September 28, 2017

Earlier today, I completed drafting Mad World. I’m super happy about that — it’s the first project I’ve been able even put “Finish” anywhere near since February 2016 when I posted the end of the The Best Thing so to just get to the end of a multi-chapter story makes me happy

That being said, one of the major reasons I finished it was turning off my inner editor and not stopping to edit or rewrite scenes before moving on to the next chapter. This means there’s work to be done. I’m basically rewriting my entire Lucky story because I had a good idea two weeks ago. And my Carly subplot needs to be refined and tweaked towards the end. My Jason and Elizabeth central narrative needs some tweaking to make it a bit more deeper, a bit more resonant, and I changed course on the PCPD narrative halfway through and wrote the rest of the story as if I had already rewritten the first half. So, yeah, it needs work.

Also, I mentioned that I had rescheduled a due date for a paper but now I have to do that paper this week. I also kind of…put off some readings and note taking in order to finish today. I’m not sorry — I’m glad it worked out that way but now I have to do some catch up to get back on track.

So I’m going to let Mad World sit for a week. I took a revision class and the instructor recommended an even longer sitting period before going to revisions, but I’d like my huge round of revisions to be done before November so I can do NaNoWriMo again.

I’ll still be doing a Fiction Workshop next week, but I’m putting Mad World aside so I can look at with  more fresh eye. Right now, I hate pieces of it, ha, and I may like it better in a week.

Still…it’s currently at 236 pages and 90,000 words so that ain’t shabby for three months of work 😉 I’ll be updating about it periodically on Twitter as I rewrite and revise and checking in here as well.

September 27, 2017

Workshop Update

I wrote Sky is Falling, Chapter 3 in about 50 minutes.

Life & Mad World Progress

If you follow me on Twitter (and you should, I’m always tweeting about writing lately), then you’ll notice I’ve been posting about getting closer to the ending of the first draft of Mad World. It’s going so well for me that I actually moved around a due date for a paper at school. I get to pick the week I want to write a paper, and I had planned on this week because my Tuesday and Wednesday classes were cancelled in the evening.

And then Mad World started working, and I thought…I could finish this first draft this week if not for this paper. So…yeah. I made what a lot of my people in my life would say was an irresponsible decision to put my fanfiction first. But it’s not just as simple as putting fanfiction first, it’s putting me first. My creativity. My happiness. This project is going so much better than the last few (how long did it take me to get to 17 chapters in The Best Thing?) This is going back to A Few Words territory where I wrote that sucker in a month and ignored everything else. When I let my creativity be in charge, it’s good for me.  Even my classwork is going faster because I’m concentrating more evenly, devoting time to everything that matters so I’m just…happier.

I tweeted about it this as well, but part of the reason I’m feeling more settled in my priorities is a podcast called Big Strong Yes from Chipperish Media. It’s a book club that reads self-help books, but not the normal ones. We just finished Rising Strong by Brene Brown, and if you’ve ever read it, you’re going to see a lot of that book reflected in Mad World. I owe a huge debt for Elizabeth’s characterization and her therapy. She’s going through the Rising Strong process in this novel. We’ve just started Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert which is devoted to creativity, and I’m just already excited by it. So if you’re like me, and you’re constantly putting what makes you happy on the back burner or struggling with priorities, this podcast might be good for you.

Okay, promotion aside, what does it mean that Mad World is nearly finished? I’m finishing the Discovery Draft, which is me turning off the inner editor. In July, when I was writing for Camp NaNoWriMo, I kept letting myself get stuck on scenes, rewriting scenes. I spent three days on Chapter 8 and while I like the changes, it really set me back time wise. I’m used to polishing chapters as I go, getting them as close to publishable as possible before going on to the next. It’s how I wrote The Best Thing, All We We Are, and the first two chunks of Bittersweet and Mad World. It’s not a bad thing, but it does slow down my writing process and sometimes I lose the momentum. So a discovery draft is me turning that off and just writing, which means I get the big parts done.

That being said, Mad World needs a bit a work. There’s some scenes that need to be written, an entire subplot I need to write, another I need to finish, so I’m thinking to take most of October to do that. It might go slower, it might go faster. I don’t know. I’ll keep you guys updated on that process.

Site Maintenance

Also, I tried to mess with the subscriptions plug in so you no longer get every single post I make — just these summary ones on the main page, which will cut down on the amount of email you’ll receive. Let me know if you typically receive emails and aren’t getting any since I’m testing it.

There are still broken links from the change over to Fiction Workshop format. I hope to ferret those out this week and fix them. I’ll keep you posted on that as well.

I also think I’ve fixed the share options, so posts should share to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr (which…exists but I don’t use much)

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Workshop: Sky is Falling

Jason set the box of pizza on the kitchen table and his sixteen-year-old nephew immediately launched himself at it, taking three slices and inhaling one before either Jason or his ex-sister-in-law could put even a single slice on their own plate.

“You want to try breathing?” Carly Jacks asked with a wry smile. She poured herself a soda and tossed a bottle of water at Jason. “I swear—”

“I got soccer practice in like twenty minutes,” Michael complained. “Dante’s gonna pick me up because you won’t let me have my car—”

“He’s grounded for curfew violations again,” Carly offered to Jason as an aside.

“Eleven is too early—”

“I think eight is too late, so we’ve compromised.” Carly ignored Michael’s protests and turned her attention to Jason. “Have you heard anything more about Dillon?”

“No.” Jason set a slice of the supreme pizza on his plate but didn’t eat. “It’s been a few days. Elizabeth said they’re waiting for the crime scene report and fingerprints.”

“Lu’s brother said it doesn’t look good,” Michael said with confidence.

“Lucky probably shouldn’t have said anything,” Carly said when Jason frowned. “He wasn’t specific, but he felt bad.” She tilted her head. “Have you talked to Elizabeth since she got Dillon out of jail?”

“Yeah. Uh, once on the phone. I’m looking into a few things, but there aren’t a lot of witnesses willing to talk to me.” If he’d had a badge, they would have talked, he thought with a bitterness he didn’t usually allow himself.

But that was probably a lie. People didn’t cooperate with cops much better than private investigators. People, in general, just didn’t want to cooperate at all with any kind of authority. Not in Port Charles.

Still, a badge would have felt better.

“Hmm…” Mercifully Carly didn’t comment it either—she had not been thrilled Jason had left his job to placate Courtney, but then Carly had never been a fan of Courtney. The feeling had been mutual—Courtney could never understand why Jason had remained friendly with his brother’s ex-wife.

Jason didn’t much like his brother, and he could respect Carly’s upfront selfish nature. Her first priority was her kids, of which she had three. Michael was his only biological nephew, and her two younger children, Morgan and Jocelyn, spent more time with their fathers than Michael did with AJ. But Carly always worried about herself next. Everyone else was tied for distant third.

You knew what you were getting with Carly.

“I haven’t seen Elizabeth since the funeral,” Carly continued as she sipped her soda.

At this turn in conversation, Michael stopped inhaling his dinner and looked up. “She’s at the hospital a lot. Or she was last year when I volunteered.”

Jason frowned at this. “Was she hurt?”

“Nah, I mostly saw her in the community wing where all the support groups and psych doctors are. She was probably visiting a client.” Michael shrugged. “She always says hi to me.”

“Why wouldn’t she? We weren’t…not talking,” Jason said, but he felt defensive about the nearly two years of radio silence with his sister’s best friend. No, they had not been best friends. Not even close. But they’d been friendly. Work colleagues.

And Elizabeth had been essentially without family in Port Charles after her parents had moved to Miami during her college years. The Morgans had been a surrogate for her.

Had he…somewhere given the impression that he didn’t want to continue that bond? Or had his family felt the same way he had—that contact with Elizabeth was just another reminder of Emily when they just wanted to put it behind him?

“How is she doing in private practice?” Carly asked. “It’s strange to think of her as a defense attorney. I can remember her at the holidays talking about justice and serving the people. Being a prosecutor would help her prevent abuses just as much as she could punish them.” She sighed, a bit over dramatically. “Then again, a lot of people made decisions they shouldn’t have trying to make amends.”

“That’s not why I left my job,” Jason said, with a dose of irritation. “Stop it, Carly.”

“Oh, right, it was to make Courtney happy. Or give your mom some relief. Or make Alan look at you again.” Carly raised her brows. “Are you sure it wasn’t all of them?”

He wasn’t, but he wasn’t going to tell her that. “Things with my parents are fine.”

“Uh huh. I’m probably closer to them than you are—”

A beeping from the driveway out front broke into their conversation as Michael shoved the last of his third slice into his mouth, grabbed his soccer bag, and shot through the kitchen door.

Carly frowned. “Goodbye!” she called after him. When there was no answer, her frown deepened into a scowl. “I don’t understand teenage boys.”

“I gotta go—”

“You’ve been here five seconds,” Carly complained. She huffed. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t poke at you about the job. I just…” She shrugged. “It’s close to two years, you know. And…I just…I don’t know. I miss how things used to be. Alan and Monica here. You doing something you like. I don’t miss Courtney, so I guess that’s a bonus—”

“Carly—”

“And I miss Emily. You guys were my family, even after I left AJ. And it’s just…it’s over, and it sucks. And you and I are all that’s left.” She shrugged. “I wish you were happier.”

“I’m fine,” Jason said evenly, even as he acknowledged her point. Their once happy and boisterous family had been decimated, and life had changed for all of them.

“Yeah, I didn’t say fine, I said I wish you were happier.” Carly sipped her soda and was quiet for a moment. “Maybe it’ll be good you’re back in contact with Elizabeth. Did you apologize for being a son of bitch in the hospital?”

“I wasn’t…that bad,” he mumbled as he ignored the question and ate his pizza. But he had been, of course, even if Elizabeth had let him off the hook.

Those first hours after it had happened—they were hazy. A blur of rage. Tears. Frustration. Devastation.

He’d gone to the scene even when his partner had begged him not to and had seen the carnage left behind. Had seen his sister’s broken and bruised body laying on the floor, her dark hair soaked with her own blood, her eyes open and lifeless. Her face twisted in reflection of the horrors in the last moments of her life.

Elizabeth had already been removed from the scene, rushed to the hospital for surgery, but he could see where she had been found. Next to his sister, another pool of blood.

It would be hours before Elizabeth would wake and tell them it was Diego Alcazar. Hours before before Jason would know he was to blame as much as Elizabeth.

But in those moments, he’d raged at the world. At his partner when Sonny had tried to hold him back. At the crime scene techs who were treated his sister like a piece of evidence—

At Elizabeth for not living in a better building with better security. It had been her fault. Her home. Her responsibility to make sure the animals she prosecuted never found her.

And he’d taken that rage at the world and the people in it to the hospital, where he waited for her to go into recovery. Waited for her to wake up.

Even when she’d said it was Diego Alcazar, it hadn’t made a dent in his desire to hurt her. Knowing it was Alcazar and partially his own fault had only intensified that rage—

And he’d left Elizabeth in that hospital room, barely removed from her own horrors, having unleashed his fury on her.

Later, that anger had turned to deep shame as the medical reports had come back. He’d used all his connections to get into the case, had burned more than one bridges in his desire to find out what had happened to Emily in her final moments.

Both women had been savagely raped and beaten, the calling card of Alcazar’s prior victims. Emily had been stabbed more than forty times, sixteen of which would have been fatal. And Elizabeth…stabbed eight times, only one of which had been potentially life-threatening.

Alcazar had left Elizabeth alive on purpose.

Later statements revealed Elizabeth had been stabbed first—that she’d been bleeding out while Alcazar murdered Emily in front of her. Somehow…Jason had blocked out the idea that Elizabeth had that in her head. That she’d witnesses Emily’s brutal death as much as she’d gone through her own trauma.

And that shame had kept him from seeking her out. What kind of man would do that to someone he cared about? To someone who his sister had loved so much?

“Jason,” Carly said when he said nothing. “It was a bad night.”

“Yeah.” He pushed aside his half-eaten pizza. “Yeah. Doesn’t make it right.”

“Did you apologize to her?” she repeated.

“She didn’t want the apology.” Jason swallowed. “Because she does blame herself. And me. We’re both the reason it happened. He left her alive on purpose.”

Carly exhaled slowly. “Well, yeah, I guess we knew that—”

“He told her that while he was—” Bile rose in his throat and he took a long gulp of water to force it down. “He told her it was her fault for doing a man’s job, so he needed to show her a woman’s place.”

Color slid out of Carly’s cheeks. “God. I didn’t—”

“So, yeah, she knows I’m sorry. Doesn’t change anything.” He rubbed his face. “Doesn’t matter. Alcazar is long gone. He’s in Mexico or somewhere else in Central America.”

“I hate that he’s not rotting in hell,” Carly muttered. “Jason—”

“It’s over. It happened. And now it’s done.” Jason rose to his feet to throw out his unfinished slice. “Dillon is what matters now.”

“Right.” Carly rubbed his shoulder. “Jason—”

“I’m gonna hit the road. Tell Michael I’ll see him at his soccer game later, and tell Morgan and Joss I said hi when they get home from their dad’s.”

“Okay,” she murmured, and thank God…she said nothing else as he left.


It was another two days before Elizabeth called Dillon to meet her at his office. And because Dillon didn’t want to have this conversation with his cousin later, he immediately passed the message on to Jason to meet him at the office.

So Elizabeth sat down at a conference table with both Dillon and Jason that afternoon, trying not to let her irritation show. She wasn’t even sure why she was irritated. Dillon didn’t have any other close family in Port Charles. Jason had always been the one his family turned to.

And Jason was going to do the investigation work for free, which mattered in a struggling practice.

“The crime scene report came back. There are no other finger prints or indications that someone else was driving the car.”

Dillon’s face fell. “What? But how am I supposed to prove—”

“Are they making noises about arrests?” Jason asked, interrupting his cousin. “Or did they believe the alibis?”

“My source says that they believe Lucas and Spinelli were playing video games, but woudn’t have heard a damn thing. Case in point, they didn’t hear the car being stolen. So, it’s not really giving you any weight against Dillon being involved.”

Dillon’s face was pale, so she went on. “However, the district is being prevented from swearing out a warrant against you, mostly because there were some calls from Central.” At this she looked at Jason who just shrugged. “Your clean record is being noted. And no one can place you at the scene, so in this case, ownership isn’t going to be enough.”

“But they think I’m guilty,” Dillon muttered.

“There are some who are leaning that way, and it’s in our interests to prove you weren’t,” Elizabeth told him. “The family of the victim…are making noises. Talking about going to the press. Even filing a civil suit if the criminal courts don’t take action.”

“Civil…” Dillon’s voice weakly faltered. “I don’t have money—”

“Your family does,” Jason said. “Your mother married into the Quartermaines. You have a trust fund, don’t you?”

“I guess, but I don’t really see my Quartermaine grandparents. I think my trust is from my grandmother, Lila. For education and stuff.” Dillon moaned into his fingers. “Oh, God. If they get wind of this—”

“On bright side,” Jason said, dryly, “They’ll probably pay elizabeth so she won’t have to do this pro bono.”

Dillon’s head snapped up at that. “What? Oh, I didn’t even think about that. I should call them. Ask them—”

Elizabeth held up a hand. “Let’s cross that bridge if we need to. I’m not much for civil court, so you’d probably need other representation at that point. Let’s focus on clearing you and making sure the right person is charged. Someone died, Dillon. That matters.”

“Right. Right. I should think about that, too. They need to find the right person, so I need to cooperate and make it easier for them to do that. What’s next?” Dillon asked, looking a bit more…together.

“I’m looking into security footage and witnesses to the accident,” Jason said. To Elizabeth, he said, “We might need a subpoena for some it. There’s a bank across the street who won’t release it without it. And there’s no guarantee we’d get it from the DA unless Dillon is charged.”

Dillon moaned again, but they both ignored him. “I’ll draw up the paperwork,” she agreed. “I don’t want Dillon charged, and well…the new district attorney is pretty strict about discovery laws. We might not even get it if Dillon is charged.”

Maxie knocked on the slightly ajar door to the conference room. “Hey, Liz? The commissioner is here to see you.”

“The commissioner of the…” Elizabeth frowned. “About Dillon?”

“Ah…” Jason looked uncomfortable. “You know, Jordan stepped down as commissioner last month.”

“Yeah, I know. Anna Devane—” And she stopped. Closed her eyes. Remembered who Anna Devane was.

And what she had been doing two years ago.

“She was your commander at Central.”

“Yeah.” Jason rose to his feet. “When the case went cold, she was angry. Sure they weren’t putting enough resources into it. When she got the job, I wondered if—”

“Liz?” Maxie asked. “Should I ask her to come back—”

“No, no…” Elizabeth stood, smoothed her hands down her skirt. “Dillon, I’ll get the paperwork together, and I think between Jason and I, we’ll get this taken care of. Go back to your life. To your classes.”

“Okay.” Dillon got up, looked uncertainly between them. “Do you think there’s a lead on—”

“I don’t know,” Elizabeth said quickly. Couldn’t afford to know. To wonder. She looked at Jason. “You know Anna. Could you…maybe if it’s about the case—”

“I’ll come with you,” Jason said quietly. “If it’s about the case, I want to know, too.”

September 23, 2017

When I last updated the new “flash fiction” series, Sky is Falling, I mentioned I would be basically workshopping it as a flash fiction series and that I would be probably rewriting the King’s Command flash fiction series as well. I’m actually going to overhaul the Flash Fiction page and its entries in order to really work with this idea.

There’s little change to you, except that the names of the page will change and I won’t be numbering them anymore. I’ll be trying out smaller concepts and ideas, as well as longer ones. Do I have enough material to keep going?

Like I said, you guys won’t really notice a difference. I just wanted to explain why the page name changed and the entry titles are going to look different going forward. Oh, and also — I have to fix links on the Recent Updates page, so for now, if you’re looking for Flash Fiction entries mentioned in previous post, you need to find it using this link: Workshop. I’ll be updating the links later after work.

I did a ton of writing on Mad World this week and I’m finally in the sweet spot. I had the chance to write the scene that was at the center of the reason as to why I took the story out of the 2004 universe with the Brooke and Alexis stories and focused it more firmly on Elizabeth in 2003. It’s always really satisfying to finally write a scene you’ve been looking forward to months.

I’m scheduled to finish the first draft sometime this week, and I’ll keep you posted for an official release date.

September 21, 2017

Just a small post to keep the main page updated.  I updated the Recent Updates page with the last week’s worth of news. I also fixed the Flash Fiction page which now lists the Micro Fictions in their correct order and now lists the new series, Sky is Falling.

An on that note, I added a new chapter to Sky is Falling yesterday: Flash Fiction #12: Sky is Falling, Chapter 2.

Please remember that I am writing this particular story in 60 minute or less chunks and have sworn a blood oath to myself not to reread for editing or spelling as a way to shut my inner editor up during first drafts. When this story is done, I plan on looking at the whole thing and making changes to make a full-fledged regular novel, but I’m work shopping it in Flash Fiction. It’s basically the same thing I’m doing with A King’s Command, but that one is kind of stalled because I don’t know who the villain is and I either have to introduce a new character (which means there’s no mystery) or make it one of the existing characters (and I limited my options). So I might just scrap it and start that one over again. We’ll see.

Thanks to everyone who commented, wished the site a happy birthday, and said nice things 🙂 After so many years, it’s just kind of amazing that we’re all still here 🙂

September 20, 2017

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Workshop: Sky is Falling

This was going to have a second scene, but I got halfway through it and hated it. So next time 😛 This is a bit shorter, written in 40 minutes.


It had been two years since he’d been in the same room as Elizabeth Webber, and before then, he could only remember a handful of times he’d run into her since she and his sister had moved back to Port Charles.

Growing up, she had been in and out of his house as often as Emily, but she’d always seemed…so young. He’d been a senior—she and Emily in middle school. He was in his first year at the PCPD when they’d gone to prom. There just…hadn’t been a reason to know her any better.

Until that last year when she’d been assigned to Violent Crimes at the district attorney’s office and had been overseeing the warrants and legal paperwork he’d needed investigating a string of rape-homicides.

He watched her from the corner of his eye as they cross the street to the Starbucks, and then held the door for her. She didn’t look much different. Still short, but the length of chestnut hair he vaguely remembered had been cut to something sharper, just beneath her jawline.

She looked older, but it wasn’t just the hair. The eyes were older. And he couldn’t help but look at her collarbone, where a thin, thin jagged scar snaked out beneath the blue blouse she wore.

“So,” he said as they waited in the order line. “You left the DA’s office.”

“Yeah. I couldn’t—” She lifted a shoulder, but it was a jerky movement—it wasn’t the casual gesture she’d intended. “I needed a more flexible schedule.”

“Yeah.” He ordered a black coffee and his gut twisted as he listened to Elizabeth order a hot chocolate. His sister’s favorite drink, and now, he remembered—it was something they’d had in common.

Jason didn’t think about Emily much these days. He had some photos of her hanging around, and sometimes he mentioned her to his parents or to his former sister-in-law, but he found it easier to just…not think about her.

Drinks in hand, they went outside to the terrace. It was empty this time of day—the change in season had brought a breeze that others weathered inside.

“You left the PCPD,” she said, as if there hadn’t been five minutes of silence as they settled themselves.

“Yeah. Well…my priorities changed.” It had been the last desperate attempt to salvage his marriage. After Emily, his wife Courtney had been…unable to handle the implied danger and threat. If one of Jason’s criminals came after his sister, well wouldn’t she be next?

And since he’d taken a vow, he left the department. It still hadn’t saved their marriage, and now Jason missed the work.

“What do you think they’re going to do with Dillon?” she asked. “I never worked with the Fourth District, but…they didn’t look like they’d let this case go.”

“Yeah, the Fourth has a reputation of being a bit cowboy,” he admitted. He’d worked out of Central, overseen a squadron of detectives. “One of my guys worked there for a while. Their lieutenant is a bit…enthusiastic. Taggart.” He sipped the coffee. “Death of an elderly woman. A young guy accused of it. There’s not a lot to tie him to it, but if those crime scene reports come back without any prints for someone else—”

“His alibi isn’t great. Lucas and Spinelli said they didn’t see him leave, but if they had headsets on—”

“I’ve seen those idiots play. They wouldn’t know if a marching band came through.” Jason exhaled slowly. “They’re not gonna hold.” He flicked his eyes to hers. “Look, after…I left the department and—well, anyway, I’m certificated as private investigator. I mostly work for other law firms. Some insurance work. You’ll need someone. I’ll do it for nothing.”

She bit her lip, said nothing, and sipped her hot chocolate. “We don’t know if we have to worry about any of that,” Elizabeth began.

“If we do.”

“I mean, I’d be stupid to say no,” she admitted. “I doubt Dillon can afford me, much less a PI. And don’t even say it—of course, I’m not charging him. I used to baby sit him and—” She looked away. “He came to the hospital a few times to see me.”

And then Emily was between them again. They’d been able to ignore it while they were talking about Dillon, but the hospital brought it back.

“Listen, I wanted to apologize about—I wanted to back then. It just never felt like the right time, and then you left your job—”

“There’s nothing to apologize for,” Elizabeth said with a shrug. “Everyone was upset. And it was just…it was bad. And—” She sighed. “It was easier in a lot of ways that your family kind of…”

Abandoned her, but Jason didn’t say it. Elizabeth’s family had left the area while the girls had been in college, and Elizabeth had come back to Port Charles because of Emily.

And after Emily died—

“I moved,” she said. “Robin packed up some of my things. I couldn’t go back. And the DA’s office was kind, but they…couldn’t give me the time off I really needed. So I left and went into private practice. Johnny and I have nearly starved, but it’s starting to get better. My therapist says I have avoidance issues. She wanted me to call you last year on the first—” Elizabeth shook her head. “But I didn’t.”

“I wanted to call you,” he told her. “But I didn’t think you’d want to hear from me.” He shifted in his seat. “Still, I never should have said it was your fault—”

“It was,” Elizabeth said flatly. “It was mine. It was yours. Because we did our job, and Emily was always the target. That’s why I’m not dead. So yeah, I’d say we each have like one percent responsibility. But that’s it. The rest of it belongs to Diego Alcazar.”

To hear her state the situation so bluntly, to have his thoughts put into words without any attempt soften them—

It shouldn’t have felt reassuring.

“Everyone told me it wasn’t my responsibility,” he said after a moment. “The captain. Hell, the commissioner. My parents. Courtney. It was just the job. The price of doing the work.”

“Our contact information is hidden like that does anything.” She snorted. “He followed me home from work. Had followed me every day for two weeks.”

“You didn’t—” He swallowed the words.

“I didn’t know it then. He told me while he was—” Elizabeth swallowed, looked away. “If I had looked over my shoulder, or watched the cars on the road. Maybe I would have been able to see him. Arrest him. It was my fault for being stupid. For doing a man’s job.” Her voice trembled. “So he wanted to make sure I knew what a woman was good for.”

He wanted to reach across the small metal table, just to to touch her hand. To let her know she wasn’t alone.

“He sent me pictures,” Jason said after a moment, the words forced from his chest. If she could open herself up, the least he could do was offer something in return. “Of…you. Of…Emily. During. After.” He swallowed. “And before. He’d stalked Emily, too. I didn’t know about you.”

“I used to blame you a lot more,” she admitted. “If you could have just found him, arrested him. And that’s not fair,” she added quickly. “You did the best you could. I know what that case was doing to you. How hard you were all working.”

“Didn’t matter.” Jason shoved the coffee aside. “Couldn’t find him then. They took me off the case after. They still—last known confirmed sighting was somewhere in Mexico.”

It had been the worst part of it — to know that the son of bitch who’d butchered his sister and all those other women—that he still had his freedom. That he hadn’t been caught.

“I’ve had to to figure out a way to live with that.” She lifted her chin slightly. “Anyway, all that’s to say is that I never held what you said in the hospital against you. Nothing to apologize for.” She lifted her bag into her lap. “Do you have a number where I can reach you if the PCPD decides to go further against Dillon?”

“Yeah.” He reached into his wallet and dug out of one of his cards. When she put her fingers around it, he didn’t let go right away. Their eyes met. “Thanks for helping Dillon. He’s an idiot, but he’s mine.”

“He was Emily’s,” she said simply. “And now he’s mine, too.”

He released the card. She slid it into the bag and then walked away, crossing the street back to the PCPD parking lot where her car remained. He watched her get in, back up, and then pull into traffic.

September 19, 2017

A few hours ago, I said I’d hoped to have something for you later. This is what I have. I wrote a Micro Fiction Sunday, but by the time I got to the end of it, I knew I wanted to play with it as a longer story. But I didn’t want to put it in an idea log and let it die.

So I’m trying something new. I made a quick outline — setting up characters, who their circles are, the basic elements of the world, and a sort of idea of the endgame. And then I set the clock for sixty minutes and wrote.  I’ll do that once a week and whatever emerges, will be that week’s chapter.

Flash Fiction #11: Sky Is Falling, Chapter 1

If this method works, I may continue doing it after I finish this story. Maybe I’ll do it more than once week, we’ll see. I carved out an hour a day for writing, so I’ll take one of these hours at minimum and give you this chapter. I don’t know what day yet — so we’ll play that by ear and maybe I’ll settle into a routine.

When it’s over, I’ll go back and edit for spelling. Maybe for content, we’ll see. Hope you like it.

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Workshop: Sky is Falling

I wrote this in 42 minutes, give or take about ten seconds. Not edited for content, spelling, or grammar. Alternate universe and a new version of the short Micro Fiction series, Birthdays and Anniversaries.


When the leaves changed color in upstate New York during the fall and the cafes began stocking pumpkin spice in bulk, not everyone was overjoyed.

In fact, for the last two years, when the short summer season signaled the coming of autumn, Elizabeth Webber considered hibernation. The bears had the right of it.

She’d once been ambivalent about this season — years of going back to school or beginning a new semester at college and later law school never triggered much excitement.

But Halloween and her birthday day after? Those had been holidays to anticipate with glee. She’d once scoured newspapers and internet listings for haunted houses to explore. She and her small group of friends had made it an all night event in college and law school — celebrating the candy filled horror and the passing of another year in life.

And in the two years after law school, when friends had scattered and she’d settled into her job as an assistant district attorney in her hometown of Port Charles, Elizabeth and her long time best friend, Emily Morgan, had created a new tradition.

They’d watch scary movies and hand out candy and sit up all night talking. Catching up with gory stories of Emily’s first year as an intern at General Hospital and Elizabeth’s first foray in the legal system.

Her birthday and Halloween had always seemed like the same holiday to Elizabeth.

Until it was the two days of the year she’d do anything to wipe from the calendar altogether.

She tried not to think about it anymore, and after the first year and therapy, she did an okay job of it.

But this year, the leaves had changed and it was harder to forget.

“Take a vacation,” her other oldest friend, Robin Scorpio, had suggested. “Just get away from Port Charles for a few days.”

“Avoid people and social media,” her boyfriend Patrick had added. “Like the plague.” He seemed to reconsider it for a moment. “You should just do that in general.”

But as September began to slip away and October was just around the corner, Elizabeth had made no plans to leave.

Leaving felt like a defeat. An admission that the last time she’d celebrated Halloween or acknowledged her birthday…it would continue to destroy her life. That the nightmare wasn’t over.

Not that she had much of a life left, she thought to herself as she let herself into the cramped suite of offices she shared with her law partner, Johnny Zacchara. She frowned when she saw that their receptionist, Maxie Jones, wasn’t behind her desk.

“Johnny?” she asked, poking her head into the office next to her own. “Where’s Maxie? Did she call out?”

“No.” Johnny stood, his handsome features twisted into concern. “She’s usually pretty good about opening the place up, but she hasn’t called yet. Should we call her?”

Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “It’s only nine. Let’s give her a bit more time. Maybe she forgot her phone. Or didn’t set it.”

Her cell began to ring even as she started to cross the tiny lobby to her own office. She dumped her bag on the chair in front of her desk and fished the cell from inside. “Elizabeth Webber.”

“Liz? Oh, my God. You have to come. Right now.”

The panicked words fell on top of one another as Maxie Jones continued to speak, and Elizabeth had difficulty deciphering them.

“Maxie, calm down. Take a breath. Where are you?”

“The police department. Um, I’m at—” There was a moment as her voice was slightly muffled. “The fourth district. Downtown somewhere. They’ve got Dillon.”

“Dillon?” Her pulse picked up. “What do you mean, they’ve got Dillon? Where?” Oh, God.

“In interrogation. They’re threatening to arrest him, he asked for a lawyer and they ignored him or something, and then he managed to convince them to call someone. Georgie called me because of you, but I thought she was insane. Or mistaken. Dillon wouldn’t hurt a fly. So I came here first just to be sure, and holy shit, Liz. They’re holding him for manslaughter, and they’re not listening to me about a lawyer.”

“The Fourth District?” Elizabeth repeated. “Okay. Okay. Breathe. Tell whoever is in charge they’re about to get a fax about representing Dillon and if whatever asshole is questioning my client after he asked for an attorney is interested in getting a boot up his ass.”

Behind her, Johnny had come in, overheard part of the conversation, and was already pulling up something on her computer. Probably the letterhead so he could type the fax.

“Maxie, why didn’t Dillon call Jason?”

“Oh.” Maxie hesitated. “Jason left the department last year, I think. Or something. Maybe Dillon didn’t think to ask. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Jason’s not a lawyer. You are. Come down here and make them let him go.”

“I’ll be right there, Maxie.” She shut her phone and tapped it against her forehead just a moment.

“Or maybe he called Jason, who got the ball rolling to get to you and Maxie isn’t telling you.”

Johnny even tone had her turning with a frown. “There’s no reason not to tell me. Jason and I aren’t…we’re not not talking. We just…haven’t talked.”

“Yeah.”

“He’s been going through a lot in the last two years. His parents moved to Arizona, his brother went to New York. I think Maxie said his marriage fell apart, and apparently he left the department.”

Johnny raised his brow. “And his sister was brutally murdered.”

Her chest squeezed. “Johnny—”

“And you barely survived the same attack.”

“You think I don’t know—”

He rose and set the sheet in the fax machine. “Look, I’m just saying, I get it. You both look at each other as the reason Emily was in the middle of things. Diego Alcazar wanted to swipe at the cop who arrested him and the attorney who was prosecuting them.”

“I can’t think about this right now,” Elizabeth said as she tossed her cell back in her bag and looped it over her shoulder. “The Fourth District has Jason’s cousin—Emily’s cousin—in interrogation on charges of manslaughter, and God knows how long he’s been talking without me.”

She turned back at the door to look at him. “Jason and I were barely friends when Emily died. He was my best friend’s older brother. Always in college, always doing something else. We only knew each other really that last year when we started to work some of the same cases. He didn’t owe me anything when it happened. And honestly, looking at him—it was too hard. So yeah, we didn’t keep in touch. It doesn’t make him the bad guy.”

“Doesn’t make him a great guy,” she heard him mutter as she left the office.

——

Dillon had not called his older cousin. When the cops had pulled him out of bed in the middle of the night, he’d cooperated. He had nothing to hide, and he wasn’t going to play the My cousin is a kick-ass cop card.

Because it wasn’t true, and hell, Jason hadn’t worked at the Fourth District so maybe these assholes didn’t even know him.

By the time Dillon worked out that his car had been at the scene of a hit and run resulting in the serious injury of an elderly woman who had later died in the hospital and he was the primary suspect—well, by then, he’d used his only call to tell Georgie he’d be missing class in the morning.

He’d asked for an attorney then, but somehow they’d talked him out of it. He still wasn’t sure how that worked.

“Let’s go over it again,” the bald one said. He was angry. One of the guys who seemed like he thought everyone was guilty of something and all that was left to figure out was what crime had been committed.

“What’s to go over?” Dillon demanded. “I parked my car around three yesterday. I worked until like two last night on a project for school. You guys pulled me out of my bed at four.” He rubbed his eyes. “That’s all I know.”

“Look, we get it. Freedom in college. You’re enjoying yourself. Maybe you had too much to drink—”

He scowled. “I want an attorney.”

“We’ve been over that—”

“Nope. It’s been six hours. I’m done now. Attorney.”

“Quartermaine—”

“I can spell that for you if you want,” Dillon said, his teeth clenched. “Let me call my attorney.”

“Why do you have an attorney? You got a record we don’t know about?” the bald one pressed.

“My girlfriend’s sister works for one. Elizabeth Webber. She’s…well, I’ve never asked her before but I’ve known her all my life. She’ll represent me. Let me call her.”

“You got her direct number?”

There was a knock on the door, and then it opened. Like a manna from heaven—there she stood. Five foot nothing, brunette, and pissed as hell.

“You charging my client with anything?” Elizabeth demanded.

“It’s his car,” Baldy began.

“And witnesses who said it was him behind the wheel? Proof he wasn’t exactly where he said he was?” Elizabeth held out her hand. “Arrest warrant or we’re walking.”

They stared at one another for a long moment before Baldy looked at Dillon, disgusted. “Get out of here.”

“Don’t open your mouth,” Elizabeth said as Dillon passed her. She pushed him out of the interrogation area and through the squad room. Neither of them said anything until they reached the parking lot, where Maxie, her sister Georgie had been joined by Lucas Jones and Damien Spinelli.

There were hugs and relief, and measures of gratitude directed at Elizabeth, who allowed it for a minute.

“What did you tell them? What did they say?” she demanded.

“My car was found abandoned a block away from a hit and run,” Dillon told her. “A woman was hit.” He swallowed. “She died like an hour ago. I didn’t know what they were asking for, Liz. I swear. They came in at four this morning, hauled me out of bed, put handcuffs on me.”

“He called me because he just thought he was coming in to talk about his car,” Georgie said. “I came to see what was going on, and they refused to let me see him. I got worried, so I asked Maxie for your number.”

“And I printed up a letter of representation,” Maxie said without shame. “But it wasn’t signed by you or Johnny, so they refused to take it. So I had to call you.”

“I just told them I don’t know anything. I came home from class at like three. Parked my car in the driveway. Worked on a project pretty much until two.”

“I can confirm that,” Lucas said as Spinelli nodded. “He was holed up in his room the whole night while me and Spinelli were playing Call of Duty. I mean, he could have gone out his window, but why?”

“And when did you notice your car missing?” Elizabeth asked.

“I didn’t.”

“We didn’t hear anything. Video game was loud and, uh, we may have been too.” Lucas’s cheeks flushed, but Elizabeth understood the way some guys played video games—as if they were going to war. And if they’d had their headsets on.

“Okay. You don’t talk to them again. They’ve got my card. They go through me from now on.” Elizabeth pressed a hand to her head. “Go home. I’ll be in touch—”

A green SUV pulled into the spot next to Spinelli’s second-hand beat up Datsun. Elizabeth watched as Jason Morgan slid out, his long legs quickly eating up the space between him and his cousin.

“Why the hell didn’t you call me?” he demanded, folding the younger man into a rough hug that looked half affectionate, half-irritated. “Did you even mention me?”

Dillon shrugged, swallowed. “Didn’t think of it honestly. But Georgie got it all going.” He glared at her. “And I guess you called him.”

“You’re suspected of manslaughter, you dink,” Georgie shot back.

“You got him out?” Jason asked as he focused on Elizabeth for the first time. His chiseled features twisted in relief as he stepped forward for just a moment—maybe to hug her or something. But then he didn’t. “Thank you.”

“Hopefully the crime scene report will have someone else’s prints,” Elizabeth said with half a shrug. “And I’ll send over Lucas and Spinelli as alibi witnesses, for what it’s worth.”

“I’ll make a call of my own,” Jason said to Dillon. “Between the two of us, we’ll get this taken care of.”

“Great,” Dillon said with great relief. “Can I go now? I got two hours of sleep and I’m supposed to work tonight, and I got class—”

“Get out of here and remember—”

“Don’t talk to the police,” he muttered. “Yeah, yeah. You’d think they were the enemy.”

Jason remained while the five of them crammed into Spinelli’s car. “If I were still on the beat, I’d write them a ticket for reckless endangerment,” he muttered as the car left the lot.

“Considering the way you used to pile football players into your sad little Chevrolet,” Elizabeth said with half a smile.

He looked at her then, the first time they’d been in the same room since he’d visited her in the hospital after the attack. “Hey.”

“Hey.” She shifted. “It’s, um, nice to see you.”

He managed half a laugh as he shook his head. “You don’t mean that, but thanks.” Jason gestured to the cafe across the street. “Let me buy you a coffee. We can catch up and talk about making sure my cousin doesn’t get into anymore trouble.”

“All right,” she said with a half-hearted shrug, even though everything in her screamed to refuse.

Today, September 19, is the anniversary of the day I opened a small General Hospital fanfiction archive on my old website. Back then, it was just called Mellissa’s General Hospital Fanfiction and it would not be named Crimson Glass until 2004 when it moved to its own domain.

A site crash eliminated around 20 stories, though I’ve been able to resurrect almost all of those save a few short stories and two longer chapter stories. One Day at Work and In the Middle are still missing. If anyone even has access to partial chapters (both were once archived at The Canvas), I would love to even have parts of that story.

I’ve written a few retrospectives about the site over the last three years since we moved to our permanent home.

A Look Into Crimson Glass Past

Banner Retrospective #1

The first is a look at the oldest version of the site I could find in the Internet Wayback Machine, which is a cute look into my haphazard design skills and the stories I had at the time. The second post is old banners for stories when I posted primarily on message boards.

For this, the fifteenth anniversary of my fanfiction archive, I thought I’d just kind of look what where I was then as to where I am now and give you some links to the oldest stories from those days, and also give a bit of a status update on the site and the writing.

I was eighteen and starting community college the fall I opened my website. I spent more time writing than I did on my studies and dropped out by that spring. I kept writing until my first hiatus in in 2004, which lasted about year until late 2005. I had started a job which meant I couldn’t watch General Hospital live anymore. Then I got a DVR in November 2005. That’s the longest period I watched the show and wrote — 2005-2008. I was still watching into 2009, but not writing.

And then I took a break until 2012 watching. I started watching for a long time, but didn’t feel the juice to write and didn’t really have the time. I had gone back to school full-time in 2008 which part of the reason I stopped writing. I got my bachelors in May 2013, and then went to London. I had more time on my hands and in January 2014, I began moving my site to this domain. Mostly because the old site had expired and I didn’t have any archive for about two years. I felt bad about it and I didn’t want all my work lost. So I moved it to a temporary home and then started to build the WordPress site from scratch.

I still didn’t think I would return to writing, but then I wrote The Things You Can’t Undo, an episode tag for Elizabeth and Britt. And then…I rewrote Shadows. And on a bus trip to Wales, I rewrote Poisonous Dreams in my head as A Few Words Too Many, and we were off and running.

In the nearly four years since I built this current incarnation of the site, I’ve tried to gather almost all of my writings, even as much that had been lost. Thanks the Internet Wayback machine, I was able to find a ton of old short stories. And then a few enterprising readers sent me old stories. Stories I didn’t remember (Silent Reverie), stories I had lost in crashes (No One Else Sees Me and The Ends of the Earth), and stories I genuinely thought were lost forever (Surviving the Past). Now, to the best of my knowledge, with the exception of One Day At Work and In the Middle, every story I wrote with chapters is here in some shape or fashion. Some might be missing chapters. Some are unfinished, but there’s a lot to read here.

I’ve done my best to organize the stories in ways that you can find what you want easily in my Find Stories menu link. This link allows you to sort stories by the year they’re set, the year they’re written, which couples or characters are featured, by title, by length, and even if there’s a holiday in there. I haven’t been as great lately tagging the stories, so I have to go through and do that. But there’s definitely a way to get there and find what you want. I’m working on adding summaries to the Title page, but it’s slow going.

So here’s where we talk about story status. Most of it you know — I’ve had a lot of changes in my life since 2014. I’m working two jobs, going to school full-time, and my family has grown by six kids. My cousin has one boy, my brother has one of each, and my sister gave me two nieces and nephew. I’ve also had health issues. Creativity issues. The list goes on. I’ve also had trouble making writing a priority.

That changed this summer. I gave you guys a few flash fictions and micro fictions, but I also wrote a huge chunk of an novel, Mad World, which I hope to finish this month given some time and energy. I’m at a point in the story where I think if I could just get in the zone, I could probably finish it off in three days. So it’s about finding time for that zone.

For the site, almost everything I wanted to complete is done. I still have to finish adding summaries to the sorting by title page, and add tags stories added in the last year or so. I want to finish the Fiction Graveyard, but the stories left require heavy editing which is time better spent writing in my opinion. I also want to get more older stories available in ebook form, but that also takes time better spent for writing. So I know where you guys would rather my energy go.

While y’all are waiting for Mad World, Bittersweet, and Damaged, I want to make a concentrated effort to do more shorter stories. More Micro Fiction (20 minutes) and Flash Fictions (up to an hour). I’m making some tentative plans and you might see some of that later today or tomorrow. We’ll see.

I had thought about posting the first chapter of Mad World but it’s not ready — the scenes need editing and some even need rewriting. So I looked through what I’ve been working on, and I do have a few things for you to celebrate this anniversary.

I put Bittersweet on hiatus for personal reasons last year and then kind of lost the thread in writing it. I’m going to tackle that as soon as I get Mad World done. What you guys don’t know is I actually wrote more than the eight chapters that are posted. So what I’m going to do is give you a scene from a later chapter in Bittersweet as well as a scene from Mad World. Neither of these are beta’d beyond chapter content (no line editing). And I’m not gonna give you a lot of context for them. But it’s just a preview and an assurance that these things are here and I’m writing.

Bittersweet Excerpt

Mad World Excerpt

A while ago, I created a post with my favorite stories, so I’ll link that here for some recommendations to read. If you’re looking for my older stories, Surviving the Past is probably the oldest story I’ve written that I would probably would not set on fire. You can also check out the Year Written sort page to get a sense of my evolution as a writer.

I’ll wrap this up by saying thank you so much for the last fifteen years. I may not get paid for my writing and I may not be a “real” writer, but I feel like one because you guys are still here, still patiently (or impatiently, haha), waiting for what I do next, and I cannot articulate what that’s meant to me. Here’s to another fifteen more 😛

I hope to be back later today with something else for you, but I don’t want to promise it before I know for sure.

Note: these excerpts are severely not edited and are from the first draft. Some of this may be rewritten or not even be in the final version. They’re also not from the same chapter.


August 2003

Elizabeth’s Condo: Living Room

Elizabeth’s possessions did not fill much of the space in the condo that Nikolas had found for her. A few shelves in the living room, some rungs in the closet, and several drawers in the bureau. Somewhere in her life, she had acquiring things and the result was that her new home looked like a hotel room.

But Nikolas, God love him, said nothing as she handed him the Styrofoam package from Kelly’s. “I really didn’t need so much space,” she told him.

He arched a brow. “A one-bedroom apartment is too much space?”

She managed a half-hearted smirk as she opened her own container. Her appetite had not yet returned, but she was an adult and she knew she had to put something into her body in order to keep it going. She cut the grilled chicken in half and poked at it with her fork. “Well, I suppose to a man who has five thousand bedrooms—”

“Twelve, but who’s counting?”

She laughed at that, and his expression relaxed. He was so worried about her, and she didn’t want that. She didn’t want anyone to worry about her. “Thank you for all of this. I…I would have gone back to my studio and I never would have…”

Felt comfortable. Even the door Jason had had installed wouldn’t have been enough to allow her to sleep. Not after everything she had been through.

“Well, Jason and Sonny suggested the Harborview, which has better security, and I wanted you at Wyndemere where you would never have to lift a finger,” Nikolas said. “A doorman building downtown was probably the best compromise. I…” He hesitated. “I was surprised when you agreed.”

Elizabeth sighed, sipped her water. “I was going to argue, but I couldn’t….Sonny was right. Once Ric made bail…how could I trust a restraining order? I need…I need to put my life together. Figure out what’s next. And I can’t do that if I’m always looking over my shoulder.”

“You are family to me,” Nikolas told her. “I haven’t always been particularly skilled at showing that.” His cheeks flushed. “I put Lucky first, and then myself. I never should have done that. You should have been able to come to me—” He swallowed. “Anyway, that’s water under the bridge.”

“Definitely.” Elizabeth managed another smile and even ate some of the chicken. “Have you talked to Emily? We spent an hour on the phone today.”

“Yes. Did she tell you I practically had to blackmail her into staying in LA while you were in the hospital?” Nikolas asked.

“If she had left her summer program, she wouldn’t be able to graduate early,” Elizabeth said. “And I want her to move home as much as anyone else, so I told her to stop worrying about it. We’ll catch up at Christmas. Letters. Emails. But it was good to hear from her, to know she’s in my corner.”

“She’s worried about Jason,” Nikolas wiped his mouth with a napkin, then set it on the table. “Courtney called to complain he isn’t setting a new date.”

Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. Thinking about Courtney never made her particularly happy and neither did reminders that Jason was planning to marry her. Fine, he didn’t care about her that way anymore but she couldn’t understand what he saw in Courtney. “Carly’s still recovering. I’m sure Jason’s just…”

“Carly’s been home almost a month,” Nikolas said dryly.  “And as Emily told me, if Jason wanted to marry Courtney and wait, they could set a date for a few months away. Refusing to have the conversation means he doesn’t want to marry her and can’t figure out how to tell her.”

“It’s not really my business—”

“And Emily thinks it’s because Courtney was a royal pain in the ass while Carly was missing.”

“I forgot Emily came home for the wedding,” Elizabeth said after a moment. “We…we weren’t able to catch each other.” She’d been newly married, still struggling with the miscarriage that she hadn’t told anyone about. And then…Carly had gone missing.

Nikolas, mercifully, didn’t press the matter. “I bring it up because I doubt she discussed Jason with you.”

“No,” Elizabeth said, drawing out the final syllable. “Not as much.”

“And I know Jason has been around a lot, making sure you’re okay. Keeping Ric out of your hair. He was supposed to help you yesterday, wasn’t he?”

“I had already packed,” she murmured, thinking about the letter she had received. She was relieved Jason had taken it, disposed of it for her. “But yeah, I guess. I mean, it’s not…it’s not like we’re—” Friends. Or anything. But she couldn’t finish the statement. He had been so concerned for her, so caring and solicitous.

Almost like he had been her Jason again.

“Courtney is not a topic I could really discuss with him,” Elizabeth said instead. “It’s usually better when we leave it off the table. She’d do better to nag Jason herself.”

“That’s what I told her.” Nikolas lifted one shoulder in a careless shrug. “He’ll never be my favorite person,” he said, “but after getting to know Ric Lansing, I’m suddenly a major fan of Jason Morgan and Sonny Corinthos.”

She laughed at that, and then tears stung her eyes. She couldn’t stop them once they had started. “I’m sorry,” she managed, turning away from Nikolas as he stood and rounded the small table to kneel in front of her. “This keeps happening—”

“Hey, you never have to hide how you feel from me. Not ever again,” he promised. “I’m just…I’m worried about you, Liz. This is  good step. Accepting help from me, from Sonny. But I need you to be okay. Not just….” He gestured at her chest, which still held the scar from her chest beneath the black tank top she wore. “But all of you.”

“Nikolas—”

“You can tell me everything you’re thinking, everything you’re feeling, and it doesn’t mean I would be able to do or say the right thing,” he continued. “Bobbie wanted you to talk to Gail Baldwin. Did you?”

She sighed an swiped at her tears. “God, Nikolas—”

“This last year has been so awful,” he said. “Losing Audrey at Christmas time. The baby. Carly, Ric—I think Bobbie’s right. I think  you need more support than I can give. Than Jason can give.”

She sighed, looked away. “I just…I’m afraid if I open up to her…if I start talking, if I tell Gail everything…I’ll just completely fall apart.” Elizabeth closed her eyes, the tears still sliding down her face. “I’m so fucking tired of falling apart.”

Nikolas hesitated for a moment, but then spoke. “Maybe that’s because you never finished putting yourself back together all those years ago.”

She stared at him for a long moment, and then huffed. “God, I hate when you’re right.”


General Hospital: Gail Bailwin’s Office

Gail Baldwin still looked the same, though she had finally allowed her hair to gray. It was still immaculately kept and cut in a short curled style that made Elizabeth feel as though the clock had been turned back to those early days of her therapy.

She sat across from Gail on a peach sofa that was a comfortable upgrade from the pea green she’d sat on before. Her hands were in her lap, the fingers twisting together.

“It’s been a while since you came to see me,” Gail said with a soft smile. God, she reminded Elizabeth of Audrey. Sitting in that soft pink suit with her perfectly matched accessories. Her eyes filled and she looked away. She missed her grandmother so very much. “I’m sorry, dear. I didn’t—”

“The last time I saw you—and the first time I’d seen you in a while…” Elizabeth sighed and managed a half smile. “Gram’s funeral. You just…I wish she were here. I’d feel steadier if she were.”

“I miss Audrey very much. She and Steve…they were the heartbeat of this hospital, long after your grandmother retired. It doesn’t feel real that she’s gone.” Gail tipped her head. “But it’s been several years since…I had hoped you’d come before.”

“I thought about it a thousand times, but I guess…” She looked around. The room had been redecorated since then, but it really did feel the same. “I dealt with the worst of my rape in this room. I guess I thought if I came back here, I’d…remember that. And I really…I think things are better if I don’t think about that.”

“Why is that?”

“Oh…” Elizabeth sighed and picked at the chip in her red nail polish. “I don’t know. I just don’t like to. It’s easier to pick one of the awful things that have happened since as a reason why I feel like crap. I can pick last month. Last summer. The Christmas before that. The spring before that. The summer before that—” She bit her lip. “And I feel like I’m whining.”

“You can sound like however you wish.” Gail leaned forward. “This is your time.”

Elizabeth closed her eyes and exhaled slowly. If this was going to work, she needed to do the thing. She needed to be honest. “I don’t like to think about my rape because I also remember what came next.  My life fell apart. I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t function. I stopped being me. I didn’t take shit from anyone. I was selfish, and I was…” A tear slid down her cheek. “Fearless, too. I wasn’t a good person, but I was young. I think with my grandmother’s support…I was already changing. Being less self-centered, you know?”

“You were sixteen. It’s not uncommon to be someone different at twenty-two—”

“I’m not who I would have been if not for the rape. And that’s okay. Because…” Elizabeth hesitated. “Because, yeah, my life fell apart. And I lost myself. But I also put myself back together. And I was strong again. I faced my rapist. I looked him in the eye and I survived. I was able to trust again. To let someone touch me, love me. I don’t like to think about the rape because I came back from it. And…”

Gail reminded silent when Elizabeth trailed off, merely tilted her head again, so she forced the words out. “And when I think about how I came back from it, it’s harder to understand these last few years. I was strong, Gail. And then I stopped. I stopped being me. After the fire, when I thought Lucky was dead, I was devastated, and I lost myself. I got myself back again after a bit. After I found someone I could talk to. And then Lucky came back.”

“Lucky came back,” Gail repeated. “Did you hear the way you said that?”

“Yeah….the same way I said I was raped. Or Lucky died. Because Lucky came back, and I had a miracle. And I lost myself trying to deserve that miracle.” Elizabeth wiped a tear away with a knuckle. “And in a lot ways…I never came back from that. I feel like I’m still locked in that moment. Trying to be what Lucky needed me to be so we could get it all back. I never stopped to think…it shouldn’t be this hard. I shouldn’t have to spend my entire life doing what he wanted…and when someone pointed that out…” She closed her eyes—she could still bring that moment she had thrown Jason away. The only chance she had really had with him. “I threw him away. Because if I didn’t know who I was if I wasn’t with Lucky. He loved me. That…it had to be enough.”

“You lost yourself,” Gail repeated. “What does that mean?”

“What?” Elizabeth blinked. “It means…it means exactly what I said. I stopped…doing what made me happy. I didn’t finish my art history degree because I was going to be a model. And then I was going to marry Lucky. And then I married Ric because I was going to be a mother—” Her voice broke. “I kept…planning the next step without really…I don’t know. I just…kept putting one foot in front of another to get through the day and I stopped caring about what that day looked like. I looked up in July…and I looked back at the last two or three years and I just…I didn’t understand them. I couldn’t…I could understand why I was…how I could have let it get this bad?”

Gail made a few notes. “You didn’t like your choices. Your marriage? Your career?”

“Career.” Elizabeth snorted. “I don’t have one. I live in a condo that Nikolas bought for me. I pay my bills with my grandmother’s life insurance money and the trust fund my grandfather left me when I turned twenty-one. I don’t have a career. I don’t even have a job. I’m…I’m a parasite, and I let that happen because I didn’t have anywhere else to go. I was afraid…” She looked down, picked at the stitching holding the sofa cushions together.

“What were you afraid of?”

“If I had no where to go, no one to turn to…Ric came to see me when he got out on bail. I hadn’t…there wasn’t a restraining order. Bobbie and Nikolas had gotten emergency power of attorney while Ric was in jail. But he’d allowed it—because he couldn’t be there.” She bit her lip. “He came to see me, and I was…I was tired, and I was sick inside, you know? And he apologized. He cried. About the baby. About how he just wanted to give me another baby, and how looking at Carly made him so angry. He thought Sonny had pushed me. That Sonny had killed our baby, and he said he just…something snapped, and then once he’d done it…he’d had to go through with it.”

“Did…did that make sense to you?”

“Yeah.” Elizabeth looked at her then, tears streaming, her chest so tight she could scarcely breathe. “And he asked me to forgive him. And I didn’t—because—in my head I said no. I know I said no. But nothing came out. I only asked him to leave. And I started to cry when he left. Because I had almost…”

“Elizabeth—”

“Jason came in while I was crying, and Nikolas, too. They both—they both thought I was upset about…the situation. And I said something about not having anyone to talk to, to go after I left the hospital. And I was feeling…God, I was feeling so alone. Nikolas said they’d fix it. He’d find something and he promised to come by every day. And Jason just…he looked at me…and I never…I always thought…”

“What?” Gail pressed when Elizabeth pressed her lips together.

“I think he saw Ric leave the room. Because he came in so fast. I think he knew…he knew how close I’d come to going back. And I’m so ashamed. So ashamed that I was that weak. That I am that weak.”

“Elizabeth—”

“Because I believed him. I still believe him now. I believe that he’s sorry. Sorry he got caught, but sorry all the same. And I believe he…that if we hadn’t lost the baby, it wouldn’t have happened. I believe the baby broke him. And I know he blamed Sonny. That seeing Carly’s baby made him angry. I believe him.”

“Elizabeth—”

“It broke me. Losing that child before I could even…” She took the tissue Gail offered and blew her nose. “I couldn’t see straight, and it was just…easier to close my eyes to everything else. Buy a house I’d never seen. Move in. Start a new life. Sure, why not? But yeah, I believe losing that baby broke him. And it made him kidnap Carly.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that, Elizabeth,” Gail said softly. “And for what it’s worth, I believe that, too.”

“But if he hadn’t left…if he’d stood his ground that day and Jason hadn’t come—if Nikolas hadn’t—”

“If you’d really been alone in that moment?” Gail cut in. “You would have let him back in? And gone home with him?”

“Maybe. I don’t know.”

“But you didn’t, Elizabeth. You allowed him to say his piece, you accepted his truth, and you asked him to leave. You should remember that part of it. You asked him to leave. And then you learned you weren’t alone. And you accepted the help. And you’ve continued to accept the help.”

Elizabeth’s breath was shaky as she let it out. “Okay. Okay. Yeah…I can…I can hold on to that. I asked him to leave, and I let Nikolas buy the condo. I let Jason drive me there. I know he set up security that goes beyond what existed in the building. And I…I let him pay a retainer for a divorce lawyer. I asked for the restraining order. I did it because I was scared if he came back, I would…I would let him back in. But I asked for it.”

“Yes. You did all of that.”

“So I need…I need to remember that.”

“More than that, my dear.” Gail smiled, but her eyes were sad. “You need to be kinder to yourself. I’m sure you’ve heard from others that you need to forgive yourself, and the sentiment is well-placed. But you only need forgiveness if you’ve done something wrong. You did the best you could with what you had in front of you. You don’t need to forgive yourself, Elizabeth. You need to be generous. Kinder. More understanding. You lost a child, Elizabeth. So what if that child had not yet been born? You believe Ric did this horrendous thing because losing that child, that dream, broke him. Why are you kinder to him than you are to yourself?”

“Oh, God…” Elizabeth couldn’t stop the tears. “I…can’t…”

Gail joined her on the sofa and took one of Elizabeth’s hands, holding it with both of hers. “I’m glad you came to see me.”

Elizabeth nodded through her tears. “I am, too. And I…I hear you. I don’t know…I know if I can do that. Be kind to myself. But, um, I want to try. I don’t want to feel like this anymore.”