When I initially wrote Chapters 20-25, I had intended for Jason to decide to fake his death, a la Sonny in 2002. Sonny was supposed to tell Liz the truth but he lied to her, and Jason didn’t know Liz didn’t know. I ran into an issue with it because the more I wrote, the less I believed Jason would ever agree to the plan in the first place. At least, my Jason.
But I wrote A LOT of stuff using that story — I wrote about seven chapters. A lot of it got recycled, but some of it didn’t make the cut. Some of it was okay — I think the direction I decided to take the story is a lot better and gives me more options character wise. I think what I did with Sonny, in particular, was way more interesting and uses more of his history.
So the scenes in this chapter were cut reactions — Jason was supposed to be declared dead that night in September, rather than going missing as he did in the final version. The timeline was a bit more stretched out. I have more I can post after maybe…two or three more chapters. But this content is everything that got cut from Chapters 20-23, and takes place between September 6-12, 2002.
“You think Jason is going to take Carly’s side after all?” Courtney asked as she joined Elizabeth behind the counter. They were winding down the dinner rush—a rush that had lasted, for some reason, until nearly ten that night. The diner was filled with dock workers she’d never seen before and who had lingered.
“Courtney—” Elizabeth bit her lip. “I don’t know why Jason canceled the appointment. Didn’t he tell AJ he would explain everything later?”
“Yeah, but…sorry.” Courtney started another pot of coffee. “Sorry, I know you’re over all this Carly crap.”
“It’s not that. It’s—” she shrugged. “I’m going to trust that Jason has this under control. Besides, he’ll be here around midnight and he’ll tell me what’s going on.” She turned to include Gia in the conversation. “And…it looks like you’ll be living alone in the near future.”
“Jason asked you to move in with him?” Gia asked with raised brows. “We’ve forgiven him enough for this?”
“We’re going to discuss it. It’s a good step, Gia. And I’m excited. We’re not putting our lives on hold for Carly’s bullshit. We’re…we’re going to move forward.” Elizabeth’s smile bloomed into a full-fledged grin. “It’s the first time in almost two weeks I’ve felt…good about all of this. So whatever Jason has planned, Courtney, I’m not worried. I trust him.”
“Well, if you’re confident, then I am, too,” Courtney said with a nod. “Okay. Let’s talk about you and Jason living together. Because that is a good news and I want to enjoy it.”
Sonny stepped up to the door of the diner, peered through the glass windows, took in the scene, and then let his hand fall from the handle.
“Sir—” Benny put a hand on his shoulder. “You want me…to go in? Pull her aside? If she sees your face, she’s gonna know something’s wrong—”
“No.” Sonny cleared his throat. Forced the words out. “No. I—I, ah, I can do this, Benny. I can—” He looked at his business manager. “It should be me.”
Kelly’s: Dining Room
Elizabeth checked her watch before rolling her eyes at Gia. “How can you possibly be failing your class already? It’s been five minutes since the semester started.” She snapped her fingers as Gia ignored her question and concentrated on the newscast blaring from the television they kept behind the counter.
Courtney grimaced as the bell over the door rang. “If that’s another customer—”
But it wasn’t.
Elizabeth frowned as Sonny strode in, Benny Abrams behind him. Both men were a bit…more sober than usual. Were they looking for Jason?
“Hey, Sonny. Coffee?” she asked, moving towards the carafe.
They stopped in the middle of the room. And just looked at her. Sonny’s eyes dark. Worried.
“Elizabeth…” Gia murmured, as she straightened. “Hey. Let’s—” She stopped as a breaking news alert banner slid across the newscast. “Oh, God.”
“Sonny.” Elizabeth walked around the counter to meet Sonny halfway. She wouldn’t jump to conclusions, even as everything inside her started to scream. “What’s going on?”
“Elizabeth,” Sonny started. Then he stopped. Swallowed.
“Are—are you looking for Jason? He’s not—he’s at the warehouse—” Her eyes darted between the two men.
And behind them, she heard Gia swear. Heard glass shatter behind her.
“Jason is supposed to pick me up.”
Behind Sonny, Bobbie rushed in, Carly on her heels. “Sonny—” Bobbie said, throwing a hand up at Carly who began to speak.
Their faces were ravaged with tears.
“Jason is picking me up,” Elizabeth continued, but she already felt…outside of this. She was speaking, but she didn’t know how she was forming the words. “We’re going to move in together.”
Gia and Courtney stepped up behind her. She could feel them behind her, their warmth seeping into her. She was cold. Why she was so cold?
“There—” Sonny’s voice broke. “He was shot.”
Shot. Elizabeth could deal with that. “He’s at the hospital. I’ll—Gia, can you get my purse—”
“Sonny,” Carly managed, but Sonny turned and sent her a dirty look which shut Carly up.
Later…later Gia would relate these details to her, but at the moment…Elizabeth just stared straight ahead.
Because this wasn’t happening. Not again. Oh, God. Not Again. “No,” she said firmly. “He’s at the hospital. Is he in surgery?”
Sonny dipped his head, looked down for a moment. Took a deep breath. “He didn’t make it to the hospital, Elizabeth. They called me—”
“We heard it on the news, baby,” Bobbie said now, stepping forward. Stepping past Sonny. “It’s—real—”
“No.” Elizabeth shook her head. “No. No, no, no.” This was all a dream. Wasn’t it? Was it real? How was any of this happening?
She felt Gia’s arm around her shoulder. “Liz,” her roommate began. “Let’s—”
“I don’t believe it,” Elizabeth managed. Started forward. “I have to see him. I have—I don’t believe—”
Sonny took her shoulders, gripping them with his hands. “It’s not—he wouldn’t want you to—” His voice broke again. “The shot was to his—”
Elizabeth moaned. Swayed. She dipped again, but this time, Gia and Courtney got her to a chair.
“Sir,” Benny said, softly. “Sir, maybe this isn’t—”
Carly was sobbing across the diner, but Elizabeth couldn’t hear anything. Couldn’t breath. Couldn’t think.
Sonny knelt in front of her again. Had she gone back in time? Dimly, she felt her hair. It was still short. Not long. It wasn’t 1999.
The smell of smoke wasn’t choking her throat. There were no flames flickering in the distance.
So it must be today. How could it be today? How could any of this—
“Elizabeth, do you want a ride home?” His eyes were wet, his voice rusted. “What do you need?”
Need. What did she need? Did she need anything? She needed Jason.
Oh, God. Again. It was happening again.
“I’ll take care of it,” Gia said softly. “I’ll get her home—”
“If she needs anything—”
“I’ll close,” Courtney said to Bobbie, her voice thick. “But I need to get to—”
“Call Don. And Penny. You should both be—” Bobbie pressed a fist to her mouth. “You should both be with family. They’ll have seen the news—”
“Bobbie—” Sonny stood. Touched Bobbie’s elbow. “What can I do—”
“You’ve done enough,” Bobbie said shortly, dismissing him. “I’m sure you have other things you need to be doing.”
She, along with Gia, pulled Elizabeth to her feet, and Elizabeth followed. She couldn’t—she couldn’t breathe.
“Carly—” Bobbie looked at her weeping daughter.
“I’ll—” Carly swallowed. “I’ll find my own way home. Mama—”
But Bobbie and Gia were already through the door, Benny holding the door open to them as they gently guided Elizabeth out the door.
Sonny watched them go, his heart heavy. He hadn’t wanted any of this, but—he looked at Carly. Hatred mingled with disgust. “You got your revenge,” he said in a low voice. “You said you’d make him pay for taking your son.”
“You’re lying,” Carly said, brokenly. “He wasn’t supposed to—”
“Things don’t always go the way we plan, do they?” Sonny demanded. “Get away from me, Carly. You and I are done.”
Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room
Sonny sipped his bourbon, his hands trembling as he set the tumbler back on the mini bar. Behind him, he heard the door open and Max announce Benny Abrams had arrived.
“Benny.” Sonny turned. “What’s…what’s the word?”
“Well, it’s all over the news,” Benny said as Max closed the door. “Fucking vultures at WKPC didn’t wait more than five minutes before they headed to the Brownstone. Practically shoving cameras in Elizabeth’s face—”
“Benny.” Sonny hesitated. “They got inside okay, though?”
“Yeah, um, Bobbie got her inside. I called Bobbie, asked if she wanted any of our guys to keep the street clear. Asked about Elizabeth.”
“How—” he cleared his throat. Forced the words out. “How’s she doing?”
“Bobbie said she was doing as well as could be expected. She left her with Gia. Declined our offer to help.” Benny hesitated. “Sir, I work for you. I take orders from you, but—”
“I’m not…this isn’t how I planned it,” he murmured.
“It didn’t need—it didn’t need to be so public, Sonny. We could have taken her aside. Arranged for her to get home privately—”
“Benny—what’s going on with the guys? What’s happening on the street?”
“About what you expect. Grief. Turmoil. Worry. They think this is an escalation of problems we’ve been having. Some…confusion as to why Jason went to a warehouse by himself.” Benny sighed. “Oh, and…” He reached into his pocket. “The burner cell you wanted.”
“Thanks.” Sonny took it from him. Checked the time. “Cutting it close, aren’t you?”
“Isn’t that the story of the day?” his manager muttered as the phone vibrated in Sonny’s hand.
Sonny took a deep breath, flipped it open. “Hey.”
“Hey. Did it—” Jason’s voice was rough. “I saw some of the coverage from the safe house. They—the reporters are all over her. She looked upset. Did you get to her in time?”
“Ah, yeah. I got to her before she saw the reports.” Sonny looked at Benny, who just grimaced. “Everything went according to plan. Benny says there’s no doubts on the street. And…we just gotta lay low. I know you hate this plan, Jason. It’s just—it’s the only thing we had available to us with short notice.”
“Yeah, I just hate that my sister is going to have to—my grandmother. And Bobbie. Elizabeth is going to hate lying to all of them.” Jason paused. “I want to see her.”
“It’s not safe—”
“I didn’t get a chance to talk to her first, and this is a lot to ask. I just want—I want to see her, Sonny. Make it happen.”
“I will,” Sonny promised. “As soon as I can. But we gotta play it safe. No point in lying to everyone only to screw it up. Elizabeth is tough. She’ll get through this.”
Sonny hung up the phone and stared at it. “How long do you think I have before he isn’t asking but demanding to see Elizabeth?”
“If the reports keep looping that footage of her going into the Brownstone or they film her gong into any memorial service—” Benny pressed his lips together. “You didn’t lie to him, Sonny. But none of this is okay.”
“Benny, don’t—” Sonny closed his eyes. “I didn’t lie to him before either. I didn’t…intend to lie at all. But I got to Kelly’s, and it was full of dock workers. Men I damn well knew work for Mickey Roscoe. He put them there because of Elizabeth. They’re watching her. And her grief is going to convince them—”
“The logic makes sense, but Jason is not going to care about any of that. Sonny—”
“Benny, it’s done. Now let’s make it worth it.”
And with that, the disgruntled business manager left, and Sonny poured himself another drink.
Jason scowled as he glared at his phone. “Damn it, Elizabeth, answer the phone,” he muttered. “I won’t do it if she doesn’t know, Sonny.”
“People are going to be watching her—Roscoe isn’t working alone—”
Jason shook his head sharply. “You’re insane if you think I’d agree to do this and lie—
Sonny sighed and paced the length of the room. “I don’t like this anymore than you do, but she’d understand. She knows what you do—”
“She knows—” Jason bit off the words as he dialed the phone again. “I’m telling her, Sonny. Or this isn’t happening—she must have left her phone at home. Or at Jake’s. She never remembers to grab it from the charger. I’ll have to go to Kelly’s—”
Sonny snagged his friend’s elbow as he started out of the room. “There isn’t time. We need to nail down the details. We have an hour to get a hold of the guy at the hospital, to fake the scene, to arrange for paramedics—we have more important—”
Jason shrugged off Sonny’s grip, his eyes flashing. “If you think I am going to fake my death and not tell Elizabeth, Sonny—”
“I don’t like it anymore than you do, but this is the way we do things. Elizabeth damn well knows you can’t tell her what’s going on—”
“That’s bullshit, Sonny. You know there’s no one we can trust more than Elizabeth. After what she’s been through for us—after hiding me in her studio twice, lying to everyone then—”
“That was a small lie, damn it, Jason. She was half in love with you back then, and it was easy to pretend that you were sleeping together. I don’t think she can pull this off—”
Jason’s hands clenched in fists at his side. “I am not for one second letting her think that I am dead—Sonny, either I tell her what’s going on or no one is showing up at this meeting. It’s not negotiable.”
“If it were Brenda, would you put her through this?” Jason demanded. “You—” He paused. Swallowed. “You knew before I could admit it to myself. You know what she is to me. If I did this to her, if I put her through it, that’s it. She’ll never forgive me.”
Sonny waited a moment. “I think…I think you’re overreacting. She’ll be angry—”
“And even if she did forgive me, she’d never trust me again. And she’d be right not to. I love her, Sonny. And I’m not letting her think I’m dead. You can agree to get on board with this or you can go to hell and fix this bullshit on your own.”
Sonny looked away, took a deep breath, and accepted the inevitable. “All right. All right. But you can’t go to Kelly’s. As far as Roscoe is concerned, Carly did her part. We have to assume we’re being watched her. If either of us leave, we’ll be followed. You go to Kelly’s, pull Elizabeth aside, it’ll look suspicious—”
“No—” Sonny stopped Jason as he pulled out his cell phone again. “I’ll take care of it. I’ll go to Kelly’s. I’ll tell her before the media picks it up. Make it look like a notification—”
“No.” Jason shook his head. “That’s too risky.”
“I’ll look better this way. I’ll go to her after I’ve been notified. I’m your emergency contact. I’ll be called as soon as it goes into motion. I’ll get to her before the media is notified, I’ll pull her aside to give the news. It’ll make it look better.”
Jason hesitated. Doubt was in his eyes as he spoke, “Sonny—”
“Look, I get it—” Sonny pressed a hand to his chest. “You want her in on it. I made my argument. But you made it clear. Let’s do it in way that makes it look real. If she hears before I get there, it’ll be by minutes. She’ll understand if we tell her as soon as possible. Can—can we please settle the details—”
“Sonny.” Jason paused. “I’m trusting you.”
Sonny lifted the bourbon to his throat and swallowed it on gulp. Jason was right. If Jason lied to her, Elizabeth would never forgive him. So…Sonny had been the one to lie.
He just hoped like hell it was worth it.
Elizabeth & Gia’s Apartment: Living Room
Gia pulled open her door and grimaced. “Marcus, don’t take this the wrong way, but yours is, like, literally the last face I want to see right now.”
Detective Marcus Taggert sighed and nodded. “I get that, Gia. But I gotta talk to her. I figure better me than someone else—and don’t look at me that way. I’m not a monster.”
“That remains to be seen.” Gia stepped back to let her brother in. “You step out of line, and I am going to sue the shit out of the PCPD. I got friends. We know people—”
“Gia—” Elizabeth said from the table, where she sat in one of the chairs, her legs drawn up under her chin. “I know he has to talk to me. Detective,” she said with a tired sigh. “I get it. Let’s just get it over with.”
“I’m watching you,” Gia muttered as Taggert took a seat across from Elizabeth and drew out a small notepad and pencil.
“You know, she used to be my sister,” he said with a half smile. “I’d ask how you’re doing, but that’s a stupid question.”
“I’m…not okay,” Elizabeth admitted. “But I’m…breathing. That’s good enough for now.” She let her legs drop to the floor and leaned forward, ignoring the cold toast and coffee Gia had tried to feed her. “Go ahead and ask me what you need to.”
“All right. Let’s start with the easy stuff. When was the last time you talked to Jason?” he asked.
“Yesterday, just before eleven. I was working a double yesterday, twelve to twelve. But I wanted to come in early and do some paperwork.” Elizabeth sighed, rubbed her forehead. “So Jason dropped me off. He was going to the warehouse. It’s the end of the fiscal year—” Her voice broke. “I’m sorry. We just—we were talking about about the end of the year, about the books for the warehouse. He asked me if I wanted him to check Kelly’s things. To m-make sure I hadn’t messed up the math. He likes to tease me about—” She pressed her lips together. “Anyway. That’s the last time I talked to him.”
Taggert hesitated. “We pulled his cell phone records, Elizabeth. He made a series of phone calls to you yesterday afternoon. You—you didn’t talk to him—?”
Elizabeth sat up straight. “What? He called—”
But Gia was already standing up, looking inside Elizabeth’s purse for her phone. “It’s not in here—”
“I—” Elizabeth pressed a fist to her mouth for a moment. Oh, God. She could have talked to him one more time and she’d missed it. “I’m really bad at remembering to grab it sometimes. It’s…it’s probably—I left it at Jason’s.”
“Okay, okay. It’s not a big deal, Liz. We just…we want to nail down his movements. One of his calls connected—he must have left a voicemail. Um—”
“You want to listen to it when I get my phone.” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “God. Yeah, okay. Um, I can get it today, right? Did—did you need his room—”
“No, we did a quick look last night, but we know from experience Morgan wouldn’t have kept anything there. Especially—”
“Since I spent so much time there.” She twisted her fingers together. “What else?”
“Did…were you aware of any issues Jason has been having lately? Anything in particularly bothering him?”
She managed a half smile. “Other than Carly? I don’t know. Jason’s—he’s kind of a silent partner with Sonny right now. I think he was helping them audit some books, do background checks on some employees at the warehouse or something. He wasn’t—he wasn’t really planning on moving back to Port Charles. That’s why…that’s why he was still at Jake’s.”
“Okay.” Taggert made a note. “Could…could Carly be in trouble? Could it have something to do with…what happened?”
“I don’t—” Elizabeth bit her lip. “I don’t know. I can’t see how, but you know…it’s Carly.” She rubbed her eyes. “Taggert, can I ask you something?”
“Sonny—Sonny, he said I shouldn’t…go to see him. I mean, that—it would be better—”
“Elizabeth,” Gia murmured. “Maybe he’s right—”
Taggert help up a hand to wave off his sister. “Listen. You know I’ve never been a fan of Morgan and Corinthos.” He ignored his sister’s snort. “But he’s right. I didn’t—I didn’t see him for myself, but I saw the photos from the scene.” He tilted his head. “Morgan was a lot of things, Elizabeth, but I know he cared about you. He wouldn’t want that to be your last memory.”
“Oh, God.” Elizabeth covered her face, trying to swallow the bubble of sobs tearing at her throat. “God. I can’t—I can’t breathe—”
Gia moved to sit directly next to her roommate and put an arm around her. “It’s…it’s not okay, but you know, you just—you just get it out.” She flashed an irritated look at her brother. “You need anything else, Marcus?”
“No.” Taggert shook his head. “For what it’s worth, Elizabeth, this—this is not what I wanted. I never wanted to see you like this again. I am so goddamn sorry.”
“I—” Elizabeth struggled to get herself together. To keep it together. She had to think about the details. Had to get through the next five seconds. The next minute. One step in front of the other. “I—thank you. For your kindness. Um, if Gia will take me to Jake’s—I’ll—I’ll get my phone. A-And I’ll let you know about the voicemail.”
“Thanks, Liz. Let me know if I can do anything.”
When her brother had left, Gia said, “We don’t have to do anything today, Liz. We can just sit inside and ignore the world. Or maybe you want to go scream—I just—I don’t know if—”
“I have to—” Elizabeth laced her fingers together to keep them from trembling. “I’m not going to ignore it. Not like last time. I can’t—I can’t just stop either—”
“It’s been twelve hours, girl. You can take a breath—”
“If I take a breath, then it’s real. And I just—” Her voice shook. “I have to…I have to know. He called me. And I didn’t have my phone. I just—I want to know what he said. Please, Gia.”
“All right. Let me go tell Bobbie we’re going.”
Elizabeth & Gia’s Apartment: Living Room
Elizabeth sighed before she opened the door to find a solemn Sonny Corinthos standing on her landing. “Hey.”
“Hey.” He glanced towards the stairwell, to the third floor where Taggert’s apartment was located. “You mind if we come in?”
“Oh.” She blinked at Max behind him and then stepped back. “Sorry. Yeah. Come on in.”
They both entered the apartment, and Elizabeth closed the the door behind them. She took a deep breath before turning to face them. “Hey,” she said again. “I-I know I haven’t returned any of your calls. I-I’m—”
Sonny shook his head. “You don’t have to apologize, Elizabeth. We’re all…managing the best we can.” He frowned, looking around. “Are you by yourself?”
“Oh. Yeah. Gia had classes today.” Elizabeth went to the dining table and closed the textbook she’d been attempting to read. “She offered to skip, but we’re…we’re graduating in December, so…”
“I’d forgotten you’d be back to school.” Sonny waited. “Are you—are you—still attending classes?”
“Oh. No. Not this week, but…” Elizabeth closed her eyes. Tried to gather her thoughts. She kept drifting. Kept losing her focus. “I’m going to try to go back next week. To give myself something to do.”
“Good, good. Keeping yourself busy—that’s a good idea.” He cleared his throat. “I…I feel like asking if you’re okay…or need anything…I don’t know. It’s the thing to ask but it feels—”
“I’m breathing.” She sat at the table, picked up the highlighter she’d been using and twirled it between her fingers. “I…I have to go to the mansion later today. Emily’s flying in this week for the funeral—” She stopped. “I, ah, anyway. I’m managing, Sonny.”
She hesitated. “How are you doing?” Elizabeth asked softly. “I mean, I guess you and I are—we were the closest. I—I should have asked—”
“I’m the same,” Sonny cut in, with a dismissive hand. “Managing. Focusing on anything that takes my mind off of it.”
“And—And Max,” Elizabeth looked at Sonny’s guard. “I-I know all the guys—Jason thought a lot of you guys. I mean—I don’t have to tell you that. I guess I just—we all lost—” And then her bravado failed.
“We’re doing the best we can, Ms. Webber,” Max said, kindly. “You let us know if we can do anything for you. If you need a ride somewhere—you want to avoid the press—” He looked at Sonny, who nodded. “I’ll get you Francis’ number. He runs the security—”
“I liked Francis,” Elizabeth murmured with a half-smile. “He’s the one who guarded me a few years ago, right?”
“Right.” Sonny rubbed his jaw. “Anyway. I just—you let me know if I can do anything for you, Elizabeth. I just—I hate all of this.”
“Yeah, that makes two of us.”
When they had both left, Elizabeth turned back to her textbook and opened it. And pretended to read another page.