What happens when all your dreams are lying on the ground
Do you pick up the pieces all around
And if the world should fall apart hold on to what you know
Take your chances turn around and go
– Chapter One, Lifehouse
Greystone Manor: Living Room
Jason stepped into the room to find Sonny sipping a glass of water and perusing some paperwork on the sofa. His friend rose to his feet. “Hey. You didn’t sound good on the phone.”
Jason hesitated but nodded. “Yeah, a situation has come up. I-I think I know to handle it, but I’m going to need you.”
“Sure.” Sonny waved him forward. “What’s up? Did Elizabeth get those results back?”
He wished that were the only thing to worry about, but for the first time in several weeks, the possibility of becoming a father was much further down the list.
“Ah, not yet. Next Friday.” Jason waited. “Elizabeth was suspended from the hospital—the DA’s office has initiated an investigation into the theft of Oxycotin, and Lucky’s stash was traced back to the hospital.”
Sonny’s face tightened. “Little punk. How many times is he going to wreck her life before she gets it?” He shook his head. “I still remember having to hide her while they were faking her death.” He sighed. “So what’s the plan? We can find a dealer to blame it on—”
“I wish it were that simple.” Jason crossed the room just to have something to do. “Ric’s going after her. It’s personal to him, you know.”
“Talk about people wrecking your life,” Sonny muttered. “He does complicate it—” He paused. “But Ric wouldn’t put Elizabeth in jail. He’s threatening her. It’s for leverage.”
“Yeah. He’s empaneling a grand jury to investigate me, and he wants her to testify.”
Sonny lowered himself back to the sofa and rubbed his chin. “Well. That’s a different tactic.” He squinted. “What’s he looking to get out of it?”
“I don’t know.” Jason sat in the arm chair adjacent to the sofa. “But, Christ, Sonny, it could be any number of things. Just think of the things Elizabeth doesn’t even know that she knows. She helped me track down Manny Ruiz. She knows I’m the one who pushed him from the roof.”
“Not to mention the night Moreno was killed,” Sonny murmured. “Still an open case, you know. And she knows you were there. Maybe not the specifics but they could put it together with dates. Then she was kidnapped by Roscoe’s men. Was around during Luis, and then Lorenzo the next summer. I don’t know, Jason. It’s a lot of little things that could just put the nail in the coffin with whatever else Ric can dig up.”
“I told her to testify,” Jason said after a minute. He stared at his hands. “Ric is threatening her livelihood but he also went after Cameron. Said he’d try to get him moved to foster care once she was in jail.” His chest tightened. “Ric doesn’t even know she’s pregnant. If she were in jail—”
“It’s not even an option.” Sonny leaned forward. “Of course Elizabeth isn’t going to jail, but there are ways around this, Jason. I could set her up somewhere. Get her out of PC—”
“And she’d never be able to come back. She’d have to leave her family, her job, her friends.” He dipped his head. “I can’t—she’s pregnant, Sonny. The baby—”
“I see the problem. I don’t relish sending her away either.” Sonny leaned back. “But you’ve already thought of the second option, haven’t you? The one that keeps her close, but unable to testify.”
“She wanted to find another way,” Jason said. “She’d never go for disappearing. And…short of putting her through a trial and buying the jury in hopes to secure am acquittal, I don’t know if anything else could work.”
“With a history of miscarriage,” Sonny said slowly, “anything we can do to lessen pressure, keep her blood pressure down, is a good idea. She’s had, what, two?”
Jason raised his eyes. “Two? I just—the one with Ric, but—”
“I forgot.” Sonny sighed. “You were sick and lost your memory. She was going to be a surrogate for Courtney and Jax. Last year, about this time. She was in a car accident with Jax and lost the baby.” He exhaled slowly. “Not sure if it would affect future pregnancies, but I—”
“I—I didn’t know.” Restless, Jason pushed himself to his feet. “She works too hard, Sonny. I wish she’d let me take care of her.”
“Well, if she goes for your option, you’ll have your chance. Have you spoken to Diane?”
“Yeah. I just came from her office.” Jason sighed. “She says it’s tricky. Most judges won’t challenge spousal privilege because it’s problematic on the stand. Every question and answer has to be weighed to be sure it falls under the exception. It leads to mistrials, which costs money to deal with. So she thinks it’ll protect Elizabeth from subpoena.”
“Well, that’s good. Can we make these other charges go away? To ensure her safety? I’d hate for you guys to do this and find out while you’re protected, she’s still under fire.”
“Diane doesn’t think Ric’s serious about the charges.” Jason rubbed the back of his neck. “That he’s not interested in torturing Elizabeth if there’s nothing to be gained. To be sure, she’ll motion to keep him from any case dealing with me or Elizabeth.”
“And another prosecutor is less likely to see Elizabeth as good leverage. So Diane can protect Elizabeth, and marriage protects you.” Sonny nodded. “Seems like a win-win situation.”
“She could still get Elizabeth off on these charges,” Jason said. “I mean, Ric could be disqualified just because of his past relationship to Elizabeth.”
“But she could still be subpoenaed against you,” Sonny said. “Do you think Elizabeth would be happy about this? Ric is just using these charges to show Elizabeth he’s got the power. He doesn’t need them.”
“That’s the worst thing. He went after her because he could, because of my relationship to her.” Jason shook his head. “To punish her. How can I ask her to do this when I could protect her without it?”
“For the same reasons you’re not wild about sending her away. She’s likely having your child, and I’m sure she’d like you to be in the kid’s life.” Sonny hesitated. “Look, I get why it’s complicated. You’re still in love with Sam, she’s still married to Lucky. But you guys get along well enough—”
“Sam has nothing to do with this,” Jason said. “We’ve been…over for months.” And she’d slept with Ric. He had tried to forget it, tried to tell himself that it hadn’t technically been a betrayal.
But it had felt that way.
And there had been that night with Elizabeth.
“Okay,” Sonny drawled. “So what’s the problem? You know Elizabeth will agree if you lay it out for her like this. She’ll have security while she’s pregnant.” He waited a moment. “Or is it the idea of asking Elizabeth to marry you under these circumstances?”
“She’d have to get a divorce in the Dominican Republic and figure out how to get Lucky to sign the paperwork, or New York won’t recognize it which would invalidate the privilege.” Jason rubbed his eyes. “She’s had two bad marriages, and I’m supposed to ask her to marry me for my own protection? What does she get out of it?”
“For starters, a husband who won’t cheat on her, won’t hold her children over her head as leverage, won’t feed her birth control pills—Christ, Jason, you’re the better choice on every level. Those two idiots claimed to love her, but they sure as hell didn’t cherish her.” Sonny got to his feet. “Maybe you give Elizabeth the options. She can make her own choices, Jason.”
“Yeah.” Jason exhaled slowly. “You’re right.”
“Let me know how it works out. You’ll be in the DR, it’s just hop over to the island.” Sonny slapped him on the shoulder. “You should have the ceremony there. I can put something together, make it look good. For appearances.”
“I’ll let you know.” Jason sighed. “I’ll let Diane know she can draw up the paperwork. If Elizabeth agrees, then I want to put it in motion as soon as possible. She…has until Friday to make her decision or Ric will have her arrested.” He paused. “And she gets the paternity results back the same day.”
“It’ll be a big day,” Sonny said. “Go call Diane and see if you can rustle yourself up a bride.”
Patrick’s Apartment: Living Room
Elizabeth stepped hesitantly into Patrick’s living room, Robin’s phone and car keys in her hands. “Hey.”
“Oh, I’m so glad to see you.” Robin joined her and Patrick at the door. “I was so worried, Elizabeth—”
“It’s okay.” She set them on the desk. “I’m sorry. I just—”
“The charges are bullshit,” Patrick spat. “And I told Epiphany that. I’ll tell anyone who asks, and if I see that little piece of shit husband of yours, I’ll rip him apart.”
“With those precious hands?” Elizabeth asked, her eyes burning. God, what a good friend he’d turned out to be. “I’m touched.”
“I’d hire someone,” Patrick said. “But I’d take the first punch for satisfaction. Have you called a lawyer?”
“Is that why you wanted to talk to Jason?” Robin asked. “So he could get Diane for you?” But her eyes were confused.
“It’s more…complicated than that,” Elizabeth offered. “I wish I could tell you more. I know Jason will find a way to make this go away. I just want to do my job and raise my kids in peace.”
Robin nodded and put a hand on Patrick’s arm. “Well, I’m sure Jason will handle it—”
“Can I hire him?” Patrick asked. “Because that sounds like a terrific idea. Let’s do that. I think he’d pound Ric and Lucky into small little pieces—”
“We’re very blood thirsty tonight,” Robin cut in. “Liz, just remember—when you can tell me more, I’m here.” She bit her lip. “Or Emily—”
“Emily is Lucky’s best friend.” Elizabeth wrapped her arms around her waist. “And she encouraged me to give Lucky another chance, to wait until his rehab was done. So did my grandmother and Nikolas.” She closed her eyes. “I wish I hadn’t listened. If I had filed for divorce, if I had walked away from him, maybe it wouldn’t be believable that I stole those drugs. But I stayed. I kept my child in that home.”
“Elizabeth, this is going to work out,” Robin said. She elbowed Patrick in the rib. “Tell her.”
“It’s going to go away. I don’t much like Jason Morgan, but if he’s half as loyal to you as you are to him, then it’ll be fine.” He pouted. “What is it with the women in this town and that man? I’m just as pretty.”
Elizabeth cracked her first smile in hours as she reached for the keys and phone Robin held out. “You’re downright adorable. In a brotherly fashion.”
“I blame you for this,” Patrick was telling Robin as Elizabeth headed down the hallway. “You’ve domesticated me and ruined me for all women.”
“Yeah, I don’t see the problem there.”
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Elizabeth’s Apartment: Living Room
Elizabeth set a blanket over Cameron’s napping body on the sofa and switched off the cartoons that had lulled him to sleep. It was the first day in weeks she’d been able to devote completely to him, a realization which made her feel lower than an ant.
How was she going to take care of her little boy with no money? She’d lose the apartment for sure, and she did not want to move in with her grandmother. She’d probably feel pressured to stay with Lucky.
That was one thing that was going to change. If a divorce wasn’t part of Jason’s plan, she was going to add it. It wasn’t enough that Lucky had humiliated her, lied to her, cheated on her, but he’d continued to place Cameron in danger by leaving pills in the apartment.
And now he’d cost Elizabeth her job and possibly her freedom.
“It’s a hell of a way to smash a permanent lock,” she murmured as she rose from the sofa, her stomach twisting in knots. She rubbed her hand absently. “Please, Baby, be Jason’s. That’s the only thing that would make my life remotely easier.”
She hit play on her answering machine and listened to the messages she folded some clothes. One from Nikolas, concerned about news he’d heard from Emily. Emily had also called, hoping she wasn’t blaming this on Lucky. Her grandmother had called—
But black cell phone a man in a suit had delivered to her door the night before remained silent. If Jason had a plan, he was taking his sweet time.
And, God, didn’t it gall her to be so dependent on him? Why couldn’t she stand on her own two feet and make this go away? She could turn Mac’s daughter in—the affair and her volunteer work at the hospital would surely point the police towards her as the culprit.
But as much as she wanted to hate Maxie, she couldn’t.
She remembered what it was like to be young and desperately in love, then to have it shattered. If Maxie had had a Jason in her life, someone she could turn to keep her from trashing her life, the way Jason had stopped Elizabeth that night in Jake’s so long ago, would Maxie have turned to Lucky?
She knew what it was to be desperate, to want to keep someone’s love so badly you’d do anything. What had she done in the name of her love for Lucky? For Ric?
No, turning the attention to a desperately unhappy, barely legal adult wasn’t fair. Maxie didn’t deserve to pay for Lucky’s mistakes any more than Elizabeth did
So how else could she make this go away? How could she protect herself and her children without throwing Jason to the wolves? Lying in front of a grand jury seemed like the best bet, but that would just land her even more on Ric’s radar.
Maybe Jason’s idea would allow her to be more involved, to make an active choice to help rather than passively sitting back and hoping he could make it go away.
And since she was the weapon being used against him, it was fair Jason had a hand in making this go away, right? It didn’t make her weak, just smart.
“I’m using all my available resources,” she told the room. “Jason is a resource. He’s always been there for me. I didn’t do this. There’s no harm in making sure I don’t pay for it.”
Right. That sounded good.
The black cell phone vibrated suddenly, the force of it sending the device sliding across the coffee table. Elizabeth snatched it up. “Hello?”
“Elizabeth. I—I need to see you. Can we meet at Vista Point?”
Elizabeth chewed her lip. “I just put Cameron down for a nap. Let me see if Robin or Patrick can come watch him.” People who wouldn’t ask her questions. God, it was nice to have people to depend on for a change.
“Okay. I’ll be there in an hour.” He paused. “I have a way to make us both safe, I just…I need you to let me explain it.”
Well, that sounded odd and disturbing, but she swallowed. She trusted Jason. “All right, I’ll be there in an hour.”
She hit the end button and tapped the phone against her mouth. What if he was sending her away? To a jurisdiction where she couldn’t be extradited?
What if that was the only solution? Could she give up her family, her friends, her life here? Any hope of having Jason being in her child’s life?
“God, I hope that’s not the plan.” She reached for her own cell phone in order to dial Robin’s number, hoping she’d come through for her again.
Elizabeth pulled into a spot next to Jason’s bike. She could see him standing by the bench on the lower portion of the cliff, not looking at anything in particular.
He didn’t look like he was about to send her away forever, but hell, what would that even look like?
“Hey, Robin came through?” he asked as she approached.
“Sort of. She sent Patrick while she finished up at the hospital.” She pressed her purse strap higher on her shoulder. “I told him I was meeting with someone to make the charges go away, but he’s been talking to Robin enough to know something more is up.”
“If Robin trusts him, that’s good enough for me.”
She nodded and then folded her arms. “So…your plan?”
“Yeah.” He scratched the back of his neck. “Listen. I—we can do a couple of things, but not all of them are guaranteed to work the way we want it, too, okay?”
“Okay,” Elizabeth drawled. She sat on the bench—something told her she didn’t want to be standing for this. “One of them is sending me to some place they can’t find me and make me come back, right?”
He exhaled. “It’s…an option. I don’t like it for a lot of reasons.” Jason sat next to her. “I don’t…want to ask you to leave. I’d rather have you stay in Port Charles.”
Well, that was something. “Okay, so what are our other options?”
“I talked to Diane, and she thinks she can get Ric disqualified from any investigation involving you,” Jason told her. “And it’s unlikely another prosecutor would take up the case without the personal relationship.”
“Which fixes the problem of my charges, but not the one where I’m subpoenaed against you,” Elizabeth said. “So what’s the plan to keep me from testifying? Sending me away until the grand jury is dissolved?”
“It would be a short term thing.” Jason looked away. “But you’d be okay, Elizabeth. Diane can make the charges go away—”
“I already told you I’m not interested in any solution that doesn’t protect you, too,” she told him. “I’m glad Diane can help me, but I want to help you. I won’t let Ric use me as leverage.” She arched a brow. “So, what’s the rest of the plan?”
“This is where it gets…complicated.” Jason paused. “Spousal privilege.”
She blinked because she could not have heard those words correctly. No way in hell did Jason say a word whose root was spouse. Elizabeth cleared her throat. “You said…spousal privilege. L-Like Sonny and Carly? Or you and Brenda?”
“Yeah.” Jason clasped his hands together. “Diane told me that even though it’s technically for things said between spouses after the marriage, most judges and prosecutors aren’t willing to take the risk and contest it. Too easily thrown out and mistrials are common.”
“So this would keep me from testifying against you.” Elizabeth leaned back. She’d wanted an active role this plan, but this…
And really, knowing all the history involved, this should have occurred to her as an option.
“It would,” Jason told her. “But—I can’t ask you to do that.”
She closed her eyes. Of course not. She was insane. Jason was still in love with Sam. He had already done this once, hadn’t he? Married to Brenda, involved with Courtney?
No. Not going to think about those days. Best left in the past.
“Why?” she asked flatly. “Am I suddenly less marriageable than I was two weeks ago when I told you about the baby?”
“What?” Jason leaned back, his eyes wide. “No. I mean, Elizabeth, you’d have to convince Lucky to give you a divorce in the Dominican Republic so we could get it done by next week. After how things turned out for you with Ric and Lucky, how can I ask you to get married again when it’s for my protection?”
Oh. What a sweet idiot he could be. “Jason, you signed a false statement to the police to keep me out of jail after the hotel fire, remember?” she said. “You could have done time for that. Are you the only one that gets to make sacrifices in order to protect people?”
He shook his head. “It’s not the same, Elizabeth. This—this is an open-ended solution and you’d have to be sure. I mean, we’d live together. You’d be in my life for at least a few years.” Jason cleared his throat. “A-And you said that night…it couldn’t work.”
Because she’d trying to beat him to the punch of establishing what had happened was a one-night stand, but hell if she was going to admit that. “I say a lot of things when I’m trying to protect myself,” she murmured. “Jason, maybe that’s what I said then, but you know it’s different now. I’m pregnant and there’s a very good chance you’re the father. What, you think I’d keep the baby from you?”
“No. I mean…” He exhaled in a quick rush of air. “I just want you have all the choices in front you.”
“So I can pick the one that asks the least of me?” Elizabeth demanded. “What kind of person would that make me if I took the easy path? The one where Diane makes it go away for me, but leaves you in Ric’s crosshairs?” She shook her head. “I’m not going to be the reason you go to jail—”
“My job is the reason I’d end up in prison,” Jason cut in. “It would never be your fault—”
“And you’ve done a great job of staying out of it on your own. Besides, if you weren’t doing this work, someone else would be.” Elizabeth rose to her feet and started to pace. After a moment, she turned back to him. “You’re doing a pretty thorough job of keeping me from agreeing, Jason. So why even bother bring it up if the thought is so distasteful?”
Slowly, Jason got up and approached her. “I don’t think that. I asked you weeks ago, remember? You said no then.”
Because she’d almost said yes and that had scared the bejesus out of her. “I—we don’t know if you’re the father of this baby.” Elizabeth tucked her hair behind her ear. “You would have been stuck.”
“So you would have said yes if we knew the paternity for sure?” Jason asked, tilting his head.
“That,” Elizabeth said carefully, “is not the issue here. The issue is that you’re very reluctant to take this step. Are you just…not thrilled with asking me for help? You’d prefer to fix this on your own, but you need me to make sure it works.”
“I—” He stopped. “I don’t want you to feel obligated. That’s why you’re stuck with Lucky, why you kept Ric around. You deserve better than that.”
“Funny, the last thing I feel is an obligation to keep you out of jail. It’s not a tit for tat thing. You’re not making my charges go away by doing anything nefarious.” Elizabeth pursed her lips. “Ric wanted me to panic. Maybe he even wanted me to run to you. But he isn’t going to expect me to fight him. He’s trying to make me choose what’s more important to me—my freedom or yours.”
She tossed her hair over her shoulder. “I’m not interested in any solution where he gets what he wants. He should have thought of this—any lawyer worth their salt would file the motion Diane is planning to file. I’d have no incentive to tell the truth in front of the grand jury without these charges hanging over me.”
“The last thing I want is for you to lie—” Jason began.
“So that Ric can use what little he does know as a weapon?” Elizabeth challenged. “Think of the leading questions he could ask. He could put our history out there for strangers to know about, to dissect. I don’t know what I might know about your business, but whatever I say could add to what he already knows. So if we don’t do this, I promise you, Jason, I will protect you another way. Ric is not using me as a weapon.”
Jason sighed and looked away. “So either we stop you from testifying or you’ll commit perjury.” He scrubbed his hands over his face. “I think I had this conversation with Carly once.”
“I’d be insulted you’re comparing me to her, but in this case, she had a point. Carly didn’t want to be the reason Sonny went to jail, especially since if I recall correctly, it was her fault he was in that particular mess to begin with.” Elizabeth huffed. “Now, are you going to marry me or not?”