July 18, 2014

Novels/Alternate Reality

1. The Best Thing – I finished Part One with the end of Chapter Seven, and I think the reason getting Part Two going is because the first few chapters are really setting up the actual meat of the story. I have to do the characterizations just right or honestly, it all falls apart. I’m almost finished Chapter Eight, but I’m unhappy with some of the scenes. One this chapter and possibly Chapter Nine are behind me, I feel like it’ll be smoother sailing.

2. These Small Hours – I’m working on major revisioning of this story, but it’s been slow-going because I’m been pressed for time and haven’t had much chance to really dig in. I hope to get it done soon, so I can finish outlining, storyboard and get back to writing it

3. Feels Like Home (formerly Tangle)  – I picked out the POV scenes I’m going to tackle first in hopes that it’ll jump start the rest of the story.  No ETA on posting.

4.  Damaged – I hope to finish Episode 005 soon. I just haven’t settled into a rhythm of writing this one yet. I hope to get into a routine of writing two scenes a day, so that I’ll be able to post an episode a week, but I’m not sure when this routine will commence, it might continue to be stalled in some ways until I move home to London and start working regular hours.

5. Mad World – I’ve got it mostly outlined, but I’m still trying to visualize the ending to get it just right. It’s insane ensemble piece that is going to be angsty and difficult, so I want to get it jut right.

6. Fallen From Grace – On the drawing board, waiting for its turn in the reoutlining cycle.

76. For the Broken Girl – A rewrite of the 2006 drugs storyline. I have the major events in my head, a ton of it is already outlined. I had some thoughts that I just started writing, and before I knew it, I had written a lot of details. I’m going back over it, trying to visualize the ending.

8. Untitled Chesapeake Bay Homage – I actually started playing with an outline for this, so you never know. I liked some of the stuff, but more of it needs to work. I do not want it to be just like Nora Roberts’ series — I wanted to use that plotline as a jumping point.

Novellas

1. The End of Everything – I haven’t even started to think about an outline for this. May end up being scrapped.

2.  The End of the Beginning – Storyboarded, just waiting for the mood to strike.

3. Inside Your Fear – As above, storyboarded and waiting for the right moment.

4. Paternity Switch – A rewrite of the paternity storyline from 2006, but it’s really on the edges of my mind, I have to play with a few things first history wise to see if it even works.

Short Stories

1. Three Weeks, Two Days – Storyboarded, just waiting to be angry enough to rewrite it as it’s a rewrite of Elizabeth switching the results of Sam’s test in 2012.

Backburnered/Hiatus

1. Come on Eileen – I hope to finish it off soon, but you never know

2. Turning Points – Will probably wrap this up in another few parts.

3.  Silent Reverie/Collision/Illusions – Sitting in development hell waiting for a turn in the outline cycle, or permanently stalled.

4. Burn in Heaven/Counting Stars/Life For Rent – Also in development hell, but way more likely to be written than those above.

 

 

So on July 31, the current featured stories will expire, which means I have to pick new ones. Please choose either from the ones below, or pick another one. The two highest vote getters will be featured for…six weeks to two months.

Stories That Have Already Been Featured:
Shadows
Daughters
First Do No Harm
Take Me By the Hand
Rest in Pieces
Two Strikes
Intoxication
Lullabyes
Sliding Door
Carly and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
The Witness
Hand Me Down

Poll Ends 31 July 2014!

After many moons, I posted Chapters 20 and 21 and the Epilogue for this albatross, ha.  You can click here: Poisonous Dreams to read it.

On my drawing board: I have Chapter 7 of The Best Thing compled and beta’d, but I’m going to hold off on posting it for a few reasons. Mostly though, it’s because I’m not done Chapter 8 and I like having at least one chapter in my holster. The mojo I was looking for with my fiction writing somehow happened with my dissertation, and I plan to start writing that this week as long as my supervisor approves my outline. Our very last visitor is leaving next Saturday, so I really can get the business going on that. During the period my first draft will be out for review, I’ll be writing and packing.

Thanks guys for sticking with me through this difficult time. I hope to make it worth your while 😛 I’ll be updating my story status page at some point today/tonight.

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

January 24, 2004

Morgan Penthouse

“Thanks, Andrew,” Elizabeth said as the guard set the large package on the coffee table. “I can’t believe how many presents Laura has.”

Andrew nodded. “The Families can be generous when they like.” He left her then and returned to his post on the door while Elizabeth worked on opening the package.

Life during the few months had been close to idyllic. She and Jason had renewed their vows at Christmas time and Laura had been born January 4. Their relationship with Emily was still awkward though she and Emily had made more progress than Emily and Jason.

They knew it would never be the same between all of them but Emily was not hoping for a miracle. Merely her brother’s forgiveness which Elizabeth knew he would one day reluctantly give.

“Jason!” she called. “We have to be at the church in an hour!”

“We’ll be down in a few minutes,” he called back over the sounds of Laura gurgling.

Elizabeth returned her attention to opening the package. She pulled some cotton from the top and withdrew an elegant silver rattle. She smiled and set it aside. She next pulled out a bottle of expensive champagne. “How odd,” she murmured.

The champagne had been resting on a soft white baby blanket that felt luxurious next to her skin. She pulled it from the box and a white envelope with her name scrawled in blood red ink fell from its folds.

She hesitantly set the blanket down and picked up the envelope. The handwriting was not familiar but she felt goose bumps rising on her skin as she opened it and slid out the thick cream-colored piece of paper. The ink inside matched the color outside and Elizabeth could fee her blood chill and her heart began beating fast as she read the note.

Congratulations on the baby, Princess. I’m sure you and your hubby are just thrilled. Have a drink on me and don’t worry—I’ll be sure to see you soon.

Love,
Faith

THE END

Author’s Note: Thanks for reading PD. I know there are some people who have no problem with this version (and may prefer this since there is not a ton of angst as there is in the rewritten version, A Few Words Too Many), but as a writer, I just knew I could do this storyline better. I think I did, but you guys are the ultimate judge. Rather than leaving to expire into the dust when my domain expires, it’ll remain in here for as long the threads work and on my site for as long as that’s around. 

This entry is part 22 of 23 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Poisonous Dreams #2

September 14, 2003

Corinthos Penthouse

Jason stared at the photos of Ric, Emily and Faith sitting in the loft that he had once shared with Courtney. She had sold them out. And she’d done it in a way that Emily never could have dreamed. Emily had been trying to protect her brother and though he could never forgive the method, he understood the motivation.

Courtney was exacting revenge and meant to hurt him. And to hurt Elizabeth. And he couldn’t forgive that.

“Now that we have this information, we can form a solid plan,” Laura said. She set the photo of Emily on the coffee table and leaned back against the arm of the couch. “We can lure Ric and Faith out of the apartment and lead them into a trap while we get past Courtney.”

Luke smirked. “Not much of a challenge.” He saw Sonny’s dark look and cleared his throat. “But I think it’d be better to lure Courtney out. I want her to get caught in the act.”

Carly nods. “Damn right. So here’s what I think—” she began.

“Carly, why don’t you head upstairs?” Sonny suggested. “Take a nap.”

Elizabeth hid a smile as Carly leveled a glare at her husband. “Why don’t you bite me?” she said sweetly. “As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted…Courtney obviously lured Emily to the penthouse so I’m assuming she herself can be lured there again. Sonny could go to her loft and tell her that it would be nice if she made her peace with Elizabeth.”

Luke nodded. “And you could tell her you’ll arrange for Jason to be out of the place, so it won’t be awkward. Nice going, Carlybabes.”

“I have my moments.” Carly ate a carrot stick and smiled at her husband. “But I’m not finished. Once Courtney finds out that Elizabeth is alone and guarded by the usual guards, I’m sure at least Ric will jump at the chance to try for something. And Courtney will have to get him inside the penthouse and figure out how to dispose of the guards.”

“But that leaves Faith with Emily,” Elizabeth said. “Faith’s the one I trust least of all. She’s got no stake in this, no reason to keep after me.”

“Exactly what I’m counting on. Faith is out for Faith,” Carly observed. “A trait I can definitely understand and even admire. She’s smart. She’s going to recognize the trap.”

“And this is something we want?” Nikolas asked skeptically.

“Because Ric won’t care,” Elizabeth murmured. “He’s come too far. He’s too close. He makes mistakes when that happens. He goes too fast, does things he shouldn’t. When we thought they were dead and I was out of the penthouse…Ric waited less than a week to make his move. If he’d waited longer, until we were more comfortable and less on our guards, he might have succeeded. But he wanted to take his chance right at that moment. He won’t be able to resist the attempt to get me.”

Jason pulled her hand into his lap and held it tightly. “So even if Faith warns him, he won’t care. He’ll go anyway. And if we count on Faith seeing the trap—”

“She’s gonna do what Faith does best.” Carly’s lips curved into a smile that Luke recognized from her days of tormenting Barbara Jean. “She’s going to look out for number one. She won’t stick around that loft long enough for one of us to catch her. Which leaves Emily free for the taking.”

Sonny kissed his wife hard. “Days like this I remember why I married you.”

“You’d better. Now, I want some Oreos to go with the words.”

September 16, 2003

Courtney’s Loft

When Sonny entered his sister’s loft, he knew that Ric, Faith and Emily were somewhere within and the knowledge made it hard to look into his sister’s smiling face. “Hey.”

“Hey, Sonny,” Courtney said warmly. She sat on the couch and tucked her legs underneath her body. “What brings you by?”

“I know this situation has been awkward,” Sonny began, “and I know you’ve been hurt about Jason and Elizabeth’s marriage…”

“It was my own fault,” Courtney interrupted. “I knew he wasn’t over her and I let myself fall in love with him anyway. Just another one of life lessons.”

God he wished he could believe that. That she was okay. That none of this was happening. He cleared his throat. “Well, that’s good. Elizabeth’s just been upset about it for weeks. And I was hoping you might relieve some of the stress by just…making your peace.”

Courtney tensed. “Why?”

“You don’t have to mean it.” Sonny managed a smile. “She’s just been stressed with the baby, with arguing with you…this thing with Ric. Jason refuses to let her out of the house or near a phone because he knows how torn up she is about Emily.”

“She’s not going to do anything stupid is she?” Courtney asked hesitantly.

“If she had the chance…” Sonny sighed. “I think she might go to save Emily. A lot of misplaced loyalty in that girl. Anyway, I know she could use a friendly face and with Emily gone, she could use a friend. If it helps, I can arrange for Jason to be gone. If that would make it better.”

“Well…” He could almost see the wheels in her head turning. “I wouldn’t want her to be upset on my account,” Courtney said after a moment. “She’s pregnant and all this stress isn’t good. I guess I could come by around sevenish? If you could make sure Jason’s gone then?”

“Great.” Sonny kissed his sister’s cheek and stood. “We’re all a family now and we have to stick together.”

“Right.” Courtney stood. “I’m glad we talked this through.”

“Me, too.” Sonny smiled at her before making an excuse and leaving. He’d never felt so nauseated in his whole life.

When he was gone, Courtney turned and called out. Faith stepped out of a closet and Ric slid out from under the bed. He went to check on Emily who they had stuffed in the shower stall and tied to the door.

“You’re not actually going to go are you?” Faith asked, slightly bored. “You’re not that good of an actress.”

Ric dragged a struggling Emily out of the bathroom and tied her to a chair. “It’s perfect,” he declared. “Courtney can get inside and let me in. Elizabeth will understand when she sees me. You heard Sonny. If she had the chance, she would go.”

“Oh you have got to be kidding me.” Faith pursed her lips. “It’s a trap and you’re going to walk right into it.”

Courtney shook her head. “Sonny has no idea I’m involved. If he did, I wouldn’t even be breathing. It can’t be a trap.”

“You go in, I’ll come in through the balcony and once we’re sure she’s cooperating,” Ric told Courtney, “she can leave with you and I’ll go back out. She won’t believe that you’re involved unless she sees me.”

“She’ll probably think I’m trying to do away with her because of Jason,” Courtney mused. She hesitated. “But maybe I should try to lure her out on my own. I don’t think you should take the chance.”

“This is what I’ve been waiting months for,” Ric replied. “I have to be there to see it play out.”

“This is like some really bad horror movie,” Faith muttered. She looked at Emily. “Can you believe these two?”

“Shut up, Faith,” Ric said absently. “Okay, so if he’s arranging for Jason to be gone around seven, I’ll be there at 7:10.”

Courtney nodded. “So it’s a plan.”

“It’s a trap!” Faith threw up her hands in exasperation.

Morgan Penthouse

“It’s 6:45, Jason,” Sonny called up the stairs. In Elizabeth’s art studio, Jason tilted his head towards the door and Andrew stepped outside. “I don’t like the idea of you actually being here,” Jason repeated for the third time that afternoon.

“I’ll be in the room with Andrew and you know that Ric’s never even going to reach the stairs. I just want the chance to see him when he’s caught. When this is over.”

Jason hesitated and took her hands in his. “Just promise me you won’t come out until we tell you it’s clear.”

“I promise.”

“And then when this is over, we’re going to have another wedding,” he told her. “One where we’re both sure and ready.”

“Jason, we don’t have to—”

“I want to.” He kissed her lightly. “I’m going to go back downstairs. Wait here with Andrew. Okay?”

“Okay.” She squeezed his hands and reluctantly let him go as he left the room. Andrew reentered a moment later. “It’s going to be okay, right?”

“Sure, Mrs. Morgan. Mr. Morgan’s going to take care of anything. Can we get you into the room now?”

“I get the feeling that you would tell me whatever I want to hear,” Elizabeth sighed as Andrew herded her into the room.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Yeah?” Elizabeth smiled as Andrew locked the door behind them. “Who’s your favorite, me or Carly?”

With an absolute straight face, Andrew answered, “Mrs. Corinthos of course.”

It was the first genuine laugh Elizabeth had managed in weeks.

Hallway

Courtney breezed out the elevators a few moments later and smiled charmingly at Bill and Frank, the guards on duty. “Hey, did Sonny tell you I was coming by?”

“Yep.” Frank smiled. “Mr. Morgan’s already gone and Mrs. Morgan is in her studio. She said to send you right up.”

“Great.” Courtney passed them and went into the penthouse. Sonny stepped out from the opposite corner.

“It’s time.”

Courtney’s Loft

“They never listen,” Faith muttered. She jabbed the syringe into a vial of clear liquid. “I’m the one not emotionally involved but do they listen? No. They run straight into a trap. Well not me. Not this time.”

She yanked the gag off Emily. “Look, tell your brother I was only this for as long as Ric was useful. We had plans. It wasn’t supposed to take this long to secure that stupid harpy but he insisted. Well now he’s done himself in and I’m hitting the road. I’m going to drug you so you pass out and once I’m out of town, I’ll call your sweet brother to tell him where I’ve left you.”

Emily glared at the blonde. “He’ll find you.”

“Lovely. Looking forward to it.” Faith’s lips curved into a smile. “But when he does, it’ll be on my own terms and not because my partner’s a royal moron.” She set the tip of the needle against Emily’s arm. “Sweet dreams, buttercup.”

Morgan Penthouse

When she was inside the penthouse, Courtney bypassed the stairs and headed straight for the balcony where she unlocked the windows and drew them open. “She’s in her studio. Let’s get this over with.”

Ric climbed inside and walked briskly towards the stairs. When his foot was on the first step, Jason stepped onto the landing. “Going somewhere?” he asked.

Ric stepped back, his eyes wide. He spun around but Johnny exited from the kitchen along with another guard who moved to block the window.

And Sonny stepped in through the front door. “Fancy meeting you here, Lansing,” he murmured.

“Sonny, I can explain,” Courtney began.

“Save it,” Sonny said coldly. He met Jason’s eyes before looking at the trapped duo. “It’s over.”

In A Car

Faith Roscoe pressed the cell phone to her ear. “Hello, Jason, darling. I’m sure by now you’ve caught the bumbling idiots. I tried to warn them but they wouldn’t listen. I thought it was time to cut the loose ends.” She laughed. “But you’re probably more concerned about the darling little sister. I left her with her parents. I’m sure they were terribly worried.”

She shut the phone off and looked in her rearview mirror. “Don’t rest too easily, Port Charles,” she murmured. “I won’t be gone forever.”

This entry is part 21 of 23 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Poisonous Dreams #2

September 12, 2003

Elm St. Pier: Security Van

Luke slid on a pair of headphones and looked at his wife. “You ready?”

“Ready.” She leaned forward and spoke into the microphone. “Elizabeth? I’ve got you on camera. Just touch your ear if you can hear me.”

The grainy image on the screen inside shifted and Elizabeth touched her ear. “Great, honey. Luke and I are around the corner in the van.” She looked at another screen. “Sonny’s under the steps and Jason’s about five feet away behind a bush. Nikolas, Lucky and Zander are spread over a few rooftops.”

Elizabeth touched her ear again and Luke smiled proudly and pointed to the screen. “Look at her, she makes one hell of a Spencer.”

Elm St. Pier: Bushes

Jason shifted, not even looking away from Elizabeth long enough to blink. He hated this idea—he hated every inch of it. They could cover all the angles they’d want but Ric could be anywhere and one shot would take her away from him.

But Emily was in danger and Elizabeth would do anything to save her. Better they do this with supervision and all the security money could buy than her rushing off on her own.

“Morgan.” Luke’s hushed voice spoke through his earpiece. “It’s 7:59. You ready?”

“As I’ll ever be,” Jason muttered.

Corinthos Penthouse

Carly shoved another Oreo in her mouth as a silent rebellion to the husband who didn’t think she belonged out tonight.

She took another from the package and raised it up. “This is for you, jackass.”

Elm St. Pier

At exactly eight, her cell rang. Elizabeth kept her hand steady and raised it to her ear. “Yes?”

“Hello, beautiful,” Ric said smoothly.

Inside the van, Luke growled a little but Laura kept her concentration on the tracing machine, trying to pinpoint Ric’s location.

“I want Emily returned now,” Elizabeth said firmly. “Tell me what I have to do to guarantee that.”

“She didn’t think you’d come for her,” Ric informed her. “She prayed for it actually—even now she’s shaking her head. She can’t believe you’d try to save her after how she betrayed her.”

“She was protecting her brother. I’d do anything for mine,” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “I want her back.”

“It can be arranged.” Ric paused.

“What do you want?” Elizabeth snapped

“You.”

Elizabeth tensed. “What?”

“You surrender willingly. End this. You turn yourself over to me—walk away from your friends, your family—your beloved husband. In return, your best friend returns safe and unharmed.”

“I’m not stupid, Ric. I do that and I’m dead as soon as the baby’s born.”

“I’m open to negotiations.” There was another pause. “Do we have a deal?”

“No!” Emily shrieked in the background. “Don’t Elizabeth!”

“I have a gun pointed at your lovely friend’s forehead. Do you really want to play with Emily’s life?”

“I’ll do it,” Elizabeth said quickly. “When and where?”

“I’ll be in touch.”

The phone went dead and Elizabeth slowly slid the cell into her pocket. She touched her ear and walked away, slipping into the shadows.

What she really did was move under the steps where Sonny was waiting. “Well?” he asked. “How did it go?”

“It went.” Elizabeth exhaled slowly and when Jason joined them, she wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him tightly. “I had to agree—I’m sorry.”

“Agree to what?” Jason demanded.

“Oh, Lizzie,” Luke sighed in her earpiece. “Tell Butch and Cassidy we’re heading back to the joint. We’ll have the tapes there.”

“Luke said to go back to the penthouse,” Elizabeth said dully. “He’ll play the tapes for you then.”

“What did you agree to?” Jason repeated.

She didn’t answer him then or the next three times he asked.

Corinthos Penthouse

Carly had hidden all signs of her junk food binge though Sonny studied her as though he’d like to smell her breath. She was rapidly tapping her fingernails against her glass of milk as she watched Laura slide a tape into a tape player on the table. “I didn’t know they still made those things,” she mused.

“Technology’s wonderful but I don’t exactly have the equipment to record CDs in that dingy van,” Luke said dryly.

“Quiet,” Jason said and Laura pressed play.

“Hello, beautiful.”

“I want Emily returned now. Tell me what I have to do to guarantee that.”

“She didn’t think you’d come for her. She prayed for it, actually—even now she’s shaking her head. She can’t believe you’d try to save her after how she betrayed her.”

“She was protecting her brother. I’d do anything for mine. I want her back. ”

“It can be arranged.

“What do you want?”

You.”

“What?”

“You surrender willingly. End this. You turn yourself over to me—walk away from your friends, your family—your beloved husband. In return, your best friend returns safe and unharmed.”

“I’m not stupid, Ric. I do that and I’m dead as soon as the baby’s born.”

“I’m open to negotiations. Do we have a deal?”

“No! Don’t Elizabeth!”

“I have a gun pointed at your lovely friend’s forehead. Do you really want to play with Emily’s life?”

“I’ll do it. When and where?”

“I’ll be in touch.”

Laura turned it off and sighed. “He’s in Port Charles. All we could pinpoint was that he was within five miles of the pier. Voices didn’t echo so it’s probably an apartment or a house of some kind.”

“I’ll have my men search every inch of the surrounding five miles,” Sonny said. “Elizabeth bought us some more time.” He leveled a cool gaze at the brunette in question. “Which is all you did. Don’t think for one second any of us are entertaining the idea of letting you walk away.”

Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “If we don’t find Emily or Ric and Faith before that, we might have to. It would buy even more time since Laura’s not due until January—”

“Don’t ask me to let you do it,” Jason told her quietly. “It was hard enough doing this tonight. I’m not going to hand you off to him.”

“You’re not going to do anything,” Elizabeth said testily. “You may be my husband but—”

“He’s right, Elizabeth. He needs you alive to get Laura but there are other ways to hurt you. It’s very noble of you but Emily doesn’t really deserve that kind of loyalty,” Nikolas said. “I want her back as much as you do but you even heard her in the background. She doesn’t want you do this either.”

Elizabeth sighed. “Fine. I just—I wish I could go back eight months and run screaming the first time I laid eyes on Ric Lansing.”

“Well wish in one hand—Ow!” Luke rubbed his elbow. “Watch it woman,” he snarled good-naturedly at Laura.

“We’ll find Emily,” Laura told Elizabeth. “You’ve put yourself on the line for someone who hurt you so much. But don’t let your love for her blind you. You’re a mother now.”

“Right,” Carly said. “I love Courtney but you wouldn’t see me putting this kid on the line for her.” She snorted. “Even if that girl can’t keep a thought in her head anymore.”

Sonny frowned and looked at Carly oddly. “What does that mean?”

“Well, she came by about two weeks ago. Something about going to lunch—making up for distance. I went up to get changed and when I came back down, she told me it was nice visiting and she’d see me later.”

Jason sat up slowly. “She was alone downstairs?”

“Yeah.” Carly narrowed her eyes and looked from her husband to Jason and back again. “Why?”

“How well does Courtney know the guards?” Lucky asked.

“Pretty well. Francis guarded—” Carly bit her lip and looked down. “Well, there’s a strange coincidence.”

“I’ll have someone take a look at her place first,” Sonny said softly. “Just…just to rule it out.”

Elizabeth frowned. “You think Courtney did this? She’s angry but working with Faith and Ric—isn’t that taking it a little far?”

“Well….” Nikolas hesitated. “I would say yes under normal circumstances but did anyone really think Emily would do it either?”

September 13, 2003

Quartermaine Mansion: Terrace

“It’s not like Emily to just take off without any word,” Monica murmured as she traded speculative looks with her husband.

Jason shifted uncomfortably. “With everything that happened with Elizabeth, she and Zander wanted to take some time. They left for the island a few days ago. I meant to come and tell you sooner but Elizabeth’s been feeling ill. I didn’t want to leave her.”

“Of course not,” Monica replied. “Is she feeling better?”

“Much.” Jason hated lying. Even if it was for the good of everyone involved—he hated it and he hated that he knew Monica and Alan didn’t believe a word of what he said.

“When you see Emily, tell her we understand,” Alan said after a moment. “That we trust her to take care of herself and if she can’t, that you will.”

The silent message was understand and Jason nodded before leaving the terrace.

Monica sagged against Alan. “Do you think Emily’s all right?”

“I think that Jason will do whatever he needs to do to be sure she is.” Alan wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “Do you think he’ll ever tell us what happened to her?”

“I somehow doubt it,” Monica said, slightly resigned. “I want to run to the police and demand they find her. I hate knowing that that Jason is our only hope of having Emily home again.” She exhaled slowly. “It makes me feel so useless.”

Corinthos Penthouse

Sonny stared at the report in his hands and then flipped to the accompany pictures. If he hadn’t seen proof, he might not have believed it.

A picture taken from the roof of the building across the street revealed the shadow of a man in Courtney’s apartment. A second picture found a blonde much smaller than Courtney lounging in the living room.

And still a third revealed a slim brunette sitting in a chair in the kitchen. Tied to a chair to be more exact.

Ric and Faith were indeed hiding in Port Charles. They were hiding in Courtney’s loft.

July 7, 2014

Trying to sit here and write, but it is damned difficult because there’s some heavy construction going on with drills and jackhammers and I feel like they’re in the next room. Honestly. Don’t they know we’re working on dissertations? (Well, some of us are. This was supposed to my morning to write fanfiction, heh.)

One of my plugins for organizing the stories is having issues. I don’t know if it’s breaking anything on the site, but I’m trying to fix it.  Will keep you updated.

Sincerely plan to post PD today. It’s on my to-do list and everything.

July 2, 2014

Finally, finally! I added Chapter Six to The Best Thing.  As always, abject apologies for disappearing but, ha, at least it wasn’t for six years this time. What’s a month compared to that?

I have plans to add PD’s last two chapters today. If I don’t, I will add them tomorrow. I’ll also be updating the status page at some time.

Oh, my subscription plugin was upgraded to some sort of nonsense called ReadyGraph. I don’t know what that’s about but I hope somehow you guys are still getting updates. I am not in the mood to go through that nonsense again.

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series The Best Thing: Sanctuary

All this time we were waiting for each other
All this time I was waiting for you
We got all these words, can’t waste them on another
So I’m straight in a straight line running back to you
– All This Time, OneRepublic


Friday, February 12, 2005

New York City

Waldorf Astoria Hotel: Jason’s Suite

When Elizabeth had seen Jason’s name on the RVSP list the gallery had sent her earlier that week, her first thought had been to murder her best friend.

Emily staunchly told her that she had honestly not convinced Jason to go. He had decided on his own. Elizabeth wanted to believe that, but she knew her best friend better.

She raised her hand to knock on the suite door and hesitated when a bright, bouncy young blonde woman pulled open the door. “Hi!”

“Uh.” She blinked. Why was it always blondes? “Hello. I…” She couldn’t have the wrong room. Nikolas had rented the entire floor. “I’m looking for Jason.”

“Oh. He’s just giving Evie her breakfast.” The woman stuck out her hand. “I’m Nora Rogers.”

Nora. The nanny. Right. “Elizabeth Webber,” she replied, gingerly shaking it.

Nora’s green eyes widened, and her smile deepened. “The artist Mr. Morgan is here to see! Oh, it’s so awesome! I’m from New York, you know, but I have never stayed at a hotel so amazing!” She stepped away from the door and waved Elizabeth in. “Come in, I’ll go get Mr. Morgan.”

Nora had disappeared into another room before Elizabeth could protest. How did Jason put up with such cheerfulness? She could practically see the exclamation points over the woman’s head.

A few seconds later, Jason emerged from the room. “Hey.”

“Hey.” Elizabeth hesitated, because now she couldn’t quite remember why she had stopped by. She should have talked to him in Port Charles, thanked him there instead of coming to his room, but everything had been so hectic these last two weeks. “I…stopped by to thank you for coming. I…didn’t think you would.”

“Yeah.” Jason looked slightly uncomfortably. He glanced over her shoulder at the still open door, where they could hear Nora’s voice wafting through. He took her by the elbow across the room and through another doorway into what looked like his bedroom. He closed the door. “I talked to Emily.”

Elizabeth huffed. “I knew it. She swore she had nothing to do with it, but she’s a Quartermaine. They somehow lie and tell the truth at the same time—”

He held up a hand. “No. I mean, yeah, she did kind of…she made me realize that…” He dipped his head and looked at the floor for a moment before raising it back and meeting her eyes. “We say we’re friends again. We talk. But you didn’t think you could even invite me tonight because I might feel obligated to show up.”

“I…” Elizabeth bit her lip. “It’s just…it’s not your thing, you know? And I know you…might come just to…” She shrugged and looked away, over his shoulder. “I don’t know. I guess…I’m out of practice being part of your life.”

“And my first instinct was to not come,” Jason admitted. “But I really am happy for you. About tonight. And not that long ago, I wouldn’t have hesitated to accept. This is important to you, and you…” He paused, and his voice changed a little. “You are important to me.”

Oh, hell. She was really going to murder Emily now. Making her admit that there was still…something here—even though Elizabeth was convinced it was residual and would go away if she just ignored it—made her more aware of it when it happened.

But that stupid, ridiculous flutter had been ignored for years and yet, there it was. It had survived despite her repeated attempts to drown it.

Nervous, she licked her lips. “I wanted you to come,” she admitted. “Because I…you were one of the first people to believe in me. Apart from Lucky. Even when you didn’t understand the paintings. So…I’m glad you came.”

She broke eye contact, because her stomach was rolling and almost doing somersaults. “Anyway…that’s why I’m here.”

“Okay.” He looked slightly relieved that she had changed the topic, which confused her because hadn’t he drowned out those feelings, too?

Bad road. Stay off that road. She cleared her throat. “So…I’ll just go—”

“Did Emily talk to you about Nora?” Jason stepped in front her as she headed toward the door. “She told me your grandmother and brother were going to split baby-sitting Cameron, and she thought if…you were okay with it, Nora could look after him.”

“Oh.” Surprised, Elizabeth rocked back on her heels. “I, ah, that would be…if she doesn’t mind. And if Cam likes her, though he likes almost everyone. He even liked Tracy—” Stop rambling. “I have to be at the gallery at six, but the opening doesn’t start until seven, so maybe Em or Steve could drop him off before they leave…” She tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. “If she’s really okay with it.”

“She said it was fine. She was going to be here anyway with Evie because I didn’t want to leave her overnight.”

They just stared at one another for a minute before she offered a nervous smile. “So. Okay. I’ll go now—I have some things to do—”

He nodded and pulled open the door, stepping back to allow her to leave the bedroom. “I-I’ll see you tonight.”

She nodded and escaped the suite before this became even worse. Stupid flutters. Stupid change in his voice. His stupid eyes and the way he always looked at her.

Stupid girl for letting Emily open this door and then walking right on through it. This was only going to end in disaster, as it had the other eight thousand times they had walked down this road.

Why should this time be any different?

Harris Gallery: Front Room

She had once been a brilliant actress, able to paste a genuine smile on her face at the drop of hat. It had come in handy during her brief modeling career, though the camera had pretty much loathed her.

As another person came up to her to admire her brilliant work and then ask for more details behind the painting with the red shoe, or how about the one with the flames, she thought the smile might crack.

The door opened and she almost groaned in relief as she saw her grandmother’s silver hair and her brother’s curls stepping into the lobby. “Excuse me,” she murmured to someone waxing poetic about the hidden subtexts in one of her San Francisco landscapes.

“Gram!” She embraced Audrey fiercely. “Thank God you’re finally here.”

“What’s wrong, Bits?” Steven asked as Elizabeth turned to hug him. “Not enjoying your fame?”

She wrinkled her nose. “I’d rather no one knew who I was, but so far everyone has been nice.” She grinned when she saw Lucky and his girlfriend, Leyla Mir. “Hey, good lookin’.”

“Hey, you.” Lucky wrapped his arms around her tightly, and into her ear, he whispered, “This is everything I ever dreamed for you, you know? I am so goddamn proud of you, Elizabeth.” He drew back, and for just a moment, Elizabeth let herself be that girl again.

“It’s so exciting,” Leyla murmured in her delicate British accent. She wrapped her arm through Lucky’s. “Shall we look around?”

“Yes, yes.” Elizabeth waved her hand. “Mingle. Don’t crowd me or people will think I’m someone worth talking to.”

Emily and Nikolas entered next, with Jason just behind them. Emily’s eyes took in the high ceilings of the room and the canvases on the wall. “Holy crap, Elizabeth. You’re a real artist now.”

Elizabeth laughed and hugged her tightly. “I know. People are calling me brilliant and saying I’m the next fill in a name of an artist I can never possibly hope to emulate.” She turned to Nikolas. “Thank you so much for coming, and for the hotel, Nikolas—”

“Only the best for the next most famous artist.” He kissed her cheek. “I’m going to take Emily and we’re going to buy something for my office so everyone will envy my Webber original.”

“Oh, no…you don’t have to—” Elizabeth sighed as the two just smiled and started down towards one of the displays. “Bastards,” she muttered under her breath.

She turned to her last visitor and that freaking flutter started again. Jason Morgan in a leather jacket and t-shirt was hot enough, but in a suit? There was no equal.

She took in his hesitant stance and stepped forward. “You clean up nice.” She leaned up on her toes to press a kiss to his cheek. “Thanks for dressing up. I know you hate it.”

“It’s…only for a few hours.” He smiled. “You look…” He glanced at her strapless black dress that fell to her knees and her silver sandal heels. “You look beautiful, Elizabeth.”

Hell. The way he always said her name. She was fighting a losing battle and she knew it. “Thank you.” She reached, out of habit, to tuck a piece of hair behind her ear but none had escaped the knot of curls at the base of her neck. “Um. So I have a favor to ask of you.”

“Anything.”

She looped her arm through his and steered him deeper in the room. “So people are coming up to me, you know, because they know I’m the artist, but they’re asking all these deep, personal questions about why I painted some of the things I did…a-and I don’t want to answer them.”

“I can tell them to go away if you want,” Jason said in a tone so serious that she knew he was telling the truth.

She laughed. “No, I think…if I just stick with you, people won’t even bother coming near me.” She arched her brow at him. “You’re pretty intimidating, you know.”

“I’ve heard that before,” he said with a nod. “So you just want to use me?”

“Would you mind?” She asked with a bright smile. “I’m glad people like the paintings, but like I told my brother, I’d rather people didn’t know who I was. It’s not about me. It’s about the work.”

“I don’t mind.” He hesitated. “But you have to do something for me.”

Just this once, she wanted him to be the kind of guy who might ask for something completely indecent in return, because with the way he was looking her, she would definitely agree.

“You know…I have trouble with the paintings, so if you could…” He gestured towards the walls. “Tell me some of them. So I could understand them. Like you did with the Wind, remember?”

And just like that, Elizabeth stopped fighting the battle.

Maybe she wasn’t still in love with Jason Morgan, but she could see it happening again. And for some reason, in this moment, it didn’t seem so terrifying.

“Absolutely.” She nodded. “Where do you want to start?”

“How about with one of your favorites?” he asked.

“Sure.” She steered him into the next room and stopped in front of a canvas that still made her chest tighten when she saw it. “So this one…It’s called Anticipation. Do you see the peach and grays? They come out of the lower left corner and reach into the middle of the painting.”

He nodded, and squinted “Yeah.” He hesitated and looked at her. “Are…they hands?”

She beamed. “Yes! There’s a shadow in the upper right, coming towards them. It’s my hands reaching out for Cameron right after he was born, but just before I held him.”

She closed her eyes remembering that moment. “Everything just…bubbled up inside of me. I was so ready, so incredibly focused on being a mother. I was ecstatic and I was terrified because this little boy was going to depend on me for so much. I was sad because I was alone, but then I realized I would never be alone again.”

She opened her eyes and looked up at him to find him staring at her intently. “It’s the moment I think I really grew up and realized that absolutely everything in my life that led me to this point was so worth it. The pain, the trauma, the good times, the bad. If it brought me to my beautiful little boy, there isn’t a single thing I would take back. I had no more regrets, because if I regretted something, it meant I regretted him.” She cleared her throat, feeling her eyes almost burning with the memory. “I have never loved anyone in my entire life the way I love my son, Jason. I know you know what I mean.”

“I-I do.” He hesitated and glanced back at the canvas, as if seeing it for the first time. “I didn’t…consider Michael my son the first time I held him, but I knew he was dependent on me and I…didn’t know what came next. But it…” He paused. “It also reminds me of Sam.”

“Yeah?” She reached down and twined their fingers together. “When Evie was born?”

“Yeah.” He took a deep breath, and his voice faltered a bit before he could begin again. “She held her just once, you know? I had-I had to help because she was so weak, but she wanted to hold her. So one day, I can tell Evie that her mother loved her so much that she used what was left of her strength to touch her, to kiss her and promise her she would always be with her.”

Elizabeth closed her eyes, grateful for tear-proof mascara. “I can’t imagine the pain Sam must have been feeling, knowing…she would never have more than that one moment.”

“People…I know they think Sam and I…that we were…we weren’t, but we were friends. And that moment…it’s why I promised her. Sonny and Carly…would not raise Evie up to remember Sam. Not…the way she should know her. They tell Michael AJ is someone to be scared of, to run from.”

He hesitated. “AJ’s…he’s not…he would never hurt Michael. He might not…be a good person most of the time, but I know he’s not cruel or malicious, but that’s how Michael thinks of him. As a monster.” He shook his head. “I can’t let Evie think that after everything Sam did to protect her.”

“Even though it created more problems with Sonny?” Elizabeth asked softly. “Even if it means you might…lose her one day?”

“I’m not…blind. I know Sonny might…come for her. That it’s more likely than not,” Jason admitted. “But what am I supposed to do, Elizabeth? Not love her? Not honor my promise to Sam? I promised Carly to take care of Michael, and I kept it until they wouldn’t let me.” He dipped his head down. “Sonny…he’s important to me, but I can’t…I can’t ignore why Sam did what she did.”

“He must have hurt her so much,” Elizabeth murmured. “Made her feel like she could never measure up.”

“Yeah.” His voice nearly hoarse. “He’s not…he’s not a good father, Elizabeth. Not…lately. And not for a long time. He sees Michael and Morgan as possessions, not as people. I wanted better for Michael once, because that’s how the Quartermaines would have seen him, but now…”

“You can protect Evie from that for as long as you’re able.” She pressed her forehead to the sleeve of his dark jacket. “She’s in the best place possible, and it’s going to make all the difference, Jason.”

She cleared her throat and stepped back a little. “Let’s….go look at some of the landscapes from San Francisco. They’re…boring. Which means they’re less depressing.”

“It’s…” Jason stopped her as she would have pulled him away. “I didn’t mean to make you think…this is your favorite and—”

“It still is. It just…it means something happy for me, but it means something sad for you. That’s art.” She tightened her grip on his hand as if to reassure him. “The same painting can have different meanings depending on who looks at it. So…let me show you a painting I did of Alcatraz and you can tell me what it was like to visit it.”

Harris Gallery: Front Room

Emily tried to crane her head around the corner to see Jason and Elizabeth talking, but she just couldn’t manage it. They had disappeared into the back room of the gallery nearly twenty minutes ago and she was peeved she couldn’t watch their progress.

But maybe it was for the best. She had gone to great lengths to create this opportunity, risked both their wraths and it seemed to have paid off. If they didn’t see the scorching hot sparks they set off when they saw each other tonight, well…God, Emily didn’t even want to know them. Idiots.

“You know,” Nikolas said, with a deep sigh, “I think I always knew Elizabeth must be amazing, but I never…really saw anything she did, beyond sketches for the Nurse’s Ball or for fun. These are…”

“Breathtaking.” Emily turned her attention to the canvases in front of her. “I would have pretended to like them even if I didn’t because I love her, but I don’t have to. These are incredible.”

“I don’t know which one to pick.” He gestured toward the one in front of them. It was a woman in a bed, the shadows keeping her features vague and her setting undefined, but the woman, with her head in her hands, emitted a stark sense of isolation and loss. “When…do we know which moment this is?”

“I was in San Francisco when she was finishing it. She was in therapy for a while this summer,” Emily admitted. “After a session, she came home and did this one—she’s waking up from her pulmonary embolism and she’s telling Capelli about Carly and the panic room.”

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Right. Well, I don’t want that one on my wall.” He turned, his arm around Emily’s waist and on the wall directly behind him…

Nikolas stopped, and she watched the muscles in his throat shift as he swallowed hard. “What?” she began, as she focused on the winter scene. It was the stone fountain and benches of the park.

And a lone red shoe, with its heel snapped off and lying next to it, carelessly strewn between the fountain and the dark vastness of the greenery behind the bench.

And somehow, Emily felt like she was the painting. She knew this moment. Had been present for parts of Elizabeth’s recovery. “Nikolas—”

“I told…Lucky the truth about Luke and Laura right there,” he murmured. “I didn’t—I didn’t know about Elizabeth then, you know. I wouldn’t have told him at all if I had known why he was so angry. Or maybe I would. It’s hard…to remember those days before we were really brothers. Before we were friends. But I told him right near the spot he had found her crawling out of the bushes…that his father had done that to Laura once. Just to get back at him for throwing my father’s abuse in my face.”

“Nikolas…” She sighed. “He doesn’t…it’s past us now. Luke and Lucky are close, sort of.”

“I can’t…How can she stand to paint these moments? Of the worst moments in her life? How can she stand in this room, looking excited and smile while evidence of her tragedies surround her?” He looked at her, his eyes dark with pain. “How can she be so goddamn strong, Emily, when just one of these memories would break anyone else?”

“Because she’s amazing,” Emily answered softly. “And this is her way of letting those moments go. Of putting them in her past and moving forward.” She saw out of the corner of her eye her brother and Elizabeth walk out of the back room, toward the row of landscapes. Her arm was looped through his, and they were talking, even smiling.

“Look at her, Nikolas. She’s picked herself up again after last year, and she’s going to be happy again. Look at them and tell me I’m insane for thinking they work.”

Nikolas reluctantly followed her gaze, and sighed. His eyes softened. “I know you’re not. And…being surrounded by all the horrors she’s emerged from…I want her to be happy again. If it’s with your brother, then…that’s the way it’ll be. I just…don’t want her to have another reason to cry.”

“I love you.” She leaned up and pressed her lips to his cheek. “So…you want to check out some of the views she did from Vista Point? There’s one or two of Spoon Island somewhere, I think—”

“No…” Nikolas pulled her toward another canvas, on the far side of the wall. “I think I know this one a bit.” This scene depicted burning candles in the foreground on an altar, and church pews in the shadowy background, with two people comforting one another in the front row. “It’s the hospital chapel.”

“It’s the night I almost died,” Emily told him. Elizabeth had had the preliminary sketches in her studio in San Francisco, but this was the first time she’d seen the finished product. “It’s Jason and Elizabeth in the chapel. She told me it was the first time they’d been…friends again after everything that had happened since they broke up.”

“I thought it was from your cancer…” He hesitated, unsure how to finish it. “And…even knowing it’s them, I think I want it anyway. Because I see us in it. I see me lying on a hospital bed in the next room, praying for the chance to see you again. Even if you wouldn’t be with me…just to have you in the world would be enough.”

She just pressed her forehead to his shoulder and was quiet for a moment. “God, it seems so far away right now, after everything that’s happened this last year.”

Clearing her throat, Emily glanced over her shoulder and saw Elizabeth laugh, lightly punching Jason in the shoulder. He grinned back at her. “I…didn’t meddle too much with them, did I?”

Nikolas frowned. “No. I don’t…I mean what did you really even do? You introduced Liz to Evie. You brought Cam to Jason’s. You were always going to invite them both to the birthday party. You talked her into inviting him tonight, and him into coming. You just…” He chuckled. “You created opportunities.”

“I just…they were so far apart. I wasn’t sure if they would seek one another out.” She rolled her shoulders. “I think…maybe I’ve done what I needed to do for now.”

“Good. If you try too hard, it might…feel like too much pressure.” Nikolas patted her hip. “I’d like to see Elizabeth have less of these kinds of moments to paints, so if Jason can help with that…I’m not opposed.”

Harris Gallery: Across the Room

“I do miss living in a city on the ocean,” Elizabeth admitted as she finished described a painting of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. “I know…we have the lake and the river that flows to the ocean, but it’s not even remotely the same thing.”

“The beach on the island is nice,” Jason admitted. “But you said you came back for the snow. You don’t get that living on the ocean.”

Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “I would if I lived in Maine, but yeah.” She sighed. “Well, maybe I’ll go back to San Francisco for a few weeks this summer, though…” She hesitated. “If I make enough money from this showing, maybe I’ll…take Cameron to Italy. He won’t be old enough to appreciate it, but…”

“You should take him. He won’t remember it, but he’ll know you’re happy.” Jason’s shoulder brushed her bare skin as he turned his attention from the painting to her. “That makes a difference.”

“You told me once that babies can sense everything around them.” She tapped his chest lightly. “I’m glad I paid so much attention to you in those days, because I feel like I learned a lot about being a parent.”

He grabbed her finger in his hand before she could tap him again. “You didn’t need my help. I knew you were going to be an amazing mother.”

Her cheeks burning, Elizabeth smiled and looked away. She hesitated when she saw a dark-haired man walking towards them, his arm around the waist of a blonde woman she recognized from the hospital. A nurse who looked apprehensive. They were the first people to approach her in nearly an hour.

She sighed. “I guess you’re not as intimidating as I hoped.”

Jason frowned. “What—” He stopped suddenly as he saw the couple. His body tensed. “I know him.”

“And I know her. She works at the hospital.”

The couple stepped up to them, and the man angled himself slightly in front of the woman. “Jason, I…thought it would be for the best if I didn’t pretend I didn’t see you.” He cleared his throat. “I mean…since you know the artist…” He glanced at Elizabeth and hesitantly held out his hand. “Johnny Zacchara. I…sometimes work with Jason. Or at least, my father does.”

Ah. Elizabeth bit her lip but accepted the hand. “It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for coming.” She looked at the blonde. “I know you from General Hospital. I think I saw you at the Christmas Party.”

“This is Nadine Crowell. Nadine, Jason Morgan,” Johnny said.

“Hi,” Nadine said, and for a moment it looked like she wanted to say something else, but closed her mouth.

“I didn’t…” Johnny used his hand to rub the back of his neck, looking nervous. Jason still hadn’t said a word. “Things are…look, it doesn’t need to be a thing. I like art. I go to a lot of showings—this was a coincidence—”

“It’s fine,” Jason said, his voice firm. “It…happens. Thank you for…letting me know you were here.”

“Right.” Johnny hesitated and looked back at Elizabeth. “Your work is really great. We’re having a good time.”

“I like the landscapes,” Nadine said, her voice overly bright because she was clearly nervous. “The…one of the Golden Gate Bridge is really pretty.” She winced. “I mean, impressive. Or some other art word I don’t…” She looked to Johnny, looking out of her depth. “What do I mean?”

“You mean it’s pretty,” Elizabeth said with assuring smile. “I’m not particularly attached to those, but landscapes tend to sell well. It’s a nice area to see.” Unsure if she was supposed to continue to make small talk, she cleared her throat. “Have-have you been?”

“Nope. Born and raised in Ohio until I moved to New York for nursing school. I just moved to Port Charles because I wanted to live—” Nadine closed her mouth and flushed. “I’m sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t…” She sighed and looked at her companion. “Johnny, you never told me what I’m supposed to say.”

Elizabeth nudged Jason as if to somehow make this go away. The poor girl was clearly unused to meeting Johnny’s associates and was trying to do what was right by him.

Jason looked as if he wanted to roll his eyes, but refrained. He merely let out a small breath of exasperation. “Johnny, it’s really fine. You’re known for hanging out in New York.” He looked at Nadine. “You’re doing fine. Just next time, don’t volunteer personal information to people he hasn’t briefed you on.” Then he looked at Johnny. “And don’t let her walk into a situation cold like this again. You came up to me.”

Johnny blinked, but nodded. “Fair enough.” He looked at to Nadine. “Sorry.”

“I told you,” she was telling him as he led her away.

“That was very nice of you to give them relationship advice,” Elizabeth said with a wicked smile. “Jason Morgan, couples counselor.”

He huffed. “He had no business bringing her over here without…” He rubbed his forehead. “I mean, he was right to come over. If I…knew he was here and hadn’t say anything, it’s… just the stupid kind of thing people would point to later as…” He shook his head.

“I know you can’t really tell me much, but maybe…is he friend or foe?” Elizabeth asked, steering him towards a corner where their words wouldn’t be overheard.

“Somewhere…in the middle. His father’s lawyer is Trevor Lansing.”

Elizabeth blinked. “As in…Ric Lansing?” She wrinkled her nose. “That’s probably not good.”

“It doesn’t help,” he admitted. “I guess…I know why Johnny’s been hanging around Port Charles lately. We…thought it might be a girlfriend.” He looked pained. “I’m sorry…he came over to me while you were there—”

She shrugged. “He seemed harmless, and Nadine was nice. No harm, no foul.”

“I just…” He rolled his shoulders and looked away, and she followed his gaze, toward the other side of the room where Johnny Zacchara and his date were standing, looking at another painting. They were whispering furiously to one another, and she could see the blonde looked annoyed. “I hate when this…kind of thing touches you.”

Story of her life. Five seconds after she admitted to herself the feelings she had for him were something a bit more than residual, he had to start this nonsense.

“You’ve been singing that tune almost since the day we met.” She folded her arms underneath her breast and scowled up at him. “We’re not really going to do this again, are we?”

“I—”

“Because if we’re going to be in each other’s lives again, I do not want to be constantly waiting for the second shoe to drop, to find out you think it’s too dangerous—”

He held up a hand. “I wasn’t…” Jason hesitated. “I know…why you think I’d say that, but I…I don’t…I’m raising an infant on my own, Elizabeth. Do you think I’d have a leg to stand on?”

“Exactly.” She arched her brow. “I didn’t let you get away with it when I was eighteen, so don’t think it’ll work any better now. I’m even more annoying.” She jabbed a finger at him. “So just remember that.”

A reluctant smile spread across his lips, and he offered a light chuckle. “Yeah, I don’t think I’m likely to forget it.”

“Good.” She looked over to see her grandmother beckoning her close, a few strangers at her side. “I’m going to need your intimidation skills again. Looks like Gram wants to introduce me to people.” She sighed. “I hate people.”

“No, you don’t,” Jason said, even as they started across the room. “You just don’t like answering their questions.”

“Not much of a difference tonight,” she grumbled, but kept her arm firmly wrapped around his bicep. “I just have to remember…they’re here to fund my future. If they like enough of my work, I can start a house fund for me and Cameron.”

When they arrived in front of her grandmother, Audrey barely batted an eye at her escort, though the couple looked a bit flustered. “And this is my brilliant granddaughter…”

Elizabeth pasted a smile on her face as Audrey continued. This was everything she ever wanted, but she would have preferred to stay anonymous.

She glanced up at Jason, who was doing an excellent job of looking menacing without being dangerous. She was so glad to have him back in her life.

Anyway she could have him.

July 1, 2014

So my downtime for writing while at home did not materialize as two days after I arrived, I came down with a nasty cold that was only exacerbated by my constant running around to see and do things while in the States, and then traveling all day on an airplane, being in London for five minutes before a friend came to visit and spending three days walking and huffing and puffing in the chilly airs of Edinburgh. I just got home around midnight Sunday night, and our friend just left this morning.

*collapses from exhaustion*

I love my friends and family, but a girl has to relax. I was in my flat for 14 out of 30 days in June, and almost a week of that, I’ve been recovering from the plague my family gave me while at home.

Anyways. I do have Chapter 6 and 7 of The Best Thing beta’d, and I’m about halfway through the next episode of Damaged. Literally, the only thing left on my schedule that involves me spending time away from my flat between now and August 30 when I move home is a barbecue in Suffolk this Saturday. I’ll be gone Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Finally, the life calms down. It’s been nonstop for two months.

I’ll tidy up TBT 6 and post it tomorrow, and then TBT 7 next week and hopefully will get back on schedule.