February 27, 2015

sitenewsSo! This was my first week back at work. It was a short week, only three days, but I definitely can see a change in updating is going to have to happen. I’m working as a teacher’s aide for a company called Source4Teachers, which is like a staffing agency for teachers. I pick where I want to work and when, so some weeks I’ll work all five days and maybe I’ll work one day a week. Depends on the quality of the job available.

Anyway! So what I’ll do is schedule all the posts I want to do on the weekend, so that chapters will still go up on this site on their regularly scheduled days. Fiction Graveyard on Mondays, The Best Thing on Wednesdays, and All We Are on Fridays.  Then on the weekend, I’ll do any necessary clean ups and post to Fanfiction.net, Archive of Our Own, and Road to Nowhere. So Crimson Glass, the website, will have the chapters first, so make sure you sign up for the updates, because now you never know when I’ll get around to posting elsewhere!

That’s my change — in order to keep some semblance of schedule. That being said, all of this week’s updates have been moved to this morning. (And ha, I’m actually scheduling and writing all of this on Thursday evening to test the system).

Another bright spot for you guys — I’ve mentioned that I write a lot at Starbucks but I don’t always get out there because I’ve been borrowing my father’s car during the week. I finally got a car yesterday, so I can do what I want when I want, so yay!fiction

Your Fiction Graveyard updates are pretty small this week — mostly because I’m testing the new scheduling system, so I didn’t want to overload it. I’ve posted the last three chapters of Shadows as well as the rest of the original outline.  I’ll post Lupercalia, Shatter, and Poisonous Dreams next week if all goes well. We’ll work out the kinks. I had another unused scene for Shadows, Chapter 16, I wanted to post but I can’t locate it at the moment.

storyIn normal story news, I have The Best Thing and All We Are updates. TBT was moved to today just because I was soo tired after working with pre-k and fourth graders all week, then spending the evening at a car dealership for my new car. And All We Are is normally posted today. I hope you guys like both chapters.

Damaged news! As I promised those of you who follow me on Facebook, I have news! I have nailed down the rest of my storylines and the changes I want to make. I’m going to spend the next three days working out damagedthe kinks and getting the website ready for those changes, but I will have a new episode for you guys on Monday!

Your Additions
The Best Thing, Chapter 20
All We Are, Chapter 4
Shadows, Chapters 13-15 & Outline

Minor Update: So the scheduling worked for the most part. Everything posted. The only problem was that the chapters in Shadows were out of order. I’ve fixed that now and hope I can avoid that problem next week.

This entry is part 17 of 17 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Shadows #1

So here is the original plot outline through the end of the story. I decided to rewrite Shadows for a number of reasons — I didn’t particularly like how I handled the Michael situation. If AJ were actually dead at this point, it’d be fine. But as long as AJ is alive, he should be an option for Michael.

I also didn’t think the Elizabeth/Ric stuff was true to either character, so I’m glad I chose to rewrite it.

Anyway though, here is how I originally planned to end it.


 

Chapter Sixteen

Mac questions Jason regarding Elizabeth and leads Jason to understand that Mac is focusing on Liz for this case. He also finds out that Ric has disappeared. Jason pays a visit to Sonny who wants to know just how long Sam’s been making a fool out of him.

Nikolas and Emily pay a visit to Elizabeth and coo over Andi while Elizabeth explains the situation. Emily think she’s a real idiot for doing this but also understands that it would be an impossible choice for Jason to make and accepts Elizabeth’s decision.  Nikolas says he’ll make the arrangements immediately. Elizabeth wants to do this so that eventually, even Nikolas won’t know where she is.

Michael reluctantly tells Carly that something was weird about Liz when she left and Carly wonders if maybe the muffin has something in mind.

Chapter Seventeen

Nikolas and Emily return from their trip and Mac pays them a visit–they’ve officially been cleared him. Also, Alexis has been asked to be interim DA as Ric has not yet been located — and strangely enough, Sam is gone too.

Sonny wants a chance to apologize to Michael and Jason grants it. The three make their peace but Michael makes it clear that he wants to stay with Jason–that Jason is his father. Sonny agrees and tells Michael that the happiest Jason has ever been is when he’s playing that role. After Michael is gone, Sonny confides to Jason that Ric and Sam are no longer a problem. Sam has been paid to leave town and he’s taken care of Ric the way he should have a long time ago.

In Spain, Elizabeth packs everything and leaves the place she’s lived in for five months. She stops to mail some letters to people back home before driving away.

Chapter Eighteen

Jason is concerned when he continually can’t get Elizabeth on the phone and after a few days go by without any call back, he prepares to fly back. Michael brings in the mail as Jason is packing and reads his letter from Elizabeth. He starts to cry and Jason finds his in the pile.

Elizabeth tells him that she loves him, that she will always love him but doesn’t want to put him in the position of having to choose. Michael needs him so much and he’s so important to Jason.

Knowing that his sister had recently been out of town, Jason storms over to Wyndemere and demands answer. Nikolas refuses to give them. Elizabeth has made her decision.

A letter arrives for Mac from Elizabeth. She explains the situation and what happened to Zander. She doesn’t want him to focus on any other innocent people. She left town because she was pregnant and she was scared and she’s staying away now because she’s a mother and wants to protect her daughter.

Mac is shaken by the letter, unsure where to go from here.

Chapter Nineteen

Mac pays Jason a visit and informs him of Elizabeth’s letter. Jason remains mum but isn’t surprised. Mac tells him that he’s not sure what he should do. If Elizabeth had stayed in town, it would have been a clear case of self-defense but once she ran, things changed. Mac leaves Jason with that notion and Jason renews his efforts to find Elizabeth.

Elizabeth has settled in a small city in Italy. She knows that Jason may look for her there but can’t resist finally seeing the country of her dreams. She spends her time sketching and drawing and caring for Andi. A convoluted process gets her letters from Nikolas without letting him know where she is and she finds out that Jason and Sonny have made their peace, Ric has disappeared, believed dead and Mac is still investigating, though not with the same fervor as before.

Carly wonders if maybe Jason should stop trying to find Elizabeth. She did a noble thing, a very big sacrifice and Jason shouldn’t screw that up for her. Jason tells her that unless she has something helpful to add to shut up. He’s not about to let Elizabeth think she doesn’t matter to him by not going after her.

Chapter Twenty

Mac has finally made a decision regarding Elizabeth and files the case in the cold cases section. He makes sure that Jason is aware of this development. It’s nearly winter and Mac decides they’ve all suffered enough. If he had put the mother of his child in the position that Zander had, he’d want her to defend herself and having known Zander, he thinks Zander would have been okay with the outcome.

Jason tells Nikolas that Mac has closed the case and now demands Elizabeth’s location. Nikolas won’t give it without Elizabeth’s consent and it may be a while before the letter gets to her. It’s the way Elizabeth wanted it and he’s not going against her. Annoyed, Jason leaves. On his way out, Emily finds him and tells him that she thinks Elizabeth is in Italy.

Jason tells Michael that he’s going to go bring Elizabeth home.

Epilogue

On the day that Elizabeth receives Nikolas’s letter letting her know that she is free, Jason finally tracks her down. He tells her that he can’t decide if he should be angry with her for leaving him or be grateful that he didn’t have to make that decision.

Elizabeth says that she’d rather skip all of that and start the rest of her life.

This entry is part 16 of 17 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Shadows #1

Carly had never killed anyone before, never been directly responsible for anyone’s death, but she knew what she was doing when she called Sonny and told him about Ric’s affair with Sam.

She told him about Elizabeth, how she’d killed Zander in a panic to save her child, she’d confirmed what Sonny had suspected all along–that Jason and Michael disappeared to visit Elizabeth, though he hadn’t known the circumstances behind her absence from Port Charles.

She’d told him about the precious relationship that had grown between her son and Elizabeth and how much Michael cared for her, cared for his new cousin. She told him that Jason had finally found someone that he could count on and build a life with.

And then she’d told him about the choice Jason was terrified to consider–leaving Michael or leaving Elizabeth. And she’d informed Sonny that if he ever wanted her forgiveness for what he’d done to Michael, he would have to find a way to fix it so that Ric didn’t complicate matters.

And to cement the deal, she’d informed him that his half-brother and his whore were making a mockery of him.

She’d known it would lead to his death and it would be the first time in her checkered past that she would really have destroyed a human life. It had bothered her for a few moments–she’d been married to a man capable of violence, she’d loved a man that she knew for a fact had killed before and would probably kill again. But she’d been able to rationalize that away by telling herself that it was always business and that the men whose lives were taken had chosen to be in that business. So it was okay to love them. To give Sonny a child and to share her eldest son with Jason.

But she herself had never killed anyone and that was what she had done noq. But then she’d remembered the life that was taken–the man that had pretended to sleep with her, that had tried to destroy her family and had chained her to wall, pregnant and scared. The man that had sat and watched as his wife drank poisoned lemonade. The man that had drugged said wife so she would not conceive.

Ric may have been a living breathing person, but to Carly, he was expendable. It had come down to Elizabeth’s freedom or Ric’s life and as far as Carly was concerned, Ric had been long past his expiration date.

So she had put the decision behind her. They would never find Ric’s body but Port Charles had already moved on in the three weeks since Ric had vanished on his way home from the office. Alexis Davis had been sworn in as district attorney and Elizabeth’s divorce from the man had been quietly pushed through the last of the red tape.

All that remained was the investigation itself and Carly felt confident that Jason would find a way to turn Mac off Elizabeth’s trail. He’d move heaven and earth for the woman and though Carly didn’t understand the attraction, she certainly understood the sentiment. If Elizabeth was who Jason had chosen, she would do her best to protect them both.

Summer drew to a close and it was time to return to Port Charles, time for Carly to go home to her club, for Michael to begin school but leaving was hardest on Jason. He had been present for nearly every waking moment of Andi’s life and now he would have to leave for her what could be months. And if things went badly, he might never see either Andi or Elizabeth again.

So during their last few days, Carly took Michael and Morgan to the beach more often and let the tiny family have their moments together, to create memories that might have to last a life time. She wished that time could stretch, that these days could last forever. She couldn’t remember being more peaceful or content then she’d been this summer in Spain.

“When can Aunt Liz come home?” Michael asked, digging his shovel into the sand.

Carly sighed. “I’m not sure, kiddo. I’m hoping she’ll be home for Christmas but it’s not really up to me.”

Michael pursed his lips. “I miss her when we’re not here,” he said. “And so does Jason. And I’m gonna miss Andi a lot. What if she start talking or does something else cool?” he glanced toward his ten-month-old brother. “How am I supposed to protect her if she’s all the way over here?”

“The older you get, the tougher the questions,” Carly sighed. “All I can say is that distance doesn’t change things. You’re still gonna love her all the way in Port Charles, and Elizabeth and Andi are still gonna love you from here.” She combed through his messy red hair. “You’re always going to be a family, Michael, no matter where you live.”

“I know,” Michael sighed, with the wisdom of a child that wasn’t quite mature enough to handle all that he already knew. “It just sucks.”

“Yeah,” Carly agreed with a sad smile. “It really does suck.”

“Do we have to leave tomorrow?” Michael asked. “Can’t we stay a few more days?”

“Sorry buddy, we should have left last week but you start school on Monday and you know Elizabeth would be the first person to put you on the plane back home. It’s important to learn.”

“I guess. But we can come back for Thanksgiving right?” he asked. “If they’re still here.”

“It’s up to Jason, Mr. Man.” She sighed and glanced back towards the house.


“This has been probably one of the best summers I can remember in a long time,” Elizabeth said as she put Andi down for her afternoon nap. She closed the door to the nursery and headed for the back porch.

She waited for Jason to sit next to her on the bench and she scooted closer to him, resting her head on his shoulder. He slid his arm around her. “Michael wants to stay another few days,” he said after a moment.

“Mmm…I wish you could,” she replied. “But school starts in a few days and he’ll need to settle back into the time zone. You probably should have gone home last week.”

“Probably,” he admitted. He changed the subject because neither of them wanted to discuss the reasons why they had prolonged the visit. “I talked to Carly about Michael wanting to change his last name.”

“And I bet she thought it was a great idea,” Elizabeth replied.

“She did,” he confirmed. “She didn’t even hesitate and she thinks it would be good for Michael, for him to be able to believe that this is permanent.” Jason hesitated. “And we’re going to finalize the adoption when we got back, Carly talked to Sonny a few weeks ago. He’s going to sign the papers.”

“Jason…” Elizabeth pulled away, her eyes sparkling. “That’s incredible news! I mean, it was wonderful that you were appointed his guardian but now…”

“Michael doesn’t understand we need to sign all the paperwork,” Jason continued. “He said that he chose me and I chose him and that should have been enough for everyone.”

A smile tugged her lips and Elizabeth couldn’t contain the small chuckle. “He sounds so much like you, Jason. The sensible advice, the confusion at why things have to be more complicated than they should be. It’s like listening to you speak.” She took his hand and held it between both of hers. “I wish that I could be there when you sign the papers,” she said softly.

He stared at their hands, at how his hand was still larger than both of hers together. His tanned skin next to her pale complexion. The slim soft fingers against his calloused skin. It shouldn’t look right, she was so much smaller and more delicate than he was, so beautiful and graceful. He was so much bigger than her, thicker and rougher. He wondered why something that shouldn’t suit was such a perfect fit.

“I wish you could be there, too,” Jason admitted. “But we can call you after we sign them.”

She smiled sadly and looked away, a single tear sliding down her cheek. “It won’t be the same.” She bit her lip. “Nothing is ever going to be the same.”

Not wanting her to be more sad than necessary on their last night together, Jason used their joined hands to tug her closer and kiss her. “Maybe they’ll be better,” he said after they parted and Elizabeth smiled, but there was something about the look in her eyes in that moment that worried him. Some piece of melancholy, resignation that hadn’t been a few moments ago.

But it disappeared almost as soon as it had surfaced and she squeezed his hand, pasting a smile on her face. “Maybe they will,” she replied.

Neither of them believed it.


The next morning, Jason rose early and packed the car. Carly was giving Elizabeth last minute advice as she brought Morgan out to the car. “People say you should let them cry,” she remarked, “but I think that’s bullshit–”

“Mom!” Michael gasped, scandalized. “You can’t say that!”

“Sorry, Mr. Man, I’ll put a dollar in the jar as soon as I get home,” Carly promised. She turned back to Elizabeth. “Take care of my niece.”

“Take care of Michael and Jason.” Elizabeth kissed Morgan’s cheek and embraced Carly awkwardly. “Thanks for all your help. It was nice to have a woman here.”

“Well, it was nice being here,” Carly admitted. “But I have to go before I do something crazy and start thinking we’re friends.” She slid her sunglasses over her eyes and stepped down towards the car.

Elizabeth knelt down and tugged Michael into a fierce hug. “I’ve gotten so used to having you around,” she said, trying not to cry.

“Don’t let Andi forget about me,” Michael told her. “I’m her cousin and it’s important that she remembers that.”

“She will never forget you, Michael. I’ll tell her stories so the next time you see her, it’ll be like you were never apart,” Elizabeth told him, wishing she could keep that promise. She pulled back and ran her hands down his arms to grasp his hands. “Now, listen to me, Michael, because this is very important. I want to you take care of Jason for me. I love him very much and I need you to promise me that you will look out for him.”

Michael frowned–there was something about her tone that sounded wrong to him but he nodded. “I always protect him,” he boasted. “That’s what families do. We protect each other.”

“Right. I love you, Michael. I want you to remember that.” Elizabeth embraced him again. “Take care of yourself.”

“I will.” Michael pulled back from her, kissed her cheek and went to the car, a little confused. That hadn’t been Elizabeth’s normal goodbye.

Jason waited until Carly had belted Michael into the car and had stepped into the passenger’s seat before approaching Elizabeth on the porch. He knew there was a very reach chance that the next time he saw her, he would have to say goodbye for real.

“I’m going to do my best to bring you home,” he told her. “I’ll do whatever it takes.”

“I know you will,” Elizabeth said softly. She rose to her tip toes and pressed her lips against his. “I love you,” she told him. “I just–I needed you to know that.”

Jason cupped her cheek in his hand, letting his thumb trace the shell of her ear. “I love you, too.” He kissed her again, long and hard. Separating from her was difficult and it took all of his strength to leave her on the steps, to go to the car. He pulled open the door but turned to look at her one last time before getting inside. “I’ll see you later,” he called to her.

Elizabeth waited until they were halfway down the drive before she touched her lips and smiled wistfully. “Goodbye,” she murmured.

She went back inside to call Nikolas. It was time to make her plans.


A Week Later…

Mayor Garrett Floyd wasn’t entirely unhappy to be rid of Ric Lansing as the district attorney. The man hadn’t been his first choice for the position and he was far from the best, with his blood connection to Sonny Corinthos. He’d long wanted to put Alexis Davis in the role–she had knowledge of the Corinthos organization, of the man himself that other attorneys didn’t.

So he’d been somewhat relieved that Ric Lansing had disappeared. But one had to keep up appearances so he made his weekly visit to Mac Scorpio to get the progress on the investigation and of course, to find out what was happening on the Smith case. He wasn’t all that worried about finding that killer either but the public wanted someone to pay for Brian Beck’s shooting and he was hoping that they could close the case right before election day. That would be a great head line.

“No charges on his credit card, no sign of life,” Mac sighed, repeating the same line that he had since the day Ric had failed to show up for work a month ago. Like Floyd, he wasn’t that concerned. Ric had been a poor excuse for a DA and he was already more satisfied with Alexis’s work than he’d been with the two previous DAs. But it was important to play his role.

“I wonder if Corinthos finally got rid of him,” Floyd mused. “Remind me to send that man a bottle of wine.” He shrugged. “Ah, well, keep the investigation going for at least a few more months before we give up. Must look like we give a damn about the son of a bitch.”

Politicians, Mac thought sourly. Not a heart in one of them. “As for the Smith case, I do have a suspect in mind, but it’s a weak one. Elizabeth Lansing–she was pregnant with his child, trying to get him to give up rights to the baby. She left town shortly after the cause of death was reported and I’ve been having trouble tracking her down with her parents in Europe.”

“Elizabeth Lansing is the artist, right?” Floyd asked. “Tiny little brunette that didn’t look like she could hurt a fly?”

“She’s a good kid–shady taste in men, never really had much luck in that area,” Mac admitted, “but I have a hard time imagining her attacking Zander. But she was pregnant and strikes me as being a mother that would kill to protect her own.”

“What about the grandmother?” Floyd asked. “Can’t we get some contact information from her?”

“Her information for her stepson was outdated and apparently Jeff Webber and his wife move around a lot. I’m working on it but…” Mac sighed. “How much do I want to push what might have been a case of self defense?”

“Self defense or not, if she fled possible prosecution, it makes her a fugitive.” The headlines in Floyd’s head had changed and he didn’t think this one would fly. “I’d prefer to close this case, Scorpio, and no one wants to put a mother in jail. But it’s only speculation now. Find her and figure out what role she played.”

“There’s something else that keeps me going back to Elizabeth,” Mac admitted. “Jason Morgan.”

Floyd perked up. Morgan was always good for a headline. “What about him?”

“The two have a history and he’s been unreachable most of the last six months. In and out of town on mysterious vacations that all seemed to start when Elizabeth left town.”

“Jason Morgan helping a fugitive run from justice, now that’s a good headline.” Floyd nodded. “Find her. Question him. I don’t want this going to the cold case files if we can avoid it, Scorpio.”

He nodded to his aide and swept out of the office. Mac glared after him. “Self-serving prick,” he muttered.

This entry is part 15 of 17 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Shadows #1

The sun was setting over the horizon when Elizabeth joined Jason out on the back porch. “Andi finally drifted off,” she murmured as she curled up next to Jason on the bench. He curled his arm around her and she could feel the tenseness in his muscles.

“I think she smiled at me today,” Elizabeth said, deciding to distract him. “A lot of people will say its gas but I know a smile when I see one.”

“They used to say that about Michael,” Jason said. “They’d tell me it was just gas but I knew he was smiling at me.”

“Michael can’t get enough of Andi, it’s all Carly could do tonight to convince him to go his own room,” Elizabeth remarked. “He’s so sure she’s going to do something incredible while he’s out of the room.”

“That’s how it is usually,” Jason mused. “The first time Michael raised his head and actually looked at me, like he recognized me…I wouldn’t trade that moment for any meeting in the world.” He squinted out over the ocean view. “He wants to change his name.”

Elizabeth looked up at him. “To Morgan?”

“Yeah…” Jason exhaled slowly. “It still says that on his birth certificate you know, I never knew that until the judge told me that I was still listed as his father. They never changed it to AJ, never changed it to Sonny.” He hesitated. “Having him live with me again, being his father, it’s something I could have never imagined happening. But now that it has…” he shook his head. “I don’t know…”

“You’re waiting for the other shoe to drop,” Elizabeth said simply. “Because it’s too good to be true. You’re like me–you can’t believe something good can happen to you so you spend your time waiting for something bad and when it doesn’t, you start looking for it.” She trailed her fingers down his arm. “You didn’t used to be like that.”

“Life used to be simpler,” Jason said simply.

“Yeah, you’re not kidding,” Elizabeth sighed. “But at least when I panic about knowing why she’s crying, I can just look at you for help.” She fell silent after that, remembering that this would probably not be happening. That soon, she and Andi would be gone and without Jason.

She cleared her throat. “You remember that day in the park? After that night in Jake’s, when we talked about Michael?”

“Yeah,” Jason said slowly. “What about it?”

“I said that at least you knew that Michael was still around, that you could hear about him and watch him grow up from distance and maybe someday…you’d be closer to him.”

“I remember.”

“I have never been happier to be right,” Elizabeth said. She closed her eyes and she and Jason sat in comfortable silence for the rest of the evening.


Audrey Hardy opened her front door and frowned when she saw the commissioner standing on her front step. “Mac, it’s nice to see you.”

“Audrey…” Mac scratched the back of his neck. “Can we talk? There are some questions I need to ask you.”

Audrey’s eyes narrowed but she stepped back and allowed Mac to enter. She gestured for him to take a seat. Mac withdrew a small notepad. “I’ve been investigating Zander Smith’s murder.”

“I can’t imagine what you think that has to do with me,” Audrey said after a long moment. “I barely knew him.”

“That’s true,” Mac said slowly, “but your granddaughter Elizabeth not only knows him, but she’s pregnant–”

“She had the baby you know,” Audrey cut in. “I just received the letter from her yesterday. A little girl named Alexandria.”

“That’s good–Alexandria for Zander, I imagine.” Mac cleared her throat. “It’s come to my attention that Elizabeth left town shortly after we made the announcement about Zander’s cause of death.”

Audrey bristled at the notion that one had anything to do with the other. “She’s had a rough time of it–she made a mistake remarrying Ric Lansing and she left town to deal with that. They’re divorcing now and I’m not sure my granddaughter will ever move back.”

“So she left town due to her marriage,” Mac said.

“She wrote me a letter after she’d gone saying that she needed some space from Port Charles, some time. A few months later, she told me that she was filing for divorce.” Audrey hesitated. “Mac, you’ve known Elizabeth for years. You can’t possibly think she had anything to do with Zander’s murder.”

“I know that Elizabeth would do anything to protect her child,” Mac said after a moment. “Audrey, if you know anything–”

“I don’t know anything about Zander Smith’s murder. Elizabeth is staying with her family in Europe–”

“I thought she was in Colorado,” Mac interrupted. “That’s what Ric said–”

“Ric misunderstood. Elizabeth told him she was staying with family and he knows she grew up in Colorado,” Audrey remarked simply. “He made that connection on his own but if he’d ever bothered to ask, he would have known that my stepson and his wife have been living in Europe for the last six years.”

“I’ll need their contact information to confirm that,” Mac said. He made a note and slipped it into his jacket pocket. “Audrey–”

“You seriously think that my granddaughter could have murdered Zander Smith?” Audrey demanded incredulously. “You’ve lost your mind, Mac! Elizabeth is five foot two and pregnant! Zander was so much stronger and quicker on his feet–”

“Audrey, right now all I have are questions,” Mac said blandly. “I have no suspects which is why I have to run up all the loose ends. Elizabeth, the mother of the victim’s child, is a loose end.”

“Well,” Audrey huffed. She stood and stalked the door. She yanked it open and turned back to glare at him. “If you have nothing else…?”

“Audrey, I’ll expect you to contact my office with Jeff Webber’s contact information. I need to get in touch with Elizabeth,” Mac told her.

“I’ll see what I can do,” Audrey said reluctantly. “But you had better not repeat these accusations — Elizabeth has a great many friends and loved ones in this town who will not stand for it. Powerful and influential friends.”

Used to threats such as this after years of dealing with Cassadines and Quartermaines, Mac just smiled at her, thanked her for her time and left.


Towards the end of August, Carly began to prepare to go back home. She’d be sorry to be parted from Michael again but if nothing else, this summer had proved that her son was in excellent hands with Jason and Elizabeth. Michael flourished and thrived like he never had with Sonny.

“When do you think Elizabeth will be able to come home?” Carly inquired as she folded a tank top and placed it in her bag. “Will you guys be staying in the penthouse or finding somewhere else?”

Jason glanced out Carly’s open bedroom door and when he found no one listening (Translation: Michael wasn’t hanging around), he closed it and sat on Carly’s bed. “There’s something that we have to discuss.”

Carly looked at him oddly. “What?” She continued packing.

“I’ve had some reports from Port Charles that Mac is asking questions about Elizabeth. About the timing of her departure from town, about her relationship with Zander.”

Carly paled and sank onto the bed. “He’s focusing on her.”

Jason nodded. “And he’s been asking Audrey questions. She doesn’t know anything but if he questions Ric too closely…”

“He’ll spill.” She bit her lip. “Okay, well no one knows where she is–”

“But I’ve been visiting. And there have been letters. Audrey’s are all postmarked from Europe. It’s not an easy trail to follow and it would take Mac a lot of time, but he’d find it eventually. Having Elizabeth here, visiting, allowing contact–it was just a way to keep her out of Port Charles. She’s not hiding yet and technically she’s not a fugitive. But if Mac starts pursuing her as a suspect–”

“You’ll have to move her.” Carly swallowed her. “And you won’t be able to see her or Andi again.” Her eyes were sympathetic as she touched his forearm. “I’m so sorry Jase–”

“There is another choice.” Jason swallowed hard and stood. He restlessly gravitated towards the window where he watched Elizabeth play with Michael in the sand. “Elizabeth would never ask me to, but it’s a choice all the same.”

“You would join her,” Carly said faintly. “You would leave Port Charles and go with her.”

Jason didn’t answer, didn’t look at her but he didn’t need to. There were few people who knew Jason as well as Carly Corinthos. She stood and studied him for a long moment. “You wouldn’t take Michael. Not from his home or his family. And that’s why Elizabeth would never ask you. It would be asking you to choose between your son and her.”

His voice was rough when he finally spoke. “I have to consider it, Carly. I don’t want to, but I have–”

“I understand why you’d want to do it. It’s taken so long for you and Elizabeth to find your way to each other again, it would be a tragedy if you had to leave her now, especially with Andi, whom I know you care about as well. It would be like ripping your heart out. I understand that, Jason, I really do.” Carly took a deep breath and her voice shaky, thick with the tears that glistened in her eyes. “But Elizabeth is an adult. Michael is a child who needs you. You need him, too, Jason. You can’t leave him, not when he depends on you so much.”

“I know that, Carly,” Jason said. He closed his eyes. “I know that and if I had to leave Michael, I don’t–” He licked his lips and looked out again at Elizabeth. “But I’ve waited so long for Elizabeth–”

“I know,” Carly bit her lip to keep the tears from sliding down her cheeks. “I know that, Jason and that’s why this all sucks so bad. Because no matter what you choose, you rip out your heart all the same.”

Jason closed his eyes. “It might not come to that, Carly. Mac could still drop the case. He could still–”

“But if he puts out a warrant for her arrest, you won’t have the time to think. You’ll have to make your decision. So you have to decide.” Carly folded her arms. “She’d never ask you to leave him, Jason. And Elizabeth would be the first to tell you to stay.”

Jason exhaled slowly. “I know. But I have to consider it. It’s not about Elizabeth. It’s about me. And what I want. And if this goes down the way it looks like it’s going to, I can’t have them both.”

Carly sniffled. “Okay, well–it all sucks. I just want that known.” She took a deep breath. “We have to fix it so that Mac never finds out where she is. And that means we have to take care of Ric. I’ll call Sonny. I’ll tell him about Sam and Ric and that’ll take care of that.”

“Carly–”

“I will fix this for you, Jason. I promise,” Carly swore. “And I don’t mean my usual fixes that blow up in my face. I really will fix it.”

Jason just closed his eyes and chuckled softly. “Well, it’s doubtful you can make this much worse.”


With Carly’s words still ringing in his ears, Sonny stood outside the apartment Ric had shared with Elizabeth.

“Sam is sleeping with Ric. You have to fix this. You have to take care of Ric once and for all.”

Sonny used the old tricks of the trade to unlock the door. He swung it open and grimaced when he heard the sounds coming from the bedroom. He looked at Johnny who just screwed the silencer on to his gun and nodded to Sonny.

Carly was right. It was long past time to take care of his brother and after all the damage Ric had done to Carly, to Elizabeth, to all of them–he hoped his mother would understand.

This entry is part 14 of 17 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Shadows #1

Five Weeks Later

Mac slammed the folder down on Ric’s desk. “Inconclusive. If there were any prints, they’re long gone and the blood is too old to get any decent evidence from.”

Ric sighed and leaned back in his chair. “Maybe it’s time we faced the facts, Mac. Zander Smith had a lot of enemies in Port Charles. One of them bashed him over the head. We might never know who.”

Mac shook his head. “I don’t accept that. I can’t let another murder in this town go unsolved–the mayor will have my ass and you know it. Especially Zander Smith–he was wanted for questioning in the shooting of Detective Brian Beck and even if Beck died from unrelated injuries, we still can’t let it go unanswered–”

“It’s beating a dead horse, Scorpio.” Ric shook his head. “We’d never get enough evidence to prosecute and nobody is going to miss a useless human being like Zander Smith. His last link to this world was his father and he died in the fire too. What exactly are you trying to prove here, Mac?”

Mac dragged his fingers through his hair. “I don’t even know anymore,” he muttered. He shook his head and his eyes fell on a wedding photo of Ric and Elizabeth. “Elizabeth was due this summer, wasn’t she?”

Ric coughed. “Uh, yes. She’s away with family right now.”

Mac narrowed his eyes. “Her baby–I heard some gossip that it was Zander Smith’s.”

Ric tensed. “That is…they were friends once, Mac. But Elizabeth was out of his life long before Zander was killed in that fire.”

“Of course–I didn’t mean to speculate. Did she have the baby?” Mac asked.

“Ah…we’re actually separated,” Ric admitted. “She’s filing for divorce.”

Mac blinked. “That was awfully sudden.”

Ric smiled faintly. “You’re telling me.” He glanced at his calendar. “I’m actually flying out to join her in Colorado to try to work things out. If you’ll excuse me…?”

“Oh, right.” Mac picked up the lab report and left, feeling slightly unsettled about the news that Elizabeth Lansing, biological mother of Zander Smith’s child had suddenly filed for divorce from her husband and remembered that she had disappeared from town only a month after Zander Smith died.

Something didn’t add up.


Ric coughed lightly and peered at Johnny, the guard on the door. “If he doesn’t want to be dragged downtown to answer questions, he’ll see me,” he said confidently.

Johnny rolled his eyes but opened the door. “DA Lansing,” he called in.

Sonny, who was sipping a glass of water at the mini bar sighed but waved for Ric to enter. “What do you want?” he demanded.

“Oh, just to drop in on my darling brother,” Ric remarked smoothly. “Where’s your family?” he asked with a smirk.

“Where’s yours?” Sonny returned with the same smirk. “Oh, right–Elizabeth left you. No surprise there.”

It was clear that Sonny had no clue about his affair with Sam, Ric concluded as he thought about the best way to hint about where Carly, Jason and the kids were. If Sonny had known, Ric wouldn’t have gotten three words out before a bullet would have been between his eyes.

“Elizabeth is away visiting family,” Ric lied. “I’m going to join her in Colorado in a few weeks to see her and the baby.”

“Good luck in Colorado,” Sonny said, “since her family has lived in Europe for the past decade or so.”

That made Ric pause. Elizabeth had only mentioned she’d grown up in Colorado but now he realized she’d never really spoken about her childhood. He cleared his throat. “Her immediate family may be in Europe, but her mother’s family is still in Colorado–”

“Cut the bullshit, Ric. You and I both know that Elizabeth has barely spoken to her parents or anyone in her family for years.” The corners of Sonny’s lips curved into a mean smile. “Of course, you probably don’t know. Elizabeth doesn’t talk about her family with people she doesn’t trust.”

“Oh, and she trusts you,” Ric scoffed. “After you chased Carly and your kids away. Please.”

“Maybe not now, but she did once,” Sonny acknowledged, “and she will always trust Jason.” He saw the sudden clench of his half-brothers jaw. Direct hit. “She and Jason have a friendship that goes beyond your understanding–you’ve never been able to change that and it must eat at you.”

“And you were never able to control it,” Ric retorted. “That must have killed you. So, what? You think my wife is off somewhere with your sister’s husband?”

“No,” Sonny said slowly. “Jason is not my sister’s husband. He is my partner and he is my best friend. And I think that where Elizabeth is, she’s safe. From you. She made the right choice in getting away from you because you would have only broken her. And she’s been broken enough.” He sipped his water.

“Since when are you my wife’s biggest fan?” Ric demanded. “And the last time, I checked Jason had custody of your son.”

“Jason has custody of his son,” Sonny corrected calmly. “Michael has always and will always be Jason’s son where it counts. Look, Ric, I’m not going to tell you where they are so you might as well just leave.” He raised his voice slightly. “Johnny, the DA is leaving.”

Ric glared at him before storming out. Sonny waited until the door had closed before reaching for the phone. He dialed a familiar number and waited for the intended party to answer.

“Dr. Winters? I was hoping you had time for a session today…”


Jason slipped his cell phone into his back pocket before stepping out onto the sun porch. Elizabeth was curled up in a lounge chair, Andi in her arms as they watched Michael chase Carly around on the beach. She glanced up when she heard his foot steps. “Hey.”

“Hey.” He took a seat next to her and looked out over the ocean. “Are you feeling all right?”

“Mmm,” Elizabeth smiled and looked at her daughter. “Never better. Now that it’s been a few weeks since Andi was born, I’m feeling stronger and just so…happy. I never knew it could be like this.”

Jason nodded and then bowed his head. “I was talking to one of my sources at the PCPD, Elizabeth.”

Elizabeth tensed and her grip on Andi tightened. “Jason…”

“Mac’s looking into the case with a little more urgency now. Apparently they found the pipe in the wreckage the hotel. It had some dried blood on it that the lab tests say they’re not able to conclusively link to Zander’s, but the blood type matches. There are no finger prints, though.”

Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “Well, that’s okay then. Without something like that to tie me to it, then…” she shook her head. “I should have confessed,” she murmured. “I should never have ran.”

“Don’t worry about what you should have done or what you could have done,” Jason stated. “I still think you made the right decision.” He looked away. “But apparently, there’s a lot of pressure on Mac to solve it because Zander was wanted for questioning regarding Brian Beck’s shooting. A cop shooter is always going to be hunted. So he’s looking into things and my source says that he overheard Mac questioning someone about you.”

Elizabeth’s eyes widened and there was a glaze of fear in their depths. “B-but…why?”

“Because Mac heard the gossip that you were pregnant with Zander’s baby and he realizes that you left town rather abruptly.” Jason stood and went to the railing. “When I go back later this month, I’ll look into it and gauge the danger, okay? If we need to move you, we will.” He dragged his fingers through his hair and turned away from her. “But it would be different. If we had to move you, Michael wouldn’t be able to come visit you. I wouldn’t…” he trailed off.

Elizabeth knew what he wasn’t saying. Her time in Spain had almost been a vacation with Michael and Jason coming and going, Carly and Morgan visiting, the idea that Nikolas and Emily could pop over whenever she asked Jason to arrange it, but if she were to actually have to be on the run from murder charges, she would be alone. Her daughter would be alone.

Unless Jason joined her. Elizabeth wasn’t stupid–the words hadn’t been spoken, but Carly was right. The decision had been made that they would try to build something together. If Elizabeth had to run, that would change unless Jason went with her. She put the idea out of her mind immediately. Jason had Michael to think of and she would never ask him to abandon his son, not after all that he’d gone through and he could never bring Michael with him because it was no life for a boy who already lost enough family.

But Jason would tear himself apart with that choice, Elizabeth realized.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come it,” Elizabeth said softly. She stood and joined him at the railing. “If we have to take those steps, we’ll think about those possibilities then. There’s no point in worrying if there’s nothing to link me to it yet.”

“Okay,” Jason said quietly. He met her eyes. “You’re right. There’s no point in thinking about something that might not have to happen.”

But it wouldn’t stop him from thinking about what he might have to do. Elizabeth squared her shoulders and realized that she would have to be the strong one here.

She would have to take the next step on her own.


Later that night, when Andi had finally drifted off to sleep and the rest of the house was silent, Elizabeth slipped out her phone.

“Elizabeth–it’s in the middle of the night over there,” Nikolas said with surprise.

“Is that anyway to greet your best friend?” Elizabeth said with a false sense of humor.

“I’m sorry, I was just–nothing’s wrong right? Everything is still okay with Alexandria?”

“Everything is fine, she’s absolutely wonderful. That’s why I’m calling.” Elizabeth hesitated. “How would you like to come over for a visit in early September?”

There was a long pause. “Elizabeth, what is wrong?”

“I need…I need you to fly over when Jason and Carly go back to Port Charles,” Elizabeth finally admitted. “There’s something that I have to do that Jason can’t…he can’t be a part of. Will you do this for me?”

“I don’t even know what it is yet,” Nikolas remarked. “But whatever you need, Elizabeth, you know I’m here for you, right?”

“I know.” Elizabeth sighed. “I’ll call you back when I can give you more details. Thanks, Nikolas. I really appreciate it.”

This entry is part 4 of 18 in the series All We Are

Tell me now if you came sneaking up behind
Would you know me and see behind the smile
I can change like colors on a wall
Hoping no one else will find what lies beneath it all
I think I hide it all so well

Everybody Knows, Dixie Chicks


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Hardy Home: Living Room

Her grandmother did not quite believe her, but Elizabeth knew there was enough truth in the story she’d fed to Audrey that she would not quibble: a quick getaway to a spa resort because Robin wanted to treat her, to get her away from this stress, from the charges, from her life.

“Kelly’s concerned about my blood pressure,” Elizabeth said, handing Cameron a truck and then watching as he returned to the toys in the corner of the room. “With the suspension and these charges…” She lifted a shoulder. “I’m just trying to play it safe. I normally wouldn’t accept something like this, but—”

“Robin’s a good friend.” Audrey perched at the edge of the flowered covered arm chair. “I just…I wish I knew what to do about this. I hate that you had to file for divorce in order to prove your innocence. It’s probably the last thing Lucky needed right now.”

Elizabeth took a deep breath. “Yeah, well, losing my paycheck is the last thing I need right now. My lawyer suggested a show of independence from him would be a good sign.” Was it ever about her? For Christ’s sake.

“I suppose. And I imagine Lucky’s protestation of your innocence wouldn’t carry very far.” Audrey hesitated. “Darling, who is your lawyer? You haven’t said. Alexis isn’t available anymore. Though it was hardly ethical for her to marry your ex-husband after she handled the divorce.”

“I asked around.” Elizabeth stood. “I was lucky to find someone who hates Ric and isn’t charging me anything.” Diane was on retainer with Jason, but in light of the changes she was about to make, she didn’t think enlightening her grandmother as to the identity of her lawyer would be helpful.

Audrey would just look at her with that sympathetic look, with those soft eyes. Those disappointed eyes. She could even hear the admonishment now. Oh, Elizabeth.

She’d never grown up in her grandmother’s eyes, but Elizabeth supposed she couldn’t blame the woman. Every five minutes, Elizabeth was running to someone for help. This…this was different. Yes, Jason was helping her, but she thought Diane might have helped her on principle without Jason’s involvement.

And she was helping Jason right back. She was protecting him. If they didn’t keep her off the stand, Elizabeth planned to lie her ass off in front of that grand jury.

It was the first active thing she’d done in the months to take control of her life, and it felt good. At the moment. In five minutes, her stomach would be twisting again with all the ways this could go wrong.

Audrey pursed her lips. “I suppose. Well, Cameron is welcome to stay with me a few more days, but my love, I don’t know how much more of this I can do. I’m not particularly young anymore and he’s an active little boy. He’s in preschool during the day, but—”

“I know, Gram. That’s why I have to do this.” Elizabeth rose to her feet. “I’ve been sitting back, waiting for things to happen to me. I knew something was wrong with Lucky, I suspected he was using too much of his medication, but I never dreamed it was so bad. Or that he was having an affair. I tried to walk away then, but everyone told me to give him another chance. But…I’m facing jail time for this. Lucky slept with the commissioner’s daughter and Mac blames me. These charges aren’t just going away.” She folded her arms and looked away, towards the doorway. “I’m divorcing Lucky, Gram. His recovery is his business, but my life and my children are mine.”

“There’s not a lot there to argue with.” Audrey sighed. “I know you feel as though I’m taking Lucky’s side—”

“Aren’t you?” Elizabeth demanded. “Asking me to give him more time? He’ll always be a drug addict, Gram. Even if he never takes another pill—it’s always something he’ll have to deal with. I’ve dealt with brainwashing, faked my death to save him, I nearly died for my first husband—when does it get to be my turn?”

“I just…” Audrey lifted her hands, held them out at her sides. “I remember your grandfather and I. And how we let our happiness slip through our fingers because we didn’t take chances. Because we didn’t stick by one another when times were tough. We wasted years, Elizabeth. And while I love your father very much, and I know Steve never saw Tom as anything other than his son…” She closed her eyes.

“You wished you could have had more time together, more children,” Elizabeth murmured. “I—I do understand that, Gram. And I thought about that. With Lucky the first time. With Ric. I kept thinking that love isn’t supposed to be easy, that marriage is…it’s a battle sometimes.” A tear slid down her cheek. “But at some point, it has to feel like its worth it.”

“All right, darling.” Audrey stepped towards her and wrapped her in a tight embrace. “You’re right. You deserve a few days of rest, of relaxation. And…I can see you’re looking at this situation with open eyes. I’ll respect your decision to leave Lucky.”

“Thanks, Gram.” Elizabeth stepped back and bit her lip. “You might not always believe me, but I know what I’m doing. How I’m handling this—I didn’t choose the easy way like maybe I would have done once. It’s going to be scary sometimes, but I know I’m doing the right thing. For myself and my children. They come first.”

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

“Something is going on, and I don’t like it,” Carly declared, her hands at her hips as she watched Jason set a duffel bag by his desk and flip through some paperwork. “You and Sonny are just taking off to the island for some problems, but you never go at the same time—”

“If you need anything with the boys or their security, you can talk to Cody. He and Max are running point while we’re gone.” Jason made another notation, ignoring her growl of exasperation.

He had thought about confiding in Carly because he thought she might understand. After all, she was familiar with the spousal privilege option. But if Carly thought Jason was in trouble, there was no telling what she might do to help.

Better to leave her out of it for now. He’d call her from the island when it was a done deal and cite her dislike for Elizabeth as a reason he’d kept it from her.

“Is this related to Elizabeth?” Carly asked. “Because Jax came home yesterday absolutely livid. He’s talking about finding someone to run against Ric in the next election.” She huffed and looked down. “He’s been kind of protective of her since…last year.”

Jason raised his head and frowned. “That’s right. Sonny mentioned something about a surrogacy and Elizabeth having a miscarriage.”

“She and Jax were driving home.” Carly pressed her lips together. “I was…in the middle of my breakdown, and I ran in front of their car.” She wrapped her arms around herself. “They both forgave me. For some reason.”

Jason rubbed the back of his neck. Christ. He hadn’t known Carly was involved in that. “It was an accident, and Elizabeth doesn’t hold grudges.” Even when she ought to. “So Jax knows about her suspension?”

“Oh, he is through the roof.” Carly said, eager to move away from the previous topic of conversation. “Ranting and raving about the policies at General Hospital, how he knew Lucky was bad news. He treated her like crap during that surrogacy, according to Jax. There she is, trying to make money to pay bills by giving Jax and Courtney a child, and it’s like she had an affair.” Carly snorted. “Jackass. It’s always the cheating ones that are overly paranoid. I know—I used to accuse Tony all the time of going back to Bobbie.”

He had a headache. “Carly, go away.”

“No.” Carly stepped towards him. “Just—just tell me you’re okay. Ric doesn’t do anything without a reason. If he’s going after Elizabeth, there’s a reason for it. I know him. Is he trying to get something from you? I know you and Elizabeth are friends again—after the surgery with Sam, I mean. I know how she nearly sacrificed her career. And than she ran around like Florence Nightingale when you checked yourself out the hospital—” She narrowed her eyes. “Jason. Are you…involved with her again?”

This was the problem with Carly. You could never write her off because she was usually five steps ahead of you.  “If I were, it’s none of your business—”

“Hell, Jason, she’s in the middle of this mess, and then there’s the disaster of her marriage to Lucky. Look.” Carly tilted her head back. “It’s not that I don’t like her—”

He arched his brows and she snarled. “All right, it’s mostly because I don’t like her. I don’t really care to examine the reasons why at this point because I suspect it’s more about holding a grudge than an actual complaint. But I just…you’re both coming out of super serious relationships—” Carly stopped. “Okay. I’m going to shut up. You’re a grown man, and she’s mostly a grown woman.” She snorted. “It’s not like you wouldn’t be the best choice she’s made in her life so far.”

Jason waited a moment. “I have no idea what you’re talking about now. So I’m just going to ignore all of that. Go tell Jax to destroy Ric’s career. It can only help.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Fine. But when you and Sonny come back, I’m going to want answers. And I mean it.”

“And you’ll know what what I want you to know when I want you to know it.” Jason sighed, frustrated. “Carly, if I thought for one minute you wouldn’t try to help me, I’d tell you now. But you’ll go and help. And how do your plans usually end?”

“Um…massive amounts of destruction,” Carly admitted. “There was that seducing my mother’s husband part. And then there was Michael’s paternity. I tried to help Sonny, but he almost went to jail. Twice. I tried to set you and Courtney up, but you were both miserable—and of course, there was John’s paternity.” She winced. “So yeah, you know what? Don’t tell me. I could promise to stay out of it, but you and I both know I couldn’t help myself.”

“And Sonny said you’d never learn your lesson.” He opened the door and pointed. “Now, go away.”

“I’m gone.”

Monday, October 23, 2006

Elizabeth’s Apartment Building: Sidewalk

Robin pulled her car to a stop in front and waited while Elizabeth waved to the cop she knew was tailing her, stowed her suitcase in the back seat and then got into the passenger seat.

“Are you going to be able to lose him?” Elizabeth asked, fastening her seatbelt.

Robin smirked. “Did I ever tell you about the summer I spent with my mother in Pine Valley learning defensive driving maneuvers? Ha. The PCPD is no match for Anna Devane’s daughter.” She shifted the car into first gear. “You might want to hold on.”

And she stepped on the accelerator.

Three lights, twelve turns, and six minutes later, Robin had left the PCPD in the dust and made a turn towards the private air strip where Jax, Sonny and the Quartermaines housed their planes.

“That felt good,” the brunette said cheerfully. “Like I’m fighting against the man. I think I’m starting to get why my mother has trouble leaving the WSB behind.”

“Right,” Elizabeth said weakly, holding a hand over her abdomen. “I’ll never doubt you again.”

“Are you ready for this?” Robin asked, slowing the car down to a normal speed.

Choosing to believe her friend was asking after the practical details, Elizabeth nodded. “My grandmother probably thinks I’m up to something, but since I didn’t tell her Diane is representing me, she’s not connecting it to Jason. Diane’s already filing an appeal with the board at the hospital and she’ll file a motion to disqualify Ric on Thursday afternoon after we get back.”

“Why is she waiting until then? Why not file now?” Robin asked, squinting at the the traffic light in front of her. “Clear it up faster.”

“Because she’s going to try to get Ric thrown off any case including Jason since he’ll…” Elizabeth’s throat tightened. “Well, yeah. You know what I mean.”

“I do, but don’t you think you’re going to have to work on saying it?” Robin asked, glancing at her as the cars in front of her started to move. “You’re marrying Jason tomorrow.”

“Oh, man.” She closed her eyes. “Okay. Okay. Stop saying that.”

“Elizabeth, if you’re having second thoughts—”

“Not about marrying Jason,” Elizabeth said. “Okay? That’s…that’s all fine. I’m protecting him. It’s my fault Ric is going after him like this, that he even has the chance—”

“Considering Jason’s job, it’s a little bit his fault,” Robin replied dryly. “But I take your meaning. So if marrying him isn’t freaking you out, what is?”

“It’s not…the idea itself. I mean, Jason suggested it as an option, but I pushed for it. I told him I would not be part of sending him to the jail, so he’s really doing this to prevent me from perjury charges.” Elizabeth leaned her head back against the seat. “It’s…what comes after.”

“Ah. So it’s not marrying Jason that’s the problem. It’s being married to Jason.” Robin nodded. “It’s what, your fifth wedding to your third husband?”

Elizabeth shot her a dirty look. “Was that part necessary? You think I can’t count?”

“Ha,” Robin retorted. “No, what I mean is that you’ve been married twice. Each lasted barely a year. I cannot imagine the terror of one marriage, much less the third.”

“This is not helping.” Elizabeth scrubbed her hands over her face. “Look. It’s not even that, okay? It’s…those were real marriages. I thought they were—for some ridiculous reason, I thought I was marrying forever. And now, there’s Jason. And we’re not marrying because we’re in love, but…” She pressed a hand over her child. “But it’s not like we’re strangers who feel nothing.”

“You’re extremely close friends who may soon be raising a child together in holy matrimony,” Robin murmured. She pulled into the small parking lot of the air strip, turned off the ignition, and turned to Elizabeth. “Sweetie, I cannot tell you the right thing to do in this situation. You know I’m usually jumping at the chance to tell people how to live, but I’ve been working on that. And even if I wanted to, I don’t know what to tell you. I know Jason cares for you. I know you care for him. Sometimes, it can be just that simple.”

“This…this isn’t weird for you?” Elizabeth asked, undoing her seat belt and letting the strap slide back into place. “You…used to date Jason—”

“In another lifetime, and those were two different people. Jason is my friend now. Like you are. And I want the best for you both.” Robin bit her lip. “Look, maybe you should just ask him what his expectations of this marriage are—”

“Because I’m terrified he’ll tell me he has none. That it’s all up to me.” Elizabeth pushed her door open and stepped out into the brisk October morning. “He’s always doing that. The first time he asked me to marry him, I asked him that. I asked him what kind of marriage we would have. If we’d be…more. And he told me it’d be whatever I wanted.”

“Yeah, that’s what I mean about different people.” Robin removed her suitcase and a garment bag from the backseat as Elizabeth also retrieved her luggage. “The Jason I knew once didn’t know how to protect himself. He used to put himself out there, figuring the truth was always the best option. He took what he wanted, who he wanted…” She sighed. “But I changed that. I think I broke that in him. Or maybe I taught him to hold part of himself back.” She shook her head. “It’s a not a horrible thing to do—but he takes it to the extreme now.”

“You’re not kidding.” Elizabeth glanced towards the air strip where Sonny’ jet was waiting, the flight stairs already attached. A few figures milled about the bottom, and she recognized Jason and Sonny. “The night we were together? You know, the blackout? He wasn’t like that.” Her cheeks burned. “He and I—it was like the world didn’t exist. He wanted to be with me, and I wanted to be with him, so we just were. And we ignored everything else that didn’t fit in.”

“I don’t know how Jason feels about all of this,” Robin admitted. “But I know you’re half in love with him already. You can do two things, Elizabeth. You can do exactly what you and Jason have done for years. Hold yourself back, protect yourself. But you’ll do it at the cost of being happy. Or you can go and demand he tell you what he wants. And if he asks what you want—”

“I could tell him that the last thing I want is to find out on Friday Lucky is the father of this child. That I want him to be in my life, and that I don’t want to sleep in the guest room.” Elizabeth chewed her lip and looked at Robin. “Easy, huh?”

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Courthouse Plaza

Sonny sipped his espresso as Robin stirred sugar into her iced tea. “How much longer do you think it’ll be?” he asked.  She looked up and blinked at him.

“What?” she asked.

“Getting the divorce decree,” Sonny clarified. “It’s already been an hour. We…wanted to be on the island by two.” He checked his wrist. “It’s already eleven-thirty.”

“So? It’ll take as long as it takes.” Robin squinted at the entrance of the court house where Jason and Elizabeth had disappeared to earlier that morning. “It’s at least a twenty-four hour process.  She didn’t file until eleven yesterday.” She sipped her tea. “What’s the big deal? They’re getting married on the island with your justice of the peace. He’ll just wait until we get there.”

“I have plans,” Sonny complained. “They’ll ruin it if we’re not there by two.”

Robin furrowed her dark brows. “Ruin it?” she echoed. “Are you on drugs, Sonny? How—” She closed her mouth. “What do you have planned?”

“Look.” Sonny shifted, feeling heat on the back of heck. “I just…I wanted to help.”

“I think you were married to Carly a little too long,” Robin mused. “What’s going on?”

“This…is their third go around at this, you know?” Sonny shrugged. “Jason’s been married once for spousal privilege, but not like this. It’s…Elizabeth. And they might have a kid together. I just…in case they decide to…”

“You planned an actual wedding, didn’t you?” his old friend asked with a soft look in her eyes. “Sonny, you marshmallow.”

“This last year has been hell for Jason,” Sonny said. “First, he lost his memories. And then he had brain surgery. Carly was finishing up her meltdown, but then there was the virus. Sam got shot. I—I dated his sister, and he…had to deal with my illness. And that’s before we even get to the summer. I wanted to do something nice. In case they decided to stay married, they won’t necessarily feel the need to renew their vows.”

He looked into his dark espresso. “I married Carly the first time because of spousal privilege. It was quick ceremony that didn’t do justice to the way we felt about each other then. We weren’t…quite in love yet. But we were halfway there. And she wanted something more. She wanted to renew our vows so they’d mean something. I just…I know how they feel about each other.”

“You do?” Robin repeated. “Because I’m pretty clear on Elizabeth. Jason’s a mystery to me these days.” She glanced towards the court steps again, but they were still empty. “And, as you pointed out, it’s not the first time Jason’s married for this reason.”

“Well, that’s not why he and Brenda got married, but it’s why it lasted so long.” Sonny shifted again. “I think they’ve cared for each other long a very long time. And this summer, with what happened with Sam and Lucky, they finally started to open the door to it again. They’re not there yet. It might be months before they are. But I just…I thought they deserved something they could look back on with fond memories.”

“I agree,” Robin nodded. “What do you have planned?”

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series The Best Thing: Mercy

Part Three: Mercy

“If I can’t feel, if I can’t move, if I can’t think, and I can’t care, then what conceivable point is there in living?”
― Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness


 

Chapter Twenty

There’s a darkness living deep in my soul
I still got a purpose to serve
So let your light shine, deep into my home
God, don’t let me lose my nerve
Don’t let me lose my nerve

Put Your Lights On, Santana featuring Everlast


Thursday, August 4, 2005

Warehouse: Sonny’s Office

Everything was going to pieces around him. Two bookies had been arrested, a third had disappeared outright, their warehouse had been raided by the PCPD, and there was a labor strike among the waterfront workers.

It should have been a disaster—he should be ready to burn the place down.

Sonny had complete control over it all.

He looked to Francis Corelli. “You look like shit, man. You slept?”

Francis scrubbed a hand over his face, his skin shadowed with stubble, his eyes rimmed with red. “No. I came here straight from the airport. Alcazar is still in Venezuela. I talked to Ramon down there, he said there’s been no peep of him outside his usual territory.”

Sonny scowled and pointed at Johnny O’Brien. “What about the Ruizes?”

“Nothing. Which doesn’t mean anything,” Johnny said. He shifted on his feet. “They usually play things pretty close to the chest until it’s too late. I’m working on getting a mole inside the organization, but Hector is old school and usually doesn’t trust anyone who isn’t family.”

Sonny looked at Tommy Esposito who didn’t look remotely cheerful. “And nothing from the Zaccharas.”

“No, sir.” Tommy’s scowl matched his three co-lieutenants. “I got a guy inside. He’s one of Trevor’s lackeys, but he says there hasn’t been any notion of Anthony moving on anything up here.”

From his position at Sonny’s side, Jason spoke for the first time. “What about his son? He still out of the game?”

“Yeah.” Tommy’s eyes flicked at Sonny, but Sonny said nothing. Sonny’s earlier suspicions of the Zacchara were well-known, but that was then. “As far as Trevor and Anthony are concerned, Johnny’s a dilettante. Does nothing all day but hang around a girlfriend he thinks Anthony doesn’t know about or go to art shows and music clubs. Mostly, people think he’s useless.”

Sonny sat in his chair and sighed. “So we’re no closer to the bastard who’s gas lighting us.” He did have the urge to swipe all his papers from the desk, but he didn’t feel it the way he might have just a month earlier.

He was just…frustrated. Someone was coming at him and they were investigating all the usual suspects in the usual ways, and they were getting nowhere. “Who haven’t we thought of?” Sonny asked Jason. “You call in Stan? He still got Faith Roscoe on his radar?”

“She’s sunning herself in Ibiza,” Jason said. “We have a guy at the airport. As soon as she makes moves to leave, we’ll know, but we made our position real clear when we forced her and Alcazar out of town last year. Either of them steps foot in our territory, we’re not going to ask questions first.”

“She’ll come back eventually,” Sonny murmured. “But this doesn’t feel like Faith.” He looked back at the three men standing in front of him. “Until one of these assholes does something to warrant my lieutenants on them 24/7, I’m pulling you. Pick the best guy from each of your crews. Keep them on Alcazar, Hector, and Anthony.” He looked at Jason. “Send someone to keep a closer eye on Faith. I don’t want any surprises. Maybe they’re not behind what’s going on, but I don’t want any of them reading weakness. Keep working on getting guys into higher levels. Moles are always good.”

He rose to his feet again. “I need you three at home for now. Tommy, the bookies are running scared after Frankie and Ollie were arrested. Get them under control. Get collections moving again. Johnny, I want you on security with Jason.” He looked at Jason again. “I know you’re solid on that, Jase, but an extra pair of eyes never hurts. We got too much at stake to put anyone at risk. Make sure the Towers are safe, Carly’s clubs, Michael’s school, ah…” Sonny hesitated and squinted. “Elizabeth’s got her old studio opened up right? At the docks?”

“I bought the building last month,” Jason told him. “We’re upgrading the security now. I also have the hospital secure and Elizabeth’s grandmother.”

“Kelly’s,” Francis said. They looked at him. “You’re not directly linked to it, but Carly’s connection is well-known. And your father still manages it. And you know, Elizabeth used to work there.”

“Yeah.” Sonny nodded. “And make sure Bobbie and Lucas have good security at the Brownstone.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m missing something.”

“The warehouse is already pretty secure,” Jason said. “I can’t think of anything else, Sonny.”

Sonny nodded. “Francis, then, I want you to get together with Jordan. Meet with the head of the waterfront union. I’m supposed to control these damn workers, make them remember that. I own half the water front. They don’t want to work for me, they can go somewhere else. Get this strike over with. It puts too many eyes on our activities. I got Vega in my ear about suspending his shipments into Canada, and it goes without saying I don’t want to hear Zacchara bitching at me about not moving his product.”

“Sonny…” Johnny traded a look with Francis. “Have you thought about the other possibility for what’s going on?”

Sonny slid a hand over his face. “You mean that it’s not an external threat?” He exhaled slowly. “Yeah. Yeah. I know it might be an inside job. It has the hallmarks.”

He watched as Jason tensed slightly at his side and knew his partner expected some sort of explosion. But Sonny felt calm. Pissed as fucking hell, but calm. He could do this. He’d dealt with traitors before.

“Yeah. I got Stan and Bernie coming in after you guys. We’re going to start in depth background checks, identify some possibilities.” Sonny hesitated. “I know things have been…rocky this last year. I let my personal life get a bit out of control, but that’s over now.”

He knew his lieutenants weren’t completely convinced but Sonny knew as long as Jason was loyal to him, these men would be too. And while that did claw at him a bit, he knew it wasn’t undeserved.

“You guys got your assignments. You can report to Jason unless I need to see you again.”

Once the three men had filed out, Jason took a seat in front of Sonny’s desk. “I didn’t know you had considered a possible traitor,” he said, his tone carefully flat.

“Didn’t want to voice it for sure until I heard from the guys.” Sonny twisted off the cap from a bottle of water and sipped. “I fucking hate traitors, but I guess with the bullshit of the last few years, I shouldn’t be surprised.” He met Jason’s eyes. “I know you’re waiting for me to lose it over this.”

“I…” Jason shook his head. “No, you’ve been better, Sonny. I hope it’s okay that I say—” He shifted. “I know we don’t have a good track record of talking about this.”

“No, we don’t, but that’s about me, not you.” Sonny laid his hands flat on the desk. “I’m on medication. It’s early days yet, I won’t know if it’s the right answer for another month or so, but for now, it keeps me balanced.” He met Jason’s eyes. “Thank you, for standing by me. I’m not—I’m not saying we’re right yet. That I’m good. But I’m closer today than I was yesterday, and I have every hope that tomorrow will be better.”

“So you did go to New York to see a doctor,” Jason said, some of tension bleeding from his shoulders. “I—I wondered.”

Sonny nodded. “I met with a doctor. He comes up once a week for a therapy session.” He hesitated. “Did—did Elizabeth mention she had come to see me?”

Jason nodded. “Yeah. She—she wanted to help.”

“That’s usually how she gets herself in trouble,” Sonny murmured, but he smiled. “She’s like you, Jason. Too generous with herself. Gives and gives until there’s not much left to her. She told me a bit about California. I got the idea maybe she’s not all the way past the crap my brother put her through, so I hope she’s okay.”

“She is.” Jason leaned forward, hesitated a moment. “She still has a lot of guilt inside. About that summer and the panic room. She’s…been talking to a friend at the hospital about it.”

“Good.” Sonny sipped his water again. “Good. I like her. I always did. I hope she’ll let me take her for a spin on the dance floor at your party next week.”

Jason winced. “Yeah. I’m sure she will.”

Sonny laughed, and God, didn’t it feel damn good to be doing this? To be talking to Jason like they were friends again and not undeclared enemies? Fuck what a wasteland this last year had been. He could do this. He could pull himself back from the edge.

“It’ll be a good time,” he told his friend. “You’ll wear a suit, pose for some pictures. She’ll look gorgeous as always, and you’ll make her happy.”

Max knocked on Sonny’s slightly ajar door and pushed it open. “Yo, boss, Bernie and Stan are here.”

The light hearted banter of the past few moments were forgotten as Jason and Sonny got down to business.

Kelly’s: Courtyard

Carly sipped her iced tea and tried not let her eyes cross as Bobbie talked about the work Lucas was doing at PCU in his pre-med program. Carly thought she should get credit for even remembering what the little pissant was studying. He always looked at her as if she was still the home wrecker that broke his parents apart.

She was, but she didn’t like it when people who didn’t know better judged her. Fucking Lucas. He’d been adopted, but Bobbie had fought for him. Wanted to keep him. Not like the bastard daughter she’d tracked down just for shits and giggles long after she’d thrown Carly away.

Carly swallowed those thoughts, because that wasn’t her life anymore. She and Bobbie were even now, after all. Bobbie’s perfect life had been smashed to smithereens, and that’s all Carly had ever wanted.

It was enough. Carly had other things on her mind—more important than reminding Bobbie what a shitty mother she had been.

“…and I’m so glad you and Jason are doing better…”

Jason’s name in the middle of Bobbie’s babble caught Carly’s attention so she tuned back into her mother. “What? Why do you say that?”

Bobbie set her water on the table with a frown. “Well, you’re hosting his engagement party next week, Carly. Why else would Jason allow that if things weren’t better?”

Because that old harridan had been cornered into it. Carly smirked. She had seen the annoyance in Audrey Hardy’s eyes when Jax called Carly to the table. She had seen the way Audrey’s eyes darted back and forth, but there had been no graceful way to bow out, not without possibly complicating matters between Jason and Sonny.

“That’s got nothing to do with me and Jason,” Carly said. She pushed her fork around her in her salad. “It’s about Jason and Sonny. Preserving the peace at any cost.”

“I will admit, things seem to be better in that quarter,” Bobbie said. “I was doing the books last week, and they came in and had coffee at the counter. Sonny seems to be doing so much better, Carly. It’s wonderful to see the light back in his eyes.”

Fucker was probably having an affair again. She didn’t care what Courtney said—Sonny had been different after that trip to New York. He’d found someone who didn’t remind him of the daughter he’d given away. He disappeared for hours every week. She knew there was something going on, and oh, wouldn’t Sonny be sorry when she got to the bottom of it?

If Port Charles thought Carly had been a vindictive slut when it came to her mother, oh the world had better put on their fucking seatbelts if she discovered Sonny cheating on her again. She would burn it to the ground. Total war. Scorched earth. Nowhere Sonny could hide. She would rip his balls out—

“Carly? Isn’t it better at home?”

Carly blinked and looked at her mother, realizing for the first time Bobbie had expected a response. “Oh. Yeah. Things are fan-fucking-tastic. The perfect marriage, Bobbie.”

Bobbie frowned. “Carly—”

“Is Lucas dating anyone?” Carly asked, because she was tired of talking about Sonny.

Kelly’s: Dining Room

Elizabeth winced as she saw Carly and Bobbie were still in the courtyard eating lunch. She was going to have to wait them out—she was doing such a great job of avoiding Carly these days.

“I hope that’s not for me,” Nikolas said, arching a brow as he pulled out a sheaf of papers from his briefcase. “I like to think I’m not that much work.”

Elizabeth laughed. “No, no, of course not.” She gestured toward the door. “Carly and Bobbie were in the courtyard when I got here, so I came in through the back—Mike loves me, after all. But they’re still out there.”

“Ah.” Nikolas nodded. “Still keeping the peace by not talking to her. I suppose that means Audrey is dealing with the details for the party?”

“Well, it was her idea to have it at Carly’s club.” Elizabeth shook her head. “Carly’s assistant is doing most of the stuff. Gram says she only signed the contract with Carly.”

“Hmm…” Nikolas handed her the papers. “I had Andrew go over this. He made a few notations and offered to handle the negotiations if you’re inclined to go forward.”

Elizabeth wrinkled her nose as she took in the post-it note attached to the proposed partnership agreement. “What does he think?”

“Well, I knew the name Jerome sounded vaguely familiar,” Nikolas told her. “So I asked Emily, who thought Luke might know. I had Lucky run interference. Luke asked Bobbie because he couldn’t remember where he heard the name—”

“Is this going somewhere?”

“And Bobbie remembered Victor and Julian Jerome. Some crime family from New York that set up shop for a few years in Port Charles about fifteen, sixteen years ago.” Nikolas sighed. “Always comes back to that. Anyway, she didn’t remember any Ava Jerome attached to that. There was a sister, but she had a different last name. Lucas’s natural father is Julian Jerome—”

“Oh, yeah, I remember now.” Elizabeth frowned. “Hmm. Jason didn’t say anything but I guess if they were that long ago, it was before Sonny’s time. I guess I’ll get him to run a background check on Ava before we go any further.”

“It’s probably a coincidence,” Nikolas said. “But better safe than sorry. Anyway, as for the contract itself, Andrew said it was a bit unfair. Considering your reputation in the art world—”

“The fact that I have one still astounds me,” Elizabeth murmured.

“And the fact that your work was shown at the Harris Gallery, which is more prestigious and has a longer history in New York—the Jerome gallery is a bit more niche. It tends to launch careers but that’s pretty much it.” Nikolas sipped his coffee. “So he thinks the fifty-fifty profit offering isn’t very fair. You’ll be doing most of the work here in Port Charles. Once the galley is open, that agreement provides you’ll head up the gallery and the foundation, which means you’ll be doing the lion’s share of the work.”

Elizabeth scowled. “I told Luther I didn’t want something so time consuming. I have two small children and a career of my own, not to mention I’m getting married.”

“It wouldn’t be that difficult, Liz.” Nikolas leaned forward. “I could put you in touch with some good managers. They’d steer you through a lot of the grunt work. You’d show up, be the gorgeous face at the benefits, but you could leave them most of the work. Still, Andrew says you should counter with an eighty-twenty split and refuse to go lower than seventy-thirty. You don’t need Ava Jerome. You have your own reputation.”

“Yeah.” Elizabeth chewed her lip. “But I want someone to share the risk. I made a lot from my first show, and Luther has looked at the work I’ll be exhibiting in December—he expects it to be even bigger. But still, I don’t want to tie up my capital in this.” She glanced at him. “And it goes without saying that while Jason would invest if I needed him, he doesn’t want to.”

“He wants it to be separate in case…” Nikolas waved his hand in the air. “Something happens. I suppose he wants to keep your art money separate as well.”

“Yeah. I mean, I’ll have access to his accounts, but you know, it’s just easier this way. I have my own money manager, too. Literally the only thing Jason and I are sharing are the kids.” She smiled. “It’s fine. It’s nice to have enough money to worry about it.”

“Any idea if you’ll be adopting Evie?” Nikolas asked.

“No.” Elizabeth tucked the partnership agreement in her bag. “No, but I don’t think either of us will. Sonny’s been doing so much better lately. And while Carly is a concern, Jason seems to think we’ll be able to work something out with custody at some point. We did, however, start the process for Cameron.”

Nikolas hesitated, and she sighed. “Go ahead, Nikolas. I know you want to say it.”

“You know that I’ve tried very hard to be supportive this time,” he told her. “And I haven’t even been lying. I can see you’re happier with Jason, and since my family has tried to kill you on more than one occasion, it’s not like I have a lot of room to talk. So when I say this next part, I want you remember how good I’ve been.”

“You’ve been the very definition of a best friend,” Elizabeth told him with mock somberness. “So carry on.”

“You and I both know the next danger is not going to come from what Jason does for a living,” Nikolas said. “It’s going to come from Sonny and Carly. Now, I know Sonny is doing better. He and I were part of the meeting with the union leaders last week since this godforsaken strike is screwing up both our businesses. There was a calmness about him I have not seen in years. So whatever he’s doing, I’m glad.”

“But?” she prompted.

“But if Sonny’s being treated with medication, as Emily thinks, she worries that he might stop taking it. Or that it’s something that working for now, but it might not work full-time. She’s been studying bipolar disorder like crazy and she says it’s a difficult illness to treat. If Sonny’s doctor caught him in the middle of a low cycle, he might prescribe anti-depressants, thinking it was depression.”

Elizabeth hesitated. “Jason—he said Sonny hasn’t said much about the medication he’s on. Barely acknowledges it. I don’t know what he’s taking. But—” She bit her lip. “An anti-depressant would help him in the low points, but if he starts to cycle up—”

“Yeah, exactly. Emily gave me this list…” He pulled it out from his pocket. “Some symptoms to look for if he starts to cycle. She’s been so busy at the hospital—”

Elizabeth took it. “An anti-depressant would probably aggravate the situation during a manic episode, wouldn’t it?” she said softly. “Heighten it.”

“I’ve never seen Sonny during a truly manic episode, but I can’t imagine it’s pretty. Jason would know better.”

She pursed her lips as she scanned symptoms. “Jason…” She closed her eyes, feeling guilty about talking about this behind Jason’s back, but this was her life she was protecting. “He said that Sonny’s been trying to control it for months. That he hasn’t crashed.”

“If he crashes on anti-depressants, it could make it worse.” Nikolas leaned back in his chair. “I don’t know much about this, Liz. And maybe I don’t care for Sonny much, but I’ve seen what mental illness does to people. God knows my family is delusional. I just…maybe we’re overreacting. We don’t even know if it’s bipolar disorder.”

“No, I guess we don’t.” Elizabeth sighed and put the list away. “But I can’t think what else it might be.” She looked at him. “Thank you for being such an amazing friend, Nikolas. I don’t know where I’d be without you.”

“The feeling is more than mutual.”

Morgan Penthouse: Bedroom

Jason pulled back the bed sheet and frowned slightly at her. “Jerome? No, there’s no one on the radar with that name.”

Elizabeth unclasped her necklace and set it inside her jewelry case. “Nikolas thought it was probably a coincidence, but he wanted me to be aware.”

He sat on the edge of the bed and watched as she removed her watch and earrings before opening a dresser drawer for one of his t-shirts to sleep it. “I’ll have Bernie run a check on her. It’s probably nothing, but Nikolas is right. Better to be safe than sorry.”

She smiled at him as she drew the cotton over her head, the hem hanging halfway to her knees. She crawled over the bed until she was on her knees in front of him. “I’m going to hire a lawyer Nikolas recommended to go over the contract anyway.”

“But you think you’re going to go through with it.”

“Yeah, but I’m definitely going to be bugging Nikolas for all kinds of advice.” She bit her lip. “I know we talked about you not investing in it, and you know, I get it, but if Nikolas offers, you won’t be mad?”

“No.” Jason twisted until he was seated fully on the bed and rested his hands at her hips. “I don’t want the gallery combined with my money in anyway. If the IRS ever came after us, if any assets were ever seized, I don’t want you to be left without any resources. You should get your own investors, your own lawyers, and business managers.”

“That’s what I figured, but I thought I should be sure.” She brushed her lips against his before sliding under the sheets and adjusting the monitor for Evie and Cam’s room. Nora had one as well and normally reached the nursery before Elizabeth or Jason, but Elizabeth still kept it on her side of the bed.

“But I would feel better if you’d let Bernie run background checks on any investors or people you hire to work there,” Jason said. “Just to be safe.”

“I figured. And you’ll be in charge of the security, too.” She turned on her side. “After everything my grandmother is putting you through with this party, it’s the least I can do, right?”

Jason smirked as he switched off his lamp, plunging the room in shadows. He drew her to her side. “Sonny asked if you’d save him a dance.”

“Yeah?” She peered up at him. “So things really are better?”

“They are.” Jason hesitated. “Sonny is seeing a doctor. Once a week. And he’s on medication. He says they won’t know for a few more weeks if it’s the right dosage, but he’s…it’s as close to his old self as I’ve ever seen him. He’s been calm, in control. Even joked with me today.” He stroked her back, his fingers dancing down her spine. “He told me you came to see him.”

“Yeah?”

“And he said he hoped you were doing okay. It was like…”

“Like it used to be?” she murmured.

“Yeah,” he admitted. “I don’t know if it’s going to last, but whatever you said to him—it got through. Maybe it’ll still be rough while he gets his treatment adjusted, but maybe it’ll be all right.”

“I’m so glad.” She leaned up to kiss him more fully. “I told you we’d get through this.”

“Yeah, you did.” And he rolled her to her back, kissing her neck as she giggled.

He was not a good man, but whatever he’d done to deserve her walking back into his life last December—he would spent the rest of his life making sure she never regretted it.

February 21, 2015

sitenewsSorry about the late update — I went back to work yesterday. Right now, I’m working as a substitute and classroom aide until my teacher certification is done, so I’m pretty excited to be back at work after six months of waiting for some paperwork to come through. I subbed for a kindegarten aide yesterday which was exhausting, ha. Fifteen or so five and six year olds. Luckily, I’ve been baby-sitting for nieces a lot so it wasn’t nearly as terrifying.

Anyway 😛 So now that I’m back at work, I may be shuffling some things around — I mentioned that earlier this week with the Fiction Graveyard updates, which take longer. Honestly, things might just get shuffled to the weekend with larger updates. I’ll be able to know this week since it’s a full week. I don’t want to lose time for writing after all.

I’ve added Chapter Three to All We Are and finally updated the music page. I’ll update the events calendar once I’m sure of my schedule. I also did a small story status post.

I got a lot of feedback to the FG story, Fumbling Towards Perfection. I really am sorry about it–but there are absolutely no plans to continue that story. If someone would like to adopt the concept, that’s just fine. But myself, I have no interest in it. I haven’t even really thought about since 2003.

So honestly, not much has changed since last month. I was sick for a lot of the time and was trying to play catch up with current projects.  I’m back to work now and anticipate working at least four days a week for the foreseeable future. This is actually a good thing as it’s going to allow me to finally get into an actual schedule. Left to my own devices for so long, I actually end up spending too much time procrastinating and not enough time writing. Super excited.

So I’ll list the projects that have changed or been added since I last posted. If something you’re looking for isn’t listed, then just scroll down to January’s update.

The Best Thing – I’ve finally figured out how to end this since I changed my original outline. I had a concept that could have extended the story another ten or so chapters, but I’m tweaking it a bit so that the story still feels wrapped up but there are enough breadcrumbs laid out so that if I wanted to revisit this particular story universe, I could pick up some of the loose threads. But we’re looking at about 42 chapters, give or take one or two on either side. I’ve written up to 21, and posted 19, which means I’ve only got a buffer of two more chapters. I’ll get ahead again next week.

All We Are – I got stuck a bit writing Chapter 8, which you’ll understand better when I post it in a few weeks, but we’re past most of the heavy relationship stuff and moving into the plot so it’ll go much faster now and I should finish writing it sometime in March.

Damaged – I don’t have an ETA for a return on this, but I’ve been working on the storylines a bit this morning and I think I fixed one of the problems that was holding me back. I have a few more story notes to work on, then some episode outlining, but it’s back on the radar.

Mad World – Right now, I’m developing a more detailed scene breakdown, which I’d like ready when All We Are is finished being posted sometime in April.

Bittersweet – I’m still outlining this story, so expect it to show up after Burn in Heaven, which is after Mad World. I have a lot of fun stuff planned for this story and I’m sooo excited to write it since I haven’t written 2002 pretty much since 2002 actually happened, ha.

Untitled 2003 Rewrite – Originally conceived as a possible I Shall Believe rewrite, but quickly morphed into an entire rewrite of the fall out of the panic room storyline, so there’s that. This is still in the brainstorming stages, but it’s going to be an interesting one.

 

Yeah, not much change going on, I know. I’m looking forward to not being sick, to working and getting a new car so I can go write at Starbucks without borrowing my dad’s. 😛

This entry is part 3 of 18 in the series All We Are

You think that you are strong but you are weak
You’ll see
It takes more strength to cry admit defeat
I have truth on my side
You only have deceit
You’ll see, somehow, someday

You’ll See, Madonna


Saturday, October 21, 2006 

Elizabeth’s Apartment: Hallway

Elizabeth stepped through the door that separated the stairway from the hallway of her apartment and scowled. Ric Lansing was leaning against her door with a stupid smirk on his face.

God, she couldn’t wait until next week when he learned she wasn’t the weak and vulnerable girl he’d preyed on all those years ago. She was going to wipe the floor with him.

“Elizabeth, I was hoping you’d be back soon.”

“This is harassment, Ric, and my lawyer isn’t going to like that,” she said, fishing her keys from her purse, making sure the paperwork for her Dominican divorce was safely stowed inside and out of sight.

“I just…wanted to check in.” Ric straightened. “You hired a lawyer?”

“Not yet, but I will. Do you have a purpose here, Ric? Or should I call the police?”

“You think Mac Scorpio is going to protect you from me? He blames you for his daughter’s transgressions.” He sniffed. “Misplaced to be sure, but it serves me well enough for now.”

“Well, then maybe I’d call Jason,” Elizabeth retorted. When Ric’s smirk deepened, she snorted. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you? You want me to go running to Jason to protect me?”

“Didn’t you?” Ric asked. “You went to Robin and Patrick’s last night. You think I won’t find a call to Jason from Robin’s phone?” He lifted an eyebrow.

“I think you have no probable cause to search Robin’s phone and if you tried, her parents would break your arms,” Elizabeth responded sweetly. “And thanks, Ric, for letting me know you’re tailing me.”

He hesitated, his face dropping a bit. Score one for her. “Where were you just now? Your car was outside in the parking lot.” He narrowed his eyes. “Did you borrow a car?”

“I walked to Eli’s for some lunch.” She tilted her head toward the door. “Robin and Patrick are inside now watching my son. And that’s the last time I’ll voluntarily tell you my whereabouts, Ric. Stay away from me.”

“You have six days, Elizabeth. Your freedom or Jason’s. You’d better make the right choice.”

Elizabeth pushed open the door and then found great pleasure in slamming it shut in his face.

Patrick rose from the sofa. “Was that Lansing? Was he waiting for you?”

“Down, Patrick.” Robin stepped through the threshold. “How did it go?”

Elizabeth held a finger, turned and opened the door to find Ric still there. “You keep standing there, Ric, I’m going straight to Alexis to tell her how you spent the blackout.”

He pressed his lips together. “Why do you know about that? Did Jason tell you?”

“Maybe Sam and I are besties,” she said. “Stay away from me, Ric. I don’t need Jason to make your life a living hell.” She leaned forward. “Alexis is a Cassadine. Her family makes you look positively normal, so if you want her to know your newest dirty secret—”

“I’m going.” He glared at her. “This isn’t over.”

“I didn’t think so,” Elizabeth murmured, watching her ex-husband stalk down the hallway toward the stairwell. Satisfied he was really gone, she closed the door. “So, I confirmed he had me followed last night, so thank God I switched cars.”

“I put in a call to my mother,” Robin said. “She’s having my phone records wiped for the time you used it.” She lifted her chin. “That scum isn’t going to know what you’re planning until it hits him in the face.”

“Does someone want to tell me what’s going on?” Patrick complained. “I mean, I’m all for showing Lansing up, but I’d like to be in on it.”

“I…” Elizabeth sighed. “So Ric started this investigation and had me suspended because he wanted leverage.”

“He wants to use you against Jason.” Robin sat down, a mug of coffee in her hands. “Oh, Cam’s playing in the bedroom, by the way. Patrick brought over the race cars.”

“Just a loaner,” Patrick said. “For like a week. I want them back in mint condition.”

“Hush.” Robin waved a hand. “How does he plan to use you?”

“He wants me to testify against Jason in a grand jury hearing.” Elizabeth took a seat on the sofa and removed her bag from her shoulder.

“Oh, hell, I see where this is going,” Robin sighed. “So, you’re going to protect Jason—”

“And Diane is filing a motion to have Ric pulled from any case dealing with me,” Elizabeth replied.

“For the Port Charles newbies,” Patrick said, raising a hand. “How exactly are you protecting Jason from your testimony—” He closed his mouth. “Oh. Hell. Liz. Babe. We can find another way.”

“How are you going to deal with the Lucky situation?” Robin asked, ignoring Patrick’s outburst.

Elizabeth pulled the papers from her bag. “Diane drew up the papers I need to file in the Dominican Republic. Lucky has to agree to let me file there in order to have the divorce recognized in New York.”

“How are you going to swing that?” Patrick asked. “Because this is one part of the nonsense I’m okay with.”

“I’m going to use the same thing he’s used on me for years. Guilt.” Elizabeth pulled out her cell phone. “I’m going to tell Nikolas what’s going on, and then tell him the best way to make me look innocent is if I walk away from Lucky, that they’re using our continued relationship as evidence of my involvement.”

Patrick whistled. “And you’re not going to mention that you intend to go through with the divorce. He’ll think you’re just filing for divorce and maybe you guys will stop it before it goes into effect and the charges are gone.”

“Lucky can draw whatever conclusions he wants to,” Elizabeth said. “They searched my home and found one last stash. In the cookie jar. My son lives in this apartment. He could have found them.” She closed her eyes. “Whatever loyalty I had left vanished in that moment. Cameron is more important.”

“No, no, I like this. It’s ice cold, just what he deserves.” Patrick clasped his hands. “So how long do you and Jason have to stay married?”

“That’s difficult to say,” Elizabeth admitted. “It’s…pretty open-ended at this point. We can’t get divorced as soon as Ric drops the grand jury proceedings because they can challenge the privilege.”

“You’d probably have to wait at least a year,” Robin said. “Because a ton of marriages fail in the first year—” She stopped. “Sorry.”

“Yeah, I’m living proof. One and done.” She leaned back. “I’m not going to think about that right now.” She took a deep breath. “I just…I have to get my paperwork done tomorrow because I’m leaving for the DR on Monday. I’ll be divorced Tuesday morning, and married that evening.” She rubbed her eyes. “Oh, man, put me on Maury now.”

“Well, whatever you need from us,” Robin said. “Cam can stay with us—”

“He can?” Patrick repeated. “I don’t know about that—”

“Actually, I’m going to have him stay with my grandmother. I’m going to tell her I need a few days to sort through my options regarding these charges and my marriage. I don’t want anyone else to know about this until Jason and I come back on Thursday. I don’t even plan to tell Emily or Nikolas, because they might stop Lucky from signing the papers.” She hesitated. “But, Robin, there is something maybe you could do for me.”

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Kelly’s: Courtyard

Elizabeth pushed through the doors of Kelly’s, a cup of coffee in her hand stopping when Emily jumped up from one of the tables. “Emily.”

“You’ve been dodging my phone calls,” Emily said, folding her arms. “Elizabeth—”

“I’m just…dealing with some things.” Elizabeth furrowed her brow and looked around. “How did you know I’d be here—” She stopped. “Nikolas told you.”

“He said you two were going to Promises in order to get Lucky sign some divorce paperwork.” Emily stepped forward. “Elizabeth, I thought you were going to give Lucky a chance to clean himself up—”

Not this again. It always came back to this. “I have to do what’s right for me and Cameron, Emily.” She pressed her lips together. “You know about my suspension, what they suspect me of doing. Being connected to Lucky looks bad. I have to do what’s right—”

“I can talk to my parents—try to get the board to reinstate you,” Emily began.

Elizabeth shook her head. “They won’t. Not until the charges go away. I’ve talked to a lawyer, Emily, and she agrees this is the best thing—”

“You talked to Diane, you mean.” Emily pursed her lips. “Which means you went to Jason. Instead of talking to me or Nikolas, you went to my brother.”

Elizabeth sighed and looked away. Any thought of confiding in Emily was off the table.  “I wanted to get in to Diane immediately. She’s a good lawyer, and I knew that since Jason has her on retainer, she’d call him back faster than she’d call me. I’m just trying to get this part of my life over with.”

“Jason has a lot on his plate, Elizabeth.” Emily tucked her hair behind her ears. “I mean, I know he’ll do what he can to help you, but he’s still dealing with Sonny’s illness and the breakup with Sam.”

“And I’m not dealing with anything?” Elizabeth retorted. “I’m pregnant, my husband screwed a teenager and his drug addiction lost me my job and might cost my freedom. I’m supposed to sit back and not pull strings with Jason because he broke up with his girlfriend five months ago? And don’t pull that bull with Sonny on me. He’s been on the road to recovery since August.”

Emily sighed. “I’m not saying it’s not difficult, Elizabeth, and I hate that it’s happening, but it’s just…Lucky’s in a bad place—”

“Oh, my God, I’m not listening to this anymore.” Elizabeth started past her, but turned at the entrance to the court yard. “You know, I get it. Lucky was your childhood best friend and Jason’s your brother. I’ve known for years I rate below both of them—”

“Elizabeth—”

“When I was drowning inside all those years ago during the modeling and the brainwashing, you kept telling me to stick it out. That Lucky would be himself again one day.” Elizabeth huffed. “It’s always about Lucky with you. Well, I’m tired of sacrificing myself on the altar of Lucky Spencer. Where the hell has it gotten me? Cops searched my home, I’ve got a police tail on me, I’m a month late on my rent because Lucky drained what was left of our money for the rehab.” She stepped towards him. “I’m pregnant, Emily. I have a son. At what point does it get to be a little about me?”

“I’m sorry,” Emily began but Elizabeth walked away, finally accepting that best friend was a label they’d put on their relationship years ago.

It no longer qualified.

Promises Rehab: Lucky’s Room

“Are you sure about this?” Nikolas asked as they waited for Lucky to return from a session. “I’m sure Diane can get these charges dismissed.”

Elizabeth sighed, feeling so drained by the day which wasn’t even half over. She still had to pack Cameron up for the four days he’d be with her grandmother, drop him off with her grandmother tonight and then pack for herself.

And somehow come to term with the fact that in three days, she’d exchange one husband for another.

“I have to do what’s right for my son at the moment, Nikolas. I don’t want Ric to be able to point to our marriage as a reason to believe I’d steal those pills.” Elizabeth held up the paperwork. “I just need to Lucky to sign this paper not to contest the divorce. If he’s really sorry for what he put me through, he’ll do it.”

“I know what he did with Maxie was wrong—”

“God.” Elizabeth tilted her head back. “It’s not even really about Maxie.” She looked away, thinking of how her life had changed since walking in on them in Kelly’s that night.

How far away it all seemed. No, the affair had simply been the last straw. She’d been clinging to the wreckage of her marriage for months—maybe since the moment Lucky had been injured and Jason had been the one to save her. The accusations of an affair with Patrick had been humiliating, but thank God Lucky hadn’t seen the truth.

She’d settled a year ago with her marriage and this summer had just opened her eyes to what her life could have been like if she’d made different choices once.

“I’m just…I’m tired, Nikolas. Please, be my friend and just help me talk Lucky into this.” She hesitated. “It’s better for him, too.”

“Better that the mother of his child wants to run away from him as fast as possible?” Nikolas said without heat. His eyes met hers. “Elizabeth, did he ever—that night when I found you on the floor—he never put his hands on you other than that?”

“What? No.” Elizabeth shook her head. “No, Nikolas. I would never have stayed. I—” She bit her lip. “But that was definitely the last straw. I’ve been…planning this for several weeks. I just…didn’t pull the trigger.” She sighed. “Maybe I was waiting until our anniversary so at least one of my marriages could make it that far.”

“I get it, Elizabeth. I know Emily still thinks you should hold out, but you’re right. You’ve got your kids to worry about.” Nikolas shrugged. “And even if he gets clean, he’ll always be a drug addict.”

She closed her eyes, the tears burning against her eyelids. “God, Nikolas. Thank you. You’re the only one who’s friends with us both to even consider me.”

“Hey, I tried to kill you once,” Nikolas murmured. “That makes us family.”

She laughed and wiped her eyes as Lucky pushed open the door. It was the first time she’d come into contact with him since he’d left for the rehab, since the second time she’d taken a hard fall and telling him and Jason about the baby.

He looked tired, his hair unruly like he’d been running his fingers through it. But his eyes were clear. “Elizabeth, Nikolas. They said you were waiting for me.”

“How’s it going here?” Nikolas asked, as Elizabeth shuffled some paperwork.

“Ah, it’s going.” Lucky eyed her. “I didn’t think you’d come—”

“The police are investigating me for stealing drugs in order to feed your habit,” Elizabeth cut in, coldly. “I’ve been suspended pending the outcome, but Ric has already informed me I’ll be charged by the end of the week.” She narrowed her eyes. “They found one last stash of Oxy you kept in my son’s cookie jar and were able to trace it to the hospital.”

Lucky’s shoulders slumped. “God, Elizabeth—I’ll sign an affidavit, testify, anything. I’ll tell them it was Maxie—”

“And ruin her life more than you already have?” she shot back. “I’ve got my beef with Maxie, but she was a young, vulnerable girl who’d just watched her boyfriend murdered in front of her. I’ve been there, thinking you have nothing to live for.” She shrugged. “I’d rather you keep her out of it. I’ve consulted a lawyer who recommended I file for divorce.”

“Divorce.” Lucky swallowed. “But we’re having a child—”

That fact remained to be seen, but Elizabeth tapped the paperwork on the desk. “I’ve brought the papers she drew up for an uncontested divorce. I need these charges to go away fast. I need my job, Lucky. I need those paychecks or I’m going to lose the apartment—”

“Elizabeth, you know I’d help—”

Elizabeth held up a hand to cut Nikolas’s offer in mid-stream. “You say you’re sorry. Well, I need you to prove it. You’ve almost shot me, you’ve thrown me to the ground, you’ve taken drugs, hid them in the home we shared with my son, and you screwed a teenager in our bed. You owe me this.”

He swallowed again, his hands trembling. “I want to make it up to you, Elizabeth. Please. Just give me a chance—”

She held out a pen. “This will be the start, Lucky. If you ever loved me, you’ll do this for me.”

Lucky looked at his brother. “You’re here with her…does that mean you think I should do this?”

“I—” Nikolas hesitated, clearly uncomfortable with being in the middle of this. “Lucky, you’ve put her through a lot. If this can help her get her job back and keep the DA at bay—you should do this.”

Lucky slowly reached for the pen and sighed. “I guess you’re right.” He cleared his throat. “Just…tell me where to sign.”

Elizabeth held back a sigh of relief as Lucky initialed and scrawled his signature on several pages where Diane had put flags without noticing it was paper work for the Dominican Republic. If he had noticed, she would have come with something but it was better than it had stayed under the radar.

Lucky slid the papers across the desk to her. “I’m sorry you’re dealing with this, Elizabeth. I’ll testify. Just tell your lawyer that.”

“I’m confident I’ll be exonerated,” Elizabeth said, putting the papers back in her bag. “After all, I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Greystone Manor: Living Room

 

Sonny set down a phone receiver as Jason entered that afternoon. “Hey. I pulled some strings to get Elizabeth a court hearing in Santo Domingo on Monday morning at ten-thirty, and I’ve got things set on the island—” He stopped. “You okay?”

“Uh, yeah.” Jason rubbed the back of his neck. “I just heard from Robin. Elizabeth convinced Lucky to sign the paperwork, so we’re good to go in the DR tomorrow.”

“I figured she’d be able to do it.” Sonny reached for another piece of paper. “Why is Robin getting in touch with you? I thought you gave Elizabeth a burner cell.”

“Yeah, but she’s still nervous about Ric. Robin said he was waiting for her when she got home from talking to me yesterday.” He exhaled slowly. “Let it slip he’d had a tail on her the night before.”

“Does he know she’s come to you?” Sonny asked, leaning against the table. “Should we move the time table up?”

“No.” Jason shook his head. “No, she needs—she needs time to get Cameron settled with her grandmother tonight. We’ll leave early tomorrow so she can file with the courthouse by noon.”

Sonny hesitated. “It’s happening pretty fast, isn’t it?” he asked quietly. “Five minutes ago, you were just waiting to find out if you were going to be a father, and now you’re looking at spending at least the next year as a husband.”

Jason lowered himself on the sofa. “I tried to talk to her out of it. Make her understand I could make the charges go away.” He rubbed his chin. “She threatened to lie in front a grand jury if Ric called her anyway.”

“You know, Jason.” Sonny said, crossing to the armchair and taking a seat. “It’s not the end of the world to accept help. Elizabeth wanted to help.”

“It just…” Jason shook his head. “I don’t know.”

“You want to say it doesn’t feel right,” Sonny said, “except those aren’t the right words.” He leaned forward. “Have the two of you discussed what this could mean? Particularly if you turn out to be the father of that child? You’d be in Cameron’s life as his stepfather, in your child’s life every single day for a while. Could you let that go?”

“It doesn’t matter what I want.” Jason looked straight ahead. He couldn’t think about the day to day of being married to Elizabeth, of having a family.

It never worked out for long.

Sonny cleared his throat. “Have you, maybe, considered not…making this…a simple marriage of convenience?”

Jason whipped his head around to face his partner. “What—what do you mean?”

“It’s not like you’re strangers,” Sonny said. “Or even bitter acquaintances. You two have a…bit of a past. Possibly a future. I know you care for each other. Have you discussed what kind of marriage this will be?”

“It’ll be whatever Elizabeth wants it to be,” Jason muttered, wanting a change of conversation immediately. “You said things were ready on the island?”

“I’ve arranged for the license, for a justice of the peace, you know—all the details. Robin called me—said Elizabeth asked her to be a witness at the wedding.”

Wedding. License. This…was really happening. He was going to marry Elizabeth on Tuesday evening. In forty-eight hours. “I’m glad Robin’s helping out. She—she said that her mother is having her cell phone calls wiped in case Ric figures out Elizabeth borrowed it.”

“I always liked that girl.” Sonny leaned forward. “So I know we’re letting the rest of the town find out about the marriage in Friday’s newspaper, but have you thought about…warning certain people?”

Jason blinked and looked away. “No. Elizabeth told Patrick and Robin, and I trust them to keep quiet for her sake. This works best if we move fast. Too many people know and the secret gets out.”

“You don’t think Sam is going to be interested in this news?” Sonny asked. “It’s only been five months—”

“A lot’s happened in those five months.” Jason shook his head. “I know I don’t have the right to be angry about Ric, but—”

“Why not?” Sonny asked. He lifted a shoulder. “Look, maybe she wants to excuse what she did and blame my brother for it. He’s not innocent, but Jason, she probably planned it for weeks.”

Jason rose to his feet. “Sonny—”

“Sam’s a con artist. Retired, maybe. But a con artist at heart.” Sonny crossed to his mini bar. “No accident that she latched on to you. Read you like a book. You like babies, like saving damsels in distress—”

“Sonny,” Jason began.

“—then she twisted herself all around to be the kind of woman you’d keep around. Tough, smart. Ruthless. Someone who’d follow you through the door. And you walked away from that. She blamed her mother. So, she tried to take away what her mother valued most—her stable family life.”

Jason exhaled slowly. “No. Sonny, she’s not like that. She wanted to hurt herself—”

“You know what I’m saying is true, because it’s why you’re twisted up about it.” Sonny gestured at him with the tumbler of bourbon in his hand. “Elizabeth used to be married to Ric, but that didn’t stop you from sleeping with her. She slept with Zander a few times, too. You couldn’t stand him. You don’t hold that against her.” He lifted a brow. “It’s because you know Sam wanted to kill two birds with one stone—to destroy her mother and destroy you. Sleeping with Ric did it.” He tilted his head. “And she ran right over to tell you, didn’t she?”

She had. The very next morning. Something sour burned in the back of his throat, because there was something to it. If Sam had just wanted to hurt herself, she could have slept with anyone else, but she’d chosen Ric Lansing.

“It doesn’t matter. I’m not warning her. She’s…unpredictable,” Jason admitted. “She’s gone after Elizabeth more than once because I told her about that night. I don’t trust her not to go to Ric to punish Elizabeth.”

“And that says it all, doesn’t it?” Sonny murmured as he sipped his drink.