brother back.

“Emily, what is Zander talking about?” Nikolas asked carefully.

“Tell them,” Zander spat.

“Faith Roscoe contacted me last month,” Emily said softly. “She’d heard about the fight Elizabeth and I were having and she offered her help.”

Jason stared at his sister—his face unreadable. “What kind of help?”

“In exchange for information, she would find a way to end the marriage,” Emily admitted. She darted her eyes up to Jason’s before closing them. “When she and Ric faked their deaths…I thought it was over. I made her promise not to hurt you or Elizabeth—”

The room was eerily silent as the men in Elizabeth’s life watched her own best friend tell them how she inadvertently set Elizabeth up to be ambushed.

“What information did you give her?” Sonny asked calmly.

Emily met no one’s eyes full on now. She stared at the floor. “The guards protecting Elizabeth and Carly and any other men I knew working for you.” She dug her hands into the sides of her jeans. “I know for a fact that she turned Francis against you—because he was the one who identified the bodies in France.”

Sonny bit off a vehement curse. He wanted to throttle the young woman for not only putting Elizabeth in danger but his own wife. But this was Jason’s little sister and for once—Sonny would follow Jason’s lead rather than his own.

The fight drained out of Lucky’s body and Nikolas released him. They stared at the girl they’d known most of their lives—the fourth member of the Musketeers.

“Zander says I should be the one to tell her,” Emily said softly. Tears were streaming down her cheeks but no one felt sympathy—no one felt pity. She’d brought it on herself.

“He’s right but I can’t let you do that,” Jason said coldly. “I don’t want you anywhere near her. Zander, take her home. Don’t let her out your sight.”

“But Jason—” Emily began to protest but Zander had already wrapped his hand around her arm and was dragging her out. “Jason, wait!”

He ignored her and ignored the looks from the other men in the room. “I’ll go and tell Elizabeth about the meeting but I’m not telling her about Emily. I want to wait until she’s stronger.”

“I’ll go home and give Laura the update,” Luke sighed. “Cowboy, you and the dark prince might as well come with me. There’s nothing we can do here right now.”

The trio filed out and Sonny turned back to Jason. “What do you want to do?”

“Keep Emily under lock and key for now,” Jason murmured. “I know what should be done about her but…”

“We can’t,” Sonny finished. “I understand. I don’t know how she justified this in her mind but…” he trailed off and shook his head.

“I’ll go upstairs and make sure Elizabeth is ready for the meeting,” Jason told him. “I’ll meet you in the parking garage.”

Morgan Penthouse: Elizabeth’s Bedroom

Jason knocked on the door before testing the doorknob. He was surprised when it twisted freely, indicating the door was open. He pushed it inward. Elizabeth was curled up in a large armchair near the window, staring out over the harbor.

“Elizabeth?” he said softly.

She glanced over at him. “Did you need something?”

“The Families called a meeting—and they want you there.” He crossed the room and kneeled next to her. “Your things are back from the apartment and Dara has cancelled the annulment.”

Elizabeth laughed bitterly. “So I guess you’re stuck with me, huh?”

He took her hand in his—rubbing his finger over the simple gold band of her wedding ring. “You’re stuck with me, too,” he pointed out.

“I wish…” she trailed off and sighed.

“What?” Jason pressed.

“I wish that this were real,” she breathed. She met his eyes. “I wish that we were married because we loved each other, that Laura was your daughter…I wish that you loved me.”

He stared at her for a moment, seemingly stunned at her words and part of him wanted to admit that he’d wished for the same as well. She dropped her chin into her chest and sighed.

With his free hand he tipped her face back up and traced the smooth line of her jaw. “What if I told you that I did?” Jason asked quietly.

She met his eyes—her gaze hesitant and a little bewildered. “Jason…”

He leaned forward and brushed his lips over hers. When he pulled back, she was still staring at him, her eyes wide with surprise. Before he could pull back any further, she caught his mouth again and kissed him hard, taking advantage of the moment.

He gripped her hips and pulled her off the chair and into his lap, thrusting his tongue past her willing lips. The kiss was wild and carnal, each only too aware that it’d been too long since they’d touched one another like this.

She raked her nails down the fabric of his blue t-shirt and he buried his hands in her long dark hair. He used the position to yank her head back so he could trail his lips down her neck, occasionally nipping at the soft skin.

Elizabeth yanked his shirt up and almost had it over his head when his cell phone rang. They broke apart abruptly and Elizabeth blinked, her chest heaving from the exertion of the passionate encounter. “Jason…”

He took a moment to calm his breathing before yanking his phone out of his back pocket. “Yeah?” He closed his eyes. Sonny. Jesus, he’d forgotten all about meeting him downstairs—forgotten all about the meeting with the Families.

“We’ll be right down.” Jason hung up and put the phone back in his pocket. “We have to get to the meeting.”

Elizabeth nodded and bit her lip. “What just happened here?” she asked quietly.

“Something I think we’ve both been thinking about for a while,” Jason admitted. He stood and pulled her to her feet. “Let’s talk about it when we get home, okay?”

“Okay.” She found a pair of sneakers and slid her feet into them. “Let’s get this over with then.”

No Name

The representatives were seated around the table, looking grim and disappointed. Ric Lansing’s death had been the best news they’d received all year and if they hadn’t seen the security tapes of Elizabeth Morgan being attacked, they might have thought Sonny had faked the deaths himself.

Sonny entered the room first and pulled out the chair so Elizabeth could sit down. She was limping a little on her sprained ankle and Jason had an arm around her waist, bracing her weight against him.

He helped into her chair and kept his hand tightly wrapped around one of hers.

Sammy Tagliatti cleared his throat. “First of all, I’d like to extend my apologies to Mrs. Morgan. We have viewed the tape and we are all very grateful that you are safe.”

Elizabeth did not acknowledge the words but kept her eyes trained on the table. Sonny clasped his hands together. “We launched a search but were unable to locate him. We have already made great strides in finding out who betrayed us.”

John O’Reilly nodded. “Ric Lansing is lower than scum,” he declared. “To treat any woman like that, especially a pregnant one—we have decided Elizabeth Morgan is no longer a threat to the organization.”

Her shoulders slumped and she closed her eyes. “Thank you,” she whispered.

Sammy nodded. “Yes—we are satisfied that she is willing to go to any lengths in which to protect herself from Lansing and the adoption has also satisfied us. However—we think it’s for the best you remain married.”

Michael Hernandez nodded in agreement. “It’s for security reasons. We will concentrate on finding Lansing and Faith,” he told Sonny. “Lansing has made it clear that retrieving Elizabeth is his primary goal. He will go for her again and you need to concentrate on keeping her safe.”

“I agree,” Sonny said. “Our lawyer has already stopped the annulment and Elizabeth has moved back into the penthouse. We appreciate your help in this situation.”

“Mrs. Morgan?” Sammy said.

She reluctantly met the mobster’s eyes and was surprised to find them kind and compassionate. “I would like to apologize for the way we have treated you and your unborn child. We are told that it is a girl?”

“Yes,” Elizabeth said softly. She glanced up at Jason, who squeezed her hand in response. “We’re naming her Laura.”

Thomas Caracas nodded. “Good, strong fine name. You and your daughter are under our protection as well, Mrs. Morgan and we will do our best to keep you both safe.”

“That is why we asked for you especially to be present this afternoon,” Sammy continued. “We thought an apology made face-to-face would mean more than one passed through Corinthos and Morgan.”

“Is that all?” Sonny asked. “We want to keep Elizabeth out of sight as much as possible. We’re installing a new security system at the Towers and she will have new guards.”

“We would like to hear more about the strides you have made in finding out the traitors in your organization,” Daniel Vega remarked. “Do you have names?”

“We know that Francis Corelli is one of them. He identified the bodies in France.” Sonny hesitated and looked to Jason.

“We know that someone close to the situation informed Faith Roscoe of the names of the guards working for us,” Jason admitted. “Faith knew Carly’s guards, Elizabeth’s guards and most of the ones who work at the building. We are already shuffling them out and moving new ones in.”

“Who is this person?” Hernandez asked. “Can you give us a name?”

Jason put his other hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder and sighed. “Emily Quartermaine.”

Elizabeth gasped and twisted in her chair. “No! It can’t be Emily!”

“Zander Smith discovered her involvement and brought her to us where she informed us.”

“Quartermaine…” Caracas frowned. “Isn’t that your sister, Morgan?”

“Yes,” Jason admitted.

“No, she’s covering for someone,” Elizabeth denied. “Emily’s my best friend—she wouldn’t do this to me.”

“What exactly did Faith Roscoe offer her in return?” O’Reilly asked.

“In return for the names of the guards, Emily was promised that the marriage between Elizabeth and Jason would come to an end without harm being done to either one of them. Unfortunately, Faith kept her word. With the annulment filed, she was free to do what she wanted to do. She got some guards to turn on us and they informed Ric of the security at the Towers,” Sonny revealed.

“I knew she was upset about the marriage…” Elizabeth blinked, her hands starting to tremble. “How could she do this?” She glared at Jason. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I wanted to wait until you were stronger,” Jason admitted. “We didn’t intend to say anything about it at this meeting but…”

“I’m sorry you had to find out like this,” Sammy told her. “A friend’s betrayal is one of the worst things that can ever happen.”

“I want to—I want to go home,” Elizabeth whispered. She stood. “Please—can we go?”

“Of course.” The men stood up as Jason helped Elizabeth from the room. Once they were out of earshot, Sammy looked at Sonny. “I’m sorry to hear about Ms. Quartermaine and I hope Mrs. Morgan can learn to accept the truth about her.”

“I sincerely hope we’re finished fighting this situation amongst us,” Sonny said quietly. “And that we can finally concentrate on the real villains. Ric Lansing and Faith Roscoe must be stopped.”

May 19, 2014

Sorry for just disappearing the last few days. My friend from Jersey is staying with me, and I have a major dissertation meeting with my supervisor tomorrow that I’ve been getting ready for pretty much every waking hour.

Tomorrow, I have that meeting, then some activities with friends planned, and then I’m going to dinner at Gordon Ramsey’s Maze in London for my birthday. After that, I’ll be in Ireland for three days. I don’t think I’ll be getting much writing done before Saturday, or even posting.

I’m still sending manual updates in addition to the site generated emails. If you have signed up to receive updates, and you have not received them, either from melissasuemchugh@gmail.com or newsletter@cg.dearisobel.org, please let me know!

I’ll try to take a break from dissertation research today and post some chapters of PD.

The Best ThingChapter 3 added. Thanks to Cora for the beta 🙂