March 21, 2018

Hey! So I got really sick this week and have spent the last day in bed, hacking up a lung. I’m also working on my edTPA application, which is this insane testing thing I have to do for my teaching certification. It’s an obnoxious experience but I spent $300 so failure is not an option.  Cora also got a great opportunity at work, and all of this has put us behind in the beta process, so we’re taking a break.  I’ll be back the first week in April.

March 13, 2018

It’s Angelina’s birthday, so I decided to give her a birthday gift and give her Bittersweet a day early. I don’t really have much to add today — I’m on spring break, taking it easy, recharging the muse, trying to get some things organized because I’m home at night.

Hope you like it!

Bittersweet, Chapter 21 

This entry is part 21 of 21 in the series Bittersweet

Maybe there’s a God above
All I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
– Hallelujah, Rufus Wainwright

Friday, September 6, 2002

Pier 52: Warehouse

Jason parked the SUV and looked at the man in the passenger seat. Johnny O’Brien, their warehouse manager and Sonny’s top enforcer at the moment, was checking the clip in his handgun.

“Is Richie in place?” Jason asked, squinting. “Did he say?”

“Yeah, he got there about ten minutes ago. Scoped out the place and found a spot to cover both exits. He’s ready.” Johnny hesitated. “Are we sure this is the way we want to handle it? Maybe it would be better if we just didn’t show up.”

Jason shook his head. “No. If someone is watching Carly, they know she came to me today. They know I want to know where she’s been. I’ve run around town for the last two weeks proving that I jump when she calls. If I don’t show up, they’ll be on to her.”

“So?” Johnny muttered. “You slap a guard on her idiot ass and move on—” When Jason scowled, Johnny shrugged. “Hey, it’s not like I wish her ill, Jase, but she put everyone in danger last year when she turned on Sonny. And no one’s really ever liked that much to begin with.”

“They want me out of the loop, Johnny. I need to know what we’re up against—”

“Yeah, yeah. I get it. I’ll follow orders.” He shoved open the door. “I’ll take the back exit, you take the front.”


They split up. Jason tugged his gun from behind his back and held it low in front of him as he crept towards the entrance of the abandoned warehouse where Carly had been told to send him.

Why this place? Did they think he would go anywhere Carly asked? Jason shared Johnny’s doubts, and Benny had been skeptical that this would be worth the effort. But if they could just get their hands on one of the guys sent by Roscoe—maybe they could get somewhere.

This life was always risky, but Jason preferred it when the risk was legal, not mortal. Most of the time, the danger was getting arrested, or being on the wrong end of a police raid. Territory squabbles were minimal, particularly this far from New York City.

There was always someone lower in the ranks who wanted to make their bones by taking out someone closer to the top, but Sonny usually ran an effective organization—those kinds of men were weeded out before any real damage was done.

Every once in a while, though there was a Moreno or a Sorel who wanted their own piece and didn’t want to share. And Jason was tired of taking bullets for assholes who wanted power they couldn’t handle.

The door to the warehouse was hanging off its hinges, the larger garage door to the truck entrance was dilapidated and looked as if it hadn’t been opened for business in years.

Jason hesitated before opening the door. Even if Carly hadn’t told him it was a trap, his instincts would have been screaming it by now. Had they expected Carly to come clean?

But he pushed open the door, the hinges creaking in the cavernous open space. There were stacks of packing crates, cardboard boxes with papers spilling out of the sagging sides. The odor of mildew and mold seeped into his nostrils.

He made it no more than ten feet into the room before he saw a black boot sticking out from behind a pile of packing crates. The hair on the back of his neck stood up as he moved closer. He kicked the boot and raised his gun—

It was Richie, their best sniper. He was lying on his back, his arms and legs spread eagle across the cement floor. His eyes were wide open, staring at the ceiling. A small round bullet hole in his forehead. No blood on the floor around him, which meant he’d been placed here.

Damn it. Jason spun around at Johnny’s shout. At the sound of gunfire—

And then he felt the first bullet slam into his upper chest, the hot metal digging through muscles and tendons. Another in his shoulder. He grunted and fell back, getting off his own shot in the process. Another bullet in his leg.

And then he was on the cement ground, choking. A man walked towards him. Jason’s vision was beginning to blur—the first bullet must have sliced an artery because he couldn’t catch his breath.

He could see the dim outline of a gun as it pointed straight at his head. Jason closed his eyes. Elizabeth’s smile, her eyes flashed in front of his face.

Another shot echoed in the room, and Jason choked, struggling—a man’s weight slumped over him. “Jesus fucking Christ, Morgan—” Johnny’s voice faded as Jason couldn’t manage to stay awake.

The world dimmed and he closed his eyes.

Saturday, September 7, 2002

Kelly’s: Dining Room

Every hour that passed added another layer of uncertainty and terror. The clock struck six. Seven. Eight. Nine.

Courtney’s shift finished at ten, and AJ came to pick her up, but Courtney refused to leave. She was too worried about Elizabeth. So AJ called the babysitter with Michael and sat down to wait with them.

Because Jason hadn’t called. And neither he nor Sonny were picking up their phones.

By eleven and closing, Gia had joined them and the four of them sat around a table in the back, Courtney having put together a pot of coffee and served it.

Elizabeth’s mug was ice cold and untouched by midnight.

She called Alexis, finally, but Jason and Sonny’s lawyer hadn’t heard from them either. Jason had called her to cancel the meeting, but she knew nothing beyond that. Nothing she could share. Gia, who had started an internship in Alexis’s office the week before, could offer nothing else.

Jason and Sonny had not answered any phone calls in eight hours.

Elizabeth still refused to go to the warehouse or get her phone from Jake’s. She couldn’t. If she took any action that suggested something was wrong…then something was wrong.

And she knew that in Jason’s life, when something went wrong, and he was out of touch, it was never good. And for Sonny to be gone as well—

Around twelve-thirty, AJ shifted and sighed. He drew Courtney out of her seat and pulled her towards the entrance. “I’m going to go home and relieve the babysitter,” he murmured to Courtney. “Call me when you know something.”

“I can go…” But Courtney’s voice faded, and she looked at Elizabeth. “But I want to be here.” She looked at AJ. “You must be scared, too. I should stay with you—”

“I am,” AJ admitted. “But not as scared as she is. I can least admit that something is wrong. She’s not there yet.” He kissed her cheek. “She needs you more than I do right now.”

“What if something happened?” Courtney asked, her voice trembling. “What if he’s hurt? God, AJ. Gia and I pushed her towards him.”

“Hey.” He shook his head. “Let’s not think that way. Odds are that he got hurt, and Sonny’s being a dick and keeping it from everyone. He’ll get in touch when he can. Jason’s too stubborn for anything else—”

“He’s not Superman,” Courtney muttered, but she watched AJ leave and turned back to the table where Gia and Elizabeth still sat. Gia was attempting to study, to turn this into anything other than what Courtney knew this was.

Waiting for someone to deliver devastation.

Safe House: Living Room

Sonny rocked back on his heels as he waited for the doctor to emerge from the back room. At a table, Benny was restless, going through the same paperwork he’d been looking at for the last four hours. Sonny didn’t think he was even reading the words at this point.

Johnny was grimacing at the sling hanging over his left shoulder and attempting to drink a beer with his right, less dominant hand.

Jason had required surgery to repair a partially severed artery in his chest, and only Johnny’s quick first aid had kept Sonny’s partner from bleeding out as they transported him to the only safe house with a sterilized surgery in one of the bedrooms.

And still, it was touch and go.

Johnny had suggested maybe calling Elizabeth—Jason had asked for her in the car, his words slurring, but the request had been repeated several times.

Sonny knew that Elizabeth was waiting for Jason, that he was supposed to pick her up from Kelly’s. He had picked up his phone to call her more than once. Not to tell her Jason was hurt, but just that he couldn’t be in touch.

But something held him back. By now, Elizabeth must be worried. It was after midnight—the diner closed at eleven. Hell, she must be terrified. She’d called Sonny’s phone three times, twice in the last hour alone.

Sonny hadn’t answered any of those calls. He didn’t know if Jason would survive the bullet wound, and God, he did not want to be the one to tell her. She would be able to hear it in his voice. And she was probably with Gia or his sister. Maybe even Bobbie.

No one could know that Jason had been shot. They had gotten one of the shooters, but he’d died before Johnny could ask him any questions, and the gunfire had been called into the PCPD. They had barely been able to remove Richie and the other body from the warehouse before the cops had showed up.

And…this was how it was supposed to work. There were things Elizabeth couldn’t know. She’d only known the last time Jason had been shot because she found him. If Carly hadn’t been there—if Sonny hadn’t betrayed him—Jason would have recuperated in a safe house and Elizabeth would never have been brought into it.

Jason always told Elizabeth more than Sonny wanted her to know. No one had been supposed to know Jason was in town the year before—but Jason had gone straight to her, like a goddamn moth to the flame. Had put her in danger. Again.

No, it was better this way. Better to wait until he had something to tell her.

And Jason needed to be out of commission. If no word was had from him, if no one knew where he was—whoever had gone after Jason might step it up. Make more mistakes. Sonny had to know who was coming after him.

The doctor finally emerged, his eyes lined with exhaustion, a blood stained towel in his hand. “I’ve stabilized him for now.”

Sonny exhaled slowly as Johnny and Benny got to their feet. “For now?” he echoed.

“He lost of a lot of blood,” the doctor said with a mutter. “He should be in the hospital. I’ve sedated him, and I’ll leave the necessary medication—I’ll have to get a few things, but he’s going to be weak. Woozy for a while. If I can get my hands on blood for a transfusion—”

“But he’ll make it—”

“Barring infection, as long he doesn’t move around—” The doctor shrugged. “Sure. Lucky son of a bitch.”

“I’ll call Elizabeth,” Johnny interrupted, reaching for his phone. “She must be out of her mind—”

“No, no.” Sonny held out his hand. “Not yet.”

“Sonny—the warehouse shooting was called into the police. If the PCPD haven’t harassed her yet, they will—”

The doctor, seeing that he was no longer needed, returned to his patient as Johnny gave Sonny a questioning look. “Jason’s going to ask for her the minute he wakes up—”

“We’ll put him off. He’ll understand once he’s alert.” Sonny shook his head. “They wanted to eliminate him tonight, Johnny. We gotta do what we can to make sure Jason stays out of commission—”

“Boss, I agree, but I don’t see what that has to do with Elizabeth. We can make arrangements to bring her here in secrecy—” Benny began.

“What does Roscoe know right now?” Sonny demanded. “He knows that Richie is dead—” and he took a moment for that, because Richie had been working with them for years and had always been reliable. “Maybe he knows Jason was shot. He knows that the cops were called, but none of our guys were left on the scene.”

“Which means they think Jason’s alive, which the opposite of what they were trying to do,” Johnny argued. “So this is just bullshit—”

“But if Jason doesn’t turn up, if Elizabeth doesn’t disappear—” Benny sighed. “Roscoe knows how we operate. It’s how everyone operates. Jason’s injured enough to go MIA, he’s out of the way. I don’t like it, but I think we gotta hold off making any moves for at least twenty four hours.”

Sonny nodded. “Elizabeth knows how this works. She’ll be worried, but it’ll be temporary and Jason will be too out of to know any better. It’s just for a little while, okay?”

“You’ll be the one explaining it to Jason,” Johnny muttered. “But fine.”

Jake’s: Van Ess Street

Around one in the morning, Elizabeth gave up.

Jason was two hours late picking her up. Phone calls to Sonny and Jason were still not being returned, and Elizabeth was ready to give in.

Something had happened. Something bad.

They dropped Courtney off at her house first—Courtney was reluctant to leave, but Elizabeth told her that AJ needed her, too. He was at home with Michael, and they’d keep her in the loop.

Gia drove her to Jake’s first to get her phone—but there were police cars out front, and the bar was clearly closed for the night.

“Do you want me to go ask questions?” Gia asked as their car sat idling a few spaces back from the bar as the red and blue lights flashed, illuminating the stark white pallor of Elizabeth’s face. “Maybe it was just another bar fight.”

“No.” Elizabeth cleared her throat. She nodded at the men walking out. “That’s a crime scene unit—you see their jackets? They’re looking for something. And Jason is Jake’s only tenant right now.” She swallowed. “Go to the warehouse.”

Gia muttered something under her breath but pulled the car back out onto the street and drove the mile that separated the bar from the docks.

More police cars surrounded the piers, and the entrance to the Elm Street Pier was closed off entirely. There was another set of crime scene tech guys milling about in the parking lot, as if waiting for clearance. Here, Elizabeth saw more than that. She recognized the curly hair of the police commissioner, and the long dark hair of Detective Andy Capelli.

Her heart was pounding. Her mouth was dry. “They’re at the warehouse. They’re at Jake’s.”

“I’ll call my brother,” Gia said, offering for what must have been the tenth time that night. But this time, Elizabeth closed her eyes and nodded.

She waited long enough, and if anyone wanted to take her to task, she’d tell them to go to hell. She had a right to know what the hell was going on, and if no one wanted to tell her—

She’d find out for herself.

“Marcus, I’m with Elizabeth. We’re at the warehouse—” Gia scowled. “No, we’re in the car. Look—stop talking for five seconds and I’ll tell you why I’m calling—Okay. Okay.” She hung up, took a deep breath, and put her phone back in her bag.

“Marcus wants us to go back to our place and wait for him. He has questions for you.”

“Did—” Elizabeth licked her lips. Forced the words out. “Did he say where Jason was?”

“He refused. This doesn’t mean anything, Liz. You know that. My brother, the PCPD—they’re assholes in general. They could have Jason in a holding cell—”

“Without telling Alexis?”

“Maybe,” Gia said with some hesitation. “You know they can get desperate—”

“Gia, let’s just go home and wait for your brother.” Elizabeth closed her eyes and tried to breathe. In and out. In and out.

She could do this. She was strong. She had survived the worst life could throw at her. This was nothing. Piece of cake.

Palm Beach, Florida

Ruiz Compound: Hector Ruiz’s Study

Zander grimaced as he was shown into the inner sanctum of the Ruiz family’s seat of power. It was a hot, muggy night, and even the open terraced villa that Hector had constructed looking over the ocean didn’t provide any relief from the miserable, heavy humidity.

It was after one in the morning, and he’d been pulled from a comfortable bed with a sexy woman in order to answer the summons of Hector Ruiz.

Inside the study, Hector sat behind his desk, a man leaning toward his late sixties with olive skin, salt and pepper hair slicked back, and mean dark eyes.

He sat across from Luis Alcazar, each with a tumbler of liquor and a cigar in hand as if it wasn’t one-thirty in the fucking morning.


“Smith. You made good time.” Ruiz gestured at him with his cigar. “Luis has some news for us.”

“News, and some questions.” Neither men rose nor indicated that Zander would be taking a seat or offered his own drink or cigar. This was obviously not a social call.

“There was a shooting tonight on Pier 52,” Luis said.

Zander hesitated. “Your ambush happened?”

“That’s what I want to know,” Luis murmured. He shifted to face Zander more directly. “You heard that Carly Corinthos’ death had been exaggerated slightly?”

“She was your plan?” Zander asked with raised brows. “You used her to lure Jason into an ambush?”

“I had hoped to turn her more forcefully,” Luis admitted. “I had…hopes she could be twisted entirely. She’s known for her rash decisions. Her anger—” He sighed. “But I have reasons to believe it did not go as I had intended.”

“Well, what did happen?” And why the fuck had he been dragged from his bed for this?

“Gunfire was reported. Blood was found,” Luis continued. “One of Roscoe’s men was shot, the other escaped. He seemed convinced that Jason had been mortally injured—he saw a shot to the chest. But no one has been admitted to the hospital. Does Corinthos have off site medical assistance for a serious injury like this?”

“Probably,” Zander admitted. “He might also be licking his wounds with a shot to the arm.”

“If he’s not dead, we gotta go again,” Ruiz began, but Zander shook his head. “Why not? You said Jason had to be eliminated—”

“If he took a shot to the chest, he’s going to go under. The last thing Sonny needs is an actual injury on his hands. The cops will crawl all over Jason. Blood being found doesn’t mean much. It could be from anything. No telling they can even prove who it belongs to.” Zander shrugged. “You wait a few days, Jason doesn’t surface, then he’s badly injured—”

“But he’s not eliminated—”

“You want to take out Sonny Corinthos, don’t you?” Zander demanded. “Here’s your chance. Jason’s out of commission. You get Nico or Roscoe to take the hit, Sonny will go after them. Your hands will be clean. You don’t want the territory, so what do you care if Nico and Roscoe take the fall. Nico doesn’t even know your name, and Roscoe will be probably be eliminated before he has a chance to say your name. He’ll go out in a blaze of glory before they take him alive.”

“I like this kid,” Hector said with a grin. “He thinks through all the angles. Why the hell did Corinthos let him go?”

“Because I think for myself, and I put myself first.” Zander shrugged. “Corinthos still thinks he’s Vito Corleone.”

Luis tipped his head. “What makes you think I don’t want the territory?” he asked coolly.

“Because by now you know that Nico and Roscoe are morons which is why they’ve never been able to step up when someone else was available. There’s a reason they stayed beneath Moreno and Sorel. Why they’re basically third string.”


“If you wanted the territory, you wouldn’t be a silent partner. You wouldn’t let Roscoe and Nico take the lead. You wouldn’t have sent me away to keep me under the radar. You wouldn’t have faked Sonny Corinthos’s ex-wife’s death. You don’t want the territory. You want to destroy the man.”

“He’s got you there, my old friend.” Hector raised bushy brows at Luis. “I’ve never liked Corinthos, but what do you have against him?”

“That is my concern. After he is gone, you can do what you like with Morgan.” Luis blew out a stream of thin smoke out from his lips. “Because you’re right. I want to eliminate the man. Nothing else matters.”

Elizabeth & Gia’s Apartment: Living Room

It was nearly two in the morning by the time Gia let her exhausted brother through the front door of their apartment.

Elizabeth was curled on the sofa, staring at their land line. Begging silently for it to ring. For someone to make this nightmare go away.

Taggert looked at the two of them, at Elizabeth sitting, at Gia standing in front of him, and his shoulders slumped. “Hell, you don’t know anything more than me, do you?”

“Do you know why the police were at Jake’s and the warehouse?” Elizabeth asked listlessly. “Because that’s more than I know.”

Taggert sighed. “We got reports of gunfire at an old warehouse near Pier 52. It’s one of Anthony Moreno’s old holding companies. It’s been wasting away for three years and it looks like a pile of crap. When we got there, we found blood on the ground, some places where someone had clearly been laying—and spent casings from bullets that match the type of gun Jason Morgan has registered in his name.”

“But no one was there,” Gia said slowly.

“No.” Taggert hesitated. “But we also can’t find Morgan. We’re trying to get his phone records. We’re executing search warrants. Sonny Corinthos is MIA. Elizabeth, listen—”

“How much blood?” she asked softly. “Because you know, it’s a warehouse. People get hurt.”

“We found some blood upstairs—a lot.” He paused. “And some…brain matter. We’re having it tested, but the preliminary blood type did not come back to Morgan.”

She closed her eyes, exhaled slowly. “Okay.”

“You haven’t heard from him?”

“The last time I saw Jason was when he dropped me off for work around eleven. I was working from twelve until closing.” Elizabeth rubbed her eyes, trying to get her brain to think. To focus. “He was supposed to do some paperwork at the warehouse, and then meet with AJ and some lawyers about Carly and Michael.”

“He was supposed to have that meeting at six, but AJ said it got canceled about five—at least that’s when his lawyer called AJ,” Gia volunteered. “And that’s the last anyone has heard from him.”

“My phone is at Jake’s,” Elizabeth said. “So if he called me, I wouldn’t know. He—” She swallowed hard. “He doesn’t call the land line at Kelly’s. Or at least he didn’t today.”

“Okay.” Taggert nodded. “Okay.” He waited a moment. “If you hear from him, would you tell me?” His tone was gentle. Compassionate. So at odds with the way he usually spoke—God, if he thought Jason was dead…

“I don’t know,” she said honestly. “If I can…I will.”

“I appreciate that.” He touched her shoulder gently. “Okay.”

Gia showed him out and closed the door behind him. “You were pretty cooperative,” she murmured.

“Two hours—” She looked at the clock on the wall. “Three hours since Jason was supposed to pick me up. Jason wouldn’t let me worry like this. Maybe once he would have left town and not told me. It was different before. We’re different now.”

She thought they were different.

“And what I told Taggert? It’s nothing that AJ and Courtney probably wouldn’t tell him. No state secrets.” Her lips twisted. “And if Sonny didn’t want me to talk to the cops, then maybe he should have called me.”

“You don’t think something happened to Sonny?” Gia asked with raised eyebrows.

“That’s not how this works. Jason went somewhere tonight. Something went wrong. And Sonny is mopping it up. He’s keeping me out of the loop.”

Her roommate exhaled slowly. “That’s cold—”

“That’s Sonny.” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “If he doesn’t come to see me tomorrow…then I’ll start to worry. For now…I just have to keep my cool. This is the life. I love Jason. I’m in this. I just…” She let her legs fall to the ground. “I thought he might be coming to notify me that they had Jason’s body.”

“But they don’t have any bodies.”

“Which means the warehouse was cleaned up. There was time for that. So until someone tells me differently, Jason is somewhere where he can’t contact me, and Sonny isn’t getting in touch.”


Elizabeth rose to her feet. “I’m going to try to get some sleep.”

Safe House: Bedroom

Between Benny, the doctor, and Sonny, they managed to transfer Jason to a bedroom with an IV. Jason was pale, sweating, like a furnace to the touch—an infection was already setting in.

“Elizabeth,” Jason murmured, stirring slightly. His eyes were slits, just a mixture of blue and red underneath the pale lids. “Did you…”

“Hey, she’s fine. I’ve got it handled,” Sonny murmured, eyeing Johnny with a warning glance. “You better not make her cry for you, man.”

“Tell her…” Jason exhaled slowly, his head lolling to one side, his voice fading in and out. “No soup.”

“No soup?” Johnny repeated, but Sonny shook his head.

“Got it. I’ll let her know.” He nodded to the doctor, and then exited the room with Benny and Johnny. “What’s going on back home?” he asked once they returned to the living room.

“Cops are all over the warehouse,” Benny said. “And they’ve closed Jake’s as a crime scene, so they suspect Jason is involved. Our guy at the Brownstone says Taggert went inside briefly, then left. No guarantee he talked to Miss Webber, but—”

“Odds are,” Sonny murmured. “We go talk to her now, the cops will know. Taggert is too close to Elizabeth. He knows her movements. We bring her here and it’s nothing but problems—”

“That doesn’t mean we don’t tell her,” Johnny hissed.

“We need to let things cool down,” Sonny said with a shake of his head. “She can’t be involved. Jason wouldn’t want her in the middle with the cops. Hey, Elizabeth knows how this works.”

“This is bullshit,” Johnny muttered. But he had his orders, so he swallowed and looked away.

Sonny dismissed them both as he returned to Jason’s room. “Hey, I’m going back to Port Charles,” he murmured, perching on the edge of the double bed. “The doc and Johnny are going to hang out here. Take care of you.”

“Elizabeth,” Jason managed. “Bringing her?”

“Yeah, I’m gonna bring her when I come back. She’ll be glad to see you.” Sonny rose and met the doctor at the door. He hesitated, waiting for Jason to slip back into unconscious. “You’ll do what I told you?”

“Keep him sedated on pain meds for a few days?” the doctor replied in a low voice. “He hates them—”

“He’s too delirious to know better. I’ll be in touch.”

Sonny intended to keep his promise — he would try to stay away until it was time for Elizabeth to be told. He would bring her here just as soon as it was safe. He knew Jason wanted her to know he was okay, but Elizabeth was stronger than Jason gave her credit for.

As soon as Roscoe made his move, as soon as Sonny knew who the hell was coming for him—well then, this would all be over.

March 11, 2018

I’m not watching these days, but I’m paying attention through recaps and clips. I don’t have the time and energy to deal with this show as a whole right now. So on Twitter, when Elizabeth overheard Jason and Sam, everyone started to speculate how Elizabeth would deal with that information, and I saw someone (apologies, I didn’t catch the handle) mention Carly wanting to know this info.

So…I wrote the scene. In about a half hour. It’s set as an actual scene, with dialogue tags and whatnot. It picks up from Friday’s episode.

Dirty Work


This is a short sort of episode tag for this last week of General Hospital. I’m not actively watching, but I’m doing clips and recaps. Apologies if I mess anything up with continuity.

It’s written as a scene because sometimes that’s easier for me to write faster.


Elizabeth steps off the elevator and finds Carly sitting at the bar, sipping a martini. She twists her diamond engagement ring on her finger. Nervous.

She approaches.

ELIZABETH: Hey. Carly, do you have a minute?

Carly looks at her. Suspicious. Curious. She nods. Tips her head toward the bar stool next to her.

CARLY: I hear you had another aborted wedding.

ELIZABETH: (sighs) Yeah. The, ah, earthquake, or whatever it was, you know—

CARLY: Mmm…that’s not the way Mama tells it. She had the boys back at the house before it even hit.

ELIZABETH: Let’s not…that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about.

CARLY: Hey, if you don’t care that you got stood up at your wedding, then why should I? I guess you should just be lucky Franco only humiliated you by not showing up. He’s not really good at weddings.

ELIZABETH: Okay, this was a bad idea.

CARLY: (with a smirk) No. Sorry. I can’t resist. It’s my fault anyone even takes that psycho seriously anyway. I had my own year of temporary insanity. I hope yours ends soon. What can I do for you?

ELIZABETH: Look. It’s not that I want to be involved. I don’t. I mean, I do. Part of me really wants to just…do this myself because—anyway, I don’t think I should get involved.

CARLY: You’re babbling. This should be good.

ELIZABETH: What I did to Drew was unforgivable. It doesn’t matter that he wasn’t actually Jason. I thought he was. I was told he was. And I lied to him. I promised him I would never lie to him again.

CARLY: (slowly) Okay. So, don’t.

ELIZABETH: I know something that…he should know. He has a right to know. But I’m afraid if I tell him…I’m afraid that he won’t believe me. Or that it will just…look like I’m trying to get revenge on Sam, and I don’t…I don’t want that.

CARLY: Of course you do. (leans forward) You want me to do the dirty work, babe, let’s at least be honest about what we’re talking about, okay? You’ve never liked Sam.

ELIZABETH: And you only liked her because it kept Jason away from me, so let’s go ahead and be honest, Carly. Your enthusiasm for Sam and Jason only started after they broke up. Until then, you hated her, too.

CARLY: Why the hell would I care about you and Jason?

ELIZABETH: I don’t know, Carly. Are we really going to go back twenty years and talk about why you’ve always hated me?

CARLY: I don’t hate you.

ELIZABETH: You did everything you could to undermine my relationship with Jason. Even when we were just friends. You risked his life and safety to get him out of my studio when he was hurt—

CARLY: (sniffs) That was a long time ago.

ELIZABETH: Every time he was with me, you called him—

CARLY: And he came running.

ELIZABETH: You pushed him towards Courtney, and we both know that was a mistake—

CARLY: She was better for him.

ELIZABETH: And you rushed right away to tell him your version of Jake’s paternity. Because you were so excited that that he wasn’t going to be tied to me.

CARLY:  Hey, I didn’t tell you to confirm that—

ELIZABETH: I’m just saying, Carly, that you have never been a fan of me being in Jason’s life. Why do you care if Jason goes back to Sam? Didn’t you give a damn about Drew? You were the one that pushed him towards Sam when we found out the truth. Even before you knew I was lying.

CARLY: (pauses) Listen. Okay. Maybe there’s a point to that. I don’t know. I guess I get you’re still irritated Jason went back to Sam after claiming to love you—

ELIZABETH: Carly, you have no idea about my issues with Sam. I doubt Jason told you what she did to Jake, what she did to both my boys, so let’s just knock it off—

CARLY: What? Destroyed your marriage with the affair with Lucky? (snorts) Please. That entire relationship was doomed, and you know it.

ELIZABETH: She stood by while that psycho kidnapped Jake. She knew where he was. Refused to tell us. Refused to let us go on her show. Came to tell me that my son was probably dead. She hired men to hold guns on us—she’s the reason Jason spent most of the summer in jail that year—

CARLY: Wait. (holds up a hand) Wait. Sam helped someone kidnap Jason’s kid? (pause) Jason knows that?

ELIZABETH: Look, it was a decade ago. God. More than that now. He made his choice. We have to live with it. And besides, it’s not like I haven’t had my opportunities to get back at her. I’ve taken them, you know? I did what I could to torpedo her relationship with Lucky, not that it worked. And—

CARLY: Lied about Drew.

ELIZABETH: Part of me wants to cause trouble for her. She’s always been a hypocrite, always pretended she’s better than me. And the only reason I put up with her is because of Jason. And now Jake and Danny. So, this thing I know—this thing I heard her say to Jason—Drew should know it. I just don’t want to be the one to tell him.

CARLY: You’d like to keep your hands clean.

ELIZABETH: I also don’t know if he’d believe me.

CARLY: So you want me to do it for you.

ELIZABETH: (hesitates) Yes.

CARLY: Like a hired assassin.


CARLY: You know, Sonny keeps telling me not to meddle. Jason hates me getting involved. I’ve been busy with Michael, and Sonny and his dad. I’m not sure this is something I should get involved with.

ELIZABETH: Okay, fine. If you really don’t know what to know what I know, I can respect that.

She waits.

CARLY: Damn it. What do you know?

ELIZABETH: That Jason and Sam were together the night of the earthquake. That Sam told Jason she’s still in love with him. And there was something about New Year’s she hasn’t told Drew yet. I don’t know. I didn’t hear that part as well.

CARLY: Let me get you a drink.

She signals the bartender.

CARLY: (continues) You know, I guess you’ve really moved on from Jason if you’re trying to patch things up with him and Sam. (smirks) You do realize that’s the natural ending for this?

ELIZABETH: I don’t, actually. Jason goes back to Sam for whatever reason, but they never last, Carly. Or haven’t you noticed that? I don’t know why he goes back, but she drives him away. Every time. She lies, she cheats, she schemes. She cons him. She’s a lot like you.

She sips the martini the bartender hands her.

ELIZABETH: She thinks Jason should be a certain way, and then she punishes him when he’s not.

CARLY; What the hell—

ELIZABETH: I’m not any better, so don’t get pissed. We all do that. Jason has surrounded himself with takers all his life, Carly. You, me, Sam. Sonny. We all love him, but we take from him, too. Since he’s been home, you’ve been shoving Sam in his face, Sam is shoving Drew in his face, and God knows, I’ve been shoving Franco in his face, which makes me the worst of all.

CARLY: Elizabeth—

ELIZABETH: I’m not taking from Jason anymore.  I saw his face yesterday at the hospital when I tried to thank him for saving Franco’s life. I tried to make him see he’s not that person anymore, and then, you know, I stepped outside of myself. I could hear myself trying to justify my choices to Jason. Trying to get Jason to accept them.

CARLY: Why does that matter?

ELIZABETH: Because Jason’s always right. (sips martini) He was right about Lucky. Right about Ric. Right about Ewan. He’s always been right about the men I let into my life.

CARLY: You know you deserve better than Franco, Elizabeth. Tell me you know that.


She finishes her martini and drops a twenty on the bar.

ELIZABETH: Look, tell Drew or don’t. I’m just—I can’t be the only one who knows this. I’m tired of keeping secrets.

CARLY: Hey. Listen. About Franco. You think no one else gets it, but I do. I get how he can make you think he’s the only one who understands you. How he can isolate you from the rest of your world because he’s the only one you can turn to. The problem is that he builds his world around you. He puts you on a shelf. He builds this idea of who you are. And then when you disappoint him—because you will—he will blame you. And then he’ll destroy you.


CARLY: You might not think there’s anything left to destroy, but he’s not going to come for you. He’s going to come for what you love best. He did that to me. He humiliated me, sure. But he destroyed Michael. He went after my child. Tell me you’re one hundred percent positive it’s not the same for you. That it can’t happen to you.

Elizabeth is silent for a long time.

ELIZABETH: I’ll see you around, Carly. Thanks for the drink.

March 6, 2018

I’m posting early for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve been looking forward to getting this section of the story to you guys for ages. I had to do a lot of things to get all the pieces in the row to make these final ten chapters or so gel together. When I was first playing around with the idea of rewriting 2002, I only knew that I wanted to do more with Gia and Courtney, give Liz more of a character rebuild than she got post wedding, and that Carly’s faked death would be drawn out more and rolled into the larger umbrella story.

And then, as I plotted, I started to think about what Carly’s return would look like. I can still remember subbing at a horrible school, scribbling in my notebook over the break, trying to figure out what Zander’s story would be and how Carly would fit into Alcazar’s story. How to take the beats of 2002 and rework them into something was ultimately more satisfying with long-term effects and more in character.

So I’m posting tonight because I really want to see if you guys can see where we’re going from here, and I want to know what you guys think.

Two, I’m posting early because we’re getting a storm, and my school district hasn’t closed — they’ve just shortened the day so we’re still dragging our asses into class for half hour periods and I’ll be cleaning my car off twice, and with my luck, my second job won’t cancel so my day will be a complete pain. I didn’t want to forget.

And finally, in late December, I posted kind of cryptically about having gotten to Chapter 26 and just…feeling stalled about a story decision. The only way to fix it was to go back and massively rework 20-25. I did it, and I feel really good about it because I think I got to some really interesting things with all the relationships. This is the first chapter with that change. The final scene is completely different. Once we get to the end of the story, I’ll go back and post the cut material. Like the custody stuff, none of it is bad, but it felt out of character. It just meant that I didn’t get to finish the final chapters before I started student teaching and that has definitely killed the momentum.

Still, it’s not how fast I post, it’s how good the story is. If it’s good, you guys have proven to me you’ll stick around, and I think my best is what I’ve promised you.

So, here’s Chapter Twenty of Bittersweet.

Oh….and as a treat for you guys being so massively supportive — I’m posting stuff from Mad World. I’ve got three full chapters done of the rewrite and I…love it. I can’t wait to get back to it. So I’m posting a few cut scenes from it.

Mad World Excerpts

So I told you guys ages ago I was going to take Mad World back and rewrite Carly’s kidnapping. I’ve written three chapters, and this is two scenes from Chapter Three, when Liz wakes up after Ric has already drugged and kidnapped Carly.

I really like these scenes, they made me feel like I could really go back and do this story right and I’m just dying to get back to writing this. I miss writing.

This does not have the Cora seal of approval, so forgive any errors.

Lansing Home: Master Bedroom

When Ric was finally gone, Elizabeth released a breath and managed to pull on the thin gray sweatpants and blue tank top he had given her.

He had been irritated that she wouldn’t dress in front of him, and Elizabeth wasn’t entirely sure where her reticence had come from.

Hadn’t she just promised herself that she would reapply herself to her marriage? She looked at the clock and frowned slightly. It was nearly seven-thirty.

How long had she dozed? Ric had said it was for a few minutes but that couldn’t be right. She’d arrived just before six. She had had a glass of champagne.

And her head was fuzzy. Her mouth was still dry. She felt a bit better after the shower, but—

She looked at herself in the mirror and shook her head. There were circles under her eyes, her skin was pale—even more than usual. She wasn’t sleeping. Wasn’t eating well. And she hadn’t felt right since her miscarriage. Dr. Meadows had given her a clean bill of health but Elizabeth thought maybe it was time to go back—

A crash and men’s shouts drew her attention. Elizabeth’s ears perked up—she knew those voices. But—but he was getting married—

Elizabeth rushed out of the bedroom and towards the stairwell, bracing herself against the wall. Why couldn’t she walk straight?

She could hear the shouts more clearly—Sonny’s demanding tones—something about Carly—and Jason’s growls. Something else crashed.

Elizabeth started down the stairs, holding on the rail with a death grip. Her stomach was rolling and her head was swimming.

“J-Jason?” she managed as she came to the bottom of the staircase, switching her grip to the doorway that separated the stairwell from the living room.

Sonny and Jason were in her living room, clad in disheveled tuxedos. Sonny had Ric against the wall, his hands at his throat while Jason was opening a closet door.

All three men turned to look at her and she couldn’t process the scene. Couldn’t make it come out right. “You’re getting married,” she said without thinking to Jason. “Aren’t you?”

Jason scowled at her and then something in his eyes changed as he drew closer. He touched her chin, turned her head slightly and then turned back to Ric. “What did you give her?” he said, his voice reaching a low dangerous growl she had only heard a handful of times.

“What are you talking about?” Ric asked, his fingers digging at Sonny. “She’s fine. Elizabeth, tell them—”

“What’s going on?” Elizabeth licked her lips. She reached out, but she just couldn’t…there was no energy in her fingers as they brushed Jason’s tuxedo jacket. “What—I don’t—”

She could feel the fury radiating from him, but Jason’s touch was gentle as he put a hand under her elbow and led her to the sofa. Helped her to sit.

He took her wrist in his and laid two fingers against her skin. “Your pupils are dilated,” Jason told her. “Your pulse is ragged. What did you eat or drink tonight?”

Elizabeth stared at him. Shook her head. “N-No—”

“Leave my wife alone,” Ric growled, but he couldn’t quite break free of Sonny’s grip.

“I had—what’s going on? Did-did you say something about Carly?” Elizabeth said, drawing her wrist from Jason’s grip. “Is she okay?”

“She’s missing,” Sonny said flatly. “And Michael saw Ric take her. Where is she?” he demanded, digging his hands in more tightly. Ric gasped.

“He was—” Elizabeth forced herself to think. “He was here. I think. I don’t know—” Why did her tongue feel so heavy?

“Elizabeth. He drugged you.”

“Call the cops, Elizabeth,” Ric choked out.

Elizabeth turned to look at him. At the man who had fathered her child. Whom she had promised to love, honor, and cherish.

Did he drug her? Is that why this sensation felt so…familiar?

“I need you to tell me what happened tonight.”

She turned her head back to that familiar voice. That gentle, beloved tone in Jason’s voice that he adopted when he spoke to her. Tears slid down her cheeks.

“I don’t know,” she managed to say. “I can’t—I came home at six. I was at the studio. I—I don’t—We had champagne…” Elizabeth looked at the table, but the glasses were gone. The champagne was gone. Like it had never happened. “Didn’t we?”

“No,” Ric said, as Sonny finally released him. “No, we didn’t. Elizabeth, you came home and went upstairs to sleep. You’ve been sleeping so much since we lost the baby.”

The baby. God. She closed her eyes. Her baby. Her little shining ray of light in the darkness.

“Shut up,” Sonny growled.

She had been sleeping a lot, Elizabeth thought. Or no, wait. No she hadn’t. She never slept. Did she? Why couldn’t she remember?

“I—” Elizabeth looked at Jason. “I don’t know. Maybe—maybe I took a nap. I don’t know.”

“Michael said he took Carly. Was Ric gone?” Jason asked.

“I’ve been here the whole goddamn time. Tell him, Elizabeth. You woke up at seven and I was here. You took a shower—”

“I—” Elizabeth’s voice faltered. “Maybe.”

“Damn it, we’re not going to get anything from her,” Sonny growled. “Whatever he gave her is screwing with her memory. We’ll take him to the warehouse. Jase, you take her to the penthouse. Get her some rest. Some coffee. I don’t know. Call Bobbie—”

And then the door was open again, and two women clad in wedding gowns rushed in. “Courtney called the PCPD,” Emily said in a rush.

“Where’s my daughter?” Bobbie cried as she pushed past Emily and started for Sonny and Ric. Jason sprang off the sofa and intercepted her.

Emily sat next to Elizabeth. “Elizabeth, are you okay?”

“I don’t know,” Elizabeth said slowly, drawing her words. “Am I?” she asked Jason. Jason would know. Jason would protect her.

“He gave her something,” Jason bit out. “What did you say about Courtney?”

Bobbie pushed herself away from Jason’s grip. “I tried to stop her, but she called the cops.”

“My sister did what?” Sonny demanded.

“Called the authorities,” Marcus Taggert said as he and Andy Capelli swaggered into the room. Behind him, a shorter dark-haired uniformed officer entered, his expression aggravated. “When someone is missing, the first few hours are crucial, Corinthos.”

Sonny closed his eyes, and Jason scowled.

“These people are trespassing,” Ric snarled. “I want them out of here—”

“No—” Elizabeth managed. She stood. Shook her head. “No. They’re not. They—” She closed her eyes, and Emily put an arm around her waist to steady her.

“What happened to her?” Capelli demanded of Sonny. “Did you terrify her into a nervous breakdown?”

“Oh, for the love of—” Bobbie muttered.

“They’re not trespassing,” Elizabeth said. She could do this. She had to do this. Everyone was so angry. So afraid. “They—they’re looking for Carly. And—they should look. You should all look.”

“Elizabeth—” Ric said with a devastated look in his eyes, in his words. “You don’t believe I would—”

“They have to look,” she repeated. “Or they won’t know for sure. They have to know for sure—”

“We have your permission, Elizabeth?” Taggert asked. He approached her. “You’re sure—”

“You don’t have mine!”

“We just need yours, Elizabeth. And exigent circumstances will take care of any gray areas.”

She latched onto that. She could do this for Jason and Sonny. Carly was missing. Carly was important to them. She knew how much Jason loved Carly.

“You can look.”

“Damn it,” Ric growled. “You should get a warrant—”

“Got something to hide?” Sonny demanded.

“No, but—”

“Rodriguez, make sure Corinthos and Morgan stay right here. Lansing, you come with us. We’re going to search this house from top to bottom,” Taggert said. To Jason, he growled, “Don’t go anywhere.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Jason muttered.

When the trio had disappeared into the back of the house where the basement door was located, Jason turned his attention back to Elizabeth. “Bobbie, Ric gave her something. Her pulse isn’t right—”

Bobbie hustled over to Elizabeth, repeating Jason’s earlier measurements. “Honey, you need to come to the hospital. We need to take care of you—”

“N-No.” Elizabeth shook her head. She had to stay here. Had to make sure the PCPD could look for Carly. If she left, Ric would stop them from looking. “I—I have to stay here.”

“Elizabeth,” Emily said, with anguish. “You look like hell. Your pupils are so big I can’t even tell what color your eyes are—”

“Elizabeth, I appreciate you giving your permission for them to look,” Sonny said with a soft sigh. “But he probably already stashed her somewhere else.” He scowled at Jason. “We’re wasting our time here.”

All eyes turned to the uniform at the doorway who took a deep shaky breath. “Look, if you leave now,” he said with a sigh, “you know Taggert and Capelli are gonna just come after you. It’s better if you let them do what they want and then you’re not running from warrants, too.”

“Why is it always the rookies with common sense?” Sonny muttered.

Jason ignored him, and gently pulling Emily away from Elizabeth so he could take her place, he sat next to Elizabeth on the sofa. “You have to go to the hospital, Elizabeth. Please. I need you to be okay. I can’t worry about you—”

“You’re not,” Elizabeth said, deliberately taking her time with her words. Couldn’t slur them. Couldn’t mess this up. “I’m…I’m okay. I, um, I haven’t—” She closed her eyes. Her hands were shaking. Why were the shaking?

Jason’s warm hands closed around hers, stilling them. “Elizabeth—”

“Since the baby. Haven’t been okay,” she admitted, finally saying out loud what had been locked away. “I’m not okay about that. I mean…” What did she mean? “I’ll see someone. But this—”

“Elizabeth,” Emily muttered. “For God’s sakes, Jason, don’t argue with her. Make her go—”

“With the PCPD here?” Sonny shook his head. “Right now, Elizabeth, do you think you gotta stay so me and Jason don’t get arrested for trespassing?”

“I—” Elizabeth stared at the other man for a long moment. “I—yes. I’m here. I can let you in. The police—” She licked her lips. They were dry and cracked. How long had they been like that? “Maybe they don’t believe Michael. Maybe they won’t look very hard.”

“And if you’re here, you can let Jason and Sonny in again to look for more evidence,” Bobbie said with a shake of her head. “Elizabeth—”

“Can’t get arrested. He’s—” Elizabeth turned squinted at the uniform, who was trying to pretend he was anywhere else. “He’s right. You can’t find Carly if you—”

“That is not your job,” Jason began. “It’s mine—”

“My fault.” Elizabeth wasn’t sure how, but it had to be. Ric was hers. She had promised herself to him. Chosen him.


“Elizabeth, do you believe Michael?” Sonny said, his voice tight. “Do you think Ric is involved?”

Elizabeth drew in a sharp breath. “Oh, God. Oh, God.” She couldn’t say it. Couldn’t. If it was true, oh God, what had she done?

“Please come with me,” Emily begged, tears sliding down her cheeks. “Please don’t stay here. It’s not worth it. Jason and Sonny—” She got to her feet, went to the uniform. “You’re new, right? Do you know Lucky Spencer?”

“I—” The uniform nodded. “Yeah, we’re friends—”

“Then you need to listen to me. My brother is going to get Elizabeth out of here. And you have to help—”

“I can’t—” the cop shook his head. “I can’t let him leave—”

“Then, Jason, you have to come back—”

“Elizabeth is right,” Sonny muttered. “Even if she’s drugged out of her goddamn head, she’s right.” He scrubbed his hands over her face. “Taggert and Capelli are just looking for Carly. They’re not going to tear the house apart. But Elizabeth being here means we can. Jason—”

Elizabeth nodded, relieved that someone understood. “You can come back. If Ric did it, you need to know for sure. You can’t waste your time. I can’t go.”

She had to stay. Had to make it right.

Her head started to swim, and she pressed a hand to her eyes. “Oh, God. I think I’m going to be sick.”

“I don’t care about any of that,” Jason growled. “I’ll come back with or without permission. She’s not staying here another minute—” He started to get up, but Elizabeth’s other hand shot out, took his hand.

“I can do this. I’m—I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I think I might be sick.” Elizabeth took a deep breath, and her stomach started to settle. “But I told you. I wasn’t lying. I haven’t felt well in weeks. I’ll go see a doctor. But Carly’s missing. And she’s pregnant.”

Her head was starting to clear. She could finally feel herself coming back. Elizabeth rose to her feet and saw Jason. The anguish. The fear.

And the knowledge that some of that was for her—that it wasn’t just because of Carly—that filled something in her. An empty piece of her soul that she hadn’t even realized was missing.

“This is the way I can help,” she said softly. Meeting his eyes. Looking at him the way she used to, begging him to believe her. To know her again.

His eyes softened. “Don’t ask me to leave you here—”

“You can’t make me go. You know I’m stubborn. I promise. I—I’ll go talk to a doctor or something. But right now, you need me here.” She looked to Bobbie. “I can be more useful here. Let me help.”

Jason pressed his lips together, shook his head. “No—”

But he was cut off when the police returned with a smug Ric. “Now that you’ve looked in all the rooms,” her husband said as he wisely stopped at the doorway, scowling at how close Jason was standing to her. “You can all get the hell out of my house—”

Elizabeth took a step back, relieved when her balance held. “I let you look,” she said, hardening her voice. She kept walking back, away from their worried expressions. “She’s not here. Ric didn’t do this, okay? He wouldn’t hurt Carly.”

“See?” Ric said with a lift of his chin. “You tried to make her turn against me, but Elizabeth loves me, Morgan. Not you.”

Jason swallowed, looked at Sonny. “Let’s go,” he said.

He stalked towards the doorway and out to the porch.

“Don’t think this clears you,” Capelli said with a jab of his finger. “Just because she’s not in here, it doesn’t mean anything.”

“I’ve been home all night,” Ric retorted.

“Elizabeth, please—” Emily said, anguished. But Bobbie took her arm and led her from the room.

“Corinthos,” Taggart said. “Let’s go. We need to go down to the station.”

Sonny shook his head, but left the living room, following Taggert out the door.

The uniform looked back at Elizabeth once more before closing the door behind her, leaving her alone with her husband.

Lansing Home: Front Lawn

Jason wanted to put his fist though the goddamn wall. Why the hell had Courtney called the fucking police? If Taggert and Capelli hadn’t shown up, Ric would be somewhere being tortured for what he knew, and Elizabeth—

Elizabeth would be safe.

He had seen her swaying, her pale face, her dilated pupils, listen as she tried to think. Tried to understand what was happening around her. And the fact that this wasn’t the first time she had felt like this didn’t really make him feel better.

It just meant that the fucking monster had been drugging her for weeks.

And bringing up Elizabeth’s miscarriage—watching her crumble inside, admitting that she wasn’t okay. He’d wanted to take her away, to tell everyone else to go to hell, Elizabeth had to be safe.

But then she’d been there at the end, her head had cleared enough for her to give him that look. She wasn’t asking to stay because she didn’t understand what was happening.

No, Elizabeth had done what she always did—took the weight of the world on her own shoulders. Blamed herself for Carly’s kidnapping. Made it her problem to fix.

“Jason,” Bobbie said with tears in her eyes. “I am so sorry, I tried—”

“I’m going back there,” his sister hissed as she left the house, joining them on the front step. “As soon as Taggert lets us go, I’m going to drag her out of here by her hair, and then you’re going to lock her somewhere until she stops being so goddamn hard headed—”

“Right now, she thinks she’s helping. She’s upset. She’s not thinking clearly.” Jason swallowed. And if the PCPD hadn’t been there, he could have done more. She would have come with him willingly before they arrived. Before she understood Carly was missing.

“Are you going to meet us at the station?” Taggert demanded as he joined the group and the front door closed. “Or do we have to take you in the patrol car?”

“I should stay here,” the uniform said. Capelli turned to glare at him. “I mean, the witness saw Lansing. If he leaves the house—”

“That’s a good idea,” Taggert said before Capelli could snarl at the uniform. “Good clear thinking, Rodriguez.” He looked at Morgan. “I saw her, too, Morgan. He’s guilty as fuck.”

“Taggert,” Capelli began.

“He did it. I don’t know how. But she consented to a search which gave us nothing. And she refused medical treatment, didn’t she?” he asked Bobbie.

Bobbie sighed, and Emily just folded her arms with a scowl.

“Rodriguez, you stay here until the end of shift—we’ll bring someone to relieve you—”

“I’m fine. I’ll work a double. I’ll stay all night if I have to.” Rodriguez lifted his chin. “I—I didn’t like how she looked, sir. If she changes her mind—”

“A patrol car should be right outside.” Taggert nodded. “Okay. Let’s get down to the station and figure out what’s next.”

Jason met the rookie’s eyes and, for the first time in his known life, felt a rush of gratitude for a cop. He’d listened to them. He knew Elizabeth’s condition. And the kid was going to stay.

And as soon as Taggert let him go, Jason was coming right back here to force her to go. He just had to pray she would be okay until then.

Lansing Home: Living Room

Her shoulders slumped when the door closed and she looked at Ric. “Why did he say those things?”

“What?” Ric said, with wide eyes. “You know I didn’t take Carly. I’ve been here—”

“About my pulse. My pupils.” Elizabeth went to the mirror over the fireplace mantel and scowled. She couldn’t tell now, but she didn’t doubt Jason for a moment. Still… “My eyes look okay—”

“He was lying to you,” Ric said gently. He moved behind her, put his hand around her shoulders, gently rubbing. “Trying to get you to leave me. You stayed. You believed in me.”

He leaned down, brushed his lips against her neck, and it took everything in her not to flinch. Not to move away.

Because she didn’t believe Ric. She believed Michael. She believed Jason. And she knew…she knew something wasn’t right about tonight. It wasn’t the first time she had felt so fuzzy, so tired, and weak. She’d thought it was from the fall. The recovery. The deep sadness inside.

But maybe…

She had a job to do. She turned and managed a weak smile. “He was scared. Carly’s missing. And Michael probably saw something in the dark that looked like you. Poor kid. He must be terrified.”

Ric nodded. “But the PCPD are involved, and you were right to let them search. I’m sorry I was so angry—”

“Well, now they know she’s not here.” She forced herself to kiss his cheek. “They can look for her somewhere else. I’m still not feeling well—I think I’m just going to go upstairs. Get some sleep.” She hesitated. “I’m going to sleep in the other room, though.”

“Elizabeth, I thought—”

“I’m just feeling sick to my stomach a-and you know I haven’t been sleeping well. You said you were getting up early to look for office space, right? I don’t want—” Elizabeth took a deep breath. She could do this. “You need your rest.”

“Okay,” Ric said, with a tilt of his head. “If you’re sure.”

“Very sure. Good night, babe.”

She kept the smile on her face as she turned away, as she climbed the stairs, and went into the second room. She wouldn’t sleep, but at least…she wouldn’t feel obligated to let him touch her again.

Not tonight.

This entry is part 20 of 21 in the series Bittersweet

Through this world I’ve stumbled
So many times betrayed,
Trying to find an honest word,
To find the truth enslaved,
Oh you speak to me in riddles and
You speak to me in rhymes
My body aches to breathe your breath,
Your words keep me alive

Possession, Sarah McLachlan

Friday, September 6, 2002

Jake’s: Jason’s Room

Elizabeth squinted at her textbook. “What made me think I wanted to major in business again?”

“You thought you should know what you were doing with Kelly’s.” Jason dropped a kiss on top of her head as he set coffee down in front of her. “Sorry—it’s from down the street.”

She wrinkled her nose. “Maybe Jake will let us have a hot plate or a coffee machine in here. You should look into it—”

“Maybe.” Jason sat across from her at the small table currently covered with textbooks, folders, and notebooks. “You don’t like coffee enough to worry about it.”

“You don’t have to like something to appreciate its benefits.” Elizabeth sipped the glorious caffeine. “After January, I won’t need it as much. I won’t have to schedule my shifts around my class schedule, and I think one of the benefits of being manager is I shouldn’t have to work opening. No need for coffee when you’re not dragging your ass out of bed at four-thirty.”

She hesitated a moment before asking, “Are you and AJ still meeting with your attorneys today?”

“Yeah.” Jason rubbed his temple with his thumb. “Yeah. Carly…should be served on Monday. Once I surrender guardianship to AJ…I’m out of it. She won’t have an excuse not to tell me.” He paused. “You still don’t like this idea.”

“Anything that gives Carly more of a reason to be angry with you is not my first choice, no. And you lose your leverage. As long as you control Michael’s custody, Carly has to pay attention to you. You give it to AJ…” Elizabeth shrugged. Picked up her highlighter.

“I know it’s risky. I know it might make Carly…go crazy. But it also might make her angry enough to let something slip. We have to change the situation.”

“I know, I know.” She bit her lip. “I just…I don’t want you to get hurt.”

He lifted a shoulder in a shrug. “I’ve survived Carly’s plans before.”

She sighed but said nothing more on the subject. Jason still had his blinders on where Carly was concerned. Carly had only been able to inflict emotional damage on Jason because Jason had never been the direct target, and he wasn’t taking that into account. But she had already voiced her worries and concerned. Jason had considered them but had ultimately decided it was worth the risk.

So, she managed a smile for him. “You have to go to the warehouse today?”

“Yeah, September is the end of the fiscal year, so Benny wants me to look at the books for the warehouse.” Jason eyed her. “You want me to look at Kelly’s records, too?”

“No,” Elizabeth muttered. “I’m smart. I can do it.” She wrinkled her nose. “Maybe you could double check them or something.”

When he just shrugged, she set her highlighter down. “What?”

“You don’t like managing Kelly’s,” Jason said after a moment. “And you hate your business classes.”

“So why do I bother with either?” Elizabeth asked her brows raised. “I needed something to do every day after I called off the wedding. I had really lost touch with my art, and I didn’t have anything else. I was afraid if I didn’t fill every hour of my day with something—I might be tempted to drift back.” She shrugged. “Bobbie asked me to take over Kelly’s. And Gia thought it might be fun to go back to school together. I’m not sorry I did it. And I’m excited to graduate. To finish it. And I know I’ve done a good job at Kelly’s.”


“But you’re right. It’s not really what I want to do. I was gonna talk to Bobbie about it…about maybe training Courtney or someone else so I could start focusing on art.” She bit her lip. “And then Carly came home.”

“Yeah.” He scratched his forehead. “Well, that…I don’t know what’s going to happen with that. But you should tell Bobbie. You know she wouldn’t want you to put your life on hold for her.”

“Yeah.” Elizabeth put the cap on her highlighter and closed her economics book. “Well, that’s a conversation for another day.”

Kelly’s: Alley

Jason followed Elizabeth to the back door, but before she opened it, he touched her elbow. “Hey…about this morning—”

Elizabeth turned back to him with a quizzical smile. “What? Kelly’s?”

“No.” He hesitated. “You…said we should ask Jake about…a hot plate or something.” Jason shifted, unsure why he felt nervous. He knew he wanted to make some changes, grateful that he and Elizabeth were on the same page after last week.

“Oh. I was just joking—”

“Yeah, but it made me think…” He took her hand in his. “It might be nice to have…good coffee for a change. And not always order out.”

“What, can you cook?” Elizabeth asked with a grin. “Because I can make a mean bowl of soup on the hot plate at my studio…” She poked him in the chest lightly with her free hand. “I bet Sonny taught you, didn’t he?”

“Yeah.” He grabbed her other hand, and then held both of them behind her back as he kissed her. She laughed against his lips as he backed her against the brick wall of Kelly’s back alley, deepening the kiss.

“What was that for?” she asked, her breath shallow as Jason pulled back.

“Just wanted to.” Jason slid a tendril of hair behind her ear. “What I was thinking is maybe we should find a place. With a kitchen.”

“You mean…live together?” Elizabeth asked. She bit her lip but smiled. “You could always move into our place. I bet Gia—”

“Yeah, I want live downstairs from Taggert,” Jason replied with a grin. “Elizabeth—”

“No, I think—” She hesitated. “I like it. Let’s talk about it. You’re coming by after you and AJ meet with the lawyers, right?”

“Yeah.” Though he shared her concerns that this wasn’t the best way forward—no one had had a better idea when they’d talked about it earlier that week. And he still had an itch between his shoulders at the thought of going to AJ with problems and working together to solve them.

He wondered if that was what was to really have a brother. A person you didn’t like one hundred percent of the time, respected sometimes, wanted to slap upside the head for being an idiot most of the time, and yet…turned to for help when you needed it.

“Well, you owe me a rain check on driving…” She pressed her lips to the corner of his mouth. “So, I’ll take it tonight, and we’ll talk it over…but…” Elizabeth licked her lips. “I like it. We already spend all our time together anyway. Might be nice not to pay rent on a place where I barely live anymore.”

He laughed, kissed her again. “I’ll see you tonight.”

“Mmm, I love you.”

“Love you, too.”

Kelly’s: Courtyard

Elizabeth grimaced as she saw Carly sitting at a table in her section. That’s what she got for trading the opening shift with Penny.

“Carly,” she said with a wary smile, digging a notebook out of her pocket. “What’s—” And then she looked at the blonde for the first time since their encounter the Sunday after she’d blown up all their lives.

Carly looked like shit. Her eyes were red, her makeup nonexistent, her hair drawn back into a ponytail—Elizabeth wasn’t entire sure she’d seen the woman not look perfectly put together.

“Tell me about the custody problems Jason had,” she said softly, her fingers clutching the empty water glass like a lifeline. “Why did he agree to give AJ custody?”

Elizabeth sighed, and then sank down into a chair across from her. “Carly, you should talk to Jason about this—”

“He’s so angry with me,” Carly murmured. Not meeting her eyes. Her red nails were chipped. “I’ve never seen him so angry. Not even when I slept with Sonny. When I went to the Quartermaines. I see him now, and it’s that look—it’s not even hurt. It’s just…anger.”

“Okay.” Elizabeth set her order pad and pencil on the table. “Jason couldn’t get back for almost a week. By that time, the Quartermaines had already started circling Bobbie. Not AJ—it’s important that you know that. AJ told me, and he told his family, that he would not go after Michael’s custody right away.”

Carly raised her eyes. “What? Why? Wouldn’t—Jason wasn’t there—”

“To disrupt Michael’s life in that way when he was already grieving you,” Elizabeth said slowly, “was something AJ didn’t want to do. I’m not going to pretend it was his conscience entirely making that decision. He had an attorney advising him to wait as well. To go after Michael before his legal guardian could take stock of the situation—it wouldn’t reflect well. So, yeah, AJ waited.”

“It wasn’t…” Carly closed her eyes. “You said Mama grieved.”

“She went to the PCPD every day for a week. The Coast Guard wouldn’t search after the first few days. The currents were too strong, they told us. But Bobbie convinced Mac to keep looking. And Sonny offered money if they wanted to do private searches. But…. based on what we knew about the location of the accident—it’s where Brenda’s car went into the lake.”

“I—” Carly cleared her throat. “I remember. I think they said it would be impossible. With—with how deep the lake is there.”

“Her car would have been swept out towards the St. Lawrence.” Elizabeth rolled the pencil between her fingers. “You know how Bobbie gets. She started to throw herself into the details. Into dealing with your estate. Into the memorial service. Anything she could do to occupy her brain. Lucas and I took care of Michael the first week because she wouldn’t sit down long enough. If she did—she wouldn’t be able to breathe.”

Carly nodded. “Okay. Then what happened?”

If Carly wanted a blow by blow—if this would help—Elizabeth just shrugged. “Jason came home. And then your will was read. Alexis told him his chances in court were just…awful. He was probably not going to win.”

“Why?” Carly demanded, her eyes fierce now. “That’s stupid. AJ gave up his rights. So, it shouldn’t have mattered—”

“And that’s how Jason saw it at first, too. AJ wasn’t in the picture for him. He had this promise to you, and he wasn’t convinced AJ was good for Michael.” Elizabeth bit her lip. “But it wasn’t that simple, Carly. AJ didn’t have his rights taken by the court. He surrendered them voluntarily.” Her lips twisted. “Or so the court is concerned. Jason is Michael’s uncle, but he was also the reason AJ wasn’t in Michael’s life from birth. His lie was part of it. And Jason actively worked to keep them apart.”

Carly huffed and sat back. “So, the court would have thrown the book at him for it,” she muttered. “That’s fucking stupid.”

“Maybe. But that’s how the court would have seen it, Carly. And if Jason had a prayer of winning, he’d have to drag Michael to therapists. He’d have to talk to lawyers and judges and counselors. He’d already lost you, and to do that to him, and not be guaranteed anything—do you have any idea how much that broke his heart?”

“Maybe,” Carly murmured. “Then he should have taken Michael and left—” Her eyes burned. “He wouldn’t leave you.”

“I was not a factor in this, Carly,” Elizabeth retorted. “We weren’t even dating at the point most of this was happening. The truth of it is, Carly, AJ is not the villain you think he is—”

“He killed my baby!”

Elizabeth sat back. Waited a moment. “I won’t pretend I understand that pain, Carly. I don’t. I know what it is to lose someone you love, but I can’t imagine it holds a candle to the loss of a child.”

A tear slid down Carly’s cheek. “It was his fault. It is. He pushed me…” Her voice faded, and she looked away. “I wanted him dead. But Sonny wouldn’t let me. So, I had to settle for taking Michael away. Keeping him safe.”

“And punishing AJ for it forever.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Carly said, lifting her chin defiantly. “But, yes. Why not?”

“Because AJ didn’t push you—”

You weren’t there—”

“But other people were,” Elizabeth said gently. “And no one else tells the story that way. I get it, Carly. I get why you blame him. You have to blame him. It has to be his fault completely. Because it’s the only way you can get past it. But it doesn’t change the fact that he didn’t push you.”

“You don’t understand—” Carly shoved to her feet. “It is his fault. And now he has my little boy—”

“He’s been sober a year, Carly, but Jason was worried. He signed an agreement that kept him in control. AJ only saw Michael when Jason said it was okay. They talked to therapists. AJ and Michael went to a counselor. They started with supervised visits. Last week? It was the first full week after three entire months. Jason did everything he could to protect Michael, and AJ agreed every step of the way to let Jason keep that control. Because Michael came first for both of them.” Elizabeth pushed to her feet. “Can you say that for yourself?”

“Excuse me?” Carly demanded.

“Have you ever put anyone but yourself first?”

“How dare you—”

“Were you putting Michael first when you slept with Sonny and ruined his family at the Quartermaines? When you forced AJ to give up his rights in the first place? When you ran away for five months?” Elizabeth retorted. “When you came home and refused to tell anyone what the hell was going on? Did you put Michael first when you tried to seduce Jason last week?”

“Oh, that’s what this is about.” Carly flipped her hair over her shoulder and that arrogant light was back in her eyes. “You’re just mad because I tempted your boyfriend. You worried?”

“Not in the slightest, Carly.  If Jason wanted you, he’d have you. And you know that. I am not the reason you don’t have Jason.” Elizabeth jabbed a finger at her. “That’s on you. You destroyed any chance you ever had with Jason, and you hate me because I’m the one he loves. That’s not my fault. None of this is my fault.”

“I don’t even know why I bothered to ask you anything—”

“Because you know I don’t give a shit about you enough to lie.”

Elizabeth’s words stopped Carly as she started to storm out of the courtyard. “What?” Carly asked, whirling around.

“You thought your mother would sugar coat it. Make AJ into some kind of sympathetic hero. Or absolve Jason of something. Because she loves you. And Jason would take the blame all on himself. You know I don’t care enough to do either.”

Carly pressed her lips together and looked away. “I had my reasons for what happened.”

“And that’s great. I don’t care about your reasons, Carly. They’re not my problem. What matters to me is Jason, Bobbie, and Michael. They’re my family. And you destroyed them. Right now, you have the two people who love you—who genuinely grieved your loss—you have them thinking you did it on purpose. That you faked your death to get Jason’s attention or something.”

“Yeah, everyone loves to make me the bad guy,” Carly muttered.

“And I’m not saying it’s not something you would never do,” Elizabeth said. “But I know how much you love Michael. And how much you loved that club. And your car. You never would have sacrificed all three of them to make a stupid point.”

Carly’s eyes were wet with tears when she met Elizabeth’s eyes. “I didn’t fake my death.”

“I’m not the person you should be telling.” Elizabeth gestured in the direction. “You should tell Jason. Because whatever trouble you’re in, he can fix it. More than that, he wants to fix it. So just let him.”

Corinthos & Morgan: Warehouse

When one of the guards told Jason Carly was there to see him, Jason almost told him to send her away. Having made the decision to surrender guardianship to AJ, Jason really didn’t want to go another round with Carly.

Particularly when he was almost convinced that she would never tell him what the hell was going on, and he wasn’t interested in keeping his life on hold to fix hers anymore.

He’d wanted to take a few days with Elizabeth before her classes started. He knew that she and Gia had been saving for a vacation for that week all summer, and Jason had planned to surprise them both with a week on the island. He could have gone to Puerto Rico to do some business, giving them time alone.

But Carly had come home, and none of them had left. Gia Campbell would never be his favorite person, but she’d proved to be the kind of loyal and devoted friend Carly had always claimed to be, and she’d stayed home with Elizabeth.

“Jason?” Max asked again with raised brows. “You want me to get rid of her?”

He sighed.  “No.” Jason waved his hand. “Let her in.”

He’d tell her in person what he was planning to do. Maybe the shock of it—

But then Carly came in, tears stained her cheek, her hands were trembling. “I can’t—I can’t do it.”

“Okay.” Jason got to his feet and steered her to one of the chairs in front of the desk. “Can’t do what?”

“I can’t do what he asked. I can’t. I’m so mad at you, Jase. So angry. But not that angry. I’m not. I can’t ever be that angry.”

With a sinking feeling, Jason sat in the chair next to her. He’d been right. Someone had orchestrated this. “Who asked what? Let’s…start at the beginning.”

“Elizabeth was right. I loved that car.” Carly’s lip trembled, but she swallowed hard. “I was just…I was driving the cliff roads. You used to talk about your bike a-and I hated that stupid thing, but I loved taking those turns in that car. Sonny hated that car, but I loved it—”

She pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes. “I don’t—I don’t remember the accident. Just—there were bright lights. And then pain. And then nothing. I don’t know if the car went into the water. God. I don’t know if I went into the water. I just—there was an accident, Jase.”

Bright lights. Maybe headlights. “What is the next thing you remember?”

“It’s hard…I feel like…” She bit her lip. “I think I was kept drugged. I don’t know. You know that feeling when you just drift? You can’t…you can’t wake up. You can’t open your eyes. You just…drift. You tell your body to move and it just ignores you.” She sucked in another shaky breath. “I don’t know how long that…that lasted. I just don’t. But um, when I was conscious—I thought I was in a hospital or something. A nurse told me—she told me I was in Canada. Toronto. But I think—”

“That was a lie,” Jason told her gently. “The PCPD looked in all the hospitals in the region. Sonny and I did, too. And then we looked a second time when you came home. No one with your description was admitted and then wasn’t accounted for.”

“Okay. Okay. Um, she told me there was an accident. That I had been in a coma for a while or something. It was…I woke up two weeks before that night. I didn’t stay away the whole time, Jason, I wouldn’t do that to Michael.”

“I didn’t think so, either.” Jason hesitated. “I thought you might have…that you might have faked the accident, but not for so long. I thought whoever helped you kept you—”

Carly closed her eyes. “Yeah, I guess…I guess I haven’t given you a reason not to…think that. The shit I’ve pulled, Jase…I’m surprised your hair isn’t white.”

She dragged her hands through her hair. “Okay. Okay. So, then this guy comes in and he’s got this—he’s got these pictures. And this crap from the court. It’s AJ and Michael. And he’s telling me that AJ has my son. That Michael is living there. That no one misses me. And I’m like, that’s bullshit. I told him it was bullshit, Jase.”


“But he showed me the court records and photos from the Fourth of July, and you’re—you’re with AJ. And Michael is with them. And I was so angry—and then pictures of you and that stupid twit—” She closed her eyes. “Pictures of everyone laughing. Smiling. Like I didn’t matter.”


“I get it. I mean, I kind of get it. I understand mostly. It was months, right? April, May, June—July. Of course, life moved on. But it didn’t for me—” Carly pressed a hand to her chest. “I wasn’t dead. And I didn’t—I didn’t know it was faked. I just thought no one was looking for me—”

“A guy comes in with all this information and you didn’t think someone faked your death?” Jason asked skeptically. “Carly—”

“You know I don’t think,” Carly snapped. “So, I kept telling him it was bullshit and as soon as I got out of the hospital, I’d prove it to him. You were my best friend and you loved Michael. You would never do that to me.”


“So, he told me that that was the plan. That when I went home, I should see how much people missed me. And—and I could go home. But there was a deal. There was a catch—”

“You couldn’t tell me anything.” Jason leaned back in his chair. “It was a test, wasn’t it, Carly? If I had given you Michael right away, you’d have told me everything.”

“B-but you wouldn’t.” Carly’s hands fisted. “You refused. A-And I was so angry. And when I get angry, I just—I react. I tried to—I used Michael the way you hate. I knew you’d say no. But it was the last thing I knew to do. Nothing else was working.”

“And when I refused, what did this man ask you to do?” Jason said, but he had a feeling he already knew.

“He—he asked me if I wanted revenge.” Tears slid down Carly’s face. “And I did. I did. Until he told me what he wanted me to do. I agreed, but I was scared, Jase—I never would have—”

“What did he ask you to do?” Jason repeated, getting to his feet. “Carly—”

“There’s—he wanted me to get you to come to a warehouse tonight.” Carly also stood. “But I wasn’t gonna be there. He said he just wanted to talk to you away from Sonny, but I knew what he was asking. I never—I couldn’t.”

“Tonight.” Jason hissed under his breath. “When did he ask you this?”

“A few—a few days ago. I was still so mad. I didn’t want to do it, but I thought I would just ignore it all, but then he called me today and told me that he knew I hadn’t come to see you yet. He was watching me—watching you—”

Her eyes filled with tears. “So, I had to come to you. But I didn’t know what to do. How to deal with it. But—I wanted to know. I wanted to know what Elizabeth knew about AJ and Michael. She’s right. She doesn’t care enough to bullshit me. So, I get it now. I still hate what you did, Jase, but I get it. And I’m sorry, but—”

Jason held up a hand to cut off her rambling apologies. “Stop. When is this ambush? Because that’s what it is, Carly. You agreed to lure me into an ambush.”

“I wouldn’t do that!” Carly cried. “Except. Yeah. I did. But to stall for time. I didn’t—Tonight. At nine. At Pier 52. Jason—”

“Just stop.” Jason took a deep breath. It was almost four o’clock. They had time…time to set up something. A trap, maybe. To get at the bottom of all of this. “Did the man ever introduce himself?”

“No, but I know who he is. I’ve seen his face in the paper and his wife has come to my club. Mickey Roscoe.”

“Roscoe,” Jason repeated. He had to be working with someone. Could Nico and Roscoe have started to work together? They didn’t have evidence of that, but— “Okay. You can go. You’ve done your part, Carly. Go.” He hesitated. “Go talk to Bobbie. Tell her that you’ve told me everything, and that I’m satisfied. Tell her you were kidnapped. I’m sorry this happened to you, Carly, but damn it—” He closed his eyes. “Go talk to your mother.”

“I’m sorry, Jase—”

“Yeah, me, too. Now go. I’ve got things to do.”

She left with more tears on her cheeks, but he couldn’t spare time to think about that. He knew what had happened during those five months, but why was Roscoe’s first plan to take Jason out? What did that serve?

He strode down the hall to Sonny’s office, pushing the door open to find Sonny meeting with Benny. “We’ve got a problem.”

Kelly’s: Dining Room

Courtney returned from her break with a pensive look on her face and made a beeline for Elizabeth counting receipts behind the counter. “Hey. Have you talked to Jason today?”

“Not since he dropped me off. And he hasn’t called–” Elizabeth reached into her purse for her phone and cursed. “I left it at Jake’s. Damn it.” She looked at Courtney. “Why?”

“AJ just called. His lawyer said that Alexis Davis called him and canceled the meeting for tonight. He tried to call Jason, but—”

“It’s already five—” Elizabeth frowned. “They were supposed to meet in an hour—why would Jason—” She bit her lip. “Maybe something came up at the warehouse.” And wasn’t that a comforting thought? Why had she forgotten her phone today of all days?

She picked up the phone behind Kelly’s counter and dialed Jason’s cell. It went straight to voicemail. That did not make her feel better. She tried Sonny’s number. Nothing.

She furrowed her brow. What was Alexis’s office number? Had they been arrested? Should she call the PCPD to find out? Damn it.


Elizabeth met Courtney’s worried gaze and took a deep breath. “This is something that happens sometimes,” she said softly. More to herself than to her friend. “Things come up. A-and I can’t know about it until it’s okay. So, they’re not answering their phones. I just—I have to wait. Someone will tell me something soon. It’s how it works.”

“You okay?”

“Yeah.” Elizabeth cleared her throat. “There’s no reason to panic. This just happens sometimes. Jason had to go out of town once really unexpectedly, and he couldn’t tell me. I kind of freaked out a bit, and I felt stupid asking Sonny about it. So…this is fine. I’ll just…wait it out.”

Even as all her nerve ending were standing up and screaming that Jason and Sonny were never out of touch at the same time.

“I could cover for you if you want to go to the warehouse? Or to Jake’s to get your phone.”

Elizabeth hesitated, considered it, but ultimately shook her head. “No. No, it’s fine. Jason will probably stop by before closing and let me know what’s up.”

And if she went to the warehouse or to get her phone…it would be admitting something might be wrong. And she wasn’t ready to do that.