June 29, 2015

Hey! I know a ton of you guys read the updates  when they’re emailed to you, which is why I include the title of the story with the update (All We Are, Chapter Whatever). Well, it was early this morning and my internet is being extremely bitchy, so I posted the wrong title for some reason. The chapter that was delivered is clearly All We Are, Chapter Eleven.

Sorry for any confusion!

This entry is part 11 of 18 in the series All We Are

Please don’t shout
Oh no
I stopped listening
I’m not listening
No, I’m not listening
Can’t you hear me?
I’m not listening

Please Don’t Shout, Billie Myers


Monday, December 4, 2006

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

 Elizabeth pursed her lips and studied her husband before looking back down at the child-sized motor bike he had had delivered that morning. “Jason. Where are we going to hide this until Christmas?”

Jason opened his mouth, then frowned. “I—I didn’t think that part through, I guess. I just…I saw Cam’s eyes when he saw the stupid convertible Morgan has and I thought he’d want one—”

A smile tugged at Elizabeth’s lips as she knelt and picked up another box, this one much lighter. “And this one?”

“A helmet. He might—” Jason scowled at her, but his eyes were amused. “You’re laughing at me.”

“No, no. I wouldn’t dream of it.” The generosity of his gestures—the way he had fallen in love with her son and his penchant for anything fast or on wheels—if Elizabeth wasn’t already head over heels, this would have done it. “Do you think one of the guys would take it to Sonny’s? I’m sure he’d hide it for us.”

“Yeah, I’ll call Nico.” Jason passed her as he headed for the desk. “Have you thought about what we talked about on Thanksgiving?”

“The island?” Elizabeth asked. She bit her lip. “I like the idea, don’t get me wrong, and Cam would love to have Christmas on the island with Carly, Jax, and the boys. I’d also pay good money to see Sonny and Jax celebrating together.”

“But?” Jason prompted, picking up the receiver.

“But,” Elizabeth continued, “Cam has his Christmas traditions, too, and he’s been asking about Gram. He hasn’t seen her since we got married, and I know—that’s her fault, not ours. But we go to the hospital party, and Gram comes over during the day. We drink egg nog, and he falls asleep in her lap.” Elizabeth set the box down, twisting her fingers together. “I guess if I say let’s change it, let’s go away for the holidays—it’s admitting that Cam doesn’t have that anymore.”

“I guess.” Jason left a message for the guard to make the pickup and turned to her. “Did you want to call Audrey? Ask her?”

“I was thinking about it,” Elizabeth admitted. “I don’t know. I mean, we should go. Cam loves the beach. It’s warm. It makes sense to go.” She leaned against the arm of the sofa. “Robin, Lainey, Kelly, and I are having lunch before the holidays because Lainey’s going home to Buffalo, and Kelly’s flying to Key West for a few days.”

“Then I should call Carly?” Jason asked, frowning in confusion.

“Can we just…hold off a few days in making a decision?” she asked. “We’ll probably go. I just want to be sure—”

“Of course.” He took her hand, drew her closer to brush his mouth against hers. She fisted her other hand in his shirt, and he contemplated taking another hour this morning to go upstairs.

Then Cody knocked.

Jason pulled away and turned to the door. “Yeah, Cody? You can open it.”

“Ms. Miller’s here.”

Cody pushed the door all the way open to admit the redhead who breezed past the guard with an apprehensive smile. “Jason, Elizabeth. Sonny said you were home this morning.” With a cheerful tone that sounded flat, even false, Diane continued, “Marriage must be agreeing with you. You always seem to be here when I call.”

“Diane.” Jason moved away from Elizabeth, reaching for his coffee on the desk. “What brings you by?”

“Ah, well, my visit is twofold really.” Diane set her bag on the desk and drew out some paperwork. “Elizabeth, your ex has hired a lawyer—or his brother has. He wants to settle custody.”

“Custody?” Elizabeth blinked. “I thought—” She flushed. “When the Herald printed that article a few weeks ago—”

“Ah, the one that gleefully announced your pregnancy and speculated as to paternity?” Diane pursed her lips. “Yes, I rather thought he’d get the message myself. Your divorce papers stated custody would be determined later, so…Lucky’s attempting to determine it.”

“He can’t have Cameron,” Jason said. “He never adopted him. There’s no standing.”

Elizabeth blinked at Jason’s abrupt dismissal, but directed her attention back to Diane. “What should we do?”

“Well, a copy of the paternity test will do for this unborn child, but Cameron may be a bit trickier.” Diane slid on her reading glasses. “The lawyer acknowledges that while Lucky did not formally adopt Cameron, he has acted as his father since the child was roughly ten months old. Cameron considers him a father?”

“I suppose, but—” Elizabeth cleared her throat. “Diane—”

“And as there is no biological father or anyone else with a legal claim, there’s a case here. Lucky has shared in the raising, he’d like to continue.” Diane handed Elizabeth a copy.  “I’m not saying he’ll win. I’m just saying he’s not without precedent.”

Elizabeth scowled. “He’s just doing this because he’s angry with me. The police found drugs in the apartment. He has an addiction—when did he get out of rehab?”

“Last week, apparently. He’s staying with his brother and he’s been encouraged to keep his distance from you.”

“What’s our next move?” Jason took the paperwork from Elizabeth to look it over. “The paternity test, but what about Cameron?”

“Oh, well, we’re going to have a court date set by the court. Probably after Christmas.” Diane drew off her glasses. “You did hear that part about anyone else with a legal claim, yes? I’d look into finding someone with a legal claim.”

Elizabeth frowned at her, but the redhead steamed ahead. “Now, as to the other purpose for this visit—the mayor has appointed a special prosecutor vis á vis you and Sonny,” she told Jason. “He’s tapped Scott Baldwin.”

“Baldwin? He was run out of town in disgrace.” Jason’s scowl only deepened. “What the hell?”

“Well, none of the DAs since Ric—Durant and Alexis to be exact—filed charges. Scott’s record is clean, and he’s the only one who’s a glutton for punishment, I suppose.” Diane pursed her lips. “Elizabeth, this is a good thing for you. Ric despised Jason. Scott’s target is Sonny. You’re probably not a blip on his radar at the moment.”

“Somehow, that doesn’t feel all that comforting,” Elizabeth replied, “but if you feel good about it, that’s fine.”

“Well, that might be too strong,” Diane admitted. “I can’t promise he won’t turn his eyes on you, but as he lacks the personal connection, he might see what the rest of us do—these charges are insane. I’ll have more of a feel for him once he’s been on the job a bit longer.”

She made her goodbyes and exited, leaving her clients somewhat speechless.

“I can’t believe that bastard is coming after Cameron,” Jason muttered, looking over the paperwork again. “What did Diane mean about legal claim?”

Elizabeth sighed and pulled the paperwork from his hands. “She means you. You’re his stepfather at the moment.” She hesitated. “And I think she’s hinting we should talk about a more permanent legal claim regarding Cameron.”

“Adoption?” Jason asked, surprised. He blinked. “Are—are you sure that’s what she meant?”

“I guess it’s something we’ll have to talk about.” Elizabeth glanced at her watch. “I’m meeting Robin for lunch, so I’ll pick up Cam. Will you be home for dinner?”

“Ah.” Jason blinked again. “I don’t know. Maybe not dinner. But I’ll be home to put Cameron to bed.” He offered her a smile. “We’re on the last chapter in the first Harry Potter, and Cam wants to catch up to Jax and Morgan.”

“Okay.” Eager to be away from this moment and Jason’s stunned reaction to the idea of adopting Cameron, she kissed him on the cheek and darted out the door.

Metro Court: Restaurant

 “I think you’re reading too much into this.” Robin set her menu aside and reached for her tea. “You know Jason loves Cameron. You know Cameron loves Jason. I’m sure he’ll agree—”

“I’m not sure how I feel about it,” Elizabeth interrupted. They paused to give the waiter their lunch order before continuing. “I mean, they are good together. And Cam has all these new ideas about how a dad should act because he’s with Jax and Morgan, and you know how amazing Jax is with Carly’s boys.”

“Jax has been eager to be a father for a long time.” Robin pursed her lips. “And Carly is much less annoying now.”

“But Jax reads to Morgan, so Cam wants Jason to read to him. Cam wants to play soccer with Jason in the spring, because Jax is signing Morgan up and is thinking of being a coach.”

“I would love to see Jason as a peewee coach,” Robin said, grinning. “That is a fantastic visual. Elizabeth—”

“And Jason never protests. He brings home toys for Cam all the time. All Cam has to do is mention something he likes, and it gets delivered within a day or two.” Elizabeth chewed on her lip. “Robin, my family life is perfect. My husband is amazing, he’s incredible with my son. We’re excited about having a new child—do you understand how terrifying this is?”

“Oh, yeah.” Robin nodded. “When things are perfect, that’s when they fall apart.” She leaned forward. “Can you picture Jason looking at you and saying, no, no, I don’t want Cameron, I don’t want to adopt him?”

“No.” Elizabeth sighed. “No. But—”

“But nothing. You’re actually jealous, that’s what it is.” When Elizabeth just blinked at her, Robin shrugged. “You have two children, who are about to be tied forever to Jason, without any equivocations. You know that Jason isn’t going to walk away from Cam or the baby. And you want that kind of reassurance.” She reached for a bread stick. “You and Jason got married for a specific reason. But neither of you have ever treated the marriage like that. You had a beautiful ceremony with a romantic honeymoon, then you came home and started a life together.”

“I want him to love me,” Elizabeth murmured. “I want him to love me as much as I love him. But that seems like a lot to ask at this point. He’s been so good to me—”

“Maybe,” Robin said, “he’s having the same thoughts.  Jason just doesn’t reach out for what he wants anymore.”

“I know what you’re going to suggest.” Elizabeth thanked the server as they set her salad in front of her. When Robin had her food as well, she continued, “You’re going to suggest I talk to him.”

Robin waited a moment. “No. I don’t think either of you are ready for a conversation like that.  Neither of you is going anywhere. Maybe…maybe you just let this happen.”

“That sounds like something I can do,” Elizabeth replied with a wry smile.

“Though it sounds like you’re on board with Jason adopting Cameron.” Robin arched a brow. “No hesitation there?”

“None. If it’s something that keeps Lucky out of Cam’s life, then great. But more importantly, it would be great for Cam. Jason’s so good to him. He’s already been so much more there than Lucky ever was.” Elizabeth paused. “I want Cam to have what this baby is going to have. He deserves it.”

“He really does.” Robin sighed, a bit wistfully. “How fast do you think Patrick would run if I told him I wanted a baby?”

“Ah.” Elizabeth blinked. “Do—are you guys going in that direction?”

“Not really.” Robin lifted a shoulder. “But I’ve seen him with Cameron. And I want that with him. Am I insane?”

“No, he’s amazing. You know I love him.” Elizabeth hesitated. “But if you brought up babies right now? He’d feel sorry about it later, but he’d run so fast, he’d vaporize. A few more months, you might be able to say something without completely spooking him.”

“Well, I guess that’s the price you pay for falling for a playboy.” Robin wrinkled her nose. “You have to wait for the boy to grow up a bit.”

Greystone Manor: Living Room

 Sonny sighed and sank onto the sofa. “It really never ends, does it?”

Jason leaned against Sonny’s desk and nodded. “Diane’s not wrong in thinking the risk to Elizabeth is minimal at this point, but still—”

“Trying to flip her against you was the last tactic by these bastards, so I’m not convinced they’re not going to have Scott pick it back up.” Sonny stood, pacing to the window. He turned around. “The cops traced the stash of pills from their apartment to Elizabeth’s floor to GH. That’s not easy. Ric spearheaded it, but the cops have it in their teeth now. You can’t tell me someone who works down there isn’t pissed about Elizabeth shacking up with you.”

“I don’t know how Scott can go forward with that. It’s the only evidence against her, and with Elizabeth having divorced and remarried, there’s no reason for her to risk her career for him.”

“Don’t underestimate the boys in blue. They hate me. They hate you. And they’re not entirely fond of Elizabeth.” Sonny rubbed his chin. “But odds are Scott will come after me first. And I don’t think anyone is going to make that jump. No one is going to try to flip Elizabeth on me.”

“I told Bernie and Stan to make sure our accounts are squeaky clean,” Jason told Sonny, “and I put the word out to the Families that the authorities are looking into us a bit more closely for the time being, so we’re changing some things around. Zacchara bitched, but that’s not news.”

“Yeah, make sure there’s nothing to see if they do look.” Sonny waited a moment. “You said Diane had news about Lucky?”

“Nothing much to worry about.” But Jason slid his hands in his pockets and looked at the floor. “It’s not related to this.”

Just Lucky forcing Elizabeth to say out loud what most of the goddamn world had already figured out last month. He was making her admit the baby’s paternity in open court to embarrass her. Humiliate her. Jackass.

“If it’s about Elizabeth and the kids, I’m concerned.” Sonny stepped forward. “You need to be home more? The new system is working—”

“No, it’s…” Jason hesitated. “You know Elizabeth couldn’t put anything in the divorce papers about custody—not if we wanted it to be uncontested. So Diane just put a clause in there that any custody issues would be settled at a later date. It’s a boilerplate clause, but Lucky’s forcing the issue.”

“He doesn’t read the papers?” Sonny poured himself a glass of water, offered the pitcher to Jason who shook his head. “I’m thinking of buying the Herald and firing everyone. Maybe leaving a monkey in charge. Can’t do much worse.”

“Elizabeth asked me not to read the articles about it.” Jason looked away, still remembering the day he’d come home from a meeting to find her crying on the sofa. She’d begged him not to read it, and he’d promised her. If it had been worse than the articles regarding their marriage, then it was for the best he be in the dark.

Though Sonny’s idea was starting to sound good.

“He’s forcing a hearing,” Jason said. “Diane seems to think it’ll be enough to send over the results of the test, but I know better. He wants to drag her through the mud. He’ll want another test, put her on the stand and cross-examine her.” He paused. “And that’s just the baby. Diane says he’s going for custody of Cameron.”

“I guess there’s a point there. He’s raised Cameron since he was a baby.” Sonny sipped his water. “Cam talk about him much?”

“Not really. He asked me once or twice where he was. Elizabeth and I decided we would tell him Lucky was going away for a while because he wasn’t feeling well.” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “We were hoping, with Cam being four and Lucky not usually being around, it would just…stop being an issue.”

“What does Diane think about Elizabeth’s chances? Did Lucky adopt Cam?”

“No.” Jason shifted. “But since Cam doesn’t have anyone else, the court might give him visitation.” He waited a moment. “Diane hinted I might—that maybe I should do something about it. Or at least, that’s what Elizabeth says.”

“Adoption?” Sonny asked. He paused. “Why not?  Keeps it simple. Does Elizabeth have any objections?”

“I don’t know.” Jason recalled her quick exit a few hours ago. “She was meeting Robin for lunch so we didn’t really talk about it.”

“Listen. I don’t know much about what’s—” Sonny hesitated. “I know the reasons this started, but I doubt you guys have some sort of calendar with a divorce date circled. It’s not like you and Brenda.”

“No, but—” Jason shifted again, uncomfortable. How could he explain the way things had changed since that night at Vista Point when they’d first broached the topic?

They had a life together, a routine. They had divided caring for Cameron—he’d gone to his first doctor’s appointment the month before, and they were finding out the gender later this month. She’d picked out a room for a nursery and was going to have it cleaned out in a few months. They shared a room—shared a bed.

They were married. She was his wife. And Jason didn’t see that changing at any point in the future. Or wanting it to.

“And I’m not asking for details,” Sonny continued. “I do think that it might be a good idea to consider something more permanent for Cameron. If it weren’t for the baby, you could ease away one day, play the role of close friend, honorary uncle. But Cameron is going to have a front row seat for you and Elizabeth playing Mommy and Daddy.”

“No, I—” Jason paused. “I get the reasons why—”

“But you have to want it,” Sonny continued. “It can’t be so Lucky stays away, or because it just makes sense, or even because it looks good on paper for Elizabeth’s charges.” He paused. “At some point, Jason, you’re going to have to think about why you and Elizabeth are married, because I’m telling you—she already is.”

And then, mercifully, Sonny dropped the subject entirely and they moved on to other concerns—shipments, accounts, and events on the island.

Jason wasn’t ready to examine his relationship with Elizabeth too closely yet. If he did, he might have to admit to himself that he wanted to be married to Elizabeth, to be Cameron’s father.

He wasn’t ready for that. Not quite yet.

Port Charles Municipal Building: Scott Baldwin’s Office

Scott Baldwin took in the austere interior of the office he had been assigned upon his return to the district attorney’s office. While the mayor had acquiesced to Alexis’s request that Ric take over her duties as district attorney, Ric Lansing was on thin ice and everyone knew it. Having his office disqualified from pursuing charges against Sonny Corinthos and Jason Morgan had been devastating.

Scott had made mistakes during his first tenure, but he wouldn’t make them again. There would be no rush to judgment, no quick charges. He would do this right.

And he already had the inklings of a brilliant idea.

Mac pursed his lips as he set files on an empty table to the left of Scott’s desk. “You don’t have access to any of Lansing’s files do you?”

“Nope.” Scott picked one the files up at leisure. “I just know his court docket. He was working on paperwork for a grand jury intending to investigate Jason Morgan on RICO charges.  Then he was disqualified from any case regarding Corinthos and Morgan—” Scott glanced up with a gleam in his eye. “As well as Jason Morgan’s brand-new wife, Elizabeth. I don’t have to have Ric’s notes to realize he was trying to flip the wife. She tried to avoid it with a hasty divorce and remarriage.”

“She had her reasons for divorcing Lucky,” Mac admitted. “I’m sure you’re familiar with some of them.”

“I am.” And Scott’s tone evened out. “As well as the rumors that Lucky was having an affair with your daughter. I’m sorry, Mac.”

Mac’s lips thinned as he pressed them together. “He took advantage of her after Jesse was killed—”

“I’m sure that’s true.” And Scott knew the pain of a father whose daughter had fallen victim to an older man who damn well should have known better. Sonny hadn’t given a damn about Karen.

“Are you going to attack spousal privilege?” Mac asked.

“Nah. No point. I don’t have Ric’s knowledge of Morgan and his wife, and I’m not allowed to have them. I don’t need them.” Scott glanced at a file from the summer. “But I like the idea of using the wife.”

Mac hesitated. “I may not agree with Elizabeth’s decisions or her choices, but—”

“She made her choice, Mac.” Scott lifted a shoulder. “She’s in this up to her eyebrows.” He lifted a report. “For example, I took a glance at a few things before I came in today. A file containing bank records and other things pertaining to Alexis’s investigation went missing last summer.”

“Sam McCall was blamed and fired,” Mac said. “You don’t think it was her?”

“Not likely, no.” Scott took out a single sheet of paper. “The sign in list for that day has Elizabeth Spencer, there to check up on her husband. Did anyone ever question her?”

Mac narrowed his eyes and reached for the sign in sheet. “Alexis did, informally, but—” He muttered under his breath. “She stole the file?”

“I can’t prove it.” Scott leaned forward. “Not yet. But if I could, I could take these drug charges and spin them into a larger narrative. She didn’t steal those drugs to make Lucky happy, but to keep him drugged. So he wouldn’t discover her actual affair. And I have proof of that affair—she’s carrying Morgan’s kid.”

Mac reached for his phone. “Should we bring her in?”

“No, that’s what we would have done in the old days.” Scott took a seat behind his desk. “When I meet with Elizabeth Morgan and her husband, I’m going to make them an offer they can’t refuse—not unless they want Baby Morgan born behind bars.”

“How are you getting around spousal privilege?” Mac asked. “I—”

“You leave that to me, Mac. This is a new era in Port Charles.” Scott leaned back, a broad smile on his face. “And I’m going to be in charge.”

June 27, 2015

I was so bored with the blue! I’m still not completely sold on the header image, but I wanted to get this up. Let me know if the greens and yellows are problematic for anyone and I’ll darken them.  This layout is based on the winner of the poll a few weeks ago.

In addition to the new summer layout, I also finished the Sort By Title feature, updated the Featured story with If I Don’t Try With You, and cleaned up some of the columns. No one seems interested in the music/artist section in the columns, so I’m letting it go. I’ll clean up the music page at some point.

The social media links have been moved to the About page.  I have to go through some of the stories and edit the soundtracks to get rid of the Grooveshark links. That site shut down a little while ago, sadly. I’ll continue linking to Spotify, which you can listen to for free if you sign up for an account.

I picked If I Don’t Try With You as the featured story because I personally love it and if I say so myself, it’s one of the best pieces I’ve written since I came to writing last year.  It’s part of the Hand Me Down universe, but it stands alone since it picks up directly from Michael’s shooting in 2008. Please check it out if you haven’t yet.

I also decided to do a separate page for just listing basic updates, so if occasionally you miss something in the chatter, you can bookmark the Recent Updates page. I’ll update everything there in a basic list format without any frills. All the facts, none of the nonsense 🙂

I’ll be back on Monday with a new chapter of All We Are 🙂

June 23, 2015

Well thanks to those who responded to my survey call 🙂 My responses doubled and I have some great feedback so far. I still don’t have a ton, but I saw the same type of suggestion/complaint a few times in a few places, so I jumped on it because I think it’s something I can offer a solution to in the short-term while I work on incorporating it into the new layout in a better way.

Under the Sort menu (where you can sort stories by the year they’re set, the characters, or the couples featured, and even find specific holiday-themes!), you can now sort By Title, which is an alphabetical list of the stories on this site. It’s not yet complete–I still have to add Ficlets and Short Stories, but all longer stories are now listed.

So if you’re looking for Damaged, you can find it under D rather than remembering I list it under the site as an Alternate Reality story or if you want Daughters, but can’t remember it’s an Alternate Universe, you can also find it there under D. Hopefully that helps the site be a more friendly.

It’s a manual list at the moment, so it’s a bit time-consuming but I haven’t ruled out maybe adding story descriptions to it at some point. We’ll see.

I hope that helps!

I also have heard your calls about making updates easier to find. I tend to get very chatty as I update so sometimes they’re lost.  I’m working on something that will be easier, but for the moment, there’s a a section in the colum on the right-side of the page where I have Updated Novels and Recently/Completed New. This will be the majority of the new additions but it’s not as organic as it could be. I have an idea for that I may launch later in the week.

So please check out the Sort By Title page and please keep responding to the survey! I want you guys to be able to find a story to read within a minute of clicking on the home page, so anything I can do to make that possible, I’m willing to look into!

June 22, 2015

Just popping in to note that All We Are Chapter Ten has been added, a bit later than I had hoped but a dentist appointment is a crappy way to start the day.

If you haven’t filled out the survey yet, please please take a moment to do so. It takes less than five minutes and I will be eternally grateful.  I want to rearrange the side columns to feature the stuff you guys use more and eliminate some of the clutter, but I only have 7 responses and I know there’s more of you out there. Take a second and show some love 😛  I can’t finish the new layout until I know what content is going where.

I finished two chapters of All We Are just on Saturday, and I am FINALLY in the best part of the story, which makes me so happy. I’m going to take my laptop and hole up at either a library or Starbucks tomorrow to get a few more out. I work better at home when no one is here, and my parents are home again. I’ve got to get my own place, you guys. Seriously.

Anyway. I’m also digging back into The Best Thing which finally started cooperating yesterday and it looks like I wasn’t ambitious with the July 15 date. If I can get a decent amount of chapters of TBT done before July 15, I’ll bump All We Are up to two chapters a week.

Damaged will be back July 17. I’ve decided to go with Fridays for the posting, so that’s your official return date. Around July 1, the site itself will be offline for about a week so I can finally finish off the changes planned (including cleaning up the previous episdes!).

And finally, I’m torn between three concepts for the project I take on after All We Are wraps up.  Bittersweet (a rewrite of 2002), Mad World (a rewrite of the old version) and Burn in Heaven (the sequel to A Few Words). I’m going to play with all three of them a bit more, but hopefully something will gel.

This entry is part 10 of 18 in the series All We Are

But there’s a side to you
That I never knew, never knew
All the things you’d say
They were never true, never true
And the games you play
You would always win, always win

Set Fire to the Rain, Adele


Thursday, November 2, 2006

Morgan Penthouse: Master Bedroom

Elizabeth stood in front of the dresser as she fastened a gold chain around her neck.  This was the day. If all went well, she could put Ric and his threats behind her. Diane was sure that no other lawyer would go to the trouble of subpoenaing her.

If Ric was disqualified, she could just go back to her life. To her job. To enjoying this dream of having Jason as her husband. They would have to be married for more than a year to ensure the court took their marriage seriously, but maybe, just maybe, she and Jason could just…be married. Could raise Cameron and the new baby together.

Why not? Why couldn’t she have this life where she felt cherished? With a man she knew respected her, valued her, loved her son as much as he would love their new child.

“Because he doesn’t love you,” she murmured.

“Carly picked up Cam.”

Elizabeth twisted to find Jason standing in the doorway. “What?” She blinked. She hoped he hadn’t heard her self-recriminations. She was just in a mood today.

“Carly picked up Cam,” he repeated, stepping over the threshold. “He was pretty excited to go to school with his best friend and his new aunt.”

“Oh. Right. I appreciate Carly stepping in.” Elizabeth closed the top of her small jewelry box. “I’m nearly ready to go—”

“Were you saying something as I came in?” he asked, his eyes concerned. “Is everything okay?”

“They’re fine.” Elizabeth smoothed her hands down her Kelly green skirt. “Just—just nervous. I know we should be fine, but—” She shrugged. “Doesn’t change my anxiety level.”

“Okay.” She could see he didn’t believe her, but he said nothing to challenge it. Thank God. The last thing she needed today was a state of their marriage discussion.

It was perfect as far as she was concerned. Love would only be icing on the cake.

“We should get going.” She moved past him, but he caught her hand, drawing her back to him. “Jason—”

“Elizabeth,” he began, but he hesitated. “Once this part of it is over—” He stopped. “I don’t know. I just—it’ll be better once this is behind us. We can do anything you want. You can go back to work if you want, we can take Cameron somewhere for Thanksgiving—it’ll be better once these charges go away.”

And she believed that—believed that he would dedicate himself to her, to this family. And maybe it would be better, and maybe she would be happy.

But how long could it last? She loved him, she could admit that to herself, had loved him for so long, she could scarcely remember a time she didn’t. But he had moved on so long ago—to other women. He still loved Sam.

Would he hate her one day for trapping him?

“It can’t get worse,” she responded finally with a hesitant smile. “I’m not—it’s fine, Jason. I told you, I’m just nervous. It’ll be okay. We should get going.”

But he looked unconvinced as she pushed past him and left the room.

Promises Rehab: Lucky’s Room

Nikolas stepped over the threshold into his brother’s room, not at all looking forward to the discussion he was sure was going to go badly.

Lucky knew about Elizabeth’s hasty divorce and remarriage—Emily had told him several days earlier. Nikolas had hoped learning the news in rehab would enable him to deal with it in therapy, but he knew his brother.

And how stubborn Spencers could be.

Lucky was sitting in a chair by the window, staring over the grounds with a sullen look on his face. His scowl only deepened when he saw his brother. “If it isn’t Judas.”

Nikolas sighed and closed the door behind him, leaning against it briefly. “I wasn’t aware she was planning to fly to the Dominican Republic and then remarry within twenty-four hours. She wanted to me to witness your signatures. I did that.”

“You convinced me it was the right thing.” Lucky launched out of his chair. “My family is gone now—she took them to Jason. Do you think I’ll get within five feet of my kids now?”

Nikolas did not roll his eyes, though he was tempted. “Your family was gone before that. You got high, you had an affair with your boss’s daughter—and do you remember the last time you saw Elizabeth before you came here?”

Shame filled Lucky’s eyes as he turned away. “That’s right,” Nikolas continued. “It was the night she found the pills and you threw her to the ground. She’s pregnant, Lucky. If you were capable of that merely a few months into this drug habit you’ve developed, what kind of violence might you have unleashed later? She had a right to protect herself and her kids. Even if you recover, you’ll always be in recovery. And she has a right not to deal with that.”

“Fine. So what. That doesn’t mean she should go and marry before our divorce is a day old!” Lucky retorted. “How do I ever go back to my job? My wife married a gangster—”

“Ric’s coming after her,” Nikolas interrupted. “So maybe she went to him for protection.” Though after a week to consider it, Nikolas thought the marriage had been designed for Jason’s protection. Ric wanted Jason and Sonny, not his ex-wife.

And if that were the truth, Nikolas would do whatever was required to keep Elizabeth safe from his aunt’s husband.

“These charges would have gone away. She didn’t do it—”

These charges would destroy her career, cause her undue stress during her pregnancy, cripple her financially—” Nikolas bowed his head. “You used to think about Elizabeth before you thought about yourself. You and Elizabeth—I could see what love was, what it could be. What I wanted it for myself—”

“That was then,” Lucky said dully. “I died. I never came back enough for her. She’s never loved me again the way she did.” He met his brother’s eyes. “She settled for me. You think I don’t know that now? Jason’s been single since May. How long has she been back in his life? That stupid damn surgery. I can still see her refusing to come home after he got her arrested for the operation. She almost sacrificed her career for him—I thought it was for Patrick, but I was too blind to see it.”

“Lucky—”

“I see it now. She did it for him. She always did what he needed. Did what was good for him. I was a consolation prize. She doesn’t need me now.”

Nikolas remained quiet. There was nothing he could say to that. Hadn’t he known that for years? He could still remember the sting of realizing Elizabeth preferred Jason to him, that she had moved on from Lucky to someone like him. The anger in her eyes when he challenged her on it then—

Some people were inside of you, and no matter how you tried to move on, you simply couldn’t. How could he argue with that?

“You still have a few weeks before you’re scheduled to be released,” Nikolas said finally. “I hope you use that time to work through this in therapy. You’re welcome to come to Wyndemere.”

“I’m going after my kids. Maybe I won’t get visitation with Cameron, but I want my child. She can’t keep the baby from me.”

“Get better first,” Nikolas suggested as he opened the door.

He had his suspicions about the baby, too.

Port Charles Courthouse: Courtroom B

If Jason so much as glanced to his left at Ric’s smug, smarmy face, his legendary control would splinter. He’d known Ric was an animal, a monster who preyed on the weak, on the vulnerable. He’d suckered Elizabeth and Carly, Sonny and Alexis. Had somehow maneuvered himself into a position of authority.

“Ms. Miller.” The judge leaned back in his chair. “You’ve filed a motion to disqualify the district attorney’s office from prosecuting any cases in which Elizabeth Morgan or her husband are involved. I’m curious—which charges are we speaking of? Hypothetical or—”

“Your Honor.” Diane rose, a pen in her hand. “My client, Elizabeth Morgan, worked as a surgical nurse at General Hospital until this last month. Ric Lansing’s office in conjunction with the police department reported to the hospital board that she was under investigation for theft of narcotics from the hospital with an intent to distribute.” She reached for a piece of paper. “I have an affidavit from Head Nurse Epiphany Johnson stating that Mrs. Morgan was informed charges would be filed shortly.”

“I cannot be disqualified from a case that hasn’t been filed yet,” Ric said smoothly. “This motion, Your Honor, is premature, but moreover, baseless as my brief indicates.”

Diane arched a brow. “Mrs. Morgan was suspended from her job without pay.  In her own affidavit, she states that she was informed that charges were imminent. How long should we allow a conflict of interest to continue? Your Honor, DA Lansing chose to be involved personally with this case. If this were to go to court, we would probably discover he pushed the department to investigate—”

“Hardly unusual, Your Honor,” Ric cut in. “The police department was avoiding looking into drug addiction in their own squad. The district attorney is concerned that if we did not discover the source of Lucas Spencer’s drug addiction—his dealer, so to speak—then, it might compromise further cases.”

“But the district attorney chose to focus on his ex-wife.” Diane shot Ric a scathing glance. “I do not have to prove an actual conflict of interest. The appearance is enough to challenge on appeal, if it were to get that far.”

“Mr. Lansing.” The judge leaned forward. “I’ve considered your brief. You don’t consider your previous marriage to be a factor due to its nature. You married due to a pregnancy that did not come to term, and separated due to the miscarriage.”

“That’s right, Your Honor,” Ric said smoothly. “My ex-wife, understandably, had a difficult time with the loss of our child. While we were separated, she became pregnant again by someone else. We made another attempt to salvage the marriage, but there didn’t seem to be a reason to. It was nearly three years ago. Mrs. Morgan,” he said, stressing the name, “has been married twice since, pregnant three times as well. I, myself, have remarried. We have an amicable relationship.”

“Hmm…” The judge looked to Diane. “Ms. Miller, the brief you filed is four times as long as the district attorney’s. You make…quite a few accusations.”

“And I can back them up.” Diane stood, a sheaf of papers in her hand. “Contrary to the rosy picture the DA is painting, their divorce was anything but amicable. I have a copy of a deposition Mrs. Morgan gave at the time to her lawyer, Alexis Davis, whom the DA later married. In it, Mrs. Morgan states the same reasons she states today, so this is not something that she has conjured up to preclude any case against her.”

“Yes, I’ve considered the deposition. Mrs. Morgan accused her husband of giving her birth control pills surreptitiously in her food and beverages, causing a life-threatening illness. Carly Corinthos has also filed an affidavit stating she was being held against her will and saw the DA committing the crime. That’s, again, quite the accusation—”

“And slanderous, I might add,” Ric cut in. “There’s no evidence—”

“The charges were dropped because the complaining witness was unavailable,” Diane said. “Mrs. Morgan’s police statement is on the record. But don’t take Carly Corinthos’ word for it.” Diane reached into her bag and pulled out more paper.

“Dr. Monica Quartermaine operated on Mrs. Morgan. She states it was a pulmonary embolism requiring emergency surgery. Dr. Robin Scorpio, head of pathology at General Hospital, will testify that the results indicate that Mrs. Morgan’s embolism was caused by an overdose of estrogen. Dr. Kelly Lee is Mrs. Morgan’s obstetrician and will state Mrs. Morgan was not prescribed birth control pills at that point due to her recent pregnancy and miscarriage. In fact, I have Mrs. Morgan’s entire gynecological history. She took birth controls pills between July and November of 2002, then again from February to April 2003.”

Diane held up another affidavit. “I have statements from several well-respected pulmonologists stating that the type of embolism Mrs. Morgan experienced was due to high levels of estrogen, not from long-term use or a hormonal imbalance—”

The judge held up his hand. “I get the point, Ms. Miller. Is there a reason your client did not press charges?”

“She wanted her divorce. She leveraged that very fact to force the divorce through.” Diane held up yet another sheaf of papers. “The divorce decree states that Ric Lansing will drop his opposition to the divorce if Mrs. Morgan agrees not to seek criminal charges.”

“Your Honor, she was upset at the time. Again, the loss of our child—” Ric began.

“This divorce decree, these depositions….” The judge leaned back. “The argument you’ve made to the court, Mr. Lansing, is that you and your ex-wife are almost friendly, that you attended her wedding last year—”

“And became drunk and disorderly, announcing to the world you had had an affair with your brother’s lover,” Diane supplied with a sweet smile. “DA Lansing is married to our beloved former DA Alexis Davis, who is aunt to one of Mrs. Morgan’s oldest and closest friends. The invitation was for her and a guest. He was not personally invited.”

“At the very least, Mr. Lansing,” the judge said when Ric tried to speak again, “your relationship with Mrs. Morgan is anything but amicable. I’ve seen the so-called evidence that you propose to utilize against Mrs. Morgan. It would not pass a preliminary hearing, but your office was intending to go forward with it. Therefore, I not only disqualify you, but your entire office from pursuing any charges against Mrs. Morgan or anyone in her immediate family.”

Elizabeth closed her eyes, felt Jason squeeze her hand. They had won. This was going to be over—

“Your Honor, you cannot tie my hands when it comes to pursuit of justice. Elizabeth Morgan is married to Jason Morgan. This office has the right to pursue charges against him—”

The judge held up his hand again. “A special prosecutor, independent of the office, must be appointed on any cases concerning Elizabeth and Jason Morgan or Sonny Corinthos, seeing as how he is your brother after all.”

“That is—”

“You’re free to appeal, Mr. Lansing, but you’ll lose.” The judge rapped his gavel, closing the session.

Ric waited until the judge had left the bench before storming to Diane’s table as she calmly gathered her notes. “You think you’ve won?”

“Walk away, Ric.” Jason leaned over the table. “You’ve lost. You over played your hand. Walk away.”

“I warned you, Elizabeth.” Ric stabbed his index finger at her. “I warned you. I tried to save you from throwing yourself on a sinking ship. You should have taken the chance—”

“Why, DA Lansing, is that a threat?” Diane drawled. “Just try me. I’ll have your office hauled up on charges of harassment so fast, your head will spin before the mayor cuts it off—”

“It’s not a threat,” Ric snarled. “It’s a promise. You made your choice, Elizabeth. You’ll go down with him.” He glared at Sonny who had remained quiet.

“Diane, about that special prosecutor—” he said finally after his half-brother had stormed out of the court room.

“I can’t promise they won’t appoint someone who will go after the two of you,” Diane said to Jason and Sonny. “But no special prosecutor is going to try to tangle with marital privilege. Not if they want to keep the job. So Elizabeth is off the table. And if she can’t be used as leverage, there’s really very little point to going after her for these scurrilous drug charges.”

“Thank you, Diane.” Elizabeth hesitated. “I didn’t think of all the medical evidence—and you did so much with only a few days warning.” She flashed a hesitant smile. “I wish you could have been here to help me then. Alexis told me I couldn’t file charges on hearsay—”

“Well, my dear, I am the better lawyer.” Diane gathered her bag, patting Elizabeth on the arm. “I would have raked him over the coals, and if a criminal case hadn’t gone forward, we would have shredded him in civil court.”

She turned back to her primary clients. “I’ll be in touch if I hear any gossip about a special prosecutor, but for now, I think we can relax. This particular storm has been averted.”

Sonny followed Diane out of the room, but Elizabeth lingered for a moment, staring at the judge’s bench. Jason leaned against the table where they had sat during the hearing. “He can’t hurt you now, Elizabeth.”

“Not legally,” she murmured. “But I would never count Ric out. The judge—you think he believed me?”

Jason was quiet for a moment. “I think the fact that you’re telling the same story today that you told three years ago helps. That Ric agreed to a quick divorce to forestall any further damage to his reputation…it weighs heavily on your credibility.” He paused. “Did—did you want to file something now?”

“No.” She sighed. “No. I don’t want to put Carly through it. I’m past it. If Ric stays out of my way, I’ll stay out of his. But maybe it’s enough that he knows I could if I wanted to.”  She looked at him. “Do you think it’s really over?”

“This part of it,” Jason replied. “But Diane will keep her ear out.” He held out his hand, waited for her to take it. “Let’s go home.”

June 18, 2015

Hey! So I mentioned that after I completed the current story arc for Damaged that I would be putting the story on a planned hiatus for a month while I wrote the next group of episodes. That has now happened. There will be a few changes over the next month — I’ll be taking all the episodes currently on the site, merging the shorter ones into one long one per day, and then putting them all under one umbrella season. So, all in all, there will be eleven episodes. So, in my head, I’m saying Season One is completed. Season Two is underway.

So head over to Damaged and get reading if you haven’t yet, and please let me know what you might want to see going forward. I’ve got the next season mostly plotted, but I’m always open to more ideas.

That being said, with Damaged on hiatus, I’m turning my attention back to this site. I’ve created a survey to try and focus in on what parts of the site you guys enjoy the most and find useful so I can either cut back or emphasize accordingly. I’m also looking for any suggestions for making the site easier to navigate, etc. So if you have maybe five minutes to take a survey (it’s anonymous!) I would love it!

Click here to take the survey!

I’ll be back on Monday with All We Are, Chapter 10.

June 15, 2015

Hey, sorry I didn’t post this earlier today. I forgot to schedule it this morning, and then I was stuck at work all day. We’re finally back to posting at least one of the in progress stories, so yay!

So there was some concern that because I put Chapter 9 up last week with a password for the Patreon supporters, that I might make this story only available to them. I think that’s my fault. I mentioned I would be posting All We Are again starting Monday without realizing I was posting on a Monday (ha). I meant this Monday. All We Are updates are moving to Mondays. Chapter 9 is live, and Chapter 10 will be up next week.

I will never make a story exclusive to the supporters. Not because they don’t deserve it (you do and you’re awesome) but it almost feels like a punishment for those who aren’t supporting. You guys are amazing and that’s just not going to happen. Any bonus content will usually usually early previews or deleted scenes. For example I threw out an entire chapter and a half of All We Are last week. I’ll be posting that for Patreon supporters in a few weeks. I hope that clears it up!

All We Are – Chapter Nine

June 8, 2015

So I don’t post here as often, mostly because I’ve been updating Damaged more than the stories I work on here.  So first things first, I’ve switched Damaged back to weekly long episodes of at least 10 pages. The shorter episodes were an interesting experiment but it didn’ t work for me. I posted one episode early this morning, I’ll post another on Friday, and the final one for this arc next Monday.

Also, on Monday, I’ll post Chapter 9 of All We Are. However, if you’re a Patreon supporter, I’ve posted the chapter early.  For the moment it’s password protected, and the password can be found once you’re a supporter.  You find the chapter by clicking on the Patreon link, then the Creator Post tab.

I don’t want to make a ton of content exclusive for supporters, because it’s not fair to those of you who have stuck by me through everything, so I think I’ll stick to occasional extras (like deleted scenes) or early previews.

All We Are returns next Monday, and The Best Thing July 15.

This entry is part 9 of 18 in the series All We Are

I shot for the sky
I’m stuck on the ground
So why do I try, I know I’m gonna fall down
I thought I could fly, so why did I drown?
Never know why it’s coming down, down, down

Down, Jason Walker


Friday, October 27, 2006

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

Jason had just set his cell phone on the coffee table when Elizabeth descended the stairs later that night. He glanced up at the sound of her soft footsteps. “Hey. Cam asleep?”

“Finally.” She offered a tired smile as she joined him on the sofa, curling up against him. They had had what amounted to an almost perfect family afternoon—after picking Cameron up at school, they had taken him to Wyndhams where Jason bought him the promised race track set (and one or two extra things Cam just couldn’t live without). After dinner, the three of them had set the new toys up in Cam’s room where he played until Elizabeth put him to bed.

“Three stories before he finally fell asleep, but he was still looking at those cars.” She closed her eyes, exhausted by the day. From the newspaper article to the confrontations with Emily, Carly, and Sam—

To learning she and Jason were having a child together.

“Sonny called,” Jason said after a long moment. “His source in the DA’s office got in touch.”

Elizabeth lifted her head from his shoulder and frowned. “What? Why? I thought—”

“Ric’s going ahead with the paperwork to convene the grand jury,” Jason told her. “But it’s possibly just because he doesn’t expect to lose on Thursday at the hearing.” He took her hand in his. “But just in case…”

She straightened, twisting to look at him more directly. “But—”

“Just in case,” Jason repeated, “Sonny and Diane want to meet on Monday. Diane wants to talk to you more about your relationship with Ric. She’s worried that he might harp on the short time you two were together—it was a more than a year between meeting him and the final divorce.”

Elizabeth sighed and tilted her head back. “So I’m going to have to tell some judge all the nasty reasons I divorced Ric the first time, make some cogent argument for why I ever went back, and then explain why I left him again.”

“Yeah.” Jason hesitated. “And Diane wants to talk about some…things Ric might ask about if he gets you in the grand jury.”  She snapped her head back to look at him, but his eyes were trained on their joined hands. “If the hearing doesn’t work, Elizabeth, I can’t—you’ll have to testify. I can’t send you out of the jurisdiction. Not now.”

“Because you’ll be seen as an accomplice.” She pressed her lips together. “Yeah. I figured. We’ll—” She took a deep breath. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, okay? Let’s just…work with the idea that Ric was an awful husband who can’t be trusted to prosecute his ex-wife.”

“Okay.” After a long moment, Jason spoke again. “Emily’s called me all day, but I didn’t—I haven’t taken her calls. Do—do I want to?”

Elizabeth frowned. “Why didn’t you talk to her?” she asked curiously. “She’s your sister—”

“I listened to one or two of her voicemails,” Jason said. “Which led me to believe that she’s pretty angry at you. What’s going on?”

“Oh…” Elizabeth leaned back against the sofa. “She kept telling me to stick with Lucky, to give the rehab a chance. Apparently, me divorcing him and marrying you is going to be really hard on Lucky.” She chewed on her bottom lip. “Ah. She thinks we were having an affair this summer.”

“I had a feeling.” Jason shifted again. “She asked me a few weeks ago if—if I gave you money for Cam to go to school.”

“What?” Elizabeth demanded. “How—” She huffed. “Honestly. She could have just asked me. Cameron Lewis—Zander’s father—he knew I was having his grandson. I didn’t—I was scared of having Zander in my life, in Cam’s life, because he was just—he was spiraling out of control…” She sighed. “But Cameron was a good man, and I knew he’d be kind to his grandson. He’d lost his wife and was alone in the world. So he left money to Cam in a trust to be used for his education.”

“Emily didn’t know about the trust?”

“I guess not.” Elizabeth shrugged. “I found out after I had him and by then, Emily was dealing with Nikolas and Mary Bishop. I guess it never came up.” She shook her head again. “But of course she’d think I’d go to you to put my son in a private pre-school. Why not? That’s the kind of person she thinks I am.”

“I’m sorry,” Jason began.

“I’m not,” Elizabeth interrupted. “Because now I know who my friends were. Lainey and Kelly called and left messages. They congratulated me for trading up. Robin stood by me every inch of the way. Patrick loaned his prize possession to my son—”

“Why are race cars—”

“Sonny arranged for my divorce and planned the most beautiful wedding,” Elizabeth continued. “And Carly duct taped your ex-girlfriend’s mouth shut. I know who I can count on, Jason. And it’s not going to be Emily. I’m just glad I know it for sure now.” She hesitated. “I’m sorry if it creates difficulties for you, I know how close you guys—well I mean, I know you guys have been working on things,” she murmured, remembering the distance over the last few months after Emily’s relationship with Sonny came out.  “But I can’t pretend anymore her priority isn’t Lucky.”

“Okay,” Jason said simply. “I’ll give her some more time to cool down. She’s the least of our problems.”

Which now included baring her soul for Diane Miller to use in court. Fantastic.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Miller & Associates: Diane’s Office

Elizabeth settled in a seat at a conference table, Jason at her side, Sonny across from them and Diane at the head of the table.

She knew that the next few hours were likely to be difficult. She would have to talk about her marriage to Ric in excruciating detail. It was true that Jason and Sonny knew the big moments, but there was so much they didn’t know.

So much she had hoped to take to her grave. But her desire for privacy was outweighed by the need to keep Ric away from her, from her family.

“So, Elizabeth, I wanted to say ahead of time that I’m aware this is going to be a bit rough,” Diane said. She drew out a tape recorder and set it in front of her. “I don’t want to miss any details, and I want to be free to pay attention to you, so I intend to tape this session. Do you have any objections?”

“Do you promise to destroy it after the hearing?” Elizabeth asked softly. “And is it possible to have the records sealed? I can…I can live with the three of you knowing what happened, but I don’t want any spoken record to ever leak out—”

“I’ll file a motion.” Diane gestured towards Sonny. “Sonny is present due to the possibility of a grand jury testimony—”

“But I can step out for this first part.” Sonny leaned forward. “I want you to be comfortable—”

“I trust you, Sonny.” Elizabeth looked to him, then to Jason. “I trust you both, I’m just—you’re not going to like a lot of what I’m going to say. I’m not proud of some of my choices, but I’ve learned to live with them.”

“I’ll do whatever you need.” Jason drew her hand into his, his thumb smoothing over her wedding rings.

“Ric delivered a brief in response to my motion to disqualify. He states that the marriage between the two of you lasted less than a year and ended amicably.” Diane slid the papers across to Elizabeth. “You were pregnant with another man’s child at the dissolution of the second marriage, and he agreed to generous alimony.”

Her stomach pitched as she skimmed Ric’s brief statement. “He makes this sound like I had an affair, that he tried to forgive—” Elizabeth blinked. “This is…this is such a lie, Diane. Every word of this.”

“He’s banking on you not wanting to say some of the worse details,” Sonny mused. “It’s been three years since you two were married. Not long in the grand scheme of things, but a lifetime considering where the two of you are today.”

“He says I was never the same after we lost—” Her voice broke. “God. He always comes back to that miscarriage. He blames it for every wrong thing he’s ever done, as if we’d still be together if I had had that child—”

Diane gestured for Jason to fill a glass of water. “Elizabeth, now that we know his position, I need yours. Go back to the first ceremony. Your decision to marry him.”

Elizabeth took a sip of water. “We weren’t dating anymore when I found out I was pregnant. He’d lied to me and done some horrible things to people I—” She hesitated. “To people I knew. To people who mattered to me in some ways. I couldn’t—I couldn’t deal with it. So I walked out.” She hesitated. “But when I found out I was pregnant…”

She closed her eyes, pressing her hand to the slight swelling of her child. “I always thought about having children one day, but it was abstract, you know? The way girls dream about getting married without knowing who will be at the end of the aisle. But that baby—” She looked at Sonny. “Carly talked me out of an abortion. Sometimes I wish I had never seen her that day.”

She turned to Diane, whose face remained stoic. “I was pregnant, I was working as a waitress and living in a studio apartment without a bathroom, without reliable air conditioning or heating. My grandmother and I were at odds over—well, a lot of things. We usually were. I was scared. And so I told Ric.  He made it sound like this could be a fresh start. He wanted to move past his hatred for Sonny, and I wanted to believe him because I didn’t have anywhere else to turn—”

Elizabeth stopped and took a deep breath. “So I married him. I knew he had done horrible things, but I—” She looked to Jason, then to Sonny. “I had some experience caring for people who were good men, but did things I didn’t necessarily agree with. That’s how I rationalized it. We all do horrible things, but maybe he could be different.”

“Elizabeth,” Diane murmured, “you don’t have to rationalize the decision to go forward—”

“I do. Because I did that to myself and I can’t always understand why.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “It might have been okay, we’ll never know. Because I had the miscarriage, and I’m not—I don’t know how Ric dealt with it at first. I was—I was in shock. I was devastated. I’d had this little life inside me for a brief shining moment, and then it was gone—”

Her breath caught. “I’ve had another miscarriage since and it—it just stays with you. I couldn’t get out of bed for a few days. When I could finally face the world, Ric talked about Sonny. How it was your fault—he was convinced you had pushed me that night, but I never could believe that. However we felt about each other that night, Sonny, you were my friend. And I was yours.”

“I always wondered…” Sonny hesitated. “If you were pushed by someone else. You weren’t the type to fall. You were there because you were having a child. Because Carly was having a child. You wanted peace. You wanted safety. I understood that, Elizabeth. So I wondered why you would have rushed down stone steps.”

“We moved about two weeks after,” Elizabeth continued, because she couldn’t dwell on Sonny’s words, couldn’t think about it too closely. “I look back now and I think maybe I was just…tired. Worn out. It had been a long year already—so much had happened, and I just didn’t want to deal with the world. So when Ric told me he’d found a house with a nice yard—when he told me he was going to open a law office and we were going to have a good life, I thought…why not. He said he loved me.”

“You never saw the house before you moved in,” Diane said.

“No. I didn’t know there had been a breakfast nook there once—where Ric had a panic room filled in.” Elizabeth sighed and leaned back in her chair. “We were okay at first, but then Carly went missing. Jason and Sonny were convinced Ric had something to do with it. I couldn’t understand why—he was home so often. When would he have been able—”

She closed her eyes. “The period with the panic room is where most of the damaging information will come in handy, I think. You, ah, might need Carly to verify it. There were…monitors so Ric could make sure the coast was clear before leaving.  She…she told me a lot of it when I was leaving for Napa Valley that last time. I think she had tried to put it behind her, but I don’t know…” She lifted a shoulder. “There’s…you know the basics. He was never prosecuted for kidnapping her, which is just—I can’t believe he’s the DA.” She pressed a hand to her eyes. “I had a pulmonary embolism the day I found her. I passed out before I could tell anyone and Ric and Lorenzo Alcazar moved her.”

Diane frowned. “About the panic room—”

“I’m getting to that.” Elizabeth twisted her hands in her lap. “The embolism—it was odd, according to my doctors. I didn’t have any of the usual risk factors, but my estrogen levels were high. They told me I couldn’t use birth control pills anymore, that it was likely I had messed up my dosage or something. I wasn’t—I wasn’t on them. Not then. I—didn’t even take birth control until….” She took a deep breath, her cheeks flaming.

“Elizabeth, take your time,” Diane said. “I can have Jason or Sonny—”

“No, it’s—it’s fine. They know—” She raised her eyes. “I was raped when I was fifteen and you know, I hadn’t—I was a virgin. So I wasn’t sexually active. Lucky and I—once or twice, shortly before I called off the wedding. He—he took care of the protection. So I didn’t use birth control pills on a regular basis. Not until…I was in the hospital after I was kidnapped last summer.” She glanced at Jason who was looking at her. “And I just—I thought it would be a good time to start. So I had them for a few months, then stopped. Then another few months.”

She cleared her throat and avoided Sonny’s eyes as he stared at the ceiling. “I’m saying that because I read into it after I started nursing school. I didn’t have the right kind of build up for embolism based on long-term usage. I would either have developed it right away if the hormone levels were wrong, or I would have required birth control for more than three years. I want you to know all of that, because Ric is going to claim I’m lying when I tell you what caused my embolism.”

Sonny swore. “That son of a bitch—” He sat up. “I just thought he was slipping the pills—“

“Are you telling me—” Jason straightened, twisted in his chair.

“I can’t prove it with the medical evidence, but Carly told me she saw him slipping me pills.” Her eyes burned, but she struggled to continue. “He used to put them in the hot chocolate I drank in the morning. And sometimes, if I didn’t finish it, he would put them in a glass of water—she saw him slipping me three pills one day because he wasn’t sure I had ingested them.”

She looked at Jason whose face was expressionless while his knuckles were white where his hands were wrapped around the arm rests. “I swear that I didn’t know when I agreed to marry him again. Carly—Carly can tell you that I was upset, that I called her a liar—until she told me that Ric sat by while I was poisoned.”

“Poisoned?” Diane blinked. “How the hell is this man in charge of a patch of grass? He—”

“Faith poisoned a pitcher of lemonade, Carly saw her do it. And she told Ric. She warned him, but he couldn’t stop me. Not unless he wanted me to see him come out of the panic room.” She closed her eyes. “It would have ruined his plan. So he waited until I passed out to take me to the hospital.”

“You did know about the panic room when you married him again in December,” Diane said with a slight hesitation.

“Pregnant again,” Elizabeth sighed. “And I had alienated pretty much everyone I knew by that point. I was still recovering my eyesight after a car accident that fall, and Ric—he’s good at making you believe in him. He said he would get counseling, that he just—he blamed Sonny and Carly and he wanted revenge. He said that losing the baby had broken him, and I believed him, because it broke me. It had to have, because what else could explain what he had done?”

Her cheeks were hot as tears slid down them. Jason pressed a tissue into her hands. “We’re done,” he told Diane. “You have enough—”

“No, no. I have to do this. I have to make sure we’re safe from him.” Elizabeth wiped her eyes. “I married him because I was scared and alone. I was pregnant. And I blamed myself for Carly. He couldn’t have gotten away with it if I hadn’t been so blind. So maybe if we had a child together, if he could open himself up to my child, it could be okay. I still saw the good in him. I thought—he has a good heart and I can fix him. I can, if I just try hard enough—but I couldn’t. I never trusted him again. He framed Nikolas for murder, he manipulated Zander right to his death…but worst of all—” She choked. “He didn’t love the baby. My sweet little Cameron. He didn’t give a damn about him. He was doing it to prove he was better than Sonny.

“So I left him,” she said simply. “It was one thing to torture myself with a bad marriage, but now I knew my child would never be a priority. He would never look at Cameron and see his own. He’d always be my bastard child. So I walked away. And I filed for divorce when Carly told me about the pills, about the lemonade.”

“That’s enough,” Sonny said softly. “There’s no way a judge is going to let Ric prosecute her for anything. Carly will get on the stand and demolish him. She’s an eyewitness. There’s no statute of limitations on kidnapping, on attempted murder.”

“I’m inclined to agree that this should be enough, but I suppose…” Diane tapped her pen against the pad of legal paper where she had scribbled notes. “Just for form, we should discuss any information Ric might have gleaned from you regarding Jason and Sonny.”

“Nothing,” Elizabeth said firmly. “I never knew anything really important, and even if I did, I would never—”

“Let’s just—take it slow. Did Ric ask you questions about Jason and Sonny? Did you discuss them in any fashion?” Diane asked.

“In passing,” Elizabeth admitted. “You know, the way you might talk about friends and people you know. He was trying to work for Sonny, he asked if I knew him. I said yes, everyone did. Sonny and I had been friendly for years at that point, but I don’t know…” She blinked at Sonny. “We hadn’t been particularly close for months at that point.”

“And Jason?” Diane asked. “Did he come up?”

“In passing,” Elizabeth stressed. “As someone I had been involved with briefly.  I don’t recall him asking for more information, I can’t imagine what I might have told him.” She sighed and shifted a bit. “I think maybe he tried more for Jason at the time—it’s probably why he sought me out at all. Hoping for a scorned ex or something. It didn’t work. Whatever I know about Jason and Sonny is separate from the rest of that.”

“Are you sure?” Sonny pressed, leaning forward. “You have to think about this. Ric’s a con man. If he gets past the hearing on Thursday, we need to be ready—”

“I am thinking,” Elizabeth retorted. “I didn’t want to talk about Jason or you then. Remember? I was pretty goddamn pissed off and trying to put it all out of my head.”

“Elizabeth, we’re not trying to accuse you,” Jason broke in quietly. She twisted to stare at him. “It might have been an accident—”

“And you were pissed at us,” Sonny repeated. “We were in your face that summer about Carly. You pulled a gun on Jason—”

“Are you two serious right now?” Elizabeth shoved back from the table and got to her feet. “What would I have told him that was so goddamn crucial? I didn’t know anything, Sonny. That was the whole damn reason we were in that mess at all—”

“Oh, it’s back to me keeping you out of the plan again.” Sonny also stood. “You were demanding I leave Ric alone. You were protecting him while my wife was in a locked room—”

“Sonny—” Jason stood, holding up a hand. “That’s enough.”

“I didn’t know she was there!” Elizabeth snapped. “I turned him in the second I was conscious enough. You want to blame me for being in this mess? How about you? You didn’t take care of this—you let him into your goddamn business. Anything he knows probably came from you—if you had just taken him out when he kidnapped your wife like a normal criminal—”

“Oh, for Christ’s sake—” Diane groaned. “It didn’t hear that.”

“You didn’t give a damn about me then, Sonny,” Elizabeth snarled. “I was a means to an end. You didn’t think about what it would mean that I was married to a man who drugged me, who watched me drink poison—you knew all of this before I married him again. You knew I didn’t know the worst of it and you let me walk into it blind—literally,” she finished, venom dripping from her. “You and Jason covered for Courtney while I was sitting blind in a hospital room. I’m supposed to apologize for doing the best I could?”

Sonny took a deep breath and dropped it into his seat. “You—you’re right. I’m sorry.”

“Elizabeth—” She turned at Jason’s stricken voice.

“I’m not mad about the accident,” Elizabeth told Jason. “You did what you had to do, and Courtney had a problem. I got it. I don’t know, maybe I was able to let it go because I recovered. I can’t answer that. It’s not important.”

“It is,” Jason insisted. “Let me—”

She turned to Diane. “You want to know what I know? I know that Jason was shot for some reason in December 1999, right around the time Anthony Moreno was killed in a shootout. I know that I lied to everyone in my life to keep the police from finding out. I know that I had a bomb in my studio, but the police knew that as well. I didn’t tell them that Sorel planted it or that he admitted it.”

She hesitated. “I know Jason had something to do with that guy Roscoe being killed because I was kidnapped five seconds later. I know Jason is the one who shoved Manny Ruiz off the hospital building, not Lucky. Those are the things I know for sure. And I never repeated them to anyone except for right here in this room.”

Jason just stared at her. “Elizabeth—”

“The only person who knows that we weren’t sleeping together that December is Lucky, and if he tries to make something of it, I’ll tell everyone I lied to him to spare his feelings because I thought he was supposed to be dead,” Elizabeth cut in. “It’s close enough to the truth.”

“What—”

“Ah, well…” Diane capped her pen and switched off the recorder.  “I really don’t think we’re going to get that far. Though, in the future, I’d rather not know if you plan to tell a specific lie under oath.”

“Fair enough.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “Sonny, it’s all fine. It’s over with. It was a long time ago, and I’ve put it behind me. He’s a lousy human being who’s just trying to terrorize us. “

“I was a selfish bastard then.” Sonny pressed a hand to his chest. “I’m not much better now, but I wish to hell I had told you what I knew then—”

“You were going through a lot with Carly and Alcazar. I made my choices. I have to live with them.” She looked to Diane. “Can we go? Is that enough?”

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

 Jason said nothing as they stepped out of the office and until Sonny’s limo dropped them off at the Harborview parking garage. He was silent as Cody rode the elevator with them before opening the penthouse door.

“Let’s—let’s go upstairs to talk.” Jason cast an eye towards the door, remembering as she had a few days earlier that his home was often Grand Central station and telling Cody to prevent visitors was asking someone to hold back a hurricane often enough.

“Fine.” She looked tired as she trudged up the stairs towards their room.

He closed the door behind them. “I’m sorry that Sonny—”

“Sonny and I never talked about that summer when Carly was missing,” Elizabeth interrupted. She wrapped her arms around her torso and looked to ceiling. “I’m not surprised he had some residual anger left over. He’s not wrong to be annoyed with me for being so blind. But he knows better than anyone how Ric can play a person. He actually let Ric work for him.”

“Yeah…well…” Jason let that go, because explaining that was beyond him. “Elizabeth—”

“And I’m sure he’s held back all these years because he knew what Carly knew.” Elizabeth tilted her head back. “It’s fine—”

“It’s not,” Jason told her. “Because I want to make sure you believe me when I tell you I know you didn’t tell Ric anything. I didn’t think you did, but—”

“You wanted to make sure.” She sat on the edge of the bed. “Jason, we have to get Ric disqualified. Because if he starts fishing with the basics, there’s no telling. He knows about Manny Ruiz. He has to. I saw the autopsy report—Manny had no gunshot wounds. Alexis declined to prosecute. But Ric might try to. He can’t work on cases that involve you or me—”

“I’m not worried about me—”

“I am. I told you—I will not be the reason you go to jail.” She closed her eyes, her face pale, her mouth set in a thin line. “After Thursday, this might be over and I can get Diane on getting my job back. Can we just stop talking about this—”

“Fine.” Jason let the subject drop, but he wouldn’t forget the way she’d looked in Diane’s office, hesitantly describing the nightmarish things Ric had done to her. He had nearly killed her with pills, had allowed her to drink poison—

Someday, somehow, he was going to wipe Ric from this Earth and he didn’t care what Sonny said about it.