October 28, 2017

It’s been about two years since I did a full status update of where I am in my site and writing projects. Mostly because I didn’t have much to update you guys with. That’s changed in the last four months (yay!) so I wanted to publish an official status update.

SITE

  • I need to update the layout. This is on my list of things to do, but it’s low on the list of priorities.
  • I have the poll for the next ebook. I’m gonna work on it, but there’s no ETA on release.
  • Most of the site features I wanted to add have been done. I’m almost finished the By Title Page. If you can think of anything I can add to the site that you might want to see, let me know.

STORY

Current Projects

  • Mad World – I’ve been working on the revisions but it’s been slow going mostly due to my schedule and my own issues. I’ve struggled with a chapter structure, but I’m going to stop doing that for now and just finish revising the story and hope a chapter structure will come later.
  • Bittersweet – This story has been on hold for more than a year and I’m definitely ready to bring it back for NaNoWriMo 2017. I lost a bit of the juice to write it, but I’ve been recently refreshing myself on old-school Liason scenes and I’m excited to dig back into it.
  •  Damaged – Ugh. Where do I start? It’s frustrating because so much of this story is clear to me, but there’s on storyline that I started in the end of Season 2 that I ended up not really wanting to write. I have to figure a way to finish it without hating myself for being lazy. I don’t have an ETA for this but I’m hoping in December to go after the episode breakdown for the millionth time and to finally make some progress so I can write it in the first half of next year.

Upcoming Projects 

  •  With Bittersweet and Mad World in the middle writing stages, my brain is always turning to what I might want to work on next. I have a lot of options for the next project. Here are some of them:
  • Collision is a project I started about a decade ago and then shelved after my hiatus. I had originally intended it to be like Damaged, an alternate version of GH but I obviously do not have the energy for a second go at that. It’s set in 2007 and intended to be about Helena’s final revenge on the Spencers. It would draw in a huge amount of the canvas. I posted some deleted material ages ago. I want to dust it off and revise some of the original ideas to make them better and streamline it to be a concrete story without more closure to the ending.
  •  Burn in Heaven is a sequel to A Few Words Too Many which would feature the return of Faith. I had two versions of it in Fiction Graveyard, both started back in 2004/2005. An updated version of that would include Faith teaming up with Anthony Zacchara to take on Jason and Sonny, and it’s set in 2007.
  • Feels Like Home is a re-take on Tangle, the first long story in Hand Me Down, my other alternate GH reality. It’s trippy realize we’re now closer to the year in which its set (2024) than I am to the year in which I wrote the first version (2008).

Stories In the Pipeline

  • `There are some stories I haven’t really fleshed out as well as I would like. The stories above are basically planned out and plotted with scenes ready to write.  These are sort of in the middle ground — more than concepts, but I’ve been playing with all the elements. Here are some of the ones that are probably closer to going into full production:
  • For the Broken Girl is set in 2006 and the thought is to revisit the aftermath of the drug storyline. I love most of the summer of 2006 and into September, but I think the writers could have pushed it further instead of getting tangled up in the mob storyline and the paternity mess. I have a lot of ideas for it, but I haven’t quite settled on exactly where to pick up the show.
  • These Small Hours is set in 2008 and is the aftermath of the Sonny and Kate wedding disaster. The main struggle I have with this story is that Johnny Zacchara and Nadine Crowell are at the forefront and it’s been ages since I wrote them in a huge way. They’re supporting characters elsewhere, but they share the lead with Jason and Elizabeth in this. I have to track down scenes with them in it to get the cadence of their characters again. But I love this story and this idea and I’m gonna write it if it kills me.
  • Fallen From Grace is mostly plotted out but I’m torn on the ending. I played with the typical couples here (it is not straight Liason/Scrubs but rather them as well as Liz and Patrick, Nikolas and Robin, and also Lucky and Sam.) But I haven’t decided if that’s how I want the story to end. I don’t know. I’m still playing with it.
  • Counting Stars is set in 2000, before Lucky comes back but after Jason leaves. It’s going to deal with Elizabeth dealing with Jason leaving, Nikolas kind of getting in touch with his Cassadine heritage and some of the stuff. It’s not Niz by any means. I just haven’t really settled on how I want to write the story.

That’s all the stories I have in my head, in outline status, or am currently writing. I’m throwing around other concepts (in the Workshop) but none of those are full-fledged ready to move into production either.

In November, I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo again with the intent to get as close as possible to finishing Bittersweet. Best case scenario, I finish that story which means I can turn my attention to Damaged and Mad World in December. My plan is to have Mad World and Bittersweet with my beta by the end of the year and bring back Bittersweet first in January, post that twice a week for about three months. Then Mad World for three months, bringing us to about June.

The idea is that the six months it takes to post both those novels will give me a chance to write Damaged Season Three and the next project, which I hadn’t settled on yet. I hope to not go more than a month without posting here once January starts. I’ve said that before but this is the first time I have a ton of completed material that mostly just needs refinement and revision.

I will not be doing Workshop projects in November, but follow me on Twitter or check out the sidebar widget I added that has my Twitter feed in order to keep up with how things are going. I tweet a lot about GH and writing mostly, and I’ll be checking in daily on NaNoWriMo.

October 20, 2017

So when I started to revise Mad World, I added extra material. The first chapter was going to start right at the hospital after Elizabeth collapsed when finding Carly in the panic room. But after finishing this chapter, I realized I didn’t need all the material I was going to write — it didn’t really serve the story.

But it’s 4200 words that don’t suck. So you can consider this a sort of preview since nothing that happens here really contradicts the rest of the story.

Still hard at work, revising! Enjoy this preview.

Mad World: Deleted First Chapter

When I started to revise Mad World, I started to add extra material to the front of the story. I had an entire first chapter written but I decided I’m not using it. I don’t hate the material — it just really doesn’t fit the story because Elizabeth’s not in it and this has to be her story.

But hey, y’all are being patient, so I’ll post this cut chapter and let it serve as kind of a preview for where we’re going. This is not edited or revised, but first draft.

Quick set up:  Starts in the post panic room era of 2003. You really shouldn’t need more than that (Courtney’s not pregnant because that was a stupid storyline. Like most of 2003.)


Friday, July 11, 2003

General Hospital: Waiting Room

They hadn’t let him into the emergency room.

Monica’s eyes had been filled with apology as she had gently held him off with her hand out, palm out. “I’m sorry, Jason. You can’t be back here.”

He didn’t know the other doctor’s name, but she’d had a nurse block him from even approaching the other curtain.

Sonny could be there. Sonny was allowed access. But not him.

“Jason…” Bobbie Spencer’s soft hand touched his forearm. “Why don’t you try sitting down?” Her red hair slid over her shoulder as she tilted her head in concern. “When was the last time you slept?”

Jason Morgan squinted at her as if the question was in another language. Sleep? Why would he have slept? When was there time to sleep?

His silence was all the answer she expected as she nodded. Her own eyes told the story of the last six weeks. Those terrifying days that now seemed like one endless nightmare.

One moment Carly had been outside the church waiting for his wedding to begin. And then…and then she’d vanished.

If Jason could not remember the last time he had slept, he didn’t think Bobbie could really remember either.

Bobbie folded her arms, tapping her fingers against her upper shoulders. Restless. Her foot tapped as well. She stared at the curtain where Carly was being kept.

And then looked to the other curtain. There were more doctors and nurses in and out. He had seen Monica holding a set of x-rays.

“I don’t understand,” Bobbie murmured. “What did they say on the phone?”

“Nothing much.” Jason scrubbed his hands over his face. The grit and sand of sleepless nights dug into the corners of his eyes. “Mac called. There was a 911 call from the house. Paramedics got there. Ric apparently pulled up while they were…” He absently rubbed a fisted against his chest. “Loading Elizabeth into the ambulances. They arrested him.”

“So he wasn’t there during.” Bobbie exhaled in a huff. “Monica won’t tell me anything. They can’t. Privacy laws. Well who the hell are they going to turn to? Her grandmother is gone. Her sister is across the country. I couldn’t tell you where the rest of her damn family is and her husband—” She closed her eyes. “I don’t understand how she got hurt. I don’t know how my daughter is. If she’s okay. All I know is she’s alive. And I’m sorry, but that’s—”

“Bobbie…” Courtney Matthews approached with worry. “Hey. Can I get you something? Coffee?”

“No.” Bobbie shook her head. Stepped away from her. “No. I just need answers, and I can’t get them until someone—”

Nikolas Cassadine was glaring as he joined them. “You know, I still own controlling shares in this place. You’d think that get me somewhere.” He took a deep breath. “I did manage to get something out of one of the paramedics who responded.”

Jason focused on the dark prince. “What?” he demanded. “What happened? Where was Carly? How did Elizabeth find her?”

“If she didn’t already know,” Courtney muttered. Jason shot his fiancee a look and she glared right back at him. “What? I’m not the only one who thinks it—”

“Go away,” Bobbie said, her voice trembling, her eyes flashing. “Now.” With a roll of her eyes, Courtney returned to a chair next to her father, Mike, and Bobbie waved for Nikolas to continue. “What did the paramedic say?”

“Elizabeth was on the ground, and Carly was…” Nikolas took a deep breath. “It looked like she’d been in some sort of panic room. Her leg was chained. She was hysterical, but she looked okay, they said. Her vitals were crazy, but no injuries.”

“Chained,” Jason repeated. In a panic room. She’d been there all along.

Every time he’d looked in that house….he’d walked right past her.

“What about Elizabeth?”

“I don’t know yet. I only found the ambulance that transported Carly. I’m trying to pull some strings. Her next of kin isn’t available. I don’t know who steps in at that point—” Nikolas shook his head. “Did she ever sign a power of attorney?”

“Unless she did before she got married.” Bobbie all but growled as she continued, “I should have been paying more attention. I should have seen—”

“Bobbie.”

Monica’s quiet voice broke through and the three of them turned. “I’ve been talking to Legal about Elizabeth’s situation. They’re in contact with the PCPD about getting Ric involved in her treatment—” She held up a hand when Nikolas opened his mouth. “I’ve already lodged a complaint but until we can prove what happened is because of him…”

“That’s not good enough,” Bobbie shot back. “What’s wrong with her?”

“I—” Monica hesitated. “We’ve pulled Elizabeth’s medical files from her stay last year—after she was grazed by a bullet on the docks. She listed you as her emergency contact, Bobbie. So until Ric arrives or sends legal representation, it’s you. But I don’t know how long.”

“Okay. Then what’s happening to her?” Bobbie asked.

“We’re not sure,” Monica admitted. “According to the paramedics on the scene, she passed out. They…” She paused. “They lost her in the ambulance.”

“Lost her.” Nikolas’s hand reached out into space as if he wanted to hold something, but it fell to his hand as Jason just stared at his mother. He couldn’t seem to make the words penetrate and make sense. “What—”

“They were able to resuscitate. She’s on a ventilator but she cannot breathe on her own.” Monica looked at Jason. “There’s a blockage in her lungs, but we need more tests to diagnose.” She held out a clipboard. “I can explain these to you—”

“Do whatever you need to do.” Bobbie scrawled her signature at the bottom. “Monica…” She looked at Jason for a moment then back at her. “Can you let us know when we can see her? I just…I need to hold her hand. To let her know she’s not alone.”

“Bobbie—” Sonny called from the curtain. “Carly’s asking for you.”

“How is she?” Courtney demanded, lunging to her feet.

Bobbie hesitated, took a step. “Elizabeth—”

“Authorize me,” Nikolas said. “At least to know her condition.”

“Okay, yeah.” Bobbie pressed a hand to her head. “And Jason. You can tell Jason.”

She joined Sonny and Courtney and they disappeared behind the curtain. Monica took the paperwork and left Jason standing with Nikolas.

They eyed each other, perhaps remembering the last time they had been in the hospital together. “Shouldn’t you be with Sonny and Carly?” Nikolas bit off.

Part of him agreed. He’d been searching for Carly for weeks. Hadn’t slept more than a handful of hours here and there. Food…he couldn’t remember what he had eaten. Carly had been the reason for all of that.

He should walk away. Join his partner and best friend. Stand with the woman he had asked to marry him and share a life with. See for himself that Carly was okay.

“I know Carly is okay,” Jason said evenly. “And there’s a lot of visitors. I can wait. I need to know—” He looked at the curtain. “I left her in that house. I knew he did it. I knew he was guilty, and I left her there.”

“Yeah, well, I congratulated her on marrying someone who wasn’t you,” Nikolas muttered. “Neither of us are shining examples of friendship.”

General Hospital: ICU Waiting Room

Nearly an hour passed and Jason still didn’t have an opportunity to see Carly. She was resting, Sonny had told him with a sigh. Exhausted. Understood Jason was waiting for Elizabeth’s condition.

She understood it, Sonny had repeated with a dangerous flash of dark eyes. He didn’t. And neither did his sister. Courtney had left to be with Michael, but Sonny wasn’t going home without his wife. So he sat in her room as Carly’s only allowed visitor.

“I can’t believe he’s mad at you,” Bobbie muttered. “You didn’t kidnap his wife. You didn’t do any of this.”

“I didn’t find her,” Jason said flatly. And that was enough to condemn him.

Another week and his source at the city would have given him the plans for the house. He was sure the panic room would have shown up. He would have found her.

Monica stepped out from behind the curtain. They stood and met her in the middle of the waiting room. “Elizabeth has a pulmonary embolism.”

Nikolas frowned. “What?”

“It’s a blood clot in the lungs,” Jason offered absently. “I don’t—she doesn’t have any of the risk factors.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Nikolas demanded.

“Immobilization, travel, recent trauma, obesity—” Bobbie hesitated. “What about her pregnancy?”

“We’re not sure yet what caused it, but her chem panels suggest her estrogen levels were through the roof.” Monica hesitated. “We just don’t know yet what caused it. What we need to do is decide how to treat it—”

“I believe that is where I come in.”

The new voice came from a man in a dark suit who held out a piece of paper. “Thomas Livingston, legal representation for Richard Lansing. This is paperwork allowing me to make medical decisions on behalf of his wife, Elizabeth.” He arched a brow. “You no longer have a need for her emergency contact to handle this.”

“I am family,” Bobbie snarled, but Nikolas put a hand on her shoulder.

“Let me bring you up to speed,” Monica said with a warning glance at Bobbie, and then another at Jason. As if she could read his mind and knew he was thinking of the best way to take this son of a bitch apart. “Elizabeth is suffering from a pulmonary embolism. She lost consciousness while at home and coded in the ambulance. She cannot breathe on her own and is on a ventilator.”

“Treatment options?” Livingston said briskly.

“We have her on blood thinners,” Monica said. “But we think the situation merits more aggressive treatment. I would like to take her to the catheter lab and break up the clot.”

“Is that the only option?”

Jason scowled. “It’s the best one or she wouldn’t have asked for it—”

“I’m sorry, are you a doctor here?” the lawyer asked with a sneer. “Dr. Quartermaine, perhaps we should continue this in private—”

Monica ignored that. “Other treatment options include stronger medications then what we’re currently using, but having already flatlined once—”

“If you will excuse me, I will phone Mr. Lansing and inform him of the options,” Livingston interrupted. He crossed the room to a bank of pay phones.

“Any progress on getting Ric removed as next of kin?” Bobbie asked.

Monica sighed and shook her head. “No, oh, maybe Lieutenant Taggart can help.” She waved a hand to the doorway.

Jason turned and grimaced. Marcus Taggart had never met a situation he couldn’t make worse. Followed by another cop Jason didn’t know, Taggart embraced Bobbie tightly.

“Hey. We came as soon as we heard Carly was stabilized. We need to get her statement because Lansing is making noises about not knowing anything.” Taggart grimaced. “He’s half a step from blaming Elizabeth. How’s she doing?”

Bobbie explained the situation as Livingston rejoined them.

“Mr. Lansing would like to proceed with the treatment she is currently receiving.” There was a slight twitch as if…just maybe…the lawyer didn’t quite agree. “He doesn’t want anything invasive.”

“Anything invasive—” Monica faltered. “Are you insane? She needs stronger treatment—”

“He’s a fucking psychopath,” the cop next to Taggart growled. “He’s blaming the wife. She dies, he’s got reasonable doubt.”

“I’m sure that’s inappropriate,” Livingston began, but he trailed off. He cleared his throat. “You may not like the situation,” he said slowly. “But for now, this is how it is. I will…continue to make your arguments to Mr. Lansing.”

He excused himself and disappeared.

“I need Carly’s statement,” Taggart said tightly. “She might know something that can get Ric disqualified.” He looked at Monica. “How much trouble do you get in if you ignore his orders?”

“A lot,” she admitted. “Nikolas?”

“The board will bury him in legal fees if he tries to sue you,” Nikolas said. “But…”

“Your medical license,” Jason said quietly. “Don’t ignore the orders, Monica. We’ll find another way.” Uncomfortable with her look of gratitude, he turned his attention to Taggart. “She’s a witness against him. Can’t that be enough?”

“Baldwin’s already filing paperwork, but we don’t have enough yet.” Taggart rubbed the back of his neck, turned to the other cop. “Vinnie, stay out out here and keep an eye out. That lawyer comes back or, God forbid, Ric gets bail, I want a cop here.”

“Got it.”

“I’m going to take a preliminary statement from Carly.” When Bobbie shook her head, he touched her shoulder. Gently. “The last thing I want to do is make this night worse, Bobbie. You know me. This isn’t about Corinthos or Morgan for me. It’s just not.” His voice was rough as he continued. “I saw the panic room where she was kept. I saw the chain. I need to make sure Ric can’t get released. He gets out, he might flee.”

Bobbie closed her eyes. “I’ll go with you. Run interference with Sonny. He’s not going to understand.”

“He just wants to protect his wife.” Taggart hesitated, looked at Jason. “I mean it, Morgan. Nothing else matters to me or the department except putting Lansing away.”

And as Taggart followed Bobbie to the elevator to go to Carly’s floor, Jason believed him.

General Hospital: Carly Corinthos’ Room

Carly blinked, opened her eyes, and then closed them in relief. She was still okay. Still in a hospital.

Not in the panic room.

It hadn’t been a dream.

She wasn’t sure exactly how long it had been since she’d been brought to the hospital. They had kept her on light sedation and she’d drifted in and out. She remembered doctors. Her mother. Courtney and Mike. Sonny.

Jason…she vaguely remembered he was still in the emergency room with Elizabeth. Was the other woman okay? Why had she collapsed?

“Carly?” Sonny’s voice was rough as he leaned forward. His hair was disheveled, falling in its soft curls around his face. His eyes were bloodshot and several days of scruff lined his jaw.

She reached forward, her fingers lightly brushing his chin. “You look like hell,” she managed.

He laughed then, shakily, as he dipped his head, pressing his forehead against her limp hand. “I feel it. But you’re okay. You and the baby. You’re okay.”

The door slid open then, and her mother came in. “Mama.”

“There’s my beautiful girl,” Bobbie murmured, pressing a kiss to her forehead. “I hate to disturb you both but we’ve got a problem. I need you to give a statement to the police.”

“Fucking bloodsuckers,” Sonny began, lunging to his feet but Carly looked at her mother.

“Ric wasn’t there when I was found,” she said quietly. “He came later. I remember that. He’s pretending he doesn’t know anything.”

Bobbie nodded. “And he’s still responsible for Elizabeth’s medical treatment. He has this scum lawyer here recommending the last effective treatment.”

Sonny scrubbed his hands over his face. “Jesus Christ. He’s trying to kill her.”

“Monica filed a protest and Scott is working up a protective order, but we don’t….Taggart says that Ric might get released. He doesn’t want that. I’ll be here the whole time, Sonny. But he’s not going to hurt her.”

“Let him in,” Carly said. “Let’s…get this done.”

“Are you sure?” Sonny demanded. “You just woke up—”

“He terrorized me for six weeks. I need him to be away. I need…I can’t let him be out. Be free.” Carly closed her eyes. “I just can’t.”

Bobbie had already gone to the door and gestured for Taggart to come in. Carly’s interactions with the cop weren’t all that friendly unsurprisingly, but there was no trace of irritation or impatience today.

“Hey, Carly.” He stood at the foot of the bed. “Thanks for letting me come in.” He looked at Sonny. “Thank you.”

Sonny just blinked at him as Carly took a deep breath. “I’m…I’m not really up for a whole thing—”

“Just give me the outline.” Taggart reached into his pocket and drew out a recorder. “When you’re feeling stronger, we’ll go for a more detailed statement, but for now—” He pressed play and set it on the tray table hanging over the bed. “On May 25, 2003, where were you, Carly?”

“I was at the Queen of Angels church,” Carly said. “Jason and Courtney were going to get married, and I was outside. Someone came up behind me, put a rag over my mouth. I passed out.”

She closed her eyes. “I woke up in the back of a car and I was tied up. I could see Ric in the driver’s seat. He pulled into his driveway and dragged me into the house. He had a remote and pressed a button. A wall slid open and he chained me inside.” She looked at Sonny. “What day is it?”

“July 11.” Sonny looked at his watch. “July 12, actually, I guess now.”

More than a month. Carly exhaled slowly. “Elizabeth was passed out on the sofa. She never woke up. Ric told me later he had drugged her to make sure he didn’t get caught. The panic room was sound proof. She never heard me screaming.”

“God.” Sonny put his arm around a silently weeping Bobbie.

“You never spoke to Elizabeth?” Taggart asked.

Carly narrowed her eyes. “That son of a bitch is blaming her.” Her cheeks heated as she continued. “He lied to her every day. Told her he was leaving the house to go somewhere and waited for her to leave the room. He spent hours in that panic room talking about his plans.”

“His plans,” Taggart prompted.

“To take my baby and kill me,” she said flatly. “To arrange a private adoption. Elizabeth needed a baby. She wouldn’t stay with him forever if he didn’t give her a baby. Since Sonny took their baby—” Carly leaned back, exhausted. “Faith Roscoe poisoned a pitcher of lemonade. Ric was in the panic room and I told him. I begged him to stop her from drinking it. But if he left—”

“She’d see him,” Taggart murmured. “He waited.”

“He’s lucky he never killed her between that, the drugs the night he took me, and the birth control pills—”

“Birth control pills?” Bobbie demanded. “What?”

Taggart squinted at her mother, then turned back to Carly. “What birth control pills?”

“He gave them to her every day. Three or four times a day. Can’t have her getting pregnant now, she might not want the baby he’d killed for.” Her voice broke. “God. Oh, God. He was going to kill me.”

Sonny took her her hand, sat back down. “No, that’s enough.”

“I got what I needed. Just…one more question, Carly, and I’ll go.” Taggart picked up the recorder. “Do you know where Ric kept the pills?”

She nodded, her eyes closed. “There’s…a safe in the panic room. It was locked, but he kept them in there. Is that what’s wrong with her?”

“Maybe.” Taggart stopped the recorder. “Thank you, Carly. That was more than we needed. Get some rest.” He looked at Sonny again. “I’m sorry we didn’t find her. I wish to God we had.”

“You and me both.”

General Hospital: ICU Waiting Room

Bobbie charged off the elevator, her eyes lit with fury. “Where’s Monica? Where’s that goddamn lawyer?”

Jason and Nikolas shot to their feet. “What happened?” Nikolas asked, his voice slurring a bit from lack of sleep. “What did Carly have to say?”

“If I get in the same room as that son of a bitch,” Bobbie began, but Monica stepped out from Elizabeth’s room, irritation in her eyes.

“I need to get her on stronger meds,” Monica said without preamble as she joined the three of them. “There’s no improvement.”

“He fed her birth control pills,” Bobbie spat. “Three or four a day for the last six weeks. Could that do it?”

“Jesus Christ,” Nikolas breathed as every muscle in Jason’s body clenched. Birth control pills. “Three or four a day?”

“Yeah, that would do it. Nikolas, I need—”

“I’ll call the board counsel to prepare an injunction against Ric’s supervision of Elizabeth’s treatment,” Nikolas said. “Carly saw him do it?”

“She knows where he kept the pills. Taggart already left to locate them and secure them.” Bobbie tapped her foot. “He drugged her the night he kidnapped Carly and sat by while Faith Roscoe poisoned her to protect his secret. He was going to kill my daughter and give their child to Elizabeth.”

“He was going—” Jason couldn’t finish. Couldn’t repeat it. “Take the baby?”

“A private adoption, no doubt,” Monica muttered. “Get that injunction, Nikolas. I don’t know how much longer we’re going to be able to stabilize her on the ventilator.”

She disappeared back into Elizabeth’s room and Nikolas excused himself to make some phone calls. Bobbie sank into the chair as if her energy had simply evaporated.

“Six weeks she spent in that room,” Bobbie murmured. “Trapped. Screaming. Knowing Ric planned to kill her. She was able to talk about it today, but…” She met Jason’s eyes as he sat next to her. “I could see it starting to set in for her. The adrenaline of survival—it got her through the statement, but…my God, Jason. The emotional torture of it all. How does she ever come back from this? And Elizabeth.”

Tears slid down her cheeks. “Her entire world is going to be shattered when she wakes up. Her husband not only kidnapped Carly, but…he tried to kill her. Is still trying to kill her.” She pressed a fist to her mouth. “How did I miss it? How could I not see it?”

“Bobbie—” Jason hesitated, the guilt settling into his bones again. He should have ignored Sonny all those months ago and killed Ric when he’d had the chance. This was his fault. He’d allowed Ric to walk free, and he’d tormented everyone Jason cared about.

He hadn’t found Carly in time to save Elizabeth. Hadn’t found Carly at all.

“Thank you for waiting here,” Bobbie murmured. “Nikolas can represent the hospital and take care of her, but I’m glad you’re still on her side.” She squeezed his hand. “She’s family to me, Jason. And I’ve been bad at it lately. I can do better. I’m going to do better. I’m going to get my daughter through this. And I’m going to get Elizabeth through this, too.”

“Elizabeth is my friend, too,” Jason said, though it sounded awkward even to his ears. It wasn’t really true, but at the same time, it wasn’t true enough. She existed in a gray area in his mind. Not quite friend. Something more.

The elevator opened again and this time, Courtney stepped off. She located the two of them and Jason could see the irritation snapping in her blue eyes as she approached.

“You’re still here,” she said flatly. “I thought you’d be upstairs with Carly by now.” She stopped in front of them. “Is Elizabeth okay?”

“No,” Bobbie said softly. “She’s still in critical condition. Jason has been keeping me company—”

“Don’t,” Jason said quietly, touching her hand. Appreciating the excuse Bobbie offered. “I stayed because I wanted to. You didn’t ask.”

“Does you being here change anything?” Courtney demanded.

“Courtney,” Bobbie began, but Jason stood to face his fiancee.

He understood—somewhere inside—that Courtney saw Elizabeth as a threat. And Jason tried to imagine how he’d feel if Courtney was waiting for news about AJ and refused to leave him—if that would be something he could live with.

But AJ had terrorized and stalked her. It wouldn’t make sense to stand by him.

Elizabeth had done nothing except be manipulated by Ric—they had all allowed him into their lives to a certain extent. Ric had even defended Jason against murder charges.

“Elizabeth is in critical condition,” Jason repeated. “Ric is still in charge of her treatment, and the PCPD thinks he might sabotage her treatment so he can blame her for kidnapping Carly.”

“Okay,” Courtney said slowly. “So you’re protecting Carly’s interests by staying here?”

“No,” Jason said, because he wouldn’t lie to her. “I’m here because I care about Elizabeth and what happens to her.”

“Oh.” She pressed her lips together. “Okay.” She looked at Bobbie, then again at Jason. “I’m going to go home. It’s almost two in the morning, and I haven’t…I haven’t slept. I left Michael with Leticia because I was worried, but I guess…you guys have everything handled.”

“We do.”

“So I’ll go.”

Courtney walked to the elevator, paused at the door as if he would stop her, and then stepped on board.

“Jason,” Bobbie said after a moment. “Courtney…she’s right. There’s not much more you can do tonight—”

“I’m not leaving this hospital until I know she’ll be all right,” Jason said, and clearly Bobbie believed him because she dropped the subject.

October 15, 2017

I tweeted a few days ago about Danny’s paternity test — like did we ever do anything to confirm his paternity or did we take Todd Manning’s word for it?

Couldn’t get it out of my head.

So on a day when I have to write an entire paper and study for a quiz…I wrote a short story.

You’re all going to scream at me to write more. I know this. And I love you for it.

I shall not.

Because I’m intrigued by the concept and how it might play into a larger narrative. So I might take this concept and go with it.

Or, hey, if GH is really reading Damaged (and I swear if Drew ends up being a gaslighting con artist, I’ll know they are), maybe they’ll take this idea, too.

So enjoy a ficlet, Blood Will Tell. I have to go write that paper and do laundry.

Notes: This is set in the future after the Jason and Drew reveal has been settled. It is complete. For the moment. I might do something with this concept at a future date.


Elizabeth Webber knocked hesitantly and waited for the door to open, pondering exactly what she would say. How she would even explain the insanity of why she was here.

And why she couldn’t quite settle the nausea in her stomach because if the results were not wrong…

Sam opened it and squinted. “Hey. Elizabeth. What are you doing here?” She stepped back to allow her to enter the penthouse. Elizabeth did so, always marveling at how different this place looked than the first she had been here—God, twenty years ago. How was that even possible? Sam and Drew had stayed in the penthouse after everything had shaken out the year before and Jason had taken a smaller apartment downtown, closer to the warehouse.

“You remember the project Jake worked on for Christmas?” Elizabeth asked as Sam closed the door. “He sent for all those kits.”

“Yeah, the genealogy project.” Sam nodded. “He wanted to see how everyone connected now that…” She sighed. “With Drew. Did he get the results back?”

“Yeah.” Elizabeth drew out her tablet with the Ancestry app was already up. “He connected everyone’s kit to their profile this online tree—Spinelli helped him. But…” She handed Sam the tablet.

Sam frowned down at the screen. “There’s no…” She raised her eyes. “Danny’s DNA isn’t…it doesn’t show…” She swallowed. “It doesn’t show a match. Between Jake and Danny. Just…Danny and Scout. And Jake and Scout.”

“Because they have the same mother, and Jason and Drew’s DNA is the same.” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “Jake was upset when he got the results but he doesn’t…he doesn’t know the implications. He just thinks the test was wrong. And with everything that’s happened with Drew and Jason…he’s been finding it hard to trust any of us when we tell him things. This…he doesn’t understand what it means that Danny’s DNA isn’t…”

“It’s a mistake,” Sam said flatly. She handed the tablet back. “We did the test wrong. We’ll do it again—” She pressed a fist to her mouth. “Oh. God. It’s wrong. It has to be wrong.”

“It has to be wrong.” Elizabeth nodded. “Because…it means if it’s not—”

“And it’s not possible. Because—” Sam scrubbed her hands over her face. “He tested everyone. All the Quartermaines he could find, right? All of your family. And the Spencers.”

“Yeah, everything else showed up…as expected. He, Cam, and Aidan have the same mother. He shows up as linked to Scout because Jason and Drew are—were—identical twins.” Elizabeth looked away. “Sam, it doesn’t—it doesn’t make sense why this is the only—”

“I never questioned the results,” Sam murmured. “I should have, but I wanted it to be the truth. And he looks like Jason, doesn’t he?” Her dark eyes found hers, desperate. “He looks like Jason. And Jake.”

“I know. I asked Jake not to say anything for now. I told him I’d contact the company. I’d do something. We’d get it fixed.” Elizabeth swallowed. “Sam…I have to know. I have to know if it’s a lie. If I’ve—” Had done it again. Trusted another sociopath. Oh, God.

“Yeah.” Sam looked at her. “God, Elizabeth. We’ve all—we’ve all believed him. Let him around—” She turned away. “My mother has the kids out at some circus.  I was supposed to be working.” She made her way the sofa and sat down. “It can’t be true.”

“Do you have anything of Danny’s?” Elizabeth asked softly. She drew out a plastic bag with Jake’s toothbrush. “We can take it to the hospital and run the test for the same markers.” She drew out a second bag. “And we can run this.”

Sam stared at the second toothbrush and swallowed. “You still have his toothbrush?”

“He didn’t take everything when we broke up.” Elizabeth sighed. “I don’t know if it’s any good, so maybe we could get something from Drew.”

“Yeah. Those…those are quick, right? We could…we could know today.” Their eyes met. “I have to know. Now that it’s…Oh, God.” She got to her feet. “It’s not going to change anything,” she said, fiercely. “Not for Danny. Or Jason.”

“Or Jake.” Elizabeth put the bags back in her purse. “Danny is his brother. And he’s Jason’s son. Drew’s stepson. It doesn’t change a thing.” Except it would change everything.


Brad Cooper had only blinked at them when Elizabeth had asked him to run the test quickly and quietly, but he wasn’t an idiot. He took the four toothbrushes and promised them results within a few hours.

And then they went to the cafeteria to wait.

“It was supposed to be over,” Sam murmured. “It was supposed to be done.” Her hands tightened around her coffee. “It was all so horrible finding out Drew wasn’t Jason. That Helena was still…torturing us all. Getting his memories back. Forgiving myself for not—for not seeing. Breaking Jason’s heart to stay with Drew.”

“Seeing the disgust in Jason’s eyes when he saw I was dating Franco,” Elizabeth murmured. “For him…it was all the same. He hadn’t…he didn’t know.” Or had he been right all along? She’d walked out on Franco when his jealousy and distrust had been too much for her to handle, and she was proud of that.

But if…if Franco had been lying about Sam all along…had he been lying about Michael? Had he just…lied and lied and lied? How desperate was she to believe him at all?

“We were supposed to be moving on,” Sam continued. “Figuring out a way to make it all work as a family.” She closed her eyes.

“Jake and Jason were just….getting closer. He was starting to see Jason as his father.” And to see Jason’s eyes when he’d realized Jake was alive—to get that moment she thought she’d stolen by lying about Drew’s identity.

Elizabeth’s phone vibrated and she looked at it. The caller ID was Brad.


Sam stared down at the results in growing horror and swallowed. “Oh. God.”

“It’s true, isn’t it?”

“Danny and Jake don’t share any DNA markers,” Brad said, with a bit of regret. “Danny’s markers match this sample—and Jake’s matches this. They have completely different fathers and mothers.”

“Oh, God.”

Elizabeth took Sam’s by the elbow and steered her to a chair. She knew what it was like for it to hit you—to know that you had been raped. To feel it in your bones.

And Elizabeth had brought Sam’s rapist into their lives. Lived with him. Loved him.

“We should call Dante,” Elizabeth said after a moment. “Because…we can prove it now.”

Sam looked at her, her dark eyes dilated in shock. “Prove…Oh. Oh, God.”

The paper slid from her hand as she bolted for the door and the bathroom.

“I’m sorry,” Brad offered.

“Thanks,” Elizabeth picked up the papers, her fingers trembling. “I don’t know what…Thank you.” She tucked them into her purse and followed Sam to the bathroom.

She could hear the retching. The tears. “Sam…let me call Drew. You need him.”

She heard the sink run and then the door opened. Sam opened it, her eyes bloodshot, her mascara a black inky mess streaking down her cheeks. “Yeah. Yeah, I need him. And we should call Jason because we can’t keep—he needs to know.” She stepped out of the bathroom. “And let’s…let’s call Dante.” She closed her eyes. “And I want my mother. Can you call her? I can’t seem to—”

“Yeah, let’s…” Elizabeth knew Patrick’s old office hadn’t been used since he’d left the hospital two years earlier and it was just down the hall from the lab. She led Sam there and settled her on the sofa.

“I woke up this morning and everything made sense,” Sam murmured. She put her face in her hands, resting her elbows on her knees. “I have a husband that I love. Two children that are everything to me. And you know, I guess I still have those things. But it just feels like it’s all gone. Like I don’t understand it.”

Elizabeth took out her cell phone and made three quick calls, asking Drew, Jason, and Alexis to meet them at the penthouse. And then…called Dante to ask him to meet them in about a hour.

“I don’t know what to do next.” Sam looked at her blankly. “What do I do?”

“You put one foot in front of the other,” Elizabeth murmured. “And you keep doing that until you look up one day, and it’s behind you. And you hope like hell that day comes fast.”

October 13, 2017

I need to get myself moving on making my older stories available in ebook format, so here’s a poll to pick the next one:

I also did some work on the Sorting By Holiday page and added Alternate History summaries to the Sort by Title Page.

October 11, 2017

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Fanfiction 101

Many moons ago, I posted about Sonny and discussed the way I approach writing his character. Despite loathing him much of the time on screen for the last decade, I used to genuinely love and adore Sonny, so I had to kind of figure out how to bridge the two. I had always intended to come back do these posts for other characters (Carly, Jason, Elizabeth, Patrick, Robin) so that basically I’d have it for the big six characters I wrote about the most.

With the recast of Jason back in 2014, I put it on the back burner to see where we’d go. With Steve coming back and the discussions on Facebook and Twitter about the possibility that Billy Miller would no longer be playing Jason but the twin, I decided the time was good for this.

So Jason Morgan was one of the my first soap crushes. I thought Jonathan Jackson’s Lucky was adorable, but Jason back in the late 90s was sex on a stick, so if you came of age in that period (I was born in 1984), you loved Jason. There really wasn’t much he could do wrong.

What I think the show attempted to do with the recast was interesting but not really well explored (shocking, I know.) I wrote a bit about it in Safe to Love You. Why was Billy’s Jason so different? The lack of memories? Why does Billy’s version continue to be different? And why do people accept him as Jason Morgan when he is so clearly not the version we all watched for the first fifteen years or so?

It comes down to why Jason Morgan is who he is and why it makes complete sense that given the way the story with Billy was constructed that his take on the character should be different.


On Personality

Jason Morgan used to be Jason Quartermaine. This is a fact that people know like they know their middle names. But what I think people genuinely don’t remember or don’t really know is that Jason Morgan didn’t have to be way he is. He’s a social construct.

If you poll most of the people who enjoy Billy’s Jason, you’ll likely find that the majority of them are probably younger and didn’t watch very much in the late 90s when Steve’s Jason was taking shape. For them, when they talk about how one-note Jason was getting and the Borg, they’re not entirely wrong. Because if you don’t remember the accident and those first four years, you simply won’t get it and he might seem boring. Jason can be a flat character when the writing doesn’t serve him. Steve was mostly able to transcend it, but I’m sure that’s partially why he left. Because Jason’s stories were one-note and there wasn’t any more character growth.

Jason Quartermaine was the perfect son and his loss fractured the Quartermaine beyond repair. It has never recovered. When Jason woke up, not only did he not remember being Jason Quartermaine, he had no concept of human nature. His frontal lobe had been damaged and basically he was reset to zero.

And everyone treated him like he was damaged — Tony Jones did so even before the Carly and Michael debacle. Everyone looked at him like he was something less than human, something much less that the person he’d been. So Jason became angry. And when the anger wasn’t really constructive, he learned to stop giving a damn. He walked away from the Quartermaines and took up with Sonny because Sonny didn’t expect him to be anyone else.

So when I say that Jason Morgan as a personality is a social construct, I mean that his character developed in response to the pressures of that time. He got his anger under control (though it’s still there) and became reserved. He was also relatively honest and open once you gave him a reason to be. He didn’t care about many people, but once he did, that was it. He’d die for you. Particularly if you treated him like a person.

That’s where the loyalty to Carly and Sonny comes from. They looked to him as someone who could fix problems, not a damaged nobody lucky to dress himself in the morning. That’s why he never went back to Robin after she returned in 2005. For him, there was no point. She would never see him as a full person on his own. She wanted him on her terms.

There’s also the complication of the Michael storyline here — I’m pretty sure he talked himself into being love with in Carly back then. It was always about Michael with that relationship and once it was clear he’d never be back in Michael’s life as a father, Jason did walk away from Carly and she happily moved on to Sonny without looking back.


On Romance

His relationships with Elizabeth, Courtney, and Sam can be explained in this way. Courtney was a rebound at a time when he was trying to figure out what exactly Elizabeth wanted from him. Courtney was simple and basic — she didn’t ask him to be anyone else. When she did, he walked. Sam always saw him as his own person — the times when they’ve had issues is when she doesn’t respect that separation. But like or hate them, the Jason and Sam relationship has lasted for so long because Sam has always been willing to accept him the way he is and what he’s willing to give her.

I say this as a Jason/Elizabeth fan girl. Because Elizabeth has expected him to be more than what he gives her, and Jason isn’t always okay with that. In 2002, she walked because he didn’t respect her part in the Alcazar business. In 2008, she wanted to be an equal part in his life. And he didn’t want that.

Why he doesn’t want that for Elizabeth and it doesn’t seem to bother him with Sam is something I’ve tried to work out in my head, but I’m not there yet. Because I don’t want it to be boiled down he loved Elizabeth too much. I think it’s probably more that he’s never really gotten past that first outright rejection back in 2001, the Zander nonsense in 2002 and then the Jake paternity fiasco. He’s never, I think, trusted her again.  She was one of the few people he’d ever really opened up to about Michael, Robin, and Sonny and she definitely damaged that relationship in 2001 and 2002.  Even if he understands it (and I always thought he did), I think part of him just never got past it.

In fact, that’s one of the major problems in the Liason story — they never ever dealt with any of the reasons they went wrong in the first place. When they reunited in 2006, the issues of 2001-03 were brushed over, but they’re the foundation of what went wrong and why I’m not sure they can ever be together. Not without the show really doing some soul searching.

That sounds a lot more defeated than I feel about them as a couple, but remember — this is an exploration of who Jason is today, not how he felt in 2003, 2006, or 2008. So much time has passed and he’s walked away from her. How can you reconcile that as a writer? That’s usually the hardest part about character motivation. You can do anything in a soap opera, but it should come from character.


On the Recast

When Billy Miller’s Jason woke up, he was warm, charming, funny. And I adored his Jake Doe. I loved the idea that this is who Jason is at his core. It’s the soft side that we don’t get to see because so much of his shell is rock hard. Without the pressure of the Quartermaines, without the attitude of being damaged, Jason becomes who he was naturally — Jason Quartermaine.  That’s who Elizabeth fell in love with, but it’s not the Jason that Sonny, Sam, or Carly ever really appreciated it. It explains why there was no sense of connection.

And even though ostensibly, he got his memories back for the most part, I’m glad he didn’t try to emulate Steve. Because the time as Jake Doe is also part of Jason now (if he indeed remains Jason) and that needs to matter. All those people crying about this not being Jason — well, it is Jason. It’s Jason Quartermaine with Jason Morgan’s memories, and I think that’s an interesting way to approach it.

Of course, the odds are that Billy is gonna be Drew and Steve gets to go back to Jason, but until that holds true, this is how I think about the character.


Bible: Jason Morgan

So what is the core of how I approach Jason, regardless of time period?

Jason Morgan woke up in 1996 after an accident damaged his frontal lobe and erased his memories. He has mostly learned to accommodate for the brain damage. He is intensely loyal to people he loves, almost to the point of self-destruction. He still thinks he has to prove to the world he isn’t damaged and fights every day to prove his own worth. His greatest strength is his loyalty, but it is also his weakness because it is difficult for him to cut ties and walk away.  He unconsciously seeks out people who give him chances to prove himself and does have a hero complex. It’s not for glory, it’s about self-worth.

Before 2012, he had two children: Jake (Elizabeth) and Danny (Sam). He also had a miscarriage with Courtney and buried Sam’s unnamed daughter. He helped raise Carly’s children: Michael, Morgan, and Joss. Family also includes a deceased set of siblings (Emily and AJ), deceased father (Alan), and adopted mother, Monica. Close family friends: Sonny, Carly, Bobbie, Spinelli.

I went through and updated the Recent Updates page and fixed the workshop links for some the stories. I didn’t go further into July, but the ongoing stuff is done.

I also added tags to Bittersweet so it now shows up on the Year Written and Year Set pages. I added Ghosts of Elizabeths Past to the Sort by Title Page, and I also added summaries for all Ficlets on that page. I’ve been remiss in finishing up that project. My hope is that that page serves as kind of as master list for you guys to keep track of what you’ve read any what you haven’t. (You could literally print it and check stuff off). Adding summaries, I think, helps.

I spent a lot of time in my life doing the Sort Stories section so I hope you guys find it useful. If you haven’t been there in a while, check it out.

A note about the Workshop pieces: They will not be tagged or listed in any of the Sort sections because that’s not what they’re meant for. They’re not supposed to be as good as what I post elsewhere (though I’d argue they’re slightly better than my 2002-03 work. They’re not edited for typos or content and they’re just a way to train my inner editor and work through some concepts.

Case in point? The Homecoming series is me thinking through a storyline about magic. I got two parts in and there’s stuff I like, but there’s also stuff I wish I had done differently. Posting in the Workshop lets me get feedback but I don’t feel married to any of it. I can rewrite, revise, reuse at will. None of that stuff is permanent, so enjoy it but it’s not like any of my other work and I’m not going to apologize for its lack of cohesion or quality.

You read the Workshop at your own risk, just as you read the Fiction Graveyard at your own risk.

October 10, 2017

An update that is not for the Workshop. That’s insane right? So I didn’t watch October 9’s episode yet, but enough of Twitter was livetweeting that I got the gist and had this idea this morning.

If you’re currently not watching (and who would blame you? I’m watching for Steve), Elizabeth is dating Franco. Apparently, another magical brain tumor has swept in and fixed his insanity. Whatever.  Franco found out he grew up with Jason’s twin brother, Drew, who apparently died at the age of three. He initially lied to Elizabeth about it, and then came clean. And then asked HER not to tell anyone because, hey, lying about Jason never got anyone in trouble.

So I wrote something that made me feel better. I haven’t watched the episode yet, so all I know is what happened above. I’m sure she agreed because destroying Elizabeth’s character is what makes GH go around these days.

Ghosts of Elizabeth Past

Notes

A super weird ficlet I had an idea for this morning. This is sort of an episode tag to October 9, 2017’s episode in which Elizabeth found out Franco was lying about the photograph and then Franco asked her not to tell anyone about Jason’s dead twin brother.  I didn’t actually watch the episode yet so I don’t know how it ended or really any content of it whatsoever.


Sometimes she could tell when she was dreaming.

As she walked down the stairs of her home and wandered through the living room, Elizabeth Webber knew it was a dream.

Even before she saw her fourteen-year-old self lounging on the sofa, eating popcorn and drinking soda.

She stood behind the sofa watching Lizzie Webber throw kernels of popcorn at the screen in protest of whatever music video MTV was playing next.

At that, Elizabeth managed a smile. MTV playing music videos. Definitely a dream.

Lizzie tilted her head up, her short chocolate brown curls shifting against the sofa. “Oh. Good. You’re here. Took you long enough.”

“I—”

Lizzie set aside the popcorn and rolled to her feet, an oversized ‘N Sync t-shirt drowning her, a pair of jean cutoffs peeking out, strings of white cotton thread against the paleness of her thighs.

“This is not what I expected for us,” Lizzie mused as she eyed the furniture. The photos on the shelf. “I thought we’d be in jail maybe by now.”

“No, you didn’t.”

Lizzie shrugged. “Or maybe I thought we’d be doing something cooler. Like painting crazy murals in New York. That hipster scene in Brooklyn should have had our name written all over it.”

Elizabeth shook her head. Brooklyn hadn’t really appealed to her. Had it?

“Anyway.” Lizzie shrugged. “I guess I was just wondering what the fuck is wrong with you.”

“Excuse me?” Elizabeth demanded, her hands on her hips. “You can’t talk to me like this—”

“Boy, you sure don’t remember anything,” Lizzie drawled with a dramatic roll of her eyes. “I do whatever I want and fuck the rest of the world.”

“You can’t live like that. It’s not possible—”

“We used to lie for the fun of it.” Lizzie sighed wistfully. “Just to see if people would believe us. Remember that lady who thought we were actually shooting a movie? She bought us pizza.”

“We’re lucky we got to adulthood,” Elizabeth muttered, but the memory—could a memory be in a dream?

“You still lie,” Lizzie continued. “But you’re doing it wrong.”

“Hey.”

“Now you lie because someone else wants it. When you lied about Jason—I stand up and cheered. Finally, I thought. My girl is taking what she needs and not asking any fucking questions.” Lizzie clasped her hands against her chest with a sparkling smile. “And we finally had him. He was ours.”

“For five minutes.”

“Better than never. We used to let him walk away a lot. Now you can’t say you didn’t try.”

“Do you have a point?” Elizabeth asked coolly.

“You’re lying again and you’re not even doing it for you. I’m sick of living in your head, screaming at you. You don’t listen.”

“You always get me in trouble—”

“Oh yeah?” Lizzie smirked. “I got great ideas. I always had the best ideas. It was my idea to come to Port Charles. To go to Jake’s. To go to the penthouse the night you got knocked up with Jake. You make the decisions for us and I’m tired of you ignoring me.”

“I really don’t know what your problem is—”

“You’re lying again,” Lizzie repeated. “And I don’t like it. Sure, Franco’s dangerous if you like the serial killer variety—”

“He was sick—”

“So was Manny Ruiz,” Lizzie said flatly. “Brain tumors. Nothing new. Maybe he doesn’t hurt people anymore but he’s hurting you.”

“Stop.”

“He’s asking you to lie. Again. About Jason. I mean, bitch, haven’t we learned how this ends for us? Yeah, it’s fun for a minute but there’s no point for this lie. Jason’s gonna find out. He always does, and it’s not going to be anyone else’s fault.” Lizzie snorted. “It never is. Everyone else gets to make mistakes, but you’re the one who pays.”

“It’s not like that—”

“I only like when we lie for us. This is not for us.” Lizzie mirrored Elizabeth’s stance with her hands on her hips. “And why did you say yes? What’s the point?”

“He won’t stay.”

The thin third voice came from the kitchen and Elizabeth turned. Another version of herself walked out of the shadows.

The hair was short and choppy—from those days after Lucky had returned from the dead. This Elizabeth’s eyes were dark, sad.

“He won’t stay,” Elizabeth Three murmured. “They never stay. We have to make them.”

“Oh, here we go with this bitch.” Lizzie rolled her eyes. “Don’t you ever get tired?”

“Yes,” Elizabeth Three replied without blinking. “But I don’t like being alone. Bad things happen when we’re alone.”

“Okay, this was funny at first, but now I’m ready to wake up—”

“You have to stop ruining everything!” Lizzie said with a stamp of her foot. “I wanted to sex up the priest. You chose the serial killer!”

“We weren’t going to win the priest,” Elizabeth Three replied with a shake of her head. “He wasn’t going to stay.”

“It’s not about staying. It’s about having fun. You keep us from having fun!”

“I like being in love,” Elizabeth Three said with a sigh. She sat on the sofa. “Remember Lucky?”

“Which time?” Lizzie said with a snarl. “When he ignored us for Sarah? Lied to us? Died? Made us chase away Jason? Or how about that time he got addicted to drugs and had an affair? Or, wait, when we had his kid and he abandoned us? Does he even pay child support? For fuck’s sake, you idiot.”

“I’’m going upstairs,” Elizabeth said with a nod. “Because this is insane. And it’s a dream. I’m done.”

“Hey. She’s been in charge of your decisions all these years,” Lizzie snapped. “She’s the reason we’re lying again. Because she’s so scared of being alone. How come you listen to her, huh? I’m the one who has the good ideas. I’m the one who deserves it.”

“Can’t listen to you,” Elizabeth shook her head. “You get me in trouble.”

“Yeah, but at least it’s on your own behalf. I got you laid by Jason Morgan, repeatedly I might add. This bitch got you Ric Lansing and Lucky Spencer. I definitely win.”

“No one wins here,” Elizabeth snapped. “You’re both idiots and I’m tired of listening to you both.”

“Well, what bright idea do you have?” Lizzie shot back.

“I’ve tried my best,” Elizabeth Three said as she jumped to her feet. “It’s hard being scared all of the time. If you were just nicer to me,” she complained to Lizzie.

“You’re the kind of girl we made fun of in high school.”

“Oh, God, I think I’ve lost my mind.” Elizabeth pressed her hands to her forehead. “Just go away.”

“I would if you’d stop lying all the damn time for stupid reasons.” Lizzie rolled her eyes. “You want me to stop screaming in your ear? Stop ignoring me when you damn well know I’m right. You want to stop being scared all the time? Tell her we stopped being the girl who got raped years ago.”

They both stared at Elizabeth Three, who had changed now. Whose hair had grown longer and her outfit had shifted into a red dress. Her eyes were wild, her face dirty and streaked with tears.

“I’m tired of being scared all the time,” Valentine’s Day Elizabeth said with a soft sigh. “I want to stop being cold.”

“If he leaves because you tell the truth, then why the hell do you want him anyway?” Lizzie demanded. “You raised three boys with no goddamn help from their idiot fathers—”

“You picked one of those fathers,” Elizabeth muttered.

“You have a career you’re good at. You’re a good mom. What the fuck do you have to be worried about about all the time?”

“I don’t want to be scared,” Valentine’s Day Elizabeth said. She held out her hand, looked at the glittering bracelet her grandmother had given her that night. “Let’s not do it anymore.”

“Easy for you to say.” Elizabeth sighed, looked at Lizzie. “It’s easy to be fearless when you don’t know the worst out there.”

“Hey, I’m not saying the world doesn’t suck.” Lizzie shrugged. “I’m just saying we can stop making it suck on purpose.”


The sunlight streaming through her curtains woke her abruptly and she blinked up at the ceiling. Beside her, she felt Franco shifting as he yawned and slid out of bed.

She looked at him for a long moment, maybe with the eyes of someone seeing him for the first time.

He had lied to her. Had asked her to lie in return.

And why the hell are we lying for him? Fuck that.

This time, when she heard Lizzie Webber in her ear, she didn’t grimace. She smiled and sat up.

“I changed my mind,” she said. “About everything.”