July 31, 2018

I started doing flash fiction last year but I converted into the Workshop because I realized a lot of what I was posting was things I wanted to write about more later. Quickly, the flash fiction stuff became more and more of a stressful thing and I kept starting stuff and abandoning it. The opposite of the stress relief it was supposed to be.

I’m rethinking the workshop stuff at the moment — I’ll be back with more about that later this week, but I’m bringing back Flash Fiction, and I’m going to try to do it on a schedule again.

I wanted to do a Flash Fiction today because I won’t be posting Bittersweet tomorrow. I apologize for this but some things have come up that have prevented the last few chapters from being ready for posting. The story is done, but it’s still in the editing stages, and the edit has been postponed due to family issues. I wish I could be more specific, but I can’t.

So in order to kind of still give you new content, I’m posting this Flash Fiction today, and if things go as planned — a new one each day this week.

Without further ado: Flash Fiction: Count on Me is available now to read.

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Flash Fiction: Count on Me

Written in 20 minutes. Alternate Universe.  No revisions or typos fixed.


Elizabeth Webber stepped out of the hospital room and leaned her head against the soft blue plaster of the wall next to it. She took a deep breath, counted to ten, and tried to hold back the tears that burned behind her eyes.

“Elizabeth?”

She tried to paste a smile on her face and turned to face the concerned face of one of her closest friends, swiping at the few few stray tears that had escaped her eyes. “J-Jason. Hey, um…what are you—”

“Are you kidding me?” Jason Morgan asked, his light blue eyes darting past her, towards the room. “Emily called me. She said that Jake was here.”

“Right.” Elizabeth exhaled slowly, cupping her face in her hands, dipping her chin down towards her chest, and taking another deep breath. Jason had always been there for her three-year-old son even though the paternity tests they’d taken before his birth showed Jason wasn’t his father.

“Right,” she repeated. “I guess I should have called. Um…” Her hands fluttered to her sides and she swallowed hard. “Um, the tests aren’t back yet.” She paused, forcing the words out. “We don’t know if it’s…spread. They don’t know what type it is. They’re already starting the search for a marrow donor because—” Her voice broke.

Cancer. Her beautiful, precious baby was sick with childhood leukemia. God. How was she going to deal with this?

“Okay. What can I do?” Jason stepped towards her, his voice dropping down an octave. “Do you need someone to stay with Cameron? Is he with Emily? Let me do something—” She saw the muscles in his cheek twitch. “There has to be something—”

“Um, I guess…” She tried to think, pressing a hand to her head. “You could get tested for a bone marrow match, but, um, I don’t…I don’t think you’ll match. I mean…blood relatives—” Why couldn’t she think? “”Lucky…Emily managed to convince him to come in and get tested as a donor. We’re tested Cameron—” Her voice broke. “He wasn’t—”

“Why didn’t you call me?” Jason asked as he took her by the elbow and led her to a nearby sofa in a lounge area of the General Hospital Pediatric wing. “Emily said she’s been running around collecting donors so you could sit with Jake. Elizabeth…”

“I don’t want to be that—” She sucked in a deep breath. “I didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t want to say it outloud. It would be real, and that’s so goddamn stupid. I know it’s real. Dr. Clay said maybe we caught it in time, but it doesn’t always—” She pressed the heels of her hand to her eyes. “I’m sorry. Of course you’d want to be here. I know how much you love him.”

“I want to be here for you, Elizabeth.” He took his hand in hers. “C’mon, you know me better than that.”

She managed a half smile. “I know, I just—after what happened with Sam, I just figured it’d be better to keep…” She shook her head. “I know. I’m sorry. I’m just…Jake is sleeping right now, but I know he’ll want to see you. Do you—do you have to go to work?”

“No, I talked to Anna,” he said, referring to the commissioner of the Port Charles Police Department. “She asked Dante to cover for me. He didn’t mind—he said if anything happened to Rocco—”

She shouldn’t feel relieved that Jason would able to stay here with her, to maybe even sit with Jake and be here when he woke up. Their friendship had only strayed over the line once, almost four years earlier when she’d been trying to save a wreckage of her marriage, and he’d been drifting away from his girlfriend at the time.

Since then, they’d remained close—closer than was probably wise. A few men had come and gone in her life who didn’t appreciate their close friendship and Jason had just ended another rocky relationship over his role in Jake and Cam’s life.

It was selfish of her to cling to Jason—he wasn’t the father of either of her children, though Lucky Spencer had never been much of a role model and could barely relied upon to pay child support much less spend time with either Jake or Cameron.

But right now, she needed him in her life and she wasn’t going to pretend otherwise.

She frowned when she saw Dr. Silas Clay striding up the hallway, followed by a technician she knew worked in the lab—Brad Cooper. They were murmuring to each other over some paperwork.

Oh, God. Elizabeth got to her feet as they approached her. “Are those Jake’s results?” she asked, her voice trembling. Jason stood, his hand hovering over her lower back as if to brace her if she fell. “Silas—”

“No, these—” Silas glanced at Brad who cleared his throat. “These are the results of Jake’s father’s test. Lucky Spencer…he’s not a match for Jake.”

“Oh.” Her heart sank. “But—but I thought he and Cam would be our best bet. Should I start calling my parents or my brother—”

“No, Elizabeth, actually…” Brad shifted his weight from one foot to another, his eyes darting back and forth between the doctor and Elizabeth. “Actually, the results—I thought something was wrong, so I ran a couple of further tests.”

Elizabeth furrowed her brow, traded a confused and worried look with Jason before focusing on Silas. “What are you trying to say? Just spit it out, Silas.”

“Lucky Spencer isn’t your son’s biological father. We’re testing the wrong man.”

July 25, 2018

Some family issues have prevented the Bittersweet update this week, guys. My apologies 🙂 I hope we’ll be back next week. I was trying to think of something I could post to make  upfor it.

I was looking through my files to see if there are snippets of things I haven’t posted yet and have been playing with. What I found is an un-posted chapter for a project I never finished writing: Collision.

I’ve mentioned it a few times and even posted a prologue a long time ago, but I never posted the rest of my material. So I thought as a hold over, I’d post Chapter 1. The prologue has the notes and context for the story–but it picks up the show after 2006’s virus storyline, and moves the story into 2007.

It was going to be an alternate version of the show (like Damaged) with huge umbrella storylines, but understandably, I haven’t gotten into it since I started writing Damaged. The main storyline is still something I want to revisit at some point, but there’s no harm in giving you completed material since most of it wouldn’t make into a revised version.

I hope to have Bittersweet next week 🙂 

In other news, Book 1 of Mad World, entitled Break Me Down, is now complete! I posted back in January (I think) that Mad World would be a trilogy. Book 1 takes place in late June-early July 2003 and rewrites the Carly in the Panic Room storyline. It ended up being ensemble story with the PCPD playing a starring role in a way I didn’t expect. It’s 19 chapters, 252 pages, and over 94,000 words long. And it is completely done.

Book 2 will start with Chapter 20 and go into October 2003. I’m starting that tomorrow after taking off today for a bit of a break. Break Me Down just has to go through the beta process, but I am tentatively scheduling it’s release date for October.

July 19, 2018

After around thirty months of Becky, pink, and blue, we’re moving on to a Liason themed layout with bright bold orange, red, and blue! There are a few kinks I’m working out. Let me know if you have any issues with any of the pages or if the colors don’t work for you. I’m excited to have a new layout finally! I don’t adore the header (I mostly like it, but I think I can do better) so it may change at some point.

I also figured out the alignment issues in my theme so that I can bring back these little themed photos. I used them for the first year or so you could tell at a glance what stories were updated.  I’ll be back this weekend I hope with either Smoke and Mirrors or maybe a Micro Fiction.

July 18, 2018

Welcome to another Wednesday! First, a quick update as to how Mad World is going. I’ve slowed down writing, as I said in my last post, but I’m still writing. I’m in the middle of Chapter 15, and I have the entire weekend mostly free so I’m going to get a lot done. I’m still writing an average of 3000-4000 words a day, I’m just not always finishing entire chapters.

I am also hoping to update Smoke and Mirrors this week. While I said I would be winging it and updating it whenever, I didn’t mean to let six weeks lapse between chapters! So this week or next, I want to spend some time updating that.

In other site news, I’m working on a new theme–this current one has been up since February  2016 and I think we’re all ready for a new look.

A few weeks ago, CG became affiliated with Stecky.org, the amazing Steve & Becky site! I just forgot to post about it. You can find their link in the sidebar.

And now what you came here for! Bittersweet, Chapter 24 is now live. We have seven chapters and an epilogue left, so as of right now, Bittersweet is scheduled to conclude in the first week of September.

I am working on getting it updated at Road to Nowhere now that I can post there again. I’m trying to do two chapters a day until we’re current.

This entry is part 24 of 29 in the series Bittersweet

Oh yeah everything’s all wrong yeah
Everything’s all wrong yeah
Stranger than your sympathy
I take these things so I don’t feel
And all these thoughts from the inside out
Now my head’s been filled with doubt
Sympathy, Goo Goo Dolls


 Friday, September 20, 2002

 Quartermaine Mansion: Foyer

Courtney closed her cell phone and stared at it for a long moment. She hated this. She hated every minute of this.

Michael had cried until he’d decided that Jason would come back like his mommy—and how much longer until he could talk to his mother? AJ had tried to keep it together. Had wanted to check in on his family, so they’d packed Michael up and come to the mansion.

But AJ wasn’t letting it out. Wasn’t talking to her. Wasn’t talking to anyone really. Just sitting with his grandmother in the garden today, sharing old stories of Jason. Alan and Monica had gone to work, trying to be normal.

Trying to forget.

And Courtney wasn’t really sure what she was supposed to be doing here.

“Courtney?”

She turned to find Ned stepping out of the foyer. “Oh. Hey. What’s—what’s up?” She tucked her phone in her back pocket. “Do you guys need anything? I can—”

“We’re okay.” He closed the door behind him. “I left AJ and Grandmother out there, so I can check on Grandfather, but I overheard you on the phone with Gia. I didn’t want to intrude.”

“Oh. No, it’s okay.” Courtney bit her lip. “Gia’s just worried. Elizabeth has been a lot like Alan and Monica since Jason went missing. She was trying to keep breathing, to stop herself from thinking the worst, but now the worst has happened—” She stopped. “I’m rambling.”

“You’re worried about AJ. And I imagine you’re pretty worried about Elizabeth.” Ned folded his arms. “It hasn’t hit him yet, you know? This summer—I think he came as close as he ever probably would to having his brother back and that’s…” Ned looked away. “It’s gone. I have a little brother, too. He’s much younger than me, but I love him. I can’t imagine—” He shook his head.

“I figure it’s gotta be harder for you guys,” Courtney said after a moment. “I mean, it’s not even the first time you’ve lost Jason.”

Ned nodded. “Yeah, I think that’s—that’s what makes this so awful. We lost Jason Quartermaine, and God, I don’t think we ever let Jason Morgan forget it. He ran away from this family because of it. And a lot of other reasons, but that was part of it. You know…” He rubbed his chest absently. “We told ourselves it was a matter of time. He made his choices, this was how it was supposed to be—we all expected him to die violently—” His voice failed. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.” Courtney folded her arms tightly under her breath. “I didn’t—I only know Jason through AJ and Elizabeth, so I’m sad. But it’s for you guys. And for her. Because he seemed like a nice guy. And even if he had a dangerous lifestyle, it doesn’t make it easier for the people who loved him.”

“No.” Ned exhaled slowly. “No, it doesn’t. Have you spoken to Elizabeth? Grandmother asked about her—”

“She’s…managing,” Courtney said. “Gia’s with her. I just…I don’t know how she’s going to do this. He just…he just asked her to move in with him. She was so happy—” Her voice broke. “Sorry. It’s not even—this just sucks.”

“Yeah, yeah it does.” Ned touched her shoulder lightly. “For what it’s worth, it gives my grandmother comfort knowing he was happy at the end. Elizabeth was good for him, and I’m just sorry they didn’t get to see where it would go. You let me know if she needs anything, all right?”

“Yeah, thanks Ned.”

“And don’t worry about Junior. He’s done a lot of work in the last year or so. He’s battled his demons—I’m not saying he’s won completely, but he’s…. settled. You gave him that, Courtney—”

She shook her head. “He likes to say that, too, but I’m not some kind of miracle. I’m just a girl who rushed into marriage with a man she barely knew on a hope and prayer. We both got lucky it’s working. But Jason told him—he told him at the chip ceremony that AJ did the work. He’s the one that didn’t take a drink.” Her lip trembled. “It meant the world to him that Jason was there, but to say that—God, I don’t think Jason ever knew what he did for AJ that night.”

Ned dipped his head and took another deep breath. “They were so close once. I like to think they could have been again.” He cleared his throat. “I should check on Grandfather.”

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Quartermaine Mansion: Foyer

Elizabeth smiled briefly at Alice, the maid, who directed her to the garden where Lila, Courtney, and Emily were having tea.

And then she couldn’t quite bring herself to cross through the family room out onto the terrace and into the garden.

Because until now, she had been able to stay in a bubble, inside her own world at the Brownstone with Bobbie and Gia.

But she wasn’t the only person who had lost Jason, and she would have to share her pain with others. She had to, because hiding her grief and running from it three years ago had been the wrong choice.

“Elizabeth?”

She turned to find AJ emerging from the dining room. “Oh. Hey.”

“Hey.” He approached her, his hands in his pockets. “I won’t ask how you’re doing. It’s a stupid question, and—I can see it.”

“Yeah?” Elizabeth asked with a sigh. “Am I that transparent?”

“You’re thinking about how to keep it together for Grandmother and my sister. So that Courtney doesn’t have to worry about you, too. Or am I just…projecting?” He shrugged. “Because what’s what I’ve been doing since the second—” AJ looked down. “Anyway. I wanted to call, but Courtney said you were mostly…keeping to yourself.”

“Yeah, for the last two days.” Elizabeth crossed her arms, closed her eyes. “I fell asleep for the first time last night. Bobbie wanted to have Tony give me a prescription for something, but I didn’t want to close my eyes. I didn’t want to wake up in a world and know—I could lie to myself when he was just missing. But I can’t now.”

Her eyes burned as the first tear slid down her cheek. “He’s not here, and I just—I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. How to breathe. I guess it doesn’t matter, because I keep doing it. But it’s like every breath I take is…. a shock. How can I breathe without him?”

Elizabeth wiped her tears as AJ said nothing. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—I’m okay. I mean, I’m not. I’m…managing—”

“There were a couple of moments there that I thought…” AJ said slowly, “this summer…I mean…I thought if Jason and I had enough time…maybe we could be brothers again. It was a stupid dream, and I know he’d never claim me that way. But I thought it. And I just—it’s never gonna happen now. He’s my little brother and he’s gone, and I can’t seem to wrap my head around it.”

“I know. I’ve been through this. I know what the shock feels like, but somehow—” She shook her head. “It still feels brand-new.” She managed a short laugh. “My grandmother called this morning. She…she called a few days ago, too, but I ignored it. I almost ignored it again this morning, but for some reason, I wanted to hear her voice, and you know what she said? She said…it was hard to believe it right now, but that there would someone else someday. I mean, hadn’t I learned that after Lucky was gone?”

“God.” Elizabeth dug her heels into her eyes. “Like it’s the same. I was a teenager. This—this is different. This—I don’t know how to explain it. She, of all people, ought to know you can’t compare grief.”

She exhaled slowly. “I should get out to the garden before they send a search party.” She hesitated. “I’m sorry, I didn’t even ask about Michael—”

AJ shrugged. “We talked to a counselor yesterday. Right now, Michael is convinced it’s going to be like Carly.” He rubbed his temple with his thumb. “That we’re all just mistaken. It’ll sink in for him. Or it won’t. He’s almost six, but…”

“One day, he won’t even remember Jason,” Elizabeth murmured. Her chest ached, and she just wanted to go home. To curl up in her bed, draw the curtain, and ignore the world.

But that wouldn’t solve anything. Wouldn’t make it better.

“God, I hate knowing that’s true.” AJ cleared his throat, looked away as his eyes glittered. “You need anything, Liz. You just let me know.”

Quartermaine Mansion: Terrace

Emily’s eyes were swollen and rimmed with red, while Lila was clutching a handkerchief in her hand. Courtney was quiet, solemn.

And Elizabeth wanted to be anywhere else.

“Elizabeth.” Her best friend rose to her feet and crossed to the doorway. “Oh, God.”

“Hey.” Elizabeth closed her eyes, struggled to keep back the flood of tears that threatened to swallow her whole. She had to get through this moment. Had to get through this day.

She clung to Emily for just a moment before stepping back. “It’s good to see you but I wish it were for any other reason.”

“Yeah.” Emily swallowed as they sat down on the long iron bench adjacent to Lila’s wheel chair.

“Mrs. Quartermaine,” Elizabeth said as she took one of Lila’s delicate hands in hers. “Hey.”

“Oh, my darling—” Lila’s voice was thin and shaky. “Thank you for coming. I cannot imagine—” She closed her eyes. “I just cannot accept any of this is real.”

Elizabeth dragged the heel of her hand under her eyes, sweeping away her tears. “I know. I keep thinking it’s a nightmare I’m gonna wake up from, but…then I realize it’s not.”

“I talked to him just a few weeks ago—” Emily managed, her voice raw. “He sounded…God, Elizabeth, he was happy. You made him so happy.”

“Thank you,” Lila murmured. “For giving him that. It hurts so very much right now, my darling. But someday, knowing the love you brought to one another, it will bring comfort.”

She closed her eyes. Pressed her hands to the lids. “I want to believe that. I just can’t seem to think past right now. It hurts so much.”

Emily wrapped an arm around her shoulder, and Elizabeth leaned into her. “I can’t even pretend it’s going to be okay,” Emily said softly. “Because I can’t accept that it ever will be. It’s not supposed to be this way.”

It is for me, Elizabeth very nearly said, but she could hear the wallowing in those words, the self-pity, and she bit them back. Emily and Lila didn’t need her devastation. They had their own.

But she was never going to be allowed to be happy for more than a moment in time, and it was time Elizabeth learned to accept that. If she could just stop…dreaming she deserved more, maybe the fall wouldn’t hurt so damn much.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Kelly’s: Diner

Bobbie touched Gia’s shoulder. “You mind if I take this seat?” she asked indicating the chair across from her. “I wanted to grab a quick lunch between shifts at the hospital.”

“Oh, yeah.” Gia pushed her notebook aside. “I have a class in an hour, so…” She shrugged. “Not that I can seem to concentrate. I mean, it’s stupid. I didn’t lose anyone. Jason didn’t even like me all that much.”

“You’re an acquired taste,” Bobbie said with a small. She gave her order to Penny and sighed. “I can’t tell if Elizabeth is managing or pretending to manage. She’s always been good at putting up a front.”

“She keeps it together for a while, and then something breaks her down. It’s only been three days, so I think she’s still kind of in shock.” Gia picked up her iced tea and sipped it. “I feel like this is my fault. I pushed her at him.”

“Gia—”

“She wanted to lie to herself, to pretend she wasn’t interested, and I forced her to admit that she was. I told myself I was just living up to our promise, you know? No more lies, not to each other and really not to ourselves. I told her I didn’t care if she pursued him, but she shouldn’t lie to herself.”

“And what? You think it made it worse because she—she lost him—” Bobbie caught her breath. Pressed a fist to her chest. “I’m sorry. It’s still…it’s catching me. I didn’t—I loved him like one of my own, and I just—I keep expecting him to walk through the doors. To come to the Brownstone.”

“I tried to tell her at least she had this time, but how much more did it suck that she got a taste of what it could be like?” Gia’s eyes burned. “I hate this. I hate this caring about people bullshit. I should have just seduced him or something. She’d hate me for that, and then I wouldn’t care, and I wouldn’t feel like shit—”

“That wouldn’t have solved anything.”

“No, but—” Gia sighed. “I don’t know. I just—I don’t think I pushed her like everyone did with Lucky last year. I don’t feel like that. I just didn’t want her to…lie to herself. And then when she admitted it, yeah, I kept encouraging it, I guess. You know, maybe I was jealous. I wanted someone like that, you know?”

“Someone like what?”

“Someone whose entire existence is made better because you’re there. You know how he looked at her, how he talked to her, about her. The way he was around her.” Gia sighed, pushed her French fries around her plate. “She had this chance at that kind of love, and I didn’t think she should throw it away. Nikolas, even when it was good, he never looked at me like that. Like the world disappeared when we were together. I wanted that in my life, so I pushed her towards it, and I just…I feel like what she’s going through is my fault.”

“It’s tempting to think…it would have hurt less if they hadn’t been dating,” Bobbie said slowly. “But I wonder if it would have given her more anguish…to know she had lost that chance forever. I think…I think we regret the roads we don’t take more than the ones we do.”

“I guess.”

“You’re hurting for your friend, Gia. That’s not a bad thing. She was happy, and now she’s not. And…maybe one day…this summer will be a comforting memory.” Bobbie pressed her lips together for a moment. “She had him for a brief moment, but it was a shining moment. And… before Jason died—” She couldn’t finish. Had to start again. “At the end, she brought him love and joy.”

“I wish I could believe that,” Gia said slowly. “But all I can think of is that…she had that before. With Lucky. Why the hell would the universe do this to her again?”

“Well…that I can’t answer.” Bobbie sighed. “I don’t know why the universe does anything. When I lost my BJ, my darling, sweet, amazing BJ—I still had Lucas. But it wasn’t the same. Having another child didn’t fill the hole, didn’t mend the pain. The universe gave me another daughter.”

“Yeah, the universe was feeling pretty salty that day,” Gia muttered. “Sorry—”

“I love my daughter because I gave birth to her,” Bobbie said slowly.  “I forgave her for what she had done to my marriage because I recognized that same self-destructive streak in her that I have fought against my entire life. I could understand the way her mind worked. The way she just reacted—the damage she could do. I could live with all of that because I knew she had inherited it from me—”

“And you’ve been blaming yourself for Carly ever since,” Gia said bluntly. “I get Carly. I used to be Carly. I used to hate the world—” She stopped. “My brother left home when I was still a kid. I’m a lot younger than him—I think you know that. When he left, things didn’t stay okay. My mom was always looking for another guy to fill the space that Marcus’s father, that my father had left her—”

“Gia—”

“It doesn’t matter.” Gia shook her head. “I learned to look out for myself. To always put myself first, because I was damn sure the only one who could. I thought what I wanted meant more than anyone else. Carly’s like that, Bobbie. Except she managed to hook up with a bunch of people who just excuse that kind of selfishness as a character flaw. As something to overlook. I hated Elizabeth. You know that. I did awful things to her. Said them to her face. Behind her back.”

Bobbie’s eyes softened. “Gia, she doesn’t—”

“Because I didn’t see her, you know? I just saw the way everyone else reacted to her. They treated her like this precious porcelain that belonged to Lucky Spencer, and Laura was bending over backwards to give her the modeling contract that I damn well deserved—I knew about Tom Baker. And I used it against her.”

Bobbie exhaled slowly. Sat back and just looked at her. “That’s pretty cold.”

“Yep. And I didn’t have a problem with that. She wasn’t right for the job. I was. Take what you want, that was my motto. And then I overheard Nikolas and Lucky talking about her the day of the wedding. Talking about how Lucky didn’t love her anymore, but he owed her this. And I just got pissed off. Because everyone had lied to me, and I was supposed to swallow it to go along with it. But now they were lying again. So, I went to her because I wanted to throw it in her face.”

She paused, took a sip of water. “I wanted to show her I was a better person. That I wouldn’t keep her in the fucking dark like she did to me. And so, I told her with hatred in my heart that her precious Lucky didn’t even love her. That he only pitied her. Like she was a dog.”

“What happened then?” Bobbie asked quietly.

“She looked at me, with tears in her eyes, and she thanked me. She said she’d been having her doubts, but that she thought she owed this to Lucky. But now…now I had set her free. She didn’t have to sacrifice her life anymore. I was going to shove her face in it, but she looked at me like I was doing her a favor. Like I was some kind of sign from the universe.”

“And three days later, you asked to rent the apartment from me. To live together.” Bobbie tipped her head. “What changed?”

“I stopped looking at her as the enemy, and she stopped seeing me as the bitch who blackmailed her best friend. Because being with Nikolas had only made me more selfish, and I was starting to hate myself. When I realized that I had gone into that room to destroy Elizabeth’s life just because I didn’t like her—I knew I was taking it too far. I didn’t want to be that girl anymore. She didn’t want to be who she was either. So, we figured, fuck it, let’s try and save each other.”

“It’s not your fault, Gia, that Elizabeth is hurting right now.”

“And it’s not your fault, Bobbie, that Carly is who she is. You gave her love, compassion. Understanding. A place to raise her son. What else were you supposed to do to keep this from happening?”

Bobbie closed her eyes. “I can’t look at her. I haven’t seen her much since Jason went missing. She’s avoiding me, and that means she’s involved. Somehow, someway. And she knows I’m at the end of my rope.”  She sighed. “But you’re right. This isn’t my fault either. I have to let her fall. Let her hit rock bottom. She needs to have that moment, Gia, where she doesn’t like that person she sees in the mirror. And right now, she’s still the victim. It’s still someone else’s fault. Someone else’s responsibility to fix.”

“Until that stops, there’s nothing you can do.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Elm Street Pier

Elizabeth stepped off the last stair and turned to the left. There it was. The bench where she and Jason had sat so often in those early days. Where she had poured her heart out.

Where he had left her only months later.

Where they had been reunited.

Where she had betrayed him for the first time when she had thought he had attacked Lucky.

She sat down and looked out over the harbor, out at Spoon Island. She hadn’t thought about Nikolas Cassadine in months. He still lived out there. Still lived in Port Charles. But he was removed from her life, and she grieved for that. They had been through hell together once, and she’d thought that meant she was important.

That she deserved honesty. And respect.

She knew Gia was back at the apartment, her classes completed for the day. She knew she had to really go home. To try and do some of the studying she’d been ignoring. Pretending to do. If she was going to use her degree to distract her, it was probably time…to actually use it as a distraction.

But she just couldn’t.

If she tried to bury her grief, it would drown her. She knew that. She had to get through it. She had to live it, but…

Jason was dead. He was dead. They were having a memorial tomorrow, burying him on Friday. Three weeks after she’d last seen him, he would be in the ground.

Jason was dead.

And she still couldn’t wrap her mind around that.

Dead.

It was the first time, even in her own mind, that she had acknowledged it. Jason was dead. Shot to death in some filthy warehouse. Left to rot in the harbor. His funeral would require a closed casket—

A sob bubbled out of her throat and she fought it back. She was tired of losing it. Tired of the tears. They didn’t change anything.

There were some footsteps just around the corner, where the pier met Bannister’s Wharf. And then she saw the figure that bled out of the early evening shadows.

Zander Smith walked towards her, hands in the pockets of a light jacket, his dark hair cut short.  She hadn’t seen him since the bar fight, since Jason had told her he’d been fired and gone to Miami.

He stopped in front her. “Hey. I—I didn’t expect to run into you here.”

She frowned. Narrowed her eyes. “I thought you left Port Charles.”

“I did.” Zander swallowed hard. “I had to. It was…” He looked away, shaking his head. “I kept looking around, seeing Emily, and hating it. I wasn’t good enough for her, but I wanted to be. And every day I was here, I was reminded of that.”

Elizabeth slowly got to her feet. “Why do you think I’d care—”

“Because I was an asshole to you, and Morgan—” He closed his mouth. “I got what I deserved, but I—my boss set me up in Miami. And so, I heard about him. And I knew…I just…I knew Emily would be home—”

“You thought you’d come back, try to slide into her good graces?” Elizabeth demanded.

“Listen—”

“You are nothing,” she hissed. “Nothing. You’re not half the man Jason is—was—” Her voice broke. “I wish it were you. I don’t understand why it’s not. How can you be alive and someone like Jason—”

Zander just stared at her. “I know you’re upset, but c’mon, I only—I only bothered you for a like a minute. Why—”

“Because he’s dead. And you’re here. Trying to use it like he was just—an obstacle.” She strode towards him and shoved him. Hard. He fell back a few steps. “You think you can worm your way back into Emily’s life—what, is Sonny next? Do you think that Jason is gone, and you can just step right back in? Back to your goddamn corner office and promotion?”

“What the hell—”

“He’s dead—” Elizabeth whirled away, dragged her hands through hair, trying to draw back some of the anger. “And you’re like a fucking scavenger. A vulture here to pick at the pieces before his body is even cold.” She faced him again. “What is wrong with you?” she cried.

“Look, I never—” Zander shook his head. “I don’t want to make this worse for you. I’m sorry. I didn’t—” He looked away. “I’ll send Emily a letter or something. I was gonna go tomorrow, but I don’t—it’s not worth it. I’m sorry, Elizabeth.

“You’re only sorry he ever came home and screwed up your cozy life,” she snarled. “Go to hell.”

“You know what?” Zander shot back, his face flushing. “I had it right the first time—you’re a fucking bitch—”

“Back off!” The unexpected growl came from the top of the stairs, and Elizabeth saw just a blur as Lucky Spencer took the steps two at a time and shoved himself between the two of them. “What the hell is wrong with you, you piece of shit?”

“Oh, of course.” Zander sneered. “Here you are. Think you’re going to lap up Jason’s leavings? She’ll just jump back to you like she jumped to Jason—”

Lucky took Zander by the collar, his knuckles white. “Walk away. You stay away from that memorial tomorrow. You stay away from Emily, from Elizabeth. From all of us.”

“Go to hell,” the other man growled, but he jerked away from Lucky and stalked in the opposite direction, the way he came.

Lucky turned back to Elizabeth, dragging his hand through his hair. “Hey. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—”

“What are you—” Elizabeth cleared her throat, trying to process his presence. “I thought you were in New York.”

“Emily called when Jason went missing…and then she told me—” Lucky swallowed. “It’s not what Zander said, I’m not trying—I just…”

He waited a moment, trying to gather his thoughts. “Emily told me what happened, and all I could think was that I had to make sure you were—I don’t know. That you weren’t alone. We were friends for so long, Elizabeth. You held me together when my entire family fell apart. Every time my world fell apart, you were there. Even when it hurt you.”

“Lucky—”

“So, I just…I don’t know. I wanted to be here for Emily, too, but I just—I wanted to try to see if I could be a friend to you again.” Lucky hesitated. “So here I am.”

“Okay.” Elizabeth folded her arms tightly. She looked back out over the lake as the sun set behind them, casting the Gothic mansion into shadows. “We’re burying him in two days, Lucky. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do this again,” she admitted.

He put his arm around her shoulders, and for just a minute, she could remember what it had been like once to lean on him. To trust that he would be there for her.

“The thing about you, Elizabeth Imogene Webber,” he said, and smiled when she grimaced at the sound of her hated middle name, “is that you never give yourself enough credit. But let me say that it’s bullshit that you even have to do this again.”

She sighed and let him walk her towards the steps and away from the bench.

July 16, 2018

Hey! If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’ve slowed down a bit writing Mad World. Not in a bad way–I’ve still written about 11 chapters in 16 days. That’s still a big improvement, so I’m not going to criticize myself because I haven’t written 12 pages every single day.

Back in December/January, as I worked to finish Bittersweet, I realized I had taken the story in a slight direction I didn’t think Jason would ever agree to. What happens in Chapter 23 was originally going to be something Jason planned with Sonny, and the real conflict would only be that Sonny lied to Liz. But I just realized as I was writing the fall out of the whole thing that I don’t buy Jason would do it. So I went back and rewrote Ch. 20-25 (which is why I ended up not finishing Bittersweet on schedule last year).

Now that we’ve finally gotten to the portion of the story I rewrote, there are some scenes here that I still really liked and I didn’t want to lose completely. There are about two chapters worth, so if you’re interested, here’s the first half, which covers most of Ch 20-23: Deleted Scenes.

In other news, I’ve been looking over my Fiction Graveyard notes, and obviously, you might be aware that I still haven’t finished re-posting all the material. Stuff the remains to be posted:

Poisonous Dreams, Version 1 (The OG A Few Words Too Many)
Shatter (a half-assed abandoned sequel to Jaded)
Aurora Dawning, Version 1
Inside Your Fear
Sing Me a Lullaby


And this is my yearly call for any missing stories I wrote in 2003. There are three long stories missing, two of which were complete, and one of which I’ve only recently remembered. There are a handful of shorts missing that I don’t even remember the name of anymore, sadly.  The first two of these were posted at The Canvas, and did exist in the archives at one point. The original board archives, not the separate ones created later.

One Day at Work – AU hostage situation.
In the Middle – AU Challenge response in which Liz played the Robin role in the Jason/Robin/Carly 1996-97 stuff.
Troubled Waters – a version of panic room fall out from fall 2003. It was going to be an alternate version of GH, and I was posting it on an ezboard site that was separate from TC, though I think I cross-posted it sometimes. My computer crashed, and the story got lost in the mix and fell off my radar.

 

I’ll be back on Wednesday with Bittersweet, Chapter 24!

July 11, 2018

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Workshop: Bittersweet - Deleted Scenes

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.


Kelly’s: Diner

“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.”

Kelly’s: Courtyard

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.”

“Elizabeth—”

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—”

“Elizabeth—”

“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.”

“Okay.”

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.”

“Jason—”

“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—”

“I’ll call—”

“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?”

“Yeah.”

“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.”

“Good.”

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.

So happy to be bringing Bittersweet back (and for the final time!) I appreciate all of the patience you guys have shown since I originally started writing and posting this story back in 2016, then took a year off, and then again a few months earlier this year.

This chapter is kind of special to me for  two reasons — I really like the Liz and Gia stuff, but also the song at the beginning of the chapter, “In this Room” by Leslie Tucker, is one of my favorite GH song memories. It played back in the Fall of 1998 after Brenda had “died.” Jax got her test results, burned them, and then a montage played of Jax and Brenda in his old penthouse at the Port Charles Hotel. This was during some twilight of GH’s second golden age in the late 1990s when Elizabeth and Lucky were first together.

Someone on a Liz and Lucky mailing list put together an unofficial Liz and Lucky soundtrack which we bought and shared through snail mail. Those were the days, haha. I still have that soundtrack 😉 It has some lovely old memories — a recording of Lucky’s “Elizabeth” song, the Luke and Laura Theme. Performances from the 1998 Nurse’s Ball by Liz, Lucky, Dara, and Taggert — it’s just sweet snippet of my OG ship, Lucky and Elizabeth (the first go around 1997-99).

Anyway, this song was on that soundtrack and I’ve loved it ever since, so when the subject of this chapter came up, I knew immediately which song I would choose.

I’ve also been hard at work on Mad World. I checked in on Saturday with the good progress I had made. I’ve slowed down a bit because I was feeling a bit poorly, but I’ve still written a lot of the story and I wanted to post a small snippet here for you guys: Excerpt, Chapter Nine.

And here’s the link y’all are here for: Bittersweet, Chapter Twenty-Three