Do you think you can cope?
You figured me out?
That I’m lost and I’m hopeless
I’m bleeding and broken though I’ve never spoken
I come undone in this mad season
– Mad Season, Matchbox 20
Sunday, September 4, 2005
Hardy Home: Living Room
Elizabeth set the phone back onto the receiver and rubbed her eyes. “Father Coates said we could have the church on Tuesday. Can everyone be here by then?”
Nikolas checked his notes. “Yeah—your parents got on the flight this morning in Botswana. They’ll fly into Johannesburg in about—” He looked at his watch. “Another hour. There’s a flight from there to New York City that land them in the US around eight tomorrow night our time. I arranged for Sarah, TJ, and Tom to fly into LaGuardia around the same time, so they can all fly up in the jet. Everyone will be here around midnight. We’re cutting it close, but they’ll be here for the service.”
“And Grandfather has arranged for everyone to have a room at the Cosmopolitan,” Emily continued. “And we have cars for the service the next day.”
Elizabeth drew in a deep breath. Where would she be without these people? Nikolas and Emily were arranging for her family to make it on time—Bobbie had offered up the Brownstone for after the funeral. She and Felicia were handling the catering. The only thing Steven and she had to deal with was the funeral itself.
Jason came in from the kitchen, Evie in his arms and Cameron toddling along with him. “Hey, we finished lunch.” He glanced over his shoulder. “We may need a cleaning service.”
Elizabeth laughed and reached for Cam as he put his arms up to her. She pulled him close, cuddling him. Soon he’d be too big for this, too grown up to hug his mother.
“Give me my baby—” Emily wiggled her hands for Evie. “I haven’t seen her nearly as much as I want to since I started my internship.” Jason relinquished the ten month old to her. “Oh, look at your pretty smile!”
“That’ll distract for her an hour,” Nikolas said dryly. He looked at Elizabeth. “Remember our pact.”
Elizabeth nodded. “Got it. Hey, Em, what are you thinking for baby names?”
“Oh.” Emily brightened, grinning at her brother as he took the last remaining seat in the arm chair. “I have oodles of ideas. I can’t decide if I want to go hip and funky or really super classical. I mean, Lila would be the optimum choice, but I don’t know if Grandmother would have wanted us to do that.” She lifted a shoulder. “I mean, she was a lot like Jason. Kids should stand on their own. Mom only named AJ after Dad because she wanted to stick it to him.”
Nikolas rolled his eyes, but Jason frowned. “Hip and funky?” he repeated.
“Yeah. Like River or Apple. I like the idea of a sweet name, so I thought Berry—”
“She’s kidding, isn’t she?” Elizabeth asked Nikolas. “You get a veto, right?”
“Hey!” Emily pouted. Evie blew a raspberry at her, and her aunt giggled. “Jason asked. I told you I was thinking classical. Maybe not Lila, but something that might…I don’t know, honor her. Plus, I want to make sure Elizabeth and I aren’t crossing streams. She might have a girl name she’s saving, or a second boy.”
Elizabeth flushed, and bit her lip, looking at Jason. Though they’d never explicitly remarked on the idea, of course they’d planned to have more children. Somewhere down the line—maybe when Cam and Evie weren’t both still toddlers. “I hadn’t—” She pursed her lips. “I hadn’t thought about it.”
“Oh. Well. I looked it up,” Emily continued, bouncing Evie a bit on her knee. “So Lila is actually an Arabic name that means play or amusement. Or maybe night. It depends on which book you look at. It’s also a French word for lilac—”
“This is way too much information,” Nikolas said. “Em—”
“You mock me, but this is important. Names follow you. We’ll be screaming this name for the next, like, twenty years.” Emily sniffed at him. “Anyway. We narrowed it down for the moment. So, Olivia or Charlotte with Paige as a middle name for my biological mother. That’s for a girl. For a boy, Nikolas has vetoed a junior—”
“He’ll have it rough enough with a last name like Cassadine,” Nikolas told Elizabeth with a sigh.
“But I think it would be nice to call him Spencer. Because it would drive Lucky crazy, and if Laura were here, she’d love it.” Emily looked at Nikolas. “We’re still arguing about a middle name for a boy.”
“Spencer Cassadine,” Elizabeth mused. “That poor bastard.”
“You didn’t have a girl’s name picked out for Cam before you found out?” Emily asked. “Come on, Liz. We’re all friends here.” She grinned at her brother.
“Well, I guess…if you’re pressing me right now—” And because it was better than thinking about her family or her grandmother, Elizabeth gave in. “I was thinking Juliet Emily if Cam had been a girl. I’d probably stick with it if Jason liked it.” She looked at Jason, who just shrugged. “And you know he doesn’t care about names.”
“Oh, oh, you’d have little girls named Julie and Evie. It’d be awesome. Julie, Evie, and Cam. I love it.” Emily clapped her hands. “And I love the middle name. Very appropriate.” She nodded. “What about boys?”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes, but the mirth of the moment was broken as Steven stepped over the threshold, looking wan and exhausted. “Hey, guys.”
“Hey.” Elizabeth set Cam on his feet and stood to embrace her brother. “Father Coates said we could have the church on Tuesday, and Nikolas and Emily took care of all the travel. Everyone will be here. Tired, but here.”
“Great. Thanks.” Steven squeezed her to his side. “I was just with Gram’s lawyer. Apparently, she made me executor.”
“Oh. I hadn’t even thought about her estate.” Elizabeth drew away and perched on the edge of the sofa. “What did he say?”
“Well, it’s pretty—well, surprising, honestly.” Steven rubbed his eyes. “Gramps left her with a comfortable living, some nice investments. There’s a bit of an inheritance. And she split it between you and me for the most part. There’s some provisions for Sarah, Dad, TJ, and Uncle Tom, but the bulk goes to us.”
“Makes sense,” Emily said before Elizabeth could protest. “You guys are the ones who are here. Audrey was always fair.”
“And, Bits, you get the house.”
Elizabeth turned back to her brother at that. “What? The—this house?” She looked around at the home her grandparents had shared, the home where she had spent summers. “Gram left me the house?”
“Her estate will go to probate. It’ll be final in a few weeks provided no one contests it, but there’s no reason to. And the deed will go in your name.”
“I don’t—I didn’t know she was going to do that—” Elizabeth swallowed. “We—we should sell it, right? Divide it among all of us—”
“You should keep it, Bits,” Steven cut in gently. “I don’t know what you and Jason have planned, but you should keep the house. I don’t want it, and none of the others deserve anything more than what Gram gave them.”
He kissed her forehead. “I have to get to work, okay? I’m taking Tuesday and Wednesday off, I need to put in the time. You guys okay here?”
When they nodded, Steven left, leaving Elizabeth still a bit stunned. “Jason—she left me the house. I can’t believe it.” She pressed a hand to her forehead. “Why wouldn’t she tell me?”
“Because you would have told her not to, just like you were about to suggest selling the house.” Emily snorted. “And giving the money to your family. Elizabeth, what are we going to do with you?”
General Hospital: Cafeteria
Courtney’s spoon clattered to the table as Carly absently reached for a salt shaker, the sleeve of her long shirt riding up as she stretched. “Carly, what happened to your arm?”
Carly blinked and looked down at the bruise. She dropped the salt and hastily drew her arm back, putting it in her lap. “Nothing. I should get back to Sonny—”
“We’re having lunch.” Courtney lifted her chin. “I’ll only follow you if you walk away. What the hell happened, Carly?”
When Carly remained silent, Courtney reached over and dragged Carly’s hand back into view, sliding her sleeve back. Carly struggled, but simply didn’t have the energy to put up any real resistance.
Her arm was covered in several ugly green and purple bruises. In her work at the foundation when she visited shelters, Courtney had seen this type of bruise before.
“Did—” She swallowed hard, her mouth dry as bone. “Did my brother do this?”
Carly yanked her wrist back and looked away, at the table. “He’s sick. You know that. It’s fine.”
Something had been different about Carly since the moment Courtney had arrived the night before—she’d chalked it up to exhaustion, worry, and fear over Sonny’s condition.
But he’d been upgraded to stable just after Courtney’s arrival and Carly had grabbed some sleep—and yet…Carly’s eyes were dull. She was listless, unable to make eye contact.
She wasn’t Carly. There wasn’t an ounce of fight left in her.
And nothing terrified Courtney more.
“Carly, I know he’s ill. He came to me in New York to see a doctor—”
“Elizabeth told me. He’s being treated for depression. I told his attending doctor,” Carly said, her tone oddly flat. “I also told him I thought Sonny should get a psych consult. Because I don’t know if Elizabeth is right, but I don’t think he’s just depressed.”
Courtney exhaled slowly. Carly was finally on board now—they could get through this if she wasn’t working against them. “Good. Good. The doctors will do something, I’m sure of it—”
“What if they don’t?” Carly looked at her. “What if Sonny fools them the way he fooled the doctor in New York? I don’t know what happened on Friday night, Courtney, but he was shot. And Jason hasn’t been here. Jason—he took over. Sonny’s not…” She closed her eyes. “He’s not in power now. And he’s so angry.”
Courtney knew what it must have cost Jason to push Sonny out, but of course it had to be done. Sonny was an unstable mess who couldn’t be trusted with his own children, much less the type of power and control he’d held as head of the organization.
But she’d been doing some reading of her own—and she’d talked to Bobbie who’d conferred with Elizabeth. Everyone agreed Sonny wasn’t just suffering from depression. It had to be something else. The bipolar disorder, maybe.
And if Sonny was manic and thought Jason was taking away his power, his control—
“It’s good that he’s in the hospital,” Courtney murmured. “Jason will be able to—he’ll have a moment to breathe. And he’ll fix this. He always comes through.”
“I want to believe that,” Carly said softly. “Sometimes it’s the only way I can close my eyes at night. But he hasn’t yet. I tried to make myself believe it was because of Evie, because Jason wanted to keep her, but that’s not true, is it?” She waited a moment. “He hasn’t fixed this because he’s like us. None of us know what to do.”
“But we have a common purpose.” Courtney laced her fingers through her sister-in-law’s. “We all love Sonny and want him to be well. He’s in the hospital now. He’ll have a psych consult, and we’ll see what happens then. We’ll make it through this.”
“I wish I could believe that, but I can’t. I’ve been lying to myself for years. I should leave Sonny, you know. I already sent my boys away.” Carly tucked a piece of hair behind her ears. “But I can’t.”
“You can, Carly—”
“Because he’ll be alone,” Carly continued. “And you know he hates that. I used to love him, I think. It’s hard to remember that now, but I tried so very hard to save our life together, so I must have. Or was it just the name?” She blinked at Courtney. “Do you think it was just that I wanted to be Carly Corinthos?”
“Maybe,” Courtney said. “But Carly—”
“I even thought I should turn Sonny against Jason,” Carly interrupted. “I tried to make Sonny think Jason had gone after Evie deliberately—that he’d known about Sam’s trick. Because if Sonny turned against him, he’d take Evie back. And he’d be okay if he had Evie.” She pressed a hand to her mouth. “How selfish is that? I sacrificed Jason so I could keep my life. Sonny is so angry at Jason, maybe I did that. Maybe I started it—”
“You can’t blame yourself—”
“Who else?” Carly turned her shattered gaze away. “Sonny and Jason started this lie because I’m selfish. Because I rant, and I rave, and I never think about the consequences of my actions. I told Sonny I would take the boys and destroy him if Evie was his. So Jason lied to save them. And Sonny let it go on because he wanted to be with the boys. If not for Evie, if not for losing her, maybe Sonny wouldn’t have gone over the edge—”
“Carly, no, you cannot think like that. What’s wrong with Sonny has always been wrong with him—” Courtney pushed her tea away. “Anything can trigger an episode. Did the situation with Evie make it worse? Maybe. Probably. But, God, Carly, in that moment, what could you have said? Should you have been thrilled your husband’s mistress was pregnant? He’d had an affair and planned to continue it even while you were back together. He shot you in the head and then resented you during the recovery. My brother was an ass to you. And you dealt with it the best way you could. Does he get the share of the blame? How much is his fault, then?”
A tear slid down Carly’s face. “I just want it to stop. I wanted to believe I could fix it. I wanted to believe I could have another baby, and it would be fine. And then I thought if I could be the reason Evie came to live with us, he would love me again, and it would be okay. And then I thought if I could prove to him I could be trusted with his illness, that I could love him anyway—but nothing can fix him. I can’t fix him.”
“No, you can’t.”
“But I can’t leave him either,” she whispered. “I can’t leave him alone. What might he do if he felt completely alone and isolated? I would never forgive myself.”
“Then we will do whatever we have to do to get him help, Carly,” Courtney told her. “We will put him on the road to recovery if it’s the last thing we do. I promise you. I won’t leave you alone either.”
Warehouse: Jason’s Office
Jason strode into his office, a bit chagrined he was the last to arrive as Bernie, Johnny, Max, and Tommy had already arranged themselves at—he blinked. “Is that a conference table?”
“You hate sitting behind the desk when we report.” He gestured to the head of the table where a seat sat. “This way we’re all comfortable.”
Whatever. Jason took the seat. “Sonny’s condition first—was Stan able to get anything from the records?” he asked Bernie.
“Sonny had a gunshot to the upper chest. It was relatively serious, just due to previous damage. His lung collapsed, which could have been worse if treatment had been delayed. He was operated on, and upgraded to stable condition around eleven last night.” The older man hesitated. “And Carly asked for a psych consult.”
Max brightened. “Yeah? Mrs. C is finally coming around?”
“She told the attending—Dr. Ford—that her husband had been diagnosed with depression and prescribed accordingly. She gave him medication. Carly also told him that his condition seemed to be worsening over the last few months.” Now he was quiet for a moment. “And that Sonny had been abusive.”
Jason lunged to his feet. “What? He hit Carly?”
“Explains why she shipped the boys away,” Johnny said to Tommy. “Vinnie said there’d been an argument and shattered glass, but he’d thought Sonny had smashed another mini bar.”
“There isn’t much more information, Jason, but she merely said his temper was dangerous, and she wasn’t convinced about the diagnosis of depression. Dr. Ford said he’d put in the request, but couldn’t promise anything. They don’t normally do them because a family member asks for it—Sonny has to demonstrate behavior to necessitate it.”
“I’ll call my father,” Jason said tightly. “I can pull strings. Make sure it gets done.” He blinked, belatedly realizing he had referred to Alan Quartermaine as his father, but continued, resuming his seat. “How long will he be in the hospital?”
“A week, maybe more, depending on his recovery time,” Bernie reported. “We’ve got some space, Jason. It’s what we needed. He’ll recover, but if we get a psych consult—maybe we get Sonny under control.”
“What do we know about Junior? Max,” Jason looked to the other man. “Did he go to the girlfriend?”
“He called her,” Max told him. “We had her phones tapped. She went to pick him up at Van Ess and Courtland, then took him home. She’s pretty swift for a civilian. She brought a bag of trash in her backseat, opened the door as if she was going to toss it in a dumpster, and he snuck in while the door was open. If we hadn’t been looking for the pickup, we might have missed it. And she took him home. I don’t know the condition, but he was alive.”
“Did he contact Daddy?” Johnny demanded. “Why didn’t we grab the little punk?”
“We got a bug in the apartment,” Max said with an annoyed glare at his colleague. “Johnny doesn’t want to call his father yet. He’s not an idiot—if he tells Anthony what happened to him, Anthony will come at us with guns blazing. He thought about calling him, but Nadine told him about the rumors. And apparently, Jason, because she’s met you and knows Emily, she trusts you. She wants Johnny to lay low a day or two to get his strength back and reach out to you. He called his father to assure him he was okay.
Jason exhaled slowly, dipping his head. Johnny Zacchara was alive and well, and because he’d had the good fortune to hook up with one of Emily’s co-workers, they were going to have a reprieve. They were going to avoid a war with Anthony Zacchara after all.
“We’ll wait for Junior to reach out to us,” Jason said after a moment. “Keep an eye on them, but we don’t need the bug in the apartment. Give them some privacy. Just keep the phone tap and the watch on the building.”
“Thank fucking God for small miracles,” Johnny said, voicing the relief palpable in the room. “Just think of how this could have gone completely wrong. If Junior didn’t have that contact with you in New York, if Nadine Crowell didn’t know your sister, we’d be fucked nine ways from Sunday. Thank God you hooked up with Elizabeth.”
Jason glared at him. “Johnny. Shut up.” He looked to Tommy. “Give Stefano a call. We know Junior’s been in touch, so we don’t need to give more details. We’re just resolving the situation.” He looked back to Johnny. “You talked to Ramon? Bernie farmed this out to you.”
“I did.” Johnny cracked his knuckles. “I told Ramon that he and his boss better have a damn good reason for Diego Lopez being in our area and going after Anthony Zacchara’s son, and if he didn’t want us to blow up his next shipment, well, then, he’d better give me some damn answers.”
“Real subtle, O’Brien.” Max rolled his eyes.
“And?” Jason prompted.
“And Ramon told me his boss didn’t answer to me or Jason Morgan. Until he was told otherwise, Sonny Corinthos is the head of the organization. He requested some help, Hector supplied it. If we have a damn problem with that, maybe we should solve our own first.”
“He’s got a point,” Tommy said.
“And we’ve resolved it,” Jason said, tightly. “Sonny is under control. Johnny Zacchara is safe. And Johnny, make sure Ramon and Hector Ruiz know otherwise now. Sonny’s not in charge. Tell him if he has any problems with that, he might try finding another route for shipping his guns and other products to Canada. If one more member of his family steps up here without an invitation, we’ll send him home in a body bag.”
“I love when he gets angry,” Max said to Bernie. “He makes you proud to be an American.”
“So things are okay now,” Bernie said. “We can get back to business. Jason, please make sure Elizabeth knows she has our deepest condolences for her grandmother.”
“Yeah.” Jason rubbed his eyes. “But things aren’t okay yet. Until I have Junior in front of me and we can make amends for his troubles, until I know Ruiz and Zacchara aren’t a threat—I can’t pretend we’re at peace. We’re at a stalemate. We’ll see if the psych consult makes any difference. Let’s not pretend things are going to be normal.”
“Normal.” Johnny snorted as he got to his feet. “Sonny’s not in charge anymore. It’ll be fucking Disney World from now on.”
“Johnny. Shut up.”
Nadine’s Apartment: Bedroom
Johnny leaned back against the pillows. Nadine had patched up the nick in his arm where a bullet had grazed it, he’d taken a long hot shower, and she’d ordered Chinese food.
This was the best he’d felt in weeks.
Nadine bit her lip as she glanced out the curtains. “I feel like I’m harboring a fugitive,” she murmured.
“Hey.” Johnny scowled. “I’m the victim here.” But he knew what she meant—until she could arrange a meeting with Jason Morgan, he wasn’t in the clear.
And he wasn’t as convinced as she was about Jason Morgan’s relative trustworthiness, but he was willing to give the man the benefit of the doubt. After all, Sonny Corinthos had been behind his abduction and beatings. He’d never brought in his number one guy, which made him believe Nadine’s rumors.
If Jason Morgan had sanctioned that operation, he would have been carrying it out—not Sonny.
“I’m sorry about all of this,” he told her. “I told you I wasn’t involved in any of this. I wasn’t lying, but—”
“But your last name is still Zacchara.” Nadine let the curtain fall back into place as she turned to him. “You may not work for your father, but you have his name. I get it. I had to leave Ohio because of my sister.”
“We can walk away from our family, but we can’t escape it. If I didn’t want to be Jolene Crowell, Angel of Mercy’s sister, I had to go somewhere where her name wasn’t known.” Nadine curled up next to him on the bed. “I’m just so glad you’re okay. I didn’t know what to do.”
“You did fine.” He kissed the top of her head, drawing her closer to him. “My father is not someone you can call on lightly. If you had, he wouldn’t have been kind to Jason or Sonny. And you know, maybe they both suck, maybe only Sonny is the asshole. But they have kids. Families.” He looked at the ceiling. “We’ll talk to Jason in a few days. You’ll need to make the contact—maybe you should track down his fiancée—”
“Her grandmother just died,” Nadine murmured. “The whole hospital is talking about her—she’d been a nurse there for more than forty years—I hate to annoy her right now—”
“But she’s engaged to Jason Morgan. And believe me, if he’s been looking for me, he’ll be glad to set up a meeting. I’m the only thing standing between him and my father.”
“That,” Nadine announced, raising herself up on her elbow and looking at him, “is a sucky place to be.”
“You’re not kidding.”
General Hospital: Sonny’s Room
Sonny turned his eyed, blinking his eyes to clear the blurriness. Where was he? What the hell had happened?
All he could remember was that little shit Johnny Zacchara knocking him to the ground. How the hell had he gotten loose? Had one of the men from Miami turned on him? Loosened the ropes? Had to be that. No one got the drop on Sonny Corinthos.
He blinked to find Carly sitting in a chair to his side, her legs pulled up in front of her as she absently looked towards the doorway. “Carly?” He coughed.
She turned to him, her eyes not changing. “You’re awake,” she said flatly, letting her legs drop to the floor. “I should get Dr. Ford—”
“What happened—” He managed to reach out his hand, to grab her arm. She winced and he let it drop. “Carly—”
“You were shot,” Carly told him in that dull tone. “I don’t know more than that.” She rose to her feet. “I called in a psych consult—”
“What?” Sonny twisted, tried to sit up, but his vision dimmed in front of him, the pain in his chest so fierce. “Damn it—”
“Something has to change, Sonny.” She folded up her sleeve and he frowned at the bruises. Who the hell had touched his wife? “I can’t do it anymore. I sent my boys away to keep them safe, but I want to be with them.”
Keep them safe? “Who did that?” he demanded. He knew those bruises—he’d seen them on his mother more than once. “I’ll kill them—”
“Look in the mirror.” Carly slid her sleeve down. “But we’re both to blame on that score. I stayed. I thought I could do it alone. But I couldn’t.” She looked at him, her dark eyes blank. “If you don’t cooperate with the psych consult, I’ll file for divorce and an order of protection. No judge is going to let you near the boys when I show them these bruises, when Courtney testifies about the threats you’ve made towards Jason—” Her shoulders slumped. “It’s over, Sonny. Something has to change.”
Sonny turned away. He didn’t know what the hell she was babbling about. He was fine. She was playing him, finding an angle. She knew he was planning to take the boys from her, to walk away. She was firing a preemptive strike. Well, fuck her. He was Sonny Corinthos.
Jason had taken his daughter and his organization, and now Carly thought she could take his boys? Use his sister against him?
“You’re right,” he told her evenly. “Something has to change.”
And as soon as he got out of this fucking hospital bed, everything would.
Hardy Home: Elizabeth’s Bedroom
Elizabeth closed her eyes, the tension sliding from her shoulders. “He’s safe? You know this for sure? Johnny Zacchara is okay?”
“We have men on his building.” Jason sat next to her and drew her into his embrace. “We won’t have to worry about Anthony, I got Hector Ruiz to back off, and with Sonny in the hospital—”
“You have a measure of control now.” Elizabeth pressed her forehead to his shoulder. “Oh, God. Jason, I was so scared. So scared you’d find him dead. Do you think he’ll cooperate? Does he know it was Sonny, not you?”
“Looks like his girlfriend convinced him to give us the benefit of the doubt.” He took in the scent of her hair. “I’m sorry, Elizabeth. I hated not being able to be here for you—”
“You were.” Elizabeth drew back. “Jason—no one could have predicted what happened on Friday—and you were gone only a few hours. You were there when it mattered.” She cupped his cheek. “You were with me when she passed, and you’ve been there every step of the way since. I don’t know how you managed it, but—”
“I delegated,” Jason told her. “And that’s how it’s going to be going forward. I couldn’t put you first that night, Elizabeth. It won’t happen again. I don’t want my life to revolve around what goes on in the warehouse. I want it to be about you, about the kids. About us. I want to be able to travel, to take you and the kids everywhere we ever talked about.”
“I want you to paint the light in Italy, the mountains in Austria, the water in the Pacific—” He took a deep breath. “And I can do that. I trust Max and Johnny. And Bernie. I mean, there’s still some mopping up. Everything isn’t perfect yet. We don’t know how things are going to shake out with Sonny, but—”
She pressed her fingers to his lips. “I felt alone Friday,” she admitted. “But Nikolas and Emily were there five seconds later. You and I cannot live our lives just for one another. We each have family, friends, and obligations to the outside world. I hated that you had to leave, but Jason, for the first time…For the first time, I could feel that you hated it, too. I know you didn’t want to leave, but I could see that you had, too.”
“I just don’t want you to be sorry you took a chance on me,” he said after a moment. “I know I messed it up last time—”
“And so did I,” Elizabeth said gently. “I should have stayed. I should have screamed at you more. I should have been honest. I should have made you talk to me. We both made mistakes, Jason, because neither of us were ready. I needed to be stronger and you needed to learn how to trust me. We’ve done that. I’m not sorry we didn’t make it last time. We have Cameron, and we have Evie—” She hesitated. “About Evie—”
“I called Diane Miller,” he told her. “And I told her to start the adoption paperwork in November. I’m almost done with my year of guardianship. Sonny will never be stable enough. I promised Sam I would love Evie and protect her. She’s my daughter.”
“She’s ours.” Elizabeth brushed her lips against his. “And that’s how she’ll stay. Jason, we got through the worst of it. And we’re still standing here. I love you. And I know you love me. Nothing else matters.”