February 1, 2017

So as a follow up to yesterday, I made a new goal for February: Every day, I’ll write for at least 15 minutes, if not 30 minutes. If I make it to 30 minutes, I’ll post whatever I write a Flash Fiction. I may go over the 30 minutes, but I will never exceed an hour. And whatever I post, I can’t go back and edit. I might take concepts and rework them later, but the Flash Fiction stands. This is a writing experiment to kind of get my head back in the game and to stop worrying about quality so much. I’m a good writer, so the more I do it, the better it will be. That’s the dream anyway.

So, here’s your first February Flash Fiction: an homage to Nora Roberts and her novel, Montana Sky. I will likely to be continuing this, probably tomorrow, but it’s not awful, so that’s a good first step.

Flash Fiction 9: The Will

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Flash Fiction

Robert Scorpio had led a life of adventure–an agent for the WSB in his early years and the later decades spent as a police commissioner in the small metropolis of Port Charles where his family had settled generations ago.

To accompany the collection of careers and identities he had accumulated, he also had a variety of women.

His first wife had worked as a double agent for the WSB and DVX—Anna had given him Robin, though Robert would not know of her until years after their divorce and Anna’s own death in the line of duty. Robin came to live with him at the age of twelve—a bright but cynical girl who was most like her father.

His second wife had served as part of his cover as his career as an agent had wound down. He had cared for Marsha, but once the job had been over, he had left her behind as well—along with a daughter he was never very close to. Elizabeth had grown up knowing her father as the signer of monthly checks and a yearly visit lasting no more than a week.

In his later years, he had married one more final and brief time—the third wife, Felicia, had died of cancer when their daughter was young. Cognizant of his failures, he had spoiled the girl more than the other two, and Maxie had grown up to be a bit selfish and immature.

Three daughters. Sisters who were not close—and one of whom had never really become part of the family. At the end of Robert’s life, these women were his legacy and he was determined to fix in death what he had broken in life.

Those who meant to honor him gathered at the home that had been in the Scorpio family for nearly fifty years—a comfortable three brick home that reminded his middle daughter of the types of homes people had in the movies. She stood outside of it, her breath little puffs of white in the brisk and chill of upstate New York in January.

“Hungry, Mom,” her three-year-old son said plaintively at her side, his gloved hand tucked inside her own bare palm. “Juice box.”

“I know, sweetie.” Tired by the flight, by the worry over what would happen next, Elizabeth Spencer gathered her energy and picked her son up so they could climb the stone steps to the porch. This house had always intimidated her—as did the woman who likely now owned it.

She knocked, wincing as her freezing knuckles came into contact with the heavy oak door. It swung open, and she stepped back a bit. She knew that face—the kind blue eyes, the chiseled cheek bones. She had met him once, almost a decade ago, but she couldn’t quite place his name.

“Elizabeth, right?” the man said, stepping back and drawing his eyebrows together. “Robin didn’t say you had kids—”

Robin hadn’t known. She had sent a polite decline to the wedding invitation Elizabeth had sent four years earlier, as had her father and her other sister. It had been the last time Elizabeth had reached out to her father’s family. Had Robin married as well?

“This is Cameron.” Elizabeth stepped inside the house, into the blessed warm and set her son on his feet. “I, ah, I didn’t have anywhere—he had to come.”

“Right.” He cleared his throat and extended his hand. “Jason. Jason Morgan. We met once, I think. When we were kids.”

“Yeah, I think I was like fourteen.” Elizabeth gingerly shook his hand but pulled her own back immediately. “I didn’t realize—I didn’t know Robin had married—”

“What?” His eyes widened. “Oh. No.” His cheeks flushed, and Elizabeth found herself comforted by that fact. “No, Robin and I—We’re friends. Just—I mean, she wouldn’t have without telling—”

But he stopped. Of course Robin would have married without telling Elizabeth. It hadn’t been Robin who contacted Elizabeth about Robert’s funeral—it had been some lawyer who wanted her present at the reading of the will. In fact—Elizabeth had learned from that lawyer that the funeral was already over—they hadn’t tracked her down in time.

“Anyway,” Jason continued. “She just asked me to wait here for you. There was a shift at the hospital, and Maxie is—” He frowned. “Not exactly reliable.”

“Oh.”

“Mommy,” Cameron tugged her black coat. “Juice box.”

Elizabeth sighed. She had hoped this would not take long, but apparently— “Cam, we couldn’t bring them on the plane, remember?”

“Mommy had to trow them out,” Cameron told Jason, his lip pouting. She rubbed her eyes.

“I’m sure—” Jason gestured toward the kitchen. “I don’t know if there’s juice, but I’m sure there’s something—”

“I don’t want to impose.” Elizabeth shoved her hands in her pockets. “I thought the reading was supposed to be in—” Twenty minutes. She had timed their arrival to minimize the amount of time she would have to spend here.

“It’s not imposing,” Jason said, but he looked away. Easy for him to say, but she didn’t want a single thing from her sister. Not even juice.

“I’ll come back.” Elizabeth lifted her chin. “We’ll just—we’ll just check into a motel and Robin can call me—”

The door swung open again and her sisters came in then—Robin with her dark eyes and hair, Maxie with blue eyes and blonde, both clad in heavy winter gear. They stopped when they saw Elizabeth. When they saw Cameron.

Robin hesitated, looked at them, then at Jason. “Hey. Thanks for being here—I had to drag Maxie away from Kate.”

“I was busy,” Maxie said, moodily. She nodded at Cameron. “Who’re you?”

“Cameron Hardy Spencer,” Cameron recited. “Who are you?”

Jason smirked, but Maxie scowled—the tones of the three-year-old and the twenty-three-year-old had been remarkedly similar.

“Maxie,” Robin said, touching Maxie’s arm. “Elizabeth, I’m glad you could make it.” She looked at her watch. “Alexis should be here soon.” She gestured at Cameron. “Um, I guess he’s yours. You’re married, right?”

“I was,” Elizabeth said, but she didn’t offer any further information. That was no one’s business.

“Juice box,” Cameron repeated.

“Right,” Robin said, clearing her throat. “Um, would it be okay if Jason hung out with Cameron while we talk to Alexis? He can feed him or just…” Robin swung her hand. “Keep him alive.”

Elizabeth hesitated—she never left Cameron in anyone’s care if she could help it, save her own. Not anymore. But Cameron was rubbing his eyes and if he had to ask for a juice box again, he might throw a tantrum.

Besides, Jason had been kind to her. Had treated her like Robert’s daughter, and not just…someone who was mentioned in the will.

“All right.” Elizabeth gingerly unbuttoned her coat. “Cam, you’ll be good for Mr. Morgan, right?”

“Juice box,” Cameron said again, but this time he looked at Jason, his eyes narrowed.

“I know that look,” Jason said. “Michael gets it, too.” He put his hand out for him. “Want to go investigate what Aunt Robin has in the kitchen?”

“Okay,” Cameron said. “Bye, Mommy.”

When they were gone, Robin looked to Elizabeth. “I didn’t know you had a kid,” she said, with a hint of irritation. “It must have been hell on the plane.”

Elizabeth didn’t know how to respond to that—it had sucked, but there was nothing in her sister’s expression that suggested they should continue the conversation. These women were strangers, and the sooner she got whatever Robert had left her, the sooner Elizabeth could figure out the next step.
A half hour, Elizabeth learned exactly what Robert had left to her. And to her sisters.

Alexis Davis sighed. “I’m sorry, Robin. Your father was very clear—”

“But he can’t mean it,” Robin said, tears in her eyes. “This house has been in our family for generations—he can’t mean to sell it.”

“And leave us with nothing,” Maxie complained. She turned accusing eyes to Elizabeth. “This is your fault. You were so mean to him. You’re why he’s doing this.”

Elizabeth blinked at the younger woman. “What?”

“Maxie,” Robin sighed. “Don’t—”

“We have to live together here for a year,” Maxie complained. “Or we lose the house. How could Daddy do that you, Robin? You love this place. This is our home.”

“He hoped,” Alexis said slowly, “that you might finally become closer. He regretted not knowing Robin until she was a teenager, that Elizabeth was never part of the family unit.” She looked at Elizabeth. “He realized that it might be an imposition for you—there’s some money for relocating—”

“There’s no need—I’ve already—” Elizabeth swallowed hard. “I just finalized my divorce. I signed the papers the day before you called me, and, um, I packed everything I had for me and Cam. I’m not going back. I—I didn’t know where I was going next, but I’m already—” She looked at her sisters. “If you want to do this, I’ll—I’ll do it. I need some time to figure out the next step. But Cam has to—”

“Of course,” Robin said immediately. “That goes without saying. You’re a package deal.” A tear slid down her cheek. “I know this isn’t home for you—or it wasn’t—”

“She’s the one who stopped coming,” Maxie muttered.

“—but it’s the only—” Robin stopped and took a deep breath. “Thank you. For this. You won’t regret.”

Elizabeth wasn’t too sure about that, but what was one more regret to go with all the others?