June 26, 2018

Unsurprisingly, Mad World won the Camp NanoWriMo poll, though it was really close — I think at the end only about five votes separated Mad World from Broken Girl.  As you might remember, I worked on Mad World for last year’s July event and finished a draft of it in September. It was an okay draft, but I had some ideas to really do something interesting with Elizabeth’s story and do more with the panic room storyline.

So my goal this summer to get that rewrite finished. To get the story through the panic room story, and then spend August combining last year’s draft with this year’s, and put together something you guys can read this fall.

Bittersweet should be returning sometime in July. I’ve written through Chapter 29 and plan to finish the last few chapters this week. I’ll keep you guys in the loop and I should have a return date sometime soon. Thanks for your patience there.

I should also return to updating Smoke and Mirrors either this weekend or next week. I’m still kind of working on a routine and it’s hard when my work schedule is all over the place.  Writing is back in my daily schedule but not always the way  I want it to be.

This year, during Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ll be tweeting about my progress and maybe even posting small snippets on Twitter. Follow the hashtags #crimsonglass and #cgmadworld to make sure you don’t miss anything if that’s something you’re interested in.

In extracurricular news, I’ve started a Summer Reading Project to boost my novel reading numbers. I’m rereading my favorite romance series and then reviewing them. Check out my personal blog for more information. I’m also writing a weekly post about how I would write current GH storylines, and I plan to add some other content later this summer.

June 15, 2018

If you haven’t voted in the poll yet to choose my Camp NaNoWriMo project, I decided to give some small previews. I have an entire chapter from Mad World, and an opening scene from For the Broken Girl. I’ve been writing Mad World longer, so I had an entire chapter. I had to write the scene for Broken Girl, that’s why there’s less.

Mad World – Chapter One

For the Broken Girl – Opening Scene

Please make sure to vote by June 26!

In other news, I started a GH commentary series over at my boring blog where I basically rewrite ongoing GH stories in the form of a plot sketch. It’s called If I Wrote GH, and I launched it with a recounting of how I would rewrite the gaslighting story of Carly and Nelle.

I’ll be back this weekend with some story updates!

 

 

Set in Summer 2003. Jason is marrying Courtney, Elizabeth is married to Ric and they’ve just moved into the house. Emily never came home in March with cancer. Most everything else is set up here.


Chapter One

It’s on your face; is it on your mind?
Would you care to build a house of your own?
How much longer, how long can you wait?
It’s like you wanted to go and give yourself away
Heaven forbid you end up alone and don’t know why
Hold on tight, wait for tomorrow, you’ll be alright
– Heaven Forbid, The Fray

Friday, June 19, 2003

Kelly’s: Courtyard

 Elizabeth Webber pasted a smile on her face as Georgie Jones set a plate of French toast and sausage in front of her, and then an omelet and wheat toast in front of her best friend, Emily Bowen-Quartermaine.

This was a happy day, Elizabeth reminded herself. Her best friend in the entire world was in town for a weekend, and Elizabeth desperately needed her cheerful and bright-eyed nature.

Except that Emily was rolling her eyes about the wedding she had come to town for and her idiot brother’s ridiculous choice of a second wife. Like he hadn’t made a terrible choice the first time, right?

Elizabeth managed a weak smile as she sipped her orange juice.

“Oh, ugh, I’m tired of talking about Jason being an idiot.” Emily cut up her omelet and waved her fork at Elizabeth. “You need to tell me everything you haven’t been saying over the phone.” Her best friend’s dark eyes peered at her. “Tell me about the new husband—and what is with this town and quickie marriages lately? Both my brothers got married and divorced before I could even find out where they were registered, and you’re married to a guy I’ve never met—”

“Oh.” Elizabeth smiled. “Ric is…he’s good. He’s a lawyer, you know. Um, criminal law. He was working for Sonny and Jason for a little while, but it didn’t work out.”

“Yeah, I bet.” Emily hesitated. “Listen, Mom—she called to tell me that you’d had a miscarriage. She was…she thought you might not tell me.”

Elizabeth sighed, put down her fork. “Yeah. I—I was pregnant. For about…” A brief shining moment. “I was about two months along, but I—I fell. And yeah.” She dropped her hands into her lap. “I’m okay.”

“Uh huh.” Emily pushed her egg around her plate with her fork. “You don’t have to talk to me, Elizabeth. No, cancel that.” She leaned forward, lowered her voice. “Look, I wanted to…I wanted to try and pretend for you. I know you want that. You want to stick your head in the sand—”

“Emily—”

“You think because I haven’t been home for two years that I’m an idiot?” Emily rolled her eyes. “A year ago, my brother married someone. Now, she’s marrying Jason and AJ is off in New Orleans trying to put his life back together. Plus, I distinctly remember my mother calling me last fall to tell me you were living with Jason—”

“Emily—”

“I didn’t press you for details then. I figured you want to talk about it, you’ll tell me. I didn’t want to butt in. God knows I did that too much with Lucky when he came home.” Emily pursed her lips. “So, I let it go. And I let you say nothing in phone calls. And say nothing in your letters and emails. When you bothered to send them—”

“Emily—”

“I come home, and you’ve lost weight. You look like you haven’t slept in weeks. You look miserable, Elizabeth. I know you just had a terrible tragedy, and I just—you don’t have to pretend for me.”

Elizabeth closed her eyes when Emily finally lapsed into silence. What could she say to her best friend? Why had Emily chosen this moment to finally…look at Elizabeth and see her?

“I am…struggling,” Elizabeth said finally. “I—I—” She hesitated. “I’m not going to talk about what happened with Jason. Or Courtney. I can’t.”

“Okay, but—”

“Ric is…” Elizabeth paused, searching for the right words. She didn’t want Emily to worry about her. Maybe if Emily weren’t going back to her summer program at UCLA in two days…maybe Elizabeth could feel free to say more.

But Emily wouldn’t be here.

And there were still some things Elizabeth didn’t want to think about.

“Ric is a choice made when I thought—when there was a baby involved. But I made it, and I can live with it.”

“You can live with it,” Emily murmured. “That’s not marriage, Elizabeth. You deserve more.”

“I deserve what I have for a lot of reasons. Don’t worry about me, Em. You’re here for a happy reason. You know, Jason is getting married, and—” Elizabeth stopped.

There were some things she couldn’t fake.

“Yeah, my brother is marrying his brother’s ex-wife.” Emily raised her glass in a mock toast. “Awesome sauce. Let’s drink to that.”

“Emily—” Elizabeth shook her head. “It was…complicated.”

“I don’t know how complicated it has to be since the ink on their divorce is barely dry,” Emily muttered. She stabbed a fork towards Elizabeth. “If I find out they were cheating on you and AJ—”

“Emily—it’s not…” Elizabeth shook her head. “It’s over now. That’s—it’s complicated.”

“Oh, my God. That’s what happened. Are you freaking serious? What the hell—”

“Emily, it wasn’t—like that. Not exactly.” Damn it. “Okay, listen. I don’t—yes, I was at the penthouse for a while, but it wasn’t about…I mean, Jason and I were—we weren’t really together. We…talked about it. But it just…it got derailed by other stuff. And I don’t know what was going on with Courtney. I don’t know. Maybe she was—” Elizabeth sighed. “It wasn’t that simple. Please, please, don’t bring this up to either of them. I already—I embarrassed myself enough when—”

Her eyes burned at the memory of confronting Courtney in Kelly’s. Going after her. The way Jason had defended Courtney had stopped Elizabeth from ever asking when it had actually started.

Wasn’t it obvious?

“Please.”

Emily sat back and huffed. “Fine. It’s not my thing to get pissed about, I guess. I’m just—ugh. I should have come back to PCU instead of transferring to UCLA—”

“And I missed you so much, Em. I can’t wait until you come back home in August.” Elizabeth reached across to take her hand. “And I love how much you love me. But Jason is your brother. And his choices matter. He…obviously loves Courtney. It’s—” It was the only explanation. “So please, tonight, be his sister. Not my friend.”

“Yeah, okay. But I’m still gonna be AJ’s sister, so I can’t promise anything.”

Elizabeth asked her a question about California and was able distract Emily for almost twenty minutes. She pushed her food around her plate and listened to Emily talk about college and how hard she was working.

“Oh.” Emily straightened. “Jason! Hey!”

Elizabeth closed her eyes as Emily got to her feet and rushed around Elizabeth—likely to hug her brother who had obviously come up behind them at some point.

Thank God it hadn’t been earlier.

She took a deep breath, gathered herself. She could do this.

She was good at this.

Elizabeth took her wallet out of her purse and tossed a ten on the table to cover her breakfast before standing and turning to flash a bright smile at Emily’s brother.

Jason Morgan stood there, looking much as he had the year before in a pair of blue jeans and a dark T-shirt. His arm was loose around his sister’s waist and he was smiling a little.

“Hey.” Elizabeth tucked her hair behind her ears as she slid the strap of her purse over her shoulder. “Congratulations.”

Jason’s smile dimmed slightly as he tipped his head. “Elizabeth. Hey. Um, thanks.”

“We were just eating breakfast—” Emily scowled. “Liz, why did you put down money—”

“Oh, I have to get going. I’m done anyway.” Elizabeth smiled again. “And I know you guys must want to catch up before things get crazy later today.”

“Yeah, but—”

Elizabeth managed to keep the smile on her face as she looked at Jason again, but their eyes met. Held for a moment. “I—I wish you happiness, Jason.”

“You don’t have to go,” Jason said, stepping forward, his arm falling from his sister’s waist. “You haven’t seen Emily either—”

“I know, and I’ve missed her, but—” Elizabeth looked at Emily. “You’ll be back in two months for good a-and you know, I’ve waited this long. I really do have to go. We just—” She swallowed. “We moved last week, and I haven’t really unpacked.”

And then the interest slid from Jason’s eyes at that reminder. She’d married Ric. A man Jason hated more than anything in the world.

“Congratulations and good luck tonight.”  And then Elizabeth hurried from the courtyard, not looking back.

Emily stared after her before looking back at the table. “She didn’t eat anything.”

“What?” Jason asked, frowning. “What—”

“We’ve been here for almost a half hour.” Emily gestured at their breakfast plates. Her own plate was halfway gone, but all Elizabeth had really done was cut her French toast into pieces. “She’s lost weight, did you notice?”

“I—” Jason nodded. “Yeah, I saw. She…she lost a baby a few weeks ago, Em. She’s probably not doing well.”

“Probably?” Emily arched her eyebrows. “I thought you were guys were friends.”

“Emily—”

“By the way, not that I’m gonna rain on your parade or anything, but you should know my loyalties are divided about this wedding.”

Jason closed his eyes. “About Elizabeth? Listen…”

“Who said anything about Elizabeth?” Emily asked, innocently. “I was talking about the fact you’re marrying AJ’s ex-wife. And hey, how solid are you that the divorce is legal? You know us Quartermaines.” She batted her eye lashes. “We lie.”

Port Charles Police Department: Locker Room

It was his first day as a police officer.

If anyone had told Lucky Spencer as a teenager that he would have worked his ass of in the academy to get to this point, well—he would have smirked and flipped that person off.

But he was here. Starting the next chapter of his life.

Lucky grinned when he saw the dark-haired New York native who had the locker next to him. “Hey! I didn’t know you were gonna end up here.”

His roommate from the academy, Dante Falconieri, flashed a returning smile as he buttoned the crisp blue uniform shirt. “Yeah, well, I was waiting on a few places. I wasn’t wild about going back to Bensonhurst and trying to pretend I had some authority. Most of my family would laugh in my face.”

“Cruz is starting today, too,” Lucky said, with a nod. He tugged his t-shirt over his head and tossed it in the locker. “I got assigned to Major Crimes with your cousin.”

“My cousin Vinnie?” Dante said with a wicked grin. “Good luck. He’s an asshole. I’m on patrol with some guy who looks like he ate his weight in donuts.” He frowned slightly.  “Where is Cruz? He better not be late on his first day—”

“Oh, he’s got a later shift” Lucky shrugged. “Jason Morgan is getting married tonight, so I guess they’re…I don’t know, worried about it.” He snorted. “Glad I don’t have that detail.”

And hoped he wouldn’t be asked to work any case with people he’d known once. The whole point of this job was a new start. A new life.

“Yeah, I do not hear good things about the Organized Crime Unit.” Dante laced his shoes. “But, hell, no one stays at the PCPD for their entire career. You put some time in the streets, get some experience and then go somewhere where the senior officers aren’t a bunch of idiots.”

Lucky unpinned the badge he’d been issued the week before after his orientation and then clipped it to his breast pocket.  “I mean, if Taggert, Capelli, and your cousin can do it—” He shrugged. “Hey, how hard can this be?”

District Attorney Wing, Municipal Building: Scott Baldwin’s Office

 

Over a cup of coffee, Scott Baldwin perused the list of new recruits Commissioner Mac Scorpio had sent him earlier that day. A grant from the state had allowed them to hire three new police officers, but they’d had to be pulled from the ranks of the local police academy.

Scott’s eyes fell on one name. Lucas Lorenzo Spencer, Jr. Assigned to Major Crimes under the supervision of Detective Vincent Esposito.

“So, he really did it,” Scott murmured. “I’ll be damned.”

“Mr. Baldwin?”

He glanced up to find his secretary standing at his door, an expectant look on her face. “What is it, Barb? Did I forget an appointment?”

“Your 9 AM meeting with Kelsey Joyce for the Major Crimes division—”

“Right, right.” Scott turned away from his computer monitor and the email and rose from his desk. “Bring her in.”

“He’ll see you now,” Barb said as she turned back to someone outside. She stepped aside, and a young brunette entered, dressed in a slim black pencil skirt with a black blazer over a cotton candy pink skirt.

“Mr. Baldwin,” Kelsey Joyce said, flashing a bright smile. “It’s nice to see you again.”

“Kelsey,” Scott said, extending a hand. “I don’t think I’ve seen you since you graduated high school, though that wasn’t so long ago, huh?” He gestured for her take a seat at the small conference table. “How’s your mother?”

“She’s good.” Kelsey sighed. “Still misses Dad. And she said thanks for taking me on here—with Lee and Gail so nearby, she won’t worry about me as much.”

“Gail is always looking for someone to worry about, so she’ll be happy to add you.” Scott sighed. “I wish I hadn’t lost touch with your father. He was a good man. Always encouraged me to follow my conscience. I usually ignored him, but sometimes, you know I still hear him in the back of my head.” He smiled at her. “He’d have been proud of you. Graduating high school at sixteen, passing the bar at twenty-three. His brilliant daughter.”

“Well, I hope I can live up to him.” Kelsey folded her hands in her lap. “Your secretary said I’d been assigned to Major Crimes—”

“Yeah, yeah. We had, um, a meeting with the mayor last month—the commissioner and I are old friends and we work closely together. It seems the mayor’s office is unhappy with the lack of priority Major Crimes gets—”

“Well, it’s Port Charles. You share a water border with Canada.” Kelsey shrugged. “I understand that organized crime would take precedence—”

“And we’re not taking our focus off that, but we’ve been having trouble keeping officers at the PCPD. Frustration over those priorities. Feeling neglected. We need to do more for the rest of Port Charles. I promised I would do more when I got elected.”

“Okay. So, is that where I’ll be working?”

“I’m going to assign you to work as liaison with the PCPD. Just to get your feet wet. Get to know the players. Let me know what resources we need. We only have one another attorney assigned to Major Crimes—Danielle Simmons—but she’s on maternity leave.”

Kelsey blinked. “Wait. Does that mean I’m basically—”

“For the moment, yeah, you’re basically running Major Crimes.” He sighed. “I told you. We’re crap at priorities in Port Charles.”

Kelly’s: Dining Room

Ned Ashton leaned back in his chair, then shifted uncomfortably. “Brooke, I know you’re not happy—”

His nineteen-year-old daughter rolled her eyes and huffed. “Oh, yeah? What gave it away?”

“This is going well,” his younger brother, Dillon, said to him brightly. “I’m glad I canceled my plans to be snarked for an hour, but you know I got a busy day ahead of me to be yelled at by anyone else—”

“Who invited you anyway?” Brooke Lynn retorted. “Nothing is gonna make me okay with being stuck here in this back water with a bunch of hicks when I could be at home—”

“Where you were failing out of Columbia?” Ned asked. “Getting arrested?”

“Oh, God. It wasn’t that bad. I was just with some friends—”

“Who were shoplifting.”

“One bottle of wine.”

“Your mother and I decided you needed a change in scenery—”

“Do you need me for this?” Dillon asked, leaning forward. “Because, seriously, I could go.”

Ned glared at his brother. He’d brought the idiot along because Dillon was only a year older than Brooke. He was supposed to be the mediator. He was supposed to speak Brooke’s language.

But no one spoke Brooke’s language clearly, and Ned was obviously being punished for not being as hands on with his daughter as he would have liked.

“Brooke—”

“You and Ma sicced Grandma on me,” Brooke interrupted, her dark eyes flashing with irritation. “You know what she’s like. How am I supposed to tell her no? But I’m nineteen, Dad. You don’t get to run my life. You couldn’t even do that when you were supposed to.”

“Fair point,” Dillon said to her. “I got one of those, too. I met him once. When I was, like, ten. I think. Maybe I was nine—”

“Dillon,” Ned said, flatly. “Go away.”

“Gone.” Dillon jumped up and moved to the counter where his girlfriend, Georgie, was serving Maxie and Lucas Jones.

“I can make my own friends, you know.”

Ned sighed and reached for his cup of coffee. It had seemed like a good idea at the time to bring Brooke to Port Charles for the summer, to give her time to settle in and make some friends before transferring to PCU for her sophomore year.

But the little girl he remembered had transformed into a sulky young woman who wore too much eye makeup, too much jewelry, and too little clothing. He didn’t know this girl.

He didn’t know how to know this girl.

And he hated himself for letting Lois take the lead on raising her, and Lois for leaving him for no reason at all.

But Brooke was his daughter. And he had to make the effort.

“Alexis wanted to have us over for dinner this weekend. To celebrate finishing her therapy and getting custody of Kristina back.” Ned eyed Brooke. “Can you at least join me for that?”

“Yeah, I guess.” Brooke shrugged. “What else am I supposed to do? Go to the movies?” She rolled her eyes. “God, I miss New York.”

Ned rubbed the back of his neck and felt very guilty when his phone vibrated. He flipped it open. “Yeah?”

“We need to talk. Immediately.”

Ned grimaced at the sound of Faith Roscoe’s voice. This, he did not need. “I’m busy—”

“We need to discuss a few things. We’ve got a problem. You know where to find me.”

“Yeah, okay.” Ned closed his phone and slid into the pocket of his trousers. He dropped a twenty on the table. “I have a meeting—”

“Well, that took five seconds.” Brooke got to her feet. “Are you gonna take me back to the gatehouse or am I stuck here?”

“Dillon,” Ned said, twisting towards the counter. “Can you drop Brooke at the house—”

“I need a car. This is never gonna work—”

“Oh, yeah,” Dillon said with a sigh. “That sounds like a great time. Let me just stop my life and take care of yours.”

“Great. Thanks. You’re the best brother.”

Queen of Angels: Chapel

Carly Corinthos grimaced at the floral arrangements alongside the pews down the aisle. “I thought these were supposed to be yellow?” she said to the wedding planner.

“They were,” the woman said with a harassed smile and clenched teeth. “But the bride called last week to change them to pink. Said money was no obstacle.”

“Oh.” Carly frowned and looked back at the tulips. “We didn’t—All right, it’s not my wedding, I guess.” She signed the last piece of paperwork from her. “All right. I guess that’s everything until later tonight.”

She dismissed the wedding planner from her mind and went to find Jason, so he could take her back to the penthouse where she’d arranged several hours of massages, hair dressing, and makeup before the ceremony at seven that evening.

She found Jason in the anteroom going over the final security arrangements with Father Coates. She hung back until Jason had shaken the priest’s hand.

“You ready to go?” Jason asked.

“Yeah, everything is fine here.” Carly smiled at the priest who had performed her wedding the year before and then followed Jason into the courtyard.

She wound her arm through his as they made their way to the parking lot, bouncing a little on her feet. “I can’t believe you’re getting married tonight, Jase! It feels like you just got engaged.”

“Yeah, it does.”

Carly slid a look at him under her lashes as they approached the SUV Jason had driven them in. “You know, I know you’re stoic and everything, but it’s okay to be excited. You’re getting married.”

“I know.”

She put out a hand to stop him from opening the passenger door for her and looked at him.

He looked like he always did. Spiky brownish-blond hair, average height, clad in his usual jeans, a t-shirt stretched over a muscled chest.

But there was nothing in his eyes. No excitement, no interest. Just…nothing.

Jason had never been a man prone to much expression, but if you wanted to know how he really felt about something, you looked him in the eyes.

“Jase…” Carly bit her lip. “Listen, I know—” She turned to face him, and he just sighed. “I know maybe it was possibly my idea for you to propose—”

“Carly—”

“And maybe I encouraged you to ask Courtney out, but that was just because I didn’t want you to get back together with Elizabeth, and you know she doesn’t get you anyway. I mean, God, she married Ric after everything we told her about him. If that doesn’t—”

“Emily is here for the wedding,” Jason interrupted. “And she doesn’t like Courtney. I met her for coffee this morning, so—”

“Oh.” Carly closed her mouth. “I guess that makes sense. I mean, she’s probably the last person in the world that likes AJ, so I guess you marrying his ex-wife…” She shrugged. “Are…are you sure that’s it? I mean, look—if you’re having second thoughts—”

“I’m not.” Jason brushed her hand away from the door and opened it. “I asked Courtney to marry me. You’re right. She’s Sonny’s sister. She understands what I do. I knew what I was doing when I asked her. And that’s it.”

“And you love her,” Carly said with a smile she didn’t feel at all. “So, okay. Let’s go back to the penthouses so we can get ready.” She leaned up to kiss his cheek. “In five hours, you’ll be a married man!”

This time, Jason did smile at her.

But it didn’t change the expression in his eyes.

She climbed into the passenger side, and he closed the door after her. She’d done what she could—she’d given him an opening to tell her if anything was wrong, and he hadn’t taken it.

So, she’d do exactly what Jason had always asked her to do, and butt the hell out of it.

Lansing House: Living Room

When she had left breakfast earlier that morning, she had not gone home to unpack. Instead, Elizabeth had gone to her studio, turned on the small television she had always kept there and wasted her day watching day time television and sleeping.

She couldn’t sleep at home, spent hours awake at night next to Ric. Next to her husband.

Wondering what happened to her life.

How she had ended up married to a man she didn’t love any more than the one she had left at the altar.

So, she spent her days at her old studio, pretending to get ready for a one woman show that Ric had arranged at a local gallery. Elizabeth kept pushing off the date, kept saying she wasn’t ready.

Since she hadn’t picked up a pencil or brush in nearly two months, it was unlikely she would be ready any time soon.

But she couldn’t keep ignoring her life. Couldn’t keep running away from her choices. Everyone else had moved on with their lives.

Emily was pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor, Nikolas was staying in London as Laura recovered from her nervous breakdown, Lucky had started a new career as a police officer, Zander had moved to New York for a job with ELQ, and Jason…

Jason was getting married.

Like she had.

It was over. It never really existed.

So, Elizabeth made a promise to herself. She would go home, and she would try to live the fresh start Ric wanted to give them. He had gone and bought a beautiful home for their new future.

He wanted to be with her. He wanted to be a better person.

So, at six o’clock that evening, Elizabeth opened the front door and accepted Ric’s kiss and the offer of champagne to celebrate their first week in their new home.

Set in April 2006. This starts after the virus storyline. A couple of things to remember about this time period: Elizabeth and Lucky are married. He was injured in the train crash in November 2005. In my version, Lucky remained off active duty. He’s not addicted to painkillers, but definitely relying on them. In February, during the virus, he was kidnapped and injected with the virus. He was later rescued by Jason and Carly, but it all held up his recovery and in early April, Lucky is still not on active duty yet.

Elizabeth is working at the hospital; Emily is a four-year medical student who was just discovered to be dating Sonny. Jason and Sam are engaged, but Sam just lost her brother to the virus and found out Alexis is her mother. I think that’s all the background needed for this opening scene.


Early April 2006

General Hospital: Nurse’s Station

Elizabeth Spencer all but jumped out of her skin as her best friend dropped a pile of hard, plastic charts on the surface of the nurse’s station next to her. She sighed, put her pen down, and rubbed her eyes.

Another day. Another round.

“He’s gone too far this time, Elizabeth. It’s like he doesn’t even listen to me.”

Emily Quartermaine scowled as she jerked the first chart open and almost stabbed a hole in the paper with her pen nib. “He’s out of control. I want to know where the hell my brother went and what kind of bastard stole his life—”

“Hey.” Elizabeth slapped a hand over Emily’s chart. “Stop it.”

Emily blinked, looked at her. “Elizabeth—”

“I’m sorry, I just can’t listen to this again today, Emily. I just can’t.” Elizabeth sighed. “It’s the same argument every day. I don’t know—I can’t possibly imagine what your brother could have done this time, but I’m tired.”

“I’m sorry to bring my problems to you,” Emily snapped. “Since I thought you were my best friend—”

“I am—” Elizabeth closed her eyes. Took a deep breath. Dial it back, girl. “Look. I’m having a bad day. I didn’t sleep all that much, Cameron is sick, and Lucky—We had a fight before I left for work. So I’m sorry if Jason is having a tough time dealing with your relationship with Sonny. I really am. I know how much you love each other. But you know what—maybe it’d be nice if you asked how my day was going before you just started in again, okay? Because there’s nothing that’s going to change right now. You already know where I stand.”

Emily pressed her lips in a thin line and nodded. “You agree with my brother.”

“Not with the same amount of energy, but yeah, if I think if Jason is warning you off—something that is incredibly out of character for him—then maybe you should listen.” Elizabeth turned back to her chart. “He’s not going to change his mind, Em.”

“He could,” Emily said, but her tone had dulled. “What’s wrong with Cam? Is he okay?”

“Yeah.” Elizabeth shrugged one shoulder. “It’s a stomach virus, and Lucky—he stayed at home with him because he couldn’t go to daycare.”

“And probably had to reschedule a rehab session for his back.” Emily picked her pen back up and the two returned to the charts. “I’m sorry. I really—I haven’t been thinking about you or Lucky. Or God, even Nikolas. I know he’s struggling.”

“I don’t blame you for that, Em.”

“You should. I’ve been selfish—”

“Your life turned upside down last weekend, I get that. You and Sonny were keeping this all secret, and then some stupid tabloid just blows everything up.” Elizabeth looked at her friend. “It must be hell having that out there like this. I know it’s been rough with your family.”

“I just—” Emily sighed. “I thought my brother would get it. That he’d be the one person I could count on. I knew you’d probably be against it—you’re not really Sonny’s fan—”

“I just—” Elizabeth bit her lip. “When Jason and I talked about it, I could just—I could see how he felt about it. And he convinced me. Have you listened to him?”

“He just talks about things that are ancient history and have nothing to do with me. Yeah, Sonny made mistakes. He wasn’t good to Brenda or Carly. I’ve got my own problems, too. You know what I did to Zander.” Emily’s eyes pleaded with her. “Jason is the only one who doesn’t see it my way. I mean, even Sam thinks he needs to lay off. Let us live our life.”

Elizabeth just wanted to be done with this conversation—there was nothing Jason could say to Emily to change her mind, nothing that Elizabeth could say.

And she knew Jason was standing alone in this. He’d hinted as much when they’d run into each other at Elm Street Pier a few days earlier. They’d sat on the bench and talked like they once had, and she’d been the one to bring it up.

Because she had been concerned that Jason was stepping in, trying to control Emily’s life. It was so the opposite of the man she’d once been friends with that she just—she wanted to understand it.

“I know you don’t really support me, Elizabeth, but you get that it’s my decision to make—”

“I get that you’re Jason’s sister, and it’s hard for him to look away from that. You know he’d cut off his hand to make you happy—”

“He doesn’t need to do anything that drastic,” Emily said with a roll of her eyes. “He just needs to accept I am old enough to live my life and let me do it. You know he’s always listened to you. If you run into him again—”

And be someone else who didn’t support him? Elizabeth silently rejected that notion. Jason had said something about Sam thinking he was overreacting, that even Carly thought they should just let it burn out—that Sonny always moved on eventually.

There was no one on Jason’s side, and she couldn’t stand that. They were no longer the close friends they’d been only a few years earlier, but something in her wouldn’t let him be alone in this, to be the only one against it.

Maybe it was her heart trying to remind her of all the times she hadn’t stood by him, hadn’t believed in him.

“I can’t make any promises,” Elizabeth murmured.

Emily opened her mouth but then closed it immediately. Her lower lip quivered, her cheeks drained of color. “What the hell—”

Elizabeth turned to face the elevators and froze.

Pushing a yellow bucket across the linoleum as water sloshed inside, Manny Ruiz ambled towards them with a mop in his hand.

“Miss Webber. Miss Quartermaine.”

The psycho murderer returned to his chore as if nothing was out of the ordinary.

“W-What—” Emily breathed, but Elizabeth couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t move.

Everything was cold. Her skin prickled. The man who had kidnapped her—who had forced her to escape from him—who had threatened to kill Patrick Drake and Jason Morgan in an operating theater—

Who had orchestrated the train crash that had devastated Elizabeth’s husband and killed several people—

Was mopping the floors of General Hospital as if nothing had happened.

“Who would hire him?” Emily said, the words leaving her mouth barely audible. “Who would hire him here? Where he—” She swallowed, her hands shaking.

“I knew that Alexis and Ric got him off on the charges, but why—” Elizabeth shook her head. “Why didn’t he leave? Why is he still here?”

“That’s a damn good question,” Epiphany Johnson, the charge nurse for the surgical ICU, snapped as she stepped up into the hub at the nurse’s station. “Hasn’t he terrorized us enough? Has anyone talked to Drake Junior about this hire?”

“He’s going to wish he’d stayed in New York.” Emily rubbed her hands up and down her arms, shivering. The three women watched as Manny worked his way down the hallway, methodically sweeping the mop back and forth.

“I thought he’d go back to Miami,” Elizabeth said. “But I guess with his father and brother gone—” She swallowed. Looked at her watch and swore. “I have to go. I promised Lucky I’d be home on time so he could go in for a shift.”

“He still on desk duty?” Epiphany asked as Elizabeth hurriedly organized her paperwork.

“Yeah, and he hates being late—he already had to switch his rehab and second shift so he could stay with Cameron so I have to be home by two so he can make the third—”

Elizabeth didn’t even bother to complete her sentence as she rushed out of the nurse’s station.

“I worry about that girl,” Epiphany murmured, her dark eyes following the nurse.

“It’ll be okay once Lucky gets back into the field,” Emily said with a confidence she didn’t quite feel. She might have spent the last few weeks sort of oblivious to the people in her life, but she knew Lucky and Elizabeth had been struggling.

Lucky had been on desk duty since his back injury during the train crash, and he’d been short-tempered and cranky since. He hated his rehab, hated being out of the action—and being kidnapped during the virus insanity and nearly dying had only set his recovery back.

But Lucky would be okay soon. And Elizabeth wouldn’t have to work so hard. The shadows would clear. And both her best friends would be happy again.

“And maybe Jason will jump for joy about me dating Sonny,” Emily muttered. So long as she was hoping for things that would never happen.

June 10, 2018

Hey! Thanks for voting so far. We’ve got almost 90 votes, but the voting between Mad World, For the Broken Girl, and These Small Hours is really tight. So I wanted to give those of you who voted for the other chooses, Fallen From Grace and Burn in Heaven, a chance to vote again.

All of these projects are still going to happen so if your preferred story doesn’t win this month, I will likely revisit it later this year for NaNoWriMo proper in November or the next Camp NaNoWriMo in April.

Story descriptions are still in the post below or click here to read them if you are following a link to this page.

June 5, 2018

Apologies! The first poll did not work for some reason, so I changed plugins. Please vote again — no vote was recorded. I am publishing a new post so that email goes out again. The poll is open until midnight on June 26 so that I’ll have a couple of days to outline the winning project.

 

Back in 2014, when I was winding down A Few Words Too Many, I asked for you guys to pick the next project I worked on. You guys picked The Best Thing, which only proves how smart y’all are since it’s literally the best thing I’ve ever written.

So here are five descriptions of the projects I’d like to focus on in July, during Camp NaNoWriMo. Read them over, and then select your favorite in the poll

MAD WORLD
Set in Summer 2003.
Elizabeth’s hasty marriage and tragic miscarriage shortly thereafter has the people in her life worried about her, including best friend Emily Quartermaine who’s back in town to attend her brother Jason’s wedding—to her other brother’s former wife.

When Carly Corinthos, five months pregnant, goes missing before the ceremony, Elizabeth’s husband is the primary suspect. Elizabeth is forced to confront some deadly truths about herself, the men in her life, her health—and even her own past.

Carly’s kidnapping is only the starting point. What happens when everything you thought you knew about yourself proves to be a lie?

FOR THE BROKEN GIRL
Set Spring 2006
Jason Morgan and Elizabeth Webber have always been friends, but it’s been a few years since they were close. That changes after Jason’s sister and Elizabeth’s best friends gets herself in deep with Sonny Corinthos, and Jason turns to Elizabeth for help. When supposedly reformed criminal Manny Ruiz gets a job at the hospital, Elizabeth looks to Jason for reassurance and protection. Their friendship is rekindled, but she’s married and he’s engaged. That’s where it starts and ends as far as they’re concerned.

A chance meeting at a spring carnival changes everything. A shot rings out, and Elizabeth’s cop husband loses his partner, and Jason’s fiancée suffers a potentially fatal injury. What happens next will destroy the futures they both thought they were building, and Elizabeth is left with more than her dreams shattered.

FALLEN FROM GRACE
Set Fall 2006
Almost on a whim, Robin Scorpio accepts Nikolas Cassadine’s offer of marriage and the chance to raise his son after the truth about the paternity is revealed. Elizabeth Spencer is rebuilding her life after her husband’s drug addiction nearly killed her son, while Jason Morgan goes to work at the WSB after a breakup with his fiancée. Patrick Drake attempts to recover his dignity after Robin leaves him for the Cassadine prince, while Emily Quartermaine doesn’t understand why everything had to chance so drastically. Lucky Spencer returns from rehab to start a private investigation firm with Sam McCall.

Eight people had their world turned upside down in the Summer of 2006. They rebuild it in surprising ways with surprising romances, affairs, and friendships. But nothing lasts forever in Port Charles.

BURN IN HEAVEN
Set Fall 2007
Sequel to A Few Words Too Many. Three years after Ric Lansing was dealt with and Faith Roscoe lit out of town, Elizabeth Morgan has moved on with her life. Now married to Jason with two children (Cady and Jake), Elizabeth is a hard-working nurse and co-president of the Stone Cates foundation. She has a healthy, thriving social life with a lot of friends and family. Sonny and Carly divorced, leaving her free to marry Jax and Sonny to enjoy a variety of relationships.

Faith Roscoe has never forgotten Sonny Corinthos, and her promise to destroy his life. When she finally decided to wreak her revenge, she teams up with another Corinthos enemy: Anthony Zacchara. Death, destruction, torture? These are only the beginning.

THESE SMALL HOURS
Set in Fall 2008.
After Kate Howard is shot at her wedding to Sonny Corinthos, her brokenhearted fiancé swears revenge on the man he holds responsible—the same man Sonny has blamed for every tragedy for over a year: Johnny Zacchara. Nurse Nadine Crowell has the misfortune of witnessing the violent shootout between the two men, and Johnny turns to a time-honored tradition in Port Charles to keep her quiet: marriage.

Jason Morgan agreed to take over Sonny’s organization, but his former boss isn’t going without a fight and the two butt heads over how to handle Kate’s shooting, the drugs in Port Charles, and the Zacchara family. Jason is also attempting to build a life with fiancée, Elizabeth Webber, and their two sons, after a car accident forces Jason to take their relationship public.

Between Sonny’s temper, Nadine’s penchant for getting into trouble, Anthony Zacchara’s insanity, and Claudia Zacchara’s fierce and deadly loyalty to her brother, the mob war in Port Charles is only getting started.

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Smoke and Mirrors

…. like I’m a complete whore…

The words hung between them. She’d thrown them at him like a grenade. There would be no pretending, no sidestepping around the reason they’d broken up almost a decade earlier.

Jason had never come to terms with that final day—those final moments. Elizabeth had been in his apartment for less than five minutes, her eyes dark with sadness, worry, and something else he’d never been able to understand. She’d looked at him, standing there with her cousin, Robin, and, and he’d asked her what was going on. She hadn’t answered.

She’d just shaken her head, turned, and left. He hadn’t gone after her. That was the last time he had seen her until now, though once or twice, he’d found himself looking for her on social media.

Jason took a deep breath. “That’s not what I meant,” he said, even though…it had been a little bit. If Jake—Christ, he had son! —had been born in May, he’d been conceived in August or September and Elizabeth had cheated on him in early September.

It was a logical question to ask.

He just couldn’t understand why it had been the first one out of his mouth.

So, he tried again. “You said you—you wrote to me.”

“Yes.” Elizabeth folded her arms, lifted her chin. There were no lines on her face, nothing in her physical appearance that belied her age. She looked as she had at the age of twenty-one—her chestnut hair maybe worn a bit shorter than he remembered. Her eyes were still deep blue, shadowed by secrets she’d never revealed to him. She’d always seemed older than her age, and that hadn’t changed.

“I never—I never got any letters. Did you send them to the garage?”

“It was the only address I had,” Elizabeth said tightly. “Are you telling me you never got the letters?”

“Why didn’t you call?” he asked, with a quick shake of his head.

“I did.” Elizabeth didn’t even blink. “The day Jake was born. Your fiancée answered the phone. I told her who I was, and she told me that you had proposed just after you got my first letter. That you were expecting a child together, and I wasn’t going to get any money out of you.”

Courtney. Jason exhaled slowly. “Elizabeth—”

“I still sent another letter, and another when Jake was a year old. But I didn’t call again.” Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “It’s not important anymore—”

“It is, but it’s not—it’s not about you. I’m sorry she did that to you. She was working at the garage and doing a lot of the administrative—” He lifted his hands. “I’m sorry, Elizabeth.”

“It was a long time ago.” Elizabeth looked towards the house. “I came home so you could—because things are different now and I can’t—but I—” She chewed on her bottom lip. Stared at him for a long moment, her eyes intent on his.  He felt a prickling sensation along his spine. “You really didn’t know about him.”

“No. You never told your family about him, did you?” Jason tilted his head. He’d never understood the way her family worked—Anna had raised three of them—Nadine from the age of five, and Elizabeth from fifteen. Nadine had seemed connected to Robin and Anna, but Elizabeth had always been separate.

“I haven’t spoken to them since I left.” Elizabeth slid her hands in her back pockets. “Look, there’s a lot we have to talk about, and I want you to know Jake. That’s why I came back. I just…I wasn’t expecting you outside my house today.”

He glanced down at the clipboard in his hand, trying to gather himself. “I wasn’t expecting—I want to know my son, Elizabeth.” He hesitated. He didn’t know what to say, how to ask for it. “Does he know about me?”

“No,” Elizabeth admitted. “I thought you…had rejected him. And honestly, it hasn’t come up. I’ve tried hard to be enough for them both.” She paused. “He’s quiet. Like you. He takes his time to get to know people, he studies everything for hours. It drives Cameron crazy when they play games, because Cameron has always lived in the moment and Jake wants to think through all the angles before he does anything.”

His throat tightened, and Jason had to look away a moment. He’d never thought of himself as someone who would have a family until he’d met Elizabeth and Cameron. He’d wanted that little boy, and maybe that had been part of the reason Elizabeth—why it had exploded. After Elizabeth, he’d wanted children. Had thought both times he had married it would be his chance—

“There’s a lot we have to talk about,” Elizabeth said gently as if somehow—she could see his thoughts. “There’s…I guess we should talk about what happened back then. Or at least why I left the way I did.”

“Elizabeth—”

“It wasn’t just because of—” Her eyes darkened. “It wasn’t just that. It was other things. Things I never told you.”

“Okay.”

“It just—it can’t be right now. I have to—the boys and I have a routine after school.” Elizabeth bit her lip. “But I guess you having a job next door is the sign I’ve been waiting for. I haven’t talked to my aunt, and I should.” She looked down at her hands—at her thumb for some reason before continuing. “Will you—can I come by the garage tomorrow?”

He didn’t want to walk away. Inside that house was his son. And the little boy he’d wanted to be his own. In front of him stood the first woman he’d ever wanted to marry and build a family with—and Jason wanted to stand here and demand all the answers. To just look at Jake one more time.

But he had a job to finish, and there was something in Elizabeth’s eyes—something that told him that the secrets she had kept during the year they’d dated—the truth of what had happened that last day they’d seen each other—

He wasn’t going to like any of it, and it was going to hurt her to talk about it. And the one thing that had never changed in the nearly eight years since they’d seen one another—he hated when she was sad. He’d never wanted to be the reason for it.

So, Jason nodded. “Yeah. Yeah, I’ll be around tomorrow. We’ll talk.”

He finished unhooking the truck in the neighboring driveway and left the bill in the mailbox. He watched Elizabeth’s house carefully, hoping he might catch another glimpse of any of the people who lived there, but no one came near the windows or stepped outside.

Jason climbed back into his truck and drove back across town—not to the garage—but to his sister-in-law’s nightclub where she would be preparing to open.

Caroline Jacks had married Jason’s older half-brother right out of high school. The marriage had lasted less than two years, and AJ Quartermaine had moved away from Port Charles. Carly had married three more times in the fifteen years since, but somehow—Carly had remained in his life though Jason was never sure why they were friends or why she was usually the person he turned to.

In her office, Carly had her cell phone in her hand, glaring down at it. “I’m not even dignifying that a response,” she snapped as she waved for Jason to close the door behind him. “There’s no way in hell I’m letting Morgan go to Switzerland over the holiday break just so he can meet your newest floozy.”

“Carly—” the exasperated voice of Carly’s second ex-husband, Sonny Corinthos, was a a familiar. One couldn’t be around the blonde without becoming irritated. “Kate isn’t a floozy—”

“Well, after Amelia, Claire, Ava, and Hannah, what do you expect me to think? You get Morgan for three days at Christmas in the state limits of New York. That’s what the custody order says. You don’t like it, you can take me back to court.” She pressed her finger down on the screen and tossed the phone onto her desk. “Jackass.”

Her eyes brightened. “Hey. What brings you by? You finally taking my advice and looking for the next Mrs. Morgan?” She wrinkled her nose. “I know it’s been a few years since you waded into the dating pool, Jase, but greasy uniforms—”

Jason sighed, shook his head. “That’s—I don’t know why I’m here.” He hesitated. “Do you remember Elizabeth Webber?”

“Oh.” Carly scowled. “Yeah. She’s the reason you crash landed on the Barbie. God, she was annoying. And if it hadn’t been for Princess Purity’s slutty cousin, she never would have been in my life.”

“You know, you complain that Spinelli never uses anyone’s real name,” Jason began, but then stopped. “I told you that I never really…understood what happened with Elizabeth.”

“No, you said that you asked her to move in, the moron flipped out, and screwed her cousin’s boyfriend.” Carly shrugged. “The only favor Dr. Twit ever did for either of us was tell you the truth, and thank God you never dipped your wick in that ink. She wanted it, though, you know. That’s why she ran right over to tell you about—”

Jason just stared at her, and Carly closed her mouth. “Right. So, was there more to the story?”

“I—I don’t know.” Jason paced the length of Carly’s office, crossed to the window that overlooked the parking lot. “Elizabeth never admitted it, you know. She came over, saw Robin—and then just left. She picked Cameron up from her aunt’s, and that was it. No one heard from her.” He stared down at his hands, at the grease that always seemed to be stuck under his nails. “Except apparently, Courtney.”

Carly furrowed her brow. “And? So, you’re doubting whether Robin—see I know her name—was telling the truth? If she was lying, why wouldn’t Elizabeth just say it? And why would she split? Why did—” She hissed. “Did she contact you? Is she here to see her aunt or something?”

“I’m not—” Jason stopped. He was beating around the bush—avoiding the truth. “She called and wrote to tell me she was pregnant. And I saw her today. I saw her sons.”

“Her sons—” Carly pressed her lips together. “And she says she wrote to tell you about the baby? I bet Bimbo Barbie shredded those letters. You saw both kids? Cameron and—”

“Jake.” Jason exhaled slowly. “And before you ask, yeah, I’m convinced he’s mine. I saw him. He looks like me.”

“All right,” Carly said slowly. “And I doubt she’d lie about it now when DNA tests can prove that. Your second wife found that out the hard way.” She scowled as she always did—after all, Jason’s second ex, Sam, had been the reason Carly’s second marriage had broken up. She tilted her head. “What are you going to do? Go to court?”

Jason shook his head. “There’s something going on that I don’t understand. Something that doesn’t make sense. I always knew something was going on with Elizabeth back then—that there were secrets. She was never close with her family even though Anna raised her. I never met her father—she never talked him about him.”

Carly pursed her lips. “I will admit that I almost liked her until she broke your heart and stomped all over it. You think maybe Robin was lying, and there’s another reason Elizabeth walked out?”

“I don’t want that to be true,” Jason admitted. If it was…then Elizabeth had come to him that morning for help, and he’d let her walk away. “Look, Elizabeth is going to be around now. Jake—he’s going to be here. I just want to be sure—”

“That I don’t go into attack mode?” Carly nodded. “Only because I know Robin hates her, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”